THE JOURNAL OF THE HISTORICAL
ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA
Editor, Charlton W. Tebeau
Homesteading in Florida During the 1890's
By Mary Douthit Conrad
Some Pre-Boom Developers of Dade County
By Adam G. Adams
Key Vaca, Part I
By Florence Storrs Brigham
Soldiers in Miami, 1898
By William I. Schellings
The Treasurer's Report
List of Members
List of Officers
COPYRIGHT 1957 BY THE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA
Y7 7 t : is published annually by the Historical Association of Southern Florida
Sand the University of Miami. Communications should be addressed to
the Corresponding Secretary of the Society, 1340 duPont Building, Miami 32, Florida.
Neither the Association nor the University assumes responsibility for statements of fact
or opinion made by contributors.
& M CS PA
This Page Blank in Original
Homesteading In Florida During The 1890's
By MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
WE MOVE TO THE LAND OF SUNSHINE
I was born and spent my childhood near Winston-Salem, N. C,, the
eldest of five children. My father was Edward Joseph Douthit. He had
fought in the Confederate Army and been taken prisoner at the Battle of
Spottslyvania Courthouse and sent with other Southerners to prison in Elmira,
N. Y., where he suffered through a terrible winter. After he was released
he and a buddy walked home to North Carolina and he became a farmer.
When I was sixteen my mother passed away and I tried to take her place
with the younger children which may be the reason they called me Sister
Mary, though sometimes I was nicknamed Mamie. My three brothers were
James W., Robert Steven, and John E. and my sister was Alphonsine whom
we called Senie.
About the time my mother passed away Father began to suffer a great
deal from rheumatism. He made a trip or two to Gulf Hammock, Florida,
near the Suwanee River, in the wintertime, when he felt the worst, and the
warmer climate helped him so much that he wanted to move to Florida.
The Fall of 1891 Father and my three brothers went to Gulf Hammock
to look for a homestead, leaving Senie and me with my Grandmother Perry.
We didn't like being left behind. We wanted our family to stay together
and I wanted to look out for them.
When Father got to Florida he heard about homesteads opening up in
the south end of the state. That sounded good to him so when Spring came
he left the boys with our Uncle Charles Perry in Gulf Hammock and came
back home to sell out. Senie and I told him that we were going to Florida
with him. He thought we should stay in North Carolina with the Perrys
and be brought up as proper young ladies. We got our way but I confess
there were many nights after we got to Florida that I cried my pillow wet
We sold most of the furniture with our home. The things that were left
we packed in three large wooden cases. In one we put our treadle Singer
sewing machine, our most valued possession, and around that we packed
blankets and pillows. We took our bed mattresses, cooking pans, dishes,
and silver. It was June, 1892, by the time we were ready to leave North
Carolina. We wrote the boys we were leaving and told them to join us at
Father, Senie and I went to Tampa on a wood-burning train. We looked
out the window curiously at the long stretches of palmettoes and pines. There
were few towns and few farms. When we got to Tampa we took a steamer,
the Mascotte, which was owned by Henry Plant, and in eighteen hours we
were in Key West. There Father found a schooner, the Emily B., headed for
Lemon City and had our packing hoxes put on board. The captain was
Johnny Frow, a big suntanned man whose family of seamen fished and
gathered sponges around Key West and the Bahamas. The Emily B. was neat
and comfortable with room to sleep eight first-class passengers. There were
also some deck passengers. We hit such a dead calm that we would have
been standing still had it not been for the Gulf Stream. We just rode that
Stream right up to Cape Florida in five days.
We came in past Cape Florida lighthouse to Biscayne Bay. I remember
how the sun glinted across the water that hot Saturday morning and how we
could look down and see whole meadows of seaweed. The water was very
clear and most of the bay was shallow. No channels had been dug then
and Government Cut did not exist. We could see a little settlement which
Captain Frow told us was Coconut Grove. Farther along we passed the mouth
of the Miami River where there were a few houses. The largest on the south
bank was Mr. William Brickell's. We could see Ft. Dallas on the north side.
When we got to Lemon City the water was deep enough so that we could
come in to the long dock though the Captain told us that many times boats
had to anchor out a ways and lighter in.
Our first thought was of the boys, for Johnny, the baby, was only twelve
years old. Father, Senie and I walked up the dock and father asked a
bystander if he had seen three boys named Douthit and he told us to go ask
Willie Filer because Willie knew everybody. Mr. Filer was postmaster and
he also ran a grocery store.
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
"Sure your boys are here," Mr. Filer said. "They got a camp all fixed
up out at your homestead."
Everybody liked Willie Filer and no wonder. He borrowed a horse and
wagon and hauled us and our things to the homestead which was about five
miles northwest of Lemon City. The road was a sand rut that wandered
through thickets of oak, across open pineland, and around the edges of
We found the boys cutting trees and clearing a place for a house. It
was so hot we were glad to stand in the shade of the thicket while the boys
told us how they had come from Gulf Hammock to West Palm Beach by train
and from there had walked along the beach with the barefoot mailman, pay-
ing one dollar each for the privilege. This walk took three days and they
camped at night at the houses of refuge along the beach. They had walked
barefoot, too, and hung their shoes over their shoulders, because the easiest
walking was right at the edge of the surf where the sand was hard. The
reason the mailman could charge his "passengers" was because he owned
the boats without which you couldn't cross the inlets or Biscayne Bay. He
didn't charge for the boys' old foxhound, Pete.
Our homestead had 160 acres. It was near an upper fork of Little River,
part high pineland, where we built our house and had our grove, and part
lowland. Little River at our place wasn't much of a stream and above us it
petered out into the Everglades. But near where the N. E. Second Avenue
bridge is today there were some large springs that made Little River fine and
deep below that place.
Soon after we arrived at the homestead a woman wearing a sunbonnet
came walking through the woods. I guess she was curious about us. She said
she was our nearest neighbor and lived only a half mile away. She was
Mrs. Pomeroy. She took a look at Senie and me and then at the single tent
which the boys slept in and said, "You girls come right over and stay with
me until you get a proper house." We went with her and that was a relief
Within the next few years several families acquired homesteads near
ours. Others besides Mrs. Pomeroy were Ed Knowles, Joseph Dougherty,
Mary and Garry Niles, Samuel Mishler, Jim and James Dexter Hubel, Ed
Moffatt, Comstock Sturtevant, Fanny Tuttle and Captain Stephen Andrews.
My brothers, Bob and Jim, helped build a house for Fanny Tuttle. Fanny's
mother, Mrs. Julia Tuttle, frequently stopped to visit with us on the way to
her daughter's homestead.
There was no sawmill in the Bay area in 1892 and lumber had to be
shipped in from Cedar Keys, Florida. But we didn't need much. The boys
built our house of pine logs which they cut on the homestead. They removed
the bark and daubed the cracks between the logs with a mixture of lime, sand,
and water, then whitewashed the daubing with a thin paste of lime and water.
The house had two stories, a living room below and the space above parti-
tioned into two bedrooms, one for father and the boys, and one for Senie
and me. The steps were like a ladder. We made frames to hold the mattresses
and from the packing boxes we made cupboards and tables. The windows
were covered with cotton netting to keep out the mosquitoes. Father drove a
pipe a few feet into the ground and put a pitcher pump on it. This gave us
a good supply of water.
We didn't cook or eat in the house. We ate under a tarpaulin stretched
from one side of the house and making a kind of a porch. For the first year
we did our cooking over an open fire, Indian style. Then we built a separate
kitchen and attached it to the house by a breezeway. The style then was a
kitchen separated by several yards from the main house. When my brothers
got a little time they also built what we called the summer house, open-sided
and palm-thatched, like an Indian chickee. This was a pleasant place to
sit, except when there were mosquitoes, as the breeze could blow through
it. We entertained in the summer house sometimes.
Our land was covered with palmettoes, pines, scrub oaks, wild grape
vines, and coontie plants. It took a lot of work to clear it with grubbing
hoes. The thick brown palmetto roots were laced everywhere, at the surface
of the ground or just under it. They came out in chunks as long as my arm
and about ten inches thick. These were burned in piles. My brothers man-
aged to clear ten acres the first year and they planted orange, lemon and
other fruit trees. We also had a large vegetable garden in the winter with
sweet potatoes the year around. We always had enough vegetables to share
with neighbors. We didn't see our neighbors often for they were as busy as
we were, fixing up their places. But we would always lend one another a
helping hand when needed.
As a finishing touch we built a sidewalk, like the Stantons', seventy-five
feet from our house to the roadway. Mr. W. C. Stanton was the Baptist
minister. One day Mrs. Stanton invited all the ladies of the community to an
all-day church meeting at her house and we all admired her sidewalk. "I
can't stand sand in my shoes when I am ready to get in the buggy to go to
church," she said. They built their walk by pounding down the gray-white
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
limestone rock that stuck up in whorls and ridges like honeycomb among the
palmettoes. This rock was soft when it was first grubbed out but it hardened
as it weathered.
Mrs. Stanton was elected president of the Village Improvement Associa-
tion in 1892 and the first project was street paving. Men went into the woods
and loosened the rocks and hauled them to the street and tamped them down
with picks and hammers. The first street to be paved was Lemon Avenue
which is N. E. 61st Street today. It was paved for three blocks running west
from the bay. Later it was extended west two blocks and north several blocks.
A group of winter residents from Elmira, N. Y., were building homes where
N. E. 68th Street is today, along a pretty rocky ridge above the bay.
Until we got the Old Crank the only way we had to go anywhere was to
walk. The Old Crank, which we bought from the Seminoles, was a dugout
canoe made from one cypress log. It was temperamental as a horse. We'd
be gliding along smoothly and suddenly it would commence to roll and out
we'd spill. Mr. William Freeman made us a little sail to go on it but gen-
erally we poled or paddled. When we wanted to go to Lemon City we paddled
down Little River to a place just below the big spring, tied the canoe to a
big tree, and walked from that point to Lemon City, a distance of about two
miles. Our Seminole neighbors tied their canoes at the same spot and walked
the same trail. We called it Indian Train and I believe it was there long
before there were any White people in Florida. This trail was so smooth
that you could walk it barefooted without hurting your feet.
Later we got a mare named Clyde for the Clyde Mallory Steamship Line.
I don't remember what we paid for Clyde but Mr. Brossier, a friend of ours,
paid $150 for his horse, Charlie, which he used to draw a Studebaker wagon.
Most of the horses were brought in from Kentucky by way of Key West. They
would come by boat, sometimes thirty at a time.
After we got Clyde we went to Lemon City in our wagon. Senie and I
used to make a day of a shopping expedition, preferably on boat day, for,
before the railroad, watching a boat come in was our biggest excitement.
We would buy our supplies at Dan Knight's store on Lemon Avenue. By this
time Dan Knight was also running a sawmill in Lemon City. Then we would
have dinner (noon) at the home of some friend. After Mrs. Dupuis came
to Lemon City as a bride we frequently went there for dinner.
Mr. Lewis W. Pierce, a leading citizen of Lemon City, had a long dock
of his own as well as a warehouse where he stored groceries and rope and
sometimes repaired small boats. Mr. Pierce operated three boats between
Lemon City and Key West, the Clara, the Ardell, and the Dellie, all three
named for his adopted daughter whose name was Clara Ardell and whom
everyone called Dellie. She was one of the most popular girls in town and
later married D. W. Moran, an early sheriff of Dade County.
Mr. Pierce made a lookout for himself by nailing cleats to the trunk of
a tall pine. When he thought a boat was due he would climb to his "crow's
nest." From there he could see a boat as far away as Coconut Grove. When a
boat got near it signalled its coming by a blast on a conch shell. There was
always something exciting about that sound. Doors banged open and children
raced down to the dock. The Seminoles would come and stand on the dock,
barefooted and watchful. In those days the Seminole men wore a garment
that was really a full-skirted dress to their knees. At first Senie and I used
to stare at them but we got used to them.
Soon after we arrived in Florida my brother, Bob, who was still in his
'teens, got a job as assistant to the barefoot mailman. When the regular
mailman could not make the trip Bob was his substitute. One trip Bob had
a "passenger" who seemed such a frail-looking youth that he wondered if he
could stand the trip. "Oh, I think he'll make it all right," the postmaster in
West Palm Beach told Bob. All went well until they reached New River
where Bob couldn't find the rowboat. "Well, we'll have to swim," Bob said.
"Hope you don't mind a few crocodiles."
Then the "boy" broke down and revealed that she was a girl, a dancer
by the name of Jessie. But she was plucky. She did swim the New River
with Bob beside her on watch for crocodiles. A short time later Jessie
opened the first dancing school in Miami.
We once lost the roof of our house in a hurricane. There was no warn-
ing service then. The day of the storm we had some company for dinner
(noon), among them Mrs. John Cleare who later became Senie's mother-in-
law and Alex Conrad whom I later married. The wind got so strong the
house shook and we felt it was going to pieces. The men decided the safest
place was in the orange grove so they carried a mattress and put it under a
tree and we all huddled there for several hours in the wind and rain. We
watched the roof of our house go sailing away. When the wind subsided the
only dry place we could find was an empty stall in the barn. It was growing
dark so Alex Conrad hitched up the wagon and took us to the Mishlers where
we were given shelter, dry clothes and food. The next day my brothers
started putting on a new roof.
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
WE HAD PLENTY TO EAT
Nature makes certain provisions for man's food but in the early days
these foods had to be wrestled from nature and converted into palatable
dishes for the family. The task of converting was Senie's and mine. It was
up to Father and the boys to get supplies, from the Indians by barter, by
hunting, from our garden, or from the store. Some of the things we ate as a
matter of course are considered delicacies today, such as turtle steak, quail,
and venison. We also had turtle eggs, oysters, clams and many kinds of fish.
In the woods we picked huckleberries and wild grapes. If we didn't want to
pick berries ourselves we could buy them from the Indians for 10c a quart.
I remember that Mrs. Dupuis once bought forty quarts from them to can.
Huckleberries made delicious dumplings, puddings, hot breads, and preserves.
One constant item of our diet was starch made from the wild coontie
root. Starch-making was Dade County's first industry and in the summer,
the slack time for gardening, many people worked at it. The process was to
grind the roots, wash out the milky starch repeatedly and then dry it. We
used it like flour, for baking, thickening stews, and even for starching clothes.
The early settlers did not have as many fruits and flowers as some might
imagine. You had to plant fruit trees before you had much fruit. There was
a saying among us, "Florida is the land of fruit in cans and flowers on the
outside of the cans." Before our garden started bearing we had to depend
largely on staples, some of which we brought with us from Key West. We
had hams, dried beans, green coffee (which we had to roast and grind),
sugar, salt, and grits. Besides the six of us we soon had five dogs to feed and
a flock of chickens which we bought from the Seminoles. Soon one of our
favorite foods was the small Indian pumpkins which we cut in half and
baked, then seasoned with butter and salt. The Seminoles gave us the seed.
Sometimes we found wild honey in the hammocks. We often used molasses
in cooking for it was much cheaper than sugar.
We were a long way from push-button cooking. The first year I cooked
outdoors on a campfire arranged Seminole-fashion, logs fixed like the spokes
of a wheel with the fire at the hub. That saved wood-cutting. When a log
burned down you shoved it along until it was again in the fire. We put
in two sturdy green oak posts and fastened two rods between them, then hung
our pots from the rods. If we wanted to bake we used a Dutch oven on top
Mrs. William Freeman taught me to make sour-dough bread like the
miners baked out west. For this bread we used one cup of flour, one cup
of corn meal, one medium potato, cooked and mashed, two cups of water,
and one half cup of sugar. This mixture was allowed to stand over night
so it would collect wild yeast from the air. Of this mixture we would set
aside a ball the size of an orange which would be the yeast for next time.
To the rest we would add four cups of flour, one half cup of sugar, two thirds
cup of shortening, two teaspoons of salt, and two cups of water. This was
kneaded and let raise until it doubled in bulk, kneaded again and made
into four loaves.
We called the Montgomery Ward Catalog the "Cracker's Bible." Some
families would go in together and order staples from Chicago, using the
catalog. The Freemans, Mettairs, and Matthauses used to do this, getting
grits and rice by the barrel, condensed milk by the case, and pickled beef
by the keg.
After the railroad came in 1896 Mr. Mettair had a meat market open
Wednesday and Saturdays, on which day he would receive half a beef. Our
whole family would arise early, be at the station when the train came in, and
wait for Mr. Mettair to slice off the wanted roasts and soup bones. Most
people ate steak the first day, and beef stew the second and third days. Of
course we had no ice. But fresh venison will keep several days if it is hung
high so the air gets to it. It will keep much longer if it is cut in strips and
let dry in the sun. This is called jerked venison. One of our neighbors whose
house was up on stilts about six feet used to dig a hole under her house and
bury the butter. It would keep firm and stay fresh.
We never could have won our battles with ants and roaches had it not
been for big tin lard cans. These we prized highly for storing all our dry
staples. We even packed our lunches in lard cans when we were going out
in the Old Crank so the water wouldn't spoil our food.
Until the fall of 1896 we had only canned milk. That year the Peters
family moved to the Bay area from Lady Lake, Florida, for their orange
grove there had been killed in the Big Freeze. Jim and John Peters, who were
young men, drove the family herd of cows and horses all the way down the
peninsula in thirty days. They used a covered wagon for carrying feed for
the animals and supplies for themselves. Much of the way there were no
roads. When they got to New River Mr. Frank Stranahan took them across
on his ferry. Several trips were required to move all the animals across.
We soon became acquainted with the Peters family and they lent us a cow.
Mr. William Freeman was the government agent for matters pertaining
to homesteads. After my brother Jim and I came of age we each acquired
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
a homestead of our own. Some of the legal description of mine read, "The
United States of America by President William McKinley . to Mary E.
Douthit, September 19, 1898. . 120 acres." My land was on Snake
Creek near where Greynolds Park is today. Jim's was two forties southwest
of mine. A short distance north of my land was the Big Snake Indian Camp,
one of the largest in the area. Sometimes 200 Indians camped there.
The whole family helped clear my homestead and build a 20 x 20 log
house there. It had a hip roof and a loft because I didn't like sleeping on
the ground floor because I was afraid of snakes. We used to go from my
father's homestead to mine in the Old Crank, going the back way, poling up
Little River and along a kind of water trail through the 'Glades. The Ever-
glades was not a dismal swamp as some might think. It was open and sunny,
the water was clear, and there were many islands with grass, vines, and wild
flowers, some hammocks with trees, and many water birds of beautiful colors.
We loved pineapples and we always liked it when the Filers went down
to their farm on Elliott's Key during pineapple season and asked us along.
The farm belonged to the father of our postmaster, Willie Filer. Captain
Henry Filer was a semi-retired sea captain who had come originally from
Harbour Island in the Bahamas. Mrs. Willie Filer was Lottie Cleare and
her folks, too, had come from the Bahamas. They had settled in Key West
in the 'Eighties. Lottie's father was Captain Johnny Cleare, a master sea
captain, who never relinquished his British citizenship. His son, Alien B.,
did become an American citizen and the mayor of Key West. My sister Senie
married Allen B. Cleare.
Captain Henry Filer had been a blockade runner during the Civil War,
running supplies from the Bahama Islands into the Confederate States. Cap-
tain Filer used to tell us about those exciting days. He had other stories,
too. One time he had gone to Havana to hear Jenny Lind. Another time he
was in Liverpool, England, when there were two ships lying in the harbor,
one British and one French. The French captain gave a party for the English
captain and officers. It was a very fashionable party and after dinner the
French waiters threw the dishes overboard (but into a net) to wash them.
The next night the English captain entertained the French and tried to
outdo them in every way. They threw the dishes overboard without a net.
Captain Filer had sometimes taken his wife along as he sailed the
Seven Seas. Now that he was "retired" they had two homes, one in Lemon
City and one on Elliott's Key. The latter was right at the edge of the dock
and was almost like a boat The dock stretched out a long way so as to reach
beyond the shallows. The captain still went to sea sometimes, delivering his
pineapples to places as far away as New York. We used to watch the Negroes
carrying pineapples in baskets on their heads as they wound along a path
towards the dock. I spent many happy hours sitting on that dock, looking
at the beautiful water and listening to the captain's stories.
North by east from the Filer dock was Fowey Rock Light and straight
east was Carysfort Light. Each flashed a different signal. The Fowey Light
had three flashes and then a steady light. I used to wake up in the night and
see the fingers of light in the sky and think what a blessing to all sailors,
especially during storms.
But in spite of lights a shipwreck sometimes occurred. I remember the
wrecking of a large ship, the Alicia, on a reef to the southeast of Fowey
Rock. Some of the damaged cargo floated up onto Elliott's Key. Captain
Filer was the first one to reach the wreck so he claimed the salvage rights.
Other wreckers came out from Key West to help. Captain Filer hired my
brother Johnny to help. The salvage crew worked for several weeks. The
salvaged goods were taken to Key West, sold at auction and the men paid off.
The Alicia had a varied cargo including a complete iron bridge, buggies,
harness, cases of Edwin Clapp shoes for men, Queen Quality shoes for
women, coffee, condensed milk, laces, plain and flowered linens, cases of
silverware and jewelry. But the oddest thing about the salvage came from
the soap suds. There were many cases of a washing powder on the ship and
the water became so soapy the men would not go into the hold of the ship.
There were many cases of bitters aboard in pint bottles and these were tossed
as souvenirs to onlookers who came out in their boats to watch the salvage.
The salvage workers received their pay in cargo. Johnny received a
buggy with a patent leather dash board, and beautiful linens for Senie and
me. Soon all the men around Lemon City were wearing Edwin Clapp shoes.
Near our homestead, northwest of Little River, lived the Fino Soops,
a very agreeable couple, originally from Detroit. They had a neat cottage,
high off the ground, and surrounded by citrus trees. We used to lend them
our horse sometimes. Usually, though, they went by boat, for they were
at the edge of the 'Glades and had easy access to the water trails. One time
when the Soops had some visitors from the North, a Mr. and Mrs. Campbell,
they got up a hunting trip and invited John Harp, Senie, my brother Johnny,
and me to go along. It was at Christmas time. We went in three canoes up
the Everglades to the Hillsboro River and camped in two tents, one for the
women and one for the men. The men got up at four in the morning and by
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
daylight had some fine wild turkeys which we steamed in a Dutch oven.
Later that day they came in with two deer. The next day they got a lot of
After three days of successful hunting we started home just as a strong
northern began to blow down on us, roughening the water and chilling us
to the bone. Night found us still a long way from home so we had to draw
our canoes onto high ground and make camp as best we could. It was about
the most miserable night of my life. We were certainly glad to get home next
day to find our house warm, with a good fire in the kitchen stove, and some
of the neighbors standing around talking about the weather. That night we
had such a bad freeze that we lost some of our orange trees.
Our neighbor, Mrs. Pomeroy, taught us to make palmetto hats. Pal-
mettoes covered the ground everywhere in the piney country, gray-green and
from knee to shoulder height. The big thick roots covered with a brown
matting had to be grubbed out with a grubbing hoe. A good grubber could do
a "task" a day, or a spot forty by forty feet, and for this he would be paid
about three dollars. Unless they were ready to plant a grove or garden most
people didn't bother to grub their palmettoes. Mrs. Pomeroy showed us
how to cut the still-folded center frond. This was still white as it had not
been exposed to the sun. Usually it could be pulled out and then there
would be the tip of the stem, about a half inch long, which we would eat. It
was tender and sweet. We would pull the fan-like frond apart and dry it in
the sun. After three or four days of curing we would remove the heavier
ribs, and slice the strands lengthwise into quarter-inch ribbons. These we
kept wet so as to be more pliable for braiding. There were several kinds
of flat braids, some quite lacey. Sometimes we braided as many as seven or
nine strands at a time. It took about twenty yards of finished braid to sew
round and round into a wide-brimmed hat. These hats were durable, some
were quite pretty, and Senie and I thought they were fun to make. We liked
to give them to our friends. Mr. P. W. Merritt wore one of these hats for
years. I measured his head and seamed the braid as much like a man's hat as
possible. Later we learned to make brown straw hats from coconut palm.
