| Historical Essays

Historical Essay 64

Posted on 22 December 2010 by LeslieM

How to win an election

In my previous essays, I’d explained that back in the early 1950s, Deerfield did not have school for its children to attend beyond elementary school 6th grade. For 7th grade through 12th, we all had to take a bus to Pompano High School. Sometimes when we were getting off the bus, the Pompano kids standing around would laugh and say “Here come the kids from Deer Patch!” We would mostly just smile, but sometimes a couple of our boys would show them a finger.

The area was growing fast, however, and Deerfield, Pompano and Margate all got junior high schools within a couple of years. So, by the time I was in the 10th grade, our Pompano Senior High School was limited to 10th, 11th and 12th grades.

There was one Pompano boy, Robert Moore, whose widowed mother was a teacher at Deerfield Elementary. I got to know him pretty well, even though he always attended Pompano schools, because he sometimes came to Deerfield with his mother.  When I started school at Pompano, he and I became good friends. With blond hair and a big smile, he played point guard on the basketball team and was popular with the girls. He used his popularity to get himself elected as President of each and every grade class.

When 10th grade came, he had some tough opposition for President. So being smart politically, he asked me to run on his team as his Vice President to bring in the Deerfield votes. It worked, we won. I got my first taste of politics and liked it.

When our junior year (11th grade) came around, Robert Moore, as usual, ran and won President of our junior class. But I decided to run for Vice President of the whole Student Body instead of just being a junior class VP.  I won. It was fun and very satisfying as I represented our entire school at many events.

But toward the end of spring of 11th grade, Robert came to me one day and said “I just want to let you know I’ve decided to run for President of the Student Body next year instead of class president.”  Momentarily taken aback, I practically shouted at Robert: “You’re not qualified to be Student Body President — you’ve never even served on the Student Council! So why do you want to do that?” He laughed and said “Because the Student Body President is ‘higher’ than class president.” He continued: “You can be senior class president, and I will be Student Body President next year!”

“I don’t think so,” I practically shouted at him. “I should be Student Body President as I’ve had a year of preparation so I can do a good job!” “Good luck,” he laughed, walking away, “but you will never beat me!”

Devastated, I didn’t know what to do. So I prayed about it and came up with a plan: Aware that people like it when you greet them by name, and knowing that the election would be held the second week of classes after school started in the fall, my plan was to memorize over the summer the first names of all the new students who would be feeding into Pompano High in the fall from junior high schools in the area. When school started, I would work the hallways and sidewalks where new kids would congregate and greet them by their first names. All I had to do was arrange to get a copy of the yearbooks from the feeder schools and every day during the summer, practice connecting names to faces. To help them know who I was, I would wear a big button saying “ELLER’s the FELLER for Student Body President.”

By the time school started in the fall of 1957, I had memorized faces with the first names of over 300 entering sophomores. I walked the hallways where they typically congregated with a large “Eller’s the Feller for Student Body President” sign on my chest and back. I’d study each face and if it registered in my memory bank, I’d say “Hello Sally” or “Welcome to Pompano High, Fred” for a whole week before the election. The students would typically look surprised that I knew their name, then read my sign. The results of the election were Robert and I split our own Senior Class about 50/50. He carried the junior class by 65/35 percent, but I wiped him out in the largest class — the new Sophomore class — by getting nearly 85 percent of the vote!

Robert came over to congratulate me and asked how I’d done it. When I explained how I’d memorized names and faces of most of the sophomores, he laughed and said, “Well you certainly earned the victory. Congratulations!”

Robert and I remained friends, and after high school, a local doctor sponsored him for a scholarship. He went on to become a medical doctor in Alabama, specializing in microscopic surgery.

David Eller, Publisher

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Historical Essay 63

Posted on 02 December 2010 by LeslieM

My First Formal Date

It was 1958 and the Pompano Beach Senior High School Prom was coming up soon. The first thing I noticed was the girls were suddenly a lot friendlier than normal. They didn’t just nod their heads in recognition as you walked by, but actually started smiling big and saying something like “Hi David” as they passed by in the hallway. As the big day got closer, some of them even started asking who I was planning to take to the prom. I found that to be embarrassing because I didn’t have a girlfriend yet and wasn’t planning to go.

However, I had been elected Vice President of the Junior class by then, and Mr. Hagman, our student advisor, told me that “as an elected leader” you are expected to go to school events, including the prom. So there I was, kind of stuck. Then, I soon found out that most of the girls, who had previously caught my eye, already had dates.

Social pressure was building. There was one possibility, however, that came to mind. A new girl, a petite brunette named Gwen, had recently moved into town from Georgia. She hadn’t had a chance to get hooked up with a boyfriend yet, so I moved quickly. I knew where she lived, drove there on Saturday morning and introduced myself to her dad when he opened the door. He invited me in, offered me a seat on the couch and said “Gwen is still putting her face on.”

Not used to that term, and a little taken a back, I started thinking that was the one thing I hadn’t liked about her when we first met. Too much makeup turns most guys off, including me. But then, I thought: “beggars can’t be choosers.” So I sat there and talked to her dad, it seemed like an hour.

Finally, she came out. The first thing I noticed after the makeup was the puffiness under her eyes. Of course, we all have some of that when we first wake up, so I don’t know why I was being so critical. We talked briefly about Friday night’s football game, and then I blurted it out “Would you like to go to the prom with me?” She smiled and hesitated for a moment. I was beginning to hate her when she finally said “You’ll have to ask my dad.”

Her dad had stepped outside, so I went out and asked his permission. He didn’t hesitate, but did say “As long as you have her home, I mean in this house, by 12 o’clock.” I immediately agreed and sighed in relief. I had a date for the prom! Whew!

David Eller


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Historical Essay 62

Posted on 07 October 2010 by LeslieM

My First “really big” kiss was a surprise…

In previous Essay No. 61, I shared about how I bought my first car, a 1949 Ford, for $100, from my Sunday school teacher, Joel Horne. I didn’t have a girlfriend yet, but I did notice the girls started getting a lot friendlier when they found out I had my own car.

We lived in Deerfield on Dixie Highway, where the tennis courts are now. One night, I drove my car across the street to Pioneer Park to watch the Lions Club men play softball against a Pompano team. Proud of my first car, I parked close to the bleachers and decided to sit on the front fender to watch the game and simultaneously show off my “new” brown Ford. Sure enough, within five minutes, two girls I’d grown up with came swaggering over.

One of them said “Oh David, is that car yours?”  I smiled and nodded affirmatively. “Take us for a ride.”

I said “Ok, jump in.” They both climbed into the front seat. I backed out, being careful not to bump Uncle Jim Butler’s car parked next to me.

“Take us to the beach,” one of them said. So off we went, turning east on Hillsboro Avenue, crossing Federal Highway and over the bridge to the beach where we parked for a few minutes and looked for sand crabs at the wave break.

Then one of the girls said, “I better get back before my parents notice I’m gone.”  So we hurried back to the game, where she got out of the car.

The other girl immediately slid right up next to me and said “Let’s go back to the beach, I want to show you a neat place.” Anxious to drive my “new” car some more, I agreed but asked her to move back over to her side of the seat. She did, so I backed out and headed back to the beach. Just as we passed over the Intracoastal bridge, she told me to make a left turn, and then another, which headed us onto a small dirt road surrounded by cabbage palms where Hillsboro Landings is today.  I stopped at the Intracoastal waters’ east edge and started to back up. Suddenly, she slid over, grabbed me by the back of my head and planted a big sloppy kiss squarely on my mouth. Astonished, I pushed her away, proceeded to back up, and drove her directly to her home.

On the way home, I explained that I thought of her as a friend, like a sister, not a girlfriend. This didn’t seem to help. When we got to her house, she refused to get out of my car, saying “Kiss me or I won’t get out.”

I told her “No!” and demanded she get out. This went on for about 10 minutes when I gave her my final ultimatum: “Get out now because I’m about to drive home and you’ll have to walk back home alone.” She still refused to get out. So I drove to my house (about three blocks away) with her still in my car. I parked in my usual backyard spot, told her “Good night!” went into my house and went to bed.

I’d only been in bed a few minutes when my mother, who had looked out her bedroom window and saw someone in my car, came to my bedroom and asked, “David, who is that in your car?” I told Mom what had happened. She chuckled; then she asked for my keys and went outside and drove the girl home. When Mom returned, she came to my room and told me I’d done the right thing. I slept well that night, and the girl and I remained just good friends for many years.

David Eller

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Historical Essay 61

Posted on 01 July 2010 by LeslieM

Softball, Guitars and Singing -was Deerfield’s main means of entertainment in the old days

Watching our 30- and 40-year-old fathers play softball was one of the main summer entertainment activities for several years in Deerfield, Pompano and other South Florida communities. Most teams were sponsored by Service Clubs, like the Lions Club.
But some teams were sponsored by businesses. Like the Boca Raton Hotel team, who paid their players. However, the Clearwater Bombers were considered the best professional team and won the World Championship for several years in a row. My parents knew the Bomber’s main pitcher, Herb Dudley, because my mother’s brother had been his catcher on the U.S. Navy team.
One Saturday, he and his wife came by to visit us. Herb was urging my father to apply to get on the Softball Commission, which had something to do with setting the rules for the game. My Dad agreed to apply, was accepted and, eventually, became the Commissioner of Softball for South Florida, a position he held for several years.
After their meeting, Herb noticed my guitar in the corner and asked who played. Dad, who also played, differed to me, saying his fingers were out of shape. Always ready to play, I picked up the Gibson and proceeded to run out a few chords. Herb and his wife had great voices and we all quickly joined in to sing about an hour or two of country, gospel and folk music. It was great fun and he and his wife gave me a lot of encouragement.
Herb, who was also a lay minister of the gospel, went on to share with me that my namesake, King David, was also a guitar player. I replied that I thought he only played a harp. He said that according to some of the Bible translations, David is described as playing “string instruments” which would include the harp and the lyre, a musical instrument very similar to a guitar. He went on to share that later on, during the time of Soloman, David’s son, there were choirs in Israel having up to 4,000 singers (I Chr.23:5) accompanied by hundreds of harps, lyres and cymbals.(I Chr. 25:6-7)
I was greatly inspired by Herb’s encouragement … so much that it is still a rare day when I don’t pick up a guitar at home, at the office, on a cruise ship and “run out a few chords”.
David Eller

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Historical Essays 51 to 60

Posted on 13 June 2010 by LeslieM

Historical Essay 60

Fishing was Awesome in the “Old Days”

5-13-10
My father, Marlin Eller, used to tell me about when he was a boy in the 1930s growing up in Deerfield, the water in the Intracoastal Waterway and Hillsboro River/Canal was clear most of the time. According to him, you could see all the way to the bottom and use treble snag hooks and cast nets to catch fish from the bridges or docks.

When I was a boy growing up some 20 years later in the 1950s, we only had clear water in the Intracoastal in Deerfield a few days a year, and it was never really clear in the Hillsboro Canal. However, the water was always clear in the Intracoastal on the back end of an incoming tide near the Hillsboro or Boca Raton Inlets. In December each year, the shrimp would start running, that is, they would float and swim in from the ocean by the thousands on an incoming tide. The run would continue through April. However, January and February seemed to be the best. And the very best was three days before and after the full moon. You could only see them at night with a light, because in the daytime they kept near the bottom. We would anchor our boat at the beginning of an incoming tide just off the channel so as not to interfere with boat traffic. Then, we would put our bright lanterns out on extender poles. Extending our dip nets out over the water just behind a lantern, we were ready to catch some shrimp. At night, the shrimp tend to swim near the surface, and you can see them coming because their eyes shine bright pink. Sometimes, they would be in groups of two or three and you could get them all with one swoop. But mostly it was one at a time.
Once you had a few in the net, you would dump them into the 5-gallon bucket in the middle of the boat. We would generally “shrimp” for two to three hours and then quit because it was pretty tiring and, sometimes, it would be biting cold. Back home, Mother would take the ones she wanted for frying or boiling and we’d put the others in the bait freezer.
Fishing was also good that time of year. We sometimes used a homemade lure, which we thought looked like a shrimp when trolled. We made it by cutting Mother’s orange and yellow embroidery threads into 5-inch-long pieces and tying them onto the links of a dog chain about 4 inches long. A ball sinker in the front and regular fish hook in the back finished off the lure. We’d troll between Boca Raton and Hillsboro Inlets in about 15 feet of water next to the first reef and catch lots of blue fish and some Spanish mackerel. If they weren’t biting there, we’d go into the deeper water of the second reef in about 50 feet of water and try to catch some kingfish or cobia. If that didn’t work, we’d anchor and chum up grouper, red snapper, yellow tail and the always dependable grey snapper or grunts. We could always catch fish. We had lots of fun and never worried about having something to eat.
David Eller

Historical Essay 59

My First Car … a 1949 Ford

15 Apr 2010
When you are 16 years old with a drivers license, but no car, life can be tedious. At least, it seemed that way to me. My parents would let me use their 1954 Chevrolet sparingly. They weren’t too enthused about me using their car for dating for some reason, so most of my early “dates” were limited to going out to Howard Johnson’s for ice cream on Sunday nights after church with one of the parents driving.

One of the girls in my Sunday School class was Sharon Bourne, whose father’s farm was what is now the Royal Palm Housing Development at the corner of the Hillsboro River, Federal Highway and the Intra-
coastal Waterway in north Boca Raton. After our ice cream, we would often drive around their farm with the lights on in her father’s truck, looking for rabbits to shoot with my “pumped air” pellet gun. We never killed one that I remember, but we had lots of fun trying.
We also sometimes played a game at their house after church called “three minutes of heaven.” Boys’ and girls’ names were put on different colored paper cards and put in a bowl. The girl drew a card, and if she agreed to … went into the closet with the boy whose name she drew for three minutes. She didn’t have to, and nothing beyond a little hugging and some kissing (primarily on the cheek) was expected. It was mostly just whispering in the closet with occasional giggling and guttural sounds, which in our innocence we thought was funny.
My Sunday School Bible teacher was Mr. Joel Horne. His parents had moved to Deerfield in 1903 (see Historical Article No. 46). He was a very sincere teacher and encouraged us to pray for other people and for ourselves last. I remember asking him one time if he thought it would be alright if I prayed to God to somehow have my own car. He looked at me seriously and then replied tenderly, “As long as you’re not going to use your church tithing money to buy it.” I agreed and started praying real hard.
A few weeks later he asked me, “Are you still praying for a car?” I, of course, answered in the affirmative. He smiled real big and said “I’ve already talked to your Mom and Dad, and they say it would be alright with them if you would like to buy my car. It’s a 1949 Ford and needs a paint job and some new tires, but I’d be willing to sell it to you for $100!” I didn’t hesitate because I knew I had the hundred dollars in my bedroom drawer. Dad spoke up then and said, “If you don’t have enough for new tires, I’ll throw those in for you!”  I gave Joel a big hug, Dad a big hug and Mom a kiss on her cheek – as it was obvious they had all conspired to make this happen. Life was good.
David Eller, Publisher

Historical Essay 58

U.S. Government’s Unclear Labor Laws

– Nearly bankrupts my Dad in 1955 –

1 Apr 2010
My Father, Marlin Eller, was a very honest businessman, and would never knowingly violate a law. However, when laws are passed, there are often  “gray areas” which have to be tested and clarified in our court system. That is what happened to my Father with a U.S. Labor law situation requiring time-and-a-half pay for any hours worked over 40 hours. When it was passed there were a lot of exemptions made. One of the exemptions had to do with agriculture-related businesses.
Most of our business at the time was related to the repair and manufacturing of farm equipment. In addition, Dad’s investment partner at the time was a farmer, and a lot of our company’s work related to maintaining equipment on his farm. Normal working hours, at the time, were five eight-hour days plus four hours on Saturday morning for a 44 hour work week.  Dad did it that way for years and paid straight pay for 44 hours. The business was small and, besides Dad, there were typically two machinists, two welders, two laborers and I, as a teenager part-time after school.
One of our long-time machinists, Horace Holliway, decided to quit us and go to Alaska to make some big money. So Dad hired a 30-year-old young man named Bart, who had just moved down here from up north and assigned him to the 24”Nebal lathe near our large front door facing Dixie Highway.  Bart was a very good machinist and very personable. In fact, he liked to meet our customers as they entered the front door and find out what they needed. Dad began to notice that some of the customers bringing items in for repairs woul
d leave with their items shortly after talking to Bart.
Suspicious, Dad called one of the customers and asked why?  The customer told Dad sheepishly that Bart had told the customer to bring the work to his, Bart’s place, on Saturday afternoon and Bart would do the work for a lot less than Dad would charge. Furious, Dad called all our workers to the front of the shop. Pointing his finger at Bart, Dad explained what he had found out and loudly told our other workers “This man is stealing from you and me, and I’m firing him right now!” Bart gathered up his tools and slunk out the side door.
A few weeks later, a heavy set man in a white shirt and tie with a goatee, carrying a clipboard, walked in and handed Dad his card. He was with the U.S. Department of Labor in Miami. He said there had been a complaint filed by a man name Bart who asked to see Dad’s payroll records. He, then, asked Dad why he wasn’t paying time-and-a-half for the four hours worked on Saturday. Dad explained that it was his understanding that because most of our work was farm-related, it didn’t apply to us. The man asked to see our invoices. Going through them he noticed that we also had done work for a rock quarry west of town. He said that disqualified us from the agricultural exemption.
By this time, our workers were clocking out and standing around to find out what was happening. When they heard Dad arguing with the man and saying that if that was the way it was, there would be no more Saturday work. Hearing that, our workers started getting agitated with the government man and all agreed that they would sign a petition asking to be exempted from the time-and-a-half in order to get the extra four hours pay.  This seemed to make the government man mad. He left in a huff and then served Dad with papers ordering him to go back three years and pay extra half time to all workers involved, and the workers were not allowed to refuse it. Dad did it, but it almost broke our business.
Dad even had to mail our top former machinist, Horace Holliway, a check up in Alaska. When Horace got the check he called Dad to see what was happening.  When he found out, and then learned that Dad had fired Bart, Horace admitted that Alaska was too cold for him and asked for his job back. Dad quickly agreed. So something good came out of the situation. Horace, who Dad always said was the best and fastest machinist “in the world,” came back to Deerfield to work for us until he retired.  Dad assigned me to work with Horace, on the lathe next to him, until I went off to college. He trained me well. I was able to get machinist jobs in the research departments at both Stetson University and the University of Florida years later, when I went off to college.
David Eller

Historical Essay 57

Alligators in the Hillsboro River and me

18 Mar 2010
Back in the 1950s, there was no public swimming pool in Deerfield. So in the summertime, my young friends and I would often swim in the Hillsboro River near where the boat ramp in Pioneer Park is today. There used to be a big rubber tree next to the river, with its largest branch extended out over the water. Someone had tied a long rope with knots in it on the branch. We could grab the rope, swing out over the river, let go and fall into the deep water below and swim to shore. It was lots of fun.
We never worried about alligators because it was common lore that local men had killed off all the alligators all the way to the Everglades many years ago. At least we thought that was true. However, one of our neighbor’s dogs had disappeared recently shortly after someone had seen him swimming in the river. Thus, we were on alert, watching for the dog.
One afternoon, I was fishing for mangrove snappers on the west side of the Dixie Highway bridge crossing the Hillsboro River when , suddenly, I saw an alligator about 6-feet-long swimming slowly along the shore almost directly under me. It appeared he was stalking some birds on the water’s edge. I took note that he was only about 100 yards from our swimming hole on the river at Pioneer Park. I instinctively knew it would be all right with my dad for me to kill the gator. However, time was of the essence, since he might swim away and hide.
So I ran as fast as I could to our house (about 150 yards away), grabbed my single shot 22 caliber rifle from the closet, a few hollow point 22 long bullets and ran without stopping back to the bridge. I put a bullet in the chamber before leaning over the bridge looking for the alligator. Sure enough, the gator was only a few feet away from where I’d first seen him. He was still stalking the birds. I leaned over the bridge railing, took careful aim at his temple about 2 inches behind his right eye and squeezed the trigger. The shot hit him right where I aimed. His tail splashed out of the water, his body jerked sideways and he rolled over and sank. I never saw that alligator again.
However, a few days later, I was fishing near the same spot and saw a much smaller alligator, about 3 ½ feet long, lying on shore. I had my gig with me, which is a three-prong spear with a rope tied to the end. I threw the gig at the gator hitting him in his side with one of the prongs just behind his right front leg. I was afraid he would get off if I tried to lift him up to the bridge. So I jumped down to the ground, flipped him over on his back (which automatically puts alligators to sleep) and drug him by his tail all the way home.  When I got to our back screen door, I hollered to my mom to come out “and look at something.” She didn’t respond fast enough so I opened the door and drug the alligator up the steps and into the kitchen where mother was cooking supper. She was stirring black-eyed peas and didn’t look around at first. I had the gator, still on its back, about a foot behind her when she looked around. Seeing the alligator, she let out a scream and jumped, throwing black-eyed peas into the air and all over the kitchen. I was laughing, but she didn’t think it was funny.
I put my new alligator friend into a pond we had in the backyard leaving him firmly tied by the rope attached to his tail. But when he went under water we noticed bubbles coming out of his back where my gig had penetrated him. Dad suggested that we should take him to the new Animal Park, which had opened, recently on Federal Highway in Pompano. So we put him in the trunk of mom’s car and drove him down there, always keeping him on his back. The manager of the park seemed glad to get him, said he would fix his wound. He didn’t give me any money for the alligator when I asked, but did give me a year’s worth of free passes to the park. We went to see my gator a few times after that, but I don’t think he ever recognized me.
– David Eller

