THE JOURNAL OF THE HISTORICAL
ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA
Editor, Charlton W. Tebeau
Wreck on the Reef
By loseph M. Cheetham
Exploring the Ten Thousand Islands in 1838
Edited by lames W. Covington
Earliest Land Grants in the Miami Area
By Henry S. Marks
Key Vaca, Part II, Modern Phase
By Florence S. Brigham
The Association's Historical Marker Program
List of Members
List of Officers
COPYRIGHT 1958 BY THE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA
T l is published annually by the Historical Association of Southern Florida
C and 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.
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Wreck on the Reef
By JOSEPH M. CHEETHAM
The extent to which the early settlers along the lower Florida coasts
depended upon an industry that is now all but forgotten is scarcely realized
today. By the beginning of this century it had all but ceased to exist. It was
an extremely lucrative industry, but most irregular and undependable.
Prior to the arrival of the railroad at Miami, supplies of all kinds were
brought by steamship to Key West and then re-shipped in small sailing
vessels to settlements along both the lower Florida coasts. Money to buy
these goods was scarce, supplies from the outside world were limited to neces-
sities, and shipments uncertain and irregular.
Even after the railroad's coming, tradition and habit lingered on with
the people, especially along the Keys (for years untouched by man's prog-
ress after the railroad reached Miami). A wreck was to these people like a
heavy rain after a long drought, manna from heaven. It meant replenishment
of home and larder, a thrilling event in their lives. Wrecks on the reefs and
hurricanes were the two big events in the lives of the settlers. They broke the
monotony of isolation, and they often came together.
It was not surprising then that on a summer day, as late as the year
1905, the cry "Wreck on the reef!" sent a thrill through the people at Coconut
Grove, then just a small fishing village just south of Miami. Within minutes
almost everyone with a sizeable sailboat was rushing food and water aboard
and heading for the reefs. Among them my brother, cousin and myself, all
in our mid-teens, shipped on a sloop owned by an old Bahama colored man
we knew only as Uncle Ben. He had a Wrecker's license and therefore could,
if needed and chosen by the wrecking captain, share in salvage operations.
The first skipper with such a license to reach the vessel in distress was made
'Wrecking Captain' and had the right to take on as many other boats as
needed to float the wreck or, if that was impossible, then to save as much of
her cargo as he could. The cargo when removed was taken to Key West and
sold at auction by United States District Court and the proceeds shared by
the owners and crews of the salvage boats according to the tonnage of each.
This court was commonly called "Wrecker's Court" as that was about all the
litigation it handled in those days.
And so, after plenty of hustle and excitement getting supplies aboard
from Alf Peacock's general store at Coconut Grove, we sailed away to the
reefs and high adventure. We arrived at the reefs and dropped anchor near
the wrecked ship late that day and we used our dinghy to pull alongside and
board the wreck to see if we could get in on the party. Many other wreckers
were there ahead of us. We could see, high above us, her name "Alicia" on
her bow. We learned when we boarded her that she was a tramp steamer from
Bilbao, Spain, and loaded at Liverpool with a cargo of general merchandise
valued at more than a million dollars, and a million was a million in those
days. She was bound for Central and South American ports and had struck
fast on Ajax Reef, off Ragged Keys, about thirty-five miles south of Coconut
Grove, the night before. While her officers and crew were all Spanish, this
fact offered no difficulty as many among the wrecking crews spoke Spanish
also, or enough to get along.
The "Alicia" had followed the southward course of myriad other ships
and hugged the reefs too closely in order to avoid the drag of the Gulf
Stream's northward flow and, as a result, had with great force driven to about
midship on the reef. Her seams were badly sprung and she was filling with
water. All attempts to float her were futile. Her cargo was rich and varied:
Irish linen, English ale, pianos, machetes, paint, sewing machines, hardware
and tools of every description, laces and silks, foodstuffs, canned goods of
all kinds, even a steel railroad bridge. In short, a wrecker's dream!
What a supreme thrill for Uncle Ben's crew of three to experience. It
was like living "Treasure Island" in reality, fabulous and romantic a ship
out of old Spain on a Florida reef, where many another of her nationality
had passed into oblivion in times past. But, alas, all was not well aboard.
We asked an interpreter why the captain of the "Alicia" was pacing back and
forth on the bridge high above us and what he was shouting. His reply was
that the captain was saying, "I thought this coast was inhabited by civilized
people!", and that he was cursing his luck in having fallen into the hands of
the 'wreckers'. The warm English ale had been consumed in large quantities
by the wrecking crews and they were out of control. Fights were in progress
and much of the cargo would never reach the "Wrecker's Court" in Key West.
JOSEPH M. CHEETHAM
There was no radio then, only sailboats, slow and uncertain means of getting
messages ashore. There was only the old United States Revenue Cutter
Service, without planes like its successor, the Coast Guard of today. The near-
est United States Revenue Cutter was at Mobile, Alabama, and it finally
arrived a week later to restore order, after a wire was sent from Miami, the
nearest telegraph office.
Soon New York newspapers were arriving in Miami with ship captains'
stories of strange sights along the Florida Keys. These captains had seen
through their binoculars, as they sailed well off shore to take advantage of
the northward flow of the gulf stream, Irish linen and other goods from the
"Alicia" stretched out to dry on the mangrove trees along the Keys for more
than a hundred miles.
We saw a fist fight between an ebony giant from the Bahamas and an
equally husky Key Wester, both stripped to their hips and standing in a
hatchway on cargo in water waist deep. They fought until both were exhausted
and had to be rescued from drowning.
We saw, as each tally of bundles of six machetes were lowered over the
"Alicia's" side to small boats below, that frequently a bundle would go over-
board into sixteen or eighteen feet of water and land on the clear, white
bottom, to be retrieved later by the 'wreckers' and never accounted for. We
saw other valuable goods disappear the same way. We saw fighting among
the crews of the small boats.
Our captain, Uncle Ben, chose not to take part in the salvage of the
"Alicia" of Bilbao, and we sailed away for home with never-to-be-forgotten
memories of sights and experiences. The United States Revenue Cutter "Bear"
arrived before we pulled away and stood near the hapless tramp and order
was soon restored.
The "Alicia's" engines were removed eventually but she never moved
again off that fatal reef. The great hulk could be partly seen above the
shifting currents for many years thereafter. Perhaps even today parts of this
famous wreck can be seen resting in Davy Jones' Locker in the crystal waters
of that lonesome Florida reef.
It is said that when Cortez reached the Continental Divide and looked
down on Montezuma's great Indian city in the valley of Mexico, he was the
last of the earth's explorers to discover an unknown city. I believe, too, that
it can be written of the "Alicia" of Bilbao that she was the last shipwreck on
the reefs of Florida in the old tradition of such wrecks along the Spanish
Main, that when she struck that reef she struck an era from Florida history.
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Exploring the Ten Thousand Islands: 1838
By JAMES W. COVINGTON
Prior to the Second Seminole War much of Southwestern Florida was
unknown to the Anglo-Saxon.) Some of the coastal islands had been settled
by the Cuban fishermen, but there were large sections, especially in the Cape
Sable area, which were virtually unexplored and uncharted.
When the fighting flared up in 1835, military and naval patrols moved
into the uncharted and unmapped wilderness and the first fairly adequate
accounts of the land lying to the south of the Caloosahatchee River were
written. One such scouting expedition left Fort Denaud on February 7, 1838,
for a trip through the Cape Sable and Ten Thousand Islands area in an
effort to strike at the possible flow of arms and ammunition from Cuba to
the hostile Seminoles. Atlhough the search was fruitless, much valuable
information concerning the remote region was learned and recorded for
others who would perhaps make other trips into the area. The report of the
expedition, written by the leader, Surgeon-General Thomas Lawson, reads
(Copy) Cape Sable
February 20th, 1838
Pursuant to your instructions bearing date the 4th of this month, I on
the 7.th Inst. dropped down the Sanybal River2 from Fort Deynauda to Fort
Dulaney4 in the Steam Boat Florence with the Companies commanded by
Capt. Kosenitz and Lieut. Jacobs, leaving Capt. Baker's company with the
horses and other public property to come down in the return Boat.
These last troops having joined me, I on the Il.th Inst. with the three
companies (the second now under the command of Lieut. Pew) & Six Dela-
ware & Shawnee Indians,- in all two hundred and forty officers & men, put
off in the Steam Boat American for Marcos River, which place we reached
on the evening of the same day.6 Immediately on entering the mouth, we
attempted to ascend the river; but grounding a few miles up, we backed out
from the shore, and dropped down to a point on Cape Romaine,, where
there was once a Settlement and upon which we encamped.- On the next
morning I put about ninety officers & men in a Mackinaw,- two Scows-O
and two Small Keel Boats,- and with Hosey,l the Pilot and Guide, proceeded
up the River in quest of the Body of Hostile Indians, supposed to be located
on, or to frequent the Islands in the vicinity of Cape Romaine; leaving Capt.
Kosenitz with the balance of the troups to Scour the Country around.
In the course of the day we passed around, or on two sides of a great
many Islands,-3 sounding the water as we progressed, and in the evening
encamped upon a large Island, on which there was two or three hundred
acres of cleared land. Having ascertained by this days operation that the
water we were in was not a River, but an immense Bay or Lake, with innum-
erable Islands in it, having a deep and safe channel through it about eighteen
miles in extent, and running from the Western to the Eastern side of Cape
Romaine, I at night sent down an officer & the Pilot in one of the Keel boats
with instructions to bring up the Steamer, and the troops below, and in the
event of an accident to the steamer, to have fresh water brought to us oper-
ating above.1 In the morning we put out again in quest of adventures; but
after winding around the Islands without discovering a River or Creek on
the main land, and fearing we might be lost in this Labyrinth of Islands, we
fell back to a position near our encampment, where we met the Steam Boat,
and which soon after anchored near the Eastern outlet of the Lake. Having
exchanged the Crews of the boats for a fresh detail of men, I in the evening
with Hosey & adjunct Pilot John set out in search of a Settlement Supposed
to be on a Creek six or eight miles off, and where it was confidently expected
the enemy would be found. After twisting & turning however through the
Islands, running sometimes with and occasionally against the current, and
through narrow passes from one wide water to another, we in the night
found ourselves bewildered; and the guides having declared their inability
to proceed farther we reluctantly turned our bows and returned to the Steam
Being firmly impressed with the belief from several circumstances,
(more especially the evident indisposition on the part of the Guides to lead
the way) that there were Indians near us, I came to the conclusion of enforc-
ing measures; and making Known my determination to the Guides, I obtained
from them a reluctant consent, to try again to find the supposed haunts of the
Accordingly in the morning I fitted out a new expedition, taking with
me at their particular request almost every officer of my command, and
entered once more upon the Search, proceeding up the river. Having tra-
versed the Lakes in various directions, passing & repassing the same Islands,
JAMES W. COVINGTON
and running into coves, and through Sloughs into successive Lakes or wide
sheets of water, we eventually discerned a bluff point, the wished for land.
The troops having been landed about three fourths of a mile below the
Settlement, I quickly formed them & pressed on to attack the enemy in their
Town, but to our extreme mortification, on coming into the cleared land,
found it to be a village long since deserted. After looking around the open
ground without discovering any fresh traces of the Indians, I sent a small
party of men up along the banks of the Creek, while I was with the mass of the
command struck into the woods in rear of the Town, and proceeding on the
verge of a Swamp, we swept around until we gained the Boats. The Detached
party soon after coming up, the troops reassembled & we returned to the Steam
Boat. The site of this old Indian Establishment is a bluff point of land,
descending gradually to a Swamp, perhaps an interminable one, and bounded
apparently on one side by a Creek, and on the other by a Cove or an arm of
the Lake. The Pilots did not know, & we could not ascertain whether this
ground was an Island or a point of the main land jutting into the Lake; but
it was evidentally in an extreme part of the wide water, and the very place
at which the Indians would take post were they in that Section of the Country.
In all these three days operations we found but four places, in this
American Archipelago that appear to have ever been inhabited by the Red
or the white man. And one only on which there was fresh water. The first
was the point on the Cape5 just within the mouth of the River, and where
the first water was found; the Second is an Island a few miles up with bluff
banks and high ground throughout, where once was a very large plantation,
and upon which the Lemon & Sugar Cane was Cultivated. The third is a
large Island about fifteen miles up the Lake with the two hundred and fifty
acres of cleared land on it, and where we on the second night encamped.
The fourth and last is the Settlement on the Creek where terminated our
operations within Lake Marcos.1o All the other Islands, and the borders of
the Lake, except immediately on the Coast, are altogether uninhabitable,
being covered with a dense growth of Mangrove bushes, and they are either
under water, or completely flooded with Mangrove roots running horizontally
from five to ten inches above the Soil, with oysters hanging on them and on
the branches of the tree. Judging from what I saw, in my several excursions,
I am of opinion that no Indians have occupied this section of country for
eighteen months, and perhaps not since the commencement of the war, &
that they do not visit it, except by appointment with the Spanish Fishermen
at which time they receive their supplies of Ammunition, etc. etc.17 And
there is reason in this. The Indian no more than the White man can live
without fresh water, and he must have the free navigation of the Lake to
enable him to obtain it from the Sea Coast.8 Again the whole Lake and
every inhabitable point in it, being accessible to boats from the Sea, the
Indians well Know that at any given moment, they could be overwhelmed by
numbers and crushed to death by a Single blow.
Depend upon it, the Hostile Indians, at this stage of the war, with their
native acuteness and long experience, will not be found in the vicinity of
any of our Depots or our navigable Streams.
Their object is, and their Safety depends upon it, to take a position as
far removed as possible from our magazines, so as to keep us backing and
filling, in other words compel us to fall back for supplies after every advance
movement and thereby wear down and kill up the Troops as they successively
take the field.
Having gotten all the essential information in relation the Country etc.
and satisfied ourselves that there were no Indians about, we immediately
after the return of the Troops from the last expedition, raised Steam &
passed out of the Eastern mouth of the Channel into the Gulf; and Keeping
near the Shore, we had progressed nine or ten miles when a high wind &
heavy Sea, coming on us, we were forced to retire within the Islands.-
Here we were detained by stress of weather thirty-six hours; during this
time however, the troops were not idle; for while some were employed in
digging for fresh water, others were visiting the several Islands near us with
a view not only to pleasure, but also for the purpose ofl reconnoitering the
Country around. The wind at length lulling & the Sea becoming Smooth, we
put out again toward the South East, and proceeding about eight leagues,
we anchored opposite the mouth of Pavilion River,20 near which we saw a
smoke, and on the banks of which Six or eight miles up, the Pilot stated
positively that we would find twenty families of Indians, and perhaps others
from the interior of the Country. Manning all the boats as quickly as pos-
sible, taking with me all the officers but one, and about one hundred men
including the Indians, I rowed off for the shore, and entering the mouth of
the River, ascended it to within a mile and a half of the town, where the
troops were debarked in order. Having detached at the instance of the Pilots
a small party across the River, for the purpose of intercepting any persons
who might attempt to escape in canoes to the other side of the stream, and
made all other necessary arrangements. We- advanced upon the enemy, and
in reconnoitering the ground as we neared the cleared land, passed under
JAMES W. COVINGTON
cover of the woods, around the village until the head of our column reached
the River above. Opening out then from front to the rear so as to cover as
much ground as possible, we faced toward Town, and moved in line through
the field and passed the houses to the banks of the River. Here again we
were doomed to meet with disappointment, for the town was tenanted by no
living thing, man or beast, and seemed to have been abandoned twelve months
ago. And no one apparently was more mortified than the Guide, who I
believe was sincere in what he said, when he tauntingly told me that the
Indians were there, and that if I wished it I could have a fight. Having looked
into the houses, and surveyed the curiosities around, we returned to our boats,
and rowed off twelve miles to the steamer,21 arriving on board in the night
without an accident.
Pavilion River is a beautiful salt water stream, about thirty miles dis-
tant from Cape Romaine, wide at the mouth & having about five feet water
on the bar. Just within its mouth there are a number of Small Islands; but
the Stream narrows as it approaches the Town, to about two hundred yards
in width, where also the banks change from Swampy Mangrove land to high
ground and fertile soil. The site of this village is very beautiful, being on
a sound bluff point immediately in front, and the ground around on both
sides of the River are more valuable than any that I have seen in this section
of the Country. The only objection to it is, that there is no fresh water on it,
or in its vicinity. After this failure I despaired of finding any Indians on
the Coast, and under that impression requested the Capt. of the Steam Boat
to make for Cape Sable, which place we reached on the 18th Inst. and where
I am now located and about to erect a Fort We are situated on the third and
most Southern Point of the Cape; it is accessible at all times, very defensible,
and promises to be a healthy position.22 The first and second, or more
northern & western points, I did not like, for the reason that they were not
only very bare of timber with which to build a Fort, but also destitute of a
harbour; whereas this one has a safe anchorage and harbour formed by the
Keys around, with plenty of fresh water on it, and withal is the favorite haunt
of the Turtle and other fish. It is perhaps the most beautiful spot on the whole
Coast, having a high beach in front, an extensive plain immediately behind,
with a dry though thick wood a little further removed to the rear. As there
is little or no building timber around, and I have as yet neither horses or
proper boats to bring it from a distance, I shall attempt to rear a Fort from
the beach; that is with the Sand thrown out of a ditch, saplings or split logs
as a face, and fascines as a body, raise a curtain to a star figured spot which
will baffle the skill of the Red man to surmount.23
From this history of our operations, it will be perceived, that I have not
found the Hostial Indians, on Marcos River or the Coast, & captured or de-
stroyed as ordered. I am free to say however, that it was not the fault of the
officers and men under my Command, or, of myself that the enemy was not
found and brought to action. We went whither as we were told to go, or
where from circumstances we were induced to believe that the Indians might
be found; and we laboured by day and by night, and suffered not a little
for want of fresh water, in order to fulfil your instructions, and meet the
expectations of our friends, but all to no purpose.
The Indians were not in the Country, or Providence screened them from
our search. Notwithstanding however we have not won laurels for ourselves,
or accomplished a great deal for our Country, the expedition was not alto-
gether fruitless. We have ascertained that there is an Inland passage from
Carlos Bay to the East side of Cape Romaine, and almost to Cape Sable, for
vessels drawing five feet water, & that the whole Coast is full of Islands,
affording good harbors and safe navigation to Steam Boats, and by a shorter
route than the usual track of vessels outside of the Cape and the reefs. And
I have ascertained also, that none others than the Spaniard with the Indian,
are acquainted with the Coast. As soon as I can complete the Fort sufficiently
to make it defensible by a Small party against an attack from Indians, I
shall endeavour to gain the interior of this part of the Country, with a portion
of my Command: when it is to be hoped, and I trust, that I shall be able to
give you a better account of the enemy.
I am Sir
Very respectfully etc. etc.
Genl. P. F. Smith5 (signed) Th. Lawson24
Comm of the troops Surgeon General
On Sanybal River, etc. Commander of Volunteers
1 John Williams, The Territory of Florida, (New York, 1837) has the best pre-Second
Seminole War description of lower Southwestern Florida. Hereafter cited as Williams
Territory of Florida.
a Certainly Lawson meant by the "Sanybal River" the Caloosahatchee as both forts were
located on its shores.
a Fort Denaud was established during the winter of 1837-1838 by Captain B. L. Bonneville
to serve as a base of supplies for the troops. It was erected at a place two miles from
the landing on the Caloosahatchee River. Since it was situated on land which had
been owned by a long-time Indian trader named Pierre Denaud, the fort was named
in honor of him. D. Graham Copeland, manuscript, Florida State Library II, 800.
JAMES W. COVINGTON
*Fort Dulaney was established in November, 1837, at present day Punta Rassa. Forty
steamboats were chartered by the government for use during the war. Many were
chartered at rates ranging from sixty to four hundred and fifty dollars a day. James
F. Sunderman, ed., Journey Into Wilderness, (Gainesville, 1953), 277.
a Some Delaware and Shawnee Indians were recruited for service in the Second Seminole
War but they were not very helpful as the saw grass and palmettos cut deep gashes
on their legs.
e It is difficult to ascertain what the writer meant by Marcos River. Perhaps it was the
waterway on the mainland side of Marcos Island.
By Cape Romaine he probably means Cape Romano.
s Williams Territory of Florida, 33, relates how several plantations were under culti-
vation on Roman Isle. One operated by John Durant of Savannah was located about
a mile from the western coast. Corn, peas and melons were the principal products.
The Mackinaw boats were pointed at both ends and named after Mackinac, Michigan,
where they originated. They were popular with persons along the frontier both in
the West and South.
3o A scow is a large flat-bottomed boat usually used to carry freight.
11 Keelboats were from forty to eighty feet in length, seven to ten feet wide, and two feet
or more in draught, with sharp ends. It was steered by a special oar and propelled
by oars or poles, but occasionally fitted with sails.
1a Hosey to the Anglo-Saxon was probably Jose, a Cuban fisherman from one of the
islands along the coast, who served as guide.
13 This was probably the islands lying to the southeast of Marco Island near Goodland.
14 This may have been Morgan Bay.
15 Possibly Morgan Pass.
i1 "Lake Marcos" may have been the area entered through Big Marco Pass or the pas-
sageway lying to the south leading to Caxambas Bay and Barfield Bay.
17 The military men were certain that the Seminoles were receiving arms and ammunition
from Cuba. Infrequently a Cuban was apprehended while visiting the hostile Indians.
Is During the Third Seminole War Cape Romano was described as "only place where
water can be had." The early settlers used cisterns as a source of water. Several
artesian wells drilled on Chokoloskee Island helped provide a ready supply of fresh
water during the Twentieth Century. Chariton W. Tebeau, The Story of the Choko-
loskee Bay Country (Miami, 1955), 9-10.
to The expedition is now definitely within the Ten Thousand Island group.
so Since Pavilion Key is near the mouths of both Huston and Chatham rivers, the name
Pavilion could have been applied to either one.
a The Indians told Williams at an earlier period that the snakes prevented them from
hunting on the islands. Williams Territory of Florida, 50.
z2 This point probably was the area known as East Cape today.
3a The fort erected at Cape Sable was known as Fort Poinsett.
24 Surgeon-General Thomas Lawson served during the War of 1812, Mexican War; died
May 15, 1861.
25 Perrifor Frazer Smith, officer in the Louisiana Volunteers, served in the Mexican War;
died in 1858. The above report was found in the General Thomas Jesup Papers,
Letters Received, 1836-1838, Office of the Adjutant General, Records of the War
Department, National Archives.
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The Earliest Land Grants in the Miami Area
By HENRY S. MARKS
Miami did not become large enough in population and promise to be
incorporated until 1896, but there was human activity in the region long
before that date. White men had attempted settlement first in 1565. At that
time the southern part of the Floridian peninsula was the home of two
related tribes of aborigines who had made it their home for some 1500 years.
The western portion, from Tampa Bay to the Keys, belonged to a confedera-
tion called the Calusa. The east coast, from Cape Canaveral to the Keys,
was the domain of several small independent tribes. Prominent among them
were the Tequestas, located on Biscayne Bay.
In 1565 the Spanish King commissioned Pedro Menendez de Aviles to
drive the French from Florida and colonize the land for Spain. The story
of his efforts in establishing St. Augustine is familiar to readers of Florida
history. But Menendez also was anxious to pacify and settle the southern
coast in order to protect refugees from shipwreck along the Florida reef, to
have a port of refuge in case of storm, and to have this area occupied by
people friendly to Spain.
