- 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 goal is 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 and the following pages is to contribute as much as I know about these, let's call them special civilians, who once made the Upper Keys their home. As a note, I also am a 23 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 35 at least 1,000 veterans were sent here to work, all did not stay - In the Upper Keys there were more WW-1 veterans than non-veterans. Speaking of the veterans only, in theory the three camps were designed for a capacity of 250 each for a total of 750 - eight per building. Some civilian employes did occupy some buildings. It is believe that in September 1935 it was near capacity, but for the Labor Day weekend some were away for the extended holiday. The later 1936 Congresional Inquiry could not determing how many were in camp on September 2, 1935. 
       Over time I have been contacted by several grandchildren for information which I supplied based on a copy of the Congressional Inquiry. 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. This page is to recognize the veterans who died and those who lived, as well as their children, who had children and are someplace today. The "Hurricane Monument" was largely made possible by the Harvey Seeds American Legion Post in Miami who collected and provided 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 1901 and enlisted in 1917. 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.
         Below is more or less and index to the web site.

            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 but more detailed 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 Veteran 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. (7/20/10)
          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 the veterans being needed in the Keys. The hurricane effectively destroyed the railroad of which the bridges and right-of-way made the Overseas Highway easier to convert than to build separatly. Note: some are not completed as of  July 7, 2010.
      (1) The 1935 Hurricane mostly with photos,   Click here.
      (2) The Historical Society's local publication number 47 re the 1935 Hurricane, Click here.
      (3)  Index/links to civilian's and veteran's hurricane survivor sworn statements, Click here.
      (4) Four published maps of the 1935 Hurricane track, Click here.
      (5) Map from the Miami Daily News, September 5, 1935,  Click here.
      (6) For Marjory Stoneman Douglas' description of the hurricane and WW-1 veterans,  Click here.
      (7) For the published Monthly Weather Review, Click HERE.
      (8) For a War Department letter summarizing hurricane data collected in the   Keys,  Click here. 
      (9) For a Florida Emergency Relief Administration hurricane damage report, Click here.
      (10) For a Florida National Guard report,  Click here.
      (11) For portions of a U.S. Coast Guard report, Click here.
      (12) For the Key West Weather Bureau hurricane advisories/reports, Click here.

Click HERE.

To return to Genera Keys History page,  Click HERE.
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