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3260 S.W. 8th Street, Miami FL  33135

1.   Private David Barcus

2.   Private J.B. Britt

3.   Private James Henry Cox

4.   Private John Moses Dowling

5.   Private Bohon DuPont

6.   Captain Seth E. Gates

7.   Private Albert Simon Goodrich

8.   Colonel William LeGrand Hunter

9.   2nd Lt. Felder Lang

10. Private F. B. Lassiter

Private A. K. McLeod

Nellie Lang Meggs  IReal Daughter)

Corporal John H. Reed

2nd Lt.  James H. Rice

Private F. E. Savage

Private William Simpson

Private Perry Cook Smith

Sergeant Solomon Smith

Private Robert B. Stringfellow

Private Rodney James Thompson

Private George Johnson Tucker

1.  Pvt. Daniel David Barcus  (UNION)

Daniel David Barcus


BIRTH 1843 • Rush Run, Jefferson County, Ohio

DEATH 1924 • Eustis, Lake, Florida

Married:  29 Nov. 1866 • Little Washington, Pennsylvania

Sarah Ellen "Sallie" Nicholls


BIRTH 21 JULY 1849 • Wellsburg, Brooke, West Virginia

DEATH 26 FEB 1945 • Leesburg, Lake, Florida




Name:  David Barcus

Enlistment Date:  14 Nov 1861

Enlistment Rank:  Private

Muster Date:  14 Nov 1861

Muster Place:  West Virginia

Muster Company: G

Muster Regiment:  1st Infantry

Muster Regiment Type:  Infantry

Muster Information:  Enlisted

Side of War:  Union

Title:  Index to Compiled Military Service Records

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2.  Pvt. John B Britt


BIRTH FEB 1842 • North Carolina

DEATH 20 FEB 1922 • Jacksonville, Duval, Florida

Married:  21 Aug 1870 • Chatham, North Carolina

Sarah E Thompson


BIRTH ABT 1854 • North Carolina


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3.  Pvt. James Henry Cox



in the U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865


Birth Date: abt 1835

Enlistment Date:10 May 1862

Enlistment Place:Quincy, Florida, USA

Rank: Private

Military Unit: Eighth Infantry (C-Gl)

4.  Pvt. John Moses Dowling


BIRTH 22 MAY 1842 • Valdosta, Lowndes, Georgia

DEATH 28 APR 1927 • South Miami, Dade, Florida

Married:  14 Feb 1861 • Clinch, Georgia

Mary Ann Jane Avera 'Avery'


BIRTH 1 AUG 1843 • Valdosta, Lowndes, Georgia, 

DEATH 27 NOV 1928 • South Miami, Miami-Dade, Florida


U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865

NameJohn Moses Dowling

Enlistment Age 19

Birth Date 22 May 1842

Birth Place Lowndes County, Georgia

Enlistment Date14 Nov 1861

Enlistment PlaceWhite Springs, Florida

Enlistment RankPrivate

Muster Date14 Nov 1861

Muster PlaceFlorida

Muster CompanyE

Muster Regiment1st Cavalry

Muster Regiment TypeCavalry

Muster InformationEnlisted

Muster Out Date26 Apr 1865

Muster Out PlaceDurham Station, North Carolina

Muster Out InformationSurrendered

Side of WarConfederacy

Survived War?Yes

Death Date28 Apr 1927

Death PlaceDade County, Florida

Notes1865-05-01 Oath Allegiance, (Greensboro, NC)

Additional NotesMarried Mary Ann Avery on 02/20/1861

TitleSoldiers of Florida in the ...Civil War...; Biographical Rosters of Florida's Soldiers 1861-1865


