US National Park Ranger – Tim Donald – One hell of a good Park Service representative and one fine man!
You can go to Sutter’s Fort on the American River in California to pan for gold or to the Orinoco River in South America to look for rough gems, but I can tell you where to find a gleaming polished diamond. He’s pictured above. Tim Donald is a “100 carat” gem. He’s a Ranger at the Kingsley Plantation, part of the National Park Service system. If you get to northeastern Florida, this is a “not-to-be-missed” destination. You’ll learn something about the fabric of our country!
I met this fine man when doing research for a four book series that follows migrations into Florida from the Battle of King’s Mountain during the Revolutionary War through the 1950’s. He was extraordinarily helpful in providing me with a wagon load of information to use in my novels. Tim explained everything from the task system used to produce products on the plantations to the methods used to build the houses where slaves were quartered.
The Kingsley Plantation – as it appears today and close to the way it looked in the early 1800’s.
The history of this place predates Spanish colonization. The Timucuan Indians inhabited the area a thousand years before Christ was born. It was the site of a Spanish Mission by 1587. The Plantation’s and the area’s history, is a violent one. Many countries hoisted flags over the land. Intrigues, notorious owners, slavery, and other clouds have darkened the buildings, sand, oaks, pines and palmettos that are the park. Tim shared it all with me.
Ruins of a slave cabin made of “Tabby.” What’s Tabby? Visit Kingsley or read my upcoming book “The Clayton Chronicles: The Wild, Wild, East” to find out.
A reproduction of an “overseers house” or foreman’s home – it was larger than the other slave houses.
This was a great experience and a good portion of this greatness was because of the man who “walked me through” this piece of our history. Tim’s a Marine. (I won’t say Ex) The man is thoughtful, intelligent, and very perceptive. He was so open and earnest in discussing things, difficult things, that are part of our history that we ALL wish had never happened. But they did. No one can deny that. The two of us saw the “sameness” in each other, not the differences. I love the bond I felt. In Tim’s situation, it takes a superior person to do so. ………..
What this country needs are more Tim Donalds.
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