dation of the Union, served as a Member of Congress from South
Carolina, and also in the State Senate. In the various wars which
have taken place since our Revolution the descendants of Bayliss
Earle have rendered conspicuous services, and have shown them-
selves as valiant soldiers in war as they have been good citizens in
peace. It will thus be seen that Mr. Mays' ancestry goes back
in direct line to the founders of Virginia and South Carolina and
through his great-grandfather, Gen. Samuel Mays, he is entitled
to membership in the patriotic societies connected with the Revo-
His education was obtained in the public schools of Hillsboro
county, and in 1882, a lad of eighteen, he entered the mercantile
establishment of J. M. Boyett, at Peru, Fla., as a clerk. In 1887
he came to Plant City and took charge of C. J. Yates' general
store. In 1892 he entered business on his own account as a general
SAMUEL EDWARD MAYS, JR. 221
merchant at Plant City, and continued until 1908, when he sold out
his mercantile establishment to Rolla Green. The sixteen years of
business on his own account were years of success, and he built up
a very large business. In the meantime, he had engaged in farming
and in fruit business in a wholesale way, and these interests he
still continues, being also an orange grower on his own account.
Mr. Mays is now Vice-President of the Hillsboro State Bank,
and Director in the Bank of Plant City, and a Director in the
Plant City, Arcadia and Gulf Railway.
On June 30, 1892 he married Miss Rowena Lee Evers, a
daughter of James and Fannie (Rucker) Evers, of Georgia. They
have three living children, as follows, Miriam, Katherine and
Samuel Edwin Mays.
Mr. Mays is a Baptist and a Democrat. He is also affiliated
with the Masonic Order and has received all the degrees up to
the thirty-second. Notwithstanding the cares of large business
interests, he has given his time freely to the public service, and for
the past six years has been a member of the Plant City Council,
which is liberal contribution of time by one man. Mr. Mays is
also very fond of reading and has accumulated a large library,
his preferred reading being along historical lines and client
periodicals. He believes the people of Florida should give immed-
iate attention to a change of the convict system, whereby the con-
victs may work on the country roads, and thus contribute to the
building up of a system of roads which is today the greatest need of
the State of Florida, as well as to other sections of our country.
An active, alert, capable business man and a public spirited
citizen of the highest integrity, Mr. Mays has, at a comparatively
early age, not only won a competence, but the confidence, the
esteem, and the friendship of the people of his section.
CJjomas Ctorett Heiles
Among the wealth of opportunities to be met with in a prosper-
ous and developing community, there are of course, those of an
exceptional nature which lead into channels of almost limitless
breadth, and among the most able and enterprising men there are
occasionally to be met with those who have the capacity for develop-
ing opportunity to its greatest capacity. When one of these excep-
tional opportunities is seized upon by a man who is gifted with the
enterprise and ability of bringing it to its fullest fruition then the
result is that which has been achieved by Thomas Everett Welles
Coming to Florida as a young man without other capital than
that with which nature had endowed him, he secured employment
in an industry then almost in its incipiency. He is no longer an
employee, but is now at the head of the industry with which he
first secured employment, and it is the greatest of its kind in the
State, giving employment to nearly one thousand men and catching
and shipping more fish than possibly all the other shippers in the
State combined. In addition to this his great surplus of enter-
prise and energy has enabled him to profitably employ his talent
and capital in other directions and he has organized and guided to
success numerous other commercial and industrial enterprises and
is one of the wealthiest, most progressive and enterprising men in
\Vest Florida. He is a natural leader and takes a prominent part
in whatever interests him. He has been of inestimable value to
the city as its mayor and has held high office in the numerous
fraternal organizations of which he is a member. He stands high
in the councils of the Democratic party, and as a man and a citizen
is esteemed and beloved.
Captain \Velles is a native of Connecticut and of English
descent, tracing his ancestry back to early Colonial days on both
THOMAS EVERETT WELLES 225
sides of the house. His grandfather was a soldier in the Revolu-
tionary War, and his mother a was direct descendant of Priscilla
and John Alden.
The history of the Welles family is one of great interest. It
can be traced back to the year 794, when it was located in the dis-
trict of Vaux in Normandy, France, with a branch in Provence.
