Interviewee: A. Z. Adkins, Jr.
Interviewer: Sid Johnston
Date: September 14, 1984
A. Z. Adkins, Jr., was born in Gainesville on June 19, 1921, into a family that had
emigrated to the area before the Civil War. He was reared in Starke and graduated from
Bradford County High School in 1939. His college education was completed at The
Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, from which he graduated in 1943. After attending
infantry school at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in
November 1943, and sent to join the military forces in Europe. He participated in the
Battle of the Bulge where he was wounded and for which he subsequently received the
Upon returning to the United States, A. Z. Adkins enrolled in the University of
Florida College of Law, from which he graduated in June 1948. He established his
practice in Gainesville and continues to be active to this day. Mr. Adkins has been a
member of the State Board of Bar Examiners, the county solicitor for Alachua County
from 1958 to 1972, and the prosecuting attorney for Alachua County for fourteen years,
for which he received the prosecutor of the year award for the state of Florida for 1972.
This interview discusses the conditions in the College of Law just after World War
II and what it was like to be a returned GI attending college on the G.I. Bill. Extensive
discussion of the professors and their teaching methods is also included.
J: How are you this afternoon?
A: I am just fine.
J: Where were you born?
A: I was born in Gainesville.
J: What day?
A: On June 19, 1921.
J: Who were your parents?
A: My parents were A.Z. Adkins, Sr., and Lois Edward Adkins.
J: What did you father do?
A: Well, my father was one of thirteen children, and was born to a Cilil War veteran.
My grandfather was a Civil War veteran. He was born in New River, Florida,
which was a little settlement in the southwestern portion of Bradford County,
which is near Starke. My father was born March 16, 1877. He grew up on a
farm, and his dad died when he was seventeen. He then left that home with his
mother and younger sister, and operated a little store in the little settlement of
New River for a while. Then he went to Abbeville, Georgia, and took a course in
business law. Then Dad went to Cumberland University, which at that time was
in Lebanon, Tennessee. He attended Cumberland for nine months and got his
law degree. His roommate at Cumberland University was Glenn Terrell, who was
later to become Florida's most famous chief justice of the supreme court.
[Justice, Florida Supreme Court (1923-1964)] After Dad got his law degree, he
returned to his home county of Bradford, and opened a practice of law in Starke.
He was a general practitioner, I suppose you would call it in those days, until he
was appointed circuit court judge in 1925. He was circuit judge of the eighth
judicial circuit until he died on May 9, 1953. So my father was in this business for
My mother was born in South Carolina. She was born in 1889, and she
was one of nine children. In the Edwards family, there were five girls and four
boys. My grandfather on my mother's side was in the turpentine business and
moved his family to Bradford County before the turn of the century. He raised
his family in the little town of Lawtey, which is about six miles north of Starke.
He also had a place on Kingsley Lake. People refer to it now as Camp
Blanding, which is about six miles east of Starke. My mother and father were
married in Lawtey many years ago and had three children. I have two older
J: Why did your mama's and papa's parents come to Florida?
A: Well, my grandparents all died, with the exception of my maternal grandmother,
before I was born. As I understand it from the family history, my paternal
grandfather came to Florida before the War Between the States, and was a
veteran of the Confederate Army. I do not know why he moved to Florida from
South Carolina. But he he moved to Florida in the 1850s, and perhaps was
J: He would have found it.
A: That's right. My maternal grandfather moved to the Bradford County area
when there was only virgin pine timber there, and you could buy land, I think in
those days, for less than one dollar per acre. But all the people wanted was the
J: Did your maternal grandfather have a successful turpentine business?
A: Apparently he did, but again remember that he died when he was fifty years old,
which was long before I was born. But he was wealthy enough to educate all of
his children who wanted to be educated.
Now on my father's side I have the old family Bible and some of those
thirteen kids died at birth or in infancy, and not too many of them survived. But
all of the children on my mother's side survived--the five girls and four boys--and
they all lived to a ripe old age.
J: What are your sisters' names?
A: I have an older sister named Hazel Guy. She is a widow, and lives here in
Gainesville. My other sister is Lois Pope. She's married to Dr. Benjamin A.
Pope, Jr. who is a doctor of veterinary medicine in Norfolk, Virginia.
J: So, your father moved to Gainesville just before you were born, and left the
A: My father never moved to Gainesville. I was born in Gainesville because my
mother was here at the time. I was born in my uncle's and aunt's house.
Starke was my hometown, and where my mother and father lived. Why my
mother chose to give birth to me in Gainesville, I really do not know. Perhaps
they did not have any doctors in Starke in 1921. Still, I consider Starke my
hometown. That is where my parents lived, and where I was reared and where I
went to school and where I graduated from high school.
J: What schools did you attend?
A: Well, they only had one high school--Bradford County High School. It was
one big building with grades one through twelve.
J: All of the classes were in one building?
A: That is correct. They did have some elementary schools around the county, but
only one high school.
J: What year did you graduate from high school?
A: In 1939.
J: Did you work during your high school years?
A: No, not really what you would call work. I was living at home, but like a lot of the
kids, after school and on Saturdays, I would work at the drugstore jerking sodas
and waiting on tables or work at a filling station. You would make three dollars a
week doing that. In the summertime, I worked as a lifeguard at what they called
a landing on Kingsley Lake. I was a jack of all trades. If I was not on lifeguard
duty some church group or veteran's group would have a picnic or an outing, and
I would clean up and be a jack-of-all-trades to help out anyway the boss told me
J: That was quite a way from home in Starke.
A: No, not really. It was only six miles, and besides, my family had a place on
Kingsley Lake. I could get in my canoe and paddle across the lake and go to
J: What kind of occupations were you thinking about during your latter high school
A: Well, I do not think my mind was fully made then. My father and uncle were in
the legal business, and I guess my father was heading me in that direction. In
those days, you did more or less what your father told you to do.
J: You graduated from high school in 1939. What was your next step in life?
A: My next step in life was going to The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.
That is the military college of South Carolina. My father had indicated that I
could go to any college I wanted, but if I wanted him to pay for it, that is where I
was going. I was looking forward to it.
J: Did the military style of life appeal to you?
A: Well, in the formative years when you are seventeen or eighteen years old, you
do not really know until you are exposed to it. But, I will have to give The Citadel
credit for a lot of things that helped save my life. One is discipline, and the other
is comradeship, if that is the correct word. It is all on the honor system. There
are no locks on the doors, and you cannot tell a rich man's son from a kid on
scholarship because we all dressed alike. We all got up at the same time. We
all ate the same food and we were all subject to the same rules and regulations.
My experience at and graduation from The Citadel had a lasting effect on my life.
J: Where did your interest in law first come into play?
A: Well, I am sure it must have been during my days at The Citadel because if you
wanted to get into law you were supposed to take certain liberal arts
courses--political science, world government, history, English, and a language.
J: What was the application process to attend The Citadel?
A: I think all of it was done through correspondence, and if you were accepted, you
J: Would you have to write them an essay, or just say I would like to come and then
fill out a standard form?
A: I think that is right. My parents probably did that for me since they were footing
J: Do you have a sense of how much your education there cost?
A: Yes, I do. This was right after the Depression in 1939, and I remember him
stating that it would cost him $1,000 per year to send me to The Citadel. Now
that included clothing, tuition, books, room and board, laundry, medical, and
J: Did that include transportation there and back?
A: No, that was a little extra.
J: I bet that was a lot of money in 1939.
A: Why sure. I think my dad's salary in those days was around $7,500 as a circuit
J: That is a large chunk of money out of that salary.
A: Why sure it is.
J: So you were in The Citadel beginning in fall of 1939, and how long were you
A: I stayed four years, and I graduated in June or May 1943.
J: Did they offer any kind of law courses that would be properly called pre-law or
A: No, they did not. Oh, maybe a little commercial law, but nothing compared to
what you get in a college of law.
J: So you graduated with a commission in the army from The Citadel I take it, and
you were the prime candidate for service in the Second World War.
A: Well, normally I would have graduated with a commission, but none of us
did. The Citadel had a ROTC program which we were required to attend. They
had two units of ROTC--the coast artillery and infantry. I was in the infantry, and
normally when you graduated you received a commission in that branch of the
service. But to do that, you were required to go to summer camp between your
junior and senior years. Well, when we went to war in December 1941, the
program was changed and all ROTC summer camps were abolished. So even
though we had graduated and had four years of ROTC training, we were still
required to go to an officer's candidate school in our branch of the service. The
artillery boys had to go to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and the infantry boys went to the
infantry school at Fort Benning, Georgia. It did not make a hoot whether we had
four years of ROTC or not. We still had to complete that infantry school, and
some of us made it and some of us did not. But I was one of the fortunate ones,
if you want to put it in that light, to be commissioned a second lieutenant of
infantry in November 1943.
J: How long of a OCS program were you in at Fort Benning?
