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Documentation of Boot Hill Cemetary - Investigation of FL State Reform School juvenile abuses, USF, 2012

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UNIVERSITY OF
SOUTH FLORIDA

Erin H. Kimmerle,
Richard W. Estabrook,
E. Christian Wells, and
Antoinette T. Jackson

Forensic Anthropology Laboratory
University of South Florida
Department of Anthropology
4202 East Fowler Avenue
SOC 107
Tampa, Florida 33620
www.icfahr.usf.edu

Erin H. Kimmerle, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Forensic Anthropologist
Richard W. Estabrook, Ph.D.
Archaeologist
E. Christian Wells, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Archaeologist
Antoinette T . Jackson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Cultural Anthropologist

With Contributions by: Forensic Pathologists Dr. Laura Hair and
Dr. Leszek Chrostowski, (Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's
Department); Fire Investigators Christopher Stone and Al Alcala,
(Tampa Police Department); and USF Integrative Biology
Dr. Gordon Fox and Jamie Gluvna.

Research funded by: USF Office of Research and Innovation,
CAS Research and Development Grant and private donations
through the USF Foundation.

To Cite:
Kimmerle EH, Estabrook R, Wells EC, Jackson AT. 2012. Documentation
of the Boot Hill Cemetery (8JA1860) at the former Arthur G. Dozier School
for Boys. Interim Report, Division of Historical Resources
Permit No. 1112.032, December 10,2012.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE Sl;MMARY ................................................................. .. .......... .. .......... .. ............... 3
HISTORICAL BACKGROL~D: THE ROAD TO REFORMA TlO>; .................. .. ......... ... ................. 5
ERA OF SEGREGATION I" TilE NEW SOUTII UNDER JIM CROW .............. .. ... ........ .. .. ............... 6
CREATI:\G REFORM-STARTING A REFORM SCHOOL .............................. .. .......... .. ............... 8
RESEARCH DESIG>; A>;D METHODS ..................................................................................... 18
STRLCTURI:\G A FR.<\MEWORKFOR INTERPRETATIO>; AND ANALYSIS ..... .. .......... .. ............. 22
DEIINING TIlE CEMETERy ........................................................................ .. .......... .. ............. 23

11_ _ . • _ _ • _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ •

ARCHAEOLOGICAL FrELD RES1;LTS: GPR AND TRENCHI:\G ........ .. ........ .... .......... .. ............ .34

1_.5_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

1.

._......

.

-

..•
.

ESTIMATING TilE NUMBER 01 DEATIIS AND EXPECTED BURIALS ...................................... 47

_-------------------

5 _ _ _ Zl_ _ _ _ _ _ _ ._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ •
_1_1_-

•

...........

--------------------------------_

----------------------_

INILUE"ZA AND P"EUMONIA OLTUREAKS

•

1918 A"D 1932 ........... ........ .... ........ .... ............. 85

TRE>;DS IN MORBIDITY & MORTALITY ....................................... .. ........ .... .......... .. ............. 91
CONVICTED CASES OF HOMICIDE ....................................................................................... 93

VARL<\TlON IN REpORTI:\G ................................... .. .......... .. .......... .. .......... .. .......... .. ............. 98
RLCOMME"DATIONS lOR FUTURE WORK ............ .. .......... .. .......... .. .......... .. .......... .. ............. 99
BIBLIOGRAPHY .............................................................. .. ...................... .. ......................... 100
ApPENDIXES ...................................................................................................................... 107
A) HAIR L, CHROSTOWSKI L. OCTOBER 18,2012. EXPERT OPINION ON
MEDICAL REVTEWOF DEATHS AT THE FORMER ARTHUR DOZIER SCHOOL
lOR BOYs.
B) STO"E CM, ALCALA A. OCTOBER
INVESTIGATION.
C) Fox G, GLUVNA J. OCTOBER

15, 2012. FIRE ORIGI" AND CAUSE

10, 2012. A>;ALYSIS OF TREE RING DATING.

lntcrim Rcport on Boot Hill Cemetery 11

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

COD
DC
FDLE
FIS
GPR
GPS
]JOC

NFYDC
PRTDE

Cause and/or Circumstances of Death
Death Certi ('icate
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Florida Industrial School for Boys
Ground Penetrating Radar
Global Positioning System
Jackson Juvenile Offender Center
North Florida Youth Development Center
Prison Rehabilitative Tndustries and Diversified Enterprises Tnc.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 12

EXECt:"TIVE SU\1MARY:

This interim report provides a summary of the archaeological and historical investigation
into the creation and initial identification or graves at the Boot Hill Cemetery in Marianna,
Florida to date. The Florida State Reform School, also known as the "Florida Industrial School
for Boys" (FIS) and most recently as the "Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys", first opened on
January 1, 1900 on 1400 acres of land. Children were committed to the school for criminal
offenses, such as "theft and murder," but the law was later amended to identify minor offenses
including "incorrigibility", "truancy", or "dependency," which propelled the school to become
the largest training and refom1 school in the country at the time. Originally, the school housed
children as young as five years old, including both males and remales who were segregated by
race. Daily activities including dormitory assignments and work and school responsibilities were
dictated in the context of a system that racially classified people as "white" or "colored".
Beginning as early as 1901, reports of children being chained to walls in irons, brutal whippings,
and peonage surfaced. During the first 13 years of operation, there were more than six state led
investigations. A recent investigation in 2008-09,2009 by the Florida Department or Law
Enforcement (FDLE) into the deaths that occurred at the school, reported 81 school-related
deaths from 1911-1973. It was reported that 31 of these boys were buried on the school's
grounds, while others were shipped home to families or buried in unknown locations.
An area designated as "Boot Hill Cemetery" was established on school property in the
early days of the school. Recorded burials in this location occurred from 1914-1952. Located on
the north side or the school, the side designated as the "colored" side, the cemetery was
positioned in a small, elevated clearing immediately adjacent to the school's garbage dump (OPS
location 30° 45' 59''N, 85 ° 15' 43"W, Jackson County, Township 4 North, Range lOW, Section
4). The cemetery today is marked by 31 white metal crosses, and is surrounded by a wire
perimeter. Grave markers and delineation of the cemetery grounds were constructed in the early
1960s and again in the mid-1990s, long after the interments were made, in efforts to mark or
commemorate the burials. However, the markers do not correspond to the actual interments, as
burials were not originally marked. Very little documentation about the history or the cemetery
or who is buried there exists, and the exact locations of individual burials were never
docun1ented. Even at the time that recorded deaths occurred (dating back to 1914), multiple
investigations and reports summarized different accounts of who died and the surrounding
circumstances. Therefore, uncertainty, speculation, and folklore regarding these deaths arc
prevalent today. Many family members and witnesses believe children died under suspicious or
questionable circumstances. Given the lack or existing documentation (and the incomplete
recording of information), many questions persist about who is buried at the school and the
circun1stances surrounding their deaths.
Historic cemeteries arc among the most valuable cultural resources for documenting
community heritage, and provide an important means to understand past events. Florida Statutes
(Chapters 267 and 704.08) provide protection for them, and mandate the rights or families to
have access. Therefore, the purpose or this research project was to conduct an initial field survey
of the Boot Hill Cemetery, and research the history of the site and variables surrounding the
deaths to determine the number, location, and identity of graves to the largest extent possible.
In 2012, a pedestrian survey and mapping of the Boot Hill Cemetery along with
associated archival research on the history of the cemetery was undertaken with the permission

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 3

of the Department of Environmental Protection to accomplish the following objectives (permit
number 112.023, Division of Historical Resources):
I) Register, document, and map the cemetery as currently demarcated;
2) Identiry existing and any additional graves through multiple remote sensing and
archaeological methods, such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) and soil chemistry;
3) Research the site's history, creation, and use based on archival research and ethnographic
interviews;
4) Research primary and secondary sources to determine who is buried in the cemetery and
the morbidity and mortality patterns ort hose who died; and
5) Establish irthere was one or more burial areas at the school.
To accomplish these objectives, multiple methods were employed, including those
primarily used by forensic anthropology, archaeology, and cultural anthropology. Historical
imaging and archival research was supplemented with ethnographic interviews of family
members and lom1er students and employees, remote sensing, soil chemistry, and archaeological
excavation. Through the course or this investigation, a number or outside experts were also
consulted in the areas of forensic pathology, fire investigation, and integrative biology.
Historical imaging and archival research was supplemented with interviews of family members
and former students and employees, remote sensing, soil chemistry, and archaeological
excavation. Through the course of this investigation, a number of outside experts were also
consulted in the areas or forensic pathology, fire investigation, and integrative biology.
As a result or this investigation, a record or 98 deaths was found in historical documents,
including boys aged 6-18 years and two adult staff members. These deaths occurred between
1914-1973. However, state records regarding cause of death and school ledgers are only public
record for the years prior to 1960. Therefore the scope of this investigation was 1900-1960. For
this period, records indicate that 45 individuals were buried on the school grounds between the
years l 914-1952, 31 bodies were shipped to other locations /or burial, and 22 cases do not have
recorded burial locations. Throughout, the historical records are incomplete and ol1en provide
conflicting infom1ation. The cause and manner of death for the majority of cases are unknown.
Infectious disease, fires, physical traun1a, and drowning are the most common recorded causes of
death when a cause of death is recorded. Other mortality patterns show trends among the boys
that died including deaths following attempted escapes from the school (n= 7), a high number of
boys who died within the first three months or being remanded to the school (n=20), and
inconsistency among those who were issued death certificates. Archaeological fieldwork shows
an estimated minimun1 of 50 grave shafts in the area of Boot Hill and the surrounding wooded
area. It is possible that additional graves and/or burial areas are present given the practice of
segregation and number of cases that arc still unaccounted. Recommendations for further
research and preservation of the site arc also discussed for recognizing the historical significance
or human and civil rights issues in Florida in the area orjuvenile justice and the rights or families
to have accountability and transparency as important aspects or restorative justice.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 4

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: THE ROAD TO REFORMATIOl'i

The State of Florida opened its first juvenile center as the Florida State Reform School on
January I, 1900, which remained in operation until it was closed on June 30, 2011. The
institution was originally located on 1200 acres or land south o/'the town orMarianna in Jackson
County, Florida and grew to 1400 acres over time as additional land was purchased. From its
inception, the institution was supposed to be a "school" not a "prison", and the boys who were
co1mnitted were "students" rather than "inmates". This dichotomy proved conceptually sound
but, in practice, difficult to maintain. Throughout the school's early history a multitude of
narratives seem to contradict the "school" and "student" locus or the institution. These
contradictions resulted in many reform measures to the school itsetr, from its practices or child
labor and corporal punishment to its very name. In order to understand the nature and
circumstances of those who died at the school, it is important to understand why boys were
committed to the school, the use of a convict-lease and peonage systems of corrections rather
than prisons during this time, and the early practices of the school itself.
Originally, children were committed to the school alter criminal conviction, though this
changed to include minor offenses such as "incorrigibility" and "truancy". Additionally, many
children were committed to the school not having been charged with a crime but as wards of the
state and orphans. The school housed children as young as five years old including both males
and females. Over the course of time, the name changed as did the demographic structure of
children c01mnitted there: Florida State Reform School (1900-1913); Florida Industrial School
for Boys or FTS (1914-1957); Florida School for Boys (1957-1967); and the Arthur G. Dozier
School for Boys (l 968-201 l ).
In the beginning, the school was managed by a superintendent who reported to Board of
State Directors or Commissioners, a five member group appointed by the Governor. Chapters
4565 and 5398 of the Laws of Florida required that the Board submit reports on the condition
and progress of the school. The Superintendent also wrote reports in the form of Biennial reports
that were submitted to the Board. Only a limited number or these reports were found during this
investigation, ranging in time From 1901-1935. Demographic and f'inancial information does not
consistently appear in any detail except in a few of the recovered documents dating 1908, 1911,
1913, 1926-1935. However, the numbers of deaths in these reports are typically not the same as
listed in the school discharge and record ledgers and tend to underreport the total number.
Due to over-crowding a second campus was opened in Okeechobee in 1955. Staff from
the Marianna campus went to work at the Okeechobee campus where they instituted the same
policies and practices. An additional facility also opened on the Marianna grounds, the Jackson
Juvenile Offender Center (JJOC), which was a maximum-risk facility for children convicted of
felonies or violent crimes and together these facilities constituted the North Florida Youth
Development Center (NFYDC).
Nearly all of the documented deaths and the documented burials on the school's grounds
occurred during the FTS years (l 914-1957), which may be a reflection or availability or the
historical documents From that time for review combined with the lack or documents From earlier
periods in the school's history. Throughout this report the institution is referred to as the
"school'' or "FIS".
Until 1968, the school was segregated into two completely separate campuses or
"departments" for "white" and "colored" students. Throughout this report, the terms "white" and
"colored" are used when necessary following the documentation practices used in historical
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 5

records and the school documents consulted. Spatially, the south school was for "whites" and
was called "No. I". The north school was for African Americans and other "races" [ or students
identified as non-white] and was referred to as school "No. 2". Attendance ledgers show that for
many boys who may have had mixed ancestry or Latino backgrounds (i.e., Spanish surnames
such as Fernandez), administrators were less sure or where to place them, and would transfer
boys between the two schools. This is because race is a social construction with no biological
association that uniquely identifies one race at the exclusion of all other races. Arbitrary markers
used in an attempt to classify people by race often change depending on who is making the
decision or attempting to draw lines defining features or characteristics that place a person in
particular racial category at the exclusion or another.
ERA OF SEGREGATION IN THE NEW SOUTH Ul\UER JIM CROW

To understand the creation and development of the school, it is important to contextualize
the laws and practices at the time with regard to a lack or prisons, the convict lease system, and
segregation. Following the death or Ossian Hart (1821-1874) who served as Governor or Florida
from 1873 to 1874, gains for freedmen (freed blacks) secured after the Civil War in 1865 during
the period known as Reconstruction began to be rapidly eroded. Hart was a refom1 minded
Republican Governor who had openly opposed succession and championed rights for freedmen
to the disdain of the opposing Democratic Party. The Democratic Party during this period of
Florida's history was focused on ensuring white power and control and negating civil rights for
blacks, especially freedmen. Hart's death signaled a decline orthe Florida Republican Party and
an eventual shift in control of Florida's state government to the Democratic legislature (Brown
1997). By 1895, laws enacted by a Democratic controlled legislature in Florida as well as
elsewhere throughout the South resulted in complete oppression of blacks under restrictive laws
known as Jim Crow that mandated segregation at every level (sec: Litwack 1998; Wilkerson
f
2010 ; Williamson 1984; Woodward 1951). Kevin Boyle (2004) in his book, Arc <. Justice,
wrote:
Florida was one of the first southern states to require blacks to ride in
separate railroad cars. And the legislature made it a crime to teach black
children and white children in same classroom.
As the Democrats made it more and more difficult to be black,
whites became more and more detem1ined to assert the power or their
race. So they piled prohibition on prohibition. Blacks couldn't be buried
in the san1e cemeteries as whites. They couldn't eat in the san1e
restaurants. They couldn't ride in the front of streetcars. They couldn't
drink from the same drinking fountains. Whites also segregated their
workplaces. Blacks could be servants and farm laborers, of course, and
they could work in the turpentine and lumber camps, where most whites
didn't want to go. But whites claimed the vast majority or jobs for
themselves. They also demanded privileges that superiority conferred.
They expected blacks to step off the sidewalk when a white person
approached. They insisted that blacks keep their eyes downcast when they
spoke to whites. They demanded that blacks call them 'sir' or 'ma'am',
though they would not dream or reciprocating. They felt free to level any
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 6

insult, to inflict any injury, without fear of reprisal. Jim Crow taught the
great mass of southern whites to sec ordinary places and everyday
interactions as sacred and to protect the sacred with the profane (Boyle
2004:56).
Segregation permeated every aspect of life in Florida and throughout the US South until
the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. No understanding of the Florida State Reform
School over the course of its history can be understood without consideration of the impact and
implications of segregation, particularly those relating to criminal justice. By the end of the 19th
century, Florida did not have prisons but relied on the convict lease system to house and
maintain individuals convicted of'crimes. This system placed men, women and children together
into labor camps. Typically individuals arrested were taken to the courthouse for trial and
imposed with fines. The number of people arrested rose significantly in the later part of the l 91h
century. ln his book, One dies, Get Another, Mancini (1996) wrote: "Vagrancy was a
widespread 'offence' in the South throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,
one that frequently led to outright peonage, but in Florida it was most pervasive."
Many laws were created or used during this time, such as the vagrancy laws as a means to
obtain labor. Mancini wrote (1996;188): "Florida had 208 prisoners in January 1883, 291 two
years later... There were 530 convicts in 1895 and 1,071 by 1904. There can be little doubt that
part of the growth can be attributed to the assiduous enterprise of the labor agents whom Dutton
hired to pay the fines of vagrants and transport them to the stockades." More than 90% of these
men were African American (Mancini 1996; 189).
Local business owners from the timber, phosphate, citrus, cotton and other industries
would pay the fees or lease convicts from labor agents who had control of the individuals for a
period of time (often one year or more). The labor agent was responsible for the housing, food,
and maintenance of the individual who would work to pay off the court fees, housing, and other
expenses incurred for their care.
The business owners would ollen contract with labor agents to use this labor in their
business or subcontract the labor to other industries. Despite the men who ran the convict lease
progran1s not being sworn law enforcement, they could legally discipline convicts in their care
and even legally shoot and kill convicts that tried to escape. The convict lease program labor
camps became notorious for deplorable conditions, the spread of infectious disease, and deaths
due to brutal treatment such as flogging. ln 1899 a House investigative committee reported the
convict labor camps were "a system or cruelty and inhumanity" (Mancini 1996;19 I). One
foreman was reported to have" ... beat men that died ... some would be so badly beaten that they
could not lay on their back for weeks" (Mancini 1996;191).
Typically, deaths that occurred were undocumented and underreported. The dead were
often buried in folk burial grounds at the edge of fields without markers. ln some cases, small
wooden crosses were used.
According to Mancini (1996;193), a turning point came when a 16 year old, whose
autopsy report stated"Death from Torture", died in 1887 from a whipping received in a convict
labor camp. Public attention over this death and others at the can1ps grew as did demands for
reform and that children be taken out of the convict lease system. Calls for reform grew louder
with the publication of J.C. Powell's, The American Siberia (1891) which described the brutal
conditions of labor camps. lt was in this environment that the idea for a reform and training
school in Florida developed.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 7

CREATll\"G REFORM-STARTll\"G A REFORM SCHOOL

The Florida reform school was created through "An Act to Provide for the Locating and
Erecting a State Reform School, and to Appropriate Money Therefore" (Laws or Florida Chapter
4565, sec. I signed into law June 4, 1897). The objective in creating the reform school was to
provide a safe and productive alternative for juvenile offenders away from the convict lease
system. According to the Laws of Florida (1897, Ch. 4565, sec. 4, 108) the purpose was to
create:
. . . a reform school where the young offender of law, separated from
vicious associates may receive physical, intellectual, and moral training,
be refom1ed, and restored to the community with purpose and character
fitting for a good citizen, an honorable and an honest man with a trade or
skilled occupation fitting such person for self-maintenance.
The law called for the purchase of 350 acres of land to construct "a reformatory school for the
employment, instructions, and refom1ation orjuvenile olfonders." Section 9 or the law mandated
that only children between the ages 10-16 years who had been convicted or a misdemeanor or
felony be admitted. Sentencing was not to be less than 6 months nor more than 4 years. The
students included both males and females, white and colored children. Boys and girls were
housed together however two separate facilities were built for the segregation of the colored
students from the white students. Segregation at the school included all living, dining,
educational, religious, and work related activities and continued until the late- l 960s.
Gubernatorial candidate and State Senator William H. Milton was instrumental in getting
the institution brought to his hometown of Marianna and collected more than 1200 acres and
$1400 in donations as several towns competed to build the school in their community (Fib>ure 1 ).
The 1200 acres was substantially more than the 350 acres mandated by the State for the school.
W.H. Milton was the grandson of John Milton, Florida's Governor through the Civil War.
Combined, the Milton family gave more than $200 and 40 acres to bring the school to Marianna,
more than any other donor or family and continued to play important roles at the school in
various administrative positions for decades to come, including positions of Superintendent and
President of the Board.
The first Biennial report (Feb. 14, 1901) from Superintendent Walter Rawls to the Board
of Directors stated that there had been thirty child inmates with an average of twenty children at
a time (5 white boys and 25 negro boys and girls), with sentences ranging from 6 months to 4
years, according to the law.
In the earliest years, the school was funded by state appropriations, a $50.00/per child fee
paid by the county that sent the child to the school, as well as money raised through the farm and
business activities of the school. State appropriated funding came from the Convict Lease
Program, for example, $250/pcr inmate was provided in 1907 (Lundrigan 1975:70). Early on,
the appropriations and resources were inadequate to meet the demands or the school. This lack
or resources helped ruel numerous crises and aflected the educational, developmental, and
disciplinary practices of the school. School officials quickly began to clan10r to the legislators
for changes to the length of sentencing, determination of parole, and reason for commitment
presumably due to the financial impact these factors had on the school's funding and revenue.
For example, Superintendent Rawls wrote (1901). "The sentences of those serving six and eight
month tem1s have expired, and they were discharged without having derived any perceivable
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 8

, t
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Figure 1. Map of the Florida Industrial School property (1947). Map obtained
from Florida State Archives (Florida School for Boys, Administrative Records).
This is the only map recovered among the instructional documents that
shows a cemetery. It is pictured here at the north school.

benefit. Such short sentences do not give them much in reforming habits and building
characters. "
Subsequently, the Board of Directors, under leadership of Hon. W. H. Milton, issued a
report requesting that the law be amended to allow longer sentences and that the length of the
sentence be turned over to the discretion of the managers of the school, rather than the courts.
Another request for a legislative change came again on April 7, 1903 when Milton asked
Governor Jenkins to authorize that " .. .incorrigible children be sent, without conviction, for an
indefinite period, leaving the term to be fixed by the management (House Journal 1903)." In
both instances, these requests were honored and as a result, the school's number of enrollment
began to increase drastically. The term of sentencing also changed from 6 months-4 years to "21
years old or as determined by the court". This change in law and policy seems to indicate that
financial incentives were underlying motivating factors to create a reform school and draw
juveniles into the system.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 9

