Niceville 1917 - 1929

(A section of the NICEVILLE, FLORIDA - Online History Center)

Histories used often to be stories: the fashion now is to leave out thestory. Our histories are stall-fed: the facts are absorbed by the reflections, as the meat is sometimes by the fat.”
 ~Augustus William Hare & Julius Charles Hare, 1827

Okaloosa County Map 1917: (Okaloosa County maps on this website) - Description: A map of Okaloosa County showing county lines, the county seat at Milligan, railroads, canals, and principal auto routes connecting the major cities current to 1917. The Places Names are: Garniers, Mary Esther, Niceville, Bethel, Crestview, Destin and Laurel Hill.

World War I soldiers reported residing in Niceville: (Note: April 6, 1917 “The United States declared war on Germany and her allies and entered a conflict that had raged since August 1914. 42,000 Floridians served.” - Florida Memory State Library and Archives of Florida).

Pvt. Sonnie B. Hoskins (W) Co. A 2nd Inf. Fla NG; 2 Bn. 329 Infantry; Co. D 102 Infantry to discharge. Served overseas 10/17/18 to 04/07/1919. Honorably discharged on 04/26/1919.

Pvt. Connie L. Weekley (W) Co. B 306 Engrs; Co. E 106 Engrs to discharge. Served overseas 09-17-1918 to 07/05/1919. Honorably discharged on 07/16/1919.

Pvt. Ransom L. Allen (W) was born at Niceville. Co. B 306 Engr; Co. E 106 Engrs to discharge. Served overseas: 09/17/1918 to 07/05/1919. Honorably discharged 07/15/1919 on demobilization.

Pvt. Vinson Edge (W) was born at Niceville. Co. F 306 Engrs; Co. E 106 Engrs to discharge. Served overseas from 09/17/1918 to 07/05/1919. Honorably discharged on 07/16/1919

Pvt. James Allen (W) was born at Niceville. Co. B 17 Infantry; Hq. Co. 17 Inf; Hq. Co. 71 Infantry. Honorably discharged on 01/24/1919.

Pvt. Miles Smith (C) 151 Dep/ Brig; Co. A 519 Engrs; 13 Serv Co. 20 Engrs. Served overseas 07/15/1918 to 06/24/1919. Honorably discharged on 06/30/1919

Pvt. Otis Evans (W) Co. D 306 Am Tn; Btry C 339 FI. Served overseas 08/24/1918 to 01/31/1919. Honorably discharged on 02/14/1919.

Pvt. James P. Edge (W) was born at Niceville. 156 Dep. Brig; 327 Sup. Co. Q MC. Served overseas from 09/15/1918 to 06/28/1919. Honorably discharged on 07/07/1919.

PFC Leonard Phelps (W) 156 Dep. Brig; Hq Det 306 AM; Co. D 306 Am. Tn. Served overseas from 08/06/1918 to 06/22/1919. Honorably discharged 06/26/1919.

Corp. Jessie Cannon (C) 156 Dep. Brig; Co. E 807 Pion Inf. Served overseas 09/04/1918 to 07/03/1919. Honorably discharged 07/10/1919

Mec. Dave McKinney (W) 156 Dep Brig. Honorably discharged 11/12/1918.

Pvt. Charles Hartley Evans (W) Btry B 26 Bn FA Repl Draft Camp Jackson; Co. K 4 Provisional Regt 156 Dep. Brig; Ord Gd Co. 6 Metuchen NJ; 12 Ord Cd. Co. Middletown, Pa; Gillespie Co. NJ. Honorably discharged 03/07/1919.

Pvt. Adolphus B. Weekley (W) was born at Niceville 09/11/1895. 156 Dep. Brig. to discharge. Honorably discharged 03/26/1919.

SGT Jack Richardson (W) Hq. Camp Shelby Miss. (Personnel Office); School for Bakers & Cooks Camp Shelby, Miss; Mch. Camp Dix NJ. Honorably discharged 07/26/1919.

Pvt. Teller W. Howell (W) Co. L. 150 Inf. Honorably discharged 01/18/1919

Pvt. Will Copeland (W) QMC Camp Johnston, Fla.; Co. A 540 Engrs. Served overseas 10/27/1918 to 12/09/1918. Born 11/04/1895 - Died 12/09/1918.

Pvt. John L. Early (W) was born at Niceville 05/11/1897. 156 Dep. Brig; Hq Co 9 Regt FA Repl. Honorably discharged on 12/10/1918.

 Pvt. William A. Rhodes (W) Btry E 318 FA. Served overseas from 06/07/1918 to 06/11/1919. Honorably discharged 06/18/1919.

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 on 10/14/1917)

Robert Parrish and L. L. Shaw made a business trip to DeFuniak Friday. W. H. Parrish of Crestview was here a few days last week repairing cars.

Mr. Gunter of Opp, Ala. was here several days last week. While in our beautiful little city he purchased a home and will move here in a few weeks. Opp’s loss is Niceville’s gain.

Mr. and Mrs. Ottis Gunter, and Robert Parrish motored to Andalusia Saturday where Mrs. Gunter is on a visit to friends and relatives.

Miss Gertie Hatcher visited home folks at Freeport Saturday and Sunday.

Mr. and Mrs. Evans, who have been having their launch, Arcadia, repaired left for Camp Walton last Monday.

B. P. Edge, B. S. Spence and E. J. Allen motored to DeFuniak and Freeport Sunday on a business and pleasure trip combined.

H. T. Helms is doing business matters in Pensacola this week.

Ralph Williams and Alex Howell, both of Destin, spent Tuesday with home folks.

J. F. Edge of Mossy Head, was in our city on business Monday.

Mrs. Joe E. Allen who has been on a visit to her husband for the past few months, left for her home in Bellwood, Alabama last Friday.

Mrs. Lon Allan and Miss Lela Ervin, are both visiting in Pensacola this week.

The ladies of Niceville have changed their Prayer Meeting from Wednesday evening to Friday evening, and we wish their continue in success.

Messrs. W. C. Pryor and R. L. Turner paid our school a pleasant visit. The school children enjoyed an old timey arithmetic match last Friday. Mesdames Sessions, Williams, Anchors and Early were present. When it comes to school matters, Niceville will soon make any one set up and take due notice, for a new spirit seems to have seized the community. Several families have moved to our growing little city, for the benefit of school, while some are boarding and several in other communities in reach are coming every day, and still only a few are out yet. Though we hope they will come in soon.” (Okaloosa News Journal 11/30/1917)

Niceville Dots:
We are glad to note the improvement of Mrs. B. P. Edge.

Dr. McGriff and Joe Edge were at DeFuniak Friday.

