Family Migrations

Uncle Mark Ferree (click to enlarge)

Families often move in groups.  Sometimes all at once; sometimes one after the other after the other. Several generations ago almost every branch of my family made their way from one of the original colonies–Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina or New Jersey–to Indiana or Ohio.

Then they stopped.  From the early 1800s to the late 1900s, much of my family stayed in Indiana and Ohio.  But there were always outliers–those who moved on.

My great-great Uncle Mark was one who left Indiana.  Pursuing his career in journalism he moved from one newspaper to another until he ended up as the general business manager of Scripps-Howard Newspapers in 1949.  From his office in New York he traveled all over the country, visiting the various newspapers owned by Scripps-Howard.

Uncle Mark Ferree (click to enlarge)

In 1965, Uncle Mark facilitated the purchase of a small, local paper called the Stuart News in Stuart, Florida.  It was the first time Scripps-Howard had purchased a weekly paper, but they believed in the prospect of economic growth in this quiet little town on the Atlantic coast of Florida.

Little Ocean Club on Hutchinson Island

Uncle Mark and Aunt Ruth loved the area, so they bought two freshly built condos on Hutchinson Island.  At the time all of Martin County only had around 20,000 residents (today, Stuart has just shy of 20,000 and Martin County has around 140,000).

Over the years to come, two of Uncle Mark’s nieces (my Aunt Janet and my grandmother) bought property in the area.

I remember vacationing on Hutchinson Island as a kid, staying in my grandmother’s condo, visiting my aunts and uncles who lived in Stuart.  For my whole life, I have loved being there, walking the beach, enjoying the ocean.

My brother, sister, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles–my whole family–love to visit Stuart.

The boys at Little Ocean Club years ago (click to enlarge)

When I got married almost sixteen years ago, I introduced my wife to Stuart and she fell in love with it too.  We’ve taken our boys there almost every year of their lives.

Over the years Uncle Mark, Aunt Ruth, Aunt Janet and her husband Uncle Dick all passed away.  No one from the family lives in Stuart now.  But that will soon change.

For years, my wife and I have longed to live in Stuart.  We’ve driven past houses and dreamed of buying them.  We’ve gone down for vacation and wished we never had to leave.

Recently, the opportunity opened up for us to move.  My wife spent a few months looking for a job and found one at the Martin County Business Development Board.  We decided to move and we’ve put in motion the plans that will bring me, my wife and my two boys to Stuart before the end of the summer.

Rarely a day passes that my kids don’t ask the question “Can we go NOW?”

Me, Julia and the boys in Stuart, along the St. Lucie River in December 2010 (click to enlarge)

Rarely a day passes when I don’t think about what it will be like to live in Stuart.

When I told my cousins we’re moving, one of them responded:  “I wondered if one of us would make a move to the place that has been so special to our family over the years.  You guys win the prize!”

We feel like we have won a prize indeed.

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8 Responses to Family Migrations

  1. Mike Mason says:

    very cool. kinda sad cuz i wonder when i’ll see you next. Maybe i can come visit 🙂

  2. bronxboy55 says:

    My older brother moved to Stuart in 1974. I was down there just a few months ago for his memorial service, and the area continues to grow, yet it somehow retains its natural beauty. I wish your family much happiness there, Kevin.

    • ArborFam says:

      Thanks, Charles. I’m always astounded how many people have connections in the Stuart area. For such a small area, it seems to be pretty well known. And I’ve heard many times about both its growth potential and its natural beauty. We’re looking forward to being there!

  3. Kevin, glad to have you back! And what a great post. Best of luck on the move — it sounds like your family already has such a special connection to that place, I’m sure you will make many great memories there.

    Speaking of memories — either you have a vault inside your head, or, well I don’t know! How do you recall all these details about your uncle? I know he was a famous man, but the things you’ve included are so specific. I feel as if I only know generalities about my uncles.

    Again, congratulations on the big move, and I’m sending wishes for much happiness to you and your family.

    • ArborFam says:

      Thanks! We’re very excited about the move, but anxious about all the details (big and small).

      As far as where I get all the details, some of the them stick in my head from years of hearing stories, but I also generally do research prior to blogging. I have some pretty substantial (and disorganized) family history files that I can tap into. And like any family history archive it’s hit-and-miss. I know a lot about some, a little about others of my relatives.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. Hi Kevin — Found you on Charles’ blog Mostly Bright Ideas and really enjoyed this post! Good luck in Stuart (it’s so wonderful to be so excited about moving; I’m never happy to move and am always in awe of people who can make that big change with grace) — and how fascinating that Charles’s brother also lived there! Synchronicity! Best of luck … Betty

    • ArborFam says:

      Betty, thanks for the comment. It’s been a crazy couple of months, but we’re here now. The move is half done (the stuff is here in Florida, but currently sitting in a storage unit (or two, actually) awaiting our final purchase of a house and settling-down.

      I’m not sure we’re doing it gracefully, but we’re getting the moving done and sometimes that’s victory enough!

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