The mangrove coast

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The mangrove coast

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The mangrove coast the story of the west coast of Florida
Bickel, Karl A ( Karl August ), 1882-1972
Place of Publication:
New York
Publication Date:
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ix, 303 p. : ills. ;


Subjects / Keywords:
History -- Florida ( lcsh )
letter ( marcgt )


Statement of Responsibility:
by Karl A. Bickel ; photographs by Walker Evans.

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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C54-00002 ( USFLDC DOI )
c54.2 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Bickel, Karl A.
q (Karl August),
d 1882-1972.
4 245
The mangrove coast :
b the story of the west coast of Florida /
c by Karl A. Bickel ; photographs by Walker Evans.
New York :
ix, 303 p. :
0 651
x History.
t City, County, and Regional Histories Collection
Evans, Walker,


THE MANGROVE COAST T he Story of the West Coast of Florida




COPYRIGHT, 1942, BY COWARD-McCANN, IN All rigllts Ycscrocd This book, OY p"rls thereof, mwt not be in any form with







THE MANGROVE COAST The Story of the West Coast of Florida


CHAPTER .:r SAND IN YOUR SHOES SOUTH FLORIDA is only a child as geologists count the years-a mere forty-five million years old, and still changing Only yesterday, within the last twenty-five thousand years that is, the land level at Miami. has risen six feet, tipping toward the northeast, and farther north and west it has sagged thirty. Variety and uncertainty are in the map of the Mangrove Coast, a name entirely arbitrary for that stretch of the west coast of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico from Ancolote Anchorage to Sanibel Key and then tapering off from Sanibel southward to the distant mouth of the Shark. The coast is more or less than its name sediment, deposited skeletons of a hundred kinds of dead and gone marine life, Tampa limestone, marl, muck and peat. Coral unquestionably did its bit, and beautiful branching clumps of it are com mon finds on the beaches after heavy storms, but the mangrove, the sea grape and the cedar, far more than coral, built the land that lies along the miles and miles of snow white sand. The three brothers in the Mangrove 3


. ... \ 4 The Mangrove Coast family, Red, Blackie and Whitey are the dominant con, struction crew all along the coast. Red is the advance : guard of the family. The red mangrove races out across."' the glistening mud of an inviting flat and lays the pre' liminary bed of root wall. Afterwards the black and the white mangrove follow and build up, through the bent ; and twisted pattern of roots, a solid bed of matted shoots ,., which, in their tum, gather up the sand, soil and seeds : which set the coast and give it strength to resist the slap '} and bang of the long rollers from the gulf. Once started, the mangrove with its clutching roots scuttles along on . ungainly legs that reach down through the sweep of the .. tide and through the mud and marl to secure firm grasp upon the bottom. Its gangly branches are soon encrusted with the "coon oyster/' which in low water looks like; dripping festoons of old and raveled rope. The man< grove's leaves are dark green and shiny, and sprinkled,, among them throughout the entire year are small pale ,. yellow blossoms. In the north the mangrove rarely grows over twenty feet high and looks like a great bush rather than a tree, and despite its power against the wind and }l wave is an easy victim of the frost. As accumulation of . sand and soil goes on the mangroves' work is assisted the air plants and orchids which roost among branches. Then comes the red cedar, the strangler :Wd the saw grass. In the north the sabal palm will m. Farther south the sabal is likely to be Joined by t leaning cocoa-palm. Below Sanibel and Everglades ; . '"'!; J?)t:


Sand in Your Shoes 5 in the region of the Shark the great wall of mangrove, made up of amazing trees, sometimes passing eighty feet in height, something to be seen nowhere else in all the world, form a deep green palisade along the shore. hind it lie the mysterious depths of the Florida rinth which has yet to be fully explored. Within the Labyrinth grows the great terrestrial orchid, with splendid spreading pink :Bowers, often to be seen broken and mangled, floating on the waters but still beckoning to some fortunate botanist knowing himself to be the first to see it growing in its natural state. Here in the Labyrinth is the legendary lair of Buster Farrell's sixty-foot sea serpent. Along this shore in the mad tangle of the mangrove roots the wild dillies and the soap berry grow and close to the warm sands of the gleaming beach are thousands upon thousands of dwarf cacti. Farther south the land is so young its age is but "a tick of time." To the north over the centuries the accumulations of muck and marl have been far greater. Four thousand feet below the courthouse square in Tampa the tion rocks of Florida are said to exist. But the average tourist passes geology by. He looks with today's, eyes at . today's sights. He cares little how much is. in the coast and thinks less about the mangrove. His eyes rest on the sponge markets that make Tarpon Springs as colorful as the old Aegean. The little boats with blue and russet sails; bronzed sponge fishers speaking Greek, Spanish and English; the millions of sea shells;


6 The Mangrove Coast :: :.r :,i ,. '. the swaying tendrils of the purple sea plum and. the deli'; cate lacelike iptricacies of the sea fan delight him . J: Branching coral there is too, bone white and infinitely \ various in design. And after a heavy sea, a writhing line of dull green kelp tangled with oddly contorted in brilliant white, orange and scarlet trims the coast. Castled in the kelp are jutting-eyed defiant little crabs, ; a world of inch-high devils. Poke at the kelp with your : stick or toe and the crabs will instantly swarm out of the deep green recesses of the seaweed and with des perate bravery stand their ground, defiantly waving their tiny, futile claws. On such days, too, after a storm, thousands of sand pipers, sometimes herded by a big Wilson snipe, march back and forth along the beach at Sarasota advancing, re treating with the waves, and devouring the little crabs and coquinas. The sunsets off Cap d'Antibes, off the atolls of the South Seas, the sunsets that spill raw reds and on the gaunt beaches of Lower California are worth > traveling far to see. On the Mangrove Coast the sun goesi. down with a calm serenity all its own and special stinted pouring out of color on the glistening sand. lri' the spring it takes but sixty seconds for the great orange ball to slip from sight from the time it first touches the j . level line of the far horizon until the last tip of its golden circumference disappears. It is a favorite trick of the old < timers, standing on the beach in the evening, to make :


Sand in Your Shoes 7 wagers with the newcomers on the time c onsumed. It seems much lon ge r. As the sun f ades the e vening wears an orchid veil like no other s unset in the world The coast i s calm. But it is a strand littered with great associations No bastions, no cloistered m iss ions no monuments to imp e rial history emb e llish it. But many great names have passed its way, and though nothing greets the eye, l egen d is abounding. Vespucci, Juan P once d e Leon Diego Miruelo, Cordova, Francisco Garay, Narvaez, Cabeza de Vaca, Juan de Anasco, de Soto and the martyred P adre Cancer all saw this coast on their j ou rneys four cen tur ies ago. They sought, they said, t o expand Gods kingdom and their own, and, not altogether as an afterthought, to find go ld. Some slipped by into the early mornin g Gulf horizon; othe r s di sap peared in long, thi n lines into the gree n darkness of the palmettoes and the bearded li v e oaks never to return. The few who might have staye d along the coas t an d planted banners were driven away by the fighting Timu cans Three centuries were to pas s before white' men obtained any p ermanent foothold on the Mangrove Coas t But no coas t once sighte d or even h ear d o f i s eve r unexplo red. I f no white m en in thos e centuries came to conq uer and to stay, they sti ll held it on their charts, L e Moyne's great map and that of Johannes Schoner and the high ly colored one s from the presses of old Abraham Or telius, Peter Goos and Gerard Mercator. Maps are hard and fast definite down to minutes and


8 The Mangrove Coast d egrees, but coasts by themselves, are illusory things. The Mangrove Coast has its plac e with those other opi ates of the map tasters who accept poetry and fantasy where your worri e d navigator wants longitude and lati tude and great exactitude in fathoms. The China Coast, the Gold Coast, the I vory Coast, the Cote d 'Azur are real and definite places yet their b oundaries are never r eally fixed; interna tional conferences and high statesmanship ca n never quite d e fin e them. They are b e liev e d-they are governe d by m en's fancy. The China Coas t drawn by one map maker to include the west as far a s Singa pore, by another as reaching north to absorb Kamchatka, and by some other narrowed down to label only the s h ore from Hong Kong to the green and purple hills of Shan i -Gwan is such a coast of story. It is much the same with : i them all. Wherefore in th e midst of dreams about the Ma n grove Coast, i ts l eaping tarpon and buried treasure, in spite of a fondne ss for fa ded Spanis h maps in Havana Museums, who writes about the West Coast of Florida must pull himself up short. In Drake's day a returned trave ler could get away with the vaguest of direction s -a wa ve of the hand t oward the Western Sea and a tank ar d drunk t o the "Wes tern Isles." In these days of road signs, tr affi c officers and gas sectional people want to kn ow the ro. ute, the s tation and the mile. With a hundred and twenty horse power under the hood, Harold I c kes peeping over the sh oulder and only three w ee ks clear of the office, a few substantial travel facts


Sand in Your Shoes 9 are in order. One cannot moon about the Mangrove Coast; nor even copyright the name without a lot of argument with Chambers of Commerce from Perdido River to Barnes Sound. Most of these will hold out for an imaginary line just north of Port Richey, and some will stick for cutting off at Sanibel Key, off Punta Rassa passage, where-some say and others deny-old Ponce de Leon received his death wound. Sanibel would have to be included along with Gasparilla, La Costa and Cap tiva. It was on Captiva, say the believers of the legend of the pirate Gasparilla, that the old buccaneer kept his harem-hence the name. But no fragile bones or bits of jewelry have ever been discovered there. This lovely string of keys frames Charlotte Harbor and protects it from the high rolling seas of the Gulf when the north ers come sweeping down in February. Fort Myers js almost eighteen miles up the wide Caloosahatchee. "Hatchee" is the Seminole word for river. On some of the old Spanish maps the river is named the Carlos but the "r'' wore badly and both Seminole and settler soon found it easier just to drop it. The stimulant of the Semi nole wars, which founded so many Florida towns, es tablished Fort Myers and the location of a .Union battal-: ion there during the Civil War further accounted for its growth. In 1859 a South Carolina planter made extensive plans for developing an American coconut plantation at Fort Myers but he left with the firing on Fort Sumter and there are still no co:mniercial coconut plantations


10 The Mangrove Coast at Fort Myers. Edison discovered the coast in the early 'Eighties, slumbering in its somnolent January sun, and built a home and erected a laboratory there. astic, he offered in 1887 to provide Fort My ers with electric power for the three winter months entirely out charge, but the easygoing citizenry, quite satisfied with candles and kerosene, said the cost of the erection of the pole line was excessive so the project died. son experimented here with the us e of bamboo the filament for the light bulb. The Duke of Sutherland was a frequent visitor. He would leave his large land holdings north of St Petersburg to sail south in his big yacht, the Sans Peur, and call in state upon the inventor tended b y four kilted pipers, tootling their heads off as they followed the Duke from his tender up the palm lined streets Mu c h later Henry Ford and Harvey stone came to settle on estates adjoining the Edison property. Out of this group of neighbors grew Edison's experiments to find a native source for the commercial production of rubber. For over five yea r s Edison experimented with great numbers of Florida weeds and plants in an effort to find an acceptable substitut e for the rubber trees of Malaya and the Amazon as a domestic source of supply. He filially settled upon the common goldenrod as the most promising Durin g the l atter years of his life he devoted many weeks of each winter season to his experiments with it in his little green laboratory at Fort He


Sand in Your Shoes 11 succeeded in extracting sound commercial rubber, but the cost of production from the goldenrod as against the cost of Malayan rubber seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle. Now, however, the sharp and breathless de mands of war make little of peacetime costs. Goldenrod, which can be produced in Florida in enormous amounts within the space of a few weeks, is again looming up in the laboratories as a possible answer to a wartime emer gency. Fort Myers is unique. There are those who say it is no part of these United States at all. It is a: suburb of Rio or Bombay, a fragment of Manila, a bit of old Pan ama, a truly tropical place, too tropical really, to be counted on the Mangrove Coast. Under its mile-long avenue of royal palms Fort Myers is not recognizable botanically as a part of the continental America. It might easily be an island, as Key West is, or a thousand miles nearer the equator, spread along Capricorn. Those who discount their eyes and claim Fort Myers for America point out that one can walk from Chicago to Fort Myers without crossing water more extensive than bridged stream. But they all admit that the journey from North Clark street is infinitely longer than the registered miles in the AAA map. Only the sky-reaching royals, the sapo dillas, the mamee, and the clustered coconuts can tell you how utterly far we must have come. Leave it at that. The tropics brush the Mangrove Coast but do not overwhelm it. The horticultural jour-


12 The Mangrove Coast nals describe it as subtropical, which means that all fif teen native Florida palms grow there, and also the coco. nut and the lovely Cocos plumosa, a Brazilian emigre which combines the glories of the royal with the coconut and is as sturdy and frost-resistant as the native cabbage. Its feathery fronds float in the slightest breeze, and to many its straight and slender b'unk, the color of old discolored ivory, has far more charm than the gray white cement of the columns of the royal palm. Rows of them can be seen in all the newer cities. The planning experts use them to displace the rougher lustier Washingtonia. Talk of palms like talk of coasts runs on; there is romance in the some two hundred varieties from M rica, Asia and Europe which have come to be natural ized citizens, beautiful, flourishing, bearing fruit in what was once the New World. The native cabbage palm, the slash pine, the three oaks, water oak, laurel oak and live oak; the and fertile mangrove, red, white and black, the stark mysterious cypress are there in groves, with here there the giant :Howering magnolia and its cousin, the bay tree. The Chinese lacquer red of the early swamp maple, the gray of Spanish moss, air plants and native orchids, mottled, or red, or yellow, some deli cate as little bubbles, some so old that four strong men ean scarcely lift them-all these flourish on that coast Stand on the beach and look to sea. You will see crea tures as strange as the trees and plants-the rare and lonely manatee, the great sea turtles, the slowly turning


Sand in Your Shoes 13 dolphin, the flashing tarpon and the king. Then the old tales begin to take shape, tales of Spanish cavaliers, and smuggled drugs and Chinamen, of the wrecks when the bitter lash of the northwester has struck the coast The sun is setting Look about you. The saying goes that if you once get the sand of the Coast in your shoes, you will itch forever after with the longing to return to bury your toes in the sand of this shore, to smell its morning winds, and gaze at its high blue sky.


CHAPTER BEFORE THE SPANISH CAME IN the pre-Columbian era and for the first two cent\J.ries after the coming of Ponce de Leon Indians-but not the Seminoles-domillated the Mangrove Coast. Of the two basic Indian groups in Florida the northern, the Timucans lived roughl y north of a line running from Sarasota Bay to Cape Canaveral South of it the Caloosas held the vast area between Cape Sable and Sarasota Bay. On the east they divided the Everglades with the Tequestas, a closely related trib e with whom, in matters of importance, the Caloosas usually acted in concert. The precise origin of these Indians is unknown. They seem to have drifted in from the north and west, part of the great Mu s hkoge e emigration from beyond the Mississippi, which some believe to have been forced by pressure from th. e expanding Aztecs. Others believe that both the Timucan and the Caloosa stock came from Central America and Yucatan That is not improbable. Much in th eir social structure suggests both the Mayan and the Aztec. Undoubtedly over centuries the Florida 14


f Before the Spanish Came 15 Indians were in constant contact with the Carib, the Siboney and .Arawak Indians of the West Indies, from Cuba and the Bahamas, Haiti and the north coast of South America, too, perhaps. Their language contained so many Carib words that it is probable the West Indian Indians and the Florida Indians could communicate without difficulty. The men and women of both tribes were tall, clean cut people, of a light brown hue. The women were no tably attractive to the early Spanish explorers. Their short skirts of closely woven Spanish moss had all the appearance, pliability and softness of fine wool, the Spaniards said. Le Moyne's pictures, made near St. Au gustine in 1565, show the men as definitely taller than their French visitors. This appearance of height was added to by the way the men bound their hair upon a light structure of vegetable fiber another foot higher. Bernal Diaz, who came in contact with the Timucans near Tampa Bay in 1517, reported that they looked like giants. A mound opened on Longboat Key off Sarasota Bay revealed two male skeletons, one of which was seven feet long and tJ:le other was almost eight Both Timucans and the Caloosas were sedentary. Their permanent homes were fixed and they had fields for cultivation of corn, pumpkins, squash and tobacco. They well-organized fisheries and ce r tain rude in dustries. Their mounds, sprinkled thickly over the whole gulf region, are sound evidence of the enormous.


16 The Mangrove Coast .. v ., / .. .. .. number of oysters they consumed. They ate turkey, deer, :< opossum and often smacked their lips over a succulent. baked rattlesnake. On occasion, following an intertribal raid, there is a sin i ster touch in their diet. The breasts .. : of young girls, it was said, were especially reserved for the chiefs. ; Their social organization was well defined. Their chief :t. assumed the prerogatives of royalty; a nobility furnished .\ the tribe's councilors and a "common people" provided : .. the warriors. The chief, his queen, and the greater nobles were borne on litters of rich design when they traveled ::' from village to village. These litters were carried by a ,; fourth social category, a curious, very numerous element, berdaches, neutral as to sex, who were held to certain restricted tasks, heavy burden-carrying among these. They were usually w little of their tribal contacts, save with each other, and their concepts of commerce. The wide rang.


Before the Spanish Came 17 ing Cabeza de Vaca describing the life of the northern Gulf Coast Indians, who were probably Creeks in ori gin, pictures a surprisingly large play of intertribal trade from group to group into the far north and west. The evidence of contact with the people of the West Indies comes largely from the artifacts from the mounds; pot tery and gold ornaments. But the record reports a Span. ish-speaking, Spanish-hating Indian among those who appeared off the_ Gulf Coast with a squadron of attacking canoes against Ponce de Leon's fleet in 1518. This Indian told the surprised Spaniards, who assumed they were traveling waters no white man had ever sailed before, that he came from Hispaniola (Haiti). The incident indicates sufficiently that visits were not infrequent. Indians in almost all of the West Indian islands told Columbus of the great island to the north. Evidence from the mounds speaks even more positively. Dr. Cush ing's discoveries in the shell heaps .on Marco Key indi cate Mexican contacts, while the finding by M. J. Tallant of Manatee of a beautifully worked Mayan gold Sun God, creeping alligator, and necklace, in a mound north of the Manatee River tells the same story. M. J. Tallant's collection of pre-Spanish Indian pottery and metal objects provides plenty of testimony to prove the case. The dogs of the Caloosas, it has been noted, were strikingly similar to the dogs of Peru. The Mayans were great traders. Their merchants, in huge trading canoes, visited ports from the Columbian


18 The Mangrove Coast coast to as far north as Yucatan. Columbus saw one of these boats on his last voyage off the coast of Nicaragua. : It was, he reported, almost a hundred feet long with a seven-foot beam and supported twenty-five paddlers, the merchant and hi s family of seven. It carried a palm thatched deck house and numerous cooking pots; and, stowed away fore and aft, was a cargo of goods consisting of woven cotton cloth, copp e r implements and jars of Mayan beer. There are many months in every year when such a craft could easily work from Yucatan to Cuba and from) Cuba to Key West and the Florida main l and. Obviously there was not a great trade be tween the Gulf Coast and the Mayan ports but this was not because of the distance but simply because the Florida Indians had so little of value, in Mayan eyes to offer in exchange. The Caloosas and Timucans could. offer roseate spoonbill feathers, parakeet skins, some : furs, and perhaps some copper. While Moore, Schu chert, Sto n e, Fewkes, Cushing and Hrdlicka, collectors of early Florida artifacts, have pioneered among the . Flor ida mounds, and earnest Floridian students like Tal,1 lant of Manate e and Moore of Sarasota, have carefully <' searched through the debris of many mounds, there are still hundreds of mounds as yet untouched, and in those mounds much more remains to be discovered. The large mounds Weedin' s Island in St. Petersburg, the im portant mounds of Terra Ceia Island and Sneed's Island near Bradenton; the mounds along the Myaaka and


Before the Spani s h Came 19 on the countless k eys south of Charlotte Harbor and around the mouth of the Shark, have yet to r eveal all their she ll-encrust e d secrets. Unfortunately, many mound s a r e ruthlessl y ripp e d op e n every year by men utte r l y igno rant of scientific p r actice o r understanding, seeking r e lics for tourists or hop ing to find gold. Mound diggin g is fast beco ming one of the l as t of Florida 's big gam e sports. Unless mounds are placed under stat e pro tection their messages f or the historian and the scien tist will be l ost f o r eve r We know that the Mangrove Coast Indians were sun worship ers The fine, high temple mound at Terra Ceia I sland shows the l ong r am p coming up from the west to the top o f the p yrami d where the temple, f acing eastward once stood. D e So to' s so ldi e r s destroyed it in 1539. _J'he India n Villages were built on a se ries of low mounds gener ally flanking one higher mound upon wh ich s tood the hou se of the chief. The palm-that ched h o u ses we r e large enoug h for severa l families to dwell unde r one roof Some were eve n s pacious enough to house upward of a hundred fa milies. After the Spaniards came, the T imucans seem to have withdrawn from S arasota and Tampa Bay northward. B y 1612 when the region was visited by Lt. Rodr iguez de Cartayo, all the Tampa Bay country was Caloos a terr itory and the ir great chi ef had his capital a t Charl otte H arbo r. The anna l s of the Coast record that a plague of chicken pox swept over the whol e Gulf country late in the seven-


20 The Mangrove Coast teenth century. The Indians were as helpless against it as if it had been smallpox. Some years later that eager slaveraiding Englishman, Governor Moore of Georgia, pressed deep into north central Florida, forcing the Tim. ucans and Caloosas to give ground before the British and their Creek allies. The Caloosas retreated into the 'Glades. In 1763, when the Spanish ceded Florida to the British, many of the Caloosas emigrated to Cuba to escape British rule. The rest hid themselves in the Big Cypress country south and east of Fort Myers. A few of the Caloosas are said to have been implicated with the Seminoles in the attack upon Captain Harney's trading post at Fort Myers in 1839 and the year after in the massacre at Dr. Perrine s plantation on Indian Key. In the smoke and flame of the destruction of the Perrine plantation the Caloosas slip from the pages of history. To. day unless perhaps in the veins of some vagrant Seminole, there is not a drop of Caloosa or Timucan blood in all Florida.


CHAPTER 3 PONCE DE LEON DOES NOT LOOK FOR A SPRING JUAN PONCE DE. LEON did not discover Florida on Easter Day. Nor was he looking for a spring. In fact, it is by no means certain that he was the discoverer of Florida at all. John Cabot in his memorable voyage in 1497 sailed south along the Atlantic Coast an undeter mined distance. Certain historians, bearing important names, support the theory that the Genoese navigator for Henry VII reached the coast of northern Florida. If he did, he made no landing of importance and brought no inrmation of value back with him. The far more noted voyage of Amerigo Vespucci is more historically important to the Mangrove Coast. Amerigo is the gentleman for whom the geographer Waldseemuller later named the western hemisphere. He made, with a cOnsiderable degree of now unde rstandable secrecy, four voyages to the New World, the first of them in 1498. Much contradictory ink from historians' pens has flowed over these four voyages. Doubts, insinuations, charges and counter-charges are in the long record . If 21


22 The Mangrove Coast Amerigo's stat em ents as t o these explorations are true, h e was in f act the real di scovere r of the North American con tinent and the first European to set eyes and f eet up on the Coast, the discov e r e r of Florida as well as of America. Vespucci sa iled from Cadiz o n May lOth 1497 ac companied by Vicente Pinz on and Diaz Solis, co-execu tives and pilots, with a Heet of four caravels Followin g Columbus trail, they set out first for the Canary I slands and l aid a direct course for the Indies. Pinzon is a name famous in the Spanish sea history of that period. The P in zons l argely financed Columbus, and two of that family sai led with the Magn ificen t Admiral on his first voyage. Amerigo Vesp ucci was in one of the ship chandlers' firms that h e l ped outfit the second Co lumbian exploration. The coilaborators had a compe t en t seaman's knowledge of the Admiral's course. The flee t met fair weather. They r eached the vicinity of Cap e Honduras on the Central American coast-the first white men to lay eyes on the North American continental land mass -in thirty-seven days. Columbus took thirty -four to teach San Salvador, a good nine hundred miles to the east of Central Amer ica. Making freq uent landings, e ngaging now and then in friendly tradin g and occasional s kirmishes with the Vespucci r ounded Yucatan crossed the Gull touched the Mexican coast at Tampico and the n sailing always to the north and northeast, he skirted the Texas coast, passed the mouth of the Mississippi


Ponce de Leon Does Not Look for a Spring 23 and in April, 1498, sailed south the entire length of the Florida gulf coast, passing through the keys and into Biscayne Bay toward the end of that month. Thence he sailed north, captured two hundred Indian slaves, re crossed the Atlantic and arrived in Cadiz. He sold his human cargo in mid-October of that year. That, i n brief, is the story of his first trip. Stress is laid on several facts by those opposed to the acceptance of the Vespucci voyage. No official recogni tion seems to have been given to the explorer upon his return, despite the fact that he stated in his letter to the Gonfalonier Pieli Soderini of Florence in 1504 that he sailed under the sanction of King Ferdinand of Castile Much is made of the fact that after landing in Cadiz in October, 1498, .he made no known report in writing on his momentous discovery until six years later in his now famous letter from Lisbon to the Gonfalonier. There seems too, to be some evidence thatVespucci may never have left Spain at all during the period in which he has stated the voyage was made. The entire voyage, with or without the sanction of King Ferdinand, was clouded with not a little taint of illegality. Yet no one can study the famous Cantina map of the Caribbean area, published in 1502 eleven years prior to Ponce de Leon's first exploration, and not be convinced that only had Florida been. discovered but that its entire coast, west and east, had been rather carefully examined . Presumably the map was drawn from notes obtained


24 The Mangrove Coast from V espucci or from some one who made the voyage with him. The outstanding features of the Florida coast line are generally well indicated. The three important indentations along the Florida gulf coast-Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor and Ponce de Leon bay-are shown, and the long straight line of the Florida east coast is correctly presented. There were maps of Florida pre pared a century later that were no more accurate than the Cantino map of 1502. Under Columbus' agreements with the King and Queen of Spain he had a complete monopoly on the business of exploring the New World. Restive King Fer dinand undoubtedly was concerned with the broad sweep of the Columbian monopoly on New World ex ploration. The King was in a subordinate position as against the Queen 's rights in this matter. The Queen was ardently supporting to the limit the royal contracts of. the Very Magnificent Lord and Don Admiral. Again the slave ang l e to the story was "off the record." King Ferdi nand had no sentimental squeamishness about enslaving heathen from the Indies. It was, he held, fine for their souls and their heavenly future and also very good busi ness, but the Queen, at this time, was adamant in her opposition. The fact alone that Vespucci brought back over two hundred Indian slaves would make the trip something best hushed up. Close upon his first trip V espucci made another for the same interests that financed his initial voyage. Ob-. . ;. >


Ponce de L eo n Does Not Loo k for a Sprin g 25 viously it was to the interests of his royal employ e r to keep the voyages sec ret, and while Vespucci was still in Spain, it was not tactful f or him to publish any of his exploits-particularly to the Gonfalonier of Florence, a rival commercial center likely to back its merch a nts in competing exp loration. The evi dence that Ve spucGi may not actually have participat ed in the voyages at all is long and involved, too long to be even discu sse d in a brief review. One crowning bit of evidence there is in Vespucci 's f avo r se ldom sufficiently emphasized. This one fact seems to place the exploration beyond all dis pute. That is the recognition of th e voyage by Columbus himself. The Great Admiral was a man of many sides, of moods and f antasies. But there can be no ques tion as to his supreme position as a seaman, a geographer, an explorer, and, in his time, an authority on maritime ad venture Columbus made his fourth and last voyage to the New World in 1502. It is interesting that the King having been secretly in the slave-running business with V es pucci for almost four years, in his .final instructions to the Admiral t old him he "must not bring back slaves." The Queen's influence was still dominant. Columbus was obsessed with the vision of .finding a new passa ge to Cinpango . H e t o uched North America, for the first and onl y time somewhat north of Panama sailed south and then north to Cape Honduras. H e foun d gold. He found pearls. Not poor unrefined gold but great slab s of pure


