Okeechobee County, 


A Pictorial History--Page 3

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george_hubbard.jpg (40193 bytes)Dr. Hubbard Provided the community of Tantie and the surrounding area with the only professional medical aid. He used a buckboard driven by a mule to travel the countryside, as far north as Bassinger. In 1903 Merida (Drawdy) Raulerson moved to Tantie with her husband, William, son of N. R. Raulerson, Jr. Merida, who was born in Georgia in 1880, moved with her parents, George and Emily Drawdy, to Fort Drum during the 1890’s. Merida soon became an indispensable member of the Tantie settlement as a midwife. She was officially licensed in that capacity in 1913 and during her long career delivered over 500 babies unassisted. With only a third grade education, Merida received her medical training through years of experience in primitive conditions. She used neither rubber gloves nor forceps, but reported that she "never lost a single baby."

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saw_mill.jpg (79673 bytes)During the summer of 1908, William M. Earhart, with his wife and three children, left Fort Pierce and moved to Tantie. Earhart, a native of Ohio, had come to Florida the previous year and soon became interested in opening a sawmill at Tantie. He traveled to Atlanta early in 1908 to obtain the sawmill equipment after forming a partnership with Peter Raulerson.

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tanti_school.jpg (100596 bytes)It was in 1909 that the Tantie community obtained a new schoolhouse which was built on the west side of what is now South Parrott Avenue, across the street from present-day Arby's Restaurant. The one-story white-frame structure was officially designated School 14 by the St. Lucy County school system. During the 1909-10 term the supervisors or trustees were Peter Raulerson, Henry Hancock, and Weyman Potter, and the teacher was Dr. Hubbard. The pupils were: 

Girls: Jincy, Susie. Faith, Grace, Zora, Beulah, and Effie Raulerson; Ruth, Janie, Murray, Vera, and Elsie Hancock; Bertha, Grace, and Lottie Davis; Cola and Banna Wright; and Ada Sloan; 

Boys: Charles and Marcus Gibson; Winnie and Clarence Hancock; Nathan and Clarence Jones; Burns, Melville, Cornelius, Harmon, Hiram, Rabun, and Eddie Raulerson; Lawrence and Carl Sloan; Curtis Wright; Luther Davis; and Martin Strickland.

Until 1909 a one-room structure built of rough timber, located on what is now South Parrott Avenue, was used as a schoolhouse for the children of Tantie. One schoolteacher who served during this period was Josie Summerland of St. Lucy. Dr. Hubbard also taught from time to time in the Tantie school

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Flood.jpg (73526 bytes)A severe storm struck the northern shore of Lake Okeechobee on October 7, 1910. Water rose about six feet above the bank of the lake front and a number of houses and fish camps were swept away. Hundreds of hogs ranging near the lake were drowned by the sudden rise of water and cattle had to swim for higher ground, but there was no damage to the high ridge of Tantie. Peter Raulerson reported that the water was higher than at any time since the great hurricane of 1878.

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In 1911 one of Okeechobee’s most famous citizens arrived in the community.  Dr. Roy and Anna Darrow had come to Florida from Chicago in 1909 to take the medical examination.  Both passed the exam, but Dr. Anna Darrow had scored 98 percent, the highest grade ever scored at that time.  She was the second woman ever licensed as a doctor in the state of Florida.  Dr. Roy was in poor health, and the move from Chicago was partially an attempt to find better weather conditions. They purchased a brand new Model T Ford for the trip.  Savannah_River_Bridge.JPG (70997 bytes)Neither of the Darrow’s had ever driven a car, so the Ford Motor Company sent a driver with them as far as Jacksonville to teach the two doctors how to drive.  From Jacksonville to Ft. Pierce took five days, due to the poor conditions of the roads of that day.  The car remained in Ft. Pierce until a grade was built to ten mile creek and then it was brought to Okeechobee.  This same Model T is on display in the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan today.



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