Roland H. Curry

Roland H. Curry

Male 1869 - 1928  (58 years)

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  • Name Roland H. Curry 
    Born 30 Sep 1869  Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 18 May 1928  Key West, Monroe County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • FLGenWeb Digital Library and Archives
      Roland immigrated, from Port of Departure: Bahamas to Port of Arrival: Key West, Florida, USA in 1883.
      Biographies

      Roland Curry

      Source: The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.II pg.292 1923
      Author: The History of Florida: Past & Present

      CURRY, ROLAND, who is giving an excellent administration of the office of sheriff of Monroe County and is one of the highly esteemed citizens of Key West, was born on the Bahama Islands, September 30, 1869, and is a son of the late HENRY and MARGARET (WETHERFORD) CURRY, both natives of England. HENRY CURRY became a sea captain, owned and commanded a vessel in the sponge trade, and he became a citizen of the United States prior to the birth of his son Roland, of this sketch. Captain Curry passed the closing period of his long and useful life at Key West, where he died in 1916. At the venerable age of eighty-six years and nine months, his wife having preceded him to the life eternal.

      ROLAND CURRY acquired his early education in the schools of the Bahama Islands and was a lad of twelve years when the family home was established at Key West, Florida, where he continued to attend school two years. Thereafter he worked at various locations, largely in connection with the sponge business, until he entered an apprenticeship to the carpenter’s trade, at which he became a skilled workman. He continued to follow his trade until he entered service as a member of the city police department of Key West. Later the state health officer, Dr. J.V. PORTER, appointed him a state sanitary patrol officer, and of this position he continued the incumbent several years, he having served in the laboratory department at the time when ports of the state were under close supervision to avoid the entrance of persons affected with the bubonic plague then prevalent. After his retirement from service with the health department Sheriff CURRY resumed the work of his trade, but within a short time he was appointed chief deputy sheriff, a position which he retained until the retirement of Sheriff A.H. McINNIS, when he became a candidate for the sheriff, to which he was elected in the fall of 1920 and the duties of which he assumed in January, 1921, for the prescribed term of four years. The Sheriff is a staunch supporter of the cause of the democratic party, and he and his wife hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In the Masonic fraternity he is affiliated with both York and Scottish Rite bodies, as well as the Mystic Shrine, and he is a member also of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Order of the Golden Eagle. December 26, 1903, recorded the marriage of Sheriff CURRY and Miss SARAH E., daughter of ADIN R. and ILLA (SANDS) ROBERTS, of Monroe County, the parents having been born in England and the father having become a successful Florida farmer. Sheriff and Mrs. CURRY have six children: GLADYS, MIZPAH, NAOMI, GILBERT, ALLEN and IDA FAY. The eldest daughter, GLADYS, is the wife of JAMES KEATING, and they reside in Key West. Their one child is a son, ROLAND, named in honor of his maternal grandfather. (Editor note: the names of the children here are incorrect - Michael McKenzie April 2016. They are correctly set forth on this web site).

      Presented by Nancy Rayburn
      Return to Archives Monroe Archives
      This page created March 27, 2010


