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Forgotten Workers of Early Homestead II — 15 Comments

  1. Really enjoy reading about the early history of the area. I grew up around and did handy work for Maude V. Leppannen (don’t remember her maiden name) who was well known to folks in the Homestead, Florida City area. When I was growing up she would tell me stories by the hour of the trials and wildness of the early years she spent there. Now, I regret not recording or writing some of this down as it was sure a wealth of regional, historic knowledge.

  2. Thanks, Jeff: I wonder about the documentation for stories of suffocating animals (from mosquitos). The book A LAND REMEMBERED by Patrick Smith mentions that phenomenon too and, although it is fiction, there must have been some basis for the stories. His son, Rick, is a contact of mine and I will ask him about his dad’s research and documentation.

    • Yes, I wonder too. I know the mosquitoes were fierce and I’ve seen photographs of men and animals in protective garb but I doubt that any animal died from inhaling mosquitoes. I take the tale as a way of emphasizing just how bad the mosquitoes were. If you find out anything more, please share it with us.

      • I noticed the reference to “smugpots”. My dad and uncles would fire up smudgepots (correct spelling) whenever there was a freeze warning. Re: mosquitos, Grandaddy would cover his mule’s muzzle with burlap to keep the mosquitos from choking the poor animal.

  3. I grew up in Homestead and we lived out in the Redland area off of Avocado and Country Club road. I remember swarms of mosquitoes that would surround the car when we drove up to the house. We would jump out of the car and run inside with large black clouds following us.

    This was in the 1970’s with aerial spraying. I can only imagine how bad it was in the early 1900’s.

    Some sort of mosquito born virus probably killed the cows but I can imagine the swarms were horrible back then.

  4. I have been doing some research myself about my family who came to Homestead around 1908. My Grandfather Robert E. Glenn came from Kentucky and married Julia Ruth Hoats from South Carolina. They had a large family (Charles, Edith, Kenneth, Roger and Robert). I haven’t found a lot about the family other than my grandfather worked for the city in the water department. I went to Neva King Cooper, Homestead Jr. High and South Dade Sr. High… If there is more info about my family, I would really like to know. I enjoy reading the stories and seeing the pictures.

  5. Willie A. King was my Mom’s father – he was my grandfather also. Her name was Betty Jean King, now TUCKER, and now lives in North Florida with her husband Donald Tucker. I think she had 2 brothers, Clarence and DJ, and 1 sister, Mollie??? I so vividly remember walking the groves with Grandpa King, grafting orange and avocado trees and eating so much fruit our lips were burning like fire!!!

  6. Clarence Parman was my Uncle Clarence. He had three daughters. My father was Howard Robert Parman, 1898-1964. Both were born in Toledo, Ohio. After the depression, Clarence moved to Homestead, Florida and had a fruit company. This company was called the ParKen Company. I used to have a box for sending fresh limes. On the box was the ParKen label. I will look for it if you would like it. It is a sturdy brown box. I now live in Fairfax, VA.

  7. Love to read and see how far my family has come. I know that is how I ended up in Homestead. Great grandson of Mr. Clarence James Parman.

  8. I believe that my grandparents homesteaded in the Redlands area sometime between 1910-1915. I remember seeing a postcard of young orange trees, with ” Redland” on the bottom. They were German immigrants who cleared land and started a grove but then had to move back north for my grandfathers’ health reasons. Their last name was “Bierfreund.”

    • “Gus Bierfreund, who settled in the Redlands country four years ago without a dollar and in debt, now has forty acres of excellent land worth about two hundred dollars an acre, it is said, five acres in grove ready to bear, a good house and barn, and money in the bank. No coal bills, fruit and vegetables for the table the year round, game and home raised poultry are some of the reasons given for this man’s success.”

      Miami Metropolis, May 23, 1914, p. 5

  9. Wow, just stumbled on your site this evening, and didn’t really expect any info. I have looked in the past, and didn’t get anywhere. I never knew my grandparents; they died before I was born. I was the youngest child of the youngest child. I just always remembered that post card, which I haven’t seen since I was a child, and I’m sure is long gone. My father died in 1983. Thank you so much. I will have to study your site more.

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