As the Spanish considered Christianization of the Indians as important
for their purposes as colonization, aid was sought from the Jesuits. Two men,
Father Rogel and Brother Villareal, landed in Tequesta in the early part of
1567, Menendez establishing a fort and a small garrison on Biscayne Bay.'
Later the two Jesuits divided forces, Rogel going to the village of Carlos
on the west coast, leaving Brother Villareal in charge of the mission on
Biscayne Bay. But Brother Villareal did not succeed in Christianizing the
Tequestas, nor in winning them as allies for Spain. In this he was not alone,
however, for after a few years the Jesuits abandoned the whole field of
Thereafter a long period elapses before there is any attempt at perma-
nent settlement by white men near the mouth of the Miami River. The first
recorded evidence of land grants within the present Miami area did not come
until 1774, during the British occupation of Florida. During that year John
Augustus Ernest (a German, secretary to Count Bruhl, a Saxon statesman
who was prime minister in virtual control of Saxony and Poland from 1746
to 1763) received a grant of twenty thousand acres "on Gulph Sandwich
commonly called the Sound of Biscayne about 290 miles South of St.
Augustine."3 This grant, as did most other large ones issued during the
English occupation of Florida from 1763 until 1783, came from an Order in
Ernest was to settle this grant with foreign Protestants in the proportion
of one to every one hundred acres, plus the payment of quitrents and several
minor stipulations. However, by his own admission, he never cleared any of
the land nor complied with any of the other conditions, stating that he was
prevented from doing so by the breaking out of the Revolutionary War. He
further stated that in 1777 he had engaged seventeen Swiss and German Prot-
estants to settle upon the grant, but that these people were detained in England
for more than three months and were then prevented from embarking for
the grant by an order of George Germaine, secretary of state for the British
colonies from 1775 to 1782. Germaine had refused to grant passage saying
that it would strengthen the rebellion, as the agent of the claimants, Dr.
Andrew Turnbull, was disaffected to the government.* The only activity on
the grant was the locating and surveying as it was never appraised to establish
any value. Thus the first attempt to settle a specific grant within the present
Miami area came to naught.
During the second Spanish occupation of Florida, 1783-1821, as in the
earlier administrations of Florida, the King of Spain, or officials acting
under his authority, granted lands. These grants were made to any person,
whether native or naturalized Spaniard,5 who would settle and cultivate
them, the period of residence required to clear title usually being ten years.
Nothing was required in way of payment except fees to the officials who
prepared and registered the title papers. One hundred arpents were usually
granted to the heads of families, fifty arpents to each child, and twenty-five
for each slave.-
On the lower east coast there were five such grants. The earliest was
made to a Pedro Fornells in 1790 for "175.00 acres" on "Key Biscayno."7
The other grants were made to the following: T(P)olly Lewis in 1805 for
"640 acres South of River Miami"; James Hagens in 1810 for "640 acres,
North Miami River, Cape Florida"; Mrs. Hagen, the mother of James Hagen,
in 1810 for "640 acres, South Miami River, Cape Florida"; and for Jonathan
Lewis, in 1813 for "640 acres near Cape Florida."-
HENRY S. MARKS
When the United States acquired possession of Florida by the treaty of
St. Ildefonso, the treaty provided for the full acceptance by this country of
the land grants made by the Spanish government under authority of the
Spanish king, provided they dated not later than January 24, 1818.10
The Congress of the United States, in order to check the validity of the
Spanish grants, passed on May 8, 1822 "An Act for ascertaining claims and
title to land within the territory of Florida". This act provided for the
establishment of two adjudication boards of three commissioners each to
settle separately claims in East and West Florida. The board representing
East Florida was to maintain headquarters in St. Augustine.
To obtain a valid title to each grant lying within the confines of East
Florida the grantee or his or her heirs or assigns had to present before this
board any and all proof of the validity of the grant under question. The
first of the Miami area claims to be brought before this board was the grant
on Key Biscayne held by a Mrs. Mary Ann Davis, who had acquired the
property from the descendants of Pedro Fornills.= Mrs. Davis, in her pre-
sentation, claimed title to a "tract' of land containing one hundred and sev-
enty-five acres, situated, lying, and being in an island called Key Buskin".
However, it is stated here that the grant was issued to Peter Fornills by
Governor White on January 18, 1805, that Fornills was compelled to aban-
don the settlement because of the war between Great Britain and Spain, and
that Fornills died shortly afterward. Also, that his widow being unable to
continue the settlement, the grant was passed to Raphael Andrews, her son
and legal heir. Mrs. Davis purchased the grant from Andrews, a certified
copy of the conveyance, dated July 12, 1824, being presented to the com-
Mrs. Davis, as further proof of the authenticity of her claim, presented
to the board three depositions taken before Elias B. Gould, Justice of the
Peace for St. John's County.-1 The first one is by Peter Miranda who claims
to have known Fornills and states that Fornills had purchased a schooner
to proceed to the island, and that Fornills had told Miranda some time later
that he had been on the island. The second deposition was by one Bartolo
Pounce, who states that his father and Fornills left St. Augustine about 1804
to settle Key Buskin, but had to return to St. Augustine because of the war
between Great Britain and Spain. The third deposition was that of John
Pounce, who states that he was on the island about 1804 and that he did not
think that it contains more than 175 acres fit for cultivation. He also
stated that there was a man named Vincent then living on the island and that
he saw guinea corn and coffee growing on the key.
The adjudication board, taking into consideration the above depositions
and the original concession by the Spanish governor White to Pedro Fornills,
deemed the grant a valid one, and confirmed it to Mrs. Davis. This was done
on December 21, 1824.13
The other Miami area grants were presented before the commission in
St. Augustine on November 24, 1824. Those applying for confirmation were
James Hagen; his mother, Rebecca Hagen, listed as Mrs. Hagens; Polly and
Jonathan Lewis. The first of these grants to be validated, on December 23,
1825, belonged to Polly Lewis, for "six hundred and forty acres, under the
donation act, on the east side of Miami River, near Key Biscayno".
The remaining three grants were all confirmed on December 27, 1825.
They were "Jonathan Lewis, six hundred and forty acres, river Miami, near
cape Florida; . Mrs. Hagens, six hundred and forty acres, river Miami,
near Cape Florida; James Hagens, six hundred and forty acres, river Miami,
near Cape Florida.""4
Between 1830 and 1835 the Hagens and Jonathan and Polly Lewis'5
conveyed their holdings to R. R. Fitzpatrick, originally from Columbia, South
Carolina, who had moved to Key West and was afterward collector of cus-
Fitzpatrick took possession of the four properties, later consolidating
them into one tract. He then erected buildings on the property, and brought
in from South Carolina a number of slaves to work his plantation. He had
purchased these slaves from his sister Harriet English, also of Columbia, for
the cultivation of cotton. This was not unusual, for cotton was to be exten-
sively cultivated in this area from 1830 to 1837. Fitzpatrick also cleared
almost all of the large body. of hammock on the bay-front extending from
what was the north line of the city of Miami in1896 to down below the Punch
Bowl, almost one mile south of present Coconut Grove. He also planted
limes, guavas and other tropical trees, remnants of which greeted early set-
tlers at the turn of the century.
However, Fitzpatrick's claim to success was to be short lived, for in 1835
the Seminole War broke out in the northern part of the state. The Indians
and Negroes were driven steadily southward. Towards the close of the war
Fitzpatrick had to move his Negroes to Key West in order to keep them from
HENRY S. MARKS
deserting to the Seminoles. Fitzpatrick, deciding that safety was the better
part of valor, departed with them.
After his departure the plantation was used as quarters for a company
of United States sailors under the command of Lieutenant L. M. Powell.
These troops decided to name the main home of the Fitzpatrick plantation
"Fort Dallas" in honor of Commodore Alexander James Dallas, then in com-
mand of United States naval forces in the West Indies.
From Fort Dallas, by way of the Miami River, expeditions into the
interior of the peninsula sought out Seminoles for removal to the west. The
most famous of these Indian hunting missions was that of Colonel William
S. Harney who went in after Chief Chakaika who had murdered Henry Perrine
during a raid on Indian Key.
This Seminole War came to an end in 1842 but Fitzpatrick, who had
become seriously involved financially due to the war, was forced to convey
his holdings to his nephew William F. English. This was accomplished on
May 20, 1843.1s
William English entered Florida during a ten year period of much
activity, both territorially and locally. Of much importance to the southern
part of the peninsula was the establishment of a new county. This county,
created on February 4, 1836, was named after Major Dade, who had been
massacred by the Seminoles in 1836, several miles from the Withlacoochee
River. The area of Dade County was immense, for it commenced at the west
end of Bahia Honda Key, ran in a direct line to Lake Okeechobee, thence on
a direct line to the head of the North Prong River (a branch of the Potomac),
commonly known as the Hillsborough River and then down the Hillsborough
to the Atlantic Ocean. However, the inclusion of such a large territory under
the confines of a single unit was not without political machinations. For
example, the southern confines of the county was set at Bahia Honda Key
so as to include Indian Key. This was done through the political persuasions
of one Jacob Houseman, who owned the key and wished to create a thriving
community there. Houseman was also successful in getting the territorial
legislature to make Indian Key the site of the county court."
However, in spite of this increased activity in South Florida, English
was not successful. He moved to Miami during 1844, bringing with him a
number of slaves, and endeavored to put the property in order. But the
plantation had been badly wrecked by the United States troops as well
as by the Seminoles. The troops had cut down the lime groves planted by
Fitzpatrick, so as to allow an unobstructed view from Fort Dallas, to detect
any approach by the Seminoles. The United States Government finally paid
for these damages in 1877, awarding the heirs of Fitzpatrick $12,000.
William English went to Columbia in 1845 to procure additional slaves
from his mother, Harriet English. On his return to Florida English began
to neglect the plantation, for he spent considerable time in Key West with
his uncle Fitzpatrick, with whom he was associated in commercial and ship-
Both Fitzpatrick and English now succumbed to the lure of gold in
California. In 1851 they sailed for the gold fields. They managed to sail
around Cape Horn successfully, but were forced into a Mexican port on
the Pacific coast by a storm and a scarcity of provisions. They resumed
their journey and managed to reach California safely. It is said that English
intended to return to Florida. He never made it back, for he accidently shot
and killed himself at Grasse Valley, California in 1855.
From 1850 to 1869 the English plantations at Miami were unfortunately
neglected, but on November 30, 1869 a Dr. J. V. Harris (later a resident of
Key West) purchased the 610 acres belonging to English on the north side
of the Miami River and promptly settled upon it.
Dr. Harris was the first in a long line of possessors of the northern half
of the Fitzpatrick plantation this succession ending when Mrs. Julia D.
Tuttle purchased this part of the property, taking personal possession on
November 13, 1891, with which the beginning of modern Miami is usually
I Robert E. McNicholl, "The Caloosa Village Tequesta: A Miami of the Sixteenth Cen-
tury," Tequesta, March 1941, p. 16.
Ibid., p. 17.
a Wilbur Henry Siebert, Loyalists in East Florida, 1774 to 1785, v. 2, Deland, The Florida
State Historical Society, 1929, pp. 52-53.
Ibid., p. 53. This is the same Andrew Turnbull who attempted to settle and establish
the New Symrna Colony. Fifteen hundred colonists were gathered under the backing
of English capitalists led by Turnbull and settled upon a tract of several thousand
acres near Mosquito Inlet, which they called New Smyrna. The colonists, under
indentures, complained of hardships inflicted upon them by managers, or overseers
of the colony. As a result of these complaints the colonists were removed to St.
Augustine. The cause of Turnbull's alleged "disaffection" can be traced to his feud
with the Governor of Florida at this time, Patrick Tonyn, who finally succeeded in
forcing Turnbull from the colony. Vide Passim, Carita Doggett Corse, Dr. Andrew
Turnbull and the New Smyrna Colony of Florida, Florida, The Drew Press, 1919.
sThe Royal Order of Spain of 1790 applied to grants to foreigners. These grants, before
the cession of Florida to the United States, had been sanctioned by the King of Spain
and the authorities representing him in Cuba, the Floridas and Louisiana.
HENRY S. MARKS
o Arpents were a French measure of land, containing 100 square perches, of 18 feet each,
or about an acre (from .84 to 128). John Lee Williams, The Territory of Florida:
or, Sketches of the topography, civil and natural history, of the country, the climate,
and the Indian tribes, from the first discovery to the present time, with a map, views,
& c., New York, A. T. Goodrich, 1837.
U. S., American State Papers, v. 4, Documents of the Congress of the U. S. in Rela-
tion to the Public Lands from the 1st sess, 18th Cong., December 1, 1823 March
3, 1827, Washington, 1859. p. 260.
a Although the original grants are listed to "James Hagen" and "Mrs. Hagen" there are
references made by other sources concerning this family which list the name as
Egan or Eagan. This writer is inclined to accept the name of Egan or Eagan, as
given in the Dade County deed record books B 216, E 510, Q 253, Q 255 and N 273.
9 American State Papers, op. cit., p -.
1o 8 'U. S. Statutes 256 (1819).
11 American State Papers, op. cit., pp. 348-349.
13 Ibid., p. 349.
is Jonathan Lewis and Polly Lewis were brother and sister and were children of Frankee
Lewis, who had obtained a donation on the New River in 1796 near present day
s1 Monroe County Deed Record Book C, pp. 340-341.
1? Compilation of the Public Acts of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida
Passed Prior to 1840, p. 271.
This Page Blank in Original
Key Vaca, Part II: Modern Phase
By FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
While some of these changes of ownership were taking place, Key Vaca
was being settled again, but this time it was by Bahamians, mainly from
Green Turtle Cay, Spanish Wells, New Providence, and Nassau. They had
always been fishermen, turtlers, spongers, small farmers on patches of rocky
soil, and shipbuilders, but they were poor as all their trading had been
through Nassau and Nassau merchants had not paid in "ready money".
Circuit Judge Louis Diston Powles explained that their condition could
never improve until the "Truck System" was changed ". .. the best
and most honest and energetic of them emigrated."
Dr. Henry Perrine had an "intimate acquaintance" with those Baham-
ians who began coming to Key Vaca and he found them amiable, generous,
and willing workers. He knew them as their physician; he gave them "val-
uable plants and seeds"; he taught them the monetary value of cultivating
new shrubs; and he encouraged them in their efforts to establish educational
and religious training for their children. He resented the "speculating
monopolists" of Key West calling them "lazy Conks". Dr. Perrine's and
Charles Howe's confidence in those Bahamians has stood the test of time;
many of their children and grandchildren are on the Keys today and are
holding responsible positions.
If the Bahamians themselves introduced the Sea Island cotton of their
land to Key Vaca, then they were there as early as 1823 (Perrine). J. J.
O'Donnel estimated their arrival in the Keys, as settlers, to be about 1826.
About a year and a half after Dr. Perrine arrived on Indian Key, he recorded,
on July 4, 1840, that the first settlers on Key Vacas came in 1831 and that
they "located under the leases of Mr. Howe. After Mr. Howe sold the Island,
they were tenants-at-will" (Tequesta, 1951).
This settlement, small at first, continued to grow and by 1834 Key Vaca's
inhabitants were sufficiently important to be recognized by the Postmaster
of the newly established U. S. Post Office on Indian Key (Dodd, Dr. Dorothy
Tequesta, 1948, p. 5). Their mail, if directed to that Post Office, would be
EDITOR'S NOTE: Part I of the Key Vaca story appeared in TEQUESTA XVII, 1957.
delivered to them promptly. By that time or very shortly thereafter Key Vaca
had her own captains, masters, merchants, and civil magistrates. During
those twelve years (1832-1844) when the far off wealthy merchant owned
the Island, nothing had been done to encourage a permanent community,
however, the settlers had built fifty odd dwellings for themselves some of
which were made only of palmetto, while others were "comfortable frame
buildings of which some have neat palmetto roofs."
For evidence that Bahamians came to Key Vaca for the purpose of farm-
ing it was useful to consult their descendants. Mrs. Flora (nee Atcheson)
Michaels (Key West), who was eighty-three years old November 28th, 1958,
and the youngest of eleven children, by correspondence and by an interview
(8-27-57) related that her grandmother, Nancy Baker (Baker, maiden name;
Saunders, second husband); her mother, Matilda Saunders, then fifteen years
old, and Matilda's brother, left Green Turtle Key to come to Key Vaca to
farm. "That is where she met my Dad who came there on an English Tramp
ship. Well, a year after, my mother and father (William Atcheson) were
married, they lived in Key West until two sons were born then they
all went back to Key Vaca for a time" and in that same letter of February
12, 1957, she wrote, "there were no families to speak of, then, and no school"
on Key Vaca.
Mrs. Michaels gave a very different picture than that which has been
written of her famous brother, Alfred, born fifteen years before her, and
known as Bubba Smart, and the Master Wrecker. With an outward sweep of
both arms (we were on the porch) she indicated that he had purchased sev-
eral lots "right here" and had arranged, so he thought, that certain members
of the family would always have land and homes. He loved children though
he and his wife (Dora Albury) had none. Mrs. Michaels wished that he had
had the benefits of a "fine education". On his tombstone (Key West), having
the emblems of the Masonic and Woodmen of the World fraternal organiza-
tions, are his birth, December 27, 1860; his death, March 6, 1924, and the
motto, "All loved one" (Correct spelling is Atcheson, not Acheson). Mrs.
Michaels' grandmother and mother are listed in the U. S. Census of 1850
for Dade County, however, other inhabitants of Green Turtle Key had come
to Key Vaca before them.
Mrs. Rosalie Russell (maiden name also Russell) of Islamorada, seventy-
three years old August 7, 1858 (likewise charming and interesting), is the
daughter of John Henry Russell, born on Key Vaca, February 5, 1852, and
of Rosalie (Sawyer) Russell. To be sure of the dates of birth and of the
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
death on November 23, 1919 of her father, Mrs. Russell consulted the tomb-
stone in a family plot nearby (entirely concealed from the highway). John
Henry Russell's father, Richard H. Russell, raised pineapples and vegetables
on Key Vaca, and his wife, Mary Ann Russell, born February 11, 1811 in the
Bahamas, to keep the panthers away from the garden, would "set guns". Mrs.
Rosalie Russell's grandmother "homesteaded this property right here" and
her problem there was to keep the bears out of her melon patch.
The Russells must have arrived on Key Vaca about 1838; their names
are not found in the 1830 U. S. Census for Monroe County nor in the 1840
lists for either Monroe or Dade Counties, but in the 1850 records for Dade
County, their first child born on Florida soil was twelve years old. Since it
was said that the Russell family went directly to Key Vaca there might have
been a house shortage then and when the 1840 census was taken they were
included in other households.
Mr. Clifton Russell, Postmaster at Islamorada, (brother to Mrs. Rosalie
Russell) remembered his father saying that he thought then Key Vaca
would be the city of the Keys rather than Key West.
Mr. Charles Albury, Marathon's first known male public school teacher
and now Principal of Coral Shores School, Tavernier, knew those farming
days on Key Vaca; his great grandmother, Elizabeth (Russell) Pinder (sis-
ter to John H. Russell) was living on Indian Key when an old Indian gave
warning of the forthcoming attack on the inhabitants there. She lost no time
in leaving the Island and went to visit friends on Key Vaca. Had she remained
just one more night she might have been killed in that 1840 massacre.
Mrs. Leona (Curry) Gibson, first school teacher on Grassy Key, now
retired, recalls the farming activities of her father, John A. Curry, who was
born on Key Vaca in 1850 and of her grandmother, Mary Ann Russell, who
was also born there in 1830 (Verified by U. S. Census).
Alfred Atcheson (nephew of the master wrecker), son of Elizabeth Ellen
Pent; grandson of Anthony Pent, and great grandson of Temple Pent, Sr.,
remembers the days when his grandfather farmed on Key Vaca, the place
where he was born. Anthony is listed in the 1850 U. S. Census (Dade) as
being 19 years old; 1860 census (Dade) as 27 years old; and in 1870 (Mon-
roe) as 35 years old. The first entry in the Miscellaneous Record Book A
(Dade County) is an account of the marriage license issued on July 4th, 1840,
from Indian Key, and of the marriage of Temple Pent, Junior, "at the house
of William Pent, Key Vaccas." One of the witnesses to that marriage was
Temple Pent, Sr. By 1860, the total population on Key Vaca consisted of
18 Pents, of whom there were Temple Pent Senior and Junior with their
families, Anthony with his wife and daughter; 7 Skeltons and a carpenter,
Ernest Baisley. Mrs. Skelton was a Pent. According to several Pent descend-
ants, the farming on Key Vaca consisted of growing vegetables and raising
limes, guavas, avocados, sugar apples, sapodillas, and a few pineapples,
There appears to be no doubt that the sea-faring Pents cultivated land on
These and other senior citizens remembered first that those were the
happy days when they all knew one another. They spoke of sailing trips as
people talk today of motor rides, and instead of winding through traffic they
had to "tack in" and "tack out" through "head winds". It was a lot more
exciting to race against tides and currents. They knew the Keys and each
one had its own landmark, a sight to anticipate. Going to Miami, "the back
country" for wild cocoplums and guavas, required days of planning and
weather watching. To the women folks these occasions meant picnic parties
There is little doubt as to Dr. Perrine's opinion of Key West when in
1840 he mentioned the "haughtiest office holder", "inimical population",
and "exclusive monopoly" of Key West. Perhaps Jacob Housman, the notor-
iously dishonest man, had justifiable reasons for wanting to be free of Key
West. Other men, especially wreckers, must have felt as he did, otherwise
the residents of Key Vaca, Indian Key, and Cape Florida would not have
petitioned for a division of Monroe County. The Legislative Council, on Jan-
uary 5, 1836, considered the inhabitants' need of a county seat nearer than
Key West and passed the bill. The newly established Dade County of Feb-
ruary 4, 1836 had its County Seat on Indian Key and since the dividing line
ran through a part of Bahia Honda Key, Key Vaca was in Dade County
(Hudson, F. M., Tequesta, 1943).
The earliest record found of public elections being held in Dade County
dates back to 1836 in which year there were two, one of which was on Key
Vaca. The thirteen voters at that October 10th election for a member of the
Legislative Council were: F. Long, Wm. Cooley, W. Egan, Temple Pent, Sr.,
Wm. Butler, Wm. Whitehead, John A. Mott, W. N. Butler, Edw. Baisley, Chas.
T. Smith, James Carr, Jas. Pent, and Chas. Weatherford. The Clerk was
Alex. P. Scott, and the Inspectors W. Whitehead, Wm. Butler, and Temple
Pent. Richard Fitzpatrick was the only candidate.
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
The names of nine of these voters appear, at least once, in the U. S.
Census records either of Monroe or Dade Counties during the years 1830,
1840, 1850. The four names not found in the above mentioned records were:
W. Egan, Wm. Butler, W. N. Butler, and James Carr. The surname of Egan
appears frequently in the various records but not "W. Egan". The name
William Butler appears in Bethel's The Early Settlers of the Bahamas and
Colonists of North America, 1937 (pp. 100-109). There was a James Carr
who served as a petit juror in the "District of West Florida, Jan. term 1823."
(Territorial Papers of the United States, Vol. XXII, 1956, p. 613n).
