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Allen, George Whiting
Archer, Westley Percival
Braman, John O.
Curry, Charles R.
Curry, Roland
Young, John Freeman

ALLEN, George Whiting

Transcribed from:  The History of Florida:  Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol II, page 194, 1923.


In the language of resolutions by the Rotary Club of Key West, GEORGE

WHITING ALLEN was a patriot of unselfish devotion, a citizen of great intellectual attainments, a friend of unswerving loyalty, a man of incorruptible integrity, and in that characterization many citizens of Florida outside of Key West express their heartiest approval.

GEORGE WHITING ALLEN, who died May 30, 1922, was born September 1, 1854, in the City of Jacksonville, Florida.  His parentage was of sturdy New England stock, having settled in the colonies during the great Scotch-Irish immigration. His ancestors were prominent in the development of the New England States in the peaceful pursuits of commerce, afterward fighting in the Revolutionary War with distinction. His family crossed from Connecticut to Central New York, where some of Mr. ALLEN's brothers were born. Subsequently Mr. ALLEN's father came to Florida and settled in Jacksonville.  In the early days pioneering was instinctive in these wonderful men.  The ambition was instinctive to convert the primeval forest into suitable human habitation.  From Jacksonville Mr. ALLEN's family settled in Key West.  At that time Key West was nothing but a refuge for fishermen and a way station for shipping; the commercial life of the settlement was entirely maritime.  The citizenship of the small community was composed of several high class New England, Virginia, and Alabama families.  They were distinguished for their intellectual attainments and social purity.  It was within these surroundings that GEORGE WHITING ALLEN spent his early boyhood days.  He afterward went to his father's northern home to school; he was educated at Ithaca, New York; he returned from school to Key West in 1868 to identify himself with the people of the adopted home of his parents and to begin the great career which so sadly ended May 30, 1922.  He studied law and was admitted to practice in 1897. GEORGE W. ALLEN held many positions of distinction, deputy clerk of the State Circuit and the United States District Courts; he was called to serve as state senator in the Florida Senate in 1878, and was continued in this service until 1884, when he resigned to engage in the banking business in Key West.  From 1884 until 1891 he was cashier of the Key West Bank, and when that institution went out of existence Mr. ALLEN organized and became president of the First National Bank of Key West, and it was his commercial integrity and foresight which resulted in the present tower of financial strength which we now have in this city.  Mr. ALLEN's financial ability was recognized by other institutions, and he was chosen director in some of Florida's largest banks. At the beginning of President McKinley's administration Mr. ALLEN was appointed collector of customs for the port of Key West.  At that time the port of Key West exercised jurisdiction over territory extending east as far as Jupiter.  He served until 1913, when the custom service was reorganized and a district collector appointed.  During the time of Mr. ALLEN's incumbency of the collector's office many intricate problems were presented, growing out of the war with Spain.  A large number of foreign vessels-prizes of war, were brought into the port of Key West involving international questions.  He coped with every situation with credit to himself and honor to his country.  Key West was the center of war activities and the discreet, intelligent hand of GEORGE W. ALLEN guided all Government forces. He was the acknowledged leader in commercial, fraternal and civic movements in Key West.  No project could be undertaken, no enterprise launched with any degree of success unless GEORGE W. ALLEN approved it.  It was through Mr. ALLEN's influence that a right of way was secured for the extension of the F. E. C. Railway to Key West.  The people of Key West and the State of Florida had unbounded confidence in his loyalty, sagacity and sympathy.  Mr. ALLEN was known favorably and intimately beyond the boundaries of the State of Florida.  He numbered among his personal friends presidents of the United States, cabinet officers, distinguished jurists, and literary celebrities.  The companionship of the great, the friendship of the powerful, however, never diverted his love and sympathy for the poor and humble.   "He could move with kings and yet not lose the common touch."  The humblest citizens of Key West could receive Mr. ALLEN's wisest counsel, the poorest his help, and all, his friendship. He married, May 27, 1880, Miss LEONORE XIMINEZ BROWNE, of a distinguished Virginia family, who survives him.  His two daughters are MARY LILLA ALLEN and Mrs. WILLIAM R. WARREN.

Presented by  Nancy Rayburn

ARCHER, Westley Percival
Transcribed from:  The History of Florida:  Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol
II, page 304, 1923.

