The story of Fort Myers

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The story of Fort Myers

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The story of Fort Myers the history of the Land of the Caloosahatchee and Southwest Florida
Grismer, Karl H ( Karl Hiram ), 1895-1952
Place of Publication:
St. Petersburg, Fla
St. Petersburg Print Co.
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
275 p. : ill., map, port. ;


Subjects / Keywords:
History -- Fort Myers (Fla.) ( lcsh )
letter ( marcgt )


Bibliography: p. 272-274.

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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C54-00007 ( USFLDC DOI )
c54.7 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Grismer, Karl H.
q (Karl Hiram),
d 1895-1952.
4 245
The story of Fort Myers :
b the history of the Land of the Caloosahatchee and Southwest Florida.
St. Petersburg, Fla. :
St. Petersburg Print Co.,
c 1949.
275 p. :
ill., map, port.
Bibliography: p. 272-274.
0 651
Fort Myers (Fla.)
x History.
t City, County, and Regional Histories Collection


lS an


Other Books by the A u t h or: f..listory oF St. Petersbu r g ( 1924) The f-listory oF Kent, Ohio The Story o F Sarasota The S t ory oF St. Peter sburg


The Story o f Fort Myer s f


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The Story of Fort Myers ) The History of th e Land of the Caloosahatchee Southwes t Florida b y Karl H. Grismer Published by the St. Petetsburg Printing Cotnpony, Inc., Florido Copyrisht 1949 by Karl H CriJmer )


APPRECIATION The author wishe s to express his appreciation f or the as.sistante given to him by the following pet'Sons: Carl H an t on, president of the News-PI'ess Publishing Company, who permitted him to borrow the files of the Fort Myers P ress, the Tropical News and the Fort Myers News Press for research work. From these fi les, wh ieh begi n in 1884 and cove r every year since then, in vah1abJe data was obtaine .d. Wi thou t tho f il es this Story of Fott Myers could not have bee n written; Mrs. Ida Blount English, 1\b s Alice McCann, Nathan G. Stout, Mr. and Mts. James E. Hendty; Jr., t he late Charlton T. Tooke Mr. and Mrs. Harry A. Laycock, Capt. and Mrs. A. L Kinz i e Eric W. Kinzie, Mrs. J Fred Menge, David W. Ir eland, Mh;s Leonora Vivas, Miss Kathedne L. Jeffeott, Ml's. J F. Garner, Capt. Alfonse Gon zalez Hobert A Henderson, Jr., Gilmer M. Heitman, Mr. and Mrs. John W. Furen, Mrs. Donald Bain, B. C. Foxworthy and many o t hers who supplied data and background mat e rial regarding the early days of Fort Myers; John M Boring, Walter P. J. H Ragsdale, W. H. Reynolds, L. C. Curt right, Edwatd C. Allen, Mrs. Peter T onnelier, David G. Shapard and others who supplied data regarding mote recent development of Fort Myers; Elmo M. Ballatd, Leonard Stantini, Thomas M Biggar, Otis Bra nnen, John 0. Zipperer Shelby Shanklin, Fred J. Wesemeyer, and Michael Hauk who furnished data regarding the truck farming and gladiolus industries; Mrs. John W. Owens, who supplied many vital statistics, ; Charles Chandler and Mrs. Sara Nell Williams, who assisted in obtaining data regarding the city government, and D T. Farabee, who hel ped in getting data from the county records ; Mrs. Harry Laycock, Mrs. A L. Kinzie, Mrs. John W. Furen, R. Q. Richards, Henry Bat'tle y R. V Lee, Royal Palm Studios, the Lee County Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. J. W. Yent, Mrs. W. Stanley Hanson, Nathan G. Stout, Toni Morgan and M rs. Eleanor H. D. Pears e for furnishing nume rous photographs; Dr. Mark Boyd of Tallahassee, for an o ld drawing of a guard hous e at Fort Myers; A B. Edwards, of Sarasota, for the Zachary Taylor 1839 map of Flor ida; Thotnton Withers, o f Suffolk, Va. for data regarding Major James Evans; Miss Virginia Kraus, of St. Petersburg, for many excellent suggestions; R. A. Gray, Florida Secretary of State, for much official information; Major N. A. Holman, Corps of Engineers, United States Army for data regarding impr ovements in the Caloosahatchee; Leslie W. Dunl ap, of the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C., and Karl A. Bickel, of Saras ot a who helped in many ways. The author also wishes to acknowledge that he drew heavily upon the writings of Capt. Francis Asbury H endry which appeared i n early issues of the Fort Press, and upon the works of authors mentioned in the Bibliograp hy.


TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE 1 IN THE DAYS O F THE CALOOSAS ------------------------------------9 2 A FAIR LAND Is LosT-ANI) WoN ------------------------47 3 WHEN CATTLEME N WERE KINGS --------------------------78 4 FonT MYERS HAs ITs UPs AND DowNs --------------------103 5 TnE BrG FrmEz E HunTS-AND HELPS! -------------------------1 34 6 FRoM PANIC THROUGH BooMLET ---------------------------179 7 THAT CRAZY FLORIDA BooM ---------------------------------209 8 UP AGAIN -THE N DowN-THEN U P AGAIN ----------------------233 9 M ISCELL A N EOtJS -----------------------------------------------------255 BIBLIOGRAI'HY ------------------------. ----------------------272 W no's Wno IN FORT MYERS -----------------------------------275 INDEX --------------------------------------------------------: ________ 349


lS an


CHAPTER I IN THI: DAYS OF THI: CALOOSAS 1 HE WIND BLEW with savage, relentless fury. Its dreadful moaning increase d with each passing hour. The las t blue patch had vanished from the sky the day before. Now the whole world had turned an ominous, leaden gray-the churning sea, the sky above and the blinding rain. No horizon could be seen. The sky and sea and rain merged together into an enve loping shroud which seemed to forbode the coming of death. Far out in the Gulf, a Spanish caravel sailing from Cartagena to Spain was caught in the hurricane. The hold of the ship was filled with silver from the mines of Potosi and gold and jewels from looted temples of the Incas. There were passe ngers on board. Men, women and children from the New World who had sailed a week before with joyful expectations of meeting again old friends in Spain. When the storm struck, the captain of the caravel tried to keep his s hi p close to the other vessels of the fleet. But the companion ships disappeared during the night and when dawn came the caravel was alone on the raging sea. The rigging had been blown away and the rudder smashed beyond repair. The ship ran like a hunted thing before the wind, uncontrolled and uncontrollable. Hours passed. Then, above the moaning of the hurricane, the captain heard the roar of surf. An instant later the ship hit bottom with a sickening crash. Its keel broke and water poured into the hold from every side. Another wave, and the ship was flung upon the shore. Following waves pounded it apart. passengers and members of the crew were hurled into the foaming, surging maelstrom. To most of them, death came quickly. Only a few survived. They floundered ashore, threw themselves onto the rain soaked sand, and lay there, gasping for breath. The wind died down during the fo llowing night and at dawn there was not a cloud in the sky. The sun came up in blazing splendor. And with the sun came almost naked Indians from out of the mangrove swamps close by the beach. They herded together the half-drowned, helples s survivors and took them away. Then they returned to prowl around the broken ship. Gold ingots and silver bars, half buried in the sand, were contemptuously laid aside to be taken last because they were considered of little value. But the barrels and boxes of food, and casks of wines, were carefully carried away. So were articles of clothing and all kinds of metal utensils, flagons, cutlery, ornaments, silver plate and crucifixes. Particularly, knives and swords and daggers. And jewels


10 THE STORY OF FORT Ml(ERS which sparkled in the sunshine as the Indians cascaded them through their hands. All morning long the wreckage was combed. Then the savages went away, leaving behind the stripped bodies of the drowned victims of the storm. No sooner had the last of the Indians gone than flocks of buzzards volplaned down to pick the corpses clean. On the following day there were only skeletons on the beach;_skeletons and the battered hull of the once-proud caravel. All this happened more than four hundred years ago, during the fall of 1545, on the coast of southern Florida. :Many other Spanish ships had been similarly wrecked before and many more were to be wrecked later. This particular wreck was noteworthy, however, because one of the survivors was a bright young lad named Fontaneda. To be exact, Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda. Only thirteen years old, Fontaneda was the son of an influential Spanish official in Cartegena, in what is now Colombia. With a brother he was on his way to Spain to be educated when the storm occurred. They were taking with them $25 00 0 in gold which was lost in the wreck. The brother drowned. Fontaneda was held capt ive for seventeen years. He was a friendly youngster and the chief of the tribe took a liking to him. He was permitted to go almost anywhere he wanted to go and do anything he wanted to do. He learned the language of the Indians who had captured him and also the languages of the natives living i n three adjoining provinces, which he visited. As a result, he acquired a wide and comprehensive knowledge of the customs of the various tribes and of the land they occupied When he gained his freedom, about 1562, Fontaneda returned to Spain and a few years later served as interpreter for Menendez when the latter first visited the Florida West Coast. Back in Spain again in 157 4, Fontaneda wrote down his recollections in a Memoir which is still considered the best existing description of Florida as it was in the sixteenth centur y. Fontaneda undoubtedly spenhnuch of his time in southwest Florida. Perhaps he once tramped over the ground on which Fort Myers is now located. In all events, we are indebted to him for much of our knowledge regarding the first known "residents" of the region of the Caloosahatchee Carlos Ruled a Vast Domain Cacique Carlos-that's what Fontaneda called the chief of the tribe which held him captive. The tribe which dominated all other tribes in south Florida during the sixteenth century, and for many years thereafter. "Carlos': may not have been the real name of the chief. More likely than not, it wasn't. But that is what the name sounded like to Fontaneda's Spanish ears, and that was the way he wrote it. And the name stuck. Today it is perpetuated in the place name San Carlos Bay, where the


TaE STORY oF FonT MYERs 11 water of the Caloosahatchee meets the Gulf; also, in the names "Big Carlos Pass" and "Little Carlos Pass." .. Fontaneda called t h e tribe which Carlos ruled the Carl os Indians. The real name for them was "Calos"-the same word with the "r" left out. Ca lo s is said to be an abbreviation of the Cho ctaw words kala lu -sa, meaning strong and black. Fontaneda said the meaning of "Carlos" was brave and skillfu l, as indeed the Carlos Indians are." From kala lu-sa probably comes the name Caloosa, or Calusa, by which the tribe was known until it became extinct, a little more than a hundred years ago. The name s urviv es i n Calo o sahatchee which means of course, the river of the Caloosas, "hatchee" signi fying river. Regardless of what Carlos' real name might have been, he was every inch a leader. Nearly six feet tall, he was heavy -boned and broadshou ldered and he walke d with the easy grace of a panther His sinewy arms appeared to be perfectly capable of paddling a canoe all d ay without tiring His dark eyes, almost jet black, were keen and piercing. T hey were the eyes of an alert and intelligent man, one not easily deceived C arlos, the first outstanding "native son" in the history of Florida, was born to rule. And he did, imp erio usly. He exacted tribute fro m all the neighbor ing tribes just a s his father, Senq u ene, had done before him. The territory he dominated extended as far north on the West Coast as Tampa Bay in the province of the powerful chief Tocobago; around Lake Okeechobee, called the Lake of Mayaiml "because it is very large," and on the East Coast through the lands of the Tequesta and the A is, extending from the Florida keys north to Cape Canaveral. The various tribes spoke slightly different languages but they undoubtedly all b e longed to the speech group known as the Muskogean. It is generally b elieved that they came originally from South or Central America. They may have fled from Mexico to escape from the vicious, conquering Aztecs. Perhaps t hey came to south Florida by following the coast line of the Gulf o f M exico. No one knows for sure what paths were followed by these nomad s of the bygone past and ne ithe r does any one kn ow when they came The mo s t common guess is that they arrived about a thousand years ago, about the time Leif Ericson left Iceland with his Norsemen and went across the bleak Atlantic to dis co ver the land he called Vinland. The N orsemen were fair-skinned m e n whil e the Caloosas and theil" brethern were dark, but they all had the same urge to seek new lands. And the y found them-on the same contin ent. Arriving i n Florida, the newcom ers scattered. Many settled along the coasts; others went into the Glades country, particularly along the edge of Lake Okeechobee; some went into the Big Cypress, and still others continued o n to the Florida k e ys. Finding little need for clothes, they went almost naked. The m e n w ore o nl y loin -c loths made of plaited palmetto strips fastened to a belt


12 TaE SToRY oF FoRT MYERS of deer skin. The women wore short skirts made of the strands of moss they found hanging on the trees, not because of modesty but for comfort. Above the waist they wore nothing-being savages, they saw no need for concealing the human body. Wherever they went, they found plenty to eat, at all seasons of the year. The fresh water lakes and streams were alive with enormous trout and bass, catfish and bream, all easily driven into traps. Besides fish there were toothsome young alligators, savory rattlesnakes and moccasins, and juicy eels "as long as a man and as thick as a thigh." And turtles large and small, all equally delicious. The newcomers also soon learned that the low koonti bush had starchy roots which, when dried and ground into flour, could be used to make excellent bread. Moreover, they found a tuber, the mud potato, which tasted sweet and was sustaining. They also learned that the hearts of the cabbage palm were tender and nourishing and that even the black berries of the palmettoes could be eaten. And the wild grapes, and bitterish coco plums. Everywhere-in the hammocks of the Glades country and in the forests on dryer land-the savages found game. Elusive deer, best shot at night when their eyes could be blinded by the light from blazing torches; gray and fox squirrels, the first game killed by growing boys when learning to use their bows and arrows; savage bears which fought with tooth and claw when cornered; snarling panthers, dangerous to hunt but whose pelts made ideal coverings o n chilly nights. And birds of infinite variety, good not only for food but for their feathers of brilliant hues, prized by the braves because of the gay touch they added to their lofty headdresses. Along the coasts, life was even easier than inland, if that were possible. Here they had not only the game of the mainland forests but also limitles s quantit ies of fish-fish which came in enormous schools. Mullet, red fish, sheepshead, trout, pompano and many, many others, in unbelievable numbers. To simplify the task of getting the f ish needed, the Caloosas soon devised nets, making them out of the wire-like vines which tripped unwary feet. And before long the Caloosas began using fishhooks, becoming F lorida s first anglers. When the Caloosas wanted a change of diet, they turned to shell-fish. Oysters, scallops and clams were everywhere and the supply was inexhausti ble. Heaping basketsful of them could be obtained merely by walking out into the shallow water of bays and bayous and picking them up. The Caloosas highly prized the conchs of infinitely varied shapes and sizes. They ate the flesh inside and then used the flintlike shells in making weapons and too ls. Ingeniously, they fashioned them into hammers and axes, spear points and arrow points, drinking cups and bowls, scoops for digging up the ground, chisels and adzes, fishhooks and net sinkers-all sorts of things. Infinite patience and more than a little craftsmanship were needed to g rind the hard shell with stone and


THE SToRY oF FoRT MYERs 13 sand, but the Caloosas had both. Proof that they did is furnished in a most interesting collection of their handiwork which can be seen at the Bradenton :Museum. Because the Caloosas ate huge quantities of oyste rs, clams and conchs we have mute evidence of their existe nce in the refuse heaps called kitchen middens which still dot the sho res of keys and rivers. With the passing centuries the refus e mounds sometimes became of enormous size, covering acres and rising fifty feet or more in height. In the lower levels of the kiteh en middens human bones often hav e been found. Later, however, when the Caloosas began to sense that more attention should be given to their dead, they built mounds for us e solely as burial places, using whatever material was close at hand-shell, sand or loam. Of all the mounds left by the Caloosas, the burial mounds are of the most interest to present-day ethnologists, anthropologists, and arche ologists. In addition to skeletons, many objects of priceless value have been found in them pieces of carefully molded pottery, sometimes colored and decorated with feathered lines; delicately designed orna ments which once adorned the necks of Caloosa maidens; finely carved and highly polished hairpins made from bone; shining shell pendants which once hung from j,he belts of Catoosa braves, and many other objects which tell better than the written word of the skill and culture of the vanished race. Skeletons fou n d in the mound s prove conclusive l y that the Caloosas were not giants, as has so often been said. Dr. Ales Hrdlicka, of the Smithsonian Institution, one of the world's most famous anthropologists, e xamined the skeletal remains in scores of mounds on the Florida West Coast in 1918 and came to the conclusion that the Caloosas were strong and big people but that "measurements of the long bones failed to disclose a single six-footer." He dismissed oft-repeated reports of the finding of eight-foot skeletons as wild exaggerations. Kitchen middens and burial mounds were not. the only mounds left by the Caloosas. Many were built to provide places of refuge when the water ran high, during the hurricane season along the coast and during the rainy season along the riv ers and in the Glades. Such mounds often were fifteen feet or more above the surroundin g country, plenty high enough for the Indians to live in safety when the s trong winds blew or rain came in torrents. On such mounds the Indians built many of their homes, of logs a n d thatched palmetto leaves. Mounds also were built to serve as observation points. Atop these mounds the Caloosas kept a constant lookout and when an enemy was sighted, signal fires were lighted. Smoke from them could be seen for miles. The fires also were used for transmitting messages and in a matter of hours important news could be flashed across the peninsula or a hundred miles up or down the coast. Spaniards learned this later on, often to their sorrow.


14 THE SToRY oF FoRT MYERs The most elaborate of all the mound s made by the Cal oosas were those built for holding relig ious ceremonies. There were at least two suc h mounds on the West Coast, one on Pine Island and the other on Marco. The tops of these mounds tow ered high abo v e the Gulf and were separated from the beac h by terraces and plazas. Ramps led up to the sqin mits. Canals ending i n courts wer e dug out to bays and bayous. To prevent dirt from washing into the canals and fill ing them up, the Caloosas bordered them with walls made of palmetto l ogs and shells. The Pine Island and Marco mounds were examined by Fran k Hamilton Cushing, nationally known ethnologist, in 1895 and 1896. At the latter p"lace. particularly h e made discoveries which amazed the scientific world .' Dr. Cushing made his excavatio ns under the greatest diff iculties. The rainy sea.son had set in and the heat and mosquitoe s were almost unbearable. 'To continue work he had to build smu dge fires all aroun d him and stay in the pungent smoke. But, perseverin g h e succeeded in unearthing scores of price l e ss objects--human masks, animal figu r es, plaques, 'iren dants, war clubs, ornaments of many kinds, pottery bowls and c ooking pots, bone fi shhooks, shark tooth knives, and many kinds of too l s. When first taken out of the muck, the carved wooden pieces showed their original paint. But when the p i eces were expo sed to light and air, the colors quickly faded and the wood i tsel f began to disintegrate. Howeve r D r Cushing managed to save some of the best pieces by wrapping t hem in damp cloths. Scientists later said that the carving on them was finer than the work of any oth e r e astern I ndians. Be sides being mound build ers, .the Ca loosas were canal diggers. The canals were dug, perhaps by slaves, to permit the widest possible use of canoes. Traces of som e of the canals can still be seen on is lands along the coasts, extending from t h e open sea to inne r bay s and channels. Trace s of others can be found far inland. Perhaps the longest of any of the canals was one designated on t h e Zachary Taylor map of Florida made in 1839. Between Lake O ke echobee and Lake Hicpochee near the source of the Caloosahatc hee, the map maker drew two line s and under them wrote the words "Old Canal." If the canal was old in 1839, when American s fi rst penetrated the inte rior, it probably was a l eft-over fro m Caloosa days. It's more than possib le that this old canal was u sed by Chief Carlos in the sixteenth century in goi n g from one part of his domain to another. He had need for i t w h e n he went to Lake Okeechobee where, according to Fontaneda, he ruled ove r "many towns of thirty or forty inhabitants each and many more pl aces where only a few people lived." Carlos subjects in that region paid him tribute with koonti flour and if t hey failed to supply him with the quantity he desired, there is little doubt but that he went and got what h e wanted. Carlos also co uld have used the canal to advantage, .and probably did, wh e n he journeyed over to t h e East Coast to receiv e or exact tribute from the Ai s In dians. Fontaneda reports one such trip. H e said that the


THE STORY OF FonT MYERS 15 Caloosas armed themselves, went to the coast of Ais, and returned with great treasure. The treasure referred to was that taken by the Ais from a wrecked Spanish ship. Fontaneqa said it amounted to two million dollars or more "in silver and gold and in articles of j ewelry made by .Mexican Indians which the passenge r s (of the Spanish ship) were bring In g with them." Fontaneda Said that Carlos took what. he pleased "or the best par t," of the treasure and divided the remainder with the other rulers of his domain How often Carlos wen t to the E.list Coast and how he traveled from .the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee to the Atlantic are purely matters of conjectur e. So i s the exact o f Carlo s main settlement. How ever, most authorities agree that .the settlement w a s located on or near the Caloosahatchee It may ha\i e been o n P in e Island where the great ceremonial mound was locate(! p,r ,jt may have bee n near t he present town of Fort Myers. That is quite possible. Old timers say there were formerly many large mounds c l ose to the present city They were leveled to get shell for sidewalks and streets and no t r ace of them remains. Although Fontane d 1 did not specify the town where Carlos liv e d he did give a lis t of the towns which were under his control. The meanings of some of the names were added later by students of the Choctaw language to which the names had a simila r ity. The list i ncluded: Tampa, a large tow n (but not the Tampa of today); Tuchie, belie ved to be '

16 THE SToav OF FoRT MYERS of this order, Fontaneda said, the lives of many Christians were saved. This incident, related at great length by Fontaneda, furnish es some proof that Carlos was not as c r uel and h eartless as many other Spaniards, particularly Men endez, said he was .. It also shows that Carlos was a man who could be reasoned with and who would change his mind when proven wrong. Furthermore, it indicates that Carlos did not kill Christ ians without what seemed to him good reasons. No mention is made by Fontaneda anywhere in his long narrative of his having seen or heard of any Christian being tortured or sacrific .ed to Caloosa gods. Fontaneda had no love for his ca.ptors and in his M emoi r recommended that the Cal oosas should all be captured, taken to theW est Indies and used as slaves It seem s incomprehensible, therefore, that Fontaneda failed to mention Christians being sacrificed if sacrificed they were. Perhaps Carlos wasn't as bad as he was painted. However, there is no doubt but that Carl os hated and mistrusted the Spaniards. He had reason to. He knew how his people had been enslaved b y the Spaniards in the past. And perhaps he had a premonition of what his own fate was going to be. And that of his son. Slave Ships Cam e to Raul The Spanish conquerors a n d expl oiters of the New World have been called, and probably rightly, the worst murderers i n the history of mankind. When Columbus made his great discovery in 1492, the islands of the West Indies were thickly populated by natives called the Arawaks and Caribs. Ruth lessly and viciously, the Spaniards killed them. Some they killed in battle; others by torture, and many, many more by working them endless hours as s laves under the pitiless, blazing sun. Island after island became depopulated. I t is estimated that by 1520 at least a million natives had been killed in Haiti, Puerto Rico and Cuba. How man y more were k illed on other i slands n o one knows. The Spaniards didn' t both e r to keep track of the number of their victims. As an inevitable resu l t of the extermination of the native population, a labo r shortage soo n developed. To get replacements, the ,Spaniar ds madE! raids on i slands which had not yet been exploited. The natives were hunted down, captured, and brought in chains to the mines and fields But they died like flies, from overwork, disease and hom esickness. Among the islands raided were those of the Bahamas where the docile and friendly natives had first greete d Columb us by bringing him gifts o f fruits and cassava bread, and trinkets, and a littl e gold and silver. Now they w ere repaid by b eing carried off to die a s slaves. After the Bahamas had been stripped of human beings the slavers quite probably turned to the F lorida keys and to the mainland of Florida.


THE STORY oF FonT MYERS 17 The fact that there is no record of these slaving expeditions means nothing. For vario us reasons the slavers did not care to publicize such activities To escape paying a license fee to the crown and high custom duties on slaves brought in to Hispaniola, they operated as smugglers, sneaking cautiously through the islands with their human cargoes. The slave ships probably reached the mainland of Florida early in the sixteenth century. The Tequestas and the Caloosas may have been warned of their coming. The sea-going canoes of the Indians which slipped along the coasts and into the West Indies may have brought word of the slaving expeditions and the cruelties of the Spaniards as well. Such news traveled with amazing speed. Even if they were forewarned, however, the Florida Indians could not have guarded both coasts. Undoubtedly the slavers crept in again and again, captured shiploads of men and wome n i n battle or through trickery, and were off again before reinforcements could be sen t in to repel the raids. As stated before, there is no existing record of such raids. But it is a known fact that both coasts of Florida were examined and charted before 1502. Because in that year the famous Cantino map was published-a map which shows the Florida coastlines with remarkable accuracy. It is m ore than likely that data for the map was provided by pilots of the slaving ships. Slave raids also would explain the fact that when Florida was "discovered" in 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon, he was met by an aroused and fighting people, the Caloosas, ready to battle him to the death. Photo not available Moonlight and palms add to the charm of natu1e's be.auty spots in southwest Florida. I


18 THE STORY OF FORT MYER S P once de Leon. Tried to Conquer Ferdinand, king of Spain, was a covetous man. A s a result of Spanish conquests in the New W orld he was rapidly becoming rich and powerful. But he yearned for even more riches. He listene d attentively, therefore, to a tale told to him at his court in Burgos early in 1512 by Juan Ponce de Leon, famous soldier and administrator of conquered lands. Juan's tale was interesting indeed. North of the island of Cuba, h e told the king, there was anot h e r island h e had heard about from the n atives of Hispaniola. It w a s called Bim ini. Gold was there in abundance and silver too. And precious gems. And spices and rare woods It was a truly wonderful place-a paradise on eart h Perhaps Juan Ponce told Ferdinand even more. Perhaps he leaned forward and, speaking softly so that others could not hear, repeated a legend he had heard in Hispaniola about a marvelous river in Bimini. A r iver whose waters would restore youth to those w h o bathed in it! A veritable F o untain o f Youth! A fountain which would make a man sb:ong again and virile! If Juan Ponce told the king all this, and the chances are h e did, Ferdinand was no doubt fascinated. H e was sixty years old and possibly in di r e need of a you t h elixir. Be all that as it may, Ferdinand did not dilly dally in granting Ponce de Leo n a patent to conquer and exploit t h e island of Bimi ni. The d oc u ment was s igned February 23, 1512. I t was relatively short and busin ess like. It detailed carefully the s hare that Ferdinand was to get of all t h e treasur e found and how all captured slaves should be divided. It a lso stipulated that Juan Ponce should shoulder all the expenses of the expedition and take all the risk. Ferdinand, as u sual, ris ked nothinlf. Ponce de Leon, h owever, was satisfied with the arrangement. The conquering of Bimini with all its richness and Fountain of Youth besides, would be a fitting climax to hi s long and spectacular career. And to 8 bloody, ruthless career as well. Born in San Se rvas, Province of Campos, King dom of Leon, about 1460, he took part in the :Moorish wars and then sailed with Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1493. During the years which followed he made an impressi ve record in capturing and killing natives. His feat s were so ou tstanding t hat by 150 6 he was made administrator of Haiti. Three years later h e was made the first governor of Puerto Rico. There he became rich. His great plantation returned huge P rofits. The soil was fertile and labor cost him nothi n g. He worked his s l aves pitiless ly. Whe n they died, he had them buried where they fel l. When they fled to the hills he sent his ferocious fighting dogs after them. He considered that great sport. All that was temporarily ended for J uan Ponce in 1512. As 8 result of a change in power of the factions which controlled the royal court i n Spain, he had lost his job as governor of Puerto R ico. It was then that he returned to his native land, had his interview with Ferdinand, and


THE STORY OF FonT MYERS 19 secured the grant to conquer Bimini. With the grant he also regained his position as Puerto Rico governor. So he went back to the island and spent the next year collecting his fleet, and men, and supplies for the Bimini expedition. Many writers have scoffed at the report that Juan Ponce hoped to find a Fountain of Youth. They say he wanted only more gold and glory, that he was vigo r ou s and healthy and had no need of a youth restorative But the fact remains that he had passed the half-century mark. He was fifty-two years old in 1512 and had led a strenuous life. What more natural, therefore, than that he should have begun to realize that the fire.s of youth were dying down? And that he should have given heed to the tales of Bimini's Fountain of Youth then being told by the natives of Hispaniola'! Detailed reference to the miracle-water legend was made by Fontaneda in his Memoir written in 1574, some sixty years after Juan Ponce's voyage of discovery. He related that in ancient times many Indians from Cuba had come to Florida in search of a river he called the Jordan which would .''turn aged men and women back to their youth" and that descendants Of those Indians still lived in Florida while he was held there as a prisoner. He a lso stated that Florida Indians also believed such a river existed and searched everywhere fo r it. "So earnestly did they engage in the pursuit," he wrote, "that there remained not a river in all Florida ... in which they d i d not bathe and to this day they persist in seeking that water." The name of Juan Ponce was linked definitely with the legend by Fontaneda who undoubtedly was told by the Caloosas that the conquistador had sought the river. He wrote: "Juan Ponz de Leon . went to Florida in search of the River Jordan ... that he migh t become young from bathing in such a stream." He added that "it is cause for merriment" that Juan Ponce should have had such an object. But while Fontaneda ridiculed Juan Ponce he naively admitted that during the seventeen years he was held captive in F lorida he bathed in many streams "but to my misfortune I never came upon the River Jordan." Regardless of whether Ponce de Leon sought the Fountain of Youth or not, he sailed from Puerto Rico with three ships on March 3, 1513. He did not discover Florida on Easter Sunday, as the history books used to say. Easter came on March 27 in 15 13 and on that day his fleet was some four hundred miles from the Florida coast. No t until about April 2 did he sight land and come ashore, probably about eighteen miles north of St. Augustine. But it was still during the Easter season. Herrara wrote: "They named it La Florida' because they discovered it in the time of the flowery festival." Thus Florida got its name. Juan Ponce saw no Indians at the time he first landed. But the ever watchful natives probably sighted him. And i t i s quite likely that they kept t heir eyes on him as he re-embarked and sailed south along the coast. Word of his presence and the course of his southward journey


20 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS probably was signalled far into the interior of the peninsula. The hated white man was back again! Be that as it may, Juan Ponce met with opposition when he next tried to make a landing, somewhere near Indian River Inlet. Hostile natives were there to meet him, with bows and arrows and shell-pointed spears. Three Spaniards were wounded in the clash-the first white men known to have shed blood on Florida soil, the first to suffer in what was to be a three century conflict to wrest the peninsula from the people who called it home. Proceeding on their way, the Spaniards went along the F lorida keys, then westward to the Dry Tortugas, and then northward again to the Florida coast. On May 24 they made their first landing on the Florida West Coast, in the land of the Caloosas The exact location of that landing place has been debated by hi storians for years. However, much of the doubt has been removed through the discovery of an Italian map drawn by Ottomanno Freducci in 1514 or 1515, obviously made from Ponce de Leon' s charts. A study of this map indicates that the landing was made at the head of the Ten Thousand Islands about sixty miles south of Fort Myers. There the ship "San Christoval" was careened so that its barnacle-laden hull could be cleaned and made fit for going to sea again. Ten days later a small force of Caloosas appeared to reconnoiter. There was a brief fracas and the Spaniards captured four of the natives. The next day a larger force appeared. And then an extraordinary thing occurred. One of the natives came forward to talk to the Spaniards. He spoke in Spanish! Juan P once was astounded, and well he might be. For a man to discover a new country and then have a native speak to him in the discoverer's own language would be disconcerting indeed. The Spaniards surmised that the Indian must have come from the West Indies. If so, he undoubtedly brought word of the Spanish cruelties in the islands. Li ttle wonder, then, that the Caloosas failed to extend a warm and friendly welcome to Juan Ponce The spanish-speaking native told Juan Ponce that his chief wished to bring gold in order to trade. But even while he spoke, twenty Indian war canoes dashed out from shore. They seized the anchor cables and tried to raise the anchor. A brisk wind was blowing from the Gulf and the C a loosas evidently hoped to make the ship drift t o shore where they would destroy it. But their efforts failed. An armed Spanish bark bore in among the light canoe s and the Caloosas were forced t o flee. They left behind five of their canoes and a number of their warriors who had been killed. In the skirmish a Spaniard was mortally wounded. Two arrows penetrated his armor and he bled to death. Who he was or where he came from is not known. It doesn't matter. Many more were to share his fate in years to come. On the following day the Spaniards sounded a nearby harbor and landed. Soon they were again attacked, this time by eighty Indians. The


TaE SToRY oF FoRT MYERs 2 1 Caloosas did not have a chance Their bows and arrows were ineffective weapons compared with the deadly Spanish crossb ows, to say nothing of art illery which the Spaniards turned against them. The battle lasted all day. Many Indians were s lain, so many that the Spaniards named the island Mantanza "from the Indians that they killed. The Caloosa s were defeated, b u t they were n o t con quered. Their will to fight was not bro k e n. I t never was! They l oved their homeland better than life itself and they fought valia n tly to protect it. The Spaniards n ever were able to establish a permanent settlement or mission anywhere in Caloosa territory. Juan Ponce remained in the vicinity of li:Iantanza twentyone days, from May 24 to June 14. During that period he e xpl o red far into the "interior, searching for gold and silver and precious gems Al so, perhaps, for the Fountain of Youth. But he found nothing. That is, nothi ng worth taking. Magnificent forests w ere there, true enoug h, and countl ess acres of fertile land. But what did Ponc e de Leon care for fer tile land s or forests ? He wanted riches he could seize and carry away. But suc h treasure he could not find. Three months had passed since Ponce de Leon left Puerto Rico. His supplies were running short. So, reluctantly, h e raised his sails and headed back toward the Dry Tortugas where the Spaniards filled their larder with turt.Jes, manatee, pelicans and terns. Not the best of eating, perhaps, but nourishin g . The month s of July and August we1 e spent i n search for gold and silver in the Florida keys, the lower East Coast and the Bahamas, but no treasure was found. And everywhere the natives wer e so crafty and such valiant fighters that they could not be captured and enslaved. Juan Ponce returned to Puerto Rico on September 23. Hi s long journey of exploration had proven fruitless. H e was discouraged but not ready to give up. Eight years were to pass, however before he returned to Florida. Back in Puerto Rico, Juan P once added yearly to his wealth. His immense plantation and great herds of cattle returned him lush profits. He also had a tidy income from his position as governor of the island, which he retained. Even so, he was not satisfied. He was c onvinced that gold could be found in Florida, perhaps 'far in the inte rior where he had not explored; mines as rich as any Cortez had just discovered in Mexico. He was determ ined to find them. Early in 1521 J uan Ponce began making p reparations for the return trip. This time he intended to do a thorough job of exploration. His plans provided for the establishment of a permanent settlement which he could use as a base for operations. He left Puerto Rico February zo, 1521, with two s hips, two hundred men, settlers and priests. He also had a herd of s wine, fifty horses and many kinds of agric ultural implem ents. Somewhere on the West Coast, no one knows just where, he fou nd an anchorage. :Many histor ians believe he landed somewhere along the Ca lo osahatchee. He wanted to expl ore in the interior and certainly it


22 TilE STORY OF FORT MYERS was easier to reach the interior by sailinsr up a river than by marching overland through swamps and forests. And no river could have se,rved his purp ose better than the Caloo sahatchee, as he quite possibly observ.ed. The la nding place selected, no time was lost in bringing goods and men ashore, small boats shuttling back and forth between the ships and land. Then, suddenly, there came a rain of arrows from the shadows of the forests. And spears thrown w ith deadly accuracy. Many of the spears and arrows found their mark and Spaniards fell. Their blood spilled upon the sand. The Spaniards rallied and brought their crossbows and arquebuses into use. But the brown figures of the Caloosas, darting in and out among the trees, made elusive targets. The battle waged for hour s One of those who fell was the great conquistador. the daring adventurer, Ponce de Leon. A C aloosa arrow penetrated his armor and buried itself deeply in his body. He writhed in pain. Clutching his side, he staggered into a boat and was taken to his ship. And when the last of the survivors came on board, and the anchors were lifted, and the ships sailed down the river, Juan Ponce realized that his dream of conquest had become a nightmare. Taken ashore at Havana, where his ships went immed iately after the battle, Ponce de Leon breathed hi s last. Instead of getting riches in Florida, he received a mortal wound. Instead of fin ding the Fountain of Youth h e found death. He di ed, but the name he gave the lana he found, lived on. Others Came After !rum Ponce By mortally wounding Ponce de Leon and thwarting his plans to establis h a colony in their land, the Caloosas won an important round in their battle with the treasure-seeking Spaniards. But they had not delivered a knockout punch. Ponce was dead but other Spaniards were to follow him to renew the battle in the quest for riches. O n e eyed, red-headed Panfilo d e Narvaez, a grandee like Juan Ponce who had grown rich after years in the New World, came up the West Coast in the spring of 1 528 and landed o n Goo d Friday. He and his men hunted fruitlessly for treasure and then proceeded by foot up the peninsula. Indians followed, shooting at them with their deadly arrows. Food was difficult to find and many of Narvaez' followers died from hunger. Finally the desperate adventurers built boats to get a way. All the boats were wrecked in storms on the Gulf and only four men out of the four hundred in the expe dition managed to reach Mexi co and safety. Eleven years later another ambitious effort to find treasure in F lorida was made, t his one by Hernando de Soto, who came with a splendi d fleet, seven hundred men, and everything needed for establish ing a colony. He landed May 30, 1539, and made camp at the village of Ucita, "a town of seven or eight houses." All summer DeSoto hunted for


THE STORY Of' FORT MYERS 23 the gold mines of his dreams. Finding nothing, he started northward and then went westward to die on the Mississippi on May 21, 1544 There is a romantic sequel to the stories of expeditions. The wife of Navaez sent a relief ship after him when he failed to return. On the ship was a young fellow named Juan Ortiz. Somewhere on the West Coast Juan saw an Indian waving what appeared to be a letter. Thinking that it might be a message from Narvaez, Juan plunged from the ship and splashed ashore. He was promptly seized and. take11 to an Indian village where Hirrihigua was chief. Ortis was ordered burned alive. But when the flames began to sear his body, Hirrihigua's daughter dashed in and pleaded with her father for his life. The plea was granted and Ortiz was told to stand guard at the Indian cemetery and keep wild animals away. During the first night he saw a wild cat attempting to carry off the body of a child. The stench of decaying corpses had made Ortiz ill but he managed to shoot an arrow and kill the animal. H i s act was praised by the Indians and for several months no further move was made to harm him. As autumn drew near, however, the medicine men began to clamor for his life. Again the Indian princess came to his aid. She helped him flee to the village of Chief Mococco to whom she was betrothed. There Ortiz remained until the arrival of the fleet of Hernando deSoto in 1539. Mococco sent Ortiz and nine Indians to contact the Spaniards. They met a party of Spanish horsemen who started to attack furiously. Ortiz attempted to cry out in Spanish but t o his horror discovered he had forgotten the language. Finally, in desperation, he managed to gasp "Seville -Seville -Christian-Christian." Saved, he joined De Soto's expedition. That's the stor.y related at great length by Ortiz himself. It may be true. Anyhow, it is interesting. Particularly so since it parallels almost exactly the story told in 1616 by Captain John Smith regarding his romantic rescue by Pocahontas. Many historians claim that the Ortiz story, published in Portugal in 1557, provided the theme for the Poco hontas tale-that Captain John Smith picked it up and used it to get publicity for his own exploits. He got it. Where Were the Landings Made? Historians have squabbled for years regarding the exact locations of the landing places of Narvaez and DeSoto. Furthermore the squabbling probably will continue for years to come, just as i t continued for months during 1948 in D. B. McKay's historical column i n the Tampa Sunday Tribune. And when all the historians and scholars who contributed articles had had their say, they were as far apart as they were in the beginning. Inasmuch as De Soto is more renowned than Narvaez, the main argument concerns his landing place. One historian sai d years ago, apparently without good reason, that the landing was made at Apalachee


24 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Bay. Modern historians, however, agree that it was either in the Tampa Bay area or in the Caloosahatchee-Charlotte Harbor region. But that is where agreement ends. From there on it's a case of every writer for himself, and almost every one has a different opinion. During the 1930's a four-year study of Spanish records was made by the De Soto Expedition Commission, authorized by Congress, to determine the exact p lace of landing. The commission's report, made in 1939 by Dr. John R. Swanton of the Smithsonian Institu tion, gave the nod to Shaw's Point at the mouth of the Manatee River in Tampa Bay. The report immensely pleased the people of Sarasota and Manatee counties but was a nything but satisfactory to people in other West Coast communities. St. Petersburg insisted that Dr. Swanton go t his data all twisted and should have fixed the landing place somewhere on the other side of Tampa Bay, preferably right at t he Sunshine C i ty. Tampa con tended that De Soto "undoubtedly" landed some place farther up the bay. Punta Gorda argued that all available evidence indicated that the landing was made at Charlotte Harbor. Fort Myers people of course took part in the dispute. They unani mously declared that De Soto disembarked somewhere in the Caloosahatchee region but they couldn't agree on the exact spot. Some said Estero Island, others Sanibel Island, and still others near Iona. And more than a few argued that De Soto wouldn't have shown good sense if he had selected any spot other than the site of Fort Myers, right at the foot of Hendry Street. And so the battle raged-and keeps on raging. There are many good reasons for the diver s ity of opinion among the hist orians. Instruments u sed by the early Spanish seamen were pitifully inaccurate and when the latitude and longitude of a landing place was g iven i t was as apt to be a hundred miles out in the Gulf as somewhere on solid land. Moreover, the early Spanish maps were childishly crude and even the principal inde n tations along the coast were carelessly given a nd haphazardly named. As for detail maps showing the depth of water in channels and bays-there were none. To add to the confusion, Spanish writers who chronicled the various expeditions were unbe li eva bly vague in their description of l ocaliti es Almost any interpretation can be taken from them. Three different accounts of De Soto's expedition exist All were written by men who accompanied t h e conquistador But the accounts are a ll different, not only in the descript ion of lo cali ties but in almos t all other respects as well even to the number of ships and men in the expeditionary force To deduce from the writings an argument-proof conclus ion as to the landing place is practically impossible. Mother Nature ha.S added to the d i fficulty of arri ving at a general agreement. During the past four hundred years she has made countless major changes along the coast. Winds and tides have taken sand from one place and dumped it in another. Old passes and channels have been closed and new ones opened. Keys which existed as recently as a hundred


THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 25 years ago have all but disappeared; others have become much larger. As a result of all this change, the vague descriptions of the Spanish writers become vaguer still; in fact, almost meaningless. So, to be on the safe side, le t us say that Narvaez and DeSoto landed somewhere on the West Coast in the land of the Caloosas--and let it go at that. A Hurricane Brings a 1'reasure Ship Carlos was just a child when the first Spanish treasure ship was blown ashore on the lower West Coast. It had once been a mighty galleon, many decked, with beautifully colored and embroidered sails, and armed with many guns. It was a haughty ship and proud of its strength. But when Carlos first saw it, piled high on the beach in the wake of a vicious September hurricane, the ship was no longer beautiful or majestic. It was nothing but a twisted mass of wreckage, a torn and battered thing. Its hull had split wide open in many places and the cargo had spilled upon the sand. Scenes such as this lul'e winter visitot s back to Florida after year.


26 THE STORY oF FonT MYERS The wreck had been spotted at dawn on the day following the storm. News of it spread with l ightning speed and Ca l oosas came from every where, some on foot and some in canoes S talwart warriors and women with babies on thei r backs, young bucks and maidens, boys and girls. They all joined in delving through the wreckage with childlike curiosity. Carlos was thrilled. Never before had he seen so many wonderful things. The first object he picked up was a keen-pointed knife, made from the finest Spanish steel. He fingered its edge, wiped the blade carefully to remove the sand and moisture, and then tucked it in his belt, as any boy would do. There were bodies on the beach, many bodies. But no l iving survivors of the storm. Carlos did no t joi n the others in stripping the corpses of their clothing; i t was not proper that the so n of the Caloosa chie f shou l d t ouch the bodies of the dead. All day long the Indians continued to take treasures from the wreckage. Kitchen utensils, hatchets and axes, knives and daggers and swords, clothing of all descriptions--those were the things they valued most. Those and the boxes and casks of food-strange food which they tasted cautious l y but .quickl y liked. One unbroken barrel of wine was found. I t was opened and everyone drank. Soon all were ligh t headed and gay. Surely this was indeed a treasure ship. There were man y other things in the ship's cargo which pleased the Indians mightily. Bags of emeralds, beautiful rings and bracelets, ornaments of many, many kinds. Silve r and gold cups and trays and flagons, candlesticks, tall combs blazing with precious gems, all sorts of pretty objects the Caloosas had n eve r seen before. However,. much of the ship's cargo interested the Indians not a bitingots of gold and bars of silver. They were strangely heavy and seemed to have little value. They were thrown carelessly aside or left where they were, h alf b uried in the sand. Years later t h e Indians learned that the Spaniards p rized this stuff more than life itself so they began to salvage it. Carlos saw many wrecked Spanish treasure s hips during the years which followed, so many that he los t track of the number. He did not know i t b u t most of them sailed from Veracruz i n 1\>lexico or Cartegena in what is now Colombia, the principal "Span is h storage points for treasures looted from the Aztecs and the Incas. Bound for Spain, the ships had to pass through the Florida Straits. There they were often caught in tropical sto rms, blown far out of their course, and wrecked upon the Florida coasts. Many Spaniards s u rvived the wrecks. Carlos d i d not care whether they lived or d i ed, or what became of them. F o r all Spaniards h e held a bitter hatred. His fat her had told him' innumerable times how the slave ships had come to the Caloosa coas .ts: j n former years, captured many o f his people and taken them away to die in chains. A few of the captives had managed to escape and return to Florida and from them Carlos himself heard their stories of Spanish cruelties Co nsequ ently,


THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 27 he could well believe that all Spaniards-men, women and childrenwere demons. No one knows for sure how the Caloosas treated their Spanish captives. It is a matter of record, however, that many of them escaped or were traded to the Spaniards for Indians the Spaniards captured. It is also known that many Spanish women married Indian men and bore them children and that later when they had an opportunity to rejoin the Spaniards, chose to remain with the Caloosas. A number of writers have stated that the Caloosas b r utally tortured the Christians and sacrificed many of them to their heathen gods. Strangely enough, however, no mention of such sacrifices was made by Fontaneda, held captiv e by the Caloosas for seventeen years, or by many other Spaniards who later gained their freedom. Most of the stories regarding human sacrifices seem to come from Spaniards who sought to justify their own barbarities by relating how terrible the Caloosas were. Naturally such tales can be given little credence. Be that as it may, the fact remains that the Caloosas hated the Spaniards and captured as many of them as they could. Such actions pained the Spanish authorities greatl y. However, the Spaniards had even a greater pain. The Caloosas, vile fellows that they were, attacked Spaniards who often came to recover treasure contained in wrecks of their treasure ships and prevented them from regaining the loot they had stolen from the Aztecs and the Incas. All this was very, very reprehensible-from a Spanish viewpoint. Obviou!lly, the Spanish trade routes had to be protected. Something had to be done. But what that something should be was a debatable question. The Spaniards had learned to their sorrow that the Caloosas could not be easily conquered. And to send in a force large enough to exterminate them would be an extremely dangerous and costly undertaking. What's more, the direct returns would be nil. It wouldn't pay even to capture the Caloosas and use them as slaves-they were too proud to submit to slavery and when put in chains, quickly died. Yes, Caloosa slaves were almost worthless. Negro slaves brought from Africa were infinitely more valuable. They were more docile and Jived remarkably long even when forced to work unbelievably long hours under the pitiless sun. The Caloosa problem was a thorny one for Spanish authorities for many years. It was so thorny that they finally consented to listen to pleas of the Catholic clergy for permission to try to convert the savages. For years the Catholic Church had proteste d against the Spanish out rages in the New World but the protests had fallen on deaf ears But now the situation was di fferent. Perhaps it might pay after all to treat the Florida Indians decently. If the heathens could be converted and taught to Jet oth e r people's property alone-fine. It was worth taking a chance on anyhow. So it was that the first missionaries came to Florida. These men were true Christians. They differed from the conquistadors in every way. They were humble and considerate, not arrogant and cruel. They


28 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS sought to teach Christianity by kindly deeds, not by brutality. They were good men, sincere in their beliefs and also brave. Such a man was the Dominican friar, Father Luis de Cance r Barbastro, more commonly known as Father Cancer Accompa nied by three other priests, he saile d from Veracruz in 1549 intent upon found ing a missi on in Florida. It is believed that his ship, which catried neither arms or soldiers, anchored somewhere betwee n the Caloosahat chee River and Tampa Bay. The Indians had no way of knowing that Father Cancer and his companions were totally unlike the marauders, slavehunters and conquistadors who had prece ded them. So they too k n o chanc es. When Father Cancer landed on the beach and prayed, the Indians clubbed him to d eath. Two other priests were captured. The ship returned to Mexico. No further attempt to convert the F lorida Ind i ans was made for years. And the Calo osa problem remained unsolved. The F rench Brought il1ore Trot,ble Had it not been for pirates and the French, the Spaniards might have left the Caloosas in undisputed possession of South Florida indefinitely after the slaying of Father Cancer. They might have decided it would be cheaper in the long run to Jet the Indians have a ship's treasure now and then than to try to conque r them-or even convert them. But pirates of all nationalities began taking a heavy toll of Spanis h shipping about 1545. Moreover they had the temerity even to attack, ravish and plunder a number of towns on the Span is h Main. They not only took Spanish lives but Spanish treasure as well, and that was inexcusable. To make matters worse, French Huguenots boldly sailed across the Atlantic in 1 562 and established a fort and colony at Fort R oyal, in what is now South Carolina. Spanish officialdom was incensed and a larmed. The French had no right to come anywhere in North America-the Pope had given it all to Spain. Once before the French had disregarded the Papal Bull when they explored the St. Law r e nce region. Then, the Spaniards did not strenuously object because they considered the bleak St. Lawrenc e of little val ue Bu t this latest action of the F r ench was a f a r more serious matter. With the French at Port Royal the Spanish shipp i ng route would be endangered. To remov e the menace, a Spanish ship was sent from Havana. But before it reached Port Royal, the French had departed for France, having run out of supplies. The menace had vanished, but not for long. Within less than two years the French Huguenots were back again. And this time they settled even farther south at Fort Caro line, cl ose to the mouth of the St. J ohns River. Pirates soon began u s ing the port as a rendezvous. Spanish officials were now truly alarmed. The Spanish shipping lanes were more seriously threatened than before. But there was also an even greater danger. If the French consolidated their po s ition a t


THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 29 Fort Caroline, and then extended their control down the Florida peninsula to the Florida Straits, Spain's position in the Western H e misphere would be jeopardized and her priceless possessions imperiled. In this extremity the king of Spain turned to a man long famous for his bravery and brilliance as a strategist; a ruthless man and perhaps a religious fanatic, but a great fighter and a great leaderPedro :Menendez de Aviles. Hawk-eye d and beetle-brow ed, ?I>Ienendez was destined to play an Important role in the hi story of the land of the Caloosas. He was born at Aviles in Spain on February 15, 1519. He was a precocious youth and restless. To keep him at home, his parents had him married at the age of eight to a girl two years his senior. But even hi s child bride failed to hold him and when fourteen years old he ran away from home. For the nex t sixteen years he engaged in piracy, preying principally upon other pirates. His feats were so daring and his prizes so rich that in 1549 when thirty years old, Charles V. commissioned him to attack the corsair Jean Alfonse who had just captured ten o r more Spanish ships. He succeeded in recapturing five of the vessels and in the battle Alfonse suffered wounds from which he died. Shortly afterward the king commissioned to attack corsairs even in time of peace, granting him all the booty he could take. R ecords show he took p l enty In 1554 he was appointed captain-general of the con voy which carried t he trade between Spain and America. The appointment was made by the king over the head of the Casa de Contratacion, or governing board of the American trade. For various reasons his relations with members of that board became strained, some say because he refused to tolerate grafting and others because he out-grafted the worst grafters of that graft-ridden body. Finally, in 1563, he was arrested by order of the Casa and imprisoned for twenty months. His admirers say that the charges against him were false; his detractors say that when he was imprisoned he got his just desse r ts. While in jail, Menendez' only son, J u an, was lost in a ship wreck off Bermuda while commanding a treasure fleet sailing from Mexico to Spain. Menendez was convinced that his son was not drowned and, upon his release from jail, sought permission from the king to go and search for him. The request came at exactly the sam e time that Spanish officials had become most alarmed about the French colony and fort in Florid a. So a deal was made. Menendez was permitted to go and seek h is son and, at the same time, establish a Spanish colony in F lorida-and dri ve out the French. The agreement with the crown provided that Menendez was to shoulder all the expense of the expedition. It cost him a million d ucats. But he hoped to get all the money back with compound interest. The king had promised him a grant of approximately 165 square miles of land in Florida of his own choosing. Moreover, he was awarded exc l usive


30 THE STORY OF FORT :MYERS trading rights with a number of West Indies is lands. And, in addition h e was given authority t o prey upon pirates who swarmed t h e seas. He was to have t h e title of adelantado, or governor, o f F lorida. Sailing from Cadiz o n July 8, 1 5 6 5, Menendez reache d Puerto R i co a m o n t h l ater and on August 28 entered a n d named the bay of St. A u g u stine. and established a f ort there. Just twent y -three days later, on September 20, he surprised the gar rison at Fort Caroli n e and massacred almost everyone--men, women and children. After slaying them, llfenendez hung their bodies on trees with the insc r iption "Not as French men but as L utherans." Less t han two weeks aft e r that massacre, M enendez overtook two hundred French survivors o f a shipwreck at M anta nzas Inl e t and, after they surrende red to hi m and la i d down t heir arms, massacred a ll e x cept eigh t w h o said t hey w e r e Catholic s I t is p ossib l e that these t w o massacres in a row satis fied Menendez' thirst fo r Lutheran blood. Soon afterward he swooped down upon a hundred and f ifty Frenchmen at Cape Canaveral who were ttying to build a boat in which to flee and, when they surrendered, he refrained from killing them. He merely captured them. N o w t hat Florida was cleared of French, by massacre and by capture, Me n e ndez was m aster o f n o rth Florida. He l o o k e d about him and decide d h e had w o n a r i ch domafn In jubilation he wrote to t h e king of Spai n : "The p rovince of Florida w ill bring enor mou s profits from v ineyards, s u gar, cattl e, ship s to r es, pearls,' ti mb e r s ilk, wheat and end less s uppl ies of fruit. And I assure your Majesty that in the future Flor id a will be of little expens e and will pay you r M a j esty much money and will be of more value to Spain than New Spain or even Peru." Late in November, 1565, Menendez sailed to Havana to get supplies for his colony at St. Augustin e and for forces he had left at San Mateo, the Spanish name for Fort Car oli n e, and St. Lucie, where he had captured the one hun dred and fifty Frenchmen. I n Havana, Me nendez found the governo r unf riendly. As a result, he h a d diffi c ul ty in getting the supplies he needed, particularly because h e had run s hort of funds. So he t ook time o u t and spent a m onth or so engaging in the lucrative p a stime of running dow n pirates. How many he c a ptured is not reported ; n evertheless, we are informed that by Febr uary 10, 1566, he had acquired a fleet of seven vessels so pirate hunting must have proved quite profitable. From Havana, Menendez sailed to the Dry Tortugas and then on to southwest F lorida. He had heard that the Caloosa Indians held a number of Spanis h captives and he wanted to find out i f his son w a s among them. He also planned to establish a fort somewher e on the sou thwest coast. And he had still another aim: he w a n ted to rec ov e r s om e of t h e Spanis h t r e as ure he had been told t h e Cal oosas had s al vaged from wrecked s hips W aterfront goss i p in H avana estimated the Cal oosa weal th at millio n s of dollars, in go l d and silver and precious gems a n'd doubtlessly


THE STORY oF FonT MYERS 31 the gos s ipers did not exaggerate. Certainly the Indians had wealth worth looking for, and Menendez was not the man to pass wealth by. So northward Menendez sailed. M enemlez vs. Carlos With the arrival of Menendez in the land of the Caloosas, the curtain went up on one of the strangest dramas in American history The adelantado sighted land on February 1 7, 1566. A bri s k, north west wind was blowing and he ordered hi s larger ships to stand out in the Gu l f. In a brigantine he sailed cautious l y among the islands, seeking a harbor. He undoubtedly was close to the mouth of the Caloosahatchee. Shortly after dawn the next day, while peering through the early morning mist he saw a canoe pull out from shore. The paddler was an almost nake d man, sun-b lackened. Approaching, he called out in Spanish: "Welcome, Spaniards and brother Christians! Welcome!" Take n on board the brigantine, he was questioned clo sely. He said he had been captured from a wrecked Spanish ship long before and had been taken to a nearby Indian v illage. Eleven other Spaniards also were being held as captives. But the son of Menendez was not amon g them. He was sure of tha t Th e cuptive told Menendez that the chief o f the nearby village was Carlo s, the mightiest chief in all south Florida. Carlos would know if anyone would, what had h appened to Men endez' son. Menendez decided to see the Indian chief. Even. i f h e could not find hi s son he could rescue the Spanish captives. He would also be able to obtain, by trade or force, some o f the salvaged Spanish treasure Carlos was said to have. Moreover, he might be able to induce Carlos to permit him to establi s h a fort or colony in this locality, plainly one of the finest spots h e had seen in Florida. Following directions given by the captive, :Menendez threaded his way among the islands and entered t h e m outh of the Caloosahatchee. The channel w a s deep and the river, wide and beautiful, extended far inland, as fa1 as eye could see. Carlos' village, the captive said, was several miles up the river. Menendez told th e captive to go on ahead and notify Carlos of his coming; to tell the chief that he had come t o make friends with him, not to wage war with the Indians, nor to burn and p lunder the i r villages . . Anchoring his brigantine, Menende:r. went Mhore, probably a t Punta Rassa. Hours later the Indian chie f appeared, accompanied by a band of warriors armed with spears and bows and arrows. The chief was plainly s u spicious He had a right to be. For more than a half century the Spaniards b a d ravaged his land had away his m e n and women to di e as s laves. What reason did he have for believin g that Menendez was any different from the oth e r s who had com e before? But h e was willing to lis te n to what Menendez had to say.


32 THE STORY O F FORT MYERS The adelantado was suave and courteous. With the Spanish captive acting as interpreter, he told the chief that he had heard much of his prowess and hi s str e ngth, and that he admired him greatly. To s how his friendship, he said, he wished to present gifts. And he gave to Carlos a beautiful silk s hirt, a pair of brightly embroidered breeches, a doublet and a hat. Carlos accepted them, looked with pleasure at the gay colors, and s miled Perha p s this white leader might be a man o f peace after a ll: He turned to his men, gave an order and a bar of silver was brought forward and presented to Menendez. By its weight the adelantado judged it was worth at least two hundred ducats. He was not One bar of silver was not much but i f he played his cards right he might be able to learn where Carlos kept other silver bars, and go ld ingots as well. He invited Carlos on board his brigantine. With twenty warriors, Carlos accepted the invitation Foo d was brought out, and ma.ny bottle s of wine. While they ate, they talked. Menendez brought up the subject of the Spanish captives, said tha t they undoubtedly were longing to get back to their hom es again, and that Carlos should release them. This t h e chief promi sed to do. Carlos kept hi s pro mise. That night five Sp anish wome n and three m e n were brought to Menendez. Non e appeared to be overjoyed at being rescued from the Indians. The w o m e n were weeping bitterly; they had married Indi ans and did not want to leave their children behind. Even the men were not elated. They had married Indian women, had become accu stomed to Indian ways, and were not unhappy with their lot. Carlos s ai d that three more captives, held in another village would b e turned ove r the ne x t day. He also invited Menendez to visit him at his tow n up t h e river. The adelantado was afraid to accept the invitation. He had only a small force of men in hi s brigantine and he had no intention of be ing trapped in an Indian stronghold. So h e said he would visit' Car l os later, and left, sailin g u p the coast He did not retum until he learned h is f leet had arrived, brin ging heavy reinforcements. The nobl es and soldiers on the larger ships had made good use of their time while awaiting :Menendez' return. They had gon e to the Caloosa village and traded almos t worthless gadgets and trinkets for gold and silver and jeweled ornaments. They had made rich bargains but they were no t satisfie d. They had heard that C arlos had a horde of hidden treasure worth more than a hundre d thousand ducats. And they pleaded wi t h M enendez to capture Carlos and hold him until that w ealth would be delivered to them :Menende z would not listen. To do as they urged would disrupt his plans to establish a fort at this strategic point and make his hold on Florida secure. If h e arouse d the chief's anger, the establishment of the


THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 33 fort would be a bloody undertaking-perhaps an impossible feat. No, the only thing to do was to cement the chief's friendship. The treasure could be secured later. The adelantado now accepted Carlos' invitation to visit h is village. The larger ships could not navigate the riverso Menendez went in a brigantin e He did not go unprotected. He took with him two hundred men armed with muskets, called arquebuses. And to put" on a good show he also took alo n g his m u s icians: two fifers and drummers, three trumpeters, a violinist and a psalterist. Also a flag bearer, a singer, a dancer, and a very small dwarf. When Menendez arrived at the up-river town he found a great crowd awaiting him. Carlos had sent messengers throughout his province to tell his tribesmen to assemb l e and greet the white leader-and to impress him with the Caloosa strength Perhaps the Spanish truly wanted to become his friend but if not-'well, it would be wise to let the Spaniard know the Cal oosas were not a puny race, easily conquered. Obeying orders, the Indians had come to the village from all directions-from the islands along the c o ast, from Charlotte Harbor and Peace River, from far up on the Caloosahatchee, and from miles in the i nterior. Never before had there been such a gathering of the Caloosas! Photo not available Just sea oats waving in the breeze at a beach on the Gulf <>. f


34 THE STORY OF FORT MYt:RS The village, or town, consisted of about a hundred palm-thatched houses built among the palms and pines and oaks in a hammock along the shore. At the far end of the village, on a mound, there were several larger buildings where the chi e f lived with his family and held council with his petty chiefs and priests. In the center of the v illage there was a large enclosure, walled with log s and palm-thatched overhead. A towering ceremonial mound could be seen in the distance. The settlement swarmed with Indians--men, women and countless naked children. They were everywhere. Through the crowd, Menendez marched with his men, preceded by his gaily-playing musicians and the flag-bearer, holding aloft a heavy silk banner with the royal arms of Castile and Le on Posting his armed men, :Menendez entered the e n closure with twenty officers and was seated with the chief and his w i fe and sister on an elevated platfotm overloo king the massed throng. G raceful Indian maidens, with jet black hair st1eaming down their naked backs, entertained with a ceremonial dance. Then the men took over, old men and young, chanting and shouting. After that, presents were exchanged and speeches made. :Menendez praised the power and friendliness of the Caloosa chief and the beauty of his wife. Particularly, the beauty of hi s wife. And well he might. She was a slim youn g thing, not over twenty, "very comely and beautiful with very good features; she had fine hands and eyes and looked from one side to another with muc h gravity and all modesty; she had a very good figure; her eyebrows were well marked and she wore at her throat a beautiful collar with pear ls and stones and a necklace of gold beads; she was naked like the others, with only a covering in front." When Carlos got up to speak he was all politeness and extremely friendl y. H e had decided, he said, that he and his people should become Christians and would take Menendez for their brother. Here he paused. He looked long and fixedly at Menendez. Then he added: "And to make the union so secure that no one can break it, I give to y o u m y favorite siste r fo r you r wife." As the words were translated by the interpreter Me nendez sat bolt upright." He was stunned. Carlos' sister for a wife! Why, he was already married. Besides--and here he looked closely at the woman given to him-she was at least thirty-five years, almost an old squaw, and very grave, "imd not at all beautiful." This would never, never do. Menendez tried to figure a way out of his predicament. While he pondered, presents were exchanged and then food was served, fish roasted and boiled and oysters raw, boiled and roasted. That was all the Caloosas had to offer but Menendez added to t h e menu by bringing in from his brigantine a hundredweight of hard ship's biscuit, jar s o f honey and many cask s of wine . The feasting, drinking and entertainment continued for hours. While the celebration was at its height, Carlos leaned over to Menendez


THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 35 and whispered that a place had been prepared for him to rest, and that his sister would join him there, since she had been g iven to him as wife. Menendez did not move. Carlos' eyes glittered. He spoke heatedly: "Four thousand of my people are here. They have come to honor you. If you do not honor us by taking my sister for your wife, they will be greatly angered. They will not endure your contempt." The adelantado was in a dire dilemma. He had no desire to sleep with thi s homely woman, particularly when all his men would know about it and spread the tale throughout the Spanish realm. He would be laughed at for years. But he did not dare tell Carlos that his sister did not appeal to him. If he did, Carlos would be mortally offended and all his plans for a peacefu l conquest of south F lorida would be shattered. He finally thought of an excuse. "Christian nien," he said, "do not sleep with women who are not Christian." Carlos replied tartly that since he had taken the white lord for his brother, naturally, he and all his people were Christians also. "One blood, one heart. There is no difficulty." The feasting continued far into the night. And the drinking. More wine casks were brought from the ship and tapped. Everyone drank and became merry. Menendez began to feel quite good. His religious scruples, if he had any, began to melt away. While the feasting went on, the Christian women bathed and clot hed the chief's sister. She now r eturned to the banquet and "appeared much better than before when she was naked." Menendez looked at her again and now he was not displeased. The bathing-and clothes-had done wonders. She was really not half bad, after all. He seated her next to him "and said many things to her through the interpreter which pleased her." They danced. A sprightly account of all that happened has been handed down to us in a narrative written by Gonzalo Solis de 1\Ieras, brother-in-law of Menendez, who was with him at the time. "And when the dance was ended," Solis wrote, "they conducted her to rest on a bed which Menendez ordered to be made for her and he followed. And in the morning she rose very joyful and the Christian women who spoke to her said she was very much pleased." Thus it was that the first "marriage of convenience" occurred on American soil-Menendez, the adelantado, "married" to the sister of Carlos, the Caloosa chief. His ''wife" was given the name Dona Antonia and the harbor was named San Anton because of the prayers that Menendez had made to St. Anthony befo r e he sailed from Havana. Menendez and his men remained many days at the Ca loosa village. They spent much of their time trading with the Indians to get as much as they could of the Caloosa horde of treasure. Just how much they got has never been revealed. De Meras was silent on that score. But he went to great lengths to relate how the adelantado tried to persuade the Caloosas to worship at the cross, destroy their idols and adopt Christian ways.


36 THE STORY OF FORT MYER S In this, M e nendez had little success. Ca rlos was not deeply impressed with Christ ianity a s preached -and practiced -by the Spaniards in the si xteenth century. Perhaps he could not forget how the Spanish Christians had ravished and plundered his lands, and tak e n his people to b e torture d and worked to death as s laves in theW est Indies But Carlos was diplomatic. He did not offend Menendez by saying h e preferr e d his own religion to Christianity-he merely said that his sister should go with the white lord, as his wife, and be instructed as a Christian. Then, when she returned, she could tell him what to do. Menendez would h ave much preferred to le a ve Dona Antonia behind. She undoubtedly l oved him; her plain face was radiant as she looked at him with adoring eyes. But she no longer attracted him. However, Carlo s had forced his hand and he had to take her with him as he boarded hi s brigantine t o return to Havana. At the last minute, three of the Spanish women who had been rescue d from the Ca l oosa s refused to leave. They preferred to remain with their Indian husbands and their c hildren. Back in Havana, Menendez placed Dona Antonia in the care of friends. Then he became absorbed in other affairs-mutiny at his colonies in St. Augustine and San Mateo and ttouble with the Indians in north Florida. But he did not forget the harbor of San Anton. He ordered one of his captains, Francisco de Reinoso, to go there and establish a fort. H e also instructed him to see i f he could find a cross-state waterway. He had been told that Carlo s went from coast to coas t by w ater, traveling by unknown channel s, and Menendez was anxio us to learn the route. Re inoso built the fort at San Anton as instructed, probably on Pine Island. Bu t he did not succeed in crossing the state by water. He may have gotten as far as Lake O keechobee. It is even possible-but not likely -that he succeede d in inducin g the Ca loosas to dig the canal from Lake Hic pochee to Lake Okeechobee fou nd in 1839 by surveyors of General Zachary Taylor. But, so far as is known the Caloosas never were induced or brow-beate n by the Spaniards into doing anything they didn't want to do. The chance s are the canal was dug by t h e Caloosss l ong before M e nendez came. :Menendez returned to Carlos' village on March 10, 1567 almost a year to the day since he had left. He brought Dona Antonia with him. When Carlos saw that she did not have a child he was deeply offend ed. And he became offended even more when his sister told him that Menendez had not lived with her at any time while she was away, eve n though she had humiliate d herself by begging him to be tender and loving. Carlos never forgave Menendez. Two priests w ere with Menendez whe n he return ed. They w ere Father Rogel and Father Villareal, both of the Society of Jesus. They w ere sinc e re, hum ble Chri stians and if they had accompanied Menendez o n his first trip and proceede d in their own way to convert the Caloosas,


THE STORY oF FonT l'vlvRs 37 the course of south Florida history might have been greatly changed. But they came too late. Not knowing that, Father Rogel built the first Christian mission on the West Coast, probably on Pine Island. During the following year he learned the Caloosa language and started to compile a Caloosa dictionary. His work has disappeared. Some day it may come to light among the millions of Spanish documents, still untranslated, which are stored in the archives at Seville. When Menendez was told by Reinoso that a cross-state waterway had not been found by way of the Caloosahatchee, he sailed up the coast to Tampa Bay and explo red the Hillsborough River. Unsuccessful, he left a garrison of thirty men at the Indian village of Tocobago to continue the search. On this journey he became friendly with Chief Tocobago. As a result, the relations between Menendez and Carlos became still further strained. Carlos and Tocobago had been enemies for years and Carlos bluntly told the adelantado that a friend of Tocobago could not be a true friend of his. Sensing Carlos' growing enmity, Menendez increased the garrison at San Anton by fifty men. Then he departed for the East Coast. He left Dona Antonia behind-he had no further use for her. Carlos was bitter. He was humiliated by the way :Menendez had treated his s ister. He was angry because Menendez had established a fort in the center of his kingdom. And he had become convinced that the adelantado's only aim was to conquer and enslave his people. He refused to listen to Father Rogel when the priest spoke of Christianity. To Carlos, Christianity meant only a tool used by the Spanish for accomplishing their wicked ends He would have none of i t. Sternly, Carlos told the Spaniards to leave his country. He warned them that if they remained, he would call in his warriors and drive them out. The Spaniards persuaded him to come to their fort to talk things over, promising him that when the parley ended, he could return to his people. Foolishly, Carlos believed them. He went to the fort with twenty of his men. The gates were slammed shut. Carlos and his men were captured-and put to death. Who ordered the death of Carlos is not known. Father Rogel said he tried to save him, but could not. Fontaneda said he was killed by Reinoso. Pedro Menendez Marquez, nephew of the adelantado, stated under oath in Madrid, Spain, on January 16, 1573, that he beheaded Carlos himse l f "along with twenty others of the most guilty and had a judicial record of i t drawn up." When the Caloosas learned that their chief had been killed, they were mad with rage. Many of the warriors demanded that they be permitted to storm the fort. But they were restrained by Don Felipe, son of Carlos. He had been taken to Havana by the Spaniards to Jearn "Christian ways" and while there he had been deeply impressed by


38 THE STORY OF F oRT MYERS Spanish might. He realized that his warriors, valiant though they were, could never defeat the Spaniards in a drawn-out war so he counselled caution. His coun sel prevailed Don Felipe succeeded his father as chief late in May, 1567. For a time he did nothing to antagonize the Spaniards. Father Rogel held servic e s in his crude chapel from June until De cember, 1567. H e had some success with the young children, particularly when he had gifts to distribute, but little or none with the older Indians. They were polite to him, realizing he was unlike the other Spaniards, but seldom could be persuaded to enter his chapel. Father Rogel spent most of his time consoling the Spanish soldiers who had no liking for this place in the wilderness and longed to return home Hoping to force the Spaniards to l eave, the Caloosas refused to bring them food as they had before. Toward the end of 1567 provisions became scarce in the fort and mission and Father Rogel went to Havana to obtain needed supplies. He returned the following month with Menendez Marquez. After putting some of the supplies ashore, they pro ceeded to Tocobago where the priest had had some success with the Indians. At Tocobago, a shocking surprise awaited t hem. Twenty-six of the soldiers stationed there and their leader, Captain Garcia Martinez de Cos, had been massacred while foraging for food. Three others had been captured and held as slaves but they too were slai n by the IndiaM when the Spanish ships came in sight. Menendez Marquez landed with his men, buried the three Spaniards and burned the village. Back at Pine Island again, Father Rogel persevered in his efforts to convert the Indians. Bu t their enmity toward the Spaniards was too great for him to overcome. He finally departed in sorrow and w a s succeeded by Father Alamo. He too found the assignment hopeless. The Indians continued to refuse to bring in food. And the Spaniards, knowing what had happened to their comrades at Tocobaga when they went foraging for food, did not dare to leave the fort. They became hungrier and hungrier. Perhaps in an effort to break the Ca loosas' spirit, Menendez Marquez adopted drastic measures. Don Felipe and eleven of his petty chiefs were captured probably by trickery, and charged with treacherously plotting the destruction of the The trial was a farce and all twelve of the Caloosa leaders were found guilty -and executed, on December 17, 1568. The Spaniards gained nothing through the execution-or murderof the Caloosa chiefs. Protected as they were by their fortress walls and arquebuses, and fighting dogs, they were safe fro m Caloosa assault. But they were not safe from hunger. And when the Indians adopted a scorched-earth policy, burned their nearby villages, and disappeared, the position of the Spaniards became untenable. Unable to get enough


THE STORY oF FoRT MYERs 39 food themsel ves to satisfy their needs, they were forced to abandon the fort and mis sion, late in December, 1568. As they sailed out into the Gulf t hey saw rising from Pine Island a great pillar of smoke. The Caloosa s had returned and set fire to the fort and mi ssion buildi ngs. The act was a final gesture of defiance. The Spaniards had killed Carlos, and Don Felipe, and many of their bravest warriors but the Indians' fighting spirit remained unbro k en. For many, many years the Caloosas were unmolested by the white man They were too tough to conquer and too stubborn to convert. So they were left alone. The Colden Age of the Caloo sas The Spanish had left. Soldiers and priests. And with their departure a golden ag'e for the Ca loosas dawned-a period of a century or more during which they were not molested. During this perio d the tribe reached its peak in numb e .rs and made its greatest advancemen t in culture. There was no marked change in t h e way the Caloosas lived. They continued to bu ild their mounds as they had done in days gone by, along the coast, o n the banks of streams and rivers, and far in the interior. They fished and hunted and occ asionally battled with nearby tribes. I n the veins of many of the Cal oosas there was now more than a trace of Spanish blood. Spanish men and women captured from wrecks had intermarried with t h e natives. And Spanis h soldiers, stationed at San Anton, had sought and found female companionship. When they peparted they left children behind. This mixture of Spanish blood with Indian may account for a marked improvement shown in articles made by the Caloosas during the seve nteenth century. Better pottery was baked and more art1stically decorated. Ornaments of all kinds were more beautifully designed. Better weapons and tools were produced. Of course all this improvement might have been purely the result of natural evolution bu t it i s only logical to a ssume that the Spanish blood was a contributin g factor. Certaining it did not tend to make the Cal oosas any Jess able-or less aggressive. They continued to dominate all South Florida. Years passed. And then there came the day when the first Spanish trader appeared among the islands in Carlos Bay. His ship was small and lie had n o fighting dogs, or deadly mu skets, or force of fighting men. He was just a lone trader with perhaps his w ife and a child or two. The Caloosas who saw him coming had no fear of him. They rec ognized him for what he was. Their own great sea-goin g trading canoes had passed many similar Spanish trading boats in the waters around the Florida keys. The newcomer was from Havana. He had no difficulty making known what he came for-traders everywhere speak almost the same


40 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS sign language. He wanted to get alligator hides, and deer skins, and fish, and turtles, and anything else the Caloosas had to offer. To pay for them he had many articles which struck the Indians' fancy. Knives and axes, kitchen utensils, pottery, bolts of gaily colored cloth, trinkets of all kinds. Before a day passed the trader's boat was filled. The Caloosas were well satisfied with the deals which had been made. And so was he. Before long he was followed by other traders. Soon there was a lively traffic in goods between Cuba and the land of the Caloosas. The Spanish traders undoubtedly helped greatly in breaking down the hatred of the whites which had been aroused by the slave hunters and conquistadors in years go n e by. The Caloosas now began to realize that there were Spaniards who believed, like themselves, i n the policy of live and let live, not the policy of conquer and kill and plunder. Proof of the improved relationships was furnished in 1612 when a peace mission from St. Augustine under Lieut. Juan Rodriguez de Cartayo sailed up the green waters of the Caloosahatchee and anchored off the principal Caloosa settlement. Cartayo's small ship was met by more than sixty canoes filled with unarmed men and women who welcomed him to their town. The chief himself cameout to the ship in a great canoe paddled by forty braves and gave to Cartayo, as an act of friendship, two gold "chaguales" weighing about two ounces each which the Indians wore on their foreheads. Voluntarily, the chief turned over a Negro from Havana who had been shipwrecked on the coast and he also voluntarily promised to guarantee safe passage to St. Augustine for any persons who might be wrecked on his coasts in the future. Cartayo was much impressed by the Caloosa chief and, in a letter to Governor Juan Fernandez de Olivera, expressed the hope "that within a short time monks will be able to go there in safety and reap great harvest because this cacique has more than sixty towns of his own besides many others which pay him tribute." But Cartayo's hope apparently was never realized. Spanish records indicate that the Caloosas had had enough of missionaries. One old document reveals that in 1680 a reconnaissance of the Caloosa country was made preparatory to the resumption of missionary work but that the emissary was turned back after he reached the town of the Caloosa chief. Another old document states that a similar missionary effort, made in 1697, had the same fate. Even though the Caloosas turned missionaries back, they continued to welcome Spanish traders. The historian Barcia reported that in the one month of :March, 1698, the trade with the Caloosas totalled $17,000. But the Spanish traders brought something to Caloosa shores besides trinkets, and gayly colored cloths, and other things the Caloosas wanted. They brought something for which the Caloosas paid a dreadful price. They brought diseases-white men's diseases.


THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 41 The Decline of the Caloosas In September, 1913, workmen getting shell for road-making from a small island off Punta Rassa made a gruesome discovery. Their shovels bit into human skeletons, just below the surface. Scores of skeletons, scattered over a wide area. It was evident that at some time in the bygone past many persons had died here, and their bodies left where they fell for the buzzards to pick the bones. The only logical explanation offered to explain the lack of customary Indian burial was that the men and women whose skeletons were found had been stricken by disease and taken to the island to die, alone and uncared for, in an attempt to prevent the disease from spreading. That explanation may or may not be correct. But it is a known fact that the Caloosas were r avaged by white men's diseases just when they reached the height of their power. They died like flies from small pox, measles, tuberculosis and yellow fever, diseases they had not had before the white man came. Whole villages were wiped out. Sometimes the bodies of the victims were heaped up by the score .and hastily covered Beaches of the Gulf keys pre sent countless scenes of striking beauty.


42 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS with a thin layer of earth; sometimes they were left untouched, unpro tected from the elements and scavenger birds and beast.<;. No one knows how many Caloosas died from the diseases of the white man. The total probably ran into thousands. Certainly the tribe was greatly weakened-tragically weakened. The decline of the Caloosas had begun. Thei r downfall was accelerated by English slave raiders, as rapa c iou s and as ruthless as the Spanish slave raiders had been before them. The English had settled the Caro linas and moved on into Georgia. Ever hungry for more land, they clashed repeatedly with the Spanish and the Spaniards' Indian allies in north Florida. With their own Indian allies, the Creeks and the Yemasses, they drove deep into the peninsula. Many of their raids were made on the pretext that they were seeking runaway Negro slaves. But almost invariably they were after Indians whom they could sell as slaves at high prices in the slave markets of the South. The Spanish governor at St. Augustine reported in 1708 that more than twelve thousand Christian Indians had been captured in north Florida by the English and sold into slavery and that only three hundred men, women and children remained and that "even these are being carried off daily ." The Yemassee Indians, allies of the English, established a slave hunting route down the Kissimmee River and deep into the Lake Okeechobee region and made raids along the Caloosahatchee. How many hundreds, or thousands, of Caloosa were captured and sold as slaves no one knows or eve r will know. The English slaver.s, lik e their Spanish predecessors, kept no records. As a result of the epidemics and slave raids, the once mighty tribe of Caloosa all but disappeared. However, a few of their settlements remained, deep in the Big Cypress where the slave hunters dared not follow them, and on the keys along the coast where they had a measure of Spanish protection. The Caloosa had gotten along well with the Spaniards eve r since the first Spanish trading ships had appeared off the West Coast. In time the relationship became so close that the Caloosa became known to the English, and later the Americans, as the Spanish Indians. Spanish fishermen, as well as the Spanish traders, had dealings with the Caloosa. To get fish for the Cuban market, they began coming up the West Coast late in the seventeenth century. They established fish "ranchos" on the keys where they dried and salted their catch. At these ranchos, many Caloosa Indians were employed. As payment f o r their work they received part of the catch and general supplies, and also guns and ammunition. A number of such ranchos were seen in 1769 by Captain Bernard Romans when he sailed along the coast to get data for his famous Florida


THE STORY OF FORT M YERS 43 map which was published five years later. Romans said that the Spaniards fished from September to March, using about thirty vessels of from fifteen to forty tons and employing from twelve to forty m e n. He said they salted about a thousand to ns of fish each year and also netted huge quantities of mullet from which they took nothing but the roe. The fisher men, he said, averaged about two hundred and eighty dollars each for eight weeks' work. The Spanish fisheries were investigated in 1824 by Lt. Com. James M. Mcintosh, captain of the U. S. Schooner Terrier. In his report he described a fishery at Punta Rassa: "The inhabitants ... are Spaniards and Indians. The Spaniards are extensively engaged in fishing, making sein es, or cultivating the soi l. A considerabl e part of the key (?) is cleared, and under fine culture of corn, pumpkins and melons. There are nin e neat well-thatched houses, with an extensive s h e d for drying fish, and a store house for their salt and provisions. Ten or fifteen bushels of salt, a small cask containing a few gallons of mol asses, with a little sal t p rovisions, were all I cou ld discover they had. "There are also two other places of a similar kind, one situated about a mile within the entrance of the Coosahata River (Ca loosahatchee?), the other on a small key near the entrance of Boca Grande, or Charlotte Harbor ... There are Spaniards living on this last key who have resided here for thirty year s .... They have attached to each of these establishments a small schooner and are licensed as fishing vessels by the Captain General of Cuba." The fisherie s were investigated again seven years later by U ie collector of the Key Wes t district. He reported that at four establishments in the Carlos Bay-Charlotte Harbor district approximately one hundred and fifty men were employed, "half of which number probably are Indians and about thirty Indian women, with fifty to one hundred children. They live in palmetto huts and in the most simple manne r their chief articles of food being the fish they catch. They salt and send to Havana from 6,000 to 8,000 quintals ( a quintal equals 101.43 pounds) annually, the usual price being three to four dollars a quintal." The exports of the four fisheries in 1831 were valued at $18,000 and consisted principaJiy of dried fish, fish roes and fish oil. One of the main reasons why the fisheries were investigated by the Americans was to learn whether they were being used as havens by Caribbean pirates. Oh, yes, the West Coast had its pirates, at least in legend. Gasparil/4 Roam ed th e Seas A pirate bold was Gasparilla. A pirate fierce and daring. Upon the merchantmen sailing the deep blue waters of the Gulf he preyed and ruthless was he with his captives. The lu c kl ess males he forced to walk the plank and the ladies-ah, the ladies-h e kept them for his very o wn.


44 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Not always had Gasparilla b een a pirate. Born in Barcelona, he was educated for the Spanish Navy. He stood high in the graces of the Spanish court and became an admiral. But then one sorry day in 1782 Gasparilla got itchy fingers and he filched the crown jewel s. His theft discov ered, he deserted his wife and children, gathered together a tough lot of Catelonian cutthroats, stole the best ship of the Spanish fleet, and fled to the Caribbean and the dim blue coast of F lorida. To the islands of Carlos Bay and Charlotte Harbor, Gasparilla made his wicked way. Sanibel Island became his lair. Atop an observation tower, a grim sentinel always stood and whenever a ship was spotted upon the warm, smiling waters of the Gulf, Gasparilla sallied forth and captured i t. He bu1ie d the lo o t on the i sland he named Gasparilla and there also he made his home regal in its fitti ngs. The captured females he kept o n Captiva, all those he did not want immediately for his harem. O n e day in 1801 a galleo n from Mexico hove in sight. In its hold was a rich cargo of gold, in chests of copper. But richer still was its cargo of human treasure. A beautiful Spanish princess was on board and eleven of Me xi co's fairest daughters, a ll bound for the court in Madrid. Gasparilla, brute that he was, tossed the daughters of Mexico to his crew. For hims e l f he kept the gorgeous Spanish beauty. He proposi tioned herand, royal lady that she was, she slapped his face! Straightway Gasparilla cut off her roya l head, with one clean c u t o f h i s sword. For onc e, Gasparilla regretted his evil deed. He took the slim body of the princess in his arms, carried it ashore, and buried it. The princess her lonely grave. The night birds sing in the dusk and lull her spirit to rest, and the moon throws kindly shadows o'er the spot. By 1821 Gasparilla and his sinful c rew had amassed a fortune of thirty million dollars of stolen treasure. The United States Navy was on their trail and the pirates gathered to divide the loot and then disband. But just when the division of wealth was being made, a strange and seductive sail appeared off Boca Ciega. Pass. It l ooked like a large English merchantman. Gasparilla's eyes lit with greed. He could not resis t the temptation of taking one more rich prize before his pirate days were ended. Out into the Gulf he s ailed to. engage the Englishman. But suddenly the British flag came down, the America n flag went up, canvas disguises fell a way, and there before Gasparilla's startled eyes was a United States naval sloop with blazing guns. Gasparilla turned t o flee. Bu t again and again his ship was hit by cannon shot. It became disab l ed. Gasparilla realized the end had come. He wrapped himself in anchor chains and jumped into t h e sea. A moment of ripples. A mome n t of bubbles. And then all was still. Gasparilla had gone to his final resting p lace. The members of his wicked crew were hung to the yard arms of the s loop. All but the cabin boy


THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS 45 and ten men left behind to guard the captives. They fled to the mainland and were never seen again. The treasure of Gasparilla has never been discovered. His palatial home has disappeared. But fishermen say that sometimes in the dead of the night, off Gasparilla Island, when the waves are singing a soft lullaby to the weary and the wind is whispering sweet messages through the palms, the phantom vesse l s of the pirate fleet arise from their ocean resting places and pursue, as in days of old, the ghost ships of the merchantmen. That's the legend of Gasparilla. And a fascinating legend it is indeed. So fascinating that the good people of Tampa have not permitted it to die. Each spring Gasparilla is resurrected by the exclusive Gasparilla Society of Tampa and relives his sins as a buccaneer, to the plaudits of the multitudes. Unfortunately, the legend cannot be verified. And, strangely enough, Gasparilla Island bore that name at least eight years before the pirate Gasparilla stole the Spanish jewels and launched his piratical career. Boca Gasparilla and likewise Boca Captiva and San ibel Island appeared on the map of Florida published by Bernard Romans in 1774. Karl Bickel, author of The Mangrove Coasts contends that Gasparilla Island was probably named for a Friar Gasper whose name appeared often in old Spanish records because of his work as a missionary in the Charlotte Harbor area. The legend first appeared in print in an advertising folder published by the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railroad in 1911. It was written by F. R. Feland of a New York advertising firm. Feland insists that he did not invent the tale; he said he heard it at Boca Grande and merely wrote what he was told The entire legend is based upon a yarn allegedly told by one of the most colorful characters who ever lived on the Florida West Coast, John Gomez, who died July 12, 1900, at the exceedingly ripe old age of one hundred and twenty-two. A short, heavy-se t man with a mop of curly white hair which had once been black, Gomez often came to Fot-t Myers and regaled everyone who would listen to his tales He said he had been born in Portugal in 1778 and moved to France with his family when a youth. Napoleon once patted him on the back and predicted he would become a good soldier. Soon after the Napoleon incident he signed up as a cabin boy on a vessel bound for Charleston, S. C., and deserted the ship the first day after it reached port. From there he went to St. Augustine, in 1794, while the Spanish flag waved over the fort. Then he took to sea again. Gomez never talked much about the next thirty-five years of his life. But he threw out dark hints about his having been a slaver, even a pirate, and that he had seen many strange sights and gone through strenuous times. From 1835 to 1838, he insisted, he fought in the Seminole War and was with General Zachary Taylor in the battle of


46 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS Okeechobee on Christmas day, 1937. Sometime after the war ended, he settled in the Ten Thousand Islands on Panther Key and during the Civil War had his hand in blockade runnin g Shortly thereafter he took unto himself a wife and from then on led a precarious existence as a fisherman and beachcomber. To help him make ends meet, the county commissioners of Lee County pai d him eight dollars a month for many years after he had become a century old. A tough old rascal Gomez did not die in bed but while f ishing for mullet off Panther Key His foot got tangled in the anch o r rope and when h e threw the anchor overboard, down went. John to the bottom of the G ul f, all122 years of him. During his lifetime Gomez was made the subject of scores of news paper and magazine arti c l es. He was also mentioned in many books But none of the writers ever reported that Gomez had ever said anything about Gasparilla. The legend popped up on l y after Gomez was dead and gone and could no longe r affirm or deny its authenticity. That doesn't m e an, of course, that he never told it. Perhaps he did. Who knows? In any event, the Gasparilla legend sounds as plausi b l e as most other yarns about p irates who reportedly infested the waters off the south Florida coast. None has ever been verifi ed. But lack of verificati o n of the pirate tales has not stopped the search for buried treasure. Old timers say that almost every foot of the beaches of the islands of San C arloo Bay has been probed for pirates' chests. Perhaps treasure has been found. Perhaps it hasn't. We do not know. However, all that i s beside the point. Let's get back to the story of southwest F lorida-and the story of Fort Myers.


CHAPTER II A FAIR LAND IS LOST-AND WON AMERICANS REJOICED in 1821. Particularly Americans in Georgia Alabama and the Carolinas. The fair Province of Florida had been purchased from Spain and a vast region was opened for settlement and exploitation. But there were prior claimants to the land-the Indians. Remnants of tribes, once mighty, which had lived in Florida since the days before the conqu istadors. And other groups, far stronger, which had fled to Florida during the preceding century from the west and north as the French and English bore down upon them and too k their lands. Bands of Yemassees Choctaws, and Yuchis. The courageous :Mikasulds. And, much more numerous than all the rest, the Seminoles, the "free people," a tribe so numerous that Americans called all the Indians by that name. For all these Indians, Florida was home. They loved it. They could see no reason why they should give up their fields and forests, their herds of cattle, the Negro runaways who had come to them for safety and wete now their allies to the white invaders from the North. They listened stonily to proposals aimed at deporting them t o the West. When the Americans kept pressing down upon them, they resisted stubbornly and fought back, as men of courage do everywhere when im posed upon. The bloody Seminole War of 1836 to 1842 was the inevitabl e result. As every school c hil d knows, the conflict began with the Dade Massacre e ight miles north of Tampa on December 28, 1835. Major Francis L. Dade and one hundred and seven of his men were killed. The nation was enraged. Federal reinforcements were rushed in. F lorida volunteers joined the fray. Soon the Seminoles and their allies were greatly outnumbeni d. But they continued to fight. And, being Indians, they fought in Indian fashion. They ambushed small bands of whites a n d burned isolated frontier homes, viciously killing and scalping w h ole families. Occasionally the Indians met the whites in open battle. The last time was on Christmas Day, 1837. In the valley of the Kissimmee, a few miles north of Lake Okeechobee bands of :Mikasukis and Seminoles fought it out with troops commanded by Colonel Zachary Taylor. Old Rough and Ready, as he was known, had 1,067 men. The number of Indian warriors is not known. The Battle of Okeechobee lasted all day. Twenty-six soldiers were killed and 112 wounded. B u t by sheer force .of numbers and splendid bravery, the troops made the Indians flee into the a l most impenetrable swamps and marshlands of the Glades. Colonel Taylor pursued the Indians to a great Indian mound a little east of the lower edge of Lake Okeechobee. There he destroyed a


48 THE SToRY OF FoRT MYERS Mikasuki settlement but the trail of the India ns vanished in the sawgrass and Taylor went no further. American soldiers pierced the Indian territory south of the Caloosa hatchee for the first time soon after the Battle of Okeechobee. A strong for ce commanded by Col. Persifer F. Smith left Fort Basinge r, on the Kis sim mee River o n January 8, 1838, headed so uthwes t ward, crossed t he Cjlloosahatch ee and proc eeded on to Punta Rassa, at the mo uth of the river. On this line of march three supply depots were establis hed two at the place he crosse d the river about half way between the present towns of Alva and LaB ell e and the third at Punta Rassa. He named t h e depot on the north bank of the river, at the crossing point, Fort T. B. Adams, after an offi cer who had been wound e d in the Bat tle o f Okee chobee, and the so uth bank depot, Fort D ena ud after Pierre Den aud a French trapper who h a d ventured into the wilds years before and had established a small India n trading post. The depot at Punta Rassa was named Fort Dulany after the officer left in comman d, Capt. William Dulany. Colonel Smith then retraced hi s steps to Fort D enaud and fro m there struck straight south into the Big Cypre ss where he establi shed another supply depot whi ch he named Fort Keai s. Hi s col umn then swept east ward throug h the Glades and then northward again to the head of the Caloosahatchee. There still another depot was established, Fort Thomp son, named i n honor of Lieut. Col. Alexander R. Thompson who was kille d in the battle of Okee chob e e. A t these so-called for ts, the soldie r s slept in tents and at none of them was there more than a small b lockhou se and a warehouse for the storage of supplies. All were abandoned when the rainy season set in. Colo n e l Smith fought n o engagements on his hist oric march in to the heart of the Indian country due to the fact that the In dians success fully e luded him. Ho wever, hi s m e n overran many small Indian settle ment s which they d es troyed. The Battle of Okeechobee and Colonel Smith's long march were crushi n g blows to the Indians and later in 1838 they suffered many other severe r everses elsewhere on the peninsu la. Steadily increasing numbers of them were captured o r forced to surrender. By the end of the year m ore than two thousand of their men, wom e n a nd children had been r ounde d up and deported to the West. The spirit of the Indians was not broken but they were weakened and discouraged. Therefor e, they listened eagerly to a proposal made to them in May, 1 889, which seemed to offer them a chance to lay down their arms with ho nor. The propo sa l was advanced by :Major G e neral Alexander Macomb, comma nder-in-chief of the A merican Army, who came from Washington "in an effort to end the war without fmther fighti ng. The general sent messengers throughout the peninsula urging the chiefs to meet at Fort King to negotiate a new treaty-a treaty which woul d permit the Indians


THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 49 to remain in Florida. With pathetic hope, the chiefs assembled. They were headed by Chief C hitto-Tustenugger, principal chief of the Seminoles Anothe r Seminole chief r espo nded to the call-a chief wh ose name was to appear often in the history o f Fort :Myers. He was Hollatter-M icco, better known as Billy Bowlegs, not because of bowed leg's, for Billy's legs were strong and straight, but because he had a remote French ancestor named Beaulieu which became contracted so mehow or other to Bolek. When Billy pronounced the name it sounded like "Bowlegs," so that was what whites called him. The meeting at Fort King was held :May 17. With every appearance of sincerity General Macomb told the a ssemble d chiefs that the govern ment had decided they should be allowed a large part of Florida for thei r very own, a reservation where they would not be molested by the whites, where they and their childre n could live in peace and happiness. The territory General Macomb said would be set aside for the Indians embraced a large part of southwest Florida: from Charlotte Harbor and Peace River on the north, to the center of L'ake Okeechobee and Shark River on the east, and to the Gulf on the west. One of the fairest sections in all Florida. I t included practically all of what is now Lee County and major portions of Charlotte, G l ades, Hendry and Collier counties. Joyfully the Semino l es and their allie s accepted the proposal. At last they had b een granted what they had been fighting for-a homeland in F lorida where they cou l d remain forever. One after another the chiefs promised that their tribes would move into the reservation within sixty days. The bloody Seminole War seemed to be ended. Settlers began streaming back to frontier homes they had abandoned more than two Fishermen who settled on the Caloosahatchee and on the keys nearly a century ago lived in palmetto-thatched hou..,s such as this.


50 THE S T O R Y OF FORT M YERS years before. Seminoles began moving toward the reservati on. Sold i ers started packi ng up their kits and countin g the days until they cou ld go home again. According to the terms of the treaty, a trading house was to be established within the reservation for the conv enience of the Indians. To establish suc h a post, Lieut. Col. William Selb y Harney sailed up the Caloosahatchee early in July with a forcP. of twenty-si x dragoons, armed with Colt rifles. Si x civilians also were in the party: Dalham, who was to operate the post; two clerks, M o rgan and Smith; H. McCarty, the pilot and two Negro interpreters, Primu s and Sampson A large supp ly of Indian goods was carried along. Harney selecte d a site for the trading house on the north bank of the Caloosaha tchee about nine mil es d o wn the river f rom the present site of Fort My ers. At this point, a swash channel ran close to shore affording an exc ellent spo t for boats to dock. 1'ents were pitched and a camp set up. Work then was started on erecting a large Jog building for the trader. The construction work had barely beg un when Indians appeared. They were friendly and spent hours talking with the dragoon s and Trader Dalham. Then one day t hey failed to appear. No one was surprised or gave their absenc e a sec ond t hough t. Howe ver, the failure of the Indians to make another fri endly visit was deadly significant. It resulted from their having received a m essage which for them was tragic. A runner had come in from Fort King with the shocking word that General Mac omb had not meant what h e saidthat instead of the reservation being permanent it was only to be temporary. Soldiers were saying at t h e fort, the runner added, t hat the I n dians were to be captured as soon as they moved into the reservation, and then dep.orted. The Indians were furious. They had been lied to again, dece i ved again. Just as they had been so often lied to and decei ved before. A council of war was immediately ca lled. Messe ngers were sent out to all the settl e ments in the Glades and Big Cypress. Chiefs came in with their warriors And this time two of t h e pl'incipal leader s of the Spani s h Indians, Chekik a and Hospetarke, joined in the discussion s. They had not taken part in the war before but now they were arou sed The establishment on the Caloos ahatchee of the trading house, which had every appearance of being a fort, was a menace which had to be removed. I t was too close to the heart of their domain. Fighting speeches were made by A rpeika, the c rafty Mika s uki chi ef known t o the whites as Old Sam J ones, and by O tulka, a r evengef ul Creek called the Prophet, whom the Indian s believed held c ommunio n with the Great Spil'it 'fhe words of Otulka and Arpeika stung like wasps. So did those of Billy Bowlegs most hot-headed of the Semino les. The warriors seethed with anger toward the whites. On ce more they were ready to go to war. Ready and eager.


THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 51 Back on the Caloosa hatchee, Harney had no inkling that the Indians had again taken up arms. That day, Wednesday, July 21, he was so satisfied with the way work was progressing that he went fishing. He did not return until after dusk. After eating he went to bed. He said later he had intended to pos t sentries but was so tired that he neglected to do so . The error was fatal. Just before dawn the day the post was attacked by a force of more than two hundred hate-crazed Indians led by Chekika, Hospetarke and Billy Bowlegs. The warriors came in from all directions, shrieking and shooting. The surprise was complete. No effectual resistance could be made. Some of the dragoons were stabbed to death in their beds while struggling to get out from under their mosquito nets. Others were shot down as they groped for their rifles. Colonel Harney, clad only in his drawers and shirt, managed to escape and so did eight o f his dragoons. In the darkness, the colonel was separated from his men. He swam to a r owboat anchored in the river. Just as he picked up the oars he heard a man swimming in the water. Cautiously he rowed toward him and discovered he was a n injured dragoon. The colonel pulled him aboard and then r owed away, down the river. Seven other dragoons succeeded in fleeing from the camp. They swam to a sloop anchored in the river and got away. Near Punta Rassa they were met by the s loop "Jane," from Tampa, on which there were three men, armed only with one rifle. Turning back, they were met by the rowboat in which Harney and the wounded soldier were escaping. It was now broad daylight and Colonel Harney realized that nothing could be done then toward rescuing any survivors o f the massacre So his small party went ashore at the abandoned army supply depot at Punta Rassa and made camp. The wounds of the men were dressed. Late that night Harney started back toward the trading post, accompanied by three men, the others having been left behind to guard the wounded. The trip up the river was made with muffled oars. They landed a half mile below the post, crawled through mangroves to solid ground, and.then stealthily made their way to the scene o f the massacre. No Indians were seen. The bodies of eight white men were found. They had all been scalped. Returning to the boat, Harney and his men rowed cautiously up the Caloosahatchee. After going several miles they saw the light of an Indian camp on the north shore. Edging closer, they soon discerned Indians moving about the fi re. Boisterous noises were heard. The savages apparently had taken with them two barrels of whiskey from Trader Dalham's stock and were celebrating their victory Believing that many of the Indians would be dead drunk, Harney talked over with his men the advisability of making a surpt;se attack on the camp to get revenge. But the others advised against it saying they were hopelessly outnumbered and had only one rifle. So just before daybreak, Harney and his' nien departed. The survivors of the massacre later went to Tampa.


52 TnE STORY OF FoRT MYERS Official reports revealed that eightee n dragoons, Trader Dalham and his two c lerks, and Pilot McCarty had been kille d. The t w o Negro interpreters were captured but later were released bl' the Indians. The bodies of fourteen of the v i ctims were never found. The reports also showed that the Indians had taken all o f Dalham's goods valued at $3,000 a n d $1,000 in cash. They also took all the property of the so ldiers inc luding fourteen Colt rifl es with ammuni tion When L ieut. W K. H anso n, commander at Fort Mellon, learned of t he massacre h e seized forty-s ix Seminol es who had com e to hi s post for provi sions and shipped t h e m to Charl eston, S. C., from which point they were later deported to Arkansas. Years late r a Jetter was fou nd in the War Department which indi cated that General :Macomb had indeed dec eived the Indians. While he led them to believe that they cou ld have the reservatio n forever, he really intended it to be only temporary. This was shown by hi s statement: "Undet existing circum stances I did not think it nec essary t o enter into a formal written treaty ... Nor did I think it politic to say anything abou t their emigration leavin g that subject open to suc h future arrangements as the government may think proper to make." The letter was written May 22, 1839. T h e massacre on the Caloosahatchee stunned all Florida. Settlers who had returned to their home now ab andoned them again and fled for safety T he militia was ca lled out to guard settlements as far north as Tall ahassee. The entire territor y was panic s t ricken. Frenzied demands were made for the federal government to send in enough troops to exterminate all the Indians. Next to the Dade Massacre the massacre on the Caloosahatchee was the worst which had occurred in Florida and everyone insisted t hat it be avenged Warfare against the Indians was resumed on a scale n ever equalled in the past. The troops in F lorida no w were under the command of Zachat'Y 'l'aylor, who had been promoted to t h e rank of brigadiet general. He ordered a ll -out action, determined to prosec ute the war to the b itter end. Before General Macomb made his ill-fated peace offer, Taylor had worked out a plan d ividing the country into twenty-mile squares and placi ng a blockho use as near the center of each as practicabl e. He now put this plan into effect. H e es tablished fifty-three new posts and ord ered wagon r oads constructed deep into the Glades. Expe ditions were sent out to destroy e very Indian settlement that could be found. As part of his campaign, General Taylor re-established the four forts on the Caloosahatchee which had been abandoned in the late s pring of 1838-Dulany, Denaud T. B. Adams, and Thompson. They all served as bases of operations dee p into Indian territory. From them troops moved into the Big Cypress and Everglades, ferreting out Indian settleme n ts and burning them, and destroyi ng crops the Indians had planted.



