October 24 - 30, 2011

October 24 - 30, 2011
John Hamilton Gillespie Celebration Week

The week-long party
celebrating the Father of Sarasota…and golf was a big success! From O'Leary's Kick-off Party, Jeff LaHurd's New Book, Jacobites Bagpipers, Trolley Tours, Kiwanis Golf Tournament, and Hartman Gallery Photography Exhibition, to the Palm Avenue Street Party, The Macallan VIP Scotch Tasting, Lunch in Rosemary Cemetery, and Walking Tour of the Gillespie Park Neighborhood - every special event was a wonderful way to honor Sarasota's history.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 7, 1923

Photo Credit - Sarasota County History Center
On this day, 88 years ago, John Hamilton Gillespie died. He was recognized at the time of his death as the father of Sarasota. His passing was heartfelt and mourned throughout the community.

The Sarasota Times eulogized him on September 13, 1923 by recounting his many contributions and adding:

“The Colonel was a great man. His passing leaves us lonely, mournful, filled with grief. Yet his noble soul will live on forever. He has blessed our food these many times with the staid ole Scotch blessing we have learned to love and revere. Now his voice is still forever and the light of his eyes are gone, but his memory is imperishable. Good bye ‘Jim,’ ye were a bonnie laddie and your heart was young.

A procession made up of the Kiwanis Club, the Blue Lodge Masons and other civic groups led the casket to Rosemary Cemetery which he had deeded to the town in 1903. The paper reported that thousands attended to pay their respects.

A statue of Gillespie was never erected. However, in 1924, Owen Burns sold the city of Sarasota a ten-acre tract of land at a reduced price to be used only for a municipal park that would be named “Gillespie Park,” in honor of the bonnie laddie, John Hamilton Gillespie.

~ This post is an excerpt from the soon-to-be released book "John Hamilton Gillespie – The Scot Who Saved Sarasota" by historian Jeff LaHurd. Publication date is October 24, 2011.


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