Posted on Leave a comment

In Memory: Wagoner Lawrence S. Peacock World War I Casualty

Lawrence Peacock headstone

Lawrence S. Peacock came from a humble background. Born on July 5, 1891 in Spring Garden to parents Samuel D. and Martha (Daugharty) Peacock. Samuel was a farmer and the family lived in Precinct Four according to the 1900 United States Census. Lawrence was the fourth of five children; John, Thomas, Margaret, and Violet. The 1910 United States Census placed the Peacock family at 46 E. New York Avenue.

Young Lawrence appears to have been an industrious young man, not afraid of hard work. He was the owner of a vulcanizing company located in the downtown DeLand area. He regularly advertised in the local newspaper, “Tires and Tubes, All Work Guaranteed”.

Vulcanization is the process of using heat to help harden rubber, thus increasing its lifespan and strength. For more information on vulcanization check the Wikipedia page.

To learn more about the race to unlock the power and secrets of vulcanized rubber, read Noble Obsession: Charles Goodyear, Thomas Hancock, and the Race to Unlock the Greatest Industrial Secret of the 19th Century.

 

 

 

A prime bachelor, Lawrence attracted the attentions of young Edith Baguley, “a talented musician and a popular young woman…” The two eligible DeLandites eloped on July 5, 1917. The service was performed by Reverend H. S. Rightmire at the Baptist church in Daytona Beach with only the reverend’s wife and Mrs. M. N. Baguley, Edith’s mother, in attendance.

The newly wed couple briefly honeymooned in St. Augustine, Jacksonville, and Pablo Beach, before returning to DeLand.

World events were closing in on young men around the world and Lawrence S. Peacock was no exception. In mid-1918 Peacock received notice that he had been drafted and would be called to active duty.

In preparation for leaving DeLand for an unknown period, Lawrence sold his business to Mr. A. C. Clark, a young man from Miami.

Lawrence was transported to Camp Greenleaf at Fort Oglethorpe, GA for two months of training. His skills and abilities earned him a promotion from Private to Wagoner in Evacuation Ambulance Company No. 19 during his training.

USS George Washington
USS George Washington (ID#3018) underway at sea, 10 May 1918. Photographed from USS Whipple (Destroyer # 15), which was then operating off western France.
US Navy photo # NH 53885 from the collections of the US Navy Historical Center.

On September 22, 1918, he was sent to Camp Upton on Long Island, NY before being transferred to the Transport S.S. George Washington in preparation for transport to France.

It was during this transport that Peacock contracted pneumonia and passed away onboard. His death on October 9, 1918 was one of only thousands caused as a result of the 1918 influenza outbreak. It is believed the pneumonia was the largest cause of death during the pandemic. 

 

 

 

 

The 1918 influenza outbreak is estimated to have contributed to the deaths of nearly 100 million people. Historian John M. Barry has written what may be the definitive look at this pandemic. The book is accessible and readable for those of us without a scientific background.

 

 

 

The remains of Wagoner Lawrence S. Peacock were buried temporarily in Brest, France, a port city in Brittany, before being returned to DeLand in 1920.

After conclusion of hostilities, the Army returned the remains of Peacock, through New York City, where they were placed aboard a southbound train, with a single soldier accompanying.

Members of the DeLand American Legion Post met the train and carried the remains to an awaiting hearse that secured the body to Allen’s Undertaking Parlors in preparation for the funeral on July 15, 1920.

The funeral was a somber affair. At 2:00 p.m. the parade left Allen’s on their way to Oakdale Cemetery. A squad of uniformed men, followed by the pall bearers, a group of Legionnaires, the family, and finally friends of the deceased made their way through the streets of DeLand.

Once the procession arrived at the cemetery, the flag draped coffin was carried to the burial site with uniformed men at parade rest. Dr. C. L. Collins talked about the war and its impact and provided a biographical sketch of the young soldier. Reverend C. E. Wyatt offered prayer. The service ended with a three-round volley over the grave and the blowing of taps by bugler Feasel.

Lawrence Peacock headstone
The headstone for Wagoner Lawrence Peacock as seen in Oakdale Cemetery, DeLand, FL

In the years following the burial of her husband, Edith was to remarry. On February 11, 1922, she married Pharris M. Stribling, a newspaper printer who worked for the local paper. The 1930 United States Census shows her to already have divorced Stribling and working as a stenographer in North Carolina where she lived with her mother.

