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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
This is an Oral History interview with Captain David Gorman
Click, conducted by Steve Kerber on March 24, 1976 at
Captain Click's home in Vero Beach, Florida.
K: So, let me begin by asking you what your full name is.
C: David Gorman Click
K: And where were you born?
C: I was born in Missouri, and was carried down here as a babe-
K: Oh, in Missouri.
C: Yeah, my mother was there visiting at the time, but I
was carried to Florida as a baby, so actually I feel
native to Florida.
K: In every respect but that, uh huh.
C: Except that, technically, I was born in Missouri.
K: Right, and when was that?
C: That was in 1908.
K: 1908, okay.
C: I grew up around a little town called Lakeport, that's
where Fisheating Creek empties into Lake Okeechobee.
K: Uh huh.
C: And the '26  hurricane killed five hundred of our
neighbors there, and liberated me, and I finally got
out and finished high school, and then I went to college.
K: What brought your parents to Florida?
K: What motivated your parents to come to Florida? Were they...
C: My father....
C: No, my father was ill and the doctors didn't give him too
many years to live.
K: Uh huh.
C: So, he moved to Florida, where they recommended the sunshine,
everything, so he did, and he lived fifty years after he got
K: That's remarkable.
K: So you went to grade school and high school down in...?
C: Yes, I went to the grade schools and after the grade school,
the elementary school, that is, and grade, you know, in
DeSoto County, Lee County, Glades County, and Hillsborough
K: Uh huh.
C: I finished up high school in Hillsborough County..
K: And when would that have been? When did you graduate?
K: 1928. And then you went off to college?
K: Where did you go?
C: I went to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
K: Oh, really. Some classmates of mine from high school went
C: Um hmmm. Very fine school.
K: It is indeed. And then you graduated in 1932?
K: And then went to work for Senator Trammell?
C: Went to Washington, yes. Correct.
K: Did you go to work for him immediately? Was that your
first job in Washington?
C: Yes, yes.
K: How did you manage to obtain that job? Did you, had you
happened to have met him before?
C: No, I tried, it took me three days to get to see him.
K: Uh huh.
C: He had a secretary there, where, it wouldn't, protected
him too much, wouldn't let me get in to see him. So one day
I sent a little note in on the Senate floor, I saw him
sitting there. I just put on it: "David Click, from
K: Uh huh.
C: Before long he came out, and he said, "Young man, what can
I do for you?" And I said,"I want to be your secretary."
And he said, "You don't want much, do you?" He said, "What
gives you the idea I need one?" "Well," I said, "from the
treatment I've been getting from one you've got over there."
K: Ha ha!
C: I said, "I could sure improve on him!" He laughed and
took me to lunch, and we visited, and so he said, "Well,
I don't have a vacancy right now, but I can put you on
the senate payroll in the Senate document room as a clerk."
I said, "Anything, this is my first job." Then he said,
a little later on, he said the Democrats are going to
win that  election. And he said, "When it is, I'm
going to be Chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee, and
I'll need some help over there." And I said, "Sounding
good," and so that's the way it happened.
K: I see.
C: He said, "You sure got a lot of gall."
K: He must have admired that.
C: Yes, he did. He said, well it happened that the guy he
had was sorry anyway, and he recognized that, and so he
just, just the guy decided it was time for a change.
K: Do you remember what that other fella's name was?
C: Yes, Ed Ahern.
C: Ed A-h-e-r-n.
K: So Senator Trammell fired him then, later on?
K: He was dissatisfied with his performance?
K: Okay. Now you worked for Senator Trammell then, from 1932
until 1936, then...
K: ...when he died?
K: Okay. And what did you do after the senator's death? Where
did you go from there?
C: Well, I got a job in industry, in the Waterbury Tool Company.
K: Um hmmm.
C: And that's a subsidiary of the Sperry Corporation, and later
on I got promoted to the home office, and next became an
Industrial Agency Director, Assistant to the President of
Sperry Gyroscope Company.
K: And this is what you did until you retired?
C: Yeah, and then of course, I belonged to the Naval Reserve.
On the Naval Affairs Committee, I joined the Reserve, so
off and on between wars and other things, I've been called
to active duty.
K: I see.
C: So, outside of the Navy and Senator Trammell, and Sperry--
they're the only three jobs I've ever had.
K: I see. Okay.
C: So I retired, of course. I have a sugarcane plantation in
the Everglades now. I returned home to roost. After I had
seen all the world had to offer, I decided I'm better off
K: That Florida was...
K: ...the place to be.
C: So I went back to this.
K: Why did you decide that you wanted to go to work for Senator
Trammell? Did you just decide that while you were in college?
C: Well, I took, in college....
K: Or had you wanted to be in government?
C: I took, I majored in government...
K: Uh huh.
C: ...at the university, and so I had a deep interest in it,
and I figured the Democrats were coming in. Hoover wasn't
strong, Hoover was about as, about as popular as Nixon is
now, and so, a job was a job in those days.
C: And I fugured my best chance to get one, would be a political
job, so the best to do was to see your senator, if you know
him, and I didn't know him, so I made a point to see him.
C: It worked, everything worked out fine. No, I didn't know
any of his family, he didn't know any of mine. No one at
K: Nowhere down the line had there been any contact before that?
C: No, no, no contact whatsoever. We were complete strangers
when we first met.
K: Let me ask you a couple of questions about his personal
appearance. How tall was he?
C: Oh, I'd say he was around six feet four. He was a hand-
some man. He was unquestionably the most handsome senator
there, but that was....
K: I've heard that many times.
C: No question. The only guy that came close to him was
Senator Tom Connolly of Texas, but he was a typical
southern senator, and very, very, handsome.
K: How much would you say that he weighed? How heavy was he?
C: Oh, I'd say he weighed about two hundred pounds, and....
K: So a big, well-built man.
C: He was a big,well-built man.
K: Uh huh.
C: And he had curly hair.
K: Do you remember the color of his hair?
C: Yes, it was silken gray.
K: Gray, when you knew him?
K: Yes, yes.
C: But he was a handsome figure on the floor of the Senate.
K: I'm sure.
C: You couldn't miss him.
K: What kind of a voice did he have, Mr. Click?
C: He had a very deep....
K: Resonant kind of a voice?
C: No, mellow. Mellow.
C: Mellow voice. A very softspoken voice. Wasn't a raspy voice.
He, he'd read a good speech.
K: Did he dress fashionably, or did he kind of dress down
home, like he might....
C: No, he, he's, I'd say he was medium in his sartorial elegance.
He'd dress well.
K: But he didn't go overboard?
C: No, he didn't go overboard, no.
K: Good taste.
C: In good taste, But he was always well dressed. Nothing
K: Did he carry a cane?
C: No, he didn't.
K: He didn't?
C: I never saw him carry a cane.
K: I've heard a lot about his memory for names and faces.
C: Absolutely! I've seen it.
K: You've seen that?
C: Oh, he used to practice on me all the time.
K: Did he?
C: When we drive from Washington to Florida, a lot of times
he'd say, "Okay, you take down the numbers on the next twenty
railroad cars, and when they get around the bend, I'll tell
you what they are."
K: And he could do it?
C: He'd do it.
C: Absolutely amazing. That was numbers, and letters and
everything. I don't think he made a mistake yet. Oh
yeah, he could remember names. It was absolutely uncanny.
K: Would you call it a photographic memory...
C: Yes, yes.
K: ...do you think?
C: Yes. Because I have attended rallies, and guys will come
up and shook hands, and call him a name, and the guy, after
he walks away, says, "I haven't saw that guy but once. He
came overseas in World War I, come up behind the lines and
shook hands with me....
K: And that was it.
C: And he wasn't lying. No, he just....
K: That's amazing.
C: Just an absolute tremendous power for names and numbers,
anything like that. Figures....
K: Uh huh.
C: Very retentive memory.
K: Where was his office located when you worked with him?
C: In the Senate Office Building.
K: The Senate Office Building?
C: That's the old-time office building.
K: The old one. Do you remember...
C: On the second floor.
K: ...the office number, by any chance?
C: I think it's 211, I'm not sure.
K: 211? It might have been at that time.
C: The Naval Affairs Committee was right across the hall from
K: I see. Was that a large office? Was it more than one room?
C: Oh, yes.
K: How many would you say? Several rooms?
C: There were, there were three rooms, there,adjacent, and one
across the hall.
K: Uh huh.
C: Then of course, he had an office on the Senate, main Senate
floor, in the United States Senate.
C: He had another executive office over there.
K: Did he? But he did most of his work in the office in
the Senate Office Building?
C: Correct. Correct.
K: How much time, roughly, would he spend there? What time
would he go in in the morning; what time would he leave at night?
C: Well, he spent all kinds of hours there. He, I would say,
he'd spend ten to twelve hours a day.
