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THE SUNLAND TRIBUNE Volume XXI November, 1995 Journal of the TAMPA HISTORICAL SOCIETY Tampa, Florida KYLE VanLANDINGHAM Editor in Chief 1995 Officers CHARLES A. BROWN President KYLE S. VanLANDINGHAM Vice President MARY J. BROWN Secretary LOIS LATIMER Treasurer Board of Directors Ralph N. Beaver Rowena F. Brady Paul E. Camp Jo Ann H. Cimino Lula J. Dovi Frances Henriquez George B. Howell, III Frank R. North Scott L. Peeler, Jr. Paul R. Pizzo Bill Schricker Richard Sessums Barbara G. Reeves, immediate past president Headquarters 245 S. Hyde Park Avenue Tampa, FL 33606 Phone (813) 259-1111 Table of Contents THE PRESIDENTS REPORT By Charles A. Brown, President, Tampa Historical Society 1 JOHN T. LESLEY: Tampas Pioneer Renaissance Man By Donald J. Ivey 3 SIN CITY, MOONSHINE WHISKEY AND DIVORCE By Pamela N. Gibson 21 COLONEL SAM REID: The Founding of the Manatee Colony and Surveying the Manatee Country, 1841-1847 By Joe Knetsch 29 CIRCUIT RIDING PREACHERS: They Sowed the Seed By Norma Goolsby Frazier 35 DAVID LEVY YULEE: Floridas First U. S. Senator By Hampton Dunn 43 HOT, COLD, WHISKEY PUNCH: The Civil War Letters of Charles H. Tillinghast, U. S. N. By David J. Coles and Richard J. Ferry 49 THE OAKLAWN CEMETERY RAMBLE 1995 By Arsenio M. Sanchez 65 1995 D. B. McKAY AWARD WINNER: Preservationist Stephanie F errell By Hampton Dunn 67 MEET THE AUTHORS 70 1995 SUNLAND TRIBUNE PATRONS 71 TAMPA HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP ROSTER October 12, 1995 73 THE FLAGS OF FLORIDA HISTORY 77 Cover: John T. Lesley, from an oil portrait, photographed by Bob Baggett. The Sunland Tribune is the official annual publication of Tampa Historical Society, distributed to members each year. Non-members may receive limited edition issues by contacting the Society at 259-1111. Individuals interested in contributing manuscripts for consideration should send them to the headquarters no later than July 1 of each calender year. The Sunland Tribune Committee will review, accept or reject articles and will return all photographs and materials not selected for publication. All manuscripts should be no more than twelve double-spaced typed pages in length and should include footnotes, lists of sources as well as captions for all photographs submitted.
The President's Report It has been an honor serving the past two years as your president. The entire membership can be very proud that we have been so successful in fulfilling much of our Society's stated mission to identify, preserve and disseminate information related to Tampa's history. The list which follows includes the major accomplishments we have all worked together for and which have become a reality. Major repair and renovation of the Peter 0. Knight House, the Society's headquarters on Hyde Park Avenue. Five new historical markers in the community. Oaklawn Cemetery restoration. Memorial issue of the Sunland Tribune to honor Mr. Tony Pizzo. Historical marker book that was distributed to libraries in all Hillsborough County schools. Video history of Tampa that was also provided to the Hillsborough County School System. Over 150 new memberships in the Tampa Historical Society. Publication of the book, Bayshore: The Boulevard of Dreams which will be available in schools for future generations to enjoy. The Tampa Chamber of Commerce Photograph Collection 1960-Present, was saved and placed for safe-keeping with the City of Tampa Archives. The Robertson & Fresh Photograph Collection, was saved and is available from Special Collections at the University of South Florida. A major increase in the number of historical publications obtained by gift and purchase for the THS Library. The preservation, cataloging and archival storage of large numbers of CHARLES A. BROWN President
historical photos for the THS collection. As is evident from this list, the Tampa Historical Society had a very productive two years. There are several important projects that the Society wishes to undertake in the years to come and I believe all of us as members will indeed continue to preserve and promote Tampa's history. There are many people to thank for all of their hard work and support. My Board of Directors was outstanding. My Vice President Kyle VanLandingham did an excellent job and will be a great President for our organization in 1996. Mary Brown worked with me many hours on our newest book which has been an outstanding addition for our membership. Last but not least, Lois Latimer is not only a great volunteer but a real pleasure to work with and a good friend. I look forward to a productive future for the Tampa Historical Society and all of us should be very proud of our accomplishments for the past two years. Sincerely, Charles A. Brown
JOHN T. LESLEY: TAMPAS PIONEER RENAISSANCE MAN By DONALD J. IVEY Life on the early Florida frontier forced a person to be versatile. In the mid-to late-1800s specialization had not yet consumed American society, and if an individual was to succeed, he would have to become a "jack-of-all-trades"-a Renaissance man. This is the story of one of those men. Anyone with even a passing interest in early Tampa history will recognize the name John T Lesley. Indeed, there were few aspects in the life of the young community -be it economic, political, military or social -that he did not touch in some significant way. His life was so inextricably bound with this area that at times it is difficult to separate the two. In a life that spanned 78 years, he saw Tampa grow from an outpost on the edge of the frontier to a bustling community on the verge of becoming a major Florida Rev. Leroy G. Lesley family -1857. Left to right: Leroy G., Mary C., Indiana (Livingston), and John T. Lesley. Courtesy Lesley Family
city. Yet surprisingly, there has never been a serious attempt to compile a comprehensive biography of the man. This article, while by no means complete, will offer a look at the life of this remarkable man, his accomplishments, and his contributions to our area.1 John Thomas Lesley was born on May 12, 1835 in Madison County in the northern part of the Florida Territory.2 He was something of a rarity for his day and age (and for ours as well) -a Florida native. He was the eldest of the three children of Leroy Gilliland and Indiana Childs (some sources say Chiles) Livingston Lesley, who at the time owned a plantation about eight miles outside of the town of Madison and were among the earliest settlers of that county.3 John's father Leroy was a colorful character in his own right, who would come to exert a powerful influence over both his family and later, over the Tampa community. Originally from a well-to-do planter family in Abbeville District, South Carolina, he moved to the territory in 1829 with his younger brother James.4 At the age of 36, he entered the ministry and was ordained a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in Quincy in 1846. "Six foot two, red-headed and as slender as his stipend," he was a man of zealous temperament, with strong opinions and a personality to match.5 Tampa historian D. B. McKay aptly describes him in these terms: ". he was absolutely unreasonable with those who could not hold his views on politics, culture and religion. Domineering, arrogant and demanding ... he balanced these attributes with strict fairness, honesty and loyalty.6 His mother, Indiana Livingston Lesley was also a native of Abbeville, South Carolina. She had come to Madison County with her three brothers, who soon became some of the largest land and slave owners in the county.7 When she married Lesley in 1834, "as her dowry she brought her husband several Negro families, and the Lesley plantation was increased considerably.8 A woman "noted in life for her probity and strictly Christian walk," little more is known of her.9 From both of his parents, young John would inherit strong religious and moral convictions combined with his father's natural bent for leadership. McKay, who knew Lesley personally, says that he "inherited the ability to lead. I saw it demonstrated many times in town meetings, in political conventions, in gatherings to consider plans for the welfare of the community."10 Two years after his ordination, Rev. Lesley was assigned to the Methodist Hillsborough mission, with headquarters in Tampa. By the fall of that year he had moved his family (and their 15 slaves) to the new community, where they settled on a 30 acre tract near Lafayette (now John E Kennedy Boulevard) and East Streets.11 When the Lesleys first arrived in Tampa, the area was little more than a makeshift settlement built around the army's outpost at Fort Brooke. As one source states: "When Captain Lesley first came to Tampa there were only two stores in the place, and not more than two hundred inhabitants."12 It was still very much a "backwoods" area, with no railroad link to the rest of the state and only a few sandy trails to serve as roads.13 Thirteen year-old John, who had previously attended the Madison Academy for Boys, became a pupil in Tampa's first community school. This school, held in the county courthouse, was taught by an Englishman, W. P, Wilson, and paid for by parents
through tuition fees.14 Little else is known about his early childhood and youth, although he must have acquired at an early age a love for working with horses. McKay recalled that in his later years Lesley "loved fine horses he usually had five or six saddle horses in his home stable, some of them racers. He never missed a race meeting, and sometimes rode his horses particularly if they were fractious."15 Unlike his father, John apparently had little inclination for the pulpit, but he exhibited a talent for working with his hands and soon took up the first of his many careers--that of carpenter.16 Beginning in late 1851, the 16-year-old helped his father to build the first permanent church in town at the corner of Lafayette and Morgan Streets. The First Methodist, or "the little white church" as it came to be known, stood on that site until it was destroyed by fire in 1894.17 When news of the Seminole ambush of the Hartsuff expedition raced across the frontier in late 1855, Rev. Lesley was among the first to organize a volunteer militia company for service against the Indians. As captain of his own company of mounted volunteers (which was subsequently known as the "Cow Boys" or, the "Florida Crackers"), he saw action throughout the duration of the Third Seminole War.18 John Lesley's military service records indicate that he was with his father's company from the very beginning. He was first mustered into service with the rest of the command on January 3, 1856 at Ft. Blount in what is now Polk County, but was then Hillsborough. Altogether, he would serve five terms of enlistment with the "Cow Boys," totaling 32 months of active service. For the first eight months, he served as a corporal, then for the following 18 months was a private, and finally ended his last six-month tour of duty as the company's first lieutenant, or seconding-command to his father.19 Capt. Lesley was an active and aggressive commander. Frequently, he would take his men on patrols deep into unsettled Indian country. It was hard campaigning, with troops continually engaged in tracking down enemy war parties, and searching out and destroying their dwellings and food supplies.20 One reported incident alleged that during one of these patrols, the famed Seminole warrior Billy Bowlegs himself had laid an ambush for Lesley's men. As Bowlegs supposedly later told Lesley, he had drawn a bead at close range on the captain, who was at the head of his men. He was about to pull John T. Lesley on his wedding day -Courtesy Florida State Archives
Commission of John T. Lesley as captain of the Sunny South Guards. --Courtesy University of South Florida Special Collections.
The trigger, when he noticed another detachment of soldiers to his rear and seeing them, called off the attack.21 Whether or not this incident actually ever happened is debatable, but it does serve to illustrate the close-quarter, hit-and-run nature of the fighting. After John was mustered out of the army on May 17, 1858, he returned to Tampa and began a second, and far more profitable career than that of carpentry: stock-raising.22 At that time, Hillsborough County was a prime producer of cattle in the state, and by the late 1850s a new market had been opened up for the trade in Cuba, by Scottish-born Tampa merchant James McKay.23 Lesley was right on McKay's heels for the Cuban market, and by 1860, his business acumen had enabled him to build up a sizeable fortune. The 1860 census shows Lesley with real estate valued at $2,550 and personal property worth $3,980 including three slaves. At the age of 25, Lesley had already become one of Tampa's leading citizens.24 This interim period between the Seminole and Civil Wars also saw Lesley becoming increasingly active in civic affairs. In September of 1858, he was elected to the first of many public offices he would hold throughout his life--that of city marshal of Tampa.25 In the following year, he helped to organize Tampa's first volunteer fire company, and served as its 1st sergeant.26 The period also brought him a new bride: the former Margaret (Brown) Tucker, 20, widow of the late William W. Tucker, whom she reportedly married at 14.27 The couple was married in Tampa on August 26, 1858, with the Rev. Lesley presiding.28 When Florida seceded from the Union on January 1O, 1861, the news was generally very well received in the Bay area. Most residents were ardent secessionists, and with their roots in South Carolina, the Lesleys were no exception.29 John Lesley's own feelings on the issue were neatly summarized in a speech he delivered to the citizens of Tampa shortly before leaving the area to go to war: That constitution which our forefathers forged from blood and suffering for six years, has by the darkened hands of Abolitionists and Republicans been broken asunder and the High Tribunal of the land defied in its decree defining rights of personal property [a reference to the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which defined slaves as property] ... [they] have entirely devoured the last vestige of personal guarantees of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness defined by the Constitution ... if fate decrees, but God forbid, Anglo-Saxon brother will be warred with brother for right and country. we of the South vow anew that we stand united in a glorious cause: and we its defenders beseech of a Divine Providence guidance for a triumphal victory.30 Like many in the South, Lesley formed his own company of volunteers, which came to be known as the "Sunny South Guards," to meet the supposed northern threat. According to the Lesley family, this unit was originally organized in Tampa in 1860 as an independent volunteer company for policing the Bay area.31 During this period, they could often be seen parading nightly "by torch light through Tampa streets.32 The guards were said to have been "from the best families of the town and vicinity.33 For example Lesley's first lieutenant was Henry
L. Mitchell, a young Tampa attorney who later became Governor of Florida.34 The Guards were first mustered into the Florida State Militia, and later were accepted into the regular Confederate Army. After constant feuding between the Guards and state militia authorities in the area, Lesley himself took command of Ft. Brooke on August 21, 1861. His command lasted less than two weeks, and he and the Guards were then ordered to Shaw's Point near the mouth of the Manatee River.35 In December, as Company "K" in the newly formed 4th Florida Infantry Regiment, the Sunny South Guards were ordered to Fernandina in northeastern Florida to help meet an expected Federal invasion there, and became the first Tampa company to leave the area for the war.36 There, Lesley and his men received their baptism of fire, as the 4th was involved in sporadic clashes with Federals for control of the area. After Confederate forces evacuated the island in March 1862, the Guards were sent to Camp Langford, near Jacksonville and then west to Mobile, where the regiment served on routine duty as provost guards. This lasted until July, when they were ordered to return to Florida to check a Federal raid coming from Pensacola. In the meantime, on September 5, 1862 Lesley had been promoted to the rank of major of the 4th to fill a vacancy.37 In July, the 4th moved on to Chattanooga, where they joined Gen. Braxton Bragg's Confederate Army of Tennessee, which was then locked in a bitter struggle with the Federal Army of the Cumberland under Gen. Rosecrans. On December 31, 1862, the unit saw heavy fighting at Murfreesboro in central Tennessee, and two days later, again saw action at Stone River, where the 4th was the last Confederate unit to retire from the field of battle.38 In these actions, Lesley's Seminole War experience must have been of value, for he proved to be a fine officer. After the engagements, he was commended for his courage in action by the commander of the 4th, Col. W.L.L. Bowen, who wrote: "Much is due to ... Major Lesley for [his] active efficiency in both actions.39 But by 1863, as the war dragged on in the West and news of events in Florida began to trickle back to the troops there, Lesley wanted to return home. The tightening of the Federal blockade on the South combined with increasing lawlessness in the Tampa Bay area had brought severe hardships on Tampans, including Lesley's family. Reports coming out of the town in 1862 painted a bleak picture: "The state of things [at] Tampa is fearful. They are literally starving. They have no coffee, no tea, no flour, and no cloth of any kind, except their common homespun, for which they pay $1.25 per yard. They all say they cannot hold out much longer.40 On February 28, 1863, he submitted his resignation as major of the 4th, and in his resignation letter, gives us a look at the state of his own affairs at home: I have several Negroes now uncontrolled and a large stock of Cattle roaming at large which will necessarily go to destruction [sic] unless some attention is given to them. [B]esides My effects are in that portion of the State of Florida where it is almost impossible to obtain provision at any price. Corn now bringing from $500 to $800 dollars per bushel...my private affairs have been neglected and are fast going to ruin.41 After his resignation was accepted, Lesley returned home, only to begin a new phase of his military career. Florida was at that time
supplying large amounts of beef to the Confederacy, but increasing Federal incursions into the state greatly hindered those efforts, and little of the precious contraband was getting through.42 Other groups were also making Confederate operations in the Tampa Bay area difficult. Historian Ernest L. Robinson calls these groups "marauding parties who were making war on the thinly settled villages from Cedar Keys southward. These marauders were looked upon as little better than pirates, as they robbed all ages and sexes.43 As the Confederate armies to the north were slowly starving, a decision was made by authorities in Florida to combat this situation. Special units of cowmen were formed on the Florida frontier to help fight off the Federals and the large numbers of Confederate deserters who aided them.44 Known as the "Cow Cavalry," they protected cattle from Federal raiders and rustlers, and oversaw cattle drives to supply the Confederate army, going as far north as Savannah and Charleston.45 John T Lesley was probably the first man in the Bay area to raise a company for the Cow Cavalry. Returning to his previous rank of captain (a title he would ever after be addressed by the citizens of Tampa), Lesley formed Company "B" of the 1st Battalion, Florida Special Cavalry, a unit which became known as the "Sandpipers." They were stationed at Ichepucksassa (Plant City) and patrolled an area ranging as far inland as the shores of Lake Okeechobee, and as far north as Bayport in Hernando County.46 Soon after his company was formed, Lesley was joined by his father in service. Rev. Lesley, now 57, raised a company of his own for service with the Cow Cavalry, which was subsequently based at Brooksville in Hernando County. (Rev. Lesley had moved to his area on the outbreak of the war, and had established a plantation there.)47 --Tampa Sunland Tribune
John T Lesley and his men took part in several incidents of note during this period. In April of 1864, they fought their first engagement with Federal forces at Bowlegs Creek in Polk County. The brief action cost the Sandpipers their first casualties--Private James Lanier was killed, and another private, Henry Prine, was wounded. In another incident, he led his men in another skirmish against the Federals, this time at Twelve Mile Creek. Leading only 19 of his men, Lesley reportedly attacked a force of 109 marauders and in a brief but bitter skirmish routed them.48 A third incident took place at Bayport on the night of July 10, 1864. There, by Lesley's own account, he attacked a Federal force of "800 of the enemy who were burning and destroying property in their march, which I succeeded in doing.49 But the full story of that incident provides details which Lesley probably would have preferred to forget. An account of the battle by William McCullough, a Federal soldier who fought against the Cow Cavalry on several occasions, paints a very different picture: After arriving upon the side of the [Bayport] swamp, the main command lay flat upon their arms, while we had out skirmish pickets in front, and fifty men lying in wait on a road ... It was now about 10 at night, and everything fixed for a fight if the enemy showed themselves. The party on the road proved to be the old Capt. [Rev. L.G.] Lesley ... Young Lesley [John T.], the Captain's son came up, and his father taken him for one of the Yankees, fired into him, wounding his own son, and killed my wife's nephew [Emory Campbell, of John Lesley's company] who had been conscripted into their lines ... The next morning we searched their ground ... and picked up their muskets and a cloth had which was supposed to belong to the dead man killed by themselves. After they had the fight among themselves, they returned to the town of Brooksville about 10 miles in the interior and left the Yankees masters of their own encampment and the battlefield.50 John T Lesley's grandson Theodore Lesley also provides another, more detailed description of his grandfather's part in the engagement and its aftermath: In the year 1864 the Yankees made a landing at [Anclote, south of] Bayport. The few Confederates were instrumental in keeping them from reaching Brooksville, but they nevertheless did much damage in burning homes After they had turned, and were making back to their boats, the Southerners decided Original seal of the Town of Fort Brook [e], which was found on the site of a former city dump on hookers Point in 1952 --Courtesy Tampa Tribune
to lay a trap for them. They split up into two commands, and met farther down the road one on opposite sides, and awaited [sic] for the Federals. Capt. Hope [actually Lt. David Hope, of Rev. Lesley's company] and his men were first to arrive and station themselves. Shortly afterwards they heard and saw movements across the way, and opened fire. This was Capt. J.T. Lesley and his troops taking their places. Their first volley killed Emory Campbell, and wounded Capt. Lesley in his left arm. The ball smashed through grandfather's elbow, and plowed up the bone coming out at his shoulder. He was taken to camp where the doctors told him it would have to be removed. Thereupon, Grandfather, commanded Ed. Wilder and one of the Collins [Hardy, John, William, D.J. and Enoch, all of whom served in John T Lesley's company], and told them to stand guard over him and if he lost consciousness to see to it that the doctors did not remove his arm unless it started turning blue. True to their trust these faithful men remained guard throughout the night while their captain tossed in pain & delirium. The doctors in cleaning the wound had to probe deep for pieces of bone, & the cloating [sic] that had been driven deep within the wound by the bullet. The arm was set at right angles and never could be straighten[ed], although in after years Capt. Lesley did manage, by perseverance, to raise it to his mouth.51 As alluded to by Theodore, some blamed David Hope for the shooting, although in a letter to John written shortly after the war, the Rev. Lesley states: "I have heard it said that some of your old Company have been heard to say, that if they ever got a chance, they would have satisfaction out of Hope for shooting you; the later part I contradict." But in spite of this wound (and the controversy which surrounded it), Lesley apparently remained on active service until the end of the war.52 Lesley and his Sandpipers would also take part in the Cow Cavalry's abortive raid in February 1865 on Fort Myers, which at that time was a major base of operations for Federal units operating in South Florida. Lesley's men, together with two other area companies of Cow Cavalry, all under the command of Major William Footman, the 200 or so men slogged through rainy John T. Lesley, c. 1885. Photograph by Mitchell & DeWaal of Jacksonville. --Courtesy Florida State Archives
weather to reach the fort on February 20. After an inconclusive artillery duel between the two sides, the Confederates withdrew from the area, hungry and demoralized.53 One of Lesley's own men who served in the expedition, E.G. Wilder, later recalled that "late at night we started our long, weary march back to our former quarters, a distance of 175 miles, with but a scant supply of horse feed or rations. Some of our boys ate palmetto buds on that memorable trip."54 Lt. Francis C.M. Boggess, who also served with the Cow Cavalry during the attack, summed up the whole affair when he later noted that "the whole thing had been a failure and with no bread or anything to eat but beef and parched corn. The whole command was demoralized.55 Before the final collapse of the Confederacy, one last adventure awaited the Lesleys. Theodore Lesley recalled the incident in a brief sketch he wrote on the family's history: In May of 1865 a bearded man answering to the name of Charles Howard appeared in Brooksville inquiring for the home of Captain [Rev. L.G.1 Lesly. Upon being directed and arriving at the plantation, some six miles south of the town, he revealed his identity [sic] as Judah P. Benjamin, Secretary of State for the late Confederacy. He explained he had been directed to him by his relatives in Abbeville, S.C., where he had attended that Portrait of the 1885 Florida Senate, taken on the steps of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee. John T. Lesley is in the 2nd row from the top, 4th from the left. --Courtesy Florida State Archives
l a s t C a b i n e t m e e t i n g w last Cabinet meeting with President Davis, and was asking his aid in making good his escape from the country. Captain Lesly pledged his cooperation, and the Secretary was made comfortable in the Lesly home while Capt. Lesleys son, Major John T Lesley, of Tampa, was sent for. Together the father and son made the necessary arrangements. Benjamin was carried by them to Ellington [Ellenton, in Manatee County, where Benjamin was hidden in the Gamble Mansion], where he stayed until a Sea worthy boat was obtained. Boarding it at Sarasota, he and there began his romantic and perilous voyage that finally landed him at the Bahamas, the first stop to his ultimate destination, England. He later sent a letter to Captain Lesly thanking him for his aid and, to Mrs. Lesly [the Rev.'s second wife, Lucy Jane (Sandwich) Lesly] a number of yards of beautiful silk for a dress, together with buttons, needles and thread.56 After John T Lesley was paroled by U.S. forces (probably later that month), he returned home to an area economically devastated by war. Federal troops occupied Fort Brooke until 1869 and Lesley's cattle business was no doubt severely damaged by the effects of the war.57 James McKay, Jr., United States Custom House, northwest corner of Ashley and Lafayette [Kennedy] on the river, 1886. Office and warehouse personnel during administration of John T. Lesley, Collector o f Customs, 1894-1897. Left to right, H. Glogowski, Odet Grillion, Theodore Lesley, Park Trammell, J. T. Park, C.W. Carlton, Lee Ferris, Clem Watson, Col. R. B. Thomas, J. T. McMichael and J. A. Grable. --Courtesy Lesley Family
later wrote that "[a]fter the close of the war, we returned to our homes which we found, in most instances, in a dilapidated condition. Tampa was a hard looking place. Houses were in bad order. Streets and lots were grown up mostly with weeds and the outlook was not very encouraging."58 To recover, Lesley built a sawmill on his property and supplied the area with building lumber. This, together with his cattle trade, helped him to slowly recoup his wartime losses. By 1869, he had formed a partnership with Tampa merchant William B. Henderson to engage once more in the Cuban cattle trade. This enterprise would be the engine that fueled Lesley's future prosperity, and together, Lesley and Henderson began buying cattle from cowmen all across the state.59 The 1870 census shows that he had rebounded somewhat to his pre-war level of prosperity, for returns of that year show him to have real estate valued at $1,800, and a personal estate worth $5,000.60 He also led the movement to help the area recover from its political misfortunes. In 1865, with the civil administration in chaos, he was elected to serve for a two-year term in the combined roles of Sheriff and Tax Assessor & Collector ex officio for Hillsborough County.61 In March of 1869, Lesley ran for Mayor of Tampa, and headed a ticket which, as Theodore Lesley later wrote, "pledged to dissolve the city government and thereby keep it from falling into the hands of corrupt adventures, whom Theodore claimed were "the former slaves of the South, abetted by northern guns and Southern renegades, [who] filled every public office with controlled henchmen.62 Lesley's ticket won, and went on to fulfill their campaign pledge. No city council meetings were held and on October 4, 1869, John T. Lesley residence, erected 1897, 407 East Street, Town of fort Brooke, now Tampa. Left to right, Theodore, John T. and India Lesley. -Courtesy Lesley Family Captain John T. Lesley on his horse :Black. --Courtesy Lesley Family Confederate re-enactors at the Lasley family monument, Oaklawn Cemetery Ramble, April 30, 1995, Tampa. --Courtesy John Baxley
the county declared the City of Tampa to have "forfeited its charter, all property of the city shall be taken over by the county clerk.63 By 1873, however, conditions had improved, and the city government was re-established in Tampa, with Lesley being elected one of the municipality's city councilmen for that year.64 As the state Democratic Party slowly began to recover from the effects of the war and Reconstruction, Lesley emerged as one of its leading lights in south Florida. He played a role in its revitalization in the area and soon won notice as "a leading orator in political campaigning his style of speaking being direct, logical, and broad in its treatment of subjects.65 By 1868, he was serving as chairman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee, where, in Theodore Lesley's words, he was "successful in throwing off the Radical rule.66 The Tampa Times later said of him that "no man in Florida displayed more bravery and fidelity in the long and trying fight to relieve the state from 'carpetbag' rule and negro domination."67 In 1876, he was elected as Hillsborough County's representative in the Florida House. In that year, the Democrats were successful in finally winning back both the State Legislature and the governor's chair from the Republicans, which marked the final end of Reconstruction in Florida. In part the Democrats won because of a pledge made during the campaign to restrict the rise of state tax rates. But in the subsequent session of the Legislature held during the following year, that pledge was apparently abandoned by many, and a push to raise the rates was begun. According to Theodore Lesley however, John T. Lesley led the movement to restrict the tax and hold the Democrats to their pledge and successfully "defied the governor and a majority of the senate and held the lower house from approving a higher millage for state tax than had been promised the people."68 At the close of the 1877 legislative session, Lesley was harshly criticized by some of his colleagues (led by Rep. P.P. Bishop of Putnam County), and was placed in the curious position of having to defend himself from charges of having not raised taxes. In an editorial in the Sunland Tribune Lesley responded with angry scorn to his critics, saying that: What they found themselves able to do and say did not excite a fig's worth of solicitude in my mind ... How adroitly the Gentleman from Putnam avoids [the] facts for facts they are, and I challenge their denial. We submitted figures to prove our position; they could not refute them. We asked this same writer up on the floor of the House to come up and redeem the pledge he had made to the people in the late campaign. His modest reply was that campaign speeches were one thing, and business another, and that this was business. As for myself, I made no pledge in the late campaign that I did not intend to carry out and still intend to labor for.69 It was the first of several times that he would be called upon to defend his actions in public office, and illustrated two of his most dominant traits as a politician: a strong sense of moral and ethical principle, as well as a tendency towards being somewhat thin-skinned and over-sensitive to criticism. T heodore Lesley (1911-1978), grandson o f o hn T. Lesley, Lesley family historian and f ficial Hillsborough County Historian --Courtesy Tampa Tribune
For his stand on this issue, Lesley received statewide attention, and was praised as "a legislator who has labored for the good of the people with such a singleness of purpose ... His record may be found in the proceedings of the Assembly, and it is that of a man, who, in spite of all the pressures that could be brought upon him, has pushed ahead fearlessly and with unflinching integrity to the performance of the duties with which he felt himself charged.70 As a result, in 1878 he was unanimously nominated at the Hillsborough County Democratic convention to serve in the State Senate. At the time, he was in Cuba on business, but returned to accept the nomination, confidently noting that the Democrats' "course in that convention is a guarantee of their endorsement of my action in the past, a willingness to trust me in the future, and leaves but one course for any true lover of the rights and liberty of his people to pursue ... looking over your achievements in the past, the grand strides made in interest of reform against Radical misrule and oppression, I congratulate you that the end is near; that peace for which the Southern heart has long yearned, reached out in vain to gain, will be obtained, and in thunder tones to an amazed and astonished world proclaimed."71 His opponent in the general election was controversial Tampa Republican James T Magbee. Backed by Magbee's arch-rival, Sunland Tribune editor John P. Wall, Lesley was the darling of the hour. The result was a lopsided affair, with Lesley the victor by 589 votes to 143.72 But during the following year, Lesley would find himself once again embroiled in controversy. The issue this time concerned his position on a law which was passed allowing local grand juries to propose a raise in county property taxes. Lesley supported the measure, and was again assailed by his critics. In response, he promptly resigned from the Senate, noting that "if I have erred, it is of the head, not of the heart, for I had no other interest than the interest of my people at heart... [I] am done with politics only wishing to be known as an [sic] humble worker in the ranks of Democracy."73 But in fact, he was not yet through with politics far from it, as later events would prove. Meanwhile, in his business affairs, Lesley found the going to be somewhat easier. After 1872, Lesley sold his saw mill and returned to stock-raising on a full-time basis.74 By 1879, he was one of the wealthiest cattlemen in Florida, and was shipping 12,000 head annually out of the area.75 Noted Florida historian Joe Akerman, author of Florida Cowman, recounts an interesting story relating to the depth of Lesley's prosperity in those years. "Revele Anderson, a black cowman who worked for Lesley, remembers seeing a wash tub full of gold coins in the bedroom of John T Lesley. This was before Miller and Henderson [Capt. John Miller and Lesley's partner W.B. Henderson, who served as bankers for area cattlemen] started handling his banking for him."76 But by no means was Lesley just a "cowman." He diversified his business interests to include a vast array of real estate holdings and soon became the largest single landowner in the county. In 1877, the military reservation encompassing Fort Brooke was drastically reduced, with all but 148 acres going to the public domain for sale. Lesley was one of the largest buyers of this land, which he purchased for $1.25 an acre.77 This area would later comprise the town of Fort Brooke, which Lesley formed in 1887, serving as its mayor for most of its life until 1907, when it was incorporated
into the City of Tampa. Tampa historian Karl Grismer calls the town "notorious for many years for its gambling joints and houses of ill fame."78 Another source attributes its creation to a personal slight which Lesley suffered: As his [Lesley's] land bounded the town of Tampa on the east, he was many times accused of blocking the growth of the city, as it was unheard of trying to expand across the [Hillsborough] river. Following a personal affront he felt happened to him over settlement where the old military reservation was located ... he had the state legislature, in 1886 [actually the year was 1887 and the town was incorporated under the general laws of the state, not by act of the Legislature], incorporate all this land, together with his and reaching out to the business of what is now Ybor City as a municipality, and gave it the name of the Town of Fort Brooke.79 In 1884 for example, Hillsborough County tax rolls list Lesley as holding 3,553 acres of land valued at more than $12,500.80 In addition to properties in and around Tampa, he also owned more than 500 acres in what is now St. Petersburg and Gulfport, some of which was citrus groves.81 As founder and president of the Hillsborough County Real Estate Agency, he also developed half a dozen subdivisions in the Bay area, some of which bore his name.82 Another of his development projects, the Lesley Building which he erected in 1881 on the southeast corner of Washington and Franklin Streets, served for a time as quarters for Tampa's town hall.83 Between 1880 and 1890, Tampa grew by a whopping 668% -from 720 to 5,532 residents -making it the fastest growing community in the state at the time.84 During this period especially crucial years in Tampa's early development Lesley played a key role in promoting the area's progress. After his death in 1913, the Tampa Tribune wrote that: Captain Lesley was always prominent in civic affairs and in later years his judgment and advice were courted in matters affecting the future of Tampa and its business development... some of the leaders in Tampa's business enterprises today owe much of their success to his valuable counsel when they were I getting a start.85 It was surely no exaggeration. A brief sketch of Lesley's activities during this period illustrates this point. In 1884, he enthusiastically supported the coming of Henry Plant's South Florida Railroad, which opened up the area for the first time to major development. To help this, the first railroad to reach Tampa, Lesley donated land just north of East Street near Cass as a right-of-way for the railroad.86 In 1885, he became a charter member of the Tampa Board of Trade and served as its first vice president.87 In this capacity he advocated establishment of a city water works and helped bring the cigar industry to Florida, selling 16 blocks of "Lesley's Subdivision" to Ybor and Company which formed the basis for today's Ybor City.88 That same year, he also served as one of the incorporators of the Tampa Street Railway Company, which gave the city its first streetcar railway.89 In 1886, he was a member of the first Board of Directors of the First National Bank of Tampa, which for a time was the oldest national bank in Florida.90 And in 1887, he was one of the founders of the Tampa Electric Company,
which brought the first electric lighting to town. His influence had reached such heights that by 1887, the Tampa Journal was calling him "a man of great influence, [who] exerts today more power in the State Legislature than our present Representatives, the Board of Trade and the whole town of Tampa.91 In many ways, the 1880s were Lesley's "golden years," when he was at the height of his powers and abilities -as a businessman, as a legislator, and as a force in the local community. But these years were not without their troubles for him, either. In 1880, he was involved in a tragic incident which sent shock waves throughout south Florida. At the time, Lesley was involved in a feud with a certain Dr. J.S. Hackney of the Alafia region. Exact details of the dispute are not known, but the bad blood between the two men seemed to stem from Lesley's cattle trading business. The feud grew to such proportions that, as D.B. McKay relates: Dr. Hackney came to town one day and told several people that he intended to kill Lesley. Someone who heard his threat informed Lesley, so the latter was armed with a pistol when he came down town [to Tampa]. Hackney learned that Lesley was in Philip Dzialynski's store and went there in search of him. Lesley backed away but warned Hackney that if attacked he would shoot to protect himself. Hackney continued to advance and Lesley to retreat until he was cornered and could go no further. Then he drew his pistol and killed Hackney with the first shot.92 A subsequent grand jury investigation exonerated Lesley of all blame in the incident and ruled that the killing had been in self-defense.93 But that did not quite end the matter. Shortly thereafter, Lesley was again almost killed in another incident, according to Theodore Lesley: Mr. Simeon E. Sparkman, shot at grandfather following Dr. Hackney's death... Sparkman, his [Hackney's] son-in-law hid out behind a small store, that was then on [the] corner of Lafayette & East Sts., and shot at grandfather while the family was at supper. Due to old fashion glass, with the waves in it, he missed his target. No one saw him, but grandfather said he knew it was he, and sent him word to that effect, but nothing more ever happened94 The 1880s also saw Lesley increase his political clout within Democratic party circles. In 1882, Lesley declined a nomination to Congress and in November of that year was easily re-elected to a second term in the Senate once again vindicating his stand on the issues.95 On January 3, 1883, he returned to the upper chamber and received four key committee posts to Claims, Railroads and Telegraph, Commerce and Navigation, and most importantly, to the all-powerful Appropriations Committee as Chairman. The next day, he would also receive another plum assignment a seat on the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional Amendments.96 Lesley exerted a powerful influence over the Senate, and a preliminary review of the records for that body in t883 and 1885 indicates that he played a relatively lowkey, but important role in introducing new legislation and participating in debates.
