R.E.L McCaskill - (vast real estate holder and developer)

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"Florida is still the land of Enchantment, and her appeal today is more than ever before. Millions throughout the nation are fed up on Metropolitan life. They hunger for a little vine-covered home, where life is worth living.”
~ The McCaskill Company, DeFuniak Springs, Florida

McCaskills

J. J. McCaskill (father of R. E. L. McCaskill) was born on his father’s (Kenneth McCaskill) farm in the historic old Scotch settlement near Knox Hill, Walton County, on November 23rd, 1846, and spent his boyhood on the old homestead. While a young boy, he walked several miles every day to attend school taught by Walton County’s pioneer teacher, Mr. Newton. He had a happy way of relating the boyish escapades incident to his school days at Mr. Newton’s, but never failed to end the anecdote by praising the man who did so much to mould the character of the boys and girls entrusted to his care.

When the war came, Mr. McCaskill had to put aside his books and take up a larger share of the farm work. The older brothers had gone to the front to fight for Home and Country. The Father, then an old man, had to be always on duty as a home guard, protecting loved ones from the robbers and marauders that plagued and harassed the Knox Hill settlement.

Those who lived through the trying duties of that trying time relate many stories of the bravery shown by the young boys of the community, and in all of them John McCaskill was a leading spirit.

As a boy and man he had ever with him the saving grace of humor and his Step-mother said that “no matter what troubles came, we could not stay blue long. John always saw the funny side, and he was a great hand to cheer us up.”

After the war, his family suffered, as did all other families throughout the South. He set himself to work on the farm with grim determination to make a living for the family, and there he remained until he was twenty-four.

His inability to return to school after the war, was a grievous disappointment. After a hard day’s work in the field he would bring home pine knots and after supper was over he would lie in front of a huge kitchen fireplace and study until late in the night. He early formed the habit of carrying about with him a small memorandum book, and when he would hear a new word he put it down and then never rested until he had learned the meaning and made it his. He continued this practice in all his later experience through life.

When twenty-four years old he married Elizabeth Flournoy and rented a farm near the little town of Summerville where they lived for a few years. He was a natural leader of men; ambitious and aggressive. It is small wonder then that at this stage of his career he decided to leave slow procession of farm life, and cast his lot in the more exciting game of active business. The timber industries of the country were then coming to the front and he first tried logging. Later he established a mercantile business in Argyle. Following this he moved to Freeport on Choctawhatchee Bay putting his all into a saw mill and mercantile business at that place. This business prospered. It prospered beyond the measure usually allotted to ventures of this kind. He lacked capital, but he put into his business an unbridled energy and a dauntless courage that few men ever equal and none surpass.

He was ever a busy man and kept in intimate touch with even the smallest details of his affairs. He knew all his employees by name; knew their qualifications and limitations, and when they were sick or in trouble of any kind, he was always there at the right time with the helping hand and purse, and the words that cheered and comforted.

Mr. McCaskill invested his earning and profits principally in lands and real estate in Pensacola, and DeFuniak. He was President of the first National Bank of DeFuniak; President of the J. J. McCaskill company; Vice President of the West Florida Naval Stores Co., and besides his holdings in these enterprises, his personal estate is estimated at four hundred thousand dollars.

He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and belonged to the Order of Elks, Knights of Pythias, and Woodmen of the World.

Like Abou Ben Adhem, Mr. McCaskill was one who loved his fellow men, and his fellow men loved him. As in the beginning of this, I want to say again that his friends were high and low; rich and poor. Wealth and prosperity came to him only to enlarge his vision. The friends of his early struggles in boyhood and young manhood were still his friends at the end of the journey. He counted it a privilege to walk any distance to shake the hand of an old friend. He never forgot a face or a name, ad for each one he met there was a cheery word, a hearty handshake and a sunny smile.

He was buried in the grave yard at DeFuniak and friends and relatives came from hundreds of miles to attend his funeral, and his grave was literally covered with handsome flowers. It is a splendid tribute to his worth and standing that, though he died suddenly away from home, ten of Pensacola’s most prominent citizens put aside all business cares to escort his remains to his home.

Mr. McCaskill left a wife, four sons and four daughter to mourn his loss. All the children are married. They will miss him and there are very few in Walton County who will not feel his loss.

Three score years and ten is the time allotted to man by Holy Write. Had Mr. McCaskill lived until November he would have served out his fully seventy years of usefulness. His life was an inspiration and a source of joy to his daily associates. In business affairs he was fearless and self confident. He formed his own conclusions and clung to them. He was sure of his own good intentions and had faith in his own judgment.

He stood four square to every wind that blew, and he had that in his make up that, in other times, made men with kindred spirits to his, blaze out new trails and sail their ships on untried waters. In him the elements were so mixed, that Nature could stand up and say to all the world “This was a Man”.

(Copied from a photocopy of a document lent to the Historical Society Museum by Miss Evelyn McCaskill, Jacksonville, Florida. The author and the occasion of the document were not known.)

Photo below is of Robert E. Lee McCaskill. (The Walton County Heritage Association owns the glass plate from which this print was made.)

REL McCaskill

(Note: The following entries are some of those associated with Robert E. Lee “Bob” McCaskill around the Choctawhatchee Bay area including his endeavors to market his “Vale of Paradise” that he proposed would extend from Black Point to White Point in which he either owned or purchased much of the land.)

In 1900 an agreement between R. G. Peters of Manistoe, Michigan (A. L. Langlellier his agent) to J. J. McCaskill and R. E. L. McCaskill partners of Freeport, Florida for the sale of Cypress Timber growing standing or lying upon certain lands that lie along the Choctawhatchee River and Holmes Creek, and most of which said lands are described in a certain timber contract made with (the McCaskill’s) by the said Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company, by contract known as Number 29, said lands in the counties of Holmes, Walton and Washington, State of Florida. (Warranty Deed 07/30/1900)

McCaskill Motor Car Company
R. E. L. McCaskill, President K. E. McCaskill Sales Agent
Agents for Halladay Motor Car of Streator, Illinois
30 to 50 Horsepower 7 different models
$1,125 to $2,750 can make terms DeFuniak Springs, FL Pensacola, FL (The Breeze Advertisement 10/01/1910)

“Said to be a reliable automobile because it finished a 250 mile endurance race at Atlanta in 1910. It was chosen to be the press car for the 1911 Glidden Tour. About 300 Halladay automobiles were made by The Streator Motor Car Co. from 1905 to 1912”. (american-automobiles.com)

Halladay-1910

The Boggy Mill Company was sold by J. P. Rawls to The Mutual Land and Lumber Company owned by R. E. L. McCaskill. (Walton County Warranty Deed 10/07/1912)