The shooting and trapping of animals provided food and recreation for
my brothers and also a source of income. Bob and Jim sometimes went hunt-
ing with the Seminoles. They would shoot and skin alligators and take the
hides to Ft. Lauderdale and sell them to Mr. Frank Stranahan who ran the
Trading Post. In one day Mr. Stranahan might pay out to the Indians as
much as $1500 for baby alligators, alligator eggs, and skins of alligator,
otter, coon and fox. The Indians bought enamel cooking utensils from Mr.
Stranahan. They were blue and white until set over a campfire, then black
forever after. Indians also bought calico by the box, each box containing
many pieces each about ten yards in length. They bought their hand-operated
sewing machines from Mr. William Freeman. Their dresses were not quite
as elaborate then as now.
Father always got on well with the Seminoles. He was their friend. The
Indian family living nearest us was that of Crop-eared Charlie Osceola.
Each time an Indian was caught telling a lie a bit of ear was cropped off.
Usually after a couple of crops they became either truthful or careful.
Charlie's family consisted of about twenty, some adults and some children.
He used to come to beg a little tea or sugar from us, saying his wife was sick.
Or one of the men would come with a chicken to sell for fifty cents. He would
always stand silently outside the wall until we noticed him and then he
would come to the back door but never inside. Once some girls from the
camp visited us. One whom we called Annie Stacious was quite beautiful.
We thought they didn't know English but when Senie held up a watch Annie
asked, "What time is it?"
One time the Indians invited Jim and me to their Green Corn Dance.
This was a religious rite, not a social function, though there was a social side
to it too. The Dance was a thanksgiving to their diety. They would also pass
sentences on misdemeanors.
Crop-eared Charlie said to come before sundown. Jim and I walked the
short distance to the Indian camp. We were met at the edge of the camp by
one of the women. She motioned for me to sit down inside a chickee which
was near the camp fire. Jim was taken to the other side of the camp where
the men were. The woman was cooking. She had a fish cleaned but had left
the scales on. She washed it and put it on a hot rock along with a cornmeal
"Sofkee, you like 'em?" she asked me, stirring some gruel in a pot.
"Yes," I replied, determined to eat whatever she offered me.
Sofkee in those days was made from coontie root. She dipped some out
into a small bowl, put a piece of fish and the corn cake on a tin plate, and
handed them to me. I ate the supper which was not bad. I felt that this
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
courtesy was extended to me because on several occasions I had carried
molasses cookies to the children of the camp.
At dark the Indians began to beat their drums. These were made of skins
stretched across hollow logs, some large and some quite small. The dance
was performed in a circle, no hands held as we often do in group dancing.
The women wore rattles made of small turtle shells filled with stones tied
around their ankles. The Indians would chant something that sounds like
this: Lee Ho, Lee Tommy Ho, Le Ho, Lee Tommy Ho, over and over while
their feet moved to the same rhythm. The last word of the chant was a
quick cry like "Huh!" and a quick beat of the drum.
Mrs. Stranahan was a true friend of the Indians. She taught them and
helped them and persuaded some of them to move to the Dania Reservation.
The Indians felt all the land was rightfully theirs. As long as they had the
land they were careful never to kill off all the game in one region. There
were several groups of Indians, the Jumpies, Tommies, Billies, Willies,
Tigers, Osceolas, Gophers, Bowlegs, and Tigertails. They still resented the
White man but the day of the Seminole Wars was long over.
We used to watch the Indian cure hides. The hide was first stretched
and allowed to dry. Then the inner side was covered with a paste made of
alum, saltpeter, borax, cornmeal and water. After this paste dried, two or
three days, it was scraped off, taking bits of animal fat with it. This was the
method when the hide was to be sold with the hair on it. For removing hair
from hides lime was dusted into the hair and the hide buried in the ground
for a few days.
The Indian women taught Senie and me to make beaded belts and brace-
lets, weaving the beads into threads stretched on a home-made loom, made
from a cigar box. Usually we used bright beads against a field of white. We
copied Indian designs which were mostly of birds and animals. The diamond-
back snake was a popular pattern. We also made moccasins from deer skin
and ornamented them with beads. These shoes were very durable and we
wore them around home most of the time so as to save our leather shoes for
Some Indians knew how to read and write as well as the Whites. I
remember Sam Mishler telling how an Indian by the name of Charlie Tiger-
tail and two of his Indian friends were invited to church in Miami and then
taken by some White friends to the Royal Palm Hotel for dinner. They were
asked to sign the register and Charlie Tigertail wrote, "Charlie and 2 Indians
from the Everglades."
FRIENDS AND VISITING
Almost everyone in the Miami area had heard of the Ada Merritt Junior
High School. It was named to honor one of the first school teachers in Dade
County and one who will always be a symbol of high achievement in the field
of education. We knew Miss Ada, as everyone called her, and the other
members of her family from the time we arrived in 1892 until they died one
by one. My family was at the bedside of Miss Ada when she died, and with
Miss Nan when she died.
There were four Merritts, two brothers and two sisters. Only one, Z. T.
or Taylor, ever married and he had no children. While they lived the
Merritts were interested in all movements for the benefit of the community.
Z. T. Merritt was Superintendent of Schools from 1897 to 1905. During that
time he married one of the teachers, Miss Polly Richardson, of Kentucky.
Miss Polly came to Lemon City on a visit and was persuaded to stay and
replace a teacher who quit because she was having so much trouble disciplin-
ing the big boys. That teacher had tried whipping the big boys with a stick
and they had laughed at her. Miss Polly introduced a merit system, giving
out much prized blue ribbons every Friday afternoon to those who had done
their work well. She soon had the classroom under control.
Z. T. Merritt was something like Dr. J. C. Dupuis, fat, popular, and
liked to tease the girls at dances. Both of them went to dances but neither
would ever dance. Dr. Dupuis, before he married, would carry marbles in
his pocket and challenge the girls to a game of marbles instead of asking
them to dance. Senie, Dellie and I didn't care. The men always outnumbered
the girls at dances anyway, so that we never lacked for partners.
Miss Nan Merritt lived in Cincinnati a part of the year. The word would
spread around late in the fall, "Nan Merritt's back!" That was good news,
for everyone like Nan. She was beautiful, full of fun, and greatly added to
the spice of life.
The other brother, P. W. or Pete, homesteaded what we called Merritt
Island. It was up Little River and at the edge of the Glades not too far from
us. It was high land but during wet weather it was surrounded by swamp
water. He built a kind of causeway so he could get out and in during wet
weather. He was no longer a young man. People used to tease him about
never getting married. "Pete, you sure need a wife over at your homestead,"
they'd say. Then he would laugh and say, "Well, I've offered myself to every
girl who comes along. I'm always available."
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
One school term Senie stayed with Miss Ada and took a business course.
This course was not a part of the school but Miss Ada gave Senie special
lessons. Sometimes Senie would bring Miss Ada home for weekends in the
country. She always enjoyed the fresh vegetables from our garden.
About 1899 the Merritts built a large house in Buena Vista with the
idea of starting a school there. Instead, however, Miss Ada was invited to
teach in the new school in Miami and she accepted that position. Mr. Rodney
Burdine was one of her pupils. One day Miss Ada came home from school
to find the big house on the bay burned to the ground. What made her feel
even worse about it was the loss of many beautiful antiques that had belonged
to Dr. Eleanor Simmons. When we reached the Miami area in 1892 the only
doctor was a woman doctor, Dr. Simmons. She died in 1909 and her hus-
band, Captain Simmons, stored these fine things of hers in the Merritt attic.
Captain Simmons started the first guava canning factory in Coconut Grove.
In 1892 there were about 200 people in Lemon City if you count those
on homesteads round about. West of Lemon City was an area we called
Pocamoonshine Prairie. The village part of Lemon City was east of what
is now the Biscayne Boulevard on 61st St. At first it had been called Motlow
after an Indian chief but by 1892 it was Lemon City, for there were some
lemon groves in the vicinity.
Little River as a settlement dates from 1895 but it did not have a post
office until 1898 and then only because Mr. J. W. Spivey out-did the govern-
ment. Mr. Spivey came to the Bay region about the time the railroad did and
took an active part in the community. He developed a fine grove in Little
River known as Eureka Grove. He was also a truck farmer and real estate
developer and in 1922 he became president of Little River's first bank. But
in 1898 he went to work getting a post office for Little River. By the Indian
Trail this small settlement along the railroad track was less than two miles
from Lemon City and post offices had to be spaced at least two miles apart.
Mr. Spivey's thinking was "put enough curves in the Indian Trail to make it
two miles long." He helped lay out a new road, a rutted sand trail, about
where N. E. Second Avenue is today. The postal inspector agreed that the
new route was a good two miles and Little River got its post office. The
first postmaster was Mr. Hudson Burr, succeeded by Mr. Alfred Huskey
Mr. William Freeman had a tomato packing shed along the railroad
near Little River and Senie and other neighbors used to work there during
tomato season. One day Ed Freeman, the youngest Freeman son, came run-
ning from the home near by shouting, "The bees are swarming." The Free-
mans had recently bought the bees from Mr. Huskey. George Freeman, the
older son, ran home, Senie went with him, volunteering to help. Mrs. Freeman
began pounding on a tin pan to settle the bees and they came to rest about
thirty feet up in an oak tree. George placed a ladder against the tree and
climbed up, Senie right behind him. Senie spread out her big apron and said
she could catch the bees in that. "You'll get stung," said George. "No I
won't," said Senie. She was too trusting. She didn't know what bees could
do to her.
The bees boiled out into their faces. George leaped to the ground and
someone came and rescued Senie. She was moaning and rubbing her arms
and face. She was stung all over. During that day the Freemans tried every
bee sting remedy anyone could suggest to try to ease her pain. She had sev-
eral miserable days and gained a new respect for bees.
Because of distance and slow travel, people, when they went visiting,
stayed for a meal or two or even several days. The whole family went in a
group even when the object of the visit for one member of the family hap-
pened to be courtship. In that way the Cleare family paid the Douthit family
a visit when Allen was courting Senie. Women and girls liked to have all-day
work visits, which included pot-luck dinners. Our work would be embroidery,
sewing, bead-work, or hat-making. I once took my sewing machine with me
in the wagon to Mrs. Fino Soop's house for such a meeting as some of the
neighbors had no machine and were glad for a chance to use mine.
A trip to the beach meant a day's expedition. Our friends, Mr. and Mrs.
Fulford, lived at the House of Refuge on the beach and once when my Aunt
Lucy Douthit and her daughter, Laura, were visiting us from North Carolina
we all spent several days with the Fulfords.
We didn't have regular bathing suits in those days. What we wore
swiliming would probably seem very funny to people today. I remember
an outing we had to the beach right soon after Dr. Dupuis brought his bride,
Katherine Beyer, here from Paducah, Kentucky. "What will I wear to go in
the water?" Katie Dupuis asked me when we were planning the picnic. She
had not yet ever seen the ocean. I told her what we all wore an old calico
dress and black cotton stockings.
For a dressing room we used a thicket of seagrape and palms. When
Katie had gotten into her rig she was very timid about going out on the
beach. "I don't think Doctor is going to like this," she said. From that time
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
on this expression was a kind of by-word with us girls. We would tease Katie
by saying, "I don't think Doctor is going to like this."
Dr. J. G. Dupuis was a conscientious doctor. When Mrs. Sol Peters (the
mother of Jim, Tom and the other Peters boys) became ill with gallstones
Dr. Dupuis heard of a remedy used successfully by a Dr. Shelton in Umatilla.
He wired Dr. Shelton to send him a bottle of this medicine called "Grand-
daddy Gray Beard." Dr. Dupuis then proceeded to take the medicine him-
self until he was satisfied it had no ill effects. The basis of the medicine was
the bark of a root found in Polk County. The white spray bloom of the
plant was known as Granddaddy Gray Beard.
We had many dances. The first ones I remember were in Mr. Pierce's
sponge warehouse in 1893. Mr. Mettair played the violin and as he did
little Henry Filer would tap on the violin with a stick like it was a drum.
Mr. Bill R. Truett played the harmonica. The usual refreshments were cake
and lemonade. The dances drew people from as far away as Coconut Grove.
Count Nugent from Coconut Grove came in full dress but danced barefoot.
Count Jean d'Hedouville came. So did John Sewell and his girl, Jessie, who
had opened a dancing school in Miami.
There were polkas, the Virginia reel, two-steps and waltzes. One of the
square dance callers was Bubba Carey whose mother ran a small hotel in
Lemon City. Sometimes he would get a couple of Italian musicians to come
by boat from Miami. One played the violin, the other a three-cornered harp
about four feet high.
When the new school house was built south of the library the women
made the men include a social hall. Downstairs there were two classrooms
and a porch. The stairway was on the porch and the big upstairs room
was the social hall where we gave dances, socials and sometimes staged
plays. Later this upstairs room was made into two classrooms and we began
to have our dances at Mrs. Carey's boarding house on Lemon Avenue. About
this time we formed the Magnolia Club to sponsor dances. Senie and I and
sometimes Becky Freeman used to drive with Bubba in his wagon collecting
girls for the dances.
We didn't waltz much until Garry Niles moved to Lemon City from Key
West. He taught us to waltz. He told me to practice with a broom or any-
thing that would help me to balance. So after emptying the dish water I
would practice a few steps holding the pan in my hands. Niles married
Mamie Moffett and settled down on a homestead near us.
Some of the musicians who used to play during community sings were:
Dellie Pierce, piano; Willie Filer and Jim Peters, guitar; Bill Mettair and
Becky Freeman, violin. Sometimes Willie Filer would play his guitar and
sing his popular elephant song solo which went like this:
ELEPHANT ON HIS HANDS
There was once a king, so the minstrels sing,
Who a herd of elephants had,
A peasant poor, lived next door, and wanted an elephant bad.
The generous king did a foolish thing when he gave that
For the elephant ate all night,
And the elephant ate all day.
Do what he would to furnish him food
The cry was still "More hay!"
Till he tore his hair in wild despair
And clacked his heckled glands,
And cursed the day that he had an elephant on his hands.
You all no doubt have found out without if's, but's or and's
To avoid the plight of the luckless knight
With an elephant on his hands.
At Christmas in 1898 Senie and I and some of our friends formed the
Alabama Troubadours and got up a show made up of Negro melodies, buck
and wing dances, cakewalks and hoedowns. We blacked our faces and made
fancy costumes and went by wagon to various homesteads round about and
put on our show. Jim Peters was our white-faced manager. I was Alabama
Coon and Homer Ingalls and Will Norton were my "suitors" in the show.
My brother John was Bascom Brown and Jack Peters was "the nig with a
razor." Senie and Ted Taylor were fattest so they were the Heavenly Twins.
Miss Mattie Peters who sang and danced was billed as The Warmest Baby in
the Bunch. Wherever we went we were greeted with shouts of laughter. After
our show at each house we were served refreshments. We kept going until
two in the morning. Later friends who lived miles away complained that we
hadn't gotten to their homes too.
In 1898 the Second Texas Regiment was stationed in Miami before
being sent to Cuba. The camp was in what is now downtown Miami and the
drill field was twenty acres in Allapattah. One day while some of the sol-
diers were sitting under a coconut tree writing letters there was an electrical
storm and two of the soldiers were killed by lightning. I went to dances
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
given by the community for the soldiers. I remember the army band played
"The Yellow Rose of Texas" over and over. This was probably the largest
band ever to play in Miami before 1900. Some of the local people who
attended these dances and supplied the cake and limeade were: the Peterses,
Douthits, Fulfords, Filers, Careys, Currys, Freemans, Moffatts, Merritts.
We certainly had many good times back before the turn of the century.
But changes were coming, not only in Dade County, which was getting new
settlers with almost every train, but also in the lives of us Douthits. Some-
thing I could never entirely get over happened when my favorite brother,
Jim, died of diabetes. Doctors didn't know about insulin then.
About 1900 we traded Jim's homestead and mine in the Snake Creek area
for three acres and the McDonald Hotel in Little River, not far from the
railroad station. The hotel was a two-storied wooden building with twelve
rooms. I now became a hotel keeper. We had room for about twenty board-
ers, most of them men and boys who worked in the tomato fields and they
all had farmer appetites. I had a good cook, a Georgia Negro, Aunt Ann
Johnson. As a farm center Little River was booming. There were tomato
fields between Lemon City and Little River where there was a naturally
treeless prairie and many west of the settlement.
By 1897 they were shipping carloads of vegetables out of Little River
for the northern market tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and okra. Twenty
acres of vegetables was considered a large farm. North of Little River Mr.
T. V. Moore planted a large field of pineapples. Mr. Henry M. Flagler was
interested in all these farms because he wanted his railroad to have something
to haul north. He frequently got off the train in Little River to look at the
farms and encourage the farmers. As a token of his interest in the Peters
family who were all energetic farmers he gave them all passes on the railroad
to Jacksonville. He would also invite some of us to dances at the Royal Palm
Hotel. Ed Ingalls, Jim Hubel, John and Jim Peters, Senie, Bob, and I used
to go to these dances together either in a wagon or by boat.
Mr. Arthur Griffing had a rose nursery between the McDonald Hotel
and Huskey's store. Tom Peters and his brother W. S. began dividing some
of their land into lots near the Little River railroad station. One gave land
for a church, the other for a school.
I had a steady beau, Mr. Alex Conrad, whom I had known even before
we moved to Florida. He kept asking me to marry him and I kept saying no
because I felt my first duty was to my family. But then the family began
to break up. Jim died. Johnny went to the Isle of Pines and came back to
get married. Senie was engaged and waiting for the floor to be laid in the
Episcopal Church so she could get married. My brother Bob had decided to
move south of Miami and farm tomatoes with his friend, Tom Peters. Bob
married one Sayer sister and Tom Peters married the other so the two boys
were kin as well as friends. I still wanted to look after Father but Alex con-
vinced me we could do that together.
When I decided it was quick. I didn't want any fuss made over my
wedding. Since the floor wasn't in the church I planned a quiet wedding in
the hotel. This was in August, 1904. Miss Nan Merritt helped me make a
white lawn dress. We asked a few friends but word got around and I think
everyone in Little River and half of Lemon City came. They couldn't all
get inside at the same time. We got enough ice by train to make ice cream.
We also served pound cake, sandwiches, and lemonade.
We went away on our honeymoon across the street to Jim Peters's
house. They wanted Alex and me to live in their house while they were
away for a week. Our first baby, Mary, was born in the hotel and shortly
after that we turned the hotel over to my brother and began to divide our
year with summers in North Carolina and winters in Florida.
But before we left the hotel we helped another couple get married. One
of our boarders was a young man named Luther Cooper. He was courting
Mattie Peters but everytime Mattie tried to set a wedding date her mother
would throw a spell. Mattie and Luther made up their minds to elope and
asked me to help.
I went with Mattie to the home of the minister, Rev. Fuller, and we
waited there until Luther and the Gramling boys, William and John, could
get a marriage license. The county seat was still at Juno, north of Palm
Beach. But by that time there were telephones and the boys kept the wires
hot until the license was despatched by train and received in Miami. We
waited all that afternoon and evening at the Fullers. Finally, at eleven
o'clock at night, the marriage was performed. The witnesses were Bessie
Fuller and I, and the Gramlings. Mter the ceremony we all went to the
Peters home and told Mattie's parents. There was nothing they could do but
make the best of it. They couldn't have a real honeymoon because Luther
was busy clearing land for the Deering Estate. Mattie and Luther came to
live at our hotel.
WE BURY OUR DEAD
In a pioneer community neighbors were really neighbors and a call for
help was never ignored. Troubles brought us together. Storms, forest fires,
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
sickness and death those were our troubles. There were no undertakers
at first. Neighbor women would lay out the body. They would bake cakes
and fry chickens for the bereaved while the men made the coffin and dug
There never was a cemetery in the Lemon City area. People used to say,
"It is so healthy here we will have to shoot someone and start a cemetery."
Of course people did die. Since there was no cemetery they were buried in
back yards or in the woods. The Miami City Cemetery was the first real
cemetery. Mrs. Key who lived in Lemon City near N. E. 63rd Street and the
bay buried her father in the back yard when he died in 1896. The Mettairs
buried one of their children, Lillian, in 1887, about where 68th Street is
today. A tall, leaning coconut tree used to mark the spot. Later the coffin
was moved to City Cemetery.
In 1925 another coffin was discovered in a back yard and moved to
City Cemetery. There was no name on the grave but Mr. William Mettair
identified the bones by the two quarters that he himself had placed on the
eyes at the time of burial thirty years before. The body was that of a Mrs.
Sandlin or Chandler whom no one knew anything about. She had cone to
Florida to try to heal a bad leg infection and died. They buried her in a
hurry because of the awful odor of her leg.
One day after the Will Peterses moved to N. E. Second Avenue and 63rd
Street Mrs. Peters looked out and saw a man poking in her yard with a
stick. "What are you doing?" she asked. "Hunting a couple of bodies," the
man replied. Mrs. Peters was shocked but Will thought it was a good joke.
The bodies were moved to City Cemetery.
I heard Miss Ada Merritt tell how she had conducted the funeral of a
little child who died in 1890. She read the funeral service from the prayer
book and comforted the parents.
While they were building the railroad there was a commissary in Lepmon
City and a camp for workers. The town changed a lot, and for the worse,
much to the distress of the law-abiding early residents. Many of the railroad
workers were convicts kept in line by foremen with long black whips. Gam-
blers and other riffraff followed the camp. These outsiders were always get-
ting drunk and getting into fights. Some were killed in these fights and others
lost their lives in the construction of the railroad. These bodies were buried
in rocky potholes along the right-of-way where sand had been removed. It
was thought twenty bodies were buried in these holes.
When Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Pierce and their daughter, Dellie, moved to
Lemon City from Key West about 1888 Mrs. Pierce was in poor health so she
brought a coffin along. It was a fine coffin and cost $100. They kept it
inside a packing case stored in the top of the barn on the two-by-four's.
Dellie used to say that when she went to the barn to feed the chickens she
would stand and look up at her mother's coffin and chills of fear and dread
would run along her spine. But Mrs. Pierce never used that coffin. When
Rhett McGregor was murdered she gave it up for him. Before Mrs. Pierce
needed a coffin in 1901 Miami had a railroad, a funeral director, Mr. King,
and a handy supply of coffins.
Rhett McGregor was a homesteader and he had been a tax collector. He
was a good friend of Senie's. The way he got killed is a long story.
In Lemon City a man named Sam Lewis was the bartender for Pop
Worth's Poolroom and Bar. He was a noted marksman and could shoot a
penny tossed into the air. One day two patrons of the bar, Ed Highsmith
and George Davis, became so noisy and disorderly that Sam called them
down. Then when they started throwing pool balls at him Sam grabbed up
his 44 Marlin rifle and took a shot at the two. Someone knocked the rifle
barrel up just in time and so no one was hit.
"Go on home and cool off," the bystanders told Sam.
"We'll be back tomorrow and settle with you," said Highsmith and Davis.
The next morning Sam Lewis was in Doddy and Rob's Restaurant when
Highsmith and Davis came down the road. With them was their friend, Mr.
Friar. Sam Lewis came out of the restaurant with his rifle.
"Get down on your knees and apologize for the row you made yesterday
or I'll shoot you!" Sam said to Highsmith.
Highsmith pulled his hat on one side and said, "Shoot, you son of a gun,
Lewis pulled the trigger and a bullet went through Highsmith but he
managed to run to the back of the restaurant before he dropped. Davis didn't
have time to run. He turned sideways and Sam shot him through the heart.
He fell dead in the road. Then Sam pointed his gun at Friar. "Do you want
any of it?" he yelled.
Friar threw up his hands and said, "For God's sake don't shoot!"