During the 1883 session for example, he introduced bills to protect Florida's fledging sponge industry; "to prohibit the wanton destruction of food fishes in the State"; and to provide state funds to aid Florida's blind, deaf a nd mute population.97 He also played a role in helping to defeat legislation designed to regulate tariffs on railroads and steamboats in Florida. This, of course, is not surprising considering his pro-business philosophy and his ties to railroad interests in the state, and reflects many conservative fears at the time that government regulation of these industries would restrict badly needed immigration into Florida.98 In the 1885 session, he retained his seat on the committees on Claims and Commerce and Navigation, but lost the Appropriations chair and his other assignments, receiving instead a seat on the committees on Legislative Expenses, Indian Affairs, State Affairs, and Privileges and Elections, which he chaired.99 Later, he would serve on a special committee of the Senate to revise the state's constitution, although he is recorded as having voted against a similar measure two years earlier.100 For the subsequent Constitutional Convention that was called to convene at Tallahassee in June of 1885, Lesley was elected to serve as one of Hillsborough's three delegates. After the Convention opened on June 9, he was elected as one of its two vice-presidents, and as such briefly presided over some of the deliberations of that body. In the assignment of committees, Lesley drew two Census, Apportionment and Boundaries, and Private Corporations, which he chaired.101 During the proceedings of the Convention, Lesley appears to have primarily concerned himself with the issues of county organization, census and apportionment and corporations. In these areas, he seems to have been largely successful in promoting his views to the Convention. He was able to push through with few amendments what eventually became Article VII of the State Constitution (on Census and Apportionment) and Sections 2-4 of Article VIII (C ounties and Cities) which largely bear his imprint. And finally, he also managed to keep excessive provisions dealing with the regulation of corporations out of the final document.102 On other matters however, he was less successful. A measure he introduced on legislative powers, elections and assembling was quietly shelved, and a last-minute amendment he introduced providing stiff penalties for bribery was defeated by a vote of 62 to 31.103 According to D.B. McKay, he kept a diary during this period which briefly touched on his service during the Constitutional Convention, and shows a growing frustration with the proceedings of that body. In it, "he dwells rather scornfully on the time wasted by both sides, of frequent sessions lasting only from 10 A.M. to 1 P.M., and of the incessant 'squabbling' about trivialities." But in spite of his personal disillusionment, Lesley won the respect of delegates on both sides of the aisle, and at the close of the Convention he was presented with a beautiful gold-headed cane by the Republican minority to thank him for his impartial service as vice-president.104 At the close of the Convention in August, Lesley returned to Tampa. He largely retired from public life until 1892, when he played a major role in the State Democratic Convention held that year in Tampa. He seconded the nomination of his old friend and comrade-in-arms Henry L. Mitchell for
governor, delivering an impassioned speech on his behalf: his influence like the dew from heaven falls gently upon the down cast and oppressed and but tends to the refreshing and reviving of their drooping spirits. No name could have raised such a cyclone of enthusiasm as the name of Henry L. Mitchell. As a man of destiny to stand in lofty grandeur towering above the noblest production of the most brilliant [sic] minds that have illuminated and enraptured an astonished world as a councilor [sic] his wisdom is profound, boundless, infinite, as the golden chain reaching from earth to heaven. Let us then take hold of this man of destiny armed in panoply complete here is firm footing here is solid rock. Storms may threaten, but his hand the good man holds with the other fastened to the skies. His sterling worth big heart and teeming brain inspire the masses with confidence.105 Mitchell was easily elected, and in the following year, he returned the favor by appointing Lesley clerk of the circuit court for Hillsborough County, to fill a vacancy.106 But just a few months later in 1894, after years of faithful service to the Democratic Party, Lesley finally reaped the rewards of that service with an appointment by President Grover Cleveland to the patronage-rich post of collector of customs for the Port of Tampa. Lesley's application file in the National Archives provides a fascinating glimpse into late 19th century Florida politics. He lobbied hard for the appointment through his friends and political allies within the party, and was supported for the job by a veritable "Who's Who" of Florida Democrats, including Governor Mitchell, Congressman Stephen Mallory and both of Florida's U.S. Senators, Samuel Pasco and Wilkinson Call. Call voiced the only sour note in the chorus of praise, and in an unusually candid message to the President, gave rather equivocal support to Lesley's selection: ... I have insisted with great urgency that no appointment should be made which rendered your administration liable to the charge that you approved the fraudulent suppression of democratic votes, and the control of conventions by improper corporate influences in primary elections, and state and county conventions. I have insisted that such a policy would drive great numbers of democratic voters into the Populist Party. ... as to the propriety of the selection of Captain Lesley for appointment on the recommendation of Governor Mitchell, I addressed you a letter not intended to be made public, in which I stated that notwithstanding my high opinion of Captain Lesley, my personal obligations to him and my entire willingness to give him my support, if you would appoint him, I thought his appointment as Governor Mitchell's friend and supporter ... might have the effect of placing the state in control of the Populists in the next election ... while I still insist that any recommendation of approval by you in appointing Federal office, any persons in any wise responsible for the suppression of the votes of the democratic people in the primaries in t892, by the so-called Democratic State Convention which met in Tampa, or any recognition of
the representatives of the corporation rule party by which that convention was controlled... will be dangerous to continued democratic rule in the state. [However] I am convinced that Captain Lesley may be excepted from this criticism [and] ... I therefore recommend the appointment.107 After 1900, Lesley retired from active business pursuits, turning over his cattle trading business to his son Emory.108 But he continued to exert a powerful influence in local politics and public affairs. In April of 1900, he was one of the leaders of a faction within Hillsborough's Democratic party which successfully challenged and unseated Peter 0. Knight, then chairman of the county's Democratic executive committee, who exerted a powerful influence over city affairs. Knight was harshly criticized for helping to impose high taxes on Tampans, with "little of it spent where it can be seen." To oppose him, Lesley and a number of others ran on an "anti-Knight" ticket which pledged to replace Knight's men on the county Democratic executive committee. They won a convincing victory, winning in all but one precinct, and even Knight himself was voted out. In 1906, Lesley was also one of a handful of men who organized and founded Tampa's first "white municipal party," pledged "to bring into existence a white primary for our city." According to one member, as the organization's first president Lesley gave "the benefit of his sage advice and the movement that of his influence," but at this stage of his life that was about all Lesley had left to give, as he was quoted as saying, "Boys, I am getting so old that I can't be out much at night, but you can use my name and I will do what I can." And finally during these years, with his old friend and political ally Sam Hope, Lesley became the leader of a movement to force the State of Florida to pay Seminole War veterans their rightful pensions. But even after years of incessant lobbying and in spite of all their best efforts, the state still failed to pay the veterans, and neither Lesley nor Hope (who died in 1919) lived to see the claims paid.109 The end was not long in coming. On July 13, 1913, after a "life of honor," Capt. Lesley died quietly at his home, after a short and undisclosed illness.110 He was 78 years old, and was survived by five of his six children: Indiana-, Emory, a prominent citrus and cattleman in Kissimmee; John; Theodore, who would have his own distinguished career as a public official; and Livingston. (A sixth child, William, died in 1904 while serving as sheriff of Hillsborough County.)111 His grave may today be seen in one of the older sections of Oaklawn Cemetery. In summing up his life and accomplishments, perhaps the Tampa Daily Times said it best: Captain Lesley needed no flowery tribute to fix his memory in the hearts of the people of Hillsborough County, south Florida, and all Florida for that matter, for his recorded works in war, politics and as a developer tell the story better than it can otherwise be written. Just the everyday acts of an honest, brave and unassuming man endear him to his friends and fellow citizens and do more to assure him credit in the minds of posterity than any written words or gleaming marble shafts... The death of Captain Lesley removes the last citizen who figured prominently in the work of building Tampa from a military reservation into a city. He was a part of Tampa, and a big part, from the city's infancy, and his love for the city,
county and section increased as the years crept over him.... His death marks the breaking of the final link that severs the past and its traditions from the present and its hopes, and many tears have been shed because of the breaking of the bond.112 ENDNOTES 1 The author wishes to thank several persons for their help and encouragement of this project. Kyle VanLandingham, editor of the Sunland Tribune offered invaluable advice, support and material for this project; Zack Waters and Jim Johnson provided both interesting insights and materials on Lesley's Civil War years; and Julius Gordon of the Hillsborough County Historical Commission Library also provided help through his Godsend, the indexes to the early Florida Peninsular and Sunland Tribune newspapers. I would also like to thank Ken Ford, Director of Heritage Village, for generously allowing me both the time and resources to complete this project. And finally, Dr. Joe Knetsch's excellent article on Sam Hope, which appeared in the November 1994 edition of the 'Tribune provided much needed support and inspiration for this study. It must be emphasized that this paper is in no way intended as an "end-all-be-all" treatment of Lesley's life. However, it is hoped that this work will lead to more in-depth analyses by future researchers. Much more needs to be written about both John T Lesley and the Lesley family in general. Hopefully, when the Lesley family papers become available at the University of South Florida Library's Special Collections later this year, more interesting material will come to light on this outstanding pioneer Florida family. 2 Florida Confederate pension application of John T Lesley, Record Group 137, Florida State Archives, Tallahassee, Florida; Florida Gencalogical Society, Hillsborough County, Florida Cemeteries 1840-1985 8 vols. (Tampa, n.d.), vi, 1.33; Theodore Lesley, "A History of the Lesley Family in South Carolina, Particularly in Regard to the Descendants of William Lesly, Esq., of Abbeville," 37, unpublished manuscript in possession of the Lesley family, Tampa, Florida. Curiously, Theodore gives several variant spellings of the family name. The early version was apparently "Lesly," and he refers to the Rev. L.G. using this spelling, although there are instances when the Rev. himself would sign his name "Leslie." However, by John T Lesley's day, the latter spelling apparently had become the norm, and this is the version I have used throughout this narrative for the sake of clarity. 3 D.B. McKay, cd., Pioneer Florida 3 vols. (Tampa, 1959), II, 353-354. 4 Julius J. Gordon, Biographical Census of Hillsborough County, Florida 1850 (Tampa, 1989), 356-357. 5 D.B. McKay, Manatee Methodist Church Marks Centennial With Program, Booklet," Tampa Sunday Tribune, 6 November 1949, sec. B, 14; D. B. McKay, "Leroy G. Lesley, Fighting Parson Led Tampans In Their Spiritual, Military And Political Endeavors," Tampa Sunday Tribune 3 June 1956, sec. D, 13. 6 McKay, Pioneer Florida, II, 356. 7 McKay, Leroy G. Lesley, Fighting Parson, sec. D, 13. 8 Ibid. 9 Tampa Florida Peninsular 5 May 1860, 2. Gary R. Mormino and Anthony P, Pizzo, in their book Tampa: The Treasure City (Tulsa, 1983) state (55) that she was from "one of Virginia's leading families," and according to Theodore Lesley ("A History of the Lesley Family," 33), both sides of her family were indeed originally from prominent Virginia families. See also McKay, Pioneer Florida II, 354 and Gordon, Biographical Census of Hillsborough County 356. 10 McKay, Pioneer Florida II, 357. 11 Mormino and Pizzo, Tampa: The Treasure City, _55. Some sources (including Rowland H. Rerick, Memoirs of Florida, 2 vols. (Atlanta, 1902), ed. Francis P. Fleming, II, 592) have claimed that the move occurred in 1849, but this is improbable, based on John T Lesley's school attendance record in 1848. 12 "Captain Lesley Died Yesterday," Tampa Daily Times 14 July 1913, 8. 13 "Life of Honor Ended; Capt. Lesley is Dead," Tampa Morning Tribune 14 July 1913, 5.
14 Gordon, Biographical Census of Hillsborough County 348; Harvey L. Wells Collections, 28 vols. (n.p.: n.d.), 11, 97, Heritage Village Library and Archives, Largo, Florida; Lesley, "A History of the Lesley Family," 37. 15 D.B McKay, "Tampa Harbor Key To Future Growth," Tampa Tribune 18 May 1952, sec. C, 16. 16 Ernest L. Robinson, History of Hillsborough County Florida (St. Augustine, 1928), 300. McKay ( Pioneer Florida III, 842) also states that he took up "engineering," and Lesley ("A History of the Lesley Family," 37) adds that he studied "engineering, both field and construction" at this time. 17 McKay, Pioneer Florida II, 354, According to Mormino and Pizzo ( Tampa: The Treasure City 54) the church was destroyed by fire in 1898, but the fire actually occurred in 1894. See D.B. McKay, "First Methodist Church In Tampa Built After Hard Work By Pastor," Tampa Tribune, 4 October 1953. 18 McKay, "Leroy G. Lesley, Fighting Parson," Sec. D, 13. 19 Seminole War military service records of John T Lesley, Lesley's Co., Fla. Mtd. Vols., Record Group 407, National Archives, Washington, D.C. Interestingly, a copy of one of Lesley's discharge certificates from this period found among papers in the Lesley Collection gives the following description of the man: "Five feet -inches high, Light complexion, Dark eyes, Dark hair, and by occupation when enlisted, a Mechanic." (United States Volunteer Service discharge certificate of John T Lesley, 23 February 1858, Lesley Collection, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. This material, along with the rest of the items from the Lesley Collection is not at present available to the public, and I am grateful to Kyle VanLandingham for kindly giving me access to copies which he had made while inspecting the Collection before it was donated to the University.) 20 See Florida Peninsular of 30 January 1858, 2, which gives a typical report from the field of the kind of activities Lesley's command was involved in during the war. 21 D.B. McKay, "Newspaper Story of 1885 Tells Of Lesley's Fight With Bowlegs," Tampa Tribune 26 October 1947, sec. D, 2. James W. Covington, in The Billy Bowlegs War (Chuluota, Fla., 1982) writes (74) that the alleged Incident occurred between Bowlegs and John Lesley, but he has no doubt confused the son with the father. 22 Lesley Seminole War service records; Robinson, History of Hillsborough 300. 23 John Solomon Otto, "Florida's Cattle-Ranching Frontier: Hillsborough County ( 1860)," Florida Historical Quarterly 63 (July 1984), 78. 24 Eighth United States Census, 1860, Hillsboro ugh County, Florida (Free and Slave Population Schedules); Lesley, "A History of the Lesley Family," 37. An interesting story concerning Lesley in this period also points to his entrepreneurial spirit. About 1860, one story claims that Lesley and his friend W.B. Henderson "went on a treasure hunt in the Boca Grande area with a man named John Gomez, who was supposed to know the location of pirate treasure." Gomez was a legendary local figure known as "the last of the pirates." See M c K a y, Pioneer Florida II, 314. 25 Tampa Florida Peninsular 25 September 1858, 5, D.B. McKay, "Lesley Hobby Offers Interesting Data On Early Tampa History," Tampa Sunday Tribune 20 June 1948, sec. D, S. 26 Tampa Florida Peninsular 23 July 1859, 2. Lesley's involvement in civic organizations also included membership in the local Masonic order. Records indicate that he Joined Hillsborough Lodge No. 25 of the Free & Accepted Masons in 1866 and in 1869 served as the Lodge's treasurer. He was an active and enthusiastic supporter of the Masons throughout his adult life, and in 1897 was one of the charter members of Tampa's John Darling Lodge No. 154. According to the Tampa Morning Tribune it was Lesley who "suggested the name of the lodge" in honor of Darling, one of the city's most distinguished early settlers and an active mason in his own right. See also Florida Genealogical Journal XVIII, 72; "Life of Honor Ended," 5 and Tampa Florida Peninsular 2 January 1869, 2. 27 Lesley, "A History of the Lesley Family," 40; Gordon, Biographical Census of Hillsborough County 348. 28 Tampa Florida Peninsular 28 August 1858, 3. The period also saw its share of sorrows as well as for the Lesleys. On June 1, 1857, John's only brother, Emory Livingston Lesley, 20, was killed in a freak accident involving the accidental discharge of a rifle, and less than 3 years later, on April 30, 1860, John's mother
died. She had been a semi-invalid for several years. See Florida Peninsular of 6 June 1857, 2, and 5 May 1860, 2; and McKay, "Leroy G. Lesley, Fighting Parson," sec. D, 14. 29 Zack C. Waters, "Tampa's Forgotten Defenders, The Confederate Commanders of Fort Brooke," Sunland Tribune 17 (November 1991), 3. One rather notable exception was early Pinellas pioneer James P McMullen, was "was strongly opposed to secession and announced his views so unmistakenly that he became unpopular with his fellow citizens." See George M. Chapin, Florida 1513-1913: Past, Present and Future 2 vols. (Chicago, 1914), II, 406. 30 D.B. McKay, "Sunny South Guards Feted With Poetry, Banner on Departure," Tampa Tribune 17 July 1960, sec. E, 2. 31 Theodore Lesley, "The S unny South Guards Was Tampa's Elite Military Unit At Outbreak Of the Civil War," Tampa Tribune 6 December 1959, sec. E, 4. 32 Karl H. Grismer, Tampa A History of the City of Tampa and the Tampa Bay Region (St. Petersburg, 1950), ed. D.B. McKay, 139. 33 Waters, "Tampa's Forgotten Defenders," 4. 34 Fred L. Robertson, comp., Soldiers of Florida in the Seminole Indian-Civiland Spanish American Wars (Live Oak, Fla., 1902; reprint cd., Macclenny, Fla., 1983), 134. 35 Waters, "Tampa's Forgotten Defenders," 5. Waters provides an excellent discussion of Lesley's activities during the early part of the war, and the situation in the Bay area prior to his command of Ft. Brooke. Also sec Canter Brown, Jr., "Tampa's James McKay and the Frustration of Confederate Cattle-Supply Operations in South Florida, Florida Historical Quarterly 70 (April 1992), 416-418. 36 Waters, "Tampa's Forgotten Defenders," 6-7. 37 Special Order No. 17, H.Q. C.S. Forces, Chattanooga, Tenn., 5 September 1862, Lesley Collection; Civil War military service records of John T Lesley, Co. K-Field and Staff, 4th Florida Infantry, Record Group 109, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Clement A. Evans, ed., Confederate Military History, 12 vols. (Atlanta, 1899), XI, 44-45; McKay, Pioneer Florida, III, 842. 38 Lesley, "The Sunny South Guards Was Tampa's Elite", sec. E, 4. 39 United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies 128 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1880-1901), series I, XX, 815-819. A humorous (and very human) incident from the battle, no doubt remembered by Maj. Lesley, appears in a handwritten composition book by Theodore Lesley which is now part of the Lesley Collection at the University of South Florida. It reads: "During the battle of Murfrisbourough [sic], while Major Lesley was assisting in leading his regiment in an attack, he over heard one of his privates remark when a Jack-rabbit Jumped out [of] his hiding place during the thickest of the battle; 'Run, rabbit run! If I had no more reputation to sustain than you had tall, I'd run too. 40 Waters, "Tampa's Forgotten Defenders," 7-8. 41 John T Lesley Civil War Confederate service records. 42 Waters, "Tampa's Forgotten Defenders," 7-8. 43 Robinson, History of Hillsborough 301. 44 Waters, "Tampa's Forgotten Defenders," 7-8. 45 Robert A. Taylor, "Cow Calvary: Munnerlyn's Battalion in Florida, 1864-1865," Florida Historical Quarterly 65 (October 1986), 196-214. 46 Ibid., 202. 47 McKay, Pioneer Florida II, 356; McKay, "Leroy G. Lesley, Fighting Parson," sec. D, 13. 48 Taylor, "Cow Calvary," 202, 205; Lesley, "The Sunny South Guards Was Tampa's Elite," sec. E, 4; Robinson, History of Hillsborough 301. Taylor ("Cow Calvalry," 202) mistakenly identifies Bowlegs Creek as being "near Tampa" when in fact it is in Polk County. 49 Lesley Confederate pension application; Taylor, "Cow Calvary," 202. 50 Kyle S. VanLandingham, My National Troubles,'" The Civil War Papers of William McCullough," Sunland Tribune 20 (November 1994), 66.
51 Theodore Lesley, Composition book kept in his own handwriting, Lesley Collection, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. 52 Letter from Rev. L.G. Lesley to John T Lesley, 7 May 1865, Lesley Collection; Lesley Confederate pension application. 53 Rodney E. Dillon, Jr., "The Battle of Fort Myers," Tampa Bay History 5 (Fall/Winter 1983), 30-32. 54 D.B. McKay, "Confederates Captured U.S. Pickets At Billy's Branch But Didn't Take Ft. Myers," Tampa Tribune 26 August 1956, sec. D, 15. 55 Dillon, "The Battle of Fort Myers," 33. 56 Lesley, "A History of the Lesley Family," 35. See also Michael G. Schene, "The Daring Escape of Judah P Benjamin" in Tampa Bay History 4 (Spring/Summer 1982), 69-73 and Joe Knetsch, "Forging the Florida Frontier: The Life and Career of Captain Samuel E. Hope," Sunland Tribune 20 (November 1994, 36. 57 Grismer, Tampa 155. 58 Anthony P Pizzo, Tampa Town 1824-1886 (Miami, 1968), 71. 59 Robinson, History of Hillsborough, 301; Joe A. Akerman, Florida Cowman, A History of Florida Cattle Raising (Kissimmee, 1976), 107-108. 60 Ninth United States Census, 1870, Hillsboro ugh County, Florida. Interestingly also, Lesley's third son William, barely a week old at the time, is apparently listed as "James E" in the census records of this year. 61 Robinson, History of Hillsborough 301; Commission of John T Lesley as Sheriff and Tax Assessor & Collector ex officio of Hillsborough County, Lesley Collection. 62 McKay, Pioneer Florida II, 380. Others (Mormino and Pizzo, Tampa: Treasure City, 68 and Grismer, Tampa 155) have given the reason for dissolution as economic, as citizens were no longer able to afford municipal property taxes. 63 McKay, Pioneer Florida II, 380; Grismer, Tampa 155. 64 Grismer, Tampa 162. 65 The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, 63 vols. (New York, 1907) V, 67., Theodore Lesley also quotes a Mr. E. Claude Gates, who "Described Captain Lesley as a most eloquent and forceful speaker in whom the people of South Florida had great confidence." (Lesley, Composition book, Lesley Collection.) 66 Lesley, "A History of the Lesley Family," 38; Tampa Florida Peninsular 28 November 1868, 3. There has been speculation that while a member of the Democratic Executive Committee, Lesley may have also been involved with the Ku Klux Klan, which had close ties to the Democrats during Reconstruction. However, no evidence his yet ever come to light linking Lesley with the Klan, and so this connection must remain as pure supposition. 67 "Captain Lesley Died Yesterday," 8. 68 Lesley, "A History of the Lesley Family," 38. 69 Tampa Sunland Tribune 5 May 1877, 2. Interestingly, Bishop was not returned to the House in the 1878 elections. 70 Tampa Sunland Tribune 10 March 1877, 2. 71 Tampa Sunland Tribune 5 October 1878, 2. 72 Kyle S. VanLandingham, "James T Magbee 'Union Man, Undoubted Secessionist, and High Priest in the Radical Synagogue, Sunland Tribune 20 (November 1994), 18. 73 Tampa Sunland Tribune 14 October 1880, 2. 74 National Cyclopedia V, 67. 75 Akerman, Florida Cowman 112. 76 Ibid., 110, 112. 77 Grismer, Tampa 168. 78 "Ancient Leslie Property, Relic Of Slave Days, Gives Way To Parking Lot," Tampa Sunday Tribune 30 March 1952, sec. C, 12; "Fort Brook," Tampa Tribune 6 October 1887, 3. D.B. McKay (in "Fort Brooke Town Seal Found On Site Of Old Dump," Tampa Sunday Tribune 19 October 1952, sec. C, 6) also provides some interesting details concerning Fort Brooke: "It was a town adjoining Tampa on the east, extending from East street to about Twenty-second street and from Sixth avenue to the
bay ... The town's principal distinction was that it harbored the notorious Athanasaw gambling house, saloon and vaudeville theatre. It is doubtful if the equal of this den of iniquity has ever existed in the state of Florida. In 1898, when thousands of troops were assembled here preparatory to the invasion of Cuba, this place was jammed every night, and seldom a night passed without a serious riot. There were hundreds of bullet holes in the metal ceiling of the main hall. It is my memory that virtually no taxes were assessed dependence for revenue was entirely on fines assessed in the police court." Also, contrary to what some sources have written, John T. Lesley did not serve as Mayor of Fort Brooke for the entire existence of the town, and records have also been found which give the spelling of the name variously as "Brook" or "Brooke." See also The Acts and Resolutions Adopted by the Legislature of Floriea (Tallahassee, 1895),314. 79 "Ancient Leslie Property," sec. C, 12; Acts and Resolutions, 1895, 314. 80 1884 Hillsboro ugh County Tax Rolls, Heritage Village Library and Archives, Largo, Florida. 81 Harvey L. Wells Collection, "Original Private Owners of Property 1849-1892 St. Petersburg," Map Collection, Heritage Village Library and Archives, Largo; Sea Breeze I December 1886, 1. According to Mrs. Claudette Dean, Curator of the Gulfport Historical Museum, Lesley was also the second person to develop a subdivision in the area that is now Gulfport. 82 "Ancient Leslie Property," sec. C, 12. See also Descriptive Pamphlet of Hillsborough County, with Numerous Maps, Engravings, Etc. (Tampa: Hillsborough County Real Estate Agency, 1885), which gives an interesting description of both the county and the company. 83 Pizzo, Tampa Town illustrations section. As further evidence of his diversification efforts, Lesley also owned a drug store on the corner of Franklin and Whiting streets, which he advertised as "Proprietors & Dealers in Patent & Pharmaceutical Preparations, Toilet & Fancy Articles such as soaps, perfumeries, brushes, combs, Vases, Toilet Sets, [and] Jewelry of all Descriptions," Tampa Sunland Tribune 7 September 1882, 4). Furthermore, he (or less probably, his father) owned a salt factory on the east side of Tampa Bay with W. B. Henderson and at one time also served as an agent for the International Steamship and Railroad Company, headed by former Confederate General John B. Gordon. (See D.B. McKay, "Constitutional Conventions Reviewed," Tampa Tribune 24 September 1950, see. D, 6; and Tampa Florida Peninsular 12 May 1869, 2.) 84 Grismer, Tampa 192. 85 "Life of Honor Ended," Tampa Morning Tribune 5. 86 "Ancient Leslie Property," sec. C, 12. 87 Durward Long, "Historical Beginnings of Ybor City and Modern Tampa," Florida Historical Quarterly 46 (July 1966), 33. 88 Hampton Dunn, "Turn to Greatness," Sunland Tribune 10 (December 1984), 14; Long, "Historical Beginnings," 34. Concerning the Ybor sale, it should be noted that Lesley was a heart a businessman. Vicente Ybor had initially offered $5,000 for the land, but Lesley would not sell for less than $9,000 a price which Ybor felt was much too high. In stepped the Tampa Board of Trade who, no doubt through Lesley's influence voted to make up the $4,000 difference in price. Tampa got its cigar industry, and Lesley made a tidy profit as well. See also Grismer, Tampa, 181-183. 89 Grismer, Tampa 309. 90 Ibid., 307. 91 Ibid., 309; Tampa Journal 19 May 1887. 92 D.B. McKay, "McKay Tells Stores Of Some Of Tampa's Early Characters," Tampa Sunday Tribune 4 August 1946, sec. A, 20. 93 Tampa Sunland Tribune 21 October 1880,3. 94 Lesley, Composition book, Lesley Collection. Theodore adds that "Grandfather always carried his pistol to bed with him. He did not put it under his pillow, but at his feet. Aunt India (Indiana Lesley, John T. Lesley's daughter) said when she was nothing more than a baby, & sometimes slept in the bed, you could always stretch your toes and feel it there, and it always gave you a thrill." 95 Tampa Sunland Tribune 6 April 1882, 2. Theodore Lesley (in "A History_ of the Lesley Family," 39) also claims that John T Lesley declined nomination or appointment to several other offices as well -namely, as Lieutenant Governor (probably in 1880),
and as Secretary of Immigration and Commerce under Governor Edward A. Perry I n 1885. According to Theodore, he was also elected as a Florida delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1880, but was unable to attend due to business concerns. 96 A Journal of the Proceedings of the Senate of the State of Florida (Tallahassee, 1883), 41, 43. It must be emphasized here that a much deeper analysis of Lesley's activities in the Legislature and Constitutional Convention is needed to better pinpoint his exact roles in these assemblies. Though a brief description of his service has been provided here, Lesley's full role in Florida's political scene during this period is an important story that remains largely untold. 97 Ibid., 178, 398. 98 Ibid., 379-381. 99 Senate Journal 1885, 18-20. 100 Ibid., 48, 412; Senate Journal 1883, 274. Another item of note is a bill that was proposed immediately after the act was passed in the 1885 session which called for the convening of the Convention. Entitled "A bill to pack a Constitutional Convention in the interest of the Democratic Party," it was quickly "laid on the table" on Lesley's motion, and there died a silent death. Only its author, a certain Sen. H.C. Baker of the 16th District voted for the measure. 101 Journal of the Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Florida (Tallahassee, 1885), 52-54. 102 Ibid., 79, 296-297, 307, 363-364, 397, 504, 526-530. 103 Ibid., 89, 97, 566-567. 104 McKay, "Constitutional Conventions Reviewed," sec. D, 6; Constitutional Convention Journal 1885, 58 1. Unfortunately, few other details are known about this diary, although McKay does say that: "Each day he recorded at the opening of his entry the condition of the weather warm, hot, cold, pleasant or raining. Then he would record the financial transactions of the day from 15 cents paid for a shave to a sale of real estate or cattle involving $10,000 to $12,000." Also, the cane which Lesley was given at the close of the Convention is still in the possession of the Lesley family today. Its inscription reads: "J. T Lesley Vice President from friends in Convention t885." Lesley represented the Tampa Board of Trade in Washington, D. C. in March 1886 in a successful effort to have Tampa declared a port of entry. Tampa Tribune 25 Feb., 11, 25 March, 1886; 26 Feb. 1887. Lesley was opposed to prohibition. In an election in Tampa in 1887, the wets won 1065-1036. Tampa Tribune 29 Sept., 6 Oct. 1887; Tampa Journal 22, 29 Sept., 5 Oct. 1887. Lesley's views on race relations can be found in a letter dated Jan. 11, 1885 to Peter W. Bryant, prominent southwest Florida black leader. He writes that the "colored race" had been "following false political prophets" and that the Democrats were pledged to support the equality of "all men before the law, whether they be white or black..." He hoped that the division between the races would be "narrowed to a mutual political mingling one with the other and a perfect amity of political feeling, Tampa Tribune 7 Feb. 1885. 105 "Speech of John T. Lesley delivered in the State Democratic Convention of 1892 Seconded the nomination of Hon. Henry L. Mitchell as the Democratic Candidate for Governor," Lesley Collection. Theodore Lesley, quoting E. Claude Gates, also relays an interesting story regarding Lesley's role in the Mitchell campaign: "When Henry L. Mitchell was making the race for Governor of Florida a party of politicians, which included John T. Lesley made a trip to Manatee and held a great political rally. In the course of the governor's [Mitchell's] speech he said something which aroused the indignation of the settlers. So that night all the party returned home except Capt. Lesley, who, on the following day smoothed things over." (Lesley, Composition book, Lesley Collection.) 106 "Life of Honor Ended," 5; Grismer, Tampa 322. 107 Application file of John T. Lesley for Collector of Customs at the Port of Tampa, Record Group 56, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Call to Cleveland, 21 December 1893. It should be noted, however, that this is the only letter in Lesley's vast application file which delivers such a lukewarm message of support. Most endorsements written on his behalf were extremely enthusiastic; and later, Call himself would write a more decisive statement in Lesley's favor. Call may have held some animosity against Lesley for his part in a dispute over the title to some of the Fort Brooke Military Reservation which erupted in the 1880's. For clues, see Jeffrey Lewis, "How Tampa Lost the Fort Brooke Military Reservation," Ex Libris 5 (Summer 1982), 1147,
which provides an excellent overall discussion; Grismer, Tampa 168-169; and Tampa Journal 24 October 1889, W. Also, according to Lesley's application file, he was nominated as Collector of Customs on January 4, 1894 and appointed on February 5, 1894, not in t893, as most accounts claim. He resigned from office in 1897. Once appointed, Lesley ran the office in the pragmatic, businesslike manner which characterized all his undertakings. Interviewed by the Tampa Times shortly after coming into office, Lesley announced that "I shall appoint none but honest men, whom I can trust and who are competent to fill the place assigned to them. Some people seem to think I will sweep the custom house clean as soon as I enter it, but I have no idea of dismissing qualified men and putting in an entirely new force that know nothing about the business of the office." (Lesley family scrapbook, 28, in the possession of the John T Lesley family, Tampa, Florida). Nevertheless, the post was lucrative indeed for Lesley's two youngest sons, Theodore (father of the family historian of the same name) and Livingston, who both received jobs in the customs service Linder their father. See Rerick, Memoirs of Florida II, 593-594. 108 Rerick, Memoirs of Florida II, 592 109 Lesley family scrapbook; Tampa Times 15 July 1913, 2; Tampa Tribune 28 April 1900; Knetsch, "Forging the Florida Frontier," 39. 110 "Life of Honor Ended," 5. 111 Rerick, Memoirs of Florida 11, 592-594; Florida Genealogical Society, Hillsborough County, Florida Cemeteries VI, 133; "Sheriff Lesley is Dead," Tampa Morning Tribune 9 December 1904, 1. 112 "Captain Lesley Died Yesterday," 8.
