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Federal Point Families

The Hubbard Place

         Edwin S. Hubbard

 

Ewin S. Hubbard, who has becn  intiminately

connected with agricultural and horticutural de-

velopment of Putnam County and who has achieved

national reputation on the subject of citrus fruit, owns

a valuable farm and orange grove at Federal Point,

Florida, where he is extensively engaged in potato

culture. A native of Middletown, Connecticut, he

was born May 18, 1860, a son of Samuel J. and Frances

D. (Smith) Huhhard, and is a descendant of an old

English family which came from the mother country

to  America,  settling  in  Middletown,  Connecticut,

about 1636.  The parents were also natives of Con-

necticut and the maternal grandmother was a Sears,

that family being prominent and well known in New

England and Long Island, New York, and a branch

of the same trace their ancestry back to Stephen Hop-

kins of Mayflower fame.  Samuel J. Hubbard followed

agricultural pursuits all his life and was also engaged

in the lumber business, being prominent in the sec-

tion in which he lived.  His brother-in-law, an uncle

of our subject, was one of the early pioneers of Cali-

fornia, to which state he moved in 1849 at the time

of tlie gold excitement, making his way to the west

via Panama with Chief Justice Field, a man of state-

wide importance, who was his lifelong friend.  Mr.

and Mrs. Samuel J. Hubbard were tlie parents of four

children:  Edwin S., of this review; Clement S., of

Higganum, Connecticut, treasurer of the Cutaway

Harrow Company; Elmer S., also of that city and

president of  the same company; and Fannie D.,

the wife of George G. Whitmore, of Middletown,

Connecticut. EdwinS. Hubbard was reared under tlie

parentalroof and in the acquirement of his education

attendedthe  schools of  tlie neighborhood and high

school  in Middletown, Conn. Early in life he became

acquainted with the details of agriculture under the

able  guidance of  his  father, remaining on tlie home

place and  assisting in the management of tlie  farm.

He there made his home until he was about twenty

years of age, when  he decided upon removal to Flor-

ida, recognizing the opportunities which awaited an

energetic and ambitious young man in that country.

He came to Federal Point in 1880 and acquired some

land which lie devoted to orange culture.  He also

was engaged for some time in merchandising and fol-

lowed general farming.  He has now thirty acres

devoted to the cultivation of Irish potatoes and ten

acres planted to oranges, deriving a gratifying income

from these sources of agriculture.  As the years have

passed he .has greatly improved his land and has insti-

tuted such equipment and conveniences as are con-

sidered essential to up-to-date farming.  He has made

careful study of the raising of citrus fruits and in the

course of years has gained valuable experience along

this line.

On October I1, 1882, Mr. Hubbard married Miss

Louisa  A. Hart, a native of Poughkccpsie, New York,

and a daughter of Benjamin H.. Hart, one of the pioneer settlers of Federal Point, Florida, where he

settled in 1867, thcre making his winter home.  He

was a prosperous agriculturist and an expert along

horticultural lines in New York.  Mr. and Mrs. Hub-

bard are tlic parents of two children:  Edith L., who

is a vocalist of reputation, making her home in New

York part of the time; and E. Stuart, who is engaged

in business with his uncle, William H. Hart, at Pugh-

kipsie, New York.   Mr. and Mrs. Hubbard are

members of tlie Episcopal church, taking an active

and helpful interest in that institution and its allied

organizations.   Mr.  Hubbard at present serves as

treasurer of the town of Federal Point,  he has re-

sided on his farm for over thirty years and is widely

and favorably known in Putnam county, where he is

numbered among the pioneers who were the first fac-

tors in the development and upbuilding of tlic sec-

tion.   All measures and projects undertaken in the

interest of this region find in him a warm supporter

and while he has attained to individual prosperity, he

has been a serviceable factor in tlie general advance-

ment.  .He has become widely recognized as an author-

ity on citrus fruit, not only in this section, but all over

the  state  and  even  in  national  societies  which  are

founded in furtherance of knowledge on' that sub-

ject.  He is a member of tlie executive committee of

the  Florida  State  Horticultural  Society,  having  be-

come connected witli that organization one year after

its establishment.   He has contributed many valuable

papers on tlie subject of citrus culture and that he is

adjudged to speak authoritatively is evidenced by tlie

fact that lie was elected as one of the judges in the

horticultural department at tlie Chicago World's Fair.