K: Did he work on weekends, Saturdays, Sundays, if you remember?
K: He had to?
C: He'd been accused, and properly so, at times, and when it got
hot, he'd stay behind and sleep in the office.
K: Oh, did he?
C: Every senator has a couch there. And many's the time I've
seen him go to, fall asleep on the couch. And, see, right
in the Senate Office Building, there's a restaurant, so all
you had to do is shave and wash in the shower, bathroom there.
K: So he really didn't have to go anywhere else if he was pressed
C: No, that's right. He didn't have to go anywhere. He kept
a suite down at the Continental, the Capitol Hotel there.
K: The Capitol Hotel?
C: Right next to the Senate, right next to the Capitol.
K: How many people were working in that office when you were
there? And can you tell me who they were?
C: Well, when I first started?
K: Yeah, when you first started, all the way through if you
C: Well, Ed Ahern and his son, till he fired him. Then he
got rid of his son, too.
C: Then there was Josiah Ferris, Jr.
K: This is the man you wrote me about?
C: Yeah, and his wife Gladys was there.
K: His wife worked there also?
C: She was there also. And that's all that worked in the office.
K: Were there any others working for Senator Trammell?
C: No, except...well, he had one lady on the payroll.
K: Uh huh.
C: She never worked. She was just a pain. She was assigned
as a clerk to the Naval Affairs Committee, but he finally
got her kicked off.
K: Hu huh.
C: She was a hindrance. Her name was Josephine Baker.
K: Baker was her name, Josephine Baker? Do you remember a woman
named Daisy Trammell? Or would that have been his second
wife? The reason I ask is, I've seen the name Daisy Trammell
in the Congressional Directory listed as a Senate Naval
Affairs assistant clerk, and I have no idea who she is,
and I thought maybe you could tell me, unless it was his
C: No, it was not his second wife. I think it was a relative.
K: A relative?
C: And I think he [Senator Trammell] was getting part of her
K: Uh huh. Well, that wasn't unusual, then or now.
C: No, I know they all have their wives on the payroll, their
K: Yeah, but it wouldn't have been his second wife?
C: No, no.
C: No, absolutely not.
K: What was the organization of the office? In other words,
did you have a certain set of duties, and did Mr. Ferris
have a different set of duties?
C: Yes. My duties were strictly acting clerk for the Naval
Affairs Committee--to handle legislation.
K: Uh huh.
C: And that's hearings, reports, anything to do with legislation.
K: Uh huh.
C: And in addition to that, an additional duty, I did a lot
of confidential things for him, as an administrative assis-
tant. And also I acted as campaign manager.
K: In '34 ?
C: Yeah, I campaigned in '34.
K: I see.
C: That's when Calude Pepper ran against him, in '34.
K: That's right.
C: And Josiah Ferris handled the office detail.
K: I see. The Florida people who wanted to talk with him?
C: And then the correspondence, the telegrams and such.
K: I see. Do you remember if Senator Trammell tried to keep a
list of his supporters throughout Florida? Does that ring
a bell? Did he have a card index, or a list of names of
K: Never heard of it. Never heard of it. He didn't keep one.
He had them in his head.
K: He could just do it in his head?
K: Okay. Did he attend church regularly while you knew him
in Washington? Did he possibly teach Sunday School?
K: This was something that I was told he did when he was gover-
nor in Tallahassee.
C: He did not do it as a senator.
K: Did you hear him quote from the Bible at all?
C: Oh yes, he was, he quoted the Bible frequently.
K: He had a good working knowledge of it?
C: Yes, very, very, very good. He was a Christian man, no
question of that.
K: He was? Okay, You say he lived, or he maintained a hotel
K: While you knew him?
K: And did he also have a house, or was that after...
C: That's after.
K: ...he married again?
C: That's after, after he married Mrs. Mesmer.
K: Uh huh. And then they bought a house in Washington?
C: No, they rented. After he got married, he sent me to ;
Washington to pick out a place for them. I went up,
and rented an apartment for them. On 16th Street, near
Embassy Row in Washington. I picked it out, and fur-
nished it, moved them in.
K: I know you told me some of this in your letters, but I want
to get it on the tape, that's why I'm going over it. Do
you know if he owned a home in Lakeland?
C: He used to.
K: He did?
C: But he finally .But, see, in those days
a senator only got ten thousand a year, and that was it.
C: He didn't have an expensive account or anything else.
K: Uh huh.
C: And that was the only income he had, so he had to sell his
K: He did?
C: And finally his house, and he sold everything he had.
K: So he had sold those then...
C: He sold them to just give up.
K: ...to supplement his income...
C: Supplement his income.
K: ...before he died?
C: Before he died.
K: Was this home the place called Gray Locks? Or is that some-
C: No, I believe that's correct.
K: Do you know if he called it that?
C: I'm not sure.
K: But you've heard the name before?
C: Seems to me that's correct, but I'm not positive.
K: Had he been ill, or failing, right before his death?
C: No, not, he was in perfect health.
K: As far as you knew, he was in good health.
C: As far as I could see, he was in good health.
K: Could you tell me something about the circumstances of his
C: Yes, I can tell you about it. The cross-state canal, across
Florida, had been debated. And Senator Duncan U. Fletcher
and he had been working like a team of mules together for
twenty years. Senator Fletcher was from Jacksonville, and
he wanted this canal real badly. Senator Trammell was
equally opposed to it. He was bitterly opposed to it. He
figured all it is is a boondoggle, a waste of money. If
you cut through the aquifers in Florida, you might not
get them back, and there goes Florida's agriculture and
fresh-water supply--south and central Florida. Why take
a chance? So anyhow, the bill is coming up after much de-
bate and so forth, for a vote on the Senate floor. And
Senator Fletcher was making a speech, and he come around
to see Senator Trammell, and I was there on the floor with
him. You see, I had access to the floor.
C: I could sit down by him, and he says, "Now, Park," he says,
"you and I have been working close together for twenty
years. Now I know you're opposed to this canal and,"
he says, "I know that you're working against it, which is
all right. I expect you to do that. But there's just
one thing I would like you to do. Please don't get up
and make a speech on the floor of the Senate against it.
I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't do it." So he said he
wouldn't. So the senator is going around buttonholing the
senators and had me doing the same, explaining why he wasn't
giving a speech. But it just killed him, and his heart
wasn't in it. But his pledge to Senator Fletcher, he
kept. He didn't get up and make a speech, but he felt I
that he had done everything he could to kill it.
K: Uh huh.
C: So he was torn between that series of emotions. And
he was sitting there and first thing you know, he had a
heart attack. And we got Dr. Calvert, he's a Senate
physician there, on loan from the Navy, John Calvert.
And he said there was no question. So he said I'd have
to take him home, and I took him home, and he was there
a couple of days, and that was it. He never fully regained....
K: So it was a sudden thing....
C: It was a sudden thing.
K: And unexpected.
C: Unexpected sudden heart attack.
K: And it took place on the floor of the Senate, at his desk?
C: The floor of the Senate, correct.
K: Could you tell me a little bit more about the relations
between Senator Fletcher and Senator Trammell? Were they
personal friends, or were they just co-workers in Florida's
C: No, they were personal friends.
K: They were?
C: In every way. And of course, they had worked, as I say,
like a team of mules together for the cause of Florida
for Twenty years, and there had never been any bitterness or
antagonism between them. To show you, on appointing the top
federal posts in the state.... It took the Democrats, of
course, to approve it. Of course, you had two Democrats
in Florida, so that each one would have a special friend
that he wanted to get appointed. For instance, the Collector
of Internal Revenue, Ed Larson, Fletcher wanted him; and
Allie Angle wanted Collector of Customs. Trammell wanted
him. So they said, "Let's don't fight each other." "Well,"
he says, "I'll go with Angle if you'll go with Larson."
He says, "Fine." That's how they operated.
K: Uh huh.
C: I'll give you this appointment this year and you give me
an appointment next year. But they'd swap around, I guess.
But they would never confront or damage each other.
K: No fighting?
C: No fighting.
K: Just cooperation.
C: No fighting. I never did hear them fight in any way.
K: Can you tell me a little more about A.J. Angle. What was
his relationship to Trammell?
C: Well, he was a close personal friend.
K: A personal friend as well?
C: Yes, a close personal firend.
K: Uh huh.
C: I think they both went to the Bartow Military Academy [South
Florida Military and Educational College]. I think that's
where it was.
K: I think that's possible.
C: And that's where he knew him. So....
K: He stayed his friend, political and personal, throughout
K: You mentioned the South Florida Military Academy in Bartow.
Did Senator Trammell talk much about things like that in
K: He did mention to you...
C: Oh yes.
K: ...that he had attended the school?
C: Oh yes.
