Crackers in the Glade
Life and Times in the Old Everglades

Rob Storter
Edited by Betty Savidge Briggs
Foreword by Peter Matthiessen

An abundant collection of memoirs, stories, and expressive watercolor illustrations offers a firsthand account of early-twentieth-century life on Florida's last frontier


"A meaningful first hand account of attitudes among a part of American culture during a time and in a location that have received less attention than many other geographical regions of the country. All of it has a simple charm . . . poignant reading."
—NPR's Living on Earth

"A treasure . . . Folks who are folk art enthusiasts and collectors of Floridiana will want this book. . . . Storter's paintings are wonderful. . . .They have the sense of time and place about them that the best of the folk artists manage to incorporate in their deceptively simple images. . . . In his long life, Storter saw the degradation of the 'glades and thecoast, and he wrote of it in a way that is both matter-of-fact and deeply moving."
Florida Times-Union

"A collection of colorful vignettes . . . [rendered] with haunting clarity . . . A pleasure to leaf through."
Cleveland Chronicle-Telegram

"A story of beauty, hardship and pure love . . . Storter gives a firsthand account of the wondrous array of plant and animal life once supported by the Everglades. . . . A book for all ages and a tribute to a remarkable man and his family."
Marco Island Eagle

"A beautiful, unadorned history that spans most of this century. Crackers in the Glade provides a nostalgic paean to fishing, family and the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the U.S."
Publishers Weekly

"[Storter's] primitive but compelling paintings memorably capture the Everglades frontier. This wonderful book includes many of Storter's paintings, as well as his recollections of his experiences in the great swamp. He charmingly re-creates an era when moccasin bites, mail-order brides and panther hunts were common events. . . . A handsome book that should delight anyone with an interest in Florida history or nature."
Tampa Tribune

"A visually stunning account of bygone days. Storter's writings and primitive illustrations transport readers to the remote, half-wild frontier of the early part of the century, where encounters with panthers and alligators were not uncommon. As Storter recalls his travels through the great swamp, he describes the vast array of plant and animal life in simple words as fresh and unspoiled as the Everglades were at the time."
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Anyone with an interest in fishing, Florida before Miami, the rural coastal South, the environment, or early twentieth-century hunter-gatherer culture will find this book a treasure."
Southern Cultures

“A finely realized portrait of a unique world and way of life that have all but vanished . . . Storter may have been a humble fisherman, but he was also a born observer, blessed with keen eye, a gentle soul, and an uncanny memory. Vivid details make his Cracker chronicle compelling and often moving.”
Miami Herald

“A beautiful book filled with folk art and an honest, unsentimental look at what it was like to live on the southern Gulf Coast in the early part of the last century.”
Orlando Sentinel

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Crackers in the Glade is a visually stunning account of bygone days in the Everglades. The largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the United States, the Everglades hold a unique place among all the world’s wetlands. Through his writings and illustrations, fisherman, guide, and self-taught artist Rob Storter transports us to the remote, half-wild frontier of southwest Florida in the early part of the twentieth century. There, the events of a day could range from a hurricane to a face-to-face encounter with a panther to the arrival of the latest packet from Key West.

As Storter recalls his travels through the great swamp and its estuaries, he imparts an old-timer’s grasp of the fantastic array of plant and animal life the Everglades once supported. Looking back over a life closely linked to the water, he chronicles how mechanized methods eclipsed the more sustainable approach of fishing as the livelihood of locals who were attuned to natural cycles and worked by necessity on a small scale.

Crackers in the Glade is also a story of family and community, of daily joys and setbacks. Here, Marilea Storter’s recollections, some of which are included in the book, add depth and detail. By turns the family doctor, cook, teacher, and moral anchor, Marilea held husband Rob and their children together through times when the best house they had was a tent and medical care consisted of castor oil and prayers.

Rob Storter knew the Everglades before commercial fishing, real estate development, drainage projects, and tourism changed the region forever. Through his illustrations we can celebrate its wonders; through his writings we can contemplate the mixed benefits of progress and the responsibilities of stewardship.

Page count: 160 pp.
Trim size: 10 x 8.5


List price: $25.95

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Rob Storter (1894-1987) was a member of the founding family of Everglade, Florida. A fisherman, guide, and prolific self-taught artist, he lived and worked in the Everglades for most of his life. Betty Savidge Briggs is a granddaughter of Rob Storter. She has received several journalism awards and writing fellowships.