Interview with Kenton Hewes, October 26, 1966

Material Information

Interview with Kenton Hewes, October 26, 1966
Hewes, Kenton ( Interviewee )


Subjects / Keywords:
Miami-Dade County Oral History Collection ( local )
Spatial Coverage:
Miami-Dade County (Fla.) -- History.


This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.

Record Information

Source Institution:
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location:
This interview is part of the 'Dade County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license:
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Hewes II


them and took them out
1: iron to put on and he was quite a friend of Johnny Aikenc.

Rickenbacker was.

2: Hum.

1: And he was, and they both went out to field and Fisher had the first airplane

He even had
I eer see fly ^The Wright Brothers came to the speedway at Indiannapolis

That's ^Ivas with International. I could trace back, but I forget what

year it was. And I use to think. You know, you had to lay a

track in the and wait. The tire just blew.

2: Yeah.

T: And he use to but it kind of more or less disappointed

was going
me because it didn't go as far as I thought it ,^to go.

2: And the Wright Brothers flew it?

1: Oh, yeah. The Wright Brothers flew it and Fisher rode in one of them.

2: Oh, I forgot that. He loved anything. He loved motors I guess.

1: Yeah, and then, I'm the first guy that ever took him in a blimp. Here, I got

him in the blimp here.



2: Oh, you did?

L: But he built a blimp. He had a He built ballons at Indiannapolis for

him self and a fellow by the name of Bumbaugh who was building them for him

and he was the flyer, and he'd always go off with him in the ballons

2: I see.

a balloon
1: So they built little thing. It didn't amount to much.

I don't think I ever seen it, but I heard it, but anyhow I really liked it so

I hurried up one day and got him over here on the causeway and I knew the fellow

and we took for a ride.

2: Huh, huh.

1: And he enjoyed it. You couldn't get hurt in a blimp you know. Well, why would

Goodyear Blimp get going back here?

2: Well, it came down just for advertising, I guess.

1: Cause that's a nice ride. I like that ride. We use to take Part of us we use

to take twenty, twenty-five dollars apiece.

2: Yeah

1: And we'd get the blimp and we go out to At that time, they kept it out at


2: Yeah.


RED 20

1: And we'd go out there and get it. The four of us and they had two pilots

and we'd go out all over the everglades.

2: Oh.
1: and go all around down there. a t t
about two o'clock
L: And then, come back aid land on the causeway,^and that tickled the buys and

the other guys to (ath, you see.

They carry the guys out and they'd bring them over here and that would give them

a half a day off.

2: Oh. huh, huh.

1: Now, they came building some fancy little buildings over there.

2: I don't know. I want to take another glance at it. I haven't been for a couple of


L: Well, you're here right now.

2: They'll be back in a couple of months though.

1: They'll be back.

2: Next month. And I see little pools in the air already. Ah, I meant to ask you

while this machine is going that you understand what you my does not have

that you don't have to have other people hear it, but it will be locked up in

the library. You can have it locked up there until 1992 if you want to.

1: Well, you can read it. I don't see anything that will hurt anybody.



2: but I haveto ask you for this.

L: As long as it's true and everything I my is true and I wish there was more

men like him. If there's more men like him, Now a lot of these men use to

Well, he wasn't Jewish.
claim that he was Jewish. His mother, of course, was

I think
German, German Jew, but don't she was full Jew. You know, about

he was crazy about his mother
a half, but he loved his motherland he had a brother; Then,

he's got a Mosseleum in Indiannapolis, big Santa Fe Crown Hill, I think

they call it, and I looked in there and there the niches there were tIree on

in a little old
each side and they were all full and there he was, His ash es was in a little

old jug You know, one of them little bronze coffins on the flMor.

2: Hum. Yeah. But he was the last one. There's nobody else. He didn't

His son Boyd died I know and uh

1: They had one. THey had a boy. See he and Jane had a you might call it a

You might say it wqs an abortion. I never seen it, but it didn't last

I think it was come dead.

2: Yeah. Or lived a few days or something.

1: Something like that.

2: But he went and adopted a boy.

1; Hum, hum.


2: They adopted a boy, and she done it and he agreed to it so now that boy's


1: He is?

2: What his name is I forget.

1: Well, doesn't he take the name of Fisher.
and years
2: He does, but he was quite friendly with Jane for years, but as I understand

it now, Jane and he don't get along so well together, but I don't know for sure.