K: Do you remember how long he went there? Would it have been
fairly long, or a fairly short period of time?
C: As I remember, it's...two years, or thereabouts.
K: Did he ever tell you if he went with his father to
Chattahoochee, when his father was the superintendent at
the hospital [for the insane] in Chattahbochee?
C: He visited there.
K: But he didn't live there, or work there?
C: No, not that I know of.
K: He would have probably been in Bartow and then on his own,
at that time?
C: Yeah, I think so. No, he never lived with his father after
he was on his own. And then you see, after that, he went
K: Uh huh.
C: He got his law degree and in one year, you know, at Cumberland.
K: Right. Quite an achievement.
K: Did he, did you ever hear him talk about his father at all?
Do you know if his father helped him get started in politics?
C: Not a, not a great deal.
K: Not a great deal?
C: I don't think that he could have helped him much. They
grew up on an orange grove;there's I think it was six
children. Anyhow, there's so many that he couldn't show
favoritism, and they didn't have any money, that's for
sure. So he couldn't have helped him very much.
K: Do you know if Park ever helped his father out financially
with the family in his early years?
C: Well, I'm not sure about the early years, but later on,
he helped them all out.
K: Yeah, he did?
C: They were all broke.
K: Did you ever meet any of his brothers and sisters?
K: You did. They came to him?
C: Yes, or write. And get on the phone. And, some of them
didn't bother him too much. For instance, one of his
brothers, Lee Trammell, was secretary for a short period
of time. And he had checks, see, he could sign the senator's
name as well as the senator could, the same as I could, you
know, you had to. And he had signed his checkbook, too.
Andwe had several thousand dollars in bouncing checks
around there. The senator had to make good for the senator's
K: So eventually he had to get rid of him?
C: So he got rid of him. He replaced R.A. Gray. See, R.A. Gray
used to be his secretary for years.
K: Yes sir. He was in Tallahassee.
C: Then he [Gray] decided to run for Secretary of State [of
K: Did you ever meet Worth Trammell?
C: Yes. Now, Worth is the best one of the lot. He was a
brother. He lived in Miami and the senator got him appointed
to a judgeship--one of the judges on the court of tax appeals.
Then he had a sister married to a garage owner in Quincy.
They were always broke.
K: Let's see. That would be Mrs. Harrison?
C: That sounds right.
K: Do you remember what her first name is, by any chance?
C: And then there's John.
K: John from Blountstown?
C: Blountstown. He was in the legislature. He was always in
K: He was another one that was asking for things?
C: Oh yeah. Money.
K: Mostly they just wanted money, rather than favors?
C: Money, or help, any favors, a job, anything.
K: Did they...?
C: And then he had a cousin, Clyde, he didn't cause him too much
trouble. But none of them helped him none, not even in his
campaigns. None of them came forward with any money.
K: They did not work for him, or....
C: No, I said that they did not give him any money.
K: Do you remember anyone? Do you remember meeting or '.hearing
him talk about his sister Emma? Who married Peres McDougal
from Tallahassee? I think he was a banker?
K: You're not familiar with that?
K: Would it be fair to say that the brother he felt he was
closest to was Worth?
C: Right, correct.
K: Did he ever ask Worth for any political advice, that you
remember? Or would he have been able to give any useful
P: Political advice? He wouldn't have been able to give him any.
Just the reverse.
K: Did you ever hear him talk about his mother at all?
K: Did he feel she was a major influence in his life?
C: Yes. He was very fond of his mother, and devoted to his
K: Okay, let me ask you about his first wife.
C: I did not know her.
K: You could not have known her, since she died in 1922.
C: No, I've heard him talk about her very much.
K: He did talk about her?
K: And could you tell me some of the things he used to say, in
C: Well, except that he was very much in love with her. And
she was always at his side when he needed her, and she was
a big help to him.
K: So obviously he missed her very much?
C: He missed her very much.
K: And do you remember if he ever told you whether he dis-
cussed politics with her, whether she...?
C: Yes, definitely.
K: They did?
C: He discussed everything with her. There were no secrets
between he and his first wife.
K: So he felt that she was a great help to him?
C: Oh, definitely, definitely.
K: Did he....
C: She encouraged him to run and everything.
K: Did he feel rather lost without her as far as the reason
for him being in Washington, do you think?
C: I would say yes.
K: To some extent?
C: To some extent. He definitely missed her a great deal.
K: Do you think that he enjoyed being, do you think that he
enjoyed his job, that he enjoyed being senator while you
C: No question. He loved it.
K: He loved it?
C: He loved it.
K: What part of it do you think he enjoyed the most? Being
on the Senate floor, the interaction wtih the other senators
C: Well, he enjoyed the committee work more than anything.
K: He did?
C: He hated the drudgery, routine of answering letters, telegrams,
talking to people who wanted something. Everybody wanted
K: But he enjoyed his work on the committees.
C: Yes, and on the floor of the Senate.
K: Uh huh.
C: That's where he spent most of his time.
K: Either in the committee or on the floor of the Senate?
C: He'd avoid his office as much as possible.
K: Did he spend much more time proportionately on the affairs
of the Naval Affairs Committee, than on his other committee
assignments, since he was chairman?
C: I'm not sure....
K: In other words,....
C: Remember this now, he was senior member on six
committees of the Senate. And you can only be
K: Do you know if it was his personal choice when
C: It was.
...to be the chairman of Naval Affairs?
C: It was.
K: That was the one he wanted?
C: What happened, he wanted that, but Claude Swanson, of
Virginia was chairman, his senior, when Roosevelt came in.
Then Roosevelt appointed Swanson Secretary of the Navy, so
that created a vacancy.
K: Cleared the way for him?
C: That cleared the way for him to move up to chairman, which
he wanted. Now he turned down the chairmanship of three
other committees, because he preferred Naval Affairs.
K: Was that because of what he felt he could do for Florida,
or because that was his special interest?
C: Well, you have to go back to, Senator Trammell was more of
a statesman than most people give him credit for.
K: Was he?
C: He was a strong believer in America first; he never doubted
it. Building the Navy up to treaty strength was one of his
great accomplishments. He helped kill the League of Nations.
K: He did help?
C: Oh, he was a leader of that.
K: He was?
C: That's one of his, his two great accomplishments were killing
the League of Nations, and getting the Navy back to treaty
K: So he wanted to be in a position to build up....
C: You see, under the Washington and London treaties, the big
powers were permitted to build up to a certain parity of strength,
so called. Well, they all got up to parity and most of them
went beyond, and we hadn't even scratched.... And he saw
that as most obviously a very terrible position to put the
United States in. So the Vinson-Trammell Act, it gets its
name from Carl Vinson of Georgia, who was Chairman of the
House Naval Affairs Committee, that bill brought the Navy up
to treaty strength. Of course it bears his name. And in the
course of the shipbuilding, and all that, he had a tremendous
impact on the Navy, and actually, on the strategic power of
the United States. For instance, most people don't know it,
but he had a lot of influence in the awarding of contracts
through the Navy Department on what type of ships that
could be built, obviously, and that sort of thing. They had
to sell it to Congress, the President, and to people. Well,
he's one of the first that saw the necessity of combining
the influence of air power with sea power.
K: I see.
C: So the old concept of battleship had to give way to the
carrier, so then come the aircraft carriers, the Yorktown,
the Saratoga, the Enterprise, the Valley Forge. And con-
versely, in addition to that power on the surface, the neces-
sity for more submarines.
K: So he believed in the future of both the aircraft carrier and
the submarine, rather than the traditional battleship?
C: That's right.
K: I see. Did he...?
C: So he made his mark right there, as far as I'm concerned. Now,
the League of Nations was up, single-handedly, almost, with
the exception of Senator Jim [James Alexander] Reed of
Missouri. Those two led the floor fight to kill the League
K: He felt very strongly...
C: Oh yeah.
K: ...about the lack of wisdon of that?
C: Thank God we had a man like that.
K: He definitely felt that was one of his greater accomplishments,
in his lifetime?
C: Yes, that was his major national accomplishment. Most people
think he was just a politician, peanuts and potatoes, but he
did some big things.
K: Do you remember, sir, any of his, or whether he had any close
friends among the sectors outside of Senator Fletcher? I
think for a while he sat, for example, in the Senate near
Carter Glass, and...?
C: And Senator Joe Robinson, they were good friends.
K: He was friends with Senator Robinson?
C: Oh, yes.
K: How about Senator [Walter] George, from...
C: Very close to George.
C: And also Dick Russell [Richard Brevard Russell]. Dick Russell
was on the committee.
K: As a young senator....
C: His first committee appointment.
K: So they were good friends?
C: Uh huh. He wanted Dick Russell in on that committee.
K: Did he, as you recall, entertain much before he remarried?
K: He didn't?
