Celebrity Sightings, 1908

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Source: The Pensacola Journal, March 3, 1908. From ChroniclingAmerica.gov

The date?   March 3, 1908, the day after Mardi Gras.
The place?  The private dining room in the The Osceola Club, Pensacola, Florida
The occasion/connection? Good question. This is another oddball jigsaw puzzle in the life of Emmett Wilson that I like to work out.

Not to sound disparaging of anyone sitting around that dinner table at The Osecola Club, but if I had to rank the attendees in terms of celebrity, it would be as follows:

  • Foster
  • Crawford
  • Harris
  • Wilson

The connection between Emmett and William Bloxham (“Billy”) Crawford is immediately obvious. Emmett and Billy were college friends, roommates and classmates at West Florida Seminary (now Florida State University) and at Stetson University’s law school.

You may recall from an earlier post that Billy Crawford was also the business manager at the Stetson University student newspaper, The Stetson Weekly Collegiate. (Undoubtedly, Billy was the one who frequently supplied news bits about his roommate, Emmett, to the student paper during their tenure at Stetson.)

“He failed utterly.” This is something Crawford would have published about Emmett for fun! Source: The Stetson Weekly Collegiate, Dec. 5, 1903.

Because Crawford was in the publishing business, it would make sense that he would meet, wine, and dine other professional and prominent writers who visited Pensacola. Crawford was prominent, not only in local social and professional circles, but also in political circles, as the son of H. Clay Crawford, Florida’s Secretary of State from 1902 to 1929. Young Billy had three things Emmett coveted all his life: Connections, access, and entree. True, Emmett hung out with Billy because it improved his ‘face value’ in Pensacola society, but it was also true that Emmett and Billy were honest-to-God friends.

Maximilian Foster. Passport photo from 1918, via Ancestry.com

Maximillian Foster was a big deal, a ‘get’ as one would say in the journalism world. He was a well-known playwright and author, whose articles appeared regularly in many popular national magazines, including the Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, and Everybody’s magazines. (You can read past copies of these magazines in Google Books, by the way.) One of his most well-known books, “Rich Man, Poor Man”, not to be confused with a different book of the same name, published in 1969 by Irwin Shaw, was eventually made into a (silent) movie. (You can read the book via Google Books at the link above. It’s a quick read; an early 20th Century version of chick lit. But I digress.)

Evelyn Harris. Source: Find-a-grave.com

Evelyn Harris was a son of the author Joel Chandler Harris, of Uncle Remus fame. On March 3, 1908, Evelyn was a marketing and advertising executive with the Southern Bell Telephone company in Atlanta.

Evelyn Harris did not have a distinguished literary career as did his father, although he wrote a booklet titled, “A Little Story about my mother, Esther LaRose Harris” in 1949. (It is in the archive at Georgia State University and Agnes Scott College.) The story behind that 65-page booklet is that Harris wrote it for his grand nieces and nephews — he and his wife Annie Louise Hawkins Harris never had children.

As facilitator of this fancy men’s dinner, I could see Billy Crawford putting Foster and Joel Chandler Harris’ son together; the senior Harris had recently launched a popular magazine, Uncle Remus’ Home Magazine, and perhaps Evelyn Harris shared interesting anecdotes about his father’s career. Alas, it would have been unlikely that Joel Chandler Harris himself would have attended this dinner: He was in poor health due to acute nephritis and complications from cirrhosis — alcoholism. He died exactly four months later, on July 3, 1908.

The date on the article about the dinner is important. The day before, March 2, 1908, Emmett was a gentleman-in-waiting in Pensacola’s Mardi Gras court. This was a huge society coup for the women mostly, but in truth, anyone who was invited to serve in the royal court of, basically, the most important social event of the year had made it, socially and politically. By now, Emmett’s political and social star was on the rise.

But the dinner article doesn’t state when the event took place. Likely it wasn’t on March 2; Emmett would have been too busy in the day-and-night-long social activities to attend a fancy dinner with a famous playwright and author.

