EXPLORE THE WORLD OF GENEALOGY AND DISCOVER INTERESTING HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT BREVARD COUNTY, FL WITH GENEALOGY LIBRARIAN MICHAEL BOONSTRA

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just A Question of Girls

The other day when I was searching the old archives of the New York Times for something, I ran across a totally unexpected article that I thought I might share with my readers, especially those interested in local history. Most locals will probably recognize the photo below of the house on Rockledge Dr., it being one of the largest and showiest homes on the River Road.


For most of its early history this was referred to as the Metzner home, it being the winter home of Martin A. Metzner and family. The Metzners were permanent residents of New York and they spent their summers in a grand mansion on the shores of Lake Ronkonkoma, Long Island. The Metzners were probably the wealthiest family that wintered in Rockledge and as such were well known in the area. The Metzners had a son and three daughters and all were very active in sports and outdoor activities. 

The September 2, 1908 issue of the New York Times carried an article entitled, "Just A Question of Girls" which states that Sheriff Wells of Suffolk County, Long Island had arrested one of Martin Metzner's daughters for speeding some time ago, and that she had paid a fine of $10 and had been released, having stated her name on the paperwork as simply, "Miss Metzner." On Sept. 1, the Sheriff stopped her for "tearing along the Suffolk County roads" again and charged her with a second offense, which was a much more serious charge. However, the writer took delight in reporting that, "Mr. Metzner has three charming daughters, who look so much alike that even their friends have difficulty in distinguishing one from the other." When brought before the court the judge asked the accused if it was her second offense at which point her two sisters got up and stood beside her and each asked the Sheriff in turn, "Are you sure it wasn't I?" The Sheriff was at a loss to identify the culprit and responded in court, "Blest if I know." As a result the paper reports that Miss Metzner pleaded guilty to the speeding charge, but not to the second offense, and the Justice fined her $10, which she paid, and "the three Miss Metzners departed in triumph."

This happy family was to suffer a great tragedy in 1917 when the girl's brother and the Metzner's only son Nicholas W. was killed in a car accident on his way to Miami where he was going to receive his degree in aviation prior to his enlistment in the Armed Forces during World War I. The family was very involved in the war effort and Mr. Metzner even donated his private yacht to the Navy to be used in combat.

17 comments:

  1. Very informative and interesting, thanks.

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    1. It was fun to read about this. I have pictures of the Metzners, but have never seen this house. Nice job.

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    2. If you want to share one or two I will post them with this blog. Would be interesting to see them!

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    3. I'll give you the link to where they are online.

      http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/37474818/person/19095409377

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    4. The web link did not work.
      It is not allowing me to paste on this blog. How do I share some of the photos?
      If you have access to ancestry.com
      They are in a public member tree.
      User: HKKrewer
      Martin A Metzner family tree.

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    5. No you can't link to the trees even in the public area as Ancestry requires people to register before it will allow you access. So secrity blocks the link from working. If you want to share you would have to upload the photos to a free site for pictures, like flickr, and then provide that link. Or you can send them to me via email and I can post them for you on this blog so that everyone can see them.

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    6. I am the great granddaughter of Marie metzner Robinson. I've heard many stories

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    7. That sounds very interesting. Am all ears if you want to share! Do you have any photos of the family or their property in Rockledge?

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  2. I made a flickr account.
    2 Metzner photos, and 1 photo of a house are at
    flickr.com/photos/lake_grove/
    I hope this works.
    Sorry this is taking so long.
    Enjoy.

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    1. That's okay, yes that works. Where is Lake Grove, I see Spanish moss in the picture and palm trees? It looks suspiciously like the Metzner house in Rockledge pictured above from the side.

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    2. It is the one in Florida. The mansion with Hannah Metzner is the one in Lake Grove Ronkonkoma.

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    3. The big picture of the house in Ronkonkoma did not show up. Let me try to post it on Flickr again.

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    4. Done. The Lake Grove New York Metzner house (on Lake Ronkonkoma in New York)picture has been added to the flickr account. I took down the Florida house (Sorry about downloading the wrong one.)
      flickr.com/photos/lake_grove/

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    5. Actually, would you post the Florida house again? I would like to save it for our archives as well. My readers will be interested to see what the Rockledge house looked like before it was added onto!

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    6. Oh, sorry. Sure let me find it.

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    7. New York Times October 9th 1913.
      One of the Metzner girls, (Rosa) has a marriage description in that issue of the newspaper. It does not describe the house though, and there are no pictures.

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    8. Rosa was my father's mother. My son is named after Nicholas. It is part of family hand-me-down chatter that Martin Metzner also owned and contributed what today is known as Cape Canaveral to the US so that the Army Corps could attempt to train troops in maleria prone environments.

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