Fire in the water

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Fire in the water

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Fire in the water
Howard, Terry L.
Root, Donald E.
Adventure in Discovery
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Fisheries ( lcsh )
Sea stories -- Cape Canaveral (Fla.) ( lcsh )
Ship captains -- Biography ( lcsh )
Fishers ( local )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
S62-00041 ( USFLDC: LOCAL OI )
s62.41 ( USFLDC: Local Handle )

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Fire in the Water Terry L. Howard with Donald E. Root Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved. No part of this book shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without written permission from the author. Terry L. Howard ( ISBN: 978-0-9743414-6-0 Second Edition October 2017, Third Edition March 2018 ISBN : 978-0-692-07992-8 Library of Congress Control Number: 2016947592 Editors: Martha Bergland and Lucinda Kirk. Cover Photos: An early 1900s Harry Hill photo of the Fort Pierce shoreline on the Indian River Lagoon . D. H . "Banty" Saunders, on the left (later became a Florida State Senator), with brother Ray. The sailboat pictured might be a moth, described by]. C. Monroe. The cotton nets are drying on racks at the end of the dock in the background . Courtesy of St . Lucie County Regional History Center . Terrell Hayes on the bow and my father in the stern of the twenty-four foot clinker built Betty H . You can see the steering ropes in his hand that went around the stern to a rudder post. Also see the spotlight on the bow. That was all the control the captain had. If you wanted to change gears or speed up or slow down, you would call back to the striker. The centerboard was to reduce the rocking effect of the boat, as it was round bottomed . Clinker built boats, are also known as lapstrake. They are built with the edges of the planks overlapping . They were fastened together with copper rivets on oak ribs. Courtesy of Donald E. Root. FT. PIERCE, FL #Lt /,,,/Mn MIS S FANNIE LLC 11


TABLE OF CONTENTS Note to the Reader .............................................................. .iv The Beginning ........................................................................ 1 Chapter 1 -]. C. Monroe ..... .............................. ....... ............. 9 Chapter 2 -Donald E. Root .............................................. .49 Chapter 3 Robert Terry ................ ...... ........................... 131 Chapter 4 Tommy Taylor ..... .... .......... ........ ................... 149 Chapter 5 Charles Anderson ........................................ 197 Concluding Thoughts ....................................................... 230 About the Authors of Fire in the Water ....................... 244 Acknowledgements: ....... ....... .......... ...... ......................... ... 245 Index . . . . ....... ............ . ......................................... ............ . . . ... 246 iii


Note to the Reader: I enjoy Florida history and sea stories. Commercial fishing has both. My first two books chronicle the lives of Fort Pierce, Florida east coast commercial and charter fishing captains. All of those captains caught fish by hook and line. But the first commercial fishermen here were nearly all net fishermen. When I discovered that a fleet of early Fort Pierce commercial net fishermen and their families migrated for several months each year to Cape Canaveral, Florida, where they lived in cottages on the beach in the lee of the Cape, I wanted to learn more. Today Florida beach front property is highly desirable. Houses and condominiums on the Atlantic Ocean can easily cost seven figures. Beaches, where land and sea meet, are a wonderful place to be and watch life. And the beach at Cape Canaveral where the fishermen lived is particularly unique because it is sheltered from high winds and seas by the shape of the Cape. It is almost like a harbor. And it has changed little since the earliest native inhabitants roamed its shores over a thousand years ago. Except for old launch sites and other NASA facilities the beach and surrounding land at Cape Canaveral is a federal wildlife refuge. * It is a national treasure, that for several months each year, in the early 1900's, was home to Florida fishing families. For this book I collected stories from five Fort Pierce locals that lived for a time at Cape Canaveral with this migratory fleet. They all have ties to commercial fishing. Two are former fishing captains, one is the son of a captain, one is the nephew of a captain, and one is a friend of a captain's son. Each shares their own stories about life at Cape Canaveral, as well as, growing up along the the Indian River Lagoon * * in Fort Pierce, Florida. Each person's perspective is different, so the stories wander. Together though they will leave the reader with a healthy image of what commercial fishing and waterfront life was like along Florida's Atlantic seaboard during the early and mid 20th Century. And the book is full of Florida history and sea stories. IV


Terrell Hayes, a Fort Pierce commercial fishing captain appears in every chapter of Fire in the Water and stands in the bow of the boat on the back cover. Captain Hayes is a central figure in early life along Florida's shores. He died in 1984 at age 87.His adventures provide a colorful sub theme to the book. Another recurring theme in Fire is the 1949 hurricane. Its fierceness made it a milestone event for all in the book who lived through it and it radically changed the physical landscape of the Fort Pierce waterfront. Tommy Taylor (Chapter 4) won The Florida Distinguish Service Medal for heroism during the storm. In 2015, my friend Donald Root and I visited the Cape Canaveral Beach where the fish camp had been located. It is still unchanged, pristine, and wild. I hope the reader has as much fun reading these tales as I did collecting them. Terry L. Howard * "The refuge traces its beginning s to the development of the nation's Space Program . In 1962, NASA acquired 140,000 acres of land, water, and marshes adjacent to Cape Canaveral to establish the John F. Kennedy Space Center. NASA built a launch complex and other space-related facilities, but development of most of the area was not necessary. In1963 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed an agreement to establish the refuge and in 1975 a second agreement established Canaveral National Seashore. Today, the Department of Interior manages most of the unused portions of the Kennedy Space Center as a National Wildlife Refuge and National Seashore" From The History of Cape Chapter 1 Cape Canaveral Before Rockets (B. C.-1948). ** The Indian River Lagoon is a body of salt water, inside the barrier islands, on the east coast of Florida that extends 156 miles from Ponce De Leon Inlet south to Jupiter Inlet. It is the longest salt water estuary in Florida and the most extensive barrier island/tidal inlet system in the United States. It is home to over 4,000 different plants and animals, including 400 fishes and 300 birds . The Lagoon has always supplied Floridians with a rich so urce of seafood. Human pollution threatens its health today. The Indian River Lagoon figures prominently in this book. Ft. Pierce, Florida is located on its shores. For more about the Indian River Lagoon see, Waterwcrys and Bywcrys of the Indian River Lagoon, M.M . Littler and D .S. Littler v


NOTEF CHANNEL The ptOjeCI are 44 feet For conll'olllng depfla use ctiart 114 78 . Figure i: X marks the approximate l o cation of th e fish camp. VI


---fl.Ollll)J; ... --Figure ii: 1883 U.S. Geodetic Survey chart of Cape Canaveral. Courtesy of Val Martin of Florida Classics Library . Vll • . . / ,. - • r'7'. -\ ... t ... ' . , . . . 1 , I • -fj' .. • • "111 ,


MERMAIDS KISS It seems that there's been fisherman As long as there's been fish But only just a chosen few Received the mermaids kiss Forever more their lives were changed Their nets forever cast To make their way on briny blue Until their very last As the winters fish moved on And days grew hot and long The fishermen would follow north As drawn by siren's song The boats already knew the way To the bight beneath the Cape And there in shacks upon the sand The fisher's life they'd make No water and no plumbing Of course no 'lectric lights With wives and children waiting They'd fish both day and night Because the mermaid touched them Their eyes were given sight To see the fish beneath the waves On deep and darkest night Last quarter of the waning moon First quarter of the wax When there's fire in the water The fishermen attack The fish would set the sea ablaze And as they frolicked there The fisherman would wrap them up In cotton mesh with care When the nets were hauled aboard That's when the work began Wives and children rallied Behind a single plan Fish into the fish house In barrels nice and clean The train would take the fish away To markets never seen Dry the nets and lime 'em up Mend holes and sharpen knives Embrace a loving family Be thankful for their lives For years and years the dance went on In storms and starry skies Though fishermen will fade away Their legend never dies Though fire in the water has Burned down to its coals The fire for the water still Burns bright in fishermen's souls CJ Jones 9/24/16 Mermaids come in many shapes Sometimes they're hard to see At times they come as great sawfish Or perhaps a manatee Vlll


FIRE IN THE WATER THE BEGINNING According to a 1921 Fort Pierce Tribune account, around 4:30 A.M., on Friday, March 25, 1921, in the Narrows, a passage just north of John's Island in the Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie County Deputies W H. Donaldson and H .]. Sapp intercepted and seized a large cabin cruiser loaded with nearly two hundred cases of whiskey. The vessel's crew--Dozier Drawdy, Terrell Hayes, and Harry Benson--were taken into custody by Deputy Sapp, who took the suspects in another boat across the lagoon to a dock on the Florida mainland at Quay. Deputy Donaldson followed them in the seized cruiser. At Quay, Deputy Sapp called St. Lucie County Sheriff WR. Monroe in Fort Pierce, apprised him of the situation and asked him to come at once. Upon arriving, Sheriff Monroe instructed Deputy Sapp to take the crewmen, Hayes and Benson, by car to the county jail in Fort Pierce. They left immediately. The sheriff, Deputy Donaldson and suspect Drawdy then motored south in the Indian River toward Fort Pierce with the boatload of liquor. The sheriff and boat never made it back. The book begins with this account because -1-J.C. Monroe, (Chapter 1), is the son of Sheriff W.R. Monroe -2Terrell Hayes, the owner of the captured boat, is a prominent character in the book, and -3the story is an intriguing nugget of local Florida history. More about the incident is included in the final chapter. With historical pictures and first hand accounts by survivors, this book paints a picture of waterfront life and commercial fishing on the east coast of Florida. The stories and photos depict life here during the Florida land boom, prohibition, the Great Depression, WWII, fishing and the beginning of space exploration at Cape Canaveral and culminate with the 1994 Florida net ban. For much of the twentieth century commercial fishing 1


HOWARD was a major industry in Fort Pierce. It mostly consisted of net fishermen, though a few trolled for trout in the Indian River Lagoon. Fishermen and their families lived along Second Street in Fort Pierce, which, at the time, was waterfront property. The fish houses, where fish were gutted, iced and loaded into barrels for shipment by rail to cities in the north were built on docks or wharfs out over the water of the Lagoon. The fishermen tied their boats to these docks. Their houses on Second Street were at the base of the docks. There seemed to be an endless supply of fish. Figure 1: 1920's waterfront photo of Fort Pierce, the county seat of Saint Lucie County, a sleepy fishing and vegetable canning town on the Atlantic Ocean about halfway down the Florida peninsula. On Florida's east coast the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean were like farms for fishermen . Fort Pierce commercial fishermen harvested the waters from Cape Canaveral to the Florida Keys. Courtesy of St . Lucie County Regional History Center . The boundaries of St. Lucie County, Florida, have changed many times over the years . In 1921, Indian River County to the north and a portion of Martin County to the south were part of St. Lucie County. Fort Pierce has always been the county seat. Other settlements within St. Lucie County's borders at the time included Jensen, Eden, Ankona, Walton, Eldred, White City, Viking, St. Lucie, Oslo, Vero, Quay (later Winter Beach), Sebastian and Fellsmere. 2


FIRE IN THE WATER F igure 2 : 1921 map of St. Luci e County , Florida . Courtesy of St. Lucie C ounty Regional Histor y Center . As the 1920's begai;i, WWI had ended, the Florida land boom was beginning, and the Volstead Act or The National Prohibition Enforcement Act had just become law. The "Roaring Twenties" had begun. Like many small towns, the people were divided between the "wets," drinkers, and the "dries," nondrinkers. Headlines in the Fort Pierce News-Tribune on February 13, 1921 read "CALL TO SERVICE" which asked men to wear black ties if they opposed alcohol and "TWO SECRET FORCES TO BATTLE WHISKEY TRAFFIC AND ENFORCE LAW AND ORDER IN COUNTY" were established. Curiously , one of those new forces was the Ku Klux Klan. 3


HOWARD Fort Pierce News-Tribune ,_... ........... , . . . ...... ................. ._._._ .,_.. -------.. --.. -Figure 3: February 13, 1921 Fort Pierce News-Tribune . And for part of each year during much of the early 1900's a fleet of Fort Pierce commercial fishing captains set out in small boats by sea for Cape Canaveral. Their families followed them up the coast by automobile and stayed in cabins they had built on the beach. The fishermen moored their boats in the natural lee of the Cape. They used smaller skiffs to load and unload their fish through the surf to the Cape Fish House built on the beach and to carry their cotton nets to the beach to dry on racks. There are few recorded firsthand accounts of these early days of commercial fishing. In this book, five survivors of those times chronicle in their own words their experiences and adventures at Cape Canaveral. They also describe life during prohibition, the Florida land boom, the Great Depression, World War II, and the following decades. It is oral history as they remember it . In his 2009 interviews]. C. Monroe, born in 1918, a ninety one-year-old retired commercial fishing captain begins the book by describing the death of his father, the "High Sheriff "of St . Lucie County. According to Mr. Monroe, his father was killed in 1921 by "bootleggers" and thrown overboard in the Indian River Lagoon near Oslo between Vero and Fort Pierce. He was ferrying the above ill-fated boat load of liquor back to Fort Pierce. 4


FIRE IN THE WATER He then shares many sea stories and fishing tales, including one about encircling a school of large kingfish with a mackerel net at night and watching the fish swim around inside the net "like cattle circling in a feed lot." As they swam passed the stern of his boat, he successfully gaffed one. He and his crew then proceeded to gaff over two thousand pounds of large free-swimming kingfish that night. On December 7, 1941, Captain Monroe was living in a bunkhouse behind the fish house at Cape Canaveral and recalls asking, ''Where the hell is Pearl Harbor?" when a friend informed him that it had just been bombed. He also tells about serving in the U.S. Navy on a munitions supply ship during World War II. He relates many war stories including witnessing his sister ship disappear in a massive explosion. Donald Root, born in 1940, son of a commercial fisherman, and himself a commercial trout fisherman and former net fisherman, who as a child migrated seasonally with his family to the Cape, added priceless stories and insights to this book. For many years his father was the main striker or mate for Captain Terrell Hayes, a major patriarch of the migrating fishing fleet from Fort Pierce. Captain Hayes also owned the ill fated smuggling vessel referred to above. Don Root says that for a child, life on the beach at Cape Canaveral was wonderful . Included in Mr. Root's many descriptions of early commercial fishing, he tells how it was possible to identify various species of fish in night waters by their unique phosphorous trails. They could literally read the fire in the water . Born in 1929, Bob Terry, an architect and son of a banker, was the nephew of Terrell Hayes. He shares childhood memories of life at Cape Canaveral with his aunt, uncle and cousins . He also describes growing up during the Great Depression in Fort Pierce, the 1949 hurricane, and personal experiences in the naval reserves. Tommy Taylor, born in 1927, was the main go-to mechanic for the Fort Pierce fishing fleet during the mid 1900's, and later an auto mechanic instructor at Fort Pierce Central High 5


HOWARD School and Indian River State College, provides many exciting tales. He too spent time as a youth fishing at the Cape with his best friend, Gene Hayes, son of Captain Terrell Hayes. Mr. Taylor describes early trips to Cape Canaveral with the Hayes family, Atlantic commercial snapper fishing, catching huge goliath grouper in the Fort Pierce Turning Basin, a daring and heroic rescue during the 1949 hurricane, drug smuggling on the Florida coast and many aspects of growing up during the Depression in South Florida . In the fifth chapter retired commercial fishing captain, Charles Anderson shares his early adventures growing up and living in the Fort Pierce fishing community on Second Street. Born in 1932, he describes two sinkings at sea while fishing with his father, fishing at Cape Canaveral where his mother cooked for the fishermen, the hurricane of 1949, a German u-boat encounter off Fort Pierce in the early years of WWII, a bull shark attack where he nearly lost his foot , the hurt of the net ban, as well as many other tales of the time. History, like these interviews, twists and meanders . This book takes the reader back to an earlier, far more sparsely populated time in Southeast Florida, where the coast and beaches were open and free of condos, hotels and homes. Fishermen had the Florida coast to themselves. This book begins during the early and divisive years of prohibition and the Great Depression and culminates during the smuggling decades after World War II, the advent of large roller-rig commercial net boats and finall y the end of commercial net fishing in Florida waters when, in November of 1994, seventy two percent of Florida voters said "yes" to the constitutional amendment limiting marine net fishing in the state. Using firsthand accounts, Fire in the Water depicts an exciting and unique slice of early Florida coastal history. 6


FIRE IN THE WATER lhtf>ACKUf Figure 4: The cabin cruiser loaded with the cases of whisky might well have b ee n a Fort Pierce built Backus Sportskiff, like the one pictured here . Courtesy of St. Lucie County Regional History Center. 7




FIRE IN THE WATER CHAPTER 1 -J. C. MONROE Interview with]. C. Monroe, 12-18-09 Figure 1:]. C. Monroe. Courtesy of Terry L. Howard . I was born on July 23rd, 1918, in Fort Pierce, Florida. I was born in the jail house, the old jail house when my dad was High Sheriff in 1918. My dad first was at Winter Beach up there. Yeah. He came down here before I was born. He was a sheriff for a long time . And then he got to be High Sheriff. That's when he got killed up there near Vero Beach. He got lcilled up there near Vero by bootleggers. Somebody killed him. Bootleggers were on the boat he had. Well, he had a boatload of liquor up ther e. He went to bring it back down here. On the wa y back, they killed him and threw him overboard . Broke his neck and threw him overboard . Somebody had a boatload of liquor up there. And he went to get it and bring it back down here . He got killed when I was about three years old. You can figure that out. I'm 91 now, so it was about 88 or 89 y ears ago, I guess probabl y about 1921. W. R. Monroe. His name was W. R. Monroe , William Robertson Monroe. 9


HOWARD Figure 2: Sheriff WR. Monroe, "High Sheriff" of St . Lucie County Florida 1920-1921. Courtesy of J.C. Monroe. His picture is in the jailhouse. I mean the new Sheriff's Office now, on the wall. Wherever the hell it is down there on Midway road. There was Sheriff Merritt, my daddy and Carlton, all of them are on the wall there. Well, he went up there to Vero with the other sheriff deputies. He sent two bootleggers back and he had one of the guys still in the little boat with him and they were bringing it back down here. They didn't make it back Oslo is where he got killed. He got killed right in front of Oslo. Oslo was there till, hell, about ten years ago. They blew up the boat. Blew it up. There was a channel there at Oslo. It's still there. 10


FIRE IN THE WATER Fort Pierce News-Tri.huge Figure 3: News of Sheriff Monroe's demise appeared in the Fort Pierce News-Tribune on Tuesday, March 29, 1921. Living on a House Boat When I was twelve, we lived on a houseboat south of Taylor Creek before it was filled in there. I lived there with my sister, my brothers. We had two bedrooms in it and a kitchen and place where you eat My mom, she worked mostly at the tomato packing house. She was a hard working woman. My stepfather, he was a carpenter, and he fished sometimes, too. He did any kind of carpentry; he could work on anything. I lived all over Fort Pierce. I lived in a boatyard, on that houseboat. I used to live down here where the old sand fill was pumped in where the big pile is today, along the river shore there by the Fort Pierce Turning Basin. On the north side of the South Bridge, the other side of the railroad track there. That was all filled in about 1927 or so. That used to be all river there. Then we moved out to the boatyard on Second Street. That's where all the fishermen lived. I think my mom got insurance or something for my dad's dying. Yeah, I'm pretty sure she did. But she worked her butt off bringing us boys up. 11


HOWARD Figure 4: J.C. Monroe, (right) and brothers Barney and Dub. Date unknown. Courtesy of J. C. Monroe My Brothers There were four of us. My oldest brother passed away. He was about two years older than I am, and another brother was about five, six years older. Another brother was eighteen years old when he was killed in Germany during World War II. Kenneth Woods. He was my half brother is what he was. There were four of us boys, and one girl, Edna Monroe. Momma raised us all up. Oh, she worked here and there. She used to work at the canning plant south of town, a tomato packing house. Well, brother here, carpenter, he's the carpenter, damn good one. That's my brother. We fished together before the war. We fished together there. Sometimes, he fished, but other times he did carpenter work. Me and him, my brother, we built three or four houses down south of town. Sometime I worked with him in the summertime. In the wintertime I fished in the ocean. School I passed the eleventh grade and quit. It was the Depression. It was hard times, real hard times. I started at the o ld place down there on Orange Avenue, that old school house there. It used to be a Catholic school at one time. St. Anastasia. It was 12


FIRE IN THE WATER the only damn school in Fort Pierce. And I went there. Next time, I went to the school over there on Delaware. Gutting Fish I remember Walter Peterson used to get called out of school to go help gut fish. Some days there'd be so many damn fish you couldn't see over the pile of 'em. They'd pile up all day long in that fish house. Me, I didn't get called out of school, but I knew a bunch of fellows that did to do it. I went in the afternoon after school, and I'd gut till about dark, yo u know. Every day the fish house was pretty much plumb full of fish . It was mostly mackerel. I never seen no kingfish back then. I saw a lot of mackerel though. Mqstly net fishing in Fort Pierce. Fort Pierce was all net fishing. Figure 5: Aerial view of Fort Pierce in the late 1920s . The fish houses were l ocated on the docks out over the water . When that area was filled in, the fishermen that lived along Second Street lost their waterfront property . Courtesy of St . Lucie County Regional History Center . Second Street in Fort Pierce There used to be a bunch of fishermen that lived on Second Street in Fort Pierce, yeah . Terrell Hayes, the Arnolds; a bunch of 'em. And Don Root's father who used to fish for Terrell 13


HOWARD Hayes. Root. He fished a lot of years for Terrell Hayes in the ocean. And, he did a lot of his fishing in the river. Yeah, he fished the river. Swimming I'm a pretty good swimmer, yeah . Oh shit yes. I swam in Taylor Creek when I was young. Oh, God, yeah. After I was about five, every day I'd go down there every afternoon and swim in Taylor Creek. I cut the fool all afternoon down there. Yeah, I had a good time to growing up here in Fort Pierce. I had a good time. The water was all right in Taylor Creek. It was clear and clean. Figure 6: The mouth of Taylor Creek in Fort Pierce in 1961. Courtesy of Ray Perez. Moore's Creek But Moore's Creek, there was shit, condoms, rubbers and gunk. Used to have four sewer pipes run from south of town down there right into the river. Raw sewage, right into the river. It was all raw sewage from North Fort Pierce in Moore's Creek. Well, you'd find things like old used rubbers there and 14


FIRE IN THE WATER things, like I said. It was nasty. Taylor Creek wasn't like that. It used to be clean. Used to be. Today the fertilizer off these damn farms has about ruined Taylor Creek. One year I walked down there and saw several thousand pounds of mullet dead -just floating in the water. Well, there was quite a few boats around back then. Moore's Creek was awful dirty, awful dirty around the sewer pipes there. Oh, yeah. I think in the river the water was better than it is now, to tell you the truth. Well, except by the sewer pipe by Moore's Creek and one about half way between there and South Bridge, another one went out in the water. They had three of them sewer pipes going in the river. I worked when they built that sewer pipe down there inside, plastering holes where the pipes went together. I worked there about three or four months, I guess . It was a big damn pipe . You could stand up in it. Raw sewage came out of those pipes. Figure 7: Moore's Creek in Fort Pierce, 1910, looking east . Courtesy of St. Lucie County Regional Histor y Center . 15


HOWARD Figure 8: Painting by A. E. Backus of Moore's Creek in the 1920s , looking west. The fishermen are mendin g cotton nets hanging to dry on net racks. The bridge above the fisherman ' s head crosses Moore's Creek. It is known to locals as "Tickle Tummy Bridge" and is still th ere today. Courtesy of Robert Terry Jr. First Bait Business Back in them days, there was a lot of shrimp in the river. You could take a small shrimp net and get all the shrimp you wanted . You'd make a small drag and get two or three hundred shrimp in short order. We used 'em for bait. We had the first bait business in Fort Pierce . My brother owned a beach seine, and we didn't take care of the nets. We'd make about a few dollars apiece, and we'd go to the show and say to hell with it ughs]. People from up Nor th would come down here to go fishing and we'd sell 'em bait until we had enough money to go to the show with; that stopped that. Yeah . And the next day we'd start selling shrimp again . You know how kids are. They don't care about nothing. And we had 'em to eat, too. We'd catch a lot to eat, too. We caught a lot of snook to eat, too. We moved down to Second Street after that. 16


FIRE IN THE WATER The 1928 Hurricane We were in the houseboat when the hurricane tore hell out of everything. The old South Bridge ended up on top of the houseboat. It tore the corner of it out here. That bridge was closed about; I guess it was about two or three years before they built it back. My Moth I kept my sailboat at Moore's Creek when I was a kid. I used to go out there by the bridge with my sailboat and fish . I'd catch sheepshead around the old pilings, you know. As a kid, I'd sell them Uaughs]. I'd sell them at Walter Peterson's dock. I'd get oysters, clams up the river here, about middle Sandy Point. I'd go up there and get a bushel of oysters. We had oysters to roast and everything else. We enjoyed life. But I enjoyed that houseboat. I liked to live on that. I'd give everybody oysters Uaughs]. That's what kids do. I had a sailboat. Ah, it was a moth. Yeah, it was called a moth. I got my rear end whopped many times cause of that damned thing. I'd play hooky from school and I got my tail beat for that. I'd be sailing it all day. One night I went sailing down the river by Mud Creek, and the wind died out. And I didn't get back home till about nine o'clock that night. I really got a whoppin' that day. Whoo! I got a good one. That's when I was living in the boatyard down there by Moore's Creek. It was called Bud Yard -B-U-D Yard. Selling Fish from a Baby Carriage They used to have a firehouse in there and I kept them in a supply of oysters. The bakery down there had their trash cans out back. They kept them clean. They put the day old bread there, and their cakes and stuff. I had a baby carriage. I built the sides up on that carriage. I'd go down there and fill it full of cakes and bread and give it to the whole neighborhood Uaughs]. I give them to everybody. And I'd go down to the tomato packing house and get these culls. Tomato culls, the ones that weren't perfect, seconds. And on the way home, I 17


HOWARD would sell about ten dollar's worth and give the rest to the neighbors. That was down on Second Street in Fort Pierce. I was quite busy. My brother sometime would go fishing out in the river by himself at night and give me the fish, and I'd go out there in colored town and sell the fish. We had no scales so they'd give you so much a fish. I'd go about two blocks, I'd be sold out. I pushed the fish in the baby carriage with the sides built up out there. Yeah, I would go about two hours and be sold out. Go about twice a week. I got about thirty dollars for a couple of trips out there . I give it all to my brother. He had the family. I was only a kid. I helped everybody all along. I wasn't lazy, not a damn bit in the world. The Backuses Every Sunday I used to take Todd Backus and Beanie Backus and all the guys to the islands in the river and have sailboat races. I knew Todd and his daddy and Beanie and George. I knew the Backuses. One day I went down and bailed my sailboat out after a rain and the whole yard was full of money. I couldn't believe it. Yeah I thought I was rich. I picked up a hundred and twenty-five dollars, put it in my pocket. Went home that night, and the next day I went down to the Backus boat yard where they were building boats. I heard Beanie say he lost some money. I said, "How much did you lose, Beanie?" He told me, and I said, "Here," and I gave it all back to him. He gave me fifty cents . I imagine he was a little older than I was . I believe he would have been over a hundred years old now, Beanie would . Todd Backus, now I really liked Todd. Everybody liked Todd. And his daddy; his daddy'd go the movies down here in the nighttime and, "Ho-ho-ho-ho!" You'd hear him all over the damn show, hear him laughing Beanie's dad, he was a hell of a nice guy . But everybody just tore up laughing. He'd have the whole theater laughing. The whole theater would be laughing after that. You'd hear him over the whole damn show laughing, "Ho-ho-ho-ho!" [Laughs] 18


FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 9: Todd Backus on right and David Alexander on Peterson's piers in the mid-1920s in Fort Pierce. Courtesy of St . Lucie County Regional History Center. Sunday Moth Races My sailboat had a mainsail and a jib. But the big sail had a skull and crossbones on it, like a pirate. I worked my butt off on that damn sailboat. I worked about three months before I had it paid off. It was years ago. That sailboat had a short bow. It was a moth. It had a centerboard . It was fast . Everybody had a sailboat . Todd Backus and Beanie Backus and George Backus had sailboats. And the guy that had that photo shop there on Second Street, Harry Hill [many of Hills photos appear in this book]. Every Sunday they'd have the sailboat races on the river. We'd race up and down the river there. 19


HOWARD ' / Figure 10: An early 1900s Harry Hill photo of the Fort Pierce shoreline on the Indian River Lagoon. D. H . "Banty'' Saunders, on the left (later became a Florida State Senator), with brother Ray. The sailboat pictured is likely a moth, described by J. C. Monroe . The cotton nets are drying on racks at the end of the dock in the background. Courtesy of St . Lucie County Regional History Center. 20


FIRE IN THE WATER Figu're 11: The Backus Boatworks on Moore's Creek, probably in the 1920s. Courtesy of St . Lucie County Regional History Center. Sail Trolling for Trout I used to go down the river trolling in my sailboat and catch trout. I trolled with bacon rind. Make a little tail of it, put it on a little hook by the boat and tow it out of that sailboat. I'd catch twenty-five to thirty trout with that damn thing. There was just a couple of hand lines off the side of the boat. You could buy bacon rinds in jars. I could catch all the trout I wanted. I sold most of them, yeah. Nighttime Fishing I used to catch snook on the bridge at nighttime. I'd start at nighttime where the Pelican Yacht Basin is by the South Bridge there used to be a bridge across there until the 1929 hurricane blew it down. I used to go over there at nighttime and catch snapper and snook and I'd fish all night lon g and have a whole bag of fish the next morning. A bag of fish. I was only a little kid, I was just a kid. Yeah, I fished on the bridge over there. At the Pelican Yacht Basin there used to be a bridge across there. Boy, there was plenty of fish back in those days over there. Whoo! Channel bass, snook, trout, I mean there was everything over there. Yeah, Lord. I'd get about twenty five to thirty-five pounds of fish a night . I'd sometimes get 21


HOWARD fifty pounds or better. And I'd take and carry them all the way back. I'd row a little flattie over there at night and row back the next morning. I was busy as a kid. I was real busy all the time. I just loved the water. Ship-to-Shore I bought me a ship-to-shore radio, first one I bought. I talked to the Cape Canaveral and about anywhere I wanted to, and I used it about a year. I got to the dock one day and there was man standing on the dock, and he said, "Take it off." I said, ''What you mean, take it off ?" He says, ''You have to take it off." I said, ''Well, isn't that a son of a bitch." You weren't supposed to have ship-to-shore radios. Everybody was talking on those damn things, you know. It was a powerful damn thing. Yes sir, he made me take it off of there. He had something to do with electronics. I don't know who he was, but he had credentials. Yeah Uaughs]. I had it on there for over a year. I'd talk to people in Cape Canaveral. I'd talk to people in Palm Beach. Yeah, if I found out they caught fish somewhere, I'd go there. I missed it for a long time. Then I bought me a CB and had it about six months, and someone stole that one. I bought me another one. When I quit fishing I had a CB. Goliath Grouper Jewfish and Sawfish Used to, when I was shrimping up there at the Cape, big jewfish would eat the heads when I cleaned the shrimp. You'd pick the heads off, you know? I've seen a lot of sawfish caught in the river, back in those days. People would throw 'em back in the river. Back in the old days, I saw four or five where they brought them to shore to kill them. Last time I saw a sawfish was up at Cape Canaveral. We caught one in my pompano net. He tore the hell out of that net Uaughs]. He weighed about five six hundred pounds. I chopped the saw off with a hatchet that I had; cut the saw off. It was about four or five feet long. 22


FIRE IN THE WATER Bridges A hurricane brought down the first bridge across the Indian River at Chamberlin Boulevard before they finished it. It was the 1926 hurricane. Some of the pilings still are there now. I used go there and fish and fish around it. It was in awful shallow water. It was a one-lane !"ooden bridge. They started it and never did finish it. Part of it was still out in the water in the 1930s and '40s. Then it kind of disappeared. The guy that built the first cement brid ge here was from Georgia. I worked for him about three months. He wanted me to go with him back to Georgia to work on another brid ge, but I didn't do it. I didn't want to get into something I didn't want to get into, so I didn't go with him. My House Army barracks that room there [the kitchen] was an old army barracks. Old World War II barracks. I raised it up eighteen inches higher than what it was and made a room out of it. I put this part here on it . I built the back part on it, and then I built the room for the kids there on the south side. My mother used to own all the land through here. I bought this land from her. And she ordered one of those army barracks like I did. She gave it away to somebody else . She gave it to somebody else. 23


HOWARD Figure 12:]. C. Monroe's house on North Federal Highway (U.S. 1) near Taylor Creek in Fort Pierce. It was built from a World War II army barracks. It is where the author interviewed J.C. in 2009. Courtes y of Terry L. Howard. Carpentering In summertime, sometimes I'd quit fishing and go with my brother; he was a carpenter. I'm a carpenter, too. I'd go work with him when the fishing got real bad. And when the fish showed, I'd go back fishing again. I built me a flattie in the '70s up by the Co-op. I done built a bunch of flatties in my lifetime. They were nice boats. I had that last one about seven years. When I stopped net fishing I put it in the yard out here, and it rained. The worst thing in the world for a wood boat is rain. Yeah. It rotted out. And I gave up on it. Baseball I like baseball. I love baseball. I used to play as a young man. I played softball for a restaurant here in Fort Pierce for about four years, I guess. I played l eft field. Sometimes I would hit home runs. When I was real little, about eight years old or so, we had a hard ball team called the River Rats Uaughs]. And that guy would throw that ball so hard it would scare me half to death Uaughs]. I won't ever forget that. He threw it hard as hell for a kid. I didn't like that hardball. I don't think the River Rats 24


FIRE IN THE WATER ever did win a game Uaughs]. In softball, we played different teams from different towns. My brother, he was a pitcher; I was a left fielder. Good pitcher, he was . Figure 13: A n earl y 1930s Fort Pierce baseball team. All of the local towns had their own teams. This was before integration . Courtes y of T ommy Ta y lor . Fishing the Indian River Lagoon I started out fishing with my brother, and he ended up fishing with me Uaughs J. I fished in the river, ocean. I used all nets. Yeah. Well, some of them cotton nets. We started out with cotton nets. Then we went to nylon. We ended up with monofilament. We kept our boat at Moore's Creek. About all . the fishermen kept their boats there. My brother had a 28 foot sea skiff. Yep . And we fished up the river . We towed flatties up river . Mullet fishing, you know. We towed two rowboats; flatties. We had one from each corner of the skiff. When we got to where we wanted to fish, we'd anchor up the skiff and make a set. Pick it up and go on down the river and then make another set. Ends together. Both the flatties had nets in them. We'd tie the ends of the nets together and both row awa y from each other and make a circle. I rowed a million miles Uaughs J. 25


HOWARD What tickled me, I went in the service; they tried to teach me how to row a boat Uaughs]. That tickled the heck out of me. I enlisted back then in '42, right after Pearl Harbor, I enlisted . Well, sometimes we'd fish at nighttime. It wasn't all day fishing. It was night and day . That's fishing mostly daytime. I used to like to night fish in the summer cause it was so damn hot in the day time. But mosquitoes, oooooh Lordy, those mosquitoes were horrible. They'd eat you up Uaughs]. We used to use that stuff you put on your arms. But, I used to take an extra t-shirt in the summer at nighttime . The one t-shirt would be full of blood, you know, from slapping those damn things Uaughs]. Well, the last part we started spot fishing in the ocean, the last fishing. We used to catch the hell out of spots, croakers, pig fish . We done that for the last few years we fished. When it got too rough in the ocean we'd go back to the river. Back and forth; back and forth . Cape Canaveral I fished the Cape before the war. That's where I really started fishing out in the ocean. I fished for John Carlson, old timer fisherman, and we'd catch our fish, come back in the morning, put 'em in a dory, row to shore, put up on the hill there, put 'em in a wheelbarrow; push 'em up on to the floor. We had the wheelbarrow built up on both sides. It'd take two of us to push 'em up that damn incline. We had boards on the sand there to push the wheelbarrow on. Then we'd go back out to the boat to get the net, put it in the dory and row it inyou had to rack it, you know, or the cotton would rot. We had some net racks over there on the side of the shore ... ocean . . . the beach. Go out and get that damn net, bring it to shore, pull up and rack it. After we racked it, then we'd take five five gallon cans of gas back out and gas the boat again for the next night. Then we'd come back to the fish house and work about three, four hours to clean and gut fish . Yeah, up at the Cape at the Cape. I wouldn't want to ever do it again. We fished mostly at nighttime up at the Cape. We'd row the nets out in the dory and put them in the skiffs. We'd go out at dark and then we'd fish till close to daylight. 26


FIRE IN THE WATER Fish houses and Bunkhouses When we first fished up there, the fish house was a shark house and did it stink, Oh, Lord, it stunk. That thing stunk so you couldn't hardly stand it. They had five-gallon barrels of shark liver, you know. Behind that they had a barracks where we slept. This was before the war. Yeah, we had a bunch of guys that stayed up there. We bunked together up there, cooked together. We caught turtles and killed deer. Hell, yeah, we got turtle meat and ate deer meat and the guys'd go out and shoot ducks. We ate good. I think they charged about fifteen dollars a week to stay up there. We paid Chef King. He was the cook. Oh, we didn't pay rent Uaughs]. We just shared expenses and lived in the old bunkhouse there. All of the strikers lived there, in the bunkhouse. They had a bunch of bunkhouses. There were a bunch of houses built up there a long time before we went up there. Some of the other guys built a little shack, you know. That bunkhouse wasn't bad at all. It was a two-story bunkhouse. It didn't have any paint on it Uaughs]. It never did. The captains had houses of their own. The captains had cabins, you know for their families. All the captains had a cabin. The captains were Terrell Hayes and Johnnie Carlson, Hugo and a whole damn bunch of them. They had eleven boats that fished up there. Eleven boats, eleven. It was the best place to fish Uaughs]. The Arnolds; they was brothers. Edson and Calvin and Early were brothers. Hugo was from Salerno. Three of them lived at the Cape; three Hugos lived there. They had permanent houses on the beach. Well, when you get to Cocoa Beach, from there to the Cape, that's some rough riding. That ale' washboard road was terrible. Wooo! Johnnie Carlson was the captain I fished for. And I think his boy was up there, too. They come from Palm Beach, a lot of them did. Following the Fish We went to the Cape in the fall of the year and the spring of the year. Well, we'd stay 'til the fish left. And July, you got 27


HOWARD another little run of fish up there. Mostly little small kingfish, though. Hard to sell. But, in fall of the year, you go up to fish 'til Christmas. Fish till Christmas then bring the boats back down here and fish 'til about March or April. April is when you go to the Cape. The fish that leave here go up that way. You go up there in March and April. Till the fish all left. I stayed there and fished there all the time. Like pompano fishing and ... July a little mackerel and blue fish, it didn't last very long. I would stay up there, I stayed till the fall up there. I liked it up there. Yeah. I slept in a barracks up there. I used to shrimp out of the Cape . I had a thirty, thirty-two foot boat with a little shrimp net. I fished for a couple hundred pounds a day, a dollar a pound Uaughs]. Burned sixty gallons of gas in one day pulling that damn thing around Uaughs]. Sixty gallons of gas. Yeah, I had an eight-cylinder Chrysler Royal in there. That thing burned gas! Well, up there at the Cape I learned a lot of things about fishing. I was a young man, in my mid teens. And I left there, and brought the boat back down to Fort Pierce for my captain. And he lived in Palm Beach. He had another boat down there. He'd drive the car back and I'd bring the boat back. John Carlson was my captain. I worked on his boat. It was a skiff, about twenty-eight foot. I think it had a little Chrysler Crown, a Chrysler. Most of 'em had Chrysler Crowns . I think it was six cylinders, is what it was. The six-cylinders were pretty reasonable on gas. The eight-cylinder is what burned the gas. Helping Each Other Everybody helped each other. Always. Sometime a boat'd break loose during the night, in rough weather and wash up on the shore. We had rigs to pull 'em up on the hill. When it was rough, almost every day a boat washed up. Every time it got rough, a boat come ashore . It was hard, yeah. We'd pull it up with rollers and patch it up. And when it got calm, again, we'd push it back in the water again. Until the sea acted up again. I think Edson's boat did turn over at the mooring and we repaired it . We put an A-frame in the stern to pull the engine. 28