SIN CITY, MOONSHINE WHISKEY AND DIVORCE By PAMELA N. GIBSON Old Manatee County, created in 1855 from Hillsborough County, originally included modern Sarasota County and a much larger eastern area that became DeSoto County in 1887. Stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Kissimmee River, it encompassed 4680 square miles from Hillsborough's southern border to Charlotte Harbor and Lake Okeechobee. This single county was four times the size of Rhode Island and only slightly smaller than Connecticut. The eastern area that became DeSoto County in 1887 was further subdivided in 1921 and portions became Hardee, Charlotte, Highlands and Glades counties.1 Throughout the Third Seminole War and Civil War, southern Florida remained a frontier with scattered farmsteads and families, small settlements and few, if any, of the amenities of civilized middle class life. By 1926, however, when a devastating hurricane crossed Florida and blew away the excesses of the Great Florida Real Estate Boom, South Florida had firmly caught up with twentieth century business, economic and social trends. There has always been a dichotomy in American history, between the contemporary popular view of the selfreliant yeoman farmer, secure on his own land, living a peaceful and prosperous existence, and the reality of farmers buffeted by violence, commercialism and instability. While early dependence on the U.S. army or local militia gave way to dependence on steamboat lines and railroads, the incursion of big business into agriculture never totally exploded the myth of the independent yeoman farmer. The sturdy farmer and self-reliant housewife were staples of local Manatee County newspapers and preachers into the early twentieth century and remained important to the self-image of the people trying to live up to the ideal. Historians of the frontier and the American South, however, have long recognized the problem of the violence so prevalent throughout the culture. In Manatee County, violence -domestic, racial and economic -persisted throughout the change from rough frontier to urbanized coastland with its organized farms and groveland. DeSoto County, remained rural and isolated, with ranching remaining the predominant industry. A small railroad boom coupled with a large phosphate boom in the 1880s spurred citrus and vegetable farming. Although DeSoto County never experienced in full the coastal real estate speculation and population growth, with their attendant The Village of Manatee, from Manatee Avenue looking west toward "Braidentown," c. 1900. -Courtesy Manatee County Historical Society
social changes, violence lurked everywhere, with political or personal feuds, cattle rustling and fence wars plaguing the area throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.2 With the availability of records carefully preserved at the Manatee County Historical Records Library as well as at the Manatee, DeSoto and Sarasota county courthouses, it is possible to study families and the consequences of rapid change. Divorce records were selected for study in the hope that their detailed testimony would reveal why certain families in Southwest Florida failed to handle stress or success. These tales of human misunderstanding and family tragedy provide many sorrowful, some passionate and a few humorous moments for the reader.3 Divorce records reveal much about family life, including expectations of family and gender roles kinship relations privacy, economic conditions, relations between generations, romantic love and the relation of the family to the community. Privacy did not always exist in the manner we know it today. The presence of servants, apprentices, cooks, farm or ranch hands, unmarried kin and paying boarders all contributed to household survival while impinging upon personal privacy. Family life, including arguments, took place before these witnesses. The willingness of these people, whether family, friends or neighbors, to involve themselves in the lives of other families varied from time to time and place to place. Testimony from mothers, fathers, grown children, boarders and neighbors amplify the family stories recorded among the divorce documents.4 According to Michael Grossberg, the idea of marriage as a private contract, separate from community needs, developed in the United States shortly after the Revolution. American law had replaced the colonial ideal of "community" with a newer idea of "family" and was now beginning to replace "family" with "the individual" as the heart of legal concern.5 And what would these contracting parties, recognized as individuals, expect from marriage? Economically, of course, the husband continued to be responsible for providing the necessary food, clothing, and shelter. The position of the wife, formerly as economic partner in raising cash as well as managing family farm or merchant household, was being replaced in the Victorian era by a new ideal "the cult of true womanhood." Wives were still expected to exercise frugality and keep a proper house, but the upper and middle classes removed the lady of the house from outside economic interests. The home, husband, and children should provide a wide enough sphere of activities. The Victorian "compassionate ideal" emerged as a mixture of romantic love, mutual respect and sexual gratification. The basis of marriage consisted of individuals, freely choosing partners, based on romantic Manatee County Courthouse, Courthouse Square, Bradenton, c. 1900. -Courtesy Manatee County Historical Society
love rather than economic necessity. The text of Edward Hudson's petition expresses his understanding of the ideal. Edward Hudson married Sarah E in August 1866 at Milton, Florida. The marriage broke up on July 15, 1874, although Edward had amply provided for her maintenance and comfort, expending largely of his income for such matters of domestic necessity and earnestly striving to make the defendant comfortable and satisfied in the sacred relationship she had assumed." Even his "repeated testimonials of affection and kindness on his part" [sic] had failed to keep Sarah at home. She "became cold and distant" and left him. When Edward filed for divorce at Bradenton, she had taken refuge in Hillsborough County.6 The "work ethic" still held sway over the actual attitudes and behaviors of divorcing couples in Florida. On the southern frontier, the need for a frugal wife to manage the myriad tasks of the household sometimes clashed with the aristocratic "class" ideals instilled into white women in antebellum days. In Old Manatee, while wives' divorce petitions sometimes complained of having to work and support themselves, men often listed both indulgent behavior and providing a comfortable home as part of their justification for relief.7 In the 1890s, the divorce rate for the United States stood at just six-tenths of one percent. For Manatee County, the 1890s divorce rate was two percent. By the period from 1901-1915, the United States divorce rate hovered between eight-tenths and one percent. The Manatee County rate hovered near six percent and in DeSoto County was eleven percent. The region manifested a much higher rate than the national average.8 But was the process of urbanization itself really responsible for so much marital discord? From 1822 1881, Florida granted divorces for the following causes: kinship within a prohibited degree, impotence, adultery, bigamy, extreme cruelty, habitual indulgence in violent and ungovernable temper or the willful, obstinate and continued desertion by either party for one year.9 In 1892, habitual intemperance was added, while in 1906, a small change was made in the wording: a two year state residency was required for divorce, except in cases of adultery.10 Causes had to be specified both in the legal language of the statute and in detailed testimony. There was nothing comparable to the modern "No Fault" divorce. This study included over 1,300 divorce cases. From the first divorce recorded in Manatee County in 1860, there were 718 cases by the end of 1926. DeSoto County produced 462 recorded cases from its creation in 1887 through 1926. Sarasota added 127 cases from 1921 through 1926. These records revealed three trends. First, a disproportionate number of divorces occurred due to abandonments. Second, complaints of adultery, often accompanied Manatee County Courthouse, 1921. Now minus cupola, it forms the central core of the current building. Courtesy Manatee County Historical Society
by abandonments, sometimes involved a wife's entry into professional prostitution. Third, a syndrome appeared in a disproportionate number of divorces involving alcohol, violent temper, cruelty and failure to provide the necessities of life. While any one of the above items alone could have been sufficient for a divorce petition, most appeared together in the petitions. Historically, abandonments led the list of reasons for divorce, far outnumbering any other cause. Among the cases studied, 290 husbands and 278 wives abandoned their marriages. The unfortunate thing about the abandonments is that for all such cases historians lose the other side of the story; whether it was really illness, accident, old age, cruel treatment, lack of love or the search of employment that actually kept the spouses apart. Some wives refused to follow their husbands to Florida. Some husbands fled the responsibilities of providing for a wife and sometimes many children. Eliza Boyett married George W. Boyette in June 1865 at Manatee. She claimed that she "always tried to be a dutiful, affectionate and faithful wife" and "gave him love and the affection of her trusting heart, to make him happy and their home live pleasant and agreeable." He later became quarrelsome, did not support the children, absented himself, followed intemperate habits and generally lived a dissolute life. After seventeen years of marriage and six children, on July 18, 1882, he finally deserted and abandoned the family. When Eliza finally filed for divorce, seven years later in 1889, she charged him with "a harsh and cruel nature toward his family, violent and ungovernable temper, continued ill treatment and neglect, and an unchaste life." Why did she wait seven years to file her petition for relief? She claimed that she "had tried time and again to induce him to return and be a dutiful husband." Historians have long considered abandonment as "the poor man's divorce." Along the coast, more wives deserted. In the interior areas, more husbands disappeared. In this study, however, with its focus on adultery, the overall number of abandonments plays a small roll. The concern here is not the number of deserting spouses as much as the two locations where deserting spouses went. Testimonies reveal the altered states of marriage in the region. In 1866, Adeline Anderson of Manatee married William Anderson in Hillsborough County. They lived together until December 25, 1874, when William committed adultery with Maria Mills and revealed that he had a child of her, born in October of that year. He then deserted and abandoned Adeline and went to Tampa to live. Adeline filed for divorce in 1877. Two years later, also in Hillsborough County, Henry H. Cowart married Roxanna Lyons. They lived together until October 1882, when, according to their landlady Mrs. Martha Stewart, "they-lived in my house as man and wife. She left him in anger. She was willful and left in company with another man for Tampa." In 1893, James L. Wallace described how he and DeSoto County Courthouse, Arcadia. Courtesy Manatee County Historical Society
Georgina Gaskins had married in July 1881 in Georgia and lived together for eleven years until May 1892. She then committed adultery and deserted James to live with George Washington. At the time of James' petition for divorce, she was living in Tampa. In the new century, John Mitchell of Manatee, partial owner of the wharf in Palmetto, described how he married Delphina McCall in February 1904. She deserted on July 25,1906 and was found living in Tampa with a man named Moses [last name illegible] "in an open state of adultery." He had found her there in bed with Moses, and was certain of her infidelity. He filed for divorce although, in the meantime, "someone finally shot Mose," but he "didn't know who did it." Maud Heath married Clarence Eugene Curry in Bradenton in April 1909. While married, they lived with her mother, Mrs. Ellen L. Davis. Her husband proved to be a drunkard and failed to provide the necessities of life." He committed adultery with a woman named Rosa [last name unknown], also with Maud Johnson of Tampa and other women. He then deserted her and was presumably in Tampa. She filed for her divorce in 1911, the same year Arthur E. Walker filed against his wife Texas. Walker Table 1 Reasons for Divorce Multiple causes mentioned in most cases bring the totals to more than 100%.
had married her in April 1907 and, although "he provided as best as he could," Texas deserted him in December 1909. Texas received the summons in Tampa and answered, but did not contest the divorce. In the first thirty-four years of available records, a noticeable pattern developed. Tampa is either the scene of the crime or the refuge for sinning spouses. References cited in many cases scattered across the years testify to deserting husbands who were met by acquaintances while wandering the streets of Tampa while drunk. Spotted by male relatives or acquaintances, deserting husbands were reported to their waiting wives and the divorce lawyers. Many male travelers came forward to give testimony as official witnesses in the divorce trials. Tampa played its part in adultery cases as well. Bunnie Dean Van Brunt ("not yet twenty one"), married Virgil E Ely in Tallahassee in January 1910. He was about thirty-six at the time. He stayed at Tampa and kept sending her away, although "she was kind and affectionate." Her husband finally sent her a letter refusing to take her back because he could not support her. Table 2 ReasonsforD i vorceAfterEl i m i nat i ngAlcohol SyndromeCases
Things had not changed much from the earlier cases. Bunnie filed for divorce in 1912, the same year that Lula Mitchell, aged thirty-four, filed for divorce from Thomas Mitchell. They had wed in May 1905 in Manatee. In May 1907 Thomas left for Tampa with another woman and consistently refused to support Lula. The portrait of adultery becomes more vivid in the case of husband Vivian Drymond of Sarasota-on-the-Bay. He married Susie M. Drymon in mid-1912 and was working to build a home during the time they were married. Meanwhile, they lived at his brother's home. According to wit-ness Charles A. Goins [or Gocio], "She acted abusive and hateful and it affected his health and happiness." Vivian did indeed claim to have lost twenty-four pounds in the sixth months of marriage. Susie even took the dog to bed, rather than her husband. Susie left in early 1913 and went to her sister's in Port Tampa. She had previously been in a house of ill-fame in Tampa a sailor had told her husband that he knew "Little Sue" mighty well. She was older, had already been twice married and twice divorced. Florence Chancy, after her marriage to Isaac in June 1885, "got into the habit of going out nights." Her excursions sometimes lasted for several days. Isaac was running a blacksmith shop in Tampa at the time of the marriage and later worked on railroad cars. Isaac claimed that he provided well for her." Florence, however, claimed she was having a pretty good time with a Spaniard from a cigar factory" and told her husband "he was no-account and she like the Spaniard better." According to Isaac's nephew Joe Chancey and neighbor Lou Bell, Florence deserted February 15, 1912. Histories of professional prostitution in both England and the United States point out that the lack of education for women, combined with a minimum of job opportunities, left many women facing acute poverty or outright starvation. If prostitution was a form of exploitation, it was the best paying form of exploitation available. Poverty, for the women, must always be recognized as the strongest inducement to follow the "oldest profession." Yet the inducement to leave home, when there was some security available along with a socially approved status, must have come from some other source. If not cruelty at home, what then drove them out -and why Tampa ? The second part of the question above may be easier to answer with certainty. The "Sin City Centers" included Tampa, sometimes listed with more precision as either Port Tampa or Ybor City, joined later by Punta Gorda, with a few later references to Plant City and Bradenton. Tampa, of course, had been well served by steamboat lines since the end of the Civil War and had long served as the economic and transportation hub for southwest Florida and the interior. Finding some deserting spouses relocating in Punta Gorda helped reveal the major link in the chain played by the railroads in aiding and abetting divorce causes and desertions. Punta Gorda also boasted a fishing port and water access to the interior along the Peace River. By 1886, it was the terminal point of the Florida Southern Railroad, which gave it connections to Tampa and Jacksonville, also via the Peace River valley. A number of DeSoto County's deserting spouses and adulterers made their way there, but Punta Gorda still remained a very small-town version of Sin City until the time of the First World War. Testimony by abandoned husbands described the discovery of their wives in
various Tampa "bawdy houses" and "houses of ill repute."11 "Some unsuspecting "lewd house" customers were shocked to discover "Mrs. So and So" drinking and "acting in a lewd manner" in the next room. These male visitors, far from being ashamed of their own behavior, did their duty and reported the "fallen ladies" to their abandoned relatives. Well before the celebrated excesses of the Spanish-American War of 1898, Tampa had earned its "sin city" reputation. Seaports offering alcohol and sporting houses had long served as centers of vice. The houses of Pensacola, while never as notorious as New Orleans, had lured sailors to Florida since the early 1800s. They had maintained their customs and reputation well into the twentieth century. Jacksonville and Pensacola remained the true Babylons of Florida, with the U.S. Navy aiding merchant seamen in building their reputations.12 Southwest Florida's "sin cities" never approached Pensacola in customer base, although Tampa certainly seemed to have mastered the concept of "market share." What gave Tampa its edge was the arrival of the railroad, which came at approximately the same time as the temperance movement arose and "habitual intemperance" became legal grounds for divorce in Florida. Henry Bradley Plant brought the South Florida Railroad to Tampa in December 1883. The Florida Southern Railroad pierced the interior, connecting Tampa to Charlotte Harbor. Reorganized in 1881, construction began south of Bartow in July 1885. The line marched to Ft. Ogden by August, arrived in Arcadia in March 1886 and reached Punta Gorda on July 24, 1886. Arcadia incorporated into a town on December 6, 1886, just in time to become the county seat of newly created DeSoto County in 1887.13 This new marvel carried whiskey as well as the transient population of railroad workers and large numbers of new settlers. The railroads provided easy mobility to the exciting outside world, to shopping, to regional church affairs, to war reunions, celebrations at expositions in the larger cities. They also opened up new industries such as logging and turpentine and truck gardening. Railroads, therefore, form the link with the third theme pervading the divorce records: the alcohol syndrome. The influx of unattached men who provided the hard labor for the naval stores provided a market for liquor. The thirsty could now go to places where the railroads joined the water and where moonshine whiskey and imported rum ran freely. Tampa or Punta Gorda offered the widest range of illicit opportunities on the lower Gulf Coast. For the coastal areas, a local railway had chugged between Manatee Town and Sarasota since t892. In 1902, the Seaboard Air Line Railway finally bridged the Manatee River, connecting the west coast settlements to Tampa. Quick transport to the mercantile centers became as usual for the citizens of Sarasota, Braidentown and Palmetto as for the citizens of Arcadia or Bartow. Railroad provided the connection between the sin cities and the availability of whiskey. While abandonment clearly led the list of divorce causes, alcohol surely played its part in scattering families, increasing the need for social aid and protection from the cruel and violent "drunkard." The rise of the Temperance Movement and its strong following in Southwest Florida was, in part, a consequence of the abuse of alcohol.14
Scholars have long stressed the role played by the manufacture of liquors in the southern rural culture. The pioneer population of Old Manatee County at the end of the Civil War was drawn predominantly from Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. In Florida, as across the South, liquor was an accepted part of the pioneer lifestyle.15 Prohibition sentiment was also revealed by the 1897 election in Manatee County. The dry forces overwhelmed the wet votes, 417 against 558, thus outlawing saloons.16 But the temperance movement in Manatee was essentially weak. In September 1897, Sheriff Thomas Easterling petitioned "the parties who have been selling grape cider and other drugs, believed to be intoxicating" requesting them to stop selling what was actually a cheap grade of wine. Public intoxication, with its annoyance and unpleasantness," angered the respectable element of Bradenton.17 Indeed the Grand Jury had discovered a rise in intoxication and the selling of liquors the preceding April, which in their judgment, "was productive of nine-tenths of the crimes which have been committed."18 North Florida, near Jacksonville, held a deserved reputation for producing a fiery, almost tasteless moonshine "made to sell, not to drink." Purity was not considered and the result occasionally killed the drinker.19 Prior to the arrival of the railroad, local crackers followed the southern tradition utilizing the local sugarcane crop for moonshine "starter." A supply of pottery jugs or kerosene cans were all they needed. Until the arrival of the railroad provided easier access to a more powerful brew, the arrival of railroad workers and new settlers provided the liquor suppliers with a steady clientele. In rural Florida, before the days of autos and air conditioned movie theaters, entertainment was limited to church revivals, socials, picnics, boat excursions -and drinking -and adultery. As with the divorces caused by abandonment and adultery, the key point here is not simply the number of drinkers or adulterers, but where they got the liquor to drink and why so many adulterous spouses wound up in the "sin cities." In May 1906, Jackson S. Driggers of Palmetto married Alice Whidden.20 His divorce petition recorded that "he was good and dutiful and furnished as good a home as his station in life could afford." Nevertheless, Alice deserted Jackson. The 1912 court summons had to be sent to Alice while she was "living at a house of ill-fame in West Tampa, or Ybor City." Charles W Scudder of Bradenton related his story of his marriage to Mary E. Reigles in August 1904 and their move to Florida in October 1912. On 19 November 1913, Mary had intercourse with J.J. Jennings of Sarasota. Charles felt "forced to refuse to live any longer with her." She moved to Tampa, posing as "Miss Scott" and had again committed adultery, this time with Oscar Lamb. In an all too familiar scenario, Leffie E Lowe of DeSoto County married Minnie Lowe in 1913. Barely two months later, she deserted and "joined a house of prostitution in Tampa," where she committed adultery many times. The sporting houses provided more than a haven for runaway wives. All reports indicate that they were places where the liquor flowed freely. Yet the careless manufacture of large quantities of cheap whiskeys, exactly the sort of white liquor which would have been imported by rail and served in such houses, posed an element of
grave danger. The problem began at the still. Illicit, open-air distilleries could be unsanitary, with leaves or pollen adding wild yeasts to the air. During production, these yeasts did not form pure ethyl alcohol, but instead created acetic acid, that is, vinegar, along with some ethyl. As the mixture of ethyl alcohol, water and vinegar passed soldered joints in the still, doublerfilter and condenser, the vinegar dissolved the lead from the lead solder, forming lead acetate. This poison carried over into the finished product. Lead collects in the body over a period of time. It attacks the brain, liver and other vital organs. Small amounts create spasms, blindness, bleeding lips, sores and other permanent damage. Sooner or later, the buildup of lead results in death.21 The brain damage associated with the dangerous whiskeys and heavy intoxication of too much rum match descriptions of behavior in the spouse and witness testimony of the Old Manatee area divorce cases. Recurrent testimony strongly suggests that the strength of the whiskey circulating in Southwest Florida not only served to make the partakers drunk, it began addiction from the first drink. Continued use, if even only moderate use, induced brain damage and affected behavior. A number of husbands were cited as having lost their jobs "due to drink." Spouses complained of week long drinking binges, which exhausted family resources. Screaming outbursts, threats, beating wives or children accompanied at-home drinking bouts or resulted when the drunk arrived home. Some women beat their children or attacked their husbands. The husbands described in the divorce records usually "broke out" or "went on a binge" after payday. Once at home, the cruel treatment of the family began. This liquor was almost always specified as "whiskey" by family members and witnesses. It was obviously readily available to the men at or near places they were paid or near the railroad they used to return home. The cumulative effect of the alcohol, although always present, was slower to show in outbursts of temper and cruelty for those whose drinking was limited. Nevertheless, the long-term cruelty and violence associated in the court records with alcohol abuse was all too common. Additional testimony, such as the loss of a job caused by excessive drinking, substantiates the link between drink and marital failures. The presence of liquor in a society does not automatically cause either alcoholism or crime or divorce. But the addictive effects of liquor in southwest Florida, creating the continual craving for more drinks, endangered relationships. This addictive property of the drink represents one of the keys to unraveling the connection between the Sin Cities with the Old Manatee area divorce rates. Another is, of course, that the opportunities of legal divorce provided an escape from the cruelty of an alcoholic spouse without recourse to abandonment. Even after 1892, when "habitual intemperance" became legal grounds for granting a divorce in Florida, alcohol was never given as the single reason for divorce. From the records, the presence of an "alcohol syndrome" among drinking spouses became obvious. Many legal petitions for relief through divorce combined "habitual intemperance," extreme cruelty," "violent and ungovernable temper" and "failure to provide the necessities of life." The testimonies, spread out over the years and among many attorneys across the region, support the idea of a menacing alcoholism loose in society. It is unlikely that a few clever divorce attorneys simply fitted all cases into a winning format of legal phraseology.
Some pre-1892 cases based on "cruelty" charges and many of the 37% of cases citing "violent and ungovernable temper" bear such striking resemblance to later alcohol cases that they would have been included in an "habitual intemperance" category had one been available. Indeed, every Progressive era case that listed habitual intemperance as a cause also listed extreme cruelty. Martha Locklear married Edwin B. Hogan in Bradenton in December 1891. They lived together, raising vegetables until April 1908, when she deserted and went to Tampa. She explained that she had to leave for her safety, when he tried to kill her after she found him passed out under the house. He was shiftless, but in 1911 he still had thirteen head of cattle and five acres of land, which could be used to provide for her and the children. Estella Campbell of Sarasota was a "true and faithful wife" to Guss after their marriage in May 1910, "except at such times as the acts and conducts of said defendant did prevent her." He was a habitual drunkard" who used all his money and taking hers. He beat her and failed to provide for her. At the time of the divorce, in 1913, he was under arrest for cutting her throat, "not fatally, but painfully." She had two witnesses to verify her story. Few husbands mentioned intemperance as a wife's marital failure. Considering some of the ingredients in patent medicines and the "ladies' restoratives" of the time, this seems unusual. Instead, temper, adultery and abandonment represent the charges hurled at wives. But what of those wives who, whether for sport or medicine, "took to drinking"? How were they supplied and where could they go to drink? How could they, usually poor almost always cash-poor, have paid for a steady supply of drink? Women who wished to drink, finding themselves homebound, would have a harder problem than the husband who "broke loose" on payday. To accept a drink from a boarder or neighbor would calm the conscience as well as slake the thirst. Payment for the drink could be made via adultery. Given the addictive quality of the whiskey apparent from the multitude of court records, it is reasonable to suppose many of the abandonments were not simple cases of ladies tired of cooking or tired of love. To insure a steady supply, a woman who truly required regular doses of whiskey could follow her supplier to Tampa or Punta Gorda. Once she became a "fallen woman" at home, there was less resistance to becoming "professional" as long as there was alcohol to suppress the resistance. It could well have appeared to some ladies as a desirable alternative to cooking over a hot Florida farmhouse stove. John Renfroe, age 38, was a neighbor and witness for L.J. Byrd of Punta Gorda in his case against Viola Byrd. Married in DeSoto County in March 1905, L.J. claimed Viola drank and had a violent temper. In January 1910 she deserted. John's testimony stated bluntly that "she drank whiskey All of this remains speculation unless comparison of the alcohol syndrome cases can be checked against the total number of divorce cases specifying cruelty, temper and failure to provide.22 In Victorian era Manatee County, "extreme cruelty" was cited in 23% of the total divorce cases. Subtracting those cases known to be alcohol related, however, leaves only 16% of all Victorian cases involving cruelty. Also because alcohol was not accepted by the state as a separate cause for divorce until
1892, it remained unspecified in the earlier cases. Although it must remain unproven, the overall number of cruelty cases not involving alcohol could well be even smaller. The Women's Christian Temperance Union organized a chapter in Manatee County during the Progressive era. Yet cruelty continued to be seen in 23% of cases. Worse, for the marriages involved, the percentage of cruelty cases remaining after subtracting those known to involve "whiskey" is even lower only 11 % of the total cases in the Progressive era meaning alcohol was a growing social problem involving serious damage to domestic peace. It became, at least, more noticeable now that the state accepted it as cause and encouraged mention of it in divorce petitions. Surely, Federal Prohibition, in place by 1920, should have had some effect in curbing alcohol use, if for no other reason than by slowing down distribution via saloons and other open channels. Nevertheless, in Boorntime Manatee County, the rate of cruelty cases rose to 24% of overall divorces. Cruelty flourished and more alcohol-instigated damaged occurred in marriages during the height of Prohibition in Florida. Society suffered, if a healthy society is measured by respectful, loving behavior within stable marriages. Whether such ideals had previously been the norm, or whether cruelty and alcohol had flourished behind closed doors for lack of a legal escape such as divorce, it was unquestionably damaging late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century families in Southwest Florida. The need to drink, whether instilled into the body by a "bad batch" of moonshine or long term use of properly distilled and aged alcohol, produced an addiction. The railroad termini and port cities, Tampa and Punta Gorda, offered the most convenient sources of liquor. The number of abandonments caused by whiskey will never be known, since alcohol use was not always known or allowed by the state as a cause for divorce. In cases involving adultery along with intoxication, the adultery charges did not require the state's usual two year wait for the divorce process. Specifying adultery, therefore, saved time for those seeking their freedom from a doomed marriage. The presence of Manatee and DeSoto county women drinking as well as working in the brothels of the whiskey cities suggest that alcohol, rather than boredom or a mere lust for adventure, contributed to desertions. The work of the WCTU, so prominent in Southwest Florida's newspapers from the 1890s on, failed to stem the continuing family and social damage. It is no longer enough for historians to simply acknowledge that the South had a tradition of alcohol manufacture and use and that Southern society was outwardly violent. Nor is it enough to state that men were traditionally violent to women or exploited them. A search for the reasons behind the violence, both social and domestic, is needed. In southwest Florida, the destabilizing element for marriages was not politics, nor poverty alone, but alcohol with its accompanying syndrome of violence. Crime, prostitution and family violence followed in its wake. The study of the effect of alcohol on other known Southern violence and its effect on children who grew up as children of alcoholics, along with their later effect on the southern families and society is an area that needs a great deal more work. ENDNOTES
1 Joe G. Warner. Biscuits and 'Taters: a History of Cattle Ranching in Manatee County (St. Petersburg, 1980). 2 Canter Brown, Jr., Florida Peace River Frontier (Orlando, t991), 266-281, 312 316. 3 Florida law did not permit simply separations "from bed and board." All divorces granted were complete divorces "from marriage," that is, fully ending all legal bonds between the parties. Researchers studying the history of divorce in Florida have several advantages. Many record depositories saved or microfilmed the original records. Florida law, since the legislature gave the power of divorce to the chancery courts in 1828, required not only that petitions for divorce cite the legal reason for the plea, but each petitioner must also supply full details of the events surrounding the marriage and the actual conditions from which they sought relief. 4 Nancy F. Cott, "Eighteenth Century Family and Social Life Revealed in Massachusetts Divorce Records," A Heritage of Her Own: Toward a New Social History of American Women Nancy E Cott and Elizabeth F. Pleck, eds. (New York, 1979), 107 135 5 Michael Grossberg. Governing the Hearth: Law and the Family in Nineteenth Century America (Chapel Hill, NC, 1985.) 6 A note on the records and breakoff points for the eras may be in order. In Manatee County, the original records for the years 1860 thro ugh 1893 are still preserved in the Manatee County Historical Records Library, which serves as the county archive. This set the range of dates for the "Victorian" era. Chancery records from 1894 to the present are on microfilm at the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the basement of the Manatee County courthouse. The second record book ends with 1916, a convenient point at which to end the "Progressive" era, just prior to American entry into the First World War in 1917. The last period, encompassing both war and "boom", therefore runs from 1917 thro ugh 1926. Sarasota county has microfilmed the index volumes of its early records, beginning in 1921 and most 1940 records are microfilmed in full. However, the original copies of the early divorce records seem to have failed to survive the move to the new high-security county records center. Some information, as well as the total number of cases, could be gleaned from the indexed information. DeSoto County's records, all original for these years, remain stored in the vault of the office of the DeSoto County Clerk of the Circuit Court. Some records were unavailable due to stuck or unreachable drawers, but almost all cases were checked. 7 Robert L. Griswold, Family and Divorce in California 1850-1890 (Albany, NY, 1982). California is a very good state to compare to Florida. Both states urbanized fairly late with "ready made" developments, suburbs and cities born of the new mobility of the post-Civil War era. Both states lacked the strong industrial traditions of the North in the 1870 1920 period, altho ugh Florida remained far less industrialized. Also see Elaine Tyler May's wonderful work on marriage expectations, Great Expectations: Marriage and Divorce in PostVictorian America (Chicago, 1980) and William L. 0' Neill's Divorce in the Progressive Era (New Haven, CN, 1987). 8 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, "Marriage Rate and Divorce, 1920 1970," items B 214 220 in Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970 1, 48, 64. Also see Harry Hansen, ed., The World Almanac and Book of Facts for 1958 (New York, 1958), M3. 9 James McClellan. A Digest of the Laws of Florida, 1822-1881 (Tallahassee, 1880. 10 Revised Statutes of Florida 1892 (Jacksonville, t892). 11 This terminology varies among witnesses, husbands and lawyers, but is interchangeable. 12 James R. McGovern, Sporting Life on the Line; Prostitution in Progressive Era Pensacola," Florida Historical Quarterly LIV (October 1975), 131 144. 13 Anthony P. Pizzo, Tampa Town, 1824 1886 (Tampa, 1968), 81 82 and Gary R. Mormino and Anthony P. Pizzo Tampa: the Treasure City (Tulsa, OK, 1983). Also Canter Brown, Jr., Floridas Peace River Frontier 268 291. 14 Heather C. R. McClenahan, "A Diarist's Tale: Roby McFarlan's Tampa, 1887 1888, Tampa Bay History 15 (Spring/Summer 1993), 529. 15 Grady McWhiney. Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways In the Old South (Tuscaloosa, AL, 1988), 92, 128 and Joseph Earl Dabney, Mountain Spirits: A Chronicle of Corn Whiskey from King James Ulster Plantations
to Americas Appalachians and the Moonshine Life (New York, 1974), 224. 16 "No Saloon," Manatee River Journal November 4, 1897, 2 17 "A Popular Movement," Manatee River Journal September 17, 1898, 2. 18 "Grand jury Presentments," Manatee River Journal April 14, 1898, 2. 19 Dabney, Mountain Spirits 225. 20 Eleven divorce cases involved members of the Whidden family. These cases ranged over time from 1893 thro ugh 1924 and included family members as complainants, defendants and witnesses. 21 Dabney, Mountain Spirits 223-224. 22 Some file folders in Manatee and Desoto Counties fall to contain full petitions or witness testimony. They were counted as divorces for a longer study of social trends but could not be included here in the count of reasons for divorce.