Mr. Rose, of Atlanta, Ga. was here last week, home seeking and seemed to be impressed very much with our little city.

Mr. and Mrs. Anchors were at Mary Esther Sunday visiting.

Joe Edge and W. H. Parrish were at Crestview Sunday.

Mr. Gunter and family have recently moved here from Opp, Ala., and purchased a place. We are glad to welcome them here, while there is room for many more yet.

Sam Cutts and wife of the Dye plant were here visiting relatives Sunday.

The people here were sorry to read in The News of the failure of the Star Mail Route to be established which would have given us a daily mail instead of tri-weekly as it is now.

B. P. Edge is remodeling and lengthening the bridge at the head of the bayou. This work has been needing attention for quite awhile.

School will vacate Friday for two weeks for the holidays. The exhibition will be given at the school house Saturday night instead of Friday as announced last week.” (The Okaloosa News 12/21/1917)

Okaloosa’s Dye Plant: “Uncle George” Webb, our genial and accommodating Tax Assessor, who was the Tax Collector, J. A. Richbourg, was down in the Bay Country last week looking after the duties of their office, informs The News that they had the pleasure of going over and inspecting the $50,000 dye works plant located at Black Point, or near Garniers, and that it is a wonderous proposition. Mr. Webb brought us a sample of the dye both before and after it has been refined and it is now on exhibition at The News office for those who are interested to come in and see.” (The Okaloosa News Journal 02/15/1918)

The Okaloosa News-Journal successor to the Okaloosa News, the Okaloosa Leader and the County Journal, consolidated, March 22, 1918. (Okaloosa News Journal 03/22/1918)

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 to: The R. E. L. McCaskill Company - All of fractional Section 16 T1S of R22W, containing 268.33 acres. (Walton County Warranty Deed 05/14/1918) (Note: This land is located on Rocky Bayou in Niceville. McCaskill sold it to John B. Perrine 04/06/1921 and it is possibly the only land purchased by John Perrine in Okaloosa County. His wife, Mary Perrine and Leslie Frank Perrine and Charles Perrine were deeded property from William L. McCollom in Valparaiso.)

(Note: These entries are from McCaskill advertising.) 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. My people will come at an early date from Racine.” Mrs. J. C. Gewalt, Racine, Wis.

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. 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

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

This certifies that Adam P. Kastler of Valparaiso, Florida is the registered holder of this certificate to 4 acres of land covered by this certificate have been paid for in full, said number of acres being placed in cultivation to Sugar Cane, or other crops in the year 1921 and said development to continue as provided herein and in accordance with the contract in writing which for reference is made a part hereof and a copy printed on reverse hereof. Said land being situated in Walton or Okaloosa County, Florida, being a part of the land deeded in trust to Wm. L. McCollum & Co., Trustees, Registrars and Auditors, and hereinafter referred to as “Trust Lands” and that Trust Lands to the amount stated in this Certificate and all other Final Certificates outstanding have been vested in Wm. L. McCollum & Co., free from all encumbrances to be held by the said Trustee in trust to be conveyed to the registered holders of this Certificate and other like certificates subject to the terms and conditions as hereinafter set forth. (Warranty Deed 06/25/1918)

Niceville News, Okaloosa News Journal June 21, 1918 (left) and July 12, 1918 (right):  (Note: Mrs. McCaskill of DeFuniak Springs 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.") The hotel was later named Valparaiso Hotel.

Niceville News 1918

More Valparaiso Advertising: “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 smoke, 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)

Right of way through Nathey homestead (Niceville) for Crestview to Camp Walton road given on October 16, 1918 by Mary Jane Nathey, widow of William John Nathey:

Right of way for Crestview-Camp Walton Road 1918 through Nathey Homestead
The first proposed plat of Niceville drawn November 21, 1918 and filed March 24, 1920 showing Niceville Hotel (see Okaloosa News Journal June 21, 1918 and July 12, 1918 ) and Nathey Gristmill at Trout Lake.
(Note: The McCaskill’s owned land along Rosson Branch and he was developing Boggy Bayou (For marketing purposes he referred to it as Valparaiso Bay). Mrs. McCaskill bought the Niceville Hotel that was later marketed as the Valparaiso Hotel.

Niceville Plat of 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 21st 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).

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)

Expert Report: “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)

“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)

(Note: Was this the forerunner of the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival?) The Picnic At Niceville: “It was through the kindness of our efficient and ever accommodating Tax Collector, Hon. J. A. Richbourg permitting us to use his Ford that the Editor and Mrs. Mapoles and our little son, Clayton Webb, together with Mr. and Mrs. T. C. Vaughn and their little son, Johnnie, and Grady Keel, were able to attend the picnic and fish fry at Niceville and enjoy the hospitality of those good people Saturday.
     There were present about 5 or 6 hundred people and there was never assembled a more good natured and orderly bunch of people in Okaloosa County, there being only two or three whom you could tell was drinking liquor, and these were very quiet and orderly. The dinner was one of the best and most plentiful we ever saw served, and we especially thank the good ladies of the place who helped to prepare it. There was dancing for those who enjoyed it, and boat riding, automobile riding, etc., for others who did not dance.
The speaking in the afternoon by Messrs. J. A. Hart, and J. F. Richbourg, espousing their cause why they should be elected representative of Okaloosa County, was very interesting, clean and wholesome, and all in all the day was spent most pleasantly and much enjoyed by all that were present, and the editor is looking forward to the time when he can enjoy another outing just like that one.” (Okaloosa News Journal 05/31/1918)

Niceville: "The first new bungalow at Valparaiso is nearing completion, which adds much beauty to the new little city". (Okaloosa News Journal 07/19/1918)

Niceville: Mrs. B. M. Archibald, Miss Lula Edge, Lena Armstrong, Harry Sunns, James Foster and Ellison Nathey, all went cross to Valparaiso on the launch Batress, Wednesday afternoon to see the new bungalows.” (Okaloosa News Journal 07/26/1918)

Niceville: Mr. Howard Steele, Engineer in charge of villa site development will leave Wednesday for his house in Chicago for a two week’s visit among relatives and transact business.” (Okaloosa News Journal 08/30/1918)

Destin:  (Okaloosa News Journal 11/01/1918) (Note: Children at Destin atttend school at Niceville.)

Destin children attend Niceville school

The first proposed plat for Niceville, Florida was drawn November 21, 1918. The McCaskill’s owned land along Rosson Branch and were developing Boggy Bayou.

