Windham Life and Times – January 4, 2018

Windham and the Summit

View of the Hotel Ormond, where Mattie Clark worked in Ormond Florida. Ormond Beach would become the winter home of John D. Rockefeller along with other noted residents.

Part 4—Mattie Clark and Ormond Florida

Mattie Clark’s employment at the Summit House on Mount Washington only lasted through the summer months. In the winter she was employed at to Hotel Ormond in Ormond Florida. Mattie Clark’s ties to Ormond, Florida, were through John Anderson. Anderson was of Scots-Irish descent as was Clark. Anderson’s family were pioneers in Wiscasset and later at Windham, Maine starting in the late 1600’s. John Anderson’s youth involved many adventures in and around the White Mountains…” “As mentioned earlier, John Anderson’s father (Samuel) was the organizer and leader of the movement resulting in the building of the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad through the heart of the White Mountains. This was previously considered an incredible feat until accomplished by his father’s brother, John Farwell Anderson, Chief engineer (John’s uncle). General Samuel Anderson was president of this road up to the time of his death, in 1905.”

John Anderson was an early settler in Ormond, Florida where he owned and developed citrus plantations and later with his business partner Joseph Price, railroads and hotels. The connection with Mattie Clark must have begun with Anderson’s hotels and railroad in the White Mountains. “By this time, Anderson and Price had formed a partnership and were planning activities in New Hampshire during the summer season and in Florida during the winter months. The Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad was nearing completion in 1875 through the Crawford notch. Consequently, several hotels in the area were being designed and built, or expanded to accommodate rapidly increasing tourism in the White Mountains. The tourist activity in the White Mountains continued and by the mid 1880’s certainly inspired Anderson and Price to look into the possibility of a North-South railroad through Volusia County, Florida, and consideration for a hotel to accommodate guests during Florida’s mild winter months. The caveat was that Anderson and Price would be almost guaranteed year-round patronage by owning and managing hotels in both the north and the south… The first section of “The Ormond” hotel was constructed in the summer of 1887. Eventually Henry Flagler would purchase the hotel.

Pier on the Halifax River.

Of course, Mattie Clark was a manager at this hotel. She also owned a cottage on Orchard Lane in Ormond Beach known as the “Coacoochee” Cottage in the Santa Lucia Plantation. A brochure describes it this way; “Heavily laden with oranges and grapefruit, Santa Lucia Grove is in plain view from the veranda or front windows of the Hotel Ormond…The shell walk under the grape arbor upon the high river bank along the front of the orange grove an easy and most enjoyable stroll, particularly in the morning, when the red birds, mocking birds and blue jays are making merry a mong the orange trees, and in the dense foliage of the glossy green bays, and squirrels are chasing through the tops of oaks. The vine arbor is the scuppernong grape, the wine grape of Florida…On the walk you encircle the orange grove, passing when nearly back to the hotel, the luxurious log camp, ‘Coacooche’ pronounced Coa-coo-chee, the Indian name of the ‘Little Wild Cat,’ the great Seminole chief who lived, loved and made savage war along the Halifax and Tomoka Rivers.” At his death, John Anderson left Mattie Clark $500 in his will, stating that, “I give and bequeath to Miss Clark – Mattie A. Clark, of  Windham Depot, N. H. – to whose never-flagging interest and untiring efforts is due much of  the success I have had in my hotel business, $500, and I would also have sent to her the knitted afghan which she has made for me and in the possession of  which I have had much comfort and satisfaction.”  John Anderson, His Life and Times in Ormand Florida. Ronald  L. Howell.

 

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