In the reception room at Gould Cooksey Fennell there is a photograph entitled, The School on John’s Island 1898. A large number of the people shown in the photograph are members of the Reams and Holland families, which were related. There were also several Barkers.
The school house was purportedly on what today is known as Gem Island within John’s Island. The area was formally known as The Narrows. The Reams were one of the few families living in that area at the time of the photograph and from September 25, 1892 to July 20, 1896, the United States Postal Service records show a post office there under the name of Reams at the Indian River Narrows.
Keep in mind that there was some early development on the barrier island, prior to the arrival of the railroad on the mainland in 1893 because of transportation being by the river. The Reams brothers, Calvin and William, arrived at John’s Island in 1890 from Madison County, Florida. William married Susan Jones in our then Brevard County in 1891. They built their house with cypress and other materials sent for by boat from Titusville. Later their crops were sent across the River to Woodley/Quay/Winter Beach (depending on the point of time in history) for shipping by train.
In the early 1900s many of the Reams moved off of John’s Island and lived in the So. Old Dixie area of Vero Beach and were engaged in the citrus and pineapple industry. The Reams and Holland families have had a number of descendants throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in Indian River County.
Check out more historical Florida photos here.