Interviewee: David W. Hedrick
Interviewer: Denise Stobbie
Date: February 6, 1986
David Warrington Hedrick was born on October 25, 1917, in Jacksonville,
Florida. He attended Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville and graduated in
1935. After working for a year, Mr. Hedrick entered the University of Florida in 1936.
He graduated in 1940 and joined the Army for one year. After leaving the Army,
Hedrick enrolled in the University of Florida College of Law, graduating in 1947. His
law education was interrupted by World War II, in which he served four years. Mr.
Hedrick is now a practicing attorney in Orlando.
S: Would you state your full name please?
H: David Warrington Hedrick.
S: And your residence?
H: 1729 Reppard Road, Orlando, Florida, 32803.
H: October 25, 1917.
H: Jacksonville, Florida.
S: Where were you raised?
H: In Jacksonville, Florida.
S: What education did you have before you went to the University of Florida?
H: I had twelve years of high school and an extra post-graduate course in high
S: And was all that in Jacksonville?
H: Yes, at Robert E. Lee High School.
S: What year did you graduate from high school?
H: The first time was 1935 and then I got considered to be in the class of 1936 also.
S: And that was additional education?
H: Yes, I had told my father that I thought I wanted to be an engineer and he said,
"Well, if you do you better get more physics and that type thing than you have."
So I took extra courses for another year and worked for him a half a day.
S: What type of work did he do?
H: In the concrete contracting business, concrete blocks and other building
S: When did you first enter the University of Florida?
H: September, 1936.
S: What did you plan to study, engineering?
S: What courses did you take when you first enrolled?
H: Well, we had the 'C' courses at that time, you know, 'C' one through six.
S: "Comprehensive," I think it was?
H: Yes, right.
H: And so because I had this extra work in high school and wanted to be an
engineer, they put me in advanced math and they put me in chemistry instead of
H: And then I took the C-1 and C-3 which was political science and an English
S: (By the way, you can ask me to stop at any time that you want and turn it off.
You have that right.) What were your impressions of the university when you
arrived? Was it a big school?
H: Well, it was big to me. I had visited down there on several previous occasions
on rush parties for fraternities. So that September of 1936 I was pretty well
acquainted with the campus. As a matter of fact I went down there in the
summer of 1936 and worked in a restaurant.
S: Do you remember what restaurant?
H: It was the one downtown right across the street from the old theater run by Byron
S: Oh, okay. So that was the summer before you started school in the fall.
H: Right, that is right.
S: Did you rush fraternities?
S: Did you join one?
S: What was that?
S: How large were your classes in undergraduate school?
H: I would say thirty to forty on the rule now some of them were mass classes
where we would take lectures and we would have several hundred people in the
S: Where would they put all of those people?
H: It was in the old auditorium.
S: It was next to Century Tower?
S: Was that the only building big enough to hold that many people on campus?
H: I believe it was.
S: Okay, all right.
H: Speaking of bigness, there were about three thousand to thirty-five hundred total
students at that time. It was big to me, but my high school was half that big.
S: Did that seem large for that time?
H: Well, the change seemed large, yes.
S: What effect did the Depression seem to be having on students at the university?
H: Well, the Depression had the effect as it did on me we simply just did not have
any money. I had saved up some money to start college on. I had one
hundred dollars. Then I earned all of the rest of the money I used for tuition,
food, whatever while I was there. I had an older brother that was in law school
when I enrolled, and he had done the same thing, and he helped me get the jobs
like going up to Primrose and so forth.
S: What is his name?
H: Cleve, Frederick Cleveland Hedrick Jr. [Frederick Cleveland Hedrick, Jr.,
University of Florida College of Law, J.D., class of 1938] He graduated from law
school in 1938.
S: Where does he live?
H: In Washington D.C., around the outside of Washington in Maryland.
H: He has been active with the alumni association.
S: We are going to be doing some interviews with the Washington area alumni.
H: Oh, really?
S: So we might call him. Now does he practice law up there or what?
H: He is mostly retired now.
S: What did he do? Was he practicing or what?
H: Well, yes, he was a general practitioner and specialized in taxes and was the
chairman of the ABA Tax Section one year.
S: Okay, we will have to include him. So you said you earned most of the money
that you used to pay your tuition. Did you work all the while you were in school?
S: Different jobs? Did you stay at the Primrose?
H: No, I did not. My next jobs were, I had an NYA job, National Youth
Administration, and that was my cash crop of fifteen dollars a month. Then I
worked at Mrs. Drawdy's boarding house for my meals. And, oh at various times
I sold tickets at football games and sold corsages on weekends. Well, when I
was a senior I had three jobs. I worked in the library from about the second year
on. When I was a senior I worked in the library, I was working for my meals, and
I had an assistantship to a professor.
S: Kept you busy.
H: I started undergraduate college with one hundred dollars and I finished with fifty
S: Pretty good.
H: It may have changed a little. Now I was making money on the last time with
those three jobs.
S: And when did you receive your first degree from UF?
H: June of 1940.
S: So you went straight through?
H: Not exactly.
S: In undergraduate school?
H: In undergraduate school I did.
S: Okay. 1940, June, and that was a B.A. or -?
H: Yes, a B.A.
S: Was that in engineering?
H: Oh, no. I had changed fields two or three times by then. I started out wanting
to be an engineer and it took me about two years to get out of that. Then I
thought I wanted to be a doctor, but I had to change my mind on that--we had no
medical school there at that time and it cost too much to go up to Georgia or
someplace. Then I thought I might be a lawyer, but the way things worked out I
ended up being an army officer for a while.
S: Okay. So what was your degree in? Liberal Arts or general?
H: It was a sprinkling. It was a smorgasbord.
S: Good broad background.
H: Yes. I never heard of one like it earlier it was English, mathematics, Spanish,
and speech, if you can believe that.
S: My, that is interesting. So you joined the army.
S: When was that?
H: In July of 1940.
S: Right after you graduated.
S: Now I guess at that time a lot of the students were starting to leave the university
for the war.