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

Destin: "Fishing has been very poor the past week, there being only about 13,000 pounds of mackerel and 2,000 of Sea Salmon caught, the entire lot was bought by Mr. Claude Meigs of Niceville. We are very glad to have a market so close by and a man capable of handling our business. Mr. Ralph Williams and crew all went to Niceville for church service Easter and they report a nice trip and good service. Edwin and Charlie Marlow carried Cpt. George S. Marlow to Niceville Sunday evening from which place he went to the county Hub of Okaloosa on some very important business." (Okaloosa News Journal 04/25/1919)

(Note: The following article that ran in the local newspaper was an attempt to force the issue that the Niceville post office would be renamed to faciliate the marketing of Valparaiso. Until then mail addressed to and from Valparaiso had to go through the Niceville post office.  The community of Valparaiso was too small to justify the establishment of a post office. During the latter part of 1918 purchasers sent their payments to a Chicago address: "All remittances on account of the purchase price of land shall be made payable to Wm. L. McCollom & Co., and mailed to them in care of Valparaiso Development Co., 20 E. Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Ill." After John Perrine arrived in Valparaiso in August 1919 to represent the company, remittances could be made to a Valparaiso address once the Niceville post office was renamed. As written, the name change seems highly irregular as it was not initiated by paperwork submitted by the Niceville Postmaster. It took someone of considerable influence with an interest in the development of Valparaiso to effect the change. Mr. Sessions, Niceville's Postmaster at that time, declined to continue to serve as Postmaster. Unlike the welcomed change of the name of the post office from Boggy to Niceville on November 5, 1910 that corresponded with the name change of the community, this time the community did not change names. Niceville continued to be Niceville. Newspapers continued to reported news from Niceville.  The 1920 census does not list the residents of the west side of Boggy Bayou separately. The 1920 census for Niceville included the residents on the west side of Boggy Bayou. Lula Edge is listed as the Postal Clerk at Niceville. “Niceville changed to “Valparaiso” Washington, D. C. May 28 - Upon request of prominent citizens of Niceville, Fla., it has been changed to Valparaiso, Fla. The matter was taken up personally by Congressman J. H. Smithwick with J. C. Koons, First Ass’t. Postmaster General, who issued the order making the change requested. Mr. Warren Armstrong, Post Master at Niceville has been reappointed Postmaster at Valparaiso. This commission and other necessary papers have been forwarded to him by the proper authorities.” (The Okaloosa News Journal 05/30/1919)

Sessions Decline Postmaster

(Note: Advertisement as written) ==Appetite Builders =:= We Have Them! No, they are not drugs. You don’t need drugs to promote a good appetite. You need Pure, Fresh, Full Strength Groceri’s and that is just what you will find, alwas, at our store. We are especially careful at this time to offer our customers no food that will not bear the most severe tests of PURITY, FRESHNESS & STRENGTH. Always come to us for foods that will return you 100 per cent efficiency in strength & vitality. B. P. EDGE & WARN ARMSTRONG, Niceville, Florida. Edge & Armstrong, General Merchants Niceville, Florida, CARRY THE LARGEST & BEST STOCK IN THE COAST COUNTRY. They hammer prices down to the lowest point. THEIR STOCK IS FRESH & DEPENDABLE It will pay to motor miles to trade with them. COME AND SEE US, PURCHASE AND RETURN HOME HAPPY. EDGE - ARMSTRONG GRESTEST GENERAL STORE in the Coast Country. (The Okaloosa News Journal 05/30/1919)

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)

Niceville News: Forget your troubles and come to the “Tacky Party” at Niceville School Building, Friday night June 27th. The party is for the benefit of the church. Admission 5 cts. Ice Cream Cones 5 cts. Cold drinks 5 cts. Drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die. Cy and Susan Gandershanks with their violins accompanied by Plugmucket at the Piano will furnish good music. A prize is offered for the tackiest man and woman. Come one, come all. Bring your nickels and enjoy your selves and help the church.” (The Okaloosa News Journal 06/27/1919)

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 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

This indenture, between W. W. Harrison, single, B. H. and Irene Sutton, of Walton County to Wm. L. McCollum & Company Trustees for The Valparaiso Development Company for $650 dollars the: NE ¼ of Section 2 T1S R23W (on Eglin just west of Valparaiso). This is also intended to convey all right, title and interest in a certain turpentine lease given by B. C. Allen to B. H. Sutton and expiring in the winter of 1922, B. H. Sutton for himself relinquishing same to party of the second part. Taxes to be paid by party of second part for 1918 and subsequent years. (Warranty Deed 08/02/1919 - Transaction was at DeFuniak Springs on Aug. 4th.)

(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)

(Note: See store ad dated 04/09/1920 regarding the location of the store.) Edge and Armstrong Store Valparaiso, Florida, Carry a complete line of staple Dry Goods, Dress Goods, Notions, Laces and embroideries; Ladies’, Misses’, Men’s and Boys’ Hats; A complete line of shoes for the entire family; heavy and fancy groceries; cigars and tobacco. (September 19, 1919)

Windel and Ruth Ann Cauley to Wm. L. McCollum and Co., Trustees for the Valparaiso Development Company of Cook County, State of Illinois, sell to wit: Beginning at the South East corner of the SW ¼ of the NE ¼ of Section 4 T1S R19W (near Freeport), containing 10 acres more or less, running North 350 yards, thence West 140 yards, thence South 350 yards, thence East 140 yards to place of beginning. And the said parties of the first part do hereby fully warrant the title to said land and will defend the same against the lawful claims of all persons whomsoever. AND: Needham G. and Louisa Garrett to Wm. L. McCollum and Co. Trustee for the Valparaiso Development Co., Cook County, Illinois to wit: The West ½ OF THE NE ¼ of Section 4 in T1S, R19W (near Freeport), except 10 acres in the SE corner of said tract being 70 acres more or less. Said 10 acre tract being known as Windel Cauley tract. (Warranty Deed 09/22/1919)

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)

The Dye Works at Black Point Will Soon Resume Operations: The “Dye Works,” at Black Point, on the Bay between Camp Walton and Valparaiso, will resume operations again soon probably before New Year’s. This company has been reorganized, with ample capital, and is known as the Gulf Reduction Company. Mr. C. G. Reaves, Jr., vice president of the Inter-State Trust Banking Co., New Orleans, is president of the corporation. To bring Mr. Reaves nearer home, he is president of the Bank of Crestview. The fact that Mr. Reaves, who is already heavily interested in Okaloosa county, heads this corporation is mighty good proof that something will be doing at Black Point. The dye product is dug from the ground, run through a process, and from this finished product the dye is made. New and more modern machinery will be put in, the works greatly enlarged, and many people employed.” (Okaloosa News Journal 11/21/1919)

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 Company, 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)

Lost: “Somewhere between Dorcas and Niceville one pocket book containing some cash and some valuable papers. Parties finding same will please leave at the News-Journal office or with the clerk of Court. I am old and not very able to work. My age is 90 years. E. A. Bowdoin” (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.

