Elkton, St. Johns County Florida Florida East Coast Railway
Sea Island Cotton on East Coast (Florida East Coast Homeseeker 1908) J. A. Rowand, of Elkton, Fla., was in the city yesterday, and says that his experiment of growing sea island cotton as a second crop after potatoes this year has been a decided success. He raised one and one-half acres and so far this season has taken 500 pounds of lint cotton and seed, and expects to pick about as much more. With cotton at 36 cents per pound this will yield about $150 per acre, [2010 dollars $3,750.00] and with the cost of cultivating about $15 [$375.00 2010 dollars], makes of itself a good paying crop. As this was Mr. Rowand's first experience there are many things he has had to learn and believes he will do still better next year.
Some of his cotton stalks are eight and ten feet high, and as he planted the same distance as he has been accustomed to plant potatoes the stalks interlaced, and the result was not as much cotton as if they had been placed wider apart.
E. E. Bass, of Milledgeville, Ga., who recently purchased the 610 acres of land from B. Genovar, recognized from Mr. Rowand's experiment the value of this crop, and will send a number of Georgia farmers here who have grown cotton all their lives, and it is believed that next year will witness a very increased acreage in Irish potatoes and sea island cotton, and while hay and corn have been good second crops, it is believed that sea island cotton is a greater money maker, and besides it gives work to the women and children and it is thought the labor conditions here for that purpose are ample and better than on the West Coast where they have been hampered for lack of labor. Mr. Bass has already sold 40 acres of his land to Mr. Ellison of Milledgeville, Ga., and he is now actively at work getting others, so a large contingent of successful Georgia farmers are expected in this section in the near future. -- St. Augustine Record, December 4, 1907
New Settlers to Elkton James L. Middleton and George W. Scoville were among the new settlers. Scoville was a native of South Omaha, Nebraska; he moved to Elkton about 1908, purchased 100 acres from James L. Middleton in August 1909, and began developing a farmstead. By 1910, Scoville had expanded his farm to 140 acres on which he had planted twenty-five acres in potatoes, corn, and other vegetables. He and his wife, Edith Scoville, raised a family of five children. By 1915, Scoville had opened new fields that supported sixty-five acres of truck crops. He centered production around early potatoes and helped organize the Hastings Cooperative Association. Representing an investment of several hundred dollars in the early 1920s, Scoville's farm equipment included a Sulky plow, 2-horse plow, potato planter, corn planter, team and harnesses, dice harrow, spike harrow, No. 4 cultivator, No. 223 disc cultivator, Planet Junior cultivator, Mueller cultivator, fertilizer distributor, and hay baler.
Town of Elkton Laid Out In 1909, civil engineer Dooley laid out a town plan of Elkton for Bartolo Genovar, a St. Augustine investor. Genovar's family had arrived in St. Augustine during the second Spanish era. A native of the Ancient City, Genovar worked on St. Johns River steamboats following the Civil War and then operated a general merchandise store in St. Augustine's downtown. In 1873, Genovar organized a steamship line, which carried passengers and freight between St. Augustine and New York City. Both businessman and politician, Genovar worked as vice-president of St. Augustine's Commercial Bank and served several terms on the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners. Genovar's other capital ventures included phosphate mining in Polk County and citrus and real estate in St. Johns County. Following the 1890s freezes, he sold his general store, abandoned citrus, and turned to planting potatoes at Elkton, which he named about 1906. That year, Genovar laid out a town plan of Elkton that radiated several blocks west of the Florida East Coast Railway depot. Constructed about 1906, the depot was expanded in 1916 and 1918, first adding a freight room and then widening the entire building to keep up with increasing freight shipments. From his office and home in St. Augustine Genovar promoted Elkton as a potato district rivaling Hastings. In 1909, surveyor A. A. Dooley expanded the Elkton town plan (Figure 3-24) for Genovar, providing nine blocks with lots for farm and residential buildings. By 1914, having enjoyed several successful years of potato production and land sales, Genovar turned to developing pecans in Duval County. Even at his death in 1945, Genovar maintained some of his Elkton property, holding $25,880 in real estate consisting of hundred of acres in Duval County and all of blocks C, G, I, and J and several lots in other blocks of Genovar's Subdivision of Elkton.
Elkton has a very Bright Future (Florida East Coast Homeseeker 1908) A very successful experiment in growing sea island cotton as a second crop was made by Mr. J. A. Rowand at Elkton last year. This cotton grew as high as eight feet and was very prolific in its bearing. The results show, although planted in May after marketing the potato crop, it will yield a bale an acre, which is pretty good considering this cotton brings 35 cents per pound. About twelve acres will be put in the present year, and it means a new era in the section around Elkton.
