Baker Block Museum Spring 2020 Newsletter

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Baker Block Museum Newsletter Experience. Discover. Connect. Spring 2020

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Director’s Notes and President’s Message, page 2 Explore Okaloosa, page 3 Newest book in the history series: Give Me the Grace to Shout and Shine, page 4 Sadie Lee and Elsie Garrett obituaries, page 6 Refugees in Holt in 1882, page 7 New accessions, page 7 North Okaloosa Heritage Association news, page 10 Calendar of events, page 13

CONTACT Phone: 850-537-5714 Mail: P.O. Box186 Baker, FL 32531 Email: Location: Corner of State Road 4 and Highway 189 in Baker

Family Heritage Wall of Honor nominations now being accepted


he North Okaloosa Heritage Association is accepting nominations for the Family Heritage Wall of Honor program. Established in 2012, the program is designed to honor area unsung heroes for their positive effect on their family and community, and their contribution to the history, formation and continued well-being of Okaloosa County. Since its inception, 41 names have been added to the honoree board hanging in the Museum’s research library. It’s easy to nominate someone. A nomination form and sample biography are included in this newsletter (see pages 8-9). Those wishing to nominate someone can also download a .pdf of the form and bio from the Museum’s website. Individuals may be nominated while still living or posthumously. Nominations are due to the Baker Block Museum no later than April 30. The induction ceremony is scheduled for May 16 at 11 a.m. under the pavilion.

Coronavirus Information

The Baker Block Museum will be closed until April 30. At that time, the Board of Directors will assess the situation and determine whether the closure will be extended.

2 Director’s Notes

President’s Message

We find ourselves living in unprecedented times. As a result, the Museum is closed until April 30, something we’ve never had to do in its 24-year history. We will reassess the unusual situation we find ourselves in and make a decision at that point on a way forward. Along these lines, it’s with deep regret that we decided to cancel the Baker Arts Festival scheduled for April 18. This was a new spring venture we hoped to grow into an annual event. We’ll revisit this again next year. We will continue to focus on our 3rd Saturday programs upon opening the Museum at a later date, so watch our calendar for those upcoming events. We sincerely hope everyone stays safe and abides by the recommendations of our local, state and national government to help put this

Although the museum is currently closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there is still work going on behind the scenes. At our February board meeting, we designated six goals for 2020. One of these goals is to increase our membership. To our current members: Thank you. Your membership in the North Okaloosa Historical Association supports the work and programs of the Baker Block Museum. For those who have not yet decided on whether to join, there are several membership categories available to fit your needs. Details can be found on page 11 of this newsletter. We’re excited to announce our newest book, Give Me the Grace to Shout and Shine, by Julia Cadenhead is available now for purchase through e-bay. We will be having an event to celebrate the release of this book at some time in the future. I hope everybody is staying safe and healthy during these unusual times. We look forward to seeing you back at the museum in the future.

Tracy Curenton

The Baker Block Museum is a 501-3(c) non-profit organization of the North Okaloosa Historical Association, Inc., and is managed by its Board of Directors. The Museum newsletter is published by the North Okaloosa Historical Society, Inc., and is an authorized publication for distribution to Museum members and visitors. Contents of the newsletter is copyrighted, all rights reserved. Items to be considered for the newsletter may be submitted to the Museum at P.O. Box 186, Baker, FL 32531 or emailed to Deadline for submission is March 15, June 15, Sept. 15 and Dec. 15 for consideration in the next quarterly issue. Articles received after the deadline will be considered for future use. All submissions will be edited for accuracy, clarity, brevity and conformance with newsletter guidelines.


Explore Okaloosa

Okaloosa County Museum Coalition Experience new discoveries at the nine different Okaloosa County museums, soak up a little history and get a great souvenir to boot!

Each of the nine museums are represented on a puzzle piece (above, Emerald Coast Science Center photo). Once assembled, they form the Explore Okaloosa logo on the reverse (left, Emerald Coast Science Center photo). The Baker Block Museum puzzle piece will be an upper middle piece and available to museum visitors upon request.