Mr. B. P. Edge Again Making Money: “For several years Mr. B. P. Edge conducted a general merchandise business in the town of Boggy, and made money. Later the name was changed to Niceville, and is a part of the town of Valparaiso. Mr. Edge retired a few years ago, and the town of Niceville lost its fame as a merchandise center. Since the town became part of Valparaiso, Mr. Edge is again making money in the Niceville section, and can be found waiting on his friends and customers. He has a congenial partner, Mr. Warren Armstrong, who has many friends. Mr. Edge is one of those men whom it is a pleasure to know, and when he comes up to Crestview, as he did this week, his arms got sore from shaking hands. He declared Tuesday that he would have to return home, not because he wanted to, but as a matter of self protection, or his good right arm would be still for a week. As he stood on the front porch of the court house, the News-Journal news gatherer could not but help notice that every man who came to the courthouse - and it was county court day, and many came - knew Pomeroy Edge. The News-Journal news gatherer was in Mr. Edge’s store a few days go, and could not get a chance to say “Howdy,” not liking to but in. But when we met Mr. Edge in Crestview he caught particular fits for not butting in, hence this statement of facts in order to square himself. Some day the News-Journal news gatherer will go down to Mr. Edge’s store, sit out on the gallery, look out over the beautiful water view, and smoke up every dogon cigar Mr. Edge has in his store, and tell Mr. Edge they will be paid for when the news gatherer kills his hogs, which will be several years from now. If ever. Of course it will be all right with Pomeroy, for many of his friends have pulled off worse stunts than that, for if they had not Mr. Edge would be better off in this world’s goods. When you go down his way, make a call, and you will meet two genial men when you cut in on Messrs. Edge and Armstrong.” (Okaloosa News Journal 12/19/1919)

The Map of Okaloosa County, 1920, U. S. Railroad Administration map (on this website):. This detail shows railroads and major cities and towns current to 1920 for Okaloosa County. Major waterways are present, though secondary to the railways functions. Featured cities in this detail include: Brick, Newell, Oak Grove, Hilton, Hester, Givins, Baker, Milligan, Volda, Crestview, Auburn, Garden City, Campton, Pineway, Schulman, Laurelhill, Niceville, Bolton, Camp Walton, Destin, Mary Esther, Garniers, Gattis, Howell, and Metts.

January 3-12, 1920 Census of Niceville (Precinct 14) 185 households reported. The primary occupations are laborers at the sawmill and turpentine farm, fishing and shipbuilding. The following ia a sampling of occupations and residents of Niceville:
Fishermen: Ralph Williams, Lawrence Allen, J. B. Allen, R. L. Allen, Joe Allen, E. A. Nathey, T. W. Edwards, A. A. Howell, W. T. Howell, T. W. Hudson, L. W. Willingham, James Burlison, Curtis Burlison, Wilder Burlison, Ben Boone, Charles Granthum, Otis Granthum, John Melvin, Joe Marler, Clarence Marler, Ed Marler, William Marler, Ernest Marler, Dave Marler, Edwin Marler, L. D. Woodward, George Destin, George D. Destin, John Destin, Dewey Destin, Leonard Destin, Homer Jones, and J. W. Moore.
A. A. Brunson, Fish Hauler
C. G. Meigs, Fish Salesman
Sailors: H. D. McKinney, Horace Johnson, C. L. (H?)Marler, W. A. Reddick and J. N. Reeves.
William Logan - Machinist, Shipyard
Ship Carpenters: J. R. Parrish, M. L. Hudson, 
Merchants - B. P. Edge, H. T. Helms, Ernest Teaner, W. L. Owens, W. J. Armstrong, V. F. Verbeck and A. E. Howell
Lena May Armstrong, Saleswoman, General Merchandise
James Armstrong, Garage Mechanic
Joe Edge, Automobile Mechanic
W. A. Anderson, Automobile Machinist  
Lula J. Edge, Post Office Clerk
Edward Freiwald, Dry Cleaners
Louise Freiwald, Musician
James A. Fryer - Theatrical
A. Lamke - Artist
Mary Marshall - Milliner
School Teachers: Alice Allen, Mrs. M .E. Phelps, Patty Parrish, Eva Galbraith, and Mallory Barrow
G. B. Anchors - Forest Ranger
Mary Jane Nathey - Proprietor, Boardinghouse
Sarah E. Wright - Keeper, Boardinghouse
Colon O. Trest - Lumberman, Bayou Mill Company
J. M. Smith - Engineer, Steam Mill
J. A. Marshall - Millwright
Sylvester Spence - Manager, Sawmill
B. S. Spence - Sawyer, Sawmill
Ben Allen and Joe Allen - Sawmill Firemen
Sawmill Laborers: G. W. Pippins, J. J. Nathey, Frank Brunson, Dallas Brunson, W. B. Spencer, Bartlet Spencer, A. Edge, A. J. Richardson, C. T. Ward, Hinson Ward, R. E. Nathey, Henry Davis, R. Howell, R. W. Morgan and Lee Reeves
House Carpenters: John Able, William Meuller, Jimmy Wright, P. B. Campbell, D. McLeod, James Parrish, T. N. Bell, C. V. Murphy, W. Allen, C. A. Tuttle, James McKinney, W. C. Marshall, J. S. Senterfett, W. R. Senterfett, J. T. Allen, D. E. Jenne, J. D. Dasinger, J. E. Early, B. A. Hicks, and J. R. Smith.
Charley Reed - House Painter
Curtis Martin - Superintendent of Construction
Brick Masons: James Rooks, M. G. Garrison, Earnest Harttess and Jesse Phelps.
Freight Truck Driver: M. A. McCullough, George Nathey, H. G. Gunnells and S. Rivers  
J. M. Smith - Engineer, Steam Mill
Charles Lear, Manager Valparaiso Development Company
Evelyn Lear - Telephone Operator
J. R. Parrish - Ship Carpenter
B. S. Spence - Sawyer, Sawmill
Robert J. Craig - Railroad Agent
D. S. Lewis - Railroad Clerk
David Spencer - Hotel Manager
Frank Garner - Hotel Manager
Frank Lear - Chemicals Salesman
J. B. Perrine - President, Valparaiso Development Company
V. C. Lawrence - Ice Manufacturer
M. N. Galbraith - Hotel Barber
Paul Mueller - Optician
L. L. Shaw - Turpentine Farm Operator
J. R. Broxson - Fireman, Steam Mill
A. J. Givens - Watchman, Dye Plant William Bishell - Farmer, Valparaiso Development Company
James Reddick - Stock Farmer, Valparaiso Development Company
Henry Reddick - Stock Farmer, Valparaiso Development Company
F. B. Noble - Manager, Valparaiso Development Company Stock Farms
L. L. Shaw - Operator, Turpentine Farm
James Reynolds - Foreman, Turpentine Farm
James Bacon - Distiller, Turpentine Farm

