Men’s Stories from Florida School for Boys

The Florida Industrial School for boys at Marianna” 1958-59 Larry A. Houston’s Story

My name is Larry A. Houston from St. Petersburg, Fla. . I was sent to FSB (Florida School for Boy’s) when I was only 14 years old. I came from a broken family, had a sister & brother but was a nice kid not a rough-neck. When I got there it was a beautiful campus and I thought this was going to be ok. I was put in #12 Cleveland Cottage and the cottage fathers name was Mr. Robert Sealander. My job assignment was the sewing room with Mrs.Edenfield. She was a nice lady and her husband was head of the kitchen.

The schools Psychologist was named Dr. Robert Curry and he smoked a pipe with cherry blend tobacco and had a brand new Desoto that was pink & grey. When you were interviewed by him he asked weird questions like did you like to masturbate and had you ever thought about having sex with your mother. He was bald on top and sort of husky. I
got called to his office one day and was told someone had overheard me talking about running and I was going to be punished. Guys had said they like to make you sweat and boy I did. They came for me at my cottage at night just before shower time. When I got to the “white House” three other boys , Mr. Hatton,Mr. Tidwell and one other man I
didn’t know were waiting for us.

The smell of the place was very musty and stale. It was a small building in back of the kitchen. The other boys and I were told to set on a bench that was in the hall, all of a sudden someone turned on a big exhaust fan that was very loud then Mr. Tidwell said which one of you wants to be first, no one answered so he pointed to me and said boy go in that room, which I did immediately.  I was scared to death and shaking all over for I had never been treated like this before. Mr. Tidwell said “drop your pants,lay on the cot, bite the pillow and grab the bedrail, look towards the wall and don’t say a word or we will start all over.”  Mr. Hatton reached under the pillow and grabbed a long leather strap with a wooden handle. The first blow was so hard it felt like my whole ass was split open. I screamed out in pain and Mr. Tidwell said “what did I tell you boy, you better shut your mouth.”  I gritted my teeth and hung on to the bedrail as tight as I could. Mr. Hatton beat me up and down my legs and buttocks as hard as he could.  You could hear the strap hit the ceiling and the wall, so you knew it was coming.

I lost count at 39 whacks but it was over soon after. Mr. Tidwell said “get up boy, pull up them pants and go stand in the hall” I could hardly move, but managed to get my pants up. Mr. Tidwell grabbed my arm and pulled me into the hall, pointed to the next kid and said, “boy get in there”, but the kid was so scared after hearing me get beat he was froze to the bench. Mr. Tidwell grabbed the kid by the arm and jerked him up so hard the kid hit the door frame with his head as he was drug in the room. We could not see in the room because the lighting was very bad. They only had one small wattage bulb and the bench was down the hall a little bit. Don’t know who whipped that kid but he got it pretty good.

By then I was in so much pain and I could fell blood running down my legs. Next thing I remember I was back at my cottage. Mr. Sealander took me to the locker room, told me to get undressed and get a shower. I could hardly get my jeans off because of the swelling in my butt and legs,but finally managed to. My underwear were literally beaten into my skin. I had to stand under the water a long time and pull very gently to get them off. When I was completely necked some of the other boys in the showers were whispering that I was the worst they had ever seen. I went to the mirrors and looked at myself and couldn’t believe what I saw. I was already black and blue all over my butt and legs and had cuts still bleeding. I put on my pj’s and went to bed. It took me two weeks to heal up. Believe me I never talked about running again.

I “Went Down” two more times before I went home — once for low school grades and  I cant remember what the third time was for. I got less wacks but the experience was the same. I’m pretty sure my lower back was injured while I was beaten. I had back trouble all my life and to this day still suffer.

I heard a lot of rumors about boys going missing and sexual things happening but to my knowledge it never happened to me other than Mr. Robert Curry asking me strange questions. There were also rumors about the colored boys getting beat a lot harder and a lot more wacks than whites got but I never witnessed any. I know if you were caught for running they gave you one hundred whacks but I personally never saw that either. I cant even imagine getting more than I got. I was really tore up and never want to experience that again.

 To ********* for starting this whole thing, Kudos. You have brought to the surface many hidden memories that needed to be out of my system. And to Robert Straley, ***********, Dick Colon and Michael O’ McCarthy who helped and/or had a hand bringing this matter to the Governor of Florida for the investigation into the thirty-nine crosses with no names on them, I want to say “May God Bless each and every one of you”

And to Karl Schultz, thanks for being my best friend while I was in Marianna — whereever you are.
                                                                          Larry A. Houston

Johann Wagener (John Wagner)

My name is Johann Wagener (John Wagner) and I’m a White House Boy.

Back in 1958 I was known as John and sentenced to serve a term at the Florida School for Boys (FSB) for the crime of running away with my childhood sweetheart.  Being incarcerated for loving someone never made much sense to me but back then I was determined to just do my time, get out, and marry my first love. Her letters, which I received every day of my time there, was what kept me from just giving up on life altogether.  The few times I shared this with anyone I described the experience as being dunked into a tank of water and having to hold my breath for a very long time.

What I wasn’t prepared for was what I experienced during my time at FSB. For the most part the memories are vague and fragmented. In some twisted and distorted way some of these memories are fond ones, like my work as an assistant in the dental office. As I recall, the dentist was a nice guy in that he would let me sneak a smoke now and then and asked that it be kept just between us. It was a place I looked forward to going to.  I also remember times in the lunch hall; especially the bread pudding that was on the Sunday menu. Then there was a boxing tournament that matched boys from different cottages against each other.  One memory that stands out is of dropping my opponent in a few punches and how surprised I was because I had been scared shitless to get into the ring with him.

As I surf through the links on the whitehouseboys web site my efforts to conjure up more of those memories has been a struggle. They seem to be buried deep and only surface in bits and pieces. The feelings these memories bring up are strong at times, many of which I’m surprised to still have after so many years.  There are others that are fragmented and confusing with my not knowing if what I’m remembering happened to me or to someone else.  For example, as I try to remember the boys one name stands out; Vincent Davico.  I sense that something terrible happened to him, but I’m not sure exactly what. Another name, Emory, brings up images of a big guy, much older looking than everyone else, and  I keep thinking he was one of the 4 boys who ganged up on me my first night and threatened (or tried to) rape me. I remember fighting them off and causing such a racket that it woke up the staff. 

My memories of the white house are vivid and stark and, after seeing only a few of the pictures I found on the website, the feelings first overwhelmed me. The bloody walls, the god awful cot I was made to lie on face down. The dirty, smelly pillow I bit into so not to scream.  I can also remember holding on to the bars with all my might and waiting for the first blow. The first was the worst.  I remember the jolt and the intensity of the pain that ran through my body. The flash of what seemed to be white light igniting my brain is an something I will never forget.  I remember that the blows that followed were not as bad as the first one and the pain seemed to diminish with each subsequent stroke as  the numbness set in. I quickly learned to go with the flow; when to brace, when to relax just by listening for the sound of what seemed to be a foot dragging across the floor, followed by a soft but distinct whooshing sound before the paddle found it’s mark.

Then there was the walk back to the dorm. I remember feeling some sick and distorted sense of pride, thinking that I was now one of the select few who went into that place and walked out unassisted or on a stretcher.  I also remember being told to keep my clothes on and to go straight to bed. I vaguely recall waking from what seemed to be a long night and having to have someone peel the underwear off from what I later saw was my unrecognizable, bruised and bloodied buttock. I also recall the pain I felt then, though not nearly as bad as the night before.  This time it didn’t last as long. The rest is a blur.

I do recall hearing stories of other incidents happening over the years.  The worse rumors were of the blacks who I was told suffered a much worse fate than we did. It seemed that Mr. Hatten  ( a name I remember) had it in for the black boys. There was something about his wife being assaulted by black boys during an escape attempt.  The story went that Mr Hatten made sure that no one would ever think about trying that again.

 Discovering the white house boys website was neither intentional or anticipated.  I liken this event to others in my life that I describe as divine intervention.  Something that happens to me without rhyme or reason and is logically inexplicable.  In this instance it began with a click of the mouse and going on to Google maps in search of a place in upstate Florida.  As I scanned the map I noticed a place vaguely familiar to me; the city of Marianna. That brought up other memories about my time there and the school I was sent to.  I typed in Florida School for Boys and with one click of the mouse I opened up a page that, for lack of a better word, was a “Pandora’s box” of  hundreds if not thousands of links to sites holding news articles, book titles, investigations, personal stories and 

support sites about what was referred to as the “white house boys.”  The stories and testimonials I read were at times overwhelming. So much so at times that I could not continue reading because of the tears that welled up with feelings of sadness; not only for those I read about but for myself.

Even though the names and faces I’ve seen so far are not familiar to me the stories are like templates of my own memories.  In the days that have followed I have begun searching for things other than memories and have found a few pictures of myself at FSB along with postcards from my parents. These have provided me with a time line of my stay which   points to a time frame starting in 1958 through 1959. One card from my mother dated January 9, 1959 reads;

“Dear John, I received your letter and report card today. Pioneer is excellent! (as I recall Pioneer was one of the ranks reached towards graduating and being released).  She went on to say, “So, be a good boy. You are nice and have done your best for us all and I will write you a long letter soon,  Mama. “

I also found a few pictures (attached) one of me standing next to a large Xmass cutout decoration that I recall making in woodshop.  I know the boy standing next to the cut out is me, but recalling the experience is vague and almost non-existent. Names, places, faces, all seem unfamiliar and foreign where the feelings that arise in seeing them are crystal clear and often overwhelming.

Ironically my time at the Florida School for Boys did have a happy ending.  On the day of my release I remember going home, packing by suitcase, jumping on a Greyhound bound for Pittsburg PA and reuniting with the girl I ran away with. She, in her own way, shared my experience. Having locked herself in her room during the whole time I was incarcerated, she refused to go out of the house and faithfully wrote me a letter every single day, assuring me of her love for me and counting the days before we would be together again. 

It was only a few days before we were married. This time there was no descent from the family. Even though they still thought we were young and foolish, (we were 16 and 14) they had come to accept that we were seriously in love. And you know what they say about love?
Our marriage lasted almost 25 years during which we had 3 children.  Some good, some bad. Even though I was not aware of how FSB had affected me at the time I came to realize that I internalized many of the experiences; some of which played themselves out in destructive ways. One that sticks in my mind is using the very same form of punishment with my children that I had been subjected to at FSB. There was the belt and the bed and a ritual in which I brought my child into the room, asked them to lie face down on the bed and grab the pillow as I methodically began to spank them. I remembered telling myself that this was good for them; not very different from what I was told. Fortunately I woke up from that nightmare early on in my marriage when in the course of a conversation with my wife she told me that my children were “afraid” of me.

Even though she meant it in a positive way because she had delegated punishment to me that comment rang a loud alarm inside me and after that I resolved to never hit my children again. Because of that decision I took a lot of criticism from my wife and others; sometimes even called a bad parent. But then these people didn’t know what I knew and I never shared.

It wasn’t a story book marriage but I did have experiences that as a child I only dreamed of; having been raised in a violent chaotic family by a pair of sad and pathetic parents.  I remember thinking how crazy my mother was my mother when she begged the judge to send me to FSB, and her attempts to convince me and him that it would be good for me.  Later in life I came to realize that my mother was well intended and in her mind she was protecting me from the non-stop beatings from my drunken, abusive and tormented father.  In my mother’s mind the Florida School for Boys would be a safe place for me. I blamed them at first but later realized that they had been severely damaged by the experiences of WWII.

I now suspect my failed marriage was another casualty resulting from my experiences at FSB. When my wife was diagnosed with a terminal disease we were told she had only a few years to live. My reaction was to shut down emotionally and completely disconnect from everything and everyone around me; including my wife. I later came to learn that this was a defense mechanism I had picked up in childhood when needing to protect myself from fear and pain. In this instance it was as intense as I had ever felt.  I believe that my emotional withdrawal during a time when my wife needed me the most killed our marriage.  I distanced myself even further by premeditatedly committing a crime that I knew would end in my incarceration. At some level of my psyche, in some sick and twisted way, I believed we started and our bond was the strongest. But this time, there were no letters and she did not wait.

Nor, as fate would have it, did my wife die as predicted, but many years later. The disease went into remission. I, for the most part, came out of prison a different person no longer needing to hide inside.  This time around there had been no beatings or isolation and as I later came to realize my prison experience was not only redemptive but lifesaving.

Prison is where I found myself, so to speak through spiritual experiences shared with a Yogi Swami I hooked up with who taught me how to breathe in ways that lit the fire in my belly.  Then there were classes that allowed me to complete high school and take college courses. This would lead me to completing several degrees in education and psychology. From there I embarked on a whole new life as a practicing psychologist. I say it saved my life because by helping others to care for and love themselves I learned the ways of loving and caring for both myself and those close to me.

I have also come to realize that the scars and trauma I experienced back then have never truly healed completely. A sign was my last meltdown in 1990 which left me completely disabled and unable to continue practicing. The diagnosis was PTSD which back then I was not completely convinced was accurate. Now I do. I may have not gone to war but the experiences I lived during my time at FSB were not much different. In fact they were possibly much worse than those in combat where they at least had an opportunity to fight back. As one therapist put it, he found be to be “magnificently defended and self-contained” which at the time I took as a compliment.  Looking back now that’s probably what saved me at the time. But then I unwittingly created an internal prison which I suspect was to protect myself from the ghosts of that were still haunting me from my time at FSB .” width=”280″/>
I have been blessed many times over in my life by being presented with opportunities to mend and heal some of the wounds of my past. One of the greatest gifts I’ve received came late in life.  Her name is Briana, my now 16 year old daughter that I have had the privilege to raise on my own since she was 2. I remember the day I brought her home to live with me. She was so tiny and fragile and I was so uncertain about what to do. I remember gently placing her down on the bathroom carpet  and having a one-way conversation with her which started with, “what do I do with you now?”  That day I experienced a bond that until then I had never felt. And I have carried it with me ever since ever since. Unbeknown to her this little girl did something that no one else had ever been able to do. She allowed me to open myself up and expose that side of me that I had locked away for so many years. From that moment on all I can say is, life has been good to me.

