DIVISION OF FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL
50TH ANNIVERSARY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEW WITH MAJOR J.W. HAGANS
FEBRUARY 1, 1989
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY E.R. PETERSON
EP: The recorded interview with retired Major Joe Hagans. My name is Ray
Peterson, retired Major with the FHP. This interview is taking place in
the law firm of Searcy Denny, PA of West Palm Beach. The time is 2:20
PM and this interview is being conducted in conjunction with the FHP
Oral History Project. Major Hagans, as you know, the FHP will observe
the 50th anniversary in 1989 and this interview will establish your
knowledge and obtain your input into the past history of the Florida
Highway Patrol. Would you please state your name for our files.
JH: Joe W. Hagans.
EP: Okay. Can I call you Major. Would that be better?
JH: Yes, that's all right. I don't care.
EP: Okay, I'll just call you Major.
JH: There's been a lot of people that called me Captain and apologized every
once in awhile. I said I've been Captain for so long, I said I don't
mind. Just as long as.
EP: Don't call me late for dinner. Ha, ha, ha.
JH: That's what I told them.
EP: Okay. Well, Major, what date did you start with the FHP?
JH: I can't tell you the exact date but I'm pretty sure it was in November
EP: And, when you retired where were you and what was your rank?
JH: I was Captain when I retired and I stayed, I was stationed in West Palm
Beach at the time.
EP: What year did you retire?
EP: And who took over when you retired?
EP: Okay. Okay, we're going to get at your age here. When were you born?
EP: How old does that make you now?
JH: I'll be 76 the 26th of March.
EP: Okay. So, how many years do you have total with the Patrol?
JH: Beg pardon?
EP: How many years did you have with the Patrol when you retired?
JH: Gosh, I'd have to stop and think. 1939 to '73.
EP: That's over 30 years. I'd say you spent half a lifetime with the
Patrol. Well, I guess we all did really. Where were you born, Sir?
JH: Where was I born?
EP: Uh huh.
JH: West Florida out there in a little place called Hosford in Liberty
EP: Has it ever grown any, or is it still about the same size?
EP: No, it's deteriorated. I went through there several years ago, the wife
and I. I told her I wanted to show her where I was born out there.
There used to be a sawmill up the hill above us. Sawmill and there was
a railroad station there too. But I don't know what happened, but
PAGE 4 '
there was just a few old houses there. Not much of anything out there
to tell you the truth the time we went through there.
EP: That's where you were born?
EP: Is that where you grew up?
JH: No I grew up just about all over Florida. My dad was with the railroad
company. We just about all over Florida all the time.
EP: They'll move you around, the railroad. They moved you around.
JH: Florida east coast, part of the east coast and part of Apalachicola,
EP: Did you have a lot of brothers and sisters.
JH: I had one brother and a half sister. They're both dead, passed away.
EP: Well, you when you became a trooper how old were you, when you joined
the Patrol? Do you remember? 1939? Let's see, what year were you
EP: Well, you were pretty close to 30 years old. What did you do before you
became a trooper?
JH: I was, speak just a little bit louder. My hearing isn't as good as it
used to be.
EP: What did you do before you got to be a trooper?
JH: Well, I worked part with the W.P.A. and building an airport there at
Lake City. Started off as being timekeeper out there and then I was
promoted to Assistant Superintendent at the airport. And that was due
to some courses I had taken in high school on how to read blueprints.
The reason I got promoted up to Assistant Superintendent. And I worked
with them and then this farm rehabilitation program started when they
were taking people off of relief and putting them back on the farm. The
government would let them have money interest free for the first three
years. And they'd insist that they'd have cows and horses and mules and
stuff to farm with. And then usually the person that owns the farm,
most of the farms at that time belonged to the federal government had to
foreclose, they belonged to the federal government.
EP: The W.P.A. that was a Work Program Administration?
JH: Yes, we were part of it. They built the airport I was part of their
response. I worked for them for several years. Then after that I went
to work with the City Police Department of Lake City. The, the reason I
left the farm rehabilitation program, they had so many graduates from
the Florida University down there in agriculture until they decided that
they'd make all of them have to have a degree in agriculture to belong
to the program. And I was one of the last ones that they let go.
EP: Well, did you go to college?
JH: No, I did not.
EP: You graduated from high school?
EP: What high school did you go to?
JH: Fort Myers. The high school down in Fort Myers.
EP: How about before that.
JH: I didn't graduate.
EP: You got your GED?
EP: And then you, after you left the W.P.A. you went to work for the Lake
City Police Department? I
JH: No, after I left the farm program.
EP: The farm rehabilitation program.
JH: And then I worked with them until they required them to have a college
degree in agriculture. And then I went to work with the Lake City
Police Department. And I stayed with them until I went to work for the
EP: What made you want to be a policeman? Or, how'd you end up in Lake
JH: Well, I'd been living there for a year. My dad had left the railroad
company at that time. And we was living there in Lake City and that's
where I got started with the farm program, I had worked some for the
police department there and I lived out in the country out there living
out on a farm I had a place rented out there. But, anyway, one of the
men got drunk on the job and totaled the police car and the Chief sent
me word to come in and see him on the first of January 'cause I'd worked
all night. Asked me if I was ready to put on a uniform and start work.
So, that's when I started with them in '39.
PAGE 8 '
EP: Did they put you through any school? To be a Lake City policeman did
you have to go through any kind of school or anything? They just gave
you a gun and a badge and a ticket book.
JH: Told me to get a gun.
EP: Told you to hit the road.
JH: That's the way they trained you back then. In fact I'll tell you this.
It was kind of funny. A man from a, I arrested a man about two o'clock
in the morning right between the hotels there at Lake City on the main
street and he was urinating out on the street. And I arrested him for
it. And he was out of Jacksonville and we had court on Monday
afternoon. That was the only day. And, of course I didn't know what
the charge was you know just a, most the time I forgot just what did you
call it but anyway. On Monday, I'd have to go down about 5:30 for
court. So he met me downtown and he asked me about the city ordinance
that covered that thing that I charged the man with. So I told him he
had to go around and see the Chief about it. I didn't know what he
devil he was talking about. So after the court was over I asked the
Chief, I said, "Chief, do we have such a thing as city ordinance? He
said, "Yes." So he got down the book and Lake City used to be named
Alligator years ago. They changed the name of it to Lake City because
there's a man in Lake City quite wealthy. He had two daughters going to
school in Tallahassee and he didn't them to be known as Alligator girls
so he had them change the name of it to Lake City.
EP: Who was that? Do you remember his name?
JH: I don't remember his name.
EP: Well, I'll be dern.
JH: But it was in the old ordinance there. And not a dad-blamed one of
those things had ever been repealed. They just passed a new one. And I
found out if you drove down main street after sundown you had to be
preceded by somebody waving a lantern in front of you if you drove a car
down the street.
EP: That was the old, old ordinance.
JH: That's right. That was still the old ordinance.
EP: Isn't that amazing.
JH: But it went on 'till I read the whole cotton-picking book down there and
I told him, Ed, you know you could arrest anybody and they, they didn't
have a chance, well they had boardwalks they called it, but if you met a
lady on the boardwalk and you didn't tip your hat that was a five dollar
fine. And all that old stuff from years gone by. Before I was ever
EP: Well, I'll be dern.
JH: He said that it dad-blamed sure had.
EP: Ha, ha, ha.
JH: But they revised that thing. But it was, I'm telling you I wish I'd
kept a copy of that.
EP: Yeah, that'd be something else. That be something else.
JH: That's the way Lake City got its name.
EP: I'll be darn.
JH: Okay, we'll go ahead.
EP: Yeah, did you have any military service before you went, went to work
for the police department?
EP: Did you have any after?
JH: No. I was, no I never did while I was with the Patrol after the war
broke out. I kept getting these cards, of course and they'd tell me
that I was A-1 and then a week or two I'd get one and I was A-3. I was
stationed down in Miami at that time. And there was that General down
there and I got acquainted with him. He was in charge of those school.
And they had just about all those hotels and different ranks of officers
EP: Yes. On the beach you mean?
JH: Well, on Miami Beach. And I got acquainted with him. And I told him, I
have a wife and two children. He said it's 21 dollars a month. I said
I can't get by on that. And he said well hells bells they're passing
out these things left and right for Captains. Let's see what I can do
for you. So, I don't know, a few days later he had one of the guards to
tell me to come see him. And he told me hells bells I can get you in as
a Captain pretty damn easy. So he began to check with somebody and
anyway it was a couple weeks later I come back and I stopped in there.
And he said I'd like to help and I think I could but I can't touch you.
What do you mean you can't touch me? He said, hell, let me tell you
something just keep your mouth shut about it. He said I'm not supposed
to be telling you. But he said the draft board can't draft you. He
said they've got every one of your doggoned papers say you're classified
as key personnel with the Florida Highway Patrol.
EP: What rank were you then in the Patrol?
JH: I was just a patrolman.
EP: Really. Well, I'll be darn.
PAGE 12 ,
JH: And, he told me. They got all your papers in St. Augustine. Said they
just send out these cards, they just aggravate the hell out of you.
Said, don't pay no attention to them.
EP: So you just, you kinda, you kinda went through the military by being in
the Patrol. There probably were a lot of us like that.
JH: I guess the Patrol was like the military I guess. I would if I'd been
in there because I was escorting convoys and things all the time of
nights and day. And teaching first aid and water safety for most of
them and had some on Homestead Air Base and some at Miami Beach there we
taught quite a few of those Navy men that was going through the Naval
Academy down there. And they had a 40-foot diving board. I had to
teach those guys to walk that diving board and hit that water in case
they had to abandon ship and those ships would be about 40 feet up in
the air. And that's what we had to do with them. Mostly, biggest part
of my time I'll tell you the truth was spent teaching first aid and
water safety and stuff like that to the military personnel.
EP: Well how many years, Sir, what year was it that you worked for Lake City
or Alligator Police Department? Was that.
JH: That was, that was two years, about two years before, I did some extra
work there for them. I think I put in about two years there with the
PAGE 13 ,
EP: And then you left. You left Lake City PD?
EP: And went to the FHP?
EP: And what made you, what made you change over?
JH: Because, well the first place, the starting salary of the police
department there was very low. But I started off at a hundred dollars a
month there. Then I finally got a raise of ten dollars a month. The
Patrol when they first started was a hundred and twenty-five dollars a
month. And you know what Fred Cone told me? That he had six thousand
applications. The law said we could only have 60 men in the state of
Florida. That was the law that they passed. And he had six thousand
applications. That's how many people wanted jobs. That's another base.
EP: A lot of people wanted to, wanted to be troopers back then. So when you
went to work it was about a hundred and twenty-five a month?
JH: That's right.
EP: And, do you remember what it was when you retired as a Captain?
JH: No, I don't. I really don't.
EP: It probably wasn't a lot more, was it? Ha, ha, ha, ha.