A: First it was ninety days. We used to call them ninety day wonders, and as I
understand it, when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor in December 1941, we
were unprepared in terms of material and men. So they would turn out ninety
day wonders as second lieutenants. Now, this was before the invasion of
Europe in 1944, and they told us at Fort Benning that quite frankly they had more
second lieutenants of infantry than they had hand grenades. They were going to
extend the courses approximately to four and a half months, as distinguished
from a previous ninety days. They told us there that they were going to separate
the men from the boys, which they proceeded to do. I think there were over 400
in what they called student training classes at Fort Benning, and over 400 of us
that started and there were 101 of us who finished.
J: Seventy-five percent of the class folded?
A: That is right.
J: So you finished that training and were commissioned a second lieutenant in the
infantry. What then?
A: Well, then we all got our orders. We were allowed to go home a little while, and
my orders read "report to the commanding general, 80th Infantry Division,
Detraining Point, Yuma, Arizona." Well, after being home I guess about two
weeks, I got on a train and went to Yuma, Arizona, to report to the commanding
general of the 80th Infantry Division. Well, we got there at three or four o'clock
in the morning and expected brass bands waiting on us and the general there to
shake hands with us, but we got off the train, we and lieutenants were coming
from all over the United States.They were all assigned to this particular infantry
division. We saw a truck and went over to it and the driver was asleep. We
woke him up and he said, "Okay, you louies get in the back." He took us out to
Camp Laguna, near Yuma, Arizona, which was just a little crossroad town in the
desert. Camp Laguna was about twenty-five miles out in the Mojave Desert.
At this time the allies were fighting in North Africa in the desert, and a lot
of infantry troops were going through desert maneuvers which made sense
because we were going to fight in the desert when we got to Africa. So, Camp
Laguna was the name of a tent city; all we had were tents. We started out with
squad problems, and the platoon problems and battalion and regiment until you
went through all the training. Then they would have a mock battle pitching one
infantry division against another. I have forgotten the other division. Maybe it
was the 104th Timberwolf Division. We did everything that you were supposed
to do as if you were in actual combat, except put bullets in your gun.
I stayed there I suppose from November 1943 until perhaps March or April
1944, and then they put us on trains and we went to Fort Dix, New Jersey. That
was like heaven. We were getting ready to go overseas and we knew it. But
after being out on the Mojave Desert all this time, with nothing to do...
J: Makes me feel hot just hearing about it.
A: Well, it was a little warm there in the Mojave Desert, but it was rigorous training
too. We went on night problems trying to climb mountains and maneuvering in
the desert. But we got to Fort Dix, New Jersey. It was a garrison which had
barracks with hot and cold running water. Fort Dix, New Jersey, is right outside
of Trenton, and we could get off every night and practically every weekend
unless there was some special duty. We had been saving our money for
several months because there is no place to spend any money in the Mojave
Desert, except for this little juke joint that I do not suppose you would want to
hear about on the Colorado River. But anyway, at Trenton they had a train
running every fifteen minutes to New York City, so everytime we had an
opportunity, some of us guys would go to New York City and just have a ball. I
recall that the people in New York were courteous to us. In those days one of
the good spots was Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe nightclub. They served
good food, and a serviceman could take a date there and have a couple a drinks
and a meal and see the show for about five dollars. They would give you extra
butter; they were real good to servicemen.
So, after Fort Dix I think they sent my division to Camp Kilmer, New
Jersey, and then we got on the Queen Mary and set out for England. Now
normally they send troops across the Atlantic in convoy escorted by naval ships
for protection. But the Queen Mary was so fast that it went without any escort.
I think we crossed in five days. Now they had converted the Queen Mary into a
troop ship. I think I was in a stateroom for two, but they had taken out all the
furniture and the beds and had canvas bunks from floor to ceiling. In fact, they
placed twenty of us in each of those cabins. I remember the Queen Mary had a
crew of 800. So we landed in Greenock, Scotland, and got on trains and went to
Ashton-in-Makerfield, England. I do not know why I am remembering all these
good names. I guess I had envisioned that they were going to put us in castles,
so we could take a few personal items. So I took that radio you see over
there.That belonged to my roommate at The Citadel. It is an old Crosley radio.
J: What year do you date it?
A: 1939, and if I was going to get a room in a castle, I needed my radio. Well, they
did not put us in castles; they put us in pup tents in a cow pasture. So we
stayed in England. We were there in July, I think and we stayed there a few
weeks. Then we went into Europe, and landed in Normandy. This was after
D-Day. The invasion of Europe was June 6, 1944.1 think my division got in there
the latter part of July, or the first of August 1944, with millions of other guys. So,
we fought a war in Europe and then came home.
J: Now you were in the Battle of the Bulge. Would you tell me a little bit about
A: I had been wounded and was in a hospital in England, and in those days, you
went through a series of hospitals. They keep taking you back as far as they
needed to, and I was as far back as you can go in a general hospital in England.
I had been shot in my leg and may have even broken my ankle. They said they
had cured me and needed experienced combat infantrymen like me. so I was
sent back to the continent and I rejoined my division in St. Avoid, France, in
At that time they were an army reserve. That is about as far back as you
can get in the infantry, but during this period of time we were still training. They
would show us new techniques of infantry fighting, new weapons, and things of
that nature. We cleaned your equipment and got replacements. As I
understand it, and from reading history, the Battle of the Bulge, was also known
as the Battle of the Ardennes Forest, or Von Rundstudt's offensive. Winter was
setting in. The Allied troops were spread out very thin from near the Baltic Sea
down through France. Hitler launched a surprise attack with armored divisions,
paratroopers, and infantry personnel to try and cut a path to the sea. As I
understand it, one of the objectives was to demoralize the Allied troops and get
some sort of conditional surrender from the Allies.
J: Where were you when he made that push?
A: I was in St. Avoid, France.
J: What happened to your division, your men?
A: Well, we were ordered to drive in trucks between 100 and 200 miles to the
country of Luxembourg. My particular battalion was given the mission of
protecting Radio Luxembourg. As I understand it, it was the only free radio
station in Europe, and they had these big antennas and the Germans were
supposedly headed toward Luxembourg City. So we got there, and I was in
heavy weapons company. We set up our machine guns and mortars to defend
these radio towers, and we sat there for two or three days and the Germans
by-passed us. So then, if I recall correctly, we were ordered into the attack. If
you can visualize on a map a spear or an arrow as an attacking force, then our
objective was to cut into that spearhead, which we proceeded to do with other
infantry and artillery units.
J: What kind of resistance did you find when you cut into the backwash of their
A: Not too much. There was a lot of shooting, but the worst part of the Battle of the
Bulge, in my judgment, was the weather. I have read that this was the coldest
winter in that part of Europe in forty years. Our combat troops were not properly
clothed. We would have on shorts and a T-shirt, and maybe two so-called
sweatshirts, long-handled drawers. Then a GI issue wool shirt, GI issue wool
pants, and then over all of that, if you could have them, a pair of coveralls. Then
an overcoat. They did give us some wool caps to put under our helmet, as well
as gloves. Now with all this stuff on, you still had to carry your rifle, a .45 caliber
pistol, ammunition, hand grenades, trench knife or bayonet, first-aid kit, flashlight,
maps, a couple of cans of C-rations, a couple packages of K-rations, canteen of
water, compass, and whatever else you could jam in there.
J: How cold was it?
A: I have read it was twenty degrees below zero at times.
J: Did it feel like that when you were out there?
A: Well, I remember I was born in Florida, and I had never seen snow in my life.
The water in the machine guns would freeze. These were thirty caliber machine
guns, the heavy weapons type, and they had jackets on them which you would fill
with water to keep the barrel from burning up when you were shooting. The
water in the machine gun would freeze so they had to use anti-freeze.
J: Would the jacket split if it froze? Was that the problem?
A: Yes, the ice would force it to expand.
J: There was not a problem with shooting the gun. It was a problem with the
cooling mechanism around the barrel.
A: That is right. The water in your canteen would freeze. They would give us a
canteen cup, and our canteens would fit in it. You would have it on your hip.
We would get some powdered coffee out of a K-ration; the K-rations were like a
cracker jack box and were flammable. You could pour a little water in your
canteen cup and then light a match to the K-ration container for fire to heat the
water in your canteen cup. If it got hot you could pour in some soluble coffee. I
can remember pouring a little water in my cup and setting it in the snow while I
was trying to get all this other paraphernalia together, and then I reached for my
canteen cup and there was a crust of ice in it.
We had to wipe our rifles and pistols free of all oil, because the oil would
freeze too. On some occasions it became necessary to urinate on your rifle to
get the mechanism to work. It was that cold. Now, you would not go around
urinating on your rifle all the time. I do not mean it in that sense, but if you had
your back to a wall or a German was shooting at you and you wanted to shoot
back, or were in the attack, you would first see whether the bolt would work. If it
was frozen, you had no choice but to urinate on the mechanism to get it to work.
J: Sounds like you were under some pretty rigorous conditions.