D. P. and Louise McKenzie sold to the Mutual Land and Lumber Company of Boggy, Florida (owned by R. E. L. McCaskill) Lots numbered 5 and 6 in Section One T1S R23W (located on the west side of toward the head of Boggy Bayou). D. P. McKenzie will not for a period of twenty years from the date hereof engage in the saw mill business in either Walton or Santa Rosa County within any territory within a distance of fifteen miles from Boggy, Florida. (Walton County Warranty Deed 11/12/1912)

The Mutual Land and Lumber Company owned by R. E. L. McCaskill sold to D. P. McKenzie, Lot 1 Section 12 in T1S of R23W known as the Eaton Land except that part thereof that is owned by S. S. Spence. As part of the consideration of this conveyance, it is understood that the said D.P. McKenzie for himself, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns with the said Mutual Land and Lumber Company, its successors and assigns, that he will not use the above described land, nor any part thereof, for a period of twenty years from the date hereof, for saw mill purposes. (Walton County Warranty Deed 12/16/1912)

The Choctawhatchee Lumber Co., R. E. L. McCaskill, President sold to Charles E. Cessna of Chicago, Illinois 960 acres. (Warranty Deed 02/09/1914)

A New Hotel at Freeport:

The R. E. L. McCaskill residence has been completely fitted up and guests are given every attention. Mrs. Gore, Manager” (The Breeze 03/18/1915)

The R. E. L. McCaskill Co. Real Estate:

We have sold, own and control more land than any firm in this section. Real estate is the basis of wealth. DeFuniak Springs offers to the Investor and Speculator greater opportunities than any city in West Florida. Large mill is near completion. Its population at this date is 2500. It is growing and will continue to grow until it becomes one of the leading cities of this section. We are 250 feet above sea level - healthy and is dry. See us for home or business locations. farm and raw lands on easy terms. Write us for information. We buy and sell farm and timber lands. Choice colonization tracts in all parts of West Florida and South Alabama, Baldwin County. High class Bonds and Stocks. Manufacturing sites. Mortgages on city and farm property netting investors 7 and 8 per cent, interest payable semi-annually. Commercial paper negotiated. House built and sold on small monthly payments. If you have money to loan or invest kindly advise. We can get you 8 per cent and securities.” (The Breeze Advertisement 05/08/1915)

To Mr. Careful Buyer and Anxious Seller:

Dear Sir: Recent developments have made it possible for us to resume our real estate business and we want to advise you, and you to advise your friends, that we are prepared to buy, sell and exchange any and all kinds of residential property, town or country, improved farms and raw lands.

We are well equipped to look after business of that nature in most satisfactory and prompt manner. If you want to buy anything, or have anything to sell, we will appreciate a visit from you. We have a large amount of property which we want to close out on easy terms.

If you are interested in any vacant lots in DeFuniak Springs, of dwelling houses, be sure and see us before you buy.

In case of the writers absence from the office at any time, Mr. W. I. Stinson will give your matters his person attention. Yours truly R. E. L. McCaskill, President R. E. L. McCaskill Co. DeFuniak Springs, Florida.” (The Breeze Advertisement 05/08/1915)

Are You Looking For a Real Investment?

We are offering 174 acres facing on Choctawhatchee Bay, with a half mile of water front, just twelve miles east of Camp Walton. This land is ideal for Summer Homes, Gun Clubs, Game Reserves, Grape Fruit or Orange Raising and General Farming. As a Summer Residence, Or Winter Home or Both Or subdivision for bungalows, cut up in 10 acre lots. Being located as it is, this acreage is the ideal place for a small colony. There is a half mile of water front with high beach where bathing and fishing are excellent. The entire acreage abound in game of all kinds. The water is fine, and taken as a whole, is one of the most healthful places in the world. Peppin Lake is only one mile west. Twenty acres of this land is already in cultivation and has at present a nice cottage on it.

AS FARMING : The soil is rich loam, largely composed of decomposed shells, which makes the soil very rich in line. This land is splendid for trucking or fruit growing. It lies just south of the Forest Reserve and is fenced with galvanized wire, which makes it very desirable for cattle and hogs. There is a luxurious growth of oak, hickory, poplar, sweet gum, magnolia, etc.

Exact Location: This acreage lies one mile west of Stake Point (at Okaloosa/Walton County line). Twelve miles east of Camp Walton, and is the highest point on Choctawhatchee Bay.

Legal Description: South half lots 5 and 6, section Thirty-one, One South, Twenty-one West. All fractional Section Thirty-one. One South, twenty-one West, 174 acres. Walton County, Florida. If you like the Bay country, this is a fine piece of property for development. Yours truly, The R. E. L. McCaskill Company. DeFuniak Springs, Florida. (DeFuniak Herald Advertisement 08/26/1915)

Brooks Hotel, Camp Walton Changes Hands

“R.E.L. McCaskill and J. D. Russ, both of DeFuniak have purchased the Brooks hotel the largest hotel at Camp Walton and have taken charge. The hostelry will be renovated and placed in first class condition and will afford good accommodations for visitors to Camp Walton.

That section of Florida is fast becoming the recreation grounds for large numbers of people, including many from Alabama and the purchasers of the hotel believe that this winter will be a prosperous one.” - (Pensacola News)

R. E. L. McCaskill and James E. Plew Appointed

In February 1917 R. E. L. McCaskill was appointed by Florida’s Governor, Sidney J. Catts to be a Delegate to the Pan-American Aeronautic Exposition. James E. Plew was appointed by Illinois’ Governor, Frank O. Lowden to be a Delegate to the Pan-American Aeronautic Exposition. Delegates from other states, the Armed Forces and other countries were also appointed to attend. (Flying Volume 6By Aero Club of America February 1917 page 78 and March 1917 page 131)

Niceville:

B. P. Edge purchased an Overland car this week from Mr. McCaskill. (Okaloosa News 09/21/1917)

R. E. L. McCaskill Advertisement

FOR SALE
West Florida DeFuniak
40 acre lots near golf links and school
Write for booklet - Coming to Florida.

