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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
10/14/76 Interview with Mrs. Ethel Williams, Miss Addie Sundy,
Miss Sadie Sundy, Mr, Marshall DeWitt. DOeAy e-h,Fr D ol.tA.
As. Williams -No knowledge whatever, but I will answer4 as honestly as I can & I
don't know when I met Morikami.
Addie -I think he came here in 1906 and then about 1909 I think it was
Sunday he went up to Eau Gallie and went to school up there for about
a year, enrolled--I think it was in the 5th grade--English--
he didn't speak any English. ---Course I knew him mostly thru
the warehouse--they traded there.
Larry -What warehouse?
A.S. -Sundy Feed and Grain
L.R. -I see.
A.S. -And there was quite a colony of them down there. I noticed you
asked that question and I knew most all of them--Kamikama and
SadieSundy -Sakai and Kamiya
Mr. Marshall-And Morikami George
A.S. -And it used to be quite---what Papa and I used to like about
it---if one came in early in the morning you knew they were
all gonna be in before the day was over cause they met at night
and talked over their farming and ---what they were gonna need
and then they came in, apparently it was divided, one at a time
to buy what they needed.
L.R. -So they would come in separately but they would decide as a
group what they needed---
S.S. -I knew George at---up over the Love Bldg. -(Marshall, that was
before your day, wasn't it? When they had offices up there---
and Dr. Davis had an office up there and they had produce
M.D. -I remember Dr. Davis was up there---
S.S. -George Morikami had an office up there too.
M.D. -I never---uh---I didn't know George at that time. I knew George
later though so if you're talking from 1906, I came here in
1928 so---lot of water over the dam.
E.W. -You see, I was living in Baltimore at that time, so my contact
wouldn't be anything at that time---If my father were living
he would, you see but---my story ith Morikam' icks u after
Dr. and I came back here in 1925. iKnew im and then of
course, with Dr., he used Dr. professionally and my husband
was an M.D. so that wasAour only contact with him.
L.R. -I see. So you didn't know him before you left here --in the early
E.W. -Oh yes. I knew him. I knew him before 1910. I knew him in a
general way because he would come up and trade at the store and
things. Yes, I knew that. But I knew the other Japanese that
were down here--Sakai and Count Okudaira. Count Okudaira,they
used to tease me about Count Okudaira. I can see him in that
two-wheeled (cheap thing) coming up every Saturday to trade
at papa's little store, you know, and the first five lb. box
of candy I ever had, Count Okudaira brought it to me. And I
have a very gorgeous vase. Beautiful vase, S4tsuma, that he
brought me as a present, and it was bought originally for
Mrs. Flagler. The one he brought me got broken coming over
so I got Mrs. Plagler's gift. And when he handed it to me---
he was a graduate of Harvard School, Harvard University---and
he looked at me when he gave it to me, he said "Any millionaire
would be proud to own it". And it's in my cabinet now.
L.R. -Is that right?
E.W. -Uh huh.
L.R. -I came across his -name in---I was reading through some old
Tropical Suns over at the Palm Beach Historical (Societyj--
as a matter of fact, I came across both of your rundy Sister)
names and, I'm not even sure what year it was-Umust have been
maybe 1913 or 1914. It was in the social section
E.W. -See, I was living in Baltimore at that time---I only came down
in the winter time.
A.S. -I first came here in '98 with the Flagler Railroad. My father
was one of his construction..
S.S. -George was kinda shy when he had his office up over the Love Bldg.
A lot of us worked up there and the rest of us were kidding and
teasing Dr. Davis in his office. The rest of us, the secretaries
up there, and we'd kid and tease and George would stand around
and smile but he never would --he didn't think it was right to
enter into it.
L.R. -He had an office?
S.S. -He had a produce business.
L.R. -This was later on?
S.S. -No, this was way back.
E.W. -Dr. Davis didn't come here till about 1924 or '25.
S.S. There was another doctor up there too. I forget who it was...
E.W. -Yes, I've forgotten his name. What was his name?
E.W. -Dr. Davis and Dr. Williams, both came here about the same time
M.D. -Well, there was Dr. Williams and Dr. Davis and Dr. Kyes4 and..
