Hastings, Florida
St. Johns County
Founding to 1910
Florida East Coast Railway
Dr. Rhyden G. Mays
In the beginning there  was St. Augustine physician Rhyden G. Mays. Born about 1802 in Edgefield, South Carolina,
Mays was a physician who also planted cotton. Mays settled in St. Augustine. In 1852, he acquired six tracts amounting
to 240 acres in section 18, township 9 south, township 28 east, properties that later became part of the municipal limits of
Hastings. Mays also purchased properties in the township farther west to expand his plantation. In 1854, Mays also
acquired an additional eighty acres to the southeast in the northwest quarter of section 21, township 9 south, range 28
east. To manage his Orange Mills precinct plantation Mays hired William Spier to oversee eighty-eight slaves. By 1860,
Mays was among the wealthiest of
St. Johns County's residents, claiming real estate in excess of $20,000 and a
personal estate of $100,000, much of which was comprised of slaves.

Elijah C. Simpkins
A native of Edgefield County, South Carolina, Elijah C. Simkins arrived in Florida about 1850 and by 1860 resided in
Orange Mills near the St. Johns River. In 1856, he acquired eighty acres in section 20, township 9 south, range 28 east,
property that was supported by the St. Augustine-Palatka Road. A lumber merchant, Simkins claimed $10,000 in real
estate and $39,000 in personal estate by 1860. Part of the latter consisted of fifty-two slaves, a workforce that
harvested timber from his holdings and worked his plantation lands. At least one of Mays' and Simkins' Edgefield
neighbors, Isaac Bunting, was encouraged by the activities of the physician and lumberman. Bunting also maintained a
plantation in Edgefield in 1840, but had relocated to Madison, Florida by 1850.Following Mays' suggestion, Bunting in
1855 acquired forty acres in section 21, township 9 south, range 28 east, east of Mays' Orange Mills property. Despite
the investment, Bunting remained in Middle Florida to manage his plantation and apparently never developed his
St. Johns County property

Benjamin A. Putnam
Other immigrants to St. Augustine included lawyer, legislator, and solider Benjamin A. Putnam. A native of Georgia,
Putnam was born at Putnam Plantation near Savannah, Georgia, and later moved to Florida where he rose to distinction
as a lawyer, soldier, judge, and first president of the Florida Historical Society. Putnam opened a law practice in St.
Augustine, participated in the Second Seminole War, served as surveyor-general of Florida, and by 1860 resided in St.
Augustine where he claimed a personal estate in excess of $5,500, part of which consisted of nineteen slaves.
Citizens elected Putnam to Florida’s Legislative Council in 1835, 1840, and 1845, and then as speaker of the Florida
House from St. Johns County in 1848. President Zachary Taylor, under whom he had served during the Second
Seminole War, appointed Putnam surveyor-general of Florida in May 1849, a post he held until 1854. During the
interval, Putnam signed his name on dozens of township plats issued by the government land office. The territorial
legislature named Putnam County for him in January 1849. After the Civil War, Putnam relocated to
Palatka, the
seat of government of Putnam County, where he died in January 1869. The boundaries of Putnam County changed
over time. Between 1860 and 1870, the Florida Legislature relocated the eastern boundary of Putnam County to the
east side of the St. Johns River, taking much of the Orange Mills precinct. The county line jurisdiction would place
Hastings in the southwest corner of St. Johns County

Early Settlers
After the Civil War John Francis Taney in his book Slavery, Secession and Success noted: "We found another family
living a few miles back from the river, near what is now called Hastings, by the name of Carter, that is worthy of notice.
George Carter had a young family of fifteen or sixteen children, none of them old enough to properly provide for the
others, and Mr. Carter deemed it a greater duty to remain at home and care for his numerous family than to enter the
ranks of any war party, and did so, but at great hazard, as he was hunted by conscription parties, and had to hide in the
woods at night without fire, despite the inclemency of the weather. He managed to elude the conscription officers and
provided for his wife and children, who have grown up to respected citizens. Mr. Carter always spoke of his experiences
with great bitterness, as well he might."

Thomas Hastings and the founding of Hastings
Tom Hastings and his family moved to Florida about 1890. They settled on 1569 acres west of St. Augustine ... owned
by the Model Land Co... which Mr. Hastings named Prairie Garden. But as early as August, 1892, the area was known
as Hastings farm or Hastings station.

There were two purposes for the farm: to grow vegetables for Flagler's hotels and to experiment with different crops and
different farming methods.

Tom Hastings must have enjoyed farming, for he and his family lived at Prairie Garden for ten years. His son, George,

When I visited my father in Florida ... he had the same enthusiasm and believed that Florida would raise fresh
vegetables for the big hotels of the north as well as for Flagler's hotels in Florida. I remember ...his feeling that by expert
care the vegetables would be of such superior quality they would command big prices...

Letter from Dr. William Pusey (from Chicago) published in the Tampa Tribune, February 12, 1933.
In 1933, Tom Hastings' cousin, Bill Pusey, wrote about the farm:

A home was built, drainage ditches dug and garden plots laid out. Hastings set out to experiment with cauliflower,
cabbage, Bermuda onions and rice. He built a large hot house for seed beds and winter cucumbers.
In a year, 3000 tomato plants were growing in his tomato house, and... Vegetables were being cultivated on a large

The farm was known as the Hastings Prairie Garden Sub-irrigation farm.... In addition to Hastings' residence, there were
cabins to house 50 men who were employed on the place.

Tom Hastings was a man of intelligence and refinement....Flagler...had a friendship for him.

Unfortunately, Thomas Hastings took ill in 1896 and the family moved to St. Augustine, where he died on June 10, 1897.

Post Office
In 1891 Hastings was officially recognized with its own post office.

United States Agriculture Report
The farms of Hastings and White also caught the attention of federal officials. In 1892, Richard Hinton of the United
States Department of Agriculture submitted to the United States Senate A Report on Irrigation and the Cultivation of Soil,
a treatise that included the irrigated farms in Florida. The chapter on Florida began with the exploits of Thomas Hastings
and Utley J. White. Hinton reported that "The rainfall being uncertain while the heat is great, irrigation becomes an
essential part of the economy of farm and orchard." Hinton found that "The most successful and as it probably is also
the most thoroughly practical experiment yet made in irrigation by artesian water is that of Thomas H. H. Hastings, of
Hastings (Merrifield post-office), in St. Johns County. Mr. Hastings is a northern man, who on flat wood land, cultivates
early vegetables on an extensive scale. The results of his efforts, both in irrigation and maintaining the temperature of
the "cuke" or cucumber and other forcing houses, have attracted wide attention."

Hastings described his land: "The average is a flat pine wood land, with a clay subsoil from 12 inches to 2 feet below a
rich top soil which can be ditched with a subsoil plow, said ditches carrying and holding water as well as piping. My beds
are all laid off 20 feet wide, ditched each side; the water percolating on top of the clay, moistening the entire ground to
the top. I can completely flood my beds, washing off and drowning outworms and caterpillars.

The cost of clearing and preparing, drainage, and ditches, is $55 per acre; palmetto scrub costs more; fencing is extra.

"My well is 239 feet deep, with a four-inch bore. Total cost was about $450. Flow of water sufficient to irrigate from eighty
to one hundred acres. Force, from about three to five horse power. Natural flow upwards, about thirty feet. Have fine
waterworks system from a one-inch pipe attachment to well in my house; bath room in second story of my house. Can
attach turbine water wheel."

Hastings system of planting and water utilization: "Did not plow the whole ground; had no time. Dug trenches, put in
compost, hoed the grass between trenches which are 4 feet apart, built tomato frames out of rough boards, 150 to 200
feet long, 5 feet high to the north, sloping 22 feet to the south, where frames are 2 feet high. Use prepared heavy grade
waterproof cloth curtains, which I roll down over the plants on cold frosty nights. Found the curtains perfect protectors
from frost. Use same curtains in summer to protect plants from heat of sun. The sun always shines in Florida unless it
rains, which is very seldom, except in the rainy season -- the months of June, July, and August. I did ditches outside and
around the frames, filling them with water to irrigate the plants in the trenches, thence turn the water loose, and the
same ditches answer for drainage and for trenches.

