Rob's Blog

Tag: Florida History!

Pasco County Historical Society meeting & work done! – January 19th, 2017

by on Jan.19, 2018, under Caricatures, Cartooning, Florida History!, What's New?

Travelled to Dade City, Florida, for the bi-monthly Pasco County Historical Society meeting, of which I’m a member. Being a bit buried in work at the moment knew I had to get some work done while there. So, during, guest speaker, Susan NcManus’ talk I did scribble some work out!

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A Trail of Two Churches! – April 24th, 2016

by on Apr.24, 2016, under Sketchbook, Swampy's Florida


Before and after the bit o’ hiking I did at Upper Tampa Bay Park I was doing some Swampy’s Florida ‪#‎Sunday‬ Service visits.

The first was a visit with the friends I was staying with this past weekend. Sandy Rhodes Huff & her husband Bill attend Heritage United Methodist Church in Clearwater. Bill was singing with the church quartet. Thanks to them for their hospitality again and cheers to Bill for a great performance. The first sketch is of the pastor done from the back of the room, as usual.

After the hike a run to Ocala for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Mt. Zion AME Church. Got a lot more sketching done and learned lots about the church. More over at Swampy’s Florida. The rest of the sketches are from that visit. Bit of a handicap here as I left my glasses in the automobile and I was in back of the room.

A more than full day and I’m fully pooped!

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Live at Torreya State Park along the trail during the War Between the States! – April 13th, 2016

by on Apr.11, 2016, under Florida History!, Florida Outdoors!

From Chattahoochee, I quickly made my way to Torreya State Park, near Bristol, to get travel and hiking information and to add a second live video using the new Facebook option. Here, I take the north trail from the Gregory House where the six cannon encampment had been for the confederacy during the Civil War.

You can plan a trip to Torreya State Park here:

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Ocklawaha Painting in Process! – March 22nd, 2016

by on Mar.22, 2016, under Illusration


Thought I would post an update to the painting I’m working on. Computer still extremely clunky. Freezing about every half hour. A bit hard right now to post as I usually do.
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Me at SpringsFest 2016 as Swampy’s Florida! – March 20th, 2016

by on Mar.20, 2016, under Cartooning, Swampy's Florida

Had a blast today “signing” (drawing in) Swampy’s Florida books during the Florida SpringsFest. Here are a few photos. The stories behind most of the photos can be found on the Swampy’s Florida page.

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November 9th, 2015 – ‘Apopka’ by the Apopka Historical Society

by on Nov.09, 2015, under Books

Apopka (Images of America: Florida)Apopka by Apopka Historical Society
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There is so little written that entirely encompasses northwest Orange County and here’s one of the few books that attempts to cover it. The Apopka Historical Society took this project on and the best source to gather images and history to do it. It is constrained by the limits Arcadia typically has for their massive series of photo histories. However, the Apopka Historical Society dropped the ball despite the opportunity.

The book opens with a nod of making use of Jerrell Shofner’s book as a main backbone for research. Seems that would lead to an outstanding presentation. What ends up happening is to mush self observance by the Society in putting the book together.

The book is full of the typical layout of an Arcadia book, with history generally covered from the 1800 to present. I wish they had paid more attention to Shofner’s attention to detail and historical layout. Instead all is way too simply brushed over. So mush that could have been written isn’t and there are way too many winks and nods to inside jokes apparently presented.

It’s nice to know that the Apopka Historical Society knows itself so well to pepper the book with secret messages to others, but I would have hoped that there was more a drive to present the history as much as possible and less about self awareness.

That leads to the worse part of this book – The last 4th of the book is full of very recent photographs about those living, at the time of publication, and simple sentences of who they are. How on earth is former State Senator Henry Land only written about in a way i just did in this sentence without listing his accomplishments in office and so much else he and the Land family did is lost to me.

This really falls on Arcadia that lets folks publish pretty much whatever they want with little to no involvement due to the cheap reproduction involved. An editor could have flagged the problems.

There are good photos and some memorabilia shown and that is the only real benefit of this book. For that I bring this up to two stars. Otherwise…

Bottom line: I do not recommend this book. 2 of 10 points.