(Chicago Tribune page 14 10/14/1917)

VALPARAISO “The Vale of Paradise” 18 miles south of Crestview, in Okaloosa county, the closest point to a railway of any location on beautiful Choctawhatchee Bay. Good roads being made for automobiles all the way. Launch connection with Pensacola, the metropolis of West Florida. Within sound of the booming waves of the great warm Gulf of Mexico. Fishing, hunting and rest for the weary nerves and tired mind and brain. Where to live is a pleasure and where life is prolonged. Good hotel accommodations for the tourists. I invite you, Bob McCaskill. “Their prospects were toward the South.” These words are as true today as in Bible times. The people of the North are weary of cold winters and hot summers and long for a land where the balmy breezes blow the year round where there is no snow, no sleet, no cold rains; where winter is like May and June in the North country, where the grass and trees are always green, and where roses bloom at Christmas; where the air is laden with violets in January; where the nights are cool and refreshing, and where the soil is fertile and responds to the toil of the tiller thereof. If you have longed for such a land, it is here. Here the vines give out their resinous perfume, that heals throat and lungs. The air, warm and pure from over the gulf, gives you health and strength, drives away coughs, bronchial troubles, rheumatism and pains. Ponce de Leon, when he sought the Fountain of Youth, where the Living that it was in the air as well as in the bubbling fountains. It remained for us of later years to grasp that truth. And we who have lived here all of our lives, or who came here a few years ago, have learned the truth, and can tell it to others. Come ye, to the Fountain of Youth, where the Living Waters Flow, where the air is charged with healing ozone. The Creator never made air purer than ours. No some, no dust, just as the Creator made it and charged it with healing properties. Come to this beautiful Vale, breathe this air, drink its water, renew your youth. Those who have been there, have seen the promised land and what they say.” (The Breeze DeFuniak Springs (advertisement) 08/15/1918)

1918 Crestview, Fla.,

Robert E. Lee McCaskill: Valparaiso sure some delightful spot. Cannot be described. I never was so impressed. Makes North look sick. Regret having to return. Am being treated like a prince by Southerners.

Edw. J. Freiwald, 2641-45 N. Halstead St., Chicago.

May 18, 1918

Robert E. Lee McCaskill: I came all the way from Bristol, Tennessee to investigate your project, and met Mssrs. Wysong, of Mankato, Minn., also Mr. Jenkins of Chicago, at Valparaiso. We were all amazed and delighted. Words of description fell me even now. Nature surely was lavish in her handiwork here. Rapid development is my prediction. Mr. Steele, the engineer whom we met, also deserves credit. I am so convinced all is right that you can hold me a unit.

J. P. Gartner, Bristol, Tenn.

June 1, 1918 Pensacola, Fla

Robt. E. Lee McCaskill: Am delighted with my trip, find wonderful country, great possibilities. Valparaiso has a wonderful future. Have selected one residence villa and business lot for ourselves and three residence villas and one business lot for friends. Will Here. My people will come at an early date from Racine.

Mrs. J. C. Gewalt, Racine, Wis.

The Union Land & Timber Company of the State of South Dakota, having its principal place of business in the Parish of Orleans and State of Louisiana sold to The R. E. L. McCaskill Company, All of fractional Section 16 T1S of R22 W, containing 268.33 acres. It is located on Rocky Bayou in Niceville. (Walton County Warranty Deed 05/14/1918)

June 1, 1918 DeFuniak Springs, Fla.

Robert E. Lee McCaskill: After a most careful personal inspection of your properties in Western Florida, I want to say that I do not believe any statement in your booklet is overdrawn, as far as I can judge, and the climatic conditions and the utter absence of mosquitoes and swamps were very encouraging to me during my stay of two days and three nights. I certainly believe Valparaiso, properly styled “Vale of Paradise” will become a very much sought after summer and winter residential district.

A. H. Ellsworth, Green Bay, Wis.

June 3, 1918 DeFuniak Springs, Fla.,

Robert E. Lee McCaskill: Just finished inspection your property, Valparaiso. Found everything exactly as represented to me by you. Have purchased lots two, three, eleven, and twelve, block nine.

Alfred H. Smith. Mr. Smith is of Smith, Lawson, Combe Co., Chicago, General Insurance Agents

June 11, 1918 DeFuniak Springs, Fla.,

Robert E. Lee McCaskill: Came all the way from Camas, Washington, to see your country and inspect Valparaiso, and am well pleased with same. Your literature states the facts very mildly. Have bought one unit and will interest my friends.

Geo. Beetsch. Camas, Wash.

Robert E. Lee McCaskill: I have inspected Valparaiso property and find it fully up to representation. Have selected lot seven block fourteen. Find this a beautiful country, delightful people and splendid climate. I think it suitable for the very best class of people to make their homes.

T. L. Personett

5252 S. Spaulding Ave., Chicago

June 18, 1918 DeFuniak Springs, Fla.,

Robert E. Lee McCaskill: Have visited Valparaiso and looked over the entire section and find far beyond my expectations. Have purchased lot one in block eight and am more than pleased. Your literature and pictures do not do it justice.

George Tobler, 38 Commerce St., Boyles, Ala.

Niceville Hotel McCaskill 1918

June 23, 1918 DeFuniak Springs, Fla.,

Robert E. Lee McCaskill: Have been here for four days. Visited Valparaiso, saw mills, and cane fields and am perfectly satisfied. Enjoyed my trip and am pleased to say the printed matter does not exaggerate the proposition. Have selected lot 10, block 10. Will call at office on arrival.

H. H. Mueller

5302 South Campbell Ave., Chicago

December 24, 1918 Warranty Deeds:

(1) R.E.L. McCaskill Company of Walton County to Warren Armstrong of Okaloosa County: Lot 2 in Block 3 according to map of Niceville made November 21st 1918.

(2) R.E.L. McCaskill Company of Walton County to B. P. Edge of Niceville, Fla., Lot 3 in Block 3 according to the map of Niceville, made November 21st, 1918.

The R.E.L. McCaskill Company to Wm. L. McCollum & Company, Trustees, of Cook County, Illinois: the SE ¼ of Section 17 (160 acres), T1S of R19W (near Freeport). (Warranty Deed 01/14/1919)

The following is part of R. E. L. McCaskill’s ad campaign for “The Vale of Paradise”

The Report of An Expert on the Valparaiso Project:

If every purchaser who has become a part of the life of the Valparaiso project and if every prospect or who is considering a purchase in the Vale of Paradise should hold a meeting and decide to send an expert to Florida to investigate for them they would all probably decide as follows:

1st - Secure some responsible expert from a leasing agricultural college.

2nd - Secure someone from the Iowa State College of Ames, Iowa, as it is reputed to be one of the best in America.

3rd Have him spend several weeks in Western Florida and investigate from every angle. Just such an expert is Prof. Ward M. Jones. He graduated from the Iowa State College in 1917 and for many years was an instructor there, and he is now the General Secretary of the Alumni Association of the Iowa State College. Prof. Jones left for the Vale of Paradise on July 3rd, 1918.

After a few days stay there, he sent the following telegram:

DeFuniak Springs, Fla., July 11, 1918

John B. Perrine, 20 East Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Ill.

