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July 2012

From the Koreshan Archives:

     July brings us the birthdays of two people, one of whom never became a Koreshan, as far as we know, and the other, a Koreshan, but more importantly a pioneer. Then, we take a look at a copy of the “American Eagle” from 1906.

     First, one of the brothers of Cyrus Teed (Koresh), Charles Jackson Teed. Charles was the fourth child of Jess Teed and Sarah Ann Tuttle. He was born on July 3, 1843. He married Amelia McLaughlin on February 23, 1874. It is after that date that things get a bit murky. We know that Charles and Amelia had a daughter, Ella, who was born on May 6, 1875. We also know, (thanks to original archival papers), that he died somewhere around 1887. Charles was listed in the 1880 census along with Amelia and a daughter Sarah, age 3. No sign of the child, Ella. By the time of the 1900 census, we find an Amelia Teed in a State Hospital. Then by 1910, it shows her with another son, Marvin, born about 1886. Teeds were plentiful in New York, so there may some others whose names are similar. So we have a great deal of death and suffering in the family. The death of children and husbands may have taken its toll.

Frank Lewis from the Ritter Collection

On a brighter note, July 3 is also the birthday of Frank S. Lewis, born in 1869 in Port Dickinson, New York. Frank was a telegrapher who worked for the Lehigh Valley Railroad as well as for Western Union. Frank came to Florida in 1922 and in 1923 he was part of the “Trail Blazers”, the group who drove across the Everglades from Fort Myers to Miami, opening the way for the eventual building of the road, now known as the “Tamiami Trail”. It is unclear whether Frank was, himslef, a Koreshan. Certainly his wife, Anna Welton Lewis was. She was born near Moravia New York and she and her mother lived in the commune there. Frank and Anna moved to Estero in 1943, having lived in the Everglades since Frank worked for the Barron Collier company as a telegrapher. In Estero, their small cottage became known later as the “Anna Lewis House” since she continued to live there after Frank’s death in 1945. That house is now on the State Historic Site’s property and is used as the administrative offices.

Frank was the only member of the Trail Blazers who kept a diary. The original is located int he Richter Library, University of Miami, in Coral Gables. It was digitized by the Florida Center for Library Automation and it can be viewed on our site by Clicking Here

This was written in the FLAMING SWORD, Community Current Events by Adah Price, January 1946:

“Brother Frank S. Lewis died at Lee Memorial Hospital, Ft. Myers, Friday, Dec. 7. The deceased was born in Port Dickinson, a suburb of Binghamton, N. Y., July 3, 1869. He became a telegrapher by profession, serving first with the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and several years later with the Western Union Telegraph Co. in New York City with whom he remained until coming to Florida in 1922. In 1923 he participated in the now historic Tamiami Trail Blazing trip with a party of men who took the first cars across from Ft. Myers to Miami before the Trail was completed. Shortly thereafter he became associated with the Barron Collier organization at Everglades, serving as telegrapher and accountant in the general offices until he retired and moved to Estero in December 1943. He was also secretary of the Tamiami Trail Masonic Lodge in Everglades. For nearly two years past he had served as bookkeeper and treasurer of The Koreshan Unity at Estero. He left no immediate family, other than his widow, Mrs. Anna Lewis. Mr. Lewis was a man of genial and kindly disposition whom to know was but to admire, and leaves a host of friends to mourn his loss. Burial was in Estero.”

     Finally, as we mentioned in the June posting, the State Archives have finally received grant funding to process the Koreshan Archives, donated to the State by the “College of Life Foundation“, previously known as the Koreshan Unity. The Archives here at the State Historic Site are a small portion of what is now in Tallahassee. Our holdings are items that were donated specifically to the Park. The Unity holdings were the property of the Unity and were the “official” archives of the Koreshans. We mentioned that the Florida State Archives also prooduced a ‘blog’ which has included postings describing the process that the Koreshan holdings are going through. They just posted Part-3 which includes a page from the May 6, 1908 issue of the American Eagle Supplement in which Dr. Teed and other members of the Unity give their side of the altercation that saw Dr. Teed arrested.

Categories: Monthly Feature.

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