FIRE IN THE WATER Johnny Williams back there was the mechanic. He was a ver y good mechanic. Every y ear he'd overhaul my motor for me, every year. Years ago. Game at the Cape I don't kill animals. I won't even kill a rabbit. People at Cape Canaveral, they'd shoot deer about twice a year. We'd catch turtles and shoot ducks and deer to eat, you know. And one day I was laying there in the bunkhouse and, "Barn! Barn! Barn!" I run downstairs. What the hell is going on? Guy shot a deer out off the back porch. He shot a damn deer right off the back porch. Five Thousand Pounds of Spots I didn't have my own boat yet, yeah. I didn't get my own rig till after the war. My brother had a rig and I fished for him. The last day we went fishing there with Ernest Bergandi, we went out to Middle Point Cove in the Indian River Lagoon and we caught five thousand pounds of spots with a drag net. Two nets . One's a drag net and the other's a stand-off net. You'd row it around and make a circle like that. You get overboard and pull that thing all the way around and make like a corkscrew out of it. Well, you have one net about forty-five meshes deep, and one about thirty meshes deep. The one that's forty-five you pull it around, so it wouldn't roll up. And we had five thousand pound of fish. In Middle Point Cove down there, we got there about crack of daylight. And we made a blind set there in the Cove. You set one around inside the other net and you pull it down like a corkscrew. You get the deep net and bring it around the side of the other net, all the way around fish keep pulling it though. And make a corkscrew of it. You get overboard in about waist-deep of water. You'd pull it round and round and round and round until all the fish were down in the last bit of net. You ' d get stuck b y a stingra y if you weren't careful . I never did though. A lot of m y friends did Then you got a 29


HOWARD cast net and you cast net the last bit of fish out. Whatever's left in the last little bit, you cast net them out. We had five thousand pounds of spots that day. I think it was the biggest catch of spots caught in Fort Pierce at that time. Nets Summertime, we'd fish the river and the ocean. There was spot fishing, you know, most of it in the river. We started spot fishing in the ocean. Everybody had a net for that. I used a forty-mesh deep, two and seven eighths mesh monofilament net for that . For mackerel, I used three and a quarter inch mesh. I had a stab net and I had a float net. Stick all the way down the bottom. Bluefish, you know. Then I had a float net, it wouldn't sink. The float net was about a hundred and forty meshes deep. My stab net was forty meshes deep. I fished it in fifteen feet of water. And I fished the float net in about fortyfive feet of water. Then there's my other spring fishing, two hundred-mesh net. It was for the spring mackerel run. I used that for the last eighteen years I fished . World War II I enlisted back then in '42, right after Pearl Harbor. I enlisted when the war started. I told my brother, I said, "I've got a feeling I'm going to be a part of it. I think I'm going to join up something . " I went out to the Navy office at the Fort Pierce Yacht Basin and joined up. Well, I didn't like the army. I like the water, you know. I been there all of my life. I wanted to be on the water. But damn, that was some rough, rough water. Hoo wee! Rough, rough water. December 7, 1941 Ernest Bergandi was a friend of mine. He fished with Edson Arnold up there at the Cape . It was the winter of '41. Ernest came running up to me at the fish house saying, ''JC, JC,JC!" I said, "What the hell do you want, Ernest?" 30


FIRE IN THE WATER "Pearl Harbor has just been bombed!" I said, ''What the hell does that mean? Where the hell is Pearl Harbor?" I didn't even know where it was at a ughs]. I had fish at the door of the fish house in a wheelbarrow. And he run down there to me. So I fished out right there the rest of the year with Hugo. I finished the rest of the winter up in the Cape. I brought the boat back down here for him. I said, "Captain John, I want to join something, I have to enlist . " So I had to quit . I told him I had to go into the army or something like that. I had to enlist. And he said, "Okay, well, I hate to lose you." I said, ''Well, sorry about that." I didn't want in the army . But I had to get into it. I went into the coast guard. They said if you go into the Coast Guard, you'll stay home and guard the beaches here. And shit, I didn't see home for four years a ughs]. It was just about exactly four years. 31


HOWARD Figure 14:]. C. Monroe in center with pa ls while in U.S. Navy (date and location unknown). Courtesy of]. C. Monroe and daughter, Sandi . 32


FIRE IN THE WATER World War II -First Ships Well, first, I had boot camp training in New Orleans. Four weeks of that. At basic training we did every damn thing. Mostly we marched. Then they shipped me out of there to Charleston, South Carolina, on a sub chaser. I was in Charleston on a sub chaser about four months. In Carolina on that sub chaser we'd drop bombs and kill fish Uaughs]. We never sank a submarine that I know of. We dropped a lot of depth charges, though. I got tired of that . That's where I transferred. Well, the ship was a brand new ship and wasn't quite finished, so they put me in Ellis Island. I stayed there until my ship got commissioned. But New Jersey there is where the ship got commissioned. It was eight hundred feet long, a troop transport Uaughs]. It was the AP 115, General Randall. It was the USS Randall, after General Randall. We boarded the transport up in New Jersey. We went on a trial run with her and they put it away the next day, and demagnetized it. We demagnetized the whole boat. And after that we went to Newport News, Virginia, and picked up five thousand troops. We had a thousand crew. We went through the Panama Canal and through the Pacific to Bombay, India Uaughs]. Twice . We navigated through the Panama Canal. Then into the Pacific Ocean, headed for Bombay, India. Boy that was a ride. Whoo! You kidding me? Rough. The soldiers were army. Going over there to fight the Japanese . On the second trip down, we come back to San Diego, got five thousand more and started over again. We stopped in the Fiji Islands, picked up three hundred nurses, and went on to Bombay. Back we went again . We were right there by the Taj Mahal. We parked right in front of it in Bombay, India. Twice. On the way back, we dropped troops up in New Caledonia for replacements. And then we went from island to island. We went to Australia a couple times, New Zealand; the Caroline Islands, Guadalcanal, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima, all the islands over there. 33


HOWARD Ammunition Supply Ship Then I changed to an ammunition supply ship and near Iwo Jima, that's where we caught hell Uaughs). We were bombed every night. Oh God, every night for about a month. You could hear them coming. After dark you could hear the damn airplanes coming. And we would put up smoke screens. You can't see the damn thing when you'd get up there to shoot. Turn loose. We just unloaded on 'em. That damn racket was unbelievable. A hell of a racket. We got bombed in both Iwo Jima and Okinawa. That's a chain of islands. That was bad at Iwo Jima. They gave us hell up there. Okinawa Well, the troop ship Randall was eight hundred feet long. She was .a nice ship, a real nice ship; brand new. We got to Bombay, India, the first trip everybody was hanging over the side, I'm telling you. All the troops were seasick. That was a hell of a mess. They were throwing up everywhere, but mostly in their helmets. Those were sick boys. The second trip over there, we had to bury one in Australia there. He was seasick; he couldn't eat anything . The second day there, he was throwing up blood and he died. We buried him at sea. I still dream about it. He kept throwing up blood. We were about three or four days out of Australia there that we had to bury him. We stopped at Australia and that's where I got in trouble. Melbourne, Australia . There was a lot of women there though Va ughs]. All those Australian boys were away fighting . Take your pick. It was like buying groceries. Well, in Australia, I was a coxswain; two stripes. And I was supposed to shoot up in rank. But I got busted down to boatswain's mate; two stripes to one stripe. They brought me down to one stripe. Well, I was a little bit late getting back onboard ship; a little bit late. Anyway, I had got drunk. 34


FIRE IN THE WATER Guadalcanal I went all the way through the Pacific in the war Uaughs]. I ran a landing barge. That was my job. I carried ammunition. The first ship I was on, the Randall, that was a troop transport . The second ship I was on, basically, it carried ammunition and bombs and stuff. Oh, shit. Our sister ship got killed, got torpedoed at Guadalcanal, killed every damn one of them. It got torpedoed at Guadalcanal. They couldn't find any part of the damn ship, or the people. They were loaded down with all kinds of shit, bombs and depth charges, you name it, they had it on there. Same thing like we did. Boy, they got hit and shit, there was nothing left. They was up there by Guadalcanal when it hit. It killed fifty soldiers up on the hill in the barracks, plus the guys on the ship. Killed that many. They never found no part of it. I went ashore there one time in Guadalcanal and an officer, he give me holy hell. "Get your ass aboard that ship and get a long sleeved shirt on." They had malaria there. He give me holy hell Uaughs]. He was afraid I'd catch malaria from the mosquitoes. Landing Barges My job was running a landing barge, and I carried ammunition and other stuff ashore to fight with Uaughs]. I'd run the landing barge right up on the damn beaches. I had to carry the captain ashore about eight times. And I would look I upset, you know. I didn't want to but I did. I had no choice. Yeah, that's the worst damn rating you could have right there. That's the worst rating you could have; coxswain. He gets all the shit. Everybody hands it down to you. I had two stripes one time, about a month before I fucked up. I'd run landing barges right up on the beach, sometimes it was about three or four times a day. I had to carry all kinds of stuff ashore all the time, I had no choice. Guys on the beach unloaded it. You'd drop anchor about a hundred yards offshore. You had a winch in the stern. It would pull you back off the beach. On the beach you put it in reverse and then 35


HOWARD winch the anchor and it would pull you off the beach. I don't know what the hell they called it, but anyway, you press a button and that thing pulled you off the beach. You'd go to shore sometimes in some damn rough weather. And all the way down the line you'd see barges on the hill where they washed ashore. Sometimes you'd land and the stern filled up with water. I'd go ashore with the stuff, and we had an anchor on the back of the landing barge. You get close to shore, you drop it overboard and you go in there and it'd keep you from turning sideways, and you used it to pull you back off the beach, again . But, my buddy , the engineer--! had an engineer on there all the time--he ran the winch. He helped me out. You had to be careful. I found a piece of a Japanese airplane wing on the Okinawa beach. That's thin damn shit, real thin. Big Storm in the Pacific During the war we went through a damn storm. It was a hurricane or a typhoon. It peeled all the paint off that brand new ship. Every bit of paint . What we had to do is, we had to repaint it again. We had to repaint the whole ship in Bombay. Wet Vaughs]. You weren't allowed to go out on the bridge at all . It was all awash. It washed right over the ship. It'd go through one sea and then go right through the next one. It was about thirty-five-foot seas, I think it was . Day and night in that crap. Boy, that was a bad. That's when all of those soldiers got seasick. I was steering that damn thing, too. That's what the coxswain does. It's just like steering a car. Same thing. Easy . Oh, it's easy as hell. You got an officer right there looking at you all of the time: "Turn to port." He'd get on your ass. One day in the daytime I was up there steering the damn thing, and you got four hours of that standing there in one place, you get tired, you know. I kind of leaned up against the gyro [compass]. And he made me come back and polish all the brass on the whole damn bridge. Polish the brass. Yeah. And there's a lot of brass on those bastards. Oooh, I was pissed off. I just leaned a little bit, 36


FIRE IN THE WATER you know. My knees were killing me. That one guy I would have liked to have shot. He wasn't the captain; he's a commander. I wasn't married. I got married after the war. I was twenty six when I came out of the service. Worst Storm While Fishing After I got out of the service, I went through a nor'easter that blew about sixty-five miles an hour. And about four or five big boats went ashore down there in Jensen. The nor' easter, I think the y said it was sixty-five miles an hour. And by the time I got back to the inlet, I didn't have a bit of hide left on my backbone. I tried to stay ahead of that damn thing. It lasted about four days, that damn thing did. Four guys Lloyd McCurty, Eric Noble, and one more guy. Their boats went ashore down there. And another boat, a Joe Roberts built boat went ashore in that storm. I was fishing out of Fort Pierce here. I brought the boat back down here to the inlet and, boy that was some ride, woooee. I had two thousand pounds of mackerel on board, too. That transom didn't have any freeboard. I steered from the bow. It was a twenty-eight -foo t boat built down in Palm Beach. I was fishing the boat for Courtney Harden. It was some rough. The roughest I've ever been in, in a small boat It had a small cabin up in the bow. But I steered right up in the bow. When I got back to the inlet, boy was I glad to see it [laughs]. A lot of boats went ashore. You didn't care how you got ashore; you were just glad to get there. This was the early '50s. It came out of the northeast. It was a booger, I'll tell you. It was slick-ass calm before the storm. There were about fifteen of us down there at night, just off Jensen Beach. It was slick calm. Then it just blew. And I had a heck of a time getting my net back in the boat. My brother, he came in about an hour after I did. I was worried about him. That was some ride back. I been caught in a lot of damn storms up around Wabasso there. I'd come ass end on home [laughs]. Yeah. I got caught in a lot of storms up there. 37


HOWARD Inlets That Salerno Inlet, I don't like that Salerno Inlet, it's nasty. It's always been nasty. It's so shallow you know. And I went in Jupiter Inlet a couple times down there. That's another inlet I don't like Uaughs]. I don't mind the Palm Beach Inlet. I've been in it down there. That Jupiter and Salerno, I didn't like that. I went into Sebastian a couple of times, too, in bad weather. But Jupiter Inlet is--Whoo!--the worst. Hurricanes I was right here for the hurricane of 1949. I built this house in '48. My mother had a house just south of here. I stayed at her house with her and my two kids. It didn't hurt this house much at all . It tore off a little bit of roof right there and it took a little tarpaper off the walls. It didn't hurt my mom's house at all. Those last two storms tore the hell out of this house. [Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne 2004] They tore the hell out of it. All in the living room, was plumb black with mold. I had to tear every bit of the walls and floors out. It's all brand new wood now, the floors and everything. It's all brand new. And it tore the roof off that quarter of the house over there. This part here [the kitchen and bed rooms] I bought it back in 1945 from Jacksonville. It used to be an old army barracks. I ordered it, and I raised it up eighteen inches. That damn thing looked good. It's seventy years old Uaughs]. Biggest Catch Well, I actually had twenty thousand pounds. I gave a hundred yards of net away . I couldn't carry them. This was about three years before I quit fishing. My partner was sick that night, and his captain was sick. So he got me to run the rig for him that night. The boat was thirty-five feet long, the Big Bite. I set off Vero up there. I set off the Vero Road, and I been drinking the night before there. Yeah Uaughs]. I didn't feel too good Uaughs]. The fish pushed it down. It was right off of Vero Beach, in the Cove, about two hundred yards out. Off the Cove there, about a hundred, two hundred yards 38


FIRE IN THE WATER out in about forty foot of wa'ter. I got my eighteen thousand pounds of those damn mackerel, and I had enough and started looking for someone else to give the rest to. The nets were in hundred-yard shots so I cut off the last hundred yards and gave it to somebody else. It was loaded down, too, so I gave it away. We had a roller to pull the net in. We picked the mackerel out of the net at the dock until about noon the next day. The boat was thirty-five foot. It would have held more fish, but I didn't want to fool with them. I didn't feel good. I had eighteen thousand pounds, and I gave a shot of net to Will Revells, and I think he said he had twentyone or twenty-two hundred pounds out of it. Figure 15: J. C. Monroe at helm entering the Fort Pierce Inlet in his boat, a twenty-four-foot Stapleton net boat. Date unknown likely 1960s or '70s . Courtesy of J.C. Monroe. I've had seven thousand pounds of fish on that little boat there. Well, I had picked up and put 'em around the engine box, and then made another set and roped it into the stern and had only about three inches of freeboard left. You'd sink if the engine were to quit. I always kept my engine in good shape. I put about four motors in that damn thing, two brand new 39


HOWARD ones and two rebuilt ones. I put 475 hp Oldsmobiles in that that thing. Whoo. That thing would run. I'm telling you . It had a four-barrel carburetor. It'd run, I'll tell you that. I put a roller on that little boat. I hated to get rid of that damn thing, but I didn't have no more use for it. I quit fishing and didn't have no more use for it. I sold it to someone in Palm Beach. I paid three thousand dollars just for the hull. I put all that other shit myself on there. And I fished it about six, seven years, I guess, and sold it for thirty-five hundred dollars Rescue at Salerno Well, I haven't seen many empty boats floating out there. I've towed in a lot of boats that broke down. In Salerno one day, and there was this flattie on the reef where it breaks . He's right on top of the reef, yeah. I said, "That guy's gonna get sunk there," and before you know it, a sea sunk him. The waves were breaking on the reef. I mean, these rollers were rolling in. Well, it was a little ways off from the St. Lucie Inlet, where it breaks all the time. He was some scared man. I rushed out and got the little boy first and then I got him. He lost all of his rigging and lost all of his rods and reels . He lost everything. I picked up him and his little boy and got 'em back to Salerno. And I towed his boat to the dock, too, but it was a damn job. He says, "Captain, there's one thing you don't have to worry about; me being back there no more." [Laughs] He had had enough of it. I towed a lot of broke down boats in; a lot of sport fishermen, too. I picked 'em up if they were broke down . I didn't . think about it, I just always towed 'em in. It didn't matter who they were . Free Gaffing King Mackerel We used to never set our nets on kingfish. One night we were coming back down the beach from Vero. We hadn't done 40


FIRE IN THE WATER too good. We was looking for Spanish mackerel, and I saw a big kingfish jump. I said, ''What the hell. Let's set 'm." So I run the net around where I thought they were. We had the net circled and both ends at the stern and looked down and, woooee, this huge school of big damn kingfish were swimming around inside that net like cattle in a feed lot. They were just circling together like damn cattle inside that net. We didn't know quite what to do, so I slipped a gaff down there and gaffed one of those big kings and put him in the boat. We had never done anything like that before. So we continued to gaff them fish till we had over two thousand pounds of big ol' kingfish. Toward daylight we made the mistake of shining a spotlight down in the water, and those damn fish spooked and scattered like all hell broke loose. They just shot through that cotton net. Ruined the net. It looked like someone shot grapefruit-sized holes all through that damn thing. But we ended up with over three thousand pounds of fish that night and about two thousand pounds of 'em were kingfish. We'd never done it before and never did it again. Whoooeee! That was something. Lester Revells was with us that night. He was just a kid, and the next day he was down at the fish house making himself a gaff (laughs). He was making a damn gaff. But I don't recall anyone ever doing that again. Sea Monster One night I was out there, out towards the whistler buoy out there, and something came up and raised that boat out of the water and about flipped me overboard. It was something big, a manatee or something big. I was in a thirty-two-foot boat then. I don't know if it was a bat ray or what it was, but I slid right up on top of it and the boat damn near flipped. I went tumbling and almost went overboard. I had a thirty-twofoot boat then, and it scared me pretty bad. I was running out there to go fishing. Running after dark, you know. I don't know 41


HOWARD if it was a big ol' bat ray or what, but anyway, it scared the hell out of me. It was something big; got to be something big. It could have been a whale . It made a hell of a splash, I know that. Whew! It took the boat right out of the damn water. It nearly threw me overboard. Near Disasters One day down there at Mud Creek. I got caught on the beach one time. I was up there on the beach one night and a sea came up there when it wasn't supposed to, and it damn near washed me on the beach. A sleeper wave came in and about washed me on the beach. I've fished from Cape Canaveral to Palm Beaches. Boy, there are some big ground seas down there around Boynton Beach. Whew! I didn't fish too close to the beach after that, not too close. Well, I was riding along there with a beach seine. I dropped the one guy off in the Battie with a beach seine in it, right on the beach, right along the beach. And he pulled that end to the shore. He'd row the other end down the beach and go to shore again. Well, I got my boat up on a sandbar Uaughs]. And I damn near lost my boat. I churned off it and got off of it , but I was sure I was going to lose it. Strange Sights I seen a boat there on the beach one day. A big ol' boat on South Beach. Something they rigged up down south somewhere, Cuba or somewhere. I seen a big whale on the beach there. Way back there in the late Thirties. Big whale. It had come to shore and died. Whoo, God, he was a whopper Uaughs]. He was a biggie . Thirty, thirty-five foot. He was a big whale. Smugglers I never had any run-ins with smugglers. I never saw any pot either. A lot of other guys had, but I never seen none. Never saw the first damn bale, no. 42


FIRE IN THE WATER The End of Nets in Florida Big boats brought on the end of the nets. Well, they get tip there in big boats and airplane, spotter planes and catch sixty thousand pounds of fish a night. They weren't fit to eat. Glenn Black had fifty thousand one day I know of there. And the airplanes would set 'em. People see those boats with all of those fish, and think they're going to catch all the fish. And I knew it wasn't going to be long before they shut us all down. A friend of mine that was a pilot tried to set me on fish one day, and I wouldn't have nothing to do with it . He wanted a penny a pound to set me on the fish. That's what the pilots got, a penny a pound. I told him I'd catch my own damn fish. They'd catch fifty thousand pounds a boat. It was awful. If you'd buy 'em to eat, you bought mush. It would take them all day long to pick the fish out of the net. Mush. Llfe as a Fisherman It was a great life and I loved it. I miss it. I miss catching mackerel and bluefish. (Author's note: J.C. Monroe died on March 18, 2011, and was buried at Riverview Memorial Park in Fort Pierce. Fittingly, Riverview is on a hill that overlooks the Fort Pierce Inlet.) 43


HOWARD Figure 16:]. C. Monroe with his wife and mother in 1963. Courtesy of J.C. Monroe and daughter, Sandi. Figure 17:]. C. Monroe at the hehn of his Stapleton net boat sometime in the 1980s . Courtesy of J.C. Monroe and daughter, Sandi. 44


FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 18: A 1940s picture of]. C. and his wife . Courtesy of J.C. Monroe and daughter, Sandi. 45


HOWARD Figure 19 : Pre W o rld War II photo o f J. C. and hi s wife to-be on an early commercial fis hin g lap -s trak e boat . Courtesy of J.C. Monroe a nd dau g hter, Sandi . William Robert Monroe wa s 41 w hen he became the fourth Sheriff of St. Lucie County in 1920 . Monroe had been a deputy s h e r iff for some t i me, and s e rve d as Chief Deputy to S heriff B ill Jones. Sheriff Monroe had a juris dic tio n e n compassing much o f what we now know as Indian R i ver and Martin coun t i es. Around 4 a.m. on March 25, 192 1 , a b ou t one mile north of S t J ohn' s I s l and, deputies seized a cabin cruiser lo aded w ith 2 00 cases of ille g a l liquor . Three men w e r e arrested, and Sheriff Monroe was called t o join them a t the Winter Beach doc k . As the Sheriff piloted the boat down the Indian River nearing Fort Pierce, th e boa t exp l oded, killing him instantly a n d inJur ing two other deputi es. The s h eriff was 42 years old, leaving a wife and four you n g children. Figure 20: The above i s fro m th e E nc yclo p edia of F l orida S h e riff s 1821 2008 46


FIRE IN THE W 1\TER John C. Monroe July 23, 1918 -March 18, 2011 Fi g ure 21: John C. Monroe was buried in Fort Pierce Ri verview Cemetery which overloo k s the Indian River Lagoon and the Fort Pi e rce Inlet. From .Jo hn C. Monroe's funera l notice. 47




FIRE IN THE WATER CHAPTER 2 -DONALD E . ROOT Figure 1 : Donald E. Root's father, "Heavy" Root on Peterson's dock in Fort Pierc e in 1930. He was 25 years old at the time. The Tarpon weighed 137 pounds. Courtesy of Donald E. Root . 49


HOWARD Donald E. Root's Words: My Father was a Fisherman My name is Donald Root. I was born August 18, 1940, up on Seventh Street in the New Fort Pierce Hospital. We lived about three blocks from the hospital. On Avenue E, right b y the railroad track just two houses from the river. In 1944, my parents bought the house at 209 Avenue E, which was across the street from where we were currently living. They paid three thousand cash for it. My parents lived there until they passed away. I still own the house . It is now some 101 years old. The 2008 assessment was $189,000 for the same house. Early Downtown Fort Pierce In 1958, I graduated from high school at seventeen. I joined the Navy and left home one week later . But my life on Second Street was quite nice. The river came right up to Second Street and I had my boat at the end of the street. Things were different back then . We used to go to the Sunrise Theater; that would be fourteen cents. And they had the Ritz Theater, and it cost nine cents to attend a movie there. On Saturday, your mother would give you a quarter . You could go downtown, and you could see two cowboys, a newsreel and a comedy at the Sunrise. Then you would go back down to the Ritz and go in there and you'd see two more cowboys, and you'd see another newsreel, and another comedy; all that for a quarter. That took care of Saturday. Peterson's Dock 1940s I guess Peterson's dock was quite the place to be when you were a kid. And as the causeway went out eastward to the old South Bridge, there was an auto repair shop there; the city owns that land now. There was the Rendezvous Bar, and that was quite the place, too. It was an old building set up on pilings. It had a big parking lot in front. It was very popular place during the war. And all the sailors come across the bridge on liberty. There was a guard shack at the east end of the bridge to check the sailor's ID and liberty pass. So the sailors would hit the Rendezvous. 50


FIRE IN THE WATER And then back in the Forties, there was a big run of shrimp here. And across the causeway on the north side in the steam ship harbor, there would be probably as many as thirty or forty shrimp boats in there, side by side. And they'd all go to the Rendezvous . And if you go further east there was a parking lot with some net racks backed up to the river. (A net rack is and area of two-by-fours on posts to allow the nets to dry in the sun.) Figure 2: This is the Independent Fish House in Fort Pierce. Unknown date and employees processing fish probabl y 1950s . Courtesy of the Florida His tori cal Society. Then there was the Independent Fish Company. That's where people like Joe Roberts, Jim Thompson, Olaf Simonsen, Maxwell King and a whole bunch of other people fished . But, the next thing you'd come across would be Simonsen's Restaurant, and of course, that was a landmark forever . It later became Toucan's (bar and restaurant) and it was torn down after the hurricanes of 2004. If you keep on going further east, at the base of the bridge you would have C. T . Lowe's Fish House. This is back in the Forties. I was about eight or 51


HOWARD nine years old and fished for Mr. Lowe. We used to bring him pig fish. We'd go up to the bait shop and pay twenty-five cents and get a little paper container of shrimp (dead shrimp). Then we would take our boat, and we had already gotten one of our mother's coat hangers to made a spreader out of it. We took some wire and hooks from my dad's tackle box. Then we'd take some handlines. We would anchor our boat right about where the new South Bridge is. We would catch grunts; pig fish, if you will. Oh, probably at a half a pound variety. Then we'd take them over to Mr. Lowe and I think we got a nickel a pound for them. If we were lucky, we could get all of our money back and make some profit as well, perhaps a quarter and then we could buy some treats like a Coke, peanuts, candy bars, whatever; all at five cent each. That's how I started my fishing career, rowing out there and catching grunts for Mr. Lowe. Figure 3: Simonsen's Restaurant is the largest two story building in the center of this picture . Courtesy of St. Lucie County Regional History Center. 52


FIRE IN THE WATER Early Fish Companies on Taylor Creek On the north end of town, up on Taylor Creek, there was a citrus packing house (it was the Tuxedo, I believe). Then there was the Hudgins Fish Company there big wooden building, tin roof. Hudgins also handled crabs, so there was a crab steamer cooker on the west end of the building. And they had a screened-in enclosure where a group of colored ladies out there picked crabmeat. I guess then they pressurized it and sealed it in those cans and sold it as fresh crabmeat. They had to keep it refrigerated. That was at Hudgins Fish Company. They were pretty busy in the season. In the summertime they got most of the river fish. The next fish company, headed east, would be the Cape Fish Company. Again, all this was on wooden pilings. But they're all set back over the land. At the Cape Fish Company, they only worked during the winter season. They only took mackerel and bluefish and fish like that . They didn't handle any fish in the summertime. If you go further east , there was another fish house. It was always empty and then the next one they called the shark house; that was not used in my day. But, much later on in life there was another fish company built out there on the end called D & D; and that was Dave Davidson . And he handled swordfish and anything you'd bring him. But then of course, back up the creek a ways, Herman Summerlin built Seven Seas Seafood up there, and he processed fish there. This was much later in the 1980's. Shark Island That little island, sticking up there east of Taylor Creek that you go by in your boat headed out to sea, just a rocky knoll now, (thanks to the hurricanes of 2004), that used to be called Shark Island . Shark Island, in reality, was a shark island. The sharks smelled so bad that they cleaned and gutted them out there. And all they wanted was the skin, the fins, and the liver. The fins are used in shark fin soup, considered to be an Asian delicacy, the skin was made into leather products and the liver was used for oil. They threw the rest of it overboard and the 53


HOWARD carcasses just floated away. At one time, many years ago, my father and Terrell Hayes had net racks out there. When you wanted to mend your net, you had to go over to Shark Island and tie your boat up. The net racks were made out of Australian pine posts worked down into the ground. Then you'd have a two-by-four to pull your nets up on. But for the cross members to drag the net over to pull them out on the two-by-fours and rack, you would use cypress poles. To get them, you had to go out west of town in the wetlands and cut some nice straight cypress. And then you'd use a draw adze to take all this bark off of them and then sand them down so they'd be nice and smooth so you could drag your net over them. Australian pine two-by-fours with the cypress cross members. Figure 4: Cuban-American shark fishermen Ray Perez and Anselmo "Chief" Santes skinning their catch on Shark Island in Fort Pierce in the 1960s. Courtesy of Dale S. Beaumariage. 54


FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 5: Salt ed shark skins ready for s hipment to New York. Courtesy of Dale S. Beaumariage. Figure 6: Shark fins ready for market. They are used for shark fin soup, an As i an delicacy . Courtesy of Dale S. Beaumariage. 55


HOWARD Figure 7: The mouth of Taylor Creek in 1940 . Hudgins Fish Company on the left and the Cape Fish Company on the right . Two men in stern of the boat are pulling net into the boat. This was called boating up . Courtesy of Donald E. Root. Figure 8: My father working on the Betty H while tied to the net racks in Taylor creek about 1941. I am the child seated and that is my sister on the left. Courtesy of Donald E . Root . 56


FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 9: This is E dson Arnold's boa t alongside the Cape Fish Compan y fish h o u se in Taylor creek sometime in the 1940s. The Nette was named after hi s wife Jeanette. Co d y Williams had an identical boat named the Babs . On the left side of the pictur e are net s . Courtesy of Terrie Selph, gran dd aug hter o f Terrell Hayes . South Beach Causeway Backus Boat Company had moved across South Bridge, to the South causewa y after the war. Mr. Backus was now building boats there. He was building boats out of plywood. That's the first place I ever saw plywood used. It was quite a sight. 57


HOWARD If you continued further to the east, you come to Baywood Fisheries; that was owned by Herman and Astor Summerlin. And, they ran a little smoked fish company there and I guess they processed a few fish, too. If you go a little bit further east, there was Courtney Harding's Better Seafood. I also fished for him when I was a kid. Courtney Harding had a fish house there. At that time in that life, I guess we were talking about in the 19SOs around 'SS, whatever. We had Better Seafood, Charlie Lowe's Seafood, Independent Fish Company; Walter Peterson's Fish House, the Cape Fish Company, and Hudgins. There were six fish companies at that time, and I guess they produced the major income to the county. Later on in life, Glenn Black opened up his first fish house over by the Gulf Docks, and you had to bring your fish up in a basket . They would lower a basket down to you, from davits, put the fish in it, and haul them up. And that was kind of a pain in the butt. Mr. Lowe moved his place. He built that new fish house out there at the southeast end of the old causeway that has since fallen in. And of course, he was the one that built the fish house where the longline fishermen tie up today next to the inlet on the northwest end of the north causewa y . 58


FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 10: Hudgins fish House on Taylor Creek, Fort Pierce, in the early 50s ( fishermen unknown). Courtesy of Donald E. Root . Cows, Fish and Oranges There was a long history of fish houses in Fort Pierce. And that's pretty much how it was. It was cows, oranges or fish. You had your choice. That's where the money was made and that's how things evolved here in Fort Pierce, the Sunrise City. About My Parents My father was born Clarence Roy Root in 1905 in Jamestown, New York. His parents migrated back and forth from Jamestown to Fort Pierce for the first four years of his life. They would take a steam ship from New York Harbor to Jacksonville. The trip from Jacksonville to Fort Pierce was on a stern wheeler . 59


HOWARD Figure 11 Stern wheeler St. Lucie, believed to be at a dock in Fort Pierce. Courtesy of the St. Lucie County Regional History Center. Then in 1909, they sold their dairy farm in Jamestown and became full-time residents of Fort Pierce. My grandfather then became a construction contractor and built several large buildings around Fort Pierce, all of which have suffered the wrath of time or have been removed. My father went to school in the schoolhouse on Indian River Drive. I guess my father started commercial fishing when he was twelve or thirteen . He dropped out of school in the tenth grade and started commercial fishing full time as that was about the only job around. Once I asked him why he had quit school at such an early age. He replied, ''You could catch just as many fish with a ninth grade education as you could with a twelfth." He started fishing way back around 1917 . 60


FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 12: Fort Pierce School House in 1908. The Indian River Lagoon is visible in the background . The school was located just south of Moore's Creek in Fort Pierce . Courtesy of St. Lucie County Regional History Center . My Mother Mother was born Agnes Alice Brown in 1915. She was born on Merritt Island near Cocoa. The settlement was called Georgiana. There were no roads on the Island and no bridges to the mainland and that required the use of a boat to and from Cocoa for supplies. 61


j ' HOWARD \ ' Figure 13: This is the Swell. It is the boat that my grandfather used to take his family to and from Cocoa. Courtesy of Donald E . Root . My mother had six brothers and four sisters. That made a total thirteen for supper every night. My grandfather grew oranges, grapefruit, avocados, and mangos. There was a blight on the citrus one year and it wiped out the crop. He then decided to move to Orange Heights, Florida, which is sixteen miles east of Gainesville at the junction of highways 301 and 26. There he built a saw mill and cut the timber to build his home. That was during the Great Depression. They had a sugarcane mill to grind the cane to make sugar and syrup, a smokehouse for meats, chickens for eggs and meat, pigs, cows for milk and butter. The butter was hand-churned. They grew and canned their own produce. There was a pear orchard, a blueberry patch, and eighty acres of pecan trees. The fence line would yield buckets of ripe and delicious blackberries in the fall. The sawmill was a business, as other settlers required lumber as well . And for us kids there was always an abundance of horses to ride. The property is still in our family, and we all migrate back there every October for our Brown Family Reunion. 62


FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 14: The farm house that my grandfather built in the 1920 s at Orange Heights Florida . The house is still there and in great shape. Courtesy of Donald E. Root. 63


HOWARD Figure 15: This is my mother, father, sister Kathryn and me in 1941. The photo was taken in front of Edson Arnold's house on the beach at the Cape. Courtesy of Donald E. Root. Fishing at Cape Canaveral During certain times of the year, the fish would be more abundant at Cape Canaveral. They were mostly migratory types of fish. There was not an inlet at Canaveral at the time. Nobody used the Sebastian Inlet. Maybe people that lived there did, but no fisherman from Fort Pierce would use that inlet. It was far 64


FIRE IN THE WATER too dangerous. The Sebastian Inlet was closed most of the time from 1920 thru the 1940's. In 1948 a permanent opening was made. It was only 550 feet wide at the mouth and 15 feet deep. This bottleneck made for very dangerous conditions. Figure 16: Terrell Hayes on the bow and my father in the stern of the twenty-four-foot clinker built Betty H. You can see the steering ropes in his hand that went around the stern to a rudder post. Also see the spotlight on the bow. That was all the control the captain had. If you wanted to change gears or speed up or slow down, you would call back to the striker . The centerboard was to reduce the rocking effect of the boat, as it was round bottomed. Clinker built boats, also known as lapstrake . They are built with the edges of the planks overlapping. They were fastened together with copper rivets on oak ribs . Courtesy of Donald E. Root . 65


HOWARD Figure 17: Terrell Hayes in 1957. Courtesy of Terrie Selph, gra nddau ghte r of Terrell Hayes. The Voyage The fishermen would get two or three or perhaps more in a group, and they would load jerry cans (military type metal containers) full of gas in their boats as the fuel tanks would not hold enough to make the seventy-five-mile trip. They would come out of Fort Pierce Inlet and set a compass course north-northeast for Canaveral. These boats had no electric bilge pumps, they had no radio-telephone, they had no EPIRB and no cell phones. They just headed off into whatever the y met. They had no way of knowing what the forecast weather would be, other than the newspaper or the local radio station. When you headed out, you just looked at the sky and made your decision "Let's go today." So a group of boats would head out for Cape Canaveral. I think it was an eight-or ninehour trip depending on sea and weather conditions. When arriving at Cape Canaveral they had moorings waiting on them. 66


FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 18: Pictured here is a pair of the dories used at the Cape landing . This is believed to be the Gladwin boat works at Moore's Creek in Fort Pierce . Note how the tow line goes all the way around the boat so as not t o pull the bow stem out when the heaving engine cable is attached and the boat i s heavily loaded . This i s probably the 1930s. Courtesy of St. Lucie County Regional History Center. 25 21 I I I l \ \ \ Figure 19: This chart shows the Cape and surrounding sand shoals. The depth readings are in fathoms (1 fathom = 6 feet) So it is obvious that there is a lot of shallow water to fish . The X marks approximate location of the fish camp. At the time, there was no inlet at Canaveral. It was built between 1951and1955. 67


HOWARD The Cape Several people would go ahead in the fish house truck. They would have to launch one skiff from the beach into the surf. And as the boats would come in and tie off on the moorings, they would pick them up and take them back to the shore. Each boat had its own dory on the beach. That dory would be used to travel back and forth to their moored boat. The dories were left on the moorings when t hey l eft to search for fish. There probably were about ten or eleven vessels at any one time that were moored off there in what we called "the bight ." That's w h en you come around the point of the Cape, the shoal runs off to the south, and the Cape, of course, faces a little bit east-northeast, so it made a protected harbor. It had about seventeen feet of hard sand bottom there, which made a pretty good anchorage. And we were two miles west from Lighthouse Point. There was also a barracks that housed the solders that patrolled the beaches durin g World War II. Just to the west of the light was a fresh water pond. The migrator y water fowl were abundant here. Figure 20: The original Cape Canaveral Lighthouse built in 1847. It was l ocated on the point of the Cape. It was moved about a mil e west of this location in 1983. Courtesy of The F l orida Hi sto rical Society. 68


FIRE IN THE WATER The Cape Fish House A commercial fishery was initially established in the late 1920s as a place to render sharks for fins, liver oil, and hides. It was located on the beach southeast of the lighthouse. The Cape Fish Company became a fisherman's co-op in 1936 and operated alongside the shark business. Because the rendering of sharks was odoriferous much of the time, the place was dubbed "Stinkmore" by some of the people who worked there. With the exception of two families, the fish camp was a temporary home for most members of the co-op. As a result, the Cape Fish Company built a bunkhouse to accommodate fishermen as they waited night fall when they could resume fishing. A communal dining room was supported by all the members of the co-op. The fish house was a very large structure with a tin roof. It sat a long way back from the beach. There were two trams that were on one set of railway tracks, one in front of the other, that we would load the dories on, as required . On the beach there was a large gasoline engine with a cable on a drum. We called it the heaving engine. When you would land your dory into the surf a steel cable would be attached to your boat's bow stem. Two twelve-or sixteen-foot wooden planks were laid in front, and large log-type rollers with heavy hemp ropes on both ends would be placed in front of the boat. This process would be repeated over and over until you reached the tram . Then you physically had to push it onto the tram, still on rollers. If you were the first boat, you would move it forward onto the first tram to allow someone else to use the second tram. The deck of the tram was just flat planked decking. This would be the boat with your nets in it or your fish, either one, perhaps both, if you had a poor night fishing . You'd have to push the tram by hand all the way up to and into the fish house. I think that track was about six hundred feet long. You went right inside this big building. And on both sides were benches, and they had scales, and you'd weigh your fish. Then they would dump them up on these benches. And that's where the fish house employees would stand and gut them. Fish would then be chilled in large wooden vats filled with ice and 69


