Local historian honors late uncle with publication

Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:58 AM.

Among Wentworth's accolades is the distinction of becoming the youngest county commissioner in Florida in 1920, while he was in his early 20s. He also owned a bicycle repair shop, was a Realtor, politician, tax collector, educator, preservationist, a state board member of the Florida Historic Society — anything he could to make ends meet for his wife, three children, and himself.

In 1906, after a major hurricane, Wentworth found a gold coin on the beach in Pensacola. That one gold coin became the cornerstone for what would become a museum collection of everything from a petrified cat to a cannonball.

The building that housed the bike shop where his early collection was initially displayed in the window still stands in downtown Pensacola. Others donated to his collection and when it grew too large for the shop, it was moved to the historic Dorothy Walton (wife of George Walton) home in the 1930s, which Wentworth owned. George Walton signed the Declaration of Independence.

In 1957 Wentworth moved the collection out to the suburb of Ensley, then donated it to the city in 1983. The city returned it to downtown Pensacola in its present location and re-opened the museum in 1988.

Before his death, her uncle founded the T.T. Wentworth Museum Historical Foundation, which donates scholarships and grants.

When Rees moved back to the area permanently in 1999, she was asked to be on the board of the T.T. Wentworth Museum.

Rees is the primary author of the commemorative book, which she wrote in collaboration with her cousins, Lynn Robertson and Karen Penton.

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