Wild and wooly recollections from the Florida frontier
Cracker Times and Pioneer Lives brings together the reminiscences of two pioneers who came of age in antebellum Florida's Columbia County and the nearby Suwannee River Valley. Though they held markedly different positions in society, they shared the adventure, thrill, hardship, and tragedy that characterized Florida's pioneer era. With sensitivity, poignancy, and humor, George Gillett Keen and Sarah Pamela Williams record anecdotes and memories that touch upon important themes of frontier life and reveal the remarkable diversity of Florida's settlers.
James M. Denham is a professor of history at Florida Southern College, where he also directs the Center for Florida History. Before joining the faculty at FSC, he held teaching positions at Georgia Southern University, Limestone College, and Florida State University, where he received a Ph.D. in 1988. Denham lives in Lakeland.
Canter Brown, Jr. is a visiting professor of history at Florida A & M University and holds J.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Florida State University. A native of Fort Meade, Polk County, Florida, he now resides in Tallahassee.
"A must-own—a must-read—book. It opens a wide window to the nineteenth-century Florida frontier that was sometimes treacherous, sometimes peaceful, but always action-packed …What a treasure."—Samuel Proctor, University of Florida
"A meticulously researched body of work that will serve as an invaluable source of information for historians for decades to come."—Florida Historical Quarterly
"There is a nearly fifty page name-cited index for the people named in both recollections. This alone makes the book a treasure trove for both historians and genealogists."—Reviewers Consortium
"Denham and Brown—both respected experts in pioneer Florida history—carefully footnote Keen's stories, pointing out confirming evidence to substantiate or clarify his version of events …Genealogy enthusiasts will find the book's appendix helpful and fascinating, showing how these families are related and the roles they played in the development of the state. In doing so, Denham and Brown practice the best kind of history - that which helps us make a personal, meaningful connection between the past and present."—Orlando Sentinel
"This volume is an example of what skilled editing can tease out of limited sources. Denham and Brown have added a solid contribution to the growing literature on frontier Florida."—Journal of Southern History
"If you've ever wondered what Florida was like before the sprawl of interstate highways, shopping malls and fast-food restaurants, this book will lead you through the eyes of two inhabitants in the late 19th century into that old swampy territory after the Civil War."—Florida Today
"A valuable addition to the scholarship on Southern society and the nineteenth-century frontier. Our understanding of the everyday people of the Florida of yesterday is expanded substantially."—H-Net Book Reviews