Indian Burial Grounds

The very first ones here were the Indians. In 1963, archeologists have unearthed 51 skeletons from an ancient Indian burial mound south of Bill’s Hill here in Oak Hill.

In a nearby kitchen midden area, the diggers turned up pieces of pottery – estimated to have been placed there before 800 A.D.

The excavation was a cooperative expedition between the William L. Bryant Foundation and the Florida State Museum of Gainesville. The museum is part of the University of Florida.

William J. Bryant, manager of the Foundation, and Ripley P. Bullen, curator of social sciences at the museum, worked with six crewmen in completing the excavation.

The area is what is known as the Hawkins site, south of Williams shell mound near the Indian River and is said to be near the site of a shell village occupied by the Timucuan Indians.

Many of the pieces of broken cooking vessels, called shards, were decorated with “check stamping” which Bryant said indicated they were made after 8000 A.D.

The age of the mound is determined by the pottery types, which are correlated with he stratigraphic digging in the “kitchen midden” which is the mound where the Indians lived and ate and left an accumulation of trash and broken pottery.

The first test contained the check point and that found beneath had do decoration and is estimated to have been placed their near the time or Christ. Among the items found were several crude hammers made from the center part of a conch shell, which was placed in the fist and used like a hammer. Two pieces of whole pottery and a stone axe were also found. The findings are marked carefully and were taken to the museum,

The Foundation and the museum have dug at Castle Windy and Green Mound and this excavation is part of a program for this general area.

Forty-five burials were found in one trench alone, and most were in good condition and buried in positions designed to save the greatest amount of space. The deepest one was found buried eleven feet underground, the archeologist said. “The Indians buried their dead in sort of a pre-natal position, and bound in cloth to save burial space.

They must have had lots of shellfish because nearby was a huge shell mound known as the Williams Mound.

Horace E. Treadwell was along on the dig with Mr. Bullen.


Listen children and you shall hear
Of the Indians that were so very dear
They brought forth the corn and the bread
So that we might all be fed.
They offered help and support
To our forefathers at that cold port.
Now stop a minute and try to think back
Who were we to invade their pack?
Who were we to take their land?
Two chop their trees, to plow their sand?
Although it was not fair,
It is true we pouched of them there
At the shore and inland too
We took anything that would do.
If we were to pay them back,
How do you think they would react?
I think they would be stunned
To find that justice had been done.
Now I leave you with this remark
Remember this before you embark
It doesn’t matter what you rank
Just be happy, be free and give your thanks

The Seminoles mentioned in the front of this book were still in Immokalee in 1925 when we lived there, but lots of them had left when we left there in 1936. They had gone deeper into the Everglades by then.

One camp lived just to the south of our property line and other by the schoolhouse. They the wintertime they lived in palmetto huts. They slept in their huts, but cooked outside on open hearths. They made beads during the winter, but went deep into the Everglades the rest of the year to hunt their meat and other foods for the winter stay in their Immokalee cabbage prongs and wooden huts. The huts were open from the floor to the roof. You could tell how old they were because they wore a string of beads for every year they were, and many had many strings on.

They made their beautiful colored dresses all the time, but mostly while deeper in the Everglades.

The Indians (the men) loved their “spirits” but were not allowed to buy them so the white men would buy it for them and when they got drunk their wives would tie them to a tree and bat them or leave them there until they sobered up. This was so by the Indians in the camp near us.

When the Indians cooked any kind oif beans and peas, they would put them in (hull and all) without shelling them, and when they began to boil,. The hulls would separate and they would scoop them out. (Maybe that would help us, eh?)

When we lived in Immokalee, the Indians that lived by us each morning would come and eat the first breakfasts our mother cooked, then DAD would say, OK, that’s all for today, the children have to eat; they have to go to school. The Indians always brought something in exchange for their meal.

On December 24, 1983, it was 19 degrees here and around Florida – a bad freeze and one week later, another freeze. When it gets down to 37 degrees or below freezing for 4-5 hours, the fruit will freeze and does damage to trees . . . this occurred this time . . .all the agriculture officials said they did and the citrus growers lost 85% of all fruits. The fern growers and farmers lost just as badly as anyone, making so many more unemployed in our state. If the temperatures warm up as it did, that is very bad fruit. They couldn’t get enough pickers so in two weeks time, there was hardly enough juice to even send the fruit to the juice plants, so they could just and maybe make enough money to help them work to help the trees.

Orange grove after a freeze.

Orange grove after a freeze.