H: Not too many.
S: Not yet?
H: Not too many. We were not in the war at that point you know.
H: And this was a one-year tour of duty under what was called the Thomason Act.
It was an act of Congress where 1000 reserve officers went on active duty for a
year. It was like a competitive tour. The top five percent or so were given
regular commissions to remain in the army. So that is what I did.
S: Had you been involved in ROTC?
H: Yes, four years of ROTC.
S: Was that popular with the students at that time?
H: Yes, it was. Most students took it.
S: Why was that? Did it give you extra income or?
H: The answer to that question is yes. You got a little extra income after you got in
the third and fourth years. It was like an extracurricular activity, and I believe
that the patriotic feelings at that time were higher than they have been since the
war especially since the recent war.
S: So the patriotic feelings were high even before we got involved in the Second
H: Yes. And the leaders of the campus were in it.
S: Who were some of those leaders?
H: Well, my brother was one of them. He was, had gone through the ROTC.
Hubert Schucht is one that comes to mind. He was the head of the thing. He
was killed in the war, and there is something on campus for him--the housing.
S: Schucht Village, yes, my cousin lives there.
H: Yes, he was one of them.
S: Well, were you a leader on the campus also?
H: Sort of.
S: Okay. Were you involved in the student government?
S: What was your role in that?
H: I was business manager of the 'F' book, which was a are you familiar with it?
H: I was active in politics and belonged to numerous clubs and whatnot are we still
S: Yes. We are getting to law school. The 'F' book was for freshman, right?
H: No, I think it was for everybody. But it was especially valuable to freshman
because it gave them information.
S: All about the university?
S: When did you enroll in law school? Was that your next step after the army?
H: Yes. June of 1941. The army and I declared it a draw. I did not want them
and they did not want me.
S: So you had your one year and you were out.
H: Right. I saved money during all that time. I had some to come back to school
S: So you enrolled in law school. How did you go about doing that? Did you have
to apply to get in?
H: It was very easy to get in law school those days. All you had to have was about
thirty-five dollars, and I already had a degree so that part was taken care of.
You could get in even without a degree under certain conditions.
S: So you just signed up?
H: I just walked in the door and laid down my money.
S: Do you remember where you did that? At the law school or?
H: Oh, yes. It was the old original law school that we had. I think the office was to
the right as you came in the door heading east.
S: And who took your money?
H: It might have been Mrs. Pridgen. [lla Rountree Pridgen, University of Florida
College of Law, Librarian and Executive Secretary, (1930-1954)] Oh, now wait a
minute now. I think you did all you registrations over in the general office. I
think that is where we paid our money over in the language hall it was called.
It was not far away.
S: Okay. So you would go there and pay your money and then went over to the
H: Show your receipt or something and go from there.
S: Did you get to choose what classes you wanted to take or did they tell you what
H: As I recall, I chose from what limited classes there were. See, this was
summertime. I had a very unusual law career. Starting in the summertime
taking upperclass courses is not the usual way of doing things.
S: How many students were there that summer just judging by the students in your
H: There must have been about fifty.
S: Fifty in a class you think?
H: No, in the whole thing.
S: In the summer enrollment?
H: Yes, it may have been more. That is a little dim there.
S: I know it is hard to tell that also. Well what about judging by the size of your
individual classes? Did they seem to be full?
H: No, I think they were a little smaller.
S: During the summer?
S: Okay. Who taught you that summer?
H: Let us see. I had one course under the dean. Oh, boy. As I recall I had three
courses: the dean, probably Jimmy Day [James Westbay Day, Professor,
University of Florida College of Law, (1930-1961)] and Crandall [Clifford W.
Crandall, Professor, University of Florida College of Law, (1914-1949)].
S: What was your typical day like? Would you go to classes every day of the
H: I was carrying five hours and I think it was two or three hours and then two one
hours or something of that sort, maybe two, two, and one. And so with five
hours and then summer school you went about every day to each class.
S: But the summers were shorter anyway.
H: Yes, you only had six weeks to get it in.
S: Did they work a lot into those classes because of the shortened semester?
H: Well, I imagine so. I could not tell. I had nothing to compare it with.
S: How difficult was it?
H: Well, I worked real hard at it because I was just coming back and had no
background, and so I had to wear my dictionary out and whatnot to find out what
those words were.
S: Your brother was enrolled then also?
H: No, He finished in 1938. He was not there.
H: Well, partially answering your question, I ended up with four hours of 'A' and one
S: You must have worked hard.
S: So your brother had already finished law school. Did he have an influence on
you going to law school?
H: Yes. He did not attempt to tell me to go, it was just the fact that he had gone.
As a matter of fact that was the best opportunity you had to get into a graduate
profession. Like I said, we did not have dentistry, we did not have doctors, I was
not a farmer, and you know. So law school was the place to go if you wanted a
profession that hopefully would earn you a good living.
S: That is interesting. So you either got a master's in because I know there were
not very many colleges there at the time. You would either get an advanced
degree in agriculture or something like that or choose law as a profession. What
else attracted you to law school?
H: Well, most of the leaders on campus went through law school, many of whom I
knew most of them I knew.
S: How much competition was there among the law students?
H: You mean grade-wise?
S: Grades, to prove themselves in class?
H: I would say just a fair amount it was not real intense.
S: Okay. Were the students friendly with each other outside of school?
S: Did you study together?
H: No, my study habits did not lend itself to doing anything with anybody else unless
I was going to help somebody on something.
S: When did you study?
H: I studied in the early evenings, sometimes during the daytime depending on my
job requirements. Most of the time I was not free until the early evenings.
S: Where did you do your studying?
H: Sometimes in the law library and sometimes in my room.
S: Where was your room? In the dormitory?
H: No, it was either in a boarding house or the ATO house. One or the other.
Those are the two kinds of places that I stayed in.
S: What boarding house did you stay at? It was not Pridgen Hall was it?
H: No, it was one right down the street from the law school on the south side just
behind the Phi Delt house.