Nathaniel Dowling

My name is Nathaniel Dowling. I am 68 years old. I went FSB in Mariana November of 1958, and I was 15 years old, I stayed there untill April of 1959, and was transfered to Okeechoobee from April to October of 1959. I got out in 1959. The reason I went to FSB  is because I was with a man who robbed a man, and the juvenile court sent  me to FSB. The court wanted to send me to prison, but I was too young.  While at FSB, I worked on the maitenance crew. The job was consisted of  keeping the school property clean. While working on the clean up crew, I  witnessed children being flogged at a place called the White House, where they flogg you when you do something wrong. I have seen children taken out of my cottage and taken to the White House. When the children come back,  they have lots of blood on their underwear. I remember a child ran away       and he was in my cottage. He stayed away for 3 days untill the officers caught him. When they did he told me the officers kicked him, punched him in his mouth, hit him upside his head, and took him to the the White House, where they flogged him and gave him 60 licks. The child that ran       away have what you called a slab, meaning a piece of meat off his butt.  Right to this day, it is still there. How I know? Me and him talk everyday about how we were treated at FSB. Me myself, I was blessed. I only got       flogged 1 time. The man that ran the maitenance crew said that I was undressing the officer’s wife by looking at her. They called it reckless eyeballing, I got 50 licks for it. When i got out of FSB, I had no respect  for the law. The people at FSB made a mean pearson out of me. I went to prison 2 times involved with police officers, 1 of the charges was resisting arrest, and battery on a police officer. I tell my grandchildren how it was at FSB and they say, “They were mean to you grandaddy”. and I  told my grand kids, ” Not olny me, all of the little children were there “. I hope that no other child has to go through what i went through.
Nate  Dowling
A White House Boy from Bradenton,Fl 

Don Stewart (Homer Stewart) FSB 1952-1955

(The following is the story of Don Stewart, PLEASE don’t call him “Homer” as per his handwritten notes)

Reason for being in Florida School for Boys: He was abandoned by his mother and shoplifting for food at the age of 12. The sheriff told him it was a great place with lots of fun stuff and asked him if he wanted to go. He said yes.

Dear Sir,

In response to your query about FISFB (Florida Industrial School for Boys) “White House”, I have a very vivid and accurate memory of my story of over 3 years there. I believe I hold the record.*

This story will not be in any order, as I will probably remember more and more as I go along.

I went there in early 1952, and was “literally” “Thrown Out” in 1955. None of us boys were aware of any “boys” graveyards, or that boys were being killed. We were, however, aware that kids disappeared mysteriously. We were told they “ran away”.

When I arrived there, I was about 4’0” tall, scrawny, skinny, sticks for arms, and totally teriffied. My legs were good because I had to run all my life from bigger boys that had rape on their minds, and also from other boys who just wanted to beat me up. I could run like wind, which saved my butt (literally) many times.

The first day went good. It was the last good day for years.

I was put in Cottage #3 with boys my size and a few bigger ones who were bullies and rapists. Now, don’t get the idea that I’m saying all the boys were bad – they weren’t! I made many good friends there.

Day 2

It all came tumbling down! I had become a chronic bed wetter. I don’t know what to blame it on. I just was. I wet the bed until I went into the army at 18. One day I told myself that I was never going to wet the bed again, and I haven’t.

Bed wetters, as you can imagine, were treated harshly and hated. Mr. Tidwell (our house father) whipped bed wetters every day, and they were made to carry the mattress and bedding a good distance to the laundry. It was very heavy and I fell many times.

We went to school one day and worked the next (every other day) with the “Yard Crew”, mostly cutting grass with sickles. I blistered up right away as did most of us.

It made me a little stronger and bigger.

After a time, Mr. Dozier (the Top Dog) and Mr. Hatten (Deliverer of Punishment) were forced to put new light poles in the entire campus. We had to dig waist deep ditches for months – many months. I came into my own during this phase. In the beginning, my hands blistered like nothing you’ve ever seen. The blisters covered the area from the base of my thumbs almost to the center of my palm. Then, of course, they burst and bled, and large cracks formed in them. They bled profusely, until somehow they formed new skin. I still have the scars there! I worked there for most of my stay, and I got bigger and stronger every day.

Then, one day they took our ditch digging crew out of school on our school day, and made us work in the mess hall. Later I was transferred to the kitchen. We worked in the ditches from daylight to dark, then went to work in the kitchen till about 3 a.m. Many of the crew disappeared – we never knew to where, and didn’t have the time to care! We got up at daylight and went to the trenches. This went on for months, if not years.

As the ditch diggers slowly dwindled, we finally got down to only four of us, and I was made foreman. We finished the project pretty soon after that.

We never got to do anything but work. After that we went back to the kitchen full time every day from morning till midnight.

As you might suspect, by now, I was very big and very strong.

Many, many bullies spent their days beating up, raping, and bullying smaller boys.

I dedicated my free time to stopping the bullies and beating the crap out of them. I hate to admit, but I enjoyed it.

Back to the First Part

For the first few months, I was beaten and raped on a regular basis. It took me 2 years to be able to defend myself.

In the second year, I was deemed incorrigible.

They took away the rankings I had earned (Explorer with 3 Fours) and dropped me back to a “Grub” (the lowest rank). I never made it to the highest rank. (I don’t even remember what it was. Pioneer, I think, or something like that.

Many of my friends went home. Me, I went to the White House every week for a beating. I was transferred to a different “cottage” with bigger and meaner boys. But I was 6 foot tall and 180 lbs by then. I feared none of them and they respected me. However, the house-father didn’t like me because his little girls always crawled up in my lap at nigh;t when we were outside gathered around the fire. (Little girls always do that to me – I guess I”m a kid magnet)

Any way, he transferred me to the “kitchen cottage”, where the biggest, meanest, and strongest boys were housed. I wasn’t the “top dog” there, and many bloody fights ensued. It wasn’t long before I didn’t have to fight anymore. It seems even when I lost, I wasn’t the only one in agony!

When the former house father took away my rank, I knew I was never going home. I was going to die there. I thought, “Good, the sooner, the better”.

I worked in the kitchen for the rest of my time there. ( I figured, this is the rest of my life). BUT, the high-up muckety-mucks put me on a “Must List”. That means that every time I got a “low” grade, (one that did not increase my rank) I went to the White House, and after a beating, I got my grade erased. But there was one catch – I had to reach Pioneer (or whatever) to go home!

I don’t remember all the staff that gave the beatings, but I do know that Mr. Hatten was one of them. We weren’t allowed to look at them, but I did it in defiance anyway.

Another one of them was a Mr. Dixon (I’m not sure of the spelling?). He was nice. He counseled me and talked to me on many occasions. One time, when he was beating me, I heard a strange sound, like he was crying!! He was a good man!

Anyway, my life went on, after my 3rd “must” beating (I was due to 10 of them!! – I don’t know why 10?) Mr. Dixon came to my cottage and told me to get all of my clothes and bring them downstairs to him. I was worried and curious. I did bring my clothes, and he took them and put them in his car. He said, “Get in”.

You can imagine what horrors I thought I was in for. But, he drove me to town and put me on a bus to my home. The last thing he said was, “Don’t ever come back here. If you do, you will never see home again!”. I never went back, but I always wondered what he meant. Now, I know I was slated for the cemetery.

I was 15 ½ years old and dumped into a world I no longer knew. It was mid school year in West Palm Beach, Florida then, and I started school with little or no education.

I resumed my habit of punishing bullies when I saw them picking on smaller, weaker kids. Some of them may have died if I hadn’t intervened. I got kicked out of school before I realized that I didn’t have to beat them into the ground. All I had to do was interfere. Bullies don’t like that – they always backed down.

I will add more to this as the details become clearer in my mind. I’m 73 years old now, so “you know, it don’t come easy”.

The first year I was there, I was beaten daily by the bigger or more aggressive boys, and raped by some of them.

Names and other forgotten memories

Dowd was my best friend for a long time, then he turned on me. I don’t know why? One day when we were walking along the sidewalk, and he suddenly slashed me with his knife! (Third finger on my left hand, and I still have the scar, although its hard to see now). I broke his nose in return, and we never got along after that.

The Civilian Result

A monster is relased! The damage I did was unacceptable! In my fury concerning bullies, I did as I had had to do at FISB. I broke noses, fingers, arms, ankles, and wills of the bullies. I can never atone for those things.

I was not the toughest, strongest, or meanest boy at FSB. I shudder to think about the mayhem and misery those boys must have caused to unsuspecting children when they were released (those of them that escaped the cemetery).

Many went straight to prison from there. All were damaged. All were unfit for society, and we all suffer mental problems. I assume that those of us who survived still wear that shackle – but manage to hide it.

People must learn not to anger these angry young men, because they are dangerous and unstable.

God bless the poor souls who have to live with this, hide this, and try to integrate back into society.

As for me, I finally settled down. I have a wonderful wife of forty plus years, loving children, and grandchildren who worship me. I can ask for no more. But, beware of angering the monster I keep hidden inside.

Names Remembered

Harwood Burritt – friend

Royce Graves – friend at time, enemy at others

Robert (?) West – enemy

There are so many faces that I recall – almost as if I was back there with them. I see their lips moving, but I hear few words. I recall events, locations, interactions, good and bad times, good and bad boys. Just memories flashing past. Some stay with me. Its as if they call to me, “Me, Me, put me in your story!”. So many victims, so long ago.

I miss them!

I’m tearing up. I even miss the bad ones – they too, have their story to tell. The bad things they did drift out of my memory and I can only recall the good things. They too were lashing out, at anybody – venting their pain, fear, and frustration. Wanting to be noticed, and loved, and cared for.

I see the broken bodies and pain. Pain that was inflicted on them. I want to hug them and cry with them. I am ready to cry right now myself.

I see the violent me – lashing out, punishing them and destroying their self esteem! So much blood! So much mayham! I realize now that we were all the same. Brothers under one false front. Striking out at anything! Afraid, angry, sad, and hiding any emotions but hatred.

And now, I realize, I, too, am a lost boy. We do not fear hell, or death, only rejection! We are the Lost Boys. Most of us will never overcome it. I think I have – for the most part. I wish that this had never come back to me. I try to ignore the anger that’s building in me again. The savage thoughts that plague me and haunt me. The sudden outbursts of anger and violence that worries my loved ones. But, still it remains.

But, now, I think I can finally face it, and defeat it. I realize now there is no “they”, for I, too, am a lost boy. Are you?

Do not ask me to speak of this again!


*Here is a comment from Don’s daughter, Lisa that shows how highly she regards her father, “ I fully intended to type this for you, but can not stand to read it. I can not think of my Dad this way after all the years he has spent being Superman.”

Bill Price – written 2/22/09

This is probably nothing that you havent heard before but just another story of a young boy being brutally beaten at Florida school for boys at Marianna.

    My story began in 1961, living in Tampa and my parents had left to move to California. I had all my friends here and said I didnt want to go, so they left me.  I worked odd jobs mostly in car and truck  junk yards since it was something i was really interested in. I had just turned 14 years old and was alone in the world. I continued to go to school and work afterwards. managed to pay my way and even buy my own car.

    So much for that, I am not attempting to make someone feel sorry for the way I was raised  because   I knew many boys in there that had it as bad or maybe worse than me. My goal here is to tell of the horrors a child can and did go through in that time period. I went to a show of the Harlem Globe Trotters at Curtis Hixon in Tampa, Fl. with some friends and somehow one of them went in the wrong door and all the money for the admission was sitting on a table. He came running out with the money and said we gotta go and of course we were in my car. Needless to say we got caught and all the money was returned, everyone got a slap on the wrist and released to their parents except me. I had no parents to be released to so I was sent to Marianna as a runaway.

       Upon arrival I was told many things about the place and how I should watch how I talked and acted or it could be big trouble for me. I wasn’t much on listening at the time and pretty much had to be shown. In the first week of being there I was given 25 licks for disrespect. This didn’t set real well with me so I ran away. I stayed gone for three days and was turned in by some nice old lady that gave me a ride to Chipley. I thought I was home free but, unfortunately I  was taken back to the school and this time it was much worse for me than I had anticipated. I was given 100 licks and as in previous stories you have read it was with the same leather strap. Bear in mind that this was only three days after I had gotten 25 licks for disrespect and I was still quite tender on the rear and I knew I was going to get much worse.

       Although they took turns beating me, the most outstanding memory I have is how Troy Tidwell would scrape his foot and telegraph the next blow was coming. I would like to tell you that all you do is hold a rail, bite a pillow and wait for it to be over but that is far from the truth. You cant help but count every blow and wonder if you might bleed to death before its over. I remember screaming and yelling and praying to God for them to stop but to no avail. I recall how one would get tired and another would take over. When I stopped screaming they knew that I had become numb in those spots and moved to my legs and back to finish the beating. After I was beaten they had to help me off the bed and wrapped me in a towel to hide the blood and sent me to the infirmary to be cleaned up and returned to my dorm. The next day I had to go to work on yard detail.