54 TuE SToRY oF FoRT MYER S Suspecting that they might be the same Indians who had massacred his own men more than a year before, h e d ete rmined to track them down. With a forc e of two hundred men in thirty long, light Indian canoes, Harney went up the Miami River on December 4, 1840, and struck west ward into the Glades. For f i ve days the party p ushed through the sawgrass, searching hammocks. They found three tiny settlem ents, none of which contained more than several families. Indian men in the settle ments could no t escape without deserting their wi ves and childre n. They chose to remain. They resisted but wer e overpowered and captured. Altoge ther, Harney's forces captured six men, seve n women and many small children. One of the men was big, l ean Chief Chekika w h o had led the band of Spanish Indians at the Caloosahatchee massacre. Harney ordered the men hung. What followed wa. s descri bed by Capt. John T. Sprague in his century-old "History of the F lorida War." Said Sprague: "With s ullen i ndifferenc e the Indians awaited their fate, asked for no m e rcy, but manifested to the last momen t their b itter contempt and malignity towards the white man." History does not record what Harney did with the w omen and children he captured. With the hanging of Cheki k a and five of his warriors, the Spanish Indians, last kn own remnant of the once mighty C aloosa tribe, pass fro m the pages of history. The Fina l Stages of th e War Deeper and dee p e r into the Big Cypress and Everglades the Indians were driven during the winter of 1840-41. They were not given a moment's peace. The whites closed in fro m every sid e penetrating track less swamps and marshes to find thei r hammock homes and gardens. Harried and hounded, many gav e up the unequal struggle and surrendered. By autumn of 1841 not many more than a thousand Indian s r e mained in all Florida, including women and childre n. They were scattered over an area far large r than the state of Conn ecticut. No l o nger were they a real me n ace to white s upremacy Neverthel ess, the bloody Seminole War was not yet brought to a close. The fighting was continued simply because thousands of persons had no desire to see hostilities cease. They had a financial interest in the conflict. Wealthy p lantation owners were receiving fat sums each year from the federal government for labor their slaves performed for the troops. Hundreds of familie s of humbler means were receiving army rations. Volunteers who went with the federal troops were being paid in good col d cash F antasti ca lly high wages were being pajd t o c ivilian employees of all kind s. Grafte rs and profiteers were having a merry time, bleeding the government in wondrous style. As Historian Sprague r eported: "Some of every class, every profession, the opulent as well as the humble


THE STORY OF FORT 1\llYERS 55 ... had a pecuniary interest in the prolongation of the war. Money flowed in abundance." Not wanting this golden flood to ebb, Floridians joined with greedy souls from other states in demanding that the war continue until the very last "bloodthirsty" redskin was exterminated or deported to the West. The government and the nation as a whole was sick and t ired of this war which seemed to never end but the demands for annihilation of the Indians or their uncondi t ional surrender were so strident and so insistent, and came from such influential sources, that Washington officialdom felt they could not be ignored. S o the war was prolonged. Col. W. J. Worth, then commanding the federal troops in Florida, in mid-summer of 1841 ordered an intensification of the drives into the Big Cypress and Everglades from the n orth, w est and south. Large, flat bottomed cypress canoes were used to navigate the shallow waters. Few Indians were captured on these raids simply because few of them were ieft. But the troops succeeded in devastating Indian territory. The record of one such expedition is interesting. It was made late in 1841 by Lieut. John T.l\'lcLaugh!in. He reported: "With 200 men we ascended Shark River into the Everglades. Here we met Captain Burke of Artillery, with 67 men ... Joining forces, we proceeded to Te-at-ka-hatchee and discovered two Indians in a canoe. The Indians escaped but we secured their packs, cooking utensils, provisions and their canoe. We followed them three days until the trail was lost. After destroying the growth of their fields, consisting of 50 to 60 acres of pumpkins, beans and peas, etc ., we continued to sea." To conduct more raids such as this one, Colonel Worth sent heavy reinforcements to the forts on the Caloosahatchee. Fort Dulany, at Punta Rassa, was made the principal base, supplies being unloaded there for transshipment up the river to Fort Denaud and Fort Thomps on. To facili tate operations, many improvements were made to the Fort Dulany establishment. Large barracks and warehouses were constructed and a hospitai was built. Within a month the fort was rated as one of the best in south Florida. But Fort Dulany was doomed to destruction-not by the Indians but by the elements. On Tuesday, October 19, 1841, it was wiped out almost completely by a hurricane, one of the worst which e\rer hit the West Coast. All the buildings were demolished by the raging wind and the water which swept over the entire point, covering it many feet deep. Two soldiers were drowned. The others escaped by fleeing to higher ground before the storm reached its peak. The steamer Iris was blown ashore and left stranded in the middle of the fort grounds. Capt. H. II'IcKavitt, who was in command of four companies of the Eighth Infantry stationed at the fort, reported to Colonel Worth that his establishment had been so thoroughly destroyed that it wou ld have to be entirely rebuil t He asked for instructions. From Fort Brooke at Tampa, Colonel Worth sent word back to Captain McKavitt to go up


56 THE S'l'ORY OF FORT MYER S the Caloosahatchee and rebuild the fort at a place where hurricane damage was not apt to be so devastating. Obeying orders, Captain McKavitt boarded a sloop and cruised up the river. He sought a spot which would be close to the Gulf and have water deep enough for schooners to come in, and yet would have sufficient elevation to be safe from tidal waves He finally came to a place which he likeda hammock densely covered with towering palms and pines and moss-draped oaks. He landed and camped there overnight. He learned that the land was high and dry and the air well cooled by a breeze blowing off the broad Caloosahatchee. Best of all, from a comfort standpoint, he discovered that there were almost no mosquitoes. Convinced that he had located an ideal site for the fort, Captain McKavitt returned to Punta Rassa. On the following day, November 4, he brought his infantrymen back up the river and started immediately to erect fort buildings. Captain McKavitt named the new post Fort Harvie in memory of Lieut. John M. Harvie one o f his officers in the 8th Regiment who died September 7, 1841, a victim of malaria. Fort Harvie was located on the present site of Fort Myers. During the following winter Fort Harvie was the scene of great activity. BarrlJ,cks, warehouses and a small hospital were constructed and the fort became the base for all operations south of the river. But on March 21, 1 842, Fort Harvie was abandoned. The long Semino le War was drawing to a close. Chief Coacoochee, called the Wildcat, the most brilliant Indian leader since Osceolo, had been deported to the West the preceding November with three hundred of his peopl e and in February two hundred and thirty more Indians of all tribes had been rounded up and shipped away. Now, less than six hundred Indians remained in the entire territory and all excuse for prolonging the war was gone. The War Department ordered the army out, f orts were abandoned and troops g leefull y began returning to their homes. Only one thing remained to be done: come to an agreement with leaders of the remaining Indians regarding the place they were to liv e A meeting was called for August 14 at Fol-t Brooke and word was sent out for representatives of the various tribes to take part in the negotia tions. Few responded. The still powerful head of the Mikasukis Old Sam Jones, refused to leave his hiding place in the Glades Otulka, the Prophet, had lost his power. Most of the other chiefs were either dead or had been deported. The only important chief who still was active was Billy Bowlegs the same Billy Bowlegs who led a band of Seminoles in the Caloosahatchee massacre in 1 839. With several lesser chiefs, Billy Bowlegs went to the Fort Brooke conference. Defiant and haughty, he refused to listen to any talk abou t deportation of the remaining Indians. Finally, after lengthy talks, arrangements were worke d out for the Indians. to occupy, at least


THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 57 temporarily, the almost identical territory General Macomb had said they could have on May 17, 1839: southwest Florida from Charlotte Harbor and Peace River on the north, the center of Lake Okeechobee and Shark River o n the east, and the Gulf of Mexico on the west. The Indians accepted the arrangement without hesitation. The war was now declared officially ended. Colonel Worth reported to the War Department that only 301 Indians still remained in Florida. His estimate undoubtedly was too low. Even so, the once powerful Seminoles and their allies were practically decimated. While the war lasted, 3,930 were deported to the West and hundreds more were killed in battle or died from wounds, starvation or disease, The seven-year war cost the federal government forty million dollars. It also cost the lives of 1,466 membe1s of the federal army and several hundred Florida volun t eers. Time was to prove that the official ending of the war did not bring a comp lete end to hostilities. The conflict was to be resumed. Anti-lndim& Feeling Cominued Few persons in Florida rejoiced when the end of the war was officially announced August 14, 1842 The conclusio n of hostiliti es meant that the federal government would stop spending millions in Florida each year and no one welcomed the prospect of the drying up of the golden flood Moreover, no one welcomed the news that a few hundred Indians were to be allowed to remain and that a reservatio n had been assigned to them. The fact that Colo nel Worth had plainly stated that the reservation arrangement was only temporary did not soften the blow. Neither did the fact that the arrangement would undoubtedly save human lives American lives. The feeling against. the Indians was so bitter that almost everyone insisted that every Indian should be deported or killed. Public wrath was not greatly appeased by an act passed by Congress on August4, 1842. This act, called the Armed Occupation Act, stipulated that 160 acres anywhere south of Palatka and Gainesville woQid be give n to each new settler willing to bear arms to defend his home for five years. The purpose of this act of course was to encourage homesteading in the former war zone by hardy pioneers. In passing it, members of Congress argued that the possibility of another costly Indian war would be eliminated once the upper peninsula became thickly settled, and that rapid settlement could best be promoted by giving part of the public domain to persons willing to undertake their own defense. The importance of the act has often been greatly exaggerated. The truth i s that it had relativel y little effect upon the de1e!opment of Florida. True enough several thousand persons migrated southward into the peninsula during the 1840's from north and west Florida and from


58 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS Georgia and Alabama. But comparatively few of them applied f o r homestead lands. Most of the pioneers had never even heard of the Armed Occupation Act-they trekked southward simply because they knew the Seminole War was over and that a vast territory now was open for settlement by those who came first to take it. It i s quite possible that the Armed Occupation Act would have accelerated development more than it did i f it had had a longer life. But it only Jived one year. No applications for land were accepted after August 3, 1843. The free land measure was killed because of vitriolic opposition. The plantation aristocracy of the South and reactionary northern Whigs ganged up against it, contending that people who did not have enough money to buy land did not deserve to get any. They branded the act as paternalistic and communist ic And lobbyists for big land speculators who wanted to grab the public domain for themselves put on the pressure. As a result, no extension of the deadline for making applications was granted and the act died a non-publicized death. More than a small part of the opposition to the measure came from plantation owners of north Florida and from interests allied to them. The time was rapidly approaching when Florida was to be admitted to the Union as a slave state and already there was tal k of soon splitting it up into two slave states, one of which would include the entire peninsula. To have the land occupied by non-s lave -owning settlers would never, never do. The slave owners had other plans. During the Seminole War they learned for the first time about the incredibly rich, incredibly deep muckland of the Everglades; millions of acres as fertile, they were convinced as the Valley of the Nile; land which, when drained, would be ideal for the growing of sugar cane and rice, better even than the richest river bottoms and deltas in the southland; land which would yield lush crops and return great profits when worked by slaves. The burning desire of the slave owners to convert the endless expanses of the Glades into vast sugar and rice plantations was what gave birth to shrill, insistent demands that the Glades country be drained and reclaimed by the federal government or state. However, the slave owners were smart enough to realize that they could not openly back the drainage proposal. The project must have wide public support before it could be approved and public support could be obtained only by making it appear that the drainage would benefit the general public and not just a favored few. So the slave owners carefully concealed their moves and worked behind the scenes But through their friends in public office and in the ne'''spapers they obtained results. It wasn't long before everyone was talking Everglades drainage and boosting for it. The propagandists rarely mentioned that the niucklands of the Glades could be utilized profitllbly, at that time, only by growing sugar


Tl:lE STORY OF FORT MYERS 59 cane or rice on plantations with gangs of. Negro slaves to do the work. One of the propagandists declared that within five years after completion of the drainage the region would have a population of 100,000 souls or more He did not add that a great majority of those 100,000 souls would be the souls of black slaves. One of the results of the propaganda had a direct bearing on the history of Fort Myers. It kept alive and greatly intensified existing enmity against the Indians and culminated in the warning that Florida would never stand for giving even a square foo t o f that precious Glades land to the Indians as a reservation. It also added venom to earlier demands that the reservation already allotted temporarily to the Indians should be taken back and that every Indian should be killed or deported to prevent more reservation nonsense in the future. The propaganda against the Indians became louder and louder, more and more hysterical. Congress was bombarded with it. "The Indians must go! They are menacing settlers' Jives! They are a shiftless, worth less lot and are a menace to the state! They are holding Florida back! Remove the Indians and Florida will grow as Texas is growing and California! The Indians must go!" Unquestionably the Indians had countless faults and many v ices. They were not particularly loveable characters. And during the war they had been savagely vicious and cruel and had committed many crimes which could not be excused even on the grounds that they had been hard pressed, and often lied to and deceived, and had lost their sense of reason. On the other hand it is also unquestionably true that after the war ended most of their misdemeanors and crimes were greatly exaggerated for propaganda purposes. Every time an Indian got steamed up l)n vile liquor sold to him illegally by an unscrupulous trader and went out and stole a hog, or robbed a hen roost or beat up the rascal who got him drunk, the propagandists made it appear as though he had gone on the warpath and all Florida was again imperilled. His villanous actions were ballyhooed throughout the state and the reverberations reached Washington. Thus it was on July 17, 1849, a great outcry arose when a trader named Whiddon was killed by five Indians at hi s trading post on Peace River. No one inquired what motive the Indians had for committing the murder. No one asked whether Whiddon had cheated them beyond endurance or sold them so much rotten whiskey that they went amuck. The motive didn' t matter. Neither did the fact that Billy Bowlegs captured the guilty Indians and brought them in for 'p unishment. The hue and cry went on. A few more widely separated crimes were reported throughout the state and always the Indians were held responsible. The cries for ven geance became so bitter and so intense that they could no longer be ignored by Washington. The War Department instructed Major Ge neral


60 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS David E Twiggs, then in comman d of the Federal troops at Fort Brooke to take action. One of the first things he did was to order the re-establishment of a fort on the Ca loosahatchee. Fort Myers Is Established Because General Twiggs ordered the Caloosahatchee fort built in 1850, the City o'f Fort Myers exists today. Theref o re, the text of his order is of h istoric i nterest. I t was issue d through h i s ass istant adjutant general W. W Mackall at his headquarters on Tampa Bay on February 14 and read as fo llows: "Brevet Major Ridgely, 4th Artillery, will take command of two companies of artillery heretofore detailed and proceed to the Cal oosa River. He will select a suitabl e place for the establishment of a post and immediately throw up such light works as may secure his stores, and remove f r om the Indians any temptation to which his isolated position may give rise. The post will be called Fort Myers, by order of Major General Twiggs ." The general had an excellent reason for naming the new fort Fort Myers. H i s daughter Marion was in Jove with the gallant officer Col. Abraham C. Myers who was then chief quartermaster of the Department of Florida. Marion Twiggs had met the colonel in Texas when her father was commande r of the federal forces there and his dashing manner and merry sm ile had won her heart. They were soo n to be married. Genera l Twiggs, to honor his prospective son-inJaw and please his daughter, decided that it would be fitting and proper to give the name Myers to the fort. Co lonel Myers had an interesting, colorful c a reer. He was born in Georgetown, S C., May 14, 1811, the son of Abraham Myers, an attorney and a descendant of Moses Cohen, the first rabbi of Charleston, S. C. He entered the United States Military Academy from South Carolina on July 1 1828, and was graduated July 1 1 833. Appointed brevet second lie utenant, he was stationed at Baton Rouge. Shortly after the outbreak of the Se minole War, he was transferred t o Florida and served there for two years. InN ove mbe r, 1839 he became a captain in the quartermaster department and, after a brief service in the West, returned to F lorid a where he remained until the war was o f ficia lly ended. Transferred to the West again he served under General Zachary Taylor in Texas and northern Me x ico and was breveted majo r for gallant and meritorious con d uct in the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de Ia Palma H e then was assigned to serve under General Winfield Scott and b reveted colonel for gallant conduct at Chu r ubosco and was chie f quartermaster of the Army of :Mexico from April t o Jun e, 1848. During the next thirteen years, s t ill in the quartermaster servi c e, he was stationed at various posts in the Southern States. Seve n years of that period were spent in Florida.


THE STORY OF FoRT Mn:Rs 61 While in Florida, Colonel Myer s was married to 1\'larion Twiggs and their first child was named John Twiggs Myers. This son later became a brigadier general in the United States Marine Corps At the outbreak of the War Between the States, Colonel J\hi "'I II< -\ flt II .,..._ o<:A-"11 .... ...... ,.,, ''""""" oloo .... ,flri- .... ...., ,.,,.,. ... ._ .-. "'"'" _., .... u,... '"-",.''*'"' .. .,.,. "" "" il-' ,_ ... ..,.. ... _, .. r ..... n ..... ,., ... ., ""'-4..,.,, '"-"'" .. lllo\r t-.1, ,._ 1. .,,.,. " " I o tl .,:t' ,. .. o OO'< !.t'-oh o)lho lw'i ' .. _,., 1k-' t.o""'io"' ,,.. "" .. I""""" ',.,..,,., ., !\"')> ,\ool,. Co,. o lf'-)y Dt .Utult DoyJ 1 'tdlo.flll,&tr< Fort Myers got ils fir&t national publicity in Frank Jllustrated Weekly which on October 2, 1858, published the above picture of a Fort Mye rs' guard hous e and an article regarding its construction. The guard house waa ju$t one of fifty-thrc(!: structures lare-e and small. locded within the tort stockades.


62 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS Lawton who had even less success in supplying the army's needs. Grieving over h is dismis .sal from the quartermaster's office, he went to Georgia where he lived in retirement until the close of the war. He then went to Europe where he lived in various countries until1877 when he returned to the States. He died in Washington, D. C., on June 20, 1889. The New Fort Is Establi$hed Obeying the orders of General Twiggs, :Major Ridgely sailed from Fort Brooke, at Tampa, on Monday, February 1 8, with two companies of artillery. The "expeditionary force" arrived at Punta Rassa late Tuesday afternoon and pitched its tents on the site of Fort Dulany, which had been demolished b y the hurricane of October 19, 18 41 and then abandoned. Early Wednesday morning the artillerymen re-embarked and sailed up the broad Caloosahatchee. Fifteen miles up the river Major Ridgely spied the ruins of Fort Harvie. Major Ridgely landed and looked the site over. He found that the buildings which had been erected there in the winter of 1841-42 had been almost completely destroyed by fires, probably set by revengeful Indians. Despite the fact that the buildings had been burned, Major Ridgely decided to use the site for the new fort he had been ordered to build. It was the most beautiful spot he had seen along the river and its high, dry ground made him sure that it would be free from miasmic diseases, the scourge of the Americans who waged war against the Indians. The major ail>o was pleased with the towering palms and pines, and the mo ss draped oaks which stood beyond. A tiny creek .trickled through the hammock and when Major Ridgely tasted the water he found that it was fresh and good. The site for the fort determined, the major ordered his men ashore. They made camp and shortly after noon, the top branches of a tall, slender pine tree were cut off, a rope was hung and from the improvised flag pole the American flag was unfurled in the b r eeze. That was on Wednesday, February 20, 1850. Fort Myers was born. Major Ridgely had brought enough provisions to keep his force supplied for a fortnight. But none of the salt meat he had in his stores was touched for several days. For supper the first night, his men had fish freshly caught in the river. In le s s than an hour, eight of the soldiers had brought in enough trout and red snapper to feed the two com panies. Cooked over the camp fires, they tasted delicious Nex t morning, sentries reported that they had seen no signs of Indians but that they had spied at least a dozen deer a li ttle after dawn going to a pond about a quarter mile away to drink. They said they also had seen many wild turkeys. :Major Ridgely detailed two squads to go out on a hunting expedition, cautioning them to keep a sharp watch for Indians while looking for game. They brought in fou r deer and many


THE STORY Of FORT MYERS 63 t u rkeys. After that, however, little game could be found near camp, the presence of so many men having fright e ned the wild animals and game b irds away. But there never was a shortage of fish, or of oysters, clams and tur tles. As in the days of the Caloosas several centuries before, the s upply seemed inexhaustib l e. For several weeks the soldiers stationed at Fott Myers were kept busy constructi n g barracks, officers' quarters, warehouses, a n d stables. Major Ridgely had not brought a n y horses when he first came but they arrived a week later and by that time stables for them had been provided. All the b\lildings erected first at the fort were of a makeshift variety, thatched with palmetto fronds. More than a year elapsed before they were replaced by more substantially built, permanent structures. Indians began coming t o the fort a few days after the soldiers landed. Billy Bowlegs was one of the first arrivals. He was friendly and talked freely w i th Major Ridgely. He said that the Seminoles had established a n umber of settlements in the Big Cypress about thirty miles southeast of the camp and had planted gardens. They were satisfied with their new homes, he said, and wanted nothing more than to be left alone. The eyes of Billy Bow legs glinted when he said that his tribesmen did not want white people to come around and bother them. He was friendly but he obviously did not look favorabl y upon the establishment of the fort in the heart of what was supposed to be the Indian reservation. Undoubtedly be believed that. the government now intended to resume operations against his peopl e. He was not far wrong. Events were shap. ing up which were destined to make a renewal of hostilities inevitable. During the summer of 1850 both houses of Congress debated the so-called Swamp Land Act which stipulated that swamps and overflowed lands were to be given to Arkansas and othet states, includi n g Florida, for reclamation pur poses This was the measure which the slave ownets had long been working for. It held a promise that their fond dreams of converting the Everglades into great sugar cane and rice plantations 'might soon come true. How eve r, it could become a reality only if the Indians were ousted from the entire Glades region, thei r reservation taken from t hem, and surveys of the area made preliminary to carrying en drainage work. Consequently, more pressure had to be applied to get t h e Indians out. The ant i -Indian agitators soon had an excuse for putting on the heat. In August, 1850, a youth named Daniel Hubbard was murdered near Tampa. No one knew for sure who committed the crime but Indians were b lamed. Three young Seminoles were caught and taken to Fort Brooke. Before they cou l d be tried their dead bodies were found in the stockade, hanging from the limbs of trees. Did they hang themselves? Or were they lynched by Indian haters? What difference did it make? They were Indians; therefore, they were guilty! Once more the cry went up: "The Indians must go The Indians must go! Florida' s depends upon it!"


64 Tw STORY oF FonT MYERS Washington reacted by sending instructions to General Twiggs to take all steps necessary for restraining the Indians. Twigg'>, in turn, issued orders for the strengthening of the Fort Myers establi l>hment. Two more companies were sent to the Caloosahatchee, along with a force of carpenters, brick masons and Negro laborers. This time there was to be nothing make-shift about the fort. The general's orders plainly stated that only the best materials were to be used and that a ll buildings must be constructed according to plans approved by the chief quartermaster of Florida, none other than Colonel Myers, after whom the fort was named. During the next few years Fort Myers had a building boom, the first in the history of southwest Florida. Schoone r s and small steamers plied up and down the river. Negro laborers sweated as they cauied the building materials to where they would be u sed. Axes bit into tree trunks as the clearing around the fort was e xtended up and down the river. The first thing co n structed was a substantial wharf built nearly one thousand feet into the river a little west of what is now the foot of Hendry street. At the end of the wharf there was a large platform, nearly a hundred feet long, where boats docked. Supplies were taken to shore on a tram car for which rails were laid. After the wharf was completed building materials no longer had to be lightered ashore and construction work was speeded up. In rapid s ucce s sion new buildings were erected: quarters for the officers, barracks for the enliste d men, administration offices, warehouses for the storage of munitions and general supplies, a guard house, a black smith shop and a bake shop, a laundry, a house for the gardener, and stables for the horses and mu les. A sutler's store also was built. It was stocked and operated by James McKay Sr., of Tampa. At this store officers and enlisted men bought almost anything they wanted from chewing tobacco to the finest brands of wines and whiskeys. The framework for all the structures was made from heavy rough hewn timbers of yellow pine, jointed together with wooden pegs. Pa1t of one of the joints was salvaged e i g hty years later by R. V. Lee when the last of the fort buildings was d emolished to make way for a hot-dog establish ment. 'l'he wood was still as solid as when it came f r om the tree back in 1 851. The siding for all the buildings and also the flooring, doors and windows, and cedar shingles were all shipped in from Pensacola and Apalachicola. Brick also was brought i n to make chimneys and to construct huge cisterns, one f o r the hospital built near t h e river north of what is no w the foot of Royal Palm Avenue and the other just east of Hendry Street. This last cistern still emains, in 1 948 buried in the ground beneath the old W. M. Hendry building at the rear of the Bradford Ho tel. The hospital deserves s pecial menti on. It was started in 1851 but not completed until several years later. The building was two and o ne-


THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 65 half stories high and all the rooms were plastered. Capt. F. A. Hendry later said it cos t $30,000. So much government money was spent on the fort during the 1850's that the War Department ordered an inv estigation. Major J. McKinstry went to the fortin April, 1856, and, after a thorough probe, reported that in his opinion "unnecessarily expensive buildings have been erected and that a lavish and uncalled for expenditure of public money has obtained at that post, particularly for the hospital building." (See Frontispiece.) Major l\IcKinstry included with his report detailed drawings of all the structures. It showed that fifty-seven separate buildings, large and small had been constructed. Two of the structures may have aroused the major's ire especially: a bowling alley and a bathing pier and pavilion which extended five hundred feet out into the Caloosahatchee. Fort Myers rP as One of Florula's Finest As the number of buildings at the fort increased, more and more land was cleared of undergrowth and trees. Ultimately the clearing extended along the river from what i s now Hough Street west to Monroe and back to Second. Most of the buildings were strung along the waterfront from Fowler to Dean. The barracks, however, '''ere built farther back from the river, along the southern side of a large parade ground, about a hundr.ed yards inside the stockade. When finally completed the fort undoubtedly was one of the finest i n all south Florida. It was described years later by Capt F. A Hendry who visited it the first time in 1854. "At that time," said Captain Hendry, "there was not a single settler or trace of civilization in the surrounding country. The fort presented a beautiful appearance. The grounds were tastefully laid out with shell walks and dress parade grounds and beautifully adorned with many kinds of palms. The velvety lawn was carefully tended. Special care was given to the rock-rimmed river banks. I beheld the finest vegetable garden I ever saw: It was the property of the garrison and the vegetables were supplied tO the different. companies in any needed. Near the garden there was a grove of small orange trees. "The long lines of uniformed soldiers with white gloves and burnished guns, and the officers with their golden epaulettes and shining side arms were grand and magnificent to behold. "Captain McKay's sutlers store and the large commissary were well filled and tastily stored, amply supplyin g the soldiers' needs. The wagon yard and stables were exceptionally well kept and the horses and mules were as fat and sleek as corn, oats and hay could make them, lmd all were groomed to perfection. My pen would fail to describe the hospital with its light and airy rooms and so spotlessly clean. In that hospital scores of wounded and ill men were restored to health again. "The officers and men were very courteous and kind and a more comfortable and happy set of men I never saw."


66 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS Wives of so m e of the officers lived at the fort. One was the wife o f Capt. Winfield Scott Hancock who later became one of the North's most famous generals in the Civil War. Mrs. Hancock did not find the fort quite so perfect, from a woman's standpoint, as Captain Hendry pic tured it. "Our mail came from Tampa in a sail boat and, wind and waves permitting, was received once a week," Mrs. Hancock later wrote. "Commissary stores and other supplies came this same way and on one occasion, when a boat capsized with a load of stores, we were without some of the o f life for weeks. "Gail Borden was unknown then and milk could be obtained only from the half starved, miserable Florida cows. Fort Myers could not boast of even such an animal and Mr. Hancock made four separate at tempts before we could secure this luxury for our baby. The first cow strayed from the herd during the overland journey and never reached us; the second came by sea and while being landed at the dock fell overboard and broke her neck; the third was safely landed but wandered into the quicksand on the day of her arrival and so was lost Persistency was finally rewarded and the fourth attempt was successful. "During the rainy season the storms were frequently so severe and so prolonged that no fires could be lighted or cooking could be done in the camp. This was espe cially the case during the cold 'northers' peculiar to that time of tJ\e year. During this t ime I kept open house and the table was always stretched to i ts capacity. The officers drew lots for this privilege and chance decided who should be ou r guests at breakfast, luncheon and dinner.'' Legend has it that a daughter was born to Captain and Mrs. Hancock while they lived at the fort . If the legend is correct, the child undoubtedly was the first white child born in what is now the City o f Fort Myers. Legend also has it that on the day the child was born Captain H ancock planted a date seed in front of the officers' quarters, located on the site of the present post office. The seed sprouted and in the years which followed the date palm became tall and magnificent. The Hancock daughter reportedly died when sixteen years old and the general and his wife returned to Fort Myers several time s to see the palm because i t reminded them of her. However that may be, the date palm became one of Fort Myers' most famous landmar ks and when its heavy fronds dropped were picked up by tourists for use as walking canes or for hi s torical momentoes. The palm was blown over in a 1910 storm. In an effort to save it, Harvie E. Heitman propped it up again and braced it well. But in the hurricane of October 22, 1921, the palm was s o badly damaged that it had to be removed. The Cost of Seminole Removal Runs High Life was peaceful at Fort Myers during the first half decade of the 1850's. Little happened to break the monotony. General Twiggs had issued stern warnings to the garrison to do nothing to anger the Indians


THE STORY O F FORT l\IIYERS 67 and precipitate another war. About the only thing the soldiers had to do was drill a little, groom the horses and mules, keep the fort grounds immaculate, and spend their leisure time fishing, hunting and wishing they were back home again. The Indian-haters of Florida tried repea:tedly to persuade the federal government to resume hostilities against the redskins but Washington officials flatly refused. Memo r ies of the costly, bloody campaigns of the previous war were still too fresh. Washington was willing, however, t o meet the Florida demands half way. Federal officials would do what they could to remov e the Indian s from the state and send them to theW est. But only if the removal could be effected by peaceful means--and not by war. As a step in this direction the government in April, 1851 named a man named Luther Blake, of Alabama, as special Indian agent in Florida. Blak e had made q uite a reputation f o r himself by helping to r emove the Cherokee Indians to a reservation and Washington officials believed he migh t be able to duplicate the performance in Florida. The cost of Blake's services ran high. He was to be paid $10,000 for expenses in addition to a liberal reward for each Indian he could persuade to leave the state: $800 for each warrior and $450 for each woman and child. The idea probably was that the Indians were to 1eceive part of this money but, if so, B lake never bothered to mentio n it. Blake, a boasting, blustering fellow, arrived in Fort Myers for the first time in May, 1851. He spent a week or so around the fort talking to friendly Indians who came in. He accomplished nothing. Then he departed, saying he was going to to talk to the Seminoles on the reser.vation there. He said he would bring a group of them back with him to tell h ow much they liked the reservation and how well they were treated. After that, he said, it would be easy to persuade the Indians i n Florida to join their brothers in the West. Months passed Somewhere Blake kept o n living at go vernment expense. He did not return to Florida until late i n February, 1852. The Seminoles were still unwillin g to depart. But Blake was not ready t o give up, not so long as the government kept handing over his expense money. To prevent such a tragic calamity, he bombarded W a s hington w ith lengthy reports, bragging about the excellent progress he was making in negotiation s with the Indians. It no time, he prophesied, the Indian problem would be settled. During the summer Bl a k e talked many t imes with B ill y Bowleg s. But he could not convince the wHy old chief that his t ribesmen would be better off in Arkansas. Billy thought otherwise. His people, he retorted, were very well satisfied where they were and that was where they intended t o remain. Hadn' t Co l o nel Worth promised them, i n 1842 that his trib esmen could stay in F lorida? Was the government going to renege on its word again? In September, how ever, Blake finally succeeded in persuading Billy to go with him to Washington to see the Great White Father who


68 THE STORY OF FORT lVIYERS being all-wise, could tell Billy why it was necessary that the Seminoles should go West. Three other Seminoles went along. Before the delegation left Fort Myers Billy was outfitted a t McKay's store with a pair of boots and a pair of pants. It wouldn't be proper, Blake told him, for the chief of the Seminoles to appear before the Great White Father in his bare feet and minus a pair of pants The other Seminoles were similarly outfitted to make them ''decent." Properl y clothed, the delegation proceeded on to Washington, stopping at the best hotels along the way, Billy registering as "Mr. William B. Legs." At every stop the party was greeted by newspaper reporters who wrote lengthy articles about this fine move to solve the Florida Indian problem. In Washington, Billy and the other Seminoles talked with Com missioner of Indian Affairs Luke Lea and finally s igned an agreement to the effect that they were willing, at long last, to forsake Florida and move on to theW est. As a reward for their conciliatory attitude they were treated to an excursion to New York during which Billy and the others bought many fine clothes-and sundr y bottles of claret and French brandy. Blake, of course, didn't stint himself on luxuries and liquids. The excursion set Uncle Sam back $600 but was considered well worth while. Returning from his northern jaunt Billy disappeared into the Big Cypress. Nothing came from the agreement he had signed in Washington. Perhaps he had had one dri.nk too many of French brandy when he signed it and consequently soon forgot all about it. Perhaps his tribesmen were put out because they too hadn't been given a fine bip to Washington to see the Great White Father. Whatever the reason, the agreement was disregarded and the whole Indian problem was back where it started from. Ultimately, however, Blake did have a little success. During the next six months he succeeded in persuading twelve Indian warriors and twenty-four wome n and children to make the western journey. The cost to the government was $53,000. How much of that sum went to Blake and how much to the Indians has never been revealed. Disgusted with Blake's slow, expensive progress, Washington gave him his walking papers in the spring of 1853 and turned the job over to Captain John C. Casey who had served as Indian agent before Blake took over. For nearly a year Casey continued to try to come to terms with the Seminoles. But they stubbornly refused to listen to anything he had to say. They were determined to remain in Florida. Pressed by the Indian haters to do something or step aside and let someone else do the job, Casey finally evolved a plari which seemed eminently satisfactory to everyone, particularly to those who hated the Indians most. It provided for no t emporizing measures. It was c oldblooded, realistic and harsh.


THE STonY OF FonT l'viYEns 69 The first phase of the plan provided for cutting off the Seminoles from all sources of supplies. Trading posts were to be closed and the Indians were to be prevented from entering settlements anywhere on the East Coast or on the keys. Nowhere were they to be permitted to obtain provisions or ammunition. The second phase of the plan was even more drastic. A c ordon of troops was to be thrown around the Indians and gradually drawn in, pressing the redskins into a smaller and smaller area. All the roads constructed by General Zachary Taylor in 1838 and 1839 were to be reopened and new ones promptly constructed to provide quick access to the Glades and Big Cypress. Scouting parties should systematically encroach upon the Indians' lands. And, finally, surveying parties should be sent into the Indian te.nitory to let them know that civilization was advancing, and settlers on the way. The ultimate objective of Casey's plan was crystal clear. The Indians would be goaded into warfare. But what difference would that make? By that time the supplies and ammunition of the Indians would be almost exhausted, their resistance would soon be broken, and the conflict would be over. Casey's plan was presented to a new secretary of war, Jefferson Davis, on May 3, 1854. Davis' sympathies were all with the Indian-hating plantation owners who were leading the fight to get the Seminoles removed and he promptly endorsed the plan. Trade with the Indians was soon suspended and the program of gradual strangulation launched. During the following winter troops were sent t o Fort Denaud, Fort Thompson and Fort Center, all of which had been established in 1839 and abandoned three years late r Now these forts were rebuilt and enlarged. Reinforcements also were sent to Fort Myers. And then, in 1855, the War Department's topographical engineers were ordered to proceed with the task of making surveys in the Indian territory. On December 7 1855, Lieut. George L. Hartsuff left Fort Myers with a party of eleven men for a surveying expedition into the Big Cypress. Twelve days later, just as the crew was preparing to return, the men ran across Billy Bowlegs' garden. "Let's tear the hell out of i t and see what Billy does," yelled one of the men. The others thought it was a fine idea. So they trampled down the banana stalks, smashed the pumpkins growing nearby and uprooted the potatoes. Soon afterward, Billy returned. He was enraged. And when he demanded compensation, Hartsuff's men laughed uproariously. What a joke! They tripped Billy and sent him sprawling. When he arose, his face was covered with dirt. Then the whole camp roared. Seething with anger, Billy left. But in the early hours o f Thursday, December 20, Billy returned. With him was a small band of Seminoles. They attacked Hartsuff's camp just as dawn was breaking. Caught completely by surprise, two of the surveying crew were killed. Hartsuff and three of his men were wounded.


70 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS The survivors finally beat off the Indian band and made their way baek to Fort Myers. Hosti lities had started again. There i s no doubt but that the Indians would have gone on the warpath again even if t h e wanton destru ction of Billy's banana patch had not oc curred. Casey's plan had worked out just as he said i t w ou ld. The Indians had been so goaded into desperation that the y \vould have struck back sooner or later even though the garden had been le t alone. Its destruction was merely the spark that exploded the Indian powderkeg. Once aroused, the Indians lost all reason. Small bands struck out into the white man's country, pillaging, shooting, burning as they went. One band went as far north as Fort l\I eade. Another c ircled the eastern edge of Lake Okeechobee. A third group reached the l\ianatee River and attacked Braden's Castle, the hom e of Dr. Joseph Braden. They were beaten off there but struck again a t the home of William Whitaker on Sarasota Bay and burned it to the ground. The depredations undoubtedly wou l d have been far worse than they were had it not been for the fact that the Florida Indians were almost a vanished race. In the entire state there were less than six hundre d. And that total included women and children, cripples and men too old to fight. The number of warriors did not exceed a hundred and fifty. The contest which followed therefore, cannot be di gnified by calling i t a war. A few minor engagements and s kirmishes were fought but the principal work of the soldiers con s isted of hunting the Indians In the swamps and m arshes, deep in the Glades and almost impenetrabl e fast.. ness of the Big Cypress. But that was grueling dangerous work. The Indian s w e r e desperate, and tricky, and venomo usly angry. They shot to kill -and their aim was accurate. To conquer them would not be easy. They W ere th e Undefeated A tall, raw-boned man with tireless mu s c l es, Colonel Harvey Bro wn of the 2nd Artillery had no liking for the type of operations called for in this renewed conflict with the Seminol es A veteran of the M ex i can War, h e was a so ldier, a fighter who liked nothing better than to meet his enemy in open battle-and Jet the best side win Bu t now as commander of the troops stationed at Fort Myers, he was called upon to wage a campaign utterly unlike any he had evet waged before. This campaign did not call for soldiers trained to meet their enem ies face to face. It called for human b l oodhounds. And Co lonel Brown had no desire to change his ways and adopt bloodhound tactics. In the beginning he believed that standard method s coul d be e m ployed. Whe n the s urvivors of Lieutenant Hartsuff's surveying crew staggered into Fort Myers, blood-stain e d and weary, the colon e l immediately sent out co mpanies of artillery and infantry to track down Billy Bowlegs' men and engage them in battle.


THE STORY OF FoRT MYRS 71 But Co l one l Brown soon l earned that Bill y had no intentio ns of ordering his warriors into a major engagemen1r-and be annihilated. The crafty old chief adopted far d i f ferent tactics. He spli t up his men into small bands. Some ranged far afield to pillage and burn; others remained behind to lay in ambush, wait for scouting parties to come along, and then strike and vanish. Women and children, and men too o l d to fight, were sent deep into the Big Cypress to secret places where no white men had eve r gone. Herds of cattle owned by the Indians were left behind to fee d on the prairies. Confronted b y such strategy, Colon e l Brown w a s b itter and dis gusted. He wanted to fight the war and get it ove r with. But instead he was expected to follow the scent of warriors, and the Indian women and children, through sawgrass taller than a man, through snake-infested swamps and marshes where sol diers bogged down at every step, through dense hammock growths of poiso nous weeds and vines through a miasmi c wildern ess where m osquitoes stung and blinded and whe r e fevers and pne umonia w ere deadly foes. No, Colonel Brown did not lik e this type of warfnre and neither did hi s me n. But they had to wage it just the same. Repeatedly Colonel Brown sent out scouting parti es. They rarely found the Indians--but the Indians often found the scouts. When the Americans least suspected that the redskins were near, rifles cracked, and men went down, some to rise no more. And when the sold irs rallied to fi g h t the Indians off, no Indians could be seen. They had wriggled like snakes i nto the sawgrass and w ere gone. Early in January, 1 856, Lie u t R a lph R. Benso n left Fort Myers with a squad of twenty men. At the edge of the Cypress the party was ambushed. Two of Benson's men were killed and eight wounded. The lieutenant himself was shot through the shoulder and nearly bled to death. No Indians were killed because none were seen. A few months later a band of Indians amb ushed a wagon train three miles from Fort D e naud. The teamsters and mules were killed and the wagons burned. The redskins made off with the guns and ammunition. There were many other skirmishes and ambushments south of the Caloosahatchee Sometimes the bo dies of the American dead were buried where they fell; usually however, they were carried on wagons to Fort My ers and placed in a cemetery at the edge of the clearing. The bodi es of many other soldiers, vic tims of fatal wounds or disease, also were buried there. One was the bod y of Capt. W. H. F ow ler, of the 1st Artill ery. H is grave, carefully walled with stones was discovered in 188 5 when Capt. F. A Hendry opened a new street through that sectio n. The street was named in Captain Fowler's memory-Fowler Street. The remains of all the American dead were moved at that time, 1885, to national cemeteries by the federal government. Army officers realized early in 1856 that a conflict such as this coul d not be fought by orthodox army m ethods. N one kne w this better than General William S Harney, then in command of all the federal


72 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS troops in Florida. After the massacre of his men on the Caloosahatchee sixteen years before, Harvey, then a colon el, had fought the Indians coun tless times and won a splendid reputation. But he had learned that the redskins could be vanquished only one way: by tracking them to their secret lairs, burning their homes, dest1oying their crops, killing those who resisted, and capturing those who didn't, women and children as well as warriors. But Harney also knew that regular army men were of little value in this bloodhound type of warfare, at least not until after they had been given months of special training. And there was no tim e or money for that. The job could be done much better, he decided, by Florida vol un teers accustomed to the swamps and marshes. They would go anywhere and do anything, Harney knew, providing they rewarded financially for their efforts. To spur on the volunteers, the War Department approved a plan sponsored by Harney for paying a reward for each Indian captured: $50 0 for warriors and $100 for women and children. As a resu l t of thi s offer three companies of Florida volunteers were formed. They averaged forty-five men each. They were called boat companies because they went through the Glades country in long flat bottomed steel boats, each large enough to hold si xteen men with all their supplies. These Indian hunters were brave men and endured the hardships but they were not much to l ook at. They were described in 1886 by Capt. James Murphy in an article in the Philadelphia Times. 'l'wo companies of Florida volunteers acted with the regulars in an expediti on from the shores of Lake Okeechobee in 1857," Captain Murphy said. "They were a sorry looking set of ragamuffins alongside of Uncle Sam's troops. Nearly all of them shook with ague, were raw-boned, bad yellow, emaciated faces and were clad in butternut suits. Their hair was long, thin and straight. Their head coverings were old, broad brimmed hats. "Mounted on wretehed looking beasts, both men and animals ap peared as though they were in the last stages of c onsumption. The morning they came into Fort Center they resembled a ragged funeral procession. The animals were picketed to ropes the men carried with them and they talked to their horses in a confidential manner about rations. They departed across the lake in flatboats." Not all the volunteers were such ragamuffins, partkularly not one "Captain" Jacob E. Michler, as co lorfu l a frontiersman a s ever drew bead on a redskin. He appeared one day at Fort Center near Lake Okeechob ee and said he had been sent by General Harney to serve as a guide for Company C. Captain Murphy, who served in Company C. described him well: H e was a remarkable man, about medium height, slightly built but sinewy and acti ve. He was dressed in a blue flannel shirt, sky-blu e ov eralls tucked into the legs of a long pair of boots. On his head was a broad white felt hat. Hi s compl exion was da1k. His eyes were coal


THE STORY OF FoRT MYEf!S 7 3 b l ack. 'fh ey sparkled like di a m onds and w e r e deeply pene trati n g His hair was long and heavy; a b lack musta c h e covered his lips. He carrie d a rifle on his shoulder and by his si d e hung a beaded shot-bag. On the other side, suspended from his shoulder, was a large hammock w ith d o u ble flaps. He was e a ting a n orange whe n he appeared a mong us. H e a s ked i n a drawling v o ice for the officer in co mm a nd." Michler not only was a dead s h o t but a remarkably good poker player. He r a ked into his shot-bag almost all the money the soldiers had and sent a lot of i t to his mother in St. Augustine. His p rincipal delight was getting into a canoe, stealing alongside a big alligator, and sending a b ullet into its h e ad. He was a fearless snake hunter t o o Armed with a l o n g, sharp pole he w ould spear a rattles nake, lift the w r iggling reptile in the air and exclaim: "That snake sure would be dangerous i f he bit a fell ow." Michler did not get along well with the major commanding the company. One day while cruising on Lake Okeechobee, Michler s a w Indian s i g ns on a small is land. He asked to go asho re. The major told him to h old hi s tongue. Michl e r p ulled out hi s revo l v e r and forced the officer t o have him taken to the mainland with hi s haversa ck, shot-bag and gun. H e disappeared in the sawgrass and made his way to Tampa, a hundred miles to the northwest. Back at Fort Brooke, Michler to l d Harney about this quarrel with the major and got permi s si o n to form hi s own company, p r omisin g t o "bring the Indians out o f the E vergl ades i n t w o months." He paid the me n Who joined him out of his p o ker winni ngs. H e a l s o bought a n e w fine outfit for himsel f. Just befo r e he left fo r the Glades, C ompan y C marched in from Fort Center. There its men saw Michle r again. They hardl y recognized him. "Whil e the men were resting under the shade of beautiful o a k t rees," Murphy related, "a gentl eman of e legant appearance walke d among t hem. H e wore a spot less suit of white flannel. Fro m a shirt bosom as white as snow b l azed a magnificent diamond s olitaire. A pai r of patent leather shoes, white silk stockings and a large Panama hat of the finest texture completed his dress. His black hair and m ustache were neatly trimmed. T h e stranger w a s Jacob M i chler who had c o m e t o see hi s former associates i n hardships The paths o f Company C and Michl e r crosse d a third time. The meeting occ urred at Fort M yers "The garrison turned out to see a nov e l sight," Captain Murphy said. "First came a horsem a n with alf the trappings of a wild Indian chief, with b eautiful bead-work, leggings, belt, sash and sho t po u ch. His head was decke d with feather s All he nee ded was war paint to make hi m a n Ind ian chief in r eality. It was J acob Mic hler with his F lorida regiment." Behind h i m straggl e d a group of I n dian women and children. A few of the women had papooses on their backs. Michle r had made the capture at t h e island o n Lak e Okeechobee where he had seen the Indi a n s igns months before. Records show that Michler was paid $1,500 for his


74 TnE STORY OF FoRT MYERS captives-$100 each for n ine wome n a n d six childre n He had captured no warriors. T h e Indians were taken later to the federal stockade at Egmont Key, in the mouth of Tampa Bay. Other boat companies d i d not have Mich ler' s success in capturing Indians; none came up to the expectation s of Gener a l Harney. During a ll of 1857 not more than thirty redskins were rounded up. Billy Bowlegs and his warriors wer e as e l us ive as ever. Once he was a lmost trapped by a sco uting part y led by Capt. John Parkh ill But he got away-and Parkhill lost his life and five of his me n were wounded. The secretary of war was force d to admit in 1857 that the Semino les "had baffled the energeti c efforts of our army to effect their subjugati on and removal. James Buchanan, the new president, decided to change the gove rnment po li cy He co ul d see no sense i n continuing the bloody, expensive hostilities and issued o r .ders for making new efforts to remove the Indians by peaceful means. One great bar to emigration had been removed by t h e preceding administration during the year before. Separate tracts of lands in Arkansas had been awarded to the Sem i noles and Creeks a n d the tra ditional enemies now could live apar t Hopi n g that this new arrangement might e rase old animosi t ies and cause the Florida Indians to change their mind abou t leaving government offi c i a l s had Chief J i m J umper a n d some of his tribesmen brought to Florida from the reservation. The delegation arrived in Tampa in August, 1857. "They were fi n e l oo king men but thei r style of dress was most amusing, wrote J A Bethell many years later. "Chief Jumper wore a high crown black beaver hat, a pair of brogan shoes, striped ticking pants, red top shirt and a b lue blouse The rest were dressed just as comically." Bethell author of "The Histoty of Pinellas Peninsula," was a mate of the little steamer "Texas Ranger" which took the Indian del egation down t h e coast. The f irst stop was made at Fort Myers where it was hoped Billy Bow legs. could be c ontacted. But Billy could not be persuaded to. come to the fort; he sent word t hat he would meet t h e delegation on Caxambas River, some f ifty miles south of Fort 1\Iyers. The Texas Ranger m oved on to t h e s uggested meeting p lace and the Indians from t h e \Vest were put ashore. They reappeared a m on t h later at Fort Mye r s alone. Chief Jumper reported that he had d one his best to persuade B ill y to go West with his people but had failed. He said h e had t o l d Billy that the Seminoles and Creeks now Jived apart and that the government had prom ised to g i ve t h e Indians on the reservation mo n ey e nough to buy everything they wanted, and more besides. But Billy Bowl egs had no faith in government promises. He told Chief Jumper that he would wait a n d see. S trangely enough, however, the government finally did keep its promises to the Indians o n t h e Arkansas reservation. The Creeks were given $1,000,000, of which $600,000 was in cash, $200,000 was i nvested


THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 75 for them, and $200,000 more invested but held back until they helped get the Seminoles out of Florida. The government was almost equally generous with the reservation Semi noles They were given $69,000 in cash, $7,000 more each year for ten years, and $500,000 was invested for them. Of this last amount, $250,000 was withheld until they were joined by the Florida Seminoles. The Arkansas Seminoles and Creeks now had a strong inducement to persuade Billy Bowlegs and his people to migrate to the West and they agreed to cooperate wholeheartedly with Colone l Elias Rector, superintendent of Indians affairs in Arkansas, in a new move to reopen negotiations. Rector arrived at Fort Mye r s in February, 1858. With him were forty Seminoles and six Creeks from the reservation. They camped on the bank of the r iver a little east o f the army hospital. There they waited for weeks, while efforts were being made t o persuade Billy Bowlegs to come to the fort. Finally he agreed to come in after being given solemn promises that he would be released immediately after the meeting ended. The all-important meeting was held March 4 o n the hospital grounds. Billy was a shrewd bargainer. Rector said of him later: "He is a personage w ith whom little can be done without money and nothing without plain speaking." The terms finally agreed upon were fairly generous. Billy was to get $5, 000 in cash as a gift and $2,500 for his claims for cattle which he said had been stolen from him. Each warrior was t o r ece ive $1,000 and each woman and child $100. Arrangements also were PIH1l-O Couruty ()/ MN. I'P. HuuM)Il Whole families of Seminole In dians came to Fort Myers in days gone by to sell aUigator bides and plumes and purch ase. focd, and sewing maehines, and cloth used i n making their gayly colo1ed cos t umes.


76 THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS made for purch asi ng all anim als and other prope rty the Ind i ans posse ssed. With the terms settled Billy left t he fort. He said he would return two weeks later and report how his people looked upon the proposal. On March 27 he reappeared and announced that the terms had been accepted. The Seminoles at last were willing to leave the peninsula. A few days later small groups of Indians began arriving at the fort, some on horses and som e on foot--women with papooses on their backs, almost naked chil dren, crippled old men, and a sprinklin g of warriors. A camp was set up on the creek about a mile north of the fort close to where the Fort Myers Cemetery is now located. Because this was the spot where Billy's people surrendered, the creek was always called thereafter "Billy's Creek." By May 1 a total of 124 Indians had come to the camp, all that Billy could persuade to move West. Approximate ly three hundred and fifty still remained, scattered over the e n tire peni nsula. Billy said many would come in later. But R ecto r could no t afford to remain much longer; the rainy seaso n was coming on and the Indians already in the camp were becoming restive. The day of departure arrived Tuesday, May 4, 1858. Down to the wharf the Seminoles wal ked, so me sad and dejected, others sullen, many defiant, and a few who seemed to be looking forward to the long journey which was ahead. They boarded the steamer "Grey Cloud," the whistle was blown, the ship moved out into the current and went swiftly down the river. As the ship departed, farther and father down the Caloosahatchee, the Indian s stood by the rails, bidding a silent, last farewell to the land they had thought was theirs. Enroute to the West, the "Grey Cloud" stopped at Egmont Key where forty-on e more Indian s were taken on board. These were the Indians which had been captured by the federal troop s and by the Florid a voluntee rs. The federal government later reported that the expense of removing Billy B owlegs and his people from Florida amounted to $70,352.14. Colonel Rector returned to Fort Myers the following January in the hope of picking u p some of the Indians who had bee n left behind. The fort had been evacuated by the federal troops the precedin g June. Com ing a shore, Colo nel Rect or established himself in the. empty offi cers' quarters and during the n ext few weeks talked to s mall groups of Indians who straggled in. By offering them the same inducements he had offered Billy B owlegs, he persuaded seventy of them to go with him. He d eparted on February 1 2, 1859. The group of Indians which went with Rector was the last to be deported from the state. The others were allowed to remain. They totalled probabl y about three hundred-no one knows and no one ever


THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 77 will know the exact number. One of those who stayed was old Sam Jones, once leader of the powerful Mikasukis. Now 108 years old, almost blind but still filled with hatred toward the whites, he refused to leave his home deep in the Glades. Those who remained behind were the undefeated. But now they did not possess an acre they could call their own. They had no rights as citizens; legally they were trespassers on others' land. Not until 1917, while the United States waa fighting to make the world safe for democracy, did the State of Florida set aside 100,000 acres for them as a reservation-100,000 acres of swamp, and sawgrass, and wilderness. Since Billy Bowlegs and his people left Fort l\1yers, ninety years have passed into history. But never again did any of the Seminole s, or any of their allies, venture forth again to challenge their white conquerors. Today a few of them come in to Fort Myer s to buy supplies they need; others can be seen by tourists who zip along the 'famiami Trail. But most of them still mistrust the white man and remain hidden in their camps, far from the beaten roads.


Ill WI-lEN CATILEMEN WERE KINGS fLORIDA 'S SCRUB COW of yesteryear was definite ly not one of God's mo s t magnificent creatures. Even at her best she was under s ized and skinny. After a lon g, dry season when the grass upon the prairies became scant and tough, her appearance was pathetic. Protruding bones looked as though they would pierce her drab, tick covered hide Her head hung in w e ariness and dejection Her fles h was stringy and tough as alligator hide. For all that, the scrub cow of yesteryear played an important rol e in the develop men t of southwest Florida in general and t h e Fort 1\'lyers area in particular during the decades f o llowing the cessation of hostilities with the Indians. The o r igin of the scrub cow, and her cou ntless brothers and sister s, is a matter open debate Some people say that the cattle w ere desc en dants of a small herd brought into Florida by Hernando de Soto i n 1539. When the conquistador departed northward in his quest for gold, 'tis said, he left the cattle b ehind and they multiplied until their number became legi on. That's a romantic conjecture but probably not correct. The chances are that the first cattle grazed on the peninsula much later than the sixteenth century. Perhaps the progenitors of t h e great herds of latter years were brought to Florida by Spanish mi ssionaries; perhaps they were strays taken by the Indians from Georgia herd s wh en they fled south t o escape the whi te man; perhaps the British brought them wh en they occupi ed Florida f r om 1 763 to 1783. The ev idenc e i s conflicting. In a ll ev ents, it's a matter of record that thousands o f head were owned by the Indians when the United States got Florida f rom Spain. The cattle were the Indians' most prized possession. As the Indian s were pressed farther and farther southward by the onco ming whites, they took most of their cattle w i t h them, dow n into the central part of the upper peninsula and then into the valleys of the Myakka, Peace and K issimmee l'ivers, and then still soqthward to the land below the Caloosahatchee. I n the drives southward the Indians were forced to leave som e of thei r cattle behind. These were rounded up and branded by the white settlers from Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas who usually brought with them herds of t h eir own. A s t h e years passed, the herd s increased greatly in size and by the time the Civil War began Florida was one of the leading catt l e states in the South. The largest herds, of course w e r e in the uppe r half of the penins ula, white cattlemen having not y e t penetrated much farthe r sou th.


THE STORY OF FonT MYERS 79 With the beginning of hostilities, the Confederate Army started making heavy i nroads o n Florida herds. llfeat provided by the scrubs may have been stringy and tough but it was better than no meat at all. Besides, the cattle were urgently needed for their hides and tallow. Herds in No rth Florida were bought up first. Then, as the war dragged on and the demand for cattle became greater and greater, the herds father down the peninsula were tapped. From as far south as the Manatee and Fort Meade regions, cattle were driven n o rthward to the railroad clo s e to the Georgia border. Often the drives required thirty days or mo r e. Usually they we r e made under the blazing summer sun and the cattle, lean to begin with, "drifted" as much as a hundred pound s on the hard journey. No t all the Florida cattle went to the Confeder ate Armies by any mean s. The Confede racy paid f rom $8 to $10 a head; in Cuba, the same cattle brought as much as $30, not in paper mo ney which might soon become worthless, but in good Spanish gold. 'fhe ine vitable resulted. Some of the largest cattlemen and cattle buyers began dealing with blockade runners, the lure of quick and easy prof its being stronger than their loyalty to the cause. The blockade runners were men who had sailed ships along the West Coas t for years as traders or as fishermen and knew all the keys, and inner bays, and hidden channels as well as a mailman knows his route. They were past masters in the fine a r t o f evading watchful eyes of the Feder al blockading squadrons. Before the war ended some of them were caught, of course, but others operated u ntil the very end and became wealthy. Few of the pioneer settler s on the peninsula frowned upon blockade runners, e ven though it deprived the Confede rate Armies of thousands of head of sorely needed cattle. Their sympathies were with the South but they were in desperate nee d of all kinds of clothing and many items of food, salt and tobacco. These precious commodi t ies no longe r could be purchased except at prices which were prohibitive; they could be obtained o nl y f rom the blockade runners who accepted cattle in p&yment. It was only natural, therefore, that the blockade runners were looked upon as true patriots of the Confederacy. Perhaps they were. They did at least help to keep up the mo rale of the Florida people and keep them in the war on the Confederate side. Realizing this, the Federals did everything possible to break up the blockade running. Large squadrons o f sloops and gunboats patrolle d West Coast waters. One of their bases was on Egmont Key in the mouth of Tampa Bay. A nother was on Sanibel Island in San Carlos Bay, at the mouth of the Caloosahat c h ee. The Federals hampered the move ments of the blockade runners but did not succeed in putting them out of operat ion. In another move to halt their activities, the Federals decided on a rear guard movement to stop the flow of cattle toward the coast. This could be done, they r easoned, by establishing a fort somewhere on the


80 TuE STORY OF FoRT MYERS edge o f the cattle country which could be used as a base for raids far into enemy territory. The raids would reduce the number of cattle availab le for the blockade runners and for the Con f e derate armi es as we ll. The capture d cattle would be u sed to feed the men in t h e block ading squadrons and a l so in the large garrison at Key West. The Federals had still another reason for wanting to establish a fort in the rebel zone. They had received reports that there were hundreds of Union sympathizers in South Florida who would welcome the chance to find a haven of refuge under the Northern flag. A small goup of such sympathizers already had gone to Key West and formed a company known as the Florida Rangers. Many other s woul d join them, t h e Rangers said, a t t h e first opportuni ty. Having r eached the logical conclu sion that a fort was ne eded, the Federals immediatel y made a r rangem ents for re.oc cupyin g Fort MyerR, abandone d in June, 1858, at the co nclusion of action against the Ind ians. Five compani es of regula r F ederal troops and the small c ompany of F l orida Rangers moved into the fort late in Decembe r 1 868, and all the munitions and provisions needed were brought i n from K ey West. The buildings were found to b e in excellent conditio n despite the fact that t hey had been abandoned four and one-half years. As a means of defense, a breastwork was immediate ly built of earth and Jogs. It wa-s about fifteen feet wid e at the base and seven feet high and extended in the shape of a cresc e n t from the eastern edge of the hospital ground s to about five hundre d feet be low the wharf. This would be from near the present Edison bridge to about the present Monroe Street. The fort did not prove to be the popular haven o f refuge for Un i on sympa t hizers which had been predicted. Only a few showe d up during the months w h ich followed The obvious reason w a s that most sympa thize r s had no desire to be linked up too closely with the Federal cause; to do so meant that their homes and possessions would be confiscated by the Confederate s As a base for cattle raids the for t proved to be eminently worth while from a Nor t h ern viewpoi n t Capt. F. A. Hendry, who served on the Confederat e side, stated years later that the raids were "frequent and destructiv e, causi ng much distr ess to the devotees of the So uthern c au se." He estimated that between January 1, 1864 and the end of the war at least 4,600 head of cattle were taken by the F ederals, many from as far away as the Fort Meade district. Captain Hendry didn't say so but there are good grounds for believ ing that many of t h e raids wer e raids in name on l y More than a few cattleme n, durin g the last year of the war, ca m e to the conclu sion that Yankee gold or eve n greenbacks were much mote desirable than the rapidly depreciatin g Confe d erate currency and consequently, made secret deal s with the Fede rals for cattl e they owned. When troops came to drive the cattle away, the owners t u rned their eyes the other way-


THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 81 after collecting-and then reported later to the Confederates that the "damnyankees" had made another successful rajd. Enough actual raids were made, however, to warrant the organization by the Confederates of the Cattle Guard Battalion, commonly known as the "Cow Cavalry." This was really a home guard outfit and was made up largely of settlers who had previously been exempted from service because they owned 500 head of cattle or more, and were needed at home to guard their property. As members of the "Cow Cavalry" they could continue the home guard activity and at the same time have "soldier status" in case they were captured. By the end of 1864 the battalion consisted of nine companies and. was commanded by Colonel Charles J. Munnerlyn. Early in 1865 Colonel Munnerlyn became so irked by the raids out of Fort Myers that he decided that the fort must be captured and destr oyed. To accomplish this feat he sent out a force of 275 men armed with one field piece under the command of Major William Footman. The major approached the fort o n February 21 and formally demanded its surrender within twenty minutes. His demand ignored, the major opened fire with his one piece of art illery. All day long the "attack" continued with the Federals answering with their three field pieces. By nightfall, the major concluded that the fort. could not be captured as easily as Colonell\iunnerlynhad expected and withdrew. He succeeded only in capturing a few horses and a couple of pickets. The fort at that time was garrisoned by five companies of well trained men so the major's decision to withdraw was undoubtedly w ise There is in existence a lurid, almost unbelievabl e account of the capture of ten Federal pickets Billy's Creek by a detail of ten Con federates the day before the fort was attacked. "Determined that the pickets must be captured," the account goes, "Major Footman ordered Lieut. William Marion Hendry to select from the whole battalion ten men and make a dash upon the picket post. The order was positive to capture the pickets without the fire of a. gun if possible. This was a dangerous procedure; ten men attacking ten men all well armed; with a position carefully selected. The instructions were, when within a half mile of that point, to dash off at full speed and keep up that speed unt il they dashed into the picket camp. Well does the writer remember seeing the water fly from under the heels of the chargers in that dash and the spirit and determined look of these caval rymen. No more daring charge was made during the great war. There was not a gun fired and every picket was trotting back to the rear i n a few minutes, prisOners of war." The tale has all the earmarks of being embellished by imagination. Either that or e lse the pickets wanted to be captured, the same as many Germans did in the closing days of both World Wars. The story is repeated here only because i t has become a part o f Fort Myers lore.


82 THE STORY oF FoRT 1\hERS The.same person who told that tale a ls o reported that the Federal s in the Fort became so alarmed by Major Footman' s attack that they packed u p that night and "scurried dow n the river to Punta Rassa where they placed themselves under the protection of Federal gunboats." Army records s how, however, that the fort was not abandoned until June, 1865 several months after the war ende d . Some of the cattle captured by raiders from the fort while the war was on were slaughtered at Fort Myers to supply meat for the garri son. Most of them, however, were driven over land to Punta Rassa w here they were loaded on transports and taken to Key West. The trail f ollowed on these cattle was the one which had been b lazed in 1838 by Col. Persifer F. Smith during the war against the I n dians. It was rarely used during the years which foll owed and traces of it had almost vanished in many p l aces. Now however, it became tramped down and so well defined t hat it was followed by cattlemen for many years after the Civil War ended. More than a trail was left as a r esult of the Civil war cattle drives. A long wharf was built at Punta Rass a to facilitate the loading of cattle on the transports. A large barracks also was constructed to house the men handling t h e loading operations. It also served as a land base for the Sanibel Island blockading squadron. Many writers have enoneousl y stated that the barracks was built during the Seminole War. That is not the case Officia l records show that i t was constructed in 1864. The barracks, which was destined to play an important part in the later development of Fort Myers, was a most unusual building It was abou t a hundred feet lo n g and fifty feet w ide and gave the appearance of having been chopped in two. A row o f room s faced the water from the secon d floor where the other face of a roof should have been. Many year s later, when the barracks had been converted int o a sportsmen's hotel, t h e water-facin g rooms were occ u pied by millionaire anglers from the Nort h and were facetiously referre d to as "Murderers' Row To prevent the barracks from being swept into the sea like the For t Du lany barracks was in the 1839 hurricane, army officers constructed the new building on fourteen-foot piles, leaving a great open space underneath. Cattlemen later made this p lace their favorite hang-out and played poker there, and drank aguar diente, to their heart's content. The floor above eventually became riddled with b ullets fired by the cowhunters when they worked up too m uch steam through handling the jugs of Cuban rum. Desp ite the high pilings, the barracks almost suffered the same fat e as its p r edecessor during the great hurricane of October 6, 1873. The sea swept over the entire point and over all adjacent islands and everyone sought ref uge in the building. When the storm was at its peak, the water rose to within a few inches of the floor. The refugees in the building passed a fearful night but early in the morning the water began to subside and the danger was over.


THE STORY oF FoRT MxERS 83 Punta Rassa Takes the Spotlight Unc le Sam had great aspirations after the Civil War was ended. He wanted to extend his influence to the West Indies and Central America. And as a part of the general program of trade expansion, he encouraged the construction of a cable from Florida to Havana. All this had a direct bearing on the development of the Fort Myers area inasmuch as the cable terminated in Florida at Punta Rassa. The cable was laid by the International Ocean Telegraph Company which later was absorbed by the Western Union. The company took over Punta Rassa late in 1866 under the provisions of an act of Congress of July 2 4, 1866, which permitted any telegraph company "to take and use public land necessary for the stringing of lines or the establishment of stations." The relay station was established in the army barracks thereby becoming, in point of space occupied, the l argest telegraph station in the world. A young telegraph operator from Newark, N.J ., George R. Shultz, came to Punta Rassa with two assistants to operate the station. When they arrived, early in 1867, no white settlers lived anywhere near. But they were not lon e ly. During the last year of the Civil War cattlemen all over South Florida had learned that P unta Rassa, with its deep water close t o shore, was an ideal cattle shipping point. They began driving their cattle t .here for shipment to Key West and Cuba within a few months after the war ended. The advantages of Punta Rassa were first recognized by Jacob Summerlin, one of the largest cattle owners of the state and certainly one of the most" colorful. When a young man, Summerlin inherited twenty Negroes valued at more than $1,000 each. Interested in cattle and not in plantation life, he traded the Negroes for 6,000 head owned by a Tampa cattleman. His herds grazed in the vast plains and flatwood pine lands surrounding For t :Meade and by the time the Civil War started, they had increased so rapidly that he was able to market several thousand steers annually. During the first two years o f the war he held a contract with the Confederate government to supply steers at p r ice s ranging from $8 to $10 a head. From his own herds and from other cattle owners he acquired 25,000 head and drove them northwar d to the railway. In 1863 Summerlin gave up his contract, possibly because he dissatisfied wit h the prices he was getting, and formed a partnership with James McKay, Sr., one of the most daring and successful blockade runners in the entire South. Summerlin supplied the cattle and McKay the schooners in which the cattle were shipped to Cuba where they were sold from $25 to $30 a head, three times the price the Confederates were paying. Operating out o f the Harbor area, :McKay made many successful trips to Cuba and back without being caught by the Federal blockading squadrons. On his return trips he brought food and clothing which sold for fantastically high prices. Calico, for instance, brought


84 THE STonY oF FonT MYERS $5 a yard, common shoes for men $18 a pair, sal t $25 a parcel, flour $125 a barrel and sugar $40 a s ack. Ho wever, McKay much preferred to take cattle in payment instead of the confe derate currency-it was depreciating in value so rapidly that he had diff iculty in using it to buy more commodities in Cuba. As soon as the war ended Summerlin organized the Cuban trade on a regular commercial basis He made Punta Rassa his base of operations and sent his agents all through the state to buy cattle. On the drives southward t h e herds followed the old army roads first blazed through the wilderness by General Zachary Taylor's forces in 1838-39. The Caloosahatchee was crossed either at F ort Denaud or Fort Thompson and from those points the cattle m ire driven down the river past Fort Myers to Punta Rassa. In the beginning Summerlin used the cattle pens and wharf the army had built in 1864 But when the cable c ompany acquired the property, Summerlin built a much longer and much better wharf a little farther up the point. Only the finest quality yellow pine was used in its construction and it remained in good condition for more than a quarter century. The arrival of the cable company did not deprive the cattlemen of a "rooming house" and "restaurant." Station manager Shultz permitted everyone who came along to lay down hi s blanket at night in the barracksstation or pitch his ten t between the rafters. It was almost imp ossib l e to s leep outdoors because of the swarms of fe rocious mo squitoes. Three exce llen t meal s a day were provided by Innkeeper" Shultz for $1.50. Fresh vegetables were rarely served because they were then unobtainable but there was no lack of good substantial "vittles"-veni son, salt beef, pork, fish, oysters, grits, biscuits and coffee. It was the kind of food the cattlemen esteemed-and they .came back for more . For several years Summerlin a.nd hi s son Samuel m onopolized the Punta Rassa cattle business. They handled only cattle which they bought themselves, some from points as far north as the St. Augu stine area. The drives southward required from a week to forty days, depending on where they started. The cattle were moved t e n to fifteen mil es a day and were kept at night in "scrub pens" provi d e d along the way. A long the Caloosahatchee one of these pens was located a t Fort Denaud, another at Twelv e Mile Creek, n ow known as Ora.nge River, a third close to Fort Myers and a fourth, a very large one, a few miles inland from Punta Rassa. The cow hunters who kept the cattle moving on the long and grueling drives were hard Jiving, high spirited and usually hard drinking men. They were well described by C. T. Tooke, Fort Myers oldest living citiz en, who was a cow hunter once himself, many, many years ago. "Most of the co w hunters were youn gsters who liked adventure, to see new pla ces," Tooke said. "They thrived o n hard work and ate like horses They kept on the go from dawn to dusk and when they lay down at night, righ t on the ground, they never moved until m orning. In the


THE STORY OF FonT MYERS 85 summer they covered themselve s with mosquitoe net, in the winter they kept warm under a horse blanket. ''On the big drives a large covered oxcart went along to carry the grub. Nothing fancy, just good solid food. A barrel of flour, a couple of sacks of sweet potatoes, a big bag of grits, plenty of bacon and lard, a demi-john of syrup, slab!> of salt pork, and lot!> of coffee. This was some thing the men simply had to have-eoffee. And lots of it. They never d rarik less than three or four quarts a day. "Usually when we started we slaughtered a young fat steer and sometimes we killed a couple more along the way. Cattle were cheap in those days and it didn't make much difference whether we ate a few of them or not. To give us a var iety of meat, we almost always managed t o shoot a couple of deer and also plenty of wild turkeys. Game was mighty plentiful way back then. ''When we got to Punta Rassa the young fellows usually cut up a bit. 'hey were paid off in gold and had some mighty big poker games. And they drank much m ore than a little of that Cuban rum which they got for fifty cents a gallon. It had a terrible kick and when a fellow drank a quart or so of it, he became right hilarious. Sometimes the boys got into fights but most of them were good-natured and didn't quarrel even when they were drunk. Of course some of the boys didn't drink at all but most of them did-just to break the monotony. And after they sobered up they didn't touch it again for weeks." The Summer !ins, father and son, held their monopoly on the Punta Rassa cattle business until about 1870. Then other big cattlemen began driving their herds to the point and sold their cattle dir.ect to buyers from Key West and Havana. For using the Summerlins' pens and wharf they paid a fee of 25 to 50 cents a head, depending upon the price paid by the buyers. In 187 4 the Summerlins built a "hotel" of their own to house the cattlemen. It was called the Summerlin House. The cattle business began really to boom in 1868 when Cuban insurrectionists started a ten-year conflict with their Spanish overlords. The rebels controlled many of the areas where cattle were raised and the Spaniards paid top prices for steers to feed the soldiers they rushed into the island. At the wharf in Punta Rassa the cattlemen received a doubloon a head, worth $15.60 in American money, in Spanish gold. That wasn't as much as in blockade running days but more than twice the price paid by Florida buyers and enough to give the cattlemen a handsome profi t. The average cattleman was more than a little nonchalant about the golden flood. He usually dropped the doubloons into his saddlebags and then, as often as not, tossed the bags carelessly behind the counter of a store to be kept for a day or two. At times they were left dangling from a hitching post where anyone could pick them up. But no one ever did. Perhaps the reason was that in those days a captured thief was given very little time to say his prayers.


86 TuE STORY OF FORT MYERS BSock home again the cattlemen quite often gave the gold coins to their children to play with until they were stored away in a trunk, or box, or kl!g. One story is to ld about a man who tore down his old home in 188 7 to make way for a new one and found, unde r the living room of the old structure, 27 doublo ons which had b een dropped through t h e cracks in the floor by his baby so n fifteen yeats before-and never missed. The Cuban demand for cattle continu ed strong all during the 1870's. During that decade 165,669 head of cattle were shipped to Cuban port s and for them the cattlemen received $2,44 1 ,84 6. That was truly a princely sum for those lean reconstruction years and the cattlemen prospered. The golden flood contributed in n o small degree to the development of what was to be the Caloosahatchee's fair city of palms-Fort My e rs. Let's go back up the river and see what w as happening a t the fort. Fort Mrers Be comes a Settleme nt Havoc was wrought to o nce prou d Fort Myers during the year im mediately following the end of the Civil War. From as far away as Manatee and Pinellas men came down the coast in sloops and schooners and all but demolishe d many of the b uildings. Windows and doors were torn from their frames. Most of t h e flooring was ripped up. The siding was pried loose from a number of the larger buildings and even some o f the cedar shingles were tak e n from the roofs Everything easily moved was seized-and carried away. This was n't the work of vandals or ordinary thieves. The looting job was don e mostly by pioneer settl ers whose homes had been destroyed during the war by Federal soldiers or Union sympathizers. Now t hat peac e had come again the settlers wanted to rebuild their homes but building materials during that chaotic per iod were almost unobtai nable. Few lumber mill s along the coast had got back into operation and materials could not be brought in from the North because the Confederate currency no longer had any value. Word spread, however, that down on the Caloosahatchee, at Fort Myers, there were many fine buildings where e xcellent l umber cou ld be obtained .iust for the taking. The fort had been abandoned and no one had been left behind to guard the property. The buildings were owned by the "damnyankees" who had caused the South so much grief-eo why not go down to Fort Myers and take everything that could be taken? Why not indeed? So the settlers went to work and when they finished there was not much left at Fort Myers worth removing. As a r esult, Fort Myers had l ost i ts spl endor when the first settlers arrived there on Wednesday, February 21, 1866. There were four perso n s in the party: Capt. Manuel A Gonzalez, owner of a small schooner; the captain's five year old son, Manuel S Gonzalez; John A. Weatherford, his wife's brother, and Joseph D. Vivas, a friend of the family. All were from Key West.


TnE STORY OF FORT MYERS 87 During the final Indian conflic t between 1860 and 1868, Captain Gonzalez had sailed his schooner back and forth between Tampa and Fort Myers to bring in mail a n d provision s On his many trips h e had bec o m e w e ll acquainted with the region and had decided it was the finest spot i n F lorida for a home. So back he came. When he first sighted the half-wrecked buildings he was shocked. This wasn't the spic-and-span fort he had known so well. But it was. However, when he landed he decided the looting might not have been a tragedy after all. Now so little remained that there wasn't much danger that someone would come in and buy the fort property from the government. Hardly anything remained to be sold. Perhaps he could settle here and no one would bother him. Suiting his action s to his tho ughts, he brought hi s s u pplies ashore and p itch e d a tent on the hospi t al grounds. Looking a r ound for a place to mak e his home, h e picked o u t the building which formerly had been occupied by the commanding officer. It had eight l a rge rooms and a large stone fireplace and chimney. Most of the flooring was gone and some of the siding. But G onz alez figured that by scouting around through all the fort buildings he migh t be able to find enough materials to do a patch-up job. Weatherford and Vivas left the next day to go back to Key West and get more supplies, household furnishing s and the other members of the Gon zalez family. Captain Gonzale?. remained behind with hi s so n, Manuel S ., to make the new home ready. Vivas returned three weeks later. He brought with him a pretty young b r ide, the former Christiana Stirrup, of Key West. Just sixteen years old, the new Mrs. Vivas was an orphan who had been raised by the Gonzalez family and Vivas had known her since she was a tiny girl. They were married in Key West on March 8, 1866, and left immediately in Vivas' sail boat "San Filo." They arrived in Fort ?;Iyers five days later, undoubtedly the first honeymooners Fort Myers ever had. An excellent carpenter, V ivas rebuilt a small cabin which was standing close to the Gonzalez_ place and made his home there with hi s bride. They Jiv e d there until 1883 when h e built a fine t wo -s t o r y home which in 1948 was still standing and as solid as the day it was built. Mrs. Gonzalez and her children arrived on March 16 with her brother. Now Fort Myers could boast of two families . Working together, Gonzalez and Vivas took over the old garden of the fort which had become overgrown with weeds. They planted sweet potatoes, melons, pumpkins and other garden crops which would grow in the late spring and summer. They also went down to Punta Rassa occasionally and served as interpreters for the Spanish cattle buyer s Always they found things to keep them busy. Duri n g the following year two more families c a m e t o Fort Myersthe fam ilies of John Powell and WilliamS. Clay. Powe.Jl, who came from South Carolina, planted seeds from oranges he had found growing at


88 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS the fort.. After the seeds sprouted, he carefu lly tended the plants. When they became large enough, he started a grove across the river at a place which became known as Powell's Creek and later as New Prospect. The grove was the first in the entire Fort Myers area and produced fine fruit for more than thirty years thereafter. Bill Clay as he was always known, is remembered by old timers as the most notorious moonshiner that ever lived in southwest Florida. Born in the mountains of Tennessee, Clay had migrated by easy stages to North Florida and then, for some reason or other, to Fort Myers. Back at his mountain home distilling good liquo r had been considered a meritorious accomplishment, even though Uncle Sam had certain objections to it. In For t Myers he soon took up his old professio n Clay first squatted on the waterfront between the present Monroe and Hendry streets b u t he didn't go into business there. Instead, he transferred his activities to a creek several miles west and set up a still. It was soon boiling merrily away and turning out a potent liquid strong enough to melt a shark skin . Passing cow-hunters patronized him well and so did Semi noles who wandered into the settlement. In a short time the creek where Clay held forth became known as Whiskey Creek The Indians called it Wyo mee Creek which means the same thing. A few years later, after Fort Myers had become a li t tle too large to have an operating still s o near at hand, Clay homesteaded up the river at Twelve Mile Creek. There he set up his still again, close by the cattle trail where customers could find it easily. He was s oon doing a fine busine s s. His whiskey made from sugar cane, was pure and strong and bought by all--or nearly all-the best people in the Fort Myers area. "One day an informer turned him over to the Federal revenue of ficers, said Mr. Tooke. "The sheriff reluctantly confiscated his still. Clay was taken to Key West to be t ried. A number of town dignitaries went along, just to see that Clay got just ice. On the way down the coast, Clay's still was mysteri ously dropped overboard. The 'evidence' had disappeared and when the moonshiner came to trial, the judge had to d i smiss the case. When Clay got back to Fort Myers he found waiting for him at the dock a brand new still. And a delegation of town folks went back to Orange Rive r with him and helped put the contraption into operation." Clay was arre.sted again sometime later and ordered to appear at Pin e Level for trial. He loaded up his oxcart w ith barrels of shine and when he reached P ine Level tapped the barrels on the court house lawn. Soon a merry party was in progress. Even the jury members and court officials joined in the fun. There was no session of court that day and somehow or other the indictment papers were lost. Another time Clay told the judge tearfully that his eyesight had become too bad for him to distill liquor any longer. The sympathetic judge acquitted him. Then, to make his plea realistic, Clay asked the


THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 89 judge to detail an attendant to guide him home. This was done. The attendant returned to Pine Level a week later still suffering from the effects of his journey' to Clay's "inactive" still. (NOTE: The Bill Clay referred to above was not related to B.S. Clay, a prominent and respected resident of Alva.) The Caloosahatchee Region Is Surveyed Many communities in frontier states owed their initial growth and development in post Civil \V ar days to government surveys which opened the country to homesteaders. But the budding community of Fort Myers was almost wrecked by surveyors. The government survey of the Caloosahatchee area had been under taken in the winter of 1859-60 but work had bately started when the rumblings o f war were heard and the surveyors packed up their instru ments and departed. They did not re-appear until February, 1872. The head surveyors of the crew were Samuel Hamblan and W. L. Apthorp. They made their headquarters for a few weeks at the home of Captain Gonzalez and told him that when their survey was completed, and filed, settlers could make application for 1 60 acres under the p ro visions of the Homestead Act of 1862 They would get the land for nothing, just by occupying it and developing i t for five years. Gonzalez had started a store in a small building he erected behind his home but business wasn't brisk. His stock consisted of beads, gun powder, calico, groceries and tobacco which he traded to the Indians for dressed deer skins and alligator hides. Profits were small and when Gonzalez learned that he could soon homestead 1 60 acres, and get title to it, he decided he had better pick out a good tract and settle on it to establish his claim. No sooner said than done. In March 1872 Gonzalez moved his family west of the fort property to one of the finest pieces of land along the entire river. A creek, later called Manuel's.Branch, ran through the land. There, near the edge of the creek, he built his home. One hundred and sixty acres of this fine land was certainly better than the small parcel he occupied in the old fort grounds. So Manuel Gonzalez thought and who can say that he was wrong. At almost the same time the Powell family, which had been living in one of the old fort buildings, moved across the river to homestead the land where Powell had already planted his orange grove. And Bill Clay moved up the river to homestead o n Twelve M i le Creek. Because of the survey, Fort :Myers los t three of its four original settlers. Only Joseph Vivas and. his family remained. Fort Myers was almost deserted. But it did not remain deserted long.


90 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS The Hendry Clan Moves In Six -year-old Esther Ann was ill. Critically ill. She burned with fever and moaned piteou s l y in delirium. She was sinking fast.. Her mother, Mrs. Charles W. Hendry, was desperate. She had no one t o assist her except a very young girl who helped with the housework and who had become panic stricken in the emergency. The nearest white neighbors lived more than thirty miles away, at Fort Myers. Her husband had gone out on the range th1ee days before and had not returned. Mrs. Hendry went to the doorway. In the d istance she saw an Indian with his squaw and two children. Frantically she waved for them to approach. The Indian came runn1ng. He l ooke d at the child and muttered: "Pickaninny s ick. Bad sick. Soon go big sleep." Mrs. Hendry finally made him understand that her husband was somewhere out on the prairie and that she wanted him home. The Seminole left. Late that afternoon Hendry rode in, as fast as his po ny could travel. The Indian had found him and told him about the sick child. Esther Ann died that night, May 17, 1873. A rude coffin was made and she was buried beneath a pine tree near the home. Three other Hendry men were present when the body was lowered into the grave: Capt. Francis Asbury Hendry, Abner Hendry and W. Marion Hendry. Immediately after the service s Mrs. Hendry began packing her posse ssions. She emphatically announced that she had no intention of spending another night in the wilderness. She was m oving nearer ne ighbors so that she could have help if one of her other children, James, Alice or Roean, became. sick. Charles W. did not argue. H e knew that when his JaneL made up her mind to do a thing she was going to do it. Besides, h e had always had his doubts about the wisdom of moving his family far out in the G lades country, close to the Big Cypress, just to be near the Hendry grazing grounds. Now he knew h e had done the wrong thing. So he began helping hi s wife pack. The other Hendry men lent a hand. The loadi n g-up job did not take long-pioneer h o mes were not lavi shly furnished Two oxcarts held everything. Four days later Mr. and Mrs. Hendry and their ch ildren arrived at Fort Myers. Intending to homestead, they did not move into the fort property but took possession of a small, thatched-roof, log cabin which stood at the edge of Billy's Creek. It had been e rected during the Seminole War as a shelter for sentries. It had only two rooms but served very well as a temporary home. During the following summer, other Hendrys came to Fort Myers. Always a clannis h group, they liked to liv e near kinfolk. Capt. F. A. Hendr y came first with his family and rebuilt one of the officers' quarters standin g just east of the Vivas home. W. Marion Hendry and his family were next. They rebuilt an old building on the river bank east of the


THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 91 present Hendry Street. F A. and Marion Hendry were first cousins of Charles W. Hendry. Three more families, all closely related to the Hendrys, soon followed. They were the families of Jehu J. Blount, whose wife, :Mary Jane, was a sister of F. A. and Marion Hendry, and Francis J. and Augustus J Wilson, nephews of the Hendrys. Blount occupied another log cabin on Billy's Creek, not far from the home of Charles Hendry, and the Wilsons set tled on the riverfront west of the creek. Augustus Wilson remained only a short time, moving in early fall to Manatee County. None of the Hendrys, or Wilsons, or Blounts were strangers to Fort Myers. They were all cattlemen a .nd had often passed the fort on cattle drives to Punta Rassa. The Hendrys had kno,vn the fort property for many years. F. A. Hendry had stopped there several times during the Seminole War; Charles had brought Seminole prisoners there while a member of a Florida Volunteer boat company and .MariQn while an officer in the Cattle Guard Battalion which tried to capture the fort in 1864. All these newcomers were able, intelligent men and all were destined to take prominent parts in the development of the Fort Myers area. Capt. F. A. Hendry became known as "The Father of Fort Myers," partly because of his many descendants but mainly because he fostered and took an a.ctive part in almost every worthy movement in the early days of the community. Capt. Hendry was a descendant of William Hendry, of ScotchEnglish lineage who came to America before the Revolutionary War and settled in North Carolina. Early in the 19th Century the family . . . ,.. : ,.. . . Pluto oi R. 'Y. L

92 T H E STORY oF FoRT MYERs started moving southward, living for a few years in South Carolina and then settlin g on plantation s around Blackshear, G a., in Thom as Cou nty. There Francis Asbury was bo r n on November 19, 1833, the son of Mr. and Mrs. J ames Edward Hendry. I n 1851 h e came with his p arents to F lorida and settled in what is now Polk Coun ty During the Semino l e conflict of 1850-58, he came t o Fort Myers twice, first as a dispatch bearer i n 1854 and a year later as a guide for a cavalry company in which he later enlisted and became a lieutenant. During the last year of the Civil War he served as captain of a company in the Cattle G uard Battalion commanded by Col. Charles J. Munnerlyn. Captain Hendry began raising cattle when h e first came to Florida and by the tim e the Civil War ended h e was t h e owner of thousand s of head. When hostilities ceased he moved his headquarters to Fort Meade, near Bartow. Severa l years later he began mov i ng his cattle southw ard, seekin g better range. In 1870 he took several of his larger herds across the Caloosahatch ee, in the Fort Thompson area. For many years thereafter even while making his home at Fort Myers, his herds dominated vast grazing lands of the open range. He was truly the Cattle King of the Land Below the Caloosahatchee and was repot-ted to be the owner of more than 60,000 head. The parents of Mrs. Hendry, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Lani er, came to Fort Myers late in the summe r to be near their daughter. Lanier bought the stoc k in a small store whic h Gonzal ez had opened two years before and started in business. Mrs Ida Engli sh, of A l va, a daughter of t h e Bl o unts rem e mb ers hi m wel l. "He was a big, gruff man and all of u s childre n were afraid of him." Mr s English said. "One day my mother sent me over to his store to buy some flour. There was a fence around his place with a gate at the walk. When I entered I forgot to close the gate behind me. Mr. Lanier was standing in the door of his store and when he saw the open gate he y e lled : 'Shut that damn gate and shut it damned quick!' That was the first time I had ever heard such terrible profanity and I was shocked to death. I ran hom e crying and sobbed in my moth er's arms for hours. Weeks passed be fore s he could persuade me to go to the store again." M rs. English said that Lanier stocked a lmost everything t h e I ndians w anted and within a short time built up a fine trade with them, takin g alligator hides deer skin s and bird plumes in exchan ge for goods. He also did a good business with the new settlers and w ith cowboys who passed on the \vay to and from Punta Rassa. Mrs. Lanier had a boarding house-th e first in Fort Myers Howe ver, Mr. and Mrs. Lanier left after several years to live near their othe r children in the Fort Meade district. Before they departed Lanier sold his stock to Jehu J. Bloun t who had opened a larger store a little fat-ther down the river. T h e settlers were badly a l a rmed by the great hurricane o f Monda y, October 6 1878. Heavy rains began the day before and conti nued a ll through the night. Eal"iy Monday morning the wind reached gal e ve locity from the southwest and increased in intensit y all day long. By


THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 93 mid-afternoon the gale had become a hurricane. T r ees crashed to the ground. The shells of many of the old fo r t buildings toppled O\'er. Early i n the evening all the settlers fled t o the old fort stables for safety. They remained t here throughout the night. The great pine timbers creaked a .nd groaned but the structure held firm By morning all danger had passed. Dow n at Whiskey Creek, however, there was a fatalit y Bill Clay's father-in-law, who helped him operate his still, was on h i s way home when the storm was a t its worst. He tried to cross the creek in a skiff; the wind capsized the boat, and he drowned. At the home of Charles Hendry, the hurricane brought a different kind of casualty. A heavy tree crashed through the k itchen roof and !\irs. Hendry's most cherished possession, a No. 8 Charter Oak cook stove, was smashed to pieces. She never ceased regretting the loss, even after the s t ove was late r repl aced by a newer model. Rather than rebuild the house, the Hendrys moved to the waterfront where they bought Bill Clay's squatter rights to land just east of the present Monroe street. For his rights Clay received $300 and a bay mare named Dolly Before 1873 drew to a c l ose the settlers of Fort Mye r s faced a tragedy, or what appeared to be a tragedy, far worse than any which could be wrought by a hurricane. A man arrived who said he owned all the land they occupied -that his homestead application for the land had been granted by government officials at Gainesville on December 7. The newcomer was Major James Evans, of Suffolk, Virginia. j !;Jajor Evans Founds a Town When Major Evans first came to Fort Myers late in December, 1873 he was onl y fifty years old. But his hair was white and so was his little goatee which he pulled and scratched when excited. Because of his sno wy hair, he was always referred to, behind his back, as Old Man Evans. But when people addressed him they called him Major Evans. Although no n e of the settlers had ever seen the Major before, he was not a stranger to Fort Myers. He knew the surrounding territory better probably than any other person in South Florida except the Hendrys and the Indians. He had tramped over the country many times. Born in Suffolk, Va. on February 12, 1823, Evans in early life learned to be a surveyor. Because of ill health, he came to Florida in 1 842 and joined a government crew then surveying the western part of Hillsborough County. When s ummer came he returned to Virginia. l\iany times thereafter he joined Florida surveying crews to work during the winter months Late in November, 1859, he was assigned to a crew headed by John Jackson which had been ordered to survey the Caloosahatchee region. The crew anived at Fort Myers early i n Decem ber, and began work on December 12. The survey was halted d uring the winter because the rumblings of approaching war were heard. Bu t Evans did not leave with Jackson and others of the crew. Having taken a liking to the Caloosahatchee area,


94 THE STORY OF FonT MYERS with its balmy w inter climate and fertile land, he decided it would be an ideal spot to purs u e a hobby he had a lways wanted to take upthe growing of tropi cal fruits in a semi-trop i cal co untry. Evans did not believe that war would last long, if it came at all, and hoped the survey he had helped to start would be soon complete d. The land then could be purchased from the government. Persons who settled would have first chance to buy. Evans, theref o r e, decided to remain at Fort Myers and establis h his c l aim During t h e f oll o wing year he plan ted hundreds of coconuts and set out an acre of tropical plants and shrubs obtained from K ey Wes t H e even began raising coffee plants. Then, much against his will, he had to l eave. Fort Sumter had been fired upon and war was inevitable. Records of N onsemond County, Virginia, show he served in the Confederate Army and attained the rank of major. Nothing is known about his life immediately after the war-when talking later to Fort Myers friends h e n eve r mentione d that period. It i s quite a p p a rent, howeve r, t hat Evans watched and w11ited for t h e first opportunity to fil e a homestead claim for the land h e wanted on the Caloosahatehee The surveyor general completed the map of the river region on September 30, 1873 and in less than two months Evans got h is application approved. Evan s undoubtedly had a good claim to the land. He could prove that he settled there first, had cultivated the soil and had l eft o nl y because of the war. The fact that o thers came after h e did, and set t l e d there, did not make his claim a n y less strong. He h a d f u lfilled all the r equirem ents of the law. H owever, the major never went to court to get the squatters on the fort site dispossessed. Why he did not isn't clear. Manuel S. Gonzalez, in telling about this phase of Fort Myers' history, said: "Major Evans was a kindly disposed man and being willing to do unto others as he wou l d have them do unto him a compromise was reached w hich was satisfactory t o all The town p lat was drawn to c o n form to the settlers' c l aims for land That explai n s why the streets were laid out the way they are sort of haphazardly." And Captain Hendr y wrote: "The coming of Major Evans was to the squatters the realizatio n of that which they mostly feared. Being a stranger in their midst, the confiscating of their property was to their minds the thing m ostly to be expected. But the major soon ingratiated h i msel f with t h e m b y the k indly assurance that t h ey would be tak en care of. The hea rtfe l t gratitude o f t h ese people cau sed them to hold in highest estee m the man who allowed them to retain their home s. It's possible, however, that the issue may not have been settled as harmoniously as Gonzalez and Hendry indicated. Evan s may have had other reasons for "taking care" of the squatters. One old timer says he asked the major once why he hadn't tried to oust them and that h e replied: "Oh, I didn't want to take t oo many chanc e s I had the law o n m y side-but they had Wlnc h este rs!"


THE STORY Of fORT MYERS 95 Cou rthouse records show that the major got title to the land, 139.45 acres, on October 12, 1876. Immediately thereafter he employed Julian G. Arista, deputy surveyor of Monroe County, in which Fort Myers was then located, to lay out a town si t e. The plat was recorded in Key West in December, 1876. During the following year and a half, the major deeded a large part of the best land away, for little or nothing. Members of the Hendry clan got mos t of the waterfront. Captain Hendry obtained the choicest property. For. $1 he got the land between Jackson and Lee, where the post off i ce now stands and for another $1 all the water frontage between Royal Palm Avenue and Hough Street, approximately 800 feet. These same t r ansactions also gave him lar ge tracts south of First Street, totalling about twelve acres. For $1, Mrs. JaneL. Hendry wife of Charles W ., received most of the waterfront between Monroe and Hendry and all of the block bounded by Fi r s t Hendry, Second and Mon roe. For $1, W Marion Hendry got most of the waterfront between Hendry and Jackson imd some choice tracts south of First. For another $1, Jehu J. Blount, whose wife was a Hendry, was deeded all the waterfront between Hough and Washington and some other tracts besides. Joseph Vivas, who had lived on the fort site much longer than any of the others, paid a higher price. For a narrow strip just east of Lee Street he had to pay $400. Of the entire waterfront between Monroe Street and Billy's Creek Evans retained less than 500 feet, in four separate strips. All the rest of it with the exception of the small piece bought by Vivas, went to mem bers of the Hendry family for a recorded grand total of $5. In disposing of the land so generously, Evans may not have been coerced by "Winchester influence." And perhaps he wasn't as "benevolent" as Hendry said he was. Ther e may be another explanation for his liberality. On June 4, 1872 Congress passed an act for the special benefit of the International Ocean Telegraph Co., giving it the right to pre-empt forty acres at Punta Rassa, Fort Myers, Branch River, Barto.w and Tuckertown where it had established, or inte nde d to establish, stations. When officials of the company went to the land of fic e to claim forty acres for a station at Fort :Myers they found that the land already had been claimed by Evans. They filed s ui t against him and the case was not disposed of until two years later when the Secretary of t he Interior made a spec ial ruling in Evans' favor. It is possible that members of the Hendry family advanced money to Evans to help him pay the expense of contesting the company's court action against him and in ob t aining the ruling from the Secretary of the Interior. Perhaps the Hendrys paid all the expenses and, conse quently, received the lion's share of the new town site. But that is only hearsay. There. is nothing in available records to substantiate it.


96 THE STORY OF FonT MYERS All that is known for sure is that the cable company established a Fort Myers station but got no land as a reward. To operate the statio n, the company sent in Telegrapher C. W. (Waddy) Thompson. Soon after his an-ivai he fell in love with Laura Hendry, daughter of Captain F. A., and they were married. Their wedding probably was the first in Fort Myers. Perhaps because of the company's Jaw suit, Evans did not wait five years to get title to his land under provisions of the Homestead Act o f 1862. Instead, he bough t it outright under provisions of the Land Act of 1820, paying the prevailing price of $1.25 an acre. The entire original town site, consisting of 139.45 acres, cost him exactly $174.32. He was granted a receipt on October 12, 1876. The town of Fort Myers was now bought and paid for. But it e xisted only on a map. It still was merely a community of a few scattered homes But growth was to come-in time . Development Comes but Slowly The Land of the Caloosahatchee was not developed with magic rapidity during the 1870's. Hardy pioneers did not flock to the river region from every state in the Union and make the wilderness blossom like a rose. There i s no reason why such a phenomenon should have occu ned True enough, the climate of the Land of the Caloosahatchee was not surpas sed by any spot in Florida. And few other places had soil as fertile and as limitless in expanse. Nevertheless, there were obstacles to rapid developm ent. The greatest was a complete lack of adequate transportation facilities. Fort Myers was truly a place at the end of nowhere. It was a frontier town in every sense of the term. The nearest railroad was at Cedar Keys, two hundred miles or so up the coas t, where a decrepit railroad began its meandering way northeastward to Fernandina. The nearest town of any consequenc e was Key West, far down on the keys, and even Key West wasn't large. Tampa was still just 1\ small nondes cript villag e. All this meant that there was an almost complete lack of marke t s for farm products srrown in the Caloosahatchee region. Bountiful crops could be grown, and they were, but buyers of those crops were few and far b e tween. Key West offered the best market-and that was none too good. Farmers along both coasts shipped their products there and the markets often became glutted. The result was that the bottom fell out of price s and the farmers did not get enough for their products to pay the transportation charge s Despit e all this, Fort Myers did not stagnate. The infant village had one great asset-it was the one and only accessible trading center for a rapidly growing cattle region. And it was as a cow town that Fort Myers grew, s l ow ly but surely.


THE STORY oF FonT MYERS 97 The importance of the cattle industry can best be shown by the fact that during one year in the 1870's Captain Hendry shipped 12,896 head from Punta Rassa to Key West. The prices paid averaged $15. For all the cattle he received approximately $200,000. Captain Hendry did not keep all this money himse lf; of course. Much of it went to others with whom he dealt. But many of those cattle men came to F'ort Myers to buy their supplies and so did the cow hunters who worked for them. This meant good business for Fort Myers' merchants, and they began to prosper. It also meant good b.usiness for blacksmiths, and cobblers, and druggists, and doctors, and everyone else who too k care of the cattlemen's needs. This explains the fact that men in every line of endeavor began coming to Fort l\1yers. They could make a living here while at the same time get all the benefits of a fine climate, and fish and hunt to thei r heart's content. Homesteaders came too, of course, just as they did to every other part of Florida. The lure of free land offered by the Homestead Act of 1862 was irresistible. From North Florida, Georgia and Alabama they came, and from many northern states. And even from foreign countries. They did not come in a great migration but a few this year, and a few next the total always climbing. T hey came i n huge covered wagons, duwn by mules or oxen, travel ing a few miles a day over the sandy trails. They came in sloops and schooners, stopping at white beached islands along the way. When they found a spot they liked, they pitched their tents. If i t proved to be what they wanted they built a lean to shack, with a palmetto roof, and settled down. Many filed homestead claims; others didn't bother. T hey would take care of that matter when they had more time. The most important thing was to clear the la nd and plant their crops. Not all those who came sought homes. S o me sought refuge from the law. Nervous and apprehensive, they were always ready to flee again at a moment's notice. On some of the islands down the coast it was never considered good manners to ask a man where he was from. To do so might embarrass him-and lead to .shooting. Some of the newcomers came for adventure and nothing else. They were the restless ones who can always be found Jiving in the out-of-way places of the world. Bored by civilization, they seek the frontier lands and live in peace and contentment. Such a man was W illiam Allen, a refined and well-educated man of good f amily from Boston, :Mass. He settled on Sanibel Island in 1866 to raise castor oil beans which he expected t o sell to the government. Two years later he built a causeway through the marsh which separated Punta Rassa from the mainland. Jacob Summerlin paid him for the work. The hurricane of October 6, 1873, covered Sanibel Island with five feet of water and destroyed his crops and equipment. For some unknown reason he then headed inland f rom Fort Myers and settled nea{; the edge of the Big Cypress, perhaps taking the shack the Charles Hendrys had


98 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS abandoned the previous sprin g. He lived there a number of years and the locality became known as Allen' s Place. Later it adopted the name "Immokalee," meaning "M:y Home." And that's the name it goes by today. Another adventuresome man was Captain William B. Collier who settled witli his family at the north end of Marco Island in 1871 to make it his headquarters for trading up and down the coast. The story is told about a terrible storm that affected Captain Bill for life One day he was out in his sloop with his father. A preacher passenger was on board. The wind began blowing a gale and Bill gave the preacher an axe, telling him to cut the main sheet when he yelled. Instead the preacher dropped the axe and fell to his knees in prayer. The sloop capsized and Bill's father was drowned. The prayers might have been helpful in saving the preacher and Bill-but Bill never thought so. The story is that he became an atheist and remained one until he died . Captain Collier established an Indian trading post on the island and built up a large and profitable trade with Seminoles who came in dugout canoes from deep in the Big Cypress and from is lands along the coast. At first the captain lived with hi s family in a small palmetto-thatched log cabin but later built a large, attractive horhe on top of a high Indian mound. It was well furnished and boasted of one of the first upright pianos on the southwest coast. The captain was the f irst coastwise trader who made Fort :Myers a port of call. He sailed up the Calooshatchee in his schooner G uide the first time in the fall of 1871. Thereafter he stopped there regularly once a month, bringing in supplies from New Orleans and Key West. Each time he came he invited everyon e in the settlement fo r a cruise on the rive r and his v isits always were looked forward to, particularly by the children. In 187 4 Captain Collier brought in one of Fort Myers' first store keepers, Major Aaron Frierson, who had served in the War Between the States. The major was a native of South Carolina but had gone to Tampa after the war to escape carpet bag rule and Negro supremacy. In Tampa he learned of the thriving cow town on the Caloosahatchee and came down on the "Guide" to look it over. He found Fort Myers smal!er than he expected but decided it had good prospects, so he remained and went into business with :Marion Hendry. They established a stor e on the northeast corner of First and Hendry under the firm name of Frierson & Hendry. Major Frierson made arrangements with Major Evans to buy the southeast corner of First and Jackson for a homesite and built a house with concrete walls so the termites wouldn't eat it up," he said. Portions of the walls are said to be still standing inside the business building now on the same site. Two of the major's daughters were married to sons of Captain Hendry. Julia was married to James E. Hendry, Jr., in 1875 and three years later her sister Ella was married to Louis A. Hendry.

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THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 99 Taylor Frierson, the major's son, became the proprietor of the Frierson House and accommodated everyone who came along with a room and three excellent meals a day for $5 a week. In 1887 he gave up the boarding house and went into the cattle business. He also owned a large g1ove near Buckingham. Captain Collier brought to Fort i\iyers the materials for the first school house paid for by the county. The b uilding was two stories high, with one room upstairs and one down, and was located on the southwes t corner of Second and Jackson on an acre of ground donated to the board of public instruction of Monroe County by Major Evans on October 2, 1878. Captain Peter Nelson, who then represented Fort Myers on the school board, rushed the building to completion and classes were started on November 15, the same year. While this school was the first owned by the county it was not the first in the village. And before there was any school at all, classes were held for the children of the community The teacher was l\Irs. Evalina Weatherford Gonzalez, wife of Captain Gonzalez. The mother of a large family, Mrs. Gonzalez was determined that the education of her children should not be neglected even though they were living at the end of nowhere. Her husband brought in textbooks from Key West and Mrs. Gonzalez started holding classes in her home in the fall of 1868. Her first pupils were two of her children, Manuel S. and .Mary, and two neighbors' children, Janet Clay and Josephine Powell. Fort 1\Iyers children were taught by a paid teacher for the first time in the winter of 1873-74. The schoo l house was a small log cabin close to the river bank, northeast of the present post office, owned by Major Evans. The teacher was Robert Bell, a tall, gangl y, and very dignified Englishman who had come to Florida for his health and had wandered down to the Caloosahatchee to learn what a frontier settlement was like Captain Hendry, who then had three children of age, persuaded him to remain and take charge of the school for $25 a month and r oom and board, p l us all the fishing and hunting he wanted. As an extra induce ment, Captain Hendry promised Bell he wou l d teach him how to ride horseback and w ould even let him use his best sorrel pony all winter long. Ten children attended the first classes held in the little Jog cabin school. 'l'hey were Virginia Lee, George and Frank Hendry, children of Captain Hendry; Ida and Mattie Blount, Amelia Vi\as, James A. Hendry, son of Charles Hendry, and Lavenia, Mary and Manuel Gonzalez. The Englishman was well liked by the children. He didn't bother them much with difficult arithmetic problems-he knew so little about that intricate subject that he couldn't even correct their mistakes. But what he lacked in knowledge of arithmetic he more than made up for by his knowledge of literature. He knew almost all of Shakespeare by heart and when he read Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities" the youngsters thrilled with excitement. He also had an excellent knowledge of

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100 THE STORY oF FonT MYERS geography, having wandered over much of the world, and the stories he told about strange lands were as interesting as fiction. The log cabin served as Fort Myers' only school house, even though the number of pupils increased rapidly, until the county-owned school was opened in 1878. Children who attended classes in the new school had an experience they always remembered-one of their classmates was a bright young Seminole lad named Billy Conapachee whom Captain Hendry had taken into his home to raise and educate. The Indian boy learned rapidly and his grades were always as good as any of the white children's. After he returned to his tribe he married and named all his children after the captain and members of the captain's family. One of his sons is said to be Jose Billy who was trained i n theology and now preaches at the Seminoles' Baptist Church in the Big Cypress. The first church servic es held in Fort Myers were conducted in the same log cabin which served as a school. The first preacher was a Methodist circuit rider, Rev. W. C. Jordan, who came on horseback in January, 1872, from Bartow, a hundred miles aw1ty. At that t i me there were only four families in Fort Myers and two of them were of the Catholic faith. But that made no difference to the circuit rider-he held services just the same. Every man, woman and child in the t iny settle ment attended, and prayed with him. In the winter of 1880-81, when Fort Myers was becoming quite a metropolis, the Methodists built the first real church anywhere in the Caloosahatchee region. It was located on the south side o f First Street just w'est of Royal Palm Avenue. Because of the tearful pleas of Rev. E. H. Giles, pastor at the time, cattlemen for miles around chipped in and helped pay for the new edifice. The new church was mentioned by Dr. James A. Henshall, of Louis vill e Ky., in hi s book "Camping and Cruising in Florida," written after he had cruised up the Caloosahatchee in 1882. "We alTived at Fort Myers on Sunday and at night all hands and the cook turned out and attended divine services," D r Henshall wrote. "I was surprised to find so much conventional style in a place seemingly so distant and so isolated from all the world. I could not realize I was in the wilds of Florida while gazing upward at the lofty Gothic ceiling, with its chamfered and oiled rafters, or at the new cabinet organ, or at Jack flirting with a pretty girl in a killing Gainsborough hat and bangs ... Some of the wealthiest cattlemen in southern Florida reside in Fort Myers and their whole some influence is everywhere apparent." Because of the cattlemen referred to by Dr. Henshall, Fort Myers. continued .to grow steadily during the 1870's. But on August 22, 1876, it ceased to be Fort :Myers-so far as the U.S. government was concerned. By official order of the Post Office Department the village became Myers -just plain Myers. There was already one Fort l\'lyer in the country, Washington declared, and one was enough, even though it was spelled differently and was a thousand miles or so away from Fort Myers, Florida -far up in Virginia.

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THE STORY OF FoRT MYERs 101 The people of Fort Myers objected strenuously to the name shorten ing. But Washington was f irm The change must be made, the officials declared, or else the village on the Caloosahatchee would have to get along without a post office and government-paid-for mail service besides. So Fort Myers became Myers, so far as mail matters were concerned, and Myers it remained until November 9, 1901 when the post office depart ment finally relented and officially changed the name back to Fort Mye1s. Despite Washington's order, the name Myers never was used by the people of Fort Myers for anything except mail purposes. The old fort which had caused the village to come into existenc e could not be so brutally ignored. People continued to say they lived in Fort Myers and when the town was incorporated a few years later the name Fort Myers was officially adopted. So the fact that Fort Myers was once Myers can be conveniently forgotten. The honor of becoming the first postmaster of Fort Myers went to W. M. Hendry, known to everyone as Uncle Marion. And the first post office was located in his general store on the northeast corner of First and Hendry. Hendry's appointment aroused the ire of Jehu Blount, as might have been expected. Blount owned a general store on the northwest corner of First and Hendry and the two men were keen competitors. What was more, Blount had been servi ng for a year or so as the unofficial postmaster of the village, w ithout a cent of pay, and it galled him sorely to see people trotting into his rival's store to get their mail-and do their buying. That would never, never do So Blount began pulling political strings and when Hendry's term expired succeeded in having appointed as postmaster his own business partner, Howell A. Parker. For many years Parker was one of Fort Myers' leading citizens. A native of North Carolina, he served i n the Confederate Army and was wounded. He lost all his property during the war and when the conflict ended came to Florida and secured a job teaching school at Leesburg. In 1878 he learned that a new county-owned school was to be opened that fall in Fort Myers and he applied for the position of principal. His qualifications were excellent and he secured the appointment. During the winter he became friendly with Blount and in the spring the two men formed a partnership. Parker had saved some money at Leesburg and he used it t o buy the corner where Blount had his store, paying $300 for the land. He also invested money in Blount's business, greatly increasing the stock of goods carried. On August 22, 1879, he was named postmaster. Now people had to come to the Parker-Blount store to get their mail. The business thrived. That fall a new school teacher came to Fort Myers to take the job Parker had left. She was Mary G. Verdier, of Beaufort, S. C., neat and intelligent and, what interested Parker far more, unusually pretty. Before the winter passed he robbed the county of its teacher. Their wedding was a grand event. Catt lemen, hunters, merchants and boatmen

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102 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS put on their best Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and the women their starched muslins and crinolines. The bride, dressed in snowy white, was attended by her older girl pupils who se1ved as bridesmaids. The marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. C. E. Pelot in the Methodist Church. After the wedding the young couple went way up to Tampa on their honeymoon. Parker was not only Fort Myers' second postmaster-be also later won the honor of becoming the town's first mayor. The Cuban Cattle Market Crashes Efforts of Cuban insurrectionists to break the Spanish grip on their island were crushed in 1878. People in Spain rejoiced over the news that the conflict had ended. But peace in Cuba soon ended a period of unprecedented prosperity for the cattlemen of Florida. The Spaniards in Cuba no longe r had to import thousands of head of cattle each year to feed their soldiers. Production of cattle on the island increased rapidly. By the end of 1880 prices paid f o r Florida cattle had sagged from $15 a head to Jess than $10. Then, soon afterward, Spanish officials in Cuba imposed an import duty of $1 a head. Prices slumped still more. Shipments to Cuba dropped to almost nothing. Only the Key West business remained. The flow of Spanish doubloons to the Land of the Caloosahatchee subsided from a flood to a trickle. Cattlemen mourned and the business of Fort Myers' merchants showed a sharp decline. The future looked anything but bright. But then, when least expected, came good news.