S: Was that a popular living arrangement then to live in a boarding house?
H: Yes, for those that were not in a fraternity that was about the only well some of
them lived in the dorms but not many. When they got into law school not many
of them stayed in the dorms. If they were not in a fraternity it was what they did.
If they were sometimes they stayed in the house and sometimes they did not
find it the best thing for them and they moved out.
S: At the boarding houses did someone cook for you?
H: In this particular one, no. It had no meal service.
S: So where did you eat?
H: I was still working for my meal so I ate that in Mrs. Anderson's dining room. For
one summer I worked, well I had an arrangement downtown at some hotel, the
name I have forgotten, I would bring them so many people and they gave me my
S: Oh, Mrs. Anderson. Was that at the Primrose?
H: No, immediately across the street from Language Hall.
H: On the north side of University Drive.
S: Now was that a little restaurant?
H: It was a boarding house. It had some boarders and had lots of eaters. Mrs.
Anderson has a son here now practicing law. She is gone and he must be
S: Here in town or is he with your firm or?
H: No, not my firm. He is here in town, he has got his own firm.
S: Do you know his first name?
H: Robert B. [Robert T. Anderson, University of Florida College of Law, J.D., class
of 1936] I think.
S: So it was not the apartment living like it is now?
H: Oh, no.
S: None of that?
H: No, none of that.
S: I guess boarding houses filled that gap.
S: Until they starting building the apartments.
H: Yes, right. And of course they were not as costly and they were not as large,
they did not have the amenities.
S: When you studied in the library do you recall Mrs. Pridgen being in there?
H: She was not there usually in the evenings.
H: But if I studied in the daytime she would be there.
S: And what did she do while she was there?
H: She did a little of everything. She was not only a librarian but she was the chief
assistant to the dean.
S: So if you had a problem who did you go to?
H: She's the one.
S: How much help did she give the students with their studies?
H: I am not acquainted with any that she gave. I do not think that was her part.
She later went through herself.
S: Right. At that time if you just needed to check out a book or something.
H: Whatever practical type thing you needed, well, she was the one to go to.
S: So she worked closely with the dean?
S: Well did she also have secretarial duties?
H: I think she did. I do not remember any other secretary being around there.
S: You don't?
H: No. I think she helped all the professors get the paperwork on their exams and
whatnot because there just was not anybody else around.
S: So you do not remember any other women at the law school?
H: No, no. I could be wrong but I do not remember.
S: Okay, you remember if she had any help then? Any assistance in the library?
H: There were student assistants I believe.
S: Okay. Now when you worked in the library was that the main university library?
H: Yes, the main library.
S: How were your law classes conducted? Was it mainly a professor up there
lecturing or did you have discussions in class?
H: There is a rule that there is some type of talk to begin with and then you had
been assigned cases to study. A case-book method. They would call on
students to tell us about this case. What were the facts? What was the
situation? What was the law? What was the outcome and so forth. They
were not all that way, many a day we just talked. He just lectured and we were
busy copying it all down or else.
S: What were Jimmy Day's subjects?
H: Real property and the allied courses I think he taught maybe wills or some other
S: What about Trusler [Harry R. Trusler, Dean, University of Florida College of Law,
(1915-1947)]? What was his classroom manner?
H: Well, he was a very interesting old character. He would talk and then he would
shut his eyes and walk back and forth across the front of the classroom. Then he
would quit talking and he would point out somebody to give him the case, to tell
us about the case, or some question about the case.
H: And he liked to make little jokes and make little risque statements if you want to
call them that.
S: Concerning what he was teaching?
H: Yes, allied to it.
S: How tough was he as a teacher?
H: He was not too tough.
S: And what did he teach?
H: I think when I was a freshman that summer I took Workman's Compensation
from him. After that, oh he taught, education was his field. He taught more and
more courses dealing with education.
H: And I just cannot remember what else he taught.
S: I noticed in a lot of the clippings, in the news clippings, that I was going through
that he gave a lot of talks not only in Gainesville but around the state, a lot of
Women's Clubs and things like that. Was he well known as a lecturer?
H: I just really knew him as a professor and dean. I did not know him as a lecturer.
S: Did you have any personal dealings with him at all?
H: No, not really.
H: We were very friendly and all but I never saw him outside the classroom or
S: Never had to go visit him in his office?
H: No, well.
S: Do you remember where his office was in the law school?
H: Yes. I went in there for some reason but I have forgotten what it was.
S: Was it a big office, nice office?
H: It was big enough.
S: Let us see, oh, one thing I read said that the students would applaud him when
he came into the classroom. Do you remember that?
H: Yes. That is right.
S: Would you describe that? How did that work?
H: Well it was just like the President of the United States coming in. Somebody
saw him and said, "Here is the dean." And another thing, you are getting my
memory scratched here, if somebody got up to give something about a case and
he did know anything about it or was not prepared, they would get the shuffling
like that. They would shuffle their feet. Same way with the dean. If he said
something that they did not like, why, they would shuffle their feet.
S: They would shuffle him?
S: To Trusler?
S: What was his response to that?
H: He would take it and grin and tell them how they were wrong or whatever. Yes,
he took it real well. It made quite a noise. It made my feet do not make any
noise on this carpet but on those old bare floors that we used to have it made
quite a noise.
S: So the student did not know the case.
H: Yes, they would shuffle him. They would get him.
S: How unnerving was it to be called on in class?
H: Depends on whether you were prepared or not.
S: And what were the circumstances if you were not prepared besides the shuffling?
H: Well it was just that one class. They would just tell you to sit down with that
sarcastic-type voice and call on somebody else.
S: You only shuffled in that one class?
S: In Trusler's class?
H: I know we only shuffled Trusler in that one class but not the other professors.
But I think they did a little shuffling in the other classes too.
S: Did that continue throughout your law school education?
H: Yes, that was an old tradition.
S: What about Professor Crandall? How was he in class?
H: Professsor Crandall taught me, at least, common law practice and pleading.
