Bio: Bowen, Erastus (Florida Living - 1912)
Surnames: Wollenberg, Bowen, Colby, Thomas
----Source: Greenwood Gleaner (Greenwood, Clark Co., Wis.) 08 Feb 1912
Bowen, E. Bowen (Florida Living - 25 JAN 1912)
(E.F. Wollenberg recently received the following letter from Erastus Bowen at Ocala, Floida, which gives some interesting fact about that country)
Though perhaps you might like to hear how we enjoy Florida climate. To tell the truth it is fine, just about such weather as our finest last of May in Greenwood (Clark Co., Wis.). Yesterday afternoon we returned from a trip to Silver Springs and on down the Springs River into the Ocklawaha River to Mr. F.E. Colby's land and orange grove. It was a trip we shall always remember. At Silver Springs, six miles east of here, a river busts right out of the ground clear as crystal. They say it is 80 feet deep there, but you could see a pin on the bottom. They run steamers with three decks on this water that flows from these springs; but I would call same an underground river. What would you think to see a steamer on Black River of say 60 feet? And this river is not as wide, but very deep, from 10 to 60 feet, and very wining in its course.
Occasionally you may see the eyes of an alligator. We did not see any but a party I was talking with shot at one the day before. We saw one six feet long at the springs in a wire screen pen.
All along the trip down to Mr. Colby's landing is cypress timber, pine and many other varieties. The boat let us off at Mr. Colby's orange grove. I wish that you might have been with us as we passed his grove -- oranges, grapefruit, lemons, tangerines, hanging on the trees. We helped ourselves. By the way, wife walked 2 1/2 miles and did not know, but she could have jumped 20 feet if she had seen a rattlesnake. By the way, I think there are as many in Wisconsin as here. These are of a larger growth. Mr. Colby has land of the best quality of soil I have seen so far. His price is double for his place now from what he paid.
We stayed at a place called Connors all night. Oranges and grapefruit all around the dwelling house. Oranges and friends chicken go well. Wife picked some beautiful roses here. The proprietor of this place has been here 35 years. He took me to a 7 acre pear ochard and offered to sell to me. I was offered and shown 370 acres, consisting of 90 acres of virgin long leaf pine, 60 acres of cypress timer on west side of river, 100 acres of cleared land, 9 acres of orange and grapefruit trees, one mole of river front, boat landing on place, a larger dwelling house than Greenwood contains, with packing houses, etc., etc., a beautiful place. What I would do if I did not have interest in the north is a question. At all events I was tempted about as strong as Mother Eve, but being a man, have resisted so far.
All that the country needs is someone to take hold and work. Nature has done a lot -- beautiful trees, palmetto palms 60 feet high. Of course there are two sides to look at. You do not get Clark County water here, or grass. They use cistern water mostly to drink. The soil is sandy here, mixed with clay, but as I said before, the best I have seen. This would be 11 miles from Ocala, a little northeast by highway.
We came back on another boat. So far I have not seen game bird of any kind. They claim northeast on the lakes, ducks are plentiful. There are seven deer here in the city I look at most every day. We had the pleasure of hearing W.J. Bryan deliver hsi lecture on "The Signs of the Times," Monday night. He certainly is fine. We expect Mrs. Thomas here from North Carolina. Lots of northern people here. We have a nice location.
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