In Memory of Patrolman Everett E. Blewfield
August 16, 1926
Officer Everett Elwin Blewfield had served the Tarpon Springs (Fla.) Police Department for less than two weeks when he was shot to death by a group of thieves in 1926.
Everett Blewfield was born on February 17, 1883 in Rockford, IL, the oldest of four children born to Florence E. Soule and Charles H. Blewfield. He had brown hair and blue eyes, and like many children in his community, attended school through the eighth grade.
In 1902, Everett married Ella Victoria Grans in Rockford and they had three sons, Quinton Everett born June 1, 1907 and twins Elwin Fay and Delwin Ray born August 14, 1914. Everett worked as a farmer operating his own farm, first in his native Winnebago County, and later in nearby McHenry County, IL.
In the 1920s, the Blewfield family, left Illinois and moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida. The family settled in Tarpon Springs, a coastal community noted for its sponge fishing. They made their home at 313 North Ring Avenue and Everett operated a restaurant, the Illinois Cafe’, at the corner of Tarpon and Ring Avenues.
After living in Tarpon Springs for about a year, Everett E. Blewfield joined the local police force. On the recommendation of Chief E.R. Washington, the Tarpon Springs Board of City Commissioners appointed him as a Patrolman on August 3, 1926.
In the early morning hours of August 16, 1926, a man who was boarding at Policeman Blewfield’s home alerted him to suspicious activity. Around 6 a.m., Herbert Loechelt observed a car occupied by two women that had been stopped on the corner minutes before beginning to enter the alley behind a grocery store. He told Policeman Blewfield and both men responded to the alley.
As they approached the car and the rear door of the grocery store, two suspects came out of the door. One opened fire on Policeman Blewfield before the officer was able to defend himself. The round struck the officer in the chest and he managed only a few steps before collapsing on the sidewalk along Safford Avenue. Policeman Blewfield, age 43, was dead at the scene.
Both men fled with the women in the waiting car and Chief Washington alerted Police Departments and Sheriff’s officers throughout the region. Investigation revealed that the two men had burglarized the grocery store, blown up a safe and stolen money and checks. They were in the process of escaping with the money when Policeman Blewfield interrupted them.
Within a day, the four were captured. The men, Arthur Reed (alias Arthur Davenport) and Louis Thomas (alias Louis Curtis), were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. The women, Bernice Spaulding and Phyllis Thomas pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to a year in prison. Thomas was executed in November 1927 and Reed’s sentence was commuted to life in prison.
Policeman Everett E. Blewfield was survived by his wife and three sons. He was buried in his hometown in Illinois. His oldest son Quinton later served as Deputy Sheriff with Hillsborough County.
Research by Amy Bertsch and Blewfield family historian Suzanne Pollock Hough.