Voices from Calhoun County:
Andrew Ramsey was born in 1923 and is an Apalachicola River Creek Native American living in Blountstown Florida. His family ancestors settled Calhoun County in 1815. Andrew’s Indian name is Vntolv Harjo and under this name he was chief of the Miccosukee band of the Apalachicola Creeks. The Creeks used to share a cultural history with the Seminoles, but following the Treaty of Moultrie Creek in 1823 they became a separate people. The government closed their Indian reservation on the west side of the Apalachicola River in the late 1930s.
The Creeks now reside primarily in Northwest Florida from the Apalachicola River to the Alabama state line. Andrew Ramsey currently lives on the land he remembers from his childhood in the center of Blountstown. A huge ceremonial house that could hold up to two hundred people once stood on his property. Every Saturday night the Harjo-Boggs-Parrot band of Apalachicola Creeks would converge for stomp dances to the accompaniment of drums and fiddles. The house burned to the ground in 1938. Additional ceremonial gatherings took place at Boggs Pond up to six times a year where the Creeks wore traditional dress and performed traditional dances. Andrew remembers the fall Harvest Busk at Boggs Pond where family members “ all set up their temporary housing, and there would be about 200 or 300 people to crowd in there.”
Click here to bring up an interactive hydrologic map showing the location of Boggs Pond in Jackson County where the Creeks gathered for ceremonies.
One of Andrew’s earlier jobs entailed keeping the free roaming cows and hogs out of his father’s grocery store. After attending college at FSU and receiving his Ph.D., Andrew returned to Blountstown to train elementary schoolteachers and remained a lifelong educator. He is now the state historian for Apalachicola Creek Indians and runs the grocery business started by his father. Dr. Ramsey’s paternal grandmother advised her son to start a “rolling store” with some dry goods and a mule—a store that in 2005 is the Blountstown Piggly Wiggly.
Some of Andrew’s earlier memories also include his grandmother being locally renown as the fertility woman, or the Cedar woman. She made a cedar brew that was recognized and used for conception and cramps. She also collected lilies from the river to make a potion for contraception.
Mr. Ramsey’s ancestors are buried in several area cemeteries. Boggs Cemetery in Blountstown was primarily an Indian cemetery before becoming a white cemetery. However, the majority of Andrew’s relatives rest at Old Shiloh cemetery near the county line.
Click here to go a link with pictures of the Old Shiloh Cemetery as well as a listing of Andrew Ramsey's kin that are buried there.