John Clegg Interview – 2Oral History

Kent: Today is June 21, 2001. This is Judith Kent, speaking from the Flagler County Public Library. Joining me today is local historian, John A. Clegg, who has agreed to comment on various aspects of county history.

John Clegg
Audio Clip 6

First of all, thank you Mr. Clegg for talking with me this morning. We had talked a little the other day about land development companies in Flagler County. We know about the current ones, but would you like to talk a little bit about some of the earlier ones?

Clegg: Well, it’s interesting. There is such a close similarity between what they did back in the early nineteen hundreds to what they’re doing today (or to what ITT did). ITT came in and bought up the land and built residences and built facilities and built a hotel and flew the people in and entertained them and kept them up at the hotel and sold them lots and took them back… sent them back home. The landholding companies… the land development companies back in the early days out at the West Side of the county they brought them in by boat, put them up in a hotel, sold them a forty-acre farm instead of a single lot. And Haw Creek and Bunnell they brought them in by train and put them up in hotels. And Bunnell was… and they sold them lots and some farms. The farming… the land wasn’t good for farming so they… all the farms dried up. And, of course the Haw Creek land was good farming land. They built hotels, put them up, sold them forty-acre farms, sent them on their way. Quite similar to what they’re…[doing now.]

Managers Residence
Managers Residence

Kent: Is that how your grandparents happened to get to this area?

Clegg: My father, yes. Ah, my father came here in the teens.[1910’s] He came… he saw the advertisements in the newspaper (just as ITT did, they advertised). Of course they used TV which naturally they [ITT] didn’t have back in 1912- 13. But he saw the adds about how good the climate was and what a wonderful thing it would be to be in Florida during the winter. So as a young man he started coming down and working on farms. ‘Didn’t have any money to buy farms. He came down and worked on a farm and eventually was able to buy one. And we’ve been here ever since.

My mother’s people were from Georgia. A lot of early people who settled Florida were from Georgia. Her family was… came over from Germany right after the Civil War. Her uncle, or her husband’s uncle…my grandmother’s husband’s uncle started a grove, an orange grove over in Seville. It must have been… I believe it shows up in the 1870 census as owning over forty acres. That’s the earliest record we can find of it. I don’t know how they developed– Well they had to develop Seville by water because there was no railroad.

Kent: They would come down the St. Johns and then take a tributary in to-

Clegg: Well, there is a big lake there, Lake George, a huge lake. They would settle up on the high ground. It was swampy all around the lake edge. They would go up to the high ground, plant orange groves.

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Kent: You don’t see much of that today, do you? In this area-

Clegg: Orange groves? No, every time we have abig freeze, which is about every twenty years, they move further south. But as you can tell by the names on the St. Johns River: Orange Park and Tupelo and Seville and Tangerine. All those names along the St. Johns River were where the people… Satsuma is where the orange groves…

And St. Augustine- the history of St. Augustine shows that was their main industry to begin with when they first settled.

Kent: These [oranges] would be shipped north?

Clegg: Yes, well… yes, if they were on the St. Johns River. Except St. Augustine would ship by sea. Cuba was the leading nation in this area at that time and the governor of all these Spanish colonies, his headquarters was in Cuba. So, everything went through Havana.

And the Princess Place was started as orange groves. That was all an orange grove area. And over on the West Side of the county on the lake, it was started by people who came across the lake from Crescent City. They set up orange groves, started orange groves. Eventually they would move somebody in to have help there all the time. Finally got communities started.

Princess Place

Kent: These were mostly family ventures?

Clegg: Yes.

Kent: None of the big agribusiness that we know today.

Clegg: No. There was no Doyle[agribusiness] or…. those people today they just go down to Costa Rica and you see these huge plants, groves, orchards. Banana orchards where the Doyle and the other… or Dole and the other food companies are growing foods and packaging and processing them.

Haw CreekWe had a big freeze here in ’95 [1895] and that about ended citrus around the Princess Place. All over the county in the twenties there were orange groves. We had small orange groves in Haw Creek. And of course, St.Johns Park first had orange groves before people started settling. They just froze out. People would protect a few for their own home use. But Seville and Crescent City were big citrus towns. And Seville just about dried up. They started moving citrus further south.

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Kent: What about the timber industry? That was very big here in the early days.