Growing Rice
Hastings revealed to Hinton that he had improved his property and plowed his first field in August 1890. Initially, he
cultivated upland rice, but also grew Irish potatoes, turnips, and Bermuda onions. Hastings fed his livestock with rice
straw rather than purchasing hay.

He wrote: "This was our first year's planting, on new land, only broken about eight months past. This is upland rice.
Requires no more water than used for truck gardens. We expect to get from $1.10 to $1.25 per bushel for hulled rice.
Will lose from 30 to 40 per cent in hulling, according to quality of rice. In August, 1890, I began my improvements, and
did my first plowing. Mr. White began a year and a half earlier. The rice straw, when properly cured, furnishes excellent
ensilage and feed for all kinds of stock, which eat it clean. * * * We will buy no more hay. Am planting now Irish potatoes,
early turnips, and preparing ground for planting Bermuda onions; also planting celery seed in hot beds."

In 1891, he reported that in his neighborhood there were seven artesian wells and he counted twenty artesian wells
within a radius of seven miles. To irrigate his rice fields and crops, Hastings drilled a four-inch well, obtaining the first
flow at 190 feet and a second flow at 239 feet. He measured the pressure at ten pounds per square inch, recorded the
temperature at between 74°F and 79°F, and detected slight sulfur content. He used a three to five horsepower motor to
irrigate 100 acres, but the natural force of the water pressure was sufficient to irrigate about 100 acres.

A description from the State Horticultural Society report in May 1891 describes their visit to the irrigated farms of
Hastings and White. That stated that Hasting's was not in existence in August, 1890. They state:

"We soon discovered the great factor of it all in a 4-inch artesian well. This well is but 250 feet deep, yet the volume that
rises is enormous and with such force that no pumps are need to elevate the water to any part of the house or barn.
The temperature of the water remains at about the same - 79 degrees - the year around, which is a great advantage in
gardening during the winter season. Close to the well the "cuke house"  measuring 165 feet long by 22 feet wide
containing four beds, which run the whole length. The house is covered with glass and built similar to green houses
North, only that it does not have to be so strongly protected against cold and has no steam-heating apparatus. The
heating of this house during the cold spells that occur during December, January, and February is quite novel as well as
original, and we venture the assertion that nowhere in the world is it done the same way. When the 'signs' indicate that a
cold night is approaching the well is opened and the stream of water is conducted to the cuke house, where it flows
under the beds in a stream from 3 to 6 inches deep. This current of water keeps the temperature at an average of 60
degrees on cold nights, frequently making a difference of from 20 to 30 degrees between inside and outside."

How irrigation is done from the State Horticultural Society report:

"All this was done with the aid of irrigation, the artesian wells furnishing the supply, although nearly half a mile off.
Irrigation is done by means of ditches dug one side of the field. When a certain piece of land is needing water the
trenches on both sides of it are dammed up and the water is allowed to fill the intervening trenches until level with the
surface, and is then dammed in and left to percolate through the soil, which it will do in a very short time."

U. J. White's farm was also mentioned in the report: "U. J. White, of Merrifield, now irrigates and cultivates 350 acres by
means of four artesian wells, each yielding 300 gallons per minute, or in all 1,728,000 gallons each twenty-four hours.
The water is heavily charged with sulphur. Drilling began in October, 1889, and was not completed until February, 1891,
when the last well bore was made. The water rises above the surface a distance of 30 feet; the temperature is 74
degrees; there is no perceptible diminution of flow; the casing is 4 inches clear, through hard rock, to a depth in different
wells of from 150 to 250 feet. The cost was from $200 to $400.

The drainage ditches on the farm are used to carry the well water for irrigation, flood-gates being put in at needed
points. Main ditches are filled from the wells, and the water then backs into the laterals and furrows. The land is very
level, with a clay subsoil, averaging 18 inches in depth, and materially aids the retention of the water about plant roots.
The drainage system prevents undue filling of the soil. The rice fields are flooded by the throwing up of dikes around
and then flooding the basin thus formed by water from the wells. The cost of preparing land is estimated at $20 per
acre, and the cost of irrigation plant at $5 per acre. The cost of the four wells did not exceed this; certainly a very cheap
system. Mr. White is enthusiastic in support of his own methods and results. There is in all 500 acres under cultivation
by irrigation in this neighborhood. Fruits, semitropical and temperate, vegetables of all kinds, peas, beets, etc., and rice
are the principal crops. The average returns under irrigation, except fruit which is large, is reported at from $50 to $60
per acre."

The State Horticultural Society reported: "We found Mr. White busy shipping cabbages from a 40-acre tract, and trying
to figure out how much he would make at $17 net per car load, a large prairie of 400 acres, nearly all of which is
covered with a crop of rice just coming up. This land three months ago was in its virgin state. Right through the center of
this tract a canal is cut which is about 3 miles long. Into this canal the water from three artesian wells is turned and from
here it is carried to all parts of the rice fields. One can see a rice bed 1 1/4 miles in length with water flowing at every 40
feet. Last year, on some trial beds of rice, Mr. White gathered nearly 100 bushels to the acre, and the product was
pronounced as fine as any from Louisiana or South Carolina. Some South Carolina planters have become very much
interested in it."

Florida Beauties of the East Coast by Joseph Richardson, General Passenger Agent for the Jacksonville, St.
Augustine and Indian River Railway, 1892
A few miles from the ancient city the soil begins to show black and rich in the ditches, with a clay stratum but a short way
from the surface. This formation makes possible the most profitable and infallible market gardening and farming in the
State. This important fact has been demonstrated at Hastings, 18 miles from St. Augustine, in the middle of this clay
subsoil tract. Here is one of Florida's pioneers has solved the problem of certain irrigation and sure crops, with great
success. The genial proprietor calls his plantation an experimental farm, but the place has passed the experimental
stage, and success is absolutely assured. Land naturally sweet and rich, a clay subsoil which holds and conveys water
as well as drain piping, and an abundance of water from artesian wells insure against drought, and as the climate is
mild, and the soft Florida sunshine beams in yellow floods nature and man in a profitable copartnership supply
everything needful for perfection in vegetable growth and plant life. The farm plant consists of 20,000 acres. A short
distance from the station a mighty shining stream leaps and gushes from sulphur-encrusted pipes; the first of the
artesian wells sunk. From the well the bright torrent flows through a ditch, whose clay bottom soaks up scarcely any,
down to the first cultivated field, where its onward course is controlled by flood gates, and it is let out through the
gardens as required. Irrigating ditches 1,200 feet long are dug every 20 feet, and can be filled in an hour from the three
artesian wells. In one night the entire field can be submerged and ever cut worm or insect drowned without ceremony or
notice to quit.

Through the whole tract a broad avenue six miles long has been opened, through the same prairie land, with no under
brush or palmettos, and black rich soil, which makes this section so valuable , as on sandy soil irrigation without drains is

1895 (Florida Gazetteer)
St. Johns County. Station and Post Office on Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Indian River Railway, 17 miles
south of St. Augustine.

1897 First teacher -(written by Francis Parish in 1979)
Charles Dupont was appointed the first teacher for the new town. The site of the first school house became the home of
Mr. and Mrs. Charnalle Campbell. The school was taught by Mr. Charlie DuPont. For several years one teacher was
sufficient to take care of the children of the Hastings Community school. About 1900, the school had grown so rapidly
that it was necessary to move it to what is now known as "the old school house." This building was erected just south of
town on south Boulevard. The first teacher, Mrs. George Smith (Miss Ella), taught in this building and to begin with the
building had only two stories and was composed of only four rooms. Later, a wing and a bell tower were added.

A list of graduating students from the class of 1906, taught by Miss Margaret Avent, was composed of the following
students: Miss Ethel DuPont (the late Mrs. Bill Bailey of Hastings); Miss Florence Leonard (the late Mrs. Earnest
Mobley); the late George V. Leonard; Miss Verna McCullough (the late Mrs. Verna Elder); Marion Seymour, Miss Eula
McCullough (the late Mrs. D. F. Minton of Hastings); Miss Stella Leonard, (the late Mrs. Stella Butler of Melrose, Mass.);
Courtland Flake, Hazel Flake and Braden Purcell (deceased.)

Other teachers who taught in the Hastings school during the early days were the late Miss Leone Rood and Miss Ida
Vause who both taught here in 1902; Miss Mary McLaughlin, and Miss Carrie Leonard (the late Mrs. Walter Minton.)
General North was principal of the school in 1915.

