The Curator’s Corner

THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF MARTIN COUNTY

What’s going on?

Every month, our Curators, Jim Ferrare – Car Curator, and Chessy Ricca – Curator of Art & History Collection, will review what exciting exhibits and events are happening for the month.

keeping you up to date on what is going on AT THE ELLIOTT!

Art & History Collection

From Chessy Ricca

April - The Ashley Gang

As we are nearing the one-hundred-year anniversary of the death of the locally notorious moonshiner, John Ashley, it is only natural to question what was happening in John’s life leading up to his death on November 1, 1924. Why was he killed and what was the cause?

January 1924 began on a somber note when John’s father, Joseph “Joe” Warren Ashley was killed by a member of the sheriff’s posse at his moonshine camp while putting on his slippers one rainy night after hearing John’s dog, “Shine” barking close by.  Joe was sixty-four years old. At this time, John was almost a year into being on the run again and was staying with his father while helping him in the distilling business. The moonshine still camp ambush was sparked by a train station robbery that took place two nights prior in Port Salerno (Then just called Salerno), only a few miles north. The report stated that $12.50 was taken from the railway office. The assumption was that the robbers were the Ashley boys. When Palm Beach County Sheriff Bob Baker caught wind of a train station robbery, he ordered a posse of 50 men to hunt John Ashley once again (John has been “hunted” since the killing of DeSoto Tiger in 1911). After a search mission for the boys and an hours long gun battle between the posse and the few locals at the newly discovered moonshine camp, John famously escaped west back into the Everglades, leaving his father and Sheriff Fred Baker dead and his girlfriend, Laura Upthegrove, splattered with lead shot. Laura survived but was quickly taken into custody along with 11 other Ashley family members who may have known something regarding John’s whereabouts.

John Ashley had previously escaped from Raiford Prison in North Florida for the third and final time in September of 1923. Another Everglades retreat wouldn’t be difficult. He was forced to live in the woods west of Hobe Sound away from potential capture in order to plan an escape out of Florida. Remember, back then anything west of Dixie was called the Everglades. His brother William “Bill” Ashley came up from Miami to join John but Bill didn’t make it very far. Bill was captured around Hobe Sound. Captain Von Behren of the Florida National Guard issued more guns and ammunition to be sent to Hobe Sound to assist in the capture of John Ashley.

In the Spring of 1924, John Ashley appeared to pose such a threat to the local people of northern Palm Beach County that an actual machine gun was included in this order. From April 1924 until September 1924, John Ashley was hiding out in Port Salerno, securing enough provisions to last him six months at sea. Now we have to ask, where was he going and why?

 

Chessy Ricca

Curator of Art & History Collection

Historical Society of Martin County
Elliott Museum
Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge Museum

P: (772) 225.1961 Ext. 125
C: (772) 561.308.8309
E: [email protected]

March - Derek Jeter

The Patrick Armstrong collection of Derek Jeter memorabilia is perhaps the only one of its kind. Patrick began collection when his son, Brian, started playing baseball in 1997 at the age of four. Together, the father and son would collect cards and spend hours going through them and organizing based on pricing books. For Patrick, collecting was all about spending time with Brian. Eventually Patrick’s son grew up to play shortstop just like Jeter who proved to be an excellent role model. After many years of collecting, Patrick began to realize that his collection told a story through Jeter’s milestones. Interestingly, the two never thought the collection would reach its current size!

This is the first time Patrick Armstrong has made his collection available to the public in an exhibit. When asked what Patrick’s favorite item in his collection was, his response was the first autographed photo of Jeter with four World Series rings. This item, along with many other Jeter baseball cards, baseballs, jerseys and photographs will be on display throughout the entirety of the exhibit ending in October 2024.

Chessy Ricca

Curator of Art & History Collection

Historical Society of Martin County
Elliott Museum
Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge Museum

P: (772) 225.1961 Ext. 125
C: (772) 561.308.8309
E: [email protected]

February - Upcoming Spring Exhibits

Many of our exhibits are shifting to prepare for the Spring 2024 season. The Audubon Society of Martin County has their photography contest on display beginning in late January. This exhibit captures some intimate moments with many of Florida’s native bird populations as well as other celebrated wildlife endemic to our state.

The month of February will welcome our next Local Artist Spotlight featured artist, Ruthann Hewson. Ruthann started oil painting shortly after she, her husband Dr. Bill and their 3 daughters moved to Stuart in 1972 and spent many days enjoying the local parks, beaches, and waterways. She found Stuart and surrounding communities to be perfect subjects for her canvases. Ruthann paints colorful, realistic landscapes, nautical scenes, flora, and fauna as well as buildings, bridges, and boats, capturing the beauty and essence of her subjects without making drastic changes to what nature created and what man has constructed. You will be able to see Ruthann’s work in our Forum meeting space beginning February 20th, 2024.

