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Tampa Bay history.
n Vol. 3, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 1981).
p (Download Complete Issue Adobe PDF version)
Tampa, Fla. :
b Dept. of History, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of South Florida.
c Spring/Summer 1981
Tampa Bay Region (Fla.)
Tampa Region (Fla.)
University of South Florida.
Dept. of History.
t Tampa Bay History.
SPRING/SUMMER 1981 VOLUME 3, NUMBER 1 CONTENTS From the Editors 3 Communications 4 ARTICLES Conflict Inside the Earth: The Koreshan Unity in Lee County By R. Lyn Rainard 5 John W. Trammell: The Career of a Polk County Politician By Stephen Kerber 17 The Depression Decade: A Photo Essay 32 ORAL HISTORY Baseball and the American Dream: A Conversation With Al Lopez By Gerard A. Brandmeyer 48 NOTES AND DOCUMENTS A Soviet View of St. Petersburg, Florida By William H. Parsons 74 A Tribute to Dick Bothwell By David R. Carr 79 GENEALOGY Margaret Elizabeth Daniel Lee: Pinellas Pioneer By Judith Masce Wade 82 BOOK REVIEWS Proctor, Eighteenth-Century Florida and the Revolutionary South By Randall Shrock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87 Turner and Turner, The Seekers: Pioneer Families of Nokomis and Laurel By Gregory L. Ferris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 Copyright 1981 by the University of South Florida Typography and Printing by Joe B. Klay and Sons, Tampa, Florida
FROM THE EDITORS Political life in Florida has been highly individualistic. "Every man for himself" accurately captures the spirit of Sunshine State politics throughout most of its history. The factions, cliques, and machines which have jousted for power often arose from the economic and social diversity found among the state's population. With the lure of land and a salubrious climate, Florida has attracted a variety of adventurers looking for a new and successful life (or retiring from an old and successful life). Some of the most able of these pioneers entered the political arena and competed with varying degrees of success. In 1882, John W. Trammell migrated to Polk County and later became an influential state legislator and father of a United States senator. In 1894, Cyrus R. Teed trekked to the south Florida frontier around Fort Myers to establish a religious settlement. In contrast with Trammell, Teed saw a brief political career end in failure. Both of their colorful stories are recaptured in the pages below. This issue also contains articles on two other "pioneers." Margaret Daniel Lee describes her life in northern Pinellas County at the turn of the century, and Al Lopez tells how he became the first, successful major league baseball player of Latin descent to come out of Tampa. Whereas Lee and Lopez relate the kind of account that makes up the American Dream, a foreign observer portrays a very different sentiment. In a sketch written in the mid-1970s, a Soviet journalist records his gloomy impressions of the impoverished lives of elderly residents of St. Petersburg, a city originally named after its Russian counterpart. His unfavorable description is provocative and will upset some, but it reminds us that nearly fifty years earlier, a large number of Americans had joined the aged in swelling the ranks of the poor. The photo essay depicts the Depression Decade of the 1930s when the American Dream turned into a nightmare for Suncoast inhabitants as well as people in all walks of life throughout the nation. On a personal note, we pay tribute to Dick Bothwell. On January 30, the popular columnist for the St. Petersburg Times died after suffering a heart attack. Dick was a caring journalist who wrote several complimentary columns about Tampa Bay History and helped us whenever we called upon him. He was a true friend of history who will be fondly remembered by those striving to keep the past alive. All of us associated with TBH extend our deepest sympathies to his family. For the next issue, we are planning to run a photo essay on the 1940s. We invite our readers to contribute by sending photographs depicting life in central and southwest Florida during the war years and the reconversion to peacetime. Please describe the pictures, all of which will be returned upon publication. All photos appearing in the essay will be appropriately credited to the donor. To ensure consideration, kindly submit your photos by September 15.
COMMUNICATIONS Any correspondence pertaining to the articles, reviews and other material contained in the journal may be sent to the Managing Editor. Dear Editors: WUSF Radio Reading Service broadcasts to blind and physically handicapped persons via the subcarrier of WUSF-FM. This service is broadcasting 142 hours per week. We provide daily indepth readings of newspapers, magazines and innovative programming. A valuable facet of our radio Reading Service is our informational programming. Programs provided are heard by persons unable to read the printed page. This service is provided with the assistance of volunteers who donate time for program production. We thank you for your contribution to this service. Tampa Bay History was read by volunteer Martha Rolfsen. The magazine was aired as a special Christmas holiday program. Elizabeth Young WUSF Radio Dear Editors: I am writing in regard to your cover of the Tampa Bay History fall/winter 1980, Volume 2, Number 2 displaying the Tin Can Tourists in DeSoto Park. This DeSoto Park is in the north east end of McKay Bay in Tampa and NOT the DeSoto Park founded on Mullet Key about 1955, in the St. Petersburg area. .It was quite a sight to go out and visit the Tin Can Tourists who brought all their food in tin cans and spent no money in Tampa. That is the reason they were called the Tin Can Tourists. Brown Farrior, M.D. Dear Editors: When I saw the story, "The Legend of Gasparilla," I thought, "Not another rehash of Gasparilla!" But Andre-Marcel d'Ans did a fascinating job. I wish we could xerox this and send it around to different newspapers. I would like to clarify a point he made. On page 14, he states the author of the advertising brochure of the old Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway (not Railroad apparently) was anonymous. According to a copy of a clip that I am sending you, G. P. "Pat" LeMoyne, Sr. wrote the pamphlet. In the February 1, 1950 edition of the Fort Myers News-Press he tells how he hap pened to have written it. Marian B. Godown
CONFLICT INSIDE THE EARTH: THE KORESHAN UNITY IN LEE COUNTY by R. Lyn Rainard Conditions in Lee County returned to normal after the start of the new year, 1909. The excitement of the previous two weeks had subsided as the members of the Koreshan Unity, a small religious community in the southern-most region of the county, came to recognize that their spiritual leader would not rise from the dead. Both local and state newspapers had scoffed at the expectations of the group. All doubters knew that Cyrus Reed Teed would not be resurrected Christmas Day, three days after his death. But the faith that had first bound the Koreshans to Teed in Chicago and led them to the remote southwest coast of Florida had also convinced them of the inevitability of his resurrection. His failure to appear on the appointed day marked the beginning of the group's long, slow demise.1 During the previous decade the Koreshan Unity had been growing by fits and starts, and their growth had brought the utopians increasingly into conflict with the people of Lee County. The strife resulted from the threat posed by their growing political influence, rather than from antagonism over religious doctrine. When the utopians tried to exert their influence on county politics, the leaders of Fort Myers, the county seat, acted to protect their power. Both Koreshan Cyrus Reed Teed (Koresh).
political power and community growth had hinged on its charismatic leader; with his death the community lost hope of building a new cit which would rival all others. And once Koreshan growth had been stopped, conflict with Fort Myers ended. The leader of the Koreshan Unity, Cyrus Reed Teed, was born in 1839, in western New York. His family hoped he would enter the ministry, but he never seemed interested in fulfulling those hopes. Following service in the Union Army he completed his education at the Eclectic Medical College of New York, a school specializing in root and herb medical cures. With his wife and young son Teed then traveled to Utica, New York, to establish a medical practice. There, unsatisfied with saving lives alone, Teed spent long nights searching for the Philosophers Stone once sought by medieval alchemists. One night during his research he discovered the secret of transmuting base metals into gold. With the discovery came a visit from the only and highest Majesty . the Father and Son, who appeared in the form of a goddess, dressed in a gown of purple and gold, her long golden tresses of profusely luxuriant growth over her shoulders. She unfolded the secrets of the universe to Teed and explained his role in ushering in the millennium.2 Following his illumination, Teed began zealously administering to the souls of his patients, but his efforts went unrewarded. His patients rejected his religion and then deserted him. Moving across the Burned-over District of western New York, birth place of a number of evangelical sects, he searched for adherents. His early labors brought few followers but much notoriety. When New York proved unreceptive to his proselytizing, Teed, or Koresh as he now preferred to be called, began looking for a community more interested in his teachings. His search was brief. In 1886 he accepted an invitation to address the National Association of Mental Science in Chicago, Illinois. Considerable excitement swept through the audience as he spoke. At the conclusion of his presentation, the members of the Association unanimously elected Teed their new president and turned the future of the organization over to him. Having at last found a following, he reorganized the group to reflect his own beliefs.3 Teed left New York because of his failure to attract followers. Ironically, success drove him from his home in Chicago. Chicago papers described him as dressed in a black Prince Edward coat that hung to his knees and immaculate linen glistening with unusual luster amid its somber surroundings. But the papers noted suspiciously that this smooth shaven man of fifty-four, whose brown, restless eyes glow and burn like live coals, had a strange hold on women. Of the one hundred ten followers living at Beth-Ophra, a spacious old mansion which served as the communitys Chicago home, three-fourths were women. Teeds ability to attract women to his religion led to fierce opposition in the city. Once that opposition became insurmountable, he began a search for a new home.4 Initially Teed tried to unite his followers with an already established utopian group. However, the impossibility of solving economic and ideological problems, as well as determining who would lead the group, forced the Koreshans to look for their own site. Leading the search, Teed announced that the point where the bitellus of the alchemico-organic cosmos specifically
determines would be the new home for his religious organization. Teed turned to the Divine Being who had appeared to him in his earlier mystical experience to discover the location of that spot. Each night Teed and his inner court, made up of three women, asked for guidance to their new home. The next morning they would follow the revelations of the previous night. The long journey led the cortege to Punta Rassa, Florida, a small settlement at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, approximately one hundred thirty miles south of Tampa and twenty miles down river from Fort Myers.5 Koresh at Beth Ophra, the last home of the Koreshan Unity in Chicago, 1898. Photograph from The American Eagle
In 1894, at Punta Rassa, the Koreshans met an elderly German named Gustave Damkohler and his son Elwin, both returning home from a Christmas visit to Fort Myers. Damkohler, who had settled in Florida in the early 1880s, had lost his wife and all but one child to the dangers of pioneer life. He was a lonely old man who eagerly welcomed any companionship, and after a brief conversation with the travelers, he invited the Koreshans to his homestead on the Estero River, a short trip down the coast. Teed was immediately im pressed with Damkohlers homestead. He concluded that the search for a new home had ended in success. The Estero is a small meandering river which empties into the gulf of Mexico. When the Koreshans arrived, only a few hardy settlers lived along the river banks. A sparsely inhabited wilderness, the area offered the seclusion needed for the growth of utopian dreams and the realization of Koreshan plans. Land could be purchased from the few settlers of the area or acquired in the form of homesteads from the state. However, the first Koreshan land, about three hundred acres, came as a gift from the old German. Damkohler gladly gave all of his land to the Koreshans. He could hardly contain his excitement on hearing from them that his land would become the greatest commercial thoroughfare of the world and the central distribution center for worldwide commerce.6 This model represents Teeds Hollow Earth Theory. It is now on display at the Koreshan State Historical Site. Photograph courtesy of Captain Dale E. Noble, Florida Park Service.
The Koreshans had sparked Damkohlers imagination by picturing a community with three-hundred-yard-wide avenues and his own home specially located in the middle of the New Jerusalem. He anxiously awaited the throng of people the utopians had promised. But when his dream of a great house went unfulfilled, he demanded the return of his land. The Koreshans, though, had no intention of giving up their new home and beginning the search anew. The old man then filed a civil suit to reclaim his property.7 A year earlier the Koreshans had been sued for the return of other property. But Damkohler's suit proved unique. The suit went beyond arguments relating to the land grant and suggested that because of their religious beliefs the Koreshans were not the sort of people wanted in Lee County. Pages of The Flaming Sword the journal in which Teed had discussed his cosmogony, were submitted as evidence.8 By submitting the unusual Koreshan beliefs for examination, Damkohler hoped to stir public sentiment against Teed. The German was not mistaken in thinking that the Koreshans beliefs would attract attention. Teeds central concept, cellular cosmogony, suggested that the earth is a hollow sphere, and that the sphere encompasses the entire universe. Man lives on the inside rather than the outside of the earth. The sun, a huge electro-magnet at the center of the universe, first sends positive energy to the walls of the earth. Night and day result from the rotation of the sun. When the dark side of the sun appears, the negative energy is drawn back to the sun. The entire system was self-perpetuating. Anxious to prove the validity of this scheme of things, Teeds followers conducted an experiment on beaches south of the Estero. They ran a straight line down the beach with a device they called a rectilineator. When the line reached the beach's edge they sighted it across the water to a Unity sloop. The experiment concluded when the two ends of the line rather than its center met the earth. Their experiment proved that man lives inside a hollow earth, or so they believed.9 Their theory was bound to cause some astonishment, yet to the Koreshans, it seemed indisputably logical. The source of all earthly life, the sun, perpetuated itself. The source of all spiritual life, God, followed the same natural laws which She had created. Just as the sun radiated energy to the earth, the Goddess sent messengers to the earth. The messengers, Adam, Enoch, Noah, Moses, Elija, and Jesus, were each successively more perfect representations of the son of God. When the seventh messenger appeared, the Goddess would return, and the son and Goddess would become one. The energy sent to the earth would return to its source. The joining of the Goddess and Her son would usher in the millennium. Few needed to ask the identity of the seventh messenger or the proximity of the millennium. Koresh waited in Lee County.10 Damkohler hoped his revelations of Teeds beliefs would lead to the Koreshans expulsion. But the issues which motivated men to action in Lee County were political issues. The county simply did not feel threatened by the small band of religious zealots or their astonishing beliefs. As long as Koreshan membership remained small and Teed avoided involvement in county politics, no one raised objection to the unusual religion. The year following the Damkohler suit a second and even more shrill attack on the Koreshans and their religion also failed to arouse county hostility towards the Koreshans. The second attack was made by Editha Lolita. Lolita was a most unbelievable character. She claimed to be the Countess Landsfeldt, and Baroness Rosenthal, daughter of Ludwig I of Bavaria
and Lola Montez, god child of Pius IX, divorced wife of General Diss Debar, widow of two other men, bride of James Dutton Jackson, and the self-proclaimed successor to the priestess of occultism, Madame Blavatsky. She planned to establish a utopian community in Lee County, where her husband claimed to own several thousand acres of land. Her followers in the Order of the Crystal Sea would be model citizens and they would win salvation and immortality by living, most appropriately, on a diet of fruit and nuts. A 1903 photograph of the original headquarters of the Koreshan Unity. It was destroyed by fire in 1949. Photograph from The American Eagle
Lolita claimed to be horror struck on learning of Teeds presence in Lee County, and she immediately launched a campaign to drive the Koreshans out. Day after day she reported to the Fort Myers Press stories of Teeds allegedly sordid past. Her newspaper blitz failed to excite the county, just as Damkohles efforts had failed, because people did not feel threatened by Teeds strange ideas. Besides, both Lolita and Damkohler overlooked the goodwill Teed had assiduously cultivated during his few short years in the county.11 When Teed first reached Lee County he actively sought close ties with the people of Fort Myers, eighteen miles to the Koreshan communitys north. Teed wanted to avoid the troubles encountered in Chicago. On several occasions he visited the city to speak about his religious views. In long lectures which held the attention and interest of his hearers, Teed took a most unusual position for a man anxiously awaiting the end of the world. He assured the townspeople that although the world seemed in turmoil, I take it that we are not undergoing the three woes predicted in Revelation. He avoided playing the prophet of doom among potential friends even though the millennium was to arrive during his lifetime. Teed also sent other goodwill ambassadors into the city. His efforts to win the confidence of the residents of Fort Myers proved quite successful. The Fort Myers Press reported that a group of Koreshans on a weekend visit were all intelligent, well-educated and pleasant people whom it is a pleasure to meet and to talk to. The newspaper complimented the group still further, saying, they are all workers and will make their part of the county a veritable paradise on earth, if intelligent work will accomplish it.12 Not only Teed but the other Koreshans cultivated community support. They opened their doors to visitors and encouraged them to come often. One reporter stated that he had been treated to a meal of four or five courses, the fare of which was bountiful and sumtous [sic]. Then, to assure all of Lee County of the good intentions of the Koreshans, he added, as regards their neighborly qualities I have never known a people more highly praised by their neighbors than they. Two years later the Koreshans, were continuing their efforts. In order to accommodate the editor of the Fort Myers Press the Koreshans delayed the beginning of a Sunday religious service several hours while he made the arduous journey from the county seat. Following the ceremony, the editor admitted that he could not agree with the Koreshans theology. But, he declared that their religious views are personal affairs, amendable only to God. It has nothing to do with their making good citizens. The quiet, self-supporting law-abiding people, of more than average intelligence, should be allowed to build their paradise unmolested, he argued. It would be hard to imagine how Teeds efforts to win goodwill could have been more successful. Damkohler and Lolita had failed to turn the people of Lee County against the Koreshans not only because of Teeds success at winning local respect, but also because religious differences were not a divisive issue.13 The Koreshans did not restrict their efforts to winning friends. They also made great strides in building their new city in the Florida mangroves. The grounds around the buildings are tastefully laid out, with broad walks, ornamental shade trees, and tropical plants, wrote the Fort Myers Press editor after his Sunday visit. The river banks have been walled up, on the front of the park, and a succession of terraces rise one above the other, planted with palms and shade trees.14
