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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
January 26, 1977
T: My father came to Gainesville to be the head of the agronomy department
at the University of Florida in 1916. They tell me I was approximately
four months old at the time, so I really don't remember coming into town.
My first recollections of living in Gainesville were on a two-rut dirt
road called North 9th Street, now N.W. 13th Street, at the present location
of the Gainesville High School. When we arrived in town, I was the youngest
of three children, two boys and a girl, and the other four were born in
M: Could you give all their names in order?
T: Francis, now retired, Lillian, Edwin, Henry the preacher, now living
happily in the Phillipines, Ralph Turlington, Commissioner of Education,
Tommy, who died at age two, and Jimmy, who works at the main post office
here in Gainesville.
M: And your family owned the land where Gainesville High School is now?
T: Well, it was sold directly to Gainesville High School in 1953 or '54,
when they were getting ready for the new construction.
M: Did they live on it all that time, or had they already moved off of the
T: They lived on the land all that time in a big old two story house. I ran
a little dairy in North Gainesville and delivered the milk on a bicycle
all over Northwest Gainesville.
M: What was the name of this dairy?
T: It was just called Ed's Dairy as far as I know because I never bothered to
name it. I just ran it all by myself as a growing kid. Later on, the
rules of having to have coolers and pastuerizers and all came in, and I
was at that point in my life where I didn't think I should do all that, so
I went out of the dairy business.
M: Was this in the late '20s?
T: In the late '20s and early '30s. C. Addison Pound acquired the land south
of our house. This land, and land west of our home, was donated by Mr.
Pound. This, with our thirteen acres, comprise the Gainesville High School
location. The C.A. Pound, Sr. Auditorium was named in his honor. The
Pounds had bought half of the land that we had back from us. His intention
was to run a dual lane road, one lane on each side of Hogtown Creek, from
23rd Boulevard down to 16th, in which would be a high class residential
development. All that time he was also acquiring additional Glenn Springs
properties where Sears was located at 13th Street and 23rd Ave., N.W.
M: This was also in the '30s?
T: Well, he was acquiring all that in the '20s and '30s, yes.
M: When did he buy that piece of land from your family?
T: I think it was in the '20s that he acquired that. It was about half of
our land. It was twenty-six acres and I think he bought half of it. His
son, C. Addison, Jr. has his home on that land now.
M: You started at the University in 1934, is that correct?
T: In 1934.
M: So from '30 to '34 were you at the high school?
T: At Gainesville High School, yes.
M: Do you recall Professor F.W. Bucholtz?
T: Very well, and his boy Bill was in the same grade with me. His daughter
Mary was a year ahead of me in school. Bill lives in Miami or somewhere
around in that neighborhood.
M: Do you have any experiences or impressions of Mr. Bucholtz that stand out
in your mind?
T: Well, as a student I hated him to the first degree. As a teacher, I later
did teach with him, the old man was an absolutely wonderful fellow. They
called him Fritz, and there were things and rules that he had that were
real good. I am satisfied that his personality has helped to shape Gaines-
vile and Alachua County.
M: Why did you dislike him as a student? Because he was so strict or did he
ever hit you with a hose?
T: Well, I don't think he ever hit me. I saw him try to whip one boy. The
boy went up a tree and got a whip and then he had a whippin contest. But
the man was really talented in education, and in addition to that he was a
pretty good disciplinarian. There were a few things that might interest
you I think. He was the principal that put shoes and socks on the kids
because of hookworms and other health and sanitation problems. He required
students to wear shoes and socks to school. I remember there was one young
lady that moved into town from one of the outlying counties, a very nice
looking young lady, and he told her to go home and get hose or socks on.
She went home at noon and came back and she was such a shapely, attractive
young lady all of the boys were out in front whooping and hollering around
her. He came out and looked and saw that she didn't have on hose or socks
and he said, "I told you to go get some socks or some hose on." She pulled
up her skirt a little and stuck her leg up and said, "The hose are on there
Pop, if you don't believe it just feel it". Professor almost had to let
school out for the rest of the day. It was an afternoon of little learning.
M: What was it like going to school in the '30s? How would you contrast it
to a high school student today?
T: There were 805 students in school, grades one through twelve, when I was
there. It might have gotten as high as 850. I was in the largest graduating
class until a considerable period of time after I graduated in '34. The popula-
tion, in other words, was still gyrating up and down. I knew where every
student in the schoolhouse lived. I could drive you to their house. There
was not too much traffic and the City of Gainesville policemen, Merritt and
Carl Stengle, used to ride their motorcycles up and down University Avenue
entertaining the kids before school started because there was no traffic and
Carl would stand on his head on the motorcycle holding on to the seat and ride.