Based on other news items about Foster and Harris in The Pensacola Journal, we can guestimate when the men were actually in town, and the date that the fancy dinner probably took place. I’d say it was likely held on March 1:

Foster is in Pensacola as of January 19. The Rev. Whaley was pastor of Christ Episcopal Church, which was Emmett’s church. Foster was on a lengthy visit in Pensacola.

Evelyn Harris is in Pensacola as of March 1 — because he didn’t work for himself, as Foster did per se, likely he wasn’t in Pensacola on a lengthy visit. Perhaps the dinner took place on March 1 or March 2. Source: ChroniclingAmerica.gov.

 

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Double the LL.B.

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Paul Carter, from the 1899 Argo, the yearbook of the West Florida Seminary (now Florida State University). The original valedictorian of the 1904 Stetson University Law Class. He didn’t finish at Stetson; rather, he took classes at Georgetown University while he was private secretary to William Bailey Lamar.

Emmett’s best friend, Paul Carter, was the original valedictorian of the Stetson University Law School Class of 1904.

But fate — a job opportunity as private secretary to U.S. Congressman William Bailey Lamar — intervened. It was the opportunity of a lifetime for a smart, ambitious 23-year-old not even out of college. According to an article in the Stetson Weekly Collegiate, Paul was supposedly to return to Stetson to graduate with his class later that year — perhaps he had an arrangement with the school to finish his last semester via correspondence? Perhaps the school would have granted him credit for his work alongside Lamar in Washington, D.C. for some of the coursework?

The Class of 1904 waited until late April to elect their replacement valedictorian, Emmett Wilson. Interestingly, Emmett was not the original choice for any of the graduation class honors when the choices were made in December,1903; valedictorian and salutatorian were decided by popular vote of the graduating law school class.


Although Paul was busy in Washington, he didn’t let his law degree ambitions fall to the side. With plenty of professional experience, law school credits, and other credentials to his name, he enrolled in Georgetown University’s Law School in 1905 as a third-year student. Even though he possessed most of the credits to graduate (i.e., he needed one more semester of coursework), he was required to finish the entire year. The curriculum was challenging for Paul, and expensive: $100 a year for tuition (books not included) on top of his living expenses in D.C. (Law school tuition at Stetson for a year was $72.60 in 1906.)

The Washington Evening Star, June 8, 1906. Source: Chronicling America.gov

On June 8, 1906, Paul received his bachelor of law degree from Georgetown University.

And —

The Deland Weekly News, June 8, 1906. Source: Chronicling America.gov

Both the Georgetown article and the Stetson article mentioning appeared on the same day. What’s up with that?

Well —

1907 Stetson University Catalog. Source: Stetson University Archives

According to the 1907 Stetson University Catalog, Paul was in Florida in time to receive his degree from Stetson University.

Immediately after the ceremony, Paul and his fellow graduates went to Jacksonville to be sworn in to the Florida Bar. Then, Paul took the train from Jacksonville back to Washington, in plenty of time to attend his second graduation at Georgetown.

So, Paul Carter earned two bachelor of law degrees within two weeks. From what I’ve learned about Paul Carter over the past three years, he was an excellent lawyer and certainly deserving of his credentials. I’m curious about the arrangement he had with Stetson that allowed for him to receive his degree given his absence for over a year (even though he continued his education at another institution).

Not So Unexceptional Sources

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Last time I checked, I realized that I’ve collected over 500 individual newspaper articles about Emmett Wilson. That’s pretty good, considering that when I started this project, I didn’t expect to find more than a few dozen, given his obscurity in Florida politics.

Granted, most of these newspaper articles aren’t anything more than a one- or two-sentence gossip column blurb about Emmett’s comings and goings. In the grand scheme of things, these would be considered unexceptional information sources.

But that’s not always the case. After four years of ‘hanging out’ with Emmett, I’ve learned that these seemingly unexceptional articles hold more information than I realized when I first discovered them. One has to look beyond the words in these little clips to understand the event, even something as simple as a report on Emmett’s comings and goings.

