Shotgun donation to History Center ends local family feud

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Sara Van Arsdel, executive director of the History Center, received the gun, and was joined by Susan Arline Williams and John Mizell.
ORLANDO, Fla. —

The gun that killed the only Orange County Sheriff to die in the line of duty over the last 143 years and started a historic feud between the Barber and Mizell families in 1870 that would cause tension well into the 20th century was donated to the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Fla., on February 24 at a ceremony of reconciliation during Pine Castle Pioneer Days.

Susan Arline Williams, descendant of the Barber family, said the gun had been passed down by her family for years. The donation of the gun was a symbolic reconciliation between the Barber and Mizell families. The feud began when Sheriff David Mizell was shot in 1870, and resulted in at least nine people dying, most of them Barbers. Sara Van Arsdel, executive director of the History Center, received the gun, and was joined by Williams and John Mizell. The double barrel shotgun has been kept in excellent condition. Michael Perkins, curator of exhibits, will begin the planning and installation process of the artifact as part of the museum's permanent Cattle exhibit, anticipating that it will be on display this fall.

The Orange County Regional History Center, housed in a restored historic five-story 1927 courthouse in downtown Orlando, showcases the vast collection of the Historical Society of Central Florida, Inc. The museum features four floors of permanent exhibits and also presents nationally important limited-run exhibitions. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

The Orange County Regional History Center is located at 65 E. Central Blvd. in downtown Orlando. Visit thehistorycenter.org for more information.