Update: Emmett’s Pharmacy

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Earlier today, a reader emailed me about a photo of pharmacy bottles embossed “Hargis Pharmacy”.

Source: Mr.Bottles.com

These are the Hargis Pharmacy bottles that got the reader’s attention. Would love to help this reader find more of them. Source: Mr.Bottles.com

The photo originated from a historic bottle collection website, http://www.mrbottles.com; unfortunately, the website hasn’t been updated in awhile.

So, I referred the reader to my colleague, the excellent archivist Jacki Wilson, of the Pensacola Historical Society. The PHS has a treasure trove of artifacts; there may be a Hargis Pharmacy bottle in her collection.

But the email message got me interested in checking back into different databases — I’ve learned over the past three years in Emmett’s research that new things can and do show up as databases are updated.

So, I did a brief search — lo and behold — look at what I found:

The Hargis Pharmacy, brand new, located in the brand new American National Bank Building. Note the multiple brass spittoons on the floor. Source: The Bulletin of Pharmacy, Volume 24, published by E.G. Swift, 1910, page 131.

The brand new Hargis Pharmacy, located in the also-brand new American National Bank Building. Note the multiple brass spittoons on the floor. Source: The Bulletin of Pharmacy, Volume 24, published by E.G. Swift, 1910, page 131.

I just wish I could find the original photograph of this room. There are so many details I’d love to examine — the tiles. The merchandise cases. The products on the shelves. I really wonder what Emmett bought in this pharmacy — also, did he have a credit line? Did he use the spittoons? (I tend to think he would have had a charge account (he used a lot of pomade); and no, I don’t think he’d use the spittoons (he was more of a cigar guy than a chewing tobacco guy.)

The American National Bank Building, now Seville Tower, today. Source: Pensapedia.com

The American National Bank Building, now Seville Tower, today. Modeste’s pharmacy would have been on the right side of the building, facing Government Street. Her office was on the mezzanine level. Source: Pensapedia.com

The photo provides excellent information. The detailed description of this pharmacy tells us that Modeste must have been doing fairly well for herself — after all, the ANBB was the tallest, most prestigious building in Pensacola when it opened in 1910.

I’m sure there were plenty of businessmen competing for the prime space in the building — and here was Modeste with her pharmacy right there.

It makes me feel good knowing that Modeste was doing quite well for herself, at a time when women were not expected to be successful in a male-dominated business world.

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Circle of Family: Everard Meade Wilson

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Today’s Wilson family essay is about Emmett’s older brother, Everard Meade Wilson, 1873-1914.

Meade was the fifth son of Dr. Francis C. and Elizabeth Wilson. He went by “Meade;” named for Everard Meade, Elizabeth’s brother-in-law, and husband of her sister, Lucy Brockenbrough Maxwell Meade. Meade was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, when the Wilsons and Meades lived next door to each other. It isn’t clear if the Meades or the Wilsons owned their property; given the low estate totals ($180 and $150, respectively), I’d say they didn’t.

The 1870 Census of Holly Springs, Marshall County, Mississippi. Source: Ancestry.com

The 1870 Census of Holly Springs, Marshall County, Mississippi. Everard Meade is a teacher. He started out as a private school teacher in Pensacola, which is where he met the Maxwells. Source: Ancestry.com

Here’s what I’ve learned about Meade in the Wilson family research:

While three of the eight Wilson brothers ran for political office and had public service careers, Meade was more of a behind-the-scenes kind of fellow. He was politically active, well connected, well liked and respected. Almost all of the sources I’ve found about Meade are consistent: He valued the importance of his family’s solid reputation, he understood the importance of getting along with his peers, of an excellent work ethic, of being reliable, of doing his best possible job every single day.  Meade was a positive force in the Wilson family, without a doubt.

Meade got his start at the bottom of the rung with the L&N Railroad, along with his brother Frank. It wasn’t too difficult for the Wilson boys to get a job with the railroad; they were able to use the influence of their grandfather Augustus Emmett Maxwell, who had once been president of the Pensacola & Montgomery Railroad. But it wasn’t a sinecure for either — both Frank Jr. and Meade worked hard and earned their stripes. Working for the railroad back then was a great job for a young man, especially one who lived in a small town; it was akin today to working for NASA in a lot of ways: Travel, excitement, exploration of new places, while earning a wage and getting great on-the-job training.

