Today in Keys History Jan. 22

On this date in 1948, William Demeritt, retired Coast Guard captain and former mayor, died at 68.

1831: The new Collector of Customs, William A. Whitehead arrived on the schooner Evan T. Ellicott, 58 days from Baltimore.

1856: William Hackley recorded in his diary. Rose at 6, thermometer in bedroom 60 and did not walk or bathe. The USS Fulton went to Havana last night. Got more papers this morning but some papers are missing. At 9 a.m. barometer 29.68, thermometer 62.5, wind north northeast 4, clouds 8. Read Law magazine and papers. At 9 p.m. thermometer exposed 53.

1897: May Johnson recorded in her diary: I arose at 7:30, dressed, did work, had breakfast, went to school, came home, had dinner, dressed went to Church, from there Corinne, Mamie, Myra and I went to P.O., on breakwater, back to P.O., to Mrs. S., to F.M., back to Corinne’s, Charlie came for me, went to La Brisa, came home, to bed.

1912: Henry Flagler arrived on the first train from the mainland to Key West, officially opening the Overseas Extension of the Florida East Coast Railroad. Flagler was welcomed to Key West by Mayor J.N. Fogarty, distinguished guests and probably the largest crowd ever gathered in Key West. George W. Allen presented Flagler with two large silver medallions from the citizens of Key West.

1926: The La Concha Hotel was formally opened to the public. The San Sebastian Troubadours entertained the 175 Key Westers who dined on the hotel’s terrace.

1948: William Demeritt died at 68. He had served as Superintendent of the Seventh Lighthouse District from 1913 until it became part of the U.S. Coast Guard, in which he served as a captain until he retired. He was mayor of Key West from 1945 to 1947.

1954: Movie star Rita Hayworth and her husband, Dick Haymes, arrived for an indefinite stay at the Casa Marina Hotel.

1957: The Florida Sheriff’s Association met at the Casa Marina Hotel.

1957: Baseball great Ted Williams, fishing with guide Jimmie Albright, had a fishing duel in the Florida Keys with professional golfer Sam Snead, fishing with guide Cecil Keith. Williams won with two bonefish to Snead’s one.

1976: Supervisor of Elections William Billy Freeman announced that the ballot in the presidential preference primary would be in both Spanish and English. Monroe County became one of seven Florida counties to fall under the Voting Rights Act, passed by Congress in 1975.

Recommended for you