Homepage for the 75th Anniversary of the 1935
By Jerry Wilkinson
We are beginning our preparation to recognize
natural disaster event that happened which influences our lives even
today, and one that could repeat itself - hopefully not. My meaning of
‘commemorate’ is to honor the ‘memory of’ and not the event itself. I
believe we can honor those who died and those who labor to educate and
minimize future catastrophes. We cannot eliminate hurricanes. I do wish
to pay tribute to the efforts of the World War One veterans and
families who worked and died in the Florida Keys - See item
numbers 6 and 7 in the list below.
to pay tribute to lessons learned with a 27 minute documentary made for
PBS in the mid 1990s by Miles Productions of New York City and honor
those who perished. The format
is for 'windows media player' file (.wmv) so if you do not
have this media player, please experiment with another media player. A
button is at the lower right corner of the player. My email address is
at the end of this web page.
The Great labor
Day Hurricane of 1935 was 75 years ago September 2, 1935, and its
protégé, Hurricane Donna, was 50 years ago September 10,
1960. For all
practical purposes all from Duck Key (MM-65) northwards to Tavernier
Creek (MM-91) was decimated with one business structure and one
residential structure surviving. Forty miles of railroad track was lost
meaning Monroe County from Duck Key southwards was isolated other than
water and air transportation. About 400 lost their lives and of these
about 250 were WW-1 veterans - there are various sets of numbers that
could be used.
Of the total lost the largest group was the
WW-1 Veterans yet they are least recognized. I assume this is because
the Keys there are family survivors to promote their recognition. With
that said, with the 2010 Memorial Day there are surviving
families of the more than 250 veterans who died and those who survived who
now live someplace else.
Below are included all personnel lists published in the Congressional
Inquiry - see
many do not know that their veteran father, or grandfather - even
great-grandfather, perished in
this mishap. If one is simply curious I suggest you quickly skim the
lists for the family name - they are listed alphabetically. Someone
else will have to follow-up with the
connect the reported list to their families. To my knowledge and as a
former subscriber of 'The Torch'
there maybe several surviving WW-1 veterans, but one is Frank Buckles,
born 1904 in Missouri and enlisted in 1914.
Even though they will be introduced in the
video, before clicking a quick cast to the survivors appearing: Jimmy
Woods (deceased), Evanette Pinder Stone (deceased), Delories Pinder
Brothers (deceased), Janice Parker Gentry (deceased), Bernard Russell (deceased), Fay Marie Parker
Murrote, Noland Parker (deceased) and Lucy Parker Schooley (deceased).
The video is 27 minutes long and of
medium resolution. Please remember
the settings of my host server, your server and your computer can
these video's. Turn your audio on, Click below, view, click X to
stop, then the green
arrow to return here - enjoy:
I have one more video and it is historic itself.
The video clip is from a "Universal Newsreel" that was shown
at movie theaters during intermissions. The film was taken from the
Wednesday, September 4, 1935 while flying over the
desolation caused by the hurricane. It is only 3 minutes long, long
by multi copying, so be ready to use the pause button. On Wednesday at
daylight, Lt. Olson flew his USCG seaplane over the grounded USS Dixie,
then Snake Creek on its route to Lower Matecumbe
Key, Veteran's Camp 3. The seaplane later that day landed and Mr. Lyons
photos of the wreckage in the Islamorada area. The only survivors shown
are Agnes Johnson (Leo Johnson's wife) and their dog, plus Alice Cale
and her children. When
departing it took some survivors to Miami included the lady (Alice
Cale) and her three children (Cecil, Carl and Charles) shown near the
end. The video quality is poor and there is no audio, a Mr. Lyons was
the photographer. This is as close
to revisiting the disaster as we can get today! These are streaming
videos; therefore, many control buttons do not function. For some
reason this short video - smaller file size- takes longer to load.
Remember the pause button:
To read the U.S.C.G. narrative report, Click
To read detailed pages about the who, what, when & where of the
WW-! Veterans in the Keys, Click here.
-ADDITIONAL READING, RESEARCH AND ARCHIVING =
are primary links we have right now and more will be provided.
Numbers (1) and (2) provide a
basic understanding of any hurricane. The following two (2) links
Florida hurricanes, the fifth is specifically the 1935 Hurricane and
the sixth (6) is the role of the WW-1 Veterans in the Keys. Line 7 take
you to an index page for all the lists for the names, serial number and
known status of all the veterans who were assigned work at in the
Florida Keys on September 2, 1935. Line 8 presently is to links to four
lengthy sworn statements made by survivors. The
an in depth study of other "reported information." I am adding more as
I prepare additional pages. Using the back arrow in
upper left portion of your computer screen will immediately return you
back to the previous page. Go-to-links are placed at the end of each
for additional navigation. A link is also provided to Hurricane Donna.
- 1. General History of Hurricanes, Click HERE.
- 2. Anatomy of a Hurricane, Click HERE.
- 3. Selected Statistics of all Florida Hurricanes from
1900 to 1999, Click Here.
- 4. Florida Keys Hurricanes since the 1500's, Click HERE.
- 5. The 1935 Hurricane, Click HERE.
- 6. The WW-1 Veterans in
the Florida Keys - The Bridge That Never Was, Click Here
- 7. For the names, status
and serial numbers of the WW-1 Veterans working in the Keys, Click Here..
- 8. Index/links
to survivor sworn statements, Click Here.
The following twelve web pages are supporting
additional reading for the 1935 Hurricane:
(1) Four published maps of
the 1935 Hurricane track, Click
(2) Map from the Miami
September 5, 1935, Click HERE.
(3) For Marjory Stoneman
description of the hurricane, Click
(4) For the published Monthly
Weather Review, Click
(5) For a War Department
hurricane data collected in the Keys, Click
(6) For a Florida Emergency
Administration damage report, Click
(7) For the log of the
Reef Lighthouse, Click
(8) For the 1935 census of the Upper
Keys, Click HERE.
(9) For a Florida National Guard
report, Click HERE.
(10) For portions of a U.S. Coast Guard report, Click
(11) For the Key West Weather Bureau reports, Click
(12) For four versions of the 1935 Hurricane
path, Click HERE.
(13) For preview of a
life at Camp One: Click
- For a comprehensive history tour of the 1935
photos, Click HERE.
- The Florida Keys Memorial, Click
- Photos of Hurricane Donna, 1960 Click
Our thanks to Terry
Hennessy and the team at
for their assistance and contributions.
Go Keys History homepage, Click here.