The family was then known as Baux or Vaux, Bayeux, and de
Vallibus, all the variations meaning at that time the same thing.
Harold de Vaux, who was a relative of William the Conqueror,
followed him to England, and left three sons, the Barons Hubert,
Ranulph and Robert, who all used the surname of de Vallibus.
Hubert became Baron of Gillesland, in Cumberland. Ranulph
was known as Lord Tryermayne and had his seat in Cumberland.
Robert became Baron of Dalston, in Norfolk.
William de Vallibus, second son of Hubert, moved into Essex,
occupied Rayne Manor, and was known as William de Rayne.
His son, Robert, went back to the name, but dropped both the
French and Roman styles, anglicized the name and called himself
Robert de Welles, of Rayne Hall.
One of his brothers, Gernon, took the name of Gernon de
Virley (from the name of his manor) and two other brothers adhered
to the name of de Rayne. Without following the family in detail,
it is sufficient to state that the various branches steadily grew in
influence and position.
Thus, in 1191, Simon de Welles was a crusader and a bishop;
in 1205, Joscelyn de Welles was bishop of Bath and Wells (Welles) ;
and in 1215 Bishop Hugo de Welles, of Lincoln, was one of the
strong men who forced King John to sign "Magna Charta," and
his name appears as one of the attesting witnesses. The coats-of-
arms of each of these old bishops is preserved and well known in
English Heraldry. In the documents issued by King John at that
time, their names and titles are given as Jocelin (de Welles) of
Bath and Glastondury; Hugh (de Welles) of Lincoln.
In 1299, Adam de Welles, of Lincoln, became the first Baron
de Welles and from him descended a long line of barons and knights.
In 1469, during the wars of the Roses, Edward IV put to death
Richard, Lord Welles, and his son Sir Robert Welles, and as the
226 THOMAS EVERETT WELLES
son was without issue this terminated the male line of the elder
branch. This left John, son of Leo, as the principal man of the
family. In 1483 he had to fly to France on account of his adherence
to the Earl of Richmond, and when that nobleman became King
Henry VII. John de Welles was rewarded w r ith official position, and
the hand of Cecilie Plantagenet, daughter of King Edward IV.
He died in 1498, leaving a daughter, and the titles of the family thus
lapsed. Between 1066 and 1630 the family furnished a large
number of noblemen, soldiers, bishops, and public officials to the
No less than twenty coats-of-arms were first and last granted
to various branches of the family. The arms of Adam de Welles,
the first baron, granted in 1299, consisted of a lion rampant, sable,
tail forked with a crest consisting of a demi-lion, rampant, sable
and the motto (on a scroll beneath the shield) of " Semper paratus; ' :
of which a literal rendering would be "Ever ready. r
In the seventeenth century not less than ten members of the
Welles family came from England to New England.
The most prominent of these was Thomas, Governor of Con-
necticut in 1637, and for the next twenty- two years the foremost
man of that colony. He had eight children who have numerous
descendants. Between 1707 and 1868 Yale and Harvard gradu-
ated twenty-two of the old governor's descendants.
Hugh, Joseph, Nathaniel, George ; Thomas, and Richard
Welles, all of Essex county, England, came in the first half of the
seventeenth century. Then there was William, who came from
Norfolkshire, about 1635, Thomas, who came from Worcester in
1712, and John, who came from Ireland about 1740. This makes
up the ten immigrants of whom we have record. It is noteworthy
that of all these spelled the names Welles, thus indicating a com-
mon origin. Some of their descendants in America have dropped
the final "e" and spell the name Wells.
The father of Thomas E. Welles, was Russel, born 1822.
The history of the Welles family states that he was a son of Edward
born 1768, who was son of Wait, born 1724, who was son of Thomas
born 1687, who was son of Joseph, grandson of Nathaniel, who
was first of the family to come to America, as he landed in 1629.
THOMAS EVERETT WELLES 227
In America the family has furnished several State Governors,
Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, of Connecticut,
and David A. Welles, one of the greatest economists and statis-
ticians the country has produced.