H: He had written a book and he was a very nice old gentleman, rather stiff and
staid. He would do some talking and ask some people about various and sundry
S: Was Day pretty tough?
H: No, Day was the gentlest soul you ever knew.
S: I guess he does not look it in his face.
H: He appears rather stern but he is not. No, he would just go on like I said. He
would just dictate, in effect just dictate right straight on through his class, and you
wrote it down, and you were tested on what you wrote down. He would ask
questions occasionally but most of the time he was just timid. Then he would
give a time for us to ask some questions. Professor Day was active in the
Sons of the American Revolution, and I will have to admit that I went up to talk to
him about that because I was eligible at one time. I am not sure if it was just to
get in a little bit better with him.
S: You will admit that now?
H: I was in so many other things I really was not a whole lot interested in that one.
S: Who else taught you?
H: Well, the main one was Mr. TeSelle [Clarence John TeSelle, Professor,
University of Florida College of Law, (1928-1930, 1932-1958)]. Of all the ones I
had he was my favorite.
S: Why is that?
H: He was interesting. He was tough, but he was interesting. He had been a
prosecuting attorney and active on the outside before he came to the law school.
To me someone who has had some background and actual practice of law
knows more about what he is talking about. So I took two or three classes
under him. The best one I took I guess was Civil Procedure or something I
guess. Probably. I took a couple of others but let me just give you 'the'
example of what my relationship with him was.
H: He called on me one time about a case to give him an answer about something
and I said, "Yes, sir, that is an example of 'non obstante veridicto' or something
like that." And so he says, "What's that Hedrick? Say that again!" So I had to
repeat it again and so the rest of that whole class every time a single Latin word
would come up he would say, "Hedrick, stand up and tell us what that word
means!" (laughter). So he was tough on people, but he was tough on two kinds
of people: those that he liked, and those that he did not like because they were
goofing off. And he gave me hell because I was one of the ones he liked. I
worked hard and did good in his classes.
S: Oh, okay.
H: But guys that shuffled in late, man, they had it.
S: What did he do to them?
H: Oh, he would call on them right away. That is number one, and then he would
kick some out who did it repeatedly. He did not let them into the class.
S: And others that were somewhere in-between just kind of slipped through?
H: Yes. Well, he was not easy on any of them but he gave special problems to the
S: Do you think he helped you as far as giving you some practical training?
H: No doubt about it.
S: What about the other professors? Did they have any practical experience that
they relayed to you?
H: Not really.
S: Just mainly TeSelle?
H: Yes, he of course was the one who was teaching you courses like Civil Practice
that I was telling you about, Evidence, the ones that you needed to practice law
and to be a trial lawyer. The other ones were substantive law. You needed
those if you were going to get involved in land titles and this and that and the
other. But if you were going to get into the courtroom, why TeSelle was the man
that really woke you up.
S: What condition was he in when you had him?
H: He could still walk by himself with a limp and a cane.
S: Did he sit during class and teach or did he get up?
H: He sat most of the time, but he got up from time to time, pointed with his cane
S: Anyone else that you remember teaching you?
H: Well, Danny Clark [Vernon Wilmont Clark, Professor, University of Florida
College of Law, (1946-1974, 1976-1977)] came along the line somewhere,
probably my second time back in law school. He was a very nice fellow but he
was more or less like Jimmy Day, he dictated most of what you got.
S: When did you leave law school? About what time?
H: Well, Valentine's Day in 1942. Pearl Harbor was December 7, 1941, and it took
them that long to call me back in. So I finished that one semester from July to
February, and then they were just starting up a new semester when I got called
S: So the army called you in?
S: That was in the middle of the semester then?
H: Oh, yes. I had four years between contract one and contract two.
S: Well, how would that work when here you were in class? Did you get a letter
from anybody or?
H: I was attending a rush party for the Pi Delta Phi legal fraternity and I got a
telegram, this happened to be at the ATO house.
S: Now what did you do to leave law school at that time? Who did you tell?
H: I did whatever they wanted me to do. I checked out at the law school, and
checked into the purser's office. I put my belongings in the back of my car and
S: Did you get credit for that part of the semester?
H: No, no, no. This happened to be right between semesters. Now I got full
credit for the time I was there. I finished a year's work as a matter of fact in that
period of time.
S: So how long were you in the army that second time?
H: Four years.
H: Yes. I spent twenty-seven months overseas.
S: Where was that where you were stationed?
H: I went to England and was there nine months. Then I went across the Channel.
I was not in the first line but I was in an armored division. We came in a little
later. Then we went around Paris and up into Belgium and over into Germany
and eventually went over to the Elbe River, Molde River which is a branch of the
Elbe where the Russians were.
S: Well, you saw your share of the Second World War.
H: I got five battle stars and a Belgian Fourragere.
S: What was your rank?
S: When you got out?
H: When I went in I was a Second Lieutenant.
S: So that would have been 1946 when you got out again?
H: Right, I hit New York City on Pearl Harbor Day four years later.
S: Wow, what a celebration, huh?
H: So, I had a couple of months off and then went back to law school.
S: Now when you left law school in 1942 what were the circumstances then at the
law school as far as the war? What was it doing to the law school?
H: It was they were losing some of the students but it was not When I came
back in 1942 -
S: In 1942 when you were -
H: I came back in 1941.
H: Yes, well in 1941 they had well they were beginning to lose more students for
S: Yes, in 1941. And in 1942 when you left to go back into the army were many of
you classmates leaving?
H: Yes. We were in the war by that time. The reserve officers they just sent a
wire and said to come to duty and others they were drafted. So they got down
pretty thin there during those couple of years.
S: Do you remember saying good-bye to your professors when you were going off
to the war?
H: I probably did.
S: I just wonder how they felt about seeing their students leaving.
H: Well, I am sure they were sad.
S: Did you see any of your law school classmates while you were away at the war?