COLONEL SAM REID: THE FOUNDING OF THE MANATEE COLONY AND SURVEYING THE MANATEE COUNTRY, 1841 1847 By JOE KNETSCH The life of Colonel Samuel Reid is virtually unknown in the Manatee country. Although he was the leader of the colony that led to the eventual settlement of the area, his past has been ignored in favor of those whose families still inhabit the area and who, along with Reid, bravely pioneered the Manatee frontier. This neglect is also the result of the poor image Reid has had as a surveyor of the area. Although vindicated by the Bradens and Robert Gamble at the time, the historical rumors of poor performance or fraud have persisted. His contributions to the growth of the area, therefore, have been clouded by the mist of the past. It is now time to take a deeper and clearer look into the life of this Manatee pioneer. Reid entered Florida, from Gwinnett County, Georgia, in 1825 and settled in the frontier area near Tallahassee.1 In 1833, he purchased forty acres southeast of Tallahassee in Township I South, Range 2 East.2 It does not appear that he was too interested in farming for a lifetime, for in 1837, he purchased Lot 170, original plat of Tallahassee, on the corner of Jefferson and Monroe Streets, two blocks north of the capitol.3 On June 7, 1838, Reid entered into a partnership with James R. Gamble and began to sell "a general assortment of goods." The new firm operated under the name of "Gamble & Reid.4 The 1839 Tax Rolls show that the firm had one slave working in the store and an inventory of $18,000, large for the era. It also shows that the town lots on which the store sat were valued at $3,000, on which $32.50 was paid in Territorial taxes and $66.00 in County taxes.5 The firm lasted only a year and a half, being dissolved by mutual consent on January 1, 1840. The firm continued to do business under the name of James B. Gamble, until he was joined by J. Gratton Gamble, when the name was changed to James B. Gamble & Co.6 In the same issue of the Tallahassee Floridian that announced the formation of the latter firm, it was advertised that Sam Reid was going into the "Storage and Commission" business at Port Leon, the new terminus of the Tallahassee Rail Road.7 In fact, Sam Reid was the first purchaser of lots in the new city.8 By mid-1840 he was doing an active business at Port Leon and owned extensive Warehouses and Wharf' in that town. These facilities he leased to a J. Vail in early 1841.9 In January of 1835, he must have been well enough settled to take as his bride Carolina J. Alston, on January 7th of that year.10 The Alston family was one of the more influential families in Middle Florida at this period and the marriage brought Reid into a wider circle of powerful people. His brothers-in-law included Dr. John Bacon and David S. Walker, later governor of Florida and one of Reid's closest confidants.11 The Alstons were the family involved in the famous duel and murder involving General Leigh Read. Indeed, Sam Reid attended a special meeting in honor of the late Augustus Alston, killed by Leigh
Read in the duel, in late December, 1839. Also attending the memorial meeting were James B. Gamble, Robert Gamble, D. S. Walker, R. B. Ker and Arthur M. Randolph, son-in-law of former governor William Pope Duval.12 The 1840 census shows that Reid had three children under the ages of five, two daughters and one son, living with him and, in addition to his wife, one other adult between the ages of thirty and forty. The same document also demonstrates that he owned fifteen slaves, eleven males and four females. The household, therefore, totalled twenty-one persons according to these figures.13 To support such a large number of individuals means that Reid was somewhat successful in his business operations. Reid's other interests are very noteworthy. In 1834, for example, as a stockholder in the Tallahassee Rail Road, he signed a petition on behalf of the line asking for federal lands. The president of the railroad was Governor Richard Keith Call.14 He was one of the signers of a number of resolutions sent to Washington in 1838, along with William P. Duval, A. M. Randolph and R. B. Ker.15 Most importantly for the future of the Manatee area, on February 24, 1840, he signed a petition supporting the concept of law establishing military colonization of the Florida frontier, which had been proposed by Governor Call. Also signing this lengthy petition were six of the Gamble family, William H. Wyatt, John Addison of Gadsden County, and two members of the Grisset[h] family, also from Gadsden County.16 However, this picture of success and political activity must be tempered by the fact that, by 1843, his operations in Port Leon had not been prospering for reasons unknown. In that year, Sam Reid was forced to convey title to William Bailey, of Jefferson County, to his property in Port Leon, in addition to five slaves [May and her four children]. The transfer of this property was through a default on payments on two notes totalling seven thousand dollars and backed by George K. Walker, brother of David S. Walker. If Walker met certain conditions, however, the transfer was null and void. As holder of Reid's notes to Bailey, Walker stood to gain the Port Leon property if he would make the payments.17 This venture probably went sour when Port Leon was destroyed by a hurricane later in 1843. About April 8, 184t, Reid leased his business interests in the Port Leon warehouses and wharf to J. Vail and headed south to Tampa Bay, having accepted the position as Deputy Collector of Customs for the Port of St. Marks. On July 1, 1841, he wrote to R. W Alston, his brother-in-law, about the need to send a revenue cutter to the coast of Florida to prevent the Spanish fishing camps from selling arms and supplies to the Indians. Reid's letter was passed on to former governor William P. Duval who sent it on to the Secretary of Treasury. Duval, an old acquaintance of Reid's, noted: "Mr. Reid is an intelligent man, of high character, and a most vigilant officer." The fact that Reid's views coincided with those of the ex-governor was an important factor in the transmission of this letter.18 The importance of the letter for our study is to, once again, demonstrate Reid's close contacts with the politically powerful families and their recognition of his worth. Reid's duties as Deputy Collector of Customs required him to become acquainted with the area, which stretched from Charlotte Harbor northward. As such, he most likely scouted out the area of the
Manatee River, at time virtually unsettled wilderness. His post and ownership of warehouses at Port Leon brought him into contact with the staff of General William Worth, then commanding in Florida. Through Worth's liaison, Lieutenant M. Patrick, Reid was recruited to lead a colonization effort on the Manatee River. The effort began on April 16, t842, when the little hand of colonists, headed by "Colonel" Samuel Reid landed at Manatee. According to General Worth, the colony, "is composed entirely of persons from Middle Florida. The land is of Superior quality & from the character of the Gentlemen concerned, there is certainty of success." The General also noted that the colonists had been issued arms. [200 "Ball Buckshot & Cartridges," ten muskets and twenty musket flints, along with tents.]19 The new settlement totalled fifteen white males, ten black males, two black females over fourteen and four black children, for a grand total of thirty-one individuals.20 Reid's scouting of the area, possibly in company with Josiah Gates and others, proved to be important in establishing the colony on the river and showed his keen sense of judgment. The army posted at Tampa Bay's Fort Brooke, was to act as the guardian for the young colony. On May 18, 1842, Assistant Adjutant General T Cooper wrote to Major T Staniford, then commanding at Fort Brooke: "The Colonel Commanding desires you will consider the party under Col. Reid at Manatee river, in all respects on the footing with others the most favored, & to afford them every facility & encouragement. He desires you will furnish them Arms & c. as a loan, to be accounted for by Lt. Patrick, to whom report will be made in the case. The tents loaned the party are to be retained by them until they can conveintly house themselves, so as not to interfere with the planting of crops.21 This stewardship was to prove mutually useful to the settlers and the army in the coming months and years. Reid's leadership role involved him with the military as the eyes and ears of the colony and adjacent frontier. He was frequently required to quell false rumors and assure the colony, and others, that the Indians posed no threat to their existence. In September of 1842, the truce with the Indians was concluded and Worth desired that the frontier settlements be notified that Indians would be on the move through their territories. Reid was informed by letter that Indians would be moved through the Manatee area, on their way to embarkation at Tampa. Lieutenant P.A. Barbour wrote, on behalf of Worth, to the Commander at Fort Brooke, Captain William Seawell: "Colonel Reid has been written to day and advised of the intentions of his southern neighbours to visit Tampa. His settlement need not be visited from your post.22 As the leader of the colony, Reid was informed of most of the moves of the military and their possible impact on his settlement. Like many, but not all, of the colony, Reid received an Armed Occupation Permit [No. 316, Newnansville Land Office] to settle on the land he had already begun to clear and plant. The date of the founding of the colony, April 16, 1842, precedes by many months the passage of this landmark piece of legislation. Because of this, it is likely that some of the settlers who accompanied Reid left prior to the receiving or requesting such a permit. Some may have died, too, however, there has yet to be uncovered any record of this. It may also be that the success of the colony did encourage many of the Armed Occupation Act settlers to try their luck on the Manatee River. These speculations, however lack documentary
proof at the present time. The only sure thing we can note is that many of the settlers who came to Manatee with Reid, did receive their permits and patents under this act. Reid continued in the leadership of the colony when an incident, typical of the frontier, occurred. In mid-1844 rumors were flying that another Indian war was looming and that Indians had been spotted near the settlements. Allegedly, one of the surveying party of Henry Washington had reported seeing many Indian signs in the vicinity of the Manatee River, where that crew was working. On August 5, 1844, General Worth wrote the following the Captain Montgomery, commanding at Tampa: "Sir: I desire you to cause the enclosed communication to be forwarded with the least avoidable delay to Colonel Reid, by the Star, if at Tampa, and not urgently employed, instruct the messenger to await for Colonel Reid's answers if he can be found at his residence.... Seal the letter to Colonel Reid before forwarding." The same letter noted that the affidavits requested by General Worth to the falseness of the Indian scare, must be done quietly and without arousing any undue suspicion on the part of the settlers.23 The rumor started by a "drunken scoundrel" of Henry Washington's survey party, was quickly squelched and ended. Worth suspected that the entire story was a preplanned episode meant to arouse the settlers and the government to attack the Indians and drive them, finally, from Florida.24 The point of interest in this correspondence is the continued importance of Sam Reid as the recognized leader of the colony, even though the Bradens, Gamble, Gates and others were already on the scene. Shortly after the founding of the colony, it was recognized by the government that the Manatee area would soon have to be surveyed to assure proper title to the lands of the colonists. Sam Reid requested the appointment as U.S. Deputy Surveyor and called on friends to support his application. Richard Keith Call responded to the this request and wrote to the Surveyor General: ". my friend Col. Saml Reid, who is anxious to obtain a contract to survey a portion of the public lands in Florida. He is in every respect worthy and well qualified "25 With the help of such friends, Sam Reid became the U.S. Deputy Surveyor when he signed his first contract on November 21, 1843. For his new duty, he received $3.75 per mile of survey line, $.25 lower than the average for the day.26 Reid immediately requested an Army escort into the area of his survey because of the presumed Indian threat. The Army, however, refused to allow this, as the escort that accompanied Henry Washington's crew proved to be counterproductive, scaring Indians on the way to surrender back into the Big Cypress and out of the reach of the troops.27 Reid's first survey was also delayed because of "incessant rains and high waters.28 Reid described the conditions at that time: "I was repaired early in January to the field and have been constantly and labourously engaged ever since at it, but from the quantity of Rain which fell about that time, I find it impossible to commence at the Southern boundary of my district as the whole Country was overflowed. Before I ceased my party were frequently on the point of Starvation for water.29 The situation on the frontier was wet and threatening for the new surveyor, but, undaunted by these temporary setbacks, he pushed on to complete his contract. What is important to note here is the fact that Reid did not head to the southern end of the contract area, but finished the number of required miles in the northern end of the district. Before the year was out, he was to
be accused of running false lines in the area he clearly did not survey. Surveyors had numerous obstacles to completing contracts and making ends meet during the surveying season. Two of these have been noted above, however, added to them were the problems of recruiting a capable crew that could be counted upon to endure the hardships and competently fulfill the needs of the surveyor. The surveyor also had to purchase instruments, supplies, wagons, mules/horses, field books, etc. before embarking on the venture. This meant that most of the deputy surveyors had to have some money up front before taking on any contract. Additionally, each surveyor had to be bonded and have someone willing to underwrite the enterprise. This required having contacts willing and able to put up the bond money, or its equivalent, before the survey could be commenced. Added to these difficulties was the fact of a four to six month surveying season [done in "dry" season only] and the constant possibility of sickness, death, insects, injury, etc. All of these things made surveying a very speculative business, and some did lose their resources by not completing the contracts on time, if at all. On August 22, 1843, Reid wrote that he had arrived home but reported that much had been done and that he had been becalmed four days on a small sloop. He then noted that he was beginning the chaining of sections in Township 34 South, Range 17 East, but the rainy season prevented much from being accomplished. He did tell Surveyor General Valentine Conway that he would send his notes via Colonel Braden as soon as that gentleman returned to Tallahassee. Indicative of his interest in the development of the colony, Reid also included samples of the first tobacco crop raised by the colonists.30 By November 15th, he had completed the survey and had sent in the notes for approval.31 At this time, Reid notified the Surveyor General that there was a potential conflict in the Armed Occupation claims of Mr. "Ledsworth" and Mr. Price, both of whom were absent from the area at the time of the survey. Josiah Gates, the brother-in-law of Price, sent a note to Reid identifying his relative's claim and that of Mr. "Ledsworth". Reid asked for the discretion to adjust the claims so that they did not fall in the same quarter section of land, but strictly asked for specific instructions on how to make the alteration so as not to take any of the improvements from either party. For the information of the Surveyor General, Reid also notified him of new settlers coming into the area, after the period for the Armed Occupation law, mostly, he noted, settling in the pine lands.32 In late October of 1843, the Surveyor General had written Reid informing him of the charges of false surveys being levied against him. However, because he was in the woods surveying, he did not receive the information until January 8, 1844, a delay of over two months. Reid immediately informed Conway: I regret exceedingly that I had not recd your letter earlier, as I could long since have satisfied you that the charges against me are entirely false. You will see by my returns that no Surveys now are reported to have been made at or near Charlotte Harbour. I saw Colo. Washington at Tampa last winter, just as I commenced work, who informed me that his line terminated in Town. No. 40 and the no. of miles, but I have forgotten the distance, but I am under the impression that the line
running West between Township 38 & 39 is not less than ten miles of any portion of Charlotte Harbour.... But Sir the whole statement of those Alabama gentlemen is false, I assert it and believe that the field notes of Col Washington will Sustain me, that after going South 2 112 miles in Town. 37 Range 22 that there is not five acres of land, that is not in ordinary wet season covered with water and that except some Cypress Swamp on Peas Creek, there Is not one acre of hammock land in or about Charlotte Harbour.... He [Washington] told me of this when I saw him, and he advised me to throw up mounds, and to prepare myself with a spade to do so. I did as he directed. ... I have Sent up requesting Colo Braden and indeed the whole neighbourhood to come around and examine the work.33 Of course, Joseph Braden did come to the aid of his friend and neighbor, writing to Conway on January 17, 1844: "1 have seen a letter from you to Col Reid that he is charge by some Gentlemen from Alabama with making sham' surveys. I have been a resident on the River for a period commencing within a few days of his surveys until the present time, & am satisfied that the persons who made these charges, have never been on the River, & not have recd the information here that they were 'sham' surveys. Such is not the opinion of those living on the River, & who have had many opportunities of ascertaining whether the surveys were worth making or not.... I have no hesitation in saying that the charges are malicious & groundless.34 The alleged group of Alabama gentlemen was merely a hoax and the plot of a disappointed surveyor, who had been seeking employment with the Surveyor General and with Reid, but was rejected because of his lack of proper character and behavior. The letter accusing Reid is a good example of creative thinking. As Reid had written, the description offered by the "Alabama Gentlemen" was pure fiction. The land claimed to have been seen and marked by these people is described as "varied and picturesque scenery of rich hammocks, prairie, and pine lands interspersed with ponds and bayous, which enhanced it in our estimation as a first rate grazing range for cattle."35 Anyone, to this day, familiar with the area of Charlotte Harbor can see the falseness of this description. Yet, Reid was called upon to defend his surveys and his reputation against the slanderous attack. In the October 26, 1843 letter to Reid, the Surveyor General advised him on how to handle the charges and prove the validity of his work. He recommended that he take some of the local, reputable people out to his work, let them examine the marks and lines and then furnish sworn affidavits to what they had seen. Conway concluded: "This course may have the tendancy to disabuse the minds of all interested and supersede for the present the necessity of commissioning another Deputy to go in and examine your work."36 Reid followed this good advice and got the cooperation of Judge Josiah Gates and Hector W. Braden who swore that: "We made a particular examination of these several lines, amounting to more than nine miles, including ten corner posts, and more than fifty bearing trees; these we found well marked and easy to delineate. We find no difficulty in following any of these lines or ascertaining which facility the Townships Ranges and Sections on the entire route."37 These were strong witnesses for the surveyor and their influence proved
important in finally ending the speculation regarding the correctness of his work. The man behind the accusations was Robert B. Ker, a man known to Reid and many of the early settlers of the Manatee River region. Ker had been active in many of the social and political events in Tallahassee and served as Deputy Surveyor on many occasions, including the final survey of the boundary of the Forbes Purchase. However, the job of Deputy Surveyor was a political appointment, in most instances, and Ker was not in with the group around Valentine Conway. Conway, after some initial hesitation, saw the evidence Reid had referred to and the affidavits of Braden, Gates and others and was convinced that Reid's work was legitimate. It was soon suspected that the entire episode was being staged by Ker in revenge for being refused employment, especially since none of the seven signees on the petition from the "Alabama Gentlemen" were known to anyone, including those on the Manatee River supposedly interviewed by these men.38 In what appears to be a final desperate act by Ker, he wrote to David Levy Yulee, Florida Delegate to Congress, stating the same case alleged by the "Alabama Gentlemen." Ker even stated that he had confidence in one Charles D. Chesterfield of this group and believed Chesterfield had a basic knowledge of surveying and was able to correctly judge the work done by Reid. He concluded his tirade by, again, stating the impossibility of running 800 miles of lines in four months, which many surveyors claimed to have done in Florida.39 When Conway was sent a copy of Ker's letter to Yulee, he was quick to respond. The author of this communication applied to me for a contract in the fall of 1842. On instituting an enquiry into his character & standing I soon learned enough to prevent me from complying with his wishes. Indeed, on one of those occasions he presented himself before me in a high state of intoxication and subsequently I have frequently observed him in a similar situation. Chagrined and disappointed in his application he has sought revenge by attempting to cast odium upon the work executed by my Deputies in the field.... Now Sir, after the most diligent enquiry I cannot ascertain the actual whereabouts or identity of an individual member of the company of disappointed & disaffected Explorers of Hammock Land & Marks & believe me when I assure you that it is and has long been my firm conviction that R.B. Ker, himself is the getter up & concoctor of this whole scheme of defamation & falsehood with design to injure Col. Reid and bring into disrepute the surveys generally...40 Reid too, found out the author of this cruel hoax and challenged Ker to come to Manatee and show where these sham surveys were. Reid went so far as to offer to pay Ker's travel expenses.41 Ker did not take up this challenge. Commissioner of the General Land Office, Thomas H. Blake, effectively ended the controversy after obtaining other evidence on the character of Robert B. Ker. He had the correspondence of Reid and Ker before him when he made the decision and also had affidavits from Braden, Gates and others. Blake complimented Conway on the manner in which he had handled this small crisis and maintained the public confidence in the surveys. He informed Conway that he was
totally satisfied with the correctness of Reid's surveys and had acted upon his accounts. Payment for which was already on the way to Reid.42 By mid-1844, Reid was again in the field trying to survey some of the coast near Teira Ceia Bay. This was difficult surveying because the land was so broken, judgment had to be used in determining what islands had enough land to pay for the cost of surveying and the nature of the tides complicated these judgments. He also noted that a previous surveyor in the area of Township 27 South, Range 18 East had not followed instructions correctly and had thrown excess lands onto the southeast or southwest. As the range lines had been run from north to south and he had started from the southeast corner and run north in sectioning, the two lines did not match, which, he correctly noted, made his surveys look bad.43 Reid was well aware that his surveys were under tight scrutiny and made every effort to run his lines correctly. Yet, diligent as he was, the taint of the Ker investigation, the lack of remaining monumentation within a decade and the fact that his contacts were politically powerful have clouded the judgment of some as the correct nature of the majority of his work. The majority of today's surveyors believe that Reid's work was relatively accurate, however, some still have doubts about his ability after all these years.44 Reid's family moved to the Manatee area, probably in 1844, from the Tallahassee area, and remained until shortly after he died, in April of 1847. Evidence of this occupation of the land is found in the records of Leon County, where it is recorded that Carolina S. Reid, "of Hillsborough Co." bought the crops of Robert Alston, her brother, for a tidy sum of $15,000. The crop, the majority of which was cotton, was to be sold to pay off this debt, and any shortages would be made up from the next year's crop.45 However, Carolina Reid left the Manatee area after Sam's demise for we find her, again on the records of Leon County purchasing land and crops near Lake Miccosukee.46 It would appear from this evidence, none of Sam Reid's family remained in Southern Florida after his death. The next to last letter we have of Sam Reid, was penned on November 10, 1846. In this letter he clearly knows that he is dying. At the same time, he also passes the torch into the hands of the capable John Jackson. This will be handed to you by Mr. John Jackson, who visits St. Augustine for the purpose of making my returns, my continued illness making it impossible for me to do it in person. Mr. Jackson has been with me through the survey, and can give you any and all information which you may require touching the survey. You will find Mr. Jackson a scientific, intelligent and honorable man, and every way worthy of any confidence you may place in him. I fear that I have run my last line, as my protracted illness gives me no room for hope for a speedy recovery, if I recover at all, and would therefore recommend Mr. Jackson to your favorable notice, as an accomplished surveyor. 47 Reid's ability to pick capable people to do certain jobs or join in colonization efforts proved to be uncanny. Most of the early settlers, as we have seen, were collected together by Sam Reid and remained to found the prosperous Manatee colony. These hardy men and women were the backbone of the colony and the pioneers of the area.
Unfortunately, the name of the man who' brought them here has remained forgotten until now. His choice of John Jackson, one of Florida's most accurate and dedicated surveyors, was a final note to his ability to see the true and necessary character of those he associated with on the frontier of southern Florida. Without his abilities, persuasiveness and tenacity, the Manatee colony may not have been as successful as it proved to be. Thus, we should now add the same of Sam Reid, the true founder, to the list of valiant pioneers who established one of Florida's premier settlements. ENDNOTES 1 Armed Occupation Permit No. 316. Newriansville Land Office. Land Records and Title Section, Division of State Lands, Department of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee, Florida. A copy of this permit also exists in the National Archives, Suitland Research Center, Suitland, Maryland, in Record Group 49. 2 Deed Book C, 374. Leon County Property Records, Microfilm No. 10, Leon County Clerk of the Circuit Court. Microfilm in the Florida Department of State, Division of Archives and Records Management, Tallahassee, Florida. (The property was purchased from John Methina.) Hereafter, Deed Book Letter and page number. 3 Deed Book E, 706. 4 Tallahassee Floridian February 9, 1839, 3. The advertisement was dated June 7, 1838, announcing the new firm. 5 Tax Rolls Leon County 1829-1855, (Incomplete file) Microfilmed by the Geneaological Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1956. Copy at the State Library of Florida, Florida Room (Dodd Room), Florida Department of State, Tallahassee, Florida. Page number is unreadable. 6 Tallahassee Floridian January 11, 1840, 3, and January 15, 1840. 3. 7 Ibid. 8 Deed Book E, 836. This shows Reid purchased Town Lots 6 and 7, Block 1, complete with water privileges. He purchased these lots for $5 each. Also see, Elizabeth Smith's special edition of the Magnolia Monthly for 1968, entitled "A Tale of Three Tombstones," Crawfordville, 1968, 27. 9 Tallahassee Florida Sentinel May 28, 1841. The advertisement stating this information is dated April 8, 1841, and was run in successive editions of the paper. 10 Tallahassee Floridian January 10, 1835. Found referenced In "Leon County Marriages," Florida Room, State Library of Florida, Tallahassee, Florida. This is a loose index taken from contemporary newspapers and bound for reference work. No date of publication is affixed in this work. 11 Walker married Philoclea Alston on May 24, 1842, while Bacon married the third sister, Clementina on May 24, 1837. "Leon County Marriages." Florida Room, State Library of Florida, Tallahassee, Florida. Later letters from Reid to the Surveyor General of Florida often asked that gentleman to forward his personal letters to his wife through Walker. 12 Tallahassee Floridian December 21, 1839. 2. 13 1840 Census for Leon County, Florida, within the division allotted to George E. Dennis. 65. A Microfilm copy of this record is located in the Florida Department of State, Division of Archives and Records Management. 14 Clarence E. Carter, Ed. The Territorial Papers of the United States: The Territory of Florida: Volume XXV, 1834-1839 (Washington, 1960), 77. Hereafter, Territorial Papers, volume and page. 15 Territorial Papers XXV, 464-66. 16 Territorial Papers XXVI, 81-88. 17 Record Book of Hillsborough County, Territory of Florida, Volume III: 1838-1846. Copy prepared by Historical Records Survey, Works Progress Administration, Jacksonville, Florida. 1938, 376-78. 18 Territorial Papers XXVI, 363-64. 19 Report of June 13, 1842, Worth to General R. Jones, Adjutant General. Letters received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1822-1860 (Main Series). Record Group 94, Roll 262, W 217-405,
National Archives Microcopy 567, 1842. The colonists of this colony are listed as follows: 1. Col. S. Reid; 2. J. Gates; 3. Mr. Ledwith; 4. Mr. Price; 5. E Follansher; 6. Mr. Retterline; 7. Mr. McDonald; 8. Mr. Craig; 9. Wm. H. Wyatt; 10. John Bowers; 11. Dan. Buchanan; 12. John Addison; 13. John Griseth. 20 Ibid. 21 Letter of May 18, 1842, Cooper to Stamford, Letters received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1822-1860 (Main Series). Record Group 94, Roll 262, W 217-405, National Archives Microcopy 567. 1842. 22 Letter of September 14, 1842, Barbour to Seawell, Letters received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 18224860. (Main Series) Record Group 94. Roll 260, U-W 46, National Archives Microcopy 567. 1842. 23 Letter of August 5, 1844, Worth to Montgomery, William Worth Belknap Papers, Box t, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. 24 Letter of July 7, 1845, Worth to Lt. Colonel Belknap, William Worth Belknap Papers, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. 25 Letters of Application, Volume 2. 1825-1847, Land Records and Title Section, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee, Florida. Hereafter DEP, 26 Contract File of Samuel Reid, Drawer: U.S. Deputy Surveyors O-Z, File: U.S. Deputy Surveyor Samuel Reid, Land Records and Title Section. DEP, 27 Letters and Reports to Surveyor General, Volume 1: 1825-46. 265-69. Land Records and Title Section. DEP, Hereafter, Letters and Reports, volume number and page number. 28 Territorial Papers XXVI, 654. 29 Letters and Reports, Vol. 1, 277. 30 Letters and Reports, Vol. 1, 280 112. 31 Letter of November 15, 1843, Reid to Conway, Land Office Notices, Refusals, Acceptances and Sundry Letters ... (file) Armed Occupation Permits M-Z (drawer). Land Records and Title Section. DEP. 32 Ibid. 33 Letters and Reports, Vol. 1, 281-82. 34 Letters and Reports, Vol. 1, 285. A cleaner copy of this letter appears on page 293 of the same volume. 35 Letters of Commissioner, Volume 3, 1840-43, 600-702. Land Records and Title Section. DEP 36 Letters of Surveyor General, Volume 4, 1842-44, 102-03. Land Records and Title Section. DER 37 Letters and Reports, Vol. 1, 197. 38 Letters of Surveyor General, Vol. 4, 73-75. 39 Letters of Commissioner, Vol. 4, 1749. 40 Letters of Surveyor General, Vol. 4, 113-116. 41 Letters and Reports, Vol. 1, 303-04. 42 Territorial Papers XXVI, 891-92. 43 Letters and Reports, Vol. 1, 307-08. Letter of April 15, 1844. 44 Discussions in my seminars on the History of Surveys and Surveying, conducted for the Florida Society of Professional Land Surveyors, have given me valuable insight into today's opinions concerning Reid's work. Two seminars in Tampa and one in Sarasota have given me the opportunity to talk to the majority of surveyors who have attempted to follow his field notes. My colleagues in the Bureau of Survey and Mapping also have found Reid's work, by and large, fairly accurate. There are, however, one or two strong dissenters from this opinion. 45 Deed Book I-J, 2,59. (Dated May of 1847.) 46 Deed Book I-J, 381. (Dated April 28, 1848.) 47 Letters and Reports, Vol. 1, 313.
CIRCUIT RIDING PREACHERS: THEY SOWED THE SEED By NORMA GOOLSBY FRAZIER Early circuit riding preachers, an elite group of dedicated men of God who perceived themselves as "sowers" of the spiritual seed, compelled by the "holy fire" which burned deep within their very souls and inspired them to totally devote themselves physically and spiritually to the divine but lonely and often dangerous task, began to preach their doctrines soon after the American flag had replaced the Spanish flag in St. Augustine. With the establishment of the state capital in Tallahassee on the "old fields" of the Seminole Indians and the development which followed in Middle Florida, settlers who, drawn by the beauty of the vast wilderness and believing that its potential far outweighed the risk of hostile Indians, began to arrive in the "new frontier," the recently formed Territory of Florida. Dedicated Baptist and Methodist circuit riding preachers whose names now appear in the annals of early Florida history began arriving soon thereafter. The spiritual needs of these undaunted trail blazers, many of whom would settle in isolated areas of the new frontier, these early pioneers who would literally hack their way through thick vegetation, dense forests and swamplands, clear the land, till the soil and carve homes for their families amid magnificent old oaks and magnolias surrounded by rich pasturelands and expansive woodlands where the majestic bald eagle soared, would be met and ministered to by these "men of God." Lack of a building in which to hold church services did not hinder the efforts of the early circuit riding preacher; homes, barns, stables, or blockhouses would suffice until churches could be constructed. The Methodist Episcopal Church would play a prominent role not only in ministering to white settlers but in carrying the gospel to the Indians as well. Methodist minister John C. Ley had this to say about pioneer clergyman John Slade: "He preached from a heart overflowing with love. To him the cross, heaven and hell were all awful realities, and while he preached sinners trembled.1 The zeal with which the early Methodist circuit rider preached to the far reaches of the wilderness should not be understated. Methodism itself was a pioneer religion; its message of individual salvation was accompanied by emotionalism and its philosophy of evangelism was embraced by many of central Florida's earliest pioneering families regardless of their prior religious affiliation.2 The Methodist church in Florida had its beginnings in Pensacola and St. Augustine and in December 1821, the Mississippi conference met and established the Pensacola mission, appointing Rev. Alexander Tally as circuit riding missionary to Pensacola; thus the beginning of organized Methodism in Florida. Henry P. Cook succeeded Rev. Tally on the circuit and Cook received only $72.31 for his last year of services (1825) prior to his death that year in Pensacola.3
As the circuit rider made his way from settlement to settlement, usually situated many miles apart, and often almost totally isolated, it is reasonable to believe that the sighting of a single man on horseback atop a dust covered horse, a messenger of the "Great Spirit" with his Bible often tucked under his armpit, his knapsack and bedroom in tow, the twosome slowly making their way through the "land of the Seminoles," was seen by them as posing no threat, allowing the rider to pass through peaceably. It is also reasonable to believe and history substantiates the fact that circuit riders were often welcomed and befriended by many of the Seminoles who, desiring to live peaceably with the "white man," were willing to share the paradise they knew as their home. Many hours for the circuit riding preacher, whose early efforts led to the establishment of many churches which are still in existence today, would be spent "in the saddle," his only earthly companion, his trusty old horse. Unhindered by the heat of the blazing sun and often endless hours of pelting rain, the dedicated circuit rider trudged on, traveling through rich green meadowlands covered with soft blankets of colorful wild flowers, across rich savannas and soggy swamplands filled with brightly plumed birds and a variety of wild animals; this became the daily fare of the early circuit riding preacher. The setting sun often brought much needed rest for both man and beast. Probably no natural commodity of the scenic although rugged terrain became more familiar to the circuit rider than the long-leafed yellow pine, about which much has been written and whose virtues nineteenth century historians often extolled. The pine, although not as prolific today as in centuries past, continues to rank highly on the list of Florida's natural aesthetic attributes. Thick pine forests not only provided concealment and safety for the circuit rider, but at night a soft mat of long brown pine needles made a comfortable bed under the stars. Unlike the giant groves of oaks draped in their velvety gray blanket of Spanish moss where one is totally shaded and concealed beneath a giant "parasol," the tall and stately yellow pine's branches allowed the lone circuit rider to get a restful night's sleep beneath the illumination of a peaceful moon, its light penetrating beneath the randomly positioned branches of the pine. Awakening to the warm sun's rays upon his cheek, with physical nourishment provided by the meager fare he carried in his saddlebag or from small game freshly roasted over a warm campfire, he continued his "mission" to carry the message of salvation to early pioneering families. In 1823, Rev. J.N. Glenn, the first Methodist minister in St. Augustine, had found only one Methodist in the entire city. Rev. John L. Jerry, who in 1824 was sent to the St. Augustine mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is said to have been one of the most fearless men to serve in Florida. Throughout the Seminole wars, he bravely traveled his circuit and was never harmed while massacres were taking place all around him. When asked the reason for his remarkable record of safety, he replied, "the people say the reason I was not troubled was that the Indians knew me, but I say God protected me." He devoted many years to the St. Augustine mission prior to serving in the Tallahassee district where a church was built in 1825. A Methodist Church building had been constructed in St. Augustine very early, and Pensacola constructed a permanent church building by 1830.4 Presbyterianism was administered as intensely in the territory as Methodism. In
1820, a group of Scottish travelers came from North Carolina and befriended Sam Story, chief of the Euchee Indians who lived near Pensacola. The chief granted the early Presbyterians permission to settle on any lands in the section they chose, with other Scottish Presbyterian families soon arriving. The log cabin church they built in 1828 served as a stronghold of Presbyterianism in Florida until construction of a larger building in 1847. From the old valley Euchee church membership, many Presbyterian churches would grow, with the organization existing for many years entirely dependent upon visiting ministers for the "bread of life." Rev. Samuel Robinson, who served for ten years, was the first to serve the church for a long period of time.5 Many pioneer preachers of the Baptist faith were on the field soon after the establishment of the Territory of Florida on March 20, 1822, and Wilson Connor, who was in St. Augustine in 1812 with the United States Army, is considered to be the first Baptist preacher on Florida soil. Baptist frontiermen soon followed, crossing over from South Georgia and settling in North Florida, thus beginning their life's work in the ministry. In 1825, Jeremiah Kembril and E.H. Callaway organized the first Baptist Church during the territorial days with the second Baptist church in Florida being established in Newnansville in 1828. Rev. John Tucker of the Newnansville church "reported to the Baptist Home Mission Society in 1843 that during that year he had found eighty-one scattered Baptists, organized them into churches, delivered sermons at 180 different places and had baptized twenty-nine converts. His work was typical of that being done by many pioneer Baptist preachers.6 The first Baptist Association of Florida was organized in 1841. It joined the Southern Baptist Convention in 1844, following the split of Baptist churches in America over the slavery controversy with a separate Florida Baptist Convention being organized in 1854. The organization of Sunday schools, temperance societies and prayer meetings was an important phase of the work of Protestant churches in the territory, with regular prayer services being held each Sunday in private homes including that of Rachel Jackson, wife of Andrew Jackson. Mrs. Jackson was a deeply religious woman and was considered to be a pioneer in the movement.7 During the frontier days, being somewhat rough rather than polished and knowing how to ride and care for a horse proved to be desirable qualities of circuit riding preachers who were often required to preach thirty sermons in the same number of days. It was not unusual for early settling families to walk or travel by horse and buggy to the designated meeting place which was often ten to fifteen miles from their homes. Services were held in brush arbors, homes, barns or blockhouses which had been built to provide protection from the Indians. A place in which to hold meetings was not a concern for these wandering circuit riders who were more concerned with conquering the wilderness for Christ. They officiated at marriages and funerals, comforted the sick and feeble and delivered the message of salvation. Camp meetings which often lasted several days were much anticipated by the settlers who welcomed the circuit riders to their humble cabins for much needed rest. The dangers faced by circuit riding preachers who would devote many years and often their lives to the challenging task included many hours of riding horseback through soggy swamps and thick hammocks where hostile Indians often lurked. It was also necessary to cross the dark waters of
swollen creeks and rivers filled with alligators and poisonous snakes. While tales regarding hostile Indians have circulated through the years, incidents regarding "friendly Indians" have been recorded in many area family histories. These accounts include lifelong friendships and the sharing of survival secrets. When renegade Indians were on the loose during the early years when the white man and Seminoles shared central Florida, many of these "friendly" Indians often accompanied the settlers as they sought protection in nearby forts. Such incidents are sure to have occurred during the time when Rev. Daniel Simmons of Savannah, Georgia, who, being concerned for the soul of the "red man," in 1829 purchased a piece of land in the middle of "Indian country" on which to establish a mission. He and his wife Elizabeth dwelled among the Seminoles he had come to evangelize. His efforts are believed to have preceded the arrival of any circuit riding preacher in central Florida. In 1842, following the conclusion of the Second Seminole War, a religious awakening began to sweep Middle Florida which produced a missionary fervor among Baptists and Methodists alike, both of whom seemed to adapt well to the frontier conditions early settlers faced in the Territory of Florida. Families provided tents and food for the camp meetings which lasted for several days.8 The Methodist Church would become the largest in Florida during the antebellum period with its system of circuit riders and itinerant preachers being organized to meet the religious needs of a thinly settled but rapidly expanding region. A minister could establish classes and appoint class leaders, thus allowing him to call on a larger number of settlements each month. Settlers of other faiths who had no place to worship often became Methodists. The Hillsborough County Census of 1850 would show that 1,703 persons were then residing in the county which comprised a much larger area than it does today. Many of this number were former soldiers who had trudged through the area's swamplands, waded through its creeks and streams, and in so doing had not only seen and admired its beauty for the first time but had also come to better appreciate the unwillingness on the part of the Seminoles to part with it. These soldiers had returned Rev. Jeremiah Madison Hayman, organizer and first pastor of First Baptist Church o f Tampa. Courtesy First Baptist Church of Tampa
with their families, erected cabins, began tilling the soil and planting crops with which to feed their families in the thick forestlands which had been the favorite hunting grounds of the Seminole Indians. The need to sow "seeds" of another kind in the fertile field of developing settlements soon became apparent to "men of God" determined to meet the spiritual needs of the new settlers. Many of these dedicated men would devote many years and often their lives to the challenging and dangerous task which often required serving churches in several counties throughout the state as they delivered God's word to pioneer settling families. Their visits, often monthly or bi-monthly due to the number of churches served, were much anticipated by children and adults alike. Meeting days included Sunday morning preaching and dinner on the grounds, followed by an afternoon of singing favorite hymns. These religious gatherings also provided an opportunity for neighbors living as much as ten miles apart to congregate and fellowship together. Clement C. Clay, who visited Tampa in 1851, remembered it as a "poor little village without any objects of interest save the Indian mounds and old barracks.... There is no church in this benighted town; whoever chooses may preach in the courthouse, where I'm told they have services twice a month.9 Within three short years Tampa would have a public school, two private schools and a newspaper; it would also have two churches, a result of the efforts of dedicated men such as circuit riding minister Rev. John C. Ley. His efforts were instrumental in laying the groundwork for Methodism in Hillsborough County. In a book entitled Fifty-two Years in Florida Rev. Ley, who was born in Burke County, Georgia on December 20, 1822, told of his conversion at the age of fifteen and his life as a circuit riding preacher in early Florida. Like many early circuit riding preachers, he traveled on horseback and believed that no horse could throw him; however, he was soon convinced he was wrong, when soaking wet, he picked himself up from a swollen stream and followed his horse on foot nearly nine miles before recapturing him. Rev. Ley's first wife died within a year after joining him in his work. Three sons and two daughters were born of the second union with two of his sons also entering the ministry. In order to serve all the churches on his circuit, he often traveled horseback from daylight to long after dark to make his appointments which were often seven per week. He rode many hours in the pouring rain, often sleeping in wet clothes which resulted in long sieges of fevers, often on his way again before fully recovering.10 Rev. Ley was in St. Mary's during the 1854 yellow fever epidemic and noted the following: It proved a terrible scourge, some whole families passing away, and scarcely any that were not decimated. It was estimated that one-fifth of the people who remained in town died. I was the fourth person taken down, having officiated at the funerals of the previous three. Although my attack was a very violent one, yet through the skill of my physician, good nursing, and above all, the kind hand of my Heavenly Father, I was able to walk about a little in ten days. From this time, I was engaged night and day, praying and administering to the sick, counseling with the families and
burying the dead. The epidemic lasted about three months, and for weeks after my recovery, I attended funerals every day. At about the height of the scourge, my wife was taken. Nurses were scarce for we had no professionals in those days. Doctors were overworked and absolutely unable to meet the actual needs of the suffering. For nine days and nights, I did not undress ... The epidemic finally passed away, leaving many sad memories, none of which was more sad than that the people failed to learn righteousness.11 One early conference report showed that these valiant soldiers of the cross were paid one hundred dollars annually. Rev. Ley also wrote about the experience of another early minister, Rev. R.H. Howren: It was during the Indian war when the torch, tomahawk and rifle were doing their deadly work in this country. My work was mainly with the soldiers and with the citizens clustered together for protection. I knew that I was exposed to sudden and violent death every day, but the Divine Providence sustained me: 'Lo, I will be with you always, even unto the end of the world.' On one occasion while holding a protracted meeting near Newnansville, we were surrounded by 75 warriors who withdrew without interfering with us at all. We learned afterwards that their intention was to make an attack upon us, but seeing such an unusual stir among the people, they became alarmed and withdrew. During one of our night services, they climbed into the pines around the house, intending to fire on us, not being able to do so from the ground owing to the stockade. Fortunately, we heard the signal given for firing and ran into the body of the house and escaped. One of our local preachers, Brother McCrary, was shot from his horse and killed while returning from one of his appointments Sabbath afternoon.12 Of the organization of the Tampa Methodist Church, Rev. Ley wrote: "In 1846, I called together the few members we had in Tampa -17 in number -in a small building Rev. Walter Malanthon McDonald -Courtesy Glenn McDonald
belonging to the United States garrison and organized them into a church. I look at their magnificent building, their numbers and wealth and thank God and take cour age.13 Of his faithful horse which served him so many years, Rev. Ley said: His name was "Willie" and a more delightful saddle horse with a few exceptions, was not to be found. He could live and keep fat where most horses would have starved, would eat almost anything from the kitchen or dairy, bear his rider forty miles or more in a day so smoothly that many were the streams he swam with the feet of the rider on top of the saddle reaching the opposite shore perfectly dry. ... But I learned by experience that when he was proper, and I was off my guard, he could place his head between his forelegs, kick so high that his back was nearly perpendicular, at the same time making so sudden a whirl that his head would be in the opposite direction and as his heels came to the ground, he found himself in an awkward pile in the road. But farewell, Willie, I shall never look upon your like again.14 In addition to Rev. Ley, early circuit riding preachers and ministers whose names appear often in central Florida church history include Rev. Jeremiah M. Hayman, Rev. Levi Pearce, Rev. Walter Malanthon McDonald, Rev. E. J. Hull, Rev. Ben Guy, Rev. Tom Jaudon, Rev. Enoch Giles, Rev. John C. Pelot, and Rev. Leroy G. Lesley. Many of these brave men also served as soldiers during the Seminole Indian Wars and the Civil War. It is doubtful that any area of Hillsborough County produced more early circuit preachers than the southeastern section of the county. Rev. Jeremiah M. Hayman, who was instrumental in organizing the First Baptist Church of Tampa, was one of these. In the early t850s as settlers began "putting down roots," establishing farms, and carving homes from the wilderness then found in southeastern Hillsborough County, desiring a place of worship, they cleared a small area of turkey and water oaks found beneath towering yellow pines growing on the south prong of the Alafia River and constructed a small log cabin which became the Hurrah Church, now known as Alafia Baptist Church. Each Sunday the small church, one of the earliest churches in central Hillsborough County, was the scene of an assemblage of early settlers, their horses tied to young saplings on the church's grounds; they came from as far away as Ft. Meade, Bloomingdale and surrounding settlements to worship, hear "the word" preached and to congregate together. It often became necessary for a church layman to lead the worship services in those early founding days until a young man whose name would be indelibly forged into Florida church history began attending the Hurrah church. 0. J. Frier, in his A Memorial Sketch of the Life and Ministerial Labors of Rev. J. M. Hayman told of the life ministry of Rev. Jeremiah M. Hayman (his father-in-law), whom Frier said he had known and loved as a father. Jeremiah Madison Hayman, son of James and Delila Martin Hayman, was born December 28, 1822 in Bryan County, Georgia, about thirty miles west of Savannah. Jeremiah was the oldest of twelve children, the second, James, had died at a young age. It was soon after the death of their child that the Haymans were converted
and joined the Primitive Baptists. The family moved to Madison County, Florida, where in 1838 young Jeremiah and his father, as did many male members of pioneering families, joined a volunteer company in the Second Seminole War under the command of Captain M.C. Livingston. In t839, Jeremiah, who was seventeen years of age at the time, joined a second volunteer company at Magnolia which was under Captain William I. Bailey. According to early records, young Jeremiah devoted much time to reading, writing and studying the Bible in depth. He had heard a funeral sermon preached by a Missionary Baptist minister who at the close of the service extended an invitation to all who wished to make a public profession of faith. His son-in-law, 0. J. Frier, A Baptist minister himself, told of Rev. Hayman's experience: "I felt an ardent desire to be in the church and especially to follow my Saviour in the ordinance of baptism, but I didn't have a satisfactory evidence that my sins were pardoned, so the opportunity closed and the congregation dismissed to assemble that afternoon for baptism."15 "I immediately retired to a grove nearby, where I was concealed from human view, prostrated myself before God, and renouncing all my sins; I yielded my soul to the God of all grace to be saved or lost. I was enabled to lay hold of Christ as a Saviour; that is, it seemed that I was just then enabled to believe. I then felt sure it was my duty to unite with the church."16 That evening, he was baptized by the preacher. Hayman was still single and living alone and promised God that if he would bless him with a good wife, he would "enter the work."17 On August 27, 1846, Jeremiah Madison Hayman and Martha Jane Carlton, daughter of Alderman and Martha Maria Alderman Carlton, were married. The first evening in their humble home which they called "Rural Cottage," the young couple established a family altar which continued until their family was broken up either by marriage or death. Their first child died at birth and nothing Hayman undertook seemed to prosper according to Frier, "all of which impressed him of his unfulfilled vow.18 Another child, born in 1849, died at the age of 11 months and, remembering his disobedience, young Hayman decided to follow God in earnest. Soon after the child's death, the couple picked up their belongings and moved to a place on the Alafia River in Hillsborough County near the home of Martha's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alderman Carlton. The Haymans soon found a small Baptist church without a regular preacher. It was at this church, the early Hurrah church found near the south prong of the Alafia River that Jeremiah finally yielded to God's call. On June 18, 1851, Rev. Hayman delivered his first message, taken from the Gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 29: "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." Circuit riding preacher, Rev. Jeremiah M. Hayman, rode horseback to the communities of Ichepucksassa, Socrum, Peas Creek, Thonotosassa, Clearwater, also Manatee and Hernando counties, then known as the Alafia circuit. Thus began a life dedicated to "spreading the gospel" in central Florida which would have far reaching effects. In addition to preaching at Alafia, he also served as minister to a black congregation at Manatee in 1851 began preaching at Thonotosassa in January 1852, and in March
he preached at Old Tampa (now Clearwater). In June of that year, he preached near present day Bartow, at Tampa, and at Manatee, where the boat in which he was crossing the river capsized and he nearly drowned. Rev. Hayman baptized twelve believers that same day while still in his wet clothing from the earlier boating incident.19 Rev. Hayman, who kept accurate records of his ministry, wrote that in his first year's work, he had traveled 1,450 miles, preached 69 sermons, baptized 28 persons, and received a total of $12.62 for his dedicated efforts.20 In 1853, Rev. Hayman conducted the first recorded preaching service in what is now known as Brandon. In 1854 and 1855, he was employed by the Southern Baptist Convention, moving from the community of Alafia to Tampa, and soon thereafter to Polk County, with hostilities existing in the area that year seeing the beginning of the Third Seminole War. For the protection of his family, in January 1856, Rev. Hayman moved back to Tampa where he made his livelihood as a carpenter, painter, and by clerking in a land office. He continued to preach, remaining in Tampa during the 1858 yellow fever epidemic when many were taking refuge in the country in the hope of avoiding the terrible plague. The number of persons residing in Tampa who died during the yellow fever epidemic of 1858 was substantial, with "every dissipated person who took the fever, dying in three days." Almost every family was affected; in one family of four, Rev. Hayman buried the family's two sons and grandmother, leaving only the father, whom he found having been in a state of unconsciousness for twenty-four hours with no one to do anything for him. His jaws were set from the excessive nausea and vomiting caused by the fever and was in an unimaginably filthy condition. With assistance, Rev. Hayman bathed him, changed his clothing, and obtained medical help for him. Within thirty-six hours this man the lone survivor of his family, sufficiently recovered to thank the minister for having saved his life. Rev. Hayman said, "I escaped from having the yellow fever myself. My wife had it, but got well. My mother-in-law and one daughter died with it.21 The following is Rev. Hayman's concluding account of his work in Tampa and the organization of the First Baptist Church of Tampa as recorded by Rev. Frier: In the year 1859, the yellow fever being gone in Tampa, I commenced work in good earnest to build a church house, though I was not encouraged by some of my brethren as I expected to be, for they seemed to think it impracticable at that time. But I continued to talk it up and solicit subscriptions, and continued preaching till I felt safe to make contracts for material with which to build, and when ready to commence work, contracted with a carpenter to enclose the house so we could use it. The lot was given by the county commissioners for a Baptist church. The lot was obtained through the efforts of Martin Cunningham, who died before the church was organized. In July, 1860, Dr. Joseph S. Baker, came to Tampa and we organized the First Baptist Church. I cannot from memory, give all the names of those in the organization, but I am glad to name: Mrs. Sarah Cail, Mrs. Elizabeth McCarty, Mrs.
