Chapter 2: Repository

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WFGS official seal. Source: WFGS

On April 27, 2013, I called the West Florida Genealogical Society in Pensacola, and spoke with researcher Peg Vignolo. I introduced myself, and explained what I was looking for.

“Nope,” she told me after checking several resources. “We don’t have anything on Emmett Wilson other than what I’d already found about him myself on the Internet,” which isn’t a whole lot, she added. I agreed.

Peg said it was curious that there was such little information, given that he was the youngest U.S. Congressman at the time, and the first from Pensacola after the new congressional district was formed in 1908.

From ChroniclingAmerica.gov.

I mentioned the date of his death, and asked for a copy of his obituary, if they had copies of The Pensacola Journal from 1918, since the 1918 edition of the paper didn’t seem to be on microfilm yet, or available via ChroniclingAmerica.gov, the online newspaper repository at the Library of Congress.  Peg said that they had the bound issues of The Pensacola Journal for May 1918, and would be happy to make copies and email the obituary to me.

“May 1918, huh…,” she added thoughtfully. “Maybe it was the flu. The pandemic hit West Florida pretty hard in 1918. It devastated many families here in Pensacola.” I told her I wasn’t sure, but what little information I had at that moment suggested he’d died at home, so it was a possibility.

Peg recommended that I next contact the Pensacola Historic Society (now known as the UWF Historic Trust).  “They have a large archive on prominent locals; if there’s anything on Emmett, it would likely be there.”

Meanwhile, she’d hunt for the obituary, and refused payment. In gratitude, I emailed some of the articles I’d found already so that she could start a surname folder for Emmett.

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A few hours later, Peg emailed three articles to my faculty email account, one each on Emmett’s death, obituary, and funeral. She mentioned it was curious that he garnered not one but three articles in the local newspaper, something unusual about a person of suggested prominence but lacking a file in their historical archives.

Definitely unusual — and mysterious.

Next: Dissection Homework

Modeste’s License

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The excellent Jacki Wilson, archivist at the University of West Florida Historic Trust, sent the following:

Modeste Hartgis’ pharmacy license! Source: UWF Historic Trust

If you are just now joining the Emmett Wilson Program, Modeste was Emmett’s pharmacist while he lived in Pensacola. Last year, I did a short essay about her here. I reached out to Jacki about two weeks ago with a query about Modeste and her family, and Jacki sent the image of Modeste’s pharmacy license, along with a few short articles. Isn’t that great?

Here’s a transcript of the license:

Board of Pharmacy for the State of Florida

This is to certify that Modeste Hargis is a registered pharmacist in conformity with the Act of the Florida Legislature, entitled

“An Act to regulate the Practice of Pharmacies in Cities and Towns of more than two hundred inhabitants and the Sale of Poisons in the State of Florida and to affix Penalties,”

Approved May 30, 1889. In testimony whereof, witness our Signatures and the Seal of the Board, Ocala, this 3rd day of August in the Year of Our Lord 1893.

Dabney Palmer, President

Sydney B. Leonard (?)

 

Modeste Hargis, on the day she graduated from pharmacy school, 1893. Source: womenofhistoricpcola

Jacki also mentioned that the photo of Modeste in the earlier post was taken of her on the day she graduated from pharmacy school.

A researcher interested in historic pharmacy of Pensacola found the essay. Long story short, I agree with the researcher that Modeste is deserving of recognition as the first and youngest female pharmacist in Pensacola. I am hopeful we can work together to do something about it!

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In Emmett Wilson book news — I am down to the last 30 pages in the read-through of the rough draft. The read-through has been stop-and-go all week; I’ve been doing it in-between grading papers and client projects.

The real work will begin next week, when I plan the second draft, and assemble the notes and bibliography pages.