Island Characters


Kent CurtisCurtiss_Kent copy.jpg

An American novelist, illustrator, composer, yachtsman, and teacher.  Kent Curtis served in World War I as an aviator with the Royal Air Force, was shot down, reported dead, and held prisoner of war until the war's end.

With a love of the outdoors and teaching, while on Captiva he wrote adventure novels, sailed, fished with Ding darling and taught at the Snyder School for Boys.  Captiva was the subject of his boys adventure stories.

Curtis discovered Captiva through Alice O’Brien, who hired him from Paris to help with her yacht.  He was known by many as a spirited, good-natured man who loved a good joke.

Rosse_Andy.JPGAndy Rosse

Considered by many to be the two most colorful characters on the island, Andy Rosse and his wife Dessa were in the fishing business.  With the help of “Ding” Darling, they bought the Captiva City Dock for $800 in 1940 and named it Andy’s Fishing Dock.  

Soon after, they opened a commercial fishing house.  They often held parties on Saturday nights at the dock.

The mail boat would arrive at Andy’s dock daily to deliver supplies.

Uncle Joe WightmanWightman_Joe.JPG

“Uncle” Joe Wightman and his family arrived on Captiva in 1917.  An estimated 40 to 60 people lived on the island at that time.  

They lived an island life — they made their own fun with what they could find.

“Once I got here in Florida and went native, I never wore shoes again until I was about half better grown.”
     - Joseph Wightman

'Buzz' Price, Dorothy Price, Capt. Stran with huge tarpon- early 1900's.jpgDorothy Price Wakefield

Raised on the island, “Dottie” Price Wakefield, the daughter of the founders of ‘Tween Waters Inn, Bowman and Grace Price, she lived and worked with her parents at “Tween Waters.”

She lived adventurously.  “We would take our picnic lunches and off we would go and stay all day long, or we would run on foot from one end of the island to the other.”  

Photo: Captain Stran (right) with Dottie and her father, Buzz, and their catch of the day!

Belton JohnsonDarling - Johnson.JPG

Known as the local fishing guide, Belton Johnson grew up on the island, farming and fishing to make a living.

Belton reminisces, “We kept hogs, and we had a cow for milk and butter … we fattened them (hogs) on tomatoes … and cured our own meet.”

A fisherman at heart and captain of the waters that would become his livelihood and passion, he became good friends with Jay ‘Ding’ Darling, guiding his fishing expositions

After his passing in 1986 at the age of 90, a reef honoring his name was made of concrete culverts five nautical miles off of Bowman’s Beach.

Photo: Belton Johnson guides conservationist and cartoonist J.N. “Ding” Darling near Captiva Island. 

Bridging the Past and the Present