Matilda McKay, Mrs. Nann'e Haygood, and Mrs. Jesse Carter. I baptized eight persons at Tampa; one a peculiar case, a volunteer soldier in the United States service. He sent for me to come and see him. I did so, and found him very sick. He knew he would die soon, and said he wanted to be baptized. After hearing his experience of grace, and he being too feeble to go to the water, I had a large, long bathtub filled sufficiently full of water in his room, and two men took him from his bed, sat him in the water, and I baptized him as completely as if he had been in the river or bay. He seemed happy and said he felt resigned to the will of the Lord. His name was John Brown. This was done in the year 1857. There were no Baptists in Tampa then.22 In 1862, the faithful old circuit rider's horse died, and with a combined collection of $20 which was donated by members of the churches Hayman served, he was able to purchase a badly needed replacement. Rev. Frier paid tribute to his father-in-law with the following: He was one of the happiest, most cheerful Christians I ever knew, and was especially during the latter period of his life, notwithstanding his blindness and other infirmities, was this noticeable. It was a benediction to be with and talk with him on the subject of religion. He always found so many things to be thankful to God for, and his mouth was continually filled with praises to God for his goodness. He was a man 'full of faith and the Holy Ghost'... How beautiful it is for a man to die upon the walls of Zion! To be called like a watch-worn and weary sentinel to put his armour off and rest in Heaven.23 Rev. Hayman and other early "men of God" busied themselves in "spreading the word" and in carving homes for their families from the vast wilderness then found in central Florida. The brave settlers who ventured as far south as central Florida were lured to the area by its beauty, fresh game, and the availability of rich soil on which to grow food for their families, but all of this was at the risk of hostilities from Indians who were less than eager to surrender the land they loved. Sometime during the 1870s, John W. Hendry, a young man who would earn recognition as one of the foremost pioneer Baptist preachers of South Florida, began his lifelong ministry at the old Hurrah church. Born in Lowndes County, Georgia in 1836, he had moved with his parents to Jasper, Hamilton County, Florida in t849. There was no public school system at that time and private education was beyond his parents' reach, but young John did not lack personal ambition. In 1856, when he was twenty years of age, Hendry first came to Hillsborough County with an uncle, "reaching as far south as the Alafia River." Like many who would follow, the beautiful Alafia appealed to John Hendry, who soon returned to middle Florida, married, and returned in 1859 to make his home near the south prong of the Alafia at Chicora. It was while attending the yearly camp meetings of the Methodist Church held in Ft. Meade, together with his parents, who by this time had also settled in Manatee County, that the young husband felt God's call.
In his study of the scriptures, and in spite of the fact that his entire family belonged to the Methodist church, "Hendry resolved to sever his connection with the Methodists and cast his lot with the Baptist church." The Hendry home was some seven or eight miles distant from the little Hurrah Baptist church which he attended as a zealous Christian whose leadership and ability did not go unnoticed. He was soon ordained by the church, guiding the small membership through the difficult post Civil War period; the devastating war had taken its toll, morally, financially, and spiritually. During this "healing" period, religious meetings in central Florida as well as throughout much of the state were held in homes, early schoolhouses, barns, and under brush arbors, regardless of weather conditions. During this time of spiritual awakening, Rev. Hendry traveled from his home on the south prong of the Alafia, joining the small number of early circuit riding preachers who traveled many miles on horseback or by horse and buggy, assisting in the organization of many early churches in south and central Florida. Rev. W. P. McEwen, a Methodist minister, and Rev. John W. Hendry, often traveled together over the same roads, preached from the same pulpits and shared the same perils and hardships, thereby developing not only a close friendship, but also a mutual respect for the other's dedication and devotion to God's call.24 Rev. Ezekiel Josiah Hull, Baptist circuit riding preacher, rode his horse to the remotest areas in the central Florida wilderness from his home on the Alafia Riverbanks. Rev. Hull was born in Burke County, Georgia on July 4, 1827, and married Mary Miller (probably in Georgia) in 1851. The Hull family, which would eventually include nine children, settled in eastern Hillsborough County in the 1860s. On October 29, 1869, Rev. Hull represented Beulah Church in Polk County as a delegate to the third annual South Florida Baptist Association meeting held at Shiloh in Hillsborough County. In 1877, Rev. Hull was shown as pastor of four churches, Alafia, Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Moriah, and the Friendship church. The Hull family moved to the Pine Level area of Manatee County where he continued his ministry and in t893 he was shown as pastor of Mt. Ephraim, New Hope and Wauchula churches. Rev. Ezekiel Josiah Hull died on April 20, 1897 and was buried in the Wauchula Cemetery.25 Among the list of names of dedicated men of God who served as early circuit riding preachers, laying the groundwork for some of Hillsborough County's oldest churches in existence today, men whose names are now recorded in central Florida history, none is mentioned more often than Rev. Walter Malanthon McDonald, one of the county's most respected ministers. Rev. McDonald was born in Morgan County, Alabama on August 5, 1856, the son of John Robert and Sallie Orr (Gibson) McDonald. His father had been a farmer and a merchant in Alabama, and when the Civil War broke out John Robert McDonald served in the Confederate States army, receiving a lieutenant's commission. He served in General Nathan Bedford Forrest's Cavalry throughout the war, and although never wounded, on one occasion his horse was shot from under him. When his horse fell dead, McDonald removed his saddle from the dead horse, resaddled another horse, and rode on.26 The beautiful meadowlands, tall stands of thick yellow pines interspersed with huge clusters of thorny palmettoes, had appealed
to the McDonald family, who came to the area from the red clay country of Alabama. In 1870, the year John Robert McDonald moved from northern Alabama to the community of Hopewell, then known as Callsville, the population in the state of Florida was 187, 748 (96,057 white, 91,691 nonwhite). The elder McDonald is credited with renaming the area Hopewell after his native town in Alabama, also donating two acres of land for the site of the Hopewell Baptist Church. The family had moved to what was then called the "Turner Plantation," the earliest known settlement in the Hopewell area of eastern Hillsborough County. Little information is available regarding the origin of the antebellum plantation, but it is believed that following the Civil War and the freeing of slaves, this large farm was divided into smaller homesteads. The Hopewell community is located some six miles south of the present site of Plant City. In addition to hauling merchandise from Tampa to the interior areas of Hillsborough County, the McDonald family planted some of the first citrus groves in the county. Rev. Walter Malanthon McDonald, who was fourteen years of age when the McDonald family moved to Florida, was attracted to the ministry and completed his higher education through his own efforts and personal study. At the age of thirty-three, he devoted himself fully to the calling" of the ministry. Hopewell Baptist Church had been organized informally in 1870, the year the McDonald family settled near the Turner Plantation. A small log schoolhouse which was ten feet wide by twelve feet in length and located in the proximity of the present church building on south Highway 39, served as the small membership's first church building. The church was formally organized in 1873, by Rev. L.J. Simmons and Elder N.C. Tatum, that date being recorded with the Florida Baptist Association as the church's organization date. Charter members included members of some of the county's earliest settling families: Mrs. L.W Weeks, S.W. Weeks, W.M. McDonald, Mrs. L.O. McDonald, J.R. McDonald, George Wells, Fannie Evers, Olive Mooney, May J. Wells and N.C. Tatum. On October 1, 1876, in Hillsborough County, Rev. Walter Malanthon McDonald married Texas Missouri Howell, daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Turner) Howell. The couple's son, John Robert was born on February 9, 1880. Joseph Howell, who was born in 1803, became an early settler in what is now known as Springhead. Together with his family and slaves, Joseph settled on old Seminole Indian fields which were located in the rich hammocks on what became known as Howell Creek in the Springhead section. He first build a double pen loghouse with a detached kitchen about forty feet away which was connected by a covered walkway. At the center, on the side away from the well, was a wash shelf with a cedar bucket hanging at one end. A well with a draw bucket was some thirty feet distant. Joseph Howell had also built a log barn, slave quarters, and a smokehouse, under a large oak. Chickens were kept for eggs and were discouraged from coming into the garden by very long pickets, with other fences being made of split rails. Rich pastureland for the cattle to graze upon was
found nearby with hogs feeding on vegetation and acorns. Neighbors were few and lived as much as ten miles distant.27 A tragic event involving the family of Rev. McDonald's wife, Texas Missouri Howell McDonald, occurred during the days when the Indians and the white man shared central Florida. During the Seminole War, the Howell home was attacked by Indians, with Joseph arriving home late in the afternoon to find his wife and baby murdered. He quickly sounded the alarm to his neighbors, not knowing that two of his children had survived and had been hidden in the swamp by two of his slaves.28 Joseph Howell was overjoyed upon learning that his daughter, Martha, and son, George, had been hidden by his slaves.29 George would be killed several years later in a battle near Ft. Meade, in what was known as the Billy Bowlegs War. Rev. McDonald was known throughout southwestern Florida as a devoted preacher of the Christian faith. He brought the message from the "Good Book" to people in all areas of central and southwestern Florida. In 1888, he became pastor of the Hopewell Baptist Church with Rev. Tom Jaudon, who rode his mule throughout southeastern Hillsborough County establishing churches, serving as pastor of the church from 1879-85. For forty-five years, Rev. McDonald served as pastor of the Hopewell Church, also serving as a circuit riding preacher during this period and preaching at churches throughout many areas of southwestern Florida. He traveled by horseback, train, or horse and buggy and also served as part-time pastor to a number of early churches. Rather than permit an interruption in his schedule of services, on several occasions he swam across streams and rivers including Howell Creek and the Alafia River, when they were flooded and the bridges were unusable or washed out. Rev. McDonald spent much time in counseling those in difficulty and in visiting the sick, turning no one away who came to him for help. He was truly a pioneer preacher, and it has often been said that he baptized more people, performed more marriages, and presided over more funeral services, than any other man in central Florida. Rev. McDonald died at Hopewell on July 23, 1933. While an accurate historical account of the lives and experiences of the early circuit riding preachers must include the hardships, discouragements, loneliness and dangers they often faced, humorous tales regarding their experiences have also been recorded. In his Pioneer Florida D. B. McKay told of one such experience: The circuit riders wore leather trousers, the only kind that would withstand the continuous horseback riding. One of them was fortunate enough to have two pairs and left a pair hanging on the back porch of a parishioner's home. Some weeks later on Sunday morning, he got them down and put them on, walked over to the little log church, up into the pulpit, faced the congregation and said, 'Brethren and visitors, I am so happy this morning.' At that same time something in his trousers started giving him fits. He grabbed the seat of his trousers, ran out of the church into the woods yelling, 'my trousers
are full of yaller jackets.' A number of the men ran and caught him, carried him to the parishioner's home where he was treated for his wounds. In those days most of the men chewed tobacco so they saturated the minister's wounds with tobacco juice which quickly drew the poison from his system. Within a few hours he was feeling much better, but there was no preaching that day.30 ENDNOTES 1 John C. Ley. Fifty-two Years in Florida (Nashville, 1899), 26-27. 2 Sidney W Martin, Florida During the Territorial Days (Athens, GA, 1944), 205-209. 3 Ibid., 205-206. 4 Ibid., 206-207, 209. 5 Ibid., 210. 6 Ibid., 211 -212. 7 Ibid., 212-213. 8 J. E. Dovell, Florida Historic, Dramatic Contemporary 4 vols. (New York, 1952) I, 452. 9 Ibid., 425. 10 D. B. McKay, ed., Pioneer Florida 3 vols. (Tampa, 1959), 1, 204. 11 Ley, Fifty-two Years in Florida 78-79. 12 Ibid., 55. 13 McKay, Pioneer Florida 1, 205. 14 Ley, Fifty-two Years in Florida 127428. 15 0. J. Frier, A Memorial Sketch of the Life and Ministerial Labors of Rev. J. M. Hayman (Nashville, 1901), 4. 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid., 4-5. 18 Ibid., 5. 19 Ibid., 8. 20 Ibid., 9 21 Ibid., 11. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid., 26. 24 Paul E. Dinnis, Flickering Flames Along the Alafia (Brandon, FL, n.d.), 12-14. 25 Richard Livingston, "Ezekiel Josiah Hull 1827-1897," South Florida Pioneers 43/44 (January/April 1985), 18-19. 26 James W Covington, Story of Southwestern Florida, 2 vols. (New York, 1957),11, 62-63. 27 Ibid., 1, 100. 28 Ibid., 101. 29 Ibid. 30 McKay, Pioneer Florida I, 209.
DAVID LEVY YULEE: FLORIDAS FIRST U.S. SENATOR By HAMPTON DUNN Political, business, and social leaders of Florida during the territorial and early statehood days in the mid-1800s were men of strong character; hardy souls who helped to shape the future of the frontier area.1 Only the strongest survived in those times when the Indian wars were no sooner settled than Florida became a full-fledged state of the Union, only to drop out soon and become involved in the Civil War. Standing tall among the staunch leaders was David Levy Yulee lawyer, statesman, agriculturist, U.S. Senator, Confederate leader, businessman, railroad magnate and plantation owner. A biographical sketch on Senator Yulee, published many years ago, closed with a tribute paid to him by an unnamed citizen of New York, who called Yulee "the greatest man that Florida ever produced, and his life has been an inspiration to some who could appreciate his greatness." The laudatory remarks continued, "I have compared him a thousand times in my mind with other representative men of their day as I have seen them from year to year, and he has always held the prime position as I remember him in his life.2 There have been other "greatest Floridians" since that was written, for instance, Governor LeRoy Collins, General James A. Van Fleet, and numerous others. But that does not take away from the generous accolade paid Yulee many decades ago. Probably no Floridian had a more exciting life adventure than did Yulee. And the colorful background surrounding this sensational man goes back several generations before he came along. Yulee, a name he adopted after his election to the U.S. Senate, was born on the island of St. Thomas in the British West Indies (now the Virgin Islands) on June 12, 1810.3 The island of his birth was transferred from the ownership of England to Denmark when David was but a lad of five. His parents were Moses Elias Levy and Hannah Abendanone, and they eventually divorced.4 David Levy Yulee -Courtesy National Archives
David's grandfather was Jacoub Ben Youli, Grand Vizier to the Sultan of Morocco. His grandmother was Rachel Levy, the daughter of an English physician, who was captured by Barbary pirates en route to the British West Indians, and then sold into Ben Youli's harem at the slave market at Fez. When the sultan was overthrown, Rachel took her small son, Moses, with her to Gibraltar, where she subsequently gave birth to a daughter. The three assumed Rachel's family name of Levy. When Moses grew up, he brought his mother and sister to the island of St. Thomas, where he became a prosperous lumber man. David's grandfather, by the way, was condemned to death and beheaded by order of the new emperor.5 The noted historian and newspaper publisher, D.B. McKay, explained in his book Pioneer Florida that David's grandfather was "racially a Portuguese and held a high position in the court of the Emperor of Morocco. His grandmother was an English Jewess.6 In 1819, Moses sent David to Norfolk, Virginia, to be educated in a private school.7 He was nine years old, and he never returned to St. Thomas. According to McKay, "The school at Norfolk was conducted by an English clergyman who was fond of declaring 'However we may fail in teaching our pupils the classics or mathematics, we do hope that we do teach DEPOT AT FERNANDINA BEACH Enterprising David Levy Yulee built the first cross-state railroad between Fernandina Beach and Cedar Key before the Civil War. The terminal depot at Fernandina Beach still stands and is now being used by the local Chamber of Commerce. -Courtesy Hampton Dunn Collection
them to play the game. His teacher was chiefly bent, and energetically so, toward forming his pupils' character.8 As we shall see, David learned well how to play the game of life, especially the perplexing "game" of politics. Indeed, one writer tagged Levy, or Yulee, as "The Wheeler Dealer of All Time." Young David remained in school for six years while his brother was at Harvard. "Suddenly both boys received letters from their father in which he stated he would no longer contribute to their support except as he would to any other of God's creatures an ungenerous utterance from a father."9 But, as McKay adds, "He was a strange man. He was educated at an English university. His own father was a Mohammedan, his mother a Jewess, his religious convictions were in a state of chaos.10 Thus, at the age of fifteen David was on his own. He elected to go to his father's plantation at Micanopy, Florida, where a kindly overseer taught him how to run the operation. David arrived there "with a good elementary education, a little Latin, no Greek and some French of sturdy British variety.11 Ambitious to continue his education, David acquired many friends in St. Augustine, and he studied law there with Robert R. Reid, who was to become a Governor and a REMAINS OF YULEE SUGAR MILL A state park on a lonely country road off U. S. 19 between Homosassa and Homosassa Springs now protects the remains of David Levy Yulee's sugar mill. He had a sugar plantation on Tigertail Island. Courtesy Hampton Dunn Collection
Federal Judge. David began his law studies while he was still in his late teens, and he was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1836.12 No doubt about it, young David had hitched his wagon to a star, as one biographer put it, "for Judge Reid was an influential leader among Democr ats in Florida.13 Yulee himself soon gained recognition as a leading Democrat. So much so that one observer, writing about that era, said: "The most able, capable, loyal and interesting of the Democrats was a Jew, David Yulee [the Moorish spelling of Levy].14 Judge Reid, who would become the fourth Territorial Governor in December, 1839,15 chaired the St. Joseph Convention in 1838-39 that drafted Florida's Constitution in anticipation of statehood.16 It was of this Convention that William T Cash, who was the first Florida State Librarian, and who once was a history professor at Florida State College for Women (now FSU), wrote: "There have been few bodies of men chosen in America more competent than the fifty-five delegates who framed Florida's first Constitution." David Levy Yulee, of course, was one of the fifty-five.17 Dr. Fishburne tells us: "From Reid, David Levy would learn far more than how to practice law. He would master the art of making it and using it to serve defined goals, and he would experience the practical utility of political parties in the never-ending struggle over who gets what, when, how -the hallmark of all politics, properly understood.18 Soon the young Floridian was practicing politics. In 1836, Levy was elected Representative of St. Johns County in the Territorial Legislative Council.19 Two years later, in 1838, he became Senator from a multi-county district. His first public position was as Clerk to the Territorial Legislature.20 In 1841, David Levy was elected Territorial Delegate representing Florida in Washington. One historian noted: "The National House of Representatives at that time [184t] contained some of the most brilliant debaters in history." He added: YULEE ORIGINATED THE "HOMOSASSA" ORANGE David Levy Yulee is credited with developing the "Homosassa" variety of orange on his plantation. This photograph shows several views of the popular orange. Courtesy John T Lesley, Sr., former manager of the Florida Citrus Exchange; The Hampton Dunn Collection
The Delegate from Florida made his first favorable impression by his sturdy defense of his eligibility which had been challenged by some of the Whigs representing the majority of the house. He [Levy] was soon drawn into the debates on slavery and for fifteen years was one of the most ardent champions of the cause of the Southern states, though he always upheld his side of the contention with an imposing array of logic and facts unmixed with the bitter partisanship and prejudice of so many of the debates of the period.21 When Florida achieved Statehood in 1845, Levy was elected one of the two first United States Senators from Florida; James D. Westcott, Jr., was the other. Levy had been dubbed "Architect of Florida statehood." When the State Legislature chose Levy and Westcott, they drew lots to decide who would have the longer term and Levy won. He requested the Legislature to change his name to Yulee. Yulee was the first Jew in the nation's history to hold the office of United States Senator.22 In Washington, he soon became a popular social figure. One biographer noted: "If his political convictions were sectional, Senator Yulee's personal feelings were not; for no Southerners mingled more generally in Washington society than his wife and himself.23 In 1846, he had married Nancy, the daughter of Ex-Governor Charles A. Wickliffe of Kentucky. Washington society called her the "Wickliffe Madonna" because of her goodness and beauty. One writer said about Nancy all heads were turned when the Yulees came to a banquet or opera for she was one of the country's most beautiful women."24 Yulee served a full six-year term as Senator, and then sought re-election in 1851, however, he was upset by Stephen R. Mallory of Pensacola who, like Levy, was born in the West Indies. William T Cash wrote that Yulee's defeat "was in reality a good thing for Florida.25 He was able to pursue his work on a railroad from Fernandina to Cedar Key, giving Florida its first cross-state transportation line, from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. It was about the time of his political defeat that Yulee harvested the first crop of sugar cane from his 5,100 acre Homosassa plantation, which he called "Margarita," the Spanish word for pearl. His home was built on Tigertail Island in the Homosassa River.26 Yulee's agricultural curiosity helped develop one of Florida's oldest varieties of oranges -the "Homosassa." It originated as seedling in Yulee's orchard on his plantation.27 In 1943, Webber, an authority on agriculture, wrote "the selection must have been planted not later than 1865, for in 1877 the Variety Committee of the American Pomological Society recommended it as a first-class variety. It was extensively planted for decades, and there are orchards still in existence. Like certain other Florida varieties, however, 'Homosassa' is of indifferent quality in arid climates and has not achieved commercial importance elsewhere.28 The "Homosassa" orange was considered a mid-season fruit. In the mid-1880s, a writer for the Southern Sun singled out this variety of orange when he wrote: "Famous as present fact are the oranges, which take their peculiar character from some mysterious
combination of climate and soil, or perhaps from some origin which reaches back, as legend says, to days when Spanish visitants, bringing with them the choice fruits of the Mediterranean, tarried for a season amid the charms of Isthloe. The inimitable flavor still abides, and the 'Homosassa' orange, or magnum bonum not only remains chief prize-taker at State Fairs, and with the best on market lists but this variety is sought for groves far and wide, even on the Pacific shores."29 Watching Yulee's progress on his trans-Florida railroad were the civic and business leaders in the Tampa Bay area. They saw it as a shot in the arm for the struggling economy in the small fishing village. With a rapidly growing port, Tampa called itself the "Gateway to Panama." While Yulee had not revealed his route, it seemed logical to Tampans that the proposed railroad would wind up in Tampa, linking it with the shipping lanes connecting Florida with Cuba, Panama, and points south. A biographer relates what happened: Everyone [in Tampa] was jubilant as they watched the railroad's progress. The ties were laid as far as Gainesville when the word came: Senator Yulee had perpetuated the greatest political, economic doublecross. Instead of continuing his railroad to the Gulf at Tampa, he turned to the sea many miles north, at Cedar Key, where he had extensive real estate holdings. Incensed by his treachery, the entire population of Tampa stormed the courthouse, stuffed a scarecrow labeled 'David Levy Yulee' and hung him in effigy. As they massed around the bonfire, they burned all hopes of Tampa's future as a thriving port. Little did they know that 100 years later Tampa would be hailed as a leading metropolis and the sleepy village of Cedar Key would be no more than a favorite fishing spot with 700 residents.30 Henry B. Plant brought his railroad to Tampa in 1884, but the population of Cedar Key spurned his attempts to bring it there. The local friends of Yulee wanted no competition for their Senator, so they tried to gouge Plant when he tried to purchase the real estate needed. Plant, in turn, put a curse on the small community, predicting that "hogs would wallow in their streets, and owls would roast in their attics." Plant looked southward, selecting Tampa for the terminus of his cross-Florida railroad. The rest of the story is history.31 Yulee's railroad, which started in early 1856, was completed to Cedar Key on March 1, 1861, about six weeks after Florida seceded from the Union. The railroad became the Florida Central in 1888, and eventually became part of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad in 1900.32 In his book on the history of the Democratic Party in Florida, William Cash paid high praise to Yulee for his pioneering efforts in railroad building when he said: "This great Democrat [Yulee] was one of the most constructive citizens Florida has ever had, and he deserves far more credit for building a railroad across the state during the 1850-1860 period, when there was hardly an average of a resident to every five miles along the route, than does [Henry M.1 Flagler for opening up the east coast. Yulee was, in comparison with Flagler, a poor man, but he went outside and made capitalists believe in his project, and thus he got a transportation route through the state. It was said in t862, that for the previous
seven years no other state in the world had constructed as much railroad mileage as had Florida."33 According to Cash, Stephen R. Mallory, who had defeated Yulee for the U.S. Senate in 1851, was Yulee's "able colleague in Washington" from 1855 to the Civil War.34 Yulee was the first Southern Senator to resign after secession.35 A week before his resignation, Yulee wrote a letter to his railroad contractor, Joseph Finnegan, in which he advocated Florida's seizure of the Federal facilities in the state, and the organization of a Confederate army and government. This letter would become the basis for Yulee's imprisonment for treason in Fort Pulaski Prison in Savannah for ten months beginning in May, 1865.36 The same historian also said, "Senator Yulee's brother-in-law, Judge Advocate General Holt, was instrumental in the arrest and imprisonment of the Senator. He argued vindictively for the hanging of his wife's sister's husband."37 While the Southern patriot, Yulee, was a prisoner of war at Fort Pulaski, his wife Nancy visited him there. She also wrote to many influential men in an effort to gain her husband's freedom. Finally, General Ulysses S. Grant, himself, intervened to obtain Senator Yulee's release from prison.38 Yulee continued in political service during the war, serving in both Confederate Congresses.39 In 1885, the Yulees were living in Washington when Nancy died in March. Nineteen months later, the Senator contracted pneumonia and died at the Clarendon Hotel in New York City on October 10, 1886. They are both buried in Georgetown Cemetery in Washington.40 Both a county and a town in Florida keep David Levy Yulee's memory alive. Levy County, with Bronson as the county seat, was established on March 10, 1845. This happened during the same year that Florida became a state, an event in which Yulee had played a leading role.41 The town of Cedar Key is located in Levy County. And the first community that motorists who are traveling on U.S. 1 see after they cross the border into Florida is Yulee in Nassau County. The official State Welcome Center on Interstate 95 is also at Yulee. The village of Yulee was once known as "Hart's Road" and was a stop on Senator Yulee's railroad. In t893, it was renamed "Yulee" in honor of David Levy Yulee.42 Ironically, although Florida's first United States Senator was a Jew, it was not until 1974 that Florida was to elect another Jew to that post, when Richard (Dick) Stone of Miami defeated Jack Eckerd of Belleair and John Grady of Belle Glade in the general election for United States Senator.43 ENDNOTES 1 Hampton Dunn, "David Yulee State's Greatest Man?" Florida Trend November, 1971, 84. 2 Harry Gardner Cutler, History of Florida: Past and Present (Chicago and New York, 1923), II, 366. 3 Dunn, "David Yulee," 84. 4 Charles C. Fishburne, The End of the Line at the Cedar Keys, 1843-18 61 (Cedar Key, FL, 1982),12. 5 Cutler, History of Florida II, 367. 6 D.B. McKay, ed., Pioneer Florida 3 vols. (Tampa, 1959),11,408. 7 Florida Department of Natural Resources, Brochure on Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins. (Tallahassee, FL, October, 1980),2.