5.  Bohun Cater Dupont


BIRTH 26 MAR 1844 • St Lukes Parish, Beaufort, South Carolina

DEATH 26 MAR 1929 • Lemon City, Miami-Dade, Florida


Christiana Elizabeth Gwynn


BIRTH 24 DEC 1854 • Key West, Monroe, Florida

DEATH 6 OCT 1920 • Dade County, Florida


U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865

Name  B C Dupont

Enlistment Age  18

Birth Date  1844

Enlistment Date15 Mar 1862

Enlistment Rank  Private

Muster Date15 Mar 1862

Muster Place  South Carolina

Muster Regiment  Charleston Drag. Cavalry

Muster Regiment Type  Cavalry

Muster Information  Enlisted

Muster Out Date  20 Apr 1864

Muster Out information transferred

Side of War  Confederacy

Survived War?  Yes

Additional Notes 2Muster 2 Date: 20 Apr 1864; Muster 2 Place: South Carolina; Muster 2 Unit: 999; Muster 2 Company: K; Muster 2 Regiment: 4th Cavalry; Muster 2 Regiment Type: Cavalry; Muster 2 Information: Transferred; MusterOut 2 Date: 26 Apr 1865; MusterOut 2 Place: Greensboro, North Carolina; MusterOut 2 Information: Surrendered;

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6.  Captain Seth Henry Gates


BIRTH 18 JUL 1839 • Macon, Bibb County, Georgia

DEATH 8 DEC 1924 • Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida

Married:  20 Oct 1859 • Bibb, Georgia

Sarah Ann Leonard


BIRTH 14 SEP 1842 • Macon, Bibb, Georgia

DEATH 15 OCT 1894 • Benton County, Arkansas


U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865

Name  Seth H Gates

Enlistment Date  21 Oct 1861

Enlistment Rank  2nd Lieut

Muster Date  21 Oct 1861

Muster Place  Georgia

Muster Company  A

Muster Regiment  1st Indpt Bttn State

Muster Information  Commission

Rank Change Date16 Jun 1862

Rank Change Rank1st Lieut

Rank Change Information  As of Co. K

Casualty Date10 May 1864

Casualty Place  Macon, Georgia

Type of Casualty  Hospitalized

Muster Out Date  2 May 1862

Muster Out Place  Camp Lee, Savannah, Georgia

Muster Out InformationMustered Out

Side of War  Confederacy

Survived War?  Yes

Residence Place  Bibb County, Georgia

NotesFurloughed, Wounded, close of war

Additional NotesBorn in Macon, GA July 18, 1839.

Additional Notes 2Muster 2 Date: 15 May 1862; Muster 2 Place: Georgia; Muster 2 Unit: 412; Muster 2 Company: K; Muster 2 Regiment: 59th Infantry; Muster 2 Regiment Type: Infantry; Muster 2 Information: Commission; Rank Change 2 Date: 15 Sep 1862; Rank Change 2 Rank: Captain; Casualty 2 Date: 10 May 1864; Casualty 2 Place: Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia; Casualty 2 Casualty Type: Wounded; Casualty 2 Information: Minie ball through right shoulder;

TitleRoster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia 1861-1865


                            The Miami News

Miami, Florida • Mon, Dec 8, 1924

Page 27


7.  Pvt. Albert Simeon Goodrich


BIRTH 7 JAN 1844 • Benton, Columbia, Florida

DEATH 6 AUG 1916 • Miami, Dade County, Florida

Married:  17 Jan 1867 Columbia County, Florida

Frances Marie O'Steen


BIRTH 1849 • Lake City, Columbia, Florida

DEATH 1932 • Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida

Albert Simeon Goodrich is the oldest son of Charles Goodrich and Rebecca C. Moody, and the husband of Frances M. O'Steen. He served in the Civil War from the age of 17-21 (1861-1865), as a private in the Florida Infantry, Company F, 10th Regiment. After the war Albert moved his family to Miami, Florida. Albert and Frances had 5 children; Simeon Francis, Annie Rebecca, Effie Tallulah, Edwin "Eddie", and Graham John.


