strong, for thirty years pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.
They had six children, one of whom, Dr. Francis A. Ewing rose to
eminence as a physician.
The Ewing descendants are widely scattered through that
section, and the family has given many useful men to the country.
The third branch is the North Carolina Ewings, from which line
comes John Allen Ewing. The family tradition has it that originally
five brothers came from Scotland, no two settling in the same colony.
The immediate ancestor of the North Carolina family was
John Ewing, who about 1787 was located in Queen Anne county,
Md. He married Miss Pratt, and with a young family they moved
to Richmond county, N. C. Isaac Ewing, son of John, married
JOHN ALLEN EWING 419
Phoebe Thompson, and they had John, William, Joseph, Isaac,
Ann, Rebecca, Keziah, Mary and Phoebe, nine children. Mary
and Phoebe did not marry, but the other children left numerous
descendants, who today make up the family throughout the South.
Daniel Isaac Ewing, (father of John A.) with his brother Thomas,
and his sister, Sarah Ann, were children of J. E. Ewing, and great-
grandchildren of John Ewing, the progenitor of the Richmond
All these Ewing families came from the same Scotch root, and
their descendants today retain many of the strong characteristics
which have made the Scotch such a notable people. The family
has a long record of good citizenship in many States.
John Allen was educated in the county schools of Montgomery
county, and at an early age engaged in the manufacture of turpen-
tine. In 1887 he began business for himself as a turpentine opera-
tor in Georgia and after successful operations in that State he
removed to Florida, where he remained but a few months, going to
Mississippi, where he was actively engaged in business until 1906,
and where he still retains his interests, when he again removed to
Florida, and located at Jacksonville.
He is a member of the firm of Barnes, Jessup and Company,
one of the prosperous enterprises which not only handles naval
stores, but operates large turpentine plants both in Florida and in
Mississippi. Mr. Ewing is also a Director in the J. R. Young Com-
pany of. Savannah, Ga., extensive naval stores and commission
merchants, and on November 3, 1908, he was elected President of
the J. R. Saunders Company, of Pensacola, vice Mr. J. R. Saunders,
deceased, of whom a sketch appears in this work.
This is one of the largest concerns in the State. Mr. Saunders
died in the prime of life, and his place had to be filled by a vigorous
man of the highest capacity, and Mr. Ewing was chosen. This
necessitated his removal to Pensacola, which is now his headquar-
ters. He is an earnest advocate of the building of a system of
good public roads throughout the State, and believes that the next
most important question demanding attention is that of our mone-
tary system. He is a member of the Methodist Church, and of the
Free and Accepted Masons. In politics he is a Democrat.
420 JOHN ALLEN EWING
Mr. Ewing was married April 4, 1905 to Malinda Cunning-
ham, a daughter of John B. Cunningham of Noxubee county,
Mississippi. They have one daughter, Adylein Ewing and a son
John Allen Ewing, Jr.
lUlanlJ f ojw
For a new and young country these United States can show
some remarkable changes. Thus the first English settlement
is a heap of ruins, the second English settlement is a sleepy,
country town, and the first Spanish settlement is merely a winter
resort. Fort DuQuesne is now Pittburg. Kaskaskia is a forgotten
village, and Fort Dearborn has risen under the name of Chicago to
be a city of 2,000,000 people. Sixty years ago the South was in the
saddle, it was the richest section, it had an extended seacoast and
many navigable rivers, hence its shipping points and ports were of
great importance in a day when railroads were not.
Apalachicola was then a great port, its population was not
great, but its exports exceeded in value those of Philadelphia.
The times changed, and the Florida port went down to poverty.
But again the times are changing, and men are beginning to see
that around the great inland sea which we call the Gulf of Mexico
is going to grow a cluster of splendid and prosperous cities far
surpassing anything the Mediterranean has ever known because of
the richer supporting country.
Apalachicola is coming into the heritage which belongs to
it by right of position. It is already feeling the pulse beat of
this vigorous new life. Prominent among the men who are press-
ing the battle in the interests of Apalachicola is Leland John
Henderson, civil engineer, Secretary of Apalachicola Board of
Trade, of the Mississippi to Altantic Inland Waterway Associa-
tion, of the Chipola-Flint-Chattahoochee-Apalachicola Water-
way Association, of the Florida Land and Abstract Company, of
the Florida Coast Realty Company, of the Florida Corporation.