8 McKay, Pioneer Florida II, 409. 9 Ibid. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Hal Bamford, "Dateline Florida: David Yulee Dies in New York," St. Petersburg Independent Oct. 10, 1977, 8-4. 13 Fishburne, Cedar Keys 13. 14 Janie Smith Rhyne, Our Yesterdays (Privately published, From Jackson County Floridian, 1968), 92. 15 Allen Morris, The Florida Handbook 1993-1994 (Tallahassee, 1993), 318. 16 Fishburne, Cedar Keys 13. 17 William T. Cash History of the Democratic Party in Florida (Tallahassee, 1936), 17. 18 Fishburne, Cedar Keys 13. 19 Ibid. 20 Cutler, History of Florida II, 364. 21 Ibid. 22 Hampton Dunn, Back Home: A History of Citrus County (Inverness, FL, 1976),28. 23 Cutler, History of Florida II, 364. 24 June Hurley Young, "Portraits of Early Floridians," Florida Historical Society, 1976, 2. (Publication funded by a grant from Florida Endowment for the Humanities.) 25 Cash, Democratic Party 28. 26 Dunn, Citrus County 28. 27 Ibid. 28 Ibid., 29. 29 Information on the "Homosassa" orange provided by John T Lesley, Sr., former general manager of the Florida Citrus Exchange. 30 June Hurley, "Yulee and The Yellow Fever," Tampa Tribune May 24, 1976. 31 Hampton Dunn, "Florida: Jewel of the Gilded Age." Paper delivered before Gulf Coast History and Humanities Conference, Mobile, AL, 1994. 32 Latrell E. Mickler, "Florida's First Senator," Florida Living (September, 1988), 12. 33 Cash, Democratic Party 35. 34 Ibid. 35 Mickler, "Florida's First Senator," 12. 36 Ibid. 37 Ibid. 38 Ibid. 39 Henry S. Marks, Who Was Who In Florida (Huntsville, AL, 1973) 270. 40 Mickler, "Florida's First Senator," 12. 41 Allen Morris, Florida Place Names (Coral Gables, FL, 1974), 92. 42 Ibid., 153. 43 Telephone Interview, Hampton Dunn with Dr. Henry Green, Director, Judaic Studies Program, University of Miami, April 5, 1994.
HOT, COLD, WHISKEY PUNCH: The Civil War Letters of Charles H. Tillinghast, U.S.N. By DAVID J. COLES AND RICHARD J. FERRY Despite the publication of thousands of letters written by Civil War participants, relatively few collections of correspondence from sailors or naval officers have reached print. This remains particularly true of those individuals in the East Gulf Blockading Squadron (EGBS), the unit responsible for blockading much of the Florida coast during the war. The EGBS was a small squadron operating in a remote theater of the war. It received little publicity and participated in few large-scale operations, but it proved successful in restricting blockade running along the Florida coast, in attacking the extensive salt works in the area, and in providing support to the state's Unionist inhabitants.1 The U.S.S. Tahoma served from 1862 until 1865 in the EGBS. One of the squadron's more successful vessels, it captured or assisted in the capture of twelve enemy ships and conducted a series of devastating raids on Confederate salt works along the northern gulf coast. The "4th rate screw gunboat" weighed 507 tons and was 158 feet long and 28 feet wide with a draft of less than eleven feet. Its armament consisted originally of five large cannon.2 Most of the Tahomas seventy-nine man crew enlisted at Philadelphia in 1861. Among them was Charles H. Tillinghast, commissioned as an acting master's mate on October 15, 1861. There is little information available on Tillinghast's preor post-war life. Sketchy official records indicate that he was born in Rhode Island in 1839, and in his letters Tillinghast refers to his family in Providence. Evidently he lived in U.S.S. Tahoma -Courtesy Tampa/Hillsborough County Public Library System
Philadelphia immediately before joining the navy. The letters reproduced below are all addressed to Jennie Koehler of Philadelphia, believed to be the sister of Tillinghast's comrade on the Tahoma, Master's Mate John Green Koehler.3 Tillinghast would serve aboard the Tahoma or one of its tenders from late 1861 until mid-1863. His colorful letters provide details on the ship's military actions along the Florida coast, as well as descriptions of the day-to-day life aboard a blockader. Although he began his naval career in high spirits, by late 1862 Tillinghast's letters indicate a growing dissatisfaction with the hardships of naval life, as well as anger over the Emancipation Proclamation and the increased emphasis on the abolition of slavery as a northern war aim. These issues, coupled with personality conflicts with the Tahoma's captain, Alexander Semmes, led Tillinghast to offer his resignation on April 7, 1863. In a letter to Jennie Koehler the young officer described an argument with Semmes which prompted his resignation, but his official letter of resignation provided a different reason: "I respectfully tender my resignation as Act'g Master's Mate in the Navy of the U. States. My reasons are account of deafness, it is very difficult for me to hear orders.4 Tillinghast remained in service for more than a month, waiting for official acceptance of his resignation. He probably left the EGBS in late May or early June 1863. While we may assume that Tillinghast returned to Philadelphia, no details have emerged concerning his post-war life. Unfortunately, he did not apply for a Civil War pension, which might have provided additional information. With one exception, the Tillinghast letters reproduced below are in the private collection of Richard J. Ferry. They were obtained several years ago from a Civil War documents dealer. The lone exception is the letter of March 2, 1862, which has resided in the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History at the University of Florida for a number of years. The provenance of the letters thus cannot be traced, and the possibility remains that additional letters may be in existence in the hands of collectors or descendants of Tillinghast.5 The Tillinghast letters have been reproduced as closely as possible to the originals. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation follow Tillinghast's, and the editors have avoided the use of "sic." To aid in readability, bracketed words have been added by the editors in several instances. Where a word in the original is illegible, a blank line followed by a bracketed question mark has been added. The identification of most persons and places mentioned in the letters is in the endnotes. The editors express their appreciation to Belinda Coles for assisting in the preparation of the article and to Frank Alduino, for checking several sources at the National Archives. Jany 14th 1862 On board U.S. Gun Boat Tahoma, off Key West Friend Jennie I suppose you would think it very strange if I did not write, and as their is a mail leaving to day I take this opportunity of informing you as to our whereabouts. We left Chester Sunday morning Dec 29th and after an extremely long passage of eleven days, we arrived to the famous little town of Key West, which is situated about ninety miles to
the northward of Cuba, it is very warm here but we manage to keep cool under the awnings for we have them spread fore-and aft on the vessel.6 We have been quite busy since we arrived turning in our rigging and repairing the engine, for it broke down when we where three days out and we where twenty four hours drifting about at the mercy of the wind and sea, for she does not work well under canvas, we have to depend altogether on steam or we never should get any where. Two days before we arrived we made a sail on our starboard bow bound to the Northward, musterd all hands to quarters, cast guns loose and loaded with shot and shell, in half an hour we came up with her and fired a shot across her bow, and brought her too, lower'd away the boat and boarded her, she proved to be a schooner fourteen days from South America, bound to Boston, we was very much disappointed for we where in hopes to find her Secesh and take her as a prize. The Gun Boat Itaska has been here for two weeks repairing her engine for she broke down worse than we did and was twenty one days on the passage, She sails this afternoon for Ship Island to report to the Commidore.7 We expect to sail Saturday for the same place, where we shall receive orders as to our future destination which will be some place in the Gulf of Mexico. Sunday the Steamer Illinois arrived from New York with the ninetieth regiment on board.8 She leaves for New York tomorrow. Yesterday while the Captain was on shore, the Lieutenant sent me in the Cabin to paint some small boat signals and it looked so natural, that I could, but think of the fine times, we had their drinking the Captains health and eating his preserved Oysters.9 Did you ever think of it Miss Innocence? Please give my l-e to the family and to Miss Emma and Mary Maine and my respects to Mr Louis DeRuse. I wonder if you ever found that picture you was in search of when I left if you have, do not show it to Mr Weeks, for he might think rather hard of me, as I had claimed the ownership of the said article once. I have a piece of poetry presented by Miss Emma Maine, it is called, What, Said, She! I shall keep that to remember old times, I ought to have one to remember you by, but you always came off victorious on the poetry fights. I suppose you have no objections of my taking a comfortable smoke, Well! I should like to very much, but I have not had the said pleasure since I left the Hotel de Koehler, No 17 Catharine St. I suppose you will honor me with an answer and oblige your Old Chummy Chas. H. Tillinghast Please direct as follows Chas. H. Tillinghast Esq Masters Mate U.S. Gun Boat Tahoma Gulf Blockading Squadron U.S. Gun Boat Tahoma Off Cedar Keys, Florida March 2nd 1862 Friend Jennie Since my last letter I have been looking very anxiously for an answer, but have been disappointed, not even hearing from home. On the 27th of Feby 1862 The Steamer "St Jago de Cubas"10 arrived here from Ship Island with the mail and fresh provishions, John received two letters, one from you, and one from his wife and he is as happy as a clam at high water to hear that his family is well.11 I see by his letter that you had answered mine, but I suppose it is just my darn luck, ( excuse me for swearing ) to have it mislaid on some of the Steamers, but I trust it may come to hand by the next mail. As the Steamer Rhode Island12 will be due on the Sixth of this month, I take this
opportunity of informing you that we are on the lookout for Secesh and are ready for a fight at a seconds notice, we have had no fighting to do as yet, but it is my opinion that we will all smell powder before we return. The Captain received despatches from the Flag Ship,13 by the last mail, that we where to be relieved from this station, and join the Western divishion, which extends from Ship Island to the western extremity of the United States, or the so called Confederate States, we shall probably Join the Mississippi experdition,14 but how soon I can not inform you, we may lay at Cedar Key's for months and not have any fighting to do, and if we join the Western divishion we shall have all we want, for my part the sooner we leave for the fighting grounds the better, for we entered the service to fight and fight we will, until this cursed rebellion is crushed to its foundation. I see by our latest news that our western troops had gained a spendid victory in Tennessee, and that the Burnside experdition15 have got a footing on the Atlantic Coast; and I hope you will hear from this quarter next. The life on board of a Man of War is lazy enough I assure you, nothing to do, but eat, drink, sleep and Smoke and exercise at the Guns occasionally. We lay to an Anchor in the midst of a group of Small Islands most of them uninhabited, when we arrived here there where a number of Soldiers on Depot Key,16 but since we fired a few shot at them, they have retreated out of shot on the main land, if we had force enough we could land and take possession of the railroad, but it is doubtful whether we could hold it, as the Rebels could send large forces down on us from the interior of the State. On Sunday Feby 23rd the lookout at the mast head reported a small sail boat in back of one of the Keys, we lowered a boat and went in persuit, but where unsuccessful, they discovered two small boats laying to an anchor in a creek on the opposite side of the Key, but as we fired a gun for them to return they where obliged to leave them. At Six P.M. Dispatched two boats with picked crew's in charge of Lieut and Mr. Hurley "Master",17 to capture the boats, but as hour after hour passed away and no boats returned the Captain began to feel anxious for their safety. At 9.30 the next morning the boats where seen coming round the Keys. In a short time they arrived along side bringing the body of John Patterson who had been shot through the head, Killing him instantly he belonged to Philadelphia. It seems that the boats had entered the creek and where laying aground all night by the prizes, in the morning while in the act of towing them out, they were fired at by a company of Rebel soldiers, and had they been good shots, not one would have returned to tell the tale, for both boats where badly riddled, but they scuttled the prizes and pulled out of range, in the heat of the fire waving the American Ensign all the time, it was a miracle they escaped, for they waided waist deep in the creek and fired at them. The Captain swears he will have revenge for the intends burning every house on the Island.18 I see by John's letter that you had received a letter from Hammond and he intends sending the two dollars when he gets it, I wonder if he will send the twenty five cents with it, if he does, go down to the water and get a Cold Hot Whiskey Punch and when you return look in the looking glass and you will notice something peculiar about the Eyes I wonder if he has got his shoulder straps yet? for that is the time he sets for getting married, perhaps he intends giving Pauline a call, I can imagine I see him draw his chair by her side and asking her how the world uses her & c & c. Have you heard from the Masters Mates on the State of Georgia19 or from Sweat the Banjoe player, for if I knew what station they where on I would write them? While I am writing the lookout at the Mast
head, cries out Sail Oh and than the Boatswain's pipes all hand to weigh anchor so I shall have to drop my pen for the present and go on deck. We steamed out of the bay and ran along side of the vessel, which proved to be the Barque James L Davis,20 our relief. She brings letters countermanding our previous orders, and we are to procede to Appalachicola and join a fleet and shell them out if possible, So if you hear that Appalachicola is taken, you may know that the Gun Boat "Tahoma" had a hand in it.21 We escorted the Barque in the bay, and came to an Anchor, and made preperations to Sail on Monday. Tuesday March 4, 62 Shortly after we came to an anchor on Sunday it came on to blow heavy from the westward and did not abate untill this morning, which prevented us from Sailing on the day set, however we Sail to day at high water. We leave our malls on the Barque James L. Davis, and when the Steamer Rhode Island returns they will go north. The mail leaves the north every two weeks for the Gulf Squadron, So of you would drop us a line and send us a newspaper occasionally, they would be thankfully received, for we can get no information what ever from the Southern resources I should like to give you a call by the firse of June but time only waits to tell where we will be at that time Give my respects to Miss Emma and Mary Maria and tell them to have a bag of chestnuts ready by the time I return and be good Girl's and not get tight any more. I suppose that Capt Fauckner has left before this, if he has we will keep a bright lookout that he wont run the Blockade again.22 Give my respects to all enquiring friends and don't forget to write your old Chum. C.H.T (alias) Innocence P.S. Excuse me for not posting this letter, for postage stamps are not to be had in this part of the country. U. S. Steamer "Tahoma" Off Cedar Key May 4, 1862 Friend Jennie, Your kind letter of March 13th came to hand on the 26th inst. John received one at the same time. I expected to get one from home, but was disappointed. I have as yet received but two from that quarter since leaving Philadelphia. I expect I shall have to trust to you for the news, as I get but little from Providence. I ought to have a number of letters before this, for I have written a good many, and have received no answers, dull work I assure you. We are still at our old station, blockading "Cedar's Key's," which is getting rather dull, or I might say played out not having any fighting to do, nor taking any prizes, so as a matter of course, very little excitement ensues on board of "Uncle Sam's" renowned Gun Boat "Tahoma." We have to content ourselves with what the other "boats" are doing, and what we intend to do some future time. Although the past ten days has wrought a change in our solitary confinement. On the 24th of April, while our Tender Alias "Polly Hopkins" was sailing out over the barr she run a shore, and was high and dry at low water.23 We discharged some of her ballast and towed her off at the next flood tide. At 11 A.M. same day, the look-out at the mast head, cries out, "Sail Oh," two points
on our starboard bow standing down the coast. We weighed anchor, took the Polly Hopkins in tow, and was standing out over the barr, but owing to the ebb tide, as well as our miserable run of luck, we run ashore, hard and fast on the barr. We fitted out the "Polly Hopkins" and sent her in persuit of the sail in the offing. We came off at high water, having sustained no damage. We have had poor luck, since leaving Philadelphia, probably owing to having sailed on Friday. which is termed the unlucky day. You may think me a little superstitious, if so, I think I learnt it from you. The 26th inst. the Steamer Rhode Island arrived with the mails and fresh beef, which had been killed about a month you can judge for yourself, it was rather tenderer than the Philadelphia Market affords at this season the year, although it was very acceptable, as our diet consists, chiefly of beef, pork, hard bread, coffee & c. At two P.M. Same day Store Ship "National Guard" arrived from which we received three months provishions.24 If I remember correctly we where to return at the end of three months, but it begins to look rather dubious, however, it is all the same to me, "happy go lucky" is my motto. The Polly Hopkins arrived at 5 P.M. same day, she had three old flags of different Nations flying at her main. The Lieut. who had charge reports that he chased the vessel about twenty miles down the coast, and when about two miles off, fired several shots at her from the twelve lb. Howitzer, but the distance was to great to be effectual. She was a fine fore and aft Schooner, about eighty tons burden of light draught of water, evidently trying to run the blockade, the chase getting to hot for her they up helm, and run for the land, She run run ashore in about 4 ft of water about two miles from the beach, Our Tender chased her untill they had but six foot of water, when they came to an anchor, put the Howitzer in the Launch and was rowing off to her, and when about half a mile from her a column of smoke rose from her decks, a clap of thunder followed, and to true to relate she was blown to the d-. The crew having set fire to her and rowed to the land in there boats. The Lieut. estimated the cargo and vessel to have been valued at fifty thousand dollars at the least calculation. She was loaded with a general cargo, such as Medicines, Powder, Saltpeter, Soap, Brooms & c. Our Tender made three trips to her and brought away her anchors, cables, Rigging, one hundred corn Brooms, twenty boxes of imported soap, cargo quantity of French Medicines & c & c. She was apparently from Cuba. The Rebels for such I took them to be, in there great haste to get ashore, left a little dog behind, She was found floating on a spar near the wreck not injured in the least.25 The Captain named her "Polly Hopkins," after his wife. I think he must think considerable of her. On the 28th inst. the U.S. Schooner "Beaureguard" arrived to blockade one of the channels off Cedar Key's under the orders of our Captain.26 On the second inst. he ordered her to Key West with dispatches to the Commodore and Cargo taken from the Rebel Schooner. She is to return, and will probably bring us a Mail. Old Man "Jackson" growled considerable when he heard the Schooner had been blown up, for he is to be the first prize Master.27 On Saturday last Mr Jackson and John went out on a cruise in the "Polly Hopkins" with ten men, well armed, to cruise up and down the coast for vessels running the blockade. He is to return on Thursday. I hope he will catch a "Secesh," it would be a joke if a secesh caught him, but I think there is but little fear of that. May 9th 1862
Yesterday the Polly Hopkins returned not having seen a sail while on the cruise. I am to go with Mr Jackson on the next cruise, we shall probably sail in two or three days. ... John and myself have reformed, No Hot Cold Whiskey punches on the blockade, and no cabin Rangers neither, that's played out entirely... I wonder if Mr Hughes has improved in his navigation. I suppose the "State of Georgia" is at "Port Royal.28 I would much rather been on that station than in the Gulf for it is tedious laying here doing nothing, and not even knowing what is going on in our own station. We expect to hear that New Orleans has been bombarded if not taken, when the Steamer Rhode Island returns. She will be due on the 12th. At your request I have writen you a long letter, although not much news, yet I have managed to fill two sheets with writing. I hope you will confer a like favor by the next mail. Your Old Chum Hot, Cold, Whiskey Punch. May 14, 1862 Mr Jackson and myself have just returned from a cruise of three days, in the "Polly Hopkins.' We had a fine time, but caught no "Secesh" not even seeing a sail on the cruise. We cruised between Suanne River and Anclote Key's.29 I hope the next time we go out on a cruise, we may get orders to cruise as far as "Key West," and then we might stand some chance of taking a "Secesh." Tell Miss Emma & Mary to drop a line or two to the "Tahoma" and when the said "Tahoma" returns will send Mrs Kohler out to see her grandmother, and we'll have a birthday or a Kitchen Blow out. Very repectfully your old chum. H.C.W. Punch U.S. Gun Boat "Tahoma" Off Key West Florida May 29th 1862 Friend Jennie Your kind letter of March 27th inst came to hand May 19th by U.S. Steamer "Somerset"30 and I am rejoiced to say she has releived us on our old blockading station "Cedar Key"! I shall long remember the day for I was officer of the deck at the time. I have just cautioned the lookout at the Mast head to keep a bright lookout and shortly after the Steamer "Somerset" was made steaming up the coast. I reported to the Captain. We immediately got up steam, weighed anchor and proceded out to her. When we learnt She was our relief, three hearty cheers rose from our decks which was responded to by the "Somerset." The sudden news seemed to give every one new life for we have all been dead for the past two months, only we did not know it. The two Steamers came to an anchor off the bar, near the Store Ship "National Guard" which had been laying here the past week, giving us coal provishions, whiskey & c. At 9:30 on the 20th inst a detachment from each vesel embarked on board the Steamer "Somerset" and Steamed up to the town. All the Officers but old man Jackson and Myself went on the experdition we were left behind to look after the saucy Tahoma ." I was one of the first who volunteered to go on the experdition, but as the Lieut. and I don't hitch horses I was politely refused, however there was not much honor gained as no one had an opportunity of being wrapped in the American Ensign & c & c. As John wrote all the particulars of the experdition I will say nothing about it any more than it was a slim affair.31 Tuesday 21st inst. at two A.M. We bid adieu to "Cedar Key's" and sailed for Key West. After two days Steaming we arrived at "Key West" having seen nothing
but two fishing Smacks on the passage. We reported to Flay Officer McKeene, who has ordered us to cruise of Havana, after making Sundry repairs to our decks which are in a very bad condition.32 While I am writing, about fifteen caulkers are to work caulking the decks directly over my head and it is impossible to write or think of an idea while such hammering is going on overhead. We will remain here about ten days and then procede on our cruise. There is a very large number of vessels laying at Key West, probably more then was ever here before at one time. There are some five or six Prizes laying here which where taken by the Gulf Squadron, one of which is a magnifficent English Steamer and is a very valuable prize. Although late in the day I hope we will take one if no more, for we are going to the right place to catch them. The Captain thinks we will be sent to the northward in the fall, hope it will turn out true, for this is a miserable station. I think the war will soon be ended as all the principal Sea ports on the Atlantic and Gulf coats are in possesion of the Union forces and I see by the late northern papers that the President has issued a proclamation to open some of the Ports under blockade by the 1st of June. I should like to blockade No 17 "Catharine St" on the 1st of June and I bet we'd have 4th of July in the morning, wouldn't. we chum.... If you write to my sister look out, although far from home, you are under my jurisdiction yet, for I will inform Uncle Sam you are "Secesh" and he will find you a new boarding place Your Old Chum Hot, Cold, Whiskey, Punch U.S. Gun Boat "Tahoma" Key West June 28th 1862 Chum Your kind letter of June 2nd came to hand June 25th per U.S. Stmr "Rhode Island." She brought a very large Mail for the Gulf Squadron, I was very much disappointed in not receiving a letter from home, So hereafter I shall trust to you for letters altogether, what few I receive from other resources. I shall consider as chance shots. I see by your letter that you and Emma paid a visite to the old woman of color and it seems she told you strange things now if you would go back to the Old Womans and make her Shuffle those cards over again, she might possibly solve the deep secret the said light complexioned person holds from you. I wonder when the said Woman looked so knowingly at you, if you saw anything green for I begin to see a very small mice in the distance .... John and Myself have been in luck for the past week as papers and letters are concerned. I received that package of papers you sent by Bark Conrad bound to New Orleans, John received a letter at the same time. We were on our way from St Andrews Bay to Key West by the way of "Tortugas" which place we ____[?] U.S. Stmr Rhode Island, I received a letter from Emma Maine the day following 25 inst.33 We arrived in Key West where I received a letter from you and a package of papers from Hartford. We are to coal Ship and make some sundry repairs to the Boilers and then we go to Sea again to cruise off Nassau [?] for some Rebel Gun boats that were built there.34 We shall probably be back again in course of two weeks time. I hope we shall have the pleasure of failing in with something that will show fight, for we have had no excitement since we left Phila and I think a little would do us good. This is the fifth letter I have written to day, one to Emma Maine which continues a discription of our cruise to the blockading Station in the Gulf I send you a Key West Herald which contains the glowing account of our attack on St Marks, great loss on the Confederate
side, the Federals having Sustained no loss whatever35. I have written this letter at a double quick time, as the mail bag closes early in the morning. C.H. Tillinghast U.S. Steamer "Tahoma" Key West July 19, 62 Friend Jennie ... July 15th John rec'd a letter from Mr Dan McGwin bringing the ilfated news of the death of his two [?] children. He took it very hard, and fears the worst is to come yet. He is very anxious about his wife. He thought it very strange that he received no letters from home. Perhaps you had better write the full particulars when you receive this. I would like to write you a long letter but I have no time as we have Steam up and will get under weigh in a few minutes. On our last cruise we took a prize loaded with cotton, we towed her to Key West I have had charge of her ever since we arrived.36 I delivered her over into the hands of the Marshal [?] at a late hour last evening and was informed we were to go to Sea at day light this morning so you see I am some what hurried. We are to visit all the vessels blockading on the Eastern division, and return. The Pilot has just come on board and all hands have been called to get the vessel under weigh. So I must Close. Write Soon Your Old Friend, C.H. Tillinghast In my next letter I will give you the full particuler of our last cruise. We shall probably be gone about two weeks. I shall expect a letter from you when we return. Excuse writing & c. "Chum" U.S. Steamer "Tahoma" Key West. Florida July 29th 1862 Chum Your interesting letter of the 9th inst. was duely received yesterday afternoon, shortly after our arrival, John received three, one from his wife, one from you, and an other from some other source. So you see we fare much better than we did, while laying on the Blockade it is seldom a mail arrives, but we get one our more letters and papers, So much for having friends! Ahern [?]. Since John has received a letter from his Wife, he has been in much better spirits, he received her picture with the letter, she looks very much worn and fatigued, and must have had a very severe time of it.... I will write you a few lines concerning our last cruise. We sailed from Key West, 3rd inst. to cruise of Cape San Antonio, but as we were short of water, the Capn. concluded to run for the coast of "Yucatan," We spoke a Spanish fishing Smack off the Coast, who informed us, there was a Mexican Settlement a few miles down the coast, which place we arrived at 1 P.M. on the 7th inst. We were obliged to Anchor seven miles off shore, as the water was very shoal. The Lieut. went ashore to purchase some fresh provishions, he bought off three of the largest green Turtles I ever saw, weighing between five and six hundred pounds each. Three of the boats crew deserted taking their Arms with them. The Lieut. offered the Mexicans a reward of sixty dollars if they would capture them. At Six PM. same day we took a prize in a very singular manner, Early in the
afternoon a Sall was reported by the lookout, coming down the coast, At first we took but little notice of her, as she resembled the vessel we spoke [to] the day previous, but as she neared us, we could see the loom of Cotton Bales on her decks. On she came not dreaming of running into the hands of an enemy. When she was about a mile off, we fired a shot across her bow, brought her to the wind, sent a boat to her, and set the "Stars and Stripes" at her Main. We put a prize crew on board of her, and took her officer and crew on board the Stmr. She cleared under Confederate Colours and papers, from "Matagorda Bay" Texas bound to some port in the "Bay of Hondurass." She is a center board Schooner, registers Sixty one tons, and has a cargo of one hundred and fifteen bales good staple cotton.37 The following morning I went ashore with Lieut. to see if the deserters had been taken. We were informed they were seen some twelve miles beyond the town, but they were afraid to take them because they were armed. You would have laughed to have seen me trying to talk to the Governors Wife for neither one of us could understand each other. She kept a store, "or rather a bar." I managed to make her understand Cegurs and something to drink so I was all right. These were some very fine looking girls among them, I will tell you how they were dressed, They wore what you would call a dessable [?], a white loose gown low neck short sleeves and a string of ____[?] shells around their necks. How do you like the style? At six RM. weighed anchor took the prize in tow and steered for Key West. When we arrived on the 11th inst, I have been obliged to write in the in the double quick as the Stmr is getting up steam-to go outwe are well. H.C.W.P. U.S. Steamer "Tahoma" Tampa Bay Augst 15th 1862 Friend (Ht Cd Wy Punch) Your interesting letter of June 15th came to hand (Augst 2nd) per U.S. Stm'r "Connetticut" on her homeward trip.38 John received one at the same time. They must have been carried to "Ship Island" instead of "Key West," which accounts for not receiving them sooner. Those papers mentioned in your letter I have not received. We left Key West Augst 2nd inst. (Friday) at 11.30 A.M. and arrived at "Tampa Bay" Saturday at 4.30 P.M. relived the U.S. Stm'r "Sagamore" which has been blockading here for the past month.39 Our stay at "Key West" was very short, owing to a few cases of Yellow fever.40 There were three deaths on the Island and two on board the "Flag Ship" (San Jacinto) the night previous to our sailing. Flag Officer "Lardner" has put a "Vetoe" on Officers and crew's going ashore; no person in the "Navy" is allowed to visite the "Island" except on special duty.41 Every precaution is used to keep the disease clear of the Shipping. On the 7th inst. the U.S. Barque "Ethan Allen" arrived.42 She will blockade for a short time, and return to Key West when she will be ordered home as her crew shipped for one year and their time has nearly expired. From her I learned there were some twenty cases of Fever on the "Flag Ship" and the Commodore had transfered his flag to the U.S. Frigate "St Lawrence" and ordered the "San Jacinto" to Boston.43 We have no fear of the Yellow Jack at Tampa for we lay to an anchor off in an open bay, and any breeze stiring we are sure to get it. Our only trouble is the blasted "Musquitoes." I have often heard of the "Musquito Fleet" but never was an eye witness before. We act entirely on the defensive for to take up arms against such innumerable numbers we'd meet with sure destruction Every night we are attacked by these unmerciful devils (if I may call them
such) "for they are regular old gray blacks ," with probosis long enough to penetrate three over coats You would laugh to visite the "Tahoma" just one night, and you would see sights, some are roaming round the decks with rubber coats, rubber boots on and stockings drawn over their hands, others might be seen with a thick blanket wraped around them, occasionally uttering some Oath, wishing the poor D____s no good. As for my poor self I sling my hammock on deck, and all that is visible is a pair of Sea boots hanging over the gunnel of the hammock. There are six white people and ten contraband's living on "Egmont Key" at the expense of the Government, they wash for us, and supply us with fresh fish.44 On the 7th inst. we captured a Seceshionist in a small boat the Capt holds him a prisoner of war ," he was wounded in the foot having been in the Rebel service, and was accidentally shot while on picket duty. I have writen about all of the news; it is a difficult task to sit with the thermometer at 136 and write a long letter, more especially when we can't get anything to revive our drooping spirits I will take that little bet you are so anxious to make about the "Phil Ladies" going ahead of the "Prov Ladies" in regard to brass buttons and guilt belts for I received a letter sometime ago from my Sister stating they were all the rage. ... And you wish me to kiss the little rebel dog for you: perhaps I am not as fond of kissing dogs as you are The Capt got tired of his dog's and sent them ashore in "Key West.". As I have nearly filled my sheet and have no more news to write, I will go on deck and take a comfortable Smoke but would much rather puff my little Bryerwood at No. 17. C_____. St. (Phila) and occasionally go and take a look at the river (that never freezes). Respects to all. Respectfully Yours Ht Cd Wy Ph Aug 30th 1862 Yours of Aug 1st was duly received on the 27th inst. by the U.S. Schooner "Beuareguard" from "Key West." As I have filled one sheet you can't expect me to write much more, but I will honor you with an answer.... Last Thursday we were informed by the Contrabands that two of the Refugees living on "Egmont Key" had been killed and one seriously wounded by the Rebels while they were up the Bay in a small boat after some pig's they had on their farms. Now that's what I call a cold blooded Murder .45 Those men were neutral not taking part on either side, and to be shot while approaching their own property and in their own boat, it is horrid to think of. If we had an enerjetic Captain we might have our revenge but "Capt Howell" is not the right man in the right place He is a very good man over a bottle of Whisky and can blow as loud as the best of them, but I can't say much for his fighting qualities, for we have done barely nothing since we have been in Commishion. While I am writing the U.S. Stmr Connetticut has been reported as running in towards us and great preperations are being made on deck to get the Vessel under weigh and run out to herThere goes the "Boatswains" call. (All have up Anchor) so I must leave you for the present. I assure you I feel in no humor to write any more for I received no letter by the Mail not even a Newspaper. John was no more fortunate than MyselfI see by your letter that Forest is trying to get Luis De Russe in the Navy.46 Now I don't wish to discourage him but I would advise him as a friend not to accept an appointment as "Masters Mate." If he could get the Appointment as "Paymaster" or Captain or Paymasters clerk it would it would be a very good situation
for him.... I must close now as I have filled my second sheet. I hope you can manage to read it. This is my business hand writting. You would excuse me if you knew how warm it is here. Very Respectfully Your Old Chum C.H.T U.S. Stm'r "Tahoma" Cedar Key's Nov 16. 1862 Friend "Chum" Your kind letter of Sept 28th was duly received on the 20th of Octr by the U.S. Stm'r "Connetticut." I had just returned from a cruise in the "Tender" with Mr Jackson. Slightly disabled, having cut the end of my fore finger off, on my right hand, while in the act of bringing the "Schooner" to an anchor, it blowing quite fresh at the time. So you must excuse me for not answering your letter sooner for I find it quite difficult in writing left handed letters. I find it don't pay to loose fingers if I had lost an arm or a leg, I might have drawn a pension for life, that would have been Bully wouldn't it "Chum.". Nothing of any importance has taken place since the 1st of Oct.with the exception of destroying the Rebel Salt Works, and as John has sent you all the particulars of the affair, I will not trouble you with it again.47 Two Contrabands came off to us some ten day's ago, the Capt gave them refuge on board and shipped them before the Mast. There has been a general change among the Officers since leaving "Key West," Our Executive Officer "Lieut. Crossman" was ordered three weeks ago to take command of the U.S. Stm'r "Somerset." Actg Master J.S. Higbee has also been transfered to the U.S.S. "Somerset."48 Mr Jackson's appointment has been confirmed by the Department as Actg "Ensign." A Mr Harrison & Hamlin Actg. "Ensign's" have reported on board for duty.49 Capt Howell has been ordered home, he leaves us in "Key West." We are hourly expecting our relelf, when we shall procede direct to "Key West." It is rumored that a "Mr Semmes" Lieut Com'd'r will take charge of the "Tahoma" in "Key West," but it is not reliable.50 Where we are to go after leaving "Key West" I can't inform you. I hope it will be to "Mobile" as they will make a demonstration on that port as soon as the "Iron Clads" arrive.51 I hope our next Capt. will show himself more energetic than our present one. Capt Howell would make a very good "Fishmonger" but he has proved himself a very poor warrior I see by Emma's letter that you have moved from Catherine St. to where you formerly lived. I should think you would appreciate the change very much, as there is much more excitement in Third St.... I shall expect to hear from you soon. Give my respects to all the family. Very Respectfully Your Friend H. C. W. Punch U.S. Stm'r "Tahoma"
"Tampa Bay" Florida Dec. 23rd 1862. Friend "Chum" I received your interesting letter of Nov 9th on the 9th of Decr a few hours before we went to Sea and as we had considerable to do at the time I had to delay answering it until we arrived at "Tampa Bay." On our arrival at "Key West" I wrote to you, Miss Emma, and Mr Derousse, on the 6th inst. I received a letter from Louis Derousse also Several Philadelphia "Enquirers" and I assure you they were a great treat, as they were the only Philadelphia papers on board. I see by your letter that you are having a very disagreable time with the rising generation (alias niggers) Well! that's what we are fighting for now, and there is no getting over it.52 I wish this "war" was over, or order us home, one or the other and I would resign my posish as M.M. under "Uncle Sam" for I am tired of fighting for such trash. Capt Howell's relief did not arrive by the last Steamer so the Commodore sent us to Tampa Bay to Blockade for a short time. On our arrival at "Tampa Bay" we took the U.S. Schooner "Beaureguard" as a Tender and proceeded some twenty five miles up the Bay to reconnoitre. Perhaps you don't understand the Style of our reconnoitering Experditions! we want in search of Rebels; Oh; No! but for fish and oysters and we found them in abundance some of the largest and finest Oysters I ever ate. On the 19th inst. weighed anchor and proceeded down the Bay, as it was blowing fresh at the time we could not go to sea. So we Anchored under the lee of "Egmont Key" at daylight on the 20th inst. weighed anchor and proceeded about twenty five miles down the coast in company with the U.S. Schooner "Beaureguard," came to an anchor off "Saro Sota" inlet, Spent the remainder of the day in working the Schooner "Beaureguard" in the Bay and at sundown anchored her off a Mr. Whitaker's Plantation.53 At day light the following morning manned our boats and proceeded to the "Beaureguard" mounted one of her boat Howitzer's in the "Launch" and the experdition left for the plantation. At 9.AM landed burnt a "Sloop" of about twelve tons burden and then proceeded to his house found him with his wife and children, he was strong Secesh, but as he did not use any rash expressions, we done him no harm, he had a fine Orange grove in front of his house, it was about half a mile long and some three hundred yds wide, and the tree's were loaded down with the handsornest oranges I ever saw. We loaded three boats and proceeded to the Ship. I wouldn't have you think that we Stole the oranges, No! we confiscated them, that's the way we do business in "Florida," we keep standing accounts with each other. At 3. PM. weighed anchor and proceeded to "Tampa Bay" in company with Schooner "Beaureguard." On the 22nd inst. got under weigh and proceded some ten miles up the Bay in company with our tender, the B__, and anchored off Manitee river, the Beaureguard kept on up the river and anchored off the Town of "Manitee" landed, had a chat with the enhabitance, confiscated three Bullocks one pig and six chickens, burnt a small Schooner of about twelve ton's burden, and had a good time generally, brought off one refugee, he will probably take passage with us to "Key West," he was drafted in the Rebel army and held the position of a lieut. he was discharged from the service on account of sickness. The inhabitance of Manitee are realy in a pittiful condition, the men are away to the "war" leaving the poor women at home to look out for themselves. One house I went to about three miles from the