Clegg: Yes. Flagler County was particularly involved in the timber when they built the railroad south. Of course the railroad already owned… they had a spur going out to Haw Creek. Well originally it was built to go to Haw Creek because of a rich potato potato farmer from Hastings [Utley J. White] who developed potato farmland and sold them [potatoes]. He built the railroad out through Haw Creek, then eventually built it on as far as the Tomoka River in Ormond. After that it was sold to Henry M. Flagler and he developed the railroad. Early railroads had… they were hard to use for food transportation because some of them were narrow gauge and some of them were… whoever built the railroad had his own gauge. Henry M. Flagler made it all standard. He bought a bunch of railroads; they were small railroads going down… up and down the river… the St. Johns River. Then he built… then they built one across… I guess Henry M. Flagler built one across the river to St. Augustine to get his materials in and bring his people in to the hotels. And then he bought all those railroads and put them together and made the Florida East Coast [Rail Road] out of them.

The timber, where we started, as he built the railroad on to Key West they had all those bridges. They were built out of timbers and much of that timber came from Flagler County. So it was years that they were cutting timber and shipping it down to the railroads. They already had the railroad out to Haw Creek so that made it easy to cut timber out there.

Then the turpentine industry, just before nineteen hundred… the turpentine industry was important. I guess it lost its favor when petroleum was developed. It made better paints and so forth- cheaper to produce. Then after the turpentine, the timber for saw mills and then when I was coming up pulpwood for paper mills was the big thing and it still is.

Kent: Paper?

Clegg: Yes.

Kent: And that is still a viable industry in the county.

Clegg: Yes. It doesn’t affect the economy like it did when I was associated with Lewis Wadsworth for ten or twelve years- maybe longer. He had a large tract of timber that he had inherited. And he had a relationship with ITT and Rayonier.Rayonier was owned by ITT for a while.

It was all labor, hand labor. They cut all the timber by labor and loaded it all on truck by labor. You would see these massive young black men and they died out soon because they couldn’t do that work forever. So, by the time they were thirty they were used up. It [ timber ] was shipped by rail mostly. Some of it was shipped to Flagler beach by boat but most of it was shipped by rail. They loaded it off the trucks into boxcars. So all of that, it was all hand labor.And there were a lot of… pulpwood workers were rough.

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Turpentine workers, there were a lot them in the county. Flagler County was largely black back in the teen and thirties… twenties and thirties because all the farm labor was done by hand. Now they go out in the woods with a machine that cuts down the timber and got a machine that saws it up and another machine that picks it up and loads it on the truck. It doesn’t use much labor.

Kent: In the turpentine industry didn’t I read something about them
[ workers ] having temporary camps?

Clegg: Yes, it was almost like slavery. You just about owned the people- the blacks that worked for you. If you weregood to them they worked good. You had a commissary. They fed them out of the commissary. They had their own commissary money. They would pay then with commissary money. I don’t know what they would do if they wanted to get on a train to go to Bunnell. But they had the commissaries had everything that most of the people… A lot of the whites lived out of the commissary.

Kent: What would be staples there that they would have?


Clegg: Everything was… well, of course there was no refrigeration. So they would have slabs of bacon- huge slabs. You would just cut off how many pounds you needed. They had scales there on the counter. The commissary would have a counter all around the store and shelves of canned goods would be in back of the counter. A lot of stuff was sold by bulk, like they would buy a barrel of flour and a barrel of sugar and a barrel of apples, rice- staple goods. One of the commissaries of one of the oldest families in the county… they had a smokehouse. So, they could smoke meat and sell it most of the year round.

Kent: What did the people do for protein? We are so used to having-

Clegg: They didn’t know there was such a word.

Kent: Did they have chickens, eggs?

Clegg: Oh yeah, everybody had- every farm had its own. Most of them had a cow. Even the blacks at that time had… we called them shanties that they lived in. And they had chickens running around.

Kent: Little gardens or anything?

Clegg: I don’t… we had a garden. That’s the only garden I can remember. My mother… most of what we ate came from the garden.

Audio Clip 10

And I can remember visiting with my grandmother. Her folks had been in Seville since… as I say at least since 1870. They had a house on the lake and a forty acre orange grove which was surrounded by woods and had plenty of fish to eat, plenty of squirrel and turkey. There was no hunting regulations, no shortage of wild life. They had a garden.

