Beyond Tourism: Florida's Yesteryear

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Top posts of 2010 January 1, 2011

It’s been a slow year here at Beyond Tourism. It’s New Year’s day and I just wanted to look back at some of the more popular posts here on the blog.

The Top 5 posts of all Time

  1. Deadly Storms: Two hurricanes that changed Florida history (A blogchain post)

  2. Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine

  3. Before Walmart there was Webb’s City Drug Store

  4. John Caesar: Florida Maroon of the Second Seminole War

  5. John Horse: Florida Maroon of the Second Seminole War

 

Top 5 Posts of 2010

  1. Before Walmart there was Webb’s City Drug Store

  2. John Caesar: Florida Maroon of the Second Seminole War

  3. John Horse: Florida Maroon of the Second Seminole War

  4. Wanted Wednesdays: Unsolved Homicides

  5. The Celestial Railroad of Jupiter and Lake Worth

 

Enjoy reading and let me know what you want more of dear readers.

 

Friday Finds: Videos April 30, 2010

A fun way to learn more about our state is read websites and books written for tourists. VisitFlorida.com has lots of videos created by Florida natives about Florida. Here are six videos of the hundreds available for viewing.

1. Dade Battlefield Reenactment – Lucy Beebe Tobias Dade Battlefield Historic State Park near Tampa, brings history to life with a reenactment of a battle that occurred between the Seminoles and the American soldiers during 1835. This even occurs every January. Join Lucy Beebe Tobias, our former VISIT FLORIDA Authentic Expert, as we witness a reenactment in action in this video.

2. Castillo De San Marcos – Lucy Beebe Tobias A bastion of the largest empire ever created, the Castillo was built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World. Though caught in the whirlwinds of colonial warfare and intrigue, it was never defeated in battle. Its scarred walls still stand witness to over 330 years of history and culture. In this video, our Authentic Florida experts takes us through this historical site.

3. Miami Architecture – Jen Karetnick from Miami Modern, to Art Deco, to Renaissance Revival, Miami’s architectural styles define the area as much as the beaches do. In this video, take an architecture tour of South Beach with VISIT FLORIDA’s Arts & Culture expert, Jen Karetnick.

4. The Salvador Dali Museum – Jen Karetnick the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg houses the largest collection of the surrealist’s work in the United States. In this video, Florida Arts & Culture expert Jen Karetnik takes you on a tour of these grand masterpieces.

5. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – Jen Karetnick in this video, join our Art & Culture Expert as she take you through the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. From the arts to the circus it has something for everyone.

6. Kingsley Plantation – Lucy Beebe Tobias the Kingsley Plantation, administered by the National Park Service, is located on Fort George Island and includes the plantation house, a kitchen house, a barn, and the ruins of 25 of the original slave cabins. The history of the island spans more than 1000 years beginning with the Timucuan Indians. Our Authentic Florida expert takes us on a video tour of this historic site.

 

Friday Finds March 26, 2010

Quilting Natural Florida– Check out this blog post about an upcoming Quilt exhibit featuring Natural Florida. The exhibit runs until April 25, 2010. Links provided in blog post for further information.

Florida Highwaymen– Another article about our native artists. Article has a photo of still living Florida Highwaymen and one Highwaywoman.

Where’s the Beef– Cattle Ranching wasn’t just for the wild west. Read this article to learn more about Florida’s Cattle industry.

The History of FAU– Read about the history of Florida Atlantic University. From the time it was an air force base to the college it is today. It is located on the southeast coast of Florida in the city of Boca Raton.

Fort Foster– Read about Fort Foster where the Second Seminole War began.

Florida’s Forgotten Rebels– Read another writer’s take on John Horse, Florida Maroon. Amy Sturgis shows how the Second Seminole War was not only about the independence of the Seminole Indians but also the largest slave revolt in American History.

 

Friday Finds March 5, 2010

1. Florida History Online– Is an online reference for professional and amateur historians and history teachers. It covers New World in a State of Nature: British East Florida, Florida and the Civil War, Virtual St. Augustine: Documents and Narratives of the Ancient City, and Guides for Teaching Florida History Online. I will add a permanent link in my Links to the Past section for future reference for those interested.

2. St. Augustine, Florida History– From the website:  Browse a timeline, written history and enjoy a virtual tour of many of St. Augustine’s historical sites and landmarks. Browse augustine.com’s private virtual book collection and interactive maps.

3. South Florida Ecosystem History Project– The USGS South Florida Ecosystem History Project, part of the USGS South Florida Ecosytem Program, is designed to integrate studies from a number of researchers compiling data from terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems within south Florida. They are studying the Biscayne Bay and Southeast coast, Florida Bay and the Southwest coast, and Terrestrial & Freshwater Ecosystems or Southern Florida. It has an interactive kids’ section and online posters that were presented at recent scientific meetings.

