Manuscript for Chapter II of the autobiography of Sidney Walter Martin


Material Information

Manuscript for Chapter II of the autobiography of Sidney Walter Martin
Physical Description:
Martin, S. Walter (Sidney Walter)
Physical Location:
Box: 1
Folder: Autobiography (autograph and typed manuscript)


Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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Throughout my I was fortunate in that I always had gainful employment., ,

c in n- y-zyTs "'-ng-z-z z -r -- abs seemed plentiful, or maybe I was just

in the right place at the right time. My father or my older brother, Albert, always

seemed to know just the person who needed somebody like me j By the t me I was 12

I had picked some cotton (but not much, because I wasn't very good at it), pulled

some cabbage and potato plants, and had helped pack watermellons for shipment in box

cars. When I was in the 9th grade in High School, I got a regular Saturday job that

lasted for about a year, It was at a country general store in Eldorado and I rode

down each Saturday with T. E. Phillips, Jr., the proprietor We sold everything from

sardines to women's dresses, and more. It was a typical country store. I got the

most fun from pumping gas rom a old fashioned gas pumps. The store was on Highway

41, and even then (in 1925) there was some through traffic from the North to Florida.

Occasionally, a rich Yankee would tip me 25 and that would make my day, because adding

that quarter to my regular salary of 50( a day, ktmi-dtfeel like a rich man by Saturday

night. Incidentally, you measured the gas by a ruler by sticking it down in the tank,

which was usually under the front seatF That's right, justVpull up the front teat

and find your gas tank. There was no gas gua .r I a so learned how patch inn -

tubes for the tires, cause you didn't drive far in those years without having a flatZ4,-o

Later, I worked for .asa.,a- Albert at Choate's Grocery Store -.

This was a typical grocery store of the twenties and thirties before the day of the

supermarkets. Most of the business was done over the telephone. Housewives would

call in an order of from one to a dozen or so items they wanted. I would take the

order g the groceries which had been asked for, place the order in a box, and

@c*I- dny (i'r n~t^- T -1ul h-.-.-"t." they would be de-

livered by AM Pete Mills, a faithfulnegro employee, wea 3e~ the t--k. The truck wa

something like a pick-up, except it had a larger bed. I would even help Pete deliver

the groceries sometimes The four or five employees of the sore stayed busy ong

this all day. Some of the purchases were made by walk-in customers, who usually paid
cog'- 4-C,0-t~)

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__-_ _vje---+y--p- myy-f l-Iowma^>- I wanted to

work with people and for people and to be associated with people in any endeavor
which I undertook. I had no desire to settle down in Tifton and spend the rest of
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my life working in a grocery stores warehouse or feed store. I think I could
have done that, but I did not feel this was my calling. My mother had kept before
me the possibility of my going into the Zinistry, but I never felt for one minute
that this was what I should do after my College training was completed, c

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-- During my High School days, YMCA organizatioriwere flourishing throughout Georgia

and though Tifton did not have a YMCA, I knew what an organization like this could
um to a town or a community. -a a Q- int-- -I might like to get some special
training in YMCA work and follow that line of endeavor. My High School friend, Marshall
Braswell, talked a great deal about YMCA work, and it may have been that my interest
was kindled from hearing him talk.A I did not rule out an educational profession
because I had had i. i .. fine teachers in High School |B made0lasting impres- -
sion. on mejAan3 one of them would have been good examples to foll ow. 1-l
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Life at Georgia State College for me was very drab. Though there was several
of my high school friends attending the same institution, it was more like an ex-
tended High School to me than anything Alse. I'thought classroom instruction was
extremely poor also. I took French under Miss ioon seemed to glory in discour-
aging young College freshmen, as myself. I realized that I was not a good language
student, but she did not help matters any when she told me one day, "You just don't
have an ear for French." In other words, she intimated I could never learn French,
A A44- and I don't think I could have if I had remained under her tutelage. aa
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Georgia State much longer. Soon after ChristmasA I heard from a friend at Furman

University that there would be a scholarship available at Furman on a working basis.
The scholarship was ade available thou

John G. Holt, who had taught at Georgia State College for Men, but had gone to

Furman in the Fall of 1929 as Alumni Secretary and Professor of Psychology. As a

working scholar, I was assigned to Mr. Holt's office and this was quite satisfactory
with me. At lg So after C __CIe f a

I left Tifton in f4 1930 to attend the Spring quarter at Furman in

Greenville, S. C. I had been out of Tifton only a few times in my life and

had never been any further away than Atlanta, but "going away" to College was,

a real thrill. It was sad to leave home for the first times am I got very home-

sick at times after I arrived in Greenville, but I would realize what the

alternative was, I redoubled my efforts to do well in College and stay

mm~ I never ad any of going back to Tifton without that degree.

