Local History Archives Oral History Collections

  • Miss Gillian dance class

The Boynton Beach City Library has led several oral history initiatives over the years, with the help of staff and volunteers. Thanks and credit go to many individuals for preparation, interviewing, transcribing, digitizing, and creating access. Several organizations assisted with generous funding, including the Boynton Beach Historical Society. Oral history is always a group effort and the City Library is proud to be able to present a wide range of materials here. Special shout-outs go to Virginia Farace for her leadership as former library director, Janet DeVries Naughton for her initiative with the fishing oral history and other programs, Susan Swiatosz for digitizing so many of the interviews, and director Craig Clark for continuing to support the Archives. All the interviewers, including James Hartley Nichols and Caryn Neumann did a great job, too. Working together, we're collecting, preserving, and making history available!

Homer Quincy AdamsHomer Quincy Adams (1918-1994) came to Boynton in 1924 with his family, including his father, Samuel Adams (1877-1962) and mother Ella Meredith Adams (1885-1973) and was a well-known charter boat captain from about 1945 to 1974. He met his wife, Shirley Metcalf (1928-2012) when she was a guest on his boat in 1950. They had one child, Marcy Adams, in 1953.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann on 17 August 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Wide variety of topics briefly covered, including his father's work as a builder in the area; where the African-American sections of town were; and his experiences as a charter boat captain and who the other charter boat captains in the area were. Also mentions being a newspaper boy, his favorite teachers at Boynton Elementary School, and taking his boat up the Spanish River to protect it during the 1947 hurricane.
    Listen to the interview on the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Cecil AdderleyBorn in the Bahamas to a freight boat captain and housewife, Adderley came to Florida in 1921 at age 15 to work. When his father returned to the Bahamas in 1922, he stayed. Throughout his life, he chiefly worked as farm labor, in Florida during the winter and in the northeast in the summer. Married to Lillian Adderley (1914-1998) in 1926, they had seven children live to adulthood. Adderley was a Deacon in the Boynton Beach Church of God.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann on 9 July 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics discussed include Adderley’s family history, the 1928 hurricane, and life in the 1920s in the Boynton Beach area.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (Transcription available)

Ann BarrettBorn Ann Marie Thieman (1894-1998) on a farm in Missouri, Barrett later moved to California where she worked in silent movies and as a real estate agent. She was widowed in 1939. After living in Miami, Barrett moved to Boynton Beach in 1945, where she was instrumental in the growth of the community. She opened Coast Line Realty, helped to start the first bank, the first newspaper, the first large market, and the Chamber of Commerce. She was also active in several organizations. 

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann (FAU intern) on 2 June 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project.  Topics discussed include an overview of her life, including the development of Coast Line Realty and the Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce.
    Listen to the interview on the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Clarence BensonBorn in Boynton Beach to early settlers Harry Benson (1885-1951) and Beatrice Stephens Benson (1887-1942), Benson worked as Supervisor of Waterworks in Boynton and Boca, manager of Hypoluxo Marine, and as a marine mechanic. He also served in several positions in Boynton Beach's government, including City Clerk (1946), South Lake Worth Inlet Commission, and City Council (1948).

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Newmann on 26 June 1992. A wide number of topics discussed briefly, including the location and operation of the Benson Dairy Farm; the Night Owl nightclub; the 1928 Hurricane; education at Boynton High School; and the life of his father, Harry Benson. Also mentions of his marine repair career and political positions. He married Betty Jane Richter (1887-1842) in 1911.
    Listen to interview online at the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Bob BrantRobert "Bob" Brant (1925-1982) was born and raised in Boynton Beach. His maternal grandparents, James Willard Easton (1867-1937) and Sarah Bielby Easton (1875-1961), came to Boynton Beach in 1922 and operated a restaurant, Old Stone Lodge; later they moved to Lantana where Mr. Easton was a bridge tender until his death in 1937. Bob Brant’s parents, Frank Brant (1897-1972) and Agnes Easton Brant (1899-1985) also settled in Boynton Beach until they moved to North Carolina c. 1960. Bob Brant, after delivering newspapers for the Post-Times from the age of 10, he went on to be a circulation manager. Later he became an agent for the New York Life Insurance Company, with his office in Boynton Beach. He served in the Army Air Corp from 1944-c. 1945. He was also active in the Boynton Beach community, serving as president of the local Lion’s Club.