A brief search shows that Edith does not appear to have married again. When she passed away on March 4, 1982, Edith was living in San Bernadino, CA.

Edith Irene Baguley Stribling was buried in Henry Cemetery, in Henry, Illinois, the same cemetery as her parents.

 

 

 

 

 

Wagoner Lawrence S. Peacock is memorialized today at the DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum. This project was trumpeted in the local newspaper by DeLand Mayor S. A. Wood on February 19, 1919 and opened in 1920. DeLand Memorial Hospital would serve as the primary medical facility in DeLand until the opening of Fish Memorial Hospital in 1952. Today the building is home to City of DeLand offices and museum exhibits.

DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum
A full exterior view of the circa 1920 DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum building
World War I plaque at DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum
A dedication plaque to West Volusia County soldiers who perished during World War I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original plaque on exterior of Hospital building
An originally placed plaque dedicating the hospital as a Memorial to our boys for service rendered and sacrifice supreme

 

To view other posts related to Oakdale Cemetery, many of them military related, please click here.

Sources:

Multiple issues of the DeLand News were used to compile this article.

www.floridamemory.com

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

Posted on Leave a comment

In Memory: Officer Elmer Michael of the DeLand, FL Police Department

Elmer Michael monument detail

Elmer Lunger Michael

Born in West Virginia in 1889, young Elmer Lunger Michael knew the difficulties life could bring. Growing up in Morgan County, he was the eldest of five children born to Albert (might be Tolbert) and Mary Michael. Elmer was to only complete the eighth grade before quitting school, most likely to help his family. By the age of twenty he had left his parents home, was married, and employed as a farmer. Elmer’s World War I draft registration shows him as being of medium height and build with brown hair and blue eyes.

Elmer, and his wife Ida Maud, moved to Volusia County, Florida sometime around 1925/1926. Elmer left the uncertainty of his last job of being a truck driver for what they hoped would be a brighter future in Florida. Elmer and Ida Maud were the parents of two children, Ralph, and Virginia.

In 1926, Elmer had been hired as a police officer with the DeLand police department. This would no doubt have been a welcome job during lean years for a man with no formal education and limited marketable skills.

For those who would harken back to an earlier time when streets were safe, there was little violence, and people had a respect for the law; the story of Elmer Michael is a harsh reminder of the realities in the world.

The Crime

On October 25, officer Michael was working the overnight shift, a shift that might have been considered safe considering DeLand was a small town of around 5,000 residents.

It was during this shift that John Wallace and John McGuire, known criminals from Indiana, were caught in downtown DeLand in a car reported stolen in Daytona Beach. While attempting to apprehend the criminals near the corner of Woodland and Wisconsin Avenues, Michael was shot and wounded. He was also pushed to the ground and received a serious wound to the head.

The following day Florida East Coast Railway workers M. A. Snyder and Walter Minton were both wounded during an encounter with the fugitives in New Smyrna Beach. Snyder received five bullet wounds; and Walter Minton, a special agent out of Palatka where he worked for the Florida East Coast Railway, was shot twice in the arm. Snyder was hospitalized for his wounds while Minton was released from medical care.

John Wallace was arrested later in the day on October 26 after the confrontation with Snyder and Minton. Local reports stated that McGuire was still wanted but Volusia County Sheriff S. E. Stone was confident he would be apprehended shortly.

On November 4, the DeLand Sun News ran an editorial thanking officer Michael and congratulating him on his release from DeLand Memorial Hospital.

Dear Elmer:

That was great news to hear that you are out again after the attempt made on your life recently by auto bandits. Elmer, it is such men as you that keep up the honor of a police force and in whom we have confidence that the law will be enforced. We congratulate you on your fearlessness and the whole of DeLand is happy that you escaped with your life. The next time Elmer any of that type of criminal sticks a gun at you, shoot him first. The country is well rid of such offscourings. (1)

While Sheriff Stone was confident that John Luke McGuire would quickly be apprehended, these thoughts were premature. During the first week in November Stone was working with Fort Wayne, Indiana authorities in order to put together a wanted campaign including photos. McGuire was described as twenty-three years old, five fee six inches tall, gray eyes, blond hair, with a medium build and complexion. The reward for the capture of McGuire was placed at $50. Five hundred copies of the wanted poster were distributed. In addition to the wounding of officer Michael and the FEC workers, McGuire and Wallace were accused in the robbery of a Daytona Beach pharmacy. (2)

The Trials

With McGuire still wanted, prosecutors began their case against John Wallace in December. Judge Marion O. Rowe was expected to announce a trial date when he convened court on December 2. The following day, Wallace, a young man of only twenty, was to plead guilty to three charges: the theft of two automobiles and participating in the robbery of Bogart’s Pharmacy. He received a six-year prison sentence at state prison in Raiford. Wallace was not arraigned that day on charges of assault with intent to kill in the attack on the three wounded men.

