Florida Hall of Fame

Today our history lesson deals with the two distinguished men who have been honored by the people of Florida by having their statues placed in the Hall of Fame in the Nation's Capital in Washington, D.C.The first was a soldier first and an educator of note after his career as a soldier was ended.Can you name this man? General E. Kirby Smith.General Smith was born in St. Augustine Florida in 1824, 158 years ago. He attended school in St. Augustine and on leaving high school, he attended West Point and graduated with Honors.He fought in the war with Mexico and later taught mathematics at West Point Military Academy.When Florida seceded form the Union, Smith resigned from the Union Army and offered his services to the Confederate States.Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy gave him a commission of Lt. Colonel of Calvary. Two years later, he was promoted to Lt. General and again two years later, he was promoted to FullGeneral. One of the seven full generals in the Confederate Army and was given command of the Army in Texas and all the Confederate Territory west of the Mississippi River.When the Warcame to a close, the forces of General Kirby Smith were the last to surrender and in fact, I have read somewhere that the General himself never surrendered, that he left the Army before the surrender and crossed the border into Mexico where he served two years training the Mexican Army and from Mexico he went to Cuba for a year and then finally decided to come home.He wrote to Ulysses S. Grant, who was then Secretary of War and inquired if it was alright for him to return. General Grant advised him that no charges had been filed against any of the Confererate soldiers so Kirby Smith came home to Florida.I have been told that When Kirby SMith arrived home in St. Augustine, after seven years absence, he walked in the house, looked at the empty dining table and said to his wife "My goodness Sally, isn't Dinner ready yet?" My informant did not tell me what Sally told the General.Over the last 20 years of his life, he became a noted educator as He served as the Chancellor of the Univerity of Nashville, Tennessee for five years and for 13 years at the University of Sewanee, SEwanee, Tennessee.General E. Kirby Smith fough bravely for what turned out to be a "lost cause". But after defeat he gave devoted service to the United States and the People of Florida selected him for the special honor of having his statue placed in the Hall of Fame.The second honoree from Florida was a doctor and an inventor. Can you name him? Dr. John Gorrie of Appalachicola, Florida. Do you know what he invented?? First Ice Making Machine.Dr. John Gorrie was born on the island of St. Nevis, a British colony in the West Indes. He moved to Charleston, South Carolina and later graduated from a Medical School in New York City.He settled in Appalachicola, where he soon became a prominent member of the community. He was appointed Post Master and served for three years until elected mayor of the town.Dr. Gorrie decided to give up his political position and devote his full time to the practice of Medicine.He made a study of Malaria Fever and in 1844, 138 years ago, he wrote a summary of his findings in a booklet called "Prevention of Malarial Diseases."He noted that people only had malaria during hot summer months so he was of the opinion that since there was no Malaria in the winter it was the hot weather that brought on the Disease.This was before the discovery of General Walter Reed in his cuban experiments that Malaria was caused by Mosquitoes.Dr. Gorrie reasoned that if a Malaria patient could be kept cool, he would not be subject to the disease so he began to experiment with ways to keep sick rooms cool and comfortable.His experiments led him to discover the principle of artificial ice making. Which are simple and still in use today. That is you pass a heat absorbing gas or liquid around a container of water. The gas or liquid absorbs the heat from the water and the water naturally turns to ice.Dr. Gorrie patented the first mechanical refrigeration plant in 1851, 131 years ago, but no one saw any practical our profitable use for such a machine and it was many years later that the ice making machines came into general use.Dr. Gorrie was convinced his invention would be a tremendous asset in the area of Health and tried to interest others but most of them laughted at his water freezing apparatus and considered it a joke.Dr. Gorrie died at the early ago of 53 of a nervous collapse due to financial failure and some of his close friends said he died of a broken heart over his dissappointment for the failure of his invention to be accepted.So many years later, the people of Florida came to realize the great importance of his invention and gave him the honor of having his statue placed in the Hall of Fame.

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