26 The Mangrove Coast ore, valued almost $400 to $600 per slab. He came into contact with a Mayan trading canoe, a hundred feet long, maintaining a crew of over thirty men and women, loaded with Mayan pottery, copper articles and cotton goods, On the verge of touching both the Mayan and the Aztec empires which later enriched Cortez and Al varado, the Great Admiral ignored the appeal to his cu pidity. He pressed on to find the passage. Failing, his .. ships worm-eaten, the rigging rotten, he struggled back to shipwreck and disaster before ever he reached Spain ; and the royal court. The Queen, the Admirar s always staunchest friend, was dead; his stock at court was low; men found his story wearisome. Much of the gold he had taken from the Central American coast had been lost on the Jamaican coast. The Mayan goods for which he had traded had vanished. He needed confirmation of his story, and support. In this hour Columbus turned to Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci had sailed north from the very point at which Columbus had closed his north. bound cruise, and knew the coast. He knew its people and could testify to its wealth. "Tell them," said the aged and ailing Admiral, fighting desperately against the court cabal who itched to get their fingers into the golden pie, "what you have seen and what I have seen." .. And Vespucci for some months acted as an employee of the old sea dog who had won for Spain a New World ;. and for the world a New Era. There was no question in the mind of the Great Ad. ; . \ . . >,


Ponce de Leon Does Not Look for a Spring 27 miral. He accepted the fact of Vespuccr s trip. Bitt e r he may have been over the implied disloyalty to him and his rights, in the King' s permitting the Vespuccian voyages to be made at all. But Columbus and his sons, wise to the ins and outs of every Atlantic port in Spain knew the facts. And needing a witness, Columbu s se cured that one in Vespucci, the only explorer in all Spain except himself who had ever charted a course from the old continent to the new. Vespucci may have been Florida's first Europ ea n visitor. Cabot may have sailed past the mouth of the St. Johns. Illegal and unauthori ze d slave-hunting expe ditions slipping out at night from Haitian or Porto Rican Sp anish colonial harbor s, creeping through the Baham as to the Florida coast, there certa inl y must ha ve been. Rum o r and report abounded as to the fact of the land and even as to its contour and general shape Later on the Spanish government in formal decree laid claim to Florida asserting they ha'd h eld the rights of discovery since 1510, three years before Ponce de Leon saw the shores of Florida. The expedition of Juan Ponc e stands out romantically from its proper mold and setting. For centuries the year in which he made the trip was r eported as 1512. Not until earnest work on Spanish documents duri9-g the middle years of the last century was it proved conclusively tha t the voyage was made in 1 513. The Easter Day discovery l egend dies hardest of all. Lowery in 1901 in his S pan-


28 The Man g r ove Coast ish Settlements," placed the date of Juan Pon ce's land fall as April 2nd, 1513, and Frederick Davis, in his note worthy study of the Juan Ponce explora tions in the spe cial Florida Historical Society supplement of 1935, proved conclusively that Juan Ponce was almost four hundred miles from the Florida coast on Easter Day. Yet the l egend, as well as the fantasy of the youth reviving spring, persists. The l og of the Juan Ponce voyages no longer exists. The best account is that by the Spanish historian Her rera, writing eighty years after the even t, and apparently with the log before him, which gives the world the only known detailed account of the famous Spaniard's ad ventures. A fighter of reput e a g ains t the Moors, a mem b e r of Columbus' second e x p e dition, a highly regarded fighter against the I ndian s of Haiti and P orto Rico, and l ater governor of Porto Rico Juan Ponce was no ama teur in New World affairs, when due to a switch in power in the factions that contro lled the royal court in Seville, he was deprived of his work as colonial gov emqr. Thereupon," states the old chronicle, "Juan Ponce, se e ing himself rich determined to do someth in g by which to gain honor and increase his estate There was plenty of news about the islands to the northward. The Indians talked of Bimini The legend of health-restoring springs in the lands to the north was part of eve ry In-


Ponce de Leon Does Not L oo k for a Spring 29 dian's stock of tales. Columbu s had heard it. "The springs" were one of the current jokes along the water si d e Other r eports were more important and mor e cred ible: "gold in the lands to the north"-slaves to b e taken -beautiful women; and perhaps more certain and al luring, spices and rare woods So Juan Ponce made the weary journey back to Spain and to Burgos where the court then stayed, and there argued, wrangled, drank and diced h is way through all the obstacles and obstruc tions that encompass any man in every time who arrives in a capital seeking power and privilege. The King's con sent was won. Juan received his patent. It was a r ela t ive ly short and simple document. Gold, justice-high and l ow -the King's tenth and Jua n Ponc e's over-all percentage were handled with directness and clarity. No thing was said about the sou l s of the Indians, but a good deal abou t the division of their bodies. The deed was signed, states the old manuscript still in existence in Seville, "at Bur gos, February 23rd, 1512, by command of the King." It was sealed by that fine and staunch old friend of Columbus, the Bishop of Palencia. No reference was made in it in any place to the business of expanding the King dom of Christ. Juan Ponc e returned to Porto Rico and set about col lecting his fleet and supplies. The following March he was read y to depart. He was slightly o ver fifty years of age, sound in b od ily health, certainly no p alsied seeke r after aphrodisi aca l beverages and a new lease on sexua l


30 The Mangrove Coast life. His crew was made up of veterans of New World exploration and strife. He had three vessels. Of these only the San ChrWoval was of any size. H e held his troop down to fighters and sailo r s. No priests were taken, no doctors and no savants. He needed no alchemist to show him gold. As for doctors there were always many in the crew who could render the rough and ready treat ment that passed for marine hygiene in those d ays. The doctor Columbus took with him on his secon d voyage found himself overworked when the crew were. attacked in mass by dysentery after eating wild native fruits. The doctor feeling himself badly underpaid, appealed to Columbus for a raise. The best the Magnificent Ad miral would promise was that h e would write the Queen about it. Juan Ponce did not want to be bothered with any such details. Ponce sailed from Porto Rico on March Srd, 1513. The fleet did "eight l eagues of a day's run" on the night of March 4th, thus proving that Juan Ponce was a night sailor and that he did not lay up, as some do, while cruis ing in barely exp lored waters. A league was approx i mately two and a half miles so the night's run netted about twenty-one miles. Obviou s l y this was a short run. Davis, in his studies on Jua n Ponce, estimates the fleet did about two miles an hour or around fifty miles per day. Others thulk this was a low average. Fifty mile s every twenty-four hours for vessels of this class was


Ponce de Leon Does Not Look for a Spring 31 certainly not exceptional. There has been a great deal of nonsense written about the size and unseaworthiness of the sixteenth-century vessels which made the early trans Atlantic crossings. The old caravels and galleons were pretty able seagoing concerns and with wind over their tails they could make very fair time. They were not as flexible as the modem schooner b.ut they did achieve some amazing voyages in good time and condition. The vessels of the original Columbus fleet were selected by Columbus and his partners, the Pinzon brothers of Palos. They had no wide field for choice but they did not need it. The three of them were probably the ablest navigators in Europe, sea wise in every way. They picked the three vessels, and by Columbus' express wish, selected small with light draft. The Columbian fleet made the last leg of its first voyage, from the Canary Islands to San Salvador, in thirty-four days. That's good sailing today. The caravel type was a long low-waisted, narrow beamed craft, with one over-all deck, three masts and a high, three-decked house after an<;l a smaller structure in the bow. Often the caravels were lateen rigged. The Santa Maria was so equipped until just before her dep arture when Columbus had her rerigged to square sails. The Santa Maria was one hundred seventeen feet long and ran about two hundred thirty tons. Juan Ponce's boat was of about the same general character and size. Boats of this class drew around eight feet, were handled


32 The Mangrove Coast more easily than larger vessels and could be worked closer in to the s hore, which is important in a voyage of discovery They were fast e r too. Columbus did as high as three hundred miles a day. He frequently did one hundred twenty miles. His average was slightly over ninety. It is hard to estimate exactly the speed of Juan Ponce's fleet because of the varying conditions under which it sailed. It is about eleven hundred miles from Porto Rico to latitude 30.08 on the Florida coast where Juan Ponce made his first landfall. The fleet was off Key Abaco on Easter Sunday, March 27th, something under four hundred miles from the Florida coast where he secured his landfall April 2nd, just six days later. That gives Juan P once an average of about fifty-five miles per day, which is probably pretty close to what the fleet actually accomplished. Easter Sunday was March 27th and, as has been pointed out, Juan Ponce was off Key Abaco. Still sail ing northwest as straight as a homing pigeon, Ponce, six days after Easter, at noon, on April 2nd, made his landfall off the Florida coast He was then, it is believed, about eighteen miles north of St. Augustine. He was never closer to that little community which now so well commercializes his name. Throughout most of the after noon of that day he sailed slowly north, using the lead a greater part of the time and getting an average of nine fathoms. Uncounted billions of tons of water have heaved


Ponce de Leon Does Not Look for a Spring 33 and rolled over that sandy beach since the bright April day four hundred and thirty odd years ago The charts still make it nine fathoms and a bad spot for a s kipper to be in who is on the lookout for a quick safe harbor. As he edged in closer to the beach, Herrera states, Juan gained the impression of a beautiful view and cool wood lands. It had been a long, hard trip from Porto Rico The sun had beaten down relentlessly as only the Caribbean spring sun can. Juan Ponce and his men had no automatic ice machines nor perfumed oils to assuage their sunbaked backs and flaming noses. The tall pines, the close clustering leaves of the palmetto, the spreading live oaks with their silver beards of moss and the miles and miles of dark green mangrove must have beckon e d to the men with promises of swift brooks, soft sward and deep cool shade. That's what sailors think of, next to women and . whisky, when they first come up to a new and untried coast from a burning tropic sea. Sometime between that late afternoon arrival on April 2nd and the morning of April 8th, Ponce de Leon went ashore and took possession. If he made any ceremony of it, the affair must have been most simple. He had no priests for mass, no government officials, no historians. His right and title to the land was made active and vital by the mere fact of his arrival. Juan Ponce was no man for unnecessary display. The fleet was in need of fresh Water for the butts and dry firewood for th e galley, and


34 The Mangrove Coast this was sec ured. The water was of a brackis h taste and slightly regarde d The Fountain of Youth story cropped up later as columnists gossip A glib and often inte resting histor ian of sorts one Peter Martyr attached to the Span ish court, made a practic e of writing chatty and inf o rm a tive news lett e rs of the ins and outs of the Spanish court to a selected group of distinguished clien ts. One of these was the Bishop of Rome,. and to him one day Peter Martyr wrote tha t in the gossip brou ght back from the New World was a trul y good one, that among the newly disc overed islands "ther e was one in which the re is a continu a l spring of running wate r of such marve l ous virtue tha t the wate r being drunk ( perhaps w ith so me diet), makes old men young again." That was alL But today, as in th e sixteenth cen tury in Rom e or in any m a n 's town, that was news Juan Ponce never saw the mouth of the St. Johns river though he must have driven very close to it. Had he sail e d nor th a littl e farther, perhaps if he had kept his cour se but another fifteen minutes, he would have freed hi s vision fr o m the high-topped palms that hid the view of the river mouth from the south in those days and made the disco very. But he did not and soon turned south His l ittle v esse l s fought off the mystery of the Gulf Str eam, the clawing fing e r s of which k ept h is shi ps from prop e rly answering t o the rudde r and caused him i I i l I j


Ponce de Leon Does Not Look for a Spring 35 great diffic ulti es. I n the end, after one slight battle with the Indians and a few days' stay in Biscayne Bay, near Miami, he sailed south into the m azes of the Florida k eys B e yond l a y Tortugas, Espiritu Santo Bay, fair-faced, :fierce I ndians, a trickle of gold-and the shadow of Death itse lf This he did not know. H e sailed on.


CHAPTER4 THE LADY BELCHED THE fleet lay in the deep vel vety darkness of the May night. There was a slight wind, scarcely a breeze, and the dark surface of the Gulf was hardly broken by occa siona l ruffies as the wind passed lightly over the surface. But the air was fresh and the man at the tiller felt that daylight was not far away. On the foremast a small light twinkled. Close to the till e r another lantern hung. Now and again, as the caravel lazily lifted and rolled, a beam would strike the s t eersman's face as he bent over his gear, or reveal a rai sed arm and hand. I To the l eft the steersman coul d see pin pricks in the night, the lights of two smaller vessels. 'To the right on 1 the sea's edge lay a sliver of gray and pink. A door banged aft in the shadows that concealed the high three-decked castle of the carave l and immediately the solid stamp of booted feet was heard descending the companio nway. A cloaked figure emerged. "All wellr' he asked curtly. "Yes, my Lord, Juan Ponce. A calm night, the wind I l


The Lady Belched 37 from the east. The water shoaled two hours ago. We lie here until dawn." "What does it make?" "A trifle better than two fathoms. Hard sand on the bottom and grass also. We will see land with the sun." The cloaked figure ascended to the top deck of the after castle. Juan Ponce signed briefly to the watchman stationed on the top deck. He moved toward the rail looking eastward. He was joined a moment later by another figure, wrapped in a dark cape and likewise wearing a flat black beret over his head. The vessel slowly rose and fell in the light swell. "Buerios dias, General," said the newcomer. "Buenos dias, de Alaminos." "It looks like a good day," said Alaminos. He was plainly the younger and a sailor to his finger tips. He studied the widening flush of gray and pink to the east and sniffed as the offshore winds seemed to freshen. "Land smell in that breeze," he remarked. "I doubt we are a league off. The watch reports no lights and has heard no surf. But we must be very close almost too close. Two fathoms and a half is not enough by far on a ledge of coral." "Where do you place us?" asked Ponce, shifting against the rail so that he might look directly at the other man. "As you know," de Alaminos replied, "at noon yester-


38 The Mangrove Coast day we caught a f air sight. The sea was cahn enough and the vessel s t eady I made it about twenty-seven d egre es. We h ave not had a better sight since we turned Tortu gas and set for the north . "But ," d e Alami nos continued, "one thing gravely puz zles me. I n a ll m y experience as a pilo t in these New World waters, with the exce ption of the great northwar d currents that we m e t off Cabo de Corrientes, I h ave never found a vesse l resp ond so sl owl y to the northeast. There is no reason for it. True, our vessels are foul with weeds. The wind has generally been from the southeast which would give us a tendency to drift to the northwes t. Yet, day after day, if my reckoning b e r ight, w e have made but a small part of the easting. I can find n o trace of a current. Certainly," and the pilot s hrugged in disgus t, "nothing like we met off Cabo de Corrientes. R emem ber the d ay off the river you name d La Cruz and set up th e Cross? The brig coul d fin d no anchorage and was swept from sight for ove r a day by that terrific cur rent. J uan de Cosa the cosmographer, will b e gla d to hear of tha t affair." "Tell de Cosa nothing now," replie d Juan P once de Leon a trifle curtly "What w e Spaniards know, we know. The beastly P ortuguese are already causing trouble and the and French both dream of stealing this land, if they can, or of cheating the King and his subjec t s of the contracted fruits of their labors. The f ewer the c harts, de Alaminos, the better ou r hard-won secrets a r e pro-


The Lady Belched 39 tected. If you keep more in your mind and less on charts, the greater and stronger will wax the fame of de Ala minos, the great pilot of the New World." De Alaminos acknowledged both compliment and deft rebuke with a sweep of his hand. "You are right, as always, my General. Only Diego Miruelo and I have really studied these waters, made soundings of value and noted the prevailing winds. Our reports in the archives at Santiago will some day be of value to Spain. I hope to you too, sir," he concluded. To the east the dark rim of the shore showed against the lighter green of the gulf waters and the high pink and yellow flush that overcast the sky. The night was fading away. The wind had kicked up a slight swell and the choppy waves were lightly capped with foam. A gull swooped suddenly deckward, cutting its fall sharply and pulliri.g up and leveling off between the masts with a hoarse cry of surprise. Overhead a long line of great golden-crested pelicans twisted their heads as they passed over, casting a solemn, almost sinister glance downward. The beach line had crept close and topping the solid masses of mangrove, live oak and palmetto reared the bone gray skeleton of a great pine, its warped and dis torted limbs reaching upward in gigantic supplication as if the dying tree had stiffened in ,a last The sun, topping the rim of green, shone brightly. Juan Ponce looked at the pelicans. "I wonder," he said to de Alaminos, "if they always fly that way, in odd


40 The Ma ngrove Coast numbers. Did you ever see an even-num b e red floc k ? Notice how each one follow s e very soar and dip of the l ea d e r. What an admiral! D e Alaminos, you think you are a pilot. Learn from the p e lican When I am in M a drid I can get those fellows about the court to b e li eve anything I tell them about the New World but they wi ll n o t b elieve m y stories of the pelican. They credit the tailed I ndia n s of the so uthl an d and the unicorn and the mermaids-did you ever see a m ermai d, de Alaminos?but birds like these they say cannot exis t; it would be ungodly. One old priest openly charged me with prop agating heathenish do ctrine. H e sai d there was nothin g in the B i ble, and particularl y nothing in the G arden of Eden at all like the p elican. It could not exist." "Wha t did you tell him?'' I t old him that I knew that t o o but that God h ad made the pelican as the r epos itory for the soul of Cain. It could not have been in the Garden of Eden." I don t like the way the San Christoval is acting ," sai d Alaminos, suddenly b ecoming professional. Sh e's drag ging a lot of weeds on h er b ottom-I'd like to beach h e r and clean her up. The bri g needs it too but it can wait. " P er h aps we should ," said P o nce, abs ently. Then with keener interes t: "Look that's a fa l se coast. The real beach line is b eyon d ; what we are l ooking at ar e islets in fron t. W e .will go north t oday, and if we see no hills or country tha t appears to offer gold o r m e tal we will turn about and tomorrow seek some harb o r to the south of us. If


The Lady Bel ched 41 we find a shelving shore we can beach the San Christo val. The crew will like stretching their legs and a meal a day on land. We need wood and fresh water. We know nothing of this Florida. If no gold is there we must look over the natives and judge whether they would make fit laborers in San Juan or Spain. On the east coast the devil is in native hearts and bodies They fought like furies." He continued. I want you to see to i t that our men forward understand I want no trouble with the natives over women. This business of huntin g encampments and chasin g girls into the brush has got to be. stopp ed. These Indian s are sharp men, not Moors or Jews, and we are much too far from our base to take on unnecessary fighting. I've been fighting Caribs for years in San Juan and most of it was caused by women It wrecked Don Cris tobal Colon's first settlement at La N avidad in '92. It sets the old men on edge and the old women begin ca ter wauling all over the place. Anyhow, no fighting Indian makes a goo d field h and I want to be free to look into this country. Don Cristobal thou gh t there were cin" namon and other spices in Espanola. Not up to the grade though of what we get from Cinpango. Perh aps they have spices here." "Perhaps, my Lord ," de Alaminos replied with just a hint of a smile, "you migh t find the old Indian's spring. Remember, the sorce r er said that if you drank or bathed in it your youth would be strong again."


42 The Mangrove Coast Ponce s miled. I remember. Perhap s even the spring. But I would rather find a gold min e or a l and whe re slaves could b e gathere d easily The run is short from this coast to Espano l a wher e good h a nds bring rea dy money at the dock. Y e t a youth-restoring spring would not b e b a d at all, de Ala minos. To tell those wen ched-ou t gallants at Court I could bring back their youth with bath s in my sp ring would b e worth a million ducats a year with pas sage money thrown in. The king would h ave to use the whole royal navy to bring them over so great would be the press. B is hops too. Might there be any truth in it?" "Who Jrnows?" mused de Alamino s "The Indians have talked of it for years. To the north in the great isl an d, they say in Bimini there is a s prin g where the people go to drink and bathe and restore themselves to youth. Many in Don Qristobal's da y believ e d in it. No one can say the co n trary. Anythin g can h appen if it be God's will. ''L e t us look for it. Great sp rings there are in the New World. Do you remember D on a I sabel, wife of the San Juan governor's secr e tary? The new governor's party wer e blown badly off their course, and when the storm l eft the m they were south of Cuba, near the islet Don Cristob a l named Pinos. The food was s o bad and the water so foul that the good lady was close to death fro m ari agony of the stom ach But near the coa s t of Pino s a great s pring was found by the sai l ors that gushed out


Th e Lady Belch ed 43 like a ri ver The water was veritably alive. Your tongue touched it and the very skin snapped and stung. She drank and within ten days her hurt was gone. She ate all of every thing and reache d San Juan in mor e health than when she was in Spain." "Was she younger?" aske d Juan Ponce eag er ly. "Not younger," replied de Alaminos, "at least they did not say. But th ey did tell that if you drink well of these waters after eating you belch most comfortably."


CHAPTER 5 AT TAMPA BAY SOUTH of Biscayne Bay Juan Ponce took his :B.eet, twist ing in and out among the keys, proceeding cautiously as befits travel in waters regarded as dangerous even today. On Sunday, the day of the Feast of the Holy Spirit, they "ran along the coast of rocky islets ten leagues," which is distinctly slow going. Juan Ponce continued west, sailing as far as Dry Tortugas. On or about May 18th he laid his course sharply to the north and north east. "They continued sailing," says Herrera, "sometimes to the north and at other times to the northeast until the twenty-third of May (six days) and on the twenty fourth they ran along the coast to the south (not trying to see if it was mainland) and as far as some islets that extended out into the sea. And because it appeared that ther e was an entrance between them and the coast for the ships, in order to take on water and firewood they stayed there until the third of June, and careened one vessel called the San Christoval." On that brief statement rests the whole case as to 44


At Tampa Bay 45 where Juan Ponce made his gull coast landing. He re mained on and about this island for almost twelve days. It was here h e made most contact with the Florida In dia ns. He found low-grade gold an d traded for it. Like wise he found a fertile land; great trees fit for shipbuild ing, and a larg e and fierce Indi an population. Though the days he spent on the island were marred by constant bickering and some outright fighting with the Indians, Ponce was n eve r ableto erase the memories of it from his mind For eight long years the picture r e mained and called him back. He went again in 1521 for the best organized colonizing effort yet attempted by the Spanish in the New World But time had only made the ange r of the Timucan s against the Spaniard s higher and hotte r Almost as they landed-close, it is believed, to his former anchorage-his expedition ran into heavy Indian fight ing. Ponce was wounded in the side by an arrow tipped with fish bone and died shortly after in the n ewly founded city of Havana But all of that was still to come on that day in early June of 1513. For six days, "s ometimes to the north and at other times to the northeast," Juan Ponce sailed on into the untracked waters of the gulf. The weight of historical opinion is committed to the theory that Juan Ponce in his north-northeastward course most probably r eache d the waters near Charlotte Harbo r Davis clo se student f of the Herrera r ecord and the Florida explorations of Ponce de Leon, is strongly of the opinion that the ex-


46 The Mangrove Coast plorer went no farther north than the 27th parallel, to a point off the little city of Englewood, thirty miles south of Sarasota From h ere he sailed south on May 24th, Davis believes, and then turned eastward along Sanibel Island beach then north, threading the tricky shoals of San Carlos Bay to the southwest of Fis h erman's Key, keeping well west of St. James Point on Pine I sland, then heading north over the shallows of Pine Island Sound into the safe depths of Charlotte Har bor. Somewhere along the broad reaches of the Sound, Juan Ponce found anchorage, perhaps on the northeast em shore of Pine Island. The charts give it in spots a d epth of eight feet. If the theory of the Charlotte Harbor landing be accepted, it is surprising that historians do not have Juan Ponce enter through the Boca Grande channel just south of Gasparilla I sland. This was, and s till is the best natural channel into Charlotte Harbor. It is easily noted, both by a sligh t discoloration of the water and the conformation of the shore line. Prudy 's chart of these waters for 1823-many years before any government wo r k was done on the west Florida coastclearly shows a deep natur a l channel through Boca Grande and definitely ind icates the San Carlos Bay ch anne uncertain and shallow. If Juan Ponce e ntered Charlotte Harbor from the north, the Boca Grande would be his natural entrance, and he would have an chored on the east side of Gasparilla Island much as did the schooner crews of later years who discovered


At Tampa Bay 47 the natural advantages of the Boca Grande, and the deep water on the east side of the Island. Here the water ranges from twelve to fourteen feet, shelving off to seven feet close in, and this would be just the spot to careen a vessel of the San Christoval's size. If Juan Ponce did negotiate the narrows of San Carlos Bay, and, kept on northeast to Punta Rassa, he worked his fleet into the natural harbor later so extensively used by Cuban schooners carrying cattle from the Caloosahatchee River cattle ranches. If the Pine Island landing is to be re garded as essential to support of the theory of Juan Ponce's discovery of Charlotte Harbor, it would seem from the charts that the most likely spot for the land ing was on the south side of the key, between St. James Point and St. James City where eight to ten feet is given on the charts. Certainly Charlotte Harbor is northeast of Dry Tor tugas. It would have been quite possible for Juan Ponce to have made the journey, as many historians believe. Herrera reports that Juan Ponce's men, in conversation with thelndians, learned that the Chief's name was Car los. The Indians whom the Spaniards later termed the Carlos Indians lived there. If not much weight can be placed on that bit of evidence, it is because Spanish trans literation of Indian names was not very accurate at any time, and particularly in the early years of the six teenth century, and all sailors are inclined to approxi mate the native sounds by anything that roughly cor.:.


48 The Mangrove Coast r esponds to their own l anguage, and let it go at that. Also, in some curious mann er (which reveals the Indian intelligence of the period) the Florida Indians had al ready gained a slight knowledge of Spanish words through contacts with the Cuban Carib Indians. Carlos they knew, was the Spani sh word for their great chief. It would not be surprising if, when the Caloo sa Indians indicated their chief they referred to him in some guttural approximation of Carlos" hoping to make the strangers understand. Swinging about Dry Tortugas on May 18th, setting his course to the north and to the northeast, then north again and eas{? there were two possible points of arrival, two harbors that closel y fit the Herrera description of Ponce's landing One is Charlotte Harbor. The other is Tampa Bay. Both face the southwest. Both are mag nificent bodies of inland water, potentially two of the finest harbors in the world. Both are screened from the!! dancing waves of the gulf by long lines of narrow keys; both figure largely in the romantic history of later Span ish exploration. At this point, to an investigator of Juan Ponce's prob able landing spot, the speed of his fleet becomes impor tant. When we left the little armada off the east coast of Florida it was averagin g around fifty-five miles per day. Over siX weeks have passed. Juan Ponce's vessels are wooden, and have accumulat e d grass. We know this was true because Ponce's first act after finding a safe anchor-


At Tampa Bay 49 age on the Coast was to careen the San Christoval and clean the weeds and barnacle s off the bottom. Such a growth would have a tendency t o slow up the fleet. It is hard to say how much, but gulf coas t fishermen who weekly work the Juan Ponce course from Tortu gas to Tampa Bay estimate out of their own experience that it might amount to as much as ten miles per day. This would redu ce the fleet's daily run to forty-five miles Six days of sailing north-northeast of Dry Tortugas would bring the flee t some two hundred seventy miles to the northeast of Dry Tortugas and almost fifty miles in land, definit e ly no place for Juan Ponce's fleet. Other fac tors must be counte d in. One of these is the fact that during the month of May the prevailing wind is out of the southeast, and another is the existence of a slight but well defined northw estward current along the gulf coast. Striking the shallows off southwestern Florida, it darts north and northwest, and in springtime, when the south easterly wind is dominant, it i s always strong. Fishermen and official s of the Coast Guard estimate that the strength of the clirrent is suc h that it would carry wooden sai ling vessels of the caravel type better than a half mile an hour to the northw es t and that this in conjunction with a wind from the southeast, might hav e given a very d efinite northwestward tendency to Ponce's fleet It is intere s ting that Herrera note s that the fleet sa il e d to the n o rth and then "at other tim es" to the northeast, indicating that they frequently returned to the north course and then,


50 The Mangrove Coast finding themselves trending to the northwest more strongly than they expected, reverted to the northeast, only to be puzzled again by their failure to keep the northeast course as planned. Of course the existence of this current was unknown to the Spanish. In fact, it has very little recognition to this day. Yet it exists, and it was a real element in shaping Juan Ponce's northern course. It is one hundred miles from Dry Tortugas to the intersection of the 27th parallel and the Florida coast, a few miles north of Englewood in Sarasota County. Granting that Juan Ponce sailed a much more definite northeastward course than is justified by Her rera's brief description, and allowing also for a deflection in the. course of the vessels to the northwest of twelve miles per day due to the current, Juan Ponce should have made his Englewood landfall some time on the fourth day out from Dry Tortugas. Yet he sailed north and northeast for six days. What became of the 1emaining two days? On the basis of a forty-five miles per day average sailing making allow ance for the northwestward drift of the current, at the end of six days Juan Ponce would be somewhere south of New Point Richey off Anclote Key. Then, states Herrera, without landing he sailed southward for the full day of May 24th. Approximately forty-five miles to the south ofAnclote Key we strike Egmont and Mullet keys, off the of Tampa Bay and the main entrance to that great body of inland water.


