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The Lindsay of Florida
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DeSoto County, FL.- Early Marriages
ARCADIA, Aug. 9--AP
Mrs. Lizzie MERCER, 45 her son John, 18; a five year old daughter and a 14 month old boy drowned today seven miles from here when their truck went out of control and over turned in three feet of water. John was driving. Three children in the back of the truck escaped.
ARCADIA, Aug. 9 (special)
--A sudden tragic twist of fate wiped out more than half of the family of Mrs. Lizzie MERCER, about 45, today as she and three of her children were killed in an automobile accident at Pine Level, seven mileswest of here. Her husband, Alex MERCER, died just two months ago. Besides the mother, the dead were her oldest son James John, 18, a daughter about 5 and a 14 month old son.
Three other children, riding in the back of an old truck were thrown clear and not hurt. They were Jeanette 14, Violet 11 and Lucille 10.
As investigating officers reconstructed the accident. The family with the oldest boy driving were coming to Arcadia in the truck. The truck got out of control and turned over in three feet of water.
Mrs. Lizzie Mercer, three children are killed. Accident occured on Bradenton Rd. about six miles west of Arcadia, Saturday afternoon, when a small truck in which they were enroute to Myakka City went into a roadside ditch about six miles west of Arcadia on the Bradenton highway. Three other children who were riding in the car were thrown clear and escaped. Those killed were either stunned until they drowned or were pinned under the car.
The cause of the accident is not definetly known but it was an old car and it's tires were bad and a number of things could've caused it to go out of control. The water in the ditch is said to have not been over three feet deep.
Sheriff J. E. ALBRITTON was notified and he and his wife, deputy Lloyd HOLTON and Cythia RUMSEY, office manager, all went to the scene of the tragedy and helped get the bodies out and bring them to Arcadia in an ambulance. A number of cars had stopped at the scene and helped in the recovery of the bodies.
Mrs. Mercer was made a widow only two months ago when her husband Alex Mercer died. They had a large family of children, and it's said they had started for Myakka City to spend a few days in the home of Bill ALBRITTON, a relative. The children who were drowned were James John 17, Aubrey 7, and Harry 18 months old. In the car but escaping injury were Jeanette 14, Violet 11 and Lucille 10. Jack age 15 could not be found when the party was ready to start. Mrs. Jessie Lindsay a daughter lives in Nocatee.
Funeral services for the four who were drowned were held at Gardner, Monday afternoon at 3:00pm conducted by Rev. Sidney ALBRITTON of that place. It is said more than 1,000 people attended the services. Burial was in the Gardner Cemetery. Van Petten Funeral Home of Arcadia was in charge.
Everyone in the surrounding community is in sympathy with the family of the late Mrs. Lizzie MERCER, whose tragic death with her three children which occured Saturday near Arcadia. Mrs. MERCER formerly of Gardner was highly respected by all.
The Funeral was held Monday afternoon at the Baptist Church with Rev. Sidney ALBRITTON in charge of the funeral service and Van Petten Funeral Home in charge of the burial. This was the largest funeral ever in Gardner, there being over 100 cars in the procession.
Neil McINNIS a brother of Mrs. MERCER, and five children were left to mourn the loss of there loved ones and to these, the sympathy of all is extended.
Alex MERCER, 44 died at his home here yesterday. He was a native of DeSoto county and had lived in Arcadia, nine years. Survivors include his widow, Mrs. Lizzie MERCER; five daughters, Mrs. Annie Mae LINDSAY, Nocatee; Jeanette, Violet, Lucille and Aubrey MERCER; three sons, John, Jack and Gordon MERCER, Arcadia; three sisters, Mrs. W. H. ALBRITTON, Mrs. Myrtice May WHALEY and Miss Priscilla MERCER, Manatee; five brothers, Adam MERCER, Samoset; Sam, Kib, and Charles of Manatee Co., and Mickey MERCER, Starke, FL.
Funeral services for Alex MERCER, 44, who died at his home in the southeast edge of town, Wednesday morning, June 11, 1941, will be held tomorrow, Friday, at 3 o'clock at the GARDNER Church, with Rev. C. E. STEWART officiating. Robarts Funeral Home in charge of the arrangements.