Valparaiso destined to be real Vale of Paradise. Four days inspection makes me enthusiastic booster. Must be seen to appreciate natural beauty of location and possibilities of development. Streets being cleared and bungalows erected. A beauty spot of the South in a few years. Fertility of sugar cane land high. WARD M. JONES. (DeFuniak Herald 01/23/1919)

Another of Bob McCaskill’s advertisements read: (As written

Own Your Own Stock Farm IN THE VALE OF PARADISE. NO CASH PAYMENT REQUIRED Cared For and Developed Under Expert Management. THE LOVELIEST PLACE IN AMERICA FOR YOUR FUTURE HOME. We are building the VILLA OF VALPARAISO (Vale of Paradise) on Choctawhatchee Bay and are developing 20,000 acres of adjacent land to MODEL STOCK FARMS. On each MODEL STOCK FARM of 640 acres we start with 64 Brood Sows under the supervision of experts. We expect to sell from 3,000 to 5,000 hogs each year from each MODEL STOCK FARM when under complete development . Incomes, depending on acreage purchased, of 1.000 to $15,000 a year should be made with practically no cash investment on the land and you may pay for your land out of your profits. These MODEL STOCK FARMS are adjacent to the CHOCTAWHATCHEE NATIONAL FOREST, a United States Government Forest Reserve of 422 square miles or 270,000 acres where stock may be ranged at a nominal sum and where forage is abundant nearly every month in the year.

Each MODEL STOCK FARM will employ about 25 men, which means 25 families whose homes should be at VALPARAISO. Our purchasers given preference in all positions. YOUR HOME SHOULD BE AT VALPARAISO. This is a Motor Boating paradise. No other place in America has such wonderful fishing and hunting. The National Forest abounds in Deer, Squirrels, Foxes, Rabbits, Wild Turkey and Quail while in the winter months the bay is often fairly alive with ducks and water fowl. In this section we have wonder hard roads which are the delight of motorists. Here you can live-live-live and enjoy life as at no other place in the world.

You can purchase 10 to 160 acres of this land on your own plain notes without cash payment.

The price is extremely low now but will be practically doubled in the near future.

Write today for full particulars and mention this paper when answering.

Address, VALE OF PARADISE STOCK FARMS. Suite 1404 to 1408 20 E. Jackson Blvd. Chicago, Illinois. (DeFuniak Herald Advertisement 02/06/1919)

Niceville:

"Mrs. R. E. L. McCaskill from DeFuniak Springs took possession of the Niceville Hotel Wednesday morning June 12th. We wish her much success and give her a warm welcome to our town." (Note: Mrs. McCaskill purchased the Niceville Hotel in June 1918 and as reported on July 12, 1918 in the Okaloosa News Journal sold it shortly to Mrs. Gewan. "Mrs. Gewan from up North, is now proprietor of Niceville Hotel and is getting along nicely with a number of tourists.")

Mr. B. P. Edge and family moved to their new bungalow last Tuesday, June 11th." (Okaloosa News Journal 06/21/1918).

The first proposed plat of Niceville drawn November 21, 1918 and filed March 24, 1920 showing Niceville Hotel (see above) and Nathey Gristmill at Trout Lake.

Niceville Plat of 1918


Valparaiso Plat 1, Surveyed by Howard Steele, Niceville December 20, 1918 and recorded July 14, 1919: (Note: R.E.L. McCaskill of DeFuniak Springs, Florida owned this land when Plat 1 was made. The R. E. L. McCaskill Company sold this land to Wm. L. McCollum & Co., Trustees of the Valparaiso Development Co. Chicago, Ill. on July 8, 1919 and the plat was recorded six days later. Boggy Bayou is Niceville Bayou on Valparaiso Plat 1. The first proposed plat of Niceville, drawn November 21, 1918 and filed March 24, 1920, shows Boggy Bayou as Valparaiso Bay.)

Valparaiso Plat 1 Dec 20, 1918

December 24, 1918 Warranty Deeds: (1) R. E. L. McCaskill Company of Walton County to Warren Armstrong of Okaloosa County: Lot 2 in Block 3 according to map of Niceville made November 211st 1918 (above). (2) R. E. L. McCaskill Company of Walton County to B. P. Edge of Niceville, Fla., Lot 3 in Block 3 according to the map of Niceville, made November 21st, 1918 (above).

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way:

A few days ago Mr. R. E. L. McCaskill had a real estate prospector whom he desired to show some property on the Sound in Okaloosa county. No boat was at hand, so Mr. McCaskill hired the hydroplane “Blue Bird” sent it to Pensacola from Camp Walton, and brought the prospector to the Bay Country.” (The Okaloosa News Journal 05/30/1919)

The R. E. L. McCaskill Company sold to Wm. L. McCollum & Co., Trustees of the Valparaiso Development Co. Chicago, Ill.: All of Lot 2 in Section 18, T1S, R22W, containing 48 acres (in Valparaiso) and Lot 3 Section 7 T1S, R22W, containing 111 acres (in Valparaiso) all in Okaloosa County Florida. (Warranty Deed 07/08/1919) (Note: This is the 159 acre Allen Brown homestead land of January 27, 1900 and it is the same as Plat 1 of Valparaiso above surveyed by Howard Steele, Niceville December 20, 1918 and recorded July 14, 1919. Also note this warranty deed selling to the VDC was filed in Walton Co.)

McCaskill sells Allen Brown Homestead land, Plat 1 of Valparaiso to VDC

Advertisement:

Ten Purchasers Buy Colonial Bungalows: R. E. L. McCaskill of DeFuniak Springs, FL to locate on Bayshore Drive and Southview Avenue. John B. Perrine, Chicago to locate at Eastview and Edge Avenues. (Valparaiso Messenger 08/06/1919)

McCaskill Buys Crestview Land Company:

The R. E. L. McCaskill Real Estate Company of DeFuniak Springs has purchased the entire holdings of the Crestview Land Company.

The R. E. L. McCaskill Real Estate Company is practically R.E.L. McCaskill and the Crestview Land Company is H. J. Brett of DeFuniak.

Mr. T. Walter Coleman will continue to be Sales Mgr. in Crestview, the same as he has been for Mr. Brett.

The Crestview Land Company had extensive holdings in Crestview, and the acquisition of these by Mr. McCaskill means much for Crestview, for Bob McCaskill is a pusher.

The amount of the consideration has not been made public, and no transfers have been filed at the clerk’s office. (Okaloosa News Journal 11/14/1919)

McCaskill Buys Union Naval Stores Land:

R. E. L. McCaskill has purchased the Okaloosa county holdings of the Union Naval Stores company of Mobile. This property consists of around 67,000 acres and lies in the Southwestern part of the county.

