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    Headlines through the years

    A look back at the events, people and places that made North Pinellas the unique place that it is. The information is compiled from past editions of the St. Petersburg Times.

    By EILEEN SCHULTE

    © St. Petersburg Times, published October 29, 2000


    Warfare in Greece stirs Tarpon Springs

    TARPON SPRINGS -- The news that Greece is resisting an invading Italian army brought joy to some 1,200 persons of Greek origin who live in this little gulf coast community.

    Many here appeared to believe Greece should fight to preserve her independence.

    City Commissioner John Diamandis, a native of the Dodecanese Islands which have been occupied by Italian troops since 1911, predicted that "the present outbreak of hostilities will result in the liberation of the Dodecanese."

    On practically every street corner of this sponge industry center there was talk of the war and hopeful discussion of the possibility that Turkey or Russia may assist the Greeks.

    There are about 600 Greek aliens here, many of them sponge fisherman and their families. Practically all the Greek residents of military age are American citizens.

    Oct. 15, 1923

    Two men fight fatal shotgun duel

    CLEARWATER -- In a duel with shotguns about 7 o'clock Sunday night, Ed Small was riddled with bird shot by Lincoln Williams. Small was so severly injured that he died during the night, and it is said that Williams' injuries will probably prove fatal.

    He was shot in the breast and stomach, while Small was literally blown to pieces, portions of his vital organs being found on the porch of his home when he was picked up and taken inside.

    The shooting occurred in Jacksonville, the black section of Clearwater.

    An eyewitness stated that Small and Williams had been drinking moonshine. They were seen scuffling in the street, but were separated by friends.

    When they reached their homes, which were adjoining houses, both of the men went inside and got their single-barrel shotguns loaded with bird shot.

    It was said both men fired at the same time and then reloaded their weapons and fired again. Small fired from the porch of his house, while Williams stood in the yard of his home, scarcely 30 feet distant.

    Williams had recently returned to Clearwater after serving a year on the county chain gang for shooting his wife. Small was a much older man who made his living cleaning yards and gardening.

    The shooting caused great excitement in the settlement.

    Oct. 13, 1923

    Child stows away on running board

    CLEARWATER -- Four-year-old Wilmotine Springer, daughter of L.R. Springer of this city, gave her father the surprise of his life this afternoon when she jumped from the running board of his car and hopped into the tonneau as Mr. Springer was parking the machine at the corner of Garden Avenue and Cleveland Street.

    When Mr. Springer left home, he supposed the child was playing in the front lawn. Instead, she was planning to give her father a big surprise -- and she did.

    While her father was getting in the Ford sedan, the little one crept around the machine and lay down on the running board. The Springer method of driving is not the slowest in the world -- not by any means.

    In fact, Wilmotine's father remembers that in coming downtown he drove as fast as the law allows, if not a little faster when Chief Russell and Constable Strickland aren't in sight.

    And his little girl baby, an only child, was riding as fast as he was, hanging onto the Ford running board. The car swung around corners while the baby, all unconscious of danger, clung to her insecure perch.

    When the trip ended, little Wilmotine jumped joyously into the car and announced that she had had a "perfectly lovely ride."

    Mr. Springer nearly fainted.

    - The history column is compiled by Eileen Schulte. She can be reached at (727) 445-4229.

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