Jessie Dassinger, Clyde Dassinger and Mary A. Dassinger sold to Wm. L. McCollum & Co, Trustee for the Valparaiso Development Co., of Valparaiso, Fla., 4 acres in the NE corner of Lot 4 and 1 acre in the NW corner of the SW ¼ of the SE ¼ all in Section 6 TIS R22W upon which is located the water grits mill and residence of J. W. Moore. Also the following described and beginning at NE corner of Lot 4 Section 6 TIS R22W thence running west 6 chains and 36 links to point of beginning thence West 1 chain to corner thence South 10 chains and 54 links thence East 7 chains and 36 links to creek thence North 4 chains and 18 links thence West 6 chains and 36 links thence North 6 chains and 36 links to point of beginning all being in Okaloosa County, Florida containing 8 acres, more or less. (Warranty Deed 01/05/1920) (Note: This land is on Warren Armstrong’s homestead. The portion referred to as the water grits mill and residence of J. W. Moore is the Nathey Gristmill and house for the miller that was built in 1857. That location today is at the 18th hole at Eglin’s Eagle Golf Course. When the golf course was developed (is mentioned in an article dated 08/18/1921in R. E. L. McCaskill's information on this website), it was known as the Chicago Golf Course and later to referred to as the Valparaiso Golf Course although it was not located in Valparaiso.)

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)

Boy Crippled in Sawmill: “A 12 or 13 old son of S. S. Spence met with a painful accident in his father’s sawmill, at Niceville, last Thursday. His right hand was cut by a saw, and Drs. McGriff and Webb found it necessary to amputate the forefinger but saving the thumb and other fingers.” (Okaloosa News Journal 04/09/1920)

Edge & Armstrong Store

(Okaloosa News Journal 04/09/1920)

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)

Catching Fish in Gulf Off Okaloosa Coast: “Mackerel are being brought by the boatload into Niceville. The weather has been rough and fishing has not reached its crest, but fish of all kinds are being caught plentifully. Mackerel are especially fine, and many people motor to Niceville and buy fish “right out of the water.” The new ice factory at Niceville is nearing completion, and soon it will be made there in large quantities. This will be a boon to fisherman for it will no longer be necessary to ship ice. The fishing industry in Okaloosa is only in its infancy, but the success made by those engaged in it is just a hint of what can be done on this coast. On the East Coast there are millions invested, and the same fish are as plentiful in the Gulf off Okaloosa coast as in the Atlantic off Fort Pierce, Stewart and other points. The only reason the industry is not as large is that we have not talked about our fishing opportunities like the people of the East Coast have theirs. It is the same as with other opportunities in Okaloosa. We do not talk enough about them. As old Josh Billings used to say: “He that does not toot his own horn the same will not be tooted.” Josh was some philosopher, even if he did write his proverbs half a century ago. Vesuvius would never have had a cano if he had not supported, and got on a rampage and covered up Pompeii, almost nineteen hundred years ago - buried the city so deep that man never has been able to dig it all out. “A city set on a hill can not be hid”, and “Do not place your light under a bushel,” were uttered by the greatest man ever on earth, “if indeed it be lawful to call Him a man.” (Okaloosa News Journal 04/16/1920)

New Store at Camp Walton: Mr. E. R. McKee will erect a building at Camp Walton, and it is reported that Mr. B. P. (Pomeroy) Edge will open a general store therein. The building will be in the neighborhood of the old Masonic building.”

B. P. and Amy Edge and Warren and Lula Armstrong sold to William L. McCollum & Co., Trustees for Valparaiso Development Co.: Beginning at the SE corner of NE ¼ Section 12 T1S R23W running North 11 ½ chains thence West 1 ¾ chains thence North 2 chains and 40 links to point of beginning at the Waters edge thence West 6 chains and 36 links thence North 3 chains and 18 links thence East 3 chains and 18 links - thence North 3 chains and 18 links to the Waters edge thence running along the Waters edge on 63 degrees South of East to a pine stump - Thence South 5 3/4 chains to point of beginning - Containing 3 acres more or less in Okaloosa Co., Florida. On March 12, 1920 this land in Valparaiso was deeded from the Willingham’s to Edge and Armstrong. (Warranty Deed 06/28/1920)

Plague Increases in South: “Fourth Case Develops in Pensacola, One in Port Arthur, Texas. Pensacola, Fla., July 7. - The fourth case of bubonic plague was officially reported here today, Henry Hudson, driver for an express company, having contracted the disease. Citizens at a mass meeting today demanded that the City Commission pass an ordinance providing for rat extermination. Mayor Sanders said the ordinance would be enacted as quickly as possible. Word came from the Surgeon General’s office in Washington that unless rats are killed the city would be placed under quarantine.” (The New York Times 07/08/1920)

Bubonic Plague

Wm. L. McCollum & Company Trustees for the Valparaiso Development Company Valparaiso, Florida for $500 sold to Mrs. Mary E. Perrine of Valparaiso, Florida, Lot #15 in Block #7 in Plat #1 in Valparaiso Okaloosa County, Florida. (Warranty Deed 07/27/1920)

Attorney in Fact: July 31, 1920: Know All Men By These Presents: That, Wm. L. McCollum, sole owner of the Wm. L. McCollum & Company, does hereby constitute and appoint E. A. Worthington, of Pensacola, Florida, as his attorney-in-fact to sign all deeds, contracts, audits, and other Documents coming under the service contract of Valparaiso Development Company and Wm. L. McCollum & Company, to perform all acts and do all things the same though the said Wm. L. McCollum were present in all cases. Witnesses this day at Valparaiso, Florida, this 31st day of July 1920. Witnessed: Clarence F. Lear and A. Ray Reif.

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)

Women's Right to Vote: The 19th US Constitutional Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, became law on August 26, 1920.

