While volunteering at the Archives, we run across a lot of curiosities. Visitors come and tell us stories, and we find fragments of hand-me-down oral traditions in the subject files.
We do our best to substantiate or refute these oral histories, but sometimes there isn't any obvious place to start. We have collected these brain-stumpers here for you to decipher and relish.
Gold Treasure Found in Green Cove Springs
A man had a devining rod which he claimed would find gold. He was an invalid and they lowered him into a hole at the corner between the spring and the old city hall.
The story goes that Navy personnel assigned to the mothball fleet drove by at night and pitched in gold-painted lead bar to see what would happen.
Pirates in Middleburg
Mitzi Saunders tells the story of a British ship which escaped from the Spanish by slipping up Black Creek to the Middleburg area. Many Middleburgers are descendants of the crew and passengers.
Civil War Sabateur escapes while asleep
The Union troops came to Lt. Joshua O'Hern's house looking for him since he had been blowing up Union ships, starting with the Maple Leaf. His neighbor told the troops that O'Hern had gone to Virginia, when, as it turns out, he was upstairs asleep in his bedroom.
According to Mary Jo, a group of boys got together and notified people that a certain time of day people were supposed to put their phones off-hook on a chair covered with a towel because the telephone company was going to blow the lines out. Needless to say, the phone system went down.
Giant Iceberg causes St. Johns River to freeze in 1835
Go to the Green Cove Springs Library and ask a library for access to the Fleming Collection. Give them your drivers license and carefully sort through the uncataloged material at the bottom of the case. You'll run across a book called "Budington Buddington." Leaf through this family history and you'll find an account of the St. Johns River freezing several rods from shore.
Other accounts write that this was caused by a giant iceburg breaking off and floating south along the coast of Florida. However, we theorize that this was more likely a result of a massive volcanic eruption. Want to know more? Check out the weather page.
Stories whose facts are to be ascertained
Can you help us identify these airfields? They appear on 1943 aerial photos. Do you know? We have identified all other known camps and forts in Clay County.
This one is on flight 9-27-43 in the 1943 aerial photo set.
This one is on flight 3C-27-43 in the 1943 aerial photo set.
These stories are even more sketchy . . .
The St. Johns River froze in 1835
Who is the Marquis de Fougere who owned the mill at the fork of Black Creek?
6' 6' Indian
The Great Boston fire was seen from Magnolia Springs
Stowe says water hyacinth was piled so high while floating on Doctors Lake that her kin had fun diving from it
Indian camp west of Middleburg, perhaps at Rideout