Intrigued by the information she received from Leslie Brent about the Lloyd family, the next day Sierra returned to the digital archive room at the Mystic Woods Historical Society, and methodically reviewed newspaper articles and photography collections to learn more about their history.
First, she softly read to herself an article about Gary Lloyd’s biography.
“Gary Lloyd, owner of Brooke Manor and town founder of Mystic Woods was born in 1875, into a wealthy family in Wales in the United Kingdom. His father, Peter Lloyd ,was a prominent shipping magnate. He moved the family to the United States where they settled in the neighboring port town of Woodbine to expand the family’s shipping business when Gary was four years old.”
Sierra continued to read about the significant chronicled events of Gary Lloyd’s life.
“In search of his own identity, Gary did not want to ride his father’s coattails. He wanted to make his personal mark on the world. In 1892, he enrolled into the Steppe Institute of Agriculture to study mass-production techniques of tobacco farming. After he graduated with honors in 1897, his father purchased several hundred acres of land for him as a graduation present. He was a self-made man and tobacco farmer in his own right.”
Sierra looked at a picture of the young Gary Lloyd standing with his college classmates in a group photograph. He had dark hair, and was tall with an athletic build. He was a handsome man. Devlin had similar features, she thought.
She kept reading. “By 1898, Gary Lloyd had accumulated great wealth and later, founded the town of Mystic Woods. He built Brooke Manor in 1899. In 1900, he married Mildred Sanders, the only child of prominent heart physician, Mark Sanders.”
They were a lovely couple and seemed happy, thought Sierra as she looked at a photograph of the couple together on their wedding day. Mildred, was pretty. A veil hat covered her light-colored hair. She held a bouquet of roses and stood next to Gary. She wore an elaborate long-sleeved, white laced high collared wedding dress fringed in ruffles. Gary wore a formal black frock coat with a high collared white shirt and matching black trousers.
She continued to read softly. “Gary and Mildred had eight children. Lynette Lloyd, William D. Lloyd, and Elizabeth Lloyd, seen together in the photograph below at a family picnic circa 1935, were the only three that survived childhood.”
Sierra zoomed in on the picture of William Lloyd and studied his face closely. There’s an uncanny resemblance between William and Devlin. They could pass for identical twins, she thought.
Last, she read an old newspaper article from the Woodbine Chronicle, dated on July 28, 1938.
“Sections of Woodbine, including surrounding areas of Mystic Woods lay submerged in more than 8 feet of water when the destructive power of the killer hurricane produced a storm surge of 16 to 22 feet. Notable deaths from the storm included William D. Lloyd and his wife Christa Lloyd, of the prominent Lloyd tobacco family at Brooke Manor. Married for only six months, they were newlyweds, expecting their first child.”
Oh my goodness. Now I understand Devlin’s hesitancy about discussing plans for the cemetery. Perhaps revisiting this history is too painful for his family. I will wait until he’s ready to move forward, thought Sierra
Briefly, she looked at more information including old property records and notable milestones.
Checking her watch, she said to herself, “I better get going so I will have enough time to go to the public library and download information about lucid dreams for Chantal.”
As she walked along the corridor to leave the Mystic Woods Historical Society, she noticed an eclectic crowd of people gathered in the rotunda room. She overheard closing remarks from Ashley Howard, the preservation architect she’d met with the day before. Impressed with the eloquence by which he spoke, Sierra joined the others in the rotunda room to listen to him.
“Today’s ceremony commemorated recognition for the dedication and sacrifices of Gary Lloyd, Mystic Woods town founder and tobacco magnate. He lived from 1875 to 1965. This marble bust, in memory of him, will stand next to the monument wall with the engraved names that memorialize each victim of the Great Storm of 1938, which includes members of his family. The Lloyd family contributed greatly to our town. Thanks to all of you for joining us today.”
Sierra scanned the room as she listened and looked for Devlin.
“That’s strange, I thought for sure he would most definitely be here to represent his family,” she said to herself.