The Koreshans planned to build a city far greater than the Arcadia the editor imagined himself to have visited. They planned to construct the New Jerusalem, the new world capital. To build it they needed land and control over the land. When they failed to convince people to donate land, they purchased it. A city charter proved more difficult to obtain. In 1904 the Fort Myers Press reported that the Koreshan Unity has taken legal steps . for laying out and building the City of New Jerusalem, and has posted legal notices at the Estero post office, that on the first day of September, . a meeting of the citizens will be held for the purpose of incorporating a city to contain twelve miles of territory, and elect officers. The first steps to the fulfillment of the Koreshan dream had been taken. After obtaining their charter the Koreshans could begin to lay the groundwork for the great city which would serve as the capital of the world during the millennium. However, the community failed to anticipate the opposition that would arise. Efforts to incorporate led to the first serious conflict with Lee County residents.15 Of the seventy-five square miles of territory to be included in the city boundaries, only ten square miles belonged to the Koreshans. Of the roughly seventy registered voters in the area, fewer than a dozen were non-Koreshans. Taking into account the well-known requirement of the Koreshan constitution that all members had to act as a unit, the non-Koreshans recognized they would be powerless in the new city. Taxation and all other powers of government would be beyond their reach. The land they had cultivated for years could then be swallowed up by the great avenues Teed had planned. With this in mind, the non-Koreshans quickly began a campaign either to stop the incorporation or win exclusion from the city. Koreshan leaders struggled clumsily to halt the defection of the self-proclaimed anti-Koreshans. They viewed the participation of non-Koreshans as essential and they diligently worked to win their support. Koreshan leaders promised the opposition ordinances in keeping with state and federal laws and freedom from taxation. In addition, schools, colleges, and libraries planned for the city would be free to all residents. However, the Koreshans warned that access to the Estero River might be denied those who voted against incorporation. City streets, parks and other privileges might also be included in the ban. Finally, they announced that if their plans were thwarted, a Koreshan boycott would be severely felt by the opposition. Teed had no intention of seeing his grand design halted.16 Although some talked of solving the disagreement with powder and bullets, both sides satisfied their anger by pouring letters into the Fort Myers Press Letters from the anti-Koreshans occasionally condemned Koreshan religious beliefs. Nevertheless, when they announced their reasons for seeking exclusion from the city, their arguments were purely political. They did not believe Koreshan promises about no taxation, and they did not want to live in a city where their votes would not count. The anti-Koreshans seemed in a most desperate situation. Incorporation required the affirmative votes of only twenty-five residents a requirement easily met by the Koreshans. The only way to stop incorporation, or at least win exclusion from the new city, was to bring county-wide pressure on Teeds group. Slowly support for the anti-Koreshans began to build support which the Koreshans could not ignore. When the day arrived for the incorporation, the anti-Koreshans won their demand for being excluded from the city, and the Koreshans had lost their first serious conflict with secular society. Nevertheless, local affairs quickly returned to normal. Teeds community had survived a brush with the inhabitants of the county, and once again returned its attention to religious affairs. Some must have wondered, however, if the tiny religious community could survive a major conflict.17
During the Democratic primary election of 1906, the Koreshans became embroiled in a controversy which destroyed their utopian dreams. The election ought to have been typical of all others across the South. No one needed to wait for the general election to learn who would be elevated to office. The Democratic Party primary, in fact if not in law, elected county officials. The Lee County election began that way. The county Democratic Executive Committee nominated its candidates and staged a primary election. Teed, perhaps thinking the time had arrived to test his strength and show some political independence, refused to support one of the committees choices for state representative. Furthermore, he pledged his votes to the rest of the county and state ticket, but claimed the right to follow his conscience on the congressional ticket. The Executive Committee could not accept Teeds insubordination.18 In the past Teed had proclaimed his intention to bring thousands to Florida and make every vote count in Florida and Lee County. The county Democratic leaders feared that he had at last made a bid to rival the committee in party leadership. They acted swiftly to prevent his gaining any influence on the party. The committee threw out the forty-six Koreshan votes on the grounds that the members of the Koreshan Unity were not legally entitled to vote under the call made by the Executive Committee. They concluded that members of the Koreshan Unity were not proper members of the Democratic Party. Two years earlier, when the Koreshans supported Phillip Isaacs, chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee and editor of the Fort Myers Press in the race for county judge, there had been no question of their position in the party. But having challenged the committees rule, they were out. In order to weaken further the Koreshans, Isaacs denied them continued use of the Fort Myers Press .19 The Koreshans responded by creating their own newspaper and party organization. During the first week of June a new paper appeared heralding the birth of a political party. The American Eagle as the Koreshans named their paper, caustically struck out at the Democratic Executive Committee for alleged undemocratic actions and gross corruption. Good government could be obtained, claimed the American Eagle by supporting the Progressive Liberty Party. The new party promised to rid the county of corruption and bring progressive reform to government.20 The leaders of the Democratic Party hotly objected to the charges of corruption which the American Eagle hurled against them. The Democrats unequivocally rejected every claim of the wealdings of Koreshanity laboring under the hypnotic or other influence of the great Koresh, the great prime counsellor of Koreshan Universiology and Humbuggery. They denied being owned by land speculators, and to prove their innocence they offered to open the county tax books to all interested persons.21 As the 1906 general election drew near, the county leaders urged the people to vote. It is your duty, they declared, to go to the polls in November and record your vote against this Koreshan humbug. There is no other issue before the people. The question is shall this Koreshan Unity control and shape the policies of the people of Lee County or shall the people manage their affairs in the interest of Lee County and not the Koreshan Unity. The Fort Myers Press which had once defended the Koreshans right to their own religious views, now attacked them. But the attack on Koreshanity was politically motivated. Except in campaign rhetoric, religion never entered into the conflict.22
As charges flew between the two groups, emotions grew heated. Teed, fearing an attack on his life, never traveled without the company of several male followers. He hoped that this precaution would ward off any potential assailants. But it did not. Two weeks before the general election, Teeds fears were realized. Walking through the streets of Fort Myers, Teed noticed one of his followers in a loud argument. W. Ross Wallace, a Progressive Liberty Party candidate in the upcoming election, and a Lee County citizen named Sellers had attracted a large crowd with their shouting. Shortly after Teed arrived on the scene the argument changed from a shouting match to a street brawl. The near-riot ended when the Fort Myers marshal severely beat Teed and then dragged him off to jail. Townspeople, eager to blame the Koreshans, insisted that the fight resulted from Teeds meddling in the affairs of others. The Koreshans, on the other hand, claimed that the assailant had been paid to attack their leader. They insisted that R. A. Henderson had offered five dollars to whomever would thrash Teed. If such were the case, the Koreshans were a remarkably forgiving group. Two weeks later they cast all of their votes in the race for county treasurer for Henderson. Whatever problem triggered the fight, its underlying cause was the animosity created when the Koreshans offered the first serious competition the Democrats had ever encountered.23 Following the incident Teed intensified his criticism of Fort Myers, and he demanded that Marshal Sanchez be removed from office. He warned of the CONSEQUENCES [FOR] FORT MYERS AS A WINTER RESORT if his demand was not met. Sarcastically, the editor of the Fort Myers Press pleaded, Have pitty [sic] on us, O'Koresh! Do not wreck vengeance on a poor, defenseless people. We beseech the[e], oh thou Most Gracious Humbug of the Universe, have mercy!24 The Koreshans had little reason to be disappointed in the election. Out of the countys eighteen precincts the Progressive Liberty Party carried three, and it received support throughout the county. In no single race did the new party win a majority, but in every contest it did win more votes than the Republican Party by a two to one margin. Considering the length of time the party had been organized, it proved remarkably successful. Although the Koreshans were unable to capture any offices, they offered the county Democrats surprisingly stiff competition. In the closest race, five votes separated the Democratic and Liberty Party candidates. The Progressive Liberty Party commanded two hundred fifty votes, of which only one-fifth were Koreshan.25 Under different circumstances the future of the new party and the Koreshan Unity would have been bright. However, the future began to look bleak, as Teeds health faltered. The Koreshans claimed that the beating Teed had suffered at the hands of the town marshal had shattered several nerves in his shoulder, an injury from which he never fully recovered. Whether his health deteriorated from the beating in the streets of Fort Myers, or from advancing age he was sixty-seven the results were the same. In failing health, Teed died on December 22, 1908. The Koreshan Unity did not pass from existence immediately after the death of its leader. But its numbers dwindled and never again did the Unity find itself at the center of a county controversy. The conflict between the people of the county and the religious community had centered on political differences. Religious differences, great though they were, were never of sufficient importance to cause any conflict. After Teeds death, the Unity never had an active membership large enough to challege Fort Myers dominance of county politics. As a result,
county leaders never again felt threatened by the communitarians at Estero. Following Teed's death, the Koreshan Unity faded into obscurity, and the utopian dream was over. 1 Tampa Morning Tribune 25 December 1908, p. 1; Fort Myers Press 24 December 1908, p. 1. 2 Fort Myers Press 31 December 1908, p. 4; George Frederick Tuttle, The Descendants of William and Elizabeth Tuttle (Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle and Company, 1883), pp. 255-257; Koresh [Cyrus R. Teed], The Illumination of Koresh: Marvelous Experience of the Great Alchemist at Utica, New York (Estero, Florida: Guiding Star Publishing House, n.d.), pp. 12-13. The Koreshans believed God was biune, both god and goddess joined in the body of a woman. 3 American Eagle August 1973, p. 1, September 1974, p. 1; Laurence W. Bubbett, Biographical sketch of Dr. Cyrus Reed Teed (Koresh) (Estero, Florida: Guiding Star Publishing House, n.d.), p. 2; Cyrus R. Teed, Metaphysics (Chicago: Worlds College of Life, hand dated, 11 June 1887), P. 4. 4 Fort Myers Press 1 July 1897, p. 1, 26 April 1894, p. 4, 8 December 1898, p. 1; New York Times 10 June 1892, p. 6. 5 The Flaming Sword May 1932, p. 3; G. W. Gatewood, On Floridas Coconut Coast (Punta Gorda, Florida: Herald Publishing Company, 1944), p. 136. 6 Koresh [Cyrus R. Teed] and E. B. Webster, The Koreshan Unity: Cooperative (Estero, Florida: Guiding Star Publishing House, 1907), pp. 20-21. 7 E[lwin] E. Damkohler Estero, Florida: Memoirs of the First Settler (Fort Myers Beach, Florida: Island Press, 1967), p. 23. 8 Danielson v. The Koreshan Unity 159 Lee Co. (1896); Damkohler v. The Koreshan Unity 59 Lee Co. 211 (1897). 9 Koresh [Cyrus R. Teed] and U. G. Morrow, Cellular Cosmogony (Chicago: Guiding Star Publishing House, 1898); Fort Myers Press 22 July 1897, p. 1, 22 June 1897, p. 4, 22 April 1897, p. 1. 10 Koresh [Cyrus R. Teed], The Immortal Manhood (Chicago: Guiding Star Publishing House, 1902); S. J. Sargent, Fort Myers Press 12 December 1895, p. 2. For a fuller discussion of the Koreshan religious beliefs see, Robert Lyn Rainard. In the Name of Humanity: The Koreshan Unity (unpublished Masters thesis, University of South Florida, 1974), pp. 38-55. 11 Fort Myers Press 24 November 1898, p. 1, 1 December 1898, p. 1, 15 December 1898, supplement, p. 1, 19 January 1899, p. 1. 12 Ibid ., 3 May 1894, p. 1, 28 June 1894, p. 4, 29 December 1894, p. 1. 13 Ibid ., 3 May 1894, p. 1, 12 December 1895, p. 1. 14 Ibid ., 3 May 1894, p. 1. 15 Ibid ., 4 August 1904, p. 1. 16 Ibid ., 1 September 1904, p. 4, 25 A ugust 1904, p. 1, 11 A ugust 1904, p. 8; Koresh [Cyrus R. Teed], The Constitution of the Koreshan Unity (Chicago: Guiding Star Publishing House, n.d.). pp. 3, 15; Fort Myers Press 25 August 1904, p. 4. 17 Fort Myers Press 1 September 1904, p. 4, 25 A ugust 1904, p. 1. 18 Proceedings of the County Democratic Committee, Fort Myers Press 24 May 1906, p. 1, 17 May 1906, p. 4. 19 Ibid ., 23 January 1902, p. 1, 24 May 1906, p. 1.
20 American Eagle 7 June 1906, p. 3, 6 June 1906, p. 1. 21 Fort Myers Press 11 October 1906, p. 4. 22 Ibid ., 4 October 1906, p. 4. 23 Ibid ., 18 October 1906, p. 3, 8 November 1906, p. 1; American Eagle 25 October 1906 p. 1. 24 Fort Myers Press 1 November 1906, p. 1, 25 October 1906, p. 1. 25 Ibid ., 8 November 1906, p. 1.
JOHN W. TRAMMELL: THE CAREER OF A POLK COUNTY POLITICIAN by Stephen Kerber During the first half of the twentieth century, political life in Florida was characterized by a high degree of individualism among candidates. In his classic work, Southern Politics in State and Nation V. O. Key, Jr. described Florida's political structure as an incredibly complex melange of amorphous factions which made it unique in the South.1 In fact, Key titled his chapter on Florida politics Every Man For Himself. Key attributed the states political atomization to its geographical size and variety, uneven distribution of population, relative degree of urbanization, population growth by immigration from other states, and diversified economy. An undeniable manifestation of this political individualism which Key pointed out has been the inability of Florida governors to deliver the votes of their supporters to other candidates. Not only have governors failed to influence the electorate in the choice of their successors, they have been unable to advance themselves to national office at the close of their gubernatorial terms. Similarly, Florida cabinet members have found it almost impossible to move up to the governors mansion. Nevertheless, prior to the publication of Keys analysis in 1949, a very few Florida officeholders did manage to circumvent this individualistic tradition by using their own successful careers to pave the political way for their children. Ruth Bryan Owen capitalized on the fame of her father, William Jennings Bryan, to become Floridas first female member of Congress in 1928. Dr. John L. Crawford of Wakulla spent twenty-one years as secretary of state (1881-1902), and was succeeded by his son, H. Clay Crawford, for an additional twenty-seven years (1902-1929). Late in the nineteenth century, Stephen Russell Mallory of Pensacola followed his illustrious father's path to the United States Senate. An outstanding example of a child following in and surpassing the achievements of his father's political career in Florida is the case of Park M. and John W. Trammell. John Trammell, a native Alabamian, enjoyed a very distinguished career in county and state Democratic affairs around the turn of the century. His son, Park M. Trammell, went on to become the most successful candidate in the states history, the winner of every contest he ever disputed, and the first governor to advance directly to the United States Senate. Yet, despite their accomplishments, historians have written very little about either father or son. Early in the year 1882, John Washington Trammell and his brother Erasmus Ripley Trammell moved with their families and possessions from Alabama to the frontier state of Florida. They settled in Polk County, then a sparsely inhabited area just east of Tampa and Hillsborough County. Until 1861, Hillsborough had included this fertile and lake-studded region, but in that year the legislature divided the county and named the eastern portion for former President James Polk.2
The census in 1880 listed 3,181 persons in Polk County; of that number, 3,033 were white, 122 were colored, and twenty-six were Indians. Only three Polk County residents had been born outside the United States two in England or Wales and one in Ireland. Polk Countys homogeneous and sexually balanced population was typical of Florida and the South. The population included 1,518 females and 1,663 males.3 When the Trammells arrived in Florida, they found life to be peaceful and bountiful. Sweet potatoes provided both a staple food and a substitute for coffee, while cane supplied sugar and syrup. Clothing was made from home-grown cotton and fenced-in cattle helped fertilize the land. The wilderness swarmed with quail, wild turkey, venison, water fowl, squirrel, and fish. Cotton and oranges could be sold or traded at Tampa for goods that were not grown or produced at home. Cane grindings, sugar boilings, camp meetings, quilting bees, and political rallies furnished entertainment and relaxation for the frontier families.4 John and Ripley Trammell followed an established family custom when they migrated to Florida. For generations, their ancestors had been heading into new territories and leaving familiar surroundings behind. Their greatgrandfather, for example, had forsaken South Carolina for Georgia at the termination of the Revolutionary War. Thomas Trammell had fought in the Revolution as a private, between 1780 and 1783, in the South Carolina Mounted Rifled Rangers. He evidently served under two well known officers Captain Joseph Hughes and Colonel Thomas Brandon. Thomas Trammell likely saw action at Musgroves Mill, Kings Mountain, Hammonds Store, Cowpens, Hanging Rock, and Rocky Mount. Long after his death, his widow received a small pension in recognition of his services. Thomas had married Mary Turner of Union District, South Carolina, on December 21, 1775. After the war, she moved with him to Hancock County, Georgia, and subsequently moved again to Jackson (later Clark) and to Upson counties. John Trammell, the second child and first son of Thomas and Mary (born on April 3, 1780) wed Mary Polly Dickinson on July 30, 1807. The couple spent most of their lives in Chambers County, Alabama, where they raised a family of nine children. Their seventh child, Monroe, grew up to be a medical doctor in Chambers County. Monroe fathered five children by his wife, Sarah-Erasmus Ripley, Ella, Celeste, Luther, and the youngest, John Washington, who was born in 1853. John did not choose to pursue his fathers career, but instead became a farmer. On February 26, 1874, he married Ida Estelle Park in Opelika, Lee County, Alabama. Two years later, on April 9, John Trammell, circa 1889. Photograph courtesy of the Florida Photographic Archives, Strozier Library, Florida State University, Tallahassee.