E.W. -Well, Dr. Key-en and Dr. Williams had .....at the old Butler
place and they had a common reception room. That was across from
the Casa Del Ray at that time.
M.D. -Lets talk about the area that that covered. There were no
doctors between what? Ft. LauderdaleI1 Pompano and West Palm
Beach so when they were in this area they were serving that
sized community. Big area.
A.S. -There was one train a day came down in the morning and went
back at night.
E.W. -Yes, but that wasn't at that time, not in 1925. You're talking
A.S. -1910 and '
M.D. -Miss Addie, you're only 28 so you were just thinking about
L.R. -I'm interested in this Count Okudaira 'cause, as I started
to say, I came across his name in one of the accounts and I
hadn't heard anything else really about him.
E.W. -Well, I think I knew him more than I did anyone else because
he used to come up and at that time I was going to Wesleyan,
you know, and in summertime he'd come up every Saturday after-
noon and visit with us. He was very nice and they all teased
me about him. The first 5 lb. box of Hyler's(?) candy...
M.D. -...That was serious in those days too, wasn't it?
E.W. -That was quite a gift, a 5 lb. box of Hylers..But that's all
L.R. -What did he.... He came as part of the Colony? oR 0/D /NE9 .7
E.W. -I don't know. Do you realize why he came? I don't. I don't
think anyone really knew why he came.
A.S. -He just came and was down there with them and then he went back.
E.W. -He went back. I think he was going to school or something like
that and then found out it was nothing for him and then he went
on back to Japan.. And then I understand Sakai went back. Wasn't
it during the war years?
A.S.-Well, no. He died, you know, and his family went back and in '25
the Cathcarts were visiting over there and, on a trip around the
world, and they met one of the girls. She was hostess in one of
those big hotels.
L.R.-I heard from...during the summer Mr. Morikami's nephew was here,
you might haveveea that in the paper.
M FNT/oKE 0
E.W.-Yes, he was a very nice young man.
A.S.-He was a college professor.
L.R.-Yes, and he mentioned that he had known Sakai's daughter...one of
his daughters becauselsnie a- taught him some English in Japan.
But that was years ago. He was... when he went back he said
that .he was going to try and find her and ....
E.W.-Well, she would be able to tell him probably a great deal about TH/ S
S.S.-They were great on gift giving...got some real handsome presents
E.W.-Now when it says about did you ever meet them socially, I.....
L.R.-Well, I.....you know py questions....
E.W.-Well, I know but I think these are provocative and they're things
you should know.
They entered into....as far as I know... no social life with the
exception of when we'd have our Fourth of July parades, they would
always have...They'd enter the 4th of July parade, decorate their
trucks and I have pictures of those things, myself...of a 4th of
July parade and one of the Japanese decorated truck filled with
pineapple or whatever it was; it was pineapple I think at the time--
yes it would be in July, it would be pineapple. And...that's the
only way I ever knew them, unless...now you girls would know this...
whether the Sakai girls entered into any of the school festivities.
Now, see, I was away, so, and I did think in that way the Sakai girls
would participate in the school activities.
S.S. They were smart girls.
A.S. The Kamiya girls did too and they finished at Tallahassee. They
hoped to teach in our schools but the School. Board of Palm Beach
County. did not want to hire them so they went to Washington. There
is one of them in Washington now.
M.D. Well, I was telling him about the oneAJeanette had in Girl Scouts was
just an outstanding student.
A.S. Oh they were. They were4smart. They wanted to learn.
M.D.She did some maps, you know, of the State of Florida, and put in all
the activities around. And I looked at it and thought that's-co vLD F
practcaIly a professional job and she was a girl scout!
E.W. There's a lot of research that would go into a thing like that...
M.D. Lot of research, that's right. But beautiful work. It was just
a professional job.
E.W. Well, don't you think they were morEor less, the Japanese people...
their culture is' more or less perfectionist in everything they do.
M.D. Oh yeah. I don't think there's any question about it.
E.W. I really do.
X 1iAvr SFENV THEY
A.S. Al-l ---*-were well educated, they were.
