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Pioneer Family, Pioneer Family, 0817307834, 0-8173-0783-4, 978-0-8173-0783-7, 9780817307837, , , Pioneer Family, 0817390774, 0-8173-9077-4, 978-0-8173-9077-8, 9780817390778,

Pioneer Family
Life on Florida's Twentieth-Century Frontier
by Michel Oesterreicher

Quality Paper
1996. 192 pp.
978-0-8173-0783-7
Price:  $24.95 s
E Book
2016. 192 pp.
978-0-8173-9077-8
Price:  $24.95 d

Pioneer Family is based on the recollections of Hugie and Oleta Oesterreicher, who lived in rural northeast Florida in the early decades of the twentieth century. Northeast Florida was frontier country then, and Hugie and Oleta were pioneers. Although the time and setting of their story are particular, the theme of survival during hard times is universal. Born in a cypress cabin on the edge of the great Durbin Swamp located midway between St. Augustine and Jacksonville, Hugie knew every alligator hole, every bog, every creek; he could dry venison so it lasted without refrigeration for months, could build a potato bank that kept potatoes warm all winter, and put down a well without machinery. He knew how to cope with rattlesnakes and moccasins. Early one morning in 1925, Hugie fell in love with a tall, brown-eyed girl as he passed her place on a cattle drive. He courted this girl, Oleta Brown, with no success at first, but finally they were married in 1927.
Their daughter retells their story from vivid accounts they gave of their childhood, courtship, early years of marriage, and struggles during the Great Depression. In an age bereft of heroes, the story of their courage, their faith, and their commitment provides a fascinating empathy with a time that has passed; a place that has disappeared.
 

"One can not read these stories without thinking of Marjorie Kinnan Rawling's Cross Creek. Indeed, these stories are just as compelling. There are even Faulknerian qualities to some of the characters....The University of Alabama Press has produced yet another excellent book on Florida. Gracefully written, it offers one of the most compelling images of rural life in early 20th-century Florida that exists in print. It should enjoy wide readership." --James M. Denham, Florida Southern College, in The Florida Historical Quarterly

 


Michel Oesterreicher is a retired teacher.


"Michel Oesterreicher has given us a richly revealing portrait of life in rural northeast Florida in the first half of the 20th century; a frontier Florida that has now vanished under the pressures of growth and development. Both the general reader and the historian will find this moving account of one family absorbing and well worth their time." —Joan S. Carver, Jacksonville University

"This is a personalized account of what it was like to live and work and raise a family in the backwoods of northeast Florida during the last 100 years. The anecdotes and biographical details show just how difficult that life was, especially away from the big cities of Jacksonville and St. Augustine." —Kevin M. McCarthy, The University of Florida

"Through a series of oral interviews with her mother and father, Michel Oesterreicher elegantly crafts together thirty short chapters which bring to life her parent's childhood and adult experiences. 'All of the interviews in this book," writes the author, "are based on actual events discussed in those interviews. At no time did I introduce emotions or responses to these events other than the ones Hugie and Oleta said they had. At all times, I strove for an honest, clear narrative, true to my parents and free from my own sentiments.'...

One can not read these stories without thinking of Marjorie Kinnan Rawling's Cross Creek. Indeed, these stories are just as compelling. There are even Faulknerian qualities to some of the characters, particularly Oleta's mother whose life of hard work and toil found little reward from her uncaring husband. Annie Sadler Brown lived a life of many hardships. When her husband died, leaving her alone with two daughters on their farm, she resumed her daily labors with a pistol strapped over her blue apron. Oleta would never forget that image of her mother, nor would she ever forget the night when-after a hard day's work-she unstrapped her pistol, exchanged her apron for a dress, combed her hair, and accompanied her young daughters to a dance. The University of Alabama Press has produced yet another excellent book on Florida. Gracefully written, it offers one of the most compelling images of rural life in early 20th-century Florida that exists in print. It should enjoy wide readership." --James M. Denham, Florida Southern College, in The Florida Historical Quarterly


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