U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865

Name Albert Simon Goodrich

Enlistment Age 17

Birth Date 7 Jan 1844

Birth Place Columbia County, Florida

Enlistment Date 15 Dec 1861

Enlistment Place Newnansville, Florida

Enlistment Rank Private

Muster Date 15 Dec 1861

Muster Place Florida

Muster Company F

Muster Regiment 10th Infantry

Muster Regiment Type Infantry

Muster Information Enlisted

Muster Out Date 9 Apr 1865

Muster Out Place Appomattox Court House, Virginia

Muster Out Information Surrendered

Side of War Confederacy

Survived War? Yes

Death Date6 Aug 1916

Death Place Dade County, Florida

Burial Place Miami, Dade County, Florida

Occupation Farmer

Title Soldiers of Florida in the ...Civil War...; Biographical Rosters of Florida's Soldiers 1861-1865


8.  William LeGrand Hunter  (US CAVALRY)


BIRTH 11 MAY 1847 • Clifford, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania

DEATH 16 JUN 1937 • Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida

Veteran of the Indian Wars, Sgt. 1st Calvary, Compamy F
1st wife, Dora M. Decker, died, 6 August, 1879
2nd wife, Elizabeth Ann "Libbie" Cuddeback, died, 5 July, 1885
3rd wife, Ann Elizabeth Osgood, died, 23 March, 1907

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9. 2nd Lt.  Felder Lang


BIRTH 14 AUG 1842 • Langsbury Plantation, Camden, Georgia, 

DEATH 8 MAR 1919 • Miami, Dade, Florida,

Married:  6 Feb 1867 • Charlton County, Georgia

Martha Mizell


BIRTH 14 FEB 1846 • Folkston, Charlton County, Georgia

DEATH 26 JAN 1936 • Homestead, Dade, Florida


U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865

Name F. Lang

Side Confederate

Regiment State/Origin Georgia

Regiment 4th Regiment, Georgia Cavalry (Clinch's)