Superintendent Rawls wrote to the Board of Managers again in 1906 about low
enrollment stating that the school only had twenty inmates and that "having so few inmates
makes the crop come in slow; I fear we will not finish gathering the corn by January (letter
December I, 1906). Tn the same year (1906), Governor N.B. Broward's wrote to the State
Legislature that:
" ... we get large returns at present for the hire of convicts, we should
spend a reasonable sum of it to reform the Juvenile offenders. The needs
of the State Reform School... be made really a reform school and not a
Juvenile prison: and that such labor and work as is imposed upon its
inmates be imposed with a view oCtheir industrial training ... rather than a
means of revenue ... "
Despite this sentiment on the part of Gov. Broward, letters from Board President Milton
continued with requests for longer sentences and increasing the number of boys committed to the
school along with suggestions on how the school could increase revenue (1907 leller to Hon.
Broward): "Tr the school were to purchase a sufficient number or callie, it could run a dairy rarm
to advantage, as there would be a good local demand ... " Milton goes on to point out that there
was already sufficient goods and farm products to meet the needs of school and that this excess
could be sold for profit. In order to continue to increase the number of students at the school, the
Board of Managers suggested eliminating the $50.00 fee paid by the counties to send a child to
the school. Lundrigan writes (1975:79):
'The managers are thoroughly convinced that the $50.00 which the law
requires to be paid for the maintenance of each child, committed by the
county from which he is cotmnitted, works an injury to the school; and
advises the repeal or amendment of this section. Our reason being that the
counties have to pay $50.00 lor each child sent to the school while ir such
child were sent to the state prison, instead or being an expense, the
counties would receive the amount paid under the State Law for the hiring
out of the child as a convict, or would get the benefit of the work of the
child in county during his term of commitment, thus in the desire for the
elimination of county and court expenses of the child convicted is lost
sight or."
In the 1907 Biennial Report, the Board aq,'1les that if a child were sent to the State Prison, the
county would benefit $250.00, but under the current system the county was instead paying $50 to
the reform school and therefore had no incentive to commit boys to FIS rather than prison
(Lundrigan 1975:79).
With the elimination or the county and court rees, the number or inmates did increase
substantially. Tn 1907, there were 45 inmates (30 were colored) though 18 escaped (all colored).
By 1908, one year later, there were 102 inmates, a more than 50% increase over the prior year
(Letter from Superintendent Belch to Board of Managers, 1908). Belch further reports that at
this time there were 200 acres under cultivation and that more than $2,000.00 in profits were
made from the sale of bricks, timber, cotton and the boys' labor.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 10

Lundrigan (1975:34) wrote about the original intention for creating the school versus the
harsh reality of its practices during the first half of the century: "The intent of the lawmakers
must be presumed to have been entirely honorable. Records remaining in existence, however,
show that an enornlOUS gulf" existed between benignly worded intent and actual practice."
Children sent to the reform school continued to be hired out for labor in addition to working the
farnl and industries of the institution itself. Financially, the Convict Lease Program, which
provided a vehicle for the State to rent out inmate labor to private interests was very profitable
for the State of Florida. By 1913, revenues from the program were over $3,000,000 and children
as young as 10 years were hired for labor with adult prisoners to work in phosphate mines and
turpentine and cotton f"arnls (Lundrigan 1975).
Between the years 1903-1913, six legislative investigative committees were formed to
investigate the school and found that children as young as five years were in irons and chains,
children were hired out for labor, unjustly beaten, and without education or proper food and
clothing (Lundrigan 1975). Furthermore, throughout this time, financial and administrative
records were not well maintained at the school, persistent problems from inadequate medical
care, a lack of" educational instruction, and unsaf"e living conditions were written about in the
repeated State investigative reports. Below are a f"ew examples:
•

1903: "we found them in irons, just as common criminals, which in the judgment of your
committee, is not the meaning of a 'State Reform School' .... We have no hesitancy in
saying under its present management it is nothing more nor less than a prison where
juveniles are confined (Letter to Hon, Frank Adams, President of" the Senate Crom
legislative investigation committee, June 1, 1903)."

•

1909: The school rooms were in very poor condition and without desks; the inventory as
listed in the Biennial Report was greatly f"alsified, the President oCthe Board of" Managers
had accrued large debts and was detaining boys past the age 18 years (up to 20 years),
presumably for labor (Lundrigan 1975).

•

1911: Report of" Special Joint Committee on the State Reformatory (House Journal)
found that Superintendent Morgan "at times unnecessarily and brutally punished, the
instrument of" punishment being a leather strap f"astened to a wooded paddle".
The
committee further said the school was more like a convict canlp, without care for the
sick, poor ventilation, overcrowding, and inadequate food. They wrote, 'The Negro
School impressed your cotmnittee as being more in the nature of a convict camp, than
anything else we can think of... "

•

1913: The health conditions were very bad and one member of the Board would not
accept the Biennial report (Lundrigan 1975). Additionally, the Governor called for a
medical report which subsequently came from Dr. N .A. Baltzell, a local physician who
was hired to serve as the school's physician. In an appendix to the Biennial Report of the
Board of" Managers of" the Florida State Reform School, (1913 House Journal p. 1010),
Baltzell reported that "the general health of" the school for the entire has been unusual,
that is, excellent. Some conditions have not changed, nanlely overcrowding particularly
on the colored side." Boys at this time were overcrowded and slept two to a bed, or four
on bunk beds which only provided for "200 cubic inches of air space per boy, though the
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 11

national standard called for 600 cubic inches" (Lundrigan 1975). Baltzell's report also
stated there were 170 inmates at the school (50 were white and all male except for two
girls, and the rest were colored). He recommended that the "infirm and imbecile"
children not be sent to the school in the future as they needed special care.
As a result of the 1913 investigation, the superintendent resigned and the State
Legislature passed Chapters 6446 and 6529 which appropriated more money to the school, built
a separate school for girls, and changed the institution's name. Modifications were also made to
the dormitory on the south or white school for safety in the event of a fire. It was also stated that
the Board should "inaugurate and maintain simple and practical industrial training and institute a
system of merits/demerits and that no one shall hire out any of the boys for any purpose." (In
Lundrigan 1975). Ethnographic interviews, casual conversations, and participant observation
conducted by Lundrigan in the 1970s and by this research team between January and August
2012 revealed that, despite the mandate from the Legislature, boys did continue to be hired out
for labor well after this timeframe.
Legislative reform initiated in 1913 did not end the challenges facing the boys and staff at
FIS. Between 1913 and 1919, there were seven superintendents and more than 28 deaths among
boys. In 1914, Superintendent Bell, a convicted bank robber, was terminated following a fire
that killed that 12 people. According to Lundrigan (1975) two year priors to the fire, Bell was
convicted in Federal Court for stealing $50,000.00 from the First National Bank of Pensacola.
He was 19 years old at the time and sent to serve two years at a Training School in Washington,
D.C. Upon release, he was hired as the Superintendent of the Florida School for Boys.
According to the final coroner's report, the victims were boys that had been locked in "dark
cells" for punishment and no keys were available to release them when the fire broke out.
Several years later, in 1921 Superintendent McClane and his assistant, Mr. Garrard,
purchased hogs and land adjacent to the school using state funds, then cleared the land and began
cultivating it with child labor from the school. The timber and products from the land were then
sold back to the institution, presumably to aid with the fuel needs by the brick making plant.
Ultimately, after the State had paid them $9,320.33 for wood, both were terminated.
During the early years of the school's history, several industries contributed greatly to the
development and revenue of the institution-most notably, brick making and publishing. In
1906, the school built a brick-making machine that produced more than 20,000 bricks a day,
enough to sell throughout the community. Captain J.W. Kehoe ran the brick making business
and had been one of the original donors who gave $50 to help bring the institution to the area.
Originally, Kehoe made 60,000 soft red bricks as a "test" and found it successful. Evidence of
the brick industry is evident today on the landscape where visits to the site revealed evidence of
where clay deposits were dug on the south side of the school
(Figures 2-4). Quickly, the school reported earnings from selling
the bricks, as well as selling the timber, cotton, and the hiring out
of child labor. The school-made bricks were also used to build
many of the buildings that are still on the grounds today and were
recovered in some of the burial shafts excavated at the Boot Hill
Cemetery.
Figure 2. School made bricks were found in several of the
trenches dug in the Boot Hill Cemetery (USF 2012).
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 112

Figure 3. Overview of southern end of south school, illustrating the brick making
plant in the background (#9). Image originally published in The Light v. 3, no. 1.

Figure 4. Bricks made by students were used to construct the buildings at
the school. This building is the laundry/electoral building constructed in 1914.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 13
I

The second notable industry arose when the school bought a printing press and created its
first publication, a school newspaper called The Light (Figure 5). After the development of the
printing department, nearly all paper materials for the State government in Tallahassee began to
be printed at the school. The printing industry at the school quickly generated more than
$250,000.00 in revenue. In a letter from Superintendent Vanlandingham (July 1, 1926) on the
issue of constructing a printing plant, he wrote that it was: "First to train boys in good trades, in
order that they may leave the school prepared to earn a living; second to do all of the State's
printing at a saving to the tax payers." The school paper later changed its name to the Yellow
Jacket and on October 11, 1930 the first paper under the new name was published. The Yellow
Jacket had a circulation of more than 1700 papers and was the primary paper for the region in its
earliest years. Several important articles about the grave yard and school deaths were reported in
the Yellow Jacket, though not all deaths were reported there.
Over time, the school became the subject of numerous theses and dissertations written by
students from Florida State University who conducted research and ethnographic interviews with
employees at the school (i.e., Morris 1949,
Edwards 1968, and Lundrigan 1975). Today,
these resources have been very valuable in
providing documented first-hand accounts of
events that occurred as early as the 1914 fire
which resulted in twelve reported deaths.
These documents were created with the
approval and participation of various FIS
superintendents
at
the
time
(i.e.,
Superintendants Davidson, Dozier, and
Williams).
As such, the students were
provided access to institutional materials and
contacts well beyond what is available today.
The documents, in some cases (i.e. Edwards
1968), were transformed into training
materials for the institution. Edwards' paper
(1968) became the official narrative of the
school and was used for many decades
detailing some of the history of the
institution, although it only discusses four
specific boys who died at the school.
The narratives and specific details
about historical events printed in these
sources are the same stories repeated today
and overall have consistent themes.

Figure 5. The printing crew called "The Light
Force" (pictured left) helped create the first
newspaper, The Light, as illustrated with
some of the first editions in 1920.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 14
I

For example, one consistent theme throughout these documents is that the school's early history
was highly problematic but in contrast, by the 1940s and beyond, major reformations occurred
and the school was finally able to live up to its original intent. Reformations included: racial
desegregation and the hiring of black personnel, mental health treatment provisions, and
plans/programs for helping youth integrate into the community. Lundrigan (1975:iv) wrote
about the changes to the institution during 1946-1967, or what he refers to as "The Dozier Era":
Black personnel were hired as teachers and houseparents for the first time
in 1947; the Kiwanis Club "Marianna Plan" to help wards in their
communities began; creation of the new Division of Child training School
in 1957 also provided for the Okeechobee branch school which opened in
1959; a new "treatment approach" for emotionally disturbed boys was
adopted; and by 1966 racial desegregation was accomplished.
In an interview with Superintendent Arthur Dozier conducted by a graduate student from
Florida State University (Morris 1949), Dozier described how the school had been transformed
from a prison and labor camp into an industrial school (Figure 6). Dozier described the situation
(as paraphrased in Morris 1949) as developing many of its policies and measures in reaction to
runaways. He describes the lock-ups or "dark cells" used for isolation, bars on all windows and
doors, and armed security guards who carried guns. There was also a school jail known as the
"dark cell" where boys slept on planks without sunlight (Morris 1949:3). Dozier told Morris that
these practices were abandoned and replaced with "sticks and belts" and an individual rating
system which was implemented in 1931 (Morris 1949:4).

Figure 6. Training manual and scrapbook ("A place in the sun") was used
for publicity materials about the achievements and reformations of the school
in becoming a training center. Both found in the Florida State Archives (Florida
School for Boys, 1958; Florida School for Boys, Administrative Records).
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 15
I

Despite the overall reforms and new educational and developmental programs that were
created in the 1950-1960s, and lead to significant improvements, the school was still subject to
negative reviews from state investigative cotmnittees, congressional hearings, and public
opInIon. Reports or brutal beatings, maltreatment, and isolation continued to surrace by
employees or the school, psychologists, and politicians. In 1957, Miss Addie Summers was
hired as media relations specialist to help combat the negative publicity. Her scrapbook (Figures
7-8), is full of articles published throughout Florida and nationally from this time (ca. 19571958) and is now in the State Archives (Florida School for Boys, Newspaper Clippings). The
publicity is overwhelmingly negative with headlines such as "Boys volunteer for beatings to
work the day out", "Airing Due to Beatings or Boys at Ideals School", "Hell's 1400 Acres", and
"Spare the Rod."
In 2005 men who were former students of the school came together and began to publish
their stories about the abuse they experienced at the school and call themselves the "White
House Boys". The information and experiences they shared prompted Governor Charlie Crist to
order a special investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in 20082009. Subsequently, several investigative reports by the FDLE and later the Civil Rights
Division orthe Department oCJustice were issued:
1) Investigative Summary for the "Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys Marianna, Florida",
Office of Executive Investigations (FDLE 2009, Case No. El-73-8455). This report is an
investigation into the Boot Hill Cemetery to establish who owned the property during the
time the cemetery was in use, to identily individuals buried in the cemetery, and to
establish whether any crimes were committed relating to the deaths or those individuals
buried at this site.
2) Investigative Summary for the "Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys Abuse Investigation"
(FDLE 2010, Case No. EI-04-0005). Office of Executive Investigations.
3) Investigation of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys and the Jackson Juvenile Offender
Center, Marianna, Florida. United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division,
December 1, 2011.
The current study or Boot Hill Cemetery rerers to the first report (FLDE 2009, EI-718455), which cites some of the sanle sources listed here. According to the FDLE report, a record
of 81 deaths occurred and 31 boys were buried at the school. Through the course of the current
study, the names of additional boys who died at the school were uncovered, as were details on
many of the circumstances surrounding the deaths, the history of the institution in regard to its
burial practices, and the locations or some orthe deceased.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 16

Figure 7. Newspaper publicity scrapbook by Miss Addie Summers, 1956-1968, ca.
from the State Archives (Florida School for Boys, Newspaper Clippings).

Figure 8. Inside example of the newspaper articles about school, 1956-1958,
ca. from the State Archives (Florida School for Boys, Newspaper Clippings).
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 17
I

RESEARCH DESIGN AIXD METHODS

The historical information and demographic data summarized here comes from a number
of'sources including student theses and dissertations (Morris 1949 and Lundrigan 1975), internal
administrative documents such as training manuals (Edwards 1969) and personal letters,
discharge and inmate record attendance ledgers, legislative notes, biennial institutional reports,
newspaper articles, court documents, coroner reports, newspaper articles, ethnographic
interviews, and an investigative report by the florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE
2009, Case No. EI-73-8455).
It is common that historical documents provide information that is inconsistent among
varied sources or absent all together, and that was the case in this study. For example, it was
common for the dates of death to differ by one or several days between the attendance ledgers
and death certificates. Age and next of kin information also varied in some instances. In most
cases, historical documents were missing or incomplete. Numerous original sources about a
single event often varied, including the names and number of decedents. All efforts were made
to cross-validate data though the use of' multiple sources. When di ff'erences were found but
could not be reconciled through a third source, official sources (i.e. death certificates) were used
rather than local sources (i.e. institutional documents). In cases of major discrepancies, such as
the 1914 fire and 1918 Influenza outbreak, data from each source are explained in later sections
of the report. Beyond the challenges of working with historical documents, numerous incidents
that resulted in deaths lead to multiple investigations by the school, coroner juries, and state
officials. In many instances, each of' the investigations lead to different conclusions, including
the number of' deaths. Moreover, the school records are ofien in conflict with reports to the state
about the number of deaths. Consequently, the number of deaths and the circumstances
surrounding each incident were difficult to quantify.
florida Public Statute 267.12 regarding public lands and property rclating to historical
resources, allows the Division of Historical Resources to issue permits for excavation and
surface reconnaissance on state lands to qualified institutions with archaeological expertise. We
applied for a I A-32 permit for archaeological research at the Historic Boot Hill Cemetery in
Marianna, Florida. To comply with that application, we were given permission from the
Department of Environmental Protection to access the state lands on which the cemetery is
located.
The location of the actual interments at the school, are not known so they are treated as
clandestine burials. Background research, ethnographic interviews, soil analysis, remote
sensing, historic imaging, and archaeological methods were used to locate, document, and map
the graves and provide an analysis of who is expected to be buried at FIS and the circumstances
of their deaths. Graduate students at the University of South florida assisted in historical
research, ficld methods, and post processing of data and other materials, including: John W.
Powell, lll, B.S.; Meredith L. Tise, M.A.; Brad 1. Lanning, M.A.; Liotta Noche-Dowdy, B.S.;
Ashley L. Humphries, M.A.; Melissa A Pope, M.A.; Richard Weltz, M.F.S.; Ashley Maxwell,
M.A.; Beth Blankenship, B.A., and Cristina Kelbaugh, B.S. Fieldwork volunteers ['rom the
Hillsborough County Sheriff s Office include Dan McGill, Jason Brando, Brannon Douglas, and
Jake Becker. Several outside experts were also consulted. Three of the reports are attached in
the appendices: a) Associate Medical Examiners for District 13 Dr. Laura Hair, M.D. and Dr.
Leszek Chrostowski, M.D.; b) Tampa Fire Investigators Christopher Stone and Al Alcala; and
USF Integrative Biology Dr. Gordon Fox and Jamie Gluvna.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 18

The specific methods used in this project include the following:
1. Research for possible clandestine graves or burial areas includes analyses of historical
images, maps, land assessments, and soil analysis. These materials come From the United
Sates Department or Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service; the US Geological Survey
(USGS); the Map Library at the University of South Florida and the University of Florida;
Florida State Archives; and Google Earth©.
2. The archaeological methods include remote sensing includes ground penetrating radar (GPR)
and metal detectors. The site is mapped through the use or a Trimble 5600 Series
Reflectorless Laser Total Station (electronic distance measuring device). Ground-Penetrating
Radar (GPR) has been shown to be an effective and non-invasive remote sensing technique
for mapping and documenting buried archaeological sites, including cemeteries (Conyers
2004). GPR was used to investigate the area in and around the Boot Hill Cemetery to try to
better determine the extent of the burials. The surface geology of the area made this
investigation somewhat problematic. Clays and loamy clays attenuate or absorb radar energy
(Conners and Goodman 1994:53) making the use or GPR problematic in areas containing
extensive anlOunts of clay. However, in this case, the mixing of the subsurface clays with the
sandy loams from the surface allowed radar energy penetration to depths that allowed the
grave shafts to be clearly detected.
A Geophysical Survey Systems, Inc. (GSSI) SIR-3000 GPR system was used to collect
spatial data. The GPR configuration included a 400 MHz antenna mounted in a three-wheel
cart with distance calibration provided by an on-board survey wheel. Eight grids of varying
sizes were used to collect the GPR data. The southwest corner of each grid was the starting
point, or grid origin (0, 0). Radar data was collected at 50 em (20 inch) intervals both
diagonally and horizontally across the grid using the "Quick 3D" function built into the SIR3000 firmware. The perimeters or the grids were staked at 1 m (3.3 reet) intervals and
fiberglass survey ropes were used to establish and maintain the transect rows. A zigzag data
collection strategy was used to avoid returning to a single starting point. The GPR time
window for all grids was determined to be 60 nanoseconds (ns) and the GPR data was
collected with the gain (electronic signal enhancement) added to the raw field data.
Fieldwork lor this project was carried out over eight trips between 27 February and 16
November 2012. The crew consisted of Estabrook, Kimmerle and Wells (coauthors of this
report), and the USF graduate students and volunteers from the Hillsborough County
Sheriff's office listed above. Eight grids of various sizes were established throughout the
area to investigate the extent of the subsurface anomalies encountered. Grid A was 26 by 30
meters; Grid B was 6 by 14 meters; Grid C was 6 by 9 meters; Grid D was 20 by 14 meters;
Grid E was 14 by 12 meters; Grids G and H were 21 by 15 meters; and Grid I was 4 by 20
meters. Area F was the designation given to the area north of Grid E; this area was not
intensively investigated, so there is no "Grid F." Individual radargranls were also collected
in the area north of Grid B to further investigate anomalies discovered in this area. Grid B
and the additional "Grid B Addition" radargrams were later re-collected as Grid D.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 19