A: Yes, we were. Morale was an awful problem. In one instance, we were in a
defensive position for about two weeks, and we were in two-man fox holes. The
engineers who blasted them for us made them for two men, and we could only
give the men one blanket per hole. If we gave them two blankets, both of them
would go to sleep. The men were tired and disgusted, but if they were both
permitted to sleep, they might have their throats slit. German combat or
reconnaissance patrols would also dump or throw a hand grenade in there, so
we had to keep one soldier awake.
Morale was very low. The Battle of the Bulge caused a lot of what later
became known as trench foot. It is my understanding that first they did not know
what it was. We had wool socks in a GI with leggings or combat boots, and over
that was a pair of rubber overshoes. No matter how cold it becomes, the
perspiration is going to form on your feet and toes. Also, your feet and toes
would nearly freeze, and the cold would slow the circulation of blood. If the
blood did not begin to circulate better and if some precautions were not taken,
your toes and feet would turn black. Then your feet would have to be
amputated. I have seen men's feet so swollen with trench foot that they could
not get their overshoes over their bare feet. I guess it was Patton who put out
an order developing the buddy system. They tried to get hot food through to us
at night, but it was never hot. We could not get our chow unless we turned in a
pair of dirty socks. They would give us some dry socks. So the buddy system
was "You massage my feet, and I will massage your feet."
J: When did you receive your discharge?
A: In 1946. I stayed in the Army of Occupation for six months. I got home in
January 1946, and I have forgotten exactly when I was discharged.
J: What was your first desire after you got out of the army?
A: I was coming home and doing nothing for a year but eat and sleep. That was
my wish, but that did not last.
J: Why not?
A: Well, I had been gone a long time. I had spent one Christmas in the Mojave
Desert, another Christmas in Ardennes Forest, and another Christmas in the
North Atlantic during a North Atlantic storm.
J: You had some beautiful Christmases, didn't you?
A: Oh yes. I thought about Mother and Father, and Mother's dinner table, and
Daddy's bed, and Daddy's lake place and Daddy's car. I just wanted to go home
and eat and sleep. Well, I did that. But, shortly after getting home I became
restless. I told myself, "I cannot do this; I have got to get on the ball."
J: So what ball did you jump on?
A: The University of Florida College of Law.
J: Did you take any undergraduate courses?
A: No. I had completed all my undergraduate work at The Citadel.
J: So you went straight into law school in September 1946?
A: June 1946.
J: So you started during summer school?
A: That is correct. In those days we had the semester system.
J: What was summer school like? I guess it was a real change from that winter in
the Ardennes Forest.
A: Yes, it was great. I wanted to go to law school. I asked, "What do I do to get
in?" Well, you fill out that form. If you are a veteran, go see that guy over there
and fill out some more forms.
J: Where were you filling these forms out on the campus?
A: I am sure it must have been at the College of Law, which at that time was on the
southwest corner of Thirteenth Street and University Avenue. I am sure they
had V.A. because the governor had representatives there. We had to produce
certain documents to show that we were entitled to benefit from the GI Bill of
Rights. Well, one incidental before I went to law school: I was a member of the
fifty-two, twenty club.
J: What was that?
A: You could be unemployed for fifty-two weeks and get twenty dollars per week.
J: Who sponsored that?
A: It was the federal government. You could not come home and apply for a job as
a machine gunner or say that you were a pretty good bayonet instructor.
J: Not a big demand for that back in the states.
A: No demand for an expert in how to throw a hand grenade or use a trench knife
either. There were no openings. So I guess this was the government's way of
saying, "We will help you guys until you get your feet on the ground." I think
they called it the fifty-two, twenty club. Until you were employed, the
government would pay you twenty dollars per week for up to fifty-two weeks.
J: You were a part of that?
A: Oh, yes. For a short while. I think some of the other guys were, too. But then
when I started law school, there was no need for it.
J: What thoughts did you have about joining the social clubs there?
A: Well, I did. I had a very good friend and relative who was a member of a local
fraternity and who had encouraged me to join. It was enjoyable, but we had
been in service, and were a little bit older and perhaps a little more mature than
some of the kids right out of high school. There was some hazing then, and I do
not know whether it is funny or not, but they used to paddle kids. Well, I had a
piece of shrapnel in my buttocks, so I had to ask the guys not to paddle me. I
had received the purple heart.
J: What fraternity?
A: Phi Kappa Alpha.
J: In what kinds of activities did your fraternity and you specifically participate?
A: Well, we could get good food there. I think we had to pay for it. I think we had
a cook and a house mother. The big meal was in the evening, and we would
have a little social activity. We had a chapter meeting occasionally, though I
have forgotten how often.
J: Where was the house located?
A: Where the University Holiday Inn is now.
J: On the corner?
A: That is correct.
J: So you lived right across from the law college.
A: I did not live in the fraternity.
J: You did not?
A: No, I did not live in the fraternity house. I stayed with a relative of mine for a
short while. Then I roomed with one of my life long friends from my hometown
of Starke, William N. Long (class of 1948), who is also a lawyer. We had gotten
together after the war; he had done his part. Where Flordia Bookstore is now
was a three-story house owned by Mr. and Mrs. I.E. Kallman. They had rooms
and apartments. They had turned the upper levels of this house into rooms and
apartments, and Bill and I started out renting a room and sharing a bath with
some other students. I think our rent was $30 per month. I.E. Kallman is still
alive. I think his wife passed away about a year ago.
J: Where would you study while you were in law college?
A: We would study in our room or sometimes in the library, but I could not study in
the library very well.
J: Why not?
A: I do not know. I do not recall. The Kallmans had a little two-room apartment.
Bill and I convinced them after we had rented a room from them for a while that
we would be good boys if they would rent us that apartment, which they did, and
we had tables and lamps and studied in there.
J: Was that right behind their house?
A: No, that was still in the same big old house. They tore it down. It is where the
present Florida Bookstore is.
J: Did you stay there your entire stint in law school?
J: How many times was the rent raised?
A: Oh, I do not think it ever went up. We got to know the Kallmans real well, and
we liked them and they liked us.
J: So you walked to the law college?
A: That is correct.
J: Was it named Bryan Hall?
A: Not that I recall.
J: What did you call it?
A: College of Law.
J: Who were the first professors that you remember seeing?
A: I think probably the ones you have shown me in these albums. Professor
TeSelle [Clarence John TeSelle, professor, (1928-1958)], Dr. Day [James
Westbay Day, professor, (1930-1961)], Danny Clark [Vernon Wilmot Clark,
professor, (1946-1977)], Pop Crandall [Clifford W. Crandall, professor,
(1914-1949)], Dean Trusler [Harry Raymond Trusler, professor, (1909-1947);
dean, (1915-1947)], and Frank Maloney [Frank Edward Maloney, professor,
(1947-1972); dean, (1958-1970)], and Mrs. Ila Pridgen [lla Roundtree Pridgen,
secretary and librarian, (1930-1954)], bless her soul. I think she was the dean's
assistant. She was secretary and librarian.
J: She covered it all.
J: Do you recall whether Professor TeSelle conducted what was called an ear
examination, or a hearing examination the first day of class? He would read ten
or fifteen questions without hesitation and require you to write an answer, and
that would be your test.
A: Now I do not remember that. TeSelle was my favorite professor even though I
never could make more than a 'C' in any course I took under him. As I
understand, he was a former prosecuting attorney from Wisconsin and he moved
to Florida supposedly for health reasons. He had a little physical disability and
was required to use a cane. If they could, they would always put Professor
TeSelle in a classroom on the first floor so he would not have to fight the
stairway. We did not have elevators.
J: Would he use that cane for more than walking? Did he use it to get people's
attention in class?
A: Not really. He always had a cigar in his mouth though, and he never lit it. He
would lay the cane on his table. You really did not appreciate Professor TeSelle
until after you got out of law school. You never knew what he was going to do.
I can remember I took Evidence and Ethics under him. Classes were relatively
small in those days, and there was no air conditioning. In class he would say
"Adkins." "Yes sir," and you would stand up. Then he would light into you, and
start asking you questions. "Do you mean you have not read that case?"
"Well, I meant to but...," and then he would argue with you. But we did not learn
until later that he was trying to teach us to think on our feet. He did not mind a
little kind ridicule every now and then, and he would call on me and I would jump
up and say "Yes sir," and stammer, and he would say, "Yo' daddy wouldn't let
you do that in a courtroom," you know. But what Professor TeSelle was trying to
get you to do was think on your feet. Which I wish they would do more of it. I
wish I had had more of it before I started doing battle in the courtroom.
J: Did he have a nickname?
A: Not that I recall. He was Professor TeSelle. His first name was Clarence, I
J: Was he an approachable fellow?
A: Not really. He would talk with you if you had a problem and were conscientious
about it. He would take time with his students, but he would not put up with any
foolishness. If a student was continually unprepared, I think in those days a
professor would ask him a question. If you had not studied, you would say
"unprepared" and that was it. I think in his class, you would do that two or three
times and he would never call on you again, and you would not pass his course.