C: Couldn't afford it, frankly.
K: I see.
C: He lived within his means.
K: But just barely, because of all the calls upon him?
C: That's right. That's right, because he was having various
K: Let me go back for a second. Do you remember Senator Trammell
ever mentioning to you that he worked as a clerk in a store
as a young man? Can you remember anything about that? I'm
just fishing here trying to substantiate something.
C: Offhand I don't.
K: He didn't? Did he ever talk to you about owning a newspaper in
Lakeland when he was a young man? For a short time, about a
year or so, when he was mayor of Lakeland?
C: Yes, I think he did.
K: Can you remember anything?
C: No, I think as I remember, he and Edwards, as I remember.
K: There was an Edwards who was an attorney...
C: Judge Edwards.
K: ...who was his law partner for a time.
C: That's right.
K: Do you think they owned a newspaper together?
C: I think, I think something. I think they had something to do
with it, as I remember.
K: Did he ever tell you about his working as a traveling salesman
at one time?
C: I don't remember that.
K: I think when he was a young fellow about sixteen, seventeen,
eighteen, that he worked in Tampa for the Collector of Revenue
in a very minor capacity. Do you remember him ever talking
C: I don't remember.
K: Mr. Click, did he have strong ideological feelings about the
New Deal, and New Deal legislation, or was he more just a
K: ...Democrat going along with the president.
C: No, he was a good Democrat but he, he was against most of the
New Deal, actually.
K: Was he?
C: As a matter of fact, he was the first senator, you know, that
Roosevelt tried to purge, if you remember.
K: He was?
C: First it was Senator Trammell.
K: He felt that Roosevelt was out to...
C: Well, he voted against some of Roosevelt's proposals. That's
why he really wanted to purge him.
C: And the second senator they tried was [Ellison DuRant] "Cotton
Ed" Smith, South Carolina.
K: Did the president try to make up with Trammell after he couldn't
get rid of him?
C: No, he made no attempt. Wouldn't have done him any good if
K: Was the senator against that kind of legislation because he
believed in small government and government at home rather
than in Washington, do you think?
C: Well, he was against too much government regulation in this
country, and he was, he was always against big business, in-
cluding the big business of government.
K: So it was the bigness of it that...
K: ...irritated him?
K: Did he own an automobile when you knew him?
K: He did, and he kept it in Washington, I assume?
C: He kept it in Washington.
K: Do you remember what kind it was?
K: He had a Ford? Is that the car that you mentioned driving
down back home?
C: Yes, he liked somebody to help him drive.
K: He did?
C: The main reason, when you got into a town in Florida, you had
to be careful who nabbed you first walking down the streets
and tried to introduce you around. And people would think
he's your campaign manager. So we'd have a signal, you
know. He'd go into a little town, kick me, and that would mean
keep going. He had his arm out the window shaking hands right
on the sidewalk.
K: He's shaking hands and you're driving.
C: And you know, he didn't stop but keep going. We had all
kinds of signals like that, and a lot of tricks. For instance,
another thing, he never spent the night in a town where he
made a speech.
K: He'd always go on to another town?
C: Next town. Well, the people'd get around the hotel and he
couldn't even eat breakfast. They'd be there all, hovering
all around him. No, no privacy whatsoever. So he'd speak
in one town and then the next town, say forty miles down
the road, we'd make reservations there. And we'd just drive.
That's where I come out here and gather the crowd and he could
get out of town without being bothered. I knew where to go and
check in as unobtrusively as possible so he had a good night's
K: And then the next morning he'd go ahead about his campaign.
C: Yes, by the next day he'd had a nice sleep.
K: Do you remember his, how his relations were with Governor
Sholtz, David Sholtz, of Florida?
C: Not too good.
K: Not too good?
C: He didn't like Sholtz at all.
K: Personally, or politically, or both?
C: As a matter of fact, when he died, Sholtz had come to Washington.
He had a room at the Mayflower Hotel, waiting for the senator's
death. He knew it was imminent. And, of course, the gover-
nor likes to appoint quickly to a post as important as that.
A lot of your friends want it, so the quicker you appoint
somebody, you get the rest of them out of your hair, and the
fewer you have to disappoint. So Sholtz was in Washington
waiting for him to die and he appointed, of course, Scott
Loftin of Jacksonville. No, he didn't have any use for
K: Do you think Sholtz wanted to appoint himself interim senator,
but was afraid he couldn't get away with it?
C: Well, I wouldn't put anything past him. Frankly I don't trust
him either. That was one dislike we both shared.
K: Was there any special incident that had made you...
C: No, just that....
K: ...all feel that way?
C: No, just a series of things...and he thought he'd use the
Elks Club to political advantage.
K: And he was possibly more pro-New Deal than Senator Trammell
would have approved of?
C: Yes, he...yes, yes. Trammell was more conservative.
K: Do you remember if Senator Trammell got to know Huey Long
C: Oh, yes. Huey Long sat on the row behind him.
K: He'd scarcely miss him then? The few times that he was in
the Senate chamber he could scarcely avoid him then?
C: Oh no, he didn't.
K: Did he ever express to you his feelings about Long, his pro-
gram or him personally?
C: Well, he admired Huey up to a point.
K: The efficiency of his political machine?
C: Well, not only that
of big government.
that was one of the
but his fighting Roosevelt on the issue
See, Huey was pretty strong on that and
things Trammell believed in, too.
K: If, this is just hypothetical, but if Long had run against
Roosevelt for president, do you think Trammell might have
C: I doubt it.
K: You don't think so? He would have stayed loyal to the party?
You mentioned before to me, in your letters, that Senator
Trammell had some lady friends in the period after he became
C: He had lots of them.
K: Do you think he ever intended to settle down, to remarry?
C: No. The main difficulty
wealthy women who wanted
like a magnet to women.
K: Because of his looks?
was that there were several very
to marry him. He was...he was just
They would follow him all over the
C: But that would destroy
to be a married gigolo
want to get married to
his political image and
or a poor country boy.
a wealthy woman.
he didn't want
So he didn't
K: At least he felt that he couldn't marry a wealthy woman?
C: It would just...so that eliminated the wealthy ones. Of
course then the trouble with that is, some of others not
only didn't have any money, but needed some financial support
to maintain their own existence. And he'd say they were
the less desirable types.
K: Can you tell me anything about how he met Mrs. Mesmer? Do
you have any idea how that happened?
C: Well, I don't know exactly how, but she lived on a little orange
grove there the other side of Lakeland with her brother and her
son, who lived with her, by a previous marriage.
C: Anyhow, the first time I ever met her was during his campaign
against Claude Pepper.
K: In '34?
C: Yes, and I was running the office, the headquarters in
K: That's where you ran the campaign from?
C: Yes, when I was in Florida.
K: Yes, right.
C: And I had rooms at the Thelma Hotel there. There was a pro-
fessional building there that I had an office in, too, so
I had two offices. But I became aware of her because several
times I'd be looking for him and have trouble finding him. I
complained about it. I said, "How do you expect me to do this?
I can't even reach you!" And I found he was shacking up out
there in the orange grove with her. So he told me.
K: So he stayed there some of the time then, at least?
C: No, just visiting.
K: Oh, just visiting?
C: I don't want to say he spent the night. He probably did not.
That's when I first found about her.
K: Found out?
C: And she was very rebellious. She didn't want him to go out,
to leave her. She didn't want him to go out and campaign.
She didn't want him to leave--just stay there.
K: Which would be fatal for a politician.
C: Fatal, that would be fatal. And we had one hell of a time
getting him out there on the road, and away from her. She had
some power over him, but it must have been physical, I
K: What do you think? Was she attractive? Was she an attractive
C: No! Not to me!
K: But only to him?
C: I suppose that she must have been to him.
K: She had no other attraction, she wasn't...
C: It was nothing obvious.
K: ...particularly intelligent, or a pleasant person or anything?
C: No, no.
K: Why do you think she married him? Why doyou think she wanted
to marry him?
C: Prestige. And the money.
K: The glory and the fame.
C: Yeah. Being a senator's wife.
K: Do you think she thought he had money?
C: She didn't have any of her own?
C: She didn't have any. Just her jewelry.
K: Do you remember how he felt about the boy?
K: Did the boy live with them?
K: He did?
C: Well, he tolerated him. What could he do?
K: Would you think it would have been difficult for him, though,
for an older man to have a child around for the first time?
C: I wouldn't say he would have enjoyed it, but he never complained.
Not to me.
K: Had any of his former lady friends exerted that kind of powerful
influence on him?
K: Or was he the one who was running those shows?
C: He was the one that was dominant.
K: He was. And he was just interested in their companionship
for a short period of time, but he didn't want to settle down?
K: Do you remember if one of those ladies was named Flora? F-l-o-r-a?