1876, their first child was born. They named the boy Park, after his mother's family, and Monroe, for his pater nal grandfather. Subsequently, nine more children followed. In later years, after Idas death, John married Ruby Wilson from Tallahassee. Together they had another child, a son named Wilsom.5 Although it is unclear when the Trammell families left Alabama, they were in Florida by the fall of 1882. As of September 7 of that year, John Trammell had settled near Medulla in Polk County. Citing that date, William McLeod listed Trammell as one of his witnesses when he filed the final proof of his land claim.6 That same month, Trammell and D. M. Pipkin advertised in the local newspaper in an attempt to sell 2,500 sweet orange trees. They noted their location as two miles east of Medulla, and eight miles north of Bartow.7 The Trammells had settled in Polk County at a propitious moment. They came, most likely, in search of land to farm or to raise citrus. Other settlers arrived at the same time, possessed of capital and eager to speculate in land, believing that the coming of railroads practically would insure a profit. In 1881, Abraham G. Munn, a manufacturer from Louisville, Kentucky, purchased several thousand acres of land in southern Florida from the trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund. His son, Morris G. Munn, journeyed from DeLand to Polk County in order to locate his purchase, and Morris selected an eighty-acre tract as a townsite. Another son, Samuel, eventually surveyed and platted the townsite of what became Lakeland.8 However, when the Trammells arrived in 1882, the town of Lakeland did not yet exist. The building of a railroad provided the stimulus to create the new city. In addition, the coming of the railroad brought a young man to the county who would one day challenge Trammells son for public office. In about June 1883, a railroad construction camp was located on the edge of Lake Wire. Herbert Jackson Drane, the young man in charge of the camp, had secured a commission to construct the section of the South Florida Railroad passing through the area. His construction crew most likely consisted solely of blacks, thus making Drane the first white man to live within the original territorial limits of what became Lakeland.9 The existence of the railroad camp and the promise of the road itself attracted people from throughout the vicinity. Medulla, which had been the metropolis of the section with two stores and a post office, proved the first to suffer. Postmaster L. M. Ballard, owner of one of the stores, packed up his family, his business, and his post office, and moved to Lake Wire. A man named Bonacker built another store, and others followed. Events moved rapidly, and soon a new town had come into existence. An open meeting took place on Saturday, December 15, 1883, to choose a name for the community. Three men E. R. Trammell, the Reverend P. R. McCrary, and Dr. J. L. Derieux agreed on a suggestion, and when their neighbors approved, the name Lakeland was adopted.10 John Trammell was an ambitious man who made friends quickly and took advantage of any opportunity to improve his situation. When a vandal set fire to the Bartow jail on March 11, 1883, and the building burned to the ground, he secured the contract for a new jail. It took him little more than the last week in March to rebuild the facility.11 It soon became evident, however, that Trammells real future lay neither in the construction business, nor in agriculture, but rather in politics. When the citizens of Lakeland assembled on New Years Day, 1885, to incorporate
their town, twenty-two residents approved articles of incorporation drawn up by Judge Eppes Tucker. An election for municipal officials was then held, and John Trammell triumphed as mayor. After a short time, however, for reasons now unknown, he resigned the office of mayor and J. D. Torrence replaced him.12 Trammell found politics very much to his liking, for in 1886 and 1887 he sought and won election as treasurer of Polk County.13 During these years he moved his family to Lakeland, probably for business and political convenience. Trammell evidenced a lively interest in the immigration movement advocated by many Florida newspapermen and civic boosters during this period, and he served for some time as county executive committeeman for the state immigration association. However, a yellow fever scare prevented a key organizational meeting set for the courthouse in Bartow on October 13, 1887, and took much steam out of the movement in Polk County.14 By 1888, the Trammell family had become an established and respected segment of the community. In its March 7, 1888 issue, the Bartow Advance Courier referred to John Trammell as our popular thirty-four-year-old county treasurer. It described him as an 1882 immigrant from Alabama who had given up cotton cultivation in his native state to become a fruit and vegetable grower in Florida. His holdings included at least twenty acres planted in young fruit trees. Trammell admitted that he had come to Florida because of its congenial climate, and to benefit myself financially, and my expectations have been fully realized, so far. He had found cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, bananas, onions, and cassava to be profitable crops. He advised the middle and laboring classes to move to Polk County because: . in my judgment these classes can do well here without an exception. We have many among us now whose capital is principally their time and labor, and they are not only making a support, but are rapidly accumulating wealth. I have personal knowledge of a number of these classes, who have about their homes every evidence of success. I never hear this class of people speak of hard times. They rely upon their products and generally have plenty. They have young orange and other fruit groves coming on that in time will make them rich. By June 1888, Trammell had decided not to seek another term as Polk County treasurer.15 Also, in July, he brought his increasing political influence to bear against the movement to divide Polk County and to make Lakeland the county seat of the northern half. In response to a published proposition composed by several prominent Bartow residents asking equally prominent Lakelanders to disown county division in the interest of Democratic unity, Trammell joined other citizens of northern Polk in an affirmative and conciliatory message.16 In 1888, Trammell decided to seek a seat in the Florida legislature. Capitalizing on the contacts and friendships he had made as county treasurer, he won election to the House of Representatives. During the 1889 legislative session, Trammell held the post of chairman of the Roads and Highways Committee. Two other young, ambitious men Frank Clark of Polk County and Peter O. Knight of Lee County served with Trammell in 1889.17 Knight would become the most influential conservative businessman and lobbyist in Florida, while Clark
subsequently served as a Florida congressman from 1905 until 1925 and may have been the most outspoken Negrophobe in Florida politics during his day. Trammell won reelection to the house in 1890, and by 1892, he had emerged as a man to be reckoned with in party politics.18 He was chairman of the Polk County Democratic convention which met in Bartow on April 16, 1892. The convention proved to be a stormy one because a group opposed to Henry L. Mitchells candidacy for governor the delegates from District 3 (Bartow) contested the seating of the regular, pro-Mitchell slate. The anti-Mitchell faction, led by Frank Clark, lost its fight, however. The convention named thirteen Mitchell men, including Trammell, to the state convention.19 A Trammell family legend suggests that Mitchell had made an agreement to appoint Trammell to high office provided he agreed not to run for governor himself. The situation in Polk County suggests that such a possibility was feasible regardless of whether the two men ever actually struck such a bargain. It seems at least as likely, however, that Trammell would never have risked a split in the Democratic vote in Florida in the face of Populist party intrusions in 1892. Thus, Trammell may well have found honor and ambition perfectly compatible under these circumstances. He most likely supported Mitchell because he stood to benefit personally, and he did not share the liberal position strongly enough to warrant disrupting the party. This proand anti-Mitchell conflict in the Polk County convention mirrored conditions in the rest of the state. Ever since the contested election of George Drew as governor in 1876 had redeemed Florida from Republican rule, Floridas Democracy had been torn between following what historian C. Vann Woodward has called the right fork and the left fork to reunion. The right fork consisted of alignment with the East and economic conservatism Eastern capitalism, its banks, monetary system, railroads, and monopolies. The left fork led to agrarian radicalism easy money and opposition to special favors and subsidies for vested economic interests. Woodward has argued that in the Compromise of 1876 and afterwards, until the emergence of Populism, the South followed the right fork of eastern alignment, becoming a bulwark of the conservative economic order and defining itself as an economic colony of the industrialized East in many respects.20 Peter O. Knight, 1865-1946. Photograph courtesy of the P. K. Yonge Library o f Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Within this context, postCivil War Floridas Democratic party can be viewed as consisting of two groups of men divided upon the question of whether or not it would prove most beneficial to the people of Florida to encourage virtually without reservation the investment of capital and the establishment of new businesses. Conservatives such as Governors Drew, William D. Bloxham, Edward A. Perry, and Francis P. Fleming leaned toward the view that economic growth based on outside investment constituted the best way for Florida to develop. Prosperity would come to the masses of the state through the financial success of railroads, corporations, and land development schemes. The Independents of 1884, the Florida Farmers Alliance and Populist party men of the late 1880s and the 1890s, and the liberals and progressives of turn-of-the-century and early twentieth century Florida all opposed the conservative vision to some extent. They believed it to be a mistake, and often a crime, to sell huge tracts of land to syndicates rather than small properties to individuals. They deplored the sale of Floridas natural resources for a comparative pittance and the subsidy of the rich, powerful, and greedy at the expense of the poor, ignorant, and landless. Perhaps the most flagrant and characteristic of the abuses denounced by these men took place on May 30,1881, when Governor Bloxham announced the sale of four million acres of land at the price of twenty-five cents per acre. Hamilton Disston of Philadelphia, who had been negotiating with respect to drainage plans in the central and southern portions of the peninsula, was the purchaser of this vast area. Although Bloxham and his defenders justified the transaction as being vitally necessary to pay off the steadily accumulating debts owed by the Internal Improvement Fund and to clear the title to the remaining state lands, it appeared that such sales discriminated against the average Florida citizen. The Polk County convention fight can only be understood in light of this ongoing Democratic debate. The most spontaneous outburst of opposition to taking the right fork to reunion arose in Florida with the birth of the Farmers Alliance in the state. The Alliance was begun in Florida in 1887 by two organizers from Texas. It began as a strictly economic organization, but rapidly developed a political side to protect itself. By 1890, the Alliance movement had won numerical control of the state Democratic convention and of the Florida legislature. In addition, the national convention of the Alliance met in Ocala in December 1890, and issued its famous Ocala Demands or platform. One highlight of the continuing struggle between Floridas liberals and conservatives took place during the election of a United States senator in the 1891 legislative session. The eventual victory of Wilkinson Call, an enemy of the railroads, over William D. Chipley of Pensacola, a railroad executive, in a long and bitter struggle, would seem to have been cause for Alliance men and Populists to rejoice. However, the joy of the liberals proved short-lived. Rather than permit Governor Fleming, a conservative, to appoint a pro-railroad man to the state railroad commission, and unable to make membership on the commission elective, the liberals killed Floridas first railroad commission. Frank Clark, Calls floor leader in the election fight, introduced the bill to destroy the commission. Trammell refused to vote for Call and did not vote to abolish the commission.21 Two years later, Clark emerged as the leader in the anti-Mitchell movement in Polk County.
Early in June 1892, at Tampa, the anti-Mitchell men from Polk and other counties carried their protests to the state convention, but without success. On June 2, the convention adopted a majority report by 290 votes to 105 which seated all the Mitchell delegations from the counties presenting contests. On the following day, now as an official delegate, Trammell placed in nomination for the office of secretary of state Wakullas Dr. John L. Crawford. The correspondent of the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union referred to Trammells oratorical effort as being second only to Robert W. Daviss address in honor of Governor Bloxham.22 Early in May 1893, a Tampa newspaper reported that Trammell was under consideration for nomination as collector of the port of Tampa. It quoted the Orlando Sentinel as saying: He is strongly indorsed [sic] and would make a collector of whom the whole state could feel proud.23 Although he did not receive the nomination, Trammell obviously had become an important Florida Democrat, one of the most prominent in south Florida. The proof of this statement may be found in an appointment that Trammell did receive barely a month later. Henry Mitchell, having attained the governorship, knew that Trammell had been instrumental in securing Polk County support for his cause. Whether rewarding a loyal worker or completing a bargain, Mitchell appointed Trammell in June 1893 to one of the best known patronage jobs in the state the position of superintendent of the Florida Asylum for Indigent Lunatics at Chattahoochee. The Bartow Courier-Informant hailed the appointment as A HAPPY SURPRISE, which would please Trammells host of friends. The appointment came as an entire surprise to Trammell, the paper claimed, as he had not applied for the position. His salary, the journal incorrectly estimated, would be at least $3,000 a year under an 1885 law, the superintendent could receive no more than $2,000 per year.24 The paper went on to predict that Trammell will make an official of whom Florida will be proud. A correspondent wrote that: Hon. J. W. Conservative Governor William D. Bloxham. Photograph from Makers of America Florida Edition. Hamilton Disston. Photograph from Floridas Promoters, The Men Who Made It Big
Trammell has been appointed superintendent of the insane asylum at Chattahoochee. A wise and good selection granted by a man of brains to a competent and zealous worker and a democrat from birth.25 The Tampa Morning Tribune reported, This is a good selection and Mr. Trammell will prove his efficiency and ability worthy of the selection and position.26 The Tallahassee Floridian averred that the general consensus held the choice . a wise one. Mr. Trammell is a very level-headed man and with his known ability we have every reason to expect a wise administration. He will be entirely free from the burden of the local differences about Chattahoochee, and his great administrative ability will have full scope in dealing with one of our most important institutions.27 The decision to leave Polk County must have been a difficult one for Trammell. Only a need to improve the lot of his growing family and also a desire to help the unfortunates at Chattahoochee could have swayed him. The appointment of his father to one of the most prestigious political jobs in the state also had significant long-term repercussions for Park Trammell, a seventeen-year-old in the summer of 1893. On June 26, 1893, Park and his father left for Chattahoochee, while the rest of the family temporarily remained behind. Finally, in October, Mrs. Trammell and the other children also moved to Gadsden County.28 If the newspapers had greeted Trammells appointment as superintendent with satisfaction, at least one found him even quicker to grasp the complexities of his new situation than it had imagined. Early in the fall, the Tampa Morning Tribune published a strong endorsement of the man: . friends and admirers . will be pleased to learn that the gentleman is giving universal satisfaction as superintendent . . There is not a more conscientious gentleman or a more zealous christian [sic] in the state, with a heart as kind and tender as a woman, he is certainly the right man in the right place and the TRIBUNE hopes that he is as well pleased with his new avocation as the patrons of that institution and the people of this state are pleased with him.29 Although Trammell possessed no specialized training or skill which might have prepared him to deal with the problems of the mentally ill, he did possess an equally important quality compassion. He revealed this quality when he took the time to write personally to a former Polk County neighbor regarding the condition of the man's son, then a patient in the hospital: Henry L. Mitchell, 1831-1903. Photograph courtesy of the P. K. Yonge Library o f Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Your son is improving right fast. He is very much better than when I wrote you last, both physically and mentally. He sleeps and eats well, is gaining weight, looks a good deal better and is cheerful and contented. I trust you will disabuse your mind of all fear that your son is not receiving as tender care as if at your house.30 The entire Trammell family involved itself in the affairs of the hospital, and the patients probably benefited from being exposed to the kindness and cheerfulness of the superintendent's children. For example, on Friday evening, December 3, 1897, Wilma Trammell, Ruby Wilson (later to marry widower John Trammell), Worth Trammell, and G. P. Bevis starred in a presentation of an operetta, Penelope, or The Milkmans Bride. Mrs. L. D. Blocker, a pianist, provided musical accompaniment for the actors, as did Worth and the institutions brass band. A newspaper report described the patients as being delighted with the pleasures of the evening.31 The young men in the Trammell family did more, however, than organize bands and take part in plays while they lived at the Chattahoochee hospital. Young John D. Trammell, worked as an attendant when, in March 1894, he journeyed to Tampa to accompany Osten Swan, a Swede who had been adjudged insane, to Chattahoochee.32 Even after assuming his new post, the elder Trammell continued to find time for party politics; he served as a member of the Democratic executive committee of Floridas First Congressional District.33 Trammell held the position of superintendent at Chattahoochee from July 1, 1893, to February 1, 1901. During that time he established a set of rules of conduct for his employees and coaxed from the legislature appropriations for a number of improvements at the facility. Among View of the convalescent white female yard at Chattahoochee Hospital, circa 1905. Photograph courtesy of the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville.
the latter were sewerage facilities; strict sanitation measures; a laundry; more land and better methods for the hospitals farm; a steam plant for heating; entertainment in the form of concerts, dances, and plays; new buildings; a herd of dairy cows and a creamery; an electric lighting plant; a steam cooking plant; and a policy of encouraging patients to engage in useful, physical activities of many kinds.34 In the 1890s, the study of mental illnesses had not advanced to the extent that Trammell could have been expected to apply any professional knowledge beyond common sense to his task. Nevertheless, his biennial reports reveal that he felt sympathy and concern for the patients, and that he understood that mental illness constituted a disease rather than a curse or the working of an evil mind. If he presided over a primitive institution, it must be remembered that Florida politicians had little motivation to provide financial support for the hospital. Indeed, it seems likely that, but for Trammells prestige and political contacts, the legislature would have given even less money for treatment of the mentally ill. Because he saw the importance of sanitation, adequate care of physical ills, work rather than idleness, and recreation, Trammell must be considered much more than a typical political patronage appointee. He publicized in his official reports the plight of the mentally ill. He observed and pointed out the weakness and inequity of laws which permitted judges to commit people to the hospital without medical testimony. He condemned the practice of keeping epileptics or the feeble-minded confined together with people who had become mentally ill but might, with proper treatment, recover. His conviction that the hospital should be oriented toward treating patients in order to help them recover, and his continuing efforts to secure the financial support which alone could make that conviction a possibility, mark him as an exceptional man Superintendents Office at Chattahoochee, residence and water tower, circa 1905. Photograph courtesy of the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville.
truly a man of good will. As the historian of the development of Floridas system of state care of the mentally ill has written: In 1901, after eight years of faithful service to the asylum, Mr. Trammell retired. The improvements made during these years had been remarkable, and if it had not been for the delays of the Board [of Commissioners of State Institutions] in appropriating more funds and correcting the out-dated Lunacy Laws, he would have attained more of the beneficial results he worked so hard for.35 Early in 1894, not long after becoming superintendent, Trammell launched his son Parks political career by persuading John T. Lesley, collector of the port of Tampa, to employ the young man as a customs inspector and clerk.36 After spending four years in Tampa, and then earning a Bachelor of Laws degree in June 1899 from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, Park returned to Lakeland to open a law office. Thanks to his fathers contacts, and his own congenial manner, in November 1899 he defeated incumbent Mayor J. P. Thompson in his first race for public office. He subsequently won reelection in 1900 and 1901.37 After his fathers retirement from Chattahoochee, Park won a seat in July 1902 as one of two Polk County members in the state House of Representatives. Two years later, he advanced to the Florida Senate for a four-year term. Park made so many friends during the 1903 legislative session that, as soon as he was chosen by the Democrats of Polk County for the Senate, he became a favorite in the contest for the presidency of that body.38 Meanwhile, John Trammells appointment as superintendent had expired. Rather than reappoint Trammell, Governor William Sherman Jennings replaced him with Dr. V. H. Gwinn on February 1, 1901.39 In June 1901, a newspaper reported that Trammell (who had remarried after the death of Parks mother Ida on March 28, 1899) intended to reside with his new bride, the former Ruby Wilson, in St. Petersburg. Whether or not the couple did settle for a time in St. Petersburg, by the fall of 1902 at the latest they had moved back to Lakeland. Ruby gave birth to a son named after her own family Wilson in this period. John supported his young son and wife by selling real estate, but unfortunately this career did not last long.40 The death of John Trammell on September 24, 1904, at his home in Lakeland, came as no great surprise to his family. For months he had been suffering from a cancer of the neck, which his family believed had started with the accidental cutting of a mole by his barber. He had been Park M. Trammell, circa 1903. Photograph courtesy of the P. K. Yonge Library o f Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville.