  • 1979 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by James Hartley Nichols on 10 April 1979 for the Boynton Beach Oral History Project. Topics discussed focused chiefly on life in Boynton Beach between 1930 and 1945, including local characters Red Ewell, “Dad” Allen, and Mayor H.D. Stevens; pranks that locals would play on each other, including shooting fireworks across the street at each other; descriptions of stores in Boynton Beach, including the downtown and along Federal Highway; Boynton Beach during World War II, including the impact of ships being torpedoed, restrictions on light at night, and access to the beach; childhood experiences such as driving a Model T Ford, spearing crawfish, killing land crabs, going to midnight movies in West Palm Beach, making money by shining shoes and delivering papers; and how the town has changed, becoming a crowded "concrete jungle."
    Listen to the interview (transcription available)

Born Etta Cecelia Thrash (1907-2000) to Charles Wilson Thrash (1826-1918) and Carrie Satilla Tarflinger (1878-1915), she married John Quincy Brantley Jr. (1906-1971) in 1929 and they divorced in 1950. They lived intermittently in Florida from 1929; in 1954, Cecelia Brantley moved to Lake Worth and became the office manager for her ex-husband's uncle, Dr. Grady Brantley (1889-1961), the local physician who also served three terms as Lake Worth mayor (1939-1945) and was known for providing medical aid to people whether they could pay for it or not. After he retired, she worked for a Lake Worth dentist.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann (FAU intern) on 14 July 1992. A wide variety of topics were briefly discussed, centered on Cecilia Brantley’s life in Lake Worth, Florida in the 1930s, including her relative and employer Dr. Grady Brantley (1889-1961), and her family and early life in Atlanta, Georgia.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (transcription available)

James Willis ButlerJames Willis Butler (1918-2003) was born in Boynton Beach to Bahamian born parents James A. Butler (1892-1986), a grocery store owner and minister and Irene Curry Butler (1891-1929) a café owner. Butler was a carpenter, repairman, school bus driver, and in 1951 became Boynton Beach’s first African-American police officer, a position he held for ten years.

  • 1995 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Myra K. Jones on 21 June 1995 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics discussed include his life in Boynton Beach as a boy in the late 1920s, describing his community and his activities; also outlines his training as a carpenter and his early years as Boynton Beach’s first African American police officer.
    Listen to interview on the Internet Archive (timestamped summary only available)

Bertha ChadwellBertha May Daugharty Williams Chadwell (1887-1982) came to Boynton Beach in 1907 from DeLand Florida with her husband, J.J. Williams (1876-1947). They owned several businesses in Boynton Beach, including a tomato farm, a taxi service, Boynton Lumber Yard, and Boynton Fernery and Mango Groves. She was friends with people far and wide and active in many local organizations, especially the Boynton Woman's Club. Her second husband, Leonard Chadwell (1887-1965), was mayor of Boynton Beach in 1958.

  • 1979 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by James Hartley Nichols, 7 August 1979 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics include life in Boynton Beach in the 1900s, the Boynton Woman’s Club buildings, including the 1911 building, the donation of the Boynton family toward the 1925 Woman’s Club building, its donated design by Addison Mizner, and the financial problems during the crash. Also discussed is the Coquimbo wreck, the poet Edgar Guest, riding Flagler’s East Coast Railway to Key West, and the 1928 hurricane’s effect on Belle Glade.
    Read the transcript at the Internet Archive (no recording available)

Leslie CraneLeslie Burdick Crane (1909-1998) came to Lake Worth with his mother, Etha Pearl Wilson Burdick Crane Purcell (1886-1964) and step-father Jason T. Crane (1871-1934) when his mother accepted a post as grade school principal in 1924. He graduated from Lake Worth High School in 1926, and then earned a BA from Grove City College and a master's degree from George Peabody College for Teachers. After teaching in the Lake Worth and Greenacres for some years, he became Boynton School principal (1935-1940). He then attended Union Theological Seminary in Virginia until 1943, when he accepted the position of General Supervisor of Palm Beach County schools, which he held for a year until becoming an ordained Presbyterian minister.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann on 29 July 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project.  Topics chiefly discussed involve education in Boynton Beach in the 1930s, including the Boynton School community programs and adult education, the curriculum, the lunch program, field trips, the Boynton high school building facilities, and discipline. Also details the educational requirements of teachers at that time, and the segregation and integration of schools in 1944.
    Listen to interview on the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Naomi CreasonNaomi E. Wells Creason (1910-2000) was born and raised in Oklahoma, and became a teacher there in the 1930s. She and her husband Ray Creason (1902-1988) moved to the Boynton Beach area in 1944; he worked on the DuBois farm, and she taught first grade in several area schools until retirement in 1972. Creason was very active in the Boynton Beach Garden club and a member of the City Library Board.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann (FAU intern) on 3 September 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Chiefly a discussion of Creason's experiences teaching at Boynton Beach schools between 1944 and 1972, including the overcrowding at the Boynton Elementary School before Forest Park was established (1958); participating in the statewide teacher walkout of 1968, and being relocated to a different school after returning; and integration of the schools and teachers, including the training workshops that the teachers received intending to explain Black culture to the White teachers. Also a description of her activities with the Boynton Beach Garden Club, fruit fly infestations of wild cherries and other fruit, and a description of downtown Boynton Beach in the late 1940s.
    Listen to the interview on the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Christine EdwardBorn Christine Elizabeth O’Donnell in Scotland to Harry O’Donnell, linotype operator and Elizabeth O’Donnell. Immigrated to the United States in 1922 and lived chiefly in Wisconsin until she moved to Boynton Beach in 1953 with her husband Ian Murray Edward (1910-1963) to teach first grade at Boynton Elementary School until 1978. Edward also served on the City of Boynton Beach Library Board for over 20 years.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann on 3 November 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Program. Chiefly discusses teaching first grade at Boynton Beach Elementary School (1953-1978), including the curriculum and daily activities with the students; the educational requirements, salary, and benefits for teachers; the three weeks of teacher preparation prior to each school year and singing Dixie beforehand; and the responses of some of the parents to the integration of the school.
    Listen to the interview on the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Bertha GirtmanBlanche Hearst Girtman (b. 1992) was an educator with Palm Beach County schools for more than 43 years, where she was a teacher, a dean, and an assistant principal. Always active in her community, Girtman was instrumental in establishing a child-care center, a health clinic, and has served on many committees, including the Human Rights Committee for Palm Beach County and the Community Relations Board for Palm Beach.