Kent: Collards and-

Clegg: Oh yeah.

Kent: Cabbage?

Clegg: And she had on her orange grove every fruit you can think of. I say my grandmother because my grandfather died during the flu epidemic of World War I. She ran the grove after that until… she lived to be about ninety-two. Practically everything could be done on the farm. They made their own soap. They had no electricity so…they had bees; everybody had beehives to make their honey- sugar.

Kent: Do you remember ever having a fancy meal there? I don’t mean fancy, but-

Clegg: Oh yeah, ’cause she ate good all the time.

Kent: What would have been a good meal?

Clegg: Well, my grandmother’s family was big eaters. I remember we would be having breakfast at one of their homes. My father was English, so, it was different at my house than it was at my mother’s peoples. I can remember going to breakfast where you would have steak, you’d have eggs, pork chops, fish and biscuit and just a feast for breakfast. The first time I sat down to one of those breakfasts I just couldn’t believe it because we usually had one meat for an entrée and that was it. Usually had plenty of vegetables. My mother had a garden. My grandmother had gardens, as I say she had every kind of fruit that was grown in Florida. She even had peaches, pears, persimmons, kumquats.

Kent: I guess she put them up, canned them.

Clegg: Yeah, she had in her back yard (I’ve never seen it anywhere else, though I’ve heard of it) she had a cellar in an area where the sun couldn’t hit it, right up on the corner of the house. It would be a real cool area. And they went down and dug this cellar in the ground. Lined it with block or brick or something and put… had a roof over it and shelves all the way around it and as they would can they would put everything in there.

Kent: Like a root cellar.

Clegg: Yeah, I guess you would call it like that. And then they had these great open wells. I hate to think that I drank out of them but I did. [laughing] And I lived. Snakes or rats or anything could get into them. And anyway, they made their own butter- their own whipped cream. We would put the milk and the butter down- drop it down into the well to keep it cool because there was no refrigeration. They didn’t have electricity.

We had at our home, before we had electricity, we had gas: a gas refrigerator and gas stove, gas hot water heater and two four cycle combustion engines for pumping water and so forth.

As you probably know I owned the[Flagler Tribune] newspaper for awhile. One editorial that I enjoyed writing most was telling about just what I told you about visiting my grandmother’s. Everything was done by hand and everything was done on the… well they didn’t call it the farm they called it the grove. She had all kinds of turkeys and chickens, ducks (because they had the lake) …fish, you name it.

Kent: Who lived there on the grove beside your grandmother?

Clegg: To begin with, she had a big house. She took in boarders who would come down. A lot of people (there weren’t any hotels) so a lot of the people would take in boarders for the winter. They would come there to eat and hunt and fish and so forth. So she took in boarders, and she had a lawyer came from New York and he married her daughter (which wasn’t good). He was about twenty years older than she was… never had a good marriage. But he just stayed there, never went back to being a lawyer. He just stayed there and worked on the grove for her. And she had a son who came along that… he had his orange grove and he would help look after hers. But that was her only help, her son and son-in-law.

Kent: No other workers that she hired?

Clegg: Well, pickers. Orange pickers would come in by crew. They would pick one grove and then go on to the next grove.

Kent: Were they local people?

Clegg: Ah, I guess so.

Audio Clip 11

The orange packing house… each community (depending upon its size) had one or more orange packinghouses where they would bring the fruit and pack it and color it and then ship it out by rail. And those people… I can remember I had the… my grandmother’s son ( who was of course my uncle) I remember that he went with a girl who worked at… packed fruit in the winter. I guess she didn’t work during the rest of the year. And then he married her. Her father owned orange groves. But as far as I can remember it was all local labor. Now the farms, every farm in Flagler County, for instance, what they called… had little unfinished buildings. They called them shanties. And every farm had… depending on the size of the farm, had three or four, ten or twelve of those with- the blacks would live in them rear round. And that was your farm labor.

Kent: How much would they earn, do you suppose?

Clegg: I can remember during the depression if you got seventy-five cents a day you were lucky. There was no minimum wage; there was no regulations, no insurance, no social security. If you had some good black employees, and I can remember some of them that my… I can still remember the names of some of them that my Dad had. You took good care of them. When you traded your car in, you let them buy the old car.

