The West Side of Boggy Bayou

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

"In years to come, when all available land in this sun-kissed flower-decked country shall have been occupied by beautiful and comfortable homes, and when prices of the land shall have mounted to figures prohibitive to the modest purse, the poor man in less favored climes will sigh and say - "Just think! - my grandfather could have bought land in Forida for less than he paid for this!"
                                   ~R.E.L. McCaskill, The Road to Health, Happiness and Prosperity

Brown Homestead: On January 27, 1900, Allen Brown, Jr. homesteaded Lot 3 of Section 7 and Lot 2 of Section 18 in TIS of R22W containing 159.59 acres. This land is along the water on the west side of Boggy Bayou.

Edge Homestead: On April 9, 1901 Elizabeth Edge received Homestead No. 15161 for Lot 1 of Section 13 in TIS of R23W containing 138.25 acre. On August 6, 1901 she sold her homestead to John F. Allen. This land is along the water on the west side of Boggy Bayou.

Pensacola News Journal, Murder of Allen Brown (January 15, 1905) and Arrests in Alleged Murder of Allen Brown (April 7, 1905):

Allen Brown Murder Arrest in Allen Brown Murder

In 1905, a turpentine lease was signed September 30th from Francis C. and Mary Eaton to McKenzie and Rose, for the following land located today in Valparaiso, Eglin and Shalimar. 465.20 acres on Eglin South of Weekly Bayou on Choctawhatchee Bay; 80 acres (Juniper Creek runs through this land and is just North of the Nathey Homestead.); 40 acres (on Eglin); 39.98 acres (on Eglin - North gate on this property); 40 acres (in Valparaiso, FL and Eglin); 40.25 acres (on Eglin just West of Valparaiso, FL); 40.11 acres (On Eglin, Tom’s Creek runs through it); 360.56 acres (Eglin Blvd. runs thorough it on Eglin); 120 acres (on Eglin on Choctawhatchee Bay); 168 acres (on Eglin on Choctawhatchee Bay); 240.45 acres (Port Dixie - East of Shalimar); 165.75 acres (Snug Harbor, Shalimar). In all 1800.30 acres. (521.12 acres in today’s Santa Rosa County). Also all of the timber, except the cypress and juniper timber upon 119.97 acres, an additional 119.97 acres, 400 acres, 379.80 acres, and 40.08 acres. This land lies just North of Valparaiso and Nathey Homestead in Niceville. Eaton’s land was on either side of Juniper Creek (today’s Turkey Creek). Today this property is on Eglin. In all 1179.79 acres. The total sum containing 3,501.21 acres lying and being in the Counties of Santa Rosa and Walton, State of Florida. “Together with the right to cut and remove the said timber, box, chip, scrape and work the same for turpentine purposes at any time prior to the 16th day of February 1911, as well as the right to ingress and egress in to from and on the same for the purposes of constructing any buildings, roads, and ditches that may be necessary for the proper marking and removing the said timber. This instrument is intended to be and is a transfer of all the right, title and interest in and to the lands, and timber hereinbefore described and which more conveyed by R. G. Peters and the L&N Railroad Company on the 16th day February 1901 to the Jernigan Lumber Company and by the said Jernigan Lumber Company to the said F. C. Eaton on the 20th day of April, 1904. This instrument is made subject to a lease granted by the said Jernigan Lumber Company to Allen B. Brown on the 12th day of June 1903 in which the right is given to remove at any time within four years from the date of said lease certain dead pine and oak wood from the said Sections 30 T1S R22W (South of Weekly Bayou on Eglin on Choctawhatchee Bay) and these parts of Sections 25 (just North of Section 36), 35, and 36 of T1S R23W (on Eglin on Choctawhatchee Bay).”

Early Homestead: On August 9, 1907, Jacob E. Early received Homestead Certificate # 18431 for Lot 4 of Section 19 in T1S of R22W containing 111 acres. This land is on Weekley Bayou and Boggy Bayou.

A portion of Boggy Precinct #9 from the 1908 Walton Co., Farm Map showing some homesteaders on the east and the west side of Boggy Bayou: 

Homesteaders shown on 1908 Walton Co. Map

Eaton Land: On May 11, 1908, Francis C. Eaton purchased Lot 6 Section 1 Lot 1 of Section 12 T1S R23W, 205 acres. (at the upper Northwest side of Boggy Bayou).

