You can take the GRITS out of Florida, but you can't take Florida out of the GRITS!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Smallwood's Store, Chokoloskee

Smallwood's store is a piece of history located on the tiny island of Chokoloskee. It's notorious as the place that Ed Watson was gunned down by townsfolk who'd had enough of him and his ways.

One day, Mr. Watson came across this little bay...
And was met with a barrage of bullets as he pulled up to Mr. Smallwood's store.See, Ed Watson was not a nice man. He lived on another small island and raised various small crops. He would "hire" help, making the men stay on his island until all the planting, caring for and harvesting was done. Then, instead of paying them like he said he would, he'd simply shoot them and bury them. Nice guy, huh? They say he was the one who murdered Belle Starr, but I don't believe it's ever been proven.
If you want to read some more about this little island with a colorful history, you can read "Killing Mister Watson" by Peter Matthiessen, or "Totch" a great book about a local legend, who now resides in the town's small graveyard, not far from Mr. Smallwood. In fact, Totch's old gator skiff used to be displayed up in the store. I assume it's still there.
Authors Randy Wayne White and Carl Hiaasen have used Chokoloskee, Everglades City and the Ten Thousand Islands as backdrops for some of their novels.
If you ever find yourself in Chokoloskee, be sure to stop at Smallwood's. There's alot of history to be seen there.


Sayre said...

Ive got Killing Mr. Watson on my bookshelf... but I haven't read it - need to do that!

Laura said...

ooooh, I forgot all about Randy Wayne White! I've been meaning to add his books to my "to read" list for some time now. Thanks for the reminder.
Love the B&W photos!