        I will say that the experience did break my spirit for the next several months. and believe me I was real easy to get along with. I made a lot of friends there and for some stupid reason they looked at me like some kind of hero or something because I was still alive after that beating I guess, I wasn’t anyone’s hero but it felt good when your 14 and been through the worst and still there to let the others know how it was. Things got worse for me, because in a year I was scheduled to leave and go home but my parents couldn’t be found and I had to stay. I had a friend that had been talking about running and this latest news about having to stay really hurt so we   ran. I will leave it up to my friend to tell his story and divulge his name if he chooses. anyway, we had devised the perfect plan. he  ran one way and I ran the other. This time I made it all the way to Chattahoochee, Fl. and got caught trying to get a change of clothes off a clothes line. I was taken back and since we had split up my friend had not been caught yet. After 2 hours of trying to get me to tell them where my friend went, a black eye and busted lip were in addition to what I was about to get. 

         I was taken to the white house again and given the 100 licks I had just earned for running only this time I really had them mad at me because it was the second time I had run and I wouldn’t tell them anything about my friend. I could hear the foot scrapes on the floor and this time the strap was not aimed at my butt, I was hit in the legs, back and even the shoulders, the pain was so excruciating that I could only remember getting to 79 before I passed out (I remember this because I talked about it a lot to some people later that never believed me and all but called me a liar) I woke up in the infirmary and nurse Womack said she thought I was dead. I was kept in the infirmary for an extra day and then sent back to my dorm. I was sent back to infirmary a day later because my coccyx bone was broken and I couldn’t sit down anywhere. It took nearly 3 months before I could sit in cafeteria and eat. (had to stand and eat in kitchen)

        I stayed on the yard crew mowing and weeding most of my time and after  the second time I ran I was called many times to the white house and had to sweep and mop the floors as a remind for  running and while there cleaning I was given the occasional slap on the head or the kick in the ass or shins. I was really glad when another grub took my place.

        Although you would think that someone , even someone as headstrong as myself would learn but I did end up going to the White House again for fighting trying to help someone else out, boy go  figure. I was taken to the White House with along with 2 others. we were sitting on the waiting cot listening to the others get beat. I remember thinking it was funny because the boy I got in a fight with was crying already and I am trying to calm him down. Anyway we could hear one of the boys screaming and then the screaming stopped and I thought the beating was over and we were about to go, but I could still hear the licks.  I remember thinking he was pretty tough not to yell or cry out.  After a few minutes Troy Tidwell came out breathing hard and sweating and I thought one of us was about to go in but he made us leave an return to dorm and said he would come get us later. It wasn’t ’til the next day when they came to get us, I thought something was up but I was glad for the day reprieve.  I never saw the boy that was in front of me again but I really never looked for him either.  It was just a strange turn of events and I don’t recall it happening before. 

       I will say that I kept this bottled up inside for 50 years and even though I am letting someone know what happened to me as a child it does not ease the pain of it happening. I know that I would like to have that same strap and be able to use it on the ones that did it to me and I don’t think there is a man that experienced it that wouldn’t. An eye for an eye. Some have said that the men that did this are dead or they are old and frail, but then I think of a 14 year old boy and two grown men nearly beating him to death. I would have no problem. I listened to the news and I hear how inhumane it is to electrocute a murderer, how it is inhumane to hurt an animal, it is even inhumane to extract information from an enemy that would kill you if given the chance. Yet the people of Florida and Marianna want to let the torture of young boys go away with no investigation. I heard someone say that the statute of limitations has run out on this type of abuse, To you I say that it will never run out of the mind of the children that experienced it first hand. these men have taken different paths in their lives, but not one did so without the memories. I am a grown and aging man now but the memory has followed me through relationships and all of my adult life. how can I trust when the ones I was supposed to be able to trust beat  me unmercifully. how can I love when I was never taught how, and how can I be just when I see no justice.


George F Schools – My Story of Being One of ‘The White House Boys’

I was around fourteen (14) when I stole a brand new 1958 Edsel from the showroom floor at Stewart Lincoln Mercury in Hollywood, Florida. Some of my friends and I went on a joyride for two days. On the third day, I ditched the car in what was called “Butler’s Dairy.” This joyride would lead to a terrible place.

I do not remember how the police found out it was me that stole the car. Once they caught up to me, I was arrested and put in an isolation cell in Broward County Jail. I was there for a time before they brought me before Judge Ray Orr. Being a minor he charged me with malicious mischief, he said I was a Juvenile Delinquent and then sentenced me to an “indeterminate” amount of time at the Florida School for Boys in Marianna.

I had heard about the reform school but never thought I would end up there. A short time later, I was transported by two (2) State Marshalls to FSB. For the next thirteen (13) months and three (3) days, my life totally changed. It was like a horror house.

When I arrived in July of 1958, there had already been an investigation into the disciplinary actions of the “so-called” cottage fathers. The state had set up new rules and regulations prior to my sentencing. Some of the changes included the following standards:

1.    No fists shall be used on the boys.

2.    No guns were allowed to be carried.

3.    Disciplinary action was to be taken only after an administrative hearing.

4.    The boys were to have a doctor available 24-7 in case of injury. (never did)

5.    There was no solitary confinement. The doors where taken out of “The White House” but     they were allowed to shutter the windows (little did the public know that behind those     shutters were steel bars). Only a green door remained.

When I arrived at Marianna in was in July of 1958. There was a three (3) day classification that I went through and they put me in Cleveland Cottage Number 11. My Cottage father’s name was Sealander. More than that, I do not remember much about him.

I was assigned to the agriculture crew. It was our job to mow the lawns, work the fields, dig ditches, and work in the human waste disposal. I really did not mind the work, it was very hard, but it kept me going. Eventually they allowed me to drive a “tug” around to pick up the laundry. I would get the laundry and drive it back to the laundry shop. There I would unload it and return the tug. We also went to school every other day.

During a time when I was hoeing a potato field, I dug up an old paddle. The paddle was made with layers of leather and was around 2-2 ½ feet with a grip. The layers of leather were bolted together with small nuts and bolts. I showed it to a few other boys and then I re-buried it because it scared the hell out of me. I did not want anyone seeing me dig it up let alone showing it around.

After I had been there for a while, I thought about running away. I told this to another boy and we discussed possibilities. Someone must have overheard our conversation because shortly afterward we were called into administration. After which we were turned over to Mr. Tidwell and my nightmare began.

Tidwell brought us both to “The White House” and into a room with two bare cots. The “musty smell” of that room is something I have never forgotten. Before Tidwell started beating us, he gave us certain instructions that went like this: “You are to hold onto the bedframe of that cot, if you let go I will have the kitchen boys hold you down and the count will start all over again.” Who wants to go first? I looked at my friend and said, “I will go first.”

The first time the paddle came down it moved my entire body into the cot (which had springs) and I almost went through the cot to the floor. The springs bounced the bed back. When the springs stopped, I could hear Tidwell’s foot move and the “swooshing” of the paddle coming down on me again. Tidwell took his time as he was enjoying doing it. Foot; swoosh, bang, springs moving and me trying not to scream out. I lost count after thirty-five (35) whacks. When he was done with me, Tidwell made me stay and watch him beat the other boy.

My friend could not take the pain, his screams resounded through the White House, and I knew at that moment that they could beat me but they could never beat me down. It took weeks before the injuries healed. Internally I was really screwed up. The bruises faded but the hatred grew. That was the first time I was beaten.

The second time came when my friend and I ended up again on the same crew. I think they set us up to run but I could never prove it. The day we decided to take off, we were in an okra field. They had just called a break so my friend and I went to sit down beneath a shade tree. He said we should take off right now; we could be miles away before they even knew we were gone. I was just dumb enough to think I could get away so, off we went. We followed a stream until we came upon a town.

The sun was going down and it was really getting cold. My friend spotted a plane in a field. We went over to it and I told him I wished I knew how to fly. He said his father had a plane and he could fly it. I was crazy but not that crazy, I said “no way.” We were lucky enough to find warm shirts in the plane and some food. We kept going. The next morning we were walking on the railroad tracks when I spotted a State Trooper looking right at us. We started to run. He fired warning shots over our heads and said if we did not stop, he would let his dog do the rest. We surrendered. We were brought to the Sheriff’s station and we sat there until the “State car” showed up to take us back to FSB.

This time Tidwell showed no mercy. He wailed on both of us with that paddle for what seemed like hours. The next few days were a blur. It took a long time to heal but I never tried to run after that. I seem to remember one more trip to “the White House” before I was released but I cannot remember why.

I know I saw a boy being shot at. I do not know if they hit him or not. I also saw Tidwell and another man hauling a black boy out of “the White House” in a wheelbarrow and he was brought across the street. I have no idea what happened to him or if he was even alive, he was limp when they put him in the wheelbarrow.

Some things I do not remember. After I left there, I tried to block it out of my mind totally. Dredging all of this up after fifty years is difficult. I know it affected my life. I went on to commit crimes and spent time in jail. I did not get my life together until I was in my forties. I have not committed any crimes in the past thirty years. Other problems have plagued me over the years and I know in my heart it all stemmed from the thirteen (13) months and three (3) days that I spent at FSB.

This is my story to the best of my recollection and I will swear to it in a court of law.

George F. Schools

A “White House Boy”

More Mens’ Stories

Bob Baxter

Photo of Bob and his Aunt on the day she came to pick him up from Florida School for Boys

I was raised by my grandfather because my mother was a drunk that chose men like her to be with.  In 1947 for whatever reason my grandfather let my mom take me to live with her. She was married to a man named Lewis Alberts — he was a drunk also and would beat my ass for no reason at all. 

I started skipping school and staying away from home at night because they were constantly fighting and drunk. They went to the authorities in St. Pete to have me put away, and they didn’t do anything so they went to Bradenton and a woman named Mary Johnson helped them and they signed papers commiting me to Marianna.

 I have a copy of the court order. That was in June of 1950.  In April of 1951 my Aunt Sybil found out what my mother had done. It took her about two weeks and I was out of there.  

While I was there I ran away twice. The first time I had been there maybe 3 weeks . I stayed in the woods and when I came out to the road around 3 days later they caught me. I was taken to the Ice cream factory as it was known back then and Hatton beat my ass with a board until blood was running in my shoes. 

I was in cottage #6. They told me to get to my cottage. Apparently I was too bloody for them to take me in their car.  On the way to my cottage, I decided that they might kill me and I hit the woods again. This time while still wearing the bloody clothes.

 I was able to stay in the woods for a couple of more days. When I came out late that night they picked me up on the road. I was taken back to the Ice cream factory and Hatton told me ‘ I’m going to teach you not to run. I remember the beating when it started but I passed out and woke up in the hospital  —– only through the grace of God I didn’t get put in one of those graves.

 I was taken to the Ice cream factory one more time for fighting. I have never been able to tolerate bullies and one day a guy named Davis was picking on Freddie Surber who was 10 at the time. Davis was 15 like me.  He wouldn’t stop and I beat his ass. Hatton asked me after the beating I got for fighting if it was worth it. I said every damn lick. Thought he might beat me again but he didn’t. 

I left there in April of 1951, joined the USMC in Nov.  The experience at Florida School for Boys made my respect for authority non-existent.  Through the Marine Corp and some other things in my life I have some respect for authority but it’s on a short leash.  My temper put me in some bad situations but as I grew older I learned to control it.  

I’ve been a Christian now for many years and much healing has taken place. The lack of Trust of others I guess will always be a part of me.  Thanks to all the Whitehouse Boys that have brought this  to where we are today. 

Jack Townsley

It started as a beautiful warm South Florida evening. I was 15 at the time and had already pulled a stint in what they called The Dade County Children’s Home. It had been a rough life so far. My parents started leaving me alone when I was 7 years old. I had to learn to fend for myself fast. My mother worked all day and my father drank all day so you know how it goes. I started stealing to survive and the years started going by fast.

On this night I was trying to steal a car from the parking lot of a local restaurant. They had valet Parking and left the keys on the left front tire. I was in a car and starting it when the head valet saw me. He came over and asked me what I was doing. I told him that I was leaving and what business was it of his. He ask me who parked my car and I told him that since I didn’t like anyone driving my car I did. He then requested me to come with him and show him who I talked to when I parked. I said sure. When I got out and we got near the front of the car I hit him as hard as I could in the stomach and ran.

Well to make a long story short I ended up in juvenile hall again. Now as I stood before the Judge I knew it wasn’t going to work out well for me. He said that I was showing a history of escalating serious crimes. Now I was assaulting people. So he was going to send me to the Florida School for Boys. At this time there were two schools for boys in Florida. One at Okeechobee and One at Marianna, I ask if I could go to the one at Okeechobee as it was close enough for my mother to come and visit. That fine Judge told me that no I was going to go to Marianna and that if nothing else they would beat the meanness out of me.

About 7:00 that night a guard came and told me to pack anything I had that I was being transferred. Three black guys and I were loaded into a station wagon. Two black officers were taking us on our trip to Marianna. First though they drove to the black area of Miami and did quite a bit of drinking. After about two hours we headed out. We got on the turnpike and drove for about two hours, and then they pulled over to the side of the road so they could sleep.  One of the officers got in the back of the station wagon and lay down and told me to get in the front seat with the other officer.  Everyone went to sleep and I woke up about just as it was getting to be daylight. Very quietly I opened the door and eased out of the car. If I could take off before they woke up it would be my chance to get away.  No one woke up and I ran back toward the way we came.  After going about a mile I found a way to cross the canal that ran next to the road. I thought that if I could hide out most of the day I could come out later and they would be gone. I spent about 5 or 6 hours just laying down and staying out of sight. When I figured they were gone I came out and started hitchhiking my way back to Miami. It wasn’t long before I got my first ride.  A state trooper who took me straight to the county jail.