JH: No it wasn't. It really wasn't.
EP: Listen to that.
JH: Back then. Well, I tell you after, about the time I retired they passed
a bill giving a cost of living in Palm Beach, Dade and Broward counties,
I was in there talking quite a bit to the executives up there about
making a differential in pay when they send us there because rents and
everything else was doggone much higher.
EP: Oh, yeah.
JH: And anytime I get some in from north Florida they'd want to get
transferred back home which I couldn't blame them for. Housing down
here cost you 75 dollars a month. You can rent for 30 or 35 dollars a
month up there around Lake City.
EP: Well, sure, yeah, a lot cheaper up there. A lot cheaper.
JH: I know when I transferred down here from Lake City and opened up this
troop down there I was paying 35 dollars a month for a house and I was
right downtown. A nice three bedroom home.
EP: When, you came on the Patrol, when you went on the Patrol from the Lake
City Police Department, did, where did they station you?
JH: Yes, that was my first station.
EP: Was it. Did you go right to school or did you go right on the road?
JH: I went to the first school they had that was in Bradenton. We stayed at
the hotel there and there was a pier down there. That's where our class
was. On the pier down there. That's where we all went to school.
EP: I wonder why they decided to have the first school in Bradenton?
JH: I don't know.
EP: I wonder why they picked Bradenton.
JH: I don't know.
EP: Was it a military base or something?
JH: No, there was no military base there. We stayed at the, I forgot what
name of the hotel was. It was right there. Right on the side of the
water. And the pier was. We went to school in a two-story building
EP: And that was in '39, right?
EP: '39. Who were some of the members in your class. That was the first
JH: Beg your pardon.
EP: That was the first class, right?
EP: The first class.
JH: Red Martin, he was one of them in there, and that's where I got this
Hundred Percent Hagan thing. I was fortunate enough to make one hundred
percent on three different days in succession. And he turned around and
said well Hundred Percent Hagans. Well everybody was given a nickname.
And Clifton, Reid Clifton, was known as Pehokee. They was half the
people, or over half the people in that class didn't know his name was
EP: Called him Pehokee, huh.
JH: And, Red Martin, he was, I forgot what some of that meant we had, but
anyway nearly everybody in that class had a nickname.
EP: Ha, ha, ha. Hundred Percent Hagans. Did that nickname stay with you?
JH: It stayed on there. I was stationed in Palatka and Jacksonville at that
time, when he made Lieutenant. Nine times out of ten when he wrote me a
letter he put Hundred Percent Hagans up there. One time he sent me a
telegram that way, Hundred Percent Hagans. Highway Patrol. But, that
name, it stuck all the way through.
EP: What'd you do with your wife while you were in training in Bradenton?
Did you bring your family with you or did they stay home?
JH: No, they stayed. All of them stayed home.
EP: They were already.
JH: Sometimes their wives came down. Reid Clifton's wife, there were
several of their wives that came down for the weekend but you had to be
there most of the time. Once or twice they'd let you out at three
o'clock on Saturday afternoon. Most of the time you went to 5:00 or
5:30 in school.
EP: Yeah, that was six days a week.
EP: And they'd give you off Sunday to clean your room and get your laundry.
JH: No, they'd take you, you went to church on Sunday morning in a group.
EP: Oh really. What church did they take you to?
JH: We'd go to first one and then another. They'd call a church and make,
have them to reserve seats for all of us. Now if you was a Catholic,
they'd permit you to go early to the Catholic but you had to still come
and go with the class.
EP: No kidding. Everybody went. That was part of your training. They gave
you spiritual training too.
EP: Nothing wrong with that.
JH: No. Sure wasn't.
EP: Something everybody needs.
PAGE 19 -
JH: Everybody went to church.
EP: Well, I'll be darned. So what did they teach in school. In other words
you'd start on Monday morning going to school and you'd go to school
until Saturday about 5:30 PM. You're tied up in school what did they,
did they. What kind of courses did they have in all the classrooms?
JH: Well, I don't remember all of them. But.
JH: At first a man he was from Ohio State Patrol and later he was city
manager down at Delray for awhile and I'll think of his name in a few
minutes but anyway he was a real nice guy. But he made Colonel before
he came down and retired, and came down there but he was a Captain up at
the FHP school. George Mingle was his name.
EP: George Mingle.
JH: He was Commandant at the school and Bill Reed was Director of the
Highway Patrol at that time and of course Kirkman, he was just Captain.
Let me back up a little bit. Governor Dave Scholtz, under his
administration, the Road Department was paying the Deputies, you had to
get the Sheriff to deputize you.
EP: Yeah, you had a Deputy commissioned for every county then, didn't you?
PAGE 20 '
JH: No. You, the county that you were working in.
EP: But I mean any, if you worked in five counties you had to have five
commissions or something then.
JH: But usually put one a man in the county. Now in Lake City they had
one. But this guy stayed down there around that woods juke most of the
time. He rode a motorcycle. Fred Cone told them when he ran for
Governor that he was goin' to get rid of them damned juke joint
cowboys. And believe it or not, his nephew, W.C. Avery, started working
with him. And he got his uniforms on Thursday and they told him to come
to Tallahassee the following Saturday and have his new uniform. And
when Fred Cone told them as soon as he was inaugurated he was going to
do away with them juke joint cowboys. And his nephew's name was Avery,
W.C. Avery, and man at Western Union said he was the first man on the
list up there. His name started with A and that was the first to get
EP: Well, didn't somebody disband the Patrol or do away with the Patrol back
JH: That was Fred Cone.
EP: Well what happened there when he, when he did that. Did everybody get
fired, or what did they do?
JH: No. They just, those that were working with the State Road Department.
Dave Scholtz just had the money taken out of the State Road Department funds
and in other words if the Sheriff here in Palm Beach County hired you, well
hell, they paid you from Tallahassee. It didn't cost the Sheriff nothing.
EP: Yeah, I see, okay.
JH: So that's the way it was and they, but then when they, then after Fred
Cone got in they disbanded the Patrol, they done away with the juke
joint cowboys. And then about the last year he was in there they, they
passed a law during the legislature that year there'd be a Highway
Patrol and that's where they had a limit of 60 men to start.
EP: Well, why didn't Cone want the, the juke joint cowboys? What, what was
his gripe? Do you remember?
JH: Mostly because that guy hung around that juke down there, and if anybody
called him he would always be down around that juke somewhere down
EP: And, who was that, Avery? What was the guy?
EP: No, I mean the guy, the guy that hung around the juke joint.
JH: I don't know what his name was. He was, he was a Deputy Sheriff, he was
paid by Tallahassee.
PAGE 22 ,
EP: Oh, okay.
JH: No, his nephew was Avery, W.C. That was the first one he fired.
EP: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
JH: He did just what he told them he what he would.
EP: Couldn't accuse him of nepotism could you. Well, what, the guy that
were hired before he fired them. What were they called, like what were,
in other words the troopers that were, were they called troopers or
Florida Highway Patrolmen.
JH: No, they were called Deputies.
EP: They were called Deputies, but they were actually, they were hired by
the Sheriff but they were paid by the state.
EP: Well, I'll be darn. Well, now.
JH: The Sheriff deputized them but they was paid by the State Road
EP: But then the Sheriff had his own Deputies too, right?
PAGE 23 ,
JH: Oh yes.
EP: And then.
JH: But they had this one man, this motorcycle man.
EP: Did every county, like every few counties have somebody like that?
JH: I don't know if every county had one or whether there were just so many
in an outfit.
EP: Well I'll be darn. That's interesting. Old Governor Cone did what he
said didn't he.
JH: He did. He did what he said he'd do.
EP: Ha, ha, ha. How about physical training at the Bradenton
they make you march and run and do chin-ups and do all that
JH: Yes. J. Hall. They had him in charge of training. And every morning
he got out there. And then during the daytime once or twice a week
they'd have drill out there for about an hour. 50 minutes drill. And I
want to tell you when they say 50 minutes he didn't let you go for 45 it
EP: Not J. Hall. That's right. I'll tell you, not Captain J.
PAGE 24 '
JH: Yes, 50 minutes.
JH: But, of course I could appreciate the fact that he was under the man's
jurisdiction too. Just like we was in training, just like we were. But
we, he had the knowledge and that's why they had him in charge of the
training. I'll tell you Ray, there was the darndest thing pulled down
there that you've ever seen. Clifton one morning, he, was he supposed
to be on the court there when we had morning training, physical
training. He answered "here", and one foot was on the sidewalk and one
was in the air when I looked around. They marked him absent. He had
three days to clean up the auditorium down there. And I, I got in on
that thing and Mingle was the one that came to my rescue. They had, it
was very obvious down there that some of the men had been on the old
Patrol up there. They kind of got preferential treatment. There wasn't
no question about that.
EP: What do you mean the old Patrol? You mean deputized guys?
JH: Yes, they were talking about those juke joint cowboys.
EP: Okay. Those are the juke joint cowboys.
JH: Well, when Kirkman was in charge of, of part of those CF in Tallahassee
but he was with the Road Department at that time. And then he built
that bridge across the St. Johns River up there. They got a new bridge
up there now. But he was engineer on that bridge at the time.
EP: Kirkman was?
EP: Well now, when you were going to the Academy in Bradenton where was
Kirkman, he was a Captain?
JH: He was a Captain on the Patrol.
EP: Okay. So he didn't have to go through the Academy. He was already
running the Patrol.
JH: Oh yes. Bill Reid was in Tallahassee as Director. He had Kirkman down
there as Captain.
EP: Oh, I see. Okay. Bill Reid.
JH: And then they got this fellow Mingle from Ohio to come down.
EP: And teach the Academy. Be the Commandant.
JH: Yes, he was something.
EP: And then you got J. Hall coming in there.
PAGE 26 .
JH: Yes, well J. Hall.
EP: Getting physical was strange. So he was a student in the class?
JH: Oh, yes.
EP: He led the physical training, okay.
JH: So was Wallace Smith. Wallace Smith was a school teacher but he was in
the class too just like the rest of us.
JH: But anyway, what I started to tell you. They, they asked for one
gentleman, they asked if I'd mind volunteering to help clean up the
auditorium. I said no, no I don't mind. So I got up early and waited.
Well, I'll back up a little bit. I had to get up early and go down in
the lobby and I could study down there for a couple hours before the
rest of them got up. And I got up early. And, anyway I was always down
there pretty early and they asked me if I'd mind and I told them I
wouldn't. So the second morning there was two men come to class six
minutes late. Well that was automatic that you was on the detail. So I
didn't bother to go down. I knew that they'd come to class six minutes
late, so I didn't bother to go down to the auditorium. So when I did go
down not too long before class started, I met one of the cadet
Sergeants. He was on duty, as I walked in he called me to go upstairs.