HOWARD water, then dipped out and pack e d in wooden boxes with ice o n top and bottom. The re was 100 pounds of fish per box. They were now read y for shipment. The fish house help was brought in from Cocoa and A n gle City (a s mall fishin g community on Merritt Island ) when needed. Now you would remove your dory from the tram. But while the other boats were unloadin g, yo u had to wait until all the boats with fish got unloaded . Then yo u had to row back out into the surf and go back to your boat to retrieve your cotton n et. Because all the nets were made out of cotton, they had to be hung out to dry. They hadn't invent e d nylon, yet . In the back of your boat yo u would lim e the net to get the fish slime o ut. You'd use powdered lime mixed with sea water and bail it over the net . Then yo u would pull that net into your dory after all the fishing boats had unloaded their fish, row back to the surf, go back with the heavin g e ngine, pull that up, back on the tram up the tracks to your net rack. Then you'd pull the net onto the rack so it could dry in the sun. Everyone took a turn getting on the tram to get to their particular net rack. After all that, you'd go to your hous e or the bunkhouse kitchen and ha ve your breakfast and go to sleep for a little while. About four o'clock, you' d hav e to get up and everyone would take turns, again, taking the net off the rack, putting it into their dory, going back to sea, pullin g it out of the dory into the boat. Once the net was in the sea skiff, they would cover it with a waterproof canvas . They would tuck the canvas right up tight with great care becau se if it didn't get wet, and if they didn't see any fish that night , they wouldn't be required to pull it back out and dry it. They were ve r y careful about keeping that net dry. Also, just to add to the hard ship, all of your gaso line was transported from shore to your skiff in metal jerry cans. Hard Life As yo u can see, it was a very hard life. And there would be no ice in the camp if the fishermen didn't catch fish. There would be no reason for the fish company to bring ice out there. Ice came from Cocoa where there was a lar ge icehouse. 70


FIRE IN THE WATER Cocoa was about nineteen miles from the camp. That was, as I recall, about seven miles of washboard shell road that the fish company built and maintained. And there were no trees on the Cape. I don't think there was even a cabbage tree. It was palmettos, myrtle bushes, and a few sea grapes along the coast. You would have to ride on a washboard road for the first seven miles. And the other twelve miles to Cocoa would be on Causeway 520 into the old town of Cocoa. Now, those numbers may not be exactly right, but it was about nineteen, plus or minus a few. Fishing the Cape There was Cocoa Beach, but there was nothing there. Mr. Fisher had a restaurant there called The Surf. Mr. Ed Fisher (I believe his correct name) was part-owner or owner of the Cape Canaveral Fish Company. The fish produced at the Cape were mostly mackerel and bluefish. It would be a seasonal catch. Figure 21: Spanish mackerel and bluefish The Slough The boats would fish off on the shoals and go around through what we called the slough right along the shoreline at the point of the Cape. There's a wash that runs through there, a deep cut. If you were familiar with it, you could take the short cut. Not much fun on a dark and stormy night. It's still there today. If you wanted to go north, you wouldn't go out around a mile or two offshore; you'd go right close to the beach and go through that slough. The boats would fish off on the shoals, and the shoals run about nine miles from the point off to the south. And in the shallow, sandy bars, they would fish for mackerel and bluefish. But, also, they would 71


HOWARD fish along the beach and offshore on the shoals; off of what they called "the false Cape," which is another point of land that would confuse people, think it was the Cape. (This slough is involved in a smuggling incident recalled later in the book.) Turtle Mound Past Lighthouse Point and heading north up the beach, they would fish all the way to what they called Turtle Mound. Turtle Mound is a big mound (approximately forty-five feet) up there that the Timucua Indians had made with oyster shells way back before the Spaniards got here. Now it is a part of the Canaveral National Seashore. It is probably only about nine miles south of New Smyrna Inlet. But I don't remember ever going into New Smyrna Inlet which is known as The Ponce de Leon Inlet. Beach Seining So, that would be it. Then we'd fish mackerel and bluefish and sometimes pompano. They brought a handsome price and were sought after greatly. But, in the summertime, when there was very little wave action and the water was clear , we would use a beach seine. The whole seine was about eight hundred or a thousand yards long on one side of the bunt and pocket. The bunt is made of some very heavy twine to keep the fish from busting out. Then there would be the pocket. The pocket was square with a large opening in the front and had corks all around the back. It was small mesh and heavy webbing, and it has a tremendous amount of corks and a tremendous amount of lead, so the fish couldn't blow it off the bottom and go under or sink it and go over it. You then would just go down the beach with the power boat, towing a seine boat behind it full of net. When you see the whiting running off the beach (they make a sand trail like a rocket taking off), then you go in closer to the shore. A man would jump overboard with an anchor attached to the net, run up on the beach, and stick the anchor in the sand. Then the person in the skiff towing the dory would go down the beach 72


FIRE IN THE WATER setting the net out. And at the other end put another anchor up on the beach. At that time the power boat would anchor off shore and the crew would come ashore in the seine boat or dory. Now we have the fish pinned to the beach in a half moon. Then you'd go down the beach, starting at the far end where you originally set it, and you would pull the net up onto the beach. You just keep pulling that up on the beach, as you moved close to the pocket. The fish can see the net because it was daytime and it was cotton net, so they wouldn't hit it . They would just shy away from it. And they'd keep shying away as you work pulling the net up on the beach. Finally you'd push them all down into the corner where the bunt and pocket are, and now you'd have them so they can't get away. By now the fish are in a tight bunch and have the water all churned up with sand . Then you just keep pulling it down until finally you get the net between the dory and the skiff, and you (what they call) dry it up you bring up the lead line on the skiff and the cork line on the dory and now there's this great big pocket with all these fish in it. So now you have a big dip net, and you start dipping out the fish and dumping them on to the deck of the main boat. You'd catch all kinds of fish, big ones and the small ones as well. And I'd been on adventures with my father where one time we dipped out two entire boatloads of fish that is two skiffs. We'd get one skiff full, perhaps four or five thousand pounds, and pull it out and bring another boat in and fill it full. I guess the most exciting thing was to set a large school of pompano. They are jumping and skipping everywhere. They were worth a lot of money . Figure 22: pompano and whiting 73


HOWARD Figure 23: Commercial fishermen hauling in their beach seine net full of fish in Naples, Florida in the 1940's . Notice the huge Snook in the center. Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida. 74


FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 24: Beach seining on a summer's day. Courtesy of the State Archives of Florida. A Kid's Dream For a kid, summer at the Cape was awesome. And you'd spend the whole day with your dad out on the beach catching thousands of pounds of fish and seeing all this adventure. It was a wonderful summer thing. But, again, we used to go to the Cape in the fall when migrating fish would come down. The mackerel and the bluefish would first come down. Then we would go back in the summertime. If there's no fish to be caught here in Fort Pierce, we would go back to the Cape and fish. But as my sister and I got older, we had to attend school in the wintertime, so we didn't get to go in the wintertime unless it was a holiday or a weekend adventure. We only spent our summers there. But, you can imagine living out on the Cape 75


HOWARD with nobody around you in 1940s and '50s. It was an awesome experience. It was also a hard experience. Back in the early days, there was no electricity. The fish company had a generator, but we had a two-burner kerosene stove at our cabin. We had kerosene lamps, and you had a pitcher hand pump on the back porch. We shared an outhouse with three other homes. There was newspaper in there for toilet paper. All of the men would get together and dig a large pit. That was your garbage disposal area. . There were no public showers or anything. So we would, well, I would have to pump a tubful of water to sit on the back porch of our little shack to get warmed by the sun. That back porch was on the north side of the house. And when the water got warm, my mother would drag the tub into the house so my sister could take a bath. I had to sit outside. When my sister got through bathing in the water that I had pumped, I got to go in and take a bath. But, you didn't need a lot of baths at the Cape . Everything was sand; there was no dirt to speak of. There was no grass. There was plenty of sand spurs. Life was great. Later there was a porch placed on the back of the house. That made life a bit easier. What is hard to believe is that it was dark at night. No street lights, no lights from nearby towns and only the search beam from the light house . It was also very quiet unless the fish house generator was running. 76


FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 25: Our house at the Cape. The year was 1941. I was nine months old, and m y s ister Kathry n was three. Courtesy of Donald E. Root. When the wind blew, the boats didn't go fishing . There were no credit cards. There was no company advance for a pay check. When you didn't go fishing, you didn't get paid. And when you did get paid, you received a check from the fish company and you had to go to Cocoa to cash it . And so you'd go to Cocoa on payday,, on Saturday. There you would buy enough groceries for the week, or however much you could afford . While your mother and father were shopping, they would give you some change to go to the theater. All of this was right down on the Brevard Avenue in Cocoa, right on the Indian River. Everything was there -the food stores were there, the movie was there, the banks were there. And it would be a wonderful treat to get to go to Cocoa. We Ate Well If the wind blew, Dad didn't go fishing and didn't get paid. We just lived off the land like hunters and gatherers. We ate a lot of turtles. When the turtles would crawl onto the beach in the summertime, we would butcher and eat them. When we'd get a big turtle and the men would drag it up there, and then 77


HOWARD they would share it; you get a flipper, you get a flipper, and you get a flipper . Everything was shared . If anybody had anything that was good, they would share it with the rest of us . Often if there was no fishing going on, several men would take a couple of wash tubs and several cast nets and go over to the Banana River and get a tub full of large fat Banana River mullet. They would be dressed out and smoked in a very large wood smoker using bay wood. That was also shared and a very tasty treat for everyone. When the wind would blow from the northeast in the fall, the men would go to the lighthouse pond nearby. Several with shotguns would get on the east end and the others with a washtub would get in the cattails on the west . On signal, they would make a lot of noise and the migratory fowl would take off into the wind . The men with the guns would open fire. The birds that were hit would fall into the water and the wind would move them down to the waiting men with the washtub to put them in . Everyone had duck that night. My father also had a collection of decoys he used for duck hunting. I still have one. My father liked to hunt cottontail rabbits in the sand dunes along the shore at night with a .22-caliber rifle and head light. It was a light attached to an elastic band placed around your head and a six-volt dry cell battery hung on your belt. I would follow carrying a burlap bag. One night we must have shot fifteen or so before he asked, "How many do we have, Son?" The rule of a hunter is you shoot it, you eat it. He was up most of the night dressing out the rabbits . The next morning we went door to door passing out rabbit meat. On the kerosene stove, we didn't do a lot of baking or anything fancy, but there was a lot of good eating. My mother had a little oven with an asbestos bottom. She would set it on a burner and bake a pie. It was great. We ate a lot of fish, rabbits, coot gizzards, and ducks. We ate turtle egg pancakes. You take flour and shortening, canned milk and mix it with turtle eggs, because we didn't have any chicken eggs, and mother would make turtle egg pancakes. And we didn't have any syrup, so she would take brown sugar and mix it canned milk off the shelf 78


FIRE IN THE WATER (because there was no ice), so we'd stir up some canned milk in the brown sugar and eat it over our turtle egg pancake. And it wasn't all that bad. And sometimes you'd have dry cereal. There wasn't any ice so there wouldn't be any milk, so you'd have dry cereal with canned milk on it. That's what the people in the house next door were eating. It was what we were all eating. It was the same for everyone. It wasn't bad. Some of the women would use the turtle eggs for baking cakes, cookies and the like. My mother never did. She said that they were too strong. Layout of the Cape Fish Camp The fish camp probably set back a quarter of a mile from the dune line. There were three dune lines, as I recall. They had original dune line, and then there was another dune line, and there was third dune line. We set behind all of those -three dune lines of beautiful white sand with sea oats on them. At the camp, there was the rather large fish house made of tin sheeting right on the south side of the camp. It was the southernmost building. The railroad tracks that the two trams ran on were extended from within the building south toward the ocean some six hundred feet. There were the sand dunes in its path, so the railway was filled and leveled to make it flat all the way as you pushed the tram by manpower. When I say "south," that's towards the water. The fish house was put on a dune to make it at the same level as the water's edge dune. The north side of the fish house was about five feet up the back deck where the ice grinder and loading docks were. The west side stood on pilings, as the dune ran out here making a low alleyway or gully between it and the building just to the west. That building was the box factory where pre-cut boards that came in large bundles were assembled to make the shipping containers for the fish. As I remember, there were no forklifts. Above the box factory was an apartment-type building. I guess you would call it a bunkhouse. If you were a bachelor, you would sleep in the bunkhouse, and you would have a kitchen where the cook would cook for you. I don't remember who the cook was. 79


HOWARD I But on the north side of the fish house, there was a place you could back the truck up to load the fish that had been packed in ice in wooden shipping boxes. This loading dock was at the same level as the truck bed. There was a second ramp where you backed the truck up and you unloaded these three-hundred-pound blocks of ice you picked up in Cocoa. There was a big ice grinder with a gasoline engine there. You would shove these big three-hundred-pound chunks of ice in there. They would make a loud grinding noise and all these chunks would come out the back into to a large hopper. They would then shovel that into the boxes to pack the fish in. Of course, you have got to know it was a great thing for us kids when they're grinding ice, because there wasn't any ice anywhere to be had. We'd be down there grabbing up chunks of ice and chewing on it. But then all the men would be hollering, "Get back! Get back! That thing's going to grind you up!" So that was a happy event. Also, there was a gas-powered generator that supplied power to the fish house and an electric water pump that pumped water in to a large wooden open-top tank on pylons on the east side of the building . There was an open deck with a showerhead that would allow you to shower in the open. On the west side there was a large walk-in cooler to hold the fish that had already been packed until they were loaded on the truck and taken to Cocoa to be shipped north on the train. The insulation was made of cork. Also, any spare 300-pound blocks of ice would be stored here until needed. Six Hole-er But I do remember, on the northeast side where the ramp was where you loaded the fish, where the ice was brought in from Cocoa, there was an outhouse there, up at the same level as the fish house . Can you believe it? It was a six-hole-er. That's the dandiest thing I ever saw. You went inside and there was this big outhouse and it had six holes in it, so that was quite a sight the first time I saw that. 80


FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 26: 1936 road map of the Cape. North is to the left on this d e piction . This map was prepar e d by "The Florida State Road Department, Division of Res earch and Records in cooperation with the Federal Works Age nc y Public Roads A dministration" in 1936 . Map courtesy of the Florida Historical Society. Old Roads From Cocoa we would take the 520 Causeway to A1A then north to the old pier road then on to the road to the camp. To continue , there was a road that came into camp. There was not any asphalt; there were no millings. It was just sand, dirt and shell. I guess they brought in shell from somewhere, laid it out and made a road out -0f it. If you're familiar with shell at all, once it gets a little rain, its gets real washboard-y. The strange thing was the road was not straight. It curved through the palmettos. It was a single lane and as you rounded a curve you must be on the lookout for oncoming traffic. But there was not much of that. You would pull over into the palmettos to let the other person pass. As you come into camp, the road headed south to the fish house. The houses are laid out as you come in. On the right -81


HOWARD hand side were several homes. Frank Blanchard and his family lived there. Further to the south was Fred Zill, and past an open area was the before-mentioned box factory, bunkhouse and kitchen. And the first thing you come across on your left was a two-story bunkhouse. That was for more bachelors. It was like a dormitory but very basic. And then our house was there on your east side. And then there was a little opening that was somewhat grassy, I guess it was like a courtyard. Terrell Hayes's house was just adjacent to our house . And behind Terrell Hayes's house, there was a little road that went off to the east. Edson Arnold and Jeanette lived there. And can you believe it? They had a pitcher pump inside of their house you could pump water right inside of the house. You didn't have to go outside in the mosquitoes to get a drink of water. And if you went further down the road, there was a very, very sandy road, just two ruts really, and that's where Paul Law and his family lived. The Law house was just a few yards from Launch Pad Three where the first missile was fired from the Cape (more about this later in the book). Three other houses sat on this small courtyard. But most of the men lived in the bunkhouse. The Simple Life Our home in Fort Pierce was right downtown and on the waterfront. We had both running water and electric, as we were only four blocks from the power plant. But we did have a chicken pen in the backyard with half a dozen hens and a rooster. When it came time to go to the Cape, my dad would gather them up and take them with us. They would be free range in the daytime but at night they had a pen to live in that was screened in because the mosquitoes were atrocious. I remember when the time came to return to Fort Pierce, my dad would sow some feed corn on the yard and when the chickens got in a tight bunch he would throw the cast net over them, then load them in the car for the trip back. Of course there was always one that was hard to catch. There we are, half dozen people running around trying to catch that one escapee. 82


FIRE IN THE WATER If you can imagine, when things were slow at the camp, if there was ice in the cooler and it was Sunday there is a good chance someone would get out the hand-churned ice cream machine. Everyone would help crank and share a bowl of ice cream. At night sometimes the folk would gather on the beach and cook out. The bugs were terrible so a piece of old netting would be damped and set on fire in an abandoned oil drum. It would just smolder and produce a lot of smoke and everyone would get in the smoky area to avoid the mosquitoes. The Captains Terrell Hayes, Edson Arnold, Calvin Arnold, Early Arnold, Varian Brown, Frank Blanchard, John Carlson, Paul Law, Fred Zill, Cody Williams and Hugo Johansson. Each boat had one striker. My father fished with Terrell Hayes for seventeen years. There was a great amount of camaraderie, because understand that these people depended on each other. Not only to find the fish and look after each other's wellbeing at sea but also to help them get ashore, because when you land, you are two people in one boat. You're rowing into the beach. If a sea is running, as it often was, your dory is surfing, and you ride right up on these waves. You don't want to wait for the next sea to come crashing in on top of you. Someone needs to be there to grab your bow and hook you up to the heaving engine, or your dory will most likely broach sideways to the sea and fill with sea water. Now you must lay the planks and place the rollers. You need help with this. The planks and the rollers had to be ready to go when they hit the beach. Then hook that cable and engage the heaving engine to the bow of your boat and start hauling you out and laying more rollers. So it took a team effort to make this thing work. And everybody pulled together, and when anybody had trouble, everybody chipped in to help them. 83


HOWARD Figure 27: Here is a picture of m y father (foreground) and Terrell picking up their net (called getting it back) at the Cape . Notice how flat the shore line is. Also notice that they are fishing in the da y time, indicating that they are fishing bluefish . The visible fact that the cork line is disappearing shows that it is a stab net . Courtesy of Donald E . Root. Camaraderie As for the camaraderie, I can remember this many times. As you know, in the fall, it would get rough. The cold fronts would blow in from the southwest and shift around to the northeast. From the north, and from the north west, the Cape gave good protection from the wind. When it would to the southeast, it would break across the shoals and keep the sea down. But sometimes, you'd get some weather in there, and the only way we were exposed, basically, was in an east wind (which is not very common wind), but when it would blow hard out of the east, it would really get rough in the bight. And you couldn't go out there because it was so rough. You couldn't do it alone. All the men would get together -I don't know if they drew lots or they called each other chicken to see which one wouldn't get in the boat -but they would pick the strongest men and the best boat, most likely three men to row. Everyone would come down to the beach and help. They would launch the dory into the surf. The breaking waves would throw the boat right back up on the beach . Everybody'd get together. We'd 84


FIRE IN THE WATER launch it back into the surf again. Once more and it would throw it back up on the beach again. So, we'd do it again. By now everyone is wet and cold. Whenever these men finally got past that third breaker, they're rowing as hard as they could. They'd go to the first boat. They would put one man onboard; he would check the mooring line and hand pump the boat out with a piston type suction pump with a tin pipe going over the side. The dory would stand by. Then they would pick him up and row to the next boat and repeat this process till every boat was pumped out. Now remember, it's rougher than hell out there. Now, it's impossible to come alongside the skiff with the dory with the oars extended. Then they row to the next boat. And they go through this until they get all the boats pumped out, whether there were six or whether there was eight or more. And then they rowed back through the surf, but this is no time for chickens. You come back to the surf. It is standing tall. People on the beach waiting to grab you when you get there, so you wait, and wait, and wait 'til you get your break, and you row like hell and you surf in onto the beach and ram up on the beach, and they have the planks down and they have the rollers and they have the cable ready to hook onto you. And they're going to pull you up on the beach, if all goes well. If not you will broach on the way in and turn over in the surf. And everybody thinks you're a hero. But that's what it was like. It was a rough life. Remember, there wasn't any Coast Guard out there at the Cape. There was Coast Guard out of Fort Pierce, seventy-five miles away, and I guess there was one in New Smyrna. That was only like twenty-seven miles away, but there was no way to contact them. But it was a rough life, and a lot of camaraderie. Everybody depended on each other My Adventures Fishing with my Dad I remember fishing with my dad and Mr. Hayes. I was very young, and all I wanted to do was get in that boat and be with my father. We would leave the mooring just about dark and come 85


HOWARD back at sunup. Of course the boat was round-bottomed so it would rock in any kind of a sea. I would get sea sick and want to go home. My dad would explain that was not an option. I would go down into the little cabin and lie down on the hard bunk. As the boat would rock the bilge water would slosh and the smell of the engine and old oil in the bilge would make things worse, and add on the smell of the fish that were piling up in the fish holes on either side of the engine . No ice, and bluefish smell really strong. Later in the night, my father would poke his head in the cabin and ask if I wanted a sandwich. Oh God, I was sick. The next morning when the dory hit the sand I would crawl up under the shade of one of the beached dories and just lie there. You guessed it. Later that day, ''Daddy, Daddy, come on please let me go. I won't get sick this time . " I finally got over it. My mother would pack a warm ginger ale in my lunch. She hoped it would help settle my stomach. I remember Mr . Hayes setting up there in the bow wind blowing and salt spray flying in the air . Then very casually he would reach into his shirt pocket and pull out some cigarette rolling paper in the other hand a can of Prince Albert tobacco while holding the paper in his two fingers thump the can and place the tobacco in the folded paper the lick the edge and close the cigarette. As he would reach for a match my father would say "turn you head son." Of course, I would ask why, and about that time we would be bombarded with ashes. Those roll your-own are lightly packed and burn very fast. I think he may have gotten two or three puffs . All that in the dark of the night with the boat bouncing around . He was a Fisherman. The Pier at the Cape This area of the Cape was called Artesia. I guess the year was probably '48 or'49. We didn't use the old fish house at the Cape Fish Company anymore. The camp was still there, the fishermen were still there and the net racks. They still tied up on the moorings. And they still landed their skiffs in the surf just to get home in the morning. And they still racked their nets and used the little push tram. 86


FIRE IN THE WATER But the fish house had moved down on the pier that I mentioned before. It was three miles west of the camp. And the pier was three hundred foot long. The end of the pier was a fishing pier. I remember at the foot of the pier they had a little bait and tackle and little snack shop. And if you were lucky, if you got to go over there, your father would buy you a soda pop. Now, that was quite a treat because that was the only place you could get one. Figure 28: Old Cape Canaveral Pier was removed after the missile base took over. You can see the davits used to haul the fish from the boats to the pier. There were also the rental cottages on the shore at the base. Note the nets drying in the sun near shore. There was a small store and bait shop at the foot of the pier. Also note the rental cottages where the tourists and the fishermen stayed . Just to the left and off the picture was a hotel built during the boom time around 1925. It was thought by many to be a brothel. The pier was a popular tourist attraction for recreational fishermen, too . Courtesy of Florida Historical Society. 87


HOWARD Figure 29 Mr. Ed Fisher on the right with a crew processin g fish on the old Cape Canaveral Pier . You can see the tram tracks under Ed's feet . Courtesy of Florida Historical Society. Figure 30: Workers processing fish at the pier. They would remove the innards of the fis h . The waste was dumped int o the ocean under the pier. Hundreds of sharks waited eagerly below to devour it. The water would boil and churn as th e y ate in a feeding frenzy . My mother told my s i ster and me to " n ever go swimming at the pier ." Picture courtesy of the Florida Hi s torical Society. 88


FIRE IN THE WATER Mr. Fisher had relocated the fish company to the pier. They had hand crank winches, a little like a davit for lifting a boat up. And they had cables going down, and they'd hook up a hundred pound wire basket. They would lower it down into your boat. Now, you are physically tied alongside this piling covered with barnacles in the ocean and facing southeast. You load all your mackerel, your bluefish, your spots or whatever, into these baskets . Then they'd crank it up and swing the davit around and place the basket on the tram. Then p l ace an empty basket on the davit send it down to you. And they'd have another boat waiting to come alongside. Then they'd put the baskets on the tram car and push the tram into the fish house. Then they would dump them into the scale and weigh them and then you'd get your weight . Once more, that was quite a laborious operation, too, but it wasn't as bad as landing the fish in the surf and dealing with that. Figure 31: This is the bait and tackle shop at the entrance to the old Canaveral Pier . Courtesy of Terrie Selph, granddaughter of Terrell Hayes. 89

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HOWARD Figure 32: spot Spots One day we caught a lot of spots in the beach seine. I think it was eight thousand pounds of fish on two boats. And we sent them up to the pier, one basket at a time . And we thought they weren't going to pay us for them, but they paid us good money for those fish. So, I don't know what they would have paid us, six cent or something like that. But that was quite a bit of money. But some way, we found out that they wanted more spots. So, we went back looking for more spots. They found a buyer for them, and they could sell them. So, we went back looking to get us another load of those spots. And we came down the beach and there was a big muddy area. We knew it was those spots in the same damn place we'd set them three or four days before. So we ran that beach seine overboard and set those spots and we dried it up, and it was one hell of a mess of catfish. We had put that net around a ton of catfish . We had a hard time getting them out of the nets and all, but we learned a lesson about that. The next time we found out what we were putting the net around, we didn't get all excited and just set it around anything. Also, the people that went out on the pier to fish, they had to walk through the fish house to get out there . And I think there was a little hotel arrangement there at the base of the pier and a couple little stores . There was a hard road that went to this place. You'd come off the 520 Causeway, and turn left to come out there. 90

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FIRE IN THE WATER The Fleet at the Pier In addition to the fleet of boats fishing at the camp, there was a second group of boats fishing at the Canaveral Pier. They were non-co-op boats. The fishermen from Courtney Harding's Fish House, Hudgins Fish house, and the fishermen from the Independent Fish House moored their boats at the pier and brought their dories ashore there. They had their net racks there too. They stayed in the cottages shown in the painting and photo in Figures 1 and 2 of chapter 4. There were beds as well as bunk beds and basic cooking facilities. Their life was much the same as the life in our camp. They had water from a well in buckets and an outside toilet. They numbered about five to seven boats at any given time. The boats there did not have moorings but simply anchored daily. Figure 33: Nets racked and drying in the sun at the Canaveral Pier. The s mall holes in the net are visible . Courtesy of Terrie Selph, granddaughter of Terrell Hayes . Courtesy of Florida Historical Society. 91

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HOWARD Figure 34: An unknown fisherman unloading his catch of shrimp and a bi-catch of fish at the pier (Year unknown). Note the shrimp net in the far right back of the boat and the doors hanging on each side. The catch will be hosted up by wenches. The man bending over is sorting the catch, separating the shrimp from the markei:able fish and other fish referred to as trash. Courtesy of Florida Historical Society. Shrimp For several years in the winter months, the boats would fish for white shrimp. The nets were made by the fishermen. The tarred netting came in large barrels. The webbing had to be cut and sewn together to make the net. The lead line and cork line was added. The last step was to add the chaffing gear . That would be short lengths of hemp tied to the underside of the back part of the net called the bag or pocket. The pocket had a rope drawstring laced into it. When the rope was pulled out, the contents would dump out on the deck. The webbing was tarred and packed with salt. You had to put lard on your hands to be able to sew it together, and the cleanup was with kerosene. 92

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FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 35: A SHRIMP NET OR TRAWL: The nets were drug along the bottom to catch shrimp and bottom feeding fish. They had no mast or boom on the small boats so it was all done by hand. It was very hard work. Note the doors on each side of the net. As the boat moved forward the doors would keep the net open. They had metal bands along the edge as they often bumped the bottom. Hurricane at the Cape: 1928 Storm I'm going to tell you about severe weather. I can't tell you the year, but I think it was 1928, as it was before my birth, and this is hearsay from my father. But one year a hurricane came. And all the boats were at anchor; moored. They didn't have enough time to make the run to Fort Pierce, and you could get caught trying. There was not much of a warning system in place at that time. You didn't have a choice. You were there. You just had to ride it out. So, the boats were all moored, and the anchor lines are all doubled up. And after the hurricane passed, every boat had been turned over. They weren't off their anchorage; they were just all upside down. So can you imagine? I don't know how they accomplished it. They had to go out there and right these skiffs, bring all the engines ashore, overhaul them, load them in these dories and take all these engines back out and put them into these sea skiffs so they could get back into operation again. That required a lot of effort and camaraderie. That just shows you what people can do if they have to. There wasn't any towboat, and there wasn't anybody going to tow you into the Sebastian Inlet. They had to tow you 93

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HOWARD seventy-five or eighty miles back to Fort Pierce. And that just wasn't going to happen. With the help of the fish house and everybody's support, they got everything back up and running. Wrong Way Turtles This is kind of an environmental story. It kind of goes along with what we're talking about. Whenever the wind would blow hard in the wintertime, it would blow out of the northeast or the east, and we would be protected in that little cove we were in called the Bight, as I mentioned before . But you could hear the waves pounding over what they call Lansing Beach, beyond the east side of the peninsula. (Lansing Beach was named after Captain Charles Lansing who moved there due to his poor health with his wife, Mable, a retired opera singer. He built about twenty houses there.) On the east side of the peninsula, north of the light house you could hear the waves pounding on the beach. As you'd go to sleep at night, you just hear the waves crashing and crashing. The sound carried quite nicely, remember. There was only scrub and palmettos. But the funny part was, in the summertime when the turtle eggs would hatch, if the wind was blowing out of the northeast, the waves would be crashing on the beach at the Lansing Beach, and the little turtles would go the wrong way. They would go toward the sounds of the waves. We would find them all up in the dunes, and we'd have to pick them up, and most of the time they'd be dead, of course. And the seagulls would pick them up as well. But, that was interesting to see the little guys headed the wrong direction because they could hear the surf, just like we could. Mosquitoes You just could not go outside at night. We had a slop jar in the house that you peed in and did your other business in. And you dumped that down that toilet outside the next day. But, the mosquitoes were atrocious, even though there wasn't a lot of fresh water near our camp. There was the Lighthouse Pond, and there were other freshwater ponds. There's a lot of fresh water to produce mosquitoes. Mosquitoes were there big time. 94

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FIRE IN THE WATER There were no mosquito control devices or anything, you just dealt with it. Everyone had a screen door and screens on their windows when you went there to enter, you'd beat on the screen door with a trimmed palmetto frond to make the mosquitoes move and you went inside. But equally bad at dusk and dawn were the sand flies. Screens did not stop the little pest. Fire in the Water Another thing, environmentally, you can't fish these cotton nets in the daytime. All fishing had to be done on moonless nights. And, you could catch bluefish in the daytime because, as my father often said, hell, they'd hit a chicken wire fence. But they are hard to find in the sunlight. But when it comes to catching mackerel, pompano and other species, you fished at night. We fished on the fire. The small luminous particles in the water create a phosphorescent effect. The fish would move and make a glow in the water. Mackerel make one sign in the water, bluefish would make another, pompano another. Each species has its own signature, if you know how to read it. When looking at the water, you could read the trail in the fire and determine if that was the fish you were after . Mackerel will run from the boat and make a zigzag. Bluefish like to stay close to the bottom so they make a glow down deep. Pompano make a puff, then a straight line and then another puff. If you fire the fish and can tell if it's bluefish, and the price of bluefish is down, you would pass these by. And now you come across an area of fish making zigzag trails, you know that is mackerel. As they shy away from the boat, they alert other fish, and sometimes it looks like the whole ocean is lit up. Now you pick out the heart of the school and strike your net. But if you see a great big image in the fire, that would be a shark as they too ran with the schools of fish. If it appeared that there were too many, you would pass that school by. No Days Off We were only fishing on dark nights. That kind of limits 95

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HOWARD the days you fish. You can't fish in the daytime. And you can't fish on moonlight nights, because you can't see the fish. Also, the fish can see your net and will not hit it. You have to fish on a dark night. When you have a full moon, you don't do a lot of fishing. And when the weather is bad you're restricted from fishing. That's when you mend your nets. When it's time to fish, you fish. Night Fishing But when you're out there and you find the fish, you call back to your striker to throw the buoy. The actual verbiage would have been, "Let her go." The lighted buoy would start pulling the net over the stern . You would circle them up much like any other commercial fishing does. Now you have them pinned up inside your circle top to bottom. And then you have two choices. You could either purse them, or you can scrap them. Now, if you're going to scrap them, once you make your circle, you get in the circle with your skiff and your spotlight, running your boat at high speed around and around and shining your spotlight from side to side . This is ref erred to as drumming out. You shine your light down the water and this does two things, because remember, there's a big cotton net in the water. It's just moving up and down in the waves, and it looked like a great big sign . Because of all the phosphorescence in the water, you could see all the meshes in the net quite plainly. But once you shine the spotlight in there, you kill the fire so that the fish can't see the net. They get scared and they hit the net anyway. But you won't catch them all as some just will not hit the net. That's when the purse net comes in. You take the cork line and tie both ends of the circle to the boat, start pulling on the cork line by hand. And you pulled it alongside the boat, and when you get the last bit of net alongside, you pulled it up and into the boat. It is much like the purse seine you heard so much about. But they purse by hand. You pull that lead line across that bottom, and brought that cork line to the boat by hand, making as little noise as possible and all lights off. But 96

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FIRE IN THE WATER the bad news was the fish wouldn't hit it either . But when you get right down to the la st little bit, you turn on all your lights and take a big oar and you'd slap the water . All of a sudden, they'll just all go to it at once. It's just like a shock. You just hear the Woof! -and the cork line would sink, then slowly rise back up. You could have been picking up fish all the time, like when you scrap, you have some stuck all the way around. So you pick a few at a time . Say, you got three thousand pounds, and you have four hundred yards of net that's not so bad. But now we have five thousand pounds, and they're all in the last fifty yards or so. Now you must wrestle those over the gunnels . They didn't have rollers. Nobody had invented anything like that yet. There wasn't any hydraulics. You just pulled them over by hand. And then of course, you had to pick them out, throw them into your dory, row them into the surf, land in the surf, put it on the tram, take it up to the fish house, throw them out, take the dory back down, launch it in the surf and row out to your boat. If the catch was large you must make two trips, then go back, lime your net , pull it into the dory, row back in and land it on the beach once more, wait your turn, put it on the tram, pull it up and put the net out to dry. If you got shark holes last night, you'd have to mend it. Also, the gas you would need for your next day's fishing had to be transported to your boat. Families at the Cape The women and kids would come down every evening at sundown to see the men launch into the surf. That was kind of what we did because there wasn't anything else to do. We would stay till the last boat was out of sight. We kids would play on the beach, and the women would sit on the sand and talk until the sun went down. We didn't have a radio that I recall. There was a radio in camp; somebody had a radio. I guess there were one or two radios, but only the battery-powered ones. Somewhere along the line, the fish house installed a gasoline operated generator and ran wires to the houses. They set some poles with two wires on them. But, this looked a bit 97

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HOWARD like sights I've seen down on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico where they weren't really poles. They were more like trees with limbs cut off. And then each house would now have two wires that ran to it. Now you could have an electric light. I guess you could have a fan but we never did. There wasn't much other luxury in our world. You could now have a radio that would plug in. Great, now you have a radio, and you have a light. Life is getting better. You still have the outside john, the pitcher pump, and you still have the kerosene stove. But you didn't have the kerosene lamp anymore. Well, you didn't get rid of it, as the generator was not the world's best. Life is good. Different Types of Nets The workings of a gill net. As seen in the following illustration, there are several parts to a gill net. The cork line with its floats, then the webbing that is hung to both the cork line and the lead line. The type of webbing and the amount of gear on the net would depend on the species to be targeted . . ; ' Figure 36: This is a gill net. Note the fish become stuck in the net by its gills. There were several types of nets used. They were, of course, all gill nets, except the before-mentioned beach seine . There were two types of nets-mackerel and bluefish nets. There was a stab net. It had many more leads on the bottom than corks and would sink out of sight if the water was deeper than the net. The float net was just the reverse, more corks than leads 98

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FIRE IN THE WATER so it would float on top of the water. This was advantageous on rocky bottom. Then there was the pompano net. Pompano were much sought-after, as they were a high price fish . Most likely four or five times per pound more than the price of the others. Therefore, you wouldn't have to deal with the volume. If you could land a thousand pounds of pompano, that was a really great night with considerably less work. But they were very skittish and hard to catch. The difference in our pompano net was the mesh size as pompano are a rather flat fish. We would use a larger mesh net, perhaps a four and three-quarter. The corks would be much larger so as not to dip through the meshes. The netting was much finer. They would see the bulky cotton net, so pompano nets were made of keen linen twine. For mackerel, you're probably using a three-and-a-quarter-or three-inch mesh. The same for bluefish. It would be a three and-a-quarter cotton net. We had to use real corks because they hadn't invented plastic then. You wouldn't see a lot of pompano, normally. But, that leaves up another kind of scrapping I didn't mention. But, if you were fishing for bluefish and/ or pompano, they like to hang along the surf. As you probably know, when surf fishing, you catch bluefish and pompano. Pompano Fishing in the Surf You may be working shoreline along the beach. If you find any pompano in the surf, you'll see them fire, but mostly you'll see them skipping out. When scared, they skip out, turn sideways and skip across the water several times. Upon seeing them skip out in large numbers, you swing into the beach and call to your striker to "Let her go." Then you run the net around these pompano parallel to the beach and come ashore down the beach. You now have half-mooned the beach. They're going to run down the beach; they won't run offshore. Now, you get inside between the net and the beach, and run around like crazy and drum out the net. Fish will be flying everywhere . If it's nighttime, you're shining your spotlight to scare them, you drum them up. And then they'll run offshore. Now they'll stick in your net all the way around. 99

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HOWARD Being out there in the dark of night running around in the surf is scary work. You're in the surf running around jumping over waves and trying to stay out of your own net. I did it many times, but when we used outboard motors you just about turned them upside down. It'll keep running. But remember, in the 1940s and '50s were old gasoline engines . The boats are running on modified car motors. Perhaps a straight eight Buick or something like that. If you got into a big wave and the bow of the boat goes too high, the float in the carburetor shuts off the gas flow. Now you must restart your engine. And that gets kind of scary, as well. With outboard motors, I never had that problem. You could jump all around, and it would keep on truckin'. But, with the gas engines, you had to watch it. But now you must go back in there and put your stern to the sea, because you're pulling the net over the stern. That gets a little foxy, too, because you're in the surf, and you have your stern to the sea. You know what that would be like. It gets a little dangerous in there. But, that's just called making a living. I don't remember any of those boats going to shore, but when I fished commercially, every once in a while one of the boats would get caught and go ashore. I've pulled a few off. You can scrap offshore, too. When you make a scrap set, you don't have to make a circle. You can make a half-moon. Fish will run down tide. So, if you know which way they're going to run, or you can drive them with the boat. But once again, out there in the dark of night running around in the surf is scarr work. The Military Moves onto the Cape "The U S. Government already owned several square miles of land on Cape Canaveral, including the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse vicinity and nearby property used to host Coast Guard patrol stations that monitored the coastline during World War II. But more land was needed, and the US. government began condemning and purchasing private property on Cape Canaveral. Some of the local residents complied quickly , but 100