Defuniak: Special to the Journal. "F. C. Eaton having sold his mill at Boggy is building a cottage at Camp Walton that he can move into in a few days. Mr. Eaton was one of the early settlers in DeFuniak, and will keep his nice home here to occupy when he and his family care to be gone from the Narrows." (The Pensacola Journal, September 23, 1908)

Warranty Deed for Brown Land:  Dated 12/04/1908, Filed in Escambia County and Walton County for the sale by Louis Anderson, (Guardian of Edna Brown and Ella Brown, minors) to the Consolidated Land and Lumber Company for $800. The property located at Lot 3, Section 7 and Lot 2 Section 18 T1S of R22W, contained 159.25 acres. (Note: This property was the homestead of Allen Brown, Jr., and is located along the west side of Boggy Bayou.)

Pensacola Journal, (July 23, 1909):  (Note: "McKenzie seemed to be doing a rushing business with his mills and is building up a nice village on the west bank of the bayou.")

Boggy name needs changing

Pensacola Journal, (July 30, 1909): (Note: "We hear that the people on the west side of Boggy Bayou are about to get up a petition to have a post-office started at the McKinzie's mill, the name of the office to be Bayou Grande.")

Boggy West Side Article

January 4th Notice of Special Master’s Sale: "Notice is hereby given that under and by virtue of a final decree in foreclosure of mortgage rendered by Honorable J. Emmet Wolfe, Judge of the Circuit Court of Walton county State of Florida in Chancery, in a certain cause therein pending wherein Pensacola Dry Goods Company, a corporation is complainant and Consolidated Land and Lumber Company a corporation and Boggy Mill Company, a corporation, respondents, wherein I was appointed Special Master to sell the property hereinafter described to satisfy the sum of $1406.22, and the costs of the proceedings, as set forth in said final decree, which was dated December 10, 1911, I, A.G. Campbell as said special master will sell before the court house door at DeFuniak Springs, Florida, during the legal hours for sale on Monday the 6th of February 1911, to the highest and best bidder for cash the following described property, to-wit: One Engine and boiler known as the Eaton engine and boiler, together with Shafting, Belting, Pulleys, Saws and all other appurtenances of the Eaton Saw Mill at Boggy, Florida. The said property being at Boggy, Florida, and under order of the court will so remain until after sale, the same being sold however before the court house door as aforesaid. Bills of sale at cost of purchasers. This January 4, 1911. A.G. Campbell, Special Master”.

Niceville: "J. A. Edge and family have moved from the ghrist mill to B. P. Edge’s farm on Weekly Bayou.” (The Breeze, DeFuniak Springs 12/28/1911)

"Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Allen moved from Garniers to the west side of Niceville Thursday." (The Breeze DeFuniak Springs 03/28/1912)

Walton County Warranty Deed: Dated 11/12/1912, 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: Dated 12/01/1912, E. P. Rose and S. W. Balentine partners in The Boggy Turpentine Company, leased from D. P. and Louise McKenzie for $1,620 land for turpentine purposes including:
Lot 2 Section 18 T1S R22W (spans Boggy Bayou Lewis Middle School is on the Valparaiso side.)
Lots 5 & 6 Section 1 T1S R23W (the Bayou Plaza at the West side at the head of Boggy Bayou)
N 1/2 of N 1/2 Section 3 T1S R23W (about 2 miles west of the head of Boggy Bayou on Eglin)
S 1/2 of NW 1/4 and N 1/4 of SW 1/4 Section 4 T1S R23W (on Eglin)
W 1/2 of NW 1/4 and SE 1/4 of NW 1/4 and Lots 1, 2, 3 & 5 Section 12 T1S R23W (The Valparaiso City Hall and Library)
N 1/2 of SW 1/4 and NW 1/4 of SE 1/4 Section 25 T1S R23W (at Eglin South of Valparaiso)
SE ¼ of Section 27 T1S R23W (Eglin's Commissary is located on this property)
For the term of three years from the first day of December 1912 and the following described property to wit:
N 1/2 of N Section 6 T1S R23W (on Eglin just North of Peel Field)
All Section 31 T1N R23W (on Eglin one mile North of Peel Field)
NW 1/4 Section 32 T1N R23W (on Eglin)
For the term of four years from the first day of December 1912, together with the right to cup, back-cup, chip, scrape, dip and otherwise use the pine trees upon said land for the purpose of extracting and harvesting the crude turpentine, there from, together with the right of ingress and egress to, from and over the said land for turpentine purpose for and during the respective terms upon the said tracts of land respectively. (Note: The turpentining process began by cutting a series of streaks chipped one above the other and 1/4" to 5/8" of the wood removed up the tree. Then a bucket was placed below the streaks to catch the resin. This process was done from March - November. During the other months the tree would be dormant.)  

