Brinkley Family History

Cornelius Washingon WhiddenAge: 82 years18711954

Cornelius Washingon Whidden
Given names
Cornelius Washingon
Birth August 1871 28 25
Birth of a brotherRobert J. Whidden
February 1878 (Age 6 years)
Census July 6, 1880 (Age 8 years)
Birth of a sisterLucy Whidden
February 1882 (Age 10 years)
MarriageLula F. WhiddenView this family
November 1, 1895 (Age 24 years)
Citation details: Page 205
Birth of a son
Samuel David Whidden
December 1899 (Age 28 years)
Census June 24, 1900 (Age 28 years)
Birth of a son
Rollie Whidden
about 1903 (Age 31 years)
Birth of a son
Jake Whidden
about 1905 (Age 33 years)
DivorceLula F. WhiddenView this family
January 2, 1906 (Age 34 years)
Publication: FLGenWeb Project
Death of a fatherJames Whidden
before August 11, 1909 (Age 38 years)

Death of a motherJosephine Driggers
after August 11, 1909 (Age 38 years)

Census April 28, 1910 (Age 38 years)
Address: Charlotte Harbor Precinct
Birth of a daughter
Myrtie M. Whidden
about 1911 (Age 39 years)
Death of a brotherWilliam Henry Whidden
July 20, 1912Between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM (Age 40 years)
Cause: Heart Attack or Unknown Cause while in the water

Bill, I received confirmation that William H. Whidden died in West Palm Beach on July 20, 1912 probably due to a heart attack. I contacted the Palm Beach Post newspaper and the research reporter helped my by contacting the Palm Beach Historical Society as the Post newspaper did not print news over the summer but only during the "season" which consisted of the winter months. The local paper "Tropical Sun" contained an article that stated that William Whidden collapsed in the surf after rescuing two women and attempting to rescue a young boy who was drowning. The autopsy revealed that there was not much water in William Whidden's lungs so they listed the cause of death as a possible heart attack. The Historical Society will not allow copies of the "Tropical Sun" to be made as they do not have the paper on microfilm and have the original paper that is in poor condition. This information, however, begs the question as to why there is no death certificate for William Whidden. As I told you, I have a letter from the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics that states they have no death certificate for William for any month in 1912. I may try them again as the death certificate will confirm (I think) his parent's names and his second wife's name. Do you have any suggestions on finding a death certificate?

Jill (email sent to Bill Brinkley August 22, 2004)

Citation details: The Miami Herald, 07/21/1912, vol. 2, iss. 234, pg. 1, 07/22/1912, pg. 4, & 07/24/1912, pg. 10

The Miami Herald, 07/21/1912, vol. 2, iss. 234, pg. 1

Two Men Lost LIves While Bathing In the Surg Near West Palm Beach Yesterday

W.H. Widden, 45 Years, And Henry Bladgett, 22 Years, Victims.


Walked Beyond Their Depth--Allen Rose Rescued Women, But Was Unable to Save the Men-- Bodies Recovered--In- quest to Be Held.

(Special to The Herald) West Palm Beach, July 19.--W.H. Whidden, aged about forty-five years, and Harry Bladgett, aged twenty- two, were drowned this morning near Figulus, about five miles south of this city. They, with Allen W. Rose, Mrs. Ed. Center and sister, Mrs. Annie Blad- gett, mother of the boy drowned, went over to the ocean beach about 8 o'clock, and in bathing. They walked out in the surf and suddenly stepped beyond their depth, and found themselves struggling in the water. Rose managed to save himself and the two women, but was nearly drowned trying to save the boy. He had to let the boy go and save himself. Both bodies were recovered. A coroner's inquest was impaneled, and an adjournment taken to Monday morning.

