Lake Worth Pioneers' Association, Inc.


Upcoming Events

lwpa Annual Meeting


John Yeend

1109 S. Congress Ave.
West Palm Beach, FL 33406

Phone: 561-642-4200


Affliate Links

lwpa Palm Beach Historical Society

lwpa Yeend, Castaneda & Flynn, LLP

lwpa Jupiter Lighthouse

lwpa Norton Art Museum



Henry Sanders
William Henry Sanders

Henry Sanders arrived on the shores of Lake Worth in 1891. Born in England on 13 October 1841, Henry was fourteen when he came to America with his sister and brother, Tom. During the War Between the States, Henry and Tom joined the U.S. Cavalry. They were sent to Kansas as scouts, and, at the end of the war, they homesteaded in Kansas and married sisters there. Henry’s bride was Susanna Simpson, by whom he had six children: Annie Laurie, who married Thomas Farquarson; William Henry, who married Hattie Gale, daughter of pioneer Rev. Eldridge Gale; Susan Margaret, who married Harry DuBois of Jupiter; George, who became medical doctor; Rose, who married Frank Rowley, son of pioneer George S. Rowley; Samuel, who remained in Kansas.

Son William Henry Sanders had met his future wife, Hattie Gale, while attending college in Manhattan, Kansas. At age sixteen, before attending college, Hattie became the first school teacher in Dade County. When she returned to Florida with her family, Will went too. In August 1890, he traveled by train to Jacksonville, then on to Titusville, where he slept under a mosquito net for the first time in his life. The trip from Titusville to Jupiter Lighthouse took two days by Indian River steamer. Then Will experienced an eight-mile ride from Jupiter to Juno on the Celestial Railway and, finally, from Juno to Lake Worth, traveled by racing sailboat in the ocean, an unsettling experience for a Kansas farm boy. Fascinated by the Indian River steamers, Will became captain of the tugboat, “Palm.”

Will wrote home such glowing accounts of southeast Florida that his father decided to move there too. Susanna refused to accompany him. Henry set out from Clay Center, Kansas. The last leg of his trip, from Jacksonville to Lake Worth, was on the schooner, “Mary B.,” owned by Captain U.D. Hendrickson, and he arrived 1891. In 1897, two of his daughters, Susan and Rose, also left Kansas and arrived in Stuart, where Susan became a school teacher. (see her story, following.)

Henry’s wife, Susanna, died in 1899, and, in 1907, he married Frances Debras, also a native of England. She died in 1918.

Henry and son, Will, took an active part in the pioneer community on the shores of Lake Worth. An early photo shows Henry, with Will at the throttle of a locomotive he built. The locomotive, the type used in logging camps, was used in Palm Beach to clear land around the Royal Poinciana Hotel. When the Palm Beach Yacht Club erected a clubhouse on the lakeshore a short distance south of the Coconut Grove Hotel, one of the pioneers put together a seven-piece orchestra to play on opening night. Two of the members were Henry Sanders on bass horn and Will Sanders on piano. A later band, The Lake Worth Band, named for the lake and not the town, included Henry Sanders on tuba.

Henry died in April 1934 at age ninety-three and was greatly mourned by the surviving pioneers. His funeral was held in the Union Congregational Church where he had been a member for many years and was a deacon emeritus. The Legionnaires were active pallbearers in honor of his military service.

Will and Hattie had three children. They moved back to Manhattan, Kansas, where Will was a professor at the university for many years. He died 20 September 1967, at age ninety-nine.


My father and married brother were in Florida before I came down in the summer of 1897 with my sister, Rose. There were five men to every woman, and school teachers were very scarce, also. The teacher’s examination for that year had been held before I arrived, so they sent me up to Titusville to take the examination there. Dade County at that time ran up half of the state.

I was assigned to a little school just started out in the woods west of Stuart. I arrived in Stuart about 11 a.m. Saturday school was to start Monday. There was a store and post office combined run by one of the Kitching brothers. I inquired there if anyone from out to Leesville, as they called it, was in to meet me. They said two children, a boy of eight and his twelve-year-old sister had walked in, so after rounding them up, we started out. It was an awful, rainy fall, and the woods were full of water. After walking down the railroad for a mile or more, we struck out through the woods. It was cloudy and overcast, and in about two hours, we were back to the railroad tracks. We started again. . . on and on. . . it became dark so we squatted down by a big pine tree and waited. About 10 p.m. we saw a light. They had sent out a search party for the children. We were pretty glad to see them. They took us home, fed us, and gave us dry clothes. . . my trunk was still at Stuart. . .They all lived in one big room, a bed in every corner and one between on the two long sides of the room. There were four or five boys in the family, besides two young men boarders. I was assigned to sleep with the daughter.

The school house was an eight by twelve palmetto shack with no floor, no desk for me, but a box to sit on. The children sat on a long, backless bench with a long, slanting, continuous board in front to prop their books against. There was a desk and bench down each side of the room, and place for me to walk up and down a the center. I taught the children, just beginners with some -almost as old as I was, for the princely sum of forty dollars a month.

The teacher at Jupiter had been having trouble with the trustees, and to punish her, they sent her out to the little school I was teaching, and sent me into the Jupiter school after Christmas.


Copyright 2007 Lake Worth Pioneers' Association, Inc. All Rights Reserved.