The Florida Keys Vol 3
Size: 6 x 9
74 b&w photos and illustrations, 6 maps
In this third book in a series on the history of the Florida Keys, John Viele tells the true story of the Florida Keys wreckers, the daring seamen who sailed out in fair weather or foul to save lives and property from ships cast up on the unforgiving Florida Reef. From the archives of the federal court at Key West, or “wrecking court,” and from contemporary letters, diaries, and newspaper articles, the author has captured the drama of the lives and times of the Florida Keys wreckers with accuracy and clarity.
Richly illustrated with drawings from nineteenth-century magazines and newspapers, artists’ concepts of wrecking scenes, and reproductions of old paintings and photographs, this book will fascinate sailors and landlubbers alike.
• The evil crew of a wrecked Spanish slave ship hijacked their would-be rescuers and forced them to carry their wretched human cargo to Cuba.
• Wreckers salvaged some strange cargoes—an Egyptian mummy, the fossilized bones of a prehistoric sea monster, a railroad locomotive, and cavalry horses.
• The crew of a small wrecking vessel barely escaped with their lives when they were attacked by a war party of Seminole Indians in dugout canoes.
• Wrecking divers, working without benefit of any apparatus, plunged into the black, polluted waters of flooded cargo holds to wrestle out barrels, boxes, and 500-pound bales of cotton.
"Whether they were thought of as pirates or salvagers, saints or sinners, wreckers helped turn Key West into a thriving seaport and the richest city in the United States. From earliest Spanish salvagers to the eventual installation of lighthouses and the demise of the wrecking industry, John Viele's third volume in this wonderful series is a richly detailed and thoroughly researched story of a profession at the center of the history of the Florida Keys."—Claudia Pennington
John Viele is a retired naval officer and a former submarine commander now living on Cudjoe Key. A lifelong interest in history and deep love for the Florida Keys led him to research and write Keys history stories for local newspapers and magazines. He serves as a director on the boards of the Key West Maritime Historical Society and the Historic Florida Keys Foundation, and he is frequent lecturer on Keys history. .
Hardback $16.95 ISBN: 1-56164-219-3 Size: 6 x 9 224 Pages 74 b&w photos and illustrations, 6 maps