StoryTellers

Bring history to life through storytelling.

I was first introduced to “first person” charactization in 1990. While working at a local library, I was priviledged to see a program offered by the Florida Humanities Council. I was entralled by the performers acting out stories from 16th century Spain, dressed in clothing of the period.

Then in 1992, Hermann Trappman sent me tickets to attend my first Mountainman Rendezvous. Of course, he was fishin’ for a date and I got hooked.

A consumate storyteller himself, Hermann encouraged me to learn about the women in Florida’s past. Oh, what an adventure it has been! Allow me to introduce you to some of the fascinating women I’ve met in my research.


Maria Velásques – Conquistadora

Ola!

I am one of the first women to arrive in La Florida in 1528. I accompanied my husband, Juan, on the Panfilo de Narváez expedition.

Women on the expedition? Ci! Governor Narváez had been commissioned by King Charles V, to start a colony here. He brought with him about 600 people, including 10 women. We came along to protect our investment – our dowries were used to help finance the journey.

I’ll tell you about my adventures aboard a Spanish caravel. I’ll tell you how the Governor reacted, when I told him what the soothsayer in Seville predicted. He should have listened to me!


Kit Watkins – “One of the Boys”

When the Spahish American War broke out in 1898, Kathleen Blake Watkins (a.k.a. Coleman) is determined to go to Cuba with one of the troops. She manages to get accreditation as a war correspondent from Secretary of War, General Alger, but getting to Cuba is another hirtle.

Kit was the women’s editor of the Toronto Mail and Empire. Born in Ireland, she immigrated to Canada, where she became one of the foremost journalists of her day.

Kit talks about what Florida was like in 1898, with all the problems that backwater towns endured when faced with an influx of thousands of soldiers and supplies heading for Cuba. She sharess her nightmare experiences, as she picks her way through war torn Cuba and the along the bloodied decks of the U.S. transport carrying the dying home. (Mature Audiences)