DIVISION OF FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL
50TH ANNIVERSARY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEW WITH MAJOR CLYDE CARLAN
MAY 5, 1989
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY RUSSELL B. GARRIS
RG: All right, I'm Russell Garris with the Florida Highway Patrol and this
is May the 5th, 1989,-we're at the Panama Florida Highway Patrol station
and it is 11:35 AM. We're interviewing for the 50th Anniversary of the
Florida Highway Patrol Major Clyde Carlan. This is celebration
anniversary of the Highway Patrol that'll be near the end of this year
in September 1989. The Division will start with 1939. For the record,
Sir, what is your full name?
CC: Clyde Carlan, C A R L A N.
RG: All right, Sir, where were you born?
CC: Banks County, Georgia.
RG: 1907. How long did you live in Georgia?
CC: Until I came to Florida in '26.
RG: What did you do in Georgia. You went to school in Georgia.
CC: I was born and raised on a farm. I went to school at, went to high
school in Banks County High School and graduated from there. And I went
to Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia for a short period of time.
RG: Okay and then what?
CC: Then I came to Defuniak Springs, Florida, and went to school there
during the football season and later on I worked in a drug store, and
later on I went back to Georgia.
RG: Okay, what prompted you and how did you become a member of the Florida
CC: In Defuniak Springs. And I worked in drug store there, three different
drug stores. That was hard times and it was hard to get a job. So I
worked in a drug store until I went back to Georgia and, and found my
high school sweetheart, Cleo Whelehel and when she, we got married and
came back to Florida, 7/11/29.
RG: In 1929?
CC: Right. And her father, John Whelehel, was a Sheriff of that county for
18 years and I went to work for him.
RG: That's in Defuniak?
CC: In Banks County, Georgia, Homer Georgia.
RG: Oh in Banks County, Georgia. And you were a Deputy Sheriff there.
CC: Deputy Sheriff with him '30 until '34. And then he resigned and I
served out his unexpired term and came back to Florida then in '34.
RG: To Florida in Defuniak Springs?
RG: Okay, and what did you do in Defuniak then in '34?
CC: In Defuniak I came back there and worked in the insurance business.
Insurance agent for Life Insurance Company.
RG: Okay, were you with them when, when you went on the Highway Patrol?
CC: I was with them until I began to, I knew a boy that's working as a
Trooper stationed in Defuniak Springs. He was a, with the Weights
Division. Named Sid Johnson.
RG: In 1935 SRD.
CC: And I went on that Patrol and was stationed on that until, and was
trained in Monticello and was assigned to Ocala.
RG: Approximately what year was that?
CC: That was in 1936.
RG: '36. So you were on the original Weight Division.
RG: Before the Highway Patrol began, and, and you were stationed at Ocala?
CC: Stationed in Ocala after I came out of the training school in
Monticello. And then from there they sent me to Citrus county,
Inverness. And that's when Governor Cone went in office in January he
notified us that we were no longer needed and the Sheriff over the state
including the Sheriff I worked for, Charles S. Dean, in the county where
I was stationed kept me as Deputy Sheriff
CC: He, he and the Chairman of the Road Department who was the Patrol at
that time was Motor Vehicle Commissioner and the Governor.
RG: That was Mr. Hale?
CC: So he told him he wanted me to stay in that county, wanted that
equipment so he, for a dollar a year he leased that motorcycle and the
uniform, guns and everything. And I worked in that county with him as a
traffic officer and Deputy Sheriff, full-fledged Deputy Sheriff until
this Patrol was created.
RG: So that was probably somewhere around November of 1939?
RG: And you worked until the first school began in Bradenton.
RG: In what, what month was that?
RG: Oh, so you worked there for a couple of years or more.
CC: Right, two years 11 months.
RG: And, and then you went to the first school in Bradenton.
RG: How many people were on the original Patrol that went, excuse me, the
original 1935 Weight Inspectors that went to the Patrol school besides
you. Was there anyone else?
CC: Yes, Fitzhugh Lee.
RG: Fitzhugh Lee.