Historical Essay 56

Guitar works wonders … with girls

4 Feb 2010
In the last two historical articles, No.’s  54 and 55, I shared how I’d spent my first two teenage years, ages 13 and 14, in Deerfield flat on my back in a body cast to correct a spinal problem. I was in recovery mode through most of my 15th year, and developed a great interest in guitars and girls. In that order, I might add.
My Dad had an old acoustic Gibson guitar he kept in the closet behind the suitcases. One night, I dug it out and asked him to teach me how to play it. He’d been working hard in our machine shop all day, and at the time, was relaxing in his favorite recliner chair reading the newspaper. His response to my request was to lower the newspaper, look at me briefly and say: “Your hands aren’t big enough yet.”
He had used that excuse several times already, and I was beginning to get frustrated. Especially, since a new fellow my age, Richard S., had recently started Pompano High School in my class and had performed for our assembly program at high school by playing the guitar. His hands didn’t seem to be any larger than mine, and he could really play that guitar and sing. The girls were always very friendly to him, which I admit made me a little envious.
I had also become enamored by one particular girl in the class behind ours. She was just the right height for me, had medium length bright blond hair, a good figure and a great smile. I’d spoken to her a few times and knew she lived in Lighthouse Point and was allowed to date. Her name was Gail, she was gorgeous, and was always nice to me when we chatted. I had dreams of taking her out on a date as soon as I turned 16 and got my driver’s license.
That day finally arrived. I passed the test for my driver’s license the first time, got permission from my parents to use their car on Saturday night, and waited around the school hallway on Tuesday where I knew Gail would be walking. Sure enough, she was right on schedule as I sauntered up next to her and blurted out, “I got my driver’s license yesterday and my parents said I can use their car Saturday night. Would you like to go to a movie?” She hesitated for a moment. It seemed like forever. Finally, she said slowly, “OK. What time?”  I told her 6:30, and when she agreed, I just wanted to give her a big hug. But knew I shouldn’t, at least not yet!
Wednesday and Thursday were wonderful days. Friday was, too, up until my last class, when I got out and I saw Gail waiting for me with a serious look on her face. I went to her and said: “What’s up?” She said, “I can’t go out with you tomorrow night!” Thinking maybe she was sick or something I said, “I’m sorry. Are you OK?” Without any expression or apology she simply said, “Oh, Richard S. invited me out, and I’d rather go out with him.” I felt like someone had slugged me in the stomach. I said, “Why would you rather go out with Richard than with me?” She immediately replied, “Richard plays the guitar and sings.”
I was not a happy camper. So that night, when Dad gave me his standard excuse for not teaching me the guitar, I did not quit. I told him what had happened at school that day and insisted he teach me “Now! Tonight.” So, he did. He sat with me that night and explained that most songs can be played on a guitar by using only three chords in a progression. However a few songs only use two chords. Since I was just beginning, he taught me the same two-chord song he had learned as his first song – “Birmingham Jail.” It’s played using only the chords “D” and “A7.” By the time I went to bed that night, I had mastered those two chords and that song. Within a month, I’d mastered several more chords and many more songs. I never did have a date with Gail. But I never lost out on another girl I was interested in dating to someone who could outplay me on a guitar either.
-David Eller

Historical Essay 55

My Best Christmas – Walking Again

17 Dec 2009
In previous article, No. 54, I described how as a 13-year-old boy in 1954, I was diagnosed as needing an operation to prevent spinal curvature caused by an accident when I was much younger. It was an experimental operation consisting of inserting a 12-inch hard plastic rod into my back next to my spine. However, after about nine months, the doctors determined that the plastic was not bonding to my back. Therefore, a second operation was necessary to remove the plastic and insert a bone, which did bond, and is still there today. The doctors assured me that I would have the strongest back in town. They apparently knew what they were talking about, as I’ve never had any back problems since.
It’s been said that small towns have big hearts, and it was certainly true in our case. My eighth grade classes were completed at home

under the direction of Mrs. Lorena Lasher, who came twice per week teaching me and helping to keep my spirits up. My teenage friend James Stills visited me regularly, and Dad even took the two of us fishing once in our new 14-foot fiberglass boat. I was probably the only person to ever go fishing in a boat while in a full body cast. James teased me as he carried me into the boat, saying I would make a good anchor. Another friend, Johnny Dickens, loaned me his short-wave radio, which occupied many an hour; and the only town barber at the time, Clint Hayes, even drove to Miami once to cut my hair. When Dad tried to pay him, Clint said jokingly that he didn’t take money from his ‘regular customers.’
By ninth grade, a new communication technology had arrived on the scene. It was a telephone system wherein a speaker/receiver was installed next to my couch in Deerfield with a corresponding portable

unit plugged into each of my classrooms at Pompano High School. (Deerfield did not have a high school at the time.) I was able to listen to the teacher and my classmates in class and push a button whenever I wanted to ask a question or speak. It was reportedly the first such system in Florida, and received a lot of publicity. The telephone company charged $52.80 per month for the toll charge, and the Deerfield Beach Council of Clubs, led by Robert Sullivan, guaranteed and paid for it.
During this almost two-year endeavor occupying most of my 13th and 14th years of my life, a lot of people felt sorry for me. That, of course, is normal, and I felt sorry for myself some days. However, in retrospect, what I went through was a real blessing in that I became a ferocious reader and was able to obtain and study the text books for my ninth, 10th, 11th and even some senior year classes way ahead of time. Thus, I was able to make almost straight A’s through the rest of my high school career and, ultimately, receive several scholastic scholarships paying much of my college expenses.
On Dec. 22, 1955, the doctors removed the body cast and I was able to stand up next to the Christmas tree in our living room wearing my “South Florida Little League Baseball Champions” jacket, which I had earned just two years prior. I couldn’t walk at first. I actually had to learn again. But I committed myself to walk by Christmas day, and I did. And every Christmas, I think about it again and thank God.
Merry Christmas!

Historical Essay 54

Jerry Lewis Comforts Me In Miami’s Children’s Hospital

3 Dec 2009
It was October of 1954. I’d just turned 13 years old and returned from playing in the Little League Baseball SoutheastUnited States Championship in North Carolina when my parents told me they had been waiting for the baseball season to finish before taking me to an appointment with a Dr. Kaiser at the Children’s Variety Hospital in Miami to get my back/spine checked out. It was because my back had been injured eight years earlier at age 2 ½ (See Historical Series No.18 ) and, although I never had any back pain, there was a concern by our family doctor, Dr. Martin, that my upcoming teenage growth spurt might cause me to have excessive curvature of the spine unless corrected.
Dad went with Mother and me to meet Doctor Kaiser, a kind-looking middle-aged man with receding black hair, wearing rimless bifocal glasses. He first examined the X-rays and then, my back. Next, he turned to my parents and solemnly confirmed that I needed a spinal operation. Dad immediately wanted to know what it would cost. Dr. Kaiser disarmed Dad by saying something like “Don’t worry about the cost. You probably couldn’t afford it if we charged you. This is actually going to be an experiment, so we won’t be charging you anything.”
That seemed to satisfy Dad, but I didn’t like the “experiment” description. However, there was nothing much I could do but to go along with the adults. Doctor Kaiser said we should come back the following Monday, prepared to check me into the hospital. We did, and thus began a journey which lasted nearly a year and a half, with me spending it mostly in a post-operation body cast.
I don’t remember much about the operation itself except they put me to sleep using something called a spinal tap. They then inserted a hard plastic rod about a foot long in my back next to my spine and sewed it into my back. When I awoke, they wrapped me in a plaster body cast from the top of the back of my head, down to the lower part of my left hip, and then down my right side around my right leg to my knee. I could not sit up, and soon found out I couldn’t even roll over. However, they did leave about a 7-inch round opening in the front of the cast at my stomach area, so I could breathe, which I greatly appreciated.
A few days later, I was told that the famous comedian Jerry Lewis was coming to the hospital to visit the children, including me. When he arrived, I was expecting to see his big smiley face like I’d seen on TV and in the movies. However, when he walked into the room and looked at me in my full body cast, his face reflected tremendous sympathy, rather than humor. He looked at the name tag on my bed, which listed me as “James David,” and said “James how are you doing?” I gave him my best smile then lied and said “fine.” He patted me on top of my head and left. But I really appreciated his coming to the hospital to visit us. In fact, I still make a point of watching his muscular dystrophy telethon on Labor Day every year and usually make a donation.

Historical Essay 53

1954 was an important year … in many ways

19 Nov 2009
I was 12 years old and about to become a teenager. When on …
Jan. 14 – Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe.
Feb. 10 – President Eisenhower warned against U.S. intervention in Vietnam.
Feb. 23 – Salk vaccine was used for first mass inoculation against polio.
Mar. 1 – U.S. exploded first 15 megaton hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll.
Mar.25 – RCA manufactured first color TV set. Was 12 ½ inch and cost $1,000.
Apr. 12 – Bill Haley & the Comets recorded “Rock around the Clock.”
Apr. 18 – Col. Nasser seized power and became Egypt’s Prime Minister.
May 17 – U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed “separate but equal” 1896  decision for the nation’s public schools.
June 14 – President Eisen-hower signed order adding “under God” to the pledge of allegiance.
June 17 – Rocky Marciano beat Ezzard Charles in 15 rounds for heavyweight title.
July 6 – Elvis recorded first hit “That’s All Right Mama.”
July 12 – President Eisen-hower introduced plan for interstate highway system.
July 15 – The first commercial jet plane, a Boeing 707, had its first test flight.
Sept. 21- The first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus, was commissioned.
Nov. 23 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the peak reached in 1929 just before the crash … and my little brother, Dwight, turned 6 years old.

Historical Essay 52

“Peeping Tom” Unites Neighborhood

8 Oct 2009
Air conditioning didn’t exist in Florida and Deerfield in the early 1950s. In the summer, it was so hot that we had to leave our windows open to try to catch a little breeze. Although wire screens across the windows kept most of the mosquitoes out, at night you could hear them buzzing around trying to get in. My bed was next to a window, and often a mosquito would bite me on the tip of my nose when I would press it up next to the screen to try to catch a little fresh air. Thus was life in Florida at the time.
In order to be comfortable, it was necessary for people to leave their screened windows open in the summertime. Thus anyone inclined to could walk up close and look into people’s windows, to see whatever there was to see going on inside.
Our neighbors across the street were “Bear” Moseley and his wife Vernell. Bear’s father lived at the south end of the block on the corner of Dixie and Hillsboro. His other son, Jay Moseley, lived around the corner and had been Deerfield’s Mayor while still in his twenties — which at the time was the youngest mayor in the United States. It was a close-knit neighborhood.
Shortly after my father, Marlin Eller, was elected as Police Commissioner in Deerfield, the Moseleys complained to Dad about a “Peeping Tom,” who was coming around their houses, looking in the windows. Since we and the Moseleys had all recently gotten telephones for the first time, Dad told them to call him the next time they saw the “peeping tom,” and Dad would sneak down the street and get behind the rascal. Then the Moseleys could rush out and help Dad catch him.
The plan worked perfectly, at least almost perfectly. Dad got the call from Bear in the early evening on a weekend night. Dad jumped up from watching TV and quietly ran around the back of our house, down the side street and came around toward the Moseley home. He spotted the peeping tom and quietly snuck up behind him. Dad grabbed the Peeping Tom, wrestled him to the ground and then pulled him up, holding both arms behind his back until Buck ran out of the house to help him. Dad was still holding him from behind as Buck drew back his fist and swung with all his might at the face of the Peeping Tom. As Buck’s fist came forward, the Peeping Tom simply cocked his head to the side and Buck’s fist hit Dad squarely in the face. With that, Dad was knocked backwards and let go of the culprit, who took off running down Dixie Highway toward Boca Raton, never to be seen again. Mother patched up Dad’s bruised face. It was the last time Dad took matters into his own hands alone when it became necessary to arrest someone.

Historical Essay 51

My Father, Marlin Eller, built Deerfield’s first Fire Truck  in 1954 for $2,800

24 Sep 2009
Dad apparently lost money on the deal because he never built another one. It was built on the chassis of a 4-wheel drive 1953 Dodge power wagon and had a Champion Pump. Myrle Johnson had been appointed as chief of the 15-man volunteer fire department, and some of his volunteers, especially M.A. Peterson, helped Dad build the fire truck. They added heavy-duty fenders to the frame and a water supply tank. After  it was all painted red, they attached a hose with nozzle, a siren and radio. It did the job well and cost less than $3,000. Today the city has reportedly spent over $500,000 for just one fire truck, and they have several.
The first fire station was located at the intersection of NE 2 Street and NE 3 Avenue just across the street and south of Pioneer Park. It had a dirt floor inside a barn-like building with two double doors.  When the fire alarm sounded, it could be heard all over town. Myrle would leave with the first group of volunteers to arrive. But before leaving, he would point a rotating wooden arrow mounted on a compass at the fire station in the direction of the fire for the volunteers who had not yet arrived to know which way to go.
When one of the young teenage volunteers was found to be starting some of the fires to get the stipend to participate in putting them out, the city decided to pursue a more professional force.
Subsequently, in 1956, the City of Deerfield hired Herbert E. Gimmel from Cleveland Heights, OH as its first full-time fire chief.  He and City Manager Clarence Landsitell, along with local contractor and City Commissioner Odas Tanner, led the charge to create Deerfield’s first paid fire department. Bill Abernathy and Horace Freeman were hired in January 1958. They each alternated on a 24-hour on, 24-hour off duty schedule so that a working fireman was on duty at all times.

By 1973, the City of Deerfield, with a population of 27,700, had 27 personnel in the fire department, or one fireman per 1026 residents. Many of the firemen had also been cross-trained as state-certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). By 1976, a second fire station was occupied adjacent to Century Village, Deerfield’s population had increased to 31,200, and there were 47 personnel in the fire department, or one per 664 residents.
In 1981, a third fire station was added on SE 21st Avenue; population was 50,422; there were 75 fire department personnel, or one per 672 residents. Today, there are 150 fire department employees to serve Deerfield’s population of approximately 80,000 people, plus Hillsboro Beach’s 2,400, for a total of 82,400 people. There is one fire department personnel per 545 residents, or approximately twice the number of firemen per unit population as it was in 1973. Productivity is going in the wrong direction, and it makes up a huge amount of the city budget. Does anyone out there care?

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Historical Essays 41 to 50

Posted on 20 August 2009 by LeslieM

Historical Essay 50

Linda Eller “markets” Deerfield Beach

20 Aug 2009

I admit to being a little embarrassed when, as a 12-year-old boy, pictures of my 15-year-old sister,

Linda, posed in a bathing suit, was the front page of the 1954 Chamber of Commerce brochure promoting Deerfield Beach. However, I was also kind of proud of her, even though I thought the bathing suit she had borrowed for the photo session from her good friend Shirley Jones in Pompano Beach was ugly. Mother wouldn’t allow her to wear a two piece.

The Chamber brochure was very successful, and helped Deerfield nearly triple its population to 9,573 people by the 1960 census. Most of that population increase, however,

was brought about by one man, Bob Sullivan, (see Historical Article No. 19) who bought and developed the 500 acres called “The Cove” just east of Federal Highway all the way to the Intracoastal Waterway and from Hillsboro Boulevard south to Lighthouse Point. Although Deerfield had been incorporated as a city in 1925, it had grown slowly until Sullivan and a few other developers started “pushing it” in the mid 1950s. Meanwhile, Lighthouse Point was incorporated on June 13, 1956, when 107 people there voted to do so. Mr. R.E. Bateman was the first one there to buy any extensive acreage for development.

Meanwhile, my sister, Linda, mastered the piano as a young lady and went on to play and sing semi-professionally for a few years. She also attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she met her husband, Jim Boudet. They raised their five children in Vero Beach, where she still lives.

Historical Essay 49

Deerfield gets it‘s first Black Policeman in 1954

-Moses Bryant hired by Police Commissioner, Marlin Eller-

9 Jul 2009

When my father, Marlin Eller, was elected to the Deerfield Beach City Commission in the early 1950s, and made Commissioner of Police, Deerfield had a substantial number of African-Americans, or blacks in its population, but it had none in its small police force. The white policemen were afraid to go into the black neighborhoods, especially at night. So the black population of Deerfield was left unprotected from the criminals in their midst.

When Dad first ran for commissioner, he knew this was a problem and promised his black friends and employees he would try to do something about it. However, there were a lot of strong feelings from some of the whites in the community to having a black policeman. I remember one of our neighbors across the street telling my Dad that if he hired a black policeman and that policeman tried to arrest his wife or daughter, that would be the last person he ever arrested.

Dad was not amused. But he waited until the second half of his commission term to make his move. After interviewing a number of prospects, he hired Moses L. Bryant to be Deerfield’s first black policeman.

To put it mildly, all hell broke loose within parts of the white community. In fact, Dad had to ride with Moses when he went on duty for awhile to protect Moses from threats which were being made.  Dad put out the word that anyone wishing to cause a problem for Moses would have to deal with Dad first.  Dad in his prime, well built, nearly 200 pounds, with boxing as a hobby, was not challenged as far as I know.

Moses eventually was accepted by most of the community and life in Deerfield went on. When he moved to Deerfield from Shamrock, FL, Moses had three sons: Bobby Lee, Robert Lee and Clarence. While on the police force he had seven more children, three more boys and four girls, for a total of 10 children. Most went on to get a college education and some became school teachers. When Moses eventually retired from the police force, he became a Christian minister.

The City of Deerfield Beach honored him a few years ago by renaming SW 5 Court, Rev. Moses L. Bryant Court. My Dad, Marlin Eller, would have been proud.

Historical Essay 48

Local Little League Team Wins 1954 State Championship

-Goes to North Carolina for National Playoffs –

11 Jun 2009

As my classmates and I gather for our 50th reunion, I wanted to write about our Little League experience. Since our family, the Eller family, has lived in Deerfield Beach since 1923, I’ve often been asked to put in writing some of the history of the area, either experienced personally, or that I heard from my parents or grandparents.

– David Eller, Publisher

Life was good in 1954. Dwight Eisenhower was the U.S. President.

On Feb. 23, the first mass inoculation for polio prevention was done with Salk vaccine. On Mar. 1, the U.S. exploded its first 15 megaton hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll .On Mar. 15, The  CBS Morning Show premiered with Walter Cronkite and Jack Paar. On Mar. 20, the first newspaper vending machines were used. On Apr. 2, plans to build Disneyland in California was announced. On Apr. 5, Elvis Presley recorded his debut single, “That’s All Right.” On Jul. 12, President Eisen-hower put forward a plan for the interstate highway system.

Meanwhile, in Deerfield Beach, Pompano and Wilton Manors, large crowds were coming to watch the North Broward Little League Baseball Team All Stars beat Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami and Orlando teams. Winning the South Florida Little League Championship qualified the team to go to North Carolina to play for the National Championship of Little League.(Florida was divided into two halves at the time by the Little League: South Florida and North Florida)

Our parents drove up to North Carolina. The team took the

train. Someone, I was later told it was “Uncle Jim” Butler, who came to every game sitting in his car and watching us, donated new uniforms for us to wear. Rev. Briggs, of the recently established Presbyterian Church in Deerfield, was at every game, helping Police Chief Manning and Policeman Roy Bennett coach us.

We were good. At least we thought we were. My own claim to fame was that my Father’s good friend, Herb Dudley, a professional pitcher, had taught me, a left-hander, how to throw curve balls that would “break” one to two feet just as they reached the plate. My fast balls weren’t anything to brag about, but my curve balls struck out lots of batters. That is, for about five innings —after which my elbow would hurt so badly I had to retire to the dugout.

We arrived in Greenville, NC and stayed in the dormitory at East Carolina University. We thought we were hot stuff and unbeatable. When it was time for our first game, we came out early to warm up. We looked good in our new uniforms and maroon colored jackets with “1954 South Florida Champs” printed on the back.

I’ll never forget what it felt like when our North Carolina opponents arrived on the field.  They came from a mountain area and were an average of four inches taller than us. Some of them had slight beards. Their voices were several octaves lower than ours. They were wearing overalls. Our coaches were concerned and wondered out loud about the ages of our opponents. But, when the umpire shouted “Play Ball! “ it was too late to worry about it. We played our hearts out. They scored the first run. We came back and tied them. We held them until the fifth inning, when they scored their second run. We never scored again, so the game ended with them beating us two to one. We cried, and it was the end of my baseball “career.” I never played again, although some of my teammates went on to play high school, college and a couple made it into the Pros.

Historical Essay 47

Famous Golf Pro Sam Snead can’t beat my Dad -out of money, that is-

4 Jun 2009

When I was a child in Deerfield in the early ‘50s, the “Boca Raton Resort & Club” was the main source of economic activity, next to farming, in this area. Other than the hotel, most of the land in Boca Raton was largely owned by the Butts family (See Essay No. 13) or the Japanese farmers (See Essay No. 14). Thus, Deerfield, with its approximately 1,000 residents, was actually much larger in population than Boca Raton at the time. And, it provided much of the small business support for both communities — like two grocery stores, two clothing stores, a drug store, two gas stations and one welding/machine shop, which my Dad, Marlin Eller, owned. It was located on Dixie Highway, where the tennis courts are today. We lived next door to the shop in a wood house painted white with red storm shutters and a white picket fence all around.

Dad would get up early every morning and sit at the dining room table drinking coffee and reading the Bible before going next door to open “the shop” about 7 a.m. We were one of the only machine and welding shops between Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach at the time. Local farmers were our main customers, but we also provided service to the State Road Department, Vrchota Trucking, Deerfield Rock Industries and the Boca Raton Hotel.

