Today in Keys History Oct. 21

On this date in 1909, Dutch Melbourne, involved in the murder of Officer Clarence Till, escaped from the state penitentiary.

1855: William Hackley recorded in his diary: Rose about 6 and took a good bath which I wanted much. At 8:45 a.m. barometer 29.52, thermometer 87.5, wind east southeast 3, clouds 3. Overhauled my gear and oiled my guns. John P. Smith is Captain of the steamer Vanderbilt and was in my office for some time as were William Pinckney and Fernando Moreno. Had the ducks cleaned and put in a solution of Chloride of Soda to soak before cooking which had the desired effect and the stew into which they were made was said by Matilda and the children to be excellent. I ate my usual fare of ochra soup and vegetables, not tasting any flesh I felt very well and think the trip has been refreshing. At 2 p.m. barometer 29.50, thermometer 89.5, wind east southeast variable and light, clouds 6. Wrote up my journal since the 14th.

1896: May Johnson recorded in her diary: Bright, Wed. Oct. 21, 1896. I arose 7 o’clock, dressed, did work, had breakfast, went to school came home, had dinner went to Angelique Cruz to tell her I would be her bridesmaid, went to Mamie’s, spent the evening there, Mama didn’t come for me so Charlie brought me home in carriage. PLEASANT.

1909: Dutchy Melbourne, who was serving a 13-year sentence in the state penitentiary, escaped. He had been convicted of the murder of Police Officer Clarance Till, robbery and arson.

1914: Livingston W. Bethel died in Key West at 69. He had served as mayor of Key West from 1877 to 1880. In 1880, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Florida as running mate for Governor W.D. Bloxham. Later he served as U.S. District Attorney for the United States Court, Southern District of Florida, Criminal Court Judge and Circuit Court Judge.

1962: The FAA constructed a temporary control tower at Key West International Airport overnight. In addition, a large number of military personnel arrived in town over the weekend.

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