Its importance was recognized by E. M. Bass, of Milledgeville, Ga., who purchased 650 acres of land last fall at Elkton. Since that time he has sold two forty-acre tracts, which now being cleared and will be put in a crop this spring. Other Georgia farmers will follow. The land he has secured is equal to the Hastings lands, and appears to be more easily drained, is but a short distance from the station. He will arrange to cut the farms up into any size and many of the surrounding farmers who have seen lands which they did not value at more than $5 per acre now increase to $25 per acre, and are talking how soon they will be worth from $40 to $60 per acre.
Elkton Doubles Its Acreage (The Florida East Coast Railroad The Homeseeker, 1910) This year has demonstrated the value of the artesian well at Elkton, as it has meant the difference between success and failure. There was only one real rainfall on the potato crops during the growing season.
Elkton farmers doubled the acreage of last year and in almost every case they are now planning on a further increase. The returns this season from planting on new land is startlingly large. Wherever there was water new land averaged fifty barrels to the acre.
Following is the acreage of the old planters for the season just closed: James I. Middleton, 61 acres; J. C. Atwater, 60 acres; E. E. Bass, 45 acres; J. A. Rowan, 45 acres; C. J. Masters, 24 acres; R. A. Barber, 14 acres A. C. Ellison 12 acres; Otto Mueller, 15 acres; C. A. Dupont, 15 acres, B. J. Masters, 16 acres; H. E. Lopez, 6 acres; James Masters, 12 acres; D. A. Simms, 5 acres; Philip Solana, 10 acres.
New settlers harvested potatoes from the following acreage: W. H. Bass, 22 acres; Tunnell & West, 15 acres; Dr. Whitney, 15 acres; Wm. Morris, 8 acres; C. M. Gibson, 15 acres; Edminister Bros, 11 acres; Alvin Solana, 10 acres; George Wilton, 6 acres; I. J. Williams, 6 acres; W. H. Ivey, 7 acres; A. I. Ellison, 5 acres.
The acreage planted by new settlers added to the increase planted by the original Elkton farmers amounted to 300 acres or double the acreage planted last year.
Edminister Bros. were the first in the Hasting-Elkton section to ship in carload lots this year. Their entire crop of 1,300 barrels was dug and shipped in five days and netted $3.50 per barrel at the station. Other planters averaged from $3.50 down to $2.40 a barrel for No 1's and from $2.50 to $1.50 per barrel for No. 2's. [$4.00 per barrel in 1910 dollars equals $85.37 in 2012 dollars]
As at Hastings, cotton is being planted quite extensively at Elkton as a second crop, and a gin has been ordered for installation this fall.
A large acreage of cucumbers is being harvested and the crop is large. One New York commission house is harvesting 23 acres of "cukes" and has growing 25 acres of watermelons.
The farmers of Elkton are delighted over the prospect of early communication with St. Augustine over the new road now being constructed by the county commissioners of St. Johns.
Amos Corbett's Potato Farm (The Florida East Coast Railroad The Homeseeker, 1910) Amos W. Corbett, grocer of St. Augustine, is always reaching out for new fields to conquer. Farming is not one of his latest, for he has been at it four years. But Elwood Farms, his country place, four miles from St. Augustine, on the Hastings road, never looked better or promised richer financial returns than it does today.
Workmen began the digging of a 17 - acre potato crop on May 10th, which yielded a total of nearly 900 barrels.
Mr. Corbett will clear twenty more acres this fall. The farm comprises 150 acres, twenty-five of which have been under cultivation for a year or two. Several substantial buildings have been put up on the place, and the farm is stocked with hogs, cattle, mules, horses, turkeys, chickens and ducks. Mr. Corbett raises food for his live stock both at the farm and in the city.
Like other land in this county, Elwood Farm will raise all kinds of vegetables, such as beets, cabbages, lettuce, turnips, corn, tomatoes, peas and beans.
Elwood Farm is growing larger and more valuable every year.
School House is Provided for Elkton by School Board (The St. Augustine Evening Record, February 7, 1912) To fully accommodate the needs of busy Elkton, that thriving little community is to have a two-story frame school house instead of the present small structure. This was decided at the February meeting of the St. Johns county board of public instruction held last night. Elkton's needs have increased as the community is rapidly growing and for this reason the erection of the new school was ordered.
The board also received a request from patrons asking that the kindergarten be made a part of the public school. The enrollment has reached the required figure and the only obstacle now is that Mrs. Lacy, the teacher, does not hold a Florida teacher's license. It was decided to take the matter up with the State superintendent and if the examination is arranged the kindergarten will then be made a part of the regular school course.