Another election was held on Key Vaca, "State of Florida, 16th Sena-
torial District, Dade County, Key Vacas Precinct . on Monday, the 26th
day of May, 1845." At this election there were nine voters as follows: John
Roberts, Sr., Benjamin Roberts, John Roberts, Jr., Edmund Baisely; Mathew
John Pacon (?) (handwriting not clear), Charles T. Smith, J. P. Baldwin,
Temple Pent, Sr., and William Mott. The Clerk of the Election was Charles
T. Smith. The Inspectors, John Roberts, Charles T. Smith, and Edmund
Baisely are "Sworn and Subscribed. . before me, Temple Pent, J. P.".
The results of that election were: Governor; William I. Mosely, 7 votes and
R. R. Call, 2 votes. Senator: Temple Pent, 5 votes; Wm. H. Wall, 4 votes.
Representative, General Assembly: John P. Baldwin, 9 votes. (R. A. Gray,
Secretary of State).
When Dade County was created the three justices of peace appointed by
Legislative Council were William Cooley, Lemuel Otis and William White-
head (Carson F. Sinclair, Supreme Court Library, Tallahassee). Dr.
Perrine referred to Temple Pent and William Whitehead as the civil magis-
trates on Key Vaca and to their interest in the culture of the Manila mulberry
trees and Sea Island cotton shrubs. Both of these men earned a place in
A brief resume of Temple Pent's activities and interests reveals that in
1820, he was Commodore Porter's pilot on the reef (Munroe, Mary Barr
Tequesta, 1943, p. 52); March 7, 1822, he took the Oath of Naturalization,
age 28 years, Nassau, N. P., navigator, Head of family (Territorial Papers
of the United States, 1956); 1823, "respectable pilot" (Vignoles); Novem-
ber 6, 1824, claimed a donation grant of 640 acres near Cape Florida,
". . was, is, and has been in actual cultivation of the land between 14-15
years." (Spanish Land Grants, Vol. III); May 29, 1830, two witnesses
"sworn to" that he inhabited and cultivated land south side Miami River
before the cession of Florida (Deed Record Book A, p. 239, Monroe County);
August 23, 1830, appointed Branch Pilot by Monroe County Court (Deed
Record Book A, pp. 236-7, Monroe County); October 10, 1836, inspector at
election (State Archives) ; performed marriages (Miscellaneous Record Book
A, Dade County); January 7, 1841, took oath of office as Representative,
Dade County (House Journal 1841, p. 3); and again a Representative for
the years 1842 and 1843; 1844, received 2 votes for office of Senator in
General Assembly, however, the next year he received 5 out of 9 votes for
that office; 1845, Justice of Peace at election; and October 7, 1850, received
7 votes for office of Justice of Peace (there were 7 voters).
When the 1830 U. S. Census was taken Temple Pent's household con-
tained one son and two daughters under 5 years, one son and one daughter
between 5-10 years, and one son between 10-15 years. Although all the U. S.
Census records and the "Oath of Naturalization" paper indicate that Pent, Sr.,
known as "Squire Pent" came to Florida from the Bahamas, his granddaugh-
ter, great grandchildren, and several other descendants claim he came orig-
inally from Scotland. It would seem that Key Vaca might have been proud
of its first citizen, Temple Pent.
William Whitehead, the other civil magistrate on Key Vaca, figured
prominently in the early history of Key West. There he "laid out the city"
and he proposed the need of a school. It was or it seems likely it was he
who sponsored the private school established "recently" (1840) on Key
Vaca, (Perrine). In Key West, the fees paid by the town officers for non-
attendance at meetings were turned over to Mr. Whitehead for Sunday School
purposes and after he went to Key Vaca religious instruction was started
there. When as Mayor of Key West he insisted that all of its citizens must
comply with the laws of their charter, difficulty arose and finally Mr. White-
head resigned his office and went to Key Vaca.
By 1837, Key Vaca was considered one of the three principal settle-
ments within the new county (Dodd, Tequesta, 1948, p. 10). Its residents had
become so indignant over the abuses committed in their county by one man
against men and over their own helplessness to do anything about it legally,
that they decided to petition for the repeal of the law that created their county,
or else the repeal of those laws that established its courts. Their defenseless-
ness was due to their laws in that an offender had to be brought to trial in the
county in which the offense was committed, and Dade County at times had
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
This petition was signed by sixty-five persons all living on Key Vaca
and "constituting a majority of the male inhabitants residing in the County
of Dade." Ordinarily a jury could be formed from such a number of resi-
dents but many of them were neither householders nor citizens of the United
States. Of interest was one of the affidavits submitted with the petition, -
that of George Eldridge, who declared that he saw on Indian Key two men
from the Sloop Brilliant "confined in stocks by order of Captain Housman
S. ." In 1835, George Eldridge was the Captain of a Mystic, Connecticut,
schooner and the Sloop Brilliant was from Groton, Connecticut, near Mystic.
The Legislative Council acted upon that petition by passing a law, effec-
tive March 2, 1840, whereby the Clerk of the Superior Court in Dade County
or in Monroe County could summon a juror from either of the two counties.
After the destruction of the Dade County seat in 1840, the Act of Feb-
ruary 25, 1841 gave the Monroe County Superior Court the power to hear all
Dade County cases except those that fell within the authority of the Justice
of the Peace. (F. H. Q. Oct. 1928, p. 168). It seems that some of Key Vaca's
residents wanted more freedom from the laws. One man, William Bethel of
Key Vaca, in 1840, wanted the privilege of establishing a settlement free from
"all control of all officers and all laws of the revenue, naval and military
. (Brevard, 1924, p. 238). William C. Maloney, who had been the Dade
County Clerk, gave an appraisal of Key Vaca's residents in his report con-
cerning the November 1843 election, "not more than one in ten at the
nearest settlement [Key Vacal is competent to canvas the votes .. "
After Key Vaca was sold in 1844 at public auction, the Island would
soon be held for a period of over thirty-two years as a military reservation.
The Commissioner of the General Land Office wrote, on September 12, 1845,
to the Secretary of the Treasury that the "War Department has requested
that all the Islands, Keys, and Banks comprising the Group called the Dry
Tortugas with the other Islands, or Keys on the Florida Coast embraced
within the red lines on the enclosed diagram, may be reserved from sale or
entry of any kind, till a survey, which has been ordered shall have been made,
with a view of determining their military relations and properties; I have
therefore the honor to request, that the enclosed diagram may be laid before
the President, and his order obtained for the reservation of all those Islands,
or Keys which are now the property of the United States." The red line was
drawn over the open water gap separating "The Vacas or Cows" from "Viper
K." President James K. Polk endorsed the Commissioner's letter with the
"Let the lands described in the enclosed communication from the Com-
missioner of the General Land Office be reserved from Sale as requested by
the War Department
17th Sept. 1845."
On September 19, 1845, the Secretary of the Treasury returned the
Commissioner's letter of the 12th with the President's approval.
The claim that Key Vaca was the property of the United States, written
a little more than fifteen years after the Ferreira Grant had been confirmed
by Congress, was the beginning of a nearly fifty year struggle by the owners
to prove their right of title.
Whether there was any connection between the War Department's re-
quest for reserving that section of Florida and blockading activities of the
Bahamians and Cubans as well as the rising sentiment concerning slavery
and slave traffic was not definitely determined.
The following year, in 1846, at least one ship was built on Key Vaca,
the record of which was somehow saved from the fires and hurricanes that
destroyed so many of the early records. W. C. Maloney, in his Historical
Sketch of Key West (1876, p. 79) recorded two such ships:
"1840 Schooner Lavina (Key Vaccas), 13 tons
1841 Schooner Jane Ann (Key Vaccas, 9 tons"
The General Services Administration, East Point, Georgia, located a rec-
ord of the vessel Jane Ann as follows: Official No. 12926, Schooner, Gross
tonnage 10, Net tonnage 10, Length 37.3, Breadth 13.5, Depth 4.8, Built
1846 at Key Vaccas, Florida; Home port (Where permanent document issues)
Key West, Florida. The first official record that was located and indicating
the use of this vessel was the relicensing by the ". .. order of Flag Officer,
Wm. Marvin, Comdg the Blockading Squadron, dated June 13, 1861 .. ."
Although a license had been issued to the owners, "Benj. Roberts and John
Roberts" on the 17th of May, 1861, it had to be renewed the following month
at which time the lane Ann was reported as a "17 8/95" tonnage vessel.
During those prewar years, Key Vaca must have been a busy place with
all its coastal activities, farming, shipbuilding and other construction. "Thou-
sands of dollars were expended" and "several years of supervision in making
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
improvements . in planting and building but during the war all was
lost again." (Letters, Horatio Crain).
After the Civil War was ended the boundary lines between Dade and
Monroe Counties became an issue. Precisely why the residents of both
counties wanted it changed was not found, however, the bill for a change
was passed without controversy. It was approved by the Governor on Decem-
ber 8, 1866. "The Act does not give an effective date, and the Florida Con-
stitution in effect at the time did not provide when acts should become
effective when passed by the Legislature and no effective date was provided
in the Act. So we may assume that it became effective on December 8, 1866."
(Carson F. Sinclair, Supreme.Court Library, Tallahassee, Florida). Any-
way, the new boundary line separated Cayo Largo from Old Roads Key,
thereby, returning Key Vaca to Monroe County where it has since remained.
The U. S. Census following the Acts of 1866 shows a complete depopu-
lation of Key Vaca. The Pents were on Bamboo Key, many of the Roberts,
Currys, Saunders, Sawyers, Pinders, Bethels, and Russells were on either
Indian Key, Matecumbe, or other Keys in the vicinity. An explanation for
this seeming complete evacuation was not found.
The plat of Township 66 South Range 33 East, prepared by Deputy
Surveyor Charles F. Smith, on February 18th, 19th, and 20th of 1873, and
approved June 30, 1874, by the U. S. Surveyor General, depicts a settlement
on the northeastern end, Atlantic side, named Conchtown, in which there
were fifteen houses. Mr. Neff states, "I have seen the old foundations over-
grown with jungle."
A few years later, on April 24, 1878, Key Vaca was relinquished as
a military reservation by the War Department and the next year, the U. S.
Government began disposing of a part of its land.
In 1884, James Henshall, author, sportsman, yachtsman, naturalist and
physician, found several brothers named Watkins with their families on "Key
Vaccas". They were "Conchs" and they had "quite a large clearing" where
they raised tomatoes, and vegetables for Key West and for the northern mar-
kets. The "soil is thin and very rocky but rich and produced well." He
found, just east of the Watkins' settlement, a "fine spring of excellent water
pouring out of the sharp and jagged rocks", beautiful land shells, and a rich
variety of botanical specimens (Camping and Cruising in Florida, 1884,
A map in Charles L. Norton's, A Handbook of Florida (1895, 3rd Ed.
opp. p. 64), also places a Conch Town on the northeastern end but on the
bay side. In 1906, when the railroad construction forces arrived on Key
Vaca they found several families living in this "town". (Corliss). One of
the families was the Rigbys. Mr. Rigby who had lived there "twenty odd
years" was described by a ship-mate as a Bahamian negro, a fine man, who
could "turn to" in any job aboard a ship. By trade he was a ship carpenter
but he made a better living for his twenty children by making charcoal and
raising tomatoes, "The best tomatoes in the world!"
Evidently the actual holders of the title to the Ferreira Grant had not
the slightest inkling that their property had for years been claimed by the
U. S. Government and had no knowledge of the parceling out of their land
until it had already been done. Before Key Vaca was even released by the
War Department the owners had complied with the Act of Congress entitled
an "Act for the adjustment of private land claims in the States of Florida
and Missouri and for other purposes approved June 22, 1860, revived by
Act of Congress of March 2, 1867" and the U. S. Land Office in Gainesville
had submitted to the Washington Office, in 1875, at least two reports on the
Ferreira claim. In 1885, Horatio Crane informed the Commissioner of the
General Land Office in Washington, D. C., ". . only to find that at last
the State of Florida has sold a portion of this grant at $1.00 per acre claim-
ing that the same had been patented to the State by the United States." Then
Mr. Crain asked, "Will the Commissioners please explain how these Keys
became State selection?" In the Tract Book, page 23, there is a record of
127.98 acres being sold for $10.00 (National Archives).
During the 1870's, 1880's and most of the 1890's there was a veritable
criss-cross correspondence by the heirs of Charles Howe and by several
attorneys with the State Land Agent, with the Register and Receiver, in
Gainesville, Florida, and with the U. S. General Land Office in Washington,
D. C.; then, there were letters between State and Federal authorities and
others passed from one Federal Department to another, all concerning the
ownership of the original Ferreira Grant.
In one letter Horatio Crain told the Commissioner of the General Land
Office in Washington, that ". . for a period after the war, the records of
the Spanish Grants in the Public Archives of Florida were in . a state
of confusion . ." That could not have been the only place of confusion.
In a letter to him, on August 10, 1886, Horatio Crain stated he had been
informed "there is no record in our office" of the Grant by the Spanish Gov-
ernor Kindelan to Francisco Ferreira. At one time, the Commissioner even
doubted that the Ferreira Grant had ever been confirmed.
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
In Key West, a petition was filed by the Howe heirs on June 5, 1890, for
partition of the "Vaccas Key". William Patton and M. C. Mordecai had died
and the Howe heirs wanted to know which sections of the land were theirs.
The three commissioners who were appointed by the Court to determine the
partition decided a division could not be made without prejudice; after due
notice, the Vacas Keys (except Duck Key) were sold "at public outcry to the
highest bidder for cash" at the "Court House door in Key West. Horatio
Crain's offer of $500.00 was the highest bid and therefore on February 16,
1891, a "Commissioners' Deed" was issued to him (Plat of Key Vaccas . .
Nos. 30, 42).
Some time later, an attorney sent to the Commissioner of the General
Land Office in Washington this comment: "If it is true that the Government
has patented portions of the Keys to the State and the rest of it through the
Gainesville Land Office to purchasers and settlers and that the land has never
been segregated from the public domain except in this way, the suit in parti-
tion would be of little consequence as there was no land to be partitioned."
Of all the correspondence perhaps the most decisive letter was that
written on July 19, 1898, in the form of a report, by R. L. Scanlett, U. S.
Surveyor General, in Tallahassee, Florida. He had been instructed to take
the proper procedure towards consummating the claim of Francisco Ferreira
to Key Vacas and four islands adjacent. Mr. Scanlett enclosed copies of the
various legal documents showing what action had been taken on Ferreira's
petition; he explained the sections of different Acts effecting the claim and
he described the difficulties of determining which islands were intended to
be included in the Grant; and apparently he settled the issue that had been
raised concerning "a Key Vaccas . situated about one and three fourth
miles north of the city of St. Augustine." A photograph of a British Chart
of the Florida Keys by Gauld which had been submitted by Horatio Crain,
showed Key Vaccas as a range of Keys, Knights Key to Duck Key. The
"Report of the U. S. Coast Survey for 1851, shows Key Vaccas to embrace
a number of islands . ." For further proof that Key Vaccas constituted a
number of Keys, Crain produced a book, Sailing Directions for Capt.
Romans' Gulf and Windward Pilot, published in 1806 and "containing full
instructions for sailing through the Gulf of Florida . also the additions
of Captains W. G. De Brahm, Bishop, Hester, Braddock, Archibald Dalzel
Esq., George Gauld Esq., Lieut. Woodriff, and other experienced navigators."
Mr. Scanlett quoted from the above book, "The west end of Key Vaccas
according to the sailing directions is situated about five miles north of 'Cayo
Sombrero' which would make Knights Key the western extremity." On page
20, Section 6, Key Vaccas is discussed as follows: "Cayo Vaccas or rather
the thick range of islands that go by that name, extend about N. E. by E. for
the space of five leagues, the eastermost of which islands is called Duck Key."
There were certain natural objects located on "Key Vaccas" which would
confirm the claim that the Key embraced a number of islands. On page 21,
Section 7, the following description is given: "At Bahia Honda there is very
good fresh water to be got in the same manner; and on the south side of Cayo
Vaccas about eight miles from the west end, there are likewise fresh water
wells on the east side of a narrow opening with a sand beach on the east
side of it. These are the only places among the Keys (at least as far as we
know) where fresh water is to be got by wells: but there are several fresh
water Swamps and natural reservoirs among the rocks, particularly a large
one on the north side of Cayo Vaccas about six miles from the west end;
where the water never fails."
Mr. Scanlett said that it was evident that this Key "included much more
territory than is embraced by the single key designated Key Vaccas by the
U. S. Survey." At the end of his letter was this all important statement: "I
have decided that the Francisco Ferreira Grant embraces a number of islands
or Keys situated in Township 66 South, Range 32 East; Township 66 South,
Range 33 East; Township 65 south, Range 34 East, beginning with Knights
Key on the west and ending with Duck Key on the east, embracing an area
of 4,135.05 acres." (Doc. 72564, 8 pp., National Archives.)
Precisely one month from the day Mr. Scanlett wrote his report, the
United States Land Office in Gainesville, Florida, sent a letter each to Lewis
W. Pierce and to William Barnett of Key West. Pierce was instructed to
reconvey to the United States certain land that had been patented to him on
April 10, 1886. Barnett was advised that his homestead entry of November
12, 1896, was to be cancelled. On August 24, 1898, the State Land Agent
would "take steps to have grantees of the State reconvey all lands disposed
of by the State, lying within the limits of said grant." On December 17, 1898,
the Commissioner of the General Land Office in Washington instructed the
bookkeeper to note on the tract book certain cancellations "for conflict
with the . claim of Francisco Ferreira." On March 23, 1899, the Florida
Commissioner of Agriculture told the Gainesville Land Office: "The State
does not intend to contest the issuing of the patent to the lands lying within
the Francisco Ferreira Grant." Then came the important announcement that
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
the private land claim of Francisco Ferreira was patented on May 16, 1899,
which patent was signed by President William McKinley.
Whether or not the State of Florida ever reconveyed the lands embraced
within the Ferreira Grant to the United States, the Commissioner of the Gen-
eral Land Office in Washington, D. C., advised certain Miami attorneys
on August 11, 1926: "While there is correspondence filed with the case show-
ing that a full reconveyance from the State was contemplated, the records do
not show that a reconveyance was made and no further action has been taken
with reference to the State's title."
Horatio Crain died the following March 3rd, after the patent was issr
However, Key Vaca appears to have remained in the Crain family until :
in which year with the exception of a few lots, it became the property
Julius Leslie Wood. After his death on June 29, 1925, Key Vaca began to be
partitioned into smaller parcels of land and as of December 1956, the county
deputy tax assessor estimated there were about 3500 parcel of land on the
Since about 1900 sharp contrasts are seen in man's activity on that "most
beautiful little island", Key Vaca.
In the early 1900's while Location Engineer, William J. Krome, with his
assistants, was seeking and studying the most desirable route for Henry M.
Flagler's rails to reach Key West, there were other men, on the Keys, search-
ing and learning. Just as the railroad magnate had a keen interest in Cuba,
so Henry A. Pilsbry, Sc. D., had a vital interest in Cuba's wildlife. How-
ever, these two groups of men, one composed of engineers, and the other of
scientists and naturalists had one interest in common, Key Vaca. J. T. Van
Campen, Advertising Manager, Florida East Coast Railway Company, St.
Augustine, Florida, advised, "In going through our material I can find no
definite statement as to why Key Vaca, or Marathon, was chosen as construc-
tion headquarters. I presume it may have been because of its more or less
central location, and the fact that it was large enough to' accommodate the
necessary buildings and equipment. Chief Engineer Meredith no doubt made
the selection." M. E. Phillips, Editor of the Journal of The Academy of
Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after discussing the question
with other Academy men who for many years had collected on Key Vaca,
replied, "I do not know of any reason why that particular key should) have
been especially favored by the naturalists as a collecting place. Many of
them have been visited over a long period of years by many scientists in
search of interesting material, as they offer rather unique ecological condi-
tions for the continent of North America". The deep channels mentioned by
Mr. Neff were undoubtedly given serious consideration by Mr. Flagler's
engineers, whereas the scientists and naturalists thought the strong currents
passing Cape Sable may have accounted for the presence of certain species
of wildlife found on that island.
The world knows of the never-before-done engineering accomplishments
that were planned and replanned, after 1909, on Key Vaca. Newspapers kept
the public informed of the problems and progress of the railroad and bridge
construction; magazines, monographs, whole chapters and even entire books
have been written about the Keys' railroad, but because of less publicity,
fewer people know of the same devotion of men to the study of the plant and
animal kingdoms who concentrated much of their efforts on this same island.
The cost in dollars and cents cannot be compared with that of the railroad,
nevertheless, exploration of Key Vaca's wildlife was expensive.
In the huge volume of the Journal of The Academy of Natural Sciences
of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (p. 445), published March 21, 1912, in the
commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the academy,
is the mention that about midway of Key Vaca, J. S. Raybon (1904) found
eleven living Liguus. He was not a professional conchologist, but was "the
captain of a small steamer, which apparently was for hire." He knew the
waters of southern Florida. In 1904, he was employed by Clarence Bloom-
field Moore, "a naturalist of some wealth, who was a member of this Acad-
emy and published many papers in our journals . his main interest
was in archaeology and especially in the excavation of the mounds of the
early mound builders. Raybon helped collect natural history specimens on
"Henry Fowler and Stewardson Brown also collected shells on the keys.
These were all Academy men, and in fact, Fowler is now head of our fish de-
partment and H. Pilsbry, about the best known conchologist in the world,
is still head of our shell department" (Letter, May 3, 1957, M. E. Phillips,
Editor). Mr. Fowler and Dr. Pilsbry remembered collecting on Key Vaca.
Charles Torrey Simpson, who had collected on Key Vaca in the early
1900's with the Academy men, expressed great concern over the fate of the
Liguus. "The doom of our beautiful arboreal snails is undoubtedly sealed
for everywhere in our region they are rapidly being destroyed by man. The
building of the railroad over the Keys has hastened their destruction and the
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
lovely Liguus once so abundant now almost extinct." (In Lower Florida
Wilds, 1920, p. 335.)
Over fifty years ago, Charles T. Simpson and Dr. Henry Augustine
Pilsbry studied on Key Vaca. In A Study of the Variation and Zoography of
Liguus in Florida (p. 429), Dr. Pilsbry concluded, "The Floridian forms of
Liguus are in part identical with those of Cuba, in part different from any
Cuban races, though obviously of the Cuban Liguus fasciatus type." Twelve
years ago he recorded in Land Mollusca of North America, (Vol. II, Part I,
p. 49): "Key Vaca and Grassy Key, western keys of the middle group, have
a Liguus fauna almost identical with that of the keys east and west. . .
There is a strong southward current past Cape Sable and it seems possible
that a tree well stocked with Liguus could have drifted across the bay and
made a landing on Key Vaca. . The possibility that Indians carried
mainland shells to Key Vaca is to be considered." Although the railroad has
gone, Simpson's "lovely Liguus" are still on Key Vaca. On September 20th,
1957, John B. Williams (Miami realtor) and Mrs. Williams, in an hour or
two, found on Key Vaca twelve beautiful Liguus on the Gulf side, near the
Just as the Flagler railroad on the Keys had its earlier advocates, the
naturalists and scientists had theirs and curiously enough, the years of their
forerunners were not far apart. "As far back as 1831, at the very dawn of
the railway era in America . an enterprising editor of the Key West
Gazette was suggesting a railroad linking the town with the mainland of
Florida" (Corliss, Tequesta, 1953). The next year, John James Audubon was
probing the Keys. Since he was stationed for a while at Indian Key where
a boat and pilot were placed at his disposal and when Charles Howe was
vitally interested in Key Vaca, it can be imagined that Audubon studied and
collected on the latter island.