. At Tampa Bay 51 "And because," says Herrera, "it appeared that there was an entrance between them and the coast for the ships, in order to take on water and firewood, they stayed there until the third of June, and careened one vessel called the San Christoval." If you have ever sailed southward and entered the broad channel between Egmont and Mullet keys, theremarkable likeness to the scene in Herrera's description of Juan Ponce's landing place is evident at once. Sailing south from Anclote Key, passing Johns Pass; where Narvaez landed later, Juan Ponce would have swept into the mile-wide passage between the two keys, both set well out in the gulf and offering wide shelving beaches, deep water almost to the mangrove roots, perfect protec tion from west and northwestern winds. Facing south and east were the key-dotted waters of Tampa Bay, in cluding Shaw Point and Terra Ceia, De Soto's landing place twenty-six years later. To the right lay the Pinellas Peninsula, thickly populated with Indians, with several large villages. The entire bay, in fact, teemed with Indians. Tampa Bay had then probably the largest Indian population on the Florida gulf coast. It was an active center of Indian trade wjth points both north and south. The bay, alive with fish, and the mainland, a fine hunting ground, made this spot then and for centuries afterward a natural gathering point for the Timucans of Florida. It offered food, strong protection and an ideal climate, cool in the summer and warm in the winter.


52 The Mangrove Coast In this bountiful region Juan Ponce tarried for almost twenty days. Apparently the first ten days were passed without their being observed by the Indians. Tucked away against the shoreline vegetation of Egmont Key (now the site of old Fort Dade and the Tampa Bay Pilots' Association station and pier), it is not so surprising that Juan Ponce's fleet escaped immediate detection. The time was spent in cleaning and repairing the hull of the San Christoval, grass-and barnacle-laden and probably wonn-eaten too, fixing the rigging of all the boats, secu ring water, either from springs or shallow wells, then as now easily obtainable. All the vessels in the .fleet needed going over, and the crews were too busy to explore the mainland at Pinellas Point or farther south, where the large Indian settlements at Palma Sola or Terra Ceia were. On June Srd, Herrera says, Indians showed up for the first time. The aborigines seem to have landed from their canoes and called to the Spaniards to land also. But the white men refused, and began to raise their anchor, which was in need of repair. The Indians, thinking that they meant to sail away, tried to seize the anchor chains. The Spanish sailed the smaller bark into the cluster of canoes, and broke them up. The bark's crew then went ashore and destroyed some old canoes, and aiso captured four. women and took them aboard, The next day the In dians came back in a more friendly mood. They traded food, skins and low-grade gold, which some of the na tives wore as ornaments, with the Spanish. "An Indian


At Tampa Bay 53 who understood the Spaniards, one from Hispaniola may be," told the m that they should wait, as the chief wished to trade and had gold. This is one of the extraordinary events of the Juan Ponce exploration. Columbus had discovered the Indies only twenty-one years before. Except for the possible Amerigo Vespucci ciuise "of 1498 no lrnown Spaniard or other white men had ever visited Florida. Havana had not yet been founded. Santiago, far on the eastern tip of Cuba, was the nearest Spanish colony of any importance. Hispaniola (Haiti) and San Juan (Porto Rico) were the important Spanish colonies of the time. On a direct line these were well over a thousand miles away, to be reached only by a long and dangerous ocean trip and the crossing of the entire Florida Peninsula. Yet, out from among the shouting, bickering, chattering Indians comes a voice, Indian indeed, but speaking understandable Spanish. Nothing so sharply illuminates the wide extent of inter-Indian communication in the pre-Columbian and Columbian era than this dramatic evidence that the na tives of the Caribbean area kept in contact with each other. It explains, too, the immediate antagonism of the Florida Indians toward the Spanish. In the first twelve years after the discovery of Haiti and Porto Rico by Co lumbus it is estimated that the Spaniards killed ; by fight ing and enslavement, almost one inillion Indians from those two islands. Without question many endeavored to escape the hell the Spaniards had created in their colo-


54The Mangrove Coast nies and gained the Florida coast. They must have told their story to the Tegestas and Caloosas of the south and the Timucans of the north and preached the doctrine of no intercourse and no communication. In this propa ganda they were, on the whole, successful. Despite re peated effort extending over almost two centuries, the except at St. Augustine and Pensacola, made no successful settlements, and neither St. Augustine nor Pensacola was ever safely established until the danger of Indian attack had been largely removed by the decline of these two important tribes Though conquered and largely exterminated by the ferocious Seminole in the middle of the eighteenth century, these tribes preserved an unyielding animosity to all whit es, and not until the final Seminole outbreak of 1856 did the danger of Indian attack upon white settlements in Florida forever disap pear. The embittered battle for Indian peace and se curity against the white invaders lasted for almost three hundred fifty years. The Haitian Indian who spoke Spanish lied to Juan Ponce. Instead of their chiefs desiring trade, twenty war canoes put forth. They dashed at the anchor cables and tried to raise the anchor, with the idea of towing the ii Spanish ships against the near-by shallows where they cohld ground and then d e stroy' them. This sounds like Haitian Indian strategy. Unable to lift the heavy anchors, 'they tried, but in vain, to cut the cables. Again the smaller Spanish bark raised sail and bore in heavily


At Tampa Bay 55 among the light canoes, smashing them, killing some of the Indians and capturing four others. The Indians adopted other tactics, lashing two canoes together for greater stability and striking strength. But their attack failed against the crossbows of the Spanish and the weight and speed of their heavier bark. One Spaniard was lost. Either off one of the keys of Charlotte Harbor, or the low-lying shores of Egmont Key in Tampa Bay, the first white man was killed in battle within the boundaries of the present United States. His name is unknown nor is his name important. Many more were to share his fate. On the day after the en counter the bark was sent to survey and sound another harbor, in all probability south and east toward Shaw Point on Palma Sola, or possibly off Terra Ceia where there was a large Indian town. Despite the two skir mishes that had already taken place, Juan Ponce, a Indian campaigner of the Porto Rico and Haitian campaigns, had. no respect for Indian warfare, and he was keen to find more gold among the tribes thickly populating the coast. The water was deep enough to float Juan Ponce's caravels off Shaw Point .and thereabouts Juan Ponce remained until June 14th, another nine days, fighi:ing-:-and occasionally trading-with the Timucans. The day after they arrived at their new anchorage, some eighty Indians made their greatest effort. They attacked one of the ships, and fought until nightfall. On this casion Juan Ponce used his artillery as well as his cross-


56 The Man grove Coast bowmen, thou gh at no time were the Spanish in any real danger of l osing their vessels. The day was one m o re of thos e historical fusts connected with Juan Ponce-the first use of artill ery on American soil. The posses sion of gunpowder, muskets and artill ery of course gave the Spa niards a tremendous advantage over the Indians. But the Spanish still relied upon the cross bow in close fighting. The Spanish crossbowmen were the best in th e world. In the rus h of blood y history since the discovery of the value of gunpowder in warfare the effectiveness of medieval weapons has been unde resti mated. The killing range of a good crossbow was about two hundred fifty yards and its extre me range about four hundred. This compared very w e ll with the effectiveness of the wheel-lo c k muskets of the period. Spanish cross bowmen were e xpected to hit a four-inch target a t two hundred fifty yards. The crossbow sights were e l evated to compensate for the drop over four hundred yards, and were fixed to p e rmit point-blank s hooting at seventy yards. The Indi ans had nothin g but their bows and ar rows to kill with, and there is no question but that the Spanish crossbowmen, without any aid from the fal conets or the musketry, easily drove off any attack of Florida Indian s unless they were surprised. Tw enty eight years later De Soto fought several desperate bat tles with larg e bodies of Indian s and on one or two oocasions was near defeat. This, as with Cortez in M exico, never occurred unless the Indians were in such over-


. At Tampa Bay 57 whelming numbers that the Spanish simply could not kill them fast enough to hold them back from direct hand-to hand fighting. Yet it is a mistake to regard the Indian bow and arrow as a weapon of slight possibilities against the early Span ish soldier. The stories of the accuracy and range of ef fective fire of some of the North Florida Indians told by Cabeza de Vaca would be incredible if not corroborated ten yearslater .by De Soto' s soldiers who related many incidents illustrating the terrific power of penetration of the Indian s arrow within a range of two hundred yards. "I myself," relates Cabeza in 1528, "have seen an ar row buried in a poplar stump a good half a foot." Their bows "were as thick as an arm, eleven to twelve hand spans in length," and they shot at two hundred paces with "so much sureness they miss nothing." De Soto's veterans told of a test in which two coats of mail were . superimposed on each other and placed over a basket. At "one hundred and fifty paces" the arrow penetrated both at a man-killing force. The Timucans, whose size and height amazed the Spaniards, were enemies of real worth. It was the Indian lack of ability to organize for ma.Ss attack and fear of the Spanish cavalry and dogs that were the Spanish soldiers' greatest allies. Ponce was the first Spaniard in the World to in troduce the dog into warfare. The Sp1:1nish had used their great fighting dogs in their battles with the Moors and it


58 The Mangrove Coast was not surprising that Juan Ponce, an old veteran, should. use them in his campaigns against the Indians in Porto Rico. Many Spaniards there felt the Indians were more afraid of the dogs than of the horses. Ponce brought his fighting dogs with him on his second and ill-fated trip to Florida, and both Narvaez and De Soto used dogs. Several of De Soto' s gained great reputations during his campaigns. Later on when dogs were used by the Span ish in their campaigns around Panama, one especially fa mous fighting dog was granted a captain's rank and was given a captain's pay. The Indians had allies too, the heat, the red bugs, the mosquitoes and the gnats. Perspiring under their heavy coats of leather and steel armor, open to the insidious attack of thousands of biting, stinging, burning insects, the Spanish soldiers flung themselves into the bayous and streams in. a half-crazed effort for relief, there to rouse more clouds of fierce tormentors. It was an unending bat tle that wore the Conquistadores out, mentally and physi cally, destroyed their morale and broke their will to fight, to struggle on, and finally, even to survive. On June 14th, 1513, the Spanish had been in the bay for nineteen days. In the three battles with the Indians one Spaniard had beeDJ killed, several captives made and gold had been found. Juan Ponce had had time to size up, if not personally to explore, the general extent of his domain. His were leaky, his food short. He had been three months away from Porto Rico and the crew


At Tampa Bay 59 were anxious to return. Juan Ponce was satisfied. He raised his sails and retraced his course to Dry Tortugas, arriving in just six days. Here they restored their l arder with turtles manatee-which they called seal-pe licans and terns. Not dainty fare, but filling. The Spaniard of the early sixteenth century in the Indies enjoyed strange food and grew fat on it. Juan Ponce turned south toward Cuba, east to the Bahamas, a n d home. Eight years were to pass before he returned, hoping to establish the first Florida colony but instead to receive the wound from which he died. That wound h e received not far from Palma Sola shore-for he returned to Tampa Bay again, where De Soto was later to land, in hi s turn.


C H A P T E R 6 GIVE THE PILOTS CREDIT TAMPA BAY sweeps east and then north and west, and breaks into two broad and stubby fingers between :which a thin peninsula of land projects. Upon this narrow strip of sand and humus lies the city of Tampa. The two sidiary bays are named Old Tampa Bay and Hills borough Bay. Why the westerly finger is called "Old" is not known. Hillsborough was named after Lord Hills borough, who during the period of English occupation between 1763 and 1783 became interested in the whole Tampa Bay area and held a patent on a large tract of land in that vicinity Certainly Old Tampa Bay is no older than Hillsborough or Tampa Bay proper. On Jeffery's map of 1763 Tampa Bay is properly designated as Espi ritu Santo and Old Tampa Bay is called Bahia Tampa. Later when the entire body of water was christened Tampa Bay, the residents might have started calling the lesser body .. Old" Tampa Bay. All three have an equal right to a solid and proper pride in their age and story. No other body of water in North America has a longer 60


Give the Pilots Credit .61 history of Spanish exploration than Tampa Bay . By accident or by pilots' design it became the center of restless Conquistadores seeking gold and slaves to replenish ex hausted treasuries and labor pens in Cuba and Hispan iola No other water in all North America, in that first half century after the unveiling of the continent, was more often the scene of fleets of bobbing caravels, of the flash of arrow upon Spanish steel, of the hoarse battle cries of the Estramadura against the shrill whoops of en raged Timucans, of desperate forays for gold and pearls, and always, over all the smoke and fury, lay the lure of high adventure. None of this was wholly chance. Juan Ponce in 1513 made the Dry Tortugas the turning point for his northward cruise. His pilots brought back the word and later explorers followed his course. Wind, current and the general contour of the peninsula seemed to conspire to bring the early navigators ahnost directly to the mouth of Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay offered a wide and wel coming entrance, and in most places deep channels, with attractive harbors well protected against whip of the northwest and southwest winds, the special curse of gulf coast navigators, and contained withal wide reaches inside the protecting keys in which the compara.. tively shallow-draft caravels could maneuver against both wind and foe. The pilots of the time, largely unregarded by scholars and history, were frequently far greater factors in the


62 The Mangrove Coast success of the Spanish expeditions than the highly placed ones who tod ay receive the credit. Anton de Alaminos, native of Palos, Diego Miruelo, Juan Ortubia, Juan Lopez, Alonso Pinzon were great names among the seafarers of those days. In the courts and palaces the Conquistadores strutted forward; in the glory hole, the men who manned the rudder and worked the sails knew who, above all, read the charts, sensed the seas, and rightly sniffed the weather. It was the pilots who plotted the courses and brought the vessels safely into new seas and ports. Homeward bound, Juan Ponce's fleet thread ing through the Bahamas, suddenly came upon Diego Miruelo in a lone caravel. Now Don Miruelo had dis tinctly no business in those parts. It was Juan Ponce's ex clusive territory for slave hunting or exploration. Miruelo proffered the mariner's age-old excuse that a dirty blow had propelled him unwillingly hither, and the two ships lay to; and passed the gossip of the day. De Alaminos most certainly talked with Diego Miruelo, as pilots do, d espite all orders to the contrary, and he most certainly traded landfalls and channels, winds and harbors with his colleague. It is no coincidence that in 1516 Diego is found coasting up the Mangrove Coast "trading with the natives" and reporting that he has found a "beautiful bay." In the dangerous and uncertain work of traveling un charted seas, pilots go where pilots have been. If Diego found a beautiful place to rest, the chances are that it was de Alaminos' anchorage in Tampa Bay. The year


Give the Pilots Credit 68 following the Cordoba expedition left Cuba on a com bined exploring, gold hunting and slaving expedition. Anton de Alaminos was again "pilot major." Better than any other man in the world de Alaminos knew that safe anchorage was to be found in Tampa Bay, where Indians were plenty and where gold had been seen and here he brought Cordoba and also Bernal Diaz, the historian, when on the fleets' way home from Mexico their ships ran out of food and water. There was gold in the Tampa Bay region. Juan Ponce traded for it on his first visit. Narvaez found it in the shape of beads, tangled in ana tive fish net in an abandoned hut, on the day he landed just north of St. Petersburg in 1528. De Soto found the Tampa Bay Indians wearing it for decoration, and beheld a large carved wooden eagle in a native temple on Terra Ceia Island trimmed with gold. It was not common. Out side of its purely decorative qualities the In. dians had no use for it, and therefore made no special efforts to secure it in their intertribal trading trips. Most of it undoubtedly came from the Georgia Indians, who found if in the hills about Dahlonega, Georgia, in small nuggets after heavy rains had fallen. The Georgian tribes traded their gold and, of more importance, their flint and other hard stone arrow heads for guH coast sea shells, fish nets and herbs. The presence of this low grade ore excited the Spanish enormously and it was, without question, an other of the impelling reasons for the frequency of their visits to the Tampa Bay region.


64 The Mangrove Coast In the thirty-six years between 1513 and 1549, when Father Cancer made his fatal visit, there are at least nine recorded Spanish explorers who touched on or near the Tampa sector That is an average of one exploring expe dition every four years. Add to this the unreported and illegitimate hijacking slaving expeditions which certainly took place, and it is clear enough why the natives of the bay district became such fierce and unrelenting antagonists of everything Spanish. The. names read like a roll call in history. Juan Ponce, Diego Miruelo, Francisco Cordoba, Alonso Pineda, Ga ray, :Juan Ponce again, Narvaez and Cabeza de Vaca, Juan Ascano, De Soto, and Fray Cancer. Mter Cancer the tide of Spanish exploration along the gulf coast ebbed away. Save for two futile visits by Pedro Menendez, Spanish interest was largely concen trated on the possibilities of east coast development In 1565 St. Augustine was founded and the struggle be tween the Spanish, the French and EngliSh for the pos session of northeast Florida began. Darkness descends upon the Mangrove Coast, illuminated only by brief reports of wrecks of gold-bearing galleons from Vera Cruz, smashed by treacherous currents upon Florida shoals, and of buccaneers hiding among west coast keys. The British made a few casual investigations and there were occasional reports from Cuban fishennen, who followed the kingfish and the inullet as far north as Cedar Keys, in order to reap rich harvests from the great schools that


Give the Pilots Credit 65 gathered in the bays that prevail along the strand. But for the most part, except for the scream of the gull and the curlew, the hoarse cough of the alligator, and the rumble of the surf along the endless miles of snow white sand, there was silence. The explosive impact of the tremendous fact of the New World upon the Old gradually lost its novelty. The implications of the event became one of the accepted fac tors in the struggle for international power. After all, the expansion in geography was but one of the elements of fundamental change in the political, economic and mental lives of the people of Europe that had brought about thenewday. The twilight of the Renaissance was at hand. The world, after two hundred fifty years, was bored with the theories of the placid perfectionists who had coursed its easy paths toward the sunrise. A fresh breeze was everywhere blowing through the stuffy mentalities of Europe. New notions, new attitudes and new valuations were being established. Michael Angelo had crashed through the artistic conceptions of Florence and Flanders to create a new standard of art based on the fluidity of the mass; the conflicts of Reformation, arising from the social pressures of the time, developed new thoughts as to the relationship of God and Man. The geography of Ptolemy gathered dust in the libraries. The time had arrived. The European mind was now ready for great adventures. And


66 The Mang rove Coast as the maps rolled back inch by inch, revealing new is lands, new archipelagoes and new coast lines, "greater my lord, than the whole coast of Spain," new ideas of place and power emerge. Th e days of the closet intrigue to gain the upset of a piffling principality passed. Tre. mendous stakes in land in m en and in metal were glitter ing upon th e table. Never had sheer ruthlessness, com plete bravery, a hor s e and a soun d steel sword offered such rich dividends in gold and power Th e r e were ten thous a nd Indians assembled there," wrot e Don Christopher, "but three men, well armed and a horse or two could easily d e f ea t them." Men fought to gain a place aboard a caravel. The dar ing grasped at continents


CHAPTER 7 DE SOTO SLEPT HERE COMING into Bradenton today, from north or south, six miles from town the signs begin; "De So to Trail" -with the arrow. Follow them closely. They aren't as large as they should be. The Kiwanis Club in Bradenton proposes to have some really imposing signs painted soon in the best cigar-box school of art. De Soto all armored with steel corselets and chain mail gloves will point up the Manatee and reinforce the modest roadside signs which now direct the tourist. Meantime the smaller indicators tell you what you need to know if you watch them closely and do not lose them on the quick turns. Coming north from Sarasota you turn sharply left and head directly toward the gulf coast for two miles or so and then north until you gain the banks of the broad Manatee. At this point the Manatee, easily a mile wide, is one of the most majestic stretches of water in all Florida. The land flat tens out toward the river bank. An occasional mangrove marsh lies along the stream but presently the banks lift, and for a mile or two the land is occupied by a series of 67


68 The Mangrove Coast attractive homes whose front lawns drop softly down to the water's edge. Behind the m great clumps of slash pine, interspersed with citrus groves, shoulder away the thrusts of the afternoon sun. At the Palma Sola post office turn north again or south, it makes no difference as both roads swing around and meet to the west. Then watch the little white signs care fully and turn once more toward the gulf coast. The end of the trail runs through a stre tch of pine Hats, logged over land burnt over too in the long ago past. Little slash pine stands in the scrub. Abruptly you cross through a low hammock of bush. You are at Shaw Point, just to the southwest of the broad mouth of the Manatee, designated officially as the landing place of De Soto. ln the older books of travel, school histories written before the War Between the States, and in some of the musty yellow geographies of the fifties, the steel engravings of DeSoto's landing picture the place as high granite cliffs with tossing surf and angry clouds. In the cor ners, lurking beneath the palmetto scrub, frightened and angry Indians crouch. But there are none of these things at Shaw Point. The landing place is a low shell and sand beach about ten miles from the GuH of Mexico on the coast of Palma Sola P oin t in the southwestern cor ner of Tampa Bay. West of Tampa Bay lies the long low bulk of Anna Maria Key which shelters Palma Sola Point and the mouth of the Manatee from the occasional fury of the gales that sweep the gulf. Three keys, all famous


De Soto Slept Here 69 in the early Spanish exploration of Florida and the guH, are anchored at the entrance of Tampa Bay Egmont; Mullet and Passage On Egmont the outlying key of the group, are the ruin s of Fort D ade, a Sp anis h war fortifi catio n now util ize d b y the Tampa Bay p il ots ffil:d tho usands of sea bi rds. Mullet has fortifications upon it of the same period. Passage in De Soto s time an impo sing key, has since lost all of its timber from some freak in the storms of bygone centuries. The retainiFig grip of the roots of the trees and undergrowth on soil has gone and the k ey has larg e ly b een washed away. Today it i s barely visible except at low tide when hundred s of pelicans and sea gull s alight seeking crabs, small s h ell fis h and othe r marin e life From the mouth of Southw est Channel b etwee n P assage Key sho a l and Eg mont K e y the main southern entrance into Tampa Bay, to Shaw Point, washes a channel of a n average of twelve feet. It sweeps in a l o n g narrow path a ga inst the Point and then swings north and east across the m outh of the Manat ee. Water to the west of thi s channel. along the Palma Sola beach i s very shallow, x.nuch too s h allo w for an y large vessel to navigate. The channel offers vessels an aver age depth of about twelve f ee t which in high tide increa ses to sevente en. Because of this channel D e Soto is belie ved to have selected what is now Shaw Point as the s ite of his l a nding. Acceptin g the ge neral premise that D e Soto did land in the Tam pa Bay regi o n and that he entered the bay through either the Pa ssage K e y or


70 The Mangrove Coast Southwest Channel mouths, a close r ea ding of the four journal s of the expedition strongly supports this conclu sion. Yet it has not been a simple matte r to reach this de cision. The De Soto Expedition Commission under the chairmanship of Dr. J ohn R. Swanton of the Smithsonian Institution occupied four years in the study of the records of the De Soto expedition before finall y findin g in favor o f Shaw Point. Many historians r e main still uncon vinced. A short brassie s hot off the shore lies Sneed's Island which forms the north boul).dary of the mouth of the Manatee, and to the immediate north and east of Sneed's Island are McGill and Terra Ceia I slands These two all but encircle a shallow, but beautiful body of water known as McGill Bay. It was on T erra Ceia I s land that the prin cipa l India n village was locat ed. Apparentl y De Soto, after landing his troops his horses and hogs and supplies, at Shaw Point made Terra Ceia Key his head quarter s during the six weeks he remained in the vicinity. Shaw Point is a quiet spot. The simple granite block which the Federal governmen t er ected in M ay, 1989, commemor ating the four hundredth anniversary of the landing of the expedition, is pleasing and inconspicuous. A considerable area has been cleared but the encroaching jungl e growth makes it obvious that the Federal or State governments and the Historical Societies of Mana tee and Sarasota Counties will have to take over the re-


De Soto Slept 71 sponsibility of maintaining the landscaping and parking of this historic spot. The beach is compounded of heavy deposits of sea shell, mostly oyster and conch, with a litter of smaller stuff. At the water's edge clusters of mangrove and sea grape grow abundantly. This grape has special interest because the first boats returning to De Soto' s fleet from the Point brought back with them "many green grapes." In the dense growth of the hammock you will find more wild grape, plenty of water oak, swamp maple and pal metto palm. When De Soto landed, May 30th, 1539, there must have been a dense growth of slash pine and live oak in the higher ground behind the beach. No point of land within the boundaries of the United States, in the first sixty years following the Columbian discovery, has greater claims to historic interest than the narrow beach at Shaw Point and the shallow reaches that prevail in front of ilie high mounds that now mark all that is left of the old Indian town of Terra Ceia beach on McGill Bay. There or very near there Ponce de Leon and Cordoba must have visited. Narvaez's caravels, for some strange reason-it may have been a late spring fog missed the entire mouth of Tampa Bay and sailed north for another ten miles to the much less advantageous landing at John's Pass, but Juan Anasco, De Soto's advance scout, surely visited the spot as it was he who picked it for the landing place. The massacre of Father Cancer and his devoted


72 The Mangrove Coast companions apparently took place within a stone's throw of the Point in 1549. In 1612 Lieutenant Carta yo, re-exploring Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay and Charlotte Harbor on the orders of Governor Olivera, passed by the spot on his passage from Tampa Bay into Sarasota Bay De Soto had sent his comptroller, the brilliant and handsome Juan Anasco, along the Florida coast in the fall of 1538 to make a general exploration of the region and select a favorable landing place. Anasco took two caravels, and acting on the advice of Spanish skippers who knew the details of the previous voyages of the pilots de Alaminos and Miruelo, made directly for the vicinity of the bay. Anasco spent two months in and about Tampa Bay. He probab l y was the first European to penetrate the upper waters, at least, of Sarasota Bay, the Manatee River and Boca Ciega Bay. One story has it that Anasco was wrecked upon the keys off Tampa Bay and that while repairs were being made the entire party lived off peli cans and gulls and the fish they caught. Anasco returned to Havana with four Indians whom he had captured in the hope that they might become interpreters and guides for DeSoto, and a report that gave "grand expectations of the country." Leaving his bride Isabella de Bobadilla in Havana, De Soto sailed on May 18th, 1539. Six days later his fleet of nine vessels was slowly lifting and falling in the ground


De Soto Slept Here 73 swell off Longboat Key about eight miles north of the New Pass entrance to Sarasota Bay "Having fallen four or five leagues below the port and withou t any of the pilots knowing where the port lay, it was there upon determined that I should go in the pin naces and look for it," wrot e De Soto in his report to the Governor at Santiago. De Soto lowered a pinnace and taking Anasco and the chief pilot of the expedition, Alonso Martin, and a crew of oarsmen with him, made for the beach. De Soto prob ably made his first landing on North American so il on the Longboat Key b each approximately where the Longboat Cabana C lub buildings now stan d. Finding no fresh wa ter, he took the small boat north and probably crossed to the insid e channel at the north end of Longboat just south of Anna Maria and proceeded into Tampa Bay through upper Sar aso ta Bay. This brought the party into Tampa Bay very close to Pahna Sola Point and at such an angle that it is not surprising that Anasco did not immedi ately recognize the location. The wind veered darkness came on swiftly, and De Soto, find ing it impossible to returri to his :Beet, which by this time had. slowly worked up to the end of AnnaM;uia Key, went ashore near Pahna Sola Point where he had observed som e Indian huts. They foun d the huts de serted, and the fire cold This was not surprising The Timucan Indians had had long and painful experience


74 The Mangrove Coast With the Spaniards. There is no question but that among the frequent exp loring expeditions which cruised the Mangrove Coast during the p eriod, there were a number of illegitimate slaving raiders from Cuba l ooking for op portunities to kidnap l arge numbers of Indians for work on the Cuban plantations. It was these savage raids upon the Indian camps that chiefly accounted for the almos t unexampled fer ocity with which both the Timuca.n s and the Caloo sas, who lived just to the south and centered about Charlotte H arbor, repelled every effort on the part of the official Spanish expeditions to develop any kind of a working understanding. Immediately upon their arrival off the Lon gboat Key shore, De Soto' s men had noted the rising columns of signal smoke from countless Indian fires. Indian fishing canoes had evidently spotted the Spanish fleet almos t as quickly as they hove in sight and immediately passed the word both north and south. There were smoke signals all about Tampa Bay. They traveled south from key to key to Charlott e Harbor. To the north the signals crossed the Pinellas P eninsula to warn the tribal encampments located there. De Soto s party remained at Palma Sola overnight. In the morning they found the fleet well off the Anna Maria shore, some ten miles away. The men on the :flee t were worried at the absence of their leader but the offshore wind prevent e d the m from reaching him. Meantim e De Soto sailed his pinnace into the southwes t channe l and ..