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FIRE IN THE WATER some stayed in their homes even after the military assumed residence, preferring to wait until the courts exhausted their appeals to remain on their property. About two dozen residents remained in the area around Desoto Beach after the military assumed residence on the Cape . These individuals were temporarily removed from Cape Canaveral by bus and housed at the Brevard Hotel in the city of Cocoa during hazardous launch operations near their homes, which were very close to the first launch pads on the Cape. Eventually , all of the remaining families were removed by action of the courts and the military assumed sole occupancy of Cape Canaveral. Many of the existing homes and buildings were converted into storage areas and offices. The hotel at Desoto Beach housed the first headquarters building on Cape Canaveral. Although all of the original buildings located on Cape Canaveral at the time the military assumed residency have long since vanished, surviving remnants of the first Cape residents include numerous preserved grave sites, scattered orange groves, gardens and of course the historic Cape Canaveral Lighthouse. " (From Expulsion from the Cape: Government Takeover In 1947, the White Sands, New Mexico, missile range was set up, but it was too close to populated areas. In May of '4 7, a missile strayed south and crashed into Juarez, Mexico. It was decided to select a new site. Cape Canaveral was selected. The government started condemning land in 1949. We were paid $800 for our house, as the fish company owned the land. It was apparently homesteaded. For about two years, the land owners fought the condemnation in court but finally lost. For that time period, we had to leave that camp when a launch was scheduled to be fired. One of the first launch pads was very close to our camp. There was a guard gate on the paved road leading to the camp and pier. We had to show our pass to be allowed in. The Port of Canaveral was under construction 101

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HOWARD starting in July of 1950 and completed in November of 1953 . The fishermen then sold their fish inside the safety of a sheltered harbor at the Port of Canaveral. Figure 37: This was the first rocket launched from the cape. It was called Bumper #8 and was a modified German V-2. The d ate was Jul y 24, 1950 . We had to go out of the area while the launch took place. The launch site was very close to our house. We watched them bring the missile in on a trailer and stand it up . The firing area was surrounded b y sand bags . Courtesy of Florida Historical Society. By then the inlet and harbor at the Cape were just getting started . We had to drive around the dredging area to get to the gate to our camp. Sawfish and Tarpon Before I was born, when they fished in the river, they used drag nets. My dad had a large selection of sawfish bills that he had caught in their drag nets and cut their bills off and brought them home. That was a pretty common occurrence. There is a picture that shows my father on the dock with a great big tarpon. I guess the thing must have weighed about a hundred and fifty pounds. Tarpon didn't get much respect 102

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FIRE IN THE WATER from the fishermen as they have no food value nor market value, and so were considered trash fish. Terrell Hayes Terrell Hayes was later known as Pappy Hayes. When I knew him it was just Terrell Hayes. My father and Terrell fished together for seventeen years, I believe was the number. But they fished at Cape Canaveral together quite a bit. Well, I mean, they fished together, whether it was at the Cape or whether it was here. Now, here in Fort Pierce, they had the Cape Fish House. It was on the Taylor Creek. And I'm talking abqut what you call Taylor Creek today . I'm talking about Taylor Creek, not C-25 Canal. First Diesel They would fish together at the Cape, on the Betty H. That was a twenty-four-foot lapstrake sea skiff. And later on, Terrell got the Bories, which was not a lapstrake; it was just a regular vessel. It must have been about thirty-two or thirty-four feet. And that had a diesel engine in it, and that was the only one of the fleet that had a diesel engine. That was a sight to see. The only bad news was with a diesel, you couldn't get up and plane. It was slower but more economical and dependable. Marineland (The World's First Ocean Aquarium) After World War II, probably 1945 or 1946, Dad and Terrell went up to St. Augustine and worked for Marine Studios. Later it was renamed Marineland of Florida and now Marineland Dolphin Adventure. It was originally built in 1938. They came down to the Cape and solicited them. They took the job and worked at the Marine Studios catching fish for quite some time . They had to catch fish alive because, during the war due to gas rations and the tight economy, they had had to close the Studios and release all the fish back into the sea. But now they wanted to reopen it. They need some fishermen to catch the fish to restock the aquarium. And they had to fish with hand lines to catch turtles, sharks, grouper, 103

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HOWARD large jewfish and other bottom fish and keep them alive to be delivered to the aquarium. Catching Fiddler Crabs I remember my father telling me stories about how they used to catch sheepshead and one thing and another, and they'd put them all in the tank. They needed to catch fiddler crabs because they had to feed all these fish they had caught. They would feed the bottom feeders the fiddler crabs. He explained that they'd lay a canvas down on the sandy river shore, and they would get a ways down the shoreline and would use hands to shoo these fiddlers until they ran up on this tarp. They didn't have plastic tarps as we know today. Then they would scoop the tarp up, and the fiddlers couldn't run up the tarp. Now they would load them into wash tubs and that's what they 'd use to feed certain type of fish. Salvage Work This story is not related to fishing. The Duvall Salvage Company out of Jacksonville sent a representative down to the Cape looking for help. They found out who was thought to be the best captain around. And they wanted to know who knew the location of the wreck of a certain ship . Since we fished here considerably, we had also fished for snapper and grouper offshore with hand lines. Terrell Hayes and my father knew where this particular ship was located. It was of Italian registration. The Duvall Salvage Company wanted to salvage it for its cargo of lead. They solicited Terrell and my father (my father would just be a bos'n mate and Terrell would be the captain) . They would go out and anchor on the wreck and send down hard hat divers (they had two onboard). They would then load the lead pigs in a basket and bring them up with a wench and boom. I remember going down to West Palm Beach one time to see my father while the boat was hauled out to get the bottom serviced . While salvaging, they laid at anchor on the wreck day and night. 'Then they would take them into Jacksonville and unload them and then they'd go back and sit out there 104

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FIRE IN THE WATER again. My father told me all the stories that the divers would tell him about what they were seeing. This was before SCUBA was very popular at all. Nobody would dive out there. The bad news was the salvage company got in trouble with the firm from Italy, who thought they owned the wreck and thus the salvage rights and that the Duval Salvage Company were actually pirating the ship. And so as pirates, they took my father, Terrell and the rest of the crew and put them in jail in Jacksonville. We thought we were going to have to get the bail up to get my father out. But the Company paid the bail and got my father and Terrell and the crew released. After that, they never went back to get another load of lead. That was kind of funny . Captain Terrell on the minesweeper, my pop being a bos'n, making things work, getting the lead up and getting it stored. I guess they would have kept doing that until they ran out of lead except for the legal aspect of the job and getting in trouble with the government. Well, with the Italian government . And I guess they had cease-and-desist orders put out on that wreck. That's just one thing that didn't relate to fishing. 105

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HOWARD Figure 38: Terrell and Gene Hayes salvaging lead at Cape Canaveral, 1948. Courtesy of Terrie Selph, granddaughter of Terrell Hayes. Figure 39: Terrell and Gene Hayes salvaging lead at Cape Canaveral, 1948. Courtesy of Terrie Selph, granddaughter of Terrell Hayes . 106

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FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 40: Early Arnold, Calvin Arnold and Gene Hayes salvaging lead at Cape Canaveral, 1948. Courtesy of Terrie Selph, granddaughter of Terrell Hayes. Signals There was a universal signal for when you found fish. Remember you're fishing in a dark night, and it might be as many as twelve or fifteen boats out there, running around looking in the phosphorous for these fish. We didn't have any spotter airplanes or anything like that. When somebody would put a buoy over to start the net going out which you might not see, but when they get that spotlight shining, and they're flipping it from side to side to chase those fish down into the net, and the running around inside that circle like crazy, everybody knows they found fish. Now, here we go. Everybody runs to that area . But, if you got into trouble your motor broke down, you got the net in the wheel or some other kind of a problem, the universal signal was you shine your spotlight straight up. And when you see a spotlight straight up, somebody's in trouble. There was not any other kind of communications available at the time. 107

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HOWARD I remember many a night we used ride over to the beach here in Fort Pierce on school nights. My sister would drive as I was too young. My mother never drove. We would park near the inlet at the parking lot. You could look out and see all these little lights running around out there. They didn't use running lights, because the fish could see you. Also they'd blind you so you couldn't see down in the water. But, on your picking light pole, probably a bamboo pole stuck out over the stern work area, they had a couple of lights hanging down for picking up your net and picking out the fish (called clearing up). There would be one bulb up on top, just one bulb, like a taillight bulb, and then you would cut a finger off of an old glove and place it over the bulb. There would be numerous little dim lights moving around out there. All of a sudden, you'd see a buoy light hit the water. And then, just a few minutes later, you could see the boat moving fast, the little light is moving much faster. He's setting his net. Then he comes back around, and the second buoy light goes over. Then you see him hit that spotlight, and that spotlight starts shining from side to side, up and down, and flashing and flashing, and running around like crazy. All of a sudden, you see a lot more little lights headed that way because everybody knows somebody's found the fish. Fish At times there was no fishing at the Cape. In the winter months, we'd fish for mackerel and bluefish and pompano in the ocean. But in the summer months, after April, everything's about gone. All the migratory fish had moved back, and the pompano had gone back to the Carolinas, and the bluefish had gone back to New Jersey, and the mackerel had gone wherever it is that mackerel go. 108

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FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 41: mullet Netting Mullet in the Indian River Lagoon But if you couldn't do that, you'd have to fish in the river. This method is a bit different. A towboat (most any kind of a power boat) was used to tow two row flattie _s, (a flattie is a sixteento twenty-foot flat bottom rowboat with a raked up bottom in the rear section to make it easy to row). You would just tow them around and look for mullet. You'd go to all of the grass flats around you on the Indian River Lagoon and keep looking and looking. Once you'd see the mullet jumping, you must decide if there were enough for you to strike your net. This is best done on high tide because that's when they move up on the flats to feed . Once you decide to set your net, you would anchor your power boat, get in your two row flatties, and you and your partner would row over to where you'd decided was the best spot to strike your net. Then you'd get to the back of your boats and you tie your two nets together. Then you make a big circle around these fish, rowing with the rowboats. So, sometimes the fish would get pretty foxy. They'd try to outrun y ou, and then you've got to row like hell. But once you got them closed up in a complete circle, they will not hit the net in the daytime , as they can see it. Now you're fishing in a river. You're fishing with a linen net, but still, they're not going to hit it. What you would do here is one person would get overboard. He would have a wooden shaft about five inches around with a piece of lead wrapped around the bottom and a piece of 109

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HOWARD conveyer belt attached to a harness that you put around your waist. They would then tie the cork line end of the net to the shaft. As you start going around the net you're pulling the cork line and making the net circle smaller and smaller as you drag the net behind you. As you go, you keep one foot on the led line of the net (thus called footing up). The circle is now getting smaller and smaller . The other man is in one of the row flatties. He's picking up the net that's already behind you, but the fish haven't hit it because they can see it. They're neither stupid nor blind. The one that has the bad job is the guy that's in the water . He's the one that's going to get stingray stung. You'd be out of work about two months if you were stung . Sometimes they had different fancy devices that were on their feet that would keep the stingrays from stinging them. When the circle gets down pretty small, everything's in that small circle. All the fish that was on that flat that you wrapped up in that eight hundred yards of net, is now in this small, small circle. Now you stand on the bow of your row flattie and the other guy's got the oars, and he holds the boat for you so it doesn't jump around when you cast. And you throw a cast net. But it's not your normal cast net. It's where we were talking before about button pocket . This cast net is made of some heavy-duty equipment . It's also a small mesh so they can't get their nose in it. Inside the net there are redfish, snook, trout, sheepshead, shiners, mullet, sting rays, horseshoe crabs, sharks, whatever . They're all in there. And you're casting them out. And it gets pretty exciting when you cast the net over a twenty-pound snook. He will take your cast net and go airborne. But if you made too much noise before, he'd already be gone, because they'll bust right through the net. But now you wrestle all these into the boat. If you're lucky, you'll get a thousand or twelve hundred pounds of everything. Occasionally, you would get a manatee in the circle. You would just hold the cork line down and ease it out of the net. 110

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FIRE IN THE WATER Summer Fishing But then they took snook away from us back in the Fifties. And then the redfish . I guess, that was in the Seventies. When I was -a kid, the trout, the snook, and the redfish, we threw them all in the scales and we marked them striking fish. There weren't trout or snook or redfish. There was just striking fish. And you got the same amount of money for snook, for redfish, as you did for trout. Then there was the mullet; then there was the bottom fish; and then of course, mangrove snapper. But, ah, that's what we did in the summertime. We'd go around and use the drag net. Marathon, Florida One summer, Terrell Hayes and Edson Arnold got this big idea. They had heard all these stories about all the mullet they were catching down in Marathon in the Florida Keys with drag nets. They decided that was for them. They got their crews, powerboats, row flatties and the related gear and off they went two hundred, twenty miles south to make their fortune. They were going to catch all these fish that the local boats were catching. Well, the boys down there had different nets. They had different boats. They had fast little boats because they fish so far out. And my father wasn't aware of that when he put the net around those mullet down there, and then tried to drag it. You're in that lime bottom that goes up almost to your knees. You're bogging around, and they all got their legs infected, and they had to sleep on the boat because they couldn't go home at night. And the bugs were biting them. Also down there they had a big problem with deer flies and horseflies. They stuck it out for a couple of months. There was no money made on that ill-fated adventure. Fishing Grounds Most of the boats that came to the Cape were from Fort Pierce, and a few from Palm Beach and Salerno. I don't know what was going on in Sebastian, but I don't think they used 111

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HOWARD that inlet much at all. We never dealt with those people in Sebastian. But, you never went past Salerno. And Salerno boats fished at Salerno. And the Palm Beach boats fished at Palm Beach. And you might go down to Salerno and you'd go down the shoreline at night fishing, and you 'd get down around Walton Rock (twelve miles south of the inlet), and you may meet the Salerno boats coming north. Then you'd pull up and talk to them and they'd say they hadn't seen any fish, and then you'd say you hadn't seen any fish, so it would be no use in going on further south. You'd turn around and go back north and they'd turn around and go back south. But if you went north, there weren't any ocean boats that I knew of coming out of Sebastian, so you'd go all the way up to, I guess, Winter Beach, and up further to Wabasso. It's about twenty-five miles north of the Fort Pierce Inlet. That's about as far as you'd ever go. That's about as long as the night was. And you'd have to come back home. Out of Town Fishermen in Fort Pierce But sometimes some Palm Beach boats came to Fort Pierce to fish when the fish fell in here. Hudgins Fish Company had a fish packing company in West Palm Beach, and they had one in Fort Pierce. So, their company boats came up to Fort Pierce to fish. Oh, my God. Have we got trouble now. I'm talking about, ''You don't belong here. You got to go back to Palm Beach. You don't fish out of Fort Pierce." So, there was knock-down-drag-out kind of nasty thing there for awhile . Finally, it kind of passed over and after that, the boats at Fort Pierce would follow the fish down to West Palm Beach. The boats in Palm Beach didn't go on Salerno because there was no place for them to fish. But, they come up here and fish for Hudgins. After that, it got a little more complicated. My father would go fishing, and he might not come back. They would come out of Fort Pierce to go down the beach to Salerno . Well, I guess maybe the fish are further south. So they would keep going 112

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FIRE IN THE WATER south and go in the Palm Beach Inlet, and they'd sell fish at Hudgins there. They made that arrangement because at Ft. Pierce, they fish for the Cape Fish Company. So they would just tie up the boat there and go up to the store and buy some groceries and sleep on the boat, go back fishing that night, and fish back up the coast. Follow the Fish I did get to make one of those trips with my father. It was kind of interesting. But as time passed, they got radios on their boats and one thing or another, that they'd actually then follow the fish. And when you get to Boynton Beach, the depth of the water drops off real sharply. When you get to Boynton, that's probably your last chance to catch net mackerel. Mackerel like to stay in thirtyto forty-feet-deep water. 113

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HOWARD Figure 42 : They would follow th e m a ck e rel all the way into the Florida Keys, and the y wouldn't come ashore again until you got to Soldiers Key, about five mile s south of Miami B eac h, and north of Fowey R ocks Light (shown above). 114

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' . . ; ; ; f FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 43: The round circles are the warning lights to keep you off the reef. You can see how sharply the ocean bottom drops off. The arrows and lines show the location of the Gulf Stream . From there, the Hawks Channel runs all the way to Key West. It is a shallow strip of water that hugs the island chain and drops off sharply in the Atlantic. But once the fish come up from the deep, they would strike them there in the Florida Keys. Fishing in the Keys was hard work. You could weigh up your fish at the East Coast Fisheries there in Miami. There is a pass between the Biscayne Bay and Hawk Channel that you could use, but it was still a long run in a slow boat. Snapper Cut is just a natural cut-through, a mangrove island. Snapper Cut was poorly marked, not considered an inlet by the government. It's a very dangerous adventure on a cold and stormy moonless night. Further south you could unload at Tavernier. You had to go down Hawk's Channel on the outside. The next stop would be Marathon. But, that was another rough life. You had to fish at night and by the time the fish get this far south it is December or January. It's a cold, windy and a long ride to the fish house. In that part of the world you must gut your own fish. Find them, purse them down, pull them into the boat, pick them out one at a time, ice them down, and now you must gut them before they were weighed. You had to gut your fish. 115

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HOWARD Figure 44: That is my father on the left and Normand Johnson on the right. Terrell Hayes is not shown. They are picking mackerel at the East Coast Fisheries in Miami. Courtesy of Donald E . Root. Figure 45: This is what a ten-thousand-pound catch of mackerel looks like. Courtesy of Donald E. Root . 116

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FIRE IN THE WATER All of these fish must be hand-picked, packed in ice and then gutted by the crew (three men, in this case). There is no fresh water supply onboard and your meals are cooked on a two-burner Coleman gas stove (a lot of fish and grits). Sounds like fun. Most places wherever you went, you just threw the fish up on the dock then shovel them in to the scales and got your weight. After that the fish company dealt with it. But down in Miami and the Florida Keys, you had to gut them. If the weather holds, the captain will go to the store and get some more required supplies while you are working on unloading. Once the fish are unloaded, it's time to get scrubbed up . A bath would be a coldwater hose thrown over the rafters in the fish house. Then right back to the fishing grounds . The crew would be cooking a meal while the captain takes the boat back to sea. Caring For Your Net The nets are still made of cotton and must be washed out with the lime water to kill the fish slime. When you get a chance, you must dry them and mend the shark holes and tears from the reef. No net racks available, so you would pull them out on to a parking lot or whatever you could find. My Father and Terrell Hayes To continue the story about my father and Terrell Hayes, they fished together all these years and then one year, Terrell Hayes and Edson Arnold had this big idea. They had heard a bunch a stories about people making a lot of money down at Campeche, Mexico, with shrimping. So they planned on going to go down to Campeche. So they got a couple of eighty-five foot boats. I think a fish house probably financed it. Off they went to Campeche. Terrell was just so mad at my father because my father refused to go. Dad said he wasn't going off down there. So Terrell and Edson, with their boats and their crews, headed off for Campeche, Mexico. 117

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HOWARD Well, when they got there, things didn't work out there the way they thought they would. First thing is when they got there. Of course, they were in a foreign country, which nobody ever dealt with that before. And it was hard to get supplies and hard to get ice. And the government made them put X-number of Mexican nationals on the boat. Terrell lost his boat in a storm. Not only did they have their own crew, but they had to have these Mexicans on the boat by law. And the way it worked out, I don't think they ever brought the one boat back. They didn't make any money . I think the government finally nationalized their boat and took it. So, that was a losing proposition. Trout Fishing But, I guess, that was the year, that summer that my father started trout fishing. He had never done that before. So, Dad and Ernest Bergandi got into the Cape Fish Company, and they made a couple of thirteen-foot trout boats. They call them thirteen-footers because they were made of fourteen foot lengths of fir. That's why he started trout fishing. And Ernest Bergandi had an identical boat, and he didn't fish too long. But my father would go trout fishing in the river in the summertime. Whittling And after that, I think in the summertime, Terrell would just knock off. He was getting pretty old. And he just would take the summer off and sit around the house and come around the dock. And Terrell was great for whittling . No matter where Terrell went, there was always a pile of shavings, because he sat there and he'd get a box board. He had a little bitty pocket knife. He would just sit there by the hours and whittle. But, remember, there wasn't any TV back in those days, and there wasn't a lot to do. So, he would just come down the fish house and sit there when the weather was blowing. He'd sit there and whittle. And a couple of other guys, they'd be sitting there, and they'd be whittling and talking, too. And, it was kind of unique, because all the fishermen were pretty much the same. It's not 118

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FIRE IN THE WATER the fishermen you see today. Those guys all wore khakis. Khaki pants, khaki shirt . And their pants were always pressed. Their wives were stay-at-home moms. Their clothes were clean and pressed. They were clean shaven, for the most part, and talked like human beings, not like some of the people you see around the fish house today that wear rags, and they're rough and they're drunks and all that stuff. I'm not saying there weren't some drunks back in those days, but they didn't come around the fish house looking like that and acting like we sometimes see today. It was a business . And it was totally different. I'm not sure when things changed. Maybe it was when they got outboard motors and life got easy . And monofilament nets made life easy . Anybody could catch a fish with a monofilament net. All you got to do is find them and run around them. But it wasn't that easy back in the old days. 119

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HOWARD DID YOU SEE Wl',A.( THEY GAVE ME? Pappy Hayes tells the repo r ter the Championship Fish Story plaque o n the wall of of Lowe's Fish Hou•e for days before he spotted It. Hayes steadfastly maintains he doesn' t kno what fish story he told to deserve the award (Staff by Michael Enns) Figure 46: Terrell Hayes . Courtesy of Fort Pierce News Tribune . The Split Terrell Hayes and my father fished together for many years . And then one year, after their seventeenth season, it came time to go back to the ocean, and m y father told Terrell he 120

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FIRE IN THE WATER wasn't going back. Oh, Terrell like to about died. He wouldn't tell my father that, but everybody could see it. He didn't have Heavy (that's what they called Dad) anymore. Terrell'd sit up in the bow and run the boat. But, if the radio didn't work, that was Heavy's problem. If the engine didn't run; that was Heavy's problem. When they bought the first diesel engine before anybody had it around here, my father went to diesel engine school so he could maintain the motor. When you have to make lantern floats to throw overboard and light for your buoys, that was my father's job. If it was anything mechanically or anything, hardware-wise that had to be repaired, that'd be my father's job. And Terrell just ran the boat. My father did the cooking. But Terrell ran the boat. But Terrell did pick fish with the rest of them. So after seventeen years, my father and Terrell didn't fish together anymore. My father went off and got a river boat, and he said he was too old to fish in the ocean, but he was only fifty-five. They still had to get that ten thousand pounds of fish three men -and pull them into the boat, and then pick them out of there, and then gut them down in Miami. My father said he didn't want any more of that for the money he was getting paid. He wanted to stay home with his family. He didn't want to sleep on the boat. He didn't want to shower in a hose in a fish house. He wanted to be at home with his family and he wasn't going back. And that was just the way it was. Smuggling Fort Pierce, of course, was the hub for drug smuggling after the government outlawed marijuana in 1970. That lasted for many years. I can tell you that Little Boy Johnson was a good friend. That's the year of all the mackerel. I think that year we had ... I think it was seven airplanes and forty-five foot mackerel yachts (also called roller rigs), here. We, the locals, called them mackerel yachts because they were so big and fancy and were mostly powered by two big diesel engines. I was working for NCR and part-time fishing. I had the twenty-121

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HOWARD two-footer, Killer. I was tied down at Inlet Fisheries dock and I looked at some of these mackerel fishermen, and I saw the names on the back of these boats. I saw where they were from. They were from all over. They were from Destin, Port St. Joe, Fort Meyers, Marathon, Naples, Key West, all over Florida . I ask this fisherman, ''Well, if you're from Destin, that's way up there near Port St. Joe. That's way the hell up there in the Panhandle. What're you doing here? Why aren't you over there fishing?" He looked at me and says, ''We caught them all. There ain't nothing there." And I kind of saw a light bulb come on right there. My youngest son and I fished here for two years and never got a catch of mackerel. They were catching them in sixty foot of water. They never came to shore. We had to survive on bluefish and pompano. We never caught a mackerel. Then one day down in The Hole in Salerno (The Hole is a sandy area that is protected by an offshore reef at the Hobe Sound National Seashore), I made a little set and got two hundred pounds of mackerel. Every damn one of them had sores or twine marks on them. They'd been in a roller net somewhere. Anyway, there was all these boats in town but see, some of them were just fronting for drugs. Buddy Daniels, he was a big drugger. Most of them got caught. For obvious reasons most of their names are left out. There were a lot of people going to jail and a lot of dope crossing the docks. But there were all these boats in here, forty-five boats, seven airplanes, as I recall . They were catching semi-load after semi-load of fish there at Inlet Fisheries, D & D Fish Company and Hudgins. But, only thing I'd do with Little Boy was drink. He was a drinking buddy of mine. He wanted me come to the west coast and bring my boat and do some work for him. And they wanted me to be a lookout on a couple of runs here in Fort Pierce. I refused . 122

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FIRE IN THE WATER Barge of Bails I went to one fish house here that I fished for, and I went into the house one morning to get ice and the whole end of the building was full of burlap sacks or hemp bags full of marijuana. I mean the whole end of the fish house. And another day, before they made Taylor Creek the C-25 Canal, I came alongside the net racks on the south side. I came along and there's a barge parked in there. A big old barge parked in there, setting low in the water . I couldn't figure what the hell is this. I went over and lifted up the cover, and there were more burlap bags in there . A whole damn barge full of burlap bags of marijuana. Offers But I turned down a lot of opportunities. About this time I got divorced, and I was a free agent. And of course, I was paying child support. These boys are making me a lot of offers. And it was pretty tempting to take them. They were offering me forty thousand dollars for a night's work. But as I found out later, after talking to all these people, it doesn't work that way . Once they get you in, you can't get out. And once they wanted you to do another deal, you had to do it. They said if you get in trouble, we're going to take care of you (meaning the Mafia, I guess). They said they would come up with all the attorneys. So I never ran a load, and I never helped unload. I know some people that had some stories they've told me that would make your hair curl. Most all of them old boys went off to prison. But, they're back. There is sure a whole book of stories out there. I have heard some very interesting incidents. Tied to the Dock Us kids just hung out at the dock all the time. But anyway, J. C. Monroe, he was a great prankster. He liked to pull pranks on everybody. And when you pull pranks on people, you get pranks put back on you. 123

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HOWARD So Peterson's Dock was right there, just about in front of Terrell Hayes's house on Second Street. And of course, it's been long gone. They pumped all that in, filled that in, back in the Fifties. Anyway, Peterson's Dock was a long wooden dock setting on cabbage pilings. And the planks were kind of far apart. And when a car would run out, they would -blumpblump-blump on those planks. J. C. parked his car out on the dock. There was room for the fish house truck to come in and turn around and back up with ice for the grinder . But J. C and other guys, they had their boats tied out there. There were four or five skiffs tied out there. And there were net racks . You'd come out to work on your nets and everything . I guess you could park four or five cars and not be too much in the way. J. C. had his car parked there, and some guys went in their flattie underneath the dock. They pulled some ropes up through the dock and they tied it around J. C.'s axle on his car, and they tied it to the planks on the dock. So when J.C. got in his car, put it in reverse and stepped on the gas, it wouldn't go. He stepped on the gas some more, and the tires were smoking . Damndest thing you'd ever seen . Tires are smoking and everything, and motor's racing; the car ain't going nowhere. Finally, J. C. got out and looked underneath the car and saw what they had done to him. I don't know what he did but I'm sure he retaliated. We were inside the fish house peering out through the crack in the door. Gutting Fish before School Peterson's Dock was owned by Walter Peterson. It was Peterson Fish Company. It was a tin and wooden building out on the end of a long cabbage palm dock. After a run of fish, they would have a big pile of fish in the middle of the floor covered with ice. On two sides there was a panel you'd lift up. And under that panel, there was two boards down there to make a runner you could stand on. 124

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FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 47: Gutting fish at an early Fort Pierce fish house. Courtesy of St. Lucie County Regional History Center . You're standing there about waist high, and you're gutting mackerel. I think we got a quarter for a hundred. They were made for adults . Women gutters worked right along side of the men. They would come down and work when needed. But they'd let us kids gut, too. When we stood in there we were up to our necks, so they would take a hundred pound wire basket and stick that in the hole turn it upside down; we'd stand on the basket and gut fish. The humorous part of this story was I'd get up in the morning and go gut fish before I had to be at school at nine o'clock. I'd go gut fish for an hour or two and make fifty cent or so. I'd go home and scrub up first, and then I'd go to school. I went to the yellow brick school over on Delaware Avenue. There were no air conditioners back in those days. I was in the third grade, and our class on the east side of the building . The sun would shine in, and about ten o'clock, everybody would go Sniff-Sniff! Sniff-Sniff! What's that smell? And somebody would say, "It's Root." That was the deal with that. I'd gut fish and then go to school. And I got criticized for it, but what the heck. I'd get 125

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HOWARD scrubbed up, but I don't know if you'd ever dealt with mackerel. Those mackerel scales would stick to you . One winter's day, me and several of my friends were down at Petersons in the hole gutting fish when a man wearing a white shirt and tie came into the fish house and disappeared into the office. Shortly thereafter Mr. Peterson came out and said "All you kids go home and don't come back unless you have a social security card." So, I got mine when I was nine years old. Our Home on Second Street in Fort Pierce 1944, my father had a pretty good catch of pompano. And they got some cash and my mother saw this house for sale at 209, across the street. And so, she bought the house for three thousand dollars cash which, of course, was a lot of money back in 1944. They lived there until they both passed away. And she lived to be eighty-seven. I grew up on Second Street; went to the yellow brick school over on Delaware Avenue. Life was good. The river ran right up to Second Street. There were the fish docks all along the waterfront there. We played in the river; no TV. We had the radio, but only one or two stations on the radio . ' My Life My dad would come and say we're going to the Cape, like it's a sad deal. And we kids said, "Oh, yeah?" Well, we loved it. We flat loved it. School I attended high school, Dan McCarty High, and graduated with the Class of '58. I think there was a hundred and fifty of us. Schools were segregated, so we didn't have much pushing and shoving going on. Navy I joined the Navy, went to boot camp, went to radar school and shipped out of Newport, Rhode Island Januar y 3, 1959, on a Destroyer Escort Radar. (USS Camp DER 251) We went 126

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FIRE IN THE WATER to the North Atlantic and stayed on that ship for about six months. And then I jumped on a real destroyer (USS Hawkins DDR 873) headed for the Mediterranean. I made two trips to the Mediterranean with the Navy. They were nine months each. And then there was South America and up the St. Lawrence Seaway, and up above the Arctic Circle. I travelled a lot on a Greyhound. I attained a second class rank. I was second class that'd be ESP2. Figure 48 : Donald Root. Courtesy of Donald E. Root. Vocational School I got out of the Navy and came back to Fort Pierce and went fishing for three months. About that time I found out that fishing wasn't going to pay that much money, and it wouldn't be much of a life. And after you went out in the 127

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HOWARD world, you didn't want to really settle for riding around the river in a rowboat at night. I found a school, a tech school in Daytona Beach, a Mary Karl Vocational School on the Daytona Beach Junior College Campus. I had a sweetheart here. I married her January of ' 62. I went to school for two years in Daytona. And along the way, we picked up our first son. Land Job Then I got a job at Pratt Whitney Aircraft making the big bucks. (Instrumentation tech on the RL-10 Rocker engine) We lived in Jensen and later in Lake Worth. But on New Year's Eve, 1963, Pratt Whitney laid off five hundred of us, so I never went back. Then I took a job with NCR Corporation that lasted thirty-seven years. In the meantime, I had another daughter that was born in Denver when I was going to school for NCR for ten months out there. And then I had another daughter born here in Fort Pierce, and then another son born in Vero. But I got divorced in 1980 and married my wife now. She came with a twenty-month-old daughter that we raised. She's thirty-six, now. So, that takes care of that. But as I moved back to Fort Pierce with NCR, I hired on at West Palm. They shipped me back to Fort Pierce, so I got back in my old fishing routine, and that's how I came to be a fisherman once more. I had a part time job commercial fishing. I bought a skiff and started fishing in the ocean and in the river. And I made more money fishing on weekends than I was making at NCR in the daytime because I was an apprentice . But as time passed, they put more and more restrictions on you. You couldn't fish mackerels on the weekends, and that kind of cut me out of the business. And, then, my job at NCR became much more demanding, and I worked a lot of overtime . I didn't fish much. But when NCR laid me off (or gave me early out), I got my commercial license back and went back to trout fishing . That would be in 2000. That's my biography. Now I'm just a retiree fishing trout 128

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FIRE IN THE WATER in the river and trolling for mackerel and bluefish in the ocean when the weather is good. Figure 49: Don Root with a catch of trout in 2009 . Courtesy of Donald E. Root 129

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HOWARD Figure 50: Don Root on the open beach between Fort Pierce and Stuart Florida in the late 1960's. Courtesy of Donald E. Root. 130

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FIRE IN THE WATER CHAPTER 3 -ROBERT TERRY Interview with Bob Terry in 2009 F igur e 1: Robert (Bob) Terry at hi s home in St. Lucie Village, Florida in 2009. Co urtesy of Terry L. Howard . Cape Canaveral There is a city called Cape Canaveral, Florida. But it wasn't the point at the real Cape. From Cocoa you could go across the Indian River, across Merritt Island, across Banana River to the ocean. The re was a pier there. I remember the pier, but I thought it was much closer to where our fish camp was. The fish camp was actually about two miles east of the pier, out near the point at Cape Canaveral. But that's where the fish house was. The fish camp was about, I would say, a couple miles west of the lighthouse. The lighthouse was right on the Point, right on the Cape. 131

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HOWARD To get to the lighthouse and to the fish camp was a very long dirt road. Now, my uncle, Terrell Hayes, drove it at full speed because that was supposed to be better. [Laughs] It was a washboard road. There were things you couldn't buy in Cocoa, so sometimes we had to go to Titusville. This usually involved equipment. Man, it was a long, long way, as I remember it . They had electricity from a generator, and they often had ice at the fish house in the cooler. Consequently, anytime there was a group or party situation, they made ice cream all day long. Every kind you'd ever heard of, even Creme de Menthe ice cream. So hell, this would have been in the Forties. I never went there until I was old enough to drive and I was born in '29. My Biography I was born in Fort Pierce, and my birthday is the 20th of March, 1929. There was my aunt and uncle, Terrell Hayes and their son, Gene. I grew up very much with Gene, because Gene was just a year younger than me. I can remember that I was at least sixteen because I was allowed to take the car, and take a group of us kids up there to the Cape. It was 1945. They were there for the summer. Aunt Nell and Uncle Terrell were there to fish. Well, Aunt Nell just took care of him and us kids while Uncle Terrell was fishing. Grits in New Jersey One summer Uncle Terrell went to New Jersey to fish. I don't know what the year was or particularly why he went up there. The only thing I can remember is that they could not buy grits up there. So my mother shipped grits to him in New Jersey every month that summer. [Laughs] And that's the reason I know they were there. Not a Fisherman As a child, I was hopeless. Their son, Gene, could do everything. He got to throw the cast net out, man the thing, and I couldn't do anything. That was Gene Hayes. And never once did he or Uncle Terrell, ever say anything to me that 132

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FIRE IN THE WATER indicated they were irritated. And they had to be. I spent one whole summer and whole winter learning to mend nets. Gene was trying to teach me to mend nets. And Aunt Nell had told Uncle Terrell, "Now Bob can mend nets." So, he cut out this piece and asked me to mend it. Well, it didn't look exactly like he had done it, but he sent me on an errand, and when I came back, he'd cut out what I'd mended and redone it. [Laughs] He never said a word to me. Uncle Terrell never, at any time, indicated that he was irritated with me. My mother was Terrell's wife's sister . My father didn't die until 2000. He didn't fish. He was a banker. I'm glad he was a banker and not a fisherman. Figures 2 and 3: Terrell Hayes in his Navy uniform in the early 1900s and an early photo Nell Hayes . Courtesy of Robert Terry Jr. At the C ape A big gasoline powered winch would pull the dories up onto the shore. Their main boats were anchored out or moored. They had dories for bringing nets and fish up on shore. I can clearly remember these dories, and I can remember them 133

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HOWARD being used. Why they were better than a regular rowboat, I don't know. They had flat bottoms, like a river flattie. So, a winch would pull the dories up loaded with a catch of fish. They would gut and pack them in ice. Then they would truck the fish to town or wherever they took them. Ice Fort Pierce had an ice plant before just about anything else, because they had to have ice to ship the fish . Almost any old picture of Fort Pierce has the ice plant in it . It was right across the street from the power plant on the west side at 2nd Street there at Moore's Creek. That was where the ice plant was. Ice was very important. Ice preserves fish better than refrigeration, because as the ice melts, it washes the fish and it holds fish better. Uncle Terrell's Partners Edson Arnold fished with them too. Edson Arnold's claim to fame is he had the most gorgeous wife you ever laid your eyes on. Boy, was she beautiful. And he was a really nice guy. Go over the railroad track and on that corner there was where he lived. Most all the fishing families lived on 2nd Street in Fort Pierce. This area was called Edgar Town. 134

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FIRE IN THE WATER Earl Gutermuth, Edson Arnold, Louis Bensen, Elmer Smith and Biii Smith F igur e 4 : Early picture of Edson Arnold. Louis Bensen and Elmer S mith also became commercial fishin g captains. Date and location of this picture ate unknown, but th e cat in the photo suggests after 1915. From page 231 of Grant Florida , the First Hundred Years. But if yo u go to Avenue C, and you look back and forth, yo u will realize that there is a row of cabbage palms. That used to be the river shore . Beanie Backus's original studio was actually west of Indian River Drive. But, each of the upland property owners got a piece of land in return for their riparian rights. It's getting harder and harder to see the old shore line . It used to be very evident, because there were no trees growing on the newl y dredged land. Uncle Terrell's House Now, on the west side of the street is a big gray house that was my Uncle Terrell's house. Just north of him is a little shingled house . And that belonged to Mr. Peterson . And there wa s a dock that went out into the river where the people that fish e d for him came in and tied up. That was to the north side of Moore's Creek. The dock was capable of taking a truck. It wasn't just for walking. It was a wharf. The ice truck came and brought out ice and took the fish away to the railroad at Depot Drive . 135

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HOWARD Waterfront It's where you took your stuff and had it put on the train to ship. Now, the passenger terminal was all the way up there at the end of the parking lot, along there. And then north of Cobb Store were some fishing-type docks. All along there, there were docks. There were people that came in and fished. And all along the river shore were nets. The nets were cotton, and they had to be hung out to dry, and they would put lime on them and then put them out to dry. That's what went on there. So all along there, I guess it looked very picturesque. Not today, we wouldn't think so. It seemed like everybody that lived on that side of the road by the lagoon had a dock. Some of them weren't very impressive. My family lived on 11th Street, out next to the school. But I spent a hell of a lot of time in the river, because I was there with my cousin, Gene. Now, I was the one that was pulling the bucket or tub while he was cast netting. Figure 5: The top of this aerial view of Fort Pierce, Florida taken in the early 1950's is south. The white or sandy square area south of the south bridge (upper left), is dredged in, and not part of the original waterfront. The old commercial fishing docks blown out in the 1949 hurricane used to be along this part of the Fort Pierce waterfront. Courtesy of the St . Lucie County Regional History Center. 136

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FIRE IN THE WATER The Cape I think that one attraction there was the shrimp. They seined for shrimp. I can remember going shrimping. Swimming to Cure Sea Sickness My father would get seasick. Dad got sick, but he was a pretty good swimmer . So he got over the side and swam along the side of the boat. And after he got in the boat, then it was time to pull in the seine . That was in the ocean, right off the beach. They had trouble getting rid of the tiger shark that had been following him [Laughs] while he was swimming. My father and mother would come up to the Cape for the weekend. I never remember going out for fish. The fish were gutted and packed in ice and shipped to town. The House at the Cape The house was just a typical one-room frame house, probably twelve feet wide, and maybe thirty feet long. Over time, it had a big, screened porch added to it. My aunt would not allow us out in the sun. We had to stay in the house from twelve to two in the afternoon. Out of the sun. She would read to us. I remember having had David Copperfield read to me [Laughs]. Geesh, later I went back as an adult and started to just read it. My God, I wonder if anybody's read David Copperfield in the last fifty years. Trapper Nelson When I was growing up, my aunts and uncles were young and they were always doing things. I mean, we would go to the rocks in Jupiter for a day on the beach for a picnic. We met Trapper Nelson near Jupiter. I was there. He was like, Tarzan. Oh, golly, he was gorgeous. He had a lot of animals in cages. I think he may have trapped them and sold them. But, as far as kids were concerned, he was interesting. 137