This is an excerpt from the article entitled 'Okaloosa County, Five Years Old Is Growing, Prosperous, Happy'."There is our Gulf Coast, where the people are flocking in droves, erecting homes on the shores of the Sound and the many bays and inlets - a locality that is a perfect fairy land. In the midst sits Valparaiso, a community being settled by northern people, a locality so wonderfully pleasing that its inhabitants have called it after the Spanish meaning of the word "Vale of Paradise." Here a magic city is springing up, with boulevards, sidewalks, bridges, parks, schools, churches, and homes that rival those in Miami and Orlando. To realize it all, a visit must be made. And let us not forget Camp Walton, with palatial hotels, its spelendid bathing beach, frequented in summer by thousands who come to bathe in the blue breakers of the old Gulf, and be cooled by the breezes that come fresh and balmy from off the Gulf having their origin in Cuba and the Caribbean. Mary Esther, near Camp Walton, sits like a gem on the shores of the sound. Some have likened this place to a diamond in a beautiful necklace. When you go there once you carry away the scene of great magnolias and cedars, with festoons of Spanish moss hanging from their boughs. Further on is Newport, just springing into being, designed to be the homes of Chicago millionaries, who have chosen this spot for rest and recreation. Boulevards and parks are planned, and when the entire plan is carried out will result in a veritable Town Beautiful. Old Niceville, with its stores and fishing smacks (a sailing vessel - such as a sloop or cutter - used chiefly in coasting and fishing) on Boggy Bayou gives one almost a glimpse of a foreign land, so quaint and unique. The bronzed fishermen, the sailing craft, the houses along a shady street, with its wharf where vessels often come from far off ports." (The Okaloosa News Journal 9/10/1920)

Mr. C. S. Sessions has changed his location from Youngstown to Portland, and will have charge of the commissary for Mr. D. S. Sellars. Mr. Sessions will move his family to Portland, where there is a school. Mr. D. S. Sellars has purchased the interest of Mr. Morris in the Morris and Tilton Still at Rocky Bayou. This is one of the best stills in Okaloosa. Mr. Sellars is one of the best known turpentine men in West Florida, and one of the best.” (Okaloosa News Journal 09/24/1920)

B. P. Edge and Company; Camp Walton; Dealers in General Merchandise; Cool Drinks, Cigars, Bathing Suits for Sale or Rent The Building is New, the Stock is Fresh. If you come to the camp let us fill your order for household supplies; right at the water's edge. (Okaloosa News Journal Advertisement 10/01/1920)

R. E. L. McCaskill Company at DeFuniak Springs sold to the 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)

Duncan and Tiney Jackson sold to William L. McCollum & Co. beginning at the NW corner of the West ½ SE ¼ of the SE ¼ Section 6 T1S R22W, running East 220 yards. Thence South 67 yards, thence West 220 yards, thence North 67 yards, to place of beginning, containing 3 acres more or less in Okaloosa County, Florida. (Warranty Deed 10/02/1920)

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. 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. (Warranty Deed (10/19/1920)

Managers and Clerks: “The following named persons were appointed to serve as Managers and Clerks at the General election to be held on the 2nd day of November 1920. PCT 14 - Niceville: Jim Moore, J. W. Armstrong, John Allen, Inspectors; C. G. Meigs, Clerk.”(Okaloosa News Journal 10/29/1920)

Hog Cholera Rages In Northwest Okaloosa: County Agent R. J. Hart reports that hog cholera is raging in the northwestern part of Okaloosa. The Johnsons and Rays have lost porkers. Several miles northwest of Baker, Mr. Hart reports that cholera hot bed exists.” (The Okaloosa News Journal 11/12/1920)

Otto Maess sold to The Valparaiso Development Company the: NE ¼ of the NW ¼ Sec. 21 T1S R19W in the Freeport area. (Warranty Deed 11/18/1920)

Must Show License In National Forest: Hunters who visit the National Forest should be careful to have their license with them. The rangers in the forest have had their instructions. License must be shown a ranger when demanded, otherwise there will be something doing.”

The Proposed Paper Mill at Freeport: "Dr. Harold O. Winter, mechanical engineer, Chicago, was in Crestview Wednesday, on his way to Valparaiso. Dr. Winter will erect a paper mill at Freeport, backed by New York capital. The site for the mill has been agreed upon. It will be on Four Mile Creek, just West of Freeport,. The creek will be damned and water power used. The mill will cost over $100,000. Paper will be made from bagassee, or cane waste. The doctor has just returned from Havana, where he says rooms are renting at $50 per night. There are 25,000 American tourists in Havana.”

Okaloosa County Map 1921 - Source: George F. Cram, Chicago, IL - Description: A map of Okaloosa County showing county lines, the county seat of Milligan, and railroads connecting the major cities current to 1921. Place Names on Choctawhatchee Bay are Harris, Mary Esther, Niceville and Destin. Valparaiso is not on this map.

Okaloosa County Map 1921 - Source: New York P. F. Collier & Son: Valparaiso is on this map. Niceville is not on this map.

The School Attendance Law was passed by legislature in 1919 and attendance for 7 - 16 year olds to attend school will be enforced.” (The Okaloosa News Journal 1921)

In West Florida: "Not many of those who pass through Alabama on the New York and New Orleans limited realize, when they reach Flomaton Junction, almost on the line between Alabama and Florida, that they are on historic ground. This was a point on one of the earliest railroads projected in the United States, to run from Pensacola to Montgomery. The original project dates from 1836. Iron and cars were brought from England. Three shiploads of Irish laborers were imported, but they fought among themselves and it was necessary to replace them by four shiploads of Dutch workmen. The roadbed was graded all the way to Montgomery, but not until after the Civil War was the work completed to Flomaton.

Pensacola, the terminus of the historic road, has a history as varied and interesting as that of St. Augustine. Possibly Ponce de Leon visited the bay in 1513. Pamfilo de Narvaez certainly paused there fifteen years later, and in 1540 Maldonado led DeSoto’s fleet into the harbor and named it Puerto d’Auchusi. But the real settlement was not made until 1559, when Tristan de Luna named the harbor Santa Maria and built a fort near the present Fort Barrancas. In 1561 his colonists withdrew and the favored spot was without other inhabitants than the Indians until 1696, when Don Andres d’Arriola built Fort San Carlos, where Barrancas now stands, six miles south of Pensacola, near the mouth of the bay. He called the settlement Pensacola. During the succeeding one hundred and sixty-six years four different countries ruled Pensacola in startling succession - first Spain, then France, then Spain, then Great Britain, then Spain, and finally the United States. For a time the flag of the Confederate States flew over the city, though never over Fort Pickens, situated on the west end of Santa Rosa Island, where the Spanish made their settlement in 1723, when the French under DeBienville yielded possession, remaining there until 1754. A hurricane drove them back to the mainland. That year saw the real beginning of Pensacola, which now rules the most important deep-water harbor south of Hampton Roads (Virginia), and boasts a large United States naval station!