Our baseball gallery has some exciting pitches taking place starting with saluting Derek Jeter. Patrick Armstrong and his son began collecting Derek Jeter memorabilia since Derek first entered the scene in the early 1990’s. This new exhibit will feature items and images that retell the story of those milestones while commemorating Jeter’s unique career. The Captain’s Corner: Derek Jeter’s Journey from Kalamazoo to the Elliott will open on February 23, 2024.

Debuting on February 12, 100 Years of Martin County Through the Eyes of Curt Whiticar exhibits the history of our county from a different perspective. This exhibit details the artistic renderings of local legend, Curt Whiticar, his family history, and Martin County history with paintings, artifacts, and private photographs.

Stop by The Outrigger restaurant in our upstairs restaurant space which includes some of Frances Langford’s estate items. The Elliott is also working diligently with the Martin County Digital History Initiative project headed by the Martin County Library System. This project is live and visible on the Martin County Library website, https://martindigitalhistory.org

Have a great February 2024 and stay tuned for many more artistic and historical exhibit in the near future!

Chessy Ricca

Curator of Art & History Collection

Historical Society of Martin County
Elliott Museum
Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge Museum

P: (772) 225.1961 Ext. 125
C: (772) 561.308.8309
E: [email protected]

January - History, Art & Education

The holiday season in the curatorial department brings lots of excitement. Exhibit changeovers, packing away one exhibit to make room for another, and even giving a makeover to an existing exhibit space! There’s something going on around every corner.

If you’ve eaten in our upstairs Outrigger café recently, you probably noticed all the clocks! Interestingly, those clocks were a part of the old Elliott Museum exhibit. After years of clocks being on display, we decided it would be best to restore the café space to Frances Langfords’ Outrigger restaurant. Years ago, the Historical Society of Martin County acquired some historical parts of the Langford estate, including Frances’s personal photographs, Outrigger memorabilia, Chanticleer history and much more. Now, her personal effects, art, and career memorabilia can be seen on display in our newly redesigned Outrigger Café, operated by Philly Down South.

Our main exhibit gallery space on the Elliott Museum’s first floor is getting ready to take on an entirely different look in celebrating King Tut! This exhibit comes all the way from Egypt! Previously, Carlton Ward and Mac Stone’s insightful Path of the Panther was showcased in this space. Seeing hidden beauty in Florida’s wilderness through their photography will be missed by many.

January also brings us a new local photography exhibit, but they are no strangers to the Elliott Museum! We will be welcoming the return of the Audubon Photography contest exhibit called “Florida’s Natural Beauty” opening January 22nd, 2024 in our first floor Art Down the Hall exhibit space. Sadly, the museum will be saying farewell to the surreal “Mystic Florida” exhibit with paintings by Elizabeth Esther Kelly. Elizabeth’s art has brought much color and mystique to our downstairs halls.

2024 will be full of history, art, and education! Have a wonderful New Year!

 

Chessy Ricca

Curator of Art & History Collectio

Historical Society of Martin County
Elliott Museum
Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge Museum

P: (772) 225.1961 Ext. 125
C: (772) 561.308.8309
E: [email protected]

Autos and More

from Jim Ferrare

April

From the desk of the Car Curator, Jim Ferrare

Car events for this month include:

  • Car shows every Wednesday night from 4-7PM
  • Cars N Coffee on the second Saturday of the month (4/13/24)
  • Garage tours every Thursday at 11 AM

Tap this link to our Car Events Calendar for more details

Guests can take a cruise in one of our classic cars

(minimum donation required except for Sterling members)

Use of the museum garage and tools.

You can bring your classic car or daily driver into our garage for simple repairs or maintenance ( appointments only, donation required)

Come and see our Motorcycle Collections grouped together to include: Harley, Indian, Sun, Yale, Moto Guzzi and more!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions and note, Events will be canceled for lightning or steady rain. Please call us before coming out to confirm at (772) 225-1961

Jim Ferrare

Car Curator

Historical Society of Martin County
Elliott Museum
Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge Museum

(772) 225.1961 Ext. 111
Jim’s EMAIL

 

March

From the desk of the Car Curator, Jim Ferrare

Car events for this month include:

  • Car shows every Wednesday night from 4-7PM
  • Cars N Coffee on the second Saturday of the month (3/9/24)
  • Garage tours every Thursday at 11 AM

Tap this link to our Car Events Calendar for more details

Guests can take a cruise in one of our classic cars

(minimum donation required)

Use of the museum garage and tools.

You can bring your classic car or daily driver into our garage for simple repairs or maintenance ( appointments only, donation required)

Come and see our 1923 Nero-Car motorcycle. This motorcycle has many unique features.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions and note, Events will be canceled for lightning or steady rain. Please call us before coming out to confirm at (772) 225-1961

Jim Ferrare

Car Curator

Historical Society of Martin County
Elliott Museum
Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge Museum

(772) 225.1961 Ext. 111
Jim’s EMAIL