Grid location and size was dependent on the areas that were cleared. Grid direction was
dependent on the locations of the anomalies encountered. The initial grid (Grid A) was offset from the grid created by the metal crosses standing in the cemetery. Prior to data
collection, the metal crosses and metal rencing was tagged, removed, and their locations
preserved using 2-inch diameter PVC pipes cut to length. All crosses and rencing were
returned to their original locations once the data collection was completed. Grids D, E, G, H,
and I were cleared of small trees and understory vegetation by the trustees at the Jackson
County Correctional Facility under the direction of Chief Wayne Lipford. Larger trees were
allowed to remain standing. Only a very large oak tree in the south-central portion of Grid D
caused some difficulty during the data collection.
All of the GPR data grids were post-processed using GPR-Slice® software (Version 7). The
GPR data were converted from their GSSI file format, regained, and processed through a
low-pass (3x3) filter. These data are presented as individual time slices or as an animated
sequence of time slices showing how the anomalies vary by depth. In the color ramp scheme
selected, red indicates areas or greater density and blue shows areas or lower reflectivity.
Yellow and green represent intermediate density grades. Red regions on the time slices
represent locations that reflected more wave energy, and are therefore the strongest indicators
of a subsurface anomaly.
A Trimble XH-Pro GPS device was used to document the location of certain features within
or near the grids, including metal crosses, rence posts, trees, and the lour corners or each or
the grids themselves. Combining the GPS locations or these surrace reatures with the
subsurface GPR data can be important when analyzing and attempting to interpret results of
this investigation. Digital photographs were also taken of fieldwork in progress.
3. Soil analyses were used to prospect for burial locations. By physically and chemically
characterizing soils in the cemetery area, the locations or burial shalls can be determined
when compared to adjacent soils. For this analysis, the loll owing methods were used: color
determination using Munsell Soil Color Charts, soil texture analysis using the gravitation
method, hydrogen potential (pH) using digital electrodes, acid-extractable phosphate
characterization using molybdate colorimetry, and soil organic matter using loss-on-ignition.
4. Demographic data were obtained Crom the attendance ledgers, death certificates, court
documents located in the Jackson County Courthouse, and historical newspaper articles.
Copies of the death certificates issued were obtained from FDLE and provide additional
infornlation on burial location and the cause and manner of death.
The FlS attendance ledgers (both sets) are currently housed at the Florida State Archives
(.S2256, Vol. 1-7, 18-22, and 31). The years present, as rererenced in this report are based
on commitment dates. Ledgers are segregated lor white and colored boys. The earliest entry
dates for boys is 1912, though they are not systematically and fully recorded until after
March 1919 at which time a roll call was taken and an inventory was made of all of the boys
who were present or were known to have been discharged, paroled, or died. For many of the
entries, the ledger states "Not Here 3/30/1919" and it appears that those boys' whereabouts at
that date were unknown. There were two sets orJedgers maintained, the "discharge records"
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 20

ledgers which documented the names and number of boys present daily and the "record of
inmates" ledgers that provide more information about the boys admitted such as the name,
dates of admittance and discharge, dates of attempted escapes, charge or reason for
admittance, parents names, sentencing judge, and county or origin. The latest records we
were able to access were April 1960. Anything aller this date was not public record.
Statistical methods were run in SPSS 20.0©.
5. Ethnographic and ethnohistorical research including, ethnographic interview, oral history,
casual conversations, participant observation (such as site visits to the school and
surrounding town and community), mapping, creation or a database or photographs, and
archival work were carried out between January 2012 and November 2012 by USF raculty
and graduate student researchers including the coauthors of this report (Kinmlerle,
Estabrook, Wells, and Jackson) and Brad Lanning and John Powell. The ethnohistorical
methodology incorporates anthropology's use of theory as a framework for organizing data
and formulating analysis and the historic method for collecting, verifying, and organizing
relevant material. The ethnographic methodology involves the direct collection or data From
the field via observation or interactive participation with persons being interviewed.
Additionally, preparation of documentation that was submitted to the USF IRE Board for
approval was initiated by Kimmerle and Jackson with the hclp of Meredith Main, a USF
graduate student. lRB approval of the research protocol for conducting oral history was
secured. This approval will racilitate ongoing efforts to collect oral history and conduct
ethnographic interviews with persons associated with the Dozier School including persons
who attended the school, worked at the school, or had other relationships with the school
such as through fanlilial or business connections.
Although the list of persons who have been formally interviewed in conjunction with this
stage or the project is underway, it is still in the early phases. Preliminary findings have shed
significant light on power dynamics within the school system, disparities in access to
resources, job assignnlents, and education across race; and the overall social-cultural
landscape of the Dozier school and surrounding community both historically and presently.
The day to day activities, simple routines that included sleep, school, work, leisure, family
visits, and meal time all ran by the clock. Interviews with former employees and residents of
the school are starting to expand upon daily rituals, routines, and expectations. They also
show how daily routine in the case or the Dozier School served to mask other routines and
rituals such as a punishment and surveillance, which was a constant threat for all boys.
Preliminary ethnographic research underscores the difficulty in recruiting and interviewing
persons that have suffered severe abuse or witnessed such acts because emotions generated
by the shame, guilt, fear, anger, and powerlessness of such an unsettling experience are often
the primary focus orthe interview.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 21

STRUCTURIIXG A FRAMEWORK FOR INTERPRETATION AIXD ANALYSIS

This is a mixed/multi-method research study drawing upon forensic anthropology,
archaeology, and cultural anthropology to document the Boot Hill Cemetery and the former
Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys and associated communities.
Theories and methods oj'
archaeology of the contemporary present (Buchli and Lucas 2001), as well as theories and
methods of cultural anthropology, including the ethnographic method-aimed at interpreting the
present-are useful in this application. Developing interpretations at this intersection of
approaches to knowing equips future generations with dynamic and expanded ways of talking
about history. Jackson (2011) stresses the importance oj' retrieving subjugated knowledges as a
critical aspect oj' any project focused on transcending the status quo and critiquing power in the
construction of race, gender, class, and practices of criminalization and punishment for example.
Although subjugated knowledges can be found within the historical record, they can also be
embodied within individuals and communities that have typically been ignored or
disproportionately represented as peripheral (Collins 1991; Foucault 1980). Interviewing former
residents oj' the school and their J'amilies as well as former workers and others can expand
infomlation about people, processes, and daily activities at the school and challenge long-held
characterizations and reveal untold stories that could help shed light on burial sites/practices and
punishment methods that can bring closure to fanlilies and educate those in positions of authority
over youth in state custody and care presently and in the future.
Methodological questions posed by archaeologists, such as those focused on what is
sometimes called "the "archaeology oj' the contemporary past" compel scholars to uncover or
make visible what has previously been lefl out or ignored-to address the "absent present" (see
Buchli and Lucas 2001; Wilke 2001). Just as it is critical to include oral history and
ethnographic interview to reinterpret the cemetery at the former Dozier School, so too is the
importance of incorporating archaeological tools and methods that make available knowledge
that cannot be spoken-graves, building remains, tools, bone fragments, and soil samples-but
invite discussion. Going forward, the research on Boot Hill Cemetery could invite discussions
aimed at extending the dialog on race and racialization to include segregation, punishment and
reformation at the fomler Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. For exanlple, refer to
the work of Orser (2007) who uses material culture findings/excavations such as the archeology
of a crowded Irish tenement in New York, to look at the concept of racialization and to show
how itmnigrants negotiated discrimination in their new home country.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 22

DEFIIXING THE CEMETERY

One of the initial primary tasks was to determine how people used and accessed the
cemetery prior to 1960. Among the boys for whom burial location was recorded in either the
school ledgers or on death certificates, the locations are listed as: "Florida Industrial School",
"Industrial Cemetery", "FIS Cemetery", "Buried by Institution", or "Industrial School
Cemetery". However, no cemetery name or specific location for the cemetery is provided among
these sources. The first reference to the name "Boot Hill" appears in the school newspaper, The
Yellow Jacket in a 1936 article titled, "Boot Hill: Burial Ground for Those Who Were Slow On
the Draw". This article was a story about the Boot Hill cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas, and
does not reference any deaths or burials at FIS. H appears that this article may have been the
basis for the cemetery on the hill of the north compound to begin to be referred to as "Boot Hill"
by the boys who were committed to the school.
The name "Boot Hill" appears in The Yellow Jacket again in December 1947 in an
obituary written for the school peacock, Sue. Edwards (1968) also writes in regards to the
peacock and cites the obituary in his training manual for the school, "She lies on 'Boot Hill'
beside the bodies or several other orMarianna's deceased' (Edwards 1968:36). Edwards further
wrote (1968:36):
Several boys have been buried at "Boot Hill" but the most exact number
and the identification of them is unknown .... At the last count there was
31 graves there ... When the present day superintendent, Lenox Williams,
was the director or the colored campus, he had the Boy Scouts clean up
and maintain Boot Hill. He was also responsible for the making of 31
cement crosses and having them placed on each grave.
Former student Johnnie Walthour (Interview May 9, 2012), who was at FIS from 19511952, helped dig the grave or Billey Jackson, a 13 year old Afiican American boy who died in
1952. According to an interview with Mr. Walthour, he and Jackson had become fiiends in the
months prior to Jackson's death, mainly as Walthour would defend Jackson from bullies. He
stated that from the dining hall on the north campus, one could look up the hill and see the
cemetery placed on the hill top which he said everyone referred to as "Boot Hill". Access to the
cemetery was on a field road to the east ofthe dining hall, which ran North- West to the cemetery
(Figures 9 and 10). According to Walthour, access to the site was a tractor pulled cart (Figure
II). The boys would pile into the back to drive around the rarm or up to Boot Hill. Walthour
further described the cemetery as large and situated in a wide open field. He said that none of
the graves had markers but that there was a fence and gate leading into the area and depressions
in the ground's surface were observable indicating older graves.
In addition to Jackson, Walthour stated that there were two more deaths during his time at
the school that resulted in burials on Boot Hill. One funeral he witnessed when he saw people at
the burial ground From the dining hall and the second runeral he participated in by helping to dig
the grave for a colored boy whose name he did not remember. Note that we did not find a
written record of any deaths during this time other than Jackson. However, two additional deaths
and burials at Boot Hill in 1951-52 were confirmed in a second interview with a former student,
Woodrow Williams (Interview November 8, 2012) and may be evident in a photograph obtained
from the State Archives.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 23

Williams (Interview November 8, 2012) stated that he was at the funeral of Billey
Jackson and remembered him because he was small, always getting bullied and had been missing
prior to his death. Both Walthour and Williams believe that Jackson was beaten prior to being
hospitalized before his death which may have contributed to his death. Further discussion of
these interviews occurs later in this report with regard to Jackson's death.
A photograph (Figure 12) obtained from the Florida State Archives is noted as "ca. 1950s
possible memorial". Neither Walthour nor Williams recognized anyone in the photograph nor
did they remember a large crowd or photographer at Jackson's funeral. If there were additional
deaths and burials at FIS in the early 1950s as described, this photo may be from one of those
funerals.
What Walthour remembered most vividly he said was the box, a coffin in the back of the
cart coming up the hill and the men putting it into the ground at Jackson's funeral (Interview
May 9, 2012). Walthour said that there was a minister present, but did not recall Jackson's
family as present and wasn't sure if he had a family since he had never discussed them with
Jackson.

Figure 9. Picture of north department. The road going north to Boot Hill Cemetery is
positioned on the East side of the dining hall. Digital image found via the Florida
Memory Project, Image Number LC397, original transparency damaged.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 24
I

Figure 10. Dining hall on north campus from construction through modem times,
dating 1936, 1950, and 2012. Note that this is the eastern side looking towards
the west. The east side of the building was later modified when an addition and
door was added. The road going north to the Boot Hill cemetery was just east
of this end of the building, but is currently grown over with kudzu and vegetation.
Images from the Florida Memory Project, Image Number Pr24649 (top); Florida State
Archives (Florida School for Boys, Photographs, Box 2 FF 23) (Middle); and USF (2012).
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 25
I

Figure 11. "Boys riding in tractor and trailer to work in fields, ca. 1950s",
from the State Archives (Florida School for Boys, Photographs, Box 1 FF 7).
Walthour described this type of tractor and trailer as the means of transport for
farm work and access to Boot Hill Cemetery for Jackson's funeral.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 26
I

Figure 12. Image obtained from the Florida State Archives (Florida School for Boys,
Photographs, Box 1 FF10), labeled as "ca. 1950s possible memorial or funeral service". The two
witnesses who attended Jackson's funeral did recognize the people in this photo or remember
any pictures being taken. Both men said that were two other burials at Boot Hill in 1951-52.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 27
I

In a witness interview with the FDLE (Investigative Report NV-16, EI-73-8453), former
superintendent Lenox Williams states the first markers erected in the cemetery were white
cement crosses. Williams had them constructed at the school in 1961-1962 to commemorate the
burials and delineate the graveyard as a cemetery. Prior to that time, the cemetery had not been
maintained and no markers existed. The school's Boy Scout Troop was charged with the task of
making and erecting the crosses as well as maintaining the cemetery. According to Williams, the
location and number of crosses were based on "rumors of deaths and indentations evident in
ground". Williams further stated, with regard to the number of crosses, that it was "better to
have too many than too few."
According to the FDLE report, in 1980-1990s, PRIDE (Prison Rehabilitative Industries
and Diversified Enterprises Inc.) farmed this area and destroyed a portion of the cemetery during
land clearing. In 1996, Superintendent Danny Pate ordered replacement crosses and that the
cemetery be cleaned and maintained. The 1960s cement markers were then piled in a wooded
area near several large trees. Thirty-one replacement metal crosses were erected in rows to again
commemorate the graves. Note that these crosses were placed in rows where the 1960s crosses
had been (Figure 13). The crosses implemented in 1996 by Superintendent Pate are still present

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 28
I

Figure 14. Image of discarded cement crosses found during an FDLE investigation. Twenty·
eight crosses were recovered piled in a wooded area adjacent to where the markers are located
today. These images come from the FDLE report (2009).

today (Figure 14). Their locations were based on depressions in the ground and "folklore" about
the number of children buried there (FDLE 2009).
During the course of its investigation, the FDLE found two piles of discarded cement
crosses (20 yards apart from each other) 30 yards north of the cemetery. Thcsc crosses were
broken but could be reconstructed into a minimum of 28 crosses approximately 48 x 18 inches in

sizc. Tn 2008, FDLE had the crosses removed Irom the sitc. During the course of the current
investigation, additional cement cross fragments were found throughout the eastern wooded area
and buried just below the ground surraee. The earliest written documentation or the specific
location of a cemetery on the school property that we found was a topographic map (1947) and a
survey map (1952). Both of these historic maps (Figures 15) outline a cemetery (not named) on
the north campus in the area of today's Boot Hill cemetery. A small structure is evident just
north of the cemetery on the 1952 map, which was locatcd through our field investigations and is
today the rcmnants or a water pump (Figure 16).

====-====

In an interview with former employee Buddy Matthis (Interview September 25, 2012),

the northern burial ground was called "Ccdar Hill" by cmployces when he went to work at thc
school in 1960. He recalled seeing the grounds grown over by kudzu with crosses knocked over.
He helped clear the area and crect new crosses. Today, the northern cemetery is surrounded by

cedar trees. The dates of the trees are unknown. Efforts were made to date the trees by USF
biologists however dating was not possible, refer to the Appendix.

Interim Report onlloot llill Cemetery I 29

It is not clear if Boot Hill and Cedar Hill are the same location. There have been many

reports of a second burial ground, separating white and colored boys. These reports put the
burials for white boys on the south side or white school and there is a hill behind industrial
buildings with planted cedar trees on the south side. This location is the only known place on the
south campus with planted cedar trees. In contrast, many aspects of the farm on the north side
are marked by planted cedar trees, in addition to the Boot Hill location.

'0

..~o

ROAD CLASSIFICATION
Heavy-du ty,_

__

Medium-duty

o

QIMORANGl E lOCATION

</,AHC,OlANE

Ughl-duty _

<Ii ,--,,!>If:. If! lANe

Unimproved dIrt ...... ___

U_S. Route

0

_

..<~

Stale Route

COITONDALE EAST . FLA.
N3045-W8515/7.5
1952

Figure 15. Topographic map of Florida Industrial School for Boys (1952) which
marks the Boot Hill cemetery. Also note, the marker of small structure or
building just north of the cemetery.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 30
I

ligure 16. Cement slab, tiles, bricks, and plumbing confirm the presence of a water
pump in an area that was once used for animals. Location is same as marked building
on topographic map (1952) just north of marked cemetery (USF 2012).
I _ _ ._n...__ • ___.._