An example of the ORC membership card from 1900. Source: Ebay.com

An example of the ORC membership card from 1900. Source: Ebay.com

Meade eventually became a conductor (as did Frank), joining the Order of Railway Conductors. This was an important job, as the conductor was considered the ‘captain’ of the train (which I did not realize). You can read about the importance of the conductor on trains here, a great resource from the Smithsonian Institution, and a transcript of one of the meeting rituals, here.

Emmett, Julian, and Walker also earned their first work experience via the L&N Railroad too — you can bet that the older brothers Frank Jr. and Meade put in a good word for them, and because both Frank Jr. and Meade were highly valued, well respected on the railroad, their word meant something. Regardless of their brother’s influence, both Emmett and Julian also had to work their way up the railroad ladder — starting with jobs that included sweeping out the depot, handling baggage, dealing with surly customers, and the like. Eventually, the twins became telegraphers — another valued position with the railroad.

Meade’s career was going well until September 26, 1906, when a devastating hurricane (probably a Category Five storm according to today’s standards) hit Pensacola. Meade was on a train that day, and was one of three seriously injured, as his train went through a culvert.

From the October 6, 1906 edition of The Pensacola Journal. Source: Chronicling America.gov

From the October 6, 1906 edition of The Pensacola Journal. Source: Chronicling America.gov

It doesn’t say how badly Meade was hurt, but obviously, it must have been serious. The engineer died of his injuries. And, there were probably other underlying health issues, as Meade resigned from the railroad less than a year later, in 1907. This must have been a tough decision for him: He was clearly someone who enjoyed going to work every day.

As of July 30 1907, Meade resigns from the railroad. This was probably a tough decision for him. Source: The Pensacola Journal, in ChroniclingAmerica.gov

July 30 1907. This was probably a tough decision for him. Source: The Pensacola Journal, in ChroniclingAmerica.gov

That was not the end of the road for Meade, though: Politics ran strong in the Wilson men. Meade was popular; it would make sense that he would parlay that popularity into politics, probably at the encouragement of Frank Jr., Emmett, and Cephas.

Meade ran for office at least once:

April 8, 1909 -- Meade announces for 13th precinct alderman race. Source: The Pensacola Journal, in Chronicling America.gov

April 8, 1909 — Meade announces for 13th precinct alderman race. Source: The Pensacola Journal, in Chronicling America.gov

Alderman race, May 2, 1909 returns. He ran a close race, but unfortunately, didn't win. Source: The Pensacola Journal in ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Alderman race returns, May 2, 1909. Meade ran a close race, but unfortunately, didn’t win. Source: The Pensacola Journal in ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Even though he didn’t win, Meade often served as a ward heeler, serving as a precinct captain in several elections, helping with registration/voting, and, definitely backing Emmett when he eventually ran for Congress in 1912. (Yes, he was a member of the Emmett Wilson Club!)

 

The American National Bank Building, now Seville Tower, today. Source: Pensapedia.com

The American National Bank Building, now Seville Tower, today. Emmett’s office was on the seventh floor. Meade’s was on the sixth floor. Source: Pensapedia.com

And, even though politics didn’t work out, Meade found a lucrative and successful career in insurance and real estate. By 1909, Meade was affiliated with the Union Central Life Insurance Company. After a few years, Meade became an agent for the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company.

At one point, Meade worked in the same office building as Emmett, the American National Bank Building, just a floor down from his younger brother. (When Emmett died, the only thing he had left of value was a life insurance policy with the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company. I wonder if Meade was the one who sold Emmett his a life insurance policy? Emmett purchased his policy in 1912, as he began his run for Congress. It seems likely, doesn’t it?)