town I saw an old lady all alone, her husband having been drafted in the army since last March, from her we heard that the prisoner we took the last time we were laying at "Tampa Bay" and we released shortly after, had been last in prison at "Tampa," merely because he spoke of the kindness he received while on board the "Tahoma" that's southern hospitality for you. After visiting all the farm houses in the vicinity of the river, manned our boats and proceeded down the river.54 As my sheet is full I must close and fill my bryerwood pipe and take a bully old smoke. While I have been writing John has been spinning a yarn and a Mr Richards is playing on the Banjo. So you see we manage to enjoy our selves after a fashion. Remember me to all the family & c. I hope your mother's presentment will prove true, but I doubt very much that the "Tahoma" will be ordered home before next summer. As we are not in a fit condition to go to the No. this winter. The "Circassion" is expected in every day and I hope she will bring a large mail.55 The Schooner "Beaureguard" will leave for "Key West" in a few days with the malls. So long for the present. Very respectfully Your old "Chum" U.S.N. U.S. Stm'r "Tahoma" Tampa Bay Florida Jan 9th 1863 Friend Jennie Your kind letter of Dec 11th was received on the 26th inst. it came to hand by the U.S. Stm'r "Circassian," Capt. Howell's relief also arrived, it was quite affecting to see the Old fellow take his departure, although I didn't regret in the least to see him go. He shook hands with all the Officer's and bid them and his crew "good bye," he had tears in his eyes as he went over the "gangway," and as his boat shoved off, the rigging was manned by the crew who gave him three rousing cheer's, his boats crew then returned the compliment. Thus ends our career with "John C. Howell Esq." Capt. "Semmes" is a very different man from our former "Commander," he is very strict and further more has an eye to business. We have seen more service and boarded more vessels since Capt. Semmes came on board, then we did the whole year under Cap't Howell. When ever a sail heaves in sight, we up anchor and give chase, that's what I call enforcing the blockade. At day light on the 8th inst. saw a sail off Manitee river, got under way and gave chase, on arriving near we perceived her to be on fire, manned boats and proceeded to put the fire out. She was a small Sloop named the "Silas Henry" cotton loaded. It seems that she came down from "Tampa" the night previous with intentions of running the blockade and run run ashore and as day light came on before they had a chance to get her off the Rebels set fire to her and went ashore. We managed to save the hull and cotton in a damaged state, towed the wreck off the Shoal and discharged the Cotton on "Egmont Key" to dry, it is to be bailed up and sent to "Key West" to be sold, it will probably sell for about four thousand dollars Well! Chum, I shall be lucky if I get enough prise money out of that lot to buy a "H.C.W.P" with. If we had taken her before they set fire to her, we would have had a handsome prize, for She would have sold for twenty five thousand dollar's.56 We are daily expecting the Stm'r "Magnolia" from "Key West" with coal, provisions and the Mail.57 If she does not in course of a few days we shall start for "Key West" to coal ship as our coal is getting very low. Chum! what do you think about the "Tahoma's" going to the No, it is rumored on board that the Cap't intends
having a survey held on the vessel and very probably they will condemn her and send her home in the Spring. Our Steam pumps are continually at work to keep her free, the leak has gained on us very much within the last two months. I think there is a better prospect of our going home under Cap't Semmes than there was with our former Capt.58 Key West Jany 15. 1863 We arrived in Key West at 9 am today. We are to take in coal and provisions and will go to sea tomorrow, probably for Tampa Bay... Jan 16. 1863 I heard this evening that we will go to "Cedar Keys" from there to "Tampa Bay" It has been blowing a gale from the No ever since we arrived, we have our coal and provisions in and will probably go to sea as soon as the weather bids fair. We had the d___l's own time last night, the crew managed to get some liquor (alias H.C.W.P) and fighting, Swearing too was the order of the night, since ten or twelve were put in double Irons, and we'll have to pay pretty dearly for their night's "Spree." I had a row with one of the men this morning, since heavy words were exchanged between us, I made a written report out to the Cap't which he approved of, he will be tried by a Court Martial tomorrow, and no doubt his sentence will be a severe one As my sheet is about full, I will close for the present, as I am quite tired this evening having had considerable to do throughout the day in Stowing ship provisions, remember me to all the family also to your Aunty Green and Your Grandmother I shall expect letters from you by the next mail. I remain as ever Your Sincere Friend C. H.T U.S.N. Tender to the U.S. Stm'r "Tahoma At Sea Feby 10. 1863 Friend "Chum" Your's of such a date has not come to hand yet. So I will have to refer to letter of Dec 11 th which I think I answered while we were in "Key West," however I will go one blind which will cost you two to see the blind understand? Chum! you may think it strange to hear of my being detached from the "Tahoma" but such is the case, not for good though Well! I will give you the details of our "dull monotonous life"(as you call it) since leaving "Key West." We left "Key West" at 9.30 P.M. on the 18th of JanY blowing a gale from the No Wt at the time, with our Capt under the effects of a Stronger beverage than water. (Say something like H.C.W.P). We came very near going ashore, having showed the water to two and a half fath's, the Capt came to the conclusion he would anchor and wait untill day light. At day light got under way and proceded to sea, it still blowing a gale from the No and as there was a heavy sea on at the time we rolled and pitched about pretty lively. At 11 A.M. boarded the U.S. Mail Steamer "Ocean Queen" from "New York" for "Aspinwell" with a large number of passenger's, from her we received New York papers to the 12th inst. The passenger's appeared to be much alarmed for fear the Rebel privateer (290) would overtake them.59 It was rumored in "Key West" the day we left that the "290" has been in sight of the Fort and has sent a challenge in to the U.S. Stm'r "San Jacinto," as to the trooth of the rumer'l can't say, however we went to sea that evening and navy "290" did we see, for we gave chase to every sail that hove in sight, going many miles of our course several times, on the
20th inst. came up with and boarded the U.S. Transport Steamer Princess from New Orleans bound to New York. From her we received New Orleans papers up to the 17th inst. giving an account of the Sinking of the U.S. Stm'r "Hatterras" by the Rebel "290.60 On Friday the 23rd inst we finally arrived in "Tampa Bay" after a long and tedious passage -1 forgot to mention that we towed the Sloop "Julia" from "Key West" She mounts a 12 Pdr Howitzer and has over a hundred round of Shot and Shell on board.61 On Sunday 25th inst took Sloop "Julia" in tow and proceded some twenty five miles up the Bay and at sundown anchored off Old Tampa point some five miles below the town.62 At 10 P.M. the Excecutive Officer & John with eight picked men and a "Refugee" Mr Clay went on board tender and started for the town. At Midnight they landed went up to Clay's house, brought off his wife and two children. It seems that the Rebels have had a guard stationed near his house for a long time, but they were either afraid to make an attack or were not in hand at the time. The Experdition having accomplished all they went for returned to the Stm'r and we proceded down the "Bay" on Monday the 26th inst. the Sloop "Julia' went into Commission as Tender to the U.S. Stm'r "Tahoma" Wrn H. Harrison Actg Ensign Comdg my self as Prize Master, provided we are lucky enough to take any prizes, and five men. At 5 P.M. the same day the Tahoma went to sea bound to Cedar Key's leaving us in her place to Blockade untill she returned, after the experation of five day's she returned and on the evening of the 30th inst we went to sea on a cruise, proceded some twenty five miles up the coast and cruised off Anclot Key's. On the 2nd of Feby at day light made a sail to the No & W on approaching near she proved to be the Tahoma in search of us. She took us in tow and proceded some twenty miles to the So of Tampa Bay and came to off "Sara Sota Inlet" hearing that a vessel had run in there a few day's previous. At 7 A.M. on the 3rd got under way in company with two boats from the "Tahoma" and proceded in the Bay in search of said vessel, but to no effect as the Bird had flown. Effected a landing and went to Squire Whitaker's Plantation and paid a visite to the Orange Grove, but the oranges were gone too, as our trouble was fruitless we got under way and run out to the Stm'r again. On arriving at the Stm'r we received orders to procede some Sixty miles down the coast as far as "Sinable Island" and over haul all the Bay's and Inlets to said place.63 On the 4th inst came to an anchor in "Charlotte Harbour" the U.S. Schooner "Wanderer64 blockading main entrance of the harbour on the 7th got underway and proceded to sea and on the day following (Sunday) came to off the entrance of the Catachuachuoychee River. I went ashore and examined some old buildings but could find no sines of life.65 As we were on the point of leaving I saw a sail boat standing toward us, fired a shot across her bow and brought her to. Made her a prize as she had a cargo of Contraband Goods.66 twenty sacks of salt and twenty five cases of Brandies & ______[?], there were five able bodied men and a small boy on board and all pretty well set up to took them in tow and proceded out of the Bay, they didn't appear to care much about being captured but kept on drinking and singing and enjoying them selves in general. They prevailed on us to join with them and take a (H.C.W.P.) but that game was comptely plaid out, and would not work with us. We kept the boat in tow astern and two men walking up and down our decks with Musket in hand to watch her At 9.30 P.M. 4 of them absconded in a small boat they had towing astern, we fired several musket shot at them and let them go. We could have taken them again if we wanted to, but we was glad to get rid of them so easy as we
would have had them to feed, and our provisions were getting Short. I think they all went to the d_____1 together as the boat was to small for the numbers that was in it, and they had the tide and wind against them and were five miles off shore, I pittied the poor fellows, but it's all the same in dutch, as we have four less to contend against. Yesterday one of the crew that was on board of the Schooner broke open a Box of Brandy and smuggled a number of bottles on board and by 8 P.M. two of them were blasing drunk and making more noise than was neccessay and going to whip all hands. Mr. Harrison rammed a revolver down one of the fellows throat while I put him in double irons, after that we gaged them, We shall probably get in Tampa tomorrow, we have had light winds ever since we left Sinable and make slow progress with the Boat in tow, The "Sloop" is a miserable affair and not fit for a "Tender" she was captured not long since by the "Sagamore" trying to run the blockade, there is scarcly room enough in her Cabin to turn round in, just imagin yourself turning into a berth that is not large enough to turn over in, for I have to turn out on the same side I go in on, tack ship and go back again, for to go about while in the berth is impossible. When I turn in, it reminds me of a Billy Goat in Steegs [?], don't know which way to turn to make himself comfortable. When it rains numerous waterfalls in might can be seen in all directions, and further more there is to much combustible matter, no less than five boxes of Powder Shot & Shell piled up in one end of the Cabin, the table I am writing on is no more or less than some boxes of Powder here we sleep, eat, smoke our bryerwoods, & toss off our Brandy Smashes (alias H.C.W.P)(for we have opened a case for madicimal purposes since these fellows absconded) in a powder magazine, as it were, for such is the appartment I reside in at present. I can't help but thinking sometimes that we stand a very good chance to take a flying visite to the unknown regions. As my sheet is full I must close. By the way Chum don't you think a "Brandy toddy" would do me good now after writing this long letter, I will drink your health on the strength of your good sence for I know you would say yes. I wish you was here to imbibe with me. Remember me to all the family & c I shall expect a letter from you on our arrival at Tampa Bay for the mail has arrived since we have been out. Very Respectfully your old Chum. H.C.W. Punch. Esq. U.S. Navy P.S. On the 13th inst. arrived at Tampa Bay. I regret to write thus I received no letters nor paper's. We sail tomorrow, for our old Cruising grounds. The Tahoma_______[?] Key West in a day or two, hope she will bring letters and papersYour Old Chum H.C.W.P.'s On board Sloop "Julia" ______to the U.S. Stm'r "Tahoma" Feby 26th 1863. "Tampa Bay" Friend "Chum" I received your letter of Jany 27th on the 22nd inst. Also one dated Feby 9th with dockuments enclosed today ... nothing of importance has transpired since my last. We have made our third cruise and captured another Prize. She is Schooner of some Sixty tons burden named the "Stonewall.67 We captured her on the 20th inst about four miles up a creek some ninety odd miles to the S & Et of "Tampa Bay" She was laying to an anchor under the cover of a group of trees with bushes lashed to her Mastheads as
a disguise, She had no cargo on board nor no person there to molest us in our procedings. took possession of her, warped her out of the creek and proceded to "Tampa Bay" which place we arrived at 2 P.M. on Sunday the 22nd inst, delivered prize over to the "Tahoma" and at 4 P.M. She took prizes in tow and sailed for "Key West" leaving the "Tender" to Blockade in her place untill she returns. Capt Jackson has charge of the "Tender" now, and we are bound to take things easy untill the "Tahoma" returns. Yesterday I was ashore on one of the Key's hunting and brought off quite a variety of game, two Raccoon, two Alligators one box Turtle and some snipe, so you see we manage to enjoy ourselves after a fashion. When we get tired of laying in one place we get the Sloop underway and go to an other and tie up where night over takes u. "Tell your Aunty Greene that I have not had a chance to put any blows into "Sescia" yet, but we have captured three prizes and taken four prisoner's, pehaps that will do as well. Give my lobest respects to Miss "Flora." While I have been writing Mr Jackson has been amusing himself by making Spit Devils out of Powder and firing them off on the table. He wishes to be remembered and wants you to be a good "girl" untill he gets back. As it is most 12 0 clock and my ideas about played out, I will close for the night and take a comfortable whif on the Bryerwood provided you have no objections. Hoping to hear from you soon. I Remain Your Sincere Chum H.C.W.P. U.S. Navy U.S. Steamer Tahoma March 16th 1863 On the 11th inst. the "Tahoma" arrived from Key West, she brought but few letters and no news of any account. Our last Prize the "Stonewall" was prised at $2500, The Govenment took her and transfered her to the "Tahoma" for a "Tender." Mr Jackson & myself have been transfered to the Steamer, and the Sloop Julia transferred to the U.S. Barque "Persuit.68 I am glad to get out of her and so is Mr Jackson. John thinks you have forgotten him as he has not received a letter for some time. While the Stm'r was in "Key West" the Pay Master went home sick and the Chief Engineer went north in a furlough and Ensign Hamlin left to take Command of Sch "Beauregaurd" The Capt is acting as Chief Engineer. Pay Master Executive Offficer and in fact has an eye to every thing that is going on. As the Stm'r Circussion is expected every day I shall expect to hear from you soon As my sheet is full I must close. So long for the Present. Remember me to all the family "Chum." U.S. Stm'r "Tahoma" Sunday April 5th 1863 Tampa Bay "Florida" Friend Jennie As it is some three or four weeks since I have sent you a letter, and Sunday being a dull day on board of a "Man 0 War," I can't improve my time better than if writing you a few lines. Yesterday the U.S. Stm'r "Magnolia" arrived from "Key West," She brought up a small mail, but navy letter did I get, not even a paper.... On the arrival of the "Tahoma" from "Key West" Mr Jackson and myself were transfered from the "Tender" to the Steamer and the "Tender was transfered to the U.S. Barque "Persuit." I don't regret the change as it was very uncomfortable on board the Sloop. The prize Schooner "Stonewall" that we captured while in the
"Sloop" was fitted out in "Key West" and the Commodore transfered her to the "Tahoma as a "Tender." She has been out on a cruise for the past threee weeks. The U.s. Schooner "Beaureguard" spoke [to] her off Charlotte Harbour about a week ago. She had captured nothing up to that time. On the 24th of March, we towed the U.S. Barque "Persuit" about twenty five miles up the Bay and left her to blockade the main Ship channel off Gadsdens point about ten miles from the "Town of Tampa." On the 25th inst we went to Sea on a cruise, It came on to blow while we were out and a very disaEreable time we had. We returned on the 30th inst and glad we were to get in smooth water again, for the "Tahoma" is a miserable sea boat, especially in rough weather. On the day of our arrival at "Tampa" we steamed up to where the Barque "Persuit" was blockading in company with the U.S. Schooner "Beaureguard." The Capt of the Barque "Persuit" informed us that the day previous a party of Rebels came down on the beach disguised as "niggers" and displayed a "Flag of Truce," The "Persuit" immediately sent a boat ashore in charge of an Officer to see what was up. As soon as they touched the beach the supposed Contraband's threw up their hands and sang out "Saved by God" than a party of some fourty or fifty Rebels jumped out from the bushes and commenced firing on the boats crew, and demanded them to surrender, the Officer and crew returned the fire nobly wounding three of the Rebels, then pulled off out of range of there gun's. The Officer and five of the boats crew were wounded but none of the wounds will prove fatal, the Officer has had his left Arm Amputated.69 We relived the Barque "Persuit" and sent her to "Key West" for provisions. The day following we got under way in company with Schooner "Beaureguard" and steamed up to the town of "Tampa" and came to an anchor about three miles off the town there not being water enough to get any nearer. On the 2nd inst the Capt took his gig and pulled up within a quarter of a mile of the Town to reconnoitre, The Rebels opened fire on him from a masked Battery where they had three thirty two pounders mounted, they fired three shots at the Boats crew, which struck within a few feet of her. The Captain took it very calmly, kept altering the possition of the Boat and pulled on board the Steamer, got her underway and ploughed her through the soft mud for three quarters of a mile. I was detailed with a full boats crew to go on board the Schooner "Beaureguard" to make her Crew more efficient. We got her underway and took a different course from the Steamer so as to give them a raking fire, we anchored about one and a half miles off the town. The Rebels fired one shot at us from the Battery but it fell short about three hundred yards and fell harmless into the water. Both vessels fired Seventy five rounds of shot and shell right square into the town driving the Rebels from their Battery, the damage done to the town is unknown, but I think it must be considerable, for with the glass I could see that many of the houses were knocked higher than a burnt boot. At 3 P.M. the tide commenced to fall so we hauled off in deeper water and anchored about three miles off the Town. At day light the day following we got under way in company with Schooner "Beaureguard" and proceded down the Bay.70 Last Friday afternoon I took one of the Ship's boats [and] sailed about fifteen miles up the Bay and went ashore on one of the Key's Egging, by sundown we gathered about twenty dos Egg's. I suppose you will say that is pretty doings for a "Naval Officer", however there is nothing like it, for we don't get Egg's every day on the blockade, They were pretty dearly _[?] for at 9 P.M. it came on to blow as heavy that it was impossible to carry sail on the boat So I landed on one of the Key's built a fire and camped out untill one A.M.
when it moderated some and we proceded down the Bay again. I arrived on board the Steamer at 7 A.M. cold, wet, hungry and very dry. if I could have imbibed a "H.C.W.P. I should have been all right, but I had to contend my self with Allums [?] Ale. April 6th 1863 At day light this morning we commenced taking in coal from the U.S. Stm'r "Magnolia." Chum! I think there is every prospect of our staying here all Summer, It makes me vexed to think of it, but I suppose we will have to make the best of it, Uncle Sam will never catch me in a Navy vessel after I can get clear of this one. John is as sick of it as my self and declares this is the last cruise for him. I see by the last papers that the government were about to issue "letters of Marque" I think that a cruise in a "privateer" would suit us better for we would have more to do. You have no idea how dull it is laying on the Blockade. When we left Philadelphia it was only for three months, but it is the longest three months I ever experienced, and there is every prospect of staying here untill the War is ended for naught I know... As my sheet is about full I will close hoping to here from you soon. Remember me to your Mother and all the family. I remain Your Sincere Chum U.S.N. U. States Stm'r "Tahoma" Tampa Bay "Florida" Sunday April 19. 1863 Friend Jennie I received your nice long letter dated March 31st day before Yesterday, and I assure you it decididly a great treat to hear from the North once more. Yes! it was equal to a "Brandy Smash." How are you Smash? I began to think you had deserted your Old Chum for neither John nor myself have received any letters for some weeks past, but I see it's the neglect of the Post Master. On the Sixth inst we coaled Ship from the U.S. Stm'r "Magnolia," So you see we are "chock a block" with coal once more and I presume we are destined to spend the summer months at "Tampa." A fine watering place I'm told, but I don't see it. Suppose you give us a call, but you must not depend on me to fill that Scotch Ale bottle of your's for the Capt and Myself are not on the best of terms at present, nor has he been since Mr Jackson and my self left the "Old Tender," but he can't do us Ashes. I suppose you know what that means, so I will not explain. Some one informed him that Mr Jackson and Myself tried out pork to fry doughnuts with while on board the Tender, of course the pork ran short a few pounds, but as there was more truth than poetry in it one couldn't go back on him, he remarked that such extravagence would ruin the richest Government in existance pretty good Joke! Aint it! It is provided you don't have to Stand the brunt of it, he has looked black in the face ever since. On the morning of the 7th inst. Simmes came on deck half Shot (you know what that means!) I was Officer of the deck at the time. I could tell by the look of his eyes that he was in a humor for growling. Well! he did growl! Nothing was done satisfactory to him. We had some words together at which I got very indignant and when my watch was up I went below, wrote off my "Resignation" and sent it to him.71 Mr Jackson sent his in at the same time, he looked somewhat surprised to see two Resignation tendered in one day. There is not an Officer on board that would not like to be transfered to some other vessel. he forwarded them to the Admiral whether he sanctioned it or not I can't say, but I hope he did for then it will be accepted by the
department. I am disgusted with the Navy or rather what I have experienced for the last eighteen months. I came into the Navy for other purposes than to be bullied about by these Gold banded Gentleman I shall be very much pleased when I can call myself fee once more, and than______[?] Navy for me here-after. John is very much dissatisfied and intends to wait to see how Mr Jackson and Myself make out. if successfull he will give it a trial. I will say one thing in favor of Captain Semmes, he keeps up a very stringent blcokade and has an eye for business as I said once before, but as a Man his good qualities are few and far between. I Suppose you are tired of this so I will change the Subject. I suppose you are aware that in order to fill a sheet of fools cap a body must have more or less unneccessary writing, especially us blockaders .. Excuse me if I get in an extra quantity for I fell uncommonly dull today. We have been up to "Tampa" once since the bombardment, merely for madisinal purposes, that is we were in want of a few Oyster's, (don't laugh) but it's a fact. On the 16th inst. the U.S. Steamer "Henry Hudson" captured a prize within a few miles off the Light-House. She was an English Schooner loaded with a general cargo and was bound into "Tampa."72 Yesterday the Tender "Stonewall" arrived, She has been on a three weeks cruise, but has captured nothing, she brought up four refugees from "Charlotte Harbour," the Capt gave them quarters on "Egmont Key." They will remain there untill an opportunity offers to send them to "Key West." I see by your letter that John expected to return North by the 1st of June, he probably meant June of 1864. As the Cap'tn has made a requisition for a new Battery (eleven inch Pivot Gun in the place of our ten inch ) I hardly think it probable that we will go North this year. What has become of Mr De Rousse I have not heard from him in a long time, has he obtained his posish in the Navy yet. if he has not I will sell out to him cheap. How does the draft effect the young men of the Quaker City or I should have said the late conscrip act passed by Congress which goes into force on the 1st of May.73 I see that you are having quite a spirited time in Philadelphia amongst the rising generation (alias Niggers). Well! I will agree with you there for its the best way to get rid of them. I would like very much to be in Philadelphia on the day the Nigger regiments pass through, for I expect there will be considerable sport. The last news we received from the north was any thing but encouraging, the defeat of the Experdition at Charleston and the loss of those five vessels on the Mississippi will go hard with Uncle Sam, but I hope they will be more successful next time74 .... As my sheet is full I must close for the present. Remember me to all the Family Hoping to hear from you soon I Remain, Your Sincere friend C.H.T U.S.N. Pretty good joke. April 20th The Tender "Stone Wall" went to sea this morning on a cruise At 10 A.M. The Cap't tried one of the Contrabands by a Summary Court Martial the sentence was read on the quarter deck, he is required to do three months extra duty and the loss of three months pay -Semmes is no nigger lover and don't allow them to put on any airs as our former Captain didC.H.T P.S. I hearby acknowledge the recept concerning the great Euechre game. I presume in course of time we'll be able to challenge the World. What do you think it
"Chum." We received a Paymaster and a Paymasters Clerk from the U.S. Stm'r Union, a very important man on shipboard for he handles the rocks.75 Key West May 4. 1863 Friend "Chum" As news are scace and paper expensive I can't afford more than one sheet at a time. On the 27th of April I was transferred to the Tender "Stonewall" so you see I am rowing [?] once more. At P.M. we got underway and proceeded to "Key West" with dispatches to the Commodore which plase we arrived on Sunday May 2nd. We will probably lay here five or six days and then proceed to Tampa again Mr Harr' s (Act'g Master) has been transferred to the Tahoma. he will act as executive Officer, and is to take passage with us. We brough six refugees from Tampa and sent them ashore in Key West.76 There are quite a number of shipping laying in Key West, and the City if it may be called such has quite a lively appearance in mind [?] It is quite healthy here at present, but it is thought that the Yellow Jack will make its appearance before the summer is over. May 6: 1863 Yesterday the Admiral transferred his flag to the U.S. Stm'r Magnolia and the former flag ship (St. Laurence) will proceed North in a day or two. Your letter dated Apl 15 came to hand this morning, Excuse me if I take the advantage of your once by killing the bird with the stone, for I shall never have a better opportunity, Chum? it would be impossible for me to fill another sheet to answer to your last, for I have wrote about all the news of the day in this section of the Globe, and my quill is getting poor. Well in fact it is about played out. How are you Quill? Well Chum! it is singular enough as regards to Miss Emma's "Gallant and Protector" for when I read your letter the name "Lawson" was the very man that the Sprints predictes on the_____[?] said occasion "May the Union florish in peace and happiness for ever and ages." How are you Union. I see you are having fine times, playing Euchore I wish I was there with you, but as my Spirit play's a pretty good nd I think I can. ENDNOTES 1 Stanley Itkin, Operations of the East Gulf Blockading Squadron (master's thesis, Florida State University, 1962) provides the best overview of the Squadron I s activities; while George E. Buker, Blockaders, Refugees, & Contrabands: Civil War on Floridas Gulf Coast, 1861-1865 (Tuscaloosa, t993), details the Squadron's assistance to Unionist refugees and guerrillas along the gulf coast. 2 David Coles, "Unpretending Service: The James L. Davis The Tahoma and the East Gulf Blockading Squadron," Florida Historical Quarterly 71 (July 1992), 41-62; James L. Mooney, ed., Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships 8 vols. (Washington DC, 1959-198), V11, 12-13; United States War Department, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion (hereafter ORN), 30 vols. (Washington, DC, t894-1922), ser. 2,1, 219. 3 Edward W. Callahan, ed., List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 177-5 to 1900 (New York, 1901; reprint ed., New York, 1969), 545; Medical Officers Log, U.S.S. Tahoma record group 24, National Archives, Washington, DC. 4 Tillinghast to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, April 7, 1863, Resignation Letters, record group 24, National Archives. 5 C.H.T. to Jennie Koehler, March 2, t862, Tahoma letter, box 27, manuscript collection, P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History University of Florida, Gainesville.
6 Key West remained in Union hands throughout the war, and served as the headquarters of the EGBS. See Rodney E. Dillon, Jr., "The Civil War in South Florida" (master's thesis, University of Florida, 1980); Donald Lester, "Key West During the Civil War" (master's thesis, University of Miami, 1949); and Jefferson B. Brown, Key West, the Old and the New (St. Augustine, 1912; reprint ed., Gainesville, 1973), 90-95. 7 Built in Philadelphia and launched in October 1861, The Itasca was a 507 ton, 4th rate screw steamer with a battery of four guns. It was sold at New York in November 1865. ORN ser. 2, 1, 110. Union occupied Ship Island is located off the Mississippi coast. 8 The Nintieth New York Volunteer Infantry left New York in January 1862 and served in Key West for much of that year. Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion 3 vols.(Cedar Rapids, 1909; reprint ed., New York, 1959), III, 1440. The Illinois was a 1st class screw steamer of 2,354 tons. ORN, ser. 2, 1, 107. 9 Lieutenant John C. Howell initially commanded the Tahoma. He was appointed midshipman in 1836 and had risen to lieutenant by 1849. Howell became commander in 1862 and ultimately rose to the rank of rear admiral before retiring in 1877. He died September 12, 1892. Callahan, List of Officers 279. Lieutenant Alexander Crosman was the Tahomas executive officer. Coles, "Unpretending Service," 56. 10 Probably the U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba a 2nd rate side-wheel steamer with a battery of ten guns that was purchased in 1861 and sold at auction in 1865. ORN ser. 2, 1, 200. 11 John Green Koehler is believed to have been Jennie Koehler's brother. He was commissioned an acting master's mate on October 15, 1861 and promoted to acting ensign on August 4, 1863. Unlike Tillinghast, Koehler served throughout the war and was honorably discharged on May 13, 1867. He rejoined the navy as a mate on April 20, 1870, but his appointment was revoked on July 16 of the same year. Callahan, List of Officers 3 18. 12 The U.S.S. Rhode Island served frequently as supply ship for the EGBS. A 2nd rate, side-wheel steamer, it weighed 1,517 tons and early 1862 had a battery of seven guns. The ship was purchased in 1861 and sold at auction in 1867. ORN ser. 2, 1, 192. 13 At this time the U.S.S. Niagara served as flagship of the EGBS. A 4,582 ton, screw steamer frigate, the Niagara was commissioned in 1860 and decommissioned in 1865. In early 1862 it carried a battery of twelve guns. ORN ser. 2, 1, 160. 14 Tillinghast is probably referring to the Union expedition to capture New Orleans, which successfully took place in April 1862. Patricia L. Faust, ed., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York, 1986), 281-282. 15 Tillinghast was referring to the Union victories at Forts Henry and Donelson, which led to the occupation of Middle Tennessee, and to General Ambrose Burnside's victories at Roanoke Island and New Bern, North Carolina. Mark M. Boatner, III, The Civil War Dictionary (revised ed., New York, 1988), 108, 394-397. 16 Depot Key was one of several small islands that comprised the Cedar Keys, significant because it was the western terminus of the Florida Railroad. The Tahoma bombarded Depot Key on February 13, 1862. ORN, ser. 1, XVII, 134-136; Charles C. Fishburne, Jr., The Cedar Keys in the Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1876 (Cedar Key, 1982), 1-10. 17 Henry Hurley was commissioned an acting master's mate on December 17, 1861 and died on September 17, 1862. Callahan, List of Officers 287. 18 On February 23-24, 1862 Lieutenant Alexander Crosman commanded an expedition to capture a small sailboat operating between Depot Key and the mainland. The Federals captured the prize but while in the process of returning to the Tahoma the Federals were fired upon by a group of about thirty Confederates. Scaman John B. Patterson was shot through the eye during the skirmish and "Instantly killed." ORN ser. 1, XVII, 180-181; Tahoma logbook, February 1862, record group 24, National Archives, Washington, DC. 19 The U.S.S. State of Georgia was a 3rd rate, side-wheel steamer of 1. 187 tons. Purchased at Philadelphia in 1861 and sold in 1865, it carried a battery of nine guns. ORN ser. 2, 1, 214. 20 Mooney, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships III, 494; ORN ser. 2,1, 112; Coles, "Unpretending Service," 44-54. 21 Confederate troops abandoned the town of Apalachicola in early 1862 without a fight, and the
town remained a no man's land for the rest of the war. Union ships blockaded the region and conducted several small expeditions up the Apalachicola River. William Warren Rogers, Outposts on the Guff: Saint George Island and Apalachicola from Early Exploration to World War II (Pensacola, 1986), 50-89. 22 Evidently a Confederate blockade runner, however the name Fauckner or Faulkner does not appear in the relevant volume of the published ORN 23 The Polly Hopkins evidently was the unofficial name given to the Tahomas tender. It is referred to as the Ezilda in official reports. ORN, ser. 1, XVII, 222. 24 The U.S.S. National Guard was a 4th rate sailing ship of 1,049 tons with a battery of four guns. Purchased In 1861, the ship was converted into a coaling vessel in 1862, and sold in 1865. ORN ser. 2, 1, 156. 25 The pursuit, destruction, and salvaging of the ship, described as a "fore-and-aft schooner with topmasts down, a French flag flying at the forestay "can be found in ORN ser. 1, XVII, 222-226. The action took place in the vicinity of the St. Martin's Keys. 26 The U.S.S. Beauregard was purchased in February 1862 at a Key West prize court. A 4th rate wood Schooner of 101 tons, it carried a battery of three guns. The ship sold at auction in 1865. ORN ser. 2, 1, 43. 27 Probably David W. Jackson, who was appointed acting master's mate in October 1861 and acting ensign in October 1862, and who resigned on April 27, 1863 Callahan, List of Officers 292. 28 The identity of Mr. Hughes is unknown. Union forces occupied Port Royal in November 1861 and used it as a headquarters for blockading and land operations against the lower Atlantic Coast. Faust, Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War 597. See also Robert Carse, Department of the South: Hilton Head Island in the Civil War (Columbia, 1961). 29 The Suwannee River and Anclote Keys, in the gulf above Tampa Bay. 30 U.S.S. Somerset was a 4th rate, side-wheel steamer ferryboat of 521 tons purchased in 1862 and sold in 1865. It carried a battery of six guns. ORN ser. 2, 1, 210. 31 The expedition is detailed in ORN ser. 1, XVII, 242-244. The Federals shelled a small group of Confederates on Way Key and then landed a party of about 100 sailors. They also examined Depot Key, finding both islands virtually deserted. 32 Captain William W. McKean commanded the EGBS during the first half of 1862. A naval officer for nearly half a century, Mckean was placed on the retired list as commodore in July 1862. He died on April 22, 1865. Callahan, List of Officers 369; Coles, "Unpretending Service," 43. 33 St Andrews Bay was the westernmost station of the EGBS. Fort Jefferson, located on Garden Key in the Tortugas, remained in Union hands throughout the war, Robert B. Roberts, Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States (New York, 1988), 178-179. 34 Nassau served as an important base for blockade runners, See Stephen R. Wise, Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running During the Civil War (Columbia, 1988), and Hamilton Cochran, Blockade Runners of the Confederacy (Indianapolis, 1958). 35 On June 15, 1862 the Tahoma bombarded a small Confederate fort located near the St. Marks Lighthouse. A landing party then burned the fort and several nearby buildings. ORN ser. t, XVII, 264-265. 36 On April 7, 1862 the Tahoma while steaming between the Tortugas and Cape San Antonio, captured the Confederte Schooner Uncle Mose The ship was enroute from Texas to Honduras and carried a cargo valued at more than $30,000. ORN ser. 1, XVII, 287-288; Itkin, "operations," 245. 37 Tillinghast is again describing the capture of the Uncle Mose The three seamen who deserted were E Garland, Robert Weston, and James W. Dimon, Ibid. 38 The U.S.S. Connecticut was a 2nd rate side-wheel steamer of 1,725 tons purchased in 1861 and sold at auction in 1865. It carried an initial battery of five guns. ORN, ser. 2, 1, 66. 39 The U.S.S. Sagamore was a 4th rate screw steamer of 507 tons launched in 1861 and sold in 1865. It carried a battery of five guns. ORN, ser. 2, I, 197. 40 Yellow Fever threatened the operations of the EGBS several times during the war. The most serious
outbreak occurred in the summer of 1864. Itkin, "operations," 156-166. 41 James L. Lardner commanded the EGBS from June-November t862. Appointed midshipman in 1820, he became captain in 1861 and commodore in t862. Lardner went on the retired list as rear admiral in 1866. He died in t881. Callahan, List of Officers 322; Coles, "Unpretending Service," 43. 42 A 556 ton, 4th rate wooden bark, the U.S.S. Ethan Allen was purchased in 1861 and sold at auction in 1865. It carried a battery of seven guns in 1862. ORN ser. 2, 1, 80. 43 The U.S.S. St. Lawrence was a 4th rate wooden sailing frigate of 1,708 tons built in 1844 and sold in 1875. It initially carried fifty-two guns, and served as flagship of the EGBS for part of the war. ORN, ser. 2, 1, 198. 44 In February 1862 the families of Unionists John Whitehurst, Frank R. Girard, and David Griner were moved to Egmont Key in Tampa Bay to protect them from Confederate retaliation. By April of the same year twenty-five refugees inhabited the island receiving supplies from the EGBS. Buker, Blockaders, Refugees, & Contrabands 33; ORN ser. 1, XVII, 132-134, 218-219. 45 On August 26, 1862 while on a trip to the mainland for provisions, John and Scott Whitehurst were attacked by Confederate guerrillas. The latter died immediately and the former was mortally wounded. Another man named Arnold was missing and believed dead. John Whitehurst's "dying request was that his three little sons should be received into the United States naval service," and Lieutenant Howell of the Tahoma granted this request. ORN, ser. 1, XVII, 309. 46 DeRusse's name does not appear in Callahan's List of Officers so he evidently never received a naval commission. 47 On October 4, 1862 sailors from U.S.S. Somerset raided Confederate salt works in the vicinity of Station Number 4 near Cedar Keys. During this raid they were fired on by Confederate troops who wounded eight men. The Tahoma arrived off Cedar Keys the same day, and on October 6, a larger expedition, with boats from both the Somerset and Tahoma and commanded by Lieutenant Alexander Crosman, again landed in the same vicinity to complete the saltwork's destruction. The Federals skirmished with a small Confederate force and destroyed twenty-eight boilers and a number of buildings. ORN ser. 1, XVII, 316-319; Tahoma Logbook, October 1862. 48 Jonas S. Higbee was appointed acting master's mate on October 22, 1861 and resigned April 23, 1864. Callahan, List of Officers 264. 49 William H. Harrison was appointed acting master's mate in May 1862. After having his appointment revoked as a result of illness, he was appointed acting ensign in October 1862, and acting master's mate June 1863. His appointment was again revoked in November 1864. John C. Hamlin became an acting master's mate in October 1861 and acting ensign in October t862. After being appointed acting master in November 1863, his appointment was revoked in December 1865. Callahan, List of Officers 242, 250. 50 Alexander A. Semmes served as the Tahoma's commander from December 1862 until early 1864. A midshipman since 184t, he had risen to lieutenant commander by 1862. Semmes had attained the rank of commodore at the time of his death in t 885. Callahan, List of Officers 490; Coles, "Unpretending Service," 57. 51 The naval battle of Mobile Bay did not take place until August 1864, when Admiral David Farragut forced his Union fleet past Confederate Forts Gaines and Morgan. Boatner, Civil War Dictionary 558-559. 52 President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in September t862 after the Battle of Antietam. The decree, which took effect January 1, 1863, proclaimed as free those slaves living in the rebelling states. It was unpopular in many areas of the north and among numbers of northern soldiers and sailors, who opposed this expansion of the Union war alms. Ibid., 265; James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford, 1988), 502-505, 545, 55 7-563, 594-595. 53 Tillinghast probably refers to the plantation of William Whitaker, a prominent Manatee County planter. See Janet Snyder Matthews, Edge of Wilderness: A Settlement History of Manatee River and Sarasota Bay, 1528-1885 (Tulsa, 1983), 261-262 and passim. 54 Ibid.