Later that afternoon two other officers from the Dade County system came and picked me up and delivered me to Marianna. I was immediately put into confinement or as they called it up on the hill. Confinement was a strange place. They made you exercise 15 minutes a day. In the nude. The guard would watch through the peep hole in the door.   I was there for about three days when one of the staff came and got me and took me to my cottage. This was a one arm guy and he drove me to Jackson cottage and told me to report to the cottage father as they called the person that ran the cottage. Before he told me to get out he told me he had a word for the wise. It was up to me rather I headed it or not. He said that, “we don’t mess around with you idiots here. If you mess up we have a place for you. It’s called the White House and I guarantee you won’t like it.  I’ll see to it personally.” He said some kids never left there. So I had my word to the wise.

I was there for a couple of months and one day the cottage father left something in his car and I opened the door and took it when I thought no one was looking. I was wrong of course and someone told on me. Before long they came and got me and took me to the White House. They told me to lie down on this bed that had all kinds of stains and stuff on it and told me to grab the bar at the top and if I got up they would start again. The guy that gave me my licks was named Mr. White. It was kind of funny because he was a black guy. He was a big black guy. Stood about 6’6” and weighed close to 350 pounds. I got 50 licks that day and it set my mind for the rest of my life. Even to this day I hate just about everybody.

I only got one trip to the White house as soon after they quit beating guys due to the law being changed or something. I spent 9 months at Marianna. I would go on to spend 17 years of my life in the Florida Prison System for one thing or another. The last time I was released was October of 1992 and I haven’t been back since. I gave up on trying to make the easy money or the big score or whatever they want to call it. I’m old and tired now and most of those that were beating the kids there are dead. They closed down Marianna about two years ago and they are now trying to identify the kids on boot hill. Maybe it will give some folks hearts a rest to know what happened to their children. I will never forget though.

Richard Arveaux (Arvo)

I was sent to FSB Marianna late in 1956! A cop named Lou Karmazon in Broward county saw to it that I only got 18 months rather that the indeterminate sentence, that had been recomended! Almost the worst 18 months of my life! 5 years in Raiford later was worse, but not because of physical pain. I found a story on the internet just before Christmas 2012 about the findings at the reform school…I’d put that hellhole so far in the back of my mind that I’d almost totally forgotten everything about it! Now at 70 years old, I can’t sleep, and when I do, all I dream about is 9 trips to the White House, and the pain, the never ending pain. God, I hope,what I and many other young boys went through is never experienced by another.

Here is the longer version of Richard’s story:

I’m generally not willing to get into my life with other people, especially people I’ve never met! I think this is an exception,because of a background we share. I’m still not comfortable with it though! 


   My father left my mother and 3 kids in the middle of 1955! We were living on a boat in a boatyard in Dania, Florida! He tried to sink it the day he left! He ran off with a woman that had two kids. 

   Up to that point, I had been a straight A student! Then things changed! My grades shot to the bottom, my attitude went to hell! I started skipping school, hanging out in a local poolhall, smoking, cursing and getting into fights, regularly losing every one! But still fighting! 

   After one really bad asswhipping, I had 2 busted ribs, 4 missing teeth and 10 broken bones in my hands, I figured out that losing was for losers, and I wasn’t going to be a loser any more! Chairs, books, poolcues pencils, anything that I could put my hands on started winning my fights. I still lost a few, but I became a winner, and I liked it!

   My reputation became well known locally. I was a dirty fighter and fewer people challanged me! I liked that, there was considerably less pain. But that created a problem. No one wanted anything to do with me, especially girls. I became unafraid of anyone and anything. That was the begining of my path to Marianna!

   For a few years before my father left us, he had what was called a beach buggy, it was a 1936 plymouth, everything behind the drivers seat was cut off and turned into a sort of flatbed. It had 2 tires on the rear of each side,welded together and kept very low in air to better go up and down the beach. I learned to drive in the thing, and I was pretty damn good for a 10 or 11 year old.

   In the 1950’s, new cars were released for sale on the first Monday in September, I guess it was a deal that American car companies had with each other to keep compitition fair.

   There were a couple of guys I knew from school, they were a couple years ahead of me. One was a 9th grader and one was in high school. They came by the poolhall and asked me to drive them to Ft.Lauderdale beach in their new car so they can see if all three of us could pick up some girls, but they were drinking and didn’t think they could drive. And I wanted to drive a new car!

   It was August 1956, it was hotter then hell and the breeze felt great! It was a 1957 Ford Crown Victoria and I was the coolest guy alive! Till the red lights came on behind us! I pulled over on the new 17th street causeway. And thats when it dawned on me that I was driving a car that hadn’t even been for sale yet. Brilliant!

   They claimed I stole the car and I was taken to the city jail! They called their parents and got a slap on the wrists. I called my mother, and she said, well, I expected something like that sooner or later. When I went to Juvie court, my mother told the judge that she couldn’t control me and I hardly ever came home, my grades were all F’s and I was stealing all her cigarettes. The judge said I was to have a probation investigation and would sentence me in a couple of weeks.  No plea, no Miranda, he was just going to sentence me! Wonderful Juvinile laws in Florida!

   While waiting in jail for my sentence, I sort of took control of my cell block, I broke up a couple fights, kept a young babyfaced kid from getting raped by an older teen and kept the trouble down for the time I was there. There was a cop named Lou Karmazon, who liked how things were going there and he talked to me nearly every evening. I told him the truth about what happened, and he believed me and proved it in court. He argued for a determinate sentence rather than sending me away till I turned 21. And the judge gave me 18 months.

   Hello Marianna! The second day, I was in a fight with an older inmate..I won the fight, but the “White House” took my ass! I hadn’t even had time enough to hear about the place before I was visiting it! I was dragged into the building shoved onto a bench and told to shut my mouth! Damn that place stunk and was filthy. And I had no clue why I was there! Or what to expect! About an hour later another guard came in, grabbed me and pulled me into a bare room with a bed frame, a chair and a ceiling fan! Then a guy with one arm came in, shoved me over the end of the bed, told me to hold the rail and not make a single sound! Now I was scared, but I was a tough guy and could take whatever they could do to me…Boy, was I ever wrong! I heard a noise like sandpaper, then my ass exploded! I came off the bed screaming and heading for the door. One of them punched me in the stomach and draged me back to the bed, threw me back over the end and told me, one more sound other than tears hitting the floor would get me more of the same, and he had all night and a lot of help. I heard one of them say, well, I guess you’ll have to start all over!

   I kept my mouth shut and tried to count, I lost count somewhere after 27 or 28! I never hurt so much in my life, and never lost so much water from my eyes! I cried like a baby! I wound up going to the White House a total of 9 times! Once for fighting and keeping my virginity from an older teen, got me more than 35 licks. once for kicking a guard in the balls that thought I’d make a nice girlfriend, More than 60 licks, pased out and don’t know actually how many. The other times not too bad, usually between 30 and 50 licks for using words a “normal” mother would wash your mouth out with soap for saying!

   There was only one bright spot in my time there. A guy named Mr. Johnson, a little wizened old guy that ran a carpentry crew! He taught me a little about a trade that came handy from time to time later in my life.

   My time there, twisted me mentally and emotionaly for a number of years! I guess I was a little crazy then! But not crazy enough to get me sent back. I was destined for bigger things, I thought!

   The day I turned 17, I enlisted in the Army with high hopes, 2 days before 1960! Took basic training in South Carolina, then jump school in Georgia, then combat Engineer school in Missouri. I was going somewhere! Then I took a fatal weekend pass! I don’t know why, but I started over drinking, and got way too far into my head. I met a guy and we drank even more. He told me he knew a couple girls that would drink and put out for us, and I said let’s go find them. We got in his car, found the girls and went for a drive! I got laid in the back seat, and was drinking more and more. when we got pulled over.

   Stuck in a jail again. This time in a Federal holding cell in Ft Smith, Arkansas! Sober and in court, I find out this guy had stolen the car and the girls were underage! Still no Miranda. But then, Miranda didn’t come till a few years later. Now the charges were The Dyer act; taking a stolen car across state lines for illegal purposes!  The Mann act: taking underage girls across state lines for immoral purposes. Crap, 18 months in a Federal Youth Correctional Facility, and to top it off, an Undesireable Discharge from the Army

   My life was like gravity…It sucked!

   In Marianna, I never heard one word from my mother! In the Federal slam, I never heard one word from my mother. She was at least consistant! I did the time, got out, went back to Florida stayed with my mother one week, moved out, met a girl, got married and I was going to get it right this time.

   We fought like cats and dogs..It seemed like I couldn’t do enough to keep her in the style to which she wanted to become accustomed! She threw me out one night and I headed to Ft Lauderdale beach on foot. On my way I passed a used car lot, looked over the cars, one still had the keys in it…Now I had wheels! I had a few drinks, found a girl, got what I wanted from her, dropped her off at her home, headed toward my house. I realized I couldn’t go there, so I parked, went to sleep in the car and woke up to cops all around the car!  This time I was guilty! And still no Miranda!

   5 years, 5 years for being a drunk, lost, angry human being! Raiford and the chain gang was hell all over again. Fought some, won some, lost some, survived! That 5 years are a story all by itself!, It includes the integration of the chain gang, not fun at all!

  My last couple years there, I began reading, a lot! I made some decisions! I don’t know how, but I do know why, but I’ve stayed out of any circumstances that would put me behind bars again. I guess I gave up on being something!

   I’ve made it to 70 and never came close to going back. I must have wimped out in some ways! In the last few years I’ve wondered what my life would have been like, had my father not run off! I have a high IQ, I’m big and still strong and nearly as fast as I was when I was 20! I could have been a useful member of society! Instead I’m divorced 6 times, My income is in the lowest 1% of the country, I don’t trust anyone! I have 2 friends, and one is my 7th wife.

   I know with absolute certainity, that The Florida School for Boys at Marianna took my life and my mind in directions I never would have traveled on my own! Thank you Dad, Mom, Tidwell, Hatton and Florida for making me the man I am today! And thanks, for these stories about the place I’d all but forgotten. I didn’t need sleep or nightmares, but I now have them.

All I wanted to do, was leave this world in some sort of phoney peace!  Florida, my parents are dead, so you, the whole damn State owe me for what you had a large hand in doing to a nice kid!


Richard {Arvo} Arveaux

Claude Robins

My name is Claude Robins. Robins is spelled with one B.  (ROBINS).  I am 75 years old  and I am a former inmate of  Marianna, where I was incarcerated in 1953 and released in Sept., 1954. I was kind of raised in Jacksonville, Florida until I reached thirteen, when I was sent to Marianna for being wayward. Wayward meant I kept running away from the foster homes I was sent to when I was nine or ten, after my mother abandoned me and my brother and sisters. According to my mother,  Judge Marion Gooding offered to release me if she would give him certain favors. She didn’t want me and I never personally appeared before the judge, so there was no due process. Maybe juveniles are not entitled to a hearing in the great state of Florida. Me and a boy named Russell Rafuse broke a window in the juvenile shelter and climbed down sheets we tied together to escape. When I was caught again I was sent to Marianna.                                                                                                                When I first got there and saw the place, I was really impressed and thought “What a nice place.”  While being processed, Mr. Dozier came to the office and he looked and acted so nice and made a pleasant smile to his young secretary. You see, the devil seldom puts on a bad face. If he did, how could he get the chance to do his horrible things? It wouldn’t take me long to understand that Mr. Dozier could smile just as pleasantly when he pushed a boy thru the white house door  as he did  when he smiled for the pretty young secretary .

      I don’t know why I got my first low grade, probably for looking at a staff member wrong. I soon learned to keep my eyes downcast, unless the staff member said to look at him when he was talking. And then he might decide I was looking at him wrong or something and that would mean a low grade. Since I started out on the ROOKIE SQUAD (same as GRUB CREW)  the first low grade meant a beating, so come Sat.  I was in the line in front of the whitehouse. First we spent an hour or so at the office waiting on Mr. Dozier and some other staff members to escort us to the white house. By the time we were lined up, some of the boys were already crying and shaking and some had already peed their pants. I might have done the same but didn’t really know what was facing me. I was near the end of the line of about a dozen boys so had to hear them get beat. My God! Some of them were just  9 or 10. Just babies! The young ones hadn’t had time to toughen up yet.

      This is one place a boy finds out why some scientists claim time is relevant. When you are waiting in line to eat ice cream, it is soon over. Time just flies on bye.  But when a boy is in line to get a brutal beating and listening to others get beat, why time just seems to go on forever.

      The boys who had already gotten beat were allowed to go to their work assignments. They went out the side door. Dozier would open the front door and motion another boy inside. He would smile and  touch a finger to his lip to caution quiet in the line. He liked us to be orderly. Some couldn’t be orderly. They were already pissing in their pants and crying. Some just looked up at him and begged Please! Please! Please?! But that didn’t do no damn good. He just pushed the kid on into the whitehouse while the rest of us listened. Some of the kids were calling for God or Jesus to help them, while others were crying Mama, Mama, Mama. Nothing helped. The beatings just went on. And on. And on. If you were there, you will dream about them forever. I was at Taco Bell the other day when the fan came on and my wife asked me what was wrong. I wasn’t able to give her an answer. But if you were at the school you know what was the matter. Also when I hear someone’s  shoe slide across a cement floor I cringe because that  is the sound just before the paddle hits. You hear the shoe move, then the paddle slides up the wall, then it slips thru the air sounding like a bird’s wings and then you hear the sound like a gunshot go off and think you’ve been shot. But,  No. It was just Dozier administering corrective measure or attitude adjustment. Call it whatever you want to by any other name, it was still a brutal beating. That was a terrible beating, but not at all in the class of a runaway beating. My injuries from running have lasted more than 60 years and caused several surgeries, and yet there were some beaten  worse than I was.      My friend Tommy Wiggins was ahead of me in the line one time. He had some kind of mental problem and some other boys picked on him and I took up for him. That is why he was ahead of me in the line. He couldn’t understand what was happening to him or why it was happening. He kept asking why they were beating him and he tried to get up and they just beat him more. It was terrible. Tommy never cried, but I did.

