Away

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Poor Emmett’s blog has become a dried husk because I’ve been away for two weeks attending to a family emergency.

I will return in a day or so with an update, and hopefully, be back on schedule.

 

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Papist or Protestant?

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The big question I’m exploring with one of J. Walter Kehoe’s descendants is this:

Was he once Catholic or wasn’t he?

A few days ago, I found Walter’s obituary, which mentions a Presbyterian funeral. I reached out to his grandson and asked about it. Walter’s grandson replied that he wasn’t aware of any Catholics in the family, which was a surprise — I’ve always thought Walter was Catholic, because Walter’s father John Kehoe was Catholic.

Chipley Jones. Emmett’s campaign manager, and somewhat jackass.

This is an important detail in telling Emmett’s story — and in case you’re wondering why I’m focused on this, it’s because of something Emmett — or, rather, Emmett’s jackass campaign manager — did during the 1914 reelection.

Briefly:

  • Emmett’s lack of experience and alcoholism were huge indicators that he was in over his head as a U.S. Congressman, and,
  • Woodrow Wilson’s popularity was slipping, as was the Democratic party’s popularity. Every Democratic seat in the Senate and Congress was precious.

In 1914, Emmett was being primaried by John P. Stokes, lawyer, statesman and Roman Catholic. This was a political handicap in Florida — 22nd governor, Sidney Catts, who ran on the Prohibition ticket and won in 1922, largely campaigned as an anti-Catholic.

Days before the primary election in Florida, on May 31, 1914, the word got out:

Stokes claims Emmett’s campaign using religious prejudice. Source: The Pensacola Journal, May 31, 1914, in ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Here’s the problem:

Stokes and his wife were married by a Catholic priest. That was the problem. Source: The Pensacola Journal, in ChroniclingAmerica.gov

This was Emmett’s campaign; ergo, the behavior of Emmett’s campaign staff reflects on him.

Here’s Emmett’s response to Stoke’s charges in the next day’s paper:

Emmett doesn’t say so directly, but his ad states *he* didn’t do anything wrong. This was written by Chipley Jones, by the way. Source: The Pensacola Journal, via ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Emmett was probably telling the truth — he, himself, didn’t actually do anything — but you can bet someone in his campaign (*cough* Jones *cough*) did. The damning thing about the whole situation is that Stokes wasn’t favored to win. Stokes wasn’t even close! Emmett was hugely popular at this point, and his ineptness in office, and alcoholism, were not visible to the general public.

Emmett may not have actually been the one to ‘ok’ this campaign tactic, but the fact it happened indicates Emmett was hands-off with the management of his campaign. That’s not good; essentially, Emmett gave tacit agreement to do whatever it took to win, even when the nearest competitor wasn’t close; saying his campaign was run on a ‘high and dignified plane’ rings hollow.

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Meanwhile, I think the issue of Walter Kehoe’s Catholicism is important, because the Kehoes considered Emmett family. Emmett lived with the Kehoes for several years; he was much loved, and trusted.  The idea that Emmett’s campaign went after Stokes because he was Catholic might not have sat well with the Kehoes. I wonder what Walter said to Emmett about all of this when it finally played out, if he said anything at all.

Maybe, by this point, Walter had joined the Presbyterian Church.

In the end, Stokes conceded gracefully.

Stokes concedes gracefully. Source: The Pensacola Journal, June 7, 1914, p4, via ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Stokes would go on to have a long, successful career in law and Florida politics. He was well respected; well remembered.

John Stokes died April, 1939. Source: The Miami Herald, via GenealogyBank.com

 

And we know what happened to Emmett.

Death Came As He Slept

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Here’s another fantastic find whilst conducting the every-other-month database sweep:

Source: Miami Herald, August 21, 1938, via GenealogyBank.com

Great details in this article — first, based on some other clips that I’ve found around this date, Walter was working and politically active up until the end, so there may not have been any clue anything was amiss. (I’m still looking for the actual cause of death.)

Second, the residence, 928 Bird Road, still exists. It’s an apartment four-plex, built in 1926. It may have been converted to apartments later.

Third, great details about the funeral and service. Most interesting: Walter, who was born and raised Catholic, had a Presbyterian service.

Finally, in the list of honorary pall bearers, there’s John P. Stokes, Sr., an old political/legal frenemy, and Judge Worth Trammell.

Source: The Pensacola Journal, February 27, 1910 from ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Walter was a man who made and kept friends, despite political and professional differences — a great quality, one which seems to be missing in the political scene these days.

