The Quack Quack’s of Lake City

Recently, I posted a picture of Shag Branch on my Facebook page that generated a lot of discussion about not only Shag, but other characters about town that lived in Lake City, Lois Irwin commented about the Quack Quack girls and asked if anyone had heard of them. No one really had, including me. So I did a little research and found some bits and pieces of information about them.

I came across an ancestry research site in which someone had been looking for some of their ancestors that might have lived in Lake City. The posting on this research site was back in 1993. The post was from a James and Barbara Kesterson. They were responding to a post by a Rebecca Parker, who asked if anyone remembered the Quack Quacks of Lake City. Here is part of her recollection:

When I was growing up there, they were always around town during my childhood in the 1950's-1960's, particularly the 4th of July. They always walked together down Main St. as part of the 4th of July parade (I'm sure unsolicited ... they just sort of joined in, but always a fixture). They always intrigued me as to who they were, where they came from, whatever happened to them, etc. They were very poor people, dressed in long dresses, with an apparent "leader", who I "thought" was a man (found out later from my parents "he" was a "she") who always walked in front as this group of approx. 10-12 followed him. They did have an old car, a Studebaker "convertible" that had a red checkered plastic tablecloth as the top. They apparently lived across the railroad tracks in a poor area everyone referred to as "behind the Iron Curtain" ... a shanty town of plywood & cardboard !"

James and Barbara Kesterson responded with some recollections of their own:

We were never allowed to venture "behind the Iron Curtain", but my church used to take food and clothing to this group of people. They were just local characters of town with no known names that I recall (just cruel nicknames), but I often think of these colorful, interesting people. The nickname apparently came from (one story) a pet duck that they always carried with them. The only surname I ever recall was the name "Hicks" (sometimes called "the Hickses"). Anyone else know about/wonder about one of the many "Characters of Lake City" (we had many). With fond memories and much intrigue, I would like to attach names to these people and know more about them.

Well I’ll be a duck. I lived in Lake City in the 1950’s and 1960’s and I can’t remember these unusual characters. I guess I must be quacking up!

Does anyone remember these people? Any recollection? I wonder what their real names were?

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