One night over supper, Dad told us about an incident he’d had that day with a gentleman wearing a hat who had come in to get some welding done on some sort of golf ball handling device. It had gotten broken and needed to be welded. We had a minimum charge at the time of $3. When the job was complete, Dad made out an invoice to “Cash” for $3 and handed it to the gentleman. The man looked astonished and said to my Father, “You’re not going to charge me, are you? Don’t you know who I am? I’m the pro at the Boca Raton Hotel and my name is Sam Snead!” Dad, who did not play golf, was a bit taken back and responded with, “I don’t care if your name is George Washington …or Abraham Lincoln. You owe me $3!” Sam, reluctantly, reached for his wallet, paid up and left muttering to himself. Dad later found out that Sam Snead was the most famous golfer in America, but had a reputation for trying to avoid paying for anything. He didn’t “get” Dad, but I sure wish Dad had gotten his signature. It probably would have been worth a lot more than the $3!

Historical Essay 46

Deerfield’s Horne Family

14 May 2009

In the last essay I mentioned that Joel Horne was my Sunday School (Bible)

teacher when I was 12 years old in 1954. Joel’s mother and father, J. R. and Ardena Horne, had moved in 1903 from the Lakeland, FL area to this small village, then called Hillsboro,* later changed to Deerfield. Citrus growers and vegetable farmers, they came to Deerfield because the steam-powered trains on the recently built Florida East Coast Railroad had to stop here to take on water from the Hillsboro River to make steam. This stop allowed farmers located here, including the Hornes, to load their winter-grown crops and citrus on those trains for onward transport to northern markets.

J. R. Horne was quite successful and ended up owning a large amount of land in the area, including what is now the Deerfield Beach Country Club, which was his citrus grove, and lands east and west of that all the way to Powerline Road.

But unfortunately, he was murdered at his citrus grove in 1920 when he came across thieves, reportedly railroad workers, stealing his citrus. The murderers were never caught. His wife was left with small children to raise and had to sell off their property to support the family.

*The area’s name originated from the Earl of Hillsboro, who had received large land grants from King George III during England’s hold on the area between 1763 and 1783. In 1897, reportedly an engineer working on the construction of the Florida East Coast Railroad named C.E. Hunt renamed the area from Hillsboro to Deerfield because of all the deer in the area.

Historical Essay 45

God and Me in 1954 at age 12

9 Apr 2009

Last week, I wrote an essay entitled “Seeking God as a 12-year-old boy in 1954.” This is a sequel to that story. When I had NOT joined most of the youth in my church by “going forward to accept Christ” during a church-held religious retreat, our pastor Bob Rowe asked me “Why?” When I explained that I needed to know more about other religions of the world first, he encouraged me to do just that. He told me that our Christian faith was about God reaching out in love to mankind, as opposed to mankind having to fear a vengeful God. My subsequent studies verified that to me. I started my Bible study by re-reading the first chapter of Genesis where it starts off by saying: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth …” It took me a few days to get almost through the second book, Exodus, where in Chapter 20 God used Moses to give us the 10 Commandments. I started scanning through the rest of the Old Testament, ending with the last book of Malachi, in one particular series of verses where God is speaking really got my attention: Malachi 3: “Will a man rob God?  Yet, you rob me.” But you ask, “How do we rob you?” “In tithes and offerings … Test me in this,” says the Lord God Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the flood gates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” I really liked that scripture, still do, and

I am a living testimony that it is true. During the next few months, I read all of the New Testament and got excited about how the birth and life of Jesus fulfilled many prophesies made in the Old Testament hundreds of years prior. About that time, in the summer of 1954, we had an evening revival at our church led by a young minister named Bill Taylor. The first night I went into church with my best friend at the time, James Stills. He was one of my classmates who had “gone forward to accept Christ” a few months prior. We went down the right aisle of the church about midway and he went in to get seated on the right side first. He stopped shortly after stepping into the seat section, leaving me to his left right next to the aisle. After appropriate singing, the Reverend Bill Taylor started preaching. He was a lot

younger than Reverend Rowe and seemed to be preaching directly to me. After the sermon, we were standing up singing when he invited all those who would like “to accept Christ” to come forward, Suddenly, my whole body got stiff. I couldn’t move. James, without even bothering to say anything to me, just shuffled to his left, poking me softly with his left arm pushing me out into the aisle. I stumbled sideways into the aisle for a moment, steadied myself and looked up as the Reverend Bill Taylor, 30 feet away, had his outstretched arms reaching out for me.  Suddenly, I felt myself, in an almost out-of-body experience, “floating” forward toward the Reverend Taylor. When I reached him, he hugged me and said something like “Praise the Lord! “I found out later that nearly everyone in church was praying for me to go forward to “accept Christ.” It worked and is still working. I was baptized by immersion the next Sunday.

Historical Essay 44

Seeking God as a 12-year-old boy in 1954

2 Apr 2009

An age-old question in many cultures is when does a boy start to become a man?

I noticed at age 12 that my parents started treating me a little differently.  For one thing, I was the only child in the church my age that had not “gone forward” — that is, walk down the aisle at the end of a church service during the invitation to “accept Christ.” Most of the kids my age had “accepted Christ” when the Church Pastor Bob Rowe had taken the whole youth group at First Baptist Church up to Ft. Pierce  for a retreat. Intensive Bible study for a week was followed by emotional preaching, ending with invitations for all of us to come forward to accept and commit our lives to Christ.  I was the only young person from our church who did not go forward to “accept Christ” at the retreat and agree to get baptized. Since my parents had always said that it was important that I made that decision on my own, I decided to wait. Pastor, Rev. Rowe was concerned.  He sat with me on a park bench later and asked me why I didn’t want to “accept Christ?” I told him that I wanted to find out about other religions in the world and what they believed, before making such an important decision. He seemed to understand and suggested that I might want to use the new Compton’s encyclopedia that he knew my parents had just bought, and go to the religious section and see what I could learn about other religions.  He further offered to loan me any of the books in his personal library, which might help. Furthermore he suggested that I might want to read the entire Bible,  starting with Genesis of the Old Testament and ending with Malachi. Then I should read the New  Testament starting with Mathew and read all 27 books ending with Revelation. And most importantly, he said I should pray each time before reading and ask God to help me understand the truths that He has revealed to us through His Holy Scriptures. Rev. Rowe then said  that he would be available anytime if I wanted to consult with him or ask any questions. Thus began my quest at age 12 in the year 1954 to do a lot of reading on faith and religion. I wanted  to learn more about who I was, where I came from and where I was going. Fortunately, I was supported in this endeavor by both of my parents, my Sunday School teacher, Joel Horne, and, of course Rev. Rowe. It was a great year.

Historical Essay 43

Deerfield Beach used to be a Party Town!

19 Feb 2009

In the early fifties, television changed social life in Deerfield Beach, just as it did in communities throughout the United States. Before television, Deerfield had an active social scene with people regularly visiting neighbors and friends and often bringing food and sometimes musical instruments with them to make their own entertainment.

House parties were common and sometimes involved a theme or even costumes. My parents, Marlin and Lorena Eller, were active participants, both throwing and attending parties. One party in particular that I remember them attending was at the large new home of Alvin and Betty Jones on Hillsboro Boulevard. It was a costume party. Dad went as an Indian Chief and mother as a cartoon character, Little Annie. They won first prize and received a Super-Puzzle game. I remember Dad telling me he had to wear his sleeves long to cover up his hands in order to keep people from recognizing him.

Mary Jones, to mother’s right, dressed as a Seminole Indian, hosted the most parties in town. She could afford to because her husband Alvin was a successful farmer and Chairman of the first and only bank in town at the time, the Deerfield Beach Bank and Trust Company. Ethel Jones, to Dad’s left, also in Indian garb, was married to Alvin’s brother, Leo Jones.

We knew all of our neighbors then. Life was simple. Life was good. We didn’t even have to lock our doors at night. Brownie, our mutt dog, protected us with his bark and, if necessary, with his bite.

David Eller, Publisher


Historical Essay 42

From dead buzzards, to best drinking water in the state

22 Jan 2009

There are a lot of reasons that cause people to run for public office. My Dad, Marlin Eller, ran and was elected as a city commissioner in 1953 (see Essay No. 38) on a platform to improve and increase the city’s parks and recreational areas. Victorious in the election, he was confronted immediately with the fact the City didn’t have money for such projects. However, being the resourceful businessman that he was, he was able to find more money for the city by getting hundreds of acres of vacant land, in what is now called The Cove, reevaluated in value for the tax roll.(See Essay No. 39 ). The City used these additional funds then to build the pier on the beach, assist with the beach pavilion project, and install the boat ramp at Pioneer Park.

Just prior to Dad’s election, the City had built a new elevated water tank located where the fire department is now at Federal Highway and Hillsboro. I remember being happy because the water pressure was much stronger, allowing me to fill the bath tub up quicker and to squirt my sister with the hose outside from a further distance. However, as time went on, we all noticed that the water tasted worse and worse.

One morning I heard my parents talking about it. Dad had met with the men running the water department and had determined that they all seemed to be doing their jobs properly and the water tasted fine there. Something else apparently was happening to make the water taste bad before it reached our homes. Someone reported that they had seen birds flying around the top of the new elevated water tank. So Dad took Chuck Craven, a welder that worked for Dad, and who had worked in Chicago for a company who built elevated tanks, with him to climb up that tank and check it out.  Dad was a little afraid of climbing so high, but Chuck helped him and they went up together.

When they reached the top, they couldn’t believe what they found. Everyone had always assumed that there was a top on the city water tank. However, Dad and Chuck found out there was no top. It was wide open, and full of dead birds, including buzzards. I remember Dad saying the stench was awful and made him nauseous.

Back on the ground he immediately called an emergency meeting of the City Commission to discuss what to do. Chuck offered that he could put a top on the tank, based on his experience in Chicago, but would need some help and would expect to get double pay for the risk and difficulty involved. This was conveyed to the other commissioners who immediately agreed to have Chuck do it on an emergency time and material cost basis. Dad abstained from the vote but everyone else voted to do it. Thus Deerfield got a top on its first elevated water tank, and has had excellent, good tasting water ever since.

Years later when Dad was up for reelection, I remember a sleazy looking newspaper reporter from the Palm Beach Post, wearing dark glasses and a crumbled dark brim hat, came to our house one night, apparently with a hidden agenda. Dad welcomed him and when he started asking questions about the water tank project Dad went next door to our shop office, and got the file. He invited the reporter to look through the time cards to verify the charges, and suggested he could interview Chuck and other employees as well. The reporter declined and then wrote a nasty little article with insinuations which were completely untrue. It made my mother cry. This event shaped my opinion of the newspaper business. It made me realize how important it is that newspaper reporters be fair and accurate in their stories, without a hidden agenda. If mistakes are made, they need to be corrected, and opinions should be reserved for the editorial pages by those assigned the task for doing so.

And incidentally, since then, the water in Deerfield Beach has won many awards for quality and is rated one of the best in the State of Florida.

David Eller, Publisher


Historical Essay 41

Christmas 1953: The Tree and the Tramp

18 Dec 2008

When I was 12 years old Deerfield was just a small rural community. Dixie Highway was our main north-south road, and our family home was the first house on the east side coming south from Boca Raton.  There was no such thing as a store-bought Christmas tree back then —at least not in Deerfield. So at age 12, a few days before Christmas, it became my job to go find a tree “in the woods” (i.e. in Boca Raton), cut it down and haul it on my wagon back to the house down Dixie Highway. I’d received my own hatchet for my birthday in October, so I was anxious to use it to cut down a tree. I hid my wagon in some bushes and searched the area just north of the bridge on the east side. While searching, I heard some voices down by the river. So I crept down to see what I could see. I saw three hobos sitting under the bridge talking. One was coughing badly and he looked really skinny. I felt sorry for them, especially the one coughing (because it was really cold and they didn’t have on jackets). But I knew better than to approach them, as they might be dangerous. They hadn’t seen me, so I headed back north by the highway looking for a Christmas tree. I finally found one that was shaped just right and about as big as I could put on my wagon. So I chopped the tree down, dragged it to the highway and put it on the wagon. Then I pulled the wagon with the tree back over the bridge, above the hobos, and to our house about 100 yards south of the bridge. When I got the tree home, Mom congratulated me and we installed it in a special sand-filled bucket container with spreader legs that Dad had made for that purpose. We added a little water and started the decorating process. While we were decorating, I mentioned to Mother about the hobos I’d seen and how cold they looked and how one was coughing real bad. I knew that sometimes Mom had made sandwiches for hobos who knocked on the door. So after we finished the tree, she went into the kitchen and started making peanut butter sandwiches. She put them in one brown bag and then got another bag of old sweaters and jackets which Dad didn’t wear very often and one old blanket. She then told me to go back down to the bridge and drop the two bags down to the hobos without saying anything to them. Then I was to run back run back home quickly making sure they didn’t see where I went. With mission accomplished, I was proud to have done something to help those poor fellows. I remember Mother and Dad talking about it that night and Dad saying that it happens every winter. When it gets cold up north, the vagrants, as he called them, come south looking for warm weather. They apparently don’t realize that it can get cold down here, too. So they end up unprepared when a cold spell hits. The next day was a Saturday and I was watching Hop-Along Cassidy on TV when the police car pulled up front. The policeman, Mr. Lloyd Newman, came to the front door carrying the same brown bag I had dropped down to the hobos the previous evening. He said, “Mrs. Eller did you make some peanut butter sandwiches for some hobos by any chance?” Mother said “Yes, I did. David dropped them off to the hobos down by the bridge yesterday afternoon.”  Officer Newman continued, “Well, we found a dead man, a hobo down under the bridge this morning, with a half of a eaten peanut butter sandwich in his hand. We just wanted to make sure he hadn’t been poisoned or anything like that. But if you made the sandwich then I know everything is alright. So…you have a Merry Christmas, you hear?”  Mother responded “Thank you Lloyd. And Merry Christmas to you too!”     I share this true story as a reminder that we all need to be sensitive to the needy in our midst. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to all.

David Eller, Publisher

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Historical Essays 31 to 40

Posted on 20 November 2008 by LeslieM

Historical Essay 40

1953 at Deerfield Elementary School

Published: 20 Nov 2008

While my father, Marlin Eller, was busy serving on the Deerfield Beach City Commission, I was enjoying myself in the sixth grade at Deerfield Beach Elementary School. At first we didn’t have a teacher for our grade so Mrs. Henry, the principal of the school,did the teaching until Mrs. Sawitzke arrived to take over the job. She was a very good teacher and even introduced us to acting in a play about gypsies. I was King of the Gypsies and Lynda Dame was Queen. It was a little embarrassing because over the previous summer Lynda had grown to be about 6 inches taller than I was. I don’t think she grew an inch after that summer, so I eventually caught up and passed her in height.  The “lead” actors in the play (left to right) were Tommy Gannon, yours truly David Eller, Lynda Dame, Richard Rieth, Jimmy Phillips, Peggy Hahn (seated) and Beatrice Manning. Richard Rieth was the shortest member of our class, but very smart in math and science. He wrote the following: “With the help of my scientific mind and my chemical analysis, I am going to try to look into the future and tell what I see my classmates doing 10 years from now. I see, yes, I see Dewey Bennett playing big league baseball with the New York Grankees, I mean, er…the New York Yankees. I also see Tommy Gannon leading a big band in New York, and his name in neon lights. As for Mildred Gordon I see her as a nurse working in the largest hospital in the world. Yes, and David Eller playing baseball with the Boston Beans, oh, I mean the Boston Red Socks. As for Beatrice Manning I see her working as a clerk in a bakery. I also see Diane Ash as a schoolteacher teaching sixth grade, and doing just as wonderful a job as our teacher Mrs. R.S. has done. The night of our operetta, there was a big movie producer from Hollywood, California in the audience, who promised great careers for Peggy Hahn and Lynda Dame. Now they can be seen in the great musical hit South Atlantic. I also see Jimmy Phillips working in a circus as a trapeze artist. Yes, and Donald Williams and James Stills becoming great farmers and growing new kind of fruit trees by use of chemicals and grafting. With Deerfield growing as it is, I see a newspaper all its own, published and edited by Janice Brown and Jessie Beard, with the gossip column headed by Susan Whitney. As for myself, with my interest in electricity and my experimenting with chemistry, I’ll be lucky if I’m still here 10 years from now.”   Richard Rieth. Note: One of his predictions came true: Tommy Gannon, a tremendous trumpet player even in sixth grade, went on to have his own big band in California. Richard Rieth graduated from our high school a few years later and received a full scholarship to Rensselaer Polytech  University in New York to study engineering. He went on to help develop our modern telephone systems. Yours truly, David Eller, ended up as publisher of the newspaper in Deerfield instead of Janice Brown and Jesse Beard. And finally, Mildred Gordon wrote the following poem dedicated to the graduating sixth grade class at Deerfield Elementary School in 1953:

Six more years have we to go

down the path of life abroad,

Down the sunny lane to school

Where we always obey the rule.

We’re half way through the school life now,

Six more years upon our brow.

When it’s hot when it’s cool

We’ll still be in school;

Even though we’re half way through

We’ve still got six years to do

Now we sing farewell to you

And to wondrous teachers too

David Eller, Publisher      11-20-08

Historical Essay 39

Elected to the Deerfield Beach City Commission

Published: 16 Oct 2008

Elected to the Deerfield Beach City Commission in 1953, my father, Marlin Eller, had campaigned on promises to the voters to build more parks and recreational facilities for the town. Once elected, however, he found out that the town was nearly broke and, thus, could not afford any such projects. Dad was very frustrated. He had hoped to build a boat ramp on the Hillsboro River in Pioneer Park and a fishing pier and pavilion at the beach. But the city did not have enough tax money coming in to afford such projects. Frustrated, he started looking into the city finances.  The problem was that most of the land in Deerfield was owned by the Kester family of Pompano Beach, who also owned the only bank in the area, the Pompano State Farmers Bank. Mr. Kester was content to keep the hundreds of acres of land he owned in Deerfield essentially undeveloped, since it was on the tax roll valued at only $500 per acre, and, thus, did not cost him much each year in taxes to leave it undeveloped. Dad suspected that the Kester land was undervalued. He decided to get an opinion from one of the only real estate brokers in the area at the time:

Boynton Realty (See previous Essay No. 19 ). Shortly thereafter, Boynton Realty notified Dad that they had a qualified buyer who would pay $1,500 per acre for the Kester owned property in Deerfield. Dad had the city clerk notify Mr. Kester that the city was going to meet on a certain date and vote to increase the taxable value on his property to $1,500 per acre. Mr. Kester was not a happy camper. In fact, he showed up at the meeting, stood up and angrily said that he would sell every piece of property he owned in Deerfield if they raised the tax value to $1,500. Dad responded by asking him if he was sure of that? Mr. Kester responded in the positive. With that said, Dad invited Mr. Forney Horton of Boynton Realty and his client Robert Sullivan to the podium. Mr. Sullivan presented a letter from his bank guaranteeing that the funds were available to buy the approximate 500 acres of land at $1,500 per acre that the Kesters owned in Deerfield, running from Hillsboro Boulevard to the current Lighthouse Point boundary and  from the Intracoastal Waterway to  Federal Highway. Mr. Kester, apparently surprised, immediately agreed to the sale, in front of the whole audience. Thus, the City of Deerfield nearly tripled its income that night, and Dad was able to proceed in accomplishing his promises for a boat ramp, a fishing pier and a beach pavilion for the citizens.

David Eller Publisher        10/16/08


Historical Essay 38

Marlin Eller, my father, wins big in 1953 election … for Deerfield City Commission

Published: 2 Oct 2008

Dad ran for the Deerfield City Commission in 1953 and won, receiving nearly 80 percent of the votes cast. In fact, he got more votes than anyone else running for any of the commission seats that year. There were only a little over 500 voters in that election, and Dad got more than 400 to vote for him. He was 37-years-old and very happy. Deerfield did not have a City Manager form of government at that time. It had a mayor and four commissioners, each of which was responsible for managing a portion of the city government. Each commissioner selected the part of the city government he or she would like to “run.” The commissioner who received the most votes could select first. There was a commissioner responsible for utilities, a commissioner responsible for streets, another for the fire department and another for the police. Dad selected to be the commissioner of police.  It was not such a big job, because there were only four or five policemen. Deerfield even had its own small jail at the time, approximately where the city council chambers are located today. The police also had their office there. It was only a block from our house and factory, which made it very convenient for Dad to go there as needed.   Dad had not run on a campaign to be the Commissioner of Police. He actually ran on a campaign to improve and increase the city’s parks and recreational areas. Once elected, however, he realized he could do more for the city as Police Commissioner to fight for some other issues which were festering in our small southern town. For instance, Deerfield had a sizable black population, but had no black policeman. Crime was rampant in the black neighborhoods, and the white policemen seemed afraid to go there. When they did, there seemed to be a tendency to use too much force, out of fear, or other reasons. Dad had many friends in the black community who had supported him and quietly solicited their help to find the right person to hire. Meanwhile, he started working on other projects which the city needed. The most urgent was that there were not street markers at the corners of most streets which identified the street. Without street signs, it was very difficult for visitors to find their way around. Dad brought it up at his first commission meeting. The city clerk, Mr. Richardson, reported that Deerfield’s budget did not include any money for pursuing such a project.

In frustration, Dad blurted out that he thought he could get concrete street markers donated from the new concrete company which had recently moved into town. The other commissioners then agreed that if Dad could get the street markers donated, they would pay to get them installed… The new concrete company Dad was depending on to make the donation was located just east of the Sea Board Railroad crossing, where JM Family’s headquarters is today. Dad had done the owner a few favors by working at nights and on weekends doing some emergency welding and machine work on some of the concrete company’s equipment. He took me with him on Saturday morning to see the owner, a tall bald headed man, and make the request. I could tell Dad was a little nervous. He finally got the request out for 6- by 6-inch concrete pilings, 5 foot long to be donated to the city. Without hesitation, the owner said, “Marlin, is that all you want? Just let me know how many. It would be our pleasure.”   By the following Saturday, the piles were delivered to our shop. That’s when I learned that it was going to be my job to help paint the street numbers, through stencils, on the pilings. When I think about it, I can still smell the black asphalt based paint we used to give Deerfield its first street markers.