Seven years before Audubon's arrival in the Keys, T. R. Peale spent the
winter in Florida. On February 5, 1825, he stopped at "Key Tavernier", on
the next day, at "Ad Nights Key near Key Vacas". From there he went to
Key West but on March 2nd he landed on one of the islands near "Bayou
Honda" [Bahia Honda] to hunt and "found a few good shells". As of
March 12, 1912, Peale's manuscript Journal was in the possession of S. N.
Rhoads (Commemorative Journal of Natural Sciences, p 462).
In 1835, the need of a railroad over the Keys was discussed. For six
months up to April of that year, Rev. Alva Bennett (Troy, New York), rector
at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Key West, collected plants, however, no con-
elusive proof was found showing which of the Keys he explored. Three years
later, Dr. John Loomis Blodgett (1809-1853) began a fifteen year period of
studying and collecting from Key West up the mainland. He sent his speci-
mens from Key West to Dr. Torrey, New York for identification and naming.
Unfortunately, Dr. Blodgett did not indicate the exact locations of his spec-
mens. (Tequesta, 1953, "John Loomis Blodgett (1809-1853)" by R. Bruce
Ledin.) John Torrey and Asa Gray in Flora of North America (Vol. I p.
XII) mentioned receiving plants collected by Blodgett but again without
designation of location other than Key West (Letter, December 17, 1956,
Joseph Monachino, The New York Botanical Garden).
In the 1850's Senator Stephen R. Mallory's interest in having a railroad
was matched by that of the Academy men; and in 1883 when John B. Gordon
started to build a railroad, Henry Hemphill collected on Key Vaca, ". .
The group of keys comprising Duck, Grassy, Crawl, Fat Deer, Vaca and
their satellites . where only Liguus crenatus dwells. . It is some-
what remarkable that the prevalent races of Liguus upon these south central
keys are related to those of Middle Cape Sable instead of to the races of
the keys on either side."
Not all the trips to the Keys by naturalists were privately sponsored.
The U. S. Department of the Interior, in 1880, detailed Professor A. H. Curtis
"to obtain a complete collection of Southern woods." Captain Andrew P.
Canova was his guide along the Keys. Mr. Corliss said the first regularly
scheduled boat line between Marathon and Key West was operated by Cap-
tain "Tony" Canova.
The same year (1884) that the physician, Dr. James Henshall, was on
"Key Vaccas," Dr. F. W. True was there for the purpose of studying the mam-
mal fauna (U. S. National Museum, Bulletin 205). In December 1934, and
during January and February of 1935, Gerrit S. Miller, Jr., Curator, Division
of Mammals, U. S. National Museum, found "no less than five mammals
. . have never been found elsewhere. . Type Locality, Marathon, Key
Vaca, Monroe County, Florida. Range, Key Vaca and doubtless closely ad-
joining keys of Key Vaca group. .. .".
In the reptile family even today on Key Vaca, are found the green snake,
black snake, water moccasins and spotted moccasins. As late as 1936, Wil-
liam A. Parrish, saw a panther. He recalled, "It nearly scared me to death."
On July 30, 1957, Mrs. Otto Bethel of Key West, now in her 83rd year (a
lively little lady) remembered many details associated with her husband's
hunting trips to Key Vaca. Mrs. Thomas E. Reedy (Coral Gables) formerly
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
of Key West and in her 79th year remembered the time when her husband
would go every week-end to Key Vaca. He usually had a pack of six to eight
dogs with him but finding it difficult to transport them back and forth in his
boat, he boarded them on a nearby key with a family named Kyle.
Mrs. Tripp (Naranja) formerly Mrs. Robert Kyle, helped to care for
those dogs. She described Key Vaca as once being a popular place for deer
hunters. Nearby there used to be wild doves "by the millions" and her chil-
dren delighted in finding their eggs and enjoyed eating them. The flavor,
was but a bit stronger than hens' eggs. Many senior citizens along the Keys
recalled with smiles their night "hunts" for the opossum and the large num-
bers of racoons and swamp rabbits on Key Vaca.
Since the history of the Key West Extension Railroad has been written
many times and is readily available, it will not be detailed here, however,
little attention seems to have been given to the social life on Key Vaca during
those construction days. Early Marathon has been described as "bustled,
screamed, slammed, banged, and shrieked."
Between January 1906, and January 1909, there appears to have been
little, if any, community family life on the island since the officers and
skilled workmen and their families had not yet established homes there. On
Islamorada, William J. Krome had seventeen acres which he divided into
lots, each one selling for seven hundred and fifty dollars, "now selling for
$15,000 each". (Interview, January 25, 1956, Divisional Engineer, Ernest
J. Cotton). In January of 1906, crews of men were clearing land for camps
and for the roadway. One camp, number ten, was located on the bay shore
north of the present Sue M. Moore School. This camp consisted of unpainted
dormitories, mess halls, and canvas tents. Camp number one was near
The first construction men located on Key Vaca were Resident Engineers
W. C. Taylor and Edwin R. Davis who were in charge of forces at Camp
Ten and Resident Engineer Kerdolff in charge at Camp One, with their
For two years (1905-1907), Henry M. Flagler and his engineers ser-
iously considered the development of a great deep water harbor at Key Vaca.
Engineers surveyed and took extensive soundings. Maps and plans were pre-
pared to show what would be required to dredge such a harbor, including
one or more channels leading to the open sea (Weekly Progress Reports of
the Constructing Engineer to the President of the Florida East Coast Rail-
road and correspondence of J. C. Meredith, Constructing Engineer 1904-1909,
reviewed by Carlton J. Corliss).
By 1907 (October 26th), a telegraph line over Key Vaca was under
construction and by the week ending November 23rd, the first locomotive
moved on the island. The first telephone wires to cross Key Vaca were strung
in April, 1908. This same year on January 22nd, Key Vaca was joined by
rail to the Florida mainland and on the 5th of the following month, the first
passenger train ran down the Keys to Knights Key Dock. (Carlton J. Corliss,
Historical Notes on the Key Vaca Area and Marathon, pp. 3, 9, 10, 12, 13).
The first time-table (No. 76) showing Marathon as a station gives this
information, "Train 82 is operated, Knights Key Dock to Miami on Tuesdays
and Fridays to connect with incoming ship from Havana and Key West . .
Train 83 is operated Miami to Knights Key Dock on Sundays and Wednesdays
to connect with outgoing ship for Key West and Havana" and "No. 76 . .
Passenger Train Service Extended To Knights Key, Florida. Commencing
February 5th, 1908, connections made at Miami by Trains 99 and 98 with
trains 83 and 82 operating between Miami and Knights Key Dock, the North-
ern terminus of the P. & O. S.S. Co.'s Key West and Havana Lines." After
the train left Miami the 30th station was Marathon, however, all stations
except Homestead, Jewfish, Quarry and Long Key, were Flag Stations where
trains stopped only on signal or to let off passengers. A hotel boat was "lo-
cated at Knights Key Dock in February, 1908, to accommodate passengers of
the railroad and the Peninsular & Occidental Steamship Company and other
The Key Vaca "Y" Tail Track Dock built by the railroad men between
1907 and 1908 was the main transfer point between the railroad and the
steamboat and the barge fleet. Construction materials, fresh water, provisions,
and supplies of all kinds, labor forces, and even the first locomotives and cars
to reach Key West passed over this dock.
Beginning with the year 1909 Marathon took on the form of a more
normal community in that families with their children arrived and lived in
private homes. Available services included a merchandizing store, a U. S.
Post Office, a schoolhouse where classes, devotional services, and social
gatherings were held, a telephone service, an electric light system, emergency
hospital, Marathon Athletic Club and that year a Justice of the Peace was
appointed. Other buildings were erected as the need arose, such as mess halls,
a power house, a pumping station and storerooms.
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
Living on Key Vaca was far from dull. Mothers tended their new babies,
families had clam bakes (clams were brought in especially for the occasion),
picnics and a variety of parties. Children had their birthday celebrations.
There was always a "Granny" (midwife) on the Island to help care for
babies and new mothers. Mrs. E. R. Lowe's own mother (Emma Louise
Curry) was a "Granny", a respected title. Other expectant mothers went to
hosiptals either in Key West or on the mainland.
In 1909, Miss Effie Knowles, (Miami) attorney, was Marathon's first
public school teacher. This can be stated with certainty since Marathon had
neither school children nor a school-place in 1908, in which year Marathon's
place-name was first officially recognized. Miss Knowles described the
schoolhouse as a one room frame building and like the residences it was
"constructed quickly". School opening with twelve pupils including Krome
one, Coe three, and Cotton one, represented all the elementary grades to and
including the first year of high school. The school session was four months.
Miss Knowles estimated the population of Marathon at that time to be about
The school teachers who followed Miss Knowles were: Miss Leith Bush
(Mrs. Paul Reuther) (1910-1911), Miss Victoria Pastorini (1911-1912), and
Miss Gloriana Gardner, (Mrs. Bayly) (1912-1913). There were no rooms or
apartments for rent and no restaurants so each teacher had to live with an
already established family.
Miss Leith Bush was said to have lived with a Langford family, prob-
ably the Divisional Engineer, R. L. Langford, who succeeded Edwin R.
Davis at Camp 10.
Miss Pastorini (Key West), resided with Mrs. Hugh Cameron and her
two sons and she remembered having seventeen pupils in the first eight grades,
and that her salary was $40.00 a month. Two impressions of that period
remain with her: one, that all buildings painted were of "Flagler yellow"
and the other, "the thrills, excitement and high tension" on the day when
Henry Flagler rode on his train from Miami to Key West. School was closed
that day! Her brother, a retired post office employee commented that it was
the general practice in Key West to send beginning teachers there. Mrs. Bayly
lodged in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Leach and their daughter Mar-
garet. "There were 17 children, representing 7 grades, all in a one room
schoolhouse, with no desks, not even a blackboard, and only benches for the
children to sit on. The men salvaged an old screen door frame and tacked a
piece of black oil cloth on it and I found some scraps of white chalk. . .
The schoolhouse we used is a far cry to the modern schoolhouse there today."
Later, in her letter of February 10th, 1957, Mrs. Bayly added "My grand-
mother, Mrs. John Henry Gardner, who was Elizabeth Roberts, daughter of
Joseph Roberts was born on Key Vaca or went there to live as a very little
girl." Joseph Roberts' name appears in the first Dade County U. S. Census
(1840). At that time Key Vaca was in Dade County.
Marathon's first school teacher referred to the "quickly constructed"
houses. Edmund Crittendon who is now in his 84th year came to Florida
sixty-four years ago and in 1912, he bought a house in Marathon for $125,
"No two pieces of lumber in that house were the same in kind or shape. . .
The train passed my house less than two feet from it." He built on a kitchen
and a bath room, the first one, he believes, in Marathon. There were no fam-
ilies on Boot Key where he worked nor on Key Vaca other than those con-
nected with the railroad.
Divisional Engineer, James E. Cotton was often called "Dr. Cotton"
because of his skill in rendering first aid. He described the emergency hos-
pital as having three cots and equipment and materials for treating minor
injuries. All cases of a serious nature were taken to hospitals in Key West,
Homestead or Miami. One male nurse in attendance at the emergency hos-
pital was Mr. Edward Raymond Lowe, then known as "Doc". His widow,
Mrs. Alice Louise (O'Rourke) Lowe, popularly known as "Ellie", now in
her 72nd year and a native of Key West stated he had served as an orderly
between 1901-1904 in the U. S. Army Hospital in Key West and he worked
a year in a drug store there under Dr. Maloney. He was the first Justice of
Peace at Marathon. From childhood, Mrs. Lowe had heard the story that a
"Masked Knight Prince from England" lived on Knights Key, hence the
name. John Lee Williams, in or before 1837 saw on Knights Key a "good
house and a cleared field that appears to great advantage from the water"
(Territory of Florida p37). References have been found to "The Rocks" in
Marathon. Mrs. Lowe explained that was a rocky place near the present
Marathon Shores and where liquor was smuggled in and women of doubtful
reputation came in there too.
Even though the residents had no minister, religious services were held
in the schoolhouse, usually by a "Christian man." Resident Engineer, W. R.
Hawkins, often led the services. "During the building of the East Coast Rail-
road to Key West, clergy from Saint Paul's, Key West, made occasional visits
to Key Vaca and conducted services for the workers at the construction camp
at Knights Key. In addition, these priests ministered to several Bahamian
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
negro churchmen then in residence here." (Letter, February 12, 1957, the
Rev'd Fr. Whitney Church, Saint Columba's Mission, Marathon).
Mr. and Mrs. "Doe" Lowe found part of a kitchen hidden about mid-
way on Key Vaca, close to the water on the Atlantic side where they "picked
up shards of obviously very old pottery having designs, a grinding stone
about eight inches long, shaped something like a loaf of bread and a shell
knife." These items were lost in the 1935 hurricane.
W. R. Hawkins kept a dairy from the day he was employed by the Flor-
ida East Coast Railway until he left in 1912, a period of five years. That
unpublished diary, consisting of several "books", provides clear pictures of
the trials, horrors, amusements, fun, and congeniality on Key Vaca. One of
the biggest evils was liquor, as it hindered progress of work, caused fist-
quarrels, and even brought about near and actual violent deaths. There were
instances of fatal injuries and tragic losses of life by falling cement blocks,
by explosions, and by drowning.
There were also many amusing situations during those railroad days.
William A. Glass (Coral Gables), an Illinois State University man, was one
of the resident engineers on Key Vaca (1908-1917). After relating how
the labor was recruited, he gave an account of 150 laborers arriving unex-
pectedly. No quarters were ready, a hurricane was approaching, so in a
hurry, they were "put up in the cement shed". The laborers were poorly
dressed except for new shoes and tall hats. As the wind blew harder and
harder, first one, then two or three, soon five or six, until finally about sev-
enty-five new tall hats flew out of the cement shed and out to sea. [A social
worker then in New York knew of a man there who supplied new shoes and
tall hats as a morale-booster to the down-and-out men.]
Under date of April 12, 1910, Mr. Hawkins wrote in his diary, "Most
of the Marathon force went to little doings at McClure's tonight . one
man who is not much of a singer volunteered to sing a vocal solo", and on the
13th, "This afternoon Corliss at Oaks' instigation got up a phonograph rec-
ord which was a traversty on the singing done by the volunteer last night.
It was pretty clever . the victim . stood it pretty well."
There are instances galore in the diary of the good-natured jokes being
played upon one another. Other kinds of fun were dances, card parties, in-
door and outdoor games, picnics, swimming, walking, picture taking, and
Shortly before the 1910 hurricane, this entry occurs: "Cockroaches are
uneasy tonight, a 'Conch' sign of windy weather."
On October 17, 1910, the French Liner Louisiane was stranded on the
Sombrero Reef four miles from Key Vaca. Mr. Hawkins counted thirty-two
boats around it and on the 24th of the same month, recorded "Wreck Louis-
iane has been turned over to Bub Smart. He has taken a contract not as
wrecking master in the usual way, but in some way more advantageous to the
Of interest was the reaffirmation that sugar cane was grown on Key
Vaca. Bahamian descendants along the Keys had mentioned it. Under date
of October 15, 1911, Hawkins wrote, "Sugar cane raised on Key Vaca. Rich-
ardson bo't 3 stalks from negro who raised it."
On Christmas Day of 1911, Prof. Charles Schuchert of Yale University
arrived at Marathon. He was "interested in natural history." On the same
day the newspaperman, Mr. Chapin, was there. On the 27th, "Jimmy Hare,
noted war correspondent and photographer, Collier Magazine, here for a
few days getting pictures." A little over three weeks later Hawkins entered:
"Colliers for January 20, 1912 has in it the pictures that J. A. Hare took and
an article by John Maurer Rockwell which is about as accurate as could be
expected and he has only a little rot about square-jawed bronze men." In
1912, on May 1st: "V. E. Lakinsky, C. E., Deputy of the Imperial Institute of
Engineers, of ways of communication, St. Petersburg, Russia, came to Mara-
thon last night. A Russian between 25-30 years. Has been examining engi-
neering works for his government . ."
The village of Marathon during the railroading days was concentrated
in an area between the main railway line and the Gulf. Standing on the Gulf
shore, back of the present Highway Patrol Station, and facing the main line
of the railroad, a board walk ("Broadway") extended to the railroad, at the
end of which, nearest the Gulf waters, was another board walk running
parallel to the railroad. At the junction of "Broadway" and the parallel
walk were the executive offices and official quarters. Well to the left of
"Broadway" was a row of houses on either side of a boardwalk running
parallel to "Broadway", except that the end extending toward the railroad
stopped before reaching it. The last building on the left of that "residential
street" was the schoolhouse. The hospital was to the left of "Broadway",
near the walk parallel to the railroad. It is still there and is occupied. To
the right of "Broadway" and nearly opposite the Hospital ("Court House")
was the building used as a store and post-office. Between this store and
slightly to the right of the official headquarters was the mess hall and farther
still to the right of "Broadway" were several storage buildings, close to the
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
"Y" track, the tail of which reached out to the Gulf waters where the Marathon
Dock was built. In the center of the "V" part of the "Y" track, joining the
railroad, were the water tank, tool house, and repair shop. To the right of
the "Y" track were the recruits' camps, Spanish camp, and another camp.
The Marathon Hotel was to the right of and about midway of the tail part of
the "Y" track. The boardwalk passing the official quarters branched off, one
prong curved somewhat in the direction of the railroad to be joined to the
residential "street"; the other prong reached out to a swimming dock. Close
to the "V" of the forked boardwalk was the tennis court and to the left of
that was a building. If this house had had a mailbox, the names on it would
have been: McClure, Krome, McMullen, Corliss. Between the tennis court
and the above "residence" was a boardwalk leading out to a launch dock.
Opposite the mess hall was a boardwalk leading to another launch dock, the
site of the Chief Engineer's Quarterboat and office as well as the Athletic club
(Outline drawn by Mr. Corliss).
The residential area began to show signs of "thinning out" by the fall
of 1912, and by the following year there was no school. In an unpublished
letter of July 31, 1914, written in Marathon, the Constructing Engineer,
William J. Krome, mentioned "the approaching early completion of our
work . ." By April 14, 1920, Mr. Krome informed Mr. Corliss, "We still
maintain headquarters at Marathon but that place is very much on the
'Deserted Village' order. No families live there and the old 'residential
section' has largely returned to jungle . I spend one or two days a week
at Marathon." The machine shop at Boot Key was still open but Mr. Ring,
"with a force of about a dozen men wonders from day to day when we will
finally close up." In Marathon at this time there were two men in the
auditor's office, one in Mr. Krome's, and there were the station agent, the
pumpman, and the section foreman. "The road is doing an immense business
with Cuba and the two ferries [Key West] are so much overtaxed that we
are building a third, probably to be followed very shortly by a fourth."
(W. J. Krome). What that railroad meant to William J. Krome perhaps can
be best told as follows: "Homestead, October 2, 1929, . Physicians
believed immediate cause of death was shock upon hearing the damage
caused by the hurricane winds [September 28, 1929] to the Overseas rail-
way". (Miami Daily News)
Just as quickly as Key Vaca, the headquarters of an engineering project
costing millions of dollars, had the spotlight of the world focused upon it
and had famous people coming to its shores, equally as suddenly the island
dropped into oblivion.
In the 20th century, apparently the first white man, not connected with
the Florida East Coast Railway to settle with his family in Marathon with
the intention of remaining there was William A. Parrish. It would be utterly
impossible to write even the sketchiest history of Marathon without mention-
ing him. He was born on October 28, 1885 at Fruitland, Putnam County,
Florida, to Ezekiel William Jackson Parrish of Lowndes County, Georgia,
and Georgella Margaret (Alien) Parrish of South Carolina. He had one
younger (by two years) brother, Dr. T. E. Parrish, who died in 1955, in
At the age of twenty-two, Mr. Parrish and Mary Eveline Sparkman
(daughter of Tampa's first mayor) were married at Tampa and when they
established their home at Marathon, in February, 1927, their family con-
sisted of five daughters and one son.
The Parrishes came to the Keys in 1920, locating first on Craig Key
where he operated a fish house. In 1925 when real estate was "booming"
they moved back to the mainland, but the next year property values slumped.
"In the fall of 1927, I built a fishhouse on Boot Key Harbor being in partner-
ship with the Miami Fish and Ice Company which J. G. Crosland headed,
shipping my fish by express and in car load lots to different parts of the
country. At first, I had a commissary in the fishhouse but in the fall of 1928,
I built a grocery store up near the railroad station [Marathon] and leased
it out for the season. The site of this store is where the Patrol Station now
stands. In 1929, with the assistance of Bernie Papy [State Representative]
I got Mr. A. E. Woodburn to take over the store. He later became postmaster
and has been a resident of Marathon since that time." (Letter, April 10,
1957, William A. Parrish)
Arthur E. Woodburn, originally from Vermont, and now in his 81st
year, recalled, "There were not over three or four families here when I came:
Parrish, Gibson, Hamilton, and possibly another family. There were times
when Allan Parrish and I were the only white men on the island." (Interview
December 28, 1955). There was a negro section called Addley Town. Mr.
Woodburn owned the general store and had the post office from 1930-1946
"possibly to 1948". He was the first to have electric lights (home generator).
On returning to the Keys to engage in the wholesale fish business, Mr.
Parrish told his partner that Marathon was the best place for getting fish.
Exactly thirty years later, Leon Kenney, founder and owner of the Pinellas
Seafood Company, and known as the "Seafood King", gave his reason for
locating at Marathon, "Best production area in Florida . during the
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
months from November through January. Quality of fish is better in Mara-
thon than any other port in Florida." (Letter, January 10, 1957)
At first, Mr. Parrish and his partner leased the Marathon property from
the railroad with the exception of the station and the homes of the railroad
employees. At that time, the population of Marathon including children,
was about thirty. Not until 1931 did Mr. Parrish own property on Key Vaca.
In a letter to Mr. Corliss March 7, 1952, he wrote, "For 12 years I lived
in the Gibbons' residence [near tennis court] after reroofing, reflooring, and
repairing same. Also repaired the Krome residence and used that . The
Marathon Hotel had burned, also the Taylor houses, Spanish Club, etc.
Docks on the front were gone . The Marathon Chamber of Commerce
is now located where the wide tracks reached the docks. We had two water
tanks instead of one in between the "Y" tracks. On one arm of the "Y" the
Navy now has a pumping station. West of that comes the public school."
