Wester Home | Jackson County, FL | c. 1890s
When William built a home for himself in the early 1900s, he wanted it to be representative of the successes he was having with his turpentine still and Naval Mercantile store.
And as you can see pictured here, he did just that.
A Family Grows Here
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 his business.
William and Annie would call this magnificent place home until 1923, when after 20 years of marriage, Annie passed away. This left William to care for their 3 children alone while continuing to operate a significant business.
But despite these challenges, William and his young family persevered and in 1927, he 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.
The Wester Family Continues On
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 into 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 while he sat by the window in a wicker chair reading the newspaper as he did every night.
As he had found himself widowed before, he now left 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 at home with her family at the age of 102.
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.