  • 1978 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by James Hartley Nichols on 12 December 1978 for the Boynton Beach Oral History Project. Topics discussed include Blanche Girtman’s observations of segregation and integration in Delray Beach and Boynton, including the unequal pay of teachers, the first Black student to attend Seacrest High School, now known as Atlantic Community High School (Yvonne Lee), the Black schools closing between December and March for Black students to work in the fields, the lack of adequate facilities and supplies at Black schools, and the conflicts between Black and White students. Girtman also details her own educational and personal history, including her experiences during the 1947 hurricane, cooking, and canning.
    Read the transcription (no recorded interview available)

Naaman GrubbsMoved to Boynton Beach in about 1939. After serving in the Army (1942-1947), he returned to Boynton in 1948. Became a minister in 1962 and worked with several churches in Palm Beach County. Married to Ollie Bell in 1947, they had eight children. Active in the Boynton Beach community, he was Vice President of the Civic League and President of the Ministers and Deacons' Union.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview:  Interviewed by Caryn Neumann on 9 July 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Chiefly discusses life in Boynton Beach in the late 1940s and 1950s, including the grocery stores and restaurants in the Black community and segregation; being Vice President of the Civic League in the 1960s, the contentious city council race (1958), and being President of the Ministers and Deacons' Union.
    Listen to interview on the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Edythe HoodEdythe Guthrie Hood (1913-2007) moved to Boynton Beach in 1938 after her 1935 marriage to C. Howard Hood (1905-1981), who served as city councilman and mayor and owned Hood’s Auto Service. She worked as a real estate agent and was very active in the Boynton Beach community, serving as clerk for the Boynton Beach election board (1939-1969), president of the Boynton Woman's Club (1939-1940), the Library board, the Interracial Committee (1963), and many other community boards.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann on the 19 September 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics discussed include Edythe Hood’s experiences in Florida as a winter resident in 1919 and 1926, and after moving to Boynton in 1938, including serving on committees for the City of Boynton Beach and other organizations, the lushness of the landscape, her career as a real estate agent, and her husband’s business Hood’s Auto Service. 
    Listen to the interview on the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Clorice KeattsClorice McGregor Keatts (1905-2000) was born in Indian Mound, Tennessee, and moved to Boynton Beach in 1926 with her husband Herbert L. Keatts (1901-1978). For many years they owned and operated Keatts Dairy. From 1950, Herbert Keatts owned Herbert L. Keatts Reality and they also owned Palm Lodge apartments. Clorice Keatts was president of the Boynton Woman's Club (1952-1954) and also served as the Palm Beach County Women's Club Federation President (1964-1966) and was active in the First United Methodist Church of Boynton.

  • 1978 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by James Hartley Nichols on 17 October 1978 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics significantly discussed include the look of Boynton Beach, including the location of the downtown stores and landscape, in the mid-1920s; the daily lives of its inhabitants in the mid-1920s, including picnics, watching movies shown on the side of a building in downtown Boynton, using the Casino, and food habits, including swamp cabbage and guava jelly; her experiences during the 1928 hurricane; and the history of the Boynton Woman’s Club.
    Listen to interview on the Internet Archive (Transcription available)
  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann on 4 June 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Program. Topics discussed include of owning a dairy during World War II, Boynton Methodist Church history, and summer tenants at Palm Lodge.
    Listen to the interview on Internet Archive (Transcription available)

Walter LaceyWalter Ridout Lacey (1919-1997) was a native of Boynton Beach and the owner of Lacey's Barber Shop in Boynton Beach for over 45 years. He served in the US Navy during WWII on board the USS Burns and was a past master of the Boynton Masonic Lodge #236.