-.
•

.. -

-

-.---

__ In

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 31
I

_
Ovell Krell is the sister of
George Owen Smith, a boy who died and was buried at FIS in January 1941. According to Ms.
Krell, she along with her parents visited FlS in 1941, immediately following the discovery of
Smith's body under a residence in Marianna. She said that they exited the Administration
building along with Superintendent, Millard Davidson who showed them Smith's grave in small
burial ground near a wooded area to the south. Ms. Krell describes this location on the south
campus and states that there were two rows of graves in front of the woods. Smith's grave
appeared as a fresh mound of dirt at the end of the row. The burial ground had no markers or
crosses.
There was no evidence that the graves were originally marked burials, as no historic
markers, plot maps or inl'ormation about the specific burial locations have been l'ound l'or any
location including Boot Hill. In an interview with a former student the school, Philip Marchesani
(Interview June 2, 2012), he recounted having seen boxes of letters from parents inquiring about
their children, letters to the children themselves, and maps of the school stored in the chapel. He
stated that the maps were marked with two separate burial areas. In the course of the FD LE
investigation, they did obtain boxes or letters ('rom ramilies Irom the chapel however it is not
known whether such maps were recovered. Subsequently these materials have been destroyed
and are therefore not available for review.

~~~11111111· - -

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 32

Figure 17. 1948 aerial photograph of the Florida Industrial School for Boys
image obtained from the UF Digital Archive Library). The light rectangular area
and red circle is an overlaid image obtained from Cox (2008) which
highlights a marked burial area on the grounds of the south school, No.!.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 33
I

ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD RESULTS: GPRAND TREIXCHING

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) proved to be a useful and accurate tool to locate burial
shafls at this site, as was coni'irnled by soil chemistry and trenching. To display the processed
radar data, a series or 30 horizontal or plan view timeslices were created lor each grid, which
show depths from the ground surface to 2.7 m below ground surface. For all grids, each
timeslice spans a depth of roughly 13-14 centimeters (em), and the timeslices overlap each other
by 4 to 5 cm. For example, the first timeslice displays the depth from 0-13 cm, and the second
displays 9-23 cm. Therefore, both timeslices are approximately 13 cm thick, and their overlap is
4 cm. All timeslices are displayed in the appendix to this report.
The most inlormative timeslices generated lor the Boot Hill Cemetery where those
associated with depths of .92 to 1.24 m below ground surface. The timeslices above this level (0
to 0.9 m below surface) contained tree roots and buried debris, especially in the formerly
uncleared wooded areas. Ground disturbance from agricultural plowing, discing for planting
crops, and clearing vegetation was also noted in the exploratory trenches. Levels below 1.25 m
below surrace, especially Grids G and H, show clear indications or signal attenuation resulting
Irom high amounts or clay and moisture in the soil.
An evaluation of the combined timeslices from the .92 to 1.24 m levels included the grids
designated as IB 11, 12, and 13. These timeslices were used to identify subsurface anomalies
that the ground-truthing in the exploratory trenches has shown to be probable grave shafts or
possible grave shafts. As shown in Figure 18, these data indicate the presence of 35 probable
grave shalis and 15 possible grave shalis within the proposed cemetery boundaries (Table I).
There are several large anomalies along the western proposed cemetery boundary. Although
these anomalies have fairly large and reflective signatures, an exploratory trench (Trench C)
excavated in this area failed to identify any evidence of grave shafts or possible grave shafts
associated with these signatures. Rather, it is likely that those anomalies are associated with the
historical road that provided access to the site, an observation supported by the current existence
or rence posts and barbed wire marking that linear area.
The cemetery appears to be roughly 23 m (75 reet) east/west by 30 m (100 11) north/south
(Fi!,'1lre 19). The cemetery is oriented north-south with the graves oriented west-east. The
cemetery appears to have established rows, with some evidence for lanes or separations between
rows of graves. There is no indication of racial segregation or separation of the graves into
different areas, suggesting that the cemetery is not segregated by race/ethnicity. Figure 19 shows
the area north or the crosses as it is beginning to be cleared and alierwards. The red flags
represent the areas GPR imaging shows anomalies consistent with burial shalls as detected in the
field.
Table 1. Minimum Number of Burials Estimated through GPR Analysis and
Trench Data
Probable Grave Shafts
n=35
Possible Grave Shafts
n-15
Minimnm Nnmber of Grave Shafts
n=50

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 34

~ Possible_Graveshafts

•

Grid_points

<}

Metal_Crosses ~ Probable_Graves hafts

_-:=~

o

2.5

5

___ Meters
10

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 35

Figure 19. Top: Wooded area north of marked cemetery, area beginning to be
cleared to search for burials. Bottom: Flags mark areas of anomalies noted
with GPR, probable grave shafts (USF 2012).

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 36
I

The existing fencing and metal crosses do delineate the southwest corner of the proposed
cemetery boundaries. This area contained some of the most well-defined GPR reflections and
the most pronounced disturbed exploratory trench soil profiles, especially those identified in
Trench A. This suggests that the southern portion of'the cemetery is the most recent, and likely
the area most commonly associated with burials when the original concrete crosses where
installed in the 1960s.

-

• I

II

•

II

~

I -I

I

I.
I I

..

I-I

I.

1-'1 •

I.

II
II

I

!
I-I

I.

I I
I I

iiiiiiiil "Cola" bottle fragments found in Trench A, Horizon B date from ca.
early 1940s (Ellis and Wiseman, pers. comm).

Table 2. List oCTdentil'ied Burial Shalls per Trench
Trench
Dimension
Grid
A
B
C
D
E
F

G

O.Smx 2m
O.Sm x Sm
O.Smx 4m
O.Sm x 9m
O.Smx 2m
O.Sm x 2m
0.5mx2m

A
BID
A
BID
G

"umber of Burial Shafts
Observed in Soil Profiles
3
3

o
4
2

F

Outside Grid A

1

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 37

Boot Hill Cemetery
Site Map
,

f'i" AWC6

~catian

I

I
I
I

,,
,
I

,

~,

.

•...

,

•

, .

o
I

0-

•
: Marked Cemetery ~

~

I

I!
I

Trench C

!

~

Trench A

t

I

I
I
I
I
I

30.766

I

85~

I

~

••

G

,,
,

•

Mulberry
Cedar

Oak
Other Tree
Brick
Cemetery Fence
Fence Post
Oak Stump
•
Cemetery Post
;J;
GPR area

[J

*'

@P2

,

Road

...
...

AC

I

Trench
Pecan

Trenc

I
,
...-e- ..........
Trench F I

I
I
I

Mouth of RoadfTraii
GPS Coord.

I

Grid

•

Depression F

Depression
Fence

N

i<t'~
\\ ~r' I
,

I
o

J

10

20

METERS

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 138

Figure 21. Excavated Trench A, differences in soil color and stratigraphy confirm
GPR anomalies as burial shafts.

Figure 22. Bricks stacked next to burial shaft in Trench D.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 39
I

Figure 23. Close up photograph of brick fragments in burial shaft, Trench D.

Figure 24. Trench F illustrating soil profile of burial shaft and brick fragments
just below plow zone, approximately 20 cm deep.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 40
I

Figure 25. "Cola" bottle fragments found in Trench A,
Horizon B. Glass bottles date ca. 1917-early1940s
(Ellis and Wiseman, pers. comm).

Figure 26. Cement cross fragment found in Trench A, Horizon B.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 41

Table 3. List of Artifacts Retained for further Study

Item
Number
1

Type of Item

Location

Ceramic rim sherd

Trench B

2

Nail
U-shaped

Trench B

3

Wood stick
30 cm long, possible rence

Top 10 cm topsoil, Trench C

4

Glass clear, sharp edges,
3 x 3cm

Top IScm or topsoil, Trench C

5

Brick Cragment

Trench B, 149cm From South wall, IScm
From West wall, 2Scm below surface

6

White, glazed pot sherd

Trench B, 3Scm from West wall, 13gem
from South wall, 22cm depth from surface

7

White, glazed pot sherd
iron stone

Trench B, llcm from West wall, 173cm
from South wall, 3lcm from surface level

8

Charcoal

9

Charcoal

10

Charcoal

Trench B, 67cm from South wall, lOcm from
West wall, 28cm down between clay and
topsoil
Trench D, IIOcm (S-N) East wall, 43cm
deep
Trench D, 160cm (S-N) East wall, 39cm
deep and on floor

11

Small brick Fragment

Trench D, 140cm (S-N) on floor orEast wall

12

Brick area/row

Trench D, extending from West to East wall
at 4m, 18cm deep below surface

13

Small brick fragment

Trench D, on north wall

14

Glass

Trench D, on the floor below north wall,
IScm (E-W)

15

Trench D

16

Brick fragments and nails,
less than 7 brick fragments
and 3 bent nails
Brick and cement

17

Cement brick

Ground surface ornorth woods under large
oak
Pump house

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 42

1_ _
-_A variety of physical and chemical analyses were conducted on soil samples from the
cemetery to determine the extent to which observations made in the field regarding variations in
the soil profile reflect actual compositional difrerences among soils. Specifically, the soil profile
revealed a mollie epipedon with a defined A-B horizon sequence beneath Cross 7 and Cross 8.
However, between the crosses, the horizonation is not evident, suggesting some foml of
disturbance (figure 27). This observation was evaluated through analysis of six soil samples
collected from areas directly beneath metal crosses (n=4) as well as between them (n=2).
Analyses included color detemlination, soil texture analysis, hydrogen potential (pH), acidextractable phosphate characterization, and soil organic maller. II' the disturbed soil From
between the crosses is compositionally distinct from those directly beneath the crosses, then
there should be slight differences in color and pH between the disturbed and undisturbed
contexts, higher clay percent in the disturbed soils, elevated phosphates in the disturbed soils,
and higher soil organic matter in the disturbed soils. These expectations arc based on the
premise that the disturbed soil between the crosses reflects mixing or A and B horizons.
Approximately 100 g or soil were collected from defined A (.15 m below ground sur race)
and B (AD m below ground surface) horizons under Cross 7 and Cross 8. In the area between the
crosses (a mottled B horizon), where there was no definable horizonation apart from a thin,
poorly developed A horizon, samples were collected at .25 m below ground surface from mottled
soils. All samples were collected with a stainless steel trowel, cleaned with water between
sample collections. Samples were placed directly into sterilized, phosphate-free plastic bags
(Whirlpak), and transported to the Laboratory for Archaeological Soils Research in the
Department of Anthropology at the University of South florida, Tanlpa. The bags were left open
for 24 hours to air dry, and then sieved through a .002 m stainless steel mesh screen to remove
rocks and organics.
Soil color was determined with the usc of Munsell Soil Color Charts, observed in wet (1
g I I ml) conditions. Soil texture was determined using the gravitation method, where sediments
were mixed with deionized water in specialized gravitation tubes and the separates (sand, silt,
and clay) were allowed to settle at different rates. Hydrogen potential (pH) was determined on a
5.00 mg soil! 10 ml DI H20 solution using a calibrated, digital pH meter (with automatic buffer
recognition and temperature compensation).
Phosphates (P0 4 , P, and PeO,) were determined using molybdate colorimetry. for this
analysis, a 2.0 g portion was selected from each sample and mixed with 20 ml or dilute Mehlich
n acid. Samples were placed in test tubes and mixed on an orbital benchtop shaker at 200 rpm
for five minutes. The sediment grains were then filtered out of solution and into a sterilized glass
scintillation vial using quantitative-grade ashless (0.007 percent) filter paper and an acetonerinsed glass funnel. The contents of a Phos Ver 3 powder pillow were added to the solution and
agitated until it dissolved (approximately one minute), and then allowed to stand for two
minutes. A DR/890 colorimeter was used to quantiry the concentration or phosphates in
solution. Oil organic matter was determined using the loss-on-ignition method. For this analysis,
10.00 g of the sample was placed into a porcelain crucible, dried in an oven at 100°C for 2 hours
to drive off extant moisture, and then ashed in a muffle furnace for 1 hour at 550°C to incinerate
the organic matter. Weights of the sample before and after the process were compared to
determine the percentage of organic matter in the sample.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 43

Figure 27. Soil profile as exposed by the north-to-south trench, showing
horizonation beneath Cross 7 and mottled soils adjacent to it
(A = loam, B = silt loam, mottled soils = sandy loam).
The results of these analyses appear in Table 4 and Figures 28-31. The results show
slight color and pH differences between the disturbed ("shaft") and undisturbed soils ("cross"),
although these are not statistically significant (Mann-Whitney, p = .36 for pH). However, from
Figure 18, it is clear that the undisturbed soils have a much greater range of variability in pH
compared to the disturbed soils. This is understandable given that pH in this plot reflects both A
and B horizons for undisturbed soils. Soil texture does not appear to vary (Mann-Whitney, p =
.64[sand], 1.0[silt], .62[clay]), and phosphates are only slightly higher in the disturbed soils
(Mann-Whitney, p = 1.0[P04], .81 [P], 1.0[P20 S])' Again, these findings are expected, given the
mixed nature of the disturbed soils, which retain the characteristics of both A and B horizons.
Finally, soil organic matter is nearly significantly different between the disturbed and
undisturbed contexts (Mann-Whitney, p = 0.06).
Based on the results of these analyses, it is hypothesized that the disturbance between
crosses 7 and 8 likely represents the burial shaft of a gravesite. If this hypothesis is supported for
other areas of the cemetery through future investigations, then it would suggest that the crosses
do not mark individual gravesites, and that the gravesites are adjacent to the marked locations.

Table 4. Soil Analysis Results
Sample
BRC-Ol
BRC-02
BRC-03
BRC-04
BRC-05
BRC-06

Notes
Cross 8
Cross 8
mottled
Cross 7
Cross 7
mottled

Horizon Depth (em bgs)
A
15.00
B
40.00
B
25.00
A
15.00
B
40.00
B
25.00

Color
Sand (%) Silt (%) Clay (%) Texture
7.5YR3/2
46.67
46.67
6.67 loam
7.5 YR 5/8
43.33
56.67
0.00 silt loam
7.5YR3/4
53.33
33.33
13.33 sandy loam
7.5YR3/2
56.67
43.33
0.00 sandy loam
7.5 YR 5/8
46.67
46.67
6.67 loam
7.5YR3/4
40.00
60.00
0.00 silt loam

pH P04 (ppm) P (ppm) P 2 0 S (ppm) SOM(%)
6.16
378.25 123.25
282.63
2.68
6.36
584.38 191.25
437.75
4.07
6.27
507.88 165.75
380.38
1.76
6.45
248.63
80.75
187.00
4.13
6.46
178.50
57.38
131.75
3.42
6.29
244.38
80.75
182.75
2.46

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 44

.I:I P04
P

OPlO5

r
II

j

f

II..

shaft

creBS

Group

Figure 28. Boxplot comparing tex Lure (so il separates) between cross and shari so il s.
,------------------------------------, . ~

sa

o Clay

I
.....

B
Group

Fi gure 29. Boxpl oL comparing phosphates between cross and sha I'! soils
Interim Report on Boot Hi ll Cemetery 4S

."
::I

~

E3

:J:

a.

6.2

6.1

6.1

eroe.

shaft

Group

Figure 30. Boxplot comparing hydrogen potential (pH) between cross and shall soils.

,haft

eros.

Group

Figure 31. Boxplot comparing soil organic maller between cross and shall soils.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 46

ESTIMATING THE Nl:MBER OF DEATHS AIXD EXPECTED BURIALS

Considering all sources of information, it is estimated that there are a minimum of 98
documented deaths dating Crom 1911-1973 and reviewed here. Compiling a list oC boys who
died at the school is not straight lorward. Throughout the school's history there were ofien
multiple reports about various events that resulted in different conclusions and records are
incomplete. Information on the burial locations were recorded for 65 of these individuals (34
burials at the school and 31 bodies shipped away) leaving the disposition of 22 cases unknown.
Within the school ledgers, there is a record of only 49 deaths occurring at the school
including eight burials at the school; 17 cases where bodies were shipped home afler death; and
24 boys without a listed burial location (Table 5). Additional sources oC information on the
names and circumstances of boys who died include death certificates, biennial reports,
newspaper articles, letters of correspondence and legislative notes. Discrepancies were further
observed between what was written in the school ledgers and the official reports provided by the
school to the State about the health and deaths of boys. Differences in the various sources of
infomlation occurs in the majority oCthe reports and records that were recovered, including those
records related to the fire in 1914, the Influenza outbreak oC 1918, and biennial reports reviewed
from the 1920-50s.
There are at least 12 deaths that are discussed in reports to the State but the reports do
not list the boys' names. The reports, including legislative documents and biennial reports, list
the death of an unknown "colored boy" in 1911 (cause of death unknown) and 11 "colored boys"
who died in November 1918 Crom Influenza and were buried at the school. Since the reported
death from 1911 is also a case where the name oC the deceased is unknown but it is cited in the
FDLE (2009) report, we included it as well as the 1918 influenza cases in this analysis for
consistency, particularly because the burials are also described as located at the school.
The death of an "Unknown Colored Boy" in 1911 is the earliest reported date of death
among the documents recovered. No school document discusses this boy's name, cause of
death, or burial location. Subsequent Biennial reports ofien listed fewer deaths than what is
listed in the school ledgers. For example, in the 1921-1923 report by Superintendent Knight, six
deaths were reported in the summary tables. Only one of those deaths was discussed in the
narrative of the report (as opposed to appearing only in the table within the demographic tables
in the appendix) and was attributed to the Flu/Pneumonia epidemic that struck the colored
campus in November 1921 (Figure 32). However, according to the school ledgers, seven deaths
occurred in 1921, two oC which were attributed to pneumonia in March and April oC that year,
and both oCthose boys were white (Table 6). Note also the discrepancies among boys who were
issued DC and those for whom deaths were certified by a physician.
Table 5. Smmnary Data for Number of Graves at FlS by Ancestry and Date According to
Historic Records (n=98)
Buried at
Dates of Burials at
Body
Unknown Burial
Ancestry
School (n)
School (years)
Shipped (n)
Location (n)
White
16
1914-1941
15
6
Colored
18
1915-1952
16
16
Colored 1918*
11
1918 Influenza
0
0
Total
45
1914-1952
31
22
*Records indicate the 11 colored boys \\'110 died during this outbreak were buried at the school.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 47

In a second example of conflict between the deaths reported in the school's Biennial
reports and the school's ledgers, the report from Superintendent Vanlandingham to the Board of
Commissioners dated July 1, 1926 records a total of four deaths: two colored boys who died in
1925 and two more colored boys who died in 1926. However, according to school attendance
ledgers, six boys died during this time frame (Table 7) including four colored and two white
boys. Note that the deaths of the two white boys were not included in the Biennial report.
Thomas Curry was one of these boys whose death was not included in the report. Curry was a
white boy who died in 1925 after having escaped from the school. He died of blunt trauma.
Curry was not listed in the report by Vanlandingham, nor does he appear in the FDLE report
(2009). The ledgers with his name and death certificate appear in Figures (33-34). Curry was
issued a death certificate (DC) by the Coroner from Chattahoochee, L.H. Sanders, which was
certified by physician B.F. Barnes. The cause of death on the DC states, "Verdict of coroner's
jury: came to his death from a wound on forehead: skull crushed from an unknown cause". The
next of kin is listed as "unknown" but the body was shipped to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for
burial.

Figure 32. Excerpt from the 1921-1922 Biennial Report by Superintendent Knight to the
Board of Commissions (page 4) discussing the health and death of boys during this time.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 48
I

Table 6. List of Deaths in 1921-1922 as Indicated in FIS ledgers
Year
Name
Ancestry
Circumstances
Age
1921
Arthur Williams *
Colored
12
Unknown
1921
Wallace Ward
White
16
Pneumonia
1921
Guy Hudson
White
16
Drowning
1921
Sam Morgan*
White
Unknown
"Accident"
1921
John Williams*
Colored
15
1922
Schley Hunter**
White
16
Pneumonia/Influenza
1922
Calvin Williams *
Colored
15
Unknown

Date of Death
2/26/1921
3/2/1921
8/14/1921
1921
7/9/1921
4/15/1922
12/3111922

*No death certificate issued. **Death certified by Dr. Baltzell.

Table 7. List of Deaths in 1925-1926 as Indicated in FIS Ledgers
Year
Name
Ancestry
Circumstances
Age
1925
Edward Fonders
Colored
18
Drowning
1925
Thomas E. Curry
White
15
Blunt Trauma
1925
Walter Askew
Colored
12
Unknown
1926
Nollie Davis
White
15
Pneumonia
1926
Willie Sherman
Colored
15
Pneumonia
1926
George Johnson
Colored
10
Pneumonia

Date of Death
05/16/1925
12/1111925
12/18/1925
01130/1926
04/18/1926
08/03/1926

Figure 33. Record ledger entries, now in the State Archives, for Thomas Curry Note the date of
death is in the "escaped" column of the ledger and the note afterwards indicates he died away
from the institution (Florida School for Boys, Student Ledgers).

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 49
I

ou,. .

~

r --

.... -- - - ~_....._.:._I__._

-.

..

I!

......~I ~

!if ~t._9~'-

... '.a.

Figure 34. Image of death certificate for Thomas Curry.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 50

Summary of boys buried at school, shipped home or with unknown grave locations:
•

White boys/staIr buried at the school: twelve (12) burials documented in various sources
as having died in the 1914 fire. The remaining lour (4) white boys died later in 1922
(Administration of Superintendent Knight) and in 1934-1935, 1941 (Administration of
Superintendent Davidson).

•

Colored boys buried at the school: eighteen (18) documented as buried at the school,
dating 1919-1952 and an additional eleven (I I) boys were buried at the school loll owing
the 1918 Influenza outbreak. Note that records of burial locations within the ledgers
were documented beginning earlier in time (1915) for white boys than for colored boys
even though there were more colored boys at the school.

•

Bodies shipped away from school: records indicate 31 bodies were shipped home to
families including fifteen (15) white and sixteen (16) colored boys, dating 1915 -1973.

•

Unknown burial locations: twenty-two (22) unknown burial locations including six (6)
white and sixteen (16) colored boys who died between the years 1911-1935. A number
of these boys died during the recorded influenza outbreaks and may have been buried
with the others who died at these times on school grounds.

Among the boys for whom burial location was recorded in either the school ledgers or on
death certificates, the locations arc listed as "Florida Industrial School", "Industrial Cemetery",
"FTS Cemetery", "Buried by Tnstitution", or "Tndustrial School Cemetery". Tn one case the death
certificate just states buried in "Marianna, Florida" though the family was not in Marianna. No
specific cemetery nanle( s) or locations are provided nor is there a record of whether the school
used one or more burial areas during segregation. Interestingly, the burial location was
unspecified for nearly three times more colored than white boys though all unspecified burial
locations occurred prior to 1935. Furthermore, among the sample whose burial locations were
unspecified, only three (3) were issued death certificates in 1932. The three boys lor whom there
was a certificate issued all died of Tnlluenza and these deaths were certified by Dr. N. Baltzell,
the school physician. The causes of death for the remaining nineteen (19) boys are
undocumented. The specific nanles, ages, and circumstances of death by burial location for the
boys in our sample arc summarized in the following tables (Tables 8-10).

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 51

Table 8. List of individuals documented as buried at school (n=34 named, n=45 total)
Date of
Name
Age
Ancestry DC
Circumstances
Death
1111811914
Bennett Evans
Adult
White
Fire
No
1111811914
Charles Evans
Adult
White
Fire
No
11118/1914
Louis Haffin
White
Fire
No
11118/1914
Joseph Wethersby
17
White
Fire
No
11118/1914
Walter Fisher
White
No
Fire
11118/1914
Clarence Parrot
White
No
Fire
1111811914
Lois Fernandez
White
Fire
No
1111811914
Harry Wells
White
Fire
No
11118/1914
Earl E. Morris
White
Fire
No
11118/1914
Waldo Drew
White
Fire
No
11118/1914
Clifford Jeffords
15
White
No
Fire
11118/1914
S. Barnett
White
No
Fire
Leonard Simmons
13
Colored
Unknown
5/911919*
No
1211211920
Nathaniel Sawyer
12
Colored
Unknown
No
2/2611921
Arthur Williams
12
Colored
Unknown
No
411511922
Schley Hunter
16
White
Yes
PneumonialInfluenza
12/3111922
Calvin Williams
15
Colored
Unknown
No
8119/1924
Charlie Overstreet
15
Colored
Yes
Anesthesia Tonsillectomy
5/16/1925
Edward fonders
18
Colored
Yes
Drowning
1211811925
Walter Askew
12
Colored
Unknown
No
1/3011926
Nollie Davis
15
Colored
Yes
Lobar Pneumonia
4/811929
Robert Rhoden
15
Colored
Yes
Pneumonia
10115/1929
Samuel Bethel
16
Colored
Yes
Pulmonary Tuberculosis
1/511932
Lee Smith
17
Colored
Yes Traumatic Rupture of Lung
5/911932
Joe Stephens
15
Colored
Yes
Influenza
10/2611934
Thomas Varnadoe
13
White
Yes
Lobar Pneumonia
2/2311935