So the police staff put on a show at least once or twice a month when the
weather was right and everyone would enjoy watching them. Then roller
skates received abundant use and kids would hang on to the back of
the cars and roll on their roller skates. The fastest that any of them
got to was about fifty miles an hour which anybody with any sense would
know is sheer stupidity, but the tests were being made then as they are
now I'm sure.
M: Did you ever try it?
T: No, I was a very subdued individual, you might say, when it came to that.
Now, I did enjoy wrestling the bulls and the steers at the steer show and
going and getting horses off of Paines Prairie for the Scout troop. They
would give you the wild horses if you'd go get them and break them. We'd
go out there and get a few of the wild horses and break them for a merited
Scout troop. Scouting really never came to pass as much as it should of
for me, but at least I rode my wild horses. I enjoyed riding horses and I
often rode a horse to school.
M: Did many students ride horses to school?
T: Not really. There weren't that many around but they had a few livery
stables around. People didn't use horses. Cars were coming in evidence
in the '20s and particularly in the '30s, those that had the funds to buy
M: What about textbooks? Were students assigned textbooks or did you buy
T: I don't recall that we were assigned books. I feel like we bought them,
but I really don't remember for sure. The state has generally had a
policy, though, of supplying textbooks to students so that everyone would
have a fair chance of having a book.
M: Were there any fees that you had to pay for school?
T: To be honest with you, I don't recall that there were very many fees. There
probably were a few, but in the '30s money was very, very tight. I remember
that those were the years that they paid school teachers in scrip some, and
gave you a piece of paper that said, "We owe you seventy-five dollars for
teaching the month of March, 1932." Those were quite trying days on the
populus here. I had a certain amount of money in one of the local banks
and the bank folded and I settled for thirty-one cents on each dollar I
had deposited there.
M: I would assume that's the Phifer Bank.
T: Yes, it was across the street. It's been real interesting and I think that
maybe there were conditions that could've been better. But actually, I
choose to think of Gainesville as I was growing up in it as a better than
average disciplined town. Not too many places you could buy moonshine, we
were a dry county, and not too many places of prostitution, although I'm
sure that there were some that was going on in both occupations. I think
this is one of the reasons that sleepy Gainesville got caught napping in
the '60s when all this came. We really didn't know how to police drugs,
marijuana, and that type element of society. We were caught asleep and we
had slept so soundly that it almost wrecked our standards and could have
potentially destroyed us. In fact, it did destroy some potentially fine
young local talent.
M: Many people that I've interviewed talked about the Depression in terms
of feeling the Depression as an adult, but you were still a young person
in the Depression. How did it affect young people? Did it affect dating
or what kind of restrictions did you have because of the Depression?
T: First, I must tell you that I really didn't know there was a Depresssion
until 1938. I got married in the middle of it and I went right on to
college, attended school and was a member of a fraternity, and only after
I took a job in Pinellas County in 1938 and got a chance to hear some of
the older people talking about the Depression, did I really realize how
severe it was. Yet at the same time, my dad being an economist, had told
me of the economics of it when they paved 13th Street I remember distinctly
feeding as many as thirty-five people one day that were hungry that walked
down the street and asked for something to eat. I would check with them
and if I remember right, one of them was a Ph. D and two of them were
masters degree individuals and the rest were rank and file down the line.
It was trying times for a lot of people. My dad died in the middle of it
too. His assets were better than normal, and therefore I really didn't
feel it or sense it like maybe some of my friends did.
M: What year did your father die?
T: He died in 1934.
M: What year were you married?
T: In 1936. I guess those were still the most interesting days of my life.
You asked what we did. We would go to J.M.'s house on Lake Santa Fe and
swim and eat oranges and fish and then we would go to somebody else's place
and we had total enjoyment. There was a small swimming pool at our house
on the GHS campus, it was thirty by twenty, and people would come there to
swim. Then, when Glenn Springs was built, we went over to Glenn Springs.
I remember walking to Glenn Springs with five young ladies and a boy and
Mr. Pound, who owned it, was there. The man that took your money was
there, ready for me to go swimming. I dug in one pocket and found fifteen
cents, I dug in another and found twenty-five cents, and Mr. Pound said,
"All right Ed, take your friends and go on swimming."
M: How much was it per person to get in?
T: I think it was twenty cents, but I don't remember.
M: Did you ever go to Glenn Springs when they had one of the beauty contests?
T: Yes, I did, but I think they never did reach the scope and size of the big
activities held at Earlton Beach on Lake Santa Fe and at Hampton Beach on
Lake Hampton between Gainesville and Starke.
M: Those were much bigger?
T: Those were much bigger from the point of view of room to put on a big
inside show and dance. Glenn Springs never really had a lot of dance
room on it until the '50s or '60s. But there were many activities out
there, and they were quite interesting. You really needed a different
type of facility for it to be as good as it was at the other places.
There they had long, large beach areas and roller coasters and high dives
from the tower and everything, but, of course, not enough power boats to
amount to a hill of beans.