When the city was laid out, a large territory, bounded by Intendencia Street, was reserved for a park, but the limits have been gradually reduced until all that is left of it is Surville Square and Ferdinand Square. Palafox Hill is the modern name of old Gage Hill, once the site of an observatory where watch was kept for pirates.

One of the chief attractions of the neighborhood of Pensacola is the Florida National Forest to the east of the city. This includes land bought in 1828 by the Government for the navy, the live-oak being desirable for shipbuilding purposes. More than 700 square miles in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties were, in 1908, withdrawn from homestead entry, that the National Forest might be established.

A visit to Florida National Forest should be made a part of a trip to the South. There is a good automobile road across the pine lands from Crestview to Niceville on Boggy Bayou, and from that point Camp Pinchot Ranger Station. There is no ride like this in all of Uncle Sam’s vast forest domain - among the live oaks, the cypresses and the long-leaf pines, which rise 40-60 feet before spreading out their dense foliage. Along the road one seems to be riding through the arches of a cathedral. Turpentine camps and turpentine stills are numerous, and there is ample opportunity to study the simple yet novel methods of gathering and distilling the fruit of the pine trees.

Let a day, at least be taken for a ride from the railroad and for a study of the trees and the turpentine industry. Then let more time be devoted to a motor-boat down Santa Rosa Sound to 25 mile long Choctawhatchee Bay, separated from the Gulf of Mexico by narrow spits of land, which bound the narrow entrance through East Pass.

Days may be spent gunning or fishing along the low-lying shores in Hogtown Bayou, among the labyrinthine mouth of Choctawhatchee River, up LaGrange Bayou and Alaqua Bayou, Rocky Bayou and Boggy Bayou, back to Niceville and the motor road that stretches through the forest to Crestview and the railroad.

For the excursion the detailed map supplied by the Forest Service will be found invaluable. The headquarters of the Forest Service are at Pensacola during the winter and at Camp Pinchot during the summer and inquiries for the maps should be made to the Forest Supervisor at these points." (Seeing the Sunny South John T. Faris, 1921 Published by Philadelphia; J. P. Lippincott Co. Chapter XX)

Advertisement for Edge & Armstrong General Merchants Niceville, Florida Greatest General Store in the Coast Country (Okaloosa News Journal 01/07/1921)

Construct 1000 Foot Bridge Over The Rocky Bayou: “A bridge one thousand feet in length will be constructed over Rocky Bayou connecting Okaloosa County public road with the Florida National Forest Reserve, according to the announcement made by A. E. Lodge, district engineer, and bids are now being asked for the work, said contract to be performed within not more than one hundred working days where the weather will not interfere. There will be required about five hundred feet of sand fill, and on these two projects bids are being asked. The forestry department will have this structure built, it is announced. Another bridge which will be erected soon in Okaloosa county in which the Forestry takes a hand will be that spanning what is known as Tom’s Bayou, and this work will be advertised within the next few days. There was some opposition to this bridge at first, and it was so persistent that the district engineer went to Valparaiso for the purpose of conducting a hearing and to receive any protest if anyone who cared to protest. At the hearing but one protest is said to have been filed, this coming from a lady who is said to have protested because the construction of the needed bridge would obstruct her view to some extent. This was not considered a legal objection and was not so held.” (Okaloosa News Journal 01/21/1921)

Rocky Bayou Bridge Let to Ed Pettus: “As advertised in the News-Journal for the past several weeks, bids for the construction of the one thousand foot bridge across Rocky Bayou were opened and considered in Montgomery, Ala., on the 3rd instant. There were nine bids on the proposition, the lowest one being $8,250 by Ed Pettus of Montgomery. This low price will enable the building of a very fine bridge well within the funds available, which is $11,500. One half of the cost of this bridge is to be paid for by Okaloosa county, the other by the National Forest Service at Washington, DC. It is expected that the contractor will be on the ground and begin the work of construction within the next thirty days. In addition to this improvement of bridges and roads, there is now being published in this issue of The News-Journal a call of an election for the purpose of floating a thirty-five thousand dollar bond issue for the erection of seventeen miles more of good roads in the Bay Country district. When secured this money will be used in the building of roads from the Walton county line into Valparaiso - seven miles - from Gap Creek bridge to Mary Esther, a distance of four miles, and the building of four miles from old Niceville to Rocky Bayou. When this lay out of roads and bridges are completed, they will connect all sections of the Bay Country with good roads and direct outlets - either by way of Crestview or Mossy Head to DeFuniak.” (The Okaloosa News Journal 02/11/1921)

Valparaiso News (Okaloosa News Journal, Feb. 18, 1921)

ONJ Feb. 18, 1921, Valparaiso News

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 located on Rocky Bayou from the Union Land & Timber Company in 1918. (Warranty Deed 04/06/1921)

L.L Shaw Niceville Advertisement: (Okaloosa News Journal April 8, 1921)

Mules For Sale: Niceville

More Valparaiso Advertising: Allen County Public Library Chicago, Ill Vol. 73 R. E. L. MACCASKILL ADVERTISING (04/28/1921)

Freeport Items: “The Bob McCaskill old home purchased by Mr. A. V. Perrine (single) of Valparaiso.” (DeFuniak Herald 04/21/1921)

Senate Bill 242 (left) to incorporate Valparaiso: (Journal of the Senate, page 933)  and Senate Bill 317 (right) to exclude territory from Valparaiso boundaries: (Journal of the Senate, page 903):

Senate Bill 242 establishing Valparaiso

Senate Bill 317 excluding some territory from Valparaiso

Learn of the Vale of Paradise (Columbia Evening Missourian 9/15, 9/16, 9/17, 9/24, 10/1, 10/22/1921)

Vale of Paradise Ad

(Note: The idea of the "Vale of Paradise" was much larger than the present-day city of Valparaiso. Using an overlay of the Choctawhatchee Forest Reserve map, it was depicted extending from Black Point to White Point. The problem is it would encompass the established town of Niceville. Tourists had discovered the area before 1910 and developers were poised to capitalize on relocating northerners. While an effort was made to change the name of the post office, Niceville retained its identity. Throughout the late nineteen-teens and into the nineteen-twenties, news continued to be reported from Niceville. The population on the west side and the east side of Boggy Bayou was reported in the 1920 census as Niceville. On September 9, 1921 citizens living on the west side and the east side of Boggy Bayou petitioned for a proposition to release the incorporated limits of the City of Valparaiso from the Special Tax School District No. 6 that served Niceville. There are no records that a public school was established in Valparaiso at this time. The children from Valparaiso attended the Niceville school.)