Richard Nelson
12
Colored
Yes Lobar Pneumonia/Influenza
212411935
Robert Cato
12
Colored
Yes Lobar Pneumonia/Influenza
3/411935
Grady Huff
17
White
Yes
Acute NephritislHernia
4/30/1936
James Hammond
14
Colored
Yes
Pulmonary Tuberculosis
7/15/1937
Robert Scinous
15
Colored
Yes
Knife Wounds
1/2411941
George Owen Smith
14
White
EscapedlUnknown
No
8/3111944
Earl Wilson
12
Colored
Yes
Blunt Trauma to Head
101711952
Billey Jackson
Colored
Yes
Pyelonephritis
13

*1918 records indicate eleven (11) colored boys died of Influenza and were buried at the school.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 52

Table 9. List of individuals who have documented burials in locations other than the school (n=31).
Date of
:-'ame
Age Ancestry DC
Circumstances
Death
1915
Scoll Martin
Colored
No
Unknown
1915
Granville Rogers
Colored
No
Unknown
Colored
No
Unknown
1915
Willie Fisher
711911915
William McKinley
Colored
No
Unknown
11125/1920
Alton Long
16
White
Yes
Pneumonia
7/2/1920
Henry Murphy
16
Colored
No
Sick/Died at Home
3/2/1921
Wallace Ward
16
White
Yes
Pneumonia
8/14/1921
Guy Hudson
16
White
Yes
Drowning
10/25/1923
George Chancey Jr.
White
Yes
Malaria
6
18
White
Yes
Escaped/Blunt Trauma
12/1111925
Thomas E. Curry
813/1926
George Johnson
10
Colored Yes
Pneumonia
15
Colored Yes
Lobar Pneumonia
4/18/1926
Willie Sherman
5/23/1927
Ernest Mobley
15
Colored
No
Unknown
10/1411928
Moses Roberts
15
Colored Yes
Malaria
10/19/1929
James C. Ansley
15
White
Yes
Fire
111711932
Oscar E. Murphy
15
White
Yes
EscapedlRun over by
Automobile
2/1111932
Lonnie Harrell
14
White
Yes
Anesthesia Hernia
15
Colored Yes
Lobar Pneumonia/Influenza
4/13/1932
Willie Heading
411411932
Sam Nipper
12
Colored Yes
Lobar Pneumonia/Tnlluenza
4/1611932
Jesse D. Denson
10
Colored Yes
Lobar Pneumonia/Influenza
5/1611932
DaryPender
Colored Yes
Lobar Pneumonia/Influenza
l3
5/4/1949
Eddie Albert Black
13
White
Yes
Blunt Trauma to Head
111311954
Clarence Cunningham
12
Colored Yes Hemorrhaging Endothelioma
112511957
George Fordom Jr.
15
Colored Yes
Endothelioma Sarcoma
4/4/1960
Robert J. Hewell
16
White
Yes Escaped/Gunshot Wounds to
Chest
9/1511961
Raymond Phillips
White
Yes Escaped/Gunshot to the Head
l7
7/1011961
Edgar T. Elton
16
White
Yes
Dilatation Heart
1965
James Lee Fredere
White
Yes
Escaped/Auto Accident
1966
Alphonse Glover
White
Yes
Drowning
3/1511966
Michael Smelley
White
Yes
Carcinoma/Died at Home
l7
Colored Yes
Drowning
1973
Martin Williams

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 53

Table 10. List ofbo:l:s for whom burial location is unknown (n=22 total, 1 is unnamed).
Date of
.'lame
Age Ancestry
DC
Circumstances
Death
1911
Unknown Name
Colored
Unknown
No
2/2811916
Sim Williams
18
Colored
Unknown
No
5/2511916
Tillman Mohind
17
Colored
Unknown
No
1916
James Joshua
Colored
Unknown
No
4/16/1918
Thomas Adkins
12
Colored
No
Unknown
10/6/1918
Lee Gaalsby
13
White
No
Escapc/U nknown
10/23/1918
George Grissam
6
Colored
No
ParoledlUnconscious
10/25/1918
Willie Adkins
13
Colored
No
Unknown
1114/1918*
Uyod Dutton
14
White
No
Unknown
1116/1918*
Ralph Whiddon
16
White
No
Unknown
1116/1918*
Hilton Finley
16
White
No
Unknown
1118/1918*
Puner Warner
16
White
No
Unknown
ca. 1918*
"Reported Died of Flu"
Wilber Smith
10
Colored
No
2/12/1919
Joe Anderson
17
Colored
No
Unknown
1921
Sam Morgan
White
No
Unknown
"Met Death by Accident"
7/9/1921
John H. Williams
15
Colored
No
1214/1924
Clifford Miller
15
Colored
Unknown
No
4122/1932
Archie J. Shaw Jr.
12
Colored
Influenza
No
4/2111932
Lee Underwood
16
Colored
Yes Lobar Pneumoniaiinfluenza
4/22/1932
Fred Sams
15
Colored
Yes Lobar Pneumoniaiinfluenza
4/10/1932
James Brinson
12
Colored
Yes Lobar Pneumoniaiinfluenza
3/16/1935
Joshua Backey
14
Colored
Blood Poison
No
*1918 records indicate eleven (11) colored boys died ofInfluenza in November and were buried at the school.
The other Flu related deaths at this time may be buried at the school as well.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 54

It is unknown why the burial locations for twenty-two (22) boys are undocumented

between 1911-1934. Since school records prior to 1919 were incomplete as discussed elsewhere
in this report, it is unknown whether there were more deaths that occurred prior to this time.
However, based on the mortality structure orthe sample and the number orboys that died in the
subsequent years, it is highly unlikely that there were not additional deaths prior to 1919.
By January 1919, there was a record of 28 deaths within the school records or 16 if the
fire victims are excluded as that was a single mass fatality incident and not indicative of the
average mortality rate. During the subsequent nineteen year period, 1919-1936, there were 44
more deaths indicating the death rate rose 2.7 times.
To account for differences in the size or the student population, given the increasing
number or students at the institution, the mortality rate was calculated (enrollment statistics are
provided in Lundrigan 1975). On January 3, 1920 there were 102 white boys and 211 colored
boys at the school. Up to this date, there had been a total of n=427 white boys and n=705
colored boys cotmnitted to the School (n=I,132). By 1960, these numbers rose significantly. By
January 6, 1960, there was a total n=336 white boys and n=326 colored boys at the School,
though many more had already passed through the institution: white boys (n=3,53I ), colored
boys (n=II,743), or a total or n=15,274 had been committed to date. Note the difference
between the number of white and colored boys.
In 1919, the percentage of deaths was 2.5% (2811132) or slightly less if the fire victims
were excluded (1.4% 16/1132). However, the total frequency of deaths among the student
population by 1960 was 0.62% (77/15274), which suggests that even as the student body grew in
size the rate or death did not and therefore, the rate or death increase observed between 1919 and
1936 may be an artiract or under-reported deaths prior to 1919.
Interestingly, several administrations had a higher number of deaths occur and also had
the highest numbers of unknown burial locations which may be indicative of changing
operational practices or administrative policies over time. During the administrations of
Superintendents McClane, Boone, and Davidson there was a combined total of 41 deaths, 19, or
46.3%, or which did not have recorded burial locations.
Superintendent M.S. Knight was elected to the position by the Board or Commissioners
August 18, 1921 and served in that position until April 8, 1926. He had been employed at the
Florida State Hospital (fomlally the Florida State Hospital for the Insane, which opened in 1876)
in Chattahoochee. His daughter (Ola Robinson) and son-in-law (George Robinson) worked at
FIS before and after Knight's tenure. Robinson was a farmer and supervisor and is listed on
some or the death certificates as "undertaker" though he held different jobs and was brielly the
Superintendent as well, following Knight. Note that there are several names which appear on the
death certificates as informant or undertaker. Those listed as informants tended to be
administrators and the undertakers, when it is listed as FIS, tend to be other employees who
worked the grounds or in farming such as Charles Mayo or George Robinson.
During Knight's tenure as Superintendent, nine (9) boys died. Six were buried at FlS
(one white boy and five colored boys), two were shipped home and one was not documented. Tn
1922, Schley Hunter, a 16 year old white boy died and was buried at FTS. This is the first
recorded burial at FlS since the 1914 fire and occurred under Knight's leadership of the school.
As a point of comparison, the State Hospital which Knight worked at prior to FIS also
had a large cemetery and its own mortuary. The State Hospital has a 27 acre burial ground
divided into five cemeteries which is further organized into divisions, rows and plot numbers.
The divisions are segregated by sex and ancestry and are contemporaneous but segregated for
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 5S

white women, colored women, white men, and colored men (Hunt 2012). The divisions were
often delineated by roads and fences, although today many have been disturbed by development.
In a St. Petersburg Times story (AUGUST 16, 1976) titled, Florida State llo5pital cemetery:
'Jiicient. anonymous. the burial practices 01' the State Hospital are outlined which is a use luI
comparison l'or the practices at FIS:

CHATTAHOOCHEE - FIOtida State Hospital has enough need for an
nndertaker to hire one fnlltime. The hospital has its own mortuary, fulltime
funeral director, mortician and grave yard. The coffins are made on the hospital
grounds. So are the tomhstones. The graves are dug by inmates trom the nearhy
River Junction state work camp. There are about 6,000 graves at the cemetery 27 acres on a hilltop a couple of miles from the city. There is no sign, no official
name and the gate is usually locked. The graves are of Chattahoochee patients
who died over the past 45 years. Most of the tombstones carry no names, but a
number that has meaning only to the few hospital officials with access to
confidential patient files. The stigma associated with mental illness led to the
confidentiality and numbers - not names - on the tomhstones. The coffins are
made from medium- grade pine in the hospital carpentty shop, lined with white
muslin stapled to the inside walls and painted hattleship gray. Ilospital officials
have become highly efficient in disposing of their dead. One or two graves are
always ready - even though there may be no body that particular day for them.
When one grave is filled, another is dug a foot away. There are 6,000 graves at
the cemetery - 27 acres on a hilltop. 11,ere is no sign, no official name and the
gate is usually locked. Several dozen tombstones are neatly stacked in a work
shed. Families of the patients can arrange bmial or leave it to the state, says
ti.meral director Leonard Ilerring. There is no charge to the family, although it
can voluntarily pay about $170. Last year, 216 patients died at the hospital. So
far this year, 105 have died. About one third of them are buried in the hospital
cemetery. There is a small chapel at the hospital morgue. Services can be
arranged if the families want it. "We do it however they want," Herring said. "We
just try to please the family. Most people seem real pleased. We get lots of
letters." Funerals arc held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because that
works out best for the prison labor, he said. The chaplain calls shol11y after 8
a.m. on each of the days to see if there are to be any funerals.
Given the practice of segregation at the time and the standard operating practices of the
State Mental Hospital from which Knight came, it seems unlikely that Knight would have buried
Hunter (a white boy) among rows of colored boys. In 1924, Clifford Miller, a 15 year old
colored boy, died 01' an unknown cause. Miller was also one out 01' nine boys that died during
Superintendent Knight's administration. His death is the only one during this time that does not
have a record of where he was buried, nor was a death certificate issued. Two other colored boys
(Willianls and Askew) also died under Knight's tenure from unknown causes of death and were
not issued death certificates. In all of the other six cases, either Dr. Baltzell or the coroner, L. H.
Sanders, provided a cause of death and issued death certificates. This includes Thomas Curry
who died oCblunt trauma aller escaping.
The only other documented cases 01' white boys buried at FIS occur later during the
administration of Superintendent Davidson in the years 1934-1935 (Thomas Varnadoe and
Grady Huff) and in 1941 (George Owen Smith). In two of the three cases, the fanlily members
of Smith and Varnadoe have provided interviews through this research project and both stated
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 56

they were shown burial areas outside of the Boot Hill Cemetery. In 1941, Superintendent
Davidson personally showed the Smith family a grave on the South side or white school (refer to
discussion on possible multiple burial areas), thereby demonstrating that the burials were not
integrated and that multiple bunallocations existed.

._-----

-

The first death certificate that was issued in 1920 was certified by Dr. N.A. Baltzell, a
local physician also employed by the school. After 1920, DC were not issued in 12 cases,
including 2 white boys and 10 colored boys ranging from the years 1920-1941. Among boys for
whom DC were not issued after 1920, only 4 have a cause of death listed in the ledgers,
including fire, flu, trauma and blood poison (Table 7).

a short time, that the bodies had to be reCrigerated until the coffins
1975)_

---

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 57

•

•

=-:======~-::-===

- -

George Owen Smith was 14 years old when he was sentenced to FIS for "auto theft" on
9/20/1940. According to his sister, Ms. Ovell Krell (Interview 2012), George escaped
from the school and was caught and returned. In a letter he sent his family he said that as
a result "he got what he had coming". Subsequently, on November 23, 1940 (Florida
School for Boys, Student Ledgers: Vol. 4) he ran away again. On 1124/1941, his remains
were found under a house in Marianna. A coroner's inquest and the sheriff's office
responded. The cause and manner of death are unknown. There was no autopsy nor a
death certificate issued. According to school authorities at the time, Smith was not
autopsied because his remains were too decomposed.
Superintendent Davidson, school employee Arthur Dozier, school physician Dr.
Whitaker, the coroner, and sheriff's deputies examined the body. Identification of
Smith's remains was based on dental records, the school uniform he was wearing, and the
visual recognition of his hair by Mr. Dozier who stated that the hair found on the corpse
looked like Smith (Jackson Courier 1941).

an article titled, "Youth Body
Found, Burial Here Friday" by the Jackson
Courier (Vol. XIV, No.3, 1941) about Smith's
death, it stated that the costs of transp

Figure 35. George Owen Smith playing
harmonic, ca. 1940.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 58
I

Jt.O,n IDA iJl,NJ)USTRil:AL S(;~ OOL }IUD BOY,
~DA

..~,BlI

. - , !\[[)

fAl\~.HA. !R.Qll'IQA

Jan Q-r y

~

B '" GQ Qr go;:!
~tlb~.l;l·l"Jda e~,

194

• .. ~ .i
Flo- ida

to ackno::l

T'i1i5

,~

d~~

e(j;1~

t

i~L

~rour

I G-'te l" of

ot'

(!:~nt d.a -~ ':I'1:"i tten -;-:1 th l'ijlg-::.rd t-o you
s on,.
-e
nd. to :...d 'Vis a
t .so fa:... t·: ~ h.a V~ b~ , 'in ilma blQ
l'lo9'n ,'"
..::! inform;;!;. ion c once r ning' his '.l - 1'", a bou.ts I'
.'0. g ~ t

:.a

o

e

to ·e i n tQuc- ~ i it ' ~ro, u just as
abl e t Ol locate Georgi? and i n thG ~~n­
'. i l l ppl'e c , ~ te yottrr noti · _ in.g US 1. e Lately
e ii:: ,1ve any :~·o I'd, from or c,oncC'I:'ning l.11.m+
g l Q!.d

",-'!e ar-~

v 'ry

s.ir. ce :r.02- ty :,rours"

~.d. 7 _·~
'1

11 1,t!.'rd

llids on

s'Upe1' _'n ttilnd.;;n t

Figure 36. Letter to Smith family about George O. Smith having gone missing from
the school. The letter is signed by Superintendent Millard Davidson.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 59
I

Sf. 11!uke's iEpistllpul ClIl,urt!J
Yen. V. G. Lowery, R. dor

MAIIlANNA. FLORIDA

January 35th, 1941.

RECTORY
212 We.l Lafoyett. Stz•• t ··

Mrs. George W. Smith,
Auburndale, Florida.
My dea.r Mrs'. emi tli.: -

,r

well the love and 4evot10n 'of a mother's heart, I
would 11ke 80 muoll tb be able to send. you 8ome',word of oomfort and oonsolation in this hOUr of your, great BorrOW. The .orrow in 1tsel! 18 hard.
enough, but to MY. to be- 80 !&r a.wa,,; from your boy a.nd lIt&ve everYtb1ng
to the oare and a~rangement of str&ngers, makes it doubly hard.
Xn.w1~

11'0'" that very reason I a.m an:X1ou8 to send you thi8 word of
assuranoe that Mr ' Millard Davidson did all 1n his power to provide a
8uit&ble and Ohr1 sian burial for your son George. Mr. D&Tiaaon and all
those in authorit '&11 the Flor1da Industrial Bohool for BOY8 feel th1s
moat unfortunate ~pening .,err deeply, and 1t never would han oocurred
had it been, in th ir powel' to pl'event U.
; ,

Fi
Superintendant of
1n Marianna, and
influenoe both he

st, I would 11ke to tell you that Mr. Dav1dSon, the
the Boy's Sohool, i8 an of!ioer ,in the Ep1soopal Ohuroh
lv88 muoh intere.t and work in ,qarry1ng on this Ohristian
_ and, als. throughout the Stat.' ~

I~

':

Seoond, that While he W&8 waitlng ;for your looal Presbyterian
Minister to talk w1th you and Mr. Smith about th~. tragedy and to repG~t
baok to him, he oa11ed me out to the Bohoo1, told me how troubled. he W&.8
about thi. untimely end to George'. life, how .orry he telt for you all, an4
that he wouldn't l'aTe ha4 1t happen for anything .! All sorts of investigations were oarried ' )n. and all day hs kept try1ng :to figure out just how 1t
oould haTe happu' 1.. Every now and then he would refer to ' Geo~ge '. parents
and how hard a bl " it DlUst be to you a.ll. H1aki"nd.eet thpughts and ooncern
have oertainly bet 'n tor you in the 1088 of youtboy.
Being Mr . Davidson's Pastor, and also haTing a fairly good
knowledge of the School and '-the fine work they alte doing for 80 DI&n7 ot the
boya in our State 1 ' I readily agreed to oonduot a lburia.l 'ssrvioe for , George.
At about 3t30 o'olook Friday afternoon, the 34th,f' I oonduots' the burial
servioe for Georg., in the presenoe of Mr. Davidson and members of' the statf ,
It was in the Burial Plot of the School. that is 'kept nioely oleane4 and
oared tor, and will be looked after in the years to oome. Bo please know
your son'. last rites were tenderly and oonsiderately performed.
j

I iruet this letter may bring you 80me measure of oomfort,
for I oa.n assure you, you haTe the sinaere sympathy ot the members ot the
etatt a.t the School and our best oitiaens here in Marianna.
May God bless, help and oomfort you is my sino ere prayer
for you and your8.

/~

~

'a1"A~
!~~
Rfm'T.'I r.

-,

Figure 37. Letter to the Smith family from the rector at St. Luke's Episcopal Church
regarding the burial of their son at the school. The letter was sent to the family
after they attempted to claim his remains.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 60

on !U.'rl .... al

_

'1I 1 .me ad\'1sed iI:1ie}' lhad llot I'll!od",edi my [ rot r" is Ib dy
WiLd knew · otm~Q abol.l1; tb . inm ion, '. y pa ~s £UlJfi: m'i.\lcnt OlIIU@ CIl1i _
' 0 and ~ l
into Mr. David " oftk He ~o~d us hI.!: ,' rd! no rec:t::i\Jc IIDy callI from th . mi "st a

sc

L

o Q'il) ' b~~ ·· ·· b~d beeD 'buried (. .' moon bef'o-re Ol!ll,' ani ~ Oddly.. it \lIM he '.•
day he w. found . . lie was bm'ied fit 3,:3Op.nl., wit \ " OUI ' IlJf his being funnel
'~lc.I~[

ed

ma . ill d no~ evet'll been I!mbm.lmod-inl~ (~ . ~l

.' G,

W re ' el

:d1.OWfI a ~h p' Le of dlrt"o

c:elif f: '. al'!.d '. '" 'lli1dl ilihllt 'WlI:fI wh~' .ElilY brotJt. w
burled. .nibrtJil.lla.t ly~ my parents d)[d nM Mve tiEl; mcan.'j. 'W _ye h ' oodly KCil\'medJ
dl ' 0 ,"" I to our ' me towm so' \\ e 'had w' leave hdm b "ed

Figure 38. Excerpt from the letter sent by Ms. Krell to the FDLE in 2008
about her brother's (George Owen Smith) death and what she was told occurred
the night he ran away from the school.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 161

---_.._-_.8-10

-

••••••
...• • • _
•
died after
having escaped from the school, and in two cases boys were paroled locally and brought bac_

~"::!!=======·ii================~==~iiii==========ii~i~

i

-.
•
- --..--.

-

•••••

-.

-•

...s:::
:::I

o

U

...

Year of Death

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 62
I

Ancestry
White

"Colored"

15.0

0 .0

Frequency

-

-

Frequency

.

•_.
•
Additionally,
both Schley Hunter and George Grissam had been paroled to local men when they became ill and
were returned to the school for medical treatment, although it was too late in these cases and both
boys died .

•
Report (January 1, 1921, through January 1, 1923, Biennial
Report of the Florida Industrial School for Boys written to the Board of Commissioners
of State Institutions), the boys were paroled locally and on October 23, 16 months after
arriving at FIS, George was brought back • • • • • • • • • •

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 63
I

•

•

Schley Huuter was admitted when 11 years old on 6/12/1916 and died over 5.5 years
later on 04/15/1922. Hunter was charged with Delinquency and sentenced to FIS until
"21 years old" from Lafayette County. He was paroled on 8/3111921 and later "Returned
4114/1922, very ill, rever 104", and subsequently died the next day. The death certificate
was certified by Dr. N. A. Baltzell, the FTS physician who stated Pneumonia was the
cause of death. Hunter was buried at the school cemetery.

iiiiiiiiiiii .iiiiiiii

Like George Chancey, a high number of boys died a relatively short time after arriving at
FIS (Table 11). Data on the date of admission was present for 64 cases, among whom, 20 or
31.2% died less than 90 days afier arriving (20/64). Among these, 8 actually died within the first
30 days (nearly 40.0% or this group). Within this group, all but five were issued death
certificates and two were autopsied. According to the death certificates: 7 boys died of
infectious disease (pneumonia, tuberculosis, or malaria); 4 boys died of the result of trauma
including gunfire and blunt trauma; one boy died following surgery, two from drowning, and one
from pylonephritis. Without death certificates, the causes of death for the remaining children arc
unknown. Note that originally the law stipulated incarceration between 6 months and 4 years
but, as discussed earlier, this was changed afler school leaders lobbied ror ways to increase the
number of boys sent to the school. Three boys died after four years of incarceration at the school
(>1460 days) ineluding Bethel (1929), Hunter (1922), and Morgan (1921). Bethel and Hunter
died of infectious diseases; the cause of Morgan's death is unknown. Figures 41-42 illustrate the
trends of mortality upon entering the school.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 64

Tablc1!. Boys that Died Less than 90 Days after Arriving at FIS (n~20).
Numher
Date of
DC
Circumstances
Name
Age
of Days
Death
Issued
Thomas Aikins
12
44
4/16/1918
Unknown
No
Leonard Simmons
13
29
5/09/1919
No
Unknown
3/211921
Wallace Ward
16
Yes
Pneumonia
9
Guy TTudson
16
30
X/1411921
Yes
Drowning
15
41
12/31/1922
Yes
Unknown
Calvin Williams
George Chancey
6
23
10/25/1923
Yes
Malaria
Thomas E. Curry
IX
25
1211111925
Yes
Esca~e/B1unt trauma
Walter Askew
12
23
12/18/1925
Unknown
No
Willie Sherman
15
20
4/18/1926
Yes
Pneumonia
Dary Pender
13
38
5/16/1932
Yes
Lobar pneUlllonia/influenza
Following anesthesia for a
Lonnie Harrell
14
24
2/11/1932
Yes
surgical operation
Traumatic rupture of long after
Lee Smith
17
68
1/05/1932
Yes
falling of a mule
13
34
10/26/1934
Yes
Lobar pneUlllonia/anemia
Thomas Vamadoe
Robert Cato
12
31
212411935
Yes
Lohar ~neumoniaiinfluenza
James TTammond
14
43
4/3011936
Yes
Pulmonary tuherculosis
George Owen
14
64
1/24/1941
Escape/Unknown
No
Smith
Head injury,
Earl Wilson
12
X/3111944
Yes
72
blows to the head
Billey Jackson
13
1010711952
Yes
63
Pylone~hritis
Escape/ "Gunshot wounds in
Robert Jerald
16
13
4/411960
Yes
chest inflicted by person or
Hewett
persons unknown"
Alphonse Glover
10
Possible Drowning

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 65

Mean =348.47
std . Dev. = 438.182
N = 62

30 .0-

>(,)

20 .0-

s::::

GI
::::J

c-

...GI
II..

10.0-

0.0

6

560

10~0

15~0

20bo

1

25 00

Number of Days in Custody

Figure 41. Frequency of days in custody from date of admittance to death.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 66

A ncestry
. V\lhite
I
"Colored"

i5

6-

....

§
o

4-

U

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9 10 11 13 14 16 17 22 29 31 33 48 63 66

Number of Months in Custody

Figure 42. Number of months in custody from the date of admittance to death by
school group. The dashed red line is the 48 month mark which was the original
maximum term set by the legislature for sentencing that was later changed to 21
years old, or the discretion of the Board of Managers.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 67
I

Other examples of boys who died shortly after arriving at the school include:
•

Guy Hudson was a 16 year old white boy who was committed to the school on
7/15/1921 and subsequently ran away three times: July 18 th _19 th , 21 st_22nd , and 27 ili
(caught the same day). Each time, he was caught and returned to the school. On the third
attempt, Hudson appears to have run away with three other boys. One escaped and there
is no record of him being caught or returning to FIS. The other two boys were paroled a
year later. Hudson drowned 18 days after returning to the school, only 30 days after first
arriving to FIS. His body was shipped home to his father for burial, according to his
death certificate.

•

Alphonse Glover died 10 days after arriving at FIS. Very little is known about Glover as
his death occurred in 1966 and the school and death records for him are not public record.
In the school training manual, Edwards wrote (1968;46), "On August 13, 1966 student
Alphonse Glover's body was found at the bottom of the swimming pool. He had been at
the school only 10 days at the time of death. No one ever found out what had happened."
It is unknown at this time if he was autopsied or presumed drowned. The cause and
manner of his death are unknown.

•

Thomas Varnadoe at age 13 years was admitted to FIS along with his older brother,
Hubert from Brooksville, Florida (Figure 43). They were charged with "malicious
trespassing". Thomas died 34 days later on 10/26/1934. According to the death
certificate, he died of pneumonia with a possible contributing cause anemia. Varnadoe's
death was written about in the school newspaper, The Yellow Jacket ("Thomas Varnadoe
Claimed by Death" The Yellow Jacket, November 3, 1934, Vol. V, No.3). The article
states that he was in poor health for many years prior to his death and that the funeral was
well attended by a large number of administrators and boys from the school. The family
of Thomas Varnadoe, including their surviving brother (Joseph Richard Varnadoe) and
nephew (Glen Richard Varnadoe), who is Hubert's son, were both interviewed through
the course of this project (Interview
September 4, 2012). The Varnadoe family
disagrees with the account written in the
school's Yellow Jacket. They state that
Thomas was a healthy child and that his
death came as a devastating shock to the
family who was notified a week after the
funeral about his death. Hubert, who was
still incarcerated at the time, later told his
