Remembering Rosewood – Digital Storytelling Video (2010)


The site of Rosewood Florida is located
in levy counting approximately nine miles from Cedar Key. Levy County was
officially established on March 10th 1845 while Florida itself had only
become a state one week earlier on March 3rd 1845 prior to this the area was
inhabited by various Native American groups. We know about the Native
Americans who lived here from archaeological work, historical documents,
and the record of the famous naturalist and explorer William Bartram, who visited
the area in 1774. The two primary tribes historically in the area were the creeks
and Seminoles while the area that would become levy county remained largely
uninhabited during prehistory we do know that large numbers of Native Americans
would have passed through the area regularly and that some lived in the
area full time when the United States gained control of Florida in 1821 white
settlers increasingly called for the complete removal of the Seminoles
leading to the Seminole Wars the first Seminole War of 1817 ended two years
later with the establishment of a reservation to the southeast and outside
of Levy County thirteen years later the Seminoles were ordered to leave this
reservation and the Second Seminole War began in 1835 it was during this time
that numerous military forts were constructed in modern-day Levy County
with Cedar Key established as a primary military fort in hospital
the Second Seminole War concluded in 1842 European settlers finally began to
move into Levy County and greater and greater numbers levy County is named for
David Levy who built a 5,000 acre sugar plantation along the Homosassa River
David was an important figure in early Florida and son of the largely forgotten
Moses leaving Moses was a devout Jewish abolitionist who advocated freeing the
slaves David Levy changed his name to David yulie in 1846 mainly to distance
himself from his father and their Jewish heritage historian CS monocle best
captures the differences between father and son in his book Moses levy of
Florida Jewish utopian an antebellum reformer here’s a quote from that work
Moses levy and David yulie occupied opposing ends of the philosophical
spectrum levy was a proto scientist a social activist and utopian theorists be
questioned and rebelled against orthodoxy and the political status quo
his progressive ideas especially in regards to slavery were Natha man the
south in comparison david yulie disassociated himself from judaism and
yearned not only for the acceptance by the southern elite but to become one of
their stalwart leaders and defenders david yulie is best remembered as the
first jewish senator in america he was a strong supporter of the confederacy and
advocated for the continuation of slavery he was also responsible for the
florida railroad which began construction in 1853 and finished in
1861 during the Civil War Mary’s stretches of this railroad were
destroyed but it was completely rebuild following
the Civil War and resumed operation in 1866 the railroad linked the Gulf Coast
at Cedar Key with the Atlantic Ocean in Fernandina initially many thought that
the railroad would bring quick growth and improvement to the areas around
rosewood and it did for several decades the area around the side of rosewood
called the Great Gulf hammock is one of the most fertile environments in Florida
the 1871 Florida Gazette tears stated the area was well known throughout the
state and was referred to as a standard example of fertility even giving rise to
the same as riches the great gulf hammock the fertility attracted many
industrial and agricultural interests this included development of numerous
logging camps and even the construction of orange groves also phosphate mining
played an increasing role in the late 1800s during the 1870s and 1880s a
handful of prosperous communities were established along the railroad and
rosewood was one of the largest and most successful by the turn of the century
the great gulf hammock supported numerous industries and multi-ethnic
towns including a sizeable greek sponge fishing community in and around Cedar
Key by the 1880s and 1890s rosewood was a
busy place especially for levy County a variety of historical documents allow
researchers to better understand how this community took shape over these
decades business directories and state gazetteers provide valuable information
according to the 1886 Florida State gazetteer 50 people lived in Rosewood
the town was settled in 1955 and the nearest telegraph station was another 10
miles along the railroad in Cedar Key it goes on to tell us that milling red
cedar lumber is the primary industry and that there is a hotel general store an
Episcopal Church in town additionally we know that there are at least two
carpenters one civil engineer a Methodist pastor and an Episcopal rector
other industries in the town include cotton and grain planting orange growing
and assorted vegetable farming this one page alone describes a very prosperous
and wealthy community in the great gulf hammock these directories tell us a
history of Rosewood from year to year while directories and Gazza tiers
provide important information they reveal very little about personal lives
in the past other data sets and specific research methods provide greater details
about the people who lived in Rosewood one such approach is called documentary
archaeology which represents a unique use of historical materials this begins
with anthropological questions about the lives of people in the past and then
compares a wide range of datasets to answer these questions these datasets
can include property records census rolls historic maps photographs oral
history and artifacts one of the primary approaches used for the Virg
rosewood research project uses property deeds to recreate the historic property
boundaries in and around Rosewood during the late 1800s and early nineteen
hundred’s property deeds like these provide important insights about the
layout of a community through time for instance this property deed describes a
location of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Rosewood
built in 1912 deeds like this one identify five separate churches in