Do you remember one named Flora?
C: The way I remember them was by towns! Flora doesn't....
K: How about Marie? Remember Marie?
K: Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. Were his friends in Washington,
or were they mostly here in Florida, when he'd come back here
and visit from town to town?
C: Here in Florida, mostly in Florida.
K: So these friendships would go on...?
C: They'd come over for a day or two, and they would visit up
there [in Washington], but most of the time he'd see them
K: Oh, I see, so they would go on over a long period of time,
but only one or two days at a time.
K: I see. Okay. So they might have been going on for years then?
C: That's right.
K: And more than one of them.
C: That's right. Oh, definitely.
K: When he got married again in 1934, he got married right after
the second primary. What I'd like to ask you is, whether he
waited because he felt, or you felt, that as campaign manager,
that it would be not advisable to remarry, and to remarry a
divorced woman, right before the election? Or did the timing
have anything to do with the election?
C: Yes. He planned it that way--till after the election.
K: You had talked about it?
C: Yes. But he wouldn't think of getting married before the election.
K: He was pretty occupied at that time? Now I think you had told
me that Mrs. Beatrice Trammell, after his death, came to you
asking for money?
K: Tried to borrow money from you?
K: Did she do this more than once?
C: No, but once was enough. She's come to my office in New York
and gave me a long song and dance about her troubles, and wanted
to borrow, as I remember, five hundred dollars. She was
staying at the Pennsylvania Hotel, and so I gave her the
check. Well, the manager was a good friend of mine. [He]
called me back and said, "By the way, do you know who you are
signing a check to?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "Do you want
me to cash it?" I said, "Well, that was the idea, why?" He
said, "Well, bad risk." He said, "She's terrible." And he said,
"We've had trouble over here. I'll just stop payment on it
if you want me to." I said, "No. Go ahead and let her have
it." So, I know several other friends she....
K: She tried this on Mr. [Josiah] Ferris, too?
C: I'm not sure about that. I think so. I think he threw her out,
K: Did you ever meet her after that again, or see her after that?
C: No. No.
K: Do you have any idea who paid for the beautiful marble slabs
that are on the senator's gravesite and on the wives graves?
C: I do not know.
K: I was just wondering, since she didn't have very much
money. Could you describe her for me, physically, what she
looked like? I guess she was plain, from what you said.
C: Yeah, she was plain.
K: Was she a tall woman?
C: I'd say about 5'10". She weighed, I'd say, about 180
K: Do you remember what color hair she had?
C: I think it was brown, as I remember. She had a receding chin,
and piercing eyes, a tremendous butt, unattractive bosom.
K: Was there a certain type of woman that the senator was
attracted to? I mean, blondes, or anything that you can
C: Oh, I'd say good-looking women.
K: Since he had his pick.
C: Yeah, but she was an exception. I never could see her as
K: Do you remember what he called her, Mr. Click? You know, a
pet name or anything?
K: Just her Christian name?
C: Just her Christian name.
K: I suppose he would hot have discussed anything like politics
with her, if she was that kind of personality?
K: You said that she liked to be with him, be close to him, and
liked to keep him with her. Did they spend most of their time
together after their marriage? Did she travel with him?
C: Well, after their marriage, most of their time was in Washington.
Very little, practically no travel.
K: After that he didn't travel?
C: They stayed in their apartment there in Washington, where she
wanted to stay anyway.
K: That's where she wanted to get to?
C: So she could get to throw parties, and....
K: She did throw parties? Did she...?
C: Now and then....
K: What kind of people did she try to entertain?
C: Oh, senators and their wives.
C: People on Capitol Hill, important people.
K: And he really couldn't afford that?
K: Did he have to borrow money, or was he just spending over
C: Yes, he had to borrow.
K: He did?
C: In fact he borrowed from me two or three times.
K: Did he? He would borrow from friends then?
C: Well, I don't know about friends. Of course, I was a
friend, but he could always count on me for a thousand or two....
K: Is this...?
C: And see, another thing, he'd get advances on his Senate
salary. He'd go over to the Senate finance officer, a guy
namedMr. Bates, he'd advance him on his salary, which he
did all the time.
K: Is this when he was selling most of his property then? His
groves? Or would that have been later?
C: No, he sold that long before.
K: It was gone already?
C: It was already gone.
K: Do you remember if he had very extensive holdings? I suppose
they were near Lakeland?
C: No. They were not extensive.
K: Just a couple of small groves around Lakeland?
C: Around Lakeland. Two or three small groves and a house.
K: Can you tell me if he knew Colonel Peter [0.] Knight from
Tampa very well?
C: Very well. Very well.
K: Did the colonel visit him in Washington, or would he go to
see him in Tampa?
C: Yeah. Both.
K: Both. Do you possibly...?
C: Sure. They were very close friends.
K: Do you remember if the senator had worked for Knight as a
very young man as an attorney, as a law clerk?
C: I don't know that.
K: Do you think they were philosophically drawn together--as
well as politically--being conservatives?
C: Yes, yes.
K: And he felt that Knight was a strong supporter of his?
C: Oh, definitely.
K: Do you know if Colonel Knight contributed to his campaigns
C: He did.
K: Let me follow up on that. Would Colonel Knight have been one
of the bigger campaign contributors in the campaign you ran?
C: Yes, yes. Well, I say yes, but he didn't have any big ones.
K: Well, not compared with today, surely.
C: No, he didn't, but, uh, anything over one hundred dollars was
big to him.
K: Well, can I be a little bit more, ask you to be a little bit
more specific as to what kind of money we're talking about
with people like Colonel Knight? Five hundred dollars? A
C: Well, I'd say a thousand.
K: Say a thousand? Who would have been some of the other people
who were the larger contributors to that campaign?
C: Well, he had F.M. Turner in Pensacola, who was a good friend.
He had the Porter family in Key West. And George Carr there in
Lakeland, the Carr family.
K: Did you also get money from the state of county Democratic
committees? How did that work? Did they give you any cam-
C: No, they didn't.
K: Then it was financed from his own pocket...?
C: His own pocket.
K: These people and any smaller contributors that came along? Did
you solicit small contributions in any systematic way?
C: And so he called Farley and Farley said, "Well, you'll have to
come up here. We've got trouble." So we flew up.
K: He did? He flew back to Washington?
C: It was the first time I ever took a plane, by the way. First
time I ever took a plane. And Farley told him, "Well, the Boss
isn't going to give you a recommendation." Of course, Farley
didn't agree with this purging, you know.
C: At all. So he said, "I'll do what I can." He said, "I don't
see why I can't give you a letter." "Well," he [Trammell] says,
"That'll beat nothing, to show administration support." He
said, "After all I've done for the administration." And the
tragic part of it was, one of the biggest groups the senator
always had going was the veterans. After World War I, he had
the bill that would give them all a hundred dollars and a suit
of clothes, you know.
K: I remember that.
C: He was the author of that bill. He was always at the veterans
service. Well, unfortunately, they had a supplemental
appropriations bill, with all kinds of things hooked on
it. One of them was the veteran(P benefits, and Roosevelt
vetoed it. And Trammell voted to override. And he got mad
as hell. So Trammell, in the meantime, ahd lost the veteran's
appropriations, and they were mad as hell, and he's getting
it from both sides.
C: That's the reason they were purging him. So anyhow, we got
back to Lakeland and we kept saying we had the administration's
support. And Pepper kept saying the same. Of course, we had
a few Trammell tricks that we pulled. There are always a few
precincts that always vote early. And he'd go out personally
and talk to every ioter in the precincts, up in Graceville, and
wherever, down in Plantation, Florida. So they'd get in and
vote early. They'd have their returns in ten minutes after the
polls opened, see.
K: They'd have early returns in the paper that said Trammell....
C: And then the noon papers would come out and one would read,
"Trammell leading six to one." See.
C: And a lot of....
K: Then everybody jumps on the bandwagon?
C: Yes, on the bandwagon. Then, so anyhow, I got a telegram about
eight o'clock, from and I got it and released it to
the press even before the senator saw it. And it made Pepper
look like a liar. Actually it was a toss-up. Neither one of
them had gotten administration support.
K: It was just that the President had gotten mad?
K: He didn't really favor Pepper? Just wanted somebody he thought
he could control?
C: That's right.
K: I see. Did Senator Trammell have much contact with the
White House as far as the Naval Affairs Committee?
C: It happens he did, because the Navy was one of Roosevelt's
K: Former interest as a former assistant...?
C: Former Assistant Secretary of the Nary himself. So that was his
pride and joy, was the Navy. So they had a lot of contact,
[Trammell] being chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee, ob-
viously, and building up the Navy to treaty strength and all the
other problems that were attendent to that.
K: So at least on that issue they were together?
