As a Mizell family descendant who married and had children with a Barber, author Mary Ida Bass Barber Shearhart has a personal interest in the infamous Barber-Mizell Family Feud. Florida’s Frontier: The Way Hit Wuz is written as a compelling, action-filled novel set between 1841 and 1870, but is firmly based in historical fact. In addition to offering descriptions of pioneer life in Florida from running cattle, to making soap, to cane grinding, the author provides insight about the Spanish colonization of Florida, the Seminole Indian Wars, the Civil War, and other topics.
On February 21, 1870, Sheriff David Mizell, his son Will, and brother Morgan went onto the property of Moses Barber to serve an arrest warrant. Tensions between the Barbers and Mizells had been growing for years, and the Sheriff had been warned that if he set foot on Barber land he would be killed. When the group stopped at Bull Creek, a shot was fired from behind some bushes. Sheriff Mizell was killed, becoming the first casualty of this long-running feud.
Moses Barber had simply had enough of his cattle going missing. He believed that David Mizell and his friends were periodically stealing from his herd. His rage reached a point where Barber publically declared that if David Mizell set foot on his property again, he would be shot.
On February 21, 1870, David Mizell became the first casualty of the Barber-Mizell Family Feud. He was shot and killed on Barber property near Holopaw, Florida, in Osceola County.
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