PAGE 27 ,
He said where in the hell have you been. I said I've been up there at
the hotel. Why? He said you were supposed to be down here cleaning up
this auditorium. I said well there was two men come to class six
minutes late and they was supposed to be on the detail not me, I was
volunteered. I said what. He said that isn't none of your GD business
he said, for that by God, you'll sweep the whole goddamned upstairs. I
said (and I didn't know the Major was downstairs), I said you're crazier
than hell. I'm not about to. I said I haven't done a damned thing for
this and I don't intend to let somebody run over me like that. And I
noticed he was quiet, and I looked around over my shoulder and there
stood the Major down there. I thought, well this is the end of me. But
anyway, this cadet Sergeant, he didn't say anything else and Mingle
said, what seems to be the trouble? I said Captain, I said that damn
Sergeant says that I've got to clean up this goddamned auditorium and
I've to sweep all of it because I didn't come down to help clean up this
morning. Now there was two men that you well know were late yesterday.
EP: Okay, we were saying that there were two men late for class six minutes
and, go ahead.
JH: He answered Sergeant, he said where are those two men? Kind of like
that. He said well get them, get them down here right away. So, the
Sergeant went on down and the Major said, come on up to the office. So
I didn't know what the heck he was going to do up at the office, so I
went up to the office. He said, I overheard most of what was said there
as I was walking around the corner after it got pretty rough there. But
PAGE 28 ,
he said, I admire the stand you've taken, he said I don't know what the
hell's going on but I'm going to damn sure find out. He said you can
rest assured of that. He said how would you like to know what, what
standing you have in the class? I said well I would appreciate that.
He took the grade book down and looked and he said, you don't have
anything to worry about as far as grades. He said you grades are good.
He said you're number four in the class, number four from the top, the
fourth one from the top. I said, why thank you. Anyway, we talked a
little bit more and he told me to go on and forget about the thing. He
said don't worry about it. And, I went on back and a short time after
then, oh I don't know, a few days after that, that's when Pig Green
called the Governor.
EP: Well, what happened in the school, what happened? I mean, why are you
saying that? Was the FHP disbanded while you were in school?
JH: No, the, the school was going on.
JH: But the commander was in charge of it.
JH: Of the school. He was in charge of it. But Kirkman was the still the
commander. He was Captain.
EP: He was Captain. Right.
JH: Well, now I don't whether, I don't know whether Mingle ever said
anything to Kirkman about me and that cadet Sergeant having that run in
or not. I didn't tell him. I imagine Mingle did, but he didn't say
anything about it. Neither did Kirkman ever say anything about it. But
Pig Green, there was something come up that they got on Pig Green
about. His brother was one of the cabinet members under Fred Cone.
And, he called Governor collect at the mansion and he, the Governor
accepted his call. I was standing right there when he talked to him.
He talked to Green and he talked to me and I told him, I said Governor I
need this. I need this training down here. And they are going to have
to get a hell of a lot rougher than they are on me to run my butt off.
Now they may run me off. Well go on home. If any damn body had a job
by god youall will have one when that school's over.
EP: In other words the Governor told you you could leave the school if you
wanted to, that'd you'd still graduate and have your job.
JH: Told Pig Green the same thing.
EP: I'll be darn. Now, this is the Governor? Governor Cone?
EP: Well, I'll be darn.
JH: That's right.
EP: Isn't that something.
JH: I stayed Pig Green, he left and went home and he stayed home a couple of
EP: Are you saying Pig Green.
EP: What's his first name?
JH: I forgot what his first name was. They called him Pig. He used to be
so fat, was a cabinet member. I forget just exactly what.
EP: Wasn't he the comptroller at one time?
JH: I think so.
EP: I think that he was the comptroller years and years ago when I first
JH: He was, he was from St. Petersburg. Well, that's where his brother was
from, St. Petersburg, Pig Green was.
EP: Well, I'll be dern.
JH: So he knew he was in on the right side but I told Pig Green, I said, I'm
not about to, I need this training. I said hell with it. They're going
to have to run my butt off.
EP: Well how long did that school last, do you remember?
JH: About, I'm not sure whether it's five or six weeks. It wasn't as long
as the other school was.
EP: Well that was the first, that was the number one school. That was the
JH: First school, yes.
EP: Well, do you remember who the cadet Sergeant was?
JH: No, I do not. I know one of them, I can't think of his name, but one of
them left his car in Jacksonville in the garage there at the Roosevelt
Hotel and he took off somewhere. They didn't know where he was at.
They found the car there in the garage after Martin was looking all over
the place for it. He left his gun belt. When he left he took the. gun
but he left the gun belt on the back seat of the car. Somebody in the
garage there had to have been there a few called the Patrol and said it
was over there.
EP: The Patrol car. Well, I'll be darn.
JH: In the garage. There didn't know where the son of a gun was.
EP: Did they ever find him?
JH: Yes, they found him somewhere but I forgot where it was. And I can't
think of his name when he was the cadet Sergeant but anyway.
EP: He must have just went off and got drunk.
JH: Think he got a girlfriend.
EP: He got something, didn't he.
JH: I understood later on he did.
EP: Something got, something got caught up with him.
training on motorcycles too?
Did youall get
EP: I think I remember seeing some pictures of you guys on motors standing
JH: J.T. Lowe who worked at the Duval County Sheriff's office up there. And
J.T. Lowe is I think about one of the first motorcycle men we had
PAGE 33 '
there. Anyway, he taught motorcycling at the school. And he was good.
Because I, in fact we had a meeting in Jacksonville here a couple of years
ago now. But the lady in charge of the safety council up there, they put on
a dinner for several of us old timers. J.T. Lowe was. Now, I'm going to
tell you the truth I, Kirkman and Clifton, Clifton was troop commander at
Lake City. And they kept wanting me to go to Jacksonville. The troopers was
fighting one another and two of them pulled a gun, and another one pulled a
gun at, on the county patrol arguing about who in the, what damn wrecker was
going to pull the wrecked automobile. And just crap like that, damn and I do
not remember, Caps Cobb was Sergeant up there at that time. And I told him,
I said kid I don't want to go. No way. They kept on after me and I told
them, I told Clifton and Kirkman too. They'd been nice because of my wife's
mother had a heart attack in Palatka and they moved me from Arcadia back up
there. So I told them, I said well youall have been nice to me and my wife's
mother's recovered and I said I won't, I won't fight youall. I'll go. But,
I'd just as soon youall tell me I was going to hell as going to Duval County.
EP: Well, when, when you finished the Patrol Academy in Bradenton, when you
came out, where were you stationed?
EP: In Palatka.
EP: But then you went from Palatka down to Arcadia?
PAGE 34 -
JH: No, I went, from Palatka I went to Jacksonville. And then, well I went,
first I was transferred over to Milton. But, in the meantime they
changed directors. The Director told me, you are being transferred over
there. But said don't you move your family, because he said you're not
going to stay in Milton long. We're going to move you out of there.
But there are some things happening. We've got to make some changes
over there. So I stayed over there about 90 days. Then I transferred
back into Duval County. And that's when they, we got into that little
mix-up down there about, well there was the rest was after a ball game.
And I'll tell you this we arrested a guy and he was black guy and he had
a bunch of liquor jugs in the back of his car. Well, when we got him
out of the car there was another trooper, trooper with me. So, when we
got him out of the car he didn't act like he'd been drinking but he
walked like he was about half drunk, but I couldn't smell anything on
him. And, I said something to him, what's the matter you can't walk.
He got smart and used some cuss words. And the second time he did I
EP: You slapped him with your hand?
EP: You slapped him with your hand?
JH: Yes, I slapped him. I almost slapped him down too, caught him off
balance. But the trooper was standing there and anyway I think, well
the director told me later on, Bill Reid was director at that time, and
PAGE 35 ,
he told me about several months later that after I transferred to
Miami. And I said, well Mr. Reid I tried to tell you but you wouldn't
listen to me. I tried to tell you what happened, I wouldn't tell you a
damn lie. If I get into something I'm going to tell you the truth about
it. I said I felt like I would get some time off. I said you wouldn't
let me talk to you. He said, yes I remember. He said I remember too
that I took some people's word that I found out later that they was the
biggest damn liar on the Patrol. Which he did he knocked some of them
off. But anyway that's where I got, got into that problem there with
the, and, but now we'll go back to where we were starting.
EP: Yeah, I was going to get some more for this guideline we were trying to
follow here. But they want to know, what kind of, when you left the
Bradenton Academy then you went from there to Palatka?
EP: Well, what kind of, did they give you a car or a motorcycle?
JH: No, I had a car.
JH: They had, they had 20 cars and 12 motorcycles. They issued out.
EP: That was all the troopers, that's all the troopers you had, 32. I'll be
PAGE 36 '
JH: Yes, that's right. Well, one of those, he dropped out when he finished
school. But anyway, I got the last car that was issued. But I'd, I
think I'd have given the job back if they'd a give me a motorcycle.
EP: What, what kind of equipment, did they equip you with several uniforms
and all that kind of stuff.
JH: You had boots and riding britches. Everybody had the same thing.
EP: Oh, did they.
JH: Boots and riding britches. And, a Stetson hat, and of course then they
had those long tail coats which in the winter time they gave them long
tail coats. And that what each man had, and I don't remember how many,
they, later on they issued some additional uniforms. But this guy come
to Bradenton down there and he took our measurements and he got the
uniforms up there in time for graduation. But he was very frank he was
teed off to high hell because they told him seven of us weren't supposed
to graduate from that school. And my name and Clifton's name was on
EP: No kidding.
JH: No kidding.
EP: But did youall, you said you got a Stetson, did they, I thought they
wore caps back then, they didn't they wore a Stetson hat?
JH: That's right.
EP: Did they?
JH: They only had caps, but they had Stetson hats, fact some of the
motorcycle men we let them have caps because those hats would blow off
EP: Yeah, oh yeah you'd have to wear something else on a motor.
JH: But we wore a hat.
EP: Wonder what those motormen did when it was raining and bad weather,
because now they've got cars, they can get into a car and ride in the
car. But back then if a guy had to cover a zone or a territory well he
JH: Yes if you got a call to a wreck.
EP: You got out there and rode in the rain, huh. How many, how many wrecks
a month do you think you used to work back then?
JH: Oh, God knows. I started then, of course these truckers had to run day
and night too. They got paid so much a mile. There was three or four
nights a week that I was working a wreck during the night. Somewhere
EP: You worked a lot of wrecks, huh.
JH: Of course trucks would run off in the ditch, and different things like
EP: Were youall working six days a week 12 hours a day back then?
EP: That was a long week, wasn't it?
JH: It sure was.
EP: I'll have to tell you what.
JH: Well, now on Saturday, on Saturday night if you went to work at eight
o'clock or nine o'clock in the morning, you'd be there 'till midnight.
And if you got a call, you were expected to get up and go answer that
call. And that went on for a long time.