Injury to Groom Resulted in Wedding at Hospital (St. Augustine Evening Record, February 27, 1915) David Chadwell and Miss Lillian Bothwell, both of Elkton, Florida, were married this morning at 9 o'clock at the East Coast Hospital. Mr. Chadwell suffered a painful accident some days ago, which resulted in a broken foot, and was brought in to the hospital for treatment. The date of the wedding had been set for today, and as the young couple were unwilling to postpone the ceremony, the hospital proved the unusual setting for the climax of their romance and courtship.
A number of the nurses in the hospital and several friends from Elkton, who came over to witness the ceremony, were present at the wedding.
Miss Bothwell is the daughter of a prominent farmer of Elkton, and Mr. Chadwell is employed in the barrel factory at that place, where the accident occurred that sent him into St. Augustine for medical aid and hospital care. Both have many friends through out that portion of St. Johns county, where they are well-known and popular.
Elkton Stave Mill Burned to Ground (St. Augustine Evening Record, Nov 17, 1917) The Farmers' Manufacturing Company's stave mill was burned to the ground about 7 o'clock last night. The fire is supposed to have been caused from sparks from the smoke stack. The mill was completely wrecked but fortunately all the yard stock and the barrel factory itself were saved, no damage being sustained. The loss is, therefore, confined entirely to the mill proper and to the stock that was housed in the mill for sawing. The damage has not yet been estimated.
Elkton's School Held Interesting Closing Exercises Teacher and Pupils Have Done Good Work; Five Got Eight Grade Certificates (St. Augustine Evening Record, May 6, 1922) Going out by motor to attend the closing exercises of the Elkton Public School last week were Superintendent of Public Instruction D. D. Corbett, and members of his family, J. O. Traxler, county farm demonstration agent, Mrs. Traxler, Miss Anna Heist, county farm demonstration agent, Miss Grace Ranson and Marion Ranson.
The program, the visitors state was unusually good, reflecting the greatest credit on the teacher, Mrs. Haskell Williams, and on the pupils of the school. The patrons are all delighted with the work that has been done, and are deeply appreciative of Mrs. Williams' untiring efforts on behalf of the school and the children. The Elkton school holds as certificate as a standard rural school, this being awarded by the rural school inspector when he made his annual visit this spring, and this is something of which the Elkton community should feel especially proud.
Superintendent D. D. Corbett presented certificates of graduation from the eighth grade to five young people, Thelmas Crane, Beulah Grimes, Mildred Grimes, Jack Gunnell, Boyd Gunnell. He also awarded certificates for perfect attendance to six children, four from one family and two from another, as follows: Lee Griffin, Flosale Griffin, Camilla Grimes, Mildred Grimes, Heulah Grimes, Pearl Grimes. This means that the six children attended school for eight months, 160 days, without being absent or tardy.
There was an interesting exhibit of the sewing class conducted by Miss Anna Heist, county home demonstration agent. Many things in the way of sewing from patches and darns most artistically done, to dainty bedroom sets, curtains, and other things for "home improvement work" were included in the exhibit.
So many were in attendance at the closing exercises that the program was given in the Elkton church, which is much bigger, than the school house, and then the crowd overflowed the building.
Negro Being Held in Elkton Robbery (St. Augustine Evening Record, May 23, 1924) May 20 the post office at Elkton Florida was entered and robbed, Warren Dixon, colored is being held in the county jail charged with theft. On 3:30 in the afternoon Miss Purcell, postmistress, was sitting on the porch of the post office, her attention was called to a man who was seen sneaking out of the building. The negro jumped into a truck and drove off, and several men who had answered Miss Purcell's calls for assistance, started in pursuit. Seeing that he was being overtaken, Dixon abandoned the truck and took to the woods where he was rapidly followed and apprehended. A money belt containing seventy-five dollars was found on his person. He was brought to St.; Augustine by Deputy Turlington of Elkton, and is being held under a bond of $1,000.
Hastings Herald July 1929 The Elkton Ladies Home Demonstration Club held a most delightful picnic at the Boy Scout camp on Anastasia Island Tuesday, Miss Heist was in charge of all arrangements, and it is to her able management that so many of the people of Elkton owe the pleasant time spent in fishing, swimming, etc. Miss Heist was assisted in the work by Miss Bessie Edwards, of Miami. ---- Elkton has a very fair prospect as far as corn crops are concerned this year with a much heavier planting than usual and with a much greater spread of crop season, and although some of the mid-season and very late plantings have been seriously damaged by insects and by heavy rains, it is unlikely that many of the farmers will not have enough corn for their own uses. The hay situation, however, promises to be a bit more serious. With the first alarm concerning the Medfly, the planting of cow peas was discouraged, and after they had been removed from the ban, the price soared to almost prohibitive heights, and much of the land had already been planted to other crops, so the planting of cow peas in this section this year is far below normal. Most farmers are resorting to the gathering of corn fodder for feed, and will cut large acreages of crab grass hay which, although inferior to cow pea hay, is quite satisfactory as a mule feed.