Last night, I began reading the book, BEYOND THE FOURTH GENERATION, by Lamar Johnson. My mother gave me this 1974 book as a Christmas gift. On the package was written, “Recommended by Howard Ehmke.”
“Wow.” I thought. “Mr Ehmke is an institution of the South Florida Water Management District, – forever – lead surveyor and mapper, and designer of the agency’s beloved logo.”
I read late into the night, and recognized early in chapter one, that author, Lamar Johnson’s childhood account of the 1921 Everglades was absolutely captivating and included an event that I had attended “100 years later,” -through the South Florida Water Management District in 2021.Lamar Johnson tells many incredible stories. The one that follows his dog, Lassie, getting dragged down deep to her death in the Miami Canal by a giant alligator includes his boyhood account of the murder of G.C. Douglas, the first Deputy Sheriff in Lake Harbor, once near Bare Beach, in Palm Beach County. As alluded to, I had been exposed to this story of the Deputy – and invited in August of 2021, to the 100 year later – memorial – by my parent’s dear friend, Chappy Young, GCY INC.
It really made the event come to life, reading “Beyond The Fourth Generation.” As I told my mother today, I worried about the incident within those times, as it was like the wild west. It remains a remarkable historical break-through that Deputy Douglas was researched and honored along the banks of the old Miami Canal one-hundred years later. Thus, today, I share my photos from August 2021. You can learn more by watching the video at the end of this post.
-Group shot -SFWMD Board Members, Ben Butler, JTL, and Exec. Dir. Drew Bartlett-Photos from the area, Lake Harbor, just east of Clewiston along Lake Okeechobee. -The old Miami Locks. Lake Okeechobee met the canal here in 1921. -Location of event as shown on Google Maps, easy to see how the lake once reached this area and beyond during wet season, then flowed south through the River of Grass.-This Google Map close up shows the Old Miami Locks from above at Azalea Court and Weaver Lane; note width of original canal compared to today. Thankfully this has been preserved as a state historic site. -Arriving with Regional Rep. Sherry McCorkle -The Riderless Horse awaits its que -Getting ready to start the ceremony -Looking around-People begin to gather -Family of Deputy Douglas-JTL -Ben Butler, Chappy Young, and JTL -Chappy and members of Douglas Family -Libby Pigman, Regional Rep. SFWMD -The ceremony begins -Dog belonging to a member of the crowd, left its owner during gunshots, hiding in next to Ben Butler. So cute! -Sheriffs/organizers with Chappy Young -Old Miami Locks – far right
Video of event PBC Sheriffs Dept tells the story of researching Dept. Sheriff Douglas