Lewis put his gun down beside him and cut open a box of cartridges
and put some in each coat pocket and left. Mr. J. W. Spivey, who had
arrived in Lemon City the week before, was a witness to these killings. My
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
brother and Pete Merritt were two of the posse formed to go look for Sam.
Everything in the community stood stock still that day. Windows were nailed
closed and doors locked and barred. Children were not allowed out of the
house. The posse aimed to give Sam Lewis "no rest and no food." They
thought he could be starved into giving himself up. But it was three weeks
before they got him. In the meantime he had made a trip to the Bahamas
The two dead bodies remained on the floor of the restaurant all day.
I remember that day well. Senie and I went to Lemon City to comfort poor
Mrs. Davis. Frederick Matthaus made the two coffins from lumber someone
donated. Mrs. Matthaus and Annie Matthaus covered the coffins with black
cloth outside and lined them with white cotton cloth. They made little pil-
lows for head rests. This work took them until midnight. After dark my
brother Bob and Pete Merritt dug the grave in the woods by lantern light.
It was so rocky that it took them most of the night to dig one grave so both
coffins were put in one grave. Mr. Paul Matthaus took the coffins to the
grave in his one-horse wagon.
After about three weeks Sam Lewis did get hungry and he came to Mike
Spears's place in the dark and asked for food.
"Who's there?" asked a woman inside.
Rhett McGregor heard that answer and he came running, shooting as he
came and wounding Lewis in the thigh. The woman inside the house yelled,
"If it's Sam Lewis shoot him again!" Rhett bent over Lewis and struck a
match. He laid Lewis's rifle aside. But Sam had a pistol and he took it out
and shot McGregor. Then he crawled off and hid in a house. When the
posse surrounded the house he said he would give himself up if they
wouldn't lynch him. Otherwise he would shoot it out. They promised and
he came out. They took him to the county jail in Juno. McGregor didn't die
until several days later, July 27, 1895. When he died a mob went up to
Juno, shot the jailer, took Sam Lewis out and lynched him.
After all this excitement the Village Improvement Association of Lemon
City put on a box supper and ice cream social at the church to raise enough
money to send Mrs. Davis and her two little boys back home to Texas. One
boy was old enough to pay half fare. I remember that Mrs. Carey was the
"barker" for the cake sale at this supper. The most popular cake, as always,
was Mrs. Willie Filer's a pound cake made with ten eggs, and one pound
each of butter, flour, and sugar. Dellie Pierce, Annie Matthaus, Vickey
Carey, and Becky Freeman waited table. This was Mr. Spivey's first social
and he stood around very nicely dressed and not saying much but he must
have been keeping his eye on Annie Matthaus for later he married her. Some
of the ladies got his name mixed up and called him Mr. Spider.
The social was a success but they were still short $22. Mr. Davis had
been a carpenter so Mrs. Davis offered to sell his tools at auction. No one
seemed interested in bidding on them so Mr. Spivey bought them all to
In the summer of 1894 a terrible forest fire burned for several days
near our homestead. We fought it by back-firing, by clearing strips to check
it, and by wetting gunny sacks in water and slapping at the burning brush.
At night the burned-over area looked like the lights of a big city because
there were still fires in stumps and even in the tops of trees. It was the Moffatt
place that was most threatened. Among the firefighters were the Moffatts,
Sam Hubel, Mrs. Pomeroy, the Fino Soops, the Myerses, the Andrews, and
my brothers, Bob and Jim.
Rob Moffatt, Mrs. Moffatt's son, was a soldier and recently arrived home.
He fought the fire so hard that he got overheated and came down with pneu-
monia. They moved him to Garry Niles' place on the bay so that it would
be easier for Dr. Eleanor Simmons to come by boat from Coconut Grove to
treat him. When it became apparent he was going to die they sent for his
mother's sister and his own sister, Mrs. Brossier. They also sent to Key West
for the priest but he did not arrive in time. The last day of Rob's life the
family sat around the bed praying and burning candles. They put paper
crosses and pictures of the Virgin Mary, of Christ, and of the Saints on the
bed. When Rob died they carried his body home and waited until after dark
to bury him, hoping the priest might arrive. Meantime, Mr. Spivey had found
a Negro to dig the grave in the pines and palmettoes. Finally, by lantern
light, they buried Rob, his nephew, Duncan Brossier, reading the Catholic
service. Then Duncan blew taps on his bugle.
In 1898 a homesteader in Ojus died and Will Norton and Jim Peters
undertook to make a coffin for him. Since this was their first experience with
coffin-making they were not sure of the measurements. "You get in and try
it for size," Will said to Jim. Jim did. It was a good fit. Then Jim got out
and they put the body in. Twelve people gathered for the service which Jim
read from the prayer book. Then the coffin was placed in a wagon and the
people walked after it, the volunteer pall bearers puffing on cigars which
Jim and Will had provided.
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
There are still a few people living who remember how John Peters was
killed. He was one of the Peters boys all of whom had acquired land in the
Little River area and become farmers. John's farm was in what is now
Miami Shores. There was a small settlement there called Biscayne where the
trains stopped to load vegetables. There was even a post office there for a
time. John had just finished building a small frame house on his land.
Shortly after daylight of a morning in March, 1901, a twister dipped out of
the clouds and cut a streak through John's farm, completely demolishing
the new house and carrying John through the air for a hundred yards. A
big splinter, a stick like an Indian arrow, completely penetrated his body
below the heart. Dr. Dupuis was certain the removal of the stick would
cause death. A wagon was gotten and John carried to his brother Will's
house in Little River since his mother was dying and they wanted to spare
her the knowledge of John's accident. Another doctor was called in and the
two doctors decided to remove the stick and pack the wound. After a few
days in which John's condition became worse he was put on a train on a cot
in the baggage car and taken to the nearest hospital which was in St. Augus-
tine. There, in spite of several operations, he weakened and died.
In a pioneer country you learn to bear up and take what you have to.
And even in the sadness of death there was sometimes a flash of humor, like
when my brother Bob and one of his friends painted a "water line" on a
coffin for "smooth sailing." Mr. Ned Pent's humor went even further. He
was an expert boat builder and once when he was called upon to make a
coffin he put in a centerboard. Of course after he got a laugh from everyone
he removed it.
SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES
There had already been several schools in the Bay area before we arrived
in 1892. Miss Alice Brickell had taught a school in a cabin furnished by
Mr. William Mettair. Mr. Harlan Trapp had conducted a school in his home.
One of my friends who had attended this school was Rebecca Freeman. Then
Miss Ada Merritt started to teach a school in Lemon City on Lemon Avenue.
The building was like a big box with planks and batting running up and
down. When the railroad camp came to Lemon City Miss Ada could scarcely
keep the attention of the children. They all wanted to hang out the windows
and watch the work gangs. At recess the children would go to the railroad
commissary and buy large molasses cookies. Among the pupils in school at
this time were Ethel Freeman, Edna Mettair, Henry Matthaus, and Lilly
Watson. Miss Ada had a white horse named Dan which she used to ride to
visit the parents of her pupils.
There were no churches in Lemon City in 1892 but several were soon
started. We were Methodists in North Carolina but when an Episcopal
Church was organized in Little River we joined it, partly because one of our
best friends, Mrs. T. A. Winfield, was an Episcopalian. The Episcopal
Church in Little River was just north of the present intersection of 79th
Street and N. E. Second Avenue but the first church was soon destroyed by
a hurricane. It was during the building of the second church that I was
married in 1904 and couldn't be married in the church because there was
no floor. This church was called St. Andrew's and in March, 1912, it was
closed and the congregation merged with that of the Holy Cross Church in
Buena Vista. I remember that Bishop Gray stayed in our hotel while he
was examining the construction of St. Andrew's.
The Methodists organized a church in Lemon City in 1893, meeting
first in private homes. Then they built a small wooden structure in a patch
of palmettoes. I remember the sweet sound of the bell they had. It was here
that Dellie Pierce played the organ, the kind you pump with your feet.
Sometimes several Indians would come to service. They always liked to hear
Dellie play the organ. One or two benches in the church were set aside for
Negroes. You could hear their strong voices singing above the White people.
Among my friends who were active in organizing this church were Miss Ada
Merritt, Mrs. J. W. Fulford and Mrs. Willie Filer.
The Baptists were organized by our good friends, the Reverend and Mrs.
W. C. Stanton. The Stanton Memorial Baptist Church is named for them.
Mrs. Mary Pierce and Mr. and Mrs. Zumwalt were a part of that congrega-
tion. When the Methodist Church was destroyed by a hurricane in 1902 the
Baptists invited the Methodists to use their church. Within two years the
Methodists had rebuilt their church, this time on N. E. Second Avenue near
62nd Street. It was named Grace Methodist.
A popular way to raise money for the churches was by giving a box
social. The girls and women would decorate boxes with crepe paper or
fresh flowers and put enough supper in each box for two persons. The
boxes were sold at auction. The husband or suitor might be tipped off ahead
of time as to which box to bid on. One night Mr. J. W. Spivey bid $3.00
on a box, thereby outbidding a husband and gaining the privilege of eating
with the man's wife. The husband became so angry that he soon left the
social in a huff, taking his wife along with him. Mr. Spivey thought it was
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD
a good joke. Baby sitters were not needed in those days. Families came
together to these socials. Mr. Henry Filer used to always bid for the box
decorated by Miss Bertha Lanier and in 1912 they were married, my daughter,
Laura, serving as flower girl.
Taffy pulls and hayrides were other church-sponsored social activities.
Sometimes ice was brought in on the boat from Key West and we would have
an ice cream social, making the cream in hand freezers. Beach picnics were
popular. These often included a hunt for turtle eggs and drift wood. The
Beach was a kind of peoples' lumber yard. Boards of all kinds would wash
ashore and these would be gathered up and preserved in backyards until
needed. The pulpit for Grace Methodist Church was fashioned from timbers
washed up on the beach.
Fellowship was not restricted by church affiliations. Activities were
shared by all, regardless of church. For instance, our friend, Mrs. T. A.
Winfield, an Episcopalian, wrote and directed a play for the benefit of the
Baptist Church and many who took part were Methodists.
Mr. Merriwether Strayer, Mrs. Winfield's brother, had been to London
and seen Madame Toussand's Wax Exhibit and that was the inspiration for
Mrs. Winfield's play. It was called "Aunt Jolly's Wax Works." Mr. Winfield
made the scenery and dressed in women's clothes to play the role of Aunt
Jolly. Each character had to act like a wax doll and was first seen in a
picture frame. Mr. Strayer then pretended to wind up the doll and it would
step out of the frame and march across the stage, with body rigid and only
the feet and lower legs moving.
We had quite a problem getting costumes for twenty-five people. My
brother Bob wore Father's big old black hat and represented Christopher
Columbus. Mr. Spivey's hat was so big for him it kept falling down over
his face. "Get this hat off my face," Mr. Spivey whispered to Mr. Strayer,
since, as a doll, Mr. Spivey wasn't supposed to move. It was a "stage" whis-
per and the audience laughed. Dellie Pierce and John Peters were others
in the play. The play was a big success and netted $80 which was almost
enough to buy a lot for the Baptist Church. In 1900 the Baptists got two
acres near N. E. Second Avenue and 59th Street for $100. The church that
was erected three years later cost $600.
At the time of "Aunt Jolly's Wax Works," about 1897, the Baptists were
still meeting in the schoolhouse. That year Dellie Pierce helped with a
money making scheme to raise money for the church by having a party at
"Pierce's Hall" which was her father's bay front warehouse. These were
"This birthday party is given to you,
'Tis something novel, 'tis something new;
We send you each a little sack,
Please either send or bring it back
With as many cents as you are old -
We promise the number will never be told.
"Kind friends will give you something to eat,
And others will furnish a musical treat.
The social committee, with greetings most hearty,
Feel sure you'll attend your own birthday party.
March tenth is the appointed date
And we hope the returns will not be too late."
Lemon City's first library was in one room of the bayfront home of Mrs.
Cornelia Key. It began with 500 books which were donated. Everybody,
townsfolks or homesteaders, could borrow books. This was in the year 1894.
Then a group of girls called the Buzzing Belles gave a supper and dance and
raised $47.38 to help the library. A few years later a wooden frame building
was built on N. E. 61st Street and today that building is still used as a
library, though now it is a branch of the Miami Public Library.
Changes have come so fast that it is hard to find any of the old land-
marks. Pete Merritt's island is no longer an island. The swamp is filled and
houses cover it. Our old homestead has fallen to the bulldozer and the old
McDonald Hotel has been torn down. But there are still some houses on
N. E. 61st Street, old Lemon Avenue, which have withstood all changes and
all hurricanes and are much the same today as I remember them as a girl.
They are frame houses, built of Dade County pine lumbered in Dan Knight's
sawmill. This wood gets so hard with time that termites cannot eat it. These
are modest houses hidden behind alamandas, bougainvillas and crotons. Of
the thousands of people who drive along this street every day only a few
remember that here was the beginning.
Some Pre-Boom Developers of Dade County
By ADAM G. ADAMS
The great land boom in Florida was centered in 1925. Since that time
much has been written about the more colorful participants in developments
leading to the climax. John S. Collins, the Lummus brothers and Carl
Fisher at Miami Beach and George E. Merrick at Coral Gables, have had
much well deserved attention. Many others whose names were household
words before and during the boom are now all but forgotten. This is an
effort, necessarily limited, to give a brief description of the times and to
recall the names of a few of those less prominent, withal important develop-
ers of Dade County.
It seems strange now that South Florida was so long in being discovered.
The great migration westward which went on for most of the 19th Century
in the United States had done little to change the Southeast. The cities along
the coast, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Mobile and New
Orleans were very old communities. They had been settled for a hundred
years or more. These old communities were still struggling to overcome the
domination of an economy controlled by the North. By the turn of the century
Progressives were beginning to be heard, those who were rebelling against
the alleged strangle hold the Corporations had on the People. This struggle
was vehement in Florida, including Dade County.
Florida had almost been forgotten since the Seminole Wars. There
were no roads penetrating the 350 miles to Miami. All traffic was through
Jacksonville, by rail or water. There resided the big merchants, the promi-
nent lawyers and the ruling politicians. It was the metropolis of the State.
Pensacola was very old and prosperous with its lumber and naval stores
operations. Tampa had the cigar industry and was considered a stable
But South Florida was being really discovered. A few of the rich had
been cruising its lovely waters since the 80's. Now, the Everglades became
out of a watery wilderness, an immense possibility for vast agricultural
The great freezes of the early 90's had been the impetus for the railroad
reaching Miami and the first emigration to the area. This was also the
beginning of the end of the American frontier. The westward movement to
take up homestead lands was decreasing, it only remained for an announce-
ment of the drainage of the Everglades to start the second phase of South
Florida's growth which began about 1907.
Under Governor Napoleon B. Broward, draining of the Everglades was
started then and following that came developers of that watery wilderness,
promising canals and roads and a richness of soil rivalling the Valley of the
Nile. During the next few years hundreds of people came to Miami either
to engage in the selling of the Everglades lands or to buy land. These were
the people who by their activity in real estate built up the interest in this
area to the Boom which may be said to have begun by 1923.
The pioneers who brought the frontiers of America into civilization
were all hardy souls, mostly strong young men, fierce optimists, adventurous,
willing to work, and without background or capital. Dade County greeted
the emigrants with deer flies, overwhelming hordes of mosquitoes and brack-
ish drinking water. There was a year-round scarcity of milk and vegetables
and sand in the tracks which served for roads was deep and white. One
traveled by land only when navigable water was not available. But those
who came and stayed saw a bright future despite these unpleasant features
of existence in the semi-tropics.
In 1921 Isidor Cohen proudly describes the five successful candidates
for the City Commission. They were Presidents of the town's banks and
all men who had grown up with the community. He says they were "com-
mon bookkeepers, (Edward C. Romfh and James H. Gilman) a grocer,
(J. E. Lummus) an oil man, (Charles D. Leffler) and a fish dealer (J. I.
The year 1907 was one of economic depression in the United States.
Money was so scarce that script was issued here and there to facilitate trade.
Infant Miami suffered severely. The Fort Dallas National Bank closed its
doors. Isidor Cohen says that the bank probably failed because of its too
generous assistance to the Halcyon Hotel and the "Street Railway" which he
thought were premature developments. But despite these hardships, the
depression was soon forgotten. Frank B. Shutts of Indianapolis was sent
to Miami by the Comptroller of the Currency to liquidate this bank. He
remained in Miami, became the owner of the Miami Herald and had a large
and influential law practice.
The Halcyon Hotel was the center of Miami's social activity in 1911-12.
Weekly dances were held which everyone attended. The orchestra was local.
ADAM G. ADAMS
On Sunday the Alabama at the Dixie Highway and Golden Glades Road was
a favorite rendezvous for the young people. Its meals were famous.
From 1907 to 1922 real estate dominated the business scene, as indeed it
still does. And, being a subdivider or a real estate salesman meant peddling.
It was hard work selling lots. The 17th of March was the end of the season.
After that it was not so easy to find a taker for the good "buy" that had just
come on the market "Three months hurry, nine months worry." That is,
worry about whether next season would be a good one, and how one would
get through the long summer.
In 1917 the City Directory discloses a dozen companies with large tracts
of Everglades lands engaged in intensive selling campaigns. In 1908 J. H.
Tatum and Company bought 12,000 acres at $2.00 and $3.00 an acre, W. R.
Comfort bought 6,422 acres at $2.00 an acre and R. P. Davie of Colorado
Springs purchased 107,500 acres at $2.00 an acre and less. Richard J. Bolles
acquired 500,000 acres from the State at $2.00 an acre. One-half of this sum
was pledged by the State "solely and exclusively for drainage and reclama-
tion purposes." In 1881 Hamilton Disston had purchased 4,000,000 acres
for $1,000,000. Three years before similar lands had been offered by the
State at as little as 121/2 cents an acre.
The Everglade Land Sales Company was conducting probably the most
extensive campaign to sell its lands. It published a magazine from its office
in Chicago. V. W. Helm was editor and maintained headquarters there. In
Miami, Henry G. Ralston was active in directing the affairs of the company.
Dale Miller who had come here in 1901 from West Palm Beach, where his
father had a grocery store, had become one of the land company's principal
salesmen. The Company's magazine was filled with pictures of Glades lands,
mostly around the settlement called Davie, and of the large canals and lat-
erals. There were generous sprinklings of photographs of groups of persons
who had come to inspect the lands. Mr. Ralston reported in each issue the
progress of the dredgings. Walter Waldin and John C. Gifford, both special-
ists in horticulture, wrote at length about the large variety of plants including
of course those producing marketable food which could be grown on the
lands offered for sale. With the purchase of 10 acres of rich Everglades
lands, there was a gift of a lot at Fort Lauderdale in Progresso.
One advertisement in the magazine is quite illuminating. It first gives
the details of how to install a septic tank underground but later gives a
description and sketches showing how a septic tank may be installed above
ground. This should have been a warning to buyers that the water was still
close to the surface.
Frank Clark was U. S. Representative from Dade County for twenty
years and made at least two speeches in Congress in 1911 and 1912 in which
he emphasized that he was in nowise opposed to "Progress of my State,"
however, "I have not said that the lands were good or bad. I do not know.
The only thing I have contended against is the conscienceless exploitation of
these lands, making misrepresentations, and publishing and circulating delib-
erate falsehoods in reference to them."
In 1912 A. W. Gilchrist, Governor of Florida, and the Board of Trustees
of the Internal Improvement Fund organized an expedition to witness the
opening of the Gulf to Atlantic Waterway of Florida. This waterway was
from Fort Lauderdale, through Lake Okeechobee, to Fort Myers. This
expedition was composed of the Governor, and many other officials of the
State of Florida, and a number of newspaper men from the Middle West.
Its avowed purpose was "to leave no stone unturned; to either confirm or
disprove the charges made by one of Florida's own representatives in Con-
gress, that the Everglades Drainage Project was a failure." The souvenir
booklet distributed after this expedition contains facsimiles of letters, and
photographs of the writers, from Lincoln Hulley, President, John B. Stetson
University and 14 representatives of newspapers from Baltimore, Maryland
to Topeka, Kansas.
These letters are fulsome in their praise of the drainage and of the lands.
T. A. McNeal, Managing Editor of the Topeka (Kans.) Capital, says "The
liar has no chance in Florida, for the truth is more impressive than any lie
that can be told." Also, he says "The problem of the reclamation of the
Everglades is one in which just three things are necessary labor, money
and gravitation. The laws of gravitation have not been replaced; the neces-
sary money seems to be provided for and the labor is obtainable. Once
relieved from overflow the Everglades lands will be found to possess a fer-
tility almost beyond the powers of belief and a range of possibilities in the
way of diversified crops that staggers the imagination. In the course of time
a large part of the Everglades region will be as densely populated as Holland
is now and its aggregate wealth in proportion to its area will be greater than
that of any other purely agricultural or horticultural community in the
W. J. Etten, Managing Editor of the Grand Rapids News, said "I'm
speechless; actions speak louder than words I have purchased one hundred
ADAM G. ADAMS
acres of Everglades land ten miles west of Fort Lauderdale and wish I had
the money to purchase more."
An examination of current maps of the territory ten miles west of
Fort Lauderdale indicates that this one hundred acres has not yet come into
J. F. Jaudon was the guiding genius of the Chevalier Corporation which
owned some hundreds of thousands of acres between Miami and Fort Myers.
Dr. E. V. Blackman says that Mr. Jaudon "predicts the largest sugar planta-
tions in the world between Miami and Fort Myers, as well as large furniture
factories. He also predicts large cattle ranges, with the possible establish-
ment of shoe factories." This may be taken as a fair sample of the propa-
ganda which brought people flocking to Miami along about 1910.
The lands of the Chevalier Corporation were largely in Monroe County,
south of what is now the Tamiami Trail. In 1952 and 1953 two groups of
qualified real estate appraisers have appraised the lands of the Collier
Brothers which are closely comparable to the Chevalier Corporation.
765,000 acres were appraised at $4.30 an acre, including the oil, mineral
and timber rights and 653,000 acres at $6.15 an acre. About these lands,
these current appraisers say "By far the larger number of acres of this prop-
erty in its present condition is better suited as a wildlife and recreation area
than anything else" and, "On a major portion of the property, soils are shal-
low and underlaid with rock. In many places this rock is exposed, has a
flat surface and is dotted with potholes." Grazing lands on the western and
northern portions of the Everglades Drainage district which has native pas-
ture is very poor. 20 to 50 acres are needed for each grazing animal.
There is a difference in South Florida farming and farming in the tem-
perate zone. T. B. McGahey aptly phrases the difference between "farming"
as generally known and "farming" in South Florida. One might make a
living in South Florida but one could not live his making.
Thus, most of the extravagant claims made for 4,000,000 acres of Ever-
glades land have never been realized. The Pennsylvania Sugar Company
story has been told, ample brains and money, but failure. A. N. Sakhnovsky,
an attorney for the Czar, residing in New York at the time of the revolution,
not wishing to return to Russia struggled to make a living on lands bought
from Pennsylvania Sugar Company. From 1920 to 1927 he says they
planted everything and every year there was a catastrophe.
John E. Withers came to Miami in 1912 to see land which he had bought
in the Everglades. He had sold his transfer and storage business in Minne-
sota. His son, Charles E. Withers, says that the family still owns the Ever-
glades land and has never seen it. The first winter they were here they
planted a crop in the Hialeah neighborhood but were unable to find a market
and lost everything they had. Thereupon, Mr. Withers started again with a
one horse dray and built his fortune anew in the Magic City.
Van Huff of Dade County heard of Dade County in Colorado and in-
vested his savings in Everglades lands. He came here to see the land in 1912
and has yet to view his purchase. But, he stayed in Dade and has had a suc-
cessful life as an engineer and inventor.
A notable exception to the long list of failures in agricultural pursuits
was Thomas J. Peters. In 1895 Solomon J. Peters, his eight sons, one daugh-
ter, and Tom's wife Texas, arrived at Coconut Grove running from the frost.