For example: Here’s an article I initially considered unexceptional in the first few months of Emmett’s research.

An item on the society page about a private party for select members of the Pensacola Bar. Notice that Emmett’s name is misspelled. Source: The Pensacola Journal, February 20, 1907.

Three years after finding this seemingly unimportant clip, I’ve noticed several important things about this news item.

Let’s pick this article apart for research tidbits, shall we?

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I didn’t notice it when I first found the article (because I was only a few months into Emmett’s research), but everyone attending this dinner party had a close personal connection to the other.

First, an overview of the dinner party attendees:

Emmett and the Crawford brothers (John Thomas Gavin Crawford — or ‘John’, and William Bloxham Crawford — or ‘Billy’) attended West Florida Seminary (now Florida State University) together; Emmett and Billy Crawford were roommates and classmates at Stetson University Law School. According to the 1907 Pensacola City Directory, Billy and John Crawford were law partners.

The Crawford brothers practicing law. The partnership didn’t last but a few years. John Crawford had only been admitted to the bar in 1906. Their office was located at 300 Thiesen Building. Source: 1907 Pensacola City Directory, Ancestry.com

The Crawford’s father was none other than Henry Clay Crawford, Florida’s secretary of state, from 1902 to 1929 — an important political muckety-muck who would have absolutely known J. Walter Kehoe, who was the state attorney for Florida at this moment.

And, it stands to reason that the Crawfords would have been known well to the host of the luncheon, John Harris Smithwick, who was J. Walter Kehoe’s law partner.

Kehoe & Smithwick, located at 306 Brent Building, Pensacola. Source: 1907 Pensacola City Directory, from Ancestry.com. Notice that they are getting ready to move their office location eight days from the publication of the news article. Emmett would stay with K&S until he joined his uncle’s law partnership on January 1, 1908.

Kehoe, as you may recall from an earlier post, was Emmett’s brother Cephas L. Wilson’s law partner in Marianna. Walter and Cephas were still close friends; their wives Jennie Kehoe and Lula Wilson were best friends. Walter Kehoe also considered Emmett another son; Emmett considered Walter his mentor.

A 1905 rendering of the Brent Building. Kehoe & Smithwick were on the third floor. Source: Pensapedia.com

My photo of the Brent Building — in great shape for 112! — from my last trip to Pensacola.

Judge Francis B. Carter, of Marianna, a former Florida supreme court judge, had just joined the law firm of Blount & Blount in 1907, which then became Blount, Blount & Carter. And, yes, their office was located in the Blount Building, which was right next door to the Brent Building.

Emmett (L) and Paul Carter. Roommates, long-time friends. Paul was (supposedly) related to Judge Francis B. Carter of Marianna. Source: FSU archive.

Everyone at the luncheon obviously knew Judge Carter; but what’s really interesting is that I believe he was related distantly to Emmett’s best friend, Paul Hayne Carter.

Emmett, who had just moved to Pensacola to re-start his law practice, was temporarily sharing office space in the Kehoe-Smithwick law practice.

Recall six months earlier, Emmett returned home from the failed law partnership with Nicholas Van Sant. And then, there was the rumor that Emmett enjoyed his liquor a bit too much, which might have had something to do with his sudden, but not openly discussed return to Florida without professional prospects. Emmett relocated to Pensacola because he’d be able to heal his wounded pride away from the reproving looks of family and friends in Marianna.

Emmett’s appointment as acting U.S. District Attorney in February becomes permanent in September. Source: PEN, September 7, 1907.

Emmett was the most obscure member of this luncheon party, but things were looking up for him. On February 1, 1907, Emmett was named acting assistant district attorney for the Northern District of Florida (it would become official in September, 1907). There were several local Pensacola attorneys up for the post because it was prominent and paid $1,500 a year — approximately $39,186 in 2017 dollars. Emmett didn’t get this appointment on his own; and in fact, had told the media he hadn’t even pursued it.

