Alexander Atkinson, one of the 6 children of Edmond and Sarah Atkinson, fathered 3 children with two freed women that lived on his father’s Plantation: Sophia (Watts) and China (Henry).
Sophia was the mother of:
– Dolly (Watts, lived in Sanford)
China was the mother to:
– William (Boston, died in Jacksonville in 1934)
– Prince Butler. Prince Butler was born near Brunswick, Georgia in 1871 (died in Oviedo, 1947)
About 1885, Prince Butler at the age of 12 travelled with his father Alexander Atkinson to start residence in Oviedo. They travelled by horse and buggy to Jacksonville and then by boat to the Lake Jessup community. Prince’s mother China remained on the Atkinson Plantation in Georgia.
Alexander Atkinson was a physician who set up a medical practice in Oviedo and is known as one of the first African-American doctors to practice in Oviedo. Dr. Atkinson brought over 300 acres of land south of town near Swedish Settlement. He planted oranges on a portion of the land and it was the site his medical office and a drug store that he ran.
Dr. Atkinson’s brother-in-law from Morganville, Georgia, decided to move to Oviedo in 1886. The brother-in-law’s maid (Julia Johnson) also made the move with the family. Prince Butler fell in love with Julia and they were married in 1890. Their union created 10 children.
After marrying, Prince at the age of 20 sent for his mother, China, to come to Oviedo. She worked as a mid-wife and delivered one of her grandsons, Lawton, in 1905. China lived in Oviedo until her death during the Great Flu Epidemic of 1917-1918.
After the freeze of 1894-1895, Dr. Atkinson moved his medical practice to Miami. He gave his son, Prince Butler Boston, all of the property that he owned in Oviedo.
In 1901, Dr. Atkinson moved from Miami to Camden County, Georgia. He died in 1913 in the community known as Black Hammond, located near Brunswick, Georgia.
Prince Butler was a free man and didn’t want to carry the last name of the slave owner, Atkinson. So he changed his name to Boston.
Prince Butler Boston was an industrious and self-taught man. He worked as a brick-layer, citrus grower, and nursery man. Prince was a registered voter at a time when few African-American’s voted. He was also a spokesman for the African-American community.
Prince Butler Boston valued education, and he served as a trustee for 40 years at the Hungerford School in Eatonville. He was especially devoted to the improvement of education in the African-American community. Prince provided all of his children to attend college and they all graduated with college degrees with the exception of a son (Joseph) who chose not to attend college.
He was a member of the Antioch MB Church and was baptized by the Church’s finest first Pastor, Amos Laster. Prince served faithfully in several roles at the church as a member for 60 years. He served as a deacon for 45 years and as the Sunday School Superintendent for 56 years. While a member, he planned and built an addition onto the church and donated 5 acres of land to the cemetery known now as Boston Cemetery.
Prince’s wife Julia was equally faithful to the church. She served in most of the auxiliaries at the church and served many years as the pianist until her death.
A major accomplishment of Prince’s was that he budded the Jamaica Temple Orange Trees in Oviedo for J.H. King and for J.H. Lee. Prince did not patent this creation and thus he was not given due credit. He also created the Boston Banana Orange.
Prince Butler and Julia raised all 10 of their children on Boston Hill in a 17 room, 2 story home with a lake covering 7 acres.
Prince & Julia Boston’s Children:
- Theresa Constance
During WWII Theresa taught soldiers to read and write in Parrish Island, SC. She was the principal of the Oviedo African-American School. She moved to Daville, VA with her husband and was the Superintendent of the African-American schools for 54 years. She had one son named Oscar.
- Alexander Virgil Boston
Alexander was a graduate of Meharry Dental School in Nashville, TN. He built the Virgie Community Hospital in Eastern Kentucky in 1974. He married Julie and had 2 children: Carrie and Alexander. Alexander died in 1971 at age 74.
