Please come and enjoy the Annual Olustee Festival. The Festival is open on Friday and Saturday at 9:00 AM
We have over 200 booths with vendors from all over Florida and beyond showing off their wonderful handcrafted items, an awesome selection of food with our vendors coming from all over the east coast & a kids area featuring pony rides, pig races, bounce houses and much much more.
Don't forget to watch the Skirmish on Lake Desoto at 6 pm on Friday, and the Olustee Festival Parade starting at 10:30 am on Saturday in Downtown Lake City.
Captain Henry Monroe Harrington & Polester Raulerson
It is a great honor to be able to recognize the descendants of Captain Henry Monroe Harrington and Polester Raulerson as the 2019 Columbia County Pioneer Family. Both Henry and Polester were among the first white settlers that would call Columbia County home. Both came of age in the late 1830s against the backdrop of the Second Seminole Wars, and like many in the region, the conflict shaped the trajectory of both their lives. Polester and her siblings survived a brutal Indian attack at Ocean Pond that forced them to move to the community of Corinth to seek protection. At the age of 16, Henry enlisted with the Florida Mounted Militia and patrolled the Florida/Georgia border to safeguard civilians and settlers against Creek raids from Georgia. His service also brought him to the community of Corinth where he established a relationship with Polester. They were married in between Henry’s tours of duty, and they established a family over the next two decades.
Bob O’Connor is the author of ten books including nine on the American Civil War. He has been named four times as finalist in national book awards.
His book “The U.S. Colored Troops at Andersonville Prison” includes the biographies of 105 colored soldiers incarcerated in that famous Georgia prison including 47 who were captured at the Battle of Olustee.
The Charles Town, West Virginia author has followed that book up with the study of all the black prisoners in the Civil War. Historians had said there were 776 (including those at Andersonville). O’Connor has found over 2,570 including U.S.C. T. soldiers and sailors. He maintains the ongoing study and national database of the U.S. Colored Troops who were prisoners of war.
His new book “The U.S. Colored Troops Prisoners of War Captured at Olustee” will be ready by the Olustee reenactment. This is O’Connor’s fifth time at the event at Olustee. The new book includes the bios of fifty soldiers from the 8th U.S.C.T., 35th U.S.C.T. and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry who took part in the battle at Ocean Pond and were captured.
O’Connor will also have his newest historical fiction book at the event – a book called “The Amazing Legacy of James E. Hanger – Civil War Soldier”. Hanger was a member of the Churchville Cavalry, CSA, and the first amputee of the Civil War. His left leg was mangled by a cannon ball on the morning of June 3, 1861 at the first land battle of the war at Philippi, Virginia. His leg was amputated that day by Union surgeon.
Hanger was not satisfied with the Union peg leg he received, and instead used his engineering background and ingenuity to build himself an artificial leg with a hinge at the ankle and a hinge at the knee. While his intention was building himself a leg that would function at least in some sense as a real leg should, others wanted one too. He ended up starting up an artificial leg factory and provided artificial limbs (called Hanger Limbs) to veterans on both sides of the war.