The oranges in the center part of Florida got so badly frozen that the trees were so damaged, that they claimed it was as bad as the 1895 freeze. The oranges rotted on the trees. When the oranges were picked off, they would the limb and all off the trees. When it was as cold as this, the oranges and leaves won’t shake off. This means damaged or dead trees and rotten fruit hanging on.

In October of 1982, when the first annual Oak Hill Seafood Festival was presented, it was a success! One of the paramount details involved in conducting the Festival was traffic control and vehicle parking. The Seafood Festival Committee decided to utilize the Volusia County Sheriff’s Explorers for traffic control and vehicle parking inasmuch as the city had no Police Cadets program of its own. Another group from the County who assisted were the DeLand Police Explorers. Even though the parking and traffic control was successful, it was evident that the city needed it’s own Police Cadet program to handle such “special activities” within the city limits, for the sake of the continuity. We did not have total control over the Sheriff’s Explorer group as these young people answered to their own chain of command. This fact did create some minor difficulties in communications and job performance during the festival weekend.

Immediately following the first annual Festival, James B. Goodrich was assigned the responsibility of forming the Oak Hill Police Cadet group for the primary purpose of traffic control for the Festival. Notices were published in the News Journal, through Dana Greatrex of the first cadet meeting with invitations to all young people to join, between the ages of 13-21 year old. Twenty-one people responded to the first few meetings. Enthusiasm was good and these young people began a training program in vehicle traffic control, firearms and basic police training. Jim Goodrich was identified as the Post Commander with Tom Cox as the Assistant Commander; Bruce Burch is the Post Advisor. Cox, who is a certified firearms instructor ws placed in charge of firearms training. By the use of special police training films, these young people have undergone some fine basic police training through the past year. Meetings are scheduled monthly. Sixteen young people remained in the program and five have dropped out over a period of time due to other commitments, etc.

Left to right:  front row, Dalvin Goodrich, Travis Yelvington, Kathy Clark, Tommy Yelvington - Back row:  James Goodrich, Valerie Goodrich, James Goodrich Jr., David Dewees, William Thompson, Laurie Goodrich, Kathy Robinson, and Katy Robinson

Left to right: front row, Dalvin Goodrich, Travis Yelvington, Kathy Clark, Tommy Yelvington – Back row: James Goodrich, Valerie Goodrich, James Goodrich Jr., David Dewees, William Thompson, Laurie Goodrich, Kathy Robinson, and Katy Robinson

By the time the second Seafood Festival weekend came, the Oak Hill Police Cadets were trained and ready to meet the challenge. They performed with excellence and the second Festival was another success. The Festival Committee again relied on support from the Sheriff’s Explorers, DeLand Police Explorers and the Holly Hill Police Explorers to maintain security control over the entire Festival grounds.

The Oak Hill Cadets are willing to assist with any activity within the city that is conducted by non-profit organizations, whereas the need is present for traffic control.

The City of Oak Hill has furnished the uniforms and a meeting place thus far. The meetings are the second Monday of the month, The Oak Hill Cadets hope to conduct some fund raising activities to provide money for uniform maintenance and field trips.

Oak Hill Seafood Festival is always held at the Mary Dewees Park. The City has bought 10 acres of land to use it to enlarge the ball field and are going to build a building of sufficient size to use for various community events. The land is the land just west of the park and is to be connected to the same land as the park. The ball field will have a fence around it and a new concession building will occupy the land; bleachers will also be built, making the park even better than ever. People from all over the State come to the events. Each year continuous entertainment is provided throughout the two days. “Little Miss and Master” contests are held plus many arts and crafts booths. All kinds of seafood are served, prepared to eat, throughout both days. Other foods served are hot dogs, sausage, cold drinks, ice cream, etc. It is a family oriented affair for the full two days; the proceeds from this book are going to help the park.

We have a very good Volunteer Fire Department (Section 16 Oak Hill Fire District) located north of the city across from Manny’s Alligator Gift Shop and Restaurant. It is located on US1. They have the largest tanker in Volusia County. This fire truck has a tanker pumper of 2,000 gallons and it came from the state of Maryland. The station also has two other fire trucks. The large fire truck is named “#16”, the second one is “16A” (it has a class A pumper) and their third truck is a brushfire truck and it is called “Bertha”. The Fire Department has nineteen all volunteer firemen. All here would like to praise them for their great work here in Oak Hill.,

The firetrucks at Oak Hill Volunteer Fire Dept.

The firetrucks at Oak Hill Volunteer Fire Dept.

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