I think I am correct in making this recollection about him.
J: It is a little peculiar to me that he was your favorite professor and yet you did not
do as well in his class as you may have done is some of your other courses.
A: Looking back, he would come up with an exam question that had been in a
footnote of one of the texts, and I guess what he was trying to tell us was, damn
it, you did not study.
J: What about Professor Day?
A: He was the authority on Florida real property law. He knew it from A to Izard,
and quote you a case from Hawaii to back him up. He was the expert.
J: National as well as state?
A: That is my understanding, yes sir.
J: How much more approachable was he, in or out of class, than Professor
A: I think when you needed to see him, he would see you, and discuss the case.
But he was the authority; do not forget that. I do not think you could ever
change Dr. Day's mind. If he said, "This is the law," that was it.
J: Do you remember Crosby's [Harold B. Crosby, class of 1948] notes?
A: Crosby on Real Property, Crosby on Evidence, Crosby on any subject.
J: Tell me a little bit about him.
A: He was a very brilliant person. First he taught law in the College of Law, and
then I think he became the president of the University of West Florida. Crosby
could take shorthand and was a very good typist. So he would sit on the front
row of a class and take everything the professor said down in shorthand and then
he would type it. He would then sell us copies of his notes.
J: In what class was he?
A: I do not know. He was either a semester or a year before my day, I believe.
J: I have spoken with graduates of the law college from the early 1950s who were
using his notes, and they made reference from time to time that in class
someone would say to Professor Day, "Crosby's notes say here something to the
opposite," and Day would say, "Well Crosby's right." Do you remember anything
to that effect?
A: No, except Dr. Day had a wonderful sense of humor without you knowing about
it. You could not tell. Of course, a lot of us were ex-GIs, and I remember one
day he said, "Well, when I was in the service..."
J: He sounds like he was a fun fellow. Were there social engagements or parties
at his place, or would he invite a couple of you students to his house?
A: I do not recall going to Dr. Day's home.
J: How about going to a restaurant with him or perhaps a pub or a bar?
A: No, I think occasionally we might have a social outing of some sort. Perhaps
that was with the John Marshall Bar Association at the local night spot, and I am
sure the professors and their wives were invited. We might have a drink or two,
food and a dance with a little band, or something of that nature.
J: What was the John Marshall Bar Association?
A: Well, it was a student organization that perhaps everybody could belong to if you
paid the dues. I recall it was some kind of a social thing.
J: How much money are we speaking about?
A: I have no idea.
J: Ten dollars per year?
A: If that much. In those days, most of us went to school under the GI Bill.
J: How did that work? Did you receive a check directly from the government and
then pay for your courses?
A: No, if I recall, the government paid for everything. It paid for the tuition and
books and whatever else the college required. I think they gave us directly $60
per month that we could use for our room and board and social activities.
J: Would you work in addition to that?
A: I did not work. I do not think many of the boys did. Now, I was a socialized
disabled veteran since I had been shot in the service. I think I received $110 per
month, so I was...
J: Double your pay.
A: Oh, man, I was living in hog heaven.
J: I bet you were. No wonder you could afford living in a place for $30 per month.
A: Well, we did not have television and we did not have automobiles and we had no
clothes to speak of.
J: When you registered for classes and wanted to sign up for a course at the
beginning of the semester, where would you go?
A: I think you would sit down maybe with Mrs. Pridgen, or the dean, or a professor,
and ask, "What have I got to take this semester?" I think there were certain
required courses: so many hours in Contracts, so much in Property Law, Ethics,
and Criminal law. I think everybody took the same courses, and I understand
now that there are a lot of electives.
J: Specialties, I think.
A: That is right. In those days, they taught Florida law. As I understand now, it is
all general. I do a lot of probate work now. The textbook on on that subject
was Redfearn on Wills. He was a Florida lawyer. His book is still printed. It is
presently in the fifth or sixth edition. That was our textbook, and it was limited to
probate law of Florida.
J: Were your classes relatively crowded?
A: I do not recall them being crowded, no.
J: How many students were in there with you?
A: Oh, fifteen to twenty-five.
J: Small classes?
A: That is right. Now perhaps some of the classes were larger if you took a course
in constitutional law.
J: Were all the courses held within the law school?
A: Yes. Sometimes we would sit out on the grass. I also recall one or two
classes, I think, where the college had rented a big home across from the college
of law, on the north side of University Avenue, and we had classes in those
J: Were there any law students who were on the GI Bill interested in clerking for
lawyers to get some experience?
A: Yes, I think all of us did. I clerked for my uncle in my senior year. You get the
feel of what a law office was like, what it looked like, and what people were
supposed to do.
J: What was Pop Crandall all about? That was about his final year, I believe.
A: Yes, he was the author of Florida Common Law Pleading. Presently we are all
statutory, but the Constitution of Florida said, and I think I am correct, that the
laws of Florida are basically laws of England, prior to July 4, 1776, and that those
which are not in conflict with this constitution shall be the laws of the state of
Florida. This meant that common law was left over from the old English law.
Well, Pop Crandall taught common law pleading.
When I first started practicing law, we still used common law pleading. If
you and I were involved in an automobile accident, the first thing I would do
would be to file a praecipe for summons, which would state that I am going to
sue you for $10,000. You would not know what the lawsuit was about and that
would be all you got through the sheriff. Then you would have from the first
Monday to the next month, provided the half moon was not halfway across the
sky, to file an appearance. So your lawyer would file an appearance. But you
still would not know what the suit was going to look like. Then the next month
was what they called rule day. My lawyer would file a declaration spelling out
what I was suing you for. Then the next month your lawyer would file a demur.
That meant you were attacking my declaration. Still you would not really know
what it was all about. Then you would argue the demur before the judge, and
the judge might say, "This demur is not a good answer." So here you are six or
eight months later, and now you get down to the nitty gritty. But you still would
not know all the evidence. You had to go out and find it, and that was known as
common law pleading.
In 1954, the legislature, the judges, and the lawyers said to hell with that,
and enacted the 1954 Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. That is what we are
operating under now, with several modifications.
J: So his class and type of law was outmoded in Florida in 1954?
A: That is correct. Presently there is no such thing as any secret. You have a
right to discovery, take depositions, interrogatories, and other things to speed it
up. You have got to file a complaint and the defendant had got twenty days
from the day the defendant received that complaint to respond, and it really
J: Do you pick up the pace then?
J: Do you remember anything about Ila Pridgen's boarding house?
A: No, I do not.
J: Do you know anything about it?
A: Just a vague recollection in my mind. I do not think I recall that she had a
J: Actually, it was a rooming house where she would rent rooms to students. I do
not think she put the feedbag to them. Where would you eat?
A: Well, we ate at the cafeteria. I think we only had one cafeteria on campus then.
J: Where was that?
A: Why did you ask me that? It was next to the old student union, and I do not
even know if it exists anymore. Everything was in walking distance. I think it
was at the center of campus, the old campus, I suppose. We could eat at the
J: Now, I have heard that the College Inn was off limits to females.
A: I never heard that. If I remember, we did not have too many females on campus
in those days.
J: They were first admitted in September 1947, so about the time you graduated
they were admitted.
A: I was born thirty years too soon.
J: Were there any females in any of your classes?
A: Yes, we had several. I do not recall their names. I know some of the pictures
in here though. Here is Marie Garcia. [Marie Garcia Garrett, class of 1948] I
think she was from Tampa.
J: I have brought the annuals for 1947 and 1948.
A: Let me look at 1948.
J: While you are looking, let me ask where you would buy your books.
A: From the Florida Bookstore, owned by Mr. Kallman, and perhaps there was a
bookstore on campus, but we used the same books. You could turn them in or
trade them in. For example, we used the book on probate, Redfearn onWills.
When we finished that we would sell it to a bookstore or trade it for a book that
we would need the following year. Then he would resell it to another student, or
maybe we would trade between students.
J: Do you think there was an organization at the law college for distribution of these
books or exchange of these books?
A: I do not recall, but I am sure there must have been. If I had finished with
Criminal Law or Property Law, someone was going to use the same text material
next year, so I would sell mine to a fellow following me.
J: We were talking about Crosby's notes. How much would you pay for a set of
those for a class?
A: I do not recall, though I am sure it was not very much. We did not have any
money, and we had no place to spend any money.
J: Weren't there some hot spots in Gainesville where you could spend money on
A: Oh yes, we had the Florida Theatre and the Lyric Theatre, and then later I think
there was the State Theatre on University Avenue. It was torn down.
J: There was bus transportation. That cost money.
A: Yes. There was an old school bus, and I can remember sometimes it would run
and sometimes it would not, and we would have to get off and push to help
get it started. It was a nickle or a dime. If I wanted to go home to Starke, I
would go to the corner and catch a ride.
J: Were there many automobiles on campus?
