The ghosts turned out in force Saturday night at Chestnut Cemetery, but so did the threat of rain.
As a result attendance was down, fewer than 75 people came by for the event, held every May and October by the Apalachicola Area Historical Society, under the auspices of Delores Roux. In addition, several actors from the Panhandle Players took part as historic characters. The Ghost Walk had to shut down at 8 p.m., just as the rain rolled in.
But before then, it was a great evening, full of presentations by the following historical figures, all buried at Chestnut. In addition to George Ruge, played by Paul McAbee, the following appeared in Saturday’s Ghost Walk:
Victoria Catanetti (Megan Lamb)
Born Victoria Silva in Palermo, Sicily in Jan. 1833, she immigrated to the United States about 1852., and that same year married Dominic Catanetti in the United States. He was a sailor and ship’s captain, and in 1860 was listed in the census as “Master of Vessel”. During the Civil War he served in the Confederate Navy, possibly on the CSS Spray. In 1900 he was a bar pilot, guiding vessels into Apalachicola Bay. The couple had no children.
Victoria was sister to Anna Silva Buzzett (1833-1876), who was married first to Joseph Buzzett (1814-1869). They had some children, including a son named Joseph Buzzett (1851-1908). Anna divorced Joseph Buzzett and married Antoine Messina. At that time the son, Joseph Buzzett, was sent to be raised by his aunt and uncle, Victoria and Dominic Catanetti.
Victoria died Feb. 22, 1904, in Apalachicola, and the funeral service was held the next day, in the afternoon, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Emanuel Smith (Bernard Simmons)
An African-American, he was born in 1834 in North Carolina, married to Henrietta or Ritta, and was active in Republican politics in Franklin County after the Civil War.
In 1867-68 he was Franklin County voter registrar, and from 1869-72 a county commissioner. From 1872-81 he was Franklin County justice of the peace, and a poll inspector at the Nov. 5, 1872 general election.
From 1881-85 he was Apalachicola postmaster, and he died at age 52 on Sept. 9, 1886. S. S. Moses was paid $4 in 1887 to erect the gravestones over the graves of Emanuel and Ritta Smith in Chestnut Street Cemetery. He was a relative of Oryan Speed.
Charles J. Gaines (Mark Curenton)
Born about 1848 in Georgia, Charles J. Gaines worked as a carpenter after the Civil War. He married Civility “Fannie” Anthony, a widow with one young son, Joseph Anthony, whose husband had never returned from the war.
By 1880 the family had moved to Apalachicola. Over 35 years after he had left for the Civil War, Civility’s first husband, Reuben H. Anthony, showed up in Apalachicola, and claimed he had been captured and served as a prisoner of war, but offered no explanation as to why it had taken so long to return to his wife.
Reuben Anthony first contacted, in Dec. 1899 his son, Joseph, who worked at the Apalachicola Lumber Company at Old Woman’s Bluff. He was overjoyed to hear from his real father, and eagerly invited him to come down for Christmas. Reuben Anthony came down and spent the short remainder of his life with his son. Before dying on June 28, 1900, at his son’s home.
Needless to say, Fannie Gaines was not amused at the appearance of her first husband after all those decades. Supposedly he had been traveling the country by horse and buggy peddling patent medicine, and she wanted nothing to do with Reuben.
Louise S. Lind McIlvain (Mishele McPherson)
Born in Apalachicola on Nov. 9, 1865, the daughter of Jacob and Margaret Lind, both German immigrants, she married Edwin P. McIlvain from Pennsylvania on August 24, 1887. They had two children: Spencer and Charles H., who were raised by their uncle, Charles H. Lind, and his wife, after she died in Apalachicola on Jan. 7, 1895, at age 29.
The booming lumber industry in the late 19th century in Apalachicola attracted men from all over the country to the area to seek their fortunes. What many of them found in addition to jobs were wives.
George P. Snelgrove (Torben Madson)
George P. Snelgrove, was born in 1905 in Florida, the only child of Paul Snelgrove and Martha Mariam Core, and the nephew of George W. Core. Educated in the local Catholic School and for one year at Randolph Macon Academy at Bedford, Virginia, he married Lucy Lee Maples in 1929; and they later divorced. He worked as a carpenter in 1930, a fireman in 1935 and was elected county constable in 1936.