He has served on several important committees of tlic

American Pomological Society and his work in that

connection has been of value in divulging knowledge

on such fruit as is grown in this district.  He has

also served on most of the committees of tlic State

Horticultural Society. Such work as has been done by

Edwin, S. Hubbard is of inestimable value in bringing

to tlie attention of many the favorable conditions and

opportunities that await all who go out to seek them

in this district and while he has never desired official

recognition along public or political lines, he has along

horticultural and agricultural lines done constructive

work of a high order.

Florida 1513-1913 Past, Present and Future

GREAT UNCLE CAPTAIN SMITH

 

 

One of the earliest settlers at Federal Point after the Civil War was Captain Edwin Smith.

 

We knew him, when little children, as a tall, slender bachelor with a long, slim, white Pharoah beard.  He lived in a large building which he built near the wharf on Commercial Avenue soon after coming to the Point.  He used this as a store.  It later became a hotel.  He had given up operating the store by the time we came along as Squire Tenney ran one next door in connection with the Post Office            and the public wharf.

 

The store was reason for your Grandfather Edwin Smith Hubbard coming to Florida as he came down to help run the store for his uncle and godfather, Edwin, for whom he was named.

 

The title, “Captain”, was earned when he was a captain of sailing ships.  He, also, formerly ran a ship chandler’s shop in New York City.  He wrote a pamphlet titled “God’s Law For a Vessel”, which I have among my literary treasures.

 

Captain Smith needed some one to help run the store and help work ten acre grove and truck garden a half mile up Commercial Avenue.  So he sent for his nephew, Edwin – who had finished high school, lacked money to study for his chosen profession, the Congregational ministry, and suffered from catarrh in the Connecticut Valley air at Maromas.

 

Thus, your grandfather and grandmother, Louisa Abigal Hart, became acquainted.

 

Captain Smith lived alone in his big house after his nephew married and moved to his bride’s home, Three Oaks.  He cooked his own meals and occupied himself with the care of his grove and garden.

 

When I grew big enough, my mother would send me down, occasionally, with a covered dish of hot dinner.  I would knock on the door and hear a chair pushed back and his footsteps come towards me along the hall, echoing on the bare, plaster walls.  Then the key would turn in the lock, the door would open and Captain Smith would give me a cordial, courteous greeting and take the proffered covered dish, place it on the table of his front room office, open his iron safe, take out a cigar box and give me a nickel, dime or, on Christmas, a quarter – all the while humming a themeless tune.  My mother objected to his “paying” from his scanty funds as the ’95 freeze had frozen his precious orange trees to the ground and his strawberries and garden truck were his only source of income.

 

Captain Smith practiced organic gardening as fully as possible.  Besides the rank growth of weeds and grass he worked into the ground or used as mulch, he secured all the cow and horse manure he could get.  His main source of manure was the droppings which littered the street where the local milk cows and woods cattle pastured, and where the saddle horses, buggy horses and the horse and mule teams traveled or were tied near the store.

 

Each morning and noon Captain Smith pushed his wheelbarrow gathering, with his shovel, the manna-like fertility scorned by the faddists of the new commercial fertilizer era.  His land was fertile.  His crops flourished.

 

Captain Smith was warden of St. Paul’s mission church.  Passing the plate was his prerogative.  He became interested in the church at the Sailors Snug Harbor on Staten Island before coming to Florida.  The first church services were held in his large, upper room.  He passed around the subscription list to raise money to build the church on land given by the Hart family on the northeast corner of Three Oaks.