Kent: How about the early schools?

Clegg: My mother was a schoolteacher. She was born in Georgia and went to school… high school in Georgia and then came down. Her family came down… they were already here, but she stayed back with the other part of the family in Georgia to go to school because schools were hard to come by in Florida at that time. And I guess about 1912- 13 somewhere along there she came… she moved to her family at Seville. And she went to Stetson for one year to get her teacher certificate. And then she taught in one teacher schools, some a little bigger, but most of them were one-teacher schools in Volusia County. She taught… I found some history books in Volusia where it would list her as a teacher. And I think she taught… well she taught in Barberville which is (I don’t know if you have been over there or not) but they have a pioneer village there with all kinds of…they have collected all kinds of old saw mills, old turpentine mills and old post office and old school buildings. And I think the school building there came from… was moved there and I think that was one my Mother taught in. And she taught in Haw Creek, which was in Volusia County at that time. That’s where she met my father. She lived in a rooming house. Of course, everywhere she went she went by rail. She taught in Volusia County on the way to Daytona where 95 crosses US I. That was called National Gardens and she taught there.

Kent: So the teachers were single women.

Clegg: Oh yeah. You couldn’t teach if you were married. She didn’t teach after she got married. She taught over at Hammond, which was just north of Seville.

Kent: Were the schools primarily for the white children?

Clegg: They were all white.

Kent: When… when did there start to be any kind of effort for black children?

Clegg: Ah well, when I was Superintendent which would have been about 1946 to 52 (somewhere along there)… when I first came in as Superintendent I think I had ten black schools scattered out in the farming community. Each of them had… one school in Bunnell had four or five teachers, black teachers. All of the south, as you know was separated at that time. And, first thing I did was… well I remember going out and visiting schools one of them [tape reverses, audio lost]

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….or you could go by train, the train went through Roy. And she was a college graduate, that teacher. And I had one at Strickland side campthat was an eighth grade graduate and she couldn’t fill out attendance records. The first thing I did was consolidate all the schools into Bunnell, all except the one in Roy, there was no way. Consolidated them in Bunnell and started getting qualified teachers. Eventually was able to get… before I came they contracted with each individual differently.If you would take the school for $50, fine. This one over here may make $60 and this one may make $100, not according to what their degree was, but what they were willing to take. And so I started a unified salary schedule and put them on teacher’s retirement. And I had a principal in Bunnell who was a college graduate. As we added teachers on we started putting college graduates in the Bunnell school. Only thing was, their college graduates came from little schools like Edwin… I heard the name the other day, Edward Rollins, I believe. Edward something.[Edward Waters College] Anyway, it was in St. Augustine and you could buy your… I had teachers who never went to school and they got credits. You could just buy your degree there.

Kent: You can still do that.

Clegg: Probably. But a college degree from Edward Waters (that was the name) was… Bethune Cookman was just getting started as a quality school for Blacks. You didn’t have any teachers coming from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College which was black. We didn’t have any of those teachers. They would have been good teachers. They would have been trained teachers. I don’t know if they would have been good or not. Some of these who weren’t well trained were good teachers. We had some good black teachers. Of course, I keep thinking when I see what goes on in the schools today, the moral climate… teachers were expected to set an example. If you had a teacher that frequented the bars, she didn’t come back next year. There wasn’t… usually you didn’t take married teachers… I mean married women. The men could be married if they could afford to live on a teacher’s salary. Their wives usually did something else. We started taking husbands and wives when I was superintendent. But, all of your teachers were expected to go to church and be models in the community.

As I look at what goes on today it is no wonder that religion has been pushed out of the schools completely. Which is I guess the way it should be. But the moral climate certainly isn’t in the schools, anymore. That little girl that… remember that little girl last year, the senior that wrote the editorial in the school paper that…? Anyway, she wrote an editorial in the school paper that… and her teacher, the advisor to the paper approved the editorial. She was talking about the moral climate of the teachers and the examples they were setting and so forth. When the principal found out about it he called her in and told her to retract all the papers. By that time everyone had read it, the public knew. Well it was published in the News Journal[Daytona Beach, Florida newspaper]… wrote an editorial on it. I talked to some of the students and teachers and they said, “Well you just don’t know what goes on in this school today.”