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CHAPTER IV FORT MYERS l-IAS ITS UPS AND DOWNS AGOG WITH EXCITEMENT, Telegrapher Waddy Thompson hurried out of his Western Union office and rushed over to Parker-Blount's store as fast as his stout legs would carry him. He had just heard big news from upstate telegraphers who were gossiping on the line and he could hardly wait to tell others what had happened. A half dozen men were loafing on benches in the shade in front of the store when Waddy appeared. Eagerly they listened to what he had to say. Governor Bloxham had just announced in Tallahassee, Thompson breathlessly related, that he had completed a deal for selling four million acres of Florida land. Hamilton Disston that big saw manufacturer up in Philadelphia, wa. s the buyer. He was going to pay the state a million dollars. One million dollars in good cold cash! Imagine that! But that wasn't half the story. Disston was going to drain the E\>er glades. What was more, he was going to use Fort Myers as his base of operations. He was going to bring in great dredges which would work up the Caloosahatchee, widening and deepening the channel. Then they would blast their way through the rocky ledge beyond Fort Thompson and proceed to dredge out a big canal all the way to Lake Okeechobee. In no time at all, Thompson declared, all the water would be drained from the swampy Glades and millions of acres of that rich, black muckland would be made available for cultivation. Pioneers w o uld flock in from everywhere and settle in the Glades and all alorig the Caloosa hatchee. Fort Myers would become the gateway to a vast new empire. It would become the biggest city in the state. Great news indeed! It spread like wildfire all ov e r Fort Myers. Waddy Thompson was called upon to repeat the story again and again. Every hour or so he hurried back to the telegraph office to get fresh gossip from hi s wife who was relieving him at the keys. It was a hard day for Mrs Thompson but the most exciting day in her husand's life. The people of Fort Myers were thrilled by the glorious vista which opened up before them as they pondered over the marvelous development the huge drainage project would surely bring. They were not greatly interested in the reasons why the Disston land deal was made. But they could not help but learn some of the details. Back in the days before the Civil War, they were told, slave owners dreamed rosy dreams of draining the Glades and converting the rich lands into huge sugar and rice plantations. The slave owners and their

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104 THE STORY oF FonT MYERS allies finally s ucceeded in persuading Congress to give swamp and overflowed lands in Florid a to the state so money could be obtained to carry on drainage projects. Scheming politicians prevented the lands fro m being used as intended. Instead of the lands being sold or pledge d to make drainage projects possib l e they wer e pledged to meet the interest payments on bonds issued by private corporations in which the politicians w ere fina n ciall y interested, to build railroads in the northern part of the state. One was the rickety railroad whi c h staggered southwestward from Fernan dina to Ceda r Keys The other were n ondescript affairs on whi c h great sums were squandered. None ever met operating expenses By 1 870 the state w a s head over heels in debt. Interest on the rail road bonds had not been paid for years. Altogethe r the state owed $3,527,000 which it was obligated to pay To m ee t this debt, the state sold the railroads which it had taken over and succeeded in retiring bonds to the amount of $2,872,700. Thatleftadebtof $644,300 still unpald.1'o get money to pay off some of the creditors with t h e most political inf luence, the state began selling huge tracts of the public domain to land specula tors. Other cre ditors stepped in and obtained a n injunction restraining the state from making sales. Unite d States courts then too k charge. By 1880 the state's finances were in a hopeless muddle Interest charges kept piling up. The courts finally decided that a million dollars would be s ufficient to extricate the state from the financial qu agmi re. At t hi s juncture the wealthy Philade lphi a n, Hamilton Di ssto n, ap peared in the picture. He agreed to giv e the state the milli on do llars and take in return four million acres of. public land a t twenty-five cents an acre. An agreement to that effect was signed May 30, 1 881. The agreement provided fo r more than the sa1e of four million acres It also stipulated that Disston should drain the Everglades and that as a reward for hi s efforts he was to receive half of the area reclaim ed. In return for the milli on do llars the state gave to Disston and his ass ociates title to huge tracts of land extending all the way from Duval and St. Johns counties in Florida's northern secto r to Lake Okeechobee T h ese tracts were supposed to be all swamp and overflowed lands, s o covered with water at the time of planting or harvesting that they coul d not be farmed without artificial drainage. B11t Disston was not stuck with such almost worthl ess lan ds. He was too goo d a busine ss man. He was in the driver 's seat and could get almo s t anything he wanted. And he got it-huge areas of some of the finest lands in Florida. D isston undoubtedly had a special reason fo r being willing to go to the expense of draining t h e Everglades. That reason involve d s u gar. A t that time sugar was selling for 10 cents a pound and m ore. T ranslated into terms of p r esent-day money that meant at least 30 cents a pound Sugar was indeed a sweet luxury, made so by the fact that m ost of the sugar plant ations of the South which had b een worked by slav es before

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 105 the war were laying untilled. And production of sugar in Cuba had been disrupted by the Cuban insurrection of 1868 to 1878. The shortage of sugar was acute and it therefore demanded a premium price Unquestionably Disston knew all this. He also doubtless knew that the rich Glades muckland would be ideal for sugar raising after being drained. And by using machinery instead of slave labor, huge profits could be made by a man with sufficient capital and sufficient vision. Having both, Disston felt qualified to undertake the sugar-producing venture and reap the profits for himself. Almost immediat ely after the agreement with Governor Bloxham was signed Disston completed plans for starting work on the Glades drainage project. He organized a company with the imposing name of Atlantic and Gulf Coast Canal and Okeechobee Land Company to take care of legal requirements. And, to supervise the operations, he em ployed a young fellow from New Orleans who had had much experience in drainage work. That young fellow, then only 23 years old, was Capt. J. Fred Menge, a man who was destined to play an important part in the future history of Fort Myers. The First Drainage Canal/ s Opened A strange sound was heard in Fort Myers on Wednesday, September 21 1881. It was the hoarse wailing of a tug boat whistle and came from far down the river. Everyone ran to the dock at the foot
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106 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS dredged the entire five-mile length of shallow Lake Flirt, no trace of which now r emains. The most trouble was e xperienced in blasting a canal through the rocky land just west of Lake Hicpochee. A dam had to be built every four miles to obtai n sufficient water to float the dre dge. When the tim e came to take the last s hove l f ul of rock and earth between the canal and Lake Hicpoch ee a crow d gathered to witness a magnificen t spectacle as the w ater i n the Glades found an out. let to the Gulf. P eople came from all the surrounding cou ntry i n ox carts and o n horseback. Others came up from Fort Myers on Captain Nelso n's sputtering "Spitfire." But a ll the spectators were greatly disappointed. When the last banie r was removed the water did not rush out in a torrent as e xp ected. It merel y flowed out sluggishly into the canal. But Captain : M e nge was no t surprised. T he rainy se a son h a d not yet started and there was little water i n the Glades After the rains began, he s aid, there would be e n ough water in the canal to floa t a good-sized steamer. Captain Hendry, who was watching ope ration s carefully, was sup remely optimistic. H e was positive the Everglades cou ld be drained and he was equally pos iti v e that the canal would provide a wonderful watenvay and a i d tremen d ous l y in t h e d evelopment of the G lades region. He prophesied that by the following winter "steamers built at Pitts burgh may descend the Mississippi, steam along our Gulf coast, ascend t h e Caloosahatchee into Lake Okeech obee, and after traversing that region of the unkn own and steaming u p t h e Ki ss immee, wake the echo es of Orange Coun ty as t hey greet the new Ki ssi mmee City ris in g lik e magic i n a wildern ess of tropica l verdure." Captain H endry was no more enthusiastic than countless others. The reclamation project was one of the greatest ever undertaken in the United Stat e s and almost everyone was confident it would be successful. It was the talk o f the country Reporters came fro m P hiladelphia, New Y ork and Chicago to t ell of the progress that was being made. A canal between Lake Hicpo chee and Lake Okeechobe e was com pleted by Captain Menge during Augu st, 1888 This made it possible for s hallow -draft boa ts to go fro m t h e Gulf to any point on the great inland lake. Ove r l y optimi s tic, Disston believed that steamers would b e able to go through the lake and on up the Ki ssi mm ee River to Kissimm ee City So h e helped organize th e Kissimme e Okeechobe e and Gulf Stea m Navigation C ompany to put a Fort Myers-K i ssi mmee run in to operation. Official s of the new company located and bo ught the "Bertha Lee," a two-dec k e d wood-burning stern wheeler then operating on the Ohio River The steamer was brought down the Mississippi, through the Gulf and up the C al oosahatch ee, piloted by Capt. Benjamin F. Hall, J r Disston was pos i tive that the first trip to Kissimmee through the vir g in heart of the p e ninsula would be a gloriou s history -makin g event so he i nvited a number of his northern frien ds, and Tallahassee politi cinns, and newspapermen to acco mpany him on the "Bertha Lee's" maid e n journey. The party left Fort Myer s on September 20. Dlssto n expected that Kis-

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THE: STORY OF FORT MYERS 107 simme w ould be reached in three days, but he was fated to be gravely disappointed. The "Bertha Lee" was 130 feet long and drew three feet of water. She was entirely too larg e to navigate the narrow, s hallow canals wh ic h had been dred ged by Captain Meng e Time after time she got stuck and had to be pulled out. Twice Captain Menge had to throw up dams to get enough water to k eep her floating. A week passed before Lake Okeecho bee was reached. But that was just the beginning of the journey. Going up the narrow, twisti ng Kissimmee R ive r, Captain Hall encountered all sorts of difficul ties Sometim es a whole day was required to get around one tortuous bend. Supplie s became exhausted and the deck hands worked themselves almost to death. The "Bertha Lee did not reach Kissimmee until Novem ber 2, forty-three days after starting. Fortunate ly fot Fort J\iyers, Di ss t on's party did not remain long on the Bertha Lee." All the passengers left the steamer at Fort Thompson and stopped a few days at the ranch home of Capt. F. A. Hendry. While there D i sston took a group of newspapermen up the canal on Capt. Peter Nelson's "Spitfire" and showed them the work being done toward start ing a sugar cane plantation in the rich muck land between Lake Hi cpochee and Lake Okeechob ee. Lateral canals were being dug to drain off the water and Disston p r edic t e d that within another two years the finest s uga r can e plantation in all t he world wou l d be located there. Traces of the lateral drainage canals could be s een half a century late r. Leaving the "Bertha Lee" behind, the Disston party went back down the river and was entertained lavishly at the home of Howell Parker. Perhaps becau se of the entertainment the newspapermen left Fort :Myers greatly impre ssed with its possibilities for future growth. They wrote glowing articles about the town when they got back home, stressing its fine climate and its strategic location on "the gateway river to the mighty kingdom of the Glades." Because of the wide publicity and the optimistic predictions of de ve lopments which were coming, men and women of spirit and courage began heading for Fort Myers and t he Cal oosahatchee V alley from all parts of the country. They wanted to make their home in this fair land of promise. Public spirite d and progressive, they soon became leaders in the community. Between 1882 and 1886 Fort Myers grew more than it had grown during the seventeen years following the close of the Civil War. Here are just a few of the pioneers who came: Dr. William H anson, from Essex, England; Edward L. Evans and Thomas J. Evans, from New Orleans; Dr. T E. Langford and Taff 0. Langford, from Madiso n Fla. ; Capt. H. L. Roan from Tampa; W. P. Gardner, his son, Albertus A., and his daugh ter, Miranda M., from Cleveland, 0.; the Jeffcott brothers, Iri shmen who came by way of London ; Capt. William H. Tow les, from Perry, Fla.; Henry B. Hoy er, from Marine, Ill.; Robert A. Henderson, from Madison, Fla.; Carl F. Rob erts, from R ock Island, Ill.; the Travers brothers, from

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108 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERs Sydney, Au stralia; the Stout f amily from Holton, Kansas; Dr. L. C Was hbu rn, f rom Ohio; R einhold Kinz i e, from Germany; C. '1'. Tooke, from J efferson County Ga.; T. M. Park, from Buena vista, Ga.; and Da n C. Kantz, Edward P. Kantz and their sister, Mrs. Sarah Knight Titus, from Snider County, P ennsy l vania. All those and many, many oti}ers Every one of these newscomers c o ntributed something to Fort Myers and their names appear often in the later hi story o f the town. Mention must be made here, however, of the Kantz family Pennsylvania Dutch, they buil t Fort Myers' first hotel in 1882 on the river front near the foot of Park Stree t. Two stories high, of frame constr uction, it had twe nty rooms for gues ts, a large dini ng room, an impressive parlor, a detached kitch en, and a wharf. It was heralded a s the :finest h otel south of Tampa and the biggest social events of the community were held t here for years. The hote l was paid for by Danie l C. Kantz, who came to Fort Myers primarily to be principal of t h e s chool, and by hi s sister Mrs. Titus. They named it the Keyston e, after thei r native state. Two years later t hey changed the name to the "Caloosa Hotel." Peter 0. Knight, the son of Mrs. Titus, cam e to visit her in the early summer of 1884. He had just been graduated from Valpariso Unive r sity, in Indiana, and was chockful of knowledge and confidence. Wanting to make a good impression, he was wearing a spike-tailed coat and a silk hat when he arrived. Years later, after h e had become Tampa's leading citi zen and nationally known he told why h e discarded his formal outfit "The eve ning of my first day in Fort Myer11 conv in ced me that this wilderness town wasn't a sil k hat, boiled shirt community," h e related. "I was sitting on a bench in front of one of the two stores Along ca me a fellow cons iderably the worse fo r liquor. Another native was seated close by me. The drunk l i ned up in front o f him. "'Jim,' he hiccough ed, 'pull my finger!' Jim refused. 'I say, pull my finger!' the drunk insisted. Jim still refused 'The hell you won't-I'II just show you that yo u will! the drunk shouted. He lurched back and pulled a lon g meat skinner's knif e fro m his belt. Jim scrambled in to the store and came back with a s hotgun. A coupl e of the drunk's friends grabbed him took the knife away from him, forced him into an o xcart, tied him down and drove off. "The incident impressed me so much that I asked a bystander if the drunk would have really killed Jim i f he hadn't been tied down, and just because Jim wouldn't pull hi s finger "The bystander replied: 'Well, it's thisaway, stranger. You see every tim e that fellow Bill gets drunk he goes around and as ks some gent to pull his finger. And whe n the gent pull s the finger Bill he jest spits a wad of terbaccer juice into the gent's eye. And Bill laughs and laughs But when the gent won't pull his finger he gits mighty mad-and he's cut up several gents pretty fierc e. And say, stranger, it's do g-goned funny he didn't a s k you to pull his finger. Almost always he goes after gents dressed fancy like. And gos h, stranger, you're dressed up fit to kill!'

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THE STORY OF fORT MYERS 109 "Right then and there I decided that Fort Myers wasn't the p lace to be wearing m y silk hat, boiled shirt and spike-tailed coat. The next day I p u t on a flannel shirt and a beaten-up S t etson hat. I looked as hard as any of the cowboys on the street. I was becom ing educated." Not all the newcomers who arrived in the Land of the Calooshatchee in the early SO's settled in Fort Mye rs. Many of them homesteaded or bought la n d along the river, starting fa.rms and settin g out small groves Several began raising coconuts and pineapples and nearly all had patches of sugar cane which they depended upon for the money crop and which provided them with sweets. Much of the best land in the Twelve Mile Creek district had been taken up before by "old timers" from Fort Myers who left the village to h omestead. The p ioneers there were Frank J. Wilson W. S. Clay, Owen R. Blount and Taylor Frierson. The later divided h i s time between his grove on the creek and Fort Myers where he still operated the Frierson House. A newcomer on the creek wasT. S. Colby who set out a grove. At Hickey' s Cree k a few miles above Twelve Mile Creek, Dennis 0. Hickey homesteaded and in 1885 was raising large crops of cabbage, egg p lant and squash. He had a n eighbor, Locklar, who also raised produce. Farther up the river, farms and groves were being well established in 1885 by A S. Lo\ ejoy, Capt. Albert Cutler John H. Hollingsworth, A. G T Parkinson, L. G. Thorp and Reinhold K inzi e. Thorpe had the first sugar mill on the river and ground cane for pioneers who came to his place from many miles away with thei r oxcarts loaded heavily with cane. Kinzie brought in the first beehives and was getting well started in the To get by this tortuous bend in the Cal oosahatchee, steamboat captains !Jad t o t ie t heir boats to t rees on the bank and warp them aro u nd Because such warping always was required a t this tricky place in the river it beeame known as "Rope Bend."

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no THE SroRY OF FoRT MYERS businesa of raising honey when he became ill and died, leaving his widow and children to fend for themsel ves which they did, splendidl y. The tiny vi)lage of Alva, surveyed in 1883 by Capt. Peter Nelson for a town site, by 1885 was getting well established. The captai n, who had come from Denmark many years before and had taken a liking to the Caloosahatchee, named the village after a littl e white flower he found growing there. He set aside ten acres on the river for a town par k and dedicated land for a church and schoo l which he helped to build h i mself. He also built a small library, the first anywhere south of Tampa . Members of the English fami'Jy were old timers in the Alva section before the village itself was founded. They had come to the Caloosa hatchee in 1876 and settled first near Fort Denaud. But they did not like it there and acquired land near Alva a year later and set out a grove. Three sons of the family, H. S., John C., and Arch became leaders i n the community Their mother was known throughout the region as the Good Samaritan of the Caloosahatchee. Whenever anyone became sick or destitute she made it her business to see that he got help and, when nec essary, took him to her home and cared for him until he became well and strong again. John C. English was married to Mrs. Ida Blount Stebbins, widow of Charles Hyde Stebbins, in 1892. One of their sons, John Colin English became head of the State Department of Education and in 1948 ran third in a field of nine candidates for the Democratic nomination for governor. Other prominent settlers in or near Alva in 1885 were H. G. Burnet, Capt. J. B. McKinney, Dr. James Kellum, Peter Fichter, Max von Erdmannsdorff, Paul G. Burnet and Edward Parkinson. 1'he growing of pineapples became a much-talked-about industry in t h e mid-eighties. Capt. Thomas Johnson was the pioneer. He brought in 1,500 Puerto Rican slips in 1884 and set them out on his l!md across the river. When the fruit ripened the following year they were found to be unusually sweet and delicious. Johnson sent fifteen crates to Key West where they were purchased by buyers for the New York market. The pineapples, which averaged ten pounds, brought sixty cents each. The industry hel d such promise that almost every settler up and down the river soon started a pinery. Dr. J. V. Harris had the largest, planting 22,000 slips in 1885. Another industry which looked promising was the growing of coco nuts In 1884, W. T. Forbes and Karl Kraemer planted 1,300 trees on a 60-acre grove a few miles down the river and employed a superintendent to care for them. Proof that coconuts would flourish was furnished by the trees which had been planted in 1860 by Major James Evans along the river. All were bearing nuts. Across the river from Fort Myers John Powell and R. G. Corbett had citrus groves in bearing by 1885, the first anywhere along the river. Jacob Daughtry lived nearby and had many acres in sugar cane and cabbage. Settlers even penetrated far into the back country. Robert A.

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THE STORY oF FonT MYERS 111 Carson had a large tract in sugar cane and vegetables 25 miles southeast of Fort Myers and was reported to be making good profits. Everywhere in the Land of the Caloosahatchee the future looked most promising in the autumn of 1884---so promising that the progressive citizens of Fort Myers decided it was high time that their community had a newspaper. In getting one, fortune favored them. A N etQspaper Editor Is Shanglwied Stafford C. Cleveland, publisher of the Yates County Chronicle in Penn Yan, N.Y., suffered from ill health during the summer of 1884. His doctor tol d him that unless he got away from the vicious New York winters he could not expect to live to see another spring. Editor Cleveland straightway made up his mind to go to Florida and, buying some second-han d newspaper equipment, including an old Miehle fiat-bed press made his way to Cedar Keys, then the one and only railroad terminal on the Florida West Coast. One of hi s old friends in New York who had cruised down the West Coast the year before to f ish and hunt, told him that Fort Ogden on the Peace River, above Charlotte Harbor, was a community with a future so that's where he was headed. At Cedar Keys he l oaded his equipment on the "Lily White," a trim, two-masted schooner which then was making iJTegular trips up and down the coast, stopping at almost all towns along the way. The captain of the schooner was Henry L. Roan, a resident of Fort Myers. Captain Roan knew as well as anyone that Fort Myers needed a newspaper and when he learned that he had a bonafide newspaper editor on board, and a whole newspaper plant to boot, he made up his mind that Editor Cleveland would ne ver get to Fort Ogden-not if he could help it. So instead of going in to Charlotte Harbor and stopping first at Fort Ogden, as he ordinarily did, Captain Roan headed straight for Fort Myers. Arriving there, the tricky captain called "the gang" together, in formed them of the notable personage on the "Lily White" and told them to get busy. The gang did-all the members of it: Capt. F A. Hendry, Howell Parker, Jehu Blount, Peter 0. Knight, Marion Hendry, Taylor Frierson, Tom Langford C. J Huelsenkamp, Ed L. E vans, Carl F. Roberts, and one of the gang's newest members, W P. Gardner, a rabid Fort Myers booster if there ever was one. They rushed to the dock where Editor Cleveland was patiently waiting for the schooner to pull out again and gave him the works. Eloquently they told of the wonders of Fort Myers and in g lowi ng terms they informed him of its tremendo us possibilities for growth. As fo r Fort Ogden s huck s that tiny place never would amount to anything! Right here at Fort Myers, they chorused, was the place for Editor Cleveland to settle down; set up his newspaper plant, and become rich and influential.

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112 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Captain Hendry guaranteed him 300 subscribers for a year. Gardner said he would pay $600 to help him meet initial expenses. Parker, Huel senkamp, Frierson and many others promised they would be regular advertisers. Evans and Roberts told him they would handle the job of setting up the plant--without charge. Almost overwhelmed by the offers and the attention he was getting, Editor C leveland capitulated. His equipment was u nloaded and installed in a small frame building at First and Jackson. O n Saturday, November 22, 1 884, the first issue of Editor Cleveland's paper appeared-the Fort Myers Press. And a mighty fine newspaper it proved to be. Few newspapers published anywhere in Florida at that time excelled it in quality. During the years which followed the Press helped tremendously in the deve lopment of Fort Myers and the entire Caloosahatchee region. Following ate the news stories carried in the first issue of The Press: "Messrs. P. C. Gaines, H. F. M. Highsmith, J. T. Andrews and J T Henley have just returned from an alligator hunt of one month on Lake Hicpochee and Okeechobee. They found it a laborious and not very remunerative hunt. The wet weather increased the difficulty of thei r work and they succeeded in killi n g only 142 alligators. As alligator skins bring but 50 to 75 cents each the reward for a month's labor was not large. However the exhilaration of the hunt and roughing it on the lakes and along the swamps furnished another sort of compensation. "Dr. William Hanson assisted by Dr. William Foos performed a suc cessful ampu tation of the leg of John Coats on Thursday. "C. T. Tooke is removing hi s saloon from First Street to the corner of Hendry and Garrett streets. "Dr. T. E Langford is having his yard covered with she ll. This is a step in the right direction. Beautify your homes. "J. J. Blount after a sojourn of several days on the cattle range reports that the country is to o wet and that the cattle in consequence are not doing well. "Peter 0. Knight, who is spending the winter in Fort Myers and looking around for a suitable professional location, has just returned from a visit to the Pine Level court. We hope he will take kindly to our country and locate for he will make a splendid member of society and a worthy auxiliary of the Florida bar. "Two deaths must' be announced this week. Dr. Richard C. Ander son, aged 65 years, on October 27, 1 884, and Louis Lanier Hendry two yearo l d son of Louis A. and Ella C. Hendry." The largest advertisement in the first issue was carried by the Fort Myers Land Agency, composed of C. J. Huelsenkamp and William A Roberts, the first real estate brokers of the town. Their first ad was a rather sedate affair but later they really rang the bell ballyhooing Fort Myers as: "THE ITALY OF AMERICA-and theOnly True Sanitarium of the Occidental Hemisphere! Equaling if not surpassing the Bay of

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TilE STORY OF FoRT MYERS 113 Naples in grandeur of view and health giving properties!" No wonder the firm sold real estate. The second largest ad was carried by H. A Parker & Co., the general store at First and Hendry. The ad stated that the firm dealt in "staple goods of all kinds, dry goods, groceries hardware, fancy goods, c l othing, millinery, and all branches of f amily supplies as sugars, teas, coffees, etc of the best quality and a great variety of articles not easily enumerated and all sold at low prices to suit the times and save money for out customers." Two other general stores advertised i n early issues of the Press. They were owned by Henry L. Roan, who announced that he was paying top price s for egret p lu mes, alligator hides and deer skins, and by Edward L. Evans who insisted that he charged the lowest prices for the highest priced merchandise "You can buy anything at Evans'," he declared. Three hot els were steady advertisers: The Keystone Hotel, operated by Mrs S. E. Titus, mother of Peter 0 Knight; the Frierson House, operated by Taylor Frierson, and the Braman House, a t F irst and Hendry, owned by Charles H. Braman. The las t two adver tised as hotels but were in reality boarding houses. Frierson stated he had "several large and commodious rooms ope n for the accommodation of guests" and that "the table will be supplied with the best the market a ffo rds. Mrs M A. Anderson advertised her drug store at First and Jackson and stated that prescriptions would be carefully compounded by H. B. Hoye r manager. Dr. William W. Foos carried a business card saying his residence and office were located in the Frierson House as if everyone didn't know it. Of course Editor Cleveland advertised that he was ready to do general job work and commercial pri nting, "neatly and with dispatch," for no weekly paper ever ex isted in those days without i ts job plant where the editor spent most of his time feeding the job presses to augment his meagre income from the weekly publicati on. During the fo ll owing winter the Press became well established and both the advertising and circulation increased steadily. I n New York, Editor Cleveland had been a red-hot Republican but in Fort Myers he swam with the Democratic tide, and got along splendidly. He painstakingly covered all the n ew:; but there was one story that winte r which he certainly did not overplay-the a rrival in Fort Myers of the man who later became known throughout the world as the Wizard of Menlo Park. Curiosity Brought a F amorts Visitor During the winter of 1884-85 the weather in St. Augustine, then the big tourist town of Florida, was wet and miserable. Because it was, Fort Myers won a winter resident who helped immea:surably in spreading its fame throughout the world.

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114 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS One of St. Augustine's visitors that winter was Thomas A. Edison . He had come south to relax from his arduous labors and recuperate in the warm sunshine. But instead of sunshine he found rains, and dismal fogs, and chill winds. Disgusted, he was about ready to return north when a friend told him that over on the lower West Coast the weather was ideal even during the coldest winter months. Dubious but also curious, Edison decided to find out for himself what the West Coast was like. With two friends, L. A. Smith, of New York, and his business associate, E. T. Gilliland, he went to Cedar Keys by railroad and there engaged Capt. Dan Paul's yacht "Jeannette" for a cruise down the Gulf. One of the yacht hands was Nick Armed a, then 16 years old, who knew the West Coast like a book. Sailing leisurely along, the party reached Punta Rassa on W ednes day, :March 4. Armeda told Edison about the cable office on the point and of course the great inventor, a telegrapher himself in earlier years, had to stop and look it over. George Shultz, manager of the station, enter tained him royally. The next day, while sitting on the veranda smoking cigars, Shultz told Edison about the village up the river located on the site of old Fort :Myers where the long Seminole War had been brought to a close by the surrender of Chief Billy Bowlegs and his tribesmen. His curiosity aroused, Edison decided to see the village. Arriving at Fort Myers late Friday afternoon, Edison told Captain Paul to dock the "Jeannette" at the wharf of the Keystone Hotel. That evening he strolled through the village and was deeply impressed by its tropical beauty, its solitude, and the friendli ness of the people. It appeared to be an ideal spot for a winter home. Edison stopped in at the office of Huelsenkamp & Cranford the next day and asked if any desirable nearby riverfront tracts were for sale. C. J Huelsenkamp, senior partner of the firm and rabid Fort Myers booster, thereupon proceeded to make one of the most important sales in the history of South Florida. He took Ediso n a mile down the river and showed him the Summerlin place, a 13-acre tract purchased by Samuel Summerlin from Francisco Abril a few years before for $500. H u else n kamp said he might be able to persuade Summerlin to sell. Edison told him to go ahead and try, and that h e would buy it if the price was right. Edison and his friends left Fort Myers the next day. Editor Cleveland dismissed the whole affair with a threeline personal to the effect that Mr. Thomas A. Edison, a distinguished electrician, had been in town and was contemplating buying the Summerlin place. That wa. s all. On the following September 19, the deal for the Summerlin property was closed Edison paying $2750. For those days that an exorbitantly stiff price but Edison never stopped bragging about the good bargain he had made. After buying the land Edison purchased enough Maine lumber to build two homes, one for himself and one for his friend Gilliland, and had it shipped to Fort Myers. The houses were constructed during the following winter by Eli Thompson and a crew of carpenters. They were

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 115 not finished, however, when Edison arrived early in March, 1886, with his bride, the former Miss Mina Miller, of Akron, 0., to whom he was married on Februa-ry 24. Mr. and Mrs. Edison stayed at the Keystone Hotel until their home was completed. Late in April they returned north. Equipment for a laboratory, a forty-horsepower steam engine and a dynamo were shipped to Seminole Lodge, as Edison called his estate, early in 1887 and when Edison returned again in March he started working at once to put an electric light plant into operation. Lights were turned on at Seminole Lodge for the first time on Saturday night, March 27, 1887. For Fort Myers i t was a history making event and almost everyone in town wandered out to Edison's home that evening to witness the miracle of science. People also confidently expected that Edison would provide street lights for the town. He had said in March, 1886, that he would do so the following winter but the promise did not materialize. On April 21, 1887, the Press stated: "The dynamo to be used in lighting the town of Fort Myers by electricity arrived one day last week. As Mr. Edison is very busy and his stay short, we have our doubts as to whether he will light Fort Myers by electricity this year or not. They are very busy at the laboratory and can hardly spare the time to put up the lamps, etc., which are also here and ready for use. However, the plant will be put in operation in good season next winter and we'll all rejoice." di M1:. Yrnt Under the inspiring leadership of up-and-coming Peter 0. Knight, shown wearing the white jacket, members of this band, the first in Fort Myers, played loud and long at all important gatherings in "cow town'' days.

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116 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS But Edison did not return the following w inter. He left Fort :Myers on Wednesday, May 4, 1887, and did not come back again for fourteen years, arriving next on February 27, 1901. During the intervening time he was busy on his countless i n ventions and Mrs. Edison was busy with her young children. But Edison continued to maintain Seminole Lodge and. w h ile he was away his gardener made it int o a tropical paradise. Fort Myers Becomes a Fu.ll Fledged Town 'l'he once infant frontier cow town of Fort Myers had good reason to strut with p ride in the early summer of 1885. A census had just been taken and it was learned that the population had soared to 349. That made Fort Myers the second largest town on the entire West Coast south of Cedar Keys. Only Tampa was larger. Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, Disston C ity, Pinellas, Safety Harbor, Manatee, Sarasota and Fort Ogden had all been settled but not one could top the 300 mark. For t Myers beat them all-no wonder it was proud! For months the peopl e of Fort Myers had mulled over the idea of incorporating as a town but not until the nose counting was completed did the village leaders decide that incorporation could be delayed n o lo nger. The need for all sorts of public impr ovements was becoming acute and none could be obtained until town taxes could be levied Besides, there was a dire need for better Jaw enforcement. Cow h unters came into the village every Saturday night and c u t up something scandal ous and no one was on the job to make them toe the mark. Town officials were needed just for Jaw enforcement, if for nothing else. Incorporation could be delayed no longer. To bring the iss u e to a head a group of village leaders signed a notice calling for an election Wednesday n ight, August 12 1885 at the school house "academy" at Second and Jackson. Forty-five e lectors responded to the call Capt. F. A. Hendry was appointed chairman and Howell A. Parker secretar y. A formal motion to incorporate was passed by a unani mo u s vote. The only discussion was over the name the town should have. Franci s M. Hen d r y said he thought it should be called "Myers" to eonform with its post offi ce designation. He was shouted down. The village had always been called Fort Myers -and Fort Myers it would always be, regardless of what Washington said about it! A pineapple in full b l oom was adopted as the offi cial insignia, to be used on the town seal. The pineapple was thus honored because it was then the fruit o f all frui ts in the Lan d o f the Caloosahatchee and almost every home had a pinery. Of the 4 5 who voted, 22 had their n ames on the first election slate as candidates for office. Ten were elected: Howell A Parker, as mayor; F. A. Hendry, N L. Langford, J. T. Haskew, Wm. M Hendry, J. J Blount,

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THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 117 W A Roberts, and J. 0. Braman, as councilmen; C. H. Stebbins, as clerk, and C. L. Oliver, as marshall. The names of the citizens who voted in this historic election must be preserved. They were: T. :M. Park, Charles H. Stebbins, E. L. Evans, A. J. Allen, Joseph Santana, Daniel C Kantz, R. Rofina, J. W Roan, James P. Perkins, C. H Leath le an, J . F. M Highsmith, M. S. Gonzalez, Lew C Stewart, C. T. Tooke, W. C. Tyre, J D. 1'hompson J J. Blount, Hardy Carter, T. H. Levens, D 0 Hickey, W. F. Powell, C. L. Oliver, Virgil Homer, Charl es A. Brown, C H Funck, John 0. Braman, H. B Hoyer, J. L Cutler, Daniel Flint, Z. J. Brown, C J. Huelsenkamp, H. A. Parker, John B. Hickey, T. E. Langford, H. L. Roan, James Evans, N. L. Langford, B. E. Henderson J. T. Haskew, F. A. Hendry, Frank \VI. Hendry, Wm. M Hendry, W M. Brown, W. R. Perkins, and John Pool. Those men were the "fathers" of Fort :Myers. One man who signed the call for the election did not vote when the time came to cast his ballot. He was Peter 0. Knight. And the reason he didn't vote was that he wasn' t yet 21 years old, even though he was a town leader. At the next election he was chosen mayor. Seven other signers of the election notice also failed to appear and vote, either because they co ul d not be present or because they lived out side the proposed town limits. They were: Taylor Frierson, Miquel Moralez, Irvin S. Singletary, J A. Miles, E. P Kantz, Wm. A. Roberts, and L.A. Hendry. This Was the Town of Fort Myers No magic change occ urred in Fort Myers as a result of incorporation. For many, many months thereafter it continued to remain much as it was before, a rugged, straggling frontier cattle town where cow hunters frolicked on Saturday afternoons, where ox teams labored through the sand, where the howling of wolves far in the back country could be heard on quiet nights, and where the arrival of tramp schooners still prov ided the most excitement Not one street was paved, or even graded. First Street, or Front Street as it was more commonly known, was a thoroughfare in name only. It was nothing but a sandy, weed-grown open space stretching between two irregula r rows of unpainted, cheaply constructed frame buildings housing general stores, saloons, livery stabl es, blacksmith shops, and miscellaneous establishments of little consequence. There were no sidewalks anywhere in town n o t even in the "business section." One of the first ordinance s passed by the newly-elected council stipulated that sidewalks must be built by abutting property owners, but no one paid any attention to the ordinance. Another ordinance stated that the streets should be "cared for" at town's expense but since the town had no money i n its treasury, the ordinance meant nothing There were no street lights, of course, and on moonless nights people w h o ventured outdoors had to carry lanterns to find their way.

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118 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS There was no public water system and residents still depended on cisterns or shallow wells for their water Many of the wells were contaminated by nearby privies and dysentery was a. coinmon ailment. Malaria, or "chills and fever" as it was known, was prevalent; people blamed the "miasma" from mangrove swamps down the river. Had anyone said that mosquitoes, breeding in the cisterns and pools of stagnant water, were spreading the disease, he would have been ridiculed. The comm on remedy for the chills and fever was Blue Mass pills and turpentine balls--if that failed to cure the patient his case was hopeless. He just had to keep on chillin' and shakin'. Seminoles wandered into town as they had in days gone by, bringing their alligator teeth and hides, their crane and egret plumes, thei r skins of deer, and their pelts of otter, bear, beaver and panther. In payment they took kettles and knives, thread and needles; tobacco and candy, grits and bacon, and occasionally one of those hand-operated Singer sewing machines which were so marvelous. Of course the Seminole women always demanded flamboyant calico in yellow, red and black, the striking colors of the coral snake, with which they made their tribal dress. The Seminole braves always wanted liquor and when they got it, drank themselves into a. .stupor. But they never caused any trouble. One always remained stone sober to herd the others home. Then, when his roistering brothers sobered up, he took his turn. The Indians often camped on the outskirts of town or even in the yards of the town residents. James E. Hendry, Jr. recalls that when he was a. youngster he often awakened on rainy mornings to find a family of Seminoles bedded down on the front porch of his home. Occasionally they asked for handouts; they never asked for work. Hard labor was what the foolish white people did to make money they worried over; the Indians would have no part of it-it didn't agree with them. Cattlemen complained occasionally about the Seminoles making off with some of their fine young steers. They didn't remember that many of the ancestors of these fine young steers once were the property of the Indians--and had been left behind, and appropriated by the cattlemen, when the Indians were forced to emigrate to a reservation in the West. Roaming cattle caused the residents of Fort Myers no end of t rouble. They wandered over all the streets and through people's yards, trampling gardens and eating grass and shrubbery. Every yard had to be fenced in if the owner hoped to keep any growing things around his home. One of the first ordinances passed by the council provided for impounding the cattle pests but the cattle barons raised so. much objection that the ordinance was conveniently forgotten. And the cattle roamed at will. Fort Myers was a rough and rugged cow town, true enough, but the people loved it. For them, nothing was more beautiful than the moonlight shining through the la.celike fronds of the coconuts growing along the Caloosahatchee, and nothing more soothing than the wind murmuring in the pines and palms. For them, the rush and bustle of city life was

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TuE SToRY or F oRT Mr.eRs 119 abhorrent; they infinitely preferred living in a place where life went on at an easy pace, and everyone was friendly. No one worried about being able to get eno ugh to eat. Almost every fam il y h ad its garden where all the vegetables needed w e r e grown and a little grove which supplie d an abundance of fruit. The crystal c lear waters of the Caloosahatchee, as yet unmuddied by drainage from the Glades, were alive with fish-all kinds of fish. They were so plentiful and so easy to catch that none of the stores handled them for sale. Why try to sell something which could be got for nothing? A few miles out in the back country wild turkeys and deer could still be found without much trouble. Hunters rarely went out without bringing back enough game to supply their families and all their friends for a week or more. Wives of cattlemen often accompanied their husbands on their long trips to the woods where the cattle ranged, just to stock their larder. Venison and turkey breasts were salted overnight and then smoked for sever a l days on palmetto platforms under which cypress log s were kept smoldering. Old timers say that game cured in this manner kept indefi nitely and that when it was fried, after being soaked overnight to remove the salt, it was tender and delicious, as good as any game fresh killed. For thos e who liked to chew there was always Florida beef priced at almost nothing. Some idea of what strangers thought about this native -- --Photo oj Mu, .-t, /.., Everything from turtles to caskets was sold at Jehu Blount's general store on the northwest corner of First and Hendry. Thi s photo was taken in 1886.

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120 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS beef is given in an article written by Sidney Smith, a staff correspondent of the New York World who came to interview Edison in March, 1887. Smith concluded his dispatch by saying: "Mr. Edison expects his foreman down shortly and he intends to score up a piece of belting, fry i t, and place it before the newcomer as a favorable specimen of Florida beef, which article of food is so tough that persistent hacking is required to cut and divide the gravy." The young people of Fort Myers always managed to have a good time. Dancing was frowned upon as sinful but no one frowned when young couples strolled out on the dock on moonlit nights, hand in hand, o r courted each other on the old wooden bench under the big rubbe r tree across the street from the Methodist Church. To the young people this seat was known as "Lovers' Retreat." Everyone, young and old, found enjoyment at the monthly meetings of the Fort Myers Debating and Literary Society, organized on December 13, 1884, with Peter 0. Knight as president; l\'liss Belle Hendry, secretary; M iss Ida Roan, treasurer ; and Capt. Robert Lilly, critic. At the first meeting. Miss Peai: l Hendry read an original essay entitled "A Trip to the Wonderful Moon" and Mrs. Julia Hanson read an article entitled "Are Women Intelligent Enough to Vote?" Other speakers were P. C. Gai nes C. J. Huelsenkamp, J W. Perkins, F M. Hendry, Dr. W. W. Foos and D. S. Co lby. Besides the speakers the membership included J. P. Perkins, E. P. Kantz, J. L Cutler, Miss Ella Blount, W. M. Fraser, Capt. Peter Nelson, J. P. Cochrane, Edward .M. Hendry and S. C. Cleveland. O f course the newly incorporated town had to have a band to herald its new importance. So one was organized by fourteen musicians and would-be musicians November 21, 1885, at the home of Mrs. S. E. Titus on Jackson Street. Instruments, paid for by public subscr ip tion, were received two months later and the bandsme n began practicing weekly at the Titus home. Before long, however, neighbors started objecting to the "hideous noise" and the bandsmen moved to the end of the town dock where the blasts, wafting in over the water, were somewhat muted. The first public appearance of the band occurred on .March 25, 1886, when it marched to Seminole Lodge 'and serenaded Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Edison who had just moved into their new home. Mrs Edison later said she had never before heard such ethereal music-but perhaps that was because the Edisons were then still honeymooning. Members of that first band were J. L. Cutler, P. C. Gaines, W. M. Jameson, Ed L. Evans, Peter 0. Knight, E. P. Kantz, C. J Huelsenkamp, W. R. Perkins, W. R. Washburn, D. c: Kantz, C. L. Oliver, John Jeffcott, and William J effcott. Because of general prosperity, Fort Myers was in a mood for celebrating anything and everything during 1885. The first big celebration was held March 4 to commemorate the inauguration of the first Democratic president in over a quarter century, Grover Cleveland. The boys took up a collection and invested the money in powder, kerosene, fireworks, balloo n s and sacks of oysters for an oyster roast.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 121 The powder was used most effectively. A large quant ity of it was placed between two anv ils at First and Hendry and the fuse was li t The expl osion was horrendous. One of the anvils was shattered and la rge fragments were burled through n earby stores, playing havoc with the nerves of innocent bystanders. As another feature of the celebration, a barrel of kerosene was taken out on the r iver on a float and ignited. The boys thought it would explode with a roar which could be heard at Punta Ras!la but instead it merely burned, for hours. But eve ryone enjoyed the fir eworks and balloon ascension that evening and particularly the oyster roast whic h climaxed the grand even t This celebration was a mild affair, however, compared to the cel ebration held at Christmas time in 1885. It started with fireworks on Christmas eve and was continued with a "beef shoot" on Christmas morning in which the best marksmen of the entire region competed for a fine young steer. James E. Hendry, E L Evans, C. T. Tooke R. F Wilkinson and W. R. Perkins had high scores and divided the steer between them. Christmas evening almost everyone in town attended a grand Christmas party given by Peter 0. Knigh t a t the Keysto n e Hotel. To start the merry making an egg hunt was held and when enough eggs were brought forth from the places where they had been hidden a great bowl of eggnog was mixed very rich in "nog." Old timers recall that it had a potency equalled on l y by the kick of a very angry mule. It was long remembered. On the day after Christmas the who l e town turned out to witness a cowboy tournament. This was no ordinary cowboy affair of a rodeo variety. It was something like the k night ly tournaments held in Mer r ie England back in medieval times and the winner was to have the honor of choosing a Queen of Love and Beauty. The idea for holding it had been brought to Fort Myers several years before by Major James Evans from his native Virginia where similar events had been held in Colonial days b y colonists from England. Instead of joustin g each other off their horses, the contestants tilted thei r lances at three r ings suspended ten feet off the ground from hori zontal bars. Each rider had three tries and if he was a good horseman and had a hawklike eye and nerves of steel he co ul d get n ine rings. To add interest to the event, J. C. J effcott tapped his fount of Irish humor and dubbed each contestant: the K night of the Los t Cause, the Knight of the White Plume, the Knight of the Lone Star, and so on. 'Twas a grand tournament and the crowd became most excited. After hours of competiti on top honors were wo n by P. C. Gaines who straightway chose Miss Mamie Wilson as the Queen of Love and Beauty. She was crowned that nigh t at a festival held at the home of Jehu J Blount. :Miss Susie Hendr y was crowned as the First Maid of Honor and Miss Ella Blount as the Second Maid of Honor. The tournament proved so successful that it was held each year thereafter until 1914 when Worl d War I put a stop to such festivities.

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122 THE STORY Of' FORT MYERS Fort Myers was saddened late in 1885 by the death on December 3 of 63-year-old Editor Cleveland o f the Fort Myers Press who had been suffering from Bright's Disease. The newspaper was continued by Mrs. Cleveland until March 13, 1886, when she sold it to Frank H. Stout, of Holton, Kansas, who was then working for the "Agriculturist" in DeLand. Details of the purchase were handled by his wife, Mrs. Olive E. Stout, who came to Fort Myers to see if the paper wa. s worth buying. She bought it at first sight. Jliiembers of the Stout family were identified with the paper for twenty-seven years. Lee County Comes into Existence The Fort Myers "Academy," the town's one and only school burned to the ground Wednesda y May 12, 1886. The fire was discovered late in the afternoon and before a bucket brigade could be formed the whole building was ablaze. No one knew how the fire started. Some people blamed boys who had become tired of going to school, now that warm weather had begun. Perhaps _they were correct. Fifty-nine pupils were affected by the calamity. None were heart broken but their parents were deeply perturbed. They didn't like the thought of the youngsters running around footloose indefinitely, learning nothing. They insisted that another school be built before a new school term started in the fall. To see what could be done, a delegation of citizens headed by Principal Dan C. Kantz and Capt. Peter Nelson, Fort Myers member of the board of public instruction of Monroe County, left immediately for Key West, the county seat. A week later the delegation returned-with bad news. County officials had told them emphatically that they had no money to build another school and wouldn't have for at least another year. Captain Nelson reported that the county officials had been quite nasty and had intimated that since Fort Myers had been so careless as to permit a splendid $1,000 building to be destroyed by fire it didn't deserve consideration. The people of Fort Myers were incensed This was the last straw. Monroe County had slighted them once too often. For several years there had been talk of trying to get Fort Myers region freed from the clutches of Monroe but nothing definite had been done. Now the time had come for action. Fort Myers had many other reasons besides the school for wanting separation from the mother county. The worst grievance was that Key West was so far away that from a practical standpoint it was well-nigh inaccessible. To go there to attend court or transact business with county o fficials usually required a week or more and the expense was rarely less than $50. The cost of summoning witnesses to court in civil actions often was prohibitive for small litigants. And for a person to go to Key West to appeal to the county commissioners for an adjustment in his taxes

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TaE STORY OF FonT MYERS 123 was absurd. Even if be got the adjustment the cost of getting it would be more than the saving. Besides all this the people of Fort .Myers felt they were getting very little in return for all the tax money they were sending to Key West--no roads, no bridges, no public improvements of any kind. It was a case of everything going out and nothing coming back. In a last minute attempt to appease the angry county-division advocates two of the county commissioners came to Fort Myers to see what could be done about the road situation. They found that it was bad -extremely bad. In fact, they found there were no roads whatever in the Fort Myers region-nothing but cattle trails and ox team paths which meandered through the woods and marshes and often were impassable during the rainy season. There was not one road on which any county money had been spent. Admitting that the road situation was deplorable, the commissioners took steps to provide for two of the worst needs--bridges across Billy's Creek and Whiskey Creek. Ox and mule teams had bogged down at those crossings countless times and bridges were obviously essential. A contract for the bridges was awarded to Joseph Vivas who agreed to construct both for $949. The Billy's Creek bridge was 223 feet long and the Whiskey Creek bridge 66 feet. Vivas said later he lost heavily on the job-and little wonder. The last minute magnanimity of the commissioners did not silence the county-division clamor. The grievances were too deep-seated. The ,. Good roads did not exist in Lee County before the turn of the eentury and settlers i n the back country had t o travel in ox car ts to reach lo"'ort Myers and trips into "town'' were long-lookedforward-to events. This photograph, taken in 1892, shows the teams of tbree pio neers who brought in their produce, bartcre
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124 THE STORY OF FORT MYER S separation movement continued steadily to gain momentum. Victory was not long delayed. The big cattlemen of Fort Myers-Capt. F. A. Hendry, Samuel Summerlin, T E. Langford, William H. Towles, James E. Hendry, and others-had many staunch friends among Tallahassee politicians and they quickly got action in the state legislat ure. A bill creating Lee County was passed by the Senate on May 2, 1887, by the House a week later, and was signed immediately by the governor. The new county of Lee, named by Capt. F. A. Hendry in honor of General Robert E. Lee, came into existence. The first county officials were elected May 17. They were: J. W. Bain, clerk; Robert Cranford, judge; T. W. Langford, sheriff; I. S. Singletary, assessor; N. L. Langford, collector; James E. Hendry, treasurer; W. A. Roberts, surveyor; D. C. Kantz, superintendent of public instruction; Dr. L. C. Washburn coroner, and the following as co m missioners: Capt. F. A. Hendry and Wm. H. Towles, of Fort Myers; Frank J. W ilson, Orange River; Peter Nelson, Alva; and John Powell, New Prospect. The new county commissioners started to operate the infant county on a most extravagant basis. They voted unanimously to employ the up-and-coming Peter 0. Knight as county attorney at the munificent salary of $200 a year. But their action aroused such a furore that they hastily changed their minds at their next meeting and voted three to two to struggle along without any paid attorney. Knight was so put out by their parsimony 'tis said, that he packed his bags soon afterward and forsook Fort Myers, going to Tampa where he won fame and fortune. Many Fort Myers peop le never ceased regretting his departure. Other Fort Myers citizens soon had more cause for regret. When the new county was formed a vote was required to determine whether the county should be wet 9r dry and an election was called for October 10, 1887. The W.C.T.U. wa.ged a vigorous campaign, knocking at every door in town and exhorting one and all to remove temptation from the sinful drunks. When the votes were counted it was found that the drys had won, 117 to 67. The result was a crushing blow for the lads who liked their now and then and enjoyed stop ping at Taff Langford's Golden Palace to mingle with the other lads who snifted. But now those good old days were gone-for another two years anyhow. The town's two saloons were forced to close their doors. That didn't mean, however, that Fort Myers bec;lme entirely dry. Not quite. Old Bill Clay, moonshiner e)(traordinary, soon moved back into town. He rented a small shack behind N aney Allen's livery stable and on the door he hung the skin of a wild cat. Where the eat's eyes had been there were two round holes. That was Bill Clay's way of informing the community that Fort Myers' first Blind Tiger had been opened for business. One of the county comm i ssioners' first actions was to secure quarters for a temporary courthouse. The upper floor of the Towles & Hendry frame store building on the southwest corner of First and Jackson \vas

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TH STORY OF FORT .MYRS 125 rented for *250 a year and a building nearby for u .se as the clerk's office for $120 a year. Plans for a permanent courthous e were delayed until the electors of the new county were given an opportunity to state wher e they wanted the county seat located. Three communities campaigned for it--Fort Myers, of course, and Alva and Fort Denaud. When an election on the issue was finally held, on February 6, 1 888, Fort Myers won hands down, getting 89 votes to Alva's 16 and Fort Denaud's 7. Immediately after the election the county fathers, Jed by Captain Hendry and Bill Towles, began building up public support for a court house. They wanted an imposing structure, one which would be properly becoming for a county with a future, not some dinky little affair which would be a disgrace to the communi ty. So they had plans drawn for a stately three-story building, to be made enti r el y of concrete-one which would be safe from fire. To get money for the courthous e the commiss ioners decided that $20,000 worth of bonds should be issued and to get approval from the voters an election was called for March 18, 1889-the first bond election in the county's history. The issue was Approved, 10 0 to 47. A site for the courthouse was purchased from Charles W. and Jane L. Hendry. It comprised about two acres and was located on the south side of the Hendry homestead, being bounded by what are now Main, Broadway, Second and Monroe streets. For this tract the county paid Mr. and Jl'lrs. Hendry $2,25 0 on September 4, 1889. A contract for the building was let to Thompson & Green and by the fall of 1889 construction work was started. But, alas and alack, the county bonds could not be sold. Hard times were setting in up North and the money market was drying up. By the time the commissio ners learned that no one would take the infant county's bonds, Thompson & Green had spent approximately $3,000 for labor and materials and to construct a wharf at the foot of Monroe Street where materials could be unloaded. The firm sued for $3 ,500 and after long litigatio n the county settled for $1 ,6 44. Finally on September 1894, the commissi oners awarded a con tract for a frame courthouse to T. M. Park, the low bidder, for $8,640. This building, completed in December, 1894, was nothing like the stately structure Captain Hendry, Bill Towles and the others had hoped for five years before. But in 1894 few people regretted the forced economy. By that time they had much worse problems to bother them. Fort Myers Marks Time Improvements came slowly-but ve1y slowly, during the decade following the incorporation of Fort Jloiyers as a town. When J. H. Edmonds built a wooden foot bridge aeross Manuel's Branch during the summer of 1885 Editor Cleveland declared that he

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126 TRE STORY OF FORT MYERS "deserves the thanks of the entire community for this badly needed public improvement." In April, 1 886, Editor Stout of the Press warmly praised William H. Towles and James E Hendry for laying a shell sidewalk in front of their store at First and Jackson. "We sincerel y hope," the editor wrote, "that other merchants in the business distric t follow their example. Our streets and sidewalks at present are a disgrace to the town." Towles & Hendry were praised again by Editor Stou t in June, 1887 when they put up the first street light, an oil-burning lamp. "The light shines forth like a beacon in the wilderness and is truly wonderful to behold," the editor rha. psodized. "It is a very good idea and one we hope to see followed by all our business men." The town officials were unable to p1oceed with badly needed public improvements for the very good r eason that they had no money in the town treasury. The on l y sources of revenu e the town had were trifling occupational taxes and fines collected from lawbreakers. And since the town was quite law abiding and the number of business people few, the revenue from those sources were small indeed. Some idea of what Fort Myers was like in 1887 can be qbtained from the following directory published by the Press: Mrs. Nancy Allen, livery stable; J. J. Blount & Co., merchants; Charles Braman, harness and shoe shop; z. J. Brown, merchant; Bain & Evans, l umber; R. Cranford, notary public; J. L. Cutler, mangrove tannery; Thomas A. Edison, laborato1y; Edward L Evans, merchant and postmaster; Taylor Frierson, hotel proprietor; W. P. Gardner, nurseryman; P. C. Gaines, cigar factory; H. Glover, billiard room; Henry Hoyer, druggist; James E. Hendry, merchant; Francis M. Hendry, real estate agent; Louis A. Hendry, contractor; Henderson & H enderson, merchants; J. T. Haskew, general repairing shop; D. 0. Hickey & Son, merchants; John B. Hickey, butcher; H. M. Higginbotham, jeweler; Peter 0. Knight, attorney; Dr. James Kellum, physician; Loper & Lang ford, merchants; Mills & Wheeler, saw mill; J. J. Pike, butcher; W. A. Roberts, real estate agent; South F lorida Tropical Fruit Co., William Hanson, manager; Frank H. Stout, publi sher and editor, Fort My e rs Press; Mrs. S. E. Titus, hotel; Towles & Hendry, lumber; Joseph Vivas, contractor; L. C. Washburn, physician; W. R. Washburn, barber and stationery; Capt. W. M. White, Str. "Alice Howard." That directory of business and professional people looked more imposing than i t actually was. Several of merchants listed had only hole-in-the-wall establishments and did very little busine ss. Gaines' "cigar factory" had only two employees and was doomed to pass out of existence in a few months. The town's lone attorney, Peter 0. Knight, left town that fall and wenfto Tampa. The South F lorida Tropical Fruit Co. organized to promote the growing of guavas, existed only on paper. Thomas A. Edison' s laboratory was closed in May, 1887, and did not reopen until 1901.

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' THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 127 The town's only industry, aside from the cigar factory and news paper printing plant, was Cutler's "mangrove tannery." In his establish ment, which had three employes, alligator hides were tanned and made into leather for suitcases, pocketboo k s, and belts. Also, deer skins and otter pelts were prepared for market. It was a small business but it held promise. Here's a list of the "exports" from the Fort Myers district in 1887: cattle, $180,000; sugar and molasses, $50,000; fish scales, shells, deer skins, alligator, otter, bear, panther, snake, beaver and other skins, $15,000, a n d bird plumes and taxidermist specimens, $25,000. That list of exports is illuminating just as much for what it doesn't show as what it does. For instance, it shows that the only products then being shipped in any quantity by farmers were sugar and molass e s obtained from their patches of sugar cane. They were not shipping enough pineapples, fresh vegetables or even citrus fruit to have those products listed. The reason, of course, was a lack of transportation adequate for handling perishable products and also a lack of good markets. The extent of the trading then being done with the Indians is shown by the fact that the things they brought in constituted almost all of $40,000 worth of the exports. That was particularly true of the alligator hides and animal pelts. They also brought in many of the bird skins and plumes. However, the most "successful" plume hunters were white men -the Indians were not as ruthless as the whites were in s laughtering hundreds of thousands of birds each year to get egret and othe1 plumes for the adornment of milady's bonnet. The Audubon Society finally put those fellows out of business-after practically all the plumage birds were killed. CiJarttt J y ()j F.IM.n.(lt H. D. In the days before good roads and trucks, fruit and vegetables were brougbt from the Orange River district by the tiny ".Anah C./' ov.-ned by the Menge Brothers Steamboat Lmc.

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128 THE STORY Of FORT MYERS The export Jist shows that the total of all products shipped out of the Fort Myers district annually amounted to $270,000. And it must be remembered that those were newspaper ballyhoo figures, published to show the "prosperity" of the region Quite obvious ly the estimates were not too low. The fact that all the exports amounted to only a quarter millio n dollars or so e x plains why more public improvements were not made by the town or county during the late 1 880's. No roads were improved a n d only o n e public bu il d ing was erected-a one-story, two room school house to replace the one bu r ned on May 12, 1886. It was started im mediately after the county was created in May 1887, and completed in time for the openi n g of the school term in September. It cost $700 and was erected on the same site as the o l d academy, at Second and Jackson. The school was the only one in the entire county; soon afterward, how ever, a small school was opened at Alva the building and s ite being donated by Capt. Peter Nefson School board members then were J. A. Castell, T. T. Eyre, Dr. John Hall, and L. P. Gardner, with D. C Kantz as county superintendent. Fort Myers S1tfjers Reverses The city of Key West was hard hit by an epidemic of y ell ow fever in May 1887. Hundreds of persons were stri cken by the dread disease and many died. I nc luded among the victims were four former r esidents of Fort Myers who had gone to Key Wes t to live: Mr. and Mrs. J. C Baker, E. Diedrick, and 21 year-old William H. Jameson Jameson was taken sick June 5 and died three days later. Word of h is death was received in Fort Myers with sorrow. He had come to Fort Myers with S tafford S Cleveland to work in the job p rinti ng p lant o f the Press and had served as a ssistant editor of the paper. Everyone in town knew and liked him and had hoped he would return again. As the Key West epidemic increased in severity all South Florida became alarmed. Vessels from the Florida keys wele ordered into quaranti ne and every precaution was taken to preve n t the disease from spreading to the mainland In For t Mye rs, Acting Mayor W. P. Gardner i s sue.d a message of reassurance "Yell ow Jack is a disease that feeds on and revels in filth," he decl ared, "and since our town is noted for cleanliness and perfect drainage, the scourge cannot find a lodgement here. Our quarantine regulati ons are strict and are being rigidly enforced and we think we have no reason to fear Keep a brave heart, Jive frugally, and g uard your perso n imd premises, and all will be well." By July the epidemic became so bad that a more rigid quarantin e was. established a n d Thomas W. Langford was appointed special polke man and health inspector at Punta Rassa with powers granted by the state health authorities to arrest any persons who tried to land from ships from Key West. In Fort Myers a "sh otgu n guard" was set up to patrol all trails entering the town to keep o u t plague refugees.

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THE S'rORY OF FoRT MYERS 129 Fort :Myers became so subdued that there was no July 4th celebration. The qualantine was kept in effect all summer and on October 9 it was broadened to bar all ships from Tampa as well as from Key West. In Tampa, however, the disease did not reach epidemic form and the quarantine against that city was s oon lifted. By the end of the month the Key West epidemic ended and all quarantine r egul ations were r emoved on November 4. There i s little doubt but that the prevalence of yellow fever in Key West and its reported presence in several places on the mainland had a temporary effect upon the development of South Florida. Many northerners who had a deadly fear of the disease changed thei r plans for com ing to the state that winter; s ome persons said that was what kept Thomas Edison away. Yellow fever did not affect Fort Myers nearly so badly, however, as the collapse of Hamilton Disston's grandiose plans for draining the Everglades and converting them into huge sugar cane plantations. The collapse of the drainage scheme was not expecte d. As late as January, 1885, the governor reported that op.erations were coming along remarkably well and went on to say: "The magnitude o f this enterprise and its destined influence upon the future of the state can scarcely be realized. The rec lamation of many millions of acres, containing some o f the most vital sugar lands in the United States with suitable climatic conditions for the successful growth of all tropical fruits i s the harbinger of an era of population, wealth and prosperity unthought of in our past history." Steamer service between Fort Myers and Kissimmee was started on June 5, 1885, by the Narcoosee" with Capt. Thomas A. Bass in command. Fort :Myers r e joiced. At long last the inland waterway was open for navigation, clear through Lake Okeechobee and far up the Kissimmee River to Kissimmee City: Soon this waterway would be swarming with boats, heavily laden with produce raised in the fertile Glades and Kissimmee Valley. And in a f e w short years a waterway clear across the state would be opened, connecting .the Gulf with the Atlantic! That was what evetyone confidently believed in 1885. Captain Bass reported that the route to Kissimmee was entirely practical and that the only trouble he enc ountered was when projecting branches of trees shattered the railing of his upper deck at a narrow point in the Caloosahatchee. He said the trip betwee n the two towns took only four days and he predicted he would make two round trips a month. But he didn't. He returned to Fort My ers only once that summer and early in September word came from Kissimmee that the service would be discontinued, due to the fact that Captain Bass wa8 not getting cargoes large enough to pay operating expenses. On December 2 the service was resumed by the steamer "Rosalie" with Mike G rogan in

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130 TnE STORY OF FoRT MYERS command. But he too was force d to give up-he couldn't make enough to pay his deck hands. Fort !vlyers suffered another blow when a report came stating that Di sston's sugar cane experiments in the Glades near the Hic pochee Canal were turning out badly. H is one canal to the Gulf w a s not draining the mu cklands as exp ected and the sugar can e was rotting in the ground. Very obviously the drainage project, to be successfu l, would cost far more than an yone had ever figured. Dis ston soon showe d that he had no inte ntion of sinking much more money in the reclamation scheme. He gave orders for the dredging operations to be curtailed and in 1888 he ordered them stopped enti rely. The dredge Captain Menge had been using was left far out in the Gla des, to be consumed in time by rust. Official records indicate that Diss ton's co mpany, the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Canal and Oke ec hobee Land Company, spe n t approximately $300,000 on the drainage projects It did not s ucceed in p ermanently drainin g one acre of Glades land. Consequ ently it was not entitled to receive one acre of the public domain as a reward for its labors. But the r ecords s how that D isston and his a ssociates actually received nearly 2, 000, 0 00 acres in the Everglades as their reward. They had p o liti cal influen ce. But Dlssto n did not liv e to profit through the land deals. He died s udde nly on April 30, 1896, a nd his properti es passed into oth e r hands. P unla Corda Gets th e R ailroad Perchance there is a town somewhere in Florida which reveres the memory of Henry B. Plant, railroad tycoon of bygo ne years. But the memory of Henry B. Plant most certainly is not revered in Fort Myers. For back in 1887 Henry B. Plant did Fort Myers dirt. Instead of extending hi s Florida Southern Railroad south to the Calooshatchee, as the peopl e of the \>lllag e hoped and praye d he wou1d, Plant forgot that Fort Myers existed and extended his road to an empty space on the map at Charlotte Harbor, t h ereby b ringing into exi stence the town of Punta Gorda. F ort Myers was wron ge d, most griev ous ly, and it never forgot Plant's heinous deed N e ither did it forgiv e him. To appreciate Fort Mye rs' yearning for a railroad back in the late 1880's it is necessary to r ev iew a bit of transportation history. F rom its earliest days Fort Myers d epended upon sloops and sm a ll schooners to bring in the supplies it needed to carry out the products it bad to sell. Large ships coul d not come up the Caloosahatc h ee because the channel. was originally only five feet d eep in many place s and even less whe n the tide was v ery low. The federal government in 1883 deepened t h e channel to eight feet b u t that didn't he l p much.

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THE STonY OF FoRT MYERS 131 Travelers faced a hard journey .when they wanted to go North. Their best bet was to take a sloop down the river to Punta .Rassa and go from there by schooner or steamer to Key West and then proceed northward on the Mallory Line. Or, if they preferred, they could go by schooner up to Manatee or Tampa, make connections with a mail boat bound for Cedar Keys and at that point take the railroad to Fernandina. Going by either route was a real adventure. Miss Fannie Moore found this out when she came to Fort Myers from New York in 1884 to teach school. She said the trip seemed endless. Arriving at Fernandina on a steamer, she learne d she had just missed the train and had to stay overnight in a bedbug, roach-ridden hotel where she was not able to sleep a wink. Next day, on the way to Cedar Keys, the rickety wood-burning engine broke down and the passengers had to sleep in the railroad coach. At Cedar Keys s he learned she would have to wait two days for a steamei headed south and her hotel was even worse than the one in Fernandina. In Manatee she had another two-day layover. The journey to Punta Rassa took fourteen more hours and at Punta Rassa she had to wait five hours for a sloop up the river. Miss Moore finally arrived in Fort Myers eleven days after she left New York very much the worse for wear. Capt. John L. Bright, owner of the sloop "Margaretta/' provided Fort Myers with its f irs t regular transportation. He was awarded a contract by the Post office Department in 1876 to carry the mail and he made two trips a week between Fort Myers and Fort Ogden, picking up the mail at Punta Rassa. He left Fort Mye1-s on Wednesdays r and Saturdays and Fort Ogden on Mondays and Thursdays. A full day was required to make the trip and often, when the winds were against him, _\le had to anchor somewhere over night. But he boasted that he had "the best appointed and fastest sloop on the Coast with the finest accommoda tions for passengers." Fort Myers suffered a serious loss, from a transportation standpoint, in September, 1878. The rains that summer had been un usually heavy Lake Okeechobee became full and iunning over. Then came a strong northeast wind which d rove the water to the Phoen ix, Hall built in 1890, wher all southwest side of the lake and community were. held for two C I h rallies, soc als, lodg e forced 1t down the a oosa at-meetings, and even plays : Ed. L. Evans chee. More rains fell-torrential had his general store on lower f l oor.

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132 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS downpours. The whole valley became flooded. As a climax, a storm of hurricane velocity blew in fro m the southwest, piling the water from the Gulf into the river. Alm os t all of Fort Myers was under water. A large two-masted schooner was stranded at First and Hendry streets. Sever e damage was done all a long the waterfront. The worst was the destruc tion of the long wharf built by the Army in 1 852. All of the planking and many of the pilin gs were washed away by the high waters. The wharf was the only good one on the waterfront and all the larger scho oners docked there. Without i t, goo ds would have to be lightered to shore. Confronted by the emergency, every able-bodied man in town lent a hand and a new wharf, not as long as the old one, was constructed at the. foot of Hendry Street. It was the first public improvement project in the history of the comm unity. In 1 885, after Fort Myers was incorporated, the town council gave the firm of Towles & Hendry the right to bl)ild a wharf at the foot of .Tackson Street which they could use for ten years. Jose ph Vivas got the contract to buil d it, for $1,200. He used 30,000 feet of lumber which he brough t in from Cedar Keys Becau se of a railroad war, Fort Myers got its first steam s hip service. Plant took his railroad into Tampa in 1884 and began making strenu ous efforts to capture all the b u siness in South Florida. This aroused the ire of officials of the Florida Railway & Navigation Company which owned the Fernandin a-Cedar Keys railroad. They had held a m onop oly on all South Florida business for years and did not want to lose it. In an attempt to thwart Plant, they bought the steamer Manatee" and pl aced it in oper ation on a regular weekly run along the lower coast to and fro m Manatee where connections for Cedar Keys were made with t h e steamer "Gov. Safford." T h e first trip south from Manatee was made June 3, 1885, with Capt W. H. Stanton in command o f the steamer. On the journey south stops were made at Hick ory Bluff, Cleveland, Liver poo l Pine Level, Fot t Ogden, Punta Rassa and Fort Myers. On the return trip the "Manatee" left Fort Myers on Friday, J une 5. To celebrate the n e w steamshi p service in prope r style the peopl e of Fort Myers prevailed upon Captain Stanton to run an exc ursion up the river on the following Thursday. More than a hundred perso ns made the trip . Edito r Cleveland reported that the journey was "extremely interestipg:" and that all alo ng the way "alligators lay with their noses as i f they had no fear of any one." . .. Unfortunately for Fort Myer s, Plant and the FR & N ended their railroad war the follow ing winter and on March 12, 1886 the "Manatee" was withdrawn from the run down the coast. During the same month the steamer "Rosalie" stopped making its frequent trips to Kissimmee City. It was a double blow for Fort Myers. But the town was not long without transportation. In the late winter Plant had started extending his Florida Southern south from Bartow and by A pril the tracks had bee n laid to Arcadia. To get business for

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 133 the railroad from the lower coast Plant put the steamer "Alice Howard" on the run from Fort Myers to Liverpool, an infinitesimal settlement on the Peace River above Charlotte Harbor. At Liverpool, a hack connec tion was made with the railroad. Three trips were made each week from Fort Myers. The "Alice Howard" soon had competition. Capt. A. P. Williams decided he wanted some of the railroad business so he brought in the tiny steamer "Chimo" and started making bi-weekly rims to Fort Ogden. His boat was smaller than the "Alice Howard" and hence could go farther up the river than Liverpool. At the same time the schooners "New Venice" and "Clara E. M!' began making regular weekly runs to Tampa. For once Fort Myers had all the water transportatio n it needed. But what Fort Myers really wanted, and needed was a railroad to cany its products directly to the markets of the North. When ships had to be used a s well as railroads the expense of shipping became almost prohibitive and farmers could not compete with those who had only railroad rates to pay. Every effort was made, therefore, to persuade Plant to extend his road to the Caloosahatchee. Delegation after delegation went from Fort Myers to talk to high officials of his railroad. But the result s were n il. Plant wanted the railroad built to Charlotte Harbor, and that is where he built it. The town of Punta Gorda was born and with it the splendid, 200-room Plant System Hotel, one of the finest on the West Coast, a hotel which Plant advertised througho\lt the land. Trains started running into Punta Gorda in April, 1 887, and that new town soon became the lower West Coast shippi ng center. If Plant would have made Fort Jl1yers the terminal of his road, then Fort Myers undoubtedly would have gained the population, and the tourist business, which went Punta Gorda's way. But Fort Myers was shunned and Punta Gorda stole the limelight. For Fort Myers, that was a tragedy. Its growth almost stopped. Then came the dread panic of 1893. Business throughout the nation stagnated. Factories closed their doors. Poverty and despair spread everywhere. Fort Myers was hard hit. The price of cattle dropped to the lowest level in the histor y of Florida. Shipments stopped almost entirely. And there was no market for farm products, or even alligator hides, animal pelts, or bird plumes. Merchants suffered ba dly. To make matters even worse, a pebble phosphate company in which a number of leading Fort Myers men had invested heavily, went bank rupt. Jehu Blount, Howell A. Parker, Marion Hendry and others lost almos t everything they had. Fort Myers became a d r eary, despondent place. Then, when everything looked darkest, Mother Nature took a hand.

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CI-IAPTER V THE BIG FREEZE HURTS --AND HELPS! A GROUP OF GLOOMY, disconsolate men sat huddled around the pot bellied stove in Bob Henderson's general store at First and Jackson, bemoaning a disaster which had occurred the night before Dennis Hickey, truck farmer from up the river, took a pine knot out of the wood box and put it in the already roaring stove. "Never did see it so danged cold," he muttered. "Here it's two in the afternoon and it's still almost freezing. I'm chilled clea n through. Good thing Bob got this s t ove out. If he hadn't we'd have all frozen." The others nodded glumly Then the convers ation switched back to .recountals of the damage done the preceding night by a devastating frost. They all made the same report-truck crops were ruined, com pletely wiped out. Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cabbage-everything that had been planted forthe winter markets, had been killed. The plants now were as black as though they had been in the path of a searing fire . That was on Sunday, December 29, 1894. Because of the calamity Robert A. Henderso n had opened his store, not for business but to serve as a meeting place for the victims of the frost. "We've never had anything like it," declared John Powell. "I've lived here since '67 and I guess I know what I'm talking about. We had a pretty bad frost in '86 b u t it wasn't anything like this. This morning there was an inch ofice in a waterbucketoutatmy pump. Yes sir, an inch of ice.'' It was the coldest weather Fort Myers had ever had. A chilly rain had fallen on the preceding Thursday and Friday. On Friday nigh t the skies cleared and the wind shifted to the north. By Saturday the air was biting and at 9 o'clock that night the mercury had dropped to 42. All during the night it kept getting colder and by 6 a.m. Sunday morning the thermometers registered 24, four degrees colder tha. n on January 12, 1886, the day of the last bad frost. The Big Freeze of December 29, 1894, as it was always called in later years, was a catastrophe fo r the truck farmers of the t:aloosa hatchee region. But, strangel y enough, it turned out to be a blessing in disguis e for the community, the best bit of good fortune i t had ever had. Truck crop s were ruined, true enough, but that was a triflin g, niggling damage compared to what was don e by the Big Freeze elsewhere in the state. In the great citrus belt in the north central counties of the peninsula, temperatures as low as 10 degrees were recorded Thousand s of of

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THE STORY OF FonT MYERs 135 trees were killed outright or most seriously damaged. The loss to grove owners was appalling But in the Caloosahatchee region citrus trees escaped practi cally unharmed. The leaves of some trees were nipped by the frost but the crop of fruit was not damaged-the below-freezing temperature had not continued long enough to do serious harm. The extreme cold spell was followed by six weeks of unusually warm weather. In the central part of the state many trees on which only the fru i t and twigs had been frozen began to show new life But then a nother, longer freeze occurred, in the early morning of February 9, 1895. As far south as Manatee the mercury plunged to 18. A l i ttle farther north the temperature dropped to 1 4 and eve n lower. Hundreds of groves were comp letel y destroyed. Florida suffered a cri ppl in g paralyzing blow. But again the groves in the Caloosahatchee area escaped I n fact, the frost was not as bad as,on December 29. A last-minute shift of the wind kept the temperature from dropping be l ow 28. Not one citru. s tree was harme d. The frost damage e l sewhere in the state was so universa l and so disastro u s that few persons believed reports that the Fort Myers area had escaped Upstate newspapers began sending teleg rams to Editor Stout of the Press protesting again s t the no-damage "propaganda," as they called it. They said they wanted t o know the truth. James E Hendry, Jr., then attendi ng college in Leesburg, received a box of oran ges from his father and had a. hard job convincing his classmates that the fruit had not been shipped in from Cuba Finally howeve r the reports of Fort Myers good fortune were accepted as being true and fruit buyers began rushing to the Caloosa hatchee region to purchase eve r y orange and grapefruit they could get: They paid fantastic pri ces, more than had ever be f ore been paid any where in Florid a, $5 to $6 a crate for oranges and $10 to $15 for grapefruit. Edward Parkins on, at Alva, received $1, 500 cash for the fruit from 35 grapefruit trees in h i s small grove. Many persons obtained $100 to $200 for the fruit from a single tree. Citrus t r ees that winter truly yielded a golden harvest. The high prices paid were a.s unexpected as they were welcomed. Prior to the Big Freeze, few grove owners in the Caloosa.ha.t chee area could market fruit a t a profit, due to the lower shipping rates enjoyed by their upstate competi t ors Most of the fruit that was shipped out went by boat in bulk l ots to Mobile Ala., and often did not bring m ore than enough to pay the transportation charges. Consequently, many .growers let their fruit rot on the ground and neglected their trees, not finding it profitable to go to the expense of fertilizing and spraying them. And few new groves were planted. In all of Lee Coun t y there :were not more than a. hundred acres of bearing trees. The annual output o f fruit was less than 15,000 boxes. But all this was changed by the Big Freeze.

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136 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Growers who had been wiped out in the citrus sections farther north began comin g in. They wanted to replant their gro v es but not i n p laces where the frost m enace was so great. So they came to the Calooshatchee area. . One of the fi rst to aiTive was J. B. King, of Orlando, whose grove of 4,000 trees in Orange County had been almost entirely destroyed. H"e purchased the A. A. Gardner grove of 1 700 young trees at Alva King was soo n followed by J B. and D. S. Borland, A. S. Kell s, Henry G. Dunn, J. B. Wright, E. L. Wartmann, C. B. Kells, E. G. Blake, Harry Scott and many others. They all planted groves, tota lin g hundreds of acres. Within a year after the Big Freeze more than $200,000 of "out side money" was invested in land and g r oves by growers from sections which had been frozen o u t Citrus prop erties increase d rapidly in value. In April, 1895, Louis Locklar sold hi s grove at Hickey;s Cree k to Mace & Block for $6,000. During the nex t three y ears the buy e r s c leared $10,000 from the sale of fruit and then so ld the grove to W. F Harris, of Sou t h Orange, N. J ., for $15,000. At that time the grove was producing 2,500 boxes a year and was considered an excellent bargain. Becaus e of the banner prices paid for fruit after the B ig Freeze more attention was given to existing gro ves in 1895-9 6 than had been give n for years. The y wete pruned carefully sprayed regularly and fertilized heavily A s a res ult, new life was given to old trees which l ook e d about ready to die and younger trees came more quickl y into bearing. More over, the fruit was picked when ripe and not left on the trees un til it fell to the ground and rotted. The growers r ece ived big dividend s for their extra w ork. The groves yielded a record crop during the winter of 1895-96 and a still larger crop the winter following. Shipments climbed from 15,000 crates in 1894-95 to 40,000 in 1895-96 and to 72,000 in 1896-97. Thereafter, as more and more groves came into bearing, the shipments continued to increase. Despite the greater producti on, prices remained high simp ly because L ee County had almost a monop o ly o n the citrus busin ess until well after the turn of the century. During t h e last five years of the nineteenth century, many nationally known men came to the Land of the Caloosahatchee, partly because of the Big Freeze and partly because of one of the most uniqu e h ostelries which ever opened its doors to guests anywhere in the United States t h e Tarp on House at Punta Rassa. Millionaires in Murd e r e;s Row George Renton Shultz was a short, walrus-moustached man with a merry twinkle in hi s e ye, a rotund lover of good things to eat, and a jolly fellow who liked nothing better than to talk to frie nds. Shultz was the telegraph operator from New Jersey who was sent to Punta Rassa in 1867 by the International Ocean Cabl e Company to

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TKE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 137 take charge of i t s relay statio n. But i t was not as a cable station manager that Shultz was known besthe becam e fame d throughout the land as t he genial host of Punta Rassa's 'farpon House. This hostel ry, if it could be called that, was located in the old army barracks which had been taken over by the cable company for its Punta Rassa station. A r .amshackle building, it w as built on fourteen-foot -pilings to be safe from hurricane waters. The huge frame structure was un painted and looked like an abandoned barn. When Shultz first cam e to Punta Rassa he had no intention of con verting the barracks into a hotel. But cattlemen who came to the point to ship ca ttle to Key West and Cub a persuaded him to take them in-they could not pos sib ly sleep in the open in that mosq ui t o -ridden spot. So Shultz let them bed down on the barracks floor or hang their hammo cks between the rafters. Mr. and Mrs. Shultz a lso pro vided lodging and meals to trave ler s going to or coming from Fort Myers, Punta Rassa being the place where connections were made between the river sloops and ships which went up and down the coast. During the 1880 s the Sbultzes began getting a different type of guest--sportsmen who found tha t the nearby waters provided a super perfect fishermen's paradise. They came to catch kingfish, channel bass, se a trout, Spanish mackerel k ing fish-and most im portant of all, the. mighty Silver King, the tarpon. One of the first angler guests was Walt McDougald, famou s writer and cartoonist of bygone days. With a party of f riends he wa-s cruis ing This barn-like structuto, buijt by the Arm y at l ,unto. Rassa a s a bar racks during the Civil War, became nationally fam ous when eonverted into the Tarpon Hou se, operated for years by George R. Shultz.

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138 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS along the cost on a fishi ng trip early in March, 1881, when a storm blew up. Seeking shelter, he tied up at Shultz wharf and Mr. and Mr s. Shu ltz invited the men in to s pend the night. They also furnished them with meals The meal s and the lodging place w ere s() that M cDougald told all hi s friend s about them when he returned north. Some of them went to Punta Rassa the follow in g winter to see if such an interesting place existed. They found that it did-and the fame of Shultz's place began to spread. Nationally known business men, industrialists, bankers, m erchants, po litician s and titled foreig ners began making it their winter rendezvous. The crude acc ommodatio ns, the barren floors, the tin wash bowls, a nd the china slop jars were so unlike the things they were accusto med to that they w e r e l ooked upon as quaintly odd, a nd attractive. So the ce l e b rities returned, year after year. Fav ored guests were give n room s which open e d out onto a gallery built on the side of the bu ilding. These rooms, eleven in number, were known as "Murderers' Row." Less important guests, or newcomers," occupied rooms facing a wind-swept corridor. Most of the guests were wealthy and they kept in touch with the stock marke t s through the telegraph office operated by Shultz. It was a common sight to see a m a n in o veralls and jumper, and shod in canvas s hoes, go to the telegraph office and send an order to hi s New York broker to buy or se ll t housands of shares of stoc k. Then he'd go back to his cronies and bet som e one fifty cents or f i fty dollars he'd catch t he biggest fish that day. The first tarpon ever caught anywhere with a ro d and reel was brought i n by one of the guests of the Shultz Hotel. He was W. H. Wood, a New York sportsman. The feat was performed on March 12, 1885, and attracted the attention of the entire sporting wor l d Illustrated articles about it were carried in many of the leading maga z i nes of the day. Wood caught his tarpon wi t h a gearless r ee l made of rubber a nd white metal, 5 1/8 inches in diameter and 2 8/16 inche::; w ide in the clear, holding 1,200 feet of 21-thread line. A five-foot bamboo rod and a gaff h ook mounted on an ash hoe handle formed the rest of his equipment. The hooks were large cod "o," baited with mullet tied on with wire. The tackle was crude--but it worked. Wood caught his first tarpon in 26 1 / 2 m inutes after it had leaped six times and run half a mile. It was 5 feet 9 inches lo n g and weighed 93 pounds. The largest tarpon he caught that seaso.n weighed 117 pou nds. , Prior to W ood's performa:nce, tarpon had always been caught, they were caught at all, with a shark hook an d chain line or b y harpoon ing, and anglers t h o u ght it was impos sible to catch one with rod and reel. After Wood proved that it could b e done, tarpon fishing leaped into pop ula"rit y and hundrel:ls of anglers cam e to the West C o as t each seaso n

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THE STORY Of' FORT MYERS 139 to test their skill. Many stopped a t Shultz's place, so .many that he gave it the name of the Tarpon House. After the railroad came into Punta Gorda in 1 887 and ice became obtainable, the meals at the Tarpon House showed a marked improve ment, in the variety of fo ods served if not in quality or tastiness. Mrs. Shultz even employed a French cook, with several assistants, to make sure that her guests would get the best obtai.nable. The Tarpon House was the lure which attracted scores of celebrities to the Caloosahatchee region for the first.time and many of them sailed up the rive r to Fort Myers to see what the town was like. After getting there, some of the visitors liked the place so well that they remained to help make it the city it is today. An Oil Baron Vis its Fort Myers Ambrose M. McGregor liked to fish, and so did his wife, Tootie McGregor. They had a son, Bradford, who suffered from a chronic illness. Their physician told them they should take their son to Florida for the winter. Because of the combination of their sick son and their passion for fishing, the McGregors went to the Tarpon House in the early winter of 1891-92. In February they sailed up to Fort Myers for the first time and found it so much to their liking that they decided to make it their winter home. Inquiring around for a suitable residence, McGregor was shown the Gilliland home on the Edison estate. Business acthities had kept Gilliland away from Fort Myers and he was willing to sell. The deal for the property, which included the house and about half the land at Seminole Loage, was closed July 7, 1892. McGregor paid $4,000. The McGregor family moved into their new home the following December and made many improvements. They were living there at the time of the Big Freeze and when upstate fruit buyers and frozen-out grove owners began flocking in and talking of the bright prospects for citrus growing in the Caloosahatchee area. McGregor, a Scotsman from Kings .County, New York, was interested. The possibilities for making profitable investments here in this land of sunshine appealed to him. He soon began buying large tracts of land suitable for citrus growing and started planting large groves. Farseeing future growth for Fort Myers, he also bought many properties in town. Courthouse records show that he mad-e thirty-two purchases during the next few years. He invested more Jhan $ 1 50,000. For his son, McGrego r purchased 400 acres just west of Alva and planted 100 acres in orange and grapefruit trees. On this tract, which he called Caloosa, he expei-imented in rice and coffee.

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140 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Both these experiments prove d expensive and unsu ccessfu l but llicGregor cou ld well afford to take the l oss. He had been a sso ciated with John D. Rockefeller for many years and had becom e one of the largest stockholders of the Standard Oil Company, ownin g 30,000 shares valued at $16,000,000. H is annual income from the stock was reported to be $1,140,000. He had many other h oldings and was reported to be one of the ten richest men in the n ation McGregor died in Clevelan d on October 28, 1900, wh e n only 58 years old. His son Bradford die d two years later, on September 8 1902. But the McGregor influence continued to be felt in Fort Myers for many years thereafter and it is felt today, partly because of the activities of his widow and partly because of the ent.erprise of a hustling youn g fellow whom he aided in getting a start in life, Harvie Earnhardt Heitman, one of the most energetic men who ever came to Fort Myers. The Begii111ing of the H eit 1na1 Era Harvie Hei tman was a serious person, not give n much to frivo litie s His business judgment was as keen as his almost-blac k eyes. His broad firm mouth and his heavy chin were facial indications that he possessed the drive and determination to make a success in life. H e was not a jovial man but a man who was widely resp ected, trusted, admired and liked. He had all the qualities needed for becoming one of Fort Myers' most outstanding leaders. Born in Lexington, N. C., Heitman came to Fort Myers when sixtee n years old to work in the general store of his great uncle Howell A. Parker. From him he learned all the intricacies of operating a business in a small, frontier cow town. During the panic of Parker went bankrupt after lo sin g his entire fortune in a company organized to mine pebble phosphate near Olga. Left without a job, Heitman went to Key West and worked there for nearly a year. He then returned t o Fort Myers and opened a s mall general store in a little frame build ing on the northwest corner of First and Jackson. Instead of limiting his stock to the genetal run of goods carried by the other stores, Heitman laid in a large stock of mar ine supplies wanted by the wealthy yachtsmen then co ming u p the river to fish and hunt. T hey began g oing to Heitman's fo r everything they needed. 1'he young entrepreneur did not limit his activ ities to operating the general store. He soon brJlnched out into many field s Deciding that the town needed a much better livery stable than it had, he told Co n tractor T. M. Park to go ahead and build "the best barn in the whole state." When finished, the livery stable wasn't quite that good but it was well constructed and had s iXte e n stalls. Heitman then brought into town the first Kentucky thoroughbreds which he so ld for saddle and harness use. He advertised: "Single or

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THE ST oRY or FoRT MYERs 141 double drivers, saddle horses, buggies and carriages. Hauling of all kind s done. Good camping outfits and saddle ponie s for hunting parties a specialty." . On February 20, 1896 Heitman started running a Iinck line to Naples where a hotel had been built a short time before by Co l. W. N. Haldeman, publisher of the Lou is ville Courier-Journal, who was planning the development of an exclusive colony for wealthy people. Heitman's hack made three round trips to Naples each week and charged $2.50 each way. In his advertisements he stated that "the 40 mile drive is made in a few hours and is a beautiful drive through the pines where the red deer wander." Heitman's business zeal attracted the attention of McGregor, and the two men, "the seriou s Heitman and the equally serious Scotsman," soon became good friends. The oil baron instinctively felt that here was a young fellow who possessed the same qualities of grit and determination which he himself possessed in his younger days, and he decided to lend him a hand in his struggle to get ahead. One day in the spring of 1897 McGregor asked Heitman why he didn't build a larger building for his rapidly growing business. When Heitman said he didn't have the money, the oil man offered to help him in financing the project. With the aid thus provided, Heitman proceeded to build the first brick building in Fort Myers, a two-story structure on the site of hi s first store at First and Jackson. The building, still standing in 194 8 was completed February 17, 1898. During that same winter another buildin g was constructed which b ecame in time the leading tourist attraction of Fort My ers and had an all-important bearing on the development of the town-the Fort Myer s Hotel, later known as the Royal Palm. 11. D. """' Boc k in the Gay Nineties members of the Fort Myers Br&So Band dispensed wondrouo music from thi s bands,tand tre.cted by their admirers at the intersection of Second and Lee. Weekly concerts were given there for many years.

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142 THE STonY o FonT MYERs An l rislurum Build$ a Tourist Hotel Hugh O'Neill was a tall, sturdily built, blue-eyed Irishman with iron grey hair and beard. Good natured and light hearted, he liked nothing better than to go fishing with friends. He was one of the lea ding merchant princes of the nation, being the owner of H. O'Neill & Co., a New York department store which occupied an entire block on Sixth Avenu e and employed 1,800 persons. Born near Belfast, Ireland, on July 16, 1844, O'Neill went to New York with his par ents when he was fourteen years old. He attended Old Grove Schoo l at night and during the days worked for his. brother Henry who had founded a dry goods and notions business a few years before. In 1867 he became a partner in the concern and twelve years later bought out his brother and continued the business under the same name, H. O'Neitr & Co. Department after department was added and by 1890 the store was said to be the largest in the world. One of O'Neill's best customers was Henry B. Plant, Florida railroad magnate who was then building a string of swank tourist hotels to pro mote business for h i s roads and out do Flagler on the East Coast. All the furnishings for the hotels were bought by Plant at O'Neill's store. Desiring to see some of the hotel s he was helping furnish, O Neill came to Florida fo r the first time during the winter of 1892-93 with a good friend, W. W. Jacobu s, hat manufacturer of New Jersey. After touring around the state the two men finally arrived at the Plant System's fine hotel at Punta Gorda. There they learned about the good tarpon fishing in San Carlos Bay and in the Caloosahatchee a .nd they headed for the Tarpon House at Punta Rassa. Before he returned north, O'Neill managed to land two tarpon and was so thrilled by the sport that he came back to the Tar pon House each season for a number of years thereafter. Jacobus usually accompanied him. The two often went up t h e river to Fort Myers where they made many friends. O 'Neill was deeply impressed by the natural beauty of the town and he often told Jacobus that all it needed to become the leading winter resort in Florida was a first class, modern tourist hotel. Joking, Jacobus asked him one day why he didn't go ahead and build one. O'Neill pondered a few minutes and then replied that he would do just that. And he meant it. At that time, during the winter of 1896 -97, there were three small hotels in the town : the Hendry Hou se, owned by Lou i s A. Hendry, located on the river at the foo t of Royal Palm Avenue; the Hill House,owned by Mrs. Mary F. Hill, located on the present site of the Franklin Arms, and the Fort Myers Inn, located on the river at what is now First and Citrus. The Hendry House was the old home of Capt. F. A. Hendry. The captain sold it to his son Louis for $7,000 when he moved to his ranch at Fort Thompson in 1888. Two years later L ouis added fourteen rooms to the home and converted it into a hotel.

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THE SToRY oF FoRT MYERS 143 The Hill House was established by Mrs. Hill in 1889 soon after s he moved to Fort Myer s from Alabama. In the beginning, Mrs. Hill had merely a small boarding house; later, how eve r, she added many rooms and in t i me the Hill house became one of the leading hostelri es of the town. The Fort Myers Inn was originally located on the river near the foot of Park A venue. It had been built in 1 883 by Dan C. Kantz and hi s siste r, Mrs. Sarah Knight Titus, and was first called the Keystone Hotel and then the Catoosa H ouse. In 1895 Kantz and Mrs. Titus decided that the hotel was located too far from the business section so they called in Contractor T. M. Park and had the buildi ng moved down First Street to its new location. Kantz and his sister continued living in the hotel even while it was being moved. Later the property was so ld to Dr. W. S. Turner, of Holder, Fla., who greatly enlarged it and changed the name to the River view Hotel. In June, 1897, O'Neill announced that he had purchased the Hendry House and intended to build a 50-room hotel costing at least $70,000 which would be completely modern in every respect. The story was blazoned all over the front page of the Fort Myers Press-it was the most important news that had broken in the town for many a year. The Hendry House was torn down in August, 1897, and construction work on the new hotel was rushed by Miller & Kennard, contractor s of Tampa, who b1ought in large crews of workmen to handle the job. The bui l ding was finished in mid-Jan uary, 1898, and F. H. Abbott, the first manager, proudly announced that on each floor there was a ladies' retiring and bath room with two porcelain tubs and that the gentlemen also were provided with a toilet and bath room on each f l oor. Everything was ultra-m odern, Abbott declared. The grand opening o f the hotel, first named the Fort Myers Hotel, held Monda y evening, January 15, 18 98. It was the biggest social event in the hist ory of the town. Those who attended were: Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Cole, :Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Hoyer, Philip Isaacs, John W. Salsbury, B. T. Luttrell, P. John Hart, Mr. and Mrs. Harvie E. Heitman, Miss Josie Hendry, Mr. and Mrs George R. Shultz, Major James Evans, Mrs. James West, Mis s Lulu West, Miss Bessie Thorp, Nathan G Stout, Mis s Ola Mc Leod, J. S. Lights ey, John David Pool, W. F. Powell, M. J ... 0. Travers, J.D. 0. Travers, H. A. Hendry, F. A. Hendry, William Wall Hendry, Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Washburn, Mrs. C. A. M cDougal d W. P. Bethea, Miss Flossie Hill George White, Miss Laura Gonzalez, :!lir. and Mrs. T. H. L evens, Charles F. R oan, Capt. and Mrs. W. M. White, Frank Carson, T. J. Roberts and Frank Kellow. O'Neill, merchant prince and hotel ow ner, must be credited with giving Fort Myers its first real advertising in northern newspapers. To a ttract guests to his new establishment he paid for large ads in l eading papers in New York, Bosto n, Philadelphia and Washington, extolling the Caloosahatchee area in general and Fort Myers in particular. He eve n employed a crack publicity man to herald the activities of socialites who

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144 THE STORY OF fORT MYERS stopped at his hotel. Every time one of them caught a fish or shot an alligator on a trip up the river an account of his exploit was s ent to his home town paper. O'Neill also mus t be given credit for plan t ing the first royal palms in Fort Myers. His gardener brough t them in from Cuba early in 1898 along with many other tropical and se mi -tropical palms plants and shrubs The royals grew rapidly and became majestically beautiful. They soon became so outstandin g that t h e y were the principal feature of the hotel gardens and, because of them, t he name of the hotel was then change d to the Royal Palm Hotel. To avoid confusio n, that name for the hotel will be used hereafter. The. New York mer c han t al so must be given credit for another important ''first." The R oyal Palm was the first buildin g in Fort Myers wired fo r elec tricity and O'N e ill helped materially in making possib l e F o r t M yers' first electric light plant, the brain child of Albertus A. Gardner. Fort Myers Cets All Lit Up Electric lights were no novelty for Fort Mye r s fifty years ago. In fact, the people of the community were among the first in the entire nat i o n to witness the miracl e of lights being lit by that myste r iou s phe n o m e non known as electricity. That history making event occurr e d Saturday night, March 27, 1 887, when lights were turned on for the first time at Seminole Lodg e the winter hom e of Thomas A. Edison. At that time the citizens of Fort Myers confidently expected that Edison would provide street ligh ts for the town within another year. But the e lectrical wizard was unab l e to return to Fort Myers the fo ll owing winter, eve n though he continued to maintain his winter h ome, and noth ing came from the street lighting proposa l. But the thought of supplying Fort Myers w ith electricity kept sim mering in the mind of one of the town's most progressive and energetic citizens, Albertus A. Gardner, k11own to everyone as Bertie Gardner. Born in Cleveland, 0., in 18 58, Gardner came to Fort Myers in 1888 wi t h hi s father and moth er, Mr. and Mrs. William P. Gardner, and his s ister, :Miranda M. Gardner. The father was a horticulturist and established the first nursery in Fort Myers, importing from N e w Orl e ans and Cuba a large stock of orange trees, loquats Japanese p e rsimmons ; tangerines, mangerine s, sats umas and many new varieti es of roses and other ornamental stock. Becom ing one of the town s best boosters, he contributed $600 to induce Stafford C. Cleveland to set up his prin ti ng plant in Fort Myers and thereby provide the town with i ts first newspaper. I n 1888, the Gardners-fath er, son and daughter-started the Semino le Canning Company They bought guavas a t 25 to 40 cents a buRhel and hired people to make them into jellies and preserves. Through

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THE STORY OF' FORT MYERS 145 aggressive salesmanship they succeeded in selling large quantities of their products to hotels, railroads and wholesale grocers throughout the state. Their concern became one of the town's most flourishing enterprises. It provided a market for all the guavas grown in the locality and at times employed more than fifty persons. Bertie Gardner managed the concern. For many years Gardner mulled over the idea .of setting up an electric light plant in conjunction with the canning company In 1892 he talked ove.r the project with leading citizens and merchants and they promised him their support. But then the 1893 panic came along and few people had enough money to wire their homes or business places for electricity. So the idea lay dormant. When O'Neill announced his plans for a modern hotel in July, 1897, Gardner felt that the time had come for him to go ahead. If he could make arrangements with O'Neill to supply electricity for the hotel he would be assured of enough business to pay part of the expense of operating a plant. O'Neill had planned to install a dynamo at the hotel and generate his own electricity but when informed of Gardner's plan he readily consented to become h i s first c ustomer. Gardner then applied to the town council for a .franchise. One was granted him on October 9, 1897. It was to last for five years and the councilmen agreed to pay $300 a year for ten 32 -candlepower incandescen t street lights. Gardner ordered a forty-horsepower boiler and a 500-light dynamo and; when they arrived, installed them in a section of the canning factory. The lights were turned on at dusk Saturday, January 1, 1 898. Reported the Press: "A soft, bright light suddenly appeared in all houses The Fort Myers Yacht and Country Club, first opened in 1908, had a brief exi stence, due t o the fact that members had great difficulty in reaching 'the clubhouse because of the deep sand in the roads.

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146 THE S T ORY OF FORT MYERS and stores connected with the e l ectric light plant and for the first time electricity was used as a lighting power by the general public in Lee County." After an h 0ur or so the lights dimmed and went out. Adjustments had to be made to the "complicate d machinery." But soon the cu rrent came back on again and everything went fine m idnight when the current was again shut off, thi s time for the remainder o f the night. Con nections with the hotel were made four days l a ter. A II night ser vice was provided only for the hotel. For all o ther customers, the current was shut off p r omptly at 11 p. m. O l d timers recall that the lights in their homes a lways blin ked several t imes exactly at 10:45. That was a signai the lights would go out fif teen minutes later. O f course that meant that all the young fellows who were courting their girls had to hurry u p and put on their hats and leave. In the beginning, the hotel used 98 lights All other c ustomers in town used 103 more, making a grand total of 201. The more prosperous citizens had as many as four or five lights placed at strategi c places in their homes; o thers got along with one or two. The town people paid 35 cents a week for each light, of 16 candlepower Current was not pro vided, of course, for electrical appliances--they weren't heard of then. The revenue of the light company was l ess than $70 a week by the end of January, 1898; nevertheless, Gardner was so encouraged by the way people were then contracting for the installation of lights that he ordered another 50-horsepower bo iler and a 640-watt dynamo. They were installed i n :May. Before they arrived the capacity of the plant was overtaxed when two "magnificent, brilliant incandescents of 200-candlepower each" were t urned on in the hotel grounds, "casting a brilliant light which made the vicinity almost as bright as day." The first ten street lights paid for by the town were i n s talled along First Street from the hotel down to the Fort Myers Inn at Citrus. Now, for the first t ime, people could walk along the town's main thoroughfare after dark without carrying lanterns. Punta Ra$Sa Hears Tragic News It was 11 :18 p.m. Monday, Februar y 15 1898 The telegraph instrument i n the cabl e relay station at Punta Rassa suddenly began clicking madly. lt.had been sile n t for a lmost an hour and Operator W. H. McDonald was dozing in an easy chair by the window. Leaping to his feet, he answered the call. A tragic message began racing in over the wire. The U S. Battleship Maine had been sunk i n the harbor at Havana! Blow n u p by the Spaniards! More than two hundred officers and enlisted men were dead! Details began coming in, as fast as the Havana operator could send t hem. While taking the messages and relaying them on, McDona l d yelled loudly for Station Manager George R. Shultz to come and help him. A

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THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS 147 minute later, Shultz came running, fastening his suspenders as he ran. He was still half asleep but when M c Donald breathlessly told him what had happened, all trace of s l eep vanished. McDonald and Shultz were the first persons in the country to learn of the disaster which precipitated the Spani shAmerican War. They worked for more than thirty-six hours without rest. The telegraph instruments never ceased c licking. Government messages kept going back and forth, and newspapers and press associa tions clamored for more details fro m their Havana correspond ents On ly the seriousn ess of the eme rgency kept McDonald and Shultz fro m dropping from exhau stion. On the third day two assistants were sent in to help t hem. During t he next yea r the Punta Rassa cab l e station was the most important com munica t i on center in the South. Its i mportance did not diminish when the Spaniards closed the Havana sta tion. The cable touched at Key West and all messages between that port and the main land had to go through Shultz's station. Dispatches of newspaper corres pondents rushed to Key West were e ndless. And the war department kep t sending messages night and day. Sam Thompson was employed by the telegraph company to patrol the wires between Punta Rassa and Fort Myers, to make sure that no Spaniards slipped t hrough and cut them. And when war was officially declared, a home guard company was hurriedly formed a t Fort Myers to protect the line and cable station. T h e Spanish-A meri can War was a godsend to the cattlem e n of Florida. The industry had been in the do ldrums si nce shortly after the e nd of t h e Cuban insun-ection in 1878. It had been kept alive only by the Key West market where Charles W. Hendry had gone to open a slaughter house forT. E. Langford and James E. Hendry Sr., then the principal cattle shippers. But the Key West demand had not been strong e nough to keep up the price and best quality steers were bringing only $8 a head. After the United States occupation forces took over Cuba, the de mand for cattle soared, and so did the price. Within three months steers were bringing $ 15 a head. Hendry announced on February 28, 1899, that he and Langford had sold 5,000 head for $75,000 A few months later the price jumped to $18. On one day in July, 1900 a total of 2,747 head were shipped out of Punta Rassa by Langford & Hendry, W. H. Towle s, and R.I. 0 Travers The ranges o f Lee County soon were stripped of marketable steers and every man who cou ld ride a hor se and was willi ng to drive cattle was pressed into service to he lp bring in herds from count ie s far up the state. Punta Rassa again became one of the leading cattle shipping ports of the mition, just as it had been twenty years before. The Cuban demand for cattle eontinue d strong for several years after the t urn of the cen tury and the cattlemen of Lee County prospere d. Part of the m oney went into the stock raising or commercial enterprises; some went to found financial institutions, and some went into fine homes.

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148 TuE STORY OF FoRT M YEns Cattl emen Start a Build ing Boo11i A building boom, particularly in the constructio n o f h omes, was started by cattlemen in 1 899. But, strangely enough, the boom wasn't touched off by Le e County cattlemen. They built homes later-after the fuse had been lit by two cattlemen from the Far West, John T. Murphy .and Dani el August us Greene Floweree, both of Helen a Monta na. Murphy and Floweree had been associated in the cattl e business for years and had accumulated for tunes, estimated at more than a million dollars. They were close friends and when Murphy said he wanted to go to Florida to see what it was like, Floweree said he wou ld go a l ong. That was in December, 1898 The two men arrived in Tampa early in January. One day Murphy happened to read a story in the Tampa Tribune which aroused his interest. It stated that F l orida was having t he biggest cattle trade in i ts history and that thou sands of steers were be ing shipped out of Punta Rassa to Cub a each month. The story al so said that fort Myers had becom e the cow capital of the state and was the home of many cattle king s. Being cattle kings themselves, Murphy and Floweree decided to go to Fort Myers and h ave a look at the South Florid a monarchs. On their w a y down the coast they stopped at Punta R assa and watched cattle being l oaded on schoo ners from Havana. They were not deeply impressed-by the cattle. Murphy said he had never seen such woeb egon e animals and Floweree em phatically agreed It was a different story, however, when the two men got to Fort My ers. The beauty Of the Caloosahatchee and the charm of the small town won their admiration. They engage d rooms at the R oy al Palm Hotel and decided to remain the rest of the winter. And befo r e spring came they selected Fort Myers a s the place for making their winter homes. Getting Harvie Heitman to act as his agent, Murphy bought about 450 feet of river frontage just east of Fowler Street, paying $ 3,5 00 for the tract. He then sold abou t half of the land to Floweree. 'l'h e two men a w arded contracts to C. S. Caldwell, of Tampa, for r esi d e n ces and told him that work on them must be completed by the fo llowin g winter. Murphy's home was built at the corner of First and Fowler and Flo weree's adjoin ing on the east. The Press reported that Murphy's place cost $15,000 and Floweree's $20,000, staggering amounts for those days. Onl y the fines t materials were used and today, nearly half a century later, they are still show. place s of the c ity. The y w e r e completed in Dece mber, 1899, and the two famili es moved in. Durin g the following winter Murphy and Floweree invested heavily in citrus land. Floweree bought a large tract near Estero and also a 600acretracton the river just east of Alva. On this latter tract he planted 1:50 acres of grapefruit trees and 30 acres of oranges. He turned the management of the grove over to Heitman who acted as his agent and manager from the n on. In less than ten years the grove became one of the most producti ve and mos t profitabl e in the state.