 

Captain Smith provided  interest for us, children, during long sermons, by using a leafy switch, which he gathered along the way, to shoo away the flies which alighted on his bld head during the service.  A hungry galliniper mosquito would call for a louder, more vicious swish, to our great pleasure.

 

When Captain Smith died he left the hotel to my father and his grove to the church.  He stipulated in his will that he should be buried in a certain spot in his grove and provided money for a modest monument.  A mound of soil, four feet high, eight feet wide and ten feet long, crowned with the stone is always to remain as his resting place, whoever may own the land.

 

Once, while Frank DuPont was renting the land from the church to raise poitatoes, I went to see the stone an mound, now overgrown by low bushes.  I was startled to see some large bones half buried in the sloping soil.  I mentioned the bones to Frank DuPont, when  I saw him.  He chuckled and said that a yearling had died on the place and he had half buried it in the side of the mound, hoping that, perhaps, some one would find it there.  It was also said the these bones were left to keep superstitious darkies away.

 

And, so passes the memory of an interesting character, a sturdy individual, a pioneer who wove some of his independence, his adventurous initiative, his quiet, religious faith into the pattern of our family.  May he rest in peace.

 

(Captain Smiths account books of his purchases for his store and his sales of fruit and produce are on file in the Yonge Historical Library at Gainesville, Florida, as are also correspondence from his brother in California, business associates and friends.  Many files relating to Federal Point and the Hart and Hubbard families are there.)

 

                                              Excerpts from “Memories of Florida”

                                              Written by E. Stuart Hubbard,  1960

                                              William H. Hubbard

                                               4 Maple View Road

                                               Poughkeepsie, NY  12603           

E. Stuart Hubbard sold "Three Oaks" to Idyl and Robert Wigton on Mach 8, 1926. The Following is a little about this family courtesy of Stuart Vaughn
Wigton's

Idyl Biddlecomb was born in Scofield, Michigan on Feb 22, 1880, the only child of Carrie (Kuhn) and William Biddlecomb.  Her first marriage was to William Rogerson. Later, probably about 1923, Idyl and William Rogerson were divorced. By 1923, the youngest son, Bill, was nearly grown and Idyl married Robert Wigton on September 5, 1923.  They, together with a couple named Ida and John Crook,  purchased  a 11 acre parcel and house on the St. Johns River  12 miles from Palatka at Federal Point, Florida on March 8, 1926  for $4,000 from E. Stuart and Martha Hubbard. The following year, Idyl and Robert Wigton bought out the Crooks for $10.00 and other valuable consideration.

They operated an orange grove and they sold & shipped oranges. Colder weather, which occurred in north Florida in the 1950's, froze out the orange trees, and few now remain. The original 11 acre parcel has now been divided, but can be identified by the Episcopal Church on the east corner of the property.

Idyl Wigton was well known to me. I lived with her and Robert Wigton on several occasions. Although she had a minimal education, she was quite intelligent. She was very interested in and grew beautiful flowers on their Federal Point property; probably because her first husband, William Rogerson only grew vegetables. Grandmother Idyl Wigton drove like a race car driver; never letting the needle vary much from 50 mph regardless of the curve. Even as a child, I remember many white-knuckled rides into Palatka.

Robert Wigton had been an actor and he had been married to a Elliamay Margerium on May 20, 1909 in Youngstown, Ohio.. I remember hearing his first wife went insane and she died on September 17, 1922 at the St. Claire Flats, Michigan.  Robert's family ran a grocery store on Harson's Island (Star Island), St. Claire Flats, Michigan in the 1910-23 period when the only access to the St. Claire Flats was by boat. Robert was a bit prejudiced, but a nice man and very kind to me.  His early acting experience gave him great ability to "tell a story". Every Sunday morning he & his buddies and they would talk politics - putting down the local politicians. Bob had great physical strength from using a scythe to hand cut "Pear Grass", a fast growing, obnoxious jointed, grass-like weed that grow and practically covered the orange trees.