One of the first things needed in this community, thought Mr. Parrish,
was a school teacher, so, in 1928 a school was opened. The first teacher for
this community, Miss Tessie Kyle, (now Mrs. Kurt Frentzel, Public Health
Nurse, New York), daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kyle, (who cared for
Mr. Reedy's hunting dogs), had "less than ten pupils with at least one in
each of the first eight grades." To ensure her comfort, the Parrishes invited
her to live in their home. Nearly thirty years later, Mrs. Frentzel recalls
their every consideration and that, "almost none of the land was really cleared
except for a very little around the homes. Of course, no roads, only the
railroad track and if we wanted to visit a near island, we either 'walked the
ties' or went by small row boats with outboard motors. We had a passenger
train and a freight train go by from Key West in the morning and the same
from the north in the afternoon. We could not 'go to the corner' for a news-
paper, and knowing this, the train conductor often would toss us newspapers
that passengers had discarded. Instead of paths to walk on between the
homes and the school we had 'a walk' made of cut railroad ties and boards.
This helped the often bare-foot children to keep the sand spurs from their
feet, but at times, when in a hurry, ended with splinters . .
"The homes were from crude to very plain, . all wooden. Outdoor
toilets, with a Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward catalogue. We had
crude showers but no bath rooms.
"Our recreation was swimming, fishing, picnics, reading, and bridge
playing. We also had one tennis court, Victrola records for dancing.
"Our school was a really small wooden house that had been the first
Post Office in Marathon . no electric lights . had the old fashioned
"It probably seems like a very dull life to young people now . we
had many pleasant hours . all ages . together."
Following Miss Kyle in 1929, was Charles C. Albury, the present Princi-
pal of Coral Shores School, Tavernier, Florida. For a schoolhouse, he had
an abandoned railroad construction building, the rear of which was par-
titioned off, making a small room where he slept. The hurricane winds of
September, 1929, toppled the rear end of the school building but he continued
to hold classes there. He refused, however, to sleep in the little rear room
that was slanting downward so steeply, so he lived with the Parrishes. "Rats
got into the desks and the children would let out yells when they scurried
out." To call the children to school he would hit a triangular iron piece with
an iron bar, even the children living on houseboats heard the call. It was
four or five months before the "Board of Education got around to repairing
Mr. Albury described Marathon then as a "ghost town", having been
virtually deserted, since the construction crews moved out. A few families
remained or moved in, and he thought there might have been in all twenty-five
families, three of which took turns as pumpers of water. Mr. Albury's salary
was sixty-five dollars a month but since there was no high school and no way
of transporting the children to one, the Board of Education offered him
fifteen dollars a month for each high school pupil he taught. He had five
such students and ten in the elementary grades.
"At first we had board walks for streets. Along the side of one was a
trestle out to the creek and on which people pumped themselves along on a
hand car. Later, roadways were made." As for recreation, "Lots of it!"
There were two motor vehicles on the island, one owned by Mr. Parrish, and
the other, a truck by Mr. Woodburn who would "toot" at each house to pick
up the children and adults to go for a "swim" at approximately where the
Sombrero Hotel (now Buccanier Lodge) stood. When parties were held in
the schoolhouse, everyone brought his gas or oil lantern for light. Everyone
was included in practically everything. Wives, mothers, and daughters
danced and they entered into the fun at candy-pulls, picnics, card games,
fishing, and just get-togethers. The men went on night "hunts" for racoons.
The island was covered with beautiful morning glories everywhere. "Those
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
years were among the happiest of my life." (Interview March 17, 1956,
Charles C. Albury).
In 1931, Mrs. Sue Marvin Moore, now in her 80's, followed Mr. Albury.
She opened school with twenty-five children in grades one through ten and
representing "five or six families." Soon she had only fifteen pupils as some
of the fishermen families moved away. Mrs. Moore told this writer that she
taught in almost every type of improvised building during the years between
1931 and 1946. At one time she had twenty-seven pupils in all the elementary
grades and with almost no teaching aids. For eight summers, she took
courses of study at the University of Miami, "To get ready for the children."
In 1935, because of the hurricane, she was moved to Big Pine Key where
she taught for three years. Mr. Neff recalled there were two children of school
age on Key Vaca then and that they might not be "held back" in their studies,
Mrs. Moore took them to Big Pine to live with her. Those two pupils were,
"a Parrish girl and my son." On returning to Marathon (1938), "The old
seat of learning was located fourteen miles south [Summerland Key] in a
discarded Civilian Conservation Corps camp building." The December 16th
1945 issue of The Miami Herald has, "Pupils had to get up at 7 A.M. to reach
school on time and rarely got home before 5 P.M." The Minutes of the
Marathon Chamber of Commerce during this period are replete with the
determination of Mr. Parrish as head of a committee in getting a new school-
house. Meanwhile, "About 20 of the able-bodied members drove a fleet of
trucks down the highway, dismantled the schoolhouse in sections and rebuilt
it right in town." In this, Mrs. Moore continued to teach until the new school
which bears her name, was completed in November, 1946." "Miz Sue" as
she was known, taught the first year in the new school, then retired in June
A. B. Galbraith, a retired structural engineer and a resident of Marathon,
has given, in a series of eight articles titled "Earlier Marathon" (The Florida
Keys Keynoter, December 15, 1955 through February 2, 1956), vivid descrip-
tions of "conditions and happenings in Marathon during its transition from
strictly a commercial fishing village to a popular tourist spot." In 1933, he
found the Upper Keys "desolate beyond description." The pavement was
terrible and the road was practically a tunnel through the brush. To him, it
was, inconceivable that there could be anything to see but even more desola-
tion on the Keys below Lower Matecumbe so he "jolted" back to Miami.
Several changes had taken place along the chain of islands before his
next visit in January 1938, when he first saw "unimpressive" Marathon. Of
interest are the statements that in June 1928 when the Florida Greyhound bus
first operated between Miami and Key West there was one long ferry run
between Lower Matecumbe Key and No Name Key at which point another
bus picked up the passengers and transported them to Key West. "On account
of the ferry schedule . it was impossible for a passenger to make the
round trip between Miami and Key West in one day.
"In 1930, the Monroe County Commissioners secured a second ferry,
after which we had two short ferry runs instead of one long ferry trip . ."
Those two short ferry connections were between Lower Matecumbe and "the
northern landing point on Key Vaca" [Grassy Key] and from Marathon to
No Name Key. "The first time the public could use our bus service and make
a round trip between Miami and Key West in the same day" was in 1938 in
which year "we inaugurated four scheduled trips in each direction . .
today we have ten round trip schedules between the two cities." (Letter,
September 9, 1957, T. B. O'Steen, Director Public Relations, Florida Grey-
Clifford G. Hicks, Secretary, Overseas Road and Toll Bridge District,
explained that due to Key West's expansion of business and other interests,
transportation facilities were entirely inadequate. Ten years after the Florida
East Coast Railroad was completed (1912), Monroe County began building
a highway from Key West to Florida Mainland. Between 1922 and 1928, the
county had spent over $4,000,000 on the road. Due to insufficient funds,
"two watergaps in the 40 mile area between Lower Matecumbe Key and No
Name Key" had to be bridged by ferries. This condition continued until 1935
when sections of the railroad were destroyed by a tropical hurricane.
"In 1933, the Florida Legislature created the Overseas Road and Toll
Bridge District with the authority to construct and operate a toll highway
and bridges over this 40 miles watergap, thereby providing for a continuous
motor road from Key West to the Mainland." After the 1935 hurricane, the
railroad's right of way with existing bridges was acquired for $640,000. At
a cost of $3,600,000, "the Overseas Road and Toll Bridge District converted
the Florida East Coast Railway right-of-way with its eleven concrete bridges
into a modern paved automobile highway for a distance of 41 miles, extend-
ing from Lower Matecumbe to Big Pine Key and joining at these points with
the highway built by Monroe County and known as the Overseas Highway,
thereby eliminating the watergap previously requiring a ferry service." This
particular section was opened for traffic on March 28, 1937 (Literary Florida,
March 1947, p. 34, 35). Tolls were collected between January of 1938 and
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
April of 1954 (Interview August 14, 1958, Clifford G. Hicks). As sufficient
funds had been collected to pay off the bonded indebtedness on the Overseas
Highway the State Road Department took over the entire Overseas Highway
and made it toll free (The Marathon Story, published by the Marathon Cham-
ber of Commerce, 1958, p 33).
When Mr. Galbraith saw Marathon for the first time in January 1938,
"the new bridges were opened" but the highway was still the "old road"
which kept getting "no better fast." There were no fishing tackle stores and
only a restaurant, a 25 foot structure with the southwest corner partitioned
off for the owner's bedroom. Mrs. Lulu Hall, widow of Jodie Jackson Hall,
and a member of the History Panel held in Marathon on June 29, 1957,
stated that they opened this restaurant on New Year's Day of 1938. The year
before they purchased one hundred acres, partly highway, for $250. Some
years later for another hundred acres they paid $30,000. Those "pre-war,
pre-water, pre-electricity days" posed a few "minor" problems. Ice was
ordered from Key West where it was weighed and by the time it arrived by
boat it had dwindled to about half the original size. Ocean water was used
for bathing, and washing dishes. Women did their laundry by the seashore.
Charley Toppino trucked drinking water from Homestead and the Halls paid
two and a half to three cents a gallon. In early 1940, after a long period of
rainless days, Mr. Galbraith recalled that Charley Toppino parceled it out
at the rate of twenty gallons for a dollar. Candles or oil lamps furnished
light. A native of Lowndes, Georgia, Jodie Hall came to Miami in 1912.
Twenty-five years later, a friend "insisted upon him coming to Marathon" at
which time there were no over night accommodations, so the Halls stayed at
the Parrish home. He built Marathon's first Fishing Camp. Mr. Galbraith
described it thus: "a flat roof shed divided into two rooms, each about eight
feet square and each equipped with a bed, chair and a bowl and pitcher on
a corner shelf the price was $1.00 per night per room." Today, Hall's
Camp with its modern pier, 27 cabins, swimming pool and other features, is
one of Marathon's attractive spots. Mr. Galbraith believes that Hall's third
structure (in 1938) bearing in large letters "the legend 'Rest Rooms' did
much to make the tourists coming down over the new bridges conscious of
The Woodburns also had two cabins in 1938, one of which was near
their general store (site of present Highway Patrol Station) and the other
"was about 100 yards north where the old road now enters the back yard of
the pumping station." Mr. Galbraith described the "cabin" nearest the store
this way, ". . so help me, a framework enclosed with packing crate lumber.
When Bessie [Mrs. Woodburn] showed it to us, we could see stars twinkling
through the roof." In the case of rain, "Quite nonchalantly Bessie said 'Just
pull the bed over'." The other cabin he thought was the bridge contractor's
Gene Sands had a barroom but when his place became the first Grey-
hound Bus stop he sold sandwiches. In the spring of 1938, Hall's restaurant
and Sand's place, if Mr. Galbraith remembers correctly, were the only per-
manent buildings facing the highway. Mr. and Mrs. C. R. White had their
'drug store' (now Marathon Sundry Store) under construction. Incidentally
Mrs. Dana White, widow of C. P. White, originated the community-wide
Christmas Party idea for the local children, during the war. At first the
party was for everybody. After the war, it was for children only, one night
for the white children and another for the negro children. Now the party is
a community project with all organizations participating, and with the
increase of population, the age level of the children has been lowered. There
were "strung along the highway at odd intervals a great many unpainted
temporary shacks, large and small, that had to do in one way or another,
with construction of the bridges."
By the following winter (1938-1939) most of the shacks were gone as
were other evidences of the bridge construction period. During that and the
next year or two, private dwellings were under construction, among them
A. E. Woodburn's present home, Sue M. Moore's home, and William A. Par-
rish's near the bay (now a part of the Davis Motel). Ray O. BuShea (now
Fire Marshall) built the "Roundhouse, a restaurant, "Bill" Thompson estab-
lished his yacht dock, Chester Tingler started his boat yard (now Marathon
Boat Works), "Jimmy" Galatt (now deceased) built the Flamingo restaurant
and bar, Hall had new cabins, and Charley Toppino constructed a two story
building, the Overseas Lodge.
News had spread of the delightful climate and of the incredible fishing.
Tourists and fishermen began to come in increasing numbers and many
remained. More eating places, bars, and cabins were appearing and Mara-
thon was becoming a popular vacationland. These activities came practically
to an end after the Pearl Harbor event in December 1941. Gasoline rationing
affected the tourist business and the food rationing emphasized the import-
ance of Marathon's fish industry. Most able bodied people had in some way
become connected with the government. Instead of fishermen on the bridges,
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
there were camouflaged machine guns. Without Coast Guard permits no one
was allowed on or near the docks or in boats.
Mr. Galbraith stated that "Marathon had one of the early civilian air-
plane spotting units. The watch tower was . on top of the elevated water
tank back of the 'drug store' . each month a new infantry regiment, boot-
camped in the north, came to Pigeon Key for brief 'tropical' conditioning
for the South Pacific. They came and went in convoys of 100 or more
vehicles strung along the highway for more than a mile, . the sights
along the highway were indescribable .. ."
Marathon's economy had undergone a radical change, however, it was
benefited greatly by the expansion of the Navy's establishments in Key West.
"The water bill was drafted in 1937 at the time the Overseas Highway was
opened to the public. There was little thought of actually getting the money
for a water line but the loan was finally made by the government in 1942.
"Engineers at that time recommended a 40-inch pipeline. The Navy felt
a 12-inch line sufficient. A compromise brought through an 18-inch water
supply line.' Rep. Bernie C. Papy then told his Marathon audience that the
Navy "guessed that the line would be good until 1975. I felt by 1950 we
would need more water." (Keynoter June 5, 1958.)
The Florida Keys Aqueduct Commission, a public agency, created by the
State of Florida, in 1941, for the purpose of supplying potable water to the
Federal Agencies and the civilian population of Monroe County, contracted
with the U. S. Navy to participate in the building of a fresh water line from
Florida City to Key West. The commission paid one third of the cost of
construction, of the major repairs, and of the operation. The entire cost of
building the line was approximately $6,000,000.00, including the pumping
stations and wells at Florida City. The water pipe line, made of steel, is
laid under the ground, on top of the ground, under water, over water, and
attached to some of the bridges on the Overseas Highway. Its length is one
hundred and twenty-five miles. This line was completed in the latter part of
the year of 1942. Key West began to receive their first continuous supply of
fresh water in December of that year. The report, received September 2, 1958,
from the Florida Keys Aqueduct Commission, Key West, through the Mara-
thon office, goes on to say, "Flowing wells were drilled at Florida City, these
wells flow into a basin and the water is then lifted by centrifugal pumps and
discharged into the line leading to Key West. The pumps work at a pressure
of 235 lbs. per square inch, forcing the water through the line. It takes
approximately one week for water to reach Key West after leaving Florida
City . In Key West and the upper Keys there are approximately 9,251
water meters installed."
A second report (same date) says, "The first water meter in Marathon,
Florida (Vaca Key), was installed by the Florida Keys Aqueduct Commission
the first week of January, 1953. Up to date, there are now at least 1,211
meters; but from this number, many of them service duplex units, more than
one family in some cases . ."
The water line construction crews helped to prop Marathon's declining
tourist trade. Since that time critical water shortages have necessitated addi-
tional booster pumps and storage tanks at different locations along route,
including Marathon. It is reported that water shortage in the Keys is again
critical (Keynoter June 26, 1958). A service office of the Florida Keys
Aqueduct Commission has been opened in Marathon (Keynoter, February
In 1943-1944, with the heavy trucking of troops, supplies and ammuni-
tion, the County-built-road with its wooden trestles was considered unsafe,
so the State Road Department of Florida with the financial assistance of
the Federal Bureau of Public Roads [now identified as the Public Roads
Administration], built or completed the present modern highway into Key
West. It followed the Florida East Coast Railway's right-of-way from Flor-
ida City, converting the railroad's concrete bridges for automobile traffic
and thereby entirely eliminating all wooden bridges. The building of this
"Main Street" throughout the length of Key Vaca and the other Keys bolst-
ered Marathon's war time economy and contributed much to its phenomenal
growth. As with the initial piped water supply, the two lane highway is now
considered inadequate. Four-laning of the Overseas Highway is in evidence
on the Florida mainland approach.
A third service, power and light, was also made available to Marathon
during the war period. In 1937, a small power plant started operation at
Matecumbe which served thirty-seven consumers. Three years later, with
the help of the Rural Electrification Administration, the Florida Keys Elec-
tric Cooperative Association Incorporated was organized. "This Cooperative
is locally owned and operated, it pays all State and County taxes, it is
operated under State and Florida Laws, and it was organized because electric
power was not available elsewhere." The original plan was for the line
to extend from North Key Largo to Key West but war conditions necessitated
dividing the project into three sections, the middle one being seven miles on
Key Vaca. In 1942 the Cooperative purchased the generating plant at Taver-
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
nier from the Florida Power and Light Company. In 1943, it built its own
generating plant at Tavernier and the east section of the project was energized
with a total of two hundred and ten consumers. In July, 1943, Key Vaca, was
energized with a mobile generating plant which served forty-two consumers.
This separate operation continued until the building of the line between the
two sections in 1946. In October, 1948, two "650 H.P. K.W. Diesel Generat-
ing plants" were hurriedly put into action. In August 1951, the Cooperative
purchased two more engines and generators and by August of the following
year application was made to and was approved by the Rural Electrification
for funds to construct a generating plant in Marathon. It was hoped at the
Tavernier Headquarters of the Florida Keys Cooperative Association that one
of the generators could be in operation for the 1954-1955 season as ". .
we are again up to capacity . our consumers having increased from 743
in 1948 with a generation of 1,335,612 KWH to 1,739 consumers with a total
generation of 6,321,130 KWH in 1952." (Homestead News, December 2,
1954). Those engines were completed and set in motion on August 2, 1954.
Charles Griffin, Plant Superintendent and Chief Engineer at the "No. 2
Plant, Marathon" stated on August 14, 1958, "We are now completing installa-
tion of a 3,000 KW generator . expect to install another 3,000 unit in
Undoubtedly, the fourth factor in Marathon's rapid development was
the anti-mosquito control program. Every senior citizen this writer consulted
placed the highway, the water supply, and the electric service as of the great-
est importance. Throughout the Minutes of the earlier meetings of the
Marathon Chamber of Commerce are references to pest control, such as,
"October 7, 1948, the Chamber paid $158.29 to the Overseas Road and Toll
Bridge District for pest control. May 4, 1949, $175.00 paid for a G. I. Dodge
Ambulance to be used as a Mosquito Spray Truck. February 19, 1952, $400
in payment for Chamber's truck and spray machine from the Anti-Mosquito
Board.", and finally, "August 2, 1951, Vote carried to turn over funds and
equipment to the Mosquito Control Board of Monroe County for use in the
Marathon area." The Marathon Chamber of Commerce had instituted other
oommunity-wide services that were later taken over by Monroe County.
For the 8000 x 1000 foot paved runway airstrip in Marathon, two hun-
dred and eighty acres of land were purchased at seventy dollars an acre from
Maitland Adams and Norberg Thompson of Key West (Interview W. A.
Parrish, August 28, 1958). Edward N. Belcher, Jr., President, Belcher Oil
Company (Miami), stated in a letter dated September 2, 1958, ". . Belcher
Oil Company was the prime contractor, and constructed for the Civil Aero-
nautics Association, the flight strip at Marathon, Florida, in 1942 and 1943.
The contract was approximately $350,000.00 and the entire construction area
was a mangrove swamp and had to be filled to its present elevation by using
borrow pits that are still in the vicinity.
"We also were the original prime contractors of the Boca Chica Airbase,
which was built in a mangrove swamp too by using the same methods to
achieve its present elevation." A man in Marathon who worked on the con-
struction said the project was started in the fall of 1942 and it was completed
in the spring of 1943. F. M. Fitzgerald, Airport Engineer, Civil Aeronautics
Administration, U. S. Department of Commerce, wrote in his letter of August
11, 1958, "I have had occasion to investigate the legal position of the Mara-
thon flight strip, and have found that during the early part of World War II,
the flight strip and the land it occupies was supplied by the Florida State
Road Department for the U. S. Bureau of Public Roads, now identified as
the Public Roads Administration.
"While the cost of the land and the construction thereon was reimbursed
to the State of Florida by the Public Lands Administration, and title is in
the State, some control of the strip has been retained by the Public Roads
Administration. Monroe County had approached the State Road Board and
requested that the property be transferred to Monroe County in order that it
could be operated and maintained as a public airport. To my knowledge,
this has not been done." However, on August 13, 1958, The Key West Citizen
had an article titled, "County Will Get Marathon Airport Title." Airport
Consultant, Harold A. Wilde, reported, "that the Civil Aeronautics Admin-
istration had indicated a willingness to relinquish any federal claim to the
ownership of the airport if title were obtained by the county. Wilde was
instructed to proceed with the acquisition of title."
Harry D. Copland, Manager, Aviation Department, Florida Development
Commission, wrote on August 19, 1958, "The Marathon Airport has been
leased to National Airlines." A copy of that lease, dated November 15, 1957,
is filed in the office of the Marathon Chamber of Commerce. Some of the
provisions of that lease include the payment of one dollar a year for ten
years, maintenance of the landing strip, obeyance of all CAA regulations
regarding operation of flight strip, approval by the U. S. Navy for contem-
plated construction of any kind on the airstrip, and the right of the U. S.
Navy to reenter in case of emergency. David C. Kelly, District Airport Man-
ager, International Airport Branch, Civil Aeronautics Administration gave
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
this information, "The airport [Marathon] was constructed by the United
States Bureau of Public Roads and the Florida State Road Department. . .
It is our understanding that the State of Florida still owns the airport and
that it is leased to National Airlines."
The original purpose of this flight strip was for war time training of
bombers usually coming out of Homestead. Since the war, private planes,
pleasure aircraft, and participants in the All Women's International Air
Race have landed there. After the war, Mr. Parrish sold 26,000 yards of
sand for reconditioning this air strip.
Prior to 1942, Mr. Parrish saw the need of an air landing area in
Marathon and had collected pledges of $224,000 toward the cost of one.
He had secured the approval of the County Board for an air strip but not
from the State Comptroller.
George Leister remembered that small airplanes landed on Key Vaca
years before there was any talk of having an air strip. Born January 25,
1881, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, he came to Miami in 1909 and
worked as a commercial fisherman until 1920 when he went to Craig Key.
He built the first fish house there for a man named "Cassel" and he was
there when Mr. Parrish arrived. In 1926, Mr. Parrish sent him "on to Mara-
thon to look around. . There was nothing here but a few old railroad
frame houses, which were later rented from the railroad for twelve dollars a
year so the occupants could not claim squatters' rights. Right here were all
mangrove swamps." We were standing by the old Parrish fish house, near
the Marathon Boat Works, on Parrish Avenue, at the end of which are the
famed shrimp docks. Both sides of that Avenue are now lined with homes
and trailers and opposite the shrimp docks are two restaurants and Capt.
Elmer Capo's canal site home at the back of which are his charter cabin
cruisers. Captain Capo has served as guide to several United States Presi-
dents and to foreign royalty. When he first came to Marathon, he lived on
Of particular interest was Mr. Leister's knowledge of the old farming
area where fertile land could be and was ploughed. It consisted of "about
two or three miles on the ocean side of Key Vaca, southwest of Vaca Cut."
He remembered, "In the early days, Parrish raised big and delicious toma-
toes on one end of that area and small airplanes landed there, too." To his
knowledge, that was the only place on the island where farming could have
been carried on (Interview, August 28, 1958). Other senior citizens agreed
as to the location of the farming area.
