HARVALL, Anna – (d. 1895)

HARVELL, Anna – Death of a Woman Hermit. The death of Mrs. Anna HARVELL at St. Petersburg, Fla., a town on the peninsula between Tampa bay and the gulf, closed a most remarkable career. For twenty years she had been known as the “Female Hermit of the West Coast,” and during all these years she lived alone, save for the companionship of a dog. She shunned everybody, and until two days before her death never gave a hint as to her past. Persons who settled there twenty years ago found the woman then about 35 years old, living in deserted fish camps along the coast, her food being shell fish and other products of the sea. She continued to live thus until two months ago, when she was found helpless on the beach, having been stricken with paralysis. Charitable people bore her to her hut and cared for her. Two days before her death she seemed to be better, and began to talk of her past life. She said that she was the daughter of a prominent Mississippi family but refused to give the name. When about 18 she became the wife of the captain on one of the palatial steamboats that plied the Mississippi in those days. They made their home in St. Louis, and six years after marriage, and when she was the mother of two children, her husband unjustly accused her of infidelity. Maddened and half-crazed by the charge, she deserted her home, her desire being to get away from her husband. She drifted to Florida and led the life of a recluse. – From the Herald Weekly newspaper of Mississippi, September 14, 1895.