He was born July i, 1874, at Harrisburg, Oregon. His
parents were John Leland and Harriet E. (Humphrey) Hender-
son, both of excellent families of English descent. The great
424 LELAND JOHN HENDERSON
great-grandfather of our subject came from England to Pennsyl-
vania. His great-grandfather, was that John Henderson, U. S.
Senator from Mississippi, of whom Daniel Webster said that he
was the greatest land lawyer in the United States. His father,
John Leland Henderson, is a lawyer.
Mr. Henderson was educated in the common schools, high
school, and Olympia Collegiate Institute, at Olympia, Washing-
ton. The year 1893 found him, a youth of nineteen, established
in Bay St. Louis, Miss., as a civil engineer and abstractor of lands.
His business steadily prospered and he opened an office in New
Orleans, and a business at Pass Christian, Miss., both of which he
yet maintains. In 1906, attracted by the advantages of Apala-
chicola, he moved his headquarters and his family there, and at
once became a leading factor in the business and public life of the
That he is a "general utility" man is proven by the list of
organizations with which he is officially connected. Not content
with the performance of routine duty, he is a constant contrib-
utor to a large number of periodicals, possibly fifty all told, among
them such journals as the Chattanooga Tradesman, Jackson-
ville Times-Union, Jacksonville Metropolis, Atlanta Georgian,
Columbus Ledger, Pensacola Journal and Apalachicola Times.
On June i, 1898, he married Mary A. Ansley, daughter of
Michael L., and Margaret M. Blackwell Ansley, of Bay St. Louis,
Miss. Three children have been born to them, of whom one, Ruth
Henderson, survives. Mr. Henderson is a member of the Method ist
Church, the Democratic party, and the order of Knights of Pythias.
He is an active and devoted church man, and in addition to his
multifarious business duties finds time to act as a local preacher of
A constant reader, with a discriminating taste and judg-
ment, he has accumulated a large and excellent library. Such
a man naturally has clear cut views on all matters affecting the
public welfare. He believes the best interests of Florida and
the Nation may be promoted by the development of our inland
waterways and improvement of our ports, by the careful con-
servation of our natural resources, by ceasing to export raw material
LELAND JOHN HENDERSON 425
and substituting the manufactured article, and by the building up of
a merchant marine. Also he is strongly of the opinion that the
obliteration of competition in necessities (for the purpose of reduc-
ing cost of production), would greatly benefit our people. He
thinks life is becoming too complex, too artificial, and that greater
simplicity and sincerity should be cultivated. An urgent question,
needing the attention of every good citizen, is in Mr. Henderson's
opinion, such an adjustment of the tariff as will restrict the power
of a few to amass the wealth of the country.
Mr. Henderson's public spirit and incessant labor exemplified
by his motto, "Work honesty," has been rewarded by the univer-
sal esteem of the people of Apalachicola.
The combination of newspaper work and the practice of law
is an ideal combination of professions. The competent lawyer
acquires a use of English that enables him to choose the words that
will convey the exact shade of meaning that he desires, while the
editor's training develops the faculty of thinking quickly and facili-
tating his expression. In both the professions one's views are
broadened, there is acquired a fund of human knowledge and
afforded the opportunity of studying human nature from different
viewpoints. A conspicuous instance of the successful lawyer-
editor, who has made a success practicing law and is of the highest
standing in his profession, and who as editor has made a bright,
popular and influential newspaper is Thomas Edward Fitzgerald
Mr. Fitzgerald is a native of Elroy, Wis., where he was born
May 10, 1879, his parents being M. C. and Catherine Fitzgerald.