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November 8th, 2015 – Book: ‘ History of Apopka and Northwest Orange County, Florida’ by Jerrell H. Shofner

by on Nov.08, 2015, under Books

History of Apopka and Northwest Orange County, FloridaHistory of Apopka and Northwest Orange County, Florida by Jerrell H. Shofner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though I’ve gone through this book for various research projects over three decades, this is the first time I’ve read the entire book. AS with any Shofner book, the vast technical history is ever present through out the entire book. Shofner doesn’t put together any history without obvious intense research. He puts other history writers to shame. Thus, his books can be a bit hard to get through as so much is stuffed into a sentence and paragraph. This, now read in it’s entirety, is better written for the average reader than the other books of his I’ve read.

Shofner slips through, what is little known of, early Florida pre-American pioneers. This first part is the weakest presented in writing. Seems to me Shofner gets a bit lost if he can’t write without documented evidence present. Seems Shofner would have great difficulty writing fiction. Giving more confidence in his presenting facts.

The period of the 1800s is extremely well covered and very impressive. Shofner’s concentrated focus of research is very evident. Florida in the 1800s can be a tough bear to contain. Info is elusive and accomplishments very difficult to track down and prove. No doubt Shofner accomplished the proving part. Presentation is also excellent.

Though I wish the book was sectioned by decade or century, this is a rare time, by a writer, that does not happen and it’s also revealing how a century mark does not alter the trajectory of a community due to a century mark.

The 20th century is as well done, but Shofner falls into a trap he has repeated in other books. As names become more available, he includes them in the text of the book. A bit too much space is taken up where it could have been placed in footnotes.

Something often absent in Florida histories is including the developing of black communities. Shofner does a tremendous job of adding and writing of it. His pointing out the black community asked not to have their streets paved and then 40 years later complaining about it, reveals the troubles of Florida history in the last 50 years.

As i have seen in other Floria histories, including those I’ve assembled, after the 1950s the trajectory of accomplishments in Florida’s history sputters out and it’s tough to flesh out the history in presentation. Shofner well addresses this in his book as he points out early community leaders die off and are replaced by so many from out of state without the drive, less vision, more interested in profits(government-wise or business) and are not even in the country to guide toward success – OK, I’ve fleshed out a more pointed editorial of Shofner’s words of the empty past 50 years.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 10 out of 10 points.

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July 8th, 2015 – Florida Heroes History talk & Batman on a rocket! What a combination!

by on Jul.09, 2015, under Cartooning


Gave another Florida History Heroes talk at the Fort McCoy Library in Marion County this time. I spoke about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her writings that help depict and preserve the area around Fort McCoy. There’s Henry Plant whose steamboats traveled the nearby Ocklawaha River. There’s also President Richard Nixon who acted on the efforts of others to stop something that would have transformed the entire area….but you’ll have to come to a talk to find out what that was. smile emoticon

At these talks I strongly urge, and have available, books on the subjects that can be checked out. We need to support our library to encourage reading!

Wrapped up with a drawing that’s subject matter is based upon the answers by an audience member. The little fellow below proposed a rocket ship and Batman. Below is the drawing.

Next stop is this Saturday at the Reddick Library in north Marion County at 2pm. If you’re in the area, come on by!

Here’s where I’ll be:
Reddick Public Library
Address: 15150 NW Gainesville Rd, Reddick, FL 32686
Phone:(352) 438-2566

Big thanks to my pal Natalie Lyons, with the Reddick Library, for arranging these Marion County Public Library System – FL talks!




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May 30th, 2015 – Florida Agriculture Research!

by on May.31, 2015, under Books, Florida History!


Hunkering down and wrapping up research for a talk of the history of Florida agriculture I’m giving Sunday to the Florida State Horticultural Society (FSHS) annual meeting. A mostly serious talk and a bit different for me. I’ve got more talks of Florida history to groups coming this Summer.

Been running on all cylinders this past month and will try to catch up with postings.

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April 1st, 2015 – Celebrating 5 Years of Swampy’s #Florida Books!

by on Apr.01, 2015, under Swampy's Florida

Celebrating 5 years of Swampy books in Lakeland with the person who first put the gears in action – Terisa Glover, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Also thanks to Tim Reynolds and The Knowledge Exchange for keeping the books going!

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