David Eller Publisher      10/02/08


Historical Essay 37

President Eisenhower’s Inauguration … caused me to break my arm

Published: 28 Aug 2008

I was 11 years old, and maybe it wasn’t directly Ike’s fault. But if it hadn’t been for his being inaugurated as U.S. President on January 20, 1953, I probably would not have broken my arm that day.  It began with my mother, who was President of the PTA at Deerfield Elementary, requesting Mrs. Hendry, the principal of DeerfieldElementary School, to allow me to leave school early and come home to watch the inauguration on our new television set. Mrs. Hendry approved it with the caveat that I was to give a report to the class the next day. When I got home from school to watch, my parents along with some neighbors, were already watching the 14-inch black and white TV in our living room. It was a little after 11 a.m., and after about 30 minutes of watching politicians talk, I got bored. I heard the announcer say that the big event, or actual inauguration itself, would not take place until noon. My parents were busy watching the TV and talking to their friends, so I decided to slip out into the backyard to play on the new monkey bars Dad had recently made for me. I climbed to the top and instead of using my hands like you’re supposed to do, I decided to see if I could walk across the top of the bars.  That was a big mistake because I didn’t even get a third step

in when I found myself falling and twisting at the same time. I put my right arm out to break the fall and landed on the palm of my hand with a stiff arm carrying all my weight. A loud cracking sound of my right arm breaking … is a sound I will never forget. The pain was intense. Crying and embarrassed, I ran back into the house holding my arm. Everyone followed me out into the backyard as I explained what happened. The closest hospital to Deerfield  at the time was the Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach. My parents let their friends and neighbors stay to watch “Ike” get inaugurated as president on our new TV, while they drove me to the hospital. My parents were especially irritated as it turns out because it was the first time either had a chance to actually see a live presidential inauguration. Things did not get better at school the next day. Mrs. Hendry, the principal, saw me coming into school with a cast on my arm. She asked me what had happened. I told her. She looked upset as she said: “I let you out of school to watch the presidential inauguration, and you went playing instead! I’m surprised at you David. See what happens when you don’t do the right thing!” I never forgot her scolding. If I had been watching the inauguration like I was supposed to be doing, I wouldn’t have gotten hurt. Another lesson learned.

David Eller, Publisher


Historical Essay 36

A Giant Catfish and the Devil … got me into trouble!

Published: 14 Aug 2008

I was a very busy boy in my eleventh year of age in 1953. My job every Saturday morning, working in my father’s machine shop as an assistant to Roosevelt LeGreer, was now bringing me in one dollar each week, which Dad paid me with four quarters. I kept two of those quarters in my pocket to spend and saved the other two in a glass canning jar made by the Ball Company, with a brass colored metal threaded cap on top. I kept the jar in my bedroom on a shelf next to my bed. Every day I counted the quarters, so I knew exactly how much money I had. I decided then to only spend two quarters each week, one half of my income, and save the rest for what some people might call a rainy day. But in my case, I was thinking about saving for times like when the fish weren’t biting (see previous Essay No. 35). It is a habit I never broke and continue to this day. My Saturday afternoons were filled with Little League Baseball practice or games. My Sunday mornings were taken up with Bible study at First Baptist Church. Most Sunday afternoons were spent with my mother visiting my grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins in Boynton Beach. Therefore, between work, baseball and church, I wasn’t getting in much fishing anymore. I really missed it. So I started thinking about my weekly schedule and what I could do to get in more fishing time? Suddenly, an idea entered my eleven-year-old brain from somewhere, which my mother later said was the Devil. I could hide one of my fishing poles and some bait down by the Hillsboro Canal, about where the dock and boat ramp is today. After Sunday School, I could walk into the church, making sure my parents saw me, and then scoot out the back door before service started and run down about 100 yards to the canal where I’d hidden my fishing gear the night before. I could then fish for about an hour and then show up back at church about the time the service was getting over. My scheme worked the first week. It also worked the second week. However, by the third week the Holy Scripture prediction “be sure your sins will find you out” came true for me. I hooked and caught the largest catfish I had ever seen, even until today. It  was about 30 inches long and twenty-five pounds in weight. I fought him for about thirty minutes before I was able to slide him up on shore. I knew church was going to be over soon, so I ran the 200 yards or so to my house to get my wagon. I ran back with it and loaded the catfish in the wagon. I pulled the wagon with the fish as fast as I could through Pioneer Park to our house where the tennis courts are today. I left the catfish still breathing in the wagon in our backyard and ran east through the park again to the church.  Fortunately Reverend Rowe was long-winded that day, and I arrived back to church just as people were coming out. Mom was the first to spot me as I tried to stroll casually up to the church, breathing heavily. “Where were you during church, David?” she asked. I couldn’t lie to my mother so I just blurted it out, “Mom, you got to see this huge catfish I just caught!” She didn’t smile.  Neither did Dad. The ride home seemed to take forever. First out of the car, I ran to my wagon and pulled it with the catfish right up to the back door seeking approval. Dad didn’t even come out to look at it. Mother came out, took one look at it and said loudly, “David, that is a Devil fish! The Devil made you skip church and go fishing! Now take that fish and throw him back into the river!”  I did, and the catfish, still alive, slowly swam away. I never fished on Sunday morning again — even up unto today. David Eller, Publisher

Historical Essay 35

Fired at age 10….so I go fishing

Published: 24 Jul 2008

I first started work when I was nine years old. My Dad cut off my 25 cents per week allowance and told me I had to start working for a living. He offered me a job paying 50 cents per week to sweep and clean up his office adjacent to our machine shop, which was next door to our house on Dixie Highway. The job had to be done every Saturday morning. Dad also had a long time African-American employee named Roosevelt LeGreer who swept up the rest of our shop. Roosevelt and I were good friends, but I always felt funny when he would call me “Mr. David”. Dad liked him, too. He even gave him his own water fountain. There was a little sign above that fountain that said “colored”. I tried it out one day but I couldn’t tell any difference in the taste from the water in the other water fountain, and it didn’t seem to have any color to it either. When I asked my Dad about it, he seemed to get a little embarrassed. The next day the sign was down, the fountain was gone, and Roosevelt had to drink from the same fountain as everyone else. When I reached ten years old Dad was still only paying me 50 cents per week. I wanted to make more money. I asked Dad how could I make more money. I understood him to say something to the effect that to make more money you had to do more work, and suggested I talk to Roosevelt. Roosevelt suggested I take over the part of his job, which included cleaning up the metal shavings falling to the floor from the lathe cuts. It was hard work using a shovel, a broom and a wheelbarrow. I worked hard the first Saturday, filling up the wheelbarrow and dumping the shavings in the scrap yard area behind the shop. When I finished, I went to Dad expecting to get at least 75 cents. Dad grinned and suggested I go talk to Roosevelt, “because he hired you.” When I asked Roosevelt for my money, he just shrugged his shoulders and said he didn’t have any money. Then I heard the other workers laughing, including my Dad. They thought it was funny, and I was the butt of the joke. However, at ten years old I didn’t think it was funny. So I took the wheelbarrow back out to the scrap yard and loaded all the shavings back into it. I rolled the wheelbarrow back through the shop right to my Dad’s office. My Dad had already gone back inside. I dumped the whole wheelbarrow load of steel shavings out right in front of my Dad’s office door as the workers continued to laugh. I scooted out the side door toward our house to get my fishing pole when I heard my Dad come out of his office and shout; “You’re fired!” I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew I wasn’t going to work for him or anyone else and not get paid.  So I rode my bike down to Pop’s Fish Market, which at the time was on Dixie Highway about a block south of Hillsboro Avenue. I went in to speak to Pop. A kindly older man, who generally wore a cap, he knew me well. I asked him how much he would pay me if I caught fish for him. He said he would advance me bait on credit and pay me 5 cents a pound for mullet and junk fish, and 10 cents a pound for snapper or snook (which were legal to catch at the time). So I went to work for Pop. I went back home and got my cast net, my gig, and two more rods and reels. I set up on the Dixie Highway Bridge going over the Hillsboro Canal and started fishing. By five o’clock that afternoon I had caught twelve mullet with my cast net, eight mangrove snappers with my rods and reels, and gigged a fifteen-pound snook. I put them all in my wagon and rushed back to Pop’s.

He weighed everything and paid me $2.80 after taking out for the bait. Back home in time for supper I proudly displayed the money from my afternoon’s “work”. Mother was proud and Dad seemed impressed. He apologized for teasing me at the shop and told me I could have my job back and he’d pay me 75 cents. I promptly declined and told him, “Why would I work for you for 75 cents on Saturday when I can make $2.80 fishing?” Dad just smiled and seemed to agree. So the next Saturday I started fishing early. I fished all day and only caught two little snappers and three mullet. Pop paid me 30 cents after deducting for bait. The same thing happened the next Saturday. Fishing was bad for some reason. Maybe the moon wasn’t right? Anyway I decided by the next Saturday that the assured 75 cents from Dad for a couple hours work in the shade was a lot better than fishing all day in the sun for 30 cents. Dad agreed to hire me back, and the rest is history.

David Eller Publisher


Historical Essay 34

“Be careful who you talk about in Deerfield”

Published: 10 Jul 2008

In Deerfield, the Butlers are related to the Wiles and the Jones… who are related to the Rileys… who are related to… etc. I remember my mother, Lorena Eller, once giving advice to a new friend who had just moved into the small town of Deerfield in the old days, i.e. 1950’s. “Be careful who you talk about in Deerfield,” my mother advised, “because a lot of people here are related to each other.” That is bound to happen in any small town, of course, and

Deerfield was no exception. In Historical Essay No. 2, which we published on November 16, 2006, I wrote about how the Butler family had moved here from Texas in 1915 and were instrumental in establishing the vegetable farming industry. It revolved around the Florida East Coast Railroad’s trains having to stop at the Hillsboro River to get water for

their steam engines. This stop-over allowed local farmers to load the train up with fresh vegetables, grown here in the winter time, to carry to northern markets. Jim and Emory Butler were the first members of their family to come here, and they were so successful that other family members eventually followed. Their sister, Nellie Lee Butler, married William Belton Jones of Georgia and moved here in the 1930’s. Belton Jones and his son Berney became the first bridge tenders at the Hillsboro Ave. and Intracoastal Waterway bridge. Eventually, their other five sons, Clarence, Osrich, Leo, Alvin and Emery Jones, also moved here from Georgia, as well as their daughter, Corrine Riley. Emery and Alvin Jones were my father, Marlin’s age, and the three of them became good friends. In fact, my Dad had gotten into the trucking business about that time, hauling fertilizer from Port Everglades to the Lake Okeechobee farms, and occasionally Emery Jones would go with Dad for the ride and give him a hand. The Jones boys were

also good farmers. Whereas the Butlers were mostly growing beans, the Jones got into staked tomatoes. They were so successful that when Alvin Jones decided Deerfield needed a bank in the 1960’s, he started Deerfield Bank and Trust Company, which was Deerfield’s first and only bank for many years. Emery’s daughter, Janice Jones Stills, is a retired school teacher still living in Deerfield; as is Kenneth Jones, Alvin’s second son, who is retired from the banking business. When my Grandfather, Hoyt Eller, decided to retire in the 1950’s he sold his farm west of Boynton to Alvin Jones for a little over $50,000, which allowed Granddad to retire. Alvin grew tomatoes on it for thirty plus years. J.B. Wiles once told me that when Alvin’s widow, Mary, eventually sold my Granddad’s old farm, she got a little over $15 million for it. He then said, “What do you think about that!” I said, “God Bless her, and God Bless America!”’

David Eller, Publisher


Historical Essay 33

In 1952 we got our first new car…and our first television set…

Published: 5 Jun 2008

Dad’s manufacturing business by 1952 was going great guns. His new patented Slice-O-Lator land clearing machines were the main reason, but the pump business was also doing well. He had enlarged the factory on Dixie Highway just on the west side of Pioneer Park, bought some more lathes, hired more welders and even got a secretary for his office. The secretary was the twenty-something-year-old daughter of a family from Georgia who had recently moved into town, and was renting a house Dad owned down the street. Her name was Lanette, and I could tell immediately that Mom didn’t like her. At first it was something about the short shorts she wore around town being too short. After she applied to work for Dad and he hired her, the girl started wearing high-heeled shoes and fancy dresses to work. Mother really didn’t like that. Dad apparently agreed and admitted that his workers were spending too much time in the office. So his new secretary started wearing blue jeans to work. Mother said something to the effect that the jeans were so tight that she must be pouring herself into those jeans every morning. As a 10-year-old boy, I couldn’t figure out what Mother meant, but the next thing I knew Lanette didn’t work there anymore, and mother was working in the office part-time. Lanette and her family moved back to Georgia a few months later, and Mom worked in the office the rest of her life, some 36 years. Dad also bought us our first TV set that year. Mother had been after Dad to get us a TV set ever since I’d gotten in trouble breaking into Allen Ballard’s house to watch TV (see Historical No. 30). Dad resisted

buying the TV because he’d just spent a lot of money buying us a new Chevrolet from Mayes Chevrolet in Pompano.  “Bugs” Hardy, the salesman, worked real hard to get Dad to buy that car. The word that Dad was spending money apparently made its way over to Wesley Parish’s General Electric Store on Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano.  Wesley, who had gone to Pompano High School with Dad, called and invited Dad to come look at the latest TV sets. The new black and white screens were 14 inches measured diagonally, which apparently impressed my father since the ones before that had only been about 10 inches. So on Saturday afternoon our family got into our new Chevrolet and drove to Pompano to shop for a TV. I was really happy. Wesley met us and started going over how the TV worked. Dad asked a lot of questions. But when it got to the price, I could tell Dad was not pleased. He finally shook his head, turned to leave, and told Mr. Parish to call when the price went down. I looked at Mother and could tell she was disappointed and embarrassed. We all followed Dad out the store, and Mr. Parish followed us to our car.  He told my Dad that he would try to do something about the price, but meanwhile would Dad allow him to bring the TV to our house in Deerfield for us to try it for a week. My sister and I started shouting “Yes Dad!” “Please, Dad!”  I looked at Mother, and she was smiling. Of course, Dad reluctantly agreed. After a week, all of us, including Dad,

were watching TV each night. There was no way Dad could have refused to buy it. It was a lesson I took note of, and many years later used to sell our own products. When Wesley came to pick up the TV the next Saturday, Dad wrote him a check for the TV. It was only the third TV in Deerfield Beach. Our lives changed forever.

David Eller, Publisher


Historical Essay 32

Playing baseball beat out Scouting

Published: 22 May 2008

1952 was a busy year in Deerfield. My father, Marlin Eller’s decision to run for City Commission as described in previous essay No. 31, was going to keep him busy during much of the year… Meanwhile, I had joined the Boy Scouts in January, along with a few of my 10- and 11-year-old friends. Mr. Dickens was our Scout Master. He was also a school teacher at Pompano High School, teaching shop class. The main reason we joined was that Mr. Dickens told us we could all camp out in tents and fish on his and his wife’s acreage. It was located about five miles west of downtown Deerfield, on the west side of the Turnpike, right on the Hillsboro River/Canal, where the Adios Golf Club is today. He also had rock pits there with perfectly clear water full of bass. It was a beautiful spot, and his son Johnny Dickens, who was already 13 years old, would be our leader.  It was a lot of fun for a few months. We memorized a lot of things and swore to be loyal to God and Country. We all started off as Tenderfoots, received a few pins and moved up to Second Class and some to First Class as we learned and advanced in Scouting.  However, the opportunity to play Little League Baseball suddenly entered the picture. Deerfield did not have enough boys to support both Boy Scouts and Little League Baseball at the same time. I distinctly remember Mr. Dickens telling us that if we chose to play in the Little League Baseball Team being organized, it would conflict with being Boy Scouts, and we needed to decide which we wanted to do.  It took me a minute or two to decide that I’d rather play baseball. Everyone else made the same decision, which ended the Boy Scout experience, and began my three-year baseball career. This is a picture of the first Little League Baseball team in Deerfield Beach. It was 1952. This writer, David Eller, is the second from the left, standing up, with his eyes shut. I was a left-handed pitcher known for a mean curve or drop ball. I learned to pitch from a professional ball player named Herb Dudley. He had pitched on the official U.S. Navy Softball team, with my mother’s brother, Uncle Forney Horton being his catcher. After the war, Dudley had taken a job with the Boca Raton Hotel, who paid him to pitch for their official softball team. He spent a lot of time eating meals at our house. After eating we would go in the backyard, and he would teach me how to pitch curve balls, drop balls, and even an occasional knuckle ball. When not pitching, I played shortstop or first base.  The player to my left, with our arms around each other, is Donald “PeeWee” Williams. He played shortstop or second base. His father owned the Williams Dairy in Deerfield on the property which he later sold to Irvin Levy, who built Century Village on it. PeeWee’s father also helped sponsor our teams’ uniforms, and did some coaching. To my right was a big red-headed boy named Lee King, an outfielder whose favorite past-time was hitting home runs, bull riding and fighting.  Next to PeeWee was Dewey Bennett, our catcher. I can’t recall the short fellow next to Dewey, but the taller fellow with his arm around him is Henry Harden, a fastball pitcher and the only member of our team who went on to become a professional baseball player. My buddy, James Stills, who played outfield is next to him. In the front row are Steve Rowe, a third baseman and the son of Rev. Bob Rowe, the Baptist preacher at First Baptist. He substituted at several positions, but mainly second base. Next to him is Ray Boggs, a pitcher and first baseman. Substitutes Kenny Bennett and Pete Manning rounded out the team. Our coaches were all policemen: Lloyd Newman, Roy Bennett and Chief Manning. Our biggest fans were probably Presbyterian Minister Reverend Arlen Briggs and his wife, Margarett,  who had recently moved to town and attended nearly every game. Within two years of this picture some of us would earn our participation in an All Star Broward County Team, which beat Miami, Palm Beach and Orlando, and went to Greenville, North Carolina, representing the State of Florida in the National Little League championship series in 1954. We had a lot of fun and learned about values like discipline, loyalty and hard work.

David Eller,  Publisher

“Pee Wee” Williams recalls DB Little League Dear David: This is a “voice from the past,” saying it has been a long time indeed! I wanted to write you, and let you know, that a friend, read your article of March 6, 2008, on the history of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and mailed me a copy. It was a nice surprise to me to see your name on this newspaper article, and that you remembered my father and me, and his family in such a nice memory. Thank you so much. My father enjoyed being involved in the community of Deerfield Beach, Florida, with Little League Baseball. I enjoyed playing the game, going through high school baseball in Pompano High. My father moved his dairy to Okeechobee County, Bassinger, Florida, in 1960, and continued to be involved with Little League Baseball. There was no organization for little league baseball at the time, just a few games a few teams, etc. My father sponsored the “Indians,” and I was the coach. We had a great time building the baseball field in his honor. I am very proud of that. I found this picture in my album of our ball team when you and I were little guys. You are second from left, standing, I am third from left, standing next to you. This picture does bring back some good memories.

Sincerely , Don “Pee Wee” Williams


Historical Essay 31

My dad, Marlin Eller, gets into politics

Published: 1 May 2008

I was 10-years-old in 1952 when my father, Marlin, decided to run for the Deerfield Beach City Commission. I remember my mother, Lorena, was not happy about it. She did not want Dad to get involved in politics. In retrospect, I realize that mother knew his tendency to be outspoken, knew what some of his issues would be, and was concerned that he would probably create some enemies within the establishment in the community. Besides, Dad’s business had started to grow rapidly. The U.S. Government had recently awarded him a patent on a land-clearing machine, which he called a “Slice-O-Lator”, and the farmers were almost standing in line waiting to buy them at $500 each. He eventually sold hundreds of them, and had to hire more people, and expand the little factory on Dixie Highway, to keep up.  Dad had also come under the influence of Deerfield’s first lawyer, “Dutch” Ulrich, who had just recently moved into town and caused a minor uproar at city hall when he insisted on registering to vote as a Republican. It seems the city clerk had only one book for registering voters, and it was marked “Democrat”. This was typical of southern USA towns at the time as a carryover from the War Between the States, or Civil War, wherein Lincoln’s Republicans were victorious over southern Democrats, and some ill will continued in the South even a hundred years afterwards.   Apparently all voters in Deerfield, including my dad and mother, had been registered as Democrats until “Dutch” came along, and the city clerk, Mr. Richardson, had to drive to Pompano to buy another book for Republicans. Anyway, I remember “Dutch” coming to our house one night and talking to Dad about running for the city commission in order to straighten out some things in town which both he and Dad thought were wrong. For one thing, a U.S. senator from Tennessee by the name of Kevaufer had recently held congressional hearings in Ft. Lauderdale having to do with the influence of illegal gambling on Broward County politics. In seemed that an illegal game of chance called bolito was going full blast with the full cooperation and protection of some Broward political, business and police interests. I remember Dad saying that it was a problem in Deerfield, too, as a lot of the workers in our little factory were spending most of their money on this illegal game, resulting in their wives coming to Dad to borrow money to buy groceries. Dutch Ulrich convinced Dad that someone needed to stand up for right, and convinced Dad to run for city commission by quoting the famous Edmund Burke: “ The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Dad agreed and signed up to run for Deerfield City Commission. At 35 years of age, with a wife, three children, and a growing business in town, he was also frustrated about some other situations. For instance, Deerfield had a nice beach, but there was no place for people to change clothes or take a shower after swimming; and there was no pier on which to go fishing. Dad had recently bought a 14-foot fishing boat, but there was no boat ramp in Deerfield to launch it. Deerfield’s streets were not marked with any street signs, so it was difficult for strangers to figure out how to find their way around. The town had just built a water plant, and the water was being pumped to an elevated tank, but it did not taste right. There were rumors that not everyone was being billed for, nor paying for water. The town had a substantial black population, but all three Deerfield policemen were white, and reportedly afraid to go into Deerfield’s black areas to enforce the law. Thus, Marlin Eller, my Dad, having lived in Deerfield since he was eight years old, and now 35 years old in 1951 and committed to stay here, filed his papers to run. Politics in Deerfield was about to get interesting.