M.D. They were top drawer, top drawer Japanese people.
A.S. Seems like I had 'em come over at that time...
E.W. I think the war.... was bad and made for bad relationships
there for a long time.
S.S. George had a guard, you know, all during the war. He couldn't even
sign his checks. Somebody else had to sign his checks. And he
was as honest and as good a citizen as anybody.
E.W. I remember my ather making this remark, that it was too bad because
they were suchU people that had stayed more or less to themselves,
tended Ao their own business, were.., they did their work and every-
thing4they were supposed to do, but yet... the antagonism during
those war years was too bad, the bitterness that they had to go
through. My father always resented that. He thought that was very
unfair, because here was a people that'd come to this country and NAD
never given us any trouble and yet they had to pay the price of
being Japanese. And it was too bad, it was...
L.R. But at least from what I understand the people here didn't have their
land and property and money and everything confiscated like people
E.W. Oh no --they did not do that.
L.R. That's true. You mentionedAthe Sakai girls were in school and good
students. Were there a lot of other children?
tf / powN TF//RE
A.S. The only children ever rememberAwas the Sakai and the Kamiyas. I
think Kobqyashi had one boy but he was younger.
M.D, I think that is true.
E.W. What do you mean in this question, "Was there a large turnover
L.R. Well, did people come and then leave or they came and then.....
E.W. No, they came and theo stayed, didn't they? They were very....
and when they went, Yamato went, really.
L.R. Now, I've read that, from newspaper articles and this and that, theN
one thingcf read' talked about there being a pineapple blight in 1908
and that that made them change over and after that they started grow-
ing vegetables much more and many of them gave up on the pineapples.
Do you remember anything about that?
E.W. I think the Cuban,Athe tariff thing on Cuba, put the kibosh on the
pineapples. I know it did my father and those who were raising
S.S. This was the largest pineapple shipping port in the United States
at one time.
E.W. My father used to raise... he had 5 acres up on Swinton Ave... just
about where you live...
M.D. Uh huh... well when I cleared the place up I could still find those
old pineapple balls that were there, you know, kind of black mummies...
E.W. That's where Pappa's was, was up on Swinton Ave.
S.S. When I'd ride a bicycle over that block just north of us, it was full
of pineapples and I'd get on that bicycle and I'd swear I wasn't
gonna run into no pineapple patch, but I always did tilLI learned.
A.S. All those blocks in front of us and then down further on Swinton
M.D. Actually when we talk about blight and pineapples, I think that you
could only grow one crop of pineapples on a piece of land. And
A.S. It took something out of the soil.
M.D. ....eventually when you take that element out of the soil you plant
another crop of pineapples and you haven't got a paying crop. You
have problems. So what they had to do, they had to find new land
all the time and eventually you run out of new land. And back in
those days that was before there a any canals and that sort
of thing here...they came about 1918 didn't they?... and when you
go just about west of the seaboard it was all water so it just
closed in a little spot here.
E.W. George Morikami .. in your 2nd & 3rd question there about his
personality..,uh, and his character. He always wanted toehold
up his end of anything. He always wanted to feel...I'm going
to tell you this very personal..which I have told once or twice
before...after Dr. retired and came back here, we were, he only
did internal medicine then, at the time because he said if he
stopped he'd die..and uh, the phone rang one night. We had
rented our house to the Blairs and we were in the apartment
upstairs and Dr. said...
L.R. Excuse me, about when was this?
L.R. About when?
E.W. Oh, this was in about:. 1952 or '3 and uh... the telephone rang
and Dr. had an ironclad.rule that if he was in, he was in. I
would never say he will call you later or anything. He was in.
He answered. So I said, "Telephone, Dr., for you". So he answered
and I heard him say, "well, meet me at the office," which was
right in back of where we were living ..in the apartment on .At-
lantic Ave.. And, he came back in a little while and said "Have
you got some pillows and blankets?" And I looked at him and I
said, "What do you want with pillows and blankets?"%re office w s sT vr A
fot wwicHhad a cot in it in case somebody fainted or something the nurse
could put them there. He had, of course, a regular nurse. And
this was at night that it happened and I said, "Why, what do
you want with it?" And he said, "well, that was George Morikami
and he's got pneumonia.". "Well", I said "why don't you send him
to the hospital?" And he said he hadn't any money to go to the
hospital and.doesn't want to go. I said, "Well, what are you
going to do". He said, "I'm going to keep him in the office."