A: No. They had stopped manufacturing automobiles during the war. I did not
have a car, though a few of my friends had cars. Most of us were single and if
you could find a gal in Gainesville who had an automobile, boy, you had it made.
J: Now, was that the case by the time you had graduated, as well as in 1946 about
not having many automobiles on campus?
A: Well, when I graduated I got an automobile. My father gave me one. But even
after that some of the guys who were practicing law still did not have a car.
They were not available. I think when they started manufacturing them again,
the dealers were put on a quota system. In other words, we did not have such
things as used car lots. You could not go to the Chevrolet or Ford place and
pick out the used make and model you wanted. Perhaps you had to know
somebody, or perhaps you had to pay a premium to get an automobile in those
J: Was there parking near the law school?
A: Yes, they had a parking lot right next to the law school building.
J: How did you get to school everyday?
J: Did you have a bicycle?
A: No. I walked from where the Florida Bookstore is now located. We would walk
to the cafeteria and walk to the College Inn. Then on the northwest corner of
Thirteenth and University there was a little restaurant, and then around the
corner was another cafeteria. I think Mr. and Mrs. Alfred ran it. There were a
few places around town you could eat.
Now when Bill and I got this little apartment, we did a lot of our own
cooking. I got to be probably one of the best meatloaf cookers in Gainesville.
J: Did you have any summer jobs or breaks from law school?
A: No. I went straight through. I think most servicemen finished the three-year
course in two years. I do not remember the time frame. I am sure we had a
week or two off every now and then between semesters. But I started in June
1946 and finished in June 1948.
J: Tell me a little bit about Dean Trusler.
A: I did not know him too well. I do not even recall if I ever had any classes under
him or not. He was the dean, and he and Mrs. Pridgen ran the law school.
J: You said you did not work and study in the library too well. Do you remember
borrowing books from the library and taking them home?
A: I do not remember that. Perhaps if we were required to do some research we
would go to the library. Later, I was working for my uncle, who was a lawyer,
and I could use his library.
J: Now you did not need to work, but were there jobs available in Gainesville if the
A: I am sure there must have been. You could get a job working in some
restaurant, cleaning tables, dishwashing, working at the filling station, or working
at the drugstore.
J: Were there any texts that you used in your classes that were written by
professors from the law college? Dean Trusler had written one on school law.
A: Well, we used Dr. Crandall's books on Florida common law pleading. I am sure
that some of the professors, though they may not have had a published book per
se, they might have had their notes which they wanted us to use as a textbook.
J: Would you say in general that the training that you received at the law college
was more theoretical or more practical?
A: More practical. As I understand it now, they do not have time to teach
practicalities in the college of law, and that it is all theory.
J: Did they give you courses on how to prepare a brief, how to approach a judge, or
how to approach your opponent?
A: They did some of that. I think we had moot court, and then we would have
visiting trial lawyers talk with us and give us a little insight. I think our overall
objective was to graduate. We had been gone for four years, and wanted to get
in and out of there. Just tell me what I have got to do.
J: You say that was the general attitude of your fellow students then?
A: I think so. We were a little older.
J: Were there many of you involved in student government or even community
A: I was not. Some of my fellow students in my era were in student government.
Judge John Crews (class of 1949), who is one of our circuit judges in Alachua
County, enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after Pearl Harbor. He was a
Marine Corps fighter pilot in the South Pacific, and was president of the student
body, and he was also a member of Florida Blue Key.
J: What year did he graduate from the law college?
A: He graduated a semester or two after me. It might have been a combination. I
think what had happened in those days you could combine perhaps your fourth
year of undergraduate work with your freshman year in law college.
J: Now was the policy different for students entering without military experience?
A: None that I recall.
J: Was Dean Henry Fenn [Henry Anderson Fenn, dean (1948-1958); professor
(1948-1978)] part of the system before you graduated?
A: No, he did not come in until after I had left.
J: He was late 1948.
A: I think so. I think Pop Crandall signed my diploma.
J: Who were some of the other professors we have not talked about, and who you
studied under? Here is a list of them.
A: Well, we were talking about Professor TeSelle and Dr. Day, and Vernon Clark
[Vernon Wilmot Clark, professor (1946-1977)]. He was a very thorough
J: Now he was relatively new to the college.
A: Well, he might have been. I took Criminal Law under him, and I dearly loved
Criminal Law. One course in criminal law which I took was worth four hours of
credit, and I knew it backward and forward, but he gave me a 'D' in the course.
J: What happened?
A: Stupidity on my part. One of the questions on his exam was to define
champerty, maintenance, and barratry. I knew his definitions of those three
terms, but I also knew the definitions of Dr. TeSelle on those three terms.
J: Uh oh.
A: So, being smart, I liked TeSelle's definitions better, and put his answers on
Danny Clark's exam. When I got that exam back, there were three red Xs.
J: Not a good move.
A: Not a good move at all. So, I went to see Professor Clark about it. He was
very nice, but he said, "Professor TeSelle is wrong. You still get a 'D'. That
was very stupid."
J: Did you present that information to Professor TeSelle and then watch them in
A: No, you did not do that with these two professors.
J: Why not?
A: I was happy. I was not happy with my 'D', but I would have rather had a 'D' than
J: Did you have any evening or Saturday classes?
A: Oh, yes. We would meet at about six or seven o'clock in the morning, or
sometimes at night. It did not matter when, it just had to fit in a schedule.
J: But not on a regular basis?
A: I do not recall that, no. Maybe it was because you could count all the faculty on
two hands. If we were going to have class in constitutional law at six or seven in
the morning, so be it, or eight o'clock at night, so be it.
J: How many hours a week would you study beyond all your class work?
A: Oh, boy, studying was something else. I never could study until I could get
everything else out of my system. If I could hear a juke organ playing, or
somebody shooting pool, I would be distracted, or I would have to go see a good
movie. I had to get all of that out of my system, and then I would stay up all
night cramming for exams.
J: That was a problem.
A: That is right. It was.
J: What were some common gripes that you had about some of the instructors,
about their grading procedures?
A: I do not recall any specific gripes. Looking at these fine gentlemen
here--TeSelle, Day, Danny Clark, Pop Crandall, Frank Maloney,--I cannot fault
them in any way. I did not like some of the grades I got from them, but they
were doing the best they could with a bunch of ex-Gls.
J: Could you tell the people that were not GIs in your classes?
A: I am sure we could, but I do not have any particular recollection about it. There
was no animosity or ill feeling in any way that I recall.
J: Now Dean Slagle was an old timer there.
J: Do you remember any courses with him?
A: I think he was the only professor I ever made an 'A' under.
J: What class was that?
A: I think it was Constitutional Law. Funny thing about Dean Slagle was that his
first name was Dean. Well, we did not know that. We would say, "Hi, Dean."
We did not know that we should call him Professor Slagle.
J: I wonder if that ever irritated him?
A: If it did, we never knew it. But I do not think it ever irritated him.
J: Was he a friendly fellow?
A: He was a Phi Beta Kappa. He was a very reserved fellow.
J: What about George Miller [professor, 1948-1955]?
A: George John Miller. He had been to Oxford, and had taught in Spain, I believe.
He was, I guess, a somewhat flamboyant professor, and I think I took a course in
Florida Constitutional Law under him. I got along with him.
J: Did he have any idiosyncrasies?
A: I do not recall any that you should put on tape.
J: In some of these photographs he has got a pipe stuck in his mouth. Was that
the way he presented himself in class?
A: I do not remember that.
J: Did we talk about Danny Clark?
A: Yes, he was the one that I made the 'D' under in Criminal Law. His method of
teaching was to give you a legal question, the principle of law involved, and an
answer. He would not necessarily agree with the answers, but he would explain
the answer as it pertained to Florida.
J: When you walked into the law building from the west entrance, what was
immediately to your right and then to your left?
A: I think immediately to the right was the dean's office. Seems like there was a little hall,
no, that was not it. There was a classroom right around the corner and then I think
straight ahead was a stairway to upstairs. Off to the right was a restroom and then the
dean's office was down the hall.
J: Where was the library?
J: Which side?
A: I think it would be on the north side toward University Avenue.
J: Was there any evidence of construction around the law college?
A: I do not recall any.
J: Was there any evidence of construction on the campus over toward where Tigert Hall is
now, or the Century Tower, or even the auditorium?
A: I do not recall any construction.
J: How would you all dress?
A: We had no clothing. I went into the service, remember that I had gone to a military
college and worn a uniform for four years, so my civilian wardrobe was somewhat
limited anyway. But, when I went on active duty, I just gave it away. I thought that the
styles would be outmoded when I came home, and that I would have plenty of money in
my pocket to buy a new wardrobe. Well, when I got home from the war, there were no
clothes. As I understand, during the war everything was rationed. You had to get a
coupon to buy gasoline, butter, and shoes. You had to get a permit or a coupon.
After the war, you might find a shirt or a pair of britches or something, but most
of us took our khaki long sleeve shirts and cut them off to make short sleeve shirts.
