Submitted by Descendant: Maurice “Pat” LaMEE
Born in Brest, France, on 8 May 1812, William Lamee went to sea at the age of twelve and arrived on Florida’s east coast in 1835. He settled in the Mayport area where he was part of the second wave of bar pilots at the St. John’s Bar. There he met and married Antonika Arnau, a Minorcan descendant and daughter of James Arnau, a founding member of the St. John’s Bar Pilot’s Association.
Webb’s Historical, Industrial and Biographical Florida by Wanton S. Webb in 1885 gives us a glimpse into William’s life and character. “it is doubtful if any single branch of business could be found to compare in point of hardship and danger with that of the pilot. This is indeed a branch of business where nerve and cool judgment, combined with a total disregard for personal comfort or danger, are necessary requirements; and whose followers must be men of great hardihood.”
William and Antonika raised eight children at their home in Pilot Town, a small settlement across the river from Mayport. William built the house in the early 1850’s and it stands today, a stone’s throw from the Mayport ferry landing.
William Lamee died on 24 October 1889 after nearly fifty years of service at the St. Johns Bar.
William Lamee was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 1994