But Jane has always been out for Jane. Her book, I think, would have went over

and it would have
better ^and even would have made movie people might have tqken it if there

hadn't been too much Jane in it. Of course, you never give anybody

any credit if the fellows actually died working on the Some of the people had

just worked themselves to death.

1: Really? Who was that?

2: Well, come down here.they didn't have the commodities and places like they got now.

1: Hum, hum.

2: And the first little boat work that he brought the thirties down was right over here.

1: But that was long afterwards. That was aterwards right over there.

2: I haven't talked with James Fisher ye-t. I'm going to go and talk with her one

day. What's she like?



1: Well, I.. She's don't look bad. She's been married about four times, and I

think the last one

She wants to ame up with a name Fisher, but her name isn't Fisher, anymore.

2: No.

1: It should be the name and she won't give Margaret credit for anything, or

which her as help mates. She had
Ann Rossitor, both of them were far ahead of She'd been

never qualified.
Help. Same as Ann Rossitor or Margaret. They'd get along

better together.

2: Well, she didn't help him Well, she didn't work in the office obviously but

didn't she help him push herself along or

1: Well, she could have what you might see together.

2: hum, hum.

1: She could help entertain or something like that but that's about all.

2: Right. I heard alot of talk about that hospital that is going up. They're

going to put it right here where this boat slip or whatever it was.

1: It goes right here where my own is the whole thing. From there

she put that limsey limb from here clear down to the end.

2: Going to be a hospital, huh?

1: And according to the pictures, it's going to be a very modenmhospital.



1: And each one of the wings is round, and the nurse sits in the center, sits

in the center. See?

2: And she can see all the people.

And she can see and turn lights on and I imagine that one of them has an

elevator somewhere, but she can turn the lights on and the fan, and hear and

talk and see everything and, of course, she can get assistance the minute
take t
she wants it, but one nurse can care of whole floor.
3: h,hum. "hen' Have they bought the land yet? I heard they had trouble with the .oning
2: They bought the land and zoning's all right, and they already got the

It's starting to move out now. Mall is starting to move out now.

Moving out now.

1: So?

2: Lindsey Lumber- they'd ve moved already.

1: Well, what are you going to do with ? Have you sold your house yet?

2: No, I'm just holding it.

I had it sold. I thought, but he cancelled the

You mean, Pin Ocha.

He's a crook.



A bunch of crooks. No, sir Then, I ent and bought this and before he

told me, he cancelled out. If he had told me, I wouldn't have bought this one.

I'm glad he got this anyhow. He had about four acres down here.

Nice. Are you going to take all your cats down there?

2: Yeah. That's reason they got it.

1: Well, that's probably what he's going to do -

file all the cats in the truck and

2: No. I'll have to put them in I'll put them in the car, and take them down

there and I imagine they'll last along. They'd get lost. There's groves all

around there but I was going to tell you that right across the street from this

place a fellow had five acres. I got about four or a little better and right

across the street was an avocado grove and the fellows work hard all summer

to get that and then the ants come and move it and then they tell me,
I hadn't been down there.
and they tell me my yard is full of avocados and lemons and just ruined his

1: Oh, for heave ns sake.
grove.^ All that hard work you know, but unless they got insurance and

I guess they can get some kind of insurance, I don't know.

1: Well, I believe there's crop insurance, but I don't knoW much about farming.

Well, OK, if there's nothing that you can think of, there's nothing that I

can think of. Probably the minute I go I'll think of a trillian things.



2: Well, you can come back any day.

1: Well, maybe I will. Maybe I will.

2: You can think anything you want to. That's all right with me, and head for

the hay instead of pulling a trailer or something like that.

1: Are you going to take another trip?

2: Oh, lord, yes.

I'm not going to stop. I was relaxed. You see, I was going to go. I was going

to get a boat. I had along a little schooner.


that he'd get it
Some fellow thought that I wanted it so badand charged me a little extra while

he's still got it.

Ha! ha! ha!

Well, he's still got it. He's still got it.

Fine motor home. Well, it looks nice. I can just see your going up over the

mountains here,

And the beauty is that you can stop anywhere and the air conditioning, catch on

fire, lightening, charge, everything, you know.

