Ellen Call Long

Ellen Call Long retained control of The Grove when Richard Keith Call died in 1862.

Home of the "Tallahassee Girl" (ca. 1900)

The Grove, Home of the "Tallahassee Girl" (ca. early 1900s)

Image Number: PC4293

Maurice Thompson's novel, A Tallahassee Girl (1881), was set at The Grove and likely based on Ellen's daughter, Eleanora "Nonie" Long Hollinger.

The Author

A prolific author, Ellen published on silkworm culture, the Battle of New Orleans, and Florida history. Ellen's account of Florida history, titled Florida Breezes (1883), is considered a valuable mix of fact and embellishment about frontier Florida based on her own experiences and gleaned from discussions with her father.

Portrait of Ellen Call Long: Tallahassee, Florida (ca. 1880)

Ellen Call Long (ca. 1880)

Image Number: RC09790

Ellen is often referred to as the "first white child born in Leon County." The oldest daughter of Richard Keith Call and Mary Letitia Kirkman, she authored several books, including Florida Breezes (1883).

The Entrepreneur

Like other women to follow her at The Grove, Ellen was an entrepreneur. In order to hold onto the family home, she devised various strategies to earn income.

Ellen was the first resident to operate The Grove as a hotel, intermittently admitting travelers into her home beginning in the mid-1870s. Ellen also built detached greenhouses to grow vegetables and even produced silk on the property.

Ellen Call Long welcomes a guest on horseback to "The Grove" (ca. 1900)

Ellen Call Long welcomes a guest on horseback to The Grove (ca. 1900)

Image Number: RC02908

Ellen and Her Silkworms

Ellen became well known for her skills in silk culture and received letters from around the state and nation soliciting her advice.

From her labors, Ellen presented a large silk flag to Edward Aylsworth Perry on the occasion of his inauguration as Governor of Florida in 1885. In addition to silk culture, limited agricultural activities continued at The Grove and at the Orchard Pond plantation until at least the early 1870s.

Mena E. Williams Hirshberg stands by a U.S. flag: Tallahassee, Florida (1885)

Mena E. Williams Hirshberg with a silk flag made by Ellen Call Long (1885)

Image Number: RC02074

This flag was made of silk from silkworms raised in Tallahassee by Ellen Call Long at The Grove. It was presented to Governor Edward Aylsworth Perry at his inauguration.

The Grove: Tallahassee, Florida (1874)

The Grove (1874)

Image Number: PR12068

This is the oldest known photograph of The Grove. Note the glass windows below the front porch. These windows provided sunlight for silkworms raised under the front porch.

Hard Times

Ellen was forced to sell many parcels of land surrounding her childhood home. By 1887, The Grove constituted only 13 of its original 640 acres.

Until her death in 1905, Ellen tried vigorously to convince the State of Florida to buy the property. When the state refused, she was forced to sell additional parcels and household furnishing to make ends meet.

Henry Flagler purchased two stone tablets from Ellen which he placed near the entrance to his home, Whitehall, in Palm Beach. The stone tablets had been recovered from the Spanish fort San Marcos de Apalache by Richard Keith Call.

The Grove (ca. 1900)

Dick Long, E.K. and Robson Hollinger in front of The Grove (ca. 1895)

Image Number: RC00065

The Grove (ca. 1900)

The Grove (ca. 1900)

Image Number: N044980

Note the south-facing stairs extending from the front porch. These stairs replaced the glass windows visible in the photograph above.