Shane McFarland shared on an FB page, his home-grown historical account of his grandfather. This is precious now, and imagine what a resource for future historians it will be, as well. What family tales could YOU document to save for posterity? Thank you, Shane, for sharing this terrific family biography!
“Mac” The Sailor Man – Sarasota Legend
My Grandy, Arthur Glenn “Mac” McFarland (1902 – 1965), moved to Fruitville in 1933 with 2 children and could only find work packing celery at the old Packing House. He also rolled cigars at Hav-A-Tampa Cigars in Ybor City. But after 5 years somehow managed to save enough to open his own business.
Mac started the Sarasota Archery Club by setting up targets behind his first Sporting Goods Store (opened in 1938) at 10th & 301. After-school kids would go there to learn Archery. It’s now “Sarasota Archers” on 17th Street. One of my cousins, who learned from him at a very young age, still only hunts with a bow.
He also owned a Sporting Goods store where today’s Wilson Building is, at State St. & S. Orange. I actually met Mr. Wilson in 2010, and he told me he bought the building because every day after school (Central Elementary, where the post office is now) would come into my Grandy’s store to look around – as he had many guns, knives, and trophy animals throughout the store. He showed me around and said he kept the original tile floors just to remember those days.
My Grandy also helped start the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, in 1949, and taught many youth to sail…including my mother, and my eldest cousin, who now teaches many more youth to sail. He also helped Hap Poneliet, his very good friend & riding buddy, to start the first Honda Motorcycle Club.
He loved to hunt & fish, and Myakka was his home away from home. My Uncle, Harold Abbott, and my Aunt, Joan McFarland, lived in the park – as he was a park ranger and she worked in the fire tower.
Mac on the old quay wall, circa 1949.
My Grandy was killed, in 1965, by a hit & run driver one early morning, while riding his motorcycle to fish in Myakka. His maternal Grandfather, Francis Marion Smith (1861–1953) is buried at Friendship Baptist Church, 5700 Palmer Blvd, Fruitville, Sarasota County. Mac is buried at Manasota Memorial Park.
As far as I’m concerned, he should have a memorial built for him in downtown Sarasota.
— Shane McFarland
What stories could you commit to paper, computer file, electronic sharing? And how wonderful would they be not only to your family, but to future historians? If you don’t know where to get started, search for “saving family history” and you’ll find inspiration to add your bit to the annals of history!
Shane: “The toddler on Mac’s lap is my aunt Joan, circa 1931. The little girl with the birthday cake is my mother on her 4th birthday, June of 1935, in Fruitville. The baby on Mac’s lap is me, 1962.”