Finding Our Way Back Home….”The Knockabout Club in the Everglades–Lake Okeechobee, 1887.” SLR/IRL

Herons, The Knockabout Club, 1887.

Close up, Herons. The Knockabout Club–Lake Okeechobee, 1887.

and survival tales, written, and “documented, ” by F.A. Ober and Estes Lauriat.

When reading this text about Florida, one is transported to a time when Lake Okeechobee and our Indian River Lagoon Region, easily competed with the continent of Africa in wonder and wildlife. Bears, panthers, alligators, crocodiles, wolves, native people, limitless fish, and a million birds in every different color, shape, and size. –Knobby-kneed trees stretching to heaven forcing the eye to God…

My mother shared this book with me awhile back, and although I have not read every page, I remain moved by its recollections, its revelations, and its confessions.

Today I will share a smidgen of its art work, and a whisper of its words. The entire book has been electronically preserved and even reprinted due to  “its importance and value to society.” The link is below.

As with so many things relating to Florida, the text leaves one wondering….wondering how we perhaps unknowing destroyed such a paradise, and if one day our collective conscience will find redemption by restoring some of the destruction we have caused.

This excerpt is from page 196 of the electronic copy:

“As the sun came down, behind the pines, scattered groups of herons came flying towards the island where we were concealed. Now a great heron, now a small blue heron, and occasionally a night heron. The sun disappeared and the moon came out and shed a faint light over the marshes and the lonely island, disclosing to the waters there the hurrying dusky forms in the sky, many of which fell at the fire of the marauders stationed beneath the trees…

When we left (I now grieve to state) we had nearly a score of herons of various kinds. Gleaming white in the moonlight, our back loads of herons appeared more like sheeted ghosts and verily, if all wicked deeds are requited in kind, the slayer of these innocent birds deserved to have their nights disturbed during the remained of their lives by the apparitions of their victims.

Looking back on that heron hunt, I can say it was a shameful thing to do,–to shoot unsuspecting birds as they came winging their way joyfully home to their nests. It was a most inexcusable act; yet we did it in our search for the rare and curious, not giving heed to the chiding’s of conscience—-until we had shot the birds.”

Library of Congress electronic copy: (;view=1up;seq=15)

Cover of 1887 book: The Knockabout Club in the Everglades. Library of Sandra and Thomas Thurlow.)
Cover of 1887 book: The Knockabout Club in the Everglades. Library of Sandra and Thomas Thurlow.)
1.Copyright page
2. Title page
3. Herons
3. Herons
4. Hammock
4. Flats and Prairie of the St Johns
5. Alligator
5. Herons and Alligator
6. The Home of the Heron
7. Indian Burial Place
8. The Gloom of the Cypress
9. Pelicans of the Great Okeechobee
10.Little Bay at Oleander Point
11. Contents
11. Contents
12. Illlistrations
12. Illustrations

Thank you to my mother, historian Sandra Henderson Thurlow, for sharing this book.

headshot-jtl-2013About Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch:

Although born at Travis Air Base, California, Jacqui considers herself a native of Stuart, Florida, having moved there at eight months old. Her father’s family, originally from Syracuse, New York, has lived in Stuart since 1952. Her mother is a 5th generation Floridian from Gainesville. Jacqui is a Daughter of the American Revolution.

Jacqui is journalism graduate of the University of Florida, and an education master’s graduate of the University of West Florida. She went on to teach English and German and later after a serious accident of breaking her neck, started selling real estate. Later, she ran for public office having served on the Town of Sewall’s Point Commission since 2008, and is former mayor. During this time she saw the opportunity to help showcase the work of a locally formed river group, the River Kidz, and this has been her passion ever. She incorporates youth/river education  into her political work for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

Jacqui is the treasurer/secretary of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council; has chaired the Florida League of Cities Environmental and Energy Committee; was chair, and a six year member of the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments; is an alternate for the Water Resources Advisory Commission for the South Florida Water Management District; and is a board member for Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation, in St Lucie County.  She also serves as a board member (ex-officio) for the Rivers Coalition Defense Fund, and is head administrator for her beloved River Kidz, now a division of the Rivers Coalition.

Jacqui’s reach involves not only local, but state and federal government. In 2013,  she served on Senator Joe Negron’s panel for the Select Senate Hearing on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee. In 2014, she actively supported the elections of both Senator Joe Negron and Congressman Patrick Murphy who have both been strong supporters of  Indian River Lagoon issues. In 2015, she is part of the Florida League Cities Treasure Coast Advocacy team to influence and educate Tallahassee. Jacqui received the Everglades Coalition’s 2015 “John V. Kabler Award” for “Grassroots Activism” working to organize and educate the public, generating grassroots support for Everglades restoration.

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