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TnE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 14-9 Construction of the :Murphy and Floweree homes gave an impetus t.o building activities in the town. Dr. J. E. Brecht early in 1900 built a fine home on First directly across from the Murphy home and Walter G. Langford built a little further east. Homes also were constructed for Hugh McDonald, Jr., Louis H. Locklar, C. A. McDougald and W. H. Towles. The house and lot of Dr. G. :M. White just east of the Royal Palm Hotel was sold to l'llrs. S.C. Bass for $6,000. Mrs. :Mary F. Hill made a two-sto r y addition to the Hill House. Carl F Roberts completed a three-story busi ness and apartment building. Arthur F. Fox, of Michigan, built a fine home on the north side of the river Building continued active for several years and was climaxed in 1903 by the construction of the new Methodist Church. The edif ice was made possible by the generosity of Hugh O'Neill. After completing his new hotel he pledged $4,000 to the Methodist trustees saying he would like to have a church built in memory of his only son, Hugh O'Neill, Jr., who had died in 1892. O'Neill's donation was not accepted for several years. Old timers say that the chu rch trustees wanted the money but that several of them had little use for the donor, due to the fact that he was "a drinking man" and even permitted drinks to be served in that hotel of his. where northerners were "carrying on" during the winter months But on March 16, 1902 O'Neill died suddenly in New York at the age of 58. Soon thereafter the feelings of the church obJectors quickly changed. Really, O'. Neill hadn't been such a bad man after 11-ll. Oh yes, he took a drink occasionally, but perhaps that hotel of his may have helped the town a little--some of his guests certainly had invested Jots of money f AM() B artle y T his is Fot t Myers as i t loo ked in 188:; from the roof of the Cal oosa Hotel located on First Street n ear the foot of Park. ;

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150 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS in Fort :Myers. Besides, that $4,000 of hi s would be used for a good pur pose. The contribution was accepted, four months after O'Neill's death. The site of the o ld church was not large enoug h for the proposed new st.ructure so Marion Hendry, one of the trustees, bought a 132-f oot at First and Roy al Palm, adjoining the church, for $500. I t was purchased October 6, 1902, at public auction from the Goosema n estate, Hendry acting for the church. Work on the new e difice was started that winter and on N ovember 22, 1903, the services were conducted i n it by Rev. S. W. Lawler. The first wedding in it occurred Wednesday night, November 25, when Miss Mary Josephin e Hendry was married to Harry Robert Knight, of Savan nah, Ga. The church was dedicated March 6, 1904, by Bishop A. W. Wilson, of Baltimore, Md. It was named the O'Neill Memorial Church, as O'Neill had requested. . . . Fort Myers Gets Telephones Telephone service was needed in Lee County at the close of the century-and needed badly. Cattlemen were doing a rushing business and so were the citrus growers. They wanted to keep in daily contact with their representatives in Fort :Myers but the on ly means of rapid com munication available was the telegraph, and only a few lived near telegraph stations. A nineteen-year-old youth saw the opportunity a nd took advantage of it. He was Gilmer McCrary H eitman, young brother of the up-and-coming Harvie E. Heitman. Gilmer had come to Fort Myers from his ho!lle in Lexington, N. C., a few years before and had been working in his brother's store. One day he heard several cattlemen telling how telephones would help them in carrying on their business. They expressed the wish that someone would start a telephone company. Deciding quickly that he would be that someone, Gilmer began making inquiri es regarding how much the necessary equipment would cost and where it cou ld be obtained. He counte d his money and found he could just finance the undertaking. So on January 2, 1900, he asked the county commissioners for a franchise to maintain a service throughout the county, and got it. Wasting no time, Heitman bought a 50-drop switchboard, wet batteries, and the rest of the equipment needed. Opening the exchange on the second floor of the new Heitman building at First and Jac k son, he employed Mrs. Alice Henry Tooke, now Mrs. Alice McCann, as the first operator . The system was put into operation Wednesday, February 21, 1900. Reported the Press: "Our business oren today had the novel ex perience of talking to each other over the wires. Time should prove that the telephon e is a great convenience." The first Fort Myers subscribers to the phone service were the Fort Myers Inn, W. R. Washbu.rn's store, Hibble & Lightsey's Meat Market,

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TR SToRY o F FoRT MYERs 151 Carl F. R oberts, Dr. E. M. Williams, Evans & Co., Fort :Myers Press and Post Office, George F Ireland, Sem inole Cann ing C o., Semin o l e Electric Light Plant, R.I. 0. Travers, James E. Hendry, Sr., H. A. Blake, Dr. V. H. V oorhi s Judge Robert Cranford Frank Braman, Bard L. H endry a nd Harvie E. Heitman. The tel ephone lines were extended to Buckingh a m a few months later and to Naples on February 1, 1901. The lin e to LaBelle was opened on September 2, 1902, and on the same date the Arcadia-Punta. Gorda line was completed by the Arcadia Telephone Co. To celebrate the tie-up of the two systems, Heitman a nnounced that Sunday service wouJQ be given as soon as fifteen more subscribers were obtained. That g oa l was reached early in the follow in g January and on the 18th the S unday serv ic e was provid e d, two hours in the mornin g and two hours late in the afternoo n. :Mrs. McCa nn declares that she was kept busy Sunday afternoons by young lovers making dates for Sunday evenings and spoon ing over the lines Fort :Myers people were able to talk to Tampa for the first time on February 2, 1904, and to :Marco on March 30, 1 905. On June 25 of the same year rates were reduced from $2 a month to $1.60. And on November 15, 1905, all night service was startedbefore that the phones went dead at 10 p.m. and didn't come back to life again until six the next morning Fort Myers now had truly "metropolitan service"-almost. The phones still crackled, a nd hissed, and humme d, and sizzled, particu larly when electri cal s torms were nearby. Complaints were numerous but Owner Heitman promised that when hi s company began to s h ow a profit, better equipmen t would b e installed. And in 1907 the promise was kept. At the Tum of tlte Century The arriva l of the twentieth century was celebrated m a grand manner in Fort :Myers. A crowd began gathering at First and Hendry early in the eveni ng and continued steadily to get larger. At 11 p. m the church b ells began ringing. This was done, the Press rep orted, "to honor the dyin g century in a fitting way." At the stroke of midnight the town cut loose in earnest. Whistles were tied down at the Seminole Canning Company and on the steamer H. B. Plant," anchored in the river. Guns, pistols and even cannon were shot. Firecrackers popped. Everyone yelled. A procession, headed by drums an d fifes and fo llowed by a horde of shouting men and boys, paraded up and down the street. Gilbert's Oyster Saloon was packed to the doors. Fort Myers had a merry tim e . The town r eally had cause to rejoic e Despite the setback cau se d by the panic of 1893, the population had increased 64 per cent during the prec edin g ten years, as shown by the 1900 federal census. True enoug h, the total number of inhabitants was still under a thousand-943, to be

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152 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS exact. But a gain of any kind during that bleak decade, for the nation as a whole, was something to crow about. The editor of the Press, however, was perturbed by the census figures. "Surely," he declared, "Fort Myers must have shown a larger increase than the census indica tes. Perhaps the enumerators failed to count many of our inhabitants." That may have been the case, but probably wasn't. Actually, Fort Myers was still a small frontier cow town regardless of the 64 per cent population gain. Indians still came into town with their hides and pelts. Most of them now traded at Henderson's gene ral store. He paid top prices: 35 .cents to $1 for alligator hides, 50 cents for coon skins, and from $2 to $8 for otter skins depending on their quality. The rear of his store often was piled to the ceiling with hide s and skins being held for shipment. One of Henderson's best customers was Bill Brown, one of the most unusual characters that eve r came to the Land of the Caloosahatchee. A well educated Englishman from London, Brown went deep into the Glades early in the Nineties with his young w ife and two small children and established an Indian trading post near Fort Shackelford, about seventy miles southeast of Fert Myers. Whx he went to that spot at the end of nowhere, far from any other white settlers, no one ever knew. But he loved there, and so did his family The Indians soon learned to trust him as they did few other whites, and he built up a thriving business. Several t im es a year Brown came into Fort Myers with his great covered wagon, hauled by three yoke of oxen. He traveled only seven or eight miles a day and the trip took hini about nine days each way. On February 25, 1898, he brought in Doctor Tom, chief of the Seminoles, to see a physician. The chief, then 85 years old, was deeply suspicious of the whites and before he would consent to come to Fort Myers, Brown had to agree to leave his wife and children at rom's village i n the Glades as "hostages." On his trips to Fort Myers, Brown brought in great quantities of hides and pelts and traded them for all sorts of supplies needed by his family and the Indians Henderson always li ked to . see him come and so did the people of Fort Myers who turned out en masse to welcome him. By the turn of the century Harvie Heitman's store had become one of the leading establishments of its kind in South Florida. He. was a good advertiser and be'lieved in giving good bargains. Besides, he was selling large quantities of fertilizers and general supplies to grove owners whose .properties he managed. Naturally he did not lose money on such sales. He also owned a large supply house at Alva. He was reported to be getting prosperous. Ed Evans now had his thriving store at Howell A. Parker's old stand at the southeast corner of First and Hendry. He wa. s the town's "oldest" merchant and still boasted that he handled eve rything from the cradle . to the grave.

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THE STORY oF FonT MYERS 153 'l'he colu mns of the Press show who the leading merchants were in 1901. Here are some of them: H. E. Heitman Company, general store; E. L. Evans, general store; Foxworthy & Co., clothi ng, novelties; C. A. McDougald, cl othing for men, women and children; E M. Williams, drug store; Geo rge F Ireland, hardware; Carl F. Roberts, funeral director, also, rough and dressed lumber; N. E. Thornhill, racket store; Mrs. M. E. Leak, dry goods notions, millinery ; A W. Roge rs, jeweler, and W. R. Washburn & Co., men's cloth i ng, fishing tackle, stationery and jewelry . Other advertisers around the turn of the ce ntury were: Fort Myers Saw Mill, Wm. Hanson and son proprietors; J. C. Jeffcott, painter and decorator; M French, shoe and harness repair shop; W. C. Battey, real estate; Frank B. Tippins, livery stable; R. L. Mitchell, bicycle t epair shop; Frank Kellow, justice of the peace and collector; C. F. Cates, woodworking and b l acksmithi ng; W m. P. Henley, contractor and b uilder; Rab Davis, hack line to Punta Gorda; Fort Thompso n Stock Farm, James E. and George !VI. Hendry, proprietors, and the Sisters Hotel, at San ibel Island, operated by George 0. Barnes and Mrs. La vi nia Brown, "$1.50 a day $10 a week with excellent meals inciuded, no heavy drinking to lerated.'' Three hotels in Fort Myers were regular advertisers: T h e F ort Myers (Royal Palm ) Hotel, F H. Abbott, manager; the Hill House, Mrs. M F. Hill, ow ner, and the Fort Mye r s Inn, Miss Lee Murr ay, proprietor. Pro fessional cards were carried by Dr. V. H. Voorh i s, dentist; by Dr. W. B. Winkler, physician and surgeo'n, and by three attorneys, Loui s A. Hendry, Frank C. Alderman and Newton Han son. In the days when steambo at!? plied tlie Caloosahatehee, the "Thomas A. Ed ison was the pride of the Menge Brothers Steamboat Line.

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154 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS The Press was the only newspaper in town at the turn of the century but it had had much trouble, and disastrou s competition, during the pre ceding decade It had barely managed to survive. The paper's troubles were caused mainly by Editor Frank Stout's political views. Back north he had been an 11rdent Republican; in Fort Myers he tried to bury his Republican ideas and run a "neutral" paper. But he had failed to inter his Republican ism deep enough to please his rabidly Democratic readers, and advertisers, and there was talk of giving backing to a competing newspaper "to reflect more correctly the views of the community." In an attempt to prevent such an eventuality, Editor Stout announced on April 19, 1894, that be had made Dr. W. W Foos e "political editor;' and that hencefo1-th "The Press will no longer be neutral in politics but will be a straight-forward Democratic organ." Dr. Foose soon began writ}ng vitriolic editorial s which seemed to please everyone. But in September he committed an unpardonable crime. He damned the "political ring" in the county. He asked: "Is there favoritism being shown to relatives of one family in the politics of Lee County?" Answering hi s own rhetorical question, be pointed out that Capt. F. A. Hendry was representative and then be went on to say that R. A. Henderson, candidate for county treasurer, I. S Singletary, candidate for tax collector and Taylor Frierson, candidate for s chool board, were all related by marriage to the Hendrys; that George W. Hendry, candi date for county judge, was of course a Hendry, and so was W. M. Hendry, county clerk as well as recorder of marks and brands. Dr. Foose continued: "There is a well founded rumor that James E. Hendry will be recommended to succeed W. H. Towles on the board of county commissioners. Are not the offices of this county too much in one family? lJnderstand, we have nothing personal against the Hendrys as they are all good and true citizens, enterprising and lawabiding, hon-. orable men, but honest now, is it all right for all the office s to be in one family? ... I s it not time to call a halt?" The reactio;n to this editorial was appalling. Members of the Hendry clan with all their friends rose up in wrath. Editor Stout was stunned. And in the next edition he announced that Dr. Foose no longer would be political editor. But the damage had been done. Stout's political enemies ganged up against him and financed the establishment of another n ewspaper, The Tropical News, edited by Philip Isaacs. The two editors, both able men, fought viciously in the columna of their papers. They provided interesting reading for the town but both lost money. On August 1, 1 895, Stout sold the Press to Charles W. }till, of So uth Dakota. But Hill could not make a success of i t and he was forced to turn it back to Stout on October 31, 1895. During the following March Stout sold it again, this time to J.D. Ros e and Hal B. Selby.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 155 Finally, on January 7, 1897, the two papers consolidated. The Tropical News went out of existen ce and' became editor of the Press. Nathan G. Stout, son of Frank Stout, bought an interest in the paper on May 13, 1897, a n d continued to be connected with it u ntil 1913, They Their Joys-and Sorrows Few towns in the United States were farther removed from 'civ iliza tion" than Fort Myers back in the Nine t ies. The Plant System railroad which ran into Punta Gorda was a rickety affair and trains seldom if eve r arrived at their destination on time. To get to Punt a Gorda from Tampa required more than a fourteen hour journey. That wruin't the worst of it. The one train a day arrived in Punta Gorda in the evening a n d Fort Myers-bound pasSengers had to remain there overnight. When t h e "St. Luc i e was at the dock the south-bo u nd travelers went on board and engaged a stat eroom from Purser Andrew Kinzie paying him $1. Accommodations on the boat were exce ll ent' and Ki n zie says that travelers always went there instead of t o a hote l. The rates were cheaper and, besides, the passengers could keep on sleeping when the steamer pulled out at 7 a. m. The trip from Punta Gorda t o Fort Myers required eight hours, never less often much longer.' This meant that more than two full days were requ ired to make the Tampa-Fort Myers journey, counting the Punta Gorda layover. Better t i me could have been made by going all the way by steamer-but no steamers were on the run at that time. Because of the transportation difficulties and delays, road shows and circuses never included Fort Myers on their itineraries. But that didn't mean that Fort Myers people suffered from a dearth of entertainment. They "rolled their own." Much of the rolling was done by the Fort Myers D ramatic Society, as gay an aggregation of amateur Thesp ians as was ever assembled The society made its i nitial bow t o the pub li c Thursday n ight, Oc tober 30 1890, when it presented "Lady Audrey's Sec ret" to an appreciative audience. Members of the cast included Harry Higginbotham, Mrs. Hig ginbotham Miss Mellie S t ou t George Tal boys, William Jeffcott, D. C. Kantz, G. D. Brockman, E. P. Kantz, and Sattie Parker. Ice c r eam, coffee, cake and popcorn were served between scenes and at the close of the per formance by ladies of the Episcopal Church. A splendid time was had by one and all, the Press reported. The soci ety cont in ued to prese n t p l ays all t hrough the Nineties Some of the other men and women who were star performers were L. C. Stewart, W L. Voris, Harvie E. Heitman, W. R Washburn, Walter Wil helm, :Miss Laura Gonzalez Mrs G. W. Hendry, Miss Penelope Pearde, and Miss Stella Langford The p l ays \vere staged in Phoenix Hall, the town's one and only gathering place for many years. Political rallies wer e held there, as well

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156 THE STORY OF FonT MYERS as dances, socials. lectures, and even evangelistic meetings. It also served as a roller skating rink and for sever al winters young Nate Stout acted as skating instructor, teaching youngsters and grown-ups h ow to keep on their feet. The hall was l ocated on the second floor of a two-story frame build ing on the southeast corner of First and Hendry erected in 1890 by Howell A. Parker who then owned the town's largest general store The hall was opened Tuesday n i ght, June 24, 1890, with a dance and supper given by Royal Palm Lodge No. 16, Knights of Pythias and was packed with P ythians from as far away Sli-Tampa and Key West. The upsurge in business activities and general optimism which fol lowed the Big Freezes of 1894-95 was properly accompan ied by a rebirth of the Fort Myers Brass Band which had died a sud den death during the panic days. The band members included M. B. Goodell, first cornet; L.A. F arrington, solo alto; J oseph W Henley, first alto; W. A. Marsh first tenor; Eugene M. Reynolds, baritone ; William P Henley, tuba; T. T. H e nd e rson, bass drum and cymbals; Conrad Menge, second alto, and T. H. LevenS, snare drum. A fund was raised by public subscription and white duck uniforms were purchased for the band members. A band stand was erected and weekly concert s were given On July 4, 1896, the band fu r nished music for a big public ce l ebration at Tournament Park attended by more than 1,50 0 persons and featured by races, a ball game, contests o f vari ous kinds, and a picnic barbecue During the day the band played 80 se l ec tions but the band members, to prove they weren't exhausted, kept on going and furnished music that night for a pub lic ball in Phoenix H all Not satisfie d with having m erely a band, the Fort Myers men decided during the winter of 18 95-96 to organize a baseball cl u b A meeting of all the ball players and would-be ball players was held January 17, 1896, in Phoenix Hall and officers were elected : Frank McNulty, president; E. H. Graves, vice-president, and Neal Coston, secretary and treasurer. W. H McNulty was chosen captain. Practice games were held regularly thereafter on the sand lot east of Hendry Street just behind the present Edison Theab:e The first regular game was played July 4, 1896, when the Reds beat the Blues, 24 to 4. The players on the two t eams were: Will : McNulty Nathan Swain, Wall Hen. dry, Nate Stout, Bard Hendry, Oscar Ball, Joe Gant, J. Ho. ag, Jr., Joe Haskew, AI Gilb ert, George Baston Frank Kellow, Frank Bell, Alva Finney Hal Selby, Hiram Stevens, Gus Larson Garrett Dykstra. Wall Hendry starred, scoring f iv e runs. The women of Fort Myers didn't permi t the men to run away with all the o rganizin g They met June 6,1900, at the home of Mrs. Olive E. Stout and organized a Woman's Club. Mr s. Stout was elected to serve as the first president; Mrs H. E. Heitman, vice-president; Miss Flossie Hill, recording secretary; Miss Mary Finney, corresponding secretary, and Mrs. Julia Hanson, treasurer.

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THE STORY OF FonT MYERS 157 To make sure that the club meeting s wouldn't end up in hair pull ing, the members passed a r esolution forbidding "political or social dis cussions They decided that they s houl d study current events and music and discuss dom estic questions. The f irst topics se lected for discu ss i on were the history and geography of the Boer War, the char acteris tics of the English, Boe r s and Kaffirs, and the probable effects of the war upon civiliz ation The members also agreed that a regular topic of discussion should be the various phases of the Paris Expos ition. The Woman's Club became in time one of the strongest organizations of the city and the members, disregarding the resolution they had passed, took a leading part in public a ffairs, helping greatly to make Fort M yers the city it is today. Mrs. J uli a Hanson was presiden t of the club for twen ty-n ine years T hree events of historic i mportance occurre d duri n g t h e first year of the twentieth century: Thomas A. Edison returned to his winter home after an absen ce of fourteen years, the town's first ice plant went into operation, and the town's first bank was opened. The electrical returned with a party of seven on Wednesday, February 27, 19 0 1 o n the steamer H B. Plant." To honor his dis tinguished passenger, Capt. A. F. Gonzalez flew all the steamer's flags, and to let Fort Myers know tha t he had someone of real importance on board he tied down the steamer's whistle while comin g up the riv er. For nearly a half eentury the most famous winter residen t of Fort Myer s was Thomas A. Edison, e l ectrical wizard. He is shown h ere standing in front of his winter home, Semino l e Lodge. The photol(T&ph was takel'dn 1902.

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158 THE STORY-OF FORT MYERS Included in Edison's party were Mrs. Edison, Miss Grace Miller, Edith Edison, Madeline Edison, Master Charl es Edison, a maid and a baby. They stopped at the Royal Palm Hotel but were unable to get rooms so they moved into the Edison winter hom e, eve n though it had not been opened up for them. Edison and his family remained in Fort Myers five weeks. Before he left he gave Editor Philip Isaacs a real scoop, disc losing many details of his marvelous new invention, the storage battery, then being perfected by his technicians in his laboratory at Orange, N.J. Isaacs wired the story to the New York Journal where it got a page one play. Of more importa. nce to Fort Myers, Edison told Isaacs that he intended to return to his Fort Myers winter home every year thereafter. Time proved that he meant what he said. As a result of his annual visits, Myers received priceless national publicity Quite possibly Edison's announcement may not have meant as much to Fort Myer s people as the news that the town's first i ce plant was soon to be opened. They had been waiting for ice ever since Ed L. Evans talked of investing in an ice machine back in June, 1885. At that time the Press said: "We trust Evans will do so. Ice would be deemed a luxury at first but would soon be found to be an eve r y-day necessity to every family that could afford its use.'' Evans did not go through with the project. Finally, however, the necessary machin ery was brought to town by the same man who gave Fort Myers its first e lectric lights, Albertus A. Gardner. The equipment cost $5,500 and was installed by Gustav Widerquist at the plant of the Seminole Canning Company. The first ice was sold on Wednesday, May 22, 1901. Delivered, it cost a cent a pound; at the factory it was sold for fifty cents a hundred pounds After the ice plant went into operation Gardner stated that he had invested $18,000 altogether in the cannini factory, electric light plant and the ice plant. And he also announced that the official name of the company was the Semino le Power & Ice Company Fort l'llyer s got its first bank through the efforts of James E. Hendry, Sr. He was a h eavy shareholde r and a director of the Citizens Bank & Trust Company, of Tampa, headed by John Trice. For several years Hendry tried to persuade Trice to open a Fort Myers branch but the banker was hesitant. He did not think the cow town had good prospects. Finally, however, Hendry persuaded Trice to visit Fort Myers and see for himself what the town was like. He came in November, 1900, and remained for several days, a guest at Hendry's home. He was introduced to all the leading citizens and entertained royally. :Most favorably impressed, he said he would consult his directqrs about establishing a branch and one would be opened if they approved. Hendry attended the nex:t directors' meeting and argued eloquently and ably. Trice backed him up and the other directors were convinced that a Fort Myers branch would help the town -and be profitable for them. So they approved its establishment. Arrangements were made at

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THE STORY OF FORT MY 1 5 9 o nce with Harvie E. Heitm an to c onstruct a n addition to hi s brick bu ilding a t First an d Jac ks o n large enough to hou se t h e branch, and whe n the additio n was comp l e te d and a brand new vaul t installed, the bank was o p ened, on May 2 19.01. James E. Foxworthy w a s nam e d as t h e first m anager. Hendr y made the first deposit. The bank served the town for si x years and then w a s succee ded by a h ome contro ll e d institution, the Bank of Fort : Mye rs. B y that tim e the to w n was b ooming a s it had n e v e r bo omed be f o re, d u e alm ost e ntire l y to the fact that i t had fina lly got its l o n g-a waite d r ailro ad. Before Ra i lr o ad Carne In bygone days news of ships and shipping alw a ys was big news in Fort Myers, simp ly b ecause ships pro vided the only conn ection with t h e outs i d e world A nd of a ll the ship s whi c h made n ews, n one mad e headli nes oftener than the trim, t wo-masted sc hoone r "Lil y White. She was a mos t capricious lady o f t h e sea. No one remembers where the L ily White" was bu il t or when she was first brought to West Coast waters. She first broke into print late i n 1 884 when E ditor Stafford C Cleve l a n d booked p assage on he r to Fort Ogden a nd was s hanghaied at Fort Myers by town boosters d e t ermin ed to get a new spaper. Imm edi ately thereafter the scho oner was purchased b y Langford & Hendry and u sed i n the Key Wes t and Havana cattle tra de, a n d also f o r occasiona l trips to New Orleans. In the fall of 1894 the "Lily White" really got started on her a dventurous career . Saili ng down the coast to K ey W est, she was cau ght in t h e hurrica ne o f T uesday, Septem ber 26. Her spar s w e r e b l ow n a w ay and s h e drifted helple ss l y aw a y When the sto rm ende d s h e was gone no o ne k ne w where. Scores of ships joi n e d i n a se a rch for h e r. A week passed and t h e n anothe r wee k and she was g iven up for l ost, wi t h all her c rew and cargo. But on October 13, eighteen days later, she was si ghted off Anastasi a Island. She was tow e d to St. Augustine Members of the crew were safe but 90 of the 110 c attle on board had died of thirst Capt. Albert Griffin reported that the sch oo n e r had drifted a r ound the Dry T ortugas, through the F lorida Straits, and h ad been carr i e d northward by the G u l f Stream. T hree years later the "Li l y White" had a n other h a r row i n g e xpe ri ence, this time more d isastrous Captain Griffi n was pushing her a l o ng u nder full sail w h e n s uddenl y, o n July 15, 1897, she was struck by a wind spout. She capsized i n stantly. N athan Swain, of Fort Myers, a nd a sailor, Charles ghor lund, were caught below deck and d r owned Captain G r i ffin, three crew members and four p assengers were thrown overbo ard. They r ighted a n 18 foot life boa t after a three-ho ur struggle, rowe d all night an d late t he n ext day were pick e d up by a s ponge boat.

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160 TnF. STORY OF FonT MYERS A search was started immediately for the "Lily White" but she could not be found. Again she had disappeared. But finally, fifteen days later, she was sighted off Key Largo, 90 miles east of Key West. Her masts, with the sails still on them, were hanging underneath, undamaged. No one ever was able t o explain h ow she had drifted through the shallow waters near the keys without the masts being broken off. When she was righted the bodies of Swain and Shorlund were fou nd insid e the cabin. In January, 1901, after be in g sold by Langford & Hendry to William H To wl es, the "Lily White" was seized at Punta Rassa by a federal revenue cutter. The revenue offi cers insisted that she was carrying a cargo of rum on which duty had not been paid. Towles protested his innocence but the government confi scated the sch ooner regardless. She was held in Key West for weeks and Towles finally had to pay a stiff fine to get her back again. During the next nine years the "Lily White Jed a decorous life. Her end came on Decemb e r 22, 19 10, when she caught fire while dock ed at Tampa and burned to the water's edge One of the worst disasters which ever befell a W est ship occurred March 3, 1898, when Capt. William D. Collier's sc h ooner "Speedwell" was struck by a squall off Marquesaas, eighteen mile.s from Key West, and capsized. Nine persons were caught in the cabin and drowned. The victims included three young sons of Captain Colli er, Wilbur, Tom, and Georg e, and six members of the Bradley Nichols family of Bridgeport, Conn. Captain Collier, two deck hands, Samue l Cates and Jesse Green, and a passenger R. W. Bates, of Fort Mye rs, were thrown clear of the schooner and were saved. A tragedy mourned by everyone in Fort Myers occurred on the Caloosahatchee on Sunday, August 18, 1895, near Beautiful I s land. Mary Frierson, pretty sixteen year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Frier son, fell off the deck of the "City of Athens" while playing a game with her father. As the steamer drifted downstream, Frierson jumped into the river after his daughter. She had sunk twic e when he reached h er. Panic strick en, Mary grabbed him around the n eck and both went down. Frierson finally managed to break her hold and get a strand of he r hair in hi s teeth. But he was not a good swimmer and became exhausted. Both he and his daughter sank in the river. Capt. Fred Jlienge lowered a boat immedia tely and rowe d frantically to the place the man and girl had gone dow n. He managed to save Frier so n but Mary could not be foun d. Returnin g to the steamer, M enge signalled for help-four quick blasts on the steamer whistle, repeated again and again. Miles away, the signals were heard by Alfon se Gonzalez. A seaman since early boyhood, Gonzale z knew what the signals meant. He rushed into town literally broke into Evans' general store, hurriedly took grappling hooks and long coils of rope, commandeered a sail boat at the dock and with some companion.s went up the river. Helped by his friends,

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THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 161 Gonzalez started dragging the river bottom. And on the first try one of the hooks caught in Mary's dress and her body, covered with black muck, was brought to the surface. Fort Myers was stunned by the drowning. Everyone knew Mary Frierson, and everyone loved her. Probably_ no other tragedy in the town's history caused such sincere sorrow. When Steamers Rulerl the River They were mighty ships, those which plie d the Caloosa hatchee five decades ago, providing a puffing, glamorous link with the outside world. They were not mighty in size, or luxurious in a,ccorQ modations, but they played a mighty part in the daily life of Fort Myer,s people. Of all the steamers which came and went, none is better remembered than trim "St. Lucie," a double-decked, 120-foot stern-wheeler with two slim smokestacks up by its pilot house. A Mississippi River boat, she \YaS brought to theW est Coast by the Plant System on November 26, 1 896, a.nd placed on the Fort Myers-Punta Gorda run. The "St. Lucie" had twenty-four staterooms, noted for their ness, and a large dining room unexcelled for its meals. Of less thap fourfoot draft, she could safely navigate the shall ow channel o f the river, even when carrying a peak cargo of forty tons of freight and a hundred and fifty passengers. On its maiden trip out of Fort Myers sh e carried 1,100 boxes of oranges. E xcursions on the beautiful Caloosahatchee ptovided one of Fort Myers' favorite d iv ers ions in years gone by. Thousands of persons went each winter on the steamer "Dixie.'' shown above, .,.;bieh plied between Fort Myers and the islands The "Dixie'' was owned by 'the Kint:ie Brothers Steamer l.ine.

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162 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Two famous West Coast captains commanded the "St. Lucie" at various times, C. L. Park and Herman Fischer. They took her through 'many ba d storms without one :fatal mishap and they brought to Fort :Myers as passengers scores of men and women who are leading citizens of the city today. George K inzie was chief engineer of the steamer for many years and his brother, Andrew, .the purser. The arrival of the "St. Lucie" signalled the termination. of a transportation war. It also led to the departure from West Coast waters oftwo smaller steamers, the "Lawrence" and the "Clara" which had served Fort Myers on the Tampa run. They were owned by Charles F. Roan and John H. Roan, doing business as the Fort Myers Steamboat Company Henry P. Plant, in his zeal to rule South Florida transportationally, bought out the Roans on October 10, 1896, thereby snuffing out com petition he so much disliked. After this purchase, the Plant System began giving daily service to Punta Gorda. The companion ship of the "St. Lucie" on the Punta Gorda :run was the "Alice Howard," commanded by Capt. M. Johnson. She was a small steamer, with inadeq!late cargo space, and was replaced in 1900 by the "H. B. Plant," a 127.-foot steamer which later became famous in West Coast waters, being commanded by Capt. Alfonse Gonzalez. The "H. B. Plant" was brought from the St. Johns River by Capt. W. M. White. He left there January 12 and didn't stop until he reached Punta Rassa four days later. The steamer was used on the Punta Gorda run with the "St. Lucie" until the arrival of the "Thomas A. Edison." This ste.amer was not owned by the Plant System. The proud owners were Fred and Conrad Menge. The "Edison" was built for the Menges in Apalachicola by Sam J. Johnson for river travel and drew less than two and one-half feet when fully loaded. She had t\VO decks, was a sternwheeler and had a capacity of 1,200 boxes of fouit. The Menges were good friends of the electrical wizard and named the steamer in his honor. The :Menge brothers chartered her to the Plant System soon afterwards. She was used on the Punta Gorda run with Capt. Nic k Armeda in command. She replaced the "H. B. Plant" which was taken to Tampa Bay and placed on the run between Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee. . The Menges at that time had a monopoly o n the river traffic. Fred started the business in 1888 after he left the employ of Hamilton A. Disston. He had married Virginia Lee Hendry, daughter of Capt. F. A. Hendry, and wanted to remain in the Fort Myers area. So he purchased from Disston two boats he had used to carry supplies up the river, the "Gopher" and the "Mamie." The boats were small but large enough to carry all the products of the up-river settlers. One of his skippers was Capt. M. A. Gonzalez, first settler in Fort Myers. In 1890 Menge bought the "City of Athens," a s tern-w heel steamboat built for the Kissimmee-Fort Myers run, which had been partially destroyed by fire near Fort Myers. Rebuilding the boat, Menge put it back into service, making tri-weekly tri p s between Fort Myers and Fort

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 163 Thompson Soon afterward he formed the Menge Brothers Steamboat Line with h i s brother Conrad. During the tar pon season the Menges spent part of their time taking parties out in the Gulf But after the Big Freeze, w)len the number of settlers increased rapidly, they dropped the sporting end of the and concentrated on carrying freight and passengers To make regular trips up the Orange Rive r they purchased the "Anah C." a small sternwheeler and placed her in operation in 1905. Later, the Menge brothers bought and operated the "Gray 4Nyan sa," "Ralph Barker," "Un eeda," "Susie B.", "Corona, and in addi tion to the "'):'homas A Edison." After 22 years of service the "Gray Eagle" went on the roc k s in the Caloosahatchee imd was abandoned. The machinery later was salvaged and acquired by Henry Ford who employed Conrad Menge to use it in building an old -style river steamboat for d isplay at Dearborn, Mich. The "Suwanee" was the favorite o f Edison and he went on it for many trips u p ahd d own the river, explaining his latest in ventions to his good friend Fred. Menge later said that Edison one day asked him to ride in a boat of his own he had just built. "It was a pretty little thing, said Menge, "but there was no machinery of any kind in s ight. I was amazed when we suddenly started off, without any vibration or the slightest noise. Later I learned that the power was bein g provided by a hundred Edison. storage batteries concealed beneath the floor. Edison told me that all boats soon would be run from batteries. But later he wrote to me and said he figured ou t that it would take so many batteries to run a big ship that their weight would s in k it. For once, Edison's idea wasn't practical." Fort M,ers Finally Gets a Railroad Henry B. Plan t, Florida railroad mogul, died suddenly on W ednes day, June 28, 1 899 . Fort Myers did not fly its flags at half mast to mourn his passing. The gentleman with t he courtly southern manners and sweepi n g mustache had n ever been a friend of Fort Myers and, consequen tly, the town did not grieve over his departure from this earth. Leaders of Fort Myers had started pleading with him in 1886 when it was first learned that he int ended to extend his Florida Southern southward from Bartow But Plant turned a deaf ear to their pleas and built the railroad to Punta Gorda instead of to the Caloosaha t chee. After the Bi g Freeze, when the Caloosahatchee region began boom ing as it had never boomed before, Fort Myers people again appealed to Plant. On January 26, 1896, V ic e-Pres ident D F. Jack of the Plant System hinted that if Lee County would donate $40,000 to the system the railroad might be provided. Said Jack: "I believe that Mr. Plant would entertain such a p r oposition as he has already acted favorab l y on such ari induceme n t in Alabama."

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164 THE STonY oF FonT MYERS But Lee County cou l d not afford at that time to contribute $40,000 to the wealthy P lant System, even though a railroad was needed badly. Nothi n g could be done as long as the Plant System remained in the hands of Plant's handpicked subordinates. But o n April 4, 1902, the vast h oldings of the Plant Sys t em, valued at approximately $25,000,000, were purchased by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. The properties included 2,139 miles of railroad tracks, two ocean steamship lines, three West Coast steamship lines valuable hotels and sundry other gems Shortly after the purchase, Walter G Lang'ford, acting for a group of Fort Myers leaders, began wri t ing to Coast Line officials. Late in July he was informed that P. F. Jenkins, c o nstruction engineer of the road, wo ul d come to Fort Myers and l ook the situation over. He arrived on July 30 and was taken everywhere by Fort Myers boosters who lauded the region to the skies. Favorably impressed, Jenkin s made a favorable report to the Coast Line directors and then announced on August 3 that they woul!f extend the line to Fort Myers a n d also build a spur up the river providing a right of way and a depot site would be furnished. To obtain the land required, the town leaders organ ized }?ort Myers' first Board of Trade at a meeting Friday afternoon, February 12, 1903, in the Royal Pal m Hotel. Philip Isaacs was e l ected p resident; W H. Towles vice -president; J. E Foxworthy, secretary, and Carl F. Roberts, treasurer. The directors named were: Harvi e E Heitman, R. A Hender son,'W 0 Rew, JosephS. Shands, Frank C. Alderman, E L Evans, R W. Gilliam W. R Washburu and George F. Ireland. More than six months passed before all the land needed for the right of way could be secured. A few property owners belli back, deman di n g prices considered exorbitant. They finally were i n d uced to fall in line however, and t h e last obstac l e to the railroad co nstruction was removed. Most of the land owners we r e public spirited and turned over needed laitd at reasonable prices For the depot and wharf site at Monroe Street, the railroad paid Mrs Evalina J Gonzalez $6,000. Constructi o n work was started the follow in g winter when the necessary surveys were completed. G. S. Baxter & Co ., a Jacksonville construc tion firm, began cutti11g th e righ t-of-way a t Punta Gorda :March 13, 1903, and on the next day a Coast Line bridge crew arrived with a pile driver a n d started work on the bridge at Beautiful Island. Incidentally, the railroad s u rveyors announced that the Caloosahatchee was 7,125 feet wide directly in front of Fort Myers-i Ys miles instead of 1 Y.. a s generally believed. Fort Myers celebrated in a b i g way when the last track s were laid on Saturday, February 20, 1904. The last rail went down at 11 a. m. a t Monroe Street where the railroad dock was being bu il t The historic event was well reported in the Press. .. "The large town flag was secured a n d Engine No. 499 was draped in the national colors," the Press "Then the youn g ladies hustled about and secijred large bunches of flowers and soon had the headlight, flag standards and pilot of the engi ne bedec ked with flowers. Mrs. Frier-

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THE STORY oF FoRT 1\hERS 165 son and :Mrs. James E. Hendry sent a n i mmense and beautiful bouquet to F L Long and the other railroad men "O. ur peopl e practically took control of the train as the work neared compl etion. Mrs. J E Foxworthy and the Misses Dot Stout and Bessie Thorpe held up the engi neer. M. E Moye t ook charge of the bell rope and whistle cord and kept the bell and wh istle going. Col. E L. Evans fired a salute with his bras s cannon. Shortly after 11 a m the last rail slid from the flat car and was thrown into p lace. "Then as the last spike was made ready, Mrs. James E Hendry was escorted to the track, given a sledge hammer, and d r ove home the last spike that held the rails that connected Fort Myers with the great railroad system of the Atlantic Coast Line Rai lroad and the entire country. "Then the crowd cheered, the cannon boomed, whistles b lew and bell s rang. Mrs. T. J. Evans had prepared a treat for the railroad men consisting o f sandwiches, sausages, cookies, homemade candies, etc. while a box of 500 oranges, cigars and cheroots was furnished by the business men. "Messrs. Long and Polk practically turned over the train to our people and all hands clambered on the engine, tender a n d flat cars and were given the first ride over the new railroad through Fort :Myers and out to the county road crossing two miles east of the courthouse Many on the train had never r idden on a railroad so the affai r proved a proud and joyful ev ent.". The first excursion out of Fort :Myers was run to Punta Gorda on Thursday, April 7, 1904. No one paid any fares, everyo n e bei n g guests of F. L. Long and E. B. Polk of the contracting firm which built the road. The trip, made by 187 persons, started from the north side of the river because the bridge had not. been completed. The excursionists sat on Co:,utuy (>i Urs. S11oitlt FNrM This is the "pony express used by the. Whidden boys nearly a hal f century ago to carry mall from Fort Myers to Esteto.

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166 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS planks on three flat cars and in the cab oose. Two hours wer e r equired to make the journey. At Punta Gorda the excursi onists were met by a cornet band and escorted through the town. The first regular passenge r train arrived Tuesday, May 10, 1904. It consisted of three passenger coaches and two flat cars of lum ber, con s igned to Carl F Roberts. About twenty-five passengers were on board, mostly railroad men. The train lef t at 3:15p.m. for the north Joseph Hadle y bought the first ticket to go to' Tice. Other passengers we r e Dr. John Hall and Dr. L C. Washburn The first shipment north consisted of eighty boxes of fruit sent by express by D. S. Borl and of Orange River. Agent H. A. Blake establ ished headqua r ters in the old G onzalez resi dence, setting up a te mporary depot : Mail started coming by train on June 13 The first excursion into Fort Myer s arrived Monday, July p. It brought 1,750 persons, o ne-fourth of wh om were colored. The town was packed. Everyon e was hungry, tired-and thirsty There was a grand rush for the sal oons, perhaps b eca use most of the excursionists were from dry counties, De Soto and Polk. Le e County had voted wet again and Fort Myers had two saloons, run by Powell & Hawkins and Taff Lang ford. The bartenders almost dropped from exh aus t ion before the ex cursion ists departed. But the Press reported that there was not much drunkenness, "consider ing the circum s tan ces." Because of the railroad, Fort Myer s was almost sw amped by circuses and stock compani es during the following winter. The J ones M ode l Plate Railroad Show was the first to arrive. It came on Dec e mber 23 and pitched its tents on G u y Reynold' s lot in Pec k's Addi t i on. Three exhibitions were given. But this circus didn't compare with the one which followed on the next day, John H. Spark's Old R eliable Virginia Shows which brought the first elephant ever seen in Fort Myers In the parade the elephant was almost hidden by a huge a dvertisement on its back, paid for by Evans & Co. The c i rcus also had a pair of lions, two trained seals, and a snarling l e opard, and the youngst ers were thrilled On the following day, Wednesda y, the Sun Brothers Railroad Shows came to town with a big menagerie and "the finest parad e on And then, on Thu rsday, came the Miles Orton Dog & Pony Show "Thi.s is almost too much," moaned the Press "Fort Myers has ne ver had a circus before and now we get them in bunches. It's too ba.d they c ouldn't have been strung ou t a little. We are being circused to death." As if Fort Myers didn't have enough amusements, the Four P i ckerts Stock Company came to town the same wee k as the fourcircuses. I t played in Phoenix H all a nd gave seven performances : "A Wif e's Pe ril," "M'Liss," "Charli e's Aunt," "Police Alarm," "L'ittle Lord Fauntl ero y," "East Lynn," and "Te n Nights in a Bar Room." Old timers say that many theatre enthusiasts saw all the performan ces and wa nted m ore. They got them when the Char les King Dramati c Com pany arrived January

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THE STORY oF FonT MYERS 167 23 and staged "A Southern Romance," ":r.Iy Uncle from New York," and "Rip Van Wi nkle." The arrival of the railroad was followed by a building boom, every one having the utmost confide nce in the future. Two outstanding structures were erected in the business section: the Stone Block, on the southwest corner of First and Hendry, and the .Bradford Hotel, diagonally across the in t ersection. The Stone Block was built by Dr. B. P. Matheson, one of the most beloved physicians who ever practiced in Fort Myers The building was artistically designed and was a real asset to the tow n. The Bradford Hotel was built by Harvie E. Heitman and was financed by Mrs. Tootle McGregor, widow of Ambrose M. McGregor, who had befriended Heitman seven years before in his first building venture. The hotel was named the Bradford after Mrs. McGregor's deceased son who died September 8, 1902. Work o n the Bradford was started in August, 1904. To make way for it, the old, two-story frame b u ilding on the corner built in 1874 by Marion Hendry, was moved back to the rear of the lot after a large pecan tree, one of the landmarks of the town, was cut down to make room for it. The old Hendry home built in 1875 and still standing in 1948, was not disturbed This structure, now weather-beaten and dilapidat ed, was once one of the show p lace s of Fort Myers. It is the oldest building in town. The Bradford, originally containing forty-one rooms with a large dining room on the second floor, was opened November 12, 1905. Charles G. Day was the first managez:. The hotel was kept open out the year and was patronized by traveling men and tourists. Three additions to it were made later. Only the Hill House rivaled it in popu larity and the Royal Palm in elegance. Pttblic Improvements Are Started An upsurge in civic pride followed the coming of the railroad. This was best indicated by a sudden, strong public demand for better streets and sidewalks The only sidewalks which then existed were made of shell and even those were few and far between. As for the streets, they existed in name only outside the business section. In most places they were only sandy trails. A start was made toward improving downtown streets two years before the railroad came, but only after a hard fight. A majority of the people wanted better streets but a potent minority, chronically opposed to higher taxes, strenuously objected to throwing the town into debt. And the streets could not be improved out of existing revenues-from all sources they did not amount to more than $2,500 a year. The town was perpetually broke. In an attempt to solve the thorny problem, the town fathers finally called for a vote .on a proposed $2,500 bond issue on April 15, 190 1. Twenty-two citizens voted in favor of,the bonds a nd only 14 against. But

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168 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS it was defeated nev erthele ss A two-thirds majority was required and the vote woul d have had to have been 24 to 12 instead of 22 to 14 . Irked by the defeat, the coun cilmen voted to buy 20,0 00 barrels of shell at 15 cents a barrel and to grade and shell First Street from Billy's Creek to Monroe and other streets in the downtown section. To pay the bills for labo1 and shell when they fell due, the councilmen borrowe d money from the bank on their own personal notes. Property owners were to pay half the expense and the to wn the other half. To get the s hell need ed, Indian mounds up and down the river, made by the Caloosas hundreds of years before, were l ev eled But the shell served a noble purpose--Fort Myers began pulling itself out of the sand. In the beginning, a strip only fifteen feet wide down the center of First Street was shelled. But this narrow strip was so "marvelously smooth and such an improvement over the old sandy waste that the property owners immediate ly demanded that the entire street be covered. So did the o wners of property elsewhere in the bus iness section. To pay t h e town's share of the expen se, the councilmen signed notes totaling $3,000. They did not get released from their obligation until years later. The officials who thus indebted themselves so the tow n could progress were: John C. Jeffcott, mayor and C ouncilm e n George F. Ireland, C. A. McDougald, G. W. Lightsey, Philip Isaacs, R. A. Henderson Jehu J. Blount and J L .Young . The firs t "hard-surfaced" streets were completed just in time to pr9vid e a good "race track" for the first automobile Fort Myers eve r s aw, a large touring car which arrived Monday Aprilll, 1904. It was ow ned by Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Bachman of Bradenton, who were accompanied by Capt. John and Mrs. Lewis, of Kansas. They had made the trip from Bradenton in less than fifteen hours of driving time. "A marv elous per formance," declared the Press. The Bach mans i nvited Captains Fred and Conrad M e n ge and Harvie E: Heitman 'for rides around t own. Hei tman s aid the next day that on the smooth stretch dow n First Street a speed of 18 mil es an hour was attained. "We wer e literally f l ying along," he declared Horses tie d to hitching rails along the street reared up on their hind legs and snorte d in fear as the car roared past. And the Press reported: "The way our people turned out and stared at this first auto was equal to the curiosity aroused by the co min g of the railroad." The movel]lent t o get "hard walks" for the busines s section was launched in the sum mer of 1904 by W. H. Tow l es Harvi e Heitman and Geor ge F. Ireland. They argued that the town was being d isgraced by t,he shell walks which were constantli washing into the streets. The town 'pay half the expense of co n c rete walks, they insist ed, and the abutting property owners the other half. Many citizens.who would not benefit directly by tlie proposed sidewalk constructio n objected veheme ntl y. They aske d why they sho uld pay for walks which would be nefit only the busin ess people, especially when things like school s, and a water works, and sewers, and a f ire

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 169 department were needed so much more. The sidewalk advocates finally won their battle and most of the sidewalks downtown were "hardened" during 1906. They were paid for by a special sidewalk and street levy. Most of the walks were laid by Manuel S. Gonzalez. His mark, "l.VI.S.G.-1906" could still be seen in 1948 on the sidewalk in front of the county. courthouse. The walk was still in first-class condition, proving that Gonzalez did not cheat in either materials or workmanship. Fort Myers Almost Goes Up in Smoke "A blaze, a hard wind, and beautifui Fort Myers, now the pride of South Florida, will be laid low, nothing but a heap of ashes." So warned the Press early in 1900 but the warning went unheeded for mo r e than a year. Nothing was done to provide fire protection of any kind until after Fort Mye r s had become badly scared. On May 2, 1901 a home owned by Mrs. Carr ie Bass and occupied by Dr. W. B. Winkler was completely destroyed by fire. L'ess than two weeks later, the home of Capt. Robe r t Lilly a l so was burned to the ground. The Baptist Church, nearby, was badly s corched and several houses were endangered. Both fires started in the daytime and were detected before they had gained much headway. But nothing cou l d be done to stop them. Had a strong wind been blowing the town w ould have been imperiled. Realizing this, a group of town leaders called a mass meeting May 13 at Phoenix Hall. Almost e ve r y man in town attended. A volunteer fire department was organized with G. B. Reynolds as president; Frank C. Alderman, v ice-presiden t ; Philip Isaacs, secretary-treasurer; Carl F. Roberts, captain, and C. F. Cates, first assistant. > Thi s was the heart of Fort Myers in 1908-looking south on Hendr y f ro,n First. The building a t J he left is the famou s Phoen i x Hall an. d t he building at right is StonG Block, no\\ k nown as the Leon Building.

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170 THE STORY o FORT MYERs Citizens at the meeting insisted that enough money be raised to buy a hand .fire engine a hose cart, a hook and ladder, and all the helmets, buckets; axes and other equipment needed. More than $500 was sub scribed by those Within a month the total passed $800-$100 was received in a letter from Thomas A. Edison. Orders were given for equipment and on August 12 a second-hand fire engine, dubbed "Andrew Jackson," and 250 feet of hose were received from Bainbridge, Ga. The volunteers started drilling and on 'fuesday evening, September 4, a demonstration was held at First and Hendry in front o f Evans & Co store. All the fire laddies turned out, the fire engine was hooked up to a nearby well, the scaling ladder was raised to the roof of the Evans store, and the hand pumps were started. A stream of water began rising towar d the r oo f-and then the hose burst. Spectators were drenched and a crowd of young ladies who had gathered in front of the pos t office laughed and laughed. 'fhe firemen sheepishly withdrew. More than two years elapsed before the voluntee r department was put to i ts first real test. On Friday, October 16, 1 903, flames were seen coming from the roof of the Carl F. Roberts building at Hendry and Oak (Main), occupied by him as an undertaking establishment and wood working shop. It also housed the equipment of the fire department. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts and Mr. and Mrs. Frank K e llum lived upstairs. As soon as the flames were seen the alarm was sounded and the volunteers responded. They succeeded in getting the equipment out of the blazing building and the pump was connected with the Roberts' well. But a valve stuck and no water could be pumped. A brisk south wind was blowing and the flames spread rapidly. Fire Chief Cates and others fought the blaze with fire extingui shers until the heat became so intense that they were. driven back. In a few minutes the flames leaped to the Verner store building, 75 feet away. The entire business section was in danger. Another alarm was sounded and men, women and child ren r ushed downtown from all par ts of town; They grabbed buckets and joined in the fight. The Heitman Livery Stable started blazing. Burning shingles soared high in the air and settled on roofs. They were beaten out with brooms but more kept on falling. T. 0. Langford's home caught fire and also Gilliam's store building, Hopson's livery stable, and C. H. Braman's home. These fires were extinguished but then the south end of Evan's warehouse started blazing fiercely and the fire fighter s were driven back. Merchants everywhere in the business district began removing their goods. The s ituation looke--d hopeless. Then, at the last minu te the fir.emen succeeded in .repafring the fir.e engine. It was taken to the river and the pumps star ted. A final stand was made. Women took the place of exhausted men at the pumps. They were tiring rapidly when help came. Members of the railroad construc tion crew working two miles east of town had seen the soaring s moke and came running in. They were breathless but took turns at manning the pump and a steady stream of water was kept pouring into the flames.

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THE STORY OF FonT MYERS 171 And then the wind began-to die down. The fire was stopped-at the very edge of a row of wooden buildings Had they caught fire, nothing could have saved the business section It was the worst fire Fort Myers had ever had. 1'he Joss totalled more than $10 ,ooo: Included among the women who helped in the fight were Mrs. Al i ce Tooke, Mrs. Strou p and daughters, Mrs Oscar Lybass, and the Misses Bessie Thorpe, Laura Gonzalez, Flossie Hill, Josi e Hendry and Lillian Gon:;-;alez. Not until more than a year and a half later did the town council feel Fort Myers could afford a gasoli n e fire .engine. On June 14, 1905 the town-fathers .p lunged the town $2 ,2 00 in debt and ordered a Watrous fire engine and 1,000 feet of hose from P. 0. Herbert, of Atlanta, Ga., who agreed t o accept. payment in four annual installments at 6 Per cent interest. Unfortunately, the new fire engin e could not be used to fight the next big fire in the Fort Myers area-the fire which destroyed the famous Shultz Hotel, at Punta Rassa, o n Sunday m orning, December 30, 1906. The fire was discovered at 3 a m. by a guest, Commodore Garrett Van Horn, of New York, who was awakened by choking smoke. Hearing the crackling of flames, he leaped out of bed and sounded the alarm. But the flames spread with lightning speed through the entire barn like structure and the other guests and Shultz were.forced to flee, leaving their belongings behind. Nothing could be done to save the hotel and everything was de stroyed-the main building, the warehouse, and even the wharf. Only a 30,000 gallon rain barrel was left standing and that was so badly warped that it was useless. Shultz had just completed improvements which cost him $2,000. He estimated his loss at $20,000. The ground arid buildings were owned by the Western Union Telegraph Compan y although nearly everything had been b uilt or i mpYoved by Shul tz. Many boats stored under the building a.lso were destroyed. Work on a new hotel, financed in large part by wealthy sportsmen who had wintered with Shultz and stayed in "murderers' row, was started o n September 19, 1907 The new hot el was two stories high, had forty r ooms, all facing the water, and cost $40,000. It was opened January 15, 1908. It weathered a bad h11rricane on Octobe r 17, 1910, then it too was destroyed by fire late in 1913: No attempt to rebuild it was made. The new fire equipment Fort Myers more than paid for itself on April 15, 1907 when the three-story building at First a n d Lee owned by Carl F. Roberts caught fir e. 1'he two upper floors were ablaz-e when the firemen atTived and a strong northeast wind was blowing. But the volunteers, led by HatTy Lay cock, performed heroic work, and suc ceeded in preventing the flames from spreading to the nearby Hill House. Marshal Sanchez was overcome by smoke and several fireme n suffered burns. But the fire was stopped. "Had it not been for the new equipment," said the Press, "the entire business section would have been destroyed."

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172 Tt!E STORY OF FORT MYERS They Began Fighting with Banks Like almost every town, large or small, Fort M:yers had its factional squabbles in its early days. And since Fort M:yers was a rugged cow town where the men were tough, two-fisted fighters the squabbles often became quite acrimonious, to put it mildly. The factional differences took a new turn almost immediately after the organization of Fort Myers' first home-owned bank, the Bank of Fort Myers. This institutio n an outgrowth of the Fort Myers branch of the C i tizens Bank & Trust Company, of Tampa, was founded in.1906. T he directors of the n.ew bank included seven outstanding citizens: Harvie E. Heitman, James E. Hendry, Sr., Walter G. Langford, E. M. Hendry, George R. Shultz, R. A. Henderson, Sr., and James E. Fox worthy. Col. John Trice, of Tall)pa, president of the Tampa bank which had opened the Fort Myers branch, also was a director. The new institution did not, unfortunately perhaps, include on its board of directors a number of other citizens who were equa lly outstand ing but who belonged to "the other faction." They were deeply offended. Nothing might have come from their resent ment, however, had it not been for the fact that the directorate included one man who had little use for two others on the board and those two had little use for him. That man was Walter G. Langford. He was the 33-year-old son of Dr. Thomas E. Langford, one of the state's outstanding cattlemen, who had died in 1901. From his father Walter inherited considerable money and also much business ability. He used the money and the ability to increase his fortune. Dr. Langford had been a close friend and long-time business associate of James E. Hendry, Sr. But Hendry and Dr. L angford's son could not see eye to eye on anything and soon parted company after the the doctor's death. They became almost open enemies. The other member of the board w ith whom young Langford was at odds was Harvie Heitman. When Hei tman was chosen to serve as the active head of the new ins t itution, Langford became disgruntled; so dis gruntled that he a lmos t i mme diately severed his connections with the infant instit u tion. Rounding up other wo1thy citizens who had chips on their shoulders, Langford straightway procee ded to organize another bank, the Lee County Bank, which soo n got a national charter and changed it s name in January, 1908, to the First National Bank of Fort M:yers. Associated with Langford in this second bank were William H. Towles, George F. Ireland, Dr. B. P. Matheson, W. S. Garvey, John T. Mu rphy, Edward Parkinson, c C Pursley, L. 0. Benton, a Georgia capitalist,. and John 1\L Roach, president of the Chicago Transit Company. Langford, of course, became president. The First National took quarters in the newly-erected Stone Block on the southwest corner of First and Hendry, built by Dr. B. P. Mathegon.

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THE STORY OF FORT M YERS 173 The Bank of Fort Myers had its quarters in the Heitman brick building c lose to the northwest corner of Fil -st and Jackson. For the nex t decade, and perhaps a little longe r, the t wo banks fought tooth and claw. Some old tim ers say that Fort i\'lyers was bene fited because i t had two financial institu tions which were at odd s. T hey say that many loan s were made which ordinarily would not have been considered in conformity with sound banking practice but which never theleSs helped to push the town ahead. Other old timers believe, however, that because of the squabbling, the progress of Fort Myers was seriously retarded. They insist that when one of the in stitutions favored a publi c project, the other opposed it, j ust as a matte r of principle, and that consequently the proposed project was killed. Because of this factionalism, they assert, Fort Myer s was unable to f orm a strong C hamber of Commerce for many years. The question of whether the town was helped or harmed b ecause it had two banks in its formati ve days i s of course debatable. The only thing know n for sure i s that each bank was headed by a strong, forceful publi c leadel' : Harvie E. Heitman, head of the Bank of Fort Myers, and. W .a lter G. Langford, p resident of the First National. Both men left their 'iJiarks on the city of Fort Mye rs. r Th e Railroad Brings a New Industry When the first Coast Line t rain puffed over the bridge across the CalQosahatch ee, an indus try new to Fort My ers came into existence-th\'l fish industry. tJ/ Capr. A. L Ki,ui" .. ,__-l \Viul;ves alon g the rlvor were busy places in days gone by. This picture shows the Hendry Street wharf as it looked in 1908.

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174 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Commercial fishing was the oldest industry of the West Coast, having been engaged in for at least two hundred years. In the early days, Spanish fishermen had their fish "ranchos" on the keys where they salt cured their catches and shipped them to Cuban markets. In modern t imes, the industry became centered at ports with railroad connections, Cedar Keys first, Tampa later, and then, for the southwest coast, Punta Gorda. The Punta Gorda fishermen truly made a killing and at the turn of the century were at the peak of their affluence. The fish were almost unbelievably plentiful and stupendous catches were made. On one trip a crew employed by the Bright Eye Fish Company, of Punta Gorda, caught 45,000 pounds of Spanish mackerel and 5,000 pounds of bonita. At another time two men, Emmet McKever aqd M. R. Goulding, brought in 100,000 pounds of mullet. 1 Capt. Fred Quednau, one-time mayor of Punta Gorda, told Author George W. Gatewood that one t ime he saw fifty acres of red fish 'off Cape Romano in about 25 feet of water. The fish were so numerous that those on the surface were lifted by those below, creating the appearance of a coral rock rising above the water, glittering as though afire. The Punta Gorda fishermen often came into San Carlos Bay and into the l owe r waters of the Caloosahatchee. Their catches were he mendous and the Fort Myers Press, angrily contending that sport fishing was being ruined, insisted that illegal nets were being used. Sheriff Frank Tippins made many arrests and one time caught two fishermen with 5,791 fish in their boat. The nets they used were unquestionably longer than the law permitted and of smaller mesh. But the court and jury was sympathetic with the "poor" fishermen and they were acquitted. It is possible that the Press might not have been so antagonistic to the commercial fishermen had they brought their catches to Fort Myers. But Fort Myers was not a fishing center then-it had no railroad by which the fish could be shipped to northern markets. But with the arrival of the Coast Line, Fort Myers became a fish .industr y center almost overnight, not' for salt water fish but for fresh water fish from Lake Okeechobee, famous for its catfish and bass. The industry was started by Capt. B. F. Hall, Jr., owner of the small steamer "Naomi, III," who installed a large refrigerator in his boat and in December, 1904 began making semi-weekly trips to Lake Okeechobee where he kept a crew of men busy catching catfish. He paid them five cents a pound for all they caught; when the market was good he always managed to double his money, and more. To supply the ice needed for handling the catches, the Seminole Power & Ice Company doubled the capacity of its plant . Early in 1906 Capt. T. A. Bass went into business wi t h his newly built steamer "Su ccess" and on his first trip to Lake Okeechobee brought back 6,000 pounds. His boat had two refrigerators, one for scale fish and one for cats, with a total capacity of nearly fiv e tons. The Press reported on November 2, 1911, that he was then shipping two solid cars

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THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS 175 o f catfish each week and that he employed 70 men and had sixteen boats on Lake Okeechobee The fresh fish industr y brought much money and business i nto Fort Myer s for mo r e than a decade. After 1915, however, the industry declined, due to the fact that Flagler in that year built a railroad to the north shore of Lake Okeechobee, providing a much shorter.route to the north. Wholesale f ish companies of Fort Myers thereafter concentrated on shipping salt water fish. Out on the Keys An almost dead industry in the Land of the Caloosahatchee was brought t o life by the comi n g of the railroad into Fort Myers -the growing of fresh vegetables for outside markets. The soil a long the r iver was well adapted for vegetables and the c limate was ideal. Nevertheless Caloosahatchee vegetable growers could not compete with growers close to the railroad at Punta Gorda. They had to pay extra transportation charges which cut too deeply into their profits. All this began to change with the arrival of the Coast Ltne. Prophe sied the Press on May 19, 1904: "This is the beginni n g of vegetable growing-with a railroad to carry perishable goods quickly to market, the g r owing of vegetables and watermelons will become leading crops with our growers." Years were to pass, however, before mainland growers caught up with growers out on the keys, on Sanibel and Captiva islands. The "key dwellers" had gained too much of a head start t o be easily overtaken. The first known settler of Sanibel was Capt. William H. Reed, of Portland, Me commonly known as "the commodore," who went there with his son, WilliamS. Reed, in 1887, and homesteaded . The son became postmaster of the island in 1895 and held that post for forty-four years. Mr. and Mrs Samu el B Woodring, of Hazelton, Pa., homes teaded on Sanibel in 1888. Their daughter, Flora W ., born January 25, 1 889, was the first white child born on the island On October 11, 1911 she was married to John E. Morris of Cottersville, Ga., who went to Sanibel in 1896. The first church and the first hotel on the island were built by Rev. George 0 Barnes, of Kent ucky, who homesteaded shortly after the W oodrings His hotel, called the Casa Ybel, was long popular with tourists and sportsmen Other first comer s on the islan d included James Ashmore and his sister, Mrs. 1\iatisha Nutt, of Kentucky; George Coope r of G eorgia, and George Fitzhugh, of Virginia. Henry Shanahan came in 1889 to take charge of the Sani bel lighthouse, at the wes t end o f the is land, and remained there until he died on June 8, 1913. The coming of the Florida Southern to Punta Gorda put Sanibel on the map as one of the leading winter vegetable sections of the entire West Coast. The good soil and the rarity of frosts a ttracted settlers from

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176 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS all parts of the country. Crops were shipped on the Plant steamers to Punta Gorda and from there were taken on the railroad to northern markets. L e ading vegetable growers on Sanibel during its hey d ay included Frank P., Ernest and Harry Bailey, John E. Morris, W. A. Mcintyre, J. H. Johnson, R. L. Mitchell, John M. Boring, Rudolph C. Jenny, W. D. Swint, S. W. Richa rdson, Clarence Rutl edge, Jessie Atkinson and W. F. Padgett. These growe r s shipped from the Matthews dock, run by the Bailey Bros., and from the dock owned by W. S. Do yle. Those who shipped from Wulfert., at the western end of the island, included J. J. Dinkins, Winn Hope, F. P. Henderson, Mason Dwight, T. H. Holloway, and L A Doane. Two more hotels were esta blished on the is l a n d in the early days : The Matt h ews, operated by M r s W J. llbtthews, and the Sanibel House, oper a ted by Mrs. J. B. Da n iels Sanibel had someth ing besides fin e climate and excellent bathing to attract winter visitors. It had beautiful she lls. Running east to .west instead of north and south, like all other West Coast keys its beaches seemed to form a pocket on which countless numbers of shells were cast by every storm. It soon became famed as being the third finest shelling spot in the world and hundreds of shell hunters now go there very week during the sheJI "season" to find rare and beautiful spec imens. The first permanent settle r on Captiva Island w a s William H. Binder; an Austrian by birth who had ser ved many years as a sergeant in the United States Army.' In search of a warm place to live he drifted south ward and finaJiy landed on Captiva where h e homesteaded in 1886 and built the first house. Binder one day in the late Eighties almost drowned because of a tarpon. The Silver King, a huge f e llow leaped into the sailboat while he was sailing peacefully along and began thrashing around. 'to save himself, Binder leaped into the water and his boat drifted away. Far from land, Binder yelled for h elp. His cries w ere hear d a half mil e away by Gordo n B rainard and Arthur Gatewood They sailed ou t and resc ued hi m Gordon Brainard was the son of H. G. Brainard, one of the first homesteaders on Captiva, and his mother served as post mistress of the island for 37 years. Married a second time, she was known to everyone as Mrs. Hattie Gore. Other old timers on the island included John R. Dickey, John A. Frow, G. H. Ormsby, Dr. W. S. Turner, W. H. Knowles, George W. Carter, G. W. Bryant-and Bernard Eyber. Mrs. Eyber and her so n Richa r d ran the Captiva H ouse, long famous among sportsmen and winter vis i tors. C a ptiva and Sanibe l were best known because of the winter veget a bles grown them. P ine Island gained fame because of its citrus g roves. Some' of the old time citrus growers there were J. H.

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TuE STORY O.f FonT MYERS 177 Foster, P. C. Gill, Herman Hiltbrand, Capt. John Smith, W. E. Wilder, John Dampier, H. l\L Stringfellow, .J. K. Spicer, John Ce lec, and W. G. Masters. Henry Martin had the only store on the island in the early days. He also had an orange grove, a hotel and a dock. On the south end of the island St. James City was founded in January, 1886, by a group of men from Maine and Canada who organized the On-the -Gulf Compa ny. Their object was to grow coconuts. They planted thousands of nuts but did not properly clear the ground and the nuts rotted. They a l so built the 50-room San Carl os Hotel and the townsite of St. James. When the coconut vent ure failed, the company failed and S t. James reverted to the wilds. Only a few fishermen were left. The hotel was destroyed by fire on July 27, 1905. In 1911, promoters from the Bahama. s formed the Sisal Hemp and Development Company, set out many acres of plants which produce sisal fibre, and built a huge rope plant reported to have cost $60,000. Sevel a l carloads o f rope were made from sisal imported from the Bahamas-but for some unknown reason the company soon became insolvent. But Pine Island continued to forge ahead because o f its citrus groves. Because of the island s off the mou t h of the Caloosahatchee-Sanibel, Captiva and Pine--a steamer company was develope!! in Fort Myers by two men who for many years took leading parts in civ i c affairs, George A. and Andrew L. Kinzie, sons of an early pioneer. The Royal Palm llotel. built i n 1898, helped i mmeasurab l y in transforming Fort from a ucow town" to a nationally known winter resort. Th is is one of the first pictures ever taken of the famous hostelry and shows the grounds as theY loo ked before they were p l anted with h undreds of trop ical and semi-tropical palms, trees and shrubs.

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178 Tu& SToRY oF FonT MY&RS Linkii'l.g the Islands willl th e Mainland Reinhold Kinzi e a native of Eulau, Germany came to Am erica in 1879 in search of a place he could make home. Hearing of the wonder land of Florida, he came to Fort Myers and soo n afterward homesteaded near Olga. While working t6 prove up his claim, he became ill. When his wife, back in Germany, learned of his illn ess she packed up and came to Florida with her three young sons, George, Andrew and Eric. They arrived i n F o r t Myers in April, 1887. Soon afterward the father died. Grow ing to manhood, Eric went in to the n ursery business w hile George and Andre w followed the sea. At the turn of the century George was chief engineer of the "St. Lucie" whil e Andrew was the purser on the ship. Both had master mariners lic e n ses. When the Coast Line came into Fort Mye rs, the steamers Lucie" and "Thomas A Edison" were taken off. the Fort Myers-Punta Gorda run. The "Edison" went back into the hands of the Menge broth ers, who had chartered her to the railroad system, while the "St. Lucie" was sent to the Florida keys and u sed in t h e constructio n of the Key West rail road. She was destroyed in the hurricane of 1 910. The "St. Lucie" and the "Edison" had' provi ded transportation service for the islands and also carried the mail Whe n they were withdrawn, the pos t office department awarded the mail contract to Capt. K. B. Harvey owner of a 82-foo t la unch with a "modern" gasoline engine. To carry out the contract, Harvey ne e ded another boat and he chartered the. "Be ll e of Myers" a small but sturdy steamer owned by George and Andrew Kinzie. They had u sed t he boat to make runs to Punta Gorda and also to carry ou t fishing parties. Harvey soon began having all sorts of trouble with his launch. The "modern" gasoline engine was continually breaking down. Almost every week he mi sse d a trip or two. But the sturdy Belle of Myers" always went thro ugh on sched ule. As a result, the government finally took the mail contract away from Harvey and awarded it to the Kinzi es That was the real beginning of.the Kinzie Bro t h ers Steamer Line. The brothers bought the Gladys" and a daily servi ce was maintained to Sanib e l, St. James, Captiva, Useppa. Pineland and Bokelia. Passengers, freight and express were carried as well as the mail. Keeping pace with the developm e n t of the islands, the Kinzies later added the "Success," a paddle wheel steamer to their line, a l so a new and larger "Gladys" and the "Dixie," probably the finest ship that ever plied the waters of the C a loosahatchee. A tw in-screw steamer, the "Dixie" carried two hundred passe ng ers' and more than a thousand crates of vegetabl es At the peak of production on the i s lands, the Kinzie Line carried more than 150,000 crates of vegetables annu!lllY in addition to thou sands of cases of f1'uit Thus, the islanders were provided with dependable service and a connection with northern markets and the Captains Kinzie prospered. ,: .; :J

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VI FROM PANIC THROUGH BOOMLET JAMES E. FOXWORTHY was an able man. As cashier of the Bank of Fort Myers and that institution's predecessor, he had long since won the reputation of know ing what to do in an emergency. But now he was stumped. The money panic of 1907 was at its worst. Many banks throughout the country had failed and even the most solvent were hard pressed to meet demands for currency. The Bank of Fort Myers was sound finan cially but its vault had been almost stripped of And her e was a depositor who wanted more than a thousand dollars-$1,357.56, to be exact--his entire deposit in the bank. Foxworthy was in a predicament. If he gave the depositor the money he wanted, the bank's cash reserve would be wiped out. But if he turned him down, the results would be catastrophic. The"bank would have to close its doors. The cashier tried his best not to appear perturbed. He started talking al:rout the weather, about poli t ics, about anything he could think of. All the t ime he was trying to .decide what course to follow. Finally he came to a conclusion. Come \vhat may, he would give the depositor his money. Then he \vould pray! Going to the vaul t, Foxworthy counted out $1,357.56 and nonchalantly handed it over, just a s though the bank's supply of money wa. s unlimit ed. Then he went to the phone, called James E. Hendry, Sr., and Harvie E. Heitman and told them what had happened. They scurried around, got money from their friends; and soon brought in e nou g h to meet all demands. That was the crosest Fort Myers came to being dealt a gl"ievous blow by the panic of 1907. In fact, the financial storm b lew over before most people in Fort Myers knew there had bee n one. The only other effect of the panic locally was a change of ownership of the Royal Palm Hotel and that helped Fort Myers instead of harming it. Follo"t!ng the death in 1902 of Hugh O'Neill, builder of the hotel, the Royal Palm had been sold for a fraction o f its real worth to William H. Towles, on March 20, 1903. A year later he sold it to Rev Dr. C. Harvey Hartman, of Dover, N. J ., for $25,000 .Dr. Hartman bought adjoining property owned by S. C. Bass, built an addition to the hotel, and made numerous impro,ements . All this cost Dr. Hartman heavily, and when the panic of 19'07 set in he found himself over-extended . He could not raise enough money to

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180 STORY OF FoRT MYERS meet his obligations and wasn't even ab l e to reopen the hotel. In this emergency, a good friend of Fort :Myers came to his rescue-the widow of Ambrose M. McGregor. F ive years after the death of her husband, Mrs. Tootie McGregor was married to Dr. M. 0. Terry, of Utica, N. Y., a physician who had served as surgeo n general of the United States Army during the Spanis.h American War. The ceremony was performed Dece mber 12, 1905. Having been the sole benef iciary of her firs t husband Mrs. Terry was wealthy and probably had more mone y invested in Lee County than any other person. She was the owner of two large groves, many scattered. tracts, and had financed Harvie E. Heitman in the construction of busi ness buildings and the Bradford Hotel, named for her son. She had too much at stake in Fort .Myers to see the Royal Palm Hotel closed so she bought out Dr. Hattman, on January 26, 1907. To show her faith in the town, Mrs. Terry soon afterward built a 50room addition to the hotel and spent a small fortune on improv ements. Dr. and Mrs. Terry then l:ook the lead in boosting for a public im provement which had long been sorel y needed-the construction of sea waJis along the waterfront. A carefully worked out plan for building the seawalls and constructing a waterfront boulevard as well was presented to the public by Dr. Terry at a mass meeting in the courthouse April 7, 1907. The plan provided for the construction of seawall s about two hundred feet out from the then existing river bank all the way from Monroe Street to Billy's Creek. This would give waterfront property owners considerably more land, after necessary fills were made, than they had before. But a strip about seventy five feet wide all along the river would be deeded to the city for a boulevard. The total cost would be $25,000. The property owners would pay $18,000, Dr. Terry said, and the city shou ld pay.$7,00 0. He advocated a bond iss u e to take care of the city's portion of the expense All this seemed most acceptable to those present at the meeting It meant that the dirty, litter-and-rubbish-strewn waterfr ont, with its de caying h yacinths and stinking sewage, a nd its rickety old wharves and boathouses, soon would become a thin g of the past. And the idea of a waterfront boulevard seemed most laudable. It appeared as though the plan certainly would be adopted. But snags soon dev e l oped. When owners of the fine homes east of Fowler had time to mull over the proposal, they rejected i t :patly. They ne ver would agree to having a boulevard separating them from the river, ruining their gardens and taking away their private boat landings. They threatened to fight the plan to a finish. Even owners of waterfront property in the down town sectio n opposed the boulevard feature of the plan. It would rob them of riparian rights they eonsidered priceless. So the ooulevard idea died a'borning. And so did the thought of public participation in the program

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Tll.E STORY OF FoRT MYERS 181 . After months of discussion, the waterfront property owners agreed t o have the seaw' alls bui1t at their own expense. A waterfront a s sociation was formed with Harvie E. Heitman as treasurei. Permission to proceed was obtained from the town council and Contractor Herbert Sewall was awarded a contract to build the walls at $3.50 a foot. \Vork was started April10, 1908, in front of the Roya l Palm Hotel. While a seven -shot salute was being fired on the yacht "Whim," :Mrs. Terry drove the first piling. Speakers a t .the ceremony incl uded Mayor Louis A. Hendry, William H. Towles and Peter A. Ruhl, editor of the Press. The cost of the seawalls was apportioned as follows: Heitm .an & McGregor, $3,860; H : E. Hei tman, $2,055; Joseph Vivas, $1,272; Royal Palm Hotel and Dr. C. H Hartman, $2,280 ; S.C. Bass, $l,875; John T. Murphy, $1,719; D. A. G. Floweree, $1,590; Hugh McDonald, Jr., $1,362; Mrs. W C. Barnes, $1,320; Dr. Franklin Miles, $825; W. G. Langford and Gilm ,er M. Heitman $1 ,250, and John M. Dean, $3,804 More than four years were required to complete the project and lift Fort Myers' face out of the mud-but lifted it was, eventually. Fort J}Jjers B.econtes the City of Palms An Irish merchant prince of New York, Hugh O'Neill, planted th!l first royal palms in Fort Myers But Fort Myers ultimately became the City of Palms because of Thomas A. Edison; the electrical wizard. O'Neill planted the f irst royals in the grounds of the hotel he built in 1897 Their gro,vth was amazingly rapid and they became majes tically l)eautiful. They were such a!l attraction that the name of the hotel soon was changed from the Fort Myers Hotel to the Royal Palm. And when a street terminating at the hotel was opened between Fit"St and Second, it was called Royal Palm Avenue because of the splendid view of the hotel palms which could be seen from anywhere along its length. No person in Fort Myers was more of an admirer of the beautiful royal s than Edison They struck his eye immediately after he returned to his Fort Myers winter home in 1901 after a long absence. He often tal ked about them, saying they should be planted all over town. To give substance to his suggestion, Edi son on April 4., 1907 offered to plant royals o.n Riverside Avenue (now McGregor Boulevard) all the way from Monroe Street to Manu e l's Branch. He told the town council he would stand all the expense of b ringing the palms in, planting' them and caring for them for two years providing t he town would agree to care for them thereafter. His offer was accepted by the council on April 16 Immediately afterward Edison made a contract with W. T. Hull, of LaBelle, and W. H. Towles to bring the palms from Cuba. Hull and his

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182 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS son Perry left fo r the island on May 22 and bought 1,100 Towles was just getting ready to send the steamer "Lykes" after them when there was a yell ow feve r scare in Cub a and a quarantine was clampe d on Most of the died . Hull and Towle s then bought 700 palms from E. E. Goodno who got them out of the Big Cypress They a lso died. T owl es and Hull next, bought 1,300 more in Cub a and thi s time the ship men t came through, Capt. Nick Armeda bringing on the steamer "1\'lildred. They were planted and e nough lived to enabl e Tow les and Hull to. fulfill contract. Towl es stated later, in a Jetter printed in the Press on September 7 1 9 11 that ):le had lost $2,493.55 on the deal. Unfortunately, Fort Myers failed to take care of the palms after the two-year period as it had agreed to do and many of them died from neglec t. James E. Hendry, Jr., Edward L. Evans and William Jeffcott. repeatedl y appealed to the city coun c il to make so me provi s ion for giving the p alms the atten tion they 4eserved but their pleas were disregarded. To replace those which had died, Edison bought 250 in March, 1913, from the. Royal Palm Nurseiies at Oneco and in August 1914, donated 178 more. In October of the same year residents on Second Street set out royals at their own expense. Finally, on June 11, 1915, the c ity appointed its first park commis sio n. Hendry, Evans and Jeffcott were named to serve. As their first order of bu s iness they sprayed and fertilized the palms which had sur vived the neglect and they also spent $1,000 which the city appropriated for "city beautifi cation." Some o f the money went for'more royals which were planted o n First between Jackson and Billy's C r eek and some of it fo r eucalyp t u s trees for other resid ential streets. Then came World War I and the royals were forgotten for a while. Fort M yers G oes Hog Wild Fort Myers was twenty-fou r years old, as an incorporated town before it ceased to advertise itself as.a "cow town" by p ermitting cattl e to roam through the streets. Repeated efforts were made to "kick the cattle out" but for many long years all such moves were blocked by the cattle barons, then masters of the community They wanted n o restrictions p laced on the movement of cattle no t even in the towf\ they c alled their h o me. The firs t "anti-cattle -roaming" ordinance was passed by the town on September 25, 1886, as a result of prodding by young Peter 0. Knight, the secon d Fort Myers mayor. Tlie ordinance blu ntly stated all cattle except, "gentle milk c ows" must be kept out of the town limits thereafter. But the cattle l;>arons raise d such an anguished cry .that the ordinance wa:s repealed two weeks later. Editor Frank Stout of the Press for a time fought valiantly for r e enac tmen t of the ordinance. In July, 1887, he lamented; W e want a

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THE STORY OF FORT !VIYERS 183 co, we want hotels we want improvements of all kinds. Bt w hat encouragement is it to a person to buy and improve his p1:qperty w hen,..l;le in the morning to find his yard a mass of filth and torn up by the feetof cattle that find a pasturage in our public streets and yards?" . But Ed.ftor Stout had to give u p the f ight. The cattle owners were too strong for him. They also were too strong for anti-cow men who managed to get e lected to the council; the cattle men a l ways succeeded in gettin g enough friends on the council to block all anti -cow proposals. The time came, however, when the cattle barons and their friends lost their potent influence. The town council on September 4 1908, took the bull by the horns, or the cow by the tail, and sternly ordered that all cattle, gentle milk cows as we ll as oth ers, be penned up. From New York Dr. Terry wrote: "I am delighted beyond expression." So were hundreds o f o ther Fort Myers boosters. Marshal S. W Sanchez fo llowed the council's order to the letter. A cow pen was provided at the edge of town where wandering cattle were impounded until their owners claimed them-and paid a fine. But i n his zeal, the marshal rounded up to o many milk cows owned by the residents of the town and on February 9, 1909, seventy-five of them presented a petition to council demanding that milk cows be left unmolested. H earkening to the public clamor, the councilmen told the marshal to go a little easi er. But when R obert Lilly was elected mayor the f ollow ing August he announced that the cow ordinance wou l d be strictly First Stre e t looking east from Hendry, in 1909 The frame buildings at the 1 ight were l'&zed during the 'Teens t o mak e way for more mod ern building$. .

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184 THE STOR Y OF FORT MY,ERS ' enforced and instructed Sanchez to arrest all offenders "regardless of who they m ay b e." H is order was obey ed-and the era of co\v s upremacy e nded in Fort Mye r s But the good peopl e of Fort Myers continued to have trouble with hogs--plenty o f trouble. Settlers along the Caloosahatchee who were trying t o r aise vegetables fo r northern markets had even more. S o di'd grove own ers They finally went plumb "hog wild" and early in 1909 some 250 of them sign e d a p etition demanding that the state leg islature pass a law to compel the ow ners to keep their hogs p e nned in. They Dr. Terry to go to Tallahassee to be t.heir spokesman. Dr. Terry went but he had no success The Lee Coun ty representa tive in t h e legis lature, F J Wil son, didn' t vot e against the measure but he refused to support it and b y h is actions s h owed he was against it. The proposed law never had a chan ce of passi n g. Returning to Fort Myers, D r. Terry wrote a blistering letter which was printed in the Press. He blamed Wilson for having killed the measure and d ec lared that W ilson had "disregarded the interes t s of 250 ofthe best c iti zen s of Lee County." Replied D. C. Hiers in the next issue of the Press: "Terry doesn' t know what he is talking about. Mr. Wilson is for the mass es of the people. I think Terry i'S after some future office. Watch him, boy s. He has killed hims e l f a lready a n d ought t o be buri e d before h e kicks up another stinck in the county." Edward Parkinson replied to Hiers. H e pointed out that onl y 98 hogs were listed for taxation in the entire c ounty and insisted that the opponents of the measure who let their hog s run wild were guilty of swear i n g falsely as to their personal property. "If they areso interested in the piney woods roo ters w h y don't they pay their taxes on the hog s they own ? Industrious citiz ens who clear and cultivate their lands have to pay taxes-why don't the hog owners?" L. J. Adams chimed in: "I spent $100 on a fence t o keep out a dro ve oi ski11ny hogs n o t worth $10 And after that they came and Jive d under my h6use. The critters rooted underneath it and c limbed" o ver t h e top. They got through hole s no bigger than a knot hole. They were owned by a squ atter who doesn't d o a lick of work and has n othing except si x chil dren, three dogs, the pigs whic h eat my crops-and a vote I guess that's a ll that counts--the vote!" ... Adains:Was right. It was the h og owner' s v9te t hat counted Years more were to pass before owners were comp elled to keep their ho gs pen ned up out in the country But in F ort Myers i t was a differ ent story. Before Mayor Lilly's term expired he ordered Marshal Sanchez to shoot wanderi ng h o gs o n sight and thereafter few of them were se en within the t o w n limits. Lill y got rid of both the wandering cows and the wandering hogs a monument shou ld be erected in his honor.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 185 Country Wagons-Cemetery A hodgepodge of unrelated events occurred in Fort Myers during 1908 but they all had an important bearing on the history of the town. During that year Fort Myers got-its first country club. Prohibition caine for keeps and saloons clo&.ed their doors "forever." The first moving picture theatre was opened. The first home-owned "devil wagons" snorted around town and, appropriately enough, the Fort Myers Ceme tery was improved-and enlarged. The country club was a long time coming. Ambrose M McGregor donated an acre on the river in East Fort Myers in 1897 to a Fort Miers Country Cluj) but tlie proposed club breathed a few gasps and then ex pired, leaving no trace of its existence except a r ecorded deed for the clubhouse site in the county records. Dr. C. H. Hartman, owner of the Royal Palm Hotel, revived the country club idea in 1904 following the arrival of the Coast Line He insisted t!lat a clubhouse and golf course would have to be provided if Fort Myers hoped to attract sports-loving winter visitors. Agreeing with Dr. Hartman, Mrs. M. 0. Terry, widow of McGregor, donated a tract of nearly forty acres in East Fort Myers to the Fort Myers Yacht and Country Club, formally organized on April 26, 19 06. A drive was launched to sell club memberships at $100 each and by May 17, 1907, enough money had been pledged to award a contract to Manuel S. Gonzalez to build a clubhouse to cost $2,500. Work on a golf course was started at the same tim e The clubhouse was formally opened Friday, February :n, 1908, a special train being run from Fort Myers to transport the club members and the invited guests. The event had been planned for weeks but. it turned out dismally. The day was cold and cloudy, the clubhouse was only partly furnished the golf course was nothing but a sand w aste, and there was nothing for the members and their guests to do except watch a trapshooting contest. Everyone went back home as soon as possible. . Officers of the club at that time were: Dr. M. 0. Terry, president; Harvie E. Heitman, vice-president; H. A.Hendry, treasurer, and Frank C. Alderman, secretary. Members included: Robert Dean, G. B. Reynolds, Hugh MacDonald, Jr., C B.' Yarbrough, F. T. McNulty, James E. Hendry, Jr., John M. Dean, E. L. Evans, J. J. W9olf, Dr. A: P. Hunter, Dr. Franklin l'lliles, J. E. Foxworthy, C A. Del!,n, R. B. Leak, W. S. Garvey, W. R. Woodward, Don Register and W. W. Stone. The infant club died a lingering death. Members could not get to the clubhouse except by horse and buggy and the roads were so bad that the trip required more than an hour each way. Only the strongest bicycle rider s could plow through the clutching sand. Consequently, the club members soon lost interest in the project and the golf course was never completed. The nex t event of 1908-prohibition-had more enduring effects. The wet and dry forces had been at swords points for years, ever since

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186 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS the first wet-or-dry election in 1887. First one side won and then the other. The W. C T. U. won a smashing victory in 1898. During the preceding two years there had been many drunken brawls and one killing in whiclr John Barleycorn participated and the prohibitionists insisted that the town's crime problems would be solved only by closing the saloon. Their arguments were effective and the .drys won 147 to 92 and Taff Langford's saloon was f orced to close on October 1. Two years later the wets got revenge. They pointed out that there had been as much crime during the dry era as there had been before, and that no one had benefited except Old Bill Clay, moonshiner extraordinary, who had reopened his blind tiger. At an election on August 1, the wets won, scoring a 158 to 77 victory, and two saloons were opened. They remained open eight years. But in 1908 theW. C. T U. brought in a famous personage to dry up Fort Myers "forever"-the one and only Carrie Nation. The nationally known, hatchet-swinging, saloon-busterupper came to t own on February 22 and was given a resounding welcome by the dry forces. She talked in the churches and she talked on the court house steps. She didn't smash any saloons but she did succeed in so swaying public sentiment that on July 1 the prohibitionists succeeded in win ning, 360 to 269. On September 1, the saloons closed their doors for the last time until after the repeal of the 18th amendment, twenty-six years later. During that long interval no liquor was sold in Fort Myers--except by bootleggers. . As if to give the town some relief from its unaccustomed dryness, the town fathers in Octobe r ordered another artesian well dug by William Sinif. He drille.d at the corner of Second and Park and struck a 500gallon-a-minute underground stream at 6.08 feet. On September 3, 1908, Fort Myers got its first moving picture theatr e Prior to that time, movies had been shown b)' traveling exhibitors and by several organizations but no regular movie theatre had been opened. Now, h owever, the town was promised "the very latest films" by John Towles Hendry in a m o vie "palace" in a two-story frame building on First between Hendry and Jackson. The "palace" was an empty store room and the seats were benches. Hendry installed an Edison moving picture machine, imported an operator from Tampa and opened his theatre with the stirring, nervetingling "Western Romance" flashed on the screen in what the Press described as a "most lifelike manner.'' Music was furnished by Mrs Hendry. At the ticket window was Anna Belle Boyd who, the Press reported, greeted the movie-goers "in a most friendly manner.'' In November, Owner Hendry splurged and added a Victor Talking Machine to his equipment to furni!!h the words and mu sic for illustrated songs. But Mrs. Hendry was not thrown out of her job by the talking machine. She continued to furnish pulse-throbbing music for the flickers. Late in September, 1908 a high-wheeled Oldsmobile "devil wagon" was brought into town by Dr. Albert Newman, a winter visitor The contraption broke down a few days later and Dr. Newman sold it to Gilmer

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THE STORY OF FoRT MYERs 187 M. Heitman. Heitman fusse d and fumed with it fo r weeks and then bec ame d isgusted and sol d it to Ben King, the orlly man in southwest Florida who knew how to make. the darn thing run. A terrifyin g, fourcy linder Acm e which roared along at 15 miles an hour, emitting c l ouds of blue smoke and back-firing with e x p l osions which scattered the cattle for mil es around, was brought in during the fall by W. S. Garvey. The Southern Land & Improvement Company also imported a Thom as Flyer which was used by George R. Lynn, Sr., to carry real estate prospects to Citrus Center. Honkh onks teally began taking over the town in April, 1909. Giliner Heitman brought in six R eos, all painted red. Three were touring cars and three runabo uts. The touring cars were bought by W. H. Towles, E. J. Blount and C. B .Yarbro ugh. M rs. J. E. Foxworthy bought one of the b.ecoming the first woman auto owner in Fort Myers. G. B. Rey nolds bou ght another runabout and Heitman k ept the third. On May 31, 1909, the first two Cadilla cs we r e brought in by Heitman, They were four cylinders and guaranteed to go forty m iles an hour. was sold to James E. Hendry, Sr., and the other to Towles who then sold his Reo to Mrs. E. L. Evans. On the same day, May 31, the first car arrived by road from Tampa. It was a Ram bler, driven by Ben King and Hal Frierson who reported they had made t!te trip with only four blowouts. King gets the credit for establishin g the first garage in Fort l'Yiyers A formE'!r electrician at the Sem ino l e Power & Ice Company, h e was a wizard with all kinds of mechanical devic es and soon acquired t h e knack I L..,___._._ __ . ... Sniber Island i s world-famous for its beautiful s h ells and the beaches are com bed daily by tou rists and commercial shell gath ere rs.

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188 THE STORY oF FonT MYERS of repatring all makes of autos. He owned a marine ways and machine shop at the end of the Hendry Street dock but many car owners, par ticularly women, were afraid to run their cars out to his place, so he set up a garage on Jackson Street. Old timers say their cars were in King's garage almost as much of the time as they were on the road. Despite the execrable roads which then plagued motorists, the number of car owners slowly increased. Several agencies were opened. One of the first was a Ford agency. And one of the first customers of the Ford establishment was the famous Henry Ford himself . The motor king came to .Fort Myers in February, 1914, accompanied by John Burroughs, the noted writer and naturalist, to visit Edison. Before he left Detroit he sent an order to the Fort Myers Ford dealer to have three "Tin Lizzies" ready for him on his arrival. Ford and Bur roughs came in on Monday, I<'ebruary 23, and were greeted by a crowd of more than two thousand persons. They wereescorted to the Edison home by every automobile. owner in town-all 31 of them. The parade was headed by the three Fords Henry had ordered. He gave one of them to Edison, the second to Burroughs, and kept the third for his own use. For many, many years thereafter he drove the car around Fort Myers when ever he came to town. He was asked often why he didn't replace it with a newer model and always replied: "Shucks, why should I"? A Ford never -wears out." Perhaps forseeing the day when automobiles would be "mowing 'em down" in Fort Myers, Carl F. Roberts in 1908 decided -that something should be dol)e -about Fort Myers' down-at-the-heels cemetery. He said it was a disgrace to the community-and it was. > The first cemetery in Fort Myers was opened by the Hendry family i:luring the 1870's. I twas located far out in the country near the edge of Billy's Creek at what is now Henderson Avenue, south of the present cemetery. Members of the Hendry family and their kinfolk have been buried there ever since. To provide a cemetery for public, the Fort Myers Gemetery Company was organized in 1886 by Capt. F. A. Hendry, )V. P. Gardner, W. 1\L Hendry, T. E. Langford and J. J. Blount. A, forty-acre tract at the present location was purchased from Major James Evans for $50 and town residents began making burials there. Practically nothing was done to improve the cemetery, however, until1908 when Roberts, owner of the town's only funeral establishment, began criticising its appearance. Incorporators of the company then living appointed him as their agent. Under his direction, the entire plot was grubbed and ciElared, driveways were graded, a concrete fence was erected, tlie plot was re.surveyed, .and stakes set at all lot corners, and a large map was drawn to show the loca tion of every grave. Toopay for the improvements, Roberts was authorized by the com pany incorporators to levy assessments against the lot owners. Some of them paid but many of them didn't. By the end of 1910 Roberts found he had spent $836 more than he had received, so he decided he would let

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THE S-ronv OF FonT MYERS 189 somebody else do the work. The W oman's Civic Clu b undertook the maintenance task and during 19 1 2 gave entertainments of all kinds to r aise money While Rob erts was working hard in 1908 to beautify the cem etery a nationally famo us man di e d in L ee County who had no intention of ever being buried in Lee County ground or anywhere else, becaus e he was "immortal." That man was Dr. Cyr u s R. Teed, the one and only "Koresh." The Rise and F a ll of N e w Jerusalem Few motorists who drive today through the picturesque Jittl.:ihamlet of Estero realize that it once w as the site of one of the .world's strangest, most grandiose, weirdest communi stic developments-New Jerusalem, whose inhabitants thought they lived inside the earth. The founder of New Jerusalem was Dr. Cyrus R Teed, d escribed in the Chicago Herald in A pril, 1 894, as "an undersized, smooth shaven man of 54 whose brown, restless eyes glow and burn like liv e coals. He directs the destinies of a 'new race of m en,' the 'sons of God.' He exerts a strang e, mesmerizing influence over hi s converts, particularly the other sex." Teed was variously termed a religious fanatic or a fraud of top rank. Whatever he was, he won converts-and all their earthly poss essio n s Born on a farm in Delawar e County, New York, on October 18, 18 39, Teed b ecame an ardent Baptist early in life, like a11 his ancestors. He studied medicine with an uncle in Utica and later entered the New York Electric Medical College. Durin g the Civil War he served in some kind of a medical corps. In 1870, Dr. Teed "discovered" what he called "ce11ular cosm ogo ny" -to most people an incompr ehensible jumble of scientific, soc i o logi cal and philosophical balderdash. Among other things, the learne d doctor preached that the earth is a hollow sphere, 7,000 miles in d iameter, and that the s u n and moon and stars are all inside this sphere; along with all living and growing things. D r. T eed was first heard of pu blic l y in Chicago in 18 86 where he founded "The College of Life" and began to promulgate his doctrines. He soon had a flock of followers who gave up their family ties a nd all their posses sions. He named hi s organizatio n the "Society Arch Triumphant" and proclaimed him se l f "Cyrus, the :Messenger a comp os ite of C hrist, Buddha and aU other M essia h s Deciding that the name "-Gyrus" was not impressive enough, Dr. Teed later adopted the Hebrew eq, uivalent of Cyrus--"Koresh.'' And h e cailed his organization the Kor cs han Unity The Chicago Herald reported that in April, 1894, Koresh had 4,000 followers and had collected $60 ,000 In California alone. The first haven for his conve rts was at Washington Heights, near Chicago. Three o u t of four of his mem bers were wom en. All money taken in went to the Koreshan Unity and the e xpenditure of i t was supposed to be handled by twenty-five trustees--but the Herald said it wasn't.

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190 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS "Dr. Teed is the absolute, in-esponsible, immaculate and inviolate high muck-a-muck if there ever was one," said the Herald. "He is addressed with awe and trembling ... Neither his acts nor his motives are inquired into and his word is law-the only law." Early in the 1890's Dr. Teed announced to his fo llowers that the Lord had instructed him to go to Florida and establish a home for the Koreshans at Estero where Gustav Damkoehler had given him 300 acres of fine land and where he had bought 1,000 acres more with Koreshan funds. He said that the Florida horne of the Koreshans was to be called New Jerusalem. The Koreshan holdings were surveyed during the winter of 1893-94 and New Jerusalem was platted, with streets 400 feet in width, marvelous parks, and an area large enough to accommodate 8,000,000 Koreshans! Thirty colonists were sent to Estero during that same winter and erected a few cottages and other small buildings. The main building program started the following year. A sawmill was put in operation and huge frame dormitories were erected, one for the men and one for the women, because, being celibates, husbands and wives were to live separately. A huge dining hall a:Jso was constructed, along with a print shop and many other structures. Dr. Teed never approached his goal of 8,000,000 followers who wanted to inhabit New Jerusalem. Actually, only two hundred decided to Jive celibate lives and turn over everything they had to Dr. Teed's care. Many o f those who did, later regretted their decision. Time and again the Fort Myers Press carried stories about Koreshans who had left the colony after trying i n vain to get their money back. The paper also carried stories about Koreshans committing suicide. The Press condemned Koresh unmercifuJiy and so did newspapers throughout the country. For instance, the Tallahassee Sun said :March 16, 1907: "Teed is not the first rascal who has made religion a cloak for his designs against the property and personal liberty of others. But he is the only one now allowed to do business in the state." During 1908 the nation s press began bearing down on Teed harder than ever. Many newspapers sent correspondents to Estero to investigate his co lony. Teed said he was being "crucified." The newspapers bore. down more. And then Teed died-on Tuesday, December 22, 1908 AJI activities at New Jerusalem were halted. No one talked above a whisper. He had told his followers that he was immortal; that after h is "physical death" he would rise again, and ascend to Heaven, and that all the faithful would go with him. Everyone prayed. A constant watch was kept over his body. After two days his followers began having horrible suspicio n s The body of their beloved messiah was beginning to decay-and give forth noisome odors. And then, after four days, Dr. William Hanson, acting health officer of Lee County, appeared in New Jerusalem and issued orders that Koresh be buried forthwith. Reluctantly and sorrowfully, the Koreshans heeded the demand. They seyured a bathtub, put the body of Koresh into it and placed it in a brick reinforced concrete tomb a t the end of Estero Island. There it re-

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T H E STOR Y OF FORT MYERS 191 mained, year after year, u n t il t h e great hurricane o f October 25, 1921. Waves swept over the island and wh e n the storm died down, t h e tomb o f Koresh was g one. N o t a trace of h is rem ai n s was ever found. A few of Teed's z ealou s follower s contin u e d to carry on tlie co l ony after his death. They f atmed and they fis h ed, and lived exemp l a r y lives. Their newspaper, the American Eag l e, edited by Allen Andrews, becam e one of the best horticultural p a pers in the cou ntry. But the numbe1 of Koresh ans steadily dwindled. B y late 1947, when they began fighting among themselves and engaging in a lawsuit regarding ownership of Koreshan property, only twelve of the original members remained. N ew Jerusal em had rise n -but i t also fell. 1'h e 1 1 1'here Cam e a Boomle t The mysterio u s Everglades, long the inacc e ssible refuge of t h e wily Indian, fur ni s h e d the s p ark in 1909 for setting off a Florida b oom let. A fter Hamilton Diss ton's ill-fated drainage v entur e during the 1880's nothin g was done to r eclai m the Glades for more than fifteen years. Work was resumed under the direction of one of the most color ful men in Florida's political h istory-Napoleon B. Broward. Fame d for his exploits a s a smuggler of muni ti ons to the hard p r esse d C uban patriots i n the days before the Sp anish-American War, Broward ran for governor in 1904 o n t h e p latform o f "the G lades m ust be reclaimed fo r t h e p e o ple.'' He was e lected after a bitter campai g n and soon afte r h e too k off ice, dredging operati ons were r esumed. Broward knew next to nothing abo u t t h e engineering probl ems i nvolved and n e i t her did h is subordinates but they were fav ored by Nature . 11own to w n Fort Myers and t h e wat e r f r ont a$ appeare d fiom the air in 1924, before constru c tion of the Yacht Basin.

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192 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Because of a long dry spell, some of the land around Lake Okeechobee became almost dry enough for cultivation and water started to recede all through the sawgrass region. It seemed as though a miracle had been performed. Few people objected, therefore, when the state so ld chunks of Ever glades land to get money to carry on the work. Morever, few people objected when the land speculators who bought the swamplands began putting them o n the market in a super-hoopla manner. Their sales cam paigns were l au n ched in a big way during 19 09. The nation became overrun by the promoters' high pressure sales men who insisted that a ten-acre farm in the Promised Land would make a person independent for life. In that Empire of the Sun, they raved, crops grew as though by magic, chickens never stopped laying, cows and bogs attained mammoth size, and life for humans was full and rich. Retired schoo l teachers bought! arm plots and so did retired bankers, professional men and merchants. Even experienced farmers, desirous of living in the fabled land where flowers never die, became purchasers. In all walks of life the glib salesmen found men and women ready to believe even the wildest tales about the Poor Man's Paradise. Sales ran into the millions. Fort Myers became the gateway city to the marvelous Everglades. Hundreds of hopeful purchasers, eager to get to the land of their dreams, poured into Fort Myers every month, filling hotels and boarding hou ses to overflowing They tarried a day or so and then went up the river on Capt. Fred Menge's Suwanee" or on the "Queen of the Everg lades" pro. vided by Richard J. Bolles, one of the biggest Glades' promoters. Publicity given the Everglades boom by the nation's press probably was one of the main reasons \vhy Congress finally gave recogniti on to the Caloosahatchee. In the River and Harbors Act of J une 25, 1910, an appropriation of $121,000 was made to deepen and improve the channel in the river from Punta R assa to Fort Thompson. The work was started later in 1 910 and continued for more than a year and a half. While a turning basin was made at Fort Myers' front door an island was made in the river. J. L. Lofton, then engaged in dredging, decided the island would make a fine place to live so he took possession of it without formality. He maintained a home there for many years and establis hed squatter's rights to it. L "ong afterward, in the spring of 1948, he sold t he island to Thomas Phillips for $4,000 Before the government operation s started the Caloosahatch ee be t ween A lva and Fort Thompson was widely acclaimed as one of the most beautifu l rivers in the world. Great live oaks, hickories, willow s and magnolias stretche d their branches far out over the water; and here and there a giant palmetto leaned from the river bank, picturesqu ely over hangirig the water. The trees were f illed with f lowering vines and air plants covered with beautiful red blossoms. The channel twisted and turned and passengers on the river steamers expected the boats to go climbing up the bank at any moment. O ne bend, in th e shape of a letter

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THE STORY OF FORT M YERS 193 "S," was so tortuous that pilots had to tie their steamers to a tree before the turn could be made. This spot was called "Rope Bend" and pictures of it were sent everywhere by tourists. Many of the famous beauty spots in the upper river were destroyed in the improvement program which widened the channel, cut down overhanging trees and branches which in terfered with navigation, and eli minated most of the twists and turns. The work had to be done .but it brought grief to man y nature lovers in Fort Myers. The beauty of the river was marred in another way. In attempting t o provide a link in a cross-state waterway, the state deepened and wide ned the canals between the head of the river a n d Lake Okeechobee. Thi s permitted a great volume of drainage water from the Glades, heavily laden with hum us, to pour down the river, causing it to become dark and murky and covering the once white, sandy bottom with black silt. The Caloosahatchee soon ceased to be the ideal swimming place it had a l ways been before. During the winter of 1913-14, the Everglades boom ended almost as soon as it began. Few o f those who purchased "farm plots" cou ld endure the l o neliness or the mosquitoes of the Promised Land. Many never had an opportunity to try farming. Much of the land sold was under several feet of water, Despite all the fine claims made for it, the land had never been reclaimed and wouldn't be for years to come. Bemoaned one purchaser: "I have bought land by the acre; I have bought land by the foot but, by God, I never before bought land by the gallon." Some of the officials of companies which sold the watery land were charged with fraud and tried in federal court. A few were convicted but, so far as is known, none ever went to jail. The E!'verglades episode undoubtedly helped Fort Myers Hundreds of persons who had bought Glades land and then left, disillusioned, settled permanently either in Fort Myers or somewhere in the Land of. the Caloosahatchee. They aided materially in the development of the entire region. Publicity given by the nation;s press to the Glades before the land swindle became apparent was beneficial to the entire state. It coincided with a burst of advertising done by growing resort cities and helped to make the entire country "Florida conscious." People became. del)irous of seeing this wonderful place they heard so much about, so to Florida they came. They liked it, and bought property, and settled down. Their coming resulted in a state-wide boomlet. The federal census of 1910 had shown tbat the population of Fort Myers leaped from 943 fn 1900 to 2,463 in 1910, a gain of 161.2per cent. What was more important, the town continued to grow. The "cow town" of yesterday was rapidly becoming a real ci ty. Fort Myers Builds into It$ elf Before the twentieth century was ten years old Fort Myers b egan having serious growing pains. It suffered from a lack of houses, store and office buildings and, above all, a modern s chool.

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194 THE STORY OF Fon r MYERS The existing school was admittedly a disgrace to the community. It was merely an enlargement of the two-room wooden structure erected in 1887 immediately after Lee County was created. To this original building a two-story wooden addition was made in 1902 and thereafter the school was dignified by being called the Lee County High School. Regardless of the name, it was still a flimsy, ramshackle makeshift. When the enrollment passed the 300 mark during the term of 1908-09, the school bulged at the seams. To take care of the overflow, the trustees of the Holiness Church permitted classes to be held in its building on Second Street, The county commissioners also made a room for classes in the county barn, Child ren we r e seen going into the barn one day by a wiriter visitor, Col. Andrew D Gwynne, a wealthy cotton broker and wholesale grocer of Memphis, Tenn. He told his wife that if a movement was ever started in Fort Myers to get better school facilities he would gladly make a donation to take care of part of the expense. Colonel Gwynne died that summer in Memphis, on J uly 20, 1909. His widow remembered what he had said about the donation, and so did son, Capt. W. F. Gywnne. That same summer parents of children attending the overcrowded school appealed to the school board to provide a modern build ing. The board members admitted that the existing situation was appalling but they insisted they didn't have enough money to build the type of s chool Fort Myers needed:. They promised, however, to do what they could. At this critical juncture, Mrs. Gwynne and her son came to the rescue. They said they would match any sum raised by the town. With this incentive, the town people headed by Carl F. Roberts waged a whirl wiird campaign and within two months raised $8,000. The G wynnes then pledged an equal amo unt. An additional $ 10 ,000 was obtained from a special bond isilue.' The school board members kept their pro mise and provided eno ugh additional funds to pay for a building which, with equip ment, cost $45,000. It wa s opened for classes Friday, October 20, 1911, and was named the Andrew D. Gwynne Institute. In memory of twp old-tiriuirs who had been friends of the. children in bygone the pictures of Major James Evans and Capt. Peter Nelson were hung in the school. Captain Nelson had represented Fort Myers for years on the Monroe County school board, before Lee County was created, and had donated money for the first school. Major Evans had donated the site on which the. first school owned b;v Lee County was erected. The new school occupied the same site. The 6ld building w as nioved to Safety H ill and used as a scliool for the colored children. . While the institute was under constructio n afmost everyone be lieved it would be large enough to take care of the community for years to come. But the s choo l terni had no sooner started than it became apparent that anc;>ther building was essential, due to the rapid increase in enrollment Plans were therefot:e mad. e for a ne;w high school building and a $35,000 bond issu e to pay for it was put. before the voters on

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THE STORY OF FonT MYERs 195 September 3, 1913. It was approved 80 to 6. The new 17-room structure was opened for classes in the fall of 1914. Fort Myers then had two schools which compared mos t favorably with any in south Florida. Building followed building in Fort Myers during that eventful five year period preceding World War I. One of the new structures provided something Fort Myers had needed badly for many years-a modern packing plant. It was cons tructed by the Lee County Packing Company, organized March 3, 1909, with Harvi e E. Heitman as president; John M. Dean, vice-president, and W. S. Garve y, secretary. The directors included the officers and D. S. Borland, R. A. Henderson, Sr., W. H. Woodward, Dr. Franklin Miles and R. R Rice. The plant went into operation Novembe r 24, 1910. It was said to be the largest plant in the world used ex clus ively for the packing of citlus fruit. Two stories high, 130 by 250 feet, it had a capacity of twenty cats of fruit a day. During the season of 191213 it handled 118,000 boxes of fruit. On Friday night, January 30, 1 9 1 4, the 'plant was destroyed in the most destructive fire in the town's history. Flames were seen shooting from the building at 8 p. m. by seamen on the steamer "Mildred," then coming up the river. They yelled to people on shore who sent in the alarm. By the time the volunteer firemen arrived, the entire building was ablaze. All hope of sa \ing it was soon abandoned and the firemen concentrated on saving Ireland's dock where 15,000 gallons of gasoline, kerosene and naphtha were stored. C_,tuy /lAc / McGregor Boulevard; connecting Fort My era and the beaches, is famous for its buutiful royal palms which line both sides or the for miles.

