Wester Home | Jackson County, FL | c. 1890-early 1900s
When William built a home for himself in the 1800s, he wanted it to be representative of the successes he was having with his Naval Mercantile store. And as you can see pictured here, he did just that. But a home like this one must’ve felt quite empty without a wife. So in 1903, William married Annie and they would start a family here on this property along the railroad tracks that were critical to the success of Williams business.
They would call this place home until the 1920s when in 1923, after 20 years of marriage, Annie passed away, leaving William to care for their 3 children.
Despite the challenges this family must’ve faced, William persevered and in 1927, won a seat on the Florida Legislature while continuing to operate his mercantile. In 1931, he married again to his second wife, Pencie, who became a beloved local figure.
Naturally, as they started a new life together, they would need a new house and William built a second home on his property, set further away from the railroad tracks. Family history says that at that time, in-laws moved in to the original Wester home and reported that Annie would still appear regularly in the home, lingering near the fireplaces.
William and his new wife, Pencie, would have another 4 children together, but sadly, tragedy was set to strike this family again. A bizarre event happened on this property in 1938 that would take many years to resolve and likely still haunts those who are related. On one fateful night that year, William was murdered in his new home leaving his second wife, Pencie, to raise the children by herself; ranging from 2 months to 6 years old.
But as I mentioned earlier, ‘Miss Pencie’ as the locals called her, became a beloved figure and from what I have researched about her, it’s easy to see why.
After her husbands death, she did the only thing she could do and found a way to support her family. Pencie began teaching as a career and would end up working for the Jackson County School Board for 35 years as an educator to not only her own children, but the other children of the community.
In 2008, she passed away on this property at the age of 102, which today is still owned by descendants.
Unfortunately, this area was devastated by Hurricane Michael in 2018 and many historic buildings both old and new nearby were destroyed. I haven’t been back to this home since then but based on recent satellite images, it doesn’t look good.