M: You mentioned skating at fifty miles an hour when pulled by a car. You
also mentioned horses and outside activities. What other things would
you find your people doing in the early '30s?
T: Well, the Baptist Church did not allow dancing at the time so I joined
the group my age at the Presbyterian Church because they did. I enjoyed
dancing and, of course, we'd go to the little women's dances and to frater-
nity parties and University of Florida activities. The University was not
coed. Male students needed local dancing partners.
M: What are the little women's dances? What was that about?
T: Well, that's kind of like the Women's Club ladies' daughters. They could
become members of the little women to be trained in the social graces. And
they were. To say the least, they were really fine individuals.
M: Did they have those every month or once a week?
T: Well, fairly often depending on the seasons. They would be a little more
often, maybe, at Christmas and a little less sometimes during the summers,
but they were real nice. Of course, absolutely no air conditioning or any-
thing like that and the University was not coed and so the University students
would often come down to go to the dances. Sometimes they generated a little
problem, but not much. Mostly they were local people.
M: How old would the little women be? Say, up to seventeen?
T: Yes, fourteen, I guess, seventeen. It's been a little while.
M: Do you remember where they had the dances?
T: Well, it was right across from the old Gainesville High School on West
University Avenue. Now the same building was moved to a new location on
N.W. 23rd extension where they put on various plays and other activities.
It's near the new Publix on 16th in the Millhopper Shopping Center.
M: What kind of music would there be?
T: Often they had bands, but it didn't matter, good record players suit me.
I was one that danced with several of the young ladies; I didn't really
have one, but I like them all. Then I married this one right here. She's
an import just like I am. She's from Virginia and I'm from North Carolina.
She's really been a good wife. We were married on January 4, 1936. She
was born in Roanoke, Virginia. Her name was Harless.
M: You met her here in Gainesville though?
T: Well, she moved to town when her brother started to go to college and I met
her and we got married not long after that.
M: Were you friends with her brother on the campus?
T: No, not really. He's fifteen days younger than I am, but he and I didn't
go the same route at all.
M: You mentioned Scouts. Were you in the Scouts as a youngster?
M: Was this in the troop with J. Francis Cooper and Burt Ames?
T: No, I was Baptist, therefore, I was in Troop 3 at the First Baptist Church.
I had Garner B. Anchors and others who were Scoutmasters then. They would
take us on trips to Wauberg and Camp Charles Francis and all these other
things. Now, you asked what I did. We would go and get the gang of boys
together and we would chase the rabbits where the Gainesville Mall now
sits. We would get in there and we would have our afternoon of sports
you've never seen before. Only a few yard dogs and us chasing the rabbits
and we could catch a bag full of them. Then we'd go and drain the swimming
pool out after we'd stocked it with bream and we'd have a fish fry. Or we
would go down to the creek and get two or three soft shell turtles and cook
them and just have a general good time and always be home in time for supper.
There was always a Sunday afternoon football game in our cow pasture that
ended up in a number one fight with plenty of ammunition.
M: Who were these people that you hung around with at the time?
T: Well, therewere the Smith boys, the Lord boys, the Turlington boys, the
Wells and Seykdra boys and then all the other neighborhood boys that came
in. Generally they were singles from the rest of the area. Some of them
had been like brothers over there. We'd choose up sides and have a real
good football game in the pasture. That was most entertaining to me. I
don't remember many I missed. If I'd hadany more energy, I don't know
what I could of done. The girls, they had their activities too, I'm sure.
They had to learn certain skills so that they could take care of the
needs of the family, I guess, when they got older and married. We did go
camping and hunting and fishing and you name it. It was quite interesting.
There was little county recreation-- you made your own.
M: A few minutes ago, you mentioned Carl Stingle.
T: He once owned Stingle Field on Archer Road.
M: Is this the same man who developed the airport?
T: It is.
M: And do you, recall prior to, I believe the year '34, when it got moved
to where Butler Plaza is today? Do you recall a place called Java
Airport in the Northeast section of town?
T: The original airport where Carol Estates is now?
M: I believe so.
T: I flew in a Ford trimotored plane off of it one time, and in biplanes a
couple of times, and you're talking to a man that has a terrible fear of
height, that I developed after I got forty-five. But in those days, I'd
fly most anything and I took off on the airplanes out there many times.
M: Do you know why they closed that place and moved to the place over by Butler?
T: Well, that was the main airport for a while when they had little planes and
biplanes, but it was inadequate for expansion and for other things. Besides
that, it was too close to town. They were looking for sites for the new
Gainesville airport, hoping to find a place to put one out at Newnan's Lake.
Then they finally decided on putting it out on the Waldo Road. At that
time, Stingle was moving down to is what we call Stingle Field. That
was more barnstorming type. At the time. Stingle was a barnstormer from
the word go.