It is important to note that at least three of the men attending this luncheon helped persuade Department of Justice officials to select Emmett over the other, more experienced Pensacola lawyers. Given the right guidance and opportunities, Emmett would become a man of consequence in his own right.

Emmett himself may not have realized it, but it appears that he was being looked over, scrutinized for his usefulness in Florida politics by party leaders. It was too soon for anyone to get the idea that Emmett would be ideal material to shape into a future U.S. Congressional candidate, but this is when it started.

And isn’t it interesting how these guys were all so interconnected?

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Over the next several posts, I’ll do a closer look at the luncheon attendees, and their relationships to Emmett and each other in Florida politics.

 

Grits the Dog

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The Internet says today is National Puppy Day, and with that, I give you a little story about a dog in Emmett’s life, named Grits.

‘Grits’ the dog. Source: The Stetson Collegiate, January 1903

While Emmett attended Stetson University from 1902 to 1904, it turns out that he had group ownership of a yellow Labrador Retriever/pit bull terrier mix. The dog was similar to the one in the photo, below.

Source: Dogbreedinfo.com

Grits was the mascot and house pet of the residents of East Hall.

More on East Hall and their mascot, “Grits.” Source: The Stetson Collegiate, April 1903.

East Hall housed between 12-15 men enrolled in Stetson’s law school. Apparently, it wasn’t uncommon for the dorm residents to adopt a dog or cat. It doesn’t look like “Grits” belonged specifically to Emmett, or to any one of the residents, but would likely have been left behind when the students left campus for summer vacation.

Emmett’s dorm, East Hall, is in the upper right hand corner. Hamilton is right below it. Source: Stetson University Archives

Emmett only spent that one semester (Spring 1902) as a resident of East Hall; he spent the remainder of his time living in an off-campus boarding house on Rich Avenue, and commuting (either on his bicycle or walking the three or four blocks) to his daily classes. I doubt that Emmett’s landlady would have allowed Emmett a dog while at the boarding house on Rich Avenue.

It isn’t clear if Emmett had pets growing up, but it seems likely he had dogs, as he would go hunting and fishing with his brothers. While he was living with Cephas in Marianna, there was definitely a family dog in residence.

There’s something about realizing Emmett liked dogs and had pets that appeals to me. So much of the research into his story has revealed a lot of sadness and disconnection from important personal relationships in his short life. Thinking about Emmett spending time with a beloved dog, enjoying time spent with a companion pet, is comforting.

The Mystery of the Pocket Watch

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There’s Wilson family lore about a silver pocket watch that’s I’d love to prove.

A.E. Maxwell, who also went by "Emmett;" our Emmett's role model & hero.

A.E. Maxwell, who also went by “Emmett;” our Emmett’s role model & hero.

I don’t know what it looked like, other than it was smooth, silver, and had Emmett’s grandfather’s initials engraved on it — AEM — for Augustus Emmett Maxwell. It probably had a chain, and maybe a fob. I don’t know how Maxwell obtained it first.

Maxwell died in May, 1903, a year before Emmett’s graduation from Stetson Law School.  It is reasonable to think that family might have saved Maxwell’s watch — an expensive and precious heirloom — to give to Emmett as a graduation gift in 1904.

Maxwell was living with the Wilsons at the time of his death, and our Emmett, who was quite close to his grandfather was there, it would seem a grand gesture to the young man who modeled himself after a man who was truly interested in him. Emmett did not have this close relationship with anyone, other than his older brother, Cephas, and that relationship felt more competitive.

This watch was in Emmett’s possession, at least sometime after 1903. Either Maxwell either gave the watch to Emmett himself, or, family members gave it to Emmett after Maxwell’s death.

Emmett and his grandfather were close, had a lot in common, and were said to be very much alike in behavior and and appearance: Tall, quiet, loner-types, who read often, liked to take long walks, and enjoyed fishing.