Most of us in the army had had a green field jacket, and in cool weather we would wear
that. If you had a date or something, I am sure we had a couple of coats and slacks and a
few things. But it did not bother us.
J: What about shuffling?
A: That was when somebody would say something we did not like. It was in jest. If a
professor was digging at us, we would shuffle our feet. I hope they still do it. That was
great. Do they still do it, or do you know?
J: I do not know for sure.
A: Probably forbidden now. It is probably against somebody's right, I guess.
J: Some damn law. Did you especially do it with Pop Crandall? At one time, his wife
used to pull up outside the law college in the automobile, and toot her horn to tell him it
was time to come home and get lunch, or that it was time to come on home.
A: I do not recall that, but I am sure we did. It was all in jest. Nobody's feelings were
J: Were there any other types of traditions like shuffling that you can recall?
A: No. Not really. We seemed to have had a lot of fun. Maybe a pitcher of beer across
the street. Study together, get a buddy system. Maybe go to the student union. I
teamed up with a very good friend of mine named Wilfred Varn [class of 1948] from
Tallahassee, who is now a crackerjack lawyer. Will was very smart. I liked to associate
with students smarter than I so I could study with them. I would ask Will, "Tell me what
this means." He would tell me.
J: What were some of the courses you especially liked and especially did not like?
A: I liked Ethics, Criminal Law, and Probate Law. I did not like Constitutional Law and
could care less about Bankruptcy. Contract Law was interesting. I did not particularly
like it, but I knew I had better know something about it.
J: How about the moot court?
A: We had it, I am sure, but I do not think it was as active, as I understand it is now.
J: Do you remember participating in it?
A: A vague recollection. We might not have even had it. After I graduated, I acted as
moot court judge.
J: How many people were in your class?
A: Thirty or forty. I have got a picture of them someplace, but I did not bring it with me
J: Were there about that many in every other class.
A: Well, I would think so. Now do not quote me on that because I just do not remember.
J: In moot court, do you remember using freshmen as the jurors, and then finding actors at
the art department or out in the city of Gainesville to act as witnesses and defendants and
A: No. I do not remember that. I know they did that after I got out of law school because
my wife was an actor in one of those moot trials.
J: Did you have any personal friends amongst the professors that you would go out and get
a cup of coffee with after class or go hunting or fishing with?
A: No, I did not.
J: Did you do any hunting and fishing on your own or with other law students?
A: Yes, I did.
J: Where would you go?
A: Well, my family had a place on Kingsley Lake, which I own now, and we would go
there. We would fish at Cross Creek and Lake Lochloosa and Lake Orange and on the
Suwannee River, or any of the local areas that people would hunt and fish in.
J: So you would have to find someone who had an automobile to take you there.
A: Oh, yes.
J: Do you remember whether any of these instructors had an outside practice or were
A: No, I do not. Far as I know, they were all full-time. I remember that lawyers would
come in maybe at night and teach a course. I think Winston E. Arnow [class of 1933],
who was a local practicing attorney then, would teach a course. He would come in at
night and lecture for an hour. Zack Douglas would do that, too.
J: Did you make it to any Gator Growls?
A: Every one of them and all the football games.
J: What could you expect at a Gator Growl in 1947?
A: Well, it was all free. It was known as the biggest, freest student show in the world, and I
do not remember the acts, but there were fraternity skits and that sort of thing.
J: It is still supposed to be the biggest in the United States, except that it is not free
A: I understand it costs ten or fifteen bucks to get into that thing. I remember that it got
bigger after I got out. We had some good entertainment. I used to enjoy Florida State's
university circus. Do they still have that?
J: I do not know. Tell me about it.
A: Oh, that was terrific. Florida State University students would participate as trapeze
artists, pole vaulters, and jugglers.
J: During Gator Growl?
A: Oh yes. I thought they still had it. It was terrific.
J: So they would actually come down from Tallahassee and put on that show.
A: That is right. Well, their circus went all over the Southeast.
J: Were the football on campus free also?
A: No. I guess we had a student activities fee or something with which you could go to the
J: It would be like buying season tickets.
A: Yes. But even after I got out of law school, general admission was one dollar. You
could walk in and give them a dollar and sit anywhere you wanted in the north stand.
J: What about fall frolic and spring house parties over at the fraternity house?
A: Oh yes. We would have fall frolic. We had some big name bands. I remember Harry
James. Wasn't he married to Betty Grable? But they had terrific bands there, and we
would go to the dance and have a lot of fun.
J: Where would you meet?
A: In the gym. The first ones were in the old gym, but they called it the new gym then.
You do not even know what I am talking about.
J: I do not think that is still here.
A: No. First they had a brick gym, and then they built a wooden structure next to it and that
was called the new gym, and now there is Florida Gym. When I was in law school we
had the dances in the old wooden gym.
J: How were you involved with sports? Did you play any with the law college, or did they
have their own intramural team?
A: No. I am a disabled veteran. I had been shot up in World War II and I cannot run.
J: Well, you could have coached, or you could have called fouls.
A: No. I did not do any of that.
J: Do you remember the law college having any intramural teams?
A: I am sure we did, but Ijust do not recall them. I was busy trying to get that LL.B
J: Do you feel most of the other people in your class were thinking along the same lines as
you? Were they more interested in getting through than in having a good time?
A: I think so, but you have got to put things in perspective. We are talking about immediate
post-World War II. What is there to do? You have no car, you have no clothes, which
is incidental. Like a lot of people say, "I was reared in the Depression." Sure I was
reared in the Depression, but I did not know it. I ate three meals a day; I had a warm bed
to sleep in; I had a mother and father looking after me; I did not know any better. Do
you understand what I am trying to convey to you?
J: I think so.
A: If there was something to do, fine. We would participate in the activities at the
University of Florida basketball games, football games or whatever else there was to do.
J: Were you part of the John Marshall Bar Association?
A: Yes, I belonged to that.
J: What would you do?
A: We would throw a party every now and then, and have a meeting every now and then.
The fraternities would have parties.
J: Would you have a debating session with another law college in the state?
A: I do not remember that. I do not remember if we had a debating team or not.
J: The Law Review was established by, I think, Professor Wilson [James Robert Wilson,
professor (1946-1948)] in 1947. Do you remember taking part in this?
A: Not really. I did not participate in it. He was practicing in Daytona Beach. I think he
is probably still in practice there.
J: Do you remember who besides Professor Wilson was instrumental in that? If Pop
Crandall was pushing that?
A: I just do not remember.
J: Were there any problems that you remember between Dean Trusler or acting Dean
Crandall and the administration getting enough classes for students at the law school or to
made the GI Bill more attractive to ex-GIs?
A: If there were any problems, I was unaware of them.
J: Who were some of the students you were in school with who went on to become national
figures or state figures?
A: Well, I went to school with Joe Eaton [class of 1948]. He is now a federal judge in
Miami. Howell Melton [Howell W. Melton, class of 1948] from St. Augustine. He is
now a federal judge in Jacksonville. Lou Proby [Lucien C. Proby, Jr., class of 1948] one
of my close friends, was a circuit judge in Miami. He is now living in Key West. I
think he is an attorney for Monroe County. Crosby was ahead of me, but he taught at the
college a while. He was President of the University of West Florida. Paul G. Rogers
[class of 1948] was a U.S. Congressman. Sam Gibbons [class of 1947], from Tampa, is
still a U.S. Congressman.
J: Were there any politicians running for office who came by the law school to give a
A: Yes. The local politicians did of course.
J: I am referring to people running for state offices?
A: Nineteen forty-six would be during Fuller Warren's day. Fuller Warren [governor of
Florida (1949-1953)] came by to get all of the votes that he could get, if I recall correctly.
J: Were there any publications or newsletters distributed by the law school?
A: Not that I recall.
J: When did you graduate?
A: June 1948.
J: Where were graduation ceremonies held?
A: Florida Field.
J: What did they have you all do?
A: Well, I think they had the whole university graduate at one time. You would have
pharmacy here and business there and law there. We were all in Florida Stadium.
Incidentally, my wife graduated from Florida State University the same day that I
graduated from the College of Law, but I did not know her then.
J: With what degree did she graduate?
A: She got a Bachelor of Science.
J: What is her name?
A: Dorothy. They graduated at seven o'clock in the morning, and we graduated at seven
o'clock at night
J: They graduated at seven o'clock in the morning? Why so early?
A: Well, some parents had children in both schools. Florida State College for Women was
for girls in Tallahassee, and boys were in Gainesville. Some parents had to attend both
graduations. So they had one at seven in the morning and one at seven at night. She
still kids me about it. My wife was a cheerleader for Florida while a student at Florida
J: Where did you meet her?
A: I met her on a blind date here in Gainesville.
J: Was she a cheerleader at the time?
A: No. She had graduated. She was working for the dean at the College of Law.
J: How did she happen to take that job?