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196 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS The "Thomas A Edison owned by : Menge Brothers, was tied to the railroad dock a n d started burnin g before she could be towed a \Vay. The steamer burned to the water's edge. Heitman estimated the total loss caused by the fire at $150 ,000: the packing house building and machinery, $75,000; 1 200 boxes of fruit and stock of paper, $25,000; the "Thomas A Edison,'' $15,000; Lofton Ways and Boats, $3,000 ; and the railroad dock and buildings, $32,000. Immediately following the fire, officers of the packing company pro ceeded to erect a temporary packing plant at a cos t of $20,000 This was replaced during the fo llowing summer by a plant which was even larger than the original. Old, familiar, ramshackle wooden buildings in the heart of town di sappeared one after another during the pre-war building boom of 1910-14. Harvie Heitman started off in 1910 by erecting a second addi-. tion to the Bradford Hotel. Then, early in 1911, he jumped across the street and took the lead in financing a new, three-story brick building on the southwest corner of First and Jackson to serve as a new home for the Bank of Fort 1\llyers. The bank moved into its new quarters in I;>ecember Also during 1911 Taff 0 Langford tore down the Old frame building next to the new bank and buil t a two-story brick structure known, in 1948, a s the 1\lliller Build i ng. Down at the next corner Dr. B P Matheson i m proved the S t one Block and opened the Leon Ho t el on the second f l oor. Large additions were made during the same year to the Royal Palm Hotel and the Riverview, both owned then by Mrs. Tootie McGregor Terry. James A. " Jim" Hendry joined the 1911 building parade by co nstructing a two-story brick building on the northwest corner of Main and Hendry. The post office was located in this building for m .any years. Later, it became the home of the Lee Cou n ty Bank. Down on the waterfront, William H Towles built a warehouse on the Jackson Street wharf for his newlv established Towles Line of steamers to K _ey West and 'rampa, made p ossible by the deepening of tlie river channel by the government. East Fort Myers.had a boomlet all its own d uring 1912 Edgewood was opened and developed by John M. Dean's Mutual Realty Company and Woodward Grove was developed by Friers?.!l & H\lndry :.;_;;. During 1911 and 1912 more than two hl)nd red new built, the city spreading out in all directions . 'l'o make more close-in resi dential lots available, Carl F. Robert s subdivided Monroe Heights, :ll'n e block from the cou l' thouse. ... .. .;. A new phase in the metamorphosis of the downto,\n section opened in 1912 with the arrival in Fort Myers of a man from MichiganPeter Tonnelier. ,_ He Bought and Bo1tght '"' High winds on the Gulf drove Peter Tonnelier into Fort Myers in February, 1912 He remained t o inves t more than a half million dollars -and g reatly alter the apti"earance of the downtown s ection.

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TnE SToRY oF FoRT MYERS 197 TQI'melier was a retired business man and banker from Benton Harbor, Mich. Because of ill health he came to Florida in 1910 and spent the winter in St. Petersburg: While there he bought a valuable downtown corner. The next winter he skipped over to Sarasota and built a com bination theatre-hotel building. While in Sarasota, Tonnelier and his brother Henry chartered a yacht and started on a cruise down the Gulf. They were in San Carlos Bay when a storm blew up. To f ind shelter and pass the time away, they sailed up the Caloosahatchee to Fort Myers. They had no intention of staying but Peter liked the looks of the place and decided to stop a few days and look it over. On the first night in town they started talking to Dr. Benjamin P. Matheson, owner of the Stone Block on the southwest corner of First and Hendry. The doctor said he would like to sell the building and an acre which went with it. Peter Tonnelier asked him how much he wanted. The doctor replied: "$150,000." Tonnelier didn't bat an eye "You've made a sale," he declared. "Have the papers made out and we'll be back with the money." On April1, 1 912, the dea.I ','Vas closed. Almost everyone in Fort Myer s said the Tonneliers would Jose by having spent such an outlandish price as $150,000 for the Stone Block corner. But the Tonneliers knew they had made a good bargain. And their purchase undoubtedly established a new basis for real estate values in the downtown section. Peter Tonnelier continued to pay "outlandish" prices for downtown business .site s. On Januar y 4 1913, he paid Mrs. Olive E. Stout $7,000 for a lot on Hendry street, near the Stone Block which was only 35 feet wide. Tonnelier immediately tore down the building on the lot so that meant he paid $200 a front foot for the land alone. He kept on buying, paying equally high During the following ten years Tonnefier bought fifty-two separate parcels of real estate in Fort Myers and Lee County, thereby becoming the county's second largest property owner. He also bought many other properties in partnership with his b r o ther Henry and still more with his b rqther Edward. The Tonneliers were just about the best buyers of real estate that had ever come to town. Peter T.onnelier started developing the court now known as Patio de Leon during 1913. During the two years following he erected most of the buildings in the court, including the theatre now known as the Ritz. Later he built four medium sized hotels and many mercantile buildings and residences in all parts of town. Tonnelier lost a tenant, the First National Bank, soon after he bought the Stone Block. The bank had had its offices in the building for five years but after the Bank of Fort Myers, its competitor, moved into a brand new,.home at .First and Jackson, officials of the First National decided thatthey also would haye to get new quarters. So, late in July, 1913, they awarded a contract to G. A. Miller, of Tampa,. for. a $50,000 building on

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198 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS the southeast corner of First and Hendry. The structure was completed and opened on August 17, 1914. The only individual who surpassed Tonnelier in building during 1914 \Vas Harvie E. Heitman. That was the year Heitman really performed a face lifting job on the business section. Heitman swung into action on April 20 wlien he put a large gang of men to work tearing down the ancient livery stable .and other old frame buildings on the south side of First between the new First National build ing and the new Langford block. On this site he proceeded to build the $85,000 Earnhardt. Building, 193 feet long and two stories high. When completed on February 10, 1915, it was acclaimed the finest building south of Tampa. While thi s building was being constructed, Heitman also erected a $25,000, two-story brick structure known as the Heitman-Evans Building on the northwest corner of First and Hendry. To make for the new building, a dilapidated frame building, erected forty years before by Jehu Blount for his general store, was razed and when it was demolished one of Fort Myers' oldest landmarks disappeared . During this same period Heitman also built a $10,000 building on Bay Street. It was used first as a roller skating rink and later as a garage. Fort Myers saw its f irst bonafide real estate development completed during 1914. The developer was John W. Dean, a winter visitor from Providence, R. I., where he was a prominent furniture dealer. Before Dean got to work Fort Myers had had numerous real estate subdivisions but the development of them consisted of little more than pounding in Jot stakes and grading a few. streets. The Providence man proceeded to demonstrate the difference between a subdivider and a developer. Dean had been coming to Fort Myers to spend the winter ever since 1899 when he arrived with a friend, Frank L. Budlong, to go hunting. Two years later he purchased the 42-acre Barrington place down the river and started a citi us grov e known as the Twin Palm G rove In March, 1901, he bought 38 acres adjoining Billy's Creek from Peck Brothers, of Chicago paying $8, 500. Dean bought.this latter tract it ,\as and swampy and flooded by the backwash of the Caloosahatchee when the tides ran high. It was not a pretty place. Dean did not start development work at once -he realized that real estate prices in Fort Myers had yet not reached a level high enough to justify expensive improvements. So h:e bided his time. . Late in 1912 Dean bought a dredge and during the following year began making fills on his Billy's Creek bog. Altogether, 150,000 cubic yards of sand were pumped in. When that phase of the work was com pleted, Dean employed a gang of 35 men and kept them b usy constructing streets, laying sidewalks; : and planting palms and shrubs. Late in 1914 the PI!.OPerty was put It was known first as Hyde Park and later as Dean Park. The reclaimed marsh became one of the finest residential of the city.

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THE STORY O F FoRT MYERS 199 The Count'' Gets a New Courthouse-by F orL' e Wiiliams H. Towles was a forcefu l determined man Heavy set, red cheeked and curly haired he gave the appearance of beip g a hail fellow well met. That was not his reputation, however, among persons who opposed his plans. Almos t invariably the d ispute ended with Towles getting what he wanted. Back in the late 1880's, Towles was one of the leaders who fought to get a splendid courthouse for the then infant county of Lee. He wanted a fine concrete building, three stories high, which wo uld advertise to all who came the power and strength of Florida's youngest child. By working tirelessly, he managed to win enough public suppor t to get a $20,000 bond issue appr oved by a 100 t o 47 vote. A contract for the building was let and work was started. But then the hard times of the early 90's came along, the bonds could not be sold, and finally Lee County had t o be satisfied with a piddling wooden courthouse which cost only $3,640 Towles was frustrated and badly irked. But there was nothing he could do about it. He couldn't lick a panic. So Towles sat back and waited. When t .he pre-war boom was at i ts peak, he was again chairman of t h e board of county commissioners, just as he had been a quarter century before. Now everyone was prosperous and Towles decided that the time had come for the county to get the courthouse it had long deserved. The other county commissioners were easily persuaded that a new and far better courthouse was needed-the existing one didn't even have rest rooms fo1' men and women. So they engaged an architect, Francis J. . of huite Lytlfl . The Lee County C ourthous e which was tazed in 19i4 by the headed by fiery 11Bill" Towles, to make way for a mo't'e modern building.

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200 THE STORr or FoRT MYERS Kennard, of Tampa, and plans for a new building were drafted. And on J uly 5, 1914, they awarded the contract to F. P. Heifner, of Atlanta, for $74,900. Towles glowed with pleasure--at last he was going to get the kind of courthouse he long had craved. But the husky warrior glowed too soon. Harvie E. Heitman couldn't see any sense in spending $7 4, 900 of tax money when the old courthouse was still sound, even though crowded and outmoded. With several of hjs friends, Heitman stopped Towl es in his tracks, two different times, by getting court order s which enjoined the commissioners from proceeding. The injunctions were granted by Judge F. A. Whitney, in Arcadia, on technical grounds: first, because the comm issioners had not passed a resolution showing the need for a new courthouse, and second, because they had added interest charges to the contract price after bids had been rec e ived. Undaunted, the commission e rs adverUsed for bids again and in September awarded a contract to C. P. Miller, of Tampa, who agreed to build the courthouse for $87,000-prices were going up. But pressure was brought on :Miller and he backed out of his contract, forfeiting a $1,700 bond. Once more the commissioners advertised and on October 23, 1914, they awarded a contract again to Heifner, this time for $100,000. Three days later the commi ssioners learned the courthouse opponents were g.oing to try and block them once more-that they were sending Francis W. Perry and C. L. Johnso n to Arcadia that aftemoon to get another injunction on the basis of a lack of necessity for a new building. Irritated no end, the commissioners hastily passed a resolution authorizing Towles to take whatever action he deemed necessary. The board chairman waste a minute. He called in Contractor Heifner and talked to him behind closed doors. And then, after the train had pulled out, taking with it Per r y and J -ohnson Heifner and a crew of swung into action. T owles had given instructions to have the existing courthouse demolished, torn down to its foundations, completely wrecked. He had no in tentions of being foiled again. The workmen started in on the steeple and ripped it off. They then t6cikeut the windows and the doors, and started off the siding. Frenziedly they worked. When darkness came, bonfires were lighted a.nd the work jrroceeded. A huge crowd gathered: Men, women and children cheered the workmen on. It was great sport. Never before had anything like this ever happened l n Florida. Old timers say Towles sat oil. s..teps nearby with a shotgun in his hands, ready to take a pot;..shot at anyone who tried to halt the demolition job. The .workmen kept on going until they were tired out. Then they went home 'and got a few .hours' rest. Shortly after daybreak they were back again and by noon the courthouse was so thoroughly razed that it could not possi!lly ee restored. Now there remained no doubt about the "necessity" for a riew struct.\ll'e. .

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THE SToRY oF FonT MYERS 201 On November 12 19 1 4, Judge Whit ney refused to grant another injunction-it would have been a case of locking the door after the horse was stolen. The cornerstone for the new courthouse was laid Tuesday, April 13, 1915, with Masonic ceremonies. The speakers were Capt. F. A. Hendry, Edward Parkinson, W. S. Turner, R. G. Collier, W. J. Odom E. L. Evans and of co u rse the one and o n ly William H. Towles. He was getting what he long had wanted-the new co u rthouse was a certainty. The new building was completed and occupied in December. An extremely important by-product of the courthouse demolition job was a hospital -the first hospital Fort Myers ever had. The town had wanted a hospital for many, many years but never had been abl e to get one. Persons who became critically ill or needed opera tions were taken to Tampa, or Key \Vest-or were cared for a t home Initial steps to get a hospital were taken Tuesday, Januar y 2 1912, at a meeting of representatives of all civic organizatio n s, churc hes busi n esses and A working committee was appointed consisting of Mayor L A. Hendr y, Dr. J. E Brecht, president o f the medical society, and the Reverends C N. Thomas, G F. Scott and A. M Hildebrand. Others present at the meeting incl uded L. S. Stew aFt, C. Q. Stewart, L. N. Stroup, Nathan G. Stout, Mrs. Olive E Stout, Mrs. E. H u tchinson, Mrs. William Hl!-nson, Mrs Harry Laycock Mrs. George F. Ireland, Mrs. A. M. Brandon, )'
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202 THE STORY oF FonT MYERS The first patient was Thompson who was rushed in when he suf fered an acute attack of appendicitis. Dr. McSwain came in from Arcadia on the next train and Thompson was operated on. Superintendent David son had to go t o Dr. Henry's office to sterilize the bandages. But, despite the lack of adequate facilities, Thompson Jived. Fort Myers Goes Gingerl y into Debt Back in the old days the people of Fort Myers were definitel y not spendthrifts-so far as the community was concerned A few of the good ci t izens were opposed to spending money for public improvements simply because they wanted Fort Myers to remain the way it was-a little frontier cow town with no fancy falderals to attract newcomers. They had no desire to see their tiny village become a bustling city. 'fhis e l ement o f the population was outnumbered by a larger group of citizens which wanted all sorts of improvements but did not want to be called. upon to pay for t hem. These worthy people were chronically opposed to taxes, and as for i ssuing bonds and plunging the town into debt, to get improvements in a hurry-heaven forbid! The town officials often were progressive men who wanted to see Fort Myers forge ahead but they did not have the temerity to present a proposed bond issue to a vote of the people until sixteen years after the town was incorporated. The fateful test was made on April 15, 1901, on a proposed $10,000 bond issue-$7,000 for a water system and $3,000 for street improvements. The bond issue was defeated, 22 to 14. Two votes were lacking to give the necessary two-thirds majority of 24 to 12. Exactly one year later the town fathers tried again, presenting a proposed $12,000 bond i(lsue-$9,000 for a water system and $3,000 for streets. This time the issue was approved, 27 to 13, and the progressives cheered. But they cheered prematurely. T h e "no-taxation" group carried the matter t o the cour.ts and the proposed issue was ruled illegal on the grounds that the town, under its original charter, had no right to issue bonds. The court decision effectively .silenced further talk of bond issues for several years. An attempt was made during the 1903 sessio n of the state legislature to have the town charter amended to make bond issues legal. But the measure died in committee without coming tip for vote. Two years later the town progressives had better luck. Adelegation led by Mayor Lou i s A. Hendry went to Tallahassee and camped on-the steps of the state capitol until Representative Frank J. Wilson pushed through the essential May 19, 1905. J Contrary to the generally accepted belief, this act did not incor porate Fort Myers as accity. It merely re-incorporated it as a town w"ith greater powers than it had had before. The town officials were given the right to issue bonds, upon a majority vote of the citizens, for certain specified purposes: (1) to improve the streets and sidewalks, (2) to establish waterworks and fire protection ; (3) to establish a gas or electric light system, ( 4) to purchase or erect a town market building and

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THE STORY oF FoRT !\hERS 203 (5) t o establish a street railway system and (6) to provide a public park or parks and improve the same. Philip Isaacs, then editor of the Press, was one of the group who did not believe i n taxes and, consequ e ntly, h e did not approve of the bond enabling act. He merely carried a 13 line brief stating that Representative Wilson had introduced a bill "relating to the i ncorporation of Fort l\1yers" a n d that i t had been passed under suspeftsio n of the rules. That iTas all. He did not give any det ails and the paper never mentioned it again. With support from the "no-taxers" VI. D. Bell was elected mayor i n August of 1905 and n o attempt was made whil e he was in o f fice to bond the town for im provements. But on August 7, 1906, Fort Myers elected its first native born mayor, Henry A Hendry, son o f W. Marion H e ndry. The new mayor wanted p rogress even though i t had to be paid for, a n d he vigo r ously fought for a $25,000 bo n d issue-$15, 000 for water wo r ks and $10,000 for sewer s Bu t t h e "no taxers" defeated i t, on No vember 13, 1906, by a vo t e of 47 to 26. Not yet was the town willing to go "head over heels in debt." The defeat of the bo n d issue probably can be chalked up as a victory for Editor Isaacs. In an editorial on April 4, 19 07 while a seawall bond issue was bei n g considered, Isaacs wrote: "The Press has never believed rn advocating a measure tha t wou l d be burdensome to the t axpayers. It. droppe d the seawall proposa l a year ago, just as it has dropped o ther proposi tions for bonding, j ust because it belie ved the peopl e were not ready. C "'-usy of Cowm ) IJ/ Commtt<:t: The Lee County Courthou se, erec ted in.l915.

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204 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Soon after this editorial was printed Isaacs was succeeded as editor of the Press by Peter Ruhl, who insisted week after week that public provements \Vere essential. But the town fathers didn't work up enough nerve to present another bond issue until the spring of 1910 when they called for a vote on a $60,000 issue. With valiant support from the Press, it received magnificent endorsement-82 to 7. However, the town officials had failed to break down the issue as required by law, specifying how the money was to be spent, and the error was not detected until after the vote was taken. The officials then re advertised the proposal and the bonds were approv ed, 58 to 15. Of the total, $35,000 was earmarked for a sewerage system, $15,000 for a waterworks and $10,000 for anew school. This was on July 8, 1910. The $60,000 bond issue, the first in the town's history, was so ld at par on January 24, 19ll, to Ulen & Company, of Chicago. A contract was then let to the American Light & Water Company, of Jacksonville, for laying the water mains and sewers. At the same time, the town officials gave the Seminole Light & Ice Company a ten-year franchise to fur nish water and provide the machinery .and pumps. However, oppo si t ion to this franchise quickly developed, officials of the company being charged with "tieing the town's hands." So A. A. Gardner, head of the company, cancelled the contract and the town proceeded to buy a pump ing station and a 50,000-gallon tank of its own. They were put up at "Sand Spur Patch" and completed in September. To supply the water needed, three artesian wells were dug .near the pumping plant. These were by no means the first artesian wells in town. :Many others had been drilled before by private property owners. Two of the first were drilled for Hugh O'Neill. when he built his hotel in 1897. They went down 480 feet anp the water which gushed from them was described "as pure as water straight from heaven and with just enough sulph.ur i n it to be de!ightfulto the taste." Patrons of the hotel, however, didn't think as well of the taste as O'Neill and they demanded. cistern water for the ano'iv"l:i. pop1e .. . . Will Sinif, chief custodian of C. E. Reed's well drilling outfit, had the honor of dril.ling the first town-owned well in May, 1904, .at what is now the intersection of First and Dean. He went down 481 feet and. the water poured forth from the five-inch pipe at the rate of 300 gallons a minute. To have tl_t. e .. we!Uir.Uled .the .t own paid $1 a foot. The .se cond wen 'liiias .. d\-i fle d .. in June at First and Hendry. T h .e,se two town-o\yned wells were connected with a well near Fi.rst arid Jackson, owned by Harvie Heitman, to, provide the town's first "fire prote. ction system," hydrants being installed along the way: A watering trough.which was pictured in countless Fort Myers post cards wasbuiltii1 July, 1904, at the intersection of First and Hendry. It remained there :May 26, 1910, when it was replaG:ed l)y a attractiv,e: trough and drinking fountain in front pf Nati9nal Bank. This new fountain-tr o !!gh was presented to the tow n as a gift bx William H. Towles. : While the sewers and water mains were being installed during 1911 and 1912 the streets. throug4out Fort Myer.s became almost impassable.

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THE STORY oF FonT MYERS 205 But people did not complain too strenuously They soon would be able to get rid of their outdoor privies The trun k sewers were extended out into the Caloosahatchee, "so far out," said the Press, "that the menace of sewage has been eliminated forever." The town was so engrossed by this wide-flung improvement pro gpam that it became a full-fledged city without hardly anyone's being aware o f what was happening. O n May 23, 1911, Governor Albert W. Gilchrist signed an act which placed Fort Myers for the first time in the rank s of Florida's incorporated cities. It declared "the town of Fort Myers a city with all the rights and privileges heretofore co nferred upon town." Inexplicably not a word about this act was carried in the Press--not one story about it. And the town clerk kept on recording the minutes of the "town" council until the first meeting i n September. Then he changed and made his minutes read "minutes of the city council." The first public improvement acted upon by the first "city" council was a public pier at the foot of Fowler Street. Harvie E. Heitman and Capt. W. F. Gwynne launched the movement for the pier in November, 1911, raised a fund of $2,250 by public subscription and asked the city council for permission to build it. They also asked the council to con tribute $1, 000. Councilman Robert A Henderson, Sr., objected strenuously, saying that the pier wo u l d be a n ui sance for residents who lived in that neigh borhood; particularly his good friends John T. Murphy and S. C. Bass . H enderson's attit ude aroused the wrath of Edward P Bates. In a letter p u blished in the Press on January. 11, 1912, he said : "This gentle man seems to be unable to realize that this city has passed the pistol, shot gun and barroom stage of twenty years ago. Constantly we hear people say: 'Why doesn't Fort Myers advertise its attractions? But what have we to advertise: We do not have a public park, a recreation center, or even good roads-not even one to the Gulf. Nowhere is there a pier where one can look over the Caloosahatchee. Surely we can afford a pier. Bates' remarks caused a flurry of protests, everyone saying that Fort Myers had countless attractions to advertise. But the agitation for a pier continued and on February 2, 1912, the agreed to donate $1 000. W. P Henley was awarded the contract and John M. Dean filled in the approach as his contribution. However, the pledged subscriptions came in slowly and the project was not completed until the spring of 1913 The official opening was celebrated Aprilll with a concert on the pier head by the Fort Myers Military Band. The pier was the first man-made "tourist attraction" provided by Fort Myers . Its construction may have hastened the revival in 1912 of the semi dormant Board of Trade, long p lagued by factional quarreling. It had accomplished little since it was first organized in 1904 to help bring in the Coast Line. Fort Myers was advertised only through special editions published every few years by the Press.

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206 ToE STORY OF FORT M Y E R S During the summer of 1912 the directors of the Board of Trade finally called an armistice in their squabbling and agreed that t h e time had come to advertise Fort :Myers in a big way by getting out a booklet. To hel p prepare it, the directors employed their first full-tim e paid secretary, Allen H. Roberts, of Jacksonville. Roberts did a good job and the booklet wM so well received that t h e city councilmen decided it might be a good thing to get one ou t each year. To pay for the booklets and also advertise t h e city in newspapers and magazines, the councilme n approved a half mill publicity tax to bring in annually. With this money in sight, the Board of Trade printed 10,000 more booklets in December and sent them North for distribution. Before the next year came to an end, however, it began to appear as though Fort :Myers might soon have nothing left to aQ.vertise. The city was being literally burned up. A ruinous series of fires started on the night of January 30, 1914, with the destruct i on of the Lee County Packing House, the "Thomas A. Edison," and the railroad pier, causing a l oss of On June 18, of the same year, the side wheel steamer "Planter," owned by the Towles Line, burned to the water's edg e while anchored three hundred feet off the dock. On September 19, the H e itma n warehouse on the pier was destroyed by fire. On November 18, eight frame buildings at Hendry and Oak occupied by stores and rooming houses were gutted, causing a reported loss of $32 ,0 00. Immediately following this last fire, which threatened the entire downtown section, the city fathers decided to spend enough of the city's money to buy a modern, motor-driven fire e ngin e with a pumping capacity of 750 gallons a minute. It was ordered December 5, 1914, along with 500 feet of hose. Before the fire engine arrived, the city suffered another. costly blaze. Early in the morning of February 2 6, 1 91 5, a fire started near the exit of the Grand Theatre in t)le Langford Building. It spread into the theatre and to nearby stores and before it was extinguished, it caused a $11,000 loss. The fire truck arrived April 7, 1915 and on 1\iay 8 the city council awarded a contract for the construction of a new fire station. to cost $1,365 A city prison, to be built adjoining, a lso was contracted for at a cost of $1,360 In the burst of pub lic improvements which featured the boom let of the' 'teens, F o r t Myers got some new street&---$ 47,000 worth. A b ond i ssue for that amount was approved 87 toSS on March 20, 1913, but the bonds were not sold u n til late in the year. A further delay was caused by a long, bitter discussion regardinlr' the kind of "hard surfacing" to be used. :Many good roads advocates insisted that.the city would never be satisfied unti.! it had brick streets. William H. Towles said conc r ,ete would be best and, to prove his point, built a stretch of.concrete street in front of.. his home.;.But a majority. of the city councilm en agreed that either. brick or concrete would be too expensive so asphalt covered shell streets were ordeFed . W. R. Wallace

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THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS 207 & Co was awarded the contract and the improveme n t program was com pleted in the late summer of 1 915. All the downtown streets and many of the residential streets were given the shell-asphal t treatment. In t h e beginning the streets were n i ce and smooth but they d idn't remain that way long-summer rains. soon began wreakin g havoc w ith t hem. Be cause of t h e gen erosity of Mrs .Too tie McGrego r Terry, Fort Myers a n d Lee County got their first really good boulevard. O n Februar y 2, 1 912, M r s. Terry offered to construct a 50 -foot boulevard to Punta Rassa begi nning at Whis key Creek if the city and county would construct a similar boulevard between the creek and Monroe $treet. She also agreed to pay $590 a year t o maintain the road. Her only stipulation was that the boulevard be called McG regor Boulevard i n pe.rpetuity, in memory of her first husband, Ambrose M. McGregor. T h e offer was accep ted at once by both the city council and the county commissioners Mrs. Terry died Saturday, Augu&t .l7, 1912, at her summer home in Mamaroneck-onthe-Hudso n, N Y ., but Dr. Teny noti fied. t h e city and county t hat the work would proct'\ed the same as though she had lived. On December 12 1912 the council agreed to give Dr. Terry permission to erect a monument at Cleveland and Anderson to h onor his wife' s memory. The monument was erected and dedicated the following sum mer. It was still standing in 1948, minus its lights and the heads of snakes f r om which water used to gush. The city and county p r oceed e d with their part of the p roject and by the summer of 1914 had completed a macadam road all the way to Whiskey Creek. Difficulties encountered by Dr. Terry in settling his wiie' s estate prevented him !rom proceeding as rapidly as he had expected but by the summer o f 1915 he had completed it, with bridges and culverts, at a cost of $105,000 The county commis s ioners formally accepted the boulevard, and named i t McGregor B oulevard, on .July 14, 1915. Now for the first time, motorists could go all the way to Punta Rassa without getting stuck in the sand. Its. i mportan ce to the entir e Fort Myers area can hardly be overestimated Because of it, a large area of poten tially invaluable land was opened for development. During 1917 and 1918, Fort Myers, like all other cities throughout the n ation subordinated all things to the mai n task of winning World War I. Hundreds of Lee County me n joined various branches of the armed services The first Lee County man killed was Curtis P. Skel t on son of Mrs. Edna Ske l ton, 223 Jackson Street. He d ied a t So i sso n s France, J uly 13 1918 His body was brought back to the States i n May, 1921, and buried on May 25 in Arlington Cemetery. T h e solution of civ i c probl ems was postponed until the war ended and work on civic improveme nts was delayed. Howeve r new residents kept coming in all during the war period. Even during. the darkest hours of ear ly November, 1918, the sound of carpenters' hammers could be heard as work continued on more homes and business buildings

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208 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS The war had one serious effect-it dealt a crippling b l ow to the fresh vegetable industry of Sanibel and Captiva islands Many of the younger m en on the islands went into the Coast Guard and other servi ces, creating a labor short\ge. But the growers suffered an even worse b l ow when the government commandeered all potash for war purposes. To grow crops on the island sojl, potash was essential; without i t, the growers were stymied. Many left the islands. The steamer "Dixie" which served the islands was sold to the a-ov ernment by the Kinzie Brothers Steamer Line early in 1918 for u s e in t ransporting soldiers to battleships. After the war ended, the Kinzies replaced her with a new "Dixie." But she never was loaded to capacity with vegetables as the old "Dixie" had been. Just when the vegetable industry qn the i s lands was getting started again, the hunicane of October 25, 1921 covere d most of the farm lands with salt water, causing serious damage. Several years passed before the soil was again free from s alt. In the fall of 1921 the damage caused by the hurricane caused little concern in the Land of the Caloosahatchee. Everyone began to sense the com ing of something of far greater importance-the Big Boom

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CI-4APTER VII THAT CRAZY FL ORIDA BOOM AWEALTHY WINTER VISITOR from Indianapolis bought two l ots in Fort Myers in Dece mber 1 925. Hundreds of othe r s also bought lots that month but the Hoosier's purc hase was noteworthy because he paid $160,000 for two lots on First Street near Billy's Creek on which only one-family residences could b e built. The Indianapolis man got the lots through t h e Fort Myers Realty Company. L. C. Curtright, president of the co n ce rn, caref ull y pointe d out that the restrictions on the lots wo u ld no t expire for eight years. In the m eantime he said, they could not be u sed for business buildings of any kind or eve n for an apartment. For the Hoosier that made no difference. He said he had no intention of building anything. "I'll sell t h ose lots in a mont h o r so and clean u p $50,000, he declared. "My motto is-: buy and sell, buy and sell. That's the way to make money." Literally hundreds of thousands of o t her persons had the same idea hack in the 1920s not just in Fort Myer s of course but everywhere in penin sular F l ori da, all the way from up around G ainesville down to the Flo r id a keys. And be cause tremendous profits were made through buy ing and selli ng Florida had its Big B oom, one of the craziest phenomen a in America's real estate history. The origin of the Big Boom can be traced back to World War I. Becau se of the war, the public's reserv oir of capital was fille d to ove r flowing Farmers became rich. l''actory workers piled up sav ings. Indusb:iali sts and fin anci ers made milli ons. Bank deposits throughout t.he nation climbe d to an all-time peak. Everyone--or nearly everyone had m oney to spend. Scads of money A s the war wagejl on, more and more people got enough money to travel. For years they .had read about the Sunny South and glamorous Florida, where all the time is s ummer and flowe r13 neve r die. Now they could v enture forth and see fo r themselves what Florida was really like. The beginni ng of the Big Boom was d eceptive ly s low. In fact, hardly anyon e realized a boom had started. But it most certainly had. Each year the number of winter visitors increased even after the United States entered the conflict a nd railroad traffic was snarled. The tourists came regardless. After the armistice the stream of tourists became a torrent, and then a flood. The first definite i ndication that a boom was i n the making came during the winter of 1 919-20 with the inva s i on of Florida by the 'fin Can Touri sts, as motley a caravan as the world had eve r s een. Shiny lin)ousines

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210 TnE STORY OF FORT MYERS bumped fenders with dilapidated flivvers; sophisticated urbanites rubbed elbows with country hicks. All highways leading south were crowded. Despite slippery, slithery roads, the Tin Canners came. Motorist s made up only one di vision of the invading tourist army. Other sun worshippers came in palatial yachts and in private railroad coache s Thousands of less affluent folk came by Pullman and by day coach. Every south-bound train was packed solid. The railroads had to put on specials and even then every berth was sold weeks in advapce. The brief depression of .1921 affect-ed Florida not at all. The winter of 1921-22 brought a record-breaking crowd. Every resort city was filled to overflowing. The invading tourists dumped millions of dollars into Florida, not only for food and lodging but for homes, and land on which they could build, and thereby b e sure of having a place in which to live. The Florida boom was on-i n earnest. . The boom was accelerated by the magic of real estate profits. Thousands of visitors made enough money by buying lots one winter and selling them the next to pay all the expenses of their winter vacations Plungers who bought business properties, acreage, or blocks of lots in well located subdivisions reaped golden harvests. Returning North, they spread the word about the wonder)and of Florida where fortunes could be made while basking in the sunshine. The Florida "fever" spread throughout the nation Speculators, as well as tourists, began flocking here from every state. With them came an army of real estate salesmen, the "knickerbocker army" of high-pressure fame, t)le "binder boys" who operated on a shoestring and stopped, at nothing to make a clean-up. Yes the Florida boom was onin all its fury! Miami, St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach, Sarasota, Lake Worth and scores of smaller towns spurted ahead phenomenally. For a while, Fort Myers lagged behind. There was a reason. So far as roads were concerned, Fort Myers was almost isolated from the world. They Had "Wish to God" Roads Back in the old days when automobiles were called "horseless carriages," motorists called the roads in Lee County "wish to God roads." The motorists were not blasphemou s Tl\ey used the term merely in an attempt to describe the condition of the roads which then existed. In almost every road ther e were two sets of deep ruts. Regardless of which set the motorist took he always "wished to God" be bad taken the other after his car had been stuck several times hi clutching sand or clinging mud, o r had been nearly jarred apart by bounding over hidden palmetto roots Unti11900 nothing was done by the county commissioners to improve the oxcar.t trails of bygone years. Then, in a burst of good roads enthusi asm, they made arrangements for grading and shelling one mile of the fromBilly' s Creek. to. Buckingham. But they bad no intentions

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THE s TORY OF FoRT MYERS 211 of squandering the taxpayers' money by covering the entire. road with shell; they decided that the purpose wo ul d be served by covering j ust the oxcart tracks, two feet wide and six inches deep. To save a little somethi n g more, the commissioners voted to do the work themselve s rather than award it to a contractor. They bought the shell at 15 cents a barrel and hired laborers to put it down. The laborers were paid $ 1.2 5 a day for ten hours' work. To meet this heavy expense, the commissioners l evied a special road tax of 40 cents on each $100 of taxable property. The mil e stretch leading eastward f ro m Billy's Creek was com pleted late in 1900. It led through a sandy waste in which countless teams had become stuck in former years. Now th.e menace was ended and travelers were loud in their praise. T h e county commissioners hastened to extend the "highway" up the river. Covering the wagon tracks with s h ell did not serve to make the road passable during the rainy season in places wher e it meandered through swamps and bayheads; co'!lsequ ently, many stretches of corduroy road had to be built with logs laid crosswise on the ruts. Pioneer motorists remember those corduroy roads with anguish but the logs at least served to keep the devil wagons from sinki n g to their floor boards in oozy mud. The highway" was extended u p the river as far as Alva during the summer of 1902. At that point the first bridge across the Caloosahatchee was built. It was a steel draw bridge, 198 feet long, and was for the county by the Converse Bridge Company of Chattanooga, Tenn., at a cost of $7, 760. The bridge was opened 1\>lay 9, 1903. Now, for the first time, travelers could cross the river without taking a ferry. The county continued its road work on a "pay-as-yo u -go" basis for more than a decade. Available funds were small and, consequently, the improvements were negligible. 1\>luch of the money spent for shell was wasted because it disintegrated and d isappeared in the mud and sand. In many places the roads again became impassable for anything except ox or mule teams. For the early motorists, tow chains and shovels were "must" equipment. When the number of automobiles increased during 1910 a n ew o;lemand arose for better highways. However, the auto owners were still a small minority, and people who were chronically opposed to being "taxed to death" repeatedly blocked moves to submit bond issues to the public. Finally, after from the good roads advocates, the county commissioners called for a vote on a proposed $200,000 issue. But the constructio n program they presented provided for building many "political" roads designed more tj> win votes than to fit into a well co-ordinated highway system. The good roads boosters were so disgusted that they joined with the "anti-higher-taxes" crowd in voting against the issue and it was killed, 272 to 249 on September 10, 1913 . T hat left the whole matter just where it started. And soon it became further complicated by seemingly endless arguments. regarding the

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212 THE STORY oF FoRT MYE RS route to be chosen for a highway to connect the Land of the Caloosa hatchee with the outside world. The need for such a highway was obvious. Because of a lack of a connecting link wit h highways farther north, L e e 8ounty was almost as isolated as an island. Adventurous motorists managed to come through during the d r y season but it was a journey which tried men's souls and f e w ventured on the hazardous expedition. As a result, the progress of Lee County was definitely retarded. Everyone agreed that a connecting highway was esse n tial. But there was a complete Jack of agreement on the route the highway shoul d follow. Two routes w ere p roposed: the Dixie H ighway route south from Arcadia, crossing the river at O lga, and a coastline route which woul d lead southeastwar d from Punta Gorda, crossing the river at Fort :Myers. P lans for the Dixie Highway provided that it should extend east ward from Olga, going up the river and passing through Alva and La Belle, thence onward acros s the state by way of the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee. :Many influential citizens of Lee County Jived up the river in sections which would be benefitted by the Dixie Highway and, naturally, they were staunch advocates of that route. So were many p rominent citizens of Fort Myers who owned large tracts of land in the up-river region. In the early rounds o f the highway battle the Dixie Highway advo cates took the lead. Earl y in 1914 t hey persuaded the county commis sioners to have the necessary bridge built at Olga. It was constructed by the Converse Bridge Company at a cos t of $9,700 and opened on Februar y 20, 1915. Next they formed a special road and bridge dis t ric t and on April 18, 1916, approved a $ 1 64;000 bond issue to build a nine .-foot .asphal t road from Buckingham through LaBelle and Fort Thompson to the Palm Beach County line. This road, which i n places twisted and turned like a snake,was completed early in 1917. Next to McGregor Boulevard it was the first "improved highway" in the county. This highway, incidentall y dealt the Menge Brothers Steamboat Line a fatal blow. With a road up the r iver opened for motor trucks, the need fo r river steamers no long .er existed and the Menges soon were forced t o go out of business. A glamorous period in the histor y of the Caloosahatchee was ended. Important though the new highway was, it did not help to connec t For t Mye r s with the Nort h From .Olga northwar d the Dixie Highway remained nothing but a dream. World War I came and went and nothing was done about building the much-talked-of road f rom Olga t o Arcadia. The t wo places 'were conne.cte d by nothing except woods and prairie trails which forked every mile or so. None o f the forks were marked. and motorists had no way of knowing which prong of the fork to follow: Like w ise, nothing was done toward building a road between Foi:t Myers and Punta Gorda, a vital link in the coastline route. This route had acquired a fasci natin g name which caught the public s fancy-the

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 213 Tamiami Trail, by Secretary L. P. Dic kie of the Tampa Board of Trade from "Tampa to Miami." The first steP to. make the Tamiami Trail a reality had been taken on May 1 1916 when the voters of southwestern Lee County approved a $177,500 bond issue to build a nine-foot hard-surfaced road from Fort Myers to Naples and a graded road from Naples to Marco. I.ater in the same year people in the Everglades village section voted $125,000 for their section of the Trail and Dade County also p rovided $275,000 The Trail had gotten off to a glorious start. But then came the entrance of the United States into World War I and, after the war ended, staggering increases in the cost of road building. Even worse, difficulties which often seemed unsurmountable had been encountered in constructing the road through the almost impassable Glades. To everyone's chagrin it was discovered that the cons t ruction of the cross -state section of the Trail, instead of being a simple road building job, was a major engineering feat and a most cO$tly undertaking as well. The work bogged down. . South of Tampa, however, construction of the Tr.ail proceeded steadily in the early 1920s. On June 28, 1921, a new concrete bridge over Charlotte Harbor was completed, making it possible f o r moto r ists to go as far south as Punta Gorda. The West. Coast rejoiced. But Fort Myers did not join in the rejoicing-between Fort Myers and Punta Gorda no roads existed. And of course nothing had been done about building a bridge across the Caloosahatchee. . WE: Almost half of all the ablebodied men in Fort Myers turned out in l922. to help build the Jink in the Dixie Highway, between Olga and Arcadia When completed the road p rovi ded Fort Myers with its first adequate outlet to the nqrth.

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214 THE STORY oF FoRT ,\\hERS The reason was s i mple. The bridge and the vitally needed Fort Myers-Punta Gorda road were viciously opposed by the Dixie Highway advocates .just as the Olga -Arcadia road was oppose d by the advocates of the Tamiami Trail. The two gro\lpS fo u g h t openly a n d sec retly, with every weapon at their command, waging no -quarter warfar e. The battling became venomous. It was carried i nto business into t h e banks and into the :Board of Trade where i t finally resul ted i n a split in member ship, leading to the organization o f the Chamber of Commerce as a com peting body. T h e Chamber boos t ed for the Tamiami Trail, and the Board, the Di x ie Highway. The Trail advocates f ocused a t tention on their battle by taking part i n a motorcade to Tampa. They left Fort Myers in three autos which were ferr ied a c ross the river by Capt. E. E. Damko hler. The trip to Punta Gorda was made over almos t impassable woods trails-but the car s f inally got thr ough. Additional mo t orists joined the moto r c ade a t Punta Gorda, E n g l ewood Sarasota, Braden ton a n d Palmetto and when Tampa was r eached, an enthusiasti c meeting of good roads b o os t e r s was held at which e veryone agreed that regardl ess of oppositio n the T r ail must be extended to Fort Mye rs. The Fort Myers conti ngent in the mo t9rcade consisted of a H u dson dri ven by George W Dunham, a n Ove r land di:iven by Otto Neal, a n d a For d drive n by T. E Taten. Others in the party were Henry Colquitt L A Whitney, F r e d C Gar mon, L G. Pope, Francis W. Perry, O r a E. Chapi n R. A. Henderson, Jr., F. B. Hough and Allen H. Andrews Yielding to Tami ami Trail pressu r e, the county c omll! i ss i oners fi nally c alled f o r a vote on a $74 000 bond i s sue to grade the Lee Coun t y part o f a road betwee n Fort Myers and Punta Gorda. The bonds were approved by a big majority At almos t the same time Charlotte County approved a $150,000 bond issue f01: its section. By early s ummer of 1922 work was started at b oth ends of the mis s ing lin k. But p r ogress was s low-painfull y s l ow The route Jed through a section wher e water stood all through the rai ny seaso n and the road builders bar ely manage d to creep along. Cap italiz ing on the slow progress, t he Dixie Highway advocates i n siste d the Olga-Arcadia road was the mos t practical r oute northward. A nd to spe e d acti o n on their l ong-y earned-for highway t hey forme d a C ommitt ee of Twelve which went forth a nd raised a $28 000 fund to help pay expenses Commi ttee members a lso succeeded in persuading state o fficial s to m ove a convict camp i n t o northern Lee Coun t y so that convicts cou l d work on t h e road. Moreover they secured war surplus road building equipmen t from the a rmy. And t hey induced hundred s o f Fort Myers men to work a day on the road" to help push the project . As a result of the co1llmit.tee s herculean efforts,.. a road be t ween O lga and Arcadia was completed late in 1 922. I t w a s a marl road, a n d narr ow, and almost as bumpy as the Rocky Road to Dublin but it was dec idedly better tha n no road at all. Men who served on the Committee o f Twel ve i nc luded Dav i d Ireland, C. C. Pursley, Virgil Robb, E H. Sykes,

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THE STORY OF FonT MYERs 215 C. P. Staley, D. S. Borland, J. E. F6xworthy,'Morton Milford, L. C. Curt right, Frank C. Alderman, Sr., H. C. Case and Edward Arndt. Tamiami Trail boosters ridiculed the members of the Committee of Twelve and calle d them the Tw.elve Apostles. And the committee's achievement in getting a road built did not cause the Trail advocates to give up their fight, not even when tney were blocked in their efforts to get a bond issue presented to the voters for a bridge across the Caloosa hatchee. They formed the Caloosahatchee Bridge Company and secured a 20"year franchise from the county commiasioners to operate a toll bridge. Incorporators of the Company were R. A. H enderson, Jr., George W. Martin, F. Irving H olmes, Heney Colquitt and E. E. Damkoh ler. Construction work on a wooden bridge, which extended north from Fremont Street in East Fort Myers, was started in the fall of 1928. The work was about three-fourths finished wh en the state road department announced it would not help finance a road leadin g into a toll bridge. The county commissioners then proceeded to take over the bridge for what its builders had invested in it. The builders did not make a cent of profit. The bridge was complete d, and Fort Myers was opened to the world via the Trail, late in the winter of.l924. The officia l opening was held on Wednesday, March 12, It was one of the most important events in the history of the eity and was celebrated in a fitting manner by a parade, a baroectie and rodeo at the fair grounds, a mardi gras, regatta, baby carnival and a fish fry. Fred Philips of the Fifty Thousand Club was general chairman and James E Hendry, Jr., was grand marshal of the parade. The principal speakers at the dedication ceremonies were General W. B. Haldeman, commander-i11-chief of the Un.ited Confederate Vet erans; Coleman DuPont; Barron G. Collier, president of the Tamiami Trail Association; Charles H. Brown, ex-mayor of Tampa, representing Governor Cary A. Hardee; A. Cavalli, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, and Ora E. Chapin, chairman of the publicity committee of the Tamiami Trail Association. Up to the time of the opening of the bridge, Fort Myers had lagged behind other leading cities of peninsular Florida in its participation in the Big Florida Boom. Now it proceeded to demonstrate that it too could boom-in a most gorgeous fashion. Skyward Co tlte Prices! Fort Myers began going real estate crazy during the spring of 1924., just as other resort cities of the state had started to go two years before. They were all victims of the Florida Boom, an insidious disease spread by the germ of quick and easy profits-a disease which swept the state like an epidem ic, afflicting the foolish and the wise, the gullible suckers and the most astute financial wizards. Hardly anyone was immune U nlike most diseases, the Big Boom was very, very pleasant-for a time. It affected its victims like strong wine. It e1Chilarated them, made they gay and happy; put fat rolls of folding money into their pockets.

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216 i> THE STORY OF FORT MYERS When the disease became v i rulent, the whole state acted as t hough it were o n a glorious bender-beautifu lly intoxicated and wildly hysterical. Minor symptoms began Fort Myers before anyone realized such a disease, existed, Its first manifestation was indicated by a new willingness on the part of the voters to approve p u blic improvements without hesitation. A proposed $72,000 bond issue, the largest in the city', s history, was authorized by an overwhelming vote in the summer o f 1919 and the bonds were issued October L They provided $32,500 fo r the water system and fire protection, $4,500 for sewer extensions, and $35,000 for paving downtown streets. The asphalt covered shell streets made in 1914 had disintegrated and the peopl e finally decided that a more permanent type o f surfacing was needec;l. So a contract was let-for paving the downtown streets with blocks The work. on First Street was completed March 12, 1921, and-other streets in the downtown section soon afterward, . White way lights were installed on First Street by the property owners during the late summer of 192L A new city dock, 796 feet long and 22 feet wide, was completed by the Kinzie Brothers Steamer Line on A u g ust 27, The beautiful beaches o f Estero Island were made accessible to motorists for the first ti me i n 192L A movemen t to connect the island with the mainland by a bridge and road was pushed a long late in 1920 by a shrewd, persuasive, co lo rful promoter nal}led Capt Jack DeLysle. D uring World War I, DeLysle had served in the British Army, He to the United States after the war ended and, according to reports, led an adventurous life ; Contradictory stories are told about when and why he came to Fort Mye r s but come he did, s ome time during 1920. He had a beautiful wife who aided him in making friends wit h many of the wealthiest, most influential people in t own, From them he obtained backing running into the thousands of dollars . Forseeing the possibilities of Estero Island as a beach resort, DeLys l e purcha.sed a large tract there and sta.rted development work, laying out a s ubdivi sion called "Seminole Sands" and building a casino. While this in progress DeLysle joine. d with other beach boosters to o rganize the Crescent Beach Road & Bridge Company, capitalized for $25,000, which secured a five-year franchise to build and Qperate a toll bridge between the mainland and the island. Officers of the company we .re B. E. T.instman, president; V. G Widerquist, treasurer, and J ; W. Blandi ng, secretary. The bridge was co mp)eted .late in 1\lay 1921, and a graded road connecting it with McGregor Bou levard near Punta Rassa was open .ed on May 29, A total o{ 54 cents }Vas charged for car and. passe ngers, With the mainland connecting link completed, the island boomed. The resort became so popu lar that when a movement was started in August t'o improve the graded road by paving it with brick, donations of both money and bricks poured in, people pledging bricks. by the thousand.

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THE ST9RY FORT MYERS 217 The hard-surfacing was no sooner completed, how ever, than the hurricane of October 25 came roaring in. DeLysre's casino and one owned by Phillips & Fielder were badly damaged and so were many cottages. The beach developmen t was given a temporary setback and for a time DeLysle was squelched. He left Fort :Myers for a while but came back at the peak of the boom and made quite a splash, even starting another newspaper, the Daily Palm Leaf, to tak e part in political imbroglios. Fort Myers felt so up-and-coming during 1921 that the people decided that the old-fashioned councilmanic forin of government no longer was good e n o u g h for the rapidly growing city. What was needed, a lmost agreed, was the modern, efficient commission -manager form of government. A new charter providing for the governmental switchover was approved April 21, 1921, by a vote of 225 to 54. It was validated by the state 1egislature on :May 19 and at an election on June 28 the first city commissioners were chosen: V. G. Widerquist, Virgil C. Robb, C. C. Pursley, B.R Tinstman and E. H. Sykes. Robb was named by the other comm i ssioners to serve as mayor-commissioner. J. G. Bennett was appointed first c ity manager at $3,000 a took office August 1. One of the first acts of the new officials was to acquire p roperty for a city hall and park-the E. L Evans home on McGregor Boulevard which had a 270-foot frontage on the boulevard and extended back 450 feet to the river. Evans offered the property to the city on July 22 fo r $40,000 but reduced his price to $34,000 on Sep. tembe r 1 The commissioners bought a t that price and on October 1 moved the city offic es into the Evans home, where they have been located ever since. The low land at PIIMf) C()u.rtt'Y ()j C()u.Rty Chol#bt:r o f C4mm-:rct: Modetn Scho ol buildings were etected in Fort l\fycrs d ur ing the boom days. This is a picture of Edgewood School, completed in 1926.

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218 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS the river's edge was filled in during the following February for a public park. It was named E:v.ans Park. ., . . The commissioners soon became dissatisfied with City Manager Bennett. Charging that he was not efficient enough, they asked for' bis resignation and then appointed C. P :staley to take the helm. Except for a brief period in 1925 he served through the Big Boom and on into :l928. Using money obtained from the sale of bonds approved in 1919; the new city officials modernized the fire purchasing new equip ment and installing a' modern fire alarm system. Now, for the first time, a pers on who a fire in the dead of night no longer had to go hunting for a telephone or start s.houting, from a housetop. All he had to do was go to the nearest fire alarm box and pull a lever. ... Housewives of Fort Myers were given a big break by the new city commissioners. For years the had lamented about \>elng forced to cook hot wood stoves or cranky kerosene ranges which habitually gave them trouble. They wanted m ,odern gas stoves but their pleas for the installation of a gas plant fell upon deaf ears--until the new commis sioners took of_fice. They ins tructed Staley to ascertain how much the plant and distribution system would cost. He reported it could be done for $130,000. . . A J:iond issue to vrovide that amount was presented to the voters on December 28, 1923, and was approved by a large majority. On the following March 4, the commissioners awarded a conttact for the 'plant and system to the American Gas Construction Company. The work of building the 'plant laying the gas mairis was rushe4_ to com pletion 'gas Wa$ turned on for the first time'Friday, December 26, 1924, providing Fort' Myers women with a welcomed one-day:later Christmas present. The gas department was swamped by requests for service connections. ,.. The commissioners were not .satisfied with asking for just the $130,000 at the December 28 election. They also asked the voters to approv e bonds totalling $70,000 for storm sewers, $7 5,000 for sanitary sewers, $80,000 .for the water system, and $90,000 for paving street intersections. All the bond issues were approved$445,000 worth, more bonds than ha. d previously been issued in the entire history of the city. Most of the improvements made possible by the bond issues were completed during 1924. At the same time, property owners obligated themselves to pay 90 per cent of the cost of paving approximately .. 23 miles of streets; money for them being obtained through the issuance of paving certificates. Ten per cent of the 'coElt.-was borne by the city. Fort Myers was literally jerked out of the sand (furing that memorable year. In that same year, the skyline of the City was changed by three new buildings which above their neighbors. ;The first structure completed was the Morgan Hotel, started in 1923 by John Morgan Dean, of Providence, R. 1., developer of Dean Park. It was cons .tructed:.on the site of the Sanchez home, which Dean purchased. Before work on the hotel was started, Dean secured permission from city c.ommission to .open Dean Str'eet, thereby making it possible for the hotelto face on tw .. o *eets. . :. ..

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THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS 219 The original Morgan Hotel, opened. in January, 1924, contained only twenty-two rooms. During 1925, seventy more rooms were added and the "new" Morgan was opened November 27 . Fort Myers' first "skyscraper," an eight-story addition to the Franklin Arms Hotel, was completed by the owner, W. P. Franklin, in February, 1924 and opened on March 1. The addition, which contained 84 rooms, cost $300,000. The Franklin Arms was an outgrowth of the old Hill House, long operated by Mrs . Mary F. Hill and later her daughter, M. Flossie Hill, which had been purchased by Franklin in 1918. Franklin, a native of Virginia, h!ld come to Fort Myers to live in 1913 and had become one o f the city's leading citizens. He twice served as mayor and several times was president of the Board of Trade. A keen business man, he built up the largest hardware store south of Tampa . A real old timer of Fort Myers, Albertus A. Gardner, was the builder o f the third "skyscraper" completed in 1924-the four-story Pythian Building on Hendry Street now known as the Richards Building. The structure, which cost $150,000, was erected to serve primarily as a home for Royal Palm Lodge No 12, Knights of Pythias, in which Gardner had long been active. Gardner was undoubtedly one of the foremost developers of Fort Myers. A native of Cleveland, he came to Fort Myers with his father and mother and sister in the early 1880s. With his father, he started the Seminole Canning Company and also planted a large orange grove. Later he built the town's first electric light plant. He also built the first ice plant. He died in the Tampa Hospital October 24, 1941 at the age of 83. Another building, not of the skyscraper class but of the utmost importance to the city, was opened in 1924-on February 4. It was the new passenger station of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, built at a cost of $110,000. Many of the leading dignitaries of Fort Myers were on hand at the new station when No. 83 rolled in and discharged its passengers. "Outside money" began pouring into Fort Myers in a most pleasing manne r during 1924. One of the leading spenders was a six-foot, slender, jovial native of Ann Arbor, Mich ., who had earned wealth in the advertis ing business in New York City-George R. Sims. As an avocation more than a business venture, Sims had taken a leading part in the development of New Port Richey shortly after the end of World War I. Late in 1923 he d ecided to travel down the West Coast and see what Fort Myers looked like. Chance took him into the office of L. C. Curtright, president of the Fort Myers Realty Company. Introducing himself, Sims said he might be interested in buying some business building Not being one to let business pass him by, Curt right straightway proceeded to show Sims all over town and also tell him about Fort Myers' brilliant prospects for the future. Completely sold on the city, the New York advertising man at once began buying choice sites in the business section, most of them located immediately west of the Tonnelier holdings. Within an 18-month petiod his purchases totalled $950,000-in cash.

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220 THE-STORY oF' FonT MYERS To Sims goes a large share of the credit for opening Broadway be tween First and .Main . With Curtright and Henry Colquitt he acquired all the key properties in that neighborhood and in 1924 permission was granted by the city commissioners to up the n ew thoroughfare, with the understanding that the city would not have to stand any of the expense. The new_street was opened and paved early in 1925. The section of Broadway between Main Street and Anderson Avenue, opened years before Sims came to town, was formerly known as Garrett Street. Old timers say it was given that name because a pioneer by the name of Garrett wore a path through the field there on his c ountless trips "down town" to chat with the boys. The first building erected on the" new Broadway was the Arcade, completed by Sims early in 1925 at a cost of $125,000. It was constructed to serve as the post office and a large space in it was leased to the govern ment, along with lock boxes and all equipment, for $1 a year. Sims fixed the leasehold rate so low to get the post office as an attraction which would draw people down to the new business section he intended to create. In addition to the post office quarters, the Arcade provided space for twenty stores and offices. All were rented, at fancy prices; before the building was comp le ted. By that time office and store space ih Fort Myers was at a premium, the demand being far greater than the space available. Real estate men were willing to pay sky-high even for tiny holes in the wall: Henry Colquitt, a progressive real estate developer from Detroit, completed the attractive Colquitt Block on the northwest corner of Broad way and ll'!ain on Octobe r 28, 1925. All the other buildings facing on Broadway were erected by Sims. The three-story Kress .Building on the northwest corner of First and Broadway, opened December 1, 1927, was constructed by Curtttght, Frank C. Alde r, and John M. Dean. The building cost $136,000 and was leased to the Kress CompanY:for fifty years. Sims and his associates of C()urse were not the only builder.s during the epochal building boom of 1925-26. The Robb & Stucky Furniture Company erected its four-story building on Hendry in 1925 at a cost of $50,000; the Elks Lodge completed its new home on First Skeet (now the American Legion Building)' in October, 1925 ; Sykes & Hill, Ford dealers, erected a $60,000 building on Main Street in 1925; .the Fort Myers Realty Company built a $24,000 building at First and Dean; the Pavese brothers constructed the St. Charles Hotel at a cost of $l82,000 and the Edgewood Sc hool costing $161,3o o was started late in f925. . Outstanding buildings completed in 1926 included a $100,000 addi tion to the Florida Power & Light Company plant; the $75,000 Miles Building on McGrego r Boulevard, erected by Dr. Franklin p. Miles; the $60,000 .Heverle Building at Main and Heitman; the $80,000 Starnes Building in East Fort 'lvlyers, the $ 25,000 I,ee County Bank Building at

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 221 Hendry and l\iain, the $30,000 Citizens Bank Building in East Fort Myers, and the Edison School, which with equipmen t cost $250,000. In addition to business buildings and schools, hundreds of houses w e re erected in all parts of Fort Jl.lyers during the phenomenal building spurt of the mid-Twenties. Also, there were churches, apartment houses, f illing stations, garages, tourist courts, hot dog stands--structures of all kinds and for every purpose. Like magic, the city grew-and grew and grew. The extent o f t h e building spree was graphically shown by the record of b uilding permits issued. During all of 1922 they amounted to only $246,310. In 1923 they totalled $463,895 and in 1924, $502 ,750. The n the fireworks started. During 1925 the permits soared to the un beli evable total of $2,794,075. That represented almost as much n 'ew building as had been done in the entire history of Fort Myers from the time the town was incorporated in 1885 up to 1920! At the peak of the building boom the railroads declared an embargo o n f reight shlpments to Florida. Thousands of freight cars had become jammed at bottleneck junction points and, in an attempt to unsnarl the tangle, the railroads put a ban on further shipments. But even the embargo did not stop Fort Myers' builders. They began bringing in vita lly needed' supplies on schooners and barges. Building materials were piled in small mountains on the docks. The building boom continued undiminished during 19 26. The permits that year totalled $2,807,881, about $14,000 mo r e than the year before! l'lt.t c--.tT I The Fort Jlfyers Post Ortlee, erected in 1932.

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222 TuE STORY oF FoRT MYERS Gamblers Helped Build the City Outstanding men from all parts of the nation had a part in the developm e n t of Fort Myer s during the boom days. These men were as different from one another as-any men could possibly be-in appearance and in background. But they had a number of things in common. They all had unbounded faith in Fort Myers, they all loved the city, and they all believed in doing things in a big way. Moreover, they were all gamblers. They did not gambl e at dice, or. cards, or on the horses They gambled on the future of Fort Myers. In the confident belief that the c ity would grow as it had never grown before, they gambled hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of them lost eve ry thing they had. But regardless of whether they lost or won they left their imprint on the city. One of the first subdivisions opened during the Big Boom was de veloped by a nationally known millionaire from New York, Stltte Senator C A. Stadler, who had come to Fort Myers years before as a winter visitor. During the summer of 1922 Stadlet let a contract for grading and paving the streets and laying water mains and sewers in Stadler Central Heigh ts, a 60-acre tract south of the Coast Line tracks. That was just the beginning of his adivities. H e later took a leading part in the development of Semino le Park and in the York Manor sectio n of Rive rside Park. House s erected by him were among the finest in Fort Myers. His own home, built in 1926, was acclaimed one of the most beautiful on the West Coast. He also p u t Stadler's Farms on the market, five and ten-acre tracts which had an appeal to persons who wanted space to move around-and grow vegetables and fruits. From St. Petersburg came one of the pioneer developers of the Sunshine City, C. Perry Snell, and his brother, G. E. Snell, an attorney. Together they developed some of the best sub divisions in the city: Valencia Terrace, Edison Park, Carlton Grove, Allen Park, Kingsto n Grov e and Valenci a Court. During 1925 arid 1926 they built 71 res idences at a cost of $647,000. In addition, they spent $1,250,000 on the subdiv ison develoJ?m ent.s and $50,000 for the construction of the Snell Building at Bayview Court and First Street. Ri verside Subdivision was developed by a quartet of dyed-in-the wool Fort Myers' boosters: Am&s Bolick, of Burlington, Ia.; George W. Dunham, of Battle Creek, Mich.; A. L. White, of Wheeling, W. V a., and Dr J. A. Baird, a retired physician who had made Fort Myers his year round home : Twin Palm Groves was developed by W. A. Faunce, of Chicago, at a cost of $845,000 It was opened October 22, 1925, with the firm of Cavalli, Ma t hews & Lester acting as sales agents. From the end of W orld War I up through the winter of 1924-25 there was a slow but steady rise in real estate values. Nothing spectacular -just an increase justified by the city's healthy growth. But then the insanity began! Here, there and everywhere new .'!shoestring" subdivisions spriin g u p, like mushrooms in a sheep pasture

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THE STORY oF FoRT MYER S 223 after a warm spring rain. Prices of lots started shooting up to fantastic heights. Tremendous profits weremade. Real estate advertising filled the newspapers. But the real estate companie s did not depend on advertis ing alone to sell their lots. They employ e d scores of salesmen. Most of the salesmen wore knickerbockers, according to the fashion of the day. Hence, they became known as the "knickerbocker boys." They came from all walks of life H ere are some of the real estate subdivisions which carried full page ads in the Fort Myers Press during 1926: Alabama Grove-"Will you wait until all this property is sold before you investigate? II you do, you will be the loser!" Palmwood, on Tamiami Trail a t Pine Island Road, "it is without equal today and for the future." San Carlos, "oversub scribed $986,000 at the September 28 opening-now watch for our great Bayshore Development." Russell Park, "In September we sol d $100,000 more lots than we did all last year." Mecca.Gardens, o nly five miles from t h e courthouse-"t h e city will be there b.efor e another year is ended; lots as low as $1 ,000." By the end of 1925 fantastic prices were being asked for lots in some of the established subdivis i ons : Valencia Terrace, $4,4()0 to $7,600; Highland Park, $2,600 to $2,750; AlleR Park $6,000; Carlton Grove, $5,500, and Rio Vista, $5,000. The Palm City Realty Company offend a lot on Park Avenue just off First Street for the "remarkably l ow price of $16,000. And Charles W. Russell advertised that when you bought lots in Russell Park you not only bought land "but a certain amount of surrounding atmosphere." To get wealthy q uickly, the real estate men strongly advised buying acreage. They had some choice bargains to offer. Charles W. Ross of the N. o: Suttles Company proudly announced that he could offer 6,080 acres in Collier County only eight miles from the Tarniami Trail (not yet opened ) for the trifling sum of $32 an acre. He also said he had the privilege of selling an SO-acre tract a half mile off McGregor Boulevard, only six mile s from Fort Myers, for only $100,000-just $1,250 an acre. He had one mor e big bargain. For a limited time only, he announced, he could sell a "downtown" corner, only f our blocks from First Street, for $100,000. The Nall e Realty Company also offered choice town lots in the business block at the new entrance to Edgewoo d, in East Fort M yers, for only $6,500 each. The Newman Williams Company had an extraordinary bargain to offer: "An opportunity that comes just once in a lifetime-1 50 acres on Sanibel Island at only $1,600 an acre." Of course people wanted to get property on option. To get their money, the Barnwell Realty Company advertised that for a 5 per cent binder, the choicest l ots at San Carlos on the Gulf cou l d be secured for 30 days-" and by that time the beach section will be selling a.s it n e ver sold before." A lush year for the real estate salesmen was 1925. Those who faile d to make at least $10,000 were considered rank failures. Many made

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224 THE Sronv o F FoRT MYERs $50,000 and more Few of them, however, saved any money They Jived high, paid fantastic rents f o r swanky living quarters and, in many cases,' invested most of their earnings in real estate. They really practiced what they preached-"buy real estate to become wealthy." Part of the real p;ofits went for liquor. I?ort Myers was theoretically bone dry-but bootleggers did a thriving business. They could be reached by telephone any time during the day or nig ht. They sold liquor by the truckload. That is, they got it in by the truckload-or boatload-'-and sold it out by pints, quarts, gallons or cases. For moon shine they got $5 a gallon from their regular customers. Strangers had to pay mo(e . The best grade of imported Canadian liquor was sold for $6 a quart or $55 a ca-se And the quarts were full quarts-not fifths. Bacardi rum sold for $20 a gallon. In many cases liquor was cheaper than i t is today. Even so, the bootleggers prospered. But "good" won out over "evil." For every dollar the bootleggers got, at least five dollars went to the churches. Many denominations built fine new houses of worship and the pastors' salaries were raised to undreamed of l eve ls. Evangelists who came to town also shared in the donations. At the end of 1925 everyone was confident that the good times would never end. Announcement was made by the Heitman Estates that a million dollar; 10-story, 250-room hotel would be built "positively" within the next year on First Street.between Lee and Jackson, where the U.S. Post Office later was erected. Provision would be made for adding. 200 more rooms later, the announcement said. Plans were announced by the Rotary Club for a fine new Y. M .C.A building, to be financed by the club members. The First Methodist Episcopal Church also came forth with plans for a new church building to cost $300,000. And the Chamber of Commerce began to have plans drawn for a million dollar community hotel. .. The Chamber of Commerce now held undisputed possession of top place among organizations formed to boost the city. Evil 'days had fallen upon the old J3oard of Trade. Its decline began shortly after the close of World War I. Newcomers to Fort Myers, as well as some of the old timers, decided it was not progressive enough to serve a live, growing city so they formed a new organization, the Accelerator Ciub. Its membership was limited to 36 men under 36 years of age. lliembets of the new club wer e real live wires. Some of the most active members were H. C. Case, R. A. Henderson, Jr., Harry Stucky, Dave Ireland, Channing Page, Ed Page, Virgil C. Robb, H. C. Williamson, Harold Burt, Douglas Warner, Ely McCord, John Mohl, Allen Powell, Ted Evans, Morehouse .Stevens, Milh1rd Roach; C. Q. Stewart, R. Vivian Lee, S. Watt .Lawler, Dick Boyd Ed Ashmead, Dave Wilkins, Harry K. Davison, Bob Battey and C. C > Purs.ley. Next came the Boosters Club, headed by Francis W. Perry. Later the Fifty Thousand Club was formed with Henry Co.Jquitt as one o f the moving spirits . The Chamber of Commerce came into being during 1922

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THJ:: STORY OF FORT MYERS 225 as a result of the squabbling over whether the Dixie Highway or the Tamiami Trail should be given preference in highway construction. The old Board fought for the Dixie Highway; the Chamber fought for the Trail. When the battle finally ended the two factions buried the hatchet and merged into one organization, the Chamber. During the Boom days, and the l ess glamorous days which follow ed, the Chamber continued to carry the torch for a bigger and better Fort Myers. Barron Collier Geu a County Of all the celebrities who had a hand in Lee County a.fairs during the Big Boom, no one cut half as wide a swath as the multi-millionaire sheet car advertising magnate of New York City, Barron G. Collier. Husky in build, white haired and suave, Collier had a way of making his millions get to work. His first visit to Lee County was made in 1911 at the request of his friend John M. Roach, president of the Chicago Street Railway Company, who then owned Useppa Island and a 200-ac r e citrus grove at Deep Lake, far in the Big Cypress. Taking a liking to Useppa Island, with the famous lodge which Roach had developed, Collier bought i t for $100,000 on August 10, 1911. Large though this purchase was, Collier was not satisfied. He wanted a vast domaia which he could call his very own. Cruising up and ill Pllrm-, o/ A. L. Kin:k For nearly two decadc s the pav ilion at the end of Fort pleasure pier ser ve d as the city's center -it was torn down in 19 and material 'rom it was used in t .hc c onstruction by the Army of a social center for soldiers in Waterfront Park.

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226 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS down the lower coast, he acquainted himself with the back country and conceived the idea of acquiring the holdings of large land companies in southern Lee County On April 4, 1 921 he purchased the Deep Lake Grove f r om Roach and the estate of Walter G. Langford, a part owner. He also bought a 13-mile railroad which connected the grove with tidewater. A year later, in April, 1922, he bought 750,000 acres from the Southern States Land & Developmen t Company. He made another large purchase on May 3, 1923, increasing his holdings to more than a million acr es. Desiring to proceed with the development of his holdings in his own way, Collier took steps to persuade the state legislature to create a new county in southern L ee. To do this he sought the assistance of Robert A. Henderson, Sr., of Fort Myers. Henderson was elected state representative in 1922 after a stiff fight with H. A. "Berry" Hendr y in a campaign in which the division of Lee County was the principal issue. Henderson stood for division; Hendry was opposed to it. But in the campaign no mention was made of creating a county for Collier. The tussle pertained entirely to the creation of Hendry County out o f the 35 northeastern townships of Lee, with LaBelle to be the county seat. Henderson won by a nan-ow margin, 733 to 704. He lost For t Myers 173 to 319 but he won swee ping victories in other key sections. He carried Immokolee 21 to 6, L aBelle 1 58 to 6, Caxambas 21 to 1, Clewiston 41 to 1 and at Marco he made a clean sweep, getting all of the 26 v otes cast. Analysis of the vote indica t es that the voters of southern Lee, as well" as those of northeastern Lee, were dissatisfied with the rule of the crowd" in Fort Myers. Lee County's failure to provide an adequate road system undoubted l y had a bearing on t he results. In asking Hender son to favor the creatio n of a county in southern Lee, Collier offere. d .strong. inducements. He promised to stand the entire expense of the Tamiami Trail through the property he owned and use his ilifluence to get it extended f r om coast to coast. Inas much as work on the T r ail in that area had been bar ely started and since no one knew wher e money was to be obtained to complete the project, Collier's offer was almost in-esistible and Henderson decided that it would be f olly to turn it down. So when the division measure c'ame before the state l egislature in the spring of 1923, he fa,r o red it and Colli e r County came into existe n ce on July 9. Hendry County was created a t the same time. I t was named in honor of Capt. F. A. Hendry, pioneer South Florida. booster. Following the creation of Collier County, Collier proceeded rapidly with the development of the townsite of Everglades, the county seat. To provide transportation for the tiny community, then almost completely isolated, he formed the Florida Railroad & Navigation Company, bought out the Fort Myers Steamship Company which had bee n started some yea r s before by I. W. Riggs and Harry Botts, and established headquarters in Fort Myers, taking over the purchased company' s wh:uf, warehouse and offices. This e stablishment was renamed the Collier Terminal. .,

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THE STORY OF FORT M YERS 227 The Collier L ine, as i t was commonly known, started off with the City of Everglades It was purchased primarily to serve Everglades but outside firms provide d it with good business from the start. Collier later added to his "fleet" the "City of Tampa," the "City of Punta Gorda," the "Ci t y of Fort Myers" and finally the "City of Punta Blanca." The Colli e r Terminal was destroyed by fire on July 11 1926. A new terminal was then built on the site of the old one. It was completed February 1, 1927 Completion of good highways and truck competition finally put the Collier Line out of business, late in the '20s. Collier also was the founder of Tamiami Trail Tours. This bus company, now one of the largest transportation companies in the South, was an outgrowth of a line started to connect Everglades with Fort. Myers. Before the Tamiami Trail was completed, the bus ran to Marco where connections were made with a steamer which ran t o Everg l ades. In 1925, Collier's outfit purchased the Gul f-Atlantic Transportation Company, which provided cross-state service. I n early 1926 the South Florida Bus Se rvice which ran busses to Sarasota and Lakeland, was absorbed. Later, other transportation companies w ere acquired and service was widely exte nded Co;;;rtuy o/ Lr!
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228 TKt: STORY O F FonT MYERS To. provid e telephone service for his domain, Collier in 1 924 bought the Lee County Telephone Company and four other companies in south Florida. Exchanges were established at Fort :Myers, Punta Gorda, Arcadia, Everglades, Immokal ee, LaBelle, Moore Haven and six other towns, thereby serving twelve coun ties and having tolllines extendin g from the Atlantic at Fort Pierce to various points on the West Coast. Early in 1922 Collier purchased practically all of Marco Island which had been first settled by Capt. W D. Collier in 1871. In 1926, the San Marco Corporation surveyed the north end of the island for a town site and subdivided it into 525 lots. Grandiose plans for the developmeht of a city were made and in 1 927 the state legislature granted a chat-te r which incorporated the e ntire island under the name Collie r City. Because of the bursting of the Florida bubble Collier City never materialized. Head Over Heel$ into Debt Fort Myers' faith in the future was unlimited and its enthusiasm was unbounded during the golden, glittering, glamorous year of 1925. The city was growing as it had never grown before. More people poured in every day-real estate me n carpenters, bricklayers, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, clerks, laborers-men and women from every walk of life. Every hote l every rooming house was filled to overflowing. Houses could not be built fast enough to take care of the demand. No one knew exactly how much the city had grown in population. The federal cens u s of 1920 had shown 3,678 inhabitants, a gain of 1,215 ove r 1910, but everyone was positive that by 1925 the total had leaped to at least 15,000. Many said confidently that it was closer to 20,000 or even 25,000. The exact population gain was uncertain but there was no uncertainty about the prosperity of the c i ty The banks fairly dripped with money. Their deposits had leaped. from a trivial $340,667 in 1910 and an unimpressiv e $1,175,414 at the close of World War Ito a gloriou s total of $5,697,442-and they kept mounting all the t ime. The city had spread out in all di rections, miles up and down the river and far to the south. To keep pace with the growth, the c ity limits had been extended several times. At the beginning of 1925 the town' s boundaries encl osed 1,900 acres. But the boom-tj rne subdividers, whose properties lay far beyond the existing boundaries, insisted that the c ity limits should be extended farthermuch, much farther. Only by getting their properties inside the city limits could they get water, sewers, gas and other public improvements withjhe city guaranteeing payment of the expens e. Hearkening to the seductive pleas of the subdividers, the city com missio ners asked the state legislature to amend the Fort My e r s city charter to permit t h e annexing of more territory. The amendment went through and the acreage within the city limits was soon ballooned from 1,900 to 15, 0001 Overnight, Fort Myers increased eight times in size 1

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 229 The obliging commissione r s thereupon proceeded to take care of the subdividers' needs in a generous manner They called an election and asked the voters to approve bond issues totalling $3,500,000, eight times as large as the previous record breaking issue of$445,000 approved December 28, 1923. Breathtaking though the new request was, it was approved by a handsome majority-the voters then were in no mood to quibble. What were a couple of million more or less? To get work started, the commissioners sold $1,750,000 worth of bonds-half of the approved issue. They were dated April 1, 1926 This was the way the bond money was to be spent: sewers, water, $400,000; playgrounds, $220,000; gas, $160,000; fire, $125,000, and incinerator, $45,000. Total, $1,750,000. People who fretted about the city's mounting bonded debt always were reminded by the optimists of what Thomas A. Edison had said about Fort Myers back in 191 4 Predicted the electrical wizard: "There is only one Fort Myers and 90,000,000 people are g oing to find this out." Edison was now co ming to Fort Myers each winter to live in his beautiful Seminole Lodge on McGregor Boulevard. His f riend Henry Ford, had purchased the place next to him on June 6, 1916, paying $20,000, and also came regularly each winter. Their annual visits gave Fort Myers priceless publicity. Edison did not waste his time while in Fort Myers. He had built a laboratory on his proper ty, brought in a staff of expert technicians, and kept busy trying to find a which would yield rubber on a paying basis. American tire manufacturers, then at the mercy of the BritishDutch rubber cartel, were backing Edison in his experiments and the national press was giving great publicity to his efforts. All of which kept Fort Myers much in the national limelight. Tho mas A. Edison presented diploma s to members of the 1929 graduating class of Fort Myers High S c hool.

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230 THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS The city a lso was getting fine publicity on the s p o rts pages of the nation. As a result of the efforts of R. Q. Richards, then president of the Kiwanis Club, Con nie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics were coming to Fort My ers each year for: spring training at Terry Park, donated to the county in 1906 by Mrs. Tootie McGregor Terry. The Athletics always made the headlines, win or lose because of co lorful Connie and of course Fort Myers shared in the publicity. o Another kind of publi city, mu c h l ess desired, came a s a resu l t of the hunicane of September 18, 1926, one of the worst in the history of Foit Myers. In comparison with the damage done by the storm at Mia mi around Lake Okeechobee and at many other places, Fort Myers escape d lightly, but even so, the blow was bad enough. The storm began late Friday, September 17, and increased in intensity all night and the next morning, reaching its peak in mid-afternoon. Buildings in Fort Myers were unroofed and a few were blown down by the wind which attained a velocity of 75 miles an hour. Four automobiles were blown from the docks and many trees toppled over. The worst damage was done along the gulf where the only loss of life occurred. Waves passed entirely over Punta Rassa, sweeping away all the buildings except the cable station. The last to leave the point were Mr. and Mrs W. E. Bradley, w h o owned the Punta Rassa store, Mr s James J. McCool and a sister of Mr s Bradl ey. Their car was swamped by the rising water. Mr. and Mr s. Bradley escaped by climb ing a tree but M rs. M cC ool and the other woman drowned. Two children also drowned at Pine Island. The Thomas Casino cottages on Estero Island were destroyed and the Fort My e r s Beach bridge was wrecked. Then Came th e Mom ing After There is no doubt but that the hurricane of September 18, 1926, marked the end of the Florida boom so far as Fort Myers was co n cerned. Many persons said that the storm caused the b ursting of the gor geously irradiant prosperity bubble. More analytical observers agreed, however, that the crash would have come even if the weather had remained ideal. There is good evidenc e that the bubble had been punctured months befo r e hurricane c louds darkened the horizon and that the high winds merely blew away the la s t fond h opes of the starry-eyed optimist s that the boom would continu e forever. R e al estate sales had started to fall off alarmingly early in the year. But salesmen said that the market was "adjusting itself." They also blamed t h e chill winds and dismal skies which plagued Florida in January, 1926. When the bad weather ended and the sun blazed forth again in all its glory sales picked up a little. But salesmen had to work harde r than ever before to get prospects to sign on the dotted line. By spring, veteran x-eal estate men sensed that something was definitely w rong and by fall even the mos t unobserving were forced to realize the speculative boom was over.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 231 The crash would have been recognized much earlier had it not been for the fact that building activities continued at a boom level through almost the entire year. To handle the work, building trades craftsmen remained in the city and stores continued to do a good business. But by October real estate advertising had disappeared almost completely from the newspapers, a sure sign that the boom market had ended. Few persons were ready to admit, however, that disaster was immi nent. 'l'he city commissioners continued with its program of public im provements, spending bond money to put down sewers and gas water mains in subdivisions where no lots had been sold for weeks. Late in the year the commissioners awarded contracts for the con struction of a new city recreation pier at Evans Park to cost $58,236, a splendid municipal auditorium at the end of the pier to cost $47,552, and a municipal bathing pool to cost $22,882. All three were completed in the spring o f 192 7. Determined to attract enough tourists to keep the ci t y moving along, the Chamber of Commerce spent $22,172 for a newspaper and magazine advertising campaign during the winter of 1926-27. De spite all attempts to keep the boom a-booming, it was obvious to everyone by late November that there was no hope of re-blowing the super -d ooper prosperity bubble. Most of the members of the kn icker bocker army had packed their bags and departed long before. Now the building trades craftsmen also began moving out. Laborers left and so did clerks, and stenographers, and professional men. Day after day the exodus continued. Prices of all kinds of property plunged downward at a sickening pace. To save something from the wreckage, everyone tried to sell his holdings-but there were mighty few buyers, even at give-away prices. The crash hit Fort Myers a terrific blow. Many persons lost their life's savings; hundreds were so heavily burdened by debts that they did not get back on thei r feet again until years later. Many business firms went bankrupt. Scores of houses, apartments, business buildings and hotels were sold at sacrifice prices to satisfy mortgages. When the effects of the boom intoxication began to wear off, Fort Myers looked around in sort of a bewildered daze and started taking stock of its assets and liabilities. On the debit side of the ledger, people found many unpleasant facts. The worst was the city's heavy load of bonded indebtednesS. Fort Myers had been far more conservative than other cities of comparable size in peninsular Florida and if the reaction to the boom had not been so severe, the city probably could have retired the bonds without difficulty. Even as it was, bond payments were continued until disaster struck the entire country during the Great Depression. The worst immediate effect of the crash was the depression of real estate values. Fort Myers had undoubtedly overbuilt and years passed before the demand again caught up with the supply. As a result, prices were kept at an abnormally low level-and everyone suffered except the few who were able to buy a t the bargain prices.

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232 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS O n the credit side of the ledger, Fort Myers found many things to be thankful for. Perhaps the greatest windfall of the boom was an excellent system of modern, fireproof s chool buildings. Four excellent buildings were constructed during the lush Twenties: the high school which with equipmentcost$224,5 00 ; the Edgewood School, $161,300; Edison Park School $250,650, and the Tice Grammar Sc h ool, $175,000. At 'the end of the boo m the eight schools then in the city were valued at $1,844,755 Many excellent schoo l s also were constructed throughout the county. Because of the boom, Fort Myers also got many miles of badly needed paved streets and sidewalks a greatly enlatged water system, a gas. plant whic h had l o n g been wanted, modern fire fighting apparatus a city-wide sewerage system, a municipal pier and auditorium, and a municipal bathing pool. All these things might have come even though there had not been a boom but undoubtedly they would have been long delayed. Far more important than anythin g e ls e the Big Boo m a ls o assured completion of the Tamiami Trail, made possib l e the reclamation of the invaluable Iona farming district, and caused officia ls of the Seaboard Railroad to complete plans for extending tracks into the Fort Myers district. These fruits of the boomtime days were to have a profound effect upon the future of the city. And, as they ripened, Fort Myers had ample r eason for l ooking ahead with confidence even though the collapse of the boom had dealt the city a grievous blow

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C I-IAPTI:R V III U P AGAI N THEN DO W N THEN UP AGAIN DY NAMIC AND FAR-SIGHTED PRESIDENT of the Seaboard Air Line Railway System, S. Davies Warfield, had unlim i t e d faith in the future of southwest Florida. He demonstrated t hat faith during the bleak summer and autumn of 19 26 after even the most optim istic had been force d to realize that the beautiful F lorida bubble had finally burst. Instead o f r etrenching as others w e r e doing Warfield issued orders for wo r k to be rushe d on an extension of the Seaboard to Fort Myers. The ending of the speculative boom did not disturb him-he was convinced that southwest Florida would continu e to forge ahead, crash or no crash and he wanted to p lace the Seaboard in a position where i t could profit f rom the forthcoming d evelopment. He had no intention of allowing h i s arch competitor, the Coast Line, to monopolize the business indefinitely --so he acted a ccording ly. Warfield's plans did not provide for merely laying tracks to Fort Myers They also provided for building an ex tension up the riv et to LaBelle another down the coast to Napl es, and a third to Punta Rassa. At Punta R assa, Warfield intended to do great things. He confid e ntly believed he could develop that cattle shipping point of bygon e days into one of the leading port cities of Florida, greater even than Tampa. He e n visione d the day when the harbor there would be packed with ships from Central and South America and thriving industries would be kept busy handling imports. The S eaboard president did not publicize the fact that h e intended to go below the Ca l oosahatchee. h e done so, he wou l d h ave had to pay fan cy prices for the necessary right-of-way, particularly so s ince m uch o f the land require d was held by friend s of the Atlantic Coast Line. So he p r oceeded quietly, disclos ing hi s plans to only a few trus t e d friends. James E Hendt-y, Jr., playe d an important role in t h e land purchasing deals. Operating as Warfield's personal representati ve, he purchased practically all the right-of-way required without letting any one know w h.y he was buying the land. To hasten compl etion of its extensio ns, the Seaboard put mor e than five hundred m en t o work during the last half of 1926. The tracks were laid to Fort Myers o n November 24 and two days later the first Seaboard freight train arrived in the city. By Dec e mb e r 23 the Naples extension was co mplet ed. Fort Myers celebrated i n glorious fashion when the first passenger train arrived on January 7 1927, bringing with it President Warfield,

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234 THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS Governor John W. Martin and six hundred guests of the Seaboard rail road. Speeches of welcome were made by Mayor Frank Kellow and S. 0 Godman, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and two hundred autos were on hand to take visitors on trips through the city. To commemorate the occasion, the Tropical News put out a special edition of nearly 1 00 pages, chockful of advertising and good wishes to the Seaboard. passenger service was begun by the railroad on January 8, two trains arriving and departing daily, the West Coast Limited a n d the Orange Blossom Special. During the same month, January, the Sea board passenger station was completed at a cost of $75,000 and the freight station at a cost of $66,000. Tracks to LaBelle were laid in February and to Punta Rassa soon afterward. But Warfield's dream of developing Punta Rassa into a great port city never materialized. Because of his untimely death-and the Great Depression-the Seaboard soon forgo t Punta Rassa existed. In .an attempt to keep one step ahead of the Seaboard, the Atlantic Coast Line in 1927 extended its tracks from Bonita Springs twenty-eight miles south to Collie r City on the island of Marco. The road to Bonita Springs had been built in 1923 by the Fort Myers Southern Railroad, a subsidiary of the A.C.L. headed by Frank C. Alderman, Sr. Important though the railroad extensions were to southwest Florida in 1927 they were destined to be soon eclipsed by a libbon of asphalt which, when unwound, bridged the once impenetrable G lad e s and linked Fort Myers with Miami-the famous Tamiami Trail. The Tamiami Trail ls Completed Way back in 1914 when European nations getting started in the grim business of mass murder, highway enthusiasts of Sou t h Florida began dreaming of the day when Tampa, Fort Myers and Miami would be connected by a road passable at all seasons of the year. The dreamed-of road was called the Tamiami Trail. The first bond issues to make the Trail a realit y were approved in 1915 by Lee and Dade counties. But the issues were so small that the money was all spent before the highway was even half started. Then came seemingly endless arguments regarding what route should be followed through the swamps and marshes of the Glades, and mo r e arguments regarding the best method of raising the necessary money. Then the United States entered World War l-and the Trail was temporarily forgotten. After the war, work on the Trail north of Fort Myers was pushed ahead steadily. But south of Fort Myers little progress was made, particularly on the cross--state section. To foc us public attention on the Glades portion of the Trail, a small band of good roads boosters left Fort Myers on Wednesday, April4, 1 923,

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THE STORY OF FoRT MYERs 235 determined to drive through to Miami. On the second day out their auto mobiles became mired in the swamps; thereafter, progress was measured by yards instead of by miles The Trail Blazers became lost Airplanes were sent out to search for them. Three weeks passed before the patty reached Miam i foot-sore, weary and hungiy, and minus three of the ten cars which started the journey. The names of the intrepid adventurers must b e preserved. They were: W.Stanley Hanson, F. C Garmon, Cyril Shawcross, R. W. Giles, L. J Van Duyl, Geo rge Dunham, Milton Thompson, Ora E. Chapin, J. W. Hill Grover Hackney, L A. Whitney, C. P. Corri gan, C lark Taylor, F B. Hough, and :Maurice Ayer, of Fort Myers; Frank Whitman and Russell Kay, of Tampa; A H Andrews, Alfred Christensen, F. S Lewis and Charles H. Hun t, o f Estero; George B. Prime, of Sarasota; John P. Cosden, of Easton, Md., and George P. Smit h, of Everglades. With these white men went two Seminole Indian guides, Assumhachee and Cornapatchee. T h e achievement of the Trail Blazers was chronicled in detail by newspapers throughout the country and gave the Trail priceless publicity -but it did not greatly accellerate construction work. Even after the bridge across the Caloosahatchee was opened on March 13, 1924, (see Chapter VII), progress on the Glades section was made with agon izing slowness. Not until the Trail was taken over by the State Road Depart ment in 1926 was work speede d u p Downtown Fort Myer$ M it looked in 1945.

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236 THE SToRY oF FoR.T MYERS Finally, however, in April, 1928, the Highway was completed.....,-at a cost of $9,000,000. It was officially opened April 26 1928. Fort Myers celebrated a-s it had never celebrated before. The town was thrown open to the hundreds of highway enthusiasts who joined in a motorcade from Tampa to Miami. The hotels were crowded. Speeches of welcome were made by Dr. Fons A. Hathaway, chairman of the State Road Department; Harry J. Wood, chairmanof the Fort Myers general committee; John E. Morris, chairman of the county commissioners; Vv. Stanley Hanson, one of the original Trail Blazers; Mayor Elmer E. Hough; Baron G. Collier, who spent nearly a million dollars on the Collier County section of the road; Senator Edgar Waybright, of the Gulf Coast Highway Association, and Assumhachee, Seminole Indian guide. Highway enthusiasts had something else to be thankful for in 1928. A new bridge was constructed over Mantanzas Pass connecting Fort Myers Beach with the mainland. It was built to replace the wooden structure which had been washed out in the hurricane of September, 1926, and later flimsily rebuilt. A new highway to the beach, providing a shorter route, was constructed during 1926-27. With the new highway and the new bridge, Fort Myers Beach entered into a new pha-se of development. Politicians Have Their Woes Completion of Seaboard extensions below the Caloosahatchee aided greatly in boosting the morale of crash-stricken Fort Myers during 1927. So did the news that the State Road Department was putting the final on the Tamiami Trail. Even the most despondent victims of the boom-bursting began to perk up and look toward the future with a less jaundiced eye. Because of the partially restored confidence, few persons objected when the city purchased the Fort Myers Golf & Yacht Club in the fall of 1927 and went into the golfing business. The club had had a hecti c existence Founded in 1906 it built a club house and a golf course of sorts in East Fort Myers. But it soon passed out of existence, due principally to the fact that bad roads made it next to impossible for members to get to the club house. An attempt to revive the club was made in 1914 by J.D. Lynn and R. H. Cates but World War I stymied their efforts. After the war, when the first exhilarating effects of the Frorida Boom began to be felt, the town leaders joined together in a concerted drive to provide Fort Myers with a club house and golf course which would be a credit to the up-and-coming city. A whirlwind membership drive was held, a fine tract of land was purchased, Donald Ross was em ployed to construct a course, and a club house was built. During the Boom, the club fared .quite well but when the crash came it soon got into financial difficulties. In July, 1927, the club officials glumly in formed the city commissioners that the city would have to come to the rescue if it didn't want to see the club pass into oblivion.

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THE STORY OF FonT MYERS 237 The city fathers mulled the problem week after week. They did not want to put the city farther into debt but neither did they want Fort l\1yers to become a winter resort city which lacked a golf course where its sports-loving guests could amuse themselves. So on August 29, 1927, they purchased the club's property for $165,000-$9,000 in cash, $106,000 in time warrants, and the city to ass ume a $501000. mortgage held by Dr. i\1. 0. Teny. Operation of the club was turned over by the commissioners to a golf committee which proceeded to make the golf course one of the leading assets of the city. For a few years during World War II the club made money but usually the expenditures slightly exceeded receipts. However, Fort Myers continued to have a good golf course, and club house, and that's all that really counted. In another move to make Fort Myers more attractive to winter visitors, and to home folks as well, the commission in September, 1928, contracted for 6,954 trees to be planted o n the city streets. The contract was awarded to James E. Hendry, Jr., owner of Everglades Nursery, who offered to supply the trees and plant them for $26,000, payments to be made over a five year period. Carrying out the contract, Hendry planted 1,214 coconut palms, 2,232 cocos p l umoso, and many Australian pines, Australian oaks, and royal palms. It was the largest street beautification program eve r attempted by any community in southwest F lorida and attracted wide attention. The plantings extended 37 miles on 67 streets. After the summer of 1928 the city commissioner s gave little tho ught to more improvements for Fort Mye rs. They were kept busy trying to defend themselves against charges of everything exc ept high treason hurled at them by a disgruntled public. The commissioners' troubles dated back to Boom days when almost everyone in Fort Myers wanted improvements of all sorts-and to heck with the cost. To pay for the improvements, bond issue after bond issu e was approved by overwhelming majorities. But when the crash came, and taxes had to be increased to meet the bond payments, heartrending lamentations were heard at every hand . The commissioners were accused of all sorts of things-senseless extravagance, waste, inefficiency and so forth and so on. The public's ire was directed particularly at Commissioner A. B. Cutter, an ex-Army major who had served as city manager in 1925 and had been zealous in pushing costly improvements in out-in-the-sticks subdiv isions which by 1928 had become overgrown with weeds. Many voters also were peeved at Mayor Elmer Hough and Commissioner Clinton Bolick because they attempted to defend Cutter's deeds, saying he had given Fort Myers only what the voters had demanded. Petitions to recall all three were circulated and enough angered voters signed to necessitate a recall election on August 31. Cutter escaped by o nly two-thirds of a vote; the others by slightly larger margins.

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238 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Getting a little revenge, the commissioners theri proceeded t o fire the city manager, C. P. Staley. They sa:id he was the cause of most of the dissension. Lester H. Baker was appointed to succeed Staley, as act ing manager. Ousting of Staley did not end the commissioners' troubles. Mo r e petit ions demanding recall of the officials-this time, all five of them-were circ ulated and another elect ion was called for October 2. The commis s ioners escaped, but by slim margins. Unable to unseat the commissioners via the recall route, the irate public then demanded that they should be dispe nsed with by changing the city charter, abolishing the city manager-commissioner form o f gov ernment and going back to the councilmanic form. This was done by the State Legislature in April, 1929 Fort Myers had had a city manager for eight years-and that was enough. The firs t election under the revised charter was held July 19, 1929 . The contest for mayor developed into a free for all, with four men seek ing the office William J Wood was elected, getting. 955 votes. J. H. Fitch received 827 votes; S. 0. G odman, 115, and C. L. Starnes, 13. To add to the merriment, someone cast a ballot for Henry Ford. Councilmen e lected were Holland McCormick Virgil C. Robb F. E Forehand and Martin E. Shultz. Nell Barden was elected city clerk, collector and treasurer; C J Raby, tax assessor and E. Dixie Beggs, municipal j udge. After 1929 the people of Fort Myers had something e lse to worry about besides politics-the Grea t Depression. Then Came the Great Depression Fort Myers' hopes of recovering quickly from the effects of the collapse of the Florida Boom were shattered by the devastating stock market crash of October, 1929 Before the year ended stock losses throughout the nation totalled fifte e n billion dollars The United States began to be paralyzed, economically and psychologically And with each passing year the paralysis became more severe. During the depression, Fort Myers at no time had an unemployment pro blem comparabl e to that of great northern industrial ci t ies B u t even so, the problem was bad enough. Building activities had come to a dead halt, throwing many men out of work. The citrus industry was badly hit -the demand :for oranges and grapefruit became so small that many growers let their fruit rot on the trees. Prices for vegetables dropped so low that farmers could not get their money back. The cattle industry was crippled. The number of winter visitors dropped sharply. Fort Myers was dealt a staggering blow on April 16, 1931, when the Bank of Fort Myers and T rust Company closed its doors-and never reopen ed. Depositors had $618 755 in the bank. Fred A. Hubbard was named liquidator. He was succeeded in 1933 by M A. Smith. Liquidation of the liank was not completed until 1939 Deposito r s received 59 5 per cent of their proven claims.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 239 Because of the depression, Fort Myers lost one of its newspapers during 1931, the Tropical News being merged with the Fort Myers Press to form the Fort Myers News-Press. Both papers had prospered during the Boom but had lost steadily during the Jean years which followed, and the depression made their position eve n more Deciding that it would be better for Fort Myers to have one strong paper than two weak ones, the owners of the papers arranged to consolidate. Carl Hanton, editor and publisher of the Tropical News, became publisher and editor of the News-Press. (See Index: Newspapers.) As the depression continued, conditions in Fort Myers became steadily worse, just as they did everywhere throughout the nation. Tax payments dropped so low that the city could no longer make payments on outstanding bonds, totaling about three million dollars, and it began to be plagued with mandamus actions. Fort Myers was dealt another blow on July 18, 1932, when the Lee County Bank and Trust Company closed its doors, unable longer to meet depositors' demands for cash. Several wealthy stockholders came to the rescue and the bank was reopened on August 28 but only after all except 20 per cent of deposits were frozen. After the banking moratorium of March, 1933 the bank was reorganized as the Lee County Bank. The old depositors finally received 46.52 per cent of their deposits, but not until long afterward. ';['he First National Bank also had grievous troubles. It was unable to reopen after the bank moratorium and was placed in the hands of : . Downtown Fort 1\fyers as it looks from above the. Caloosahatchee.

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240 THE STORY Ol' FORT MYERS Frank C Alderman conservator. Its unsecured deposits then totalled $391,921.95 Finally, on June 13, 1934, an entirely new bank was organized, the F irst National Bank in Fort Myers, a n d depositors of the old bank received 50 per cent of their claims. Assets of the old bank were liquidated by three trustees: G eorge Kingston, Fred A Hubbard and Harry M. McWhorter. The closing of all the city s banks during the national bank crisis tied up mote than a million doliars of depositors' money a n d almost paralyzed business activities. Fort Myers dropped lower a n d lower in the slough of despondency. By the spring of 1935 the city was in desperate straits. Tax collec tions amounted to only 35 per cent of the total due; not enough money was coming into the c ity' s coffers to pay employees' salaries, to say nothing of making payments on city bonds or setting up funds for work relief projects. To raise money, David Shapard resorted to drastic measures after he was elected mayor in March, 1935 Backed by an able, courageous council he threatened to cut off all city services from properties on which taxes were water, gas and eve n f ire protection-: Each day he gave out the names of ten delinquen t p roperty owners who would be deprived of city services on the same day the following week. Names were p u blished in the News-Press-on Page One. The reaction was swift and terrific. Many of the exposed delinquents wet e outraged and said Shapard shouldbe driven out of town. But he stuck by his gunsthe delinquents paid up, and the city kept operating. Shapard's p lan attracted national attention. It was adopted by few other cities, not because it wouldn' t work but because few other city official s had enough cou rage to carry out such a drastic program. During the depression days, Fort Myers offered sensational real estate bargains-for those who had money Lots in almost any part of town could be purchased by paying off back taxes. Houses could be bought for a fourth of what they cost to build, with the lot thrown in for good measure. Bus i ness buildings could be had for a so n g. Persons fortunate enough to be able to buy at that time reaped a rich harvest. For every $ 1,000 invested in real estate during the depths of the depression, $5,000 or more was ret urned in the early Fort ies. For t hose who had money, the depression was no hardship. Food cost next to nothing. Here are some examples, taken from newspaper ads in April, 1933: Smoked bacon, lSc per pound; hamburger, two pounds for 19c; fresh dressed hens, 19c per pound; Iamb legs, 6 pound average, 98c per leg; spare r ibs, three pou nds for 25c; tuna fis h lOc per can; pink salmon, three can s for 25c; fresh eggs, 15 cents a dozen; pure kettle rendered lard, 6c per pound; o leomargarin e, 9c per pound; Wisconsin cream cheese, 13c per pound; evaporated milk, four tall cans, 18c; soap powder, 10 boxes for 25c ; canned tomatoes, string beans or lima beans, four No.2 cans for 25c and No.1 Maine potatoes, ten pounds for lOc.

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THE STOI'tY OF FoRT MYERS 241 Early in the depression Fort Myers' unemployment problem was partly solved by the construction of the concrete bridge over the Caloosahatchee, completed in October, 1930, at a cost ot $700,000. This new bridge was the final solution to the old, old problem of how to cross the river. Back in pioneer days settlers on the north bank had to go back and forth "to town" in their skiffs or rowboats. In 1887, after the Florida Southern had built its railroad to Punta Gorda, Captain Peter Nelson got a franchise from the state to operate a ferry across the river to connect with a hack between Punta Gorda and Fort Myers. Two years later Captain Nelson sold the franchise to R. A. Gillis who operated the ferry for several years and then sold it to Santa Vivas. The Vivas ferry is still remembered by many old tim e rs. When the wind was blowing it was propelled by sails; at other times, it was "poled" across. The ferry went out of business in 1924 when the wooden bridge over the river was opened to traffic. The new concrete bridge, named Edi. son Bridge in honor of Thomas A. Edison, was dedicated February 11, 1931, on the famous inventor's 84th birthday. Included among the honored guests at the dedication were Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus H. K. Curtis, James D. Newto n and Harvey S. Firestone. The dedication ceremonies were arranged by a committee headed by Nat'G. Walker and Ronald Halgrim, then secretary of the Chamber of Commerce. Speakers included Gov. Doyle E. Carlton, Mayor Josiah Fitch, R. W. Bentley and Roy Bishop. A plaque on the bridge was unveiled by Esten B. Fletcher, Imperial Potentate of the Shriners. Another construction project which helped to solve the unemployment problem early in the depression was the new federal post office, completed October 30, 1933, at a cost of $200,000. The new post office was secured largely through the efforts of B. C. Foxworthy who had been active in Republican politics for many years. During the Hoover administration he kept bombarding Washington with requests so insistently that Congress finally approved the necessary appropriation. The post office site was purchased from the Heitman estate for $10,000. The site is one of the most h istoric spots in town. The log house which occupied the spot in pioneer days wasbuilt when Fort Myers was established in 18 5 0 and used as headquarters for the commanding officer. Legend has it that a daughter was born there to Captain and Mrs. Winfield Scott Hancock, the first white child born in Fort Myers. In 1866 the house was occupied by Manual A. Gonzales and his family. Later the house, many times remodeled, was occupied by the familie s of Louis Lanier, James E. Hendry, Sr., R.I.O. Travers and finally by Harvie E. Heitman. In 1926, when the Hietman estate planned to build a million dollar hotel on the site, the house was moved back on Bay Street and used for a number of years thereafter by the library. It was demolished in 1937 after it had become unsafe and was condemned. The new post office was opened for business on October 30, 1933'. Sidney C. Ellison bought the first stamp and Miss Ella Bigelow mailed the

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242 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS first letter. The postmaster then, J. E. Brecht, was succeeded on November 10, 1933, by Nat Gaillard Walker, who had been the architect on the building. The building was dedicated December 9 1933. Speakers included J Austin Larimer, secretary to Postmaster General James E. Farley, Postmaster Nat G. Walker, and Congressman J. Hardin Peterson. The Rev. F. A. Shore delivered the invocation. ,. Construc tion of the Edison Bridge and new post office solved the unemployment problem only partially. The number of men and women out of work and desperately in need of assistance grew constantly. Relief agencies were swamped. The first federal relief work funds, a mere dribble, came into Fort Myers in the late spring of 1933. By mid-summer, 258 unemployed men, all heads of families, were being given three days' work a week at $1 a day. Other dribbles followed. They helped a little, but not much. The money was paid out more as a dole than to provide worthwhile employment. The so-called "relief jobs" were of the leafraking and ditch-cleaning variety \l;hich did the city little good and helped not a bit in bolstering the workers' morale. By November 26, 1933, there were 589 relief workers on the county rolls . \Vith their families these 589 men represented one third of all the residents of the county. Then came the first Civilian Works Administration (CW A) projects, approved December 13, 1933-the repairing of First Street and the construction of shuffleboard courts in Evans Park, both projects to cost $87,288. More than 500 men reported for work. They received $12 a week for thirty hours work. The first payroll totalled $1,092.74-more cash money than Fort Myers merchants had seen for weeks. CW A was followed by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and then by the Work Projects Administration (WPA). During the next six years project followed project: construction of five miles of sidewalks in East Fort Myers, repair of school buildings, reconstruction of McGregor Boulevard, repair of sewers, sewing projects, school lunch eon projects, compilation of county records, and dozens of others. A new water plant also was built with the help of federal funds as a Public Works Administration (PW A) project. The plant, with a capacity of two miliion gallons, was completed in 1937 at a cost of $200,0 0 0 of which the city con tributed $95,000 and the federal government $105,000. Three WP A projects were outstanding and deserve special mention: the Lee County airport, the new Lee Memorial Hospital and the water-front park and yacht basin. The airport site was !lCquired by the city in 1923 for use as a municipal gQlf : course. When the city purchased the Fort Myers Golf & Yacht Club j n 1927 the tract wasturned i nto a temporary airport with sod runways. Some of the city's early fliers used the field: C. Franklin Wheeler, Carl. R. Roberts, Cli f f Zeiger, Carl Dunn and the Holladay boys--Warren, Richard and Randolph.

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THE STORY O F FORT MYERS 243 National Airlines began making stops at the airport on August 4, 1937, when the line started making daily mail and passenger flights between St. Petersburg and Miami. Later the airline was forced t o cancel many flights because of wet grounds and late in the year officials threatened to discontinue service until concrete runways were provided. This could not be done because of the city's Jack of money and soon afterward the planes stopped landing here. Regular service was re-established when concrete runways were constructed in 1940. Federal aid in the improvement of the airport was made possible when the city deeded t o the county in 1939 and the county obtained approval from the voters, at an election held November 7, 1938, of a $75,000 bond issue to pay the loca l share of the expense. Work of constructing three concrete runways was started January 1, 1940, by WP A. Soon afterward the project was taken over by the Civil Aero n autics Authority and later by the Army. The field was greatly enlarged through the purchase of adjoining properties and extens ive i mprovements were made. No records are available to show how much the various government agencies spent on the port; conservatives place the cost at far more than $1,000,000. The airport was named Page Field in honor of Channing Page, Fort Myers youth who was a World War I ace. The Waterfront Is In 1937 there came a WPA project which has proved to be of inestimable value to Fort Myers -Waterfront Park and the Yacht Basin. The beautiful beaeh on Este'fO Island and the famous resort of Fort Myers Beach are shown in this aorial photograph take n froro high above the Gulf.

