Washington County and the surrounding area was fortunate to have E.W. Carswell put pen to paper and preserve many of the stories and history that make this part of Florida so special. Many of the pages on this website would be blank if not for his efforts. His many books are available for purchase at the Washington County Historical Museum.
E.W. "Judge" Carswell was a civic leader, folklorist, historian, and retired columnist for the Pensacola News-Journal. He was born January 4, 1916, in Holmes County, Fla. Mr. Carswell served in the Civilian Conservation Corps in Arcadia, La., and attended Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, La., where he was editor of the campus newspaper (before and after his World War II service), and president of his fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon. While in the U.S. 2nd Army Corps (with 597 days of combat) he founded a newspaper, the Barracks Bag Express, which was circulated to troops in Europe during World War II. After returning from the war, he completed his B.A. in journalism at Louisiana Tech in 1946, staying on as assistant professor for three years. Mr. Carswell returned to Milton, Fla., in 1949, to become editor of the Milton Press-Gazette. Recognized as an author, educator, historian and community leader, he chaired several northwest Florida historical societies and served on more than 25 boards, committees and advisory groups throughout the state, among these the Rural Development Council, the Florida Farmers Home Administration Advisory Committee, and the Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials. He served in 1960 as president of Chipley Kiwanis Club and was also a founding board member of First Bank of Holmes County. In 1963, he was named recipient of the Florida Press Association "Editorial Oscar" in the weekly newspaper division. He was named Florida's "Man of the Year for Agriculture" in 1966, and in 1976 was awarded a Bicentennial Patriot Medal for efforts to improve the quality of life for fellow citizens. Mr. Carswell also served on the Florida Folklife Council and in 1989 received the Florida Folk Heritage Award. From 1963 to 1967 he was mayor of Chipley. He is the author of Tempestuous Triangle, Holmesteading: The History of Holmes County, Florida, Washington: Florida's 12th County, among many other books and booklets about the history and folklore of his beloved Florida Panhandle. Louisiana Tech University honored him in 1992 with the Tower Medallion Award, which honors alumni who have distinguished themselves by exceptional achievement, community service, and humanitarian activities, and brought permanent recognition by including him in the university's "Hall of Distinguished Alumni." In 1996, he was profiled by Kevin M. McCarthy in the book 20th Century Florida Authors.