Niceville: "D. P. McKenzie will relocate to Carrabelle.” (The Breeze, DeFuniak Springs 12/12/1912)

Walton County Warranty Deed: Dated 12/16/1912), the Mutual Land and Lumber Company (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: Dated 02/08/1913, John F. and Sarah Allen sold to S. W. Balentine for $175.25 Lot 1 of Section 13 T1S R23W, containing 138.75 acres. (Note: It was originally the Elizabeth Edge Homestead that spans Tom’s Bayou on the west side of Boggy Bayou. Sunset Cemetery (formerly known as Boggy Cemetery) in Valparaiso is also located on this property.)

James E. Plew and Nettie Plew, his wife sold 3,635 areas in Santa Rosa County (now known as Okaloosa County, Florida) June 29, 1916: James E. Plew and Nettie Plew, his wife, granted, bargained and sold, to Webb Jay an undivided half interest, in land located at T1S R24W (Wright, FL) and T2S R24 W (on the West side of Garniers Bayouy across from Shalimar) containing Thirty Six Hundred and Thirty Five ( 3,635) acres more or less. Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of Edith Neill and Baeor Townsend State of Illinois, Cook County.(Source: Escambia County Warranty Deed)

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 6 By Aero Club of America February 1917 page 78 and March 1917 page 131)

R.E.L. McCaskill Valparaiso Advertising: (Note: This development was on land own by R.E.L. McCaskill on the west side of Niceville that he sold to Wm. L. McCollum & Company 01/14/1919 and 07/08/1919 trustee of the Valpariaso Development Company.) 

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.

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

"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.

Mr. Kellogg of Chicago, Ill., is here assisting Mr. Howard Steele in surveying and staking lots in our new fast growing town, Valparaiso.

Mr. B. P. Edge and family moved to their new bungalow last Tuesday, June 11th.

Mr. Frank Hall from Portlalnd is here running the McCaskill launch."(Okaloosa News Journal, 06/21/1918)

Warranty Deed: Dated 06/25/1918, "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." 

"Mr. Fairwan from Chicago, spent a few days here last week making photos of the new city, Valparaiso.

Mr. Frank Hall, Jr., who has been here for several weeks running the McCaskill launch, left Saturday night for his home in Freeport. He will spend a few days there before leaving for training camps.

Lewis Martin from Freeport, spent Saturday here visiting his friend, Mr. Frank Hall.

The material is on the ground for six new bungalows in Valparaiso, which are being erected now.” (Okaloosa News Journal, 07/12/1918)

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

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)

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, 08/15/1918)

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)

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

Warranty Deed: Dated 01/14/1919, the R. E. L. McCaskill Company to Wm. L. McCollum & Company, Trustees, of Cook County, Illinois: the SE 1/4 of Section 17 (160 acres), T1S of R19W (near Freeport).

More Valparaiso Advertising: "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)

More Valparaiso Advertising: “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, 02/06/1919)

Niceville: (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 in Washington, D. C. 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

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

Warranty Deed: Dated 08/02/1919, 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 1/4 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. Transaction was at DeFuniak Springs on Aug. 4th.

Valpariaso Bugalows Sold: 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)

Edge and Armstrong Store, Valpariaso: (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)

Warranty Deed: Dated 9/22/1919, "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 1/4 of the NE 1/4 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 1/2 of the NE 1/4 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.

More Valparaiso Advertising: 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)

Edge & Armstrong Store

(Okaloosa News Journal, 04/09/1920)

Warranty Deed: Dated 06/28/1920, "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: Dated 07/27/1920, "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.

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."