  • 1978 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by James Hartley Nichols on 9 October 1978 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics discussed chiefly focus on life in Boynton Beach in the 1920s and 1930s, including recreational activities of children and the closeness of the people in the area; opening celebration for the Seaboard Railway Line in 1927; names of bridge tenders for the old hand-cranked bridge; names of businesses downtown in the 1930s; dairies in the eastern section; and the smuggling of alcohol during prohibition. Also details of Lacey's life history, including his parents' histories, working with the Conservation Civilian Corps in Alabama in 1936 and taking part in Operation Torch, the North African invasion of November 8, 1942. 
    Listen to the interview on the Internet Archive (transcription available)
  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann, 26 June 1992, as part of the Boynton Beach City Library Local History Archives. Topics discussed include Lacey's parents (William Henry Lacey, 1884-1976, and mother, Ada Rideout, 1880-1945); his World War II experiences, including assisting in ship repairs, tattoos men got, seeing Kamikaze attacks, and being on shore patrol in West Palm Beach; his business, Lacey's Barber Shop; his experiences in the hurricanes of 1928 and 1947 in Boynton Beach and the two men killed in the 1928 hurricane; and the charitable action of the Shriners in fixing future baseball player Rick Rhoden's injured leg. Also some mention of fishing, eating turtles, how others cooked land crabs, and being acquainted with the actor Burt Reynold Jr. when he was a child.
    Listen to the interview on the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Randolph LeeBorn 1920 to Robert Henry Lee and Ada Tillman Lee, Randolph Melvin Lee (1920-2001) taught high school in several Florida counties in the 1940s, including Palm Beach County. He later became a Baptist minister; St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Boynton Beach was one of these churches.

  • 1999 Oral History Interview Transcription:  Interviewed by Dorothy B. Walker on 26 April 1999 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Transcription edited by his wife, Johnnie M. Lee, and Dorothy B Walker. Topics discussed include his life as an educator and minister, racism and segregation in the educational system, the Groveland Four case (1949), and his daughter, Yvonne Lee Odom, being the first African-American child to attend Seacrest High School (1961).
    Read the transcription on the Internet Archive

Albert Leslie McGregor Jr. (1908-1997) came to Boynton Beach in 1932, and worked various jobs, including chauffeur and real estate agent.

  • 1984 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Elethea M. Goodkin on 15 October 1984 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Interview focused on the history of Boynton Beach’s municipal beach, which is located on the barrier island, surrounded by Ocean Ridge. There are some details of the use of the beach and the bathing Casino, the changing depth of the water, and the owners of the houses nearby. Also a brief description of his duties when staffing the aircraft observation tower at Boynton Inlet during World War II.
    Listen to the interview on the Internet Archive (Transcription available)

Martha Meeks Norfus LightMartha Ann Meeks (b. 1939) married Eugene Norfus (1935-2000) at 15, and had eight children; divorced c. 1988. Remarried in 1994 to Charlie Light. She earned her GED after her children were in school, and went on to earn two doctoral degrees. She was an instructional aide at Poinciana Elementary School (Boynton Beach) and a kindergarten teacher at Kirklane Elementary (Palm Springs), from which she retired in 2002. Her autobiography, Sweet Pineapples: A Touching Memoir About a Strong Black Family was published in 2013 under the name Dr. Martha Norfus Meeks-Light. She continues to be an articulate advocate for her community.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview with Dr. Martha Meeks-Light: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann (FAU intern) on 26 September 1992, for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Interview starts with a written statement from Meeks-Light detailing the nature of the Boynton Beach African-American community before integration and in the early days of integration. Topics discussed include the Black owned businesses in Boynton Beach before integration, how integration resulted in the busing of African-American children to distant schools, her experience in the 1947 hurricane, and her teaching career and educational achievements.
    Listen to Interview on Internet Archive (Transcription available)

Rebecca MerkelRebecca Partin Merkel (1920-2005) came to Florida in 1925; she married Norman Merkel in 1939 and they had three children. She was very active in 4-H in her teen years and later served as president and member of several organizations, including the Boynton Woman's Club, the Boynton D.A.R, the Southern Dames of America, and the Boynton Beach Historical Society.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann on 30 June 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics discussed include Merkel's family, particularly her father Mott Hall Partin (1892-1960), mother Lois Jones Partin (1901-1965), sister Thelma Partin Weaver (1927-1976), and her daughter Susan Elizabeth Merkel; her childhood and young adulthood in Boynton Beach (1925-1939), including the strictness of her father, being unable to attend college, and meeting her future husband Norman Merkel (1914-1990); the Merkel orchid business and the conflict with her brother-in-law Jean Merkel (1911-2005) after her husband’s death; and a significant description of Merkel's experiences winning several Florida's state 4-H championships and going on to compete at the 4-H National Conference in Chicago in 1936.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Helen Shepard MerrillHelen Frances Shepard Merrill (1913-2003) was born in Boynton Beach, daughter of farmer and first principal of the Boynton School (1913) Welcome Stuart (W.S.) Shepard and Alice Losee Shepard. She graduated from Boynton High School in 1931. She then earned a B.S. from Florida State College for Women (now Florida State University) in 1936 and had a career in the Federal Civil Service, retiring in 1978. Married Richard Merrill (USAF MSgt) in 1943, they had three children together and lived chiefly in Colorado.

