A cup of tea with a heaping spoonful of history

Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 09:50 AM.

Bludworth said the original settlers in our area were people interested in education and founded three colleges, including Florida State Normal School .

"The Calvinist influence was in Walton County ," said Bludworth, "and education was key. They were the most educated people in Florida at that time. These people wanted knowledge."

The early settlers of Northwest Florida were so into knowledge that they brought their New York Chautauqua to DeFuniak Springs.

The Chautauqua was an adult education movement, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua assemblies spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day. Chautauqua continues in DeFuniak Springs and will be held again the last week in January 2014.

Bludworth began coming to our area 69 years ago and often gives performances at Chautauqua. He was joined in the history presentation by area historian Brenda Rees.

Rees told how Alabama and Georgia used to be part of Florida , and how the Choctawhatchee Bay used to be called Santa Rosa Bay . It was renamed by the British when they marched through the area during the American Revolution.

Andrew Jackson was the first governor of the state of Florida , and the first counties were Escambia and St. Johns .

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