H: Yes, I saw some. One in particular is Billy Goza [William M. Goza, University of
Florida College of Law, J.D., class of 1941]. I started to say part of the law
school that I skipped over was my first semester in Florida, summer school. At
that time they had a working relation with Stetson law school to where the
second semester would be at Stetson. So I went to the second semester of my
law career at Stetson. It was in Deland at that time. That is why it led to Bill
Goza because Billy lived in the same house--he and a friend lived, Billy
Thomassello, it was, lived in one half of the house and myself and my roommate,
Grover Robinson, [Grover C. Robinson, Jr., University of Florida College of Law,
J.D., class of 1946] lived in the other part. Grover is gone now. So Billy I had
known socially around the campus. He was from Clearwater and was in another
fraternity. So he and I turned up going to the Armored Force School in Fort
Knox, Kentucky. We showed up going to school there at the same time. Then
when we left there we got assigned to the same division, the Third Armored
Division, which was at Camp Polk, Louisiana. Then when I got to Camp Polk,
why, there were lots of other Floridians there I am trying to remember, I do not
think any of them were in law school. There were from Florida lots of them.
In fact, we had about fourteen Florida people in that one battalion at one time.
S: So let's go back to that second semester Did you have to go to Stetson that
H: Florida closed down, and if you wanted to go to that semester that is where you
went. And the other way around. The Stetson people came to ours the first
semester so I got to know a number of them in that fashion.
S: Who did you say was Bill Goza's roommate?
H: Billy Thomassello.
H: Yes, he is gone now. And mine was Grover Robinson, whose son is in the
Legislature with the same name.
S: Okay. Was he a member of this firm?
H: No, he is from Pensacola.
S: I wondered about the Was it Robinson or Robertson?
H: Robinson. Same name but different families.
S: So that was in Deland. So you did not have a choice to stay at Florida? You
wanted to go to law school that semester, you went to Deland. Why was that?
H: You mean why did I go?
S: No, why did they do that?
H: Because the professors wanted to have a vacation.
S: So the Deland, the Stetson professors taught you in the second semester?
S: That is interesting. Did you have any good professors down there?
H: Well, I enjoyed being down there and one of them in particular named Robert
Wilson was, I thought, very good.
S: Is that the only semester you spent away?
H: At Stetson, yes. Except when I went to the University of Grenoble in France.
That was not legal.
S: Oh, okay. Well, that is interesting. I had never heard that about the joint
program at Stetson.
H: I do not know exactly why they quit but one reason I am sure that made it more
difficult is when the Stetson law school moved down to St. Petersburg. Instead
of being fifty miles away or whatever.
S: I wonder if they continued it then.
H: Well, I will tell you one other thing. You see, we had only five or six professors
and they had to teach all the time. To get a vacation they just had to quit
somehow. In order to give the students an opportunity to hurry and get on
through they made this double arrangement. But now with all of the law
professors we have got, they can keep going year-round with out burdening
S: So you knew in the end of 1941 or the beginning of 1942, you knew by then that
it was likely you would be called back into the military. Were you ready for that
H: Oh, yes. Another friend of mine and I hitchhiked up to Atlanta where the head
office was to ask them when we would be called. So all we got was, "Go back
home, we will let you know."
S: Were most of the students like that? Eager and ready to go?
H: Most of them were ready to go whenever. They did not like the interruption and
hoped it did not mess up their current thing too much.
S: Did you ever come home on leave during that four year period?
H: Yes, while I was stationed in, what did I do? Well, I went home to Jacksonville
after I had gotten the notice, and then I drove an old car I had out to Fort Knox,
and then we were in Louisiana for a short time. Then, we went out to California
and we spent the summer on the California desert with old blood and guts
General Patton, and they were getting us ready to go into North Africa. So, we
rushed across country to Camp Picket, Virginia, getting ready to get on the boats
to go to North Africa. About that time everybody got in the mountains that had
been out on the flat desert, and then when they got in the mountains they didn't
use the tanks, they didn't need the tanks, so they saddled us off to Pennsylvania
and we trained some more up there until finally we went to England. So to
answer your question, when I got back to Virginia I was able to get back home
again and I think maybe I got home again from Pennsylvania some time.
S: Did you ever go to Gainesville during that time?
H: I don't think so.
S: Just went back to Jacksonville?
H: Yes, I had a limited time.
S: Do you remember any officers being trained at the university before you left?
S: Yes, this may have been during the war while most of the students were gone.
H: I think that's true. No, they had not started that program while I was there.
S: I guess that's when most students were gone, they maybe opened it up to
H: Tried to hold on to some people.
S: Must have been a quiet time in Gainesville. After the war, when did you
re-enroll? You said 1946?
H: In February, 1946.
S: You arrived in New York City, Pearl Harbor Day, four years later?
H: That's right.
S: So that would have been December, 1945. And February, 1946 back in the law
school. Can you describe what was going on at the law school at that time when
you first got back?
H: Well, the student build-up had not gone very far. There weren't many students
there. And the same professors were there, Mrs. Pridgen was there, and there
wasn't too much change since I had left.
S: When you picked up with your classes, was it mostly the same people back in
S: But it wasn't too crowded?
H: No, the student body in general and the law school student body was down. I
was among the first group to come back. There may have been some that
came back the September before, but they were very fortunate if they did
because the war wasn't officially over until August.
S: What kind of a reunion did you have when you got back with your classmates?
H: I don't know, we were all happy to see each other, glad that we were still alive.
S: Do you remember new law students at that time? People who hadn't gone away
to the war?
H: Yes, there were some of those, including some ladies for the first time.
S: Do you remember their names?
H: One of them married a Kissimmee boy, and then he died.
S: Was Mary Dewell [Mary F. Dewell, University of Florida College of Law, J.D.,
class of 1942] there at that time?
H: No, I think she had finished by that time. That's John Dewell's [John H. Dewell,
University of Florida College of Law, J.D., class of 1946] sister.
S: That was one name that I had heard was there.
H: There were two or three of them there when I first got back and then more came
in not long after that.
S: Were you surprised to see women in your classroom?
H: It was different. I was just going to say there was one girl that was from
Clearwater that married the Kissimmee man, and there was one from Key West
that was there also. And I just can't think of any more.
