by Charles S. Miley, Ft. Pierce News Tribune Editor Emeritus

We have among our old files at The News Tribune office a couple of volumes of the old East Coast Advocate, a weekly published at Titusville and among the oldest newspapers in the state, having been founded in 1878.

The Advocate was always printed on pink paper, the only one like it that we know of.  An eight page weekly, it was “devoted to development of the Indian River Area and the Lake Worth and Biscayne Bay Sections.” C. H. Walton was the editor.

Brevard county at that time extended southerly all the way to the St. Lucie river and the 1900 population of the county was 5,158. (Brevard originally extended all the way down to what is now the Dade county line.)

The two volumes of the Advocate that we have were brought along here by A. K. Wilson, a one-time employee of the paper, when he moved to the then village of Fort Pierce and established the St. Lucie County Tribune in 1905, the year that St. Lucie county was created from the southern part of Brevard county, of which Titusville was and still is the county seat.  The volume at hand is No. 23, meaning that it was established 23 years prior to that date of May, 1901..

Aside from it’s distinguishing pink color, the front page is almost solid with reading-size type, the largest headlines being one column and the headline type no bigger than capital letters in this column-known to printers as size 10 point.

The page is made up of personals-peoples’ comings and goings, illnesses, crop conditions and so on, also correspondence from other areas, classified and patent medicine ads, and so on.  Practically no general news, no crime news.

The correspondence includes items from West Palm Beach, Melbourne, Rockledge, Stuart, Eden, Tibbals, Fort Pierce. Onley, Hardeeville, Viking, Roseland, and so on- some of which places are non-existent today.

Here were the Fort Pierce items:

Last Sunday morning the citizens were alarmed by the cry of fire and the ringing of the school house bell.  A large crowd of people promptly answered the call and found our new school house on fire.  Every thing was done to save it, but of no avail.  It is supposed it was set afire.  The organ and a great amount of furniture was saved. (Editors Note: The building was located on what is now North Fourth street.  It was a two-room frame structure with steeple and bell-first in the county to be so equipped.  It was constructed about 1893 or 1894.  Its predecessor was a one room palmetto thatched shack on the river front road just north of Taylor creek.)

May brings warm days and cool nights, Mrs. McCarty was in town, Monday shopping.

Rev. Lane held divine service Sunday, morning and evening.

Mrs. Wm. Jones and family left, Wednesday, to join her husband at Mayport.

Mrs. Charlotte Olmstead is pleasing the ladies immensely with her beautiful hats and millinery stock.

Dr. Daniel, who has been doing dental work here for the past two weeks, left Wednesday, for Cocoa.  He will return in a short time and resume his work.  We seriously need a resident dentist.

Dan Bell, of Hamilton county, Florida, is visiting relatives and will leave Saturday for home, where he will stop a short time and then proceed to New York.  Mr. Bell is the son of Thos. N. Bell, one of the president electors for President McKinley.

Turtle-egg hunting is in order-skipjacks and launches taking many crowds to the beach every week.  Saturday evening Louis Depew took a party over to the beach, and they searched for turtle nests until quite late, but found none, though sandflies were in abundance.

And for Viking (Indrio) like this:

The pink paper gives you the news.

J. Helseth went up to Woodley on the train last week on business.

J. Helseth has some fine pineapple plants, some plants bearing two pines.

P. Nelson is having a new house built. J. Strande is doing some of the work.

When we want lumber here it has to be hauled from Fort Pierce, five miles away through deep sand.

Messrs. O’Brien and Edwards visited at Oslo last Sunday and Mr. Gibbons stayed at home and kept house.

M. B. Daniels and family and mother have come back to their home here for a short stay.

Our supervisor, Andrew Erickson is thinking of visiting Hot Springs, Ark., for his health,  He has rheumatism.

Mr. Daniels has some fine looking oranges, grapefruit and lime trees heavily laden with fruit.  The latter has all stages from blooms to ripe fruit.

Advertisements of the day includes such as:

“Smoke Young’s Magic for Consumption, Catarrah, Coughts and Arthritis;” “Swamp Root for Kidney Ailments:” “Scott’s Emulsion for Worms:” “Dr. King’s New Life Pills, ” and so on.

And then there were four full quarts of whiskey for $3.20.  Also, six acres of choice hammock land on the Halifax river at Daytona, cleared and fenced and partly set with orange trees.   Price $900, half cash, balance at 8 percent interest.

How’d you like that today?

A dentist advertised that he’d be in Titusville for five days and would be glad to accommodate persons with dental troubles.

The Bank of Titusville announced that it was establishing a bank at Jensen Beach, much to the pleasure and convenience of pineapple growers of the area.

The Brevard county commission resolved to accept the offer of R. Bowler to act as ferryman for the Sebastian river ferry for $10 a month, he to keep the lighter in good shape and furnish the wire for same at his own expense.

A. D. Penney, who afterwards moved to Fort Pierce, was county judge at a salary of $25 a month and J. E. Andrews, who likewise later moved to Fort Pierce, was prosecuting attorney at $33.33 a month.  Commissioners draw pay and mileage ranging from $2 to $4.40.

Suppose there’d be any takers at that pay today?

Brevard County School superintendent R. E. Mims reported warrants outstanding $12,135.34, with $4.13 cash on hand.  Teacher salaries for the month totaled $1,223.75.

It was voted to grant aid to the children of Prof. J. W. Hodge, late principal of the Fort Pierce school, who were living beyond the district line.  (Hodge later became St. Lucie county school superintendent.)

Well, as we might observe, things and people change.  As well as newspapers.


From “Miley’s Memos.” This article first Published 3/18/1979.  Reprinted by permission of the Ft. Pierce News Tribune. “Miley’s Memos” is the property of the Ft. Pierce News Tribune and reproduction of this material is expressly forbidden without the prior written permission of the Ft. Pierce News Tribune © 2002.