under the care of numerous doctors and had even journeyed to New York to consult specialists all to no avail.41 The press of the state mourned Trammells passing with respectful words. The Jacksonville Sunday Times-Union called him one of the most prominent men in Florida and praised the improvements and additions made at Chattahoochee during his stay.42 The Tampa Morning Tribune remarked that his many friends in that city would sincerely regret his passing.43 H. H. McCreary of the Gainesville Daily Sun wrote that: It was the writers privilege to have enjoyed the acquaintance of the deceased for the past twenty years, and we can truthfully say that we never knew a more kind-hearted gentleman.44 John Trammells death came too soon for him to witness Parks entrance into state-wide politics in 1908, or his rapid advancement from attorney general and governor to United States senator. Without his fathers name and reputation, however, it is certainly doubtful whether Park would have become successful politically as he did. Nor would John's other sons, Worth and John D., likely have won election to the state legislature. Through his efforts on behalf of the Democratic party in south Florida, and his humane administration at Chattahoochee, John W. Trammell established a rich political legacy for his children. 1 V. O. Key, Jr., Southern Politics in State and Nation (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1949), pp. 82-105. 2 Polk Countys original territory was taken mostly from Hillsborough County, but also partly from Brevard County. Laws of Florida 1860, pp. 192-93; Laws of Florida 1861, p. 59; Revised General Statutes of Florida 1920, 1, p. 309; Allen Morris, Florida Place Names (Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1974), pp. 74, 123. 3 U. S. Census Office, Statistics of the Population of the United States at the Tenth Census (June 1, 1880) (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883), pp. 54, 384, 501, 650. 4 M. F. Hetherington, History of Polk County, Florida, Narrative and Biographical (St. Augustine: The Record Company, 1928; facsimile edition, Chuluota, Florida: The Mickler House, 1971), pp. 13-14. 5 Jeff Trammell to Stephen Kerber, March 12, May 17, 1975; Mrs. John Moseley to Kerber, July 4, 1975; Charles S. McCleskey, comp., Descendants of Thomas Tramme1l, Revolutionary Soldier (Baton Rouge: Charles S. McCleskey, 1972), pp. 19, 20, 59, 77-79; Da ughters of the American Revolution, DAR Patriot Index (Washington, D. C.: Daughters of the American Revolution, 1967), pp. 686, 81, 353; J. B. O. Landrum, Colonial and Revolutionary History of Upper South Carolina (Greenville, South Carolina: Shannon & Co., Printers and Binders, 1897; facsimile edition, Spartanburg, South Carolina: Reprint Company, 1962), p. 211; Kathrine Keogh White, The King's Mountain Men, The Story of the Battle, With Sketches of the American Soldiers Who Took Part (Dayton, Virginia: Joseph K. Ruebush Company, 1924), pp. 151-52, 190-91; Sara Sullivan Ervin, South Carolinians in the Revolution, With Service Records and Miscellaneous Data (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1971), p. 121. 6 Bartow Informant September 16, 1882. 7 Ibid ., September 30, 1882. 8 Hetherington, History of Polk County p. 88. 9 Ibid ., p. 87. 10 Ibid ., pp. 87-88. 11 Bartow Informant March 17, 24, 31, 1883.
12 Hetherington, History of Polk County p. 90; Hampton Dunn, Yesterdays Lakeland (Tampa: Bay Center Corporation, 1976), p. 20. 13 The Bartow Advance Courier in issues covering the period March 30, 1887 thro ugh July 18, 1888, listed John Trammell as county treasurer in its directory of Polk County officials. 14 Bartow Advance Courier September 21, 28, October 19, 1887. 15 Ibid ., June 27, 1888. 16 Ibid ., July 4, 18, 1888. 17 Florida House Journal 1889, pp. 4-5, 26, 25. 18 Jacksonville Florida Times-Union May 20, 29, 1888. 19 Ibid ., April 17, 1892. 20 C. Vann Woodward, Origins of the New South, 1877-1913 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1951), pp. 23-50. 21 With regard to the vote on Call, see Florida House Journal 1891, pp. 816-17, and Tallahassee Weekly Floridian May 27, 1891. Concerning the railroad commission, see Florida House Journal 1891, pp. 672-73. 22 Jacksonville Florida Times-Union June 3, 4, 1892. 23 Orlando Sentinel quoted in Tampa Morning Tribune May 2, 1893. 24 Bartow Courier-Informant June 14, 1893; Laws of Florida 1885, p. 21; Laws of Florida 1919, p. 101. 25 Bartow Courier-Informant June 14, 1893. 26 Tampa Morning Tribune quoted in ibid ., June 21, 1893. 27 Tallahassee Floridian quoted in Bartow Courier-Informant June 21, 1893. 28 Bartow Courier-Informant June 28, July 5, September 13, October 11, 1893. 29 Tampa Morning Tribune September 14, 1893. 30 Bartow Courier-Informant December 8, 1897. 31 Jacksonville Florida Times-Union quoted in ibid 32 Tampa Morning Tribune March 2, 1894. 33 Ibid ., June 22, 1894. 34 Bartow Courier-Informant January 23, 1901; biennial reports of the superintendent of the Chattahoochee hospital for the years 1893-94, 1895-96, 1897-98, and 18991900, bound with the governors messages in Messages and Documents P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville. 35 Richard B. Chardkoff, The Development of State Responsibility for the Care of the Insane in Florida, 1830 to 1950 (M.A. thesis, Florida State University, 1964), pp. 68-69.
36 John T. Lesley to Secretary of the Treasury, March 2, 1894, April 30, 1895, Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Treasury, Records Group 56, Appointments Division, Records relating to the Customhouse Nominations, Florida, Tampa, Port of, National Archives, Washington, D.C. 37 Bartow Courier-Informant November 2, 23, 1898, November 15, 22, 1899; November 21, December 26, 1900; November 20, 1901, January 15, 1902. 38 Ibid ., July 23, 1902; undated newspaper article, p. 3, Trammell Scrapbook, P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History; Bartow Courier-Informant August 10, September 28, October 12, December 7, 1904, January 25, February 8, 1905. 39 Bartow Courier-Informant January 23, 1901. 40 Ibid ., June 12, 26, 1901, October 22, 1902, A ugust 17, 1904. 41 Ibid ., September 28, 1904; Jacksonville Sunday Times-Union September 24, 1904; Ocala Evening Star September 27, 1904. 42 Jacksonville Sunday Times-Union September 24, 1904. 43. Tampa Morning Tribune September 27, 1904. 43 Tampa Morning Tribune September 27, 1904. 44 Gainesville Daily Sun September 27, 1904.
THE DEPRESSION DECADE: A PHOTO ESSAY Images of the 1930s abound. Bank runs. Bread Lines. Dust storms. Hoovervilles. Marathon dances. Fireside chats. Sitdown strikes. Few people remember the decade with any sense of longing for the good ol days. The Great Depression scarred the lives and memories of almost all Americans who experienced it. Although the suffering was not shared equally, no one completely escaped the ravages of the worst domestic crisis of this century. As Robert and Helen Lynd pointed out in their 1935 study of Middletown, The great knife of the depression has cut down impartially through the entire population cleaving open lives and hopes of rich as well as poor.1 Like other states, Florida was ill-prepared to cope with the crisis. At the beginning of the depression, unemployment relief was still a local responsibility. Private charities initially carried a large share of the burden, but they soon exhausted their limited resources. The cities of Fort Myers, Lakeland, St. Petersburg and Tampa had public programs to relieve distress, but with tax revenues declining they found it difficult just to maintain existing services. St. Petersburg tried charging tuition for the public schools. Facing bankruptcy, some municipalities paid their remaining employees in script. The unemployed were often left to shift for themselves. In the search for new sources of revenue, the state in 1931 legalized gambling at horse and dog tracks.2 Ultimately, the federal government went to the rescue of a nation in distress. Under the New Deal the country adopted permanent remedies for age-old problems made worse by the depression. Massive unemployment sparked acceptance of unemployment insurance. The breakdown of local relief encouraged passage of the Social Security Act. The virtual collapse of the banking system led to creation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The threat of foreclosure on home mortgages helped win government assistance under FHA. Labor militancy resulted in government protection of the right to organize unions and establishment of the federal minimum wage and maximum hour law. Federal work relief programs such as WPA and PWA permanently changed the landscape of the entire country by adding schools, bridges, post offices, dams and other edifices that still stand today. Through these and other New Deal programs, the federal government stepped in to guarantee a minimum standard of living for many Americans.3 Although the depression dominated life in the 1930s, people found plenty of diversions. Many Americans gathered around their radios to hear Major Bowes Amateur Hour, the Lone Ranger and great comics like Jack Benny and Fred Allen. People were also distracted by spectacular news events, such as the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, the killing of John Dillinger and the burning of the airship Hindenburg, all of which pushed depression-related stories off the front page of newspapers. Movies proved the great escape as people flocked to films like Mutiny on the Bounty and Disneys Snow White. During the winter of 1929-30, the first miniature golf course opened in Florida, and the new game quickly swept the country. Many fortunate Americans continued to winter in Florida. On New Years Day, 1937, cars pulling house trailers poured into the state at the rate of twenty-five an hour.4
In many ways the thirties marked a turning point. Neither the country nor its citizens would ever be the same in the wake of the Great Depression. The following photographs recall life in the 1930s along the sun coast. The early years of the depression saw panic spread among bank depositors whose funds were unprotected. In the summer of 1931, there was a bank run on the Central National Bank in St. Petersburg. The bank failed but unlike many others, managed to pay off about half of its obligations. Photograph courtesy of the John B. Green Memorial Collection.
This St. Petersburg poster notes the hard times that afflicted the city. Photograph courtesy of Hampton Dunn. In Oneco, the local grocer also pumped gas and operated the post office in the early 1930s. With the depression in mind, he posted a sign on his window: Cash Talks Loud. One of the bargains advertised was three rolls of toilet paper for 21 Photo g ra p h courtes y of the Manatee Count y Historical Societ y
Depression level prices at an Auburndale grocery store: Beans 7 a pound; Onions 3 a pound; corned beef 15 a pound; milk 4 tall cans for 22 Photograph courtesy of the Polk County Historical Society. In the early days of the Depression, private agencies carried a large share of the burden for helping the needy. The Salvation Army group, pictured above with Tampa mayor, Robert E. L. Chancey (second from left, front row) played a significant role in the relief effort. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.
The Salvation Army Service Center for men in Tampa, March 1930. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System. Before assistance came from Washington under the New Deal, the city of Tampa provided public service jobs. These workers employed by the Tampa Cooperative Council on October 24, 1932 were building a retaining wall along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. Later, the WPA completed the project. Photograph courtesy of the TampaHillsborough County Public Library System.
In the winter of 193334, Franklin Roosevelts New Deal created the Civil Works Administration as an emergency measure. Lasting four months, the CWA put the unemployed to work in such jobs as the traffic inspectors pictured in Tampa on January 22, 1934. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System. Critics refered to the WPA as We Poke Along. However, many valuable improvements were made such as the one above in St. Petersburg. Photograph courtesy of the St. Petersburg Times
The WPA helped change the landscape by building large construction projects. The administration building at the Peter O. Knight Airport was completed in 1936. Photograph courtesy of Hampton Dunn. Another community project constructed by the WPA was the Auburndale Gymnasium. Photograph courtesy of the Polk County Historical Society.
The Works Progress Administration put starving artists to work. This mural depicting the nation's first commercial flight between St. Petersburg and Tampa, was painted by George Hill to decorate the Peter O. Knight Airport. Hill was paid $75.00 a week by the federal government, and the city of Tampa added another $75.00 a week. It took Hill about a year to complete a series of murals on the history of aviation. This mural now hangs in the Board Room of the Tampa Aviation Authority. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa Aviation Authority.
The WPA built this swimming pool in Bartow in back of the old Civic Center on Wilson Avenue. Photograph courtesy of the Polk County Historical Society. The WPA also included white collar projects such as the reindexing of Pinellas County records for the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Pinellas County. Photograph courtesy o f Heritage Park, St. Petersburg.
The WPA operated this canning kitchen in South Clewiston, and sent a regional WPA supervisor to manage the project. Photograph courtesy of the Calusa Valley Historical Society. The WPA also built this livestock market in LaBelle. Photograph courtesy of the Calusa Valley Historical Society.
In Sarasota, the WPA produced a civic center for the city. Photograph courtesy of the Sarasota County Historical Archives. One WPA project, which no longer exists is the Lido Beach Casino, constructed in 1939. Photograph courtesy of the Sarasota County Historical Archives.
The New Deals Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) put young men to work out in the country on projects ranging from reforestation to soil conservation. This popular program sent a fixed portion of the wages of the participants directly to their families. Above is a CCC project in operation at the Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring. Photograph courtesy of the Highlands Hammock State Park. A CCC camp was assigned to Highlands Hammock State Park in 1934. Part of the duties of the CCC workers included finishing concrete fence posts. Photograph courtesy of the Highlands Hammock State Park.
The federal government supplied surplus commodities directly to families in need. The Relief Committee of Clearwater distributed flour directly from an Atlantic Coast Line Railroad car pictured above. Photograph courtesy of Hampton Dunn. Those who kept their jobs in the 1930s considered themselves fortunate and often accepted low wages and tolerated the rules set by their employers. Notice these women at a Plant City strawberry packing plant standing around the No Talking sign, February 22, 1930. Photo g ra p h courtes y of the Tam p a-Hillsborou g h Count y Public Librar y S y stem.
At about the same time these elderly shuffleboard players were enjoying their visit to Tampas Plant Park (April 15, 1935), Congress was passing the Social Security Act which provided old age pensions. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough Coun ty Public Library System. The movies gave people a chance to forget their Depression woes. Inside the Tampa Theatre, audiences watched movies such as the 1934 hit, The Gay Divorcee, with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers. The price of admission to the Tampa Theatre at this time was 30 Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.
The movies were not the only attraction that brought people to the Tampa Theatre. In November 1931, crowds also flocked to the theatre eager to win a drawing for a new car they probably could not afford to buy on their own. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library System. Some tried to cool off the Depression by bathing in the surf of Clearwater Beach. The water slide in the background was a popular attraction. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library System.
Those who could afford it continued to visit the Suncoast. Guests watch tennis champ, Bill Tilden at the Charlotte Harbor Hotel, February 7, 1931. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.
During the thirties, the dance marathon craze swept the country. On December 30, 1931, after four days on the dance floor, one hearty couple stayed on their feet to win the marathon at Sulphur Springs. Photograph courtesy of Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.
1 Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd, Middletown in Transition (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1937). 2 Charlton W. Tebeau, A History of Florida (Coral Gables: University of Miami, 1971). 3 William E. Leuchtenburg, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal (New York: Harper & Row, 1963). 4 Frederick Lewis Allen, Since Yesterday: The 1930s in America (New York: Harper & Row, 1939).
BASEBALL AND THE AMERICAN DREAM: A CONVERSATION WITH AL LOPEZ by Gerard A. Brandmeyer Al Lopez occupies a special niche in the history of Tampa. To his surprise, Lopez became a much heralded symbol of his native Ybor City community. He did this by achieving prominence in major league baseball in a professional career that spanned forty-five years, 1925-69, with thirty-six of these years spent at the major league level first as player and later as manager. The highlights of Lopezs career are a reflection of the era and the man. At the tender age of sixteen, and therefore technically ineligible to bind himself by contract, Lopez was coaxed nonetheless into signing with the neighborhood Tampa Smokers, forerunner of the modern day Tarpons of the Florida State League. The location of Lopezs signing was a combination poolroom and cigar store on Franklin near Twiggs, an appropriately casual setting for the less formal organizational structure of professional sports at the time. Lopezs skills as a catcher were soon recognized within the network of major league scouts. By age nineteen, his contract had been purchased by the Dodgers. In less than three additional seasons, he was catching regularly with Brooklyn in a career that stretched through nineteen major league campaigns. Due to the physical demands of the position, it is rare for a catcher to play so long. While Lopezs playing career was distinguished for its longevity, it was primarily managerial achievements that explain his 1977 election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. After a brief apprenticeship in the Cleveland minor league organization, he took charge at the big league level in 1951, managing the Indians and later the Chicago White Sox through seventeen consistently successful seasons, winning two American League championships and finishing below third place just once. The unassuming modesty and sound judgment which contributed to Al Lopezs success in baseball are refreshingly evident in the retrospective interview that follows. Daily life in Ybor City circa 1920 emerges within a framework of stable norms and customs. A youngster of Al Lopezs meager economic circumstances was expected to terminate formal education in his early teens in favor of work, preferably in a reliable trade. Baseball was viewed as an acceptable free-time activity for the young men of the community, but hardly promising as an adult livelihood. Lopez recalls holding no exalted ambitions with regard to the game. To his amazement and self-professed good fortune, his favorite boyhood sport became the source of a richly rewarding career. In addition, baseball opened to him life choices not available within the taken-for-granted fabric of Ybor City. As Lopez reveals, he appreciated the chance to taste foods, follow leisure pursuits, even select a marriage partner who would not have been available had he remained at home and worked in the cigar industry. Yet in spite of the variety those big league metropolises offered, he never lost appreciation for the respect and admiration generously expressed each winter by his fellow Tampans when he returned home. The interview below reveals Al Lopez to be serene and at ease with himself whether on Columbus Circle in New York City or Columbus Drive in Tampa.