Prior to 1950, telephones in Marathon were on a toll system basis com-
ing out of Key West where they were established in 1883. In 1950, Marathon
had its first dial system with eighty-five telephones but three years later, the
number had increased to three hundred and seventy-five. By August of 1956,
$66,000 worth of outside cable facilities were extended and over $21,000 were
spent for an additional 5,000,000 feet of wire to the existing outside wire
facilities. "Due to be completed in November is an additional 12,000,000
feet of outside wiring which will cost in excess of $45,000. . A total of
five hundred and eighty-four new telephones have been added in Marathon
during the last five years," (Keynoter, August 30, 1956).
A Highway Patrol Station was built in Marathon in 1951, by the Over-
seas Road and Toll District, through a grant by the Federal Housing Admin-
istration. The land was donated by Brooks Bateman, now a Marathon resi-
dent. Mr. Bateman followed B. M. Duncan as manager of the Toll District.
Much credit for Marathon's first new school building is due to the
persistent efforts and watchful eyes of the Marathon Chamber of Commerce.
It appears that a sum of money had been allocated for the purpose but was
needed elsewhere and so used. Five Chamber members, on February 8, 1945,
attended a Monroe County School Board meeting. On the following March
1st, Chamber President, Ray O. BuShea, suggested that the Marathon Chamber
of Commerce be represented at each School Board meeting. He appointed a
committee the head of which was William A. Parrish, Chairman, Monroe
County Commission. At a Chamber meeting on April 5, 1945, he reported,
". If we will be patient, we will have the $11,333.00." In the May 10th,
1946 issue of The Key West Citizen, is the statement that Marathon will have
a new two-room school at cost of $20,000. The following June 12th news-
paper announced, "Vincent Cremata, Key West, awarded contract for con-
struction of a new school building at Marathon. Bid $23,000." In January
1956, this school had fifteen teachers and in February 1957, twelve class-
At the June 29th, 1957 History Panel Forum, Gerald J. Guthrie, Prin-
cipal of the Marathon school system, stated, ". . the thirty-nine pupils of
ten years ago had grown to four hundred and ninety for the 1957 school
term." Several special services have been made available for those children
needing individual attention.
The new modern Marathon High School, built at an estimated cost of
$388,000, on a site donated by Stanley Switlik, industrialist, and accommo-
dating two hundred and fifty students, opened its doors to the seventh through
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
the twelfth grade students, in September 1957. The school building, located
on State Road 931, about one mile from the U.S. 1 Route, had hardly settled
on its foundation before an expansion program got under way. Besides the
administration building, the plant consists of a cafetorium (cafeteria and
auditorium combined), a home economics department, a science laboratory,
a health clinic, a commercial room, a library, a teachers' lounge and there
are utility rooms and eleven classrooms. There is enough land for athletic
fields. Aside from the regular academic courses, the school has a Diversified
Cooperative Training program that is open to the juniors and seniors. It is
designed to bridge the gap between school and employment. Qualified
students enrolled in that course receive laboratory credit as well as a training
wage for the work done in local business establishments. There, also, Adult
Education Courses are held and the Marathon Community Concerts are heard.
In January, 1958, a Charter was presented to the Marathon Key Club,
the first civic organization formed within the school system for young men,
a local Kiwanis Club project. Twenty-eight high school girls, in February,
1958, formed the Future Career Girls' Club. Their sponsor is Marathon's
Business-Professional Women's Club.
A new San Pablo Catholic School, located at Vaca Cut, opened this fall
(1958) for an estimated two hundred children from the first to the eighth
grades. Transportation has been arranged for the children of Big Pine,
Marathon, and the Upper Keys.
On August 28, 1958, Mr. Guthrie estimated there would be about four
hundred pupils enrolled in the elementary and the high school, exclusive of
the parochial school.
The Grace Jones Elementary School in Marathon Beach Subdivision
opened its doors in May, 1956, with twenty children. As of February, 1957,
the school enrollment was thirty-two (Letter, February 12, 1957, Lillian
The Marathon Beach Subdivision began as a settlement in 1939, with
about "ten to fourteen families". Harry and Grace Jones were among the
first families to settle there. Mrs. Jones explained that in 1953, there were
ten children of school age but there was no school. During that year, she
applied on two different occasions for a school but the applications were
rejected. She then appealed to the State Board of Education and was referred
back to the County Board. "Anyway, we got the school in 1956." The
December 1st, 1955 issue of the Keynoter reported that M. E. Bennet Con-
struction Company of Key West, was awarded the contract for building the
Grace Jones Elementary School for Negroes, in Marathon, at a cost of
$17,656.45. Mrs. Jones stated, "We had a school here about fourteen years
ago but it lasted only three or four years, no children anymore." In 1955,
she took a door to door census at which time there were about two hundred
adults and sixty children.
In the Keynoter of August 23rd, 1956, William A. Parrish was named
as the donor of the property for the colored St. Paul's A.M.E. Church "who
not only recognized the need of the church, but did something about it."
Marathon's Sue M. Moore Elementary School and High School have
benefited greatly from the services and leadership of Mrs. Lillian Tingler.
She and her husband, Chester, purchased property in Marathon in 1939 and
settled there in 1940. She described Marathon of 1940 (population about
400) as being "a wide open frontier town . nobody really worried too
much about their children growing up or about school." She showed off her
first baby in Deeny's Bar. "We had thirteen bars and restaurants and no
church nor a substantial school . children who wanted to further their
schooling were farmed out to relatives in communities where there were high
In the Key West Citizen of August 30, 1947, is an article under the
caption Except For Marathon Every School In Monroe County Is Ready To
Start Teaching Tuesday. Opening of the school for Marathon's fifty odd
children depended upon "whether . the teachers selected for the school
have gotten their Florida State certificates to teach." Evidently they had not
for the Superintendent of Schools in Monroe County asked Mrs. Tingler for
her help. She made two appeals: one, through The Miami Herald (Jack
Kofoed's column), and the other, through a broadcast over WIOD by news
commentator, the Rambler (Tom Q. Smith), for help. The response was
almost immediate. Mrs. Eva McKenny was the first teacher to respond but
she was soon followed by Mr. and Mrs. Gerald J. Guthrie. These three
teachers have remained in Marathon's school system.
That same year (1947), Mrs. Tingler and Mrs. Charles Clark (known
locally as Scotty) organized Marathon's first Parent Teacher Association.
At the same time, Mrs. Tingler began working toward a Marathon Public
Library and which became a reality when she opened its doors on March 19,
1956, with four hundred and fifty books. Her goal is a library building,
meanwhile, the public library occupies a section of the high school library.
Mrs. Tingler, also the first president of the new high school PTA, was
the first person in Monroe County to earn four bars on her PTA's president's
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
pin. Besides her PTA work, she has served on the Monroe County Board of
Public Instruction and on the Board to build the first church in Marathon
where she is now Superintendent of Sunday School, teacher, and an active
member of the church's Women's Society. She was one of the founding
members of the Little Theatre group and is chairman for seven Girl Scout
Troops and of the Legion Auxiliary Child Welfare program. For five years,
Mrs. Tingler directed the local March of Dimes campaign. Currently, she
is president of the Keys' first Community Concert Association. In recognition
of her civic work, the American Legion honored her as the Outstanding
Citizen in Marathon in 1954-1955.
Many years ago, Mr. Parrish had collected and donated books with the
view of establishing a library, however, they were given to the school. For
Marathon's growth and welfare, no detail was too small and no project too
large to receive his devoted attention. An item in the Keynoter of August 23,
1956, has this statement, "Parrish has been in on the beginning of practically
everything that was for the advancement of Marathon." A partial listing of
his activities would include: one of the founders and first and three times
president of the Marathon Chamber of Commerce with continued service
usually in an official capacity, first real estate broker (Marathon), first to
build and to establish a fish business (in the twentieth century), first to build
a general merchandising store in the 1900's (excluding the temporary one
built by the railroad), first and subsequent president of the Florida Keys
Board of Realtors (established 1951), one of the charter members of the
Marathon Community Church, and one of the founders and first president
of the Marathon State Bank.
At the June 29th, 1957, History Panel Forum, Harry Snow, Sr., who
came to Marathon originally as a railroad man, told his audience that
Charlie Clark . was the first man "to charter fish" from the Key. In
Historical Notes on the Key Vaca Area and Marathon, Carlton J. Corliss re-
corded, "First commercial fisherman located at Marathon . after the con-
struction forces arrived, was Captain McCrary who lived with his family in a
house on the water's edge, immediately south and east of the Tail Track Dock.
The house was demolished in the hurricane of 1909."
Marathon's first church, the Community Church, began on February 18,
1945, as a Sunday School, under the guidance of Rev. D. E. Weist, pastor of
both the Tavernier and the Islamorada Methodist Churches. He planned the
original part of the present church which stands on a site donated by Harold
A. Clark. The church was established in December 1949, with Rev. O. C.
Driskell as its first pastor. Construction of Sunday School rooms was begun
on April 14, 1951.
In June 1951, the second minister, George Marker, came to the church.
Two years later, he was followed by Rev. R. M. Stockton under whose service
many improvements were made. Further improvements such as the comple-
tion of the recreational hall, air conditioning and the organization of a youth
choir have been accomplished under the fourth and present minister, Rev.
Robert W. Wenner who came to the church in 1956.
Other churches followed some of which also held their first services in
the Chamber of Commerce Building.
In the Marathon Times (Vol. 1, No. 1, undated), the contributor wrote,
"In February 1951, their new chapel [Catholic Church] was completed on a
lovely corner lot in the Woodburn Subdivision. This lot was donated by Mr.
and Mrs. A. E. Woodburn . adjoining lot has now been purchased to
allow for future growth of the church. Father Egana drives up from Key
West and holds mass in the new Chapel each Sunday . An Altar and
Rosary Society was recently formed." In a letter of February 2, 1957, Rev.
James Connaughton of the San Pablo Catholic Church wrote, "It was founded
in 1952 with ten parishioners. Present building occupied in 1955. At present
we have approximately four hundred and fifty parishioners." This church
has a Catholic Youth Organization.
The Marathon Church of Christ (nondenominational) began meeting in
1953 and now occupies its own building. In 1956, a combination residence
and classroom building was erected for Pastor James McDonald and for
church activities (Marathon Story, 1958, p. 39, Keynoter, June 7, 1956, May
30, 1957). Rev. James Gunn of Tallahassee began his ministry at the Church
of Christ in May of 1957. On January 1, 1955, "This Baptist Church was
started . with about four members. It was and still is sponsored by the
First Baptist Church of Key West. We hope it can become a full church of
its own in another year or so. We have about seventy-five members in our
congregation now. We held services for the first year and three months in
the Chamber of Commerce Building here in Marathon, and then moved into
our own building . ." (Letter, January 31, 1957, Pastor G. Zahler).
Rev. Charles R. Whittington, Vicar, conducted the Martin Luther Mission
services in the Chamber of Commerce Building (Keynoter, January 30, May
1, 1958), however, on September 7, 1958, Rev. Albert Dede began to hold
the Lutheran Church service.
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
Saint Colomba's Mission, founded by The Rev'd Fr. Whitney Church on
October 9, 1955, became an Organized Mission of the Diocese of South
Florida on November 30th of the same year. In the beginning, Father Church
had no "ready made congregation", no sponsorship by an existing church,
in fact, not even a church building, only enough funds ($300) to get settled,
a rented vicarage, some prayer books, and hymnals and his clerical vestments.
On November 1, 1957, Rev. Fletcher Pinckney Wood assumed the duties of
this church as Father Church was called to the St. Paul's Church in Key West.
Christian Scientists began holding services in Marathon on January 5,
1958, at the Chamber of Commerce Building, however, they had been meeting
for a year in private homes in Marathon and in Marathon Shores (Keynoter,
December 31, 1957).
Jehovah's Witnesses, "Until their Kingdom Hall here can be built", meet
at the home of Capt. James Ribble, in Marathon. Local presiding minister is
Eugene D. Rosam, Sr. (Keynoter, February 13, 1958).
In the Marathon Beach Subdivision, a third church is under construction.
Upon completion, it will replace the earlier built St. Paul's A. M. E. Church.
The second one is the Baptist Church (Interview, August 28, 1958, Grace
The first organization to be formed in Marathon, after the railroad forces
vacated, had its beginning in 1937, when as Mr. Parrish described it, "A
handful of us met at the store." This handful of men was organized in
September, 1939, as the Marathon Chamber of Commerce. During World
War II, it suspended activity for more important tasks but in October, 1944,
the Chamber of Commerce was reorganized, and on September 14, 1945,
incorporated. On December 16, 1945, The Miami Herald carried the head-
line, The Biggest Little Chamber of Commerce In the World. That year,
Marathon's census count was three hundred and eighteen and the Chamber's
membership was eighty-five.
At first, the Chamber met wherever it was convenient, usually in the old
schoolhouse. In the meeting of March 20, 1945, Mr. Parrish reported to the
members that the Charles Saunders' place could be purchased for a Commu-
nity House and Chamber of Commerce Building for $6,750.00. Already the
Chamber had $4,700.00 earmarked for a "home". The house and the land
on which it stood were purchased. That building was used as "a Chamber
of Commerce, movie house, church, Sunday School, dance hall, fishermen's
union headquarters, school board meeting place, election precinct, medical
clinic, and the scene of an occasional bingo game.
On June 12, 1945, the poet and newspaperman, Stephen Cochran Single-
ton, described Marathon, the Chamber of Commerce's activities, and the
Chamber's building in the Key West Citizen. "Key dwellers have learned the
secret of resourcefulness . seems . all the business houses in Mara-
thon are in the business of supplying something to eat and drink . get
dizzy as Director Charles Forsyth . explains how with $5.00 annual
dues . a building account, a bingo account, and a membership account
. . there is a comfortable bank balance in each . Chamber of Com-
merce Building is large and airy and spotlessly clean . Outstanding fea-
ture . is the seating capacity of 100 . well designed and constructed
pews and the way they came into being. The membership turned to with a
couple of power saws and built them in a day and a half . It is saturated
The civic center of the community is the new Chamber of Commerce
building started on the gulf shore in the winter of 1949. There is a smaller
information center on the highway, just south of the State Highway Patrol
The Marathon Chamber of Commerce often served as a kind of voluntary
governing body, discussing the community's needs and problems, and taking
action on them and paying for services rendered to the town. A few illustra-
tions taken from their Minutes state, "May 3, 1945 Motion carried to buy
piano for Sunday School. The price to be kept under $200. Mr. Zetterower
appointed to see about the piano. August 22, 1946, Parrish, Hicks, Andrews
appointed a committee to see Commandant of the Naval Station, Key West
. . if we might have permission to use the pumping station at Marathon
. . for those who have no other refuge from wind and high water . The
same committee will also meet with Red Cross Disaster Committee. July 3,
1947, First Aid Building door and locks on. October 7, 1948, Paid
$4.30 to Marathon Sundry Store for gas for Fire Truck." Nearly every meet-
ing was filled with discussions and business transactions concerning their
Records show that the idea of incorporating Marathon had been under
discussion, at various times, since 1945. In the Chamber's Minutes of Sep-
tember 8, 1949, Mr. Parrish said, "Due to our increased population, Marathon
should now incorporate." In August 1950, a committee was appointed to get
information from similar size towns regarding their experiences as incor-
porated areas. By April of 1951, Judge Albury was engaged to draw a
proposed Bill of Incorporation. He pointed out that it would be necessary
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
to name a Mayor Commissioner and four other City Commissioners. William
A. Parrish was chosen as the Mayor Commissioner and George M. Goodson,
Jodie J. Hall, Deane N. Brigham, and A. E. Woodburn as the four City
Commissioners. The Bill failed by thirty-one votes (Keynoter, May 12, 1955).
Since then, the pros and cons of incorporating Marathon have been argued.
Eleven years ago, the Chamber of Commerce instituted a publicity pro-
gram, a part of which was a brochure (4 x9) consisting of six pages (exclu-
sive of advertising). On the inside of the cover appears, "Not a traffic light
in the place. Plenty of open peaceful spaces . ." Each of the 1957 and
1958 brochures (51/ x 8%/) entitled The Marathon Story contains a total of
eighty pages. With each year, the directory of the Chamber members, included
in the brochure, contains an increasing number of names of new businesses
On November 10, 1956, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, consisting
of young men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-five received its
Charter. Jaycee Wives, described as Marathon's "first independent woman's
club", was organized on February 23, 1957, for the purpose of helping the
Jaycees "as well as performing civic functions of its own." (Keynoter, Feb-
ruary 28, 1957). They presented a gift of twenty-five dollars to the Jaycees
for their building fund. One of their projects was the sponsoring of the
History Panel Forum of June 29th, 1957.
The Marathon Volunteer Fire Department, organized in 1952, was
chartered by the State of Florida on April 22, 1953. Work began on the
firehouse June 7, 1952. In the Minutes of the Chamber of Commerce are
these records: "October 6, 1949, Mr. Hungate, a capable Fire Chief since his
appointment October 9, 1947, asked to be relieved. March 5, 1952, Don
Brassington had resigned as Fire Chief . successor considered. March
31, 1952 Mr. BuShea was installed as Fire Chief. May 1, 1952 Fire truck in
In an interview with Ray 0. BuShea (August 28, 1958), who came to
Key Vaca in 1938, he stated he was the first Fire Chief to have a corps of
trained firemen (volunteers) and fire fighting equipment. Mr. BuShea (now
in his 80's) has been acclaimed for his dedicated service and for his active
interest in district, state, and national fire organizational work. In 1957,
forty-nine drill sessions and meetings were attended by seven hundred and
seventy-three men. Eleven of his volunteers completed the Florida Fire Col-
lege class. He has shown movies in the school system and has given fire
demonstrations before the summer school children of the Catholic Church.
The nine volunteers of 1953 increased to twenty-four in 1957, however, a
total of eighty-three volunteers has served in the Fire Department. Always
he stressed the importance of prevention, of fire fighting equipment, and of
trained men to use it.
Marathon's Volunteer Ambulance corps, organized, chartered and in
operation in 1953, under the name of Marathon Volunteer Ambulance and
Rescue Corps, now has about fifteen active members who are on call "around
the clock". The first and the second ambulance brought to Marathon were
purchased by the Marathon Lions Club. This same service organization con-
tributed substantially toward a third ambulance and donated the resuscitator
(Letter, August 9, 1958, Earl L. Therkildson).
Marathon Memorial Post 154 of the American Legion, chartered April
1, 1946, has received national recognition for its work with the youth of
Marathon. On October 24, 1955, this Post presented a site (150 x 100) for a
building to the Marathon Youth Center Organization. The Post's Hall, on
U. S. 1, was built on land donated through the efforts of Mr. Parrish
(Keynoter, June 28, 1958, June 27, 1957, March 20, July 17, 1958). The
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 154 founded the Marathon Youth Center
which is presided over by Mrs. Ruth Ivins.
The Marathon Power Squadron was presented its Charter on June 16,
1956, by Commander John O. Manning, A.P., head of all United States Power
Squadrons in Florida (District No. 8). The history of this organization dates
back to 1912, when pleasure boat owners in Boston (Massachusetts) felt a
"pressing need of some sort of education". That group became known as
the Power Squadron of the Boston Yacht Club. About two years later (Feb-
ruary 2, 1914), the United States Power Squadron was founded in New York
City. Although there is no military connection with the United States Gov-
ernment, officials of the Navy, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine sit on the
Governing Board of the U.S.P.S. The courses cover such subjects as boat
safety, boat afloat, seamanship, rules for equipment, piloting (elementary
and advanced), weather, and "a certain amount of navigation . to under-
stand charts, tides, and coastwise navigation." Lamps, the Ladies Auxiliary
of the Marathon Power Squadron, founded in November 1957, with seventeen
ladies, is Marathon's only woman's boating organization.
The Marathon Yacht Club began to take form between April and July
of 1951. In the April 3rd, 1951 Minutes of the Chamber of Commerce is
recorded, "Motion carried that the Marathon Yacht Club, if and when
formed . ." On July 31, 1951, they read, "Resolution that the Marathon
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
Yacht Club, since it has promoted a greater interest and understanding of
sailing in Marathon, particularly amongst the youth, that the Yacht Club be
allowed to use the Chamber of Commerce docks, the land lying between the
docks and the road for their activities . ." This Club, incorporated and
chartered on October 10, 1951, had its own Club House in July 1955.
The Marathon Lions Club, the first service club organized for Marathon,
was presented its Charter on March 23rd, 1951. It was organized with forty
members and was sponsored by the Key West Lions Club.
The Marathon Kiwanis Club, chartered in June 1957, works for Mara-
The first record found of Marathon's Masonic Lodge No. 323 was in the
first issue of The Florida Keys Keynoter (February 19, 1953). The article,
with the headline Wants to Form Masonic Lodge, instructed the residents who
were interested to communicate with O. R. Carrero, tax consultant, in the
Keynoter Building. The September 1st, 1955 issue has, "Permission has been
granted by the Grand Lodge of Florida for the constitution of a Masonic
Lodge at Marathon." This lodge received its Charter in April 1957 with
John P. Goggin, C. E., Ph.D., as the first Worshipful Master.
An Order of the Eastern Star was organized January 10, 1958, "at the
request of John P. Goggin". At this writing, plans are under way for the
instituting of the new chapter in October (1958).
Marathon's Business-Professional Women's Club of about one hundred
and seven charter members received its Charter at an installation banquet
held on May 11, 1957. This club has the distinction of being the largest
charter club in Florida.
Welcome Wagon, Incorporated, is represented in Marathon. In 1957,
Mrs. Holly Sawyer, one of Florida's Welcome Wagon's five thousand hos-
tesses, received training for that position in Orlando.
Boy Scout, Cub Scout, and Girl Scout activities were organized in
Marathon at the time the Community Church had its first minister. Rev.
O. C. Driskel directed the boys' groups and Mrs. C. G. Bailey, the girls'.
The Marathon Garden Club was formed at a meeting on November 1,
1955, at the Chamber of Commerce Building. The nucleus of this club was
a committee appointed by the Chamber Members for Beautification Month.
The Marathon Board of Realtors is one of the more recently organized
groups in Marathon. A few months after it was chartered (February 4, 1958),
its members adopted a plan of charging the same rates of commission in the
sale of properties, from Conch Key to Boca Chica, the area of the Board's
jurisdiction. This standard commission schedule not only protects the interests
of the property owner and the buyer, but it also assures "more price uni-
formity in the real estate market" in that area. All its charter members
("Bill" Ackerman, Romer L. Baucum, William B. Bradley, vice-president,
Naomi Crandall, Charles L. Cray, president, Alsina Forrest, William A.
Parrish, Alan G. Schmidt, Tommie L. Sigler, secretary-treasurer, Earl R.
Sycks, J. P. Welling, R. D. Zetterower) were formerly members of the Florida
Keys Board of Realtors, which until this year, held jurisdiction over all the
Keys, exclusive of Key West. "The phenomenal growth of this organization
over the past six years and the preponderance of Realtors in the Marathon
vicinity brought about the creation of the new board in the interests of better
serving and policing the respective areas." Another "first" in the Marathon
area, besides the uniform commission rate, was an agreement that no member
of that board may accept a net listing. The Marathon Board is studying the
advisability of establishing a multiple listing service whereby property for
sale by one Realtor would be available to all Realtors. (William B. Bradley,
Keynoter, April 24, July 24, 1958). Mr. Bradley is a graduate of Harvard
University and is the Real Estate Editor of the local weekly newspaper.