Good news reached DeLand in January 1930 where word was received that McGuire had been arrested in Ft. Wayne, IN on a weapons charge. The good news was short lived as Indiana authorities refused to immediately extradite the fugitive to Florida to face charges. McGuire and his attorneys used multiple legal maneuvers, including “witnesses” stating he was in Memphis, TN at the time of the shootings, to prevent his being returned to Florida.

Harry Leslie Indiana Governor
Indiana Governor Harry Leslie courtesy Indiana Historical Bureau

In a scene that is right out of a movie however, on February 26, 1931, Indiana Governor Harry Leslie signed extradition papers. Volusia County Sheriff Stone was there to immediately take possession of the prisoner and begin transporting him to Florida where he would stand trial.

Samuel D. Jackson, the attorney for McGuire was able to obtain a writ of habeas corpus from Marion Circuit Court Judge Harry O. Chamberlain, which would have kept the prisoner from being extradited. Jackson made his petition claiming that McGuire had not been identified by his accusers and the use of questionable witnesses placing the accused in Tennessee on the date of the crime.

With a several hour head start, Sheriff Stone easily outpaced Jackson who was chasing the Florida lawman attempting to serve the writ and keep McGuire in Indiana. Stone drove unimpeded to Florida where McGuire was greeted with six charges in Volusia County, including three assaults with intent to murder.

Judge Bert Fish
Judge Bert Fish courtesy State Archives of Florida

 

The trial of John McGuire began in August 1931 in the courtroom of Judge Bert Fish, a highly respected legal mind who would go on to serve as a foreign ambassador in the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.

When the jury returned its verdict on August 17, 1931, McGuire was found guilty. When Judge Fish attempted to talk with McGuire before announcing the sentence the young man had no reply. Fish’s sentence was reported in the paper as follows

I cannot recall anytime in Volusia County in recent years when any man displayed the reckless regard for life and property that you have been convicted of showing. You said nothing in your own defense, and your case does not seem to offer anything that would amend the sentence. As a punishment to you and as an example to others it is the judgement of the law and the sentence of the court that you be confined to the state prison for fifteen years at hard labor. (3)

As defense attorneys are paid to do, McGuire’s attorneys requested a new trial, a request denied by Judge Fish. They were however provided ninety days to present a list of exceptions for the court to consider.

When appeals of the verdict reached the Florida Supreme Court in November 1932, they were denied. A request for a rehearing was also denied, sending McGuire back to the prison at Raiford to continue his sentence.

Death of Elmer Michael

Elmer Michael returned to the DeLand police force after his recouperation though it was reported at the time that Michael never returned to his old self. In February 1942, Michael was admitted to the hospital for what was considered at the time to be a non-life-threatening situation. The local newspaper theorized that over-exertion while making an arrest for public drunkenness may have led to the hospital stay. (4)

On the morning of February 17 Michael unexpectedly passed away having served dutifully for sixteen years on the force. “Mike” as he was known to many local residents and merchants left behind his wife, son, and daughter, along with a community to honor his memory.

Funeral services for the local officer were held on February 19 at First Christian Church with the Reverend Clyde Smith officiating. The local newspaper reported hundreds in attendance at the ceremony and city hall was closed during the service. Fellow police officers served as pallbearers and the local Masonic Lodge handled the burial ceremony at Oakdale Cemetery.

One week after officer Elmer Michael was laid to rest, his son, Ralph Michael was hired by the DeLand Police Department and reported for duty on March 1, 1942.

The March 2, 1942 DeLand Sun News ran a thank you notice from the Michael family for the outpouring of love and support they had received.

Card of Thanks.

We wish to thank our many friends for the beautiful flora offerings and kid expressions of sympathy expressed at the death of our husband and father.

