By Kathy Collins
Recently, the last remaining large residential development tract of land in Riverview was sold to Mattamy Homes. The 140 acre homestead was owned by the descendants of Alva and Otha Goolsby who bought the land back in the early 1930s. Goolsby wanted a place where his family could live in harmony. The land is located near the intersection of Boyette and McMullen Roads in Riverview. It is adjacent to the Publix anchored Goolsby Pointe Shopping Center.
On Saturday, June 11 friends and family gathered on the property for a “Remembrance of the Land” party. This was a last chance for relatives and friends to reminisce about growing up and living on the property.
Alva and Otha Goolsby had five children. When the children grew up, each was given 20 acres on which to live. Alva and Otha retained 40 acres. Over the years, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, cousins, aunts and uncles either lived on the property or enjoyed its natural resources.
According to Terri Giles Exum, a granddaughter of Alva and Otha Goolsby, “Our grandfather wanted to be a landowner so he could have his family around him.” Exum added, “My grandfather had a strong faith and worked very hard. He instilled his work ethic in all of us. He would be happy with all of the positive things that his descendants have accomplished.”
When Goolsby bought the land, it was all forest. He cleared some of the land in order to plant an orange grove. Unfortunately, after several years, the grove died, so Goolsby turned to cattle and farming. At that time, farming was not a profitable career choice, so Goolsby worked for others including the Works Progress Administration, the New Deal agency which built public buildings and roads during the 1930s and 1940s.
Exum explained, “We were raised together as a big extended family. Our wish is that the new residents raise their families in peace and love as we did.” Exum, an author of two historical/spiritual fiction books, shares her love of the land in her books as the stories take place on the property she once called home. Exum’s two books, both under The Healer title, The Gift of Suffering and Wings of Redemption, can be purchased on Amazon.