S: Did they get called on in class?
H: Oh yes, they got treated the same way the men did, except TeSelle maybe
treated them a little bit easier.
S: Would he call on them?
H: Oh yes.
S: Had they started expanding the old law building at that time?
S: Do you remember any building construction going on?
H: I just don't believe they had expanded it, it was still the same size.
S: Now when you returned to law school, you were four years older. Let's see how
old would that have made you when you came back?
H: Well, I was about twenty-seven or twenty-eight.
S: And you were a much more mature student at that time. What effect do you
think that the war and the difference in your age had on the rest of your
H: Not to limit it to just the studying but everything else, I'll tell you a little story. I
was concerned about being older and a lot of my friends were married and out of
school and one thing or another, so I took a walk out in the woods one day and
sat down and talked to myself. And finally I decided well so what, why don't
you just go back in there and participate and forget how old you are and what
other people are doing and just get in there and participate. So I decided to do
that. One of the reasons that got you feeling so peculiar was they had
seventeen-year-old kids in our fraternity and here I was almost old enough to be
their dad. So it was a little bit unusual and a little depressing in a sense too.
You feel like you lost five years or whatever so I did, I resolved to just go on back
and participate so I did.
S: Well, at the same time, being older, were you respected by those younger
H: A good many of them, yes, in the fraternity. In the law school I wasn't too much
different than a lot of other people. True there were some that had come up
without any time lost and they were five years younger than I was.
S: But mostly in the law school it was older students?
H: Yes. Some were older than I was.
S: Did you remain single through your schooling?
S: Now you finally graduated in 1947?
S: What time of the year?
S: Did you participate in the John Marshall Bar Association activities?
H: Yes, let me go back and put a post script on that graduation date.
H: I had a minimum of two years in college to finish a three-year degree, only it was
scattered out as we talked about.
S: Minimum of two years -
H: Yes, I finished it in two years.
S: So when you came back from the war were you taking more classes than
H: I took heavier loads than most people.
S: Trying to get out?
H: Among other things.
S: So how did you spend most of your time then?
H: In law school?
H: I was active in the John Marshall Bar Association, I was an officer, I have
forgotten what officer, maybe vice-president, and I was president of Phi Delta
Phi, a legal fraternity, I was tapped into Blue Key soon after I got back, and was
generally active in other things.
S: With that heavy a load did you spend most of your time studying?
H: I didn't have a whole lot else to do.
S: Were you working then?
S: What job did you work at?
H: I worked in the library. And I worked in the hash house too. In the dining room
you could earn it and eat it in an hour. That didn't leave you much eating time.
S: Now was that place on campus or was this still off at one of the boarding
H: It was still off campus, at Emerson.
S: Emerson, president of Phi Delta Phi, Florida Blue Key, you were active, how did
you get into Florida Blue Key, did you apply for membership?
H: No, they tapped you, although if anybody talks to you about it, one of the
members, you might tell them yes, I'd like to be in it.
S: And what was the function of that organization at that time?
H: Well, it was a leadership fraternity and they largely did the same thing they do
S: What about John Marshall Bar Association? What did that do?
H: It held meetings every now and then and had speakers occasionally, it was the
moving force behind the Barrister's Ball, which was a great event.
S: Can you tell me about that?
H: Yes, it was a dance for the lawyers, they would give it out wherever, some juke.
S: Off the campus?
H: Off the campus and most of the people were a little older so there was a little
booze floating around and it was just a good party.
S: Where did the women come from?
H: Well, the few that were around law school plus the town people, plus people that
were invited and came from somewhere else.
S: Any of the women from Tallahassee, the women's college up there?
S: Was that a nicer party? Did people dress up?
H: No, I mean they didn't come sloppy, they just came dressed.
S: Kind of informal, it wasn't a formal dance.
H: No, not formal.
S: It was a good party?
S: Were there a lot of people?
H: Yes, well attended.
S: Was that an annual bash?
H: Yes, it was at that time.
S: You mentioned wrestling earlier. Were you involved in athletics at all in college?
H: Not in law school. I was playing golf, I was playing handball practically every
H: Yes, in law school.
S: And wrestling was undergraduate?
H: Yes. I was the Southeastern AAU wrestling champ. How's that?
S: That's quite an accomplishment.
H: I weighed next to nothing.
S: Who did you compete against? Other southeastern colleges?
H: Whoever showed up, it was open. It was not all that big a deal.
S: Well, it sounds impressive, anyway. Do you remember where Pridgen Hall was?
S: Right near the law school?
H: No, it was on down University Avenue past the theater and then off to the north
or left a couple of blocks.
S: So it was past the Primrose. But law students lived there?
S: Do you remember how many lived there?
H: Maybe ten or so.
S: Did Mrs. Pridgen live there?
S: Was she still married or was she a widow?
H: She never was married, ever since I have known her.
S: So was that kind of her boarding house? Did she run that in addition to -?
H: Yes, I don't think she fed anybody but people lived there. I believe my brother
lived there for a while.
S: You mentioned Mrs. Anderson, did anyone else who was involved in the law
school run a boarding house?
H: Run one?
S: Yes, have a boarding house, any of the professors?
H: Not that I know of.
S: Did you have a faculty advisor when you were in law school?
H: I am not aware of one.
S: If you were uncertain of what classes to take or anything like that, information
about getting a job after graduation, who would you talk to about this?
H: Other students and Mrs. Pridgen probably.
S: She did have a big part in the law school.
H: She, you know if you were her friend, she was your friend. And she was a very
S: Did you receive assistance in finding employment after graduation?
H: Yes, let me go back to this boarding house. The head waiter at that boarding
house was Bob Anderson, while he was there. My brother Cleve was the head
waiter there for awhile and then Fletcher Rush, [Fletcher G. Rush University of
Florida College of Law, class of 1947] a local lawyer of Rush, Reed and so forth
was the head waiter.
S: At Mrs. Anderson's.
H: All at Mrs. Anderson's. And a lot of law students ate there.