A Letter from Elsie Hastings (1940)
"My father cleared a large tract of land upon which he built our house and small log cabins for the families of the
foreman and forty workers, large green houses, and a log cabin play house for me. These were the only buildings in
that section of the country. After he had the depot built the first station agent was a young man by the name of Mr. Gene
Sanchez. He lived with us. After we left, he went to St. Augustine…. My father shipped strawberries and vegetables
especially cucumbers to the New York hotels during the winter seasons. He raised rice at one time and flocks of rice
birds would come. Then the men would shoot them and we all had a treat. These little birds were just about 2 or 3
inches long and delicious eating. We left Hastings on account of my father's health. The plantation was too much work
for him. We moved to St. Augustine where he died in July 1897

The Florida Times-Union on June 10, 1897 reported:
Thomas H. Hastings, known among the residents of this city [Marcotte from St. Augustine wrote this] for eight years and
who farmed the Hastings area at first which created the station of his name on the F. E. C. Railway, deid this morning at
his home on Myrtle Avenue.

Neal Dow Benedict
Mr. Benedict was born October 2, 1859 in South Norwalk, Connecticut. He originally started as a photographer. In 1898
he went to Alaska but returned after a few months. In 1899 he arrived in Hastings where he decided to secure a small
tract of land. He started with ten acres and by 1907 had two hundred and seventy-five acres, his farm was next to the
city limits in the south. He bought the old home of U. J. White. Besides potatoes he also did truck gardening. He also
entered into orange culture at Homestead and bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres called the Redlands
Orange Groves.

A. S. Maltby and his family of Ashtabula, Ohio, moved to Hastings near the turn of the century. they settled in Hastings
and built a lovely two story home south of town and farmed in the Hasting area for many years. He and his wife, the
former Miss Leahy, had children, Aden J. who married Lillian Braswell; Robert E. who married Imogene Dowdy; Alfred L.
married Ruby Davis, and their daughter, Helen, married Glen Hough. Aden farmed part of his father's land in southeast
St. Johns County. Huberty bought land in
Federal Point and grew early Irish potatoes and cabbage. He also was County
Agent for Putnam County for many years. Alfred (Billy), farmed south of Hastings, growing early potatoes and cabbage.
Helen moved to St. Augustine when she married. She and her husband had a home furnishing business.

A Little Harm, Great Good (St. Augustine Evening Record, January 4, 1900)
A cold wave has passed over Florida during the past ten days that reached an intensity of several degrees below the
freezing point, and now that it is over the people of the state find themselves wondering at the remarkably little damage
that resulted, Of course, the trucking interests suffered somewhat, but this was only a temporary set back and cannot be
considered in the light of material permanent injury.

There is more than one reason why Floridians now look upon a cold wave with greater equanimity than they did several
years ago. The two disastrous freezes of 1894-95 taught the people that safety lay in diversified crops, and while
oranges and other citrus fruits were well in their way and profitable it was best not to put all of one's eggs in one basket,
so to speak...

Many of the orange groves have been rehabilitated to the point of profitable production and the farmer continues to
raise other crops that bring him additional income and render him independent...

Hastings Dramatics  (St. Augustine Evening Record, Jan 5, 1900)
The cosy little hall at Hastings was the scene of a very pleasurable entertainment last night. Amateur theatricals held the
house during the early part of the evening. A one act comedy entitled "A Lesson in Acting" was most acceptably given
by Mrs. C. Taylor, Mrs. L. N. Taylor, and Mr. Theo. Taylor. This was followed by a two-act comicality under the mirth-
suggesting title of, "A Box of Monkeys." The cast included Mrs. E. McClung, Miss Williams, Miss Kettle, and Messrs. Wm.
Shackley and Clarence Waite, all of whom acquitted themselves with great credit and to the perfect satisfaction of the
audience. A bass solo was sung by Mr. F. W.  Kettle, incident to the performance. Mr. Kettle's offering was received with
marks of great favor. Dancing following the conclusion of the dramatic entertainment and a very jolly wind-up it proved.
Quite a number of St. Augustinians were guests at the occasion.

6 January 1900 (St. Augustine Evening Record)
Mr. J. B. Roberts and
E. D. Dancy are working night and day at Hastings, manufacturing their large cane crop into syrup.
They are putting the boiling syrup, just as it comes from the evaporator, into tin cans and sealing them up. This
preserves for an indefinite time the celebrated flavor peculiar to new Florida syrup. These gentlemen have been
experimenting with syrup treated in this way for several years, and have always found ready sale for all they could make.
This year they expect to find a ready market in New York for their very excellent product. [from the
Palatka Advertiser.]

Old School House
In 1900 the school had grown so rapidly that it was necessary to move it to what is now known as "the old school house."
This building was erected just south of town on south Boulevard. The first teacher, Mrs. George Smith (Miss Ella), taught
in this building and to begin with the building had only two stories
and was composed of only four rooms. Later a wing and a bell tower were added. In 1902 Miss Leone Rood and Miss
Ida Vause were teachers. Also a Mary McLaughlin and Miss Carrie Leonard taught. General North was principal of the
school in 1915.

Sam Miles and his wife, Hortense Matthews Miles, moved to Hastings from Eastern Shore, Virginia early in the 1900's.
Mr. Miles farmed in the area, raising early potatoes and later cabbage. He formed a business, Miles Potato Corporation,
which was an active part of the marketing of produce in this area for many years. He served a number of years on the
Town Council and was an early member of the Rotary Club.

African American Families in Hastings 1900 Census
Hastings's African-American heads of household then consisted of dressmaker Christina Allen, Jim Brown, Thomas
Bryant, Noah Cullar, Robert Donning Herman Ellis, Isaac Inwood, Samuel Johnson, Adam Jones, James Jones, Benjamin
Jordan, John Leath, L. J. Lissamore, John Riley, dressmaker Ida Sanders, Samuel Strong, and Emanuel Washington.
Samuel Strong's wife, Ellen Strong, contributed to the household working as a laundress. A native of South Carolina,
Samuel Johnson maintained the largest black household in the precinct. In addition to his wife, Nancy Johnson, and
three children aged five to one years old, Samuel Johnson provided rooms for four brothers and sisters aged eighteen
to ten years old. Natives of South Carolina, the Johnsons had moved to Florida about 1894. Like the Johnsons, most of
Hastings's blacks were native South Carolinians, although several were from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New
Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia. Some of Hastings's African-Americans worked in the groves and fields of the
Wetumpka Fruit Company

Rejected Lover Kills a Family  (San Francisco Call May 20, 1902)
Completes his Bloody Work by Committing Suicide.
Ghastly Discovery is Made by Neighbors Who Heard Pistol Shots.
St. Augustine, Fla., May 19.—Crazed by his infatuation for Abtha McCulloch, a 13-year-old girl. William Austin, aged 25,
to-day killed the girl and four other persons and then committed suicide in the farmhouse of William Wilkinson, near
Hastings, eighteen miles from St. Augustine. The dead:
William Wilkinson, aged 52.
Mrs. Wilkinson, his wife.
Miss Abitha McCulloch, aged 13.
Miss Wilkinson, sister of William Wilkinson.
William Austin.
A child.

The crime was discovered by John Keiler, who found the six corpses, scarcely cold, and the only living witness to the
tragedy---a helpless infant. Austin had been madly infatuated with the McCulloch girl and it is said, killed the family
because his advances were rejected. Austin went to the Wilkinson home Friday night and proposed marriage. He was
rejected, but vowing he would marry the girl hurried to this city and procured a license. He went to church on Sunday
afternoon and told everyone whom he met that he was to be married that night. About 7 o’clock this morning several
shots were heard, but no investigation was made. When Wilkinson failed to appear for work at a neighbors where he
was engaged in harvesting a crop of potatoes. John Keller, a farmhand, was sent for him and discovered the tragedy.

January 7, 1903 Hunter is Released
Judge Call Issues a Writ of Habeas Corpus
(St. Augustine Evening Record)
He was charged with Administering Poison to John Gordon--Chemical Analysis Disproves the Charge.