      Key West's Bloodiest Christmas
      Posted 10 Jan 2012 by lyrical516
      Key West's Bloodiest Christmas
      December 11, 1994|Story by Stuart McIver
      The Islander shot the Klansman through the jaw. He slumped over the wheel of his car, dead on the spot. The Ford lurched onto the sidewalk and ran into an electric pole near the Cuban Club. In the back seat of Decker's auto was a turkey dressed for the Decker family's Christmas dinner.
      The crowd around the Cuban Club scattered and the terrified cab driver sped away to Petronia Street. Cabeza leaped from the taxi. As darkness gathered, he ran to the cupola of the Solano building at Petronia and Whitehead streets.
      Soon a band of armed men, many of them Klansmen, appeared on Whitehead Street and began shooting at the cupola. Cabeza answered with gunfire, but no one was hit.
      Sheriff Roland Curry called the Naval Station, which sent six Marines to help arrest the Islander. He then shouted up to Cabeza, promising to protect him at the county jail if he surrendered.
      "Only if McGinnis comes for me," Cabeza answered.
      A.H. McGinnis, a deputy who had been a federal marshal, was the one lawman Cabeza trusted. He certainly didn't trust Curry, thought by some to be a racist.
      The deputy, summoned from home, went to the cupola. Accompanied by the Marine guard, he led Cabeza down the stairs. A large, mostly pro-Cabeza crowd cheered and whistled as the Islander was taken to the county jail.
      For a few hours, the Marines stood guard at the jail to prevent attacks on Cabeza by the Klan. Then, at 1 a.m., Sheriff Curry gave the Marines a Christmas present. He told them he had "the situation under control" and let them leave.
      Soon, five cars with their lights out drove up to the jail. Fifteen hooded men entered the building. Curry had gone home, and the Klansmen walked unhampered into the jail and straight to Cabeza's unlocked cell. A terrified old drunk who was in the next cell hid under a blanket in a dark corner.
      The men poured into the Islander's cell and beat him with lead-weighted blackjacks. Then they dragged him feet first from the jail and tied him to the bumper of a car. His body bounced behind the auto as they drove to East Martello Tower. There they hanged him from a palm tree. Cabeza was probably already dead, but just to make sure, the hooded men fired shotguns and pistols at the hanging man.
      A bloody, bludgeoned body hanging from a tree was the Klan's Christmas present to Key West.
      NO ONE WAS EVER CHARGED with the Islander's murder. A grand jury announced that Cabeza's actions had led to the lynching. After all, his "living with a Negro woman" was an affront to society.
      "He had a very bad reputation," read the grand jury report. "His name was a terror to officers of the law ... and to the citizens in general .... We are of the opinion that the lynching of Cabeza was not done by an organized society but by individuals unknown to us."
      Angela, Cabeza's common-law wife, may have had the last word, however, with her voodoo curse.
      Within a few years of the Islander's death, Sheriff Curry drowned while fishing near the Dog Rocks. In the 1930s, when a bankrupt Key West became the poorest municipality in the country, Norberto Diaz, attributing a curse to his dead friend, told author Stetson Kennedy: "Every time I pass in front of the Cuban Club, I think of Isleno. The other day I was down to the beach and saw the palm tree where he was hung. It's funny, but that was the first coconut palm to die from the disease that's killing most of the palm trees on the island. I believe Isleno's brujo (ghost) is killing the palm trees too. People say the whole island's cursed and that's why there is so much bad luck and people do not have enough to eat.
    Person ID I00254  McKenzie Genealogy
    Last Modified 19 Sep 2018 

    Father Henry Curry,   b. 28 Sep 1831, Bahamas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Jul 1914, Monroe County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Margaret Jane Weatherford,   b. Abt 1842,   d. UNKNOWN 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 10 Feb 1859 
    Family ID F00223  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Sarah Elizabeth Roberts,   b. 18 Feb 1883, Great Harbor Abaco, Bahamas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 May 1965, Key West, Monroe County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Children 
     1. Gladys Ida Curry,   b. 7 Apr 1904, Key West, Monroe County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Jul 1980, Dade County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years)  [natural]
     2. Mizpah L. Curry,   b. 28 Jul 1906, Key West, Monroe County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Mar 1996, Ft. Lauderdale, Broward, County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 89 years)  [natural]
     3. Naomi Elizabeth Curry,   b. 15 Jan 1909, Key West, Monroe County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Sep 1996, Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years)  [natural]
     4. Gilbert Roland Curry,   b. 21 Jan 1917, Key West, Monroe County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Oct 1986, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years)  [natural]
     5. Helen Ardell Curry,   b. 10 Oct 1920, Key West, Monroe County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Feb 1991, Key West, Monroe County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)  [natural]
     6. Barbara May Curry,   b. 3 Jul 1925, Key West, Monroe County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Mar 2006, Keystone Heights, Clay County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)  [natural]
    Last Modified 19 Sep 2018 
    Family ID F00027  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Documents
    Roland Curry Funeral Newspaper Clipping
    Roland Curry Funeral Newspaper Clipping
    Roland Curry Key West Sheriff Frees Men
    Roland Curry Key West Sheriff Frees Men

    Headstones
    Gravestone of Roland Curry and Sarah Elizabeth Roberts
    Gravestone of Roland Curry and Sarah Elizabeth Roberts
    Burial:
    Key West Cemetery
    Key West
    Monroe County
    Florida, USA

    Maintained by: Donna Jean Robinson
    Originally Created by: Cullen and Jeanne
    Record added: Nov 03, 2013
    Find A Grave Memorial# 119740125


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