S: And that one you said was right across from the law school or right across from
S: The street that ran there is now Thirteenth Street, I think it was Ninth Street then.
H: I am talking about University Aveune.
S: So it was across that. Was it right on University?
H: Yes, and on the corner of the street that runs north off of, I forgot the name of it.
S: But a lot of the law students ate there?
S: We were at Mrs. Anderson's.
H: And we had three law students come along as head waiters.
S: And it was Fletcher Rush, your brother Cleve and you.
H: Right. And then there was Robert Anderson.
S: You were not head waiter?
S: What was your position there?
H: Just a waiter.
S: Now we were going to talk about you finding employment, looking for work when
you were getting ready to graduate.
H: Let me go back and add something before I forget. I told you how broke I was
when I went up there. As a matter of fact that is one of the reasons I stayed out
the extra year because I did not have any money. Anyway, just to give you an
example, a real good friend of mine named Peter Manson and I lived on Mrs.
Drawdy's front porch upstairs. We had half of the front porch, two other fellows
had the other half. And what was on there was a double decker bed, a little type
closet thing and one desk and one table and one chair. That was it, and we paid
five dollars a week for it. And that is where we lived that whole year, September
around through the winter, to the summer. The next year we moved back into
the swamps, back two or three blocks away from the school and got a small
apartment where we had two or three bedrooms, and that one cost us about
thirty-five dollars a month or something like that, maybe not that much. We had
another friend from Jacksonville that came and so we moved and got into that
one and lived there. Now, to eat, it cost you five dollars a week also. You
would get two meals a day for five dollars and then breakfast would cost you
something extra. At Drawdy's, where I first started working, you could eat for
four dollars a week.
S: Who was Mrs. Drawdy?
H: That was the lady that owned the first place where I lived.
S: She was just a resident in town?
H: Yes, she ran a little boarding house, she lived in the house and rented out some
of her rooms.
S: And who was your roommate there?
H: His name was Peter Manson, he is a lawyer, but he did not go to law school at
Florida, he went to the University of Virginia after the war on full pay and
allowances I never heard of such a nice deal. He was a major at that point, too.
Among the people that lived at Mrs. Drawdy's when I was there was Bob Floyd,
who was the mayor of Miami, and now he is a practicing lawyer in Miami. I am
not sure whether he went to Florida law school or not. He did not go with me.
Perhaps he went to the University of Miami.
S: And he lived there when you did?
S: And where was that house, was that closer than Mrs. Anderson's?
H: Yes, that was two houses west of Mrs. Anderson's on University Avenue.
S: So was that whole street lined with these big houses, boarding houses?
H: Yes. Either that, or fraternity houses or churches. There was another one I
worked at that was right down the street.
S: And were the boarding houses mainly for students?
S: Okay. Who lived in the dormitories, freshmen, younger students?
H: Well, it was broken down at that time to about one third, one third, one third, one
third in the fraternity houses, one third out in the swamps, boarding houses and
what not, and one third in the dorms. And of the one third in the dorms probably
the majority of them were freshmen, but it did have some upperclassmen and
even some law students who had gotten to be monitors or whatever they are
S: What area are you talking about that you call the swamps?
H: We called the area north of University Avenue, two or three blocks back in there,
we called that the swamps.
S: Why did you call it that? Were they really swamps?
H: No. It was just sort of off campus and the better looking houses were
S: That is what they call the student ghetto now a days.
H: We called it the swamps.
S: Now, I know why you called it the swamps, although I doubt that it was as bad as
it is now. About finding your job, did you think about that while you were still at
the law school or did you wait until you had finished up?
H: Well, I had thought about it but I did not do a whole lot about it. Back in those
days we did not have any kind of formal assistance or resumes mailed out or
anything else. Being from Jacksonville, I thought about going to Jacksonville,
and then I thought of St. Augustine and then I had this friend Goza in Clearwater,
and then I had my friend Fletcher Rush here in town. And I decided that I did
not want to go to Jacksonville. My brother had gone to Washington, D.C.
instead of going back to Jacksonville. And so, I got, through Fletcher Rush's
cooperation, he lined up three or four, four I reckon it was, interviews here. I
interviewed with everybody and liked the same firm he was with, and he was with
Leroy Giles, who was the sole owner of the business. And so I joined up with
the same firm he was with. At that time it was a buyers market; I think I could
have had any of the jobs that I interviewed for. But, I chose the one that I felt
was best. And they cannot get rid of me, I have been here ever since.
S: What was it called then?
H: Just Leroy B. Giles. And then about five, six years later he brought Jim
Robinson [James C. Robinson, University of Florida College of Law, J.D., class
of 1948] who just stuck his head in the door, and me, into the firm. And he was
one year behind me at Florida, he graduated in 1948.
S: And Rush was with the firm also?
H: No, he had moved on and formed his own firm shortly after I got in.
S: It was a buyer's market then, huh?
H: It really was. See, I was really among the first classes to graduate after the war,
and the class was not all that big either, the pent-up demand more or less was
S: Now, you were in your senior year, were more and more students starting to
enroll in the law school?
H: Yes. Each year that went by they got bigger and bigger.
S: Did that affect your classes?
H: A little.
S: They were bigger?
S: Was there a problem with overcrowding?
H: It began to get a little crowded in the regular courtroom, the regular classroom.
S: How about the library?
H: Yes, I think so.
S: And do you remember any new professors coming on?
H: Like I said, the only one I do remember is Danny Clark. I am not sure when he
came through, but I had him as a professor. He was in addition to the original
five, or whatever.
S: Did you go through your graduation ceremony?
S: Did you wear a cap and gown?
H: I do not know if I wore a cap and a gown.
S: Do you remember where that was?
H: I think it was out in the corner of the football field. I know one of my graduations
H: Outside, down in the corner, in a little bowl like that. And John J. Tigert [James
J. Tigert, President, University of Florida, (1928-1947)] gave us a little talk. I
never will forget his rolling, thunderous voice. "All the rights and privileges there
S: Let's see, there is your bachelor's -
H: The law school is on the other side.