C: Oh, they were together on that. So, and that made them very
close to one another. That was out....
K: Did the senator consciously try to do a lot for Pensacola Naval
K: He did? But it wasn't an overriding passion? It was just
in the general context of something he believed in?
C: Well, he, let's put it this way. There were several bases
[upon which] he was for it. He just figured that you got
more flying time due to better weather here, and so, he saw
an advantage. You'd get more training hours and flying hours
in Pensacola than you would in most places.
K: Do you know if the senator knew Senator [Arthur] Capper from
Kansas, at all?
C: Yes, he did.
K: Would they have been friends?
C: No! They were not friends. Not at all.
K: Not a Republican from Kansas?
C: No, not only that, but Capper was just a complete horse's ass.
K: Was he?
C: A woman chaser, and everything else. He chased waitresses around
Capitol Hill. He was a terror. Trammell had no part of him.
K: I take it that Senator Capper had a reputation at the time
for that. Did Senator Trammell acquire any kind of reputa-
tion for being a ladies' man?
C: No, not that kind.
K: Not that kind, it was just that he was so attractive that...?
C: Attractive to women.
K: And since a lot of his friends were in Florida, I suppose, also,
that wouldn't have been....
C: No, not that kind of woman chaser.
C: He didn't have to chase them. They chased him.
K: Can you tell me who the key Trammell supporters were in Tampa
and in Ybor City?
K: Who would you regard as the main ones?
C: Lawrence Hernandez.
K: Lawrence Hernandez?
C: Yeah. Colombia restaurant. He l his brother Casimir
K: They owned a restaurant?
C: The Colombia Restaurant.
K The Colombia Restaurant?
C: They're both dead now.
K: Can you tell me how the, what I've heard called the Tampa
Machine, the Ybor City Machine...
C: I can tell you all about it.
K: ...functioned as far as you were concerned in getting out the
C: I can tell you in detail.
K: Could you just go on that for a while?
C: Well, uh....
K: In other words, how did you go about getting the votes out?
C: Uh, they came to me.
K: They did.
C: A Lakeland group, Tampa, Ybor City, West Tampa, and Ybor City.
There are twenty-six precincts down there that they control.
I mean that they control it, too.
K: Now who are these people that we're talking about, are these
committeemen, or individuals?
C: These are just individuals.
K: Individuals? Okay.
C: And then of course, there was the Whittaker brothers, attorneys
there in Tampa. Matt Whittaker and his brother Tom, and I'm
a close friend of theirs. And anyhow, these Cubans came to
me and they said, "You know, Claude Pepper offered us fifty
thousand dollars to deliver our vote. What is Senator
Trammell's offer?" I said, "Look, Senator Trammell never
bought a vote in his life, and he's not about to give you
one penny." And "Get out of here." Then I said, "Does
that answer your question?" And he said, "Yeah." And I
said, "I'm surprised at you, boys." He says, "What do you
mean?" And I said, "Any guy as crooked as that that
would want to buy votes, why would you support him? You
know about honor among thqjves." I said, "Senator Trammell
has been governor of this state, attorney-general, and he has
been United States senator over twenty years. Has he ever come
out here and bothered you? He believes in letting the local
officials, the sherrif come over and take care of these things.
He's got enough to worry him up in Washington. Don't you want
a good man up in Washington representing you?" "Oh, yeah, yeah."
I said, "Then why are y'all voting for a guy that is crooked?"
He says, "Well, we meed the money." I said, "Well, why don't
you take twenty-five thousand down and twenty-five thousand
on delivery?" I kind of winked at them, and they got the
point. And I, see, so, the day before the election they came
to me, and gave me a list of the twenty-six precincts, of
how the vote would be. And they were correct except for three
votes, and they were sore because the sons-of-bitches double
crossed them. Such as seven hundred to one, Trammell.
693 to 2, Trammell. And so forth, like that. And they had these
repeaters, you know, changing ballot boxes and everything else.
Of course, what happened, they were paying these repeaters to
vote for the other guy, Trammell instead of Pepper. Ha, ha, ha.
You talk about mad! Oh, man! Well, Pepper had spent the night
in the Hillsborough Hotel in Tampa, election night, and he's
a sick man the next morning. He couldn't figure out what
happened to him. Ha. Ha.
K: Ha. Ha. What happened. Ha.
C: He couldn't, he just had that vote solid. They called it the
bi Tampa steal. He tried to steal it, and it didn't work.
It just backfired on him.
K: So it would be fair to say then that the way things worked
was that these influential men simply let it be known who
they were supporting?
C: They had an organization. Sure, they knew who they wanted.
K: And the organization got the vote out?
K: And that was it?
C: That's it. Now, of course, with that too, they had...there
was competition in the sheriff's race, complicated things some,
but anyhow no, they kind of.... I remember I spent the day
there and I tried to stay out of the way, but there was one
precinct where these repeaters would go in there, and of course
they used somebody else's name and some legitimate voter
would come in there and they'd say he's been marked off and
he's wanting to vote. And they say, "No, you've already voted."
He says, "The hell I haven't!" So he raised hell. So they
had to call the police and one thing and another. In another
precinct the guy needs, is entitled to cast so many votes
and when they cast so many he's put up a sign, "Closed" about
three o'clock in the afternoon. And they had to come down
and open him up. But well, that was that.
K: So you were certain then, that you'd have the vote in
Hillsborough County. Was there any place, in preparing for
the election, that you anticipated a great deal of trouble?
I guess what I'm trying to ask* is were there any areas that
you had counted on before hand that didn't come through for
you or did you really feel that it would be a really close race
and that Hillsborough County would put you over?
C: We didn't count of Hillsborough County putting us over.
C: But we had a bigger margin than that.
C: That didn't mean defeat if we hadn't gotten it.
K: What was your overall strategy for that election in terms
of, you know, should, should the senator make more public
appearances than he usually did, or should we advertise
in a certain way, or should we appeal to these groups, or...?
Can you talk about that a little bit?
C: Well, we didn't have any money, in the first place, to put
him on the air. We didn't use a program, radio-t.v. program,
just more personal appearances. And the first time we got the
senator out, we had a sound truck, we got a sound truck
and a couple of us driving for him, and they got him out on
the road, and then the other sound truck would go ahead to
advertise. "Senator Trammell will be here, so-and-so, at the
County Courthouse, and so on and so forth." And that lead
truck would go out and get a crowd together, and he'd follow
on schedule and give his little talks.
K: So one would always be one little town ahead of the other?
C: Yes, yes.
K: Do you remember...?
C: Very effective.
K: Do you remember the path he followed? The way he went? Did
you skip around or did you try to go all the way around the
K: Did you have a plan?
C: around the state.
K: Let me phrase it a different way, did you decide to make a
bigger push after the first primary?
K: You did? Do you remember if he just spent most of the time
between the first and the second primary on the road campaigning?
K: He did?
C: He did.
K: With the sound truck?
K: Who would have been involved then--two other guys, you and the
C: These two guys besides, volunteers...
K: Would you happen to remember who they were?
C: Let me see. One guy's name was Ames.
C: And the other guy was...I've forgotten now.
K: Well, it's not too important, but did you and the senator
follow the sound trucks in the Ford, is that how it worked?
K: You did.
C: No! He drove in the other sound truck with one of these guys.
K: And you'd follow behind him?
C: I'd stay home and look after the office!
K: Oh, you stayed in Lakeland. So you weren't' with them.
C: I was in Lakeland.
K: It would have been just the three of them, then...
K: ...on the trail.
K: And unless he got a chance to get the news into a newspaper
the only way he would advertise his coming appearance would
be to have the first sound truck come into town?
C: Yes. Ninety per cent of the newspapers in Florida were opposed
K: Is that because the, he felt that the newspaper interests and
the large economic interests were against him?
C: Well, there was a distinction to it. He had always felt
that newspaper ads were a waste of money anyway. And he was
right! And I think it's been proven that the more important
the job, the less influence newspapers are. That's been
proven time and again.
K: So he believed in handbills and circulars?
C: Yes, yes. Person to person, and if a paper came out against
him, well it only takes one guy--the editor. For instance,
he had several bitter enemies who were editors on big papers.
Big Ed Lombard from Tampa Tribune, he just didn't have any
use for Trammell at all; Carl Hamdon, Fort Meyers News Press;
another example; and the Jacksonville Journal, Pensacola News-
Journal and a couple more. These were some of them. They
just didn't like Trammell, period. He didn't have the money
to waste in advertising anyhow, so he didn't covet their
C: Don't misunderstand me either. He'd gladly have accepted....
K: Accept their support if they had given it?
C: But he was not looking for it, and some of them opposed him.
He sometimes showed that as a badge of merit, frequently did.