CC: Chris Anderson, boy named Dickinson from Levy County was on the Weights
Division, Mr. Butler was on the Weights Division when he came on with
this group, and I believe Senneff was. I'm not sure.
CC: I'm not sure about that.
RG: You went to the first school in Bradenton. Anything outstanding about
that particular school?
CC: Well, it was tough. We had to stay in the hotel there and it was, they
were coming and going all the time and we stayed scared to death because
they were leaving faster than they were getting there seemed like
sometime. Of course we was up early in the morning and had certain
restrictions on. We couldn't even go downtown. Within a block of
town. We weren't allowed to go down there from these razor blades or
whatever would send by somebody designated by whoever our supervisor
was. And we had our meals in the hotel there and all. We left early in
the morning and did our drills and, and whatever then class as I recall
about eight o'clock.
RG: About how many people do you think started the school, roughly.
CC: There was, I'd say there's around 40 to 45 in the school originally,
when we got there, as I recall, that's the number in my mind as to what
the day we opened class.
RG: And then they.
CC: They come and went.
RG: Okay, and then how many actually graduated and went on the road as the
Highway Patrol was in '39?
RG: And where did you go to at that time?
CC: I was assigned to Pensacola, Escambia County.
RG: Okay, now back to the school again. They formulated the Broken Spoke
Club in that school. Do you remember anything about that?
CC: I remember coming up and it was I believe Jay Hall was originally one of
the members brought it up. 'Cause we had no insurance as I recall. No
group insurance or anything and this was.
RG: It was a death benefit.
CC: Death benefit type thing and we'd contribute a dollar when somebody died
and it cost ten dollars or five dollars to join or something.
RG: Okay, and then you went to Pensacola and you worked how many counties
out of Pensacola?
CC: Santa Rosa County and Escambia.
RG: Were you the only person there?
CC: Only Trooper there. And, Hill was in Panama City and he was my nearest
Trooper I had. Boddie Jordan in DeFuniak Springs. That was the
RG: And you had no radios.
CC: No radios.
RG: So, what, what.
CC: What we did on that was when we'd leave the Sheriff's Office, worked
directly out of the Sheriff's Office, we'd call, we'd have a filling
station we'd stop and call in every hour or whenever convenient the
Sheriff's Office to see if there was any calls or anything and that was
RG: What contact did you have with Boddie Jordan or over here in Defuniak
CC: Very seldom unless it was a detail that we was working on.
RG: Okay, and you were assigned.
CC: Yes, I was assigned a car, #17.
RG: #17 out of the school?
RG: Okay, and that was a Chevrolet or Ford or.
CC: It was a Ford.
RG: Ford. A '40?
RG: Okay, and you were already married at that time. Did you have any
children at that time?
CC: I married in 1929 as I told you and we had a, a daughter was born in
1934 in Defuniak.
RG: Okay, so she was about five years old then. Shirley.
CC: Right. And so she went to her first school in Pensacola. My assignment
RG: Okay, how long were you stationed in Pensacola?
CC: I was stationed in Pensacola until 1942 and I was promoted to
Sergeantand transferred to Lake City. At that particular time, there's
three divisions in the state, northern, central and southern.
RG: Okay, and who was in charge of those. Do you remember who was in charge
CC: Fitzhugh Lee was commander as I recall of the northern division, and he
lived and Marianna awhile. Then he went into the old Road Department
building in Lake City and they opened up shop there.
RG: Okay, in the beginning.
CC: That might have been '41 instead of '42. I believe it was '42.
RG: In the beginning whenever the Highway Patrol went into existence, who
was the Executive Board. Do you remember who. Not the names of the
people, but their position.
CC: According came out of the '39 school?
CC: Chairman of the Road Department, the Director of Motor Vehicle
Commission, and the Governor.
RG: And then later on they changed it to the Cabinet under the Governor.
CC: Cabinet, under they did that, I think they did that in '41.
RG: In '41, so actually there was three people.