Tom wanted to plant tomatoes and found the right land on Model Land
Company property near Perrine, a marl glade, on which he was planting
in 1910-13 as much as 1250 acres of tomatoes. And, the profits were so sub-
stantial that he bought the Halcyon Hotel about 1913 and later owned nearly
the whole of that city block. Tomato planting on the Glades which indent the
coastal ridge, except for a few seasonal setbacks, continues to be a success-
Dade County has used so much of its high ground that in 1957 it
now witnesses the use of Tom Peters' tomato glades for a residential develop-
ment. In order to raise the level of the glade a canal is being dug through
the property to furnish the fill.
The Dorn boys, Harold and Robert. arrived in Miami in 1910 and
engaged in the growing of fruit. Harold reported in the 1956 TEQUESTA the
story of mangoes which they have found to be continually rewarding.
Before the digging of the Miami Canal the Miami River extended only
a few hundred feet west of Grapeland Boulevard (N. W. 27th Avenue). When
the Glades were full, the clear, cool water spilled over the coastal ridge into
the river. This is shown on early maps as "The Rapids" or "The Falls"
of the Miami River. The enormous reservoir, west of the ridge, yielded
abundant fresh water for shallow wells in the high pinelands bordering the
coast and along the shore were wonderful springs. Of course the River
was free of City waste and the boys swam in any water that was deep enough.
Off the shore at Silver Bluff there were fresh water springs well known to
youthful swimmers. At the site of the Avenue D (Miami Avenue) Bridge,
John Sewell reported a spring of such volume and force that it raised the sur-
face of the river four or five inches.
ADAM G. ADAMS
Drainage meant cutting the coastal ridge at the rivers and creeks and
along the lines of the glades indenting the coast. The surface water ran off,
the shallow wells and the springs were dried up. Now thousands of homes
are on land west of the coastal ridge which, in 1910, was covered by water
These were the years when Miami counted with satisfaction the coming
of important people to the area. William Jennings Bryan was here in 1909
to deliver a lecture. He later purchased a home and Christmas of 1913 he
spent at Villa Serena on Brickell Avenue.
James Deering built Viscaya from 1912 to 1916. There were probably
10,000 people in Dade County and at least one out of every ten was working
on this construction. It has been said frequently that Mr. Deering's opera-
tions saved the town from starvation.
The newspapers in these middle years also noted the presence of Flan-
ders, President of Maxwell Motors; Lyons of tooth-powder fame; Mellin
of Mellin's Food; Matheson, Manufacturing Chemist; Keith, President,
Keith and Proctor Theaters; Col. Thomas Watson, Indiana Politician; Van
Court, Founder of the Central Trust Company of Philadelphia; John C.
Gifford, Horticulturalist of Cornell University; Carl Fisher, President of
Prestolite Company; Charles Simpson, Naturalist of Smithsonian Institute;
W. L. Douglas, Shoe Manufacturer, and others.
The Community was struggling and noting progress.
A railroad, Atlantic, Okeechobee and Gulf Railway, across the Glades
south of Lake Okeechobee from Tampa to Miami was being promoted. The
directors of the corporation were named, engineers announced, method of
financing arranged, but the project was never fulfilled.
The Great White Way made with 1,000 candle power lamps was inau-
gurated on 12th Street (Flagler) in 1914, The Tatums were announcing a
9-story skyscraper to cost $125,000 which was never built. Mr. and Mrs.
Alex Orr and four children arrived in Miami from Scotland to join brother
John B. Orr. First map of Greater Miami was printed by the Realty Secur-
ities Corporation. Avenue B (N. E. Second Avenue) was opened across the
railroad track at Buena Vista. It was reported that a "highway from Tampa
to the East Coast is being rapidly completed so that it will soon be possible
for the people of Miami to drive an automobile to the West Coast by way of
Titusville," and by 1925 one could drive to Tampa by using a ferry west
of Melbourne. In 1914 a large number of petitioners, most of whom sub-
scribed a sum of money, asked for the construction of three miles of rock road
west of 27th Avenue on 12th Street (Flagler). "This extension will make
12th Street 10 miles long and before many years it will go straight across
the Peninsula to Fort Myers on the West Coast." It took 17 years for this
prophecy to be fulfilled.
In 1913 the Metropolis reported "Solomon G. Merrick and Son (Solo-
mon died in 1911. George was still using his father's name) besides having
one of the most famous groves in the entire county, Coral Gables Plantation,
annually produce large crops of truck. Mr. Merrick was successful in inter-
esting a number of northern people in Dade County and in Miami and sold
a number of tracts of the Coral Gables Plantation lands. A section of this
plantation has been divided and is being developed by the Firm. Some of
the purchasers are men of means and will in the near future build beautiful
homes along Coral Way, the Avenue upon which these lots face."
"While North, Mr. Merrick put into operation an advertising campaign
which he confidently expects to attract the attention of many to Miami in
general, and to Coral Gables Plantation in particular."
On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal was opened. Miami expected
to benefit considerably in commerce after the opening of the Canal. This
did not materialize but a number of people who had been engaged in the
construction of the Canal stopped off at Miami on their way home and
remained to become permanent residents.
Miami's great need was money for mortgages. Mrs. Mary B. Brickell
had money, cash in the bureau drawers and she loaned it, sometimes with
recorded security; sometimes there was no recorded security, just a note;
sometimes just a word "That's all right. I know you'll pay it back." There
are today many in Miami Mrs. Brickell helped with ready cash in times of
stress. Mrs. Brickell was loathe to trust a bank. We have it on good author-
ity that she cashed Mr. James Deering's check for $120,000 within an hour
after she received it, and James M. McCaskill says that as Mrs. Brickell's
attorney, he persuaded her to open a bank account but that later he was
present when Mrs. Brickell delivered money for a $5,000 note saying "I
have only $4500 in cash. Would you mind taking a check for $500.00?"
Garfield L. Miller came to Miami in 1910 having bought 30 acres in the
Everglades for $300.00. He never could find where his land was, but he liked
the town so well, he stayed and was soon in the mortgage business.
At first Mr. Miller had only money to lend for winter visitors, well-to-do
men who believed in the stability of the new town. But soon this source of
money was insufficient and he began selling mortgages in small units,
ADAM G. ADAMS
"Baby Bonds." By this method he financed many of Miami's landmarks, The
Granada Apartments, Pancoast Hotel, El Commodoro Hotel and many other
buildings. By 1925 his organization was financing building operations all
over the Eastern part of the United States.
At Hallandale Road and U. S. No. 1, any day in the Racing Season one
will find 25,000 people, and nearly as many automobiles, betting $2,000,000
on assorted horses at a multimillion dollar race track. Picture the scene 40
years ago. Two young men, Hugh F. DuVal and Thomas B. Hamilton parked
their car in the bushes and started walking, wading and swimming to the
beach. Hugh's father, Harvie, had run the township and range lines down
the East Coast.
Hugh's brother, Harvie, was in New Mexico for his health when he met
Richard J. BoIles and interested him in Everglades lands. Harvie died in
1910 and Hugh came to Dade County to settle his brother's estate. A part,
a mile of ocean frontage in Broward County, was considered worthless. But
by 1916 he had interested Tom Hamilton, whose grandfather bought for him
a one-half interest for $4,000. With this money they were going to build
a road and bridge from Hallandale. But the money ran out and the war
intervened. Broward County finished the bridge, receiving as inducement an
ocean front park. Then Hugh sold the balance to Tom for a bungalow in
Harrison Reed of Erie, Pennsylvania, built a beautiful house on 350
feet of that frontage but was careless about paying taxes and lost the title.
Today, that 350 feet plus another 100 feet may be had for $1,250,000.
P. L. Watson remembers that when the Hallandale Road and bridge had
been finished in 1918 that he bought one mile of the tract now occupied by
the Town of Golden Beach for $22,500. He fenced it for a hog farm.
The Tatum Brothers, B. B., J. R., Smiley and J. H. came to Miami in the
early days. B. B. had owned the Ocala Banner and bought the Metropolis in
Miami in 1899. After selling one-half interest in the Metropolis to Bobo Dean
in 1905 he and his brother began development of real estate and also took
an interest in many other ventures. They owned an abstract company, dealt
in acreage and' city lots, both in a large way, and built the first street rail-
way in 1906.
The rails and equipment probably came from Bradenton. At any rate
both were second-hand. The Brandenton Record reported on August 19, 1904
that the trolley line was doing well. However, it also reported that it was
out of business in about a year.
Two of Albert Ogle's daughters recall that their father came to Miami
from Indiana in 1906. Mr. Ogle was superintendent of the street railway,
kept the books and was a general manager for the Tatum's varied interests.
The Metropolis reported in 1907 that the city had electric railway service
but the service was discontinued about that time.
Tatum Brothers' first big subdivision was Lawrence Estate Land Com-
pany's Subdivision in 1912 of some 400 acres, purchased from General
Samuel C. Lawrence who had acquired the land in the 90's.
In 1914 the Tatums secured a franchise from the City of Miami for a
trolley line. This franchise required that the cars be run by power other
than steam and horse power. They settled for electric battery power and
operated the railway all the way out Flagler Street to 16th Avenue where the
line turned north to the car barn at the present site of the Orange Bowl.
When this barn burned destroying most of the equipment the operation of the
System was discontinued. However, the City of Miami purchased what was
left of the Miami Traction Company in 1922 and began the operation of
its own street railway.
In 1916, the Tatums subdivided 35 sections in South Dade from Biscayne
Bay to Florida City as Miami Land and Development Company. $200,000,000
worth of this property was sold by contract. Few of the contracts were ful-
filled. It was this property which was only brought into use 30 years later.
It is a wonderful potato and bean producing area.
The Tatums subdivided several hundred acres called Altos del Mar
which is now the Town of Surfside, also Ocean Beach Park, 10,000 feet of
ocean frontage north of Baker's Haulover, now a Dade County Park. The
Tatums were said to control 200,000 acres of land in the Everglades, 70,000
of which were sold or leased to Pennsylvania Sugar Company in 1919.
In 1909 after the election of Dan Hardie as Sheriff, he and Henry R.
Chase began the operation of busses known as the C&H Line. This they con-
tinued to operate until 1914. Mr. Chase says that they had 10 busses which
they sold to George Okell for use in the sightseeing business.
About this time there was another bus line in operation owned by W. T.
Price of Coconut Grove. Mr. Price operated this line three or four years,
leaving Coconut Grove at 9:00 and leaving Miami at 10:30 in the morning.
The evening schedule would leave Coconut Grove at 1:30 and Miami at 3:30.
Special trips were advertised for $2.00. The vehicle used was an early Ford
Motor Company truck with solid tires. W. T. Price is now Chairman of the
Board of Coconut Grove Bank and has for 30 years been one of Miami's prom-
ADAM G. ADAMS
inent contractors for heavy road, levee and ditch work. He came to Miami
in 1913 and was employed by the Hardie Blacksmith shop. Mr. Price when
asked about matters pertaining to development of Miami at that time said
that he was too busy with a mule's foot in his lap to know much about what
was going on.
Thomas B. McGahey came to Miami in 1902 in a box car with the live-
stock while the rest of the folks rode in the passenger cars. The family drove
a wagon and a buggy from Williamson County, Tennessee to Jacksonville but
were advised there not to try to drive the rest of the way. For several years
Tom worked in a store on Flagler Street. In 1910 he married Miss Maud
Willard who was keeping books for the Frank T. Budge Hardware Company.
They soon realized that when Mrs. McGahey had to quit work that the $100.00
Tom was making would not be sufficient income, so Tom began to cut the
timber on the family's 40 acres at N. W. 17th Avenue and 36th Street. He
furnished the lumber and the piling for the Collins Bridge at $12.00 per
1,000 feet. J. I. Conklin was the contractor. Later Mr. McGahey furnished
the lumber for the Flagler Street Bridge which the Tatums built to carry
the street railway in 1914 and he also salvaged 77,000 cross-ties which had
been wrecked on the beach near Pompano for this railway. Later Tom built
the streets in Lawrence Estate and many other subdivisions for the Tatums,
handled the filling of Star Island, and built most of the streets at Miami
Beach for Carl Fisher. The boy who came to town in a cattle car was South
Florida's biggest road builder.
Locke T. Highleyman first came to Miami in 1901. By 1910 he had
decided to make Miami his home and purchased property to the south of the
Bliss property on Brickell Avenue which Carl Fisher had acquired. Mr.
Highleyman being a man of considerable means as a real estate developer
in St. Louis, loaned John S. Collins various sums for development at Miami
Beach. Later when Mr. Fisher became interested in the Collins development
and Mr. Collins gave Fisher a considerable bonus in land, Highleyman was
repaid and began the filling of the mangrove swamp now known as Point
View. Highleyman built there several large houses for sale. Mr. Luden of
Luden's Cough Drops bought one, "Father John", the Medicine Man, bought
another and Mr. McGraw of the McGraw Tire and Rubber Company bought
one. Mr. Highleyman founded the Fidelity Bank and Trust Company which
was later merged with the Miami Bank and Trust Company and then the City
Another group prominent in the developing field was headed by Thomas
O. Wilson who came to Miami from Chicago in 1911 on account of poor
health and lived an active and successful life for another 27 years. The
next year he had purchased land and organized Woodlawn Park Cemetery.
Mr. Wilson was the moving spirit in the building of the Congress Building
mortgaged to the Dade County Security Company. After the collapse of the
Boom the building could not carry the mortgage and the property went into
the assets of the Security Company.
In association with George E. Merrick and J. E. Junkin and Clifton D.
Benson, who also came to Miami for his health and died only in 1957, he
organized the Realty Securities Corporation, a prolific subdivider. The mort-
gage and insurance department later became the Seminole Bond and Mort-
gage Company owned by J. E. Junkin and C. A. Avant. Mr. Avant was
instrumental in bringing the Equitable Life Assurance Society to Miami. It
was probably the first insurance company to lend money in Miami, lending
$300,000.00 in 1922 for the construction of the First National Bank Building.
Realty Securities Corporation's office was at 1109 Avenue C (N. E. 1st
Avenue). Within two blocks on that street and on Flagler Street, largely in
storerooms, 25 individuals and companies were listed in the 1917 Polk City
Directory as being in the real estate business. All of them were boosters for
Miami and their enthusiasm was kept at a high pitch by Everest G. Sewell,
President of the Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Sewell raised, in 1915, the first
money used for advertising Miami. In 1917 he had raised $20,000.00 to have
Arthur Pryor's Band in the Park. The whole community was behind his
effort to extend the season from the customary 12 weeks to 17 weeks. The
Board of Trade, later the Chamber of Commerce, was so virile that it pur-
chased 20 feet of land on Avenue C between Miami Bank and Trust Company
and Mr. W. S. Witham's new 5-story reinforced concrete Lawyers Building.
Fred H. Rand, Jr., began his career in Miami as a lawyer but was soon
more interested in real estate than the law. His home was on the site of the
Huntington Building. This gave Mr. Rand an especial interest in South
First Street and East Second Avenue. He acquired many corners on N. E.
Second Avenue on which buildings were erected, all unsuccessful financial
ventures. This was the only through street leading North out of Miami.
Later he undertook the widening of South First Street from East Second
Avenue to Beacom Boulevard. The remains of this unsuccessful venture are
apparent now. Mr. Rand got little assistance from the City which accounts
for the street's ragged curb line.
J. I. Wilson was President for many years of the Dade County Security
Company which was the major source of mortgage funds for small dwellings
in the early days.
ADAM G. ADAMS
Anderson, Chaille and LeGro was a name to be conjured with in 1916.
F. C. B. LeGro came for an interview with W. R. Comfort who owned
the land from N. W. 7th Street to 36th Street from 27th Avenue to Red Road
more or less. Comfort's fortune had been made in sugar and in candy man-
ufacturing in Brooklyn. "Dick" LeGro told me that for this first call on Mr.
Comfort in 1910 he dressed up to make a good impression. He wore a white
linen suit, white buckskin shoes and a Panama hat and took a hack to the
Comfort house on N. W. 7th Street west of Douglas Road. Mr. Comfort said
they wouldn't need the rig any more. They would walk. And walk they did,
some times up to the armpits in water through the swamps to 36th Street and
Grapeland Boulevard. (27th Avenue).
J. W. Pearce came to Miami shortly after 1918 and worked for W. R.
Comfort. Mr. Pearce says that his first day with Mr. Comfort in the field
was to visit the dredge in the Comfort Canal just west of 27th Avenue and
that Mr. Comfort waded through the mud and water to reach the dredge.
LeGro is given credit for promoting the purchase of bay bottom for
Hibiscus and Palm Islands. The bulkhead around "Bull Island" now known
as Belle Island was completed in 1914. Locke Highleyman had loaned
Anderson, Chaille and LeGro $14,000.00 for the preliminary expenses in
connection with the purchase of the bay bottom. When Anderson and his
partners were unable to produce additional capital they withdrew and
Highleyman finished the project. Star Island was laid out in 1917 and filled
with the spoil from Government Cut which had been piled on the west side
of Miami Beach, south of Fifth Street. Tom McGahey moved this material
to the island.
R. M. Davidson came here with Battle Klyce from Vanderbilt Univer-
sity to design and lay out the County Causeway in 1916. The Causeway was
built on the spoil bank from the Government channel. This Causeway was
finished in 1919.
Shortly before the opening of the County Causeway, Anderson, Chaille
and LeGro bought the Collins Bridge for $40,000. Along the bridge they
designed and built the Venetian Islands having paid the State $78,000.00
for the bay bottom.
These master planners and salesmen sold lots from the plat long before
the islands were pumped in. Someone remembers a newspaper cartoon of
Anderson in a row boat pointing to a distant wave in the Bay. "That's
where your lot is."
Josiah Frederick Chaille was born in Humphreys County, Tennessee,
in 1874. The family migrated to Texas in 1878, wandered from place to
place until 1886 when they got to Ocala where the father, William Hickman
Chaille, supported the family making candy.
Joe worked on the Ocala Banner for B. B. Tatum in 1898. In 1899,
when the soldiers left Miami the Chailles arrived and opened a "racket"
store on Avenue D (Miami Avenue), now a part of Burdine's. By 1916
Burdine needed the location, purchased the building and the business.
With the capital realized, Chaille with Hugh Mitchell Anderson sub-
divided 160 acres at Buena Vista called Wynwood Park and subsequently
bought, sold and subdivided lands until the Venetian Islands venture ab-
sorbed all of their time.
In the meantime, Mr. Chaille, a member of the City Council, had taken
the initiative in designing Miami's present street naming system.
Hugh Mitchell Anderson was a country boy from near Chattanooga.
His formal education was scant: in a country school house in the "Ridges",
according to his sister Ellen now 80 years of age and living in the old
homeplace. He had two years at Maryville College in the high school depart-
ment. Hugh tried his hand in the coal mines at Whitwell and on the farm
but in 1909 was selling Everglades lands in the Sequatchie Valley and
Chattanooga. At the end of that year he was in Miami with the whole
family. Hugh was described as a wonderful salesman and he was soon doing
well enough to take his family to Lookout Mountain for the Summer. When
Venetian Islands had been sold out in 1923 to Miami's prosperous merchants
and professional men, he began with Roy Wright to assemble lands for what
is now the City of Miami Shores.
L. T. Cooper of Dayton, Ohio, who had become well-to-do with a
formula for a tonic called "Tanlac", subdivided a tract between N. E. 2nd
Avenue and the Bay, along what is now 96th Street, as well as what is now
El Portal. Anderson and Wright bought Bay View Estates and later 100
acres from Major Hugh Gordon and called it Miami Shores. A large tract
from the railroad to the Bay at 125th Street, including Indian Creek Golf
Club Island and Bay Harbor Islands was added. A causeway was projected
to connect the islands with the mainland and the mangrove swamp was laid
out in lots. Thirty years later the causeway was built and now the swamp
is being filled.
Biscayne Boulevard was Anderson's idea and his genius interested the
Phipps Estate in acquiring the necessary land to cut the Boulevard through
indiscriminate subdividing which prevailed from 13th Street to 52nd Street.
Biscayne Boulevard was announced and built at the time when Miami might
well have despaired of rising from the ashes of the Boom.
ADAM G. ADAMS
C. J. Holleman was an Alabama farm boy. His only education was in
night school. He went to Pittsburgh in 1910 and was a streetcar conductor
for several years, then about 1918 began developing real estate in that city.
His lawyer, William E. Walsh who came to Miami in 1921 says, Mr. Holle-
man came to Miami about that time to spend the winter and the next year
purchased from Mary Brickell 160 acres at $3,000.00 an acre. This land lay
between Miami Avenue and 15th Street to the southwest and was subdivided
and sold as Holleman Park. One-fourth of this purchase price was in cash
and added to Mrs. Brickell's store of liquid assets. An interesting sidelight
about this tract of land is that Mrs. Brickell had had it platted as "South
Miami" but did not record the plat. Leaving the land in acreage rather than
turning it into lots resulted in much lower taxes. Plats of the area still show
a lot here and there marked "Lot number so and so, unrecorded plat." Mr.
Holleman is given credit for widening S. W. 3rd Avenue which was the
inspiration for the widening of Coral Way leading to Coral Gables. On
September 1, 1925 Mr. Holleman was killed in an automobile accident.
One of Miami's tireless boosters and developers was W. S. Witham of
Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Witham had a chain of 100 odd banks and began
coming to Miami about 1910. He was very active in the organization of
William Jennings Bryan's Bible Class in Royal Palm Park. Mr. Witham built
several business buildings all of reinforced concrete, including the 5-story
Lawyers Building now known as the American Title Building, 37 N. E. 1st
Avenue; a business block at 8th Street and North Miami Avenue, and the
Esmeralda Hotel at the corner of 5th Street and Biscayne Boulevard. He
purchased one of the houses on the bay front in Point View from Locke
Highleyman. He also was one of the founders of the Miami Bank and Trust
Many young men coming to Miami for whatever purpose usually found
their way into the real estate business. Lester B. Manley arrived in 1913
representing a paving company. His machine that heated and spread oil was
probably the first used in the State of Florida.
In 1919 he became associated with P. H. Arthur and subdivided a 45
acre tract named Shenandoah. A high rock wall was along the entire Tam-
iami Trail frontage and the street was lined with Australian Pine trees.
The developers used the wall for paving streets and planted two grapefruit
trees on the back of every lot. When the first sale of lots was held in 1920,
they gave away 550 boxes of grapefruit to those who attended the sale, but
didn't sell a lot. By 1925, however, when the same company subdivided and
offered for sale New Shenandoah, 105 acres bought from the Brickells, the
demand for lots was so great that the whole subdivision was sold for a total
of three and one half million dollars the first day. The sales crew entitled
to receive commissions and stockholders numbered twenty-eight. There was
so much rivalry among them that numbers were put in a derby hat from
which each man drew a number for position. The salesman who drew
Number 1 was offered $10,000.00 for his number but would not sell.
During the middle years there were many others making a mark on the
community, business men and professional men. There were many not
mentioned who were active in the real estate field. The accident of the writer's
acquaintance and the difficulty in finding records account for omissions.
Acknowledgment is made to the many who were gracious in giving
interviews for the preparation of this paper.
Key Vaca, Part 1
By FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
The "New Era" in the life of Key Vaca, an island about two-thirds of
the distance along Route U. S. 1 from the Florida mainland to Key West, has
often been described as "spectacular", "incredible", "phenomenal", and
"meteoric". It is said there is no equal anywhere in the world to Key Vaca's
For the past ten years various kinds of construction have gone on at
such a steady and rapid rate that upon inquiring of Mr. John W. Greenleaf,
Jr., civil engineer, of the results of his study of the Keys made in 1952-1953,
he cautioned, "You must remember that was back in 1953!" The 1940
census showed the population of the Keys to be no greater than it had been
in 1885 and only two-thirds as great as it had been in 1910. The entire area
was without potable water except rainfall and that was stored in cisterns.
When the aqueduct began operating in 1942 the country was at war. Travel
was severely restricted. Building of new homes and over-night lodges was
forbidden, construction materials being reserved for military purposes.