The train trip to Greenville was 12 hours in duration. I 4 from Tifton

to Atlanta to Greenville on Southern Railway. Mr. Holt met me at the station at
AA4-- kj
noon and we had to drive through Greenvill to get to the Furman campus. I don't

think I had ever seen such a big city in al l of my l ife.
sic a tme ate I rrve i Geevilebu fBo Iwoud eaiz w0tth

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.tommnst throughout the day when I was not in class, e only had time to
study at night, but I made full use of my time. My Fsc- __ .....-r-
ikeeping up with Furman Alumni, heljng9 k the old mimeograph machine, maa)ling

letters, running errands and even doing some typing. I learned the "hunt and peck"
system, which stood me in very well throughout my College days. I got to be very

proficient on the typewriter.

My course of study was interesting and stimulating. I had many fine professors

who were sympathetic with greenhorns like myself, an excellent
education at Furman University 6lt gave me a good solid background in the Liberal

Arts. y .simply because I li ked one of the'professors extremely
--, ande was a great help to me. My minor was, of all th1 gs,

French! I ,,to write to the old buzzard who told me several years
before that I would never learn French. _h in
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was a good golfer and I played a little with him. It was the only time I ever played
golf, but to me, golf was a game for the snobbish and high society folks. I grew up
thinking olf was not for the middle class, like myself. t
Sr M extra curricular actiT-7

ities at Furman included work on the College newspaper, the Hornet. I was it ol
for one year. I partici ated also in Glee Club activities and e

We usually sang in all of the irls' colleges, like
S/ _

Limestonin Gaffneyr and Coker in Hartsvillew I was business manager of the Gee Club
my Senior year. My d, Elbert Adams, was the pianist. He certainly was a
my Senior year. Mygo7fwas Elbert Adams, was the pianist. He certainly was a

T p eiX- Lpn7 3 L P y ex

ities t Fur anncuewokothCoegnesaeteore.IwjBir V

News carried the following story about our WSB Concert:

"Featuring numbers by the entire club, by the quartet, and an in-
strumental solo by Robert L. Mooney, of Sumter, the Furman Univ-
ersity glee club yesterday broadcasted for 30 minutes over Station
WSB in Atlanta, and hundreds of Greenville fans heard the program
clearly with little static interrupting it.

The club opened and closed its program with the Furman alma mater.
The club consisting of 35 members gave "The Hunter's Song", and then
the quartet rendered "Eight Bells" and "Away to Rio". The second
group of selections by the club was "I Got Shoes" and "Keep In De
Middle of De Road". Robert Mooney played "Rustle of Spring," and the
club sang "Song of the Northmen," "Morning", and "John Peel."

The club was expected to return here early this morning from Gainesville,
Ga., where it closed its 25th annual tour yesterday. n''t 1 'j -a-a 1 O.0

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I enjoyed my years at Furman and shall ever be grateful to the institution

for giving me an opportunity to get a College education. The only unhappy note

during my Furman years was my working relationships with John G. Holt which turned

out to be not as pleasant as I first had anticipated. n had unfortunately

been,,U. .t t-" '.-.s,- r'rc '- I t ;.ac r, ',l. i of-a .-, s.

9;QaSt. He became irritabl unpleasant to work with, and actually 'nreliable.

There was a divorce from his wife, ii j "u t.-4i n n.y from him and he was
forced to enter a government hospital just a few months before I graduated. M

o4", UiU L:4..lrI, U _f'ife4i .. .." ,.. i- rThose of us who were close to

him saw the deterioration in body and mind --i Ll.. A' -

bi .. tat oul,-!d not bo hol-d. he president ta aild m i several times in an

attempt to try to get a d--^^picture of Mr. Holt's condition because he felt like

I was seeing him from day-to-day and having to endure some of ,..m. ,te

a h which resulted from his mental state. AM Holt lived for long time

aN I saw him only on one or two occasions after I left Furman. <

I hated to leave Furman. I had become attached not only to Furman University,

but to the City of Greenville, as well. I wrote to my mother on May 23, 1932 in which

I told her how sorry I was to be leaving the University. I said in part, "I am in

a state of anxiety because I have not heard from any of my applications which I have,.

made for a teaching position. I must say, too, that I A to graduate, but I guess

it's because I have no job nor anything to look forward to."

