Glen J. Simmons (January 14, 1916 – July 21, 2009) was an outdoorsman and guide who became notable as a master builder of skiffs, the "vessels used to navigate the Everglades," The skill made him a "Florida Local Legacy" and the winner of the Florida Folk Heritage Award in 1995.
Simmons was born January 14, 1916 in the Florida City, Florida area and raised in nearby Homestead, Simmons "spent much of his life in the glades, alone or with other gladesmen, hunting alligators, deer and turtles, as well as fishing"; his family, "like most poor farmers and settlers in the region, lived 'from hand to mouth' during the depression" that followed the Florida land boom of the 1920s.
Starting at the age of 12, Simmons built pole-powered skiffs used to navigate the Florida Everglades prior to the advent of fanboats; originally made of cypress wood, the craft boats were used for hunting and navigation. Simmons earned a living by "hunting, fishing, banana farming, and guiding newcomers."
An interest in writing about his experiences in the Everglades led him to approach Laura Ogden, a professor at Florida International University for help in writing a book: the collaboration led to the 1998 publication of Gladesmen: Gator Hunters, Moonshiners, and Skiffers (ISBN 9780813015736).
Simmons' story was the inspiration for the name and the music of the Florida band Nate Augustus and the Gladezmen.
- "Glen Simmons - Glade Skiffs". Florida Folklife. Historical Museum of Southern Florida. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "Glenn J. Simmons in household of Maud E. Simmons, Homestead, Election Precinct 113, Dade, Florida". United States Census. FamilySearch. 1940. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Graham, Bob. "Glade Skiffs". American Folklife Center. U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "Folk Heritage Awards Recipient: Glen Simmons". Florida Folklife Program. State of Florida. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "Glen James Simmons". Social Security Death Index. FamilySearch. 2009. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Wilbanks, William (1997). Forgotten Heroes of Dade County, Florida. Turner Publishing Company. p. 23. ISBN 1563112876. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
[Glenn] Simpson's mother, Maud Simmons Jones,... lived in Homestead all her life. The Simmons family home is described in Villages of South Dade and was designated as a historic site by the Metro-Dade Historical Preservation Board. The house was Grandma Newton's Bed and Breakfast until Hurricane Andrew destroyed it in 1992.
- Godfrey, Matthew C. "Review of Swamplife". H-Net. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
Ogden, an associate professor of anthropology at Florida International University, came to her subject after Glen Simmons, a gladesman, asked her to help him author a book about his experiences in the Everglades. This was eventually published as Gladesmen: Gator Hunters, Moonshiners, and Skiffers by the University of Florida Press in 1998.
- "The History of The Gladezmen". Coastal Breeze News. 21 October 2010. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
Like the artists that inspire the music, the name of the band, The Gladezmen, comes from an inspiring book that Nate personally loves, called The Gladesmen. The book was written by Glenn Simmons, which is about the people who hunted alligators in the everglades before it became a national park and before it was illegal to hunt them. All the members of the band enjoy this book, citing its many influences in their music and in naming their band.
- Gladesmen from the National Park Service (featuring a photograph of Simmons)
- Grandma Newton`s, Florida City, a February 1990 article from South Florida Sun-Sentinel about the Simmons family home
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