Company D

Rank In Sergeant

Rank Out Junior Second Lieutenant

Film NumberM226 roll 35

     Felder Lang was the son of Isaac Lang, Jr. and Caroline Atkinson. Caroline Atkinson was the daughter of Burwell Atkinson and Anne Felder. Burwell Atkinson was the son of John Atkinson, a Revolutionary soldier, and Elizabeth Gardner. Anne Felder was the granddaughter of Henry Felder, of Orangeburg, SC. Henry Felder was a member of the Continental Congress from St. Matthews Parrish, Orangeburg Township, for effectually carrying into execution the Continental Association during the revolution. He was a Captain in the Revolution and his seven sons were in his company. Henry Felder cast arms for the Americans during the war, had two dwellings burned by Tories, and was killed in the burning of the last one. One of his cannons is on the square at Orangeburg on display. His oldest son, John Felder, took over the company and was killed trying to escape from capture by the British. (Salley’s History of Orangeburg County, SC)
     Felder Lang was born August 13, 1842, near Brunswick, and the Old Town of Jefferson at Langsbury, GA. This was the home of Isaac Lang, Jr. and Caroline Atkinson.
He was married to Martha Mizell of Charlton County, Georgia, on the 6th day of February 1867, at the home of her father, Joshua Everett Mizell, six miles from Old Center Village, later Folkston, Georgia. Officiating was Rev. Mallette, who had been his teacher in boyhood, and who also married Felder’s sister, Susan Lang to Gideon Mallette.
     At the age of about eighteen, he and his brothers Nat, Neuton, and Richard joined the volunteers to fight for State’s Rights in the Confederate Army. He rode horseback (his own horse, Prince) to Jonesburry, Georgia, where he was enlisted as a member of the Fourth Georgia Cavalry under the command of Captain Clinch. He became a scout and was in Atlanta when the city was burned by Sherman’s Army. He related that the Confederate soldiers were almost without food or clothing when he saw a warehouse as large as a two-story store go up in smoke. This was the supply of the Confederate Army. He saw the destruction of farms, homes, cities and villages within a radius of one mile wide from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia. Sherman ordered his men to destroy the food supply. He did, only sweet potatoes and black-eyed peas were left, with some corn and cattle. He was somewhere along the St. Mary’s River when the Confederate Soldiers fired upon the Union gun boats that sailed up the river to Traders Hill (truly a trading post for cotton, corn, and cane grown even as far South as Kissimmee, Florida). The gunboats did little damage, returning to St. Mary’s without knowing that the defense was made by a small number of men.
     Felder Lang was at the battle of Olustee, Florida, where he did his part in defense there. At the close of the war he was a 2nd Lieutenant in command of a Company of Cavalry known as Company D of the 4th Regiment, Georgia Cavalry, elected on May 4th, 1863. In later years he moved to Florida and the State of Florida gave him a pension for having done his duty in what he believed was right for the South.
     The Lang home was near Folkston. Reconstruction days found him a surveyor of land and timber. He surveyed the little town of Folkston for Dr. Folks who established the town about 1873. At Burnfort on the Satilla River, he became the favorite surveyor of lumbermen who brought rafts from Darien, Georgia, to be sold to the mills at Bailey’s Mills near Brunswick. Here his children were born, Letticia Caroline Lang (6/27/1868), Louis Everett Lang (8/24/1870), Julia Eleanor Lang (Nellie – 6/14/1876), Lucia Bernice Lang (11/27/1873), Guy Carlton Lang (1/11/1879), Kate May Lang (5/12/1881). All are now deceased except Nellie Lang Meggs (Mrs. W.G. Meggs) of Miami, Florida.
     During the presidency of Grover Cleveland, Felder Lang served two terms in the Georgia State Legislature as a representative from Charlton County, Georgia. At this time, the first Railroad in the County was from Savannah to Jacksonville. This was about 1873. The road is now a part of the Atlantic Coastline.
     In 1894 he sold the farm and cattle and became a turpentine operator at Uptonville, Georgia. In 1898 he sold the place and moved to a place near Citra, Florida, where he and his son Louis operated another turpentine farm. At this time he accumulated 17,000 acres of pine land on which were many cool sandy-bottomed lakes. The Post Office was Ft. McCoy, but he soon established a village post office named Dexter, Florida, with himself as postmaster.
     In 1904 he bought the home of Mr. C.M. Brown in Ocala. This place of twenty acres had been up to 1896 a fine orange grove. The great freeze of 1896 had killed all the fruit trees, so it was only a farm. In December of that year, Mr. Brown invited him to see Miami before he went to Ft. Myers or Inverness, either of which might have pleased him as a place of retirement. After seeing Miami in December of 1904 he said he had never seen a place so beautiful and full of promise. So he bought from H. Price Williams, overseer of the Lawrence Place next door, a citrus grove on the Miami River, consisting of a bungalow, a boathouse, and a barn. He named it Incachee, like the Atkinson home in Georgia, which was the home where he lived when he was first married.
     The Williams family had a flower business and sold roses to the Royal Palm Hotel at the mouth of the Miami River. The fruit which had been selling at $7.00 per box dropped so low that the grove was no longer profitable. Also, Felder’s sight was failing and he anticipated the blindness he suffered the last years of his life. He sold the grove in 1913 and moved to 675 W. Flagler Street, Miami, where he died of a hernia at the age of 76 (March 8th, 1919). He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, in Miami, Florida.
     Felder Lang was a man with a great sense of humor, integrity, and honor. He loved people and loved to have them around him. He was an Elk, both in Ocala and Miami. Some of his Miami friends were R.E. Hall, W.W. Farris, Edward Lummus, E.B. Romph, J.H. Tatam, C.T. McCrimmon, J.W. Girtman, Dr. James M. Jackson, Captain Marsh, Captain J.C. Kuney, Captain Ross, W.A. Marsh, H.G. Copinger, Mr. John Ellis and H.H. Kilpatrick.

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     The following is an account of the life of Felder Lang, Nellie Lang's father, as told by Nellie's sister Kate Lang Dane in 1963. It is from the publication Miami of the Pioneers: A Picture History by Marjorie Meggs Gowin and Peter Thomas Skaggs Gowin, copyright 1976.     This is the story of Felder Lang written by his youngest daughter, Kate Lang Dane (Mrs. Seymour Dane) in 1963, just prior to her death.