I had made applications in a number of places for a teaching job and had

tried to become located in the Greenville City schools, but at that time, I was told

there were no vacancies. The depression was at its worst and there were very few

turn-overs in the Junior High's or High Schools anywhere. Graduation camevaSib.

her came to Greenville for the occasion7and we returned to Tton together /
47tot o3 nf^r t^ o g'e^rt r

: the Spring of 1932, I iW applied for a job in the Putnam County Schools
iii^" 4-? ? c-c ezl- -& w-* -t- j D A7=
in Florida had-i-n

ir- Actually, the application h =ben sent to
Uncle Walter who was at that time in rLa-n o"-. in Orlando. He the

application ethSup ine nt C. H. Price who was in charge of the Putnam County

-r %..- -lw, .---, Z -- -e- .... Mr. W. L.
Harman who was Su erintend 9t of the if3t C* nty Schols o

This came about in mid-summer, so ITal resigned myself to a
life in Chula, Georgia at least for my first year

Teaching jobs in b1-r9nwere extreme( hard to come by. I simply was not able to

find a mjob in Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina. I must have written S,{letters to

Superintendents throughout those three states. I wa -partial to Florida and

more letters to school systems in that State than anywhere else.

The locations ranged from Panama City to Ft. Myers. The depression was at its depth

and there was just no moving around by teachers in public schools, 4had a job
2 i ; t. h t--e 1 "4


In early September, my prayers were answered and I received a letter from

Mr. i Price in Palatka asking me if I would be interested in a job C

fead 3 Aa. iiab- 4- 41. 3 4,
wired him that I would take the position if that was all he had, but I hoped that 'j

my teaching could be in another field. On September 7, I received the following

telegram from Price: "Opening Palatka High Biology and Junior HIgh Science with

Management of Athletics assisted by Competent Outside Coach. accept4i

position? Wire by Western Union". This seemed more to my liking., I accepted

the position by telegram immediately. On September 13, Mr. Price wired again:

"Contract mailed yesterday. School opens Monday."

Little did I know that another offer was coming and it did on September 16.

At 3:00 PM on that day, I received a telegram from J. L. Mann, Superintendent

of Schools in Greenville, S. C. in answer to an application I had made with-f before

I left Furman. He said, "Position 6-Grade Donaldson School, Salary $864 per year.

Will give you until morning for decision". I iVr-d 1." t
b offerir3 nnrp =lary- th he was if.erinn mA ni h ,ire4 "t V (I

C?. ., .n -- ; "Ha4 arranged for $10 per month

supplement for work with boys. Greatly regret inability to make it more as unable

to grant release this late. Realize we cannot enforce contract and if you decide

to accept other work, will release. Wire me by Western Union. Anxious you come

cheerfully. Teachers meeting tomorrow 2:00 PM." His salary, incidentally, including

the $10 supplement, amounted to $70 per month. Since they had only enough
money to operate the sdhools for 7 months, my annual salary for

year was $490. The Greenville po ition paid $864 a year.'
.. ... -.I left that night at midnight on/

the Southern Railway for Palatka, arriving 4laese next morning at

11:00 A.M. in time for the 2:00 PM faculty meeting. The qied Lord had '

his hand on my shoulder T -t was a very wise decision be-

cause beginning my career in Palatka led to hp

S. I am so thankful tha I chose th* route rather
than going back to Greenville where I had been in school for three

years. 1 as i Greenville4 but W4 soon got transplanted

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e a tuc -i-ffR ill was a senior in high school in 1932 and

he and I got along very well together. ie MI Ihat

-feriind. Bill's parents were dead and he-F I living with Mrs.

