Saturday, April 7, 2012

Some interesting Florida history

I spent some time yesterday with Mr. and Mrs. B..

Mr. B. suffers from end-stage Parkinson's disease and Mrs. B. has been his sole caregiver for many years.

She does an amazing job in this role.

Mr. B. isn't able to effectively communicate due to his disease.

They have 10 children but none live locally.

They get a lot of support through their church on the weekends.

Mrs. B. is a native Floridian.

She's the great-granddaughter of Barron and Juliet Collier.

Barron and Juliet Collier, with their three sons, moved to Southwest Florida in 1911.

Collier County was named after Barron.

This morning, I decided to get more information. A simple Google search of his name revealed many "hits."

"Barron Gift Collier (23 March 1873—13 March 1939) was an American advertising mogul, who became the largest landowner and developer in the U.S. state of Florida, as well as, the owner of a chain of hotels, bus lines, several banks, and newspapers. He also owned a telephone company and a steamship line.

The Colliers went on to acquire more than a million acres of land in Southwest Florida, making them the largest private land owners in the state. He invested millions of dollars to transform and develop the wilderness, including drainage of the Everglades and construction of the Tamiami Trail. For his influence and investment in the state's future, the Florida legislature named the newly-created Collier County in his honor on May 8, 1923."

A local public high school in Naples is named after him and his heirs have continued his company:

"The Barron Collier Companies - dedicated to the responsible development, management and stewardship of its extensive land holdings and other assets in the businesses of agriculture, real estate, and mineral management."

I've done extensive research into my family tree (prior to a family trip to Ireland a couple of years ago) and, unFORTUNately, I can claim no family connection to them.

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