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James G. Gavin was born in Wakulla County, Florida, in March 1859, to Peter Gavin and Caroline Simpson. It is likely that he and his parents were enslaved by Abram Gavin, who operated a large labor farm in the area. This labor farm and the surrounding land later became the location of the community of Shadeville, Wakulla County.
James Gavin married Hattie J. Gavin, born May 1866 in Georgia, around 1890. The couple had at least three children, daughters Edna L., Miama A., and Vasco by the 1910 census. In the 1900 Wakulla County census, his occupation was listed as "worker at sea." In the 1910 census onwards, he was listed as a farmer, though he maintained interest in fish netting. James G. Gavin passed away on October 26th, 1935, at 76 years of age and was buried in the Richardson Cemetery in Wakulla County.
Gavin was an officer on the Wakulla County Republican Party Executive Committee. He was made Executive Secretary by 1900 and continued to be involved in the committee through at least 1928. The Gavin family were active members of the New Bridge Hope Primitive Baptist Church in Shadeville, where Gavin served as the church's clerk and as a deacon. He maintained minutes for church meetings and various committees, as well as financial records. James and his family were also involved in two African-American fraternal organizations related to the church, the United Band of America and the Independent Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria, in which James filled a clerical role.
This collection documents the personal life and social activities of the Gavin family of Wakulla County from the 1880s through the 1940s, with the bulk of the collection relating to James G. Gavin. The collection consists of various letters and order forms regarding netting and thread companies that manufactured supplies for fishing nets; advertisements collected by the family for various products and businesses; and legal documents, such as fishing licenses, court summons, and a military discharge for a relative, Thomas Mills.
The collection also contains records from the Republican Party in Wakulla County, including instructions from the committee, letters, clippings, and broadsides. Some of these materials relate to various large elections and the campaign of W. J. Howey. Records from the family's involvement in the church activities are extensive and include handwritten correspondences, minutes, and committee reports. Materials from James Gavin's fraternal activities include financial cards and records, memberships cards, committee reports, annual reports, minutes, forms and broadsides.
Folder listing available.
Additional Physical Form:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
For additional records of Gavin family members, see Manuscript Collection N2008-6, Wakulla Springs tour by Tom Gavin.
Previously State Library of Florida Manuscripts Collection MS151.
Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields:
Gavin, James G., 1859-1935.
Republican Party (Fla.)
African Americans History 1877-1964. Florida African American churches Florida. Fraternal organizations. Fishing nets
Letters. aat Broadsides. aat Minutes. aat Reports. aat Programs. aat Financial records. aat
Wakulla County (Fla.)