Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Trapper Nelson

Loxahatchee River

 We spend three nights in Jonathan Dickinson State Park near Hobe Sound. The first night we get heavy hail, lightning and sideways blowing rain. An alarm on the refrigerator meant to detect excess heat while operating in propane mode gets wet and shuts down the refrigerator completely. I do a jumper wire around the alarm in the morning to restore normal operation.

We find a tennis court on US 1 near Hobe Sound. My tennis coach in England (who is also my blind spiritual advisor) sent me a message in a dream state to serve only to her back hand. I try that and run the score up to 4-2 my favor. She adopts the counter-strategy of moving me around the court to tire me out. The next four games are very long with lots of ad-in-and-outs. However, she wins 6-4 in the end.  I found more public courts on Key Largo to try again.

The park is notable for extensive dirt bike trails and the Loxahatchee River, one of two rivers in Florida  with a "wild and scenic" designation. Loxahatchee means "turtle river".

Trapper Nelson (Vincent Nostokovich) was born around 1909 and established a camp on the Loxahatchee in 1932. He sold hides and accumulated over 1,000 acres along the river by paying back taxes for pennies an acre. He ate gator, possum, coon and turtle as well as exotic fruits such as pineapple from his garden.

He was 6' 4" and weighed about 250. Socialites from Palm Beach would come up river on excursions to watch him wrestle his pet gator, Stumpy. Property values exploded in the 1960s and he was forced to borrow $100,000 to pay real estate taxes. He attempted to negotiate the sale of his land to developers for a million dollars, but was in great pain from stomach issues. He didn't trust doctors and was convinced that he had the cancer. He also self-catheterized to deal with prostate issues.

Trapper Nelson was found dead in his hammock with a wound from his shotgun in the stomach. He had been dead over a week. The death was ruled a suicide but there was much speculation about darker causes. The stomach seemed to some to be an odd place for a self-inflicted shotgun suicide. After his death in 1967, shrewd developers bought the property for $1,000,000 from his sister and immediately swapped the 1,000 acres of worthless swampland with the State of Florida for 300 acres of beachfront property in Hobe Sound.

The governor of Florida at that time was Claude Kirk, the first Republican since Reconstruction. After the publication of the photograph showing Mary Ann Vecchio of Florida kneeling over the body of Jeffrey Miller at the Kent State University shootings on May 4, 1970, Governor Kirk publicly labeled 14 year old Vecchio a dissident "communist".

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