To determine the present and the future need of water supply of the
Florida Keys, Mr. Greenleaf considered such factors as: the opening in 1938
of the Overseas Highway; the aqueduct operating in 1942; World War II
ending in 1945; statistics of school enrollment and of gasoline, electricity,
and water consumption, toll highway traffic, population, meter installation,
building permits, and the forecasts by the telephone company, the electric
company, and the Chamber of Commerce. The result of this study confirmed
that the year 1947 marked the beginning of a new era of steady and rapid
growth. Although there were several established communities along the
Keys, Mr. Greenleaf stated that the growth of Marathon on Key Vaca had
been "spectacular". There were nearly as many dwelling units under con-
struction in 1952 as previously existed in the entire community.
On November 6, 1955, the New York Times carried an article by R. F.
Warner describing the "incredible growth of Marathon"; just eleven days
later, Key Vaca's local weekly newspaper had the comment, "Could Mr.
Warner see Marathon at the present time!" Actually this is not quite so
strange as it may seem. Every hour of the day new acreage is being added
to Key Vaca and longer shore lines are being made on both the Gulf and
Atlantic sides. On and between these shores are several crews of men oper-
ating huge hydraulic and suction dredges and bulldozers, in different loca-
tions and at the same time. It is almost unbelievable how quickly foundations
for hundreds of new acres are being laid, and how rapidly mangrove swamps
are being transformed into luxurious resort and home areas each having its
own unique attractions.
Today, on Key Vaca there are wealthy sportsmen, business men, large
scale developers, big hotel and restaurant interests, and by the first of next
year (1958), a supermarket will be opened by the sixth largest chain store
of its kind in the United States and the largest in Southern Florida. Also
today, there are many beautiful homes, occupied, and for sale, and overnight
accommodations and restaurants, whereas only twenty years ago there were
but four "so-called" cabins and one "eating place" where family meals were
served for fifty cents.
In the last few years land values have changed considerably. This spring
(April) several acres of "raw" land were sold at $10,000 an acre. William
Allen Parrish, Marathon's first real-estate dealer, remembers the time when
he bought the entire business district of Marathon for taxes for $1800. Not
so long ago he sold a lot for $45,000 that originally had sold for $450,
whereas about twenty years ago he offered to give away property if people
would promise to build homes but he "could find no takers".
Key Vaca has a long, long history, but much of the earliest part of it
is yet to be known. John M. Goggin, a recognized authority on the early
inhabitants of the Keys, wrote that Matecumbe "is the only place-name in
South Florida which dates from the 16th century and is still used to designate
the same or approximate location" and that it was first mentioned in 1573
(Tequesta, 1950, pp. 13, 17). That would be eight years after St. Augustine
was founded. Arch C. Gerlach, Chief, Map Division, Library of Congress,
advised, "It is unfortunately impossible to say at what date Key Vaca first
appeared on a map, since the earliest maps of the area are not dated. The
earliest map we find showing this Key is a photostat copy of a manuscript
map. . It is without title, author, or date. Since it shows Havana but not
St. Augustine, it was apparently made between 1519 and 1565." Upon fur-
ther inquiry as to the identification of the Island, by name, the reply was:
"The anonymous 16th century Portolan chart of the Gulf of Mexico . .
is a reduced photostat print and . the place names are a bit illegible.
The spelling of Key Vaca, however, appears to be 'C. d bacas'." Thus, it
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
would seem that Key Vaca was known by its place-name before St. Augustine
In an unpublished manuscript titled, "Maps, Florida Keys", Carlton J.
Corliss, author and lecturer, listed nineteen maps dated between 1733 and
1869 naming Key Vaca with a variety of spellings: Cayo Baca, Bacas, Cayos
Vacas, Cow Keys, Vacas Islands, C de Bacas, Vocas Keys, Cow Cays, Cayos
De Vacas or Cow Keys. Other similar maps are in the P. K. Yonge Library
at the University of Florida and in the University of Miami Library.
In tracing the origin of the naming of Key Vaca, the Library of Congress
advised, "The United States Department of the Interior, Board on Geographic
Names, informs us that their records include the following brief report on
the naming of Key Vaca. The report was filed by a field officer of the
United States Coast and Geodetic Survey.
'Opinion is divided as to whether the Key was named Vaccas
by the original owner, a Spanish Friar named Ferrera for a friend
of his or Vacas for the cattle which local legend has grazing on the
Key at an early date.'"
In the Florida State Archives, the earliest document showing the owner-
ship of Key Vaca by one man was, strangely enough, Francisco Lorenzo
Ferreira, spelled variously in official records, as Ferrera, Ferrara, Ferrer,
Ferreyra, of Portuguese parentage. Interestingly enough, Francisco's great,
great grandson, Charles William Ferreira (Miami), recently purchased par-
cels of land on Key Vaca, because he thought it was a "sound investment",
not knowing the whole island was once owned by his ancestor.
If the field officer of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey had
reference to Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca as the friend after whom Key Vaca
was named, he would find today a divided opinion on that point. Carlton J.
Corliss, in his unpublished "Historical Notes on the Key Vaca Area and
Marathon", believed it was a plausible theory. However, a researcher in the
New York Public Library reported, "A careful study was made of the works
of Cabeza de Vaca to find whether he had any connection with the Key, but
none could be found."
As for a local legend in naming the Key for cattle grazing there, no
source-authority proving or disproving it appears to have been found. In
Florida, A Guide to the Southernmost State (Federal Writers Project, p. 332)
is the statement that Key Vaca was named for the cattle, however, Dr. Dorothy
Dodd, State Librarian, advised: ". . I can find nothing in the State Library
that substantiated the statement that cattle once roamed our Key Vaca." Dr.
Charles W. Arnade, Florida State University, and an authority on Spanish
Florida, in a letter of March 16, 1957, wrote, "I have looked for these cows
at all available libraries in Tallahassee, without success." Several large
libraries in the United States replied in like manner. In the P. K. Yonge
Library was found the statement that Spanish manned ships on long trips
made a practice of leaving some cattle on Key Vaca; then, three months later,
on their return trips, the cattle were rounded up and those not used aboard
ship for food were sold in Cuba.
Charles M. Brookfield, Tropical Florida Representative of the National
Audubon Society, questions the naming of Key Vaca from the cattle on the
basis of extremely limited grazing land in the early days and on the vast
swarms of mosquitoes and other insects. Both he and Mr. Corliss say that
to their knowledge, no one has ever reported seeing cattle nor have cited an
instance of finding bones of cattle on Key Vaca, Mr. Brookfield believes a
more likely explanation for the naming of Key Vaca "Cow Key" or "Cow
Keys" would be from the number of the sea-cows or manatees once so prev-
alent in the area.
As early as the 16th century the Florida Keys, including Key Vaca,
were known as Los Matires (David O. True, Tequesta, 1944), sometimes
spelled "The Martyres". These islands when indicated on the early maps are
often in wrong locations, sometimes even closer to Cuba than to Florida.
Of the 16th and 17th century periods no records relating specifically to
Key Vaca were found with possibly one exception. John M. Goggin
thought the Bayajondas tribe of Indians, mentioned by Bishop Calderon
while on a mission inspection tour in Florida in 1674 and 1675 (Smithsonian
Collection, Vol. 95, No. 16) might have been on Key Vaca. If this island
was typical of the other Keys included in the Los Matires, then the Indians
living there depended upon land and sea animals for food and on land plants
for their scanty clothing. As for those Indians, "Anciently they came over
from Cuba." (Fontaneda, Memoir, 1575).
In the next, the 18th century, which includes the twenty year period of
English controlled Florida (1763-1783), Key Vaca fairly leaps out of the
darkness and into the lime-light. In 1764, two nations, Spain and England,
through their official representatives argued over the ownership of the
Dr. Charles W. Arnade gives a lively description of Juan Joseph Elixio
de la Puente, a Floridian Creole, and spokesman of the Spanish interests,
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
meeting Florida's English Soldier Governor, Francis Ogilvie, and of their
parleying positions (Tequesta, 1955). There was no doubt, even nearly two
hundred years ago, as to the importance of "Cayo de Bacas". Of the many
islands between "Cayo Viscayno" and "Hueso" Elixio listed by name only
five, one of which was "Cayo de Bacas". This key was six leagues long, had
land fit for cultivation, fresh water, and "never suffered inundations" by the
sea. It also had "excellently sheltered" anchorage with good foundation
"for frigates carrying forty cannons." This description gives us our first clues
as to the importance of this Island to vessel-men of all sorts, and to the
United States, in times of war.
Elixio was so concerned over his meeting with Ogilvie, that upon his
return to Havana, he wrote a long letter on April 12, 1766, to Cuba's Gov-
ernor in which he warned what would happen should the English get control
of the Florida Keys. Their very location was of strategic importance to Cuba.
In the light of later history, it seems significant that in numbering the pre-
sentation of his arguments in favor of Spanish controlled Keys, Elixio
included under the first one: "If Cayo Bacas and Cayo Hueso were settled
by the English, as they have made up their minds to, they will station armed
frigates there in case of war, sufficient enough in their estimation, to capture
all the Spanish vessels coming down through the channel."
Of interest too, is Elixio's implication that boats were coming from
Spanish soil to the Keys "legally" and otherwise for he said, "This voyage
can be undertaken without danger even by the boats of the wood cutters.
Also those boats who legally go to engage in catching fish or turtles will be
injured by the English . ."
Elixio said the Florida Keys had always been inhabited by the Costa
Indians, and by 1767, they would have settlers from Bermuda and from the
"American north". There are records to the effect that people went to the
Keys as early as 1767 and even earlier, but not as settlers. Early histories of
the Bahama Islands make this very clear.
James Grant Forbes noted in 1750 ". .. came men from New Provi-
dence and other Bahama Islands for turtles and mahogany". "Sea cows" were
so numerous Forbes saw fit to leave a record of them; and of Key Vaca, he
left this comment: "Payo Vaca or Cow Key is remarkable for having been
inhabited by the Caloosa Indians from Havana."
In 1769 Captain Bernard Romans ". . with great labor, fatigue, and
inconvenience from musquitos" explored the Keys and observed that long
since the most valuable timber had been cut down, ". .. only very young
timber" was there then (Charles Vignoles, Observations upon the Floridas,
New York, 1823). He was the "principal and best known assistant" to
William Gerard de Brahm (Charles C. Mowat, Florida Historical Quarterly,
(hereinafter cited F.H.Q.) Vol. 20, 1942), and he called the Keys "stations".
After his notations about "Cayo Huiso" Romans went on to say, ". . at
Cayo Vacos and Cayo Huiso, we see the remains of some savage habitations,
built, or rather piled up of stones; these were the last refuges of the Caloosa
nation, but even here the water did not protect them against the inroads from
the Creeks, and in 1763 the remnant of this people, consisting of about eighty
families, left this last protection of their native land, and went to the
The versatile, eccentric William Gerard de Brahm, a Swiss, was the first
Surveyor General for British East Florida. In the library of Dr. Mark F. Boyd
is a copy of de Brahm's unpublished manuscript, The History of Three Prov-
inces: South Carolina, Georgia and East Florida (Original, Harvard Univer-
sity). De Brahm identified the Keys as forty-eight islands; he called twenty.
six to thirty-six inclusive the Vacas, and attached to the manuscript was a
note, "These Vacas are a cluster of islands, appearing as one island towards
Hawke Channel." (Arnade, letter February 14, 1957).
In a letter dated May 6th, 1806, John McQueen told his family that "We
have now some few settlers among the Keys", and "Twenty-eight to thirty
Vessels annually came from Providence." In a manuscript, "The Develop-
ment of Agriculture in Florida During the Second Spanish Period", Marion
F. Shambaugh, included this statement: "In 1807, some people were settling
in the Florida Keys." (P. K. Yonge Library). Unfortunately, neither author
specified which of the Keys had the settlers.
The vain and bombastic Andrew Ellicott (Hubert B. Fuller, The Pur-
chase of Florida .. Burrows Company, Cleveland, 1906, pp. 78, 84, 76,
137, 138), a United States Commissioner, was in charge of the surveying of
the line between the United States and the Spanish Territory during the years
1796 and 1800. Beginning October 30th, 1799, he spent the greater part of six
days close to and on Key Vaca but he left no record of seeing anyone living
there. He recorded the taking of soundings, large turtles, fine fish, the tracing
of a variety of plants, the killing of several deer "of that small species,
common to some of these islands . less than the ordinary breed of goats",
and the visit by Captain Burns of New Providence, who was on a turtling and
wrecking voyage and whose vessel "lay at the east end of Key Vaccas."
(The Journal of Andrew Ellicott, 1814, pp. 245-246).
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
Other historians of Florida, writing of the 1700's, have given space,
directly or indirectly, to Key Vaca. William Roberts visited the coast of the
"Country of Florida" in 1754. "The Cayo de Vacas", he observed, "are a
cluster of small islands and banks which with the Vivora and Matacumbe
extend quite to the Cayo Largo . ." (An Account of the First Discovery
and Natural History of Florida, 1763, p. 20). Daniel G. Brinton in his Notes
on the Floridian Peninsula (1859, p. 116) commented that in 1763, "Cayo
Vaco" was depopulated. Vignoles said the same thing in 1825. Karl Squires
observed, ". . villages of the Tequestas were scattered about the lower
East Coast [Florida] from Cape Canaveral to Key West." (Tequesta, Vol. I,
1941, p. 41).
Before the close of the 18th century the "American North" had won its
independence from England and the southern frontier State of Georgia had
joined (1788) the Union as had Tennessee (1796). Events taking place in
or around Spanish Florida during the early part of the 19th century would
eventually affect Key Vaca. In the first place, Florida's border lines had not
been clearly determined to the satisfaction of all interested nations. France
must have known that both the United States and England had their eyes on
her Mississippi Valley region. By 1812, United States and England were
again at war with each other, and England had established a base at Pensa-
cola. Spain was having a lot of trouble with the American settlers whom she
had invited into Florida to rebuild deserted English plantations or to estab-
lish new ones. Patriots from Georgia and Tennessee were causing disturb-
ances. The Seminole Indians resented the tyrannical ruling Spaniards,
especially so after their kindly treatment by the English. Adventurers from
Georgia and Tennessee had encouraged the Indians to set upon both American
and Spanish settlers. Property and livestock were being confiscated or
destroyed and people were being horribly murdered. Spain had had her own
civil war and her treasury was drained, business in St. Augustine for some-
time had come to a standstill, and the Spanish Government owed large
amounts of money to her employees (Robert E. Rutherford, F. H. Q., July,
1952). To those who remained loyal to her cause Spain would grant titles
to land, and when possible, of their own choosing. Under these conditions
Key Vaca became the possession of one man.
Prior to 1814, records show that Key Vaca had been any man's land
and it was resorted to according to the needs of Indians, sea travelers, and
sea rovers. These men were pirates, freebooters, and buccaneers and they
were followed by the wreckers. Key Vaca's geographic situation attracted
some of all those treasure-grabbing men. The Calusa Indians may have
been Key Vaca's first pirates and this Island may have sheltered the last of
the pirates in the early 1800's. Mr. Edward Neff, Miami Beach's first civil
engineer, and later engineer on the Keys for the Florida State Road Depart-
ment, had this to say: "From my knowledge of the Keys, Vaca Cut and
Pull-and-Be-Damned Creek, which runs out of it, are the only deep channels
adjacent to high land that would meet all the implied conditions." In that
area he had found, "shards of very old English china, squat, black, unsymet-
rical (evidently hand made) bottles shiny with the patina of age; an iron
cannon ball big as my fist; irons which have been identified by non-experts
as leg-irons; and a mass of verdigris which proved to be a chest handle.
No chest!" Also, on the north side of Key Vaca, in a dense hammock was
an Indian well sometimes called Spongers' Well. "That was," he said,
"ideally suited to their purpose."
There were other wells on the island. Charles M. Brookfield and John
M. Goggin have examined them and Mr. Brookfield believes they are natural
pot holes, also known as Spanish Wells. William A. Parrish, who holds the
distinctive degree of F. F. M. (First Father of Marathon), mentioned one
particular well as being twenty-five to thirty feet wide, at ground level, with
steps leading down to the water. Geologists from Washington, D. C., be-
lieved they were made by the Calusa Indians. William Ackerman, author,
and resident of Marathon, Key Vaca, stated, "There are hundreds of Indian
wells in the Key Vaca area. I just recently carefully filled a very beautiful
well that is approximately nine feet in diameter and eight feet deep and
beautifully walled" (Letter, May 29, 1957).
M. J. Rorabaugh, District Engineer, Ground Water Branch, United States
Department of the Interior, Tallahassee, Florida, advised, "Key Vaca is a
part of a dead coral reef . and materials exposed at the surface are
assigned to the Key Largo limestone. This limestone contains many solution
holes and caverns which permit sea water to move freely in and out and rain
water to dissipate quickly into the sea. The occurrence of fresh water on the
Key would occur only in isolated areas after a rain and then for only a
limited time. No permanent fresh-water wells have ever been developed on
Key Vaca, although several attempts have been made at depths ranging from
100 to 700 feet. . The potable water occurs as a very thin lense floating
on salt water and becomes brackish or salty if withdrawn too rapidly and
during periods of drought." (Letter, March 2, 1956).
In 1837, John Lee Williams described the appearance of the Vacas Keys
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
as: ". . some are covered with tall pines, some with hammock trees, and
some almost entirely with grass." Twelve years earlier, Charles Vignoles re-
corded: "Cayos Vacas or Cow Keys" had potable water, plenty of deer, and
the quantity of fish around there was incredible.
With this background, it may not be difficult to imagine what Francisco
Lorenzo Ferreira had in his mind when he petitioned, on January 4, 1814,
for absolute title to "Key Bacas and four small islands." The original docu-
ment, now in the State Capitol Building, Field Note Division, Department of
Agriculture, Tallahassee, Florida, has been translated into English and which
F. J. Fatio, S.B.L.C. (Secretary, Board of Land Commissioners) certified to
be "a true and correct translation from a document in the Spanish language."
The translated version reads:
To his Excellency the Governor
Don Francisco Ferreira of this City to your Excellency respect-
fully sheweth: that he is desirous of dedicating himself to the
cultivation of the land, and with some slaves he possesses establish
himself on some place that may be advantageous whenever he can
collect funds for the purpose of obtaining hands, and as the services
he has rendered, and is still rendering to the Country with his person
and property are well known to Your Excellency as also the great
losses he has suffered during the revolution of this province he
therefore prays Your Excellency will be pleased grant him in abso-
lute property a Key situated among those called the Florida Keys,
and is known by the name of Key Bacas and also four small islands
which are situated in the vicinity thereof, that he may as soon as
possible collect funds sufficient for the purpose of forming an
establishment thereon, which may at the same time be useful for
those who may have the misfortune of being shipwrecked near said
places, being a favor he hopes to receive from the goodness of your
Excellency St. Augustine January 4th 1814
(Signed) Francisco Ferreira
On the following day, the then Spanish Governor, Sebastian Kindelan,
acting under the authority of the Spanish Government, made the following
notation in the left margin of Ferreira's petition:
St. Augustine January 5th 1814
As the services rendered by the petitioner are well known, and
in consideration of the great losses which he has suffered by the
Revolution which took place in the year 1812, grant him in absolute
property the Key named Bacas and the small islands adjacent
without injury to a third
In the Duff Green Edition of the American State Papers, Vol. 3, p. 658,
in the "Minutes of the Board of Florida Land Commissioners", under date
of November 17, 1823, is recorded: "Francisco Ferreira presented his memo-
rial to this board, praying confirmation of title to an island by the name of
Bacas and four small islands adjoining, situated to the south of Cape Florida,
and known as one of the Florida Keys with a concession to memorialist made
by Governor Kindelan and dated the 5th of January, 1814; which are ordered
to be filed."
Although Ferreira filed his claim, action could not be taken, since he
was not a settler on Key Vaca at the time of the cession. The Act of Feb-
ruary 28, 1824 extending the time for filing claims till January 1, 1825, had
limitations whereby Ferreira's claim would not come within its provisions.
However, in American State Papers, Gales and Seaton Editon (Vol. 4, p.
403), is the statement: "Saturday, June 12, 1824 . Francis Ferreira, by
his attorney, George Murray, obtained permission and presented his claim
to the board . ." On the same day Jose Bernardo Reyes testified that he
was in Governor Kindelan's office when the Governor signed the grant of
On the 19th of June, 1824, the board examined Gabriel W. Perpall and
Ede Van Evour. In the Record Book, No. 6-A, (p. 250) Board of Land Com-
missioners, Tallahassee, Florida, is the "Decree" in which the Board stated
it was not authorized to decide finally on claims where the quantity was
undefined "but conceiving that the claimant has made an equitable title for
the lands which he claims It is therefore recommended to Congress for
Later, it will be noticed that this lack of definite information as to the
character and condition of "the four small islands adjacent to Key Bacas"
created many difficulties for the Surveyor General and for the future owners
of the Ferreira Grant.
While no biographical record could be found, there is enough to piece
together a picture of the man Ferreira. Scattered official glimpses of his
attitude and conduct toward his country and his association with govern-
mental and civic leaders and with his neighbors are found in the records of
Spanish Land Grants of East Florida (Vols. I, III, IV), and in The Territor-
ial Papers of the United States (1956); an inkling of his early family life
is gleaned from the records in the Church Archives, St. Augustine Parish,
Spanish census lists, tax and land ownership records, and finally, the per-
sonal qualities of the man are known as remembered by his descendants.
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
William S. Ferreira (Miami), a great grandson, has a Prayer Book,
titled, "The Ursuline Manual or a Collection of Prayers, Spiritual Exercises,
Etc. Interspersed with the Various Instructions necessary for Forming Youth
to the Practise of Solid Piety" printed in 1841. Of the several entries
on the fly leaves of this Prayer Book are: William S. Ferreira, b. October
11, 1878; his father, Ramon (Raymond) Lorenzo Ferreira, b. June 18, 1848
(Fernandina); and his grandfather, Juan B. Ferreira, b. November 14, 1813.
Mr. William S. Ferreira, now a retired contractor-builder, recalls clearly,
though he was very young, that his grandfather told him of his own father
(Francisco Lorenzo Ferreira) being lost at sea. He will "never forget" that
his grandfather paid fifty dollars in gold to the Indians for a "petrified hick-
ory oil stone." (Now in his possession). If Juan B. Ferreira was patterned
after his father, then we know, through Mr. William S. Ferreira, that Fran-
cisco was usually a jolly man, strict in matters of honesty, devoted to his
family and loyal to his country. From a tin-type picture of the son of Key
Vaca's first known white man owner he appears as a serious yet kindly man,
of average size, wearing a goatee beard, and conservatively dressed.
Francisco Ferreira was born in St. Augustine on September 5, 1791, the
fourth of seven children, of "Juan Bautista Ferrer [Ferreira], native of Villa
de Murcia de Panoya, Reyno de Portugal, son of Antonio and Gracia Maria
Fonseca; and Isabel Bently Nixon, native of Charleston, Estado Unedos de
America, daughter of Juan and Ana Ursula Andrade." He was baptized on
November 20, 1791, by the Priest, Miguel O'Reilly.
Evidently his parents came to Florida between 1786 and 1788, as on
July 17, 1788, Ferreira's mother, Isabel Nixon, Charleston, 23 years old, of
Lutheran Protestant parents; his brother, Juan B. Ferreira, Charleston, 5
years old; and his sister, Maria Ferreira, Charleston, 2 years old, were bap-
tized in St. Augustine, Florida. (Letter, August 28, 1956, Dr. John W.
Griffin, Executive Historian, Saint Augustine Historical Society).
When Francisco was eight years old his father bought a wooden house
from Juan de Acosta and a year later sold it to Juan Hero. The tax list of
1803 shows this house as No. 107, situated on the north side of Cuna Street,
between Spanish and St. George Streets. This site is now owned by the St.
