Pioneer Day Celebrates Life Of John Sams

By  //  January 28, 2013

Events & Activities Recall Brevard Settler

BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA – Mark your calendars to attend a Pioneer Day celebration at Sams House at Pine Island and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church next month.

The oldest standing home in Brevard County was built in 1875 by Brevard County pioneer John Sams. (Image courtesy of the Sams House at Pine Island)

Both locations celebrate the life of Brevard County pioneer John Sams with historic tours, games and festivities throughout Saturday, Feb. 9.

Activities at the Sams House run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and include tours of the 1875 cabin and 1888 house built by John Sams.

Living History Demonstrations put on by the Confederate Sons Association, and educational exhibits with information provided by the Florida Gourd Society, Florida Honey Queen Association, University of Florida Brevard County Extension offices and the Florida Public Archaeology Network will be ongoing.

Pioneer-related games for the children will run throughout the day and singer/songwriter Chris Kahl will perform from noon to 2 p.m. An Arts & Crafts Fair will also be set up on the grounds. Participating vendors include Better By Candlelight, Gourds by Jackie, Hise Farms, Mrs. Mango & Company, Naturewise Plants, Sacred Space Creations, Spade & Trowel Club, and The Silhouette Lady.

A portion of the proceeds from sales will be donated to the Pine Island Preservation Society to benefit educational projects for the Sams House Nature Center.

St. Luke’s will kick off with a luncheon of stews and soups for a $5 donation.

Ongoing events include a Boy Scout Dutch Oven Cooking Demonstration and an exhibit by The Florida Historical Society.

Features include a film by Brevard native Jeff Thompson entitled “The Florida Suite” (1:30 p.m.), a presentation on John H. Sams: A Pioneer Story (3 p.m.), and an historic chapel tour (4 p.m.). A fish fry with limited seating will be at 5 and 6 p.m. for a $7 donation. (Call 321-452-5260 to reserve a spot.)

A play by the Brevard Theatrical Ensemble entitled “Mosquitoes, Alligators, and Determination” will be offered at 7 p.m.  for a $5 donation to end the evening.

John Sams was born Feb. 11, 1839, and built the oldest standing home in Brevard County in 1875. Sams was a citrus grower, businessman, and the first Superintendent of Brevard County Schools. He was instrumental in the founding and construction of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and, along with several other prominent pioneers, is buried in the church cemetery.

The Sams House is at 6195 North Tropical Trail in Merritt Island, a half-mile west of State Road 3. It is open Thursdays to Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 321-449-4720. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is at 5555 North Tropical Trail in Merritt Island. For more information, call 321-452-5260.