Where Did Marshal Bowman’s Family Reside?

Marshal Bowman painted by Evie Alexander at a paint party held at Bella’s Bistro with Karla Knief

The exact location of the Bowman family home has been a source of speculation for years. Some have claimed the family lived on Taylor St. in either the Two Thrifty Girls or Tina’s Cafe Vienna buildings.

We cannot find any evidence to support these claims, particularly since these homes date from the 1920s, at least 15 years after Marshal Bowman’s assassination. Continue reading

Meet the Mysterious Mrs. B

Laura Bowman has been snubbed by other local historians. According to Lindsey Williams and U.S. Cleveland, after the assassination of her husband, Marshal John Bowman on January 29, 1903, “Mrs. Bowman moved to her mother’s home at Charlotte Harbor town and died two years later. The children were placed in the Arcadia Orphanage, and adopted.” After many sleepless nights worrying about the sad fate of the orphaned Bowman children, I initiated my own independent research. Continue reading

The Dick Family Mystery

John Monroe Dick was a gentleman farmer

The Dick family’s short presence in Punta Gorda’s early history is a mystery.

Angie Larkin tellls of the Dick family arrival in her book In Old Punta Gorda. The Dick family came to Punta Gorda in 1888 by covered wagon from Texas. They spent their first night in what is now the parking lot of Punta Gorda Waterfront Hotel and Suites. However, they didn’t stay long. In the 1880 Census they resided in Chambers, TX and in the 1900 US Census they were in Galveston, TX. Continue reading

Punta Gorda’s Most Famous Ghost is a Teen-Age Girl

Leah Sandlin painted by Christiane Belle Tremblay

Mary Leah Sandlin’s story is legendary in Punta Gorda. The 14-year-old was ironing clothes on the front porch of her family home when she caught on fire. She leapt off the porch and ran down the street engulfed in propellant-fueled flames. Neighbors put out the fire but Leah succumbed to her massive injuries within three hours. It is said her ghost still haunts the historic family home on Retta Esplanade. Continue reading

Why was McGraw’s Place known as the Bucket of Blood?

In the book, Our Fascinating Past-Charlotte Harbor: Early Years, the authors interchange the alias Bloody Bucket and Bucket of Blood in reference to McGraw’s Place. It was a small gas station with a counter where motorists could buy a soda or candy. McGraw’s Place was located at the corner of Tamiami Trail and Acline Road by the railroad tracks, and had a reputation as a secret speakeasy where locals could procure alcohol during Prohibition. Continue reading

Pregnant Postal Worker Killed in the Street

Kate “Sissie” Dick was an early resident of the new town of Punta Gorda. She came to Punta Gorda along with her parents, John and Amanda Dick, and her many siblings. The family traveled from Texas to Punta Gorda in a covered wagon.

Working Woman, Wife and Mother

Katie worked as the assistant postmaster and married Alfred Sloan on Halloween 1888 at the age of 22. The young couple moved to a home on Alligator Creek across from Indian Spring Cemetery. In 1889 they had their first daughter, Celia. Within two years of wedded bliss, Katie was pregnant with their second child. Continue reading