Meet the characters for Fall Ghost Walk 2020:
Regina Flatauer , wife of Adolph Flatauer came to Apalachicola in 1887, theirs was an arranged marriage, both immigrated from Europe. Daughter Freda the fifth child of seven, was crippled in an wagon accident. In 1910 she dies from typhoid fever and is buried beside her sister, Theresa, who died in 1889 at just month old. Adolph was very successful merchant, and under his ownership the Dixie Theater was originally built in 1913. Regina died during the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1919. His wife’s death weighed on him and he ended his own life in 1920. He is buried at Magnolia Cemetery.
Joseph Buzzett was born in 1851 to Italian immigrants parents. After divorce, his mother Anna came to Apalachicola to be near her sister, Victoria Cattanetti. Victoria and her husband, Dominick, raised Joseph. He became a bar pilot, guiding vessels coming into Apalachicola Bay to safe anchorages. At that time there were many sailing vessels visiting Apalachicola and Carrabelle to load cargoes of lumber for ports all around the Gulf, Caribbean and Atlantic.
William Henry Austin was born in 1853. His father was a pilot in Apalachicola Bay, which probably helped Henry obtain a job on a schooner employed by the U. S. Coast Survey in preparing hydrographic charts of St. George’s Sound. In 1871, while returning to the ship, in a sudden squall, he and five mates drowned.
Marie Hickey was born in 1867.In 1907, news reported from Apalachicola that after cutting the throat of her husband, Mrs Hickey killed herself. It was thought she was suffering from temporary insanity, and had only recently returned from a private asylum. Mr. and Mrs. Hickey are among the most prominent and wealthy residents of Apalachicola. A coroner’s jury probed into the case, first suspecting foul play, but returned a verdict murder and suicide. Before her marriage she was the proprietor of the largest millinery establishment in the state, She is a sister of Postmaster Murat of Apalachicola.
Elizabeth Cooper Hendersonwas born in 1898, Her grandfather, William Marr, was killed during the Civil War in controversial circumstances while he was supplying beef to the Union blockading ships. Lizzie as she was usually known, married Sam Cooper, a Romanian immigrant in 1926. He owned a store in Apalachicola. When he died in 1935 he left her financially secure, but it is said she blew through the money. She opened Past-Time Billiards in the Grady building on Water Street When the building was sold she moved her pool tables to the Chapman House, which she owned. She rented out rooms and supposedly held continuous parties in the house.
Mercia Montgomery was born in 1888 in Chicago. In 1908 she married Samuel E Montgomery, the son of the owner of Montgomery’s in Apalachicola. Mercia was very active in community organizations including Trinity Episcopal Church, the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Red Cross. With the Red Cross in WWII she oversaw services to troops at Camp Gordon Johnson and at the Apalachicola Army Airfield She was the first woman elected to the Franklin County Board of County Commissioners. From 1925 to 1939. In 1947 returning from Jacksonville her car ran off the road. After over a month and a half in the hospital and undergoing serious surgery, Mercia died. She is actually buried in Magnolia Cemetery, but her husband’s ancestors are buried in Chestnut Cemetery.
John G. Ruge was born in 1854 in Apalachicola, a child of immigrants parents. During the Civil War he fell out of a tree and broke his leg. Since the town had been evacuated there was not a doctor present to set the broken bone. His father rowed John out to one of the Union vessels and had a Navy doctor set the broken limb. John and his younger brother George started the first successful oyster cannery in Apalachicola in the 1886. In the 1893-94 season they produced 400,000 one-pound cans of oysters. John and his wife Fannie lived in the grand house on Bay Avenue at the corner of 10th Street. John had a gruff personality and tight with his money. He and Fannie did not have any children. When he died in 1931 his fortune went to his wife. She remarried and did not hesitate to spend the funds John had spent his life hoarding.
Richard Gibbs Porter was born in 1809 in Philadelphia, His father died when he was only twelve.. In 1833 he came to Apalachicola, where his brother and their cousin, John G. Ruan, had established a cotton factor business and mercantile store. Richard married Mary Salter in 1845, and the couple had seven children. The Porter family was closely associated with the Raneys, on daughter marrying onto the Porter family.