 

  • 1979 Oral History Interview: Interviewed 4 April 1979 by James Nichols for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics discussed include the family's experience losing everything during the 1928 hurricane; the original location of the Black community; growing up in Boynton swimming and having picnics at the old casino; her life and career; and her family, including her siblings and Uncle Alfred Clayton Shepard. Also mentions the Cecil Upton murder and seeing signal lights from rum-runners in the 1930s.
    Listen to the interview at the Internet Archive (Transcription available)

Glenn MurrayBorn in May 1895 to Horace B. Murray (1867-1949, first mayor of Boynton) and Mary E. Smith Murray (1869-1934) in Michigan, who brought him to Boynton Beach at 8 months old. Murray lived primarily in Boynton Beach, working as a carpenter, except for his time in Yuba City, California (c. 1921-1939). Murray married Bessie Lee Brown (1891-1987) in 1915 and they had several children.

  • 1978 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by James Hartley Nichols on 2 October 1978 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Discussion chiefly focused on life in the Boynton Beach area before 1915, including food eaten; activities, including hunting, fishing, camping; local people, including Native Americans and Charles Pierce; the shipwreck of the Coquimbo (1909); and what the local stores and houses looked like.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (Transcription available)
  • 1980 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by James Hartley Nichols on 31 January 1980 as part of the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Program. Topics discussed include the Boynton Hotel; Lyman’s store in Lantana; fishing and frog hunting; food eaten in area as child; town picnics; the death of his brother, Clyde Murray while smuggling alcohol from Bahamas during prohibition with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s cooperation; and being accused by a local of running groceries to the John Ashley gang.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (Transcription available)

Freda Oyer
Lillian "Freda" Oyer

Lillian Frederica "Freda" Voss Oyer was born on 27 October 1896 in Hypoluxo, Florida to Frederick Voss (1865-1958) and Lillie Pierce Voss (1876-1967). She married Harvey Oyer Sr. (1892-1975) on 24 April 1924; they lived in Boynton Beach, Florida and had three children. She died on 31 March 1998.

  • 1978 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by James Nichols on 13 December 1978 for the Boynton Beach City Library. Chiefly discussed life in newly settled Florida in the Hypoluxo, Lantana, and Boynton Beach areas. Includes experiences in early Hypoluxo, including school in a one-room schoolhouse in Lantana and high school in Palm Beach, foodways, oyster roasts, friends, relatives, and activities; also details about the life of her father, doctors in the area, and how she met her husband, Harvey Oyer (1892-1975), Yallah and Chuck Pierce’s adventures in the Hurricane (probably 1903), and her mother’s enjoyment at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Palm Beach.
    Listen to interview (Partial transcription available)

Tereesa PadgettTereesa Evelyn Dagley Padgett (1921-2003) came to live near Boynton Beach in 1947 with her husband, Carl Padgett (1911-1963), when they came to assist on his brother's farm west of town. Later, she went to work in the Boynton Beach City Clerk office in 1952 and retired from that office in 1983 as City Clerk. She was also very active in the Boynton community organizations, including serving as president of the Boynton Woman's Club (1990-1991)

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann on 10 August 1992  for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. A wide number of topics were briefly discussed, including her work as City Clerk with the City of Boynton Beach, the negatives of school integration, and her activities in local organizations such as the Boynton Woman's Club, the Baptist Church, and the American Legion Auxiliary. Also briefly discussed her experiences during World War II, when she and her husband were stationed in Miami and Busnell, Florida.
    Listen to the interview at the Internet Archive (Transcription available)
Ethel Pierce.
Ethel Pierce

Born 10 Dec 1890 in Boston, Georgia. Following her family, she lived in various places through Florida and Panama until moving with them to Jupiter in 1914. She became the postmaster there in 1918. She married Boynton postmaster Charles W. Pierce in 1924. When her husband died in 1939, she assumed the position of Boynton postmaster until 1956. She died in 1987.

  • 1978 Oral History with Ethel Pierce:  Interviewed 9 January 1978 by James Nichols for the Boynton Beach City Library. Topics include Pierce’s family, including her father, Eli Sims (1856-1927), and brothers; her own life, including growing up in Jupiter, living in Panama, and becoming postmistress of Jupiter; and the publication of her husband’s memoirs, Pioneer Life In Southeast Florida, edited by Donald Walter Curl, published by the University of Miami Press in 1970.
    Listen to the interview (transcription available)

C Spencer Pompey.C. Spencer Pompey (1915-2001) was an educator and civil rights activist. Pompey taught at several places, including Poinciana Junior High in Boynton Beach, Carver High School in Delray (where he launched the first athletic program in 1944), Seacrest/Atlantic, and Carver Middle School, where he served a principal until his retirement in 1979. He was associate editor of Like a Mighty Banyan: Contributions of Black People to the History of Palm Beach County and his memoir, More Rivers to Cross, was published posthumously. His efforts in civil right activism include becoming, in 1940, the first president of the Palm Beach County Education Association, which was formed in protest to being excluded from the Florida Education Association and pay inequity on the basis of race, which resulted in joining the NAACP’s class action suit against the Palm Beach School Board in 1941. Pompey was also significant in the fight to end the practice that African-American students had a summer term so they could work in the fields for winter harvest and allowing African-Americans to use public beaches. Mr. Pompey was the recipient of many awards, including being a member of the Black Floridians Hall of Fame and Delray Beach’s Old School Square’s lifetime achievement award.

