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Bizarre History of Cape May | Cape May Gazette

The Bizarre History of Cape May with Jacob Schaad Jr.

Bizarre History of Cape May > Whilldin’s widow was later ‘swindled’ by a man 20 years her junior

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, January 09, 2013 12:55 pm

The Leaming name stands out in the early history of Cape Island, even preceding the Revolutionary War, but Hannah Leaming Whilldin did not become famous on her own until after the Civil War when she was to marry the man to be chosen as one of the first mayors of West Palm Beach, Fla.

Her fame was to grow larger after her husband died when in something of a dime novel romance plot a New York newspaper claimed she was “swindled” by a “man mentioned at least 20 years her junior under profession of love.”

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Girl arrives at 12:14 a.m. on New Year’s Day

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, January 04, 2013 11:23 am

 

 Perhaps it was the influence of his early life in Cape May, but whatever the cause Wilmon Whilldin the third made tourism a top priority when he was elected mayor of West Palm Beach, Fla. in 1898 at the age of 55.

Cape May, of course, had a big advantage over West Palm Beach in the tourism industry. It was well on its way as a tourism center when it was incorporated as Cape Island in March of 1851, eight years after Whilldin was born there on July 27, 1843. And after the Civil War, in which Whilldin served as a private, it was to continue in tourism, albeit with some ups and downs, with the changed name of Cape May in the spring of 1869.

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Cape May native was integral to growth of West Palm Beach

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Written by Staff Reports Sunday, December 23, 2012 05:42 pm

More information has surfaced from Florida and Cape May County about the man who was a native of Cape May City and went on to become the mayor of West Palm Beach in Florida as the century turned from the 19th into the 20th.

Wilmon Whilldin was born in Cape May on July 27, 1843, volunteered during the Civil War as a private from Aug. 9, 1861 to June 16, 1862, then migrated to Florida for his health in 1894 and helped start the cities of Orlando and West Palm Beach before he served as one of the first mayors of West Palm Beach from 1898 to 1902 before resigning. He died six years later in 1908.

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The Bizarre History of Cape May > Whilldin family had longstanding ties to Cape May

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, December 12, 2012 02:00 pm

 The next time you visit Florida, think of the historic Cape May connection if you are in West Palm Beach or Orlando.

The man who brings the communities together was born in Cape May, is a descendant of a Mayflower passenger and went on to become mayor of West Palm Beach in 1898 and 1899. His gravestone in the Woodlawn Cemetery in West Palm Beach also cites him as having been “a pioneer in the upbringing of Orlando and West Palm Beach.”

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The Bizarre History of Cape May > Strom Thurmond preached anti-communism here in 1980

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Sunday, December 02, 2012 08:46 am

When historians write about the past of Cape Island/Cape May, reference is usually made to the five presidents (six if you count the disputed Abe Lincoln) who vacationed here during their terms of office. They include Franklin Pierce, Ulysses S. Grant, James Buchanan, Chester Arthur and Benjamin Harrison.

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Bizarre History of Cape May >> Cape May hymn writer received popularity but not money

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Thursday, November 22, 2012 01:09 pm

When Christians attend church they have a Cape May native to thank for the lyrics of a gospel hymn that is still among the most popular hymns ever composed.

Edgar Page Stites wrote the words for “Beulah Land” in 1876 and the music was composed by nationally known composer John Sweney.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Cape May congressman witnesses attack on the House firsthand

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Thursday, October 18, 2012 09:14 pm

 When the congressman from Cape May walked into the chamber of the House of Representatives on the afternoon of Monday, March 1, 1954, he expected a lively exchange to follow among his colleagues on the subject of immigration rights for Mexicans.

What he got instead was a lively fusillade of bullets from Puerto Ricans on the subject of independence.

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The Bizarre History of Cape May >> All roads lead to Cape May

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, October 12, 2012 01:00 am

 Long ago, before there were parking meters or bumper to bumper traffic on rainy summer Sundays, it was not easy to get from point A to point B in Cape May, or anywhere else in the county for that matter. Some in today’s colloquialism might say if you didn’t have a boat to get around you’d really be up the creek or the ocean without a paddle.

The Indians, who may or may not have been permanent residents here depending upon which version you want to believe, had a pretty good handle on how to get around in their boats and on their horses. It wasn’t exactly the Garden State Parkway or the Cape May-Lewes Ferry but they made it happen without benefit of toll booths.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > Did the future Duchess of Windsor stay at Cape May’s Windsor Hotel?

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, October 05, 2012 10:43 am

During World War I, when she is said to have visited Cape May, Bessie Wallis Warfield would never have made the list of famous American women.

Fast forward 22 years later to the sequel to the war that was supposed to end all wars and that same Bessie Warfield was known as the Duchess of Windsor, one of the world’s most famous, and some will say one of its most scandalous, women.

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Bizarre History of Cape May > African Americans made important contributions to Cape May

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Thursday, September 27, 2012 11:00 am

Although the world did not treat them kindly or fairly, some African Americans in Cape May managed to survive the indignities with history-making contributions to the world around them.

Among the most famous who brought their cause here, either directly or indirectly before and after the city was to be renamed Cape May, were Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Booker Washington.

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