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244 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS The waterfront at the city's front door had been an eyesore for many years. Long before the turn of the century it began to be littered up with rickety wharves, tumbledown boathouses and unsightly shacks. Trash of all kinds was dumped into the shallow wate r close to the river bank and l ow tides disclosed everything from broken whiskey bottles to worn out oxcarts. And the odor from decaying vegetation and sewage was nauseating A movement to improve the appearance of the waterfront by con structing seawalls and a bouleva r d along the r ive r was launched in 1907 by Dr. 1\L 0. Terry. The boulevard idea was abandoned when property o\vners objected to giving u p riparian rights but the seawalls were started in 1908. Four years passed however, before they were completed between Monroe and J ackson. During that period Bay Street was constructed on filled land. The seawalls served to lift the downtown section temporarily out o f the mud and slime of the river's edge but as the years passed the appearance of the waterfront gradually worsened and by 1935 i t was almost as bad as it had been three decades before. Beautifica t ion of the waterfront by the creation of a park in front of the heart o f town was discussed for years but objections of property owners prevented anything from being done. The deadlock was broken in 1936 by city officials, headed by Mayor David Shapard and a ble, progressive councilmen-&. G Truebger, Eric W. Kinzie, W K. Kirk patrick, J.D. Lynn and John W F uren. Necessary land was acquired in tax settlemen t deals through negotiations with administrators of the estates of Harvie E. Heitin an, R. B Leak, John M. Dean and Joseph Vivas Plan s were drawn by Frank W. Bail & Associates and the project was approved by WPA. The city's portion of the expense was $134,629 but this included the taxes cancelled in the land deals. It is estimated that the WP A expenditure was $300,000. Work on the project was started January 1, 1937, and was continued off and on for nearly two years. But the job was finally finished and the waterfront was transformed. The park and yacht basin now rank at the top of the list of Fort Myers' most prized possessions. A New Hospiwlls Constructed Fort Myers' :first hospital, constructed from lumber salvaged when the original Lee County cour t house was razed in 1914, served the com munity for more than a quarter century before it was abandoned for a modern structure, completed as a WPA project in 1943 at a cost .of $200,000 !>}, Two additions to the original building were made during the quarter and it finally had sixteen rooms, with accommodations for twenty-two patients. The chief benefactor of the old hospital, who helped to keep it open during the lea n years, was a retired importer of New York, Edwin A. Richard, one of the best friends Fort Myers ever had.

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THE STORY OF FonT MYERS 2 4 5 Others who donated to Lee Memorial Hospital, as it was o f ficially known, included Charles A . Stadler Mrs. Addison W Iglehart, Cordelia Nutt, Richmond Dean, Martha H. Elms, Electra Miles Porter, Edwin M. Adams, the Rotary Clu b, and Margaret McLean Kidd. These donors gave eithe r wards or rooms; numerous others made smaller donations. Land for a new hospita l was obtained through negotiations with the Lee County school board which had acquired a 39-acre tract in the Edison Park district for a c i vic cente r to of a high school, gymnasium, library, football stadium, bas eba ll field and vari ous public buildings Plans for the hospital were drawn by the architectural firm of Frank W. Bail & Associates and the project was approved by WPA as one of its last i n Florida. Due to the fact that WP A forces were steadily shrinking as a result of improved economic conditions only a skeleton crew of workmen was kept on the job and the hospital was not completed until the spring of 1943. It was officially opened April 18, 1943. Membersofthe hospital boa r d then were: Harry J. Wood, president; F. Irving Holmes vi ce-president; Virg il Robb, treasurer, and David Ireland, Sid ney Davis and William G. Clark, board members. Contributors to the new hospital included the Methodist Gold e n Cross, Mrs. H elen Pratt Sheppar d, Mrs. George L, Leonard, Richard DeMille Brown, Mrs. W. G. Clark, Mrs. J. H. Collins, Mr. and Mrs C. F. Miles, Adriana Bergen Brown, George L. Leonard, Daughters of the Confederacy Janet B. Casey Mrs. Tom Smoot Mr. and Mrs. Frank 0 Prather, Mrs. C harles Morto n C is t and John H. Lynch A Cross-State Waterway Is Open A 371-year old dream came true in the spring of 1937 -the comple tion of a waterway across peninsular Florida. Way back i n 1566 P e dro Menendez d e Aviles, doughty founder of St. Augusti n e, lea rned that the Caloosa Indians traveled in great war canoes from the Gulf to the Atlantic. His desire t o Jearn the route they followed w as one of the r easons why he came to the West Coast in F ebruary, 1566, and later established a fort. and mission, probab ly on P in e Island. (See Chapter I.) Men endez quest for the water route was unsuccess ful and more than three centuries passed before the f irst s teps were taken to make a cross-state waterway a reality. In 1881 Hamilton Disston be gan dredging a canal f r om the head of the Caloosahatchee to Lake Okeechobee as part of his reclamatio n project a n d two years later a steamer, the "Bertha Lee," managed t o go from Fort Myers to K i ssimmee. Forty-three days were required t.o make the journey. Regular steamer service between the two towns was started in 1885 but was soon abandoned b ecaus e i t did not pay. (See Chapter IV.) Disston stopped his reclamation work in 1889 and no further attempt to open new waterways or drain the Gltdes was made until 1905 after

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246 THE STORY OF fORT MYERS Napoleon B. Broward became governor of Florida. (See Chapter V.) The state then began dredging new drainage canals and the federal government deepened the channel in the Caloosahatchee. A cross-state waterway of sorts came into existence in April, 1912, when the North New R ive r Canal was completed from Lake Okeechobee to Fort Lauderdale. The first boat to make the east-west jo"Urney was the launch "Roniona" captained by Jack Burrows who brought five sports men from Fort Lauderdale to Fort Myers Apri!18, 1912. Seven days later Governor Albert W. Gilchrist took a party of fifty newspape r men across the state to witness the official dedication of the new waterway. The party went on the "Thomas A. Edison" to LaBelle and from LaBelle to Fort Lauderdale in the "Queen of the Everglades.'' Capt. J. Fred Menge made his first round trip in his steamer "Suwanee" in December, 1912. He intended to make regular trip s but soon learned they would not pay expenses ; besides, the North New River Canal was too filled with rocks for safe navigat i on. And it soon became choked with hyacinths, as did the canal east of Fort Thompson. By late 19 1 4 this cross-state waterway ceased to exist. Two hurricanes were required to make a real cross-state waterway a reality-the hurricanes of September, 18 1926, and September 17, 1928. Both swept water from Lake Okeechobee over surrounding land and caused terrific property damage and heavy loss of life. To prevent a recurrence of such disasters an $18,000 ,000 flood control project finall y was approved, the state and the federal government participating W. P Franklin helped mightily in pushing the project through, making many trips to Washington Mayor Elmer Hough also played a major role. To make the waterway, the S t Lucie Canal was dug f r om Lake Okeechobee east to Stuart, a new and larger canal was dug from the head of the Caloosahatchee to the lake, and the channel in the Caloosahatchee was deepened to seven feet from Fort Mye r s to Fort Thompson. Opening of the waterway was celebrated :March 22 and 23, 1937, when a watercade consisting of forty private yachts and government boats made the maiden trip from Stuart to Fort Myers. In the watercade, W. P Franklin headed the Fort Myers delegation. Other leading participants in the celebration were :Mayor David Shapard, J. Irving H olmes, and Carl Hanton, chairman of the celebration committee. Secre tary of Comme r ce Daniel C. Roper, Senator Claude Pepper and Congressman ;r. Hardin Peterson came across the new waterway. An elaborate dinner was given for the dignitaries who made the trip by Barron G. Collier. . Fort Myers Dttring World War II Like the rest of the nation, Fort Myers was stunned on December 7, 1941, when radios flashed the news that the Jananese had bombed Pearl Harbor-and that the long dreaded war finally had started. From that day; until mid-summe.r of Ie45, when Japan finally surrendered, the

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TuE SToRY oF FoRT MYERS 247 people of Fort Myers s u bord inated everything else to the main task of aiding the nation ill its hour of crisis-and praying that the lives of their loved ones in the armed services might be spared. Before the war ended Lee County men were fighting, and dying in all parts of the world, from the fog-shrouded rocks of the Aleutia n s to the jungles of. New Guinea and the bloody battlefie l ds of Italy, France and Germany Rarely did a mont h pass without word being received of a Lee County youth making t he supreme sacrifice. A l together, 64 men gave their Jives. Those on the county's honor roll are: Allen Burdick, Melvin Cowart, Bill Alderman, Alton B. Moon, James P Danley, Jimmy Randall, Sr. Jimmy Lowe Ned Haigh t Emory Watson, Pharis Weekl ey, Roy Gilbert, Charles Wert, Clinton Gaiiey, Langley Willis, Emanuel Moralis Harry Gibbs, Edward Hammel Charles DeFoor, Nel so n Kantz, John Kurtz, Ernest E Stewart, James W Kaler, Howard Kinchen, Tom Derington, Bill Pagh, Oscar Futch; Lou i s H Powers, Mervin Elwell, Talmadge Powell, Billy Waldrop, Hector John Whiteworth, James Handa!, Jr., Joe "Smiley" Powers, 0. K. Daniels, Deane Turner, Jr., Harry Hendry, Jr., Jack "Jive" Smith, James L. Clarkson Milton Lowe Barron Ralph Rutledge, Blaine Edward Cowart, Marvin Summerall Elbett Acuff, Melvin Cummings, M. C Fordham, Marvin Scalley, Andrew J. Wooten Turner Robinson, Joe Ritch, Jesse B. Hicks Dan Claville, Audrey T Brannan, Jack Mellor, Ernest Magaha, John Andreu, F. W. Rigdon Floyd Freeman, Edward T. Youmans, Benjamin M.' Durance, John F. Murphy, Everett Lamb, Morgan DeFoor, Ernest Flint and Ball en Wal ker. ''Jl) I The Civie Center of Fort Myers where the Chamber of Commerce has its offic es.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Throughout the war Fort Myers was crowded with service men, due to the fact that great air bases were established by the Army at Buckin g ham and Page Field. .The site at Buckingham was obtained by Lieut. Col. W. A. Maxwell, commandant at Tyndall Field, Panama Ci t y, who arrived January 19, 1942, with a board of Army officers. He said the Army Air Corps needed a large tract to establish a flexib l e gunnery school. Conferences were held with Harry Stringfellow, chairman of the county commis sioners, and Mayo r Sam Fitzsimmons and within three days contracts were signed for 75,000 acres at Bucki ngham. Work of constructing hangars, barracks, shops and runways was rushed and on March 29 an advance detail of 650 men of 323rd Air Base Group and 348 Materiel Group arrived with General Walter H. Franck, commander of the 3rd Air Force, in charge. To house civilian workers at the field, a 160-unit housing project was completed at a cost of $275,000. It was named Henderson Place. At the peak, more than 16,000 air. corps men were stat ioned at Buckingham. Page Field was taken over by the Army Air Corps and greatly expanded late in 1942 More land was acquired, the runways were greatly extended, and scores of buildings of all types were erected. The first men who arrived were members of the 98th Bomber Group led by Col. H. A. Halverson. The 53rd Fighter Group, flying P-39's, came next, under the command of Col. Don L. Wilhelm. At Page Field, the flyers received their final training before being assigned overseas . At the peak, approximately 4,000 men were stationed there. Buckingham and Page fields were deactivated shortly after the war ended. Barracks at Buckingham were used for three years by an institution called Ediso n College which closed late in the summer of 1948. Some of the buildings at Page Field were sold to veterans for homes and others were sold for commercial purposes. . . To provitte a so.cial center for the soldiers, the' Army earl y in 1943 made arrangements with the city to erect a building at Waterfront Park. 1\faterial for its construction was obtained by tearing down the auditorium which had been built in 1927 at the head of the recreation pier at a cost of $47,552. The auditorium, which had served the city as a community center for sixteen years, was about ready to fall down, due to the fact that it had been erected on wooden piling which had disintegrated. It had been facetiously called Fort Myers' "White Elephant." Work on the social center WQ$ started March 14, and was completed July 18, 1943. Throughout the remainder of the war it was used as a gathering place for soldiers. Since the war it has become Fort Myers' civic center and part of it is used to house the offices of the Lee County Chamber of Commerce.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 249 I OTUJ, Becomes Gladiolus Ceruer Southwest of Fort Myers, nestling close to the south shore of the Caloosahatchee, lies a sectio n which during the past has becom e famo u s as the gladiolu s center of the United States. :More gladioli are grown there during the winter months than in any othe r area of comparable size anywhere in the world. The district is known as Iona. The gladiolus industry did no t l ocate at Iona by chance. I t went there simply because Iona has been most graciously favored by Mother Nature and is widely known as the most frost-free section of continental United States, due to protection given it by the broad waters of the Caloosahatchee and the nearby Gulf. The climatic advantages of Iona were recognized by winter growers of fresh vegetable s years ago, l o n g before the gladiolus indus t ry came, and scores of carloads of truck produ ce w ere shipped from there every week during the winter months to northern markets. Iona was given its name by one of the earliest settle r s in that district, Donald Bain, who came there from his native home in Scotland in 1882 He built his first home close to the river about four miles northeast of Punta Rassa. A community of scattered homes grew up in that vicinity and Bain called it Ions, after the Ionian Islands off Scotland. The name stuck. Years later it was applied to the entire section close to the river southwest of Fort Myers. During the mid-eighties pineapples were first grown comm ercia lly atlona, Dr. J V. Harris planting 22,000 slips in 1885. Other settlers had smalle r plantations The pineapples were large and luscious and sold at good prices. The industry looked so promising that when Fort Myers was incorporated in 1885, a pineapple in full bloom was adopted as the town insignia and used on the town seal. Pineapple raising continued until after the turn of the century when the growers found they could no longer compete with growE!rs in Cuba and Puerto Rico who had lower production costs. Development of Iona as a truck center was retard e d f o r many years because of a Jack of adequate transportation facilities. The nearest rail road was a t Punta Gorda and truck growers on the islands could send their produce to that point quicker, easier and more cheaply than those on the mainland; consequently, the islands forged ahead and the main land Jagged behind. Iona began to come into its own after the Atlantic Coast Line built into Fort Myers but it did not catch up with Sanibel until after World War I. (See Chapter V.) Included among the early settlers of the Iona district were Donald Bain a nd his brother John, Edgar Blount Rudolph Henschen Richard Thompson, I. L. Walker, Henry Shanahan, Delmar Swint, H. L. Able, Ed Jenny, Harry Galey, Edward Bates, C. W. Dahlem, Roy Hill, Harry Rhodes and H. L. Thornto n. A great impetus to truck growing at Iona was given by Dr. Franklin Miles, nationally famous foun d e r of the Elkhart Laboratories at Elkhart,

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250 THE SToRY oF FoRT MYERS Ind. Dr. Miles came to Fort Myers in 1904 and liked the climate so well that he bought several thousand acres in the Iona section. Convinced that Iona had unlimited possibilities as a section where winter vegetables could be grown commercially, Dr. Miles made thousands of experiments to determine how insects and plant diseases could best b e combated and planted scores of experimental gardens, not for profit but to satisfy his scientific curiosity. He also made an intensive study of agricultural methods practiced in other parts of the world where similar climatic conditions prevailed. Information he acquired was passed on to truck growers through a school which he established. (See Index: Dr. Franklin Miles, Life of.) Iona forged ahead rapidly during the 1920's Great tracts of land were planted with tomatoes, cucumbers, egg plant, green beans and squash. Elmo Ballard and Leonard Sandini pioneered in growing pota toes and became markedly successful. Great truck farms also were established by Tom Bigger, Henry and walter Pearce, Lyman Frank, J. H. Kinsey and many others. The amount of acreage suitable for cultivation was increased tre mendously by a drainage project completed during the 1920's. To carry out the project, 2,500 property owners in the district were organized as a co r poration November 8, 1916. The original officers were: J. E. Foxworthy, president; W. C. West, supervisor; A. H. Gillinghast, secretary; B. C. Foxworthy, treasurer; Cyrus Q. Stewart, attorney, and A. L. White, chief engineer. Other men associated with the project included Amos Bolick, Cyrul Shawcross, J. W. Blanding, W Stanle y Hanson, G. Hunter Bryant, W. B. Graham, Duncan H. Lamons, F. A. Whitney, John K. Woolslair and Walter 0 Sheppard. The largest property owners in the district were Amos Bolick, George Dunham, George R. Lynn, Cyril Shawcross, Clinton Bolick, Elmer Huff, ArthurS. Hoadley and Carl C. McClure. After the drainage district was established, a $600,000 bond issue was approved and work started, in 1920. Another bond issue of $15 0,0 00 was approved later to complete the project. A total of 83 miles of drainage ditches were dug. Thr ee dredges and a force of sixty men were used by three contractors over a six-year period. The system when completed in 1927, was reported to be capable of carrying off an inch of rainfall i n twent y-fou r hours. A large part of the 21,000 acres in the district was held by land specu lators instead of by farmers and when the Florida crash came, the speculators could not pay the drainage taxes. The bond holders placed the district into receivership in Federal court at Tampa in 1929 and Edward C. Allen was named receiver. During the next eight years Allen succeeded in reducing the outstanding bonded debt from $715,000 to $455,000 and in 1938, with the cooperation of the district's board of supervisors negotiated an RFC loan to cover the $455,000. The super visors then were J. D. Lynn, John E. Morris and Cyril Shawcross. His work accomplished, Allen was discharged as receiver after the loan was

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THE STORY o FORT MYERS 25 1 completed. Since then thousands more acres have been placed u nder cultivati on and the district has flourished. The gladiolus industry came to Iona in 1985. It was brought in by three of Florida's p ioneer gladiolus firms: Rex Bel!ch F arms, owned by the author, Re x Beach, a n d John 0 Zipperer; Pinellas G ladiolus, I n c., owned by Shelby Shanklin and H. H. Consta n tine, and the A. & W. Bu l b Co mpany, owned by Donald Alv ord and Fred J Wesemeyer. Beach and Zipperer had their first farms a t Sebring a n d the other s at C learwater. All came about the same time-and for the same reason. They had been almost frozen out during the two p receding seasons a n d wereseek i n g a district with a more favorable climate. At Iona they found exactly what they were looking for and all invested heavily in land. And during the following winter Ion a became truly a f lower land. Since the w inter of 1985-36 the gladio lus industry has grown steadily, with more and more acres each winter producing their gor geous flowers T h e g lads a r e shipped by express and truck to every state east o f the Rockies. The industry now brings into Lee Count y more money than any other. County Farm Agent Carl P. Heuck reported that during 1947-48 a total of 4,447,570 dozen were shipped worth $2,134,833 in gross returns. And that w inter was considered a "bad year," due to unusuall y warm weather Approximately 30 growers cultivating from 10 to 400 acres each s hared in the returns, a total of 2,500 acres being p lanted. The industry now represents an investment of more than $3,000,000 and employs more than 1,000 persons during the growing season Photo not available Looking enst on Street from Hendry,

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252 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS For enterprising hard-working growers, the gladiolus industry has been most profitable. One of the growers who has been most successful is :Michael Hauk. He came to Iona in 1940 after having suffered disastrous losses at Ruskin as a result of cold weather. He had little money left but he did have a large stock of unusually .fine bulbs-and a strong determination to recoup his fortune. Leasing land, he worked every hour of daylight and was rewarded with a record crop of flowers. Since then Hauk has steadily expanded his operations and now is one of the biggest gladiolus growers in the world-and one of the most successful. Other successful glad growers besides those mentioned above include: Norman Cox, A. H. Draughon, Jr., Donald Bass, Lucian Thomas, Ralph F. Perkins, James and Joseph Povia, William P. Root, J. C. Van Lierop, William K. Sewell, Tom Biggar, Gerald B. Moody, Jeptha T. Barrett, Ferebee T. Pulley and James and Joseph Povia. Profitable though the gladilous industry has been, it has s upplemented rather than disp laced the growing of winter vegetables. Hundreds of cars of potatoes, egg plant, cucumbers and peppers are shipped each week during the winter from Lee County, almost entirel y from the Iona section. Included among the leading truckers are: Tom Biggar, Harry Fitzgerald, Charles E. Marsh, Harry C. Case, John E. E;elly, William W. Tinsley, Dan Ruhl, Ben F. Counselman, Hardy C. Carter, William 0. Cook, Wilson Pigott, Ernie Teston, Lucian F. Thomas, Jeptha T. Barrett, Lynman H. Frank, Ferebee T. Pulley, Haywood Montgomery, Bryant E Pearce, Donald Bass, John L. Kelly, Herb Thomas, John Henschen, Geraci Growers and Packers and Michael Hauk. Otis Brannen, P. & M. A. administrator in Lee County, estimates that 1100 acres were planted in 1948-49 in potatoes, 3,000 acres i n other vegetables and 2200 acres in gladioli. Lee County's stellar industry of yesteryear, cattle raising, has been topped by the gladiolus and trucking industries but it still brings hundreds of thousandsof dollars into the county annually. However, the skinny, raw-boned scrub cow of a half century ago has practically disappeared. She has been replaced by larger, better animals, raised by progressive cattlemen who have adopted scientific methods and spent fortunes to improve the stock, fence their lands, dip their cattle to guard against parasites, and plant nourishing grasses. Leading cattlemen of Lee County today include David W. Ireland, Robert A. Henderson, Jr., Seth Daniels, Russell E. Rich, Gerald Moody, Guy M. Strayhorn, Ken Williams, Harney Stipe, Bryant and Walter Pearce, Mark Bateman, Thad Williams, Carl Williams, Dave Flint, Bud Hunter, C L. Starnes, Louis Baucon, C J. Jones, Ewing Starnes, Raleigh Flint and Barney Williams. The Lee County Cattlemen's Association, organized September 20, 1947, had 81 members in the fall of 1948. The first officers were: Russell E. Rich, president; Seth Daniels, vice-president; David W. Ire land, treasurer, and C. P. Heuch, secretary. Directors were George lN. Whitehurst, Sr., Gerald B. Moody and .R. A. Henderson, Jr.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 253 Making Up for Lost Time During the lean depression years, the population of Fort Myers remained almost stationary, increasing only frorii'9 ,082 in 1930 to 10,604 in 1940. But thereafter Fort Myers began really to spurt ahead and by 1945 the city boasted of a population of 15,198, as shown by the state census. And when travel restrictions were removed after war's end the growth continued even faster than before. Boom-time subdivisions in which the paved streets had become ove r grown with grass came to life again. Hundreds of new homes were built in aU parts of the city -in the old settfed sections and far out in the suburbs Many new business buildings were erected including an $85,000 exchange building forthe Inter-County Telephone & Telegraph Com pany, built to house a new automatic dial syste m to cost more than $250,000. To provide better facilities for school children, a proposed $1,000,000 bond issue was put up to the voters. on May 25, 1946, and was approved by an almost three-to-one vote, 1,469 to 507. Lunch rooms were provided at a number of schools, a new school was erected at Fort Myers Beach, and a $65,000 stadium was constructed. Late in 1948 plans were nearing completion for a new high school building. During the decade preceding 1948 the number of pupils in Lee County schools increased from 3,224 to 4,325. The growth of Fort Myers was shown by the increase in the number of building permits issued During the war years the building industry was practically dormant, as it was elsewhere throughout the country, but when restrictions were removed at war's end the industr y spurted ahead. In 1945 the building permits totalled $394,560, in : 1946 they leaped to $806,633 and in 1947 to $ 1,429,705, the best year Fort Myers had had since boom days. Building activ ities continued steadily throughout 1948. A famous landmark, the Royal Palm Hotel, became only a memory in 1948. Erected in 1897 by Hugh O'Neill, the hotel had been a leading factor in the metamorphosis of Fort Myers from a frontier "cow town" to one of the leading winter resorts of the nation. Scores of celebrities and millionaires had stopped in the rambling wooden structure, with its beautiful surrounding gardens, and many remained to build winter homes and make investments in groves and business properties. As the years went by, however, the Royal Palm became outmoded and more than a little decrepit and part of it was finally condemned and closed. It was r eopened during the war to house soldiers but when the war ended it was closeq again, its days of usefulness being ended. On October 13, 1947, the property was purchased from the :pr. M 0. Terry estate for $105,000 by T. H. "Tom" Phillips who shortly afterward began razing the main building to clear the ground so i t could be sold for business sites. The demolition work was completed in November, 1948,

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254 TuE STORY OF FoRT MYERS and the remaining rubble was set afire, and the last o f the Royal Palm went up in smoke. The loss of the Royal Palm was more than made up, how ever, by the preservation of another famou s landmark, Seminole Lodg e, the winter hom e of Thomas A. Edison, who died October 12, 1931. The lodge and the laboratory on the opposite side of McGregor boulevard were deeded to the city on February 18, 1947, by Mrs. Edison a s a shrine to the famous inventor. The estate was opened to the public on the follow ing November 1 and dur ing the following year it was visited by more than 35,000 persons. The property was managed by Fred LOwdermilk. Less than seven months after the priceless gift was made to the city Mrs. Edison died, on August 2 5, 1947, in New York City, and Fort Myers mourned over the passing of an old and dear friend. She was survived by three children: Madeleine Edison Sloane, Charles Edison, former Secretary of the Navy and former governor of New Jersey, and Theodore Miller Edison a noted inventor like his father. Late in 1948 work was started on resurrecting a once famous road which had ceased to exist decades ago-the road to Immokalee. In the days of o x teams and cattle drives this road, which led into Anderson Avenue, was one of the principal roads of the county and was one of the first to be graded and covered with a few inches of shell. It was abandoned howev er, after a hard-surfaced road was constructed between Fort Myers and Buckingham and nothing was done to bring it back into use until November 9, 1948, when work of reconstr ucting it was started by the Brins on Construct ion Company, of Tampa. The project, which was to cost $359, 802, was financed out of the county's surplus gasoline tax funds. By early winter of 1948 Fort Myers boosters insisted that the city's population had passed the 20,000 mark-many said it exceeded 25,0M. No one knew for sure. But everyone was positive of one fact-Fort Myers was truly making up for lost time. f

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CHAPTER I X .. MISCELLANEOUS FORT MYERS THE ORIGINAL TOWN SITE o r Fort con s i stint o f 189. 46 acres, was platted by Major James Evans, o! Nonsemond Count), Vircinia, in the earl}" fall of 1876 shortly after he acquired title. to the fort site from the federal govern ment. The actual survey was made by Julian Arista, deputy sutveyor of Monroe County, i n which Fort 1\fycrs was then located. The plat was recorded in Key West in Decem be.-, 1876. Much of the land in tho original town wu deeded by Evans to pioneers who had settled there and the stnets were laid out to c.onJorm with t he property they were occupying. This explains the irregularity of the street plan, something which has caused surveyors trouble ever since. Not more than ten families live d i n Fort Myers at the time the town plat was re corded-Fort Myer s was a frontiti r cow town every mcanin,r of the term. The number of inhabitants slowly in creased and by the mid-Eighties approxi mately fifty f amilies were living within the t-own limits whieh by then had been ex pan.ded to take in a subdivWon opened by i\taJor Evans. The need tor public improve. ments and better law enforcement led the residents to the S
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256 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS G B. Reynolds, 1918; Virgil C. Robb, 1919; A. T. Smith, 1919; E. H. Sykes,191'9; L. F. Goodale 1920; ';!'.H. Phillips Jr., 1920, and A. E. Raymond, 1920 A form of govern ment, made possible b y a new charter authorized by the State Legislature in March, 1921, was approved by the voters 225 to 54 o n April 4, 1921. The five com missioners e lected on June 28, and at followi ng elections, chose one of their number each year to as mayor They were: Virgi l Robb. ; 1921; C. C Pursley, 1922; Vernon G Widerquist, 1'923; A. E. Raymond, 1924 ; 0. M. Davison, 1925; Frank Kellow, 1926; H. E. Parn ell, 1927, also Clinton Bolick, 1927, and Elmer Hough, 1928. Commissioners e lected during this period served as foUows: Vernon G. Widerqu ist, 1921 until May, 1924; Virgil C Robb, 1921 until .May, 1924; C. C. Pursley, 1 921 until May, 1924; B. E. Tinstman, 192 1 until Juqe, 1923; E H. Sykes, 1921; A. E. Raymond, 1922 until August 1927; R. B. Gi lbert, June 23, 1923 unt il July 17, 1923; 0 . r.r. Davison, July 17, 1923 until April G, 1'926; L. F. Goodale, May, 1924, until December, 1925; Frank Kellow, May, 1924 until April, 1928; H. E. Parnell, May, 1924, until November, 1927; L. A. Win gate, December,_1925, until J\pril, 1928; A. B Cutter, Apr1l 1926, untl end; R. L. Newman, August 1927 . until November, 1927; Clinton Bolick, N ovember, 1927, until end; Eimer Ho ugh, No,ember 1927. until end; C. L. Starnes, April, 1928, until end, and C. 'IY. Bartl eson, April, 1928, until end. CITY MANAGERS : J G. Bennett was narned as the firs t city manager and served from Augus t 1, 1921, until December 1, 1921 He was succeeded b y C. P. Staley who served continuously from December 1, 1921, until September 8, 1928, except for p eriod during 1925 when A. B. Cutter held the office. Staley was i n 1928 by Lester H. Baker as acting city manager. Fort M yers returned to t h e councilma nic form o f govern ment in 1 929, th e first election being hel d Jul y 18. Mayors since then have been elected as !ollows : Williain J. Wood,1929; Josiah H. Fitch, 1930, 32; Frank A. Whitney, 1933; David Shapard; 1936, 37, 39; Sam Fitzsimmons, 1 9 41, 43; David Shapard, 1946; R. E. Kurtz, 1947 and E lnest (P. 0.) Good year, 1948. From 1929 through 1933 councilmen were elected at large, as follows: 1929 : Holland McCormick, Virgil Rob b F. E. Forehand, and Martin E Shult.; 1930: W. H. Ross and F. E. Forehand; 1931: Holland McCormick. Dan P. Morrison and Martin E. Shultz;' 1932: R. G. and J.D. Lynn; 1933: Dan P. Monison and John W. Furcn. T h e 1933 election was held i n March. During the follow ing month the State Legislature amended the city charter to require councilmen t o be elected by wards, ne. cessitating another election, held July 5. Councilmen have served the various wards s inc.e then as follows: Ward No. 1 : G. A Lundquist, 1933; R. G. T rucbger, 1935, 37; E E Edenfield, 1939 4 1 43, 45; R. J. Seagraves, 1947. 48. Ward No.2: Eric W. Kinzie, 1933, 35. 87, 39; Scott Hough, 1941, 48, 46; L. H. Blouch, 194 7; Earl Bobbitt, 1948. Ward No.3: David Shapard, 1933; W. K. Kirk patrick, 1935; B. B. Danie ls, 1937 39; Luke Towles, 1941; James C. Spooner, 1943; ThomasJ. Fink,1945; Fred Skinner 1947, 48. Ward No.4: J. D. Lynn, 1933, 35, 37, 39; Lee 0. Daniel, 1941, 43; W. H. Heyno lds, !945;J. L (Johnny) Shay,1947, and John W. Shultz, 1'948. Ward No. 5: .John W. Fur en, 1933, 35, 37, 39; H. C. Case, 19 41, 43; Harry M. McWhorter, 1945; J. H. (Jack) Shearer, 1947, and Elmo B allard, 1948. Other elected town and city official s include the follow ing: Town clerk and treasurer : C. H. Steb bins, 1885 through 1888; T Levens, 1889 until death in July, 1907, succeeded by H. A. Blake who served through 1908; Nathan G. Stout, 1909 10. City clerk: Nathan G. Stout, 1911 ; \v. L. Long, 1912, and D. W Sumner, 1913. City cle r k and collector: J. W Owens,1914 through 1920. City c lerk, collector and treasurer: Nell Barden, 1929 through 1933; James B. Roberts, 1935 through 1940; V iola Johnson from January 1, 1 941 unt il Charles Chandler was elected to office in 1941. Chandler held the office, which later became appointive unt il November, 1948. when he was su cc eeded by Mrs. Sar a Nell Williams. Ma.>-shal and coilector: C. L. Oliver, 1886, 86; T. W. Langford, 1887, 89 ; L M. Strouf, 1889< 91; B E. Henderson, 1891 unti 1896 ; Hiram K. Stevens, 1896; Frank Carson, 1897, 98; T. T. Henderson, 1899; Charl es Hadley, 1900, 0 1 ; L M. Stroup, 1902, 03; S W. Sanch ez, 190 4 through 1911. City Marshal : Y. E. Yelving. ton, 1912-thereafter office was ap pointive. treasurer: Nathan G. Stout, 1911; J B. Parker, 19 12; R. H. Meeks 1913 through 1919; Clyde Gonzalez, 1920.

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THE SToR Y oF FoRT MYERS 25 7 City collector: W. Stanley Hanson 1 911; H. K Ste ve ns,l912, 13, and D. T. F arabee, 191 4. Chie f of p o lice o lcctod: \V. D. Smith, 1935, 37; C. S. M ooro, 39 4 1 48, t he r e a f te r appointed 1'ax assessor: C. J. !Ulby, 1 9 2 9 through 43, thereafte r appointed POPULATION The federal census or 1890, made five years after Fort ?tlyen was incorporated as a town, showed that the infant town bad a popula t ion o! 576. Census figures, f e d eral and state, since then have b een: 1895 751 ; 1900-9 43: 1910--2,463; 1915-3,-244; 1920-3,678; ] 925-6,6 74; 1'930-9,082; 1935 -10,3 12; 1940-10,604, and 1945 15,198 The population or Leo Cou nty, created i n 188 7 was 1 4 14 when the fed e r al census was t aken in 1890. By 1900 the pop ulation had inc .reased to 3,071, by 1910 to 6,294 and by 1920 to 9,540. In 1923 Hendry and Collier counties created out of Lee but despite thi s lo88, the population of what was left of Lee County jumped to 14,990 b y 1980 and to 17,488 by 1940. LEE COUNTY Lee County was created by act of the State Legislature in May, 1887. (See C hap ter III.) I t was carved out of Monroe, the c ounty seat of which was Key Wes t The first election ... ._. held May 17, 1887. The new county was one ot the l argest in the State and comprised pr1lotically all of southwest Florida. Old Lee County w._. split up by the State Legislature in 1923, portions of it being taken to create Collier and Hendry C ollier County was n amed after Ba rron G. Collier, who owned practic a ll y all o f it, and H e ndry Count y after Capt. F. A. Hendry, pio neer of F ort Myers and o ne of the leadin g citizens of S o u t h F lorida f o r many years. Elected official s o! Lee County inc lude t he following: Clerk of circuit court: J. W. Bain, 1887 through 1891; L. G. Thorp, 1892 through 18jl6; W. H. Hendry, 1897 throug h 1912; H. A Hendry 1913 through 1916; J F. Gamer. 1 917 until his death in 1932, suc ceeded for remainder of term by C. W. Carlton; W. L. Draueh on, 1933 until his death in 193 6 s u cceeded by h i s w i d o w Esther Draughon who served t h r ough 1940: D. T. Farabee, 1 9 4 1 to p esent, re-elected i n 1948 Tax collec tor: N L Langford, 188 7 through 1898; I. S. Sin gletary, 1899 throurh 1904 ; R. I. 0 Travers, 1905 and 1906; C. 0. S wanson, 1907 -08; E J Blount, 1909-10; R. A Blak e 1911 through 1916; P. John Hart, 191 7 thr ough 1'924 ; R. V. Lee, 1925 through 1940, and James B. R obe r t s 1941 to present r e-e lected in 1948. 'l'ax ._.sesso r : I S Singletary, 1887-88; J. M. Henderson, 1 8 89-90; M. S. Gonule,., 189 1 -92;James E v ans, 1893 through 1900; P. John Hart, 1901 through 1910; G. Hunter Bryant, 1911 through 1920, and John M. Boring, 1921 to present, re-elected in 1948. County t-reasu r er: Jameo E. Hendry, l 887 through 1892 ; R. A. Henderson, Sr., 1 898 t hrough 1913 when office was e li mi nated, bei n g c o nsolidated with t hat ot c ounty tax c o ll e ctor. Sheriff: T. W. Langfor d 1 887 through 1900; Frank B Tippi ns, 1901 until February, 1925; Ed A. Albritton, Feb ruary, 1925, 'through 1926; Frank B, Tippins, 1927 throug h 1932; Robert Jt King, 1 933 through 1 9 40; Fred S. Roberts, 1941 through 1944; Floyd Ellis 19 4 6 throurh 1948; Flanders G. Thompson, in 1948. County Judge: Robert Cranford, 188 7-88; L. S. Wo od, 1889; W illiam E. Loper, 1889-00.t H. A. Parker, 1 891 -92; Geor g e W. Henary, 1898 -94; Chal"ies H. Braman, i896-96; G eorge W. Pow ell 189704 ; P h ilip Isaaca, 1905 -06; A. B Beall, 1907 12; William L. L ong, January to November, 1913; D. W Sumner, N ovember, 1913 through 1916; H L W illiamson, 1917-18; Nathan G. Stout, November, 1918 tbrOuf!h 1928; L. Y. R edwine 1929-32; DaVld Elmer Ward, 1988 -38; Charles Wilson Ward, 1939-44; Hiram W. Bryant, 1946, re-elected 1948. Superinten den t o f schools : D. C. Kantz, 1887 -96 W. W. B o stick, 1 897-00; Joseph F. Shands, 1 90 1 until d eath i n June, 19 07; D W Sumner, June, 1907 through 19 12: J osep h W Sherrill, 1913 to August I S 1920_; J. D. M cFerron, August 19 20 to uctober 1924; J. Colin October, 1924, through 1932; Harry F Hendry, 1933 throug h 1'944; Ellis Park Green, 1944 until July 81, 194 8, when he was succeeded by Charles Bevia auper intendent,...elect. Supervisor of registrations: W. R. Wash burn, 8-4-1890 to 7-6-1896; L. C. Stewart, 7-6-1896 to 7-2 1 9 00; Henry B. Hoyer, 7-2-1900 to 1 6-1913; Robe t Lilly, 1-61913 to 3-1-1915; Grover E Gerold, 3 1 915 to 1 2 -5-1928; Mrs Grov e E. Gerald 12-5-1'9 2 8 to 2 8-1932; Mrs Clyde Gon a l ez, 2-81982 to 12-9-1936, and M rs. R. T uttle Sm i t h 129 1986 t o present, ree l ect
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258 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS PUBLIC UTILITIES The development of public utilities in Fort Myers has been d iscussed at considerable detail in the general text. The following summaries are given to serve for reference. light, Power and Ice A five-year franchise to supply elec tricity to Fort Myers was awarded by the town council October 9, 1897, to the Semi nole Canning Company, headed by A A. Gardner, The town agreed to pay $300 a year for ten 32C.and lepower incandes cent street lights. Service was started January 1, 1898. In the beginning, the Royal Palm Hotel used 98 lights and all the rest of the town 103, making a total of 201. The tov. -n people paid 35 cents for each 16-candlepower light a week. The revenue ot the light c -ompany was less than $70 a week by the end of January, 1898, Gardner was so encouraged by the. way residents were ordering service connections that becontracted for an other 50-horsepower boiler and 640-light dynamo. They were installed in May, 1898. Gustav Widerquist was the chief e -ngineer of the power p lant. Ice manufacturing equipment was in stalled by the light company in the spring of 1901 and the first ice was sold May 22. Delivered, it cost a cent a Pound; at th'e factory it was s old for fifty cents a hundred pounds. The capacity of the ice plant was doubled during 1903, the new machinery being installed by Harry A. Laycock The Seminole Power & Ice Company, as the concern was officially called, was sold by Gardner on February 28, 1913, to the Engineering & Securities of Yor.k, the announced sale p r ice being $104,000. .Later, the name of the company was clianged to Southern Utilities. The power and ice plants were pur chased during 1925 from Southern Utili ties by the Florida Power & Light Company which soon afterward conStructed an addition costing $100,000. In 1940 the ice plant was leased to the City Ice & Fuel Company. During the past twenty years the Florida Power & Light Company has constantly improved its plant and transmission fa cilities. Since 1940 it has added 105 miles of new distribution lines and the numbet of customers and the a .mount of power con sumed has more than doubled. Telephones A fourteen-year franchis e to provide telephone service in Lee County was awarded by the county commissioners January 2, 1900, to Gilmer M. Heitman who founded the Lee County Telephone Company. The franchise later was limited to nine years. Heitman purchased a 50drop switchboard, wet batteries and other equi pment and opened an exchange iit tho new brick building erected by his brother, Harvie E. Heitman. The system was put into operation February 21, 1900. The lines were extended to Buckingham late in 1900, to Naples on February 1, 1901 and t<> LaBelle on September 2, 1902. Also in September, 1902, a hook-up wa made with the Arcadia Telephone Company which had a line from Arcadia to Punta Gorda. Sunday service was provided for Fort Myers subscribers for the first time on January 8, 1903. Connections were made with Tampa on February 4, 19041 and to Marco March 30, 1905. All nignt service was started No,ember 15, 1905 -beCore that the lines went dead at 10 p. m. and did not become alive again unt il a. m. On A!ay 11, 1906, the town council of Myers granted a ten-year franchise to James C. Hickey, of Rialta, who formed the Fort nlyers Telephone Company and installed a competinfi system. This com petitor was bought out by the Lee County Telephone Company on August 1, 1907. On February 4, 1924, the city council granted the company a franchise and President Heitman put up a $10,000 bond guaranteeing.that the system would be enlarged and modernized. At that time Fred Philips sought a franchise for a com peting system but it was not granted. The Lee County Telephone Company and four other telephone companies in south Florida were purchased on April 23, 1924 by Barron G. Collier who founded the Inter-County Telephone & Telegraph Com pany with its general offices in For t Myers. The new company provided service throughout, Collier, DeSoto, Hendry, Highlands, Charlotte, Glades, Okeechobee and Hardee counties and partial service in Polk, St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties. On July 1, 1 9 41 the company was pur chased from the Collier estate by George W. 'l'hompson and E. E Patterson, of Chicago. During the summer of 1948 a new central exchange was started in Fort Myers for the installation of an automatic dia l system to cost approxi mately $250,000. Repeated attempts: to secure a munici pally owned waterworks w :cre-made by the progressive element of Io'ort Myers after the town was incorporated jn 1885

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THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS 259 but all were blocked by t he antihigh -taxes group until 1910. On Jul y 8 o f that year the voters approved 58 t o 15 a $15,000 bond h;sue to provide a water system and al s o $8 6,000 for a sewerage system and $10,000 for a new school. The first p lant was erect ed by the town a t "Sandspur Pat ch," at Lee and Peek streets. A Fairbanks-Morse pump was installed and a 50,000 gallon tank erected. Th ree artesian wells were driHed close to' the plant to supply the needed water. Another artesian well later was drilled near the present City Hall. 'l'he system of wa ter mains was greatly extended and many im p roYoments made to the water plant during the Boom days Howev e r, t he rapid growth of thecity after 1935 a new plant necessary and in 1937 one was constructed as a PW A projec t at Evans and Anderson at a cost of $200 000 the city paying $95,000 and the federal government $105, 000. Included in the p roject were a 200,000 gallon tank and a 240,000 gallon reservoi r At the same time thirteen shaUow wells were dug three blocks south of the plant. These wells and eight more dug l atel" were ruined in 194 6 and 194 7 by contamination from the Florida Pine Products Compan}"'. Sixteen other shallow wells were then dug three mile s east of the plant. In Deeember, 1946, a mill i on-gallon reservoir \ vas completed prov i d ing f total storage capacity of 1,440,000 gallons. The first superintendent of the wa ter works was S M. 1'Fatty" Smith who was succeeded by Theodore Lauth who served until 1937. Lauth was followed by W. B. Gibson who served until October 1 1945, when he was succeeded by Lamar Bomar, the present super i ntendent. Gas A municipally owned gas p lant was authol'ized in 1924 by the city commission whi ch awarded a contract for its con struc t ion to the American Gas & Con struction Company.._ of Newton, Ia., at a cos t of $130,000. \:ias was turned on for the first time on December 26, 1924. To begin with only seventy-five Fort Myers homes were supplied but this number increased t o 825 during the boom period, After the crash the number of connections temained almost the same until after the mid Thirties when thec ity council em ployed Carlton Vandervort t o take charge of sales. A downt own office was open(!d a nd Vandervort performed an outstanding sal es j ob. selling hundreds of gas ap pliances t o people who had not had gas i n their home s before. However, merchant.;; and bottled gas peddlers objected, saying the city's competition was "unfair." As Looking northeast ward across downtowt1 Fort Myers--Edison Bridge in background.

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260 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS a result, a councU group finally succeeded in getting Vandervort fired-for being too In November, 194jl, the gas plant was s upplying gas for 1900 homes in Fort Myers. Its production capacity had been increased from an original 23,000 cubic feet per hou r to 45,000 through the ad dition of boosters and the storage capacity f rom 100,000 cubic feet to 360,-000. When the plant was opened in 1924, W. C. Brown was brought to Fort Myers from Decorah, Ia., to take charge and has served as superintendent ever since. FIR!: DI:PARTMI:NT After Fort Myers was almost wiped out by fires shortly after the turn of the century a volunteer fire department was organized on May 13, 1901 with Guy B. Reynolds as president, Frank C. Alder man. \'ice-p resident; Philip I sa a c s sect etar:."-treasurer: Carl F. Roberts, captain, and C. F. Cates, firs, t assistant. Almost all able-bodied men in town agrted t o serve. as volunteers. A fund was raised to buy a band-operated pump and other equipment. Reynolds served as the first chief of the organization but was soon s ucceeded b y Cates who directed the fire fightet.,. durjng the disastrous fire of October 16 1903, which almost destroyed the down town business section. Cates was f9llowed early in 1905 by Harry A. Laycock who succeeded in persuading thetown co uncil to buy a Watrous gasoline fire engine and 1,000 feet of hose for $2,200. The Watrous engine had just one cylin der and had to be heated with a Bunsen burner before it could be started. It was mounted on a little cart which had to be pulled or pushed through the sandy when an alarm wa.s sounded. Sometimes a team of horses could be commandeered to do the pulling but more often it was dragged along by the volunteers themselves Water was obtained from artesian wells, from eistems or from the river. \Vhenever a fire occurred the alar m wa s sounded by ringing an iron bell hung on the roof of the Phoenix Hall, at First and Hendry. The Watrous served the town for ten years and was replaced only after disastrous se.ries o f fires. The council then li stened to the pleas of Chief Laycock and ordered a $10,000 American La France truck w hic h arrived April 7 1915, and shortly afterward was housed in a new fire &tation at Lee and Anderson. The ne.w truck waa not eq-uippe d w ith a self starter and t he only man who could spin the stubborn motor was Volunteer 0 L. a Johnny" Johns. So it was dubbed the Johnny Johns and was called by th._t name thereafter. The first driver of the truck was old-timer L. C. "Lew'\ Stewart who had driven an automobile only a few times before. On the first trip out, to answe r an alarm from the home o f Jehu Blount, Stewart rounded an intersection at Hough and Second at high s pe ed, capsized the. truck and threw volunteers itt all di t-eetions. The only casualty was a broken front wheel. Laycock served as chief of the fire department, always as an unpaid volunteer, until 19 16 when he was succeeded b) Corley Br)ant who sened until 19 27. He was followed by \Villiam R. Anderson, the present chie f who has served continuou sly since 1927 except for four years during World War II while he was in the Nav)'. During that period R. S. Bass, present assistant chief, headed the depar.tment. ''Johnny John" was used by the department until 1943 when i t was finally sold. Anot.her American LaFrance was pur chased i n 1922 and during the boom an aerial truck and two pumpers were pur chased. A small booster truck was purchased in 19 and since then two more boosters have been acquired . The depart ment also has a modern first-aid truck equipped with an iron lung, three re .. susci tators, grappling irons, stretcher and aU types of first-aid equipment. Since the boom days the department-has been operated by paid firemen and volun teers. In November. 1 9 48, Anderson was chief, Bass, first assistant chief, and Ros well K ing, second assistant chief. The paid firemen were: Charles Smith, Joseph W. Jr., Joseph Brecht, Grovet: C. Lindenmuth, Norman Hutchison, James E. Bittick and Rederick W. Ander son. The volunteer$ serving were Tonv A lvarez, Bryant Baker, 1\lure Carter, Ed Ferger, Olin Gay, Albert Gayle, Roscoe. Herrington, Ernest Hollis, Vern Jungfer rnan, Ligon, George Lynch, William McWhorter, Morgan G Reid, Uoward B. Rogers, Ray Smith and Carlton Thompson. BANKS OF FORT MYI:RS Striking proof of Fort Myers' rapid reeovety from the depression is furnished b)' the great increase in deposits in the city's two banks1 the Lee County Bank and the First Nat10nal Bank in Fort Myers. The first is an outgrowth of the old Lee County Bank, Title & Trust Company and the second of the old First National Bank oC Fort Myers.

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THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 261 These two institutions were opened for busine s s during 1934 and on their first. published statement s June 30, 1934, had deposits totaling little moe than $600,000. Fourteen years l ater, on June 30, 1948, their deposits totalled $13,391 ,14 0.74. Lee Co unty Bank The Lee County Bank was organized January 2. 1934. I t s first officers were: F Irving Holmes. p resident; J H. Fears, vice -president and cashier; R. C. Tooke, assistant cashier, and J. H. Thomas, assis tant cashier. Mr. Holmes served as presi dent until h i s death on July 9, 1947. Soon thereafter Mr. Fears was made president Deposits in the bank. on December 30, 1935, totalled $697243.97; on December 80, 1940, $1,288 ,800.42; on December 30, 1945, $6,627,039.81 and on June 30, 1948, $6,895,064.64 Officers in the bank in November, 1948, \Vere: Mr. Feats, president; Brown Austin. vice -president and cashier; Mr. Tooke, assistant cashier; 1\fr. Thomas, assistant cashier, and J. A. Ansley, assistant cashier. D irect Qrs of the bank were: Sidney Da\'is, Mr. Fears, Gilmer M Heitman, Jr., R. A. Henderson, Jr . Mr. Austin, Geot ge E. Judd and A. L Kinie. First National Bank The First National Bank in Fort Myers opened for business June 15, 1934. Di rectors then were Frank C. Alderman, Sr., Geotge Kingston, Charles F. Miles, George and Miss Josephine M Stadler. The officers were Mr. Alderman, president; Mr. Kingston, vice-president; HarrY Fagan, cashi et, and William F Gordon, assistant cashier. They served until February 21, 1946, when Mr. Kingston died. Soon afterward his son, Ral9h G. Kingston, was elected vice -president. Mr. Alderman died on Jun e 1 0, 1946, and immediately there after Ralph Kingston was elec ted presi dent, Frank C Alderman, Jr., first vice president, and Mr. Fagan vice -president and cashier. Officers o f the bank in November 1948, were: Mr. Kingston, president; Mr. Alder man, vice -president; Mr. I<'agan, v icepresident and cashier; D. W. Lambe, as sis tant cashier. and C. '" Stat:nes, as sistant c-ashier. Directors were: C. P. Adams, Mr. Alderman, Mt, Kingston, Marguerite M. Nichols, Sam W. Johnston, Walte r S Tul'ner, Jr. and Mr. Fagan. When the bank s tarted it had a paid-in capital and surplus of $125,000. O n 'June ao, 19, its capital, surplus and undiviaed profits exceeded $350,000. Its deposits on June 80, 1984, were $368,974.-43; on June 80 1948, they totalled $6,496,-076.20, an incre.ase of 1709 per cent in fourteen years or an increase of 122 per cent each year the b ank has been in busi ness PUBLICATI O N S The Fort Myers Press, the f irst newspaper on the West Coast s outh of Tampa, was founded November 22, 1884, by Stafford C. Cleveland, o f Penn Yan, N.Y. (See Chapter IV.) Following Editor C leveland' s death in December, 1885, the paper was purchased by hank H. S tout. Ho had no competition in the newspaper field until late in 1894 when a!olitical faction he had offended finance the establishment of the Tropical News, edited by Philip Isaacs Stout's dwindled rapidly and on August 1, 1895, he sol d to Charles W. Hill, of Jeraul d County, South Dakota . But Hill was unable t o meet h i s payments and Stout took the paper back three months later. On March 26, 1896, Stout sold the Press again, thi s t i m e to J. D. Rose and Hal Selby, retaining an interest himself. Late the same year the Press was consolidated with the Tropical News in a deal e ngi neered by the county commissioners for ''the best interests of the people and the taxpayers. Tbe Fort Myers Publishing Company formed by Rose, Selby and Isaacs. Rose sold his interest to Nathan G S tout, son of Frank S tout, on May 13, 1 897. Isaacs continued as editor until October 3, 1907, when he was succeeded by Peter A. Ruhl. In 1911 the Press was made. a dail y paper. Two years later Ruhl sold his il)terest to Nathan Stout who ran it, as sisted by Frank Kellow, for a year longet. Stout then sold the paper for $8,000 to John T. Murphy, a newspaper publisher of Superior, Wis., who wintered i n Fort Myers. Murphy tried repeatedly during the years which followed to induce the manag ing editor o f his Superior Evening Tele gr-am, Carl Hanton, to take c .harge of the paper here, but Han ton was not intereste d. Lat e in 191 4 :t.Iurphy sold a part interest in the paper to a nephew, Tom Callahan, who operated it for two years. Callahan then left Fore Myers to acquire a paper at St. Charles, La. and shortly afte rward Murphy sold t h e Press to Henry H. Ford, of North Branch, M i ch., and Charles Curtis, of Kalamazoo, Mich. These J)ub lishers sold in 1919 to Mor ton Milford, a nationally known 'VaShington conespon dent, who brought in Frank G Heaton to assist h im. I n 1922 Milford sold an interest i n the paper to George Hosmer and'General W. B. Haldeman, Walter Sheppard, W. S.

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262 THE STORY Of' FORT MYERS Creevy and Or. Franklin Miles also put money into the paper. In 1924 Milford went t o Miami and Hosmer bought out the others. After the crash, Barron G. Collier helped finance the paper and by 1931 bad a controlling interest. I n the meantime, early in 1920, another Tropical News was established in Fort Myers, this one by Peter J. Bent, of Osh kosh, Neb. who was assisted by four sons and a daughter: Clyde Belvy, Harold, Walter and 'Fern The first issue appeared February 24, 1920. The paper was pub lished fhst as a semi-weekl y and then as a daily. Late in 1924 a controlling interest i n the paper was purchased by Hanison Fuller who bad resigned a position as assistant managing editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press to form a publicity agency partnership with Carl Hanton. who then was a me .mber of the-Pioneet Press staff. r he price was $35,000. Hanton, who had re.fuse. d tempting offers several times before to come to Fort Myers, was finally induced by Fuller to become the n1anaging editor and he came. earl y in 1925. Thee years later Fuller went to New York to become associated with E. & J Seligman & Co ., and Hanton assumed entire .respons ibiHty for the paper. In June, 1931, the Tropical News and the P ress were merged by their respective heads, Hn.nton and Collier. The cons oli dated newspaper, the News-Press. was published first as an afternoon newspaper and then. in response t o requests from readers, i t was ehange d into a morning paper. The paper is published by the News l'ress Publishing Co., of which Hanton 1$ president. In 1948 the paper was being edited by William R. Spear with Chesley Perry as general manager. The Florida Press Association in Novem ber, 1948, awarded a plaque to t h e NewsPress after declaring it was the best newspaper published in any Florida city of from fhe t o twenty thousand population. aHello Strange. r," a monthly guide book for visitors t o Fo1t Myers, has been pub lished since April, 1944, by F lorence Fritz. A former Red Cross worker who came to Fort Myers in 1936 for her health, Miss Frit started the publication dul'ing the war to make soldiers stationed at camps near Fort Myers fee l at home an4 t o give them information regarding southwest Florida. The guide, which unusually well written and entertaining, pro''ed so popula1." that Miss Frit?. continued publishing it after the war ended. It has a largo local drcuJation and is sent by Miss Fritz to subscribers in forty-three states and several rorejgn countries. POST OFFI CE Mail service for the small settlement of Fort Myers was started by the Post Office Department August 22, 1876, when W M. Hendry was ap!'ointed postmaster and a post office was established in H e ndry's store on the northeast corner of First and Hendry. The office was called "Myers., upon insistence of 'Vashington officials and was not changed to ".Fort Myers" u ntil November 9, 1901. Postmasters have been: He. nd1y, from 8-22-1876 to 8 2 1879; liowell A. Pa1ker, from 8-22-1879 to 11 2-1884 ; Zenas W. Brown, from 113 to 4-23-1886; James W. Bain, from 4 2 3-1886 to 94 1887; Edward L. Evans, from 9 5-1887 to 8 1-1889; Mrs Olive E. Stout. from 8 2-1889 to 9-211893; Edward L. Evans, from 9 22-1893 to 8-2 1 -1897 ; Mrs. Olive E. Stout, from 8-22 1897 t o 1 18 -1906; Walter F. Mickle, from 1-18-1906 to 3 16 1910; Isaac E Foxworth)' from 3 1 5 -1910 to 1-12-1914; Corinne r. Summerli'!>_ from 1 -12-1914 to 1 -12-1922 ; Boyd C. from 1 121922 to 5 1 -1924; Colonel Halgrim, hom 5-1-1924 to 1-26-1925; J. E. Brecht, from 1 26-1925 to 11-161983; Nat G Walker, from ll-16-1933 to 7-17-1934; Walter B. Walters, from 7-17-1934 to present. The post offic e was moved by the various postmasters from place to p Jace in the downtown section until 1924 \Vhe n the government leased quart ers i n the newly constructed Arcade at First and Broadway. It remained in the Arcade until the new Federal building was constructed on First between Lee and Jackson. (See Chapter VIII.) Employees of the post office who have served twenty years or more are.: Wayne Lewis, assistant postmaster; W. J. B. Spillers, superintendent of mails; Della Appleyard, Florence Bri dges, R. L Me. Williams, and Fay Quig, clerks, and G. G. Fouts, L. G. Sheets, 0. L. Sheets, 0. J. Moncrief, A. A. Reynolds and C. M. Mc 'Villiams. carriers. PUBLIC LIBRARY The first public reading room. predecessor of the public library of today, was opened Wednesday, March 18, 1903, in. a small room adjoining the E. M Williams drug store on the northeast comer of First and Hendry. It was established by the Woman's Club, of which Mrs. Juli a Hanson was then president. Books, and newspapers were supplied by club members and winter residents.

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FORT MYERS PRESS. tOL...l. or the Town of Fort Monroe Florida. THE ITALY OF AMERICA True Sanitarinm o! the Occidental Hemisphere mm; P!lNX e. ME + PB +lf"QBP'fl R .eal Estate Exchange and Land Oftlce tor che Laud1i'nd and J(il!lsinu iu:c l.a l Write (0 ror teml!J nnd y()u wiU !l(.
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264 THJ> STORY OF FonT MYERS The club had to vacate its quartets in in November, 1904, when Harvie E. Heitman started to clear the site preparatory to building the Bradford Hotel. T he books were stored and the reading room was not reopened until February 8, 1906, w hen it was re-establ ished in a small building on the southwes t corner of First and Jackson which had b een used by Frank C Alder man, Sr., as a law office. Mrs. Olive E. Stout served as the first librarian. Later she alternated with Mrs. Hanson and o ther club members. Funds t o keep the reading room open were raised mostly by Mrs. Mary, Laycock who served as chairman of the funds solicitation committee from 1906 until 1926. Thirty-one subscrib ers paid $12.70 a month to pay the librarian and t he rent of the building. Money t o buy books was obtained by a lending charge of five cents a vo l ume. cha1 gcd after March 24, 1906. Other books were obtained by a book shower held annually. Late in 1909 the reading room, which by then was called a public library, was moved t o the Roberts Building on the southeast corner of First and Jackson. It remaine d there until 1926 when it was moved to the vacated Harvie Heitman home which had just been moved from the present post o ffice site back to Bay Street. This homG, many times remodeled. was used as officers' quartet-s during the Semmole War days. After moving to its new home, the library was taken over by a library associa tion and in order to obtain money from the city, the associa tio n deeded the library t o the dty i n N ovember, 1927. Thereafter it was directed by a library .board and tained by t he c ity. The first board members were Julien C. Rogers, Mts. Harry A. Laycock, Mrs. Byron Houjth, M iss Sara Muriel and Cl .aude O gilvie. Mrs. J..aura C. Gephart was appointed librarian in 1927 and served until November, 1947, when she retired to go to the Eastern Star at St. Petersburg. S he was succeeded b y Miss Etta L. Slaughter who had served as asslstant librarian since 1937. Miss Slaughter' assistant in 1948 was Mrs Ethel C. Brown. In December, 193 8, the library was moved to the old Elka Home on First Street which had just been purchased from the eity by the American Legion for use as its pos t home. Plans for a fine new library were drawn by Mrs. Thomas A. Edison who prornised to donate enough money to con struct the building. World War II delayed construction and Mrs. Edison d i e d without making any pro\-ision for the library. In stead, she. donated Seminole Lodge and adjoining p roperty to the city for use as an Edison Memorial. P lans for a library to be built by public subscripti_on in Watetfront Park were under way late in 1948. Members of the library board in 1948 were Mrs. Harry A. Laycock, Miss M. Flossi e Hill, 1\!rs. Virgil C. Robb, 1\!iss Gertrude Heron, and Mrs. J. 11!. Hill. ORGANIZATIONS Women's Community Club The \Vomen's Community Club is an outgrowth of the Women's Civic C lub organized in 1907 by ten women who banded together to try t o do something about getting the cows off the streets. More than a year passed before they s ucceeded. The club's name soo n was changed to Civic League. The club members later led in a move ment to beautify the city by planting trees along the streets. During World War I they rented a plot o f gtound from the Coast Line railroad and p 1anted i t with shrubs and flowers. It was used for years as a city park. Befote the eity assumed the bility for cleaning the city streets, the league members paid colored men to do the work. Their nextmain projec t was to prov ide benches on the streets. Thev started by buying a few benches and sold ad\'ertisc ments on them to help l)al' tho expense. As more money was raised additional benches we1' e putehased. In 1927 members of the organization incorpotated under the n ame of the Wo .. men's Community C lub of Fort Myers. Charte.r members were: Mrs. Rosamond Lee Chadwick, Mrs. Bertie Laycoc k Mrs Mildred Farnum .Mrs. Ruth Cralle, Mrs. Rach e l Mile s Miss Josephine Stadler, Mrs. Jessie Curtright, Mrs. Elizabeth Hoyer, Mrs. Bessie Boyd, Mrs. Luella Hubbard, llfrs. Hazel Bannistet, Mrs. Belle Hendry Evans, Mrs Ellen Robb, Mt-s. Elizabeth Miles and Mrs. Laur a T ichnor. In 1938 the Community Club, with the Junior Chamber of Commerce helped the late Ronald Halgrim carry out .his dream of commemorating the b i rthday of Thoma$ A. Edi$On by putting on a Pageant of Light. The pageant is now sponsored by the Junior Chamber with the Community Club as co .. sponsor and all other c i vic organizations helping with the various entertainments. The Commun ity Club nominates and elects the King of L ight and the gentlemen of his Court wh ile the Jay cees elect the Queen and her court. The club also puts on t he Cotonation and the Royal Ball. ..

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THE STORY o F FoRT MYERS 265 At present the club l!lves a card party an d tea each month during the tourist season for winter visito rs and elub members, h elps the Chamber of Comm erce and Jaycees in th eir numerous activ i t i es, he lps t o p r e pare and setve lunch for the Pte-Scbool picn i c chaperones Youth Cen ter dances, provide s hostesses for the Yacht Club party given annually in con nectio n with the Fort MyersTampa yacht races, and last year provided fresh flowers regularly for the Thomas A. Edison home. The club still carriea on a beautification program and last year bought and p lanted a numbe : r of the new Barbara Hendry bougai n vi llia. During World War 1I the club members bad full charge of entertainments at the Civic Ce n ter, with other organizations assisting for the benefit o f serv ice men stationed at Page Field and Buckingham Army Air Bas e. Presidents of the orpnizati o n have been: Mrs. Olive E. Stout, !\Irs. I. E Foxworthy, Mrs. William F Glynn, Mrs. Ben Tinstman, !\Irs. Charles F. Miles, Mrs. Cla:renc:e Chadwick, M rs. Dean Turner, Mrs. Richmond Dean, ltlrs. Watt L11wler, Mrs. Paul Franklin, !\I ra. Jim Clements, Mrs. Harry Laycock, Mra. S. D. Bisset, M rs. Donnie 0. Durran ce Mrs C arl Roberts, Mrs. George ElvcyiMrs. John 0. Z ipperer, Mrs. J arne$ Hill II, and Mrs. H o watd Dau b m a n. I n 194 8 the club hnd ove r t h r ee hundred members. L ee C ounty Chamber of Comme rc e The Lee County Chamber of Commerce is an outgrowth of the Lee County Board of Trade and other organizations formed at various times to promota the county. The Board of Trade was organized in 1904 primarily to help the Atlantic Coast Line r ailroad secu ro a right of way i nto Fort Myers. When that wns accomplis hed t h e organization became almost inac tive, due largely to factional squabbling among its members. \Vh en one factio n propo s ed oomething for the betterment of t he com mun i ty, the other faction oppo sed it, just as a matter of prin ciple. During 1912 the Board members called an armistice in their warfare and employed their first fuUtima, paid see-rotary. Allen H. Roberts, of Jaeksonville. A booklet ad vertising the city !llld county was pub lished a n d was so well receive d that city cou n cil a pproved a h alfmill publicity t a x to con tinue the good wot'k. The tax brought in $2, 8 50 the first year. After functionin g smoot hly for s e veral years the Board once more began to be bothered by factional differences and other organizations began to be formed: the Boosters Club, the Accelerator Club and the Fifty Thousand Club. Finally, In 1921, the C hamber of Commerce was organi:t;edJ comp ose d largely of men whO favored the early construc tion of the Tamlami Trail. 'l'h c Doard of T rade fought for the Dixie Highway and th e two groups were eon ... stantly battling. Records of the Chamber coverinc its early years were lost in a fire a\ the Royal Palm Hotel i consequ ently an exact history of the organi:tatio n cannot bo given. It Is believed that the first secretary was able and aggressive L. A. Whitney who came bore fiom St. Petersburg, Whitney performed his work well but was such a tealous Tamiami T r ail champion that when the Chamber and the Board decided in 1922 to cease fighting a n d join forces, he bad to reaign-he had made too many enemies in the ranks or the Board's membership. Since 1923 the Chamber or Commerce bu worked untiringly and to relate its activities would be like repeating the his tory of the city. Composed of the city's most progressive citizens, it has aided in countless ways to make Fort Myers a better place i n which to liv e. It has ad vocated nnd obtained n umerou s public prov emonts, has advertised the city throughout the nation, bas helped to organize c lub s and societies for winter vi&itors, and has s upported every whil e projeet designed to advanee the city's interests. Men who served the Chamber u president during the 1920's wer e E. G. Wilk inson, William T Harley, L. Whit.e, Vernon Widerquist, R. Q. Richards, S. 0. Godman and R A. Henderson, Jr. Seerctnrie s during this period wer e A. Ca v alli, Don Wilkie a n d A. A. Cou l t. Presidents of the Chambe r s in ce 1028 have boon: Geo rge E. Judd, J D. Lynn, Harry Fagan, S i dney Davi s, David Shapard, Sam Fitzsimmon s W. H. Rey noldsJ Car l Hanton., G. How erton, W. S. Turner, G. H. Alexander, A. W. D. Harris and Lee 0. Daniel. Secretaries have been Ronald H algrim, B. McGrath, W. T. Simp. son, W. D. Seabro9k and A J. Dwyer. Men who have serve d the as directors durin g the past f ive years in clude: George Allen, G. H. Alexander, Harold Crant, Harry Fagan, Paul Frank lin, A. W. D. Harris, A A. Hamel, Ralph E. Kurtz, Walter 1\Io ody, Frank Nnsh, Carl Rober ts, Harr y Stringfellow, Milton Thompson, W. S. Turner, George Whitehurst, Jr., Gilmer Heitman. Jr. Fred

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266 THE SToRY oF FoRT MYER S WesemeYer, Leonard Santini, R. A. Hen derson, Jr., Sidney Davi.s, L. C. Curtright, H. C. Case, Graydon J ones1 Robert Cody Brown, George Judd, J. 0. Zipperer, God frey Sant in i D. W. Ireland, Capt. A L. Kinzie Shelby Shanklin, Charles Best, Ed W. Smith and J. Irving Holmes Junior Chamber of Commerc e The Fort lllyers Junior Chamber of Commerce, one of the most aetive groups. in the city, was organit.ed in 1931 but reeords of the first eight years of its organization have been lost. In 1940 the organization was rechar tered and became atciliated with the state and national organization. Past presidents have been : Thomas Howard, 1989; G ilbert Parker, 1940; Carl Roberta, Bevis,19 4 2-43; Charles Best,1944; George Crawford, 1945; Grnydon Jones, 1946, and Robert Henderson, Ill. Officers in 1948 wore: George Whitehurst, Jr., president; J. C. Stepp, secret .ary; Joe Pendleton, treasurer; Gus Thomas, Billy Reynoldt and Ted McGrath viee-pre s.idents, and Dan Harlacher, executive secretary. In 1948 the Jaycees had 204 members. Each year the club promotes com munity project s to provide entertainment for the eity and also to rniso mone.y for civic i m pr ovem e n ts. The biggest project of the organization is the annual Pageant of Light, a week long celebration to commemora t e Thomas A. Edison, the city's ffrst nationally famed winter The pageant, held the week that includes February 11, such events as the fashion show, choral concert, gopher derby, dance, water pageant. 1..--iog and queen's invitation dance, beach day fishing contest, baby parade shuffleboard contest, coronation ball and grand parade. The King and Queen of Light reign over the week's celebration. Rotary Club The Rotary Club of Fort Myers received its charter in April, 1922. Charter mem bers were: James Coffey, L. C. Chase, Harry Davison, Orr-is Davi.son, John Gay L.,;\ie Brent, W. A. Halley, R. A. Henderson, Jr., James E. Hendry, J r.f Thomas Howes, Carl McClure, J. E. Morris, Ed Page, A. E. Raymond, Peter Schupp, Amos Smith, Ed Smith, Edro If. Sikes and Frank Valentine. Members of the club In September, 1948, were: Dr. C. M. Askew, Louis Batastini, Lester Baker (p.p.), Thomas M. Biggar (p.p. )', Fred H. Bryant, Carlton Case, J. L. ClarkSO!!J E. M. Conroy, Byron Cooper, Dr . H. Cunnin gham, Tom De1Tington, Sam Echelbarger, John Henry Fears, J. A. Franklin, Sr., (p.p.), Paul Franklin (p.p.), Clinton Freel (p.p.), R. S. Fuller, Lynn Gerald, George Dr. Angus Graee Dr. ,Walter Grace, Dr. w. H. Grace, Bill Harley, A. W. D. Harris, Do n Hawkes, G ilmer Heitman, Jr. E. B. Henderson, R. A Henderson, Jr., R. A. Hen deraon, Ill, J. Fred Hosea Tom Howard, E. W. Ireland, Sam Johnson (PI'> Dr. H. QuHlian Jones (p.p.), George l!l. Judd, James Kelly, Sam Kosiner, R-E. Kurtz, J. P. Lo f tin, C. H. McGarrity (p.p.), Harry McWhorter, W. D. Moody (p.p.), Harold Dr. R. B. Newton, R. G. Nightin gale, BrJRnt Pearce Joe Penderton, ll. A. Perks, vhesley PerTy (p.p.), W. C. Per&Ons Ben Plum mer, DcCoutcc)r Pollock, Sr. DcCourcey Pollock, J r., J. B. Randall, W. A. Reyno lds, B. B Rodd, Joe Rust, Dr. Ed Saunders, Richard Severly Jack Shank lin, J. A. Sheppard, Rev Thomas Craigie Smart, Ed. Smith, J. Tom Smoot, Ernest Stevens, George Thrall, Ray Tipto n, WalterS. Turner, Jr., Walter B. Walters, H. P. Welch, H. J. Wood and Dr. C. J. Zimmerman. (p.p.) stands for past presi dent. Officers of the club in 1948 were: Gilmer Heitman, Jr.,l'res.; Walter Moody, v.p.; Brant Roda, see y, and Lester Baker, treat. Directors: Byron Cooper, Jock Shanklin and Ernest S tevenson. Ki w anis Club The Kiwanis Club of Fort Myers was organized April 28, 1922 with Clfty one charter members. It received its charter June 21, 1922. Charter members were: W W. Stone, R. Q. Richards, T. Gay Brough, J. F. Pixton, H. G. Stout, D. C. Pollock, C. W. Shriver, C. C. Pursley, J. F Allred, C. P. Staley, A. G. Powell, John M. Borin111, J. E. Foxworthy, N. H. Hunter, C. Q, Walton Gilliam, Dr. M. F. Johnson 'Martin E. Schultz, Dr. H. E. Parnell, T. H. Phill ips, Clyde Gonzalez, H. A. S tnhn W. F. Gwynne, H N. Den h am, G. M Heltmun, Dr. V. H. Voorhis, J. D. Lynn, H. C. Case J. E. Tooke, D. S. Borland, B. C. Foxworthy, Dr. G. W. Bonn, J. B. Parker, Dr. A. P. Hunte, M. M. Milford, W 0. Sheppard, E. L Evans, Dr. K. A. J. M. Clark, W. B. Graham, H. W. Grady, S. 0. Godman. L.A. Wingate, D. W. IN!land, L. C. Curtright, W. P. Franklin, W. D. Wilson, Dr. J. W. Baird, C. W. Bartleson, I. E. Foxworthy and C. M. Fox worthy. First officers of the club wcro: R. Q. Richard s pres.; L. A. Wingate, V Pi Allen G. Powell, scc:' y and Jame s F. Yixton, treae. Dil'ectors we
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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 267 Club members in 1948 were: Dick Mc Connell, Gerald Moody Harold Case, Wilbur Martindale, W Erie Dance, Dick Stephenson. VeT<:il Senseman. H a r r y Fagan, Rick Richards, Jr., Murry Fussell, Bob McCollough, J. G. Goodyear, DeWitt Farabee, Ken Durland, E. L. Lord, Chas. Moore, Jack Holst, Rober t Faulk, Jock S,utherland, George Elvey, Hough, George E. Allen, A. G. Wilhams, Lee Q. Daniel, Guy Strayhorn, Charles Cecil Senseman, Frank P t ather, Murray Bobbitt, Eustace Sirmons, John Cody J. B. Roberts, Joe Ansl ey, E. D. Griffin, D. C. Ballou, Howard Fteeman, Floyd Ellis, M. M. Cornwell, Donnie Durrance, Earl K. Bobbitt, Norwood Strayhorn, Harold Alexande'i> Marion Powell, Russell Rich, Gordon uzzell, George Case Vernon Headrick; Travers Parkinson, Chas. Engelhardt, John Boring, Jas. C. Sa[!p, Irving Han-is, Harry Satchell, Ken Marmon, Richard Ward, Fred Mellor, Wesley Nott, W es Rumsey, Chas Braz zeal, F. E. Starnes, Bill Wiggins, J. R Harrison, Pnrke Lewis, Edward Simpson, Douglas Bogue, Bill O'Ha,er, Harry Fishel, Kenneth Lamb, J. P. McGraw, R a I ph Morgan Frank Watson, John Woolsla i r, Ray Campbell, Dick Starkey, Dewey Murph y Carl Houck, George Fuller. Past presidents have been: R. Q. Richards, S. Q. Godman, Dick Boyd, Walter Turner, Claude F. Lee, Claude Ogilvie, .!''red H. Mellor, Nat G Walke>-, r ... i i Harry McWhorter, C. M. Joyce, R. V Lee, J. Ross Bynum, Jack Holst, John K. \Voolslair, Sidney Davis, Harry Fagan, Joe Ansley, Ed Simpson, R. G. Wilson F. E. Starnes<... Carl P. Hcuck, Nelson Hough, J. B. >tobetts, Earl K. Bobbitt, Dick McConnell and Harold Alexander. Allen G. Powell served as secretary three years, J. C. McCannon, fout years, Frank T. Caldwell, one year, Frank A. Shore, eight years, and W. E rie Dance, ten years. Lions Club The Lions Club of F'ort Myers received its charter March 29, 1935 Its charter members were: H. D. Bartleson, Hoy B. Black, Lewis Barber, Frank C. Alderman, Jr., A. B. Baker, C. I. llfoore, Jr., Bud Wilt shire Jr., Irby W. Black, George W. Goorley, A. Eldon Hanshaw, Francis G. Ganison, 1'homas S. Luster, "' C. Bell, Jr., Ben Wolfson, Leo W. Englehardt, Phil Parshall, George T. Marne, Charles A. Powell, Jr., and Coe Guswor t hy. Fitst officers of the club were: Dr. Fred Bartleson, pres.; Hoy Black, J. A. Russell and Charles S. Moore, Jr., vice ptesidents; Charle s PowelJ, Jr., sec'y. treas.; Davis Tarrer, Lion tamer, and Warren B. Wiltshire, tail twister Directors were Frank C. Alderman, Jr., Donald Hawkins, Thomas Luster, Francis C. Garrison, Irny Black and Wilson Ward. Past presidents have been: Dr. Bartle son, A. B. Baker, H D. Black George T This dilapidated house, located on Bay Street just east of Hendry, is the oldest building in For t Myers. Many pP.t'Sons incorr ectly beJieve it was one of the buildings of the old fort but it was constructed by W. M. Hendty in 1875 for use a his home.

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268 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Mann, Frank C. Alderman, Jr., Ben Wolfson, James B. Kelley, R. C. Tooke, Robert C. Halgrim, Martin A. Way, Irby W. Black Dr. J. V. Giddens, W. J. B. Spillers, W. C. Griffin, Robert M. Woods, Heard M Edwards and Carl Michael. Club members in 1948 were: Sam Abbott, Clarence L. Babbitt, Russ Bailes, E. B. Bntt, Bob Banks, J. E. Barton, Cecil Bennett, Joel Bennett, Charlie Bevis, Hoy Black Irby Black, E. M. Brown, J. T. Beckett, A. J. Bruner, Lefty Barker, L. H. Blouch, J. D Brown, S. N. Branch, J. A. Cannon, Charlie Chand ler, Bert Chapman, A. B Chipley, A L. Crow..< H. G. Crawford, Carl Creel, Tommy Wilmer Daniels, Simon DeMarco, Howard Daub man, Tony Dw yer, Grimes Dennis, Heard Edwards, Leo Englehart Bill Evans, Walter Edelblut, Tom Fink, L. H. Finney, Roger Ford, Bob Foxwor t hy, Roy Frizzell, Ralph Fry, Howard Fitzgerald, J. F. Gibbs, J. T. Gibbs, Chas. Gnau, P. 0. Goodyear, Herman Gluckman, George Goorley, P. A. Geraci, M. E. Gastoh, J. V. Giddens, Chic Hall, Bob Halgram; Jiin Harper, Virgil Harris, Bert Hoffman, Ernest Hart, Mike Hauk, Buck Jeftcott Eddie Johnson, Mur l'iell Jones, Ver ne Jungfcrman, Lowell Joamison. Tommy Kurtz, Harry Keith, Arthur Kelly, W. L King Stanley Knight, Pancho Littlejohn, George Lynch, Mike Long, c. V. McClaren, R L. Macon, J. E. Mattern, Carl Michae l Ernest Mitts, R. S. nloore, : Moon Mullis, Joe Norfleet, W. H. Ogden, W. E. Odom, Allen Parsons, Hugh Richards, B. W. Small, R. G. Simpson, Jim Simpson, W J. B. Spillers, Harry Schooley, Clarence Silco x, Ray Smith, Bob Spencer, Hewit t Spaulding, J. H. Thomas, Herb Thomas, Ed Thomas, Clarence Tooke Thompson, Martin W a.y, C l emmie Withams David washburn, T. W Weeks, B. H. Welch W F:Waleott, W. A Walden and E. M. Webb Past presidents o f the club have been: Dr. Fred Bartleson, A. B. Baker, H. B. Black, George T. Mann Frank C. Alderman J1., Ben Woolfson, James B. Kelley, R. C. Tooke, ,Robert C. Halgrim, Martin A. Way, Irby ,v. Black, Ik J. V. Giddens, W. J. B Spillers, W. C. Griffin, Robert M. Woods, Heard M. Edwards and Carl Michael. Exchange Club The Exchange Club o f Fort Myers re ceived its charter June 12, 1947. The first officers were: Curtis R. House, president; G A. Powell, Jr., vice-presiden t ; W. W. Watson, secretary, and Douglas H. Parker. Directors included the officers and Frank C. Alderman, Jr., Rexford W. Gilliam, John L. 1\!aker, AhtshaJI W. Anderson, G. W. Starnes and Joe Crosby. Club members in September, 1948, were: Marshall W. Anderson, Russell 0. Blemke, Monroe S. Bobst, James 1\1. Boyd, Jesse B. Brown, Harry A. Chern in Wade 1\1. Cot t on, Joe M. Crosby, Joseph J. C>otty, George D'Alessandro Peter D'AI lessanaro, Sam M. Galloway, Walter J. Ganey, Paul E Geisenhof, Edwin W Giebel, Vaugh!' Rexford W Gtlham, .j\ Lou1s Gua.rdm, James M. Hill, Jr., Curt>s R. House G. E. Johnson, Gray don Jones, Girard E. K inzie Rober t P. Lamont, III, Edwin H. Mathis, D. H. Parker, Reinardo R. Perez, nlel E Porter, C. A. Powell, Jr., Joseph H. Settle, John L Shay, B. W. Small, C. W. Starnes, Steve Taminosian, \V. w Watson, Joe \Ve hcr Jr., James W. \Vil tshir e, Warren B. shhe, and F. R. Zucker. United Spanish War Veterans The General Arthur McArthur Camp No. 16, United Spanish War Veterans, was organized in 193 3 with twenty-two charter members: C. \V. Smith, .. James Hilliard F. C. Des Rochees . Simon Loeb, E. C. Young, Samuel J. Johnson, Wm Francis Gwynne, Alvin Gorton L. M. Stroup, R. C. Ellis, James W. Swart?; T. W. Hammer, George L. Stephens, Morgan L. Lewis, Frank E. Modie, Joseph F. Smit h H. L Reeves, Charles H Griner, Robert R. King, J. M. 1\!eWilli ams, Allen B. Tucker and Jobn.N. Steel. Past commanders have been : F. E. Modie, Simon Leob, C W. Hewitt, F. C Des Rochces, H. L. Reibling, Milton S. Hathaway,Ghappel Ellis, Lewis R. Woods Thomas \V. Burdette, Alvin Gorton, Samuel L. Ditto Simon Loeb, Wallace G. Skidmore. R. J. Nightengale was com mander in 1948. Members of the camp in 1 948 were: Samuel R. Angel, W. R. Alexander, R. A. Barratt T. J. Barrett, Thomas W. Bur dette, Samuel L. Ditto, James W. Drawdy, R. C. Ellis, Samuel L. Elwell, Alvin Gorton Charles E. Griner. C. W. Hewitt, Harry F Hitner, Herman Hinkel, Robert R. Klng, Luther P. Lord S i mon Loeb, Joseph E Lupton R. M. Manson, Alexander Mc Kinnon, R. J. Nightenga le, R. M. Paul, Paul Rickards, Henry. Riebling, W. G. Skidmore, T. A. Stevens, C. C. Ttawbridge, W. I. Tooley, Scott Tl"1lmmell, E. G. Bow man and Charles S. Salmon. PAGEANT OF LIGHT Thomas A. Edison, the famous inventor who spent nearly fifty winters in Fort Myers, is honored in a unique waY by the City of Palms. In the later years of his liCe Edison was interviewed e ach year on his birthday Febr uar y 11, by reportms from northern

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THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 269 cities and atories about him appeared in newspapers thtoughout the country. It was I)Qt until 1928, that an y public celebration was hel d and then Edison consen ted to a ttend a b irthday par t y given by the city to which e1fery school child in the county was in vited Because of Edison's failing health the party was not repeated but in 1931, the year of his death, h e marked his birthday by attending the ded i cation of the Thomas A. Ediso n Bridge. After Edison s death on October 12, 1981 residents planned a memo rial service to be given February 11, 1932, and i t was held in Evans Park with a chorus of fifty s i nging the invento:r's favori t e songs and the audience joining tn the chorus. Sehool children p l aced a wreath on the monument and Mrs. Edison, who was not present, sent flowers to each patient at Lee Memorial Hospital. Speakers included Dr. Ludd H Spivey, president of Southern College, and Judge Nathan G Stout. No observance was held the following year due to Mrs Edison'& absence but in 1934 brief outdoor ser vices were con ducted in Evans Park by the National Plant, Flower and Fruit Gui l d. B r ief services also were held in the munj c ipal auditorium in 1935 and 198G and in 1931' the city churches; sponsored a joint service The i nV'entor's b i r t h d a 'Y was com memorated i n a more elahol ate manne1 in 1938 when the first pageant of ligh t wa he l d sponsored by the Woman's Com munits C lub and the Junior Chamber of Commerce. 'l'he event lasted three days beg i nning with a coronat i on and ball on Friday night, a parade on Saturday with forty f loats and four bands, and a memorial se:rvice Sund a y James E Hen dry, Jr., and Miss Virgini a Shep pa r d were crowned king and queen The pageant of light since 1938 has become of s,te adily i ncreasi ng impo1 tancc and in 1947 the event attracted more than 15,000 persons t o Fort Myers from all parts of the sta te. In additi on to the parade, in which scores of floats and many bands part i c ipated, numerous other entertain ments were provided. The pageant had become one of th e most outst.anding and unusual fiestas in all Florida. FORT MYERS HOSPITALS Lon g before Fort Myers b e c am c nationally famous as a winte r resort it boasted of having the f i nest hospital in all South Florida i f not in the entire s tate. The hospital was splendidly equipped, had large and airy rooms which were kept The home of the Ame rican Legion on First Street.

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270 T H E STORY OF FORT MYERS imm acu lat-e, and was two and one-half stories high It reportedly coat $30,000. No person now living ever recei ved treatment in this institutio n or even saw it. Construction wo r k on It was started nearly one hundred years ago, in 1 861, whe n Fort M yers was being used by the Army as the center o f operation s a .gainst the Sem inoles, hidden in the vastnell$cs of the Big Cyp r ess and the Glades. So much money waa spent by the Army on the hospital, as well as on other build ings at the fort, that the quartermaster's office o r dered an investigation. Maj or J. McKinstry came to look things over and repor ted that in Ms opinion unnecessarily e xpen s i v e buildings have been erected and a l avish and uncall ed for e xpenditure of public monoy has obtaine d at the post, particularly fo r the ho s pital building." The hospital did not s urvive l on g a!ter the Civil War. Whe n the conflict ended the fort was abandon ed and lumbe .r-hungry pioneer s came up the Caloo s ahatchee i n sloops and sc h ooners from all parts o f the West Coast to get mater i als for building homes. They did a thorough demolition job, not only on the hospi t al but on almost all the other buildings They tore off the cedar ripped off the sidin g and pulled up the flo ors, y n n k e d out the windows an d took down the doors. \Vhen they finally departed, t h e onc e pro ud fort was a shamble s. And the hospital bad ceased to exist. That was in 1866. A half century elapsed befor e Fort Myers got another hospital and then only after a hard struggle. Incorporated as a town in 1885, Fort Myers slowly bot steadily forged ahead. K nown i n the bec;nning as only a frontier "cow town" i t star t ed to become famous as a v.;nter resort and ita populatio n was s welled b y sunshin e seekers from a ll parts of the nation. Front..ic.-wny s were aba n .. do ned one b y o n e and t h e peop l e of the up and -coming to wn began dem a nding a h ospital. But for years all thei r efforts wer e un success ful. Person s wh o became critically ill or who needed operations had to be taken to Tampa or Key We-or cared for a t home. However. a determined drive to get a hospital was launched January 2, 1912, at a of repr esentativH of all eivic organiz ations churches, businesses and professions and everyone pre$ent agre ed that t he driv e would be contin u ed u nti l the long-wa nted institution became a fact. A working committee wa s appointed co nsisting of Mayor Louis A. Hendry, Dr. J. E. Brec ht, p resident of the medical society, a nd the Reverends C N. Thomas, G. F. Scott and A. l\1. Hildebrand. Others present at the meetings i n cluded L S. Stewart, C. Q. Stewart, L N Stroup, Nathan G. Stout, Mrs Oli v e E. Stout, Mrs. E:. Hutchin son, Mra. Will iam Hanson, M rs. Harry LnycocK, Mrs. G eorge F Ireland, M r$ A. M Brandon, Mrs. 0. L. Johns, M rs. P. A Ruh l Mrs W. S. Man so n and Mrs. C. N Thomas. The city council magnanimously voted $300 t.o help pay for a hospital bllilding and funds were solicited from the lr'lneral public. But money came "in slowly a nd the project hung fire for months and months. No progreas at all w a s made, in fact, until after one of Fort :Myers' most historic even to-the of the o ld county court. houte. The Instigator of the court h ouse dem olition performance was W illiam H. T owles, t hen chair man of tho eounty com m issioners. Foiled twenty years befor e when he tried to get a first.class court house for the county, Towle s wa s de termined in 1914 to get the kind of build he thought the county deserved. Other c:ommisaione. rs agreed with him and a eon tract tor a modem structure was awarded. But construction work was blocked by many persons wh o believed the old build ing was too good to be destroyed-and th e commissioners we re enjoined from proceeding. Fiery u Bill" Towles final1y to ok matter s into h is own hands. On October 26 1914 he g a ve orders to Contractor F. P. Jf eifner to tear down the the wor k was started immediately after two citlens departed from F o r t Myers by train to get another injunction, unaware, of course, of Towles' plans. The workmen started in on tho courthouse steeple and ripped it off. Then they took out the windows a nd the doora and started tearing off th e siding. They worked frenziedly, and did not s to p until the court. h o u se wa s so thoroughl y razed that it could not poss ibly be restored. Lumber from the demoli shed building was turned over by th e county commis sioners to the hospital board. A at Victoria and Grand was secu r ed and work or const,ructing a new hospital waa started. But progress was made slowly. Dona tions were few and far between. Only a !ew of the more progressive people helped push the project a lon g Man y a t ill believed that a hospital w as just a place to die in and slnce the y did not care about dying they did not care about a h ospital. Even so m e o! the phy s i cians were a pathetic and a few w ore ope nly antagoni stic. Finally, ho we ver, the h ospital was f inished It was two stories high and had four rooms for patients The ground s were

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 271 deso late---no gras a no shrubs, no trees. Shacks in which colored people lived were close by. The equipment wa s most m e ager. There were no chah'S for v isitora to sit on and in the kitchen th ere were n o pot s or pans or even dishes. The Lee County Ho sp ital, as i t was first ca lled, was opened october 8, 1916, with Mrs. Edith Dav idson, f orme r s uperintendent or the Arcadia Hospital, in charge. The president of the h""pital board then was Carl F. Roberta and the other members were C W Carlton, D r W. B Winkler, Mrs. Harry Laycock, Miss Cordeli a Nutt, Mrs. Julia Hanson M ra. Olive E. Stout, and Miss Minnie Gardner. The staff member s were Doctors Winkler, Ernest Brecht, A P Hunter and G. F Henry. Dr. Daniel McSwain, of Arcadja, wa s the chie f surgeon. The first patient was Sam Thompson who was rushed in wh en he s uffered a n a c ute atta c k of appendicitis. Dr. McSwain came i n from Arc:.odia on the next train and Thompson was ope.rated on. Super i ntendent Davidson bad to go to Dr. Henry's offiee to sterilize the bandages. But, despite the i nade.quate facilities, Thompson lived. Members of the h ospita l board worked untiringly to get improvements C. W Carlton devoted almost a ll h is time t o the insti tu tion, w ithout temu n o ration Wa l ter G. Langfor d donate d sorel y needed s urgical equipment. The Order oC Eastern Star held many benefit showers, the first on Oet ober 31, 1916. The Daughters of the Confe deracy sponsored fundraising drives. Members of this organization urged that the institution be named the Robert E. Lee llfemorial H, and the board agreed to make the The name later was shorted to the Lee Memorial Hospital. Two additions to the o riginal building were made durin g the following quarter eentury and the hospital f inally had sixteen room s, with accomm odations for twenty two patients. The chief benefactor of the institution w as a retire d impotU u of New York, Edwi n A. Richard, one of the best friends J>ort M yers ever had. H is con tributlons helped immeasurably to ko ep it open during the lean years of the depres sion. Others who donated i n cluded Charles A. Stadler, Mrs. A ddison W. Iglehart, Cordelia Nutt, Riehmond Dean, Martha H. Elm s, Eleetra Miles Porter Edwin H . Adams, Margaret McLean K idd, and the Rotary Club. These donors gave either ward s or rooms; numerous others ma de smaller contributions. P ions for a new hospital, ordered by the ho spital board, wer e drawn in the late Thirties by the arehitectural f irm of Frank W Bail & A sso ciates a nd the project was approved by WPA as one of II$ last i n Florida. Due to the fact that WPA forces were them steadily s hrinking a a a result of improved economic conditions, only a s keleton crew of workmen, most inex perieneed, was kep t on the job and tho hospital was not eompleted until the spring o! 194 8, at a cos t o f $200,000. Tho new building was officially opened April 18, 194 3 M em b ers or the hospital board then wel"O: Harry J. Wood, pre sident; F. Irving H olmes, vice p resi dent; Virgil C Robb, treasu rar, a nd David Ireland Sidnoy Davis and W illiam G. C lark, board members. Contributors to the new hospital in cluded tho Methodist Golden C1:0ss, Mrs. Helen Pratt Sheppard, Mrs. George L. Leonard, Richard Ddl ille Brown, Mrs. W. G. Clark, Georg e L. Leonard, Daughters or Confedor&C)' Janet B. Casey, Mrs. Tom Smoot, Mr and Mrs. Frank Prather, Mrs Charles Morto n Cist and John H Lynch.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Abbey, Kathryn Trimmer, uFlori da, Land of Change/' 1941. John A., "His t o ry of Pinellas Pe ninSula 1914 :Sickel, Karl A., "The Mangrove Coast,'' 1942. Bradle)"', Hugh, "Havana," 1941. Brinton, Danie l G., a'I'he Flo rida Peninsu l a," 185 9. Cash, W. T., "The Stor y of F l oridG," 1988 . , , . .. : ; , , C onnor, J eannette Thurbei:-, "Co l onial R ecords of Spanish F l orida," 1925, and ((Tr anslat ion of the Memorial of P edro Menendez de Aviles by Gonzalo Solis de Meras," 1923. Cushing, F ran k A., "Expl oration of Ancient Key Dwelle'l'S Remains on t he Gulf Coast of F l or i da," 1896. Dictionary of A merican Biography, 193 4. Dodd, Dorothy, uCapt Bunce's Tampa Bay Fisher i es," 1947. D ouglas, Marjory Ston eman, {
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WHO'S WHO IN FORT MYERS "History i s the essen c e o f innumerable biographies." -Thonuzs Carlyle.

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lS an

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 275 MAJOR JAMES EVANS Major James Evans, founder o f the town of Fort Myers, was born February 12, 1823, in Suffolk, Va., a descendant of an old Virginia f amily. He attended Joe Holle man's school in Suffolk and later learned to be a surveyor. As r e lated in the general text, Evans settled on the site of Fort Mye r s in 1859. left because of t he Civil \Var, purchased the property from the United States in the 1870's, and employed a surveyor t o lay out a town site. On September 20, 1880, he purchased 275 additional acres close to the town, paying 75 cents an acre. Soon after .. ward he platted Evans Addition No. 1 and recorded a plat for Evans Addition No. 2 on January 2, 1887. (See Chapter III.) Well liked by Fort Myers people, Ma jor Evans was elected often to public office. He served se-ven years on the town council and from 1892 through 1900 as county tax assessor. He took a keen interest in children and on October 2, 1878, donated an acre at Second and Jackson as a school site He also donated four lots at Andetson and Evans on October 5, 1885, to the Protestant Episcopal Church Major Evans died January 12, 1901, and his body was taken to Virginia and bUried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suffolk. His will, dated September 12, 1894, was filed March 21, 1901. He willed all his property to his nieces, Mrs. Elizabeth A. Christie, Julia Anna Norfleet and Lucy Evans Norfleet, all living in Suffolk. Judge Geo rge W. Powell named Harvie E. Heitman administrator of the estate. His personal property ap praised at $7, 1 66.91, consis ted large{y of notes from persons to whom he had sold land. He also owned 570 lots in the Evans additions appraised at $5 a lot, and 460 acres near the town appraised at $4,800. All his real estate was \ alued at $9,880. CAPT. MANUEL A. GONZALEZ Capt. Manuel A. Gonzalez was born in Madrtd, Spain, October 22, 1888 When fourteen years old he sailed for Cuba with a party of boys. The shlp v..-as wrecked on the Florida coast but all on board managed to get ashore. A few year s later he wen t to Key West where he became a U nited States citizen. While i n Key West he met and married Evalina J Weatherford, of English descent, who was born in the Bahama Islands in 1836. During the Seminole uprising of the 1850's, Captain Gonzalez ran a mail boat between Tampa and the Fort Myers. His wife often accompanied him. They liked MAJOR JAMES EVANS Fort Myers so well that they decided t o make it their home after the Seminoles were conquered. Howc.vGr, the Civil 'Yar upset their plans and they were unable to cOme until April, 1866. (See General TextChapter III.) After settling in Fort Myers, Captain Gonzalez continued to follow the sea and became known as one of the best pilots and seamen in Gulf waters.. He also opened the first genetal store in the infant settlement, selling to passing c attlemen and trading w ith the Seminoles. When the government survey was started on the south side ot the river in 1872, Captain Gonzales moved :from ''t ov.'ll" to the edge of the creek now known as Manuel's Branch. During the 1890's, the family moved back into town, building a residence on Monroe Street whe r e the Atlantic Coast Line depo t later was built, Mrs. Gonzalez selling to the railroad for $6,000. Captain Gonzalez died Tuesday, February 25, 1902. He was survive d by his widow and eight childten: Mrs L. C. Stewart Mrs. C T Tooke, Capt. Manuel S Mrs. T J. Roberts, J. Edward, Capt. Alfonzo F., William G., and Miss Laura, now Mrs J. F. Garner. Healso was survived by eighteen grandchildren. Mrs. Gonzalez died Sunday, 19 1905. Manuel S. Gonalez, oldest son of Captain Gonzalez, followed the sea for a number of years, becoming a. sailing master. Latc-. r he became a contractor and a dealer in lumber and building supplies. Many of the buildings

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276 TnE S T ORY OF FoRT M Y E R S he con s t r ucted oro still stan ding. H e was one of the f o rty-four men w h o i nco rpo rated the town a nd tor man y years pl ayed an active part in civic affa ir$. Be was married t o Irene Hask ew. Mrs. Gonza le z died in 1933 He died August 11. 1935, one day before Fort Myers celebr ated its f iftieth a nniversary a s an inc o rporated town. He was survived by two daughters, Mrs. A. L. Williams and M rs. Cu rtis M. Davison, and four sons, Fr e d Th omas A C harles and Lesli e. T homas A Gon:talez, a veteran of World W a r r was the author o! uThe Caloos a h a tehee," a n exccUent book which dealt with t h o history of the Fort Myers regio n. It was p ublished i n 198 2. Mr. Gonzalez d i e d July 10, 1937. ;;,_ JOSEPH DELORES VW. A S Joseph Delores Vivas was October 12, 1845, at B elise. Mexico. When a young m a n he went to Key West. On March 8, 1866 h e was married to C hristiana Stirrup, an orpha n of Eng li s h desc ent who had bee n raised by Mr. and Mrs. Manuel A. Gonzalez. Leavin g Key West on their hon eymoon in Mr. Vivas' s:ail boat, "San F ilo.'' they arrived In Fort Myers o n March 13, 1866 Mrs. Viv a s had beon a t the fort before w h e n a small c hild, Captain Gon zalez. having brought her on one of h is trips to the out post in the late 1850's. M r. and Mrs. Vivas buill a s m all log cabin Just east of the Go nzalez home. (See General Text-Chapter lii.) T hey hved there until 1888 when Vivos buj)t a tine, two-atory house on the same lot using materials whi c h he brou ght from Cedar Keys. The house waa still standi n g in as solid as the day it was b uilt. the Florida Boom, the Vivas p roperty was sold and t h e home w a s moved to the rea.r of the lot where It now stands. W hen the boo m e nded, the property reverted to the Vivas estate. Although Mr. Viva s was one of the first two .. w...,. in Fort Myersii he h a d to pay MaJor Evans $400 for his ome site. (See G e neral Te.xt.) The dee d was dated August 16, 187 7, a year after th e to wn site surve yed and plotted. The t ract, apm ox i m ately one h undre-d feet wide, jUst eaat of Lee extended from the river to Second Street. Vivas was a c a r J,.enter and contractor a nd in 1 886 was awarded the eo n t ract for b u ild .. ing the first bridges over Billy's Creek and Whiskey Creek. He constructed both bridges for $949. H e also built a wharf a t the foot of Hendry Street i n 1885 for T o wles & Hendry for $ 1 200 Later h e built scores of homes in Fort Myers. M r Viva s died October 23, 1909 Mrs. Vi vas, who w aa born August 25, 1850 died March 3, 1 980. T hey had nine chi.ldren: Mrs. Amelia Allen, Addie, Mrs. Frances S t ebbins Santa, :P..Irs. Annie Jane Bourne R osa B!!lle, L eonora, Josephine D o l ores, and Norman. In 1948 all were living except Addie and Norman. J OH N POW E LL John P owell was born in 1829 in Horry County, South Carolina. In 1850 he married M iss B e ll am y a member of an old Carolina family Impoverished b y t h e Civi l War, he l eft hia native sta t e in 1866 and arri ved at Fort Myers with his f amily e a r l y the follo w ing year. The only other seWers at that time at the f ort were Manue l A. Gonzalez an d Joseph Vivas wi t h their familie s For a short lime Mr. P o w ell and his f amily lived in o n e of the abandoned fort buildings Soon after the government survey of the Caloosah atchee region was started in 1872, h e moved t o the n orth side of the river to e s tablish a h o mestead clai m. The tract he selected was at a place laWr c aJJed New Proopect. Mr. Powell started an orange grove on his l and b y p l anting seeds from fruit found growing on trees on tho fort prop ct'ty. He abo raised $UQ'ar cane and veget ables and engaged in the cat tle When Lee County was created in 1887, h e was elected to serve o n the bo a r d of c o un t y comm iss ioners. D ur ing the 1890's he served as a membe r o f the s c h ool b oar d He died October 17, 1901, and was survived by si x children. GEO R GE RENT ON SH UL T Z George Renton Shultz was born in Newark, N. J., May S 1 8 4 8 Whe n a youth he to become a telegrapher and in 1867 came to F l orida to take charge of the Punta Rassa cable s tst.ion of the lnterna tiona! Ocean Telegraph Company. The s tati o n was establis hed in the a rmy barracks built during the Civil W or. Mr. Shult began taking in guest s in the early 70's and by the late 80's his establishment had become nat ionally known as the Tarpon House. The hotel burned i n 1906 and Mr. Shultz then O l'gani zed a company a nd re built. The n ew s ttuetur e was al s o destroyed by fire l ate in 1913. (See Index: Shult z Hotel.) In 18 7 3 M r. S h ult< waa married to Jose p hinc Smith ot Jerse y City, N J who later helped h im operate h is hot el.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 277 Mr. Shultz was at the cable station in 1898 when the message was received telling of the sinking of the U. S. Battleship Maine at Havana, and during the following year he was on duty day and night, handling innumerab1e messages filed by the m cnt and by newspaper correspondents. For many years Mr. Shultz hel d a birth day party annually at his hotel and invited as nearly all the leading citizens of Fort Myers and vicinity. Mr. Shultz die d January 25 1921. He was survived by his widow, Josephine a daughter, Mrs. Florida Heitman, and a son, Mar tin. CHARLES WESLEY HENDRY Charles Wesley Hendry was born in Lowndes County, Georgia, July 11, 1821, the son of John and Katie (McFail) Hendry. He was a descendant of Robert Hendry, born March 17, 1752, on the island of Arron, Scotland, who eam.e to America in 1770, served in the Revoluti.onaty War under Light Horse Harty Lee, married Ann Lee ani:l moved to North Ca1olina after the war. Coming to Florida with other members of his family in 1851, Charles Hendn settled in Hamilton County and engaged in the cattle business. During the Seminole upris-ing of the 1860's he served in a Florida Volunteer Boat company and several t ime s brought captured In dians to Fol't Myers. Mr . H .endry was married in 1865 to Mrs. Jane Louise (Brown) Mansfield, who was bor n at Blountstown, on the Suwannee Ri'ler, September 13, 1839. Soon afterward they moved to Hillsborough County where their first child, Esther Arin, was bot n Sep tember 12, 1866. They then moved to Manatee County where three more c-hildren \vere born : James A., Alice and Roean. During the winter of 1872-73, Mr. Hendry joined his cousins, Capt. F. A. and 'V. Marion Hendry, in driving their herds of cattle below the Caloosahatchee. He lodged his family i n a small cabin near what is riow Immokolee. There his oldest child, Esther Ann, died on May 17, 1878. Mrs. Hendry then insisted on moving to Fort Myers where she would have n e i ghl)ors. They arrived in Fort Myers in June. Other Hendry families soon followed. (See Chapter III.) The Charles W. Hendry family settled first on Billy's Creek but moved to the fort site following the hunieane of October 6, 1873, buying the squatter's right of Bill Clay to land east of what is now Monroe Street. Mr. and Mrs. Hendry sold two acres of this tract to the county for $2,25 0 on September 4, 1889, as a site for the courthouse. Mr. Hendry later took up a homestead south on the river, acquiring title to it on February 10. 1883. GEORGE R. SHULTZ During the decade from 1883 to 1893, Mr. Hendry continued in the cattle business, much of his time being spent in Key West where he handled catUe shipped in by other Hendrys and by Dr. T. E. Langford. His family finally moved there and made it their home for a number of years. Mr. Hendry a lso was en_gaged. in shipping, own ing schooners wh1ch phed to and from Carib bean ports. H e died on July 14, 189 3 Soon afterward, Mrs. Hendry moved her family back to Fort Myers, building a home at what i.s now First and Broadway. She died on June 27, 1908. James A. Hendry, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Hendry, followed the cattle business all his He was known to everyone in Fort Myers as "Pin eapple Jim," a nickname he acquired when a youth after he. ba d gone forth on a pineapple foraging expedition. He died August 14, 1941. Alice Hendry was married twice, first to John Judson 'l'ooke, and after his death, to J. B. McCann. She had one child, Ammie Tooke, who became the wife of James L. Lawrence and had two daughters, Mary Alice, now Mrs. G. W. Sturm, and Ammie Jeanne, now Mrs. John K. Woolslair. Roean Hendry married T. T. Henderson and had two daughte1s, Josephine H., now Mrs. Joe H. Gerald, and Alice Roean, who married R. L Fuller. The children of Mr. and Mrs Gerald are Judge Lynn Gerald, Mrs. Mary Eleanor Struss, and Sarah Joe Ger ald. Mr. and and Mrs. Fuller have four children: Helen Roean, Betty, Lowell and Geanne. Ammie born in Fort Myers, was married to B. E. Henderson. She died March 29, 1896.

