FLGenWeb Digital Library and Archives
LITTLETON SHARTISH BLACK
Littleton S. Black, who was often referred to simply as “LS”, was born in Milford, Baker Co, Georgia on February 2, 1862 to the parents of Peter J. and Susan S. (Adams) Black. Susan was pregnant with Littleton when Peter left home to fight in the Civil War. He was born during that turbulent time, his father away, fighting for the cause. He was three years old before his father returned home.
Littleton was raised in Georgia, but he was a grown man when the family picked up and moved to Alabama near Dothan. Littleton was married twice. Nothing is known about the first marriage except for a record, which was found, of a Littleton Black who married an I. D. Mixon in Dale County, Alabama in 1893. It is unknown if this is the same Littleton Black, although it is the same location where the family located. He married Alice Tucker in Inverness, Citrus County, Florida on May 21, 1894. She is shown on the 1900 census as also being from Alabama. It’s not known if this is where they actually met. They had one son who died as an infant and no other children.
Littleton was quite the businessman. He ran several different enterprises including a large fish house from where he shipped fish and oysters to several states for many years and was well known as “The Fish Man.” He had a fleet of boats as well as a grocery store known as the City Market. An advertisement in the Crystal River News dated April 5, 1912 quotes L. S. Black as saying “ You can not get better cuts of meat anywhere then those you get at the City Market. We will not handle poor meat.” It goes on to say, “Complete market, complete grocery all in one. If it is in town we have it; for our line of groceries is complete.” Littleton was shipping fish and oysters to several states as well and was buying and selling properties up until his sudden heart attack on April 29,1914.
Although successful, Littleton was not without his troubles. Numerous newspaper accounts have been found where he was in and out of court for seining the waters of Lake Weir in Marion County, along with other family members. Apparently they supplied the fish Littleton was selling and shipping to other states. Although found “not guilty” by a jury, a judge made an example of him saying, “while Black may have not sold the liquor, he made it possible for others to do so and kept them in that state of mind and body, that they refused to testify to the facts,” and sent him to Federal Prison in Atlanta for a year in 1904, for intimidation of a witness. The prosecuting attorney happened to be the son of the judge in the case, which today would have been disallowed due to “conflict of interest.” After his release from prison, Littleton applied for and received a license to sell liquor and returned to business as usual.
Littleton’s family had come to Florida and finding it quite different from their previous existence as farmers in rural Georgia, felt blessed to be near the water and quickly saw the benefits and profits to be explored. They had a large commercial enterprise, consisting of a close family base, full of loyalty to each other and the business. They were content for a few years. They had settled in Ocklawaha near Lake Weir in Marion County. The area grew in popularity as a resort town and the quiet fishing village disappeared, along with the commercial fishing out of the lake. The family was harassed unmercifully. Some of the family including Littleton moved south into Citrus County, settling in Crystal River, but the patriarch of the family remained. Littleton’s father went with the flow of the times and rented a fleet of boats to tourists who came to the lake for recreation and sport.
It was October of 1902. The headlines read…L.S. Black Shot! “L.S. Black, formerly of this city (Ocala), but operating at Crystal River most of the time of late, was seriously shot Monday at Crystal River and is expected to die. His aged mother went down from Lake Weir. We could not learn the particulars of the shooting.” Five days later another article appeared, “L. S. Black was in town yesterday, having recovered from his illness.”
Littleton was a Woodsmen of the World; one of the first fraternal benefit societies in the U. S. They helped families seeking financial security and also provided insurance. He is buried in the old Crystal River Cemetery, which is downtown; west of highway 19. He has a large Woodsman of the World marker that is enclosed within an ornate fence.
Presented by Linda Flowers