- The Homepage for the World War One Veterans Who Worked In the Upper Florida Keys -tear gas
By Jerry Wilkinson
                                            Posted June 30, 2010
                            NOTE: THIS PAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION - THANKS
         I do wish to pay tribute to the efforts of the World War One veterans and families who worked and died  in the Florida Keys. Their presence are usually mentioned only when the death and destruction of the 1935 Hurricane is mentioned and then only as "The World War One Veterans." During the 1935 hurricane about 400 humans lost their lives and of these about 250 were WW-1 veterans - there are various sets of numbers that could be used.  From this it is seen that more WW-1 Veterans lost their lives than so-called civilians - yes they were also civilians.
      My purpose here is to contribute as much as I know about these, let's call them special civilians, who once made the Upper Keys their home. I also am a 22 year veteran, but in my off and on years since 1947 have never met a World War One Veteran in the Florida Keys. During 1934 and 34 at least 1,000 veterans were sent here to work - In unincorporated Monroe County there were more WW-1 veterans than non-veterans. It was the Great Depression era and all did not remain, but in September 1935 about 700 were assigned to three work camps here. With about 400 perishing in the storm, that leaves about 600 who could have returned at some time.
       I have been contacted by several grandchildren for information which I supplied if I had factual data. Below will be most of the WW-1 Veteran data that I have and I hope it serves someone's use.
       Each Memorial Day we have services at the Florida Keys Memorial, aka the Hurricane Monument, but it is only the families of the locals who can be recognized as they are here. I also wish to recognize those who lived, had children, who had children and are someplace today. The "Hurricane Monument" was made possible by the Harvey Seeds American Legion Post collecting and providing sufficient matching funds for the WPA to build it. The WPA provided the remaining funds.
        To my knowledge and as a former subscriber of 'The Torch' newsletter there may be several surviving WW-1 veterans, but one is Frank Buckles, born 1904 and enlisted in 1914. Well, Frank to you and all the offspring of former World War One Veterans, thank you, God bless you and this is in your and all veterans' remembrance.

             To begin with I will provide lists of the names and serial numbers that were here on September 2, 1935. These lists were taken from a Congressional Inquiry investigating the reason why so many perished. They are listed alphabetically by their last name. To access please Click here.
          Next offered is a brief photo journey from the 1932 Bonus Army to the end of the bridge project, titled 'The Bridge That Never Was' - please Click here.
           From here you can visit each camp plus meet a few where they lived, played and worked and some died:
Camp 1, base camp, Windley Key Click here.
Camp 1, work station, Plantation Key Click here.
Camp 3, base and work station, Lower Matecumbe Key - Click here.
Camp 5, Lower Matecumbe Key - NOT STARTED YET. (6/29/10)
          The choice now is a page on the Florida Keys Memorial for the civilians and veterans who perished dedicated in November 1937 - please Click here.
 Note: I am working on the following supplemental info below - JW
     The following web pages are supporting and/or additional reading for the 1935 Hurricane which ended their being needed in the Keys. Note: some are not completed as of  June 30, 2010.
       (1) The 1935 Hurricane,   Click HERE.-
      (2)  Index/links  to survivor sworn statements, Click Here.
      (3) Four published maps of the 1935 Hurricane track, Click Here.
      (4) Map from the Miami Daily News, September 5, 1935,  Click HERE.
      (5) For Marjory Stoneman Douglas' description of the hurricane and WW-1 veterans,  Click HERE.
      (6) For the published Monthly Weather Review, Click HERE.
      (7) For a War Department letter summarizing hurricane data collected in the   Keys,  Click HERE. 
      (8) For a Florida Emergency Relief Administration damage report, Click Here.
      (9) For a Florida National Guard report,  Click HERE.
    (10) For portions of a U.S. Coast Guard report, Click HERE.
    (11) For the Key West Weather Bureau reports, Click HERE.
    (12) For four versions of the 1935 Hurricane path,  Click HERE.


Click HERE.

To return to Genera Keys History page,  Click HERE.
Return to Historeum
E-Mail to editor