M: From the war?
T: I don't know whether from the war or not, but he'd fly them upsidedown
and backwards. It was a real show. He was a daredevil to the first degree.
M: Is he deceased now?
T: I'm sure he is.
M: In '34 you graduated from Gainesville High School, the one located ....
the property that the commission has discussed so often [now Alachua
General Hospital land] and you went to the University. Did you live on
campus, or did you stay at home?
T: I lived at home primarily, but I also was married, so later we rented an
apartment on 13th Street and lived there.
M: Where was this located?
T: It was between the 6th and 7th blocks on N.W. 13th Street.
M: Were there very many married students at the University?
T: Not really. I think the total count of students was about 3,000 and maybe
there were 50. I don't know. I remember there was more than one. I
wasn't the only one because there were about three in my fraternity that
M: So there weren't really special activities or special places for married
people on campus?
M: But there was no restriction against it?
M: You belonged to which fraternity?
T: Alpha Gamma Rho. It's on 4th Avenue S.W. at 13th Street.
M: Where was it located at that time?
T: They moved into what is now the old house on S.W. 13th Street the year I was
a freshman in 1934.
M: So, basically the same location then?
T: Yes, basically. But they have a new house now that is right next to it.
M: Do they use both houses now or are they completely out of the old one?
T: I think they're completely out of the old one.
M: Are they going to-sell that?
T: They didn't want to but I think they may have to. [They have sold the old
house to Maranatha Center]
M: What was it like belonging to a fraternity at the University?
T: Oh, it was the most fun. All of the boys had similar interest to what I
had. I met some really fine fellows and when you'd have a dance they would
say, "Now Ed, you can't get too many girls." So they dug up all the girls
and had dances, and we had one more girl than we had members and I had to
go borrowing the stags from the Kappa Sigma house so that you could have a
good dance and we'd have a band. We would have all the standard things
like the fall frolics and the spring frolics that they have out there now.
I entered certain competitions. The biggest mistake I ever made was
entering the boxing competition. I'm no boxer and I had to box old Steve
O'Connell and he didn't let me last very long.
M: I was going to ask you if you knew Steve O'Connell when he was at the
T: Yes, he was there at the same time I was. He was an ATO and one year
ahead of me in school. I remember him being quite active in his lodge
and in intramurals and other activities.
M: What was your impression of Steve O'Connell at that time, as a student
or as a fellow athlete?
T: I thought he was all right, but actually I was in competition with him
for my lodge so naturally, as a student, I tried not to make him look too
good and tried to out-do him when I could.
M: What about the pajama marches? I have heard conflicting views from
community people who say they were fun to watch, and from non-fraternity
people who tell me about fraternities demanding that you run downtown and
having belts and etcetera. What was your opinion of the pajama marches?
T: The pajama marches themselves, after football games, were entirely different
from the initiations of the fraternities. Fraternities had some things that
were quite crummy including mine sometimes, but the pajama marches and the
snake dances going down the road and crashing into the Florida Theatre just
for meanness, I didn't think was so bad. In fact, I thought it gave the
little old town a boost of enthusiasm. As long as they didn't try to
destroy private property or hurt somebody, they went pretty good.
M:- Do you recall chasing freshman and forcing them to run faster or anything
T: Not really. I didn't do that but in the lodge, I did I guess. I remember
that you put the student in a sack, in a croaker bag, and have him go down-
town holding a candle or something to light his way so he'd find his way home,
and put him through some paces downtown. Yes, I remember doing some of that.
M: What was initiation like?
T: Sometimes right harsh. You see, young people that age really don't under-
stand and sometimes they get carried away and they go so far and somebody
panics and somebody gets hurt. It's quite serious at that point.
T: Oh, always paddle. If you want to remember a fellow's name, you hold your
ankles and he tells you his name and he'd give you a good lick. If he
hit you hard enough it may well be embedded in the brain.
M: What about rat courts? Do you recall rat courts?
T: Yes, but you know, I think these things are quite funny. After I graduated
from college I was working up near Santa Fe. One evening I saw some boys
taking three pledges out into the woods and they tied them to the trees and
took all their clothes.off but their shorts where the mosquitos were going
to eat them up. The big fraternity brothers were hazing these three pledges
and I came back by there and I told them to get in the car and I said, "What
lodge are you in?". They said "What do you mean?" I said, "What fraternity
are you in?" They told me and I said, "Well, come on and let's beat them
back and you get all dressed up and get your tie on and be sitting there
twiddling your thumbs when they walk in. I'll show you how to beat them
home." So I took them back to their fraternity and they all went in and
dressed up and they were sitting there when the big shots walked in that
had carried them out there. It rather embarrassed the big shots that were
laughing about how rough they had treated them and they were all cleaned
and dressed and looking nice and sitting on the sofa. This is life. Some
people like a challenge and sometimes some people just like to show off.