He'd tell people that, anyhow, hopefully, and it was usually
K: Yes. Did the senator feel that, that Pepper was being used
by any interest against him, or did he just feel that Pepper
wanted to be senator?
C: Well, if you know about Pepper's background, his communist
background, he was, he went to Harvard and he was at Harvard
in a communist cell with Alger Hiss, in his class, and Nathan
Wick, who became chairman of National and guys like
that in his class. Well, what do you expect? And
he, he's just a radical. He still is.
K: But did the senator see him in that way at that time?
K: He did?
C: Well, sure. He knew it! He had that much background. Another
reason, one thing that helped us immeasurably against Pepper
that is, maybe you don't call this kosher, but it worked.
Pepper had been to the legislature one time, from Taylor
County. He'd been school teacher...some unk,4n school
teacher beat him, rather. So that one term he was there, he
had one record, that was his record in the legislature. It
wasn't much. So the senator had R.A. Gray and everybody else
in Tallahassee go through his records, see what they could
find there--where he voted wrong. And they couldn't find
anything. And so they sent it up. But
The first negro congressman was Congressman [Oscar] DePriest
K: Uh huh.
C: And Herbert Hoover invited he and his wife to the White
House for dinner. Well, most of the southern legislatures
thought that was ta-git bit woa just terrible, tending
toward social equality, and they passed resolutions in the
legislatures condemning that as tending towards social
equality. Well, the Florida legislature was no exception,
and they passed a resolution bitterly condeming this in
words as plain.... Well, Pepper voted against it.
K: Oh, I see.
C: So we got copies of that printed (I say we, our friends), by
the thousands, and it quoted this resolution. Down at the
bottom it said; "Claude Pepper voted against this. Ask him
why. Maybe it's because of his Harvard education." You know,
ask him. Well, those leaflets went out all over the state
and of course, Pepper was hard put to explain, and the more
he tried to explain the worse it was. And there was no way
you could explain it to everybody.
K: There was just no way he could get out of that?
C: There was no way he could weasel out of that one. They called
it the "nigger resolution."
K: So that turned out to be a very effective weapon?
C: Yes, that beat the Cuban vote.
C: That cost him thousands of votes right there.
K: I see. So that, that might be termed your most effective...
C: That's what it was.
K: ...gambit of the whole campaign?
C: Yes. That was the most effective gambit.
K: Mr. Click, did the senator like to introduce a great deal
of legislation, or did he feel that the government shouldn't
continually be creating more and more and more new laws and
agencies? He's been accused or characterized as not introducing
much legislation and I wonder if you could tell what how
he felt about it in general? Did he feel he was not doing
as much in the way of introducing legislation as he could
be, or was it intentional, or how would you answer that?
C: Well, he didn't introduce a lot of national legislation if
that's what you mean.
K: Yes. I'm not, you know, attacking him one way or the other,
but I've come across this comment and I'd like your reaction
to it. I think Pepper for one used it against him in politicking.
C: Oh yes. Oh yes, sure. Well, he had his area there and he was
good at it and he spent his time in that and....
K: He felt that except for gaval Affairs, well, except for Florida,
that Naval Affairs was his area of expertise, and that that's
where he should be spending...?
C: Well, he spent a lot of time in interior affairs and agriculture.
K: In committee work?
K: But he didn't feel any compulsion to be introducing bills all
C: Yes, no. He was on the post office committee.
K: Yes. Post offices and post roads.
C: Senior, was senior ranking member on the post office committee
and several others. But he, he, see, you've got to recognize
that the Senate is a great fraternity on capitol hill. It's
the most, it's an exclusive fraternal organization and those
senators go pretty much by each others committees and so forth.
He was supposed to be handling that particular area. You
don't barge in on the other guy's work. Anyway, so he kept
his own area of responsibility. It worked pretty well...,
K: Do you know if when he did introduce any legislation that he,
would he write it himself or would he send it to the service
to cast it into...?
C: Nobody writes their own.
K: At that time they were already....
C: Everybody would sent it to what they called the legislative
K: That was already well established at this time?
C: Oh yeah.
K: Is it fair to say that he spent the majority of his time that
he spent on committees working on the Naval Affairs Committee...
K: ...business. I think he was on Claims, Education and Labor,
Interoceanic Canals, Naval Affairs, Patents, Post Offices and
Post Roads, and Public Buildings and Grounds. Which of those
would he have been more interested in than the others, after
Naval Affairs? Or, would there have been much of a preference,
or much of an expenditure of time?
C: Spent a lot of time on the Post Office Committee....
K: But not really in comparison to that?
K: That's certainly understandable. Let me go back to the 1934
campaign for a second. You were the manager of that from the
start to the finish of it?
C: That's right. Right, right.
K: And how often did you come to Florida, or did you come and
stay in Lakeland for most of that summer? Or spring and summer?
C: Well, I stayed in Washington, as I told you, until we left
and came down to Florida. I come down and stayed in Florida.
K: You stayed in Florida, in Lakeland...
K: ...until after the second primary?
K: Did the senator, before he married again, did he try to come
to Florida frequently, and how did he get down?
K: Whenever there was a recess, or did he spend many recesses here?
C: He'd drive.
K: He'd drive down?
C: He'd drive down frequently. You see, you got a travel allowance
every time you came down, so he'd collect that every once in
K: That's one way you can get around the very small salary to
C: Yeah, that's right.
K: I think I was trying to....
C: Well, he didn't like debates, if that's what you mean.
K: He didn't like debates? He thought it was much more beneficial
to make your own single appearance?
C: Right, why make the other guy look good? Why give him a crowd?
K: Don't give him any free publicity?
C: That's right.
K: I see. When he spoke, what was his style? Was he someone who
moved around, who gestured, or did he stay in one place?
C: No, he stayed in one place pretty much. He was a great admirer
of William Jennings Bryan. He spoke in a manner after him.
He'd make facial grimaces and slight gestures, but nothing
flamboyant, and he wouldn't pound of the table all the time,
or shout. Normal gestures, I'd say.
K: Did he prefer to speak from a text or from notes, or did he
like to speak extemporaneously?
C: He never spoke from a text, except for notes. He hardly
ever spoke from a text.
K: When he was using the sound truck, would he give a set speech
and then accept questions, or do you know how he handled it?
K: He'd, first he'd give a speech and then he'd take questions
C: Yes. He'd ask them to come up and shake his hand. He was
a great believer in shaking hands.
K: The more flesh-pressing you could
because of his memory for names?
practiced law while he was in the
do, the better? Especially
Do you know if he ever
Senate? Or did he give it
C: I think he gave it up completely. Yeah, when he left the office
with Judge Edwards, I don't think he ever practiced law again.
K: From that time, all the way through Washington?
guess from what you said, he didn't, but did he
in the way of property or insurance or anything
his wife and stepson when he died?
Did he, I
to leave to
C: No, when he died, his residue was about a hundred dollars left
in the First National Bank of Lakeland. That was it. One
thing about the senator, he died what he practiced, a poor
K: That's the way he started out?
C: That's right. He started out that way. He could have been
rich. I was with him once when he was offered a million dollars.
You see, in building up the Navy to treaty strength, he put
a limit in there--a limit on profits of ten per cent. Well, I
was in the office one day, and a representative of the shipbuilding
industry came in, and they wanted him to, in conference, vote
to eliminate that ten per cent profit. And he answered right
away. He said, "No." They said, "You can write your own ticket
up to a million, Park." He just rushed them out of the office.
You know, the end of that. So he, he couldn't be bribed.
K: He just wasn't interested in the money?
C: This was, this was against his grain, against his
character, his religion, and everything else. He just
didn't do what was wrong and he had no part of it. Not
that he didn't need the money. The only way he could get
money, outside of his salary, you see, was either to marry it,
which he didn't want to do, or to accept it from the outside,
which he refused to do. So he ended up a poor man.
K: So his, his whole interest was in being senator and not in
all power and money that could be made from it?
C: Yes. To be a good senator.
K: I see.
C: No, he was devoted to his job.
K: It may have been right around the time you started working for
him, or a little bit after, but I wonder if you remember how
he reacted to the, I guess it was an article in the"Washington
Merry-Go-Round" column that Drew Pearson wrote before Jack
Anderson, in which he talked about members of the Senate
that he called "Senate Mutes," and by that he meant that
he meant that htey didn't participate very much in the debates of
the Senate? Did the senator get angry about that, or can you re-
ber that episode?
C: Well, he, of course, Drew Pearson had a whole column on senators
he hated and Trammell was an exception because he didn't holler.
K: Just kind of water off a duck's back?
C: You can't win a contest with a skunk, he would say, so he
just would leave him alone.
K: So he just let him alone?
C: Now Pearson had it come out, too, about sleeping in his
C: Oh, Claude Pepper used that in his campaign, too, about the.
dignity of a senator sleeping in his office. Trammell would say,
Well, I like the luxury of sleep as muchas the best of them."