Judge A. H. Mickler returned yesterday afternoon from Jacksonville, whither he went to argue habeas corpus
proceedings before Judge R. M. Call, in behalf of his client, Wm. Hunter, charged with poisoning one John gordon, of
Hastings, a short time since, by administering the deadly drug in coffee.

Judge Call held that the testimony upon which the defendant was held by the lower court was insufficient, and thereupon
issued an order for Hunter's discharge. the order was handed Deputy sheriff Sabate at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon,
and a phone message to the jailer promptly upon its crecipt made Hunter a free man.

The chemical analysis of the contents of Gordon's stomach revealed the fact that no poison was present, hence Judge
Call's willingness, in connection with the able presentation of the facts in the case by Judge Mickler, to grant the writ that
released Hunter, who had been confined in jail ever since the trail several weeks ago.

July 2, 1903 Increasing Acreage (St. Augustine Evening Record)
Mr. D. L. Dunham has men at work clearing 15 acres of land at Hastings, preparatory to planting it in potatoes. He
realized $1,146 from eight acres after the last harvest and is encouraged to increase his acreage.

Teachers 1903 (St. Augustine Evening Record)
Hastings School No. 8 (colored) - H. H. Williams
Hastings No. 37 - Miss Leone Rood and Miss Mattie Hancock

July 14, 1903 DIVERSE (St. Augustine Evening Record)
Crops to be Planted at Hastings
Farmers will go into General Trucking
Celery, Lettuce and Cucumbers to be Grown

While there will be an Increase in the  Acreage of Irish Potatoes
Much Attention Will be paid to Other Crops

While Hastings will still be known as the leading Irish potato centre of Florida, the farmers of that section will not confine
themselves wholly to potato growing for their market crop. At present the acreage at Hastings is largely planted in corn,
cane, sweet potatoes and peas, which are paying summer crops. Next fall many of the farmers will put in a variety of
truck crops. Lettuce will be grown extensively as will also cucumbers and celery. These three vegetables will form an
important pat of the shipments. Tomatoes will also be planted to some extent and there will be quite an area in other

The matter of growing celery on the crayfish lands around Hastings is not a matter of experiment as fine crops have
been grown there as anywhere in the State. This diversification of crops however will not decrease the acreage in Irish
potatoes, as several hundred acres of new land is being cleared and made ready for cultivation next fall. At Middleton
the farmers will be in a better position to handle their crops as it is understood that a new freight depot and siding will be
put in this summer. Heretofore farmers having carload lots to ship have been obliged to haul their produce to
A leading truck farmer said to a
Record representative today, "There is no reason why Hastings should not be an
important celery, lettuce and cucumber center. There is no better land in Florida for the successful production of these
staple products. Much of the land in the vicinity is well drained and the farmers have an advantage over many other
localities as they will not have to put in expensive irrigating plants. An artesian well and a few ditches are all that is
required. The clay subsoil renders the expense of tilling unnecessary."

Friday, July 24, 1903 STOCK COMPANY AT HASTINGS (St. Augustine Evening Record)
Capitalists Organize to Plant Potatoes
Sixty Acres to be put in Cultivation at Once -- work Commences on Monday

Letters patent will soon be applied for at Tallahassee by the Hastings Potato Growing and Development Company which
has just been successfully organized at Cleveland, O. Mr. Fred W. Kettle who went to Cleveland in the effort to interest
capitalists of that city in the development of lands at Hastings has returned after successfully accomplishing his mission.
A strong company composed of leading business men of Cleveland and this city has been formed and the following
officers elected:

President, E. I. Leighton, of Cleveland and St. Augustine; Vice President, R. C. Moodey, of Cleveland; Treasurer, Henry
Hodell, of Cleveland; Secretary and General Manager, F. W. Kettle, of St. Augustine. These officers with Carl Silva of
Cleveland and Charles E. Kettle of Hastings constitute the Board of Directors. The capital stock is $25,000 and will be
held by the individual owners as none of it is for sale. At least seven tenths of the stock is held by Cleveland parties.
The company has purchased the Storey place on Cracker Branch about one and one-half miles from Hastings station. It
was purchased from Mr. Storey, who after the death of his wife, moved back to his old home in Alabama. It contains 200
acres of crayfish land together with a house, outbuildings, teams, implements, etc. Twenty acres of the tract is already
under cultivation and work will begin on Monday to clear up forty acres more which will be planted this fall in Irish
potatoes. The company proposes to clear and cultivate sixty acres each year for three years.

Aside from the cultivation of potatoes other summer crops will be grown and a portion of the land will be devoted to
experimental farming to determine the best rotation crop.

The company is owned by men of ample means and they intend to erect suitable packing houses and other buildings on
the place at once. Two artesian wells will also be bored at once.

5 October 1903 ANOTHER COMPANY TO DEVELOP HASTINGS (St. Augustine Evening Record)
Mr. Bugbee Has Organized a Corporation
They Have Over Four Hundred Acres of Good Land
This is the Fourth Big Company Formed -- Seventy Acres
of Potatoes Will Be Planted Next Spring

Within a radius of a few miles and surrounded by prosperous individual farmers, are four companies and firms, three of
whom are incorporated, in the settlement of Hastings who are investing thousands of dollars in the clearing and
cultivation of the fertile lands of that section.

The latest of these has just been organized through the efforts of Mr. F. E. Bugbee, under the name of the Florida
Vegetable Company. Mr. Bugbee has just returned from a trip to New Hampshire, where he succeeded in getting parties
to invest in Hastings land. The names of the incorporators are A. H. Carter, Frank B. Williams and F. E. Bugbee, and
notice of their intention to apply for letters patent has already been ordered published.

The company has over 400 acres of rich lands pat of which are already in cultivation. They intend to put in a crop of
seventy acres next spring and a fall crop is already being put in on a portion of the land.

The property lies close to the lands owned by the Estes & Erwin Co., the Wetumpka Fruit Co. and the company recently
formed by F. W. Kettle and his associates. Mr. Bugbee says that the outlook for good prices and a good market in the
North this year for Irish potatoes is excellent, and he believes that farmers will realize handsomely on their products.

9 October 1903 (St. Augustine Evening Record)
The attendance at the Hastings school this year is 70, which is in excess of the attendance at the close of the last term.

12 October 1903 (St. Augustine Evening Record)
Mr. William Andreu is having two acres of land at Hastings grubbed and put in shape for a spring crop of Irish potatoes.
He has an acre of fine fall ones which are being harvested. The land was recently purchased and has reaped most
remarkable results.

26 October 1903 (St. Augustine Evening Record)
The pupils of Hastings school, which Miss Leone Rood is teaching, have sent in some bright paragraphs containing
news of the settlement.

26 October 1903 HASTINGS (St. Augustine Evening Record)
Mr. Robert Stephens has moved into his new house.

Mr. C. A. Dupont has been quite busy for several weeks driving up beef cattle.

Mr. Frank Bugbee and family are comfortably settled in their new home on South Boulevard.

Mr. Stephen Middleton, who has been ill, is not improving as rapidly as his friends would like.

There has been an exhibition at the store of Kettle and Harris this week a  sweet potato which weighs twelve pounds. It is
thought to be the largest one ever grown in the county.

The semi-monthly meeting of the Hastings Improvement Society was held at the Hall Wednesday evening. After the
usual business meeting a social time was enjoyed, during which Mrs. Frank Bugbee and Miss May Peck sang solos.
Miss Peck also gave a violin selection.

5 November 1903 HASTINGS Will Be a Lively Place (St. Augustine Evening Record)
Model Land Company Will Lay Out a Town
One Hundred and Fifty Acres in Town Los
Provision Made for a Colored Settlement --
Broad Streets and Beautiful Parks Included in the Plan

Another chapter will soon be added to the history of the development of Hastings. From a worthless waste of prairie land
it has become the greatest potato center in the south and the thriftiest settlement in St. Johns county. Its development
into a town will now be made by the Model Land Company.

One hundred and fifty acres of land near the Hastings depot will be cut up into building lots and laid out with wide
streets, with here and there a beautiful park.

Mr. J. L. Colee, civil engineer, has been employed to lay out the new town on which work will be begun at once. Aside
from the large number of town lots, smaller tracts of from two and one-half to five and ten acre plots will be open to

Provision will be made for a negro settlement, which will be a great boon to the Hastings truckers, who have heretofore
had to depend upon transient labor and who have experienced much trouble from tramp negroes.

