returns to town for history tour
By LaViece Smallwood
An old photograph featured on the
Baker County GenWeb site by
webmaster Carl Mobley shows
Macclenny or Darbyville in the early
1900's. Several of the people have
been identified including Dr. E.B.
Brown, ? , Carl McClenny, Edward
McClenny, John McClenny, ? , Harold
Turner and W.J. Thompson.
Traveling from as far away as Texas and as near
as Jacksonville Beach, about two dozen members of
the McClenny family will return to Macclenny this
week-end to participate in the living history
cemetery tour being held from 1-5 p.m. this Saturday
in Woodlawn Cemetery south of Macclenny.
The occasion, listed on the Florida Department of
State official calendar of events for Florida
Heritage Month, will feature volunteer guides who
will lead groups to selected grave sites for
dramatic re-enactments or introductions of
Hincha Gilliam McClenny, father of Civil War
Captain Carr Boughers (Bower) McClenny for whom the
City of Macclenny is named will be represented by
John McClenny from San Antonio, Texas.
Gilliam lost his life, along with a 25-year-old
grandson, John Willie McClenny, during the raging
1888 Yellow Fever epidemic that swept through the
county. Both men, and other McClenny family members
(whose bodies were moved in the mid-1980s from the
McClenny Cemetery located back of the First
Methodist Church of Macclenny) are buried at
Background information pertaining to the
beginning of the McClenny family in America, the
arrival of the McClenny family in Darbyville and the
evolution of the name Darbyville to McClenny will be
Despite popular belief the town’s namesake is not
buried in Macclenny but Gainesville, Florida where
he and his wife Ada moved at the turn of the century
after suffering through the deaths of family members
during the Yellow Fever epidemic.
On December 29, 1922 the town’s namesake, Carr B.
McClenny, who had served on the Board of Alachua
County Commissioners, and as a State Representative
from Gainesville, (the same as he had in Macclenny)
died in Alachua County, from injuries suffered in a
horse and cart accident two years prior.
A few weeks following, on February 22, 1923, his
wife, the former Ada Darby, and the couple’s
youngest daughter Jody, age 23, were killed in a
McClenny family members will be at the family
burial site in order to visit with Baker County
citizens while they are visitors to the town named
for their ancestor.
Among other family grave sites to be portrayed
and featured will be Baker County citizens, William
and Ida Mae Wiggins Knabb, (George and Jeanne Davis
Knabb, Sr.); educator Dr. John Holt, (Edgar
Crawford); local historian and county social worker,
Wilma Cook Morris, (Cheryl Pingel); champion fiddle
player, Oliver Milton and his wife Lou Dicey Rhoden
Milton, (Allen and Ann Milton); and Dr. E.W.
Crockett, (Paul Rhoden).
Stories chronicling the lives of other notable
citizens will aaalso be included. The Gail Burnsed
Spivey will will relate the life and times of
Episcopal minister, Rev. Charles Snowden, who lost
his life in the fever epidemic as she portrays a
nurse who jumped from a moving train that refused to
stop in the City during the fever epidemic; the
local social life of Myrtie Taylor Walker Rowe who
danced a hole in the only pair of shoes she had will
be relates by Jenna Walker Duval and Clarence Johns,
a local businessman who entertained the Queen of the
Moonshiners and acquaintance of Al Capone in his
Macclenny home will feature Tommy Johns.
Taking part in the event will be Sabina Murray, a
certified genealogist research specialist with the
National Genealogical Society in Washington, D.C.
and recipient of the Golden Web Award for her
presentations of Deciphering Old Handwriting. Mrs.
Murray will be demonstrating tombstone rubbings of
various tombstones within the cemetery.
Guides for the tour include Naomi Crews Robinson
and Bonnie Harvey Mathis.
The ticket price of $10 includes refreshments.