The Greater Okaloosa County Museum Coalition kicked off spring break with a treasure hunt as part of the Museum Trail program. Each of the nine museums in the coalition has its own unique puzzle piece that, when collected from each venue, creates the Explore Okaloosa logo on the reverse side. To obtain a Baker Block Museum puzzle piece, visit the museum and request one from the director or a volunteer. The new program is designed to raise awareness of the nine museums in Okaloosa County. Participants are encouraged to visit all the local museums to collect all nine pieces to complete the puzzle. Museums: • Air Force Armament Museum • Baker Block Museum • Carver Hill Museum • City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park and Cultural Center • Emerald Coast Science Center • Destin History and Fishing Museum • Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida • Doolittle History Museum • Robert L.F. Sikes Education Center

For more information about the Museum Trail or any of the nine museums, visit Explore Okaloosa at, on Facebook at #exploreokaloosa or on Instagram at


Newest book in Museum history series

Give Me Grace to Shout and Shine By Julia T. Cadenhead The newest book in the Museum history series, Give Me Grace to Shout and Shine: Gospel Convention Singing in the Florida Panhandle, focuses on the three most prominent gospel singing methods in the northwest Florida panhandle throughout the years: Sacred Harp, also known as fasola, five- or sevenshape note convention singing, and later, the gospel quartet. These methods shared the practice of dinner-onthe-ground, all-day, all-night and memorial sings and more.

Selected excerpts from Grace to Shout and Shine

From “The Culture,” page 6: The history of convention singing in the South is a mix of culture and religion. In terms of culture, it is entertainment, not doctrine. It is visceral, not cerebral. It was considered a socially redeeming alternative, not alcohol or dance hall. And, since there was not a police precinct in every community—much less a squad car—it was more secure to be with people you knew—a subtle policing action in many ways. And, where better to gather than at the church. [E.W. Carswell] credits the Primitive Baptist Church for the preservation of undiluted fasola singing in the westFlorida, south-Alabama area. The close-knit traditions of this religious group reinforced that. A Baptist might not believe in getting the Holy Ghost, but could still sing, “I’ll Meet You by the River” with the Pentecostal

A sign announcing scheduled singing on Friday nights is on display in the Baker Block Museum. sitting nearby. The backslider could sing alongside his nephew who believed in eternal security. They weren’t talking doctrine; they were enjoying the meter of the song, sound of harmony, and yes, the Christian implications of the words.

From “Shape-note Singing” Historically, in the Florida panhandle, Sacred Harp singing began in the 1800s. And by the turn of the 20th century, seven-

5 shape-note convention singing has begun to flourish. Next, out of that tradition, quartets began to thrive after World War II. The convention singing events were typically associated with dinner-on-theground as were the so-called all-day singing and memorial singing events. All venues used the shape-note method of teaching and singing the music. Some events were held by small groups in homes, but to accommodate the larger attendance, most were held in community churches. The seven-shape note singing conventions

used a variety of affordable paperback song book publications. These singing events were often referred to as Stamps-Baxter style (one of the more popular publishing companies). From “Sacred Harp Singing” The songs usually are sung first with syllables that correspond to the printed shapes (“fa-so-la-mi”). The group then repeats the tune with words. Singers frequently sit in a hollow square formation, grouped according to voice part (treble, alto, tenor and bass).

Jack Courtney, Pete Courtney, Albert Locke and Jeanette Courtney, known as The Courtney Family, as they appeared on their album, Precious Memories.


Sara “Sadie” (Enzor) Lee July 2, 1923 – Jan. 16, 2020

Longtime resident of Baker and Crestview and Family Heritage Wall of Honor honoree Sara Jutson (Enzor) Lee passed away peacefully in her sleep Jan. 12. She was five months away from her 97th birthday. Sadie, as she was known, was born in Ramer, Ala. She entered this world while her parents, Dr. Justus Orlando (Jut) and Sarah Booth “Sallie” Enzor, were headed to a picnic. Her father delivered her by the roadside. Sadie lived her entire life in Okaloosa

County, dividing her time between Baker and Crestview. She met her husband, Claude Al “Buck” Lee while attending Baker School. In the late 1950s, Sadie and Buck founded Buck Lee Auto Mart in Crestview where they sold Chryslers, Dodges, Plymouths and Massey Ferguson farm products, and later Winnebago and Travco travel trailers. “Don’t get stuck. Trade with Buck” was a familiar ad line throughout the area. Buck and Sadie enjoyed traveling, especially to Alaska. After Buck’s death, Sadie continued her trips to Alaska through tour groups. Sadie is survived by her daughter, Dr. Sarah Rushing, her son-in-law Mike Rushing and grandchildren.