A fine example of team work including no less than forty-one businesses
and organizations and twenty-two individuals was the planning and erecting
of the Ground Observer Corps Tower located between the highway and the
flight strip. "A part of the national and civic defense program, the tower
covers the 'blind' spot in the nation's radar network." At the dedication
(September 14, 1957), H. O. Williams, coordinator of the Ground Observor
Corps (Marathon), Sgt. Charles Czinki, coordinator from the Miami Filter
Center, and Brig. Gen. Edward N. Backus, Commander, 35th Air Division,
Dobbins AFB, Marietta, Georgia, were the guest speakers. Air Force and
Navy dignitaries were present. "Ironically, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry McCurry,
local school teachers, stood the first watch during the opening of the tower,
and the last one as it was placed on standby." Marathon had one of the early
civilian airplane spotting units during the winter following the Pearl Harbor
attack. That watch tower was a crow's nest on top of the elevated water tank
back of the "drug store" (Keynoter, January 26, 1956, September 12, 26,
December 12, 1957).
The September 4th, 1958 issue of Marathon's weekly newspaper carried
in bold type, "Disaster Shelters Are Designated; What To Do Should Storm
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
Strike". Instructions were given as to the uses of the shelters, necessary
provisions, and medical care. "Disaster teams will work out of Marathon
State Bank, which was designated the clearing house for all work connected
with recuperation after the storm has passed. Harry Spyker, Marathon dis-
aster chairman, stated that the residents will be warned by a sound truck
when to "take shelter". A two hundred bed portable hospital can be flown in.
Prior to 1953, medical care for the people in Marathon was practically
impossible unless they traveled eighty-five miles in one direction or forty-five
miles in another. It was stated that doctors in Key West and in Homestead
would not come to them. In December, 1952, Donald MacDonald, Naturepath
Physician, born November 28, 1917, in Glasgow, Scotland, trained in Chicago,
traveled from Hollywood, Florida, to Marathon where he remained three or
four days a week, depending on the need of his services. He continued this
practice until the spring (March or April) of 1953, when he settled there.
The first permanent medical doctor to establish a full time practice in
Marathon was Elmer John Eisenbarth. Dr. Eisenbarth liked the idea of being
"on a semi-tropical island", but he came to Marathon in December, 1953,
primarily because a medical service was needed there. He understood that
in 1950 or 1951, one or two "M.D.'s" came to Marathon one day a week for
about two or three months in the winter. He also thought that Marathon
would "probably have a hospital within three to five years". Dr. Eisenbarth's
Marathon Medical Center began operation in December of 1953.
In October, 1957, Marathon had a second medical clinic, equipped with
two beds for minor surgery, established by Dr. Lloyd Damsey, surgeon and
radiologist. The first dentist to establish an office in Marathon was Dr. Alvah
C. Fennell of Miami. He opened his office in March of 1953. Dr. James J.
McCormack, D.O. (Doctor of osteopathic medicine and surgery), father of
ten children, practices during week ends in Marathon. The Marathon Health
Council was officially formed on the evening of December 16, 1955, for the
purpose of coordinating existing health projects in the community. In 1957,
a Marathon Unit of the Woman's Corps of the Cancer Institute at Miami
was organized to help in the fight to control cancer through research, training,
and early diagnosis.
The need of a hospital in the Middle Keys was recognized by August of
1953, and possibly earlier. At that time, pledges in money, labor, and con-
struction amounted to several thousands of dollars toward the goal of
$125,000. "A charter of incorporation is being drawn up this week by attor-
ney, Ralph E. Cunningham . It will be called the Florida Keys Hospital
Association." (Keynoter, August 27, September 3, 1953). Since that time,
progress has been made in that the Marathon Hospital Association (present
name) has been granted a Charter and a ninety-nine year lease on three and
one half acres of county property, in Marathon. A Ladies Auxiliary of the
Marathon Hospital has been organized with Mrs. Maude Spence as its director.
A Monroe County Health Substation was opened in Marathon in the fall of
1955. Marathon was the first town in Monroe County to make available Salk
Vaccine shots for adults (Keynoter, February 14, 1957). Marathon's first
resident attorney was Ralph E. Cunningham, Jr. who came in 1952. He has
just been elected to represent Monroe County in the lower house of the State
Legislature, another measure of the growing importance of Marathon.
Marathon was chosen as Monroe County's site for a testing device to
determine "the amount of radio-active fall out". The Community Air Pollu-
tion program was a part of the National Air Sampling Network. The non-
urban air sampling station was erected atop Marathon High School. George
Stevenson, county sanitarian, said, "The Marathon area was selected because
little or no industrial fumes exist" there (Keynoter, August 29, 1957).
Typical of modern day rapid and large scale developments, and remi-
niscent of the gigantic operations of the brief railroad building era, are the
activities of Felix Sadowski. After a fifteen year business career in Detroit,
he came to Pensacola, Florida where he built the Paradise Beach Hotel. After
a return to Detroit for a time he came to Miami in 1946 and was engaged in
some building operations.
In 1951 he discovered Key Vaca.
In 1951 he had bought sixteen acres of mangrove swamps "near the
fishing village of Marathon" as the site for his retirement home and the strip
of land (40 acres) between them and the highway to assure a right-of-way.
To raise the tidal flats to highway level, he blasted out canals sixty feet wide
and twelve feet below sea level for fill between the canals. Thus, he had a
Venice-like development and he had created expensive waterfront lots. He
was in business on the Keys (Herndon Boonton, Coronet, November, 1954).
Three million dollars have been spent on developments on or adjacent
to Key Vaca. They enriched the areas they included and the areas bordering
them. Sadowski named his developments: South Marathon Shores, Marathon
Shores, Little Venice, Big Venice, Sadowski Subdivision, North Marathon
Shores, Key Colony and Key Colony Beach. Key Colony has become famous
for its luxury and particularly for its $150,000 Olympic size pool which juts
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
out over the Atlantic Ocean. The hundred and thirty unit Key Colony Motel
was purchased by the Texas Hotel chain and is now known as the Jack Tar
Key Colony Beach, near Key Vaca, began with two purchases, one, a
hundred acres of sand spit and mangrove from Edward Neff, and the other,
surrounding bay bottom from the State. Today, it consists of a sixty and a
forty unit motel, a thirty-eight unit cabana club, a seventy-five unit coopera-
tive apartment, three swimming pools, a restaurant, fifteen private residences,
and a one hundred eighty foot ocean pier leading out to eighteen feet deep
water on which are provisions for armchair fishing. For safe ocean bathing,
a steel fencing down to bedrock keeps out sea plants and sea animals.
In January, 1958, Sadowski's plans included two thousand retirement
homes, a convention hall, an eight story, one hundred fifty room hotel, and
an eleven hundred foot fishing pier. Six months later, on June 1st, the
Convention Hall, City of Key Colony Beach, was dedicated to the "O.W.AA."
(Outdoor Writers' Association of America). Thirty-six states and six foreign
countries were represented at their twenty-ninth International Convention.
The Key Vaca area has, within the past year, been the chosen site for other
conventions and meetings.
Stanley Switlik, parachute manufacturer, is said to be one of Key Vaca's
most extensive developers. He is in the process of transforming a hundred
and fifty acres of mangrove swamp and bay bottom into a yacht club and
golf course "in one of the most unusual engineering jobs ever undertaken on
the Florida Keys". This project, begun three years ago, includes an eighteen
hole championship golf course, a tennis court, a swimming pool, a yacht
basin, a club house, and related activities. The golf course is laid out into
two separate halves, each containing nine holes. Between its halves lies the
clubhouse area. The total length of the golf course is 6,292 yards and a
seventy-one par. Artificial lakes, one of about five acres in one half of the
golf course, and three small lakes totaling the same acreage, in the other half,
will help maintain grass. This subdivision will emerge as Sombrero Yacht
and Golf Club (Keynoter, April 3, 1958)
Floyd W. Davis, one time owner of Miami's present Twentieth Street
Airport, came to Miami in 1920 and to Marathon in 1949. He developed the
Davis Docks and Hotel into one of the landmarks of the Florida Keys. It is
said that "the major portion of the charter fishing fleet works from the
In 1950, Mr. and Mrs. Chester Tingler donated a four hundred foot strip
of beach to Monroe County for public use provided that a public road be
built from the Overseas Highway to the beach. The State feeder road was
begun in 1951. On October 28, 1954, a Beach Committee made recommenda-
tions for the development of the park. They included a pool, picnic tables,
benches, shelters, a parking area concession, a building with public toilets,
and shower facilities, and landscaping (Chamber of Commerce Minutes,
November 4, 1954). William B. Bradley reported in his Keynoter column of
August 21, 1958. "A 650 foot seawall and sidewalk are being constructed
along the water frontage of the county beach on State Road 931 . after
the completion of this work, the beach will be improved and two cabana
buildings will be erected."
Land clearing on and around Key Vaca has produced evidences of
earlier inhabitants. Dr. Henry Field, noted archaeologist, described the
Indian canoe that was discovered on the site of the new Marathon High
School as, "hewn from a huge cypress log . nineteen and a half feet long,
thirty-four inches wide, and eighteen inches deep." (President's News Letter,
The Historical Association of Southern Florida, Vol. IV, No. 1, February,
1956). Dr. Field was quoted as saying, "It's a magnificent specimen . .
probably cut in the Everglades . could well have been the property of
the Caloosa Indians." (Miami Herald, February 4, 1956). Wood samples
were sent to Yale University for analysis and possible dating.
Near the canoe was found an old pottery jug, believed to be of Indian
origin (Letter, March 7, 1956, Mrs. Francis V. (Mary) Crane). Pictures of
the canoe and the jug appear in Key West Citizen, February 3, 1956. Mrs.
Crane hoped, ". . it [canoe] may eventually find an . exhibition place
in a local Museum for Indian Artifacts that Mr. Crane and I hope . to
build." The Museum of the Crane Foundation, located on U. S. 1, nearly
opposite State Road 931, is nearing completion.
Marathon is steadily getting bigger in every direction. Not only is the
line of one story offices, stores, shops, motels, restaurants, and service stations,
with a scattering of two-story structures, getting longer on both sides of the
highway, but more lateral streets, reaching to the Gulf or to the ocean waters,
are appearing in greater numbers, each having a community-like appearance.
Trailer parks are becoming larger and more numerous.
This is a sharp contrast to Carlton J. Corliss' description of Marathon
during railroad days. ". . the town of Marathon, including the head-
This Page Blank in Original
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
quarters of construction of the railroad, offices, storerooms, residences, and
all other installations occupied the area between the main line of the railroad
and the Bay of Florida . ."
Marathon has other interests than fishing, land clearing and building
homes. The Little Theater, in the early 1950's "has laid out a rather extrava-
gant program for itself . and in true Marathon fashion will carry it out."
(Marathon Times, Vol. No. 1). That program included instruction in the
various phases of dramatics. In their plays, local residents were the actors.
The Little Theater, in June, 1957, discussed the need of erecting a building
large enough to store props and to house a stage for rehearsals.
In the early spring of 1953, Herbert Wood and his son of Islamorada
purchased a site for a five hundred seat, air-conditioned moving picture
house. The Marathon Theatre was in operation that year. The December
5th, 1957 issue of the weekly newspaper announced that Mrs. Jean Wood,
president of United Theaters, Inc., with partner, George C. Hoover, had the
required building permits to build a seven hundred car drive-in theatre. It
would be modern with wireless speakers and it would have a cafeteria style
Betsy Ann Evers opened her School of Dance and Nursery, in Marathon,
in 1955. In January, 1956, a School of Art opened under "the able instruc-
tion of Syd and Sandra Browne".
A new service for Marathon was established in 1957, when Mrs. John E.
Shepherd opened a tutoring school for the benefit of visiting children in
grades one through eight.
On August 29, 1957, the School of Charm was opened by Beverly
de Beausset, a radio, theatre and television artist, for children five years and
up. The training includes dramatics, modeling, poise, and diction.
Evening Adult Education classes, which began in September, 1957,
make it possible for those who wish to complete their high school credits for
a diploma to do so. New classes can be developed when fifteen adults express
interest in a course.
Marathon's weekly newspaper, The Florida Keys Keynoter, was founded
by Edgar F. Seney, Jr., and his wife, Patricia, on February 19, 1953. By
April of that year, a second class mailing permit was issued to the paper by
the United States Postmaster General. That placed the weekly as an official
second class publication, the same classification as most newspapers and
magazines. Seney won the Nieman Fellowship Award to Harvard University,
for the best Editorial in the State. To take advantage of the award, Seney
sold his newspaper on August 1, 1955, to Nicholas P. Mitchell who, in turn,
preferred teaching in a college, therefore, he sold out to The Miami Herald
(October 1, 1956). Under the editorship and management of Charles H. Deal
(born, April 20, 1930, Hickory, North Carolina), the Keynoter was destined
to receive further distinction as well as increased circulation. On November
16, 1957, in Clearwater, Florida, "The Florida Keys Keynoter was recog-
nized . as the fourth top weekly newspaper in journalistic excellence in
the State, by the Florida Press Association . In addition to running
fourth among seventy competing newspapers, the Keynoter won second place
honors for journalistic excellence in best topography and make-up in the
2,000 to 3,000 circulation group." Topping the entire state was the Winter
Park Herald. The Hollywood Sun-Tatler was second, and Plant City Courier,
A statistical accounting of the development of Marathon on Key Vaca,
reveals the changes that have taken place since its "New Era" began:
"Original Acreage U.S. Survey 1,463.82 acres
Acreage remaining not Sub'd 252. Parcels
Subdivided 2,733. Parcels"
(Letter, September 2, 1958, Tax Assessor, Monroe County).
"In the area of Marathon . assessed property values increased from
$1,791,000 in 1950 to $8,871,000 in 1957. For the same period, Marathon's
population has increased at an estimated 25.2% . Its 1957 permanent
population of 3,646 . ." (William B. Bradley, Keynoter, June 26, 1958).
"William A. Parrish . recalled his first election here [Marathon] in
1929. There were just eight registered voters at that time."
Marathon Post Office receipts:
"1948 $ 4,424.40
Enrollment in Sue M. Moore Elementary School (Marathon):
"The first water meter in Marathon, Florida (Key Vaca), was installed
by the Florida Keys Aqueduct Commission the first week of January, 1953.
Up to date, [September 1, 1958] there now are at least 1,211 meters; but
from this number, many of them service duplex units, more than one family
FLORENCE S. BRIGHAM
in some cases . ." (Letter, September 1, 1958, Florida Aqueduct Com-
mission, Key West). William B. Bradley (Keynoter, September 4, 1958)
reported, "Water meters 480 (1953), 1,092 (1957) [Marathon]".
As for electricity consumers, the records at Plant No. 2 [Marathon]
show: "1950, 247 consumers (Tollgate to Seven Mile Bridge), 1958, 1,430
consumers for Marathon only," however, Charles Griffin, Plant Superin-
tendent, advised that the number of users fluctuates daily, people move in
and out for short periods of time. The number of electricity consumers,
during the summer of 1958, is "approximately 1,500."
The number of telephones established in Marathon, in 1950, was eighty-
five. As of July 31, 1958, there were 1,154 telephones in Marathon (Inter-
view, August 13, 1958, Wayne Freeman, Southern Bell Telephone Company,
Charles H. Deal, editor and manager of the Florida Keys Keynoter,
Marathon, estimated its first circulation as "probably under five hundred".
On August 14, 1958, the circulation was "approximately twenty-five hundred.
The newspaper is sent to forty states and to six foreign countries."
Of significance, are the people who have chosen and are still choosing
the once far away and isolated island as their preferred place of business,
residence and recreation. They were successful people in their former posi-
tions of employment and some of them have built beautiful and costly homes.
Many of them held high places in such fields as education, engineering, law,
and industry. Recently, John P. Goggin made this off hand remark, "I believe
that we as a group here on Key Vaca have the highest I.Q. for a place of its
This history of Key Vaca began three years ago as a class assignment in history by
Mrs. Erma C. Holland at West Miami Junior High School. The writer is indebted to
more than one hundred fifty persons and institutions for assistance in locating and making
available information and materials. Many, but not by any means all of them, are men-
tioned in the citations throughout the paper. All of them should feel a proprietary
interest in the result for without their assistance and encouragement the paper would not
have been written.
FLORENCE STORaS BRIaHAM
The Historical Marker Program
On Saturday, June 7, 1958 the association dedicated with appropriate
ceremonies three identical markers commemorating the building of the
At nine o'clock in the morning at a breakfast in the Columbus Hotel
Roof restaurant in Miami Senator Spessard L. Holland spoke of the histor-
ical background of the area in which the Trail building began in 1915. Mrs.
James Franklin Jaudon whose late husband was by common consent an
originator and tireless worker for the project, unveiled the marker. It has
since been placed beside the Tamiami Trail just west of the Miami City limits.
Stephen J. Flynn was master of ceremonies.
The group then formed a motorcade and proceeded to Everglades, where
the second marker was dedicated at a luncheon at the Rod and Gun Club.
State Representative James L. Walker of Naples related highlights of the
story of Trail building in Collier County.
Honored guests at the luncheon were a dozen men who had worked at
building the historic highway. Mrs. Jaudon unveiled the marker which has
since been set beside the highway at the junction of the Everglades-Immokalee
Road and the Trail. Norman A. Herren of Everglades, Vice President and
General Manager of the Collier Development Corporation presided.
The motorcade then moved to Fort Myers where at 4:30 in the afternoon,
at the municipal bandshell, the third marker was dedicated. The speaker on
this occasion was Barron Collier, Jr., whose father had such a large role in
the building of the Tamiami Trail. He spoke principally of the future that
he envisioned for the area in which his father had pioneered a generation ago.
Mrs. Jaudon unveiled the marker which has since been placed beside the high-
way near the Coloosahatchee River Bridge. W. Stanley Hanson, Jr. whose
father was a "Trail Blazer" presided. Following the ceremony the Fort Myers
Chamber of Commerce was host at a dinner for those in the motorcade.
The entire program was arranged by Lewis W. Dorn, chairman of the
Historical Sites and Markers Committee of the Association.
This Page Blank in Original
On March 5, 1956 on the occasion of the Seventh Annual Greater Miami
Industrial Exposition, a marker in honor of South Florida's first industry was
dedicated. Thomas W. Hagan, President of the Historical Association acted
as Master of Ceremonies. In October of 1958 the marker was erected beside
the highway near Kendall.
STARCH MAKING: SOUTH FLORIDA'S FIRST INDUSTRY
The last commercial coontie starch mill operated in Dade County
was owned by Albert Baxter Hurst. Established in 1908 in the
vicinity of Little River, the mill was moved in 1919 to a site near
this spot where it remained in operation until 1925.
Indians first discovered that starch could be extracted from the
coontie root and white settlers are known to have engaged in starch-
making prior to 1840.
Northern biscuit makers were principal users of the product
which was known as Florida Arrowroot Starch. During World War
I, it was found that a thin gruel made with arrowroot starch was
the first nourishment a gassed soldier could take. This mill operated
eighteen hours a day to supply the Government with starch for that
This marker was erected on the occasion of the seventh annual
Greater Miami Industrial Exposition, in honor of South Florida's
The Historical Association of Southern Florida, 1956.
FLORENCE BRIGHAM, a sixteen year old eleventh grader, presents here
the second and final part of the Key Vaca story. These two pieces together
illustrate how painstaking research can uncover an amazing amount of the
early history of relatively obscure places, and how much of the contemporary
story may also be related.
JOSEPH M. CHEETHAM has been a resident of Miami since 1899. Two
years ago he retired from the practice of law. He was four times president
of Miami Pioneers Incorporated. He is also a past president of the Historical
Association of Southern Florida and has served on its Board of Directors.
JAMES W. COVINGTON, PH.D., is a member of the History Department of
the University of Tampa. He is the author of the recently published History
of Southwest Florida. He has contributed articles to Tequesta, The Florida
Historical Quarterly, the Florida Anthropologist, and the Journal of the
Florida Academy of Sciences.
HENRY S. MARKS of Miami did graduate study in history at the University
of Miami and at the University of Florida. He is a member of the history
staff at Jacksonville State College in Jacksonville, Alabama.
HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA
FISCAL YEAR ENDING AUGUST 31. 1958
On Hand August 31, 1957 Current Assets:
Museum Building Fund (In interest bearing bank
deposits) : (1) Savings Account ----------------18,100.00
(2) Savings Certificates ------------- 3,000.00
General Fund (In non-interest bearing hank deposit) 807.93
Securities at current market.-------..... ...--- 1,521.00
Contribution to Museum Building Fund Receivable-. 1,000.00 $24,428.93
Fixed Assets: Furniture & Fixtures ----------------- 222.67
Audio-Visual equipment ---.---------- -- 518.45
Illustrated lecture ----- ----------------- 437.17 1,178.29 $25,60722
Contributions to Museum Building Fund Received .-- 1,122.86
Contributions to Marker Program ----------- 310.00
Contributions of Securities and Appreciation --------- 314.00
Total Contributions ------------------- 1,746.86
Dues Collected -----------------------------. -- 5,343.00
Income from Books (Non-Association) -------------- 583.16
Sale of Prior issues of Tequesta -------------------- 117.00
Interest on Bank Deposits ------------------------ 554.31
Dividends on Securities --------------------------- 55.00
Miscellaneous Income ----------------------------- 181.72
Total Other Income--------------------------.. 6,834.19
Less Disbursements: 8,581.05
Marker Program ----------------------------- 747.03
Publishing cost of Tequesta ---------- $886.01
Less Tequestas on hand ------------- 676.00 210.01
Audio-Visual Program ---- ----------------- 3.00
Program Meetings ------------------------- 1,149.39
Secretarial Expense --- ------------------------- 175.00
President's Newsletter -------------------------- 364.11
Library --------------- ------------- 47.25
Purchase of Books for Sale (Non-Association) $606.11
Less publications on hand ---------- 378.71 227.40
Sales Tax -------------------------------- 15.06
Miscellaneous Expense -------------- --- 735.27
Total Disbursements ----------------------- 3,673.52
Net Income for the Fiscal Year ------- ---- 4,907.53
On Hand August 31, 1958 Current Assets: $30,514.75
Museum Building Fund (In interest bearing bank
deposits): (1) Savings Account ---------------$21,777.17
(2) Savings Certificates ___ _------ 3,000.00
General Fund (In non-interest bearing bank deposit) 669.58
Securities at current market..-.-----------.------. 1,835.00
Contribution to Museum Building Fund Receivable 1,000.00
Non-Association Publications on hand for sale --..-- 378.71
Tequestas on hand -------.--------.. --------- 676.00 29,336.46
Fixed Assets: Furniture & Fixtures ----------- 222.67
Audio-Visual equipment ------------------------- 518.45
Illustrated lecture ------------------------- 437.17 1,178.29
Total Net Worth ---------- -------------30,514.75
Total members for 1958 (to date)------------------ 555
Total 1958 dues collected ---- ------------- $5,238.00
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.
ROBuT M. McKEY, Treasurer.
This Page Blank in Original
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 thel 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 al 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 1957 or in 1958 before September 15, when this material must go
to the press. Those joining after this date in 1958 will have their names included
in the 1959 roster. The symbol ** indicates founding member and the symbol *
indicates charter member.