Mrs. E.L. Michael                                                                                                                                                Mrs. Cecil Barnes* (Virginia)
Ralph Michael

Elmer Michael Headstone
Elmer Michael Headstone located in Oakdale Cemetery, DeLand
Elmer Michael Headstone Detail
Detail of Elmer Michael’s headstone including Masonic symbol

The Monument

Some of you may be wondering how I came upon the story of Officer Elmer Michael. Well, as it is for many historians, it was by accident. Often during my lunch break at work, I take a walk, partly for exercise from my desk job, and partly to see what I can find. One day recently was one of those type days.

Elmer Michael Memorial
Elmer Michael Memorial
Elmer Michael Memorial
Elmer Michael Memorial shown facing Woodland Boulevard

I was on my way back to my office, walking along Wisconsin Avenue near Bank of America and the Courtyard by Marriott when I noticed something on the other side of the street, kind of an after thought but what looked to be a piece of concrete that was out of place. I kept walking but it gnawed at me. After a hundred feet or so I just had to go back and see what this was that was located near the hotel.

 

 

 

When I got there, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There, on the sidewalk was a memorial to Officer Elmer “Mike” Michael. The memorial itself is pretty plain and the plaque didn’t give much description but it was more than enough to spark my interest and contained enough information to send me on a newspaper chase that allowed me to write the article above.

Elmer Michael monument detail
The top plaque of the Elmer Michael monument located near the corner of Woodland Blvd. and Wisconsin Avenue

In Memory of

Elmer “Mike” Michael

Outstanding Service in the

Line of Duty for the City of DeLand

DeLand Patrolman

1926-1942

 

Detail of the Law Enforcement Memorial at Historic Courthouse showing Elmer Michael's name
Detail of the Law Enforcement Memorial at the Historic Volusia County Courthouse

 

Officer Michael’s name is also included on the Law Enforcement Memorial Volusia and Flagler Counties that is located at the Indiana Avenue entrance to the Volusia County Historic Courthouse in DeLand.

Ida Maude, the widow of Elmer, lived her remaining years in DeLand. She passed away in February 1986 at the age of 97. Survivors included daughter Virginia, son Ralph, a sister Grace Lintz, and many grand, great grand, and great, great grandchildren. (5)

*As I was researching this article and printing newspaper articles, the name Cecil Barnes struck me but I couldn’t place it immediately. I knew I had seen it before. A quick search of the multiple projects I am working on turned up his name. Not only did the Michael family lose their patriarch, Elmer, in February 1942; daughter Virginia, lost her husband, Staff Sergeant Cecil Barnes, on May 29, 1944 in fighting at Biak Island in present day Indonesia. Staff Sergeant Barnes is buried in Oakdale Cemetery, DeLand. (6)

Cecil Barnes headstone detail
Detail of the headstone for Cecil Barnes
Cecil Barnes headstone
Headstone for Cecil Barnes who was killed in action during World War II

 

 

 

 

 

 

1)DeLand Sun News. November 4, 1929.

2) DeLand Sun News. November 7, 1929.

3)DeLand Sun News. August 17, 1931.

4)DeLand Sun News. February 17, 1942.

5)DeLand Sun News. February 8, 1986.

6)DeLand Sun News. June 8, 1944.

I have not included citations to every piece of information gathered from local newspaper articles. Almost all information was gathered from the DeLand Sun News. There are multiple other articles on the crime, trial, and death outlined above.

If you are interested in law enforcement in Volusia County, you may wish to read my blog post on a mural created for retired officer Francis McBride that is located in downtown DeLand, not far from the memorial to officer Michael.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

Posted on Leave a comment

In Memory: Lieutenant Jerry Doyle Blinded During Korean War

Any person who walks cemeteries for any length of time can tell you about
interesting finds. These finds do not always occur in the old sections or in
cemeteries deemed “historic.” The headstone of Jerry Doyle is certainly one of
those that demanded a look into the man’s life.

Jerry Doyle headstone located in Oakdale Cemetery, DeLand, FL

 

Jerry Doyle was born on September 17, 1928 to parents James V. and Nora C.
Doyle in the town of DeLand, Florida. He was the fourth of what would be ten
children. At the time, DeLand was home to around 5,000 residents.