In her later years, Idyl went blind from glaucoma. She died on November 15, 1956 and is buried in Grand Lawn Cemetery next to her mother, Carrie. Robert Wigton was born in 1882 and died on Jan 30, 1964 and he is buried in lot 15 of Pinewood Cemetery on Main Street on east of the Halifax River in Daytona Beach, Florida. The grave can be located to the 15 yards east of the east dirt entry road just north of the Main Street entry gate.

William James Rogerson - Third son of William Rogerson & uncle of Stuart Vaughn 

Idyl's 4 th child, Bill Rogerson, was born on July 30, 1907 in Highland Park.  He never lived at Federal Point. As Idyl (Biddlecomb, Rogerson) and Bob Wigton aged at Federal Point, Florida, Bill provided them supplementary income by purchasing their property. I can remember as a boy living with my grandparents that they looked forward to the monthly check. Ironically, in the mid 1980's David and I made an identical arrangement with Bill and Joan to supplement their income. In the 1950's, Bill heavily invested in developing a subdivision in Rose Township near Holly, Michigan. The development including raising an existing dam to enlarge Lake Braemar and this created considerable controversy and eventually a financial failure that drained Bill and Joan of much of their financial resources.

Bill attended the University of Michigan in Detroit and took Psychology courses and received a draft notice into the army in March 27, 1941 under the Selective Service System and served until October 15, 1941.  His official Army record indicates he was reinducted into the Army at Fort Custer, Michigan on January 15, 1942. Bill served in the south Pacific as a private and a sergeant and received several service ribbons, including 2 bronze battle stars. He was separated from the Army on  October 15, 1945.

Bill actively  married Joan Westwater on December 7, 1945.  After the war, Bill ran an electrical contracting business at 15920 Fenkell in Detroit.

Bill died January 19, 2004 and is buried next to his mother in Grandlawn Cemetery in Detroit.


Stuart H. Vaughn

Stuart was born in a Highland Park, Michigan  At 2 years old, he contracted glomerulonephritis; possibly caused from a measles infection outbreak in the region. During much of that period Stuart lived with his grandparents at Federal Point.

The family returned to the house on Greenview in Detroit in the period 1936 -1938. In the summer of 1938, Stuart went to live with my grandparents in Florida again for a short period. 

The family lived in Bill Rogerson's house in Detroit. In the summer of 1943, because his mother was working, Stuart went to live with my grandparents in Florida. He attended the 7 th, 8 th, and 9 th grades in Palatka.. The Florida property consisted of 11 acres, composed of the house, garage, wash house, packing house, orange grove, and two large fields which were rented out to local farmers. Grandfather Wigton raised oranges and sold them in St. Augustine and mailed crates around the country.

Stuart was graduated from Duke in Civil Engineering. Stuart and  Barb Falconer were married a May 28, 1955 and have 4 daughters. Stuart spent most of his career in Ford World Headquarters, eventually managing Ford's environmental engineering activities. The department was responsible for planning, design, and operational assistance of facility environmental control facilities for Ford worldwide operations.

Late in 1988, Stuart had a routine Ford executive physical examination at Beaumont signaled a much increased blood pressure which medication couldn't control. This caused his historic kidney function, about 25%, to decline steadily to 10% in January 1989 and it was obvious that kidney failure was inevitable and dialysis and/or a kidney transplant was going to be required. On April 5, 1989, at the University of Michigan Hospital, Stuart's brother, David, donated one of his kidneys to Stuart. The transplant was very successful.

Stuart and David Vaughn purchased the Federal Point from William Rogerson. Because of uncertainity associated with the transplant, they sold the property to Jim Mast.

In December 2003, Stuart's transplanted kidney started to fail and on July 31, 2004 Mayo Clinic initiated kidney dialysis.

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