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HOWARD The Loxahatchee River was clearer at that point and, high up an oak tree was a rope, you know, where you could swing out into the water. I never saw him except in shorts . Short shorts. And he was a blond . He had a big blond curly mane. Beach Seining in Fort Pierce Apparently this was a seasonal thing. They were using dories. They would be going down the beach, and the net was in the dory, and Gene and I were signaled, and we'd jump over with the end of the net. We were supposed to make it to shore and hold on. That's all we had to do. Then the men got out and pulled the net in. I can remember the net was piled in a dory while they set the other end around and then they went out and made the big half circle. Then they would go into the surf and pull it up. Gene and I were in swim trunks, and we ' re there in the sand and a little shower came up. And, my God, we thought we were going to freeze to death. Gene says , "I wonder if it'd be better if we peed on ourselves." So, we did. And it was warm. This was on South Beach in Fort Pierce. Marineland Manta Ray My uncle Terrell fished for the original Marineland. They ended up with a manta ray. Now, you know how wide a dory is. They had this manta ray in the dory with his flat end hanging two or three feet over on either side. I guess he was entangled in the net. They were on the beach when I saw it. I was taken over to see it. They were waiting for the people from Marineland to come and tell them whether they wanted it or not. I was just a little kid, a teenager . Manta rays migrated down the coast every summer, just like there are times when the Spanish mackerel are on the beach. Fresh Fish My mother was particularly fond of Spanish mackerel. The Spanish mackerel that had been delivered to be cleaned and been delivered to her door that day. So, now keep in mind, I grew up with all this . And somebody came and knocked on 138

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FIRE IN THE WATER my door, and I went there, and they had some fish for me and they were not cleaned. I was s tunned. I'd never received uncleaned fish, ones that hadn't been gutted or filleted. And, when my Uncle Terrell brought fish, it was all ready to go when I got it, or my cousin, Gene, when he delivered it, it was ready to cook. Uncle Terrell's Early Life I found out when I was an adult that Uncle Terrell had been a rumrunner. He was a wonderful uncle, but, boy, he was a lousy husband. Military Service My cousin Gene was a Marine, but he did not go to Korea. When Gene and Bess got married, I was at the university and back from Korea. See, I was in Washington at ROTC camp when Korea started. Now, we went over there and drove them (North Koreans) back to the reservoir. So, we were told to go home, go back home, and finish our education. They didn't think they were going to need us. But by the time the Chinese came in , when I left school in Atlanta (I went to Georgia Tech), I knew that I was going to be drafted within the month to go into the military. So then I spent three months up there in school, learning to be an officer. That Christmas, at the first of the year I was shipped to Japan. So, I was in Japan for about six months and then went to Korea. They had a rule that the y could not send you to Korea until yo u had been on duty at least six months. Training And the class that I was in, b y accident, was regular army. There were ninety-eight of us. Seven of us were reservists, and forty-two were from West Point. And then there was the Citadel and the other military schools. Well, of course, everybody was out to prove they were better than everybody else, except the seven reservists. [Laughs] Well, the first time we fell out in fatigues, you know, we were sad sacks. These 139

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HOWARD uniforms were just hanging on us. And all the rest of them had the three hems sewed in the back of the uniform so they were form-fitting. And they were older. Then here are these seven of us, reservists. The cadets soon found out that we'd go along, but we were not in competition. I mean, we just stood back and let them go at it, and then it was our turn. Well, we were on a night deal, patrol or something, going from A to B, and we were not to be discovered in the dark. And it rained . Well, this was in Virginia, all right? And, so, as usual, we had stood back and let the regular army all go. And, a corporal comes up and shines a light in my face. "Oh! Mr. , uh, Lieutenant Terry, are the rest of them with you?" ''Yes, they're with me." He says, "Well, you know, it's pretty nasty out there. If y'all just follow me, we can do it the easy way." So, we walked along, and then he'd motion us, and we'd get down and we'd crawl, and we'd get up, and I thought it was about time for the thing to be over and here was a big log. And he sat down on the log and so, we all sat down on the log. And finally I said, ''You know, ah, isn't it about time that this is the end of it?" And he says, ''Yes, but if we go in now, they'll know we cheated. We've got to sit out here for forty-five minutes . " [Laughs] The House Uncle Terrell had made enough to buy their house. When they bought that house prohibition was not yet over. I think that Uncle Terrell had done the rum running in the Twenties, and they had some money in the bank. This was a little bit after '29, because during the '28 hurricane they asked for Sheriff Merritt to send any alcohol that he'd confiscated to give to the people that were helping clean up after the '28 hurricane, down in western Palm Beach County. So, prohibition was still going on until, I think, after '29 . So, I think that Uncle Terrell had done the rum running in the Twenties, because there was 140

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FIRE IN THE WATER money in the bank for their new house. See, my father was a banker here. Rum running was before my time. Uncle Terrell had to have saved something, because the house wasn't bought until about '35 or '36 during the Depression. It came on the market, and he wanted it. It really is a beautiful house. Small Community I started school in 1935 during the Depression. And nobody came here because there was no work anywhere. So, people did not start coming into our community until the Forties, when the war (World War II) started. I graduated from high school in '47, and I am sure at least half of the kids in my graduating class started with me in 1935. So, everybody knew everybody, and everybody knew everybody's relationship to others. Well, the Terrys weren't related to anybody, but I had a couple of cousins who took care of that. One of them married a Horton, which takes care of the Hortons and the Platts and that crew; and another one married a Stetson. Well, the Stetsons were Parkers and Hamiltons. And, so it became a game to figure out how all of us were related. I used to be quite astute at it. I could start off and go through about three generations. Here's me and this is how I'm related to you. It was a game we played. Bess Gates's brother married late. After he married, I ran into him and jumped on him because I hadn't been invited to the wedding . He says, it was just family. Hell, you know, I started off and the next thing you know, I got it up to we were cousins. Well, fourth cousins. [Laughs] I said, "It's time you went back to Georgia and had a lesson in who you're related to . " Periwinkle Stew at the Cape Well, it was all sand. And there were net racks because the nets they were using had to be limed, dried, and mended, which cousin Gene could do but I couldn't (at least, not to Uncle Terrell's standard) . And the road went past because it 141

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HOWARD went to the lighthouse. But we were just off the side of the road. There was no paving, no sidewalks or anything. And I don't remember plants. Now, 1 can remember the yellow beach daisies that grow on all the beaches. There were periwinkles, small crustaceans. And that was the first time I was told that if I would get a potful of periwinkles my aunt would make us periwinkle stew. And we had a square wood box with screening on it that we could rinse them on. So, I got my half a pot of periwinkles. Every one of them was different. They're just beautiful little shells. And Aunt Nell starts cooking them and the broth was a light tan, and there was all these beautiful shells in it. I could just hardly wait. I mean, this was going to be the piece de resistance. She poured milk in it to make it a stew. It tasted great. The Beach at the Cape We spent a lot of time on the beach. And when the boats came back in, we went down and helped any way we could, which wasn't much because, hell, those dories full of fish weighed a ton. The dories had plugs in the back to drain them. And I can remember trying to see who got to pull the plug. The men weren't paying any attention to us, so we had to maneuver around to pull the plugs. There were eight us, eight cousins. And Uncle Terrell's oldest child was Betty. She was five years older than me. But all the rest of us were within four or five years. And we grew up together. Of course, it was paradise for a kid. There were some beach daisies, but there were no trees. And there might have been a cabbage palm or two but there wasn't any shade where we were. That's one of the reasons why we had to come in. We had to come in. By the time I was there, there was a big screen porch that we stayed on. The Crash The Tylers were here during the land boom. And the back of their house was an enclosed garden next to the railroad . When the boom busted, all these people who had come 142

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FIRE IN THE WATER because of the Florida land boom, they stayed their last night at the New Fort Pierce Hotel. The New Fort Pierce Hotel no longer served breakfast, so people would walk the two blocks up to Mrs. Tyler, who fed them breakfast. And then they would go out across the garden, where there was a gate at the back that let them out onto the railroad track. And then they went out on the railroad track and waved good-bye. They got on a train and left. This was when I was a kid. The Unfinished Hospital Out at Sunrise Boulevard and right out at the end of Maravilla, there was a building that was being built as a hospital by a local doctor. And it had a basement that was half below ground, and two stories and a great big attic. By the time I came along, we could play in there. All the workmen's tools were laying there rusting. They did not come back; they went home and did not come back to get their tools. Can you imagine that? I mean there'd be the whole set, you know, where the guy had left it the night before . That was the crash of 1929; the beginning of the Great Depression. The idea was to buy a piece of property and sell it before a payment came due. When the crash came, I'd ride around with my father, and he would point out various houses that were only worth half of what they'd been in the boom. First Bridge The first bridge across the Indian Lagoon was completed but there was no draw. No center span. It was never completed because of the crash . Back in the woods on the north island, the pilings are still there. And Astor Summerlin said that nobody on the Indian River bought any lumber to build a dock for another ten or fifteen years . That bridge took care of everything. Emigrants My father immigrated from England when he was twelve years old . He was a foster child . Why grandpa brought him, I 143

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HOWARD don't know. Grandpa was sixty-five years old, and his daughter wanted him to come to Florida. And, so they came over in 1919. They had trouble going through Ellis Island because here was a sixty-five-year-old man traveling with a twelve-year old boy that was not his child. Someone from Fort Pierce had to go up and vouch for him. The Terrys Arrive in Fort Pierce The Terrys were of the class that immigrated.The Cockneys in the slums did not immigrate; they just stayed in England. Uncle Charlie had first immigrated to Canada and the deal was that when he made enough money to send for his sweetheart, he would, and he did. So my Aunt Bird came over from England and became his wife. They got married over here. The reason he was able to send for her is he had a job offer in Florida. He was a gardener by trade and he got a job on South Indian River Drive, probably about where Eden is. This was the fern business, where they were raising ferns and shipping them north. They shipped pineapples, too. When they got off the train, and see in those days, the train stopped every five minutes, it looked just like they were in Jamaica. Every stop was about five miles away. Well, the people thought that they had hired an English gardener and an English maid. My Aunt Bird wasn't about to be anybody's English maid. So, they got on the train and came back north as far as they could. They didn't have any money, so Fort Pierce was five miles . When they got off the train with their English accents, somebody ran across to the corner of 5th Street and Delaware Avenue, where Uncle Dick lived. Uncle Dick was an Englishman who took care of all English people. So, he came over and he took them home with him. That night they went to a barbecue, celebrating the laying of the cornerstone for the yellow brick school on Delaware Avenue in 1912. 144

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FIRE IN THE WATER Oak (Bird) Lodge The last bear was killed around the turn of the century on the Hutchinson Island. My grandmother and grandfather came to Florida in 1880 and built a lodge on the island across from Grant. They catered to scientists who came down to study the birds and the bees and what not. And the house, later there were two houses but one of them burned, and then the second one had four gables. And my mother can remember going up in the attic. Each one of the gables was made up as a lab. And this is where the scientists stretched, mounted, and took care of the specimens that they were collecting. My grandmother was famous. I'm quite sure that my grandmother did not tolerate dumbness [Laughs] . She had no specialized education. The place was up across the Indian River Lagoon from Grant, Florida. These were scientist and bird-lovers. They did articles for a magazine that was the forerunner of National Geographic. Frances Eleanor Williams Betts Latham was her name. She went back north. Somewhere up in upstate New York. She burned the lodge to the ground before she left. I had taken the local conservationist, Jane Brooks, out to supper and was talking about my latest project, which was gathering information on my grandmother. And she says, "I think I can help you." She gave me The Autobiography of a Bird Watcher. It had all of these pictures of my grandparents in it. Jane Brooks is an avid bird-watcher. She had been up there and done a survey of the property. At the site across from Grant, there is a large subdivision on the island, on the beach, there today. A man that lived there became interested in all the legends around Oak Lodge. 145

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HOWARD -.. _..,_'""'... ... _ ..... __ ... _ .... ___ _ ..,,.._ ... ___ _ _ .... ___ _ --..... -....... __ .... -.. ........ ..... _ .. _ .. ..,._ .................. _ ........ ..,. __ _ -"'-.. -__ .... ,)/ ''{9.; .......... "''__ ,.. __ .....,.. ___ ...,.._... _ _ ................... . ___ .. ___ _ _............,._ ...... ........ ......... _ .. ..._._"'"" _M ...... W OOO: .. W ....... ,... ...... _ ... ___ _....,,._ --.. --...... Figure 6: Oak Lodge History. Civil War and Post War Settlements 1860 to 1880 by Fred Hopwood, 1989 . Photos b y Frank Thomas . Courtesy of Photographic Memories. Uncle Terrell Hayes The fact that he may have been a rumrunner, I didn't know. I found that out when I was an adult. He was a wonderful uncle. Uncle Terrell had made enough to buy that house in about 1935 or '36. When my family was young, there was always something going on. We had small boats and had gone over to North Beach. A storm came up. Uncle Terrell came to get us in a sea skiff. The only thing I remember is they put us kids in the fish box, Gene and I, and pulled a canvas over. And we couldn't see what was going on with the storm. And I can remember that. It made such a vivid impression on me. Hurricane of 1949 I was just a little kid when we moved to St. Lucie in 1947. (It's St. Lucie Village today.) So we had a hurricane right away, the 1949 hurricane. That was a nasty one. My mother was born and raised in Florida, but she said it was the worst she ever saw. The house had not yet been remodeled and the shutters were tongue-and-groove. During the hurricane, the water was going under the shutters, under the double-hung windows, 146

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FIRE IN THE WATER and coming up in a spray . Inside the house we set towels there . My aunt and uncle and their children came down, too, because the y felt our house was safer than theirs. So after the storm, we're looking around trying to see what's going on. Finally, here comes this guy in a yellow slicker, wading in. It's Uncle Terrell bringing us hot coffee. You know, as a kid, he was always there The Railroad The railroad was very, very important. You heard when the re was going to be a frost, because the y tied down the whistle. And the train whistled all the way to Miami. That was the way the y were notified that the frost was coming. The sisters would walk along the railroad track to school, and one day, the engineer, who always waved at them, threw them a Hersey Bar . Now there was at least three or four of them. And they took it home and tried to mix it with some sugar and, you know, tried to make it a cake because it was just one Hersey Bar. Mother said it was terrible. I mean, she was just a little kid and she thought it was terrible . Well, when mother's mother died, this was in Jensen. Her cousin went out in the garden and picked flowers and put them in a box with wet moss, took them down to the railroad station, and they were delivered in Jensen in time for the funeral. It was just a way of life. If we received chocolate or gifts, we had to reciprocate. And so the station manager was notified to tell the engineers to slow down. She had made a pie, and they put it on the end of a stick. And he leaned out and got the pie as he went b y . As far as I'm concerned, if your family wasn't here before 1894, yo u're not a pioneer, because that's when the railroad came. The railroad made the pineapple and fish viable industries. There was something for people to do. 147

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HOWARD ;.. of btlnC ' .. . itoudeif on,.t 01 tbe Mst q.sbennen on ihe ..t .... -,when be wu 'futerviewed by a News boat; lead in.& citben from the I COast..Any lime tbett Tljbune repOrter 111. 1975, Ht was'a i'un of fish he was out tO sr:11. ' ren.lled then that his fatbet' was Into 7S'm.ile winds. A red took the H:. knew eaC:))i to ro. one of the first two lawmen' In SL bottom out of his boat and lt sank. Fishing was all he Lucie County, but he couldi:lve no ' 'The mast down out ol her ever!ild, orwaqted to do. " d etails. and the planks started coming "Tem:Jlffayes, who died f'rlday . In World War I, be told the out,"heuld.Heandbiscrewlasb i at tbe •re of 87. wu tbat fisher reporter, bis j o b w u to teich four . ruollne ' drums tote ther man. Tbe man about 1umansblp t o ''green men.'' After ind managed to radio• warnini to bim Saturday was his brotherln World War II, be said, ht did some lht other boats . They were adrift law, Robert Terry . of St. Lucie salvage work of! Cape Canaveral, 1evtnl hours on lht makeshift raft Village. . . retrieving a shipment of lead from before the others could pick them Tenj "He staye d at U a a torpedoed m inesweeper . Aside up. long time, working at it unlll a f e w fro m that, he uld, f ishing bad bun years a.go. Not just river fishing, his livelihood. but going out to the dup_ 1ea . Ter The coming of the spate 1ge was rell knew the! sea from the tlmc ht not euclly welcomed by Hayes . He ,.. .. ln tht Navy ln World War I." recalled that h e and otbercommer Hay8s s a noth e r fisheruun . like him, onl1 reiaUvts are h b son, tbe Brevard County flshbo use . The and _ four creat inythinielse; they know th t 1ea. ' ' '.'l"appy'' Hayes, as he was them to seu the land and businer.s. Ttrnll Hayes and bis wile, Ntll, known to bis lrteod s, wu hom and They h.ld to take what was offered . narrled and moved north . She died only 75 houses, when there were no boy,'' he replied . ' 'W hat th t tboul • yeu •go. The elde _ r Hayes' the beaches, when mall govemmenl wanl3, they t a ke." Anot h e r time. In a houstbo•t. he was drilling through the Sebastian inlet when• hurricane struck. The houseboat unk and ht lost HOO ln cash and . equipment . Hayes did morn than his share of rf:S(uins: others who'd been sb1p wrecked . Ht and fellow fi.sberrrien rescued more than 100 survivors of torpedoed ships during World War JI. Also durin g th e war he rescued , stamen whose boats had bffn wrecked on stee l spiktd concrete p 1Ungs submerged off North Hut : chinson lsland . Figure 7: Captain Terrell "Pappy" Hayes died on March 3, 1984, at age 87. The above obituary was submitted to the Fort Pierce Tribune by Robert Terry, Sr., father of Bob Terry, Jr. and brother-in-law of Terrell Hayes. Robert Edward Austin Terry, Jr. Marr:h 20, 1929 March 2 , 2014 Robert Austin Terry Jr., 83, passed away March 2, 2013 at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce. Bob Jr. was a lifetime resident of Fort Pierce. He graduated from the Yellow Brick School in Fort Pierce in 1947 and graduated from Georgia Tech in 1951 with a degree in Architecture. He then earned a degree in Business Ed from the University of Florida in 1954 . He was a veteran serving the United States Army in Japan and Korea . Active in the commu ni ty, he served on the Fort Pierce Planning Board, and he wasa dedicated member of the St. Lucie Village School Committee since the school began its renovations in 1991. H e was the Director of the A . E. Backus Gallery in Flort Pierce for 40 years. bob was prec eded in death by his father, Robert A. Terry, Sr., mother, Blain Wells Terry, and sister, Alyce Terry Guettl e r . Survivors include hi s broth e r in l aw, Edward Paul Gue ttl e r and nieces, Terry G. Seen, Donna G . Taylor, and Blain G. Moore all of Rock Hill, South Carolina. Arrangements are by the Yates Funeral Home & Crematory, Fort Pier ce Chapel. an Online Guestbook is available by visiting www. . Don't let it be forgot , there was a spot...thanks for sharing it with me. Figure 8: Robert Edward Austin Terry Jr. died on March 2, 2013 at age 83. Above is his obituary. From the Fort Pierce Tribune. 148

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FIRE IN THE WATER CHAPTER 4 -TOMMY TAYLOR Interview #1 with Tommy Taylor on March 14, 2011 Figure 1: Tommy Taylor in his home in 2011. Courtesy of Terry L. Howard. Figure 2: A J. Beckman Painting of Cape Canaveral fishing pier in the 1940s. Courtesy of Tommy Taylor. 149

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HOWARD I was born in Fort Pierce, Florida, on July 1, 1927. My great grandfather came here close to 1885 to open an oyster cannery, and my grandfather came down to work with him in about 1891. They came from New Haven, Connecticut. Now, my grandfather was a successful architect, and he's the reason all the old houses here had such steep roofs like they had in New England to keep the snow off. My grandfather built the first Fort Pierce Hotel, and he carried people out fishing from the hotel in the hotel's launch. That helped to bring in the tourists. And he would captain the launch. He went out the old inlet and there's tales where they went out and it got too rough, and they had to go way offshore before they could turn around to come back in. And he almost got swamped. The old inlet was a double-mouth inlet, and it was very, very treacherous . Very shallow. He and my father were famous tarpon fishermen and had records for big tarpon. 150

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FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 3: Tommy Taylor's father, Arch Taylor, and a seven-foot tarpon, in front of the New Fort Pierce Hotel. Early 1900s . Courtesy of Tommy Ta y lor. 151

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HOWARD Figure 4: Old Indian River Inlet around 1900. It was also called the Ais Inlet on some very early maps. The Ais were the first inhabitants of the area. They lived here for possibly thousands of years before the Spanish discovered Florida. Courtesy of St. Lucie County Regional History Center. INDIAN ltlVf,H FROM TIH : INl.F:T. SOl' TllWARD COAS T Of"t-'LORIDA Figure 5: An 1883 map of the old Indian River Inlet located about two miles north of the Fort Pierce Hotel. It was a shallow and dangerous inlet , and it filled in when the new Fort Pierce Inlet was built about a mile south of it in 1921. 152

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FIRE IN THE W ATER There is an article about my grandfather taking people out. This was after the railroad came in, so it'd be about 1895, '94, somewhere in there. That's when the tourists started really coming in. But they would still navigate that old Indian River Inlet. They had an old Palmer engine in the launch . And it had lights. It was the first boat with lights. I remember that. It was in the article, so I guess they had electricity. They had to watch the tides in that inlet. That's exactly how they got in trouble. But, anyways, that's the farthest back story I've got of the old inlet. They went north up the river from Fort Pierce, from their house. It was probably close to two miles. From the Fort Pierce Hotel, it was about two miles north to the inlet. My first fishing experience was with my grandfather . By the time I came along, the new Fort Pierce Inlet was done. I can remember going out it when I was quite young. Figure 6: The New Fort Pierce Hotel around 1900. Courtesy of T ommy Tay lor . I can't remember exactly when the new Fort Pierce Inlet was dug. I think the early 1920s . 153

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HOWARD First Memories I was seven years old, and I remember going to see the big ship that loaded citrus and took it to New York. I remember that. But I can't tell you exactly when it was first built. I was born on Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Pierce. Used to be the Maravilla subdivision, and the house is still there. It was on a big golf course on the east side of Sunrise Boulevard . It ran all the way from Edwards Road to what's now Virginia Avenue on the north side. A lot of houses were built, backed right up to it, where they could go right out the back door and play golf. Figure 7: Tommy Taylor and Brother Clifford a t Taylor Dairy in Fort Pierc e in 1933 during the Depression. Courtesy of Tommy Taylor. Our house was across the west side of Sunrise, but we had to cross Sunrise to go play on the golf course. I went with my older brother who caddied . I did not, I was too young . Sometime before World War II, the golf course was 154

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FIRE IN THE WATER completely abandoned by the time the Navy came. The area was pretty well going downhill, and by World War II it was completely abandoned. And after that they cut roads and built houses back there. Charlie Crook cut the road with a Ford tractor. I remember that. He talked and puffed up with pride, and he said, "I sure did." I told him, "That's why they're all crooked." If you go over there, you'll see they're all crooked. Matter of fact, one of them has three stop signs where they come together. Figure 8 : 1920s aerial photo of the "new" Fort Pierce Inlet completed in 1921. The old Indian River Inlet was located about two miles north of here . It filled in completely after the new inlet was dredged . . Courtesy of St . Lucie County Regional History Center . 155

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HOWARD Figure 9: 1920s photo of the "new" Fort Pierce Inlet. Courtesy of St . Lucie County Regional History Center. Figure 10: 1946 aerial view of the Fort Pierce Inlet which was completed in 1921. The turning basin where goliath grouper were caught is straight into the inlet at the top middle of the picture. Courtesy of St. Lucie County Regional History Center. My Dad and Goliath Grouper My father was a big goliath grouper fisherman. We got many pictures of him. He had a garage with a wrecker and he'd go down with the wrecker and pull them out and take 156

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FIRE IN THE WATER them to the garage. They cleaned them on the wash rack. They gave the meat away and people would line up for blocks with their pans to come get it. Ah, it's still there, Tropical Towing. It's on the corner of U.S. 1 and Boston Avenue. The wash rack is still there. It's now Tropical Towing, I believe . My father and Sam Bennett were partners, but m y father died and Sam Bennett wound up with it. But they were partners back when they brought the big fish in. There's lots of pictures of him with goliath grouper, which are protected today. FLORIDA, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24, 1932 Taylor Party Makes Huge Jewfish Haul, The Sixth Big Catch A 1.200.pound catch of jew fish was made Tue sday arter noon by a party composed of Arch Tayl o r and C . H . Underhill, this city. and C. C . Baker of Columbu• . 0., while fishing in the inlet for a couple of hours. Tht catch numbered seven , tho largest of which weigh • d over 300 pounds and the smalltsr SO or 60 pounds . The catch was brought into town by the Bnenttl Motor <:ompany't wredcer and the flsh butchered and distributed among the needy of the city. This wa s the sixth and lar g est recen t catch of jewfish made b7 Taylor and a few of his frio nds. The c o mblntd catches totaled an>vnd 7,000 pound•. •1 . The llsb put up • still" but britf ilght, the n come to the surface •nd ar< h•rpoon ed ond I towtd to s hor< , where they are pulled out by the 11rt<:ktr. m .. t ilS 1aid to bt ex cellent and delectable food. j Big Catch of Jewfish Made Here lbulinr in enormoua jewftah baa gotten to be a ffglllar PliUme for Arch Taylor, Ilia aon Jack and tome of the i r b'ieccls. H.ere is a four-tbh ca&ch tb&t waa made trom tho inlet lllo otll or dq, totaling nelTIJ 1,100 poundo. The biggcat lll'Ouad 3 60 poundlo C. C. Baker of Columbua, 0 ., atanda at the Jett, Taylor in the ••ntar and Jack at the right. The
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HOWARD considered the edge of the turning basin. There's a reef, still there I think. My daddy caught 'em there a lot with a boat. I fished with Bill Summerlin, right in there. There was some big grouper in there. But there was people caught them right right off of the dock there at the refrigerator terminal. You had to ask permission to get in there. The pre-cooling plant was right there on the turning basin, and you didn't just go out there and help yourself . You either knew somebody or something like that to get permission at the turning basin. If you had a boat, you'd go in there in a boat all you want. But, no, that was private property. You didn't go in there. They'd be loading ships and stuff and you'd be in the way . You might get hurt. They put oranges and grapefruit in the pre-cooler plant, because the ships were refrigerated. They'd put them on the big ships there for the New York market. That's just the name of it. It was a big building. It burned later . They got the Coast Guard to bring a fireboat in there. But, anyway, they lost it, and rebuilt it later. But, my father gave the fish away. Now, at one time, there was an article from the paper where he sold the fish and gave the money to the veterans, you know, , after World War I. 158

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FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 12: An early (1930s) photo of the Fort Pierce turning basin and refrigerator terminals for shipping citrus fruit. Walter Peterson's dock is seen in the upper left corner of the photo. Courtesy of St . Lucie County Regional History Center. Me and Goliath Grouper Later on in life, I even worked with Bill Summerlin and we commercial fished for those big grouper. We built a pen behind the old Baywood Fish Company . They're on the causeway to the inlet. And there was a pen there and we put the goliath fish in it and kept them alive and shipped them alive on freight trains, covering them with a wet burlap bag . And I tell you the truth, their gills were still working when they got to New York, the Fulton Fish Market . They told us, I mean, we got word back. I don't know how, but you could cover them with a wet sack and they would keep. They weighed approximately two hundred pounds and up. But we couldn't mess with 'em if they weren't at least two fifty. My job was just to help pull. Actually, how we did it, the boat wasn't too big, and we had the anchor fixed with like a slip knot and buoy so that we could just untie if we got a big one. We would just untie the cord and let him pull us around 159

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HOWARD in the boat until he tired out. Then get him up alongside the boat when he tired out and go back and put it in the pen. We couldn't even put him in the boat. There was kind of a gate in the pen. It was just poles stuck up and it was where the tide could flow through it. You couldn't put small fish in it. Biggest Goliath Grouper Well, the biggest grouper was with Bill Summerlin, big goliath fish. Anyway, I think at that time, we didn't call them that. And that was the biggest catch I ever had. It was about five hundred pounds. Goliath Bait Bill Summerlin said the best bait for big grouper was catfish. He'd cut the barbed fins the things that stick you. He took a pair of pliers and snipped them off and kept him alive. He hooked that catfish on so evidently the goliath, they must inhale that catfish or something down there. And that's what we had. A lot of catfish swimming around there. Of course, the catfish would be crippled up and, I guess the grouper would go for it. And then we unhooked our anchor rope and went for a ride. Tired him out, pulled him alongside of the boat. Sea Turtles We put turtles in the pen, too. We had a permit for sea turtles so we made, like, an aquarium out of it. Legally, we could put one sea turtle in it, legally one turtle. I remember Frank Blanchard (the local state game warden) got really upset because, if the turtle got to where he was not going to make it, we would e at him. And then we could go get a new one. I remember Frank Blanchard, when the turtle wasn't looking too good, he said, ''Well, come get your damn turtle and go home." [Laughs]. Pulling Wire Of course, with Gene Hayes one time, I had a big one that took it, and he broke the line. Gene Hayes was a good king 160

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FIRE IN THE WATER fisherman. He said that I didn't have the right gear for that big a fish. But I thought I knew everything. We were trolling for king. You've got to know what you're doing when you're pulling wire . Hayes would pull the wire. But carried my own rig, which didn't work. And Gene said, "you know you're supposed to use wire," and he laughed at me. While they pulled the wire, I used what I thought was a good line. He said , ''You don't use that. It don't work." ughs] He laughed at me for putting that line on. I said, "This is good line." He laughed at me. Well, king fishermen know what they're doing fishing wire. Those guys know what they're doing. You got to know how to pull it in and coil it, and you got to unhook 'em. And you got a de-hooker to unhook them. My line broke, and his wire didn't. Wire can be dangerous if you can't pull it right. Yeah, an amateur doesn't fish the wire. Snapper Fishing Now, the first thing I remember about fishing was when they carried us kids to go snapper fishing . They had a big, like a window sash counter weight tb go in your old windows. It was about that size but it was hollow on the bottom. It had a hollow thing in it, and they filled it with wax. And then we'd get to a reef and they would drop this thing two or three times and bring it up. And if it was live reef, it would have worms in it. And if it had worms in it, then we would churn the water. We'd drop and pick it up and drop it around quite a bit. And that would bring the grouper and the snapper to it. Red snapper, pretty old big red snapper. Big ones. I would say the smallest was eighteen inches. And then they could go on up to two foot, easily. And now and then you'd get one that was a monster. Anyway, when we'd get them, they'd keep hollerin', "Pull! Pull! Pull!" We used a big hand line. It was a big brown line. I think it was n ylon or cotton. I don't know what it was made up of, but it was brown, it was good sized. It had a big weight on it. But, anywa y , you had to pull it fast. And if you didn't 161

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HOWARD pull real fast, about halfway up, there'd be a big jerk and then it would go away. Then you could pull it in easy, and you'd have nothing but the head; it'd be cut in two. Shark. And about the time you got the second one, they were mad so you had to pull the anchor up and do it all over again. We had to leave the sharks. That's why they yelled, "Pull ! Pull! Pull!" I remember them yelling that. And of course we couldn't pull too fast. We were kids. This was way before World War II. I would be in the seventh grade. And then we went to the end of the ninth grade . It was Terrell Hayes's snapper boat. I couldn't say exactly how big it was. It had big ice box in it. It had an eight cylinder Royal Crown engine. I'm pretty sure it had a straight eight. It had two carburetorsdual carburetors. Yeah, it was a nice big boat with a big fish box in it full of ice. It had lunch in it. You had all you could drink and eat. We'd go way off shore . At that time, we went out the new inlet. It was about 1938. See, I was real good friends with Gene Hayes. We played together. Training Base at the Cape But, by eighth grade, end of the eight grade summer, we went to the Cape Cape Canaveral . World War II hadn't started. There was a training base at Cape Canaveral. And we stayed in the fish camp. They had houses there. They did have screens, I can remember that . And the mosquitoes in the morning, you woke up, it'd be black with mosquitoes on the outside of the screen. And there was one big latrine for everybody. There was one. I guess we had a pump for water . The water was good, I know that. We had plenty of water and showers. And the fish house had a railroad in it that runs right down the tracks, right down to the ocean and they'd pull the dinghies right into it and pick the fish. And I would say, just like today, it's a good mile across there, west, to the river. There was actually a lighthouse there, too, right out there . I remember the lighthouse. We were right on the point of the Cape. The lighthouse sat back a little. It was a little bit north 162

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FIRE IN THE WATER and west from where we were. I remember the lighthouse well. And airplanes were practicing their runs and stuff. There was an airbase there, because World War II hadn't started, but it was a base there. And they actually would practice dive bombing on the commercial fishing boats. They'd run out just like they would ... practice. But they'd come awful close. It'd scare the tar out of you. I remember that. Oh, gosh, yeah. They'd make a run just like they were going to release a torpedo. And then they pulled up. Scared the tar out of you. I remember that. You can find some others that remember that, too. Beach Seine The beach seine was long. They' d go in a power boat with the dory towed behind 'em with a beach seine in it. They'd wait till the y saw pompano skip or whatever fish were running. When the y saw fish, one man would jump over and anchor that end of the net on the beach. The net played out with one end anchored to the beach. And they'd put it out. And I'd swear it was a mile long . Of course, you know, being a kid, it was not that long. But it seemed long . The boat would go out into the ocean and then come back to the beach up a ways. They didn't go out that far. We'd go out in almost a straight line, parallel to the beach. It would go out, but not far. I would say maybe we were fifty yards off the beach. Maybe sixty yards off the beach and then run it parallel up the beach. It's called a beach seine. And they'd pull it in, and they had the big bunt and pocket right at the end. They pulled it up on the beach until they got to the pocket at the end. There would be no less than three men pulling the net and a bunch of us kids. They'd be working it, and the more you got in, the harder it got. And given you've got the pocket, it would be, I would say, twenty-five feet square. And it'd be full . Of course, there would be some stuck or gilled in the other part of the net. We 'd pick gilled fish out of the net as we pulled them in. And the pocket was the big thing. I mean, it was full. You wouldn't believe what would be in it. I mean there'd be sharks 163

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HOWARD and everything. Small turtles. Everything was in that pocket. Stingrays, lots of stingrays. But, anyway, when we'd start picking it out, the sharks would come. And they'd tell you, DO NOT put your hands over the sides of the boat. I often stayed in the boat for that part. In other words, they just pulled the whole thing up on the beach. They didn't roll it up. We just pulled it in to get to the pocket. They just kept pulling it on the beach . Usually I was in the boat. It'd stay with the pocket at the end of the net. [Laughs] The boat was running, idling, and stayed with the pocket. We'd put the fish on ice. They'd have a box with ice they'd slide along the beach to put the fish in . Sharks They did not throw fish in the sand. I think they had a fish box. They didn't want you to put the fish in the sand. I don't know why, but they didn't want you to throw them in the sand. I can remember that. They didn't want you to put your hands in the water, because the sharks would be coming up all around. Well, I can remember hearing snap like that when they chopped down on fish. You could hear it. They'd catch a fish right there before it'd hit the water. And there'd be sharks in that pocket, too. And, oh my gosh, the stingrays you wouldn't believe. You know, and you'd wonder, "My gosh, we used to go swimming in that." Va ughs] Alright, we kept the whiting and pompano. I don't think we kept trash fish like catfish. Maybe we'd keep stuff to eat, like the whiting. The pompano is really what we wanted . Pompano brought the most money. And we'd spend the whole day doing that. Big Catch Right at the Cape I remember once, when we'd got back, they had had a run in at the Cape. I don't know how far up the beach we went. Anyway while we was gone, right there at the Cape was like a shallow bar, right there at point of the Cape . And, anyway, 164

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FIRE IN THE WATER they had a run of whiting right there at the fish house. And they kind of laughed at us, because they had more fish than we did, right off the fish house. And of course, that was a big run of fish, and they had to get the ice truck. They had to bring ice. We had one boat with the net in it, and the net would come out of it. The big boat, Terrell Hayes's big boat, towed the skiff with the beach seine in it . It was a big boat with big ice boxes in it. We were with Terrell Hayes and his crew at the Cape. We left early that morning and the other crews stayed . Why, I don't know. But, they had a big run, and they did better than we did. But, they just went out and set a net right there, and we went down the beach from the point to that pier, a good mile. We'd go till we would skip pompano and then set the net. That's what they were after. They paid us kids nothing but room and board, and the experience . We didn't need any money. Ah, I got to take that back. We'd get some money to go to the movies. I remember that Terrell Hayes took us to the movies. Interview #2 with Tommy Taylor on March 14, 2011 Dredging the Back Country My father came in 1911 to drain the back country. He was a mechanic on the dredges. It was all water in the back country, western St. Lucie County between what's now Orange Avenue and Okeechobee Road. Different Nets They did have other nets, different nets than the beach seines. Beach seines were not deep and they wanted the fish in the pocket. What you call deep is measured from the cork line to the lead lines, that's what they call deep. The bigger nets were deeper. And in those days they had to be dried and there were drying racks to dry them. Because they were cotton, you had to lime them and dry 'em. They would rot out rather quickly if you didn't. Then you patched them up. Some of those guys were pretty fast at mending a net. 165

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HOWARD Gene Hayes, Terrell's son, was very, very fast. He was one of the fastest at mending net I had ever saw. I can remember Terrell Hayes's double car garage, actually. It was nothing but different nets hanging up in it. The webbing or mesh would be different sizes and different depth for different fish. I can remember him telling me what brand of fish each one was for. Bantam Sailboats Terrell Hayes settled right across the river from the old inlet, right there in St. Lucie Village. But that was later. When I met the Hayes family , they lived on 2nd Street, right across from Peterson's Dock. We'd go right out of their door and go out Peterson's dock where we kept our sailboats. They were bantam sailboats. Mr. Backus built them for us kids. And we actually had sailboat races. And I guess they had a bantam club, but we didn't belong to it . Figur e 13: a typical banta m sailboat I do know they were about ten foot long . Y e ah, t e n foot long. I'm sure of that . Everybody had their own. It had that centerboard that you could pull up and one mast . It had stays . I can remember that because Gene had his too tight. W e didn't 166

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FIRE IN THE WATER know you're not supposed to get them too tight. Anyway, he tied his up like a banjo string and the mast, it exploded. It didn't bust at the bottom, it broke in the middle. They were supposed to be a little loose so the mast could work. But anyway, he had to get a new mast. I never did have any trouble with mine. We kept 'em at Peterson's dock. Art Ergle had one, too. Sailboats on the River We all had sailboats, and we raced them in the river. Then, when World War II come along, we couldn't go east of the channel. The Navy base was there. And you had to even have a permit so you could go in the river. And, they fingerprinted you and everything. You couldn't go east of the channel. Well, we went east anyway. And the Navy had, like, a landing craft. They were built there at Backus Boat Company. But, they had their thing they 'd run up and down the river with. They'd keep you from going east in the channel. And we would go over in the flats -what we'd call the flats between the channel and barrier islands, east of the channel and pull up the centerboard, and we could still sail, oh, in three inches of water easy . And the Navy people would come in there and get stuck. And then we'd sail around them and laugh at them. [Laughs] Really, they'd come after you. And this is a true story -I'm not going to tell the other part -but anyway, later on they got an airboat. We didn't know it. We was over there, pulling that trick, and they come with an airboat and caught us and said, "Son, we know y'all been playing with us. But why we don't want you east of the channel, is we're blowing stuff up. And the debris lands in the river, up in the flats where you were going . That's why we stopped you, because we didn't want y'all to get hurt. That's the reason you can't go east of the channel." And, you know what? We never went east of the channel again . [Laughs] Not ever . Navy Mischief 167

