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Cache of documents found on eBay, from bills to legal letters, add fresh details to West Palm’s pioneer past.

“All history is made of a mosaic of little pieces.” — Palm Beach County Historical Society archivist Debi Murray.

In 1913, two men feared that the young City of West Palm Beach was about to swipe land purchased by black residents for for an African-American cemetery and use the money for a white graveyard.

In a typewritten letter, attorney and former mayor George Currie asks George Potter, one of the city’s earliest pioneers, to recall the agreement for the two-acre site, whose location today is uncertain.

“…there was never a time that the city did not intend to turn over the two acres for colored cemetery purposes…if I remember rightly, and you are the only one who knows that for certain,” Currie wrote.
In elegant script at the bottom of the page, Potter characterized the city’s casual contempt as theft: “I have no personal interest in the matter other (than) one of protest against what looks like a plain steal.”

The letter was among a cache of documents from West Palm Beach’s pioneer days area historian Ginger Pedersen discovered one Sunday afternoon while trolling eBay for the old Florida postcards she collects.

Palm Beach Post subscribers can read the complete story on MyPalmBeachPost.com.


George Potter’s grocery bill for December 1911. (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

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Posted in Flashback blog August 2, 2013 at 10:00 am.

2 comments

2 Replies

  1. I think it’s great that Ginger decided to purchase some of these documents on eBay and donate them. I am George W. Potter’s great grandson, and it was through no fault of the family that they ended up in the hands of a storage picker in Nevada. He contacted us wanting $20,000 for the collection (a trunk full) and then cut off all contact when we started asking how he came into possession of them. I’m guessing a lot more will be showing up on eBay and in auctions over time.

    BTW, as a print Post and MyPost subscriber, I find it extremely annoying that I can’t share this article with family members or with community members by email and social network because it is behind a paywall. They would have to be a Post subscriber to read past the first paragraph. Why should I link to it under those circumstances?

    I think this is a very shortsighted business practice and you should change it. You are effectively blocking your best brand advocates from doing the one thing that might increase online subscribers.

  2. Palm Beach Post Staff Researchers Aug 5th 2013

    Mr. Willson,

    Thank you for sharing the information about the documents. That’s very interesting.

    And thanks for your constructive criticism of The Palm Beach Post paywall. I understand your frustration. Before the paywall was put into place there were plans to allow for social media sharing of the stories that are on the mypalmbeachpost.com subscription website, but the technology we’re using does not yet allow for it. Our digital department is working on a way to allow subscribers to share stories and/or a way for people who don’t subscribe to view a limited number of stories. I’m not sure how long that will take.

    In the meantime, for each print subscription, up to five people can register for digital access (the same way more than one person in a household can read a single print copy of the paper) so it is possible to share with a few family members. You can register for additional digital accounts (each linked to a different email address) here:
    https://myaccount.palmbeachpost.com/access.aspx

    You’ll need the ZIP code and house number (or phone number) for the print subscription.

    Thank you for reading HistoricPalmBeach.com.

    Michelle Quigley
    News Researcher
    The Palm Beach Post | HistoricPalmBeach.com


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