For lack of creative inspiration and no insecurities to harp on, I decided to share some pics today. Went down to Lake Toho (short for Lake Tohopekaliga) and snapped this shot. I had a waterfront house on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Florida, for a while. I would wake up in the morning and step out onto my back porch to the deafening sounds of waterfowl. There was also a noisy flock of green, yellow, blue and white wild parakeets that traversed from tree to tree across my backyard. The lake is famous for its birds, bass, alligators and turtles. Fourteen and half miles long, eight miles wide, but only 8 feet deep, it is a haven for Florida wildlife. On Lake Toho, I always had an eerie sense of an unseen spiritual presence…especially at night…a lady of the lake.

Lake Toho, no icicles, but plenty of Spanish moss.

Lake Toho, no icicles, but plenty of Spanish moss.

The name, Tohopekaliga, means, “We will gather here at the fort or site,” in Seminole Indian language. The name Kissimmee came from the Seminole for, “Do not kill me!” shouted by women during raids on tribes up until around 1850. It amazes me that the older I get the less time it seems to have passed since those years. Just about two lifetimes at 82 years, 164 years total. That’s all.



My grandfather’s mother was a full-blooded Cherokee from North Carolina, who died in childbirth when he was born. It also amazes me how we have written them out of history books, the Native Americans of the southeast. Even church records listed his father’s second wife, a Culpepper from Ireland, as his mother. This was a church his family founded. The lies we live by.



This is the only picture I have of my father’s parents. Grandfather shows his Native American heritage even at ninety years old. Grandmother (note the clinched fists) was furious with me that I insisted on a photograph when she was not in her Sunday best. Wearing a mismatched shirt and polyester pants with house shoes, she was not at all happy with posing for this picture that I insisted upon. I am glad that I did.

Grandfather and Grandmother

Grandfather and Grandmother Koone

Wild waterlilies just because they're pretty.

Wild waterlilies just because they’re pretty.

41 thoughts on “Origins

  1. Interesting origin. Now I wonder why they’re left out of history too, but I’ve noticed in school that areas focus on the Native tribes of the area. For example, I was taught about the Algonquins when I was in elementary school and I don’t think that information is taught outside of the state.

    • I barely know the Algonquins. Greg knows some of history of Indians around New York and Canada because he went to school in Ithaca and his mother was from NY state. I know very little. There were so many different tribes across the country. We don’t like admitting that we were the bad guys.

  2. I love this post, Susan … your memories, the photos, the history. When I was going to school in upstate New York, we were taught about the Iroquois League, a group of 5 nations or tribes. The way we were taught left me believing that they were all dead, just an “ancient” people that once inhabited our counties. Of course, they are not dead, but my ignorance wasn’t lifted until I was a teenager. Rather chilling that a whole group of people can be officially discounted.

  3. You come from interesting history and people. I never knew much about my relatives. My parents didn’t talk much about life before they came to North America. Now they’re gone. Too late for questions.
    Love the pictures. they are priceless. Thanks for sharing.

    • My pleasure. One day I will put together something about my family from England and Scotland on my Grandmother’s side. It is almost a scarier story because we know so very much from so far back. I’ve got to get with my cousin Ernest to get facts straight on that though. He has the genealogy way far back. It isn’t pretty from what I understand.

  4. Very interesting. We do have a dubious heritage, don’t we. I went on a field trip to the former home of the Cherokee Nation here in North Georgia and learned so much. This is where they made their last stand and where the Trail of Tears started. Imagine that walk.

        • Way Cool! It is a roman a clef, so it doesn’t follow the traditional novel template. Hope you can enjoy. Don’t skip the conclusion. Some people have told me that they did and I beg them to go back and read….sort of changes the whole feel of the ending. Happy Reading.

  5. The Grandma and Grandpa Koone photo is priceless. I have no idea if native American is woven into my ethnic mix (doubtful), but you have proof it is in yours. And so we have no end to our stories, SK. Thanks for the photos today.

    • You’re welcome Marian. The government doesn’t consider a photo proof though. When I was in college there was money available to those with at least 1/16th Native American. I could not prove it because their was no verifiable documentation.

  6. Thanks for another enjoyable post, Susan. My father and his brother spent a lot of time in their childhood visiting a Cherokee reservation near Lawrence, KS. My grandmother was a Kansas socialite, but offered classes at the reservation. Can’t imagine what exactly she taught…proper tea service? They learned a little of the language, and I have a collection of my father’s little sketches he did as a boy of life on the reservation.