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10.  Pvt. James Henry Cox



in the U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865


Birth Date: abt 1835

Enlistment Date:10 May 1862

Enlistment Place:Quincy, Florida, USA

Rank: Private

Military Unit: Eighth Infantry (C-Gl)


Majestic Saloon in Downtown Miami

When Julia Tuttle and the Brickells granted land to Henry Flagler in 1895 in exchange for him extending his railroad to, and building a world-class hotel along, the banks of the Miami River, they made a specific request. The stipulation that both the Tuttles and Brickells required was that the municipality not allow the sale and consumption of alcohol within the city limits.

Henry Flagler agreed to the request provided that his hotel would be exempt from this requirement. All parties were united on the framework that Miami would be dry, except for the Royal Palm Hotel, when chartered in July of 1896. Flagler’s hostelry was the only place within the city’s boundaries where one could imbibe in alcoholic beverages legally.

Within a few years after the passing of Julia Tuttle in September of 1898, prohibition of alcohol was lifted for downtown Miami. This change provided a unique opportunity for entrepreneurial pioneers to be one of the earliest operators of a saloon in the Magic City. A father and son partnership seized the occasion to be one of those operators. However, they would soon find that remaining open would prove to be difficult in a young region struggling with its policy on the sale and consumption of alcohol.

Byron Fulton Lasseter was a veteran of the Civil War from Decatur, Georgia who arrived in Miami in 1899. Similar to the Burdine family, the Lasseter family lived in Bartow, Florida, prior to moving to Miami. Byron likely moved to Miami upon the recommendation of his son, Byron I. Lasseter Jr., who had been living in Miami for at least two years prior to his parents relocating to the Magic City.

Byron I. Lasseter Jr. worked for the P&O Steamship Line and was known to early Miami residents as “Captain” Lasseter. B.I. was involved with a lot of different ventures during his time in Miami. In addition to joining his father in the operation of the Majestic Saloon, he partnered with J.E. Lummus in the founding of the Miami Grocery Company in 1906.

He later got involved with the construction of the Oversea Railway to Key West, and was part of a partnership that operated the Lasseter-McDonald Hardware store, which was located at the southeast corner of Twelfth Street (Flagler Street), and Avenue D (Miami Avenue), from 1917 until 1919. Byron I. Lasseter Jr. also opened and briefly operated a tire and automotive store on Flagler Street in May of 1918, until he sold it three months later on August 14, 1918. He was both enterprising and hard working.

The operating entity for the Majestic Saloon was known as Lasseter & Company, and the establishment was located along today’s South Miami Avenue, which was known as Avenue D prior to 1920. Within a year of opening at its original location, a legal dispute ensued between the Lasseters and the owner of the building in which they operated the Majestic Saloon. The decision in this legal battle required the saloon keepers to relocate on short notice.

On December 4, 1904, the headline in the Miami Metropolis read “Must Vacate Premise in Three Days”. This headline referred to the conclusion of the legal battle between Byron (B.F.) Lasseter and Charles L. Wetzel over occupancy of the building at the northwest corner of Avenue D and Fourteenth Street. Today this corner is part of the on ramp to the expressway on South Miami Avenue and SE Second Street in downtown Miami.

In its first year of operation, the Majestic Saloon was one of Miami’s first downtown drinking establishments. The saloon operated as a bar, packaging store, and restaurant. The packaging store sold bottles of liquor and beer, Havana cigars, and even offered to customize packages for mail order.

However, the Majestic Saloon was not the only bar to operate in downtown Miami in 1904. There were several other drinking establishments that opened on Avenue D (Miami Avenue), including: Ben Hur Saloon, operated by C.H. Watson (namesake of Watson Island), Pioneer Saloon, and Zapf’s Saloon. There was another establishment that opened on Twelfth Street (Flagler), near Avenue D, named The Ideal Saloon.