It has been the invariable rule that where colored men owned their own homes they have made good citizens and
furnished reliable labor.

The settlement of Hastings covers several square miles of territory which is rapidly being developed.

Mr. Ingraham, who has charge of the Model Land Co.'s business, returned last night from a visit to Hastings. He reports
seeing at least ten new roofs of buildings recently completed from the station. The settlement is growing fast and when
the Model Land Company's farm is cut up into lots Hastings will soon become an Incorporated town.

6 November 1903 Editorial  A NEW TOWN (St. Augustine Evening Record)

One of the most important movements in the direction of the development of St. Johns county is the determination of the
Model Land Company to lay out a town site at Hastings.

That thriving settlement is now composed of homes and fertile farms, scattered through a territory covering several
square miles. But the producing capacity of the place has become so enormous and the increase in the area of
cultivated lands is so rapid that a populous center is a necessity.

At no time since Hastings became noted for its products has there been so great an amount invested as within the past
year. Aside from the numerous small farms which have been cleared and planted or made ready for planting, several
incorporated companies, representing thousands of dollars of capital have invested and the future of Hastings and its
vicinity is assured.

In another year the value of the produce grown there will easily reach half a million dollars.

Its products will also become of more value, and while the Irish potato will doubtless continue to be the leading crop, all
kinds of vegetables and fruits will be grown in large quantities.

6 November 1903 (St. Augustine Evening Record)
Employees of the Hastings Potato Growing & Development Co. at Hastings, owners of the Buckeye farm have just
finished clearing twenty acres of excellent potato land, and are now engaged in building fences and digging ditches
around the place.

J. J. Brown and his wife, came to Hastings about 1905, moving from Gainesville, Georgia. He and Mrs. Brown had four
daughters: Lily, Blanche, June and Cliffe. Brown was a realtor and at the time of his death, owned several parcels of
land in the city limits of the town. During the 20's he built a home on the Boulevard, south where he lived until his death.
After his son-in-law, J. B. Hughes, died, his daugher, Lily Hughes, moved to St. Augustine where she operated a florest
shop for many years. Cliffe married Ted Glass and they moved to Phoenix, Arizona for his health. Miss Blanche Brown,
who died at the age of 98, lived in St. Augustine and was a trained nurse, being associated for many years with the old
East Coast Hospital. June married H. M. Fernside and lived in Palatka until her death.

R. F. Kaiser
In 1905, F. E. bugbee hired R. F. Kaiser as a consultant for the construction of a cold storage plant and building in
Hastings. When it was completed, early in 1906, Kaiser was made manager of the Hastings Cold Storage Company. His
son, Fred Sr., came to Hastings in 1906 to assist his father. He spent the next fifty years as a merchant on Main Street
in Hastings, first in the old cold storage plant, then in a grocery and meat market. He was known as "Butch" and
remembered for his Hastings Pure Pork Sausage and quality of his meats and service. He married Georgia
Dancy and
their children were Edward, Jayne, Fred Jr., and Sara. Edward (Sonny) and Sara K. Irvin were life long residents of
Hastings. Fred Sr. passed away in 1969 and his wife, Georgia in 1971.

Hastings Class of 1906
Class taught by Miss Margaret Avent. The following were graduating students: Miss Ethel Dupont ; Miss Eva McCullough
(Mrs. B. R. Mimms); Miss Hazel Dupont (Mrs. Bill Bailey); Miss Florence Leonard (Mrs. Ernest Mobley); George V.
Leonard; Miss Verna McCullough (Mrs. Verna Elder); Marion Seymour, Miss Eula McCullough (Mrs. D. F. Minton) Miss
Stella Leonard (Mrs. Stella Butler); Courtland Flake, Hazel Flake and Braden Purcell.

Two Killingsworth brothers, Lee and Irvin, and their sister, Mrs. Mamie O. Smith, moved to Hastings in the early 1900's
from Griffin, Georgia. Their father was John A. Killingsworth of Griffin. The two brothers farmed in the Hastings area.
Their farm south of Hastings grew Irish potatoes. They were very successful farmers and continued their operation until
the death of Lee. Lee's widow, Bernina Hewett Killingsworth continued farming for a few years, then moved to St.
Augustine. A two-story building was erected on Main Street in Hastings, known as the Killingsworth building, and on the
first floor were shops and businesses. Upstairs, Mrs. Smith had a boarding house for many years. The LeeKillingsworth
children were Ernestine, Verona, Aubrey, and W. H. The Irvin Killingsworth children were Ruby, Douglas, Blonnie and N.
D. Their mother was Blanche Stevens Killingsworth. Mrs. Smith's children were Otis, Gladys, Iva, and Thelma. According
to some of the long-time residents of Hastings, Mr. Killingsworth had the first city water business in Hastings.

In the formative years of Hastings, five brothers from Cordele, Georgia, came and they and their families made a
positive impact upon the farming as well as the everyday life of the community. J. H. (Hink) Reid was the first to arrive in
1906 and worked for Estes Surprise Store in St. Augustine before moving to Hastings and operating a similar one here.
His four children were born in Hastings and later, he moved his family to
Palatka where he continued in the merchantile

1907-08 (Florida Gazetteer)
HASTINGS ... Population 150. On the F. E. C. Ry. in St. Johns county, 17 miles southwest of St. Augustine, the county
seat and nearest banking point. Exp., Southern.

Bowen Bros. - saw mill
Byrd, T. R. - general store
Campbell Bros. - turpentine and general store
Dupont, C. A. - livery
Hastings Supply Co. - general store
Kettle & Harris - general store
Killingsworth, L. S. - general store
Lattin, Dr. C. A. - drugs
McClung, Edward L. - cooperage
McCullough, W. D. - general store
Mathews, H. D. - general store
Seymour, Edward J. - general store

Dr. Charles Andrew Lattin, MD
Dr. Charles Andrew Lattin was born in Bultington, Ohio on July 11, 1844. During the Civil War he enlisted in Company K,
Sixteenth Virginia Cavalry under Captain James H. Nounnan. He was taken prisoner November 12, 1864 and interned in
the military prison at Point Lookout, Maryland until his release June 28, 1865. After the war he studied medicine and
graduated in 1887 from the Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati, Ohio. He moved to Florida where he began his
practice at
Federal Point in Putnam county and remained there till 1904 when he moved to Hastings. He served as the
first city treasurer of Hastings for two years.

Florida East Coast Homeseeker (1908)
Not so many years ago if a person had predicted that the flat woods of the Hastings district would in a few years become
a great corn-producing country, he would have been thought a visionary, but the thing has happened and now an
average of forty bushels to the acre is the common crop following the Irish potato harvest. Here are a few instances of
corn crops raised after the potatoes without additional fertilizer.

N. D. Benedict had sixty acres from which he gathered 2,500 bushels; Harry Fowler, eighty acres, 3,200 bushels; William
Baily made a crop of 2,000 bushels; S. C. Middleton, twenty acres, 750 bushels; Mr. Gladney, 1,500 bushels; F. E.
Bugbee, 2,000 bushels; I. G. Killingworth, 2,00 bushels; A. M. Stevens, 1,000 bushels; Robert Stevens, 1,000 bushels,
and others in like proportion. There have been several carloads of corn sold and shipped to different parts of the State
at 75 cents per bushel, which pays a good profit to the farmer.

Make a note of this, Mr. Northern farmer. These gentlemen had made and marked a crop of Irish potatoes from the
lands where this corn is grown, for which they received good prices. This is one of the advantages of farming in St.
Johns county. Better come and try it and life will have a more roseate hue, you will have no cold marrow freezing
weather to encounter, no blizzards, as "December is as pleasant as May."

Recently Mr. Fred M. Leonard, of F. M. Leonard & Company, of Boston, Mass. spent a few days at Hastings. Mr.
Leonard is one of the principal owners of the Wetumpka Fruit Company with groves at Hastings and Lowell, Florida. He
estimates the crop on the Hastings grove at from 5,000 to 6,000 boxes and from Lowell grove from 4,000 to 5,000
boxes. A large addition to the company's packing-house at Hastings is being built.

A company has been formed here to do a general banking business under the name and title of the Hastings Banking
Company. This shows the progress and prosperity of the town and agricultural community.

