Historic Bristow Family Farm: Then and Now

Bristow Family Farm | Alachua County, FL | c. late 1800s

 

For just a moment standing here in this spot, you can almost imagine what life might’ve been like 100 years ago. The winding dirt road wraps around the perimeter of the farm and out to a railroad path more than a century old and still in use today.

 The tree line to the left stands like a wall to shield the visions and commotion of a highway that didn’t exist when this home was built. The overgrowth hangs like a curtain in front of the old home, almost as if to protect a secret.

Roxie and Samuel would marry in Lasker, NC in 1909 and by 1916, they were heading South with their 3 children towards Florida. By 1919, they were living in this home they had bought from a farming family. Within the next decade, their family would grow by four, but they would lose a son as well. A World War would begin and they would see the wagon path just beyond their door become a bustling highway. Their Nation would plummet into economic depression.

Roxie Whitehead Bristow c. early 1900s
Bristow children chewing on sugar cane c. 1934
Photo of Roxie and Samuel with their first three children, Felton, Ola Mae, and John. Taken c. 1916, the same year they moved to Florida

Through all of these events, this family ate here, talked here, slept here, and endured together in this home. They farmed through good times and bad and nourished a growing family in the process. But somewhere along the way something must have changed and it made more sense to live elsewhere. Economies, priorities and values shift and things get left behind. The unfortunate reality of change is that when moving forward, you can’t take every piece of your past with you. Sometimes memories are the best and only thing that change will allow us to hold to.

Roxie standing in front of her home here in the 1960s
The Front of Roxie's Home with boarded enclosure

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