Audio Clip 13

Kent: Tell me about desegregation, the racial integration in the schools.

Clegg: It was by court order. I think Flagler is still under court order. They have to report to a federal judge every so often about what is being done for integration. I had an integrated school bus, but you didn’t dare have an integrated school. But when integration… court ordered integration and it came here we never had any trouble even though we were…by that time we were about 40% black and 60% white. They consolidated without… never had any racial… any real racial troubles. There would be some individual troubles, of course. Individual troubles between whites and individual troubles between blacks, but never had racial problems.

Kent: How do you think that came about? Good leadership, or…

Clegg: I think the pattern had been set by good relationship in the communities. I don’t think the people who ran commissaries and the farms…[whites] they depended on that[Black] labor. The labor was there to help them or they couldn’t produce. I think they were good to their… by the standards of that time they were good to their employees. By the way, the commissaries even sold marriage certificates for a quarter. You could go there and the commissary man would marry you. Of course most blacks at that time didn’t bother about marriage. They didn’t know they were supposed to. That was what whites did. And whites thought they were supposed to get married and stay married. We just had an easy time of integration. My daughter came along… my daughter was in high school about that time. And in fact, they had a fire at the high school in Bunnell when she was… I guess about a junior in high school. And they had to send them into black town to an abandoned school that I had built when I was superintendent for blacks. They had to send them down there to go to school. So she went to school down in black town and as far as I knew there were never any racial problems. It wasn’t the best-built school in the world, but we put it up as cheap as we could. We didn’t have a lot of money. We had times in Florida after… during the Depression. People had to loan the School Board enough money to pay the teachers, to get them through the end of the year.

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Because we didn’t have any tax money coming in… everybody let their land go back to the state. That’s how we got all these big landowners in Flagler County. In 1932 the legislature passed what would be called the Murphy Act. They realized that all the land had gone back to the state for taxes and there wasn’t any money coming in. I mean, people didn’t pay their taxes so they lost it. There wasn’t any money coming in to operate the towns, cities, school boards and so forth. And so the Murphy Act gave people the right to go in and put together clusters of acreage at fifty cents an acre. Tthis was in 1932 it was passed so there were six or eight farmers (some of them were farmers) that put together ten- fifteen thousand acres in an area. And they would work it out together, “You take this section and I’ll take this one.” I can remember my Father saying there was a lot of land. He owned a farm out in Haw Creek. I can remember him saying, “I don’t want to be land poor”. Those people were having to borrow money to pay fifty cents an acre.

Kent: Were they planning to raise cattle, timber, or what?

Clegg: Yes, turpentine, timber and cattle, all three. The Tuckers (I don’t know how many of these names you recognize)… the Tuckers, the Allens, the Wadsworths, Deens, Stricklands, and there were a few big paper companies… a few big land owners who later sold to paper companies. On the West Side of the county the people from Palatka came in and bought up the land. This did include farms. The farmers had made money during the Depression because potato prices were good. My Father did real well during the Depression. I can remember that people who did day labor if they got seventy-five cents an hour they were lucky. I mean seventy-five cents a day.

Kent: I did read Gilbert Tucker’s book[ Before the Timber Was Cut ]

Clegg: He did such a good job on that book. And it was all factual. I went to college with him. He lived in the same boarding house.

Kent: Did you?

Clegg: He is a very fine person. He is still living. He is in bad health. He is about two years older than I am, so he would be about- around 85.

Kent: Raymon was…

Clegg: His older brother. They were both in college. Both of them finished the College of Agriculture. They were both leaders over at the University. [University of Florida] Both of them were leaders in agriculture after they got out on their own. Gilbert had all kinds of recognition over the state as a leader in cattle associations. And Raymon had… Raymon was very influential. He knew a lot of the legislators. He had gone to school with the man who became the Commissioner of Agriculture. He had roomed with him in college. And of course through Raymon I got to know the Commissioner who later became Commissioner. Raymon was the real key… the real pusher who got the Agriculture Museum assigned to Flagler County through his influence with people in the Legislature… Doyle Conner and Congressman Bill Chapel who is a very conservative Democrat. His wife was on the state commission to select the site. She sided with Ray. She was friends with Raymon and she sided with Flagler County. Doyle Conner did [also]. He was Commissioner of Agriculture. So Raymond’s influence really got the museum here for us. He was very well known throughout the state. He had thoroughbred racehorses, what they called quarter horse racing. He had one that won recognition called, “Go Dick Go”. When he retired the horse he built a brick stable for him. He had a horse ranch out in Haw Creek.