     A short time later I missed Tommy and asked Mister Daffin if he knew where Tommy was. Mister Daffin wouldn’t look at me as he said that Tommy was dead, that he had died while being transported to the mental hospital.

      That all happened in the fifties and it is still fresh in my mind.

     I want to answer a few questions and give my email and telephone number and promise to pay for any polygraph test given to myself or Troy Tidwell.

      There were no girls at either the black boys institution or the white boys institution.

      The staff was not prejudiced when I was there. They beat the white boys just as bad as the black        boys were beat. 

      Why were there not more graves? Because some probably contain more than one body. Also the boys who were shot had to be thrown in the river or left in the woods. How could they bring in a wounded child?  No, they were finished off and disposed of.

Why did it take so long to tell my story? No one would ever believe me. I tried and got laughed at. Now some people believe.

All boys have indeterminate sentences. A first class rat could make ACE and get out in 7 ½ months. A really good boy could make PILOT and get out in 8 ½ months. Most boys who had no low grades the last 4 months could make PIONEER and get out in 12 months. He had to be PIONEER a minimum of three months. 


Some of them maybe didn’t know of the brutalities. Maybe. They had to be very dense.

Some people say the beatings were justified because the boys were insolent. No! No! A new boy might be insolent one time. After that he would be committing suicide. Maybe at a later date the kids got offensive. Not in the fifties.

Bob Massingill of Lecanto gave a statement that Troy Tidwell was mild mannered, friendly, clean and well dressed. Yes, he was. Bob also claimed he was only hit lightly with the strap 3 or 4 times. Also claimed Tidwell drove him around on the campus several times and took him to the bus stop both times he was released. WellHell! I wonder what Bob did for Tidwell during those nice car rides as they toured the campus? Maybe the talks took place behind the whitehouse? Anyway Good Old Bob seems to have the record for less hits than any other boy to visit the whitehouse. I agree with the first sentence uttered by Bob, but doubt all the rest of his story. Bob said “Marianna made a man out of me.” Maybe it made something else out of him. I will also pay for his polygraph test. How about it, Bob? Remember, perverts usually hide behind good looks and pleasing ways. Otherwise they never would be successful. I must say none of them ever tried to molest me. They say the cottage father of #6 was a homosexual and had the older boys sleep in bed with him. …THEY SAY….. I don’t have first hand knowledge. 



My earliest memory is standing in church and singing my little heart out. I LOST THE ABILITY TO DO THAT AT MARIANNA. I have 22 short stories soon to be on the internet.


Claude Robins 


Palacios, Texas 77465       

phone 361 648-2462 or internet shortstories 

Email  Thank you to all the men who share their lives so openly for us to understand what their childhood was like at the Florida Industrial School for Boys in Marianna, Jackson County, Florida.

John Patterson Jr.

Photo: John Patterson II in front of the detention center at FSB on 10 June 1967

My name is John Patterson II. I was 13 years old when I was sent to the Florida School for Boys At Marianna. Before I went to FSB I spent 30 days at the Santa Rosa County Jail in Milton. I had no ideal what was going on at the time.

The Master Log at the Arthur G. Dozier Training School ( Formally known as FSB) state the following:

(First Time: Date Of Commitment is: 27 April 1967 / Offense: Ungovernable / Date Of Admit: 28 April 1967 / Date Of Release: 

06 April 1968).

(Second Time: Date Of Commitment: 08 September 1969 / Offense: Incorrigibility / Date Of Admit: 10 October 1969 / Date Of Release: 07 June 1970).

I remember riding to the reform school in the back seat of a Santa Rosa County Sheriff car, I did not know that it was a reform school I was going to and I had no ideal what a reform school was.

Remember when we got there I

thought the place looked real nice. I thought this place would be a lot better then living at a abused home. A few days later I found out how bad I was wrong. At 13 I was a small guy and was picked on.

One day I had it and I fought back. (Note: a statement was made that the White House was closed in 1967 – before then the beating was called flogging, and after that it was spankings. I know because I had it done a few times).

After the fight was broken up, myself and the other boy was sent to the White House by two staff persons. I only remember one staff person by name and that is Mr. Tidwell, only reason I remember him is that he only had one arm. I remember when we first went inside the White House it was dark only with a small light.

The other things I remember is: told to undress down to my underwear, to lie on a old iron type bed. To hold on a rail bar, told not to say anything and to look at the wall. I remember someone turned on a fan that made a lot of noise.

I remember the first time the strap hit my buttock and the force lifted me up. Remembered holding my teeth together so I would not yell out because of the pain, I knew if yelled out the count would start over – I felt it would not end. I could tell that the strap cut into my skin and that I was bleeding. Remember that someone ended up setting on my back.

After it was done I remember how my underwear stick to my skin and how hard it was to go to the bathroom. Also remember during the beating to myself I was crying :Oh God – Why are you allowing this to happen to me – do you hate me that bad?

After the White House I was taken to the detention and put into small room for a few days. I have been to the White House a few times – a few times for trying to escape – I did it so many times I was given the nick name (Rabbit) because they said I had rabbit blood. ( I was one of the boys who survived the 100 lashes beating)

Now I am 55 and I still have bad dreams about the White House and the so-call spankings I got there. The only right way of putting it: The White House Was A Living HELL.

Also I know for fact that other boys went to the White House during the same period of time that I was at the reform school. I have a letter from Roy C. McKay (Superintendent) 14 August 1998 reflecting the two commitments dates above. 

Jack Townsley

As told to Jerry Cooper in 2012:

I was contacted by a new White House Boy named Jack Townsley that had just learned about us thru the news and website information. He say”s he was sent to FSB from Miami in 67 and this is a story you need to know about.


 Soon after being sentenced to go to Marianna he and 2-3 others were picked up by 2 black men in a van to be transported to the school. He says they drove a short distance to the black section of Miami, and the 2 men stopped and went in a bar and got so drunk they could not hardly even walk,let alone drive. He states they drove towards Marianna and soon had to stop along the highway and passed out!!! He say”s he managed to escape while the men were passed out,and was caught some time latter. 

     After being caught he was taken to the school and was taken to white house as soon as he arrived. He was beaten immediately by a man under Troy Tidwell named Mr. White and said this man weighed at least 300lbs. He received 50 lashes from White that damaged him severely and had a hard time of healing from this beating!!!! 

     He was taken from the White House to solitairy confinement at Pierce Hall instead of being assigned a cottage!!!!! He said while in the solitairY cell all of the boys including himself were made to exercise every day and were made to get totally naked while doing these exercises,and the guards would watch them and seemed to really enjoy this!!!! 

     Even I a seasoned white house boy can only imagine what he went thru!!! Being beat by a 300 pound man with that strap had to be horrifying and then straight to solitairy and then made get naked, my god!!!

     Jack say”s he got into trouble just a short time after leaving FSB and when being arrested tried to kill one of the cops and ended up in state prison and has spent 17 years of his life in and out of prison!!! 

    This proves that the letter of warning to Gov. Scott from the Justice Dept. that the state of Florida, due to the treatment of young boy”s in their care has caused many of us to become a menace and even danger to those around us.

     Jack say”s he spent all his life an angry person and I know exactly how he feels. He married a southern redhead that will not stand for his lawless actions and has managed to keep him in line for years now. To this day he can not deal with any body that has authority in any form.  I think this a story that should be shared with the senate and please share with Bob the lead lobbyist I believe. I am going to find a place in the book 

    I hope to finish sometime when I have an ending to all of this and I will have this story of Jacks in it. My book is named “Recipe For A Monster”. I need the ending to finish.             

Jerry Cooper “A White House Boy”   

P.S.   Jack says he was one of the last boys to be beaten in the white house, it was closed a short time later!!!

More Mens’ Stories

William H Boggess Jr.

My name is William Hylan Boggess, Jr. and I am a survivor of the “White House”. The staff at the Florida School for Boys (FSB) in Marianna, Florida showed no mercy when inflicting cruel and torturous punishment to some young residents, including myself.

I was born in Greenville, Kentucky on September 21, 1948 and sometime in the 1950’s my family moved to Florida. My father, William H. Boggess, Sr. was an active alcoholic known for his violent temper. When I was twelve years of age, he was incarcerated at the prison in Raiford, Florida. His life sentence was for murdering a man. The beatings I sustained as a child from my brutal and drunken father were severe, harsh and unjustified, but nothing in comparison to the ones I received at the FSB.

My mother, Eva Mae Dukes Boggess, was also at the mercy of my father’s moods. To escape his wrath, she fled without warning one day – leaving only a note saying goodbye to my two sisters and myself. Her subsequent string of boyfriends and husbands also caused problems in my childhood. None were as violent as my father, but they did not want me in the household. I was soon sent to a parental home in Orlando from which I became a runaway.

My adolescent and pre-teen years were spent on the streets of Winter Gardens and Orlando, Florida. Being a runaway was my only ‘crime’ against the state of Florida. A judge ruled that the FSB in Marianna would be the answer  on where to send me, since my parents were unsuitable. Maybe it was a solution for them, but certainly not for me. As badly as my father whipped my behind with his belt, at least he would soon tire. At the White House beatings, my buttocks were usually the target, but sometimes the long razor strap left my body bruised and bleeding in places from shoulders to calves and my legs hardly able to carry me.

I recall several leather razor straps, especially the one we referred to as “Black Beauty”. One strap was short and stiff, about 2 feet in length and about 3 inches wide, tapering down to about an inch. Another strap was about 3 feet long and 2 inches wide. Black Beauty was so long. I could time the swing as it would hit the walls and ceiling then hit my body. To this day, I can still hear in my mind how Mr. Tidwell hurled the strap up and over, making a tap, tap, tap, bam – tap, tap, tap, bam sound. I learned the hard way not to tighten up when it struck me because it would split the skin and bleed freely.

The conditions at Marianna were unbearable for me. Their system ranked the residents as follows: new residents were rookies, then explorer, next pioneer and highest was ace. If you lose all your rank because of infractions (real or implied), then one would be sent to the White House for a beating and your rank would be grub (0). It was not unusual for people to lie and make up stories against you that resulted in severe discipline. I stayed a grub most of the time.

In my case, I felt it was utterly hopeless and I ran away. Unfortunately, the “dog boys from Apalachicola” and their bloodhounds caught me before daylight. I received two beatings – one from the “dog boys” because I would not rub the hound’s ears and another at a special visit to the White House for being a runaway. Mr. Hess and Mr. Tidwell reassured me that the next time I tried to run away, they would kill me. I believed them and knew they were capable of such acts because I once witnessed a young, unconscious black boy being pushed in a wheelbarrow from the White House and he looked “dead”.

Even before the scabs on my body were healed, I began thinking of my next escape. This time, I needed a well thought out plan in order to succeed. My present job was in the warehouse and clothing supply, where the town-trip clothes were stored. At nighttime, I knew the keys to the state vehicles were kept in a moderate-size wooden box on the warehouse wall. I continued to plan an escape and shared my strategy with three friends and another boy that became a tag-along.

Terry Wayne Hawthorne, Robert Woods, Douglas Granston and Donald Wilson joined me that night in escaping the FSB. We left our dorms after dark and raced to the warehouse where we changed out of pajamas into town-trip clothes. We wanted the 1957 Chevy sedan so we could all fit inside, however, the key was not in the box. As I searched the keys in the wooden box, I decided to take the first key that would fit a vehicle. It was a pickup truck. We also took a box of hammers so we could throw them at the windshield of anyone chasing us. We headed toward Dothan, Alabama because we knew by crossing a state line we would become federal criminals and, hopefully, be treated more like humans. Anything would be better than the hell we lived in and we all agreed. Our escape was successful and I ditched the state vehicle.

We might be the five boys never to be heard from again mentioned in RDK’s book, ‘The White House Boys – An American Tragedy’.

I have spent half my life in reform schools, federal and state prisons, and city jails. I feel that my experience at the FSB had a very negative impact on my behavior and set the stage for my rebellious outlook on life. It was not until 2004, after my release  from a Texas prison that I began to come to terms with the abuse of my dysfunctional family and the pain I endured at the hands of people such as Mr. Tidwell.

I have learned a lot about myself and how to treat others fairly in my substance abuse studies at a community college. I have completed my State of Texas certification to become a licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. This again reaffirms to me that there are more positive ways for dealing with adolescents than beating them until they bleed.

William H. Boggess, Jr., mJuly 19, 2009

Jeffrey Sampson, by Gregory Sampson

Jeffrey Sampson - brother wants info about his death


This is a picture of my brother, Gregory Sampson, just before going to Dozer in 1965. He arrived at Dozier on March 16th 1965 and turn 13 on the 17th of March 65. He came home in the end of Oct or 1st of Nov of 65 in a wheel chair, a patch over right eye, could not speak, walk, and bearly could move arms.  He never recovered and died June 6th 0f 1966.   I do not know what he endored at Dozier and I may never know. So rest in peace my dear brother, I still love you and miss you everyday.