RG: Okay, and then whenever you went to Lake City as a Sergeant you had what
CC: I was, I had, I worked out of Lake City office and the northern division
was cut in two districts. Monticello to Pensacola was northern western
and Pensacola and, and, and Madison to Jacksonville was.
CC: Northern division.
RG: But the, but the line was drawn in, in Monticello. Was that right?
CC: For the north and west Florida.
RG: North and west.
CC: Then I was transferred from Lake City to Gainesville because Captain
that's when McArthur as I recall moved out of Ocala, came out of Camp
Blanding. That's one of those busy spots, nervous spots at that
RG: Because those were war years.
RG And that was an Army installation.
CC: And we attended all those a lot of those war meetings and all this type
thing. And the FBI and whatever. And we were very busy of course
escorting their convoys and whatever came in. And we had a barracks
inside the fence, the official headquarters at Camp Blanding. That's
established as a headquarters there.
CC: And they slept in there and the reason I was sent to Gainesville I was
supposed to take over Blanding and I supervised it and I couldn't find a
place to live so I went to Gainesville and worked out of Gainesville up
RG: Okay, during that time the war was on did you ever have to go in the
RG: You, you stayed on the Highway Patrol.
CC: Stayed on the Highway Patrol. I was, I'd planned to go in the Navy
through a friend of mine that was a Captain Curr in the Shore Patrol in
Pensacola assured me that he'd get me in the Shore Patrol as a Chief. I
got all my letters back from, from you might say birth right on up to
date and recommendations, and approached the Director on it and he says,
"You're not going in. You can forget that."
RG: Okay, because they needed you where you were.
CC: So I had to drop that and that's the reason I never did go in the
RG: When you came out of the Patrol school, who was the first Director on
the Highway Patrol?
RG: Reid. And then after his, his time, who was next. Do you remember?
RG: For about how long did their two terms last?
CC: Reid long as Governor Cone was in there as I recall. Which was time
that we reorganized this and was passed by the legislature so we'd have
a Highway Patrol.
RG: All right, and then Director Gillam was in about how long?
CC: He was in there when Governor Holland came in and he was in there 'till
I was transferred, I'll get to that in just a minute. I left, I stayed
in Gainesville one year and then to Jacksonville. Drivers license were
bad over there and that's where our revenue was. So I went to Jackson-
ville and got organized the shipyard people and the county judge and
whatever and we, we carried the drivers license out there and delivered
to people and that way and tripled our sales in drivers licenses in
about three months.
RG: And that was how you were funded through sale of drivers licenses.
CC: Right. And then I was transferred from Jacksonville and made Lieutenant
in December '43. Transferred January, let's see, I, I stayed in
Gainesville a year and went there in '42 or '43 to Jacksonville. I
stayed there 'till January and then transferred to Chipley and made
RG: Okay, and what position did Colonel Kirkman hold whenever it first began
in '39 for those first few years.
CC: He was a Captain as I recall and training officer in charge of the
RG: In Tallahassee.
RG: And then whenever Mr. Gillam left office as the Director.
CC: Before he came back from the service, Captain Hill was made temporary
RG: For a few months.
CC: Yes. And it might have been quite a while because when I was in Lake
Chipley if he had to be out of town on weekends he'd call me in
Tallahassee to sit in for him while he was out on vacation or whatever.
RG: So then Colonel Kirkman was.
CC: He came back out of the service.
RG: Out of the service and he was made Director and approximately when was
that, in '46 or 8.
CC: I had gone to Deland as Lieutenant.
CC: As Troop Commander meeting in Tallahassee we met him.
RG: Approximately what year do you that was?
CC: That must have been in Soto '40. Let's see. It was. That's right, he
did. The first we had a Troop Commanders meeting in Tallahassee, and he
was, I met him the first time 'course I knew him when he was here the
first time, when I was in Pensacola.
RG: Before he went in the service?
CC: Right, and in fact the business is I went with him to sent Gillis'
office in Defuniak Springs the day before he resigned to go in the
service because Governor Cone was wanting him out. And had full
authority to get rid of him. And be sure to get as President of the
Senate he told me, he said that I can't even get in to see the Governor
myself, so I can't help a bit in the world. Said my advice is to
Colonel Kirkman is a good man. I'll be glad to help him, but he said I
want him to go in the service.