Walton f nAnother man boarded with Mrs. Walton,

a Mr. Hendricks, who,worked with the Florida Power & Light. He was

a little em but pleasant enough. There were many fine people

in Palatka whom I became acquainted with and whose friendships

lasted years. I was almost like another member of the fam-

ily in the homes of the Ridley Wilkinsons, the Jimmy Spencers, the

Louis Philips', the Albert Philips', the Howard Gardners, and the

Hughlen Th rntons. I was also close to the family of the school

Superintendent, Mr. C. H. Price, as well as the family of the

Principal of the High School, the W. W. Carters.

I w teaching from the very beginning and the reception

which I received from the high school students was heart-warming.

Being only 21 years old, I .- 1 i--\ to the high

school ae group I went on picnics, weiner roasts, beach parties,

hiking and boating trips with many of them. I was usually

asked as a chaperone, but always hat mi Lhi L

-kids. I enjoyed teaching high school iology, but felt all along

that I was a little out of my field because I enjoyed history and

....___ 2 &. 7ZL. w 4- a )4-. c

I got involved in Church! had a
Ooy Scout troup- alINN many other things in the community and in the school, be-
J:: a' s. I handled

sides my teaching, I went to football practice every afternoon sinc R I was

Director of Athletics and 1!!e o_ .._ s. I handled
the finances for the athletics and that was easy to do because all of the financing

amounted to Cr year. Football uniforms were pitifully poor, but he
kids didn't seem to mind. They had their jerseys taped on them and the over-sizee
pants supported by adhesive. The Coach was &mw Buck, a talent athlete who had
graduated from high school in Palatka several years --re- 4- afterno had made th
football team at the University of F ori aAbut came ineligible when he signed a

Sina ball while still a student. Since he couldn't play football at the
University of Florida, he gave y Fall afternoons to coaching the Palatka High Maroons.
I was his chief support. ade* _,- -

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that I was going to have to handle the coachingg duties at the high school, I

took a course at the University of Georgia in the Summer of 1933 on how to coach

football and basketball. This was in addition to a full load I was taking toward

my Master's degree in History. It was a busy Summer for me and I learned a great

deal about coaching under the direction of several of the University of Georgia

Coaches. Johnny Broadnax and Coach Rex Enright, both were involved with the jpr

Enright was an Assistant Coach under Harry Mehre, Head Coach at the

University of Georgia. He had played at Notre Dame with Coach Mehre and after

a number of years at the University of Georgia coached football at the University

of South Carolina. He taught us the fundamentals of football and gave us some of

the University of Georgia fundamental plays which were based on the old Notre Dame

system. 'tu.._h t.or-plays to the boys in Palatka so well that they recognized Z7-'-

(in which Georgia won 14-0). As I sat in he stands with a dozen of these

'A -le- N-E

_._._. -1 -- -'

executedfjumped up and shouted to me, "Look, Coach, Georgia's got some of our

plays." My boys may not have been able to block and tackle correctly, but they

knew how to run the plays that I had taught them.

We were not so successful in football because we played many of the high

schools that were out of our league. We got whipped pretty badly both years I was

coaching by such teams as Landon High in Jacksonville, Lake City High, Daytona

Beach High and Leesburg. Leesburg was a much smaller town than Palatka, but they

&w-ir ....i,-- -._ V_,_p ....-ut b -, -. The Coach at Lake City left there and went

to the University of Florida as an Assistant Coach, ed in

glie-. oeut of th .-Stz-t. We could hold our own with such teams as Deland and St.

Augustine. We usually Hastings and Green Cove Springs. J1-'_

gpill^apl 14
____~~~~~~~~~~A of^^ ^ ^ w i y ^ ^y.^ gg -----

Our basketball team was some better because we had some a players.

S A Irvin Earls, Sleepy Musgrove, Lefty Perry, AS were big and fast and played good

basketball. We held our own with some of the best and usually did

LtliuUilf* g the Northeast Florida Tournament.

In baseball we did even better than in basketball. Irvin Earls and Lefty Perry

were very good pitchers and they alternated wt)' 4j B : s-* r on the mound

ar in right field. Other names that come to mind were Royce Hood, Joe Shelley,

Warren Buck, and Rollin Meadk.