Augustine Historical Society and is used as a parking lot. The same tax list
gives Juan Ferreira's property as two lots, Nos. 117 and 118. No. 117 was
vacant but the No. 118 lot, on the corner of Treasury and St. George Streets,
diagoLally from the Old Spanish Treasury Building, had an undescribed
house, so it would seem that Francisco spent his youth close to the seat of
Government. Also in 1803, his father was granted 300 acres at Denegal,
20 miles from the Matanzas River, and two years later 75 acres "since he had
bought more slaves." Both parents were frequently sponsors of baptisms of
babies who apparently were named in honor of Francisco's mother. Even
though "times were hard" the family had money for purchasing a home and
an extra lot next to it right in the heart of the capitol city and for "more
slaves." It seems fair to assume that Francisco grew up in a home of com-
fortable circumstances. The first born child of this home became a mariner
and a merchant. Francisco, himself, must have been a familiar figure in the
Government House and wherever public spirited men met. He was often
called upon by some of St. Augustine's wealthiest families to testify that the
law had been carried out (land cultivation and improvements made). Tomas
de Aguilar, brevet lieutenant of the army, serving as secretary to four of
East Florida's Spanish Governors and having had charge of the archives,
"had a habit of telling him [Ferreira] what happened in his office", so stated
Honorable David Floyd. On occasion, after Francisco had testified that what
other witnesses had said was true, the Governor signed the documents. In
his testimony Francisco made a clear distinction between "first hand knowl-
edge" and what he had been told, even by Aguilar. On the witness stand,
Ferreira would sometimes declare himself a planter, sometimes a neighbor,
and on one occasion, when testifying for a wealthy merchant, he gave his
occupation as "bustling around" in the country. He was in Tampa a few
times and once he went to examine a 10,000 acre tract; he noticed that the
"45-50 slaves were lodged in good houses." Further evidence of his absence
from St. Augustine are the listings of unclaimed mail, published in the East
Ferreira seems to have been interested and active in the civic and
political affairs of his city. His name appears frequently in the early 1820's,
in memorials, petitions, and other papers calling for group action. One
memorial was addressed to Congress suggesting a better mail route; another
expressed objections to the prejudiced attitude of Alexander Hamilton, son
of Washington's famous Cabinet member; and there were two documents
designed to protect the interests of "lot holders" and slave owners.
In a letter dated October 6, 1876, addressed to the Commissioner, Gen-
eral Land Office, Washington, D. C., John Friend, attorney, quoted Fran.
cisco's son as saying his father "with the papers had become lost at sea in
a voyage from St. Augustine to Cuba in March 1822." When that letter was
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
written, about fifty years had elapsed since his father's death (between 1824
and 1827) and such an error seems understandable. By December 8, 1827,
Mrs. Francisco Ferreira had become a widow (Plat of Key Vaccas, No. 5,
Arthur L. Ferreira of Jacksonville has a record of Francisco's marriage
of February 21, 1811, to Josepha Ferdinanda Martha Estefanopoly, daughter
of Nicholas and Juana Marin Estefanopoly and of the birth of their son,
Juan Bautista Serapis Francisco Ferreira, born November 13, 1813, in St.
Augustine. This date of Juan's birth is one day earlier than that recorded
in William S. Ferreira's Prayer Book. The United States Census for St. Johns
County, in 1840, lists a Francis P. Ferreira, 33, City Marshall and a John
Ferreira, 35 years, and a farmer.
The Ferreiras and the Estefanopolys were neighbors in St. Augustine,
the latter also living on St. George Street. For his services as a carpenter
and militiaman, Nicholas petitioned on May 19, 1815 for 2500 acres through
his son-in-law, Francisco, and it was granted.
Ferreira must have had some money because he bought slaves; he owned
a plantation close to Robert McHardy, surveyor, who owned one of the most
valuable plantations in all Florida (East Florida Herald, January 4, 1823);
and when he needed the services of an attorney he engaged no less a person
than George Murray. So we have some idea of the man who probably could
have had any unclaimed parcel of land just for the asking and he chose
Undoubtedly Ferreira was familiar with the Keys. One of his witnesses,
Ede Van Evour, who later settled in Key West, testified before the Board of
Land Commissioners that he had often gone to the Keys and it seems likely
Francisco went with him. The published lists of unclaimed mail would
suggest it. Francisco must have known Solomon Snyder of New York who
had navigated among the Keys and knew them so well that Charles Vignoles
consulted him for information about them. On June 11, 1823, Ferreira sold
Duck Key to Solomon Snyder. (Letter L, No. 13827, National Archives).
Whether or not Francisco Ferreira ever actually lived on Key Vaca has
not been established. Vignoles said, "In making the grants for services, it
was not contemplated either by the authorities or by the individuals that
these lands were to be actually occupied" (Observations upon the Floridas,
Four years after the Vaca Islands were granted to Ferreira, an economic
revolution was taking place in the New England State of Connecticut. The
coastal towns' carryingg trade" was cut off by the Jefferson embargoes so
many of the inhabitants had to find new ways of making a living or move
on to other places. For long years, Mystic, Connecticut, had been the home
of shipbuilders, daring mariners, and fishermen, and some of those men
chose the latter course (Connecticut, American Guide Series, 1938, pp. 33,
In J. J. O'Donnel's article, Florida Sponges which first appeared in the
Florida Times Union, probably in April of 1890, and reprinted May 2, 1890,
in the Scientific American is this: "The first settlement in this archipelego of
the Gulf was made on Key Vaca about the year 1818 by fishermen from
Mystic, Connecticut. In their fishing excursions they found that Key West,
from its deep, spacious harbor and easy access, afforded them a better
situation. So they abandoned their primitive settlement and roughly con-
structed homes and betook themselves to Key West, fifty miles farther south-
west . where they erected new homes and plied their vocations .. "
Apparently Key Vaca's first settlers had carried on their fish business,
but with whom? Key West was still a wilderness and so was Miami. St.
Augustine had the responsibility of protecting the waters along the Bahama
Channel and Francisco's oldest brother was a mariner, so perhaps the Mystic
fishermen found a market there, or maybe they wanted to be nearer Tortugas
where fisheries had been set up before and where Spaniards from Havana
came to trade European goods for fish. Being expert mariners, they could
have sold their sea food directly to the Havana market.
When Key West was sold on the 20th of December, 1821, it ".. wore
the same wild aspect that it had worn for ages." (Walter C. Maloney,
A Sketch of the History of Key West, Newark, 1876, p. 6). Possession of
that island by the new owner took place in April of 1822; however, on the
occasion of raising the United States Flag on March 25, 1822, it was witnessed
by the few residents then there. They must have been the fishermen from
Key Vaca, for it is a matter of record that the earliest settlers of Key West
were from Connecticut. (Jefferson B. Browne, Key West, The Old and the
New. St. Augustine, 1912). It would seem, then, that Key Vaca had a settle-
ment for about four years, beginning with the year 1818.
Some of these Connecticut fishermen may have turned to wrecking on
the Keys. On March 25, 1831, a shipwrecked passenger, John P. Decatur,
praised Captains Smith and Place of Sloops Splendid and Hyder Ali for
having "so much honor and fine feelings". Five of the twenty wrecking
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
vessels on the Keys in 1835 were from Connecticut; two of the five were
from Mystic and they operated out of Key Vaca, and Hyder Ali was a
The period between the time when the Connecticut mariners settled on
Key Vaca and the 1830's when Bahamians came to farm there, the Island
became a wrecking center of foreign vessels. As early as December 6, 1821,
the government was advised to "station a military and naval force in the
neighborhood." Matthew C. Perry, in March of 1822, suggested to the Sec-
retary of the Navy the need of a lighthouse and a gun boat. John Du Bose,
the Inspector of Customs, in St. Augustine, reported on May 21, 1823, that
the coast from Cape Florida to Tortugas needed governmental attention more
than any other area. The following September 23, 1823, Governor DuVal
wrote to the Secretary of War about the Negroes from Tampa Bay and
Charlotte Harbor going in boats to the Florida Keys and thence to the
Bahamas by Providence wreckers. Captain Winslow Foster, Nassau, N. P.,
of the Revenue Cutter Alabama, with two British sloops, was captured along
the Keys and found to have slaves aboard. The American Sloop Sailor's
Rights, on "piratical and outrageous activities against the law" was also
captured. (The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1956, Vol. XXII,
On board the Sea Cull, Allenton, [Key West] Commodore David Porter,
on June 24, 1823, informed the Secretary of the Navy, "I am under the
impression that the practice of wrecking Spanish vessels on our coast by
Colombian cruisers . has for a long time past been pursued to a con-
siderable extent . that the establishment at Key Vaca was made with
this object in view." He would remove "all cause of suspicion and complaint
from the authorities of Cuba." He wanted instructions on "the disposal of
the property" and what he should do if the cruiser claiming to be a Govern-
ment vessel "should be detected and the individuals aiderss and abettors),
residents at Key Vaca." He had been told that the goods from Key Vaca
were sent to Norfolk.
Commodore Porter wrote again, six days later, to the Secretary of the
Navy that he had "the Goods" of the schooner which he detained at Key
Vaca, under guard at Key West. The situation at Key Vaca must have been
very serious otherwise David Porter would not have stated so emphatically,
"There is a necessity for a Lieutenant's Guard of Marines to be stationed at
Key Vacas with two pieces of cannon to preserve order among the numerous
Wreckers Fishermen from Havana . totally unrestrained by any law,
Who are in the habit of visiting that place . I can only spare a guard
of Six men. The Guns and ammunition I can send . I have just ordered
a field piece with its equipment to be taken on board the Wild Cat to be left
at Key Vacas." He also reported that a "murder of a most atrocious char-
acter" had been committed here by a Spanish fisherman on one of the
The Guard of Marines was placed on Key Vaca as evidenced by the
report of July 12th, 1823, by Francis H. Gregory, Lt. Commandant, U. S.
Navy to Commodore David Porter. Lt. Gregory had had a "communication
of July 10th from Lt. Stephen M. Rogers, commanding the Marine encamp-
ment on Key Vacas . with enclosures concerning affairs at that place."
According to orders, Lt. Gregory "proceeded towards Key Vaccas . .
beating up inside the reef . came in sight of an Armed Schooner [be-
lieved to be the Centilla] with two other Small Vessels." Not being able to
cross the reef at the location he was in, Lt. Gregory went directly to Key
Vaca where he had hoped to meet the vessel. He waited from the 7th to the
11th of July and not sighting her he "Supplied Lieut. Rogers' Guard with
Provisions for one month", and returned to Key West, on his U. S.
Schooner Grampus. By request of Lt. Rogers, Lt. Gregory took back a man,
Amos Bean, from Key Vaca, who had been on board the Centilla.
The prisoner, Nicholas Goulindo, a "spanyard" was sent from Key
West to St. Augustine to be tried for murder but as U. S. District Attorney,
Edgar Macom, explained in his letter of December 31, 1823, to "Hon. Rich
Call" the case had not been presented at the last court owing to the absence
of the witnesses. He had no hope of procuring them since they lived in
Key West unless the U. S. Navy could bring them. Under his signature and
apparently in "Call's hand" was the statement, "The Witnesses are at Key
Vaccus instead of Key West."
On February 20, 1824, Samuel Ayers, acting Collector, in "Allenton,
Thompson's Island", informed the Hon. W. H. Crawford, Secretary of the
Treasury, that ". . it appears very necessary that an Inspector should be
appointed to reside at Key Vacus, owing to the great number of English
wreckers that cruise and rendezvous in that neighborhood . ."; again,
on April 10th, he brought up the same need to Hon. Joseph Anderson, Comp-
troller of the Treasury, "Washington City". In this letter he thought the
Inspector should have power to enter and clear vessels, as "That place Serves
a general rendezvous for all vessels to winward."
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
Whether or not an inspector was assigned to Key Vaca is not known
to this writer. Possibly the need became less acute after Commodore Porter's
activities along the coast and after the Congressional Act of March 3, 1825,
determining the method of disposal of salvaged goods taken from vessels
in American waters and still later the Act requiring the licensing of vessels
and of captains.
Francisco Ferreira must have known about those illegal activities on and
around his property, in fact, he could have been at court when the man from
Key Vaca was tried for murder. Ferreira knew Edgar Macom and it seems
possible that Macom's suggestion of having the U. S. Navy transport the
witnesses to St. Augustine was carried out sometime during January through
April of 1824 and the case brought to trial in May while Francisco was
serving as juror.
In December of 1821, when the Government's attention was being
focused on the pirating and wrecking pursuits around the Keys, Juan Pablo
Salas sold Key West, and on September 4, 1824, only a few months after
Ayres' report was sent to the Comptroller of the Treasury, Francisco Ferreira
sold Key Vaca for $3,000 (Deed Book E, pp. 121-122, St. Johns County,
Florida), which amount was $1,000 more than the sale price of Key West.
Key Vaca's new owner, Isaac Newton Cox, an outstanding attorney and
later a Judge of St. Johns' County Court, in St. Augustine, was also an
acquaintance of Ferreira's. Cox had petitioned for 2500 acres of land for
Francisco's father-in-law on the same day that Nicholas Estefanopoly had
also petitioned for similar acreage through Ferreira. The wealthy merchant,
F. M. Arredondo, had Cox represent him, in a claim of 256,000 acres and in
this case the lawyer called upon Francisco as a witness.
Records have yet to be found showing why Cox, formerly of Philadelphia,
was interested in Key Vaca to the extent of paying $3,000 for it and for
Boot Key, Viper Key, and Knights Key, only to sell them a little over three
years later (December 8, 1827) to Charles Howe for $1,500.
According to the "Plat of Key Vaccas and Adjacent Islands" this con-
veyance of title by Cox to Howe included, ". all those five certain
Islands or Keys . known . by the name of Key Vacas, Boot Key,
Viper Key, Duck Key, and Knights Key . being the same Islands or
Keys which were granted to one Francisco Ferreira . ."; however, Edward
C. Howe, son of Charles Howe, advised the Honorable Commissioner of
Public Lands in Washington, D. C., in a letter dated July 25, 1874, that,
"on the 11th of June, 1823, Francisco Ferreira sold one of the islands called
Duck Key to Solomon Snyder. On the 4th of September, 1824, Francisco
Ferreira sold the other Islands, consisting of Key Vacas, Boot Key, Viper
Key, and Knights Key to Isaac N. Cox, on the 8th of December, 1827 all
of these Islands were purchased by Charles Howe and Silas Howe." Horatio
Grain, Howe's son-in-law, in a letter dated April 10, 1885, also informed
the same Commissioner that "Ferreira conveyed Duck Key, June 11, 1823,
to 'Sol Snyder', who dying, his heirs sold to Hon. William Marvin, formerly
U. S. District Judge here [Key West] who conveyed the same to my father-
in-law, Charles Howe, who had salt works there and who subsequently sold
to William C. Dennis whose heirs hold the title. Key Vacas and the remain-
ing Keys were by Ferreira conveyed to one Cox Sept. 4, 1824 Cox con-
veyed to Mr. C. Howe . ."
In the Plat of Key Vaccas and Adjacent Islands and in the above quoted
letters, there is agreement that Isaac N. Cox purchased from Francisco Key
Vaca and three small Islands (Boot, Viper, and Knights Keys), but neither
the Plat nor the letters indicate that Cox ever acquired Duck Key, yet, the
Plat (No. 4, p. 3) shows that Isaac N. Cox conveyed to Charles Howe "All
those five . Keys."
Charles Howe, a native of Massachusetts, and Key Vaca's third owner,
is listed in the 1850 U. S. Census (Monroe County) as being forty-six years
old so he must have been about twenty-three years old when he purchased
the Ferreira Grant The next year, he had a wife, Ann C. Howe. Judge
William Marvin recalled that Howe settled first on Indian Key; when that
Island was purchased (supposedly) in 1825, he was not one of the two
squatters then there. When the 1830 U. S. Census was taken Howe had
thirteen slaves and he had been described as a "strong Union man". By
1850, his wife was Eliza Howe of Connecticut and their household contained
five children, from twenty to nine years. A review of his activities reveals
him to have been an honest, fair and likeable man. He served as postmaster
and inspector of customs (Nelson Klose. F. H. Q., 1948, No. 2, pp. 189-202)
and for thirty years as a Deputy Collector (Letter, April 10, 1885, Horatio
Grain to Hon. W. A. J. Sparks).
Mr. Howe received seeds and plants from Dr. Henry Perrine who was
serving as Consul at Campeche (1827-1837), for experimental plantings and
later the two of them enjoyed their trips to Key Vaca, remitting "valuable
plants and seeds" to the settlers there. Judge James Webb of Key West
agreed with Dr. Perrine that Mr. Howe was the only man on the Keys
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
"entirely suitable to be our official associate" (Perrine, Tequesta, 1951).
Horatio Crain told the Commissioner, General Land Office, Washington,
D. C., that Charles Howe "was the first Collector of Customs appointed by
Mr. Lincoln in 1861 in the South. . ."
The Howes' home was the only one on Indian Key where the Perrine
children were allowed to visit (Hester Perrine Walker, F. H. Q., July, 1926).
Even the Indians, before the massacre, warned him to leave Indian Key
immediately and his house was the only one not destroyed (Welch Collec-
tion, Vol. I, August 9, 1925). Either he heeded the warning and left with
his family, or they were already off the Island. No mention was found of
their escape. The last time his name was found in the tax list of Monroe
County was for the year 1870. In his will, dated January 21, 1873, made
in Hadley, Massachusetts, Mr. Howe mentioned his real and personal estate
in Key West but not of his Key Vaca property. At the time of his will, his
wife was Julia A. Howe.
After his death in January of 1873, his children and grandchildren and
particularly his first daughter's husband, Horatio Crain, spent much time
and long years of struggle against errors made by the United States Govern-
ment and the State of Florida in order to secure official recognition of title
of ownership of Key Vaca by Patent. It seems almost impossible that so
many mistakes could have been made by so many people in high official
positions, and at so many different times, for such a long period, all over
the ownership of the original Ferreira Grant. At one time two owners had
no doubt as to their owning certain parcels of the land, the same parcels,
while Horatio Crain knew that those sections were his property. The fact
is, the matter has not yet been settled to the satisfaction of some people.
Two separate business transactions took place on March 12, 1828,
between Charles Howe, his wife, Ann C. Howe, and Charles Edmonston.
The first one was a mortgage of $5,000 which encumbered an undivided
three-fourths part of all five Keys (Key Vacas, Boot Key, Viper Key, Duck
Key, and Knights Key), and the other one was a conveyance by warranty
deed of an undivided one-fourth part of the above Keys to Charles Edmon-
ston for $75.00 (Deed Book A, Monroe County, p. 104). Nearly a year
later, on February 16, 1829, two more conveyances were made by Charles
Howe and his wife; an undivided one-third part of the Ferreira Grant went
to Silas Howe and an undivided one-twelfth to Charles Edmonston.
Charles Howe, his brother, Silas, and Charles Edmonston, each owned
one third share of the original Ferreira Grant. In order to take advantage
of the Act of May 23, 1828, they would first have to comply with Section II
of that Act which says that no confirmation of grants over one league square
would be made; however, claimants could make a full release to the U. S.
Government of all claims of land over and above that amount and then
apply for confirmation of their claims. This is exactly what they did. First,
they filed a petition for the right to release excess land, then they gave power
of attorney to John Drysdale to effect the release; after that the land had to
be surveyed, and finally the report of the Register and Receiver of the Land
Office at St. Augustine of January 20, 1829 was referred to Congress on
January 14, 1830. The Ferreira Grant was confirmed by the Act of Congress,
May 26, 1830 (American State Papers, Gales and Seaton Edition Vol. 6,
For a consideration of $11,576.89 Charles and Silas Howe transferred
to Charles Edmonston, on June 1, 1832, their shares of ownership of Key
Vaca and the four adjacent Keys. He was a wealthy man from Charleston,
South Carolina, but failing in the panic of 1837 (Weymouth T. Jordan,
F. H. Q., January 1957, re panic) he made a deed of assignment on June 3rd
of that year of all his property, including these Keys, to Daniel Ravenal
and C. G. Memminger for the benefit of his creditors. The entire original
Ferreira Grant which was later determined to embrace 4,135.05 acres was
sold at public auction in Charleston on January 7, 1944 to William Patton
for $108.00 (Deed Book E, p. 325, Monroe County).
For the second and last time in the history of the Vacas Islands and
the four adjacent Keys they would be owned in equal shares by three men;
Patton, on September 17, 1844, conveyed an undivided one-third part of all
the "Tract of Land" to Charles Howe for $36.00 (Deed Book Q, p. 572);
and on February 27, 1852, a one-third part was purchased by M. C. Mordecai
of Baltimore, Md., (Book A, p. 61, Dade County). These owners wanted a
patent on their lands but they were helpless until the Keys were surveyed,
the contract for which was not made until November 20, 1872. After the
survey was made in February, 1873, there was a waiting period of sixteen
months before it was approved (June 30, 1874) by the U. S. Surveyor
In spite of the facts: (1) that the Private Land Claim of Ferreira had
been confirmed by Congress; (2) that a survey had been made by the
United States Government; (3) that taxes on the same lands had been paid
to the State of Florida; (4) that a patent had been applied for under the
provisions of the Act of June 22, 1860; (5) that a number of letters, often
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
containing enclosures as proof of ownership sent by Charles Howe and/or
his heirs and by their several attorneys, during the 1870's, inquiring into
the reasons for delay of issuance of Patent, had been sent to the Commis-
sioner, General Land Office, Washington, D. C.; and (6) that there had
been considerable correspondence concerning the Ferreira Grant between
State and Federal officials; the lands embraced in the original Spanish
Grant to Francisco Ferreira were treated as public domain. Portions of
them were patented to the State of Florida, December 17, 1879, under the
Act of September 28, 1850, known as the Swamp and Overflow Act of
Congress. Other portions, through the U. S. Land Office in Gainesville,
Florida, were opened for entry to any purchaser. One such patent was
issued to Lewis W. Pierce on April 10, 1886.
On top of this, the State of Florida official, the Hon. L. B. Wombwell,
Commissioner of Agriculture and State Land Agent, informed the Register
and Receiver (former Board of Land Commissioners), on August 24, 1898,
as follows: "Unfortunately the State has disposed of every foot of land
embraced within the limits of the Ferreira Grant." On that same day, in a
letter to the General Land Office, in Washington, he added to the above com-
ment, "even to the 16th Section."
A lot of unscrambling had to be done before the U. S. Government could
issue a Patent on the lands it had turned over to the State and had sold to
individual purchasers. Just one sale by the State of Florida became a little
complicated. Lewis W. Pierce had bought two pieces of "public" land which
were "sold under execution of debt by the Sheriff and bought by G. W.
Alien who conveyed two-thirds to Thomas Dennis and the remaining one-third
to J. A. Nilis." (Letter, September 6, 1898, Horatio Crain to Register and
Receiver, Gainesville, Florida).
In the reconveying of land title by the last purchaser to the owner pre-
ceding him, there was the problem of getting back the money. In instances
where the title of the lands had been reconveyed to the point where the next
transfer would be to the State of Florida, the matter came to a standstill.
Florida was ". short of available funds" and could not refund the
money. There must have been some pressure put upon the State for the
Commissioner of the Agricultural Department sent to the Register and
Receiver this reply: ". . when the money is refunded I see no reason why
the State Authorities should not quit-claim back to the United States all
the lands within the Ferreira Grant." (Letter, March 23, 1899).
PART II WILL APPEAR IN Tequesta XVIII, 1958
This Page Blank in Original
Soldiers In Miami, 1898
By WILLIAM J. SCHELLINGS
In 1898, when the United States and Spain engaged in their war over
Cuba, Miami was still an infant. It was too busy to pay much attention to
the revolution in Cuba, and too busy to even pay much attention to the
crisis that led to the war. Its efforts were concentrated on the problems that
beset every city that is experiencing a period of great development and
growth. Miami, in 1898, watched the revolt in the nearby island, and
observed the growing acerbity of Spanish American relations, but did so
with a rather detached air, as though it were not at all concerned; as though
it were completely apart from the rest of the country.
