Friday, February 21, 2014

The Fighting Miners Head Back to School

For whatever reason, 1983 was the year—at least in Fort Meade, Florida—to commemorate the Class of 1912.

At least twenty eight of the class members of 1912 were able to attend the special event held in their honor on the evening of September 22, 1983. Along with them were official representatives of the school district, duly listed on the front page of the event’s program.

Recognition Night
Student Body of 1912
Fort Meade Junior Senior
High School

September 22, 1983

School Superintendent: R. Clem Churchwell

Southwest Area Superintendent: Billy D. Brown

School Board Members:
            Claude Ridley, Chairman
            Nancy Simmons, Dist. 1
            Dan Hutchison, Dist. 2
            J. J. Corbett, Dist. 3
            Ted Aggelis, Dist. 5

These school officials were joined by representatives of the community in welcoming those class members of 1912 still able to gather together in the city that evening.

The only reason I know that is because of the long-standing friendship and correspondence between two school chums—one who made it to the event, and one who did not. Zemla Doke—now Zemla Griffith—had returned to her childhood home in Fort Meade to attend this special event, and then to send some mementos of the occasion in a letter to her longtime friend and former classmate, Rubie McClellan Davis.

“Back to School” Night
Honoring Student Body of 1912

Welcome………………………….Carl Newsome
Student Council President

Invocation………………………Rev. Lawrence Sthreshley
First Presbyterian Church

Remarks…………………..Dan Moody
Former School Board Member

Proclamation……………W. J. Loadholtes
Mayor of Fort Meade

Introduction of Students From Fort Meade
School — 1912…………….Tom McDonald

Presentations………………Clifton Mains
Deputy Superintendent

Closing Remarks………………Carl Newsome

Benediction…………..Pernell Cornelius
Youth Pastor
Peaceful Missionary Baptist Church

Open House and Refreshments

“Home of The Fighting Miners”

It was interesting taking a look at the list of attendees for the event. While not one of the names mean anything to me—other than as classmates of my grandmother, Rubie Davis—it was fun reading through the list and mentally constructing family constellations, wondering if Edith McAuley Allen and Don McAuley were actually siblings, or just coincidentally carried the same surname during their school years. Were Jeanette Rivers and Wiley Rivers brother and sister? Were John Enzor and Julia Griffin Enzor childhood sweethearts?

Honored Guests
Student Body of 1912

Lawrence Adams
Edith McAuley Allen
Fred Bobbett
Clair Botts
Ralph Botts
Austin Clifton
Naomi Griffin Drane
John Enzor
Julia Griffin Enzor
Inez Prine Garrard
Zelma Doke Griffith
Marion Herring
Maude Lightsey Jones
Walter Lightsey
Lucille Wingate Long
Mary Wingate Martin
Don McAuley
Clem Moseley
Quessie Nobles Pierce
Jeanette Rivers
Wiley Rivers
Eva Rivers Sexton
Mrs. S. L. Nobles Townsend
Annabelle Wiggins
Gordon Wilcox
Billy Williams
Warren Williams
John Wingate

I know lists like this can make for dull reading, other than the mind games we construct for ourselves as we peek at ephemera from days gone by. However, by typing in these lists and posting them online—as many in the blogging world who participate in amanuensis memes do—we dig into all the forgotten records of the past and add to the plethora of digitized resources which, having been found, allow other family history researchers to add yet another tiny sliver of life to the portraits of their own ancestors.


  1. What's with the little tough guy cartoon? School mascot?

    1. Oh Well DUH and Double DUH -- I just reread the title.

    2. Yep, he's just one of The Fighting Miners.

      Makes me wonder what there was in Fort Meade to be mined...

    3. "Production at the South Fort Meade mine, which supplies 20 percent of North America's phosphate reserves and employs 200, should resume..."

      I think Phosphate is "soap".

  2. It is a wonderful bit of information for anyone searching...I know I would be thrilled to run across it:)

    1. We both would be thrilled to find more of this sort of stuff! I think that's why we try to pay it forward by sharing online what we've found that may be of use to others researching their own family histories. What we do for others, we hope others out there--that we've yet to find--are likewise doing the same thing for people like us :)


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