Funeral Service for John B. Perrine (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 November 20, 1921) 

Proposal that Valparaiso be released from School District No. 6 serving Niceville: School District No. 6

(Okaloosa News Journal 09/09/1921)

“Indictment Filed Against Vessel Charges Landing Booze in Okaloosa Co. Owners and Crew have skipped out. Yacht went ashore five miles east of Camp Walton and was later beached. The gas yacht Michigan, now on the ways at a local shipyard was libeled yesterday by U. S. District Attorney J. L. Cubberly and the vessel was placed in charge of the U. S. Marshall Miller. The indictment alleges that there was about 400 cases of liquor landed from the yacht at a point in Okaloosa county. The Michigan ran aground in Choctawhatchee Bay about 5 miles East of Camp Walton on Nov. 16, a broken rudder being the cause. The vessel was later beached Michigan rumored to have another name.” (The Pensacola Journal 12/15/1921)

Perrine and Plew Life Long Friends:(Panama City Pilot, 03/09/1922) Perrine Plew Lifelong Friends

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

The McCaskill Investment Company sold to the Valparaiso Realty Company 17,220.08 acres in Okaloosa County and Walton County, May 6, 1922: 8,707.57 of these acres are located around Boggy Bayou and Rocky Bayou. This document includes the following statement: "Consolidated Lands: Whereas the Vendor is negotating 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 United States government within the Choctawhatchee National Forest, so as to consolidate as nearly as may be 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 successors or assigns, and thereupon title thereto shall be covered into the Vendee by and as of the date of this conveyance; and provided further that in perfecting such exchange the said Vendor, its successors or assigns, shall have the right and power fully binding upon the said Vendee, its successors or assigns, to evidence such exchange by formal written instrument of conveyance, to be formally executed by the said Vendor, its successors or assigns." (Warranty Deed May 6, 1922)

B. P. Edge September 13, 1873 - May 13, 1922: Buried in Rocky Cemetery, Niceville.

Club Meeting at Niceville: “School has begun and there are five teachers at Niceville. The meeting was especially enjoyable because the girls and boys who had been to the camp helped to teach the others the songs about the club work. “Old McDonald Has a Farm” was a favorite.” (Okaloosa News Journal 07/28/1922)

Valpariso Mail Defraud Acquittal, The Watchman and Southron, Sumter, SC, Wednesday November 22, 1922:

Valpariaso Mail Fraud Acquital

Dr. C. F. and Bessie Lowrey for $125.00 grant unto Steamer Captain Fritz and owners, to wit: The warehouse known as the Captain Fritz warehouse with a Lot 20 feet up and down creek by 30 feet deep on Lot on which said House now stands on Fourmile Creek, in Town of Freeport. (Warranty Deed 12/21/1923)

History of FL vol. 2, 1923

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

George R. Nathey sold  to the Board of Public Instruction of Okaloosa County "for one dollar and other valuble considerations" the land for the location of Niceville’s first high school: Beginning at the SE corner of the NE ¼ of Section 1 T1S R23W then West 795 feet to the East side of Crestview and Niceville sand clay road then South 355 feet East 795 feet, then North 355 feet to point of beginning containing 7 acres more or less all in Lot 7 Section 1 T1S R23W Okaloosa County. (May 17, 1924 Warranty Deed) (Note: His mother bequeathed this property to him from the Nathey Homestead. It later became Niceville Elementary and today is known as Lula J. Edge Elementary School to honor Ms. Edge who was instrumental in the rebuilding of the school by the WPA in 1938 and served as a Board of Education member for a number of years.)

First Florida 4-H Camp: “Opening in 1926, 4-H Camp Timpoochee, located in Niceville near the Gulf of Mexico became the first permanent 4-H Camp in Florida. Many 4-H boys and girls donated a chicken to be sold to support the building of 4-H Camp Timpoochee. J. Lee Smith traveled northwest Florida on a train picking up donated chickens from 4-H members who met the train when it stopped, and then sold the chickens to support the camp’s construction. 4-H Camp Timpoochee remains one of the oldest camping facilities in the nation.” (A Century of Florida 4-H)

On May 20, 1925, The Valparaiso Realty Company acquired 4238.81 acres (located on map below) around Boggy Bayou and Rocky Bayou designated as Forest Reserve land: "Whereas, The Valparaiso Realty Company, being the owner of certain Tracts of land situated and included within the limits of the Florida National Forest, Florida, has, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved July 3, 1916, entitled, "An Act to consolidate certain forest lands in the Florida National Forest," reconveyed and relinquished the said tracts to the United States and under the provisions of said Act, selected in lieu thereof, the following described tracts, to wit:" (Note: See Warranty Deed dated May 6, 1922. The McCaskill Investment Company had negotiated the land exchange with the USA prior to the transaction with the Valparaiso Realty Company.)

USA land traded to the VRC

The Pine Crest Addition in Niceville was platted by the Valparaiso Realty Company, October 1, 1925 - January 14, 1926: This Pine Crest addition (plats 48 to 53) between Boggy Bayou and Rocky Bayou with Valparaiso Blvd. connecting the two was never part of the City of Valparaiso. On the plats Rocky Bayou is labeled Osceola Bay and Boggy Bayou is labeled Valparaiso Bay.

The Niceville Methodist Church building rebuilt in 1926

(Note: Original Niceville Methodist Church building was completed in 1921 but burned in 1926. Shown above is the completed rebuilt church building.)

Florida Heights, The Nathey Sub-division of Niceville, Florida: This sub-division was formed from the South ½ of Lot 2 - Section 1 T1S R23W and also part of the West side of Lot 7, T1S R23W from the Nathey Homestead. S. K. Miller, Surveyor (02/15/1926 Plat Book 1/44 Okaloosa County)

Florida Heights Sub-division

The Allen's Addition to Niceville-March 16, 1926: This sub-division (plats 40 and 42) was created from Section 7, Twp. 1 South, Range 22 West.

Allen's Addition to Niceville

Allen's Addition to Niceville

The Nathey Estate Adjustment Sub-division: This sub-division was created from Lot 7, Section 1 T1S R23W from the Nathey Homestead. A. P. Kastler, Surveyor; M.(Mary) J.(Jane) Nathey Estate owner. (07/10/1927 Plat Book 1/45 Okaloosa County)

Nathey Estate Plat

Registered Voters 1927 for Precinct No.14-Niceville: (Note: Women won the right to vote in 1920 and some of the women of Niceville are shown as registered voters.)

1927 Niceville Voters1927 Niceville Voters

Niceville boy Scout Troop in 1927

Niceville UMC Tent Meeting 1929

Generating Plant: C. F. Manning bought a generating plant in Niceville. Camp Walton got its first electricity from that plant. (From Fort Walton Beach Timeline 1929)