Interview with Al Lopez TBH: When were you born? Lopez: Nineteen hundred and eight . TBH: So youre a native Tampan But your parents came from . Lopez: They were married in Spain, then they went to Cuba, and they had seven kids there. I was the eighth kid. I was born here. In 1906 the cigar industry started booming into Tampa. They moved from Cuba and settled in Key West and for some reason or another they didn't like it in Key West, I think it was on account of transportation or something. TBH: Did they follow the tobacco industry, the cigar industry? Lopez: They were asking for workers to come down to move here. I guess they were offering him some kind of deal or something like that. My dad learned the trade in Cuba. He was what they call a selector. In those days it was all handmade cigars, and my dad had to pick out the leaves. They have these wrappers, they call them, they come in different sizes so naturally youre not going to give the big size, a real good leaf, to a guy thats making a cheroot or a small ten-cent cigar or five-cent cigar; so he would have to save Selectors at work at the Cuesta Rey Cigar Factory, 1924. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.
that wrapper for the guy that was making the thirty or forty cent cigar. They all had tickets, and they had to come to him. He would select the size and the color and if it was a real good wrapper. A lot of them had a lot of mange, and they tried to keep people away from the mange. And that way they saved money because those wrappers were very expensive, and that was one of the most expensive parts of the tobacco, and that's the reason they had this trade. TBH: What year did your parents move here? Lopez: 1906. TBH: He came with his wife and how many children at the time? Lopez: No, he came by himself first to see how he was going to like it. At that time they were just starting. My mother stayed in Cuba with seven kids and one was just months old. And when he finally sent for us, she came over, was sick all the way in the boat and was lucky that my older sister was already old enough to be able to help her out with the kids, especially the young one. TBH: They took a boat from Cuba to Key West, and then how did they get from Key West to Tampa? Lopez: The same way. The same boat made a stop in Key West and then to Tampa. TBH: When you were growing up, what kind of expectations do you think your family had about what you would do when you got older? Lopez: I dont know. My impression was that being that they were poor, that they never had expectations that I was going to be a college graduate or anything like that, they wanted me to get an education, you know, as far as I could go, and then after that they figured that I was going to have to go to work just like everybody else. TBH: How did your brothers and sisters fare? Lopez: Well, my oldest sister, she had to leave school to help the family out. There were nine kids at the time. There were a couple of strikes in between in the tobacco industry. They had a couple of real bad strikes here, oh around 1913 I guess, 1912, something like that. And my oldest sister at that time was about fourteen and she had to go to work and then after that my brothers kept on following. She went to the factory, in fact, most of them went to the factory. I guess if I hadn't been a ball player that I might have ended up in the factory also. TBH: What makes you different from the family and other people who came here, apart from skills At what point did you become aware of an interest in playing ba1l and at what point do you begin to think that you could do this for a living?
Lopez: Well, I tell you. I never did think that I was going to be able to make it as a professional ball player, that this was going to be my living. And I loved to play ball. I think I was trying to outdo my older brother who was also a ball player, and he was a catcher also, and I dont know, it was some kind of competition that I had, that I was going to try to be as good or better than my older brother. TBH: How popular was baseball in Tampa? Lopez: Oh, it was all we could do, there was nothing else. You know we didn't have radio, TV, nothing like that, we just had to play baseball. We had a playground not too far from where I lived, and we used to go over there and stay there until about, I think the playground closed around 9:00, and we played basketball and what they call now diamond ball. I thought that was great. I was just growing up, and I could see my older brother competing at these type of games, and I wanted to do just as well or better than he did. To tell you the truth, I got interested in baseball in the 1920 World Series. Naturally, all the kids were talking about the World Series and so-and-so was rooting for this club and so-and-so was rooting for that club. It happened so that it was Brooklyn and Cleveland, they played in that World Series. For some reason I was rooting for Cleveland. I don't know why, but I took a liking to Cleveland, and Cleveland won the World Series that year. I think that kind of started me off, you know, besides my brother. My brother was playing ball also and I started playing ball, and we started forming our own groups, our own baseball teams as kids. TBH: Could we follow how you started from children playing baseball the sequence of events that you go through to get to the major leagues? You played in neighborhoods? Lopez: There were no organized little leagues in those days. We used to have to form our own clubs. We didn't have any money or anything like that to buy masks or chest protectors or shin guards. To me that was a joke. I got my nose busted a couple of times getting hit by foul balls, and we didn't have any masks. Wed just go back to the plate and catch. TBH: How about balls and bats? Lopez: Sometimes everybody would chip in a nickel or a dime or whatever they could to buy one ball, and thats what we had one ball, or else wed put black tape around if after wed hit for quite a while and play with that. We used to have to build our own diamonds. Any sandlot that we could wed put a diamond there and wed play in the neighborhood some place. We played ball between us kids and compete. I moved up, and a barber from Ybor City formed a team, and his wife made the uniforms for us. And there was a barber from West Tampa who made a team, and we had rivalries. And they both married sisters so there was a rivalry, they both thought that they were great managers. And they formed this team, and this guy approached me to come over and play for him. TBH: So you were being scouted by barbers?
Lopez: Probably, yeah. Anyway I guess I was getting pretty good because I was in demand a little bit and this barber asked me if Id catch for him and I said yeah, sure. You know, this was the first time I was ever going to wear a uniform, I thought this was great. So we ended up with a real good ball club. One guy was from West Tampa and this guy was from Ybor City. They had the darndest arguments between those two guys because they were trying to beat each other all the time, and we were lucky enough that we were beating them. TBH: At that point, then, there were teams that were being sponsored by local business establishments in Ybor City and West Tampa Lopez: Well at that particular time there was already an intersocial league that used to play at McFarland Park in West Tampa, and there was four teams: the Italian club, the Spanish club, the Centro Asturiano, which is another Spanish club, and the Cuban club. There was no small competing. There was quite a rivalry because they were importing Cuban ball players from Cuba and Key West. TBH: But these werent really children Centro Asturiano Club, circa 1920. The club sponsored a local baseball team. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.
Lopez: No, no, these were grown-ups. And they drew very well. They used to have those open streetcars in those days, and they would flock on those things and people would be hanging on these streetcars to go all the way from Ybor City to McFarland Park to watch these ballgames. TBH: Now were most of these, the kids that were playing, were they mostly Latin? Lopez: Mostly, yes. They were mostly Latin kids. There were very few American kids who were born around that area there. I went to school at Ybor School. Its still there, an elementary school. There was, I would say, five kids who were American kids, that spoke English in the yard. I didnt learn how to speak, I didnt talk, I didnt speak English until I was in about the third or fourth grade. We always spoke Spanish. There was Italian kids that spoke Italian, and we picked up a little Italian. TBH: Did you have many Italian kids on the teams? Lopez: Oh, yes. There were some Italian kids on the teams. In fact, they had their own team at one time. TBH: Getting back to the Italian Club, the Spanish Club, Centro Asturiano The ball players on those clubs, did they tend to be of the nationality that the clubs represented? Lopez: No, no, there were some Cuban fellows that were playing for the Italian Club because they didnt have enough Italian ball players. The Centro Asturiano had a pitcher who was an Italian boy that was good. They didnt care so much, it was just the contact that they could make, I guess. TBH: Would these clubs be something like semi-pro, in that category? Lopez: Yes. They were pretty good clubs, these intersocial league clubs. TBH: Did they pay the players? Lopez: No, they were not supposed to. They probably did under the table, but not on the payroll. TBH: Did you ever play for one of these clubs? Lopez: I was going to play when it busted up. That year I was only, I think fifteen. Somebody asked me if I'd catch for the Cuban club. TBH: Why did it bust up? Do you remember? Lopez: They lost interest in the thing, and they were having a lot of fights between the clubs on account of the way the program was. They didnt like for them to be importing ball players from Cuba and some from Key West, and they thought that they were getting
paid because they werent going to come from Cuba. I think that was the thing, and I think the fans got a little bit tired of it. Well the intersocial league broke up. Some fellows in Ybor City formed a kind of a league of themselves, four clubs. I was surprised. One of the guys that was going to run one of the clubs, came over and asked me. I was going to junior high at the time, George Washington Junior High School, and he asked me if I'd catch for him. He was a pitcher on the team and he was going to run the team. These were grown men, to me they were old guys. They were probably twenty to thirty or something like that, but they were old guys I was fifteen. My brother was playing on one of the teams, and I said Id be glad to try out. But I said I dont think I can catch for you guys, or against these fellows. These fellows are grown guys. They said, dont worry about that, we want you to catch. So I played. We played on Sunday mornings, and we finally ended up one-half, my brothers team ended up winning the other half. We played two halves, and we played in the series, and I had a real hot series, everything that I hit just went. There was a Spanish newspaper man who used to write for the local Ybor City paper. Hed write sports, and he wanted me to go out and try out with the Tampa professional team. They called them the Smokers at the time, now theyre the Tarpons. We used to play all our games in back of the University of Tampa at Plant Field. Thats the only stadium they had at the time. So again I told them, I dont think I can make it, but, I said Ill be glad to go out and try out. So he said, well I think you can do it, go on out and try it out. So I went out, and he told me to go see a fellow by the name of Doc Nance, who was running the club. He used to be a catcher also on the team. Real nice guy, hes still living. TBH: Were the Smokers affiliated with any major league ball club? Lopez: No, at that time all the clubs were independent. It was like it is now, theyre subsidized. The owner was a fellow by the name of Dr. Opre, I think he was a retired doctor, that was in 1925, who had a real estate office. This was during the first boom in Florida, it was a tremendous thing. And he had an office downtown close to the Hillsborough Hotel. I guess he went in to stir up more interest around, and he went into this baseball team, and he was a baseball fan, also. Doc Nance was really the guy that formed the team and ran the whole club. So they asked me to go see Doc Nance, and I went to see Doc Nance. It was at a . there used to be a poolroom and a cigar store on Franklin close to Twiggs and Franklin. I was supposed to meet Doc Nance, I think around five or six oclock that afternoon. I went over to see him, told him who I was, gave him a slip of paper, and he said, oh yeah, Ive been expecting you. He said, how much money do you want? I said Doc I dont know anything about money or contracts or anything like this. At this time Im sixteen. So he said how about $150.00 a month? I said thats swell, real good. He said fine. So he just gave me a contract for $150.00 a month right there, and I signed it. I dont know if it was legal or not because I was sixteen, but I signed it anyway. TBH: Did you play all year? Lopez: No, they had two seasons. They had regular seasons that went on in the summertime. Like they have right now, I think their season is over in September. I played two years with them. The first year, I was sixteen when I signed. That year I didnt hardly catch
until the latter part of the season. I started catching some, and we played in the playoffs with St. Petersburg, and I had a good series that year. The following year I was the regular catcher, and then I was drafted by a higher classification of baseball. If you're not sold you can only play two years in one league, then youre subject to draft. So the Jacksonville team which had just started the year before drafted me to come up to Jacksonville. TBH: What levels were the teams? Lopez: The Tarpons were class U, Jacksonville was B. TBH: When you were sixteen and started playing for th e Smokers, did you have to quit school or could you still go to school? Lopez: I quit school. TBH: Lets work back a little bit then You say that you didnt speak English until the fourth grade? Lopez: About the third or fourth grade. TBH: So Spanish was spoken entirely in your house The Tampa Smokers in 1924, a year before Lopez joined the club. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.
Lopez: Yeah, it was spoken in the school yard. You wouldnt dare speak English in the yard. Those kids would murder you. They thought you were high-hatting them or something like that. TBH: Where did you live? Where was your house? Lopez: Over in Ybor City, not too far from the school. The school was on 14th and Columbus Drive, and I lived on 12th and 12th. So I lived about four or five blocks from school. TBH: What language did you speak in school in the first, second, and third grades? Lopez: Spanish. You know, we learned, naturally, whatever we were taught, the alphabet and arithmetic, and we understood. In the third or fourth grades we really started speaking some English, but the rest of the time at home we spoke Spanish, on the yard we spoke Spanish, in the streets we spoke Spanish. TBH: What about the teachers? Were they Latin or were they Anglo? Lopez: One or two were Spanish or Italian girls, but they spoke English. They wanted you to learn the English language which I thought was correct. TBH: No bilingual education at that time Lopez: No, in fact when I went to junior high, some of the kids had a preference between Spanish and Latin, and I wanted to take Spanish because I wanted it really for my own. It was easier for me, but at the same time I wanted to learn it grammatically. But they wouldnt let us do it. They made the Spanish kids and Latin kids take Latin. TBH: What was your familys reaction to your quitting school and at sixteen going on to this path of playing baseball? Lopez: Well I guess they felt, you know, let him have a chance at this thing and if he doesnt make it, hes gonna have to go to work. The reason I quit school was to try to play ball, which I was just delighted to be able to do, and they were going to pay me to play ball. I thought that was terrific. And I said if I dont make it in baseball, Im going to have to go get a job. TBH: Was the school you quit, Hillsborough High School?
Lopez: No. It was Jesuit. It used to be called Sacred Heart. I only played there one year. I went to George Washington, which is on Columbus Drive and still there. The coach at Sacred Heart was a friend of my brothers who played baseball with him, and he had heard about me. So he asked my brother if I would come over and play for him and I played there one year. There was a little better competition. Sacred Heart was a high school, and where I was at junior high you were just getting junior high competition. I think it just advanced me a little bit by going to Sacred Heart. TBH: Was your family religious in any way that they would be happy that you went to a Catholic school? Lopez: No. By this time they thought that I had what they called an education already. I was in the tenth grade at this time, and so they thought I had enough education. I guess if Id insisted or if Id a been a brilliant student or something like that then they'd probably . TBH: What kind of a student were you? Lopez: Just fair. I just tried to get by. TBH: After you learned to speak English did you still converse with your parents and your friends in Spanish? When would you normally use English during a day? Al Lopezs Sacred Heart High School Baseball Team. Lopez is on the second row, third from the right. Photograph courtesy of Al Lopez.
Lopez: When I was playing ball, you know, when I went into pro ball. I guess that at the beginning my English was broken English or something. Theres a few words you can notice your accent between Spanish and English. Then I married an Irish girl in New York and that was it, although I spoke to my mother in Spanish all the time. TBH: So, on a typical day of your life when you were ten years old or eleven years old, you wouldnt have to speak English at all living here Lopez: No, not here living in Ybor City. TBH: When you were on the Smokers, was the team made up of people drawn from this area? Lopez: No, no, they brought them from all over. In fact my first year that I was with the Smokers the team was supposed to have two rookies that never played pro ball, and they were supposed to have two classmen ball players who played higher classification than D. They were supposed to have the rest of the team with guys that played just D ball. So what happened was that we came up with some ball players who played within the junior league which was class B, and they changed some of the names. One guy changed his name from Schneider to Sneed, and things like that, because they wanted to get away. They wanted to have a good team, which we did. We finally ended up with a good team but they found out that they had too many classmen. We had four instead of two. Two were pitchers and so were the manager and the catcher. So they finally ended up keeping the pitchers. The catcher who was a classman, they let him go, and thats when I got my break to start catching. TBH: Did you ever face, would you ever perceive yourself being discriminated because of your ethnic origins Lopez: No, they used to try to, you know like I guess they gave Jackie Robinson or some of those guys a little hard time. They used to call me a Cuban nigger. I'm not even Cuban, but they called me a Cuban nigger or something like that. But it was just, I thought, part of the game that they try to get under your skin, you know, competition, if you let it bother you same way as if you were up at the plate and they threw, you know, they threw under your chin or something like that to see if you're going to scare or something like that. You can't let that bother you. TBH: Did you have other Latin ball players on the Smokers? Lopez: Oh, yeah. We had a couple of Cuban boys, and we had a Cuban fellow that lived here in Tampa by the name of Alvarez. He had been with the Smokers for six or eight years before I even started. He was a pitcher. TBH: So most of the players then were Anglo, American. Lopez: Yeah. American players. They brought them in from all over.
TBH: How did they get along here in Tampa, a city that had a heavy Latin population? Lopez: Its just like every other city. Ive noticed it in Cleveland. Wherever theres a heavy population, in Cleveland theres a Polish or Slavs, that there was a little resentment there, you know, one-side against the other side. In Tampa there used to be a little resentment you know against the Latin population here. In Sulphur Springs, for instance. There were signs, No Latins or dogs allowed to go swimming. But, they never bothered me. Wherever I went, I dont know, maybe its because I was lucky that I turned out to be a professional ball player or something like that. I was always welcomed and treated real nice and they never bothered me. TBH: But on the team there was no problem . among groups? Lopez: No. TBH: You said you played in Plant Field with the Smokers. How many people would be attracted to a Smoker game? Lopez: Oh, wed draw. Youd be surprised. Wed draw, you know. At that time the cigarmakers were on what they call piece time. Whatever they made, thats what they earned. The games started at 3:15, so by 2:30 they would leave the factory and come out and see the ball game. That was the only thing to see, baseball, you know, there was no television or nothing like that. And the people, the cigarmakers, were great. I think that was our greatest draw. TBH: Were you something of a hero with the cigarmakers? Lopez: I finally got to be. I didnt notice it because I was just one of the local guys and I lived in that area. I played around the clubs, played dominoes with them, cards and stuff like that, but I guess I was. I dont know, I never noticed it, I never figured that I was a hero. I just figured that I was damn lucky to be where I got. TBH: Was there any betting on these games? Lopez: Oh yeah, they bet like hell. They loved to bet. At that time gambling in Tampa was wide open. They had gambling houses, you could go in there, and they had roulette, dice, everything, just wide open. It was during prohibition, you could go to any of those Spanish restaurants. Youd want a bottle, I mean, a drink of Canadian Club. Theyd put the bottle of Canadian Club, youd help yourself. A bottle of German beer, a dollar for a bottle of beer, right on the counter. It was wide open. And gambling was, and prostitution was controlled which I think would be better right now instead of having it all over the streets the way they have it. It was controlled and youd never see a prostitute down the street in anyplace. They had their own sections.
TBH: Did you spend most of your social life, your social activities in Ybor City or did you wander to what we call the downtown area now? Lopez: No, I spent it mostly around Ybor City. I think I had a very fine life, I wish I could do it all over again. TBH: What made it fine? Lopez: Well, at that time, we had four clubs, social clubs, in Ybor City and everybody knew everybody and they had dances with shows. They had a dance every Saturday night, matinees on Sunday. We got a bunch of us together, wed go someplace, wed buy a bottle of whiskey for us, you know, and wed have a bottle and wed share it between us, wed all chip in to buy the bottle. We didnt have to take a date or nothing like that. Youd go there, and the girls would come with a chaperone, with their own group, sisters or what, and wed go there and pick out the girls you wanted to dance with. Wed dance with them, take them out, do most anything you wanted to do, take them to a movie, anything that you enjoyed doing. And I thought it was a great life. I think it was very simple. You didnt have to have any dates or nothing like that, youd just go there, and if you wanted to take a girl out youd dance with her and ask her after the dance to go to a matinee. You would end up at the Tampa Theater to see a movie, whoever was playing, with a date. I thought it worked out real good. TBH: Who did the Smokers play? Lopez: They were in the Florida State League. The same way as it is now, but we didnt go that far. There was Tampa, St. Pete, Lakeland, Sarasota, Orlando, Sanford, just teams like that. TBH: Did you travel by bus? Lopez: By car mostly. TBH: How did you get to St. Pete before the Gandy Bridge was built in the mid-twenties? The Smokers reached first place the year that Lopez played with the club.
