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McClenny family 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 represented individuals.

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 Woodlawn.

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 narrated.

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 car-train accident.

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.