P.S.  He was in Washington Cottage. After his death I admit I went wild. When I got to Dozer not too long after his death, I was told stories about the white house and how they treated my brother. I only wish I could remember the kid’s name that knew about him, but It’s been a hell of a lot of years ago.

If you have any information regarding Gregory Sampson, please email your contact info to: and we will give it to Jeffrey, OR go to the White House Boys Friends and Family page on Facebook, and contact Jeffrey Sampson directly. 

Steve Coker


We would like to tell your stories, so future generations will not forget the horrors that happened at the place called Florida School for Boys.  If you would like your story to be added to this page, please send to:

Doug Stover

I was sent to FSBO during 1966 for being recalcitrant. I was a product of a dysfunctional family. On a scale if 1 to 10 a very expensive and reputable treatment hospital called it 13 to 14. While in the Sarasota county jail awaiting transport to FSBO I attempted suicide. No treatment was provided. 

At the school I was exposed and endured the same dysfunction I knew from home. Cottage fathers would make us form a circle and fight with boxing gloves for their enjoyment. Similar to dog fights. I was beaten at the library. Lying on an army cot and lashed 35 times. Holding the bed was taking the beating without murmuring a sound. The boy who went before me whose name was Banks bore the abuse without a sound. I wasn’t able to do it, I moaned. I suffered for about ten days after the flogging.

Perhaps, if the state had provided compassionate insightful counsel and positive examples of an alternative approach to life many of us might not have been sent to prison or worse an early death. After my release I graduated from high school and became a soldier during the Vietnam war. Lacking in social skills I experienced more abuse from the US Government. At twenty one fresh out of the Army I tried college for awhile. Money. Worked odd jobs. Met some fellow vets formed a family of choice and began to grow and mature. To date I have spent a tremendous amount of money to mental health counselorsand treatment centers. Trust of authority is difficult to this day.

The abuses of my past were stopped when I delivered my daughter at my home. I have two wonderful granddaughters. However, the true enjoyment and zest for life alludes me to this very day. Deep down inside I feel the same fear I’ve felt of my family and FSBO. I am resentful that the state of Florida knew and allowed the abuse of so many children.

Today I am a registered nurse. Compassion is something I know of. The state of Florida did not have any compassion for the children that were in their custody.

Terry Burns – 9 Months of Hell – 1964

I was living in Tallahassee, FL at the age of 13.  I was hanging out with some boys from my school,  We would go to the swimming hole after school.  I liked it there, so I would go there and miss school some times.  One day I was going home after being there all day.  School just got out, and this policeman stopped me.  He said, “Boy, where have you been”.   I said I’d been at school and he said you did not go to school today.  He said,  “I’ve been seeing you going to that swimming hole. You have not been going to school.”   He said, “Get in my car.  I’m going to take you home.” 

Well, I got in his car and he went the wrong way.  I asked him where he was he going and he said he was taking me to jail.  He said he would call my Mama when we got to the jail.

I don’t know if he called or not, but I did not see my mama for about 30 days later.  I stayed 60 days in the jail.

One day they came and took me to FSB (The Florida Industrial School for Boys).  They didn’t say for how long I would be there.

I was there about 3 weeks and had met a boy and we became friends.   One day I told him I was going to run that night. 

I guess he had went and told Mr Baxer what i had said that day.  He was the cottage father in Jefferson Cottage.  Well, that night just as i got out of the shower, Mr Baxer said Mr. Tidwell wanted to see me out back.  When I got outside, Tidwell asked me why was i talking about running away.  I told him that i did not know what he was talking about. i guess that made him mad.  He got up and looked at me and said, “Let’s take a ride.  Go get in the car. 

Well, Mr. White pulled up about that time and Tidwell said something to him.  He put me in the car and I knew where we were going.  I had seen some of the boys that been to the whitehouse and their backsides were all black and blue with blood runing down their legs.

We went by two more cottages and picked up 3 more boys.  When we got to the whitehouse he told me this was for  my own good,.  I was the 3rd boy to go in, but hearing the other boys ahead of me calling out, “Mama, please help me!  Oh God help me!”. 

Tidwell told me, “Get your ass in here Burns.  You’ll want to run  when I got done with you!”  I couldn’t move.  Mr. White pulled me into the room and told me, “Lay down on that bed boy and look at the wall”.  I just knew they were going to beat me bad.   I had made Tidwell mad.  That’s when he hit me, and it just went on and on.

I got 31 lashes from Tidwell.  Tidwell told Mr. White, “You can take over now.  I am tired.”  I got  18 more lashes from Mr. White.  Then they made me run back to my cottage. I couldn’t walk, and could not sit for 2 weeks.  I was black and blue and had blood runing down my legs. Two weeks later Tidwell put me in lock up for three weeks.   

The Thomas Moore Story


Marianna, Jackson County, Florida
Monday, October 29, 2012

By: Kevin Earl Wood

Dozier Student Holds on for Beating

Jacksonville, Florida resident Thomas Moore is now 65 years old but still suffers nightmares ominously reminiscent of his stay at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Jackson County, Florida. During his interview with Bay Community News he repeatedly fought off tears when sharing his experiences of beatings he received at the school and witnessing the shooting of a fellow student by a one-armed Dozier guard, Troy Tidwell.

Moore concedes that after stealing a car that being sent to Dozier was a just sentence by the court. However, he did not expect his stay at Dozier to involve torture and what he witnessed as murder of a fellow student by a guard.

Moore shared that when he was beaten Tidwell would advise him to bite the pillow and hold on to the head rail of the bed. Failure to follow these orders would result in the beatings starting over again as threatened by Tidwell. He could hear the strap hit the ceiling on the room in the downswing of the beating.

Moore shared that he endured four such beatings, all by Tidwell.

The first beating arose when Moore was caught talking with other students about “runnin’ ” away from Dozier. He received 15-20 lashes for this infraction.

The second beating arose when Moore was accused by a “cottage father”, Mr. Krumpler, of “eyeballin’ ” Mr. Krumpler’s wife when she stopped by.

Moore shares that Mr. Krumpler hit him in the jaw breaking his jaw and knocking him off the porch.

Moore was again taken to the “White House” and received about 40 or more lashes. He was then taken to a hospital in Marianna for treatment of the broken jaw. Pieces of his underwear were removed from his buttocks with tweezers.

For a third beating, Moore was disrespectful by “cursing” a cottage father. Again, he received about 48 lashes in the “White House” and tweezers again.×164.jpg” width=”300″/>

Dozier “White House” Where Students Were Taken for Beatings

Moore worked in the kitchen and was caught spitting in the kitchen sink drain hole. Again a trip to the “White House” and 25 more lashes.

Today Moore still suffers from the physical and emotional scars of his experience at Dozier.

Finally, Moore shared that he witnessed the murder of a fellow “black” student who arrived at the White House in a car. When he exited the car he ran. Moore says he saw Tidwell pull a gun and shoot. The black student fell to the ground.×199.jpg” width=”300″/>

Troy Tidwell Today After Deposition

Dozier reportedly contains two graveyards – one for white students on the south property and one for black students on the north property. The southern property is currently for sale by the State of Florida but the existence of the graveyards may snag that sale.

Research experts from the University of Florida (USF) have continued to uncover additional graves on the northern property. Recently a Leon County judge has issued an injunction against the sale of the southern property giving USF experts additional time, 120 days, to look for graves on the southern property.


A final detailed report from USF is expected shortly that will describe what graves have been found to date on the northern (black) property. Then the work begins on the southern (white) property.

The USF team is led by Dr. Erin Kimmerly, a forensic anthropologist from USF (For Bio: ).

Thomas Moore relives the physical and emotional torture. It is not easy erasing from his mind the abuse and concentration camp style life he was forced to endure, “for his own good” by the courts. He has been plagued by recurring dreams and nightmares of his ordeal.

“The experience was terrible, horrifying”, Moore shares. “It’s the same as being raped. They take your constitutional rights away – you have no rights. It’s like being in a concentration camp.” He describes the abuse and torture as a “violation” of the person, as a rape victim would feel.×233.png” width=”300″/>

Dr. Erin Kimmerle, University of South Florida Forensic Pathology Expert

Moore’s wife Lorie spoke of her journey alongside her husband recalling events of him shaking in bed and his violent temper when they were first married. ”I want all this stuff to come out in the open so everyone can heal”, she said.

Moore says he’s doing much better today as a result of mental health counseling and attendance at his church where he is active.

Moore says that he is willing to take a polygraph test as other “White House Boys” have done and asks if Troy Tidwell would do the same.

More Mens’ Stories

George William “Billy” Foote Jr.

George William “Billy” Foote Jr.

Florida incident surfaces memories of Tyro resident


By Darrick Ignasiak,  The Dispatch

Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 4:02 p.m.               

TYRO | The trauma of Tyro resident George William “Billy” Foote Jr.’s stay at a closed reform school for boys lingers some 50 years after attending the institution in Florida.   

Billy Foote of Tyro talks at his home about the severe beatings he endured while confined to the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Florida in 1963-64.

Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch

Foote, now 65 years old, was 13 when he attended The Dozier School for Boys. Former students, including Foote, have accused employees and guards at the school of physical and sexual abuse, raising the issue that some may have been so severe leading to death. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was unable to substantiate or dispute the claims, the agency concluded in 2009.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and state Cabinet members approved a plan earlier this month to let researchers dig up and try to identify remains buried at the closed reform school. Researchers this month at the University of South Florida hope to start exhuming bodies from unmarked graves at the location about 60 miles west of Tallahassee in the town of Marianna. The goal is to possibly return them to family members for a proper burial.

Exhuming the bodies will “answer a lot of questions and shut a lot of mouths up,” Foote said while in an interview at his residence. “… I’m saying that I know kids who disappeared and (I) never saw again.”

Foote, born in Hickory, lived in Florida from the age of 7 to 21. His father was stationed at an Air Force base in Florida, and Foote was placed into the reform school during his eighth-grade year.

“I broke the law,” he recalled as to why he was enrolled in the reform school. “My offense was a little bit more serious than most of the kids there. I was there for grand auto theft.”

Foote, who was at the school for 13 months, alleges he once received 67 “licks” with a strap while at the school as he was made to hold onto a bed frame. He said some employees made students bite into a pillow as they received the lashing. Foote further explained the pillow and mattress they were made to get on to receive the beating often were full of blood.

“If you tried to get up, they went and got other boys to help hold you down,” Foote said, as he recalled getting the licks after a student falsely claimed he and another child were going to escape from the reform school. He added he didn’t argue his case of the accusations because he understood students who were alleged to have talked about “running” from the prison were presumed to be “just guilty.”

Foote recalls his beating leaving him with blood running down his legs underneath his blue jeans

“I needed help getting off the bed, but I wasn’t going to let them know it,” he said of the lashing. “… If they hurt you that bad, they would take you down and put you in isolation. No letters home and no letters received. No visitors. No nothing until you healed up. … The only way I knew to beat them was to not let them know how much they hurt me.”

The experience at the reform school “pretty much ruined” Foote’s childhood, he said.

“All adults were liars and all adults beat on kids. That’s the way I felt,” he said. “It sent in motion ruining my whole life up until really I was 21 because really I just didn’t care.”

Foote joined a gang while in the reform school.

“Only by the grace of God I didn’t die during that time because I went in and faced everything,” he said of the gang activity.

Foote overcame the rough childhood to make several accomplishments, including authoring a book.

Foote, whose book, “The Child Convict,” was published in 2009, earned his GED at 26 years old and worked to receive his bachelor’s degree from Piedmont Baptist College. He retired from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem from a career in mail services and previously owned a staffing agency in Lexington. Foote is married to wife Steffanie.

When the researchers conclude their work, Foote says he is not looking for compensation. He contends the 13-month stint at the reform school impacted his ability to trust people, even today.

“I want the State of Florida to admit we mistreated you and give me a public apology,” he said.

Darrick Ignasiak can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 217, or at Follow Darrick on Twitter: @DispatchDarrick. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Robert (“Skip” / “Bobby”) St Clair – 1959-1960


Robert St Clair  (1959-60)Posted 10-24-12

(He now goes by Skip St Clair, & was Bobby St Clair at FSB)” width=”290″/>

Just to give you some background, I am a twin, and we were separated at the age of 6. My twin, Billy was sent to a foster home in Roanoke Va , and I was sent to a Baptist orphanage in Salem Va.

I went to work in the print shop there at the Baptist orphanage. I worked there till I was 11 and was transferred to the dairy barn. There were about 300 boys and girls on the campus. Six months or so after, while out on the farm, I ran away – only to be found and brought back. That was when I first experienced a severe butt beating with a rubber hose. The man who did this is dead now, but I remember him as R.F. Huff and Jr. his son who exceeded him.

At age 12, I was sent further southwest to a foster home where there were two other boys. One was my age and the other was 17. I was caught smoking with the boy my age, and both of us were hand cuffed to the basement support pole, then was beaten with a barbers leather strap. ( By the way, the basement was our living quarters, with a dirt floor and the furnace)

We ran away a week later. It took a while before we could move about. We stayed in the Brushy Mountains near friends that fed us. A couple of weeks went by and we were talked into giving ourselves up to the sheriff. We went to court a month later and had to strip in front of the Judge and he was appalled at our backs and butts. The foster family was not allowed any more kids, but that was all that happened.