  • 1996 Oral History Interview with C. Spencer Pompey: Interviewed 13 November 1996 by Arleen Dennison. Chiefly focused on a discussion of integration in the Palm Beach County School system. Includes a discussion of the 1941 class action lawsuit against the Palm Beach County School Board by the Palm Beach County Teachers Association, argued by future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, for equal pay; getting a school named after an African-American (Carver High School); and politics around funding and education. Also includes a discussion of personal philosophy of what African-American youth should be taught and personal history. 
    Listen to interview (transcription available)

John Robert Rousseau (1920-1995) was the son of Abel Augustus Rousseau (1878-1960) and Katharine Missouri Ford Rousseau (1880-1934). After graduating from Boynton Beach High School in 1937, he served in the U.S. Army as a glider pilot, stationed in England. He married Margaret R. Howarth before becoming a veterinarian in 1948. Rousseau opened a veterinary clinic in Boynton Beach in 1957 and retired in April 1995. He died 31 December 1996.

  • 1979 Oral History Interview: Interviewed by James Nichols on 29 June 1979 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics discussed include his life, his family's history in the area, his earliest recollections of Boynton Beach, and pranks that people played on each other.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (Transcript available)

Lucille and Otleys restaurant.
Lucille and Otley's
Restaurant, 1950

Otley Webb Scott (1912-2002) arrived in Boynton Beach in 1930 with his father Clemons Otley Scott (1884-1962), a farmer and dairyman, and mother Tina Webb Scott (1888-1965). Mary Lucille Tuck (1913-2012) arrived in Boynton Beach in about 1929, with father Benjamin Tuck (1889-1964) and mother Rubye Lucille Tanner Tuck (1892-1975) and her sisters. Lucille repeated her senior year of high school in Boynton School (Class of 1931), where she met her future husband. They married in 1934 and had three children. The couple owned and operated a series of restaurants between 1936-1941, and 1945-1978, including Lucille and Otley's. The restaurant continued to operate under the family's management until 1998.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview: Interviewed 17 June 1992 by Caryn Neumann for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics discussed include their experiences in Boynton Beach during the Great Depression (1930s), the establishment and operation of their restaurant business (1936-1941, 1945-1988), Otley’s experience in the 1928 Hurricane in Delray Beach, and Boynton Beach during World War II.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (Transcript available)

3 girls.
Hazel Lacy,
Christine Jordan,
Margaret Meredith,
c. 1930

Born in 1917, Margaret Meredith came to Boynton Beach with her family in about 1921. Her father, John Brockner Meredith's sister Ione was married to T.E. Woolbright, a manager of a pineapple plantation in Boynton. Meredith (1888-1947) opened an electrical shop and installed the first electric lights in Boynton Beach in 1921. Her mother, Anna Brugger Meredith (1896-1985) worked at the Boynton Hotel, R.O. Myers grocery store, and was the a treasurer of the Boynton Woman's Club. Margaret Elaine Meredith attended Boynton School (Class of 1935), Palm Beach Junior College, and Florida State College for Women. She was a teacher in Florida and in many other places as her first husband, Jack Meredith Jones, served in the military. In Germany, she studied library science and returned to be a librarian at Lake Worth Public Library, eventually becoming head librarian. She was also married to Emil C. Link and John Stanley, and had three children. She died in 2002.

  • 1992 Oral History with Margaret Meredith Stanley: Interviewed on 30 June 1992 by Caryn Newmann (FAU Intern) as part of Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics discussed include her parents' work; her childhood activities; discipline at Boynton School under principal Williamson; and life in Boynton during the depression of the 1930s, including using the food kitchen established by the government. Also brief discussions of her life in Japan and Germany in the 1950s, including a visit to Hiroshima in 1953.
    Listen to interview in the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Born 21 Dec 1912, Thompson came to Boynton Beach with his family in about 1922. He worked at various dairies and other jobs, including farm laborer and bus driver. Married Katherine Foy (1922-2014), daughter of dairyman Charles Foy, in 1942. They adopted two children. Thompson died 14 Nov 2002.

  • 1992 Oral History Interview with Leonard Thompson: Interviewed on August 5, 1992 by Caryn Newmann (FAU intern). Topics discussed include the many local dairies in the 1930s, including location; rum-running in Boynton during prohibition; activities of young adults during the 1930s, including dances and Halloween pranks; working for the CCC to recover bodies after the 1935 hurricane in the everglades; the WPA garden in Boynton Beach; his World War II experiences; and having the first airplane in Boynton Beach.
    Listen to the interview at the Internet Archive (transcription available)

3 men with fire engine
Tuite on far right

John “Jack” Tuite was born 10 Feb 1918 to Francis J. Tuite and Isabelle Kane. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Pacific. Jack was one of the first paid Boynton Beach firemen in 1953 and later became the first paid Fire Chief in 1959. He also worked in the Palm Beach Police and Sheriff’s departments. He and his wife Mabel Rousseau (1913-1992) married in 1942. He died 1 August 2006.