Personally, I think the thing to do is don't get carried away. Be cautious
and be sure somebody doesn't panic and hurt themselves.
M: Were you an agricultural major when you were at the University?
T: Yes, I was.
M: Who were some of your professors? Did you have R.B. [Raymond Brown] Becker
[Professor of Dairy Husbandry]?
T: I did. He was my favorite you might say, except he didn't talk loud enough
and I had to sit in the front row to hear him. He's still around.
M: I've met him.
T: He's quite a nice fellow.
M: Who else do you recall?
T: Well [P.T.] Dix Arnold was in the dairy place with him. Of course, there
are quite a few of them deceased. One of the ones I recall, Frazier Rodgers,
[Professor of Agricultural Engineering] was one of the best ones that spon-
sored and boosted the football team and everything to excessive amounts. He's
deceased now. I think he had three children that are still in Florida. And,
of course, that was one of the things I was telling you about Hargrave. Dean
Rolfs, Rolfs Hall out there....
....three pictures of dogs in one frame and I told him I liked that and
he took it down and gave it to me. And I was reading the paper the other
day where they dedicated a segment of the University to him down there.
That's another reason, he could tell you some things of the early days too.
M: You mentioned eating in a house over here, is that the Sword sisters?
T: Yes, but Louise is the one. The sister is a retired teacher.
M: How long have they run that?
T: Well, I imagine fifty-four',, fifty-six years. I don't really know. Her
mother was there before her and it was in a different house. I think they
call this the old Dr. [Alfred] Crago house now, but Dr. Crago wasn't the
first one to live in it.
M: But you think they were running their home as a restaurant as early as the '30s?
T: I'm sure; maybe not this location--they moved a block or two. Louise could
tell you, and she could also tell you a lot about Windsor and all. She has
quite a few relatives all around here, the Kings and others.
M: I'll have to contact her. Do you remember any stories in relation to your
T: Well, you mean real humorous stories?
M: Anything that stands out in your mind about them.
T: Well, yes. Professor Willoughby, he was quite an older person when he was
teaching me, he's deceased now, and he would take us off on these judging
trips. Of course, all of us would act like we wanted to misbehave a little,
but I think sometimes we'd pull tricks that were a little bit unusual for
his thinking capacity. One of the boys sent him a girl up there that he
had met in Jacksonville. He was supposed to go judging steer carcasses
and so they tried to make her be a date with the professor. I guess nothing
really has changed, has it?
M: No, they still try to pull things like that. Do you recall John Tigert?
T: Yes, and his daughter and son. I remember them pretty well. In fact, I've
been to their place. There's another young lady, Jeanette TeSelle, her
daddy was a law professor. She's moved back to town now with two of her kids.
One of the others that you might converse with would be Byron Wynn. Byron
Wynn ran the Primrose for years. [Now lives in St. Petersburg]
M: As a student, did you meet with John Tigert on any occasion?
T: Oh, yes. On the auspicious occasions. Every occasion was auspicious to
John J. Tigert if it was very big, and that was his favorite word.
Now you asked about something interesting, and it now occurs to me that I
might tell you the story about Sir Malcom Campbell and the Bluebird. The
Bluebird was racing on Daytona Beach sands and approaching 100 and 120 miles
an hour and it was very important. Sir Malcom came back through Gainesville
just as we had finished the first section of the stadium a little while, and
a big crowd had gathered to hear him make a speech. He stood up and said,
"My friends from down here in the sticks." He had made everybody mad
before he started to talk. I think that these are little stories that
younger people might weigh before they judge too many others. Often times,
politicians and others make the wrong words come out, and I'm sure that
Malcom Campbell knew that within a minute.
M: Such as ethnic purity, almost caused the defeat of our president.
M: What about football games? You mentioned the stadium; that was built in
1932, before you got there. Do you recall what it was like going to a
football game then?
T: Yes, it was just as easy to slip in then as it is now! They didn't have
it all finished to the degree that it is now, but it was quite nice. It
was built down in a hole in the ground where you could pour concrete with
less expense. It has served Abe Lynn well, and Dale Van Sickle was the
first All American that we had. I'd go out and watch him and the others
play and Carl Brumbaugh. Walter Mayberry played ball when I was there in
school, although he finished I think, a year before I did.
M: Was Coach [Charles W.] Bachman [Athletic Director and Head Coach] there
at the time?
T: Yes, and I used to pitch baseball when Coach Bachman would come out and
referee the games. He thought Iwas pretty good but he didn't know I was
four years older than the rest of them.
M: Was he the only coach during the '30s or when you were there?
T: Well, he was probably. I think he stayed here about seven or eight years,
quite a period of time. I think the more important thing in the '30s was
the fact that we had the field artillery still full with horses. I remember
that they had a big parade and we were parading all around town and had the
horses and we came back and two of them had broken away from one of the
young inexperienced drivers and was rolling down the road in back of the
track, back to the barn which is at the south end of the drill field.