They were the only two members of the family who attended law school: Maxwell attended the University of Virginia Law School; Emmett attended Stetson University Law School.

Emmett and Maxwell were also drinkers — I don’t know if Maxwell drank alcoholically, but he was reported to be partial to mint juleps so much that when he traveled, he made certain to bring a supply of sugar, in case there wasn’t enough on hand where he was staying.

Emmett was reported to be partial to any kind of alcoholic beverage (especially at the end of his life), and made certain to have a large personal supply of liquor stored at either the Osceola Club or the San Carlos Hotel, prohibition be damned. (Florida had already elected its first and only Prohibition Party governor; several Florida counties [including Escambia County], were already considered “dry” well before the ratification of the 18th Amendment on January 29, 1919.)

Of course, by 1919, Emmett was dead; what little money and few possessions he had long gone, including the silver watch, which was not listed among his personal effects at the time of death.

He might have hocked it to pay his bills. Or, perhaps, it was stolen during one of Emmett’s drinking adventures (he had alcoholic hepatitis at least from 1913 on; blackout drinking would have been a typical event for him).

Or, perhaps Emmett gave it another family member, knowing that he, himself, was an unstable drinker. Big questions around this small but important artifact in Wilson family history.

If anyone knows about this pocket watch, or, can share information about it, I’d love to hear from you.

Emmett & The Protest March

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With all the protests going on in and around Washington lately, I wondered if Emmett Wilson ever participated in a march or protest?

At first, I couldn’t have imagined it; certainly not in Chipley or Marianna, Florida. What would there be to launch a protest in either of these small towns in the early 1900s? Not that there wouldn’t or couldn’t be a protest, but neither town seems to have had any issues where a protest would be called for.

And, if a protest opportunity did come about, Emmett’s father, Dr. F.C. Wilson, or older brother Cephas Wilson (with whom he lived in Marianna) would have counseled him otherwise:

“You have plans to be a lawyer and a judge one day, as well as a career in politics. Do you think voters would take you seriously if you were out protesting, making a spectacle of yourself?”

And knowing Emmett, he’d have listened.

But given the opportunity — and a good reason — I think he might have participated in a protest. In fact, while Emmett was at Stetson University, I believe he did, when the president of Stetson University was caught in an affair with a teacher.

Here’s the story I wrote about it, which appeared in this blog last year:


The President and the Kindergarten Teacher

president_forbes2

John Forbes. Source: Stetson University Archives

“If you were a student on the Stetson campus, and you observed the married president of Stetson University climbing out of the women’s dorm window well past calling hours, you’d think it suspicious too. Right?

“So did students and faculty members who witnessed this event (and others like it) during the summer of 1901. It was unseemly. It was scandalous, and students and faculty were outraged.

“The scandal mentioned in the clip, above, is the story of a summertime hookup between Stetson President John Forbes and normal school instructor Lena B. Mathes, who lived in Chaudoin Hall, along with other women students and faculty members. See page 15 in the Ryan essay, at the link here, for one version of what happened. The Rupert Longstreet essay, which includes more details (including reported evidence of a botched abortion or a miscarriage), is particularly interesting. See page 18 for that version. Also, there’s Olga Bowen’s oral history of Stetson University, which includes a section on the Forbes-Mathes scandal. The transcript can be found here, beginning on page 50.

“Additionally, the Stetson University Archive has the a collection of the documents related to the scandal available online. (The transcripts from the hearing are in the collection, but not online.) As Longstreet stated in his essay, “…it was naturally assumed that where there was so much smoke, there must at least be a small bonfire” (p. 18). It was clear, from the numerous witnesses’ testimony (which was graphic and corroborated), that there was something illicit between Forbes and Mathes. What was amazing was that many of the trustees still didn’t think Forbes was guilty despite the large amount of testimony.”

Source: EmmettWilsonBook.com


Emmett and his fellow students circulated a petition in defense of Forbes and the university:

Emmett signed the petition in support of Forbes and against John B. Stetson's attempts to denigrate Forbes. Source: Deland Weekly News 1903.

