Fifty years ago in 1966 things were changing and there were many new ideas on the horizon. Zip codes were introduced to the general public. The county held its first oyster shucking contest and the first woman ever served on a Franklin County jury.

Our Chasing Shadows question for this week: Who were the first six shuckers to participate in the Seafood Festival competition and who won? If you know, please contact the Times at 653-8868 or Lois Swoboda at


Apalachicola River Song

By Milton Smith


When I sit on the rocks beside you,

And listen to the sound of your song,

‘I begin to feel free, as you do,

As you flow so merrily along.


You sing to the creatures that come to drink

To the fishes you so proudly protect

And even to the men who come to think

And some kind of blessing expect.


On a starry night, when I’m camped nearby

And the woods are quiet and still,

I listen to the notes of the night bird’s cry

And the primitive song of the whip-poor-will.


“Tis then I feel the enjoyment I find

While resting here in this place;

And I pity the man I left behind

Caught in the human rat-race.


I think if others, while having their fling

Would just slow down a bit,

They’d find contentment that can bring

With a whole lot of freedom in it.


The river sings to a God of Love

Whose all-protecting care

Is sent, a promise from above,

With his peace we can all share.


Post Office Notice

Beginning Monday October 10 letter carriers throughout the Apalachicola Area will deliver a Zip information card to every residence, Postmaster Donald Totman reported.

Each card will have space for addresses the householder wishes ZIPPED.

After placing their uncoded address on the cards, preferably printed legibly, they may7 be dropped into any letter box or returned to their letter carrier. The Apalachicola Post Office will add the appropriate ZIP CODES and return the cards to the mailer. No postage needed.

The project is part of Postmaster General Lawrence F. O’Brien’s program to make ZIP CODES more accessible to the mailing public.

In addition to the cards for addresses, a special notice advising each resident of his local ZIP CODE number will be delivered.

The cards will carry a message from Postmaster General O’Brien advising that coded mail helps the Postal Service.


Who is the fastest oyster shucker in the area?

This challenge is issued by the Seafood Festival Committee.

On the 5th of November, on our Festival, we would like to have six (6) of the fastest shuckers compete for this title.

A $50 War Bond will be given to the winner and a $25 bond to the runner up.

Please submit your name and address to the Chamber of Commerce office on any morning. Names will be kept confidential.


Watch your step

Rattlesnakes are migrating to their winter dens at this time of year. You may even see one cross your yard. In the woods be especially careful and watch your step.

Snakes are killed crossing highways during their autumn months. Let the dead snakes lie since they are capable of biting as long as two hours after they have been struck by cars.

Rattlesnakes swim rivers and lakes and at times get into a boat.

Winter dens occupied by the snakes are holes in the ground such as gopher or tortoise holes.


Sumatra doesn’t want new road

The right-of-way for a second road to Sumatra Cemetery has been paid for but the road won’t be built.

Sumatrans are satisfied with the “wonderful road” leading into the cemetery now; they believe the second one wasn’t needed in the first place. Franklin County commissioners don’t want it because it costs too much.

It all began with R. D. Fryer who gave the land specifically for a cemetery in Sumatra. Franklin County took over the deed and maintenance. Sumatrans say their community is small. They average about a funeral a year.

On August 15, 1966 the Franklin County Commissioners authorized and requested the State Road Department buy the “rights-of-way” for the Sumatra Cemetery Road 49504 in section 30, Township 5 South, West Easterly to State Road 65.

The State Road Department complied and sent appraisers out to look at the land owned by the former Sen. T. Drew Branch. Based on the price of lots for cabins along the Apalachicola River, the appraisers set the price at $2,100.

Upon presentation of a proper contract from the Franklin County commissioner Arthur J. Lewis, director o0f Rights-of-Way Division of the road department paid Branch $2,100 for 1.25 acres of land in the 900 x 60 foot right-of- way.

Fifteen days after requesting the right-of-way transaction, the Franklin County commissioners after hearing the price paid for the land resolved “the State Road Department is hereby requested to remove said road from the Road Program for Franklin County and not construct same.”

