Sto­ries of the women who shaped Fort My­ers; their lega­cies en­dure

RSWLiving - - Features - BY DOUG GAL­LO­GLY Doug Gal­lo­gly lives with his wife, Jackie, in Fort My­ers.

Found­ing Moth­ers

Take a day and ex­plore Fort My­ers—you’ll find beau­ti­ful parks, di­verse shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ences and world-class Broad­way per­for­mances. It might be easy to take these trea­sures for granted, but if you look at the city’s early days―not much over 100 years ago―you will see the pas­sion and strength of the early women set­tlers who helped trans­form a di­lap­i­dated out­post into the city we love. Fe­male Pi­o­neers of Fort My­ers: Women Who Made a Dif­fer

ence in the City’s Devel­op­ment, by Robin C. Tuthill and Thomas P. Hall (Ed­i­to­rial Rx Press, 2015, $16.95), tells their sto­ries.

We know the names McGre­gor, Han­son, Hendry and Han­cock be­cause we see them on street signs and busi­nesses around Fort My­ers. De­spite the name recog­ni­tion, how­ever, who can re­call the im­por­tant role the women who bore these names played in es­tab­lish­ing our city?

Con­sider Ju­lia A. Han­son, for in­stance, who moved with her hus­band to Fort My­ers in 1880 and quickly worked to es­tab­lish the town’s first church. She later helped or­ga­nize the first Lee Me­mo­rial Hospital As­so­ci­a­tion, along with many other no­table achieve­ments. Mina Miller Edi­son, in ad­di­tion to be­ing the wife of the great in­ven­tor, was a strong voice for pro­tect­ing the nat­u­ral beauty that draws so many to our shores. Tootie McGre­gor Terry brought base­ball and golf to Fort My­ers, per­suaded prop­erty own­ers to in­stall a seawall along the river­front and in 1912 of­fered to pave an im­por­tant road­way―the first in the city―which we know as McGre­gor Boule­vard. (Her hus­band, Am­brose, was pres­i­dent of Stan­dard Oil). These sto­ries and many more are an im­por­tant part of our her­itage, but they have largely gone un­re­mem­bered. Robin C. Tuthill and Thomas P. Hall have brought his­tory to life in this thought­fully re­searched and fas­ci­nat­ing ac­count of these amaz­ing women.

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