Doyle attended local schools and graduated from DeLand High School in 1946, the
same year he registered for the draft. His 1946 draft card states he stood 5’ 8” and
weighed 135 pounds with brown hair, blue eyes, and a ruddy complexion.

Young Doyle was to attend classes at the University of Florida before receiving his
call to active duty with the rank of First Lieutenant, serving in the 40th Infantry
Division.

Major General Joseph P. Cleland led the 40th Infantry Division, often called the

Courtesy: U.S. National Guard. “The Sunshine Division in Korea.”
https://www.nationalguard.mil/Resources/Image-Gallery/HistoricalPaintings/Heritage-Series/Sunshine-Division-in-Korea/.

Sunshine Division, for much of the Korean War. The troops of the 40th were deployed to Japan in the spring of 1951 for training. In January 1952, the 40th relieved the men of the 24th Infantry Division. They were to serve during the hard fighting at Heartbreak Ridge and at the “Punchbowl” as the war came to an armistice in 1953.

Doyle served faithfully during the war. He was wounded severely in January 1953, during action around the “Punchbowl” when the jeep he was riding in was struck by enemy fire. Lt. Doyle lost his right eye, received a penetrating wound of the brain and a compound fracture of the skull because of the attack. A newspaper report of the time stated that in his present condition, Doyle was satisfactory. It was uncertain how long he would need to remain hospitalized and that he would be removed from his Tokyo hospital room to a facility in the United States as soon as practicable.

Doyle received the Purple Hear in recognition of his injuries.

The seriousness of his injuries led to a prolonged period of recovery. In mid February 1953, the army transferred Doyle back to the United States and he received further treatment at the Travis Air Base Hospital in Fairfield, CA. Later that year he was still hospitalized, receiving a short-term release from the VA Hospital in Hines, IL in order to visit his parents over the holidays.

In what must have been a proud moment, On June 1, 1954, James V. Doyle was
able to initiate his son Jerry into the Veterans of Foreign War, in a meeting held at
the Knights of Pythias Hall.

Jerry Doyle obituary photo

Despite his injuries, Jerry Doyle was to live a long and productive life. His
obituary touted his work with the American Legion, his love of family, and the joy he took in listening to University of Florida football games. In his obituary, Jerry is remembered as expressing no regret over his service or resulting blindness. Military service was what he had to do at the time.

He passed away on December 23, 2016 at the age of 88. Lt. Jerry Eugene Doyle is buried in Oakdale Cemetery, in DeLand, FL.

 

 

 

Sources:

DeLand Sun News. January 20, 1953; February 15, 1953; September 13, 1953;
November 23, 1953; May 31, 1954.

Historical Marker Database. 40th Infantry Division Korean War Memorial.

Orlando Sentinel/Legacy obituary.

U.S. Census 1930 and 1940.

U.S. Korean War Casualties Listing 1950-1957.

U.S. National Guard. “The Sunshine Division in Korea.”

U.S. World War II Draft Cards 1940-1947.

To learn more about the Korean War I recommend The Korean War written by Max Hastings or The Coldest Winter written by Douglas Brinkley. Both are a solid starting point for learning about the Korean conflict.




This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

Posted on Leave a comment

In Memory: Staff Sgt. William Lee Owen Brown

William Lee Owen Brown headstone, Oakdale Cemetery, DeLand, FL

Staff Sergeant William Lee Owen Brown was killed on February 10, 1968 when the C-130 aircraft he was a passenger on was hit by enemy fire as they approached the Khe Sanh airfield. The damaged plane was able to land but did not stop safely, running off the end of the runway, exploding in flames. Five of the ten passengers escaped the burning wreckage and received treatment at the US Army hospital.

Brown was born January 20, 1934 in DeLand, FL where he attended public schools. Brown  joined the Marine Corps in June 1953. He attended military photography schools at Fort Monmouth, NJ and Tokyo, Japan. His many USMC roles included that of recruiter, a drill instructor at Parris Island, NC, and at the time of his death, he served as a non-commissioned officer in charge of the First Marine Air Wing Photo Lab.

During his career Sergeant Brown was awarded multiple decorations including the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Ribbon, was a six-time recipient of Expert Rifleman awards, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat (V), Air Medal and Combat Aircrew Insignia with three stars.

 

At the time of his death, his wife Pauline (Kerr), son Hugh William, and daughter Karen Denise,

Military headstone for William Lee Owen Brown, killed in action during the Vietnam War.