    • LOL, tea service. She was most likely teaching them to read, arithmetic, or home economics type of things, like canning and freezing. Those sketches are treasures.

      Haven’t heard from you in a a while. Had another fairly successful ENT promo. Just started the twitter thing. Soooo not impressed with twitter, but slowly am catching on and selling books.

      • Pleased to hear that sales are going well. RC&R deserves a wide audience. I’ll send you an update of the results from my Kindle Countdown for Corridor soon. Just can’t get into Twitter. I took a fairly long break from blogging, etc. to concentrate on Beacon of Vengeance. It’s only about a fifth complete so far. Hoping to get it ready for market by mid-summer rather than fall. Will see. I’m seriously considering hiring some sort of promotional expert, since sales of Corridor are doing well but I want to take it up a notch in preparation for the second in the series. Have you heard of anyone reputable who is worth the cost?

        • I don’t know about the cost of a publicist. There are a lot of such services offered on Twitter. In my Twitter feed, there are many advertising such services and many others cautioning against scams. I wish I could recommend. Hoot suite, I am told, makes scheduling tweets and posts 100% easier for those who self promote. I haven’t spent the money for that. At 99 cents and 35% royalties during this promo, I have sort of felt like a panhandler must feel. I would think a college student who is professional but has a good handle on social media would be great. I have noticed with Twitter, when I tweet, I get several sales a day, and when I don’t I get nothing. This since the promo. I seem to have found an audience. My age range, 50-64, is more prevalent on Facebook than Twitter, which is why sales do best through ENT. Because I am not specific traditional genre fiction, Bookbub would not promo, also the controversial topics. Let’s spare the world any such controversy.

          • Thanks, Susan. I recall your saying that ENT was open to your doing a sale price above $.99 at one time? I still can’t wrap my head around our hard-written work having to go the dollar store route. When I did my Kindle Countdown I only had the book at $.99 for the first few hours, since Kindle required that it start there. When I do the next one I think I’ll see just how short a period they allow at the rock-bottom price, and run that price during the midnight hours.
            Are you selling paperbacks yet?
            And, no, we certainly don’t want anyone having to do any thinking about controversial topics much less non-genre specific writing, that’s for sure!

            • Paperbacks are not moving AT ALL! I am doing a post now about what i accomplished this week with that…getting them into indie stores.

              I think Kindle Countdowns still pay you your royalties as if the book was at regular price, don’t they? I can’t do them because I am not Select. I did move about 100 copies on other platforms besides Amazon with this last ENT thing though. That’s a first. Last time I only listed Amazon, but this time I listed all sites. Problem is…it takes longer for other platforms to revert back to original price and Amazon won’t until all others do.

              Gifted your book to my husband for Valentine’s. Trying to get him to give indies a chance. He was most impressed. Seriously enjoyed it. He lived in Germany as a child. Loves crime novels and thrillers. He will be doing review perhaps this evening.

              • Haven’t seen any proceeds from the Kindle Countdown yet, but the report on mine indicates that I earned 70% of the reduced price on any given day. I’m so pleased your husband enjoyed Corridor of Darkness, and I look forward to reading his review. thank you for sharing it with him. Since Amazon saw fit to remove nine of my five-star reviews all at once without (logical) explanation, I am hoping to get back to where I was at 39 total reviews soon. Looking forward to your report on getting into Indie stores. My paperback is selling about a dozen a month, but e-book is selling well. More about that later.

    • One of the best bass fishing lakes in the country!

      The name Kissimmee originated between the 1750s and 1850s when soldiers were pursuing Seminoles along the shore of Lake Tohopekaliga and commenced to massacre the Indians when a brave Seminole woman began screaming “Kish-a-me. No kill. Kish-a-me. No kill!”

      There is much debate among historians about that name though. The ones who wish to shine the name in a brighter light say, “A 1752 Spanish map used the name “Cacema,” which has evolved into today’s spelling of Kissimmee.” But even the name Cacema originated from somewhere. I could hear the women calling to be spared.

    • Still others say, “The name, Kissimmee, came from ‘Cacema’, a Native American name meaning ‘long water.” So was it a Spanish interpretation or was it Native American? Who really knows.

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