The wagon was tearing up and the driver, he jumped for his life. The horses
kept it from going into the track area where all the people were watching
the track meet was that the wagon just climbed to the top of the fence and
came back. There were exciting times for a bunch of nutty students then
just like there are now. Nothing really has changed. Just more of it.
M: What about ROTC? Was it pretty prevalent that all the boys had military
experience while they were on campus?
T: I think they generally did, but there were some exceptions. We had maybe
ten or twenty girl students then that could take law or agriculture or
pharmacy, but they couldn't take anything else. There weren't too many
girls at the school then. I think that was a good thing when they made it
coed. I can't help but believe it's a good thing.
M: Well, let me ask you this. The old library, Library East, has what looks
like an entrance on the south side. Was that the main entrance at that time?
T: I don't believe it was the main entrance. I generally went in the one to the west.
M: The one that's open now is the main entrance?
T: Now others may say so because President Murphree would go through that
one most of the time.
M: Through the south entrance?
T: Yes, but I don't ever recall every worrying about which one I went in.
believe I went in the west one most of the time.
M: Now that other entrance is completely locked. You can't get in or out
of that entrance. But it was one of the entrances to the library then?
T: I'm satisfied it was.
M: What about the courses you took? You made it through right before General
College, I guess?
T: I was the last class before General College, and my father fought the
General College very strongly, because of it's impact on the College of
Agriculture I'm sure. He lost.
M: Students who were in your situation, Steve O'Connell, yourself, who got
through before General College,were they pretty positive about that? Do
you think they had a "by the skin of their teeth" attitude?
T: I don't really think that it bothered me. I would've been passive to the
idea but I would've accepted it. It didn't bother me not going through the
General College. I got more agriculture by not going, but maybe I could
converse with the public better if I'd had the General College. I really
M: Did any of your friends have any strong feelings about that?
T: Not really. My daddy did. But I don't know that I had any strong feelings
about it. Of course, he died before it went into effect.
M: I guess most of the professors were against it and it was sort of pushed by...
T: Yes. You know, we are just people who don't like change. Most people don't
like change, although I think sometimes it's absolutely necessary. So, I
would accept the attitude that you should.
M: Was there a bookstore on campus already?
T: Yes, and boy, they were high. Books cost three and four dollars apiece.
M: Where was the bookstore located? Was it at Language Hall?
T: No, as soon as the Union was built I bought there, but also the stores
across the street had our books.
M: So, once the Union was built, the bookstore was there.
T: I think it was, and then it moved to the Hub.
M: Then Irving Callman's Florida Bookstore was already in existence
by the time you were there? It might have not have been called the Florida
Bookstore or located in the same place, but he was starting to get into the
T: I believe so because I remember going in there and buying books.
M: Did you know Mr. Callman at all?
T: I'm sure I did, but if you were to tell me now, I wouldn't place him.
M: What about clubs on campus? Were you in any clubs?
T: I was in the Block and Bridal Club. My partner and I won the first Wild
Cow Milking Contest. They rounded up about twenty cows that never had given
any milk, and you had to put milk in the bottom of a Coca-Cola bottle. You
had to catch the old cow, and that was a Block and Bridal Club's origination.
It was quite important to me to win the Wild Cow Milking Contest since I was
in the dairy business.
M: Who was your partner?
T: I'd have to go back and get the book. I knew him well then, but it's been
thirty-eight years. I have to associate with people more often than that now.
M: As a University student, what was the relationship between the town and the
T: I thought it was great except for one thing: the University students would
come pick all the pretty girls away from us because they were bigger and older
than we were, and the girls, they would just go out there and enjoy the activi-
ties. I remember we had to black list them for the summer sometimes and we'd
go get their younger sisters. We'd take them to the lake swimming instead of
the ones that would stand us up to go out to the military ball. Right now, I
wouldn't blame them a bit. I guess that's growing up, isn't it? I remember
one girl that stood up this young man and he said, "She's on the black list,"
and nobody dated her all summer long. She stayed home and twiddled her thumbs,
and everybody would deliberately see that her younger sister was adequately
M: So, the University was pretty empty during the summer?
M: What about meals on campus? Did you go home for your meals before or after
you married or did you eat on campus?
T: Both, meals were real high priced. They'd cost a quarter or thirty-five cents
and it's all you could do to afford it.
M: This was on campus?
T: Yes, or I ate at the fraternity house or at the College Inn. I thought the
people were pretty fair. It sounded like a lot of money back then, but now
M: What was it like at the College Inn?
T: Very good, I thought. They handled it real well and it showed that they
were successful, they prospered, and they've done real well.
M: Did you ever eat down at the Primrose?
T: Oh, yes.
M: As early as the '30s?