From time to time the Miami Metropolis, the weekly newspaper, would
comment on the situation in Cuba, or the diplomatic exchanges taking place,
but it failed to note any great interest in either for Miami. It was as one with
the other Florida newspapers in deploring the rising demand for war that
was evident in the press of other sections of the country. Even when it
noticed that the city of Key West was excited about the possibility of war,
and that there the belief was common that war was inevitable, the Metropolis
gave no indication that Miami was or would be involved. That attitude,
however, began to change once the battleship "Maine" had been blown up
in Havana harbor on the evening of February 7, 1898. Then the newspaper,
and the people of the city, began to give signs that they were being infected
with the virus of war fever. By the first of April, the city had been swept
up in the excitement, and patriotic demonstrations were the order of the day.
Even before the actual outbreak of war on April 24, Miami had
begun to feel the effects of it. Perhaps the first real sign of this was the
arrival in the city of a large group of people from Key West, people who
were certain that war was certain, and that Key West was in danger. Many
of these took up at least temporary residence in Miami.] At about the same
time the possibility that the Spanish navy might attack the seaboard cities
seems to have occurred to many, and the result was a demand that the army
erect coast defenses to protect Miami from such attack. When the army did
finally promise to install a battery of guns at Ft. Brickell, progress was so
slow that it was decided to form a volunteer home guard unit, arm them,
and drill them to repel any attack. Over two hundred Miamians joined the
unit, and they elected Mr. B. E. Hambleton as their Captain. A petition
was sent to Tallahassee for a supply of rifles and ammunition. When these
arrived, on May 18, drilling began in earnest.2
Not to be outdone, the neighboring settlement of Coconut Grove also
formed a similar home guard outfit, and with both units drilling and armed,
the lower peninsular finally relaxed. However, there was some resentment
because the up state city of Jacksonville received faster service in the matter
of the construction of batteries, and one bitter Miamian wrote: "Jacksonville
need not worry about invasion. All that would be necessary for them to do
would be to cut loose a bunch of water hyacinths, start them down the river,
and no ship could possibly get through." a
There were a few other signs of unusual activity in Miami, out no real
war activity. There was additional traffic between Key West and Miami,
and the International Telegraph Company installed additional instruments
to serve war correspondents who could not use the Key West service. Four
men of the Florida Naval Militia arrived with a Lieutenant Bland, and set
up a signal station at the old lighthouse on Cape Florida. Apart from that,
Miami continued to concentrate on its efforts to develop more land, and
erect more buildings. The Metropolis commented on the rising demand for
private houses and business structures.
When it became known that the War department was looking for a
camp site upon which it could gather the troops of the regular army, Miami
made no attempt to have itself considered as a possibility. Even when the
Jacksonville Times Union and Citizen urged that Miami be utilized as an
army base, no effort was made by the city itself.* The Metropolis did express
a hope that the Navy would realize Miami's value as a supplement to Key
West, but made no mention of the Army. On May 3, it did grumble that the
war had come too soon, saying that "if the war had been delayed a couple
of years, until the deep water port was complete, Miami would be in a good
location for an army base."
Even though the city made no effort to have an army camp established,
the Florida East Coast Railroad, with its southern terminal at Miami,
was not idle. Inspired by the thought of having vast quantities of freight
and large numbers of troops pass over its lines, the railroad officials from
Henry Flagler himself down to the Jacksonville freight agent, began stirring
in the effort to have some soldiers sent to Miami.
WILLIAM I. SCHELLINGS
As early as April 16, the FEC passenger agent, J. P. Beckwith, urged
that Miami be utilized by the army. No steps were taken to indicate that
serious attention was given to this suggestion until Mr. Flagler wrote to
Secretary of War Russell Alger. After that, when Brigadier General James
Wade was sent from Tampa to inspect cities on the east coast of the state,
he was instructed by Major General Nelson Miles to include Miami on his
list of cities. When Wade arrived at Jacksonville to begin his tour, J. R.
Parrott, the vice-president of the FEC, offered him the use of his own private
railway car for the trip to Miami.5
On May 18, Wade began his trip down the coast, stopping at St. Augus-
tine on the way. On his return, he disappointed Parrott by reporting that
while St. Augustine and Jacksonville were suitable camp sites, Miami was
not recommended. Despite the adverse report, Superintendent Goff of the
FEC was sent to Miami to select a specific spot for the camp, and to start
at once on preparing the ground for the troops. In Miami, Goff announced
that he had no definite word, but was sure the city would receive a contingent
Once again, General Wade was sent to examine Miami, and this time he
was accompanied by General Lawton. They stayed at the Miami Hotel, as
the guests of Mrs. Julia Tuttle, and cruised up the Miami River in a launch
supplied by Mrs. Tuttle. They inspected the beaches, and examined the site
selected by Superintendent Goff. The area chosen was bounded on the north
by the FEC terminal track, on the west by the mainline track, on the south
by Tenth Street, and faced the bay on the east. Here work had been started
to clear the ground of stones and the worst of the palmetto, with one hun-
dred men working under Mr. John Sewell.7
As far as Wade and Lawton were concerned, the work was to no avail.
They again turned in a report declaring that the city was not suitable for
the purpose, and recommended that it should not be used as a camp. The
second adverse report had as much effect on the FEC as had the first one.
Goff ordered Sewell to rush the work of clearing the ground with all speed,
and arranged to have water pipes laid out to the site from the city water
supply. He ordered that fifty shallow wells be dug to supplement the supply,
and had each well equipped with a hand pump. In other words, Goff pro-
ceeded as though Wade and Lawton had promised that troops would be sent!8
The final decision to use Miami as a camp came at the insistence of
Major General Nelson Miles. On June 16, Miles wrote to Secretary Alger,
strongly urging that 5,000 men be sent to Miami, which he described as a
perfect camp site, with ground already cleared, and health conditions that
would enable the troops to be protected from any disease. On June 20, the
order for a division of troops to proceed to Miami was sent to Mobile, Ala-
bama, to Brigadier General Theodore Schwan. In the division, shortly to be
designated as the First Division of the Seventh Army Corps, were the First
and Second Volunteer Regiments of Alabama, Texas and Louisiana. Six
regiments, with a total strength of just over seven thousand men, entrained
The troops began to arrive in Miami on June 24. Each train was wel-
comed by people from the town, who by now were eagerly looking forward
to the establishment of the camp. The soldiers were marched to the areas
assigned to them, and began to set up their tents. The first disillusionment
was at hand. The men had looked forward to Miami with anticipation of
finding a tropical paradise. In other words they had seen some of the illus-
trations of the Royal Palm Hotel on the railroad folders. Their picture of
Miami was shattered on the day they arrived.
The area of the camp had been cleared so that a long rectangle was
formed, facing the bay. It was planned that the regiments would all be
camped on or near the bay front, but the orders assigning the units to the
camp changed that. Instead of the long side of the rectangle facing the bay,
the division was so placed that it formed a rectangle, but with the short
side on the bayfront, and the rest of the camp extending far into the west.
The result was simply that most of the troops were compelled to erect their
tents on ground that had not been cleared. Four regiments were thus com-
pelled to spend a week in removing stones and palmetto, and the work was
hard enough to cause many an oath to be directed at Miami.o1
Worse than the actual labor of clearing the ground was the effect of
the changed position of the regiments on the sewer arrangements. Plans had
been made to have simple troughs used, in which deposits of waste matter
could be flushed out into the bay. Placing the troops in the rear meant they
were too far from the shore to use this system, and another had to be devised.
At first an attempt was made to dig the regular type of sink, but the lime-
stone soil defeated every attempt. Even dynamite was ineffective. The only
remaining alternative was to set up a series of half-barrels, each of which
was supposed to be emptied daily. The evils of this barrel or bucket system
did not appear at once, but when they did, it meant that Miami's name as
a healthy spot was to be blackened, and that disease was to be widespread
among the troops.
WILLIAM I. SCHELLINGS
Before that happened, other difficulties arose. It would be safe to say
that neither Miami nor the soldiers were happy about the situation for more
than a week. The men discovered that while the city may have been ideal for
a winter vacation, it simply was not the ideal spot for 7,000 soldiers in the
middle of the summer. Facilities for recreation just did not exist. Such
places of amusement that did spring up were totally inadequate, consisting
of shooting galleries, lemonade stands, and the like. When the regiments
attempted to establish canteens to help fill the need, the fact that some regi-
mental commanders were non-drinkers hampered their usefulness. The
Louisiana regiments sold beer and wines in their canteens, but the 2d Ala-
bama canteen, and one or two others, were of the "temperance" variety.
In addition to the lack of recreational facilities, the troops were disap-
pointed in several other ways. As Chaplain H. E. Carson of the 2d La.,
wrote "There was a most magnificent and gorgeously appointed hotel right
in the midst of a perfect paradise of tropical trees and bushes. But one had
to walk scarce a quarter of a mile until one came to such a waste wilderness
as can be conceived of only in rare nightmares." xl Other men bitterly con-
trasted Miami with the camp at Mobile. According to one, "At Miami we
have to walk only two miles to reach the drill field, while at Mobile we had
to march four hundred yards! Here at Miami we have heat, mosquitoes and
sandfleas that beat anything we have ever met. We even hang our hats on
the mosquitoes at night! But we cannot complain. We have the privilege of
going to the Royal Palm barber shop, where we can receive a shave for only
500!" Another wrote, "If I owned both Miami and hell, I'd rent out Miami
and live in hell!" 13
The citizens of Miami had reason to complain, too. Cases of rowdyism
were common, and clashes between soldiers and the colored population of
the city frequent. On one occasion, two white men were injured by gunfire
near the camp. Dr. L. M. Dodson, the dentist, tried to oblige some soldiers
and suffered for his trouble. While he was drilling holes in a pair of dice
for them, they stole his watch!-4 Miami began to regret that the camp had
The most serious charge leveled at the camp in Miami was simply that
it was unhealthy; that the water supply was impure; that, as one writer put
it, "this is the unhealthiest spot in the country." The charge was supported
by a sick rate far in excess of that at other camps in the state, a rate that ran
as high as 10 per cent of the total strength of the command. Most of the
men in the hospital and listed as sick in quarters were ill with various intes-
tinal disorders, but many of them were afflicted with typhoid fever, and this
was a serious illness.-"
The intestinal disorders and the typhoid were both blamed on the water
supply at the camp. The water supply, however, was tested by Tulane Uni-
versity, and was found to be pure, but unpalatable. The disagreeable taste
was laid to the fact that the pipes through which it ran lay in the hot sun.
This left the water overheated by the time it reached the taps, and although
the Aituation was partially corrected by mid-July, the men never returned to
the Use of that water. The corrective measure was to run the pipes through
barrels of ice, thus reducing the temperature somewhat.
With the principal water supply in disfavor, the men turned to the shal-
low wells that had been dug, but here the water had become contaminated,
and the pump handles were removed to prevent the use of the water. The
water had become impure simply because of the poor sanitary facilities, and
because of the total disregard of ordinary sanitary precautions by both the
officers and the men. The bucket system of waste disposal was partly to
blade, as when they were carried to the shore to be emptied, frequently a
part, of their contents was spilled on the porous ground, and was carried to
the level of the water. Then, too, many of the men were too careless to use
the regular buckets, and relieved themselves on the ground near the wells
and the mess tents. Orders issued to correct this situation were ignored, as
were orders issued to boil all water before use.
When General Schwan was replaced by General J. Warren Kiefer on
July 4, an inspection was undertaken. Kiefer was more than satisfied with
the conditions he found, and reported that Miami, in his opinion, was "the
best place in the country in which to train men for service in Cuba or Porto
Rico." Whether or not he meant that as a compliment to Miami is hard to
say in view of the conditions then existing in those two places.
Kiefer's report, moreover, must be contrasted with the recommendations
madb by Lieutenant Colonel Curtis Guild, of the Inspector General's Depart-
ment, and by Alex Kent, of the Red Cross, and Dr. S. S. Peeples, of the
Medical Department. All three made separate inspections and reports, and
all three were agreed in recommending that the troops be removed immed-
iately. They all condemned the camp, and particularly the water supply.
Colonel Guild further stated that the drill field, one and one half miles
awake from the camp, was under one to two inches of water at the time he
inspected it. Since these reports were made within a few days of each other,
and 'of Kiefer's, there was evidently a clash of opinion."
WILLIAM I. SCHELLINGS
The recommendation for removal of the troops reached the War Depart-
ment, but also reached the office of Henry Flagler. Flagler wired to Secretary
Alger, requesting that no decision be made to move the troops until after
Flagler's secretary had an opportunity to give his side of the story.18 That
was on July 22, and on July 24 another team of medical officers was sent
to inspect the camp. When these men joined in the request that the troops
be taken away from Miami, the orders were issued to break up the camp
and send the division to Jacksonville. The order reached General Kiefer on
July 29, and the last regiment left Miami on August 13.11 The effect of the
removal order had been miraculous, at least as far as the health of the men
was concerned. The number of sick was reduced by half, and recovery was
the most rapid ever seen. By August 13, only fifty men were still in the
hospital, compared to an average of 260 to 270 when the order had arrived.
It was just as well that the troops moved when they did. Nasty stories
were becoming current in the newspapers concerning the part of the city in
the poor health of the men, and about the part played by Flagler in having
the camp established. The Ocala and the Pensacola newspapers both pub-
lished stories to the effect that Flagler had spent $50,000 to secure the camp,
and had made profits of $275,000 for his railroad.2s Such charges were
without any base in fact, as far as the record shows. Flagler did profit, with-
out any doubt, but so did every businessman in Florida. It was established
that Flagler had spent over $10,000 in having the ground prepared, and in
donating ice and other items, but no other expenditure ever showed up in
any records. As far as his profits went, they were small compared to those
earned by other railroads, particularly the Plant System in its operations
In any case, the soldiers were happy to leave, and Miami was happy to
see them go. Relations had gradually grown worse, and the profits earned
by the city's businessmen were not large enough to make it worth while.
Then too, the amount of bad publicity brought by the camp was bound to
hurt the reputation of Miami as a winter resort if allowed to continue.
Finally, the war was over, the winter season was approaching, and a vacation
was needed in order to rest up and prepare for the coming season.
x Miami Metropolis, April 8, 1898.
2 Jacksonville Times Union and Citizen, May 1, 13, 18, 1898.
a Miami Metropolis, April 8, 1898.
Jacksonville Times Union and Citizen, April 5, 1898.
s bid, April 16, 1898. See also: Flagler to AIger, May 14, 1898, item No. 111287,
Record Group 92, QMGO Document File 1800-1914, in National Archives, Records
of the War Department, Old Army Section.
Jacksonville Times Union and Citizen, May 18, 25, 1898.
I Ibid., June 2, 1898. Miami Metropolis, July 1, 1898.
a Ibid., June 24, 1898.
o Reports of the War Department for the year ending June 30, 1899. 8 Vols. (Washing-
ton: Government Printing Office, 1899.) Vol.1, Part 1, p. 214. See also Report of
the Commission Appointed by the President to Investigate the Conduct of the War
Department during the War with Spain, 1898. 8 Vols. (Washington: Government
Printing Office, 1899). Vol. 1, p. 214; Vol. 7, p. 3276.
1o Jacksonville Times Union and Citizen, August 1, 1898.
SH. R. Carson, "Recollections of a Chaplain in the Volunteer Army", address to Church
Club of Louisiana, (copy in Library of Florida History, University of Florida).
12 Troy (Alabama) Messenger, July 6, 27, August 3, 1898.
xs Tampa Times, July 12, 1898.
I4 Jacksonville Times Union and Citizen, July 29, 1898.
is Walter Reed et al. Report on the Origin and Spread of Typhoid Fever in U. S. Military
Camps, 1898. 2 Vols. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1904). VoL 1,
's Report of the Investigating Commission, op. cit., Vol. 8, pp. 8-81.
ir Ibid., VoL 8, pp. 72, 81-83, 85-86.
is Ibid., Vol. 8, p. 73.
i Record Group 92, op. cit., item 111287, dated July 29, 1898.
so Pensacola Journal, July 29, 1898. Ocala Banner, August 26, 1898.
ADAM G. ADAMS, a past president of the Historical Association of
Southern Florida, is now a member of the Board of Directors, and chairman
of the Acquisitions Committee. He contributed an article on Vizcaya in the
1955 Tequesta. He came to Miami in 1925 and has been closely associated
with the real estate business since that time. Portions of this paper were read
at the annual meeting of the Florida Historical Society in Miami in March
FLORENCE STORRS BRICHAM, age 15, is a student at Southwest High
School. She already has published over her name a historical account of the
founding of Ochopee. In the preparation of this paper she exchanged 166
letters with 102 individuals and held 94 interviews with 75 individuals.
Portions of this paper were read at the annual meeting of the Florida Histor-
ical Society in March of 1957.
MARY DOUTHIT CONRAD tells her own story in the reminiscences here
printed. She wished to preserve the story of her pioneer days for her family.
Mrs. Dan O. Patton, a daughter assisted in gathering the data and Mrs.
Thelma Peters prepared the paper for publication.
WILLIAM J. SCHELLINGS, an M. A. graduate in history from the Univer-
sity of Miami and a doctoral candidate in history at the University of
Florida, is teaching history at the State Teachers College, Troy, Alabama.
He contributed "On Blockade Duty in Florida Waters," excerpts from a
Union naval officer's diary, in the 1955 Tequesta. This paper was read at
the annual meeting of the Florida Historical Society in Miami in March
HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA
FISCAL YEAR ENDING AUGUST 31, 1957
On Hand September 1, 1956
Museum Building Fund (In interest bearing bank
General Fund (In non-interest bearing bank
deposit) ---------------------------------- 1,483.43
Securities at current market-------------- 1,274.00 $17,757.43
Furniture & Fixtures---------------------- 222.67
Audio-visual equipment ------------------------ 518.45
Illustrated lecture ----------------------------- 437.17 1,178.29
Contributions to Museum Building Fund Rec'd ----- 1,115.55
Contribution to Museum Building Fund Pledged--..- 1,000.00
Contributions of Securities and appreciation ------- 247.00
Total Contributions ---------------------- 2,362.55
Dues Collected ---------------------------------- 6,191.00
Income from Books ------------------------------- 232.75
Sale of prior issues of Tequesta --------------------- 102.00
Interest on Bank Deposits ----------------------- 365.78
Dividends on Securities ------------------------- 44.85
Miscellaneous Income --------------------------- 157.02
Total Other Income -.-------------- ---7,093.40
Less Disbursements: 9,455.95
Publication Cost of Tequesta-------------------- 795.59
Program Meetings ---------------------------- 469.20
Secretarial Expense ---------------------- 225.00
President's Newsletter------------------------- 343.96
Library ------------------------------------- 10695
Purchase of Books for Sale -------------------- 310.00
Miscellaneous Expense ---------------------- 533.75
Total Disbursements ---------------- 2,784.45
Net Income for the Fiscal Year -----_------ .-
On Hand August 31, 1957 25,607.22
Museum Building Fund (In interest bearing bank
Savings Account ----------------------- 18,100.00
Savings Certificates ---------------- -- 3,000.00
General Fund (In non-interest bearing bank
deposit) ------------------------------ 807.93
Securities at current market ------------------- 1,521.00
Contribution to Museum Building Fund Rec'ble-- 1,00.00 24,428.93
Furniture & Fixtures ------------ ----------- 222.67
Audio-visual equipment ----------------------- 518.45
Illustrated lecture ---------------------------- 437.17 1,178.29
Total Net Worth ---------- ------------------ $25,607.22
Total members for 1957 (to date) Paid ---------548
Total 1957 dues collected---------------- 5,811.00
We greatly appreciate the generosity of Withers Transfer & Storage Company, 357
Almeria Avenue, Coral Gables, in providing fireproof protection for our archives, and of
Jack Callahan, C.P.A., duPont Building, Miami, in auditing our accounts.
ROBERT M. McKEY, Treasurer
LIST OF MEMBERS
EXPLANATORY NOTE: The Association provides several classes of membership,
"Sustaining" members who pay five dollars a year make up the basic member;
ship. For those who wish to contribute more for the promotion of the Associa.
tion's work the other classes of membership provide the opportunity, and the
publication of their names in the proper category of membership is a means of
recognition. "Patrons" pay ten dollars a year, "Donors" pay twenty-five dollars
a year, "Contributors" pay fifty dollars a year, "Sponsors" pay one hundred
dollars a year, and "Benefactors" pay two hundred and fifty or more dollars
This printed roster is made up of those persons and institutions that have
paid dues in 1956 or in 1957 before September 15, when this material must go
to the press. Those joining after this date in 1957 will have their names included
in the 1958 roster. The symbol ** indicates founding member and the symbol *
indicates charter member.
Ada Merritt Junior High School, Miami
Adams, Adam G., Coral Gables
Adams, Elliot, Jacksonville
Adams, Lewis M., Miami
Adkins, A. Z., Jr., Gainesville
Albertson Public Library, Orlando
Aldridge, Miss Daisy, Miami
American Museum of Natural History
Anderson, Robert H., Miami
Andrews, Melvin D., Miami
Anthony, Roscoe T., Palm Beach
Archer, Ben, Homestead
Arnold, Glenn H., Atlanta
Arnold, Mrs. Roger Williams, Miami
Avery, George N., Marathon
Ayars, Erling E., So. Miami
Baggs, William C., Miami
Bailey, Ernest H., Coral Gables
Bailey, Mrs. Ernest H., Coral Gables
Baker, Therese, Stuart
Barker, Virgil, Coconut Grove
Barrow Public Library
Bartz, Edward, Miami
Bassett, Rex, Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
Baum, Dr. Earl L., Naples
Baxter, John M., Miami*
Beal. K. Malcolm, Coconut Grove*
Beardslev, Jim E., Clewiston
Beck, Mrs. Alfred J., Ft. Lauderdale
Beyer, R. C., Miami
Bickel, Karl A., Sarasota*
Bills, Mrs. John T., Miami
Bingham, Mrs. Millicent T., Washington,
Bishop, Edwin G., Miami*
Black, Mrs. Charles E., Miami*
Black, Dr. Linnie K., So. Miami
Blocker, John C., St. Petersburg
Bloomherg, Robert L, Miami
Blouvelt, Mrs. Arthur M., Coral Gables
Bowen, Crate D., Miami
Bowman, Rt. Rev. Marion, St. Leo Abbey
Boyd, Dr. Mark F., Tallahassee*
Bnzeman, Maj. R. E., APO
Bradfield, E. S., Miami Beach"
Brady, Mrs. H. R., Key Biscayne
Brickell, Miss Maude E., Miami
Briggs, Dr. Harold E., Carbondale, Ill.
Brigham, Miss Florence S., Miami
Brinkman, Mrs. Philip S., So. Miami
Brook, John, Jr., Coral Gables
Brookfield, Charles M., Coconut Grove*
Brooks, J. R., Homestead
Brooks, Mrs. Dorothy M., Miami
Brooks, Marvin J., Miami
Brown University Library
Bullen, Ripley P., Gainesville
Burghard, August, Ft. Lauderdale
Burton, Mrs. Robert A., Miami*
Bush, R. S., Miami
Busse, Raymond J., Miami
Byrd, Mrs. J. Wade, Miami
Caldwell, Thomas P., Coral Gables**
Caldwell, Mrs. Thomas P., Coral Gableq*
Campbell, Park H., So. Miami*
Campbell, Mrs. Park H., S. Miami*
Campbell, Mrs. Susie C., Miami
Capel, Fred B., Coral Gables
Capron, Louis, West Palm Beach
Carnine, Miss Helen M., Coral Gables
Carson, Mrs. Ruby Leach, Miami**
Cartee, Mrs. Horace L., Coral Gables
Catlow, Mrs. William R., Jr., WestfieldL
Chance, Michael, Naples
Chase, Randall, II, Sanford
Cheetham, Joseph M., Miami
Clarke, Jerry C., Miami
Clarke, Mrs. Mary Helm, Coral Gables*
Clinch, Duncan L, Miami
Close, Kenneth, Miami
Coconut Grove Library
Cole, R. B., Miami
Combs, Mrs. Walter H., Sr., Miami*
Comerford, Mrs. Nora A., Miami
Connor, Mrs. A. W., Tampa
Conrad, Mary D., Miami
Cook, John B., Miami
Cooney, Mrs. Robert E., Miami
Coral Gables Public Library*
Corley, Miss Pauline, Miami**
Corliss, C. J., Washington, D. C.