Adams, Adam G., Coral Gables
Adams, Lewis M., Miami
Adkins, A. Z., Jr., Gainesville
Albertson Public Library, Orlando
Aldridge, Miss Daisy, Miami
Allison, Mrs. John D., Miami
American Museum of Natural History
Anderson, Robert H., Miami
Andrews, Melvin D., Ft. Myers
Anthony, Roscoe T., Palm Beach
Archer, Ben, Homestead
Arnold, Glenn H., Atlanta, Ga.
Arnold, Mrs. Roger Williams, Miami
Atkins, C. Clyde, Miami
Avery, George N., Marathon
Ayars, Erling B., So. Miami
Baker, Therese, Stuart
Barker, Virgil, Coconut Grove
Barrow Public Library
Baskin, M. A., Coral Gables
Bassett, Rex, Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
Bathe, Greville, St. Augustine
Baum, Dr. Earl L., Naples
Baum, M. Earl, Coconut Grove
Baxter, John M., Miami*
Beal, K. Malcolm, Coconut Grove*
Beardsley, Jim E., Clewiston
Beck, Mrs. Alfred J., Ft. Lauderdale*
Beckham, W. H., Jr., Coral Gables
Bellous, C. M., Sr., Opa-Locka
Beyer, R. C., Miami
Bills, Mrs. John T., Miami
Bingham, Mrs. Millicent T., Washington,
Bischoff, Julia Bristol, Miami
Bishop, Edwin G., Miami*
Black, Dr. Linnie K., So. Miami
Blanton, Judge W. F., Miami
Bloomberg, Robert L., Miami
Blouvelt, Arthur M., Coral Gables
Bowen, Crate D., Miami*
Bowman, Rt. Rev. Marion, St. Leo
Boyd, Mark F., Tallahassee*
Bozeman, R. E., St. Petersburg
Bradfield, E. S., Miami Beach**
Brady, Mrs. H. R., Key Biscayne
Brickell, Mrs. Made E., Miami
Briggs, Harold E., Carbondale, Ill.
Brigham, Florence S., Miami
Brinkman, Mrs. Philip S., So. Miami
Brook, John, Jr., Coral Gables
Brookfield, Charles M., Coconut Grove*
Brooks, Mrs. Dorothy M., Miami
Brooks, J. R., Homestead
Brooks, Marvin J., Miami
Brown University Library
Bruninga, W. Henry, Coconut Grove
Buhler, Mrs. J. E., Coconut Grove
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 Gables*
Campbell, Park H., So. 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., Westfield,
Chance, Michael, Naples
Chastain, Dixie H., Miami
Cheetham, Joseph M., Miami
Clark, George T., Miami
Clarke, Jerry C., Miami
Clarke, Mrs. Mary Helm, Coral Gables*
Close, Kenneth, Miami
Coconut Grove Library
Cole, R. B., Miami
Combs, Mrs. Walter H., Sr., Miami*
Combs, Walter H., Jr., Miami*
Comerford, Miss Nora A., Coral Gables
Connor, Mrs. A. W., Tampa
Conrad, Mrs. Mary D., Miami
Cook, John B., Miami
Cooney, Mrs. Robert E., Miami
Coral Gables Public Library*
Corley, Miss Pauline, Miami**
Coslow, George R., Miami
Covington, James W., Tampa
Cox, Mrs. Jessamine S., Miami
Criswell, Clarence Lee, Pass-a-Grille Beach
Criswell, Grover C., Pass-a-Grille
Cushman, The School, Miami*
Dacy, John A., Coral Gables
Dalenberg, George R., Miami
Darrow, Miss Dorothy, Coral Gables
Davis, Mrs. Christene, Miami
DeBoe, Mrs. Mizpah Otto, Coral Gables
Dee, William V., Coconut Grove*
Deedmeyer, Mrs. George J., Miami
de Lamorton, Fred, Tampa
De Nies, Charles F., Hudson, Mich.
Dicker, Mrs. Barbara, Miami
Dismukes, Wm. 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., Coral Gables
Dorn, Mrs. Mabel W., So. Miami
Dorothy, Mrs. Caroline, Miami*
Downer, Miss Lisa de F., Coconut Grove**
DuBois, Mrs. J. R. Jupiter
Dunaway, Mrs. Carl Ellis, Miami*
Dyke, Robert J., Miami
Eaton, Joe, Miami
Eckel, Mrs. Frederick L., Ft. Lauderdale
Edwards, Mrs. Howard K., Miami
Elder, Dr. S. F., Miami*
Emerson, William C., Rome, N. Y.
Everglades Natural History Association
Fairchild, Mrs. David, Coconut Grove*
Fee, W. I., Ft. Pierce
Ferendino, Andrew J., Miami
Fisher, Mrs. Clyde W., Palm Beach
Fite, Robert H., Miami
Fitzgerald, Dr. Joseph H., Miami
Fitzgerald-Bush, F. S., Opa-Locka
Fitzpatrick, Monsignor John J., Stuart
Florida Southern College, Lakeland
Florida State Library, Tallahassee
Forman, Mrs. J. B., Ft. Lauderdale
Ft. Myers Public Library
Fortner, Ed., Miami
Fosnot, Mrs. Walter, Miami
Free Public Library, Jacksonville
Freeland, Mrs. Wm. L., Coconut Grove**
Freeling, J. S., Miami
Feeling, Mrs. J. S., Miami
Freeman, Ethel C., Morristown, N. J.
Freeman, Harley L., Ormond Beach
Frierson, Mrs. William T., So. Miami*
Frutkoff, Theodore, Coral Gables
Fuller, Walter P., St. Petersburg
Fullerton, R. C., Coral Gables
Fultz, Herman B., Coral Gables
Fuzzard, Miss Jessie M., Miami*
Gannaway, Mrs. K. C., Miami
Gardner, R. C., Miami*
Gardner, Mrs. R. C., Miami*
Garrett, Frank L., Miami
Gaunt, E. C., Miami
Gautier, Thomas N., Miami
Gelber, Seymour, Miami Beach
Gerard, Rayemarie, Miami
Gibson, Mrs. Walter C., Miami*
Giersch, Mrs. Richard F., Jr., Coral Gables
Gifford, Mrs. John C., Miami*
Gilbert, Mrs. Bertha K., Hallandale
Glendenning, Richard, Sarasota
Godfrey, Clyde, Miami
Goldweber, S., Miami
Goodwill, William F., Coral Gables
Graham, James S., Ft. Lauderdale
Greene, Mrs. Frances H., Tavenier
Greenfield, Arnold M., Miami
Gregor, Henry, Coral Gables
Griffen, F. S., Miami
Griffith, Arthur, Miami
Griggs, Nelson W., Miami Shores
Griggs, Mrs. Nelson W., Miami Shores
Griswold, Oliver, Miami
Haggard, Mrs. W. A. Miami*
Hall, A. Y., Miami
Hall, Willis E., Coral Gables
Hallstead, P. Frederick, Coconut Grove
Halstead, W. L., Coconut Grove
Hampton, Mrs. John, Sparks, Md.
Hancock, Mrs. J. T., Okeechobee
Hanna, Dr. A. J., Winter Park*
Harllee, J. William, Miami
Harlow, Mrs. Frank E., Coral Gables
Harlow, Rev. Frank E., Coral Gables
Harner, R. P., Marathon Shores
Harrington, Frederick H., Hialeah
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
Haycock, Ira C., Coral Gables
Hayes, Paul S., Palm Beach
Hefferman, Judge D. J., Miami
Heinlein, Mrs. Mary C., Homestead
Hendry, Judge Norman, Miami
Herin, Thomas D., Miami
Herin, William A., Miami*
Hess, Mrs. E. L., Miami
Hill, Mrs. A. Judson, Miami
Hills, Lee, Miami
Hillsborough County Historical
Hodsden, Mrs. Harry, Miami
Holcomb, Lyle D., Miami
Holland, Cecil P., Miami
Holland, Judge John W., Miami*
Hollister, Mrs. Louise C., Miami
Holmdale, Mrs. A. G., Miami
Hooker, Roland M., Miami Beach
Holland, Spessard L., Washington, D. C.
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.
Isom, Rudolph, Miami
James, Ernest W., Miami
Jaudon, Mrs. J. F., Miami*
Jenkins, Leon R., Miami
Jones, Mrs. Edith O., Coral Gables*
Jones, Mrs. L. A., Miami*
Jones, Mrs. Mary A., Miami
Joy, Mrs. Barbara E., Miami
Kemery, Marvin E., Miami
Kendall, Harold E., Goulds, Fla.
Kent, Mrs. Frederick A., Coconut Grove
Kent, Selden G., Miami
Kenyon, Alfred, Ft. Lauderdale
Key West Art & Historical Society
Kiem, Stanley, Miami
King, C. Harold, Miami
King, Otis S., Miami
Kislak, Jay I., Miami
Kitchens, Dr. F. E., Coral Gables
Kistler, The C. W. Company, Miami
Knowles, Mrs. J. H., Coconut Grove
Kofoed, Jack, Miami
Kohl, Mrs. Lavenia B., Palm Beach
Krome, Mrs. William J., Homestead*
Lake Worth Public Library
Laxon, Dan D., Hialeah
Leffler, C. D., Miami
Lemon City Library & Improvement
Lewis, Carlotta, Coral Gables
Leyden, Mrs. Charles S., Coral Gables
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., Miami
Lummus, J. N., Jr., Miami
Lummus, Tom J., Miami
Lyell, Dr. Robert 0., Miami
Lyell, Mrs. Robert O., Miami
Lynch, Sylvester J., Homestead*
MacDonald, Miss Barbara, Miami
MacDonald, Miss Betty, Miami
Manley, Miss Marion I., Coconut Grove
Manly, Albert B., Homestead
Manly, Charles W., Coconut Grove
Manning, Mrs. Wm. S., Jacksonville
Mansfield, William N., Miami Beach
Marchman, Watt P., Fremont, Ohio*
Marks, Henry S., Hollywood
Martin, John K., Tampa
Martin, Mrs. Kirby A., New York City
Martin, Melbourne L., Coral Gables
Mason, Mrs. Joe J., Miami
Mason, W. Scott, So. Miami*
May, Philip S., Jacksonville
McCune, Adrian, Miami Beach
McDonald, Mrs. John M., Miami Beach
McKay, Col. D. B., Tampa
McKee, Arthur, Jr., Tavernier
McKibben, Dr. Wm. C., Coral Gables
McKim, Mrs. L. H., Montreal
McNeill, Robert E., Jr., New York
Memorial Library of the Palm Beaches
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*
Mission of Nombre de Dios, St. Augustine
Mitchell, Harry J., Key West
Mondrach, Mrs. Stephens H., Sr., Miami
Monk, James F., 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
Muir, William W., Miami
Muller, Leonard R., Coconut Grove*
Munroe, Wirth M., Miami*
Nelson, Mrs. Earle B., Miami
Newberry Library, Chicago
Newman, Mrs. Anna Pearl, Vero Beach
Nicholson, Mrs. Ann Selden, Coral Gables
North Miami High School
Northington, Dr. Page, Miami
Nugent, Mrs. Patrick B., Swananoa, N. C.*
O'Leary, Mrs. Evelyn, Miami
Pace, Rev. Osgood H., Jr., Tallahassee
Pace, Mrs. Johnson H., Miami*
Padgett, Inman, Coral Gables
Pancoast, J. Arthur, Uleta*
Pancoast, Lester C., Miami Beach
Pardo, Mrs. Ramiro V., Miami
Parker, Alfred B., Coconut Grove
Parsons, Mrs. Frances G., Miami*
Patterson, George L., Jr., Miami
Pearce, Mrs. Dixon, Miami
Peirce, Gertrude C., Miami
Pemberton, P. G., Miami
Pemberton, Mrs. P. G., Miami
Pendleton, Robert S., Miami
Pendergast, Mrs. Eleanor L., 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
Polk County Commissioners, Bartow
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 M., Miami
Railey, F. G., Miami*
Railey, Mrs. F. G., Miami*
Rasmussen, Edwin L., Miami**
Reese, Mrs. J. H., Miami
Renick, Ralph, 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, H. K., Miami
Rosner, George W., Miami*
Ross, Mrs. Richard F., Ft. Lauderdale
Rowley, Mrs. J. R., Coral Gables
Royce, Gardner, Coral Gables
Rubin, Seymour, Miami Beach
Santanello, M. C., Kendall
Sapp, Alfred E., Miami
Saunders, Dr. Lewis M., Miami
Sawyer, Clifton A., Warwick, R. I.
Saye, Roland A., Jr., Miami Beach
Schuberth, Andrew F., Jr., Miami
State University of Iowa
Sessa, Frank B., Miami
Shappee, Nathan D., Miami
Shaw, G. N., Miami
Shaw, Henry O., Miami
Shaw, Miss Luelle, Miami*
Simon, Stuart L., Miami
Simpson, George C., Coral Gables
Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine
Slaughter, Dr. Frank G., Jacksonville
Sleight, Frederick W., Orlando
Smiley, Nixon, Miami
Smith, Gilbert B., Coral Gables
Snodgrass, Miss Dena, Jacksonville
Southgate, Howard, Winter Park
Sparks, Mrs. Charles, Forville, Ind.
Spaulding, Mrs. E. E., Miami
Spinks, Mrs. Elizabeth J., Miami*
State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Steel, William C., Miami
Sterling, Ray T., Miami
Stern, David S., Coconut Grove
Stetson University, DeLand
Stevens, Mrs. T. T., Miami
Stevens, Wallace, Okeechobee
Straight, William M., Miami
Stranahan, Mrs. Frank, Ft. Lauderdale*
Stripling Insurance Agency, Hialeah
Strong, Clarence E., So. Miami*
Swalm, Mrs. Neal C., Sarasota
Sydow, William, Miami
Talley, Howard J., Miami
Tampa Public Library
Taylor, Henry H., Jr., Miami
Taylor, Robert R., Coral Gables*
Teachers' Professional Library, Miami
Tebeau, Charlton W., Coral Gables*
Tebeau, Mrs. Violet H., Coral Gables
Ten Eick, Mrs. M. Nunez, Tampa*
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Tharp, C. Doren, So. Miami*
Thrift, Charles T., Jr., Lakeland
Tietze, Robert A., Coral Gables
Tietze, Mrs. Robert A., Coral Gables
Toombs, Mrs. Bettie L., Miami
Turner, Vernon W., Homestead
Tussey, Mrs. Ethel Wayt, Miami
Tyree, A. T., No. Miami
Ullman, John, Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
Underwood, Edwin H., Jr., Miami
University of Florida, Gainesville
University of Miami Library
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Valentine, Mrs. J. Manson, Miami
Vance, Mrs. Herbert 0., Coral Gables*
Van Deusen, Burton E., Miami
Walsh, Mrs. Charles H., Winter Haven
Walters, Walter M., Miami
Warner, William C., Miami
Warner, Mrs. William C., Miami
Warner, Mrs. Elmina, Miami
Washington, James G., Miami
Watson, P. L., Miami Beach
Weaver, Mrs. Frances B., Ft. Lauderdale
Weiss, S. Sherman, Miami
Wenner, Henry S., Jr., So. Miami
Wentworth, T. T., Jr., Pensacola
West India Reference Library,
Wheeler, B. B., Lake Placid
White, Mrs. Louise V., Key West
White, Richard M., Miami
Wight, William S., Coral Gables
Wilgus, A. Curtis, Gainesville
Williams, Glenn P., Coral Gables
Williams, H. Franklin, Coral Gables*
Willing, R. B., Miami
Wilson, Albert B., Miami
Wilson, F. Page, Miami
Wilson, Mrs. Gaines R., Coconut Grove
Wilson, Gaines R., Coconut Grove**
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 F., Coral Gables
Wolf, Fred, Sr., Hallandale
Wolfe, Miss Rosalie L., Miami
Wolfe, Mrs. William A., Ft. Lauderdale
Wood, Mrs. Agnes F., Miami
Woore, A. Meredith, Miami*
Wright, Mrs. Victor A., Miami Shores
Wylie, W. Gill, Jr., Palm Beach
Yonge, Julien C., Gainesville
Adams, Wilton L., Coral Gables
Ashe, Mrs. Bowman F., Coral Gables
Baber, Adin, Kansas, I11.*
Bailey, Ernest H., Coral Gables
Bailey, Mrs. Ernest H., Coral Gables
Baker, Charles H., Jr., Coconut Grove*
Barge, Hubert A., Miami
Barkley, Rufus C., Jacksonville
Barton, Alfred I., Surfside
Bentler, Mrs. Charles J., Miami
Bickel, Karl A., Sarasota*
Blakey, B. H., Miami
Brickell, Mrs. Charles, Oxford, Md.**
Brown, William J., Miami
Brown, Mrs. William J., Miami
Brunstetter, Roscoe, Coral Gables
Burdine, William M., Miami
Bush, Mrs. Franklin C., Coral Gables*
Chase, Randall II, Sanford
Cicero, John E., Miami
Clark, Mrs. Flournoy B., Coral Gables*
Clinch, Duncan L., Miami
Corliss, C. J., Washington, D. C.
Corson, Allen, Miami
Crane, Francis V., Marathon
Crane, Mrs. Francis V., Marathon
Crow, Lon Worth, Miami*
Crow, Mrs. Lon Worth, Miami*
Davis, Hal D., Coral Gables
Duley, Jack L,, Miami
Fascell, Dante B., Coral Gables
Feibelman, Herbert U., Miami
Field, Dr. Henry, Coconut Grove
Florence, Robert S., Miami
Flynn, Stephen J., Coral Gables
Freeman, Edison S., Miami
Frohock, Mrs. Jack, No. Miami
Gardner, Jack R., Miami
Garrigan, Mrs. Jane, Miami
Gates, Harley D., Boca Raton
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
Hanks, Bryan, Fort Worth, Texas*
Harris, Miss Julia Filmore, Palm City*
Herren, Norman A., Everglades
Hooper, Parker Morse, Coral Gables
Hopkins, Oliver B., Miami
Houser, Roosevelt C., Coral Gables
Howard, Lee, Miami Beach
Hudson, F. M., Miami**
Hughes, Mrs. Helene, Miami
Jamaica Inn, Key Biscayne
Johnston, Thos. McE., Miami
Jones, Mrs. Mary Douglas, Coral Gables
Kanner, Samuel J., Miami
Kerr, James B., Ft. Lauderdale*
Knight, Mrs. Howard B., Coconut Grove*
Knight, John L., Miami
LaGorce, Dr. John O., Washington, D. C.
Ledhetter, Charles B., Miami
LeGate, J. M., Miami
Lindgren, Mrs. M, E., Miami
Lochrie, Robert B., Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
Mahony, John, Miami
Malone, E. B., Miami
Martyn, Charles P., Jupiter
Mayes, Mrs. C. R., Jr., Pompano Beach
McCarty, Don L., Nassau, Bahamas
McNair, Angus, So. Miami
McSwain, Dr. Gordon H., Arcadia
Mead, D. Richard, Miami Beach
Meisel, Max, Miami Beach
Merritt, Robert M., Miami
Mershon, M. L., Miami
Miami Beach Public Library
Mitchell, Mrs. James B., Hobe Sound
Modisette, Col. Welton M., Coral Gables
Mudd. Dr. Richard D., Saginaw, Mich.
Oglesby, R. M., Bartow
Orr, John B., Jr., Miami
Palm Beach Art League
Pancoast, Russell T., Miami
Pedersen, George C., Perrine
Pitt, Gerard, Miami*
Preston, J. E., Miami
Raap, Dr. Gerard, Miami
Rainey, J. S., Miami
Ring, R. Warner, Miami
Baggs, William C., Miami
Blackburn, Elmer E., Miami
Bowers, Bland, Coral Gables*
Buker, Charles E., Sr., Coral Gables
Christiansen, Edward S., Coral Gables
Cooper, George H., Princeton
Coral Gables Federal Savings and Loan
Crowninshield, Mrs. Francis B.,
Dickey, Robert F., Coral Gables
Dohrman, Howard I., Coconut Grove
Dolan, Francis M., Coral Gables
Emerson, Hugh P., Miami
Florida Juice Co., Miami
Foremost Dairies, 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*
Florida Power and Light Co., Miami
Geiger, Mrs. August, Miami Beach*
Gondas Corporation, Miami
Astor, John, Miami Beach
Crane, Mrs. Raymond E., Miami Beach
Salley, George H., Miami
St. Augustine Historical Society
Scott, Paul R., Miami
Shanks, H. W., Coral Gables
Shewmake, Mrs. C. F., Coral Gables
Smith, McGregor, Miami
Snyder, Dr. Clifford C., Coral Gables
Sokola, Anton, Miami
Stiles, Wade, So. Miami**
Tanner, Lois Cowart, Miami
Taylor, Paul C., Miami
Thomas, Arden H., So. Miami
Thomas, Irving J., Miami
Thomas, Wayne, Plant City
Thompson, John G., Coral Gables
Thomson, Leonard K., Miami
Town, Miss Eleanor F., Coral Gables
Vanderpool, Fred W., Miami*
Van Orsdel, C. D., Coral Gables
Van Valkenburgh, Morgan, Miami
Wakefield, Thomas H., Miami
Watson, W. Cecil, Coral Gables
West, William M., Geneseo, Ill.
Whitten, George H., Miami
Giffin, John S., Miami
Grosvenor, Gilbert, Miami
Holmer, Carl, Jr., Miami
Leffler, Miss Cornelia, Miami**
Lloyd, J. Harlan, Miami
Lunsford, Dr. E. C., Miami
MacDonald, Duncan, Miami*
Mallory, Philip R., Miami Beach
McKey, Robert M., Miami
Meyer, Baron deHirsch, Miami Beach
Mills, Charles A., Miami Beach
Pollard, Marshall S. P., Lake Placid
Ross, Donald, Benton Harbor, Mich.
Shipe, Paul E., Miami
Strain, Dr. Richard, Coral Gables
Thord-Gray, General I., Coral Gables
Tom DuPree and Sons, Miami Beach
Wilson, D. Earl, Miami**
Pearse, Mrs. Langdon, Winnetka, Ill.
Link, Edwin A., Binghamton, N. Y.
Pan American World Airways, Miami
Peninsular Armature Works
University of Miami, Coral Gables
HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA
FOUNDED 1940-INCORPORATED 1941
Ernest G. Gearhart, Jr.
Wayne E. Withers
Justin P. Havee
Miss Virginia Wilson
Recording and Corresponding
Robert M. McKey
Mrs. Andrew J. Moulds
Charlton W. Tebeau
Karl A. Bickel
West Palm Beach
James W. Covington
W. I. Fee
Mrs. James T. Hancok
Charles T. Thrift, Jr.
Norman A. Herren
Mrs. Louise V. White
Adam G. Adams
Edward S. Christiansen
Mrs. Ruby Leach Carson
George H. Cooper
George J. Deedmeyer
H. Lewis Dorn
Robert J. Dykes
Hugh P. Emerson
Stephen J. Flynn
Mrs. William L. Freeland
William A. Herin
Kenneth S. Keyes
James M. LeGate
Wirth M. Munroe
John B. Orr, Jr.
Jay F. W. Pearson
R. B. Roberts
Mrs. Frank Stranahan
Mrs. Herbert O. Vance
Gaines R. Wilson