Mr. MERCER was born in DeSoto County, and has made his home in Arcadia for the last nine years.
Besides his widow, Mrs. Lizzie Mercer, he leaves the following survivors: five brothers, Adam of Samoset, Fla., Sam, Kib, and Charlie of Manatee and Mick of Starke; three sisters, Mrs W. H. ALBRITTON and Mrs. Earl WHALEY of Myakka and Miss Priscilla MERCER of Manatee; and the following children: Mrs. Annie Mae LINDSAY of Nocatee, and John, Jack, Jeanette, Violet, Lucille, Aubrey and Gordon, all of Arcadia.
NOTES FOR JACK DEMPSEY MERCER:
Mrs Annie Mae Lindsay= Nocatee Flo=
The Navy Department deeply regrets to inform you that your brother Jack Dempsey Mercer Seaman Second Class USNR is missing in action while in the service of his country. The department appreciates your great anxiety but details not now available and delay in receipt therof must necessarily be expected. To prevent possible aid to our enemies please do not divulge the name of the ship or station=
Vice Admiral Randall Jacobs the Chief of Naval Personnel.
Mrs. Annie Mae Lindsay--Nocatee Flo= The Navy Department deeply regrets to inform you that your brother Jack Dempsey Mercer Seaman Second Class USNR previously reported missing in action is now know to have been killed in action while in the service of his of his country. No information available at present in regard to disposition of remains but by reason of existing conditions burial at sea or in locality of death highly probable. When further details are received they will be forwarded to you promptly. To prevent possible aid to our enemies please do not divulge the name of his ship or station. The Navy Dpartment extends to you its sincerest sympathy in your great loss=
Vice Rear Admiral Randall Jacobs Chief of Naval Personnel.
Mrs. Annie Mae Lindsay--Route 1--Frostproof, Florida
Dear Mrs. Lindsay
You have been notified by the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, of the death of your brother, Jack Dempsey Mercer, Seaman, second class, U. S. Naval Reserve, on September 25, 1944 in the performance of his duty and in the service of his country. According to information which has come to the Bureau, burial has been made in a cemetery in St. Andre, France.
Because of war conditions and for the duration of the war, the policy of the Navy Department (and of the War Department as well) neccessarily has been to make interment in the locality where death occurs.
Following cessation of hostilities, and on request of the next of kin, arrangements will be made by this Bureau, if possible, for return to the United States. You may record your wishes now by letter to this Bureau, or, if you prefer, await the Bureau's further inquiry at such future time as it may be possible to determine a probable date.
The enclosed form outlines the provisions of law applicable to care of the remains of deceased naval personnel.
Ross T. McIntire, Vice Admiral (MC), Surgeon General, U. S. Navy.
J. W. Rohrback, By direction
Dec. 20, 1944 Mrs. Annie Lindsay--Nocatee, Florida
My dear Mrs. Lindsay,
It is with the deepest sympathy and regret that I write to you on behalf of myself and Jack's shipmates concerning the circumstances of the death of your brother.
Our ship was lost about 2:30 p. m. on September 25, 1944 as a result of enemy action, believed to be a German mine, near the port of LeHavre, France. At the time of the explosion, Jack was performing his duties with the highest degree of loyalty and efficiency, and is believed he met instantaneous death since he was in the immediate vicinity of the explosion. He is buried at the U. S. Army Cemetery, St. Andre, France, a hero in the eyes of all of us, and a fit companion for the brave seamen of years gone by who fought and died for their country and for the rights of all free men.
Jack was a fine and upstanding man, admired and respected by all of us, and he will always be remembered as a capable, efficient and trustworthy member of the crew of the U. S. S. Miantonamah. His death is a loss to both his country and the Naval Service.
His personnel effects, I am sorry to say, were lost with the ship with no chance of recovery. All our prayers are with you in your great bereavement, and I hope it will be a consolation to you to know that by Jack's death in action and in the line of duty, he valiantly and loyally made the supreme sacrifice for his country and for the greater security of those left behind.
Do not hesitate to call upon me for any further information concerning your brother as we of the Miantonomah who are left, feel that he will always be one of our shipmates.
Faithfully, Austin E. Rowe, Commander, USNR Commanding, U. S. S. Miantonomah.