  • 1992 Oral History with Jack Tuite: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann (FAU intern) on 29 July 1992 as part of the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Interview is split into three digital files. The first file concerns his family history, including his father’s and grandfather’s hotel businesses, and life in Boynton Beach in the late 1930s. The remainder of this first part is a personal narrative of his service in Pacific for the U.S. Army during WWII. In the first half of the second part, Tuite details his various jobs, including working as a policeman for Boynton Beach and Palm Beach. The last half of the second part and the third part mainly deals with the Fire Department at Boynton Beach, including its organization, training, and several fires. There is also some material at the end concerning his wife, Mabel Rousseau.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (transcription available)
Tuppen Wood Works Building.
Tuppen Wood Works

Sherman "Bud" Tuppen Jr. grew up amid his family's tackle and boat store, Tuppen's Wood Works, which he later owned. His father, Sherman Tuppen Sr. (1895-1979) and mother Mildred Davis Tuppen (1902-1994) started the business in the late 1940s, specializing in wood moldings and cabinets; in 1956, they opened their store at 1002 Dixie Highway, selling boats and fishing gear. Bud Tuppen married Marilyn Reichheld in the 1960s and they had one son, Scott (1968-2012).

  • 2007 Interview with Buddy Tuppen: Interviewed by Janet DeVries and Cindy Jamison as part of the Sport Fishing in Palm Beach County Oral History Project, in conjunction with the Boynton Beach City Library. Topics discussed include the Tuppen Wood Works and the Tuppen family, the Lake Osborne power boat races, other local tackle shops, and how boating and fishing has changed over the years.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (Transcript available)

Teacher Edna WatersEdna Hutchinson Jung Waters taught at Delray Elementary from 1954 to 1957 and Boynton Elementary School from 1957 to 1971.

  • 1992 Oral History with Edna Hutchinson Jung Waters: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann (FAU intern) on November 4, 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Interview chiefly features Waters’ experiences teaching at Boynton Beach Elementary School, including student backgrounds and behavior, and interactions with administration. 
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (Transcript available)

C Stanley Weaver.
C. Stanley
Weaver, c. 1955

Charles Stanley Weaver was born 19 January 1922 in Boynton Beach, Florida. He graduated in 1939 from Boynton Beach High School and from the University of Florida in 1943 with a degree in political science/history. He then joined the Army-Air Force and served in French West Africa. After discharge, he joined his father, M.A. Weaver, in the family business, Weaver Dairy and along with his siblings, owned and operated the dairy until 1973. He served on the Boynton Beach City Commission from 1951-1956 and was elected Mayor in 1955. He served on the Board of Directors of First Bank & Trust of Boynton Beach (later Barnett Bank) for over 26 years. He was a 32nd degree Mason, a past master of the Boynton Masonic Lodge, helped establish American Legion Post 164, and was a charter member of the Boynton Kiwanis. For 47 years, Stanley served on the Board of Supervisors of the Lake Worth Drainage District retiring in 2007 due to declining health. During many of those years, he was chairman of the board. In September 2007, the Drainage District honored him for his service by renaming the Boynton Canal the “C. Stanley Weaver Canal.” C. Stanley Weaver died 1 Sept 2010.

  • 1992 Oral History with C. Stanley Weaver: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann (FAU intern) on June 17, 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Interview focuses on the histories of several members of the Weaver family in the Boynton Beach area, including his grandfather C.F. Knuth, his father M.A. Weaver, and his brothers and aunts. Details his life experiences in Boynton Beach, including childhood activities, Boy Scout activities, city planning, and establishment of the Rotary Club, and his personal experiences in World War II. Also elaborates on his family’s experiences in the 1928 and 1947 hurricanes.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (Transcription available)
  • 1984 Oral History with C. Stanley Weaver: Interviewed by Elethea M. Goodkin on Sept. 24, 1984 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Interview focuses on the history of the Boynton Beach Municipal Beach, including a description of the Casino building in the 1930s, its boardwalk, parking area, and A1A; how people used the Casino and the beaches; how the town acquired the land for the beaches; and erosion. Also discusses the water quality of Lake Worth before the Boynton Inlet was created and his father, M.A. Weaver.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (Transcription available)

Dr Nathaniel Weems Jr.
Dr. Weems Jr.