He received his early education in the public schools, but when
fourteen years of age he entered a printing office as apprentice, and
learned the trade at Ellsworth, Wis. He came to Florida in Decem-
ber, 1900 and located at Daytona, where he purchased The Daytona
Gazette News, which paper he still owns and edits, at the same time
practicing law. He also published the Daytona Daily News
during the tourist season. His ambition for the law was developed
after he had manifested his ability to successfully manage and edit
a newspaper. He studied law at John B. Stetson University at
Deland, Fla., but did not graduate. He was admitted to the bar
in 1905 and in his early practice showed such ability and learning
that he was chosen for the office of city attorney of Daytona for
1907 and was re-elected for 1908. He also has a remunerative
general practice. He is a prominent figure not only in the profes-
sional, but in the social life of Daytona. He was for three years
THOMAS EDWARD FITZGERALD 429
Quartermaster and Commissary of the Second Battalion of the
Second Regiment of Infantry of the Florida State Troops, with the
rank of Second Lieutenant.
Mr. Fitzgerald was twice elected to the very prominent and
important position of Secretary of the Florida East Coast Automo-
bile Association, under whose auspices the world-famous Ormond-
Daytona beach races are annually held. He is a member of the
Halifax River Yacht Club and affiliated with the Ancient Order of
the Free and Accepted Masons, including the Chapter and the
Commandery. He is a member of the Benevolent and Protective
Order of Elks and also a member of the Independent Order of
Foresters. In politics he is a Democrat.
Mr. Fitzgerald was married August 10, 1900 to Edna L.
Vandewater, a daughter of John S. and Cornelia Vandewater of
Ellsworth, Wis. They have one son, Franklin Edward Fitzgerald.
Mr. Fitzgerald is widely known throughout this popular sec-
tion of the State and numbers among his friends men of prominence
throughout the Union.
amuei f osepf)
Samuel Joseph Simmons, one of the staunch citizens of South
Florida, who by industry, economy and business sagacity has
accumulated a handsome fortune and who has been a potent factor
in developing his section is a resident of Arcadia, DeSoto county.
He has been for many years prominent in the mercantile affairs of
the State, and has acquired large interests in real estate and orange
grove property to which he devotes a considerable part of his time.
He was born in Screven county, Ga., May 25, 1854. His
parents were John Simmons, who was a mechanic and cotton
planter, and Ann Barbour. His family removed to Florida in 1868,
and located in the western portion of what was then Orange county,
a wild, undeveloped stretch of territory along the St. Johns river,
which was seldom visited except by hunters and trappers. The
nearest post office and trading point was sixteen miles distant on the
St. Johns river. His grandfather James Simmons, was an English-
man, who came over from London prior to 1800 and settled in
South Georgia. Our subject is closely related to Dr. Samuel
Simmons, who was a noted physician long located at Orange
Springs in Marion county. His wife, Julia Humphries, is a direct
descendant of Richard Humphries, who was of a noble Scottish
house. Richard came to America during the Revolution and took
part in the war. For this he was disowned and disinherited. His
only male descendant is Captain J. L. Humphries of Clearwater,
Samuel J. Simmon's educational advantages were confined to
the private schools. But endowed with indomitable courage and
a will to accomplish things no matter how great the cost, he was
not deterred by obstacles from going forward with his undertakings.
He was quick to learn of others and to profit by their experiences.
Possessed of sound judgment, he became one of the most practical
SAMUEL JOSEPH SIMMONS 433
men in his neighborhood, and an authority on subjects connected
with the affairs in which he is engaged. He devoted a great deal
of his spare time to the study of history and practical questions and
the knowledge thus obtained he puts into use in the every day affairs
with which he has to contend.
He began his business career as a merchant, in a small way,
at Citra, Fla., his stock consisting of groceries and general mer-
chandise. Later he moved over on the St. Johns river where he
opened up a store on the same line. At this time, before the tread
of civilization had scarcely proceeded this far south, and the forests
and jungles had been robbed of their game, hunting and trapping
alligators and fur-bearing animals along the St. John's river was
a profitable business and trading in pelts and furs a source of income
to the early settlers who were located along this territory. Here
Mr. Simmons did an immense business in hides and furs and laid
the foundation for the fortune he has accummulated. In 1900
he removed to DeSoto county, where he again embarked in a general
merchandise business. Here he became interested in real estate
and acquired considerable city property in Arcadia, and extensive
He is one of the wealthy men of South Florida and held in the
highest esteem by the people of his immediate section. He has
always practiced, from principle, methods of scrupulous honesty,
giving full weight and measure in all his dealings, never lending
himself to any scheme to take advantage of the misfortunes of
others. He has always been prompt in the payment of his just
debts and while not hard or pressing in his just demands, insisted on
a rigid collection of all debts due. He was called upon to represent
Arcadia in the City Council and so acceptable were his services
that at the expiration of his term he was re-elected for a second
He is a Democrat and also a prominent member of the Masonic
fraternity with which he has been affiliated for over twenty years,
and for the past eight years has been Secretary or Treasurer of
Peace River Lodge No. 66 at Arcadia. He was a leading spirit in,
and the most liberal contributor to the building of the Masonic
Hall at Arcadia. When the DeSoto National Bank of Arcadia was
434 SAMUEL JOSEPH SIMMONS
established in 1907, of which he is a stockholder and director, Mr.