mother that a minister, a grave digger, and
himself were the only people at the funeral.
He further told his brother Richard that
Thomas was buried near a large tree on the
school grounds.
Figure 43. Image of Hubert and Thomas
Varnadoe (age 3 years).
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 68
I

According to the school newspaper, Dr. C.B. Toombs, Pastor of 1st Presbyterian Church
of Marianna officiated the funeral. Over the years, various members of the Varnadoe family
attempted to contact administrators about Thomas' death and visited the institution on different
occasions in order to visit Thomas' grave, though administrators could not actually show them
his grave as the graves were not marked. On one visit, a school employee showed Glen
Varnadoe the Boot Hill cemetery along with a second location and told him that based on time
when his uncle died he was likely buried in a different location than the main burial grounds.
Figure 44 shows the average yearly number of boys incarcerated plotted against the
number of runaways. Data on the number of students and runaways comes from Lundrigan
(1975) and begins in 1914 though school opened in 1900. Overall the trend for substantial
inmate growth at the institution is evident. Many of the dips in the number of inmates follow
events that also resulted in higher mortality rates. For example the population size decreases in
1915, 1921, 1927, early 1930s, and 1968-69. These dates are also notable because they follow
the fire of 1914, several infectious disease outbreaks, and the end of segregation and corporal
punishment (late 1960s).
It is documented in legislative notes for periods that followed such events, and at times
when the institution was over capacity and had more boys than resources to care for them,
measures were taken to drastically reduce the number of boys such as releasing mass numbers of
boys home to their parents, paroling boys for labor at nearby farms and businesses, or
transferring them to other institutions. Legislative documents at different times from 1918
through the 1950s state boys were released in mass because the school lacked resources to care
for the sick or was too over-crowded. However, several examples are provided where the Board
attempted to release a significant number of boys at various times, upwards of 80-100 boys at
once but families could not be located as the boys were dependents.

~

800

-60 .00

"'tJ

.,01)

III

>0

n

01)

III

...0

...:::s

\

II-

600

40 .00

0
....,

;0

GI
..Q

I:

E
:::s

...:::s:::E

}

z

...

'<

III

\t1
400

"-20 .00

/\

\

\

I

/

III

200
1910

\-

\

\

.00
1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

Year

Figure 44. Number of total students over time plotted against the frequency of escapees.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 69
I

Table 10. List of Boys that Died Following Escape
Date of
Name
Age
DC
Death
10/611918
Lee Gaalsby
13
No
Thomas E. Curry
15
12/11/1925
Yes
Oscar Elvis Murphy 15
101711932
Yes
George Owen Smith 14
1124/1941
No
Robert Jerald Hewell 16
4/411960
Yes
Raymond A. Phillips 17
9115/1961
Yes
James Lee Fredere
1966

(n=7).
Circumstances
Unknown
Blunt Trauma
Hit by Car
Unknown
Gunshot Wounds
Gunshot Wound
Auto Accident

Superintendent
Fulford
Knight
Davidson
Davidson
Dozier
Dozier
Williams

Following the Influenza outbreak in 1918, there are numerous ledger entries that state
"Mother Carried Him Home". Whether or not these boys survived their illness once they were
home is not known. There is one ledger entry later in time (1920) that does indicate Henry
Murphy died after being furloughed home due to illness however his exact illness and the
specific circumstances are not known, no death certificate was issued and the assumption is that
he was buried at home by his f'amily.
•

Henry Murphy was a 16 year old colored boy who was admitted to the school on
10/23/1919. Murphy was sentenced for incorrigibility for a term of one year. Almost
immediately afier arriving at the school he ran away on 111111919 and then returned
twenty-eight days later. The circumstances of' his escape are not known. The ledger
states "Died at home, furloughed to mother because sick". His home was Palm Beach
and according to school records he died on 7/211920, less than a year after first being
committed to FlS.

The discharge ledgers provide a detailed accounting of'boys on a daily basis with a head
count, including who was "received" or admitted to the school, "runaway", "returned",
"paroled", "furloughed", "discharged", or "died". The record ledgers also list dates of escapes
and returns to the school. Based on the record ledgers, data for runaways was surveyed but was
so prevalent it was beyond the scope of this analysis to summarize. However, seven cases were
found in which boys escaped and died (Table 12). Records indicate that among our sample, 17
or 26.5% had escaped at least once. Five of' these boys had escaped more than once and were
returned to the school. Within these cases, ten (10) boys are white and six (6) boys are colored.
In addition to Smith who was discussed previously, these boys also died after running away:
•

Lee Gaalsby was a 13 year old white boy who was committed to the school for
delinquency on 4/2611918 From Hillsborough County. Gaalsby ran away on 10/611918
and died that day From an unknown cause. The ledger only stated that he escaped and
died. There is no record of the cause of death or location of burial.

•

Thomas Curry was a 15 year old white boy who died on December II, 1925.
According the school ledger, Curry was admitted to FIS on 11112/1925, twenty-nine days
prior to his death. He had been sentenced to FlS for Delinquency from Dade County,
"Until Further Notice by Court". He ran away from the school on December 10. The
ledger entry states, "Killed on RR Bridge Chattahoochee, Fla." His death certificate
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 70

states the cause of death resulted from blunt traunla, " ... verdict of coroner [L. H.
Sanders, Coroner1: came to his death from a wound to the forehead, skull crushed from
unknown cause". The time listed between injury and death, according to the death
certificate is 30 minutes, and is certified by Dr. B.F. Barnes ('rom Chattahoochee, FL.
His location or death was River Junction, Gadsden County. His body was shipped to
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for burial by an undertaker in Chattahoochee.
•

Oscar Elvis Murphy was a 15 year old white boy who died November 7, 1932. Murphy
died afier escaping from the school. This was Murphy's third attempt to run away, the
first time he returned by his own accord. However, the third escape shows no return date.
The ledger states, "deceased died 10/7/1932 as result of auto accident". Murphy had been
committed to the school for incorrigibility on 6/1 0/1932 for a period of "Until legally
discharged". According to the death certificate, Murphy is buried in Oak Grove cemetery
outside Wauchula in Hardee County. He was accidently hit by a car which fractured his
right hip, the duration or the illness as listed on the DC states 2 days. He died in the
Wauchula Tnfirmary.

•

Raymond Alex Phillips was a 17 year old white boy who was cotmnitted to the school
4/17/1961 for larceny from Alachua County until "legally discharged". Phillips died on
9115/1961 afler his second attempt to run away. Phillips first ran away 8114/61 and was
returned on 9/9/61. Phillips again escaped on 9114/61 and died the next day due to a
gunshot wound to the head. An Alachua County Sheriff's deputy shot Phillips who was
apparently ruil1ling away from him during his escape. It is reported that the deputy tried
to fire warning shots over Phillips' head when he was struck.

•

Robert Jerald Hewett was a 16 year old white boy who entered FIS on 3/22/1960
(Fi!,'1lre 45-47). The FIS ledgers confiml that Hewett was admitted and then on March 25
was temporarily released to the Jackson Hospital. He returned to PIS the following day
on March 26 and then on April 2, he ran away. The ledger and death certificate indicate
he died two days later on April 4. All ofthis information comes from the daily ledger, as
the record ledgers far this time are not public record. Hewett's death certificate states the
manner or death is "unknown" and the cause or death is "gunshot wounds in chest
inflicted by person or persons unknown". Hewett was buried in Cypress Baptist Church
next to his mother who had died two years prior. Witness accounts about the
circumstances surrounding Hewett's death report that he was found shot with a 12 gauge
shotgun. According to witnesses at the time, authorities believed Hewitt cotmnitted
suicide but did not perf'ornl an autopsy or investigate the death. However, his family
believed that he was shot by someone who came looking far him fallowing his escape.
No other infomlation including a coroner's report, court records or police incident reports
could be located through this investigation.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 71

In a report obtained through this study from forensic pathologists (Hair and Chrostowski
2012) who reviewed Hewett's case, they stated the following (refer to appendix for full
letter:
Hewett's death certificate is incorrect by today's standards: once a
person dies due to gunshot wound( s) inflicted by another person, his
manner of death is classified as homicide, i.e. "death from hands of
other person, regardless of intent". Such classifications do not
indicate "murder", "manslaughter" or other variations, which are of
interest to the judicial system rather than medical examiner.
Examination of RJ. Hewett's remains is recommended because if
there was skeletal trauma, it would be possible to learn about the
projectile trajectory, shedding a light on possible circumstances of
the incident.

) .$16 0
~.j16~

1 il

?

(>

Ll .1/60

Figure 45. Discharge ledger, now located in the State Archives, showing entries
for Robert Hewett who ran away and died in April 1960 (Florida School for Boys,
Student Ledgers: Vol. 22).

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 72
I

Figure 46. Image of Robert J. Hewett's death certificate.

Figure 47. Hewett was buried next to his mother who preceded him
in death. He was buried by his father who had a death certificate issued.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 73
I

Billey Jackson and Michael Smelley are not listed with the boys who died while running
away from the school as no record of escape was listed in the school ledgers however the
circumstances surrounding their deaths were reported by witnesses. People who knew these two
boys have reported that they had run away ('rom the school and were caught and returned to the
school. Tn both instances, witnesses state they believe the attempts l'or escape contributed to the
boy's deaths. While there is a significant amount of data in the ledgers regarding escapes, it was
not always recorded. For example, the first attempt of Smith to escape was not listed in the
ledgers however correspondence between him and his parents, as well as information given to
local newspapers following his death by school administrators, stated he had in fact escaped
twice.
•

Michael Smelley was a 17 year old white boy who died 3/15/1966. His death certificate
indicates he died of "carcinoma of the spine and lungs" about a year after his second
incarceration at the school. Witnesses allege he was beaten severely following an
attempted escape and that immediately alierwards he was unable to walk (Montgomery
2009). Several days later he was admitted to the Rail'ord prison hospital and later
transferred to the Health Center at the University of Florida. Smelley had a history of
"carcinoma" and prior to entering FIS in 1965 had a tumor removed from his spine. In
spite of this, and the fact he was slightly mentally disabled, he was again sentenced to the
school after allegedly stealing comic books and candy (Montgomery 2009). During
Michael's first commitment when he was 12 years old, there is no record 01' escape. The
files l'or his second commitment at the school are not public record and therel'ore not
available for this study.

Following Michacl's death, his family obtained counsel who tried to investigate whether
the alleged beating contributed to Smelley's death. In Montgomery's 2009 investigation,
he posed the question as to "". whether a blow or multiple blows to a spinal tumor could
aggravate the tumor or cause paralysis or even accelerate the spread 01' the cancer and
lead to early death?" (Montgomery 2009). Based on the questions and search for answers
by the family and the fact we included other boys who died off the school grounds due to
attempted escapes, furloughs or transfers, we included Smelley in this study and review
of Smelley's case by forensic pathologists Hair and Chrostowski (2012, refer to
Appendix l'or the lull review):
The acceleration of the spread of a neoplasm by beating in not likely and
very speculative. The hospital records available from the University of
Florida does not indicate trauma. Our conclusion is that Smelley died a
natural death, due to malignant neoplasm. This of course docs not
exclude a possibility ol'being beaten; however, i I' a beating occurred, it
cannot be linked with this person's cause 01' death.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 74

•

Billey Jackson was a 13 year old colored boy who was admitted to the school on
8/8/1952 for theft and running away from home. Billey was charged and sentenced to the
school with 16 year old Oscar Dixon. The boys were sentenced to "12 months or until
legally discharged". The ledger entries stated "Deceased" for Jackson and discharged to
mother on 4/2111952 for Dixon. Jackson died about two months after arriving at the
school on 10/0711952 at the Jackson County Hospital (Fi!,'1lre 48). His death certificate
states he died of "Pylonephritis" and the onset equaled 10 days. An autopsy was
performed by Dr. Whitaker, the school's physician, although no copy of it could be
located during this study. According to forensic pathologists who reviewed this case
(Hair and Chrostowski 2012, refer to attached report in Appendix):

Pyelonephritis is a foml of ascending urinary tract infection, which may
affect one or both kidneys. It is usually associated with urine retention,
and can indeed be fatal. The obstruction of flow initiating the pathology
may result From a congenital condition, e.g. inadequate valve mechanism
at the junction orthe ureters and the bladder, or obstruction orthe ureter(s)
due to urolithiasis, i.e. kidney stones, or trauma.
Two witnesses (Johnnie Walthour Interview May 9, 2012 and Woodrow Williams
Interview November 8, 2012) stated that Jackson was "beat real bad" and "punched in the
stomach" about two weeks prior to his death aller attempting to escape From the school for the
second time. According to Walthour, Jackson escaped From the school twice and both times was
caught and punished. Several days later, his stomach was distended and when Walthour asked
Jackson what was wrong, he stated that they had "beat him real bad this time". Several days
passed but Walthour had not seen Jackson and so inquired as to his whereabouts. Walthour was
told that Jackson was in the hospital. About two weeks later, he learned Jackson died and that he
would help dig his grave. Walthour and several fellow students piled into the back or a tractor
drawn cart and rode up to "Boot Hill" where they proceeded to dig Jackson's grave. He stated
that Jackson was buried in a coffin and that a minister and the few boys who helped dig the grave
were present. Walthour did not remember family present at the funeral.
In a second and entirely separate interview, Woodrow Williams also described Jackson
and his funeral. Williams stated that a number of boys were present at Jackson's funeral which
was located up on Boot Hill. He said that the burial ground was a large open field alongside a
wooded area and that likely 30-40 depressions could be seen in the ground Crom prior burials.
Williams said that he knew Jackson had run away and believed that his beating caused his death.
Williams stated that at the time people did not openly talk about the death or what happened but
that they knew he had been missing before he died. Also consistent with Walthour, Williams
stated that there were several funerals in the years 1951-52 but the reason Jackson stood out was
that he was so small and always had been picked on combined with the ract he had been missing.
Neither Williams nor Walthour recognized the photo obtained Crom the state archives or a
funeral ca. 1950s. If there was more than one burial in the early 1950s it could be possible this
represents a funeral other than Jackson's.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 7S

C£RTIF~.A~ OF 1D.~1l.;f
, r 't 0 I. ~ .A

Figure 48, Image of death certificate for Billey Jackson,

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 76

._ ...

_--

...

The most significant events that resulted in a high number of fatalities include the fire of
1914 and several outbreaks or infectious diseases in 1918 and 1934. The first record or any
burial at the Florida Industrial School are newspaper articles and a telegram regarding the 1914
fire in which the dormitory on the south campus burned down (Figure 49). During

.. -

•

-

••

~~--------------

-

.thnographic interviews conducted by Lundrigan (1975) describe the fire and events following it
with regard to the deaths and burials of the fire victims and
I.

-.

.•

•

----Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 77

Figure 49. Dormitory identical to the one that burned in 1914, located on the North
School (photograph comes from The Light 1921, Florida State Archives).

--

(Lundrigan 1975).

-

II

-

State Archives (The Light 1921,

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 78

--

---

-

-

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 79

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 80

Figure 50. Newspaper article listing casualties in 1914 fire, reprinted
from the FDLE investigative report (2009).

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 81

.,
'

Figure 51. Newspaper article listing casualties in 1914 fire,
reprinted from the FDLE investigative report (2009).
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 82

•
•

....

--~============;;==; ;;~.

crowded into the dorms" where they stayed until a new
dormitory was built (Lundrigan 1975:106).

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 83

-

· not
coroner's report lists 2 starr and 8 boys as deceased, including S. Barnett, whose name does
appear in the cited newspaper report. The names or rire victims diller among the various reports.
The coroner's report does not list Parrot or Haffin as decedents, but Haffin's name does appear
in the Idaho Statesman as a casualty of the 1914 fire. Likewise, FDLE does not list Haffin or
Barnett though they cite the Idaho Statesman where Haffin's name docs appear (Table 12).
Table 12. List or Possible 1914 Fire Casualties and Source (n~12)
Name
Source and Comments
Bennett Evans*
Charles Evans •
Cli fford Jeffords

Earl E. Morris'·

Harry Wells
Joseph Wethersby

Louis Fernandez

Waldo Drew

Walter Fisher

Louis Haffin
Clarence Parrot
S. Barnett

Coroner Report (1914)
Idaho Statesman (1914)
FDLE (2009)
Coroner Report (1914)
Idaho Statesman (1914)
FDLE (2009)
Coroner Report (1914)
Idaho Statesman (1914)
FDLE (2009)
Coroner Report (1914)
FDLE (2009)
Coroner Report (1914)
Idaho Statesman (1914)
Telegram sent to Mrs. Fred Wethersby
FDLE (2009)
Coroner Report (1914)
Idaho Statesman (1914)
FDLE (2009)
Coroner Report (1914)
Idaho Statesman (1914)
FDLE (2009)
Coroner Report (1914)
Idaho Statesman (1914)
FDLE (2009)
Idaho Statesman (1914)
Idaho Statesmen (1914)
FDLE (2009)
Coroner Report (1914)

* Both are adults (father & son employees of school).
** The Board of Manager report states Morris ran away.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 84

IIWLl:ENZAAND PNEl:MOIXIA OUTBREAKS

1918 AND 1932

The Influenza outbreak throughout the region in 1918 was devastating and the school was
especially alTected. The conditions or the school Crom this time were described in several
accounts. Dr. O.W. Klock a state physician who assisted with caring ror the sick boys issued a
report about the condition of the school which prompted a state investigation and a response
from the school's physician, Dr. N.A. Baltzell at the request of the Board.
According to Edwards (1969), in October of 1918 Dr. Brevis was an attending physician
and stated that, "he had found conditions bad, that all boys in the Negro quarters except 21 were
sick, that they had no assistance in two days and that he was the only physician ... the hospital
had been set up in the Dining hall". It was noted that the white students had escaped the
epidemic as they had been quarantined. The dire conditions, large number of boys who were ill,
and the lack of school administrators and staff to care for them led to the state investigation. In
an interview with Rhyne (1968, In Lundrigan 1975: 110), Lundrigan wrote:
Dr. Baltzell ... made hurried trips to the Rerorm School late one night to
'see about the boys,' alier spending a long and tiring day caring lor the
influenza victims in town. At School No. 2 he found sick colored
inmates ... lying about on the floor in total darkness.
According to Lundrigan, the adult staff of the school abandoned School No.2 and the colored
boys lor rear or contracting the illness which leli them without electricity or care lor days at a
time. The State Board or Health sent Dr. O.W. Klock to assist at the school. Klock reported the
dire situation he found which was later recounted in the Tampa Tribune (November 2, 1918 in
Lundrigan 1975:111):
... conditions at the school are very bad; sewerage imperfect; no sanitary
rules at all; screens broken; fleas by the thousands. There were thirty five
cases or pneumonia and lack or medicine and lack or proper nourishment,
no linen, boys lying under wool blankets, naked. With dirty husk
mattresses on the cement floor. .. The condition was one of filth, body lice,
improper food and no bathing ... The Superintendent has not seen a boy in
four weeks according to attendants. The dinner of the well colored boys
... was hoe cake and bacon grease thickened with flour. The dinner or the
white boys was rice and bacon grease gravy. One boy said he was flogged
for refusing to cook peas full of womlS and that meat sent to the boys was
kept until spoiled and then fed them and they all were sick.
Lundrigan (1975: 112) cites the Report cf Committee cf Physicians on Conditions Growing Out
(f Trjluenza Epidemic (1918:422), which states that "on the colored campus, out or 264 cases or
influenza among the boys, there were only II deaths. These were Negro boys and although 68
out of 69 white pupils were afflicted with the malady, none died as a result."
On November 6, 1918, the Daily Democrat published a press release from Dr. Baltzell,
"Reform School Not Quite So Bad as Represented". This press release was sent to various
newspapers in response to the claims made in Dr. Klock's report about the poor conditions ofthe
school. Through this letter, the timeline and list or liltalities orboth white and colored students
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 8S

are confirmed. Baltzell states that the outbreak began about three weeks prior to November 6,
1918. In total he says that there were 264 cases of inmates who were sick including both white
and colored boys in addition to the staff. One female staff member died and the entire operations
oCthe school were rendered incapacitated as a result oCthe outbreak. Tn response to the specific
details in Klock's report, Baltzell states that the sanitary conditions orthe school were always in
poor condition and generally lacking, the screen doors were in need of repair (although he never
noted any fleas) and found that most boys came to the school in need of medical care. He too
reported that the students were in great need of clothing, sanitation, and bed linens.
Both reports by Klock and Baltzell arc in stark contrast to the data listed in the school's
ledgers, which indicate only lour colored boys died or either non-Ilu related causes or From
unknown causes and lour white boys died or unknown causes between November 4-8. or the
eight docunlented deaths that occurred in 1918 according to the school ledgers (Table l3), one
death was in April, not October-November when the epidemic struck and one additional nanle
appears to be among those who died in the 1918 outbreak, although the death was not recorded
until a year later and no specific date of death is given.
Wilbur Smith appears in the 1919 roll call or the record ledger which states, "Reported
to have died with Flu", however no year or date is given. Smith likely came to school in 1915
based on the placement of his name in the ledger which is generally chronological, but no date
for admission or death is recorded, nor is the location of his burial listed. Thomas Aikius was a
colored boy who died in April of 1918. The other deaths occurred in late October and early
November. Willie Adkins, another colored boy, died October 25, several weeks ahead of the
lour (4) white boys who all died within lour days. The separation or dates among colored and
white students alTected may have been the result or segregation between the dormitories. Based
on the dates four deaths occurred within one week, November 4-8, which is consistent with a flu
outbreak. Additionally, three (3) deaths occurred after Baltzell reported a total of six (6) deaths
for a minimum of nine (9) fatalities. The Biennial report states the entire "colored" campus was
ill with subsequent problems with sanitation, although all of the deaths in November were white
boys. Tl may be that the Ilu spread Irom the colored to white side or the campus, during this
time. However based on the description or the conditions on the colored campus, one would
have expected a higher nunlber of deaths anlOng colored than white students. It is also not
known if the deaths were the result of the flu or other illnesses associated with the subsequent
sanitation problems.
In an interview with Donald Vickery of Marianna, Florida (July 12, 1972), Lundrigan
reports that Vickery's rather was the head or the Colored Department during the 1918 epidemic
and that the "bodies or the dead Negro boys were stored in the Relormatory's ice house while
waiting for coffins to be built for them in the school's carpentry shop" (Lundrigan 1975:112).