Thomas E. Welles was born at Mystic, Conn., November 24,
1855, his parents being Russel and Fannie A. (Peabody) Welles.
His father owned a splendid farm which he conducted along with
a granite quarry and also successfully engaged in the practice of law.
Mr. Welles received his education in the public schools of Connecti-
cut. When about twenty years of age, he came to Florida, at first
making his home at Key West, where for two years he was engaged
in various capacities. In 1878, however, he removed to Pensacola,
where he has since made his home and the headquarters of the
numerous prosperous interests with which he is connected. It can
safely be said that no man in the city has had a more important
part in the development of the financial, commercial and industrial
interests of the city. When he first came here he was without
capital and secured employment with the Pensacola Fish Com-
pany, and for several years served in the capacity of a salaried
man. His first experience was on a small fishing vessel, one of the
few then engaged in what was then an unimportant industry. He
was full of initiative, however, and his ideas and suggestions aided
materially in developing the business of his employer. His rare
capabilities became known to Capt. E. E. Saunders, who gave him
the desired opportunity by forming a partnership in 1883, under
the firm name of E. E. Saunders and Company. From the start he
has practically had the management of the affairs of this firm and
the result is shown in the fact that it now owns and operates nearly
two score of fishing vessels and employs nearly one thousand men.
These vessels make trips which consume from ten days to four
weeks, owing to their success. The fish are cleaned and packed
in ice as caught, and upon arrival at Pensacola are placed in
refrigerator cars, or held in cold storage until started on their
journey to northern markets. The business of this one firm aggre-
gates many hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, and is not
only the greatest of its kind in the State, but probably does more
business than all other similar firms combined.
228 THOMAS EVERETT WELLES
Captain Welles has been prominently identified with the incep-
tion of numerous successful interests that have all contributed to
the development of Pensacola. The first one of these was the
Pensacola Livery and Sales Stables, which he organized in 1882.
He helped to organize the Citizens National Bank early in the
nineties, and was its Vice-President for fourteen years. For three
years he has been Director in the Peoples National Bank. He is
managing partner in the firm in which he made his greatest success,
E. E. Saunders and Company, and is also largely interested in the
Pensacola Fish Company, and the Gulf Fish Company. He is
President of the Gulf of Mexico Marine Railway Company, Presi-
dent of the Gulf City Coffee Company, and organizer of the Welles-
Kahn Co., the largest wholesale grocery in West Florida.
In addition to other interests in which he has investments he
has large property interests both in Georgia and Alabama. He
has always had a participating interest in every public movement,
having for its object the improvement of conditions or promotion
of the best interests of Pensacola. He served for several years as
the President of the Young Men's Business League, and also as
President of the Good Government League. He also served for a
number of years as chairman of the board of public safety of Pensa-
cola. He has been an active working Democrat, and in politics
as well as in business has been a leader, having a power and an
influence for good that is widely felt. He has served for a number
of terms as a member of the State Democratic executive committee
and no member of that body ranks higher in the councils of the party.
He was elected Mayor of Pensacola in 1903, and served with marked
distinction until 1905 giving the city a high toned business adminis-
tration which brought about general public improvement in the
city's affairs. He is a member of a number of fraternal organiza-
tions in which he has held high rank. He is past grand Chancellor
of the Knights of Pythias, and was representative to the Supreme
Lodge at Boston in 1908. He is also past supreme representative
of the Knights of Honor, and past Sachem of the Improved Order
of Red Men. He is also a member of the Free and Accepted
Masons, and of the Woodmen of the World. While not a member
of any church his preference is for the Presbyterian faith. He is
THOMAS EVERETT WELLES 229
a student of history, from which he has derived much inspiration,
and help. He and his atrractive family spend a portion of each
year at Athens, Ala., where he has extensive plantations and one
of the most magnificent summer homes in the South. He has the
happy faculty of always accomplishing that which he undertakes,
and being a man of tremendous energy and rare ability he has
attained a prominence in the commercial world that should prove
an incentive and an inspiration to every man who is ambitious to
Captain Welles was married June 24, 1883, to Carrie B. Cobb,
a daughter of James and Caroline Burton Cobb, of Pensacola, Fla.