JH: And I'll tell you, I'll tell you who got us, got us out of that 12-hour
day. Haydon Burns, he was mayor while I was in Jacksonville the last
time, before I moved to Lake City. When he ran for Governor he came by
the Broward station. I met him out there and we was talking, and he
said now, I want to ask you something. He said why in the hell (and
PAGE 39 '
Colonel Kirkman made Director at that time), he said why in the hell
don't Kirkman let you guys work five days a week. He said the damn
prisoners don't work but 40 hours a week. I said, I can't tell you. He
said well, let me ask you this, Hagans, he said I've talked to to both
the Colonels, Clifton and Kirkman, and he said they just said youall
don't have enough men to change the schedule. He said what about that
thing. And I said well Governor I don't know but I said I have a spot
map in my office, and if you have time to go back by there I'll show
you. And I can show you with that map, we got different colored pins
that represent different, whether it's just an accident or whether it's
somebody's death or hurt, and I said I can tell you about where those
accidents happen and everything. And he says well how long do you think
it would take you to change those schedules where you could cover those
things. And I said Governor I've got three stations, one here, one in
Pahokee, and one in Ft. Pierce. And I've got a Sergeant in charge of
each one of them. And of course I didn't have the men that I did later,
but I said if that Sergeant can't furnish a list within three hours I'll
be looking for me another Sergeant in that territory. And he said well
that's what I thought. I've heard that before. And he told me, he said
well we, we going to a 40-hour week. Said you better believe that's
wrong. Said now I've talked to the Colonel and them. Said now I don't
know why, but he said it looks to me like they don't want to cooperate
with the Governor very much. I said well Governor I can't guarantee
that, I have to do what he says. He said, I know. But he told me and
the secretary can verify, he called me at 11:30 AM and he told me this
that he was down there the first of December for something. I forgot
what he was down there for but anyway he said youall are going to have
PAGE 40 '
that 40-hour work by the first of January. You can rest assured of
that. He said I talked to some of the other cabinet members too. So
there was a meeting between Christmas and New Years. A cabinet
meeting. And he called me about 11:30 in the morning at.the Patrol
station. He said you can get your Sergeant to go to work on your
schedule. He said January 1 you'll have a 40-hour workweek in effect.
He said I want to tell you something. He said I tried to get Kirkman to
make that announcement over, make, bring it up. He wouldn't do it. He
said I got Bob Graham, Secretary of State, to take my place, and he said
I got down on the floor and made the motion myself. Said it passed
EP: I'll be darn.
JH: Well, I said Governor I appreciate it.
EP: Governor Burns.
EP: He was a two-year Governor. He did a lot for the Patrol by doing that.
That, that, that gave people a lot more time off and made it a lot
better job. That's for sure.
JH: It sure did. And there was about, I guess 12:30 or 1:00 before we got
the teletype out that there was a change of schedule. We'd already made
PAGE 41 '
out the schedules for the coming time but they told us to make it out
and send it in. But that's the way we got the 40-hour week.
EP: Let me take you back again.
JH: All right.
EP: And, maybe hit on, hit on each one of your assignments. Like, you know,
what you did, what your rank was, and some of the things that happened.
When you left, when you left the Academy in Bradenton, you went to
EP: Tell me a little about that. Who was your, who was in charge of
Bradenton station and you know, what was going on in Bradenton. Not
Bradenton, Palatka, when you got back?
JH: We had, well we didn't have anybody at first. Kirkman was sometime
after. They made three Lieutenants, one for the central, southern and
Fitzhugh Lee was in charge of the northern division and Red Martin was
in charge of the central division.
EP: You mean Lieutenants were in charge of the whole state?
PAGE 42 -
EP: I'll be darn.
JH: We didn't have any Sergeants at that. They made some Sergeants later
on. Sometime later. But Stew Senneff was Captain in the Miami area, or
Lieutenant at that time. And that's where we got 'till they got some
Sergeants later on.
EP: And who was in charge of Palatka, Red Martin?
JH: Yes, well, no, to start off with, well they did too but they split off
there. I think Martin was the first one too, to tell you the truth,
,because I took some orders from him. And then Fitzhugh Lee was later on
there he was placed in charge.
EP: Well you just had one supervisor? In other words, the Lieutenant was in
charge of that station and all that end of the state. He didn't have
any, he didn't have any Sergeants on the road or nothing? How'd, how'd
they supervise you? I mean what did they do?
JH: They just sent you a telegram or wrote you letter and tell you to do so
and so. Or call you by telephone.
EP: Did you have a daily report you turned in?
JH: Oh yes.
EP: Did you.
PAGE 43 '
JH: We had a report but that went in to Tallahassee.
EP: Yeah, so how, what about the radio like when you went to Palatka, did
you have radios?
JH: We didn't have any radios.
EP: No radios, huh.
JH: I was going to tell you this. I was stationed in Palatka and each one
of us, we had to draw a map of all the roads in our area. We had to
contact people, like one service station had a telephone, and like I was
going north out of Palatka, at Baldwin I had to contact a man and he run
a tourist court, service station, get his telephone number and on up
ahead the next one why, then we, we'd come by the Sheriff's office and
we would tell the Sheriff's office well I'll be on patrol number one.
Well they could look at that map and tell whether we was headed up
towards Jacksonville or headed south towards Crescent City, or which
ever way we was heading. If we was heading out west towards Keystone
Heights they could look at the map and tell. And they could call ahead
and if we, we had to stop at every one of those stations as we went by
in our patrol car to see if they had any messages for us. And the
Sheriff didn't have any radios either. At night if they needed us they
could turn the light on, the red light on top of the jail as we come
through Palatka. That's where they'd tell us if they needed us.
PAGE 44 '
EP: So if you got in trouble between one point and another, you were just in
trouble weren't you?
JH: That's right.
EP: You did call for no back-up.
JH: Well the Sheriff, Hancock, Raford Hancock was Sheriff whenever I was
stationed, and he told me that, he said at night now, I don't want you
going out, he said if you get a call after you go off duty you call the
Deputy and said he's assigned to you from 6:00 PM on. And he said when
you get a call you call him to go with you. That made it nice because a
lot of times at there at night you needed two people out there. But he
was good about that and there's I don't remember twice that we ever had
to call a Deputy to do something else the whole time that I was
stationed. But it made it real nice. Some of the men didn't have that,
but I did. And that was Clint Hancock's uncle that was Sheriff.
EP: Well, who, were there any other troopers there with you? Stationed in
that area, just you, huh?
JH: No, I had, I worked all of Putnam County. I worked all the way through
Green Cove Springs to the Duval County line. And I worked to Keystone
Heights out towards Starke. Had all that territory. And I was
responsible for any accidents that happened out there.
EP: And that was 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
PAGE 45 ,
JH: Yes, if you got called.
EP: You really didn't have a day off, did you? If somebody had a wreck that
was the end of your day off.
JH: That's right.
EP: Did they make you stay by your phone on your day off?
JH: No, no.
EP: Did they know where you was?
JH: We had a phone, but like I say, the Sheriff's office most of the time
well they'd call you if you had a wreck or something and go answer the
EP: I'll be dern. Well, your pay was still about $125 a month then?
JH: Yes, I don't remember just when it went up. It seemed like it was about
a year or two or a year after or something like that before it went up
that much anyway.
EP: So, how long were you in Palatka?
JH: I was, me and Ed Ferrell was the last to get a transfer and he was
PAGE 46 -
stationed in Sebring. And he and I was the last two that got a
transfer. I got a transfer over to Milton. And I think he stayed there
about another six or seven months in Sebring before they moved him.
EP: What year, what year do you think you were transferred out of Palatka.
Were you there a couple of years, so maybe about '41?
JH: About a year and a half. I think about 18 or 19 months I was stationed
EP: So you must have left in about '41?
EP: So you went to Milton and stayed about three months and left your family
JH: Yes, they told me not to move my family.
EP: What happened then, you went, what did you do in Milton, did you just
work the road and that was it?
JH: Not that much, I'll tell you it was during the off seasons and later on
in the summertime of course people coming out of Alabama and down
there. Then a lot of people have houses down there on the coast but, I
went down, whenever I was down there I'd just almost went crazy there
wasn't nothing hardly to do down there.
PAGE 47 '
EP: Military base wasn't there then, was it?
JH: No. And just very little traffic down there all the time. Just, just
ride. That's about all you could do.
EP: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
JH: And, in fact I chased a guy over across the Alabama line one night. He
told me, he said we, we've crossed the Alabama line but I haven't seen
any drivers up at that road, clay road. And he got up there and he
turned off the clay road into a piney woods over there and he hit a big
old fat stump and wrapped the front end of his car around that thing. I
brought him back and put him in jail and I told the wrecker about how
far up the road it was, I thought it was and the next morning I stopped
by there. He said hell I went way across, he said I went three or four
miles across that Alabama line. I didn't see no damn place where you
turned off up there. And I got him into the car and went up there with
him and we were six miles over the line.
EP: No kidding, wow.
JH: But I told one to Alabama. I told one Alabama boy that I stopped and
chased the son of a gun over here. He said hell you was in your
rights. I said I know I was in my rights, but I didn't intend to work
your wreck for youall.
EP: Gee whiz.
PAGE 48 ,
JH: I said now the car is back down there. He said hell, you just took some
work off of us. Forget about it.
EP: I'll be darn.
JH: He laughed about it plenty. But I didn't realize I was that far into
EP: What kind of car were you driving, do you remember?
JH: 1940 Ford.
EP: Run good, did it?
JH: Better believe it run and I'll tell you this, now, while I was stationed
in Palatka before I was transferred it had a Mercury motor in it which
was 95 horse, but it had the heads ground down. It was a 99 horsepower
and it had a high speed rear end in it. And I got after an old man. He
was from Massachusetts. And the only 16 cylinder Cadillac I remember
seeing on the road. That thing looked like the hood was long as from
here to that wall. Him and his wife was going out towards San Mateo in
Bunnell at noon time. There was a dairy out there and they crossed that
road and they didn't have these underpasses across the road but they had
people out there to stop traffic. But anyway, I knew that they was out
there so I pulled up and was going to tell this old gentleman about
those cattle being out there, and tell him to watch out for them. Well,
he didn't slow down, he kept going. And I pulled up so I didn't like
PAGE 49 '
the siren so I pulled up there beside him and he looked back and that
old Cadillac squatted and he took off. And from there to Bunnell so we
had to cross over U.S. #1, and I said well it's about twelve o'clock.
There'd be a constable there at that traffic light at Bunnell. But
there wasn't. And then there was two Willises, a man driving a Willis
and pulling one. And he stopped. He did what he was supposed to, he
stopped. But he was right in the middle of the intersection. I had to
go down, down into the ditch to pass him. And when I stopped the old he
was right in front of the post office in Daytona.
EP: That was a pretty good ways wasn't' it?
EP: That was a pretty good ways.
JH: You're right it was. Sixty something miles.
EP: You chased him that far?
JH: That is the truth.