David Eller, Publisher


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Historical Essays 21 to 30

Posted on 17 April 2008 by LeslieM

Historical Essay 30

Watching Hopalong Cassidy on TV in 1951 got me in trouble with the law

Published: 17 Apr 2008
Well,  I guess it wasn’t really Hopalong’s fault. But when you are 10-years-old and are used to watching the exciting adventures of the famous cowboy Hopalong Cassidy every Saturday morning, it hurts when you can’t watch it one Saturday. My problem was that we didn’t have a TV set. In fact, hardly anyone in Deerfield Beach had a TV set.
The first person in Deerfield to get a TV set was Doctor Higgins. He was a very tall man, kind of bald, and the only doctor in town. He practiced his medicine initially in the same house where he lived with his wife and daughter, Betsy, who was my age. Their house and office was on Hillsboro Boulevard, across from the U.S. Post Office, in the same house that the Kraeer Funeral Home is in today. Betsy was tall and skinny, had long blonde hair and wore glasses. We were friends, but not too good of friends. She was taller than me by two or three inches, and one of my biggest  competitors for getting the best grades in our class at school. When the Higgins first got a TV set, we were all invited to come over and watch on Saturday. But after the second or third week, Betsy told us we couldn’t come anymore because her father had said that he had patients coming and we might disturb them.
We children were heartbroken. No TV? No Hopalong Cassidy on Saturday?
But it didn’t take long for one of our fathers to step up and pay the price to buy “all” of us kids a TV set. Well maybe it wasn’t really for “all” of us, but it seemed like it at the time. Mr. Allan Ballard (the father of Johnny Ballard, who recently retired as the longtime chief of police in Hillsboro Beach) stepped up to the plate and bought the second TV set in Deerfield Beach. Not only that, but he and his wife, Miriam, let it be known that all the children in the neighborhood were welcome to come to their house on Saturday morning and watch it with Johnny and their daughter, Susie. Their house was located on property which is now part of Deerfield’s City Hall east side parking lot.
Everything was going along fine with our TV watching for months until one Saturday morning we got to their house and no one was home. One of the kids said that he heard they had gone up to Georgia on a vacation or something. I remember thinking, “They must have left us a key or something so we could get in to watch Hopalong.” We looked under the front door mat. No key! We looked under all the flower pots. No key! We started to panic, because Hopalong was going to start in a few minutes. Maybe they forgot to leave us a key!
Suddenly I got a great idea. I told the kids I’d be right back. I ran as fast as I could the 100 yards or so to my Dad’s shop. I ran in to where I knew there was a crow bar. I grabbed it and ran as fast as I could back to the Ballard’s house. Someone scooted an old chair from their backyard up to a side window.
I stood up on the chair and used the crow bar to pop open the wood frame window. Pushing it up as far as it would go, I pulled myself up to the window sill and scrambled inside their house. I ran to the TV and turned it on, and then came back to help the other kids get into the house. We all made it inside and sat down on the floor to watch just as Hopalong Cassidy came on. “Whew,” I thought. “Barely made it!”
We hadn’t been watching Hopalong five minutes, when suddenly a deep voice came through the open window: “What do you kids think you’re doing breaking into Ballard’s house?” I looked over and recognized the policeman. Everyone else kind of froze, so I got up to explain to him that we always come over on Saturday morning to watch TV at the Ballard house. He responded by asking, “Do you always come in through the window?” I said, “No, but I’m sure it is all right. Mr. Ballard just forgot to leave us the key!”

I could tell he was trying to keep a straight face. He asked who brought the crow bar. I raised my hand. He told everyone else to go home, but ordered me and Tommy into his car. He drove us the 100 yards or so to my father’s machine shop. We got out and went in. Dad was running a lathe. The policeman told Dad where he’d found us. Dad stopped the lathe, looked around real serious-like, and said “Guess you’ll have to put ‘em in jail!”
I couldn’t believe it. I started to cry. As we turned to get back in the car, Dad hollered out and told the policeman, “Be sure to get their fingerprints too!”
It seemed like a long ride back to the police station,” even though it was only two blocks. We went in and the policeman had us dip our thumbs in an ink pad and put them on a pad of paper. Deerfield had its own jail at the time and most of the prisoners were local drunks. I could hear them laughing and making fun of us; and I was really scared. About that time, Dad walked in. He said something to the effect, “Do you think he’s had enough?” The policemen nodded, and then he and Dad started laughing. The policeman then said to us: “Let this be a warning. The next time we might have to put you in there with those guys,” as he pointed toward the drunks in their cells.
It was a lesson I never forgot.
David Eller

Historical Essay 29

James and I thought we were Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

Published: 3 Apr 2008
My friendship with James Stills got off to a rough start. When he arrived at Deerfield Elementary School from Tennessee, he immediately became the biggest kid in our class of fifth graders. With his large crop of wavy black hair, brown eyes and enormous hands, he was also an inch or two taller than me and classmate Dewey Bennent, and probably out-weighed us by 10 or 12 pounds.  When recess came on his first day at our school, Dewey pulled me aside and suggested that we needed to find out “how tough” the new kid was. Dewey said that he would get on his knees behind James and I should walk over and pretend to “fall” into James so that he would be knocked over Dewey. We did it perfectly, expecting James to get up ready to fight.  James got up from the fall, but did not respond to our belligerent attitude. He simply looked at us and our fists poised for a fight and said, “My mother told me not to be fighting.”
I was immediately relieved as I’d already figured out that I didn’t want to fight him anyway, and I didn’t think Dewey did either. It was just our way of sizing him up. I kind of liked the way he handled us, and decided immediately that I wanted to be his friend. So on Friday, I invited him to come to Sunday school and church at First Baptist on Sunday morning at 9:30. Sure enough, he showed up with his mother and his sister, Barbara, who was two years older than him. Thus began a life-long friendship, which continues to this day.
We began our friendship as 10-year-old boys by exploring the swamp near our house just east of Dixie Highway. The swamp was just over the Dixie Highway Bridge north of the Hillsboro River in what is now part of Boca Raton. Boys of Southern heritage at the time were expected to learn how to shoot a gun by around the age of 10, and I was no exception. Dad and Mother had given me a pellet rifle for my 10th birthday and Dad had taken me down to the swamp to practice. We shot land crabs. They are interesting creatures with blue bodies about four inches in diameter, with eight legs which can carry them quite rapidly  when they decide to run. They typically live in swampy areas in holes in the ground, which they dig down a few feet to hide from predators like big birds and 10-year-old boys. James and I took turns shooting the rifle and watching the crabs explode.
One of the books that was required reading in school at the time was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.  James and I were just the right age to really get into that book. One of the episodes, which thrilled us both a lot, was when Tom and Huck built a raft with a sail and rudder to explore the Mississippi River.  With encouragement and help from my parents, James and I built our own raft to sail up and down the Hillsboro River. The main body of the raft was made from bamboo, which at the time was plentiful growing at the edges of the Hillsboro River. We only selected and cut down bamboo shoots that were at least four inches in diameter. We selected about 20 shoots and sawed them into lengths eight feet long. We then strapped them together with aluminum flat bar straps which Dad had provided, to make the raft. A steel plate with a pipe welded on top in the middle supported the mast for the sail. Mother provided a bed sheet sail for the mast, and I built the rudder from ¼” plate steel in our welding shop. Dad helped us get everything assembled and transported 100 yards or so, down to the Hillsboro River where we launched it.
It worked beautifully. We quickly became pretty good sailors. James worked the sail and I worked the rudder. Typically, we would let the tide current take us east, and then put the sail up and let the easterly breeze fill our sail and carry us back to the west. We did it over and over again until we got tired. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn would have been proud. We had lots of fun.
David Eller

Historical Essay 28

Standing up for German neighbors got me into a fight at school

Published: 20 Mar 2008
In the fall of 1951 we had a German family move into the two-story house at the end of our block. They had two children, a boy and a girl. The boy was my age and his name was Martin Marback. He had bright red hair, and wore leather pants with white shirts and suspenders. He did not speak much English when we first met, but he was really good at climbing the mango trees with me which were in the grove between our houses. Therefore, our play was mostly limited to climbing trees, gathering the mangos, eating some and putting the others in a box for my mother to give away. I quickly learned that he did not understand hardly anything I said, but would copy me in almost anything I would do.
His sister, who was two years older than him, also wore “funny” clothes: typically a white blouse over a red, black and white plaid skirt. She was way overweight, and had long brown pigtails. Whereas her brother Martin was kind of skinny like me. Martin would try to speak some English with me, but I do not remember his sister ever speaking a word. She would simply stand back and watch Martin and me play.
By the time Deerfield Elementary school started in September, Martin and I had become “friends”, even though we could not communicate very well.
We had only been in school a few days when “the fight” happened. About six of us were lined up in front of the water fountain to stand upon a wooden box and get a drink of water. Martin was in front of me. Robert Sloan, a year younger than us, but a few inches taller, was at the end of the line. Suddenly, when Martin started to get his drink in front of me, Robert Sloan jumped out of the line, rushed forward, grabbed Martin by the back of his head pushing his face into the fountain and twisted the fountain handle to keep the water flowing onto Martin’s face as though he was trying to drown him. He also was simultaneously screaming “you’re a dirty Nazi.” Martin started sputtering, lifted his head and tried to get away from Robert and the fountain.
Before I could even think about it I grabbed Robert Sloan’s shoulder with my left hand and shoved him backwards away from Martin and the fountain. He responded by hitting me with his right hand to the side of my face. I tackled him and we proceeded to roll around on the floor of the hallway with fists flying. Everyone else was screaming. Within seconds it seems, Ms. Henry, the school principal, was there and grabbed the back of my shirt collar pulling me up and off of Robert.
Ms. Henry took us into her office around the corner from the water fountain, and demanded to know why we were fighting. I told her that Robert started it by attacking Martin. She asked him why? He told her that his father had been a soldier and Germans had killed a lot of his father’s friends. She looked at both of us kindly, but firmly told us that fighting was not allowed. She told us to go to the chair next to her desk and bend over, then she reached for a wooden paddle. She proceeded to spank both of us with about three strong licks. Neither of us cried, but neither did we ever fight again.
David Eller, Publisher

Historical Essay 27

In 1951 the world is changing–Deerfield starts growing–and more boys my age move to town

Published: 6 Mar 2008
In 1951, the Korean War was going on and Seoul, Korea, fell to the communist forces from the north. The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, limiting the number of terms a president may serve, was ratified. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death for treason, having given the Soviet Union our secrets for building atomic bombs. The cost of a first-class stamp was $0.03. The NY Yankees defeated the NY Giants in the World Series 4-2. Color television was first introduced in the USA, and the Best Movies were The African Queen and A Streetcar Named Desire, and for most of the year, I was nine years-old.
My father always said that Deerfield and this northeast Broward County area started to grow because so many of the soldiers who were based at the Boca Raton Airfield during World War II liked the weather here, and eventually decided to come back to live permanently. I’m sure that was true in the big picture of things, but from my perspective as a nine-year-old boy, it was when the Williams Dairy arrived, located where Century Village is now, that Deerfield started to grow.
Mr. Williams moved his dairy here from Dade County in 1950-51. He had two sons, Mitchell, who was two years older than me, and Donald, who had the nickname “Peewee,” who was my same age. They were both very athletic, and could ride their own horses at their father’s dairy. Also two other boys, Jimmy Phillips and Jessie Beard, whose fathers worked on the dairy, were in our class, as well as Tommy Gannon, whose father was an electrician and mother was a nurse, had just arrived in town. Tommy and I became good friends as he lived only two blocks away. When summer came and our Baptist church had Vacation Bible School (VBS), he and I were both surprised and confused when his parents told him he could not go to our church for VBS. (An annual event in the summer where the kids learned stories from the Bible, and got lots of ice cream). His mother kindly explained to me that Tommy and their family were Catholics and even though they did not have their own church to go to in Deerfield yet, she didn’t want Tommy to get confused and therefore did not want him to go to VBS at our church. Tommy and I looked at each other in a somewhat confused manner, but quickly acquiesced to her instruction. When I asked my mother about it, she explained that this was normal, that it was good that Tommy’s parents were religious, and that Tommy and I could still be friends.
Meanwhile, Miss Hinson (my mother called her an old maid) was our teacher in the fourth grade at Deerfield Elementary School. She had previously replaced our third grade teacher, Miss Riggs, in the third grade. Miss Riggs only taught us for a few months, when our principal, Mrs. Henry “fired” her. I was later told that I was the one that had gotten Miss Riggs fired. I didn’t mean to. I only told my mother and father that Miss Riggs was a lot different than Mrs. Slover, our second grade teacher, or even our first grade teacher, Mrs. Hartman. Specifically, Miss Riggs did not have us say the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, and she had us singing songs from a country called Russia, which she had said was the best country in the world. My mother later told me that Miss Riggs had been fired because she was a communist. My, how things have changed.
David Eller

Historical Essay 26

Lyons Road named after Dad’s largest customer

Published: 31 Jan 2008
Back in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, when I was a boy of elementary school age, my father Marlin would often take me with him after school as he visited customers. Our machine shop/pump factory was located on Dixie Highway in Deerfield, where the tennis courts are today. In previous Essay No. 13, I wrote about our good customer, the Butts family in Boca Raton, for whom the Butts road in Boca is named. In Essay No. 14 I also wrote about our Japanese customers in Boca and the Japanese farmers there for whom the Yamato Road and Park is named.
However, our largest customer back in those old days was a rancher and farmer west of Deerfield named Cossie Lyons. I believe he was originally from Tennessee. I do know that he owned an enormous amount of land in the northwest part of Broward County and southwest part of Palm Beach County, which is now part of Parkland, Coral Springs, and western Boca Raton. I remember my father telling me once that Cossie’s property, just on the west side of Highway US441/State road 7, was approximately six miles long and two miles deep. He raised cattle mostly, but also had large plots of vegetables on parts of it.
My dad and Cossie Lyons were good friends. Cossie, in his sixties, treated my father, in his thirties, like a son. In fact, I was there when Cossie offered to give my father 10 acres on the west side of Highway 441 for Dad to build us a new machine shop/factory. Dad, accustomed to walking out the back door of our house on Dixie Highway to go to work in our “shop” next door, turned him down. I remember Dad telling Mr. Lyons: “I don’t want to have to drive that far (seven miles) to go to work every day”.
Cossie was a single man with no children, and depended a lot upon his nephew, James, to actually run the farm. James, about my dad’s age, always wore a crumpled old brown hat, and had two or three horses which he took turns riding. Dad and Cossie would talk about what needed to be done on the farm, and James would make it happen.
Cossie also had a beautiful young secretary/bookkeeper named Alma. In her late twenties, she was taller than Cossie or my father by about six inches. She had long black hair and always dressed up, even in their office. She wore high heels and a fancy hat when she sometimes came to Deerfield’s First Baptist church, where she always sat alone midway down the left aisle. The hat and the heels made her look even taller.
One day Cossie confided to Dad that he and Alma were going to get married. When Dad told Mother over our supper table that night, Mother got very upset. I remember her saying that Cossie was way too old to marry that young woman. Dad just smiled.
Shortly thereafter Cossie Lyons and Alma were married in a private ceremony and went off on their honeymoon. The next day Dad got a call from Cossie’s nephew, James. He told Dad that Cossie had died from a heart attack on the first night of his honeymoon. Alma, therefore, became a rich young widow within hours of her marriage to Cossie.
Alma continued to come to our church occasionally, and was always friendly to my father. The women of the church, however, seemed to keep her at a distance. Within a few years she had sold off Cossie’s land and moved to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. She got married again to another short man and became Mrs. Alma Regan. Together they invested in real estate and helped build Gatlinburg into the huge resort that it is now. She died about 20 years ago, probably with a smile on her face.
David Eller

Historical Essay 25

Big 1949 Hurricane with 150 mph winds…plus another boy my age (8) arrives in Deerfield

Published: 13 Dec 2007
It was right before school started in 1949 when the big hurricane hit. Back then they had not gotten around to giving hurricanes names like they do now.  They simply numbered them in order. The center of Hurricane No.1 of the 1949 season hit “between Pompano and Palm Beach” about 6 p.m. on August 26. Winds had to have been over 150 mph when it hit because they were actually measured at 125 mph as the center crossed Sebring, Florida a few hours later.  Dad had shuttered up our house and driven the family to Boynton Beach to ride out the storm at my maternal grandparent Horton’s house, next to Boynton’s elementary school. However, as the hurricane approached the coastline, the winds picked up, and Granddad Horton’s wooden frame house started coming apart. There was a large screened porch facing south, which was the first to go. The screens blew out and the roof started tearing off in pieces. My father, Marlin Eller, ordered me, my mother, Lorena, and my sister, Linda, to follow him. He held my little brother, Dwight, in his arms and started toward our car parked in front of the house. But the wind was too strong to stand up, and tree branches and coconuts were flying through the air hitting us. So Dad lay on the ground and started rolling toward the car. We couldn’t hear his specific instructions through the loud howling of the wind, but we just naturally started doing the same thing he was doing and rolled on the ground to the car. He got one door open on the other side of the car and we all crawled in. I remember Dad was shivering and seemed afraid. Mother was crying.
Dad started the car, drove a few blocks over to Federal Highway, U.S. 1, turned left and headed north. I remember him saying that this direction should get us out of the storm. We drove through heavy rains and winds, for what seemed like hours, until we got to a town called Fort Pierce. There, palm trees had fallen across the highway, coconuts and tree branches were flying through the air, and it was impossible to proceed. Dad turned into a gas station and parked, joining dozens of other cars parked there. There we spent the night, in the car, mother especially praying for safety. It came the next morning as the winds died down. We got gas in the car, headed home to Deerfield, working our way around fallen trees and power lines all the way. Granddad’s house in Boynton was essentially destroyed, and had to be rebuilt. Our house in Deerfield, however, with wooden shutters closed, weathered the storm beautifully. The lesson I learned was that you should build your house strong enough to handle any known potential hurricane wind force, and stay home during the storm. Many years later I did that exact thing as I designed and built my own house for 200 mile an hour winds. It cost me about 10 percent more to build, but I’ve never worried about it weathering a hurricane, even until today.
The next thing I remember about the summer of 1949 was that Dewy Bennett arrived in town. Dewy was my age, eight years old, and would be starting third grade with me in the fall, which meant that I would no longer be the only boy in my class at Deerfield Elementary School. Dewy came to my backyard one day in the summer of 1949 with his cousin Butch Bennet. They started singing a song that was popular on the radio at the time by Hank Williams which went:  “Hey…good looking; what cha’ got cookin’, how’s about a’cooking something up with me!” I went out to meet them as they walked slowly over to the empty lot on the south side of our house, and started picking fruit off our guava tree. Seven-year-old Butch started talking first. He introduced me to his eight-year-old cousin Dewy, who he said had moved into town and would be in the third grade with me soon. Butch went on to say that he’d told Dewy about me beating him up (a few weeks ago), and that Dewy would settle matters with me. I looked at Dewy and figured he was about my same size. I asked him what he wanted to do. He said that he understood I had beaten up Butch, and would I like to try to beat him (Dewy) up. I replied that if Butch would stay out of it, “Sure”!  With that we both went at it. His head went into my belly knocking me backwards as he swung both fists. But I soon got him into a headlock and rolled him over on his back. He pushed me over, and we rolled around in the sandspurs for a few minutes. But once I got my right forearm around his neck with my left hand gripping my right wrist, pulling a hard scissors grip on his neck, I knew I had him.  He should have given up, but he refused. We rolled over in the sandspurs a few more times until we were both sweaty, exhausted and out of breathe. Finally one or both of us said, “I’ll stop if you’ll stop.”  With that we let go of each other, stood up, and Dewy gave me a great compliment:  He said: “You’re a pretty good fighter”. I said: “You are too!”  We shook hands, and became friends, which continues even until today.
David Eller

Historical Essay 24

Deerfield gets its first park –Pioneer Park!