De Soto Slept Here 75 Anasco, getting for the first time a general view of the bay, at once recognized the Shaw Point channel en trance. Meantime a caravel had reached the pinnace and took the party aboard. Placing a vessel on each side of the channel to indicate the route, De Soto slowly. led the fleet toward the point. The caravels were heavily loaded, those with the horses particularly, which, besides the ani mals and their feed, carried a large amount of water. It took four days for the vessels to make a cautious ap proach, constantly using the lead, sounding continually from small boats. By May 30th the bulk of the fleet was off the Point, although two had scraped bottom on the mud flats in getting there. Twelve days had passed since the horses and hogs had been embarked in Cuba. It was imperative to get the animals ashore. De Soto' s plan had been to bring the fleet up into McGill Bay, but soundings soon proved this hopeless. Shaw Point offered the only safe landing. Horses ar;td hogs were disembarked and likewise all the soldiers, only the sailors and ships' offi cers remaining behind. Lightened, the ships, taking advantage of the tide, turned to the northeast and edged their way toward the Indian encampment of U cita on Terra Ceia Island. Next day DeSoto with a hundred men in pinnaces arrived at U cita and took possession. U cita camp, like all the others, was utterly deserted. Facing the bay was a high shell mound. Even today it is fully one hundred yards long. At one end the mound was much higher and upon that mound was the chiefs residence.


76 The Mangrove Coast There were several large palmetto log buildings, de signed to care for several hundred persons. On the "other side of the town" was another high mound and "on top of it was a temple and on top of it, a wooden bird, with its eyes gilded. Some pearls, spoiled by fire, and of little value, were found there." De Soto and his principal executives took over the chiefs house on the high mound, and other houses were utilized for stores. The temple with its carved wooden eagle was tom down, and out of the timbers new huts constructed for the men, several men in each hut forming a mess. The low ground on the very edge of the great shell embankments was covered with dense jungle growth. De Soto ordered this cleared, to provide pasture for the horses as well as to prevent an Indian surprise. Then they posted sentinels and went to sleep. The next day the main body of men arrived after a difficult overland march from Shaw Point. Dumped on shore at the Point Luis Moscoso, De Soto' s master of the camp, had organized his men. After a scouting expedition he led the troops east along the shores of the Manatee; over the present site of Bradenton and Manatee and be yond the ruins of Braden Castle to a spot where he pelieved a crossing feasible. Here, with the help of small boats from the :Beet, the army of six hundred and. thirty two hundred and fifty horses and over three hundred hogs got over the stream safely and .then turning sharply to the west and north, crossed the existing Tairii..:


De Soto Slept Here 77 ami trail where the little tomato-shipping town of Ru bonia now is, and then, following close to the existing bay-front road on Terra Ceia, worked their way through the jungle and swamp to the she ll mound Indian city of Ucita, on the shores of McGill Bay. It must have been a wonderful march and despite terrific difficulties per formed in exceedingly fast time. It was completed in l ess than forty-eight hours. Much of the trip must have been accomplished over existing Indian trails but the problem of the transport of the horses and hogs and the handling of the big bulk of supplies would make many a modem soldier ponder. At Ucita, the capital of the Timucan chief Hirrihigua's little domain, the expedition rested for almost six weeks, brought its supplies in from the fleet, still l ying some distance off the shore made minor exploring expeditions and, to the best of its ability attempted to secure a com prehensible picture of the terrain and the population in front of them. Hirrihigua' s men never came back to their village while the Spanish were there, although several skirmishes occurred between detachments of De Soto's men and sco uting Timucans. On the night of May 25th, 1539, when DeSoto's fleet had first been sighted by the Timucans off Longboat Key, Juan Ortiz s lept in a circle of Timucan warriors in the tribal village of Chief Mococo. Excepting the members of the De Soto expedition, Juan Ortiz was probably the


78 The Mangrov e Coast only white man within the whole territory of what is now the United States. Mococo was the head of a Timucan s ub-tribe whose scene of operations apparently extended from the Manatee to the Alafia River and the Mococo vil lage we think lay just north of the Alafia, close to what is now Riverview and the outer fringe of the suburbs of Tampa. Some people are magnets for romance and danger, and the life of Juan Ortiz fairly dripped with it. Born in Seville he had as a youth managed to reach the New World, and enlisted as a member of a relief expeditio n sent to Flo rida by the wife of Panfilo de Narvaez to :find some trace of that tempestuou s, one-eyed commander. Near what is now Clearwater Beach, Juan was lured ashore b y the Indians who from the edge of the brush had waved what appeared to be a l e tter. Thinkin g that it might be news of Narvaez the youngster had plunged into the water and splashed ashore. He was promptly seized and carried back to an Indian encampment occu pied by Hirrih igua in the neighborhood of Safety Harbor. Ortiz was ordered burned alive but when the flames were already his shrinking body, Hirrihigua's daughter dash e d in upon the scene and, as the story comes from Ortiz, pulled him from the fire and pleaded with her fath e r for his life. All this was happenin g half a century b efore Pocahontas and John Smith were born. There was a great debate over the issue. Many of the braves and all of the medi cine men were strong for the fire but in the end the chief s affection for his daughter


De Soto Slept Here 79 won, and Ortiz, who had been badly burned before the rescue, was permitted to go in the company of the Indian girl who nursed him back to strength. The anti-Ortiz fac tion, however, continued to demand his death. To let him live, they said, would ruin both the fishing and the corn crop. The medicine men in the village were pressing. Ortiz was on the eve of being sentenced again when the Indian woman made and won a second plea. It was the custom of the Timucans to place their dead, immediately after death, in the branches of trees, in a distant and obscure spot, and there permit the corpse to rot. After a year the bones were buried with considerable ceremony It was regarded as vital that the body be undisturbed during this time. The business of guarding the spot, reeking with odors and alive with the prowling wild cats, puma, wolves and lesser animals, was a most unpleasant and dangerous one. It was often given to con victed Indian criminals, who could accept it in lieu Qf death. Such a job being at the moment open, Ortiz's fender proposed him to the chief. Ortiz took it. His duty was to guard the cemetery grove all night. Still weak, he became violently ill the first night. In the midst of a spasm he saw a wild cat attempting to carry off the body of a child. With scarcely enough strength to bend his bow he loosed an arrow and, by fortune, killed the animal. Again, by fortune, some Indians, delegated to check up on the new guardian, arrived just in time to witness the event. That he had killed the animal and saved the


80 The Mangrove Coast body so raised him in the esteem of the Timucans that for nearly a year he was permitted to perform his ghastly job without harassment. As autumn drew near the medicine men began again to clamor for Ortiz's death at the coming harvest celebra tion. The pressure this time was not to be resisted. One night the Indian "princess" with her attendant stole to the cemetery to warn Ortiz to leave Hirrihigua' s town. He must flee at once. She told him that she was pledged to Chief Mococo and was to be married soon; that she would give the Spaniard a beaded skin that would contain a message to Mococo to insure his safety. She would see that he was guided to the Mococo village. Ortiz escaped. Being a true Spaniard, he relates how high his hopes were that the princess' interest in him was more than merely a tender heart. His hopes expressed gained him nothing but a caJm rebuff. Angry, Hirrihigua tried hard to get Ortiz back, even refusing to permit his daughter's marriage with Mococo for some years. Ortiz at the Mococo camp was given some degree of freedom, but according to the story he related to De Soto, he never traveled far from the village lest he might fall into Hir;. rihigua's hands. When the Indian scouts announced the arrival of a Spanish fleet off the mouth of the bay, Mococo sent OrtiZ to contact them. Ortiz, with a party of nine Indians, pushed south toward the mouth of the Manatee and there fell in with a party of forty Spanish horsemen under


De Soto Slept Here 81 command of Baltasar de Gallegos. Anasco, the year be fore, had heard a vague rumor of a Spanish prisoner among the Tampa Bay Indians and De Soto had sent Gallegos out to find him. When the Spaniards sighted the Indians they attacked the party furiously. Ortiz leaped forward, holding up his arm and shouting. But dressed in Indian clothing as he was and browned as dark as any Timucan, a Spanish horseman dashed at him with his sword raised high. Ortiz attempted to cry out in Spanish. To his horror he suddenly discovered he could re member no Spanish words : In choking desperation he gasped "Seville-Seville Christian-Christian." Saved, he brought his party to DeSoto and told his story. From that time forward he became a most valuable member of De Soto' s staff. As an interpreter and guide he was invalu able. He cemented the Mococo-De Soto friendship; ar ranged the visit by De Soto to Mococo's town, and later, when De Soto left Terra Ceia for the vicinity of Ocala, himself visited Mococo again. Ortiz remained with the De Soto expedition until the early winter of 1542. He died on the banks of the Arkansas River where De Soto was encamped . In the matter of extensive preparation and the assembly of supplies for his expedition, De Soto was the Ad miral Byrd of his time. He brought with him great quantities of munitions, steel corselets, wheel-locks, cross bows, arrows, tanned hides, nails, tools, even lum-


82 The Mangrove Coast Planning a possible colony somewhere along the Florida beach, he also brought with him bundles of seeds and grain. Yet, curiously, nothing seems to have survived the expedition. La Salle, when he. went down the Missis sippi, mentions finding a Spanish sword and a piece of armor in an Indian tent on the lower river which he sur mises probably came from De Soto' s stores. The present site of the Hirrihigua town mounds belongs to Mr. E. C. Abel, of Manatee County. In the extensive deposits he has found many shells obviously ground and reshaped for human use, drilled for ornaments and utilized as light club heads or even hoes. There are piles of shards of pot tery but he has found only one thing that might relate to the De Soto occupation. Some years ago working on the site of the old shell mound where Hirrihigua' s cabin stood, the one DeSoto used the first night after ing, Mr. Abel did find an old Spanish medal with a re ligious image on it. Unfortunately, before the medal was examined by an archeologist, the little decoration became misplaced. With it perhaps was lost a possible connecting link between the visit of De Soto' s troops and the present day. De Soto died in the summer of 1542 on the banks of the Mississippi south of Memphis and was buried in the gre11.t river close to the west bank "in a coffin of elm bark." The secret river burial in the night was decided upon in order to avoid confessing his death to the Indians so soon. When he died the records of the expedition note that there were still two hundred horses in the party and


De Soto Slept Here 83 that the hogs had increased from three hundred fifty on their arrival to upward of seven hundred head. These animals were the personal property of De Soto, and upon his death, they were auctioned off to the soldiers. Most of the horses died in the following year and a half before the arrival of the remnant of the expedition in Mexico, but legend holds to it that the half-wild razor -back hogs found in northwest Florida and southern Georgia are from the original De Soto herd. The Indians became passionately fond of hog meat and took great risks to raid the pens erected by the expedition. De Soto frequently gave pairs of them away as gifts to chiefs and, on one oc casion when the expedition back-tracked, they found an Indian's pair had raised a litter . Swing off the Tamiami traiL to the left at Rubonia, about ten miles north of Bradenton, along the delightful coast road, and you come upop. the great temple mourid with unexpected suddenness. The main road runs to the right of it and a local "dirt" road to the left leaving the mound in the center of a long and narrow triangle. The mound itself is fully forty feet high but so thickly have the live oaks grown, as well as a clump of graceful cab.: bage palm, that the average automobile traveler might pass it without a second glance. "Yes, the mound is there all right," said a passing farmer of whom! asked directions. "You look sharp and you will see it. Better take the right hand road and stop at


84 The Mangrove Coast the little house on the side of the road The house is de serted now but a path to the top of the mound runs from the main road just back of it. And say he remarked as he waved good-by, "I don't want to scare you, but keep your eyes peeled-there are rattlers around in that brush The little gray house was easy to find; Behind it the path to the mound runs twenty-five yards through light underbrush and cabbage palm Then the ramp to the mound sweeps upward abruptly. The great pile of shell and muck faces the east, and the ramp rising to the crest comes up from the west. For two hundred yards toward the shell mounds on McGill Bay beach at the Abel farm is a low cleared space. In this ground people say skulls have often been found. It may have been a community burying ground. The Timucans, however, generally buried their dead in mounds, sometimes several skeletons to a mound, never so many as this burying ground seems to suggest. Mr. Abel inclines to the belief that at some date before the Spanish occupation an epidemic swept the village. So many may have died that the Indians could not follow their customary ceremonials and may have had to bury their dead in one common trench. Smaller than the vast ceremonial pyramids of Central America, the mound has many of the same character istics. The way it faces the east shows that the Timucans, like the Mayans of Yucatan, worshiped the sun. The western ramp is similar to the Central American Indian


De Soto Slept Here 85 construction practice. This is no place for detailed dis cussion of the degree of relationship or contact which may have existed between the Mayans of Yucatan and Guatemala and the Timucans of the Mangrove Coast. But on evidence unearthed in recently discovered Florida mounds, and from the many proofs of wide travel between the Indians of the Central American area and the West Indies, it is impossible not to be strongly im pressed with the belief of Timucan-Mayan contact. The distances between Florida, Cuba and Yucatan are much too short-there are too many evidences of Mayan: Timucan commerce found in the numerous burial mounds located on the keys and along the banks of the Manatee. It is clear that the active life of the village was con ducted on the McGill Bay side. At one time local people said a smaller mound stood a short distance from the . large temple mound but treasure hunters have com pletely demolished it. Such treasure hunters have dug a large hole into the west slope of the big mound.Nof:ng . has ever been found and there is no reason to believe that . : . anything will be. The mound was purely ceremonial and not a burial mound. Only in the burial mounds are pot tery, artifacts, etc. found. Local residents tell .how one time a treasure hunter "from -the north" visited the temple site with a "gold detector." After a good deal of marching back and forth-at night in the inoonlight-he declared that gold would be.found in the mound's center.


86 The Mangrove Coast The big hole remains wher e he and his companions dug. They found nothing. The temple mound and the shell mounds on the Abel farm are historically significant. Not only were they the political and religious center of a large tribe of the Timucan Indians under Chief Hirrihigua, whose bitter of all Spaniard s dated apparently from the Narvaez expedition of 1 528 when his mother it is be lieved, was assaulted and badly injured by d issolute Spanish soldiers, but it mark s for us one of the most cer tain resting spots of Hernando De Soto on the North A:inerican continent. D e Soto led his North American expedition for three years from the date of his landing until his death on the banks of the Mississippi. He trav ersed much of northwe stern Florida, southeastern and central Georgia, southwestern South Carolina, the tip of southwestern North Caro li na, sou theastern Tennessee, almost all of Alabama and northern Mississippi. Yet in all that long trek there are few precise places where one can state with any positiveness, "on this spot De Soto s lept." I know of but two. One, the gray and grim old f ortress of La Fuerza of Havana the oldest fortifi cation in that city, whic h D e Soto himself largely constructed. There he left the ripely bea utiful I sabe lla de Bobadilla to await his return The other is the she ll mounds of Terra Ceia Bay. The main body of De Soto' s fleet returned to Havana


De Soto Slept Here 87 and the lonely Isabella de Bobadilla as soon as they were free of their carg o. Several v esse ls however were retained and on Jul y 9th De Soto sent his famous l ette r to the Governor of Santiago on the progress of the expedi tion by Vasco Porcallo, who had been the original choice as De Soto' s chi e f assistant. Porc a llo, a large land and mine owner in Cuba, quickly d e v e loped a great dis taste for Florida His main interest anyway may have b ee n to find slaves to work his Cuban min es. After a brus h or two with Hirrihi gua's Timucans he mu s t have seen that the Florida Indian was a proposition very different from the smaller and timid Carib After a w ee k's halt DeSoto, with the main body of his soldiers and Indian carriers started northeast to catch up with Gall egos, who had gone ahea d t o investigate r eports of a large Indian community near what is now O ca la, where gold a n d food might be found At Terra Ceia he left Peter C a lderon with some forty horsemen, sixty foot soldiers, camp followers and the sailors from the s ingle carav e l still r e maining. They w ere to hold the point until further orders These troops seem to have kept clo se to McGill Bay. In October Calderon received his orders. He was to break camp, leav e what stores he could not easily take with him to Chief Mococo, and rejoin De Soto. Mococo rec ei v e d from Calderon ac cording to the Garcilaso narrative, over fiv e hundred quintals of cass ava many clo aks and pairs of foot wear along with a large amount of shields, cuirasses, pikes, lances and helmets. Som e day perhaps mounds


88 The Mangrove Coast along the Alafia or the headwaters of the Little Manatee may be uncovered and give up bits of some of this steel armament. Such a royal gift in munitions must have enormously increased Mococo 's prestige among the Timucan sub-tribes. The caravel returned to Havana with messages to the waiting Isabella, who, they say, paced the wide stone ramp arts of Fuerza, or sewed in the little pink stone tower which then and now, deco rates its southwest corner. In the depths of the crude old structure, be hind its glassless windows, set deep with double iron grilles, in the eighteen-foot walls were her apartments which can still be seen. But on the fort's wide ramparts the bright sun of H avana poured over her. She could look east across the narrow waters of the harbor to the g leamin g sides of Casa Blanca hill, where the Ob servatory now stands, or down the harbor, over the site where Morro Castle was later built, across the low fortifi cations of La Punta, just then being raised. She could gaze across the indigo blue of the Caribbean waters ward Florida where her straining eyes had last seen the slow l y dipping sails of D e So to's fleet disappear in the swift twilight of the tropic evening. Isabella waited with Leonora, eighteen-year-old wife of the dashing Nuno de Tobar, whose impetuous suit for the hand of Leonora almost won him a due l with De Soto Leonora's guardian, before marriage on the eve of the fleet's d e parture. The two waited as did so many Spanish wives. They


De Soto Slept Here 89 prayed. And then one day there was no longer any rea son at all for Isabella to wait. Still she lingered, some say, to die in Havana. Others say that after a time she gath ered her strength and resolution and, taking Leonora, she returned once more to Seville. It was Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who hanged his French captives from Fort Caroline not because they were French but because of his distaste for their Protes tantism, who first brought Jesuit missionaries to Florida in 1567. Two of these, Brothers Villareal and Rogel, were established in a small mission, guarded by a contingent of soldiers, on Biscayne Bay near the present city of Miami. Later Brother Rogel went on to the Mangrove Coast, establishing missions at Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay. The missions were small and flimsy affairs and the Indians' reaction to the spiritual teachings of the Jesuits was not enthusiastic. "Rogel had some com," reported a brother Jesuit later, "which attracted the Indians to him to the extent that they heard the doctrine, but when the maize was exhausted their attendance ceased." The meager records show that the two good brothers endured starvation, suffered the tortures of insect attack and the ills of the body. Little was accomplished in a spiritual way and the missions at Tampa Bay and Char lotte Harbor were abolished, but it was at the Bisc;1yne Bay mission, so far as we know, that the first dramatic


90 The Mangrove Coast performance of a secular nature was staged within that part of the new world which is now the United States. Florida history is a mine of unexpected dates. Life on Biscayne Bay in the summer of 1568 was not only hard but desperately dull Busy about his mission tasks, bargaining for holdover corn from shrinking Indian stores, fighting mosquitoes, red bugs and the "mis ery," Brother Villareal sensed the deadly boredom of the soldiers. Something must be done. He had tried "fiestas with litanies to the Cross," but for St. John's Day when the Governor was expected, he put on his real surprise. Brother Villareal produced two "comedies." "The plays," wrote Brother Villareal to Rogel, "had to do with the war between men and the world, the flesh and the devil." The soldiers, he added enjoyed the plays very much. We can well believe it. His formula was good three hundred and seventy-five years ago on the shores of Biscayne Bay. It is still sound dramatic provender both in Hollywood and Broadway in 1942. \ Then for half a century the Mangrove Coast lay for gotten. The grim struggle between the cold-eyed Catherine de Medici in Paris and the even clammier-hearted Philip in Madrid absorbed all the thoughts and energies of the servants of both crowns. There was no gold on the Mangrove Coast, and the Indians being tough and savage, the Very Magnificent in Madrid decreed that all traffic on the gulf coast be abandoned. The


De Soto Slept Here 91 crown concentrated on gaining a permanent foothold on the East Coast and to seeing to it that the lilies of the Bourbons never blotted the bright blue of the Florida ski es. For half a century only the doddering clerks in the archives of the Indies in Seville ever glanced at the west Florida charts-those charts on which old red-haired Panfilo de Narvaez and the beautifully dressed De Soto had with eager eye and high hope out their ren dezvous with death. Then there came a day when the European tens_ion eased. Almost fifty years had passed since the first palmetto huts had been thrown up at St. Augustine; almost a hundred since Juan Ponce de Leon had tried to establish the first Spanish colony in Florida along the gulf coast. People had time again for interest and curiosity about Virginia and the "coast of Apalache and the Bay of Carlos." Juan Fernandez de Olivera, governor of all the Flor idas, in his palm thatched mansion in St. Augustine also had time to spare and had been looking around. He dis patched Lieutenant Juan Rodriguez de Cartayo in the summer of 1612 with a party of twenty .soldiers and a pilot, to the Tampa Bay region, to report fully on the situation especially as to the attitude of the Indians. Reaching the Bay of Pooy, as Tampa Bay was then known to the Spanish, Cartayo held a "friendly meeting with the Indians." Securing canoes the party moved


92 The Man grove Coast across the bay and entered the Rio de Tampa," now known as Sarasota Bay. Working south through Sara sota Bay, where he was frequently halted at the Indian vil lages to receive present s of fish and fruit, he took the outs ide route south of the ex i s ting city of Venice and entered Charlotte Harbor. Sixty canoes, wrote Cartayo in his report to the governor, welcomed him when his party arrived at Charlott e Harbor. Carlos the chief of the Caloosas, after some diplomatic hesitation agree d to meet Cartayo in the middle of the bay. Here Carlos arrived in a great canoe manned by more than forty Indians. The Indian chief presented Cartayo with two plaques of gold, each weighing about two ounces, such as the Indians were accustomed to wear on their fore heads on ceremonial occasions. He also gave the Span iard a Negro slave who had b ee n deposited upon their shores from the wreck of some Spanish vessel en route presumably to Mexico : Governor Olivera wrote to His Majesty how Cartayo had reported on the beauties of the great Bay of Pooy which "is where the Adelantado Hernando De Soto lande d and owing to its extent there can enter a :B.eet of t s The governor urged the immediate construction of a foit on the bay as a center for a gulf coast colony and a protection against pirates. Nothing happened By the time Olivera's report reached the gloomy E scorial more important matters had intervened. Florida was far away. The King was bored with co lonies.


CHAPTER 8 TARDY LAURELS: BARON KREBS AND HIS COTTON GIN I! sometimes takes a century or two to down a l egend, or rewrite a bit of history so that a slightly different light is cast on some of the better known dates in history. The northern school books and the southern ones too all pay tribute to Eli Whitney as the inventor of the cotton gin. All the same, the first successful commercially operated cotton gin was put in operation on the gulf coast at Pas cagoula Mississippi, twenty years before Whitney com pleted his first model. He first filed his application for a upon a cotton gin June 20th, 1793, and received the patent on March 14th, 1794. Yet in the summer of 1771, twenty two years before, Baron Hugh Emestus Krebs fixed up and placed in operation on his big plantation near Pascagoula iD. the French colony of Louisiana, as it was then a operated roller-type gin that could clean upward of 80 pounds of cotton a day. That was double what slave labor could do. Kr e bs, in his workshop, kept at it. His next gin stepped the output up. His gin could do four 93


94 The Mangrove Coast times the work of a slave. One slave-driven power wheel could work a series of gins hooked together and run in series. "The Concise Natural History of East and West Flor ida" by one Bernard Roman, published in 1775, tells the story. The cosmograph er of the Florida coast visited Baron Krebs at his plantation in 1772 when he was mak ing his tour of the coast between the Mississippi delta and Cedar Keys, and was greatly interested by what he found happening in the Baro n's workshop. Cotton had been planted on the Louisiana gulf coast for over fifty years when Roman visited Krebs and saw the first gin in operation. Charlevoix saw cotton growing in Natchez as early as 1721 and there had been a slowly increasing demand for the thl-ead, despite the difficul ties of cleaning the bloom of the entangling seed. Cotton acreage in the far south rose s l owly but steadily. The problem of relieving the bloom of the sticky seed early engaged the attention of the planters. Dupratz con structed one machine to remove the seed but the ap paratus failed to work. Probably Baron Krebs had heard of the Dupratz experim ent and had gone to work to develop a model of his own. Or, just as likely, Krebs may have taken over some l ocal model, co nstructed b y some unknown and unrecorded plantation genius, and developed it. Roman's interest in the Krebs gin was keen on sight. In fact Roman's enthusiasm was so hot that the worthy

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Baron &ebs and H is Cotton Gin 95 Baron became a little disturbed and even annoyed. In the end he would no t let Roman examine his latest im proved model. The Krebs g in wrote Rom an in 1772, "is a strong frame of four studs, each about four feet high and joined above and below by strong traverse pieces. Acro ss these pieces are placed two round, well polished iron spindles, having a small groove through their whole length, and by. means of treddles e by the workman's foot put in directly opposite motions to each other; the workman sits before the frame having a thin board of seven or eight inche s wide and the length of the fram e before him; thi s board is so fixed to the frame that it may be moved, over again, and near the spindles; he has the cotton in a basket near him and with his left hand spreads it on this board along the spindles which, b y their turn ing, draw the cotton through them, being wide enoug h to admit the cotton but too near to permit the seed to go through, which being thus forced to leave the cotton in which it was contained, and by its rough coat e ntangled ; falls on the ground b etween the workman's legs while the cotton drawn through falls on the side into an open bag suspended for the purpose under the spindles. The French in Florida have much improved this ma chine by a large wheel, which turns two or three mills at once, and with so much velocity as by means of a boy, who turns it, to employ two negroes at hard labor to shovel the seed away from unde r the mill: one of

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96 The Mangrove Coast these machines I saw at Mr. Krebs at Pasagoocoola but it was partly taken down, he claiming the invention, was very cautious in answering my questions, I cannot de scribe it accurately; I am informed that one of these improving mills will produce seventy to eighty pounds of clean cotton per diem." Eighteenth-century punctuation and sentence struc ture dims the clarity of the description of the machine. But there seems to be no question as to the fact that the machine was successfully operated. What records we have seem to show that Baron Hugo Ernestus Krebs was Alsatian born in Neumagen on the Moselle. There were several German settlements along the upper gulf coast, both in French Louisiana and near-by Spanish Pensacola and it is presumed that Baron Krebs arrived in America some time about the middle of the eighteenth century. He took up a large tract of land on the lower Pascagoula river, near Pascagoula, Mississippi. A man of considerable means, he purchased many Negroes, constructed a manorial home and planted cotton, indigo and rice. He is said to have also owned the schooners which transported his produce to the wharfs at New Orleans. He died about 1776 leaving fourteen children whose descendants still owned por tions of the old Krebs plantation within the last decade. Thomas Arkwright did not put his roller spinner into operation untill769. The roller spinner greatly increased

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Baron Krebs and His Cotton Gin 97 the production of cotton thread but it was not untill773 when Strutt invented the weaver that cotton really came into its own. British industrialists moved slowly. The Arkwright spinner and the Strutt weaver did not revolu tionize the industry overnight. But by the end of twenty years the improved methods of cotton production had begun to create real demand upon the planters for more and more cotton. The mills in the Lancashire country cried for it and the nimble fingers of the slave women and children in the cleaning barns of the plantations of the South could not keep up with the demand. The times were ripe for something to relieve the pres sure. Young Eli Whitney, traveling in Georgia, arrived at the Phineas Miller plantation at Mulberry Grove. Within ten days he had a model gin in operation. Within a year he was building gins, and with his patent from the new United States Patent Office in his possession he was unable to build gins fast enough. The Whitney gin, in perfect mechanical harmony, was the crest of the wave thrown up by the .inventions of Arkwright and Strutt. The days of King Cotton had begun. There seems to have been a basic similarity between the Whitney and Krebs gins. Both were obviously work ing along the same lines, with the same and materials. But apparently neither Baron Krebs nor his heirs made any effort to extend the use of his invention. There was no compelling need in 1772. Hand-deaned cotton filled amply the needs of British and European manu-

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98 The Mangrove Coast facturers. It is even doubtful if Eli Whitney had ever heard of the Krebs machine. There was plenty of litigation with the Whitney patents later on, and it is likely that if the Krebs invention had been widely known, the fact of the prior invention of the Krebs gin would have been seized upon by some litigant as a factor in these suits. We can say now merely, "Krebs was ahead of his time." Eli Whitney makes the history books as much for "perfect timing" as for invention. Krebs' laurels are there, however, for those who enjoy the discovery of facts in out-of-print books.