T: Yes, in high school I would eat with Clay down there, with Byron or others.
His daddy would ask us in. Byron played on the high school football team. I
tried to but I wasn't good enough. Anyway, I broke my arm right at the start
of the season. He'd have us down there then, and it was quite a nice place to
M: Do you recall the Primrose at one time being across the street from where it is
today? Sort of in someone's home?
T: Not really, but I think it may have been when the Winns first came here from
M: Do you know about when that was?
T: Byron could tell you, but I can't. Byron and Julie were both in school then. But you
see, I would have been so young it wouldn't have mattered. It must have been
in the early '20s and I could not recall that.
M: Did the University have "F" books in the '30s, or was that something that came
along in the '40s? It was a little paperback book with all the information such
as who was the president and what were the rules on campus.
T: I'm sure they had something that told you that, whether it was called the "F"
book or not, I don't know.
M: What about the student union? What kind of facilities did that have?
T: Well, for that time it was great. It was rather new. It had very modest amounts
of recreation like billiards or pool. That was about all they had, except for
cards and maybe occasionally movies and chess tournaments, things of this sort.
I'm interested in all those. I play pool and chess and I enjoy them all.
M: Did you know Billy Matthews?
T: Oh, yes.
M: When he was director of the Union at the time?
T: Yes, he was running it, and I'm sure I knew him then and when he went to
Congress. He was quite knowledgable about that part of it, I'm sure.
M: Was it expensive to go to the University in the '30s?
T: It generally cost me, for an apartment and a wife and all expenses, a flat
100 dollars a month, of which I saved 10 dollars. We'd go to ball games in
Jacksonville and spend the night sometimes, and other things of this nature.
I thought it was a very conservative cost. But when you come down to it, I'll
bet it's cheaper now than it was then in some ways because of the value of the
dollar. Back then you could buy an acre of land for a dollar and a quarter, or
two dollars and a half at the most. Now it's two and three thousand dollars.
That's a thousand percent, isn't it? I don't think the money's gone up a
thousand percent though, has it?
T: If you go on ratios, everything tends to find its level.
M: When you graduated, you had your bachelor's degree in agriculture?
M: And then you began teaching, is that right?
T: No. I did dairy herd work in Pinellas County first. Then I went to Atmore,
Alabama where I worked with the Farm Security Administration [now Farmer's Home
Administration]. Then I went into the navy. I came back out of the navy and
M: Then you got another degree from the University?
T: Yes, a master's in agriculture, and then a rank one, which is a doctor's degree
without the thesis, so to speak. So I hollered all the time at all the credits
I have but not the thesis. I didn't write the thesis. As a school teacher, I
didn't need that.
M: Maybe there are some things that you'd like to tell me that I haven't asked
T: Well, I told you I was in St. Petersburg when the fire burned up the block
across the street. The Turlington barn burnt up in the '20s. It was the
biggest fire that had ever been out that way. We got to playing in the shucks,
and set it on fire. There were a lot of interesting things that happened. To
be honest, there's never been a dull moment. But whether you've gone out here
and broken your back or your arm and some of the things you might remember even
better, those things happened to me very modestly; I didn't have that problem.
M: Speaking of fires, do you recall the moss factory burning down a few times?
T: On South Main?
M: Well, before that even, when it was located where Murphy's and Winn Dixie are
T: Oh, yes. Billy had it, I remember about that. It was near the University
Avenue Winn Dixie. He certainly had a very small modest plant, and later on
I think he moved down on South Main. They made the excelsior out of pine and
he had a pretty good little shop going there. He could really make up a mess
M: Where would you do your shopping in the '30s?
T: Chester Harold's. I've just got to tell you about one little experience,
since you brought in Chester Harold. Chester Harold had several grocery
stores, one at the northwest corner of University Avenue and 13th Street,
one at 6th Avenue and 6th Street, N.W. Jay Grimm and Julian Watten and I
decided we would go bird hunting at Rochelle. So we got in Jay's converti-
ble and we got our guns and ammo and stopped at Mr. Harold's store. We were
just kids, but we could drive. You didn't have to have a license then, if
you were twelve you could drive. We pulled into the store because Julian
wanted some chewing tobacco. So he got his two plugs of apple sun-cured
chewing tobacco. Me, being a tuffy and all that, and I was the smallest boy
in school-weighed ninety-eight pounds on my seventeenth birthday-- I went in
and said, "I want two plugs of apple sun-cured chewing tobacco." I stuck one
of them in my pocket and watched how he cut a plug off and stuck it in his
mouth. I was driving across Paines Prairie on South 441 and the road hadn't
been there too long, and all of the sudden the road started weaving and working
around. So, big shot me, I said, "Jay, I'm going to get in the back and clean
my gun." I said, "You drive." So I crawled out and got in the rumble seat. A
little further down the road old Jay says, "Julian, you drive, I've got to get
over there and clean my gun."