A: This was her home town and she is a very intelligent woman. She can take shorthand
and type and do anything that you and I can do, only better.
J: So she was a cheerleader.
A: She was a cheerleader at the University of Florida while she was a student at Florida
J: How was she able to do that?
A: Well, Florida was not coeducational then, and they wanted some cheerleaders in 1947.
J: I thought they had only guys as cheerleaders.
A: No. They wanted some girls, so they sent to Florida State for some cheerleaders to come
down and try out.
J: Would the University of Florida supply a bus?
A: I do not remember how they did it. I think the girls had to pay their own way, including
buying their own sweaters. I wonder if her picture might be in one of those albums.
J: So there was no separate graduation ceremony for the law students at the college?
A: That is my recollection.
J: There was a major renovation at the college about 1948 on the interior of the building.
Do you recall any of that?
A: No, not really. There might have been, but I just do not recall.
J: You would have seen new lights going up and dry wall all over the place, and the
building would probably have been quite a mess.
A: It could have been.
J: You graduated in June, and the summer session began immediately after that. So they
might have begun the construction after the summer session.
A: Could have been. Ijust do not recall it.
J: Your class size was about thirty-two?
A: I am just guessing.
J: Were the law graduates treated differently on Florida Field than the rest of the graduating
A: Well, we were seated together, and I can remember Dr. Miller was president of the
university. [J. Hillis Miller, president, University of Florida, (1948-1954)] He made a
little joke about the college and said that he was awarding us the degree of Bachelor of
Law and all appurtenances there unto appertaining, and made a humorous thing out of it.
J: Were there any professors there to award high honors to certain law students?
A: If there were, I do not recall it.
J: Now as I understand it you did not have to take the Bar exam. You had some
examination administered by the Bar to test your character and moral standards.
A: Yes, that was known as the diploma privilege. In those days, if you graduated from an
accredited college of law in the state of Florida, you did not have to take the Bar exam.
J: Did they issue you your admittance to the bar upon graduation?
A: No, you got a diploma, and then you had to be sworn in.
A: Well, my father swore me in. He was a circuit judge, though.
J: So he could do that in downtown Gainesville. Anybody could that had graduated from
A: That is right.
J: When was the Bar examination, as it is conducted today, first administered?
A: It was shortly after I graduated. I am a former member of the Florida Board of Bar
J: What years were you part of that?
A: In the mid-1950s. In those days, they called the board the State Board of Law
Examiners, and you were appointed by the governor.
J: Who appointed you?
A: Governor Charley Johns, [Charley E. Johns, acting Governor, (1953-1955)]
J: Were you a good friend of his?
A: Oh yes. I was his campaign manager in Alachua County. Presently, the name is Board
of Bar Examiners, and they are appointed by the Supreme Court instead of the governor.
Governor Johns appointed me to the then State Board of Law Examiners.
J: What were your duties there?
A: Well, we would meet occasionally and our duties were to interview prospective
applicants to be admitted to the Bar of the state of Florida. Our duties were to monitor
the Bar exam and to grade exam papers.
J: Would you also devise questions to administer to these students?
A: Not really. We had a staff to help us do that. The clerk of the Supreme Court of Florida
was kind of head of it, but we had an executive director.He had a little staff composed of
a couple of secretaries to look after all of that and some investigators. The questions
were made up, I think, by Supreme Court aides and were subject to our approval. IfI
was interested in criminal law, they would give me the proposed questions in criminal
law to see if I approved of them and the purported answer. They divided them between
the other members of the board.
J: How many years did you do that?
A: Well, we abolished ourselves. I think it was a four-year appointment. I was on the
board with Olin Watts [class of 1928] who was from Jacksonville and was chairman.
Judge Charlie Scott, who died about one year ago, was a lawyer then. There were some
other lawyers on this board.
J: What was the stipend?
A: Nothing. They would pay our travel and meals and room. It would cost us money, but
it was an honor. We realized that it was not right to be appointed by the governor; we
were lawyers. We wanted to get everything under the Florida Bar system. So we
proposed that the State Board of Law Examiners be abolished, and that a Board of Bar
Examiners be created, and that they should be appointed in staggering terms by the
Supreme Court of Florida and not by the governor.
J: How long did it take you all to develop that theory?
A: I do not think I started it. I was the youngest member that had ever been appointed to
that board. The idea was in the making, but we had to agree to it.
J: Before we move on to your post-graduate career, I want to make sure we talk about all
the instructors and whether we have spoken about every one you had in a class. These
are the people in the annual.
A: Just looking to see if I recognize them. Because many of these names, of course I
remember Professor Crandall. I remember W.E. Arnow; we called him "Bo" Arnow.
We called Vernon Clark "Danny."
J: Let's talk about Mr. Arnow. What classes did he teach?
A: I do not know whether I took it. I might have taken one course under him.He was a
practicing lawyer here in Gainesville. He belonged to the law firm of Clayton, Arnow,
Duncan, and Johnston.
J: We could consider him a visiting instructor?
A: That is correct. He is now a senior federal judge living in Pensacola. He had written a
book or two. H.D. Crosby was a year or two ahead of me.
J: That was Crosby's notes?
A: Yes, we used to kid him; Crosby on torts, Crosby on contracts, and whatever else. Dr.
Day we have talked about. We talked about Frank Maloney. He later became dean of
the College of Law. McNees [Sterling Glen McNees (1947-1948)], I do not remember
him. He might have been a visiting professor. George John Miller we talked about.
Charles Vrtacek Silliman [professor (1947-1952)], I do not remember him. Professor
Dean Slagle we have talked about. Cornelius Joseph Smyth [professor (1947-1950)], I
do not remember him. He might have been a visiting professor. Professor TeSelle we
have talked about. Then you have Selden F. Waldo [Selden Fennell Waldo, part-time
professor (1947-1948)]. He was a lawyer here in Gainesville with the old firm of Gray,
J: Do you think he had a connection with the little community up the road from here?
A: No connection at all. His wife, Tommy Ruth Waldo, was a pianist, and still is. She
taught my wife piano lessons here years ago. Selden F. Waldo was a local attorney; he
died years and years ago, and was a very close friend of Senator George Smathers [class
of 1938; U.S. Senator, Florida (1952-1968)]. Stanley West [class of 1938] later became
director of libraries at the University of Florida.
J: I think he was at that time.
A: He has a law degree and I think he is still practicing law here in Gainesville with his son.
James Robert Wilson [professor (1946-1948)] was a professor, and I think I had some
courses under him. I think he is still practicing in Daytona Beach. Have we covered all
of the professors?
J: We have talked about them all. You have done a good job. You graduated in June
1948. What was your next move?
A: Well, my father had in his mind that I was coming back to Starke where he had started
practicing law in 1903, and that I was going to live at home and pay my mother $10 per
week room and board. He thought that I was going to take over the old office and pay
him $25 per month.
J: He had it all planned for you, didn't he?
A: Yes. He was going to teach me how to practice law. But I had come to the big city,
and my father and I had some words about it. So, I started practicing with my uncle,
J.C. Adkins, who was a very brilliant lawyer, and former state attorney, and his son, J.C.
Adkins, Jr. [class of 1938], who you will meet in a few minutes and who is now on the
Supreme Court of Florida. So, I started practicing with both of them, and was
guaranteed $125 per month, plus one third of everything I brought in the office.
J: Now what does that amount to in dollar terms?
A: One hundred and twenty-five dollars per month. I never made more than that. His
thought was one-third to him, one-third to the office, and one-third to me of what I
brought in. So I stayed with Uncle J.C. and the justice for about nine months, and then I
had to hit it on my own. So I moved our and found two rooms over what was then
Chitty's Store, where the Scruggs and Carmichael building is now. We did not have all
these fancy places around. I was lucky to get it.
J: How much did it cost you a month?
A: Twenty-five dollars. These two rooms were an old doctor's office and he was in the VA
hospital in Lake City. The landlord said the only way he would let me have them would
be if I could get the doctor's approval. So I went to see him. He was a kindly man and
very ill, and he said if I would take his stuff to his sister's home, he would let me have it.
So I did and I got some paint and a few things. I put in some lights. I had saved a little
money when I was overseas so I bought a couple of desks, and I bought a typewriter for
J: Sounds like a lot of money for a typewriter in those days.
A: No. Retail price of a Royal typewriter was $160. I had a friend get it wholesale for me.
I made a down payment on a set of books. I did not have a secretary, but I knew how to
type. Later, I went to see one of my uncle's former secretaries, Mrs. Sandefor. She is
now Judge Fagan's secretary, and I said, "I do not know anything about practicing law,
and when I was working for my uncle, you taught me more than I learned in law school.
Would you come to work for me? You do not have to work on Saturdays, and I will pay
you $25 per week. If I can make it, I will raise your salary." So she did. We were
together a while, and as I made money, sometimes she got paid and I did not. But I
started out that way and have been at it ever since.
J: I brought an article that I had promised you that I would bring today. You are in the far
left column, two up from the bottom. Would you talk about that a little bit?