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CHAPTER 9 PIRATE, PADRE OR PRESS AGENT. ON July 19th, 1900, Johnny Gomez was drowned fish ing for mullet off Panther Key. Death strikes often at the men who spend their lives following the schools of mullet and king as they roam northward along the squall-tossed beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. One death more or less excites little comment. But Johnny Gomez was different. Johnny was a hundred and nineteen years old, and for forty years he had been the outstanding tes timonial of the salubrity of the Gulf Coast climate. Year after year, decade after decade, Johnny had lived on in his little house on Panther Key. Panther Key, with its long, white beach, is one of the outer fringe of keys dot ting the northern boundary of Ten Thousand Islands. Johnny, whose story was that his real name was Juan, reached Panther Key in 1876 when he was already ninety-five years old. He brought his wife along, a ma tron of a little over fifty, and set up at once as a fisher man and beachcomber. His income fairly regularly re fused to stretch, and the county commissioners of what 99

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100 The Mangrove Coast was then Lee County would do the needful up to eight dollars a month. It was in the course of establishing Johnny's claim, as an aged gentleman out of funds, upon the bounty of Lee County that the vital statistics about his early life became a matter of record. He was born, so he said i n Portugal in 1781 and moved to Bordeaux with his family when he was twelve. That was the year Johnny saw Napoleon. "He sat on a big horse and the soldiers all marched past and cheered him. I saw them," said Johnny. He signed, the year after that, as a cabin boy on an American vessel bound for Charleston, S. C. He deserted his first day in port, and from Charleston drifted south to St. Augustine. Then he took to the sea again. All the thirty middle years of Johnny's life story remain hidden in a fog. He would run on about some terrific hurricane he was in on some voyage to Havana, or mention in pass ing a fight with privateers off Cape Antonio. All he could prove was that about the time the United States estab lished Fort Brooke at Tampa, in the year 1823, he was around ;:a.s a sailor on a coastwise trading boat. After that he went to mule driving along the army trail from Tampa Bay to Fort Myers and in the Seminole wars Johnny swore he served under Zachary Taylor at the battle of Lake Okeechobee that Christmas Day of 1837. His tales of the Civil War were of blockade running. Johnny was eighty when the war started and an old man already by almost anyone's standards. Captain W. D. Collier says

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Pirate, Padre or Press Agent 101 he saw Johnny in 1859 lift two bags of salt, each weigh ing two hundred pounds, and carry them on his back up a near-by hill. After the Civil War and the opportunities it offered were out of the way, Johnny bobs up next around Clearwater, where, it seems, he had a brother. The brother died in the 'seventies and Johnny moved to Panther Key. Soon after he settled on the key, Johnny first began to talk about the mysterious gap in his early life. On one occasion, and at first only briefly, he admitted that he had once or twice been mixed up with pirates. Interested inquirers got him going. Once loquacious, he began to give details-a story or two about sudden dashes from behind low-lying keys upon some helpless becalmed merchantman, sudden attack and death and rape. Once in an outpouring of reminiscences, Johnny is reported to have said he had seen "a hundred men walk the plank." Interesting and illuminating, if true, but in all .the long and dirty record of marine racketeering on the gulf, a forty-year stretch, there is no authenticated incident of anybody at all ever being compelled to go that famous ritual. Murder there was in great and bloody plenty and a horrid lot of top-deck torture of the simpJer kind-hot irons to the soles of men's bare feet, twisted arms, and half-choked victims, wildly kicking, suspended from yards-:but nothing so dramatic or so swift and easy, from the victim's viewpoint, as "walking the plank." On one high occasion when Johnny was at his best

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102 The Mangrove Coast about the days when he was the bad, old rogue, he first told the story of the Little Spanish Princess. "In 1801," Johnny is supposed to have started off, "there was a Spanish Princess down in Mexico. She had been entertained most royally by all the first families of Spain's richest colony and before her return she offered to let travel back with her eleven daughters of Mexico's great haciendas and to see that these precious maids were properly 'finished,' and introduced to the court at Madrid Her proposal, with its hinted promise of fine marriages in Spain, was accepted, and when a royal gal leon of the yearly treasure :fleet sailed away from Vera Cruz, it carried the Princess and her retinue of Mexican maidens ensconced in its cabins. Blown off its proper course, the ship was moving some forty miles off Char lotte Harbor, when a pirate craft came athwart its path. The great ship and its metal and human treasure was made captive." Pause for breath. We must bring in Gasparilla, slightly out of sequence. We have more to say later about this Gasparilla. The pirate in the Johnny Gomez story was this very : Gasparilla, the one who haunted the keys of Charlotte Harbor to snare just such unwary vessels as the great and royal treasure galleon from Vera Cruz. Gasparula, now the master, spurned the products of the best haciendas of Old Mexico and tossed them bru-

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Pirat e, Padre or Pre ss Agent 103 tally to his crew. For himself the Spanish Princess, and to her he put the proposition blu n tl y "She slapped h i m ," Johnn y sai d "s martl y." Where upon G as parill a drew his s word. In one clean cut he sliced the ro ya l head off. Sometimes in his stories that is where it ended. But one time at l eas t Johnny w ent on with the story, even took a party to Little Gasparilla K ey where, pointing to a grave, he t o l d them the pirate confounded with re morse, had b uried the lad y there The mound was opened. There are those along the Mangrove Coast who swear they h ear d and saw that d ay, and that whe n the grave was o p e n e d a femal e ske l eto n was found-with the skull sliced off. Now G asparilla, the pirate, came into none of Johnn y's earlier s tori es and the best piratical research of today sets J ohnny down as his creator. That seems to be too generou s to Johnny. He mu s t have had outside h e lp -and this one has to admit-from other fanciful men or from facts in the long and crimson saga of the pirate Ga s parilla curse of the Mangrove Co ast. F a r more piratical lore than Johnny ever could have acquir e d in his simple unle ttered life is interw oven in the career of the blood y G aspa rilla. There must have some real Gaspar at the start. Johnny, lik e ma n y another free la nce reporter or r ewri t e man, at any rate s t oo d s ponsor for i t. Johnny, the short, thickset f ellow with

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104 The Mangrove Coast dark eyes dancing and glowing despite his hundred years and with a famous fondness for the amber rum of Havana, stuck to his stories. Whenever a Cuban drink was in question, what if the gentleman doing the buying wanted pirates for his money? He was ready. As for Gasparilla, well, why not Gasparilla, as good a name as any? As good as any? Better! It was a name with punch; it had appeal, and it had the very sound of buccaneers in it. It pleased the officials of the old Charlotte and Northern Railroad. It was there on the maps as Gasparilla Key, L ittle Gasparilla Key, and Gasparilla Pass, along with Captiva Island and Sanibel Key for so many years the oldest residents of Fort Myers or Boca Grande, took it all for history. So, if there had been pirates around about .the gulf and if old Johnny Gomez remembered all about one of them, what was more likely than that his name had been Gasparilla! The railway folders of the Charlotte and Northern Railroad put it all in print, the story of Gasparilla, the pirate, and his "brother-in-law" Johnny Gomez. The printed pamphlet, as has happened in history before, became the outstanding "authority" for the legend of Gasparilla, scourge of the Gulf Coast. Bradlee, the author of"Piracy in the West Indies," a scholarly job, and Gosse, in his famous "Pirates' Who's Who," all report on Gas parilla and all name their source as the railroad adver tising pamphlet. For, in fact, there is no other authori-

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Pirate, Padre or Press Agent 105 tative source to be found in America. Gasparilla, says the legend, had accumulated some thirty million dollars in loot which he cached in pits on little Gasparilla Key. His harem of captured females he kept on Captiva Is land. Sanibel was his hunting preserve. Gasparilla, it is said, was born in Barcelona, educated for the Spanish Navy, was captain of a Spanish frigate, "stole the crown jewels" and with a crew of Catalonian cronies with loose morals, sped for the wilds of the Caribbean and the dim, blue coast of Florida. This, I quote from one of the most "authoritative of the pirate's biographies," was about 1783, and here on the keys that rim that beautiful bay, he ruled and ravaged, raped and ruined for almost forty years. Then, on a day late in 1821, when he and his ruffianly crew were gathered together for a final divi dend, a strange and seductive sail appeared. It looked. like a Liverpool merchantman, loaded low with Man chester and Sheffield ware, soft English sovereigns, and perhaps, some wealthy passengers. This sight, avows the legend, was more than the old reprobate could endure and, with a shout, he led his men aboard his boat, lying safely in the 1ee of Little Gaspatilla Key. Out thf:ly shot through the channel and into the Gulf to engage the Englishman. As they did so the British Hag slipped down, the American Hag went up, the canvas disguises fell away and lo and behold, there was the Enterprise, the plucky little Enterprise, the United States Naval sloop whose name had become a symbol of sudden

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106 The Mangrove Coast death to all bad-minded mariners along the Florida straits, with Lieutenant Lawrence Kearny in command. After a blast or two, old Gasparilla wrapped himself in his anchor chains and jumped overboard. Some of the crew did likewise and the rest "were hanged in New Orleans." This, it is written, was presumed to have oc curred on December 21st, 1821, off Boca Grande on lotte Harbor. So the thirty-million-dollar dividend was never voted, the pirates' stronghold disappeared, the fortunate rascals who escaped went far away. And only Johnny Gomez caine back to tell the tale but not to locate the treasure. "Johnny never bad the price of a shirt for his back," mused another pioneer the other day. He known the old mullet fisherman well. "But at that," he went on, "I think Johnny knew something about pirates, pirates along the Cuban coast maybe, not here." A point to stick at in the Gasparilla story and its stir ring finale is the proven fact that it could never have finished that way On December 21st, 1821 the date on which Lieutenant Kearny was presumed to be blasting Gasparilla out of the water off Boca Grande, the Lieu tenant and the little Enterprise, the gamest cockerel in either the Caribbean or the Gulf, was two hundred fifty . miles away off Cape Antonio, the west tip of Cuba, disposing of a gang of cut-throats in a twenty-five-ton sloop he had pursued into the shallow waters of the Cuban coast. The men escaped but the Lieutenant captured

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Pirate, Padre or Press Agent 107 the sloop and used her for a tender for a time afterward. He gave a full account of that day's work not only to Commander Daniel T. Patterson, in charge of naval operations, but also in a report direct to the Secretary of the Navy. If Gasparilla ever was a pirate, the wickedest who ever marauded the palm-strewn shores of the Caloosahatchee, he was certainly unknown to the navy. He went unlisted by the special anti-pirate squadron sent into the GuH in 1821 Neither his name nor the name of any man charged with being or a dmitting to have been a member of his crew is noted in the grim records of the Federal Courts. American State Papers have no trace of him. Spanish archives may have some record of the old gentleman who, in some wicked manner, got custody of the jewels of the Spanish crown. In Washington he is unknown. One account tried to tie his seamy name to the story of the pirate Richard Coeur de Lion," who captured the Philadelphia packet Orleans and held her for two days of good, sound plundering then got away before ap. proaching relief could catch him. As the pirate shoved off with sixty thousand dollars in cash and a cargo of dry goods and stores, he handed a note to the captain of the Orleans. It read: Sea and In Good Luck. "Sir: Between buccaneers, no ceremony; we take your dry goods and, in :return, I sent you pimento; therefore we are now even; I entertain no resentment.

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108 The Mangrove Coast "Bid good-day to the officer of the United Snttes, and tell him that I appreciate the energy with which he spoken of me and my companions at arms. Nothing can intimidate us; we run the same fortune, and our maxim is 'that the goods of the world belong to the brave and the valiant.' The occupation of Florida is a pledge that the course I follow is conformable to the policy pursued by the United States. Richard Coeur de Lion." The attack on the 01lean.s, according to Commander Patterson at New Orleans, took place in mid-September oH Abaco, Bahp.mas, many hundreds of miles from Boca Grande and the Gulf of Mexico. Admitted there never was a pirate Gasparilla, still there must have been someone of that name because, long before such a Gasparilla was ever invented, with Charlotte Harbor as headquarters and Captiva Is]and the site of his harem, old Spanish and English charts of Charlotte Harbor show the name Gasparilla In some J;Daps it is attached to the keys, still kn,own as Gasparilla l{ey and Little Gasparilla Key. Captiva and Sanibel are recorded in the same way. It is obvious that the name was an old one and noteworthy. As late as 1772, Bernard Roman, in charting the gulf coast for his great map, dedicated to the New York Marine Society, indiCated Boca Gasparilla and likewise Boca Captiva and Sanybel

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Pirate, Padre or Press Agent 109 I slan d In his jolirnaL Roman maintained that it was he who discovered the Miakka Ri ve r and the River, and for years the charts had the Miakka as the Roman River. Roman did his chart work nine years at least be for e the piratical S eno r Gasparilla is alleged to have first made his appearance. So someone long before the pi r ate" placed the name on Florida 's maps. A clue to all this, but only a clue, i s afforded in certain of the Spanish and Ameri can maritime reports of the mid dle of the last century, discov ered by Dr. Mark Boyd of T a llahassee. The Coast Pilot for 1842 says, "Carlos B ay is a large entrance made in the coast, in which are emptied various river s, whose mouths are covered by many k eys and shoals, which l eave between them m any channels more or less wide; the northernmost is called Friar Gaspar, and has six feet of water, the neA-t is called B oca Grande, the deepe st, having foUiteen feet of water." Friar Gaspar-not Pirate Gaspar. Again the Spanish chart book for 1862 published in M a drid; "Derrotero de las Islas Antillas y de las Costas Orientales de America" states even more interestingly, "The inlet of Friar Gasp a r or Gasparillo. The Inle t of Friar Gaspar which i s the mos t northerly of those which lead to Carlos Bay is s ituat e d to the north of the north em point of Gasparill a K ey." Friar Gaspar again. If like Roman used the name on their

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110 The Mangrove Coast maps of the Charlotte Harbor region, it is not improb able that the name runs back to the older Spanish period. Menendez established a mission on Charlotte Harbor in 1567. It lasted for only five years, but later many priests -Jesuit, Dominican and Franciscan-did their work in the region. Four of them bore the name of Gaspar and while the record is not definite any one of the four could have labored in the Charlotte Harbor field. On Little Gasparilla Key several ancient Spanish well-heads have been found. A mission may have been located on the key. One can imagine that the name of Gaspar or Gas parilla first came to Charlotte Harbor borne by some devoted priest. In the old records of one of these ancient orders the untold story of Friar Gaspar may still be buried, waiting to be found Wherever fact lies, Gaspar still lives, pirate and rough neck, in the Pageant of Gasparilla, launched every spring by the socially exclusive Gasparilla Society of Tampa. Whatever his sins as a buccaneer and wherever he drove his corvette with its necklace of gleaming cannon mouths, he brings to a dour and confused world today, annually, three days of gaiety and honest laugh ter. The other pirate records of the Mangrove Coast are few. There are some yams about Black Caesar. Verrill, in his excellent "Romantic and Historic Florida," de scribes a piratical coaster by the name of Billy Bowlegs,

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Pirate, Padre or Press .(\gent 111 who is said to have sunk a schooner, filled with treasure, in the shallow waters of a gulf coast bay within the l ast sixty years, and to have r oosted hopefully near by for quite a time This may all b e so. No man knows his Florida romanc e better than Verrill. But by and large the great stream of piracy and deep sea hijacking l eft the Mangrov e Coast alone. There is souna reason for this. Piracy i s eminently a business whose devotees are interested in the immediate dollar. There are no re-sales in piracy. To be a successfu l pirate you have to have a large body of uncertain and timorous merchantmen to attack. The commerce of the gulf in the tumultuous days from the crash of Napoleon to the 1 830's was no great object. The thin but constantly ex panding fleet that worked in and out of New Orleans, carrying cotton and suga r for the South and the bacon, hams, grain and timber that the rafts brought down the Ohio and Mississippi, were an important but still l esser note in world trade compared to the fleet from a ll the great ports of the worl d that swept south to Rio and B. A. through the waters of the Bahamas and the Wind ward Passage to the East and the Florida Straits and the Yucatan Channel to the west. Like the buzzards of their favorite cities,,.the corsairs of the Caribbean hung close to the Hanks of the great streams of commerce the loot from which kept their murderous racket alive. The general unsettlement following the Napo leonic wa rs turned a horde of privat eers upon the commerce of

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112 The Mangrove Coast the world. A wave of revolution swept the Spanish colo nies from the Rio Grande to the Cape in the 'twenties. The rebellious governments were most reckless in issu iilg papers of marque and reprisal, and all this helped feed the growing fleets of pirates which flocked around Porto Rico and Cuba in the first two d e cades of the century. Officials of the Spanish colonial administration in Porto Rico and Havana were blatantly "in the rackee' American war vessels chasing pirates were fired upon from Spanish batteries at San Juan in Porto Rico while Spanish governors of Cuba, as a rule, were most remiss at joining with the United States and Great Britain in clearing the Caribbean and the gulf of the pests. Off the Mole of St. Nicholas and off Cape Antonio, there were veritable nests of pirates, often as many as twenty or thirty at anchor at a time. No vessel dared make for the Yucatan Channel without facing an almost certain chase. The United States Navy was ordered to send a special fleet into the Caribbean in 1821. For a while 'it reported to Com111odore Patterson at New Orleans. Later Key West, then called Thompson's Island in honor of Secretary of the Navy Smith Thompson, was ;made the base of the anti-piracy fleet under Commander David Porter. The Lynx and the Nonesuch cruised the Mangrove Coast from Key West and Havana to New Orleans while other vessels in the fleet concentrated on the eastern and western tips of Cuba; In September 1821, says the "Niles Register," American merchantmen were bagged off Cape

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Pirate, Padre or Press Agent 113 Antonio every week. For a time it was even worse than that: There were days when as many as two and three American vessels were taken and plundered. The crews were often murdered and always terribly mistreated. In one week in October 1821 the Melita, the Leo, the Aristi des, and the L-ucies were taken off Cape Antonio. A week before the brig Clarissa had been held up at .the same spot, while the schooner Bold Commander was taken a little south of the Isle of Pines. It was the capture of the Lucies that brouglit Lieu tenant Lawrence Kearny in the Enterprise to Cape Antonio. Within a month he had captured and destroyed four pirate schooners and one piratical sloop and set free several captured American merchant vessels. . The year following witnessed an intensified drive against the pirates of the Florida straits. The British began a patrol about Jamaican waters and their sum .. mary justice to "privateers" off Gallows Hill beyond Port Royale won them a sinister reputation with the bucca neering gentry. Congress sent the frigate Macedonian south under the command of Captain Biddle, and with it .the frigate Congress and the sloops Hornet, Peacock, Spark, Enterprise, Alligator, Shark, Porpoise and two gunboats numbered 158 and 168, also the first steam vessel in our navy-the converted steam ferry, the Sea Gull; With this command, Biddle's men swept into every bay and bight along the north coast of Cuba and on along the coasts of Mexico, Central America and c o-

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114 The Mangrove Coast lombia. They had to fight not only pirates and the indif ference of the Spanish officials but deadly epidemics of yellow fever. In fact, the naval station at Key West had to be abandoned in favor of Pensacola because of the regular visitations of the then utterly misunderstood plague. Lafitte of New Orleans and Barataria fame was the only first-rate pirate the gulf coast ever produced, and he was the product of the looseness of the local govern ments in New Orleans which permitted him to dispose easily of stolen cargoes. He was helped, too, by the lack of any form of government along the Mexican-owned coast of Texas, rather than by his own talent. Lafitte was more of a top muscle-man among the pi rateS than an actual cruising pirate. He "fenced" the mer chandise brought in by pirates who outfitted at his post at Barataria and later at Galveston Island. When the American Navy drove him from these stations he dis appeared. The legend is that he was along when Gas parilla sailed out to attack the Enterprise in that last and fatal raid, but inasmuch as that raid never took placeat least the Enterprise was not concerned-Lafitte never have heard of Gasparilla. For many years there w.,as t:4e wreck of a schooner plainly visible on the bot tom of the Manatee River below Bradenton. Oldsters used to say the vessel had belonged to Lafitte. Maybe it did. At one time he had under his general control quite a fleet of light draft vessels But another story told along

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Pirate, Padre or Press Agent 115 the Manatee River is that the black ribs of the o l d boat on the bottom of the river belonged to a flotilla of Gen eral Jackson's, carrying provisions to his army at Pensa cola, and wrecked there by an untime l y blow. Loss of prestige and the wrecking of his organization forced Lafitte actually to go to sea under the black Bag, and during 1822 he is reported at various places along the coast of Cuba. actively engaged in his profession. He operated, whenever h e could, as a privateer under the flag of Buenos Aires, Mexico or Colombia It is said that he died in Yucatan in 1826 in the wixid-up days of the racket, when American recognition of the infant South and Central American republics was, to a degree, stabilizing the waters of the Caribbean and the gulf, and when the American and British navies had done their part in setting the Caribbean in order. Quite dllferent from the pirate s of the Cuban coast who at their best, were a scurvy lot, were the tribe of int e rnational adventurers whose methods were brutal but who deserve a higher niche than the hijackers of commerce. Few of these touched the Mangrove Coast as there was richer and easie r loot in the turbulent cities of revolutionary Latin America the n in the first stages of its revo l t against Spain. But Sir George MacGregor for a moment in 1817 saw a chan ce to make F l orida a .. Span ish Republic." He had served with Wellington in the P e ninsular Wars and later with Miranda and Bolivar. The weakness of the Spanish garrisons in Florida were

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116 The Mangrove Coast fully understood by him. He recruited his troops at Charleston-about a thousand men-and after adven turing at Amelia Island on the East Coast for a time, an nounced his illtention of transporting his men to Tampa Bay. In West Florida he thought he saw an opportunity of carving out a separate nation, with its capital on Tampa Bay. He meant to extend his conquest as far south as Charlotte Harbor, perhaps even to the Florida keys, and move his lines as far to the north as he could safely and easily drive the Indians back. Far removed from the. sharper international issues that loomed over the waters of Bahama Straits, he felt that he would be left alone to build his empire, his 'kingdom or his republic-for he wavered at times in his design-to estab lish a profitable trade with the Indians and to create an international trade with Cuba and the West Indian islands by selling them smoked mullet in return for their Spanish gold and European goods. It was a brave dream while it lasted but MacGregor's financial backers had another plan. There were opportunities galore in the islands of the Caribbean. MacGregor marched his 1llen aboard his boats and sailed for Haiti. Making that island his base of operations, he captured the islands of St. Andrews and Providence. The green cross Hag of Florida -MacGregor's own design -that was to have flown over Ta:mpa Bay fluttered instead over the indigo waters of the harbor of old Providence. To his capital MacGregor invited all of the scalawags and light-fingered gentry of

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Pirate, Padre or Press Agent 117 the explosive Caribbean, and to them-for a cai;h con sideration plus a neat percentage of the potentialswag -MacGregor, as a king among the kings, issued letters of marque and reprisal and gave a thin and ragged cloak of legality. The racket worked and MacGregor was strictly in the money but the old itch in his foot began again. The blue waves beckoned; and MacGregor With his crew made off for Porto Bello. He captured it;. as it had been captured many times before by better and abler adventurers. But always the Scot, despite disease and desertion among his followers, he wangled a con. cession for fifty million acres along the Mosquito of Nicaragua, and promptly entitled himself "His High ness Gregor, Cacique of Poyas." His light dimmed after .. that but twenty years later he was still alive, maintaining himself on his retirement pay as an officer of Bolivar's army. Piracy on the. gulf, along with piracy on the Caribbean, gave way slowly before the forces of law and order. The big marine insurance companies of Boston, New York and Philadelphia maintained a constant pres sure on the government to keep the sea lanes safe for commerce. Piracy, like bootlegging a century later, lost its glamour; public opinion became fixed against it. The important centers for the "fencing" of stolen merchan dise in New Orleans, Havana, San Juan, were closed. The surveillance of the American, British and, by this

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tiS The Mangrove Coast time, the Spanish navies became so effective that the risk became too great. Yet as late as 1846 the citizens of Tampa petitioned the Federal government to send them some artillery and arms to equip a volunteer force against Mexican and Cuban privateers reported to be cruising in the gulf. There were no Sir Henry Morgans, Dick Hawkinses, or Bartholomew Robertses in the buccaneering fleets of the period. Most of them were bedraggled crews who could dish it but not take it. Few died in bed; some came to their end by plunging overboard in the midst of a raid, to be welcomed by the tiger sharks and great hammerheads attracted by the smell of blood, the story says, when such events took place, or stumbled up the gallows steps provided by the rough justice of the period. ;@Illy one pirate known as Cofrecina had a touch of the old spirit. As he was approached by the executioner, who carried a black mask in one hand, he started back .,Take it away," he said. "'Take it away. Inasmuch as I have seen three or four hundred people die by my own .. hand during my life, it would be most surprising if I did not know how to die."

