Shrimp Boat City

Written by Ed Long and Brendan Burke and published by the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, this book chronicles 100 years of the shrimping industry in St. Augustine. Not only does it tell the stories of the men who made their living catching shrimp, the book also documents the associated industries like boat building and marine supplies. The stories are fascinating and the photographs are amazing. There are discussions and diagrams showing how the technology behind net design changed over the years. You’ll learn how the familiar design of shrimp boats evolved too.

Shrimp Boat City [$24.95] can be purchased at the Lighthouse gift shop or online.

Legends and Tales

Legends and Tales 1

It’s the little stories – the personal stories – that bring history to life. Karen Harvey’s Legends and Tales is the first of two books that does it beautifully. This edition includes stories about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Mocassin Branch,  baseball and the Civil Rights Movement in St. Augustine from the people who were there when it happened.

Legends and Tales is available in paperback at Amazon for $17.99.

When History Gets Personal

Celia Garth coverAs a teenager, one of my favorite books was Gwen Bristow’s Celia Garth. It is the story of a young women living in Charleston, South Carolina, during the American Revolution. It has romance, adventure, history and, best of all, a character with common sense.

I didn’t know at the time that I had ancestors who lived in Charleston during the Revolution. My 5th great grandfather was John Lewis Gervais, a French Huguenot who came to Charleston in 1764 and quickly became involved in politics, serving in the Provincial Congress in 1775, as a member of the Continental Congress in 1782 and 1783, and in the State Senate beginning in 1784. After that discovery, I wanted to go back and take another look at Celia Garth but unfortunately it was out of print and my local library didn’t have a copy.

Just recently, however, all of Gwen Bristow’s books have been released as ebooks. Not only that, but at Amazon they are available as part of their Kindle Unlimited subscription service. Reading Celia Garth again was even more interesting. I found myself much more focused on the “background color” that added to the plot line. It made it easier to build a picture of Charleston at that point in time with my ancestors walking the same streets as Celia.

I’ve always been a fan of historical novels, but I wonder what might have happened if there had been a genealogist in the family who could have made books like Celia Garth a more personal experience for a youngster like me . . .

Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine

Just found this on Amazon and couldn’t resist. Mr. Flagler continues to influence and inspire this city in many ways.

Arguably no man did more to make over a city—or a state—than Henry Morrison Flagler. Almost single-handedly, he transformed the east coast of Florida from a remote frontier into the winter playground of America’s elite.

Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine tells the story of how one of the wealthiest men in America spared no expense in transforming the country’s “Oldest City” into the “Newport of the South.” He built railroads into remote areas where men feared to tread and erected palatial hotels on swampland. He funded hospitals and churches and improved streets and parks. The rich and famous flocked to his invented paradise.