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HOWARD Of course, Art's dead now. He was the one that pulled the prank on the Navy. He was the one that taught the Navy to guard their boats. He's the one that got us started. What Art would do and this is the truth he'd go across at night and untie the landing craft, for orneriness . [Laughs] So the Navy guys would get in trouble. They got blamed because the landing craft would come untied and they thought they didn't tie it right. So, he'd slip over at night with the sailboat and would get into mischief. I didn't do that. Lost Sailors One day Freddy Ray and me were sailing our boat in the river (Indian River Lagoon) a couple miles south of Fort Pierce. This was early during the war, probably 1943 . Freddy was going too fast. He was going way too fast, and we hit a shallow sand bar on the east side of the river and that centerboard tore the bottom out of that boat. It ripped it right down the middle. We tried to bail the water out for awhile, but it didn't do any good. It was sinking. So we swam and waded, it gets real shallow there, to the barrier island where the Navy training base was. It took us a couple of hours. Well they were practicing a mock invasion when we waded ashore. We walked right up to a machine gun nest and that fellow said, "Where the hell did you boys come from?" We told him our boat sank. He called his commanding officer and he sent a jeep for us. They took us to the entry gate of the base at South Bridge and turned us loose. We weren't wearing anything but shorts, and we each had a boat cushion. So we walked across the bridge and downtown to the Arcade Building in Fort Pierce where my older brother had a soda shop. Our families were all there crying. They'd found our wrecked boat and thought we were lost or drowned. Boy, they were sure glad to see us. 168

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FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 14: Entry gate to the naval base on South Beach in Fort Pierce during WWII. Co urtes y of the St. Lucie County Regional History Center. Mrs. Hayes at Cape Canaveral At the Cape (Cape Canaveral) Mrs. Hayes, Terrell Hayes's wife, made all the kids come in between eleven and two because of the sun. I think we did it in the fish house . I can remember being in the fish house. They kind of wanted to get us out of the sun. Mrs. Hayes would fix us lunch and read to us. Yeah, she did. She was a really, really nice lady. We ate, too, at the same time. She cooked the big meal of the day. You could almost say it was like it was a school day. I thought it was kind of like a learning time. I think she read Tom Sawyer and Treasure Island. We Ate Well at the Cape Oh, we ate good. Oh, my goodness, the food was real, real good. There was very good turtle meat, and fish, quail and duck and deer. We weren't supposed to mess with deer, b';lt, ah, yes, we did have deer . Gene Hayes shot a deer, and he skinned it. He had the skin for years. The game warden come up and looked through the place, because I guess somebody was bragging or told it or 169

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HOWARD something. But, the game wardens came to check. But, he never found anything. So, life up there was pretty good, actually. Oh, absolutely. We looked forward to it. I just went with the Hayes family, because of being a good friend of Gene's. I was Gene's playmate. Bob Terry was there, too, and another cousin. But, at the time, I didn't know whose son he was. It didn't matter. I'm pretty sure he was one of us that walked the beach at night. And I'm pretty sure Bob Terry, Gene's cousin, was one of them that walked the beach with us down to the pier. Figure 15: Gene Hayes and Tommy Taylor with wild fowl in front of the Hayes cabin at the Cape in the 1940s. Courtesy of Terrie Selph, granddaughter of Terrell Hayes. The Cabins The cabins on the beach were all basic. But they had beds and a kitchen. They didn't have bathrooms. There was one big outhouse. These were the first buildings on what is now Cape Canaveral . Nobody really owned the land. There wasn't anything out there. They just built on it. I think that, really and truly, that Terrell Hayes and Edson Arnold, had some kind of claim back there on the land. I don't 170

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FIRE IN THE WATER know exactly what it was because I remember when the military took it over, they hired a guy that stayed there. See, they didn't stay there year round, and they hired a guy to stay there and live there, so it would be homesteaded. But the government did take it over anyway. And I thought it was for the missiles. But it was probably before that that they had a claim to it. Moorings There was just enough of a cape, so the boats were mostly in kind of in a sheltered area. Unless you got a hard south, because a straight south wind could topple the boats; otherwise, the moorings were pretty sheltered. Yes. Most of the bad winds were what we call the nor'easters. They'd be just fine with a nor'easter. Paradise for Kids We all loved going up there as kids. That's exactly right. Oh God, we'd look forward to it. Absolutely. It was a summer vacation. Comradery and Competition I know fishermen helped each other out, no matter what. But there was a lot of competition to see who had the biggest catch. See, that was one reason I was telling about when they got the better catch at the Cape, and we really got the horse laugh. But, when it come down to anything like an emergency, the y 'd all worked together. If a boat got in trouble, they all were there to help. One broke down, you wouldn't have to worry. They'd come to your aid. We didn't have radios . If you had a problem, well you'd stand up there and wave. I don't think we went any further than what we call the First Reef out there today. And that would be about thirty feet of water to the sixty-foot reef. And then to really about a hundred and ten when we fished for the snapper, I know we tried it in sixty foot, then we went out to about a hundred and ten. 171

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HOWARD Driving to the Cape We went US-1 and then came over to the Cape. I remember US-1 going through Vero. I remember the trip. Because there'd be quite a few of us kids in the back seat, and Mrs. Hayes and Terrell in the front. Of course, they had a lot of groceries. It was a green Plymouth. It was about 1941. Big Runs of Fish They stayed up there into the fall, until the fish migrated down here to Fort Pierce. Man, they'd bring in loads of fish. When they got more fish down here in Fort Pierce than they did up there, they would move back. Oh goodness, when they had a run of fish here, I mean, all the fish houses would be full. Absolutely. When I was older, I'd go down to the fish house to gut fish. My older brother was called out of school to gut fish when the y had a big run. I didn't because I had other jobs like a paper route. Tomatoes One time during World War II, we all got out of school to go down to the tomato cannery, and they had a bunch of tomatoes they were going to lose at the tomato cannery. We packed tomatoes for the war effort. We worked till they got in that crop they were going to lose. I don't know how it happened. Maybe it was a cold snap or something. But they had an awful lot of tomatoes they were going to lose. They wanted to run that cannery for twenty-four hours and they did. Uaughs] It was called "the war effort." Rabbit Hunting Now, this is not fishing, but I hunted rabbits during World War IL I used to sell rabbit. Go rabbit hunting and sell rabbit. Old Inlet My grandfather used to go out the old Indian River Inlet. It closed up, I think about 1911. Uncle Bill Summerlin said there were five channels into it. 172

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FIRE I THE WATER It was by Pepper Park. There was a House of Refuge right beside it. It was where the tennis courts are in Pepper Park today. Herman Summerlin knows exactly where it was, 'cause he used to go over there and camp in it. There were a few houses on the beach at Fort Pierce, and they were deserted. I can remember we'd go to the beach and spend the day . We'd picnic in those abandon ed h ouses . It'd be right on the b eac h where the walls and everything were, but wasn't too much left. People just abandoned them when the Depression came. There were abandoned h ouses a ll over h ere. Figure 16: The House of Refuge which was located at the South side of the old Indian River Inlet . It was near the North side of where Pepper Park is located today, on North Beach in Fort Pierce. Courtesy of the St. Lucie County Regional Hi s tor y Center. Abandoned Hospital There was a three-story hospital right over here that was abandoned, too. We used to play in it. It's West Booth Drive, which is named after the hospital. It was Booth Hospital. It's just south of West Booth Drive and Sunrise. I definitely remember playing in it. My o ld er brother and I would play hospital, and I was always the patient. It actually still had the operating table in it. And the light was in there, too. I remember looking up at it. It wasn't live. There was no electricity. The well was still running, but it was broke, and there was a pond all the way around it, because the well just kept running. It was an artesian well. 173

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HOWARD The Great Depression I grew up in the Depression. All I know is that houses were abandoned. One family that I thought was well off, m y friend told me his father gave their house back to the bank. It was right here on Sunrise Boulevard. The house is still there. And I always thought that they were rich. They couldn't make the payments. 1933 Hurricane In one of the hurricanes in 1933, a bunch of people drowned near Lake Okeechobee. And m y father went down there because he had a boat on a trailer. He went down there and did some rescue work or recovering bodies mostly . I can remember when my mother put the rug on top of the piano, to protect it during the storm. I remember all those bodies . Well, we had a lot of water. Yes, I remember that. 1949 Hurricane And I can remember the ' 49 hurricane ver y good. It went right through here. I'd been in the service at that time, and I was stationed on Okinawa. And we had typhoons . I was in the old Army Air Corps . Actually, we were attached to the army at that time. And when I got out, we had what the y called a "military obligation." And, I went into the National Guard. And I was in the National Guard in the hurricane of '49. And I was actually the NCO in charge of a group that rescued the WIRA Radio Station that stayed on the air. A t that time it was right there next to the Episcopal Church on the Indian River Lagoon. It's a big park now. There was a radio station there, WIRA, and they had their own generator. They sta yed on the air telling everybody about the storm. They were telling people what the wind gauge was reading and what was going on. And the next thing you know, the y come on and said that they were going to have to go off the air. They were going to have to shut down because they were afraid the y w e r e going to get electrocuted by the generators flooding. And the y ask e d if anybody could come take them out. 174

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FIRE IN THE WATER And I was in ch a r ge . Well, I wasn't really in charge. I was the highe st rank NCO. And thre e fellow guardsmen and myself, we took a six -b y-six and backed it in there. It's the old army ten-wheeler. They called it a six-by-six because all the wheels would pull in the back and the front. Mark Welling was with me. Mark's brother got killed. But, far as I know, Mark Welling is still here, alive. And we all got the Florida Distinguished Service Cross for that. But, anyway, the trucks didn't have waterproof ignition in those days. It was a six-cylinder engine, made by General Motors -GMC engine with no waterproof ignition. It had a distributor and regular wire running up to the spark plugs . It had a winch on the front. The six-by-six was kept at the Armory, and the Armory was where the sewer plant is on South Beach today. It was built by the Navy and it was one of the old Navy buildings. Alright, right across from it was the Navy Armory. But, after that it belonged to the school board. Actually, the school board made it a bus garage, but back then it was the Armory. Just as soon as the Navy pulled out, they made a National Guard Armory out of it . Eventually the building blew down. The doors blew off and the roof came off. So, we abandoned the building and came across the river. Actually we were in Padrick Chevrolet on Fourth Street when we got the news that the y wanted out and needed help. It was a big long white building. And they made stores out of it. Been several places built in there. But, it's still used. Anyway, that was Padrick Chevrolet. And we left out of there and went up there to the radio station to get the people. The regular army had drowned out trying to get them. And, of course, the y didn't have any waterproof ignition. So , anyway, this was the story. About that time I was a mechanic. We took the fan belt off We h ad just one belt. I loosened up that big old generator and snipped that belt so we didn't have any fan turning. And we backed in to the radio station. And we used what they call a Pyrene Fire Extinguisher. The military issued them. They were brass, about a foot 175

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HOWARD long, and you pumped them. And it was Pyrene . It was good for everything. We used them in the service to clean parts . It was very useful. It evaporated real quick, and it wouldn't conduct electricity. But, anyway, you could spray it right on the engine. I learned that trick on Okinawa when it drowned out everything. You take the Pyrene and spray it right on the ignition and stay right up there pumping it and it would keep the engine running. So, that's where I learned it , in the service. But it was in the manual too. And, we got everybody out of the radio station at the very height of the storm and went back to help the regular army. So, we went in reverse becau se of the wind. We backed into the wind. We backed right up to the steps of the radio station and people come right out and right into the truck. Anne Wilder was one of them. (Anne Wilder was a renowned local radio and newspaper journalist.) I remember Anne. She was in the back. Anyway we carried them to the shelter at the Fort Pierce Hotel. It was a two-story building. Then we went back and got the regular army who were stuck. The regular army was stuck at the hedge right there by the Episcopal Church. And there was a Motor Company wrecker stuck down there, too. But, anyway, I went there to a driver and said, "Give me your fire extinguisher." I was feeling my oats. They handed me the fire extinguisher and I raised the hood and I sat up on the fender and I sprayed it. I said, "Crank her up!" Of course, they hadn't killed the battery. It cranked right up. "Back her out!" They backed her out while I kept spraying. They backed it out onto high ground. And I gave the boy back his fire extinguisher and he said, "I didn't know that!" Of course, I was a corporal then, and I was really feeling my oats. You know how you get. I said, "Read the tech manual." Uaughs] Yeah, I was really feeling good. Then I had to go get Captain Rogers. He lived out west of town. The message came in by rail that we were activated . We hadn't actually been called out at that time. We were just on our 176

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FIRE IN THE WATER own initiative and trying to take care of our own equipment. But, anyway, for three days, we kept going and getting people. I got a Florida Distinguished Service Cross for that. The wind gauge blew out at 165 miles per hour. That's in the paper. The wind gauge went out at 165 miles per hour. I think the radio station was still on the air when the wind gauge went out. Then the water came up . The wind pushed that whole river up, it went both ways. At that time, the commercial fishermen, they all put their boats over to the east side of the river tied them to the mangroves up there on the east side, as far as they could get. The wind went back the other way in the second half of the s torm. Then, it put all the boats high and dry. And I went over there with a wrecker and I can remember pulling them off. We use a snatch block and pulled the boats off the mangroves. I guess it was after the second half of the storm. But, anyway, when it went this way, it flooded everything and like I said, at that radio station, the y panicked. Figure 17: The d estr uction in the aftermath of the 1949 hurricane. This was the Lowe F is h House on Fisherman's Wharf in Fort Pierce. Cour t esy of Captain Steve Lowe. 177

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HOWARD 1940s -St. Lucie County's 90 .. ' • ---.._. --... .._ __ --.. -- • - • • • -----St. Lucie County's last major hurricane '\11 I -,•-Figure 18: Tommy Taylor receives the Florida Distinguished Service Medal for his heroic rescues during the 1949 hurricane, "the first such medals awarded during peace time in the state." Courtesy of Fort Pierce Tribune and Tommy Taylor. I remember Mrs. Hayes complaining about Mr. Hayes staying with his boat during the storm. He stayed with the boat. Mrs. Hayes complained about Terrell staying with boat rather with the family. But that was his livelihood. I'm sure 178

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FIRE IN THE WATER the family was safe. Their house and everything was on high ground. People laugh about that when I say high ground, but you know the low ground got flooded. You see the old timers, they built on high ground. They did go to high ground. But it's not really very high. Lightning Storm We were in a lightning storm, and I didn't know it but my wife said I actually was glowing . It was on our sailboat, Wings. She said I was actually glowing. I was back there on the wheel. Well, it was kind of strange. In the Bahamas they have more lightning storms than we have here. It's almost unbelievable. I mean, it's just one strike right after another. Lightning just here, here, here, coming down. It's almost like the sky is on fire. I've been through several of those lightning storms, but none as bad as this one. Figure 19: T ommy a nd Eleanor Ta y lor's sailboat Wings . Courtesy of Tomm y Taylor. Pacific Typhoon And when I was in the service, I was on a troop ship. They got into a typhoon, and I didn't know it. I slipped up and opened a hatch right over the latrine . I didn't know waves 179

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HOWARD could get that big. It was, I swear, fifty foot high. And, anyway, a wave broke, the water poured in and was going down and everybody hollered, "Close that hatch! Close that hatch, man, don't you know." I closed that hatch. [Laughs] One look was all I needed. Then like I said, on Okinawa, of course, we headed back into a typhoon, and I didn't know waves could get that high. They would break where you would think no wave could possibly be that high. But they were in the Pacific; I know they were big. Army Air Corps I was Army Air Corps. I actually went over as a radar operator. I was a lot more than just radar operator. We had the most powerful set in the world, I think, at that time on Okinawa. We maintained it twenty-four hours a day. And then it had what you'd call blind spots in it. When it hit a mountain on the other side it would be a blind spot. We had outposts to cover the blind spot. We had a small set which we took care of. I stayed on the outpost on the small set where we had to do everything. We did everything including our own maintenance and our own security. We had to get our own water. We made our own electricity. We were left on our own. At that time, the war was over. But then, of course, there were so many knuckle-head Japanese that didn't know it. They just mostly stole. They'd sneak in and do what they wanted. Actually, the radar is the main thing, and it's on the highest part on the mountain. They came in one night, and the y cut the wires. It was what they call prefab. They were like a tent but they're double thickness with insulation in between. They actually slit the prefab, came in on the backside and went into what we called maintenance where we kept parts and stuff. They went in there, and I don't know what they did, but they did slit it in the back. And, of course, they got kind of scared after that. One time, we had a guard shack out there that had a phone in it. Our squad leader tried to call the guy in the shack on the phone, see what was going on, but he didn't answer. They kept 180

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FIRE IN THE WATER calling and finally when they went down found him. He came out, sleepy-eyed, and they said, "Why didn't you answer the phone?" He said, "I didn't know what was going on." He went in there, and they had stolen the wire. [Laughs] They cut the wire and stole it while he was in the guard booth asleep. That's the truth. Everybody, at night, cleaned up his weapon when we went on shift. Because radar is always on the highest point, we called the hill Radar Hill. And we had to go up there, change the shift at midnight and sometimes had to go work on the set or something. You secured your weapon when you went up there. The machine gun blew up one time. And that's why I can't hear out of one ear. And that's my fault. Anyway, you have to take the machine gun apart and oil it up, clean it. There's a little spring that's got a ninety degree bend in it called a "barrel locking spring" that fits in the lock of the barrel and holds the barrel from unscrewing. You screw the barrel in what you call "head space." Anyway, cleaning it, I saw the barrel locking spring had a fingerprint on it and it was rusty, so I just took an oil patch and rubbed on it until I cleared it off. And when I did, the bluing was gone. I took it down and test fired. About the second blast, it blew up. And I found out later the strength of the metal spring was in the skin. When the bluing was all gone, the skin of the metal spring was compromised. The blast wasn't bad on my cheek but I never heard nothing after that. [Laughs] The Army Air Corps was where I learned how to run radar. I learned quite a bit over there. Giant Stingray The biggest pull we ever had turned out to be a giant stingray. And I didn't know they got that big, but they are strong. He carried us for a ride. Bill knew what it was all the time, saying I was just getting all excited. Oh, boy. It had to be a monster. We got it up just far enough and Bill unhooked it with a pole with a long pole with a knife tied on the end. He just cut that lip up 181

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HOWARD and got the hook out and let 'er go. Never got to the boat, you know. You wouldn't put that thing in a boat. A Florida Attraction With big grouper, we'd motor or row it back to our corral at the Baywood Fish Company. Put it in that pen, it'd get people around it. I'd say, probably, biggest one, I'm not exactly sure, was maybe four hundred pounds. That was a big fish. I mean, they would be in there and people would come look. People would actually come there just to see it. The main reason we caught 'em was to sell them, not to look at them. Yeah. But, actually, I had seen them take the right saw. It's a power saw that has short teeth that goes back and forth like an electric carving knife. They used it to cut those big steaks off those big goliath grouper right there on that dock. Bill Summerlin had one he used it to cut pilings. He also used it to cut goliath fish steaks when we didn't sell them. The Lightning Storm I've been in storms in the Bermuda Triangle, when the compasses went crazy. It absolutely would go crazy . I told about this when we got to Bimini. I was in a nice Mako' real nice Mako that had a big engine on it -a 150 horsepower engine. At that time, it was the biggest you could get and safe, a Mako couldn't sink. We got in a bad storm in that. And of course, it was overconfidence. I was overconfident. I learned that it's the sea that determines when you go across to the Bahamas. You never want to have a time element . In other words, we're going to leave on this date. We're going to get there on that date. Uh-uh. You got to go when the sea's right. The sea determines your speed, when you go and everything. Like I said, I had this Mako, and I just thought I was in hog heaven. Actually, what happened, even the electronics went out. It ruined it. I had a nice depth recorder, and all that. All that went out. All electrical went. I had Larry Hopkins. And he was as crazy as me. Really, he's really gung-ho. I mean, really, gung-ho -more than I was. So, 182

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FIRE IN THE WATER we're in the middle of this storm. The compass started turning round and round. It ruined it. Because it was never any good after that. We were going to go over to the Bahamas, do some diving and fishing. Stay with friends. We had a lot of friends over there. I'd say it would be about '75 or '78 right in there. It was the twenty-three foot and had a cuddy cabin. It was a nice boat. It had a radio, an antennae, a stereo, everything anything, at that time, that you could ever have on a boat, I had. I'm pretty sure it had Loran, before the GPS. We got into one bad electrical storm, where it was just lightning all around. And probably the whole boat was glowing . That lightning destroyed everything electrical. Burning Ships off of Fort Pierce I remember when the ships got sunk out there off Fort Pierce in World War II. Yeah, I remember going to the beach to see them burning. We did. We actually went over there. The Navy hadn't come here yet. At the start of World War II, there was nothing here. There was nothing on the beach. And we had what they call the Home Guard. And I joined the Home Guard. Rescued Survivors And all the commercial fishermen did what they could for the war effort. But they went out there to pick up survivors and whatever they could. They were furnished gas and were supposed to be looking for submarines, too. Now, I know some of them did pick up survivors and they did bring them in here. And, I remember my grandmother had one for dinner. They wanted people to take them to dinner, Sunday dinner and stuff. She had taken care of one, too, like for Sunday dinner. We spent the day with him. And he told us about the ship being torpedoed. I think it was an oil tanker . He said he dove in and was swimming away. That's how he got off of it. 183

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HOWARD Spotter Towers We had what they called "spotter towers." Working in the spotter towers was all volunteer. And I got a letter of appreciation for that. And he notes in there that now we're on the offense and not the defense. They abandoned them spotter towers . Spotter towers probably started in about '42. They got the towers going in that summer. There was a tower on the beach; that's the truth. I did not have that one. There was one on top of the Fort Pierce Hotel. I only got to go there one time . My tower, the one I was responsible for -I had a regular shift on was up there on the ridge north of town about where the Hilltop Restaurant used to be. It's an antique place now, sitting up on the hill. My tower was right there on the high ground. It was right off of U.S. 1. Right on the east side of U.S. 1, on the ridge. Then there was another one on that high hill on Seventh Street. I got to go to the Fort Pierce Hotel one time. It was highly sought after, because there was a bar there. [Laughs] I only pulled one shift on it . 184

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FIRE IN THE WATER __ , .-. -Figure 20: Airplane spotter towers were located along Florida's East Coast during WWII. Courtesy o f Donald E . Root Boating Tragedy It was on one of Terrell Hayes's boats. Mr. Raulerson that owns the Raulerson Building in downtown had a son. And the son was a big ... like a playboy. And, he hired this boat to take him out there, just out in the river, running fast, and of course, it was one of Terrell's boats but it wasn't Terrell running it. It was one of the guys that fished f or h im w ho carried Mr. Raulson's son out to ride around fast at night joyriding and having a good time. And they hit a pipe where they were re -185

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HOWARD digging on the inlet. They had a pipe going across. They hit that pipe. When they did, they split the boat, and Raulerson fell overboard. But they couldn't find him. They were fixing to put a net across the inlet and drag for him. And Gene Hayes went down to his daddy's boat the ne x t day. Gene was in the stern, and he looked down and the guy was in the prop. He'd fallen overboard and caught the prop. He had been riding in the bow and fell overboard and was there in the prop, down under the boat. Little Gene was the one that found him. The guy that was running the boat was alright. I don't know who it was running the boat. The boat came to a stop right on top of the pipe . Sand Dredge I can remember going over there to see, when that thing was pumping the sand up , it'd be fish and everything come out that pipe . Of course, there'd be some pretty nice fish. I just went over there to see all the damn different stuff that come out of the pipe, from the dredging. Pretty nice fish. Prohibition I remember it getting over, because my oldest brother bought a case of beer when prohibition ended. So, I think it got over in '33. Yeah. Death at a Road Block Well, the rum, the sheriff and the deputies, yeah. They got people on Indian River Drive, you know, because I guess that was a route. The sheriff and the deputies was just stopping cars. That used to be the main road before they built U.S. 1. And my aunt got stopped there. They stopped her. And then there was one man did not stop. And he ran it, and they shot him. He was killed. I guess he just panicked. But his wife was my schoolteacher, and my mother told me that's what happened to him. She was my first grade school teacher. 186

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FIRE IN THE WATER School Then we called it the Yellow Brick School on Delaware. You started at one end; you got through; you come out the other. It started on Tenth Street, and ends there on about Eleventh Street. There's a church on the west side of it now. It's still just the same size that it was. The old bell tower is there. Actually, it had two bell towers. And one of them they made a classroom out of. It was a third stor y classroom, because I been in it. I was never taken out of class to go help gut fish. No, I did not. I was taken out to help pick tomatoes. My older brother helped gut fish. I do know my other brother, Jack, as a matter of fact, and I remember, they come back smelling. Really, they smelled like shrimp . Seafood's got its own odor. Well, one reason I wasn't good at gutting fish. I was never fast at gutting and cleaning fish. I think I was too thorough. I had to get every little node. You know, I don't know why. But I just had to get ever y little nitpick. Mechanic In the summertime we, m y dad and me, did help with tuning the fishermen's boats. It was when they did their maintenance. Well, I became a mechanic. I became quite a good mechanic. I was fairly good, really was. Pat myself on the back for that -a good mechanic. I taught auto mechanics at the Indian River Junior College and at Fort Pierce Central High School. I had good students. A lot of them are working at it today. Some of them retired from it. And I did. I used to say I snuck a little learning in on the side. Most of them were eleventh and twelfth graders that were already turned off of school. And all the y wanted to do was build racing engines . And I let them build a racing engine, but they built 'em right . They didn't know they was learning a lot of theory. The Old Boat House in St. Lucie Village When I was a kid, we used to go down there and play. We'd go out on that dock, and we'd look in the window and see that boat hanging in there. It hung in there for a long time. 187

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HOWARD They finally dropped it in the water, and it sunk. You know? It dried out. And it came to rest right in front of the Summerlin's house. After World War II, I pulled the engine out with a wrecker. Herman remembers me doing it because that's the first time he ever saw me, when I pulled that engine out. He thought Mr. Snead had me do it, but Mr. Snead didn't know. I did it. Oh, my God. That wrecker we had, had a good hundred foot of cable on it, more than a hundred foot. Oh, yeah . That wrecker was wonderful. We could put the snatch block on the object and run the cable out and then run it back to a dead head and double the pulling power. Oh, gosh, we pulled everything. I was good with that . Smuggling I know a lot of people that got real rich off of smuggling, and I'm not going to say who, but some of them are in business now and they're real good business people. They're real good people. And a lot of them have done really good. They got their stake smuggling. But, I mean, they done a lot for the community. I actually did mechanical work for two of them. Not while they was smuggling . . . well, yeah, I did, but I didn't really know it. I mean, now, they're in business. Legitimate. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. They said a lot of law enforcement was in on it. I don't know for a fact. I mean, I've heard that. He got caught, Howard Masters. After Howard got out of jail, I'd see him and we buddied up. I carried him around a little bit. And actually, I worked on his tractor for him, and a couple friends would call me out to work on his tractor. We did. And he told me all about it. There's no secret . Of course, he paid his time. And of course, when they paid their time on it, paid their debt. Stolen Boat Another one, his boat wound up at Wesley's Island. And nobody went to jail for that because the boat had been stolen. Somebody stole the boat and of course, that's what they do. 188

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FIRE IN THE WATER You don't use your own. You use somebody else's. So, nobody went to jail for that. It wound up on the other side of Wesley's Island, by the biggest one. I think that they actually loaded semi trucks with it and carried it north. But, I never saw any of that get put on the trucks and I never saw anybody loading it. Floating Bales But, now, one time, and I was in the ocean when it happened, somebody stumbled up where they had dropped the whole load, I think it was a plane that dropped it. And nobody picked it up. Guys got on the radio and called the Coast Guard, said there's a bunch of pot floating around out here. Coast Guard asked him, "How much is it?" And he says, "It's getting less all the time." And you know the guy on the Coast Guard radio didn't know what he's saying. He said, well, y'all just better come on out here and get this, because I can't see how much it is, because it's getting less all the time. Somebody put two and two together, and they stopped every boat that came in that day. It was a Sunday, too. They stopped ever y boat coming in, searching it. And I don't think anybody ever got caught with any. I don't think. [Laughs] They stopped every boat because, see, the guy told him ... he did not say people are picking it up. He said it's getting less all the time. I knew what he was talking about. Tickled me when he said that. And the Coast Guard guy didn't pick up on it. But evidently the word got out. But, I'm going to tell you what they did, because I know this for a fact. I'm not going to say anything but other than the facts. What they did is, they come in on the North Beach. At that time the North Beach wasn't too many condos there. And, somebody dove overboard and swam to shore with a bale. And went up there and put it behind the dunes and waited 'til somebody come picked them and the bale up by car. They'd pick up a bale. Dropping it on North Beach; swimming it in, up there behind the dunes, and then coming down later and picking it up. I'm not saying any names, but I know for a fact it was done. 189

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HOWARD And I'm not going to say which boat. But, you know, that had been done, a lot. Oh, yeah. That's happened. Ah, nobody thinks anything about swimming in. You just lay on your back and paddle, swimming in with the pot. Smuggling in the Bahamas This happened in the Bahamas. They come in on a drop where they dropped some pot. And this guy was really a nice person. Another thing where the Bahamian police found it floating. And what they'd do, they'd cut them open and let it sink. And then when they did, they took that stuff, like, they'd appeared to be just kind of joking around with it. But they sunk it. Just slit them open and let her go. Even if you come in with somebody else's pot that you found and you'd get caught, yo u're in trouble. And now, on Bimini, I stayed on Bimini a little bit. I had some friends there. But I did not know what they were into and actually, I felt sorry for them because they had a broken old red pickup truck. They couldn't even get to the store . And I went over and worked on it, started it up for them, got it going. I really felt sorry for them. I found out when I come back to the states that they're millionaires living in California in a big house, up there on the cliff, looking out on Hollywood. And here I thought they were flat broke, down on their luck. But, that's the way you do it. You just don't let anybody know what your business is. But, there was a lot of smuggling at one time on Bimini, and South Bimini. Really and truly, it was. And even today, if you sit up there at night, and you might see them unloading. Really. It was wide open. Bimini used to be wide open. Blue Thunder near South Bimini. They're up on the rocks. Yeah, it is on the rocks. That's U.S. Customs. That's back in the days before the USDEA, and it used to be U.S. Customs. That's Blue Thunder, a real famous fast boat they had. That's Blue Thunder aground south of South Bimini. But they got out to it . The man in the picture is 190

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FIRE IN THE WATER in a wetsuit. He swam out there. He was the first one there . It was about 1975. Figure 21: That's Blue Thunder aground south of South Bimini . Courtes y of Tommy Taylor. Johnny Jones My mother and his mother were great friends, way back. And I don't know how close they were, but they were great friends . Momma called his mom Manny, you know, and she'd spend a day with her and they would talk. And I'd go up on the Indian River Lagoon where they lived and play with Johnny. And Johnny had a younger brother Bubba, but I don't remember Bubba. He was probably way too young. But I played with Johnny. I was there one day when Blossom, his father, had to go out and light the buoy lights . Blossom Jones was Johnny's dad's name . They had kerosene lamps, and their job was to light them. I was playing with Johnny and they were going to go out and light the range lights and the light buoys. Anyway, they were four-posted; with a big light up there on top. And they 191

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HOWARD had steps made on it to go up. I remember that. I went with Johnny, and our job was to hold the boat while Blossom went up. And I was too young and too scared, you know, and the boat got to rocking a lot. Got to rocking a lot. You know, little ole me, I was just scared. I didn't mind it until it was going up and down, and we're trying to hold a boat. Well, it couldn't have been much for two little kids to hold the boat. That was just to give us something to do, I guess. I think the buoy would be by the east side of the channel by North Bridge. Four-posted beacon. This I'm sure was on the east. And, it seems like the other one was the east side out there; going out. It was a range marker. Well, they scared the hell out of me, and I was so glad to get back. (Author's note: Captain Johnny Jones' story is told in Great Kingfish Captains of Fort Pierce, Florida Tell Their Stories, 2007 .) Naming Fort Pierce Ada Coats Williams's father said that my great grandfather said, "Let's name it Fort Pierce, after the fort." And I've been told that he named it Fort Pierce. Ada Coats told me, and I believed it. Ada Coats's mother was my teacher . Oh, I remember Ada Coats. When she first come back, she taught dancing. Oh, she's a beautiful lady. Oh, my God. She married one of my best friends, Harold Williams. Commercial Fishermen I remember when the commercial fishermen brought the fish in, the fish houses were busy people would be gutting them. And you went out there, and it would just be a complete wall of catfish down there under the docks eating fish guts . I didn't believe they could be that many. But it would be. I believe you could walk on 'em. It was solid catfish down there. And the fishermen made out good when they did; and then they had lean times. I'm going to tell you, fishing was a rough job really rough. You got to take your hat off to them, 192

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FIRE IN THE WATER because that was a rough profession. And it was good when it was good. But, there'd be times they'd go out and they'd just burn fuel for nothing. It'd be lean times. Eddie Nobles is a good friend of mine. He said his daddy, in bad times, give him a Sears Roebuck Catalog, tell him to pick out what you want for Christmas, and then when times get better, I'll get it. And it would be like that feast and famine. King Fishermen Mechanic It was that way for king fishermen, the same way. I remember, those king fishermen. I worked on a lot of king fishermen's boats. Back when they came out with the alternators, I'd been on the ground floor of the alternators. Actually, I wired up some boats for Pinder's Fish Company. The Pinder Brothers were out of Jupiter. They were big, and one of them had a boat that broke down here. I guess Terrell Hayes was the one that got me the job . I went over there and fixed it up. What it was, the y were buying these surplus diesel engines that were twenty-four volts, military. And everything we had was twelve volts. They had to have twenty-four to start it. And we put a series parallel switch on it. And I come up with a series parallel switch; make it series for starting, and then parallel for charging , by throwing a lever. And it worked real well, and then I could fix the alternators that they had to have. They had to have alternators when they first come out for all of the electronics that they carried. And it broke down one time in West Palm. And he brought the boat all the way to Fort Pierce for me to work on it. It made me feel bad. ''You didn't need to do that," I said. I would have gone down there to work on it, [Laughs]. My wife ran into his wife one time, and she said something about it. And his wife said, Yes, I remember that, [Laughs] I worked on Terrell Hayes's boats. I worked on Herman Summerlin's equipment and boats. 193

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HOWARD Importers And, like I said, I worked on some of them that I didn't know at the time was used for drugs. They took advantage of the situation. The opportunity was there, and a lot of them took it. And some of them paid the price. And a lot of them, like I said, are real outstanding people to the community today . Really . But, the fishermen, I got to take my hat off to them and some of them took advantage of prohibition . And others, some of them got their start when the pot fust started coming in. And one of them said that he never messed with cocaine. That was another good thing about it. As a matter of fact, I even talked to him after he got out. And he told me, he said, ''No sir. I never messed with cocaine." It'd mess people's lives up. And they say pot doesn't. Some said pot was a starter drug . That's what I understand. That's about all I can tell you on that . Sinking While Crossing the Gulf Stream One time I was crossing in a boat that was an inboard outboard. I called it a shore hugger after that. I was crossing with Larry Hopkins again, and we were running pretty fast, crossing from Florida to the Bahamas. And actually, the Big D was going, too, but it only ran ten knots. So, I couldn't stand that, and I put that thing in the corner, and we really thought we were doing good. And the fust thing I know, Larry comes says the bilge light's on, because he was running the boat, and I was just cooling it. I said, ''It'll go off." A little later, he said, "The bilge pump light's still on." I said, "Oh, alright." So, I go back there and raise the hatch, and man, the water was filled out in it. I said, "Cut her down!" And when he did, the bow come way down when the water came forward Uaughs]. Boy, we were sinking. And what happened, the bilge pump couldn't keep up. 194

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FIRE IN THE WATER Herman Summerlin said we'd beat the bottom out of the boat. Beat the bottom out pounding THUMP! THUMP! like that. It was a fiberglass boat and the stringer was like rope and the fiberglass flexed when it pounded and when it did, it busted. And of course, it was more water than the bilge pump could keep up with. So, I got on the radio with Herman on the Big D. And we had made five-gallon buckets with glass in the bottom so we could see under the water you know. You could see the crawfish, and so we could dive over and get them in the Bahamas. We had two of those five-gallon buckets with us. We took those and started bailing. We actually were gaining on it. But, I got panicky. And here come a small freighter. And he was, at the most, a hundred yards from us. And I took a flare out and shot a flare. And I know he seen us. But after he passed us, there was a guy on the stern that seen us and I seen him walk in. I got on the radio and I cussed that guy out good. I mean, I was in the military, so I knew some choice words. So, I was really cussing him out. And I didn't know the Coast Guard in Miami was monitoring us. And he says he was on the way to us. But anyway, I cussed that guy out. And the Coast Guard come on and said, ''We can pull this rescue off without those words." But I laid one on that guy for not stopping because I thought for sure enough we were going to sink. But about that time, like I said, we took those buckets and we were gaining. Then when Herman got there, he carries his whole crew, when he goes to the Bahamas. And old Roy Summerlin and another boy swam over. And they carried a chain saw in their hands. When they did, they cut a square in the boat in the deck so they could get to the injured part where it was leaking. And, of course, they were already under the boat and they knew where it was. And they had already put a thing on it that sucked up against it. Like a tarp that sucked up against it. They cut this hole and when they did, they shoved the stuff down in there and took a life jacket and packed it. And then they took 195

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HOWARD the piece that they cut and made a square and turned it catty corner, so it wouldn't come back up and holding the life jacket down tight. And then they towed us on in to the Bahamas . And the pump didn't need to come on anymore . But I did lay a cussing on that guy that didn't stop. I said, ''You're leaving me out here to drown?! You die and go to hell. I'm going to kick your ass all the way to ... " putting it on him. I know he was hearing me cause the Coast Guard heard me. Authors'note: On July 1, 2015 Tommy Taylor turned 89 years old. He and his lovely wife Eleanor celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on June 1, 2015. They reside in Fort Pierce, Florida . Figure 22: Tommy and Eleanor Ta y lor on their weddin g da y on June 8, 1955 Courtesy of Tommy and Eleanor Taylor Figure 23: Tommy and Eleanor Taylor o n their 60th wedding anniversary 196

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FIRE IN THE WATER CHAPTER 5 CHARLES ANDERSON: BORN MAY 18, 1932 Figure 1 : Charles Anderson and his oldest granddaughter, Wendy Griffith a t their interview at the St. Lucie County Regional History Center in 2014. The interview was conducted b y Jean Ellen Wilson. Courtesy of the St. Lucie County R egio nal Histor y Center. The 1 9 4 9 Hurric ane I was in it . I was guarding that bank in front of the Ritz Theater. There was a bank on the corner then. I think it was Florida National. And, they called the Guard out, National Guard. And I was in the National Guard at that time . They put me out up there in the archway of the bank to guard it during the storm. Tree limbs, palm fronds, garbage cans, all kinds of stuff were flying down the street and slamming into all of those boarded up store fronts. I had to hang on a couple 197

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HOWARD of times to keep from blowing out of that doorway. And then some other guardsmen went down and picked up people at WIRA tower, because it was at the Fort Pierce Hotel. And moved them because water was coming up, and the radio tower went down, blowed down . Believe it or not, a lot of people don't know, but I remember it. Like I said, I was out in it, in the archway, or the doorway, to the bank. Figure 2: Charles Anderson in 1950 in National Guard uniform at age 18. Courtesy of Wendy Griffith. See, we were distributed around. There were several of us that volunteered for the guard duty. And they had called the National Guard out to get people off the streets and guard the buildings, the banks, the jewelry stores and downtown Ft. 198

