On Thursday evening, August 23, the JHS Speaker Series presents Dr. Timothy Gilmore, on “The Goat Island Hermit: The State of Florida versus Rollians Christopher.” In 1955, Rollians Christopher, an illiterate goatherd who’d claimed squatter’s rights on Goat Island, across from the fishing village of New Berlin in the St. Johns River, found himself in a battle between multiple governmental authorities. Duval County wanted to develop the rattlesnake-infested island for industrial shipping purposes; the Florida Ship Canal Authority wanted the island for barge terminals for the Cross Florida Barge Canal.
Christopher’s opponents complained of his ethnic ambiguity and claimed he’d killed someone, while defenders from around the state wrote letters to Congressman Charles Bennett, Governor LeRoy Collins, and the heads of the entities who wanted him gone.
Duval County won the fight. What happened to Goat Island, and to Rollians Christopher? Where did he come from? If he wasn’t connected to the Christophers, one of the largest and most diverse pioneer families in Northeast Florida, who was he? And what happened to his 1100 goats? Learn more on August 23.
“The Jacksonville Historical Society’s 2018-2019 Speaker Series is underwritten by Retina Associates.”
Date: Thursday, August 23, 2018
Social half-hour with light refreshments begins at 6:30 PM.
The program begins at 7:00 PM.
Location: Old St. Andrews, 317 A. Philip Randolph Boulevard
Free parking on site and security will be on duty
This event is free for members, we ask non-members for a donation of $5
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 904.665.0064