Warranty Deed: 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: Dated 10/02/1920, 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: Dated 10/19/1920, R. E. L. McCaskill Company at DeFuniak Springs, Florida sold to the Valparaiso Development Company: The NE 1/4 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 1/4 and the NW 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of Section 4 T1S R19W containing 200 acres. 

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

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

ONJ Feb. 18, 1921, Valparaiso News

*Post Office: On March 7, 1921, Harold J. Engel would be Postmaster at New Valparaiso, Florida. Location of Proposed Post Office to be situated at the NW 1/2 of Section 18 in T1S R22W on the West side of Boggy Bayou.

Warranty Deed: Dated 04/06/1921, 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.

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

Valparaiso Items: “ 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)

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










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

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

*Post Office: Lee Woodmansee, Postmaster at Valparaiso, Florida reconfirmed the location of the Valparaiso Post Office, in the NW quarter of Section 18 T1S R22W.

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 as 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 in both Niceville and Valparaiso 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.)

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) (Note: In the 1920 Census he is Marion Murphy, in DeFuniak Springs, from Indiana and is a Newspaper Editor.)

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)

Proposal that Valparaiso be released from School District No. 6 serving Niceville: School District No. 6 (Okaloosa News Journal, 09/09/1921)

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: He 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) 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Lee McCaskill,"Two Unforgettable People”:
"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."

"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)

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.

Warranty Deed: Dated 05/06/1922, (Note: The McCaskill Investment Company sold to the Valparaiso Realty Company 17,220.08 acres in Okaloosa County and Walton County, May 6, 1922. Of these 8,707.57 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."

*Post Office: On June 14, 1922 New Valparaiso, Florida became Valparaiso, Florida. Harold J. Engel, Postmaster.

City Disclaims Liability (Editor and Publisher, July 29,1922, Vol 55, Issue 9, p.44Valpariaso Disclaim Liability)

Valpariso Mail Defraud Acquittal, (The Watchman and Southron, Sumter, SC, Wednesday November 22, 1922):Valpariaso Mail Fraud Acquital





Warranty Deed: Dated 2/20/1925, (Note: The Valparaiso Realty Company acquired 4238.81 acres 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.)

1930 Niceville Census: Niceville had 202 households and a population of 824 in 1930. The first census for Valparaiso, Florida was in 1930. It had 38 households with a population of 99.

Freezing Ice For the Coast People: “The ice plant of the Bayou Fish Company at Niceville will probably “freeze in” this evening, and then will start up the first ice factory in Okaloosa county. The plant has a capacity of twelve thousand pounds daily. The fish company will probably use the greater part of this but they will have some to spare their neighbors in Valparaiso and Camp Walton. The plant is located at the water’s shore of boggy bayou, where the company has been boring for water, hoping to find an over-flowing well.” (The Valparaiso Star, Vol. 12 #41, 02/01/1934) 

1935 Florida State Census: (Note: In 1935, Niceville was the most populated town in the southern region of Okaloosa County as enumeration in the Florida State Census that lists individuals separately. Randall Wise, Distinguished Mayor of Niceville, is listed at #595 as being four years old. Even though Valparaiso was incorporated in 1921, fourteen years later when the 1935 Florida State Census was enumerated, it had significantly fewer residents than Niceville.)
Niceville - 1172
Fort Walton - 221
Destin - 190
Wright - 181
Valparaiso - 166
Garniers - 158
Mary Ester - 71

*Post Office: Effective: February 3, 1937, Mrs. Mary L. Woodmansee, Postmaster (from 03/18/1930 - 1/31/47) had the spelling of the name Valparaiso, Florida changed to Valpariso, Florida.  (Note: The spelling of Valpariso was also used in the 1920's.) 

James Plew Obituary, April 16, 1938:

James Plew Obituary

Fast Forging Ahead, City Council of Niceville is Seeking Large Development: "The next movement originated by the Niceville Council, which it is estimated will cost approximately $35,000 and for which PWA funds are also asked, is the proposed erection of a municipally owned water system. The water works service when completed would serve more than 100 families and in addition adequately supply all commercial houses and industries, as well as the U. S. Forest Ranger Station, the CCC Camp, the new Niceville School, and the Valpariso Golf Course. (Note: The Niceville municipality supplied water to the Valpariso Golf Course, which was not in Valpariso but is the Eglin golf course in Niceville.) (The Valpariso News and West Florida Review 08/15/1938)

Warranty Deed: Dated October 1938, Charles and Florence Postl sold to Florence A. 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 (Boggy Bayou), 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.

