Born in England, Anthony “Andy” Rosse, along with his mother and 6 siblings, entered the USA through Ellis Island in 1906, joining his father in Tampa, FL.
When Andy left home at age 15, he worked the commercial fishing circuit of South West Florida, eventually arriving in Punta Gorda. It was there he met and soon married 14-year old Dessa. As Andy said, “it was alright with her people” and the couple continued the nomadic lifestyle typical of commercial fishermen of that time; making their home in several shacks and fish camps located throughout Pine Island Sound.
While working a fish camp on Buck Key in 1926, the couple discovered Captiva and then moved here permanently in 1935. For the next five years Rosse worked at ‘Tween Waters Inn, renting boats and chartering fishing trips. In 1940, when the opportunity to purchase Captiva Grocery at City Dock became available, Rosse borrowed $800. from one of his charter clients, political cartoonist J.N. “Ding” Darling, and soon-after the grocery store relocated down the street and Andy’s Fishing Pier was born; selling gasoline, bait, tackle, sandwiches and beer.
Over time, the focus of the business shifted, and Andy’s Bar emerged, the highlight of which were Saturday nights and what Andy called “little parties,” that featured Dessa’s spaghetti dinners and plenty of liquid refreshment; accompanied by Andy on guitar. Being the honky-tonk that is was, ruckus behavior would eventually ensue and Rosse would need to retain order. In his later years, when asked to comment on those occasional outbursts, Rosse would recall, “Trouble is, I just never could stand bullies.”