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CHAPTER .:ro SUNKEN CHESTS AND GOLD DOUBLOONS AND yet Spanish doubloons have been found and hid d en chests h ave been located along the beaches of the Mangrove Coast. The story of the treasure chest off Point o Rocks, on Siesta Key never dies, and at different consider able sums have been spent in trying to find it. Point o' Rocks is one of the highest points upon the long low line of snow-white beach that extends from Sarasota Bay to Charlotte Harbor. It is the first l andfall that coast-smart skippers aim to make when en route north from Key West to Tamp a Bay. The earliest ohhe ancient Spanish charts mark it down and it was well known to the Miruelos and the other leadin g Spanish pilots of the expl oring era. Siesta Key barricades the sou thern end of lovely Sarasota Bay, rising softly to a thirty-foot elevation at the "Point" and then s h e lving off again to the water's edge at Midnight P ass, which separates it from Venice shores and Treasure I sland to the south. 119

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120 The Mangrove Coast For many years a narrow pass extended just below Point o' Rocks connecting the gulf with Sarasota Bay, but one night, during the great blow of 1921, the pass closed up, packed solid with gulf beach sand, and today there is no indication left, save a slight indentation called "Caples Cove," that the pass known on the old charts as "Rocky River" ever existed. The big storm of '21 and the treasure chest are tied together. For it was on the afternoon before the storm that the chest was first discovered. Men who were on the boat 'and saw the chest still tell the tale. A fishing party in a small cruiser was anchored off the pass, hand-lining for sheepshead and drums, when one of them noted something lying on the sea bottom some ten to twelve feet beneath them. Only a portion of it was visible, they will tell you, but enough to show two wide bands of iron running across the top with heavy iron . clasps at the eomers. Fishing for fish was immediately ab3:ndoned in favor of fishing for chests. Ropes were found aboard the boat and one of the men managed to dive to the bottom and get the rope around the chest several times. Tense with excitement, the men pulled with might and main. The big, bulky object slowly started upward. The box became more definite. It was, they say, about five feet long and two feet wide, and, as it approached the surface of the water, the iron work upon it became clear and more defined. The chest reached the surface, one comer indeed was in the air,

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Sunken Chests and Gold Doubloons 121 when the rope broke and the prize slipped back. Again it lay on the sandy bottom of the gulf. By this time the sun had set and the swift sub-tropical darkness swept across the waters. Marking the spot, the men reluctantly turned the boat's prow for home. The plan was to return at daybreak with heavier cable and adequate lifting apparatus to complete the job. Secrecy on the part of all hands was enjoined. But the men did not come back the next morning. Nor for several mornings. For that night a terrific storm screamed over the gulf-the hurricane of '21-the pass closed up and the whole contour of the beach was changed. Eventually the men did come back, bringing their ropes and pulleys. They could not locate the chest but, believing that so heavy an object would not be far distant, they dove and dove and dove again without success. Then the story got out. Other men tried. Better apparatus was used but with no success. Finally in 1984 a mysterious group arrived, accompanied by several trucks, a gas engine and an air-pumping machine. They built a pier out into the water and set up the engine. Daily the diver appeared and went down into the water. Presently the strangers, who lived in. a group of tents upon the beach, set out guards and allowed no one to approach near enough to see .what was taking place. But one night; near-by residents say, the gas engine ran on until late in the evening and men could be seen working on some sort of an object at the end of the pier. About

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122 The Mangrove Coast midnight there was a considerable commotion around the camp. The engines on the trucks began to growl. The tents came down, the machinery was loaded and long before daylight the entire party had disappeared. Nothing but the long narrow pier remained for the won dering and the curious to stare at. Then a tough blow came out of the north and blew even that to bits. But real gold has been often found on the Mangrove Coast, gold that could see and touch. Gold that you could bite and spend. Spanish gold perhaps pirates' gold. "Alligator" Ferguson, for instance, had some. There were either a number of "Alligator" Fergusons up and down the Mangrove Coast at various times, or "Alliga tor" lived to a ripe old age and traveled a great deal, for you will find guides talking of "Alligator" Ferguson and his activities south of the Shark, and again you will hear of an "Alligator" Ferguson busy along the beach as far north as Cedar Keys. This "Alligator" Ferguson worked the keys and rivers between Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor and, at times, had a hut that he lived in during the mullet season on Longboat Key. Alligator" Fergu son; they say, knew a lot about Spanish treasure-much more than he would tell. When "Alligator" was not down on the Miakk:a marshes chasing the 'gators for their hides, he made his living fishing and crabbing along Siesta Key and its neighbors, St. Armands and Longboat.

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Sunken Chests and Gold Doubloons 128 In the early 'nineties, however, "Alligator" dropped his usual trips after the 'gators. He was, he said, getting too old to hang safely on to their terrific tails. Besides, he said, he had other means. And to one or two of his cronies he showed a handful of gold coins. On another occasion and rather more freely, he displayed a badly damaged old wheel-lock pistol. Queried as to where he found it, he said he' q picked it up on the Longboat beach. Then "Alligator" began going to a Tampa banlc The first time he appeared, the story goes, was on a summer day in the early 'nineties, and after some hesitation, he disclosed a small pile of gold coins and asked what they were worth. The banker, anxious to help him, wired a collector in New York, and as the coins were dated about the middle of the eighteenth century, he secured a price somewhat above their market value as gold. Several times that summer the strange figure of the old man ap peared at the bank Each time he had a small heap .of coins. In all he sold around eighteen hundred dollars' worth of gold coin during the year. He consistently re. fused to tell where he found the coins. . There have been plenty of wrecks along Siesta, Longboat and Anna Maria Keys, and occasionally a hulk of one of the old vessels will turn up whose history is ut terly unknown. Such a wreck was discovered by William Whipple of Siesta Key in 1925 while excavating for a canal. This was the hull of what must have been a primi tive steamer as it still had the remains of a single cylinder

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124 The Mangrove Coast steam engine in it. A few coins of about 1840 were found but no treasure. The interesting thing about this wreck was that it was found at least a half mile from the present line of the beach. Another, found more recently at the very end of Longboat Key, has been only partially ex cavated. It appears to be a much older vessel and may even be of the Spanish colonial period. At the mouth of the Peace, as it flows into the Caloosa. hatchee and Charlotte Harbor, the fishermen will tell you that if the tide is right and the water clear, you can see the remains of three old cannon. "I heard tell," said one of them, "that the Spanish used to fill the barrels of their cannon with gold money and then they tossed them overboard for safe keeping. Some of us tried to lift one of the cannon once but we didn't have .the tackle. Couldn't budge it." The entire coast from Tampa Bay to the Caloosa hatchee abounds with Indian mounds, Indian fields and Spanish "sign." "We found six Spaniards once when I was a young ster," said a guide to me one afternoon. "A bunch of us kids were down around Punta Rassa and up a creek bed we found a funny looking mound. We thought it was Indian and we got a spade and went after it. The mound wasn't a deep one and we turned up some skeletons pretty quick. But they wasn't Indians. They were Span h '' lS did you know they were Spanish?" I asked.

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Sunken Chests and Gold Doubloons 125 "Oh," he said, "they had their bones all wrapped up in some old pieces of black plush. They had leather boots on, too. One of the boys said he guessed they all died of yellow jack so we threw the dirt back on pretty quick and got out of there. But they didn't have any money around 'em, for I looked." Just south of Sarasota along the bay front a search for buried Spanish treasure took place some years ago. A beautiful grove of live oak stands on the spot and for years children playing about the grove occasionally brought home pieces of old iron, copper medals and coins. One evening lights were noted at the place by passing motorists and the next day a large hole was dis covered. Apparently a large chest had been taken out. A few copper and silver coins were found scattered about the hole but no one ever found out who dug the hole or what was taken away. The slave trade had a part in the piratical activjties of the decades following the c<>llapse of France. One of the reasons for the dislike of Americans on the part of Span ish officials of the West Indian colonies was the fact that America had outlawed the slave trade in 1807 and had thus destroyed a hugely profitable business in the Span ish colonies which, until then, had been the principal way-stations for the African slavers en route to America. The slavers not only utilized the Spanish islands to clean and fatten up their cargo, but many disposed of their

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126 The Mangrooe Coast blacks in Havana, San Juan and Matanzas to be re-sold to American importers later by the Cuban factors. The prohibition of the traffic by the American government destroyed this profitable business as a legal institution but it did not destroy the trade. Part of the work of the American naval anti-piracy squadron was in overhauling slavers attempting to run cargoes into the hidden bays of the Florida gulf coast. Once inside these lonely bays Negroes could be landed and turned over to those ap pointed to receive them and, if not sold immediately to American planters, could be marched north and slipped into Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi for further dis position. A sound Negro brought from three hundred dollars to four hundred dollars in cash on the beach and a shipment of a few hundred slaves brought a price worth reaching for. Many a cargo was landed on the long beaches between Pensacola and Cedar Keys and as far south as Tarnpa Bay, and then marched, safari style, into southern Georgia. Captures were frequent. Negroes found aboard the slavers were taken to Key West, where large and well built camps had been constructed and there following adjudication, the Negroes were generally shipped to Ja: maica where they could obtain employment as freemen. Great Britain had outlawed slavery in her West Indian colonies, causing great heart-burning in the South, where it was argued that the Negroes were virtually treated as slaves anyhow. The problem of the disposal of the freed

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Sunken Chests and Gold Doubloons 127 slaves was not an easy one. The laws of the country and public sentiment in the South prevented their being brought into America and permitted to seek a livelihood as freemen. They could not be returned to the Congo country, for in that case, they would be immediately re captured and probably resold into a slavery infinitely more brutal than any ever conceived of in the United States. The British West Indies seemed to be the only outlet and to the British many of them went. Later the Negro colony of Liberia, in Africa, received many of the captured slave cargoes. As the years went on and the slave stock in the South was threatened with exhaustion, the prices on bootlegged slaves went higher and the efforts to run them through increased. This 'Qrought about an inevitable increase ill captures by the patrolling naval vessels and on one occa sion in the late 'fifties, it is said, there were over twelve hundred freed captives awaiting disposition in .the gov ernment quarters at Key West. The government took excellent care of its charges. One part of the pens was reserved for women and children and another for the men. The pens were cleaned daily, whitewashed fre quently and special bathing accommodations were pro vided, and officials saw to it that they were used. Anti slavery societies in the North kept a benevolent 'eye over them and provided them with some amusements. The govemnient looked after the captives' health and they probably ate better than any time in. their lives. The

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128 The Mangrove Coast 'Weekly Peninsula" of Tampa reported a dramatic incident in which a Negro woman, brought to Key West from a captured Mrican slaver, discovered in an adjoining compound her husband and two sons, captured in the same raid on a Congo village in Africa but separated in the slave pens of the Gold Coast and brought to America in different boats. They were reunited and sent to Ja maica together. The coves and bays of the Mangrove Coast played their old part again in the rum-running industry during the piping times of prohibition and hundreds of cargoes of illicit liquor were taken aboard at Bimini and Havana in fast, light draft boats, and brought ashore at the in numerable landing spots among the sheltered keys. Here they would be met by trucks; the burlap bags, each con taining a half-dozen bottles, would be hurried ashore, loaded on the trucks and rushed northward to Tampa and the north for retail distribution. The Coast Guards did their best but the odds against them were terrific. The population, generally speaking, were not very interested in the enforcement of the pro hibition laws; many of the men engaged were local citizens, and the Coast Guard got less than co-operation from the folks on shore. Repeal ended all that, although now and then an oc casional cargo of Havana rum is still slipped in among the keys for local distribution. Today the risky water

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Sunken Chests and Gold Doubloons 129 trade is in running Chinamen, European refugees with out visas, and drugs. Nothing like the big days of rum running, yet a sizable, illegal game. Human freight and drugs are landed fairly regularly on isolated gulf coast beaches. Headquarters of these ventures are in Havana and New York. Six hundred dollars per head is the usual charge for landing an illegal immigrant. The Cuban operators use small sailing vessels and, working north across the Gulf, seek a hiding place north of the Shark and then, sailing by night through the hidden channels of the Ten Thousand Islands, attempt to contact their American agents on one of the keys off Charlotte Har bor or in Sarasota Bay. The cargo, human and otherwise, is taken by auto to some inland city where it will be less conspicuous, to entrain for northern destinations. The new trade is doubly dangerous for all concerned. The Coast Guard patrol has to he evaded, and more than once it has been known to happen that the crew, finding itself in danger, has knocked their passengers on the heads and dumped the bodies overboard to escape de tection and arrest. Drug-running is a little simpler. Cuban fishing schooners run far north into the gulf at every season of the year following the great schools of kingfish and mullet. A few miles off shore it is exceed ingly easy for smugglers operating speedboats to move out in dusk, take over the comparatively small, com pact packages, and get to shore without detection.

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CHAPTER ][][ THE BANNERS PASS IT was July 17, 1821. Through the night heavy squalls swept over Pensacola. As the dawn was breaking, black clouds again piled up in the south and for an hour the heavy sheets of tumbling water thudded relentlessly upon the dull, red tiles and the mossy cypress shingles of the city's roofs. The rain slashed across the shuttered front of the Government House upon the Plaza where slept Jose Callava, last of the Spanish governors of West Florida. It splattered into futile mist against the tall, two-galleried house on the other side of the unkempt plaza where Rachel Jackson rested awaiting the arrival of the General in the morning. It beat upon the white sand of the Plaza, whipping it up until it covered the struggling wire grass and formed in gleaming pools where the ragged paths bisected it. Below the Plaza the water rose between the muddy curbs until the streets ran knee-high. The early storm -bound workers huddled for refuge under the live oaks. The tall clock in the hallway of the Government House ISO

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The Banners Pass 131 registered with each sixty seconds the passing of the two hundred and eighty-eight years of the rule of Spain over the Floridas. A dozen Spanish kings and queens {and for an interlude of twenty years a British sovereign) had held the royal colony and molded it to suit the royal whims. Thirty-six popes, from their austere offices in. the far-off Vatican, had held spiritual domination over the colony and through devoted Jesuit, Franciscan and Dominican fathers had sought to expand among Indians and newcomers an understanding of the seven deadly sins and the spiritual and corporeal works of mercy. Tall Ponce de Leon, red-bearded Narvaez, hot-eyed and eager De Soto, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, Fray Luis Cancer and countless others had died violently, or suf fered disaster or shattered health, all to increase 'the royal wealth and power, and to raise high the banner of the Christian God. For three hundred and eight years the shadow of Spain, of England and of France had lain over the colonies of the Floridas. The clock ticked on; the drumbeat of the marching rain died away t() a whispering drizzle. A soldier stepped out from a sentry box, attached the flag of Spain to the high flagpost in the center of the Plaza and slowly ran it to the top where it drooped in lifeless folds in the humid morning air. At seven o'clock Betty, Rachel Jackson's ebullient light brown maid, looking out upon the upper gallery and the Plaza, reported to her mistress, who was busily getting

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132 The Mangrove Coast into her brocaded overskirt, that twenty dismounted dragoons of the Tarragona regiment, in "elegant attire" were stifHy stretched across the front of the Government House. At eight o'clock a battalion of the Fourth Regiment, United States Infantry, under Colonel Brooke, and a company of the Fourth United States Artillery, swung into the square. They marched across the Plaza, faced about and came to rest. The Americans had slept at Gal vez Springs, two miles away, where Jackson had main tained his last headquarters, and had had to splash their way into the city. Major Dinkins, with four companies of infantry, was ordered to Fort Barrancas to proceed with the ceremonies incident to taking over. General Andrew Jackson was now due. Despite his long stay at Manuels and Galvez Springs, despite invi tation and suggestion, the General and the Governor had not met. Punctilio had fought with protocol, mis understanding with mistranslation, dyspepsia with di plomacy, and throughout the long and .dusty road from New Orleans, where Jackson had arrived late in April from Nashville, until he had reached Galvez Springs, three days before, the General and the Governor had worn each other's patience thin long epistolary ex;. changes. Up to the very last, the General did try to arrange a meeting. On Sunday evening, July 15th, Jackson had written Dr. Bronaugh, who had gone ahead with Rachel

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The Banners Pass 133 Jackson into Pensacola, of his intention to invite the Gov ernor to breakfast, and urged his co-operation. "The Scripture," wrote the General, "says to return good for evil and in this feeling I am asking the Gover nor and his secretaries to dine with me; he is, I suppose, very sore." But the Governor, in a cloud of compliments, evaded the breakfast. The General had not slept for the past two nights. He worked at his papers and correspondence until long after midnight. The mosquitoes swarmed into his rooms at Galvez Springs and fairly ate him up. Worse than mosquitoes, red bugs and chiggers had bitten the General on his trip from New Orleans to his first stop at Montpelier. He had lingered there for weeks, and then went on to Manuels, Florida, fifteen miles from Pensacola, where he had had to wait another month be fore going into Galvez Springs. Rachel had been with him, which was a comfort, and Dr. J. C. Bronaugh, Surgeon-General for the Southern District, and Judge Henry M. Breckenridge. His personal aide and nephew, Lieut. Andrew J. Donelson, had been invaluable. The little group devoted themselves to protecting the General from the incessant onslaughts of admirers, and politiCians; from the attacks of his rectirrent "bowel trouble" and from his own burning rages that swept over him with cyclonic force, and at times threatened to engulf the whole expedition in fury and disaster. There had been delay from the very start, unexplain-

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134 The Mangrove Coast able to the General, who wished speed and dispatch above all things. In New Orleans, the General had been thrown into a paroxysm of anger because theN ew Orleans banks refused to take his draft against the United States Treasury for troop and expedition expenses, except at a tremendous discount. It took over a month before he re ceived four thousand seven hundred and twenty dollars from Colonel Gadsden against drafts sold at a figure to the General's satisfaction. Then there was the matter of Colo nel James Forbes. At about the time the General left Nashville, Colonel Forbes had left New York in the naval sloop, H omet, to secure the necessary signature of the Captain General of Havana to the papers authorizing the governors of West and East Florida to transfer the territory to the United States. A simple assignment at the time, it had seemed. The H omet reached Havana in good time, but from the hour the trim little sloop slipped past Morro Castle for her berth on the Regia side, Colonel Forbes' mission bogged down in a fog of postponement, nrisadventure and delay. The Captain-General was ill; the Captain-General had been called away; the Captain General would see the Colonel shortly. A whole month passed before Colonel Forbes was able to present his credentials to the Spanish governor. Rumors meantime were flying thick and fast along the waterfront of New Orleans, Mobile, St. Augustine and Savannah. The big Havana exporting houses were utilizing every day's de lay to dump additional cargoes into Florida. The Spanish

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The Banners Pass 135 merchants of Pensacola and St. Augustine for years had enjoyed a practical monopoly of the retail trade of the colony. They intended t o fight hard to retain their old supremacy. They were filling up their warehouses to bursting with Spanish goods, bought cheaply on lon g credi ts. More sinister rumors reached Jackson. Cuba was a cen ter for the slave trade in the western hemisphere, and since the prohibition of the importation of slaves into the United States in 1807, Cuba had become the natural depot for Mrican slavers who schemed to run their car goes into the South. Anyhow, Florida under Spanish con trol was an attractive base o f operations for human mer chandise on its way into Georgia South Carolina and the booming cotton states of Alabama and Mississippi. The Spanish slave dealers, Jackson knew, were utilizing every day of the delay to land blacks in the colony. Always a hater of the "trade," J ackson wrote Commodore Patterson, United States Navy, at New Orleans, urging that American warships be sent as far south as Tampa Bay to prevent such importation. He turned his own attention to affairs within the territory. There were sev eral Americans in jail in Pensacola and the General was informed that the Spanish meant to take these un fortunates to Havana for further punishment. Always deepl y suspicious of the Spanish-likewise the British-the General wrote to Governor Cavalla. The Governor promptly replied that there were no Americans

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136 The Mangrove Coast in Pensacola jails. Not satisfied, General Jackson in:. fonned Cavalla tartly that no Americans would be allowed to leave Pensacola with the Spanish troops. "I hear," he wrote, "that the Spanish are tearing down houses belonging to absent Americans and using the wood for fuel." The transportation of American soldiers from Mobile and New Orleans to Pensacola took an amount of ar ranging. Apparently there were endless matters to write about to the Spanish governor; for instance the matt<::r of the Spanish cannon at Fort Barrancas. Governor Ca valla wrote that he could not surrender the cannon with the forts; no provision, he said, had been made for the sacrifice of munitions, only of the forts themselves. Jack son's pen scratched long and fiercely over that one before the Governor accepted the Jacksonian position. There was the matter of rations for the Spanish troops, to be taken on the two schooners, to be escorted by the Hornet to Havana. How much white bread; how much hard bread; how many sacks of and how much fish? The Ann Martin and the Tom Shields had been char tered in New Orleans, to carry the soldiers. The Harriet would take most of the officers and their wives. In all, six hundred and thirty7one men were to be repatriated, including eleven wives, twenty-two children and seventy slaves. Many nice points of social and military distino. tion had to be cared for. The messengers from Mont pelier galloped along the dusty road to Pensacola to

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The Bann e rs P ass 1 3 7 meet others fr om Pensacola en route to Montp e li er. The words ran to thousands. Despi te the hospitality of the Alabama planters it had been dull for Rachel at Montpelier. June <;:arn e with the news tha t Colonel Forbes and the .Hornet had at last arrived a t Pensacola with the Captain-General's sig nature on the papers. The G enera l Rachel secretaries, adv isers interpreters and staff hurriedly packed and post e d away to Manuels. They reached there on June 15th h opeful that fo rmaliti es woul d soon b e over. The General r eckoned without h is Spanish opponent. Days went by at Manuels; the sam e s tory as at M ontpel i er. Rachel, with most of the staff, in cluding Lieutenant D one lson moved on and took possession of the big h ouse in t o wn. The General was left a l o n e with his s t omach s p as m s, the midges and mosquitoes, and the intermi nable corr espondence with Gov ernor Cavalla M ino r irritations mounte d. Betty, Rachel's maid, had bee n hav ing something like a social triumph of her own among the bucks of P e n saco la. Ra c h e l had cause f or grave displeasur e. Amid the l o n g drawn out n egotia tion s with Cavalla over. details of the transfer ence of the flags, the General had time to spare to vent his d isp l easure on anyon e who ca u se d the slightest trouble to his Rachel. He wrote on to Donel son at once that the maid B etty "was p utting o n airs and bas been guilty of impud ence. She can behave herself if she will. . . I h ave told her that publicly

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138 The Mangrove Coast whipped she shall be." The General recommended fifty lashes. Finally July 17th was the date set for the ceremonies at Government House and also at Fort Barrancas. At seven-thirty of that cloudy July morning, Colonel George Brooke, with the band in front and colors flying, led the American troops into the Plaza. The General, walking just a trifle stifRy, called for his horse. The entire American party galloped up the street and into the Plaza. They halted before the saluting sol diers. Jackson, in full dress, every one of the nine bands of glittering gold braid topped by a large gold button, his heavy golden epaulets gleaming, raised his low, cockaded hat to Rachel. She and her party were on the upper gallery of the house. He tossed back a rebellious cowlick and dismounted carefully, threw a stern glance down the long line of waiting troops and stalked into his house. "How solemn was his countenance when he dis mounted from his horse," wrote Rachel in a letter later to a Nashville friend. Almost at once Jackson and his party left the house again and walked briskly across the Plaza between the . Spanish and the American soldiers. At the gateway the Spanish sentries presented arms and the big door opened. The few formalities were quickly over. The

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The Banners Pass 139 Spanish guard in front of the Governor's house was called to attention, and marched away. American soldiers took their places. The big doors of the Government House again opened and Jackson, accompanied by Cavalla, walked back across the Plaza to Jackson's house when the brief official visit was over. As Cavalla reappeared, the Spanish flag came slowly down; the American flag went up, "full one hundred feet." The Spanish troops fol lowed with the departing Governor. The band broke into "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the guns on the Hornet boomed. The citizens of Pensacola, most of whom were Span ish, watched the scene in silence. Rachel Jackson saw it all from the upper gallery. "Many burst into tears," she wrote. "I have never seen so many pale faces." Yet, good, sound Presbyterian that she was, she felt that God's hand was in it also. . "They were living far from God," she Wl'ote. "The :6eld is white for the harvest. Oh for one of our faithful min isters to come and impart the word of life to. them." At that, Racher s eyes were not entirely shut to the church which had monopolized the business of souls during the years of the Spanish rule. "There is a Cath olic church in the place," wrote Rachel later, "and the priest seems a divine looking man. He comes to see us and he dined with us yesterday." She was profoundly shocked, however, at the easy recreational Sunday of the Spaniard with its occasional cock:SgP,t, horse race

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140 The Mangrove Coast or fandango. Its casual acceptance of gambling stirred her deeply. "What a heathen land I am in," she wrote. "Never but once have I heard a Gospel sermon nor has the song of Zion sounded in my ears." For the third time the General was seeing the Amer ican emblem flutter from the flag posts of Pensacola. This time it was no temporary raid. Shaking loose from the crowd of job-hunting, Americans who were in Pensacola to witness the transfer, he gathered up Breckenridge and Bronaugh and retired to his office. A brief letter was drafted to the President to notify him of the completion of the ceremony. Then the proc lamations, drafted by the three men during the hot, still afternoons at Montpelier and at Manuels were brought out. Proclamations to COnsolidate Florida into a single territory; proclamations to revise and improve municipal government; proclamations to provide for an extension and increase in certain taxes, and proclama tions giving municipal officials the power to close all places deemed offensive to them, be they gambling hells or churches. Rachel was to have her Christian Sabbath. The proclamations fell softly to the floor to be gathered up by Breckenridge, appointed Alcalde of Pensacola, and prepared for publication The General stared mood ily across the desk. "It's a goose chasing expedition," he wrote the next day. "The policing is wretched. The whole town is in-

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The Bann ers Pass 141 undated. It has rained for two months. If I can get home with a loss l ess than all my emoluments of one thousand dollars, I will be conten t ed." This was July. By November Srd, after a tempestuous summer in P ensa cola, he was back at the Hermitage. Rachel hoped it would be forever. But Coffee, Campbell and Carroll were already writing about the Presidency. There i s a curious and arre sting vitality about the Spanish. Short-visioned economist, somnolent colonial administrator endowed with an infinite capacity for l eis ure; yet, wherever the Spaniard has lodged himself, established his p eo ple and implanted his ways and proc esses of thought for a time, regard l ess of what grea t changes take place, w h a t new systems and ideas crowd in to supplant his will and method, in architecture, cu l ture and cuisin e, tl?-e imprint of the Spaniard will remain So it was in The great striped banner of blood and gold had gone. So had the soldiers and their officers with their feathered hats, snug blouses and long tight, white-buttoned trousers. Governor J ose Cavalla lingered on until he crashed headlong into one of Jack son's moods of dyspeptic irritation an d was arrested and imprisoned. Caval l a accepted the diplomatic outrage with rare unconcern, gathered the remnants of his staff about his cell, called for champagne and guitar s, and astonished the choleric Tennesseean with an exhibition of how a sophisticated Spanish gentleman take s a night

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142 The Mangrove Coast in jail. Officially Spain had retreated to Havana, but hun dreds of Spaniards stayed on. The Merenos, Bonifays, Gonzales, Sierras and de la Ruas were active factors in the city's life for decades to come, competing valiantly with the Brosnahans, the Jerrisons, Campbells and Chases for political and commercial honors. The records of the town from 1821 to the Civil War show plainly its cosmopolitan character. The Spanish were there, and the Irish. Numbers of Americans had come in with the :Hag, keen eyed, eager fingered and strictly on the make; There were a scattering of Germans and of Portuguese and numerous French emigres from the Santo Domingo slave revolt. They fled to Pensacola from Louisiana in a futile effort to escape the sweeping expansion of the Protestant, republican American nation. It took time to change the slow and lazy ways that had dominated the community for a century and a half . Trading, though often brisk, was primitive. "Jose," said a shopkeeper one day soon after the Amer ican occupation, "when are you going to pay me for that cheese?" "Cheese," replied Jose. "I don't owe you for a cheese. But I do owe you for a grindstone." "Grindstone," said the shopkeeper . "Wait a minute. Let me look at my books again. Grindstone, that's it. I forgot to put a hole in the picture of that cheese." At one time there had been a good deal of indigo shipped out of the port but cotton was gradually replac-

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The Banne1s Pass 143 ing all other staples. The American newcomers found that in cotton, timber naval stores and land lay their best chances for profit. The twin scourges of Real Estate Boom and Yellow Jack shook the town as soon as the flags had been trans ferred. Inflated values on city lots crashed in the panic that came as the yellow fever broke. Many of the Amer icans fled, never to return. Those who stayed were due to suffer many other booms and more assaults of fever. Whatever disaster happened, Pensacola lived and grew. But the hand of Spain rests on it to this day.

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CHAPTER ][.2 BUT THREE CAME BACK THE NEW YEAR high jinks of 1835 had barely quieted down before Washington heard again from Thompson at Fort King In the stuffy, low-ceilinged offices of the War Department, there was no taste for the dispatches always coming up from Florida, and always bringing bad news. General Wiley Thompson at Fort King was worrying again. Treaties were nothing to the Seminoles. They showed no intention of giving up their Florida lands as agreed, or selling their cattle, disposing of their Negroes, and taking off for the lands allotted them west of the Mississippi. The White House, too, had no taste for the sixes and sevens described in dispatches. Cotton was selling well enough, true; western real estate was moving with a briskness that even to the Old General seemed fantastic. Canals were dug and towns laid out so fast the pioneers were out of breath. Money bulged out of every bank window, or so it seemed. But the abolitionists never 144

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But Three Came Back 145 stopped their clamor; the tariff was still a fighting word; the news from Texas looked black. Andy Jackson) tired and looking forward to the mitage roused himself when Thompson's dispatches were brought in to him The Seminoles again. What did their chiefs call themselves now? Micanopy -AlligatorWild Cat-the same old panther litter. "All bastard Creeks," he muttered. 'Til send them a message through Thompson His hand moved heavily across the paper. "You know me," he wrote, "and I would not deceive you I tell you that you must go. You have sold your land. You have not a place as big as a blanket to sit upon." Andrew Jackson had won the first Seminole war for the United States. That was in 1818, the year before Spain ceded Florida to the United States. Jackson heartily believed that the only good Indians were dead ones, and at times he did not hesitate to add the British and Spanish to his list. He had crossed the border and marched hundreds of miles east and west in the Spanish colony, raiding Indian encampments, seizing and hanging British Indian traders whom he suspected, and probably rightly, of inciting the Indians against the interests of his country. As a final fillip to his campaign, he marched his troops into the friendly and loyal city of Pensacola and occupied its forts with American soldiers.

