Most painful intelligence

MAJOR Francis L. Dade accepted an urgent salute, and was handed his orders. The six weeks they had needed to travel from St. Augustine to Key West, and Dade’s own month-long leave of absence, meant the orders were no longer new. Poor communications between the mainland and the Keys plagued the military as much as … More Most painful intelligence

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A rising tide

SOMETIME in 1833 or thereabouts, citizens of Key West witnessed the opening of a large mound near the island’s western shore. At least ten feet in height “and of considerable circumference,” it stood midway between the custom house and the slight rise of Whitehead’s Point. The collector of customs, William A. Whitehead, who appears to have … More A rising tide

The collectors (part 2)

DISPLACED to Key West from the home of his boyhood, far from the old centers of culture, power, learning and earning, William A. Whitehead soon found that his new locale itself possessed a particular magnetism. An ideal site for scientific exploration both on its own and adjacent shores, the island attracted an array of “naturalists … More The collectors (part 2)

Fishermen’s friend

AS the Evan T. Ellicott, beating the final agonizing mile of its course against a sharp northerly wind, headed for the harbor of Key West, William A. Whitehead would have been forgiven for thinking the reception more than a little discourteous. But the auspices on this voyage had never been good. The Ellicott set out … More Fishermen’s friend