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278 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS CAPT. FRANCIS A. HENDRY Capt. Francis Asbury Hendry was born in Thomas County Gaori,a, Novernbel:' 19, 1833, the o ldest son of James Edward and Lydia (Carlton) Hendry. In 1851 he went with his family to Hillsborough County, Florida, and on March 20, 1852, was married to Ardelinc Lanier. He then moved to Fort Meade and put his herd o r catt.le east of Peac:e River. He rust came to Fort Myers as a dispatch bearer in 1864 and a year later eame as a guide for a cavalr-y company in which h e became a lieutenant. During the Civil War he raised a troop of cavalry in Polk County which was attached to Col. Charles J. MunnerJyn's battalion. He served as c.aptain of his troop. Captain Hendry drovo his cattle t o the gradng grounds south of the Caloosahat chee, in the Fort Thompson area, in 1870 and a y ear 1ater began shipping steers to Cuba from Jacob Sum merhn's wharf at Punta RBssa. In the summor of 1873 he moved his fmily to Fort ) fyers, occupying one of the officers' quarters just east of the VivllS home, where the Royal Palm Hotel was built. About the same time be established a ranch homo at Fort Thompson where he spent part of his time. For more than a decade after moving to Fort Myers, Captain Hendry's herds dominated the open range $SOUth of the rhe:r and AND MRS. F. A. HENDRY he became widely known as tho king of South Florida. In one year during the 1870's be shipped 12,896 head from Punta Raasa In 1880 he was reported to be the owner of 5 0,000 head. Dul'ing the 1880's Captain Hendry put chased large tracts in the Fort Thompso n area from the state and began improving the breed of cattle by importing pure bred Jerseys.. To provide better gra .dng tor the cat..Ue, he planted new grasses from Cuba. Near the lurn of the century he sold his ranch to E. E. Goodno and it was later acquired by Henry Ford. Captain Hendry had a long and aetive political career. In 1875 and 1877 ho served as state senator from the 24th dis trict. In 1885 he took a leading part in incorporation of Fort Myers n town and was elected t o serve on the firs t town council. Two years later. when Lee County wa$ created, he was e Jected as one ot the first county commissioners. He later served six terms as in the &-tate legialatne from Lee County, from 1898 to 1904. After the Civil War, Captain Hend'i' wu one of the leading advocates of tho dramage of the Everglades. On October 7, 1889, Mr. and M r .. Hendry sold their f'ort Myers home, which they had entirely rebuilt, to their son Louis A. for $7,000. They then moved to their Fort Thompson home where they !Jved thereafter. Captain .. continued, however, to have an active interest in Fort Myers affairs. (See Index: Hendry, Capt. F. A.) Captain Hendry was friendly with all the Seminole Indians of South Florida and they held him in such high esteem that when they heard he was dying Chief Billy Conapaehee (q. v.) and his brother Billy Fuel walked sixty miles from deep in the Glade s to see him before he passed away. Capt. and Mts. Hendry had eight children wh o s urvived infancy: James E ., born Jnnu ary 12, 1864; Louis A., born April 19, 1866;, Laura 1 ., born March 2, 1868; George M .. born June 30, 1860; Francis M born June 11, 1863; Virginia Lee, born August 20 1866; Carrie Belle, born March 8. 1869, and Lucretia Pearl, born July 19, 1 871. All the oons held public of!i
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THE STORY oF FonT MYERf 279 Louis A. Hendry was married to Ella F'rie -rson jn 1878; Laura was married to Waddy Thompson June 22, 1873; George was married t o Willie Barineau June 5 1881; F r ancia 1\f. was married to Eleanor Murdock in 1890; Virginia Le e was married to Capt. J. Fred l\lenge on October 30, 1 884 ; Carrie Belle wa s married to E
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280 THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS FRANK B. TIPPINS Frank B. Tippins was born October 19, 1868, in what is now DeSoto County. His mothe.moved to Fort Myers in 1873. When he was fifteen years old he quit school and went to work as a printer's devil for the Fol"t Myers Press, then just being started. Four years later his health failed and he left the Press to take a job as a cowhunter. After r i ding herd for four year&, Mr. 'rippins regained his health and t hen became connected with the Seminole Indian School at Immokolee where he stayed until 1898. He then went into business for himself, opening a livery stable in Fott Myers which he operated until 1900. In that year he ran for sheriff to succeed Thomas W. Langford and was elected by a lal"ge majority. Sheriff Tippins was re-e l ected time after time. In 1919 be left office to b ecome a deputy internal reve.nue collec t or to help break up the bootlegging then prevalent on the West Coast but aftcl" one year gave up his commissio n and returned to fill unexpired term as sheriff. Later he stepped out of office on account of ill health to manage a Georgia farm owned by Medford Kellum. While be was away, a lynching occu rred, theonly one in the history of the eounty. Mr. Tippins was pctsuaded to ret urn and was elected sheriff again at the next elec tion. He held the office throuJ
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THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 28 1 wh ich he was graduated in 1898 He then s tudied a t Massey's Business College, in J aekaonvillei specializ-ing in business ad minis tration and shorthand and typewriting. After graduating, he was appointed coutt r eporter in Lee County but quit after re cording one case During the next few years Mr. Hendry wotked in l' 'ort Myers stoes and helped his father in his cattle business. 'Vhen the Bank of Fort Myer:s was organized i n 1906, he was n amed assistant cashier. Always intetested in horticulture, Mr. Hendry in 1908 started a nursery, making a speciality of semi -tropical shrubs and palms. This nursery was develope d duling the yems vthich followed into the Evet glades Nursery of today, one of the largest of its kind in the world, grov.ring more palms than any other in the United States. Mr. Hendry, who has beaded the nursery since it was started. now has thirty .. five acres planted and seven under sheltel'. Hundreds of t housands of p lants, shrubs and palms are sold annually. Re tiring from the bank in 1914, Mr. Hendry spent part of h is time at his nutsery and part helping his father in the cattle business. During the boom of the 1920's, he wa. s engaged in real actiYities. When t he b oom ended he concentrated on his nursery, enlarging it ycm hl"' year. 1\fr. Hendry played an important role in the coming of the Seaboard railroad into Fort Myers. S Davies Warfield, president of the railroad, engaged him in 1925 to acquire all the propetty needed for a right of .. way into t he city and to serve as his personal advisor. Working quietly, without letting anyone know he was buyin g Jand for t he railroad, Mr. Hendry finall y obtained all the ptopet ty required and the entrance of the road int o the city was made possible Mr. Hendry has been credited with having h e lped to a $'reat degree in making Fort Mye r s the 14Ct t y of Palms. II Because of his insistence that the cit y should make pro vision for taking care of the royal palms donated by Thomas A. Edison, he was ap pointed on June 11, 1915, to serve on the city's first park board and during t h e next two years many streets were p lanted with palms He a l so served as chairman of the park board during the early Twenties and fwn ished royal palms at eos t when the Rotary Club sponsored a movement to beautify McGregor Boulevard beyond the city limi t s And on September 16, 1928, after retiring from the park board, he was awarded a con tract by the cit}" to p lant 6,954 trees for $28,000, the plantings to extend 37 miles on 67 streets. It was the largest street beautification program ever undertaken by any city in southwest Florida. Mr. Hendry was a direetor of the Bank of Fort Myers for many years and president JAMES E. HENDRY, JR. of the Gulf Holding Company. He was a charter mcJnbcr of the Rota .. y Club and is a member of the Methodis t Church. On June 26, 1907, Mr. Hendr y was mar. ricd to F l orence J. Stout, daughter of Frank H and Olive Stout, born in Ho lton, Kansas. They have two children: James E., III, born February 15 1909, Barbara, horn li'ebruary 11, 1911. On June 22, 1941, James E., III, was manied to E lizabeth Wilkinson. They ha v e two daughters. Susan Sharp, born Janual'y 1 6, 1946, and Ma rgaret Elizabeth, born Aul!"'st 25, 194 8 Barbara Hendry was marned to Robe r t H L inderman May 18, 1946. JACOB DA UG HTREY Jacob Daughtrey was born in Chatta nooga, Tenn., in 1842. He eame to Florida when a young man and on October 20, 1864, was ma:r-ried t o Emma Youmans in the' small settlement of Miami. Coming to the West Coast with h i s family i n 1878, he home steaded on the north side of the r ive r p lanting a grove and raising cattle. He also planted a tract of sugar cane and built a milJ in wh ich he manufactured syrup. Mr. Daugherty died suddenly on NO vember 11, 1885, ncar Blount's stor e in Fort Myers. He was survived by his widow and seven children: Martha Elit.abe th, Lucema J., Mary M., James H Jacob Grant, Arthur Garfield, and Amanda F.

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282 THE SToRY oF FonT MYERs DR. THOMAS E. LANGFORD Dr. Thomas E. Langford was born in Madison County Florida in 1847. He received his early education in Madison, attended medical and practiced several years in Ellavall e. In 1869 he married Annie Jane Galloway at Live Oak, Fla. Shortly afterward be gave up the medical profession and entered the cattle becoming one o f the leading c attlemen of the st.ate In the fall of 1878 Dr. Langford came to Fort Myers and became associated with James E. Hendry, Sr. The two men bought out the Summerlin interuts at Punta Rassa and the schoon ers ''Lily \Vhite" and uwave" and beeame aetive in buying and shipping beef cattle to Key West. They also were extensiv elY en gaged in s tock rais ing. The breaking out of the Spanis h -Amer ican War opened the Cuban markets to them and they shipped thousands of head annually. Dr. Langford died at Bartow January 2 1 1900, and his body was brought to Fort Myel$ for burial He wa s survived by his widow and five ehildre.n: Walter G., Mrs. Stella Voris, Ja mes, Homie and Dr. Langford's brother Talf 0. Langford accompanied him to Fort Myers and wat; engaged for many years in the saloon busineM In 1911 he erected the two-$tory brick building on First, a little west of Jackson, known i" 1948 as the Miller Building. Two WALTER G. LANGFOR D other brothers, Nicholas W. and J oaeph came later and also a cou sin, Thomas W. Langford. When Lee County was created Nich olas became tax collector and Thomas sheriff. WALTER G. LANGFORD Walter G. Langford was born in Live Oak, Fla., July 2, 1873, the son of Dr. and hlra. Tbumas E. Lang! ord. When a young man ho became associated with J ohu ill. Roach, president of the Chicago Traction Company, who had purchased Ue11pa Island. The two men developed Deep Lake, an extenelve citrus grove deep in the Glade s about thirteen miles north of the present town of Everglades. They also construc ted 11 railroad from the grove to tidewater. Mr. Langford played an important part in Inducing offictals of the Atlantic Coas t Line railroad to extend their tracks into Fort Myers. He also persuaded many wealthy northerners to buy propertie.a in South Florida and be was credited witb havingbrought more outside money into this area tha.ri any other man in Fort &lyers. In 1907 Mr. Langford organized the First National Bank and served as its president until the time of his death. While he was head ot the bank the present bnnk building at Firat and Hendry was con structed. On July 27, 1898, Mr. Lan$tford waa married to Miss Carrie Watson. Mr. Langford died November 15, 1920. Ho was s urvived by his widow and two daughters. Beuna and Fay; two si sters, Stella Wain and Mrs. Charles Harrington; a brother, Homie Langford, and a Walter Langford Ballard. Fay is now tbe wife of Robert T. Paul and live s in New York City. CHARL ES A POWELL, SR. Ch,nlcs A. Powell, Sr., was born ln J!'ort Myers June 20, 1880, the son ot William F. and Rhoda (Galloway) Powe ll William F. Powell, a native of South Carolina, came to Fort Myers in the late 1870's and was &$Sc>eiated for many years w ith Taft 0. Langford in busine ss and in e.attle raising. "Captain Bill," as he was known to everyone in town, wa s one of the incorporators of Fort Myers in 1885 and was active in civic affairs until his death in 1913. Chnr l ea A. Powell was educated In Fort Myers schools and at Stetson Univors ity. After leaving the university he enraged in the fish business for a number of years and then started working for the Seminole l,ower & leo Company as an engineer. He remained tha concern after it was purchased by

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TnE STORY OF FoRT MYERS 283 Southern Utilities and In 19,26 by the Florida Power & l ... i ght Company, servin g as p l an t sup erin t endent. Mr. Poweli d ied Jul y 22, 193 9. H e was s u rvi v e d by h i s w i d o w Mts. Mary Gilliam Powell ; daughter, Mrs. Mary K e lly ; a &on, Char les A Powell, Jt., and thr e e s is t e rs Mrs. Annie Dean, Mrs. Kate Hopso n and Mrs. R. E. Robinson. CAPT J FRED MENGE Capt. J. Fred Menge was born September 10, 18S8, forty miles below New Orl e an s on the Mississi p pi, t.he on of A n t one an d Catherine (Conrad ) Mens:c. Beco min g a drainage expert, h e was empl oye d by Hamilto n Dis s t o n In 1881 to assist i n th e recl amation of th e Everglo.dets a n d arriv e d in Fort in September, 188 1 w ith a dredge b uilt a t Cedar Keys. For the next seven years he was engaged in dred ging canals le ading from Lake Okeechobee, the principal one being the canal from the-head oC the Caloosahatchee to the lake. When Disston suspended drainage opera tions in 1888, Captain Menge purchased two sm all boats from tho Disston compan y and bega n providing tran&port..ation serv ice up the river Later he formed the Menge Brothers Ste a m boat Line with h i s brother, Capt. Conra d M e nge, and purc hased larger and better b oata for the uprive r run. The li n e was an i mportant. fo.etor i n the d e v e lop. mont of the Caloosahntchee region. (See Index: Menge Brothers Steamboat Line. ) The M enge brothers continued to operate their tiver stea .men until tho development of highways and the advent of trucks dealt water transportation a fatal blow. They suspended operations just before Wor1d War I. Fred Menge then joined the Coast Line railroa d as a commercia l a gent a n d Conra d l ater was employed by Henry For d with who m he had become fri e nd l y and mov e d to Dear born M ich O n O c t o ber 30, 1884, Capt. F r ed Menge was ma r r ied to Virginia Lee HendrY. daughter of Capt. and Mrs. F. A. H e ndry. They had six children: Laura Belle, born January 10, 1887, who married John D. Clark; Kathleen, born February 5, 1889, who married C. c. Pursley; Nettie P., bom February 26, 1892, who married Robert Battey; Frederick A., bom March 23, 1894; Charles Dean, born August 23, 1898, and Vi r gi nia Lee, March 9, 1903, who marri ed Howard Denham. Captai n M e nge died January 28, 1937. C onrad Meng e was marrie d to Salli e S h a nds daughter of Joseph F. Shan d s They have thre e children: Conrad C., Vilme r J ., and S i d n e y. RHEINHOL D KINZIE Rhotnhold Kinzi e wa s born in E ulau, Germnny1 on February 3, 1850. ACtor serving in tne Fr anco Pruss ian War he w a s man lcd to Ernestine Betterman. T h ey h a d sons: Geo r g e F., b o rn Deecmbcr 29, 187 4j,Andrew L., born No vember 16, 1875, and .t;ne W., bor n 1\Iay 31, 1877. BeUevintt there were greater opportuni ties in the New World than in Germany, Mr. Kinzie In 1879 went to Cuba, intending to go into the bee business. Not liking it In Cuba, he came to the Fort Myers d1striet and homesteaded near Olga. While working on his property he became Ill. When Mrs. Kinzie learned of his illness she left Germany with her thre e sons and earne to America. T h ey arrived in Fort Myers April 11, 1887. Mr. Kinz ie d ie d o n J uly 2 7 1887, an d s hortly afterward M r s. Ki nzie brought the family to Fort M yers, settled on Jackson Street next to the school grounds. She had little money but a strong determina tion to make the family self-supportins:, and she s ucceeded. Her sons became ot Fort )lrs. Kint .ie died June 2, 1909. DO NALD BAIN Donald B a i n was born November 19, 1 862 in I n v erness, S cotl and, the son of Donald a nd M a t garet (Ma cGregor) Baln. He was educated in S co tland and when seventeen years old c ame to the United Statu and studied for two years at an agricultural eo liege ,in B altimore. Coming to Fort 1\!!iers in 1882, Mr. Bain settled on the Caloosahatchee about five mile s north of Punta Rassa. He was joined in 1884 by his brother John. Other settlers came in soon afterwar d and Donald Bain named the small c o mmunity 4'lona" after the Ionian Islands off S cotland. The sectio n hos been k nown a s l o n a evel' since. Both Donald and John B ain became s u ccessful veget a ble gl'o wers. On July 22; 1919 Dona ld Bain was mar ried to Emma HarTi s of LaCrosse, Fla. They had one daughte r J anet, who was married to Lucian F. Thomas on February 16, 1939. 1\lr. Baln died in Fort Myers February 6, 1945h and was survived by hi s widow and daug tcr. THADDEUS !11. PARK Thaddeus M. Park was born September 16, 1854, in Beu n a V ista, ncar Americus, Ca., the so n of Dr. and M r s Joolah Andrew P ark. Early i n li fe he le amcd to b e a builder a n d wh e n h e came t o Fort Myers in 1883 he soon be cam e t he leading contrac tor In tho comm u nity. He a l so established the first well-equipp e d saw mU1 in town.

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284 TilE STORY OF FORT MYERS Included among the many building>; con structed by 1\fr. Park wera tho county courthou se, in 18G4, the first moder n livery s table, and many res idences and co m mercial b u ildings. He nl s o was a citrus fSrowc. r a nd own(!d large groves at Tiee and tn Fo1 t 1\ofyers. Park A v enue, named i n his honor, adjoined h is Fort M)ers grove and home. Park was the first to vote in the election held in 1886 to determine whether Fort Myers should be i ncorporated as a town. B e later served ns councilman six years and a lso served several terms a s a member o f the sc ho o l board. On January 7, 1884, h e was married to Lula S. Frierson, daughter of Samuel Frierson, son o f Major Aaron Frierson. They h a d four children: Mrs. Neva P ark \\'atson, deceased; Addie, who became Mrs. Ben P King; .JuJia. and Mary Lou i se, decea ed. Mr. Park died M..-cb 28, 1900. Three grandchildren were living i n 1948: Sara King, w ife of Ell!& Rasmussen; Kathleen Watson, wife of Coley Westbrook, Jr. and Edward D. Wat.oon. Mrs. Park took a keen interest in com munjty affairs and for many years took an active part in mov ements aimed at im proving the town. S h e died April 18, 1944. In 1922 Miss Julia Park joined with Miss Alta L Evans in establi s h ing the lad ie s read)'-to wear fitm ot Evans & Park. o f the leadin g f irms of its kind in southwest Florida. EDWARD LEWIS EVANS EDWARD LEWIS EVAN S Edward Le-wis Evans was born ln New Orlean& May 1, 1858, the so n of Edward and Ella (Lewis) Evan s natives ot Ire land. He wa s educated in N e w Orl ean s an d when twe nty-fiv e years old came to Fort l\lyers on a coastwise steamet and got a job o.s manager of H. L. When Thomas A Edison came to Fort Myers o n a sightseeln.-trip in 1885 he stopped in at Roan's store to a$k about fisbin,:t and 2\._fr. Evans helped induce him to make Fort his winter home. They later became tlos.e friends. An ardent fisherman, Mr. Evans wa3 o ne of the first to sec the possibilities of tnrpon r i s hinJl ns a tourist sport. He des igned tackle for lead ing f ish ing tac kl e manu raet.ur e rs and many items were named after h im. In clude d among h i s sportsmen fticnds were such as Zane G rey, Rex Beac h Fred Sl<>ne and E. A. Pike. After several years in Roan's store, Mr. E v an.J and Harvie Heitman formed a pal"tnership and st.arted the Heitman.Evans Company which was managed by M r Evans ior many Years. Mr. Evans took a lead in g part in the incorp oratio n of Fort Myers as a town in 1885 and also in the creation of Lee County two year& l a ter. He ser,.,.ed scvcln l t.Grms as t own councilman and one term ftll mayor. six years he was a member or the countf board of public instruction. During thG aumlni stration of Grover Cleveland he was posttnaster of Fort Mye rs. For many yean he was ebairman of the Democratic committee of Florida. In 1930 the American Legion named him the outsc.ondjng citizen of the year bi!:tausc of hi.Jong service to the c o mmunity. Late in the 1890's Mr. Evans built a home on R iversi d e Avenue (now McGregor Boule vard) which became o n e ol the s h o w places o f t h e town He li ved t here until 1921 w h e n h e built a h ome in Dean Park. He then sold" h is first home to t h e city for $3 4,000 and the city offices were moved there. The Evans h ome was still serving as City Hall in 1948. Evans Park, adjoining the city building, was named in his honor. On December 31, 1887, Mr. Evans was married to Belle Hendry, daughter of Capt. and Mrs. F. A. Hendry They had a daughter, Rossie, who became the wife of Frank C. Alderman and a son, Edward H. Mr. Evans died April 2, 198 4 He was survived by his widow, his two children, a brother, T. J. Evans, and a sister, Mr.&. C. E. Everett.

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TnE STORY oF FoRT MYER S 285 CHARLTON T A YLOR TOOKE Charlton Taylor 'l'ooke was born October 14, 1860, on a farm in Jc!!erson County, Georg ia. the son of J nmes Thomas and Amazon (Himes) Took e. His !ather, a plantation owner, was impovorishc.d during the Civil War and young Tooke had few opport.uni t jes to gain a form al ed ucati o n When twelve years old he started working as a farm h and and seven years later came to Florida and got a job as a cowhunter :1\fr. Tooke first saw the Caloosa.hatehee in the spring of 1880 when be and Irvin Singletary drove a herd of eattle from Fort 1\Ieade to Punta Rassa. 1\Iore than a we,ek was required to make the journey. By the fall of 1883 1\Ir. Tooke had saved enough money to go into buainess so h e cam e to Fort Myers and opened a s aloon. His es ta b lishment was patronized mos tly by cow hunters who b oug-ht most of their dr i nks on eredit. By the fall of 1884 be b a d so much money on his book a and so littlein his eash box that he decided to change occupatio ns. So he went to work as a cattle buyer Dr. T. E. then one of the leadmg cattlemen in South Florida. For two years he lived in Arcadia and during that period served as sheriff of De Soto county Preferring t o live ncar the Gulf, Mr. Tooke in 1887 left Dr. Lnngfotd and started working as a carpenter .. eontract.or in Fort My ers. A little later h e set out a 20-acrc orange grove on the north side of the Caloos a h atchee and also manag-ed a 3 2-a cre grove on the Orange Rher. Shortly after lhe turn of the eentury be gave up the building business and devoted all his time to his grove interests. Deeply religious, Mr. Tooke for nearly twenty years preaehed all over South F lorida as an unordained, undenominat io nal m inister in Baptist and churche s In 1896, Mr. Tooke was elected county commissioner and he served four years. For his service s he was paid $52 a year plus $2 a da) when the count.y roads w ere twice a year. On October 1 1884, Mr. Tooke was married to Lavenia Conz.ale1, daughter of Manuel A. and Evalina J. Gonzalez. Mr. and llis. Took e had ten children: a boy born August 5, 1885, died October 3, 1885; Seth T born September 24, 1886; Barney F., February 7, 1890; Charlton T Jr., July 9, 1891: James E., JUne 8, 1893; Evelyn J., Mareh 2, 1896 ; John Judson, Au.gust I 1898{ Carrabelle, Deeember 25, 1900; Grace ildred, May 17, 1904 and Addie, February 17, 1906. CHARLTON T AY LOR TOOKE Seth Tooke was married to Violet Morgan, Decembe r 24, 1912; Barney to Oliv e L. C utry, August 12, 1919 Carlton to Irene Morris, May 12, 1922; Evelyn to J. C. 1\IeDevitl, June 29, 1922; Graee, Mildred to Charles S. Waugh, May 21, 1927; James E. Tooke to Floy C. Robert$, September 21, 1927, and Carrabelle Tooke to Jack 11. Rice, Mareh 24, 1995. Mrs. Tooke died November 13, 1984, one month and three d ays before her si xty. eighth birthday. 1\Ir. T ooke died Sunday, October 17, 1948. 'fHE HANS ON FAM ILY Dr. W illia m Hanson was born in Felstead, Essex, England, on October 6, 1842. He studied medieine at the University of Edin burg where he beeame a fellow 10 the col leges o( physiei.ans a nd Coming to America in 1881 he lived a short time at Key Weal and in 1884 earn" to Fort Myen where he practiced medicine and operated in real estate, open_ in g one of the town's first e ubdivisions. Dr. Hanson died December 16, 1911, and waEJ survive d by his widow, Mrs Julia s on, nnd three sons, Bernard, Newt o n and W. Stanley Newton died aix days later. 1\fre . Hanson was widely known ae the mother of wom e n's organizati ons in Fort Myers. She was one o f t h e founders of

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286 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS the Woman's Club and served as its presi dent for many years. She also was one of the organizers of the W.C.T.U., the Friday Musicale, the Palmetto Society, the Ceme tery Improvement Association, the Needle work Gu ild the Lee Memoria l liospitsl Association, and many other organizattons. Shewas a deputy commissioner o f the Florida Fish and Game Association and was recognized by the United States Audubon Society as a writer and artist on the subject of bird life. She aided in the passage of many laws for the protection Of bir d life and care of the Seminoles. Mrs. H anson died November 29, 1934. \V. S tanley Hanson, one of her surviving sons, was bor-n in 'Vest November 27 1883. He attended Fort Myers schools and his e"rly jobs included work at the post office and Royal Palm Hotel. Later he was active -in real estate and for many years wrote special articles for ne. wspapcrs and magazines. Mr. Hanson was best known for his work among the Seminole India n s who trusted him implicitly. He was i n reality thei r 14white med icin e man/' helpinlf thern when they were ill, settling their trtbal disputes and solving many of the problems which a rose out of their contact s l\rith the whites. He spoke the Semino l e language iluently and became recognized as the foremost authorit y in the country on the Seminole tribes. W. STANLEY HANSON Throughout his life Mr. Hanson was one of th@ rnost active advocates of good roads and improved waterways in the entire state. He served as guide for many explorations into the Glades which he knew thoroughly, and was one of the Trail Blazers who first crossed the Tam.iami Trail in 1923. He was the third presiden t of the B lazers organization. 1\fr. Hanson took an ac tiV"e part in poJitieal and fraternal work. He was elected city tax collector in 1910 and later served three terms as eity councilman. He a charter member of the Elks Lodge. In 1912 he was married to Clara Petzold of Tarpon Springs. Mr. Hanson died April 4, 1945. He was survived by his widow, a son. \V. Stanley. Jr., and a daughter, 1\lts. Marian McGee. THOMAS JAMES EVANS Thornas James Evans was born March 17, 1864, in New Orlean s, the son of Edward and Eliza ( Lewis) Evans. He was educated in New Orleans schools. In 1884 he came to Fort Myers to join his brother, Edward L who had arrived the year before and was engaged in busine$s. Mr. Evans was associated with his brother in varie-d activities for m any years and shortly after the turn of the century became the Fort nfyers distributor for the Standard Oil Company. He was a mcmbct of Tropical I. .. odge No. 56, F.&A.M., the Elks Lodge and the Episcopal Church. He took an active i_ntere!;t in community affairs and was one of the men vlho voted for the incorporation of the town in 1885 On January 2, 1889, Mr. !;;vans was married to Eliza K. Hibble, of Albion, Ill. They had two children: Alts J,. and Ellen M ., now the wife Harry C. Stucky. Mr Evans died February 16, 1936. Miss Alta L Evans in 1922 joined with Miss Julia Park to form the firm of Evans & Park7 oneof the Jeading business establishments in Fort Myers. WILLIAM H. TOWLES William H. Towles was born in Perry, Fla., September 28, 1852. When a young man he entered the cattle business, buying and selling cattle. He later established a general store in Battow. I n 1884 he came to Fort Myers and built a home on Riverside Avenue (now McGregor Boulevard.) He later built a larger home at Second and Fowler which was for years one of the show places of the town.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 287 Soon after coming to Fort Myers Mr. Towles e ntered the mercantile business with James E. Hendry! Sr., opening the Towles & Hendry genera store at First and Jack son In 1885 the firm engaged Joseph Vivas to build a wharf at the foo t of Jackson, the scf!ond largest dock on the river. Three years 1ater th e firm was di sso lved and Mr. Towles th ereafter devoted most of his time to the cattle business, becoming one of the leading cattlemen of the state. During the Spanish-American War he shipped thou sands or head to Cuba and wu reported to ha,e made a fortune. Mr. Towles played a leading part in the creation of Lee County and was elected to serve as one of th e flnt county eommis sioners. The second floor of Towles & H endry store was rented by the county at $250 a year t o serv e as t .he first "court house At that time Mr. Tow le s was a leader in the movement to get a fine courthouse for the county-he did not succeed until 1914 when be defied opposition and made a new building essential by having the first regular courthouse demolished. (See Chapter VI.) For many years Mr. Towles was a mem ber of the town council and took a most active part in community affairs. (Se e Index: Towles, William H.) He was married twico. After the death o f his first wife he married Miss Willie Boyd. died June 25, 1921, and was survived by his widow and three ch ildren: Mrs. Corrine. T. Summorlin, \Vallaee, and Mildred. CARL F. ROBERTS Carl Frithiof Roberts was born in Stock holm Sweden, June 25, 1862. In 1879 he eame to America and settlbcrts worked a short time in Fort A'J.yen and then Went adventuring down the coast. ln Key Vl eat he was stricke n with yelJow fever and went back home in lJlinoi s to recuperate. But within six mon ths h o was bnek in Fort Myers which he helped turn from a frontier town to a modern, progressive city. Becoming a contractor, Mr. Roberts erected many houses and store buildings t WILLIAM H. TOWLES tho which foJlowcd. Two of the f 1rst houses he built were tor Peter o Knight and Major James Evans In those d ays, lumber was shipped to Fort Myers by ochoonor from Pensacola and Apalachi cola. At first, Mr. Roberts bought only as much as he eould use during the year. Then he began buying entire schooner loads and to others. In the late 90's Mr. Roberts decided to go into the undertaking business and estab li&hed the first funeral home in Fort Mye rs, at Hendry and Oak (now Main), which be operated in conjunction with his lumber businOJ!S. On Friday, October 16, 1903, M r. Roberts' establishment was destroyed by fire. He then opened a lumber shed on the Hendry Street dock. After the Coast Line came in, he moved back along the tracks Into greatly enlarged quarters and dealt in aU kinds of building materials. In 1909 he organized the Carl F. Roberts Company and in 1921 the Seminole Lumber and Manufacturing Company H e also invested heavily in real estate, acquiring many resi dential and busi ness properties Mr. Roberts was one of the o1gnnizar$ and fir&t treasurer o f the first Fort Myers Board of Trade and was a c tive in the organization !or many years. He also helped to organize

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288 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS the first volunteer !Ire department. His ho me was one of the tint in the t ovtn to be wired for and to hav e te1e phone service: Mr. Ro berts was a trustee of the B o ard ot Education of Lee County for s everal terms and also served as treasu rer of the Lee Memorial Hospital Board. For a num ber of years he was active in the Fort Myers Cemetery A ssociation and wa, s instrumental in replotting and beautifying the cemeter y. He was a member of Tropical Lodge No. 56, F.&:A.M.; Egypt Shrine, Tampa ; Royal Palm Lodge No. 16, Knights of Pythias, and the Kiwani s Club. On July l2, 19 01, Mr Rober t s was married to Emma C hristin a Frick, who was born i n Skofd e Swe den. They had two children: Esther Chri stina, born March 1 1903, who d ied January 2, 1934, an d Carl Rudolph, born February 12, 19 06. Roberts died July 25, 1937. He wa s by his widow, his son, and a sister, Mrs. G. F. Widerqu lst. Carl Rudolph Roberts was graduated from Fort Myers High School and then entered business with hie father in th e Semino le Lumber and Manufacturing Com pany. He served three nnd one-hal f years in the armed fotcc s during 'Norld W a r II. On July 14, 1944, h(} waa marl' ied to Miss Lora F r aser CARL F ROBERTS 1'HE JEFFCOTT BROTHE R S Three Irish brothers named J Robert, John C. and to from Tralee I reland, in 1883 with the intention of establishing a family estate and growing otange s Arriving eventually at Sarasota, the brothers &CQ.Uired a half mile of waterfront north of Phtllippi Creek and started plant ing a grove. After several hundred tree-s wtre in the ground, Robert wandered down the coast to loo k over South Florida. William also had the w and erlust and moved on to New Orleans. John remain ed at Sarasota. to care !or the grove. In Fort !vlyers, Robert learned thnt C. W. (Wnddy ) Thompso n was getting ready to build a new home o n First Street. A co.rpcn ter by trade, he sought the got it. By the time be c .ompleted the job he found he liked Fort Myers so well that he de cided to live here permanenUy. He be came one o( town s leadinsc eont.raet.orS during the years which followed Shortly afU.r arriving here, Robert was offered two 40-ac .re tracts just south or the town limits for $ 100 cash He wrote a lett-er to \Villiam then in Chi cago, and told him about the ba r g nin. The two men then bough t the tl'act.s. Soo n afterward. Williftm arrived to look o ver Fort Myers--and went into the interior decoratinJC buaineas About the same time John e down from Satnsota a n d also became an interior decorator. The J ertcott brothers later acquired much additional property in Fort Myers and opened several o f the tow n's first subdtvisiona. Their tracts now are almost in the heart or the city. John Jeffcott was noted for his wit and was often called upon to speak at public funetlons. He served on th e town co uncil and during the 90's wa s elected mayor. S hortl y after the t urn of the century he w e n t to New York where h o di e d Decem bet 2, 1908 at t he age of 58. He wa s survived by hi s widow, the former Mary Agnes Kehoe and two daugh t ers Katherine and Ali cia William Jeffcott, wh o was born in 1866, was newer married. He died in Fort Myers Alay 26, 1939. Robert Je(fcott w a s born on March 21, 1846. He was married in 1 885 to Deliah Ann Mnrtln1 born in Brooksvill e, F l a., January 4, 1 852 They had seven children: Robert, now decca3e d : William i n 194 8 a lieutem tnt of Fort Myers poli ce force; Thomas, d eceased Katherin e L .. now ow nor of the Jeffeott Realty Co ; Mrs. Stella J Karnbach, Jackson lielj(hts, L. I., N. Y., and Lena, now deceased Mr. Jeffcott d ied February 16 1916, and Mrs. Jeffcott, May 15, 1928.

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THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS 289 KATHER I NE L. JEFFCOTT Katherine L Jeffeott was born in Sarasota, Oetober 26, 1891, dauKhler of Robert and Deliah (Martin) Jeffcott. She attended Fort Myers schools and was graduated from high school in 1910. Soon after ward s he s tarted t eaching in the elementary grades. Desiring to continue her education, Miss Jeffcott Inter took courses at t he Univet sit y ot Goorgia in Athens; Peabody College, in Nas h v ille, Tenn., and the University of Cali fonia, in Berkeley. From 1916 t o 1924 s h o was principal of Gwynne In s titu te. Entering the real estate business when th e boom was getting under way, Miss Jef!eott, known loea11) a s uMis s Kate," established in 1924 tho Jetfeott Realty Company which she atm operates. the concern now beinJt one of tho largest in southwest F lorida. In 1948 Miss Jefteott and her associate s were developi n g South F 'lorida Farm Home oite8, 10-acre tracts on the Pine Island Road, and Palmwood Subdivision in the North Tami ami Trail section. M iss J effcott is a member of the First M ethodist Ch urch, Business and Profes. s ionn l 'o men's C lub, Woman's Communi ty C lu b, Executives C lub, Chamber of Com m caec and the Fort Myers Asaociation of Insu ro.n co Agents. KATHERINE L. JEFFCOTT ROBERT ABNER HENDERSON, S R. ROBERT A. HENDERSON, SR. ltobert Abner Henderson, Sr . was born in Madison, Fla., February 11, 1866, the so n of ,Jasper MacDonald and Georgia (Church) Henderson. In 1877 he went to Coc hran.c, Ga., whe r e he worked in s tores until Janu ary, 1885, whep he cam e t o Fort My ers and got a job a s a clerk in T o wle s & Hendry genera l $tore. In 1887, Mr. H enderson started a store of his own at the comer of Jaek$On and First. \ Vithin a few yearS his store became one o f the leading general stores in South Florida. Citrus fruit often was taken aa payment for groceries, fertilizer and feed and he also traded supplies for alligator hides, furs, and plumes. The rear of his store often was filled with bide s and furs beingheld for shipment. In 189 1 Mr. Henderson bought a sc hooner and operated it between Fort Myers and Mobile, Ala. Later he went into the ci tru s $rrovc nnd cattle business on a big scnlc, dividing his time between his ranch, groves and the s tore. He was one o.f the l ea der s In the movement to improve the strain of Florida cattle and brought in the first ear l oad of pure bred bulls. He al so built the fir s t cattle dipping vat in the county. Mr. Henderson served a s th e town ban ker for nearly a deeade, keeping people's monoy in a large steel safe in his store. He helped to orpnite the Bank of Fort Myers and !or many years served as one of the dire ctors.

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290 THE STORY OF FORT .MYERS He also was one of the organ i zers and officials of the Ci tizens Bank of Fort Myers and when the institution was fo.reed to close because of the defalcation of the cashier, he led a movement to pay the de p ositors in full, at a cost to himself of over $30,000. In 1892 Mr. Henderson was elected county treasurer and he held the office for. twe.nty-two consecutive years. During most o f this same period he-also served as. town and city councilman. In 1914 he was elected state. representative and was instrum ental in passing a bill to discontinue the office of county treasurer. In 1922 he was again elected to the stat e legi slature, this time on a county division platform . and he introduced and secured the adoption of the biB creatin g Collier and Hendry counties. On October 22, 1891. Mr. Henderson was married to Mamie A. Wilson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Francis J. Wilsort, a pioneer Fort Myers family. Mr and Mrs. Henderson had two aons, Robert A l
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THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 291 As an avo cation, ho is a breeder of pure bred registered Brahman cattle and spends much of his spare time on his tanch. On July 17, 19 17 Mr. Henderson was married to Lucy Holmes who died July 19, 1919. On October 16, 1938, he was married again t o Jennie Stnrnea. He has one. son, R. A. Henderson, Ill, born 31, 1918. FRANK H. STOUT Ff"ank H. Stout was born in Mieh., August 22, 1838. A newspaperman all his life, he. moved to \Viseonsin when a young man and on July 2, 18G9, was mattied to Olive E. Gardner at Stevens Point. In 1871, he moved to N etawaka, Kansas where h e started the Netawaka Herald. A year later he moved t o Holton, Kansas where he was associate publisher of the Holton R e eordcr until 1 885. Leaving Kansas because of ill health, Mr. Stout came to Florida and worked for a few months on the Agriculturist, published in DeLand. Mr. and Mrs. Stout then heard that the Fort Myers Press was for sale and Mrs. Stout came and purehased the plant from Mrs. S. C. Cleveland, wife of the foundin g editor who had died. Mr. Stout took charge of the Press in May, 1886, and continued as and publisher until 1896 when h e sold it to J. D. Rose. The next year took t he pape r baek and it remaine d hi a property until the time of h is death, December 7, 1911. He was surv i v ed by his widow and three cbil dren: Nath a n G., Mrs. James E. Hend-ry. Jr., and Mrs. W. M. White. Mrs. Stout assisted her husband with the paper from the beginnin g and was always active in eommunity aftairs. She took a leading part in founding tho Woman's Club and the first Library Aasoeiation She served t wice a s poStmi stress of Fort Myers. first from August 2, 1889, to September 21, 1893, and second from August 22, 1897, to January 18, 1906 She was one of the founders of the Leo Memoria l Hospita l and also took an active interest i n schoo l and ehureh w or k. Mrs. Stout died September 23. 1930. NATHAN G. STOUT Nathan Gardner Stout was born July 25, 1874, in Holton. Knnoao, the son of Frank Henry and Olive Elizabeth (Gardner) Stout. lie came to Fo1t Myers in May 1 886, when h is paron!$ purchase d the Fort Myer s Press. Mr. Stout wa s associated with the P ress, fro m pr inter's devil to owner and publisher, from 1886 to 1914 when the paper wa s sold NATHAN G. S'WUT toT. M. Collahan, of Superior, W i. During this period he setved as town c l erk and trea&urer and city tax assessor. He served one term a s a trustee of the school board. In May, 1915, be went to New York where waa employed by the Schweinler Press, magazine publishing bouse, until 1917. He then returned to Fort Myers because of ill health. After working as fore man of the Press a short time, ho became ofliee deputy sheriff under Frank B Tippins and served until November, 1918, when ho was appointed county judge, which office he held until January, 1929. Judge Stout then followed life lnsuranc.e for sevct a l yeat-s but was forced to givo tt up because of failing sight. Cataract operationa in 1940 resto!"'ed his vision. On July 1, 19481 he became a clerk in the tax assessor 's olfiee and served until January 1, 1946 when he beeame associate clerk in the county judge's of:fiee, wbie:h posilion he wa$ in 1948. / Stout bas been active in church and lodge work. He served as superintendent of St. Luke's Church School from July, 1896, to 1938 and is now superintendent emeritu& has been a lay reader of S t Luke'ssince 18 89 and is now an. honorary v estryman. His Masonic nffilintlon s are: Trop1 ca l Lodge, No. 56 ; P?inciana Chapter, No. 50; Fort lllyers Council R.S.M., No. 25; Fort Myero Commandery, No. S2; Fort

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292 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Myers Chapter O.E.S., No. 31 ; York Court of Honor, Pt:ior y ,No. 10, Miami. During World War I Judge Stout served as chief clerk of the Lee County draft board. On November 13, 1898, Judge Stout was manied to Ola McLeod. They have five c hildren: Mary Lorena, now Mrs. Donald J. Powers Evanston, Ill.; Frank McLeod, now with Edison La b oratories, Orange, N. J.; Olive Cathetine, now Mt-s. Virgil N. Skyes, society editor, Lakeland Ledger, La k eland, Fla.; and Nathan Paul and Charles Byron, both of Fort Myers. LARKIN :MOSES STROUP Larkin Moses Stroup was born January 25, 1860, in Roswell, Ga ., t he son of Benja .. min and Sarah Stroup. He came to South Florida in 1886 while the Florida Southern railroad was extended to Punta Gorda. W hen the line was completed he came on to Fort Myers and opened a livery stable. Later he opetated a ferry across the t iver and ran a schooner between Fort Myers and Tampa. In 1888 h e was elected marshal of t he town and served in that capacity many y ears acquiring a statewide reputation fot fearlessness More than any othet man, per haps, h0 \vas instrument..'\1 in curbing the CAPT. A. L. KINZIE feuding, fighting cowboys who often caused trouble in Fort Myers i.n the days when i t wa s a fr.ontie r c ow town. On July 4, 1897 Marshal Stroup arrested a friend of Denni s Sherid an, one of the toughes t cowbO) T s that ever rode the range in South Flotida. Sheridan went out looking (or S t roup the next day, sav; him in front of Williams' drug store, and sank his knife into the marshal's shoulder.' The marshal fell but managed to kick She.-idan away. The cowboy lunged at him again but Stroup drew his gun and shot him t h tough the heart. Sheridan fell dead just as he was lashing a third time at the marshal's throat .Mr. Stroup later setved Fort .Myers as a meniber of t h e town and city councils. He wa-s also a game. warden and an honorary deputy shel'if! for many years. He was the Jast survivor o the charter .members of Ttopical Lodge No. 56, F.&A .M. He was also a member of Poinciana Chapter No. 50 Royal Arch Masons, Fort Myers Command ery .of Knights Templar, and Egypt T e mple Shnnc, Tampa. .Mr. Stroup died September 28, 1943, just ten days after the death of his wife. He was survived by three daughters, Mrs. Pearl Ribble, Ms Ruby Reif and Mrs. Lo ie May Russell. CAPT. ANDREW L. KINZIE Capt Andrew L Kinzie was born in Eulau, Gennany, November 15, 1875, the son o f Rhe inhold and Ernestine (Better man) Kinzie. (See Index: Rheinbold Kinzie). Andrew Kinzie attended the Fort Myet s publie school and during vacations and after school worked in local stores. After he was graduated h e taught several terms in Lee County schools. In 1898 he we n t to Tampa and started working for the Plant System Steamship Line onthe which plied between Port Tampa and Bradenton. Latet he served as purser on the ust. Lucie." After the Coast L in e came into Fort Myers in 1904 Andrew joined with his b rother George who had been chief engineer on t he "St. Lucie," and organized the Kinzie Brothers Steamer Line. They started in business with the Belle of Mye_rs and later acquired larger' and better boats. For many yc.ats they car ried the -mail and provided tra nsportation fac-ilities for the islands between Punta Rassa and Punta Gmdn, making stops at Sanibel, St. James, Captiva, Useppa, Pineland and Bookeelia. Thousands of tourists who wintered at Fort Myers mad e excursions on the Kinzie boats. (See Kinzie Brothers Steamer Line.) In 1928, the Kinzie Brothers establish e d an automobile ferry service from Punta

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THE STonY oF FonT MYERS 293 Rassa to Sanibel wit h the ferry boat," making four trips daily. In 1939, the "blander," a large, doubl e -ended ferry boat which held :20 autos and 100 pa sscngers, was added to the line. In 1942 it was {>urchased by the Army and used at. Pens cola. In 1946 another ulslander," a ferry, was put in use In addition to furnishing steamboat and ferry se rvice, the Kinzie line has supplied For t Myers with oyster s hell s, dredged from the bottom of the river, and has f urnished barge service for shipp ing citrus fruit from up-river points to Fot t Myer s packing houses. Shortly after the turn of tho century, Mr. Kinzie was elected to the town council and served five two-year terms. "'hile he was in office, Fort Myers was inco rporated as a city and launched its first important program of public works, including street and sidewalk improvements, installation of a and sewerage system, and c on struction of seawalls. Mr. Kinzie has been a trustee and c ld et for many years of t he Pt-esbyterian Church and i s a member of the Elks Lodge. He is a director of the Lee County Bank and the First Federal Building & Loan Association On October 15, 1907, Mr. Kinzie was married to Charlotte Eyber, a native of Nev,' York1 whose family lived for many years on Captiva Island. They have three children: Dorothy Agnes, born November 18, 1910; Ernest, born February 12, 1912, and Charlotte, born April 12, 1915. Ernest is now his father's partner in the business. George F. older brother of Andrew, was born in Eulau, Germany. December 29, 1874. He was one of the leading citizens of Fort Myers and one o f the largest property owners. He was a trustee and s t eward of the First Methodis t Church and a director of the Lee County Bank, Title and Trust Company. He had been one of the officers o f the Citizens Bank o f East Fort Myers and when t he bank failed he and R. A. Henderson, Sr., raised $45,000 with which t o pay the deposi tors in full. George Kinzie died July 11, 1932, and was surv i ved by his widow, Nellie Hibble and two sons, George R. and Norman. ERIC W. KINZIE Erie Waldemar Kinzie was born May 31, 1877, in Eulau, Germany, t he son o f Rhein hold and Ernestine (Betterman) Kin"Lie. (See Index: Rheinhold Kin z ie ) Eric was educated i n t.heFort Myers public school and pa ssed examin 3tions which permitted him to in the primary ERIC W KINZIE grades. Instead of teaching, however, he 'h'ent to work helping hi s mother i n a small bakety she establ ished. He also kept cows and sold milk, and farmed, raising veget-a and sugar cane. He had in addition, an interest in the Kinzie Brothers S teame-r L ine which he sold to his two brothers, Andrew and George, in 1918. In 1908 Mr. Kinzie planted an otange grove just east of the tovrn corporation where he also raised bananas and vegetables. In 1932, whe n citrus fru i t was selling at such low prices that growers could make no profit, he turned part of his land in t o a rose garden, becoming the first to grow roses commercially in Fort Myers. The venture was so successful t ha t M r Kinz i e yearly increased the size of his rose garden and started making s hipments t o atr parts of South Florida. The name Kinzie's Rose Garden was formally adopted i n 1936 and in the following year he. wen t into the floral business, retail as well as wholesale. In i 983 Mr. Kinzie was elected cit y councilman f rom the Second District and was ree lected in 1935, 1937 and 19 39, through almost the entire depression period (See Index: Depression.) He did not seek reelection in 1 941 although urged by many to continue to se. rve. On February 3, 1916, l\fr. Kinzie was matried to Marie Bernadette S ander, whose parent s were pioneer settlers of Estero

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294 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Island. They have two sons: Waldemar Bernard, born November 28, 1916, and Girard Eric, born February 21, 1 919 On June 21, 1940, Girard was marr i ed to E leanor Rinke! of Fort Myers They have two daughters: Marie, born May 28, 1942, and Betty Ann, born July 19, 1945. Waldemar Bernard and Girard Kinzie are associated in bus iness w i th their father. HARVIE E. HEITMAN Harvie Ea1nhardt He i tman was born December 17, 1872, in Lexington, N. C. the son of M. A. and Louise Josephine (Earnhardt) Heitman. He was educated in Lexington schools and came to Fort Myers in October, 1888, to clerk for h i s great uncle Howell A. Parker, a pioneer Fort Myers mer chant. Mr. Parker's business failed during the panic of 1898 and in 1894, after Mr. Parker had left town, Mr. Heit man started in business for himself on the northwe$ t corner of First and Jackson. With the financial assistance of A M. McGregor, Mt. Heitman built the first brick building in Fort Myers in 1897 on the site of his store. Mrs. McGregor, after her husband's death, backed Mr. Heitman in 1906 in building the Bradford Hotel. and in making two large additio"ns to the structure in 1908 and 1910. HARVIE E. HEITMAN 1\olr. Heitman was closely associated with John T. Murphy and D.A.G Flo,veree, both of Helena, Mon t ., the first millio n a i res to build winter homes in Fott Myers. In 1900 he supervised the p lanting of a 300-acre grove .for Mr. Floweree and managed it for the twenty-one years.. In 191 4 Mr. Heitman built the two -st ory, 198-foot long, $85,000 Earnhardt Building, the two -story $25,000 build ing on the north west corner of First and Hendry and a $10,000 garage building on Bay Street. Mr. Heitman moved his stote into his brick building at First and Jackson in 1897 and shortly afterward began specia l izing in grocer i es. A i ded by his bro t her Gilmer he developed the concer n into one of the leading stores in South Florida. He was also engaged in many othc r business activi ties. He built the f irst modern livery stable in F "ort Mye .rs and brought into town the first Kentucky thoroughbreds. In 1904, he established the first hack line to Naples. 'Yith E. L. Evans he was associated f or many :vears i n t he hardware busi ness. He built the first concrete sidewalk in the town, erected the fh'St white way, and took a leadingpart i n the construction of the first seawalls Mr. Heitman was associa t ed with W. L. Veli e, auto manufacturer, i n p l anting a large mango and avacado grove on Fisher man's Key, off Punta Rassa, and for a num ber o years manag ed the Fort Myet s affai rs of Thomas A. Edison. He was credited with havi n g persuaded 1\lrs Tootie McGregor Terry to purchase the Royal Palm Hotel in 1907. For twenty one years he served a s 3 member of town and city council and was council p res iden t several terms. Mr. Heitman became the owner of a large part of the business section of Fort Myers and also owned several large citrus grove prope rties in the county. He was president ol the Bank of Fort Myers, H. E. Iieitman Company, Lee County Packing Company Mutual Realty Company, Bon ita Land Company, F 'ort Myers Souther n Railway Company, Hei t man-Evans Company, Lee County Fair vice-president of the Fort Myers Golf and Coun try Club, and founder-member o f the Board of Trade. He also was a member of the Episcopal Church and a charter member o f Fort 1\lyers I.odge No. 1288, B.P.O.E On October 6, 1897, he was married to Miss Florida A Shultz, only daughter of Mr. and lirs. George A. Shultz. He died April 17. 1922, following a long illness and was s u rvi ved by his widow, a daughter, Lorraine, and his brother Gilmer M. man. (See Index: Heitman, Harvie E.)

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 295 VE R N O N G. WIDERQUIST Vernon G Widerquist wai born J anuary 13, 1888, in Moline, 111., the son of C avt. and M rs. Gustav F W id.erquis t. H i s father h om e s teaded n e a r Estero, F l a., i n 1889 and was engineer of s t eamboats on the. Menge Brothers Lin e for many years. H e died January 1, 1 9 40. Vernon was educated In Fort Myers sc:hools and when a younK man became aosociated with Carl F. Roberts in the lumber business and o ther undertakings. Following the death of hlr. Rober!$, he be came president of the Seminole Lumber Company in which he had long been acthe. Duri n g W orld War I he was commissioned as a c aptai'o and served two years ov e rseas as adjutant a t Hospital No 2 9 He was one or the fir s t commanders o f the American L egion. In 1 921 he wu elected t o serve as on e o f Fol't Myers' first city commis sioners and la ter wa$ appointed mayor He also served as president and diredor of the Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Widerquist died July 27, 1942, at Veterans Hospital, Tucson, Ariz.. He was s urvived by his widow, Mrs. Johnctte Odom Widerquist, two chldrcn, Vernon R. and Ann, and by his mother, Mrs. G. F. Widerquist. G EORGE F. IRELAND Geo rge F Irela nd was born Deeern.ber 14, 1853, in Murray, ( W eat) Canada. Coming to Fort 1\Iyers i n 18951 he opened a tin shop next to Harvie E. He1tman a store at Fin)t and Jackson and later built up one of the la.rge$t hardware stores in southwest Florida. Shortly after tho turn of the century he became diatrlbutor for the Gulf Refining Company and constructed tank s and warehous e s on the old BJount wharf at tho foot of Hen dry Street. This wharf was l ater known as Ireland' s doc k In 1908 Mr. Itcland sol d h i s hardware bus i n e s s to t he H eitman-Evnn$ C ompany and thereafter devoted all his tim e to the on busi n e ss. Mr. Ireland was a member of the t own council many terms and was one of the 11\'0UJ> which signed notes to make possible the first improvement oC Forll\t.yers streets. (See Inde.x: Street lmprovoments.) He also served many terms as a member of the Lee County School Board. He was a charter member of Tropical Lodge No. 56, F.& A.M and serv ed five times as its wotshi p fu l m aster. He w a s one of the found ers of the Ma sonic Club which had Its c lubhouse near the present intersection of F irst and Broad w a y On A ugust 30, 1881, he was .married to Ida M enge o f Elkport, Iowa. DAVI D W IRELAND Mr. Ireland died December 7, 1928. He was survived b y his widow a son, David ,V., t hree daughters, Mrs. H arry Laycock,. Mrs. J. M. Clnrlc, and Mrs F. w Poo s, a stater, Mu. G. V. Preston and three brothers, W. W., J. F. and C. C. DAVID W IRELAND David W. Ireland was born October 24, 1889, in Wildwood, Fla., the son of George F. and Ida (Menge) Ire land who moved to Fort Myers in \895. Mr. Ireland attended the public schoo l i n For t Myel'S and was graduate d from h igh sch oo l In 1907. He then atten d e d a ptiva t e e ngineering schoo l in F o r t Myers taught by a retired professor from t h e Massachusetts Institute of Teehnolog,, completing the cquiva1cnt of a college course in thirty months. While attending school, Mr. Ireland w o rked part time and during vacations for his father in his shop, as tho engineer i n WiUiam B. Towles steam laundry, and for the Menge Brothers S teamboat Line. I n 1910 he started w orking for the Bowers Southern Dredging C ompany which had the contract for dredging a tO foot channel i n the Caloosahatehee from Punta Rassa to Fort Myers S oon afterward he became aesistant superi ntend e n t of operations for the F 'orst-Ciark Construction Company

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296 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS which had a contract fro m the state f or extensive d r ainage operati ons i n the Lake Okeechobee When this concern late in 1912 moved its headquarters from Fort Myers to Miami, M r I reland resignea and o r ga.n ized the Gul f Construc t ion Com p any, Of which he became preside n t. This concern buil t prac tically all the seawalls in and near Fort Myers and a l so handled scores of dredging jobs. During t he late Twentie s the company e.xpanded its o_peration s and took conttac t s all along the West Coast and as far north on the Atlantic Coast as Charl eston, S C., handling many projects for the Uni ted States Engineers. Following the death of his father. in 1923, Mr Ireland t ook over t he Gulf distributor ship which he operated in con j unction with his cons t ruction company. In .l932 he moved h i s warehouse s and tanks down near the foot of Dean S treet. During the mid-Thirties his construction company handled many o f the dredging operations requi red for the opening of th e cross--s t a t e waterway. Mr. Ireland sold his inter est in the c ons tr uction company in 1938 and took u p cattle raising as a sideline to h i s oil business For many ye ars Mr. Ireland has devo ted a latge part of his time to welfare act ivities. He served sixteen years as pt e s idc n t o f the Lee C ounty Welfate Federation, duting t he entire depress i on period, and the A meri can Legion in 1933 named him the most ou t standing .man in Lee County because of his achievements in co ord i nati n g the var ious welfar e I n 1935 he was appo inted by Gov. David S hott2 to serve as a member of District No: 8 We lfare Board and he was .later re appointed to the board b y Gov. Fred Cone and Gov. SpeS$llrd Holland. He resigned from the dist1ict board in 1943 to accept ap pointment by Gov Holland t o the State Wel fare Board of which he was vice chairman in 1 948. Mr. Ireland is also a director of the Lee Memorial Hospital. He is a 32nd degree Mason and a Shriner, and a member of the Rotary C lub and the Presbyterian Church. On June 12, 1912, Mr. Ireland was married to A nna Tu rner, of Monticello, Ga They h ave a daughte r Barbara, who was married Augnst 11, 1943 to John Beckett. Mr. and Mrs. Beckett have a daughter, Susan, born April 21, 1945. DR. BENJAMIN P. MATHESON Dr. Benjam i n Perry Math eson was born June 6, Liberty Hill S C., of Scotch parentage. He received his e arly education m a S outh Caroli n a mili tary academy and h i s M.D. degree at the medica l college of the College of Charleston, in Charles t on, s. c. Coming to Florida to practice, Dr. Matheson l oca ted at Oviedo where he me t Julia Lee daughter of James H. and Laura (Barnett), b oth native Floridians. Tbey W4!re man-icd on A pril 2 1, 1 895, and came to Fort Myers o n their honeymoon They liked the town so well that the)' decided to make it t heir f u t u r e home ))r. Matheson opened an office early in 1896 and a l so est ablished a who lesale and retail drug store on Jackson S treet, close t o the river Dur ing the years which followed he became one of the leading phy s icians o f southwest F l orida.. 11.1a.ny of h i s patients lived on tho k eys, as far south as E.;erg l ades and i n response to urgent calls h e often left home late at nigh t went by horse and buggy through t he swamps to Punta Rassa and made the rest o f his journey by b o at. For many of his calls he was paid in fruit, vegetab les and f ish. In 1905 Dr. Matheso n purchased the o l d Braman homestead at First and Hendry a n d con structed the first substantial build ing o n the south side of the main street. Stone block was used in i t s construction; hence, it was called t h e S tone B l ock Build ing. Later, Dr. Matheson built an addition and opened the Leon Hot e l. T h e First Na t ional Bank ha d its f irst quar ters on the first f loor of the The property was sold by Dr. Matheson to Peter and HenrY Tonnelier in 1912 for $150 000. Shor tly aft er'''ard, the doctor was force d to retire because of deafness, but be con tinued to de v o t e much o f his time to his cit1us groves, fou1 of which were l ocated at Bonita Spr ings a n d two at Oviedo. Throughout his l ife, D r Matheson too k p ]easur e in helping young m e n and wornen gain an education, and he ass i sted s eventeen financially i n becoming pha t rnacists, phy s icians and teachers. He was a member of the board of elders o f the Presbyterian Church which erected the present church building. Dr Matheson died March 31, 1937, and Mrs. Matheson August 17, 1 937. They were surv i ved by thei r onl y child, who on July 31, 1939, was m.arrt ed t o Edgar Benson Nichols, of Gri f f in, Ga. By a previous mar riag e Mrs. Nich o l s has a son, Ben jamin Matheson Nichols who i n 1948 was a pre medical student at Emory University, Atlanta.f Ga. GILMER M. HEITMAN, SR. Gilmer McCrary Heitman was born Feb ruary 19, 1 881, i n Lexing t on, N C., the son of McCrary a n d Josephine (Earnhardt) Heitman. He attended Lexington public schools and then took a business course i n t he Sullivan-Crichton Business College, i n Atlanta, Ga

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THE STonY OF FoRT MYERS 297 Coming to Fort Myers in 1896, Mr. Heit man became associated with h i s brother, Harvie E. Heitman, who then owned a general s t o r e at the cor n e r of F irst and J ack son streets. H e continued to be connected with his brothor, in almost all of his wide l y extended activ i ti e s until Harvie's death on Apri l 17, 192 2. In 1899 Mr. Heitman secutod a fran chise from the county commissioners and organized the Lee County Telephone Com pany which went into operation February 21, 1900. (See Telephones. ) In 1924 1\Ir Heitman sold the company to the Collier i ntetest s He was i nstrumental in getting the pos t office l ocated on its present si te; also in the development of most of the subdivisions between Fort Myers and Tice lie deve l oped Bonita Springs Town site and constructed the Bon ita Hote1 He represented Gene r a l Ternr$ la rge interest$ in Lee in .. eluding the Roya l Palm Hotel until the genoral' s death. He was of the Co., hardware company. In 1935 Mr. Heitman purchased the Franklin Arms Hotel and has owned it ever He afso is the ownct of orange groves and a. cat-tle ranch He was vice pres ident of the Bank of Fort a n d is now a stockholder i n the Lee County Bank. He is president of the Caloosa Grove & Improvemen t Co., West Coast Land Co., Fra n klin Arms Hote l Co., Home Insurance Agency and Mutual Realt)' Company and is a director i n t he Lee CountY Packing Co. On .June 18, 1908, Heitman was married to Nina A. S Travers, daughter of Marcus and Ade.Hne Blair Tn:wers Her fat her was born i n London Eng., and her mother i n Scotla nd. Mr. and Mrs. Heitman have two children: Gilmer M .. Jr. and Dorothy L ouise JAMES EDGAR FOXWORTHY James Edgar Foxworthy was born in lift. Carmel, K y., in 1868, the son of Squire Evans and Sarah Catherine (Kelly) Fox wor thy He came to Fort M>ers i n 1893 and soon afte. rward ope n ed a c l othing store, one of the f i rst in town. lie was matried i n 1898 to Sarah Ma t ilda Hendr y, daughter of James E. Hendry, Sr. When the Citizens Bank & Trust Com pany, of Tampa, ope ned a Fort Myers branch in 1901, Mr. Foxworthy was appointed cashieY and he continued to serve in that capa city when the bank became home owned 'in 1907, its n ame being changed to GILMER McCRARY HEITMAN, SR. the Bank of Fort ilfye r s Mr. Foxworthy was named presid en t o f the bank after t he death of Harvie E. He.itman and continued to head it until the bank closed, in 1931. He lSter was engaged in the insurance business Mr. Foxworthy died February 27, 1943. He \!/as survived by his widow and two daugh ters, Mrs. Albert Mellen and Mrs. W. L Clarke, Jr., and four grandchildren. JOHN MORGAN DEAN John Morgan Dean was born on May 11, 1856, in Worcester, Mass., the son of John and Mary (Mo rgan) Dean. A f ter. being educated in Massachusetts schools he entered t he furniture business in Provi .. dence, R. !., lator foundi n g the John M. Dean Jt'ilrniture Company and the House .. hold Fumiture Company. both of which had branches throughout Rhode Is l and. He a l so had large apple an
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298 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS backwash of the Cal oosa hatchee during the rainy season. A decade later Mr. Deiln began de-velop in g it and crea ted the Dean Park of today. (See Chapter VI.) During the 'Teens Mr. Dean organized the Mutual Development Company whic h developed many subdivis ions throughout the Fott Mye r s distric t He also was one o the organizers of the l,ee County Packing Com pany and he,ded the Dean Development Company, Dean Brothe1 s Groves, and the United Constl'u e tion Company. In 1923 he purchased the S. W. S,nchez homestead on F irst Strebt and began to build the Morgan HoteL He laid out Dean Street to run through the prope.rty and t he city commission voted to name it after him. (See Chapter Vll. ) M:r. Dean died May 5, 1938. lie was suJ vived by his widow, Annie Powell Dean, and two gr-andsons, John Morgan Dean Suesman and Walter Brad Suesman, both of Provi dence. JOHN W. FUREN John W. Furen was born March 13, 1872, in Martinsburg, W. Va the son of John W. and Sar ah (Howe) l'uren. His father was a native of Holland a n d his mother of England. When lie was thirteen years o l d the family came to Florida, locating near Sanford JOHN MORGAN DEAN JOHN W. FUREN where Mt. Fureh, Sr., planted a large orange grove. The trees were just coming int o full beal'ing whe. n they were killed by the big freeze of 189495. Leaving home soon after the freeze. John Furen went to Georgia and farmed a year. near A t lanta. He then retutned t o Florida, settled o n Sanibel Island and l'lanted sixtyfiYe acres in t omatoes. Dunng his thitd season at San ibe l his e ntire crop was ruined by high water Instead of trying again, he went to the mainland and opened a general store o n the bayfront south of Estero. Mr. Furen operated the store fo r three bringing in his merchandise in his Q\\'n schooner from Key West and Tampa. On Jun e 1 7 19 04, he wa s married to Margaret Smith, daughte r of John S. and Sarah (Gilfillan) Smith, who had come to Estero w ith her parents three years before from Pennsylvania. Before her marriage Miss Smith had taught a year at the newly opened Estero school and a year a t Fort Myers. On theh hone)moon, Mr. and Mrs. Furen wen t to San Juan, Puert o Rico, where they Jived six months, Mr. J.t'uren being employed by the New York Ci tt us Company of Puerto Rico, supervising the planting of trees. to Florida, Mr. Furen wen t into the citrus business first p lanting a grove at Estero and later a grove at Alva having altogether 233 acres i n bearing t r ee s He

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THE STORY Of' FORT MYERS 299 also leased grovc. s in all pal'ts of the country. In 1915 he built a large packing plant in East Fort Myers, forming the Furen Packing Company. In addition to handling h i s own fruit he bought oranges and grapefrui t from growers all over Lee County. Mr. Furen continued in the cit rus ness, and also bought and sold e s tate, until1944 w hen he sold his grOves and pack ing plant. Mr. Furen was elected to represent the fift h ward i n t he city co un cil in 1933 and was rew eleete d thre e times, serving seven and one-half yeas, throughout almo s t the entite depression period. (See Index: De pre ssion. ) Two decades earlier he served one term as a m ember of the Lee County school board from the Estero distric t Mr. and Mrs. Furen have a daughter, Flor a who is the wife of Emmett Car michael. 1\h. and Mrs. Carmichael live in New York City and havo a daughter, Margaret Sandra, born January 26, 1939. FRANCIS W. PERRY Francis W. Perry was born July 4, 1859, in Bridgeport Conn., and was educated at Brim(ield Academy, Amherst College, and the New England Conser\'atory of Music. After completing his education he taught mathematics and music i n northern schools. He was well known as a com:poser. Coming t o Florida in 1897, Professor Pert y purcha sed grove properties near Alva1 later mo ved t o a f arm at Tice, and subsequently made his home in Fort Myers. He reorganized the Fort Myers Concert Band and was its leader for many years. Professor Perry was one of the pioneer a dvo ca t e s of t he Tamiam i Tra il and aided greatly in its conatl'uctio n by his enthusiastic endorsement of it and by hls work in t h e stat e legisla ture to which he was elected as represen tative from Lee County in 1916, 1918 and 1920. In 1922 he ran for the state senate bu t was defeat e d i n a close rac-e by a Key West opponent. Hestrenuously opposed the division of Lee County and prevented it from being divided by the 1921 session of the legislature. He also opposed, unsuc cessfully, the construction of a new court house in Fort Myers in 1914 (See Index: Courthouse.) For many years Pl-ofessor Perry was active in the B o ard of Trade and se1ved a term as its presiden t He later h elped other groups fotmcd to boost Fort Myers and Lee County He was a director of t h e Florida Citru s Exchange for many yeats and was a charter member of the Elks Lodge in Fort Myers. He was a Shriner, a Knight Templar, and a member of Chi Phi fraternity. W. PERRY Profcsso1 Perry was married October 3, 19 06, to Jennie Cormack, of Boston. They had three children: Gordo n Chesley and Elizabet h. He die d February 1, 1935. Chesley (Chet) Perry in 19 4 8 wa s general manager of the Fort Myers P ress. On June 13 1931, he was married t o Janett Conroy. They have two children, Chesley Michael, born March 3, 1941, and Lin d a L ee, born August : 25 19 4 3. BOYD CLIFTON FOXWORTHY Boyd Clifton f'o xworthy was born April 28, 1878, in Mt. Carmel, Ky., the son of Squire Evans and Sarah Catherine (Kelly) Foxworthy, both natives of Kentucky. He was educated in the publ i c s chools of Mt. Carmel and Booksville, Ind. After leaving sc h oo l, Mr. Foxworthy started working in a general merchandise store in Mt. Carme l owned by his father. During the winter of 1899-1900 he came t o Fort Myers and worked for three years in the & Company clotliing store, owned by his brother, James E. Foxworthy. He then went back to Mt. Carmel and was engaged in the. mercantile business for seve1at years. He also served as postmaster of lift. Carmel f1om 1906 to 1909. Returning to Fort Myers in 1909, Mr. Foxworthy worked a while for his brothers J E and I. E. Foxworthy, and

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300 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS then became assi s tant postmaster, first under W. F. Mickle and then under I. E. Foxworthy, an older brother. He resigned that position to take charge of the collection department of the Bank of Fort Myers. On 3anuary 12, 1922, he became postmaster and sened until 1\tay l 1924, whcn he re .. signed to entet the furniture business with Wiley Lee, buying out the J. B. Cox Company and forming the fiTm of Foxworthy & Lee. firm was dissolved in 1933, beeause of the depression, but Mr. Foxworthy soon afterward started in again at Hendry and Main under the !irm name of Foxworthy Furniture Company. In 1940 be moved into his new building on Jackson Street at the bead of Main, whete he has since been located Fot more than three decades Mr. Foxwor-thy took an active part in poUtlcs and was a member of the Republican State Committee from 1912 to 1945. It was largely through his efforts that a $210,000 federal appropriation was granted for a new post of:fiee in Fort Myers, on February 21, 1931. (See Index: Post Office.) Mr. Foxworthy ifJ a member of and has been active in Tropical Lodge No 56, F'.&A.i\1. ; Poinciana Chaptet No. 50, Royal Arch Masons; Knight *l'amplar, Fort Myers Commandery No. 32; Jo:!(ypt Temple, Shrine, Tampa, and the First Church in which he has served as steward for forty ... BOYD CLIFTON FOXWORTHY thre e year-s and is now chairman of the boad of trustees. He is a member of the Fort Myers Executives Club. On October 26, 1904, he was to Mary Norwoo d Turner, of Mt. Carmel, Ky. They have three children: Eloise Nuto, now Mrs. Lewis B. Barbc r; Clifton Norwood, now of Kansas, and Robert Evans1 now associated with his father in business. They also have two grandehildren: Virginia Nor wood Barber, born Mareh 9, 1941 and Shirley Norwood FoJ
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THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 301 Mr. Alderman was a member of the state board of law examiners a Mason and an Elk On March 15, 1905 Mr. Alderman was married to Rossie Lew is Evans, daughte r of Edward L. and BeJJe (Hendry) Evans. They ha d one son, Frank C A l derman, Jr. Mrs. Alderman d ied August 29, 1936. On Sep tember 29, 1937, Mr. Alderman was married t o Mrs. Jennie Burgard, of Buffalo. FRANK C. ALDERMAN, JR. Frank C Alderman, Jr. wa$ born in For t l\fyers February 23, 1911, the son of Jl'rank C. and Rossie (Evans) Alderman. He attended f<'ort Myers schools and studied pre-Jaw and law at t he Univel'sity o f Virginia, in Charlottesville, Va. He \Vas admitted to the f<'lorida state bar in 1933 and joined his fathtw in the practice of law, the firm then being named :Alderman & Alderman. In 1939 he was appointed a director in the First National Bank. On August 11, 1942, Mr. Alderman was commissioned as a lieutenan t (j.g.) in the United States Coast Guard. Sent to the Southwest Pacific, he was in command of an army inter-island carg o ship during t he last two years of the war. After th e Japanese surrendered he setved as a liai$0n officer i n Japan until Februuy 16, 1946. FRANK C. ALDERMAN, JR. FRANK C ALDERMAN, SR. Retu rning to Fort Myers, Mr. Alderman re sumed the practic0 of law and following the death of his father, was named vice president of t1te First National Bank. He is the pesident of the First National Com pany and a director of the Lee County Packing Company. Always interested in speed boat racing, Alderman on Marc h 16, 19dl, estab lished a world's record at Lake lan d in Class D inboard racing runabout, setting a pace of 45 miles an hour. He is a member of the E lk s Lodge, Amer ican Legion, Veterans of Foreign "' ars, and Theta Chi fraterni t y. On Sep t ember 5 1938, Mr. Alderman was rnanied to Eliabeth Shepr,ard, of Ameri cus, Ga They have tw o ehi den, !'rank C III, b orn August 81 1939, and Elizabeth Josephine, born November 27, 1940. JOHN W ALT..-ACE OWENS John Wallace Owens was born February 22, 18651 i n Savannah, Ga., the son of Richard and Lila (Taylor) Owens. He came to F o r t Myers in 19 03 and was assoeia t ed for seveta l years with \V. C. Battey, one of the town's pioneer real estate me n. Mr. Owens then went into the insurance business and in August, 1914, was elected

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302 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS city clerk, wh ich position he hold for many years. After l e a\"ing that office he was engaged i n accoun th i g wor k On September 17, 1902 Mr. Owens was ma rr ied to Jt"'o ss i e F elk er, of Ozark, Ark. They had a daug-hter, Janet, who in 19 4 8 was a teac her i.t Gywnne Insti tute. Mr. Owens died 7, 193 4. Mt-s. Owens has been registrar of vita l statistics since May 191 3 HARRY AMOS LAYCOCK Harr y Amos Laycock w a s bor n February 19, 1876, i n J op lin, Mo. the son o f George W. and Mary (Perry) Layco ck. His father wa s a native of Engl and and his mother's people were Virginians who settled in Ill ino is In 1883 the Laycock familY moved to Candlc r, F la near Ocala, where th e father pl anted an orange grove Mr. Layc ock attended pub lic schoo ls i n Candler and during his spare time helped his father After hi s father's death on October 19, 1890, he took over the manage ment of the property. The grove was killed in the Big Freeze o f 1894-95 and fo r several years the reaft e r Mr. Laycock wo r ked fot othc t grove ow ner$ In the fall of 1899 he enrolled a t the Univnsity of Flori d a, then l Qcatcd at Lake MRS. MARY LAYCOCK Cit y, and played center on the 'Ga.tors' first football team. He also p l ayed baseball Comp leting a two-year electrical cours(! in 1901 he started working for the Florida Electric Company, of Jacksonville, and helped install t elephone systems in Tal. lahassee, K issimmee and Apalachicola. In March, 1903, Mr. Laycock came to Fort Myers for his comp a n y sell electrica l m achin e r y to the Semin ole Powe r & Icc Company. The sale m a de he stayed on to install the machinery an d later to become plant manager. On June 1, 19 0 6, Mr. Laycock was married to Bertie heland, daughter of George F. and Ida (Me nge) I reland Sh ortly the r eafter he beeame ass ociated with Mr. Irela nd and re ma ined with h im four yc. ars. F ro m 1909 to 19 26 he was engaged in contracting, h a nd. ling plumbing supplies S i nce then he has de-Voted his time to pr operty .manageme n t Mr. Laycock joine d the Voluntee r Fire De p a r tment when it was first o rganized and served as its chief from 1905 to 191 6. Du rin g that p eriod he took a leading part in the drives to get the first g asolin e f ire engine and t he first modern fire fighting apparatus. (See I ndex : Volunteer Fire De partment.) Mrs. Mary Layco c k came t o Fort M yers with h e r son in 1903 an d became an activ e ch urch wor ker, fi rst wi th t h e Me t hodist Church and later with the Presbyterian C hurch, of which she was a charter membet. In both churches she taught boys' Sunday Schoo l classes PattJY b ecaus e o f her Jove. for c hildren and p artly becaus e of her love for books, l\hs. Laycock took a prornin cn t part in he l ping with the first reading roo m in Fort Myers Later she was named by the Woman's Club, the sponsoring orgtmization to serve as chairman of a committee to s o lici t funds to keep t he reading roo m ope n. She h eld the chairmanship fot over twenty Yeats, until 1926, making collections from all subscribers. Largeb"' b e cause o f her untixing work, the reading room )Vas maintained and enlarged to a regular library (See Index: Public She die d in May, 1932. Mrs. Harry Laycoc k also ha s been active in library work, having served as t re asurer of the library board since 1928. She wa s a member of the origina l ho s p ita l board, formed in 1 9 12, and setved until after the first hos pital was opened and placed i n o pera tion in 1916

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TuE SToRY oF FoRT MYERS 303 R O BER T VIVIAN LEE Robert Vivian Lee was born June :29, 1893 in Mcintosh, Fla., tho son of Henry A. and Emma (Whittington) Lee. His father, a native of Louisian a was a grove owner and merchant in Mcintosh. He moved to Alva in 1903 and oretated a general store and hotel there unti 1922 when he came to Fort Myers where he lived until his death on February 22, 1938. Vivin Lee attended public schools in Mcintosh and was graduated from Alva High School in 1910. During the following two yea rs he worked in his father's store and in a packing house. In 191S he left Alva and studied a year at the Pierce School of Busineso Administration in Phil adelphia. He then worked fot a woolen goo ds manufacturer ilt Philade lphia until the United States entered World War I. Going t o Washington he worked i n the War Department until the following September when he eoUated in t he army Soon after enlisting, Mr. Lee was sent to General Pershing's headquarters in Chau mont, Franee., where he remained until the headquarters were tranalerred to Tours. H e was at headquarters all durin$: the war in charge of personnel in the chief surgeon's office, with the rank ot master serge ant. He camo back to the States in Ma y, 19!9. A fter visiting h is pnronts in Alva, he wor ked for nearly a year in the Bn l timote office of Jo h n R. Livesey Com pany, a concern which specializ ed in tho construction of cold storag e room and cork prod ucts Returning to Fort Myers in March, 1920, be clerked a short time in a c l othin$: comp a ny and then was employed as deputy clerk or circuit court by J. F. Garner. He served as deputy until January I, 1925, when be becam e county tax eolleetor He served four full four-year terms until January 7, 1941. Mr. Lee then entered the real estate busin ess as a broker and inau1'anee agent In 1948 he built an 8uni t apatt ment ho use on Richmond S treet and in 1946 47 buil t the 16-unit Arvelec Apartment HoufJe on First Street. Mr. Lee has been nctive in civic and fraterna l affain. He is a past master of Tropical Lodge No. 56, F.&A.M., past high priest in Poin ciana Lodc-c No. 50, Royal Arch Masons; past commander, Fort M)ters Commandery No. 32, Knight Templar; past worthy patro n in Fort Myers cha pter Order Easter n Star; member of American Leg-ion si nce 1919; president of Lee Memorial Hospital and board member for ten yearsi past president of Kiwanis C lu b ; past d i s trict deputy Fort My cre Lodge No. 1288, B.P.O.E., and was a member of t he board of stewards of the First Methodis t Church for twe 1ve years. ROBERT VIVIAN LEE On February 21, 1921, Mr. Leo waa married to Rossie B ass, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Bass, a pion eer J?ort Myers family. Mr. and Mrs Lee have two children: Edna Leona, born Novembe r 23, 1921, now the wife of Brian C. Lynn, and Robert Milton, born January 3. 1 930, who was married March 28, 1948, to Lola Daniels, of and in 1948-49 was a student at the University of Florida. LEONA RD SANTINI Leonard Santini was botn July 8 1884, in K oy West, Fla., the son of N i cholas and Frances (Dan i e ls ) Santini, both members or pioneer families of t he 1'ert Thousand Islands. Mr. Santini was educated in tho l)ublie school at Chocoloske e where his parents had lived for many yearsIn 1901 the family moved to Miami where it remained a year and then moved to Key West. From early boyhood, Mr. Santini had sailed the waters of the West Coast and become C.milia r with all t he wate1ways through the keys, and i n 1904 h o was em ployed by Admira l G rinnell of Boston, who spent his win ters i n F l orida wntc rs fishing and bunting. Mr. Santini work ed for him four years, first o n the yacht 'Gypsy" and later on the "Ranger.,.

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304 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS In 1908 Mr. Santini ataxte d farming in the Iona district but had no success, losing the capital he had saved. So he wen t back to gu1di n g a n d fish ing to aecummulate eno u g h capi t a l agai n to make a nother try. He made the second venture i n 1 917, p lant ing a small tra c t close to the ,river. This time he was successful. Ench year ther e after he increased h is acreage and i n time became one of the larg-est truck gr owers in southwest Florida. Afte. r the mid Twenties he specialized in raising potatoes. Selling his farming interests in 1944, Mr. Santini built the Side o' Sea Cottages on Fort Myers Beach to keep himself occupied. Mr. Sant ini il; a former director of the Lee County Chamber of Commerce a n d is n member of the Exchange Club Knights of Co l um bus, and St. <'rancis Xavi e r Church. O n September 17, 1908, M1. Santini w a s married t o Nell i e Shanahan, daughter of Mr. and Henry Shanahan, a pioneer family of Sanibel Island. They have two daughters: Delores, now Mt'$. Ralph Schults, of Detroit, and Nelli e now M rs. John \Valsn, of Plain field, N. J. DR. FRANKLIN ?YULES Dr. Fr ank li n Milos wna born N ov e mbor 16, 1846 at Olmstead Falls, near Cl eveland, 0 ., the son of Charles J. and EJecta (Lawrence ) Miles, both descend ants of DR. FRANKLIN MILES families whJch came to America in Col onia l times. He received h is earl y e d ucation tn schoo l s of the E ast and later took a scientific course at Yale and received his B.S. degree at Sheffield Scientific School, at New Have n. He t hen s t u d ied law and received an LL.B. degree at Columbia University. Soon, however, he decided that ho would rather be a pbysiei an than a Jawrer so he studied medicin e at Rush Mediea College, in Chicago, and reeeived an M.D. degree. Later he took special courses at the Chicago Medical Colleg e and the University of Michigan and served an internship at the Illin ois State Eye and Eat Infirmnry, i n Chicago. Dr. Mile s star t e d practicing at Elkhart, Ind., in a territory wher e most of the peop l e li ved on forms. In 188 7 h e fl>unded the Dr. Miles Medica l Compa n y to compo und, packag-e and distr i bute a number of remedies he had found were most effective in the treatment of some of the more common ailmcnts-Nervine. Dr. Miles Anti Pain Pills, and Dr. lltile s Heart Cure. He also founded Dr. Miles Grand Dispensary where diseaseo were diagnosed by experto. The dispensary and his remedies. soon sold throughout the entire country made him nationally famous. Dr. Miles made valuabl e contributions to t he litcl'nturo of his ptofes-sion, hi s treatises d ealing with the cur e of drop sy, ep ilepsy, hystcrrn, insanity, a n d diseases of the heart, stomach, liver a n d k idneys. H e was tionally recogniz.ed as a fotemo,st heart speclal!tt. During the winter of 1904, Dr. Miles eame to Fort Myers to stay a few weeks. He liked the rer on so well that he purchased the home o Walter C Lang!ord on First Street and later acquired several thousand acres between Fort Myers and Punta Rassa. Fow vegetables wer e grown them on o com mercial se ale in that l ocality and, upon askIng why, Dr. M i l e s was tol d that crops wou l d not flouish d u e t o cli m ati c condition s u n .. suitable soil and d e s tru ctive in sects. Doubting the accuracy of the statements, Dr. Miles began making an intensive study of a griculture as practiced in other parts of the world where similar climatic condi tions He made counties. analyses of the soil lo determine what fertilizer s were needed for various crops He made thou sands of experime nts to learn how insect$ and plant diseases eould best be combatted. To test the soundne s s of his conclusions, be planted hundreds of experimental gardens. At firtJt. Dr. Miles was l ook e d upon as sort of an eccen tric. Later howevct, whe n it was learned how his gardens rtouriehed he becam e recognized as o n e of th e foremos t agricultural authorities in South Florida.

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THE STonY OF FonT MYERS 305 Largely as a result of his efforts, th.e Iona district was developed rapidly. Scores of truckers attended a school he established With practical courses devoted chiefly to the preparation of the land and the cultivation and spraying of crops and his "stu dents" later became leading growers of vege t ables for the. northern markets. On April 22, 1873, Dr. Miles was married to Ellen Douglas Lighthall. They had three children: Charles F., Mrs. Mal'ian Collins and Mrs. J. B. Porter. His wife died August 24, 1881. On July 17, 1895, he was married again, to Elizabeth Ann State. They had two daughters, Teresa, who died when eight years o1d, and Louise E. On February 13, 1925, Louise Miles wa$ married to Arthur Donald Bass. son of Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Bass, of Fort Myers. They have three children: Mi1es, born June 1, 1926; Sidney Ann, born May 19, 1938, and James Shepard, born February 12, 1942. JAMES B. PARKER James B. Parker was born November 15, 1885, in Richland, Ga After attending public s chools in Richland he t ook a com mercial course in the Georgia-Alabama Business Co llege, in Macon, Ga. Mr. started in business in Val dosta, Ga., but decided he wou ld rather live in Florida so in 1905 he came to Fort Myers JAMES B. PARKER -' "';\ CHARLES A. POWELL, JR. and stattcd working as a bookkeeper in l!enderaon's Cash Store. In 1910 he went into b u siness for himself, opening Parker's Book Store, now one of the oldest business establishments in th.e city. Although Mt. Parker de,otod most of his time to his store he took an active interest in civic affaits. He was a charter member of the Kiwanis Club and a member of Tropical Lodge No. 66, F.&A.M.; Egypt Temple, Shrine, Tampa, and the Chamber of Comme. tce. On May 31,1907, Mr. Parker was married to Bessie Henderson, daughter of Bryan E. and Roberta (Skinner) Henderson, a pio neer Fort Myers family. They had two sons: James B., born March 10, 1908, who died when he wa$ t wenty-th ree years old, and Douglas Harold, born October 5, 1919. Mr. Parker died June 2, 1947. CHARLES A. POWELL, JR. Charles A. Powell, Jr., was born in Fort Mye1s October 2, 19 1 0, the son of Charles A. and M.,.y C. (Gilliam) Poweli. (Sec Index: Charles A. Powell, Sr.) He attended Fort Myers school and was gl'aduated from High School in 1928. He then studied two years at the University of Florida he was made assistant manager of the 'Gators footbaU team and became a member of Theta Chi fraternity.

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306 THE STORY O F FORT MYERS Leaving the university in the sprin g of 1931, Mr. Powell started working at the Morgan Hotel, serving tour years as as-s istant manager and thr oe year s as In 1 937 h e becam e tho Fort Myers distri butor for the American Oil C ompany, He sold this business in the catly fall or 1948 to becotne manager ot Lee Motors, Inc., of For t Myers, assuming his new duties November 1. Mr. Powell was a c:hart or member of the Lions Club and acrvod two years as its secretary. He i& a past exalted ruler and now a trustee of the Elks Lodge, a past president of the Exchange Club, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Junior Cham ber of Commerce, and the Fort Myers Automobile Dealers Association. On May 19, 1934, Mr. Powell was married to Eudora Ku rta dau ghtet of Mr. and Mrs Jame $ M. Kurtz: of Memphis, Tenn. They have two sons, Chn.rles A., III, born November9,1936, and Will iam Roger, born August 8, 1939 J O HN M. BOR I NG John M. Boring was born March 6, 1 872, on a farm in Lee County, G -eorgia, the son of Isaac W. and Isabella (Larimore) Boring, both natives of Georria. In 1884 the family moved to Citra, Fla., whore the father en galf')d in truck farming and planted an orang grove. The trees JO!il"'f M. BOR ING were just coming into full bearing when they wcro destroyed b y the 1894-95 freeze. Mr. Boring. lett borne shortly afterward and ged in phosphating workinsc at many places in central Florida. In 1909 he moved to Sanibel Island, acquired land and s t attod truck farming. He also planted a grove. A)>pointed county agricultural agent, Mr. Bortnjl' moved to For> Myers Jato in 1915. He served a s agricultural agent !we years, during which time he helped to put on the first county !ai.-s. On March 10, 1920, he was county tax assessor and he has hold that office evet since, being re e l ected seven times. Mr. Boring is a member of Tropical Lod ge N. 56 F.& .A.M., a Knight of the Royal Arch, Kni g h t Temp ia r Shriner, and a member of tho I. O.O.F. Knights of Pythias. and B.P.O.E. He wu a charter membot of the Kiwani s C lub and ha s been a steward of the First Methodist Church for more than a quarter c:entury Mr. Boring was married in 1897 to Maymle Ross, daughter of Funk Ros., cattleman and citrus grower of Marion County. They had two daughters: Esther, now Jiving with her father, and Maymie, now deteased. w h o became the of Dwight Lam b e. Mr. and Mrs. Lambe had a so n, Dwight Lambe, Jr. who in 1948 was attending the Univet'Sity of F l otida. 1\!ts. Boring died in 1945. ELMO M. BALLARD Elmo M. Ballard was born January 28, 1897, In Keysville, P olk County, Florida, the son of James C. and Lola (Proctor) Ballard. both natives of Florida. When he was thirteen years o1d, the fllmib moved to Fort Myers and he was graduated from Fort Myers high school i n 1917. Immediatel y after Mr. Ballard enlisted i n the Navy. He served until De cembct, 1!)18, serving mos t of tho timo All boarding office r at Tampa with the rank o f chief petty o f ficer Returning to Fort Mye re, Mr. Ballard started truck farming on a smaU aealc raising peppers on a sixacre tract. The venture failed but he tried again the following year with another pepper crop and did better. Then he pioneered with Insh potatoes, plant ing t.en acres. Everyone said he would lose heavily but the crop was a success and Mr. Ballard made history by shipping the first carload o f pot atoes out of South J'loidn. In later years M r Ballard greatly in creased his potato acreage, at one tim e plnnting S50 a c res which had an average yield o f 275 bushe ls per acre, and he became

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 307 known as the Potato King of South Florida. Because o f a lack of barrels when he s t arted, he shipped his potatoes in crates, thereby reviving th e dormant crate indushy. Retiring in 1943, .Mr. Ballard has spent mueh of b j s time in conservation work. He was one of th e founders and is now presi .. dent of the Cal oosahatchee Conservation Club. In 1948 he t ook a leading part i n the drive to have Lee County placed under fire c ontrol under the supervision of the State Forestry Department. Mr. Ballard is a member of Tropical Lodge No. 56, F.&A.M., the Chamber of Commerce and the First Baptist Chu>cb. Seeking to abolish t he office of justice of the peace, Mr. Ballard in 1948 ran for the office and was elected. In the fall of 1948 he was persuaded by friends to r un for cit.y council, and was elected. On September 28, 1931, Mr. Ballard was married t.o Virginia Hogshead, of Staunton, Va. have two daughters: Katherine, born Ju1y 31, 1934, and Vhginia, born December 7, 1989. By a previous marriage he has two other ch ildrc .n: Walter L.1 now living in New York and Jeanne, now Mrs : Horace Hi nson, who is living in Ga i nesville . GEORGE KINGSTON George Kingston was born 22 1863 in Ionia, Mich., the so n of Mr. and Mrs. Dan ie l Kingston. After attending GEOHGE KINGSTON EUIO M. BALLARD Ionia pub lic schools he learned the carpenter ttade. i\ieehanically minded, he took a keen interes t in the first automobiles which were manufactured. S tudying the mechanism closely, he concluded that the fuel mixing valves then used did not have sufficient f l exibility to make automobiles practicable and. after long experimenting, develope d a mixing device later called the carbureto r In the beginning he made his own drawings for the catburetor, made his own pat tern s, and machined and assembled the cast ings. His device was first used on an mobile in 1900. Shortly afterward, Henry F ord saw hi s carburetor at a New York auto show decided he wanted it, and made anangemenbs with Mr. Kingston to produce it. A Kingsto n carburetor was used on Ford's first experimental cat and also for a U his fil.'$t prod uction cars To produce carburetors on a quantity basis, Mr. Kingston founded a n d headed the Byrne-Kingston Company, the Kokoma Brass Worlts, and the Kokom.o Electrical Comt>any, all of Kokomo, Ind. 1\for e than half of all the millio n s of carbu>e tots used on Ford's Mode l T cars were produced in his plan ts. Mr. Kingston s companies also l)ro duced ignition systems. spark plugs, magnetos and other automobile parts. In 1928 M> Kingston retired and sold all his manufacturing i nter ests, his plants being

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308 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS merged to form the Kingston Products Company. Mr. Kingston first came to Fort Myet-s for a winter. vacation late in 1910. lie purchased a boat here and then spent the remainder of the winter fishing and hunting in the Everglades He continued to wintet at Everglades unti11919 when he remained aU winter in Fort Myers, in the old Walter Langford home a t First and Woodford which he had bought two years before. Duting 1919 he;also purchased the old Towles Grove east of T ice, which had forty acres in bearing trees. Later he bought adjoining land and enlarged the grove to 154 acres. "He also J?Urchased the 100-acre Dr. Miles Grove at Olga the 90-acre Harr is Grove at ham, and 350 acres of the Fort Myers Grove Company grove south of Fort Myers. In 1931 he purchased the packing house of the Myers Cooperative During the following decade he developed these holdings, becoming the largest citrus producer in the county. In 1943 he sold all the pr opert ies to Foundation Groves, Inc. While in Fort Myers, Mr. Ki ngston de voted much of his time to his favorite hobbies -photography, radio and garden ing.-and to beautifying the grounds of h is second Fort. Myers home\ on southwest corner of Frst and Fow er. whtch he pur chased in 1925 from the Walter Langford estate. WILLIAM H. REYNOLDS Mr. Kingston was martied in 1903 to Mina Vincent,.of Ovid, Mich. They had one child, Ralph G. Mr. Kingston died February 21. 1946. and Mrs. Kingston July 11, 1948. -Ralph Kingston was graduated from Fort 1\!ye:rs high sehool and later worked seven years in the experimental department of his plant at Kokomo. Returning to Fort Mye rs, he t hen assisted his father in his various undertakings until early 1942 w he n be began serving as a flight instructor at the Army primary training school at Carl strom Field. He continued to set ve until late 1944. Mr Kingston is pres i dent of the First National Bank and a partner of Billy Wiggins in the Wiggins & Kingston Motors. He is a member of "the Elks Lodge and the Chamber of Commerce. On December 15, 1927, Mr. Kingston was married to Evelyn McKillip, of Marion Ind. They have two children: Ralph G., Jr . born October 21, 1929, now a sophomore at Stetson University, and Mino Rose, born September 3, 1932, now a junior at Fort Myers High School. WILLIAM H. REYNOLDS William H. Reynolds was born June 22, 1882, on a fatm near Vims ea, Ia .. th e son of William H. and Josephine (Pasko) Reynolds. After being graduated from high school he went to where he-stayed a year, working on ranche s and teaching school. Returning to Iowa, Mr. Reynolds attended Simpson Co llege, i.n Indianola. After being graduated in 1906 he studied law a t the University of N ebraska, receiving his LL.B. degree in 1909. DurinK his vacations he traveled through the West, selling school supplies, and when he finis hed his studies at the university h e c ontinucd working for his company for another year. In 1910 Mr. Reynolds entered the real estate business in the Dakotas, specializjng in the sale of farm lands. He eame to Fort Myers on January 1, 1911, and sold real estate until 1918. He then went West again and for five years was engaged in the real estate business in Burlington, Col. Coming back to Fort Myers in the fall of 1924, when the boom was nearing its peak, he again entered the real estate business and has been engaged in it ever since. From 1930 t o 1945 he also handled municipal bonds. For many years he has been interested in farm properties and in 1948 was part owner of 5,000 acres in the Lake Okeechobee area, 2 600 acres o f which were under cultivation. Mr. Reynolds twice served as president of the Chamber of Commerce, first in 1931-32 and again in 11142-43. He is a member

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 309 of the Rotary Club and an elder in the Presbyterian Church. In 1945 he wa. s elec ted to city council and served one term. On December 18, 1919, Mr. Reynolds was married to Anna Piffer, of India n o l a n graduate of Simpson College. They have three children: William H., Jl'., who was !'raduated from the University of Florida tn 1942 and is now &ssociat.ed with his rather in the real estate business; Esther who studied at Duke University, and Mary Joe. who in 1948 was in her senior yea. r at Duke. PETER TONNELIER Peter Tonnelier was born in Decatur, Ind., September 30, 1861, tho son of John and Susan Tonnelier. After attending college in Indiana, he we -nt to Benton Harbor, Mich. where he established n chain of drug stores. He later acQuired many business prOpetties and became an officer of the Michigan State Dank in Benton Harbor. He was married on November 2. 1892. to Aliee Brandenburg, daurhter of Alfred and Mary Brandenburg, of Louisville, Ky. In 1910, Mr. Tonnelier sold his bus.ine...q,s interests in Michigan and came to Florida, first wintering in St. Petersburg. The following year he $tayed In Sarasota. In both cities he purchased business propet'ties. In February, 19l2. he viited Fort Myers for the first time eruising down the coast with his brother Henry. He liked the town and soon purchased the Stone Block at J>irst and Hendry from Dr. B. P. Matheso n paying $150,000 for the property. He later pul-cbased many other business sites and erected many buildinn in the downtown 6eetion, including buildings in t.he court now known as the Patio de Leon and four hotels. (Sec Chapter VI.) When Mr TonneHer came to Fort Myers the l:lectio n between Hendry and Monroe mostly of ramshackle wooden buildings. He did much to change the ap pcata n ce of this part of the b usiness aection. Jus t before World War I he built the Ken mote Hotel and in 1922 the Gtand Central. He donated land needed for the opening of Main Street (formerly called Oak). from Hendry to Jackson. He was the bu1lder of the Ritz Theat -re which he leaoed to Central Theatres, Inc., of Mr. Tonnelier was a member of St. Franei$ (Xavier) Catholic Church and the Elks Ledge. He died September 14, 1932. He was survived by hts widow and .four brothers and four sisters: Henry R., Edward and Victo1 T., o f Benton Harbor, Mich.; Charl es, of Charlevoix, Mich,i Mt$. Edward Dwan, of Denton Harbor; Mrs M o.rgoret Garvey, of Fort Myers; Mrs. May McFarlan, of Portland, Ore .. and Emclia ronnclier, of De c.atur, Mich. PETER TONNELIER LUCIUS CUR RIAN CURTRIGHT Luciu's Currian Curtright was born No vember 141 1891, in Apelika, Ala., tho son of William l
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3 1 0 TilE STORY O F FORT MYERS organized the Fort Myers Realty Compan) which he bas served as presid cnt ever since. In 1922 his concern erected the two-story office buildinF, at Fi r t and Dean, in 1925 a two-story butlding at First and Bayvi_ew Court, formerly qccuplod by Flortda Power & Light Compony, and m 1 927 the three-story Kress Building a t First and Broadwa)' -During the 1920's Mr. Curtright took an active part. in the construc:tion of the Morgan Hotel, the o p eninJt o f Broad way, and in the development of Seminole Park and York Manor. He was closely associated with G. R. Sims, of Ann Arbor, Mi eh. in all the latter's activities in t.he Broadway section. (See C h a pter VII.) Mr. Curtright i s the president of Bayside Development Company which durin g World War II constructed thirty-two block houses in the Bayside section, the development costing $200,000. He is also president of Real Estate Investment Com pany with extensive holdings in Fort Lauderdale, and preside.nt o f the Flany Building CorpOration with holdings in Florida and Texas. Mr. Curtright hu been active in the Chamber of Commeree for many yea.J'$. He is a director of the Lee County Packing Company and fonner directot o f the Morris Plan Bank. He i s a past president of the Myers Boord of 'Underwriters, a member of the American Legion, and a charter member of the Elk& Lodge. VIRGIL CARLIS LE ROBB Virgil Carlisle Robb was born June 20, 1889, in M a yslick, Ky., the son of Brig. General William H Robb, one of Morgan' Men in the Confederate Army, and Mrs. Anna E. (Willett) Robb. He was educated nt Millersburg Military Institute, in Milleto; burg, Ky., and Georgetown College, at Geotget o w n Ky Mr. Robb came t o Fort Myers in 191 2, when he was twentythree years old. to clerk in the post office under Po$tmastu I E. Foxworthy. Soon afterward he resigned to accept a position with Mr. Foxworthy in the Foxworthy Clothing Company. In 1915 Mr. Robb organized and ran the Lee & R obb Furniture Company which later became tlfe Robb-Stueky Company. The original locatio n was on Main Street a t Tonnelier Court. ln I 926 the business was moved to the newl y erected Robb-Stucky Building on Hendry Street which it stih an d occupi es. In addition to being president of Robb Stucky Company, Mr. Robb i s president of the Hendry Street Realty Compan y, director and vice-president of the Fort Myers Southern Railroad. and had a partnership in the McNulty Robb Cigar Factory. He is a former director o f the First Nationn l Bank and a former director and stocl
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THE STORY O F F ORT M Y E R S 3 11 WALT E R P. F RA N KLIN Walter P Fran k li n was bo rn on a plantatio n in Halifax Co u nty, Virgi nia, near Sout. h Boston, June 4, 1871 t h e son of Mr. and Mrs Howard Frank lin. H e attended a p rivate schoo l clo s e t o South Boston and E lon College, in North Carolina. 'Y hen a youn g man, M r, Fr ank l in ae q u ircd experience in in stales and in 1900 came to Florida a n d set up a saw mill at St. Catherine to eut timber. Closing this business in 1903 be became a travellin g s a lesm a n for the Knight & W all Company, of Tampa, selli n g hard ware Whil e on one o f his ttips for this company Mr Franklin first t atno to Fort 1\Iyc .rs in 1904 Mr. F 1 ankli n becam e a sal ea man for the Ge91'gia Supply Company in 1910 and 1 e momed w i th that concern three years In 1 9 1 3 he returned t o Fort Myers and learned that C W. C ar leton's hardware store. then o w ned by Knight & W all, was for sale He acquired the business November 1 5, 1913, changed its name to the Fran _klin Hardware Company, and h a s operated it ever since. The concern was firsl located on the north east comer o f F i rst and Hendr>, moved to t he Mmer Build i n g in 193 1 and t o its present locat i on, owned b y 1\lr Franklin in 1937. In 1 9 18 Mr F r an k lin purc ha sed the H ill Hou s e fro m Mi s s M. Floosi e H ill and renamed it the J il' ank li n A r m $. Five years late r h e built an 84-room ad d itio n to the h otel a t a co s t o f m ore than $300, 0 0 0 and operated i t until 1928 Ever since coming" to Fort Myers Mr. Franklin bas taken an unusually aetive part in civic an d community affairs. He served as mayor o f the city in 1917 and 1918 and was pre s id ent o l t h e Board of Trade. s e veral ye ars. He was treasurer of the Florida First Commission, one of t h o til's t o rga ni.z.ations formed to boos t Florida t h roughout the nation. He i s a f orm e r m e mber of the School Boo r d, a member of the Masonic ond Elks Jodge:s, and a s tewar d und m e mber of the fin t m c e comm i ttee of the First Methodist Church Mr. F r a nkli n is c r edited with ba;iog b een a leading factor in the completion of the cross-state waterway. He became p resident of the G ulf, Okeechobee a n d A tlantic Waterway A ssoci a tion when it w a s orga n iz e d a n d it was large l y t hrough hi s e ffort s that the necessary survey s w e re made and the p1oject stlllted in 1 982 nftel' a bill carrying $9,000,000 was s igned by P resident Hoov e r. Si nce then a p r o x l mntcly $23,000, 000 has been spent on the waterways and l evees around Lak e Okeechobee WA LTER P FRANKLI N In 1 89 6 Ml'. Fra nkli n wa s monied to Joe Trueheart Johnson, of Jac k s on, renn. T h e y have a son Paul G1cy Fran klin born ScpLember 28, 1897. O n Jun e 18, 19 2 4, Paul F r an klin was mar ried .to Harriette C rane of Daytona Beach He J S of the Franklin Hardware Company, a past president o f the Merchants Associ ation, has been director Ot the Chamber of Comme rce for a number of yean, is a forme r s t ewa rd of the First Met h odist C hurch, and i s a member of the R o tary C l ub and the Elks L o d ge HAROLD C. SATCHE L L Harold C. S atchell wa s born August 2 1 1895! in K a lamazoo, Mich., the &on of Char ea Jt and Carrie (Guesoling) Satehell both natives of Missouri. When a youth, Mr. Satehell started in the dry cleaning business. wo .. king-with hi$ f a t her who ow n e d a p lant in S t Louis. In 191 4 b e cam e t o Fort 1\!yer s and joined his brother E dward who was working_ at Charle s B l ount's Roy al Dry Cleaning Com pany. T ogether they purchased the c o ncern, located In the Patio de Leon. Shortly war d the y moved the plant t o First Stree t oppos ite Cottage Home, where tho Morgan H otel n ow stands.

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312 TR.::STORY OF FORT MYERS I n 1919 Mr Satch ell bought out his brother and two years later b1anched in t o the laundry bus iness, changing th e name of the conce>"n to Satchell's Laundry and Dry Cleaning Company The concern i s now located in a modern p lant at 1001 Cleveland Avenue. Mr. Satchell i s a. membet of the Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, Fort Myer s Golf & Country Club and the National, 'l'ri Stnte and F'l orida laundry associations.. On December 17, 1917, Mr. Satchell was married to Betty Readlean, of St. Louis. 1'hey hav e three children: Audrey Louii:5e, now 1\ha.. David HO\vell; Betty Jean. now Mrs. Bonny Gtaham, and Haro l d C Jr., who is i11arried to Max ine Davis. They also bave three grandchildren: Charleen and V i c Graham and Kemberly Howell F. EWING STARNES F. Ewing (Unk) Starnes was born June 6, 1905, in Mt. Pleasant, Tex., the son of F E and Annie ( Rogers) Starnes. His mother died in 1914 and shortly afterward his fat her, a Baptist minister, retired and came to Fort l';fyets whe re a. son, C. L. Starnes, had ent ered the mercantile business some year s be f ore. E'wing S tarnes attended pub1ie schoo l s in Texas and in ft""ort Myers After being graduated from Fort MYe<" High School in F. EWING (UNK) STARNES HAROLD C. SATCHELL 1924 he went int o t he dl'Y clean ing business forming the Fott Myers D r)"' Cleaning Com pany. Duting t h e f ollowing year he sold a hal f interest in the eonce1n to lt"'rank A. Prat her and i n 1926 his remaining interest. Deciding to become an attorney, Mr. Statnes took a two year pre-Jaw course at Rollin s College and completed his education at the University of F l orida from which he received an LL. B degree in 1931. He then joined the law firm of Henderson&Franklin in which he bec ame a par tner in January. 1944, the fitm name then being changed t o Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt. He ha s ptac t ieed with t he fil-m ever s i nce. As an avocation. Mr. S tarnes has a cattle ranch southeast of For t Myers. Mr. Starnes i s a member of the Firs t Baptist C hurch, a past president of the Kiwanis Club, a member of Lambda Ch i Alpha fraterni t y, and o f the Lee County, Florida and American bar associa t ions. On June 6, 1935, he was married to Haze l Lamar, da ughter of Hugh and Mar i e (John son) Lamar. They have three children: Marjorie, born February 5, 1938 ; Hugh, born September 25 1940, and Susan, born June 4, 19-14. By a previous marriage Mrs. Starnea has two children: Hazel C l arkson, a senior i n 1948 at the Flot;da State College a n d Julian (Bubsle) Clarkson, a junior in 1948 at the University of F l orida.

