"A Byrd Baby," July 1912.

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"A Byrd Baby," July 1912.

"A Byrd Baby," July 1912.

March 29, 2017

My father was actually born in Orlando here on the 22 of July in 1912. One of the things I've been doing is recovering an announcement of my father's birth and it mentions his father by initials J. O. that stood for James Otis Byrd; but it mentions his father, his grandfather, A. S. Drawdy, and his great grandfather, Levi Drawdy. As they had not yet named my father, my father's name [Sherman Otis Byrd] does not get mentioned in the article... Orlando Daily Reporter Star, front page, Tuesday, July 23, 1912.

Listen as Dr. Robert Byrd, an Orlando native, describes growing up in Orlando in this excerpt from an oral history interview with Dr. Byrd at the Orlando Public Library on August 12, 2016.

LISTEN Part I (19:23)

Orlando High School

So then my dad grew up in Orlando... attended OHS, Orlando High School which I later attended. And he was quite active in some of the sports things; especially men's softball was quite popular all over the country, not just in Florida, but all over the country in the thirties and forties well into the fifties when I was actually also. A couple of times we played on the same team, same church league team. Church teams developed later. We had A league and B league teams in the thirties and forties that were quite popular and wildly reported on, largely discussed....

Softball State Championships

My father played in the A league. He played for one of the bus lines had a tournament. Atlantic Ale Company had teams and some of the milk companies. Datson Dairies had teams in the league. And they had big championships. And in a number of years there were even state championships. As a matter of fact, I believe it was 1933 that the Orlando team was picked to represent the State of Florida at the World's Fair in Chicago. Of course, I hadn't been born yet at that time so I only remember the stories... I remember Oliver Barker who won national fame as a pitcher from here. And just all sorts of tournaments and traveling teams that they played. Exciting times...

Dr. Byrd attended Grand Avenue Elementary School, Cherokee Junior High School, Orlando High School, and Boone High School. He studied at Stetson University and Belmont College. Dr. Byrd worked as Professor of Religion for 40 years at Belmont University. His speciality is New Testament Theology.

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