Meade was married to Carolyn “Carrie” Bond Wilson, from Bluff Springs, Florida. They had two sons: E. Meade Jr., and Francis C. (who eventually changed his middle name to Maxwell, in honor of his great-grandfather, Augustus Emmett Maxwell).

Meade may not have found success in politics, but he was active on a variety of community organizations; for instance, he was vice president of the municipal campaign committee of the Jacksonville Board of Trade in 1913. But I get the idea that his health was often the speedbump in an otherwise active, fast-growing career; there are several articles in The Pensacola Journal over the years that mention his being unwell, and a sojourn in North Carolina to rest and recover.

Meade seemed to be doing well for himself and his family: His career was solid with Fidelity Mutual; in 1913, he even went to Washington, D.C., to visit Emmett (now a U.S. Congressman) while en route to the company’s home offices in Philadelphia.

But in 1914, his health appears to have gone downhill rather quickly and unexpectedly; he’d been sent to North Carolina to recuperate.

July 4, 1914. The Pensacola Journal. Source: ChroniclingAmerica.gov

July 4, 1914. The Pensacola Journal. Source: ChroniclingAmerica.gov

He seemed to be doing better, but the next day:

Tampa Tribune, July 6, 1914. Source: GenealogyBank.com

Tampa Tribune, July 6, 1914. Source: GenealogyBank.com

According to Meade’s death certificate, the cause of death was fast-moving  pulmonary tuberculosis.

A Seeker from Another Time

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It turns out that I’m not the only one who has sought out information on Emmett Wilson.

Someone else, once upon a time, was looking for Emmett.

Someone else, 68 years ago, was looking for Emmett. Image used with permission of the owner, Katie’s granddaughter.

The letter was sent to Emmett’s sister, Katie.

The writer of this letter, Joseph Gregoire de Roulhac Hamilton, was an impressive fellow. He was a professor and historian, and his big project was the Southern Historical Collection, what UNC calls the ‘largest single depository of nonpublic manuscripts of southern history and culture in existence’.  Hamilton wanted to add Emmett and his grandfather’s papers to this massive collection.

Back in Emmett’s and Maxwell’s day, when a congressman finished his term, he took his papers and correspondence with him. Nowadays, most congressmen can turn their papers over to the National Archives.

On March 5, 1917, the day after Emmett’s term in office was complete, he cleaned out his office, and everything was shipped his office in Pensacola — the law firm of Kehoe & Wilson, located at the American National Bank Building.

J. Walter Kehoe in 1917. Kehoe, Emmett's law partner, also succeeded him in Congress. Source: Wikipedia.com

J. Walter Kehoe in 1917. Kehoe, Emmett’s law partner, also succeeded him in Congress. Source: Wikipedia.com

After his death in 1918, it is likely that his law partner, Walter Kehoe had possession of some of the papers; Emmett’s brother Cephas Wilson was executor of his estate, though, and it stands to reason that Cephas may have taken possession of the congressional correspondence.

Walter Kehoe’s descendants know what I’m looking for, but unfortunately, they don’t have any of Kehoe’s or Emmett’s papers from their congressional days.

I have been looking for Cephas’ descendants for almost three years and have yet to find anyone; I’d love to learn about what happened to Emmett’s papers, if, indeed, Ceph had them.

I doubt Hamilton was doing any big story on Emmett back then; his key mission was to build up the Southern Historical Collection. If you also take a look at Hamilton’s scholarship and other published work, the majority of his work is on North Carolina history.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Emmett’s papers exist anymore. Here’s why:

It certainly would have been much easier for Hamilton to get Emmett’s papers in 1948 than I would in 2016, because several of Emmett’s siblings, Maxwell’s descendants, and at least Jennie Kehoe were still alive in 1948. It would stand to reason that Hamilton would have been able to reach at least one other family member, or a Kehoe family member, to find the papers back then. Hamilton was a professional researcher. He wasn’t afraid to knock on someone’s door unannounced; else, he would not have built up such an impressive resource as the Southern Historical Collection, right?

Alas, in addition to getting lost in Alexandria, Hamilton didn’t get what he wanted: Neither Emmett’s, nor Kehoe’s nor Augustus Emmett Maxwell’s papers exist in the Southern Historical Collection.

