Today in Keys History – Dec. 2, 2022

People stand in front of a fence with a gallows behind it.

1830 – William R. Hackley recorded in his diary: Rose before the sun. After breakfast answered the letter from Father last evening. The Sloop Splendid of New York came in about 4 P.M., 10 days from New York. A Spanish schooner arrived from Charlotte harbor brought some oysters and it was near eleven before they were cooked. I had to wait for Brother though I did not want any myself. Wind east northeast fresh. Weather pleasant.

1831 – The ship Maria carrying 250 passengers and crew wrecked on the Florida Reef. The ship was lost but the wreckers saved everyone and brought them to Key West. The people of Key West provided the survivors tents and a number were taken into private homes. Some of the passengers caused disturbances and the Marines from the USS Vincennes and troops from the Army Barracks had to be called to prevent trouble and disperse the crowd. The total population of Key West in 1830 was only 517 men, women and children.

1904 – Fred Ewert was hanged for the murder of Frank Whitaker. The gallows was erected behind the Monroe County Jail at the corner of Whitehead and Fleming streets.

1956 – Secretary of State John Foster Dulles left after two weeks of recuperation from an abdominal operation performed at Walter Reed Hospital.

A man stands with a bicycle in front of an office with The miami Herald written on the window.

1986 – Joaquin “Bolo” Godinet died at age 85. For 64 years he had delivered the Miami Herald in Key West using only a bicycle.

1994 – Frank Baing, the “Conch Salad Man” died at the age of 93. In the 1950s he became one of the first vendors to sell food at Mallory Square.

1993 – Key West resident Jerry Frantz was one of ten people nationwide to receive the award “People Fighting the Fight” for his volunteer effort for the AIDS cause.

Information compiled by Tom Hambright, Historian Emeritus, Florida Keys History Center, Monroe County Public Library

Images from the Florida Keys History Center, Monroe County Public Library:

1) Gallows constructed for the hanging of Fred Ewert behind the Monroe County Jail, Fleming and Whitehead streets.

2) Joaquin “Bolo” Godinet, Keys newspaper delivery man in front of the Miami Herald office, 1201 Duval St. on July 3, 1984. Gift Nancy Klingener.


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