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146 The Mangrove Coast His whirlwind march upset the Spanish, but it did for the time settle the Indian question on the Florida fron tier. Jackson had been the first American general to meet the Seminoles. Many other American generals met them later, a long and bedraggled list of them, but none ever understood Indian fighting in the South as did Jackson; none had his dash and not one approxir.nated his success. Jackson finished the Florida campaign in the first Sem inole war in four months. The wars that followed lasted over twenty years and cost a million dollars per year. It took eighty-two years to May, 1938 before the chiefs of the Florida Seminoles formally met with officials of the United States government and agreed upon a "peace." In terms of years, it was easily America's longest war, and until the Civil War it was one of the most expensive. Slave owners, interested in eliminating Seminole camps in Florida as safe havens for their runaway stock, cattle men who saw in the green ranges of cen tral Florida the promise of a great cattle land, and land hungry planters all had a hand in the second and the continuing Seminole wars. The game was to hold con ferences with the Indians, befuddle them with whisky, or frankly bribe them to sign treaties undertaking to move their clans west to lands in what is now Oklahoma and Texas. The Indians in the villages repudiated the "treaties," and American generals, on their side, often went back on their promises to the chiefs. In the bitter disputes that followed, the solemn contracts of both

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But Three Came Back 147 tribe and nation were ripped to bits and the torn frag ments :fluttered about as futilely as dead leaves before the autumn wind. Political Washington, pressured by the slave interests and served by military opinion based on Jackson's apparently easy march of 1818, grossly underestimated the difficult terrain and the ability and intelligence with which the Indians would fight. British traders from the Bahamas, scenting an attractive penny, busily supplied the Seminoles with munitions whenever the Indians had money or goods. The 'Glades were al most impenetrable to the regular soldiers and far from attractive to the volunteer troops. The big gates of the stockade :flew open. The pipes and drums of the barracks corps squealed and thumped. The troops marched out-one hundred two men and eight commissioned officers-and the thin line of march ing bayonets streamed down the rough, uneven trail leading from Fort Brooke on Tampa Bay to Fort King, one hundred miles to the north and east. The great gates closed. The men moved on. The pale winter sun barely warmed the chill winter dampness; The trill of the pipes became fainter and fainter; Major Dade, at the head of his column, was not sure whether his ears really caught the tune. The dark line twisted around a cypress sink and disappeared behind the trees. It was the day before Christmas, 1835. The officers of the little detachment began to feel

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148 The Mangrove Coast better. Four days out from Fort Brooke, there had been "signs" of Indians but they had seen none. The construc tion of a primitive bridge on the north fork of the With lacoochee had slowed things up. The heavy oxen, hauling the baggage wagons and the one six pounder, had delayed things too, but with a good deal of pulling and hauling the entire lot had got saf e ly across. The trail was a feeble path but clear. Each day the scouts, sent out on both flanks, came back with "nothing to report." Louis, the colored guide loaned to Major Dade at Fort Brooke because he spoke the Seminole tongue and knew the country, seemed to be sure they would see no In dians at all north of the Withlacoochee. Apparently the worst of the trip was over. Dade told the men that as his troop lined up for the day's march. "Men," he said, "you have had hard going. But we are over the worst of it. With luck we may reach Fort King tonight." If the blithering cold would only let up, what Louis called a "northerner"! It had been chilly the morning they left Fort Brooke; by evening the wind had the men, in their thin Key West issue uniforms, blue with the cold. Sloshing through the high grass, topheavy with dew, the men were soaked in no time and their hands were so stiff they could barely hang on to their rifles. The Irish in the ranks kept the line from goirig "sour." A third of the detachment came from Limerick, Mayo, Sligo and Antrim, and the jokes and songs did by day

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But Three Came Back 149 what the stiff issue of rum did for the men each evening. But the grass grew high on either side of the trail and the seed-laden tops on the brown stalks glittered as the dew drops tossed back the sunlight. The forest stood well back from the trail. Dade contented himself with a small advance guard instead of the usual contingent of scouts on his flanks. The men marched at route step, in irregular order, some two by two, others in single file, stretching for a couple of hundred yards. In the rear were the baggage wagons headed by the old six-pounder drawn by a straining double teain of oxen. The Major was well ahead. Fifty yards behind him rode Captain U. S. Fraser of the Third Artillery and be hind him Lieutenant R. R. Mudge. The men had their overcoats buttoned tight about them with their ammu nition boxes beneath their jackets. Nearly all had their arms folded about their guns and their hands drawn up into their sleeves, to keep warm and to keep the dew on the high grass out of their faces. The irregular line had been moving for well ori two hours. Captain Fraser, a small man on a big horse, had turned around to call out something to Mudge about freezing his feet in a footbath on horseback in a jungle in the sunny south. Mudge laughed. As he laughed came the screech of the Seminole war cry. It seemed to come from under Fraser's horse. A single shot rang out and the Captain saw his Major crumple off his mount and pitch forward. "The sonsabitches," he shouted. "They got bade."

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150 The Mangrove Coast The two officers went tearing back through the high brown grass to their men. In the tall grass two hundred Seminoles shivered in the cold wind. Micanopy had kept the braves dancing throughout the night, without a fire, in a close-packed circle, chanting as they stamped round and round. Their Negro slaves, camp followers and allies shuffied and patted their hands as the dancers circled, stirring their own blood and making a rhythm to take the place of the silenced drums. Micanopy's plan was simple. Alligator's men were to hold the center. Jumper was to be on his right. Micanopy would take the left Hank. He had a reason for that. His scouts, who had been in constant contact with Dade's men from the time they had left Fort Brooke, had reported how Dade rode ahead of his troops just behind the advance guard. Micanopy had explained to the council on the evening before that day, how he would shoot first, when Jumper gave the war cry. He would kill Dade. To do this he must be on the left. It had been hard holding in the braves the night before while Dade's men were rebuilding the ruined bridge. But Dade had first built a heavy log defense about the center of his camp and he had men out on all sides. Still the Seminoles might have overwhelmed the soldiers in a first rush but some might have remained alive to put up fierce battle behind the log barrier. The

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But Three Came Back 151 six-pounder, Micanopy reflected, might do tremendo us execution. H e wanted to start h is fight with the six pounder out of action. That was why he decided to meet the soldiers in the tall grass where they could be con fused by their hidden attackers. Micanopy could hear the soldiers coming He peeped through the wild oats and saw the advance guard across the gleaming grass. Behind them, riding clear of the protecting shrubbery, was Dade, squinting at the sun, his hands on his saddle horn. Slowly Micanopy elevated his rifle. Down the long, sharply defined defil e of his rifle sights the officer loomed large and clear The su n shone on his gold coat buttons Micanopy brought his rifle barrel to a steady level. Jumper shrilled the war cry. Micanopy's arm froze to the rifle shaft and he pressed the trigger. The first volley from the Indians killed all the oxen. The great animals pulling the six pounder lay sunk down as if asleep. Two or three of the men managed to pull out of their overcoats and answered the Indians' fire from behind some small trees. Lieutenant Mudge dropped in an early blast. Capt ain Fraser fell close by. Captains Gardiner and Basinger ran to the six-pounder Surgeon Gatlin was down in the grass by a wounded sol dier. Captain Henderson lay dead, his body across the trail where he had dropped at that terrible first vo l ley. The men had the six-pounder loaded but Basinger

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152 The Mangrove Coast fell as he was touching off the fuse. A soldier took over and the six-pounder roared. The clamor of the yelping Indians was stilled for an instant, then, mixed with the whine of their rifle balls, the sound became higher and fiercer. The six-pounder boomed again. Only three men were left on the gun now. One of them fell. The other two rammed home a charge-one more boom: Then the yelping died away and the fire from the Indians seemed to lessen. Captain Gardiner seized the opportunity. Rallying his men, he handed out axes from one of the wagons. The men went at some trees. The trunks, with limbs still attached, were hastily pulled together to form a rough "V" shaped enclosure around the big gun, with the open end facing the narrow marsh beyond which the Sem inoles were gathered. The bodies of Basinger and Hen derson were pulled inside the slender barricade. "We can hold the devils off yet," Gardiner said, as he swung his sabre. The flash of the steel caught the eye of a Seminole sharpshooter and Gardiner sank to the ground. The soldiers closed in about .the gun and crouched behind the brush and log breastworks. As Gardiner ,keeled over, the Indians resumed their heavy firing . Gardiner's men could see them coming closer from be hind trees and then leaping forward from one tree to another. The soldiers returned the fire coolly but their

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But Three Came Back 153 ammunition was growing scarce. And steadily they could see the Indians pressing on, coming, always coming closer, always in greater numbers. Only three men came back, Thomas, Sprague and Clarke; all terribly wounded. It was Clarke alone who was able to give any connected account of the disaster. It was the worst defeat that the United States regular army had ever met at the hands of Indians up to that date. The Seminole war dragged on. The old Indian fighter in the White House was there no more. The sleek Van Buren, with only a Broadway acquaintance with Indians, and the Tammany tribe at that, was in his place to hold down the lonely job in Washington. With the national banking system almost submerged, with a sound cur rency practically non-existent, with foreign money. lenders, in frantic anxiety, squeezing the pulp of Amer ican enterprises in a dim hope that, by pressure alone, they might extract gold, the larger proportion of the President's visitors had been worried and distracted men who hoped without hope that the Magical Van might be able to produce some sort of a financial rabbit out of the high beaver hats of the Treasury and thus save the business structure of the country. But that hope was vain. The political wizard of the Hudson River valley was of no adventuring mind in the

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154 The Mangrove Coast highways and the alleys of finance. The conception of governmental interference with the fixed laws control ling the ebb and flow of prosperity would have to wait another hundred years and for another Hudson River valley politician, before an impious governmental hand would hurl a stone at the high altars of approved eco nomics. And in and above the pleas and pressures of ruined merchants and starving workers, came the dull throb of the drum-beats from the swamps of Florida; more men -more money-more money-more men. With a tax sensitive public clamoring for the reduction of national expense, the solemn generals from the War Department grouped about the big rosewood desk in the White House and asked for more and more. Was it not possible, Van Buren asked in chill exas peration, for the forces of the United States to bring an end to the thing? The generals explained the situation deftly. It was a difficult terrain. Forts must be built. Roads must be con structed, breakwaters erected, wharfs flung far out into the shallow waters of countless muddy bays, the names of which made no sense to the cultured ear from the Hudson River valley. He sat in his office in the White House, quite alone, before the smoldering coals in the small grate fire, thinking about generals and war, and about this Seminole

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But Three Came Back 155 affair, that wandered on year after year, reaching no end, never pointing to any conclusion. "All wars," he thought irritably "are incomprehensible after thirty years even the important and socially correct ones." He considered that idea. Certainly, he mused, there were social distinctions in wars as in everything else. This Seminole war had no social attractions. In New York, except in southern trading circles, you scarcely ever heard it mentioned. In his own experience there was nothing more tiring than to discuss, with an old vet eran, the campaigns of the Revolution, with their end less mistakes and dissensions. As far as the second Brit ish war was concerned, the War of 1812-as some of the historians were beginning to call it-np one ever discussed it at all, except, of course, the westerners and Andrew Jackson. He considered again his old chief, as he had many times before, in affectionate detail. "Jackson," he concluded, "loved war. He loved war for the deep thrill of it. To a man who loves war there is no excitement in life that can be compared to fighting a regiment; a division or an army -or a navy too, for that matter. The sense of unleashed power, not only over your own men but the men against you-the men you are going to whip is elemental. All men who have the gambler's spirit succumb to it. Jackson never quite got over it. "But Jackson hated it, too," he went on. "He hated

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156 The Mangrove Coast its confusion, its waste and destruction." Van Buren thought of the numberless times he had heard the Old General denounce war. "War is essentially waste and destruction," he thought. "Not only the destruction that your enemy wreaks on you or that you succeed in bringing about in the course of a campaign. Such waste is frequently the lesser evil. It's the fearful waste caused by your own people, your incompetents, your short visioned bung-eyed officials, and the sycophantic, demagogic waggle-tails on the hill. They are the great wasters in, war." Was there any remedy? "If only capable men with large vision could run the wars," he thought. He checked himself. "Large visioned. Well, if they were large visioned and able they would rarely have a war. For it was the bus iness of competent national leaders to foresee the frictional points that make war and by foreseeing them eliminate and forestall war." Weakness, he felt, was the vital factor. Nations go to 'war because they dare not stay out. Fears force men into the maelstrom or their very weakness subjects them to attack. He brooded on Jackson, the Old General. "He wasn't weak. He had vision . The South Carolina affair, for instance He foresaw that and he understoo.d its implications. So he took steps. He avoided war. And for the time the people won." That had been Jackson's big problem. He had had to

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But Three Came Back 157 bequeath the Seminole question to his successor. There the Seminoles were, slipping away in the black shadows of the Everglades with the generals splashing after them. The weary years were going drearily by. Generals came and went. Some were lost in the depths of the live oak and palmetto scrub, then came sloshing back through the black waters with a few prisoners and some casualties. It was not, the experts pointed out, the sort of war they had expected. They did not add that no war ever is the sort of war the experts expect. But the flitting Seminoles remained; the hungry cattlemen still eyed the lush ranges of the Florida hinterland with un relieved desire, the pressure of the outraged southern planters for the extinction of this haven for runaway property persisted, and the war went on. With the arrival of Colonel Worth at Tampa Bay, a new policy of adjustment and compromise was tried. The Indians, for their part, tired of the years of conflict, came in to talk with this man whom they had learned to trust. By the summer of 1842, with almost twelve thou sand Seminoles transported to the plains of Oklahoma, Worth, announcing that there were but four hundred Indians still left in the declared the war was over. A lull set in a,nd for over a decade scarcely a shot was fired in anger along the Florida frontier.

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cHAp T E R I 3 BILLY BOWLEGS' BANANA PATCH BILLY BOWLEGS' banana patch once set the fir es of war alight again along the Mangrove Coast. For fifteen years there had been little Indian trouble along the Gulf. Billy Bowlegs, a stocky, personabl e Seminole, who had achieved lead ersh ip over the scattered remnant of the tribe kept himself deep in the B ig Cypress country. He was seen now and again around Fort Myers and among some of the new settlements on the Manatee and around Sarasota Bay, seemed to everybody a comic rather than a sinister figure. With a brave or two with him, he would stop at settlers' homes to enjoy a meal. He liked especially to visit the Whitaker s' place near the bayou on Sarasota Bay and called in often. "If you ever fight us again, Bill y," said Mary Wyatt Whitaker one day as the Indian hung about the porch after a large dinner, "would you kill me?" "Oh, yes, kill ," said Billy earnestly. "But I do it easy." But he liked Mary Whitaker who had married young Bill and had h elped make him a home on the rich ham-158

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Billy Bowlegs' Banana Patch 159 mock off the bay, and he knew Mary could pick off a turkey with her rifle any morning before breakfast at one hundred yards and never touch feather of its body save the head. He knew she could ride better than most of the men and could equal any Seminole at handling one of the long, tree-trunk canoes the Indians used. Billy, left to himself, was all for peace. His scattered band numbered not more than four hundred souls, which meant less than a hundred fighting men. Billy was under no illusions about his ability to stand off the whites. His policy was simple. Keep the Seminole camps deep in the 'Glades, try hard to keep the tribesmen out of town, and never let the settlers locate the distant hammocks upon which his people lived. But the high-topped beaver hats in the Land Office in Washington decided upon a Florida survey. The army was to co-operate. Lieutenant George Hartsoff with a squad of eight armed men and two unarmed teamsters from Fort Myers was ordered into the Big Cypress country in December 1855, to help establish the lines. The little squad worked south and east for two weeks. And then, one ill-starred afternoon, some of the soldiers stumbled on Billy Bowlegs' banana patch. It was more than a banana patch; it was a garden of considerable extent and Billy's choicest possession. The banana plants were over fifteen feet in height and the bananas were the joy of every Seminole papoose. Billy often took clusters of them in to Fort Myers to present to his white friends.

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160 The Mangr01>e Coast It had be en a dull and borin g p e riod for the soldiers in the wood s and now, the week b ef ore Christmas, there seemed sm a ll chance of getting back t o For t Myers. chance, with H artsoff in command, to do anything but run the survey. And so, as they explained afterwards, just for h ell to see old Billy cut up," the boy s tore up the banana p atch, broke down t h e stal ks smashed the pum pkin s and made targets of the squas h Then the y left. A few h ours later Bill y Bo wlegs got back to camp. He looked about him. The wreckage burned him up. Lieutena n t Hartsoff' s men, cl u s t ere d round the cook tent, thoug ht it uproariously funny. When Bill y demanded compen satio n in cash for their damage, it was s idesplitting. They pushed each othe r around and h owled as Billy made his d emands. Then they starte d pushing Billy. One of them shove d him and another tripped him, an d h e f ell on his :fl.a t round face. The whole camp scr eeched at that. Billy, saying nothing, faded away. The boys didn't notice where because Hartsoff h a d turned up wi th the announcement that they would b reak camp in the morning and go b ack to Fort My ers. W as that news! Boy! A cinch they cou ldn't get back in time for Christm as but they might m ake New Year's! The camp s l ept lightly that n ight, in a "fever for the start But over in Billy Bowlegs' camp the Indians were wide

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BiUy Bowlegs Banana Patch 161 awake. Long after midnight the campfire blazed at the end of the ruined garden patch. From time to time a new Indian would arrive. Soon Billy had with him a dozen fighting men. Runners were sent to call in more. Over and over Billy recited what had happened. He showed them the broken garden. He told the story of his maltreatment by the soldiers. Long before morning the war paint was smeared on, the plan of attack devised. Half an hour before daylight, the eight soldiers and the two teamsters were up. Their cook-fire burned brightly as they gulped down their coffee. All the tents were down except Hartsofr s, and the glimmer through its canvas walls showed that the lieutenant too was up. The little camp lay between two low hammocks, the one to the right marked by a grove of pines; the other higher and closer to the camp was overrun with a tangle of grape vine, creeper, wild oat and palmetto scrub. The eager men, walking back and forth between the two hammocks from the fire to the wagons, were thrown mJo bright re lief against the shadows from the near-by trees. Three of the men were out of the way some distance off from the fire with the horses. Suddenly a wild scream arose from one of the ham mocks! A yammering chorus of staccato yells! Then came the long flashes from a half dozen old muzzle loaders. Two of the men at the horses heads jumped to their beasts and escaped. Four men had been shot down

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162 The Mangrove Coast around the campfire in the first blast. Hartsoff burst out of his tent half dressed, his revolver in his hand, shouting: "For God's sake, what i s it?" The dim figures of the three men against the rear wheels of the farthest wagon were all he sighted Run ning low across the circle of ground softly lighted by the dying campfire, shooting as he ran, he managed to join the others. As he swung around the wagon a rifle ball clipped his arm just above the elbow. He scarcely no ticed it. The three privates, huddled low behind the off wheel, returned fire to the black shadows fifty yards away. Bullets whistled all about, smashing into the side_. boards of the wagons. "Are you all that's left? Hartsoff shouted. "Where are all the men? Are they all killed but you?" The man he was shouting at crumpled up before him without a sound, and fell heavily, rolling on his face. His / third man, farthest away, already down on his knees, rolled over and started a slow belly crawl toward the shadows of the low hammock, dragging his rifle with him as he went. The last man dropped to the ground, taking what protection he could from the heavy spokes of the wheel and the shadows from the wagon box "Pull down here," he called to the lieutenant. "Do you want to get banged again?" Suddenly behind them a rifle started firing into the In dians. "Bully," shouted Hartsoff.

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Billy Bo wlegs' Patch 163 A second later a rifl e ball caught the lieutenant in the chest and threw him back on his si de. Blood spurted from th e wound and spread ove r hi s clothes. "Get back," whispered the so ldier beside him. "There's still two of us to keep them off." Takin g the officer' s revol ver, h e fired one shot. The n h e quickly fired his own rifle, trying to conceal the fact of H aitsofF s injury and cover h is r etrea t in the darknes s. It was growing p erceptibly lighter. The long, green gray strea k over the eas tern horizon was turning ame thy s t about its edges and diffu sing itself into a thin layer of pink against the darker morning sky. The shooting trom the Indians hamm ock d ie d away. Hartsoff reach ing cover in the palmettoes and grass, fainted. The man b e hind the wagon wheel worked slowly back toward the hammock. He called so ftl y. There was no response from Hartsoff. The otherprivate joined him and the two s tag gering wea kl y, slid from s i ght into th e marsh grass in the fir s t green light of the morning. Five days later, a detachm ent from Fort Myers found Hartsoff delirious, too weak to stand, some fifteen miles fr o m the scene of the attack. Four of his men had escaped to reach Fort Myers Troop s were sent out at once. Harts off coming to, heard a n Indian scrambling o n the out s kirt s o f the hammock grunting "Come out. Come out." H e had lain still, too weak t o do much else. After hours of hiding, he tried to crawl through the grass, seeking w a t e r. When he came to a sma ll pond, he lay on his f ace

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164 The Mangrove Coast trying to get moisture. His lips had hardly touched the water when an excited hiss and cough warned him and he lifted his face to stare into the mouth of an alligator, drawn to the scene by the scent of blood. For hours he had struggled on and then, exhausted, was compelled to lie still for what seemed to him days on end. Once he thought he lay for thirty-six hours without moving. Only thirst drove him on. He found a piece of paper and, using a stick and blood from his wound, wrote a brief message and pinned it on his coat. He expected the end. A few hours later soldiers came upon him near the ruins of the abandoned stockade called Fort Drum. He lay in the slime of the swamp, the message still pinned to his coat. 1!eantime, Billy Bowlegs had struck swiftly north and south. His few warriors he used in fours and sixes to make sudden forays on isolated farmhouses, taverns and small army posts. Three Indians raided Carney's ferry on the Alfaia, just south of Tampa, kidnaped a child and killed a ferryman. Others raided north up the valley of Peace Creek, turning westward to reach the headwaters of the Manatee. Here they found the great house of Dr. Braden on the river banks-Braden's Castle. It was brightly illu minated, for the Doctor, an old Tallahassee man and a former Virginian, was entertaining some important men from Tallahassee, and his old friends, Furman Chaires of the great Chaires plantation and the Reverend T. T. Sealey. A kitchen-maid saw a shadowy form on the

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Billy Bowlegs' Banana Patch 165 back piazza, and screamed. Lights were blown out and shutters slammed. After a brisk volley or two the Indians slipped away, r a iding the slave quarters as they went, kidnaping half a dozen Negroes and "three of the doc tor's best mules." Bill Whitaker, husband of Mary, rode four days east ward into the Florida jungle to reach the nearest military force at the headwaters of the Peace; the Braden home, built solidly of "tabby" and cypress, was turned into a refugee fort, three companies of militia under John Les ley of Tampa were organizeq, and for nine months the families of the Manatee Valley and Sarasota Bay dis tricts lived under the protection of the walls of Braden's Castle. The Whitaker home on Sarasota Bay was raided, and an Irish farm hand, whose contempt for the Indians made him refuse to flee, was found dead in the burning embers of the house. To the north, the country about Fort Meade suffered many raids. The long military road, built from Fort Brooke, at Tampa south through Mana tee, along Sarasota Bay, where Captain Davenport had commanded hvo companies of federal troops, and on to Boca Grande and Fort Myers, was again and again crossed by marauding Indians. But the end was never in doubt. In 1858 Billy Bowlegs, with one hundred and thirty-nine survivors of his tribe, were herded on Egmont Key in lower Tampa Bay and there put on board trans ports for the west. Only Tiger Tail, a young sub-chief, escaped. In the

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166 The Mangrove Coast morning, as the Seminoles were being lined up for em barkation, Tiger Tail asked Sampson, a Negro inter preter, for a glass of water. Pouring a pinch of powdered glass into the water, he drank and spread his blanket upon the beach. Within an hour he was dead. A hundred Seminoles, it was b e lieved, were still hid den in the Everglades. Too weak to harm anybody, too elusive to catch, the Government was only too willing to forget them It is from these hundred seed l ing Seminoles that to day's estimated five or six hundred of the tribe still in Florida derive Small in numbers as they are, th ey still fall into the two historic group s that have always di vided the Semino l e people. Cow Semino l es, occupying the thirty-s eve n thousand-acre reservation just south of Brighton, are Muscogees. The Seminoles of the Big Cypress Swamp country, on the reservation in Hendry County, are Micosukees. The Muscogee Seminoles are an agrarian people. They own l arge numbers of cattle which they herd with an intelligent understan ding of modern range management. Their children go to school, and the older Indians often go to night school to learn to read and write. The Muscogees tend to retain their native type of s h elter and most of the women still wear the colorful na tive dress yet nearly every home on the re servation has both an automobile and a sewing machine. The Musco-

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Billy Bowlegs' Banana Patch 167 gee Seminole brave dresses like any Florida cowboy, ex cept on ceremonial occasions. As the Everglades have been drained and the wild life reduced, the Muscogees have had to look more to their gardens. Their hog pens and cattle have furnished their livelihood Deeper in the Big Cypress Swamp the Micosukees hold to the old way of life. They hunt and fish. They use the old dugout canoe and the men still dress in the knee length shirt. The dialects of the two groups differ so that it is difficult for them to understand each other. By and large the Federal Government lets them govern themselves. They enforce their own code-even in murder-and they keep their ancient rites for marriage and burial. They hold to their mysteries, which few white men have even tried to penetrate. They also kept their ancient, deep resentment against the Government of the United States and all of its works until these last few years. Deep in the Everglades, for a century, tales of the Seminole wars were handed down from father to son and th. e flame of suspicion and dislike burned steadily. Only in the last twenty years has an effort been made to quench it and find a way to better understanding. The Seminoles seen along the Tamiami Trail and lurking in the suburbs of the larger Florida resort cities, are ill regarded by the Reservation Seminole, and the In dians' best friends among the whites feel that the road-

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168 The Mangrove Coast side exhibition camps create such an artificial life for the I ndia n that no good can come of these sops to the tour i sts. On the res ervations the Seminole seems to live a natural and healthy existence. Their numbers increas e-their wealth, too-and they have more an d more understand ing of their white neighbors. They are ideally qualified to take over and operate great sections of the swamp land of Florida which no white men could ever effectively handle. The State and the Federa l Government now use tact and care in dealing with the situation They impose few restrictions on the Indians and take care tha t the avenues of contact are open, so that when and i f the Seminole c h ooses to enlarge his association with the white man's culture, h e may do so to the exact degree he de sues.