Elsie Boyette Garrett June 15, 1930 – Jan. 19, 2020

Elsie Boyette Garrett was born in Andalusia, Ala., in 1930, moving to Baker with her parents when she was pre-school age. Upon graduation from Baker High School in 1947, she began working in the Supervisor of Public Instruction Office. In 1948, she changed jobs to work in the Climatic Hangar at Eglin Air Force Base, remaining there until 1953. She was elected as Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections in 1963. During the 1973 elections, she amassed the greatest number of votes ever received by a local or state candidate during recent general elections at the time. She continued to serve in that capacity for 24 years, retiring in 1989, as the longest-serving election supervisor in Okaloosa history. A lifetime resident of Crestview, Elsie was choir director, taught Sunday school and was vacation Bible school director at the First Baptist Church of Milligan. Elsie and her husband, J.T. Garrett, were inducted into the Family Heritage Wall of Honor in 2017. J.T., a local celebrity, is also known as Barney Fife. In 1991, Elsie entered J.T. in a Mayberry look-alike contest, which he won.


Refugees in Holt in 1882 In 1882, Pensacola was locked in the throes of one of its worst yellow fever epidemics. According to a New York Times article dated Sept. 2, 1882, the state of Alabama quarantined against people from Pensacola fleeing the plagued city by stopping all train traffic as well as mail and supplies from crossing the border into the state. Mobile suffered its own yellow fever epidemic between 1819 and 1858. The Azalea City didn’t want to take a chance on infection from fleeing From the Pensacola Commercial, Sept, 5, 1882 Pensacolians. At the time of the 1882 epidemic, Holt was near the end of the railroad line slowly making its way from the west to the east between 1881 and 1883. People fleeing the yellow fever epidemic in Pensacola couldn’t go west or north into Alabama because of the quarantine. They appeared to wind up in Holt because that was as far as the railroad may have gone at the time. Toward the end of the epidemic, the New York Times reported 783 cases of yellow fever in Pensacola, including 78 deaths, in a small news note on the front page of its Sept. 30, 1882, newspaper. It wasn’t until 1905 that physicians in Cuba determined yellow fever was caused by mosquitoes. Unfortunately, the 1882 yellow fever epidemic in Pensacola wasn’t the first nor the last for the city. And Holt played a small part in this footnote to history.

First quarter accessions The museum received two books for the research library. The first, donated by Holt Water Works Inc., is an official 1962 tax assessment record from Okaloosa County. It’s huge, weighing in around 50 pounds This volume is 22 inches long, 18 inches wide and 5 inches thick. It has a wealth of information about businesses and property owners for 1962. The second book is a family history of the Hudgins. Although titled, Hudgins: Virginia to Texas, it contains several Okaloosa County and south Alabama names such as Ward, Bell, Brooks and Barrows, to name a few. The book was donated from the Enzor family library. Both books are availabe for research in the Museum’s Research/Genealogy Library.


Family Heritage

Wall of Honor Nomination Form Eligibility: Individual(s) who lived or worked in Okaloosa County Living or nominated posthumously Signature endorsement of at least one family member and one friend/acquaintance Full Name of Nominee(s): _______________________________________________________________ Town/Location: _____________________________________________________________

Nominator Name: ___________________________________________________________________ Address: _________________________________________________________________ Phone: ___________________________________________________________________ Email: ____________________________________________________________________ Requirements: Brief one-page maximum biography or story highlighting the positive contribution to, or enhancements of, the community, family life or traditions in Okaloosa County. 5x7 photo of nominee, black and white or color Donation of $30 per individual or $50 for a couple (e.g., Mr. & Mrs.) Check or money order payable to “Baker Block Museum” Donations are used to recognize nominees and to fund the program. Nominator or inductee to attend induction ceremony Submit in person or via email no later than April 30 at 3 p.m. Email: Mail: Baker Block Museum Family Heritage Wall of Honor P.O. Box 186 Baker, FL 32531


Family Heritage Wall of Honor Sample Biography

Full Name of Nominee(s): Mayme Tyner, 3/15/1906 - 11/05/ 2002, Laurel Hill, Florida Mayme Tyner was one of four children born to Mack and Effie Campbell Tyner, Laurel Hill, Florida. She was a life-long resident of Okaloosa County, living on the land of her forefather, Daniel Campbell. After passing the Florida Education written exam, Mayme began teaching school at age 14. Later she returned to school herself, finishing high school and college at Florida State University (then Florida State College for Women), finally receiving a master’s degree in education. Recalling her early childhood, Mayme talked about attending the annual four-month school which usually began the first Monday following the 4th of July. Prior to 1900, the school in the Laurel Hill area was a tworoom shack with an enrollment of 70 students and two teachers. The teacher usually lived with local families who had a spare room. Of her years teaching in the Okaloosa County school system she said, “It has been the rewarding experience of my life to attend the class reunions of my former students and to have them tell me of the effect I have had on their lives.” She added that all she ever wanted to do was to help build a better community. Mayme was also a rancher and was a registered real estate broker for some 20 years. The epitaph on her grave stone reads as follows: “I wait for green mornings to come again, my heart warm with friends I have made, students I have taught, and a daughter I have loved.”