Death Takes Mrs. Wilson

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New-to-me via my monthly check-in with various databases:

Verbatim text taken from the Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL), date March 3, 1943:

Death Takes Mrs. Wilson at Mulberry

“Friends in Jacksonville and other parts of the State will regret to learn of the death of Mrs. Carrie Bond Wilson, widow of E. Meade Wilson, which occurred yesterday at the home of her son, E. Meade Wilson, Jr. at Mulberry, Fla.

“Mrs. Wilson was born March 28, 1872, at Brewton, Ala., and resided on Jacksonville for nearly 30 years. She was the daughter of Fisher E. Bond and Clara Nicholson Bond.

“Besides her son in Mulberry, she leaves another son, Frank M. Wilson; a grandson, Frank M. Wilson, Jr., U.S. Naval Reserve, and a sister, Mrs. Dora Walker. Funeral services will be held at 3 P.M. Thursday in the family plot on St. John’s Cemetery, Pensacola.”

Carrie Bond Wilson was Emmett’s sister-in-law. Her husband, Meade, died in 1914.

What’s interesting about the obituary is that four other siblings-in-law were still alive, but were not named: Julian (Emmett’s twin), who lived in Montgomery Ala.; Dora Wilson Smith and Frank C. Wilson, Jr., who lived in Marianna, Fla., and Katie Wilson Meade, who lived in Alexandria, Va.

 

Meade’s grave, at St. John’s, Pensacola. Source: findagrave.com

Meade (left) and Carrie (right), the Wilson family plot at St. John’s Cemetery in Pensacola. Source: Find-a-Grave.com

Carrie, Meade, and Emmett are buried together in the Wilson family plot at St. John’s Cemetery in Pensacola. Emmett’s grave is about five feet to the right of Carrie’s.

Great Source: Sanborn Fire Maps for Pensacola, 1907

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Here’s something that finally answered one of my big Emmett Wilson puzzles over the past five years of research:

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Pensacola Florida, 1907. Source: University of Florida

Check this out: The line drawing (above) is a screen shot of the duplex 211 West Cervantes, as it appeared in 1907. Note that this one structure had TWO numbers (211 on our left, 209 on our right).

This tells us that Emmett and the Kehoe family lived on the left side of the duplex!

The number two in the bay window tells us that it was a two-story structure. The number two immediately to the left tells us that there were porches on both levels. The “x” indicates a door.

If you look at the current photos from the Zillow site in yesterday’s post, it looks like the bay windows are long gone. The porches are still there; the entrances appear to be the same.

It’s nice to be able to compare the original footprint of the house to the current building.

 

 

 

 

Deja Vu?

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Remember this post?

Someone on Zillow used my research to write up this house sales pitch.

In April 2017, a gentleman from a real estate office in Pensacola contacted me about this property, telling me it was going on the market in about a year, thought the information I’d gathered on the property useful, and kindly offered to give me a tour of the property. Although I was interested in seeing the house where Emmett lived, I had no plans to travel to Pensacola, and so had to decline.

The gentleman mentioned he had found the information I’d written about 211 West Cervantes Street on my blog and thought it useful. The initial report was not correct (Minnie Kehoe did not live there), and I shared that with the realtor. (UPDATE 1/9: The gentleman has since corrected the information on the page.)

J. Walter Kehoe (like Emmett, a U.S. Congressman), lived at the house along with his wife Jennie and their children). Walter had a daughter, Minnie Evelyn Kehoe, but she was about six or seven at the time — the female lawyer mentioned in the real estate listing is Minnie Eloise Kehoe, who was in her late 30s-early 40s. Big difference. But it is easy to get the names mixed up. Minnie Eloise often went by “Minnie E.”

I sent a comment via their contact page. It will be interesting to see if their office responds.

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UPDATE: 

Wow. That was fast.

Only five minutes after I posted this and sent the contact info to the realtor’s office, someone sent me a polite reply. The gist of the message was that the person who was responding was not responsible for the listing, but asked if I wanted information re the original listing’s contact agent. The reply was really nice. Professional. I appreciated the quick response.

Oh — and I mentioned the Minnie Kehoe error.  I mentioned that Walter — another U.S. Congressman — was the resident, not Minnie, and that Minnie actually lived down the street from Walter in another house also on West Cervantes, owned by the Kehoe family.

Frankly, I only wanted to see a proper credit for the information, and that the information is correct. That’s all.

UPDATE #2:

Wow. Photos of the inside of Emmett’s former home are at this link, courtesy of the Zillow page. The inside doesn’t have much of the original house to it — it looks like the staircases are the same — but you can see the lovely bones of the place.

I can imagine Emmett looking out of the windows onto West Cervantes Street from the second story porch.

Resolutions

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“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

“Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time.

“However, go in, community. New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.”

~ Mark Twain
letter to Virginia City Territorial Enterprise
January 1863