JH: There's two-lane road and only way I could get by golly was to see him
whenever he pulled out I'd watch him and then I'd pull in that hole.
PAGE 50 '
EP: Sure. Let me turn this thing off just a minute.
JH: All right.
EP: Okay, we're going to finish up the story.
JH: And then we'll get on something else.
EP: Go ahead, I'm listening.
JH: Well, at that time they had these justices of the peace. I stopped him
right in front of the post office in Daytona. I figured whenever I got
there usually I'd see a police, motorcycle policeman, at the edge of
town out there. But not the first one. I never did see one by golly.
EP: There's never a cop around when you need one.
JH: That's right.
EP: Major, you know it. Ha, ha, ha.
JH: I stopped the old man right in front of the post office and his wife was
madder than hell. She told me that she'd started.
EP: Was this the guy that was running from you?
PAGE 51 '
EP: For sixty miles and wife's with him?
JH: Yes. She was an old woman too. She, she said officer that old son of a
gun. She said I, said I. To slow down. Down, a puff of smoke come out
just before we got to Bunnell. And she reached over and was going to
throw the switch key out the window.
EP: Oh, she didn't like it; she was mad at him not at you.
JH: And, anyway, he was nice about the thing. I stopped him and told him
that, he said I know you was after me. She said yeah that old fool he
like to have killed someone. But anyway to make a long story short he
left his car parked there in front of the post office.
EP: You put him in jail.
JH: No, I carried him on around there to the justice of the peace because by
that time I knew it would be a short time and the justice of the peace
would be back.
EP: Oh yeah, okay.
JH: And, carried him on around there, and sure enough the judge came back
and I told him, the judge, what happened. And so the judge asked me, he
asked me how far I ran him. I told him, I said about.
PAGE 52 ,
EP: The recorded interview with Major, retired Major Joe Hagans. Go ahead,
Major, with your story.
JH: Go see the justice of the peace. I told the judge how fast he was going
and how far I had run him and I told him, he asked me how fast I run
him. I said judge my car is supposed to do about a hundred and a
hundred and twenty miles an hour. The reason I told him that when I
took it to Jacksonville they put one of those bicycle wheels on the
thing. At the beach at Jacksonville and they run some tests with it,
and the patrol cars. And there's one of them that wouldn't do but about
eighty-five miles an hour and they took that back into the Ford place.
But mine was, that speedometer on that bicycle wheel was locked on a
hundred and nineteen miles an hour when he brought that thing back to
me. I didn't ride it. And the judge asked him how fast was you
driving? He said judge my car is guaranteed to do a hundred and twenty
miles an hour. And he said I couldn't get away from that Patrol. I
told him my car would only show a hundred miles an hour. I said to go
down that needle would go down to that third line past that hundred.
But he told the old man he said I'll tell you what I'm gonna' do. It's
gonna' cost you a hundred dollars for running a hundred miles an hour or
better. Chased you about sixty-five or seventy miles said that's going
to cost you another dollar a mile. You can leave us about a hundred and
seventy something dollars. And he said well judge I'll tell you now.
He said I had my fun but he said when I come back through your town I'll
come back driving like a man should drive. He said I've always had an
ambition to try to outrun a state trooper. The judge laughed and he
said, well you didn't quite make it, did you. The old man said, no I
sure as hell didn't. He said, well it's going to cost you a hundred and
seventy dollars whether you made it or not. He pulled out a roll of
hundred dollar bill and he paid two one hundred dollar bills. A hundred
dollar bill now is like a thousand dollars today.
EP: Sure, absolutely.
JH: And the judge looked at him and he said do you have any questions you
want to ask this officer? He said no sir. Yes, yes I do, judge. He
said I want to ask him what kind of dang car is that he's driving. I
told him come on down you can look at it. Well the judge was new, and
they, he just Dismissed court and they came on down and looked at it and
of course with a flat head you couldn't tell whether it was a Mercury or
not; I knew they wouldn't know unless they had a mechanic to look at the
thing to tell. And I didn't tell them it was a 95 horsepower with a
ground down head. I just told them it had a high speed range. And they
looked it, and the old gentleman he said now judge, he said I paid my
fine and I've had my fun and I'm going to act like a grown man next
time. He said this officer has missed his lunch and he said tell me
where's the best damn steak house in town is and I'm going to buy this
officer a lunch. And the judge told him where there was one. I knew
where there was a good one anyway. He told me the same one. We went on
down and his wife when she got in to the restaurant she was still teed
off. What he did, he said, honey. She said, said, tell me something,
how much did that judge charge this old fool? (Man owned two shoe
factories I found out later talking to him, in Boston, Massachusetts.)
PAGE 54 '
EP: Oh, no kidding.
JH: And, he told her, he pulled off two hundred dollar bills, and he said,
honey, I pissed away two hundred dollars said there, you can just piss
this away any way you want to. So she put it in her pocketbook and says
all right, says I'll try to have as much fun as you did. Said you
scared the devil out of me. And she told him, that was when I got mad.
When he went into the restaurant, he told the girl at the restaurant we
want three of your biggest nicest t-bone steaks you got in this place.
He said the judge down there told us that you had the best steaks in
town. She said, we do. He said bring us three of the best ones.
EP: There sure wasn't no hard feelings on your part or his part, were there?
JH: No, he told me, when I come back through I'll drive like I should. When
he came back through in the spring he stopped at the Sheriff's office in
Palatka and they knew where I was and he waited at the Sheriff's
office. And he said, do you remember me? And I said yes. He said
EP: Say, we had dinner together.
JH: He told Hancock's secretary about him trying to outrun me and
everything. And his wife was there and she laughed and said yeah, the
old fool. He scared the hell out of me. He asked me what size shoe I
wore though when I was over in Daytona. And I don't know, two or three
PAGE 55 '
months after he went by I got two brand new pair of shoes with just a
note in there saying this is that old fool tried to outrun you.
EP: I'll be darn.
JH: But, stopped by there a couple of times.
cylinder Cadillac I'd ever looked at.
But he had the first 16
EP: Oh, was it? A 16 cylinder?
JH: The thing looked like it was as long as from here to that wall over
EP: I wonder what year it was. That was about 1941 wasn't it?
JH: It was about a '40 model or a '41 model at the latest.
EP: Well, I'll be darn.
Now you were stationed in Palatka when this
EP: And you had, did you have any other experiences like that in Palatka
that stand out in your mind?
JH: No, I run some others, but nothing that fast.
PAGE 56 '
EP: That, that was quite a run, wasn't it. Is that the longest run you ever
JH: I believe it was. I know it was the fastest one I ever made for that
length of time. I've been up to that speed plenty of times and dropped
back down, but that's the farthest at that high speed.
EP: How was traffic back then?
JH: Very little.
EP: Yeah. So you could really run.
EP: So, he could run too.
JH: Now when I hit U.S. #1 that was two-lane road we'd have to slow down
there because like I said traffic would come meeting us. I'd have to
watch whenever he pulled in where I could dive in behind him the car.
EP: Just pine trees.
JH: Pine trees and curves once in awhile.
JH: Anyway, that, that was about the fastest that I've ever driven like that
for that distance.
EP: So you left Palatka and you went to Milton. And you were in Milton for
three months. And then when you left Milton, do you remember who your
supervisors were in Milton, do you remember?
JH: Fitzhugh Lee was over there in charge at that time.
EP: Did youall have troops then?
JH: No, they had, I don't think they'd numbered any troops, I think they
just, well maybe they did. Yes, they did too. They had northern,
central and south Florida.
EP: Three troops?
EP: Do you remember what they were called Troop A, B, and C, or just the
JH: I don't remember whether they had A, B, C or not. I don't remember.
They didn't stay that way too much longer because they had another
school and then when they finished that school then they organized some
PAGE 58 ,
EP: Well, now when you left Milton, where'd you go when you left Milton?
JH: I came back to Palatka and then in just a few days I was transferred to
EP: Did you ask to go to Jacksonville, is that where you wanted to go?
JH: No I didn't, when I was transferred to Jacksonville there was a lot of
difference in things back then.
EP: Well, back then like when you came on the Patrol did they, did they just
assign you to a part of the state?
EP: And so well when you got, and they wanted to move you around did they
just move you? In other words they just wanted, the Patrol wanted to
move you to Palatka to Milton, and then from Milton to Jacksonville?
JH: You just got your orders and you moved.
EP: And you didn't have that much choice. You didn't ask for it? You
didn't do anything to deserve it? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
JH: You might have, that was it.
EP: Just be honest, Major.
JH: That's right, if you didn't. Now, I didn't ask, I didn't mind being
over in Milton, I just like to went crazy over there. Of course Camp
Blanding had just opened up near Starke and there was a lot of traffic.
There was a lot of building going on over there at Camp Blanding. The
war hadn't started, but there was a lot of people working out at Camp
Blanding from Palatka there. Now early in the morning and after about,
well after about four o'clock in the afternoon you could start getting
busy about 4:00 or 4:30 PM.
EP: Well, when you went to Jacksonville, did you have to move your family
from Palatka, in other words you moved your household from Palatka, or
did you keep your household in Palatka?
JH: No, I stayed in Palatka there for awhile because I didn't think I'd be
there very long anyway.
EP: Well was that, in other words you didn't, you didn't screw up anywhere.
That wasn't a disciplinary thing or whatever.
EP: They just wanted, they just needed a trooper there.
EP: And, you, you.
PAGE 60 '
JH: The, only, only time that I fouled up was whenever I was in Jacksonville
and we were at that ball game come back by and I slapped the hell out of
that black guy.
EP: But, this time though when you went from Palatka to Milton to
Jacksonville they just, in other words that's the way they did it back
EP: They, they just said well you'll go. And if you didn't want to go.
That was like being in the service really, wasn't it? I mean you get
your orders and you don't have much choice.
JH: That's right.
EP: You, you could only resign. But I guess troopers accepted that kind of
thing back then. It was part of the job.
JH: Oh, yes, it was part of the job.
EP: Yeah. Well, that's interesting. So you reported in to Jacksonville?
EP: Worked the road?
PAGE 61 '
JH: Yes. Worked the road and they gave me Duval County and Nassau County.
EP: Nassau took you on up to the Georgia line.
EP: Who were your supervisors then? Do you know who the one in Jacksonville
JH: I believe they changed it. They changed it about that time and gave
Fitzhugh Lee all the way across the state then and I forgot just how far
down. And then Red Martin taking over and farther down was Senneff.
EP: Do you remember if they were still Lieutenants?
JH: Beg pardon?
EP: Were they still Lieutenants do you remember.
EP: They were. And that, you didn't have any other supervisors it was just
that Lieutenant, right?
JH: Well they did. They had some Sergeants later on.
PAGE 62 -
EP: Oh yeah. Did you have a Sergeant in Jacksonville, do you remember?
JH: No, I didn't at that time. Later on they did.
EP: You didn't need one anyway. Ha, ha, ha. Did you?