Up in arms, the commissioners noted “The 1966 Tax Roll of Franklin County places a value on said land in the amount of $35 per acre and said tax roll has been approved by the Comptroller of the State of Florida as 100 percent just value…such payment would value the woodlands in North West Franklin County at a rate of $1,680 per acre.

The District Engineer at Chipley, G. L. Dickenson, honored the second request: he removed the road from the Franklin Road program.

That’s the story of the cemetery roadbed right-of-way that Franklin County doesn’t want, that Sumatrans think is not needed, that Lewis says is a minor transaction. And that leaves the state with ownership of a strip of land 60 feet wide, 900 feet long running through property owned on both sides by Branch.


Local Shrimpers yell foul!

Specified areas of Apalachicola Bay were officially opened at midnight Sunday by the Department of Conservation. Size samples were found to be within the legal limit of 17 shrimp to the pound.

When boats returned late Monday night and Tuesday morning inspection of the catch according to conservation officers counted out a 70 to 80 shrimp to the pound. It was reported one truck was loaded for shipment to an out of state cannery before it was discovered the shrimp were undersized.

Conservation officers inspected the catch on boats as they arrived at the dock and served summons on eight boat captains. Shrimp die when caught in a net. To avoid loss of the total catch, conservation officers confiscated the shrimp to be sold at auction. It was reported boat owners would be fined in the amount their catch produced at auction. The Conservation Department ordered the bay closed at midnight on Tuesday until further notice.

Word about the turmoil on the waterfront quickly spread via radio to shrimp boats still on the fishing grounds. Rather than risk arrest and a fine a dealer estimated 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of shrimp were dumped in the bay by frustrated crews.

In addition to the state law governing size limits the legislative act passed in 1965 outlawed shrimp nets with a mesh under 2 inches. To replace illegal nets costs boat owners approximately $275 for each net. For fleet operators this represented a sizeable investment and the fact that no violations of the new net law reflects a credit on local fishermen.

Anticipating a good season, developments Tuesday was an economic blow to the shrimping industry and the community. Under the circumstances there was surprisingly little acrimony. However, dealers and shrimpers alike strongly protested confiscation of their catch and there is justification for their complaints.

Having rigidly complied with the new law closing the bay and the 2 inch net requirement, the industry had a skimpy summer. Official opening of the season was exceptionally orderly this year. As might be expected the men were eager to get their boats into production and to have their first catch of the season confiscated was not accepted without protests.

It was argued that the shrimp were caught in areas approved by the Conservation authorities and although the catch was over the 47 count size they should have been permitted to sell their shrimp, tie up their boast and wait for instructions from the Conservation Department.


Hunter gets 20 years in slaying case: woman on jury: first in local history

J. C. Hunter was found guilty Monday of second degree murder by a Franklin County Circuit Court jury and was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in the state penitentiary. Judge Hugh M. Taylor presided. The jury deliberated for seven hours before reaching a verdict.

Hunter, who was represented by Bart Knight of Blountstown, was indicted Sept. 26 on a first degree murder charge in the stabbing death of Benjamin Davis, 24, on Sept. 18.

Deputy Sheriff Boyd Howze arrested Hunter in the Green Lantern beer parlor, scene of the crime, shortly after the stabbing.

In other cases, Frederick Estes who pleaded not guilty to grand larceny of copper wire from the Florida Power warehouse on Aug. 22 changed his plea to guilty of petit larceny. His case was turned over to the parole commission for pre-sentence investigation and recommendation.

A case against Robert Estes Mann on a charge of non-support was postponed until Nov. 16. Also postponed was a case against Charles Johnson for worthless checks.

In two other non-support cases, David L. Estes was ordered to pay $15 per week and Albert Lee Jr. was ordered to pay $10 per week.

According to Sherriff Herbert O. Marshall, for the first time in Franklin County history a woman served on a jury. Miss Hana Heffernan of Lanark Village was the lady who established this precedent.