And I said, "Well, how are you going to keep him in the office?"
And he said, "well, that's very simple," he said, "I'll turn
the dressing room over and I'll take care of him at night and
Miss Schumaker, the nurse, will be there in the daytime and
she can go over to the restaurant and bring in his food, what
he needs." And he kept him there and nursed him through that...
that stuff. But when he got well, Morikami, wanting to not be
indebted to Dr., wanted to repay him, offered to give him property
for it. And Dr. looked at him andPHaid, "George, you're getting to
be an old man just like me." He said, "No, I wont accept any of your
property." He said, "You may need it sometime." And so I always
feel when that Park h;e&-een dedicated that Dr. had a very definite
contribution to make toward it... ha, ha... because there for days
he was sick, he was giving him penicillin and everything and taking
care of him and Dr. wouldn't accept it, you see. But he wanted to.
What I'm trying to bring out is that the man never wanted to be
indebted, to anybody. He was very self supporting. And I think
all of them were, don't you? I don't think any of them wanted...
Every Japanese that I knew there stood on his own feet. And that
was one of the characteristics--I want to show you the character-
istics how indebted he felt to Dr. and yet he wanted to pay him.
He didn't have anything but land, you know what I mean/he had no
money. He didn't even have enough to go to the hospital.
M.D. Quite a story.
A.S. Kamiya was a little on the shady side, but he was the only one.
S.S. He had a big--
L.R. Did he own-a-grocery store?
S.S. No, that was somebody else... .7 PoA/VT /(A/ W '// IT A '
M.D. I remember Kamiya. He was the most outgoing of the whole crowd.
Maybe that was the reason.
S.S. Who'd you know?
E.W. No, I didn't know him. I remember hearing the name, but I didn't
know him. But I think we've covered pretty well the character---
you'll have to creatFa fictional sort of...
L.R. Were there many women in the colony? Did most of the men come here...
well, obviously Mr. Morikami came here just as a single man and
never married, and if there weren't too many children then... I'm
just guessing that maybe a lot of them were....
E.W. I don't know...Course, Count Okudaira was unattached, but Sakai had
M.D. I don't think I ever saw a Japanese wife. They were.., they were
definitely in the background.
A.S. They were usually staying at home. Now, Morikami said years ago
that he would marry if he could marry an American girl and that any
American girl that would marry him wouldn't be of his caliber.
E.W. He recognized that.
A.S. Mrs. Snyder said that he was engaged to a German girl but...
M.D. I heard something about that. I know there was something in his
background there that...
A.S. I heard him say that on several occasions. He wanted an American girl.
M.D. That was a kind of a tragedy in his life, wasn't it?
E.W. Yes. I think he had a very tragic sort of life.
M.D. I do too.. He was a very lonely person, I thought.
E.W. Yes, very lonely.
S.S. He wouldn't go back over to Japan either because he was afraid
he couldn't get back in this country and he didn't want to stay
L.R. Yeah. I guess he didn't get his citizenship until sometime in the
1960's or somethi-g./I
A.S. It was just a few years before he died. I understand that his
nephew that was here and the nephew's mother and sister are coming
over in January or February...----
L.R. Yeah. We're hoping.. I've been told also, I don't know about the
mother, but I have definitely heard the nephew and the niece were
planning to come. So, I hope so. We'd be delighted to have them.
E.W. Well, I think fundamentally the oriental cultures have a quality
that the American people have lost.
M.D. I know in this little trip that Jeanette and I took, the best be-
haved people that we saw and ... the number of Japanese tourists
was out of this world. I'd say in the countries that we were in
fully 75-80% of the tourists that we saw now, were Japanese.
S.S. Oh... they're travelling....
M.D. There were a lot of them, a lot of them.
L.R. May I take a look at the questions. I wrote them-up in a hurry when
I was here the last time.
