Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Indian war veteran, 97, is parade star

Headlines through the years

A look back at the events, people and places that made North Pinellas the unique place that it is. The information and photographs are compiled from past editions of the St. Petersburg Times.

Nov. 12, 1961

Maj. William G. Wilkinson, believed to be the nation's last survivor of the Army's Indian wars out West, still "sits tall" in the saddle. But these days the 97-year-old veteran settles into the back seat of a convertible, not astride a U.S. Cavalry mount.

Yesterday, Florida's most illustrious veteran participated (as usual) in Clearwater's annual Veterans Day Parade.

The major used to walk in the procession but several years back some of the younger vets decided to mechanize the old Indian fighter. He agreed _ under protest. After all, he once participated in a record 2,200-mile march by the Eighth Cavalry from New Mexico to the Dakotas in 1888.

"I can't see anymore," Major Wilkinson lamented yesterday. "My wife is sick at Mease Dunedin Hospital, so I'm staying at a nursing home now."

Wilkinson is the last known survivor of the Indian campaign in the Dakotas and was within yards of Chief Sitting Bull when the great leader was slain Dec. 15, 1890, ending a hard core of resistance in the West to white settlers. The major heard the story of Sitting Bull's death while he cradled the head of a dying Indian policeman, minutes after it happened.

The major is also believed to be the oldest active member of the American Legion. He spent 46 years in the service, retiring in 1934. He and his wife moved to Clearwater from Philadelphia in 1949.

Nov. 3, 1929

Clearwater to have new picture house

CLEARWATER _ Clearwater will have a new movie show-house and it will be ready to begin operations by Thanksgiving, it was announced today by Bill Hart, Clearwater manager of Sparks' Enterprises, who already operates one "talkie" house in the Springtime City.

A lease has been perfected for a large section of the old Coachman building on South Fort Harrison Avenue, and this will be converted into a theater to be used in showing talking pictures at a cut rate of 5 and 10 cents, Mr. Hart said.

Nov. 7, 1953

Tarpon library to seek county funds

TARPON SPRINGS _ The possibility of making the Tarpon Springs Public Library a "free" library will be discussed at the meeting of the board Monday evening.

The local library, board members said, is the only one in the county which is not "free." The Legislature has passed a law permitting counties to allocate funds for library assistance, but this applies to "free" libraries only. Under present circumstances the local library would not be included if such funds were offered in the future.

Nov. 15, 1961

First woman wins Safety Harbor seat

SAFETY HARBOR _ City voters yesterday elected their first woman to public office, in a City Commission race that generated less voter interest than usual.

Mrs. Helen Stansbury was joined in the winner's circle by Fred S. Miller _ who ran with her as part of a team _ and Charles Trulock, a real estate sales manager who ran as an independent.

Miller led the balloting with 265 votes, followed by Mrs. Stansbury and Trulock in a tie at 234.

Of 906 registered voters, 535 voted yesterday. In the past, Safety Harbor has often had 70 percent and better turnouts.

All three of the winners have promised to carry out the city's $600,000 water and sewer expansion program already under way.

_ Theresa Blackwell compiles the history column. She can be reached at 445-4229 or