Published: 29 Nov 2007
Deerfield got its first park in 1948. It was named Pioneer Park and was built just east of our house. There was a narrow rock road, later abandoned, between our backyard and the park. Our house sat where the office for the tennis courts sits today, with the front yard facing west to Dixie Highway and the backyard facing east to a forest of pine trees.
The park was built by the local Lions Club, part of the International Service Organization. My father, Marlin Eller, was a very active member of the club, and volunteered to be on the committee to get the park built. The first problem was to get the land. The Kester family of Pompano owned most of the land in Deerfield at the time, including the land on which the Lions Club wanted to build the park. The Kesters also owned the Pompano Farmer’s Bank, the only bank in North Broward County at the time, which provided financing for most of Deerfield’s businesses. My father told me once that Mr. Kester donated the land for Pioneer Park, as well as the land for the cemetery on the north side of First Baptist Church.
Anyway, all I knew at age seven was that one day bulldozers started pushing down the trees and clearing the land. I was very unhappy because those woods were my backyard playground. I practiced hiding behind trees and shooting at imaginary enemies in those woods. I could chase butterflies, or hide from my sister in those woods. Now the trees were being knocked over, pushed into piles, and set on fire. I cried.
Dad and Mother tried to reassure me that it would be better. They (the adults) were going to build a ballpark on that land. I pouted. Dad tried to get me into the excitement about having a new ballpark right next to our house. He suggested I help him and the other men to plant the grass for the park (back in those days there were no sod farms and grass was planted as individual twigs in the ground a few inches apart). So I rather reluctantly joined my dad and the other men in his Lion’s Club to plant grass for the new park.
However, the club also wanted to have big lights at the park to operate at night games on the top of high poles. My dad was in charge of raising the money for those poles and lights. Apparently it was hard to raise the money. I remember Dad complaining a lot, but he eventually got the money and poles donated, and Pioneer Park became a reality. Dad and Mother were both very happy.
Times were different then in many ways. In retrospect, I think the biggest thing was that people did not have television to take up so much of their time. Therefore, at nighttime after work, people provided their own entertainment, and neighbors socialized with each other extensively. The new ballpark quickly became the center of that activity.
Since Deerfield had a new ballpark, they needed a ball team to play at the ballpark. So the Lions Club stepped forward again and organized a softball team, complete with matching uniforms. It consisted of 12 players and a coach. There were five farmers, a sheriff’s deputy, a plumber, an electrician, a gas station owner, a railroad station manager, and a couple of small business owners. My father didn’t actually play ball, but he got very involved in the organizational part of the sport. In fact, he was appointed as the Soft Ball Commissioner for South Florida and served several years in that position. Our whole family typically went to watch the games. Unbeknown to me at the time, the ballpark experiences would affect my whole life, including up until today.
David Eller, Publisher

The 1948-1949 Lions Club Softball Team:
(L-R, bott
om row):  Willy Dame, Alan Ballard, Red Arnau, Bob Phlegal, Jack Butler, and unidentified; (top row): M.A. Peterson, Bob Butler, Milton Vincent, Jay Mosley, Barney Chalker, Hubert Morris, and Alvin Jones.
Photo courtesy of Jack Butler

Historical Essay 23

In 1948 Harry Truman wins…a child is b

orn…and my sister, Linda, saves me at Deerfield Elementary School

Published: 15 Nov 2007
1948 was a pretty good year, and I had learned to read by then. My parents had both voted for Harry Truman for President, which made them happy when he won. Right after the election my brother Dwight was born, and I started my life’s journey as a middle child. My parents were also glad when the country of Israel, where Jesus lived, was re-established. Dad, who read the Bible a lot, said this was very important because it had been predicted in the Bible, and was something that had to happen before Jesus could come back. He was also worried about a city in Germany named Berlin, which was being surrounded by the Russians and not allowing people in or out. He was happy when our government started flying airplanes in to bring the people food. Dad bought a PolaroidTM camera that year which had just come out, but he complained about the film costing so much. My mother always wanted to see the movies which won the awards each year, so she took us to the theatre in Fort Lauderdale to see Hamlet which had won the best movie award, with a man named Lawrence Olivier, who also had won the award for best actor as the star. I believe Dad went with us to see the movie Johnny Belinda, because he always liked Jane Wyman who had won the award for best actress.
When I started second grade at Deerfield Elementary School in 1948 I was again the only boy, although one more girl had moved into town, making the ratio six to one. Badly out numbered in my own class, I tried to make friends with other boys, specifically brothers George Bigler in the third grade, and his brother Jeff in first grade. Their mother was the school cook. They actually lived in Boca Raton, but the boys attended Deerfield Elementary because their mother worked there.
They were both fun to play with at first, and excelled at climbing up palm trees. But eventually the younger brother Jeff started poking at me for no reason that I can remember. He apparently thought it was cute to come up behind me and kick me during recess. When I tried to catch him to reciprocate in kind he would run to his brother, or into the school kitchen area for his mother’s protection.
One day we were playing on the grassy area on the west side of the
main building when Jeff snuck up and kicked me from behind. I had been watching for him, and spun around quickly and caught him by his ankle before he could get away. I jumped on his back as he lay on the grass and tried to get his left arm up to where I could twist it and make him promise to leave me alone.
Suddenly I heard the sound of someone running toward us, and felt the impact as his big brother George tackled me from behind. The impact knocked me off of Jeff and the two of them proceeded with fists flying to teach me some sort of a lesson.

I was on my knees with both eyes shut, trying to cover my face, when I heard an even heavier running sound coming toward us with a guttural scream, which sounded quite familiar. I opened one eye and caught the image of my 10-year-old, fifth grade sister, Linda, (who incidentally looked a lot like Lucy in the Peanut cartoons) flying through the air horizontally in a counter attack against both boys.  I didn’t have to do anything as she proceeded to beat the tar out of both of the Bigler boys.
I never had a problem with either of the boys after that, and I gained a respect for my sister, which continues to this day. In fact, don’t try me. She’s still lives only two hours away.
David Eller

Historical Essay 22

Games and lessons learned in first grade

At Deerfield Elementary School…1947-1948

Published: 14 Nov 2007
In the last essay I shared how I was the only boy in the first grade at Deerfield Elementary School in school years 1947-1948. I shared the class with five girls. For some reason I thought that was normal. I know I liked it. The girls all seemed to like me for some reason. They taught me how to play a game called “jacks”. It consisted of sitting in a circle on the floor in the hallway during recess with a small rubber ball and a bunch of metal things called jacks. To play you would take 10 jacks and toss them on the terrazzo floor so as not to scatter them too far apart. Then the first player would pitch the ball up in the air slightly with one hand, and immediately sweep up one jack being careful not to touch any of the other jacks. The ball would bounce once during this pr
ocess, and you had to catch it before it bounced twice while simultaneously holding the jack you’d just swept up. You would put that jack back into the box and repeat the process sweeping up two jacks, this time being careful not to touch any of the other jacks on the floor. If you were successful you would continue sweeping up three jacks the next time, and the final four jacks after that. However, you would lose immediately if at any time you did not catch the ball, or if you touched any extra jack during the process. The loser would then pass the ball and the jacks to the next player, and the game would continue until someone won by picking up all the jacks in proper order without dropping the ball.
The girls already knew the game, as they apparently had been playing it at home before starting first grade. All my preschool games had been with my friend Elmo (see previous essay) and we only played boy games like marbles, catching frogs and climbing trees. Therefore I must have appeared clumsy to the girls, as I specifically remember them laughing at me at first as I struggled to pick up the jacks and catch the bouncing rubber ball. However, I eventually got the hang of it and was able to beat all of the girls some of the time and most of the girls all of the time; but I never achieved beating all of the girls all of the time!

One of the girls, Lynda Dame, apparently liked me a lot. She would show her affection by walking up during recess, punching me in the belly or on the arm, and then running away laughing. I’d always been told by my parents that boys did not hit girls. Therefore Lynda was safe from me responding in kind. However, one day my mother noticed a bruise on me, and asked how I had gotten it. I told her it was from Lynda hitting me at school. Mother looked a little angry. She asked me if there was a reason for her to hit me. I told her no, that she just did it for no reason. Mother then gave me what I thought was a direct order. She told me the next time she hits you, David, you hit her back. I took that literally. Sure enough the next day during recess, Lynda slipped up on me and hit
me hard. I remembered my mother’s instructions and started chasing her. As I caught up to her I knew I had to be careful to hit her in the right place, her back. I caught her, spun her around to get a good shot, and hit her with my left fist squarely in the back with all of my might! She went down crying. I walked away proudly thinking, “I did it just like Mother said to do. I hit her right in the back”!  Lynda never hit me again, and we eventually became great friends.
David Eller

Historical Essay 21

I was the only boy in the first grade  at Deerfield Elementary School…in 1947

Published: 4 Oct 2007
The first thing I noticed different in the summer of 1947, at age 5 ½, was that my mother started buying me some new clothes. We lived on Dixie Highway where the tennis courts are now, and the nearest clothing store, “Parman’s” was only three blocks further south on Dixie. We would walk there. The pants she bought me were all light brown khakis with turned-up cuffs on the bottom. I didn’t particularly like the cuffs because sand, sand spurs, and other debris would collect inside the cuff as I played outside. This would get me in trouble with my mom when the sand ended up in the house on the floor. She also bought me a bunch of short sleeve plaid shirts. Every weekday for years I was destined to wear a plaid shirt with khaki pants to school. It was not a requirement of the school; it was just the way Mom liked to dress me. Today you will not find a plaid shirt or khaki pants in my closet.
My best friend was Elmo. His mother worked for my mother helping her to clean the house, and wash our clothes.  Elmo and I mostly played marbles in a patch of gray sand next to the steps in the backyard. Sometimes we also played hide and seek, but Elmo didn’t stand a chance since my dog “Brownie” would always help me find him. During mango season, at the beginning of summer, we would climb the trees in our backyard, and stuff ourselves with mangos. What we didn’t eat, we’d put in a paste board box for Elmo’s mother to take and share with their neighbors.
Elmo was my friend, and we were the same age. However, one day Mother explained that I would be starting school soon, and Elmo would be going to his school. “Can I go to his school too” I remember asking?  “No” she tried to explain, “Elmo has to go to his school, and you have to go to your school”. “Why”? I cried.  “That’s just the way it is David!” she replied. So it was, back then.
The first day of school came, and I was up early. Mother wanted me to take a bath before getting ready for school. After the bath I put on my khaki pants and plaid shirt and was ready for an inspection. I remember Mom looking behind my ears for some reason, and then declaring that there was dirt behind my ears.  She grabbed a wet wash cloth, dipped it on the soap, and vigorously started rubbing. I thought my ear was going to come off before she got satisfied and declared me clean enough to go to school.
My seven-year-old-sister left early for school to meet friends there, so I had to walk the approximate five blocks by myself. I started out from the back yard to walk one block south and then four blocks east to the school. Just as I walked out the back yard I heard Elmo’s mother, who had just arrived without Elmo, say to my mother: “Are you going to dye today?” I heard mother say “Yes!”
I continued to walk for a few minutes, simultaneously thinking about what I had just heard. Mother is going to die today, I thought. I knew she had told me she was going to miss having me home with her. But could she actually miss me so much that she would die? Suddenly I felt nauseous. Mother is going to die because she’s going to miss me so much! I don’t want to go to school if it causes my mother to die, I thought.
Suddenly I turned around and started running back home. I ran as fast as I could. When I reached the back door I swung it open and rushed in to find Mother. There she was standing next to the washing machine with a box of blue powder in her hand. I rushed to her and started hugging her crying “Please don’t die. Please don’t die!”
Mother started laughing. “David” she said, “I’m sorry we must have scared you about this dyeing business. I’m not going to be dyeing like you’re thinking; I’m only going to be dyeing some sheets and pillow cases to make them blue today.”
Greatly relieved, I rubbed my eyes, pulled myself back together and headed off for school.  This time I ran all the way without stopping.  I knew my teacher was going to be Mrs. Henry, and that she was also called principal. When I got to the class room, which was next to her office, there were five girls my age there. I already knew three of them from church: Lynda Dame, Janice Brown and Mildred Gordan. However, I was the only boy in my first grade class. That’s how small Deerfield was in 1947.
David Eller

Comments Off on Historical Essays 21 to 30

Historical Essays 11 to 20

Posted on 13 September 2007 by LeslieM

Historical Essay 20

In 1944 Presbyterians “arrive”  in “Baptist” Deerfield

Published: 13 Sep 2007
Up until the mid 1940’s the only formalized church in Deerfield was the First Baptist Church. Founded in 1910, the small congregation started meeting at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, whose home stood at where the Midas Muffler shop is today on the south side of Hillsboro Avenue, just east of Dixie Highway. Mrs. Robinson was actually a Methodist, but was very active with her Baptist husband in the Baptist church, but never actually joined it. This is probably because in order to join she would have had to have gotten re-baptized by immersion, as opposed to sprinkling, which is the method of the Methodists.
By 1912 the congregation had grown to 12 adult members, officially joined the Southern Baptist Convention of churches, and called the Rev. Samuel S. Gibson to be its first pastor. By 1914 the church had grown to an average attendance of 33 and had built its first sanctuary adjacent to the present site of Kraeer Funeral Home. The church was doing well until blown down by the huge “killer” hurricane of 1928. However, by 1932, a second church capable of seating 75 was constructed in the 700 block of S.E. 2nd Street across the street from Deerfield Elementary School.  My parents, Marlin and Lorena Eller, joined the church in 1934, when both were 18 years of age. They were baptized in the nearby Hillsboro River, which was the custom then because the small church building did not yet have a baptismal pool.
On New Year’s Day, January 1, 1941, prisoners from the local jail were being used to clean the city cemetery behind the church. It must have been cold because they made a fire from the palm fronds they had gathered to keep warm. A sudden wind came up and blew fire debris onto the dry wooden shingle roof of the church, causing it to catch on fire. With their church badly damaged, the congregation decided to build a new, larger church to seat 200 people next door, and repair the old church and use it as a parsonage. This worked until 1960, when the congregation had outgrown that church and built the present church to seat 500, plus a large gym and Christian Life Center.
Meanwhile, Presbyterians and other faiths were coming to Deerfield. David H. Cosby, Sr. from New Jersey arrived in the mid 1930’s with his wife from Ocala, Florida. They had both worked for AT & T and apparently knew how property could be obtained for rights of way and other purposes. The effect of the 1928 hurricane and the depression that followed here meant that many people owning property locally could not pay their ad valorem (property) taxes. When ad valorem taxes are not paid on a piece of property, the county government allows others to pay the taxes with an interest charge added, and get a tax lien on the property. If the taxes and interest are not paid within about three years, the government allows the owner of the tax lien to go through a legal process, which allows them to ultimately get clear ownership of the property. David Cosby, an expert at this, was very interested in Deerfield’s beach area, and essentially arranged to buy most of it through the tax lien process within a few years. He developed the shopping Center in the “S” curve on A1A, but sold most of the rest of the beach to others for millions in profits over the ensuing years.
A devout Presbyterian, he donated the land in 1944 for the Presbyterian Church to be built on the beach, and became one of the first elders. The first church building was completed in 1948 and is now named Briggs Hall, after the Rev. Arland Briggs and his wife, Margaret, who served there from 1952-1981.
In 1974, Dr. Briggs gave recognition to four charter members after 30 years of church membership. Three of them: Susanne Glattli Anderson, Bertha Glattli Cosby, and Barbara Glattli Morrison, are related to our family, the Eller family, through the marriage of my son, Dana to their grandniece: Heather Glattli Eller.
David Eller, Publisher

Historical Essay 19

Mother’s brother, Uncle Forney Horton “Buys” the Cove Section of  Deerfield Beach for $1500/acre!

Published: 23 Aug 2007
My mother had two younger brothers who served in the military during World War II. They were close in age, only a little over a year apart. The oldest was named California Horton. My maternal grandmother, Etta Clem Horton, had gotten pregnant with him just about the time she and Granddad Horton had planned to leave their cotton farm in south Alabama and move to California. Granddad told her they couldn’t leave for California with her pregnant. So they stayed and planted another crop of cotton. Grandmother got her frustrations out, however, by naming the baby boy, born on November 19, 1919, “California” Horton. He was quickly nicknamed “Forney”.
The cotton crop must have been good that year, or the weather real cold, because Forney was quickly followed within a year by a younger brother, whom they named “Wofford.” With two little boys nursing at the same time Grandmother never made it to California. The two boys grew up inseparable, more like twins than just brothers. My mother, Lorena Horton, three years older than Forney, and four years older than Wofford was their big sister, mentor and friend.
Forney was 22 years old and Wofford 21when World War II started. They both decided to join the U.S. Navy, hoping to serve together. However, the U.S. Navy was not as enthused as they were about them serving together and promptly, after basic training, sent Uncle Wofford to serve in North Africa and Uncle Forney to serve in the Pacific.
Uncle Wofford’s job initially was on a ship that picked up German prisoners of war from Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s Deutsches Afrika Corps and brought them to the United States to military prisons. He once told me that he was surprised and a little intimidated to see such a bunch of good looking young men, mostly blond, blue eyed and muscular, but well behaved as they organized themselves by rank and marched on board the U.S. Navy prison ship. He also told me that one day he and a Navy buddy decided to taunt some of the prisoners as they were coming up the gangplank by shouting down at them: “Where’s your man Hitler now?” Suddenly one of the prisoners looked up at them and in perfect English shouted back: “Hitler is probably doing the same thing your man Roosevelt is doing tonight. Eating a good meal, drinking some fine wine and sleeping in a soft bed!”  With that Uncle Wofford gave him a “thumbs up” ….as they both smiled at each other. When the war was over Uncle Wofford bought a Texaco Service Station in Brewton, Alabama, about one hour’s drive north of Pensacola, Florida. Over the next few years he parlayed that into 15 more gas stations in Southeast Alabama, plus a Holiday Inn in Brewton.
Meanwhile, Uncle Wofford’s brother, Forney, married Margie Rogers of Greenville,  Alabama, simultaneously with joining the Navy. He was assigned to the Seabees, trained as a bulldozer operator, and shipped to the South Sea Pacific islands. His main job was to help build airports and roads on the islands that the U.S. Marines and Army had captured from the Japanese. However, the military also sometimes used the bulldozers as offensive weapons. Apparently that was part of the battle-plan, to bury the enemy alive in their caves with bulldozers. However, Uncle Forney was wounded once in hand-to-hand combat with a Japanese soldier who objected to his cave opening being covered over by the sand that Uncle Forney was pushing with his bulldozer. Several Japanese soldiers suddenly came out of the cave as it was being sealed, with bayonets flashing. Forney joined the Marines to repulse them, but one enemy soldier was able to swipe him across the belly with his bayonet before being shot down by a Marine. A relatively shallow wound, and Uncle Forney was back on duty within a few days.
Uncle Forney regularly sent letters to my mother, Lorena, and his wife, Margie, letting them know how things were going in the Pacific. Apparently things were going quite well after the initial battles, and he was having fun on those Pacific islands. In fact, he couldn’t help himself from bragging to my mother about some escapades he was having with some of the island girls. He even had a friend take a picture with him and a scantily dressed island girl embracing each other in a very suggestive manner. His intention was to send the picture only to my mother. However, he had simultaneously written a letter to his wife, Margie, describing how difficult life was over there. Unfortunately for Forney, he put the picture of himself and the island girl in the envelope addressed to his wife; and sent my mother the letter he’d intended for his wife. When mother received the letter meant for Aunt Margie, she knew immediately that there was a big problem brewing for her little brother. Aunt Margie was really upset when she opened the letter with pictures of her husband with the island girls, and decided to get even with him by eating. By the time the war was over, and Uncle Forney came home, she weighed about twice as much as she had weighed when they had gotten married. Unfortunately, she maintained that weight the rest of her life.
Uncle Forney was discharged from the Navy in November of 1945 and promptly moved to Deerfield Beach to work for my father. While working as a welder and mechanic for Dad for a year or two, he simultaneously studied to get a real estate and broker’s license. As soon as he received that license he resigned his job with Dad and opened up a real estate company on North Federal Highway in Boynton Beach, naming it “Boynton Realty”. He was phenomenally successful.
In the early 1950’s he made one of the largest sales ever recorded in Deerfield Beach. He was the real estate agent/broker who sold the 500 acres between US Highway No. 1, and the Intracoastal Waterway, from Hillsboro Avenue to what is now Lighthouse Point, the area now called “The Cove”, to housing developer Bob Sullivan for $1,500 per acre. It was purchased from the Kester family of Pompano Beach. More of how that sale happened, and the role that my father Marlin Eller played, will be described in future Historical Articles.
David Eller, Publisher



Historical Essay 18

Life throws me a curve at age 2 1/2

Published: 9 Aug 2007
In the spring of 1944, when I was 2 ½ years old, my mother took me with her to visit a friend in Boca Raton who had a son five years old. His name was Jimmy, and his last name started with a “B” and ended with an “N”; but I’d rather not fully spell it so as not to embarrass anyone. Anyway, he and I were playing, and I was probably teasing him, when he suddenly grabbed me by the ankles, lifted me up high in the air and slammed me down hard to their living room wood floor on my back. I landed with the bottom of my neck hitting first, followed by the back of my head, knocking me unconscious.
When I didn’t move for a few minutes, my mother picked me up and rushed me to the Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach, which was the closest hospital at the time. Mother later told me that I was unconscious for quite a while. When I finally awoke at the hospital, but still didn’t move, the doctors discovered I was paralyzed from the neck down. My five-year-old friend and his parents were devastated, of course, as were my parents and sister.  They kept me in the hospital for a while, trying to get me better, but apparently nothing was working. Mother and Dad were praying real hard, of course, as were many of their friends and relatives in Deerfield.
One day, my father’s sister, Nova Adams, brought her 3-year-old daughter, Sandra, to visit me in the hospital. Unbeknown to anyone at the time, Sandra had been exposed to whooping cough, and was just beginning to experience the effects. When she arrived at my bedside, according to my mother, little Sandra leaned in through the bed railing a far as she could, to look at me up close. Suddenly she coughed loudly right in my face. Mother quickly pulled her away and politely suggested that Aunt Nova take her home since she appeared to be sick. Mother was not happy that someone brought a sick child to visit me.
She and Dad continued to pray, and Mother remembers asking God why He would allow a sick child to be brought to my bedside, exposing me to even more danger. A few days later I started to cough, and the doctors said I had caught the whooping cough too. Mother and Dad were frantic.
I would surely die now, they thought.
But something was happening to my body as I coughed. Suddenly I started moving my legs. Then I moved my left arm, and later on my right arm. I was getting better. I was overcoming the paralysis. My mother always believed that it was a God thing and he had sent little Sandra to visit me with the cure I needed: whooping cough.
The doctors apparently could not figure out what was happening with me.They tested me for polio, which was rampant at the time, but the tests were negative. Eventually they discharged
me from the hospital, but requested mother to bring me back to see Dr. Martin once a week at the “Children’s Clinic” in Palm Beach. Those appointments continued on for several years, but eventually dropped to once every two weeks. I never felt sorry for myself because nearly every other child I saw at the clinic was really bad off. Some were even in iron lungs, which was a round cylinder device with only their head sticking out.
I remember getting back and right arm massages, and sometimes they would wrap me in a smelly brown blanket and put me in a hot tub of water. One day my mother got really mad at the nurse who was massaging me. She and the nurse had been talking about “the war” in Europe. The nurse, who had an accent, told Mother that she was from a place called Normandy in France, and that she was worried about her house there. She went on to say that she preferred the Germans to be there because they would take better care of her house than the Americans. My mother’s face got red as she told that nurse that one of her brothers was there and she did not appreciate what the nurse had said. Then Mother went to the clinic supervisor and told him she did not want that nurse working on me. I never saw that nurse again.
Eventually, they said I only needed to come once or twice a year. That was good. However, I remember Dr. Martin telling Mother and Dad that when I reached twelve years old, he wanted me to have a special examination. At the time I didn’t realize how special it would be, nor how it would affect my life for several years thereafter.
-David Eller