55 The U.S.S. Circassian was a 1,750 ton, 4th rate screw steamer purchased at the Key West prize court in November t862 and sold at auction in 1865. The ship had been captured in May 1862 off Cuba by the U.S.S. Somerset and later pressed into service in the EGBS. ORN, ser. 2, 1, 59. 56 The Federals salvaged fifty damaged bales of cotton were salvaged from the Silas Henry and the Tahoma towed the hulk to Key West. The capture earned $2,155.12 in prize money. ORN, ser. 1, XVII, 351; Itkin, "Operations," 245. 57 The U.S.S. Magnolia was a 4th rate, side-wheel steamer of 843 tons purchased at the Key West prize court in 1862, having been captured in February of that year off the mouth of the Mississippi River. It was sold at auction in 1865. ORN, ser. 2, 1, 13 1. 58 The Tahoma suffered from serious leaks throughout its service in the EGBS. Coles, "Unpretending Service," 55, 58. 59 Vessel number 290 was contracted in 1861 by the Confederate navy and built at Laird's Shipyard in Great Britain. After its construction the ship received ordinance and equipment in the Azores and was renamed the Alabama The ship became the Confederacy's most famous commerce raider until sank by the U.S.S. Kearsarge in June 1864. Richard N. Current, ed., Encyclopedia of the Confederacy 4 vols. (New York, 1993), 1, 19-20. 60 The C.S.S. Alabama sank the U.S.S. Hatteras off Galveston, Texas on January t 1, 1863. Ibid.; also Edward Boykin, Ghost Ship of the Confederacy (New York, 1957), 26t-271. 61 The U.S.S. Julia was a 10 ton sloop previously used as a blockade runner until captured and purchased from the Key West prize court in July 1863. It served as a tender with the EGBS and was ultimately sold at Key West in 1865. ORN ser. 2,1, 116. 62 The identity of Mr. Clay is unknown, although two men with that surname are listed on the 1860 census for Hillsborough County. They are W.S. Clay, age 29, with a wife and one child; and Adam Clay, age 67, with a wife and one son. Population Schedule of the Eighth Census of the United States Florida, Volume 1, Hamilton-LaFayette Counties. National Archives Microfilm Publication M653, roll 107. 63 Sanibel Island. 64 The U.S.S. Wanderer was a 300 ton schooner purchased in 1863 from the Philadelphia prize court and sold at auction in 1865. It initially carried a three gun battery. ORN ser. 2, 1, 236. 65 Evidently Tillinghast is referring to the Caloosahatchee River, and to the abandoned supply buildings at Punta Rassa at the river's mouth. Punta Rassa and Ft. Myers, though abandoned in t 863, would be occupied by Union forces in t864-1865. See Irvin D. Solomon, "Southern Extremities: The Significance of Fort Myers in the Civil War," Florida Historical Quarterly 72 (October t993), 129-152; and Dillon, "The Civil War in South Florida." 66 Details of this ship's capture is not recorded in the ORN 67 A thirty ton schooner, the Stonewall was captured and then sold to the navy at the Key West prize court in July 1863. It then served in the EGBS until being sold at auction at Key West in June 1865. ORN ser. 2,1, 215 and ser. 1, XVII, 375. 68 The U.S.S. Pursuit was a 4th rate wooden sailing vessel of 603 tons purchased in t 86 1. In the spring of 1863 it carried a battery of seven guns. The Pursuit captured seven ships while serving in the EGBS. ORN ser. 2,1, 186; Itkin, "Operations," 242. 69 The attack described by Tillinghast took place on March 27, 1863, when a Confederate force under Captain John W. Pearson, some of whom were disguised in dresses and blackface, and waving a flag of truce, lured ashore at Gadsden's Point a launch from the Pursuit When the launch reached shore Pearson's men threw off their disguises and demanded the Federals surrender. When they refused the Rebels fired a volley into the boat, seriously wounding four men. The commander of the Pursuit called it "an act of shameful treachery." ORN series 1, XVII, 397-399; Zack C. Waters, "Tampa's Forgotten Defenders: The Confederate Commanders of Fort Brooke," Sunland Tribune 17 (November 1991), 9, and Zack C. Waters, "Florida's Confederate Guerrillas: John W. Pearson and the Oklawaha Rangers," Florida Historical Quarterly 70 (October 1991), 141-142. 70 Ibid. 71 Tillinghast to Welles, April 7, 1863, Resignation Letters.
72 The ship captured off Egmont Key by the Hendrick Hudson was the British schooner Teresa It yielded prize money of $2,363.8 1. ORN, ser. 1, XVII, 415; Itkin, "operations,' 240. 73 The Federal government passed its first conscription act in March 1863. The legislation created widespread discontent in the north, including bloody riots in New York in July. Patrick L. Faust, ed., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War 160-161, 225-226. See also James W. Geary, We Need Men: The Union Draft in the Civil War (Dekalb, 1991) for an overview of the subject. 74 On April 7, 1863 a Union ironclad attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina failed miserably. In late March, Union army and naval forces began a second campaign against the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, Mississippi, a campaign that ended with the surrender of the Confederate garrison on July 4, 1863. Faust, Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War 131, 781-784. 75 The U.S.S. Union was a 4th rate screw steamer of 1,114 tons commissioned in 1861 and sold at auction in 1865. It carried a one gun battery. ORN ser. 2,1, 229. 76 The leadership of the EGBS and the army's District of Key West provided assistance to Unionist refugees, many of whom later joined the second Florida Union Cavalry, which operated in south Florida during 1864-1865. Canter Brown, Jr., Florida Peace River Frontier (Orlando, 1991), 136-175; and Buker, Blockaders, Refugees, & Contrabands 115-133.
THE OAKLAWN CEMETARY RAMBLE 1995 By ARSENIO M. SANCHEZ The Tampa Historical Society held its annual Oaklawn and St. Louis Cemetery Ramble on April 30, 1995, on the corner of Harrison and Morgan Streets. The theme for this years event was "commemorating the veterans" who are buried at the two cemeteries. The registers indicate that more than 100 veterans, including five from the Spanish American War are buried there. The program began at 2:00 PM. with remarks and introduction of guests by Kyle S. VanLandingham, vice president of the Tampa Historical Society. The guest speakers were Hampton Dunn, Hillsborough County Historian and George Howell, III, Hillsborough County Bar Association. Wreaths were presented by veteran groups. The veterans of War with Mexico wreath was presented by Chris Hart, Board of County Commissioners. The roll call of all veterans was made by George Howell. The veterans of Seminole Indian Wars wreath was presented by Chief Members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy attended the Ramble. Courtesy John Baxley
Bennie Holder, Tampa Police Department. Honor Guards accompanied all wreath presentations. For the veterans of the Civil War the Confederate wreath presentation was made by James Hayward, Commander, Sons of Confederate Veterans and Mrs. James Oliver of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The Union Veterans wreath was presented by Mrs. Beverly Goodenough, National Chaplain, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Norman A. Palumba Jr., president of the Rough Riders made the presentation for veterans of the Spanish American War. Presentation for the veterans of World Wars I and II was made by Mr. Hilton, Commander, Disabled American Veterans No. 110. There was a break in the program when Rev. Fr. Robert Gibbons offered a dedication prayer. Joseph Sultenfuss of the Knights of Columbus presented a wreath for Catholic veterans. Masonic veterans were honored by representatives of Hillsborough Lodge No. 25, F.&A.M. The final tribute to all veterans was a 21 gun salute, by MacDill field taps. A Benediction by Chaplain Samuel Rorer, MacDill AFB, completed the program. Julius J. Gordon coordinated the program, assisted by Arsenio Sanchez, Ramble Chairman. A view of the Veterans' Memorial Service -Courtesy John Baxley
1995 D. B. McKAY AWARD WINNER: PRESERVATIONIST STEPHANIE FERRELL By HAMPTON DUNN A leader in the historic preservation movement in Tampa is the 1995 recipient of Tampa Historical Society's coveted D. B. McKay Award "for Significant Contributions to the Cause of Florida History." She is Stephanie Elaine Ferrell, an architect and longtime Manager of Historic Tampa/Hillsborough County Preservation Board, an agency of the Florida Department of State, and is the winner of this prestigious honor. Other high honors Ms. Ferrell has received was winning the 1984 Public Communications Award of the American Institute of Architects, and being recipient of the t99t Hilliard T. Smith Silver Medal for Community Services by the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Just this year, the Tampan was elected to AIAs College of Fellows. In addition to her duties as head of the Preservation Board, Ms. Ferrell also serves as the administrator of the architectural review board of the Ybor City Historic District (Barrio Latino Commission), the Tampa Architectural Review Commission, and the Historic Resources Review Board for Hillsborough County. Some projects the McKay Award winner has played a big role in include restoration of the Kennedy Boulevard drawbridge, the Tampa Union Station, the restoration of the Lutz schoolhouse, marketing and managing study of Centro Espanol, conducting historic sites, surveys and planning of ten neighborhoods-Hyde Park, Downtown, Tampa Heights, Port Tampa, Ybor City, West Tampa, Sulphur Springs, Davis islands, Temple Terrace and Plant City-and numerous other projects. Ms. Ferrell is known statewide for her work in preservation. She writes about architecture, historic preservation and planning for national and local publications. Her work has appeared in Tampa Bay Monthly magazine, where she was habitat Editor, Historic Preservation Vista and Southern Homes Stephanie Elaine Ferrell
Prior to graduating from the School of Architecture at the University of Florida, she studied urban design in Venice, Italy. As 1987 President of the Tampa Section, Florida Central Chapter, of the AIA, she took an active role in planning and urban design matters. She served as the 1991-1993 President of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and sits on a number of boards, including the Tampa Downtown Partnership, Coordinating Council of the Tampa Heights Neighborhood Revitalization Alliance, the Tampa Trust Community Development Corporation, Tampa Union Station Preservation and Redevelopment, Inc., and was named Trustee Emeritus of Tampa Preservation, Inc., in 1991. D. B. MCKAY AWARD RECIPIENTS 1972 FRANK LAUMER 1973 STATE SENATOR DAVID MCCLAIN 1974 CIRCUIT JUDGE JAMES R. KNOTT 1975 GLORIDA JAHODA 1976 HARRIS H. MULLEN 1977 DR. JAMES W. COVINGTON 1978 HAMPTON DUNN 1979 WILLIAM M. GOZA 1980 TONY PIZZO 1981 ALLEN AND JOAN MORRIS 1982 MEL FISHER 1983 MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS 1984 FRANK GARCIA 1985 FORMER GOV. LEROY COLLINS 1986 DR. SAMUEL PROCTOR 1987 DOYLE E. CARLTON, JR. 1988 LELAND M. HAWES, JR. 1989 U.S. REP. CHARLES E. BENNETT 1990 JOAN W. JENNEWEIN 1991 GARY R. MORMINO 1992 JULIUS J. GORDON 1993 JACK MOORE AND ROBERT SYNDER 1994 FERDIE PACHECO 1995 STEPHANIE FERRELL
MEET THE AUTHORS DAVID COLES is supervisor of the Reference Unit at the Florida State Archives and is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Florida State University. His doctoral dissertation is a study of military operations in Florida, 1864-1865. David has published a number of articles in scholarly journals and is associate compiler of a new, six-volume roster of Florida soldiers in the Civil War. HAMPTON DUNN is past president of the Florida Historical Society and is official Hillsborough County Historian. He has been in the communication fields of newspapers, radio and television broadcasting, public relations and magazine writing for nearly 60 years. He is author of 18 books on Tampa and Florida historical subjects and is also in demand as a public speaker on many subjects. And he's a native Florida "Cracker." RICHARD J. FERRY works in the Baker County School System and is a well known local historian. A resident of Macclenny, he has published several articles on the Civil War in Florida, and is an avid collector of Florida Civil War memorabilia. NORMA GOOLSBY FRAZIER is a native Floridian, born in 1936 in the early settlement of Peru, Florida which then existed on the south bank of the Alafia River. She is a descendant of the pioneer Goolsby, Hendrix, Tyner, and Purvis families and makes her home on the Goolsby family property purchased shortly after the turn of the century. While employed at Brandon State Bank, she served as correspondent for the Brandon News for 12 years, with her writings including articles of historical interest regarding early churches, people, places, and events. In 1993, Norma completed her first book, A Light in the Wilderness PAMELA N. GIBSON came to Florida in 1957 at age five. She received her B.A. in history from Barry College in 1973, her library M.L.S. in 1974 from Florida State University and a M.A. in history from University of South Florida in 1995. She is currently vice president of the Manatee David Coles Hampton Dunn Norma Goolsby Frazier
County Historical Society and is employed as the librarian of the Eaton Florida History Collection for the Manatee County Central Library. DONALD J. IVEY received his B.A. with honors in History and his Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Now the Curator of Collections at The Pinellas County Historical Museum-Heritage Village in Largo, he has written a variety of articles on Florida's early pioneer history. He and his wife Mylene live in Largo. DR. JOE KNETSCH received his B.S. degree from Western Michigan University, his M.A. from Florida Atlantic University and his Ph.D. from Florida State University. He is employed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as a Senior Management Analyst II. His primary function with the Department is to research Florida's history for early methods of transporation on and the usage of Florida's water-bodies. He is currently Vice President of the Florida Historical Society. ARSENIO M. SANCHEZ a native of West Tampa, has been researching the history of West Tampa, and of the Tampa area. Sanchez attended Jesuit High School and graduated from Plant High in 1937. He served in the Navy during World War and graduated from the University of Florida in 1951. He is a past member of the Tampa Historical Society Board of Directors. Joe Knetsch Donald J. Ivey Arsenio M. Sanchez Pamela N. Gibson
1995 SUNLAND TRIBUNE PATRONS Tampa Historical Society wishes to express its sincere thanks to the following individuals and organizations who have generously contributed for the publication costs of this issue of the Sunland Tribune Dennis A. Alfonso, M.D. Bill & Jean Barlow Colleen Lunsford Bevis Carolyn Benjamin Blethen Robert S. Bolt Daniel Boone, Jr. Mrs. Rowena F. Brady Lottie Brewer Helen N. Byrd Mr. & Mrs. Paul E. Camp, Sr. Claire A. Cardina Patrick, Cynthia & Anthony Cimino Mr. & Mrs. Richard S. Clarke, Sr. Col. & Mrs. James D. Cline Jack & Elizabeth Branch Cloen Molly C. Corum Buford & Louise Council Francis B. & Joan J. Crow George D. Curtis, Jr. Mrs. Bobbie C. Davis Mrs. Sam F. Davis Mrs. Lula J. Dovi Joan Carmen Duany Wini & Holly Ekman Veronica & Jim Everett Gail Gutierrez Fabrega David A. Falk Foundation Mr. & Mrs. James L. Ferman, Sr. Dr. Eustasio Fernandez Gabriel Fernandez Designer, Inc. Sol J. Fleischman, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. Robert Gadsden, III Manuel M. Garcia Howard L. Garrett Paul H. & Helen E. Gonzalez Julius J. Gordon Mrs. Vera Hamilton Grace & James Harvester Leland Hawes William & Ann Hayes Mr. & Mrs. Howard T. Hersom Mrs. Willard T. Hicks Mr. & Mrs. Jack Hilden Bernard M. Hochberg, M.D. Eleanor & Grant Horsey Mr. & Mrs. George B. Howell, III Alene H. & Carl W. Johnson Sally & John Arthur Jones James & Marguerite Kaul Leterica Benjamin Kickliter Mrs. Guy King, Jr. Charley Knight Victor H. Knight, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. Stephen J. Krist Frances & Julian Lane Mrs. Sam Latimer, Jr. Mrs. G. Sydney Lenfestey Mr. Rene Leon Phil LoCicero H. T. Lykes, II Marguerite L. Marunda Fernando Rodriguez Mesa Mr. & Mrs. Ashby Moody Sandra & Ken Mulder Ruth Mulholland Ann & David Murphey Steven J. Myhre Burt & Bettie Nelson M. Paul & Mabelle B. Nestor C. D. Newbern Eric & Lyris Newman Stanford & Elaine Newman Mr. & Mrs. Lester Olson Beulah Logan-Owens J. Ross & Barbara W. Parker Edward B. Parsons, Ph.D., Lt. Col. USAF (Ret) Vernon Peeples Aurelio Pinan Mr. & Mrs. Richard F. Pittman
Anthony J. Pizzo, M.D. Mrs. Anthony P. (Tony) Pizzo Paul & Sharon Pizzo Eugene & Barbara Pool Barbara Glenn Reeves Gail & Steve Rinaldi Mrs. Bruce M. Robbins, Jr. Barbara & Jack Romano Doris & Frank Rosenblatt Gloria C. Runton Arsenio M. Sanchez Jeanne C. Sanders Sarah Dickins Sansbury Terrell& Neva Sessums Lee B. Sierra, Sr. Kim Slatton A. Frank Smith Mr. & Mrs. Armin H. Smith, Jr. Margaret Vance Smith Mr. & Mrs. E. Lamar Sparkman Mr. & Mrs. Charles Spicola, Jr. Dick & Raymetta Stowers Robert L. Sullivan Mr. & Mrs. J. H. Tanner William Taylor Mr. Leslie R. Ticknor Mr. & Mrs. J. Thomas Touchton The Tampa Tribune Don & Mary Truax Kyle S. VanLandingham Mrs. Milo A. Vega Charles & June Wade Ted & Mary Wade Mrs. David E. Ward Dr. & Mrs. O. D. Wetherell Mr. & Mrs. Paul R. Wharton Harry B. White Jane Hall Witt Mr. & Mrs. William R. Wofford Mr. & Mrs. G. Pierce Wood Joe & Vilma Zalupski
TAMPA HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP ROSTER October 12, 1995 Charles J. Adler Richard Ake Clerk Of Circuit Court Raymond J. Albrecht Patricia Alchediak Dennis & Isabel Alfonzo Dr. & Mrs. Miguel R. Alonso M/M Braulio Alonso Amaryllis Garden Circle Girard Anderson Mrs. DeLane Anderson Raymond & Myra Anderson Robert & Alburta Anderson Patricia Sue Andree S. David Anton Mrs. Robert Armitage, Jr. W. Dehart Ayala Bob Baggett Bob Baggett Photography M/M Sam M. Bailey Sally & Walter Baldwin Barbara Banks Trudy M. & Marvin E. Barkin Clark W. Barlow W. E. Barlow Dolores L. Barnett Michael S. Barranco James Barringer Matheson Historical Center Mark V. Barrow, M. D., Ph.D. Dr. & Mrs. J. A. Battle M/M Paul Bearss Ralph & Jeffy Beaver James & Carole Belcher Chris & Sandy Bell M/M Eurael Bell Shelby R. & Andrew H. Bender M/M Raphael Bentschner Jeanne T. Bernard Mrs. Colleen Bevis Diedre Bibby John C. Bierley M/M Buddy Blain Judy & Roland Blanco M/M George T. Blanford Nelson Blank Carolyn Benjamin Blethen Robert S. Bolt, Esq. William (Russ) Bomar Daniel Boone, Jr. David N. Boyd Richard W. Bozeman Alice G. Braddy Edgar B. Bradley Marianne Ellis Bradley Laurens Knight Bradley, Jr. Rowena F. Brady Kenneth Brandon Lottie Brewer Charlie Brown M/M Henry C. Brown Barbara Ann Browning Anna Ruth Burnside Mr. & Mrs. Joe C. Byars Helen N. Byrd M/M Paul E. Camp, Sr. Paul E. Camp Claire A. Cardina Dr. & Mrs. Leffie M. Carlton, Jr. Mrs. Annie Kate Carpenter M/M John Carter Warren & Dorothy Cason Betty Castor Mr. & Mrs. R. F. Chambliss Mr. & Mrs. Mack T. Christian M/M W. Scott Christopher Mrs. Louis E. Cimino Patrick & Cynthia Cimino Mrs. Peter S. Cimino, Jr. Anne Macfarlane Clark Donald W. Clark Karen Clarke Mr. & Mrs. Richard S. Clarke
S. George & Louise Clarke Col. & Mrs. James D. Cline Mr. & Mrs. Jack Cloen Mrs. Herbert W. Coe Miss Evelyn Cole Pedro E. Conde Marie B. Corcoran Janine K. Cornelius Christopher H. Corral Molly Corum Mr. & Mrs. B. W. Council, Sr. Dr. James W. Covington M/M J. David Cowart M/M Francis B. Crow H. L. "Punky" Crowder Lee & Pat Culbreath Harry Cunningham, Jr. and Mrs. Catherine Cunningham Kacy Curry M/M George D. Curtis, Jr. Paul Danahy Al Davis C. N. Davis Edwin T. Davis Mrs. Bobbie C. Davis Mrs. Sam F. Davis Alberto A. De Alejo, Jr. M/M Louis H. DeArmas Mrs. Alma Erwin Dewald Mrs. Louise Dibbs Mary Ann Dugger Difrank Victor & Mercy diMaio Eugene & Grace Dodson Mrs. Lula J. Dovi Betty N. Loor Dowd Dennis J. Doyel Joan C. Duany Charlotte & Hampton Dunn Col. & Mrs. Joseph F. Dunn Kathleen D. Durdin Carol M. Dyches Adrian Shoffstall East Hillsborough Historical Society Mrs. A. L. Ekman & Holly Mrs. Mary Eldridge Encore Florist of Hyde Park Lynne England Mrs. Robert F. Evans Veronica & Jim Everett Gail Gutierrez Fabrega Mrs. David A. Falk The David Falk Foundation Dr. Brown Farrior Angelo F. Favata Dr. Randy Feldman M/M J. L. Ferman, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. J. L. Ferman, Sr. Dr. Eustasio Fernandez Gabriel Fernandez M/M Lester Fisher John M. Fitzgibbons M/M Sol Fleischman, Jr. Harry C. Flowers Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Foecking M/M Jerry E. Fogarty M/M Thomas F. Folsom Mr. & Mrs. Charles Ford Mrs. Stephanie M. Chapman Founders Garden Circle Robart A. & Liana F. Fox Fred & Elizabeth Frankland Norma Goolsby Frazier M/M J. Warren Frazier M/M Herbert Friedman Mr. Cloyd Frock Mike Frost & Laura Darrow Lynne T. & Robert G. Gadsden, III Dulce Maria V. Garcia Joseph Garcia Mr. Manuel M. Garcia Tammy Gardner Howard L. Garrett M/M Ernest M. Garrison Sellers & Elizabeth Gauntt Mavis M. Gehr A. William Gibbons Hon. Sam Gibbons M/M Mark Gibbons Mr. & Mrs. Leonard H. Gilbert John & Ruth Giordano Mrs. Frank V. Giunta
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J. A. & Irene Lamb M/M Logan Lane Mr. & Mrs. Julian B. Lane Allen L. Lastinger, Jr. Frank T. Lastra Mrs. Samuel I. Latimer Laurel J. Lenfestey Mrs. Syd Lenfesty Mr. Rene Leon Mr. & Mrs. John T. Lesley M/M J. Leonard Levy Jesus Frank Lima Mr. & Mrs. (Carole) Don Lins Phil Lo Cicero Mrs. Claude Logan, Jr. Dr. & Mrs. Louis Lubet M/M A. Lubrano Dr. & Mrs. Joseph Lupo, M.D. Mrs. Charles P. Lykes Lykes Brothers, Inc. H. T. Lykes, II M/M Herb Lyon Mr. & Mrs. R. Andrew Maass Mr. & Mrs. E. P. MacBryde Gordon G. MacDonald M/M Harry 0. Mains Miriam W. Marcus James D. Marshall Steve R. Marsicano M/M Fred & Helen Martin Mr. & Mrs. Charles Martin Mrs. Marguerite L. Marunda Lawrence McConnell Tampa Tribune M/M Charles A. McEniry Louise R. McEwen Mr. & Mrs. Herbert G. McKay Mr. & Mrs. Howell A. McKay M/M William C. McLean, Jr. Mr. John McQuigg M/M John W. McWhirter Mrs. Edith Meeker Armando Mendez Donald & Helen Meng Fernando Rodriguez Mesa Mrs. Loraine Meyer M/M Joseph O. Milton, Jr. William D. Mitchell Elisabeth M. Mixon Lil & Pat Monroe Mrs. Victoria Monroe Mr. & Mrs. Ashby M. Moody Shirley A. Moore Col. Sheridan J. (Pat) Moran's Village Antiques M/M W. T. Morgan, III Gary & Lynne Mormino Suanne Morris Dr. & Mrs. Howell Morrison Patricia M. Morrison Kenneth W. Mulder Ruth Mulholland Harris H. Mullen Esther Munro M/M David R. Murphey, III Florence Murphy Ms. Eleanor G. Murray Rosalind E. Murray, M. D. Steven J. Myhre Susan F. Fox N.S.C.D.A. State of Florida Mr. & Mrs. Burt Nelson M. Paul Nestor & Mabelle M/M C. D. Newbern M/M Eric & Lyris Newman M/M Stanford J. Newman Mr. Millard W. Newman M/M John Nink Lt. Col. Carl A. Nissen, Jr. Frank & Diane North Clarity Communications Frank & Marlene 0'Farrill M/M Solon F. O'Neal, Jr. M/M William Oliver Candy Olson Mr. & Mrs. Lester K. Olson Mrs. Beulah Logan Owens Felipe R. Pacheco Joseph M. Paniello M/M J. Ross Parker Edward B. Parsons, Ph.D. Dr. & Mrs. Louis Pasetti
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THE FLAGS OF FLORIDA HISTORYMany flags have flown over Florida since Juan Ponce de Leon landed in 1513. Among these have been the flags of five sovereign nations: Spain, France, Great Britain, the United States, and the Confederate States of America. Numerous other unofficial flags also have flown on the peninsula at one time or another. Only a written description remains of some and one has no known description at all. SPAIN Research indicates Spain had no truly national flag in 1513, when Juan Ponce de Leon landed on Florida shores, but the Castle and Lion flag of the King was recognized as the flag of the country GREAT BRITAIN, 1763-1784 The red Cross of St. George, the patron saint of England, was the major element of the British flag. In combination with the white Scottish Cross of St. Andrew, it formed the Union flag. This flag flew over Florida from 1763 until 1784. FRANCE The French established a short-lived settlement, in 1564, near Jacksonville at the mouth of the St. Johns River. During this period there was no single official flag for France. Their flag may have had a blue field which bore the royal golden fleurs-de-lys. The French also occupied Pensacola from 1719 to 1722 during the War of the Quadruple Alliance. SECOND SPANISH PERIOD, 1784-1821 Charles III created the first Spanish national flag in 1785. It flew over Florida until the United States took official possession of the territory in 1821.
FLORIDA FLAGS 1799-1861 English adventurer William Augustus Bowles designed this flag after a congress of Creeks and Seminoles elected him "Director General of the State of Muskogee" in 1799. The capital of this state was the Indian village o f Mikasuke (near present-day Tallahassee). Bowles was captured, turned over to Spanish authorities in 1803, and later died in a Havana prison. The "State o f Muskogee" came to an end. This flag flew over the "Free and Independent State of West Florida" from September 23 to December 6, 1810. This "State" of West Florida actually covered the area below the thirty-first parallel between the Mississippi and Pearl Rivers-now a part of Louisiana. The flag later became the unofficial ensign of the South in 1860-1861 and inspired Harry McCarthy to compose the well known song, "The Bonnie Blue Flag." As Spanish power was declining in Florida, a group of seventy Georgians and nine Floridians crossed the St. Marys River to Amelia Island on March 13, 1812 to establish the "Territory of East Florida." They read a manifesto and raised a flag with the Latin inscription, "Salus populi lex suprema," or "The safety of the people, the supreme law." President James Monroe refused to acknowledge their claim and the movement failed. In 1817 American citizens desiring the independence of Florida, sponsored an expedition into the Spanish territory led by Gregor MacGregor, a veteran of Latin American revolutions. The group occupied Amelia Island on June 20th and raised a white flag with a green cross. Four months later they were forced to leave and their flag was all but forgotten.
The United States Government admitted Florida as the twenty-seventh state on March 3, 1845. Since, by law, new stars were added to the national flag on the July 4th following the admission of each new state, a twenty-seventh star was added for Florida on July 4, 1845 On March 3, 1845 Florida became the twenty-seventh state. Citizens of Tallahassee presented incoming Governor William D. Moseley with a flag which flew at his inauguration. Partly because of the controversy surrounding its motto, however, it never became an official State flag. The flag shown here is reconstructed from the written description. This chapter is adapted from a pamphlet, "The State of Florida's Heritage and Emblems," Florida Department of State and from Allen Morris' Florida Handbook
After Florida seceded from the Union in January 1861, a number of unofficial flags flew over the state. The General Assembly passed an act directing Governor Madison S. Perry to adopt "an appropriate device for a State flag which shall be distinctive in character." Six months later the Governor had the Secretary of State record the description of Florida's first official flag. Whether it was ever raised over the Capitol or in the field is unknown. The flag shown here is reconstructed from the written description. Unofficial "secession" flags were flying in many parts of the state even before Florida left the Union. The "Ladies o f Broward's Neck," in Duval County, presented this flag to Governor Madison Starke Perry. It flew at the Capitol when the Ordinance of Secession was signed on January I t, 1861. THE CONFEDERACY, 1861-1865 Floridians fought under at least five separate Confederate flags during the period 1861-1865. These flags have become the source of much regional pride---and many popular errors. At the Pensacola Navy Yard Colonel William H. Chase, Commander of Florida Troops, raised this flag which flew for eight months. Colonel Chases love star flag had the same design as that used by the Republic o f Texas Navy between 1836band 1845. THE LONE STAR FLAG, 1861 THE STARS AND BARS or FIRST NATIONAL FLAG, 1861
CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG OFFICIAL CONFEDERATE FLAG, 1865 STATE FLAG OF FLORIDA STATE FLAG, 1868
D. B. McKAY AWARD RECIPIENTS 1972 Frank Laumer 1973 State Senator David McClain 1974 Circuit Judge James R. Knott 1975 Glorida Jahoda 1976 Harris H. Mullen 1977 Dr. James W. Covington 1978 Hampton Dunn 1979 William M. goza 1980 Tony Pizzo 1981 Allen and Joan Morris 1982 Mel Fisher 1983 Marjory Stoneman Douglas 1984 Frank Garcia 1985 Former Gov. LeRoy Collins 1986 Dr. Samuel Proctor 1987 Doyle E. Carlton, Jr. 1988 Leland M. Hawes, Jr. 1989 U.S. Rep. Charles E. Bennett 1990 Joan W. Jennewein 1991 Gary R. Mormino 1992 Julius J. Gordon 1993 Jack Moore and Robert Snyder 1994 Ferdie Pacheo 1995 Stephanie Ferrell
Pictured above are seven Tampa veterans of the Negro League who recently celebrated the now defunct league's 75th anniversary. Left to right, Front, are Walter "Dirk" Gibbons, Hipolito "Pops" Arenas and John "Bay" Gibbons; Back, Robert Mitchell, Leonard Wiggs, Billy Felder and Clifford "Quack" Brown. Not pictured, Raydell "Bo" Maddix. Courtesy Tampa Tribune and James Marshall
1995 was a year of significant anniversary celebrations. The state of Florida marked 150 years of statehood In the Tampa Bay area, the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Department also celebrated its sesquicentennial. Centennials were observed by the Tampa Fire Department, the Tampa Tribune, the Hillsborough County Medical Association and the Ferman Motor Car Company. In 1996 the Hillsborough County Bar Association and John Darling Lodge, No. 154, F. & A.M. will celebrate 100 year anniversaries and the First Methodist Church of Tampa will observe its sesquicentennial. Charter members of the John Darling Lodge No. 154 Free And Accepted Masons. The Lodge was organized in 1896. Left to right, standing, J. M. Driver, Senior Deacon; A. Van Pelt, Tyler (with sword); Dr. G. H. Symmes, a visitor; Captain John T. Lesley, Senior Warden; Col. Charles H. Spencer, Worshipful Master; Dr. L. S. Oppenheimer, Junior Warden; D. D. Sherman, Junior Deacon; Mr. Lovring, and an identified Mason. In front of Van Pelt, D. L. Akin. Seated, H. C. Poppell, W. H. Snavely, Treasurer; name unknown, W. D. Green, and H. J. LaPenotiere, Secretary. Courtesy Lesley Family