According to this interview, the eleven colored boys who died were buried at the "Boot Hill"
burial ground (Lundrigan 1975: 113). Figure 52 is an image of the school's carpentry shop ca.
1950s (Florida School for Boys, Photographs, Box 2 FF 15).
To cope with the situation, boys were immediately paroled home and no new boys were
accepted. The Board tried to parole 100 boys to relieve overcrowding but the children did not
have known fanlilies and were dependents of the State and thus had nowhere to go. It is also
around this time that ledger entries such as "Mother carried him home" occur indicating some
boys were paroled home ill, though the specific circumstances of these cases are not known.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 86

Figure 52. Carpentry shop at school No.1, ca. 1950s, from the State Archives
(Florida School for Boys, Photographs, Box 2 FF 15).

Tables 13. Deaths Listed as Occurring in School Ledgers for 1918
Runaway
Date of
Circumstances
Name
Age Ancestry
Death
Thomas Aikins
12
Colored
4/16/1918
Unknown
No
Lee Gaalsby
Runaway,
Unknown
White
10/6/1918
13
Died
George Grissam
Colored
10123/1918 On Parole
Chronic Gastritis
6
Colored
10125/1918
Unknown/Likely Flu
Willie Adkins
13
No
Llyod Dutton
14
White
1114/1918
Unknown/Likely Flu
No
Unknown/Likely Flu
Hilton Finley
16
White
1116/1918
No
Unknown/Likely Flu
16
White
1116/1918
RalJ2h Whiddon
No
PunerWamer
16
White
1118/1918
Unknown/Likely Flu
No
10
Colored
Unknown *
Wilbur Smith
No
"ReJ2orted Flu"
*Smith's name appears in 1919 with a reference to having died of flu, however no date is provided. The
cases marked as "likely flu" is based on the dates of death and corresponding description of fatalities in
physician's reports, but no actual cause of deaths are recorded.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 87

Of the eight documented deaths in 1918, according to school ledgers none have a listed cause of
death other than Grissam who was a six year old boy. Grissam, along with his eight year old
brother were paroled, but then returned to the school gravely ill. The information about
Grissam's cause of' death is described in the FIS Biennial report (January I, 1921, through
January I, 1923, Biennial Report of'the Florida Industrial School lor Boys written to the Board
of Conmlissioners of State Institutions) but not in the ledgers which only states "Died" (refer to
the earlier discussion of Grissam's death). The date and circumstances of his parole are
unknown although he had been at the school sixteen months prior to his death. Based on the
timing, general circumstances and descriptions in the physician's reports, it is presumed that
Adkins, Dutton, Finley, Whiddon, Warner and Smith all died orthe Ilu or inf'ectious diseases
associated with the outbreak and its consequences.
•

Puner Warner was sentenced and admitted to the school with two other boys, all three
ran away together (Jas McKnight and Lenox Grayson) and were returned to the school.
McKnight later went into the Army and Grayson was paroled a year later. There is no
inlornlation as to Warner's cause of' death, but based on the timing it is likely related to
the Influenza outbreak.

A second catastrophic outbreak orTnlluenza occurred in 1932, during that year there were
a total of 12 deaths (nine of which were attributed to Influenza and subsequent Pneumonia).
Three other boys also died in 1932 but for other causes (Table 14). Death certificates were
issued for 11 of the 12 boys that died. No death certificate was issued for Archie Shaw. Death
certificates for nine of the boys list Influenza, with a contributing cause of lobar pneumonia and
the duration of' the illness ranged From 4-9 days. The circumstances surrounding the other deaths
during this year include accidently killed by a mule (Figure 53), anesthesia during a hernia
operation, and run over by an automobile after running away from the school.
•

Archie J. Shaw Jr. was a 12 year old colored boy who was committed to the school lor
larceny on 8/2/31 along with three other boys Irom Hillsborough County. Approximately
eight months later he died on April 22, 1932 during that week there were several other
Flu related deaths. Shaw was not issued a death certificate and his death was not
certified, but the entry in the school ledger states his death was related to the flu
epidemic. His burial location is unknown. The other three boys were paroled back to
Tampa about a year later.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 88

Table 14. Deaths Related to Influenza, Pneumonia, and Other Causes in 1932
.'lame
Age Ancestry
Date of
Circnmstances
Death
Lee Smith
Colored
01/05/1932
"Accidently killed, mule ran away"
17
Death certificate states died of
ruptured lung.
Hernia, died in surgery
14
White
2/1111932
Lonnie Harrell
Influenza, lobar pneumonia
J ames Brinson
4/10/1932
12
Colored
Influenza, lobar pneumonia
4/13/1932
15
Colored
Willie Heading
Influenza, lobar pneumonia
4/14/1932
Sam Nipper
12
Colored
Tnfluenza, lobar pneumonia
10
Colored
4/1611932
Jesse D Denson
Tnfluenza, lobar pneumonia
Lee Underwood
4/2111932
16
Colored
Presumed Influenza
Archie J. Shaw J r. *
12
Colored
4/22/1932
Influenza, lobar pneumonia
Fred Sams
4/22/1932
15
Colored
Influenza, lobar pneumonia
Joe Stephens
15
Colored
5/09/1932
Influenza, lobar pneumonia
Colored
5/16/1932
DaryPender
l3
Escape/death
certificate states he
Oscar Elvis Murphy 15
White
101711932
was run over by an automobile.
*Cause of death is presumed based on tinting of death, however Shaw \vas not issued DC nor was his death
certified, as the other cases were at this time.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 89

---------0--------I

it ~ Colored
Lo es Life In
n

On FarlD

of Tue day, J nath f Lee Smith,
n
ar old c lor d b y, which
,b ut thr u h an
ident while
r Inaking tb or way from
fi Id during th dinner hour. Th
on on of tw mules
w n ·e slipp d off
tch' ng hi :f ot in the
h
unable to
ga a lurch
furth r

Figure 53. The institutional newspaper, The Yellow Jacket (January 16, 1932,
Vol. II, No.8) contained this article about the work related death of Lee Smith.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 90
I

TRENDS IN MORBIDITY & MORTALITY

The very general mortality patterns as discerned from the records are discussed. Among
the student deaths, only 44 were issued death certificates (26/60 colored boys and 18/35 white
boys). Even when a cause or death (COD) is listed on the death certificate, such as "gunshot
wounds in chest"

-

Based on information from available death certificates, six (6) boys were autopsied. Four
of the boys were autopsied by Dr. C. Whitaker, the school physician. Dr. Whitaker was also
present with the coroner and a sheriff's deputy at the home where George Owen Smith's body
had been discovered. According to local newspapers, Dr. Whitaker believed the body was too
decomposed lor autopsy and therelore no coroner's jury was established. Dr. Whitaker was
employed at the school during the time Robert Hewett died (1960), although it unknown why no
autopsy was performed. The two other boys who were autopsied outside of Jackson County died
after running away and therefore were autopsied in the counties that the deaths occurred (Table
15).
The cause and circumstance of deaths are completely unknown in about 34.5% (29/84) of
cases. Approximately 20.0% or deaths among white boys are unknown, whereas nearly 44.8%
or deaths among colored boys are unknown.

Table 15. Autopsied Cases (n~6)
Year Superintendent Decedent:"J arne
1944
Davidson
Earl Wilson
1949
Dozier
Eddie Albert Black
1952
Dozier
Billey Jackson
1954
Dozier
Clarence Cunningham
1957
Dozier
George Fordom Jr.
1961
Dozier
Edgar Thomas Elton

Autopsv Physician
CD. Whitaker, M.D.
CD. Whitaker, M.D.
CD. Whitaker, M.D.
W.J. Hutchinson, M.D.
S.A. Shaffer M.D.
CD. Whitaker, M.D.

Ruling
Homicide
Homicide
Natural
Accident
Natural
Natural

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 91

•

----~~==~=============

-

- --

•

Ancestry
. V\I1lite
"Colored"

...s::
:::::J

o

U

I

Fire

Trauma Drowninglnfectious Cancer Surgery

Acute Unknown
Dilation
Healt

Circumstances of Death

Figure 54. Frequency of different categories of death. For the
majority of individuals, there is no known cause of death.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 92
I

CONVICTED CASES OF HOMICIDE

Among cases with traumatic related deaths, three are documented homicides in which
boys were killed by Cellow school boys. Tn all three cases, the ofCenders were prosecuted. Some
oCthe original grand jury documents were obtained Irom the Jackson County Courthouse. Two
cases were appealed and the subsequent eourt documents detail more about the events, autopsy
findings and testimony of Dr. Whitaker, and other evidence presented at the trials.
Robert Seinous "Stephens"
Robert Seinous "Stephens" was a 14 year old white boy committed to the school on
9/311936 for breaking and entering. He was sentenced to two years or until legally discharged.
Approximately ten months later, just after his 15 th birthday, Seinous was found dead on July 15,
1937. A death certificate was issued and certified by school physician Dr. Baltzell. It is
unknown if an autopsy was performed as this information is left blank on the death certificate.
According to the ledgers, Seinous was admitted with 16 year old John Bryant Irom Quincy and
although Bryant was sentenced to a minimum 01' three years he was paroled to a guardian on
September 2, 1937. According to the ledger, Robert's last nanle was "Stephens" and he was 16
years old when committed. The nanle Stephens also appears on the court documents, however
his death certificate states "Scinous". The informant for the death certificate was C.M. Mayo (a
yardman and nurse) employed at the school. Mayo's name appears on many death certificates
Irom this time as the "undertaker". The only burial location on the death certificate states
"Marianna, Florida". Since his mother was Irom Quincy, it is likely Robert was buried at the
school cemetery, although this is not documented. The ledger further states that Robert was
"Stabbed to death by another inmate Leroy Taylor". Robert's death certificate states the cause of
death was "Knife wound following hemorrhage". According to records at the county clerk's
office in Jackson County, Leroy Taylor was indicted of First Degree Murder but plead guilty to
Second Degree Murder on November 30, 1937. The indictment listed Robert's name as "Robert
Stephens".

Eddie Black
Eddie Black was a 13 year old white boy committed to the school 41111948 Cor Larceny
lor a teml "Until legally discharged". Approximately a year later Black was lound dead on May
4, 1949. Black was autopsied by school physician Dr. C. Whitaker whose official cause of death
was "Death by strangling, severe contusions of forehead." Black's body was shipped home to
his family for burial in Pensacola. Frank Murphy and Avelardo Quevedo were convicted of the
second degree murder of Black. According to a signed confession by Frank Murphy, he:
... got a knife From Avelardo and told Black to come with me. We went
down under there, under the culvert at the laundry across the highway
from the laundry and I grabbed him. I choked him down, and I stabbed
him two times and left him .... l choked him down and then hit his head on
the concrete.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 93

According to Quevedo's signed confession (June 2, 1949), Murphy told him that he had killed
Black with Quevedo's knife in the following manner:
Frank Murphy told me that Eddie Albert Black had caught him smoking
and was going to tell on him and lor that reason he was going to kill him.
When Frank came back he showed me my knife and there was blood on
the blade and he said he had killed Black and told me how he did it. He
said he choked him with his hands and when he was almost dead he
stabbed him twice back of the ear.
Note that the signed conressions and death certificate do not state the same cause or
death. The death certificate states the following: "death by strangulation, severe contusions to
forehead". An autopsy was performed by school physician Dr. Whitaker but makes no mention
of any knife wounds or sharp trauma. On March 20, 1965, Frank Murphy filed a motion to
"vacate and set aside judgment of conviction and sentence in case No. 863 upon the grounds they
are void ab initio and in toto as is allowed and authorized under criminal procedure rule one." Tn
Murphy's hand written letter to the court he stated that he and the victim had engaged in a fist
fight which ended when both boys were exhausted. Later, Murphy returned to the area to look
for something he lost. While awaiting trial, Murphy received a note from a fellow inmate that
three witnesses saw him leave the area when Black was still alive, both the prosecutor and
defense attorney were informed of the letter before the trial began. However, during the recess
or the trial, SherifI' Ernst Barnes questioned Murphy alone about how he obtained the letter in
jail. According to court documents (Murphy Y. Wainwright, 372 F. 2d. 942 5th Cif. 1967), "The
sheriff is said to have made certain threats regarding the horror of dying in the electric chair and
advised appellant that it would be the part of wisdom to enter a plea to second degree murder in
the event such an opportunity was offered to him." Fourteen year old Murphy pled guilty for a
life sentence, rather than face the death penalty. In his appeal, Murphy argued that the sheriffs
actions, along with the ract his legal guardian (his sister as both parents were deceased) was not
inlomled about his murder trial created a coerced, involuntary conression.
On January 20, 1973, Murphy was awarded an evidentiary hearing (Murphy v.
Wainwright 73 304 Civ J S). The evidence consisted of the testimony of Murphy and John Roy
Smith who testified to the comments that were made by the sheriff. The court found that
Murphy's confession was entered involuntary, granted a writ of habeas corpus and vacated his
conviction.

Interim Rcport on Boot Hill Cemetery 94

Earl Wilson

Earl Wilson was a 12 year old colored boy committed to the school on 6/20/1944 for
larceny Irom Polk County. Seventy-two days later on September I he was killed while detained
in a 7' by 10' confinement collage along with eight other boys, ages 11-17 years. These boys
had been held in the confinement cottage for varying lengths of time from several days to several
weeks (Figures 55-56).
Four boys were convicted of Wilson's murder: William Foxworth, Charles Bevels,
Robert farmer, and floyd Alexander. According to the death certificate, Wilson was autopsied
by Dr. Whitaker, the school physician and buried at the school. The death certificate states the
cause or death was "Head Injury, Blows on Head". Note that the testimony or Dr. Whitaker
about the autopsy findings conflicted with witness statements. See Foxworth v. Wainwright, 516
f. 2d 1072. 1074-1075 (5th Cir. 1975) :

. Bevels v. State, Fla., 1945, 156 Fla. 159,23 So.2d 156.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 9S

•

II

--.

•

._-

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 96

· "1._.

-

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 97

VARIATION IN REpORTING

The discrepancies that occur in the documentation for burial location, the cause of death,
and certification of the deaths by a physician or coroner are not limited to particular years or
administrations and do not appear to be a matter of changing policies from one administration to
another. The problem of under-reporting was not the only type of inconsistency found between
school and state records. Practices during the Flu epidemic of 1918, also shows significant
variation in the reporting and number of deaths. Reports vary as to the number and ancestry of
boys who died, as well as the dates of their deaths in that year. A number of deaths appearing in
the ledgers or other historical documents were not included in the FDLE report, which is why the
total number of deaths that occurred differs among more recent reports. For example, William
McKinley's name and the statement "Died" appears in the discharge ledger but does not appear
listed in the full record ledger from the school, which is a common finding for the time period
(pre-1919); therefore no other information is known about him (Figure 57). Several other
differences were also found for boys whose names do not appear in prior reports:
•
•
•
•
•
•

Louis Haffin, a white boy died 11118/1914 in the fire.
S. Barnett, a white boy died 11118/1914 in the fire.
William McKinley, a colored boy died from unknown causes on 7/19/1915.
Thomas E. Curry, a 15 year old white boy died of blunt trauma on 12/1111925 after
runmng away.
Robert Jerald Hewett, a 16 year old white boy died of gunshot wounds on 4/4/1960 after
runnmg away.
Eleven (11) unidentified colored boys died ofInfluenza between November 6 December 31,1918.

RID

I

DUSTRIAL SCHOOL FOR BOYS
COLORED

o

I'- R

SENTENCE

EXPII<ATlON

No , lIoy.
Prnenr

/C 9

t' .

/ 1

Figure 57. Discharge ledger, now located in the State Archives, showing
name and record of death for William McKinley in July 1915 (Florida School
for Boys, Student Ledgers: Vol. 18).
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 98
I

RECOMMENDATIOIXS FOR Fl:Tl:RE WORK

To date, historical and field based research has been completed at the Boot Hill Cemetery.
Research began in 20 II. Fieldwork consisted of' eight weeks of' survey, OPR, trenching, and soil
analysis. This work has been f'ocused on remote sensing and some excavation. Tn total, a
minimum of 50 grave shafts have been identified, although it is not known if this represents all
burials or some aspect of the cemetery. Therefore, based on our findings we recommend the
following actions in the next phase of investigation:
I. Additional ORP evaluation in the areas adjacent of'Boot Hill Cemetery;
2. Archaeological test excavations in the areas marked by OPR anomalies, especially on the
east side of the cemetery, to define the boundaries of the burial area and its spatial
relationship with adjacent landscape features (roads, historical buildings, etc.);
3. Horizontal clearing through mechanical excavation of the primary burial area to identify
the exact number and locations of individual grave sites;
4. Exhumation and skeletal autopsy including f'orensic pathological, anthropological, and
bioarchaeological analysis of' individuals Crom the cemetery to determine cause of' death
and identification for re-interment;
5. Additional archival research of historical docunlents, maps, and photographs;
6. Additional interviews from families, employees, and other key stakeholders associated
with the school's history.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 99

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bowles WS. July 1972. Marianna, florida. Interview 2. In: LundriganNG. 1975.
Deveif.pment (fthe Florida Schoolsji)r Male Yout/jid {)fenders. 1998-1969. Ph.D. dissertation,
Florida State University.
Boyle K. 2004. Arc cfJustice - A Saga cfRace, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age. New
York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.
Brown C. 1997. Ossian Bingley Hart: Florida's Loyalist Reconstruction Governor. Baton
Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press.
Buchli V, Lucas G. 2001. Archaeologies cfthe Contemporary Past. London: Routledge.
Carper NG. 1964. The Convict-Lease System in Florida, 1866-1923. Ph.D. dissertation, florida
State University.
Citizens of Jackson County Donating Lands and Money for Location of the New Reform School.
1898. Letters, W.D. Bloxham Papers. P.R. Yonge Library at the University of florida,
Gainesville, florida. In: Noel Gordon Catper, The Convict Lease System in Florida 1866-1823.
Ph.D. dissertation.
Collins PH. 1991. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge. Consciousness. and the Politics (f
Empmverment. New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall.
Conyers LB, Goodman D. 1997. Ground-Penetrating Radar: An introduction for
Archaeologists. Altamira Press, Walnut Creek.
Edwards C. 1969. Training Manual, Florida School Cor Boys.
Ellis G, Wiseman B. 2012. Cola bottle dating, personal communication.
Fairfax J. 19 July 1966. NAACP attorney working on florida Schools Civil Rights Cases,
correspondence Leroy Clark, legal counsel Cor the Singleton case. Jacksonville, Florida:
Johnson and Marshall, Legal Files.
FDLE. May 14, 2009. florida Department of Law Enforcement, Office of Executive
Investigations. Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys Marianna, florida. Investigative Smmnary.
Case No. EI-73-8455.
FDLE. January 29, 2010. Florida Department oCLaw EnCorcement, Office oCExecutive
Investigations. Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys Abuse Investigation. Investigative Summary.
Case No. EI-04-000S.
florida. 1905. Acts and Resolutions Adopted by the Legislature of florida.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 100

Florida. 1965. Annual Financial and Statistical Report, 1964-1965. By Arthur G. Dozier.
Division of Child Training Schools, Marianna, Fla.: Class in Printing, Boy's School.
Florida. 1913. Appendix to the Biennial Report oCthe Board oCManagers oCthe Florida State
Ref'orm School. By Dr. N.A. Baltzell, M.D. Legislature, House: House Journal.
Florida. 1907. Appendix to the House Journal. Legislature, House.
Florida. 1907. Belated Report of the Marianna Board of Managers. Legislature, House: House
Journal.
Florida. 1920. Biennial Report of the Florida Department of Education for the Two Years
Ending 30 June 1920. Department of Education.
Florida. 1923-1925. Biennial Report ofthe Florida Industrial School for Boys. By M.S. Knight.
Industrial School f'or Boys, Marianna: Class in Printing, F.r.S.
Florida. 1925-1927. Biennial Report ofthe Florida Industrial School. By W.L.
Vananlandingham. Industrial School for Boys, Marianna: Class in Printing, F.1.S.
Florida. 1928-1930. Biennial Report of the Florida Industrial School for Boys. By Millard
Davidson. Industrial Schooll'or Boys, Marianna: Class in Printing, F.r.S.
Florida. 1913. Biennial Report of the Florida State Reform School. Legislature, House: House
Journal.
Florida. 1865-1869. Biennial Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. State
Department oCEducation: vol. 3.
Florida. 1900-1902. Biennial Report ofthe State Superintendent of Public Instruction. State
Department of Education: Tallahassee.
Florida. Board of Commissioners of State Institutions. Minutes. Book E: 27 November 1914;
5 January 1915; 18 December 1916; 18 October 1918; 4 November 1918; 14 November, 16
November, and 28 November 1918; 16 January 1919; 6 February 1919; Book F: 8 November
1919; 30 September 1920; 16 August and 22 October 1921; Book G: 30 July 1923; Book I: 24
September 1926; Book J: 31 July 1928; Book K: 15 January 1931.
Florida. 1907. Concurrent Resolution No.5. Legislature, House: House Journal.
Florida. Confidential Files at the Marianna and Okeechobee School f'or Boys. Form letter and
letters gleaned from general correspondence.
Florida. 1909-1910. Eleventh Biennial Report of the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture.
Department of Agriculture.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 101

Florida. 31 AU!,'1lst 1968. First Annual Report to the Legislature. By Oliver J. Keller, Jr.,
Director. Department of Health and Rehabilitation Services: Tallahassee: Division of Youth
Services.
Florida. 190 I. First Biennial Report orthe Florida State Relornl School. By Walter Rawls, State
Superintendent of Public Instruction. Florida Documents Tallahassee: Tallahassee Book and Job
Print.
Florida. 1905. Governor Broward's Message to the Legislature. House Journal.
Florida. 1907. Governor Broward's Message to the Legislature. House Journal Appendix.
Florida. 1901. Governor Jennings' Message to the Legislature. House Journal.
Florida. 1905. Joint Cotmnittee Report on Marianna Reform School. Joint Committee on
Marianna: House Journal.
Florida. 1918. Message from House of Representatives. Legislature: Extraordinary Session,
House Journal.
Florida. 1918. Message of Governor Sidney J. Catts on Conditions at the Marianna Industrial
School. Extraordinary Session: House Journal.
Florida. 1913. Message to Florida Legislature. By Park Trammell. House Journal.
Florida. 1915. Minority Report. By John W. Davis, Chairman. Legislature, Joint Legislative
Cotmnittee Report ofthe Joint Legislative Cotmnittee appointed to visit the Florida Industrial
School lor Boys: Report on the Fire, House Journal.
Florida. 1918. Report ofConmlittee of Physicians and Conditions at Industrial School for Boys.
Legislature: Extraordinary Session, Senate Journal.
Florida. 1903. Report of First Special Investigating Cotmnittee of Marianna Reform School.
House Journal: Legislature House.
Florida. 1911. Report of Joint Investigating Committee. Legislature, House: House J oumal.
Florida. 1915. Report of Joint Legislative Committee Appointed to visit the Florida Industrial
School for Boys, 1915. Legislature: House Journal.
Florida. 1919. Report orthe Joint Legislative Committee Appointed to visit the Industrial
School at Marianna, 1919. Legislature: House Journal.
Florida. 1913. Report of Special Investigative Committee on the Marianna School, 1913.
Legislature: Senate Journal.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 102

Florida. 1909. Report of Superintendent to the Reform School Board of Commissioners. By S.
Belch, Legislature House: House Journal.
Florida. 1911. Report on Joint Tnvestigative Committee Under House Concurrent Resolution
No.5 , Relative to the State Relormatory at Marianna, Florida 1911. Legislative, Joint
Conmlittee: Senate Journal.
Florida. 1909. Report on Reform School. Legislature, Joint Legislative Investigating
Cotmnittee: Senate Journal.
Florida. 1969. Second Annual Report to the Legislature. By Oliver J. Keller, Jr., Director.
Department of Health and Rehabilitation Services, Tallahassee: Division of Youth Services.
Florida. 1923. Special Committee Inspecting the School, Report. By J .H. Harvell, Chairman,
1923. Legislature: House Journal.
Florida. 190 I. State Comptroller's Message to the Legislature. By W.V. Knoll, Legislature,
Senate: House Journal.
Florida. 1901. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Report. By W.N. Sheats, State
Department of Public Instruction: Tallahassee.
Florida. 190 I. Superintendent Report oCFlorida State Relorm School 190 I. By Walter Rawls,
Legislature, Senate: Senate Journal.
Florida. 1911-1912. Twelfth Biennial Report of the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture.
Department of Agriculture.
Florida Tndustrial School lor Boys, Marianna. I March 1922. The Light, Marianna: Class in
