Macclenny in Baker County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Elisha Greene and Samuel Spearing
Heritage Park Village
— The Legacy of Baker County —
Acting as advance scouts were William and Mose Barber, and other men acting as scouts.
Others traveling in the train were the Westers, Wilkersons, Barber other families.
Elisha and his family settled on the south prong of the St. Mary’s River building a palmetto hut until a log farm house could be constructed.
Elisha educated his slaves as well as his children. They attended church with him and he paid them a modest salary allowing them to spend their earnings any way they desired. At the end of the Civil War, most of his slaves stayed on the farm to live and work. One slave, Samuel Spearing, left for Jacksonville at the encouragement of Elisha who recognized his potential, and became a man of many accomplishments.
Elisha Greene was an adventurous frontiersman exploring the uncharted Florida wilderness when it was primarily an Indian territory. He was the son of an Irish immigrant and his birth in 1790 made him an American citizen instead of a British citizen as George Washington
He was the father of 19 children, six by his first wile Elizabeth Wilkerson, 13 by his second wife Elizabeth Ann Driggers.
He fought in the Indian wars and uprisings and the War of 1812. His army papers describe him as six feet three at the age of Twenty- two with black hair and blue eyes, a characteristic of the many descendants of the Greene family still living in Baker County today.
Elisha was a farmer first but also served as a county coroner and a county surveyor. He died at the age of 85 and is buried in the South Prong Cemetery once known as Greene’s Creek.
Samuel Spearing was a distinguished Sanderson Florida slave purchased by Elisha Greene, a pioneer farmer south of Sanderson in 1853. Elisha was a kind and respected "master". Each slave was allowed to choose a mate of preference. In addition to food and clothing, Elisha also paid a modest salary to those working on his farm to manage as they desired. Samuel was exceptionally bright and ambitious and became Elisha's trusted friend and general foreman. With, the end of the Civil War, Elisha's slaves, now free, chose to remain on the Greene farm. Elisha encouraged Samuel to move to Jacksonville. Samuel agreed if his master would promise to summon him at his death to dig his grave
In Jacksonville, Samuel’s intelligence and natural political ability served him well. In 1867 Spearing convened a meeting of 1200 blacks. He served as a justice of the Peace in Duval County as well as both councilman and treasure for La Villa. He served in the Florida Senate in 1874. He opened the first respectable grocery business of its kind on Bay Street in Jacksonville and on January 20, 1884, Spearing was elected an officer of the Grand Lodge of Florida (black Mason's).
At the death of Elisha in 1873, Samuel was notified by telegraph. He promptly returned to Sanderson by train where he helped to dig his old master's grave. He also wrote Elisha's obituary which led Columbus Drew*, a Jacksonville businessman and poet, to write and publish, "The Burial of the Master".
*Columbus Drew: Some of his literary work: (The Drew Press, 1910)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1853.
Location. 30° 16.734′ N, 82° 8.054′ W. Marker is in Macclenny, Florida, in Baker County. Marker is on South Lowder Street, 0.1 miles south of W Railroad Avenue. Marker located within Heritage Park Village. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 102 S Lowder St, Macclenny FL 32063, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Olustree Memories (a few steps from this marker); Clyde Sands and Mamie Thrift (a few steps from this marker); Ida Estelle Corbett Mathews (a few steps from this marker); Ernest Harvey Jr. (a few steps from this marker); Alverdo A. Geitgey (a few steps from this marker); Otis and Mattie (Crews) Canady (a few steps from this marker); Corbett & Sadie Yarborough (a few steps from this marker); Postmaster Walter Turner (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Macclenny.
Also see . . .
1. Heritage Park Village. (Submitted on September 30, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.)
2. Elisha Greene. (Submitted on September 30, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 1, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 30, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 202 times since then and 151 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 30, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.