Sheriff Gus Potsdamer

Sheriff Gus Potsdamer

Suwannee County citizens today have at our disposal a variety of sources for historical documents. Whether it is the vast resources of the internet or the papers left from long ago, they can provide a much better idea of life in Suwannee County in days gone by. I came across a rather humorous article in the Suwannee Democrat reprinted from July 30, 1914, and wished to pass it on to my readers. As we read through these various sources, we have to realize that we live in a different era, and some ideas and words that were once thought of as normal are now condemned. With that in mind, here is the original article, misspellings, racism, and all…

Eric Musgrove

Eric Musgrove

“Sheriff Postsdammer’s (sic) eight Negro boarders, among whom are two charged with murder, some with assault with intent to murder, some burglarly (sic) and others with minor offenses, have all repented of their sins and the ‘sanctified’ niggers, are not in it with them when it comes to holding religious services. They are all chock full of religion and last week a committee waited on the sheriff and requested that they be furnished with a Bible in order that services might be carried on with better effect. The sheriff made known their request to Rev. Wilbur Parshley, pastor of the First Baptist Church, and he presented them with a Bible.

“There are no preachers among the members, but it’s a good place for preachers (sic) sons and among the eight there are two whose fathers are preachers, Ivy Williams, who was convicted of murder in the second degree at the last term of court and took an appeal to the supreme court, is one of the two and the teachings of his father have fitted him for the roll (sic) of leader among the brethren. His sermon Sunday afternoon lasted for several hours but his hearers never tired of his eloquence and he torted, retorted, and extorted to the tune of the groans of the other seven in a manner that would do credit to Booker Washington.

“While there is no doubt about the religion of the prisoners being genuine, the sheriff still takes the precaution of locking the cell doors at night as there is always the probability of some of them wandering out and being unable to find their way back.”

Will people 100 years from now look upon us with similar thoughts?

More history next time.

Eric Musgrove can be reached at ericm@suwgov.org or 386-362-0564.

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