EDITORS NOTE: This is the second of several articles from the diary of Fanny Destin, a member of the Leonard Destin family, which is regarded as the founding fishing family and namesake of Destin.
5/4/1881 Helped Priss to gather some mulberries. I am getting along in my studies and so are my brothers. Father did not catch any fish (they seine fished along the coast). George not back from Pensacola (he sailed to Pensacola to sell fish). Wind from the west.
5/5/1881 A little cloudy but after awhile it cleared up. After lessons I pulled weeds while Mother and Hattie swept. After awhile the bees swarmed. Wind is southerly. Father and crew did not catch any fish.
5/6/1881 Very fine morning. Father and men out fishing. Picked some mulberries for the chickens to eat. While Hattie was scrubbing the house, the bees swarmed. Father in. They caught some sheepshead. Wind from the west. Sun shining brightly.
5/7/1881 Very nice morning indeed. Sun very bright. Father fishing. Brothers are getting along very well with their lessons. Aunt Ellen says our yard is the prettiest yard that she ever saw. We do not have a large number of trees. Trees make the yard look very dark and cool. Beautiful sight. Wind is blowing very softly from the southwest.
5/8/1881 Very nice summer morning. Wind from the east. Father fishing. Read one of Fathers books. Then went into kitchen and lay down awhile. Brothers found a nice place to sit. Gathered some mulberries to eat. After dinner read a nice story to Mother. Caught Sheepshead
5/9/1881 Very nice indeed. Read. Father caught a few sheepshead but not many. Mother and Hattie washed out some clothes. I helped Priss get dinner. I read and gathered some berries.
5/10/1881 Pleasant day. Father did not go fishing. After breakfast I came in to do my lessons. Gathered some berries for Priss to cook for dinner. Went into kitchen and set table. We had greens for dinner. Very nice.
(The families were dependent on whatever vegetables and fruit they could grow to eat. When they had more fresh vegetables and fruits then they could use, they dried whatever they could for the long winter ahead).
5/11/1881 Sun shining brightly, wind from the east. Father fishing. Caught a few but not many fish. Last night George came in from Pensacola. I was glad to see him.
5/12/1881 Sun shining bright. No fish. How sorry for Father with no fish. I wrote a letter to Cousin Martha who is living in S.C. After dinner I read.
5/13/1881 Fine morning. Father went fishing early but caught none. Today I went in bathing and enjoyed it very much indeed, then ate some mulberries. Priss made mulberry pie. Very nice. Helped Priss get dinner. George went to the post office.
5/14/1881 Fine morning. Father went fishing. I am studying philosophy, ciphering, grammar, spelling and reading. I get along very well. Today Mother and Hattie washed out clothes. Wind from the northeast, blowing quite strong.
5/15/1881 Wind from the north. Father fishing. Mother, Alfred, Andrew and I went down to the back garden. I like to take a walk. When we got back helped Priss to cook greens. Our plums are getting ripe. I shall be glad when they do. Wind from the west quite strong.
5/16/1881 Sun shining brightly. Helped with dinner. Ate some berries. We soon will have figs, green ones now. Have more mulberries than we want. After dinner I came in and read. Father and men in, very glad. Caught 600 pompano. George going to Pensacola (to bring fish).
5/17/1881 Beautiful day. Came in and read to myself. Ate some berries. Wind from the north blowing quite strong.
5/18/1881 Very beautiful. Helped Priss to peal some potatoes to cook for dinner. We have had no rain in so long. Hope it will rain soon.
5/19/1881 Nice morning. Mother and Hattie washed. Helped Priss with dinner. Wind is southeast. The plums are ripening very fast and so are the figs. Father and his men caught some pompano. Wind from the west, blows softly.
5/20/1881 Sun shining brightly. Gathered mulberries and ate them. Helped Priss get dinner. Hattie sewing on her new dress. Very pretty indeed. Wind is southeast blowing quite strong. No fish.
5/21/1881 Brother George has not returned yet. Father did not catch any fish. Wind from the south.
5/22/1881 It did not rain and our garden needs some. Hope it will rain soon. Father did not go fishing. Thought it would rain. Priss sometimes makes mulberry pies. Wind from the east blowing quite strong. George not back.
5/23/1881 No fishing. Gathered mulberries to cook for dinner. The yellow flies are very bad. They bite very hard. When I am reading or writing they keep biting my feet so that I can hardly write. Wind from the south. George back.
5/24/1881 Wind from the northeast blowing quite strong. Father is fishing. Aunt Ellen washed. Studied grammar. Like grammar. Gathering mulberries for pies I like very much. After Aunt Ellen finished, Mother and Hattie washed some. I went and helped Priss to get dinner. No fish. Last night it rained a little after dinner.
Marlene Womack is a local historian and author living in Panama City. She writes a weekly column for the Panama City News Herald about the history of the Florida Panhandle.