NFCC Professor Rose Knox Publishes New Book

New Book by NFCC Professor Rose KnoxMADISON, FL - After publishing a paddling guide for the Suwannee River in 2008, North Florida Community College professor and alumna Rose Knox has another read for history and nature lovers - Old Tales of the Forgotten South in a Georgia, Florida Swamp: Paddling Okefenokee. The book was written with the help of her husband, avid outdoorsman and river guide Graham Schorb.

The two dedicated over four years and 2000 hours of research, writing and collaboration to bring this cultural and ecological chronicle of the Okefenokee Swamp into publication through the Florida Historical Society. In their years of exploration, the two have wandered in pioneer homesteads and old graveyards, stood beside ancient Indian mounds, and collected oral histories of swampers and others associated with Okefenokee such as folksinger Okefenokee Joe and swamp biologist Chesser Island.

“The Okefenokee Swamp is legendary!” said Knox. “First called Land of Trembling Earth by Native Indians, the place is a lush landscape, still reverberating with enduring tales. Lingering in cypress groves are stories of giant Indians, a Spanish mission, magical castles, buzzing saws, sleek panthers, giant woodpeckers, pioneer homesteads, Cracker tales, and even a few cries of murder from old ghosts.”

Knox considers the Okefenokee Swamp a hallowed place and visiting there was a part of her upbringing. Coming from French, English and Scots-Irish roots, Knox was inspired to write this book, which includes a great deal of cultural history about the early, encroaching Celtic pioneers. As a native Floridian, growing up right on the Florida/Georgia line, she reveres what remains of Okefenokee’s wild swampland, and she encourages people to paddle in the Okefenokee Swamp “any chance they get” to experience its serenity and to try to understand the importance of that kind of sheer wildness.  

Knox’s new book gives accounts of several paddling excursions along the Okefenokee and tells important ecological stories. One is about the devastation of longleaf pine forests and cypress stands, and the extinction of birds and beasts, as a direct result of environmental destruction.

Images and artwork from the State Library and Archives of Florida, the Dr. Delma Eugene Presley Collection of South Georgia History and Culture, and several Florida artists help bring the book’s Okefenokee tales to life.

“Canoe campers may also enjoy Graham’s nature photographs and his outdoor kitchen, where his pioneer recipes have been prepared in cast iron pans, much like the first Crackers made,” said Knox. “If you love history, love paddling, love swamps, the Okefenokee is waiting.”

Readers can find Knox’s new book and the Canoeing and Camping on the Historic Suwannee River: A Paddler’s Guide at the Florida Historical Society website myfloridahistory.org.

Knox has taught at NFCC for 16 years. When she is not teaching, she is in some swamp, river or bay paddling around with Graham.

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