It is said it is the intention of Mr. McCaskill to turpentine and sawmill this tract.

J. J. McCaskill dealt in this same tract a number of years ago. Twenty-four hours, as the story goes, after securing an option on it, he sold it to the Union Naval Stores Company at a profit of $63,000. Now his son buys it from the naval store people. Bob is lucky, and will doubtless do better than his father. (Okaloosa News Journal 11/21/1919)

McCASKILL TO MAKE EDNEY FARM TEST FARM:

In addition to purchasing the holdings of the Crestview Land Co., Mr. R. E. L. McCaskill has purchased the T. H. Edney farm on the south side of the railroad, all within the corporate limits of the town of Crestview. The farm is a valuable thing. It is the intention of Mr. McCaskill to make the farm one of the show places of Okaloosa County. It will be a test farm, and all kinds of farm products will be grown there - in fact a demonstration farm. There will be demonstrated what can be done in the way of agriculture on sandy lands. Good crops can be grown on sandy soil, and Mr. McCaskill will demonstrate this fact. (Okaloosa News Journal 11/21/1919)

November 22, 1919:

R. E. L. McCaskill placed an advertisement for The Vale of Paradise in The Chicago Tribune on page 7.

R. E. L. McCaskill Visits Crestview:

Tuesday evening. R. E. L. McCaskill, accompanied by his private secretary and Attorney John L. Moore, and several of his office staff, came to Crestview from DeFuniak in Mr. McCaskill’s new $5,000 car. Since his flying machine was wrecked in a pine tree Thanksgiving day in the southern part of Okaloosa, Mr. McCaskill has concluded that it is safest to travel in a car.

Soon after his arrival in Crestview Mr. McCaskill went into conference with several gentlemen.

After the news gatherer had set up a cola, Mr. McCaskill confided that he was here on business; that there was a hen on, and if the people of Crestview didn’t scare her off the nest she would lay about the biggest egg ever seen in this section.

Mr. McCaskill is about to add to his extensive holdings in and around Crestview. The News-Journal violates no confidence in stating this. (Okaloosa News-Journal 01/09/1920)

McCaskill conveyed land to the Bayou Fish Company, April 9, 1920: The R.E.L. McCaskill Company, by its deed dated April 9, 1920, conveyed to the Bayou Fish Company "block eighteen (18) according to the plat of Niceville, Florida, on file in the office of the Clerk of the circuit court of Okaloosa County"; but, as expressed in the deed, it was the grantor's intention, despite the reference to the plat, "to convey all land south of hard road and along shore line adjoining Edge's new store building on the west and E.J. Friewald's line on the east." (Source: SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA, DIVISION A, July 30, 1954 - PORTER ET AL v. MEIGS)

Mrs. J. J. McCaskill Taken To Hospital: Mrs. J. J. McCaskill, who has been at her new cottage at Camp Walton, became so ill Tuesday that she was removed to a hospital at Pensacola. The launch Lark was secured and she was taken to Pensacola by water. Mrs. McCaskill is said to be growing quite feeble. R. E. L. McCaskill and Quarterman McCaskill, sons were summoned to her bedside, and they thought best to remove her to Pensacola. (Okaloosa News Journal 08/20/1920)

R. E. L. McCaskill Company at DeFuniak Springs sold to Valparaiso Development Company The North ½ and the NW ¼ of SW ¼ of Section 25 T3N of R22W containing 360 acres in Okaloosa County. (Warranty Deed)

R. E. L. McCaskill Company at DeFuniak Springs, Florida sold to the Valparaiso Development Company: The NE ¼ of Section 17, Township 1 South of Range 22 West containing 160 acres. Grantee assumed taxes for 1920 and subsequent years. This land is in Niceville.

AND:

The J. J. McCaskill Company sold to the Valparaiso Development Company: The SW ¼ and the NW ¼ of the SE ¼ of Section 4 T1S R19W containing 200 acres. This land is near Freeport. (Warranty Deed (10/19/1920)

The R. E. L. McCaskill Company at DeFuniak Springs sold to John B. Perrine: All fractional Section 16, T1S R22W containing 268.33 acres. The Grantee assumes and agrees to pay all taxes assessed against said property subsequent to and including the year A.D., 1919. R. E. L McCaskill purchased this land from the Union Land & Timber Company in 1918. (Warranty Deed 04/06/1921)

Last Friday Valparaiso celebrated its third anniversary. There are 700 (Niceville population included in this count) inhabitants and thanks to the foresight of McCaskill and Perrine. (DeFuniak Herald 04/21/1921)

Photos below are of R.E.L. McCaskill and his son Harold and R.E.L. circa 1920.

R.E.L. McCaskill 2 pics

R. E. L. McCASKILL ADVERTISING (04/28/1921)

Freeport Items:

The Bob McCaskill old home purchased by Mr. A.V. Perrine (single) of Valparaiso. (04/21/1921 - DeFuniak Herald)

Mrs. R. E. L. McCaskill left for her summer home in Valparaiso. (DeFuniak Herald 06/16/1921)

Goes to Valparaiso:

Mr. M. A. Murphy, formerly of this city, is now editor of the Valparaiso Messenger and that spicy newspaper is already commencing to make the public sit up and take notice. Mr. Murphy “did time” for many years on the best papers of St. Louis but several years ago, his health failing, he left St. Louis and came to God’s country. He has a splendid home property in DeFuniak Springs and the finest Satsuma orange grove we ever saw. His orange grove and his garden were his playthings during the period of his recuperation and he puttered around his home for a year or two and imagined he was happy. But returning health brought on a vague and nameless yearning for the thrills of the old newspaper game and we are not surprised that he would have anchored in Valparaiso. Valparaiso needs a first class newspaper man and that need is amply supplied by Mr. Murphy. There is a future for Valparaiso. Two such men as R. E. L. McCaskill and J. B. Perrine will never permit the town to stagnate. If Valparaiso hasn’t a population of 5,000 by the end of the year 1925 then present indications count for nothing and we will be willing to trade our reputation as a prophet for a dime’s worth of oil stock. Mr. Murphy is just the man to tell the world all about Valparaiso and we shall eagerly scan the columns of the Messenger each week. (The DeFuniak Herald 07/28/1921) In the 1920 Census he is Marion Murphy, in DeFuniak Springs, from Indiana and is a Newspaper Editor.

