Beyond Tourism: America's Yesteryear

A blog of American History

John Horse: Florida Maroon of the Second Seminole War March 4, 2010

John Horse, leader during the Second Seminole War

John Horse also known as Juan Cavallo, Gopher John, and John Cabayo. His mother was a black slave woman and his father/owner was part Hispanic and part Indian. He was twenty-five years old when the Second Seminole began in 1837 and was a completely free man having neither a white master or a Seminole master. By age fourteen he had escaped to a maroon village and freed himself from his father/owner and joined a Seminole village. When the Second Seminole War began he decided to fight and he fought against the white man. During his skirmishes with the whites, the Seminoles haild him as a war-chief. On December 28, 1835 John Horse and his followers ambushed Major Francis Langhorn Dade’s 105 man command. It was a massacre with no survivors. This is said to have caused the Second Seminole War. This occurred two years after the rejection of the Treaty of Fort Gibson and is perhaps in retaliation for the forced acceptance of the Treaty of Fort Gibson.

He is said to have been a good war chief and cared for the warriors that were under his command. He was fluent in English and the Seminole language, and the dialect spoken among the slaves on the majority of the plantations. He was also knowledgeable about medicine and it was thought that he learned it from his mother who was from West Africa. All of these features made him a good leader that the maroon blacks wanted to follow.

During the time of the failed peace conference at Fort Izard with John Caesar and the other failed attempt at peace between Abraham and General Jesup John Horse did not settle for peace but continued fighting on. He was eventually captured along with his ally Wild Cat, or Coacoochee, during one of these peace offerings that was staged by the white man in order to capture Seminoles and Maroons. They were thrown into prison at Fort Marion in St. Augustine. They escaped prison in November 1837. They, with their followers, made their way south to Lake Okeechobee where they fought but lost against General Zachary Taylor. It was fought on Christmas day in 1837 and is thought to be the bloodiest contest within all the Seminole Wars.

After losing the Battle at Lake Okeechobee, John Horse, along with Coacoochee, retreated to the Everglades, but white U.S. forces did not give up. They were constantly on the run  and faced disease and starvation. Finally in 1838 only out of fear for the well being of his wife and children did John Horse surrender. He was sent to Indian Territory.

*information about John Horse is from Philip Thomas Tucker and  found in The Journal of Negro History Vol. 77 No. 2 Spring 1992.


Friday Finds February 26, 2010

Experience the Florida Everglades at Billie Swamp Safari– Learn about traditional Seminole life. Take an air boat ride or swamp buggy tour. All at Billie Swamp Safari located in the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. There is also hiking, camping and various shows.

Tomoka State Park– Located near the confluence of the Tomoka and Halifax rivers, Tomoka State Park offers scenic oaks and camping where early native Americans once lived off the fish-filled lagoons. Camping, canoeing, fishing, boating, picnicking and nature trails are available. Swimming is not permitted in the rivers within this park. A museum and visitor center houses exhibits on natural and cultural history and various works by artist Fred Dana Marsh.

Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City March 4-14– It’s the 75th Anniversary of Florida Strawberry Festival.  There is free entertainment included with gate admission, such as numerous stage shows, exhibits of agriculture, horticulture, commerce, fine arts, homemade goods and crafts, and livestock competitions.

The Floridians– A free online textbook about the social history of Florida. It is an interactive Florida history text book with photographs, maps, sample questions, and workbook pages. It may be used as part of a history course or as a popular reference to the story of Florida. A possible resource for teachers and homeschoolers.

The Florida Keys History of Diving Museum– Florida is a peninsula so diving is a large part of our history and culture. Stop by Islamodara, Florida Keys to learn about the history of commercial, military, and recreational diving.

History of Pasco County, Florida– Learn about the history of Pasco County, Florida. It includes photographs and video clips.


Friday Finds February 12, 2010

1. Florida Cracker/Pineywoods– A short article about Florida cattle.

2. Cracker Farmhouses, 1840-1920– Read a short history of house architecture before there was air conditioning. This site contains links if you want to read further about Cracker Farmhouse architecture.

3. Curs and Catahoula Leopards, the Cow-Hog Dogs– Read about the dogs that helped Florida cattlemen round up feral cattle.

4. Florida Highwaymen: Local Art makes Art History– Denied access to public galleries and museums in the 1950s and 1960s these self-taught African-American artists known as the Highwaymen sold their art to travelers on the state highways. Their art is now considered a Florida treasure.