Snelgrove was shot and killed Nov. 14, 1938, in H. A. Edwards’s restaurant, the Blue Front Café, in Apalachicola. Harmon A. Edwards was tried and convicted for the murder. Accounts of the trial published in The Apalachicola Times show the two men had been drinking and were in the back room of the restaurant when Edwards was alleged to have taken Snelgrove’s gun from him and shot him four times, twice through the upper left arm, once through the left front chest, and once in the back. Edwards claimed he shot Snelgrove in self-defense and showed a hole in the brim of his hat as evidence Snelgrove had shot at him.
Adolph and Mary Menke (Melonie and John Inzetta)
Adolph Menke was born Dec. 11, 1867, in Germany, he immigrated to the United States and boarded with the Witherspoon-Long family in 1885. He married Mary Abby Long on July 9, 1890 and they had two daughters, Dora and Mary. He died on Nov. 13, 1893.
Mary Abby Long Menke was born February 22, 1867, in Apalachicola, her father died and her mother, Nancy Long, remarried to J. Thompson Witherspoon sometime after 1870. In 1885 Adolph Menke was boarding with the Witherspoon-Long family, and on July 9, 1890, he and Mary A. Long were married. They had two daughters: Dora, who married Roy Gregory Roberts and moved to Bradenton, where he operated a retail store, and Mamie, who married DeWitt S Hose, who served as an officer in the American Army during the World War I and was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry. Sheriff of Franklin County from June 16, 1919 to Oct. 21, 1923, he was killed while changing a tire on a car along Highway 90 in Chattahoochee when he was hit by another automobile.
Mamie Menke Hose, who spent the rest of her life living with her mother, died Jan. 25, 1954, after a long illness.
Levin Fort (David Stedman)
Elizabeth Wakefield Fort (Renee Valentine)
Born in either South Carolina or Georgia about 1826 or 1827, he married Isabella Bissit Roads in 1847, and they had five children, three girls and two boys, who both died young.
Working in Apalachicola as a drayman in 1860, Fort enlisted in Company A, 2nd Florida Cavalry May 1, 1863, at John’s Landing on the Apalachicola River. He served in this unit as a private through the remainder of the war and was paroled May 17, 1865, at Baldwin, near Jacksonville.
After his wife, Isabella, died in Dec. 1866, he remarried to Elizabeth J. Wakefield in Sept. 1867. After he died Feb. 12, 1869, in Apalachicola, Levin Fort’s daughters and his second wife, Eliza J. Fort, had a conflict over his property, Lots 8 and 9, Block 24, City of Apalachicola, near Gorrie Square. The question came down to whether the property was purchased by Levin Fort or was given to him in trust for his three daughters. It is not clear from the remaining records how the case was decided.
Catherine Pohlman (Judy Loftus)
Catherine Elizabeth Pohlman was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States as a young girl. She was a sister to Mary Egbert, who also lived in Apalachicola.
in the 1850s, she was married to Charles Henry Pohlman, a merchant in Apalachicola. In his store at 48 Water Street, he advertised groceries, wines, liquors, wooden ware, crockery, glass, tin-ware, hardware, mechanics’ tools, planes, chisels, adz & etc.
The Pohlman house was at located in Block 61, just south of the Orman House between 4th Street and 5th Street.
Mother of five girls, Teresa married Samuel A. Floyd; Caroline never married; Josephine married Alfred Henry LeFevre; Catherine married John H. Hoffman; and Henrietta married William Montgomery.
Her husband died in 1867. According to references in Samuel A. Floyd’s 1872 diary, Catherine Pohlman kept a cheerful house, giving frequent parties and hosting many callers.
In 1900 she was living with her daughter Henrietta and her family, at the corner of Avenue D and 9th Street, across from the Baptist Church.
She died at the home of her daughter Henrietta on May 25, 1905, and was buried the next day in Chestnut Street Cemetery.
