Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!
We had four new people come aboard as virtual crew members in the past week:
Joe F., Peter S., cebuwomen, and catdigger
Welcome Aboard and hope you enjoy the adventure!
Well, the departure north has been put on hold because the work on the boat still has not started. So much for that, “We will have you out of here in less than two weeks.”
The crew did entertain Art and Beth (the Admiral’s cousins from Colorado) for a few days. They took a day trip down to St Augustine, and then north to Jekyll Island.
The voyage of discovery did unearth some interesting history and answer the following questions?
To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site. The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.
The skipper has been passing the time by reading a book, Mr. Flagler’s St Augustine, to learn more about the man who was partners with John D. Rockefeller in starting Standard Oil (now Exxon-Mobile), created the hotel resorts along the east coast of Florida, and extended the railroad from Jacksonville to Key West.
The skipper was about two thirds thru the book when he decided to lay the book aside and do some investigating about Mr. Flagler’s wives. Turns out, the story about the wives makes a much more interesting read than Mr. Flagler.
Henry was married three times, and all three of these fascinating women met untimely and unfortunate deaths.
Mary Harkness was the first wife and the mother of the three Flagler children. She was beside him while he grew the Standard Oil Company, but died at the age of 47 from Tuberculosis.
The children’s nanny went on to become Mary’s nurse while she slowly succumbed to tuberculosis. After Mary died, the nanny became wife number two, Ida Alicia Flagler. She was beside him while he started his Florida hotel and railroad ventures. Somewhere along the way, she came across a Ouija Board, got a demon attached to her, and eventually went insane.
To pave the way for wife number three, Flagler would need to divorce Ida Alicia. Flagler sold his 5th Avenue home in New York City and transferred his residency to Florida. He then petitioned, some say bribed, the Florida legislature and governor to pass a law that would allow for divorce on grounds of incurable insanity. The state passed the law and a new building went up at the University of Florida, funded by Mr. Flagler.
He then had friend and doctor, Mr. Anderson, file paperwork that claimed Ida Alicia was insane and incurable. Mr. Flagler divorced his second wife and married wife number three ten days later. Interesting enough, this would be the only time the new law was actually used. A few years later, Florida would overturn the law.
At age 34, Mary Lily Kenan, married 71 year old Flagler. All seemed to be well until Henry took a fall and broke his hip at age 83. He died from complications from the fall two months later, making Mary Lily the richest woman in America.
In December 1916, Mary Lily married an old flame from her youth named Robert Worth Bingham. This may have been the beginning of the end for Mary Lily, because by July 1917 she was dead.
The events leading up to and following her death are still cloaked in secrecy. One theory holds that her new husband drugged her slowly starting after the marriage. After her burial, her parents had her exhumed for a second autopsy. The results showed opiates in her liver. However, no charges were ever brought against Mr. Bingham.
When her will was presented to a judge, Mr. Bingham produced a codicil to the will leaving him a bequeath of 5 million dollars. Interesting since the will contained a prenuptial agreement where he was to receive nothing.
And what happened to the rest of the 100 million Flagler estate you ask? It went to trusts to continue to fund and run his vast business empire.
Art and Beth arrived at the boat in the late afternoon. They were a bit worn out after the two day journey from Monument, Colorado. Their plane was delayed in Colorado due to high winds on Tuesday, so they arrived in Ft Myers around midnight. Wednesday they spent the day kayaking, and Thursday they drove up to Jacksonville to visit for a few days. This vacation thing tends to wear you out.
Art and Beth wanted to visit St Augustine, so the group of four drove down to spend the day and explore. The weather was unseasonably cool and windy, with winds 20-25 mph. Looks like they brought that cold and windy Colorado weather with them.
The group took the red train tour around town and then made it to the Fort to watch a canon fire demonstration. Because the winds were so strong, the four evacuated the Fort after the canon demo and headed into the narrow streets to walk around town.
After walking the town, the group decided to eat at Columbia Restaurant. The flagship restaurant was built in 1905 in Tampa’s Historic Ybor City. The flagship restaurant is the oldest restaurant in Florida. It is also the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.
If you have been in the restaurant business since 1905, you would expect the food to be good, and the Spanish cuisine did not disappoint.
With the winds still blowing over 20 mph, cruising on the boat was not an option so the group decided to drive north and visit the historic Jekyll Island.
On the way, the group decided to stop on Amelia Island at Drift Wood Beach. This is a unique experience because you do not see what you expect to see on a beach. The beach might be better named drift tree beach because the beach is littered with drift trees.
After arrival at Jekyll Island, the group headed to the historic homes and walked around a bit. It looked like there were at least three weddings/receptions taking place around the grounds.
They also started noticing a bunch of men in navy dress uniforms escorting women in formal gowns. The skipper finally asked a party of four who were entering the convention center what was goin on tonight. One of the men answered they were celebrating the 118th birthday of the US submarine force. Turns out that the sailors from King’s Bay Sub Base have a big bash every year to celebrate the birth of the sub force back on April 11, 1900.
USS Holland, SS-1, birth of the US Submarine Force
The skipper shared with the four that he had served on subs back in the day. An older gentleman asked, “which one?” And when the skipper answered, “USS Permit, SSN-594.” The guy responded that he had served aboard the USS Haddock, SSN-621.
Turns out that the USS Haddock was the last Permit class submarine built. Interesting, interesting indeed. So what are the odds that two guys who served aboard the Permit and Haddock would cross paths years later on Jekyll Island on a night of the sub force birthday party?
After attending church, Art and Beth loaded up their belongings and shoved off towards Tallahassee. It was a fun visit.!
The last the skipper heard from the boatyard manager, the work should start later in the week and finish the following week. So it looks like the crew will be here for at least two more weeks. Oh, did I mention that the weather folks are predicting an early tropical storm to form the first week of May? It is time to get out of Florida.