Letters from Florida Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Letters from Florida

Horace Ide began spending winters in Florida in 1871 or earlier for his health, although any Vermonter knows that you don’t need a reason to take a break from winter. Spending winter in Vermont in the 19th century must have been a test of will, with poorly insulated houses, unreliable heat sources and cold temperatures at the end of the little ice age. By 1872, he had purchased a farm near Jacksonville and started an orange grove. In 1876, he began writing letters to the St. Johnsbury Caledonian that they published for the interest of their readers, and possibly to increase their readers interest in purchasing Florida real estate.

St. Johnsbury Caledonian, November 14, 1873
St. Johnsbury Caledonian, November 14, 1873
St. Johnsbury Caledonian, January 1, 1875
St. Johnsbury Caledonian, January 1, 1875
St. Johnsbury Caledonian, January 8, 1875
St. Johnsbury Caledonian, January 8, 1875

He continued to occasionally write published letters from Florida through 1879.

St. Johnsbury Caledonian, December 10, 1880
St. Johnsbury Caledonian, December 10, 1880
St. Johnsbury Caledonian, December 14, 1877
St. Johnsbury Caledonian, December 14, 1877
St. Johnsbury Caledonian, December 14, 1877
St. Johnsbury Caledonian, December 14, 1877

It’s possible that Horace Ide carried a well-worn copy of Whitney’s Florida Pathfinder with him on his journey to Florida. Using the maps of the St. John’s River, one can easily retrace some of his journeys.

Whitney's Florida Pathfinder 1876-1877 cover

Whitney's Map of the St. John's River
Whitney's Map of the Upper St. John's River
Letters from Florida

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