A Story About John Shuemake
At Mayo, Florida

>>>>>Name of article is "Sharing Memories From the Past." I thought you all would like to see it. I asked him to email me a copy because the newspaper page is too large to copy. I hope you enjoy it. I corrected him on some of his errors and gave him Brady, Lyndal, and my name. I hope you enjoy it. Evelyn (See Photos)

>>>>>The corrections were: James Frier (Eunice's husband) is still living; Johnny moved to Alma, GA, not Adel, GA; he spelled Irene as Ilene; and I gave him Brady's, Lyndal's, and my name as additional children of Bethel and Carlie.

John James Shuemake's Family; Children and GrandChildren
Back Row:  (From Left to Right)
Warren Downing* Luther* Irene's Husband-"Bobby" I think*
And Lavern's husband holding one of their children.
Second Row:
Aunt Louise* Aunt Carlie holding "Buddy"*Uncle Arthur*
Aunt Irene*Lavern holding one of her children*Aunt Albeana*
Aunt Maggie* David (Daddy)
Bottom Row (sitting)
Sandra*Aunt Eunice* Uncle James with Andrew"Andy"
Bottom Row (Standing)From Left to Right
Evelyn* Bronease* Carolyn and Lyndal holding Wanda Gail
Submitted by Doug Madden

Read Doug's Story about the Ole Country Church



The Shuemake Family

>>>>>Scrub Hammock was the name of the place where my great grand daddy had settled after coming to Lafayette County in 1845. My grand daddy was born there in 1865, . It is about three miles west of Mayo, consisting of one thousand and forty acres. The original one hundred-sixty acres homesteaded by grand father in 1845 is on the part previously owned by Edward Perry. The home place and Winburn lake is owned by Harley Lynch and the rest is owned by the Byrd brothers. I think my granddaddy said one time that the reason he moved away from there was those scrub oaks that would come back no matter how deep down you dug the root out. After my daddy bought “the old home place” he began growing tobacco there and built two pole barns made from cypress poles cut from around Winburn Lake.

>>>>>Growing tobacco took lots of help, from the planting of the beds right on down to getting it ready for the market. Around 1929-30 my daddy had the good fortune of meeting Mr. John Shuemake who a few years earlier had come to Florida from South Carolina with his family of twelve children and wife Martha.

>>>>>They entered into a agreement to grow tobacco on shares at Scrub Hammock and continued in that program for several years.

>>>>>I remember well the Shuemake family. The boys were: Bill, Johnny, Clarence, Arthur, Luther and David. The girls were: Maggie, Carlie, Eunice, Maudie, Albeania and Ilene.

>>>>>These were all hard working, honest folks and they had a good life at Scrub Hammock and when time allowed they enjoyed fishing at Winburn Lake and hunting in the hammock that surrounded the farm.

>>>>>The elder Mr. Shuemake played the organ and they owned a fine one that I had the pleasure of hearing on several occasions. The whole family would gather around in the evening and sing those old hymns as Mr. Shuemake played. I doubt that anyone I have ever heard could produce a more enjoyable, quality round of singing and playing.

>>>>>Once, during an extended dry period when the farmers were faced with crop failure, it began to rain one night in the early evening and my daddy wanted to take a ride out to see if it was raining at the farm. When we got near the house we could hear that organ and the singing and they were singing songs of thanksgiving for the Good Lords blessed rain.

>>>>>Mrs. Shuemake raised domestic turkeys and they were allowed to roam the woods around the farm. Some of her turkeys began to go missing and since there was no evidence that an animal had gotten them, no feathers or anything like that , it was assumed that someone had taken them. Some of her boys decided to keep an eye out and see if they could catch who ever it was that might be eating their mama’s tame turkeys.

>>>>>There was a family that lived down the road a ways, between the farm and Jody Brumley’s place and a couple of lads there were expert with a sling shot. They would take the cast iron lid off of an old broken wood range and break it into the right size pieces and that would make a deadly projectile for their homemade sling shots.

>>>>>One boy in particular, Sam, had a reputation of being a crack shot with that weapon and he reportedly could shoot his prey in the head most every time which didn’t allow much commotion from the victim.

>>>>>A little later, Sam was observed in the woods near the farm house where the turkeys were and he had his sling shot with him in his hip pocket. The Shuemake boys inquired of him of his intentions and he may have had a good excuse but the desired results were obtained and no more turkeys were lost in that fashion.

