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Dave Cook

Donald C. Gaby's 1993 book The Miami River and Its Tributaries records that Capt. Tom Newman came to Miami in 1903 and operated "charter fishing boats including the 84-foot Kewah." In 1932 he built Captain Tom's Fish Market "close to where the Indians used to land." Land their dugout canoes, that is, when trading at downtown Miami stores in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. "Almost as an afterthought," continues Gaby, in 1936 he added a restaurant. "He built an addition adjacent downstream plus a second floor to the original building where the restaurant faced the river. Capt. Tom's Fish and Oyster House was a popular seafood eating place for many years. He sold the building in about 1947, but it continued as a restaurant. It is said that the sale terms required retention of the name." (Thanks to Dawn Hugh, of the museum HistoryMiami, for pointing me to Mr. Gaby's book.)

I later spoke with the author. He confirmed that Capt. Tom was a commercial fisherman who operated his own fleet, but Mr. Gaby could add no more to what he had published two decades earlier. Further details about the captain may be lost to time.

Josh Head

Capt. Tom was my great-grandfather. I was born after he passed, so I never knew him. However, many stories of him have been passed down over the years through my family. Like a story of him catching a 2 ton Manta Ray off the coast (potentially exaggerated). In addition to the fish market and restaurant, Capt. Tom owned a marine salvage company. At one time he sold a train engine to Henry Flager. It's now on display in Jacksonville, Fl. If you're interested, I'll work on posting some of the old articles we've found on him.

Paul Head

Capt. Tom was my grandfather. My mom compiled newspaper articles about him when she was growing up. There are many great stories about him in the Miami Herald. Just look up Capt. Tom Newman. Rest assured his family have not forgotten him as my son above can attest.

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