Lopez: You had to go all the way around. That bridge was built in or I think it was. In we started already using the bridge. TBH: Before the bridge youd take a car Give us a route, how would you go? Lopez: Youd have to go all around Clearwater, Largo, up in through there that way all the way around. It was about sixty miles and a terrible drive. TBH: How long a drive would something like that be? Lopez: Oh, it must have been, itd take you, I guess, a couple of hours because the road, they call it Memorial Highway, is still there and it was just a one-lane pavement. If a car was coming from the other direction, you would have to give him half the road. I never will forget that here youre traveling at forty miles an hour, you were going fast, and youd see this car coming, youd have to kind of slow up and then just give him half the road and just keep right on going. TBH: Did you get a travel allowance or anything of that type? Lopez: Oh, yeah. They gave you meal money and they furnished the car. They rented it or else individuals that had them, theyd furnish transportation. Wed go to Lakeland, wed stay in Lakeland. It was a tough drive to go from here to Lakeland in those days. Youd go out to what they call Broadway now, and itd take you through Mango, Seffner, Kissimmee, and then into Orlando, the other side of Lakeland. It was a tough ride. TBH: These other cities when you were on the Smokers, St. Pete, Lakeland, do you remember the names of the teams at that time? Lopez: Sara sota. I think they called them the Sailors, Im not sure. And St. Pete were the Saints. TBH: How many people would show up at games when you went on the road? Lopez: Wed have 1,000, 1,500 people. But the prices were cheap. They were collecting, $1,000, probably a little more than that. And then they had the program to get by, they made money. And then at the end of the year they might get lucky, and if they break even during the season, they figure that if they sold one player that would be a profit. But I dont see how they couldve made money, because it was all day games, you know. There was no night baseball at that time. TBH: Let me backtrack The reason that you got into catching was because of your brother? Lopez: Yeah. TBH: That's what inspired you .
Lopez: And besides that, none of the other kids wanted to catch, you know, they didnt want to catch. Thats true. In those days, like I said, we didnt have a mask, a protector, or shin guards. TBH: It was hazardous Lopez: Yeah, and they didnt want to catch. Well I got hit in the nose twice, and I said thats the end of catching for me, no more catching. So finally I started playing short and pitching a little bit. And we went to this little field that we had, and we were ready to play the ballgame. Our catcher didnt show up that had the tools, you know, the mask, he didnt have anything but a mask and a catchers mitt. He didnt show up, so we couldnt have a ballgame. So I said okay, I'll catch this once but no more. And I kept on catching after that. TBH: How much did they charge admission to get into these baseball games with the Smokers? Washington Senators training in Plant Field. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.
Lopez: I imagine a dollar, a dollar general admission, maybe the box seats were a dollar and a half or something like that because they did have box seats there at Plant Field. It's a fairground, you know. It has a half a mile track. TBH: There is a picture in the 1920s of what looks like the Washington Senators training in Plant Field Lopez: I trained with them one year. This was right after I signed. In those days the clubs didnt bring like they do now, ten to twelve catchers in spring training, because they had to have a lot of hitting practice and they have a lot of pitchers that they have to warm up . its quite a job. But in those days they only brought two or three catchers. The Washington club had three so they wanted a catcher just to catch batting practice and nothing else. They hit by the hour, those guys did. Four or five hours hitting. The year I was there Bucky Harris was the manager. TBH: How many other teams trained in the area at that time Lopez: There were quite a lot. TBH: Were the Reds here at that time? Lopez: The Reds were in Orlando. Washington was in Tampa for oh, I don't know, fifteen or so years. TBH: What about St. Pete? Lopez: St. Pete had the Yankees and the Boston Braves. The Boston Braves were there first, and then they brought in the Yankees. At Clearwater was Brooklyn, at Bradenton was the Cardinals, at Sarasota the Giants were there for a little while, and then the Red Sox came in there for quite a while. TBH: When does this spring training phenomenon really take the shape of an organized enterprise ? Washington Senators Manager, Bucky Harris, with pitching star, Walter Johnson, March 9, 1925. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough Count y Public Librar y S y stem.
Lopez: I think that the first time that any club came here to Tampa was in 1916, 1914 or 1916. I think the Cubs came down here and stayed at the Tampa Bay Hotel. The Washington club used to stay there, the Cincinnati club used to stay there at Tampa Bay Hotel, which is Tampa University. TBH: People in the community, public relations people, chamber of commerce people, did they try to attract clubs here? Lopez: Oh, yeah. They were tickled to death to get them here. They finally realized that it was a great help for tourism because at that time there were no dog tracks, no race tracks, and horse tracks, and baseball would draw some tourists out there, would help a lot. I think this has been a great help with the development of the state, baseball. People come down here to see what you got, they like it, well naturally they are going to plan on coming back. TBH: Did the teams back then, when you were doing the catching, the spring training, did they play organized games like they do now in the spring? Lopez: Yeah, same thing. I used to go to, well they used to carry me wherever they went, because I used to catch batting practice for them, and they asked me if I'd go along. Well I remember going to Clearwater the first time I saw the Brooklyn club. They had a guy by the name of Zack Wheat that was a hell of a hitter, and I was really impressed with him. I think Casey Stengel was with them, but I didnt even know who in the hell Casey Stengel was. TBH: Now what year did you catch with Washington? Lopez: This was 1925. TBH: You were with the Smokers at the same time? Lopez: Yeah. In fact, the owner of the Washington club was a man by the name of Clark Griffith. The trainer was a man by the name of Mike Martin. That Washington club, theres a lot of family in the whole organization, its a family thing, and it was that same way. And Mike Martin was very thought of, he was a trainer. Between him and somebody else, they recommended to Clark Griffith, why dont we take that kid with us, he loves to play ball, he looks like he could make a catcher. So Griffith says, well if you like him, go ahead. So they found out that I had already signed a contract with the Smokers that year, and they went to the Smokers. They asked how much you want for that kid? They answered $5,000, no ten I think they wanted. He said are you crazy, hes never had any baseball experience or nothing. Ill give you a thousand dollars. So they turned him down. They said no. TBH: When you traveled around to places like Sanford, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, what was life like for you on the road? Here you were a Latin kid .
Lopez: Teenager. Luckily that fellow that I was talking about, I roomed with him for three years, a fellow by the name of Alvarez. He was an old man. He was about thirty-two, I think, he was thirty years old or something like that. Hed been pitching quite a while, maybe twenty-eight something like that. He and I were roommates. He spoke English, but, you know, broken English, like I did, I guess. We were roommates together. Wed go to shows, kind of at night because they were all day games. Get up in the morning, you have your breakfast, and then you go out to the ballpark and play your ball game. Then that night you come back to the hotel, have your dinner, and then you either go to a movie or something like that. TBH: Were you feeling as you went into organized sports and got away from Tampa, did you see yourself becoming more Americanized? Lopez: Yes. And I liked it. I liked it. Not that I disliked the Spanish food. I still eat my wifes caldo gallego which she learned to make. I dont know if you ever had it or not, its real good soup. And she makes yellow rice and chicken and Spanish dishes. We used to get up in the morning and just have a pot of coffee and a piece of bread and butter, thats what we had at home, you know, we were brought up like that. Mostly boiled milk with coffee, European style. But then I got to be on the road. Wed eat breakfast, not have lunch, and then eat dinner. At home we used to have coffee and bread and then wed have a big lunch and then dinner at night, but its changed around and it was nice. I think it helped me a lot . start changing. TBH: And your parents, by this time, have come to accept the fact that youd be traveling? Lopez: Oh, they were tickled to death, you know, that I . especially my dad. My mother thought I was wasting my time, to tell you the truth, you know, playing ball. She was thinking that maybe I should learn a trade because that was a big thing with those people in those days, learn a trade, youll always have a job. TBH: Any particular trade? Lopez: They figured the cigar . well, no, not particularly. They didnt care whether I was a mechanic or a plumber or what, but they wanted me to learn a trade. TBH: You went from the Smokers to the Jacksonville club to Brooklyn
Lopez: They sold me to Brooklyn. Brooklyn sent me back out because they wanted me to catch. They sent me to Atlanta. Atlanta sent me to Macon because they already had the catchers. They had their own two catchers. I went to Macon, and that fall I went to Brooklyn, in 1928, and I think I caught three games that year in the big leagues. The following year they wanted me to catch again and they sent me to Atlanta. They called me up again in the fall. They wanted me to come up to Brooklyn, and I totally turned them down. I said, no, Im too tired. I had caught, I think, 147 games at Atlanta, thats a hot league, its hotter than it is here in Florida. If you have places like Mobile and New Orleans and Atlanta and Little Rock. Little Rock is a real hot place. You dont have the breezes you have here. I felt it more than I did here. I caught an awful lot of games, 147 games. TBH: What did the impact of the depression have on baseball? Lopez: I tell you, we didnt feel it, the guys that were in baseball. It was a terrible thing, you know. TBH: The salary didnt go down any? Lopez: No. It was true that I kept jumping to a higher league all the time, and I belonged to a big league club. Maybe it had a terrible effect on baseball, because it seemed like one year or two after I left here the [Florida State] league folded up. Then I left the Southeastern League a couple of years after that, the league folded up, too. TBH: Was attendance dropping off? Lopez: Attendance was dropping off. People didnt have any money to go to ball games or anything like that. But we felt the depression here in Florida earlier than that. We felt the depression right after the boom hit. And the boom was over around 1926, but we started feeling the depression here around 1927, 1928. And then the crash came in 1929. But we already, down here in Florida, we had already felt the depression. TBH: Did you come back in the off season to Tampa each year? Brooklyn Dodger, Al Lopez, led National League catchers in fielding and batted .309 in 1933. Photograph courtesy of Al Lopez.
Lopez: Every year. TBH: What would you do in the off season? Lopez: Nothing. I didnt do anything. Just took it easy, you know, just be with my friends. TBH: As a major leaguer, then, when youre playing with, lets say in the 1930s with Brooklyn, are you something of a celebrity when you come back to Tampa? You would be Tampas only major league ball player Lopez: In fact, I think in the whole state of Florida, Im not sure. TBH: So then you are a major league ball player in Tampa What does that mean to you? Are you recognized? Lopez: I imagine so. I didnt notice it because I was just with, everybody knew who I was and knew me since I was a young guy. You cant put on the dog with people, you know, you've got to be yourself. TBH: Small towns are notorious for following the local boy who makes good And Tampa would be very thrilled when here is one of its own . Lopez: Well they were. You, know, I didnt notice it myself but they did. They gave me parades, you know, they had two or three parades for me, they had dinners among my friends, I don't know how many dinners they gave for me, even the mayor of the city named the ball park after me. TBH: When did that happen? When was Al Lopez field named? Lopez: When it was inaugurated, it was 1951. TBH: That was built as a new field with the name Al Lopez? Lopez: Yes. The reason for it, I think you have to give Mr. Lane, Frank Lane, and the Chicago White Sox a little credit for that because I think that the mayor . TBH: Who was the mayor at that time, do you remember? Van Lingle Mungo, pitching star for the Dodgers and Home Run King, Babe Ruth, of the Yankees, with Al Lopez in 1930. PhotographcourtesyofJoePaleveda.
Lopez: Curtis Hixon. The reason for building the ball park was that Hixon was always trying to, you know, he was a great, great guy. I think he was one of the finest mayors we ever had in Tampa. St. Pete had two clubs, and he wanted Tampa to have two clubs so he and Frank Lane, who used to live at St. Pete during the winter, during the off season. I guess they got together talking one time and he told Lane: I'd like to have you move, why dont you move down here with your White Sox. They used to train in Pasadena, California. And Lane told him, from what I hear, well if youre building a new ball park Ill be glad to come down here. He said, you mean it? Youve got a new ball park. So they went way out there, where theyre at now, and the people in Tampa criticized him. They thought he was out of his head to go out that far, you know, to build a ball park. TBH: On Dale Mabry? Lopez: Yeah. They thought, you know, way out, that used to be way out of the city. So he built the ball park. I was away already. I was managing the Cleveland club. I wasnt here for the inauguration but the guy that was the general manager of Cleveland, Hank Greenberg, came down here and represented me for the inauguration. They were terrific, the people During the Depression in 1935, Lopez was traded to the Boston Braves where he led the National League catchers in fielding. Photograph courtesy of Al Lopez.
here, but again, I didnt feel like a hero or anything like that. I felt like I was lucky that I got to where I did. TBH: Youve been here now seventy-two years, what are the biggest changes you see with respect to sports, the kind of early youth you had when you can walk off a sandlot and almost become a major leaguer, with respect to sports and, I guess, with respect to the whole city, and the Latin community within the city? Lopez: The Latin community is getting more Americanized all around with the exception now that the Cubans are coming in which has given it some more Latin atmosphere. My kid d oesnt speak Spanish, he understands Spanish. Hes married to a Spanish girl, and his kids dont speak Spanish, which I wish they would. But, I dont know, its easier for them to speak English because theyre brought up in an English neighborhood, an American neighborhood, and the mother speaks English to them. The reason we spoke Spanish is because my mother and dad spoke Spanish, and they spoke Spanish to us all the time. But I think theyre getting away, which I'm sad to see, its sad to see because I think its a great advantage if you could speak two or three or four languages. Id like to see my grandson or my granddaughter speak Spanish, or another language. TBH: What changes do you see now in sports from when you first started? Lopez: Thats a big change because again when we started as kids we had to even make our own fields, our own diamonds. Play in any sandlot that we could see open. Now theyre furnishing the kids with real good fields to play on, which I think is great. I think they ought to have more because I think its a great thing for kids. I think youd see less delinquency among the kids if you have sports, all kinds of sports, I'm talking about baseball, soccer fields, basketball courts, stuff like that. I think itd be a great thing for kids. Now they have little league programs. TBH: You retired as a ball player in what year? Lopez: I retired as a ball player in 1948, I caught fifty games. I managed and caught Indianapolis about fifty games. TBH: Did you ever have a chance, an opportunity to get into the higher management level? Lopez: Yes. I was offered a couple of times, but I didn't think Id like the desk job. I couldnt see myself, you know, being attached, going into that routine, going into the office like that. I was always more of an outdoor guy. TBH: Did you ever see yourself in some ways as a pioneer, being a Latin Did you have to prove yourself? Lopez: No, I didnt feel it so much. Again, once in awhile theyd call me names being that my name was Lopez or something like that. I figured that it was more in the competition end of it and that didnt really bother me.
TBH: Did you see yourself having the kind of trailblazing opportunities that Jackie Robinson did as a black man? Lopez: No I didnt. He was breaking the barrier. They werent allowed to play. With us it wasnt that. If you could play and you were white you could play. I guess there were some fellows from Cuba . there might have been some mixture there, but hell, they treated them nice and they played with the whites. John McGraw went to Cuba with the Giants and took Babe Ruth with them in the early twenties. They claimed that McGraw took him over there because he was part owner of the Tropical race horsetrack; they gambled. He took him over there because he knew that Ruth was going to attract a lot of people. There was a colored guy by the name of Mendez that was a short black Cuban who could throw hard as hell. They said he could really fire that ball, and he struck out Ruth three times that day. Ruth might just have been having a good time. McGraw made the remark, I wish I could paint him white; Id take him up to the Giants. But it was just that one thing. I think the press with Robinson and with myself the little that I had, I didnt have as much as Robbie because I didnt feel it. But with Robinson, again, the press made a big thing out of this. Robinson was too good. Nobody had to stick up for Robinson. He could do all right by himself. But the press was trying to make a big thing about this thing. TBH: With your ability to speak Spanish were you often seen as an intermediary? Lopez: Sometimes, when I was at Pittsburgh during the war we brought one kid up, a Cuban boy who couldn't speak English at all. He was a shortstop. The poor guy couldnt speak English, and I had to room with him for a while and had breakfast with him, because I had to order for him and had dinner with him all through Spring training and the whole time we were there at Spring training at Muncie, Indiana. TBH: What do you recall was the impact of World War II? You said you were training at Muncie, Indiana Thats hardly a place where youd think of Spring training Lopez managed Cleveland to a pennant in 1954. Here, he poses with old friend, Casey Stengel, manager of the rival Yankees. Photograph courtesy of Al Lopez.
Lopez: The clubs that were in the east, New York, Boston, they trained in some places around in the east someplace so they wouldn't have to travel so much. TBH: To save gas? Lopez: Gas, and I guess the transportation and things like that. I guess they didnt want that much tourism or something like that. We trained in Muncie from Pittsburgh. I was in Pittsburgh, and the clubs in the east trained in the east. The Cubs trained with the White Sox at some resort up in Indiana someplace. We had to play ball games sometimes at 10:00 in the morning. They would work us in shifts; sometimes wed start at 4:00, and give the guys the early shift so they could catch the ball game in the afternoon. We played a lot of night games and some for the guys who couldn't work in the afternoon. TBH: Did you ever play for servicemen? Lopez: Yeah, we played Great Lakes, we went to Norfolk, Virginia and other times to the Naval Academy. We played different camps. In fact one of the soldiers asked [umpire] Bill Klem he said supposing a guy hits a ball out of the ballpark on a homerun and when hes rounding second base his buddy shoots a cannon and kills him and he cant circle the bases, what would you call that? He didnt know what to say, he says I would say hes a dead man. TBH: When did you retire? Lopez: I think I retired first around 1967 and was still working for the White Sox doing a little public relations, scouting some players or seeing the minor leagues, the talent, and see if they were progressing or not. Then I went back in, it was 1968, to finish the season. They fired [Eddie] Stanky the manager, and I took over. In 1969 I thought that my stomach was giving me an awful fit, nervous stomach that Ive got, I just told them that I was going to get sick if I didnt quit. They finally agreed with me that Id better quit. TBH: Do you think your family relationship now is as close as it was when you were a little boy growing up in Tampa with eight other sisters and brothers? Lopez: I think it is. Maybe not, but to me it is. Im the head of the family, and I guess Im old enough to realize that I havent got that many more years to live and I kind of do these things that I enjoy. I enjoy right now seeing these kids grow up, trying to do good. TBH: If it hadnt been for baseball do you have any idea what you might have wound up doing? Lopez: No telling. Id probably have ended up in the factory with the rest of my brothers. Learning a trade of some kind. I think Ive been very very lucky. I thank baseball for it.