They have two children, Frank E. and Ruth Allen Welles.
Capt. Welles' passion for fine horses is great enough to entitle
him to naturalization papers in Kentucky without residence.
Among his earlier interests in Pensacola as far back as 1882 was
his assisting in the establishment of the Pensacola Livery and Sales
Stable, and this was doubtless the result of his fondness for horses.
Of late years, with increased means and the ability consequent
thereupon to cultivate his taste, he has put in the most commodious
and best arranged private stable in Florida, where he keeps a
string of fine horses, from which he has derived immense pleasure
and probably some profit, as his horses have been winners of big
stakes on some of the famous courses of the country. One of his
horses, John A., had to his credit nearly eight thousand dollars
for one season, and a record of 2:03!-.
It seems to be a part of the law of compensation which runs
through life that many of these busy men 'vho accomplish such large
things shall have some taste which, though of itself calling for both
physical and mental activity, yet serves them as the necessary
relaxation from what they consider the ordinary business of life.
This law of compensation has given Capt. W T elles this fondness
for good horse flesh, and this combined with the pleasures of
country life which he indulges freely during the summer season,
gives him the necessary relief from his more serious cares, and
enables him to go back to his labors with renewed energy year
Major Cromwell Gibbons, of Jacksonville, is an excellent
example of the typical American turned out by that great national
crucible which, taking people of many nationalities and different
strains of blood, is molding them into a new national type. On the
paternal side of Irish extraction, he is on the maternal side lineally
descended from the brother of Oliver Cromwell, that "reat English-
' O D
man who ruled England during an important period of its history.
Major Gibbons is a native of Middletown, Conn., where he
was born on January 21, 1869, and is now in the prime of his
strength and usefulness. His father was Henry Gibbons, son of a
native of Ireland, who came from that country and located origin-
ally on Long Island. His mother's maiden name was Josephine
Oliver Cromwell. Her father was Oliver Cromwell, a lineal
descendant of Richard Cromwell, brother of the great Oliver.
This branch of the Cromwell family on coming to America located
in South Carolina. By intermarriage he is a relative of the Cal-
houns of South Carolina, his maternal grandmother having been
Mary Calhoun, a cousin of the celeb rated South Carolina statesman,
John C. Calhoun. After the Civil War Major Gibbon's father
and mother met and married in 1867.
Major Gibbons was educated in the private and public schools
of Connecticut and New York and spent much of his early life
with relatives in South Carolina and absorbed the Southern spirit
of his ancestors. He entered the scientific school of Yale Uni-
versity, but did not complete the full course.
On leaving school, he took up newspaper work for certain
New York and Southern journals.
In 1888 he first came in touch with Florida, and :n 1891 was
admitted to the practice of law at Tallahassee. Though a native
of a rock-ribbed Republican State, he is a life-time Democrat in
CROMWELL GIBBONS 233
his political affiliations; and to say that a New England man is a
Democrat is at once to put him down as one of the straightest of
the sect. Major Gibbons' abilities and force of character at once
won recognition in Florida, and in 1892 he was elected Judge of
Jacksonville. In 1903 he was sent to the Legislature and made
Speaker of the House. His political services to his party have been
notable and arduous. He was Chairman of the Duval County
Democratic Committee in 1900 and 1901 and has served as a
member of the Platform Committee from the State of Florida in
the national convention. He has also been urged the past four
years by strong political friends to become a candidate for Governor
but has declined for business reasons. He has never, however,
allowed his political activity to absorb so much of his time as
would interfere with the large business operations with which he
has been connected. Possessed of much public spirit, he is at
present serving as a member of the Publicity Executive Committee
of the United States, of which the Hon. Perry Belmont, of New
York, is chairman. Both in the Legislature and outside, by the
written and spoken word, he has taken a very active interest in
this cause. He belongs to that excellent class of our citizenship
which is ready to give service both in peace and war, and in 1898,
during the Spanish-American War when a member of the State
Naval Militia he entered the navy and was commissioned an ensign.