A: This was the class of 1948. My address was 1109 Southwest Third Avenue. That was
my former home. I was a captain in the infantry and on reserve. While on campus, I
was a member of Phi Kappa Alpha and Delta Theta Phi.
J: Were you practicing law at your home?
A: No. That was the first home I bought here in Gainesville. This was published in
November of 1951. I had not seen this before. When I was practicing I was living
there, and had gotten married in February 1951.
J: When did you all have your first child?
A: In 1953. My daughter was born in may 1953, and our son was born in December 1954.
We lived there until about 1958, and then we bought a bigger place in Gainesville. We
stayed there twenty years, and sold it six years ago, and are living in our third home.
J: When you graduated from law college, did you expect to made much money in those first
couple of years?
A: Oh, I was going to set the world on fire. I was going to tell F. Lee Bailey to move over.
I was going to show them how to do it.
J: Were your expectations changed shortly after that?
A: Yes they were.
J: How drastically?
A: I think any conscientious lawyer can make a living. I have no complaints. Of course, I
cannot buy the O'Connell Center this afternoon if it was for sale, but I really cannot
complain. There is never enough money, but you feed your family, and educate your
children, and buy a home, and have a retreat to go to, and have a nice automobile, and
your wife is happy, and you have reasonable health. Now what else do you want?
J: You have had a very successful life. It sounds like you are a happy man.
A: I do not know how successful I have been, but I supposed that that depends upon what
one means by success.
J: Satisfaction has more to do with it than many other characteristics, and you look that way
A: Well, I appreciate that, I really do.
J: There is another question I want to ask you about the law college. What were your
A: I think there were different types. I think Frank Maloney liked true and false questions,
or multiple choice. Some of the other professors wanted essay answers. We had little
green books or blue books. We would write out our answers.
J: Could you write enough?
A: Oh yes. You would shoot a lot of bull. I can remember my best friend, Bill Long. We
roomed together and took this four-hour course, Common Law Pleading, from Pop
Crandall. The exam was to last four hours. So Bill and I stayed up all night long, and
he wanted to give up on it. I said, "Now damn it, you are not going to give up, I am
going to cram it in." So I kept him up all night long. We did not have showers, we had
a bathtub, so we filled it full of ice water, water, got in it, went to take this four hour
exam and about an hour or thirty minutes later. Bill said, "To hell with it," and turned his
paper in. I stayed the full four hours. I went back to our little apartment and Bill was in
bed. He was exhausted, and I tried to console him. Well damn it, the grades came out,
and do you know what he got?
J: He probably made an 'A'.
A: He made an 'A'. You know what I made? A 'D'. We still joke about it after all of these
years. But that was just the way it was. He had the right answers and I did not, and I
thought I knew that stuff.
J: That is a little frustrating.
A: It is.
J: Before we close for this afternoon, I would like you to talk a little bit about the people
who are pictured in your class journal.
A: I do not know where all of them are; I do not even see my picture in there.
J: When I looked for your photograph, I did not find it in there.
A: Well, I graduated. I have got a degree someplace along here. John Adams, I remember
him. I think he is still practicing law around Brooksville. Jack Bates. Horace Bates.
A classmate of mine. Jack died a couple of years ago here in Gainesville.
J: Well, how were the women in your class treated?
A: We only had two or three of them.
J: Do you remember whether the professors were tougher on them, or let up on them?
A: I do not think so. I have not seen Fredericka Cooke in years. I do not know where she
is. I do not know where Maria Garcia is either, speaking of these ladies. I see Mark
Hulsey occasionally. He is in Jacksonville. Noah Jenerette is still in Jacksonville. I
had a little case against him two or three years ago.
J: How would you rate yourself with him and other students coming out of Florida law
A: I am sure he is a brilliant lawyer. He is with a big firm in Jacksonville. I believe
Warren Goodrich is in the Tampa Bay area. Edgar Johnson is in Ocala. I think he
teaches school now. Archie Odom was a good friend of mine from Fort Myers, was a
circuit judge. Archie died a few years ago. There is Paul Rogers. He was a U.S.
Congressman. Arch Thomas started practicing law in Starke, but he is in Fort
Lauderdale now, and was a former president of the local bar association.
J: Do you figure the average age of most of your class was between twenty-five and
A: I guess so if I am sixty-three now. I think we were all in about the same age group.
These fellows look young. There is Wilfred Varn. He is a very successful attorney in
Tallahassee now. There is Howell Melton. He went back to St. Augustine, his
hometown. I think he was a circuit judge for a while, and now he is a federal judge in
J: Did you have any desire to run for a position on the bench?
A: Yes. I ran for circuit judge in 1972 and got my butt beat.
J: How badly?
A: There were three of us running in this six county circuit [8th Judicial Circuit]. I led in
the first primary and had a run off in the second primary with Judge Yawn [Theron A.
Yawn, Jr., class of 1951]. He beat me in the second primary. With all fairness to him,
he is a lot better judge.
J: To what do you attribute your losing the run-off?
A: In my opinion, I got some wrong advice. When you run, the judgeship is supposed to be
nonpartisan. You do not run as a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent, and
there are no issues. You cannot lower taxes or put new water coolers on the streets. It
is a popularity contest. So not being very smart, I had decided to ask some people to
serve as a committee to guide me for what I should do and what I should say. I took
their advice. My wife's opinion is that there was voter apathy in the second primary. I
might also add that I was prosecuting attorney for fourteen years.
J: I did not know that.
A: Yes, I was county solicitor for Alachua County from 1958 until the office was abolished
J: Were you rather unpopular holding that position, or do you think that had anything to do
with the election.
A: I do not know. I thought I was a pretty good prosecutor. I was nominated prosecutor of
the year for the state of Florida, and received a little plaque to show for it.
J: What year was that?
A: 1972. The Florida Prosecuting Attorney's Association gave me that award. I thought I
was a pretty good old country lawyer who was fairly knowledgeable and did not mind
working. But the voters do not see it that way. Local newspaper editorial policy has a
lot to do with the outcome of the local election. As one of my friends told me after the
election, "You have got to remember this is a fly-by-night town; you get people moving
in who do not know, so they turn to the local newspaper for guidance." I am inclined to
think he is correct.
J: Did you make another election bid after that?
A: No. Since then all judgeships have been appointive rather than elective.
J: Judges have to run for election the term after they have been appointed?
A: Yes. Circuit judge is for six years and county court judge is for four years unless you
are appointed to complete a term. If a judge retires or dies during his term of office then
the governor can appoint someone for the remainder of his term. Then he has to stand
J: Now your son as I understand it went through the University of Florida law college also.
J: Where did he go to school?
A: He graduated from Florida with a degree in electrical engineering. He is happily
married, and presented us with our first grandchild in February.
J: Well, congratulations.
A: He is now working with Harris Corporation in Melbourne, Florida.
J: It sounds like you have got a happy family.
A: Oh yes. My daughter is smart. She is a graduate of Flagler College with her master's
degree in history. She is working on her doctorate, and is teaching in St. Johns County.
J: Where did she do her master's?
A: University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
J: Y es. How would you compare the University of Florida College of Law today with when
you were there?
A: I am very much concerned about ethics. They should teach more about ethics. I
understand through hearsay that law students will tear pages out of law books in the law
library, and that they will hide law books so that other students will not find them. I am
deeply concerned about the ethics of younger lawyers starting out. It used to be that our
word was our bond. When I started here thirty-six years ago, there were perhaps
eighteen or twenty lawyers. I knew them by their first names, knew their wives, knew
their kids, and your word was your bond. If I had a real estate closing for $25,000, I
would call Bill Smith. "Okay, I will send you the deed, you mail me a check." Now, it
is dog eat dog; for the younger lawyers, it has to be in writing, and you had better have
any understanding in writing approved by the court, or you are going to be in trouble.
This bothers me a great deal.
J: Do you think that is a product of the training that they receive or a temper of the times?
A: Probably of combination of both. I do not know if there is anything wrong going on at
the College of Law. But, in my day, a professor would lay the exams on the table and
leave. You could go home and answer them if you wanted to.
J: Lord, I think right now, they are concerned with making sure that the exams are not
photocopied the night before.
J: There have been cases of that in southern schools. I am not specifying law schools, but I
am specifying southern universities where buildings are broken into and one copy of the
exam is taken and photocopied. You can buy a copy of that.
A: What good is this going to do you if you are going to be a member of the law profession
or any profession? What are you learning?
J: I do not think that the people at the time have the presence of mind to look into the
future. I think they are concerned with the immediate impact of failing that test and not
taking the time to prepare themselves.
A: Too much social activity perhaps. Who knows?
J: How active are you with the alumni association or with the law school?
A: Not too active. Not as active as I have been in the past. Occasionally they will call on
us for a financial contribution or want us to participate in an ethics seminar.
[The interview between A. Z.Adkins and Sid Johnston was interrupted at this point and not