Dr. Nathaniel Marion Weems Junior (1927-2015) was a family physician in Boynton Beach from 1957 to 1990, and was the son of one of the first physicians in the Boynton Beach area, Nathaniel Marion Weems Senior. Nathaniel Marion Weems Junior attended the Boynton school until tenth grade, when he attended a prep school before attending Emory. After earning his medical degree at University of Miami, he began practicing medicine in Boynton Beach in 1957, joining his father’s medical practice until the mid 1960s. He retired in 1990 and later died in 2015.

  • 1992 Oral History with Dr. Marion Weems Jr.: Interviewed 15 June 1992 by Caryn Neumann (FAU intern) on November 4, 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics discussed include his father’s life, the Boynton School and teacher Marion LaQuitte; his experience being a bank teller during the robbery of Boynton State Bank in 1949; WWII boat torpedoed off-shore; and differences in medical practice between his and his father’s practice.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (Transcription available)

Born 16 August 1906 in Centralia, Illinois to Thomas Edward Woolbright and Lovesta Ione Meredith Woolbright. Father was a coal miner and pineapple grower. Beryl Woolbright came to Boynton Beach in 1912 at age 6 and lived in Boynton Beach through high school, graduating from Delray High School in 1926. He then attended Georgia School of Technology, graduating with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1931. He worked in several places as a civil engineer, and in 1943 moved back to the Boynton Beach area when he went to work for the Lake Worth Drainage District. He also later became the Resident District Engineer for Martin, Palm Beach and Okeechobee Counties. Married c. 1929 to Nellie Marie Perry, they had seven children. Woolbright was active in the Boynton Beach community, a member of the Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite Temple, Amara Shrine Temple, and the First Methodist Church. He died 3 May 1997.

  • 1978 Oral History with Beryl Woolbright: Interviewed 5 December 1978 by James Nichols as part of the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Interview focuses on life in Boynton Beach in the late 1910s and early 1920s, when Woolbright was a young boy. Topics discussed include what the town looked like, including the layout of the town and the flora and fauna of the outlying regions; what children did, including hunting and socializing; pineapple farming in the area and water use; and biographical information about family members. Also includes stories about Bahamian blacks fishing, panthers in the region, Indians Sam and Shirttail Charlie, Gypsies traveling through the region, and an encounter with the John Ashley gang.
    Listen to interview at the Internet Archive (Transcription available)

Beryl Woolbright was born 16 August 1906 in Centralia, Illinois to Thomas Edward Woolbright and Lovesta Ione Meredith Woolbright. Beryl Woolbright came to Boynton Beach in 1912 at age 6 and lived in Boynton Beach through high school, graduating from Delray High School in 1926. He then attended Georgia School of Technology, graduating with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1931. He worked in several places as a civil engineer, and in 1943 moved back to the Boynton Beach area when he went to work for the Lake Worth Drainage District. He also later became the Resident District Engineer for Martin, Palm Beach and Okeechobee Counties. Married 1928 to Nellie Marie Perry. Woolbright was active in the Boynton Beach community, a member of the Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite Temple, Amara Shrine Temple, and the First Methodist Church. He died 3 May 1997.

William Turner “Sam” Woolbright was born 29 March 1908 in Centralia, Illinois to Thomas Edward Woolbright and Lovesta Ione Meredith Woolbright. He came to Boynton Beach in 1912 at age 4 and graduated from Delray High School. After serving in the Navy during WWII, he worked as an electrician, ultimately owning an electrical contracting business in Delray Beach, “Sam’s Electrics.” Married Virginia Brewster in 1936. Very active in the Boynton Beach community, he was elected mayor in 1947; he was also commander of the American Legion and a master of the Boynton Beach masonic lodge. He died in Boynton Beach in 3 December 1994.

  • 1992 Oral History with the Woolbright brothers: Interviewed by Caryn Neumann (FAU intern) on June 18, 1992 for the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Project. Topics discussed include the earliest day of the family’s life in Boynton Beach; childhood activities, including each breaking his arm and medical attention, hunting, and camping; the naming of Woolbright Road; and Boynton city politics while Sam was mayor.
    Listen to interview on the Internet Archive (transcription available)

Thomas Wright.Thomas Alexander Wright (1920-2014) was a Baptist minister, social activist, entrepreneur, educator, and president of the NAACP. As the leading religious figure in St. Augustine, he led the way for Dr. Martin Luther King's visit to St. Augustine which capped a long struggle, culminating in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He was featured in the Gainesville Sun as one of the fifty people who made a difference in north central Florida and was given a day of recognition (Thomas A. Wright Day, July 21, 1985) by the Gainesville City Commission. Wright was recognized for his four decades of dedicated service to Florida communities and as a noted civil rights champion in the state of Florida in 2002, when the University of Florida Honorary Degree Committee awarded Reverend Thomas Alexander Wright the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service. 

  • 1995 Oral History Transcription: Interviewed by Myra K. Jones on 2 May 1995 as part of the Boynton Beach City Library Oral History Program. Summary only of a short interview focusing on Thomas A. Wright’s life growing up in Boynton Beach, including the farm work, the inspiration of principal Spencer Pompey, and the community.
    Read transcription of interview summary (no recording or transcription available)