Mary A. Simmons Chapman (Caty Greene)
Born 1810 in North Carolina, the daughter of Benjamin and Abigail Simmons, she married William J. Hancock on May 20, 1829, at New Bern, North Carolina. They had one daughter, Katherine Gardiner Hancock, born in 1830, who married William T. Wood around the mid-1840s and the couple had two children: Katherine and Mary Chapman.
Katherine and William Wood divorced in the late 1850s and she remarried to Franklin Greenwood Pratt. They had one daughter, Nellie Pratt, and one son, Frank G. Pratt, who died young. Katherine and Frank Pratt moved from Apalachicola with their family and did not return. Katherine Wood and Mary Chapman Wood lived with Mary and Dr. Chapman. William J. Hancock died in 1836. Mary Simmons Hancock married Dr. Alvan Wentworth Chapman on Nov. 13, 1839, in Jackson County, and the couple had one daughter, Ruth, who died young. In 1847 the Chapmans moved from Jackson County to Apalachicola.
During the Civil War Mary Chapman removed from Apalachicola to her property in Jackson County. Dr. Chapman stayed and was known as a supporter of the Union. Dr. Chapman was in frequent communication with the Union blockading vessels in the bay and was considered a reliable source of information by the Union Navy.
After the Civil War the Chapmans reconciled and Mary returned to Apalachicola. Mary Chapman died in Rome, Georgia in 1879, and left all of her property to her husband, Dr. A. W. Chapman. When he died in 1899 he left all of his property to his step-granddaughters, Kate and Mary Chapman. His other step-granddaughter, Nellie Pratt Sowell, was not mentioned in his will.
Leander Crawford (Ed Aguiar)
Born Nov. 21, 1835, in Maine, Leander Miller Crawford was the only son of Oliver and Eliza Crawford. They were living in Florida by 1843; in the 1850 census Oliver is listed as the Harbor Master.
He worked on steamboats in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Rivers.
Quoting from “Perilous Journeys: A History of Steamboating on the Chattahoochee, Apalachicola, and Flint Rivers, 1828-1928: “Page 102, for the year 1860:
Following the Oswichee sinking was the explosion of the John C. Calhoun on April 29. While coming out from Ridleysville (Bristol Landing) at 6 a.m., she first exploded and instantly caught on fire and burned. Nine persons, including the interim captain, were killed and three dangerously wounded. The Captain (usually the First Clerk), Leander M. Crawford, was badly scalded and taken on shore by the boat’s yawl. He died a day later after immense suffering. The others that perished were Negro deckhands or firemen, all slaves, Dick, Lewis, Henry, Jim, Green, Albert and Dan. Those badly “wounded” were Thomas Bryant, Second Engineer; Henry Broughton, Third Assistant Engineer; and John Wilkins, Fourth Assistant Engineer. Lesser injuries were suffered b y H. R. Atkins, Mate; W. Church, First Engineer; and Lawson Whitfield, Watchman. Passengers, S. W. Rawls of Orange Hill, Florida was slightly burned, and S. Meacham of Bristol, Florida had his thigh broken and was also slightly burned.
After the explosion, the boat took fire and burned to the water’s edge, drifting aground near Ridleysville, a complete wreck.
The pilot, John H. Couch, at the wheel, and a passenger, Thomas Anglin, narrowly escaped the conflagration by taking refuge in the “Texas”. After the steam subsided, they went below and broke out the yawl, going alongside the vessel to save any yet on board.
The vessel was owned by the Apalachicola Steamboat Company and Captain Crawford’s death was commemorated by them with an impressive tombstone, still extant in the Chestnut Street cemetery in Apalachicola.
Others uninjured on the vessel were four deckhands; Barney Shorter, a Negro steward; Pilot Ned Porter, a Negro; a cook; and a chambermaid.
The John C. Calhoun was a newly built steamboat of 165 tons displacement. She was built in Brownsville, Pennsylvania and had made her first trip to Columbus, Georgia in February. After the Civil War Crawford’s parents served as postmasters in Apalachicola; Oliver starting in 1867 and Eliza starting in 1870.