Sergeant Brown was survived by his wife Pauline (Kerr), son Hugh William, and daughter Karen Denise, all of whom lived in Albany, New York. His mother Emma Lee Brown lived in DeLand. He was predeceased by his father, Robert Owen Brown.

Sergeant Brown is buried in Oakdale Cemetery, in DeLand, FL.

Sources:

DeLand Sun News

If you are interested in war time death, military burials located in Oakdale Cemetery, I invite you to read my blog post about Sergeant Adam Quinn, who perished while serving in Afghanistan.

To learn more about the C-130 Hercules, the plane that Sergeant Brown was flying in, I recommend Martin W. Bowman‘s book, C-130 Hercules: A History. To learn more about the siege of Khe Sanh, I recommend Khe Sanh: Siege in the Clouds written by Eric Hammel.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small
commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided
are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Unforgettable Headstone of Roy L. Cook in Oakdale Cemetery, DeLand, FL

Roy L. Cook flat headstone

For me, one of the joys of walking through a cemetery is that you never know what you will find. It may
be an interesting inscription, the burial of the famous or infamous, or in the case of Roy L. Cook, well,
you will see shortly. I have never seen anything like this before.

For those easily offended, please consider this your warning. Text and images below may be offensive to readers. This post is not an endorsement of any beliefs that may have been held or espoused by Mr. Cook but rather putting forth historical fact. 

In May 1931, Roy Lewis Cook and his wife, Louise B. had been visiting Atlanta, Georgia. On May 10, they
were on the trip home when Roy began complaining of stomach pains. They stopped in Vienna, Georgia
at the office of Dr. F. E. Williams. Within an hour, Cook was dead from what his death certificate listed as
“probably cardiac failure. Possibly angina pectoris. Was pulseless and in collapse when I saw him and
remained so until death 20 or 30 minutes later.”

Only 43 years old, Cook left behind a widow, Louise, and children Gertrude and Roy, Jr., who went by
the name Louis. According to local newspaper reports, the Cook family were not mourning alone as
estimates between 1,000 and 2,500 people were reported at his funeral in the small town of DeLand,
Florida.

Roy L. Cook was born in DeLeon Springs, FL, October 2, 1888 to Lewis P. and Alice Cook. His father was a
farmer and it appears that the family was highly mobile. In the 1900 census, the Cook family, including
twelve-year-old Roy, were living in Wittich Township, Arkansas.

By 1910, Roy and his young bride Louise were living in Florida with extended family. Roy was working as an automobile mechanic. In 1917 the Cooks were living in Orlando, FL. where Roy worked for himself in the firm of Cook Automobile, Co. His World War I draft registration card states he was tall and slender, with gray eyes and black hair.

The young Cook appears to have been an enterprising person because by 1920, he and Louise, along
with their two children, were living in DeLand and Roy, Sr. owned his own garage. Still living in DeLand in
1930, Roy, Sr. was a partner in the automobile dealership Cook and Rowland. Cook and Rowland was
located at 133-135 S. Woodland Avene. The business was an authorized sales and service dealer for Buick
automobiles. They were also a Vesta Battery Service Station.

Cook was still young, appears to have been financially successful, and it turns out he was a highly
influential individual as we will see.

News of the elder Cook’s demise quickly reached DeLand. His partner L. L. Rowland and an employee
only listed as Mr. Miller left immediately for Georgia to help the stricken widow. They helped arrange
for transport of the body back to DeLand where funeral director J. M. Stith was in charge of
arrangements. Stith worked in the employ of the Griffith-Stith Funeral Parlor, that at one time was
located in the building known as the Dutton House.

The funeral services were held on May 13, 1931 at First Baptist Church with Dr. I. E. Phillips of
Jacksonville in charge. Reports state the church was filled to overflowing with hundreds standing
outside. The same report estimated more than 500 cars from across Florida, Georgia, and Alabama were
at the church grounds. Newspaper reports posted a long listing of pallbearers and honorary pallbearers
including local judges.

Roy L. Cook flat headstone
Roy L. Cook headstone depicting his membership as a Mason.

You may be asking why more than 1,000 people would attend a small town funeral for a small town car dealer. The town had a population only slightly higher than 5,000 in 1930. Yes, it was true that Cook was a member of the DeLand Masonic Lodge, was a member of the Royal Arch Masons, and the Order of the Eastern Star. This would hardly account for this type turn out however. Cook had a much more sinister side in his life and his funeral brought to the public what many might not have openly known.