I Know Where You Were

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I do periodic revisits of different databases, since they are updated from time-to-time. For example, Chronicling America (one of my favorites), which updated their electronic holdings of The Pensacola Journal back in June.

Sometimes I just don’t catch everything on the first run-through. Database revisits are akin to editing drafts. You have to take some time away so that fresh eyes can see the treasure!

Yesterday, I took a look at Shorpy.com, a wonderful database of historic photos, and saw this:

The Blount Building, 1908. Source: Shorpy.com

The Blount Building, 1908. Source: Shorpy.com

Zoom in on the fourth floor, corner office, and you see this:

The law offices of Evelyn Croom Maxwell, Emmett's uncle, and, law partner at this time. Maxwell and Wilson formed a partnership January 2, 1907.

The law offices of Evelyn Croom Maxwell, Emmett’s uncle, and, law partner at this time. Maxwell and Wilson formed a partnership January 2, 1907.

This was where Emmett was working from January 2, 1907 until about 1909. As soon as the American National Bank Building  (nowadays, Seville Tower) was built, Emmett hung out his shingle there with Walter Kehoe, on the 7th floor.

American National Bank Building, the tallest structure in Pensacola for many years, on the right. Emmett's office was on the 7th floor, facing Palafox and the Customs House, which was right across the street. Source: Shorpy.com

American National Bank Building, the tallest structure in Pensacola for many years, on the right. Emmett’s office was on the 7th floor, facing Palafox and the Customs House, which was right across the street. Source: Shorpy.com

The ANBB, now Seville Tower, today. Source: Pensapedia.com

The ANBB, now Seville Tower. Source: Pensapedia.com

OK. So, Evelyn Croom Maxwell. He was Emmett’s mother’s half-brother. (Emmett’s grandfather, A.E. Maxwell, became a widower when Emmett’s mother Elizabeth was three years old. He remarried when Elizabeth was about eight years old; Evelyn was one of several children from A.E. Maxwell’s second marriage.)

Justice Evelyn Croom Maxwell. VIP in bar and bench circles. Source: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/47155

Justice Evelyn Croom Maxwell. VIP in bar and bench circles. Source: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, https://floridamemory.com/items/show/47155

Maxwell did a lot of ‘paving the way’ for Emmett when he first moved to Pensacola in September, 1906, after the humbling experience he had working for Nicholas Van Sant in Sterling, Illinois. Emmett came home to Florida with a fresh new look at what it really means to be a lawyer on your own (i.e., he lost a lot of the cocky attitude he had prior to the move). Maxwell was important in legal circles. It was through his influence that Emmett, a green lawyer with little depth of experience, was made temporary Assistant District Attorney for his circuit just weeks after relocating to Florida. Emmett had a lot to prove; others with more experience were going after that job, too, and were surprised the plum went to Emmett. Politics works that way, you know, boys and girls.

I’m sure Maxwell got wind of the opportunity and presented it to Emmett, because in an interview, Emmett had told the reporter (a bit naively in my view) that he was surprised he got the position, because he hadn’t even applied for it in the first place.

Anyway. I can see Maxwell saying, you know, nephew of mine, I am going to bat for you here and I can probably get this for you. But, if you screw up, it reflects on me. It’s a good opportunity for you to establish yourself in politics, since you need some public service under your belt. It’s part-time. You can build up experience with me in the practice here, as well. Win-win.

But don’t screw it up.

Emmett strapped on the big boy suspenders, got to work, and did not disappoint. By all reports, Emmett distinguished himself. He was the youngest DA in the United States at the time. People were watching him, expecting him to screw up, which I’m sure he did from time-to-time, but overall, did a great job and title went from temporary to permanent ADA a year or so later.

I can tell you that that corner office in the Blount Building was Maxwell’s. The office extended along the left side of the building for a few windows’ worth of space.

Emmett probably worked, sat, gazed out of one of those windows every day, contemplating his future, thanking his lucky stars that he had a fresh start and an uncle who was willing to give him a chance.