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FIRE IN THE WATER Pierce . And at the Ft. Pierce Hotel, the bottom floor was being flooded from the water. The river coming up. And they were getting people out of there. The radio tower went down, and they had a wind gauge on the radio tower that registered one hundred and sixty-five mile an hour winds before it broke. Wind gusts. But The Forty-nine hurricane wiped out about everything. And I'm surprised that those houses down the drive (Indian River Drive) are still there. Of course, they're on a high ground. What got most places was high water. It wiped out Bill Montgomery's fish house that used to come out on the causeway, about a hundred yards south of the causeway, right up against Second Street. Used to come off Second Street right onto the pier, the house, the fish house's run. You could drive out that pier with a truck. They loaded their fish. And there was about twenty-five sea skiffs at Walter Peterson's, and about five at Bill Montgomery's. Plus, river launches they used in the river . WWII Began The river used to go up to Second Street years ago. I lived in that little house across from where White's Tackle Shop was. There's a little wood-frame house, small house, that's where I was raised from three months old until about fifteen years. And you could throw a rock and hit the river from my back steps. But I was just a kid then. But when I got up to be about ten eleven years old, that's when the war (WWII) broke out. And I remember the day they bombed Pearl Harbor. I was in the backyard, working, doing some chores for my Daddy, and I had the radio on, heard the news. And then I went running in the house to tell Dad. I woke Dad up. He was working at night and sleeping in the daytime. And I told him about it. He said, ''What do you want me to do about it?" I said, "I thought you might want to hear about it." He says, "Alright. Okay. I'll let you go this time." Waking him up made him mad, you know. Anyway, and things developed after that. 199

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HOWARD Dad's Uncles at War All his brothers went down and enlisted in the service. And believe it or not, they went through World War II in the Pacific and the European Campaign. Some of them got wounded, but they never lost one. One uncle went ashore in Normandy, on the first wave. He got up that beach. He said that the only reason he got up there is ... 'cause he jumped off the barge . He was a squad leader . And he told them to strip down to their shirts and trousers. They caulked their rifles, their weapons, their bandoliers, and issued hand grenades because they were going down, when they go overboard, they keep going down. They couldn't come up. He said that eighty percent of some of them boys on them barges drowned before they ever got to the beach. And he realized that, being a fisherman, he told them what to do. And he says, ''When you get to that beach, don't stand up; crawl, like a snake. And by doing that, believe it or not, they crawled over land mines and wouldn't set them off. But if he was standing upright, the weight, your weight, would push that pin down, blow up. But he got up that beach. He got his whole crew up that beach. Fish House There was a fish house at Walter Peterson's dock. There were some docks there before they built this long pier. And now if you know where Simonson's Restaurant was you know where that was on the causeway. They had a Fish Monger Restaurant there later, but back then it was Johnny Dorman's restaurant. Potteroff 's trailer park was on the corner of US 1 and Fisherman's Wharf. It was a small trailer park. In the '49 hurricane, I had just got married. And my wife and I were staying at a little small mobile home there. And that hurricane took it. Uaughs] We weren't staying there. We were out on Boston Avenue at my mother's place. She moved out there, and that's where we were, out next to the school there on Delaware. And my grandfather, on my mother's side put the bell towers in the elementary school there on Delaware. George Crooms. He's from Cordell, Georgia. That's where 200

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FIRE IN THE WATER my mother was from. And I was born, believe it or not, in Volusia County, Florida . And they moved me from there, when I was three months old, to Ft. Pierce, right there on Second Street. Ah, it was thirty-two; nineteen thirty-two. Them old houses on Second Street have survived every hurricane ... believe it or not. Figure 3: Charles Andersons family home on Second Street in Fort Pierce . This photo was taken in 2015. Courtesy of Terry L. Howard . My Grandfather My grandfather lived in Volusia County, at Edgewater. Edgewater's right in Volusia County. And he fished up in the Mosquito Lagoon in the north end of the Indian River. And he also trapped in the Okeefenokee Swamps . And believe it or not, a lot of people don't know it, but he's the only one that could get along with the Seminoles up in the Okeefenokee Swamps. There was several tribes in there; Seminoles. And he would carry them flour, corn meal, sugar, coffee, and some of them wanted tea. And he'd carry those goods up there and he'd trade them for furs. You know? He trapped all up in there . And he'd come back. And he fished, too. And at times, 201

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HOWARD he'd carry fish up there; oysters, fish. And they were very good friends to him. Don't nobody else try to go up in there. They wouldn't come out. But he could go anywhere in there. Water Moccasins He'd been moccasin-bit several time. He got immune to them. They didn't bother him. One would bite him; he'd just kick him off. The long boats like they use, them snakes would get in them boats, fall out of trees on him, you know. Moccasins can climb a tree. They get right up in a tree; mostly oaks over the water and that Spanish moss. It gets in the oak. The snakes would be in those trees catching the birds or eggs, out the nests. That's why they went to the trees. Figure 4: Blued Anderson 1938 One of few white men able to go into Seminole land in the Okeefenokee Swamp to trade. Grandfather of Charles Anderson. Courtesy of Wendy Griffith. 202

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FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 5: Charles and Mary Anderson, his wife and fishing partner for 68 years . The picture was taken at their home in western St . Lucie County on Jul y 18, 2016. Courtesy of Terr y L. Howard. My Wife My wife is Mary. Mary Peterson. She's from North Carolina. I think in Clinton . I think that is where she was born. North Carolina. Then she moved to Vero Beach for quite a while. And that's where I met her in Ft. Pierce, believe it or not, at a skating rink. We were married after about a year; I went with her about a year and then married her, on August the sixth of forty nine. Yep . [laughs] I was in the Guards when I married her. And the governor called us out and wanted us to do active duty. And, believe it or not, our headquarters was where it used to be over here across the road. Went straight across the road from here (at the southeast end of Ft Pierce's South Bridge); used to be the Armory. The National Guard Armory was just about straight across from here, (The St Lucie County Historical Museum) . It used to be a big building. And there was a hundred-and-forty-something troops there. I was a machine gunner. And it was Army National Guard when I was in. They could send us overseas . We were mobilized to go to Korea when the war broke out in Korea . And we wasn't quite full -s trength. The whole first division was under-203

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HOWARD strength. So, they decided to take a Marine division instead. But they kept us on alert for about thirty days. If we left the county, we had to call, tell them what was going on, so they could get in touch with us if they had to called us. Fish When it's too rough fishing the ocean, then you had to run to the inland waters to fish. And if it didn't get cold up north, if you didn't have a real strong winter, the fish wouldn't migrate south. You didn't get fish. The redfish come from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Jacksonville; they come out of them sounds when it gets cold and come south. And come in our inlets in New Smyrna, Sebastian, and Ft. Pierce. All fish come south when it gets cold, the water gets cold. And if you have a mild winter, and it don't get cold, you don't have fish; mullet, too. Mullet come out of mostly all the sounds of North Carolina, South Carolina and, believe it or not, people today follow the mullet out of North Carolina when they leave, when it gets cold, just like the Spanish mackerel and the king fish; they follow them south, all the way down. Some of them fishermen, they fish on them while they're there, and then they come south with them, like your mullet and other species . Spanish mackerel, the bluefish, the kingfish, and the redfish, they all migrate. Now, the snook don't go very far up. They're warm water fish. And from about here south (that's about Melbourne), you get snook. But, from there on up north, there are very few. But they will migrate north if the water's warm. But snook can't stand very cold water. Most of them are down this way. Fishing I'd fish with my father 'til I was up pretty well grown. And then when I learned, he taught me how to rig nets and mend nets. Rig them, you know, with their lines and their corks and their leads. Then I could get hired on a boat, as a crew member. You couldn't get hired on a fishing boat unless you knew how to do them things . And fishermen are like farmers. 204

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FIRE IN THE WATER They teach them at a very early age how to plant, how to plow, how to cultivate and how to do the farm work. You know, fishermen, southern Florida fishermen, mainly in Ft. Pierce, were great food producers. Most of our fish went for food . We fed a lot of people. I'm talking about millions of pounds of food; seafood . Figure 6 C h a rles Anderson's father, right, Blued's so n, Charlton with Sport a t Harden's Seafood in Fort Pierce in the early 1940's . Courtesy of Wendy Griffith. Second Street in Fort Pierce A nd, throughout the years, I remember some of the families, and the older Ft. Pierce, see, all the way up to the humpback bridge by the power plant there and the old power plant on Second Street, that little humpback bridge (also known as Tickle-tummy Bridge). All of them people on this s ide, exceptin' two or three families, were fishing families . You had your Thompsons -Jim Thompson and Bud Thompson 205

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HOWARD and several of the Thompsons were fishing families. And on down, you had the Lindsay's and Comstock's. There's a big house right beside where I lived, there's a big red-shingled house, two-story building. Charlie Comstock had that house built; him and his wife lived there for years. He fished in the inland waters and the ocean, both whenever he could. They all had sea skiffs. Believe it or not, Backus built most of the sea skiffs; Backus Boat Company. That was on Moore's Creek, there; until he moved over here, right here (on South Beach's causeway in Ft. Pierce). Right in here where we are was Backus Boatyard. They continued to build the old sea skiff. These are the old Clinker built sea skiffs. Now, you had to learn to build them when I was growing up. I know how to build one of them things from scratch. And, I noticed on in the years, Second Street was the waterfront. They pumped all this sand in since the '49 hurricane . It wiped out our Second Street waterfront; they just filled it in. And they built up from there to the river on the east. The commercial fishermen lost their waterfront. Snapper Fishing with Dad Typical day would probably be snapper fishing. I was about ten or eleven years old when we'd come and we were snapper fishing offshore, about twenty-five miles offshore Melbourne. It's what they call inshore grounds; twelve fourteen fathom. And the ships come in, inside the edge of the stream, because the stream runs so hard to the north. Ships coming south freighters, tankers, whatever. And they'd come inshore to get out of the heavy north Gulf Stream current. They' d make better time out of that heavy current going north. And that's the reason the submarines was in close. Typical day fishing with my father would be snapper fishing. It was kind of funny. I was a small fella, you know; slim, tall and skinny. And probably a hundred-and-twenty-five pounds at most. And Dad had to put hobbles on my ankles , tied to a ring on the deck. Believe it or not, we was handlining them -the red snapper and grouper -and sometimes you'd get into 206

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FIRE IN THE WATER the big fish, up to eighteen to twenty-five pound fish, caught two to the line. One hook was above the other and so one fish couldn't get both baits. And generally when you hook one fish, another would grab the other bait and you pull two at a time. And, out of sixty or seventy feet of water, and it give you a battle pulling. And two fish that weighed twentyfive pounds, that's fifty pounds you're fighting. And it almost pulled me overboard. That's the reason for the hobbles on my ankles, to keep from pulling over the side. Pulling them fish and then he'd grab one and string them over the side or put them in a fish bin, and put bait on the lines and go back. And there were three men on the boat, another man, plus me and my father. Back then we didn't have electronic equipment . And no radios. We didn't have the fathom machines they got now. No Loran's. We had solely depended on what they call a "sounding" then. Take a Coke bottle and had a scallop and you push that down. You take plaster of Paris and form it around it; let it dry and fill that with lead, melt lead and poured it in. And it would give the same shape in the scallop bottom. And then it would be on the very bottom of the line, with a swivel. It weighed, probably three pounds. Well, your line was marked every fathom. Every six feet you had a marker through the line and it was all cotton line. But it was dipped in paint and gasoline, so it'd color it and stiffen it up. Anyway you'd be running around, moving around on the reef. And you'd throw that sounding lead. It would go down, hit the bottom. You ' d jar it a couple of times; you also had a hook and bait on the sounding lead. And if there's any grouper there, or snapper, if you was on a good piece of bottom [snap!] it'd hit it. You'd come up with a sounding lead with a fish. The minute you seen what it was, if it was grouper or snapper you'd throw the buoy with the anchor on it. That marks the spot where you caught the fish, because the current would take you away pretty fast. And that lead on the bottom, would pick up the bottom, whatever type of bottom it was. If it was live coral or dead coral, it would show in the bottom where the soap would pick it up; red shell, gray shell, mud, or whatever. 207

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HOWARD But you would always look for mud because there was live bottom around mud, but then you'd picture and you'd try to find the drop-off where the reef broke and dropped off, just like this table. And you'd try to fish on that back side of that drop, try to lay right over it. When you anchored, you try to get stern right over where the men could fish right over the dropoff, because that's where the fish were, running that drop-off out of that tide. And some of them trips you'd catch, a five-day trip, let's say; that was our limit on them small boats. Carry enough ice and enough bait and food for five days; fuel. And we'd get anywhere from twenty-five hundred to five thousand pounds of snapper and grouper on a five-day trip. Bigger Backus Boats We had bigger boats than skiffs. Backus built a bigger boat later on. That was the early forties. He quit building the small skiffs and went to a bigger boat; the next generation of fishermen went to bigger boats, and that's what we were using; the bigger boat. In fact, our first boat came from the Carolinas . It was a forty-five foot Carolina-built boat; beautiful boat. But we had more powerful engines in them, and that way we could push loads and go further and go faster, with bigger loads. And stay in the ocean longer. Sometimes you'd get caught in some pretty bad weather out there. Like I say, we didn't have electronics and the only thing is back then fishermen could read weather. Bad Weather One day we was fishing out there and Dad said, "We got to go." And I looked around and I said, "What's happening?" [laughs] I didn't see no clouds building. He says, "That tide's running hard. Something is pushing it ... up above or down below." If it's going south, that meant it was a Norther coming. And if it's running north hard, extra hard, that meant there was a hard Southeaster coming. And once we got caught in a storm, making up right over us, and we lost that boat. We had to swim ashore between here and Vero; from about three miles [laughs]. 208

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FIRE IN THE WATER Sunk Boat And we lost her with a load of snapper on it. And Daddy said, "Nail them" before she went down. He said, "Nail them lids." He said, "So it don't dump them fish. Sharks will get on us." It gives us some time to get away before the sharks got there. Because you had to cut them snapper, take the insides out, and pack them in ice. Whenever fishing got slower, or, when you're through fishing, then you had to gut the fish up, pack them in ice for the next day . And wash everything down, clean up. We were returning from a snapper fishing trip. It was horrible rough. And said, "The boat won't hold up at this rate," it was pounding so. Sure enough a plank opened up right down the keel and we were sinking fast. Dad said to nail the ice boxes shut to discourage sharks. There was three of us; me, Dad and a crewman named McDuffie. We had two empty fuel drums on board and Dad had McDuffie lash them together with rope. Dad and McDuffie had life jackets on; we all did. He made me get on top of the drums and he and McDuffie hung onto the sides. The wind was southeast and the seas were rolling toward shore. It took us three to four hours to get to shore. The Coast Guard saw us and sent a jeep up the beach to meet us when we finally made it to shore. This was about the end of the war and no one was allowed on the beaches but the military. It was a tropical storm and one squall after another came through. We had 250 head of sow snapper on board. We were in a 40' Carolina built boat, returning from a four or five day trip. Dad was an expert at reading the weather. German Submarines The day the submarine come up on us, it like to scared me to death. The time the ships were coming back up the Gulf Stream and were being sunk by German submarines. Well, the fishermen, back when they had them skiffs, went out several times and picked up merchant seamen out of the burning oil and brought them into Fort Pierce. You never heard nothing 209

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HOWARD about that. I didn't do it. My father did. He went out and picked up seamen and brought them into the harbor over here (Fort Pierce). And then they finally got a destroyer to come down and pick up some of them. But there was a gasoline tanker that was hit off of Jupiter. And it kept exploding, exploding. It was loaded with high octane gasoline; the tanker that sunk. It was for aviation fuel. It was hit off Jupiter and drifted back up the stream with the tide and it wasn't nobody survived off it. It finally went down off here, between here and Vero. And I don't know of anybody that knows where all of them sunk ships went down. Several were sunk along the coast here. But we fished on them wrecks, you know. We fished off of them for years. And there's several out this way, out southeast and north of Fort Pierce. But they used to be a going thing. They'd sink ships off the coast at night, that's before the (U.S. Navy) amphibious training base moved in, then, they shut the beach down. You couldn't get across the bridge after they moved in. Watching Submarines and Burning Ships Before that they'd go to the beach and watch the ships burn. One time my uncle and my Dad, my mother, and their children, all went over to the beach in an old Model A [laughs] and set there and watched a submarine, right off the inlet, surface. Wasn't nothing to see a German sub surface, charging its batteries. That was before dark. That was in the afternoon. They didn't have anything to worry about. We had only one Coast Guard cutter here, called The Benjamin. And it wouldn't hardly -on a hard flood tide, it couldn't hardly get out of the inlet. It was so slow; old wood frame hull. About a sixty-five foot boat. And it had a rack of four depth charges on it. And subs didn't have anything to worry about. The Navy finally moved some PBYs into Melbourne in the base up there, Patrick Air Force Base. And then the subs had something to worry about. And then they had some planes, B-24's or S's, stationed up there that patrolled the area. They began to sink some of the subs. In fact, this sub that come up around Dad and I was later sunk, I think. When they torpedoed a ship near shore at Fort Pierce, it 210

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FIRE IN THE WATER would sometimes break windows in town. Submarine Encounter We lost one crew member before that trip. He got in a bar brawl and got put in jail. So, we had to leave him ashore [laughs]. Daddy said, "Let him stay in jail 'n till we get back." [laughs] A nyway, I don't drink. My Dad drank a little bit, but I don't drink. I don't smoke . That's unusual for a fisherman. But I was one of many that didn't drink. Anyway, this sub come up, and I was awake, I said, "Dad ... " we always had to keep a man up at night when we anchored up on fishing grounds, on account of ships . They'd run over you . Back in them days, they didn't have the radar and stuff they've got nowadays, with warning signals. If they pick an object up now on the radar, an alarm goes off, and you know something's out there. But they didn't have that back in them days. And ships'd run over you. We had several close encounters of ships almost running over us . The ships go offshore, going north, because they want that Gulf Stream tide with them; it helps them going north. But most of the ships being sunk around here were out on the inside edge of the stream going south out of the strong north current; off Turtle Mountain, New Smyrna, south at Jupiter, Hobe Sound. And they hit a couple off Ft. Lauderdale. And one of those floated back up this way with the tide, burning. Anyway, Dad and I were alone fishing north of Bethel Shoals in about 80' of water; snapper and grouper fishing in the early 1940's when a German submarine came up about 100 yards behind us and circled us. It really scared me. I said, "Dad is he going to shoot us?" He said, "No. They don't care about us. We don't have a radio or an antenna." They circled us then headed north. Boy, it scared the daylights out of me. Salvage from Torpedoed ships Stuff would come ashore off of them sunk freighters -canned coffee, three-pound cans, Maxwell coffee, mostly. And it would be crushed from coming up from that pressure 211

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HOWARD in that deep water. The can would be crushed around the coffee. And you had to chip it out with an ice pick, even though it was grounds. It was compressed so tight from the pressure. But we'd find buckets of lard, wooden buckets of lard. Big, like, twenty-five pound slabs of bacon, salt bacon. And all that stuff was on food rations stamps during the war. You had to have stamps for butter, pepper, salt, bread, coffee, gasoline . We found drums of castor oil and crude oil too. But we made sure everyone in town got coffee. Fishermen's' Fuel Of course, during the war the fishermen get all the gas , and farmers get all the gas they needed to operate, because we were food producers. And we didn't have worries over gasoline. And to save my soul, I can't figure why gas should be so high now, because, during the war, they were sinking it in shiploads; and airplane bombers flying, thousands of bombers over Germany, burning gasoline. And look at all the oil that was lost. Ships being sunk, loaded with oil and all the oil that's been used in the military . But, yet, diesel fuel was only eleven-point-nine cents a gallon. Gasoline was only eighteen cents a gallon. Cold Weather When the weather gets real cold, the fish would go further south to Hobe Sound. In fact, it would get so cold , all the fish would leave down that way and go to the Keys. And they'd have to go to the Keys to fish them. And the fish had to migrate and fishermen had to migrate just like the fish. And that means mullet, trout, spots, the bottom fish; everything. Plenty of bottom fish'd stay up here and freeze to death. They'd come up when it'd freeze and you could dip fish off the surface. And they wouldn't go further south. That's the reason they froze. But I'd seen it freeze so many snook until you'd say, "Well, there won't be no snook for several years." And next year, there was just as many. 212

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FIRE IN THE WATER School I went to school, believe it or not. When the fishing fleet was fishing Spanish mackerel here in Ft. Pierce they'd go out at night -and when they had big catches they needed about all the fishermen and their kids available to gut and pack fish. They'd call us out of school to help. Well, I went to school, pretty regular. But the fishing fleet would come in and they'd call the school. They'd want us down there to process fish, all the kids; to gut mackerel. Back then they had to gut the mackerel. Later on, they didn't. They packed them in the round, and the blue fish in the round; and the snapper in the round. They didn't have to gut them. They found out that its better, and they preserve better on ice, if you don't gut them. Anyway they'd call school, and a teacher would come in there and say, "Charles?" "Yes, ma'am?" "You're wanted at the office . " I'd think, "What'd I do now"? No, no, no, no. "You're just wanted in the office . " I'd go up there and the principal'd tell us, "They seem to need you down there. We're going to let you out for a little while." And the teacher would make your homework up, though. We'd have to make that homework up for missing that time. But they'd pay us so much a basket to gut them fish. And all those kids would participate in it because they knew they had to get them fish out during the season. The Old Fort Pierce Yellow Brick School II used to tell them kids, when I got a little bigger, I was up in about sixth or seventh grade, I said," My grandpa built this school." He built the bell towers on the top of it, all the brick. He laid all the brick. Spanish mackerel Fire in the Water I mean many of them boats come in with a thousand . . . fifteen hundred ... two thousand pounds on them little boats. Mackerel; they catch at night. They find them fish at night on the phosphorus in the water. When you rush into them they 213

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HOWARD flare up and li ght the whole ocean up. And then they'd throw their buoy and circle them with a net. And they had what they called "float nets," that didn't go to the bottom. They'd just floated it. Now, mackerel, they didn't go down and run. A bluefish will, but a mackerel won't. A Spanish mackerel runs on top of the water. And that's the reason the float nets caught the fish. And when the big loads came in, they'd call the school, and get the children, all the boys that was able to go process the fish; mostly fishing family boys. The other children weren't interested; only the fishing families. We were all taught everything about the fishing industry in order to be able to do it. Bull Shark Attack I was about 16. We headed down the beach almost to Jensen from the Fort Pierce inlet. We used to run the beach with spread rimed tires. We were catching whiting out of the deep slough next to the beach. It was a short piece of net about 75 yards long. It was called a "shirt tail" net. Each end had a pole with lead on the bottom. Two men or we were boys back then, took one end out across the slough to the sand bar and held it there. The other two went up the beach a ways then waded into the slough and pounded the bottom with the poles with the lead on the bottom and herded the fish back to us. They were called drummers. As soon as they got even to us we'd come ashore and we'd close it up and work the net and fish up to the beach. Sometimes we'd get several hundred pounds of whiting. On this particular day the other drummers were coming in faster than usual. We wondered what was going on and thought that maybe one of them had stepped on a stingray or something. We looked again and there was this great big ole bull shark coming right towards us and they got to hollering and waving and pointing at the shark. He was coming so fast that we didn't have time to go across the slough and get ashore. We were on the sand bar which was about waist deep the slough was chin deep. He was coming so fast. Had he got 214

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FIRE IN THE WATER me in the slough that would probably be it for me. That other boy dove over the net to put the net between him and the shark for protection. I did the same thing -I threw my staff down and dove over the net. My foot was the last thing in the water and that's what he got. Fortunately that forward motion is what pulled that foot out of his mouth. Ordinarily he'd grab hold and shake his head like a dog and pull that foot off. If he had ever locked his jaws that foot would have been gone. A shark's jaws are like vise grips. They can close'em and lock'em and that's it, they shear it right off. And there we were-I was bleeding like a stuck hog and the captain of our crew was a WWI veteran and medic, luckily. He was Charley Peterson. He told'em what to do. They took line from the net and corded it around my thigh by my hip and another line they corded just above my knee. And he told the boys to put me on the net tray we had a net tray on the truck that we toted the net down to the surf on. Those boys loaded the net on the tray and loaded me on top of the net. They had to drive 17 miles back up the beach; there were no roads, to the nearest hospital which was in Fort Pierce. They had to go over the sand dunes in Fort Pierce to the beach causeway. He ran that old model A Ford, with a truck body on the back of it, as fast as it would run. He had me on top of the net leaning against the cab with my leg propped above my shoulders . And that's the way we rode to the hospital. We was praying that that old draw bridge wasn't open. It was very slow. We got where we could see that the bridge wasn't open, and Charles laid on the horn and was flashing his lights trying to get the bridge tenders attention. And directly a cit y police officer came out of a side road, saw we were in trouble , saw m y leg up in the air and blood all over me and everywhere and he got around us and turned on his lashers and siren and took us right on into the hospital. And them boys took me up and walked me in and the doctor there on call said, "Oh man we may have to amputate his leg." And Charley Peterson, the captain said, "No, let's get his parents up her e first and let them make the decision . " And 215

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HOWARD the doctor said, "But I'm doing it to save his life; he's lost a lot of blood." On the way to the hospital Charley had them boys ever so often loosen the cords and then tighten'em again. And my momma got there and said, "You're not going to amputate that boy's leg. We're going to have our family doctor look at it . " He was L. L. Whidden and he was a well known surgeon. He had even traveled to Europe to perform operations; he was that good, you know. He got there and he said "I think we can sew it up." I don't remember because I was out of it, but that's what the boys said he said. So they stitched it up and I was laying in there for several day s with it e levated. I had to walk around on crutches with a shoulder harness holding my leg up behind me elevated. When he went to take o ut the stitches he said, "Charles you may not be able to walk on that leg as well as you used to, but you'll need to stretch it as much as yo u can to get those tendons back in place-mayb e." You know, I stretched the hell out of that ankle and that thing healed up and I got to where I could walk as well as I ever could (laughs). Dr. L. L. Whidden saved m y leg . And Captain Charles Peterson saved m y life. Figure 7: Faint scares from a l o n g ago s hark bite. Courtesy of Terry L. Howard. 216

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FIRE IN THE WATER Tiger Shark Attack I once saw a giant tiger shark attack about a 300 lb. loggerhead sleeping on the surface of the ocean and take a huge bite out of it right through the shell and everything. Most amazing thing I ever saw. It was a huge shark. Backus Built Higgins Boats But Backus had, right on the very north side of the causeway, that big area there was where Backus was building Higgins barges for the Navy. They were used for carrying troops to shore during invasions. It was designed in Louisiana. It was a tunnel stern barge. The front of the barges would drop down. They come ashore in shallower water. Right where Mangrove Mattie's Restaurant is there used to be a high cement wall. They used that wall to practice loading troops into those boats for an invasion . They had rope ladders hanging off them walls to practice on. The Navy put them there when they built the amphibious training base here. And the frogmen were operating out of here too; the demolition crews and the frogmen. And they used that wall for simulating the ship's side. They had rope nets going down that high wall. Of course, they cut it all down and leveled it all, and they built the restaurant there after the war. But it used to be a very high wall. And simulating the ship's side, and these soldiers, they'd back truckload after truckload of troops up there and they'd get out of the trucks and climb down the nets just like they were going to land on the beach. And they'd have these barges circling in the inlet, creating a very big chop, slop; so it'd be rough and then after getting them barges and load like that, because it wasn't always calm when they'd come over the side of them ships, to get in them barges. They had to simulate just like it was going to be in the invasion. And they had full packs on just like a real invasion. And many a boy got hurt there, going down them nets, falling in them barges. 217

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HOWARD Figure 8: Higgins' Boats built in Fort Pierce and used for WWII militar y invasions. Courtesy of the St . Lucie County Regional Histor y Center . 218

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FIRE IN THE WATER 1824-Loading Assault Boats. Greetings from Fort Pierce, Florida Figure 9: Practicing loading soldiers for mock invasions near the entrance to the Fort Pierce Inlet, in background. Courtesy of the St. Lucie County Regional History Center. 219

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HOWARD Mullet Fishing in the Lagoon Used to be mullet grass was that high, (he holds hands about three feet apart), it ain't there no more. Pollution killed it all. And there went your fish. Your bait fish ain't out there no more; your shrimps not there no more. So why should the trout and stuff stay there. They don't have nothing to eat. It's all moved out. You have very few places trout'll still stay. We used to watch the dolphin come in there and it seemed like their favorite food was the spotted sea trout. They'd get in there, root that grass and then get a trout run. And the only rescue the trout had was the mangrove roots. They'd go in them roots for protection away from the dolphin. But they, I remember it just like yesterday, we'd be down there mullet draggin' on that grass, and them dolphin 'd move in. And they'd go around but they wouldn't go through the net or wouldn't jump over it. They'd go around it. Rootin' them trout around. Them trout 'd lay in the grass and a net like we drug would drag up over him. Phwip! The trout'd take off. You wouldn't know you had no trout. You'd think you filled the nets up with trout but it's not true. But you'd get the mullets. And that's what we were after mullet. We'd bail them out of the circled net with cast nets. Different Kinds of Fishing We had alternate fishing. Like, when you couldn't fish in the ocean, because sharks would get too bad; you couldn't fish. See, all that stuff comes down with the fish, and that cold water from the north. All these sharks come down, all your fish come down; follerin' the fish. You know, when it warms up, they go back. And they keep migrating back. And they stay down there pretty much through the winter months. Friends and Family The Blacks-we grew up with them. Glen Black, who owned Inlet Fisheries. I was good friends with the Blacks. They were early fishermen here. And then grew up from kids and most of them's died on. They lived right next to me on Second Street. They lived across the street. The Roots, the Arnolds 220

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FIRE IN THE WATER and the DePews; the Blanchard's and Hayes' and Thompson's and Harmon's. That's just a few of the fishing families on 2nd Street. Peterson was my in-laws name. It's Norwegian like me. I had one brother that died here a few years' back. He was Eschol Anderson . That was my brother. We fished together quite a bit . He was older than I was; about two years. My oldest child is Chuck, ChuckAnderson. I have forty-seven grandchildren. I got grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grand child. I got one grandchild and one great-grandchild in Egypt; in the trouble spot right now. Chuck; and then Stevie, Stevie Joe, Steven J. Anderson. And then Paul Alison Anderson; and then Barbara (my daughter) Anderson; and then my daughter, Lydia Anderson; and I got a baby son named Michael Anderson. I've lost three of my children. And Mark Anderson, yeah and I forgot about Mark. I had seven children. In order, it'll be Chuck, Stevie, Paul, Barbara, Mark, Lydia, Michael. Charles' Granddaughter Wendy: I ' m the oldest grandchild. And there are forty-seven of us. So , he has forty-seven grand children. About us kids All us kids that we used to go down, we was just seven or eight years old and we'd go down to the fish docks when the fishermen 'd come in in the mornings before school. We went very early . All of them be in sometimes afore daylight, and the night fishermen pull their boats in. They had flatties towed behind these launches. And most of them were trout fishermen or mullet fishermen. And their nets back then were cotton or linen . They had to rack them every day. They had to rack them in order for them to dry and not rot. So they had racks there on the docks. They'd give us a quarter to pull in and rack their nets for them when they come in. And we'd always go down after school and pull the nets back on the boats, so they could go out at night. Then the end of the week when they got their paycheck, they'd come around and give us our 221

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HOWARD money. And that's what we used for school, to buy our lunches and to buy our school supplies and stuff. Quarter back then was a lot of money. Uaughs] You could go to the show, believe it or not. Back then the Ritz Theater, a ticket would cost you nine cents; a big, tall Coke would cost you probably five cents. Popcorn would cost ten cents. For a whole quarter, you could go to the show and enjoy yourself. That's what we did, mostly . That's what we did. Every weekend we'd go to the show. Back then they had another theater on Second Street called Ritz Theater. The Sunrise Theater was up there, across from where I guarded the bank on the corner there. And it's still there. Surprisingly. The Ritz was on down 2nd street across from JC Penney's, I believe, right straight across in that east side of Second Street here. The Cape Fish Company Daddy belonged to the Cape Fish Company. And they'd fish in Ft. Pierce until the fish began to migrate north from the south. And then, where Cape Canaveral is, out on the point where the missile base is now, the Cape Fish Company used to own that whole point. And it had about eighteen houses there. There were two great big two-story buildings they call bunk houses. And they had a railway from the water up to the packing house, the fish house. And the railway run all the way up inside from the ocean, inside to the packing house. And the fishermen had up there what they call Paul's Lump; it's a big bay inside the shoals. And they used to anchor their sea skiffs in there and they were protected from the north winds and northeast winds. The only wind they'd get is the south wind. But they were protected by a shoal and the Cape; the seas couldn't break on them boats. And they anchored them out, and they used dories to go ashore. And they'd lay planks and rollers, pull them dories up on the ramp, and a little rail car; put their fish in their dories out of the boat and pull them up inside the fish house. They had benches on both sides of the railway, and scales. They'd weigh their fish, put them on the benches iced, and put the boat back on the ramp, if he 222

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FIRE IN THE WATER was through (that fisherman). Now this was one at a time out of about a dozen boats. They had to do that one at a time. Another boat'd come in and unload and do the same thing. That was all day long. And after them fellas fished all night, they had to take care of the fish that way all day. I believe Frank Blanchard was chairman of The Cape Fish Company; Terrell Hayes was the president and Edson Arnold's another president. It had consisted of Hayes, Arnolds, Carlsons out of Rivera Beach and Paul Law out of Vero. And Gloss and Andersons and Zill . There's some more. Roots lived right on Second Street too. Mom Ollie Georgia Crooms Anderson was my mother's name. I really don't know when she was born; a long time ago . ughs] She was a typical fisherman's wife. She worked at the Cape Fish Company. All them fishermen hired her to go to the Cape to cook for them. They had a big bunk house there that had a big table in there, with benches on both sides. They had a big, giant kerosene stove in there. Mother cooked for all the fishermen. And all the people that come over when they was shrimping in the winter (when it got real cold). Terrell Haye's house at the Cape was the biggest. Shrimping at the Cape The shrimp would come in; big old sixteen twenty count white shrimp. And they'd catch twenty-five or thirty bushel to the boat; dragging forty-five foot flat-nets. And they had to pull them by hand; all hard work. Anyway, they hired shrimpers, people who would come over from Titusville, Cocoa, and Ft. Pierce, to go up; women mostly; to head the shrimp, and to pack 'em; pack the shrimp in hundred pound boxes. When the fleet was fishing them shrimp, they employed a lot of people. You know, it paid good money. She had a full-time job . 223

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HOWARD Mom's cooking Oh, my. She cooked meatloaf, steak, pork chops, oysters and oyster stew, lots of fish and spaghetti; lot of the fishermen liked vegetables; collards and turnips and they liked all kind of beef; ham; pork. A lot of them processed their own meats like venison or wild hogs. You could get all the dairy yo u wanted up there. They all grew hogs. But she didn't like to cook that wild hog. She wanted them to go over and buy it. But she would cook it if they'd wanted it. She made a little bit of everything. A lot of the fishermen, they loved her pies of all kind; apple, coconut cream, berry. Terrell Hayes loved mom's pies. Wives at the Cape And sometimes fishermen involved their wives up there. You know, like bring them there over the weekend. They had big fish fries. I think they would save shrimp when there was a bunch of it. They ate a lot of fish; prepared a lot of fish and lots of shrimp. And they prepared those leatherback turtles, those soft-shell turtles; that's like chicken. It was all good eatin'; very good eatin'. Around that lighthouse, the ponds was full of those soft-shell turtles. To the west, that's where they'd get their deer too. Seafood Destinations Most ended up at Fulton Market in New York City. And there were the big freezers in Jacksonville. And there were freezers and markets in Philadelphia. They had seafood markets in Georgia and the Carolinas. See, them fish would leave from up there and we'd catch them and ship them back up there. The shrimp, the fish, and then we'd have to ship them fish . Their fish would come down our way. We'd have to ship their fish back. Packing Fish They'd keep better; last longer, if you pack 'em ... when you gutted them, you had to pack them belly down, where they'd drain and the water wouldn't stand in their stomach. 224

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FIRE IN THE WATER This would avoid rotting it out. You had to pack them belly down where they'd drain. Pack ice all around them. And that's the way they went to the markets. A lot of markets was right here. A lot of fish was sold locally right here. You could go in a market and they had markets all over the black section of Fort Pierce. Retail markets, you know. You could buy red fish, snook, spotted trout and what they call butterfish, spots, bottom fish. Black folks liked the sheephead and bottom fish stuff. And butterfish was a big sellers. And trout. They'd buy a lot of trout. And, of course, your 10cal markets like Morrison's cafeteria-style. Piccadilly's; they bought a lot of Spanish mackerel. And catfish from Okeechobee Lake, people filleted catfish. When the fishermen shipped them to them, they'd fillet 'em. They'd sell them right from the markets there, fresh fish. Charles' Granddaughter Wendy: We owned market in town for a while, in the eighties; late eighties. We had it, and its where McManus 'seafood is now, on 25th Street. It was ours originally. We had it there. And we had no overhead because my Dad and all his brothers, they would catch the fish the night before and then bring it in in the morning, and of course , you know, my Dad made us work like, you know, all day long, almost every day. And we stand back and clean fish, all day long. Cape Fish Company But whenever the missile bases, the government people'd come in there. The Cape Fish Company was leasing a lot of that property from a fellow, and his brother, in Cocoa. They owned a lot of that sand. They tried to sell Dad several acres, and Dad said, "Can't grow nothing here. It's all palmetto scrubs and white sand, beach sand. What good is it? You're gonna move us out of here. We can't fish here no more." And they said, "Well, the government's buying it all." But, they didn't tell Dad this. And right now it's all a missile base. And later on fish were at a pier just north where the inlet goes in the harbor 225

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HOWARD at the Cape, there used to be a pier about two hundred yards north, used to be a big pier run out in the ocean. A fellow named Fisher owned it. And the missile base bought him out. They built a harbor up there. They built a sub base right in the corner of the harbor. But when everybody moved out, out there, they moved in the harbor when they dug it. They processed their fish in the northeast corner in the harbor. All the fish houses was then built in there. See, there's Fisher's Seafood, Courtney Harden's Seafood; he was a Ft. Pierce fisherman and for years and years he had a place right up here in Fort Pierce. It was used to be right up here in Fort Pierce where Chuck's Seafood Restaurant is today; just west of fire station, and the Coast Guard station . Sinking at the Cape Shoals It was around 1952 and I was with Dad looking for pompano at the Cape Shoals. It was after everyone moved into the harbor up there. We were hunting pompano right at the Cape. They had been firing rockets that dropped boosters in the ocean. We hit a boaster and that tore the bottom out of our boat and it sunk about four hundred yards from shore. We put our life jackets on and went straight to shore. A soldier pulled a gun on me and held us until a Coast Guard officer came that knew us and let us go. Fishing Families Oh, yeah, they were friendly. One fisherman could have sickness in the family, and wasn't able to work; or fall and get hurt; or something. And all the other fishing families 'd come down, bring food, clean the house, take care of the family, pay the doctor bills (help pay the doctor bills). Yeah. You don't see that no more. No fights. Those people got on real good. And they helped one another. One fisherman could lose his nets; like, the sharks eat it up; fish kill-off and then the sharks go to it and devoured it. That happened a lot. Other fishermen donate so much netting, put him back together, put him back to work. That's the way it was. If a fisherman loses his boat, 226