____________________________________ __________________________________ _________________ Written by mailing address phone (

) I plan to be present at the induction ceremony; email ___________________________________________


North Okaloosa Historical Association 2020 Goals 2020 goals as voted on by the board of directors at the February annual membership meeting are: • Increase membership by 30% • Apply for an Impact 100 grant • Complete historical marker application for the museum building • Redesign Baker Block Museum website • Complete Museum asset inventory • Accrue $5,000 in sponsorships

New Board Member Welcome to new board member Allison Broxson. She was unanimously voted to the board at the February annual meeting.

Why become a member of the North Okaloosa Historical Association? Besides supporting the preservation of the history of Okaloosa County, membership in the NOHA has its benefits: » » » » »

Membership card Quarterly newsletter 10% discount off books and calendars published by the NOHA Email notification of special events Invitation to the annual meeting in January

Lifetime members receive all of the above, PLUS: » 20% discount off books and calendars published by the NOHA » Recognition in the annual report » 10% off nomination for any Family Heritage Wall of Honor submission


North Okaloosa Historical Association Membership Form

Membership in the North Okaloosa Historical Association is open to anyone interested in preserving and documenting the history of Okaloosa County and its pioneering families. NOHA serves as the governing body for the Baker Block Museum. Member benefits include the quarterly newsletter, e-mail notification of special events, discounts in the Baker Mercantile store and an invitation to the annual meeting in January. Name: _____________________________________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________________ City: __________________________ State and Zip Code: __________________________ Phone: ________________________ Email: _____________________________________

Type of membership (check one) q Individual $25 per year



$50 per year



$15 per year




____ I would like to volunteer at the Baker Block Museum ____ I have items I would like to donate to the Baker Block Museum ____ I have photographs that I will allow to be scanned for the Museum’s collection

Return this form with your contribution made payable to: North Okaloosa Historical Association Membership P.O. Box 186 Baker, FL 32531

The North Okaloosa Historical Association is a 501(c)(3) organization. Membership and any donations are tax deductible.


Create a Legacy Make a legacy gift to the Baker Block Museum How would you like to be remembered?

Legacy gifts are one of the most significant demonstrations of commitment to the community an individual can make. A legacy gift, deferred gift, or planned gift is one you decide upon now and that provides for your favorite nonprofit program later. You can leave a wonderful legacy to the Baker Block Museum by including the North Okaloosa Historical Association, Inc., in your estate planning. There are many tax advantages when you make a planned gift. We encourage you to consult with your attorney or financial planner for your specific circumstance. Bequests While there are a number of ways to build a legacy contribution, a charitable bequest is one of the easiest and most popular ways to leave a lasting impact on the Museum. You may designate our organization as the beneficiary of your assets by will, trust, or other instrument. Simply specify an amount, a percentage of your estate, or what remains of your estate to the North Okaloosa Historical Association, Inc., after you have provided for your children or other beneficiaries.

For more information on legacy gifts, contact the Baker Block Museum at 850-537-5714. The North Okaloosa Historical Association, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible.


Calendar of Events April






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12 Easter

10 Mother’s Day

16 North Okaloosa Historical Association board meeting, 6 p.m.

16 3rd Saturday: • * Wall of Honor ceremony, 11 a.m. • * Museum open from 10 a.m-3:30 p.m.

18 3rd Satuday – CANCELLED 25 Laurel Hill Arts & Heritage Festival, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

21 North Okaloosa Historical Association Board meeting, 6 p.m.

18 North Okaloosa Historical Association Board meeting, 6 p.m. 20 3rd Saturday: • * Museum open from 10 a.m-3:30 p.m. 21 Father’s Day

* May and June’s 3rd Saturday events will depend on decisions made regarding COVID-19.

Thank You!

The North Okaloosa Historical Association would like to thank the following sponsors for their support to the Baker Block Museum.


Enzor Management

The Restroom Okaloosa County Charities–Bingo

A special thank you goes to Melba Kathryn Korin of Severna Park, Maryland, for her generous donation