-p I was not the most highly successful coach

in the world, though we did win a few football games. We did better in basketball

and even better in baseball. Our wins were not due to my ability as a coach, but

to the athletic skills of a few of the players So af

Coaching was not what I desired to do but I did it mainly because the
school needed a coarch and I was on hand.

enough to go out and employ a real coach. My interest lay = 1

I got so interested in the history courses that I decided to do my graduate work

in history rather than in English which had been my major as an undergraduate.

In fact, I chose the field of Florida history in which to do my MA thesis and my

Ph.D. dissertation.

After my first year in Palatka, the legislature of Florida had in mind excluding
out-of-state teachers in public schools and so a law was passed during the summer of
1933 making it impossible for people out-of-the-state to teach in Florida unless
they had lived in the state for a given number of years. This was done to protect
the local people who wanted and needed jobs in the state during the depression
period. This gave me a scare because I could see my job being taken away from me,
but the local school board found a way to get around the regulation, so I was
employed for a second year. The Ridley Wilkinsons took the lead in finding the
loophole in the law that let me return. Many of my other friends helped out too,
I am sure.

Sin Palatka wa very poor as compared to today's money standards,
but during the depression it was not too bad. V salary for the first year was

.. .. ... .. ... .. .. .-... . ._ f1 -
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a month,W4the second year and $85 the third year. It would have been

$90 had I gone back for the fourth year, but I went to the University of Ceorgia

at a salary of $100 a month on a 12-months basis. The Palatka salary was based

on only 7-months pay. Furthermore, at least 30 of the checks were given in city

script, which meant that they were not accepted as money. They were notes drawing

8% interest. I had to have the cash, so I redeemed my notes during those months

when the notes were given ar 25.: nedew on. This meant that I made about S45

a month cash for teaching. I paid S27.50 for room and board my first year and '15

a month my last two years. The last two years I lived in the home of the Jimmy

Spencers and it was mat enjoyable there. I was treated like a member of the

family, and the three boys, Jim, John, and Bob, were easy to get along with. The

Spencers had one son, Hlarshall, who was killed in a tragic accident my first year in


One family which I got to know better than all others was the Louis Philips

family. T l.i+ 'e----_n-o Fa-''-c -L r-- -,eyl I,--i -->- -- 5--- [ -n s.

I had meals in their home frequently as I did in many other Palatka homes and

developed a real attachment to the family, especially the oldest daughter. This

eventually led to a wedding on July 30, 1940 A_-_1_ f-L... l.... _&_--_

|. .. ... Flo" __ .....gc...' i he graduated from high school in 193', ,

spent her first, yea % at esleyan in [acon When she finished college -

I was in the midst of t- the requirements for my Ph.D. degree at

the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, so that postponed the wedding until


I enjoyed pleasant weekends and visits with both the Philips families at

dgSaeSR where they jointly owned a cottage. GA.ab grows on one and the

more frequently you visit there, the more often you want to go back. I have always

liked the St. Augustine-Daytona Beach area and we went there so often when we

were first married and in later years that it seems like home. We still go to

Summer where we rent a house for at least a week or two each summer and enjoy
the company of our children -h l 1 r1:.i---

Several summers in the 1950's w~ ai hon 1. n h.i,,,

e 9. we rented a small apartment at 1We Flagler Beach Hotel in Flagler Beach,

jWe paid the sum of $70 a week for the apartment and usually occupied

it from two to four weeks during the summer. The rooms were big and airy and

there was a large screened porch on the front. The children were small at that

time and we thoroughly enjoyed the ocean each summer.

In the summer of 1959 we rented an ocean-front home at Crescent Beach that was

owned by a University of Florida professor, Alton Morris. We were not able to get

it for but one summer, but would have liked to have gone back there a number of

times. Th (9) ,a

a d4 ih V'a fip U i^tl --We-hwp_-e--c ft--eaftue to rent it each umif_ r

f or a=+e=rgL Lme.

During theu when I was teaching in Palatka, I attended the summer

session at the University of Georgia where I worked toward my Masters degree. I

was there during the summer of 1933, 34, 35, completing the degree in the latter

year. In fact, I was able tA attend one spring quarter (1935) because the 7-months

school year in Palatka was over in time for register for the spring quarter

at Georgia. When I completed my MA degree, I was invited by the head of the

history department at Georgia, Dr. J.H.T. McPherson to take a job in the history

department at the University of Georgia. I really would have liked to have gone

back to Palatka for another year, but the offer to teach at the University *vnerame

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