Historical Essay 17

The World War II years in Deerfield Beach

Published: 26 Jul 2007
In the last Historical Essay, No.16, I introduced myself as the newest citizen of Deerfield Beach; born on October 2, 1941. It was just a few weeks before the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and I always suspected that I was planned by my parents to put my Father, Marlin, age 25 at the time, further back in the line of military draftees.  It seems the government drafted the single men first, then the married men with one child, then two children, etc. However, my parents denied that was the case, but always smiled many years tater whenever t would bring it up.
Regardless, my father was never directly in the military during World War II. However he was on the list next to be called if President Truman hadn’t dropped the big bomb in 1945. Maybe that is why Dad always thought Harry Truman was our best President.
However, Dad did contribute to the war effort by utilizing our company facilities and manpower to help maintain the equipment at the new Army Air Force base in Boca Raton. I remember being told that he received an official letter from the Army ordering him to put any of their needs in front of civilian needs for a certain period of time.
The Army had also taken over the Boca Raton Hotel at the time to house military pilots in training. Dad was also on call there to fix or repair anything needed by the Hotel. This obligation endeared him to the Hotel’s maintenance managers, which continued many years after the War. In fact I personally remember when the big hurricane of 1947 occurred, the Hotel managers invited Dad and our family to leave the insecurity of our little wood frame house on Dixie Highway in Deerfield, and stay in the big sturdy Boca Raton Hotel for the duration of the storm. It was neat to be there, but our room felt like a dungeon because it was dark and cold and there was no electricity once the winds started howling. Dad helped them fix things as the wind and rain did their damage.
Meanwhile, back to the war years, Dad also had a nighttime job at the Boca Hotel. He played guitars and sang in the Hotel band that entertained the soldiers. He played both Hawaiian and acoustic style guitars. Mother also sang in the band sometimes and they did duets together. They made a number of lifelong friends from the soldiers who passed through, many of who came back here to live after the war.
I have relatively few memories from those early years. However, I remember there was an airplane that crashed in the woods about 100 yards east of our house, which would put it in the middle of present day Pioneer Park. Years later my friends and I would still find pieces of it scattered around the area. I also have vague wartime memories of soldiers marching down Dixie Highway in front of our house. I remember the distinctive thud sounds of their boots striking the pavement, and the sight of them in their uniforms as I peeked through our white picket fence in the front yard. Occasionally a soldier would see me, grin and wave. I would give him my biggest smile and excitedly wave back.
-David Eller

Historical Essay 16

Owen McDougald

Published: 12 Jul 2007
After several years of requests from friends and family, I started writing these historical essays in the fall of 2006. It has taken 15 essays over nine months to get from my Grandfather Hoyt Eller’s arrival in Deerfield Beach in 1923 to the point historically where I was born on October 02, 1941, and became Deerfield’s youngest citizen. Well almost the youngest. It was actually a tie. Owen McDougald, who was destined to become one of my best early childhood friends, was born the same day at the same Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach. But his mother died in childbirth. His mother was a good friend of my mother. My mother for some reason used to feel guilty that her friend died, while mother lived through child birth, and was able to take me home.
Owen’s father was a farmer and Owen was his only child, which now had to be raised alone. The two of them lived in a large wood frame house painted gray, south of the present day US Post Office, about half way between Hillsboro Boulevard and 10th Street. However, before Owen was six years old his father also died, making Owen an orphan.
Owen was then “adopted” by an uncle, a County Deputy Sheriff by the name of A.J. Peterson and his wife (also a deputy sheriff). They lived across the street from Deerfield Elementary School’s northwest corner in the “Kester” house mentioned in the previous essay. However, Deputy Peterson and his wife were having some marital problems. Not too long after Owen moved in, as a small child, the Petersons got into a serious argument, shots were exchanged and one of them died. Owen became an orphan for the second time. Other relatives got involved this time, and using the money from his father’s estate arranged for Owen to go to a military school for boys up in Georgia. From then on we only saw each other for a few weeks every summer when he came “home” to visit. His story ends well, however, as when he grew up he married a pretty red head, had some children, and followed in his father’s footsteps as a horticultural farmer in Palm Beach County. He retired a few years ago with a considerable fortune made in nursery agriculture and real estate.
Meanwhile, I was the center of attention at the Eller household in Deerfield. They named me James David Eller, then proceeded to call me David. I had blue eyes with crinkles on the outside edges (which I still have). The quantity of my brown hair left much to be desired, but there was enough to make a little wave toward the front top (which I still maintain). But horrors of horrors, they then put me in a dress! Why? It seems that this was the custom back in those days. A custom, incidentally, that I’m pleased has disappeared with time.
My mother was knockout beautiful. Framed in black wavy hair, her face was a slightly lighter complexion than mine. This probably reflected the fact that on my Dad’s side, his Great Grandmother was a Cherokee Indian.
I was born just ten weeks before the beginning of World War Two. Therefore I used to wonder whether I was planned to keep my Dad from being drafted into the military. My parents always denied that, but their sly smiles when I would ask the question, gave them away.
I wish my parents had not named me James David , with the intention of calling me David. They should have named me David James if they intended to call me David.  It would certainly have made my life a lot easier.  Every time I do something official, like passing through an international airport, I’m called James. Often times I miss it when they call out that name. I complained once to my parents, but Dad explained that it was a family named which had continued for many generations. A few years ago I received a call from a man in California who was researching the Eller name. He explained that the name James, and/or Jessie, identified from which of the original immigrant brothers, our family was descended. I thanked him, and decided to stop complaining.
– James David Eller

Historical Essay 15

Deerfield was a small town…Boca Raton was a village

Published: 28 Jun 2007
The last two essays, number 13 and 14, featured two of my father’s largest customers for his pumps, farm implements and general machine shop work: the Butts family, and the Japanese Yamato farmers of Boca Raton. Between them they owned and farmed approximately 6,000 acres of what is now Boca Raton.
The Boca Raton Hotel owned much of the rest of the land in Boca, and was another major customer of my Dad’s. He provided the maintenance, welding and machine shop services for most of the equipment at the Hotel and their golf courses. Built by Mizner in 1926, the Hotel quickly went into bankruptcy and was bought by Clarence Geist of Philadelphia in 1927 who made it a private club. Most of the residents of Boca Raton at the time were dependent on Mr.Geist and his club for their jobs. To keep his hotel taxes down he organized his own employees, living in his own employee compound, into a majority voting bloc and quickly took over the town government. His control continued into the early forties when the federal government stepped in and made his hotel the housing for military officers being trained at the newly constructed Boca Raton airfield.
Meanwhile, Deerfield developed along a different path.  A considerable amount of land in Deerfield was also owned by one family, the Kester family of Pompano. However, there were many smaller land owners and farmers in the Deerfield area such as the Butlers, the Jones, the Vickers, the Wiles, the Bournes, the Gaskins, the McDougalds, the Ellers and others. However the Kesters owned the most land and the only bank in the area: the Pompano State Farmers Bank. The Kester family also did some housing development.  In fact most of the early homes in Pompano and Deerfield were “Kester homes”, and were distinguished by their clapboard wood siding, always painted white, with storm shutters of varying colors to distinguish them one from the other. You still see a few of them around today. In fact one is located across the street from Deerfield Elementary School’s northwest corner parking lot.
Incidentally, Deerfield got its name from the local Seminole Indians who hunted this area and named it Deerfield because it was a large flat meadow land heavily populated by local deer. And it may come as a surprise to many to learn that up until the 1940’s Deerfield had a considerably larger population than Boca Raton. Originally it was because the Florida East Coast Railroad (FEC) trains stopped in Deerfield along the south bank of the  Hillsboro Canal to get water for their steam engines. The FEC built houses here for their employees who made sure the water tanks were always full. Because the trains had to stop, Deerfield became a convenient place to load and unload passengers, as well as to load farm products going north and supplies coming down south. Therefore many farmers, merchants and the likes ended up living in the town of Deerfield, which resulted in a school, three grocery stores, two hotels, some churches and various shops serving a population measured in the hundreds. Meanwhile, Boca Raton for much of its early history was just a village two miles north of the Hillsboro River consisting of a few dozen permanent residents who primarily shopped, worshipped and went to school in Deerfield.
David Eller

Historical Essay 14

Our Japanese Connection

Published: 14 Jun 2007
The last Essay, No. 13, featured the Butts family, who were my father, Marlin Eller’s largest customer at the time, and who owned some 3,500 acres in what is now Boca Raton. However, there was another large farming group already in the Boca area before Butts, who also did considerable business with my father. It was a group of Japanese farmers and their families who had been recruited by the Florida East Coast Railroad (FEC) to colonize the northern Boca Raton area and grow pineapples to be sent by railroad up north.
The FEC had made arrangements with a young Japanese man (named Jo Sakai) who had recently graduated from New York University and gave him an incentive to recruit Japanese farmers to the area. He was immediately successful as the Russo- Japanese war was going on at the time, and young Japanese men were anxious to avoid being drafted into their military by emigrating.  The young farmers started to arrive by 1905 and they named their settlement Yamato, which roughly translates to “large peaceful country”. Yamato reached a population of about 40 people, and included the property now occupied by Florida Atlantic University plus somewhat north all the way to the ocean. It included a beautiful outcropping of rocks overhanging the Atlantic Ocean shoreline, which is still called “Jap Rock” by some old time locals.
Jo Sakai, Yamato colony founder and his wife Sada Sakai were wedded in an arranged marriage in 1907 in Japan after he had established the Boca Raton colony. She later shared with her daughter that she was very disappointed when she arrived to the colony and found it much smaller than her husband had described.
The Japanese immigrants grew pineapples and certain specialty crops and were good customers of my father. However, as WWII approached most of the immigrants left and returned to Japan. In May of 1942, those who were left were ordered by the United States government to vacate all their land in Boca Raton west of the FEC railroad so it could be turned into an airport and military facility. My dad recalled his main Japanese customer “George” Sukeji Morikami crying as he told my dad what had happened and simultaneously apologizing for what his former countrymen had done in attacking the United States at Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
George cried all the way to the bank, however, as he still owned considerable property which eventually netted him a fortune. He continued to farm his remaining land for many years, and I remember him coming in to our factory in Deerfield dressed in overalls and a straw hat to buy things for his farm and visit with my father into the 1960’s. Although apparently quite wealthy from farming and the landholdings he had sold, he continued to live hermit-like in a mobile trailer on his property. He was eventually granted American citizenship in 1967 at the age of 82, and showed his appreciation by donating the last of the property on which he lived for the South Palm Beach County Park, now appropriately named Morikami Park.
David Eller

Historical Essay 13

Efficient Pumps…make for lots of “beans for Butts”

Published: 31 May 2007
In Essay No. 11, it was explained how my Dad, Marlin Eller, at age 21, got started in his own manufacturing business in Deerfield in 1937 by buying his father’s machine shop for $900. It was located on Dixie Highway, where the tennis courts are now, across from City Hall. In Essay No. 12, Dad learned the hard way about the importance of getting patents when he saw his rotary seed planter invention scooped up by others.
Dad had developed the seed planter for his largest customer at the time, August H. Butts, of Butts Farm in Boca Raton and his two sons, Harold and Clarence. Butts Road in western Boca Raton is named after them.
When Harold Butts graduated from the University of Florida in 1933, his father already owned and farmed two 640-acre sections of land in Boca Raton. With Harold’s college-educated input, the family was able to grow the farm significantly. They gradually bought another 2,200 acres, and therefore owned and farmed nearly 3,500 acres, some six square miles, in what is now Boca Raton.
Town Center Mall, Boca Raton Square, Royal Oaks Hills, and many other western Boca Raton developments were built on the former land of Butts Farms. Incidentally, to help you visualize him, Harold Butts in his later years was a dead ringer for the patriarch of the Bonanza TV series, Ben Cartwright. He was a striking figure, especially on his horse, which most of the farmers rode in those days.
Dad worked with the Butts family closely and was their primary source for pumps and general machine shop needs. He helped them develop not only their irrigation system, but a number of specialized farm implements to help them grow their crops, which eventually became primarily green beans.
The pictures featured here and the quotes that follow are taken from the Boca Raton Historical Society Pictorial History Book, Edition 1990 by Curl and Johnson: “By building the best in irrigation systems and using the most up-to-date farming methods, the Butts Farm became one of the largest bean producers in Florida. In 1940, the farms regularly employed four hundred workers and added an additional five hundred migrant pickers for harvests. In that year they shipped 134,000 hampers, some three hundred boxcar-loads, from their own loading docks to the northern markets.”
“Harold Butts later said they purchased the additional land to keep other farmers from coming into the market and for the water. Pumps brought water to the cultivated fields from everywhere on the farm. The system was so efficient that the farm could sell surplus water to other farmers.”
Marlin Eller, my father, built those “efficient pumps”, and our company, now known as MWI Corporation / Moving Water Industries, still manufactures them, plus much more-advanced versions.
David Eller

Historical Essay 12

Dad, Marlin Elller learned the hard way

Published: 10 May 2007
Dad, Marlin Elller learned the hard way about the importance of getting a patent! In the last essay it way explained how my father Marlin Eller, bought his father’s garage on Dixie Highway in Deerfield, where the tennis courts are now, for $900 to start his own business at age 21 in 1937. It was already a small machine and welding shop providing services to the local farmers.
However, Dad had much bigger ideas. For instance, he had noted the frustration of the farmers trying to plant their seeds at a set distance apart so that one plant would not interfere with the other. Doing it manually was tedious work and difficult to manage. So Dad came up with an idea to place the seeds in a special bucket which could be pulled from behind a tractor. The bucket was built with two bottoms. The first held the seeds and allowed them to fall through a small opening at the outer edge of the bucket into the second bottom which was actually rotating in a circular motion, and contained evenly spaced seed sized openings. As the compartment with the seed turned through a mechanism timed with the tractor’s forward motion, it would drop the seed down a tube adjusted to place the seed evenly spaced every few inches laterally, and an inch or two below the soil surface. It was a brilliant idea which eliminated an enormous amount of labor and standardized the quality of the crop.
Dad started building these “seed planters” for the local farmers, but quickly realized that there was a much larger potential which would require much greater manufacturing capability. Thus he sent drawings of his design to all the main farm implement manufacturers in the Midwest and North asking them if they would be interested in manufacturing his new product.
He quickly received responses from some of them indicating a great deal of interest and suggesting they would like to come down and see it for themselves.
Dad was very proud. He invited them all to come and see for themselves his new product. They came, they marveled, they asked him if he had a patent!  Dad did not. They smiled and went back north. Within a few months they all came out with their own “rotary seed planter”.  They started selling them even in Florida at less than Dad’s cost for building them one at the time.
Dad learned his lesson well and he taught it to me, and I’ve taught it to my engineer children in the business:  never reveal to others a unique new product idea on which you do not have at least a patent pending.  About thirty patents and patents pending later, we still remember the story of Dad’s rotary seed planter, and we file a patent on every idea before introducing it to the market place.  Not every patented product turns out to be financially successful. However, like Dad used to say: “we manage to keep food on our table with those that have been…”
David Eller

Historical Essay 11

Dad, Marlin Eller and Granddad Hoyt Eller split

-Dad buys the family machine shop for $900-

Published: 19 Apr 2007
The last essay ended with Dad, Marlin Eller, having entered the trucking business at age 18, in 1934, hauling bagged fertilizer from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale to the farms around Lake Okeechobee. He bought a large flatbed truck, but his father, “Pop” Eller, had to sign for the loan since Dad was too young to legally sign the promissory note required by the bank to borrow the money. Therefore, the truck was technically in Granddad Hoyt Eller’s name.
But Dad was doing well in the trucking business. He soon hired his first employee, an African-American nicknamed “Alabama”. Shortly thereafter, he bought two more trucks with Granddad still signing the notes. He was on his way as a young trucking entrepreneur, hauling fertilizer, making substantial bank payments, and still able to save enough money to buy a house.
It was a three bedroom, pre-fabricated wooden house which he and mother ordered from Sears Roebuck Company out of their catalog. He also bought a lot on the east side of Dixie Highway, directly across from his father’s house, where the present-day tennis court office is located, on which to build the house. As described in Essay No. 1, the house was made of clapboard wood, painted white, with red shutters, which actually could be closed and locked in place to protect us during hurricanes. A white picket fence established the grassed yard boundaries in the frontage on Dixie Highway, and on the south side next to the neighbor family Gaskin’s residence. The back- yard was open to what is now Pioneer Park, but then it was just open woods of pine trees, palm trees and palmetto bushes.
Granddad Eller’s “workshop” bordered our house on the north side. The house sat on short concrete piles about 18 inches above the ground with cypress beams and pinewood floors. This was because when the hurricanes and floods came in the summer, the Hillsboro Canal sometimes overflowed into our yard. Therefore, a small rowboat was left in the backyard to maneuver around during flood times.
The Army Corp of Engineers eventually solved that problem in cooperation with the South Florida Water Management District, and Dad was eventually able to retire the rowboat. He finished the house in 1937 and moved in, just in time for my sister, Linda, to be born in 1938. However, trouble had started brewing between Dad and his father Hoyt. It was over the trucks Dad had bought and paid for with his backbreaking fertilizer hauling business.
When Dad turned 21 in 1937 and made what he thought was his last payment on the trucks to the bank, he asked for the
titles, the bank refused. It seems that the bank considered the trucks still to be collateral for Granddad Eller’s farm loans. Dad was furious! He had paid for those trucks, not Granddad, and he wanted the title. The bank refused claiming it was part of Granddad Eller’s overall loan portfolio.
Unfortunately Granddad, had had a couple of bad years in his farming business, was apparently behind in his loan payments and was not able to get the trucks released from the bank either.
Dad, as they say, was fit to be tied. He was mad at the bank and mad at his father as well. Granddad Hoyt soon sold the trucks, however, and worked out a deal for my dad, Marlin, to buy the family “machine shop”, on the north side of dad and mother’s new house, for $900. Thus at 21 years of age, Dad had at last his own place of business from which to start making a living: building and repairing farm equipment – mainly pumps – for the local farmers.
However, Dad was still mad at his father, and unfortunately, never got over it, speaking to him only on special occasions. Eventually Granddad sold his Parkland farm and Deerfield home and moved to Boynton Beach, where he bought a substantial amount of land west of town for $52,000 on which to farm.
To be continued…
David Eller

Comments Off on Historical Essays 11 to 20

Historical Essays 1 through 10

Posted on 05 April 2007 by LeslieM

Historical Essay 10

Dad, Marlin Eller, starts his second business at age 18…

-Port Everglades opening provides opportunity-

Published April 5, 2007
After graduating from Ft. Lauderdale High School in 1934, Dad sat down with his father, Hoyt, and mother, Mattie, and confessed that he had been married since the previous summer to my mother, Lorena Horton, of Flomaton, Alabama. To put it mildly, my grandparents were not very happy.
However, after sleeping on it, they told Dad that he should go get her and bring her to Deerfield and move in with them in their large, five-bedroom house on north Dixie Highway (across the street, just west of the present-day tennis courts.) But they also told Dad that his plan to go to Atlanta to attend Georgia Tech University with his best friend David Long at their expense was not going to happen. They further told him that as a married man he had to go to work to support his wife.
At first, Dad was devastated. He and David Long had long planned to attend Georgia Tech together. But being the friends and entrepreneurs that they were, they came up with an alternative plan: David would proceed to Georgia Tech and buy two books for every class, sending Dad one of them. When he took a test or did a report he would send Dad the graded test or report so Dad could follow David’s progress in college and study the subjects simultaneously with his best friend via correspondence. Thus Dad became a great engineer by correspondence, and considered himself a “rambling wreck from Georgia Tech” his whole life.
However, he still needed to make a living, and did not want to farm. He did have his own truck by that time doing the garbage business for Deerfield (described in previous Historical series no. 9). However, that was only part-time work and did not bring in enough money to support a wife or have a proper future. So, his entrepreneur genes kicked in again as he talked to Granddad Eller’s cousin, Warren Eller, who had come to Ft. Lauderdale about the same time as Granddad (1923) and had started Port Everglades. The Port needed truckers to meet the ships coming in with fertilizer, and haul the fertilizer to the large farms around Lake Okeechobee.
So Dad negotiated with Warren Eller, who agreed to give Dad a contract to haul fertilizer from Port Everglades to the big farms being established at the time around Lake Okeechobee. Therefore, at 18 years of age, with contract in hand, Dad went to buy his first large flatbed truck. But because he was still a minor, the bank required Dad to have his father officially sign the note for the truck. Granddad Eller agreed and signed the note. So Dad bought his first big truck and made all the payments. Business was good and within the year Dad bought two more big trucks. He was on his way.
To be continued….
By David Eller