REL Pensacola Article

Valparaiso Notes:

“Thirty Kiwanis, accompanied by their wives and children, were the guests of the City of Valparaiso last Saturday night and Sunday. They arrived on the Swan at 11:30 and were banqueted at the Bay Shore Hotel, the banquet continuing until 1:30. Sunday they were driven over the city to the golf links and the various points of interest, and in the afternoon were taken to the stock farm. They departed at 8 o’clock for home

Work on the new waterworks plant will soon begin. Thirty miles of mains will be laid.

Work is progressing on the new bank building. The bank, to be known as the Paradise Bank and Trust Company, will be opened in October with a capitol stock of $50,000. Half will be taken by Valparaiso people and half by outside capitalists.

The mayor has named a “Fair Price Commission” whose duty it will be to fix a fair retail price on groceries and other articles known as necessities. R.E.L. McCaskill heads the committee.” (The DeFuniak Herald 08/18/1921)

The R. E. L. McCaskill Company of Walton County Florida to the McCaskill Investment Company, a corporation incorporated and doing business under the laws of Florida: All real estate and all personal property and all closes in action and all and every title and interest, rents, issues and profits thereof, claimed, controlled or owned by the grantor, lying and being in Counties of Holmes, Okaloosa, Walton and Washington, State of Florida. As a part of the consideration for this conveyance the grantee assumes the payment of all liens, indebtedness or other lawful claims against the grantor. (Walton County Warranty Deed 10/31/1921)

Valparaiso News

"R. E. L. McCaskill leads prayer meeting Thursday. Lists new arrivals. Seats for school arrived. Mrs. Margaret McCaskill leads young peoples meeting. Woman’s club. New millinery store opened in Cartwright Apartments. Unit holders meeting in hotel. Little Cash Grocery does a fine business." (Pensacola Journal 11/13/1921)

Funeral Service for John B. Perrine (Note: died November 13, 1921 - buried at Sunset Cemetery Valparaiso previously known as Boggy Cemetery) "held 2:00 Wednesday. Mrs. R. E. L. McCaskill and Mrs. Cartwright sang duet. Bayshore Hotel guests as usual. Unit Holders postponed regular meeting until Wednesday at Hotel." (Pensacola Journal Sunday 11/20/1921)

"McCaskill Investment Company of DeFuniak Springs opened office in new drug store where new post office is located in Valparaiso." (The Breeze 01/26/1922)

When James Plew bought the bankrupt Valparaiso Development Company from William L. McCollum in 1922, he also received among other property, these entries of land purchased by William L. McCollum from the R. E. L. McCaskill Company: recorded February 5, 1920 at Volume 5 page 327 of Public Records of Okaloosa County, except such portions thereof as have been heretofore conveyed by said Wm. L. McCollum & Company; and the property described in deed from the R. E. L. McCaskill Company to Wm. L. McCollum & Company, recorded the 14th day of June 1919, Volume 3 page 599 of Public Records of Okaloosa County.

Also: (3) That by virtue of the authority so vested in him, as aforesaid, your petitioner has sold, subject to the approval of this Court, To James E. Plew, of Chicago, Illinois, all of the assets of the said bankrupt, including all real estate, and all other personal property or equity, contracts and contract writings, bills, receivable, accounts receivable, and all of the assets of every kind and character belonging to the said bankrupt estate, upon the following terms and conditions, to wit: the said James E. Plew, has paid the sum of $5,000 cash, as a forfeit, and is to make the following payments: $4,500 cash on or before ten days from February 25th 1922, said James E. Plew also agrees to pay all amounts legally due and owing by the said bankrupt to the United States, the State of Florida, the Counties of Okaloosa and Walton, or to any other State, County or municipality, also the amounts due the R. E. L. McCaskill Company, a corporation on real estate, also the amounts due on Charles E. Cessna Mortgage on real estate, also the mortgages hold by the First National Bank of DeFuniak Sprints, Florida, (on said property); that the said assets are to be sold, subject to all of the valid liens thereon, except labor claims in bankruptcy.

R.E.L. McCaskill vice-president of VRC:(St. Andrews Bay News, 04/25/1922) REL McCaskill vp of Valpariaiso Realty Co.

This Indenture, Made this 29th day of April, A.D. 1922, between McCaskill Investment Company, a corporation, existing under the laws of the State of Florida, having its principal place of business in the County of Walton, and James E. Plew of Okaloosa County: All of Lot 4 West of Mill Creek (except 4 acres in a square in the NE Corner of said Lot, the same being 6 chains and 36 links square) of Section 6, Also all of Lot 2, West of Mill Creek in Section 7, all being in Township 1, South, Range 22 West. Subject to right of way for public road leading to Camp Walton, FL and Crestview, FL. This deed made subject to a mortgage in the principal sum of $3000 and now owned by C. O. Trest of DeFuniak Springs, Fla., same being of record in Book 3 at Page 30 of the Public Records of Okaloosa County which grantee herein assumes with interest tat the rate of 8% from May 25, 1921. Grantee also assumes and agrees to pay two thirds of the taxes for the year 1922.

I Hereby Certify, That on this 29 day of April A.D. 1922, before me personally appeared R. E. L McCaskill and J. H. Carpenter, Jr., respectively President and Secretary of McCaskill Investment Company, a corporation, under the laws of the State of Florida, to me known to be the persons described in and who executed the foregoing conveyance to James E. Plew, and severally acknowledged the execution thereof to be their free act and deed as such officers, for the uses and purposes therein mentioned, and that they affixed thereto the official seal of said corporation, and the said instrument is the act and deed of said corporation. N. B. McCaskill Notary. (Warranty Deed 04/29/1922)

Between The McCaskill Investment Company and The Valparaiso Realty Company: All of Section 35 T1N, R19W, containing 640 acres; also NE ¼ of SW ¼ and SE ¼ Section 4, T1S, R19W; NE ¼ and N ½ of Se ¼ & S ½ of SE ¼ Section 16, T1S Range 19W containing 480 acres, making a grand total in both lots of 1120 acres. Grantee herein assumes taxes for the year 1918 and subsequent years. (Warranty Deed 05/04/1922)

May 6, 1922 Warranty Deed with Vendors’ Lien.

This indenture made and entered into by and between McCaskill Investment Company, of DeFuniak Springs and the Valparaiso Realty Company doing business under the laws of Florida. (Total of 17,220.08 acres: in the Niceville and Valparaiso area.)

1. TAXES assessed against said lands for the year 1920 and subsequent thereto are assumed and shall be paid by the Vendee, and all taxes, assessments and charges properly assessed and charged against said lands for said years which may or might become liens superior to the Vendor’s lien hereinafter reserved shall be paid by the said Vendee, its successors, or assigns, and if not so paid the Vendor, its successors or assigns may pay the same and the Vendor’s lien hereinafter reserved shall extend to all such sums so expended, including interest thereon at the rate of eight per cent, per annum.

