Thomas and Mina Edison had three children, Madeleine, Charles and Theodore, in addition to the three children Thomas had by his first wife - Marion, Thomas and William. The family loved boat trips. They traveled up the winding Caloosahatchee River to the mysterious waters of Lake Okeechobee by way of the Everglades. The love of nature bound the friendship of the Edisons and Fords with John Burroughs, a renowned author and naturalist.
A greatly anticipated camping trip into the Everglades included Mina and the children. The camping party employed local guides to take them through the sand pines into the palmettos to set up camp by a lake sixty miles into the Everglades. The experience proved so profound that two of the Edison children wrote eloquently of the camping expedition years later and became advocates - along with their parents - against the millinery trade (bird feathers) slaughter.