Well, when we got to Rochelle between two big red oak trees, in fly the doves
and I shoot one shot and cripple one of them. It comes down and lands on the
fence line. Julian says, "Just a minute I'll get it." He picks up the 20
gauge gun and he squats and he goes about three steps and he spits, and he
squats and he goes about three steps and he spits, and finally he gets over
there and he shoots the dove and he comes back. But that was the first time
Jay and I knew you were supposed to spit! I was sick as a dog.
When theymoved our big old house back off of 13th, off of North 9th to pave
13th Street, brother Ralph had a hired hand that was helping to move the
house. All he ate for dinner was biscuits and syrup. He'd take his finger
and poke a hole in the biscuit and fill it with syrup and that's what he'd
eat. But he chewed tobacco, and Ralph borrowed a plug of tobacco from him and
Ralph didn't know to spit tobacco. He'd gone upstairs into the back bedroom
and the movers started cranking the winch to move the house. Cracks came in
the plaster and Ralph thought the pearly gates of hell had opened for him. He
was so sick, he couldn't wiggle. So much for tobbaco.
M: What was it like being a member of such a big family?
T: No problem.
M: Was that pretty typical of Gainesville at that time period?
T: Well, yes and no. I'm sure we were a little above average in size, but there
were plenty others with that many. I think that's too many now. But it was
quite interesting. And a lot of good friends are still friends. I get along
with most all of them. There aren't any of them that I don't like. Even those
that maybe I fussed with a little back in those days, I like them all right.
M: Did you have a particular doctor that you went to?
T: Dr. Tillman.
M: Where was his office?
T: Well, I don't know where he moved to, but at one time he was down just
beside the Baptist church.
M: Where was the Baptist church and who was the minister at that time?
T: The Baptist church was over on the corner of the city hall lot where the
library is now. That's where I was baptized, in a small baptismal in there
that was built just for that purpose. Then the church temporarily moved to
where Cox Furniture Store is, right on the south corner while completing the
present location. And we met downstairs in what was a type of auditorium for
movies or plays. The Lyric Theatre was on down the street, across the road was
the street on Main and University Avenue upstairs. Ogletree ran that. You
might talk to one of the Ogletrees. One of them works down in the courthouse
in the clerk's office on the far side. There were lots of things to do, never
a dull moment. I sold Christmas trees off of the courthouse lawn out of my
wagon and peddled produce around town in the wagon. Had a lot of fun.
M: Do you remember the bandstand at the courthouse? Getting together at the
courthouse for any social activities?
T: The political rallies? Oh, they had some real dillies down there. All the
big oaks and the train coming through and puffing up the smoke and everybody
was observing it-- the old T&J Railroad. There's lots of things.
M: Was your father at all interested in politics in the early '30s?
T: They tried to get him to run and he wouldn't have anything to do with it.
M: Was he a member of the Silk Hats or the Wool Hats? Do you recall those two
T: Well, I didn't call them that but you're talking about Tench and Deaton and some
of the others. My dad would not have been so much with Tench [Judge Beumont
Tench's fatherwho ran a shoe store west of the courthouse] and Deaton, I assume.
I really never saw him get involved much in it except in gubernatorial politics
when Governor Dave Sholtz was in action. That's the only time I really ever
saw him get hostile in politics.
M: He was anti-Sholtz?
T: I'm sure he was.
M: Was he also anti-Roosevelt?
T: No. I think that his economics told him that if Roosevelt tried to turn it
around too fast he might throw it in a worse one than it was already in.
M: Well what was he against Sholtz for? Slot machines maybe?
T: I think he and others sensed some real bad activities. He never told me and
I didn't ask.
M: Were you aware, as a youngster, of politics going on around you or was it just
something that didn't really concern young people?
T: Well, about fifty-fifty. I was a little more interested than most but a
little less than a lot of our young people. I never really got interested
in politics, and since brother Ralph got in politics I had never intended
to get into it.
M: How early did he first get involved?
T: When he was twelve years old, I saw him stop his bike on 13th Street and give
a little black boy and his sister a stick of gum each. I said, "Why did you
do that?" Ralph replied, "Some day they are going to vote." Ralph also said
he was going to run for Governor before he was 15. I didn't get in until '62.
But that didn't mean I didn't help run candidates or anything. I just didn't
get in myself. But it's been real interesting, to say the least.
M: Would you like to say anything else about the '30s?
T: Well, the '30s were not nearly all bad. To a lot of people, the present day
'70s with inflation and the failure of money to come in, they're in as bad a
depression as certain segments of the society were back in the '30s. I think
that we have lessons to learn from the '30s and we have lessons to learn from
the '70s. Somewhere between the two is the balance we ought to be striving for
to keep everybody reasonably happy and all of us enjoying the good life.