Life on Florida’s last frontier
Iris Wall

Wall shares her homespun stories about the Cracker lifestyle while rocking on the porch at her High Horse Ranch. RICK CRARY PHOTO

Cracker grandam shares her love of the Old Florida lifestyle


Florida’s Cracker culture is alive and well thanks to Indiantown’s homegrown celebrity Iris Wall. The 87-year-old cowwoman proudly promotes and enjoys speaking around the state about the Cracker lifestyle.

She understands firsthand about adventure because she lived in South Florida when it was one of the last frontiers. Awarded Woman of the Year by the Florida Department of Agriculture and inducted into the Florida Cracker Hall of Fame, the fifth-generation Floridian talks in an animated, down-home manner about the people in her native state.

“Being a Cracker is more a culture than anything else,” Wall says. “Most of the Crackers that I know are a long shot from royalty and many of them have made money. They are a very generous, kind people and have a great respect for women. They are proud and well educated, not in book learning, but in pure basic life.”

The vivacious and witty rancher speaks about old Florida — a place that most can only imagine in a book or a movie. She shares her Cracker tales of growing up on the back of a horse while hunting for cows out in the swamp or scrub. The pioneer knew the perfect way to kill a gator for its hide and to survive, she and her family simply lived off the land. She married her childhood sweetheart Homer Wall, and together they went from cutting fence posts to building a prosperous lumber business. Today, preserving the agricultural traditions of Old Florida is Wall’s passion. A children’s book has been written about her and she enjoys speaking to groups and imparting her folksy words of wisdom.

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