I was turned over to my mother after that. My father had died while I was in the orphanage; he was only 44. My mother had re-married and had two more children, a boy aged 5 and a girl who was 1 year-old. When I got back, she left this man with the boy and took me and the baby. We ended up in Tampa fl. By now I was pretty hardened, smoked and played hooky from school and created problems for my mother. She drank a lot and got into trouble with the law also. ( She was also an orphan , adopted from the reservation in N. Carolina) and she couldn’t hold her drink. I looked like my mother, and my twin looked like my father. We were fraternal twins, born 30 min apart. (Note: later in life Skip St Clair found his twin, who lived with him until his twin’s death a few years ago).

I was picked up one evening along with my half-sister, when she had not come home. The police put my sister in a home and put me in a juvenile camp outside of Tampa, I believe it was Lake Magdalene or something like that. I broke out from there, because I had done nothing wrong. They found me a couple of weeks later and put me in solitary confinement. I broke out again, stole a police car and found my way back to Tampa. I found my mother after ditching the car. I managed to run for three months before being caught. I went before Judge Mathews and he gave me 9 months at Marianna.

I was really impressed with how pretty the place (Florida School for Boys) looked. This was better than the orphanage — or so I thought. The psychologist, Dr. Curry changed all that. (Although he doesn’t like to think about it anymore, for the benefit of telling the truth about Florida School for Boys, Mr. St Clair asked us to look back in our records to see his experience with Dr. Curry, so he wouldn’t have to repeat it and stir up all those emotions. The following is quoted, with permission, from his interview *********)

“ Robert St. Clair was in the Florida School for Boys in 1961. He wasn’t there long before being called into the office of Mr. Robert Loyal Currie (Psychiatric Social Worker) who was the director of counseling. Currie asked St. Clair questions such as:

a. “Have you ever had sex with your mother?”

b. “Have you ever had sex with your brothers and sisters?” to which Skip answered, “No.”

The next question from Mr. Currie was, “What would you do if someone had sex with you in your ass?” Skip responded strongly, “I’d cut his dick off and shove it in his mouth”!

The bizarre interview came to an abrupt end. The statement by the FDLE that St. Clair was never approached ever again by Currie is not true. Three weeks after the counseling session, St. Clair was taken to the Whitehouse even though he hadn’t broken any of the school’s rules or regulations. Standing inside the Whitehouse to meet Skip was Doctor, Robert Loyal Currie, Troy Tidwell and another adult individual. St. Clair was forced to lay flat on a small bed, face to the wall and Tidwell proceeded to beat him with a two foot by four inch wide leather strap. After the fifth lick, he couldn’t take the severe pain and jumped up off the small cot. After jumping up, he tried to grab the strap from Tidwell, but he was quickly overpowered by the men. Several large kitchen boys were summoned to hold Skip down and the beating continued. St. Clair estimated he received some fifty (50) to sixty (60) lashes.

“Doctor” Robert Loyal Currie was known to use the terror of the Whitehouse to manipulate the boys into having sex with him. St. Clair was spared the sexual abuse, but not the Whitehouse. Currie had this boy beaten because he couldn’t have his way with him, as he had numerous other young boys. After the beating, St. Clair was taken directly to the infirmary, soaked in a warm tub of water in order to release his underwear from his body. Almost unable to walk, work, attend school or sit down; he spent the next four days in the infirmary. His buttocks were totally black and there were splits, cuts and abrasions to the skin.

I think I was still a rookie the very first time I went down to the White House. I worked in the print shop, and cannot remember the manager’s name, but he was a kind old gentleman and helped us kids that worked for him. Although it wasn’t allowed, he even got some photos developed for me, that I had taken up there. I found a couple of these happy day pics. of myself and two of my friends. Their names were Henry Farrior and Ray Wilson both of Tampa, Florida. I wish I could find more of them. (See photos below).” width=”290″/>

Photo taken by Bobby St Clair depicts
Henry Farrior and Ray Wilson — both of Tampa, Florida

” target=”_blank”>”/>
Close up up the photo above, better view of the boys.” width=”290″/>
Photo of “Bobby” St Clair at FSB, 1960

I was ratted on for smoking and had to get more ice cream (getting “ice cream” was a term used by the boys for getting a beating at the White House. They also called the White House the Ice Cream Factory because you came out with bruises of every color). I remember the nurse was real kind and the doctor was old. I cannot remember a whole lot of my time there, but I do remember the beatings and the infirmary where they picked the cotton out of my buttocks and legs. I do remember getting the creeping crud and having to stay in the infirmary for a week soaking my feet up to my knees in a purple substance. I remember getting a bad case of gum diease and having several teeth removed, and gold teeth put in. I picked up a nickname for that.

I remember the boxing team. I was at least 110 lbs. then and had to fight three other kids my size, I should have lost because after I won everyone in my class weight, I had to take on a 200 pounder. Needless to say he wiped my butt all over that ring. I can recall that going into the mess hall, you could see huge jars of cane syrup on the shelves and in some of those jars were rats. I was really impressed (note sarcasm) with the fried eggs, they were fried about 2 or 3 that morning and were slimey and cold. This was every day, until you got to know someone in the kitchen.

I know that some of the boys were not there for being bad. In my case, Maybe I deserved it. I had always been a kid who had no respect for authority. (Webmaster’s note: No one “deserved” the brutal beatings these boys got. Flogging had already been outlawed for adult prisoners, and no-one ever thought to outlaw it for children – although, even if it was outlawed, that probably would not have made a difference at FSB.).

I don’t remember how long I stayed up there, maybe 14 months or so. When I got out and reported back to Judge Mathews, he told me to get in service within 3 weeks or I would be sent to Raiford – and I believed him! My mother lied about my age so I could get in the Army, but I couldn’t pass any tests for any branch of service. The army sergeant felt sorry for my butt and let me get in. I was caught again after 5 weeks for lying about my age and sent back to Tampa for signatures from all the authorities involved. I finally went to boot camp on my birthday, which was only 3 weeks later. I went to jump school after boot camp and went straight to Germany for 3 yrs. I got an early out for being a shit bird and disrespecting officers. My discharge was honorably but I was not to enlist in any other government service or military for 3 yrs. probation. I contribute a lot of my actions from the abuse of my past.

I stayed out about 6 months working in the D. C. area, then I went to the Marines and told them I wanted to go to the Nam. They were grateful to have me. I tore up my old army discharge dd 214 after I was swore in. The Marines showed me some respect even though I had to go to boot camp again. I was put in for honor grad and lost it for stabbing another marine with the guide on – only one week from graduation. I went to Vietnam with Lima 3/5 1st marines and gave those people a lot of hell I had been harboring for years. I loved the marines.

I owe my life to many and by the grace of God, he has stood by to this day. I was so badly shot up in 1966, I spent 13 months in the hospitals, the last one at Bethesda Md. I was shot several times on operation Colorado after surviving operation Hastings which was the largest battle I had ever been on, which lasted a week or so. I went back to full duty at Parris Island where I trained recruits on the firing range. I played football on the weapons battalion team. I left there and was assigned to the marine security battalion in D. C. I went to Honduras and in late 1969 got in a jeep wreak that broke several more bones including my left thigh just above the knee . I have a bar plate in that leg now. I was medically retired in 1971. What a great ride that was for me. I have learned to respect everyone until I am showed differently. Today I still am a marine and God is why! (See recent picture of Mr. StClair in his Marine uniform)

I know there must be a lot of people with the same type backgrounds. I’ve tried to compress this as much as I could. As I’m writing this, I am really depressed right now after recalling these memories that I did’nt know existed. I must have put them far back in my head and completely forgot about them ever happening. The picture of the white house on my newspaper’s front page shocked me, and flooded my head with all the fears that I dare not mention any thing that ever happened there for fear of going back. But, I am writing this because “The people need to know the real truth”!

Semper Fi

Mike Sapp

I remember Dr. Curry, his favorite statement was, “time will tell Michael, time will tell.”I have a picture of me standing in front of Pierce Cottage,

the one up on the hill, in 1962. Dr. Curry had me transfered there because I stole the Superintendent’s car and wrecked it while I was at Okeechobee Boys School. Dr. Curry used to always show up at shower time and stand

where he could watch us take showers. There was a big glass window he could look into the shower through.

I remember the scrape as Mr. Hatton would swing the paddle and it would hit the ceiling and I knew how to bite down and hold on. I knew whatever

happened I could not turn loose of the bed. I went down three times in the one year I was there. I had my pants picked out of the wounds in my butt, I even remember the smell as the rotted area would heal. I am so sorry I’ve missed all of this but I’ve been writing a book titled The Long Down and Up which was completed prior to me finding out about the White House Boys. But I had already told in the book about the white house. I was thinking at the time I wrote the story that I was the only one who remembered. Please let me help if there’s anyway possible. I was one of the ones that learned to hate while at Marianna and immediately turned to crime the day I got out of Marianna. I ended up during the next fourteen years in prison. That’s what my book is about, life in and after prison. Thank you for founding this worthy cause. I’ve enclosed a brief synopsis of my life after being a slave of the state for almost sixteen years. Enclosed is an excerpt about the White House from by book The Long Down and Up Mike Sapp (Brother in Law)

I guess I was about twelve years old when I ran away the 1st time. I just jumped on a freight train and went to sleep. When the train stopped, I got off. I ran away several times before my mother, who was now living in Ft Parker, replies to a court request that she will now let me live with her. She has a house on Metzger Road and she is married. 

So I move to Ft. Parker and immediately start running wild. Mom works as a waitress at Southland Cafeteria on US1. So we don’t see much of each other.It don’t take me long to get into trouble with my new found freedom. I’m caught shop lifting. I think my Mom realizes right along here that she can’t handle me. 

So the judge sends me to Central State Boys School I’m only at the school about three months when one day I rode into town with staff to pick up the mail. He left the keys in the car and as soon as he was out of sight I fired that mother up and took off. I was barreling East bound and wham, out of nowhere a St. Lucia County Sheriff car intercepts me, whips around and the chase was on.  Even at the early age of thirteen years old I wanted to go down fighting. 

I lost control on a sharp curve, ran off the road and slammed into the windshield, cutting my forehead severely. But I’m still game enough to climb out of the car, blood pouring down my face, and try to run towards the woods. Lonnie scooped me up like a rag doll and drove me to the Ft. Parker Memorial Hospital. I returned to to the County Jail, after being stitched up, and held in jail until I could be transferred to Florida School for Boys at Northwest State . All the little bad asses were here. I was in reform school for a total of eighteen months. I was released in early 1962.  

Mike Sapp.

Ft. Pierce, Fl

Frank Marx

My story is so much like all of the rest of the White House Boys. It all starts out with, as in most cases, a broken home.

We lived, for a short time, in Montana with my mom and birth father. One day early in the afternoon my mom put me, my brother and sister, ages 4, 2 1/2 and 1 1/2, out in the yard to play and went next door to the neighbor’s house (E. Kindsvogel) to go do whatever. I vaguely remember hearing kids playing down the street so I opened the gate to go play with them. My brother, Johnny, age 2 1/2, followed me. My baby sister, Mary Anna, age 1 1/2, came out of the gate but didn’t follow us. She crossed the street and went to where there was a large drainage ditch. She fell in and drowned. Some 4 hours passed before mom noticed us all missing and the search began. By then Mary Anna was washed several miles down the river.

My mother kept the battered, bloody clothes they cut off of my sister and for years, when she was drinking, would drag them out and cry and tell me “It’s all your fault. You murdered your baby sister.” I had constant reminders. I sat and heard her tell the story “Frankie opened the gate and let his sister fall in the water and drown”. I remember the looks from my aunts, uncles and family friends, accusing looks. How many times did I wish it were me, wished I could trade places with the blonde, blue eyed little sister I murdered.

At the funeral I was made to stand in front of the casket and stare at her. I remember being told “You better not move boy.” It wasn’t until, with the help of my wife, I put that to rest.

My parents divorced and we moved back to Sarasota, Florida without my birth father. I now had a new mean, alcoholic stepfather (Kindsvogel). Emil was a hard working man who worked me like a man at ages 6 – 10. He made me help him every spare moment with the work he did as a maintenance man for a mobile home park. He put blocks on the gas and brake petals so I could drive the truck to pick up the trash and lawn cuttings. If you hurt yourself, there was no doctor. If you needed stitches, he put you up on the kitchen table, took the whiskey flask out of his back pocket, poured some in the wound and on a needle and thread and sewed you up. “You better not move boy.” I have heard that statement all of my life.

After several years of abuse at his hands, the drinking by both him and my mom and the terrible fights, they divorced. We lived alone for a few years. At age 12, we moved to Ft. Myers. My brother, Johnny, and I hated it. We left all of our friends and school behind to move to a new town at 14 1/2.

One weekend I had gone to Sarasota for the weekend on an old motorcycle to see my best friend, Punkin. He had been my best friend since 1st grade and remained so until his passing from liver cancer. I was involved in a head on crash. A man in a V.W. van had a heart attack and hit me head on and knocked me back 150 feet and ran over me again. I suffered a broken leg, broken arm, broken collar bone, broke 3 places in my back, had pins put in my knee and left elbow. I also had a metal plate put in on the left side of my face and head and my left arm would only open 70%. I spent 16 months in the hospital. My mother came 1 time to see me after about 7 months. One of my aunts took me home with her and charged my accident attorney $100.00 per week to care for me, which was legal rape in 1957.

After my recovery, I was sent back to Ft. Myers to live with my mom and 2nd stepfather. They had already started their own family. I had 1 younger brother at that time. My stepfather was a gentle man but mom’s fondness of alcohol and flirting was a constant problem, along with trying to make him reform 2 teenage boys who already had a chip on their shoulder.