>>>>>I recently talked with Eunice who married James Frier.. Eunice is the last surviving member of this fine family and resides in St. Petersburg. I asked about the organ and the singing and she said that it was usually a regular, nightly event, after all the chores were done and time for going to bed was near. Mr. Shuemake would play and sing along with the rest of the family and there were prayers before going to bed.

>>>>>We talked about her life at the Winburn farm and she told me that she had returned there about 15 years ago to see the place where she spent those memorable years, only to find that nothing remained of the buildings and that all she saw to connect with those years was the swing that her brother Bill had put up in an oak tree near the house. It was a piece of cable and an old automobile tire and it was still there, the tree limb had grown around the cable over the years. She told me that all of the boys made it back up that way in the later years so they could take a last look at the spot where they spent so many enjoyable years. I was setting tobacco one spring and I saw someone in the distance, walking in my direction. As he got closer, I saw that it was Arthur Shuemake. He had parked out on the road and walked back to take one last look and reminisce for a moment. That was in 1963 and the old home place was still standing.

>>>>>This family of hard working folks eventually bought their own farm in Lafayette County near the Riverside Community shortly after Mrs. Shuemake passed away. David Shuemake, the youngest son eventually wound up with the place after his father passed away many years later.

>>>>>One particular incident, kinda humorous it seems, was when one of the boys, Johnnie, had purchased a car. He would work at most anything during the off season in order to make a few bucks, chipping boxes in the turpentine woods, pulling moss and what ever else came along and he had saved up enough to buy an automobile. There was a brand new wagon under the shelter where the equipment was kept out of the weather and he choose that spot to keep his car so he rolled the wagon out and put his car there. My daddy saw that new wagon out in the weather and made an inquiry about it and then Johnnie’s car came into view. Johnnie soon found another location for his car.

>>>>>These were all hard working folks and during His days in the turpentine woods, Johnnie had been assigned a password to sing out so that the foreman could keep a tally of the boxes scraped by each worker. Johnnies pass word was “gator” and he could often be heard humming that while we were busy in the tobacco fields, our heads bent down under those stalks of tobacco.

>>>>>Carlie married Bethel Downing and raised a daughter and two boys, Warren and Clinton. I don’t seem to be able to recall the girls name. A few years ago, Carlie and I had planned a trip to Georgia to visit Johnnie but it never materialized . Johnny and Carlie have since passed away. Bethel was the brother of Gene Downing, mentioned in an earlier article about the radio repair business at the Winburn Hardware store. Later on these young men made a couple of crops on shares on another farm owned by my daddy . I talked with Clinton the other day and he lives in Live Oak after serving 28 years in the military where he was a helicopter pilot, serving two tours in Viet Nam, having been shot down once. Warren was a building contractor in Atlanta at the time of his early demise at the age of 45.

>>>>>I believe that Maggie was the oldest girl and she married Byron Wilder also of Lafayette County. They raised two children, Bronease (Wilder) .Dampier and Lymon Wilder. Lymon married one of Dexter Jones daughters, Linda who is the present Mrs. Donald Hurst. Their daughter Kathy, the present Mrs. Freddie Edwards, worked at times for me and my boys at the farm and one day my daddy came by and she was there and I asked him if he knew who she was. He studied her for a moment and replied, “Maggie”. I believe that her grandmother must have been a lovely lady also and that Kathy bore a close resemblance to her.

>>>>>There’s a story here on how I recently came to meet Bronease . I was visiting Antioch Baptist Church in LaCrosse where some of my family attend church. After the service had ended, I was sitting there towards the rear near the door while the crowd made their exit when a young lady came up and stood in front of me and made the following comment. My mother asked me to see if you would wait a few minutes until she could talk to you, she said you look like someone she once knew in Mayo. Of course I obliged and soon her mother came back and made herself known and we had a nice little visit and shared a few memories.

>>>>>I have very little knowledge concerning the others after they left Lafayette County. According to Eunice, Bill moved to Live Oak, Johnnie stayed in Mayo at Scrub Hammock for a while before going to Alma , Georgia where he was a woods rider for a large turpentine farm. Arthur was in Jacksonville and David worked around North Florida for the Independent Life Insurance Co. before retiring to Central Florida where he was living at the time of his passing.

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