Emmett signed the petition in support of Forbes and against John B. Stetson’s attempts to denigrate Forbes. Source: Deland Weekly News 1903.

The Deland Weekly News also mentioned civil unrest while the hearing was taking place; i.e., posters were torn down from store windows and other displays encouraging the removal of Forbes as president of Stetson University. It was noted that students from Stetson were the ones tearing down the posters, and that they were agitated. True, this was not exactly a protest or riot; no specific student was named, and no one was arrested.

1903-mar-5-stetson-sued-student-riot

The near-riot in Deland by the student body, as reported in The Chipley Banner, March 5, 1903.

Emmett and his fellow students who signed the petition felt strongly loyal to their university and Forbes; it would not be a stretch to imagine that he participated in tearing down the posters denigrating Forbes and Stetson University. The Deland Weekly News did not mention any addition property damage; nor did it mention any other organized protests related to the hearings.

Emmett as protester? As rioter?

It’s possible!

Scandal Sidetrack

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For the past week, I’ve been working on the section of the book about Emmett’s graduation ceremony from Stetson University, and searching for Emmett’s valedictory speech.

While the archive has a few things from 1904, such as Emmett’s commencement program, Emmett’s speech isn’t there — and unless his Elusive Scrapbooks turn up, I doubt I’ll find it.

Emmett's law school commencement program. Source: Stetson University Archives

Emmett’s law school commencement program. Source: Stetson University Archives

I had a feeling that there was some media coverage of this event, as Stetson’s law school was the first of its kind in Florida — and, Stetson was considered a big deal in Deland/Volusia County. So, I next examined the local papers for May 23-24,1904, for any coverage of the Stetson commencement, and bingo! Two lengthy articles about the commencement by two different newspapers!

The first article, from the DeLand Weekly News provided only a complimentary overview of the entire week’s commencement celebrations. There was only general praise for Emmett, but no particulars, no transcript about his speech.

The second article was something else entirely.

The commencement coverage from The Volusia County Record, May 28, 1904 -- but the lead is about an unnamed 'scandal'. Source: The Volusia County Record, May 28, 1904

The commencement coverage from The Volusia County Record, May 28, 1904 — but the lead is about an unnamed ‘scandal’. Source: The Volusia County Record, May 28, 1904

Stetson’s graduation — the subject — is buried several inches down in the next column. What scandal does the writer mean?

Of course, I had to track this one down, and temporarily sidetrack Emmett’s graduation, especially if it was big enough to push a different subject out of its own news article!

The President and the Kindergarten Teacher

If you were a student on the Stetson campus, and you observed the married president of Stetson University climbing out of the women’s dorm window well past calling hours, you’d think it suspicious too. Right?

So did students and faculty members who witnessed this event (and others like it) during the summer of 1901. It was unseemly. It was scandalous, and students and faculty were outraged.

The scandal mentioned in the clip, above, is the story of a summertime hookup between Stetson President John Forbes and normal school instructor Lena B. Mathes, who lived in Chaudoin Hall, along with other women students and faculty members. See page 15 in the Ryan essay, at the link here, for one version of what happened. The Rupert Longstreet essay, which includes more details (including reported evidence of a botched abortion or a miscarriage), is particularly interesting. See page 18 for that version. Also, there’s Olga Bowen’s oral history of Stetson University, which includes a section on the Forbes-Mathes scandal. The transcript can be found here, beginning on page 50.

Additionally, the Stetson University Archive has the a collection of the documents related to the scandal available online. (The transcripts from the hearing are in the collection, but not online.) As Longstreet stated in his essay, “…it was naturally assumed that where there was so much smoke, there must at least be a small bonfire” (p. 18). It was clear, from the numerous witnesses’ testimony (which was graphic and corroborated), that there was something illicit between Forbes and Mathes. What was amazing was that many of the trustees still didn’t think Forbes was guilty despite the large amount of testimony.

