Originally Posted: 2007 Jul 13 – 00:04 by our wonderful friend Marian Tomblin.
What’s in a name? Though the Bard shrugged and wrote “A rose by any other name smells as sweet,” Floridians circa 1900 were not so relaxed.
As the state grew, municipalities were formed, each enjoying its own identity and small, independent post office.
Here in the Halifax area, we had Daytona (just Daytona back then, no Beach) on the mainland, and Seabreeze across the river on the peninsula.
Everyone got along fine until a woman by the name of Helen Wilmans-Post began practicing and promoting what, in the latter part of the 19th century, became known as the “Mental Science Movement” or the control of mind over matter.
A pioneer metaphysician, Mrs. Wilmans-Post became wealthy not only by “healing hundreds of patients of all manner of ailments and diseases,” but also by teaching thousands of students the way to “heal, energize, upbuild and emancipate themselves,” long distance – via the United States mail to be exact.
The first Mental Science convention was held in 1899 in Seattle, Wash. A year later, a second convention was held in Seabreeze, Fla. The flood of mail entering and leaving the Seabreeze post office, located on present day Main Street, so overwhelmed the tiny facility that the United States government issued a transfer to a new location on Ocean Boulevard (now known as Seabreeze Boulevard).
This set off violent reactions: The Main Street-end of Seabreeze separated and named itself Goodall, and bitter animosity raged between the two factions until the old “die-hards” passed on.
In 1925, the three communities – Daytona, Seabreeze and Goodall – were consolidated into a single city, the city of Daytona Beach.
And what became of Mrs. Wilmans-Post and her Mental Science movement? She was eventually accused of making fraudulent use of the United States mail by soliciting money for “absent treatment” and discredited. One of her devotees, Eugene Del Mar, president of the League for the Larger Life, wrote:
“The Post Office Fraud Order was placed on Helen Wilmans without even prior notice. There was no hearing, no trial, no conviction. It was instituted by the jealousy of the man who dominated Sea Breeze (sic); Helen Wilmans established her ‘City Beautiful’ a few miles distant, thereby taking away the post office and other privileges that this Sea Breeze magnate had previously enjoyed. This man happened to be an intimate of the then senior U.S. senator from Maine, and on motives of jealousy and revenge, set the Post Office Department in motion in true Russian autocratic manner.”
Marian Tomblin is the author of “The Mystery at Hotel Ormond,” “Where’s Capone’s Cash?” and “Manatee Moon,” all selected for community-wide literacy campaigns. Her latest book, “Bull on the Beach!,” is a compilation of historical anecdotes discovered while researching her novels.
We are grateful for permission to use this article to our wonderful friend
Marian Tomblin, historical columnist and author. For more information on
Marian. Tomblin’s books or to have her speak at your next meeting, contact her at www.MarianSTomblin.com or at (386) 615-0493.
You will find Marian’s books, as well as other books of local interest, or, just a wonderful read at the beach at
The Book Store and So Much More! 410 S. Nova Road / Suite 1, Ormond Beach (386) 615-8320