Monday, September 10, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Ever Been Broke

William standing in failed crop
By 1932, due to the terrible depression, many banks had closed their doors.  Money was difficult to come by and jobs were just not available.  The watermelon crop he grew to earn money by selling them dried up and turned to dust for there was no rain that summer. With no money, it was difficult to even buy food. His wife had wilted to 96 pounds and he became a stick of a man.

So my grandfather, William Phillip Roesch wrote this letter on December 10, 1932 in desperation to find work.

"Dear Colonel:"

     "In spite of the fact that for the first time in many long, lean years we of the Democratic faith are about to be allowed to come within smelling distance of the trough containing the dainty morsels known to the vulgar as federal jobs.  Along with about sixty per cent of our citizens I am getting ready to make a play for the postmastership at Eau Gallie, and am taking the liberty of using your name as a reference as to my political faith, general cussedness and disability.
     "Of course this is looking far into the future and anticipating what will happen, but when the time gets ripe I will certainly appreciate your support of my application.
     "I believe I spoke to you one time about a slight change we want made in Eau Gallie's charter at the 1933 session of legislature, but being so full of political warring at the time I have forgotten the conversation.  At present our City clerk is an elective office and a number of us believe that it should be made appointive.  Will it be necessary to advertise our intentions and if so how and for how long a time?
     "Thanking you for past favors and awaiting our reply concerning above,
I am,
Very truly yours,
W. Phil Roesch"

(1) Noah Butt replied on December 13, 1932

     "I have yours of the 10th and wish to advise you that it will be my pleasure to assist you, along the line mentioned in your letter, at the proper time.
     "When the time is right for such a move prepare for my signature such endorsement as you wish me to sign."

Two years later on Jan 21, 1934 my grandfather wrote Noah Butt once again.

"Dear Colonel:"

     "Referring to our correspondence of December 1932 concerning my application for the postmaster's job in Eau Gallie. 
     "The Civil Service Commission will hold an examination about February 5th to fill this position.  Should I be in the list of eligibles I will need your help.
     "P.S.  I have not forgotten the fact that I am indebted to you to the tune of a few dollars, but, colonel, have you ever been broke?  However, if the Lord or Mark Wilcox will smile on me maybe I can catch up again."
Very truly yours
W Phil Roesch"

Later that year Bill received a copy of a letter from Noah Butt that he had written to the (2) Honorable J. Mark Wilcox, M.C.  It Read:
    
      "The undersigned, being a qualified Democratic elector and a patron of Eau Gallie, Florida post office, respectfully recommend W. Phil Roesch to you as my choice of those eligible for the position of Postmaster of Eau Gallie and assure you any effort you may make toward securing such appointment for Mr. Roesch will be appreciated."


Ultimately, William was not appointed for the postmast position.

(l) Colonel Noah Butt, former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and was chairman of the Canaveral Port Authority.

(2) Honorable James Mark Wilcox was a U.S. Representative from Florida.  He was graduated from the law department of Mercer University, Macon, Georgia in 1910 and admitted to the bar that same year.

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