The Miami Herald, 07/22/1912, page 4

The Miami Herald, 07/22/1912, page 4



West Palm Beach, July 20, -- A sensation was caused this morning just before 9 o'clock by word coming to this city that W.H. Whiddin, former night watchman here, had been drowned in teh ocean about five miles below town. Investigation proved that there was some truth in the story and parties went down to see and soon word was sent that two bodies had been found. R.C. Chillingworth, J.P., empannelled a jury and went down to where the bodies were and after viewing them had them sent ot McGinley's undertaking parlors in this city and adjourned the inquest till 2:30 this afternoon. When the jury met again they had Dr. L.A. Peek examine the body and decided to further investigate the matter, so adjourned till Monday morning. The facts as far as could be learned as that W.H. Whidden and his friend, Allen W. Roe, left at 6:30 a.m. on their wheels, going down the county road south of town to Ed Center's dairy, where they were joined by Mrs. Center, her sister, Mrs. Anna Blodgett, and son Harry. Leaving their wheels they crossed the lake in a skiff over to Figulus and went down on the ocean beach and in bathing. As they waded out they suddenly stetpped in water beyond their depth and Harry Blodgett, who could not swim, began calling for help. Mr. Roe helped the ladies to get to shore and tried to help the boy Harry but was nearly drowned in the two attempts he made and had to give it up. He paid no particular attention to Mr. Whidden, knowing that he was a good swimmer, but noticed that he was making no effort to save himself but was drifting face down north towards the inlet. When Mr. Roe tore himself loose from the boy Harry the last time the boy sank from sight. As soon as she was sufficiently recovered Mrs. Center went up to Figulus and called on Mr. A. Nilson, the manager, for help. He had no boat but came down with a rope and this Mr. Roe tied to himself and went out after the body of Mr. Whidden which was still slowly drifting north. He succeeded in reaching it and he and it were hauled to shore by Mr. Nilson and the ladies. The body of the boy was soon after recovered. In the meantime word had been sent to the city and a boat and carrier caskets had been sent down in which, after being viewed by the acting coroner and jury, the bodie were put in and brought to this city. Harry Blodgett was about 22 years old and leaves a widowed mother; W.H. Whidden was about 45 years old and leaves a widow who resides in this city. The boy met his death by drowning without question but, as Mr. Whidden was a fine, strong swimmer and yet made no effort to save himself and his body never sunk, it is thought he died from heart failure or some such trouble and this the inquest may determine. Mrs. D.N. Nourse, who with a firend, attended the funeral of her aunt, Mrs. F. Kinzel, her Thursday, left last night for their homes in Chicago.

The Miami Herald, 07/24/1912, page 10

West Palm Beach, July 22. -- The body of Harry Blodgett, one of teh victims of the drowning Saturday, was burned yesterday morning, and the body of W. H. Whidden, the other victim, was burned yesterday afternoon, from McKinley's undertaking parlors, Rev. F.P Gates officiating. The ocroner's inquest was resumed at 10 a.m. today when the witnesses were examined and Dr. L. A. Peck reported having made an autopsy and exhibited the stomach and viscera of W. H. Whidden. The doctor stated that the boy, Blodgett, had undoubtedly came to his death from drowning, but that the examination showed that Whidden evidently came to his death from some other cause. After a protracted investigation the jury rendered its verdict that Harry Blodgett came to his death from accidental drowning and that W. H. Whidden came to his death in the water but from some cause to the jury unknown, and recommened that the stomach and viscera of Whidden be sent to some chemist for a full examination. Besides his widow here, Whidden left a daughter in this city and a son and two daughters, one of them married, on the west coast.

Note: Thanks to Jill Addison for the newspaper articles detailing the death of William Henry Whidden. The best we will ever get with this can only be personal opinion. It is great that we have such detail with the inquest and news articles. In my opinion either Harry, who couldn't swim, stepped in a deep spot and started to drown. Then William Whidden had some sort of heart failure (only a guess) and died while trying to save him. Or... William Whidden had a heart attack and Harry who could not swim died trying to save him. I would say only Harry or William could answer that question. -- Bill Brinkley 07/18/2010
Burial of a brotherWilliam Henry Whidden
after July 20, 1912 (Age 40 years)
Census January 2, 1920 (Age 48 years)
Address: Alligator Road
Burial of a wifeLula F. Whidden
1930 (Age 58 years)
Cemetery: Lemon Bay Cemetery
Census April 11, 1930 (Age 58 years)
Address: Precinct 8
Death of a wifeLula F. Whidden
October 30, 1930 (Age 59 years)
Death 1954 (Age 82 years)

Family with parents - View this family
Marriage: December 28, 1865Polk, Florida, USA
14 months
elder brother
5 years
7 years
younger brother
4 years
younger sister
Family with Lula F. Whidden - View this family
Marriage: November 1, 1895DeSoto, Florida, USA
Divorce: January 2, 1906DeSoto, Florida, USA
4 years
4 years
Family with Jannie Carver - View this family
Lewis Whidden
Robert J Cash + Lula F. Whidden - View this family
wife’s husband
Hattie M. Cash

MarriageCounty Records, DeSoto Co., Florida Marriages Book 1, (June 28, 1887 - March 24, 1892)
Citation details: Page 205
DivorceCounty Records, DeSoto Co., Florida, Chancery Book 2 (From 02 January 1901 through 13 April 1908)
Publication: FLGenWeb Project
Shared note

Possible Details/Not Confirmed -Cornelius W. Whidden (not sure if it is the same Cornelius) married Lula Whidden November 1, 1895 in DeSoto, Florida, USA. -Cornelius and Lula filed for divorce January 2, 1906...