ARCHER, WESTLEY PERCIVAL.  In a practical experience covering many years in every department of the industry Mr. ARCHER is a recognized expert in everything pertaining to the manufacture of cigar boxes, one of the important industries of Florida.  Mr. ARCHER for a number of years has been superintendent of one of the largest box factories at Key West. He was born at Seminole, Florida, January 4, 1879, son of WILLIAM A. and HATTIE (BROWN) ARCHER.  His parents are living at Saint Petersburg.  Mr. ARCHER’s grandparents, AUGUST and CAROLINE (SAWYER) ARCHER, were early settlers of Key West.  The SAWYERs were an old family from the Bahama Islands.  HATTIE BROWN was born in North Carolina.  WILLIAM A. ARCHER learned the trade of carpenter, was a truck farmer, and for a number of years has been engaged in the merchandise business at Saint Petersburg.

WESTLEY PERCIVAL ARCHER attended public schools of Seminole, and his working experience began at the age of fourteen.  For several years he was employed in the orange and fruit growing enterprise of the state.  At the age of twenty he began making cigar boxes at Tampa, being an employee of the Tampa Box Company about six months, was then with the A. A. Wood Box Company and its successor, the Wood & Thompson Box Company, of Tampa.  He remained with this concern
six years as superintendent of the plant and part of the time as a partner in the business. 
When financial difficulties overtook the firm Mr. ARCHER removed to the West Coast and for about a year engaged in the fishing business .  His next location was at Charleston, South Carolina, where he was in the Cedar Shook Department for the Sneidenberg Branch of the Havana American Cigar Company.  Remaining there eleven months, he returned to Tampa and became superintendent of the plant in which he had formerly been interested and which was now being operated by two trustees, GRIFFIN and GILLETT.  After about a year this plant was sold, and
Mr. ARCHER remained as its manager for three weeks.  Then followed another semi-vacation of about a year in the fishing industry on the West Coast.
After his return to Tampa Mr. ARCHER was mill foreman in the Anderson Cedar Mill a year, then became factory superintendent of the Sheip Weidman Box Company of Tampa, and six months later, in 1911, came to Key West, where for eleven years he has been superintendent and general
manager of the Key West Box Company.  He took up these duties at the direct request of the owner of the business, Mr. NORBERG THOMPSON.
Mr. ARCHER married at Tampa Miss MAUD CREWS.  They have six children, MILDRED, GLYN, PHILLIP, KENNETH, LOIS and HELEN.  Mr. ARCHER is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias, Benevolent  and Protective Order of Elks, Modern Woodmen of the World.

Presented by  Nancy Rayburn

Transcribed from:  The History of Florida:  Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
III, page 348, 1923.

BRAMAN, JOHN O., who is living retired in his attractive home at the corner of Henley and Second Streets in the City of Fort Myers, Lee County, was born at Key West, Florida, February 18, 1840, a son of JOHN and MARY (KEMP) BRAMAN, both natives of the fair Bahama Islands, the former's father, MINUS BRAMAN, having been born in Holland and having been an early settler in the Bahamas.  The maternal grandparents of the subject of this review were SAMUEL and SARAH KEMP, the father of the former having likewise been born on the Bahama Islands, of English parentage.  The marriage of JOHN BRAMAN and MARY KEMP was solemnized at Key West, Florida, and there Mr. BRAMAN followed the trade of ship carpenter. JOHN O. BRAMAN gained his early education in the school maintained at Key West in the early days, and under the direction of his father he learned the trade of ship carpenter.  In 1877 he established his residence at Fort Myers, a town which had only twenty-two houses at that time, and here he conducted for two years a general store.  The heavy expense incidental to the transporting of merchandise to this point made the enterprise unprofitable, with the result that Mr. BRAMAN resumed the work of his trade, at which he worked at Tampa, Key West and other points, the while maintaining his home at Fort Myers, where he had real estate and other property.  From 1895 until his retirement in 1915 he concentrated his trade work at Fort Myers, and he handled virtually all of the boat work in this vicinity.  He was influential in the movement which led to the incorporation of Fort Myers, served as a member of its first City Council and erected the first city jail.  He and his wife are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and he has always been aligned in the ranks of the democratic party. In April, 1862, at Key West, occurred the marriage of Mr. BRAMAN and Miss MATILDA J. KEMP, who was born on the Bahama Islands, a daughter of WILLIAM and CAROLINE (THOMPSON) KEMP, like wise born on those islands,  Of the children of Mr. and Mrs. BRAMAN the eldest is CAROLINE E., wife of HENRY FUNK, of Fort Myers; MARY ELLA is the wife of VINCENT A. ARCHER, of Key West; FRANK resides at East Fort Myers, his twin brother, SAMUEL, having been drowned in a storm off Pensacola when he was twenty-two years of age;  MINNIE is the wife of A. E. RUSSELL, of Tampa.