At 16, I fell in with a crowd of misfits. We had bad grades in school, couldn’t read (I am dyslexic with ADHD) and teachers would pass you to get rid of you and made fun of you in class. My mother never asked or helped with homework, didn’t care about my grades and didn’t care that I couldn’t read. Her new family was more important, so with the misfits I went. We were having S. Ft. Myers versus N. Ft. Myers gang wars. Gangs in those days had BB guns, unlike gangs today. We were on top of a shopping center shooting BB’s at each other when the cops came. We hurriedly made up a story which I stuck to while the rest blamed it all on me and I’m the only one who ended up on court.

In court my mother told the judge I was an unruly child who was constantly in trouble and she could not handle me. I had never been in trouble. End result, I was sent to Marianna for 8 1/2 months during which time I was taken down to the White House 3 times. Each time I was beat into unconscious. On one occasion, Tidewell grabbed my left arm and twisted it so hard the pins popped out of the skin and I was taken to the infirmary and the “witch doctor” pulled it out with pliers. They had my medical records on file so they were aware of my injuries.

My first trip to the White House I was told to grab the rails and “You better not move boy”. I got 118 licks before I passed out and do not know the total. All because a young boy who had trouble walking almost fell in the lunch march and I grabbed his arm to steady him. I broke the rules. 18 stitches later I woke up in the boy’s hospital.

My second trip to the White House. I was assigned to the mechanic and body shop. A state car came in and in the front seat was a pack of cigarettes. I did not touch them. I went to tell the man over the shop, his name I can’t recall, so he would come and get them. When we went back to the car, they were gone. I was accused of stealing them and the end result was the White House and the words “You better not move boy”. I got over 100 licks before I passed out.

My third trip to the White House. It was visitation day and people were all over the place and someone stole a camera out of a visitor’s car. I, to this day, don’t know why I was blamed but to the White House I was sent again. “You better not move boy.” Over 100 licks again because I wouldn’t cry. The men had bets to see how many lashes to draw blood, how many to make him cry out, how many until he moves, how many until he passes out and so the game begins. They later found out who stole the camera.

I know of 1 young boy out of our cottage, we called him Mackey, that was taken in the middle of the night and never returned. We were told that his parents came and got him. We knew that was a lie because he was an orphan. There was another boy who was in the body shop with me that was caught smoking. He also was taken to the White House and we never saw him again.

So many, so sad, so forgotten. Thank you White House Boys Organization for all you are trying to do for those of us gone, murdered, lost and forgotten.

Frank (Kindsvogel) Marx 

Thomas Fred Medlock, Jr.

My name is Thomas Fred Medlock Jr, I spent From July 1965 to April 1966 at FSB Dozier. I was sent there by the court system , and was deemed incorrigible because I had run away from home at the age of 13. During this time I traveled around the United States hitchhiking and working when ever I could find work. I spent most of the time camping and fishing to survive.

At the age of 16 I was arrested in Louisiana while riding in a car that 2 men picked me up while hitching not knowing that the men had robbed and killed the owner of the car. I was arrested and charged with murder. After several days in jail I was informed that they had dropped the murder charges and I was to be returned to Jacksonville Florida where my parents lived and charged as a runaway. Upon returning to Florida I went before a judge and was told that I was going to Florida School for Boys until I was 21 years of age or until they saw fit to release me.

Once I arrived at FSB my name was taken from me and I was then R297 for the rest of my time there. After several days I was taken to a building, undressed and placed in a room with a blanket and a pot to use the bathroom in. There was a single bare light fixture in the ceiling that never shut off. I was fed once a day thru a sliding slot at bottom of the door with no silverware. Till today I do not know why I was put in the hole for 30 days.

Two weeks after arriving at FSB I made the mistake of picking up a cigarette butt. One of the staff saw me and I was taken to the white house where I received 30 lashes with a large leather strap. I was bruised from the middle of my back to the crooks of my legs. The man who applied the beating was a heavy set man with one arm by the name of Tidwell.

In December of 1966 two young boys arrived at the cottage. They looked to be no more than 12 or 13 years old. They only stayed for 3 or 4 days and was taken out of the cottage late at night ( 1 to 2am) by staff. “The boys were crying as they took them. I never saw the boys at FSB after that and we were told to keep our mouth shut .

Thank God For my father and the US ARMY getting me out of FSB when I turned 17 on April 29 1967.

I spent the next six years in the US ARMY getting out as a E-6 and I have never been in prison or in any legal trouble, I have been married to the same caring woman for 41 years and have 2 grown kids.

Jerry Cooper

Dear Governor Crist:

My name is Jerry Cooper, I spoke to Ruth Harris, or Harrison,over a month ago, she is suppose to be an investigator on Florida School For Boys case.

She told me she would send FDLE officer to my home to take pictures of scars I still have from beating I took 49 years ago!!!! She told me she would have an investigator at my house within 3-5 days for interview and pictures. Sir, this has not taken place!! And it won’t probably unless you order it !!!

I was jerked from my bed at school 1-2a.m. And taken to white house, where I was beaten till I passed out!!!! By the hands of TIDWELL, DOZIER, and a guard, I took 135 lashes, counted by boy in the other room waiting for his punishment. When one man tired out the next would take his place, telling the others they couldn’t do it right, let me show you how!!! They treated this like a party. Weapon was a strap about 2-3ft.long, about 3in.wide. They would turn it sideways at times to cut your flesh!!!! I had no idea what I was being beat for until next day, I knew I had not done anything wrong to get such a brutal attack!!!!!!

I learned the next day that another boy in my cottage had run from our sleeping quarters who had run earlier that night and was caught and beaten and taken to our so called hospital where he stayed for over a week. He received 100 lashes, and was in severe condition!!! While being beat he was asked who his best friend in cottage was, he named me!!!! In the school it was known that if you knew a boy was going to run and did not report it you will be punished more than the runner himself!!! How true!!! During my beating they kept asking me about a runner with no mention of who it was!!! I couldn’t answer something I didn’t know about!!!!! I was beat for nothing!!! When I got out of car at white house there was a young black boy laying on ground beside entrance, his gown was pulled over his head covering his face, gown was soaked in massive amount of blood, I would say he was dead, a large pool of blood under his body, he was very small and young maybe 10-11 years, this image has been with me all these years!!!

As we entered the white house, there was a boy in the other room crying waiting for his beating; he was the one who counted my lashes. When I saw him awhile after that he thought I was dead from my beating, he was from another cottage when I first entered the room, I thought I was to be killed by these men, like the boy that was laying outside, that I felt was dead. I tried to escape thru them from pure fright. TIDWELL pushed me into wall by the throat and stomped my right foot, breaking the ball under big toe,. When I tried to grab my foot I was then punched in the mouth knocking 4 front top teeth backwards in my mouth, a real bloody mess. They forced me on to army cot and crossed my legs and stuffed my nightgown between my legs as tight as possible, then tied them to cot, so I could not get up. Nobody could hear my screams; they run a large industrial fan so the boys on grounds can’t hear this!!! They beat you on the ass and after the screams slow down they start at the knees and work up to the ass which they know goes numb after about 35-40 lashes. Then the screams are a lot louder, the pain is not explainable I can’t!!!!!

I knew when the strap was turned on its side for a blow, made a different sound when it hit and saw blood hit the walls!!! I am scarred on right upper thigh where the strap would cut in to the meat of the leg when turned on it’s side, the end of this weapon would cut you to pieces when done and this was done on purpose!!! My gown and underwear was embedded into my body. While being beat I blacked out and awoke on way back to cottage laying on rear floorboard of state car with guard holding me down with foot on my back!!!! Was then dragged into our bathroom and forced to stand until our cottage father came down from his bedroom, I could barely stand, foot was hardly able to stand on, was told to act like a man!!! Blood was running down from mouth and legs very fast, a lot of it!!! It took my cottage father a good 30-45 min to come down.

After the guards left I was told to remove my gown and underwear. This was hard to do because it was stuck in my wounds. He threatens to rip it out if I didn’t hurry up so he could go back to bed. He said it was one of the best beatings he had seen in a while; he was another sick-o that worked there!!! His name was Mr. Hagen nick named Spider man!!! He hated all of us and would show you just how much very quickly. He had a black ford that looked like a police car, and the ugliest one-eyed bulldog I’ve ever seen in my life, one of the worst people I have ever met in my life, TRAILER TRASH!!!!!!!

After getting all I could out of legs was told to smear state grease which we had in cans on sink used for cuts, burns, hair grooming etc on my wounds to help block flow of blood. He took my bloody clothes up stairs and returned with a towel and sheet, and told to tie the towel and sheet around me to keep blood out of bed!!! I begged to go to the hospital but was told I was branded as a liar and was not to get Dr.’s help, and this is all you get, because of lying!!!!! The runner was already admitted, but I was denied any medical attention at all. I was in much worst condition than the runner!!! I was given some toilet paper to pack in my mouth, to control the bleeding; it didn’t do any good, sent back to bed. No way to go to sleep!!! Had to be helped out of bed I was trying but couldn’t. Bed and pillow was full of blood. One boy started crying and alerted Hagen to come running and he struck this boy in the back of his head open handed. Then told me I was going to be reported for the boy’s action!!! Hello?????

Most of the boys were horrified when they saw me; they hadn’t seen anything like that before now!!!! Most didn’t even know that this happened during the night. I had to be helped to get dressed I could only walk with my legs stretched out, because inter thighs were swollen together and would rub when walking. It would take forever to try to sit down, too painful. I learned that day how to walk on side of right foot and got pretty good at it. Mouth bled all the time and could hardly eat for weeks!!! My testicles were swollen and black and blue for weeks!!!

I got married at 19 and after yrs. of no children, had a exam, was asked by Dr. why one was half the size of other testicle, I just said I don’t Know. The sperm count came back abnormal and never had any children of my own, but I adopted 3 and they are doing fine. Be happy to be examined again!!! Nothing has changed. You may be wondering how I found out my foot was broken by TIDWELL. We were ordered, not asked to turn out for Varsity football try outs. I was small and really too young to be playing varsity ball, I was picked to be quarterback for team because of my passing ability. Vick Prinzi was our head Coach he was a great quarterback for Florida and is in the hall of fame Florida state. He played pro ball for Denver and had to have his spleen removed due to Injury he ended up coaching High Schools and college teams and then became a sports announcer. He was Burt Reynolds best friend and best man at Burt’s wedding. Burt wept at Vic’s funeral in 1987. Vic took me to the hospital and made Dr. Wexler examine my foot, this was a nasty hospital!!!! They had no x-ray machine, only a fluoroscope which showed that big toe ball was broken all the way across it. No cast!!! Too late because of first game was coming soon; I had to practice no matter what. I was given Novocain injections before practice and all games we played. This had to be illegal!!!! Foot never healed, I still walk with limp as of today, and right foot is deformed at large toe. Got to see a dentist shortly after and he wired teeth with copper wire. I wore the wire for the rest of my stay there; It did not help, lost those 4teeth a time later and wore a partial for years!!!!!

We won all games when I was there but one. I had to come out of game because of foot hurting to bad to play even with the shots. Our games were all won on passing game, that’s where I came in. I never could run fast enough to score but I threw many touchdown Posses we played against varsity teams across the state. I and others witnessed a death in the gym during try outs for football, I was there when a runner was shot in the back of head with a rifle and killed. I saw a boy stabbed thru his hand with a fork, for arguing at the table by HAGEN. Our fullback on football team had tried to run and was caught by guard dogs and he managed to kill one dog before loosing the battle. He was beaten badly!!!!! He was bitten severely by these dogs. I know these people’s names!!!! A boy had run from his cottage and hid under our cottage for 3 days, when they caught him he never came to his cottage, we never saw him again!!!!

I also know they used “The Dog Boys” from I believe from Appalachacola.Prison for young offenders. They bragged they had the meanest dogs in the country. These were used to track our runners! These were vicious animals!!!! ask our fullback if he’s still alive. I do know his name!!! And others.

Governor, Please forgive me for such a long letter, but I feel you should know I still don’t trust any of them, already I have been told a lie, in this investigation. I feel I’m speaking to the right person now, you seem to be a caring person on this issue. I also voted for you!!! Why was I not contacted back????? I already know why!!! Daffy Duck could figure that out!!!!! These people are not doing what you ordered!!!!! I also know that TIDWELL’S lawyer has asked for dismissal of action due to statue of limitation’s , If he manages to pull this off, I will be in his county the next day, to swear out a warrant for attempted murder on me. I don’t believe there’s a statue on this crime on a child!!!!!!!!

I don’t care if he’s 84 or 104 he should be punished!!!!! I was always to afraid to go to anybody with these stories, that people would think I was crazy or lying! I’m now 63 and have a good memory on most issues !!! I’m not out for monetary gain, I seek some kind of peace in this matter before I die. I went on with life and retired at 41 and am doing just fine on my funds. I have suffered anger problems since this happened to me, have been arrested for out of control actions on my behalf several times. I had to go to anger management last year at my age, sad right?????

I have been treated for years by meds for these actions, I’m on medicine now called Lexpro and have been doing real good on it. Please don’t let these things happen to our children ever again! You have my permission to inform TIDWELL’S lawyer I’ll see him in court one way or the other!!!! I know that from the beating I took that some boys would not be able to live through it, it’s only common sense, I went into shock within minutes, so I know some could not make it, I almost didn’t, and I am only one of many. Any marked grave on that property is more than likely legit. The ones with no markings is what they should be looking for!!!!!!!

Thank You for Your Concerns on This Issue.

Signed: Jerry Cooper