He said, "If I want to save a few dollars to send to my family
and my friends to spend in Florida, what's wrong with that?
As long as I get my sleep and do a good day's work."
K: It turned around on him?
K: Appealed to a lot of people?
C: Yes, he thought that would get him a lot of votes in the background.
K: Yes. Did you in 1934 expect to have and did you have much union
support in Florida?
C: We did have. Trammell always had union support.
K: Was this, I suppose mainly because of his voting record, or
was it a personal friendship thing?
C: Well, mainly because Trammell was against big business, big
anything. He was kind of like that.
K: I see.
C: So he didn't sponsor any particular labor legislation or
anything like that, but he had strong union support.
K: So they, they voted for him not because he was so much pro-
union as because he was anti-big business?
K: I see.
C: Right. His philosophy on big business and their's jibed.
K: Were there any men whose names you can remember who were union
leaders who were friends of his, or supporters in '34, or any-
body that comes particularly to mind?
C: Well, there was Robertson in the railroad and Rutherford in the
railway All the five railroad unions were very strong.
K: Did they contribute any money, do you remember?
C: No, they put out a special edition of the paper, the magazine....
K: So tried to get out the labor vote?
K: I see.
C: Well, his two greatest groups of votes were really organized
labor and the veterans.
K: And were those the two that you had expected probably to be?
K: Someone once told me that the senator liked to go to places
like Warm Springs to enjoy.... Is that true? He liked min-
eral baths and things like that?
C: Yes, definitely.
K: He did?
C: You got the wrong reason, though. Warm Springs, Georgia.
C: He had a girlfriend there. Ha, ha.
K: He did?
C: And also he liked to drink that water. He hasn't taken a
bath in it yet. He would sit around there on the porch at the
old hodls, this colored girl coming around in a white jacket
and there was gourds, you know, offering a drink of water.
K: So then that was one of his favorite drinks?
C: Yes, he liked that. Every chance he'd get he'd stop on his
way to Florida. He must stop every time.
K: Did he drink alcoholic beverages?
C: Not at all. Not at all.
K: He didn't touch the stuff?
C: Didn't touch it. Never saw him touch any...beer or wine.
K: Do you think that was his Baptist background, or was he a
strong prohibitionist, or...?
C: No, I think it was his Baptist background.
C: I never heard him speak out strongly against prohibition.
K: It was just a personal...?
C: It was a personal preference.
K: Did he smoke a pipe or cigars, sir?
C: Oh, yes. Cigars.
K: Cigars, he likes that.
C: He didn't like, he didn't like, he wouldn't smoke cigarettes or
a pipe, but he loved to smoke cigars.
K: He'J smoke regularly?
C: Oh yes.
K: Pretty much all the tim hen you knew him?
C: Well, he'd smoke, I'd say, about ten cigars a day.
K: Did he have any favorites, like good Cuban cigars, or...?
C: Well, I...he'd take any good ones they'd give him.
K: I see.
C: That's what a politician....
K: Yes, sure.
C: No, he had a favorite. Admiration was one, Garcia Vegas was
another one, and Hav-a-Tampa. Speaking of Hav-a-Tampa, they
were friends of his too, the Woodburys.
K: I see. Did he wear glasses as he, you know, in his later years,
when you knew him? Do you remember? Or was his eysight
K: Not that you remember?
C: Maybe towards the end.
K: Did he have much of a sense of humor, Mr. Click? Or was he
more a quiet kind of fellow?
C: Well, he was quite religious.
K: He wasn't a back-slapper and a story-teller?
C: Oh, no, no, no.
C: He wasn't a raconteur. He'd tell little stories but....
K: Was he a well-read man?
C: I would say no.
K: Did he read newspapers?
C: Oh yes. He was well-read on current events. I mean I don't
think he'd qualify as a scholar.
K: Can you tell me what he would do for recreation, if anything
before he married again or after that? You mentioned they would,
his wife had parties after they married again, but did he, was
he a golfer, did he have any interest in...
K: ...in sports or baseball games or anything?
C: No. He....
K: He stuck mostly to work? That was his passion?
C: Working was his passion. He didn't have any time for fun.
K: I think I asked you this before in a letter, but would you
tell me for the sake of the tape, who or which persons were
the ones who cleaned up his office after his death, and handled
the transition, and what might have become of his papers as
far as you know?
C: Well, Josiah Ferris.
K: Handled the...
C: Handled the...
K: ...cleaning up?
C: ...closing of the office.
K: Uh huh.
C: And I handled the closing of Naval Affairs. You see, when he
died, David I.Walsh of Massachusettes became the chairman,
and Senator Walsh asked me if I would stay on to break in
K: His assistant?
C: So I agreed to stay six months to do it. So I stayed on the
committee for another six months, and did the work and closed
out the committee work and turned it over to Senator Walsh.
So I handled the committee turnover, and Josiah Ferris, Jr.,
handled the office turnover.
K: So then you really wouldn't know, besides from the committee
C: Oh, one other guy who worked in the office I could tell you
about is Fred Sikes.
K: Is that S-a-c-h-s?
K: Oh, Sikes.
C: Fred C. Sikds. He worked under Ferris.
K: I asked you before about friends who might have been senators,
but was there anyone outside of government who was a particularly
close friend of his in Washington, that you recall? Anyone
he spent time with?
C: Well, former Congressman Herbert J. Drane of Lakeland who was
appointed to the federal power commission was a good friend of
K: He saw him socially?
C: Uh huh.
K: Let me ask you another one. We talked about his fight against the
League of Nations, and his building up the Navy to treaty limits.
In addition to these, what would you say were his main contri-
butions as far as Florida is concerned? Or are those, in your
mind, definitely the two major contributions?
C: Well, he was mainly responsible for eradication of the Mediter-
ranean fruit fly. He worked on that hard and long, successfully,
and many agricultural things in Florida he benefitted. Getting
military bases for Florida. That's going to prove very helpful,
anyway. And his stand on natural resources in Florida....
K: Particularly with regard to not constructing the canal...
K: ...to protect the water supply?
C: Yeah. He's against meddling with nature too much.
K: Had he gone into a good deal of research as far as substan-
tiating his position, and reading?
C: Yes. He was well prepared on that subject.
K: When he had to study something like that, with relation to
pending legislation before a committee, was he a very quick
study as far as going through that kind of material? Did he
do that kind of thing by himself, or did he send one of you to
the Library of Congress for background information? I'm not
being very explicit, but when he had some kind of problem that
he wanted background information on...?
C: Well, in the first place, he'd send me or another assistant to
the Senate Library, or the Library of Congress or wherever it
took to get it, whatever he was looking for, and then he'd
take it from there. But he did his own studying and we helped
to get it, and to collect it, and present it to him, but he
did his own studying.
K: The libraries would provide you with material which he would
himself put together in whatever form he wanted?
C: Yes. That's right.
K: I see. Can you compare him to any other political figure in
Florida that you have been either associated with or aware of,
or is he too different to really compare to anybody? Certainly
as far as his political success, I don't think there's a....
C: LeRoy Collins. He reminds me of LeRoy Collins in a lot of ways.
K: In what ways, for example?
C: Well, his mannerisms, his voice...
K: His voice?
C: ...and his philosophy.
K: Did Senator Trammell have any southern drawl to his speech,
K: Not terribly pronounced?
K: Uh, well I think that's about all the prearranged questions that
I had. Is there anything that you'd like to mention that I
haven't touched upon that you think is important, or a story that
you wanted to get on the record as far as that goes? Have I ig-
nored anything that you think is important?
C: Well, there's a general feeling of some people that the senator
was very lazy. That just isn't so. Now, he didn't believe in
stabbing a rattlesnake just to get to kill him, but he was not
lazy. But he wasn't looking for trouble either. He wasn't
trying to borrow trouble. That's true. But there's a difference
in that and being lazy.
K: Let me ask you this: How would you compare Trammell and Fletcher?
Is anyone a more skillful debator or a more successful committee
man than the other? Can they be compared?
C: Well, you can always compare anybody with anything. Fletcher
was a very homely man, and he was chairman of banking and curren-
cy. I'd say Trammell was much more effective than Senator
Fletcher. Of course, there's personal magnetism.
K: He was very popular with his fellow senators?
C: Oh, yeah. Trammell was very popular with other senators, very
popular. He had a lot of friends, he had a whole list of them.
Even many of the Republicans liked .Trammell.
K: Because of his personality?
C: Yeah, that's right.
K: And because he knew how to work within the framework of the
C: And socialize with them, Hiram Johnson of California, and
[Morris] Sheppatd of Texas, and George [of Georgia], [Kenneth]
McKellar of Tennessee, Dave Reed, his best friend, he was