5. Seminole Tribe of Florida – History– Read about the history of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The only Native Americans who never surrendered to the United States government. This page is part of a larger website built by the Seminole tribe of Florida.

6. Florida Everglades– Learn more about this unique ecology only found in Florida. Learn about the history, ecology and geography.


Deadly Storms: Two hurricanes that changed Florida history (A blogchain post) June 28, 2009

This post is for the June blogchain through Absolutewrite. It doesn’t have a theme which makes it a little easier for me since this blog is specific to Florida. The topic started out with Global Warming and moseyed through personal responsibility and corporate waste. Forbidden Snowflake then wrote about national disaster for her country Switzerland and would the EU help if their economy collapsed. So I thought talking about hurricanes that affected Florida would be great because nothing effects a state like a national disaster.

Great Miami Hurricane 1926: During the Roaring 20’s in the United States Florida was having a land boom. People were buying lots of land sight unseen. If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Yeah, and I have some land in Florida I want to sell you.” This is the time period it comes from because it was unbelievable. If you ever tour the everglades you might still come across a sign that might look likes the one to the right.

” Edit Resource for “Photographs depicting Seminole Indians with dugout canoes, 1920-1928 (bulk 1920) [electronic resource] “”]Screenshot for Photographs depicting Seminole Indians with dugout canoes, 1920-1928 (bulk 1920) [electronic resource]  Edit Resource for Photographs depicting Seminole Indians with dugout canoes, 1920-1928 (bulk 1920) [electronic resource] Land in Miami and all over Southern Florida was being bought up. Every bubble bursts and the land boom ended in 1925 and came to a complete standstill September 18th, 1926 with the arrival of a category 4 hurricane whose eye was directly over Miami. This hurricane caused $90 billion dollars in damaged if it had hit Miami today. 800 people went missing along with 373 deaths and 6,381 injuries. It proved to non-Floridians who were the ones most likely dead, missing, and injured that Florida was a dangerous place to live. Since most of these folks left shelter when the eye took half an hour to pass over Miami leaving many to believe that the storm was over. Their unfamiliarity with hurricanes was the death blow of Florida’s land boom. The Great Depression was soon to follow but most of Florida was already there in 1929.

This storm does not have a name because hurricanes and tropical storms were not given names until 1953 and they were all female until 1979 when the National Weather Service began alternating between male and female names.

Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane 1935: On September 2, 1935 a category 5 hurricane ripped through the keys leaving 408 dead and $6 million in damages. Flagler’s Miami/Key West line of the railroad was so damaged that it was sold to the state. Most of the deaths from this unnamed hurricane were World War I veterans.

Built the Miami/Key West line of the railroad that later became known as Flaglers Folly.

Built the Miami/Key West line of the railroad that later became known as Flagler's Folly.

They were part of the Bonus Army that first visited the White House when Hoover was in office to demand the bonus they were to recieve in 1945 early. They were chased away from the White House but later brought their greivances to FDR. He enlisted them in the WPA and gave them work building a bridge from the mainland to the keys to replace the ferry service that was in current use.

Due to red tape, confusion, and a lack of communication the evacuation of the veterans by the train was delayed and overturned by a tidal wave during the hurricane. The World War I veterans who were only given temporary shelters that could not withstand a hurricane were lost. As you cross the 7-mile bridge, also called the overseas highway, you can still see what remains of Flagler’s Folly.

Two bridges on the w:Overseas Highway within the Florida Keys. The bridge on the left is the modern highway bridge, while the bridge on the right is the original bridge built by the Florida East Coast Railway, retrofitted to automobile traffic after 1935, and later closed.

Two bridges on the w:Overseas Highway within the Florida Keys. The bridge on the left is the modern highway bridge, while the bridge on the right is the original bridge built by the Florida East Coast Railway, retrofitted to automobile traffic after 1935, and later closed.

The other participants in this blogchain are:

Razib Ahmed: — Hobby Economist
Fokker Aeroplanbau: — I’m Always Right, Far Right
Bettielee: —- Far Seeing Fairy Tales
Bsolah: —- Benjamin Solah, Marxist Horror Writer
Forbidden Snowflake: —— Delirious
Rosemerry: — Beyond Tourism: Florida’s Yesteryear
Dnic: ———- Four-Lettered Words
Lady Cat: — Random Writerly Thoughts
Tika: ———- Tika Newman
Bill Ward: —
dancingandflying: —- Made of Carbon

Please visit their blogs and leave a comment.