Rosewood between the years 1878 and 1921 in order to learn even more about this
community census records provide household level information specifically
they record details about a person’s age sex race and so forth
for instance Mary halls property and home was located in the northwest part
of Rosewood her property is highlighted here in light blue she lives in a house
with her eight children after her husband and their father had already
passed away we can learn much about Mary halls home and her family from the
census Mary Hall the head of this house was a black female aged 40 she had five
sons between the ages of 3 years old and 19 these sons names were Steven Lewis
Thomas Charlie and Wilson Mary Hall also had three daughters between the ages of
1 and 17 these daughters names were dosha
Marjorie and Mary Hall since its records tell us about other
families in Rosewood as well like the household of Nathan Robinson include the
Russ wouldn’t these children including a daughter named Roby who was seven years
old in 1923 these datasets allow us to understand how family relationships were
interwove it with other aspects of community life these various datasets
are providing researchers with historical and social details about
Rosewood in 1923 Rosewood was a prosperous town it had many families and
established businesses and was like many other communities you’d find across
rural North Florida by 1923 the fortunes of those living in
the great gulf hammock were changing the entire economy of Florida was changing
and Levy County was no longer as remote as it once seen daily railroad service
still came through town and rosewood residents continued to live off the land
and care for their community then on New Year’s Day 1923 this was shattered
forever a white woman in nearby Sumner fabricated a black assailant to hide her
extramarital affair with a white man a white mob quickly formed and headed for
Rosewood encountering the home of Sam Carter a longtime black resident of
Rosewood at first they interrogated him by
hanging him from a tree by the neck then when it seemed the mob might release him
a man leveled his gun at Carter’s face and New Year’s Day ended with the sound
of a shotgun blast at first it seemed that the violence might end with
Carter’s murder however a little over a day later White’s and Sumner heard that
the black assailant who never existed had returned to Rosewood with Sylvester
carrier carriers distrust of whites was well-known and before the night was out
at least two White’s lay dead on his doorstep after attempting to set his
house on fire rumor and hatred spread quickly through rural Florida eventually
reaching the KKK in Gainesville residents of Rosewood knew that the
response for killing whites would be swift and violent black men armed
themselves and headed into the woods women and children hid with one of
Rosewood’s only white residents John Wright however by the 6th of January
three other blacks had been brutally murdered and the white mob potentially
numbering in the hundreds began the systematic burning of Rosewood during
this time a train was brought through town at 4:00 in the morning to pick up
women and children who had moved to the swamps and spent the previous couple of
nights hiding after John Wright was unable to guarantee their safety the
Train took dozens of families to towns like Otter Creek Archer and
Gainesville’s black district Mary Hall Daniel’s daughter of Mary Hall discusses
what happened to her after 1923 so mr. Wright got the train he called
for the train to come and pick up there you know
the Train got get on credit without in the roof so then there was some a person
sup of a see that we get to the training to get on the train yet someone had to
gather together system easterly we get on the train but nobody could get on the
train but the women and the children no man could get on the train because you
couldn’t trust the middle look we were so all the women and the children got on
the train and then it took us to Gainesville and I guess some got off an
austere but I know Gainesville because my mother said North took the train
Kings that I know okay so your family got off and games
her mm-hmm Jeff totally I was nineteen train Street January the first doing
that doing that speech yeah it’s doing that week I think it was almost six or
seven about the seventh I think when it got the game strength cuz you’re
starting to lose your mother meet each other a lot uh Bobby always out there another thing this was seven or eight
years old Kofi Olson is four years older than I am
he’s the baby boy and I’m the diva girl on the Bieber the family because mother
said that real ‘some that real did all of our sisters and brothers was nine of
us be over two years apart but Wilson in myself but my see my father had died
first but he left all of this for my mom’s in charge of all these innate and
all this stuff and all this children there when did he die they don’t know
when I was a baby I was mother in about a year whooping my year something oh
because I don’t ooh my sister and I had the Thresh
during that time for some how was a cuted thrash or me but she couldn’t you
– my sister Martha and it went through her impede her and it kills her clever
my mother Patel make it our last witness oh I guess I’m the prisoner – question
so you have to give me a vice there cuz I – question you know I got one just
like that I just a clustering and you know make something I like to write for
simple identity you know and did you need to tell Mel you don’t tell me you
know so that I say a few deck I know people wonder sometim about me but I
love I said I’m leaving because he my daddy was from the jira Africa
my daddy phone was coming cheering Africa we all know it Syria not cheering
yeah but I don’t know I get that guy additional speech so if I say some kind
of trick just straighten it out cuz in school my district each call me baby
deeds but I can drop it it did you do well okay I’ve made it and then my dad
was a minister to administer any of the fire and he was
a 33rd degree Mason most of those men down there were made his Mason that’s
right Mitch does not like to go dance and I
guess I’m normally like my deck and I’ve tried everything and the son of the