From The Minneapolis Journal, January 30, 1903

From The Minneapolis Journal, January 30, 1903. Source: GenealogyBank.com

A hearing was held to remove Forbes. Forbes submitted his resignation in September, 1903; the board accepted it at their annual meeting in February 1904.

The trustees decided to ‘exonerate’ both Forbes and Mathes, to silence the gossip and to put the issue to rest as best they could.

Exonerated, but the damage was done. Source: The DeLand Weekly News, 1904.

Exonerated, but the damage was done. Source: The DeLand Weekly News, 1904.

The reputation of Stetson was in trouble at the start of 1904; the new president, Lincoln Hulley, had to dig the university out of a major economic hole, and to rebuild a relationship with John B. Stetson.

According to Ryan, Forbes left for New York, and, with colleagues, purchased the Rochester Business Institute, and spent the rest of his life at that institution.

Mathes had already left the university to ‘recover from an illness.’ She wouldn’t return.

Convalescent from what? Source: Stetson University Archives, March 1902

Convalescent from what? Source: Stetson Weekly Collegiate, Stetson University Archives, March 1902

Out of curiosity, I looked into her background, briefly. She was married to George McCown Mathes, who lived in Turkey Creek, Florida. The U.S. Census for 1900 lists George Mathes as a farmer. Lena, on the other hand, appears to have lived separately from George for quite some time, as she’s listed as faculty member at Stetson as of 1900, according to the Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Florida, 1903 (the report includes faculty disbursements from 1900 up to 1903). In thinking about why she lived separately from her husband and family (it would be unusual in 1900), consider the fact that George was 62, and Lena was 38. The big age difference might have been a factor; that, plus she was considered a talented teacher who was active in her professional association. She probably liked teaching better than farm life, but I’m only guessing.

From The School Journal, January 26, 1901. Source: Google Books

From The School Journal, January 26, 1901. Lena was active in her professional societies. Source: Google Books

After the publicity in 1903, Lena didn’t return to Stetson; she went back to teach in Turkey Creek, but not without difficulty.

From the Tampa Tribune, September 29, 1905. Source: GenealogyBank.com

From the Tampa Tribune, September 29, 1905. Source: GenealogyBank.com

Life in Florida with this cloud of the scandal following her must have been difficult.

George Mathes died in 1906, in Turkey Creek, Florida.

Eventually, Lena moved to North Carolina, as she is listed in 1909 as the principal of Spencer High School in Spencer N.C.

The 1910 U.S. Census reports that she moved to Chicago and was listed as having her own income.

Lena Mathes died in 1951, in Baltimore, Maryland.


So, what did Emmett think about all of this as it unfolded?

Emmett signed the petition in support of Forbes and against John B. Stetson's attempts to denigrate Forbes. Source: Deland Weekly News 1903.

Emmett signed the petition in support of Forbes and against John B. Stetson’s attempts to denigrate Forbes. Forbes tendered his resignation in September, 1903, but left in February, 1904. Source: Deland Weekly News 1903.

Emmett sided with President Forbes against John B. Stetson and his attempts to denigrate Forbes. There’s mention of a pamphlet that John B. Stetson had published that outlined the details behind Forbes’ ousting; I wonder if Emmett read it, or, had a chance to read ALL of the testimony, or to hear ALL sides of the issue? He was a lawyer-in-training. Surely he and his fellow law students (and the law professors) were discussing this case.

Given what we know as we look at this case, 100 years later, it seems hard for me to believe that Emmett would have given Forbes a pass on what happened. It’s clear that Forbes acted dishonorably not only to his wife and family, but in his capacity as president.

But, Emmett and his colleagues who signed the petition may not have been privy to all of the testimony. I can see how, also, how Lena Mathes could have been made the fall person for this whole situation. We don’t know.


I should be back to posting more regularly — and back to writing Emmett’s chapters, now that summer is in full swing, and I’ve had a chance to step back from a few other projects that I was closing out at the start of June.