Who died in the service of his country at (Sea, Atlantic Area, attached U. S. S. Miantonomah, 25, September 1944).
He stands in the broken line of patriots who have dared to die, that freedom might live and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives--in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.
Franklin D. Roosevelt President of the United States
To all who shall see these presents, greetings: This is to certify that the President of the United States of America pursuant to authority vested in him by Congress has awarded the Purple Heart established by General George Washington at Newburgh, New York, August 7, 1782 to Jack Dempsey Mercer, Seaman second class, United States Naval Reserve for military merit and for wounds received in action resulting in his death September 25, 1944. Given under my hand in the city of Washington this 25th day of January 1945.
Vice Admiral, United States Navy
Chief of Naval Personnel
James Forrestal The Secretary of the Navy
Letter from Mrs. Dan Law of Tampa, Fl. Letter addressed to Mrs. Annie Mae Lindsay of Nocatee, FL. POST MARKED:
Dear Mrs. Annie Mae Lindsay, Well although its been sometime since you wrote my son asking about your brother. Well I gathered up what I could from time to time while he was here on leave from the hospital, so I'll try to tell you what I got.:
My son and L. P. and a Lake boy seem to have their liberty at the same time, and Jack had his at a different time a day. His job on the ship was second loader of a gun just the same as Perry's. Well it seems, it takes three boys to get and keep shells for one man and one gun. They reached the battlefield June 6, 1944 at 8:00. They were the third wave or what we call the third bunch of ships to go into battle, and Perry said his job was to pull tanks off the ship and onto barges to send ashore, and he said out of 220 they loaded that day, only 5 got ashore. They were carrying cargo for General Patton's army so in the third trip they were hit with something and had to go to England and stay in dry dock two weeks for repairs. They had just crossed the English Channel fifteen times and the last trip they were loaded with gasoline, which they finished unloading on Sunday. They had orders to pull out of port early Sunday morning, and the mine sweeps had not been real close in port, so Perry said the water had been real rough and probably the mine had washed in with the tide. The first they heard was a radio call. Perry said he had just gotten off watch and they thought at first it was a German U-boat then they got three other calls and all were ordered to put on their life rafts. They all had been ordered to sleep top deck that night just in case, so the next he knew he was just coming to, he jumped overboard and stayed in the water for 45 minutes before they were picked up in life boats.
He said the last he knew Jack was on top deck when the orders were given but the shock knocked some overboard, some unconscious and some were scalded when they hit the air after leaving the boiler room where they fell dead. He said L. P. worked in the boiler room and he believed that was what happened, although he said orders had not been given in time. They thought for everone to clear out but he said he was scared stiff. He was really in the water before he knew it himself or before he came to. The boat sank within 15 minutes after it struck the mine. They thought they were in La Havre, France at the time.
The last reports he had, there were 65 saved. He thought the Germans had been there June 4 and 5, 1944 waiting for the invasion to take place. He said there were scores of them lined up for the invasion. They worked day and night under flying metal and fire and shell everytime they went to unload, and they really had seen a lot of danger for any of them to come back alive.
I don't know what they will do with Perry, he is awful nervous and his left arm is smaller than the right. The Doctor here said it was caused from a nerve, but I was glad he got back even in that condition, for they went through alot I know.
Perry said he went out to a little town one afternoon with Jack to shop some, and they didn't have any coupons, so they only walked around for awhile, then went back to the ship. This is not much about your brother but I thought maybe you would understand that most all the boys did the same things on the boat. This doesn't seem much to tell you for it seemed strange or something that this is all I could get out of Perry, about the whole trip or their work over there.
So we'll just have to believe everything happens for the best, whether we see it that way or not.
Perry is back in the hospital and he doesn't know yet what they're going to do with him. He says he'll ask for shore duty for at his present condition thats all he feels able to do.
If when he comes here again if you want you can come and talk to him, your welcome to come.
Perry's Mother Mrs. Dan Law Rt-6 Box 512 Tampa, Fla.
The Lindsays of Florida
The Mercers of Florida
DeSoto County, FL.- Early Marriages
Last updated: Saturday, December 07,2002; 09:50 a. m.