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BASKIN, James Galespie, M.D.
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
Presented by Nancy Rayburn
III, page 272, 1923.
BASKIN, JAMES GALESPIE, M.D., is one of the three or four men whose enterprise and influence
has had most to do with keeping up the growth and development of the little City of Dunnellon.
Doctor BASKIN located there twenty-five years ago, and while he has practiced medicine, a
great variety of outside interests have demanded his time and attention so that he is better
known through these business activities than as a professional man.
Doctor Baskin was born at Perry in Houston County, Georgia, May 14, 1872. He is of an old
American family and is a descendent of Col. GEORGE HICKS, who was born in Virginia in 1718,
and served as a colonel in the American Army during the Revolutionary War, taking part in
the campaigns of 1776 and 1780-81. The father of Doctor BASKIN, ALONZO P. BASKIN, was born
in South Carolina, was a Georgia farmer, and in 1876 came to Florida and was a pioneer at
Anthony, where he followed truck farming, the operation of saw mills and merchandising. He
represented Marion County in the Legislature in 1885-87, and was a prominent leader in the
populist party of Florida, being president of the State Farmers' Alliance in 1891 and was
once candidate for governor on the populist ticket. In 1905 he moved to Largo, and was a
prosperous citrus grower there. He was a member of the Masonic Order and the Baptist Church.
He died at Dunnellon in 1908, while visiting his son, Doctor BASKIN. The mother of Doctor
Baskin was JULIA A. GATES, who was born in Bibb County, Georgia, and died at Dunnellon,
Florida, in 1899.
JAMES G. BASKIN spent his boyhood at Anthony from the age of four years, attended public
schools there, and for one year was a student in the Agricultural College at Lake City.
He paid part of his expenses while in this college by working on the college farm. Subsequently
he entered the medical department of Vanderbilt University at Nashville, Tennessee, where he
was graduated in 1891, being secretary of his class. He practiced at Anthony for four years,
and then moved to Miami. He was one of the first physicians to locate there, and owned and
conducted the first drug store in the town. The railroad was just being built into Miami
when he moved there and the town was being laid out. After two years at Miami Doctor Baskin
came to Dunnellon and began practice in 1898. Since 1898 he has been senior member of the
firm Baskin & Griffith, his partner being Dr. WILLIAM GRIFFITH. They have carried on an
extensive general practice as physicians and surgeons and together have been partners in a
large number of business interests, Dunnellon in 1898, when Doctor BASKIN located here, was
a mere mining camp, and every phase of its subsequent development has been influenced in
some way by Doctor BASKIN. Baskin & Griffith from 1903 to 1917 were owners of the Dunnellon
Pharmacy, and they have a large farm near the town, devoted to the production of watermelons,
cantaloupes and cotton. Doctor BASKIN from 1906 to 1919 was owner of the Sunflower Grove at
Largo in Pinellas County, an extensive orange and grapefruit branch. He was associated with
G. W. NEVILLE in 1904 in the organization of the Bank of Dunnellon, and is president of this
institution and gives much of his time to its affairs. He is president of the Dunnellon
Supply Company, a wholesale and retail hardware mill and mine supply house, and is also head
of Baskin & Company, naval stores operators. For three years the firm of Baskin & Griffith
conducted the Dunnellon Advocate, a democratic weekly paper, having the first printing press
in the town.
Doctor BASKIN was chairman of the County Democratic Committee in 1904-05, and in the latter
year was elected to fill an unexpired term as senator of the Twentieth District. He was
chosen county commissioner in 1917 and served two years, and has served on the City Council.
He was chosen county commissioner in 1917 and served two years, and has served on the City
Council. He was one of the organizers of the Dunnellon Ice and Cold Storage Company, which
operated the light and water plants until these utilities were sold to the city, and the
business now continues as an ice and cold storage company. Doctor BASKIN has been an
enthusiastic good roads advocate and is one of the bond trustees of the road district at
Dunnellon and of the Marion County Bond District, this district being the first in Marion
County to issue bonds for good roads. Doctor BASKIN is now setting out a citrus grove
near Dunnellon. He is local surgeon for the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Airline Railroad,
and is a member of the Marion County, Central Florida, Florida State, Southern and American
Medical associations. He is a Mason and Knight of Pythias, a member of the Elks at Ocala and
his primary recreation is travel.
At Nashville, Tennessee, in 1892 he married Miss LULU SPICER, who died the same year. He
married at Miami, Florida, in 1897 Miss OLA JOHNSON, a native of Birmingham, Alabama. Her
father, J. H. JOHNSON, was a veteran of the Confederate Army and a pioneer truck farmer at
Miami. Mrs. BASKIN is vice president of the Dunnellon Woman's Club and an active member
of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They have two sons: JAMES ALONZO, who is now a student
of banking and finance in Stetson University; and FREDERICK NORRIS, member of class 1923 in
the Georgia Military Academy and is planning for a career in the law.
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