JH: Well, there was, there was two or three of us that worked in that area,
were assigned there. He got more men.
EP: Do you remember who worked with you in Jacksonville, any of the
JH: No, Jimmie Dickens, no he wasn't up there at that time either. No it
was later when I was back up there a second time that Jimmy Dickens and
Dick Tuten and some of those fellows were in there. I don't remember
who it was up there to start with. And back in those days a lot of
times the Sheriff, if you got a good trooper the Sheriff would eye him
so quick he would hire him right out from under you.
EP: Yeah, I've heard that.
JH: I know that one trooper went to us up there and I don't remember his
name but he worked about a year and a half or two years up in Nassau
County and he run for clerk of court up there and won an election right
there. But he was well liked. People liked him and he had a good
personality. And they had that pulp mill up there too.
JH: But anyway, go ahead with your questions.
EP: Well, I'm just, how long were you in Jacksonville this time?
JH: I don't know. I said while ago that I was up there in 1941.
EP: Well, yeah that would have been right.
Were you there very long in
JH: Let's see, it says from 7/41 to 10/15. I started to say about three
months or something like that up there. I'd forgotten how long it was.
EP: Well, when you left, when you left Jacksonville why'd you leave. Did
you just get, did they just tell you to leave again?
JH: Yes. They transferred me to Miami at that time.
EP: Is that when you were promoted to Sergeant or.
JH: Yes. After I was transferred down there they, of course when I was
PAGE 64 '
first transferred down Stew Senneff was commander. They'd changed it
into troops by then. And I know I was down there when the first
patrolman got killed, in fact I helped the border patrol arrest him and
bring him into the jail in Miami. When the first trooper got killed.
EP: You, you helped catch the guy that, that shot him
JH: Well, when he stopped I'd been over on Tamiami Trail helping a Sergeant
get his car started and I come back. In the meantime they'd set up a,
up a station there with a portable light south of Miami. And we were
looking for this guy. In fact, back up a little bit. About midnight I
got a call and I hadn't been in Miami too long at that time, and the
dispatcher with the city, 'cause we had city radios at that time. We
didn't have any radios of our own. He directed me all down through
there. And when I got down there to where they was looking for the guy
I couldn't have told you how I got there. Of course he wound me all
around through Coral Gables the nearest way. Which I appreciated,
because I didn't know anything about Miami. And, I picked up another
trooper. His home was in Bradenton and I forgot his name. He didn't
stay with us too long anyway. We got down there and we found him (the
trooper) but his car was gone. But we found where his body was and they
found an Ohio chauffeur's license and the thing had his picture on it.
The trooper fell and that bullet had gone through, it hit him on the
left side and that bullet lodged right under his left armpit. He fell
EP: Where did, Major, where did that happen at down there?
PAGE 65 -
JH: Down there near Goulds.
EP: Down near Goulds. Well, I'll be dern.
JH: And, away the police department, they got a call about the time we found
him. And the police department, that license and they made over two
thousand copies of that license by daylight the next morning. And I've
never seen, I've never seen so many people. I was more afraid because
they had every kind of gun that you ever thought about.
EP: Yeah, they were after him.
JH: And the only time in my life that I'd ever seen a, a thirty-thirty
rifle. And that thing it was higher than I was. And had a barrel on it
that was octagon shaped and that thing shot a cartridge just about that
long. The old man called it a gator rifle. It was a thirty-thirty.
Had the doggondest bullets. It was a single shot thing. He said that
was his gator rifle. He was out there in those woods with that thing
and you name it, from twenty-two rifles on up they had it. And I was
afraid to just, tell you the truth, I was afraid to look behind those
palmetto bushes those so many people out there.
EP: Ha, ha, ha.
JH: There wasn't anybody out there drunk when word got around that a trooper
had been killed I'm telling you the truth I've never seen so damn many
people out there with so damn many guns in my life. And they was all
PAGE 66 -
over the cotton picking place and now I'm not kidding you. Well just
about dark these two farmers picked this guy up. They had a picture,
they knew what he looked like. And they picked him up and they stopped
at this station, a station where these border patrolmen were. And as I
come by from helping the Sergeant just about the time that I got to it,
I didn't know that they had set up this checking station there. When I
saw that light I knew there was something. I saw the men in uniform
were border patrolmen. I stopped right opposite the car he was in, I
saw the gun as it come up.
EP: Okay I had to shut off here for the telephone but you were talking about
going up to the border patrol when Daniels the murderer.
JH: I stopped right opposite there and next thing I knew this, this officer
handed me the gun back over his shoulder like that and that thing was
cocked. But he took that gun away from that guy so quick. I don't know
how he did it but he did. But when I first saw it the man was holding
it down between his legs when he come up with it, it was just that quick
he handed it to me over there. And then we put him in the patrol car.
EP: Now, who had the gun?
JH: The old boy that shot the trooper.
EP: He had another gun?
JH: Yes, he had a gun when he killed the trooper.
EP: But I mean, who took the gun away from him?
JH: The border patrolman did. Took the gun. He had it between his legs
down there. And the two farmers who picked him up they jumped out of
the car and said the man you're looking for is in the back.
EP: Oh, I see.
JH: They jumped out of the front seat.
EP: They didn't let on to him that they knew who he was. And then when they
picked him up, but they knew who he was. And they drove up to the
border patrol station and then jumped out and the guy brought the gun up
and the border patrolman grabbed it.
JH: That's right.
EP: Well, I'll be darned. And it was cocked, huh?
JH: And handed it to me, yes.
EP: Well, I'll be darn.
JH: Then we, then I had turned the patrol car around and we headed back to
the courthouse and dropped him off down there. Seven weeks later they
had him in Raiford up there electrocuting him too.
PAGE 68 .
EP: They did?
JH: Sure did.
EP: Seven weeks after.
JH: Yes sir.
EP: Well, that's a little bit different from now isn't it.
JH: You better believe it. I
years that we had that son
was thinking about old Bundy up there for ten
of a gun.
EP: Yeah, seven weeks. That's amazing. That's justice, I think.
JH: It sure was.
EP: Getting it out of the way. So this happened when you were in Miami.
EP: You working, who you working with down there, do you remember?
EP: He was the troop commander?
EP: Was he a Lieutenant then or did they make him Captain?
JH: No he was Captain there then and that's, and then Jess Gillam not too
long after that, I don't know how long after that, but sometime after
that, that's whenever they promoted me to Sergeant back then. They
called it temporary Sergeant but my rank said Sergeant on there. And I
got the pay of a Sergeant. Then they, they transferred from there over
to Bradenton. From Miami up to Bradenton. And I took a Sergeant's
place of a, and I've forgotten his name, but he later ran for Sheriff in
Ft. Myers over there and made Sheriff after he come back out of the
EP: Well, this thing about you being a Sergeant and going back to being a
patrolman back in 1941, were you in Miami then?
JH: No, in 1941 I was in Jacksonville at that time.
EP: Okay, was there, was there, I thought that you were in Miami, but.
JH: No, this was in Jacksonville.
EP: Is this, this, this is an incident I missed here that you were made a
Sergeant in Jacksonville.
EP: And then, and then you had a, had a 1015? Is that one you were talking
about you slapped?
JH: No, it's talking about demoted back to patrolman, and I was transferred
to Miami then. From Jacksonville to Miami.
EP: Well, is, now when I was on the Patrol no one wanted to go to Miami.
Did you ask to go to Miami, or did they send you, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
JH: No, they just told me.
EP: Well, they just no, you ain't hiding something from me here are you.
JH: No, they said go.
EP: But you weren't, you never were Sergeant up in Jacksonville?
EP: You were Sergeant in Jacksonville, okay, I didn't realize that. Well,
when you went to Miami were you a Sergeant or a patrolman?
PAGE 71 '
JH: Patrolman. They busted me back.
EP: What did you do?
JH: That's when I slapped the hell out of the nigger.
EP: Ha, that's what I thought. That's what I, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
JH: That's right.
EP: Oh, me, okay. You just got a little carried away or you got Malcolm at
JH: That, and then too I was, it was one of those things.
EP: Well, I can understand that.
JH: Of course, Gillam told me later that if he had listened, and I tried to
talk to him, but he wouldn't listen, but he said if he'd listened to me
that I'd probably got five or ten days off but I wouldn't have got
EP: And you just.
JH: But he told me that a year and half later or two years after it
EP: Too late to worry about it.
JH: But, the next one down here let's see where I was, yeah promoted to
temporary Sergeant. They had, I taught a class at Miami Shores police
station, firearm training and first aid and what have you, and the mayor
and all of them, they put on a party down there for us. And they had
Gillam down there as a speaker and Senneff was down there, and Gillam
was down there too. And, so during his talk Gillam made reference to me
being down there and he said, he come down here and he said, said that
was Sergeant, Corporal, he's a patrolman, he said he was patrolman 'till
right now, I just made him Sergeant.
EP: No kidding.
JH: Just like that.
EP: Now this was in Miami?
JH: Yes, Miami Shores police station. Senneff was sitting there, Senneff
told me later that he knew it was supposed to happen but he didn't think
it was going to be that quick.
EP: Now, you'd been Sergeant in Jacksonville and you went to Miami as a
patrolman. And then he come down there and remade you a Sergeant, huh.
How long nad you been in Miami then, do you know, quite a while?
PAGE 73 ,
JH: I don't, yeah, I forget just how long. Well, well I went down after
that thing took place in Jacksonville that was '41. And then '43 I made
temporary Sergeant, in 1943.
EP: Was that temporary Sergeant in Miami or was that.
JH: Well, they called it temporary but the pay was effective as of then.
So, but the man had to leave Ft. Myers over there before, I mean
Bradenton over there, before they had opening for Sergeant. That's the
reason they called it temporary. But the pay started the night that he
EP: Well, did your duties change? Did you have to start really being a
Sergeant or did you just remain.
JH: No, I, I started right off then. But, they moved me, and then when I
moved to Bradenton over there well I took over the territory.
EP: Well, now you were a temporary Sergeant the whole time you were in
EP: How long were you a temporary Sergeant?
JH: It says here temporary from 1943 to 1945.
PAGE 74 '
EP: But you weren't, were you?
JH: I was, I wore the stripes and I wore everything, they just, the card
read temporary, and I don't remember just how long the card read
temporary. But the pay was the same thing and I wore the stripes that
they told me to put the stripes on. And then they, they moved me over
to Bradenton and then that's when, and I can't think of the guy's name
was over there, but anyway he left. He never did come back to the
Patrol. He went and run for Sheriff over in Ft. Myers.
EP: Yeah. So, while you were in Miami they made you a temporary Sergeant
and then I don't know how many years you were in Miami. Do you know how
many years you were in Miami, like?
JH: No I don't. Must have been right, 'cause it was not long after I made
Sergeant that they moved me to Bradenton.
EP: Yeah. So, that, you must have gone to Bradenton about 1945.
JH: Yes, somewhere down there.
