This is a photo of Gordon Johnson.  I have no idea whether he was a relative or just a family friend, or what became of him... but my grandparents (King) Walter Davis and Mary Lee Haire Davis had several photos of him... (UPDATE 19 Feb 2006:  His full name was HENRY Gordon Johnson and he was a brother of grandpa Davis's brother-in-law John Robinson Johnson).  He appeared on the 1930 U.S. Census for Lee County, Florida, in the "PLACE OF ABODE" 56/57 which was immediately adjacent to that of my great grandparents James Daniel Haire and Forrest Presell Autry Haire at 57/58.  My great uncle George Washington Haire and his wife Allie Mae Trulock Haire were living at 58/59, my grandparents (King) Walter Davis, Mary Lee Haire Davis... with their children Pauline (my mother), Hugh C., Barbara P., Coy Owen & John R., were living down the line a bit at 67/68.  In between, at 65/66, was Richard Schadlee who was grandpa's employer... and the difference in their circumstances is shown in that the residences previously mentioned were evaluated at being worth $10 each except Gordon Johnson's which weighed in at $15; but Richard Schadlee's home was evaluated as being worth $50,000.  Mr. Schadlee at 65/66 wasn't at the top of the pile, though, as 63/64 was evaluated at $250,000... plus 63/64 and 65/66 were identified as owner occupied and the rest as rented.  The were in fact, "quarters" for employees on the Estate.

This was the Schadlee Estate on the Caloosahatchee, and my grandfather was the groundskeeper for the Estate, plus he managed working tropical fruit orchards on the Estate till he finally retired about 30 years later.  Immediately prior to 1930, grandpa had managed a commercial grove for Graham & Shriver.  Though the oranges kept growing, it cost more to pick them and ship them than they could be sold for as the Great Depression unfolded, so after about a year as the sole employee of the company but at half pay and all of the oranges he could eat, grandpa went to work for Mr. Schadlee.  Many of the trees of the Graham and Shriver grove remained alive even when I was growing up though often in woeful condition, all the way from McGregor Boulevard to U.S. 41. along the side of Colonial Boulevard that was towards town, though some close along McGregor Boulevard and Colonial had been incorporated into housing developments.  The remains of this grove were the inspiration for the name of the newly built school that I sarted to attend in the 3rd grade... Orangewood Elementary.

The situation with various family members living on the Schadlee Estate must have been fairly tempoary.  Great grandpa and great grandma Haire started the family tradition of working on local estates soon after great grandpa, James Daniel Haire (who was born in Liberty County, Florida, in 1866), came south from Grady County Georgia in 1913 and took a job as a cook on the McKenzie Steamship Line's mailboat to Marco Island.  Great grandma came down too in December of 1913 and wasn't long before both of them began working for Dr. Franklin Miles, the retired owner of Miles Laboratories and the world's first patent medicine magnate.  Dr. Miles developed his own personal agricultural experiment farm on his estate and various members of my family seem to have gained inspiration and knowledge about growing tropical and semi-tropical plants from observing or participating in his activities.  My family was connected in various ways to growing such plants as an occupation thereafter.  My great grandparents soon went back to their farm in Georgia and grandpa bought the only house that was built for about the next 30 years in Glen Eden subdivision, several miles in towards town from the Schadlee Estate, on the east side of McGregor Boulevard.  The subdivision plans had crashed just like the Graham & Shriver grove, in the Depression.  With the house grandpa bought about 10 acres of land comprising a number of subdivision lots and soon had several fields of royal palms, coconuts and citrus growing.  Grandpa still had his Packard Essex touring car then, because when I was maybe ten years old, I found a rusting steel frame (and nothing but a frame... the South Florida elements having apparently eaten the rest) far away in the woods on the east side of the house.  Upon mentioning finding part of "an old car" I was told that was what was left of grandpa's Essex.  Once upon a time it (or perhaps some Model T Ford predecessors) had carried the family hunting in the Big Cypress (grandpa took grandma and all of the kids along) and back and forth to Georgia... at first on sand rut roads when there was not a sign of any kind to be found, as well anywhere else an automoble could be made to go.  One story that mom loved to tell, was how on a trip to Georgia once the family had camped in a field beside a lonely country store.  The next night they camped in the exact same spot... because grandpa had driven all day long... in a big circle.

There was a World War II military training camp on the coast near carrabelle south of Tallahassee that was named Camp Gordon Johnson, but it was named after a Colonel by that name and he was apparently an altogether different person.

Richard White
Tallahassee, Florida
22 July 2003
Revised 19 February 2006