Kent: The description of their childhood years sounded pretty harsh.

Clegg: Oh yeah. Well, they were brought up the hard way. There was seven of those boys. One of them, I guess, still lives out in the Haw Creek area. Raymon married a Mormon. And Mormons believe in a lot of children. He had five daughters and adopted a niece or something that made six. They each had about six or eight grandchildren. I asked Raymon’s wife one day (not too long ago) how many grandchildren…? They all came home for some event [recently]. Most of them went out to Utah to get married and went to school out there. Then they married Mormons and some of them came back and some of them stayed out there. Anyway, I asked Blanch how many grandchildren she had. I believe it was forty some. She knew them all by name and bought Christmas presents for all of them and so forth.

Audio Clip 15

His book Before the Timber Was Cut ] was very well written. And while they lived a hard life… Mrs.Tucker always believed that her husband had been killed in the woods. The boys said that his horse had tripped… stepped in a gopher hole or something and tripped and threw him off and killed him. She never believed them. She believed that somebody killed him. She kept trying to get the Sheriff’s Department to investigate. The boys didn’t think so. And those men were all good moral… good husbands. Very little divorce in that family. Most of the boys were active in church. Raymon was a bishop in the Mormon Church.

Kent: Was he.

Clegg: But, they were raised tough. One of them was my age. Gilbert was a couple of years older. One of them was my age. I would visit in their home. It was tougher than my home. [ laughter ]

Kent: You had a number of siblings also.

Clegg: Yes, we had five in our family: two boys and three girls. They [Tucker children] had to be able to ride a horse and shoot when they were two or three years old.

Kent: Oh, my goodness!

Clegg: But Raymon… I remember when they moved to Haw Creek and what Gilbert Tucker wrote in his book was exactly what I remembered. They took Raymon and Gilbert out of school for one year. I guess they were about ready to be junior and senior year in high school. And they took them out and herded… brought most of the cattle… They left one son… (the oldest son stayed down in Port Christmas) and took care of what cattle they left there. The other two boys and their Dad drove those cattle… it took about a year to drive them from Fort Christmas to Flagler County. And, they fought for what was theirs. They didn’t take anything from anybody else, but they didn’t let anybody take anything from them!

Raymon was on the School Board when they integrated and he resisted as long as he could. But when the court ordered, that was it.

Kent: You have some interesting people in the county that made it what it is today.

Clegg: Yup. Some of the other subjects that we were-

Kent: You touched on the fact that there was fishing and hunting.

Clegg: That was just personal!

Audio Clip 16

Of course, the Duponts… the Duponts which is the oldest family permanent family in Flagler County. As you know, they came here in seventeen hundred eighty something, I think..about 1790. And they got a land grant which their family claimed included everything from Flagler County all the way over and including Tampa in their land grant. [laughter] And they had… he had a map room… one of the Duponts had a map room in his house and in which he had (what did they call them, not land grants) where the Spanish king would give them, well a land grant. I guess that was what it was. But they had the original land grants stated that they had to live on them for twenty-five years. And they had to…If they left them during that twenty-five years or if they did not build a house the land would revert back to the Spanish. And so, the first Seminole Wars came along about 1820, somewhere along there, and the Duponts were driven out by the Indians. And they went to South Carolina and stayed until the Seminole Indian Wars were over. Then they came back and they had to get new grants because they lost everything. They got new grants and they were much more limited. The Duponts… I think some of them still live on that land where he got his original grant.

Kent: Is that right?

Clegg: Anyway, some of them still live in Flagler County under the name Dupont. That is the oldest family. There were some other…some of the other families who came in lived along the Kings Road: Eatmens and Stuckys. Some of those people are still here, some of those families.

I forget the year that the Old King’s Road was built, but Florida was… Florida did not join the American Revolution. They stayed loyal to England and were still… it was some time in the eighteen hundreds (1830, somewhere along there) before Florida ever left Spain and was taken over by the United States government.