2. Consolidating Lands: Whereas the Vendor is negotiating with the Government of The United States of America to consolidate its lands, by which pursuant to the agreement now existing approximately 11,000 acres of the lands hereinabove described are to be exchanged with the Government for approximately 4,400 acres, the Vendor, for itself, its successors and assigns, reserves the right and power, to which the Vendee for itself, its successors and assigns, consents, to consummate the exchange of said lands now contemplated, or any other of said lands which may be by and between said Vendor and the Government finally agreed upon and designated, said lands to be so exchanged by the Government, to be lands owned by the US Government within the Choctawhatchee National Forest, so as to consolidate as nearly as maybe the holdings of the said Vendor within the vicinity of Rocky Bayou and Boggy Bayou on said Choctawhatchee Bay; and provided that in the event of any such exchange being accomplished, such of said lands hereinabove described as may be so exchanged shall be without any other act, or deed considered as eliminated from this conveyance, and that such lands as may be accepted in such exchange from the Government therefore shall be conveyed by the Government to the said Vendor and by said Vendor to the said Vendee, its

By Laws of McCaskill Investment Company, a corporation under the laws of the State of Florida, with its principal place of business at DeFuniak Springs, Florida.

So long as R. E. L. McCaskill is president of this corporation, he is hereby authorized to negotiate loans, and to execute as evidence thereof and as security for the payment thereof, any notes, bond or other instrument as may be required, and also to lease, sell, pledge or mortgage the property, real, personal or mixed, or any part thereof of this corporation, said matters and things to be had and done upon such terms and conditions for and in behalf of this corporation, as to the said R. E. L. McCaskill as President, shall seem necessary or convenient. A True Copy. R. E. L. McCaskill, President. (Copy of Article 9 02/15/1923)

History of FL vol. 2, 1923

History of FL vol. 2 page 126History of FL, vol 2 page 127

McCaskill Investment Company to Charles M. Postl, 312 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago: An undivided ½ interest in and to Fractional South ½ of the NE ¼ and East ½ of NW ¼ of Section 29, T2S R19W, containing 112.42 acres, more or less Grantee assumes taxes for the year 1925. A Vendor’s lien is reserved, said lien being evidenced by two certain promissory notes of even date herewith, each in the sum of $1400.00 and maturing in one and two years respectively from date, bearing interest at the rate of 6% per annum, Payable semi Annually, said notes being executed jointly by Charles M. Postl and E. N. Farkas and payable to McCaskill Investment Company. This is on LaGrange Bayou, Freeport, Florida. (05/23/1925 Warranty Deed)

The Valparaiso Realty Company, a corporation, to: R. E. L. McCaskill; The SE¼ of Section 17; and the East ½ of the NW¼ of Section 21; the NE¼ of the SW¼ and the SE¼ of Section 15; the NE¼ of the NW¼ of Section 16; the SE¼ of the SW¼ of Section 9; the NW¼ of the NE¼ of Section 4; all the foregoing being in T1S R19W, Walton County, Florida. And all of Section 33, T1N Walton County containing in all 1200 acres. The 1200 acres is at or near Freeport. (08/12/1925 Warranty Deed)

Charles and Florence Postl, sold to Florence A. McCaskill (Mrs. R. E. L. McCaskill): Part of Sections 19 and 30, T1S R22W what is known as the Postl Place, containing approximately 112 acres, surrounded on the Westerly side by Magnolia or Weekly Bayou; on the Northerly and Easterly sides by Valparaiso Bay, and on the Southerly side by a fence; also all boats, water craft, furniture household equipment and personal property of every character and kind whatsoever now located on the property. (October 1938 Warranty Deed)

Villa Tasso (below) is believed to be R.E.L. McCaskill's last real estate community development project.

Villa Tasso

Villa Tasso Advertisement

Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Lee McCaskill

"Two Unforgettable People”

Robert E. Lee McCaskill was born on June 4, 1871, near Euchee Anna, Florida. He was the oldest son of John Jette and Sara Elizabeth McCaskill, and was educated in the Old West Florida Seminary.

Florence Adele Griffin was born on June 2, 1876, in Chautauqua County, New York. She was the daughter of A. Judson Griffin and Angeline Eades Griffin, and received her education in Sherman, New York and Jacksonville, Florida.

About the year 1893 the Griffin family moved to DeFuniak Springs, Florida, Mr. Griffin being affiliated with the Florida Chautauqua Society. It was during their first winter in Florida that their daughter Florence came to DeFuniak Springs to spend Christmas Holidays with her parents at the Chautauqua Hotel. Robert came to DeFuniak from Freeport to attend a Chautauqua performance. He stayed at the Chautauqua Hotel and it was there that he met Florence Griffin. On September 18, 1895, Robert E. Lee McCaskill and Florence Griffin were married in the First Methodist Church, DeFuniak Springs. Following the wedding, a reception was held at the Chautauqua Hotel. (Mr. and Mrs. Griffin decided to remain in Florida and they purchased and lived in the Chautauqua Hotel.)

Photo of Mrs. Florence McCaskill and children.

Mrs. McCaskill with children

The Robert McCaskill’s made their home in Freeport, Florida, for many, many years, during which time their four children were born - Harold Judson, Margaret Elizabeth, Angeline Lucille and Evelyn Juanita.

“Bob” McCaskill was associated with his father in the lumber and turpentine business. They owned and operated the “commissary”, commonly known as a “Mercantile Store.” Their holdings included ample land for sale for raising poultry, as well as growing fruits, vegetables and pecan trees, and for the sportsman, there was waterfront property available. They later moved to DeFuniak Springs, where there were more advantages for a growing family, particularly, that of their schooling. “Bob” McCaskill continued in his business operations. They lived in DeFuniak Springs most of their lives, with brief resident sojourns in Pensacola and Chicago. DeFuniak Springs, however, was always home and headquarters.

Mr. “R. E. L.”, as he was sometimes called by his friends, became one of the leading developers and landowners in West Florida, placing on sale land holdings accumulated by him and his father.

An opportunist by nature, and his zest for living, made for him many warm friends from all walks of life. His charitable deeds were unpublished; the loyalty to his friends was a tradition. He loved his family, his community, and was always very generous in assisting and contributing to the needs of the people in Walton County. He supported his church, helped “Palmer College“ survive when the church school could not support itself with just tuition as its source of income.

Following are a few of the highlights of Mr. McCaskill’s colorful and successful business career:

Mr. Robert E. Lee McCaskill began developing acreage on Choctawhatchee Bay, the Bayous, Inlet and the Gulf of Mexico waterfronts. He owned and controlled some 200,000 acres of land in Walton, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Escambia Counties.