E.W. I think those are good things for us to think about...I've been
thinking about it and went over and answered some of them on my own.
M.D. Well, when we were talking here originally...I knew George and I
knew all of the ones but to be able to give him any information, I
couldn't do it. Mine was a casual acquaintance with all of them!.A'
T)EN X would mail them to you three and give you a chance to do your----
E.W. Well/7I'll be honest with you, I think that after you've gottenus.
here I think you've!gotten the most factual thing about Morikami
and that you could possibly get.
"M.D. I told him factual and_Itold him the nicest too.
M.D. Oh, no question about it.
S.S. died and they took his bed out oX the wagon down Yamato -
and they cremated and they did it at night because they were ---
THEY'D be stopped from cremating 'M I remember when we were little child-
ren we had to sleep together several nights till we got over worry-
ing about it.
A.S. They had typhoid fever and they brought them up to that old inn
that was where ----- is now and two of them died that night.
And I remember seeing the body coming. You'd go down about mid-
night with the sheet over him.
E.W. This is all------
E.W. Oh, that was funny.
A.S. That Kamikama was very much like George Morikami. He lived very
much to himself.
L.R. Is that Kamikama? The one who died a few years ago?
A.S. He died a few years ago.
E.W. Well, I've told you all I know.
A.S. I wonder if Kamikama ever got back to Japan.
M.D. I don't know but he had quite an estate.
L.R. I spoke with Mr. Nowlin last week and I think he told me that
it's still tied up in the courts, but that he thinks it will
E.W. What's tied up in the courts?
L.R. Uh -- Kamikama's estate or part of it that's supposed to go
to one of his nieces or ---------
E.W. I remember one funeral down here--one of them died and they built
a pyre and (I was quite young at the time), and buried him.
S.S. They burned them and little children slept four and five in a
bed for a night or two after that cause we were afraid of seeing T-E/R
E.W. Do you remember that?
E.W. And they made this tall pyre, put the body on top and burned it.
A.S. Yes, that's their belief. They believe in cremation.
B.S. Well, we told him all we know, Addie.
L.R. I'm curious. How did, uh.... did they usually..well, say, in
terms of their dress, did they wear the same kind of clothes
that everyone else did?
E.W. Yes, they wore the same clothes we did. Their dress was the same.
S.S. They'd get things from Japan every now and then and they'd divide
em up with their friends and all-----
E.W. Yes, I was going to say, they would bring you something that they'd
gotten from Japan.....but they dressed just the same as we did.
S.S. They were smart children too.
E.W. Yes, they were.
A.S. And they'd fix things with trays of their vegetables, and it'd
look like an artist had done it, and they'd bring it to you. And
the top ofan old clipper (?) basket, you know.
E.W. Very artistic people.
M.D. Very artistic.
L.R. The reason I'm tape recording this is because with your per-
mission, I'd .'... at her than have everything written down and
everybody's gofto sit there and read, I think it would be very
nice to. .....
E.W. Hear the voice.
L.R. ---hear the voice. Well, this is what so and so brought back or
E.W. Well, we'd be very glad to do it, wouldn't we? for history's sake?
M.D. Well, I told him when he came down the first time that certainly
if George Morikami could give 200 and some acres to the County
for a park, certainly I knew that---I knew a number of people
who would give him the time to....get a buildup for what hers
trying to do....
E.W. I'm only too glad to do it because....my father and my husband
both thought a lot of Morikami, respected him a great deal----
A.S. Yes he was very likeable.
E.W. ----and we think a lot of Delray and we thought a lot about what
they did toward contributing toward whatever Delray has to offer.
M.D. I know when they dedicated the park they told me----if I remember
correctly it was a Monday morning, wasn't it?----They told me
that George was on the tractor working, out there on Saturday---
and of course he died two or three days later.
S.S. He was too shy, though to come to that meeting-----
E.W. The day I was there, we sat in the same row, and he was just too
sick to come out.
M.D. But.his sickness was caused by falling off th tractor on Satur-
day...He was out going around and around some fields there...at
his age...How old was he?
E.W. I was going to say....
L.R. 90, I believe.
A.S. 90 or 91.