4. Naples Florida History and Culture– Read about the history of the town of Naples Florida including its downtown area, Crayton Cove, and Marco Island.

5. The Complete History of Florida Gators Football– This interactive graphic shows the history of the Florida Gators Football team from 1906-2008.

6. History of North Brevard-Titusville– Read about the city of Titusville located in North Brevard county. The table of contents include: various chapters about the Spanish settlers, the Second Seminole War, important settlers, incorporation of the town and the space industry.

 

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.

 

John Caesar: Florida Maroon of the Second Seminole War March 1, 2010

King Phillip, Second Chief, painted from life by George Catlin in 1838. Smithsonian American Art Museum. He was the owner of John Caesar

John Caesar, a slave of Seminole leader King Philip and a contemporary of Abraham was approaching his sixties at the outbreak of the Second Seminole War. John Caesar was married to a slave woman on a plantation and this led him to be able to freely enter the plantation to visit his wife without suspicion of other activities. When the Treaty of Fort Gibson was rejected and fear of being put back into slavery was imminent, John Caesar, with the help of King Philip, incited slave revolts on nearby plantations. In December 1935, hostilities broke out on the St. John’s River, invading Seminoles and Maroons under the leadership of King Philip and John Caesar. This caused at least 250, if not more, plantation slaves to join in the fight that was the Second Seminole War.

During the siege of Fort Izard against General Gaines on February 27, 1836 John Caesar during the night approached the fort claiming that the Seminoles wanted to make peace. He did this without the knowledge of the Seminole chiefs. When they found out, it was was agreed that they should go to the conference. While at the conference, reinforcements for Fort Izard arrived and, thinking that the fort was under attack, they fired upon the Seminoles in the conference, thus continuing the war.

After this failed conference, and even the time between the conference and the previous uprisings on the plantations along the St. John’s River, John Caesar drops from the picture. It is believed that his Seminole owner, King Philip, preferred to avoid the white man rather than to fight him so they were avoided unless interaction was necessary. In December 1836 John Caesar seems to have gotten restless and decided on his own to go stir up trouble for plantations closer to St. Augustine that earlier they had left alone because of their proximity to the town. In January 1837, while trying to steal horses to begin the raids, John Caesar and his followers were found out. They fled the area. Men from St. Augustine followed their trail and discovered their camp in the woods where they opened fire on the completely unprepared raiders. The men from St. Augustine killed three and wounded at least one other. One of the three killed was John Caesar.

The aftermath of the failed uprising of John Caesar struck fear into the hearts of the white men knowing that another uprising could occur at any time. This led General Jesup to make the peace treaty with the remaining Seminoles and using Abraham as an interpreter.

**Information about John Caesar comes from Kenneth Wiggins Porter from The Journal of Negro History Vol. 31 No. 2. April 1946.**

 

Friday Finds January 29, 2010

I’m starting a new feature for this blog, Friday Finds, articles around the net and blogosphere that are about Florida History. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

1. A History Lesson for Hudson– This blog post written by Chuck Hallenbeck isn’t really about Florida at all. For those interested he does give some background on Colonel William Jenkins Worth who brought the Second Seminole War to an end.

2.Orlando beyond Mickey Mouse–  Vivienne Mackie on her blog writes about the Orange County Regional History Center. It shows there is more to Orlando besides Disney World.

3.At the old-timey Bradley’s Country Store, the grits are fresh and Florida’s history keeps turning– This is an article in the St. Petersburg Times written by staff writer Jeff Klickenberg. It is about Frank Bradley who lives in Moccasin Gap and at 84 at the time the article was written last year, he still grinds his own grits and makes his own sausage. There is also a 2:23 minute video.

4. Miami to Havana Overnight Cruise in 1929– Read a copy of a cruise brochure that would take you on an overnight cruise from Miami to Havana in 1929. Before Castro took over and Cuban cigars weren’t illegal. Havana was considered the Paris of the West.

5. Healthy Climes and Killer Swamps– Read original letters and pamphlets from settlers starting from when Florida was a territory through the Civil War and into the 1880’s. Click on the letter to read it word for word. Re-typed below the original document for easier reading.  It’s 3 pages.

6. Tracking the paths: A look at all of the major hurricanes (category 3 and higher) that have passed through Florida since 1851– From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel a history of Hurricanes containing 9 links including hurricane photos and the top 30 deadliest hurricanes and top 30 costliest hurricanes.

Enjoy!