Public Health Service in Valpariso 1943:

Valparaiso Public health Service

Source: The Public Health Service Newsletter, Crestviews, Vol. 2, #4 May 1943 - archived by Peace Education, Mennonite Central Committee.

Valpariso Public Health Service Clinic

Source: The Public Health Service Newsletter, Crestviews, Vol. 2, #5 June 1943 - archived by Peace Education, Mennonite Central Committee.

Postal overhaul takes effect: Valp. carriers based in Niceville. By Del Lessard The Bay Beacon Staff Writer. "On Saturday, mail carriers who serve Valparaiso began using facilities at the Niceville post office to pick up and sort mail destined for Valparaiso addresses, according to the U.S. Postal Service, which described the action as a cost-cutting move. Valparaiso postal customers should notice no changes as a result of the new home base for their carriers, said USPS spokesman Stephen Seewoester. A previously announced plan to also base Eglin Air Force Base carriers at the Niceville post office has been postponed, with no new date given. Both changes were described as cost-cutting moves when announced earlier this year. In February, USPS announced that it planned to have Valparaiso and Eglin Air Force Base mail carriers start being based at the Niceville post office as part of a nationwide cost-cutting move. The consolidation was originally scheduled to take place April 23, according to USPS. It was delayed for reasons not publicly explained. Under the original consolidation plan, all incoming mail for Valparaiso, Eglin and Niceville addresses was to be trucked to the Niceville post office, 90 N. Palm Blvd. That meant carriers for all three post offices would be based at the larger Niceville office, and would sort their route mail there before heading out to deliver it. (Note: This is an example of  'everything old is new again' as Valparaiso was established on a portion of Old Niceville on the West side of Boggy Bayou and received its mail from the Niceville post office addressed to residents of Valparaiso. The establishment of Eglin Field also began at Niceville (see the 1940 census of Eglin Field at Niceville 1930 - 1941).  In the 1930's men assigned to the Civilian Conservation Corps Camps in Niceville where they received their mail helped build Eglin Field.) For now, Eglin carriers will remain based on the Eglin post office, Seewoester said. The consolidation is not feasible at this time, he said, because of troops being moved to Eglin from North Carolina, a reference to the 7th Special Forces Group, which will complete its BRAC-ordered move of about 1,900 soldiers, plus their families, to Eglin by mid-September. Moved to the Niceville post office are employees handling the three carrier routes in Valparaiso, which serves 231 post office box customers and 2,038 delivery customers. Another 21 Niceville routes are operated from the Niceville post office. Valparaiso customers should not experience any major changes in their service, Seewoester said. The Valparaiso post office will remain open and continue to serve customers with counter service and postal boxes, he said, and post office box customers will not see any change in posting times. Seewoester said savings will be realized by a reduction in non-management staffing, manager-level reduction, and reduced transportation expenses because the mail trucks piciking up or delivering mail to the post offices will make fewer stops. He also said that the Valparaiso postmaster position will be either be downgraded or eliminated. As of Monday, the current Valparaiso postmaster, Jerry Maynard, is detailed as the Officer in Charge at the Eglin Post Office, Seeowester said. There will be no change in management structure at the Niceville Post Office, he said. Seewoester also said that there have been no layffs in the local reorganization. A few clerks will be repositioned within commuting distance. he added. The Valparaiso post office is not on the list of 3,600 possible post office closures nationwide, including 34 in Florida. The postal service, said to be facing an $8 billion deficit this year as it grapples with declining mail volume and high labor costs, has proposed ending Saturday mail delivery nationwide, but such a change would require Congressional approval. Postmaster General Patrick Donahue was quoted last month as saying that the postal service would become insolvent on Septemmber 30 unless it is relieved of certain pension-funding reuqirements. The USPS in February announced that "despite significant cost reductions and efforts to grow revenue, current financial projections indicate that the Postal Service will have a cash shortfall and will have reached its statutory borrowing limit by the end of the fiscal year." (The Bay Beacon - Wednesday August 31, 2011)

Niceville Seniority

* Information obtained from copies of Post Office Records from Baker Block Museum.