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FIRE IN THE WATER like we did, they all get together and here come a boat. Park it at the dock. Hi! There's your boat! They handed you the papers on it. That's the way they were. That's the way it's supposed to be. And you know what? Farmers still do it. Farmers are the same way in the northern states, there . They still work together and help one another. Net Ban Oh, yeah. I tell ya what I do now. I make and mend cast nets . When your nettin' ban come in, they put a lot of people out of work. And they bought all our nets. They didn't buy our boats; they bought our nets; paid us about half price for them. And we told them, over and over again, that we wasn't to blame for the scarceness of the fish. Pollutions to blame. And they finding out now; pollution's the problem. It's killed all the grass beds; and naturally, your fish are going to disappear. The fishermen was helpin ' the fish. If it wasn't for the drag crews, and the drift crews at night, on them banks down there, and them sweepin' that blue mulch off the bottom, off the grass, to where it gets sunlight penetration through the water; it won't grow. If that muck is layin' like you laid out on the grass if you don't move it, your grass is gonna die underneath. And that's the reason it's very valuable for them nets and the tide to break that muck up to where it goes out with the tide, and goes offshore, and gets off the grass flats. We explained that to 'e m. They said, "naw." They wanted it their way. Real Estate People They didn't want us and they wanted the nets gone, because they had to sell their condos, like the ones over there (Charles pointed east toward the beaches). And those people wanted to recreational fish, and they didn't want to see nets out there . They wanted no (commercial) fishermen . The wanted it all for themselves . Fort Pierce Inlet The Fort Pierce Inlet was a safe inlet for years, until it started 227

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HOWARD filling up with sand and rock. Only a very small area now that's deep water that goes out. This inlet can get very furious; very, very mean. Believe me, I come in and out of it with loads of fish. I held my breath a lot of times. Ft. Pierce; by all means, it's still fairly deep water, and is thebest inlet. And you could wait your tide is the way the fishermen use that inlet, when they got to unload fish out of them, is they watch the swells. If there's a big swell or a big sea, they see how they're running. Most of 'em will run in threes. You get one big, ole swell that'd break; you get another one, it'll break; and you get another and it'll break. Catch that third one and get right on the back of it; you come right on in. Ice We hauled our ice; three hundred pound blocks. The one ice house in Cocoa ... we used to have to haul it over to the Cape. That was huge blocks of ice. They'd stand them on their end, you know. Boy that was something to see. Most all our ice come from there. Those two Fort Pierce fish houses, Walter Peterson's and Montgomery's; Walter Peterson House was bigger than Montgomery's fish house. Bill Montgomery, they were out on Second Street there . Right there down on Second Street, right behind Patrick Chevrolet. And across the railroad, you know and ... Fort Pierce had its' own ice plant. Net Ban Well, what happened is they called everybody in the school, down at Edwards Road . And they were supposed to place all the Ft. Pierce fishermen; they'd done it by each city. Ft. Pierce, Cocoa, Stuart ... they took a city at a time. The government agreed to buy up their nets, but not the boats. And they were trying to place everybody in jobs equal to what they could make fishing. And some of them, when they said what showed on statements, it scared them. There's no jobs out there that pay that kind of money. Yeah, we know that. 228

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FIRE IN THE WATER Welder I got a job, other than fishing. I worked for Piper Aircraft for about seventeen years . I was an arc welder or sediment welder. And I taught weldin' school on Thursdays for about three years. I was a weldin' teacher. I was the first one to apply for a job in Piper. The manager of the weld shop was the one that needed welders. He looked at me and says ... looking at the papers and he says, "Commercial fishermen?" Says, "Be honest with me, now. Tell me what you think a fisherman can do with an airplane?" I said, "I don't know if I could do anything with a airplane or not. I surely can't fly one." I says, "But ... let me point out, in order to be a fisherman, you've got to be a carpenter. You've got to be a electrician . You got to be a mechanic. You got to be some sort of a welder. You've got to b e a rigger, a person that can rig anything." "Hm, he says, Very interesting . I think I can use you." And they brought me on. Oh that was back in the Seventies. Making Cast Nets Today I mend and make nets for people. Yeah, I furnish White's Tackle Shops (in Fort Pierce and Stuart), with cast nets. Figure 10: Charles Anderson's hands making a cast net at his home in western Fort Pierce. Courtesy of Wendy Griffith. 229

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HOWARD CONCLUDING THOUGHTS Terry L. Howard A Fisherman's Paradise The Ais people lived along the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, from Cape Canaveral to Jupiter, for several thousand years before Europeans arrived. The center of their civilization is thought to have been located on the south shore of the Indian River Inlet . An 1863 map on the inside front cover of the book shows this inlet. The Ais average height is believed to have been from six and one half to seven feet. Their robust size may well be attributed to their healthy seafood diet of oysters, clams, crabs, lobster, fish, (of every species), turtles, sea cows and even an occasional whale and, as some believe, an occasional shipwrecked European. Except for the latter, their food was free of pollution. The estuaries were clean and pristine. The Ais roamed the shorelines nearly naked as jaybirds and ate when they were hungry. There is no evidence to suggest that they ever experienced famine. It was a glorious Garden of Eden. Early written accounts of the Indian River Lagoon recorded in, We Saw the Indian River A Chronological Survry of Obseroations of the Indian River Scene 1838-1910, collected by Jean Ellen Wilson, rave about a plethora of fish and sea life in these waters. Her anthology includes passages from Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's memoirs. When young Lt. Sherman arrived at Fort Pierce in 1840 for his first assignment after West Point, he was immediately struck by the sheer abundance of sea life along the Indian River Lagoon. Sherman recollects arriving by steamer at the Indian River Inlet at night and transferring to a launch in the Lagoon: "The water below was alive with fish, whose course through it could be seen by the phosphoric wake. I do not recall in my whole experience a spot on earth where fish, oysters and green turtles so abound 230

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FIRE IN THE WATER as in Fort Pierce, Florida." I was intrigued and inspired by Sherman's observation of the fire in the water. Almost a century later during the Great Depression, Walter R. Hellier recounted in his book Indian River, Florida's Treasure Coast, ''We all went broke but not hungry. Anyone could get a small sailing cat boat and troll in the river for enough trout to bring in five to eight dollars a day at a wholesale price of three and one half cents a pound." Coastal Florida was not settled for much of the first half of the 20th century, mostly due to the harsh conditions caused by the extreme summertime heat, mosquitoes and sand fleas, also known as no-see-'ems. It wasn't until after World War II and the advent of air conditioning, pesticides (including early use of DDT), and in some areas along the eastern shore of the Indian River Lagoon, the use of mosquito control impoundments, that the beaches finally became habitable. Thus few people lived there until after 1945. The beaches belonged to hardy fishermen, like the Fort Pierce fleet that lived for a time at Cape Canaveral, and beach seiners, who were willing to brave the elements in order to harvest the abundant supply of fish that was available. The Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon have always offered a rich source of seafood for early settlers and a prolific livelihood for commercial fishermen. It was free for the harvest. Fish were plentiful . In chapter one J.C. Monroe said, "Big net boats brought on the end of nets" in Florida. In the 1980's and early 1990's large net boats converged on Fort Pierce . As one "roller rig" boat captain told Don Root in chapter two, they were here because they had caught all of the fish where they had come from, in other coastal areas of Florida. These large net boats using airplanes to locate great schools of fish and later employing miles long drift gill nets put a terrible strain on fish populations and moved Florida voters to outlaw all commercial net fishing in the state in 1994 . More than twenty years later, fish populations, while improved, have yet to return to their previous levels. 231

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HOWARD Commercial fishing is different today. Most young Fort Pierce area fishermen trailer their center consul outboard boats behind pickup trucks and catch fish using cast nets that are still legal in Florida waters. These center consul boats are also used commercially to live bait king and Spanish mackerel, and to catch trout and pompano. Fishermen drive their catches to the fish house that is no longer on the waterfront and unload at a truck loading dock. There they load ice onto their boats and purchase tackle and supplies from the fish house . Catch limits are strictly regulated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service for quality and in order to maintain sustainable fisheries. Fishing regulations did not exist when J.C. Monroe, Charles Anderson and Don Root's father began their careers on the water. Times have changed. Fish are now protected from overfishing. However, Florida east coast sea life paradise is under attack by a man made perfect storm of pollution. South Florida's streams and rivers that once meandered and percolated, naturally cleaning the water, before reaching sea level , have been dredged, straightened and canalized. Like giant sewer pipes, they carry billions of tons of fresh water loaded with agricultural waste, pesticides and chemical concoctions into the Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean. This deluge kills sea grasses, clams , oysters and other sea life in the shallow waters of the Lagoon where salt water fish spawn. Every year, hundreds of billions of gallons of this polluted fresh water continue to flow freely and unabated into Florida's salt water estuaries. No legitimate end to this travesty is in sight. The Ais, who resided on Florida's east coast for thousands of years, were far better custodians of this fisherman's paradise then present day Floridians. A Smuggler's Paradise The uninhabited east coast Florida beaches have through the years provided a convenient environment for smuggling. During the Civil War, Federal blockades of the Florida 232

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FIRE IN THE WATER coastline were porous. Weapons and war supplies from England, Cuba and the Bahamas bound for the Confederate Army, and transported by sleek fast blockade runners, were offloaded along Florida's east coast. Florida cattle were shipped out and sold to Cuba for badly needed gold to help support the rebel cause. Much later, from 1919 to 1931, during prohibition, the vacant barrier islands and sparsely populated coastal areas of Florida were destinations for importers of illegal alcohol. And still later, during the 1960s through the 1990s, marijuana and cocaine entered the U.S. along some of these same deserted beaches and open inlets. Demand in the United States for prohibited substances has always remained high, thus making smuggling profitable. While many may have squandered the profits from these illegal endeavors, often by abusing the contraband they imported, others wisely invested in lawful ventures, thus improving their family's economic position, as Tommy Taylor suggested in his chapter. Recently it seems that fewer stories about drug interdictions are being reported in the news. Smuggling seems to be subsiding. Laws and attitudes have changed. Some today even question the wisdom of pursuing the ''War on Drugs." Illegal immigrants were and continue to be another form of contraband brought into coastal Florida . Years ago, while getting ice at the fish house early one morning, well before daylight, I came upon a ragged group of people huddled behind some fish crates. I was a little uneasy at first until I realized their helpless state and saw that they were frightened of me . Like Don Root, when he happened upon the barge load of marijuana bales, I left w@ll enough alone, got my ice and went fishing. But honestly, I wished these hapless refugees well and admired their courage. They likely gambled everything in the world of value to them, including their own lives, for a chance to be here; like countless Americans before them. March 21,1921 What happened on the morning of March 21,1921 according to the Fort Pierce Tribune, is after Deputy 233

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HOWARD Sapp left by car to take crewmen Hayes and Benson back to the jail in Fort Pierce, Drawdy, one of the accused smugglers, stayed to assist Sheriff Monroe and Deputy Donaldson in bringing the seized boat and its bootlegged whiskey down the Indian River Lagoon to Fort Pierce. According to Donaldson, he, Sheriff Monroe and Drawdy departed in the captured boat at about eight A .M. and made good progress for awhile, but subsequently ran aground three times in the shallow water in that part of the river. Donaldson said that at one "grounding" Drawdy stripped off his clothes and went overboard to try and free the boat. Deputy Donaldson also went overboard to help but did not strip completely. Donaldson said he donned an army overcoat after climbing back aboard since his clothes were wet. Figure 1: The old Saint Lucie County Courthouse in Fort Pierce, the County Seat of Saint Lucie County, Florida . It was built in 1909. The jail and Sheriff's quarters are in the adjoining h ouse to the right in the picture . It is where J.C. Monroe and his famil y lived until h e was age 3 , when in 1921 his father, the "High Sheriff of Saint Lucie County , " was killed . It was the court hou se th at had "a large number of spectators" for the trial of the accused smugglers. It is where 24 year-old Terrell Hayes was found guilty of possession of illegal alcohol. Courtesy of the St . Lucie Cou nty R egional History Center. 234

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FIRE IN THE WATER Sometime between eleven A.M. and noon, near Oslo, about seven miles north of Fort Pierce, the event occurred. The sheriff was steering from the center of the boat just outside the cabin. Donaldson stood beside him, and Drawdy, dressed only in his trousers, reclined on the stern. The last thing Donaldson remembered was reaching for the gas lever to cut off some of the gas. The boat exploded and instantly burst into flames. Donaldson said the next thing he knew he was in the water about sixty feet from the stern of the boat. Sheriff Monroe, he said, was "splashing frantically in the water about a hundred feet to the east of the boat" which was on fire. Drawdy was in chest deep water about a hundred fifty feet west of the burning vessel. Donaldson yelled to the sheriff, "Here's bottom, come over this way!" Sheriff Monroe, he said, did not respond and sank. Donaldson was able to stand on a case of whisky and take off his overcoat. He then swam to where he had last seen the sheriff, but could not locate him. Deputy Donaldson and Drawdy then swam and waded to the west shore. "News of the catastrophe was telephoned to Fort Pierce, and boats from this and other points left to join in the search for the body. A number of parties also went by automobile to be of assistance in the search if possible. The search was continued for several hours but without success. Finally a seine was secured from Fort Pierce, and with this the body was recovered about 3:30 o'clock Saturday morning, after having been in the water for over fifteen hours. The body was brought back to Fort Pierce by boat, reaching here about 6 o'clock Saturday morning. Examination revealed that there was practically no water in the lungs. The left eye was apparently blistered, the hair on the left temple singed, the nose blistered, and the hair on the right hand slightly singed. Otherwise no injuries to the body were apparent. Evidently the sheriff had been injured by the explosion and suffocated by the flames that resulted. The body was turned over to the undertaking establishment of Fee & Stewart. No inquest was held. 235

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HOWARD Hayes, Drawdy and Benson were released by the county judge under bond of $500 each pending a hearing on the charge of violating the prohibition laws of the state." (Fort Pierce News-Tribune, Tuesday March 29, 1921) Terrell Hayes, owner of the ill fated boat, was later convicted of possessing illegal alcohol. Harry Benson received a mistrial and was scheduled to b e retried . Dozier Drawdy was acquitted of any charges and freed. Hayes and Benson were released pending appeal and retrial respectively. A subsequent grand jury investigation into the death of Sheriff Monroe revealed no evidence of foul play. "The courtroom during the trial was overflowing with interested spectators .... The lawyers had difficulty selecting a jury and the state exhausted its peremptory challenges." (Fort Pierce News-Tribune, April 5, 1921). According to the Encyclopedia of Florida Sheriffs 1821 2008, "There was no extant court records of the disposition of the case against the three men." It is not known whether any of the defendants ever served time in jail. No further mention is made of the two hundred cases of whiskey that were scattered in the Indian River Lagoon after the boat exploded. Terrell "Pappy" Hayes My interest in the early Fort Pierce migratory commercial fishing fleet was part of what caused me to begin this book. But from the start, the stories took on a life of their own. From J. C. Monroe's tale of his father's demise at the hands of bootleggers, as he recalls it, to the many sea adventures of Donald Root's father, Clarence "Heavy" Root, and the captain he mated for, Terrell "Pappy" Hayes, the stories of these men, like history, intertwine in unexpected ways. Captain Hayes emerges as a unique and interesting character and a formidable patriarch on the Florida east coast waterfront. In small towns like Fort Pierce following the turn of the 20th century, people were aware of each others activities; everyone knew everyone else, and many families were related, all of which may help explain the difficulty in 236

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FIRE IN THE WATER picking a jury for the Hayes, Drawdy, and Benson smuggling trial of 1921. Mechanic Tommy Taylor told me that all a fell ow would have to do to make an old boat blow up would be to loosen the overflow valve on the carburetor. But after carefully reading the 1921 newspaper account of the death of Sheriff W R. Monroe, Mr. Taylor, became convinced that when the sheriff ran aground twice while returning to Fort Pierce in the captured cruiser loaded with whiskey, he had clogged the salt water intake. This restricted water flow and caused the engine to overheat. Tommy said, "That's all it would take for an old gas engine to blow up. They all had fumes. The deputy even said he was reaching to turn down the gas flow valve when the boat exploded." Tommy Taylor believes the death of Sheriff Monroe was an accident. Mr. Taylor also said Terrell Hayes never did anything wrong. He didn't even drink alcohol. Tommy doubts anyone in the Hayes family knows about what happened on March 25, 1921. Tommy said Terrell Hayes was highly respected as a fisherman and seaman. He was well thought of by everyone, and he and his wife Nell raised a wonderful family. Mr. Taylor also said that he'd heard they'd had trouble finding a jury in 1921. Nothing in the newspaper account explains how the sheriff was seen "splashing frantically in the water" after the boat explosion, suggesting that he had drowned, but there was "practically no water in his lungs." J.C. Monroe went to his grave believing that "someone broke his (father's) neck and threw him overboard." Captain Steve Lowe told me the following about his friend, Terrell "Pappy" Hayes, in 2010. While sitting at the fish house one day--possibly while whittling-Terrell Hayes told Steve how he had once brought in a load of liquor from the Bahamas to the Cape while being chased by the U.S. Coast Guard. He said he ran his loaded skiff through the slough near the beach, where the Coast Guard didn't follow, either because the water was too shallow for their vessel or because they were not familiar with the slough that was known to fishermen. Steve said they 237

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HOWARD followed Terrell from offshore firing 37 millimeter cannon shots at him from a distance as he led them back and forth, up and down the beach. Eventually tiring of the game, the Coast Guard left and Captain Hayes delivered the load successfully. Steve described Captain Hayes' boat as ari open lapstrake Jersey skiff with a ridge pole down the center and was covered with canvas. It was steered from a tiller in the stern, where a hand-operated bilge pump was located. Steve believed it was powered by a small Chrysler Crown engine. Authors' Visit to Cape Canaveral When Paul Macinnis shouted, "Hey! Look out!" as Don Root and I walked back from the beach at Cape Canaveral, he may have saved my life. Rocket scientists and Space Museum docents Paul Macinnis and Gregory Stover were our guides for the 2015 Cape Canaveral visit. Paul's shout had alerted me to a large eastern diamondback rattlesnake that blocked our path. Figure 2: Huge eastern diamondback rattlesnake entering the footpath at Cape Canaveral. Courtesy of Terry L. Howard. 238

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FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 3: This is the original site of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse. Courtesy of Dona ld E. Root. Figure 4: Above, the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse in its present inland location. Courtesy of Donald E. Root. 239

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HOWARD Figure 5: This picture shows the sheltered area south of Cape Canaveral that provided mostly safe mooring for early fishermen. Because of its leeward location to the Cape, this area near the beach is usually calm -as it was on this day. The Cape Fish House and fishermen's cabins would have been near the beach in the center of this picture, in what looks like a cove. Further to the south beyond the cove was the location of the Cape Canaveral Pier, destroyed when the Federal Government took over the land. Missile launch sites can be seen in the distance. Courtesy of Terry L. Howard. Many of the rocket launch sites at Cape Canaveral are no longer used and are obsolete. The activity at the Space Center is a mere fraction of what it was during the early space programs, such as the lunar and shuttle missions. The beaches at Cape Canaveral today are as they were before commercial fishermen, settlers and rockets . They are as pristine as they were when the first native Americans roamed these shores and are alive with raw nature like the huge eastern diamondback rattlesnake that blocked our path from the beach. The rattlesnake retreated slowly back into the palmettos as we watched. Today the Cape Canaveral Port, finished in 1953, provides sheltered harbor for commercial and recreational marine traffic. 240

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FIRE IN THE WATER Figure 6: Don Root and his father "the fisherman" at "Lighthouse Point" at Cape Canaveral in 1941, seventy-four years ago. The author a nd Don Root stood on this very spot on November 12, 2015. Courtesy of Donald E . Root 241

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HOWARD Figure 7: Author Terry Howard (left) and Don Root at "Lighthouse Point" on Cape Canaveral in November 2015. Courtesy of Terry H owar d and Paul Macinnis. The Cape provided a sheltered anchorage to the south of the point, leeward, where early fishermen moored their boats. Behind Don and me in the above photograph are the rough shoals on the north side or windward side of Cape Canaveral. The Cape Shoals extend intermittently for twelve miles out to sea and are a navigational hazard. The shoals are also rich fishing grounds. The original location of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse was behind us to our right, beyond the dune line . We were standing near what was known as "Lighthouse Point." Today the lighthouse, that used to light the fishermen's beach cabins, has been moved a mile inland from the beach to assure its protection from the sea. It was exciting to finally walk along the Cape Canaveral beaches, where so much life was lived by early Florida commercial fishermen and their families. It was a thrill to see the Cape Shoals on a rough day and to see the calm waters along the beach in the lee of the Cape, where fishermen kept their boats. This spot was the same safe haven and nautical 242

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FIRE IN THE WATER destination favored by early Spanish explorers . From here they would begin their perilous journeys back across the Atlantic Ocean. Also from here, five centuries later, space explorers ventured to the moon. And for Don Root, revisiting the same beach where he had spent many memorable childhood days, and star filled nights seventy-four years, ago was a . . movmg expenence. 243

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HOWARD ABOUT THE AUTHORS OF FIRE IN THE WATER Terry L. Howard is the author of Great Kingfish Captains of Fort Pierce, Florida, Tell Their Stories, and High Seas Wranglers, (published by University Press of Florida). He is a retired Florida public school teacher and has been a long time Florida commercial fishing captain . He is also a docent for and member of the Saint Lucie County Historical Society and enjoys history and sea stories . Terry L. Howard Fort Pierce, Florida Donald E Root is a true native of Fort Pierce, Florida. He was born in 1940 and grew up on the fish docks and in his father's boat. He has been involved in commercial fishing all of his life. He joined the Navy in 1958 at the age of 17 and is now retired from the NCR corporation after 37 years as a large computer systems technician . Now he is telling the story of "Fishing at the Cape" from long ago when fishermen were rugged and endured many hardships . Donald E Root Fort Pierce, F l orida 244

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FIRE IN THE W ATER ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This book was made possible with the kind assistance of The St. Lucie County Historical Society, the St. Lucie County Regional History Center and the Florida Photographic Concern, in Fort Pierce, and staffers Nancy Bennet and Harry Quatraro, as well as, the Florida Historical Society in Cocoa, Florida and staff historian, Ben DiBiase, whose father was a Florida commercial fishing captain. More valuable assistance was provided by the State Archives of Florida. Other kind folks that gave of their time to help this book reach fruition are, Jo Chapman, Kim Hadley, Pete Van Brunt, Rodne y Black, Lucille Rights, Jan and Joe Bal, Terrie Selph, Paul Macinnis, Gregory Stover, Chad Leonard, Debbie Sentence, C y nthia Callander, Captain Tristram Colket, Captain Steve Lowe, Jean Ellen Wilson, Simone Daddario, Wendy Frieder, Mose Sanders, Ted Burrows, Roger Miller, Mary Schrader, Dan Gardner, and Katy Purcell . And thanks to my beloved cousin, Martha Bergland, and my dear friend, Lucinda Kirk, for helping to edit the manuscript. Both ladies are accomplished authors and exceptional writing teachers. And both e x cel in kindness. Most importantly I'd like to thank J.C. Monroe, Bob Terry , Tommy Tay lor, Charles Anderson and m y friend, Don Root for kindl y sharing their stories for this book. 245

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HOWARD Index A After the war 29, 37, 57, 217 Airplane 34, 36, 43, 107, 121, 122, 163.212,229,231 Ais 230, 232 Air Force 211 Alexander, David 19 Anderson, Charles iii, 6, 197, 198, 201,202,205,229,232,245 Arllly 23,24,30,31,33,28, 139, 140, 174, 175, 176 180, 181, 203, 2 Arnold , Calvin 83, 107 Arnold, Early 83, 107 Arnold, Edson 30, 57, 64, 82 , 83, 111, 117, 134, 135, 170,223 Atlantic Ocean 2, 230, 231, 232, 243 B Backus 7, 16, 19,21,57, 166, 167, 206,208,217 Backus, A . E. 16 Backus, Beanie 18, 19, 135 Backus Boatworks 21 Backus, George 19 Backus, Todd 18, 19 Bahalllas 179, 182, 183, 190, 194, 195, 196 , 233,237 Baits 207 Bales 123, 189, 233 Bantalll Sailboats 166 Barge 35,36, 123,200 , 217,233 Barrier island v, 167, 168 Baseball 24, 25 Beach iv,3,9,22,27,28,37,38, 40,42,57, 71, 72, 75,94, 101, 104, 111, 112, 113, 114, 128, 138, 140, 142, 146, 163, 165 , 169, 173, 175, 189,203,206,223 Beaulllariage, Dale S. 54, 55 Bensen, Louis 135 Benson, Harry 1,235,236,237 Bethel Shoals 211 Big catches 213 Big fish 157, 162, 182, 207, 224 Black, Glenn 43, 58 Blanchard, Frank 21, 82 , 83, 160, 223 Bluefish 30, 95 Boatworks , Backus 21 Boot calllp 33, 126 Boynton 42, 113 Bridge 11, 15, 16, 17, 21, 50, 52, 57, 143, 168, 192,203,205 Brooks, Jane 145 Brown, Varian 83 Buick 100 Buoys 121, 191 c Cape Canav11fal iv, v, vi, vii, 1, 2, 4,5,6,22,26,29,42,64,66,68, 71,87,88, 100, 101, 103 , 106 , 107, 131, 149, 162, 169, 170,222, 230,231,237,238,239,240,241 Cape Fish Colllpany 53, 56, 57, 58,69,86, 113, 118,222,223,225 Cape Shoals 226, 241 Carolina 33, 203, 204, 208, 209 Carlson, John 83 Cast net 30, 82, 110 , 229, 232 Catfish 90, 160, 164 , 192,225 Channel bass 21 Chevrolet 175, 228 Chrysler 28, 237 Clallls 17, 231 Coast Guard 85, 100, 158, 189, 195,196,209,210,226,236,237 Colket 244 246

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FIRE IN THE WATER Compass 36, 66, 183 Cooler 80, 83, 132, 158 Co-op 24 Crabs 53, 104, 110,231 Cuba 42, 231 D Davidson, Dave 53 Daytona 128 Daytona Beach 128 Depth recorder 182 Deputy Sapp 1, 234 Destroyer 127, 210 Diesel engine 103, 121 Donaldson, Deputy W.H. 1, 232, 233,234 Drawdy, Dozier 1, 232, 233, 234, 235,236 Drugs 122, 194,232 Ducks 27, 29, 78 E Early Fort Pierce 125, 235 East Coast 115, 116, 185 Ed Fisher 71, 88 Electronics 22, 182, 193, 208 F Fertilizer 15 Fight 33, 35 Fisherman 4, 16, 26, 64, 69, 92, 122,128, 133,156, 161,200,211, 223,226,229,232,236,240 Fish house 6, 13, 26, 27, 30, 31, 41,53,57,58,68,69, 70, 76, 79, 80,81,86,87,89,90,94,97, 115, 117, 118, 119, 121, 123, 124, 125, 126, 131, 132, 162, 165, 169, 172, 199,200,222,228,231,232,236 Fishing 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 13, 14, 16, 18, 22,24,25,26,28,29,30,37 ,38, 40, 41,46,52,60,69, 70, 77, 78, 84,85,87,91,95,96,97,99, 104, 105, 107, 108, 109, 112, 113, 117, 118, 121, 122, 127, 128, 129, 132, 134, 135, 136, 149, 150, 153, 157, 161, 163, 172, 183, 192,204,205, 206,208,209,211,213,214,220, 221,223,226,228,229,232,235, 243,244 Fleet 91 Florida ii, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 20, 43,46,51,62,63, 74, 75,81,87, 88,91,92, 102, 103, 111, 122, 130, 131, 135, 136, 143, 144, 145, 146, 150, 152, 175, 177, 178, 182, 185, 192, 194, 196, 197,201,205,230, 231,232,235,241,243,244 Florida Historical Society 51, 81, 87,88,91,92, 102,244 Florida Keys 2, 111, 114, 115, 117 Fort Pierce ii, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19,20,24, 25,28,30,37,39,43,47,49,50, 51,54,59,60,61,64,66,67,69, 75,82,85,93, 103, 108, 111, 112, 120, 121, 122, 125, 126, 127, 128, 130, 132, 134, 136, 138, 143, 144, 148, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 159, 168, 169, 172, 173, 176, 177, 178, 183, 184, 187, 192, 193, 196, 198,201,205,210,211, 213,214,215,218,219,225,226, 227,228,229 , 230,231,235,236, 243,244 Fort Pierce Inlet 2, 39, 43, 47, 66, 112,152, 153,155 , 156,219,227 Fort Pierce Tribune 148, 157, 178 Fulton Fish Market 159 G Gaff 5, 41 Garbage 76, 197 Garden 142, 143, 147 Gill net 98 God 14, 34, 42, 86, 112, 137, 138, 171, 188, 192 247

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HOWARD Goliath grouper 5, 156, 157, 182 GPS 183 Great Depression 1 , 4 , 5 , 6, 62, 143, 174,230,235 Griffith, Wendy 198, 202, 205, 229 Grouper 5, 104, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160,161,182,207 , 208 ,211 Guadalcanal 33, 35 Gulf 58, ll5, 194 , 206, 210, 2ll Gulf Stream ll5, 194, 206, 210 , 2ll H Hand line 161 Harding 58, 91 Harding, Courtney 58, 91 Hayes, Gene 5, 106, 107, 132 , 160 , 162, 166 , 169,170 , 186 Hayes , Nell 133, 237 Hayes, Terrell 1, 4, 5, 13, 14, 27, 54,57,65,66,82,83, 89,91 , 103, 104 , 106, 107 , 111, 116, 117, 120, 124 , 132, 133, 146, 148, 162, 165, 166 , 169, 170, 185, 193,224,233, 234,236,237 Hill, Harry ii , 19, 20 History ii, 2, 3, 6, 7, 13, 15, 19, 20 , 21,60,61,67, 125 , 136 , 146, 152, 155, 156, 159, 169, 173 , 218,219, 244 Hobe Sound 122 , 2ll, 212 Hog 182,215,224 Horse 171 House of Refuge 173 Howard, Howard, Terry L. ii, v, 241, 244 Hudgins 53, 56 , 58, 59 , 91, 112 , 113, 122 Hunting 78, 172 , 226 Hurricane , 1928 17 Hurricane, 1929 21Hurricane,1933 174 Hurricane , 1949 174, 197 Hurricanes 51, 53 , 1 7 4 Hutchinson Island 145 Ice 70, 71, 79,80,83, 86 , 115 , 117, 118 , 123 , 124, 132, 134, 135 , 137 , 162, 164 , 165 ,208,209,212,213, 225,228,232 Independent Fish Company 51, 58 Indian River County 3 Indian River Lagoon ii , vi , v , 1, 2,20,25,29, 47 ,61, 109 , 145 , 168 , 1 74, 191,230,231,235 J Jacksonville 38, 59, 104 , 105, 204, 224 Japan 139 Japanese 33, 36 , 180 Jaws 215 Jeanne 38 Jeep 168, 209 Jensen Beach 3 7 Johansson , Hugo 83 Jones , Blossom Bean 191 Jones , Johnny 191, 192 Jupiter 38, 137, 210, 2ll Jupiter Inlet v , 38 K Key West 115 , 122 Killing 37 King fishermen 161, 193 King Mackerel 40 King , Maxwell 51 L Lake Okeechobee 1 7 4 Lake Worth 128 Landing craft 167 , 168 Latham, Frances Eleanor William s Bett s 145, 146 Law , Paul 82, 83, 223 248

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FIRE IN THE WATER Lighthouse 69, 78, 131, 132, 239, 142, 162, 163,224,241 Louisiana 217 Lowe, C. T. 52 Lowe, Steve 177, 236, 237 M Machine gun 168, 181 Macinnis, Paul 238, 241, 245 Mackerel 5, 13, 28, 30, 37, 39, 41, 43,53, 71, 72, 75,89,95,98,99, 108, 113,114,116, 121, 122, 125, 126, 129, 138,204,213,214,225 Mackerel net 5 Mafia 123 Mangrove snapper 111 Manta Ray 138 Marathon 111, 115, 122 Marine 103, 139, 204 Martin County 3 Melbourne 34, 204, 206, 210 Merritt Island 61, 70, 131 Miami 114, 115, 116, 117, 121, 147, 195 Monofilament 25, 30, 119 Monroe, J.C. 1, 10, 12, 39, 44, 45, 46,232,244 Monroe, Sandi 32,44,45,46 Monroe, Sheriff W.R. l, 10, 11, 232,233,234,235,236 Moore's Creek 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 25,61,67, 134, 135,206 Mosquitoes 26, 35, 82, 83, 94, 95, 162,230 Moth, Saiboat 17, 19 Mullet 25, 109, 204, 220 N Naples 74, 122 National Guard 174, 175, 197, 198,203 Navy 6,30,32,50, 126, 127, 133, 155, 167, 168, 175, 183,210,217, 243 Net boats 6, 231 Nets ii, 4, 16, 20, 25, 26, 29, 39, 40,43,51,54,57,69, 70, 78,86, 87,90,92,93,95,96,98,99, 102, 109, 111, 117, 119, 124, 133, 136, 141, 165, 166,204,214,218,220, 221,223,226,227,228,229,232 New Jersey 33, 108, 132 New York 55, 59, 145, 154, 158, 159,224 New York City 224 North Bridge 192 North Carolina 203, 204 0 Okinawa 33, 34, 36, 174, 176, 180 Orange Avenue 12, 165 Orange Heights 62, 63 Oysters 17, 201, 224, 230, 231 p Pacific Ocean 33 Palm Beach 22, 27, 28, 37, 38, 40, 104, 111, 112,113,140 Paradise 171, 230, 231, 232, 233 Party 132 Pearl Harbor 6, 26, 30, 31, 199 Pepper Park 173 Perez, Ray 14, 54 Periwinkle stew 142 Peterson Fish Company 124 Phosphorescent 95 Pinder 193 Pollution 220, 227 Pompano 22,28, 72, 73, 74,95, 99, 108, 122, 126, 163, 164, 165, 226 Prohibition l, 4, 6, 140, 186, 194, 231 Pyrene Fire Extinguisher 175 R Radar 126, 181 249

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HOWARD Radio 22, 66, 97, 98, 121, 126, 174, 175, 176, 177, 183, 189, 195, 198, 199, 211 Rattlesnake 238 Redfish 110,111,204 Red snapper 161, 207 Refugees 233 Rescues 178 Refugees 233 Revells, Lester 41 River 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22,25,26,30,50,51,53, 102, 104, 109, 118, 121, 126, 128, 129, 134, 135, 136, 153, 162, 166, 167, 168, 175, 177, 185, 199,206,230 Roberts, Joe 37, 51 Rockets 226, 239 Root, Clarence "Heavy" 49, 235 Root, Donald E. iii, 49, 56, 59, 62, 63,64,65,69, 77,84, 116, 127, 129, 130, 185,232,235,238,240 Rumrunner 139 , 141, 146 s Salvage 104, 105, 212 San Diego 33 Sapp, H. J. 1, 234 Saunders, D. H. "Banty" ii, 20 Sawfish 22, 102 Sea Monster 41 Seasick 34, 36, 137 Sea skiffs 93, 199,206,222 Sebastian 3, 38, 64, 65, 93, 111, 112,204 Sebastian Inlet 64 , 65, 93 Selph, Terrie 57 , 66, 89, 91, 106, 107, 170,245 Sharks 53,69,88, 104, 110, 162, 163, 164,209,220,226 Sheephead 225 Simonson's Restaurant 52, 200 Sinking 6, 168, 194,209,212 Smith, Elmer 135 Smugglers 5, 42, 232, 233 Snapper boat 162 Snapper fishing 161, 206, 209 Snook 16,21, 110, 111,204,213, 225 South Beach (Fort Pierce) 42, 57, 138, 169, 175,206 South Bridge 11, 15, 17, 21, 50, 52,57, 168,203 South Carolina 33, 204 Spanish mackerel 41, 71, 138, 204,213,214,225 Spotter towers 184, 185 Sting rays 110 St. Lucie County ii, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, 19,20,21,52,60,61, 67, 125, 136, 152, 155, 156, 159, 165, 169, 173,218,219,236, 244 St. Lucie County Historical Soci ety 244, 245 St. Lucie County Regional History Center ii, 2, 3, 7, 13, 15, 19, 20, 21,52,60,61, 67, 125, 136 , 152, 155, 156, 159, 169, 173,218,219, 244 Storms 37,38, 179, 182 Stover, Gregory 237, 244 Stuart 130, 228, 229 Submarines 209, 210 Summerlin, Herman 53, 173, 193, 195 Sunrise City 59 Survivors 1, 4, 183 Swimming 6, 41, 88, 137, 160, 164 , 183, 189, 190 Swordfish 53 T Tackle Shop 199 Tarpon 103, 150, 151 Taylor, Arch 151 Taylor Creek 11, 14, 15, 24, 53, 56, 59, 103, 123 Taylor, Eleanor 179 Taylor, Tommy iii, 5, 25, 149, 151, 153 , 154, 157, 165, 170, 178, 179, 191, 196,232,236,244 250

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FIRE IN THE WATER Terry Jr., Robert 16, 133 Terry, Sr. Robert 148 Thompson, Jim 51, 205 Towers 184, 185, 187, 200, 213 Treasure 169, 230 Trout 2,4,21, 110, 111, 118, 129, 212,220,221,225,230 Turtles 27, 29, 77, 94, 104, 160, 164,224,230,231 v Vero 3,5,9, 10,38,40, 128, 172, 203,209,210,223 Vero Beach 9, 38, 203 w Wabasso 37, 112 Waste 88 Waterfront 1, 2, 5, 13, 82, 126, 136,206,235 Wendy Griffith 198 , 202, 205 West coast 122 Williams, Cody 57, 83 Women 34, 79,97,223 World War II 4, 6, 12, 23, 24, 30, 33,46,68, 100, 103, 141, 154, 155, 162, 163, 167, 172, 183, 188,200, 230,235 Wrecks 210 z Zill, Fred 82, 83 251

PAGE 262

OTHER BOOKS BY TERRY L. HOWARD: " I ' m novelist R andy Wayne White , and think T erry Howard's GREAT KJNGFISH CAPTAINS i s superb,fores ighted, pricele ss and compelling. . . It is an important addition to Florida fishing hi story. . . What imp ressed me was that t h e book was cleanly written , yet it does not impose on th e pure voices of the men interview ed. " -R. W White Published by Pride Enterprises $20.00 Of F o n Pierce , Florida. Tell Their Stories by Terry Howard " Captain Terry L. Howard's lat est book , High Seas Wranglers , about Florida fis hin g captains is another fine job. I l ov e the book. " Randy Wayne White , Florida Novelist " Whizzing hand lines , dangerous wa t ers , and all-day h auls put you in touch with the lives of the people like T erry and the kingfish • cap tains. A must-read. " Gary Poyssick,founder of the . ,, " Captures the classic storyte llin g sty l e of these sea men. The catc h grows a littl e longer, a littl e h eav ier, and a littl e meaner when the tale is retold. I l ove it " __....,,,., ..: T.1 1 >LH<•-"rlr
PAGE 263

i ' \\ \\ \z \\ \\ i i \\ \\ \ \\ \\ \\ i \\ \ i \\ \\ '' \ 39 I \ 38

PAGE 264

Using rare historical photos and firsthand accounts of five survivors, this book chronicles waterfront and commercial fishing life on Florida's east coast and along the Indian River Lagoon. It centers on Cape Canaveral and Fort Pierce, Florida from early in the twentieth century to the 1994 Florida net ban. It is filled with colorful sea stories and memories of earlier times. Terry Howard and Donald Root's new book "Fire in the Water " was an excellent and historically important read! This book will have an especially good response on the east coast of Florida , but will also have strong appeal to any fishing & boating communities. T erry and Donald record history in the best way possible: in the words of the people who lived it. I have no doubt "Fire in the Water" will be a best seller in my store along with Terry Howard's other two books "High Seas Wranglers" and "Great Kingfish Captains". Chad Leonard Owner of the Vero Beach Book Center FT. PIERCE, FL /h1 /,,,,a,,, .A'/w,. MISS FANNIE LLC S20.00 ISBN 978-0-692-07992-8 II 52000> 9 780692 079928


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