Naples Native
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Yes, I really am a "Naples Native"....On my mother's side my great great grandfather is John Weeks who is the first documented settler in Collier County. My great great grandmother is Mary Elizabeth Raulerson, a native of Florida.  She was John Weeks step daughter from his second marriage to Sarah Mercer. He is mentioned in several books as a Union sympathizer who was growing vegetables on Cape Sable for the Key West markets. Least we all forget, Mary Elizabeth Raulerson was right there with him raising a family and she is as much a part of the history of Collier County as he is. Their daughter, Mary Josephine Mae Weeks is my great grandmother. She was married to Joseph Harrison Nash, my great grandfather who was originally from Georgia. They met and raised their family on Marco Island. Their daughter, Ollie Mae Nash is my grandmother. She never lived anywhere but Collier County her entire life, and met and married Richard Mason Crump, my grandfather in 1933. He was from Greensville County, Virginia and worked his entire life for the Atlantic Coastline Railroad. They raised their five daughters, Virginia, Josie, Mildred, Ruth Ann and Barbara on Marco Island, and their daughter Josie Mae Crump is my mother. She married Harrison Benjamin Kirkland, also a native of Collier County.

On my father's side my great great grandfather is Moses Kirkland. My great grandfather is Reece Kirland who was married to Dyce Caroline Wiggs. He served in the Florida troops of the civil war and was captured by Union troops and paroled on the condition that he join the United States Navy. He did and was honorably discharged. He received a disability pension from the Navy until the day he died. Reece and Caroline moved to Collier County in the early 1890's from Polk County and raised their children in the Henderson Creek area. Their son Reese Costella Kirkland is my grandfather. He was married to my grandmother Emma Adina Goodmon on September 16, 1902.Their son Harrison Benjamin Kirkland is my father. The Kirklands have a family graveyard on Shell Island Road in Naples, Florida and it is now part of the Rookery Bay Sanctuary. It has, at times, been called Little Marco Cemetery and Shell Island Cemetery. Reece Kirkland, Reese Costella Kirkland and Harrison Benjamin Kirkland are all buried there, along with many of the children of Reece.

My name is Vera Christine Kirkland Durfey. One person, made from many different people with many different lives from many different places. All of the generations before me have come together, and here I am...For questions, corrections, or information please email me at:


Tony Costella Kirkland and Lawrence Brown, Jr. Naples, Florida 1962. Note the tree damage, which is from Hurricane Donna.

A favorite family photo of Buddy Brown & Tony Kirkland fighting over a trycicle.