November 29, 2009 - The Lake City Reporter

By H. Morris Williams

I have co-authored a book, "Lake City, Florida - A Sesquicentennial Tribute" to help us celebrate our town's 150th birthday.

My co-author is Dr. Kevin M. McCarthy, professor emeritus at UF, and one of the most prolific Florida authors.

Dr. McCarthy has a B.A. in American Literature from LaSalle College (1963), an M.A. in English and a Ph.D. in Linguistics, both from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1970).

He taught in the Peace Corps in Turkey for two years, in Lebanon for one year, and in Saudi Arabia for two years, both as a Fulbright Professor, and as a professor of English and Linguistics at the University of Florida for 35 years.

UF named him its Distinguished Alumni Professor before he retired in 2005. He has also taught in Viet Nam twice and in Spain twice, and he has had 44 books published.

He appears frequently on Fridays on "Connor Calling" on the Gainesville/UF public radio station to answer questions on language usage.

Our book covers our history from the 16th Century to the present time. Here are some highlights of the book:

*A photo of the gravesite of Chief Halpatter Tustenuggee (Chief Alligator, namesake of Lake City's original name) and some of his braves in the cemetery at the Tustenuggee United Methodist Church.

*Postmarks showing Alligator as our town's name before it was Lake City.

*Ku Klux Klan activity in North Florida after the Civil War.

*The story of how Jacksonville's Edward Waters College almost began in Lake City.

*A descriptive report from poet Sidney Lanier about Lake City in 1885.

*Various church histories.

*The story of the progression from Florida Agriculture College to UF to Columbia College to the V.A.Hospital, with interior and exterior photos of those institutions.

*Aunt Aggie's Bone Yard

*The tragic murder of Marshall William Strange.

*The history of the Mathis Fire Plow

*Redpath Chautauqua events in Lake City in 1930.

*A list of surgical costs at Lake Shore Hospital in the 1940's.

*A tribute to local World War II war hero Fred Kinard.

*A tribute to the late Coach Paul Quinn by former player Jack Meeks.

*Tracing the beginning of the Columbia Forestry School to its successor, LCCC.

*A story about The Little Store.

*School activities in 1957 at the all-black Richardson High School, along with references to black citizens like Alyce Caesar, Glenn Pressley, McKinley Jeffers, Sr., and Coach Richard Anders.

*The menu, including prices, from the Kit Kat Drive-In Restaurant in the 1950's

*A tribute to Medal of Honor winner PFC Robert H. Jenkins, namesake of our Veterans Domiciliary, who sacrificed his life in Viet Nam for a comrade.

*The story behind "Stifled Laughter", a book on the censorship of a book at CHS

*Dorman Clayton who graduated from high school at age 82.

*A 14 page index of names, places and events.

The book is softbound, has 300 pages and well over 250 pictures. Exactly 500 copies will be published

The book will cost $20, including tax, and can be bought at Hunter Printing, 1330 SW Main Blvd, starting on Thursday, December 10, from 9 am-12 noon and 1:30-4:30 pm.

Books can be pre-purchased by mailing a check made payable to "Lake City Book" to 'Lake City Book, P.O. Box 706, Lake City, Fl 32056.' Those who pre-pay will be able to get their book one day early, on Wednesday, December 9, from 2:30-5 pm and those books will be signed by both co-authors.

[Please visit www.hmorriswilliams.com/books for more info]

The hope is that this book will be a fitting tribute to Lake City in the year we celebrated our town's 150th birthday.


The combined classes of 1949-53 will hold their next reunion on Friday, December 11, 11:30, at the Mason City Community Center.

As usual, out of town members do not need to bring anything. Locals should bring a covered dish. Chicken pilau, drinks, plastic ware, etc. will be provided.

This is an 'open reunion' and anyone can attend regardless of graduation class. Call Julia Osborn at 386-752-7544 for more information.


If we laugh at our troubles... we will never run out of joke material. square

H. Morris Williams is a local historian and long-time Columbia County resident.