Simmons was one of its chief founders and supporters. The bank
has a capital of $50,000 and has a splendid patronage among the
cattlemen, fruit growers, farmers and merchants of South Florida.
Mr. Simmons is a graceful and forceful writer and has written
many practical and instructive articles for the press. From 1901 to
1904 he was the regularly accredited correspondent of the Jackson-
ville Daily Metropolis, and the Tampa Daily Tribune for DeSoto
His views on practical business and political questions are
sound and worthy of consideration. He thinks that every man has
a calling; that he should find out the business best suited to him, and
after making thorough preparation, begin it and stick to it. He
believes that every man in whatever business he may be engaged
should put honesty above all other considerations. He thinks that
Florida and the nation is puffed up on too much false prosperity and
that it would be well to rid the affairs of the country of the " watered
stock" and inflated values and get down to a plain matter of fact,
"solid rock" basis. He thinks that a system of credits is ruinous
and that the business prosperity of the country would be greatly
improved if all transactions were conducted for cash.
Mr. Simmons was married in 1901 to Julia Humphries, daugh-
ter of Rev. J. L. and Valaria (Mavre) Humphries of Monticello,
Fla. They have had four children born to them, three of whom are
still living, viz: Samuel J., John H. and James P. Simmons.
Frank Harris, of Ocala, is the dean of the newspaper fraternity
in Florida with forty-two years' experience to his credit. Deliber-
ately choosing that profession when a mere youth, he has tena-
ciously adhered to it, and made a success, by sheer merit and deter-
Born in Tallahassee, Fla., on December 3, 1846, his parents
were Alexander Ewing and Violet (Alexander) Harris. At the
time of his birth, his father was in Mexico, being a soldier in the
American army then fighting the Mexican War. The elder Harris
came to Florida from Abbeville in the early thirties.
The educational advantages of Frank Harris appear to have
been limited to the local schools of a sparsely settled country, and
even these were cut off by the War between the States, which began
before he was fifteen years old. Before the war ended he became a
soldier in the Confederate Army. His business life began in 1866
when he commenced work on the Ocala Banner of which he is now
the editor and with which he has been connected for forty-two
In 1879 he married Miss Ella McDonald, daugh er of Berrian
and Elizabeth (Parramore) McDonald, of Monticello, Fla. They
have had born to them six children, Thomas H., Sara Elizabeth
(Loyd), Violet (Powers), Louise (Clarke) Frank, Jr., and Ansley M.
(dead) . Dr. W. H. Powers, the husband of one of the daughters, is
one of the leading physicians of the State. In politics Mr. Harris is
a lifelong Democrat. His religious predilections are towards the
He has served as Mayor of his city, was a member of the board
of trustees of Florida University, member Board County Commis-
sioners and of the Ocala board of trade. He is a member of the
Knights of Pythias, and the Benevolent order of Elks.
438 FRANK HARRIS
The strongest trait in his character is a steadiness of purpose
inherited from his sturdy English and Scotch-Irish ancestry.
Starting in with an obscure little journal in a remote village, he
has stayed by it, doing the day's work faithfully, and has lived to
see the little paper become widely known over a great State, and the
little country village grow into a flourishing city, and railroad center.
Mr. Harris represents possibly the smallest class in our business
life, a newspaper man, who is nothing but a newspaper man, and
who has never been anything else.
It is likely that the whole State would not show a parallel case.