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THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS 313 THOMAS MacFARLANE BIGGAR 1'homas I\laeFat'lane Biggar was born in Scotland July 26, 1892, the son of John Wilson and Jessie (Macrae. ) Biggar. He was in Scotland and when njneteen ye ats old we.nt to Canada where he served the Union Bank of Canada in a numbe. r of btanehes in .mid-western p r o vinces. In 1913 he was pe1suaded by his brother John W. Biggar, who had located in Tampa, to como t o F lotjda. Arriving in Tampa, he was employed by the Citizens Bank & Trust Companr. Lat e t' he was sent to Fort Myers by John W. Trice, then president of the .rampa bank, t o work in the Bank of f!"'ort Myers, in which Mr. Trice was one of the principal s t ockholders. Mr. Bigga1 left the bank in 1918 to j oin the armed services as an aerial photo grapher. While at Madison Barracks in New York state he t ook out naturalization papers. Shortly a fterwards he was sent overseas Returning t o It'ort Myers aftet the war, Mr. Biggar was employed as office manager for the Fort Myers Grove Company. Whi l e with this coneern he. homesteaded a tract of land near where Page Field now is. During the boom he sold this tract and invested in other proper ty. Early in 1922 Mr. Biggar started truck farming and soon afterward bought an interest in the GortonPadgett Co., ovf"nets of a "egetab l e packing plan t the concern then becoming the Biggat & Padgett C o. Later he bought out Mr. Padgett and the c .ompany name was changed to Biggar & Biggar, Inc. Mr. Biggar expanded his operations steadily To secure more produce, he financed share croppets in var1ous parts of the county. Later, however, ho concentrated on farming his own land, greatly in creasing the acreage under cultivation and becoming one of the biggest shippers in southwes t Florida. He pioneered in a number of things which have since become common practice among large-scale fatmers in southwest Florida such as the general use of the labor-saving machinety, tractor farming and tiled land. His firm shipped the fitst cal'load of Marglobe tomat
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314 TnE STORY OF FoRT MYER S he went to New York and start-ed working in a machine shop. H e soon began devis ing various forms of noveltie s nnd when 21 years old was granted his first patent. In 1909, l\1r. Phillip s went into business for himself manufncturinA" novelties. Sev eral years later h e invented a new type of washing machine and moved his p lan t to Chicago to manufacture the machine, on which he had a basic patent. In 19 13 be sold the patent to the Western Electric Company. During World War I Mr. Phillips was cranted a basic patent on a radio controlled aeroplan e and for nearly two years wa s with the Sperry Gyroscope Company while his device Wt\SJ being perfected One of the rad io-controlled planes which wct e constructed made a 'Juecossfu l 50-mil e flig h t. Late in 1918 Mr. Phillips came to Fort Myers, purchased a ten. acre tract o n Mc Gregor Boulevard and de,eioped a sub division. Two years later, with Harry Fielder, he built the first bath house and casino on Estero Island at what is now known as Fort Myen Beach and also developed a subdivision there. He a lso de veloped Henley. Circle and Palm Gardens. During the boom Mt. Phillips organized the San Carlos Corporation, a $1 750,000 dovelopment company in which all tbe stock was sold. He aiao promote d the Tamiami NELSON THOMAS BURROUGH S City Corporation, a $21050,000 development company which ownea 13.600 a cres on the Trail north of the river. The company built twenty house$, a large garage and a pav ilion -and then development work was stopped by t h e 1926 hurricane and the ending of the Florida boo m Inactive during the depression Mr. Ph illips resumed operations in. t 9S8 when he got a contraet for s ellinSt a 36-aere t-raet north of the river. He developed Cabana City and built, and sold, the tourist cabins now known as Lakeside Cabin.. Later he bought 708 lots which the city had taken i n for delinquent taxes, paying $6600 cash. Since then practically aU the lots have been sold. Ho al1!o develo ped the artificial lake and t'OCk cabins near the radio station. On October 13, 1947, ho bought tho famous o l d Royal Palm H o tel fl'om tho Dr. M. 0. Terry estate, paying $ 105,000. He then proceeded to tear down the bote!, which had been condemned, preparatory to ae lling the land as business sites. H e sold the annex to the Brooks -Garriso n Corpo r ation. which continued to operate it as a hotel. On April 1, 1948, Mr. Phillip s purchased 110 acres at the north end of Fort Myers Beach from the Collier Corporation for 3125,000 and soo n afterward st&l'ted de velopm ent work. The tract has been de scribed a s the most. attrac ti ve undeveloped property o n he entire Gulf Coas t. Mr. P hiilips late in 1948 was planning to develop n 2,500-acre tract he owna on the n orth Tami ami Trail, a 4 ,000-acre tract on Pine bland and a 400-aere tract on Sanibel. He also was buildin$t a novel r<>ek ofliee on Finot StTeet near the post office. N ELSON THOMAS BURROUGHS Thoma s Burrough s wn s bor n on a ftlrm near Tecumseh Mich., June 28, 1839, the son of Noah S. and Electta (Hunter) Burrough s, natives of Seneca Co unty New Yoak, where the father wa& a farmer: After attending school in Tecumseh, J\Ir. Burrourha went to Cleveland and lived a year with his uncle, Jeptba Wade, who later scave Wade Park to Cleveland. Early in the Civil War he enlisted in a eava.lry unit, was soon wounded and honorably dis charged. He then returned to Michigan where h e taught school three winters and also farmed. ln 1865 Mr. Burroughs drove 8,000 head of sheep from Michigan t o Stoy County, Iowa, making the long journey in a horse and ourgy and accompanied only by one man and a sheep dog. Later he acquired a

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 315 large trac t near Cherokee, Iowa and en gaged in stock-raising on an extensive seale. On Sept<>mber 12, 1871, Mr. Burroughs was married to Adeline Hilt Phipps, daughter of Albert and Martha Phipps, of Che rokee who had gone west from Medford, Mass. Later in the 1870's he became engaged in banking in Cherokee and in 1881 founded the First National Bank of Cherokee, becoming its president. Du t;ng the years wh ich followed Mr. Burroughs became one of the leading land owners in Io'''a. He also bought large tracts in the Mississippi delta, which were later developed in to one of the finest growing sections in the country, and large tracts of timber land. In 1903 Mr. Burroughs moved to Chicago to be near his son, Roy, who had e s t ablished a mach i nery factOry in Elgin, and to ha\ e a more central loc ation for his far -flung busine .ss activities. In 1904 he acquired a summer home in Gloucester County, Virginia, buying the famous Warner Hall, the first buildings of whi ch were constructed in 1620 wjth bricks brought from England. The gl'eatgreat grondparents of George. Washington were. buried on the est ate. and .Mrs. Burroughs spent the winter of 1915-16 in Palm Beach. In t he following fall he went to Kissimmee and bought acreage which he sold in a few days at a good profit. Deciding that was a good place to make investment s he then bought many o ther properties. The family came to Fort Myers late in 1918 and Nlr. Burroughs bought the Murphy home, then owned by Howard Cole. where he spent each winter until his deat h on September 16, 1982. Mrs Burroughs died on December 23 of the s..'\me year in Fort Myers. Mr. and Mrs Burroughs had two sons, Roy and Raynot, both now deceased, and two daughters, Jettie and Mona. Jettie Burro ugh s has been ac tive in garden club and community work i n Fort Myers. She served fout years as president of the Periwinkle Garden Group which took a leading part in the beautification of the city. She was chairman of nine of the Garden Tours held annually until World War II. More than six hundred persons who attended t he last tour were entertained at t he Burroughs home in a garden party .Miss Burroughs also has served as a trustee in the Community Congregational Chutch, in which she is an active member, and has been a member ?f the Community C lub. Mona Burroughs is now married to John McCurdy and divides h e r time between Florida and the North. WALTER J. EDELBLUT WALTER JOSEPH EDELBLUT Walter Joseph Edelblut was born Match 6, 1895, in Richmond, Va., the son of Andrew and Wilhelmina (Beekman) Edel blu t M emb ers of his fat her's family came to Ameri ca in Colonial days. li!r. Edelblut was educated in public and paroch i al schools of Richmond and in 1914 was graduated from the Virginia Mechanical Institute. in Richmond. Hs lear ned the plumbing trade while working for his bl:'Other, a Richmond plumbing contractor. In February, 1919, he came to Fort Myers and went into business for himself tetail and wholes a l e. In 1941 Mr. Edcl blut organized the Edel blut Construction Company which during an period constructed $1,500, 000 wor th of army camps for the government at Fo1t Ke : y West, Sarasota., and MacD ill Field at Tampa. The projects included the construction of 135 buildings Since the war the company has handled many contracts for the federal government and also for Florida cities, as well as com mercial buildings and residences. Mr. Edleblut i s a life member of the Elks Lodge and a member of the Chamber of Commerce. On November 29, 1916, he was married t o Mary Almy Pumphrey, of Washington, D. c: They have five children: Walter Joseph, Jr.,

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316 THE STORY oF FonT MYERS born August 5, 1920; Robert L l ewelyn, born December 5, 1922; Mary Eileen born April 28, 1925 ; ,Ada Louise, now Mrs. Walter Shiver, born January 10, 1927, and Richard Thomas, born July 5, 1928. Walter and Robert are graduates of Georgia Tech and now in active charge of the Edelblu t Const r uction Company. Walter se. rved as a capt ain in the Engineer Corps in World War II and Robert ns a lieute nant. in the Air Corps. LEO W. ENGLEHARDT Leo \V. Englehardt was bor n December 25, 1914, a t Conway Sprinjrs. Kansas, the son of Louis W. and Besst e (Thompson) Englehardt. Louis W. Englehardt, who was born in Watel'loo, Ia. on Octobe r 12 1876 came to Fort Myers in 1919 and established a funeral home on Hendry Street which was moved in 1933 to its present locat i on o n McGregor Boulen1d. He died March 22, 1935, and was surv ived by his widow, a daughtet, Eunice K . and th ree sons, Paul, Leo \V and Charles Edward After Leo was graduated f r om Fort Mye r s High School in 1933 he went into the undertaking business with his father. At that time James c. Spooner became a partner in the f irm He remained a partner until 1946 when h i s in terest was purchased by Mr Englehardt wh6 now operates the business himself. LEO ,V, ENGLEHARDT M r Englehardt is a member of the Masonic, I.O.O.F. and Elks lodges, the Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, and the Fort Myers Golf Club. He was m arried on March 10, 1940, t o Alma of Fort Myers. They have two daughters: Heverly, born January 16, 19-11, and Susan, born Apt;! 29, 1946. LAWRENCE A. POWELL I:.awrence. A. Powell was born August 6, 1893, in Atlanta, Ga., the son of Frank A. and Helena (Hookey) Powell, both nat ives of Georgia. Educated in Atlanta public s chools, he went to wotk in 1908 for the Atlan ta u n dertaking firm of Greenburg, Bond & Bloomfie l d. La ter moving to Macon, Mr Powe.H was associated for several _y_ ears with the under taking firm of J e ssie Hart & Compapy and then joined the Orleans Manufacturing Company, n casket concern. Coming to Fort Myers in 1920, Mr. Powell established t he undettaking firm of Lawrence A. Powell, Inc., which he operated until Augu s t 1, 1948, >''hen he sold to Howard McQueen. He then st-arted con struction of a moderh cafeteria on the south 'west cornc .t of Royal Palm and Fit'St Street which he leased to Edison Cafeteria, Inc His bt other, Marion Powell, who had been associated with him i n the undertaking firm. has an interest in the cafeteria. building, erected at a cost of $52,000. Mr. Powell is a member of the Elks, Masons, Odd Fellows Woodmen of the World, and t he Chambet of Comme r ce. In January, 1914, i\fr Powell was married to J:tuth Smith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M D. S mith, of Atlanta. They have three children: Helne Ruth Duval, 'Vils:on and Emmie Lee. DR. CHARLES E. CONGDON Dr. Charles Ellswor t h Congdon was born August 15, 1862, in Buffalo, N. Y,. the son of ha W. and Lavenia (Smith) vongdon After being g1'8duated from Niagara Uni versity, i n BUffalo, where he studied cin.e, he took post -graduate coul'Ses in surgery at thC Univers ity of Berlin, Germany. R e turning to New York, Dr. Congdon ope.ncd an o 'ffiee in Buffalo. He became one of the leading surgeons of the stat e and in 1896 established the City Hospi tal for Women, in Buffalo, specializing in gyne cologica l and obs tetrical cases. He was the author o f a number of treatises whic h were published by the American Journal of Obstetrics.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 317 In 19 1 'l Dr. Congdon was commissioned a s a major in th& Arm y Medical Corps and ser v ed throughout the war. Dr. Congdon came to Fort Myers for the first time in 1920 and liked it better than he did the Isle of Pines where he had previously wintered. In 1923 h e purchased land and built a home in Alva and during the following year invested heavily i n Fort Myer s properties.. Dr. Congdon retired t rom active pra cti c e tn 1924 he of'ten assisted other an d sur geons and he spen t m\le h money and time in an ellort to ha,e a health c e nter established in Fort Myers. This health center probably would have become a reality had it not been for }!' lorida's sul)er stringent Jaws drafted to keep out physicians from othe r states. Dr. Congdon's principal hobby was pou.l rY raising and he too k an active part in th e movement which l ed to the passage by the state legislature of laws regulating the size and quality of eggs bandied by oroduee dealers. Dr. Congdon was married in June, 1910, to Mable R. Mitc hell They had two children: Livonia and Jame s M itchell. Or. Congdon died March 2, 1940. James M. Congdon was married on June 22, 1942, to Lois Roberta Alexander. They have a son, Frederick J ume&, born November I, 1946. DR. CHARLES E. CO NGDON R. Q.' RICHARDS RI CH ARD QUINTUS RI CHARDS Ri chard Quintus Richards was born December 1, 1892, in Sandersville. Ga. the son of Quintus and Florence (Dickinson) Richards, descendants o f families which came to America in Colonial days. Both were natives o f V irginia and the Cather served in tbe Confederate Army during the Civil War. After being graduated from high schoo l in SnndersviJle, 1\Jr. Richard s worked in drug stores and l e arned to be a pharmaeigt. He paS$Cd the Georgi a state board in 1909 and soon afterward came to Florida. H e worked for noarly four years in drug in Mulberry and Nichols. In Septembe r 1913, ho went to Atlant a where h e studied m e dicine for two years at Emory Uni ver s ity, at the s am e time teaching materia medica to other students. Upon completion of his second yea r a t Emory, Mr. Richards went to Lakeland wher-e he and his brother, Dr. H Mercer Richards, operated the City Dru11: Store until January 1, 1920. He then sold his interest in the atorc to his brother and came to For t llly el'8 where on lllay 1, 1920, h e o pened the RoyJ>I Pal.m Pharmacy in the samo loca ti on it i15 at present. In April, 1945, Mr. Richards purchased the Pylhian Building, built in 1923 brA. A. Gar
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318 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS opened Richards Prescriptions, a strictly professional drug store with a clinica l laboratory. On April 28, 1922, l\lr. Richards organ ized the Kiwanis Club, signing up all the charter members in one day. Ho served two years as president of the club. While chairman of the elub's baseball committee he helped persuade Connie Mack to bring his Philadelphia Athletics to Fort Myers for spring training for twelve years . The con tract, made with the Kiwanis C l ub. was signed January 26, 1924, and the Athletics trained here every spring through 1936. Mr. Richards is a past president of the Chamber of Commorce, a steward of the First Methodist Church, and a member of the Masonic and Shrine. He is a past president and secretary s inc e 1940 of the Florida State Pharmaceutical Association and editor since 1938 of the State Pharmaceutical Journal; a past president and now chairman of tne executive committee of the National Association Boards of Pharmacy, and has been secretary of the Boud of Pharmacy of the State of Florida since January, 1941. He i s a member of the Society o f Sons of the American Revolution by descent from Christian Streit. On November 9, 191 4, Mr. Richards was married to Hazel Larmon, of Bowling Green, Ky. 'l'he y have three sons: Richard Q., Jr., born Oc tober 23, 1915; Hugh Larmon, born Januar y 17, 1918, and Joe Murrey, born J C. McDONALD November 25, 1923. On August 31, 1937, Richard Q., J r .. was married to Mary Grey Dickinson. They have three children: Sue Larmon, Richard Q., III, and Lindsay Mercer. Hugh was married on Sep t ember 2, 1940, to Eugenia Dickinson; they have two children: Hugh Larmon, Jr., and l''rank Conley. On March 30, 1947, Joe was married to Margaret Addison; they have a daughter, Hazell Sheridan. Richard, Jr., and Joe arc graduates i n pharmacy of the University of Florida and operate the Richards Prescriptions; Hugh is .associated with his father at the Royal Palm Pharmacy. JULIU S CARL McDONALD Julius Carl McDonald was born December 1, 1892, in Dahlonega, Ga., the son of William Edgar and Cynthia (Jones) Mc Donald, bot h natives of Geo1gia. He was educated i n the publi c schools of Dahlonega and Douglas, Ga., and when a ) outh served h is apprenticcshiJ) as a mason. L ater he studied architectur e and engineering. During World War I Mr. McDonald served in the and in the Military Intelligence Corps, in which he attained the rank of lieutenant. When the war ended, Mr. McDonald returned to Douglas, where he had been working, and resumed business as a contractor. In February, 1920, Mr. McDonald came to Fort Myers, just as the boom W$$ getting under way. One of hts first sub-contracts was for the construc t ion of Frank C. Alderman's home. La ter he had c ontracts or sub1-contracts for the Morgan Hotel, McCrory' s Building, rebuilding of theLeon Hotel, Franklin Arms Hotel, 0 dom Building, Stadler Mansion, the Elks home, and many other sttuctures. In recent years Mr. McDonald has developed m any res i dential sections and built numerous houses During 'Vor l d "rar II he served three years in the corpS of e ngine ers in the Civil Service and was stationed at Buckingham, Orlando, Page and Marco. Mr. McDonald i s a member of the Elks Lodge, the Chamber of and the Fort Myers Contractors Association. On June 30, 1 943. Mr. McDonald was married to Vel ma C. Cannon 1'hey have. a. son, Julius Carl, Jr. born 15, 1944. By a former marriage, Mr. McDonald has six children: Walter E., Sidney J., Marve l Grace, who was graduated from Fort Myers High and later attended college i n Dah lonega; Cynthia Ann, now Mrs. B . Dudley Hill; Carline May, now Mrs. Lyle 'Nilkius, and Katherine Gtacc, nov.-Mrs. Hall McG rath.

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THE STORY OF FORT MYERS 319 JOSEP H A. ANSLEY Joseph.'\.. Ansley was.born February 2 4, 1906, m Amc.ricus, Ga., the sOn of Joseph A. and Jesie (Whitaker) Ansley, both natives of Geotgiac He oame to Fort Myers with his family in 19:.22 w h en his fath cr, a Baptist min ister. was named pas t or o f the First Baptist Chut ch. After being graduated from the Fort Myers High School in 1924, Mr. Ansley attended Stetson University ind then started to work in the advertising dc. j)artment of the Fort Myers Tropica l News. He was advertis ing manager of the News when it was merged with t h e Fort Myers Press i n 1931 and retained that position on the News .. Press In August, 1942 he joined the United States Navy as a chief petty officer and sened until October, 1945 After being rel eased from sen'iee he v.vent with the Lee County Bank as public relations officer, which position he still holds, as well as being assis tant cashier. -Mr. Ansley played a leading part in pro moting the fhst Pageant of Light, in 1938 and served as chairman of the event. He has been active in the Junior Chamber of Commerce since its otganization, is a pas t presiden t of the Kiwanis Club and served as cornman.det of the American Legion in 1947-48. In 1989 he was president of the ELI\IER HOUGH JOSEPH A. 'ANSLEY F lorida Newspaper Advertising Association. He is a member of the 40 & 8, Caloosahatchee Consel'va t ion Club Chamber of Commerce, Fort Myers Cou ntr y Club, and Tropical Lodge No. 56, F .&A.M. On November 13 1943 Mr. Ansley was m anied t o Barba ra. H. Holm e s, daugh t er of F. Irving and Edna (Dunlop) Holmes Mrs Ansley is a of Fort Myes School and the F l ol'ida State College for Women. ELMER HOUGH E lmer Hough was born January 15, 1866, in Mo1gan County Pennsylvan i a, the son of Jacob R. and Susan (Hough) Hough, both descendants of Richard Hough, a friend of Benjamin Franklin, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1688. He atten ded public schools and later sold books and taught t o comple t e an 0ngine0ring course at Ada Unive rsit y, in Ada, 0. Starting to \VOt'k as a railroad construc tion engine0r, Mr. Hough late r was in charge of construction of the Monongahela furnaces at McKeespott, Pa .... the Pennsylvania Glass Plant at I rwin, t'a., and from 1892 189 8 was manager of the City of Homestead, Pa. For the next seven years he was assistant chief engineer of th.e Ca r negie Steel Company and later was vice-president

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320 THE STORY o F FonT MYERS and general manager of the Beech Bottom Coal Comp any, of Wellsburg, W. Va. Mr. Hough was president of the Board of Trade at Wellsburg for five years and also presiden t for three years of Wellsburg Board of Education. From 1910-16 he was pre$iden t of the West Virginia State Auto mobile Association In 1916 he was elected state senator and during the next two years was active in promotin$r good roads and organi,ing a state police force. Coming to Fort Jllyers with his family in 1923, Mr. Hough immediately began taking an active part" in civic at!ait"s. \Vorking with eomm1ttees of the Chamber of Commerce he aided in sacurinJt completion of the Tamiami Trail and Palm Beach High way. He wa$ pat1icularly active in the cros&atate waterway movement and helpe d obtain pnssage of legislation which ensure d com pletion of the project. (See Index: CrossState Waterway.) He became mayor of Fort Myers in 1926 and served two terms. On August 30, 1590, Mr. Hough was married to Florence Boltin. They had six sons: Vietor B., born June 19, 1891; E. B)ron, born August 21, 1893; Roscoe R., born January 29,_1895; Scott, born Novem ber 21, 1898; \vcndell M., born June 10, 1903, and Nelson M., born JuM S, 190S. Mr. Hough d ied February 23, 1989. SCOTT HOUGH SCOTT HO UGH Scott Hough was born November 21, 1898 in Homestead, Pa. the son of Elmer and Florence (Boltin) Hough. After being g1aduated from high school in W ell8burg, W.Va., he enrolled at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va. While attending the university he received an appoint ment to the U. S. Naval Academy and at tended two years. He then returned to the u.nivenity It-om whieh he was graduated in 1924 with an A.B. degree. In 1920 Mr. Hough was champion 125 pound wrestler in the Navy, in 1921 he won the championship of the Indiana-Kentucky Association of the A.A. U. in the 125 -pound class, and in 1924 the c hampionship ot the Allel!h eny Mountain As oeiation in the same divi&lOn. During the same yeat he coo.ehed the Virginia University t.eam and won a place on the U. S. O lympi c wrestling team. Aft-er being graduated from the univer sity1 Mr. Hough entered the real estate bus1ness in Detroit and in September, 1925, came to Fort Myers and became an insur anee underwriter. He has been engas:ed in that buainess ever sinee.. In 1941 Mr. Hough was eleetod eity councilman and was reelected in In4S and 1946. In l94G be was elected l'&J)rc scntative and was te-elected in 1948. During the 1947 sessio n of the State Legislature Mr. Hough fathered a bill re quiring nil life insur anc e agent s to pass an examtnD.tion, thereby giving them equal dignity w'ith members of other profession&. He also took the lead in passing a bill which exempted fraternal benefit societies from the two per eent state insurance tax. Mr. Hough is a past exalted ruler or the Elks, a Mason. and a Kappa Alpha. His avocation has been skippering a Sea Scout troop. On August 11 1927, Mr. Hough was marl"i od to Hoster Van Meter, ot Martins burg, W. Va. They have throe c hildren : Restor Van Meter, born May 16, 1980; Scott 11, born August 7, 1932, and Van Quillian, born January 30, 1934. WENDELL M. HOUGH Wendell M. Hough was born June 10, 1908, in Wellsburg, W Va., the on ot Elmer and Florence (l:soltin) Hough He was graduated from Wells burg High School and attended the University of Vir ginia and the University of Florida. While in high school he played football, baseball, basketball and track. In college he ployed football and basketball.

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THE SToRY oF FoRT MYERS 321 In 1925 he went into automobile busi ness in Fort Myers wit.h his bro t her Victor, forming the Hough Chevrole t Company locating in a new build ing at 910 Cleveland Avenue . built by hi s father, which was later use d by the Glades Motor Line. Ten years later he secured the Dodge -Plymouth agency in St. Petetsburg and formed Hough Motors which he sold in 193 7 to hi s b>other Roscoe. Returning to Fort Myer s Mr. took on the \Vi11ys Nash line and speciahzed i n tho sale of u sed ears until 1939 acquired the Oldsmobile f ranc. h is e. He ha s had the agency ever since, his concern being l ocated at !lay and Hendry. He is known tht oughout the trading area as an authority on used ea r values. Mr. Hough is a mc.mber of Kappa Alpha social fta t ernity, the Masonic and Elks; l odges, and Chamber o f Commerce, and is now president of the Men's Garden C l ub. On August 11, 1926, he was married to Jeannette Carmichae l daughter of Ml'. and Mrs. Emmett oC Well sb urg, W. Va. They have two children : Barbara Jean, born April 28, 1928, now a j uniot at the of Woos ter, in Wooster, 0 .1 from which Mrs. Ho ugh was graduatea, and Wendell M., Jr., born September 5, !932, now a junior at Fott Myers High School. MRS. SARA COLE DOUGLASS Mrs. Sara Cole Douglass was born in Dearborn County, Indiana, th e daughter of Eleazer and (North) Cole. After graduation from Aurora, Ind., High Schoo l, she studied dramatic art in the Heath School o f D1amatic Art and Music, in Cincinnati. She later took post gradua t e private. instruction i n dramatic art under Heath & Erwin and then taught schoo l in Shawneetown, Ill., with classes in dramatic art in southern Illinois. She was married in he. r home town, Aurora, Ind., to Dr. S. A. Douglass o f Patriot, Ind. had a son, Clive, deceased at 17, and a daugh. ter7 Furma, now Mrs. 0. Edward De Witt, of Tampa, where. she. is director of District 7, Stat" Welfare Board of Florida Dr. and Mrs DougJass lived in southern Alabama for a years after which Mrs. Douglas s widowed. retu rned to Cincinnati and joined the faculty of Ohio Conservatory as head of the dramatic art department. Later she accepted a p o gition as ma nager of four large piano s t ores with headquar ters in L i ma, 0. "'hile in Lima Mrs.. Douglass became one of the founding c -harte. r members of the first Business & Professional Women's Club in America, a year before the present national WENDELL M. HO U G H organization of that name was organized in St. Louis Tile lAma club established and maintained a social work departmen t for the and p r otection of girls and young women. Mrs. Douglass was chosen to head the depa rtment and was ghcn poJice powers. Becom ing deeply interested in social work, M1s. Douglass decided to devote all her t ime to it. She enr olled in the New York School of Social Work and accepted a position as social worker for the Dutch Reformed Church of Fort Wash ington, New York City. During World War I a group of promi nent New Yo r k City women recognized the need for a women's police department and chose Mrs. Douglass to make neces s.."'lrY demonstration. She was the first_ polic e woman in New York Ci t y under the Fosdic k Commission of t he Mayor's Committee of \\7ome-n, with all of Manhattan for her beat. She did undercover work in the PJ'O tection o f girt s and, with a eoworket in Brooklyn, so well demonstrated the need for a woman's Police department that the present efficient department was e s W h e n this was accom plished M,rs Douglass was appointed of Inwood HoUse. a home for the ca r e and training of New York City s delinquen t and dependent girls. Her success there

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322 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS brought an offer to join the staff of the Women's Protective Association of Cleve l and where in cooperation with p sychiatrists in the investigatio n and supervision of care and training of delinquent girls, such favorable results were gained as to win national attention. Learning of Mrs. Douglass' Governor Kilby of Alabama that she become superintendent o f t he A labama State Training S a h o o 1 for Girls, near Birmingham, Ala . where he had just es tablished a new cottage S) Ste m plan for the aare and training of dalinquent and dependent girls. Mrs. Douglass instituted an honor system, secured inStruction in music, art, business, and homemaking and the school became a mode l for similar in stitutions throughout the co u ntry. Mrs. Douglaas came to Fort Myers late in 1923 with h e r sister, Dr. F lorence D. Champ lin a dentist, and her husband, Dr. H D. Cham p lin, a physician of C leveland. They liked the community so well they decided t o remain. Havi n g had experience in handling her own family properties as well a s others, Mrs. Douglass decided to enter the real estate business first be ing associated with HenrY Colquitt. With M iss Ethyl H C h am b e r s of Alabama, Mrs. Douglass in 1924 formed the partnership o f Doug l ass-Chambers & Co. Since its inception the firm has special ized in estate management, rentals and MRS. SARA COLE DOUGLASS mortgage loans It also has been engaged in such varied occupations as operation of a business college, a f ire and life insurancebusiness and an of!ic.e equipmen t store. Desiring to offer opportunity to loyal employes w ith years of ser\'ice the part ners in 1945 incorporated to permit the cm!) lo yes to own a share in the business. the firm name being chan ged to Doughi,,S Chambers, Ine. Its member!) and stock holdexs now include besides Mrs. Douglass and Miss Chambers, Bettye M. Felton, with 19 yearsof ser\'"ice. Nancy E. Moseley, 16 years, Victo ria B. Rutledge, 14 year s, and Margaret D. Frye, 7 years. I n addition t o their main office at 2211 Broadway, the firm has a branch office at Fort Myers Beach managed by Jewell Van Slyke. Mrs. Douglass was a founder o f the Fort Myers Little Theatre and has been its treasurer since organization. She is a directo r of the Lee Countl' W clfare As sociation and chairman of the probation committee. S h e is a membet and has served twice as president of the Fort 1\.fyers Board of Realtors. Since earl )' girlhood she has been a member of the Presbyterian Church. C LARENCE B. CHADWICK Clarence Bennett Chadwick was born July 20, 1877, at Beatrice, Neb., the son of Edn\und S. a n d Isadora (Bennett) Chadv.-ick. His father was a linea l desc endant of Sir Andrew Chadwick, of England, and his mother of Henri Francois Bennett who em igrated from England to America in 1630 and settled at Salem. She was a second cousin of Commodore Perry. Mr. Chadwick was educated in the Green Bay Wis., high school and at the University of \Visconsin where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. began h is busine$s caree. r as a con fection.ary salesman and l ater worked fo1 a New York gl'ocet's suppl y firm. In 1905 he putchased a half interest in a small lithog raphy business in Denver for $10,000. Two years latet he bought. out his partnet and reorganized the business as the Banke.l'$0 Suppl y Company. At that time-protective paper for checks was unknown and Mr. Chadw i ck conceived the idea of overprinting the paper with a pattern which would d i sclos e attempts at a ltering t he face of the check, providing protection against all but the roost skillful forgers. In 1914 he opened an office i n Chicago to make a nation-wide businesl3 of h is eoi:tcern. 'Vithin a. year he was handling nearly half the bankes' supply business or

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THE STORY O F FoRT MYERS 323 city. To further prot,ect his banker customers he-later lll'Ovided them with insurance of $1,000 for each depositor using its checks. This feature, established in 1921, proved an important contribution to bank ing service. In 1923 Mr. Chadwick came to Captiv a Island on a winter vac.atiQn and was attracted by the fine fishing, mild temperature: and excellent shell beaches. He purchased 400 acres on the island and retited there in 1925 after se1ling his business which by then had factot ie s in foul' majot cities and operated on a nation-wid e basis. In the beginning Mr. Chadwick plim ted a\[ sorts of tropical fruits o n his Captiva Island property but soon start.ed specializin g in Jimes. He learned that more. than SO per cent of the common 1imes grown in Florida died no mattet h o w carefully they were grown. He then statted growing his ow n stock and concentrated on a Dominican type wh ich proved hardy. Fruit f rom his groves, sold under the. n ame, Chad Limes, are sold b y some of the largest chain stores and other gtoceries. The groves are now the worl d's J atgest and inc lude 120 aC'J e s on Pine Island in addition to 40 0 on Sanibel and Captiva, In addition to his grove intc.rests 1\fl'. .. ick was active in real estate. In 1925 he organized the million-dollar Chadwick Company to deal in lands and securities and also organized Federal Realtl' and De velopm.en t Company wi t h ita prineipal office in I 'ol:t Myers. Mr. Chadwick was a member of the Con Club, \Vashington, D. C., the J.lossmoor Coun try Club, t h e Chic.ago Rid i n g Club, and the Hamilt o n C lub of Chicago. He was a 32n d degree Mason. On Februaty 25, 1913, Mr. Chadwick was married in San Fran c isc o to Rosamond Lee Rouse, daughtet of E N. Uouse horticulturist: Before her marriage Mrs. Chadwick was a nationally kno'ivn concert singer. She continued with her career and during t he season of 1919-20 sang loading roles with the Chicago Opera Company. After coming to Fort Myers she became one of the founders of the Woman's Communit;r Club, was active in Garden Club and civic oeautification work and was a close friend of the l a t e Mrs. T homas A. Edis on. Afflicted with arth>itis, Mr. Chadwick suffered severely and was confined to a wheel chair fm nearly a quarter centur y However, he remained active in the direc tion of his exten sive business affairs until a short time before his death on Novembe.r 27, at his home on Firs t Street. C LAUENCE BENNETT CHADWICK FREDERICK HALL ALEXANDER Frederick Hall Alexander was born May 80, 1875, i n Gladsonberg Conn., the son of, Louis Free.m a n and L-ouisa (Curtis) Alexander. When four teen years old he went to Colorado to live with his uncle but after a year, slipped away t o seek his fottune. He ended up at a dail y farm wher e he made him sel f s o use f ul that the owner finally put him into business with his son, Ira Robinson, fmming the Alexander-Robinson Dairy. Several years later thefirm was disso lved after Alexander's partner went t o New Mexico to g e t married. Young A lexander soon followed and took a job on a raneh near C layton. This job ended abruptly when his horse stepped into a gopher hole. In the resulting crash, Alexander's leg was broken. Taken to Clayton for treatment, h e met Katherine J ost and they were married on May 8, 1900. In 1902 Mr. Alexander went to Scotts b luff, Neb., where he soon founded the P latt Valley Telephone. Company. Thi9 company ultimately served twenty-three towns and became one of the most prosperous independents in the Mr. Alexander sold his controlling interest in the company in 1920 and retired.

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324. THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS FREDERICK HALL ALEXANDER While in Scottsbluff, Mo. Alexander be cam e the town' s fil'St mayO\' and served three terms. Aftel' leaving Nebraska, he live d t hre e years in Hawaii and in 1923 came to Myers where he invested heavily in property. A go od roads booster, he took a leading part in movement. to deve l op. Lee CountyJs highway system. He was partieul.arly active. in the movement which resulted in the construction of the Cut-of! Road be t.ween Tamiami Trail and Fort :Myers Beach via McGregor B oulevard. In 1 92 6 Mr. Alexander pul'chased prop erty on Hendry Creek and develope d it into o n e of the moat beautltul estates in the eoun ty planting hundtcdii of tropic al and semi tropical shrubs, palms and trees. He was especially interested in fruit trees and hod guaYas from Java, Surinham cherries, sugar apples. reaehu, apricots and every kind or tropica and semi-tropical fruit that will grow in Florida. Mr. Ale xander died April 21, 1943. Be wa. s survived by his widow a.nd a daughter, Lois Roberta, the wife of James M Congdon. MILFORD l\'1. TILLIS Mil!ord M. Tillis was born September 21, 1898, in Fort Mend e, Fla., tho son of William W. and Mattie (Crum) Tillis, both members of pioneer Florida families. One of the last engagements of the lonf{ Seminole War was !ought June 14 1 1856, at the home of Mr. Tillis' grandfatner, Wil loughby Tillis about two miles south of l 'ort Mende. Five were killed in the battle at the Tillis place and in the pursuit of the Indians afl: County and served from January I 1917, lA> May 1919 when he was appointed judge of tho 12th Judicial Circuit by Governor Sidney J. Catts. Then only twenty-eight years old, he was youngest circuit judge in Florida. He served continuously thereafter as circuit judge until h e retired in 1947, being then .the s econd oldest in point of aOIvice in the entire state. Judge Whitehurst moved to Fort Myers in 1929 nnd has lived here continuously ever &inee. tie is the owner of grove properties

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THE STORY oF FonT MYERS 325 at wauchula and has cattle intel'ests at Arcadia. He is a Shriner, a member of the Masonic Lodge, the Knights of Phythias, the Elks lodge, and Phi Delta Phi fraternity. Judge Whitchutst '''as mal't'ied in Decem her, HU2, to Myra F. Coker, of Arcadia. They have three children: George W. Whitehurst, Jr., Barbara, now 1\frs J. Danforth Browne, of Gainesville, and 1\fargel'y Anne, who in 1948 was attending the Unlvct'Sity of North Carolina. GEORGE W. WHITEHURST, JR. George W. "'hit-eburst, J r., was born March 20, 1916. in.Wauchula, Fla., the son of Judge W. and Myra (Coker) Whitehurst. The family moved to Arcadia '"hen he wa!; six month:; old and he attended Arcadia public schools and later tho schools of Fort Myers \vhere he was graduated from high school in 1933 He was gtaduated from Stetson University witli an A. B. degree in 1941. On May 8, 1942, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U. S Navy and served on in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres until the. war ended. He was placed on inact i ve status \vith the rank of lieu tenant (s.g. ) on Januaty 24 1946. Gl,ORGE W. WHITEHURST, Jlt. r HANK A. PRATHER :Mr. 'Vhitehmst then resumed his law studies a.t the University of Flotida and was graduated with honots i n 1947. He then sta1:ted ptacticing law in Fort Myet'S. He is president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. president of the Southwest Alumni Association of the University of Florida, commander of the Amve.ts a direc tor of the Chamber of Commerce and Edison Estate, and a member of the Moose the Ame .rican Legion. Sigma Nu soctal fraternity and Phi Alpha Delta legal fra ternity. On November 10, 1938, Mr. Whitehurst was married to Jean Harding, of Daytona Beach. FRANK A. PRATHER Fn.nk A. Prather was born Januaty 2, 1905, in Maryville, Tenn., the son of James r'tan kli n and Zona (Huffstetler) Pra t her, the father a native of Kentucky and the mother of Tennessee. H e was educated at Maryville College whore he first took a preparatory course and later a regular college course. Coming to Florida in January, 1924, Mr. Prather was made assistant manager of the J. G McCrory Co., in St. Potctsburg. N ine months later he was sent to Fot t .Myers to aerve-as manager of the local store of the

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326 THE SToRY OF FoRT MYERs e ame company, becoming the youngest store manager in the ehain. Late in 1925 h e res igned from McCrory's to enter the real estate business with Garrison & Shultz. Six months later he put chased a half interest in the Fort Myers Dry Cleaning Company, his partner being F Ewing Starnes. In 1927 he purchased Mr. StRrnes' interest and changed the concern's name t o Prather's Dry Cleaning Com pan y In March 1936, h e bought the Fort Myers Quality Laundry, Ine., and changed the name to Prather's Laundry & Dry Cleaning Company. In Julr, 1946, he opened a plant in Lake Wales whtch ho Opi!ra tes in conjunction with the Fort Myers J!lant. Construc tion of a new plant in Fot Myers was started in t h e summer of 1948. To keep abreast of the latest methods o f dry cleaning, Mr. Pratho in 1929 attended the National Institute of Dry Cleaning, at Silver SJ!rings, Md., in the school's mnth cla ss. C B. Randall, who was an instructor a t the school for fifteen years, is no\\ .. sales manager of Mr. Prather's com pany. Mr. Prather also has attended special coun;es o f the American Institute o r Laun dering at Joliet, Ill. Mr. Prather i s a director of the Kiwanis C lub and of Fort Myers Golf and Country Club is president of the Young Men's Bible Class of the First Methodist Church, and i s a member of the M asonic and E lks lodges and Fort Myers Yacht C lub. On December 26, 1927, Mr. Prather was married to Sarah Goodman, of Fort They have two children: !''rank Allen Jr., born March 18, 1929, and Sarah Elizabeth, born June 16, 1936. DR. BAKER WHISNANT Dr. Baker Whisnan t was born January 7, 1888, in B lackburg, S. C., the son of James J. and Sally (Flemming) Whh ;nant. H i s tather was a native of C harlotte, N. C., and his mother of Charleston, S c. His grand father, Philip \Vhif;nn.nt, won distinction during the War Between the States by being the first man i n the United States to make cotton seed oil, supplying it to the Con federate Army. Dr. Whisnant reeeived his early educatio n at Blacksburg and at Gordon, Ala., where the family moved in 1 902. He then attended Baptis t Junior College, a t Newton, Ala. A!tcr graduated in 1906 he studied medicine at T u1ane University, in New Orleans, and received his M.D. degree in 1910. From 1910 until 1917 Dr. Whisnant prac ticed at Brinson, Ga H o then went to Jac kson County, Florida, where he practiced DR. BAKER WHISNANT se v e n ycnrs. In August, 19 24 h o came to Fort Mye _ra and has practiced h eto ever s in eo. The county commiss ionerr; of Leo County app ointed Dr. \Vhisnant eounty physician and health o!fieer in 1931 and he has sorvG d in that capacity ever since in addition to h is regular Elected to the School Board in 1936, Dr. Whisnant &e-rved a two-year term. While on tho board he helped handle arrangements for acquir-ing t he tract of land i n the Edison Park di 1 trict intended for a civic center. Part of this land was used later a s a eite for the Leo Hospital and rootball stadium nd plans at'e now compl e ted for ctccting a new high school there. In 194 8 h e was elected to serve a$t'ain on the sch ool boord for a four-year term beginning January 1, 1949. Durintr the Jate 1930's Dr. Whisnant served as e a r.tain o f Co. 1'". 1 06t.h Medical Regiment, F orida National Guard, !inally becoming a major. While with lhe Guard he took a leading-part in the movement to secure a $125,000 armory for Fort M yers, to be constructed as a WPA project. Work on th e nrmory was well adva n ced when WPA w e n t out of existence. 1eaving the sttu cture only partially completed. Dr. Whi snant is a member of Tropical Lod,g e No. 56, F.&.A.M., Egypt romple Shrtllo, Tampo and the Lee County and Flotida Medical societies. H e is a deacon in tho Fir$! Baptist Church.

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THE SToRY .OF FonT MYERS 327 On Maroh 12, 191S, Dr. Whisnant was married to Mae Fannie Gibson, of Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Gibson, of Opelika, Ala. They have a daughter Mary Frances. now the wife of George C. Ehey, of Fort Myets. JAMES ALFRED FRANKLIN James Alfred Franklin was born February 11, 1895, in New Edinburg, Ark., the son or Charles L and {argaret (Me Daniel) Franklin. The family came to Florida in 1901 and Mr. Franklin public scho ols in Fort Pierce and Plant City, Columbia College, at Lake City, and was graduated from the University of Florida, at Gainesville, with an LL.B. degree in 1921. After being admitted to the state bar, Mr. Frankli n becam e associo.t.ed with law firm of Knight & Adair, In Jacksonville. In the fall of 1924 he came to Fort l\Iyers to become a partner of R obcrt A. Henderson, Jr. under the f irm name of Henderson & Franklin. He bas been connected with the firm ever since. He a1ao is engaged in the lumber business. Mr. Franklin was in e.orviee during both world wars. During 'Vorld War I he entered officers' training school and was commis sioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry and was assigned to the 152 Depo t Brigade, Camp Sevier, S. C. In September, 1943, he wa.& eommissioncd a major nnd was assigned to Military Government Section, U S Army; received training at the School of Military Government Charlottesv ille. Va4 ; was sent overseas in January, 1944; saw service i n Western Europe; was promoted to lieutenant. co1onel; was awarded a Bronze Star Medal and four c .ampaign ribbons; helped establish military government in Frankfurt. Germany, and remained there until November, 1945. In 1942 Mr. Franklin was state sonator from the 24th Senatorial District and was in 1946. Mr. Franklin is a past president of the Rotary Club of FortMyers; district gov ernor of Rotary International, 1930-40 in Florida; past comman der, Fort Myers Amer ican Legion; vast judge advocate, American Department of Florida; past member National Committee from Florida, American Legion; past president., Port Myers Golf Cluu; past viec-president, Florida Bar Association. and a member of Alpha Tau Omega, college fraternity; Phi Delti Phi, legal fraternity, and Alpha Phi Epsilon, debatinR' fraternity. On October 11, 1921, Mr. Franklin was married to Eugene \Vuterbury, of Jackson vi11e. 'fhey have three children: Margery, born September 24. 1922; James A., Jr., born June 4, 1924, and Nancy, born Novem ber 12, 1932. JAMES A. FRANKLIN EDWARD C. ALLEN Edward C. Allen was born on a form near Greenfield, Ind. February 1, 1882, the eldest son of GeorgeW. and Martha (Lowe) Allen. tlis father descended from the Allen family of North Caro lina and hi!: mother from the Lawe family of New York. Mr. Allen was educated in the public schools of Greenfield and in 1900 was gr-ad\lat.ed from Vories' Business College in Indianapolis, a)so International Accountante Society of Chicago. During the next four years he held bookkeepinR' positions in Indianqpolis and then went to St. Louis. He remained in St. Louis 20 accounting work and holding executive posi tions w1th a number of concern&. In 1921 he engaged in the practice of publle accounting. In 1926, 1\lr. Allen came to Fort Myers and has continued the pr-actice of public and income tax work. He is now with Rexford W. Gilliam in the firm of Allen & Gilliam, Certified Public Accountants. fn 1929, he was as receiver for lona Drainage District of Lee Count:( and successfully handled the refinancing of the district through the R.F.C. serving until1938. (See Index: Iona Drainage District.) On October 8, 1908, Mr. Allen was married to Mary E. Sutton, of St. LAlUis,

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328 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS Mo They have three children: Dorothy, now Mrs. Ralph Greene o f Boulder, Colo.; Martha, now Mrs. L<>uis M. Hatvey, Pensa cola, Fla.; and George E., pta c ti c ing at. torney at l aw and certified pub li c account ant, of Fort Myers. 'They have seven gtand children: Ralph Greene, J r., David Lee Greene, Daniel Michae l Greene, Wi11iam E. Harvey, Katherine Allen Jacqu iline Allcn1 and Geral d ine A llen. M r. Allen and h i s family are members of the Congregational Church. F. IRVING HOLMES F. Irving Holmes was born in A lpena Mich August 6 1882, the son of Mr. and Frank c. Holmes. He a ttended the A lpena public schools and was graduated from th<> law schoo l of University of Mich igan, i n Ann Arbor. After leaving the university, Mr. Ho lmes became a s sociated with his fathe r in a wholesale grocery firm the latter had estab lished and later became president of the company. He also was named pt es ident of the Alpena County Savings Bank. In 1924 Mr. Holmes eame to F lorida to manage the Barron G Co llier interests at Everglades and a year later came to Fort Myers t o operate the Co llier steamship and ... ---' F IRVING HOLMES EDWARD C. ALLEN bus Jines. Latcir hebecame president o f t h0 ue Count y Bank, Title & Company, in whic h Mt. Collie r had become the prineipal stoc.khol dct. After the of Mr Collier in 1937, Mr Holmes and his assoc iates bought control of the bank and he -. con tinued as preside n t Mr. Holmes was a leader i n many civi c enterprises; and sc .rvcd o n e term in the state legislature a$ reptesentative from Lee County. He was a past p resident of the 1\otary Club and als o served as state go, e:rnor of the organization. He was active in the Little Theatre bot h i n c .xecutive capaci .. ties and in some of the plays. He was a member of the Episcopa l Church On October 30, 1906, Mr. Holmes was married t o Edna Dunl op, of Alpena. M i ch. They had three children: Barbara, now Ml'S. J o sc ph A Ansley; Kathleen, now Mrs. Thomas C. V ickory, o f Tampa; and Paul who di e d a t the age of 24. Mrs. Holmes died 28, 1943. Three yeats later, Mr. Hol mes married a second time, t o Mrs. Marie Gaudy, of Chicago. Mr Ho l me s died July 9, 1947. He was sur\ived by hi s widow, his two daughters, a brother, Wendell of Detl'o it, and two sisters, Mrs. George. Harris of Detroit, and M r s M A Willing ton, of R i c h mond.

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THE SToRY OF FonT MYERS 329 DAVID GREEN SHAPARD David Green Shapard was born July 21, 1896, in Tenn the son of David G and Martha Jane (Allen) Shapard, both natives of Tennessee. He was educ ated at Webb Schoo l, Bellbuckle, Tenn., Fitzgerald & Clark Preparatory School, Tullahoma, Tenn., and Vanderbilt Univers i ty, at Nash:.. ville, Tenn. Mr. Shapard enlisted in the First Missouri Field Artillery in st. Louis, in July, 1917. Soon afterward his corps was absorbed by t he '35 th Division and sent over$ He was disc hat ged in April 1919. After leaving the army Mr. Shnpnrd went into the brokerage and insurance business in Shelbyvill e Tenn. he remained until June, 1925, when he came to Fort Myers to work for ,V, P Franklin at the P 'ran klin Arms Hote l. In November, 1929, he lensed the St. Charles Hotel and operated it unti l November, 1933, when he leased the Brad ford Hotel which he has operated e\er since. Mr. Shapard was elected cit.y councilman in ApriJ, 1933. Two years Jater he r an against Mayor Frank A. Whitney, who was seeking reeJeetion, and was elected. He was re-elected in 1937 and 1939 and resigned February I, 1940, to devo t e more time to his business. He was re-e lected again in 194 5 but refused to run in 1947. After he first took office, Mr. Shapard never had o ppo s ition at a.ny election (See Index: Depression Petiod ) DAVID GREEN SHAPARD SIDNEY R. DAVIS Mr. Shapatd is a member and was twice pt esident of t he Chamber of Commerce, and a member of tho Rotary C l ub, First Methodist Church, the Lew isburg (Tenn.} Lodge of F.&A.M., the American Legion and Fort Mye1s Golf and Country Club. On November 10, 1939, Mr. Shapard was marded to Mrs. Jean (Grubb) Brown. They have thre e children : Hunter Brown, Jr., Leighton Brown and Louise Brown. SID N EY R. DAVIS Sidney R. Davi s, Jr., was born October 28, 1901, in Chincoteaque, Va the son of Sidney R. and Mary (Stubbs) Davis. His father was a na ti ve of Mary l and and h is mother of Virginia. After being gtaduated from h igh school in Chineoteaque, Mr. Davis started working as a teller for the Bank of Chincoteaquc and later was made assistant. cashier. In 1925, Mr. Davis came to Fort Myers on a vacation and while becam e acquai n ted with Col. J W. B landing, then prcsident of the Lee County Bank, Title and Trust Co. Co lonel Blanding offered him n position i n the bank and he accepted. remained with the bank a s assistant cashier through its closing in 1933 and its reorganization. In No vember, 1934, 1\flo. Davis left t he bank and statUd a men's clothing stol'C in

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330 THE STORY OF FonT MYERS the Bradford Hotel Building, at 1024 FiN;t Street. Since then his concer n has become one Of the leading men' s clothing stores in southwest Florida. Mr. Da,is is a direeto of the Lee County Bank. He is a past president and director of the Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Kiwanis Club and Merchants Associa tion! a director of the Lee Memorial H ospita a member ot the Masonic Lodge, Shrine, Fort Myers Country Club, Exc.>cutive Club, and Junior Chamber of Commert:e. He is also a steward in the 'irst Methodist Church. On July 26, 1989, Mr. Davis was married to Bernese Barfield, of Slater, Florida. J. HENRY RAGSDALE J Henry Ragsdale woa born February 16, 1870, at Aspen Hill, near Pulaski, Tenn., the son of R1chard H. and Anna ( Howard) Ragsdale. His father wu a native of Kentuek y and his mother of Tennessee. After attending public schools in Giles County, Tenn., Mr. Rapdale took a com mercia) course at Goodman's Business Collette, in Nashville. He then started workmg as a bookkeeper in the Peop1es; Bank at Pulaski. Leaving the bank in 1896, he went into tho iunerttl and furniture business in whieh h e remained six years. During this period h e owned a monument plant which built the 20-foot monument of Sam Davis tor the Daughters of the Con federacy which is still standing in the Pulaski public s quare. In 1904 Mr. Ragsdale became engaged in the eal e state business. He had hie headq_uaU>ra In Pulaski but developed s ubdivi s>ons and handled auctions throughout iniddJe Tennessee, northe rn Alabama and Mississippi, Georgia and Florida. Coming to Lee County in 1912, Mr. Rapdale represented a s)rndieate which bought 5,000 acres in the vicinity of Surveyors Creek, which they Imp erial River. They platted and named the town ot Bonita Sprlngs._tormerly called Survey Post Office. Harvi e ,t:;, Heitman and John M Dean had hal f interest in the property and Mr. Rags dale and his associates the other half. Mr. Rag$dale came to Fort Myers to live in December, 1924, and in February 1925 . placed on the market the section of Bonita Springe located west of the Tamiami Trail. Before the boom ended he sold every lot and also sold a tract north of Bonita Sprinp to tne DuPont interests for $240,000. Since 1925 Mr. Ragsdale baa been engaged in general rea_ 1 estate and ine-urance busines s While living in Pulaski, Mr. Rnpdale was elected ond served as mayor and wn s a ber of the Methodist Episcopal boaod of stcwurds for aeve ral years. lie wna olccted treasure of Martin College by the Middle Town M. E. Conference and served he came to Florida. Since coming to Fort Myers, be has served as ehalm>an of the board of stewards of the Firat Methodist Chureh. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, Woodmen of the World and the Chamber of Commerce. During the past two Pageant of Light celebrations, Mr. Ragsdale has portrayed Thomas E. Edison, whom he resembles. On July 3 1894, Mr. Ragsdale wa s married to Miss Elizabeth Bull of Elkton, Tenn. They have two daugh tere: C1nriSBn, now the wife of Thomas Q. Hnnison, teacher and lecturer of Chicago, and Mary Lambeth, now the wife of David R. 'Vade II, an attorney in Pulaski. Mr. and Mrs. Ragsdale live ten months of the year in Fort Myers and two months each summer at Mt. Eagle., Tenn. CARL HANTON Carl Han ton was born October I 9, 1888, in Suporior, Wis., the son of Edward L. and B e lle (Shoemaker) tlanton. He wa educated In the Superior publi c schools and the University of Wisconsin which he left to become a cub reporter on the Superior J. HENRY RAGSDALE Telegram. He advanced to manoging editor (A.-ipm-4tiftl l:tllu ia PJNIlt of Li#tr) of newspaper.

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THE STORY Ol" FonT Mn:ns 331 Mr. Hanton joined the ArmY before the United States entered Wo r ld War I and during the Mexican trouble was stationed at San Antonio. Dul'ing the war he as captain of infantry with the famous Red Arrow 82nd Div i sion in France. At the end of the war he wrote the history of the d ivisi on. Returning to civ ilian life Mr. Hanton became a correspondent fot the Associated Pt'ess eovering the Minnesota legislature. Later he was public relations c ounsel for the wheat rust campaign in thirteen state. s. \\ianting a newspaper of his own, Mr. Hanton in 1926 purchased the Fort Myers Tropi caJ News with Harrison Fuller as a partner. The News Prcss was merged with the Fort illyets Press in 1931 to form the NewsPress, of which Mr. Hanton is presi dent. Undm Mr. Banton's editorship the N ew s Press acquired influence throughout the state, his editorials being quoted extensi,.ely by other Florida newspapets and read rc" spcc.tfully by officials in I'allahassee. At home and in other cities, readers recognized the sagacit},. and d isinterestedness of his counsel. Due to the fact that Mr. Hanton js a perfectionist, the Newg.Press attained a high standard seldom seen outside hu:ge cities. Hanton's active interest in politics has included personal friendship s with CARL HANTON SAM W. JOHNS'l'ON governors ftom Dave ,,. -hom he helped elect, t o present Governorelect F'uller Warren. Mr. Hanton is a f orrner pl'esident of the Chamber of Commerce, A$sociated Dailies of Flot ida, Florida Press Association and the A ssoc i3tcd Press Association of Florida, a colonel on Fulle r Warren's staff. and a membet of the Fort Myers Golf Club and the American Legion. On July 3, 1922, Mr. Hanton was married t o Gladys Anderson, of Duluth, Minn SAM W. JOHNSTON Sam \V. Johnston was born January 2, 1902, in Yaz.oo City, Miss., the $On of Sam W. and Mary (Pierce) Johnston. He at" tended the Yazoo Cit}r s chools and was graduated from high school in 1919. len,ing school Mr. Johnston worked for two yen
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332 THE STORY OF FonT MYERS Life Insul'anc e Company and soon afterward establish ing an a:geney of his own. In 1928 he formed tbe Fol't Myers Insurance Agency Inc., of which he became President. He has headed the company ever since. Mr. Johnston is a stockholder in t he Fort Myers Realty Company, a director of tbe First National Bank, viee p1esident of the Lee County Packing Company, vice president of t he Florida Association of Ingurance Agents, a past president of the Junior Chamber of C o m m e r c e and Rotary Club, and a member of the Masonic Lodge, Egypt Temple, of Tampa, the E lks, and the Fort Myers Country Club. In 1930 Mr. Johnston was inarried to Jessie Bonnet, of Bi rmingham, Ala. They had two childl'en: Mary Weldon, bo>n March 2, 1932, and Sam W. Jr .. bol'n April 30, 1933. FoJio.,;ving his \vife's death Mr. Johnston manicd again, on August 14. 1940, to Tommie Covington, of Rockingham, N. C. T h e y ha,e two children: James C., born May 10, 1943, and Ann Forest, born Februaty 20, 19 ; 17 WILLIAM R. SPEAR William R. Speor was born November 12, 1908, in Orange, N. J., the son of Robert and Ethel He was in Ne\v Yo1k City public schools and when seventeen years o t d came to Fort Myers and got WILLIAM R SPEAR a job as a re. porter on the Trop ical News. He later became news editor o the p&.}ler. Early in 1931 Mr. Spear went back North and after working a half year on the copy desk of the Boston H erald joined the sta(f of the Associated Press, first in Philadelphia and then i n New York. \Vhile in New York. from through 1935, he covered various trans-Atlant ic flights, gang s l ayings, the Lindbergh kidnaping and other big stol'ies. In 1 936 Mr. Spear was assigned to Miami to head the AP bureau. T hree years later he was transferred to the Washington bureau where he served until 1943 On military leave fro m the AP he then served in the armY overseas, as a sergeant, on the staff of the Stars and Stripes in London, Paris and Liege. He was mal)ag ing ed!tor o the London and Liege editions. l"or mel:iM torious service in Belgium he Nas awarded the Bronze Star medal. Retur nin g to the AP after the war, Mr. Spear rejoined the Washington staff. Duting his eight years with the press as s oc iation, befo-re and after the war, he co,er e d Congress and t he White House and knew Presidents Roosevelt and Truman personally. He became a member of the White House Conespondc.nts A s sociation. National Press Club and Congress ional Pross Galler ie s On September 1,1947, Mr. Spear resi!;\'ned ft om the Associat_e d Press and returned to Fo1t Myers to become editor of the New$ Press, which positio n he still holds. On September 9, 1934, Mr. Spear was married to Elean or Bordeaux, of Fort Myett. RALPH E. KURTZ Ralph E. Kurtz was born Septembe r 4, 1893, ill North Salem, Ind., the so n of Charles E and Alice (Henry) Kurtz, both natives of Indiana Graduated from the North Salem high schoo l in 1912. M1. Kurtz then attended DG Pauw University, at Green .. castle Ind., w h e re he studied law. He was admitted to the Indiana state bar in 1913. Continuing his study at law, .Mr. Kurtz wont to Central Normal College at Dan ville, Ind., and was graduated \\ith J L. B. and B.S. degrees in 1n5. He then went to Indiania Unive:rsjty, in Bloomington, Ind for a course and i n 1917 re ceived a second LL. B. degree. Immediate ] y after war was declared in 1 917 M!'. Kurtz was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the infantry. He served overseas eleven months, commanding Co. L, 116th lnfant>y, a National Guard unit of Lynehburg, Va. He was l'eleasod from servic e in July, 1919.

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THE SToRY OF FonT MYEns 333 From August, 1919, to June, 1920, Mr. Kurtz practiced Jaw in Indianapoli s in the office of J W. Noel. He t hen came t o l'lodda and located at Moore Haven. H e was admitted to the F lorida state bar in October, 1 920 and practiced law in Moore Haven until S eptember 18, 1926, w hen he came to Fort Myers whore he has practiced ever since. Although li,ing in Fort Myers Mr. Kurtuz has extensive real estate holdings in the Lake Okeechobee region and has been a direetor or the Bank of Clewiston since 1924. Mr. Kul'tz has L1.ken an activ e in terest in politics for man) years. He serv ed a s pn.JI:lecuting attorney for Gla de s Count y from 1921 until J a nuary 1, 1925, and re presente d Glades County in the 1925 session of the state l egl slotut e and at two s pecial sessions. He was city attorne> of Fort Myers in 1941 and 19 4 2 and again in 1945 and 1 946. He was elected mayor of Fort M)'ers in February, 1947. but was not a eandidate for re-elee tion in October, 1948. l\tr. Kurtz is a past muter of the Masonic Lodge, a director of the Chamber of Commerce. a steward in the First Meth odist Church, and a member of the R o tary Club and the Florida State Bar Aasociati on. On August 20, 1917, Mr. Kurt.z was married t o Daisy Smith, of Columbi a Cit y, RALPH E. KUR'rz JOHN HENRY FEARS Ind. They have three children: Thomas Allan born Jul y 15, 1918 ; Howard Edward, born Decemb e r 7, 1'924 and Martha E liza beth, born June 22, 1928. A third son, Lieut.. John Henry Kurtz, a heavy bombard. ment pilot, was killed March 2, 1944, while returning to England from a flight. JOHN HENRY FEARS John Henry Fears was born November 11, 1888, in Cotto nwood, Ala., tho oon of Thomas P. and Emma (Davis) Fears. He attended JJublic sch ools in Cottonwo od, reeeivin, g a high s chool certificat e, and then took a co mnlereia 1 co u rse in th e Gcol'gi n A l abama B usiness College, at Macon, Gt<. After working a short time in Cotton wood, Mr. Fears moved in 1910 to Campbellton, F la., where h e becam e manager of a genera) merchandise store In 1914 be was named cashier of the Central State Bank at Campbellton. During the next ten years, while holding the bank position, Mr. Pears also dealt extensively in farm produce and cattle, buying fro m farm ers and c attlemen in the Jackson County distriet. He nlso built and operated a potato dehydrating plant wi t h a capacity of thirty carloads of pota toes a ) ea r In 1924, Mr. Fears clos e d the bnnk, paid off tho depositors i n full and moved to Everglades to join the Barron G Collier

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334 THE STORY OF FoRT MYERS serving as manager of the Bank of Everglades. He later was pointed tax collector of Collier County and !Jerved until January 1927, when he moved to LaBelle to take charge of the Bank o f LaBelle On July 16 19 27, Mr. Fears came to Fort M yers to become vice-pres ident and cashie r of the Lee County Bank, Title & Trust Com pany. \Vhen the bank was reorganized in 1933 and the name changed to the Lee County Bank, he continued in t he same position. In September, 1947, he was elected president o f the institution. 1\fr. Feats is a director of the InterCounty Telephone & Telegraph C ompany. a director in the Lee County Memorial Hospita l a Shriner, and a member of the Rotuy Club, Elks Lodge, Chamberof Com merce, and Fort Myers Country Club. He has been active in Boy Scout work for a number of years and has served as vice president of Sunny Land Council and chair man of Royal Palm District. On December 31, 1937, Mr. Fears was married to Scottsy Stapleton, daughter of John and Sarah (Scott) Stapleton. o f Greenwood GEORGE ELEMENT JUDD George Judd was born January 4, 1906, in Washington, D C the son of George Herbert and Marian (Briggs) Judd. RUSSE L!, E. RICH He was graduated from Sidwell's Friends Schoo l in 1924 and from Ya l e Unive t"Sity with a Ph. B. degree in 1928. Mr. Judd came to Lee County in 1929 and started opetating a small citrus grove inherited from his father. He added to his citrus h o 1dings from time to time, making a total of 250 acres. In 1936 he built and operated the Mariana Grove Light & Power Co plant which he sold to the Lee County Electric Cooperative in 1940. In 1936 Mr. Judd also built a n d operated the pack ing house of Mariana. Grov e Packers which he sol d to Mariana Growe rs, Inc., i n 1945 togethet w i th his entire citrus holdings. Mt . Judd in 1 937 bought the canning plant of the Fort Myers Canning Co. and ol'erated it as the Southwest Florida Cannmg Corporation until sold to & Decker Co. in 1943. Mr. Judd is president of Judd & Det weiler,, lne., Washington . D. C ., printers; president, the Mariana Grove, Inc., Fort Myers, mail order citrus ptoducts; direct or, Lee County Bank; director, Security Savings and Commercial Bank, Washington D. C., and director, Tampa Armature 'Vorks Inc. Tampa. He is a member of the Fort Myers Rotary C lub, former president o( the Lee County Chamber of commerce, aw:td former cha i r man of Mye> s Dts trJ ct, Sunny Land Council, Boy Scouts. In 1932 Mr Judd was married to Kimi Tsunoda. RUSSELL E. RICH Ru ssell E. Rich was born January 12, 1898, on a farm near Fayetteville, ington County, Ark., the son of Marcus B. and May (Gamet) Rich. He was graduated from high school in Siloam Springs Atk, and then enrolled at Hendri" College, Con way, Ark. Leaving college to enlist i n the Arkansas N ational Guard. he served throughou t World War I, his unit becoming a part of t he 39th Division F i eld Artillery. He served almo s t a year overseas and was discharg ed on August, 1919. He then went to Colorado Springs, Col., where he became engaged in the drug busine .ss. In October, 1925, Mr. Rich came to F'lorida, locating at Arcadia. After a brief venture in real estate, he started working for an Arcadia drug store where he remained until 1927 when he went on the road as a salesman fo1 Joseph H. \Valsh, dis tributor in Florida for Hood tires. In 1928 he was assigned to Tampa as b ranch manage

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THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 335 Joining the Standard Oil Company in 1931 as a salesman, Mr Hich made his headquarters in For t Myers. Two yeats later he bought the Fort Myers agency of Standard Oil and has owned it ever since. Mr. Rich is a past post commander and past district commander of the. Ametican Legion, a past director of the Chamber of Comme rce, a director of the Kiwanis Club, and a member of the Masonic and E lks lodges and the First Christian Church. On June 24, 1918, Mr. R ich was married to Kathleen Williams, of Siloanl Springs, A> k. They have two children: Russell E., Jr., born March 31, 1920, and Mary Lee, born August .25 1928, now James R. B>mch, IV. AR'fHUR W. D. HARRIS Arthur W. D. Harris was born April 19, 1905, in Ben toni a Yazoo County, Missis .. sippi ; th e son of Arthur and 'Villie (Devlin) Harria both natives or Mississippi. Heattended public schools i n Yazoo City, was graduated from high schoo l in Columbia, Miss., and t hen attended Mississippi A. & M., at Starksville. In 1925 Mr. Harris came to Florida and started working as a clerk for United Markets in Tampa. Within a year he was made a store manager. In 1927 United Markets sent him to 'Vinter Haven where he managed one of their stores for five years. On September 27, 1932, he waa trans ferred to Fort Myers to manage the United Markots store at First and Jackson. In 1933 the United Markets Company was taken over by Home Supply Stores, Inc. Mr. Harris was retained by Home as manager of the Fort Myers store. In June 1935, he bought the store from the parent concern and i ncorporated it under the name of Home Supply Store of Fort Myers, Inc. The store was then located in the Collier Arcade Building. In 1944 the Harris Arcade Corpora tion of w hic h Mr. Harris is president, purchased the First Street portion of t h e arcade with a frontage on First of 117 feet west of the Darling Building. Mr. Harris is a director in Frog (Florida Retail Owned Groceries) and i s sceretary tre asure r of the Ostego Bay Corporation During 1947-48 he served as president of the Chamber of Commerce and is now vice .. president of the organiza ti on. He served twic e as president ot the For t Myers Mer .. chants Association and four ) ears as vice president of the !>'lorida Retail Grocers Association. He is a past president ot the Rotary Club, an Elk, a steward o f the First Methodist Chu>' eh, and a member of the Ja}"'Cecs. During World War II he served a. year as a membc1 of the OPA war price and ARTHUR W. D. HARRIS rationing board and also \vas chairman for three years of the food committee o f the Red Cross. On Apri l 15, 1926, Mr. Harri. s was mar rie d in Tampa to F rances Andrews, of Nashville; Tenn. They have two daughters, Frances Willie, who i n 1948 was a senior at th e University of Florida' at Tallahassee, and Barbara Louise a sophomore at the same unive rsity. Franc c.s was chosen queen of the Pageant of Light during Edison Centennia l Year a n d Barbara was maid to the queen in the 1948 pageant. WILLIAM R. NEWTON William R. (Bill) Newton was born February 5<.19 1 0, in Marion, S. C., the son of William H and Bertha (Saltsman) New ton. His father was a native of New Yotk and h is mother of Pennsylvania. In 1923 the family moved to Bradenton, Fla., where William was graduated from the Manatee High School in 1928. After leaving high school, Mr. Newton went on the road as a salesman, opening nine counties in South Florida for Tom's Pea nuts. Leaving this concern in 1931, he be came a salesman for the Eli Witt C igar Company, covering a 1 arge tefl'itory in the southern part of the state. In 1933 he moved to Fort Mye>s.

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336 THE STORY OF FonT MYER S Desiring to go into business for himself, Mr. New ton left the Tampa cigar firm in 1939 and opened a phonograph store in Fort My-ers which he operated for five years. In 1944 he branched into the electric appli ance business, opening a storeat 1144 Fir s t Street. In December, 1947, h e moved to hit; present location on Cleveland Avenue. Mr. Newton bas the Fort Myers agency for Hotpoint Household Appliances and a lso for Carrier Air Conditioning and Com mercial Refrigeration equipment. During the past he insta11ed more than forty air eonditioning sntems in Fort Myers busi ness establishments and homes. Mr. Newton is a member of the Elks the Chamber of Commerce and the Jumor Chamber of Commerce. On April 25, 1934, ho wns married to Mabel Patricia TrolHng er, of Atlanta, Ga. 1'he} ha v e three children: William R., .Jr., Patricia Ray, and Jame County Airport, the Loo Memorial Ho spital and, in assoc iat ion with l"reeman Horton, Braden t on engineer, the Fott Myers Yacht Basin.

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THE STORY OF FoRT MvERS 337 In January, 1941 they were to Washington by the Corps of En!(lneets, U. S. Atmy, and vit'tually ordered to set up anothGr largG organization such a s they had operated in Cleve land with a compleoo co mplement of engineering departments. This necessitated the opening of branch in Bradenton and Jacksonville, and shottlv after uPearl Harb or" technical persotlnel in the i r Flor;da oftiees reached a peak of 184 men an d 1 4 women, with more than 70 engineers and lnspeetors in field offices super,ising construction. Contract s from the Bur eau of Yards and D ocks U S. Navy, followed in 1942 At this time, Freeman H. Borton, who had been serving as chief engineer_ became a partner i n the firm, tho name b ein g c hanged to Ba il Ho r ton & A s sociates. Included among Army and Navy contracts were such projects as the Basic Flying School (Hen dricks Field), Sebring; Ferrying Airport Homestead i A von "Park Bombmg and Range ; Vero Beach Naval Sta tion St. Simons I s land Naval Air Station' C..orgia; )lotor Repair and Supply Depot....:.S&th Street Akport, Miami; Albert Whitted Air Field, St. Peter sburg; 0 T. Dive Bombardment Station. Cross City; Jacksonville No. 2 Naval Airport; Mac Dill Field Extensions. Tampa; auxiliary airports, air stations, e xtcnalons, buildings and utilities at Bnnunn River, Pens acola, Richmon d, Melb ourno. Daytona Beach Lake Citv Ft. Lauderdale, DoLand and Sanford. Dui-i'ng the war yeare th e tirm and supervised Army and Navy proJects aggregating $204,000,000 in construction cost. Shortly afoor termination of the war, the firm returned most of Its pet5Qnnel to its exe c utive offices in Fort Myers and to its utilities office in Bradenton, retaining Jacksonvill e as its me c hanical engineering office. Recently it a Cleveland branch in the Engineers Building I t s cur rent personne l include s 72 in the Fort offic e, 44 in Bradenton, 11 in Jack. s onville and 9 in C l eveland. Since termlnation of the war the firm has designed Park Tower, Clevelan d a 20 storv office building for medieal clinics, eostln g $4,200,000; Tampa Bay Bridge, $15,000.000, n o w in process of financing; the Femal e Correctional institution at Ocala for the State of Florida, $6,000,000, con. struction of the firat quarte r of which was recently started, and is now completing design of a Neuropsychiatric Hospital for the Veterans Admini stration to be located at Ga inesv i lle and estimated to cost $21, 600,000. RALPH E. BAIL Dail, Horton & Associates are now re cogni zed as t he largest firm of architects and engineers in the southeastern United Statu. During the past t year s they have transplanted to Florida fro m other t;tatea nt la3st threescore of technical men with their families. Though they operate by remooo control throughout the eastern half Or the United States, few, if any, of their employees could now be penuaded to leave Florida and particularly the s mall city of Fort 1\lyers, where wit.hout n eed for commut e rs' trains and subwa ys, t.hey have added two hours a. day for devotion to flahing and o ther l'ecreation. In Augu s t, 1912, li'ran k Bail wa s marr i ed t o Flot c nce Barnes of Cleveland. They have two c hildren, Florence Jane, n o w Mrs. Robert W. Falk, and George H. Bail; also a grandchild, Barbara Falk. Georce, afte. r serving overseas as !1 captain of artillery and earning his master& degree at Prin ce ton, is gradu all y t aking over his father' & duties with the firm. Jane, after graduating !rom Duke and a s e cretarial c o u r 8 c at Katherine Gibbs, New York City, serve d the firm a traveJJing secretary while her husbnnd was ove1'Seas Ralph Bail was matTicd in 1981 to Fanny Porter of Cleveland nnd r e & i d e s in a beautiful riverfront home.

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338 TH STORY OF FORT MYERS HARRY FAGAN Harry Fagan was born April 26, 1896, in Plymouth, N. C tbe son of M. S. and Ina B. (Smith) Fagan. He attended t>Ublic schools in Plymouth and the Massey Busi ness College in Richmond, V a. After leaving business college Mr. Fagan worked for a numbel' of banks in eastern Nor th Carolina. and then was named cashier of the Raleigh Banking & Trust Co mpany, in Raleigh, N C., where he also became president of the North Carolina Agricultural Credit Cotporation. White holding these positions he read law for two years in Judge George Pell's Law School. In 1931 he was appointed by the Treasury Departme11t as a receiver of in solvent na tional banks and liquidated several banks in South CaroJin a and six in Florida. In 1934 he came to Fort Myers to serve as cashier of t he newly organized First Na tional Bank in i'" ort Myers Two years later he was elected to serve as vice pres i dent, as well as cashier. He has been the active s enior executive officer of the bank since it was opened. Mr. Fagan is a past {lresident of the Kiwanis Club, served for two yc. ars during World War II as chairman of the Lee County Chapter of the Red Cross, and is a past of th e Lee County Chamber of Commerce. He is now chairman of t he board of deacons, chaitman of th e finance committee and teacher in the Sunday School of the First Baptist Church. v------t: ,._ JAMES THOMAS SMOOT On May 16, 1920, Mr. Fagan was married to Viola Kilpatrick, of Ayden, N. C Mr and Mrs. Fagan have a son, Dr. Harry Fagan, Jr. who was graduated in June, 1948, from the Bowman Gtay School ot Medicine of W ake Forest Co llege, Wake Forest, N. C., and in the winter of 1948-49 was serving his internship a t the Atlantic City Hospital. JAMES THOMAS SMOOT James Thomas Smoot was born February 9, 1906, i n McColl, S G., the son of Benjamin Franklin and Roberta. (Everett) Smoot. His father was a native of South Carolina and his mother o f Notth Carolina. Mr. Smoot attended public schools in McColl and after being graduated from McColl High School in 1923 took a two-year textile course at Clemson in Clem son, S. C. But instead of entermg tlie tex tile industry h e started working in his fathe r's electrical store in Laurinburg, N C. In 1929 Mr. Smoot came to Florida to work f o r the Collier i nterests, becoming manager of the Mercantile Hard ware Store in Everglades City. He re mained there five years. Early in 1934 he came to Fot t Myers and bee -arne associated wi t h I. w. in the South F'is h Company. Upon Mr. Rtggs' ret irement f rom business in 1944, Mr. Smoot acquired ownership of the concern. In July, 1945, he sold a part interest t o C. E. Willis and the business has been operated since then on a par t ne.rship basis. The South Fish Company, organized in 1916, i a t he only concern in Fort Myers which is classifie d as a producing dealer. buying from fishermen from Naples on th e south to Bokeelia on the north and shit>ving by rail and truck to markets as far away as New York. The firm also handles a complete line of marine hardware. In 1945 Mr. Smoot was elected as a trustee of the Lee Count y schoo l s and is now cha irman of the board, having been in 1947. He is now serving his third year. He is a member of Tamiami Trail Lodge No. 262, . the Egypt Tempfe Shrine of Tampa, the Elks lodge and the Rotary Club. He is a member of t h e Advisory Committee on Fisheri e s under Governor Millard Caldwell and is the F lorida director of the Nationa l Fisheries Institute. He. is a steward of the First Methodist Church. On April 9, 1930, Mr. Smoot was married to Rebecca Covington, daughter of James and Ila (Fenton) Covington, of Rocking ham, N. C They have three children: Thomas, Jr., born December 30, 1934; Benjamin Covington, born Apt il 20, 1939, and Martha Everett, born 14, 1943.

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TnE STOR Y OF FonT M Y E R S 339 CHARL ES NORMAN THAGGARD Ch arles Norman Thaggard was born March 6, 1908, in Marton County, Geotgia near Buena Vista, tho son of James Mars hall and Lula (Browning) Thaggard. Mr. Thaggard was educated in the public school s of Georgia and in Tampa where he lived with a sister following the death of his father in 1920. When he was seventeen yea,.. old he started working at a garage and service station in Tampa. In 1927 he went t.o Birmingham and worked for nearly a year for a battery n1anulacturer, finally leaving because he preferred Florida winters to those of Birmingham. Returning to Tampa, Mr Thaggard went on the ro a d as a salesman for the Defiance Spark Plug Company, of Toled o 0., cover ing latge_ pa:rts of central and southwestern F lorida. He visited Fort Myers for the first time in 1930 and liked the city so well that he decided that some day be would make it his home. Mr. Thaggard leCt tho Defiance Spark Plug Company late in 1934 to go inlo busi nes.s for himsell and, having already selected Fort Myers as his fut\lre home, made up his mind to go into business here. So in June 11135, he OJ>ened an auto supply store on Broadwa y. naming it the Norman Auto Suppl y Company. In the beginning, Mr. Th&gl(ard had only two employes. Today ho haa thhty and his concer n is one of the largest of its kind in Florida, specializing in automotive parts but also handling marine and farming supplies, doing a wholesale business in ten S-urroun d ing counties. The concern occupies the H everle Building on McGregor Boulevard which Mr. Thaggard purchased in 1939. He is a member of the Chamber of Com merce and First Baptist Church. On May 11, 1928, Mr. Thaggard was marrie d to Fannie VIola T hompson. They have two children: Nol'mun Jean Thaggard, born N o vembe r 13, l 029, and Raymond Leon Thaggard, born January 27, 1931. SHELBY SHANKLIN Shelby Shanklin was born June 6, 1888, in Lexington, Ky., the oon of George S. and Lily (Shelby) Shanklin. He attended Lexington public schools and studied electrical engine ering nt the University of Kentucky, i n L.:!xington, from which he was graduated in 1910. Mr. Shanklin then jolnod the sales organization of the General Electric Company and for the n e x t eilht years worked in Schenectady, Philadelphia and Chicago. In 1918 he became conn ected with the Dravo CHARLES NO RMAN THAGGARD Doyl e Co .. manufacturets' repreS3Cntativcs of Pitbburgh, working in the Cleveland offl<:o of that concern. Coming to Florida for his health in 1920 Mr. Shanklin located in Clearwater and during the next five years built and sold houses in that city with bis brother, Arthur P. Shanklin. When the boom ended, Mr. Shanklin de cided 1o try his hand at growing gladioli for the norther n market. Becoming as soeiatod with H. H. Constant ine, Jr., he iormed Pinellas Gla di olus, Inc., and atorted i n a small way during: the winter or 1925-26 Despite the fact that they were pioneer$ in the lndustry. the two men mude a s u c cess or the undertaking and gradually ex panded their operations. Cold weather during the winters of 193334 and 1934-35 led Mr. Shanklin 1o S
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340 THE SToRY oF Fon.T MYERS 1\lr. Constantine's inte.aest in Pinellas Gladio l us, Inc was purchased by Mr. Shanklin shortly after the company's base of ope .rations was moved to Fort Myers. Mr. Shanklin retired in 1946 and the com pany is now being operated by his son, John D. Shankl i n. O n September 26, 1914, Mr. Shanklin was married to Eleanor DeRemer, of Schenectady, N. Y l'hey have two sonS: John D. and Sh e lb y , Jt., who is now a florist in Lexington, Ky., and a daughter, Barbara. EDWARD SIMPSON Edward Simpson was born April18, 1901, i n Bartow, fl"'la., th e son of George E and Amana (Gwynne) Simpson His father was born in London England, in 1866 and came to Apopka, Fla., w'hen sixteen years old. His mother was born in Arkansas The family moved i n 1904 to Tampa where the father engaged in banking. After comp leting his junior year at H illsborough High Sch ool in June 1918; Mr. Simpson enlisted in the Navy and served four years a-s a quar t ermaster in th e Naval Ai r F'orce with on0 year i n the Panama Canal Zone. He t hen homesteaded in H ighJ and County, planted a and proved up his 160 acre claim, wh ich he still owns. Moving back to Tampa, Mr. Simpson in 1923 was emp loyed as a member of a sur EDWARD SIMPS ON veyor's crew by the firm of Hiram McElroy. A year later he joined the Mallory Steamship Company as a deJivery clerk. In 1925 he became head shipping clerk of I. W Philips & Co., Tampa dealers in wholesa l e buildi .ng materia ls. He re mained with t hat concern seven years and then was employed as a salesman by Booker & Co whic h also dealt in wholesale build ing mater i a l s. George V Booker, company president, transferred Mr. S i mpson to Fort Myers i n 1985 to take charge of t he Fort Myers Buildets Ser v i ce, mtik ing him gener al man ager and secretary-treasurer of the concern. Desiri n g t o gain a college ed u ca t ion, Mt. Simpson took required exam inations at Fort Myers High School and received his diploma October 1, 1947, t h irty years after h i s high school work had been halted by World War I. Mr. Simpson bas served four years as a member of t he School Board and was re-elected in 1948 He is a president o f the Kiwanis Club, past chef de gane 40 et 8, a past exalted ruler of the E lks lodge, a director of the F lorida Lumber and Mill work A ssoci ation, a member of the Fort Mye s Yacht Club, Navy Club, America n Legion, the Fort Myers Golf and Country Club the Chamber of Commerce, and the Episcopal Church On June 15, 1925, Mr. Simpson was married to Laura Ruth Dutcher, of Thomasville, Ga. They have three daughter s : Laura Ru th, botn Oc t o be r 11, 1927; Mar y Louise, born December 6, 1931, and Marion Dutcher, born February 5, 1986 JOHN 0 ZIPPERER John 0. Zipperer was born August 4 1895, Lake Park, Ga., the son of O r i n T. and Martha (Rigell) ZiQpeer, both natives of Georgia. He was educa t ed in Georgia public schoo l s. Enlisting in the Marines Corps shortly after the of the Uni te d States in \VorJd \Var I, Mr. Zipperer set ved sixteen mon ths overseas and took part in the first AU-American drive. After the war 1\Ir. Z ipp e rer went to work for a wholesa l e florist in Philadelphia where he. remained unti l 1926 when he came to Florida to grow aspar agus plumosus ferns on a commercial scale a farm near Sebdng, h i s venture proved successfu l. In 1981 Zipperer became associated w ith Rex Beach in the grow ing of galdi oli and Easter lilies and f our years later the two men became par t ners with Mr. Zipperer acting as manager of t he farms. In 1933

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THE STORY OF FORT l\IIYERS 341 and a gain in 1934, cold weather badly damaged thei cops and the y decided to move to a. section which would be warmt:n.. After m aking a survey of the entire s tate, t hey decided that the Iona section offered the best advan tages so they acquired land and e stablishe d Rex Beach Farms, devoted exclusiv ely to gladioli. Mr. Zipperet and Mr. Beach continued to lilies at i " pt oduced t he first commcrc.inl crop ever in the state, o btaining 800,000 marketable bulbs. In 1944 the partnership w a s disso lved and Mr. Z i pperer established Zipperer Farms, now one of the largest producct'S of g lad ioli in Florida. (See Index: Gladiolus f a r ms.) Mr. Zipperer i s a past president ot t he Florida Gladio lus Growets A s sociation, a n d a member of the Chamber of Commcl'Ce, the Soei ety of American Florists, New England Gladiolus Society, Florists Telegraph De li vel'y A s sociation, and the Southeas tern and Florid a Florists association. On July 8, 1926, Mr. Zipperer was manied t o Madge Burns, of Scranto n Pa. They have a son, John 0 Jr. born Octo bet 20, 1932, who in 1948 was a junior in t h e Myers High Schoo l JOHJ\ 0 ZIPPERER FRED J. WKSEMEYER F 'RE D J. W ESE:MEYER Fle d J. 'Vesemeyer was born February 10, 1900 i n Frankturt-Main-Hoechst, G er many, t h e son o f Friedrich and Ann (Roos ) W e se rneyer. After attending the F r ank furt Horticultural Schoo l, Mr. \Ve semeyer served an n pp l entiee ship with his father who owns a nurser}' i n Frankfurt and spe cializes i n cut flo wers. Mr. Wesemeyer lef t G e ma n) i n 1922 and spent a year i n Buenos Aire-S, Argentina whe t e h e wns e ngaged in nursery ".;,ork H e then went t o Sot1th O xange, N. J., and for the next foul years \Vor ked in series i n northun cities Coming t o Florida in 1927, Mr. W ese meyer soon afterwatd went in t o the gladiolus busines wit h Donald Alvod, of Clearwater, f oundin g the A. & W. Bulb Company. This conc e r n was probably t h e first in Flol'ida which employed mas s duction me t ho ds i n the g l adiolus business and within a few years had more than 200 act es u nder cultivation. After the severe :fr eez e of 1934, M r. W esem eye1 and .Mt. Alvord made a survey of the sta te t o find a $ect ion with a more favorable climate and finally cidcd to try the Iona district. The. concern

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342 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS now ov..-ns 860 acres there and has ap .. proximately 500 under cultivation each season, in addition to approximately 300 at Mr. Wesemeyer is in charge of produc tion at. both loca tions, traveling to and from Clearwater in his own airplane. On October 24, 1947. he was badly injure d and nar rowly escaped death when his plane crashed at Fort Myers. But he continued making his flights. During the 19 4 7-48 $eason the company suffered several severe losses. The roof of its cold storage. plant in Fort Mye rs was blown off. in the September, 1947, c.ane. Its modern packing plant and offices in Fort Myers were totally destroyed by fire on Dcc ember 7, 194 7, and shortly afterward anothc r fil'e destroyed the offices in Clearwater and partially destroyed the pac.king p la nt. Despite these losses the eom pany kept right on going. On August 12, 1929, Mr. Wesemeyer was married to Mary June St. Claire in Chicago. Mr. Wesemeyer is a past president o f the Flori da State Floris t Association and Flotida Growers Association. H e is a di reetot of the Lee County Chamber of Commerec and a member of the Elks Lodge, Fort Myers Country Club, Clearwater Yaeht C lub and Clearwater Country Club. CLAUDE E. WILLIS CLAUDE E WILLIS C la ude E. "rillis was born Februarr ll, 1900, at Harbor View, on Charlotte Harbor Florida, the son o f Mott A. and Magg i e (Curry) Will is. His father was a native of North Carolina and h i s mother of lltdiana. Mr. Willis was educated in Punta Gorda schools and wheon seventeen years old started working or his father who had a Star Mail Route out of Punta Gotda, opera ted a ferrY ae r osS Charlotte Harbor, and had a general store in the settlement of Charlotte Harbor. The .ferry was o p erated until a eonerete bridge over the estuary was eompleted in 1921. Entering the fish Mr. Willis was engaged in the Punta Gorda district until he came to Fort Myers in 1985 and became associated with W. E. Bradley, ownet of a f ish house on thG Collier dock, doing a who le sale business in salt water fish undGr the name of the G ul f Fish Co mpany Mr. Willis bought !ltlr. Bradley's interest in the concern in 1937 and opented it himself until 194 1 when he sold t o the South Fish Compan y, then owned by Tom Smoot and I. W Rigg s During the war Mr. Willis was engaged in mak ing tents for the ment in a Fort plant. In l945 he purchased an interest in thG South ltlsh Con1pany and has been connected with it sinee then, being a partner of Mr. Smoot. In Ju ly,. 1924, Mr. Willis \VQS married to Alma Howland, daughter of Walter R. and Mattie (Purifoy) Howland, of Punta Gorda. They have two children: Vcta the wife of Thomas Marvel, and Elton Earl, who in 1948 was operating the Point fort Fishing Camp at Punta Rassa in part nership with Mr. Marvel. GEORGE HAROLD ALEXANDER George Harold Alexand e r was bont F0bruary 1, 1902, in Dunlap, Tenn., the son of H. M. and Sadie (F'ox) Alexander. He attended Chattanooga public schools and then took a c ommercia l coutse at the Uni versity of Chattanooga from which he was graduated in 1922. Mr. Alexande r then went into the real estate business with his father in Wauc hula, Fla. whe re the family had moved six years before. In 1924 he went to Punto Goda, first selling real estate and then going into the mereantile business In 192 8 he established a bakery, the business of which ex panded so rapidly that in 1936 he found it necessary to open another bakery i n Fo1t Myers. He operated bo t h until 1941 when he established his main plant here.

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TnE STonY oF FonT MYr>ns 343 Alexander's Baking Company, owned by Mr. Alexander, n ow sells wholesale in eigh t counties and has a fleet of ten trucks mak ing daily deliveries. In addition to baked goods made in his O\Vl\ plan t, he also sells Bell Bread, for wh ich he has the ar,ency. 'Vith A. '" D. Harris, he is the distnbutor for Canada Dry products and with M. W. Anderson is the distributor Cor othct lines of products Mr. Alexander has been active i n politics ever since he left co ll ege. He has been a member of the State Republican Committee for twenty yea1 s has served a s precinct committeeman, congressiona 1 committee man, c ha ir man of the congress ional com mittee, was d elegate to the National Re publician Convention in 1936, 1940 and 1944, and was state campaign manager for Thomas E. Dewey in 1944 and 1948. During th0 Hoover administration he was active in obtaining federal projects in southwest l"Jorida and also assisted in getting dyke$ around Lake Okeechobee Mr. Alexander is a past president (1946) and now director of the Chambet o f Commctce wa, s president of the Red Cross drive in 1945, is a past president of the Fort Myers Round 1'able, is president or the Kiwanis C l ub, a s teward in the Method is t Church, and is a member of the Masonic and Eilts lodges, tho Knights of Pythias, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Fort Myers Country Club, and is v ice-chairm _an of the Lee County Chapter Red Cross. He is also a member of the State Flood Committee. On October 16, 1923, Mr. Alexander was married t<1 Olive Anderson, of Chicago. T he y have t wo children: Caroline Trescott and Evelyn Gray. MICHAEL HAUK Michael Hauk was born May 3, 1890, on a farm ncar Warsaw, Pol and, the son of Anthony and Philipina Hank. Coming to the United States in 1910, Mr. Hauk located in Chicago where he worked for eleve. n yeats as a tool and die maker, a trade he had learned in Po l and. Finally be coming tired of city life, he came to in 1921 and purchased land near P lant C ity. In t h e beginning he specialized in grow ing strawbirries. During prosperous Twenties his venturewas successful but when the depr12ssion s tru ck he began to money. During the mid-Thirties he started raising gladioli at Plant City. Finding the too cold for the flowers to be grown satisfactorily he acquired land at Palma Sola i n 1939 and establ ished the Palma Sola F Jowe r Farm. During the following yeat he also plan t ed a largti tt act at Ruskin. Cold weather ruined the crop. GEORGE HAROLD ALEXANDER Seeking a more frost-proof area, Mr. Hauk came to Fort Myers in the fall of 1940 and l e ased 115 ac rcs in the lona d is trict. He had little money but he d id have a stro ng determination to succeed-and a fine stock of bulbs. Hjs achievements since then have made history in the g l adiolus industry. By 1948 he had built up one of the largest gladiolus farms in the world. He bad more than 350 acres in glads and, in addition, had more than 250 acres in potatoes. (See Index: Gladiolus Industry.) On July 27, 19 12 Mr. Hauk was married in Chicago to Lena Singer who was b
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344 THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS Durham, of Pineville, Ky., and went to Miami on his honeymoo. n. Liking the eit.y he decided to l'emain and took a job as a d1aftsman for the Daniel E. Clune Enginee. r8 ing Co. A year latet Mr. Smith started to work for the Florida Power & l-ight Co as a d1aftsman in the engineering department. In 1928 he was sent to West Palm Beach as d istrict representative and soon was made. easte1n divtsion pow0r salesman. From \Vest Palm Beach he was trans:fened to Okeechobee to serve as manager of the company's power and ice plants and served there from 1929 t o 1932 whe n he was again to Cocoa t o serve a.s district manager. lie r e nHlined at Cocoa u ntil the fall of 1941 wh e n he was sent to Fort Myers as distdet manager ovc.t. a t erritoty com prising }o'ort Myers, Fort Myers, Naples, LaBeJJe and an intervening areas. On October 8, 1948, he was appointed dis trict manager of the Fot't Lauderdale area and assumed his new duties immediately. During World War II Mr. Smith served as post co-o rdinatot of the Utilities Wartime Aid Program for the. 4th Service. Com. mnnd and was cited for his services on April 10, !946, by the Secretary of Wat. He was also cited by the Secretary of the Treasury for his work in the sale of war bonds. Mr. Smith is a past director and treasure. t of the 1 'ort. Myers Chnmbe1 o f Commercet past exalted ruler of the Fort Myers and Cocoa lodges of the E lks. and past president of the Cocoa Rotary C lub. He was the first president and is now direct-or of the Caloo sahntchee C onsetvatio n C lu b He is EDWARD WILLIAM SMITH LUCIAN F. THOMAS a member of the Masonic Lodge, l"'ort. Myers Rotary Club, and First Baptist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have two children: Edward William, Jr., born April 26, 1926, and in 1948 a senior at Lynchbut g College, I.ync.hburg, Va., and Sandra Faye, in !948 a junior at Fort Myers High School. LUCIAN F T HOMAS Lucian F'. Thomas was born February 29, 1908, in Archer F la., the son of John Newn and Della (Wynn) Thomas, both natives of F lo1ida of Scotch.Jrish descent. He attended primary school in Sampson City and high school in Starke until the death of his father in 1923 when he started work ing on a farrn. In 1926, Mr. Thomas went to .Jackson vme, taking a j ob with the Railway Company whet:e he remained seven years. to see more of the countl'Y, he then jo1ncd Dunlap Shows and danced in vaudeville in ahnost stat e east of the ltockies ftom !933 to !936. Returning t o F lo tida, Mr. Thomas worked a yea1: as construction foreman fol the H. E. Wolfe Construction Company of St. Augustine and then became a salesman fot Down town Oldsmobi1e, of Jacksonville. For four successive years he was in the first, second or third divi sion in southeastern sales.

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THE SToRY OF FoRT MYERS 345 Coming to Fort Myers i n 1941 Mr. Tho m a s started farming in a small way i n the lona disbict, r a ising egg plants, cucum bers-, squash and peppers. 'wo years later he also began raistng gladiolus. In 194 8 he. had approximately 20 0 aetes under cu lti v a tion, 75 in g l ads and 125 in tru c k. In 1948 Mr. T homas j oin e d with J. H. Hayne and formed the Hayne & Thomas 'V cld-Ritc \Velding 'Votks be c om i n g presi dent of the co rpora ti on. He also i s presi dent of Thomas & Cline, Inc., automoti" e shop. He is a member of th e C ham ber of Comrneree, Junior Chamber of Commerce, and Lions C l ub. On February 26, 1938, Mr. Thomas was married to B ella Jane t Bain daughter of Dona l d and Emma Bain, pioneer famil y of t h e lona section. They ha"e four chi l dren: Lucian Jr., born August 6. 1989; Donna, born Oc tober 23, 19 40; John Newn, born Apl il 14 1944, and J anet born July 16, 1947. NOR MAN 1\>1. COX Norman M. Cox was born August 3, 1910 in Evansville, Ind .. t he son of M. F. and Mildred (Hoope r ) Cox He attended Evansville pub lic sc hools and w as from h igh school in 1929. In high schoo l he won letters in football, t1ack, basketball and golf. After f inishing high school, Mr. C ox was connected with th e Inter-State Airlines, Inc. at Tennessee Sky Harbor, near M urfree sboro. In 1931 Mr. Cox went on the road as a s alesman fot George Koch Sons, Inc., a concern which sold flori s t supplies. Six years later he wa s named sales manager of the Denver Who lesale Florist Company, of Denver, C ol. Having become acquainted wit h florists in all parts of the country, Mr. Cox decided in 1941 that a profitable business could be developed by sellin g g l adioli to them on a brokerage basis and i n the fall of 194 1 came to Fort Myers and established the firm of Norm an Cox & Co., becoming one of th e pioneer g l adiolus bro ke rs in Florida He started shipping flowers to his p ersona l acqua i n tances in th e f l orist in dustry and later he developed a sales organization which n ow ships to almost every state east o f the Rockies. He operated on a strictly brokerag e basis in the beginning but now has an extensi ve farm i ng system from wh ich he draws the major part of his supply. Mr. Cox was one of the f ounders and the first pres ident of the F lorida Gla diolus Brokers Association He is the pres i den t of Gu'lf Farms I nc., a n d also of Airfresh Flowers Inc. NOR MAN M. COX On April20, 193-5, Mr. Cox was married t o M ildred C Dolis, of St. Louis. They have t hree c hil d ren: Lyn Mary, b or n September 8 1937; Nancy Ann, b orn July 7 1941 and Janine, born February 21, 1946. GEORGE W THOMPSON George W. T hompso n was born April 24, 1891 in C hicago, the son of George W. and Mary E leanor Thom p so n. He attended C hicago pubhc schools and the School of Busines s of the University of C hicago. In 1913 Mr. Thompson started working f o r a n inve-stment banking h o use in Chicago. E ight years later he organized the G W Thomp son Company which during later years financed and operated tele phone systems all over the country. With E. E. Patterson, of C hicago, Mr. Thompson in 1942 bought the Inter-Coun t y Tele phone & T elegraph Company from t h e Collier in terests. Mr. Thompson is viee ptesident and director o f the Illinois Allie d Telephone Company, of Princeton, IU., and vice president and d irec tor o f the Pioneer Tele phone Company, of St. Paul, Minn. He formerly was ass o ciated with many other tel ephone companies and ban k s. On Jun e 14, 1913, Mr. Thompson was married t o Katherine Coburn, of C h ica go. They hav e a daughter, Katherine, who is now the wife of George W. Fulton.

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346 THE STOR\: OF FoRT MYERS GEORG E SAND E RS Georg e Sanders was born January 2 4, 1914, i n Charle ston, S C., the sOn of Julius Henry and Abigail (Hair) Sanders, both natives of South Carolina. In 191 6 the famil y moved to B l ackville, S. C., and eight years later to Lakeland, Fla. Mr. S a nder$ a t t ende d primary s chool i n Blackville and w a s graduated fro m Lake land high school in 1931. He then studied tvto years at the U n iv0rs ity of Florida bu t quit after his sophomore year t o go into the feed, seed and fertilizer busines s with his brother -in-law, J. C WHlia ms, open ing the Ser vi c e Feed S t ore in Lake l and. I n 1937 Mr. Sanders sold his interest in the feed store and becam e associated with W 0. Hodges of Plant City, in the produce b u sines s :first buying stra wbe rries in the Lakeland district and later all k ind s of winter vegetables. Mr. Sander s has had close business connection s with Mr. Hodges ever since. Mr. Sanders came t o Fort Myers to li ve i n 1942 and has made this city his head quarters since then. His bus i n ess o perations have become widely extended and he now buys produce in who lesa l e quantitie s in all r > arta of Florida and ships to every state in the U nion. T o maintain h i s contacts with farms and markets he travels in his own airplane, having been granted a private pilot's license in 1943. GEORGE SANDERS WILLIAM A. GUESS Late in 194 6 Mr. Sanders went into the gladiolus busin ess, joining with Gerald Mood)' to form t he F'lorida Glad i o l a Company. Mr. Sanders is a member o f the F irst Baptist C hurch. On Novembe r 6 1937, he was mar ried to Mary Jo Clayton, daughter of C l anton Mallory and Cora Grace (Sullivan) C l ay ton, of Lake lan d They have a son, George Andrew Sande rs, b o r n April 26, 1941 in Lakeland W ILLIAM A G UE SS '\ii11iam A. Guess was born November 5 19 06, in Abbeville S. C., the son of Willia m G and Myrtle (Hough) Gue ss both na tives of N o>th Carolina. Reared in Raleigh, N c., Mr Gue ss at. tended schools there a n d also the Porter Military Academy i n Charles t on, S. C O n November 5, 1924, be became connec ted with the Nott h Caro lina Inspect i on a nd Rating Bureau of the Southeastern Underwriters Assoc i ation and r emained w ith that organizatio n until 1 930. From 1930 until 1939 he was spec ial agent of the Northwestern Mutual Fire Association with offices in Atlanta He-then beca m e a special agent o f the Merrimac M utual Fire Insu \ance C ompan)"', traveling

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THE STORY oF FoRT MYERS 347 in Nort h and South Carolina, Georgia and In September, 1944, Mr. Guess located in Fort Myers, the. local agenc y business of Underwriters, lne., of which he is presi d ent and Harry Browe r secretary and treasurer 1\11-. Guess is a member of the Kiwanis Club and the Episcopal Church. His father, who was w ith t he Seaboard raH road for fort.y -eight years, retired in July, 1947, and is now l i ving in Fort Myers. \Vhil e on one of his b usiness trips to Fort Myers, Mr. Guess met and was later married to Marjotie Longbrake daughter of Dr. G A. and Jennie (Nelson) Lo n g brake, natives o f \Vaynesville and Gales burg, Ill., respectively. Dr. Longbrakewas a physician and surgeon in Galesburg until 1919 \vhc n he came to Fo1t Myers where he too k up h is r esidence and p r actice Mr. and Mrs Guess have t hl'ee children: Dianne Cantrell Guess, age 19, a student in 194 8 at St. Mary's School in Ral eigh, N. C ; William L-ongbl'ake (Chip) Guess, born May 20, 1945, and Ma rjori e Suzzanne. bom No"embe r 5, 1948. GEORGE C EL VEY George C. Elvey was born March 11, 1915, in McConnellsburg, Pa., the son of George B. and Hester (Stevens) Elvey, both natives or Pennsylvania. He was graduated from McConnellsburg high school in 1932 and then studied aeronautica l engineering for two years at Columbus Univers i .ty, in Washington, D .C. Mr. Elvey stal'ted working in 193 4 for the Pennsylvania State Forestry Service first being assigned to telephone mainte nance service in the Allegheny National Park and later to experin l.ental WOl'k in Canada. He became office manager of National Films Distributors i n \Vashington, D C., in 1936. 'H e remained there two years and then was employed for three years by the Pennsyl vania Greyhound Lines. On August 26, 1941, Mr. Elvey enlis ted in the Army Air Cot ps, going in as a scrg* cant on flight s tatus. In April, 1943, he was commissioned as a lieutenant, and two years later was sent t o the southwest Pacific. While in the SUites h e served as flight instructor at twelve air bases and gunne.ry schoo l s in Virginia, Mississ i ppi, Louisiana, California, Arizona and Florida. being ass. igned overseas he served in New Guiriea, Netherlands East Indies Tacboban and Luzon i n t he Philippines, le Shima in the Ryukyu Group, on the China Coast and in Japan, and was awarded five battle stars. He came back t o the S t a tes on September 17, 1945, and was placed on inactive status f1orn Camp Ate 1 bury, Ind., November 16, 1945. GEORGE C. ELVEY Elvcy then made his home in Fort Myers and on January 21, 1946, went into the automobile business at 1026 Bay Street, having the Packard-Hud son agency. In Februal'y, 1948, he sold the Packard agencv and on May l, 1 948, opened i n hi$ new l ocation at 1969 Lee Stree t in one of the most modernly equ i pped garages in southwest Florida, with 11,000 square feet under l'oof and 16,500 square feet for parking and used car lot. He has the Cros ley as well as the Hudson agency in the Fort .Myers territory. Mr. Elve) i s a member of Tropical J,odge No. 56, F.&A.M Lake Worth Consis tory, and Egypt Temple Shrine, Tampa. He a l so i s a member of the Kiwanis Club, Junior Chamber of Commer ce, and the Caloosa hatchee Conserva tion Club. On June 1, 1943, Mr. Elvey was married t o Mary Ftancis \Vhisnant, daughter of Dr. and Mrs Baker Whisn ant. They have t w o chi ldren: Baker W born M4rch 11, 1944 and Sara Joy, bor n February 25, 1947 GEORGE M. COX Geo rge M. Cox was born July 26, 1877, in Cooperston, IU., the son of James A. and Martha (Pettigrew) Cox, both natives of Illinois. father was a pioneer merchant of Cooperstown where he live d aU his life.

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348 THE STORY OF FORT MYERS Mr. Cox lived on a torm until he was sevente en and then went o n the road as a salesma n, selling paint to rnilroa. ds, pack ing houses, lumber mill s and industrial concern s of all kind s in almost every part of t he Unite d States and Canada. In 1919 Mr. Cox went to New Orleans and established the brokerage firm of George M. Cox1 Inc., the busi ness of which was confined largely to the southeastern stat. He retired in 1929 but a year l ater found it necC$$4ry to ta k e over tbe A J. Higgins boat yard in New Orleans. He then organized the G. M. Co x Shipyard, Inc. During V\o'orld 'Var n thls concern COD structed many boats Cor the Navy and at the peak of producti o n CIDJ)loyed more than a thousa n d men. r n 1946 ?tlr. Cox retired again. Ho bad be e n comi ng to Florida almost every wint
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A A. & W. Bulb Co.: 251, 341. Able, H. L.: 249. Accelerator Club: 224. Adams, C. P.: 26 1. Adams Edwin M.: 245. Airport: 242. Albritton, Ed. A.: 267. Alderman, Frank C. Jr.: Li(e of, 301; also, 261 26 7. Alderm an, Frank C., S r .,: Life of, 300; also, 153, 164, 169, 185, 214, 220, 234, 240, 260, 261, 264. Alexander Frederick Hall: Life of, 828. Alexander: G. Hurold: Life of, 842; als o, 265, 26 7 Allen Edward C.: Life of, 327; also, 260. Allen, George: 265, 328. Allen1 William: 9'7. Alle n s Place: 98. Alva: 110. 139, 1 92, 211. Alvor d, Donald: 251. American Eagle: 191. American Legion Home: 220, 269. Anderson. William ll.: 260. Andrew s Allen H. : 191, 214, 235. Ansle y, J. A.: Lifo of, 319; also, 2 61, 267. Antonia, Dona: 35. Arcade: 220. Arista1 Julian G.; 95, 265. Capt. Ntck: 114. Armed Occupation Act: 57. Army Air Ftclds: 2 48. Arndt, Edward: 2 14 Arpeika, Chief: 50, 56. Atlantic Coast l ..ine Railroad: 164, 219, 227, 249, 26&. A t lantic & Gulf Coas t & Okeec hobee Land Co.: 105, 130. Auditorium: 225. 231, 248. Aus tin, Brown: 261. Automobiles : 18B. 211. Ayler, Maurice: 285. B Bail Frank W.: Life of, 336. Bail Frank & Auociates: 244, 245, 271, 336. Bail Horton & Asso c i ates: 336. Ban' Ralph E.: