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Group Title: Interview with Mrs. J. R. Benton (February 26, 1969)
Title: Mrs. J. R. Benton
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Title: Mrs. J. R. Benton
Series Title: Mrs. J. R. Benton
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Language: English
Creator: Proctor, Samuel
Publisher: Samuel Proctor
Publication Date: 1969
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Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Interview
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        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
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Full Text



COPYRIGHT NOTICE


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Florida.

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
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For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida




Oral History Interview with Mrs. J. R. Benton conducted by Samuel Proctor

February 21, 1969 10:30 a.m.



P: Mrs. Benton we are just going to have a casual conversation. -t9E, I want to


ask if you will talk about your own beginnings. Ef-E=ES your full name and tell us 4 .ut


where you were born. ,n tAJ eA v ....


B: Maybell Williams Benton. I was born on the edge of Marion County in what was then


an orange grove before the time of the big freeze near Williston, Florida.


P: Y16r not going to tell us the date, year just going to say before the big freeze.


B: fg s near enough.


P: All right. Your father was a doctor you told me.


B: Yes, I father was a country doctor.
A(, BeJh>?
P: How long had your family been living in Florida Whhere was your father from?
l/}e/!, ,,, Y, ;/ ... -jf<, ,\
B: 4Im-H sFr^ gia -fi Early County Georgia, O1


P: Early County?


B: I think tjFf that is right.


P: Where is that?


B: The southwest part of Georgia. His father was a county doctor before him and they

the a /,' /c...
moved down here about / time of the Civil War. I guess it was a few years before
*I

the Civil War.


P: Sometime in the 1850's~ s, cie *


B: Something like that. -sease father was born in --51 and he was probably five
or.j / I - e -.i t -t. '1 i, ...
..j I3et / ("
r- Z~ 1 11 / if







*-.. ti.. m1. e- -to :FloVTtT:----


P: Was he a farmer along with being a doctor?


B: Well, yes. There was a small orange grove and I do not imagine that they did


much farming but *4S'6aised things for their own use.

7
P: Now this was not too far from present day Ocala.


B: Ye;'., it was just a few miles from Williston which is in L-e/ County. Actually


some.of the property was in Levy County but the house was in Marion County. I


P: What about your mother? Who was she? 1 i


B: Mother was Mary Tyrie from Edinborough-, -;cr .l,-2i^. My grandfather title was
1 d1

General Manager of the 6" w-r^Ag *?*Museum. So whenever we got tof .- ,


knew that we would have a chance to go to the museum. So I have been interested in


museums from those days. And also interested, this is terrible, also interested in


the highland costume, the kilts,and the bagpipe bands because it was all such a thrill


to ~see them marching and playing in the streets of E "


P: How did your mother and father meet trS, @edJto .


B: Well, father and his brother had gone over to )/ Ed,.,-- -uy to the university


thereA -Sthr-~Vs- to study medicine and his brother s to study law and mother's


brother was there studying and through him they met him and became friends and they


were invited to the home of mother.


P: So it was in Ed i~ -that they got together. Were they married in Scotland?

2







B: -iE they were married in >r.'.-,: -:-


P: Do you remember the date?




AIJ
P: Se then your father brought his bride back to Florida?

% Flo,;da,
B: -g1-so the children were all born in Florida. There were four of us. I was the

brother
second. There was a 0 /j) f/ older.


P: What was his name, NV's, (B ~et ,


B: Hugh Emmett Williams. And he went to the old Florida State College in Tallahassee,

... d
the last year thai it was co-educationalA And f had planned to go on there....

P: I think AMM they called it the West Florida Seminary then.


B: No, it was the Florida State College.


P: Oh, was it.

f i West
B: It-war S-t that time. It may have been Florida Seminary at one time but it was


Florida State College at that time until 1905 vFbZ- the Buckman Bill changed things.
d'1 A
S-HP, had planned to go on and study there had the promise of doing some work that

would pay part of his expenses. Actually that was correcting English themes which we

to some extent k\ &0d6
*iQt he had done Nh- first yea there. Dr. Tucker was the English professor and Dr.


Murphree who later came to the University of Florida was president there at that time.


He was still president for three of the years that I was at when I firstAthere/was the


Florida Female College and then they changed the name in 1909 to Florida State College
3







for Women.


P: What happened to your brother /iS, 5 eTjo J


B: aeMadge get to go on to get an academic degree. He went up to Jacksonville


and took a business course and got into business there. He was in the furniture


business f pr most of his life up there.

jTN TC^!OII ^/. 1Ne! A)J
P: 4er family lives in Jacksonville?

WcU//, B: .A~t-tril'nr none of them^X1111 there now. He had two daughters. The older daughter
I

is Claire William Striker. Her husband 4e-a-s at the University of Florida so they


live in Gainesville. The other daughter4 I am not sure where she is now/v-ob in the


neighborhood of Washington, D. C. working for the government. She was in the WACs


__J__ms__ nd r6 was working as a civilian and then got back in the WACs and taa


got out again. 6a es s;/ w Jr( I/VAS 4aA ot, / f"eJ oC/ a e/:'-IAk
P: .Tn you were the second child. : about the third and fourth children?
\/ --
^oy,1 Thma Tyi v *
B: ahe third was another boyA Thomas Tyrie 1 -y---e.


P: Named for your mother's family.


B: Yes, that was mother's family name. He went to business school in Georgia and


then came to Jacksonville and got into business there. He also got into the furniture


business and he was in that most of his life. He was with one of the furniture men if\,o,


i-Wnat do you call these recording things -s- we used to have?


P: Phonographs?






B: It was a thing and the signal was that rooster.


P: Oh, yes. I know what you are talking about. I cannot think of the name either,


bft I know.


~ And the youngest child was what?


B: Another daughter* Mary Felicia. ;e married Leon T rass er and they live in

/A.d /i de
Gainesville. Age had taught several years and then worked a good many years at the


general extension division-but she is retired now.


P: So there were two boys and two gir ls?




P: Where did you get your grade school education /Mrs, 8eECM(l ?
YoJee Q-Pfer mroi6 die ... well, wk) mjilcY,, "Aet4.,
B: Well, most of it in England. Well, .Snk mother was dying she asked father to take


the two older children to her sister who had married and gone down to England. So


I grew up in B' England that is across from
A 4

P: kaS^ giving with your aunt?


B: Yes, y IW T.

7
P: Your mother's sister.


B: -'%itry-I had a change to go up to '/'... .,from time to time to visit


gg;i9aM my grandparents who were both living.

P: So you took all of your elementary and high school education in England?

,,, .. I l ,, &t e y..
B: I got my elementary education. I did not have any high school education. A Vhen I

5







f4-
came back herefat the age of 3ikaid'et'b^Tf there were very few high schools in Florida....


And none 4wsfri reach of me so I did not get *we"& to high school.


P: How old were you when you went to England?


B: I was five.


P: So you spent about six years there.

14e411
B: gena lu -even years there.


P: Was that a happy time for you as you remember it?


B: Not really. It is Aso hard-$'lchildren to be separated from their family, earticu-


larly by a big ocean. Now that sort of thing does not exist today. There are planes


and you could get zee-_ h et u-l: in a few hours. But I knew that I was there)
A A

away from my family and I did not know when I would ever get back.

4A7 tfiy 't, P: Did you come back -t--o=-- n ;I yr- r iaiygj t during the seven years?


B: No. L .,


P: So you stayed over there -*yall that time eake from your brother and sister


and your father?


B: That is right. t the things that I had known as a young child A ma really w S
I,
hard. So when I went to college I could not understandA I would see these girls who


thought they were homesick and I could not understand how. girls that were supposed to


be grown could be homesick, because I had lived through all of that as a young child.


P: When you came back you came to your father's home outside of Willistoi?


6







B: Yes, that is right.


P: What did you ob then (Vt r' lt '


B: Well, not much of anything. I a& a little bit at home a" did the best 4-4t I
A /I

could.


P: Was your father somQ ht of a tutor for the children?

no, O /Wd ,,,co r y --) r o ...o- t
B: No, we just all worked on our bh*I -Gce-ap" -.. ..sh. were 4-tt little one A,

A teachers
e (e / two p ~ schools and I taught f- two years before I went to college .


P: In Williston?


B: V I taught in Orange Park which is near Jacksonville. Then I taught in Marion


County which is nearer my home)the next year. But those schools were very primitive,


nothing like what hay have today.


P: What did you teach?
6: (A,^..

B: Everything. All through eighth'grade.


P: How old were you when you were teaching 5r O1


B: I was about seventeen.


P: But before you went to college.

B: ne= teIJ-[To cot- t.<..


P: .i8 yo5 boarded in Orange Park and taught in a nearby school.

B: Yes. Of course, Orange Par as I know,since then. It had been a resort


place set up for -# people from the north to come to and it hrd en a nice, tiny little

7







village. T-heoe-was a nice school there for 4-Pe es taught by white women from the North,


but that was something absolutely different from the school I was in. There were just


two teachers and I guess thmt we just went through the eighth grade.. sop e/'tJ /j;e r I ,tc.,


P: You sas heg-n o remember -wk-t they paid you?
4

B: I am afraid tbwt I do. -aa $25 a month, but I got ill I had some kind of fever,


and they had to close he school for two weeks. So at the end of that time the other
1

teacher, who was also a woe-n she was getting the vast sum of 35 aiad she quit and they
:ve forgotten
asked me to take the upper grades and ;/ i who came in as the other teacher. But
/l/o.. -rJtA
I was getting the vast sum of $35 as I remember it. -12; just sort of floored me when


the teachers were willing to go on strike a year ago and close schools, let the child-


rem do without any teaching, theoretically to teit to the attention of the people MI QU

y^^ -
that they e.^more money for the schools as well as for teachers salaries. But I
anpl e Ow tefllmj r4rc1cs-^ i'^T
just felt t-gs they should have stuck by their contracts, they might have put in a

..0, e-6e0 C
protest but not to hae-e d the schools.


P: Were the schools in Marioh County better as you se-A. e than the one was over in


Orange Park? Was it any different?


B: No. o0,


P: It was still just a little one room country school.


B: That is right.

P: The children were poor?

B: Yes. o






Y6(4
P; How did 4Tre heat the school?
B: We#, UT s. 7 3
/.e: Pot-d ,ec sve middle
B: -TsVPas 'bone little wood stove in the ft of the room. f" course, unless


there were some big boys that would do he teacher had to see about kve-eig the fire
4 4




P Did you get home very mucklfY'om...
-r"' ... J.;
B: No. I transportation was so different,4t People d -t have cars. Even when
-(-
I went to college there were about two cars in Tallahassee. President Murphree d--t


have a car.


P: Was there a train going into Williston?


B: Oh, yes.


P: So when you went home you ~W went by train?
d'/ e/eAJ i cks...
B: That wes-right. Ex- from college I always went by train. My brothers were both


in Jacksonville so IVoften went to fJacksonville and stayed overnight with them and
1 f nd 7slj
then went on to Tallahassee. afiQ g home I very often came by Jacksonville just to


see them but I could have changed at Live Oak and come on down to Williston.


P How did it happen that youvent to t college?
41

B: Well, I just felt -smt I wanted to go. -I jUS niT7 L o 7 m d.


?: And your father was willing?
W, II [p^^erj
B: I guess he was willing. I think thnt he felt t~e it was perhaps a little foolish.
,1 ,.. ; A

Women +-d out go to college in those days. If your family was wealthy you would be


9







sent to some sort of a finishing school. But by that time, after the freeze, we were


anything but wealthy.


P: The freeze had pretty well wiped your family resources out?


B: That is right. Sc... '-l -
... 1: e^'
P: But your father continued to practice as w-eau doctoral ],[ .e?


B: That is right. I had to more or less go on my own. I remember1 I think -thtthis

Ae-
must- j have been in my senior year, but there was a class in algebra. You see, at


that time because there were so few high schools through e~" the* state, the college


had what they called sub-collegiate classes. PTh- class in algebra had been taught
'1
wdvaV -i A -k
before by a wmfferwho taught some of the Latin classes. -Tke new teacher who came in


was a specialist in Latin and Greel and she did not want any math. She was a special


friend of mine and I /T/felt lieSt was a shame to put it on her. She he=t-
<1 fk 6USt A f/f w ( A 5 ; Lau we..
known that she was going to have to teach it So I offered to do what I could about


it, but the way the class was set up) there were four hour periods a week and I only


had two of those periods free. I had my own classes. But another girl who was a


graduate student had the other two periods free so that two of us taught that algebra


class sr the whole year.


P: In other words, you were both a student and a teacher- at the same time.

mu c: d o I g
B: BK,-how much do you e-paose tst I got paid? .Not one red penny. There wae not-
/) /SAJ n 'c
any money. There- _=wPa=n" any money at the college. if-he re waso ~ rny- money a


1.0







the whole state of Florida. Florida was a poor state. Things have improved financially


since then.


P: When did you get to Tallahassee? Do you remember the year?


B: -1 the fall of.1906.

ll// Io / -(. e. *" "^ -: ..
P: 45- year after the Buckman Act had made sse-~ g changes in the higher education
'1 /'

program of Florida.
t( ...so
B: B wS- yx So the first three years t4at-I was there it was the Florida Remale

d i'// the
College. We d3-i-c approve of that name so we were glad when they changed / name in


1909 to Florida State College for Women.


P Tll me what the campus in Tallahassee looked like; A ou rOsen tr Y 1-


B: -Jer- e just very few buildings. The old administration had almost all of the


classes in it Jt tbhnt' one building. And that building was torn down in the early
.-.ff7e P*Viii~tYe- uW
summer of 1910. They began tearing it down the minute jtt- we finished our classes
A
cbs of -tke 4 1f oI /0. 0 A*
so as to have the new building ready for the-f.Il.-: It nert quite finished. I remem-
I -1 1
ber the new professor of English, Dr. Dodd,was terribly worried about all 3 the noise


in the halls and even in his classroom probably. We nicknamed him Dr. Dodge because...


btcOL he was trying so desperately to get away from all .B that noise and confusion. But they


got the building finished up in the course of time.


P: Where did you live on the campus?

1wO, AreN d0i'oi... ye4 TAo W^JePJ 0.
B: W19 I first went there, there were two wooden dormitories and one v :-ast Hall

11







and West Hall. d~I lived in East Hall) and East Hall also had the dining room

1-4J Vb-e of lesS'6
and over X the dining room4 it was a ma-mt narrow building, and over that there were

bedrooms with a narrow hall between them. t e rooms were small. Just one student

ere put in each room. There just wa.cr t much room for anything. And we put our


trunks ot in the hall so we we t+we & have a little room in -mw bedroom/. So that
in#J... ok, IAe
hall got to be trunk alley. O5 reason that we all had big trunks ~gBSbecause we all
1 41

came by train. You see there were no cars.

P: And -Ea brought everything 4at you had needed for the year.

B: -1, in that big gijSi.-trunk. Except for your umbrella and your raincoat which you

had to have on the train in case it was raining when you got there.

P: What did you take your degree in, Mrs. &e ON
Jdl/, &c'uol... ii I r...ix7y d/ldzy
B; Ae4-ttlthe diploma reads Bachelor of Arts. 4ey did not do much about advising

you. You just took watf you wanted provided you took all of the beauired courses. So
1 A )
klea- J S. BCI c06M '"
I had enough credits to g -either the -f or the A and when I was confronted with the

,..^, ^^-:.W .r reo /y
question of which degree I s -- 'L- can't I have both?" '1beri Sy greedy. But I
A 3, A

was told tq; I eculd not. So in that day the ,!-was considered the better degree so

I said:; wil take the t0 IMI fI7 J
,,g: I ^' rl ei" ,.- _' .w /
P: E you graduated in 191. t you left Tallahasseeland returned home to Williston.

B: That is right.

P: Now what did you do 4 4ha4t you we-e ek home?

12








B: I taught in Lake City -e two years and then I taught in Williston one year and


then I came up to Gainesville and taught-fe-rozo year.

yeaYs a rr'vec
P: So you had three teaching experience after you got your //IJ/ degree before you ome-

'1(O
i-Pto Gainesville?







4 L
B: Yes.t-tright.
1] over



taught in earlier?


B: Oh, yesbhecause they had a high school [D"k went through the twelfth grader.


P: In Lake City?


B: Yes.


P: And you taught/ in the high school?


B: Yes.


P: What subjects did you teadh?


B: I taught everything.


P: Everything in high school [ Mug :


B: .TUE- was horrible, but you see I guess tKS there were just two high school


teachers as I remember1 The other one was Miss Mattie Van Fleet, an older sister


of General Va Fleet. And the younger sister was teaching second grade, LoisvV4r FnetT -


So I had known the Van leet family, but not the general, before he ever came to


the university.







P: What about salaries?


B: 60C>: 4, (60 I ge5s.


P: For high school teaching.


B: Actually the salaries d~ia-s go up for many, many years. I cthink-tht they were


a little better in the high school but it seems to me that many years later the grade
J
h wg .... It
teachers were only getting about $60. -E--Lv forgotten what year this was but j;was in


the depression years, in the '30's somewhere along and at that time the grade teachers
1 /I

were only getting about $60. -S?-awas only money) ~se T ai d-eetb; for about

eight
three months. Well the schools had been f~ /months. Not nine but eight. So the


patrons were asked to pay so much. They set a price for the children in the lower


grades and t children in high school. But because it was a public school they couldn't

vJd... so v...
not compel anyone to pay.fhey just lk asked them to pay. 66 they had a great deal of


trouble getting the money to pay the teachers. But they scraped through.


P: And stayed alive. How did it happen they you got a position here in Alachua


County?


B: I applied here because it wee-=rot very far from home. Actually you could apply in


any county.


P: And you had no difficulty getting the job?

B: No, I guess that supply and demand was about equal. I dqed know.

:kWk-.. didkv- youo i f- '^U e
P: '-.-Wre did you teach\ In Gainesville itself?
14







B: Yes. That time there were two buildings on the campus of the East University \.' .


school. -
e:. e5. k,5 no,5 V llk re; ',

P: -ThR=s"n7- -,B --gbrath On East University Avenue. TPi: s where you taught. That


was a high school then?

W, l ) o1, ...-t )
B: -E-building was a high school, the building farther east. And the other was the


grade school. I taught ,,fp'fourth grade that year. That building was the older

evev&UA(lY
building and it was red brick. The other building was tan brick. But -e1i-tly, some-


body the bright idea that they could both be painted white and it would look more

,n50 do0is
of a unit. So they -.di~dt t-look so bad..,
4 A

P:: So the old building is still standing?


B: I think -ttV it is.

Pi Was this the first time t you had ever been to Gainesville' #M- [ Bec A) .

well) pro
B: -PE ab8zr- so.


P: You d ~kr-r!:-remember an earlier visit 4-,--FT.y-i- t-rj-a -cld?,-
S/1 /1

B: No. No. N0.


P: I-. leaving Williston to go to Tallahassee the train d/ida ve have to glrthrough


Gainesville did it?
B: muout {Imc vte of V e fl-Ua rb4...-r ;f ust T;ue tef
B: I doubt it,.-~; t 1-i not sure. I think thsea- = the Atlantic Coast Line


up to Live Oak. But -em-not sure.


P: -6 this meant that you came to Gainesville for the first time in what year?

X% 15






ja; 4lAe(lc, ii t-vK/< A/;'e heeJ,..

,f' This would be about 1913.


P: What did Gainesville look like?


B: I guess tss* the population was something
1

that they had any library at all. The first


Carnegie which was torn down quite a number o
I \

on the same spot which-was the library until

: Jlitd
P: At least the library site until it moved
A


like 5,000 and that was before the day
4 A

library in Gainesville was an Andrew

A'!d /oFJ lroTcjr
f years ago. Anher library was built
( ccre^'^
quite recently. le*/ Ji / H .


to its new building. Where did you live
A


when you were teaching?
{(//...f 0,) )O j,0 / ,e The...?
B: ;Oi University Avenue just a block or two from the school. It was known as the


-4eng house. It was Mrs. that ran it. 4 O V41 6 u're-

P: It was like a boarding house?

A oar dNl. 4occ,.. door
B: EzuaBw we about next to we4ae the McCreary and Merchant homes.


P: I know where it is. Yor lived there and you took your meals there?


B: That is right.


P: They had no dining ae g facilities in the school itself t-gnh? /
/llt; /, C., // bcause..-.\ At.C,
B: -TWey had sort of a lunch room Xe there was some provision made for children
/ 1 Z e

Ih-wanted lunches and for children who came from homes where they might not have


had any breakfast. They were provided food. I dtenot know just how that money


was p~po-va _- -
A

P: I guess ta* most of the children just brought their lunches and ate outside

16







unless they went home.

J...I... -{. /in; -e srctloa
B: I think so. We probably had i whole hour so that children who li-ed near rheir-,


-t4 s could go home. 4/,c
... ^ -. ..
P: And you taught the fourth grade th6 first year that you were teaching here in


Gainesville?


B: Yes.


P: Were the streets out that way in northeast Gainesville paved?


B: I guess At-hr University Avenue was sort of roughly paved with crushed rock as I
/I A

remember it.


P: From the school up to the court house square?

...*fo
B: Yes, and out to the campus because the university was already here.


P: There were some brick streets around the square area/ North and South Main Street/.


B: I dimly remember that. /-qh6 Methodist oseeh took over the property that was the
1 4

old East Florida Seminary. I attended the PresbytrianC PRi which was on University


Avenue so my goings and comings were mostly on University Avenue.

li/ddd... wa".. Wc
P: I.s the area out near the school built up? How far out did the houses go east


of the school? You lived a couple of blocks beyond.

eve( n... 1/ /
B: Se houses went --emac+e-' blocks further east. 6 H2/P I o is'- C c-Ic


P: Perhaps all the way to the Seaboard Air].in:i and the Waldo Road?


B: I wetd-no-t be surprised. And there'some real large homes. People built larger


20







homes in those days. You hoped that you would be able to have a maid, at least part


of the time, so you could afford to build a larger house. J41"b of the homes were


quite large.


P: What about the business area?


B: 4tafc4a=ist- right around the square.


P: Do you remember any of the stores?


B: -i6 too much. But Wilson's Dry Good Store I am sure right there on the corner


and the place where you got your cold drinks was Miller's.


P: That was a favorite hangout for kids.


B: Thit-i- right.


P: That was about where City Drug is now, in the middle of the block?


B: About that, I am not sure whether tath the exact place but about there.

do you YeCsIAcer-
P: Was there a fence around the court house square itself?


B: I doe-1 t believe -art- there was.


P: There had been one earlier antd maybe it was already gone.


B: -I-d not remember trh-
4A

P: What about entertainment?

B: r!.j yC..-^ Ck^T ^ -
B: ~r~had had the ` A and the year it I was teaching here they had at least

-4... c/...
one lecture there and I bAee trat they had one or two plays, Shakespearean plays, or


P: Where was the S-- =9- C 1A{ yt. ,


21







7tt ,...leaY r ere-eI jre ^
B: W g was a building right where the veteran's place is1 just east of the library
41 4
red 'uldit
P: On the other side of the branch where that little one-story buildings is now

-?
That was the site of the C L------ O.


B: Yes.


P: What about Bairds Theater? I have heard about that.
W.. i/f, < < ,//... c'x.., ^-,,.,,,'f P' 'rN.. e: <,-,,,,'/^,--. S .
B: h4-was~s still in use. That was over x-Etijn .i .


P: Was there a movie house in Gainesville?

B: II do ot-remember any.

P: Not when you first came?


B: I -Bre-c-remember any.


P: The churches were the Presbytrian church and the Methodist church, where was the


4
Ilct JON
Baptist ChurchblFn it down about where the library is now?

B: ~-wa~E-ne quite as far east I dcAagt believe. The tower of that church remained


for a long time. Oh, that must have been just about across from the Baird Hardware
P: Y, -fl oa?;5 a "clurd
Store. : Al't the Baptists built the church tha they have now another church
4 4A/
Ad -fkei wie, ....
used that. atie when they built a church of their own the church was torn down and
/1 /I )

I understand that the pews were given to some small church out in the country that

,,I r )
could use them. But the building itself was torn"'except for the tower which remained

for a long time. don ...


P: I A remember the tower.







B: ~j-is not there anymore' IS I .

P: No, -4?s gone. 'What about the area west of the court house square as you pro-
'1 /4
ceeded out University Avenue toward the campus?
J// t~f
B: /I -rt hopefully) was to be the main residen-tial street of the town and a few nice
&/-V..-
homes were built along. S town was slowing developing and the depression came on
'1 ) XfU
the powers j be,
and so on)and there wI re-ft too many homes built and eventually,hI p t know e.oeefer ;$ as
or O)^,
wfa-the city commission or the real estate people they began trying t get business in

and voted business.... So University Avenue did not develop as the original fathers

-- 4as 'A4 1
had hoped wa-da~3r e a beautiful residential street leading to the University. A1?

the time that the University came to Gainesville small oak trees were planted all

along each side of the street. Of course, they have been taken down long since.

P:And there was an island of flowers and lant along East University Avenue wars there ,




B: Yes.

P: And along many of the streets of Gainesville?

lorw ,.. ;-f C C -/el.
B: Yes, aat East Main ft flNow that would be 1st Street, Notkwes...

Xas, ltclL uW6ti e Is4id St75&
P: That had a lovely flower area.

B: B t- us- they still have it there -Joo- --tev b Ed
/fi ,,,, 1 Ieuuc. p,. Y ,..,- -...
Bk 6: I LO kY CS4 K)- / EC
P: Yes, they do.l Dut o .! Univ jriL Avjue it io gone Progress has removed
A1 A k]w, .
all X the beauty. kr did it happen that you met Dean Benton?
23
23






th> 1
B: Well, maybe thjut e-a secret.


P: I hope that it is not too secret. a had he come to Gainesville/ Wk7en


B: APe threw in his lot with the university in 1905, but there were no buildings for


the university at that time so they were in Lake City that first year. So he came
0 :I see.
to Gainesville in 1906 when they had, I guess, two dormitories and a little building

(,now^ aiy s eu;l| \^r d (-, som_*\i V fr
that was later~uee the Engineering College and later as aost office.





P: And that building is still standing.


B: I believe it is.


P: Yes, the news bureau uses it now. Tht actually, I think, the oldest building
2, 1-t- m'M -. bt,
onAcampus.\ They put that up/ -I 4- ioe before the two dormitories were completed.
P- H;r. n aJ)en B1nd.n ,, nd
~Sl h/uld l)ay- Said.- a d
B: might 1. I might add that w they built the dormitories they used part


of the dormitories for classrooms.


P: Yes, Buckmnan and Thomas Halls.
8: ye' $W V he 7
P,:2 Mrs. Benton, Dean Benton was from New Hampshire ii- t&ir ct?


SNow I am confused about where he wasactually brn Yes, but he grew up in


Pennsylvannia really, but he went back to Trinity College. r i7 4"'


P: That /s in Connecticut?


B: Yes, he went back there for his college but he really grew up in Pennsylvannia

near Pittsburgh.







P: A Owere his parents?

B:VYis father was a minister, Robert A. Benton and he had taught in / St. Paul's
B:A)'is f ilwis ha f',* Iun h,^ Sorni/a u- "' "a"L' jl
Boys School,&w"ihahe up in New Englanda. nd when he came to w-- which is


a suburb of Pittsburg he was teaching in a private school. You see they had pri-

AA
vate schools back in those days. Of course they still have some. ^Phen he went into


the ministry there and served as a minister for a good many years in until


he retired and went to Norfolk to live.


P: Who was Dean Benton's mother?


B: Her name was Rosemarie Collins.


P:A hey were married presumably somewhere in the New England states and that's where ...


B: I imagine so. I am not sure.


P: Did you know your husband's family?


B: Yes, we went up there from time to time.A n fact they both have come down to
f,' P <9,, uk ,,,
Gainesville to visit us at times. And his mother outlived him.Ah, e died of ":..i;u:i::a,'.


but that was following a very bad type of flu' Now you can cut this out of the record.
'ri1 AptS"0C. /Vewptor; S
There had been what'called a plrd+l fever up,,not too far from Norfollknd he was

Wc, ,,,C d "' "
in Norfolk so I guess P) there aP4 whether it was there....


P: This is Dean Benton's father tfat-y e--ae talking about?

B: No, ;t4i#S Dr. Benton,/ was up- thereat Christmas ^siting the and he got this
t q p.

flu or whatever. .A\ that time the doctors called it -' by the way. Well, that was

25








all t~he they thought it was for six days. And the sixth day, he had~e seemed any

Och
worse untilA9:30 or so vwen something happened, and what the doctor said afterwards

Ad a ; A ;'I
was t4at his heart ha4 bulged. A hey di4t0 have any hopes for him after that. They


did not even have the sulfur drugs then. ) W see they came first and then the anti-


biotics.


P: Now let me get me back to.... Dr B (on 0


B: So you wiva-- cut out all pethat. I am just telling you.


P: A ee-. WS Dr. Bentonan only child?


B: No, he had a sister. She married and she and her husband were separated and she


went back and lived with her parents. She had V one child\ son, Robert Ross who came


to the university and graduated in,1927, I think. Robert Ross and his wife have visited


me from time to time. HeAhad plans to come for the 40th anniversary of his class


and I wrote told him to write to the registrar and get the names and addresses of


his classmates and write to as many of them as he could and see if he could get up


a good attendance. But he did -ut do anything about it and d&Td-7M come.


P: vWhere does he live?


B: 4i- Newport News. Now im y for the record, I c~ae-t think of tis- man's


name but he had something to do with this foundation or something... j 0 ( -


P. Mrs. Benton after Dr. Benton got his degree at Trinity then he went off to do


graduate workAin Germany.







B: Yes, that is right. He got two degrees there. Not bathbo eaMc-bme, they

(. .i
made him work for it. He got a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science. I de-t t--


remember which he got first. Then he went to C .e. -i.. ,,Germany to get his doctorate.


Back in those days, you see, .i was considered something extra to go abr16p and study


and he went to study physics, just as my father .w t to study medicine in Edinbirough


because Edinbsrough :-has the reputation being the finest ic for medicine.


P: So he went off to Gurgbtmn to study physics. Obviously, science was always his


great love and interest.


B: Well, yes. Actually, the university was so small when he came here, he told me


4e-one time that he had taught every class that was offered in engineering But that


wee-noto too surprising. You see, when they would get a new man, they would get him


to teach pa.-specific thing and Dr. Benton could turn to something else. j'ctually


at the time of his death he was still teaching two classes V0ne in electrical engineer-


ing and one in physics. The physics was first-year physics because he said jte he


wanted to get to know .hj students the first year f they came. As long as he


lived they kept the physiqs in the engineering department so that gave him a chance


to know the freshman engineering~aua-hee. The electrical engineering he taught was


a junior class and he had written the text for that at the urging of the Dean -
Purdue f ifan Lare 7

Purdue rilty in LafAiyette, Indiana. That was used for a number of years, he finished
A A A

that not too long before his death, a)its two or three years before. Then the book


27







was used two or three years afterwards. But you know they change the textbooks from


time to time.


P:; Id he ever hanp say w4 he noam to Florida, to accept the position at the


Lake City school? ,. ft.,f p,/ / ? B
--f ., $ Vm vrP ',
B:A e said this. He i thgt Dr. Sled was a very scholarly man and he was looking


for scholars. It was quite remarkable tat in that early they had such a high per-
A

centage of Ph.D.'I.


P: Oh, yes.


B: They really did. So Dr. Benton felt that he would like to work with Sled because


he was a scholarly man and he felt A, it was a small institution that had a chance


of growth. And I guess he thought that he woild like to come to Florida.


P: And he was a young man.


B: Well, after he got his Ph.D. he had worked in Washington for somebodya.-this


was on the elasticity of metals. And he had strung up some wires in the Washington


Memorial and they were still there when we were married because he took me and showed


me. 'e had taught at Princeton, one year or two years, I d~e35 know. I believe
P"4VY4Yx cap:A^ ?' b ^^ *

that he taught at Cornell a year. ..Th.e" h came down to Florida.
A -^ ...5/<9, .. P: ,..

P: Then he came -K to Lake City. He was in Lake City for yea' hcfore he moved
p;: ',1 '
here to Gainesville. So he had been living here several years and you came in and U_


got to know each other.








B: ~JS that is right. I will tell you what happened afterwards.
IL

P: You.are not going to tell me hta yu t.t


B: Well, I wu- tell you ..now if you rll cut it out.


P: All right, we 11 cut it out after itams-all typed.


B: Instead of they called the organization something else at that time.anA-


I baow forgotten what. Those people ge-cthe bright idea that it would be nice to have


a big party for the teachers and invite' some of the faculty at the university.


P: Tha- good idea.


B: So that s how we met. 7


P: So he came to the party. He just thought that he was coming for the refreshments,


he &i&-et know that he was going b pick up a girl friend.


B: He d&inet know.


P: So you were married shortly afterwards1 Uyo-u o 7


B: We were married August.


P: 'Where were you married?

6<-
B: I was married in Ocala i the home of an aunt. I had really planned to be...

t l 4 rUL et/7p (itup '
now you have to cut this out.. there r1sby wsaw any Presbyrian church in Williston


and the Baptist church was quite near to my home, so we planned to married there,but ..

and
through the summers Dr. Benton had worked for the Coast Geodetic Survey and he was


that summer. Instead of waiting patiently until the allotted time, he came down early

29







so we just changed all of our plans and were married hA my aunt's bhos-.


P: In Ocala.


B:A /hen I went back :with him while he finished up his swvey.


P: In Washington?


B: No, this was out wien he surveyijr. We were in Pennsylvannia part of the time,
f

I 4 know whether it was all in Pennsylvannia or not. But he Mw.s- be in different


places making these surveys and tests for a few days at a time.


P: Did you give up your teaching then, Mrs. Benton?
B: Yes. ,t
B: Where did you all live?

/O *
B: Well, the first year we lived right where the Episcopal Student Chapel '-


P: eight across the street.


B: That house^was a ae frame house_; As I said, most of the houses were large


and I guess thst maybe that house might have been built either with the idea of renting


to students or the idea that faculty members would live there. But anyway that


house was moved on the back of the property and bricked over and it i. still there


and ~big used by the Episcopal church.


P: As a parsonage I believe, (f i;f


B: Yes. ,


P: I know that place.P You were right across from the KA fraternity.








B: I believe SpIe er Hollal d and Phil Maywev.*a=r2Egy at that time.


Phil Mays-tudede law, I think that he worked in Jacksonville.


P: Yes, he s a good friend of mine. He4s fine, he lives in Jacksonville.A I see


him. He is-interested in Florida history. So you were right adross the street from


the campus.


B: That is right, AndJand Scotts lived right next door to us. Mrs. Scott died


quite recently, a few months ago, Mr. Scott is still living. Their place became


the fellowship hall or whatever they call it for that Methodist chrph there.
S: ke IhKe-fl tCLk. ds 5
P: Mrs. Benton, what did the campus look like back in1l914 Mo 3
We. (I A
B: Here \ae-snt very many buildings.


P: Language Hall was right across the street?


B: Yes.
i f:
P: That's Andersen Hall now.A Were the streets paved on campus?
curved
B: There was just one. =wRe- sort of a //////i drive not quite semi-circular


coming in at the corner of University and 13th and I am not quite sure where it came


out on University but abe- a block or two down.


P; Dean Benton did -et have far to go to his office did he?


B: That is wy we built where we did.


P: Did you build that house?









B: Yes, we built it. And you know we moved it later in the latter part of February
we aCf taUoL1 I was desperate" Je UrM rt'q~A l w-p JA
of 1900,when the city voted one block, one side of the street into business. Tet


I was. I did ne-t know what would happen. That lot, what was then called University

lot
Terrace, it5is now ca led N.W. 12th Terrace, there was a vacant that belonged to the


Trusslers, Dean Trussler:' the College of Law. So I went to e them the next morning


after the city had done that to me and asked them if they would consider selling


because I thought tti. they were holding that lot for their daughter, but they said


tht they were Ati and that they had actually put it on the market. So I bought


that to have a place to move to.

SP:
P: How long had you lived in this house directly across from the campus?i(That was a
rented houseas- ta You rented i-t* 4TL place ? 1e yo h-u 0Jo r k~c u.

B: Yes, we just lived there one year and then we built our house downAthe block


where the Ramada Inn is now. We built that in 1915.


P: Now the house that you lived in across the street in 1914, who lived next door


to you then?


B: The Scotts.


P: |agjs- I thought Dr. Murphree had lived in that block at one time.


B: Nell, he lived in that same block,at-eone- imo. Wait a minute, Dr. Farr lived


in that same block. Dr. Murphree lived across town.


P: I think tha-t originally the Murphrees lived over there maybe for one year.








B: -I-wiii tell you where they lived. -Tb-ws next to the Seagle Building. in those


apartments.A Therc erw two stairs and two d stairs and they had the two up-


stairs.


P: And I think that Dr. Crow lived downstairs for awhile.


B: No, he was living right there where that Texaco filling station is now.


P: I know where that house, that little bungulow was'then. But you a&4 the Rarrs lived


in te block) ten, across the street.


B: Yes, where we were the first year.


P: Some place along the line I -had- heard those referred to as the Gracey houses.


B:/\I do lot know that the Graceys ever lived there. They probably them to rent.


P: I see. And the Colesons lived in the house that has just been torn down, the


KA house.


B: n I believe th-er the~b i -at 4 -t-hat- they lived there. ea-ha +-l ( t$ J


P: I think that bt4e- was their private residence for awhile.


B: I think that it was for a while and then theyrented it orf d it to the KAs.


P: Then you lived the rest of your life all the time since in this house on University


Avenue until you moved it in 1960 to it s present location. So that house dates


back to 1915r.Were the fraternities already on the corner? The PiKAs had not


built yet, had they?








B: No, they had at built. And actually we/badbought just seventy feet on University


Avenue when we bought. That place had" t been divided? Then the PiKs got on the

S&A-
corner and they had about 125 which left abett 100 between the Pik^s and us.


So we back to the man who owned it, a Mr. Wilson of the Wilson store, and now there 5


Sa story connected with that too. We went back to Mr. Wilson and asked him if he'4


sell us another 15 so that our property would/5 the same as the next pro-


perty.A So when the next property was built on that was a Mr. Edwards. I think that-


maybe he was in the dairy business, I u not quite sure, but he was a very distin-


quished looking sort of person. His wife was a nurse. We did het have any hospital


at that time and she would take patients in her home which I guess( a just south
Suv- A J"v w A w-t- 4U t J-t

of Depot Street.h ?o, they did"no"t build that house they bought it. There were other


people lived there at one time and I'At- not sure which people lived there first.
-tpc )PC I.

Ahyway it became the SPE house.and of course we were very glad that we had-ha


extra 15


P: Mr. Wilson then sold you the additional laad4-


B: Yes, he sold thatso they had the same amount. But when the house was built, because


our house was not on the center of the lot they took advantage of that and their porch


was quite close to the line. I think about three- o four feet/ This would n~t have


mattered with a private home, but when the fraternity came there they put their loud

speakers up c. -\ -eL "








P: And made lots of noise.


B: Unnecessary noise. It was just an open screen porch just about four feet from


the property line. Of course, eh w was a little distance in between but there wasiT


-ht anything to break the sound.


P: What was t~esocial life like for faculty and faculty wives aetrin those early


day s3f 4.'B


B: Well, I guess thafthere really was not very much. Afre, back in those


day people called. You went to call on the new people and they returned the call and


such.Ahat was about all. (nd- of id -n)- "


P: So when new faculty came you went aaip calle~ on them and they returned the call.


B: fhat was about alj there was e-at real get-together.


P: There was no formal social program on the campus for faculty wives?


B: No. The University Women's Club was startedSsome years later. I would not know
^;J wiA'd4 -hr
when. I think t t Dr. Murphree went to3Mrs. Leight and asked her to' organize it d- A


P: Were you particularly / friendly with the Murphree family?


B: Well, I was net intimate with them but I had known them actually back in Tallahassee.


Mrs. Murphree was sort of an invalid and she did nao- get around much. A niece, Mary


Murphree from a-se Alabama where the Murphrees are from, was in my class in


college. She lived with the Murphrees in Tallahassee. As I said there were about
q (1uer5 you l c( az 4 o
two automobiles in town are the time and Dr. Murphree had^-/\r p I dotAct remember
35







if'they had two horses or one, but of courseAthey-had-a Negro driver. He wea&- bring


him out and of course Mary would come. The driver would take the carriage home and then


come back for him at the appointed time. In Gainesville in the early days there was eeb


much transportation at all.


P: Were there many of these little surries that people had?


B: I do &-t believe h't there were., There buggies or surries for rent but I do not


believe tha many people kept sort of a carriage.


P: You walkedf/r Vxc^ Plt


B: Yes. Actually Gainesville encompassed a very small area.


P: ; here did you do your shopping? Your grocery shopping for instance?A You lived
away from town.

B: To some extent we telephoned for things. I do"net know where that store was.


There were four HIggenboggen brothers and I do et how manypf them worked in the store


and ran it, but some of them did. I doAnot know whether any of ;err family are still


living.


P: So you telephoned and they delivered things probably by surrey or carriage.1O


B: AProbably a wagon.


P: So you did noe have to go shopping like ladies do teody?


B: No. We might have gone X occasionally but I think t.h it was mostly by phone.


P: And if you went calling on them you went in Dr. Benton's little Ford.


B: Yes, Model T.








P: Were there dinner parties and this kind of thing in those days?


B: No. People did n do much entertaining. AI do remember YX this. There was one


very nice hotel in town, the White House Hotel which now has a bank on that side-. But


when anybody was coming to the university had anything to do the engineering


college we always entertained them at the house. I guess they could have been enter-


tained at the hotel, there probably were not any funds to do it anyway, but we always


entertained them at the house. There were ieot any parties or anything like that.


P: Nothing like you would have today, people getting together on an organized basisfrJd/
;: Mo, Ito.
W as there much relationship between the faculty and the students? Did you have engine r-


ing students over to your house?


B: Apccasionally we would have them in for a meal. I presume tbh~a-he other faculty


members did the same. I do et know if they did as much as we did, but we did to some


extent.


P: Where did your children go to school? Was that net a long way for them to go?


B: hatir -funny. The oldest childAhad learned to read when he was four. He had


a little playmate who lived about in the next block who was a couple years older


than he. So when Te-r1y was five, and there were no kindergardens, and this child


was seven they went to+- Teabow schoolwhich existed for a number of years and


wh-ieh is now a parking lotj Then the next year ewy had to go to that school way


across town so we went in with two other neighbors who had children going and took
37







turns taking them and bringing them home from school.


P: at do you mea by taking
5o:*whr2q 1,T Ah V-,qj, C r 0-0y
B: Idwa~ts take them in the carKt was more than a mile, it was a long way. By
"JoJ LL I V .-C=L( "-Wa, ,

that time a few people had cars1 1 4nW


P: Then you picked them up in the afternoon.


B: That is right. It wasnet too long before the place that s now the Santa Fe


Junior College was built.


P: Beauholtz.


B: It became the Beauholtz school. It was n-t called that at first of course. I


do, et know what they called it. The children there and in fact, I do not believe


er6tpa y had his third grade over there and I think that was the only year that any of


them had to go there for regular school. A little bit later Charles ha-d= go-there


for kindergarten. By that time we kindergarden know T;-ry finished in


that old high school thatyis now the Santa Fe and went on to the university. By


the time P. K. Yonge was started the other three went over there. Charles just had


one year oaef there. He was twelfth grade and they finished up in P.k.


P: Mrs. Benton, tell me about the Farrs. You were neighbors of the Farrs.


B: Well, just for one year. They moved across town/by the time we built and I doh/


ea think t heF I saw anything more of them after that. The older girl was several


years older than my children. I do-se remember how much difference but maybe there


38








was five or six years difference in those girls. The younger girl was just a little


older than my oldest child. But as I say they moved across town so I did-nou see


very much of them.


P: Your path s did not cross very often?


B: No. It was too hard to get around. When somebe-dy lived clear across town that


was too far b walk.


P: Mrs. Farr was kind of a social-minded woman was" she.f+4-


B: Yes.


P: I met Mrs. Farr and talked with her.


B: I guess thatDr. Farr has been ddad for some time.


P: Yes. \.


B: When did he die?


P: About five or six years ago. Not so terribly long ago. T But I visited with them


in Jacksonville.


B: Where are the girls? I guess tht they are both married.


P: Yes.


B: Where do they live?


P: One lives in Savannah and I dohn know where the other one lives. But they were
I e
kind of exciting for Gainesville, I would suspect: from all of the stories t!t I have-


heard.






ttW/ WA/
B: Well that is right. They were a little different. And the older girl-wel-t they


were both nice enough looking, but when the other one came along I guess Mrs. Farr


had decided t~t she was going to have a son and she did net and she dressed that girl


more or less like a boy as long she could. That was right conspicuous because people


were much more conformist in those days.


P: And Mrs. Farr was anything but a conformist.


B: That is right.


P: I ha-e heard all about her parties and the bridge playing over at their house


and so on.

'4 h
B: Well, I did net play bridge so I did e-t get into that.


P: Was church one of your main interests and activities over the years, Mrs. Benton?


B: I think so. Actually I taughtASunday school class.A I kept on teaching until


my first child was bornP.I am afraid tba

the trouble of the distance and the trouble of Pk-things that had to be attended to


at home.


P: How about the Andersons? Were they particularly close to you and Dr. Benton?


B: That is -ght, they were. Dr. Anderson was a good friend of Dr. Bentono and I


adored Mrs. AndersOn.


P: Where did they live?


B: )Yight where they live now. Right where Jane lives if you know where that is.


)40








-Et-is just a block from the present Presbytrian church.A,There were twins, a boy and


girl, and the boy was a special friend of my oldest So, iery#. here was another


one in the class with Charles but they were not close friends, they were just casual


friends. But Trer-y and George Anderson were real good friends.


P: A0o you remember the flu epidemic of the first World War?


B: Oh yes, yes. Who would forget it. Dr. \Vpp4 who taught math died f that.
p.: Kpr, r .
: He was a wonderful person.


P: A good friend of Dr. Benton.


B: That is right. Of course, I had known him ever since I had been in Gainesville


and admired him very much. Actually, he was the one ho took over my Sunday school


class when I dropped out. He lived with the Burgers who lived on 13th t-. just a


block from University Av~ue.


P Only they called it9th 4t-. in those days,d i t


B: That is right. So the Burgerswerea sogood friends of Dr. Benton/. They had just


the one daughter, the adopted daughter. Actually she was frs. Burger wn niece, her


sister's child, and she grew up here in Gainesville. She died not too long ago. She


had just one child but her daughter lives away somewhere else. Mrs. Burger's


daughter married Dale Hume, a son/of Dr. Hume who taught here.


P: So the flu epidemic was a bad time for Gainesville, WLU ~-l


B: It was terrible. Dr. KRapd had been working for the YMCA and I doAet whether
41







V^ it
---wfas in other states than Florida or just entirely/\Florida, but anyway he got some-


where along. And he knew that he was ill he wanted to come home. By that time


he had gotten married, he was an old bachelor when he married. He had just been


married during the-Christmas holidays before that and this was the fall. ft-ws-


-Spteb.er just when school was starting. And he came back to Gainesville to die.


That was the most tragic thing because he was -jx-b-i-meeb wonderful person. And


of course a lot of people died and it was terrible for pregnant women. It went terribly


hard with them.


P: Was there anyone in your family ill?


B: No, we escaped it.


P: Did you have to do any nursing on campus with the students?

'A
B: I guess that I did-net because I was tied down at home with little children. But


those who were free / did I 'am- sure. And one of the most vali nt workers was Mrs. Icl I


Mrs, E.S. Walker, Col Waler 's-wif-e, Walker Hall 4 named for her husband. She was really


a wonderful person. A lot of people did' ef entirely approve of her methods but she


was good.hearted and a hard worker and worked among the poor and the sick. f e used


her own money, she was a Striell and they had means, besides his salary. He was


a retired army officer and h1 probably got something from that. Also he taught in


the Engineering College for years and years.


P: Mrs. Benton, what kind of a person was Dr. Benton? Was he close to his children?

42








B: Oh, yes. He adored his children. They were just something wonderful to him.


He grew up before the day of Boy Scouts at least if there was such an organization


he did -ne get to belong to it. His mother was sort of a semi-invalid so about all


-tha his father could do was 6 look after his mother. So Dr. Benton did net have


much in the way of all the activities that are opento boys these days Ae just did


not have any of that. He was just thrilledAto do something with his .we-children.


P: And he had so many boys.


B: Well, he had four.


P: So he was a real friend as far as his children were concerned. He was not stand-


offish and aloof.


B: No, and while, I guess he had the reputation of being pretty strict in his grading aA


Aand somebody said this to me the other day, now you do not need to put this in the


record either, you htd better cut this out,-Dr. Crow had flunked him in Spanish when


he was working for his masters degree. And I said that I knew that he had done it


for more than one person and I thought that it was a mistake.A If a person, if that


was net his main interest and ( he was just taking that Spanish to get the credit


because he had /I to have / it to get his degree)and if made almost a passing mark


why not give him a passing mark.? i? Dr. Crow just hued to the line.


P: Was Dr. Benton that kind of a grader?


B: He was to some extent, but I do e-e believe that he would have failed a man if

1143








he were right on the edge of passing. But I was going to say that I do know that


some his students who were poor students were good friends. So I do ret think haet


he was too unreasonable.


P: What did he do in his spare time? If in those days a professor had any spare time.


B: AVow as I said, he told me tht he had /(I/, taught every subject that had been


offered in engineeringeat one time or another. I know that he had taught astronomy


at one time. And I know that this Dr. K-pp d J also taught astronomy at one time.


I think that maybe Dr. K fiA was still teaching astronomy at the time he died. I doh'+


eat remember. I told you that he did"not have the advantage of boy scouts and X he


bought 2-acres near where the airport is and later he got another -E acres adjoining


it so there is acres. He built ahsmall log cabinwith the help of his janitor


who was Zeke Hodge. The cabin was oet completely finished when he died., The


windows where to be shutters, there were two shutters and a door. The door was ,


was just wood slats nailed together./ kf course, the flooring was wood slats. IAnd


Dr. Benton loved to go out there and take the children. We usually went on Saturday


afternoon. I guess thatswea-the only time that we had much recreation. I generally


did not go because that was a good time to see that all .~f their clothes were in good

,4J S't/"af SLQ/cR^
repair for Sunday school

7
P: That was a little holiday for you. Did you do all of the work around the house.


B: No, I had a maid. But I had a big house...
44








B: Yes, plenty of cooking because you didoe-t- have all p these prepared things.


You cooked from scratch. You did no-t have any c these easy spfhfigds which didh


not trouble me too much. I remember thrt there was a man that had a little mill that


ground wheat and you go and get youYwheat flour there. Well, what I did if it was


fairly course, I wt-~ d sift the coa'er part out and cooked it as a cereal and then used


the other fine part in baking. I baked all of the bread for the family. I w -d cook1

loaves
two big pans, four / / in a pan at a time. When the children would come bew- from
(P;T7q'-C kqrl
1ey e have
school, you know how children areJhey we-e hungry and they would to get some bread


and jam St-UH.


P: Mrs. Benton tell me about your boys? The oldest?


B: The oldest was T a-y. Well he was r/l/ interested in most everything. Oh, I will


tell you one funny thing about Tcr',. Did you ever know Dr. Speed Rodgers?


P' Yes.


B: J Rodgers played along with my children./ He was about the age of HerbertrL"/
B: ^ -4 s/a-^ ifc^^fay. OA;^K is odgerfs playe f((10y
a^t J-6, o-e ^-V r; e-
about the age of my third boy.A One time at school the teacher had asked something


and Jimmy Rodgers h~d-g-e a very sensible answer. It was probably pertaining to


natural history. And she asked him how he knew that. this was before the day


of TV of course, maybe she thought th-t his parents had told him or he had looked it


up in some book or something. She asked him how he knew; and he said "Terry Benton


said so." ZNf Pey Benton said so, it was so.
Fr S~jtt' WK, ^. J<.J^j/








P: When was Terry born Mrs. Benton?


B: He was born in the summer of-~l15.


P: And he was born right here in Gainesville?

,.1 (
B2 AActually he was born in Williston. We were building the house. Actually they k-L


-wee just starting to-bu-d--t- wh e& he was born. And we went down 6o n father's


house. '

-7 f
P: He was born then in your father's home. Where is Terry now?


B: You did not know? We lost -eTy.


P: Oh, Terry is the oneAyou lost. I thought that it was one of the younger chrdren. -


i'here are -T-erry*s children?


B: Ter-ry was no- married. .That is sad too. Do not put this in. t",i-' '~


P: The next boyswe?? -yre wA5 7/- 1) l!!/ ?


B:A Well, Charles is the second sonaid heski in Pen sacola.


P: And he is a phiysicianSlt 15 Ve *


B: Yes, a-.diai-n.
?, A -e CU i OC-*A V, E k
f3' yte&C.
P: Ad- he did his undergraduate work here at the university?


B: .And he got a teaching fellowship at Berkeley. Now that was before the day of


the riots.


P: Where did he do his medical work?


B: He was out at Berkeley three years. But because he was doing e;stede- teaching
46,








he had nit cfmpleted-his thesis. He had passed all of his class work and all of that


when he went into the service. They offered Officer's Training Corps and when he


applied for that he did a-t get /Then they offered the chance to go to medical college
?: -4e tcK +h4.
.. B' /-s, h-e CUA +wt'
and he, Atee~kte -. He was stationed in Staten Island so he had a chance to / go into


New York and apply in person, I think. Anyway, it just happened tha they were filled


up. I think that the quota was or something for the freshman year. B't they were 4, ht


filled up. But they did agree to take two extras and Charles was one them. 'So he


was lucky about that.


P: So he and his family live in Pensacola.


B: That is right.


P: Now your third son?


B: ~hat is Herbert. Well, he was in the Navy. Hie was on an LST.'A It 's a great big


ship. They lost one or two LSTS5 I know one time he landed in Sicily in a life boat.


I do0net know whether most of the men got there or not.A I just know that he got there.


He J never dos tell me those things and I always hate to ask him. There were too


many terrible things.


P: Now he did his undergraduate work here at the university too?
P: Ilf <^cP lu qtt hAS de f3: /
B: Yes, he graduated from here.4 Actually, he could not-now do not put this in the


recordq--he could let stand being Dr. Benton's son. Herbert wasnoEt the scholar that


pth others were and he just felt that he had too much to live up to. And Tyrae had


47








a wonderful record. Tyrie graduated as the high man in the whole engineering college,


not just in his section but in the whole engineering college. Dr. Tigert's son
So) )DtV CO V.AA VAf Et d0 U ,

graduated in engineering the same year.A Xow do not put all of this in, but I do no-t

mentioned
mind telling you. On commencement day Dr. Tigert speciallyATyree and lauded him as


being a brilliant son of a brilliant father. Well, Herbert stand having to live up


to his father's reputation and Tyree's and Charles's. Charles and John are both


Phi Beta Kappa. So he wanted to go somewhere else. So he went to Antioch for two

So +
years and then by that time Charles had graduated ad- he did" et have anybody to


contend withso he came back and graduated here. He graduated in business administra-


tion. He is a CPA down at Boca Raton.


P: And he is married? S


B: He is married and has a little girl about thi4Aeen. S[d -


P: Now tell me about your youngest son, Mrs. Benton.


B: Well, thats-s John. He graduated here and as I said he was Phi Beta Kappa. Ay


older brother was working with an insurance company with headquarters in New York,


so X in-i--juni he got a job up there Ythe summer between his junior and senior


year. By that time, John had gone into t e engineering college but at the end of


two years he had shifted to Arts and Science ith ,ath as a major. So he was up there
r TATPE 9
a4%6Iv SIDE 7
in the office working and they offered him a job definitely when he graduated
A

if he wanted to take it. And they even told him that he did iaot have to say t4"+4

t48









wouIld-take--i until he graduated/X They would leave it open. But John felt that he


had to make his decision before he went into his senior year. he Af-ET -


medicine would be more of a challenge. So he still graduated as a math major his-


seniof -ear but he did -at have any time for math that yearA He had to take some


things that he would need in medicine.


P: So he went into medicine too?


B: Yes, he is a pediatrician too.


P: Where is he?


B: We think tht-he~is in South America.


P: 'q he's-i the one I went / to South America, *


B: Colombia.


P: So you have two sons who are doctors and one who is a CPA.


B: Yes. (i


P: Mrs. Benton, I know therfyou hev played an active role in the University
-7

Wompn's Club A Were you president for one year?


B: No, I never was. I guess maybe I as? a slacker but I do n-ot like to take on


responsibility. So I have never had any office. But I have been interested and


until the last year or two have managed to attend. But the whole thing is so large
-P "B>T T-, 3 ,

now, ye-see, you' u lost. I do go to what they call the old timers group of e4


women's club. But I hardly every get to the University Woeab-fntrk iTem

49








P: Were you close to the Tigerts? Dr. t Hr-s. T'

B: I feel ty3e I was close to Mrs. Tigert, yes. Dr. Tigert of course was a friend
1,- ')
but I never saw so much of him. ButAI relied on Mrs. Tigert. She was wonderful, is


wonderful. I do'e-t know how well you know her but she VS a wonderful person.


P: What do you mean t A you relied on her?


B: Well, I mean in time of trouble. I r sure that she and Mrs. Andersen were one-1^


of the first people that I wanted to know about Tyree.


P:A Were you close, I mean did you talk to each other on the phone-aad- this kind of


thing?


B: No. I felt that she as the wife of the presidentAhafd-lt -of-respon&abi-ities-,-


But I think that I can say that we were good friends.


P: When did Dr. Benton pass away? What year?


B: A.-.Enaa -ry--O


P: So he passed away shortly after the Ti erts moved to Gainesville.


B: Two years.


P: He served under Dr. Murphree first and during the interval that Dr. Farr was


acting president and then Dr. Tigert. Did you know the Millers and R\~fzs and

7
the later presidents.


B: I really never knew Dr. Miller. I ~kw Mrs. Miller slightly. Maybe first in the


University Women's Club. I have never / known her/ too well. The Reitzs I had known

50








from way back. Not intimately but I had known them fairly well. 2hey came here when?
A
-7
-I-136 or something. and were here some years. They went to the Presbytrian church


and I would see them at churc!and would be in some groups with Mrs. Rietz and so


on. So I had known them.

life
P: Do you think bhat the /F~#f of the students has changed considerably since the


old days? ? P: a4 +T TOt + &4 4-Ltu a, t pl -
IM^Jt^~ S-M^^~S ~wU d B: I't afraid tht it has.

e.
P: For the better or for the work?


B: Well, I just dohlet understand all y this rioting and demanding al4-f this,


that and the other. /hat we should have / certain courses set up because we want


them and we should have a voice in hiring the faculty. I dooe-t believe in all ecf


that I cannot understand that.


P: Do you think tha-t -maybe there is too much permissiveness.


B: I 9m afraid so.


P: Did you raise your children on the permissive philosophy?


B: Not entirely. Now this is wicked so do not put this in. You know I blame


the pediatricians for at least some of this permissiveness.


P: I am not going to tell Charles this now.


B: Well, you can tell Dr. Spook. Thatsi all part of it. Now one summer, I have for-
*u iaA Sort EC R" cU Ym
gotten the man's name, a man under whom John had been working after he got his M.D.

51








interning in Indiana. John had invited them down to stay at the cottage d4wn at the


lake and I saw something there. And there was just that same permissivenesS. They had


a little girl three years old and there was je o much of that permissiveness. And


there's ~ too much of it in John's family. I do ;ot believe that there is in Charles9


family.

a, ',, a4PapcA, nAA 4-t +Wt V
P: ,ou have be'e a te to look at ot-des ae for a long time.' Do you think


tat they had too much in the way of cars and spending money and freedom?


B: I'ram afraid that some of them do. I can see that cars are nice and useful and


since the town has grown and stretched out in all directions and the university has


grown so big, cars are really nice to have. -ve-tiugh I do At drive anymore,


I gave up nearly three years ago.


P: I presume t-ft you gave up that Model T that Dr. Benton had a long time ago.


B: That is right. But I have glocoma and I felt thet the time had come that I


might just as well give j up7 because I could nih go to church or to the grocery


store without getting int trafficand I just felt that it was time to give up


driving. So I gave up. Even several years ago, I do n t remember just when


this was, somebody was quoting about how many students had cars and some of them

4hos-
even had two cars. Well the-ones- who had two cars were mostly married students


living inAFlavets, e wanted M the car to get to his classes and do what he wanted

and she wanted the car to do 9,e errands and so on. There was a time when whe in Uw't A


52








freshman and sophomores wTeve not )6 be permitted to have cars on the campus. It


seemed to ie at the timeA that was net a bad rule. At-leeat-it would keep down


a few of the cars. But if it was ever passed it did aet- last long.


P: Mrs. Benton, I want to get back to Dr. Benton and his educational philosophy.


What was his phskr ophy towards students and education in general? Would you say
that he was a conservative.

B: I suppose so. Now, this made me feel gook. Someone who had lived here I reckon


since he went to school here and he and his wife have come back to live here. He


was quoting about some students who were in his class 9e anyway he must have been


taking something under Dr. Benton. He might not have been /~W-/1 an engineering


student, he might jiu have been taking physics, I do aet know. But Dr. Benton


called him into the office and said, "You are-not living up to your capacities/i-tr


what you really could do. You could do better than this." I done-t-know how


many students Dr. Benton had talked to that way but I do think that he felt a-'-


interest of his students very much. And I do know that when they graduated/, ind


there was not any very good set up $ to take care of -ings, not nearly as much as


there is nowbut Dr. Benton and another man who taught in the engineering college


for -aur~-ber--of years, Mf. Chandler, who was not here a great many years. He


came from here from OklahomaSe somewhere where they had oil leases and suchan-


hehtad gotten a little of the money out of that. But anyway they were nice people,


Mr and Mri. Chandler. But they had had some kind of a set up to help students

57








get jobs when they graduated. So with his help Mr. Chandler and Dr. Benton got


this Florida Engineering Society organized.


P: Oh yes.


B: I dotnht know how much you know about it. But it was a wonderful thing because


that meant thE they were in touch with the men who were doing engineering and it


gave them a bridge to place their students. As long as Dr. Benton lived, if a


student did oe-t have a job when he graduated Dr. Benton was in touch with him until


he got a -job. Now, do ne-t put this in. This is terrible.


P: I wanted to ask you f Dr. Benton was interested in sports. Was he ahlt-cly


minded?


B: Well, he played tennis, but back in those days I guess he generally got


a complimentary ticket to the ball games. Well, I never went because -ihad four


little boys to chase after.


P: Did D-,-Ben-tn like football?
b, bv T 1('k-P ft~a~k
7--.' D bD a^"-^ 6 rA^U^
B: ifLe liked to go to the games. The last fall he took Tyrfe. Back in J those days


the little boys would go and peek through the cracks iand watch part of the games-


but anyway he took Tyrye. Oh, before the football game there Ld always be an


alumni luncheon. That would be in the mess hall. It would be a real set un luncheon.


I could go to that with Dr. Benton but then I oul-d have to go back home and keep







an eye on the children. / But he always went.


P: And enjoyed them.


B: I think that he did.


P: Where were the tennis courts? He played tennis.


B: \I think that mostly he played on a private court which was on S.W. 2nd Avenue.


I could no-t tell you exactly where but pretty close to where we lived. Juf '41x CL scu


P: And this is where he got his recreation?


B: Yes, he piddled around in the yard some. He did oot know anything about grow-


ing things but he did piddle around a little bit.


P: Was he a w iker?


B: Well, he did"net / do like some/people today, just get out and walk. But he


always walked to class7he never used the car. You see it was net very far. That


was one reason tt we built where we did because it would just make a nice walk


for him. Except f~T when he wettd have some equipment that was too heavy o bring


over.


P: How about fishing? Did he like to fish er hunt?


B: No, he never fished or hunted.

7
P: He never was inclined in that direction.


B: A/e took it out on building this log cabin.


P: Who were his closest friends among his colleagues on / campus?


55








B: Well, Dr. Anderspn, Dr. Crow, Dr. Kfa4 Now, those men were all somewhat older


than Dr. Benton. Dr Burger, hough he did net see so much of him,was a good


friend. I guess he came over from Lake City with that group.


P: Yes, these were all men who had been over there I believe.


B: You do not to put this inj he died at my house.


P: You say thstyou went to Dr. Muphree's funeral.


B: Yes, he was buried in Tallahassee. Dr. Andersen was in the dar. He said this,


I thought that this was interesting, he said that when the Buckman Bill passed


he, Dr; Andersen was offered a job in each college at the university and y Tallahassee.


And he decided that he etAd rather come to the university and be in a man's school.


But I thought that that was rather interesting that theyaet~uay appointed himn a64(


in both placesso he could take his choice.


Pi. That was certainly a compliment to him.


B: I guess hat he was a wonderful scholar.

7
P: How about the Floyds.


B: Well, they were friends, bt not close friends. They lived way across town. They


lived on the same street as the Methodist church.


P: That would be First street now.A Somebody told me, /I was interviewing a


former student, he told me that the best two professors JKt he ever had were


Dr. Benton and Dr. Floyd.






B: -^ ^ Iv^ Majri he (
B: Major Floyd.A I do uot believe tjf he had degree. But he had been a major 1 h~-
P~ I I
P'if- P:
whi ch-was a title from the old East Florida Seminary. So he always had that title1 rnt5


He was in agriculture somewhere alohg. I do Act know just what he taught.
iB: 8,1- kid Lm" re_iv'J-c

P: And probably taught botany and hose kinds of courses./ Do you remember when the


library was built and the auditorium was built on campus.


B: Now this is a sad thing and you do hne need to put this in.i I a-tualy remember


the mans name who was fe architect and there were a lot of flaws that should ant have


been in those buildings. I remember that they asked Dr. Benton abou doing some things

IS
to correct some things. That was after the buildings were built. That man was probably


dead and gone now, B f '- /"l .,


P: Was Dr. Benton involved in planning on the campus, deciding where buildings were


going to go?q Was this part of his responsibility at all?


B: Not that I know of.A But he said this to me one time that originally they had


planned to build homes for the faculty on the campus.


P: Yes, this was on the original planAto do >f$j just that.
13. + (-s ? p : s. B: We \ 3'iw 1,,l, q B: After Dr. Benton died, I felt real glad that that had not- been in effect because


we had our own home and it would have been a terrible struggle to gEt-p and move V
we h' o oow>:n f[L T: t g /\ o
A when everything was iia-eturmoi-- and in the deeression/j a4 Su tJ .

were
P: When Dr. Benton passed away you yQ^/ a young woman with little children to raise.


B: Well, Tyre was 140and John was almost / Charles )th birthday was the day his


57








father was buried. Herbert was about (4,


P: You had a big responsibility.


B: I had plenty of-t-hinge to do.


P: Dean Benton's death came as a sudden shock. He had not been sick


B: No, as I say the doctor's called it grip- until that last day and then pneumonia


set in. tj


P: He had been visiting up north and had come home. AHe passed awayin Gainesville)





B: Yes.


P: Was there a hospital -in--ainesvill]e-or did he die-at home?


B: ge died at home. I dolot think t there was any hospital. They did have


oxygen. They sent an oxygen tent to the house. I know when I called the doctor,


Dr. Thomas;- Sye Dr. Thomas and Dr. King lived on 12th Terrace where I am right


now just around the corner from us. Dr. Thomas was our doctor and he ha been there


that morning. He would come several times a day. Not that Dr. Benton was so terribly
,,,, 1 L W A ai &M b 7 / Ais PI cT ju ..
sick but it was\pa-the-way-out-o-his-home-. And heda. already been there. I had


gotten up to give him his breakfast and I went in to give him his orange juice or


something and I saw that things were just different. So I called Dr. Thomas and


he tked-Ei-tg-4hi~g--wer-et-a I sai "Much worse." So he said he would send


a nurse, b- I sai dth-at-) -J-1ewrega egin'g d-hr- ,,her-he=serd-one-

58







at night so that- I eti4d rest. B- Dr. Thomas sensed what would happen-and he said 'tfw


/-that-he-ee~d -sad a nurse for the day andA/o for the night. In other words they


went on twelve-hour duty at that time. So he did. So the people who were living next door


to me at the time,NMrs. Edwards was a nurse. she came over just as a 4fi/ neighbor.
&t (rm^-4 4ej -W Hi-e < K/r f" ^U-aJ-r i(4t ca-- jL( c-11. -t a,,a 4 de- 7) "
We called in another local doctorX doctor from Jacksonville. The doctor from


Jacksonville I suggested because it was %mebody that Dr. Benton knew Nobody thought


that.he would get well. They just knew tiat- it / was the end and I knew it too, but


I thought b4.t if Dr. Benton got well I.A..l be glad that X/ this man had


come. But they all knew after t4tes thing happened that there just was ia any chance.


P: And today it probably might be..... e


B: No, we have so many drugs now that we did"rot have then. hey got the sulfur


drugs some years later and they the antibiotics and they have all sorts of


things.


P' Is Dr. Benton buried here in Gainesville?


At Evergreen. Actually that was the only / cemetery hhe at the time.


P: Now the Benton Engineering Society/ 'his was a student group that he had organized


here at-the--time?


B: That is right.


P: It5j$one of the oldest organizations here on the campus. Is it still in operation?


B: As far as I know it ie. o i tu Ty pre~ K(r{


59








P:. What about Sigma Si? Was he responsible for bringing that here?

B: I do -et know. 7/ 4 .


P: 4 e was Phi Beta Kappa 1+ uaLu, '


B: 4Charles has his key. IV thought tiht-he would like to have his father's key


so he just had his name added AJ 4-t L Lt Ji n.

P: And Dean Benton wrote a textbook.


B: Called Electrical Engineering.


P: This was his major field, electrical engineeringand physics?

B: Well, physics really was his major field. Dr. Murphree was the one who asked him


to take over and organize the engineering college. I do noetknow the exact date when
bjLtv< r-v*
that was started core can Dr. Murphree came i here in the


summer of 1909 and I suspect that it would have been the next year.p~oming over

and -king over bhe new university he w4y ~~hv of things to think

about/without starting a new college. J V.

P: How did Dr. Benton and Dean Leigh get along?


.: They were both scientists,aA we were good friends. They lived across town.

P: I know where the Leighs lived.

B: They called the place Fair Oaks, it was a nice place. Because they had a big


place and my children, they did ne- have any children of their own, we could go
t Iernootnb u h od "-'

over there and take the children na Sundaiyafter because theI enjoyed
57





r-C 0-, (,P te, PICIv\W

P: And Mrs. Leight?


B: She was a fine person.


P: She was something of a character too, was sherte-.


B: That is true. Now $ do et- quote me on this. She was bossy I guess. ISf"


P: I think that everybody agreed to that about Mrs. Leigh.


B: But we were good friends.


P: g to any of her harvest moon suppers?


B: No, I do not believe so.


P: How about the Leakes.


B: Well, we were good friends with the Leakes.


P: Dr. and Mrs. Leake and Di. and Mrs. Bristol, they were almost neighbors were they net?


B: Yes, the Bristols lived not very far from us. AnvMrs. Bristol is still living.


P: Where does she live? Tallahassee or here? Hrs TBsts
BF 3 cu weayn _il. i uiO? Ie \te U ~(-CUA[&me(, l< k c Us '{^s., P /J^ X vWnt fTi, tiJ-
4M {, { I ^tu XO4 __ i^ S.. fti^ -Ci{ 4HUt. Hld- sk ^ k ^A
B: She lives ight here whereA be=htas always lived.A, ut she does not see well and


A bcause-te "s~--he bsgsst go out anywhere. I can understand that because I ~naot <


see very well myself but I still go. Because I think t~at it is a sensible thing


to do. /X/# otor 4 son: they had two children daughter a son The daughter


is married and lives in Jacksonville, I think. LoWS married a-d they didaot-


ha-e any children, his wife / still teaches over in Tallahassee and he has a job


here at P.K. This is kind of a funny set up but at the mornt it i& a good thing for
58








his mother that he is here. ,


P: Do any of Dr. Benton's former students ever come through Gainesville?


B: tell you something funny. This happened seveFal years ago A tually
Sya o. s.ctua1lj


nowadays itisimhard if you come to a ball game or -'sG g like tha Ayou can at
'9: No^, yct> jM-4 &Aa get out of traffic to go stop any where. My niece from Jacksonville beach has that


troubleN She would look me up an time that she 4! in Gainesville but sometimes she
A\ \t

just cannot st6p. But some years ago, this young ma Awho was from Cr ent City 0 -rr


This is what he said, I went through school milking I~nenerva/. einerva was an old


cow tat wve had. We had a cow at one time. je was a country boy/h d but he


never learned to milk until he got that job.


P: Where did you pasture Minerva? B ,-
?,. Uja y^ /wu? yhisP,7 .n
B: We pastured her in the backyard. The yard went back 384 -. and there was" t


anything built back there ee. But eventually as the town grew up wa had to give


Minerva up.A But this young man had... he had finished in engineering and I think


that he was working in Miamiar4d he had come up here for something, maybe a home-


coming game or/an engineering something I thought that that was real funny but


-5
I appreciated hiw coming to see me. Some of the others used to come but they do not


anymore, but it partly beeauee of not being able to get your car out of traffic.
r -/
P: 'Was Dr. Benton Y11 a diary keeper? tU T a r-


B: I think that he aSS. J d 9
59








P: He put his thoughts down on paper?


B: Not much,Abut just briefly what he had done, 't. 'OV4a,


P: I wanted to ask you if there was anything else that you wanted to tell me. We


have talked about so many things that Iiamadr if we have left any of the important


things out.


B: I do think and I have said this before;now do not put this in the record.


I dv think that at the time that Dr. Benton was living he was the most brilliant man

Tyrie _
on the campus. I do think that my son was the most brilliant student. Now there may


have been some since that have exceeded-


P:AI think that it was recognized during his lifetime that Dr. Benton was an

person
extraordinarily brilliant, capable and a very able teacher.


B: I think so.


P: Do you think t4eat he was a good administrator?


B: Re hated the administration.A~You de-et- haveAthis ond e you?


P: Yes.


B: Well, I am not going to "ell you.


P: I will turn it off.


P: ......Dean and Mrs. WiAe came to Gainesville?/)


B: Oh, yes. He brought Wije here. AWes was just a young man. He came as / an in-


structor I am pretty sure. I have heard Dr. Benton say tt-tTi-le-was=~ #=worth.his --

60








salary for what he saved the university in purchases for the engineering college. And>


of course5 they did not have much money to purchase fftt


P: It was a poor school.


B: ThererwaoP 'TSS much money stirring in Florida. T1 4 e& uU- ao^


P: Then we went into that real estate collapse in the 1920 s.


B: That was 1925. I believe. A-C4 J-"'


P: Then the hurricane.


B: Then the stockmarket in 4-29 and then all of those depression years.


P: Everything got starved. Salaries and libraries and buildings.


B: I do not know just when this would have been but a number of the younger men


in the engineering college would accept jobs here and there because it wel4-pa y better.


I told Dr. Benton if he really wanted to go somewhere, my father was still living he


died just two years before Dr. Benton, that I was willing to go with him. I felt


responsible for father but I also felt tha ifyDr. Benton/hought he was bettering


himself and his career,'I was willing to go with him. But he felt that he was es-


tablished. He had thrown in his lot with the university and he would stick it out


and besides we had our own home.


P: And your children had their friends.


B: Yes, and you have to think about those things. But I think that he felt primarily


that he had come here and he wanted to stick it out here.
61







p: Do you feel that the university has been nice to you since Dr. Benton's death?


B: Yes, I think so. I will say that the /1/ Wi- were always especially nice to


me. Mr. Wi-e just felt that Dr. Benton had jut-given him his chance and they were


always especially nice to me. And one thing Naf-I appreciated whenafter the first


4, died and
Mrs. W-e died and Wile married again, itdha Mrs. Wises and I


were always thrown together at some table or something and somebody wl -s


"Do you know each other?" and Mrs. Wlibe would-say-, "Oh yes, we are old friends."


0* was so nice of her. to say that. Actually we really were not more than acquaintances


but I thought that that was such a gracious to put it.


P: How about the VanLeers?


B: Well, I hope this is not on the record.... (Bs=of- id -tw-




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