In January of 1904, Byron hired a contractor to add awnings to the front of the building and to apply a coat of paint to improve the appearance of his establishment. The Lasseters were bullish on their prime location on Avenue D and expected to be there for a long time. However, a change in ownership of the building forced an adjustment to their plans.

A legal battle ensued after Wetzel purchased the building where Lasseter’s Majestic Saloon operated. Byron and his son had a lease with the prior owner, and the partners insisted that they were due six months’ notice to vacate the premises per the terms of their contract. The court ruled in favor of Wetzel and gave Lasseter three days to remove his belongings from the building.

As luck would have it, Lasseter was able to lease two floors in a building located on the northeast corner of today’s South Miami Avenue and SE First Street. The Majestic Saloon’s new address was situated one block north, and across the street from its original location. The Majestic Saloon was back in business at their new location on March 2, 1905.

In an advertisement in the Miami Metropolis on the day it re-opened, the business was called the ‘Majestic Saloon & Café’. The restaurant was described in an advertisement in the Metropolis as follows:

“Our café upstairs has the best the markets afford in Steaks, Chops, Fish, Oysters, in each season, Game, etc., and the service is first class in every respect.”

The ad goes on to state that the entrance to the café and wine room was on Thirteenth Street (today’s SE First Street), and the saloon entrance was located “across from the Post Office”, on Avenue D. The proprietors provided two separate entrances; one for those who wanted to patronize the restaurant, and another for those who wanted to enjoy alcoholic beverages and a fine cigar. The idea of alcohol being served downtown was new to Miami residents, and many citizens objected to the presence of these new establishments.

B.F. Lasseter’s application for a liquor license for the Majestic Saloon was approved on July 3, 1906. The license was good through September 30 of 1908. Fortunately for Lasseter and Company, they got approval for their liquor license prior to the start of 1907. There was a growing sentiment by Miami residents that Dade County should have a special election to vote the municipality “dry”.

In an editorial in the Miami Metropolis on October 14, 1907, the anti-saloon faction in the county warned the public about the “Business Men’s League”. The article went on to state that the league consisted exclusively of saloon owners and that the citizens of Dade County should not be fooled by their message. B.F. Lasseter was one of the members of this league, which primarily conveyed the idea that “prohibition will ruin Dade County.” Despite the efforts by saloon owners, support for prohibition was growing in the county. However, it would take a couple of elections and a few years before the county successfully voted for prohibition.

When B.F. Lasseter went to renew his liquor license in August of 1908, he was surprised to learn that his application was denied. He immediately filed an appeal with the County Commission which upheld the denial. During the appeal, Lasseter learned that R.J. Peck and other merchants on the block filed a complaint with the commission that the proprietor of the Majestic Saloon was not a “sober, law-abiding citizen.”

The protest was presented by R.B. Gauthier, who represented the men who filed the complaint. As evidence, Gauthier presented a certificate from the City of Miami clerk that stated that B.F. Lasseter had forfeited a bond in municipal court on a charge of fighting. The chief objection presented by the plaintiffs was “the fact that the saloon is in the most conspicuous and important business part of the city; that in order to reach the post office women and children from Thirteenth Street and Fort Dallas Park are compelled to pass it, and because the saloon is not run in an orderly manner.” Ultimately, the group wanted the county commission to revoke any liquor licenses for saloons within the central business district of the city of Miami.

Given the objection, Byron F. chose to dissolve the corporate entity that ran the Majestic Saloon, Lasseter & Company, on August 8, 1908, and then had his son, Emery J. Lasseter, file for a new liquor license for the Majestic. However, this petition was denied on September 2, 1908, when a construction contractor, who did work in the saloon, provided testimony about the “general character of the place.”

The original liquor license was set to expire on September 30, 1908, and Byron F. was running out of time before he lost the right to operate his saloon. The expiration date arrived, and he was forced to close the establishment until his liquor license was renewed or reissued. After being closed for more than a week, the county commission finally approved the renewal of the liquor license on October 7, 1908, when it was re-submitted by Byron I. Lasseter. No reason was given for the change in position of the county commission.