He has seen ten years of service in Florida State Troops, rising by
merit from the position of private in the Jacksonville Light Infan-
try to be Major of the First Battalion of the First Florida Infantry,
in which position he is now giving most efficient service. His
business life has been along the line of the practice of the law and
commercial development. As a lawyer during the past eight years
he has had many large and important cases before the Spanish
Treaty Court in Washington. This has necessarily compelled
him to give much time to the study of Cuban conditions. He has
succeeded in recovering judgment for large sums, and has become
well known to the leading international law writers and practitioners.
His largest measure of success, it may be said, however, has been
won in commercial lines. He has succeeded in placing several
large organizations on a sound financial basis, among them the
234 CROMWELL GIBBONS
Ucita Investment Company, which has built in Jacksonville the
Seminole Hotel, the largest and most modern hotel in the South.
Of this company he is now the vice-president. Becoming interested
in Cuba, he has succeeded there in establishing the Redencion
Sugar Company, of which he is the president, and which is one of
the largest now operating upon that island.
Interested in everything which will contribute to the moral,
as well as material, betterment of the community, he is a communi-
cant of the Episcopal Church, and holds membership in all the lead-
ing clubs of Florida, such as the Seminole, Elks, Power Boat Club,
Country Club, and Florida Yacht Club.
The judgment of such a man is of pronounced value, and he
is strongly impressed that the best interests of Florida are to be
promoted by the encouragement of the immigration of industrious
persons, and by encouraging such people to develop to their fullest
extent the vast reaches of fertile Florida country now lying open
and unproductive. His business judgment tells him that Florida
needs more people, but they must be the right sort of people; and
he favors therefore such an intelligent system of advertising as will
reach these good citizens in the North and West who are contend-
ing with the adverse conditions brought about by a hard climate.
To these people Florida is a revelation, both as to climatic conditions
and the productiveness of its soils.
On December 14, 1892, Major Gibbons married Miss Bertha
Sollee, a daughter of Capt. Francis C. and Rebecca (Hopkins)
Sollee. Of this marriage there are two children Francis Crom-
well and Juliette Vibert Gibbons.
Barely forty years old, Major Gibbons has already accom-
plished great things in the State of his adoption; and it cannot be
doubted that should he be spared for the usual length of life he
will leave behind him as a monument a great increase of the general
wealth of the community in which he lives as the result of his labors,
added to which will be the ever-widening circle of influence emanat-
ing from a strong man who believes in civic righteousness.
Fountain N. Holmes, managing partner of the St. Augustine
Ice Works and St. Augustine Steam Laundry, a young man in the
early prime of life, was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, on February i,
1870, son of William Jones and Joanna (Edwards) Holmes. Mr.
Holmes comes of two families greatly distinguished in American
history. Jonathan Edwards, an ancestor on the maternal side,
pastor of the first church of North Hampton, Mass., from 1726 to
1750, was easily the first man of his day in New England. While
offering no new theology, he revived the spiritual zeal of old Puri-
tan theology of New England and made it a living force. The
historian, Dugdale, took Jonathan Edwards, as his model, on one
side, representing the good citizen, and Max Jukes on the other
side, as representative of the bad citizen, and traced up the descen-
dants of these two. He found that from Jonathan Edwards there
had come, including men who had married into the female side of
the family, 1500 descendants, all of whom, with not more than a
half dozen exceptions, had been men of high character, of whom
285 had been college graduates, 65 college professors, 13 presidents
of colleges, 60 authors, who had furnished 135 books of especial
merit, and 60 physicians, many of whom had become eminent not
only in our own country, but in Europe. On the other hand,
Max Jukes had, through his descendants, furnished to the country
1 200 criminals and moral degenerates. As illustrating the advan-
tages of good citizenship, the members of the Edwards family have
been, as a rule, long lived, and of the Jukes family short lived. If
the Holmes and Edwards families had done no more for America
than to contribute to our citizenship Oliver Wendell Holmes and
Jonathan Edwards, they would deserve our gratitude.
Mr. Holmes' immediate branch of the family goes back to
William M., who came from England to Baltimore, Md., in or
238 FOUNTAIN N. HOLMES
about the year 1700. Prior to him Francis Holmes had settled in
Boston, Mass., and his descendants in 1702 settled in Charleston,