A.S. We used to go out every so often, not too often, but every once
in a while. He was so fond of guava jelly, and Sadie and I'd
make some jelly and take him out a few glasses. And he always
wanted us to have a pineapple or something.
E.W. Oh. They always wanted to pay for what they received./ It was
one of the characteristics of the people as a whole. The culture
of the people was that way. They wanted to exchange. It was4some-
thing that they didI^n want to receive without giving.. If there
ever was a .....you know, I....someone said one time and I always
remembered it, that the only thing you really keep is that which
you give away... and it's true.
L.R. Yeah. I don't want to take your time if you have to go, but there
are a couple of questions. One was I also read somewhere that
after a while several of the people adon't know if they couldn't
make a living on their own, but they started working as share-
croppers or just doing odd jobs for some of the other people in
the area. Do you know anything about that?
M.D. I know Kamikami had sharecroppers down here I know that and
that land he had between U. S. 1 and the canal, I know that he
had some sharecroppers there.
A.S. But they didn't go out and do it for other people.
L.R. Well, yeah, that was what I had read.
E.W. I never heard of it if they did.
M.D. I never heard of it. Actually, all that kind of fell into place
as we were talking about pineapples and using up the available land
and not having any more. Actually the farming from the time that
they were in it'close to the coast moved westward out in the
neighborhood of 441. And I don't remember any of them were in
the business actively when it went out. They were all prior to
that time and when that transition came about they were not in
the business, so to speak, at that time. But I know that Kamikama
had sharecroppers down here because I saw it from time to time.
L.R. Were they all farmers? Did any of them do anything else?
M.D. As far as I know, they were all farmers.
A.S. And when they first came, Marshall, they farmed around the
M.D. Yeah, that's, uh.......
E.W. That was the original farm land every place because of the
S.S. It was too wet the other way.
L.R. I see. I did read that they had some kind of a store. Do
you know if that was something that was operated all the
time or maybe it was just when they got shipments in from
friends? Because I remember reading an article about---I
don't even ere mbr what year, you know, it was in one
of those old Tropical Suns... that the store had been robbed.
T7HAT-".VA T-IHf oN/LY RE4AS ONI Kt/l' A8oUT7 /r7
S.S. I don't remember that, do you?
L.R. Maybe it was just something little-----
E.W. As I said there were several years of things that could
have happened while I was living in.Baltimore. I would
only come down in the wintertime after Christmas and be
here until Spring, because when I lived in Baltimore my
first husband was a wholesale produce man. He was a
junior member of the J. C. Lyme Company. And, of course,
we would only come down after Christmas. Now I would
stay at home while he would go back and forth between
Miami and here and work that area and buy the produce up
in car lots. I know he used to buy a lot from the Japan-
ese people but just what he was doing ---and I didn't
know what they were doing. I just know that. And I know
that he would load a lot of that stuffyin there. But that
was why I didn't know what was going ohnin a general way.
M.D. I remember one time...I knew Kamikama pretty well... and
somebody was looking for fill when they wereASharting 1-95.
S they came around --1said we want you to take a ride with
rme and what they wanted e- to do was go down and introduce
them to Kamikama.SOThey could buy some fill. And Kamikama
wasn't about to sell anything. So we sat there and talked
for about an hour and finally the man said, "Would you sell
some fill?" and he said, "no way." And that was the end
of the conversation. But he just shook his head and the
whole conversation just went on-----
E.W. And he might as well take it for that, too.
M.D. --2Kamikama knew Jeanette's father and we started on
that. Of course, I knew him from coming in and out of
the bank. He used the First National Bank up there for
.a long time. So did George. George never would speak
to anybody until they spoke to him first. He would look
right at you and just keep going. And if you'd speak to
him then he'd smile and speak, but you had to be first.
But I never will forget trying to buy that land. He just
knew he was going to buy some fill and...so the only
question he rse asked was "would you sell some of your
land for fill?" and he said no.
E.W. That was it.
M.D. I don't know how many acres he had, but he died--- that
was, oh, a year or two after that he died.
E.W. Oh, Me.
S.S.)Kind of nice to go back to old times, i*'t it?