Walton County Heritage
Association, Museum and
Genealogy Society

Preserving the History and Heritage of Walton County, Florida

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Access past issues of our newsletter, Walton Relations, here.
The May 2024 issue is available here.

Be sure to visit our Gift Shop for books about Walton County
as well as books by Walton County authors!
The Heritage of Walton County, Florida has just been reduced!

Walton County's 200th Anniversary • December 29, 2024

"The original home of Captain Gray, one of the founders of Grayton Beach, which he inadvertently burned down while trying to rid the house of fleas. The photo shows Captain Miller and his family and was taken by Dunnihoo and Morrison of Sidell, Illinois – that’s right – Illinois."

Major Charles T. Gray established a homestead around 1885 in the area that would later be named for him, Grayton Beach. Gray received two land patents in 1890 and two in 1893. Three of his lots were directly on the beach, and the fourth was a large parcel east of what is now DeFuniak Street. The only home still standing from that time was named Washaway.

Washaway was built in 1893 by the Walton Land and Timber Company and was owned by E. W. Thorpe, its president, and T. M. McConnell of DeFuniak Springs for the use of the company’s employees working in the area. It was used as a rooming house in 1915 and subsequent years. It fell into disrepair over the years and got its name after being washed off of its foundation during the hurricane of 1926. It was then moved to its current location near the intersection of DeFuniak Street and Hotz Avenue.

(Photograph courtesy of Perry Ammons Correll)

L & N

The Walton County Heritage Museum is open
Tuesday through Saturday, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Admission is free.
1140 Circle Drive
DeFuniak Springs, Florida 32435

Phone Number: 850-401-2060    
Email: heritagemuseum@brighthouse.com

Wickersham's Wickhaven

Washaway was sold several years later to Harley Emmet Wickersham and his wife, Coralie Gillis Wickersham, of DeFuniak Springs. They renovated Washaway in the 1930s and renamed it Wickhaven. Harley Wickersham operated a funeral parlor that his father, Jonathan Adoniram Wickersham, founded in 1885. Coralie was from a prominent family that included her brother, Donald Stuart Gillis, an attorney who once served as president of the Florida Senate and as a Circuit Judge. The Wickersham home at 812 Circle Drive in DeFuniak Springs (below, circa 1960) was designed by Duncan Gillis, a well-known architect, and was within walking distance of the funeral home, which was across the railroad tracks and is now a psychologist's office.

(Photograph courtesy of Perry Ammons Correll)

©2007-2024 The Walton County Heritage Association, Inc.