1: There's one more thing I do want to ask you. You said something about getting

out of the navy in 1905. What were you doing before 1905?



2: I was in the Navy in 1901.

1: Oh.

2: 1900.

1: 1900. So you were in there five years?

2: Yes.

Yeah, practically five.

1: Pete said something about your being in the Spanish War.

2: Well, that was the insurrection. You see, I was in in 1900. You see, that put

you see
me in the insurrection^and we were down in the Philippines.

1: Oh, in the Phillippines. I thought it was Cuba.

2: In japan and Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

1: Huh. huh.

2: Not Cuba, but Puerto Rico.

1: And what? Were you just on the ships or did you?

2: Ships. Yeah, in the Navy. I remember taking Jane and Mrs. Howard Mormon

who was building automobiles at that time in Indiannalis.

1: For Mormon Car, sure. sure.

2: I took Carl and her and Jane over to Havanna one time and I remember we've

been on April Fool's Day.



2: When they gave Carl some soap.

1: Yeah.

2: Chocolate covered soap.

1: He put chocolate over the soap and bit into it?

2: Yeah.

1: He didn't like that.

2: So see they got the idea that someone stole their jewelry.

1: Yeah.

2: Jane. So we had on our back and Galloway said, "Its all right here."

'ell, I don't know.

1: Well, that's funny. I guess that he was a funny guy.

2: He was a good guy. Then, I took him and that's a long time ago. Before that,

I took him and Allyson and a couple of other fellows. I forget who. forward to
the fight. A big colored man and a colored fighter and Willard.
Guess that's right.

2: That was a fixed fight.

1: Over on Miami?

2: Atlanta.

1: Havanna?

2: Havanna. 11


2: That was a fixed fight. He had to lose that fight or lose it right.

So that Willard was- champion. for awhile, but he was never equal to that

nigger, but the nigger knew that he had that fight.

1: That was it, huh?

2: He knew it. Well, somebody made some money.

1: Well, I '11 check this off now and get myself and I want to thank you very much.

2: I want to thank you. Certainly, old custom. This old has been

a lot of places.

I* All these places in all this weather.

Kenton Hewes told me that he was that he had just turned eighty-six years old.

As may be clear from the interview, it took place in his house which

proved to be a tremendously ramshackled thing the yard all over

ground. Beside the house, passages filled ith junk a rustic old car on one side

and old refrigerators on the other. The lawn was grown up. There seemed to be

so much. You could not see any of te house the porch was so coveredvith junk.

When I approached, I looked for a doorbell and finding none, went to knock on

the door I called and tried to push the door ajar. It would not open due

to the great piles of cardboard boxes and old furniture and heaven knows

what that were on the porch. so I called "A voice answered and it was



1: Captain Hewes.
1: Quite tall old man, not bad looking, but with a scary, scabby face.

Clean. So his house lie was like his house- Smelled something awful.

He called to me and he was sitting in a rather beat up old truck that looked

sort of like a bakery truck, parked in front of his house, and the interview

took place in there. We sat in truck for two hours while he told me about

Carl Fisher in the old days. The truck was as full of junk, old photographs,

parts of it were use as a fire ox. lie had licenses bits of machinery. It

was the most incredibible collection of junk, all around the seats and everything.

cats kept coming in out
And during the conversation, and of the truck.

Cars went whizzing by. It was on Furty Avenue and right between the Mall

Industries and on the other side some kind of auto body finishing shop so that

there were a great many cars going by and from time to time people in the

neighborhood who seemed to know the old man would stop and call to him or

wave to the cats and all quite a shock. After I cut the machine off,

I was packing up. He said a few more things. It turns out that he was the

not but of the Spanish War but of the Phillippine

Insurrection and but he went into the Navy. He was in the Navy from 1900 until

1905. He said that he lived for eighty-six years and enjoyed everyone of them.

And I really think he meant it. There was something about it. lie had been a



1: in addition to being a yacht captain, he held a master's license and ran

in a boat during the First World War. lie went back into some kind of service

in the Merchant Marines. lie spoke rather raspingly and roofingly of having

left a banana boat on a reef somewhere in South America. Unfortunately, I

forgot and left the camera at home this morningg so I have no picture of him

his truck, aid his cat. I think that I will probably go back one day and talk

with him again. He doesn't have much to do and enjoys talking, and maybe

I can get a picture of him then.