CC: And then Governor Cone won't be here.
RG: So it was Jess Gillam at that time, Director Gillam.
CC: Jess Gillam come in then. 1941.
RG: And then you were in Deland as a Lieutenant. '49.
CC: That was central division at that time and that was the Deland
district. It was in two districts I believe.
RG: What was Orlando at that time.
CC: Oh, it was, Deland district.
RG: It was under Deland. So you said when it first started there was three
divisions, northern, central and southern. When did that change and
CC: That changed in, after the '41 school when they made Captains. I
believe Senneff, Martin, and Fitzhugh Lee.
RG: And they were in charge of those three.
CC: They, right, they were three of the men.
RG: And, and then after that I think they made a western division didn't
they and cut one off?
CC: They, they made when I left Chipley to go to Deland in '49.
?: Ya'll through?
CC: He came back. He was a, something wrong with my dates there. Colonel
Kirkman came back when, when I was Lieutenant in Chipley.
RG: In Chipley.
RG: And then you went to Deland. '49.
RG: Okay, and then what, what transpired after you were Lieutenant in Deland
for awhile. What, what.
CC: Oh, a new troop down there, Troop D.
RG: Which was Orlando.
CC: Which was the old Deland district in central division. And at time we
had, didn't have a place in Orlando to work out of, was out of the
courthouse and we gave drivers exams.
RG: So, whenever the Deland area and Orlando area were called the central
division, or in the central division, Deland was the eastern district.
Is that right?
RG: And, there was two districts in that.
RG: That troop C.
CC: Bartow or Tampa and Orlando. I believe it was Bartow. I believe it
RG: So it ran all the way down to Bartow probably.
CC: Pinellas County and whatever.
RG: Then after you were Lieutenant in Deland what, what did you do then?
CC: I stayed in Deland until it Troop C, and I worked under Captain Hill.
CC: So then Hill was transferred to Lake City and Mack Britt was made Troop
Commander in Bartow and that's when the new troop was created.
RG: Okay, and.
CC: And after that Troop F was, Bradenton was brought in about the same time
and then Mack Britt went back to Bradenton. Troop Commander as F
RG: Okay, you had a brother that was on the Patrol for a long time.
CC: Yes I did. Hope he was stationed in Perry. Went on in '45.
RG: Were you instrumental in helping him become a trooper.
RG: He wanted to be a trooper.
CC: I tried to discourage him actually, but he wanted to do that, and so got
on, and he's stationed in Perry and I got, Colonels would let me have
him to send to Melbourne as a Sergeant in charge down there in.
RG: Probably '55.
CC: '55. Somewhere along there, yes.
RG: Okay, now, whenever you.
CC: They made him Sergeant by the way when they moved him down there.
RG: Whatever you came to Deland how did you become Captain. Where were you
CC: I was stationed in Deland and, and made Acting Troop Commander in
Orlando before, and, and built the new building down there. Clarence
Gay was Comptroller and had no problem getting that done, funded. And
then I to move to Orlando.
RG: Okay, and then you stayed there as the Troop Commander. D.
CC: Until I retired in January of '58.
RG: '58. And, you had a long and second career too after you retired.
CC: I left there I took an early retirement, and went to work for my good
friend J. Edwin Larson as the Insurance Commission. I was Deputy
Insurance Commissioner in Panama City in charge of field offices of
seven counties for twenty-one and a half years.
RG: Okay, so you spent with the active uniform division of the Highway
CC: 18 years with them and I had two years and 11 months with previous law
enforcement experience in Georgia and Florida.
RG: Florida too.
CC: And Florida, too. I didn't show the Georgia experience. I don't like
to tell about that.
RG: You did not.
CC: I used the Inverness times with co.
RG: Okay, and you have been in business, I think, since then after you
CC: I retired from the Deputy Insurance Commissioner in August the 1st of
'79 and went with a old, one of the oldest established fire and casualty
insurance agencies here in an advisory capacity for seven years.