Frank Bugbee and his wife, Grace, moved to Hastings with their daughter, Mae Louise, from Ohioin the early 1900's. Mr.
Bugbee was a produce broker and established his own business, Bugbee Distributing Company, which operated in
Hastings for many years. This company bought and sold early produce for the eastern markets. Associated with the
company was Bugbee's son-in-law, Don Barstow, Howard Hough and Miss Mary Lou Brown.

Among early residents and farmers in the Hastings community were Newton Edward Thigpen, Sr. and his wife, Marie
Smyly Thigpen. They farmed a large acreage east of Hastings and grew early Irish potatoes, later diversifying and
adding cabbage to their farming operation. Newton's mother, Mrs. Tillie Thigpen, came to Hastings from South Carolina
and farmed for many years in the southeast section of Hastings. Her son, as a young man, farmed with his mother, Mrs.
Marie Thigpen, following the death of her husband, continued to farm until her retirement. Edward, Jr. lived just east of

J. P. J. Hagen
Coming to Hastings early in the 1900's was J. P. J. Hagen of Ohio. A Sweed, he bought farmland south of Hastings and
grew early Irish potatoes. He built a beautiful two storied home on Boulevard South, where he lived for a number of
years. He never married and lived alone. He lost his life when his home burned. His farm was later owned by the late G.
A. Burrell.

Northern Early Vegetable Section (Florida East Coast Homeseeker 1908)
The day January 2, 1908 the scene Hastings--not much of a town in itself, but fast becoming the leading Irish potato
center of the South, as now in the surrounding country 60 percent of the early Irish potato crop of Florida is raised. The
thermometer showed 72 in the shad and the sun shone with all the brightness of a June day in the North. To those from
the North and West it will therefore be seen that the climatic, horticultural and agricultural conditions are so different and
the vegetation so unusual that the conditions existing here are naturally matters of interest to parties in other sections of
the country, and as the fame of Hastings Irish potato growing causes questions to be asked by visitors and
correspondents in other States it is hoped these facts and figures of actual observation may prove of value.

Where Located and How it Started.
Hastings, which is in St. Johns county, is 54 miles south of Jacksonville and 17 miles south of St. Augustine.

Fifteen years ago it was unknown and there was not even a railroad station there. Today it is the shipping station of
over 3,000 acres of Irish potatoes alone, representing the shipment of 80,000 to 120,000 barrels annually. The prices
obtained for these potatoes average from $3.50 to $5.00 per barrel f.o.b. as the growers do not have to seek the
markets, but their products are eagerly sought for by the commission men.

To U. J. White belongs the credit of starting this section. About fifteen years ago he ran a survey through these lands
and found that the lowest points could be easily drained. He found beneath the surface there was a stiff clay subsoil,
and therefore conceived the idea that the soil would be ideal for truck farming. [Editor's Note: From an article in The
Times Union (no date) Mr. L. H,. White of the El Barata news agency in this city has returned from his visit of several
days to the neighborhood of U. J. White's famous farm at Hastings, on the line of the J. St. A & I. R. Railway. Mr. White
went there in the interest of Mr. Wheeler Stevens of Gainesville, O. who when a visitor in this city fell in love with its
surroundings and became the purchaser of the Atwood house in Buena Esperanza and is also the owner of about
12,000 acres of productive land near Hastings. These lands are to be immediately cut into farms of convenient size, and
Mr. White is to superintend them while being planted mainly for pasturage, as Mr. Stevens intends sending down some
fine-blooded horses and will endeavor to carry out his intentions to improve the strain of the native pony. ...However, Mr.
Stevens is bound to prove that by "tickling" Florida soil an industrious and intelligent man can grow fat. This he learned
by seeing the U. J. White and Hastings farms, and from the statements of reputable citizens that "more sugar was raised
on an acre before the war than is now raised in the whole of St. Johns County.]

He cleared up forty acres, put in an artesian well, and planted vegetables. They thrived wonderfully. That was the
beginning of Hastings which at that time did not even have a name.
H. M. Flagler bought a mile square, and Thomas
Hastings, a friend of the owner, was put in charge of the property and made of it a farm. Then it was that a station was
built, and the place given a name. For the next five years Hastings did not make much progress. It was going though the
experimental stage. It was found that everything would grow there, but the diversity was great, and no one thing was
pushed in advance of another. Finally it was seen that Irish potatoes did better than anything else, and in January and
February, 1899, as much as 150 acres were planted which were marketed the first of May, netting the growers
something like $3 per barrel. From that year to the present time the acreage has steadily increased with each
succeeding year.

Prospective Acreage for 1908
The acreage for 1908 in Hastings and surrounding settlements in potatoes and other vegetables will aggregate nearly
4,000 acres. A few figures right here will show the vast outlay of capital required to start the potato crop. They use
nearly one ton of fertilizer to the acre, and consume four barrels of seed planting an acre. The fertilizer will cost $30 per
ton, and will aggregate $50,000, making a total of $150,000 for these two items alone, to say nothing of labor,
machinery, barrels and other expenses.

How Planting is done.
Now, how is the start made, and how is it done? First the prospective farmer selects a piece of land that can be drained.
This land will cost from $15 to $40 per acre. In the Hastings section the present farms extend east a distance of six and
eight miles from the railroad, hence the new farms are buying at other places in the vicinity, namely Elkton, Armstrong,
Holy Branch and Orange Mills. After the purchase of land then comes the work. The experienced man will first ditch his
prospective field, then he will clear it of trees, being careful to plow it clear by following and digging out all the roots. He
will then plow it, then cut it, and then plow it again. New potato land must be given a chance to sweeten, hence all this
work should be done in the spring, summer and early fall and the sooner it is turned over the more mellow will be the
land for the first crop. In December the land is made up into rows, first making "lands" about forty feet apart by plowing
out a deep land drain. These lands are then divided into nine or ten rows three and a half feet apart. The experienced
Northern farmer will observe this is not close cultivation, but it is required, as the land at Hastings is very flat, and every
facility must be provided for free and perfect drainage when the heavy rains do fall, else the seed will rot. In the latter
part of December and at the present time the fertilizer is being drilled into the rows there to stay until the seed is put in
about the middle of this month or the first of February. The planting this year by some has been earlier than usual, and
in some cases the planting has begun as early as December 15th. The seed are planted about fourteen inches apart.
After that is done all that is required is hard work in cultivating the crop, with a careful eye to see the water is carried
away in the drains and ditches as fast as it falls. No spraying has been required for years on the crop, but is necessary
with the slightest sing of blight. Potato bugs are unknown.

How the Crop is Harvested and Sold
Now picture the scene at Hastings from the first of April to the middle of May. It is hustle and bustle day and night.
Purchasers from the principal cities of the North and West are there vying with each other in buying carload lots up to
10,000 barrels on the farms or at the station. The Hastings farmer does not sell on commission. The output is sufficiently
attractive to draw to his farm and shipping station plenty of buyers with banks at their backs, for each day's shipments
are paid for after they are loaded into the cars. After the rush is over, and the buyers gone away, which is not until the
last barrel of potatoes has been shipped, what is the result to the Hastings farmer? These 4,000 acres will have
produced at least 120,000 barrels which will sell for not less than $3.23 per barrel---about $400,000, from this one crop
alone. It is estimated, based on very careful calculations, that this crop costs the farmer $65 per acre to produce and it
is a poor crop that will not yield $100 per acre. What does the farmer do then, or what has he been doing? A week or
ten days before he digs his potatoes, which is one by hand, he is seen seeding his field in corn. He plants on the south
side of his potato row, and often when he digs his potatoes the corn is from three to six inches high. The crop will mature
without any additional fertilizer for there has been put in the soil more than the potatoes consume. Other fields after the
potatoes have been dug are smoothed over and allowed to grow crab grass which needs no planting, and this is cut two
or three times over during the summer and fall, and makes fine hay. Or else he takes a portion of his land in sweet
potatoes which yield 200 bushels to the acre, and sell for 40 cents a bushel, or raise cowpeas which will yield $12 per
ton, three tons to the acre, making a total of $45, and thus making the total annual yield of from $140 to $240 per acre,
as while the average yield of potatoes is forty barrels to the acre, yet the yield often runs from 60 to 90 barrels.

What farming lands in the East, North, or West will do half as well?

