KEY WEST BUBBAS AND THE GROUNDING OF HERCULES

Early Wrecking

By Gail Swanson

In 1994 Nancy Jameson, then Director of the Oldest House/Wreckers’ Museum in Key West asked me to let her know if I ever came across information on a Charles M. Johnson, arrested for his wrecking practices, according to a brief  newspaper article she had found.  Johnson was the father-in-law of Francis Watlington, who had lived in the Oldest House.

              A few months later, remembering her request, I ran his name through an amazing index of Georgia newspaper articles at the Savannah Public Library.  I did find more on Charles M. Johnson in Savannah, information that led to two inquiries of the National Archives, with a hit from the Northeast Region office:  the testimonies and some documents of the trial in New York City of  Key West wrecker  Charles M. Johnson  It is an amazing, enlightening view of the Key West of 1825.