Traded to the Pittsburg Pirates in 1940, Lopez set many fielding records for the team. He is shown here with teammates Bill Baker (left), and Babe Phelps (center). Photograph courtesy of Al Lopez. In 1959, Lopez won the American League pennant with the Chicago White Sox. Here he is shown with second base star, Nelson Fox. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa Tribune.
A SOVIET VIEW OF ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA by William H. Parsons If an American wants to learn what life is like in the Soviet Union at the present time, one important source would certainly be the reports sent back from Moscow and other Soviet cities by American journalists. The recent works by correspondents Hedrick Smith and Robert Kaiser are indeed excellent accounts of contemporary Russian reality.1 In a similar way, if Soviet citizens wished to learn more about America, they might well turn to articles written by their journalists on assignment in the United States. What information would such a reader find in Pravda and other leading Soviet newspapers about American life? And how would a Soviet journalist present the city of St. Petersburg, Florida, to his readers after visiting this city named in honor of the former Russian imperial capital. These are two important questions raised by the article Sunset in St. Petersburg, which appeared in the Soviet newspaper Literaturnaya Gazeta2 Gennadi Gerasimov. Photograph courtesy of the St. Petersburg Times
Gennadi Gerasimov, a special correspondent for the Novosti Press Agency and a feature writer for Literaturnaya Gazeta believes he may be the first Soviet journalist to have visited St. Petersburg, Florida. He came to Florida in December 1974 to write about St. Petersburg and the problems of the elderly in a capitalist society. When asked by St. Petersburg Times reporter Timothy Phelps what he intended to write about St. Petersburg, Gerasimov replied: try to be objective, really. I write all kinds of positive things.3 What he actually did write included some positive information about the city, but clearly emphasized the negative aspects of American life as seen from the Soviet perspective. The editors of Literaturnaya Gazeta introduce this article as one of many articles in that paper devoted to the problem of meeting social needs. In particular, the experience of St. Petersburg is shown to reflect, as in a drop of water . the dismal aspects of American reality: the inequality, general indifference, and the cruel treatment of old people. Such an introduction clearly sets the stage for a clearly propagandistic piece of journalism. In the final section of his article Gerasimov turns his attention to the elderly Russian retirement community in St. Petersburg. He sees a double sadness here, because they are not only suffering the problems of the aged, but they are cut off from their native land. He reports rather accurately that divisions do exist within the Russian community (he even decides to identify these Russian-Americans only by their initials so as not to cause further discord), but he is mistaken if he really believes that homesickness is the main unifying element. Intense anti-Soviet feelings and strong ties to the two Russian orthodox churches are just as important as any nostalgia about old Russia. Soviet readers do not get an objective view of the attitudes of the Russian-Americans in St. Petersburg. In a recent conversation with a Soviet teacher we were discussing the objectivity of Soviet and the western newspapers. The Soviet teacher assured me that the New York Times was anti-Soviet, and that even though Soviet correspondents sometimes slanted American reality, on balance they were more accurate and objective than their American counterparts in Moscow. I do not agree. Soviet readers who relied solely on this view of St. Petersburg and the elderly in America would simply not have an accurate and objective understanding of American reality. SUNSET IN ST. PETERSBURG Translated by William H. Parsons In the recent past Literaturnaya Gazeta has on many occasions returned to the problems of meeting social needs. By the publication of this article by Gennadi Gerasimov we continue the dialog about social conflicts in bourgeois society. In the life of the small American town of St. Petersburg, as in a drop of water, we see reflected the dismal aspects of American reality: the inequality, general indifference, and the cruel treatment of old people . . The American St. Petersburg is spaciously spread over many islands and the Pinellas peninsula. The landscape here is very similar to that of its prerevolutionary Russian namesake. Life was given to the city by a railroad branch built in 1888 by a Russian engineer and entrepreneur, Peter Alekseyevich Dementief, who came to this land because at his views. The
village growing up around the station was named St. Petersburg after the birthplace of Dementief. Now the railroad branch has one foot in the grave. On the other hand, the highway system which crosses the bay has opened the city to tourists who now number about 2 million a year. One can also fly here by plane. Incidently, the local residents are proud of the fact that their city initiated for the first time in the world a regularly scheduled passenger airline service it happened on January 1, 1914. The distance of 30 kilometres to Tampa was covered by the planes of that day in 23 minutes. St. Petersburg is also called the city of sunshine. The local newspapers The Times and The Evening Independent have the following rule: no money will be collected for the paper which comes out on a day following a 24-hour period without sunshine. On such a day the newspapers are in fact distributed free of charge to all who want them. But such sunless days usually occur no more than three times a year, so that the loss is more than made up by the advertising of the local climate. There are many tourist attractions here: tropical gardens with tame birds; a dolphin pool, which is, of course, the worlds largest; a wax museum a branch of Madame Tussauds of London; a stern wheeler The Tom Sawyer which is an exact replica of the vessels traveling on the Mississippi at the turn of the century; the historical museum, which opens with the obituary from the New York Times of Peter Dementief, who died in 1919. But the vacationers prefer to spend time at the beaches, seeking to take as much tan back with them to the gloomy northern states. As regards the local population, they number 100,000 [sic] with more than a third made up of people over 65. The magazine Rolling Stone even once called St. Petersburg the retirement capital of the world. The wrinkled face of the city demonstrates with particular acuity the age-old problem of the social inequality and the cruel treatment of old people. For a modest retirement by American standards, it is recommended that you have not less than $100,000 in the bank, and that you live off the interest. An overwhelming majority of the 20 million Americans over 65 do not have that kind of savings. Pensioners who have resettled in St. Petersburg, by the very fact of their relocation, belong in the category of the relatively prosperous. After all, the funds were found to leave the home they had occupied for many years. After arriving some buy a small home and live out their lives in quiet solitude, while others rent a room in a home for the elderly. I simply cannot look at these poor bent over figures, grieved the reporter Timothy Phelps. In the city one meets many, too many people with a blank look, not noticing anything around them, thinking about something of their own; people filling the park benches, or spending the whole day sitting in easy chairs in the hotel lobbies. Perhaps they have worked all their lives and have never learned how to relax. Perhaps they have finally run out of energy. Or perhaps, they simply have no place to find the six dollars for the yearly dues for the Senior Citizens Center.
Children in America live separately from their elderly parents and frequently do not help them. Many elderly people end up in nursing homes or in homes for the elderly. A year ago the St. Petersburg Times published a series of articles about the deplorable situations in homes for the elderly, after which the municipal authorities carried out a systematic inspection without prior warning. But even these inspectors did not help. Here is the conclusion offered recently by newspaper woman Jane Doberty: There has been no change for the better. The elderly continue to live in filth, among roaches and rats, without the required care because of economizing on the service personnel. There is nothing sensational in this. Simply in St. Petersburg, just as in a drop of water, one sees the reflection of the general situation for homes for the elderly throughout the country. A special subcommittee of the Senate recently made public the following scandalous fact: half of all homes for the elderly do not meet the basic requirements. The reason is found in the fact that these homes work on the principle of profit, which appears to be beyond the financial resources of the majority of pensioners. The approach is seen already in the very term nursing home industry. Millionaires live out their old age in villas or in private estates, and have no need for nursing homes. Those, however, who put away money for a rainy day from their regular wages, do not constitute an adequate market from the business point of view. Not long ago another of these homes closed. Its owner Brady Justice explained: We closed it because it was not profitable. Savings, accumulated with such difficulty over the course of an entire lifetime, are now eaten up by inflation. And now this prospect frightens the elderly: which will end first, my savings or my life? I have been living here since 1947, says Russel Miller. Then one could get by on several dollars a week. But now no one can live anywhere on just the pension from Social Security. I would so much like to find tranquility at the end of my life, to live and not worry about where I would eat next, or where I would spend the night. I pay $85 a week for my room, says 73-year-old Gladys Bekky. I have only two dollars a day left for food. Therefore I eat only once a day. But I am worried about something else: from day to day I am becoming more deaf. But how am I to buy a hearing aid? My money is disappearing. Soon I will find myself out on the street. I will have to go to the park with a tin cup in my hand. There are also Russians in St. Petersburg . elderly emigrants. About 1500 of them have gathered here. One of them explained why a Russian retirement community had grown up here. First of all, he said, the sun here does a good job of warming old bones. In the second place, life here is also a little cheaper than in the north. In the third place, there are many Russians here. Personally, the Russian name of the city attracted me. The emigrants do not live in harmony; they continually argue and quarrel about problems of bygone days. (Not wanting to introduce into St. Petersburg society additional discord, I will now use only initials.) We have here 25 parties, reports I.V. who left Kiev while still a young boy in 1917. But I do not participate in any party. I want to live out the rest of my life peacefully. I only subscribe
to the magazine Health . Here you see if an illness occurs, there will be little protection for those who are not insured. The emigrants group themselves around two competing churches and they participate in choirs really, it is just a pretext for seeing each other. Not long ago they gathered in the Russian-American Club to observe the anniversary of A. S. Pushkin's birth. The life of these people living so far from their motherland in St. Petersburg, Florida, has turned out in different ways. Some people have prospered and live out their lives in good circumstances. The majority suffer. The following announcements in a Russian newspaper belong to this latter group: An old man is looking for a room and good people, An elderly couple wants to move in with a Russian family, so that they will not have to go to a home for the elderly. A homesickness or nostalgia is one thing that unites all of them. A certain M.D. opened a little store: two shelves of Soviet books, records of Liudmila Zykina, bottles of Borzhom water, and cans of imported sheat-fish in tomato sauce. They know about the store in far-off St. Paul, they ask friends to take with them something Russian. K.I. is 75 years old. For the birthday celebration friends were invited. They drank in the American style, separately from any appetizers, but the hostess prepared the food after looking into a pre-revolutionary cookbook. After eating they sang and not only Evening Bells Vecherny Zvon an old Russian romance, but also Moscow Nights Podmoskovnye Vechera a popular Soviet song. Yes, it is indeed sad . . 1 Hedrick Smith, The Russians (New York: New York Times Book Company, 1975); Robert Kaiser, Russia, the People and the Power (New York: Antheum, 1975). 2 Gennadi Gerasimov, Zakat v Sankt-Peterburge [Sunset in St. Petersburg], Literaturnaya Gazeta (February 5, 1975). 3 Timothy M. Phelps, A Curious Kind of Sister City Attracts a Russian Journalist, St. Petersburg Times (December 31, 1974).
DICK BOTHWELL: A TRIBUTE by David R. Carr John Richard Dick Bothwell, columnist for the St. Petersburg Times died peacefully on the 30th of January, and Tampa Bay History lost a great supporter. He was best known throughout the area for his O.A.T. (Of All Things) column which was a marvelous mixture of humor and tales, research and reflection. Robert Haiman, Executive Editor of the St. Petersburg Times said: For most of our readers, Dick Bothwell was the St. Petersburg Times His column wrapped them in a blanket of good humor, nostalgia and eternal optimism. O.A.T. was a kaleidoscopic view of the community, ever-changing and ever-intriguing. At root a humorist, Dick had a wonderful time with local history, most recently with the Jos Gaspar legend (see the St. Petersburg Times 21 Dec. 1980 and Tampa Bay History vol. 2 no. 2). Dick also published an entertaining collection of tales and cartoons during the Bicentennial, Sunrise 200 His volumes of BUM Stories were also full of wonderful recollections by Dick and his many correspondents. He could often be found plowing through the archives of the St. Dick Bothwell seated at his desk at the St. Petersburg Times Photograph courtesy of the St. Petersburg Times
Petersburg Historical Museum researching his books and columns. Dick had a good time with genealogy too, claiming to be the descendant of Earl Bothwell, who became the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, after murdering her previous husband. Dick did not shy away from the science of genealogy because of the indelicacies of his forebears. His love of history went much beyond this. When a bit of publicity was needed by the Pinellas County Historical Commission, Society, or Museum, he was able to transform the chaff we handed him into something palatable. When a historian of note spoke at the University of South Floridas St. Petersburg Campus, he made sure the public was informed. Indeed, his lively questions from the floor often made the evening. Dick drew this cartoon for an O.A.T. column he did about a Tampa Bay History article on the Gasparilla legend. Photograph courtesy of the St. Petersburg Times
Dick was in constant demand as a speaker, regaling his audiences with his cartoons and jokes. He was one of the founders of Gabbers, a luncheon group infamous for its willingness to grapple with any topic. But if the subject turned lame or the discussion heated, Dick rescued us with humor and wisdom. Hubert Mizells tribute to him captured that characteristic: Newspapering was Dick Bothwells business, goodness and mirth his avocation. Among his bones not one was downbeat . . Bothwell was the Prince of Up. His death is a shocking loss to his community, friends and family. Dicks concern for mankind was shown in the gentle, inexhaustible humor that was so particularly his. Keenly aware of the ironies of life and history, he never allowed that awareness to be tainted by cynicism or bitterness. Dick Bothwell was a man without guile, a man who never allowed his ego to displace his heart. He was a gem of a journalist, both responsible and responsive. We will sorely miss his friendship and good will. EDITORS NOTE: Anyone interested in donating to a living memorial of trees to be placed in the park adjacent to the St. Petersburg Campus of the University of South Florida may send a check to The Memorial Tree Fund, c/o Florida National Bank, 700 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701. Please indicate Bothwell Memorial on your check.
MARGARET ELIZABETH DANIEL LEE: PINELLAS PIONEER by Judith Masce Wade The communities of Palm Harbor, (known as Sutherland until 1925), Ozona, (which was also known as Yellow Bluff until 1890), and Curlew, were the residences of the family of Margaret Daniel Lee. Situated on the west coast of Florida, twenty-five miles from Tampa, they were part of the 1870 census of Hillsborough County (with Pinellas included) which recorded that Susan Sutton Daniel lived there with her children Amanda, Mary Catherine, Margaret, Rufus, and Shelmon Lafayette (who was the father of Margaret Lee). Curlew was named after the pink Curlew bird which used to inhabit the area. Holland Pond. Photograph courtesy of the Daniels family. Margaret Lee on left and Mary E. Daniels on right. Photograph courtesy of the Daniels family.
Susans brother, John A. Sutton, and her sisters Emily and Mary A. had previously settled in the Curlew area. Although the exact date is not known, it is thought to be around 1850. Their mother, Susannah Whitehurst Sutton, was recorded as living with Susan Daniel at that time. All of these children of Mrs. Sutton were born in Hamilton County, Florida. Mrs. Sutton herself was born in North Carolina. In 1869, John A. Sutton donated the land for the Curlew Methodist Church, where a log cabin church was built. Susan Daniels husband, Joseph Daniel, had previously died in Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida. Joseph Daniel is thought to have come from Edisto, South Carolina which is near Charleston. Little is known about his parents James Madison Daniel and Huldie McCollum. Margaret Lees mother, Mary Elizabeth Holland was the daughter of George Washington Holland and Sereny Ellen Brownlow. It is known that the two brothers, George W. and Billy Holland, came to this area prior to 1855. It is not known how long the Brownlows resided there. Both the Hollands and Brownlows lived on Curlew Road, settling on farms next to two ponds that were later known as the Holland Pond and the Brownlow Pond. Mary Elizabeth Holland Daniel recalled her life in Pinellas County on her eighty-second birthday in an interview for the St. Petersburg Times On January 26, 1947, the newspaper reported: She was the second oldest daughter of George and Sereny Holland. Her birthplace was the old Nigel Farm on what was known then as Palm Harbor Drive which is now County Road 1 in Dunedin, Florida. When she was about eight years of age, the family moved to a farm on Curlew Creek Road by a lake known as Holland Pond where she lived until her marriage to Shelmon Daniel on January 27, 1884. Mrs. Daniel well remembers when there were no roads except wagon roads through the woods, and Tarpon Springs had only one house. Margaret Lee, known as Aunt Maggie to everyone in the surrounding community of Ozona, lived to be ninety-three years old. In 1963, at the age of seventy-six, she wrote her own personal journal, an excerpt from which follows: I, Margaret Elizabeth Daniel was born 17 March 1887 in a little cottage in an orange grove on the Tampa Road (SR 584, Hillsborough Avenue) on the border of a lake called Lake Daniel, later known as the Fechtig Lake and now called Lake St. George. My father homesteaded the land and lived there until he was married to my mother Mary Elizabeth Holland on 27 January 1884. My father built the cottage of lumber he rived out of pine trees, and later he built a larger house of sawed lumber. They had five children born to them at this place. My sister and brothers were: Mamie Josephine Daniel born 20 December 1884. Myself: Margaret Elizabeth Daniel born 17 March 1887. David Shelmon Daniel born 19 April 1889 died: 26 May 1889. Fredrick Merrick Daniel born 23 May 1890. Elmer Lafayette Daniel born 29 November 1892.