RG: In Panama City?
CC: I mean for seven years.
RG: Yeah, yeah for seven years. So you're fully retired now?
CC: Fully retired now.
RG: And you still live in Panama City.
RG: Okay, anything that we may not have covered that occurred to you that
was outstanding in your career?
CC: Well, of course I'm very proud of the fact that I served on two special
details with President Roosevelt and President Truman. And, I was, when
I was stationed in Chipley I handled two, in charge of the traffic in
Tallahassee on the inauguration of two Governors.
RG: Whenever President Roosevelt came to Florida was that in, where was
CC: In Pensacola.
RG: And, can you tell me a little something about that detail?
CC: Yes, they, he came in there to spend a night on the carry out on the
Naval Air Station. And there's a lot of planning going into effect and
they came down, their people came down and said we got to have more
people. We ain't got but, says, ya'll ain't, how many people.
Tallahassee in the meantime had said we'll send 30 people over there.
That's all we've got. And so the Tallahassee arranged with Alabama to
send 28 Troopers down there and we borrowed 28 of their Troopers.
RG: From Alabama.
CC: From Alabama.
CC: So he came in on the train one night, one afternoon and spent the night
and left the next day.
RG: Okay, do you remember about what year that might have been?
CC: It was '40.
RG: '40. And just before the war started.
CC: But, must have, yeah. Must have been.
RG: Then you mention President Truman, too.
CC: Well, was in Key West, and I was transferred Miami I didn't mention
RG: Ha, ha.
CC: I need to. Anyway, I was transferred from Miami overnight from Chipley
to at the request of Red Martin.
RG: To Miami? To Captain Bass.
CC: To Miami. I had a temporary assignment and told best to carry me to Key
West while I was down there for five or six months. Spent temporary
assignment and worked out of the headquarters there. And, I was on
President Truman's detail down there which I was real honored to.
RG: When he visited Key West?
CC: Right, in the white house there was winter headquarters.
RG: What do you think the-population of Miami was at that time?
CC: I have no idea, but it was mighty big for a country boy.
RG: Ha, ha, ha. Even then, huh?"
CC: Right. But the station, the headquarters there was out on Flagler for
quite a while now.
CC: I did everything from there to operate radios to teletype to ride with
Troopers, to help Drivers License people, or whatever.
RG: Every night.
CC: Miami's good experience down there. No doubt about that.
RG: What, where was the most outstanding place that you in your career that
you think that it was when you were stationed?
CC: I expect Orlando would be.
RG: You liked it there.
CC: I liked it, Orlando. It's a beautiful place down there. Just started
growing then and it was a fine place for a family to be raised really.
CC: And we had a second daughter born in Deland, by the way, in 1950. And,
she went to her first school in Orlando, in Winter Park. And she came
here and graduated, and graduated from Junior High in May and died from
leukemia in June '64.
RG: Is there anything that you think that we still haven't covered that we
CC: My daughter, Shirley, married a Deland boy, Gordon Richardson.
CC: He went to Stetson, and oldest daughter did.
RG: Did she, she still lives there.
CC: They live, they live now in Atlanta.
RG: In Atlanta.
CC: And she went to school at Stetson and her husband graduated from
Stetson. And she graduated from Georgia State and they live in Atlanta
and have a daughter who graduates high school next month, Jhnet.
RG: Okay. Did any other member of your family ever work for the Highway
Patrol or involved with the Highway Patrol?
CC: Only one my youngest brother did hope. Of course he's deceased now.
And I have a nephew that's on now.
RG: Is that right?
CC: His son was in training when my brother died of a heart attack. '76.
RG: Where is he stationed?
CC: He's, he's stationed in Defuniak Springs, Rodney.
RG: In Defuniak.
CC: He left the school and went to Gainesville and then Pensacola, and now
he's in Defuniak.
RG: I think you alluded to and Captain McArthur did that you started at
about a hundred and twenty-five dollars a month.