EP: Well, before we leave Miami, did they have a Patrol station in Miami
when you were there?
JH: Yes, they built one.
PAGE 75 ,
EP: Is that the one on Flagler?
JH: No, they built this thing, it'd been an old eating joint, but it was
down there, but they, it was right close to the river there. But the
people that owned the thing, it had been an old restaurant or something,
but they let the Patrol have it. If we'd paint it up and fix it up.
Some torn fixtures and stuff like that. Which we did, the troopers, we
went down there, several of us who worked down there, and Sergeant who
worked during the daytime down there. And we painted the thing and got
it all fixed up and then moved into it. And they got some radios at
that particular time.
EP: You finally got a radio for your car?
JH: Yes. Well, mine when I first went to Miami. When the war broke out you
had to have a federal license. And some of us, I took the test over in
Bradenton, and passed the test when we was in Bradenton, but we
didn't have a license 'till they started the war and then now we worked,
the radio was assigned to Miami Police Depart- ment but temporarily let
the Patrol have it.
EP: Well, I'll be dern.
JH: It worked. And we, they assigned us a number to operate it by.
PAGE 76 ,
EP: Did you have ID numbers back then?
EP: Did you?
JH: We had ID numbers.
EP: Colonel was number one and?
JH: Well, they did when we got our own radios then. But I had a radio
before the state got some radios but I was stationed in Miami. And I
had a radio license when the war broke out and so they put me one in the
car. Now there were some troopers that were older than I was, as old as
I was, that didn't have a license for some time until they had to pass
EP: But, like, you know how the Patrol had their ID numbers. The Colonel
was number one.
JH: Oh, yes.
EP: Did they have that back then, the ID numbers?
JH: They did after we got radios.
PAGE 77 ,
EP: After you got radios. That's probably when they started then.
EP: To keep track of you on the radio. I'll be darn. I never knew where ID
numbers came from.
JH: That's where they came from.
EP: That's why we got them.
JH: I'll tell you where, I'll tell you what, let me tell you this, and then
we'll get on with something else. I was stationed in Palatka and of
course when the Patrol first started everybody was wanting a patrolman
to make a talk or something you know.
JH: I went to Palatka in December 1939 and in January the colored school
principal of the colored school there he saw me downtown one day and he
asked me, he said let me ask you something. I said go ahead. So he
asked me in a very nice way he said do youall make talks to school
kids? Well I'd made some talks at the high school. I said yes. And,
he wanted to know about the black school. And I said let me tell you
something professor, I said when they assigned me over here they told me
that they was grading me on the number of lives that I saved. They
didn't care whether it was black, white, yellow or green. They didn't
PAGE 78 -
ask that. I said yes. He said. Anyway, I went down to the school.
And I went down in one part of it and I made some talks to the different
grades there. At that time they had the first grade on up through high
school in those schools. And anyway at lunchtime they had a cafeteria
there and I just finished up and he asked me to have lunch there with
him. I did, and there was just about nice as any cafeteria you've ever
been in. Anyway, after then he asked me if I'd mind talking to some of
the lower grades and I said no 'till about four o'clock. I said when
Camp Blanding starts when people getting out I said I've got to go. So
anyway, I went back and right after they started why I got to talking to
them, and of course I didn't use the same kind of talk naturally as I
did with the higher grades.
JH: I talked on their level. And I asked them if they had any questions.
And of course most of them were how fast will your the patrol car go,
this guy held up his hand. I said what's your question. He said, what
does that FHP stand for on the back of your car? And another little boy
was holding up his hand, just waving his hand like that, and I said you
tell him. He said man that means friendly helpful people. And the
professor laughed and I did too.
EP: Well, I'll be darn.
JH: And I said, and the other little nigger boy he said well how, how come
you knowed it boy. He said my pappa told me that. He said how come
PAGE 79 ,
your pappa tell you that. Well, the professor was laughing. He said
that man stopped out there. We was out near Hawthorne, and he said he
stopped out there at the lake one Sunday my daddy had a flat tire on
that Model A Ford and he didn't have no spare tire. He said that
patrolman carried him all the way back to Hawthorne and brought him all
the way back out there. And said when he started off I asked my daddy
what did FHP mean and he said friendly, helpful people boy didn't you
see that man. I said, you know, you're absolutely right.
EP: A smart little man, right.
JH: That professor laughed and when we left there he said just what does it
stand for? I said Florida Highway Patrol. I said, don't you tell that
little guy. He said I'll never tell it.
EP: Isn't that something. Isn't that something. My goodness.
JH: Yes, that sure was. So any time after that, that's friendly, helpful
EP: Well, I'll be darn. That's cute.
JH: That's where it started. Right there. About a fourth grade student.
Anyway we'll go on with this other.
EP: Yeah, let me, let me go back and catch one point that they were asking
PAGE 80 -
about the Broken Spoke Club. Were you involved in the Broken Spoke
Club's starting out or something?
JH: Yes, when they first, well when we left the school in Bradenton they, it
was ten dollars a year dues at that time and then we all paid and there
was, well there was thirty-two of us, there was thirty-one of us that
joined. The most that we could, anybody could have gotten would have
been $310. And then later on I was president of the Broken Spoke Club
one year. I forgot what year it was now, but anyway it was way back.
It was under Jess Gillam's reign anyway. But, as a school would come
along we would definitely encourage them to join until we got it on up.
And there for years, I don't know, I paid I've forgotten how many, but
it's ten dollars when somebody died or something. And forgot whether
it's six or seven that I paid for during that length of time.
JH: Until they got up where they had enough money to begin with.
EP: Another thing came to my mind. Did back, back when you came on the
Patrol did you have to be a registered Democrat?
EP: Never, that never entered it, huh? 'Cause I think all the politicians
at that point were Democratic.
PAGE 81 ,
JH: I don't think most of them were down here in Florida. They, they didn't
ask you what.
EP: It didn't matter, huh? Yeah, I know that Democrats have always pretty
well prevailed in Florida here.
JH: Will you excuse me. I've got to run back to that bathroom.
EP: Certainly, sir.
JH: Where we leave off?
EP: Okay, we were, let's see. We were talking about the, you giving the
safety talks at the black school.
EP: And, that was up in Palatka.
EP: Before we came up from Miami to do that. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Yeah, well I
think that's interesting because when you were talking I was thinking
well I wonder when, what year they first started this safety officer
program because it sounded like you did both jobs then.
PAGE 82 -
JH: You did, you did all of it back in those. If somebody wanted a safety
talk you went and made a safety talk. If somebody wanted you to do
EP: You did it. You know what your saying like, it, it sounds like that the
kind of people that they, that they picked for the FHP were pretty
special. You know, it wasn't just the run of the mill person that they
would pick to be a trooper. You had to be, you know, a pretty, pretty
smart guy and you had to handle a lot of different things. You had to
be able to appear in public and, and just, you know, handle anything
that come up because you really were on your own.
JH: That's right. You was way out there by yourself.
EP: And you didn't call a Sergeant and say, Sergeant can I do this or that,
I mean you just did it 24 hours a day and that was it.
JH: That's right.
JH: Anything, like anything out of the ordinary come up usually we'd call
the Lieutenant or somebody and tell them.
PAGE 83 ,
JH: And the Patrol, actually when it first started well we'd call right then
to the Director and talk to the Director there.
EP: Yeah, well, how'd you get your background in first aid because you
taught first aid quite a bit?
JH: Well, I'll tell you.
EP: How'd you get started in that?
JH: Mostly when I was down in Bradenton. I'd taken some courses and in fact
when I worked with the WBI on there, I was timekeeper out there. There
was, we had a bunch of people out there was cutting down trees and
things making that airport up there at Lake City and I was taking some
first aid training there. And a couple of times I saved someone's
life. One time a nigger was cutting a tree and the ax flew off the
handle and hit a nigger right up here and cut that vein into right
there. And later, I told the guy later that the good Lord just looked
after him because there's an old tree growed up we called a hurricane
root. And I found an old pair of pliers and I just worked on them and
worked them when that nigger hollered and he was about I guess 35 or 40
feet from me. And the blood was just pouring. And I run up there and
grabbed him and I stuck those old rusty pliers in there and grabbed the
vein. And I walked him across about 50 acre field 'till I got to where
I could get to a car.
EP: You're kidding.
JH: I took him to the hospital. Then, then they carried the injured to the
EP: You mean you stopped the bleeding with the pliers?
JH: Yes, sure did. That artery, cut his artery right there.
EP: I'll be darn.
JH: I held it and I got a bandage out of the car and we run into the VA
hospital there in Lake City and doctor sewed him up. And at first he
said, goddamn, he said, didn't care very much what you did to keep this
wound clean. I said, Doc, when you're out there in a hundred acre field
a half a mile from the damn car, I said just fortunate this nigger's
alive because if it hadn't been them old rusty pliers I found he'd be
dead. He'd have been dead before I could have got him to the car.
EP: Yeah. Absolutely.
JH: Then he stopped and he looked at me a little bit funny and he said I
guess by God you've got something.
EP: The means achieved the end didn't it.
JH: I said your telling me.
PAGE 85 ,
EP: He'd have been a gonner.
JH: That nigger never did lose consciousness.
EP: So that's where, so that's where you got started in your first aid with
this in the VA?
JH: Back in those days yes.
EP: And, and then you kind of took that in the Patrol with you.
instructing in the Patrol?
JH: Yes. I didn't, excuse me. I didn't teach any first aid, I took first
aid down there.
EP: In Bradenton?
EP: But you didn't teach it in the Patrol?
JH: No. Not at that school. I did later on. I think nearly every school
after that time.
EP: Yeah, that's what I was wondering you started teaching.
JH: After that I was always, in fact up until I made troop commander I was
always, every time they had a school then I was on detached duty Jay
Hall and I went to those schools.
EP: Let me go back to Miami then. You made Sergeant, temporary Sergeant in
Miami and then you were there for a little while and then they put you
over in Bradenton as a permanent Sergeant?
JH: Well I don't know how long before they change that temporary but like I
said I don't know what the records show but the, I don't remember how
long I was, to tell you truth I don't because like I said the pay
started at the time that, that night when the Director told me that I
was promoted to Sergeant.
EP: But you did wind up doing your work as a Sergeant over in Bradenton?
EP: Okay. Let's see, did they have a Patrol station over there then?
EP: Just, do you remember how many men you had the responsibility for?
JH: I had one man in Sarasota County and I had one in Bradenton. And, one
in Arcadia. There was one man, about one man to the county.
PAGE 87 .
EP: Yeah. Well, what did you do as a Sergeant? Like, did you just ride
around and work the roads?
JH: Well, when the war, it was hard time when the war broke out. I was
supposed to make the rounds every other week and the Lieutenant he was
supposed to make one, the rounds in this territory the opposite, week
opposite, I was.
EP: I see.