leader Department is going can I join till I get ever so needed and I came out
everything but – and at the star he sent stars and a ladle of Zera of the 32nd
degree Golden Circle not stealing those two things so and so you got to
Gainesville and yeah you know wizard did you boys her mother did you was she able
to buy a house and somebody take her in know for some reason see my mother had a
brother living games deal and he ran the fish market so did you move in with him no I don’t
know baby would no I don’t think so I don’t know I don’t know how to come
about his house on earth he got her I don’t know all I know that we were
living down there in about a train she you lived in danger sleeping Kings being
on honey they’re not it buddy trains she you know you’d be a train
unless we used to live it’s not dateable but we used to lived on the internet but
ice plane mm-hmm and used to load the box of ice and we wanted eyes we would
sleep with them and get your bone mass then would be go and get some highs in
physical size 12 I graduated 1940 Robby Mort daughter
Nathaniel Robinson discusses what happened to her following 1923 we got
over chief improvement system there was and of course we were they are but we
under Belinelli but my grandma but they had her with them and she wasn’t happy
just staying put because her name was caught her woman Neha real out names she
know whether somebody was looking for everybody to kill him or not because she
had a real her name was all of their better lives
in that town my family and my grandpa had a teeka’s man anyway she she wanted
to leave so they packed up though folding you know God is that he had to
be in the plan cancel dinner with more oil than the core of gas they had two or
three jugs of gasoline in the back of that old car and we travel clear across
the state come and you got up is forethought Gallic Laura yeah we are
galleon well if they with it pain goes of it that we there on puts us name
those of this come one just come back down you know um yeah this is out
certainly open yeah yeah yeah this outside of there but I our galley was
one of the little small subways that they were just trying to get people to
buy in and these guys we were sitting there on the tough of a rock where there
was a be self-aware that’s that one was real
stinking but it was cool real cool it tastes good except for water bit anyway
they come around the corner there because his little car was parked bad
they seen us and stopped and talked and those people put us up they were the
first people they put us up in punk out and my sister’s husband had to go back
to chicken because he was worried about his family
Ryan you know he got back the chief I mean bagged the Rose woman he got back
the Rosewood and lost his eyesight both eyes so he never did get back to her and
though he could see he we found the scene he kinda came down yet earlier we
found the seen him when he found out with those wolves in the way go and then
we come on that she got married again some guy that was working on the river
and that’s how come we got them from our galley to the Palm Beaches he was
working on the railroad you know every time there they get too full from the
job they moving moving go ahead so you can go home and still going back on
right and we evidently and when we got to the waterway that Jupiter waterway up
there and they finished up their waterway of course mr. Wegman he had
this rank across you know but nobody else could go cross just one track
important double train they just that one track cause everything’s coming in
go in the Palm Beach they was building a pump it’s like
and when when he when they got through the water we been they had to transfer
us across that water wait we got the Celts to City for that
personal Street where they are in Kansas City it’s late pork now they call it
Lake Park Florida but when we got him and hit got our
straighten up and everything and on then right back in it that hood that area
from from that might tell people this they don’t believe it because right now
be working with the history of it of the veteran pitcher and there was a pine
apples from the railroad today across the palm beach with a bother bit huh as
we had nothing but bad apples Evelyn and of course it was pitch down and then
that demand though was there to both fancy and oh the pineapples comfort
vietze ball native and head and we don’t anything so just feel my apples yeah
this feels them and they said you know when they start getting right they
smells so good really smell good then we finally got out of the section islands
because they had to keep going see if there’s a lake worth water in them going
in that one was going in so they had that they had that my sister and her
husband had to keep moving threatening me my grandmother and my younger sister
stay in their apparel and would you believe as but we worry about two months
because we hadn’t gotten around trying to find something to put in the house a
box or something and somebody had given us a stove there
were good students back in there so you could open a can of poking in or
something anyway when when we were here we wouldn’t have more than two months so
decided to go down we were up on the hill in the mill quarters but you could
look straight down the mill coming down that yo was Rivera Beach because there
was a bitch there that separated reviewer from Kelsey City and long ditch
and they had a bridge cross then of course all the miracles oh yeah and at
Hearst Chapel a church they had bill that church right there on that side of
the pitch so we like to church and what you believe out that it was there
written he knew it was no way weird being in a way but and seen
deliver and walk they mature stead son and they were in addition to documentary
archaeology the virtual Rosewood research project is explained virtual
archaeology this is the use of virtual reality and archeological research to be
construct past landscapes the virtual world environment being created as part
of the virtual Rosewood research project will form the background for a longer
digital documentary currently being created you can follow this aspect of
the project by visiting you

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