- Joseph Ithmar Boston
Joseph and his wife Ora (McCracy) had 10 children. Joseph attended the public schools of Seminole County and Hungerford School in Eatonville, FL. He served in the US Army and was a veteran of World War I. Joseph was a successful farmer and fruit grower until he retired. He died in 1977 at age 83.
- Alfred Frazier Boston
He was a buffalo soldier who served in Arizona New Mexico, Philippines, in the 10th Cavalry during the Spanish American War. In 1939 he broke his back. He died in 1944 in Memphis, TN.
- Roy Cornelius Boston
He and his wife Chattye had only one son: Roy Jr. Roy Cornelius served with the Tuskegee Airman.
- Angie Mona Boston
Angie married Harper Douglas. They did not have any biological children, but adopted a baby girl: Elizabeth. Angie lived in Sanford and was an English teacher at Crooms School until she retired.
- Lawton King Boston
He was born in 1905. He married Nannie. Together they had 3 daughters. Lawton was an agriculture agent for African-American farmers. He was also involved in water management in Littleton, NC.
- Theodore R. Boston Jr. died when he was an infant.
- Prince Butler Boston Jr.
He married Inez. They had one son, Prince Butler Boston III, born Aug. 1910. Prince III passed away on July 16, 2010, just shy of his 100th Prince lived more years than any other members of the family. Prince was an auto mechanic for the state of Louisiana and taught at the University of Baton Rouge.
- Cecil Waddell Boston
Cecil was born March 12, 1914. He married Vivian. They did not have any biological children but adopted two daughters, Mary and Denise. Cecil attended Hampton University and later became the principle of four schools: Don Thompson, Jones High, Phyllis Wheatley, and Richmond Heights. Cecil died February 15, 2002.
- Corinta Boston
Corinta was adopted by Prince Butler Boston. She was born on November 2nd, 1923 and died July 12th, 1986. She taught school in Orlando until she retired.
The Boston family home site stood where the current Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center is now located, which opened in January 1983. The lake on the Boston property was named in memory of Gloria Elizabeth Martin.
Joseph Boston was the only child of Prince Butler’s that stayed and lived in Oviedo. Prince gave Joseph five acres of land. That is where Joseph and his wife lived and raised their ten children. This property was sold in 2004.
Joseph and Ora’s Children:
- Charles (Bo-Peep)
- Orian (Lump)
- Edward (Chick)
As you drive around Oviedo you can still experience the legacy of Prince Butler Boston. These sites and land marks include Boston Street, Boston Alley, Boston Cemetery, and Boston Hill. Until recently there was also a Butler Boston Court.
A Letter from Janice Davis Boston, wife of Orian L. Boston
Oviedo, FL August, 2014
“Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center”; Imagine that it could have been, “Prince Butler Boston Retreat and Conference Center”. Now, don’t mind me, I’m just an in-law. My husband, Orian L. Boston, and his brother Russell are the last living of the original family that actually lived on the Canterbury property. Their family owned the property, but later decided to sell because the older ones who had control of the land had moved out of state or to other cities to pursue their careers. So, when we attend any function at Canterbury it’s very surreal.
During a family reunion held on the property several years ago I can remember Uncle Prince and Uncle Cecil, the elder Bostons, walking around the property pointing out areas of remembrance. Some of how they learned to swim in the lake (they called it Lake Gem), and where the house stood. It was, indeed, a memorable site to see these two stately men acting like two boys on an exploration trip.
My family, the Davis Family, has also had family reunion gatherings at Canterbury. Just recently my ninety-four year old aunt, who lives in Rochester, NY, wanted to know when we were going back to the retreat center. Other relatives as well are still asking because they relished the serenity of the center so much.
Just recently we planned and had a 45th dinner celebration for The Oviedo Citizens in Action, Inc. group, where I presently serve as vice president. All who attended enjoyed themselves, the accommodations and the delicious meal that was served. We definitely have our eyes set for a return visit.
– Janice Davis Boston