Beyond Tourism: Florida's Yesteryear

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Friday Finds April 23, 2010

Map & Imagery Library at the University of Florida– Visit the University of Florida’s George A. Smathers Library. Here you can view images of historic maps of Florida. If you like cartography be sure to check out this link.

Florida History Links– This link leads you to the Florida Department of State, State Library and Archives of Florida. It has links about archaeology, African-American history, Cemetery Records, Civil War, Documents, Historic Buildings and Sites, Historical Information, Historical Organizations, Libraries and Archives, Maps, Museums, Native American History, Newspapers, People, Photographs & Visual Images.

Do you know these people? – Florida Memory State Library & Archives of Florida needs your help. If you like mysteries check out this link and see if you can identify any of the unidentified people in these photographs.

If you can identify any of the individuals, structures or events that remain unidentified, contact us at Archives@dos.state.fl.us. Please include any documentation that might substantiate your information.

Historic Flags of Florida– “Many flags have flown over Florida since European explorers first landed here in the early sixteenth century. Among these have been the flags of five nations: Spain, France, Great Britain, the United States, and the Confederate States of America. Numerous other unofficial flags also have been flown on the peninsula at one time or another. Only a written description remains of some of these banners.”

Florida Governors– Learn about all 49 governors of Florida from Andrew Jackson before he became President to Charlie Christ. Includes links to images and biographies of each governor. Good resource for students.

WWI Induction Cards– Are you creating your genealogy or just interested in WWI history? This is the link for you. Here “the World War I service cards provide name; age; serial number; race; place of birth; and residence; for service men and women who were either from Florida or who entered service in Florida.”

 

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 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.

 

Colonel William Jenkins Worth January 27, 2010

Colonel William Jenkins Worth

Military Career and Legacy
Colonel William Jenkins Worth fought in the War of 1812, the Second Seminole War, and the Mexican-American War where he died at the Alamo in San Antonio. Lake Worth in Florida and Fort Worth in Texas are named after him, according to Palm Beach Photo Tour.

Role in the Second Seminole War

According to the History of the Second Seminole War written by John K. Mahon, Colonel Worth accomplished three things. He lowered the expenses of the United States Army by eliminating or replacing roles that were, in earlier campaigns, held by militia and civilians. At the end of a year which ended April 30, 1842 the quartermaster estimated a savings of $174,923.90.

He was able to coerce Seminole Indian leader Coacoochee, also known as Wildcat, to convince other Seminoles to surrender. This was after Coacoochee was captured and shipped to New Orleans with fifteen other Seminole Indians. Colonel Worth had him sent back to Florida where he was held prisoner in Tampa.

Colonel Worth finally brought the war to an end by not resting during the hot summer months, but not without a price. The majority of South Florida was still marsh and everglades. This was before the everglades were drained for settlement. Mosquitoes were still a huge problem. Many soldiers died from disease and heat exhaustion.

The end of the War
The war ended in 1842, sort of. Not all the Seminoles were sent west. A few hundred of them were allowed to stay in Florida on reservations made for them. White settlers were not happy with this outcome and a few of the Seminoles were not happy with the out come either. Small skirmishes lasted through the 1840s and early 1850s. The outcome was finally settled during the Third Seminole War which lasted from 1855-1858.

Read another article about Lake Worth.  (Link forthcoming.)