Corson, Allen, Miami
Coslow, George R., Miami
Covington, James W., Tampa
Cox, Mrs. Jessamine S., Miami
Criswell, Clarence Lee, Pass-a-Grille Beach
Crow, Lon Worth, Miami*
Crow, Mrs. Lon Worth, Miami'
Cushman, The School, Miami*
Dacy, John A., Coral Gables
Dade County Florida, Publicity
Dade County Teachers' Professional
Dalenberg, George R., Miami
Danials, Clyde, Jacksonville
Darrow,. Miss Dorothy, Coral Gables
Davis, Mrs. Christene, Miami
Davis, Hugh N., Jr., Miami
DeBoe, Mrs. Mizpah Otto, Coral Gables
Dee, William V., Coconut Grove*
Deedmeyer, Mrs. George J., Miami
Deen, James L., Miami
de Lamorton, Fred, Tampa
De Nies, Charles F., Hudson, Mich.
Dicker, Mrs. Barbara, Miami
Dismukes, William P., Coral Gables*
Dixon, James A., Miami
Dodd, Miss Dorothy, Tallahassee*
Dorn,H. Lewis, So. Miami
Dorn, Harold W., So. Miami
Dorn, J. K., Jr., Miami
Dorn, Mrs. Mabel W., So. Miami
Dorothy, Mrs. Caroline, Miami*
Downer, Miss Lisa de F., Coconut Grove**
Dranga, Mrs. Anna, Miami
Dunaway, Mrs. Carl Ellis, Miami*
Dykes, Robert J., Miami
Eason, Mrs. Helga H., Miami
Eckel, Mrs. Frederick L., Ft. Lauderdale*
Edwards, Mrs. Howard IK, Miami
Elder, Dr. S. F., Miami*
Emerson, Dr. William C., Rome, N. Y.
Everglades Natural History Association
Fairchild, Mrs. David, Coconut Grove*
Fee, W. I, Ft. Pierce
Ferendino, Andrew J., Miami Beach
Ferris, Thomas A., Key Biscayne
Fisher, Mrs. Clyde W., Palm Beach
Fite, Robert H., Miami
Fitzgerald, Joseph H., Miami
Filzpatrick, Monsignor John J.,
Florida Geological Survey, Tallahassee
Florida Southern College, Lakeland
Florida State Library, Tallahassee
Forman, Mrs. J. B., Ft. Lauderdale
Fort Myers Public Library
Fortner, Ed., Miami
Fusnot, Mrs. Walter, Miami
Freeland, Mrs. William L, Miami**
Freeling, J. S., Miami
Freeling, Mrs. J. S., Miami
Freeman, Edison S., Miami
Freeman, Mrs. Ethel Cutler, Morristown,
Freeman, Harley L., Ormond Beach
Frierson, Mrs. William T., So. Miami*
Frutkoff, Theodore, Coral Gables
Fuller, Waiter P., St. Petersburg
Fullerton, R. C., Coral Gables
Fultz, Herman B., Coral Gables
Fuzzard, Miss Jessie M., Miami*
Gannaway, Mrs. K. C., Miami
Gardner, Jack R., Miami
Gardner, R. C., Miami*
Gardner, Mrs. R. C., Miami*
Garrett, Frank L., Miami
Gelber, Seymour, Miami Beach
Gerard, Miss Rayemarie, Miami
Gihson, Mrs. Walter C., Miami*
Giersch, Mrs. Richard F., Jr., Coral Gables
Gifford, Mrs. John C., Miami*
Gilbert, Bertha K., Hallandale
Givens, Robert H., Jr., Miami
Glendenning, Richard, Sarasota
Godfrey, Clyde, Miami
Goldweber, S., Miami
Goodwill. William F., Coral Gables
Gregor, Henry, Coral Gables
Griffen, F. S., Miami
Griffith, Arthur, Miami
Griggs, Nelson W., Miami Shores
Griggs, M:s. Nelson W., Miami Shores
Griswold, Oliver, Miami
Grose, Mis. Esther N., Miami
Hagan, Thomas W., Miami
Haggard, Mrs. W. A., Miami*
Hall, A. Y., Miami
Hall, Willis E., Coral Gables
Hallstead, P. Frederick, Coconut Grove
Halstead, W. L., Miami
Hampton, Mrs. John, Sparks, Md.*
Hancock, Mrs. J. T., Okeechobee
Hanks, Bryan, Ft. Worth, Texas*
Hanna, Dr. A. J., Winter Park*
Harllee, J. William, Miami
Harlow, Rev. Frank E., Coral Gables
Harlow, Mrs. Frank E., Coral Gables
Harris, Robert L., Miami
Hart, Mrs. Reginald, Coral Gables
Hartnett, Fred B., Coral Gables*
Harvard College Library
Havee, Justin P., Miami*
Havee, Mrs. Kathryn, Miami
Hawthorne, Miss June, Miami
Hayes, Paul Sisler, Palm Beach
Haynesworth, Mrs. Svea, Coconut Grove
Heinlein, Mrs. Mary C., Homestead
Hendry, Judge Norman, Miami
Herin, Thomas D., Miami
Herin, Judge William A., Miami*
Hess, Mrs. E. L., Miami
Hill, Mrs. A. Judson, Coconut Grove
Hills, Lee, Miami
Hillsborough County Historical
Hodsden, Mrs. Harry, Miami
Holcomb, Lyle D., Miami
Holland, Judge John W., Miami*
Holland, Hon. Spessard L.,
Washington, D. C.*
Hollister, Mrs. Louise C., Miami
Holmdale, Mrs. A. G., Miami
Hooker, Roland M., Miami Beach
Hortt, M. A., Ft. Lauderdale
Houghton, Mrs. A. S., Miami
Hubbell, Willard, Miami
Hughes, Mrs. Fleda V., Miami
Humes, Mrs. Ralph H., Miami*
Humphreys, Mrs. D. M., Ft. Lauderdale
Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif.
Jacksonville Free Public Library
James, Ernest W., Miami
Jenkins, Leon R., Miami
Jones, Mrs. Edith 0., Coral Gables*
Jones, Mrs. L. A., Miami*
Jones, Mrs. Mary, Miami
Joy, Mrs. Barbara E., Miami
The Junior Museum of Miami
Kemery, Marvin E., Miami
Kendall, Harold E., Goulds
Kent, Arnold H., Miami
Kent, Selden G., Miami
Kenyon, Alfred, Ft. Lauderdale
Kernachan, Mrs. Willie V., Miami*
Key West Art and Historical Society
Kiem, Stanley, Miami
King. Dr. C. Harold, Miami
King, Otis S., Miami
Kislak, Jay I., Miami
Kistler, The C. W. Company, Miami
Kitchens, Dr. F. E., Coral Gables
Knowles, Mrs. J. H., Coconut Grove
Kofoed, Jack, Miami
Kohl, Mrs. Lavenia B., Palm Beach
Koltnow, H. Robert, Miami
Krome, Mrs. William J., Homestead*
Lake Worth Public Library
Latimer, Mrs. John LeRoy, Coral Gables
Laxon, Dan D., Hialeah
Leffler, Admiral C. D., Miami
Lemon City Library and Improvement
Lewis, Carlotta, Coral Gables
Leyden, Mrs. Charles S., Coral Gables
Linch, Frances L., Miami
Lindabury, Mrs. E. Raymond, Marathon
Lindsey Hopkins Vocational School, Miami
Lindsley. A. R., Miami Beach
Lipp, Morris N., Miami Beach
Littlefield, Miss Helena, Miami
Longshore, Frank, Miami
Lucinian, Dr. Joseph H., Miami Beach
Lummus, J. N., Sr., Miami
Lummus, Tom J., Miami
Lyell, Dr. Robert 0., Miami
Lyell, Mrs. Robert 0., Miami
Lynch, Sylvester J., Homestead*
MacDonald, Miss Barbara, Miami
MacDonald, Miss Betty, Miami
Mahony, John, Miami
Manley, Miss Marion I., Coconut Grove
Manly, Charles W., Coconut Grove
Manning, Mrs. Win. S., Jacksonville
Mansfield, William N., Miami Beach
Marchman, Watt P., Fremont, Ohio*
Martin, John K., Tampa
Martin, Mrs. Kirby A., New York City
Mason, Mrs. Joe J., Miami
Mason, Dr. Walter Scott, So. Miami*
May, Philip S., Jacksonville
MeCune, Adrian S., Miami Beach
McDonald, Mrs. John M., Miami Beach
McKay, Col. D. B., Tampa
McKee, Arthur, Jr., Plantation Key
McKibben, Dr. William W., Coral Gables
McKim, Mrs. L. H., Montreal, Canada
McNeill, Robert E., Jr., New York City
Mead, Dr. Richard, Miami Beach
Memorial Library of the Palm Beaches
Merrick, Miss Ethel F., Coral Gables
Merrick, Mrs. Eunice P., Coral Gables*
Merritt, Dr. Webster, Jacksonville
Miami Edison Senior Library
Miami Public Library*
Miami Senior High School Library
Miami Springs Memorial Public Library
Mikesell, Ernest E., Miami
Miller, Raymond M., Miami*
Mitchell, Harry James, Key West
Mondrach, Mrs. Stephen H., Sr., Miami
Monk, James Floyd, Miami
Moore, Dr. Castles W., Ft. Lauderdale
Morris, Miss Zula, Miami*
Moulds, Andrew J., Coral Gables
Moulds, Mrs. Andrew J., Coral Gables
Moylan, E. B., Jr., Miami
Mudd, Dr. Richard D., Saginaw, Mich.
Muir, William Whalley, Miami
Muller, Leonard R., Coconut Grove
Munroe, Wirth M., Coconut Grove*
Nelson, Mrs. Winifred H., Miami
Newberry Library, Chicago, Ill.
Newman, Mrs. Anna Pearl, Vero Beach
Nicholson, Mrs. Ann Selden, Coral Gables
North Miami High School
Northington, Dr. Page, Miami
Nugent, Patrick B., Swananoa, N. C.*
Nugent, Mrs. Patrick B., Swananoa, N. C.*
O'Gara, Gordon C., Miami
Ogleshy, R. M., Bartow
O'Leary, Mrs. Evelyn, Miami
Otis, Robert R., Jacksonville
Owre, Dr. J. Riis, Miami
Pace, Mrs. Johnson H., Miami*
Pace, Rev. Johnson H., Jr., Tallahassee
Pancoast, J. Arthur, Uleta*
Pancoast, Leaster C., Miami Beach
Pardo, Mrs.. Ramiro V., Miami
Parker, Alfred B., Coconut Grove
Parker, O. B., Homestead
Parsons, Mrs. Frances G., Miami*
Pearce, Mrs. Dixon, Miami
Peirce, Gertrude C., Miami
Pemberton, P.G., Miami
Pemberton, Mrs. P. G., Miami
Pendergast, Mrs. Eleanor L., Miami*
Pendleton, Robert S., Miami
Pennekamp, John D., Miami
Peters, Mrs. Thelma, Miami*
Philbrick, W. L., Miami
Pierce, Miss Ruby Edna, Palm Beach
Platt, T. Beach, Coconut Grove
Plowden, Gene, Miami
Prahl, William, Miami
Prevatt, Preston G., Miami
Price, Gaylord L, Miami
Prince, J. W., Naples
Prunty, John W., Miami
Quigley, Ellen N., Miami Beach
Rader, Earle N., Miami
Railey, F. G., Miami*
Railey, Mrs. F. G., Miami*
Rasmussen, Dr. Edwin L., Miami**
Reese, Mrs. J. H., Miami
Reynolds, Mrs. H. Jarvis, Coral Gables
Ridaught, Horace, Citra
Rigby, Ernest R., Miami
Roberts, R. B., Jr., Miami
Robertson, Mrs. L. B., Miami
Rollins College, Winter Park
Rose, Harvey K., Miami
Rosner, George, Coral Gables*
Ross, Malcolm, Coral Gables
Ross, Richard P., Ft. Lauderdale
Rowley, Mrs. J. R., Coral Gables
Royce, Gardner, Coral Gables
Rubin, Seymour, Miami Beach
Santanello, M. C., Kendall
Saunders, Dr. Lewis M., Miami
Sawyer, Clifton A., Norwood, R. I.
Saye, Roland A., Jr., Miami Beach
Schuberth, Andrew F., Jr., Miami
State University of Iowa
Sessa, Dr. Frank B., Miami
Shank, H. W., Coral Gables
Shappee, Dr. N. D., Miami
Shaw, G. N., Miami
Shaw, Henry Overstreet, Miami
Shaw, Miss Luelle, Miami*
Shepard, L. C., Coral Gables
Simon, Stuart L., Miami
Simpson, Richard H., Monticello
Simpson, George C., Coral Gables
Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine
Slaughter, Dr. Frank G., Jacksonville
Sleight, Frederick W., Orlando
Smiley, Nixon, Miami
Smith, Avery C., Miami
Smith, Gilbert B., Coral Gables
Snodgrass, Miss Dena, Jacksonville
Snyder, Dr. Clifford C., Miami
Southgate, Howard, Winter Park
Sparks, Mrs. Charles, Miami
Spinks, Mrs. Elizabeth J., Miami*
State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Sterling, Ray T., Miami
Stetson University, DeLand
Ster, David S., Coconut Grove
Stevens, Mrs. T. T., Miami
Stevens, Wallace, Okeechobee
Straight, Dr. William M., Coral Gables
Stranahan, Mrs. Frank, Ft. Lauderdale*
Strickland, Mrs. C. E., Astor
Stripling Insurance Agency, Hialeah
Strong, Clarence E., South Miami*
Swalm, Mrs. Neal C., Sarasota
Sydow, William, Miami
Talley, Howard J., Miami
Tampa Public Library
Taylor, Paul C., Miami
Taylor, Robert R., Coral Gables*
Tebeau, Dr. Charlton W., Coral Gables*
Tebeau, Mrs. Violet H., Coral Gables
Ten Eick, Mrs. M. Nunez, Tampa*
Tharp, Charles Doren, So. Miami*
Thomas, Arden H., So. Miami
Thompson, Carey R., Miami
Thrift, Charles T., Jr., Lakeland
Toombs, Mrs. Bettie Louise, Miami
Town, Miss Eleanor F., Coral Gables
Trice, H. H., Coral Gables
Turner, Vernon W., Homestead
Tussey, Mrs. Ethel Wayt, Miami
Tyree, Mrs. A. T., North Miami
Ulman, John, Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History,
University of Miami Library
University of Pennsylvania Library
University of Virginia
Vance, Mrs. Herbert 0., Coral Gables*
Van Deusen, Burton E., Miami
Vogt, David, Coral Gables
Vosburgh, John R., Miami
Walsh, Mrs. Charles H., Winter Haven
Walters, Walter M., Miami
Warner, Miss Elmina, Miami
Warner, William C., Miami
Warner, Mrs. William C., Miami
Washington, James G., Miami
Watson, P. L., Miami Beach
Weaver, Mrs. Frances B., Ft. Lauderdale
Weiss, S. Sherman, Miami
Wellenkamp, Donald J., Miami
Wenner, Henry S., Jr., Miami
Wentworth, T. T., Jr., Pensacola
West India Reference Library, Kingston
Adams, Wilton L., Coral Gables
Alligood, Mrs. Katherine P., N. Miami
Ashe, Mrs. Bowman F., Coral Gables
Baber, Adin, Kansas, Ill.*
Baker, Charles H., Jr., Coconut Grove*
Barge, Dr. Hubert A., Miami
Barkley, Rufus C., Jacksonville
Blakey, B. H., Coral Gables
Brickell, Mrs. Charles, Miami**
Brown, William J., Miami
Brown, Mrs. William J., Miami
Brunstetter, Roscoe, Coral Gables
Buker, Charles E., Sr., Coral Gables
Burdine, William M., Miami
Bush, Mrs. Franklin C., Coral Gables*
Clark, Mrs. Flournoy B., Coral Gables*
Combs, Walter H., Jr., Miami*
Crane, Francis V., Marathon
Crane, Mrs. Francis V., Marathon
Davis, Hal D., Coral Gables
Duffy, E. V., Coral Gables
Duley, Jack L., Miami
Emerson, Hugh P., Miami
Fascell, Dante B., Coral Gables
Feibelman, Herbert U., Miami
Field, Dr. Henry, Coconut Grove
Florence, Robert S., Miami
Florida East Coast Railway Company
Wheeler, B. B., Lake Placid
White, Mrs. Louise V., Key West
Wight, William S., Coral Gables
Williams, Glenn P., Coral Gables
Williams, Dr. H. Franklin, Coral Gables*
Willing, R. B., Miami
Wilson, Albert B., Miami
Wilson, Miss Emily L., St. Augustine
Wilson, F. Page, Miami
Wilson, Gaines R., Miami**
Wilson, Mrs. Gaines R., Miami
Wilson, Peyton L., Miami
Wilson, Miss Virginia, Miami
Wirth, Miss Josephine, Coconut Grove*
Withers, Charles E., Coral Gables
Withers, Wayne E., Coral Gables
Wittichen, Mrs. Murray Forbes, Coral Gables
Wolf, Fred, Sr., Hallandale
Wolfe, Miss Rosalie L., Miami
Wolfe, Mrs. William A., Ft. Lauderdale
Wood, Mrs. Agnes Faris, Miami
Woore, A. Meredith, Miami*
Wright, Mrs. Victor A., Miami Shores
Wylie, W. Gill, Jr., Palm Beach
Yonge, Julien C., Gainesville
Younghans, S. W., Miami
Flynn, Stephen J., Coral Gables
Frohock, Mrs. Jack, Miami
Garrigan, Mrs. Jane, Miami
Gates, Harley D., Boca Raton
Gaunt, E. C., Miami
Gibson, Henry C., Jenkintown, Pa.
Graham, Ernest R., Hialeah
Graham, William A., Miami Springs
Griffin, L. J., Miami
Haider, Mrs. Michael L., Coral Gables
Hancock, E. M., Miami Beach
Harris, Miss Julia Fillmore, Miami*
Hawkins, Roy H., Miami
Herren, Norman A., Everglades
Holmer, Carl, Jr., Miami
Hopkins, Dr. Oliver B., Miami
Howard, Lee, Miami Beach
Hudson, F. M., Miami**
Hughes, Mrs. Helene, Miami
Jamaica Inn, Key Biscayne
Jones, Mrs. Mary D., Coral Gables
Kerr, James B., Ft. Lauderdale*
Knight, Mrs. Howard B., Coconut Grove*
Knight, John S., Miami
LaGorce, Dr. John 0., Washington, D. C.
Ledbetter, Charles B., Miami
Lindgren, Mrs. M. E., Miami
Lochrie, Robert B., Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
Lummus, J. N., Miami
Lunsford, Dr. E. C., Miami
Malone, E. B., Miami
MacVicar, I. D., Miami
Manly, Albert B., Homestead
Martyn, Charles P., Jupiter
Mayes, Mrs. C. R., Jr., Pompano Beach
McCarthy, Don L, Nassau
McKey, Robert M., Miami
McNair, Angus K., So. Miami
McSwain, Dr. Gordon H., Arcadia
Meisel, Max, Miami Beach
Merritt, Robert M., Miami Beach
Mershon, M. L., Miami
Meyer, Baron deHirsch, Miami Beach
Miami Beach Public Library
Miami Daily News
Mitchell, Mrs. James B., Hobe Sound
Modisette, Col. Welton M., Coral Gables
Orr, Alexander, Jr., Miami
Orr, John B., Jr., Miami
Palm Beach Art League
Pancoast, Russell T., Miami
Pedersen, George C., Perrine
Benson, Clifton D., Coral Gables
Blackburn, Elmer E., Miami
Bowers, Bland, Coral Gables*
Byrne, Miss Dorothy, Miami Beach
Christiansen, Edward S., Coral Gables
Cooper, George H., Princeton
Coral Gables Federal Savings and
Crowninshield, Mrs. Francis B., Boca
Dickey, Dr. Robert F., Coral Gables
Dohrman, Howard L, Miami
Dolan, Francis M., Coral Gables
Florida Juice, Inc., Miami
Fuchs Baking Co., So. Miami
Gardner, Dick B., Coconut Grove
Gearhart, Ernest G., Jr., Miami
Deedmeyer, George J., Miami*
Keyes, Kenneth S., Miami*
Pitt, Gerard, Miami*
Rainey, J. S., Miami
Rainey, Mrs. J. S., Miami
Rapp, Dr. Gerard, Miami
Ring, R. Warner, Miami
St. Augustine Historical Society
Scott, Paul R., Miami
Shewmake, Mrs. C. F., Coral Gables
Smith, McGregor, Miami
Sokola, Anton, Miami
Stiles, Wade, So. Miami**
Thomas, Irving J., Miami
Thomas, Wayne, Plant City
Thompson, John G., Coral Gables
Thomson, Leonard K., Miami
Usina, Leonard A., Miami Shores
Vanderpool, Fred W., Miami*
Van Orsdel, C. D.,, Coral Gables
Van Valkenburgh, Morgan, Miami
Vining, E. Clyde, Miami
Watson, W. Cecil, Coral Gables
West, William M., Geneseo, Il.
Whitten, George E., Miami
Wylie, Philip, Miami
Giffin, John S., Miami
Grosvenor, Gilbert, Washington, D. C.
Houser, Roosevelt C., Coral Gables
Leffler, Miss Cornelia, Miami**
Lloyd, J. Harlan, Miami
MacDonald, Duncan, Miami*
Mallory, Philip R., Miami Beach
Mallory, Mrs. Philip R., Miami Beach
Mills, Charles A., Miami Beach
Pearse, Mrs. Langdon, Winnetka, Ill.
Pollard, Marshall S. P., Lake Placid
Preston, J. E., Miami
Ross, Donald, Benton Harbor, Mich.
Shipe, Paul E., Miami
Thord-Gray, General I., Coral Gables
Tom Dupree & Sons, Inc., Miami Beach
Wilson, D. Earl, Miami**
Foremost Dairies, Inc., Miami
Florida Power and Light Company, Miami Link, Edwin A., Binghamton, N. Y.
Geiger, Mrs. August, Miami Beach* Pan American World Airways, Miami
Gondas Corporation, Miami Peninsular Armature Works, Miami
Astor, John, Miami Beach University of Miami, Coral Gables
HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA
FOUNDED 1940--INCORPORATED 1941
Ernest G. Gearhart, Jr.
E. M. Hancock
Wayne E. Withers
Justin P. Havee
Miss Virginia Wilson
Robert M. McKey
Mrs. Andrew J. Moulds
Charlton W. Tebeau
Karl A. Bickel
John C. Blocker (Deceased)
West Palm Beach
W. I. Fee
Mrs. James T. Hancock
Charles T. Thrift, Jr.
Norman A. Herren
Mrs. Louise V. White
Adam G. Adams
Thomas P. Caldwell
Mrs. Ruby Leach Carson
Edward S. Christiansen
George H. Cooper
George J. Deedmeyer
H. Lewis Dorn
Hugh P. Emerson
Mrs. William L. Freeland
Thomas W. Hagan
Judge William A. Herin
Kenneth S. Keyes
Wirth M. Munroe
John B. Orr, Jr.
Jay F. W. Pearson
R. B. Roberts
Mrs. Frank Stranahan
Mrs. Herbert O. Vance
Gaines R. Wilson