It is no wonder then, that the Hastings farmer in the summer, with his family hides away to the seashore or mountains,
and lives the life in summer that the Northern tourists crave for in Florida during the winter.

To show that Hastings lands will grow anything in the vegetable line I was shown a quarter of an acre vegetable patch in
the rear of the hotel there with cabbage heads weighing 20 pounds ready to be cut, turnips, onions, heads of lettuce as
large as good sized cabbage, beets and other vegetables ready for the table -- all in January, in various states so they
will practically have a vegetable supply for every month in the spring, winter and fall. They were also experimenting with
a new vegetable known as Chinese cabbage, which seems a cross between lettuce and cabbage, with crisp tender
whitish-yellow leaves that grow as large as the largest cabbage. This crop is now ready to market and the results will be
watched with interest, as it grows to a large size and should be a good money maker, as there is a great demand among
the Chinese by whom it is claimed one of their main vegetable luxuries.

Diversified Farming Not Extensive at Present (Florida East Coast Homeseeker 1908)
Ten acres in celery were grown at Hastings this year and yielded a splendid crop, and twenty acres have been in
strawberries which are growing fine. The splendid results obtained from potato growing together with the ease and
success of its cultivation, have naturally made the farmers leave well enough alone, and pay their attention to that
particular cop, hence while the soil is in every way adapted to strawberries, celery, lettuce and sea island cotton, owing
to the more labor being involved than with potatoes their growing has been neglected, but now there is an abundance of
colored labor at $1.00 per day, and a diversity of crops will be engaged in, as the farmers recognize there is more
money in them, yet they have been doing so well that as the potato crop was harvested entirely by machine except the
picking and the product found a ready market, the other crops were only planted to serve the table or for an
experimental character.

Hastings Potato Crop Large (Florida East Coast Homeseeker 1908)
Hastings Fla. Jan 22 - A car of fall potatoes left Hastings Monday for E. S. Woodward & Co. of Philadelphia. The car was
shipped by R. C. Harris who has been buying a great many here and has been paying $3.25 per barrel at the station.

The potato crop around Hastings this season is estimated at 100,000 barrels against 87,000 last year. Weather
conditions this season have been a great deal more favorable than last. The supply of seedstock was secured
principally from Maine where fully 60 per cent was purchased. New York followed next with about 30 per cent which came
mainly from the Avoca district. Michigan supplied about 8 per cent while Ohio made up the balance with 2 percent.

So far there have been received here 11,467 sacks of potatoes while about six cars are yet to arrive. This will mean that
about 3,000 acres will be devoted to potatoes this year. The amount of fertilizer used also runs up to a big figure as
2,647 tons were received here this year. This is a falling off from last year when 2,740 tons were used.

The first car of the new crop, it is estimated, will be ready by the last part of April. So far there have been about 30 cars
of sweet potatoes moved from here this season. This about cleans up the crop.

Ernest and Arnold W. (Sue) came in 1909. They started farming together south of Hastings and in 1915, Arnold married
Minnie, the daughter of Ernest and Eimie Schuirman, small store operators in Hastings. Both brothers built homes on the
farm in 1917, but Ernest was to pass away a few years later, never marrying. Arnold and Minnie had three children:
Evelyn, dick and Harold. A younger brother, Dow D. (Bill), was next to come south. He lived and farmed with his brother
Arnold until 1926 when he married Bernice Corbett and moved into the home built by his brother, Ernest. They had
three children: Alice, Eloise, and Dow, Jr. Potato farming called a fifth Reid. Arthur E. and his wife, Velvie, sold their farm
in Georgia and in 1928 bought a tract of farm and pasture land just west of Hastings. He grew potatoes and raised cattle
until his retirement. Their oldest son, Bert, was in college when they moved south, but daughter, Sara and younger son,
Kermit, both graduated from
Hastings High School.

Town of Hastings
The town of Hastings was chartered in 1909. Between 1890 and 1910, the Hastings census district grew, from 220 to
2,053 persons. In 1909, residents incorporated the Town of Hastings, which boasted 399 citizens in 1910.

In chapter 6058 of the Laws of Florida the Florida Legislature established the town’s limits using a branch, public roads,
railroad tracks, and sections lines described as “beginning at the southeast corner of Section 18, in township 9 south,
Range 28 east, the same being in the middle of the Boulevard, thence run west along the south line of said section 18
to a point where the said line intersects the diagonal road known as a public county road, thence northwesterly along
said road to a point where said road intersects the east run of Cracker Branch, thence down the run of said Branch to a
point where the Florida East Coast Railway line crosses the Branch; thence northeasterly along the right-of-way of the
Florida East Coast Railway to a point where the west line of the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of said
Section 18 crosses the said railway; thence north to the northwest corner of southeast quarter of northeast quarter of
Section 18, Township 9 south, Range 28 east; thence east along the north line of said southeast quarters of northeast
quarter of said Section 18 to the section line between Sections 17 and 18; thence east on a line forty chain or to the
northeast corner of the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section 17, in said township and range; thence
south sixty chains or to the south line of said Section 17, in the middle of a public or county road; thence west along the
middle of said road forty chains or to point of beginning of this survey.”

The legislative act also permitted the town’s government to acquire property outside the municipal limits “for the burial of
the dead, for the erection of waterworks, for the establishment of poor houses, pest houses, houses of detention and
correction, for public parks and promenades.” The movement to incorporate the town coincided with several
subdivisions that provided a plan for development. In 1906, George C. Middleton opened his addition to Hastings. The
initial survey and plat was prepared by Robert Ransom, the St. Augustine civil engineer who provided similar services to
the Wetumpka Fruit Company. The 1909 plat (Figure 3-23) revealed the railroad agent's cottage, DuPont Stables, a
barn, and several additional cottages sprinkling the small town.

                                      Where to stay in Hastings 1909
                             [$1.00 in 1909 equals $25.00 in 2010 dollars]
Traveler's Home
-- Miss Lulu wise, proprietor. Accommodates twenty-five. Rates, $2.00 per pay; $10.00 per week.
Good service. Open all the year.

Norman House -- $1.00 per day; $5.00 per week.

Home's Place -- $1.00 per day; $4.50 per week.

The Groveland House -- On the St. Johns river, three miles from Hastings, is situated amid orange and grapefruit
groves and vegetable farms. The table is supplied with fresh milk and cream, poultry, eggs, vegetables and fruit from
our own farms. The house has modern conveniences. Bathing, fishing, duck shooting, and driving may be indulged in. A
quiet, home-like boarding house, accommodating twenty persons. Write us, or wire care Telephone Exchange,
and our carriage will meet you at Hastings free of charge. Rates, $7.00 to $9.00 per week. F. F. Tenney, proprietor.

Electric Lights for Hastings (The St. Augustine Evening Record, October 22, 1909)
Beginning is Made for Sewerage System
Cooperage Factory is Working,
Big Warehouse to be Built,
Large Acreage of Potatoes Planted

With the contract let for a substantial start for a sewerage system, plans practically perfected for an electric lighting
plants, the new cooperage factory working and many other improvements going, Hastings is one of the busiest places in
St. Johns County at the present time.

The town council has let the contract for a 2,650 foot sewer, the trunk line of which will run down the main boulevard into
Hasting's branch. From that point the sewerage will be carried by the creek to tidewater. The town officials regard this
sewer as the start for a complete system to be installed in the course of time as the municipality becomes able financially
to carry out the plan of improvement. Next year the town will receive double the amount of revenue received this year
because of the increase in property values.

Plans are on foot for the establishment of an electric lighting plant in the busy little town. Several citizens and business
men are interested in the project and it is considered a certainty. Already the bank building, the Hughes & Estes store,
and other large buildings and dwellings are being wired n anticipation of the coming of the plant. It will probably be
located on the property of the Tennessee Cooperate Company. A few lights will be placed about the city=s streets,
according to the present plans.

The new stave mill is now working and is supplying a large trade and has worked up an industry at the very start that
means much for the town. The company has let the contract for a big three-story warehouse 100x 36 feet in size and
work upon its erection to begin at once.

The new hotel is now being furnished and will be in readiness for the winter. Potato buyers are already thronging the
town in an effort to secure all of the yield possible. Town Clerk E. J. Seymour, who was in the city on business today,
stated that the acreage in potatoes exceeds that of last year by at lest 1,800 acres.

