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September 2010

From the Koreshan Archives:  — 
This month marks the birth of one of the lesser known members of one of the most prominent Koreshan families — the Bubbett family.

James and Evelyn Bubbett had three children. Their youngest, Laurence (Laurie) was president of the Unity during the time when things were coming to an end. His sister, Imogene, was married to another prominent Koreshan, Claude Rahn. She died at the age of 49. The oldest child — a son, named LeRoy, isn’t heard from in much of the literature and photographs held by the Koreshan State Historic Site.

LeRoy was born on September 5, 1871 in Quincy Illinois. By the time his parents moved to Estero, LeRoy was probably on his own and he appears to have stayed in Chicago. His belief in Koreshanity, however, remained with him and he acted as an “agent” of the Unity. He married his wife, Alice about 1894. They had two known children — LaReina and Victor, who were both born in Ohio.

LeRoy had some sort of malady later in life as his name turns up in the Koreshan “Community Current Events” as visiting Estero for his health. The last time, in June of 1936 it was written:

“After a visit of several months at the Unity, Leroy H. Bubbett left by train for his home in Chicago, much improved in health.”. However, by the fall of the year, it was written: “On Saturday morning, October 31, the Unity received a telegram from Mr. Leroy H. Bubbett, our representative in Winnetka Ill., to the effect that he would arrive in Fort Myers that morning and for someone to meet him. We did, but it was most evident that Leroy was not long for this world, for he arrived completely exhausted and a very sick man indeed. The end came the following Tuesday, November 3, at 3:30 p.m. Brother Roy, as he was familiarly known to us, was one of the early pioneers of the Koreshan movement in Chicago, coming into the home when a lad with his parents, Brother James and Sister Evelyn Bubbett. He performed much valuable service in those early days and since, and was ready at all times to champion the Cause of Koreshanity. He is survived by his wife and daughter, who reside at Winnetka; a son at Birmingham, Alabama, and his brother, Laurence Bubbett, of Estero. His son, Victor Bubbett, arrived in Estero Thursday morning following his father’s demise, and left the next day for Winnetka.”

September also brings the “beginning of the end” of the hot summer season, but the early beginning of the influx of our “seasonal” visitors. That means an increase in traffic and travel time. For the Koreshans who lived in a different time, travel on roads and bridges was a different kind of adventure.

In the “Community Current Events” column from September 1927, Dennis Richards wrote:

Florida is building highways so rapidly it is always impossible to say from day to day what the mileage of hard-surfaced roads is. …Florida now has approximately 9,500 miles of highway over which automobiles may be driven at high speed.”

Of course, we now have about 122,000 miles of highway in Florida. Richards also mentioned crossing the Gandy Bridge, connecting Tampa and St. Petersburg. It was built in 1924 and shortened the distance between the two cities from 42 to 19 miles.

Categories: Monthly Feature.

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