When I was very young, I went in the woods with my father and carried the lantern at night for him to get wood for the fireplace. My mother, my sister and myself would fish at the lake and catch nice fish. My father traded places with his brother Rufus Daniel, and we moved near the Fechtig Place about a mile away and had a larger orange grove and house. The big freeze came in the winter of 1894, and it killed some of the large trees. My father made a big pit in the ground and banked lots of the oranges. We lived here several years, then traded places again. I always worked along with my mother. I learned to cook and wash dishes early and made my first dress when I was twelve years old. We also worked in the field some and helped with the cows. We raised our vegetables, sweet and Irish potatoes, and sugar cane from which we made syrup and brown sugar. Each family would take turns grinding cane, and all of the children would too. What a good time we had riding the horse around the mill, drinking juice, and eating candy around the boiler. It took weeks for everyone to finish, as there were only two or three mills in the county. We had our hogs for meat. Then my father and his brother traded places again, and we moved to old Tampa Bay near what is now Oldsmar. There we went swimming, fishing, and got oysters, clams and scallops. We penned wild cattle, and my brothers would catch and hold them while I did the milking until the cows got gentle. We had plenty of milk, cream and butter and plenty of company. Our cousins would come and spend weeks with us just to be at the bay. We would go into the woods to pick huckleberries. My sister Mamie married Angelo Nick Masce on June 22, 1901, and lived on the same property in another house. When I was about six years old, I saw the first railroad being put through Ozona. It was a narrow gauge road, and had a funny little train which burned wood in the engine. Our first transportation was oxen and a cart with a cover. We would go to the bay and camp at night, and my father would catch mullet and we would salt them in a barrel. My grandfather, Birthplace of Mary E. Daniels near Holland Pond. Photograph courtesy of the Daniels family. Tree lined street in Ozona. Photograph courtesy of the Daniels family.
George Holland, had a big cream colored mare which he drove to a funny little vehicle with two whe els, called a Jump Funny, and jump funny it was. The seat sat out over the axle, far out on springs. It was fun to ride in. Of course in later years everyone had horses, wagons and buggies. When I was fourteen, I was taken ill. My father was not well at the time so my mother would do some practical nursing. My father died at this place on September 22, 1902, and is buried in Curlew Cemetery. There was not much money to be made and times were often hard but we always had food and sold our oranges. It was the same with everyone else. After my father died we had to move to Sutherland, now Palm Harbor, where we could get work. We did home laundry for the students at Southern College. The college burned in 1921, and the following year it moved to Lakeland. My mother bought a lot, had a two story house built, and we kept boarders. My brothers were young but they worked at a sawmill nearby. My health grew worse, and I was sent to Jacksonville to St. Lukes Hospital for an operation. My mother went with me, got room and board near the hospital, and came to see me everyday. How beautiful she looked when she came in. I was there three months, came home, and was taken very ill again. There was a family of Mormons living on our place at the bay. Some of their Elders came to visit them. My Uncle Rufus and a Mr. Fleming came and brought the Elders to administer to me. I started to improve slowly. My Uncle Rufus and his family were baptised. A few days later my mother, my sister, my brothers, and I were all baptized in Lake Butler (now Lake Tarpon). We were persecuted by the members of the Methodist Church. Mobs would gather and threaten the missionaries. I kept improving slowly. When I was young I went to school from our home on Lake Fechtig. We went to Curlew to school in a one room building with all grades. Our first teacher was a man, Mr. Marion Casey who taught two terms. Then came Miss Alice Land who taught one term. Next to arrive was Blue Sink, a sink-hole near Sutherland. Photograph courtesy of the Daniels family. Tarpon Springs School celebrates Arbor Day in 1923. Photograph courtesy of the Daniels family.
Miss Lizzie Lenfestey, who was the daughter of the Mr. Lenfestey who owned the Lenfestey Broom factory in Tampa. Miss Lenfestey taught two terms. Last we had Miss Mary Wilkerson who taught one term. We then moved to the place on old Tampa Bay, and didnt go back to school. Finally my mother, my brothers, and I moved to Ozona so that we could work in the Citrus Fruit Packing House. I met a young man from North Carolina, and we were happily married. We built our home in Ozona. After fourteen years, we were divorced. My mother lost her health after the death of my sister Mamie, and came to live with me. I was glad to have her; she was so good and agreeable, and we were very happy. In the meantime, I met a man from Washington D.C. We were married, and I visited with his children who were wonderful to me. After two years, my husband went back to visit his children, and he died there. My mother was very ill at the time. She lived with me eighteen years and passed away on April 7, 1951. I have a little garden, some fruit trees, and flowers. My health is very good. I go to church and Sunday school. The first Mormon Church service was held in my home in Ozona. My nieces husband was the first bishop. I am very contented. I go fishing and oystering when I can. My family are all near me, and I have many friends. I enjoy my life. Packing House in Ozona. Photograph courtesy of the Daniels family. Margaret Lees Home. Photograph courtesy of the Daniels family.
BOOK REVIEWS Eighteenth-Century Florida and the Revolutionary South Ed. by Samuel Proctor. (Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1978. ix + 125 pp. Notes) From Arburthnot and Ambrister to annexation: this chronology, argues commentator Aubrey Land, captures the conventional concept of Florida history. Yet as these seven essays and three commentaries demonstrate, Florida merits much more attention. For example, in the colonial period, Florida was different. After being acquired by the British in 1763, Florida developed into a province different than its northern counterparts. Unable completely to feed and defend themselves, Floridians needed English aid and protection. Thus, they did not joyfully embrace the Declaration; instead, they drank to the good health and long life of their generous and good sovereign, George III while burning effigies of Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry. Within this broad framework of the Revolution, four of the papers suggest a theme synthesizing some aspects of Floridas economic and military history, economic weakness if not failure and limited strategic significance for the British. David Chestnutt argues that South Carolina planters endeavored to model East Florida after their colony by planting rice and indigo. For several reasons this dream failed. Thus, East Florida was unlike the other thirteen William Gilmore Simms. Photograph courtesy of the University of South Florida Library.
colonies. It never achieved levels of economic and social growth necessary to move the province toward political independence. Gary Olson shows that East Flori das dependence on the crown attracted Southern loyalists such as Thomas Brown from Georgia. Brown formed the East Florida Rangers to attack the backcountry of both Georgia and the Carolinas as well as to spur a loyalist uprising while British forces attacked from the sea. Significantly, the British lacked a strategic plan for fully utilizing Brown and loyalist sentiment. In the face of other, more pressing interests, Florida counted too little for the British. Successive essays develop the theme of weakness. In separate pieces Robin Fabel and Thomas Watson demonstrate that the absence of any inherent economic value precluded any major English military effort to defend either East or West Florida. The British wanted only to deny the Floridas to their foes. Regrettably, the theme ends by shifting from Florida to the Revolutionary South and from military/economic history to intellectual concerns. Stephen Meats investigates the nineteenth-century writer, William Gilmore Simms, one of the best-known southern Revolutionary War historians of his day. Meats contends that Simms was attempting to portray a more complete and authentic history than could be found in history books or in historical novels. His essay also suggests that historians might profit from Simms who sought to represent history accurately and authentically on both the formal and the legendary levels. Calhoun Winton closes the book by discussing the book trade during and after the Revolution. In the essay with the least vision, Winton sketches out the printing origins of books used in Florida. For the most part, these scholarly essays are highly focused, concentrating on specific events and persons with only minimal attention to larger issues. Fortunately, the commentaries by Aubrey Land, John Francis McDermott and, to a lesser degree, Gloria Jahoda, seek not so much to criticize the papers as to place them in a larger interpretative framework and to suggest connective themes. Specialists of Floridas past will probably prefer the papers to the commentaries; those with a broader perspective will admire the thoughtful, but necessarily brief, reflections of the three commentators. Despite the general success of these seven papers in suggesting much-needed further research and writing on early Florida, one essay was out of place: James Morton Smiths Historical Agencies and the Bicentennial. Smiths contribution examines historical societies, agencies and museums in the Bicentennial era, and touches only briefly on Florida. Although this collection tells us much about economic and military history, one wonders about other aspects of Revolutionary Florida. We learn little about the colonys political system or about popular perceptions of northern neighbors. Given numerous major studies on colonial politics and ideology, such shortcomings are surprising. Thus, in both the presence and absence of information, this volume suggests new avenues of research in eighteenth and, to a lesser extent, nineteenth-century Florida. Randall Shrock
The Seekers: Pioneer Families of Nokomis and Laurel By Paul H. Turner and Joan Berry Turner. (Published by authors, 1979. 97 pp., Preface, illustrations, bibliography.) A problem symptomatic of numerous amateur oral historians is the less than effective use of the oral tradition. An example of this might be found in Paul H. Turner and Joan Berry Turners book, The Seekers: Pioneer Families of Nokomis and Laurel In presenting their research, the Turners failed to do some simple homework. Had this been accomplished, the end results of The Seekers might have added to the rich cultural heritage of Florida. According to the authors, the purpose of writing their book was to preserve the history of the families that settled in Laurel and Nokomis, Florida from 1868 to 1917. Although the purpose was well intended, the epilogue of The Seekers seemingly sums up the less than penetrating effect of the book. The authors argue that Many people came to this area around the turn of the century but did not stay and we feel certain this is what hapened [sic] to some of the families we tried to track down. Feeling certain generally reflects the problems echoed throughout The Seekers The Turners researched a period of nearly fifty years and reported the history of fourteen families living in Laurel and Nokomis and immediate surroundings. It is difficult to accept the contentions of the Turners that fourteen families are truly representative of a fifty year period. In Chapters 9, 10 and 11 the authors limited their discussion of three families to half a page each. More importantly, in Chapter 14 the authors decided to extend the 1917 cutoff and discussed the McKeithen family who did not come to Laurel until 1920 or 1921. This family was cited only because of numerous references to a turpentine still operated by the McKeithens. Fifty years and only fourteen families is only the beginning of other problems encountered by the reviewer. While reading the contents of the book, considerable difficulties continued to surface. Documentation, in the main, was often confusing and out of order. In addition, the authors repeatedly used the names of families as fillers rather than meaningful research to report the history of Laurel and Nokomis. Further research of other families might have been more productive and, indeed, would have strengthened The Seekers Basically, The Seekers represents the work of two amateurs in their attempt to shed light on local history. Unfortunately, the Turners were not prepared to perform the above mentioned role. A lack of cohesion and continuity by the authors will prevent The Seekers from adding to the local history of Laurel and Nokomis. The failure to do the simple homework, of scouring research and effective editing, will quietly and permanently place The Seekers on a book shelf. Gregory L. Ferris
ANNOUNCEMENTS EDITOR'S NOTE: The editors will gladly publish announcements of upcoming events related to local history, but these items must reach the editors at least two months before the publication dates of June 1st and December 1st. The Tampa Bay Chapter, National Railway Historical Society, invites those interested in the history of railroading to join the chapter. Meetings are held monthly on the fourth Wednesday in the evening in the Tampa Bay area. Additional information can be obtained by writing to the chapter at P. 0. Box 4034, Clearwater, Florida 33515. The Eaton Florida History Reading Room of the Manatee County Central Library has the International Genealogical File of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. This is the 1978 updated index, formerly called the Computer File Index (CFI). Those searching for genealogical information should ask the librarian on duty. The Eaton Room is located in the Manatee County Main Library on the second floor, 1301 Baccarrota Blvd., Bradenton and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 to 5:00. The Pioneer Florida Museum in Dade City announces its seventh annual Pioneer Florida Festival on Labor Day, September 7, from 10:00 to 5:00. This is a one day festival promoting interest in early Florida life through historical exhibits, live sound programs, working craftsmen, cracker foods and traditional music. There will also be a judged arts and crafts show encouraging creative expression. Admission is $1.00 for adults and 50 cents for children. For more information call the Pioneer Florida Museum Association at 904-567-0262. Located on a tree shaded lot on the corner of Fifteenth Street and Seventh Avenue East in Bradenton, the Manatee County Historical Village is the site of the 1889 Manatee United Methodist Church and the county's original courthouse built in 1859. These two buildings have been restored and offer an interesting view of early Bradenton history. The offices of the Manatee County Historical Commission are also here. The park is free and open to the public from 7:00 to 4:00, Monday through Friday and from 2:00 to 5:00 on Sunday. Plans for further expansion are underway. The Manatee County Historical Records Library is a treasure trove of information that is available from public documents. Housed in the old Carnegie Library in Bradenton, the Records Library is a branch of the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Original Manatee County Records dating from 1885 can be found here. Whether you are a genealogist tracing your roots or just interested in what life was like in the past, you are welcome to use the library's records. The Manatee County Historical Records Library is open from 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, and is free to the public. The Collier County Historical Museum has a good collection of local history. Late Archaic Indian artifacts, historical and contemporary Seminole Indian materials and other exhibits about local history and archaeology can be found here. The museum is open from 8:00 to 5:00, Monday through Friday and is located in the Collier County Government Complex in Naples.
Saint Petersburg Preservation, Inc. invites you to join it in its continuing efforts towards preservation in St. Petersburg. Presently, its sites committee is documenting St. Petersburg High School for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. It is also working to establish neighborhood historic districts and to preserve those historic structures which are threatened with demolition. Saint Petersburg Preservation, Inc. meets the last Tuesday of every month, at 7:30, at the St. Petersburg Historical Museum, 335 2nd Ave. N. E. If you wish to receive its newsletter or would like information on membership, please call 823-6468 or write 1060 14th Ave. No., St. Petersburg, Florida 33713. The seventh annual luncheon honoring the Old Timers of Polk County will be held at noon, June 18, at the Bartow Civic Center. The public is invited. Polk County Historical Society meets every fourth Wednesday at 3:00 P.M. in the Jury Assembly Room in Bartow. All local history lovers are invited.
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS GERARD A. BRANDMEYER is associate professor of Sociology at the University of South Florida. He is currently interviewing retired former major league baseball players living in Central Florida for a study on midlife career change. DAVID R. CARR is an assistant professor of History at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg Campus. He is also a member of the Tampa Bay History Advisory Board. GREGORY FERRIS teaches in the Social Studies Division of the Alternative Education Department of the Pasco County School District. He is a former member of the Education Department of St. Leo College. STEPHEN KERBER received his Ph.D. in United States History from the University of Florida in 1979. He is employed by the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, and is a consultant to the University's Oral History Project. WILLIAM PARSONS is a professor of History and Russian Studies at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. He has been to the Soviet Union five times and specializes in Russian history in the Soviet period. R. LYN RAINARD received a Master's Degree in History from the University of South Florida and is a doctoral candidate at Louisiana State University. RANDALL SHROCK teaches history at Earlham College in Richland, Indiana. JUDITH MASCE WADE is a resident of Palm Harbor and the grandniece of Margaret Daniel Lee.
TAMPA BAY HISTORY Published Semi-annually by The Department of History College of Social and Behavioral Sciences University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida Managing Editor STEVEN F. LAWSON Associate Editor JOHN J. BERTALAN Associate Editor ROBERT P. INGALLS Associate Editor LOUIS A. PEREZ Editorial Assistant CATHERINE J. BAYLESS Administrative Coordinator PEGGY CORNETT Administrative Assistant SYLVIA WOOD SPONSOR COLLEGE OF SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES University of South Florida Correspondence concerning subscriptions, contributions, books for review, and all other editorial matters should be sent to the Managing Editor, Tampa Bay History Department of History, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620. (Telephone: 813-974-2807). ISSN: 0272-1406. Manuscripts from potential contributors should be typed and double-spaced with footnotes, also double-spaced, placed at the end and prepared in conformity with the style used by the journal. Manuscripts cannot be returned unless accompanied by a stamped self-addressed envelope with enough postage. The subscription rate is $10 for one year and $18 for two years. Single issues and back files are available. Tampa Bay History disclaims responsibility for statements made by contributors. Printed semi-annually, in the spring/summer and fall/winter. Programs, activities, and facilities of the University of South Florida are available to all on a non-discriminatory basis, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, age, national origin, or handicap. The University is an affirmative action Equal Opportunity Employer. COVER: Bargain hunters shopping at Maas Brothers Department Store in downtown Tampa during the Great Depression, March 23, 1936. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System. See Photo Essay on page 32.
BOARD OF ADVISORS OTIS ANTHONY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Black History Project/ Hillsborough Community College ILDA HALL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . St. Petersburg Junior College DAVID CARR . . . . . . . . . . . . . Department of History, St. Petersburg Campus, University of South Florida W. SCOTT CHRISTOPHER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . University of Tampa DORIS DAVIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sarasota County Historian HELEN GORDON DAVIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . State Representative, 70th District HAMPTON DUNN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Historian MARIAN B. GODOWN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Historian DONALD R. HARKNESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . American Studies, University of South Florida ROBERT C. HARRIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pinellas County Historical Museum LELAND HAWES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tampa Tribune FRANK LAUMER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Historian MORRIS W. MILTON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Attorney HARRIS H. MULLEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trend Publications ANTHONY PIZZO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Historian SAM RAMPELLO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hillsborough County School Board TERRY A. SMILJANICH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Attorney CHARLTON W. TEBEAU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . University of Miami ROBERT G. WATT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sarasota Herald-Tribune
&5$&.(5&85(6 +,&&28*+6 Take one teaspoonful of vinegar, or raise one or both arms above the head to cure hiccoughs. Take a lump of sugar saturated with vinegar. Lean over the dinner table so that the edge of the table presses against chest. Grate raw Irish potato and apply to navel. Swallow two teaspoonsful of sugar. Swallow one dry without water and then when it is gone repeat with the second spoonful. Place a straw in child's hair for hiccoughs. Cross two broom straws and balance on forehead and count to ten. Drink nine swallows of water without catching your breath. Courtesy of G. H, McSwain, M.D. and the Peace River Valley Historical Society.
&5$&.(5&85(6 &+,//6$1')(9(5 Back the person from his house to the nearest dogwood tree. Do not allow him to look at the tree. Give him a string behind his back and have him tie as many knots in the string around the tree as he has had chills. Walk him back to the house and chills will be gone. Be sure that he does not look back at the tree because this will ruin the magic.
INDIGESTION Peel out the inside lining of chicken gizzard and parch it until it can be crumbled up into a powder. Take a small amount on the point of a knife and it will cure any known case of acute indigestion. Courtesy of G. H. McSwain, M.D. and the Peace River Valley Historical Society.
&5$&.(5&85(6 $57+5,7,6 Buy a new package of sewing needles. Put them in a jar of red vinegar. Place under a bed and when the needles have dissolved the arthritis will be gone. Courtesy of G. H, McSwain, M.D. and the Peace River Valley Historical Society.