Kent: Well, I think you have given us a lot to think about and appreciate…

Clegg: We have touched on subjects, not in depth. Maybe that is as far as you want to go in depth.

Kent: I think that is enough for today. Thank you.

Clegg: Thank you!

Biographical Information

Interviewee: John A. Clegg

John A. Clegg is a prominent citizen of Flagler County. His grandparents arrived in the area in 1900 and John was born in their home in 1918. His early years were spent in Haw Creek, which he still thinks of as “home”. He graduated from the University of Florida with undergraduate and master’s degrees in Education with majors in history and social studies and a minor in English. He served with honor in the United States Army during World War II. Following the war, he found work as a high school English and history teacher in Fort Meade, Florida. When only twenty-six he was asked to serve as superintendent of Schools for Flagler County. After completing a successful four-year term, he left that position for a career in business to better provide for his family. He was active in local retail commerce, banking and owned and edited the Flagler Tribune. He also served two terms as County Commissioner. He has maintained an active interest in the history of the region, and is the author of two books, The History of Flagler County and My First Seventy-Five Years. He is now retired and living at his home in Bunnell where he remains active in church and civic organizations. In spite of recent health problems he continues to enjoy travel and his many friends in the community.

Credibility of interviewee:

Mr. Clegg’s memories and opinions are his own and can not be fully validated by the volunteer team that has recorded them. Mr. Clegg candidly describes undergoing a stroke, serious auto crash, and depression within the last several years. All of these conditions have been successfully treated and do not seem to impair his intellect, memory or judgment. The events, dates and persons that he describes seem consistent with other historical accounts. We therefore believe him to be a highly credible source.

Interviewer: Judith J. Kent

Ms. Kent is a member of the Friends of the Library of Flagler County who has volunteered to participate in the Historical Project as an interviewer. A resident of the county since 1995, she is a retired nurse educator. She gained her interviewing skills in her undergraduate nursing studies at FSU and master’s program at Teacher’s College, Columbia University where she majored in Counseling. Throughout her thirty years of professional nursing and teaching, these skills were practiced in both inpatient and community settings of the baccalaureate-nursing program of the University of Miami.

Photographer: William Ryan

William Ryan’s concern for preserving Flagler County historical documents and photos was the impetus for the Library’s History Project. Mr. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Buffalo. He has had a varied career in journalism and photography. He was a reporter for The Buffalo Evening News, editor of technical publications and magazines for Ansco Photographic, then CEO of several professional/technical companies in the professional photography area. Prior to retiring to Palm Coast he was the owner and CEO of a company specializing in digital photographic recording. He was a national program lecturer and teacher for The Professional Photographers of America, holding a “Craftsman Degree” in that organization. He did research in the beginning days of the Internet, and followed its progress to the present time. His expertise in photography and related technology are apparent in the website that he created for Flagler County.He is an active and valued member of the Friends of the Library.

Also participating in Interview 1: Flagler County Public Library Director, Doug Cisney.

Schedule of interviews:

  1. June 13, 2001 Conducted at Holden House in Bunnell, FL
  2. June 21, 2001 Conducted at the Flagler County Public Library at Palm Coast, FL

Clegg Bibliography

Blount, Robert S. Spirits of Turpentine: A History of Florida Naval Stores 1528 to 1950. Florida Journal Monograph, Number Three. Florida Agricultural Museum. Tallahassee, Florida. 1993.

Clegg, John A. A History of Flagler County. John A. Clegg. Bunnell, Florida, 1976.

Clegg, John A. My First Seventy-five Years. John A. Clegg. Bunnell, Florida, 1993.

Dupont Land Co. Haw Creek: Florida’s Call to the Farmer. Dupont Land Co. Dupont, Florida.1920(?).

Holland, Mary Ketus Deen, Ed. Unto This Land: A History of the St. Johns Park Area of Flagler County. St. Johns Park Pioneers. Bunnell, Florida,1987.

Otterbein, Naomi and Helbing, Donna, Flagler County School Board. Flagler, the Everything County. North East Florida Educational Consortium, 1980.

Tucker, Gilbert A. Before the Timber Was Cut. Gilbert A. Tucker, Bunnell, Florida, 1999.

Author: FCHS