CC: A hundred and twenty-five dollars a month the first year. We, after a
year we got a ten dollar raise and made Sergeant got a ten dollar
raise. I came to Chipley in '43, December of '43. December '43 it was
a hundred and seventy-five dollars a month. Can you believe that.
RG: Okay, and.
CC: I retired from the Highway Patrol in Orlando, Troop Commander. I made
seniority and I made-all the money I could make under a printing pay
scale at that time. And seniority and all I was drawing $7200 a year.
RG: Would you do that over again?
CC: Yes, I just think of some the things that I went through and the
experience I had. People like friends I made and, and the education
that I got out of it. You know the hardship on the family a lot of
times was something that very few people have experienced.
RG: That's right.
CC: We had a, and I, of course I've real been real blessed with being in and
still enjoying good health and we a, do quite a bit of travelling. I
been, took up golf since I left the Highway Patrol and didn't have time
then. July 190 -, c have s4inre m-oved O m ia^
RG: Well, that's good.
CC: And enjoy that as a hobby.
RG: Okay, a.
CC: I've been very active in the Lion's Club I --have, I was installed as
district governor in -Tokyo in 1969 and I was made life member on the
50th anniversary of this club here where I've been since '58. I served
as close in Presbyterian church PC.
RG: Well, that's very good. I've been honored to have interviewed you and
also worked for you in the past. And.
CC: I, I was, I was very proud that I was, had a little of something to do
with you getting on the Highway Patrol and I've never been sorry of it.
RG: Thank you, Sir. I remember when you interviewed me when we started.
CC: And I had a great respect for your mother, and she impressed me so, I
said I'd like to talk to the young man.
RG: Okay, I know that.
CC: Back then of course as you well know the Patrol was, a lot of these
applications were handled locally and by Troop Commanders or whoever
they designated for them and they interviewed them and whatever.
RG: That's right.
CC: And, I, of course I lost you. You didn't get to work in my troop.
RG: No, not until years later.
CC: Until we got the races. Nascar, came back home for them sometimes.
RG: Once or twice.
CC: But I enjoyed the races at Daytona. We had a, quite a traffic problem
on beaches at night.
RG: Connected with people being in town for the races?
CC: Yes with a, in Lake County we had a bad rape case.
RG: Oh, that's right, that's right.
CC: We had one in Chipley and Chattahoochee over here after I came here.
RG: That's right.
CC: And I got a call from the Sheriff who was the new Sheriff by the name of
Edwards in Quincy. He had his office call me and said to meet him over
there. And I got there before he did on a Sunday morning. And got the
girl that they had raped and shot and left for dead in the woods carried
her to Chattahoochee and quite an experience there. Anyway, she was
still alive and was able to identify them.
RG: Identify them.
CC: Identify them later. And went to the radio and put out a description on
the boy that we got from her. Captain Hill was in Lake City and he put
people out on the road at daylight in the morning and in less in 30
minutes they had the boys and carried them on to Raiford.
RG: Oh, well that's good those were.
CC: And, I carried the Sheriff and the State's Attorney in Tallahassee down
there and heard the confession. Which is very hard to take.
RG: That's right, that's right.
CC: Well, then we brought them back to Quincy to try them and couldn't. Got
them to Tallahassee and had trouble with the population over there about
the, wanting to take the prisoners and we had to turn back and carry
them back to Raiford and tried them in Gainesville and carried them down
there in an Army tank. They all 3 went so mad in execution chamber.
RG: I'll be. That, that was approximately what year do you think?
CC: That, that was about '46 I believe.
RG: About '46.
CC: I believe that's right.
RG: Okay, I'm sure that Director Bobby R. Burkett, the present Director, was
glad that you could participate with us in this oral history interview
of the 50th anniversary of the Florida Highway Patrol. And we've
covered a number of things here. Is there anything else that you'd like
CC: I don't believe I can think of anything else. Probably, any other thing
that might be of interest to the records on this. But I doubt, I, I'm
not having not made any notes or whatever on this I just going to the
top of my head on it. Relied on memory.
RG: All right, well it's been very interesting and you've had an illustrious
career. And we're glad that you're still in good health and enjoying
CC: Thank you.