S: Tigert came to that one too.
S: And you have remained with this law firm ever since?
S: Looking back, were you prepared to start practicing law when you got out of law
school? Or maybe we can talk about what you did when you first came here.
H: I wasn't too bad off. I started off in a real estate practice examining abstracts.
So, it was just a question of knowing the Real Property Law or finding it out. So,
that was not too bad. I did not have to go into court right away, and I got along
S: How would you compare the law school that you attended with the law school up
H: Well, the one I went to was a hell of a lot more friendly, due to, no doubt to it is
smaller and it was not quite so intense. I told our current dean the other day
hell, I could not have gotten into law school much less got out of it.
S: I do not know. It sounds like you did okay. Your graduating class, class of
1948, has what became very prominent lawyers. Do you attribute that to the
instruction, I mean in 1947 and 1948 the class that followed, do you think that it
was the instruction or the students that were there very studious? How would
you attribute the success of those classes?
H: I attribute it to the professors, the quality of people they had, the students and the
experience they had in the war.
S: How did the war experience affect them?
H: It made you understand life and its many vagaries better, and you could
understand the problems coming before you and the cases and whatnot and
relate them to something you have seen or heard or been around. And you are
more mature and your work habits and whatnot are better.
S: Did you stay involved with the university at all after your graduation, alumni
H: I have always belonged to the alumni association but I have never taken a very
active part in it. I am one of the first Gator Boosters and I am a season ticket
buyer, I attend the football games.
S: You attend them?
S: One of the first Gator boosters?
S: When did that organization begin?
H: About twenty-five or so years ago.
S: Did you help to found that?
H: I did not do anything except donate money.
S: You regularly attend the football games?
S: What would you say are some of the greatest accomplishments that you had in
the course of your career?
H: After leaving law school?
H: Well, I got married and I have two fine sons up here, they are a lot older than that
now. See, the one on the right there, the oldest one, the one with the beard and
the one on the left is the other one.
S: Where was that?
H: On Lake Maitland. He was on the Edgewater rowing team. So, I got two fine
boys. One of them is now a lawyer here in town, with the public defender. The
other one is taking a master's course in counseling. I have of course been
active in the law profession. I have been president of the Orange County Bar
Association. I have been president of the University Club. I was a Scout
Master for six years or so and am a member of the Central Florida Counsel of
Boy Scouts and its lawyer. I have been president of the Jaycees and Drive
Chairman and president of the United Way. I do not know. I have done a lot of
other things, but those are the ones that stand out.
S: What is that University Club?
H: It is just a social club. It is a men's club downtown here, and men go to lunch.
Well, they have done a lot more things there now. They have a barber shop,
and they have a card room and a pool table room type thing. And they have an
exercise thing with all those machines and whatnot. They have a sauna and
sweat bath, hot bath whatever you want to call it. So, they have a lot of facilities.
S: Is it University of Florida affiliated?
H: No. They say "You must have matriculated at a university in order to belong."
And I asked the man at that time, I said, "Matriculated, what do you mean?"
And he said, "Having been applied to and accepted by a college."
S: What are your sons' names?
H: John is the oldest one and Steve.
S: And which is the lawyer?
S: And he is here in town?
S: And did he graduate from here?
H: He graduated from Florida State. He started out at a college called Western
New England College Law School. He dropped out of that for awhile, stayed
around here for awhile and decided he wanted to finish up being a lawyer so he
went back to Tallahassee.
S: He started out up north?
S: And what is your wife's name?
S: You married after you were out of law school. In the years that you have been
practicing do you remember things, did you hear your professors talking to you,
things that TeSelle taught you?
H: Yes. I think I have still got all of my old notes. I have not thrown them away. I
cannot say that I refer to them or not, but I have on one or two occasions,
especially when I got started. Because the students, you know, are exposed to
newer things than people that are out somewhere. They might know something
that you might not be familiar with, a recent case or something.
S: And at least be more familiar with it. What do you mean that the competition
was not that much?
H: Well, in my school it was something like 3.0 or 3.5. Whereas some of the first
people in the class now have a 3.8, 3.9.
S: That is quite an accomplishment to be first in the class. Do you remember how
many people graduated this year?
H: About twenty-something. You can verify all these figure somewhere.
S: Yes. We are trying to gather as much as we can through interviews and working
that in with materials that we have on file. Now, you got the degree LL.B.?
S: And could you have taken additional classes to get the J.D. at that time?
H: No, they did not offer anything but the LL.B. at that time. And then finally they
came to the conclusion that everybody getting equivalent type courses were
giving J.D.s and so we should have J.D.s too. And so they wrote us all and said
if you send us five dollars we will give you a J.D. degree. Now, one of the silliest
things that happened was, and one of the reasons for doing this is that the U.S.
Government had been hiring lawyers. If you had an LL.B. you made $20,000
say, if you had a J.D. you got $30,000 and both of them were taking the same
courses. So, they had to get rid of that kind of silliness and Florida went to the
S: So, did you get your J.D. then?
S: I think that was in 1967?
H: I do not remember when it was.
S: Who wrote you that letter?
H: The dean of the law school.
S: Well, this has been very productive. I have obtained a lot of good information. I
appreciate your time.
H: Well, good.
S: And if you do come across any photographs we would be happy to copy
negatives, if you could send those we could copy them and make prints, and
even send you a set of the prints, anything like that and certainly any letters or -?
H: Your major interest is the law school.
H: Not, necessarily the people in it, it has got to be connected with the law school.
S: Mainly, although we are interested in pictures of what the university looked like at
that time, especially the law school, if you have any pictures that might have
people in it, just to help show what it looked like.
H: I was not a picture buff so I did not have any pictures that I have taken I am sure,
but maybe somebody else took some.
S: And anything like that, the law school is always interested in any letters or
correspondence and we can always duplicate it. We are trying to fill in the
history that we have lost.
H: All right.
S: Well, I thank you.
[End of the interview]