Presented by  Nancy Rayburn

Charles R. Curry

Source: The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.II   pg.303-4  1923

Author: The History of Florida:  Past & Present

CURRY, CHARLES R., manager of one of the largest cigar factories in Key West, learned the cigar making trade when a youth, and is a recognized authority of both the business and manufacturing end of the industry.  His home for the greater part of his life has been at Key West, and he is a member of one of the old families there.

      Mr. CURRY was born at Key West, July 24, 1874.  His grandfather, JOSEPH CURRY, came to Key West when it was a very small village.  His father J.F. CURRY, and his mother, A. SAWYER CURRY, were both born in the Bahama Islands and were children when their parents settled in Key West.  J.F. CURRY took up seafaring, and for many years was captain of a vessel sailing out of Key West.

      CHARLES R. CURRY acquired a good education, beginning in the public schools of Key West, subsequently took the academic course in Emory College at Oxford, Georgia, and still later graduated from Kentucky University at Lexington, Kentucky.  In the meantime he had learned the cigar maker’s trade, and he was an expert in that work before he took up the business side of that industry.  For several years he was connected with some of the leading factors at Key West.  For sixteen months he was an individual bookkeeper, keeping the
individual accounts for the First National Bank of Key West.

      Leaving the bank, he was bookkeeper and cashier from 1899 to 1905 for S. Falk’s Sons, cigar manufacturers.  During the next nine years he was bookkeeper and cashier for Ferdinand Hirsch Company, cigar makers, and in 1914 joined the Cortez Cigar Company, one of the largest manufacturing institutions at Key West.  For six months he was with this house as bookkeeper, and since 1915 has been resident manager of the business.    

On January 29, 1905, at Key West, Mr. CURRY married Miss FANNIE GIVENS, daughter of JOHN and MARY (MALONEY) GIVENS, both natives of Florida and now deceased.  JOHN GIVENS was a captain in the Confederate Army with a Florida regiment, and for a number of years before his death was county clerk of Hillsboro County.  Mr. and Mrs. CURRY have two children, JOHN FREDERICK and RAYMOND GIVENS.  Mr. CURRY was reared a Methodist, but with his family now attends the Episcopal Church.  He is affiliated with the Elks Lodge, and is a past exalted ruler.

Presented by  Nancy Rayburn

Roland Curry

Source: The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.II   pg.292  1923

Author: The History of Florida:  Past & Present

CURRY, ROLAND, who is giving an excellent administration of the office of sheriff of Monroe County and is one of the highly esteemed citizens of Key West, was born on the Bahama Islands, September 30, 1869, and is a son of the late HENRY and MARGARET (WETHERFORD) CURRY, both natives of England.  HENRY CURRY became a sea captain, owned and commanded a vessel in the sponge trade, and he became a citizen of the United States prior to the birth of his son Roland, of this sketch.  Captain Curry passed the closing period of his long and useful life at Key West, where he died in 1916. At the venerable age of eighty-six years and nine months, his wife having preceded him to the life eternal. ROLAND CURRY acquired his early education in the schools of the Bahama Islands and was a lad of twelve years when the family home was established at Key West, Florida, where he continued to attend school two years.  Thereafter he worked at various locations, largely in connection with the sponge business, until he entered an apprenticeship to the carpenter’s trade, at which he became a skilled workman.  He continued to follow his trade until he entered service as a member of the city police department of Key West.  Later the state health officer, Dr. J.V. PORTER, appointed him a state sanitary patrol officer, and of this position he continued the incumbent several years, he having served in the laboratory department at the time when ports of the state were under close supervision to avoid the entrance of persons affected with the bubonic plague then prevalent.  After his retirement from service with the health department Sheriff CURRY resumed the work of his trade, but within a short time he was appointed chief deputy sheriff, a position which he retained until the retirement of Sheriff A.H. McINNIS, when he became a candidate for the sheriff, to which he was elected in the fall of 1920 and the duties of which he assumed in January, 1921, for the prescribed term of four years.  The Sheriff is a staunch supporter of the cause of the democratic party, and he and his wife hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.  In the Masonic fraternity he is affiliated with both York and Scottish Rite bodies, as well as the Mystic Shrine, and he is a member also of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Order of the Golden Eagle.    December 26, 1903, recorded the marriage of Sheriff CURRY and Miss SARAH E., daughter of ADIN R. and ILLA (SANDS) ROBERTS, of Monroe County, the parents having been born in England and the father having become a successful Florida farmer.  Sheriff and Mrs. CURRY have six children:  GLADYS, MIZPAH, NAOMI, GILBERT, ALLEN and IDA FAY.  The eldest daughter, GLADYS, is the wife of JAMES KEATING, and they reside in Key West.  Their one child is a son, ROLAND, named in honor of his maternal grandfather.

Presented by  Nancy Rayburn

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