Printing.
Florida School for Boys. Administrative Records, 1923-2010. Florida State Archives, 0006301.S
2247.
Florida School lor Boys. 1958. Learning to live at the Florida School lor Boys at Marianna.
Marianna: Division of Child Training Schools.
Florida School for Boys. Newspaper Clippings, 1956-1958. Florida State Archives, 0006301.S
2248.
Florida School lor Boys. Payroll Ledgers, 1923-1961. Florida State Archives, 000630/.S 2246.
Florida School for Boys. Photographs, ca. 1920s-2010. Florida State Archives, 0006301.S 2241.
Florida School for Boys. Student Ledgers, 1915-2011 (Vol. 1-8, 18-22,31), Florida State
Archives, 0006301.S 2256.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 103

Florida Statutes. 1957. 380-965. Laws of Florida. 1897. Chapter 4565; 1905 Chapter 5388;
1907 Chapter 5721; 1913 Chapter 6529; 1925 Chapter 10203; 1927 Chapter 11808; 1957
Chapter 57-317; 1963 Chapter 63-368; 1967 Chapter 67-295; 1968 Chapter 68-22; 1973 Chapter
39.
Foucault M. 1980. Pmvel'lKnowledge: Selected IntervieH's and Other Writings 1972-1977.
New York: Pantheon.
Hatton R W. Interviews, 24 September 1971, 20 April 1973. Retired Director of the Florida
Industrial School, Marianna, Florida. In: Lundrigan NG. 1975. Devel"pment (fthe Florida
Schoolsf;'r Male Youtffiil C)fenders, 1998-1969. Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University.
Holmes County Advertiser. 28 November 1914. A Thief as a Reformer. Bonifay, Florida.
Hunt C. 2012. Florida State Hospital: A preliminary cemetery demographic study. USF
Student paper.
Jackson AT. 2011. Shattering Slave Life Portrayals: Uncovering Subjugated Knowledge in U.S.
Plantation Sites in South Carolina and Florida. Am Anthropoll13, 3:448-62.
Keller, OJ. Interview, June 1971. Director of Florida Division of Youth Services, Tallahassee,
Florida. In: Lundrigan NG. 1975. Deve/t,pment (fthe Florida Schools fiJI' Male Youtlful
CJfenders. 1998-1969. Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University.
Litwack L. 1998. Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age ffJim Crow. New York:
Random House.
Lundrigan NG. 1975. Deve/t,pment (fthe Florida Schoolsf;'r Male Youtlfit! C)fenders, 19981969. Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University.
Montgomery B. September 13,2009. Mother agonizes over beating at Florida School for Boys
that she says killed her son. Tampa Bay Times.
Orser CE. 1998. The Challenge orRace to American Historical Archaeology. Am Anthropol
3:661-668.
Orser CE. 2004. Race and Practice in Archaeological Interpretation. Philadelphia: University
of Pennsylvania Press.
Orser CE. 2007. The Archaeology (fRace and Racialization in Historic America. The
American Experience in Archaeological Perspective Series. Gainesville: University Press or
Florida.
Powell Jc. 1891. The American Siberia. Chicago: J.J. Smith and Co.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 104

Pratt KF. 1949. The Develcpment cfthe Florida Prison System. Master's thesis: Florida State
University.
Robin FE. 1950. R'jimn School: A Study in Institutional Sociology. Ph.D. dissertation:
Columbia University.
Robinson E. Interview, 24 October 1973. Panama City, Florida. In: Lundrigan NG. 1975.
Develcpment cfthe Florida Schoolsfor Male Yout/ful (,fenders, 1998-1969. Ph.D. dissertation,
Florida State University.
Rhyne JS. 1968. Our Yesterday ·s. Marianna, Florida, Jackson County: Floridian Press.
ST PETERSBURG TIMES. Monday, August 16, 1976. Florida State Hospital cemetery:
efficient, anonymous. United Press International.
Stubbs VV. Interview, 16 July 1972. Marianna, Florida. In: Lundrigan NG. 1975.
Deveif,pment (fthe Florida Schoolsji)r Male Yout/jid {Jfenders, 1998-1969. Ph.D. dissertation,
Florida State University.
U.S. v. Kent. 1966.383 U.S. 541 and 555.
U.S. v. William H. Bell. 1912. 5209 Rov. Statutes oI'U.S., "B" Criminal Final Records Book.
Pensacola: U.S. District Court, Northern District ol'Florida. p 192-197.
U.S. v. Willie Carl Singleton, a minor, by Neva Singleton, his mother, et al. v. Board of
Cotmnissioners of State Institutions, et al. 31 August 1966. Civil Act No. 963. Tallahassee:
U.S. District Court files for the Northern District of Florida.
Walters DR. Interview, 23 August 1974. Former school superintendent and administrative
assistant to Arthur Dozier. Marianna, Florida. In: Lundrigan NG. 1975. Develcpment cfthe
Florida Schools for Male Youtljitl {Jjenders, 1998-1969. Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State
University.
Williams LE. Interview, 2 November 1973. Superintendent or the Dozier Boys' School,
Marianna, Florida. In: Lundrigan NG. 1975. DevelDpment (fthe Florida Schoolsji)r Male
Youtljitl (jjenders, 1998-1969. Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University.
Williamson J. 1984. The Crucible cfRace: Black and White Relations in the American South
since Emancipation. New York: Oxford University Press.
Wilkie LA. 2000. Creating Freedom: Material Culture and Aji'ican American Identity at
Oakley Plantation, Louisiana, 1840-1950. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
Wilkie LA. 2001. Black Sharecroppers and White Frat Boys. In: Archaeologies cfthe
Contemporary Past. Buchili V, Lucas G, editors. London: Routledge p 108-118.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery lIas

Wilkerson I. 2010. The Warmth cfOther Suns-The Epic Story cfAmerica 's Great Migration.
New York: Random House.
Woodward CV. 1951. Origins (fthe New South, 1877-1913. Baton Rouge: Louisiana Slale
University Press.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 106

ApPENDIXES

lnterim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 1107

To:

Erin Kimmerle, Ph.D. University of Sonth Florida

From: Lanra Hair, M.D. and Leszek Chrostowski, M.D.; Associated Medical Examiners,
District 13 Medical Examiner Department, Tampa, Florida
Date: October 18, 2012
Re:

Expert Opinion on Medical Review of Deaths at the Former Arthnr Dozier
School for Boys

Historical investigations that seek to understand past medical and pathological diagnoses are
always a challenge due to the evolution of forensic and diagnostic medicine in recent years. The
field of forensic pathology is relatively young, but combined with modern death investigations,
we offer the justice system methods to try to answer questions that could not be found it the past.
We were asked to provide an expert opinion on several child deaths that occurred between 19521966. The records that exist were reviewed, and our opinions are summarized below:
1. Billey Jackson was a 13 year old African American boy, who died on 10-7-1952 in
Jackson Hospital, 10 days after admission from FIS. According to his death certificate,
his cause of death was pyelonephritis. Two witnesses (Walthour and Williams) stated
that about two weeks prior to his death, Billey Jackson was severely beaten following an
attempt to escape from the school; allegedly, the beating included his abdomen, which
then swelled, and prompted his hospital admission. After his death an autopsy
examination was performed by the school physician, Dr. Whitaker; however, no written
record ofthe examination can be found.
Pyelonephritis is a form of ascending urinary tract infection, which may af'lect one or
both kidneys. It is usually associated with urine retention, and can indeed be fatal. The
obstruction of flow initiating the pathology may result from a congenital condition, e.g.
inadequate valve mechanism at the junction of the ureters and the bladder, or obstruction
of the ureter(s) due to urolithiasis, i.e. kidney stones, or trauma. Nowadays the cause of
death is defined as "injury or disease initiating the chain of events resulting in death",
Having no record orthe autopsy, we are unable to conclude the primary cause (or
combination of causes) of Jackson's ailment, hence his cause of death remains unknown.
The manner of his death is undeternlined, since a natural death would be exclusively due
to natural disease, and in his case it is uncertain whether there was a contributing
traumatic factor. Review of the original autopsy report would be most helpful to clarify
the above,

2. Robert Jerald Hewett was a 16 year old white boy who entered FIS on 3/22/1960. The
FIS ledgers confirm that Hewett was admitted and then on March 25 was temporarily
released to the Jackson Hospital. He returned to FIS the following day on March 26 and
then on April 2, he ran away. The ledger and death certificate indicate he died two days
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 1108

later on April 4. All of this infomlation comes from the daily ledger, as the discharge
ledgers for this time are not public rccord. Hewctt's death certificatc states thc manner of
death is "unknown" and the cause of death is "gunshot wounds in chest inflicted by
person or persons unknown". There was no autopsy performed. No other inlomlation
including coroner or police incident reports could be located.
Hewett's death certificate is incorrect by today's standards: once a person dies due to
gunshot wound(s) inflicted by another person, his manner of death is classified as
homicide, i.e. "death from hands of other person, regardless of intent". Such
classifications do not indicate "murder", "manslaughter" or other variations, which are or
interest to the judicial system rather than medical examiner. Examination or R.I.
Hewett's remains is reconmlended because if there was skeletal trauma, it would be
possible to learn about the projectile trajectory, shedding a light on possible
circumstances of the incident.

3. Michael Smelley was a 17 year old white boy who died 3/15/1966. His death certificate
indicates he died of "carcinoma of the spine and lungs" about a year after his
incarceration at the school. Witnesses allege he was beaten severely following an
attempted escape and that itmnediately afterwards he was unable to walk. Several days
later he was admitted to the hospital. Michael had a history of "carcinoma" and prior to
entering FTS in 1965 had a tumor removed Crom his spine. Tn Montgomery's 2009
investigation, he posed the question as to " ... whether a blow or multiple blows to a spinal
tumor could aggravate the tumor or cause paralysis or even accelerate the spread of the
cancer and lead to early death?"
Medical records and autopsy indicate that Michael had a sarcoma around his spinal cord
with later metastases to the lung. Since no evidence or Fractures is noted in his hospital
records during surgery, the "blow or blows" most likely did not alTect the tumor. His
inability to walk following the blows might be related to the alleged beating but nothing
is stated of his walking ability before the alleged beating. His inability to walk could be a
result of the tumor. After his first surgery, Michael did have the ability to walk with a
cane.
The acceleration orthe spread or a neoplasm by beating in not likely and very
speculative. The hospital records available from the University of Florida do not indicate
trauma. Our conclusion is that Smelley died a natural death, due to malignant neoplasm.
This of course does not exclude a possibility of being beaten; however, if a beating
occurred, it cannot be linked with this person's cause of death.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 109

October 15, 2012
Attention:

Subject:

Erin H. Kitmnerle, Ph.D.
Associate Prof'essor of' Anthropology
University of'South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Ave., SOC 107
Tampa, Florida 33620-8100 USA
Fire Origin and Canse Investigation
The Florida Tndustrial School lor Boys
4111 County Road 167
Marianna, Florida 32448

Dear Professor Erin Kimmerle,
City of'Tampa Fire Tnvestigator Christopher M. Stone and retired City of'Tampa Supervisor of'
Fire Investigation Al Alcala are pleased to submit this summary regarding our fire scene findings
at the above-referenced location which was conducted on Monday, October 1,2012. The purpose
of the investigation was to render a professional opinion as to the origin and cause of the fire that
reportedly damaged the above referenced florida Industrial School for Boys building on
Wednesday, November 18,1914 and to list any and/or all contributing f'actors. The site
assessment included an examination of'all provided historical documentation of'relevant
infornlation and findings.
Based on our investigation of all available resources obtained of the fire damage at the loss site,
as presented within the remainder of this report, our conclusions arc summarized as follows:
•

No evidence of an exterior fire was discovered during the document reviews of the fire
scene inspection conducted in 1914.

•

Based on a known account From one orthe residing stalT members, 0.0. Marston, the fire
appeared to have originated near the main stairwell on the east side orthe first /loor of'
the building, because he had alerted and directed the boys on the second floor to the
stairway located on the western end of the building.

•

The area of' origin was deternlined to be on the first /loor level at/or near the eastern
portion of'the building, which consisted orthe assembly room, washrooms, and offices.

•

After analyzing the collected and available data using the principles of the scientific
method, several hypotheses were developed.
o

Recognize the need. We could all come to a conclusion that a fire occurred on
November 18, 1914.

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 110

o

Define the Problem. Having determined that a problem existed, a proper origin and
cause investigation was not conducted in 1914. Through a combination of other
data collection methods, such as the review of several previously conducted
investigations orthe incident, the interviews or witnesses the morning aller the
fire, and/or other knowledgeable persons involved, several competent ignition
sources existed within the building.

o

Collect Data. Not all known facts about the incident were collected. The building
materials, the dimensions ofthe building, configuration of the building, room by
room , floor by 1100r, ruel loads such as all combustible materials (rurniture, rugs,
clothing, chemicals, etc.) present within the building, ventilation and constructed
openings such as windows, doors, ceiling heights, and stairwells were not properly
documented. We were unable to identify any fuels in the area of origin, identify
potential ignition sources in the area of origin, or identify the first fuel ignited.

o

Analyze the Data. Based on the limited data gathered during the investigation
review process, several hypotheses were considered based on the limited
information gathered.

o

Develop a Hypothesis (Inductive Reasoning). The limited empirical data that was
collected and considered during this investigation, revealed several lit kerosene
lamps used lor lighting placed throughout the staircases and walls orthe building,
oil based paints and rags used in the painting process, a wood burning stove used
for heating, and arson were all possible competent ignition sources and
contributing factors to the fire.

o

Test the Hypothesis (deductive Reasoning). Based on the limited information
gathered and reviewed, the loll owing hypotheses were considered:
"

The wood burning stove used for heating could not be eliminated as a
possible source of ignition. According to the 1914 report, this wood
burning stove was brought into the building to heat the building on a cold
night. This wood burning stove must have proper ventilation routed to the
exterior oCthe building, as to the sarety concern or carbon monoxide
poisoning caused Irom the burning wood within the stove. This wood
burning stove was supported with three legs and two bricks and was
functioning properly when staff members went to bed. The location of this
wood burning stove still remains unknown; however, the possibility of the
floor being ignited horizontally by the wood burning stove is unlikely. The
ventilation pipes Irom the wood burning stove irrouted to the exterior or
the building through a window opening or wall opening would be a likely
competent source of ignition if the ventilation pipes had perforations which
would allow the flames and heated gasses to escape and make direct
contact with the building's combustible materials and eventually ignite
them vertically. A fire that burns vertically spreads rapidly and a fire that
burns horizontally spreads slower.
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 111

j;-

If spontaneous combustion is believed to be the cause of this fire it is
necessary to determine if this is possible. firstly, it should be determined
whether or not the materials involved in the fire are susceptible to
spontaneous combustion. This requires investigation orthe material itself"
and the conditions present at the time of the fire. The only information
provided is that oily greasy rags had been used during the painting process
and placed at/or ncar a locker stored with dynamite underneath the
stairwell. The configuration ofthe reacting mass is also important in
determining whether sufficient heat could build up to the point of" ignition.
A loosely placed or thrown pile will undergo spontaneous ignition. If" a
spontaneous combustion fire would have occurred at/or near the stored
dynamite locker located underneath the stairwell, this would have possibly
resulted in an explosion causing severe damage to the stairwell and
building. According to eyewitness accounts, no explosion was mentioned.

j;-

Kerosene oil lamps were used lor lighting and placed throughout the
staircases and walls of the building. The exact manufacture of the oil
lamps, the total number of oil lamps, location, and/or mounting of the oil
lamps is unknown. Kerosene oil lamps require constant cleaning,
maintenance, and a watchful eye to insure proper operation. If the
accumulation of"residue and debris builds up on the lamp and glass
suriaces, the lamp will not operate properly. Over filling the reservoir with
kerosene oil could result in the oil igniting and causing the oil to drip onto
other surfaces eventually igniting other combustible materials in the
itmnediate area. The most common cause of kerosene oil lamp fires is that
of an accidental nature, being knocked over causing the ignited liquid to
spill resulting in rapid fire spread. The use of" contaminated kerosene oils
could have also posed a potently serious fire hazard. The daily operation
and use of the oil lamps is unknown, therefore the possibility of the
kerosene oil lamp as being a potential fire cause cannot be ruled out.

j;-

Arson was also believed to be a possible cause of the fire which was
considered. The Pensacola Journal reported that prior attempts to burn
down the dormatory building had been made several months earlier.
further, a Mr. George Coldwell, of Laurel Hill, florida, attempted to have
his son released from the school several days prior to the fire with negative
results. Mr. Coldwell allegedly made verbal threats to blow up the building
if his son was not released. Coldwell was allegedly seen on the school
grounds earlier the day of"the fire. Coldwell was later exonerated by a
grand jury and his son who ran away Irom the school belore the fire was
released several days after the fire. Although Coldwell was exonerated
arson cannot be ruled out as a possible cause of the fire. The evidence
against Mr. Coldwell appears to have been circumstantial, which today can
be used during prosecution in trial. The usc of a handheld open flame
device (lighter, matches, candle) used to ignite common combustibles and
Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery 1112

lor an accelerant (ignitable liquid) is a possible cause of the fire and
therefore cannot be ruled out as a potential cause ofthe fire.

Investigation Methods:
•

•

The investigation methodes) and/or Procedures utilized during the course of
this limited investigation were conducted in accordance with NfPA 921,
Guide lor Fire and Explosion Investigations 20 II, and NfPA 1033,
Standard lor Prol"essional Qualii'ications lor fire Investigator 2009. The
systematic approach used in this limited investigation was that of the
scientific method as prescribed in NfP A 921, Chapter 4 Basic
Methodology, and NFPA 1033, A.4.1.2.
The data collected was systematically examined, the collected data
analyzed, possible hypotheses were considered based on the limited
amount of data collected.

Documents Reviewed:
As part 01" our assessment ol"the reported damage at the Industrial School lor Boys,
we reviewed the following documents:
th
• The 6 Legislative Committee since 1901 report of 1913
• Board 01" Managers Report (W.H. Milton)
• Edwards Report of 1969
• Florida Legislative Committee
• Jackson County Coroner (Conducted Coroner's Jury)

Conclusion:
Based on the limited amount 01" in lormation gathered regarding the i'ire at the
Industrial School lor Boys, a true definitive cause ol"the i'ire could not be reached.
We were unable to state specifically which of these competent ignition sources
ignited the unknown first fuel. The determination of the cause of the fire requires
identification of those circumstances and factors that were necessary for the fire to
have occurred. Those circumstances and factors include, but are not limited to, the
device or equipment involved in the ignition, the presence 01" a competent ignition
source, the type and lorm orthe material i'irst ignited, and the circumstances or
human actions that allowed the factors to come together to allow the fire to occur.
The cause of this fire cannot be proven to an acceptable level of certainty,
therefore, should be classified as undetermined until new information becomes
available.
Limits ol"the Study

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 113

This report was prepared for the exclusive use of Professor Erin H. Kimmerle, Ph.
D. and was not intended for any other purpose. This report represents the forensic
observations and conclusions resulting from information that was provided to us as
well as several reported rire scene rindings. The opinions or this report are based
upon rire science and limited documented observations made during the course or
this study and were developed to a reasonable degree of investigative certainty.
Please note that we reserve the right to revise the documented findings, conmlents,
and/or conclusions above as conditions change or additional information becomes
available. This report was prepared for Erin H. Kimmerle Ph. D. and we disavow
any liability lor use by others.
We appreciate this opportunity to have assisted you with this investigation. Please
contact us if you have any questions or need additional infomlation.

Sincerely,
Christopher M. Stone
City of Tampa Fire Investigator

Interim Report on Boot Hill Cemetery I 114

UNIVERSITY OF
SOUTH FLORIDA
October 10, 2012
Dr. Erin Kitmnerle
Department or Anthropology
USF
4202 E. Fowler Ave.
Tampa, FL 33620
Dear Erin:
I have been at work processing the cedar cores as best as I can. I am able to tell you a
couple of things, but generally I don't have good news for you.
What we have been calling "cedars" are members orthe genus Juniperus. They are either
Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) or Southern Red Cedar (Juniperus silicicola).
To be sure, we would need information from other tree structures that weren't available
when I was there, like male and female cones. But it doesn't matter much, as the two
species have very similar ring structures. In general, the eastern Juniperus are notoriously
difficult to date, and these trees share that quality.
There are two problems with dating the tree cores. The first is heart rot within the trees.
Because of the heart rot, the samples do not go back as far as we would like. Many of my
cores are less than hal r as long as they would be in the absence or rot. Because ring
widths vary throughout time (randomly From year to year, and systematically declining in
width with age), it isn't possible to estimate ages from either the tree ring record itself or
by combining it with the measurements of the trees that I made while there
The second major issue T failed to reconcile-false rings. Cedars make a lot orthem.
These aren't an indicator orannual growth, and distinguishing them Crom true rings in
this species is very difficult, increasing error. It's also possible that these cedars are
missing rings as well. I also noticed that the rings can vary much more than usual
between the two samples taken per tree, which makes it difficult or impossible to crossdate the trees given such a small wood sample.
Consequently, I can't give you an estimate of cedar ages. The only thing I can say is this:
the trees in the cemetery, along the fence (AWC2 and AWC3), MAY BE younger than
AWC4, A WC5, and StumpD. A WC6 is likely closer in age to AWC2 and 3 than the
other trees in the cemetery. This is based almost solely on tree diameter, and T cannot say
this with very much certainty.
It may be possible to get some rough ages of the cedars with a fair amount more work. At

this point, my only suggestion would be to take thick cross sections orthe trees using a

-.-~==-~
. :......-~ -- .

-

chain saw. The sections would need to be a bit thicker than traditional cross-sections
(which are roughly I") in case the pockets of rot cause them to break apart. Because this
requires cutting down the tree and may still not result in solid ages, 1 can't necessarily
reconmlend this, but it could work because it would make it easier to distinguish false
from true rings and would be more likely to give us a more complete record unless the
entire center oCthe tree is rotted.
Most people who work with tree rings avoid working with cedars, ror good reason. Tr you
want to pursue this using cross-sections, Gordon can reconmlend some people to youpeople who would probably be the best possible bet for getting meaningful results. If you
do continue with dating these trees, I maybe able to help, if time and lab space aren't too
constricting.
As lar as the other cores, like the pecans and oak-They are a dilTerent type or wood that
1 am presently unable to spend the time learning to understand and cross date, and those
samples arc also much shorter than they should be. In this case, these trees are
hardwoods, and they usually require cross sections (and a ton of elbow grease) for
sampling as well.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if 1 may be of help in the future. Thank
you lor bringing me on board. Treally enjoyed meeting and working with you and your
team, and I'm happy to have been a part of the project.
Sincerely yours,

Jamie Gluvna
Ph.D. student

Gordon A. fox, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

 

 

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