But what is true in other things is true of newspapers, long continu-
ance makes for character, and if long continuance goes with a con-
sistent policy of constructiveness, such a paper in time will be an
influence, the weight of which cannot be estimated.
This veteran editor has seen the phosphate industry grow from
nothing until the annual product runs into millions. That he has
contributed to this result through his paper all men know, and not
only in this case, but in everything else affecting his town and county
his paper has been ready to do its part and much more than its part.
Such labor is never paid for in money, even though the business side
should prosper, for while money may pay for hired service, it cannot
pay for heart service that men like Frank Harris give to their com-
That he has built up character and standing easily follows,
and the esteem in which he is held by the public is but a due recogni-
tion of his merits.
>*r y P i.
A OX A' *
TIL- ' V.HJJN5ATIONS
In the heart of Volusia county, Fla., on high rolling land, stands
the city of De Land, nestling cosily among the tall sentinel pines.
Florida can boast very many pretty places, but there is perhaps no
other spot in the whole State that can surpass in beauty this "Athens
of Florida" as De Land has been rightly named. It is the center of
the orange industry, and is surrounded by lands on which not only
the citrus fruit thrives, but every kind of vegetables and general
farm crops may be raised. From its very inception it has been
blessed with an industrious, public-spirited people whose watch-
word has ever been "Progress," and who spared no pains, even in
face of adversity to place their town amongst the best in the State.
As the result of united effort, De Land presents today the
appearance of an up-to-date city. It offers every opportunity
not only to permanent residents but also to winter tourists, who can
pass months here without experiencing that longing for home whirh.
as a rule, springs from the discomforts to be borne in niauy a tourist
De Land is the intellectual center of Florida. Stetson Uni-
versity with its magnificently equipped buildings, its unexcelled
teaching staff, and its hundreds of students, reminds one of those
grand old seats of learning to the halls of which thousands of eager
students throng, there to move and have their being in an atmos-
phere of deepest erudition.
De Land is great because it had a great founder, and has a
great people. After the name of its venerable founder, there is
perhaps none more closely identified with its growth and remarkable
prosperity than that of George Augustus Dreka.
Born in Sassafras, Kent County, Md., November 18, 1857, of
Augustus and Teresa Dreka, the future leader in De Land's pro-
gress, received his early education in the public schools, and after-
442 GEORGE AUGUSTUS DREKA
wards spent some years under the fostering care of those renowned
educators, the Christian Brothers, in Rock Hill College near Balti-
more. Soon after graduation, George Dreka came to Florida, and
the keen business intuition of the young man, then in his twenty-
first year, helped to raise the veil that hid De Land's future from
the many. He at once determined to make his home in the then
embryonic De Land, and in company with his brother-in-law,
James G. Kilkoff, commenced business in the store occupied by
Capt. J. B. Jordan. Young Dreka realized that he had his life
before him, and moreover he saw very clearly that it largely
depended on himself whether that life was going to be a success,
or to fade away, wrapt in the cloud of failure. He brought to the
surface all his latent German tact, perseverance and business ability,
and directed every effort toward making his undertaking a success,
and at the same time to accomplish his part as a loyal citizen, actu-
ated by the belief that every individual American can and should
participate in the making of our great Republic. By business
methods above reproach, by the strictest attention to work, by that
kindly disposition which led him to make himself all things to all
men, the indefatigable young Dreka built up in a few years one of
the finest places of business in Florida; in fact an establishment
th?.t would do credit to any of our largest cities' streets. With that
determination so characteristic of the German people, G. A. Dreka
set out to bring into the De Land market a stock of goods which
for variety and completeness could not be surpassed. Even as
far back as twenty years ago, Northern tourists were surprised to
find that they could find in Dreka's Department Store "every-
thing to wear, to eat, to use" with just as much facility, and at just
as reasonable prices, as they could satisfy their wants in the world-
famed marts of the Eastern cities. The best that New York could
supply was to be found on the Dreka counters, and in order to con-
vince the public that such was the case Mr. Dreka introduced inDe
Land the opening day method of advertising. From far and near
crowds thronged to the Dreka Department Store, and there had
proof given them that they might not go away from home to make
their purchases. Year by year the business grew . The once infan-