Mr. McCaskill “started” the town of Valparaiso with John B. Perrine as Advertising Manager. Mr. Perrine came originally from Valpariso, Indiana and suggested the new town on the West Florida coast be named Valparaiso. Thus it was. Mr. James E. Plew purchased Valparaiso, continued its growth; and his sons-in-law, Mr. Chuck Ruckle and Mr. Merryman continued its successful development through many, many years.

The first landing field which is known now as “Eglin Field” was given to the government for such a field by Mr. “Bob” McCaskill.

A flourishing Health Club, “Postl’s Health Club” (patterned after a health club in Chicago by the same name) was built and later sold by Mr. McCaskill to the U. S. Government, to be used as Eglin Field’s first Officers Club.

From about 1925 - 1930 Mr. McCaskill had real estate offices in Chicago, Illinois, in the Tribune Building. From there he operated a chauffer-driven automobile (seven passenger), offering round trip excursions to DeFuniak, with accommodations at the Walton Hotel, paid for by the McCaskill Co., bringing persons interested in visiting West Florida, “land of health, happiness and prosperity.”

Mr. McCaskill referred to the beautiful Lake DeFuniak as, “the dimple of West Florida.” He was sometimes referred to as the “Baron of Northwest Florida.” But, over and beyond his well deserved recognition as a distinguished citizen of significant civic and philanthropic accomplishments, there are many tales of compassion that characterize Robert E. Lee McCaskill as a human being made beautiful by the concern he always showed for his fellow men. For example, selling a plot of land to a buyer was never the end of a deal for him. Rather, it was an opportunity to form a friendship. Once he sold a small farm to a family and visited them several times during the next few months. He noticed one day that the little daughter was drinking milk from a can of Pet Milk and asked why this was so; the farmer, who owned some hogs and chickens, replied that he could not afford a cow and that was the only milk they could get, since he lived too far from town to have milk delivered. The very next day, Mr. McCaskill sent one of his employees to an auction in Dothan and Brought the farmer back a thoroughbred Holstein cow who was who was a very good milk producer. Of course, this cow was a gift to the farmer. Truly, the milk of human kindness flowed through the McCaskill’s veins.

On September 18, 1945, Mr. and Mrs. McCaskill celebrated their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary with a large number of friends attending a reception at the “Walton Hotel” - the original wedding reception having been in that famous hotel of Chautauqua days!

Mr. Robert E. Lee McCaskill died on January 29, 1946.

 Kiwanis Club Tribute to R.E.L McCasikill:

“This community has lost one of its strongest boosters and promoters. He has heralded the advantages of this section of West Florida to the remote corners of the nation. He has been known as a ’One Man Chamber of Commerce.’ The club has lost one of its most loyal and faithful members. His cheerful spirit and ready wit has been the source of enjoyment and encouragement over all West Florida and beyond those boundaries.”

Mrs. McCaskill and three daughters survived, (their only son, Harold McCaskill, died from injuries received in an automobile accident September 23, 1943.) The daughters are Mrs. Margaret Paulson of Elgin, Illinois, Mrs. Angeline Levey of Pensacola and Miss Evelyn McCaskill of Jacksonville, Florida; three granddaughters, Suzanne and Angeline McCaskill and Charlene Levey; also a daughter-in-law, Mrs. Harold McCaskill. His surviving sisters were Mrs. D. W. Burke, Mrs. W. O. Campbell and Mrs. W. I Stinson and one brother, J. J. McCaskill of Marianna, Florida.

The funeral services were held in the First Presbyterian Church, DeFuniak Springs, and burial was in Magnolia Cemetery.

After the death of her husband, Mrs. McCaskill continued to direct her late husbands once large and widespread business. She continued with the basic structures of much of the interests, church and social, as well as community life of DeFuniak Springs. During Mr. McCaskill’s lifetime, Mrs. McCaskill was a constant associate of her husband in his real estate business, through the many years of its existence. Mrs. McCaskill never forced payment from any debtors. “Foreclose? My goodness no!” - “I could never do that” said Mrs. McCaskill in an interview.

Mrs. McCaskill had many interests, even besides her responsibilities in business. She was one of the founders and was the first President of the Valparaiso Women’s Club. She was an Honorary member of the Pilot Club of DeFuniak Springs. She was presented with a Certificate of Life Membership in the women of the Presbyterian Church.

Florence Griffin McCaskill died in Pensacola, Florida, on November 23, 1975, at the age of 99 years.

The following tribute was printed in the “Christian Observer” on 01/21/1976;

“The day prior to Thanksgiving 1975 marks the occasion when a sorrowful farewell was given to Mrs. McCaskill, an illustrious and beloved member of the First Presbyterian Church of DeFuniak Springs, Florida.

In this coming June Mrs. McCaskill would have celebrated her 100th birthday and during the past century she had contributed much of her time, talents and substance to the glory of her Maker.

Involved in every fact facet of our Church’s activities, she directed her energy primarily to the Sunday School and the youth of our community; and was affectionately regarded for her visits, not only to the shut-ins but the indigents of this entire area.

The beautiful Biblical painting “The ascension of Christ’ which graces the fore of our church’s sanctuary, is one of the notable gifts attributed to her generosity.

For many decades, Mrs. McCaskill worked unstintingly in the city’s development and was instrumental in procuring for the town its first hygienic regulations. Also she was an ardent worker in the founding of a public library, guiding its growth and destiny of the Library Board of which she was an original member, relinquishing such responsibility only a few years ago. And, as a Charter Member of the women’s club, she ever actively participated in its cultural pursuits.

With a life so fruitful in service to others, her immediate family and a legion of friends can take solace in the thought ‘she is not gone who lives on in our hearts’.”

Surviving Mrs. McCaskill are three daughters; Mrs. Margaret Paulson, St. Charles, Illinois, Mrs. Angeline Levey, Pensacola, Florida, Miss Evelyn McCaskill, Jacksonville, Florida and her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Harold McCaskill, DeFuniak Florida; three granddaughters, Mrs. Suzanne Padgett, Tallahassee, Florida, Mrs. Angeline Smith, Atlanta, Georgia, Mrs. Charlene Holler, Clemson, South Carolina also, twelve great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Mrs. McCaskill‘s funeral services were held in the first Presbyterian Church and she was buried in Magnolia Cemetery, DeFuniak Springs, Florida.

(Copied from a photocopy of a document lent to the Historical Society Museum by Miss Evelyn McCaskill, Jacksonville, Florida. The author and the occasion of the document were not known.)

Mrs. McCaskill - Godmother

McCaskill Company sold