Polk County Florida Death News


The friends in this city of Mr. John Daffin will regret to learn of his death which occurred at Thomasville on Monday afternoon. Mr. Daffin had been living in Lakeland, Florida for several months, and about a week since became ill with fever. He was removed to Thomasville, his former home on Sunday and died on the following day. The funeral took place Tuesday. Mr. Daffin lived in this city some two years ago, being connected with the Bon Air Hotel. He is a brother of Miss Mary Daffin of this city and is well known here.

[Source: Bainbridge Search Light, Nov. 4, 1904 -- Page 1.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie


Mulberry, Polk County, the Scene of a Pistol Battle in Which Both the Principals Were Killed

(Tampa Evening News, 12th)

Mulberry, Polk county, was yesterday the scene of an exciting duel, which resulted in the death of both principals—B. Burnsed, for many years a resident of Tampa, and Robert Humphreys, who lived at Bradentown prior to removing to Mulberry. Humphreys died an hour after being shot, while Burnsed, who went to Mulberry several months ago, lingered until an early hour this morning.

For some time Burnsed and Humphreys have occupied adjoining stores, Burnsed conducting a meat market and Humphreys conducting a restaurant. They had no trouble until last week, when on Saturday they engaged in a quarrel over their children, which yesterday resulted in Burnsed placing Humphreys under a peace bond.

Shortly after the bond was made, the two men met and, according to information secured by Sheriff Wiggins, of Polk county, Humphreys drew a 38-calibre Iver Johnson revolver and opened fire upon Burnsed. The latter coolly drew a Smith & Wesson revolver of the same character and returned the fire. When the fusillade of shots ended both principals were prostrate on the ground, Humphreys having sent a ball through Burnsed's body in the neighborhood of the liver, also one through his opponent's hand, while he was shot in practically the same place in the body by Burnsed. The two men were given surgical attention as quickly as possible, but both were beyond human aid.

Humphreys, from the statement of Sheriff Wiggins, appears to have been the aggressor throughout the difficulty, forcing the duel on Burnsed. Both men leave families to mourn their tragic death. It is now known whether Burnsed's body will be brought to this city for burial or interred at Mulberry. Humphrey's burial will probably occur at Bradentown.

B. Burnsed had been a well known character in and about Tampa for many years, having lived near Twenty-second street for a long time. He and his sons, Bob and Will, have frequently engaged in fights with outher parties at and near the Seminole saloon, for which they have been arrested. In the difficulty that caused his death and that of his antagonist, however, he appears to have been in the right.

First reports received were that Will and Bob Burnsed had also engaged in the affray, but this rumor proved to be untrue.

[Source: The Ocala evening star. (Ocala, Fla.) 1895-1943, November 13, 1907, Page two, Image 2.]

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie


Of the life of W. O. Williams, the Fort Meade Leader says:

W. O. Williams was born in Neshoba county, Mississippi, February 5th, 1873, and died at his home in Fort Meade, Florida, March 5, 1920, aged 47 years and one month.

Mr. Williams' early life was spent on the farm in Mississippi. Later the family removed to Texas, but afterwards returned to his native state. In early manhood he was converted and later felt called to the work of the ministry. From infancy he has suffered from frequent severe attachs [sic] of asthma. Many time we have heard him relate the circumstances connected with his healing of this disease.

One Sunday morning he was on his way to fill an appointment when he began to suffer from an attack of asthma. he knew that he would be unable to preach in that condition. So he dismounted, tied his horse and knelt by the roadside in earnest prayer. While praying he was instantly relieved of the asthma, and though he frequently underwent great exposure the disease never returned.

About 20 years ago Bro. Williams came to Florida and located with his family on the old camp ground near Poole Branch. For many years his entire time was devoted to the ministry. He not only preached to his home congregation, but he traveled extensively in evangelistic work throughout the state, frequently answering calls for meetings in the neighboring states. Bro. Williams' strong personality enabled him to make friends wherever he went. In 1918 he consented to have his name place on the list as candidate for the State Legisature from Polk county and was afterwards elected by a large majority. At the time of his death he was in the race for a second term in the Legislature.

During his residence in Fort Meade Bro. Williams also served as Justice of the Peace where he always performed the duties of his office in a conscientious manner.

In his death Polk county loses one of its best men. Some one has said that he had more friends than any other man in the county, but his influence extended further than within his own county, for he was known throughout the state. While in Tallahassee he made many warm friends and among them was the governor of the state.

At the time of his death he was acting as deputy state inspector of hotels. He was stricken down at St. Petersburg with apoplexy on the night of February 25th. The attack was brought on by overwork. He was taken at once to the City Hospital where everything possible was done to bring about his recovery. The physician in charge thought that he would recover, but said that it would require a long time and earnestly requested that he should be taken home. Accordingly, he was brought to his home in Fort Meade on last Thursday, March 4th, where he passed away early the next morning.

In 1897 Bro. Williams was united in marriage to Miss Alice Miller who survives him and is engaged as one of the teachers in the Fort Meade public school. He also leaves three sons, Bozeman, Myrl and Warren, and one daughter, Miss Willie, who is a student in the Womans College at Tallahassee.

The funeral service was conducted at the home Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock by Rev. Geo. Q. Coplin. The funeral text was James 4:14: "For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."

The funeral was largely attended and only a few could get within hearing distance of the minister. Interment was made in Evergreen cemetery and the grave was literally covered with beautiful flowers, tokens of love and friendship and high esteem. The entire community deeply regret the death of Bro. Williams and all join in extending their heartfelt sympathy to Mrs. Williams and the children in their deep bereavement.

[Source: The Lakeland evening telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922, March 12, 1920, Image 5.]

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie

Funeral of "Junior" Holland

Mr. and Mrs. J. Mercer Holland, with the body of their little son, "Junior," arrived in Jacksonville this morning twelve hours late, and cannot reach Lakeland until this afternoon. The funeral has therefore been postponed until 10:30 tomorrow morning, when it will be held as planned, at the home of the grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Holland. J. M. Holland has gone up to Sanford today, where he will board the train bringing Mr. and Mrs. Holland, who are on the Tampa Special.

[Source: The Lakeland evening telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922, December 31, 1920, Image 5.]

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie

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