Hastings is booming and growing and the citizens of the town are taking an increasing interest in the development of the

G. H. Waller
G. W. Waller was born near Salisbury, Wicomico county, Maryland on December 8, 1865. He had become a broker an
agent for buying potatoes and in 1907 came to Hastings. He bought a farm in 1909 giving up his other business
interests and devoted himself to his farm. He operated a farm or about one hundred acres near Hastings. He became
the secretary, treasurer and general manager of the Hastings-Elkton Potato Exchange. He also became president of the
Hastings Water Company, treasurer of the Hastings Development Company and the chairman of the board of directors
of the East Hastings Terminal Company (he was one of five owners.) He was president of the Board of Trade and a
supporter of the good roads movement. He served as Chairman of the good roads committee of Hastings (see
the Roads in St. Johns County.)

Goes to Hastings (St. Augustine Evening Record, June 15, 1909)
Putnam county loses one of its ablest physicians in the person of Dr. W. A. Brewater, who on Saturday inst moved to
Hastings. For the past several years Dr. Brewster has lived at
Welaka and his practice has taken him to all parts of the
peninsula. He is regarded highly by the medical profession in
Palatka and other parts of the State where his ability has
had opportunity to show itself. Dr. Brewster comes from a long line of distinguished physicians on his paternal side, his
father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather each having been noted practictitioners and the
people of Hastings are to be congratulated on having settle among them this physician of acquired and inherited ability,
whom the News predicts they will soon come to estimate at something approaching his true worth. The departure from
Welaka of Dr. and Mrs. Brewater has caused universal, regret---Palatka News.

Hastings Has A Conflagration (St. Augustine Evening Record, September 10, 1909)
Hastings had plenty of excitement yesterday afternoon about 3 o'clock when the fire alarm sounded, and it was found
that Dr. C. A. Lattin's drug store was on fire.  A brisk wind from the east fanned the flames until they were soon beyond
control and the stock and building, became a total loss.

J. E. Wright, who had a room  in the structure, rushed in in an effort to secure his trunk and clothing and a sum of
money; but the flames had made such headway that he was enable to rescue his effects and in the attempt was
seriously burned about the head and face. The total loss is estimated at about $800.00.

Hastings Has Fine New Hotel (The St. Augustine Evening Record, January 24, 1910)
Many who have desired to visit Hastings, but have been deterred by the fear they would be unable to secure hotel
accommodations there need no longer hesitate about visiting that great farming section. The Hastings Hotel, a first-class
hostelry, has opened and offers the best accommodations. The round trip can be made in the same day.

G. W. Lee, of Luia, Florida, came to Hastings early in the 1900's. He worked in the Hastings Bank for several years, later
going into the produce business. He served as manager of
Hastings Potato Growers Association for a number of years,
later leaving this operation to form a business of his own, which marketed early potatoes and cabbage. He married Betty
Miller of Bunnell and they had two children, Betty and Robert.

New Enterprise at Hastings (The Florida East Coast Railway Homeseeker, 1910)
Bank, Hotel, Cold Storage and Ice Plant, Barrel Factory and Warehouse and Two Real Estate Firms

The Homeseeker of last March a year ago was devoted almost exclusively to Hastings, its past and present but very little
space was given to its future. This magazine endeavors to deal, as near as possible, with things accomplished.

For this reason very little was said about what was going to be done at Hastings, Much, however, has been developed,
and the remarkable progress of the place is herewith recorded.

In the first place, the acreage devoted to the cultivation of potatoes and secondary crops was increased from five
thousand to five thousand and five hundred acres.

A little over a year ago the Hastings Banking Company was incorporated, with a capital stock of $30,000. It was all taken
on the spot. N. McQueen was made president, R. C. Harris, vice-president, and J. W. Case, cashier. The annual
meeting of this corporation will be held in July, and it is understood that a substantial dividend will be paid to

The Southern Hotel and Investment Company is a very recent corporation. It is capitalized for $30,000 which is all
subscribed and paid for. The company owns the brick Hotel Hastings, the bank building and two stores adjoining,
besides other real estate. Property owned by this company is earning money and it will pay a handsome dividend the
first year. R. C. Harris is president, N. McQueen is vice-president, and J. W. Case is secretary and treasurer.

During the past month the Hastings Development Company has been incorporated. Its capitalization is $25,000, all paid
in. C. A. Dupont is president, I. T. Moody of Bunnell, vice-president, and G. W. Waddell secretary, and treasurer. The
corporation has bought 4,500 acres of land, including Dupont's ranch, A. D. Curry's land and other adjoining property
lying toward Yelvington, East Palatka and down the St. Johns river. It is specially adapted to potato culture and will be
sold in small 10 and 20 acre farms. The company will survey and plat this tract and dig a canal through it into Cracker
Branch, which will give excellent drainage.

The Hastings Cold Storage Company was in operation the last time The Homeseeker visited Hastings, but during the
pas month it has been reorganized and the plant enlarged. Until recently the capacity of the ice plant was ten tons a
day. Now it is twenty-eight. F. E. Bugbee is president Frank Nix of New York is vice-president, and Ray Coe is secretary
and manager. Last month the concern slaughtered 100 beeves and 123 hogs. That has been the monthly average for
some time. The company has a fine cold storage plant and handles fresh Florida meats, both wholesale and retail. The
Hastings Cold Storage Company is now erecting fertilizer works at the slaughtering plant to utilize the bi-products of
blood and bone.

The White House Barrel Company is another Hastings enterprise established within the year. It is a modern, up-to-date
plant, composed of all necessary machinery for manufacturing potato and fish barrels, with an immense three-story
warehouse. The mill has been cutting about 80,000 staves a week, and has supplied about 75 per cent of the barrels
used at Hastings and vicinity for potatoes this season. The concern ships barrels all over the State, and is now engaged
in making fish barrels for the Fort Myers and Indian River trade.

Newly incorporated companies only have been referred to in this article. Many other smaller enterprises have been
launched and a great number of new buildings have been erected within and adjoining the town of Hastings.

They Are Raising Cotton at Hastings Now (The Florida East Coast Homeseeker, 1910)
It is almost within the memory of men of the present generation when the name of Florida was associated only with the
orange tree. It was easy to make an orange grove, and the work was interesting. Most of the men engaged in orange
grove building possessed sufficient means to tide them over the period of years necessary for the trees to mature and
bear fruit. The harvesting was child's play and the marketing renumerative.

It's different now. Severe cold weather cut down the orange groves and diversified farming became the vogue.

Wise men selected Hastings as a field for operation. This was nearly twenty years ago. They planted vegetables of all
kinds. A few years of experiment demonstrated that the Irish potato was the most profitable. The farmers have been
raising Irish potatoes almost to the exclusion of everything else ever since.

The "spud" is now to have a rival and this rival is King Cotton. It is a known fact that cotton will grow in the Hastings soil.
It is simply a question of yield. A man from Georgia who has the means is now experimenting. He shares the confidence
of others and predicts that the trial crops will yield large returns.

Many men have been raised from poverty to wealth by means of potato culture at Hastings, and those engaged at the
present day in potato growing are still making money.

But the slogan of the day is diversified farming, and next to potatoes, cotton promises the best returns as a money crop.

It will be interesting to watch the progress of the Hastings country for the next few years. The cultivation of the soil is
going to spread out, with Hastings as the center, until it takes in about all the territory between St. Augustine and
Palatka, and from the St. Johns River on the north to and beyond the St. Johns county line on the south.

C. C. Mathis and his wife, Mamie Abel of South Carolina came to Hastings early in the 1900's. They had a mercantile
store on Main Street in Hastings for many years and Mathis farmed on the county line between St. Johns and Putnam
Counties. He grew early potatoes. He was an ardent hunter and fisherman and enjoyed these sports as long as he lived.
He was fatally injured in an automobile accident at the county line. The Mathis children were Judge C. C. Mathis Jr.,
Annette, and Virgil.

B. R. Mimms came to Hastings from south Florida and married Eva McCullough. He had a barber shop on Main Street in
Hastings for many years and served as Justice of the Peace for many terms. Both he and Mrs. Mimms were active in
civic and church affairs in Hastings. Mrs. Mimms was a charter member of First Baptist Church. Their children were
Merle, Lillian, Iris and Billy Jean.
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