 

At the time of his death, Roy L. Cook, Sr. served as Grand Titan of the Ku Klux Klan of the State of Florida. It appears that local reporting had is title wrong, calling him the Grand Titian while he most likely served as Grand Titan.

Estimates place between 100 and 200 robed and hooded clansmen lining the Oakdale Cemetery driveway. They were
said to have held “drooping American flags, (and) bowed their heads as the funeral car passed.” At the
burial site, “the degree team of the Klan from Jacksonville conducted an honorary burial order.”
Clansmen from across Florida, Georgia, and Alabama attended the ceremony.

At the close of the ceremony, members from the Order of the Eastern Star placed more than 300 floral
assortments on the closed grave.

In the days immediately after the funeral Cook’s wife Louise was named executor of his estate and also
named beneficiary of all real and personal property.

Roy L. Cook Headstone
Roy L. Cook marker depicting his KKK membership

In May 1932, newspaper advertisements placed by the E.C. Tomoka Klan No. 17 Realm of Florida were appearing in the DeLand Sun News under the headline, “Klansmen Take Notice.” The announcement went on further to let the public know that a new monument was to be placed on the grave of Roy L. Cook, on Sunday, May 15 at 3:30 p.m. George P. Bryan, a monument dealer based in Daytona Beach, erected the monument.

The memory of Roy L. Cook continued to be strong in the years after his death. Members of the Volusia Chapter 186 of the Order of the Eastern Star were reported by the press to hold annual memorial services for former members. After the November 1933 service, members laid flowers on Cook’s grave.

This post is not a tribute to Roy L. Cook. While he is long gone, his memory and most likely his actions cannot be forgotten. We must fight against actions by hate groups such as the KKK. These groups have terrorized our country for too long and we must not allow them to keep doing so. The marker to Roy L. Cook, now in place for nearly 90 years, is a reminder that there is more work to be done, more justice to be fought for, more equality to be won.

To learn more about the terrible and violent history of the Klan in Florida I suggest reading The Invisible Empire: The Ku Klux Klan in Florida (Florida History and Culture) written by Michael Newton.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small
commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are
my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

Sources
Daytona Beach News Journal
DeLand, FL City Directories
DeLand Sun News
Georgia Certificate of Death
U.S. Census Bureau records
World War I Draft Registration Cards

Posted on Leave a comment

In Memory: Sgt. Adam Quinn

After a serious storm that tore through DeLand recently, I stopped to check on the headstone for my grandparents at Oakdale Cemetery. It was on this visit I noticed the headstone for a young man by the name of Adam Quinn. Quinn had served as a Corporal in the United States army and was posthumously promoted to Sergeant. He was only 22 when he died so I thought he could easily have been a casualty of war.

Sgt. Quinn’s military issued headstone
Photo: Robert Redd

Adam Quinn was born June 7, 1985 and was raised in Volusia County, FL. He and his family were active members in the First United Methodist Church of DeLand. In high school Quinn was a member of the Junior ROTC where his instructor, Gary Cornwell, described him as “…a good kid, always trying to do his best. He served in several different leadership roles, and he did well in all of them.”

Sgt. Adam Quinn
Photo courtesy Findagrave.com

Joining the army after graduating in 2003, Quinn completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. Quinn served as an automation specialist, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC. Sergeant Quinn was killed when a car bomb detonated near a vehicle he was travelling in near Kabul, Afghanistan on October 6, 2007.

Captain Eric Von Fischer-Benzon, his company commander, said of Quinn after his death, “Quinn was extremely popular and respected by his peers and superiors alike. To him, nothing was a bother, and helping out a fellow soldier or civilian was a genuine pleasure for him.”

Quinn’s numerous awards and decorations included the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist’s Badge.

In October 2014, the DeLand American Legion Post 6 was rededicated and named American Legion Adam Quinn Post 6. Volusia County, Florida proclaimed October 5, 2014 to be Sgt. Adam Quinn Day in honor of this rededication.

If you are interested in killed in action military burials in Oakdale Cemetery, be sure to take a look at my post about William Lee Owen Brown, who perished in Vietnam.

Sources: Daytona Beach News Journal Orlando Sentinel