The anti-saloon faction in Dade County was relentless. There was a ballot measure voted in 1911 for prohibition, but the “drys” came up short to change the law on the sale and consumption of alcohol in the county. The two opposing sides regarding prohibition were labeled to as “drys”, referring to those in favor of prohibition, and “wets”, those who were opposed.

In 1911, when the measure was on the ballot, the Majestic Saloon was one of two drinking establishments that stayed open on election day. There was a Florida state law requiring all saloons to close on election day, but the Majestic Saloon ignored the law, and was criticized by the Miami Metropolis in a headline story the next day. The paper stated that the Sheriff was out of town and nothing was done to enforce the state law.

The vote for prohibition once again appeared on the ballot in October of 1913, but this time the measure passed. Voter turnout in the city of Miami was lower than expected, and turnout in the northern part of the county, which was rural and in favor of prohibition, was better than expected. The outcome of this election ensured that all saloons would have to either close or eliminate the sale of alcoholic beverages moving forward.

While many of the saloons tested the new law by continuing to sell alcoholic beverages, ultimately law enforcement was mandated to enforce the new county ordinance supporting prohibition. Despite the crackdown, the Lasseters continued to seek new ways to skirt the new law. One of their ideas was to sell a concoction referred to as “near beer”, which was a fermented drink that provided a lower alcohol percentage than regular beer.

This workaround did not go unnoticed by law enforcement. On August 12, 1914, Byron F. was detained by the sheriff for selling near beer in his establishment. The sheriff required that he close his business until he rid his place of, and stop selling the illegal beverage. That prompted Lasseter, on January 10, 1915, to purchase the Magic City Bottling Company, which was renamed to “The Chero-Cola Bottling Company”, a plant that bottled soft drinks and other beverages. The Majestic Saloon became the place to buy and drink Chero-Cola.

However, the Lasseter family was not done trying to sell near beer. On October 11, 1915, Byron I. was arrested by Sheriff Dan Hardie while selling the forbidden beverage at the Majestic Saloon. Several months later, on March 8, 1916, Miami City Mayor, Parker Henderson Sr., signed a law making it illegal to sell near beer within the city limits. On that same day, Byron I. invited Sheriff Whitman to his establishment to watch him sell the only bottle of near beer he had in his possession. Whitman promised that he would arrest him if he did, which is what happened. Byron I. Lasseter was intent on getting arrested so that he could test the constitutionality of the new law.

On March 13, 1916, when the lawsuit challenging the near beer law was heard, Judge Blanton declared the ordinance to be unconstitutional and discharged the indictment against Byron I. stemming from his arrest for selling the controversial beverage. Following this ruling, the city of Miami appealed the decision and considered re-writing the law. Instead, they decided to regulate the sale of near beer and required merchants to apply for a license that cost them five hundred dollars per year once they were approved.

However, things changed when the State of Florida passed a law, in April of 1917, prohibiting the sale of near beer within the state. The merchants who purchased licenses were told that they would not be able to file for a refund. A few years later, national prohibition was ratified, and the saloon owners were forced to stop selling alcoholic beverages.

Once it was clear that the saloon business was no longer viable in downtown Miami, Byron F. Lasseter focused his efforts on the soft drink distillery business. He retired from Chero-Cola Bottling Company in 1925, and spent his final years living at 1780 NW Fourth Street, which was located a couple blocks from Tatum Field, a venue that later gave way to the Orange Bowl. He died on April 17, 1931 at Jackson Memorial Hospital following an automobile accident.

Byron I. Lasseter served as a merchant marine captain during World War II, and then later owned a fishing vessel called ‘Valcour’, which he operated out of Miami. He lived a full life before his passing on October 21, 1957. He was seventy-eight years old at the time of his death.

While many believe the myth that the earliest drinking establishment in Miami dated back to 1912, it was a few saloons located in the downtown central business district that were the real pioneer watering holes. The Majestic Saloon was one of those forgotten establishments that harken back to a time when the Magic City looked more like a western outpost than the modern metropolis it is today.

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