JH: Well, if I went this week, why, he'd, he'd go next week. And we both
cover the territory. And we were supposed to contact each trooper when
we made our rounds and each, oh, another thing, we was supposed to
contact the judge and if we didn't contact, if we didn't get in contact
with the judge we went back and the next day. Sometimes the judge was
out of town some weeks.
EP: Oh, isn't that something.
JH: And that Director, you better believe he sure was gonna' check on you
too. Contact with that judge or not.
EP: Well, what would you do? What would you contact the judge for? Just to
say, how are things going?
JH: Just to see how things going and check for troopers who been doing any
PAGE 88 ,
complaints or different things like that. A lot of time they'd have
suggestions. Back then we, we had to give driver license examinations.
EP: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about that. Didn't you do that too?
EP: Give DL checks, exams.
JH: We'd give DL examination in each one of the county judges' office would
have a place for us.
EP: How, how would you, like did you do it every day or just you be in a
certain place on certain days of the week.
JH: On certain days. Usually we'd have about two days, usually on Saturday
and sometimes during the middle of the week.
EP: I'll be darn. So you were, you stayed in Bradenton for several years.
JH: No, I stayed there it seemed like a couple of years and then they, they
moved me over 'to Arcadia and I stayed there I guess about a year and a
half. I guess it was, maybe a little longer. Now I'll tell you now you
talking about a place in Arcadia. I transferred over there. Everything
was fine. There was no, they just, it was more a central part of my
territory than Bradenton was. And they made it, the troopers they
called into service anyway. And they, they needed to start, I kind of
PAGE 89 '
filled in as a Sergeant and a trooper together. But they, I went there
and, I found they had a Chief of Police. I got good cooperation from
the Chief of Police, Sheriff and everybody around there. But houses
hard to find; they had two air bases, one was a Navy air base. They had
that west of Arcadia. And anyway, they was transferring a man, the man
that owned a store down there had a house that was for rent. He told
the Chief that soon as they moved I could have the house. So, that's.
where I got a house. And when I had to stay there about a month before
I got a house so I could move. But anyway, I think about the third,
second or third Sunday I was there one Sunday afternoon I was patrolling
down towards Fort Myers and I passed this pickup truck that was weaving
on the road. I pulled them over and stopped them and while I had them
stopped I looked over and both of them was drinking. I saw a bunch of
beef guts down in the bottom of the truck floorboard. So the old boy
that was driving he didn't have a driver's license. And the other guy
didn't have a driver's license. He left his license at the house. So
they turned around and went back up there and I got to questioning them
and he, what he told me didn't sound too good. So the Deputy Sheriff
there was Marks and Brand Inspector over there so I got in touch with
him and told him, I said this wasn't too long before dark. I told him I
said these guys had a truck full of guts and what have you. Well, we
got couple of those people that run some ranch out there. We went over
there just before dark and we found the head of the yearling out in the
hog pen out there where he buried. But the ears had been trimmed off of
it. Word got around and well, that was Sunday afternoon. Word got
around and Monday morning I know there was a dozen more ranchers were
PAGE 90 -
EP: Oh, yeah?
JH: On their horses. And they went, there was an orange grove out there,
and they went all over that orange grove and we found the rear end of
the yearling there where the brand had been cut out. And they got some
dogs and put down there and they carried that truck back down to the
river swamp. And they found the ear and the brand that had been cut out
of the hip down there. So man I was a town's hero. I caught a cattle
EP: Well, I'll be darn.
JH: They put those boys' butts in jail. A man from Tampa was hired by the
Cattlemen's Association to help prosecute those old boys. But this
friend of mine, he was an attorney. Well he was in Bradenton while I
was stationed over there. Anyway he was in Sarasota, Red over there.
And when the trial come up he told them that I come walking in there
bedecked out like, and I forgot what damn word he used right now,
something about, anyway he called me some fancy name anyway. I asked
the judge's secretary, she was sitting there, what the devil did that
monkey call me? Said I don't know, but I went downstairs and got the
dictionary and looked it up and it meant a highly decorated French
EP: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
PAGE 91 ,
JH: Come back up in due time and went to the where old Red was, I said come
on out of there I want to get with you. So, anyway, he told me about
the thing, he said I didn't want you think I was calling you anything
wrong. But, anyway, they convicted them. And I want to tell you just
about anything that I wanted. Now my wife, when she moved there then I
went home one dayand she told me she said, somebody brought a stack of
steaks around here. Said they're beautiful steaks. She asked them
who, what his name was, said they just come around there and everybody
knew the patrolman lived over there then, said, just tell Patrolman
Hagans, just give it to him and tell him to enjoy it. Said everybody
over here knew he helped out with the cattle. And there was about six
weeks before I ever knew who brought those steaks around there to the
house. And every once in awhile I'd see, I'd go home and see steaks
with different names. Of course most of the people down there had
cattle there anyway. Steaks wasn't anything.
EP: Oh no.
JH: You'd take bacon or something like that was hard to get ahold of, not
steaks. And I'm telling you they just, those people just thought I was
like a king walking around there because I caught one of them dern
cattle thieves. And that was about the worst thing that you could do.
EP: But there's a lot of that, you know, I'm sure went on back then.
People, you know they ate and made their living like that, rustling
somebody's cattle. Well, what did they do to people like that? Put
them in jail?
PAGE 92 ,
JH: You'd better believe they convicted them. I forgot how much time they
got. I know that they had this guy from Tampa. He was hired by the
Cattlemen's Association to help prosecute them. He come over there and
helped prosecuted those old boys. And that judge sent them up the creek
EP: So this was Bradenton then you came over to.
JH: That was Arcadia.
EP: Arcadia and then, that, that happened when you were stationed in
Arcadia, and you were a Sergeant then right?
JH: Yes. And then they moved me back to Palatka then and I went back up to
the north end of the state up there with Clifton. Clifton had come back
out of the service then. He was at that time at Lake City. He wasn't
raised to Captain at that time. They made him Captain later on.
EP: Well, the, they created more rank then. In other words, Troop
Commanders were still Lieutenants back then?
JH: No, they'd gone on up but he hadn't been, see he was Lieutenant I think
when in the service, when in service, anyway he relieved the Captain
over there at Lake City.
EP: So you went Arcadia you went up back to Palatka?
PAGE 93 -
EP: Okay. Did you go up there with the rank of Sergeant? Or did you.
EP: Why did you go back up? Just you wanted to go back home?
JH: Well, there were two reasons. One, my wife's mother had a heart
attack. And Colonel Kirkman lived in Palatka and he knew the family and
of course Senator McKenzie was up there and lived right across the
street from where my father-in-law lived. And I'm sure that he had
something to do and say and different things.
JH: The Colonel didn't tell me that but I felt like he did because they knew
the circumstances, and knew the circumstances of my wife's mother.
Anyway, they moved me back to Palatka. John Lakey was stationed in
Palatka at that time but I went back as a Sergeant up there.
EP: So he was your responsibility. Lakey.
JH: Well, I had some others too, I had, I had Green Cove Springs, Starke and
some of the other places we worked there.
EP: So, now you're back in Palatka and you're a Sergeant and it's going to
be about 1945 or '46 or somewhere in there.
JH: Somewhere in there. And then I went from there after I was there for a
while they, well, my wife's mother had gotten lots better. She had
gotten over her heart attack and everything. But that Duval County was
a son of a gun and mess up there. That's what I told you them jocks
were going from one another up there.
EP: Well did you get stationed back up in Duval County again.
EP: Good Lord.
JH: Well they sent me back to Duval.
EP: You mean as a Sergeant, now. You left Palatka and went back to
Jacksonville in Duval County.
JH: But I told the Director, Kirkman and also Clifton, I said you all have
been nice to me and I said I won't try to give you any trouble about
contacting any politician because a lot of times they would. I never
did believe in that. I felt this way, if they assigned me, that's where
I'd go, but anyway, I told them, I said, no, if, but I said I'd like to
make a Jew trade with you. Colonel, what's that Joe? I said, Colonel
PAGE 95 "
if I go back up there I said, I don't mind staying a year. And if I
can't get that mess straightened out in a year's time, I said let me
pick three places I'd like to be stationed. Just don't send me off to
some hell hole. I said I've been in enough of those damn places. He
says, hell, I don't see nothing wrong with that do you Clifton? And
Clifton says no. He says all right, he said.
EP: Clifton is a Captain now?
EP: Up in Jacksonville?
JH: He was, no he was in Lake City.
EP: Lake City, yeah, I'm sorry.
JH: And so the old Colonel says well when will you be ready to move? I said
Colonel, just as soon as I can find a house. That's all. So, he said
go on up he said, look around and see what you can do. So that's the
way I went back to, and when I got up there I'll tell you that, that
place was a mess.
EP: This is Jacksonville.
JH: That's right.
PAGE 96 ,
EP: It's a mess.
EP: Who was the boss there?
Who was the boss in Jacksonville?
JH: No super.
EP: So you were.
JH: Tap Scott had been up there.
JH: Him and Ted Riley. But Ted Riley had moved back to Lake City and they
moved him down to Ocala.
EP: So, now you're the Sergeant taking over Jacksonville area.
JH: Yes. I had a meeting, and i told the Colonel, he said just move
everybody. We'll move all these damn troopers. I said, Colonel they
the ones made the damn mess and they're the ones I want to clean it up.
Now if they don't clean it up, if they don't cooperate with me and clean
the damn mess up, I said, I'll write you a letter and then we'll take
some action. If that's all right. Sounds good to me. I said all
PAGE 97 ,
right, that's the way I'd like it to go up there. I said it's fine with
me. I said I want them cleaned up. He said all right. I had to, I had
to get one because of Baxter. And rest of them they fell in line, I
told them, I said, when you go out there and I told them I said youall
know damn well I know, of course every once in a while Taps Starkey and
would go off to a shooting match. Or Tap Scott would go to a Legion
Convention. They'd send me up there for a few days in Jacksonville, a
week or ten days. I said, I know what the score is. I said we drive up
there and if that county patrolman wants to take over that accident say
here's the report can I help you? He said no. Go get in your car and
hall ass. I said don't make a damn, I said we not going to get out
there and argue and things like that. But I said we're bring ourselves
down on their level. And we going to stand head and shoulders above
these people. And I said if you don't do it you're going to be in
trouble. If you follow my advise, I said, we'll be all right. Well
about a short time after that they made J.T. Lowe the man who was in
charge of motorcycles down there. Rex Sweet made him Chief of Duval
County patrol. And so I talked to, went down there and talked to Rex
and J.T. and we set up a rotation system for wreckers and had them
assigned to zones. Made out a map of Duval County. And we had them
each one assigned to a zone. And we went by and talked to them. Told
them the only time we wanted a wrecker was when we called them for them
to send a wrecker. And we wouldn't be four or five wreckers out there
trying to pull one car. And they all bought it except one old boy down
close to the county line north of St. Augustine. He didn't want no part
of it. He was way out there half way in the country and he didn't have