Historical Essay 9

My Dad, Marlin Eller, was Deerfield’s first garbage “man”

Published: 22 Mar 2007
In the last essay I shared that Dad and Mother, both 16 years-old, had gotten married secretly in the summer of 1932 in Greenville, Alabama. Dad left her shortly thereafter and returned to Florida to finish his senior year at Ft. Lauderdale High School.
He again drove the school bus from Deerfield to school. But like most teenagers, he wanted his own car or truck. However, he needed to make more money in order to afford it.
There weren’t too many opportunities for a young man in Deerfield to make money in those days. However. Dad’s entrepreneur instincts kicked in. He noted the residents of Deerfield at the time had to carry their own garbage to the dump, then located in Boca Raton. The dump was in south Boca, about a quarter mile north of the bridge on Dixie Highway, just west of the East Coast Railroad tracks. Boca was a small village at the time mostly made up of a couple hundred people who worked at the Boca Raton Hotel. Deerfield, with about a thousand people, is where most of the farmers, workers and business people lived, but they had to cart their own garbage right by the front of granddad’s house on Dixie Highway to dump it in Boca Raton. (Sorry to all my fancy friends now living in Boca, but that’s the way it was. You were Deerfield’s dump. Smile.)
Anyway, Dad took note of this dump traffic and started surveying Deerfield residents to see how many he could sign up for him to carry their garbage to the dump. He soon had enough commitments to persuade granddad Eller to sign the bank note he needed to buy a truck on which to load the garbage. Thus Dad became Deerfield’s first garbage man; or maybe it would be more correct to say…. Deerfield’s first garbage contractor!
David Eller

Historical Essay 8

Marlin Eller at age 16 is Broward school bus driver

Published 15 Feb 2007
Deerfield’s public school in the 1920s and 30s was located adjacent to the present day city hall, and is still there as a historic building. The grades went from first to eighth. Students wishing for further education had to go to Pompano High School seven miles south down Dixie Highway, (US No. 1, Federal Highway, did not exist yet).
However, Pompano High School was limited in the courses it offered. For instance, math courses in algebra and geometry were not offered at Pompano. Therefore students in North Broward County, aspiring to a higher education such as engineering, which required algebra and geometry courses in high school as a prerequisite for college, had to attend Ft. Lauderdale High School some 14 miles away.
Dad’s best friend, David Long, had already moved to Ft. Lauderdale when his father got a job as a manager at the Broward County jail. Therefore, he was already attending Ft. Lauderdale High School. Dad, however, was stuck with going to Pompano High School, which did not offer the courses he needed to be accepted at Georgia Tech, which he and David both aspired to attend.
Dad needed to attend Ft. Lauderdale High School to get the courses he needed, but Granddad Eller refused to approve him riding his motor scooter back and forth every day to Ft. Lauderdale. Thus dad was stuck with attending Pompano High School for 9th and 10th grades. However, as soon as dad reached his 16th birthday, he took and passed his driver’s license and immediately applied for a job as a school bus driver for the Broward County School Bus System.
Amazingly, he was hired and assigned a school bus to drive from Deerfield to Ft. Lauderdale, picking up students along the way. Thus dad attended and graduated from Ft. Lauderdale High School in 1933, by driving a Broward County School bus back and forth from Deerfield to Ft. Lauderdale every school day while only 16 and 17 years of age.
My dad had two girl friends at the time. One, Lorena Horton, age 16, lived just north of Pensacola, Florida, near the little town of Flomaton, Alabama, on her daddy’s cotton farm. One of seven children, she had been dad’s “girlfriend” since they started first grade together in 1922. Dad’s family when he was eight years old had moved to Deerfield, but nearly every summer his father, Hoyt, drove the family back up to Alabama to visit relatives and friends, including my maternal grandfather L. Allen Horton. Therefore, Marlin Eller and Lorena Horton had known each other since age six, and kept in touch after dad moved to Deerfield via summer visits and letter-writing.
But when dad started to attend Ft. Lauderdale High School he was smitten by another pretty girl by the name of Virginia Young. She and dad dated their junior year, and dad took her to the prom. But when he went up to Alabama that summer he and Lorena Horton decided suddenly to get married. (No! For those of you with dirty minds, she wasn’t pregnant, but later admitted to simply wanting to “check mate” Virginia Young. No one knew about it except Lorena’s older brother, Harvey, who encouraged them, made the appointment with the Justice of the Peace in Greenville, Alabama, and served as their best man. However, there arose a serious problem, because back in those days you were not allowed to attend a public high school if you were married. Therefore, they had to keep it a secret for a year, which they did. Only my Uncle Harvey Horton knew.
Virginia Young later on became the Mayor of Fort Lauderdale, and served about 20 years through much of the 60’s and 70’s. Fate set us next to each other at a political event many years ago and she confirmed with me that I was Marlin Eller’s son. After complimenting me as a look-alike to my dad, she shared how he “broke her heart” their senior year in high school when he did not “take” her to their senior prom. She went on to share that within minutes of their actual graduation ceremony at Fort Lauderdale High in 1934, when my dad, with his diploma in hand, rushed to her to apologize for not dating her their senior year, and explained that it was because he was married. She then shared with me that he had really smitten her by playing the guitar and singing to her on some of their dates.
David Eller

Historical Essay 7

Granddad Eller buys new land to farm west of Deerfield – now known as Parkland

Published 1 Feb 2007
Granddad Hoyt Eller with a fresh $,3000 in his pocket from selling the land that is now Quiet Water Park for $15 per acre was ready to farm on land that was not so rocky. So he looked west and found some cheap property which is now called the City of Parkland. The soil was friendlier there, so he was able to clear the land and plant his first crops of green beans and peppers. Labor was a problem, however, since the Butlers (Essay No. 2) and another new farm family, the Jones brothers, Alvin and Emery from Georgia, were soaking up all the laborers needed to work the farm.
Granddad was in a crisis. His crop was planted yet he didn’t have enough labor to harvest it. Desperate, he came up with an idea: he would offer 10 percent of his farm produce to be “shared” with laborers who would agree to pick the other 90 percent!
Suddenly the word got around and laborers came out of the woodwork. Silvia Poitier, our former mayor, former county commissioner, and current city commissioner, was a young teenager at the time. She has shared with me that once the word of my Granddad’s “deal” spread throughout the community, she and her friends jumped off the other farmers’ labor trucks and onto my Granddad’s trucks to go to his farm and be “partners” with Granddad. Thus Granddad Eller came up with one of the first business profit-sharing plans, and it worked.
Granddad prospered and soon built one of the largest homes in Deerfield. It was a five bedroom house on the west side of Dixie Highway about 100 yards south of the Hillsboro Bridge. It had a big white clapboard porch on the front with screened windows, and a huge living room with a fireplace located next to Granddad’s piano which, many years later, he played for all of us grandchildren. I remember as a child that on Sunday afternoons the family would gather around granddad’s piano and he would play gospel music and sing tenor. My grandmother Mattie would play the banjo and sing soprano, while my father, Marlin, played the guitar and sang bass. My mother, Lorena Horton Eller, had the best voice of all, in my opinion, and sang strong alto. This is how we spent many a Sunday afternoon in Deerfield in the old days.
David Eller

Historical Essay 6

My father, Marlin Eller, was a natural born mechanical “genius,” at least in my opinion

Published 18 Jan 2007
My father, Marlin Eller, was a natural born mechanical “genius,” at least in my opinion.
The proof of that on paper is that he was the recipient of a number of patents on mechanical products later on in life.
However, his genius started to show in 1930 when he was only 14 years-old. He and his best friend, David Long, (who I was named after) built fully functioning airplanes in Granddad Eller’s garage in Deerfield on North Dixie Highway in year 1930. Both boys were enthusiastic mechanics and bought and studied Mechanics Illustrated magazine on how to build your own airplane.
Using Granddad Eller’s tools and shop, and utilizing small gasoline engines, they were able to craft working models of airplanes, one of which they intended to expand to full size and fly themselves.
In fact, it was the feature story on the Deerfield News front page on July 4, 1930.
Unfortunately, however, they were never able to complete their project and fly their own plane. It seems someone (my Grandfather probably) arranged for them to get an inspection from the U.S. government agency in charge of airplanes, or at least from an Air Force officer, to certify their main airplane design as appropriately air- worthy. When this occurred, the officer complimented them on their plane, but told them they would not be permitted to fly it even if completed.
Dad was disappointed but never lost his enthusiasm for airplanes and flying. Up until the time he passed away in 1977, he could quickly identify any airplane he saw as to manufacturer, and vital statistics such as speed, altitude rating, distance capability, etc.
However, his best friend, David Long, actually put their hobby into practice by joining the Army Air Corps right out of Fort Lauderdale High School. He became an experimental pilot for the military airplanes being developed just prior to World War II. Unfortunately, he died in a test flight crash in one of them in 1938. Dad honored him by naming me after him when I was born a few years later.
David Eller

Historical Essay 5

Al Capone comes to Deerfield

Published 28 Dec 2006
My father Marlin Eller was 12 years old when he first met Al Capone. The year was 1928. Dad’s father, Hoyt Eller, had bought the gas station from J.B. Wiles (see Essay No. 3) in 1926, after the hurricane had destroyed his own house across Dixie Highway. Granddad was busy trying to get his own farm started west of town, so my then 12-year-old father, Marlin, was designated to pump gasoline for customers at the family gas station/garage on the east side of Dixie Highway about 100 yards north of the Hillsboro canal, where the tennis court headquarters is today.
My father told me the following story, and repeated it to others in my presence several times: When he was 12 years-old and “running” the gas station for his father Hoyt, a big black car filled with several men, pulled in to get gas. The first time they stopped in they were coming from the north; the car had Illinois license plates. Dad heard Chicago mentioned, and they had a lot of inner tubes from tire punctures on the road from the trip which needed to be patched. My Dad patched them for them, and when they picked up the tubes later on their way back north, the “boss man” of the group paid for the gas and tire patching, and then handed my father a $10 tip!
This was a huge tip for a 12-year-old boy at the time. My Dad thought he was the nicest man in the world! But later on, when Al Capone was arrested and his picture was in the newspaper, my Dad saw the picture and realized who it was that had tipped him so generously. My grandmother, Mattie Eller, was an excellent seamstress and told her daughter, my Aunt Lavelle Tubbs, that she used to make extra money making dresses for the girls who “worked” at Mr. Capone’s private “establishment.” Located where the Intracoastal Waterway intersects the Hillsboro Canal, the “fish” import business, also had lots of gambling machines and fancy girls around.
Therefore, although Al Capone had a big home in Miami Beach, his main “business” was in what was then the very remote little village of Deerfield Beach. Capone would generally travel by boat from Miami Beach to visit his Deerfield “business.” Capone also owned the 60-acre island directly north of his place. The island was artificially created when the Intracoastal Waterway was dredged out, as it served as a spoil location.
Officially named Deerfield Island a few years ago, many locals still call it Capone Island, because legend has it that the island is where Capone hid all the booze during prohibition. He brought the liquor from Europe to the Bahamas, and then smuggled it onto Capone Island where it was put in the bottom of watertight containers, topped off with fish and dry ice and delivered to the railroad station for onward shipment to Chicago. Capone became enormously rich in a very short time via this illegal Deerfield Beach- connected enterprise.
When the Fed’s convicted Al Capone of tax evasion and put him in prison in 1931, they also confiscated all of his property in Deerfield and put his Intracoastal Waterway “speakeasy” up for auction. It was bought by Mr. Bill Stewart, who then opened it up as a public restaurant which he named “The Riverview.” He operated it from the thirties to the fifties when he died and left it to his nephew, also named Bill Stewart, who became a good friend of mine. The Riverview Restaurant was decorated with the leftover old gambling paraphernalia on the walls, and was considered the premier restaurant in town in the 60’s and 80’s, specializing in Florida lobster, local fish and “the best steaks in South Florida”! Unfortunately the building was damaged beyond reasonable repair by a hurricane a few years ago, and actually torn down last year, 2005!
As a final point, when I was a young teenager here, we used to hear rumors that Al Capone had hidden a lot of his money on “his” island. Therefore, as a young teenager I personally spent many hours swimming over to the island with friends, digging holes looking for Al Capone’s hidden treasures. The only things we actually got were blisters and sandspurs.
David Eller

Historical Essay 4

Granddad Eller loses out on tens of millions of dollars!

Published: 14 Dec 2006
When Granddad Hoyt Eller’s first house started coming apart during the 1926 hurricane, he was able to get his wife and five children, including my 10-year-old father, Marlin, across Dixie highway to J.B. Wiles’ gas station which was constructed of concrete rather than wood. J.B. told me later that it soon became apparent after the storm that the gas station was too crowded. He suggested to my Grandfather Hoyt that maybe Hoyt should buy the gas station. Hoyt agreed, bought the gas station, and thus began the Eller family investments in Deerfield. Meanwhile, J.B. and baby girl Molly temporarily moved north to Boca Raton to stay with friends there.
My Granddad Eller, however, was not satisfied with only owning a gas station. He wanted to farm. So entrepreneur that he was, he located some property west of Deerfield, now known as Quiet Waters Park, and bought it for $1 per acre!
However, there was a problem with farming that particular piece of property. It seemed that when they tried to plow the land and prepare it for planting, the plows were torn up by the extensive amount of rock just beneath the surface. My father, Marlin, 14 at the time, shared with me that it was a big problem trying to keep the plows operating. Eventually they gave up and sold the property to someone else for $15 per acre.
Generations later, I jostled with my Dad about how “wrong” it was for Granddad to sell what is now Quiet Waters Park for $15 per acre. My Dad would then look at me seriously and ask me: “How many investments have you made, son, where you got 15 times your investment when you sold it?” With that I would shut up and be real quiet. I guess Granddad did relatively alright.
However, unbeknown to him, there was a fortune of road rock just beneath the surface on the property he had owned. To make matters even more dramatic, it was the northern end of the limestone formation of road rock beginning in Dade County coming north;meaning that all the roads and highways north of Deerfield, including the Turnpike and I-95, for decades would depend on the rock mined from Granddad’s property, now known as Quiet Waters Park!
Thus tens of millions of dollars of road rock was mined from Granddad’s former property which he sold for only $15 per acre, or about $3,000 total!
David Eller

Historical Essay 3

Photos

Published: 30 Nov 2006
Page 6 of the November 9 issue of the Observer, had the first of a series of historical articles about the founding families of Deerfield Beach. These stories will continue until at least the next Founders’ Days, February 17-20, 2007. To read the first two essays, visit www.deer fieldbeachobserver.com and select the “History of Deerfield” section. Essay number three is mostly pictures of the people written about in the first two essays. Enjoy!
Click here to see Photos
David Eller

Historical Essay 2

Deerfield’s unique location attracts farmers

Published: 16 Nov 2006
Essay number one ended in 1926 when Granddad Eller’s finish carpentry work-contract for the Boca Raton Hotel was completed, and he built his own house on the west side of Dixie Highway about 100 yards south of the Hillsboro canal bridge. Most everyone in Deerfield at the time lived near Dixie Highway because it was the only road going north and south, and it was near the very essential Florida East Coast railroad which Henry M. Flagler had completed around 1900. Later in 1912, when the Hillsboro Canal was dredged, the steam engine coal-fired trains had to stop in Deerfield near the canal in order to get water for their steam engines. While the trains were stopped, local farmers could load their winter-grown produce packed in bushel baskets on the trains for shipment up north, and receive essential materials and passengers at the FEC Railway Station.
Two brothers from Texas, J.D. and George Emory Butler, came to town during this period of time and perfected the growing of vegetables in large scale on the “sugar sand” soils around Deerfield by applying large amounts of fertilizer. Deerfield eventually became such an important stop for the FEC Railroad that they had four houses built for the workers to man the watering point and direct the loading the Deerfield-area-produced farm products. Thus, when Granddad Hoyt Eller finished his contract at the Boca Raton Hotel, he decided to stay in Deerfield and take up farming.
However, before he could even get started on his new career, the infamous 1926 hurricane hit Deerfield full force, and Hoyt’s new house was destroyed. Fortunately, he and the family were able to take refuge across the street in a gas station operated by J.B. Wiles.
Now, Wiles is an interesting man who lived in Deerfield from the age of 20 until he died a few years ago at the age of 102. He was a friend of my Granddad Hoyt, my dad Marlin, and a friend of mine. J.B. loved to talk about the “old days” in Deerfield. A few years ago, I asked him if I could record him on video, telling his story. He agreed, so the video was made and donated to the Deerfield Beach Historical Society, where you can view it if you are so inclined.
J.B. Wiles was born in South Georgia, and at age 18 was drafted in to the U.S. Army to be sent into World War I. He had just completed basic training when the war was declared over, and he was summarily discharged. Jobs were scarce, so he ended up going to Cuba to work helping to construct a sugar mill. When the mill was finished, he made it back to Florida, bought a bicycle and headed up Dixie Highway on his way back to Georgia. Arriving in Deerfield, he stopped at the Australian Hotel, then located at the intersection of Hillsboro Blvd. and Dixie Hwy. He immediately liked Deerfield because people were friendly and several invited him to come back. He didn’t forget.
He married when he got back to Georgia, and his wife soon became pregnant. But the only job he could find was operating a one-man, coal-powered electric generator, supplying electricity for a small town in South Georgia. The work was hard as it consisted primarily of shoveling coal into the furnace of the generator. Sometimes he would get so tired that he’d fall asleep, the generator would stop running, and the mayor of the town would come out, angrily wake him up and threaten to fire him. Finally, the mayor told him the next time it happened, he would be fired.
One night, his young wife went into labor. J.B. had made arrangements with someone else to take over the generator responsibility, but he dropped the ball. Unaware of that problem, J.B. rushed to his wife’s side to be with her. He stayed until, unfortunately, she died in childbirth. Before dying, she had given birth to a beautiful little baby girl, which they had agreed beforehand to name Molly.
Completely distraught, J.B. was trying to figure out what to do, when someone sent word that the mayor, true to his word, had fired him. So, J.B. wrapped his little girl up in swaddling clothes, placed her in the basket of his bicycle, with the rest of his possessions tied to the back and headed down south on Dixie Highway to join the friendly people in Deerfield who had been kind to him and invited him to come back. He not only came back, he spent the last 80 years of his life here as a businessman, a farmer and a politician. He eventually was elected and served as both a Broward County commissioner and a Deerfield Beach city commissioner. Wiles Road is named after J.B. Wiles as it runs adjacent to his former farm. His little girl, Molly, grew up to become a beautiful woman and married Jack Butler, the son of George Emery Butler, the Texas farmer and Deerfield’s first mayor. Molly and Jack still live here. (To be continued…)
David Eller

Historical Essay 1

The Beginning….at least for me ….

Published: 9 Nov 2006
The Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm is where most people around here, including me, went to be born back in the 1940’s. I was the second child, the first son, of Marlin and Lorena Horton Eller, both 25 years-old. They brought me home to their Sears RoeBuck pre-fabricated three-bedroom house on the east side of Dixie Highway, a block south of the Hillsboro Canal bridge. I later noticed that the house was made of clapboard wood, painted white, with red shutters and had lots of red flowered poinsettia plants on the perimeter. The house sat on short concrete piles about 18 inches above the ground, which later on provided a good place for me to scoot when playing hide and seek. A white picket fence around the front yard established a boundary between our house, the sidewalk and Dixie Highway. The back yard extended to a small rock road dividing our property from the pine woods in back of the house. Those woods within a few years, with my father’s help, became Pioneer Park.
My sister, Linda, about three-years-old, was always happy to see me, I’m sure. She still is, although she lives in Vero Beach now. My father’s parents, Hoyt and Mattie Gunter Eller, lived across the street in a larger clapboard wood house also painted white.
Grandad Eller brought his wife and five children to Deerfield in 1923 to help build the five-star Boca Raton Hotel. He was a skilled finish carpenter, and Mr. Addison Mizner hired him to do the fancy carpentry work on the columns, ceiling and walls in the main lobby. Grandad’s work is still there beautifying that grand entrance. However, there were no places here for a man with a wife and five children to live, so grandad brought a large tent with him and camped out on the south bank of the Hillsboro canal near Dixie Highway. He and his family lived in that tent until 1926 when the Boca Raton Hotel was finished. He saved his money and built a house on the west side of Dixie Highway directly across from the present day tennis courts.
Grandad’s ancestral Eller family had originated in a little mountain village in Switzerland called Elm, about 40 miles from Zurich. Trying to avoid a religious war going on at the time, they migrated to Germany, to the banks of the Rhine River not too far from Dusseldorf. They started a winery, which is still there, growing some of the best grapes and making some of the finest wines in Germany. However, the family was producing more children than the winery could financially support, so four of the sons enlisted as Hessian mercenary soldiers, and came to America to fight during the American Revolutionary War. After the war they decided to stay in America, with three of them settling in western North Carolina, and a fourth in Illinois. Our old family Bible records indicate the Eller men were quite prolific. By the time the Civil War, or War between the States, occurred in 1860s they had sired enough Eller men to put 63 Confederate soldiers in the field from North Carolina alone, with the highest rank a Captain, coincidentally named David Eller, from Ashe County, North Carolina. The Illinois brother branch of the Eller family, however, fielded a proportional number of Eller Yankee soldiers, including a Colonel Eller.
Generations later Grand-dad Hoyt Eller’s father moved his family south from the mountains of North Carolina to the mountains of North Alabama; and then Granddad moved his family on down to Deerfield , Florida in 1923. (To be continued)
David Eller

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