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Chapter 55: Enter Nancy

September 19, 2013
University of Maryland
College Park

It is about four months into the research, and I am doggedly chipping at the cracked slab that lies over Emmett Wilson’s buried-away life history, starting with the people who knew him best.

In the December 2, 1918 edition of The Pensacola Journal, I found the following:

Emmett is eulogized seven months after his death in an Elk’s ceremony. Source: The Pensacola Journal, December 2, 1918 via ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Page 2, The Pensacola Journal, December 2, 1918, via ChroniclingAmerica.gov

I reach out to the state office of the Elk’s Club in Florida, to see if there was an archive where Anderson’s entire speech might have been preserved. It would make sense, I ask, because one of the members eulogized was a former Member of Congress. Later, an email from my source reveals he wasn’t able to find a record of Emmett’s membership — and alas,  the Pensacola chapter didn’t exist anymore — it disbanded after reaching its 100th anniversary.

Elk’s (left) and Osceola Clubs, Pensacola. Neither building survives today, although the Elk statue is elsewhere in the city, according to Jacki Wilson, archivist for the Pensacola Historical Society. Source: State Archive of Florida.

 

Next, I track down Robert H. Anderson. There’s an interesting biographical sketch in a Florida genealogy database — the sketch is a basic rtf file, in Courier typeface.

A snippet of the file uploaded by Nancy Rayburn. Source: USGWArchives

The document belongs to Ms. Nancy Rayburn — luckily, there’s an email address attached to the file.

===

I didn’t expect an answer quickly, but only a few hours later, Nancy responds:

She always like to correspond using Comic Sans. One of the many things I liked about her right away!

I sense a good source in the making.

I’ll write back right the next day — let’s see where this goes.

Categories: Book Congressman Florida History

Tagged as:

jsmith532

Professor
The University of Maryland Global Campus

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