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CHAPTER ][4 THE F. F. V.'S GO SOUTH TALLAHASSEE S claim to commercial consideration wa s the fact that the P e n saco la-St. Augustine trail bi se c t e d the St. Mark's, Florid a, to Thomasville, Georgia road In the years to come thousands of bales of cotton w e re pulled into St. Mark 's via the mule-power e d r ailroa d one of the first in the United States, or by the great six-mule teams tha t w ere used to haul the cotton vans to the St. Mark 's water-side. Because of this just prior to the Civil War Tallaha ssee was one of the best mule markets in the country. They were herded south each fall from Tennessee South Carolina and Georgia. By 1821 the absorption of the free lands, the rapid deterioration o f the existing cotton areas and the sharp narrowing of the sectors of easy opportunity, brought Florida to the attention of the uneasy minds of di ssatis fied men in the older southern s tates. Florida had a r e pu tation for its climate and a s a distant, but attracti ve, winte r resort. These swung to the new territory the best of the last great wave of emigration to the south befo re 169

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170 The Mangrove Coast the final sweep to the western frontier. Sons and daughters from many of the finest plantation homes of Virginia, the Carolinas, Maryland and Georgia, came to take up land and to re-create in northwestern Florida the plantation system as they had known it in their homes. From the tobacco culture of Virginia they moved to a cotton economy. They brought their slaves, their agri cultural implements and methods, their fine furniture of mahogany and rosewood, their silver and glass and the traditions of a gracious though fragile civilization. All was transplanted to their broad and fertile acres in Leon and Jefferson counties by the Waltons, Gadsdens, Chaires, Duvals, Calls, Brevards, Bellamys, Turnbulls, Wirts, Parkhills, Craigs, Nuttals and DuPonts. Many of their names are written across the map of Florida, and all of them had a determining hand in the political and social structure of the state. Ralph Waldo Emerson thought very little of Talla hassee in 1826. It was, he wrote in his journal, "a tesque place" settled very largely by "office holders, speculators and desperados." He had met a gentleman from North Carolina during his visit there who enterti:tined him with "some of the monstrous absurdities of the Methodists at their Camp Meetings." "He related an instance," noted Emerson carefully, "of several of these fanatics jumping about on all fours,

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The F. F. v:s Go South 171 imitating the barking of dogs, surrounding a tree, in which they pretended to have 'treed Jesus:" The town was tough. Arbitrarily established as the capital, located where it wa s Jor no other reason than geographical and political need and the beauty of its site not economic log ic, it wa s not surprising that it had hardly grown at all in the three years since it was sur veyed. The territorial cotincil held its first meeting there in 1824. Communications were the immediate problem of the new territory. A poor trail between Pensacola and St. Augustine had existed in Spanish times, but except in the best of weather, it took weeks to follow. One had to camp on the trail, flooded streams were hard to ford in the rainy season, vast stretches of swamp land had to be waded through, and the mosquitoes and red bugs knew no mercy. . Bad bronchial tubes drove young Ralph Waldo Emer son to St. Augustine in 1826, but it was Prince Achille Murat, nephew of Napoleon and the eldest son of line Bonaparte and Joachim Murat, King of Naples, who lured him to Tallahassee. With the crash of the. Na poleonic regime and Joachim Murat's execution, Caro line fled to Vienna. Young Achille followed Jos eph Bona parte to Baltimore where the latter had both roecessfully and disastrously courted turbulent Betsy Patterson. On a visit to Washington, Murat fell in with General R. K Call, Florida's delegate to Congress, who interested him

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172 The Mangrove Coast in the agricultural land around Tallahassee. Congress had given Lafayette the free grant of an entire township not far from Tallahassee; the town had been selected as the site of the future state's capital. Murat, just under twenty-five, seeing a future, set out for the South and pur chased land about sixteen miles from the little town, and there established his first plantation, Econchattie. It was there the young Emerson visited for some weeks the sprig of Napoleonic nobility. Murat was a professing atheist. Emerson's faith in immortality was strong and, as he wrote in his "I trust indestructible." The two youngsters argued long into the night. The year after Emerson's visit, Murat vainly attempted to interest his New England friend in returning to Tallahassee to preach. "Your church is rapidly increasing in Georgia. Why should it not extend to Tallahassee and you come there to substitute reason for learning and morality for nonsense, ignorance and fanaticism? Even those who do not think as you do would be glad of it." When Murat married Catherine Grey, a young widow, a belle in the local Virginia colony and a grandniece of Washington, a pretty twist for genealogists was set. By this marriage "Katie" Grey became the niece of Napoleon Bonaparte and George Washington, and became the cousin of Napoleon III. He, in his turn, made her a "Princess of France." When the convulsiop. of the Civil War left her penniless it was he that saw to it

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The F. F. V .'s Go South 173 that she received an annual pension from his funds of fifty thousand francs a year. Mr. and Mrs. Murat settled at Lipona, their plantation in Jefferson county, where they were hedged about by the bigger plantations of the Gambles, the George Noble Jones es, the Turnbulls, the Parkhills and the Gadsdens. The Frenchman's interests were never confined to cotton. He experimented with plants brought in from South America, southern Europe and Africa; he enjoyed hunt ing, took part in the Seminole wars as an officer under General Call and unceasingly engaged in scientific ex periments. As he grew older, his interests in the scientific field more and more absorbed him. He changed in his h abits, became slovenly 'in his dress and person-odd in the son of Joachim Murat, greatest of coxcombs. Writing to Mrs. Ellen Long shortly after the Civil War, he swore he would never drink water without first seeing to it that it was well impregnated with brandy, and once when he slipped into a large boiler of warm syrup, his first ex clamation was, "My God, Katie will make me wash." He boasted that he never removed his boots until they were worn out and it was only by wiles that William, his valet, ever got him out of his clothes. He was inordinately proud of his abilities as a cook. Once when both his wife and the cook were away and unexpected guests arrived, he ordered his Negroes to clip off the ears and tails of all the pigs in the barnyard and from these materials made a "savory dish.''

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174 The Mangrove Coast "It is a pity," he told his guests, "that pigs are not an ears and tails." He investigated every sort of animal and wild growth as possible sources of food. "Alligator tail soup," he used to say, "would do nicely, but the buzzard is not so good." Under the American occupation communications grad ually improved, and Tallahassee began to grow. The tides of immigration into the area about Tallahassee con tinued steadily with noteworthy additions from Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky and the New England states. A mail stage arrived twice a week. It still took a full three weeks to send a letter from New York to the capital, and it was often easier for a resident of Key West to take passage to New York and thence go by stage to Tallahassee than to wait for a possible passage from Key West to the upper gulf coast. The annual session of the territorial council was the social, commercial and, of course, political climax of the year. There were few commercial establishments and even fewer places of entertainment, yet visitors seemed to like the place. Whisky was sold in every store or inn as a matter of course. Ten cents a gallon was the standard price. It was good corn whisky, clear and tin adulterated, and everybody-almost-drank freely of it. Ministers drank it; laborers drank it. All politicians drank it. Most of the ladies took it straight, sipping it delicately with a small glass of water as a chaser.

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The F. F. v:s Go South 175 "Race week," reports Caroline Bravard in her excel lent "History of Florida", "was a gala time .. Everyone went to the races. The stakes were rather high and gam bling general." "Nothing is talked of here," a young lady wrote home while visiting Tallahassee in the early 'thirties, "except the races and the meetings of the Temperance Society." An attempt to colonize the Lafayette township with French immigrants was unsuccessful, but a number of French families did settle in the vicinity of Tallahassee and these, with Murat and a few other families from cen tral Europe, gave the town a cosmopolitan atmosphere that it retains to this day. But the dominant families were the big planters whose "places," often running into thou sands of acres, were worked by slave colonies that num bered hundreds of persons. The problem of feeding these Negroes became ever more pressing. To raise or obtain cheap slave food was almost as vital in the economics of the plantation as the raising of the cotto;n crop . Cotton was a crop that required considerable financ ing. As the 'thirties wore along it became clear that the problem of communications was not being solved by the dirt roads. Something would have to be done about rail roads and canals, new and better sailing packets and im proved steamship service. All this required more money than the primitive banking resources of the territory could hope to supply. There had a strong anti-bank feeling in Florida, and four attempts to secure

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176 The Mangrove Coast bank charters from the territorial council were vetoed over a considerable period of time by Governor Duval. Without banking facilities the planters had been forced to utilize the services of the trading companies, and while these would serve as a source of credit for current planta tion requirements, it was obvious they could not meet the needs of any wide plan of internal improvement. While other interests of the territory organized the Bank of Pensacola and the Southern Life Insurance and Trust Company, the Virginia planters under the leader ship of Colonel John G. Gamble promoted the big Union Bank of Tallahassee. It was a three-million-dollar concern frankly copied after the plan of the Bank of Louisi ana, its basic capital provided by an issue of State bonds, the interest and principal of which was to be paid by the Bank. Its officers and directors were found among the Gambles, of whom John G. Gamble was its president ana Robert Gamble a director, as were Chaires, Nuttals, and others in the prosp erous planter group. The Union was definitely a planter's bank. All of the wealthiest of the Virginia planters in Leon and Jefferson counties were in volved in its promotion. Governor Duval, who had been frankly anti-bank, took occasion to urge its creation. The Gambles, between them, took over thirteen hundred shares at one hundred dollars per share. The method of financing was simple. Each subscriber made a small cash payment down with his subscription. For the balance of the sum due he gave

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The F. F. V.'s Go South 177 a mortgage upon his plantation, slaves or other property presumed to be twice the value of the amount owed upon the shares. With his shares safely in his pocket the planter was then able to borrow two-thirds of the value of his shares from the bank in order to extend and develop his plantation. It seeme d to be a wonderful sche me. During the blooming 'thirties men scrambled to get possession of the Union Bank s hares. It's the best thing afloat," wrote a young Florida planter to a friend in the Spring of 1838. "A man can al m ost go to sleep and wake up rich. One or two good crops of co tton will redeem all your obligations at the bank." And o:'le or two good crops of cotton did redeem the ob ligation as long as cotton was high and the demand from the grea t mills in the Lancashires and New England pressing. But the creeping paralysis of commercial stagnation that had begun to grip Europe and New England at l as t reached Tallahasse e The impact of the Seminole war upon Florida land values was depressing. Yellow fever swept St. Joseph's ; in whose boom townproperties the Union Bank had invested heavily. St. Joseph's blew up. The State of Florida suddenly found itself con fronted with the probability of having to pay both the interest and principal of the faith bonds upon-which the b ank's three-million-dollar capital was based. The grip of the depression tighten ed; stock holder loans suddenly

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178 The Mangrov e Coast became bad assets; plantation va lues crashed; slaves and movable property pledged in share purchases, di sap peared. Men began to whispe r ; deposit withdrawals started. The inevitable swiftly happened. The Union Bank closed. In the wreck of the Union Bank was a large portion of John G. G amble's fortune; almost all of Robert Gamble's liquid assets and the fortunes of the Brad ens, the Chaires and others suffered serious hurt. Many liquidated as best they could and went away; others fough t, went back to Virginia and the Carolinas for additional funds, deter mined to stay in Florida and r ecoup their fortunes. That was what the Gambl es, the Braden s and the Craigs did. Far to the south, below Fort Brooke on Tampa Ba y, they had heard of the fertile hammo cks of the Manat ee The Federal was just opening the land for settlemen t. In 1842 tir e d with leg9,l disputes, family l:"ecrimina tions and unpleasan t memories associated w i th the hank's cras h Robert Gamble departed on a l and pros pecting trip to Manatee. Sugar cane, he believed cou ld he raised with profit there.

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CH:A.PTER I5 OPENING UP THE MANATEE IF it was the crash of the Union Bank of Tallahassee that sent the pioneering sons of far-away Virginia scuttling from Leon county to the hammocks of the Manatee in search of rich sugar land and a new future, it was the glowing enthusiasm of Captain Frederick Tresca, skipper of the coastwise trader Margaret Ann, drew Josiah Gates to the Manatee to become its first permanent white settler. That was in January, 1842. Gates was in his forties, a hotel keeper at Fort Brooke and prosperous Visiting army officers with business at the bustling fort, the chief supply station of the aimy in the Seminole wars; traveling governmental inspectors; civilians in charge of the Inqian removal plans; and, even in that day, a few tourists, had provided Mr. Gates with a sound and profitable custom. But in the language of his times he was "still looking round." Among his regular guests were Captain Tresca, born in Dankert, France, who had been a cabin boy on the frigate Bellerophon when it took the pale and drooping Napoleon from 179

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180 The Mangrove Coast France toward St. Helena, and Captain Archibald Mc Neill, an Argyllshire Scot, lured to Tampa Bay by the prospect of profitable shipping Near by lived young Henry Clark, a Canton, New York, merchant seeking a location. It was Tresca who sold the Manatee to Josiah Gates, to Archibald McNeill and to Henry Clark, and Archibald McNeill who taught young James McKay the mysteries of navigation. MeN eill, McKay, and Tresca to gether established the commercial shipping that has since grown into the great port of present-day Tampa The ships of Archibald McNeill were the first to cruise from the mouth of the Manatee to New York, Providence and Baltimore. The schooners which carried the from the Manatee refineries to warehouses at New Orleans and Mobile were McNeill's. They kept the stores of Tampa and Manatee filled with bolts of dress goods, millinery, high beaver hats, and broadcloth for suits, kitchenware, pottery and the furniture and gear essential even to pio neering households. McKay's vessels opened the cattle trade with Cuba, and Tresca s coastwise sloops made life possible for the isolated bay fishermen and for the Snells, the Petersons Atzeroths who later took up land on the keys and created fine plantations there. The secrets of all the shallow bays and inside routes from the Mana tee to Key West became the stock in trade of the Trescas -and a matter of importance and historical consequence later on. In the long and dreary days of the War between the States the McKays, the McNeills and Trescas ran in

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Opening Up the Manatee 181 many a cargo of iron and lead and the precious quinine, coffee, and salt that kept Lee facing north until April '65 and Appomattox. And in 1898 it was a McKay who stood on the bridge of the Gussie, first transport under Spanish fire, and landed a Cuban contingent upon that island's shore. But none of this was even dreamed of when Captain Tresca and the Margaret Ann unloaded Josiah Gates upon a rising hammock on the south shore of the Manatee and hurried back to Fort Brooke to get Henry Clark and his family, who were to settle on the quarter section directly west of Josiah Gates. By the time they got there, Gates and his eight Negro slaves had already built a six-room cabin, with a passage and a detached kitchen. The Gates House was ready for busi ness. White settlement on the Manatee had begun. South of the mouth of the Manatee lay the angular length of Longboat Key which frames the boundary of Sarasota Bay. For over a century itin erant Spanish and Cuban fishermen had maintained a fishing camp and Indian trading station near to-. day's village of Long Beach. The old charts show the camp as Saraxola. As Saraxola on some of the old charts it likewise gave its name to t:lie adjoining body of water, Saraxola Bay. Probably the first Eu ropean recognition given to the Sarasota Bay region was the publication of the famous La Moyne map of 1591. Tampa Bay is indicated there as Sinus loan nis

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182 The Mangrove Coast Ponce and the opening to the south now named Sarasota Pass was called R. Canotes (Canoe river). Spanish naval charts of 1768 call Sarasota Bay as Puerto de Saxasote. With the British occupation of Florida the chart makers began referring to Sarazota Bay. By 1840 American us age had slurred the Sarazota into Sarasota. By 1850 Sara sota was the accepted spelling on all maps. .But it was for Saraxola that William Whitaker, in 1843 out of St. Marks, Florida, with a party of fishennan friends looking for land, steered his small schooner. They found a lonely Spaniard, Elzwarthy, at the abandoned camp. It was he who advised Whitaker to take up land on a likely hammock to the east across the bay. Whitaker's wariant entitled him to one hundred ninety-nine acres, and in partnership with his brother-in-law, Simon Snell, the hammock was staked out and the settlement which developed into the city of Sarasota was begun. It was Simon Snell who first imported Cuban guavas into west Florida and began their cultivation. For centuries the shelteringkeys along the gulf coast had entertained itinerant Spanish fishermen. Working north from Cuba in search of the great schools of mullet and kingfish, these men of dubious reputation estab lished shacks upon the keys extending from the mouth of the Shark to Tampa Bay. James Grant Forbes, who visited west Florida in 1772, spoke of the keys to the south of Tampa Bay as being the ''haunt of the picaroons

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Opening Up the Manatee 183 of all nations." John Lee Williams in his very rare and valuable book "The Territory of Florida" written in 1833, records that the noted British Seminole traders, Ambrister and Arbuthonut, '"l:lo were hung in 1818 by Andrew Jackson, had an extensive south and east of the mouth of the Manatee. This must have been about 1815. Over two hundred slaves were employed on the place, which, according to Williams, was abandoned after the death of the owners. Optimistic New York real estate speculators had a finger on the keys as early as 1833. One group built "an elegant house" and several smaller homes on the south eastern side of Sanibel Key in Charlotte Harbor The boom failed to develop and by 1837 the houses had be gun to decay. A number ofplantations on the Charlotte Harbor keys owned by Cubans and a solitary American, named Dixon, were said to be growing papayas; oranges, and vegetables with success a hundred years ago. Away from the rivers the settlement along the Man grove Coast south of Fort Brooke developed slowly. Twenty-five years had passed since the United States government had taken possession of Florida and Florida was three years old as a state when Congress in 1846 finally authorized an appropriation to erect a lighthouse on Egmont Key in lower Tampa Bay. In the sultry dark ness of the tropical nights its light was the only gleam be tween Key West and St. Marks. Destroyed in the hurri-

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184 The Mangrove Coast cane of 1848 it was immediately rebuilt. The light on Egmont Key still welcomes the swelling sea-borne traffic in and out of Tampa Bay. Profits out of the sugar trade were mounting; the price of land was going up. Henry Clark was dead, but at the old Clark store on the Manatee calico was selling for twelve and a half cents a yard; a pair of kid gloves cost a doiiar eighty and broadcloth was selling for four and a hall dollars per yard. Good brandy was seventy-five cents a bottle and six linen shirts cost two and a half dollars each. Merchandise was far from cheap but business was brisk. Sugar was a good cash crop and the fertility of the land was beyond belief. Some of the ladies were reading "Godey's Lady's and importing silk lace half mitts and a current novelty in costume jewelry made of human hair-chic, Any lady who wished to have her spare locks made into a bracelet could be accommodated if she would send on the hair and a check for four and a half dollars. In the fall of 1853 the first sewing machine ar rived-a Sloat-and it embellished the sewing room of Mrs. Josiah Gates at the big new twenty-room House just completed with real plaster walls, the finest hotel south of Jacksonville.

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CHAPT THE SUGAR KETTLES SOME of the best blood of Virginia was in the Gambles and the Bradens. Gamble Hill in Richmond and Gamble Hundred still keep alive the traditions of a family which was a driving force lon g before Richmond became a capital city. John Gratton Gamble had served with John Marshall when the future Chief Justice was envoy to France, fighting long and hard against the insatiable de mands of Talleyrand for American subsidies to support French arms against the British. When Marshall made his final and convincing report of our refusal to pour forth our treasure-we were more respectful of money in those days and a gi:eat deal more fearful of European en tanglements-John Gratton Gamble followed his chief back to the United States. In Virginia he liv _ed the lif e of an important planter, married Nancy Greenup, daughter of the Governor o f Kentucky promoted a canal or two on the side, and made contacts with British financial insti tutions exp loring the lost colony. In Virginia his son, young Bob, named for his uncle, was born. It was not 185

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186 The MangrO-ve Coast until 1827 that John Gratton Gamble and his brother moved to Leon County, Florida, hoping to set up on a cotton foundation the old ample life they had led in Vir ginia. It was the promotion and crash of the Union Bank fifteen years later that sent Major Gamble and Doctor Joe Braden in midsummer 1842 to the Gates House on the Manatee. The way out and onward, this time, was to be Sugar. Opening up new hammock land was an old story to both men. Dr. Joe and his brother Hector took up by claim and purchase over a thousand acres south of the Manatee and built their first log cabin on the rising bluff that today is the site of Bradenton. The greater part of their holdings, though, were on the banks of Braden Creek a mile to the east. Major Gamble's choice was for the long fertile level tracts north of the river where it curves to the north and east, and .he began to set in order an estate of three thousand acres. The first families of Virginia were setting up as first families of Florida. Pinckney Craig and his brother John William moved onto a big tract just west and south of the Gambles; and along with them arrived the Wyatts, the Wares, the Ledwiths, the Reeds, and the Snells from . Tallahassee, all refugees from the wreck of the Union Bank. In less than a year all of the land south of the atee was taken up, and settlers were moving in west of. the. Gambles and the Craigs in a stream. Major Robert Gamble brought with him a hundred slaves and a ship

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The Sugar Kettles 187 load of agricultural tools. Sugar refining machinery be:. gan to be unloaded in cargoes from New Orleans. The Bradens had over eighty slaves, and the Craigs, too, had brought their colored people" with them. In less than two years the cane was standing high upon thousands of_ acres; smoke was pouring out of the chimneys of the sugar mills; the great six-hundred-gallon caldrons were bubbling; and Archibald McNeill's new big schooner, the Eliza Fiske, sailed up the Manatee and warped into the Gamble dock to carry its first cargo of sugar and molasses to New Orleans. Other schooners, and even a few nosed in for their share of the trade. Manatee Valley su gar became a factor in the nation's output. High water along the Mississippi yeap after year in succession flooded the Louisiana cane fields. The demand for the Manatee product was steady. Most of it was distributed through the New Orleans market. By 1845 a dozen large sugar cane plantations were flourishing. Josiah Gates was rais. ing cane as well as conducting the Gates House, aild Braden production called for a series of mills of their own along Sugar House Creek. The Craigs were building their own refinery, the huge fifty-foot chimney of which still stands. Eleven feet square at its base, built of locally quarried travertine and home-burned red brick, with its foundation walls over four feet thick, it has resisted wind and rain, hurricane and fire, and the explosive assaults of several raids by northern landing parties from blockading vessels during the Civil War. Simon Turman and

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188 The Mangrove Coast John Jackson, later to leave their imprint upon the growing village of Tampa, arrived from the Middle West. They had come down the Mississippi and chartered a schooner at New Orleans to bring them over. Ezekiel Glazier of Massachusetts came with them and it was Glazier who constructed the big Braden mill. North of the Manatee aob Gamble was building one of the largest sugar mills in the South. The three big brick buildings, whose foundations still exist, were over three hundred and forty feet in the aggregate. His fields were drained with miles of ditches. Four cisterns were built at the Gamble mills, holding over twenty thousand gallons each. Gamble devised a wooden pipe and with this con veyed the water to the cooking rooms where the huge kettles held the boiling juice. Groups of Negroes armed with long handled dippers constantly stirred the steam ing liquid until each kettle had boiled down to about fifty gallons. The residue was then poured into shallow vats with porous bottoms through which the molasses filtered and the sugar cooled. In the cane fields gangs of Negro slaves toiled steadily -and at times musically -at the job of ditching, planting and cutting the crop from the three thousand acres of the richest cane land in America. The big mule-drawn wagon loads of cane stalk were brought up to the platforms of the crushing house in which the finest machinery obtain able in America had been installed by the Major. The great grinding rolls of the macerators voraciously awaited

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The Sugar Kettles 189 the loads of cane that were lifted from the wagons by a crane operated by the largest stea m engine in the state a fifty-horse-power outfit bui l t especially for the j ob. At the peak of the Gamble operations more than three hundred slaves were employed in the fields and the mills. By 1850 the Manatee sugar area was in full production. For a decade l onge r the wide fields of cane were planted and chopped, the great fires in the mills, fed by the fat pine from the near-by forests, so rich in ro sili that it fairly dripped from each split l og, belched dark cl ouds of smoke over the river. Every year the sugar fleet sailed up the river took on its loads from the bowed backs of long ; dark lines of chanting field-hands and raced away to be first t o New Orleans with the product of the Mana t ee The sugar planters swelled with prosperit y. Maj o r Gamble and Dr. Joe Braden b egan building big houses. The Gamble place and the Braden house became centers of the whole social and commercial life of the Manatee area. And the su b sequent h istory of the region n eve r l oses sight of them. Shipyards were opened along the river. The sloop Leg o' Mutton brought the mail down from Tampa once a week. Billy Bowlegs' revolt, the last futile outbreak of the Seminole s, was beaten off As the high-temp e red and menacing -'fifties began to fade, the pinch of the B uchanan depression came on. For the sec ond time in his expanding career, the banks began calling on Bob Gambl e and again he could not meet his notes .

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190 The Mangrove Coast The Gamble es tate, esteemed the best equipped sugar plantation in the country, was sold in 1859 to Cofield and Davis of New Orleans for one hundred and ninety thousand dollars, and Major Bob went back to Leon County. History moves fast and faster Sumter and the S eces sion, the Union Blockade and the late afternoon in 1861 when landing parties from the U. S. blockade schooner Stonewall marched up the country roads, destroyed the grist mills on their way, and arrived at the G amb l e re fineries Erroneous reports had reached Commodore Theodore P. Green of the Gulf Blockading Squadron that the refineries were owned by J effe rson Davis, and they were regarded as a special priz e. Sources of Confed erate sugar and molasses they certainl y were. So they burned the mills, though they left the man s ion and l esse r h o u ses of the estate alone, after lootin g the place of its l ives t oc k and utensils Bombs were placed in the great kettl es, and among the heavy rollers, and underneath the fifty-horse power steam engine that was Major Gamble's pride. Be fore the sun had se t nothing but heavy clouds of smoke slowly drifting toward the waters of the gulf remained of the days of sugar. Cane never revived along the Manatee. . Reverend Ezekiel Glazier and young Bill Whitaker late one afternoon in June 1865 drove a light spring wagon piled high with green pine boughs down the trail from Manatee. Against the green of the pines gleamed a hastily scrawled "Fresh Meat for Sale." The wagon clat:-

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The Sugar Kettles 191 tered down the trail to the mouth of Hog Creek. Here the wagon stopped abruptly the pine boughs heaved and tossed and Judah P. Benjamin, Secretary of State for the late Confederate Government scrambled down upon the solid white sand of the b each on Sarasota Bay. E l even weeks befor e, B enjamin, with President J e ffer. son Davis and his Cabin e t h a d dashed out of Richmond f o r Danville and the south. Benjamin convinced that the size of the party made escape impossible, left the Con f e derate President near W as hington, Georgia," on May 2nd. Behind a heavy pair of goggles and a straggly beard, B e njamin, calling himself Monsieur Bonfal, a wandering Fre nchman interested in the effect of war upon the South w orke d his way down through G e org i a. Near the Florida lin e he fe ll in with Colonel John T. Taylor, who told him of Davis' arrest. wm yo u ever get away with the accent ?'' Taylor wanted to know. There i s forty thousand dollars on your head, and the Federals are on to every suspicious stranger." "You forget I'm from Louisiana," said Benjamin. If the y catch me I can speak with a better accent than any Frenchman." All the s ame, as B e njamin plung e d farther south into Florida Monsieur Bonfal was abandoned and Farme r Howard emerge d As Farme r H o ward, Benjamin reached Brooksville where friends vou che d for him to Major John T. Leasley. Leasley confided in James McKay. The two

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192 The Mangrove Coast brought B enjamin to Tampa. The little town was swarm ing with Federal soldiers and sailors and Benjamin was stored in the McKay attic for days. One squall-wracked night his new friends took him south to Major Turner's plantation near Parrish, and thence to the Gamble man sion at Ellenton on the north bank of Manatee. The Gam ble house, then as now, was the glamour "place" of .the Manatee. Built by Major R obert Gamble in the 'forties it was an exact duplicate of "Waukee nah," the Gamble homestead near Tallahassee, except that the man sion was constructed of grea t slabs of tabby" instead of the home-burn e d red brick of northw es t Florida. "Tabby" is a combination of marl, burnt shell lime, oyster shell and sand. Early pioneers along the G eo rgia coast found tha t, molded into large slabs and sun dried, it made exceed ingly strong walls highly resistant to wind and rain. The slabs have a t e ndency to fuse together with the years, creating something as solid as i f carved from living rock. The walls of the Gamble mansion were over two and a half feet thick. Eighteen large columns reached from the ground to the wide overhang of the roof, supporting the second-story galleries ran about the entire building. For over a fortnight the distingui shed ex-Confederate of ficial hid in the Gamble mansion. Afternoons he studied the river through a long spy-glass from the small upper gallery. Then one day a squa d of Federal soldiers surprised him. Luck alone go t him and Mr. Archibald McNeill away to the jungle back of the

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The Sugar Kettles 193 hou se. Meantime, Captain Frederic k Tresca, the one time skipper of the Margaret Ann, had been be sought for a boat to es cape in to Nassau Federal soldiers and sailors had d es troyed almost all the craft on the Mangro ve Coast, but Tresca two weeks lat e r got wind of a sixteen-foot yaw l ne a r Clearwater bought it with Be n jamin's m oney s i gne d on H A. McLeod as a general h and and was off Hog Creek in Sarasota Bay waiting f or the passenger. Thr ee weeks later the fugitive w as in Nassau. Slipping down the coast to Charlott e Harbor the little craft had been once waylaid by a Fed eral blockade boat, and Benja min, in a cook's cap and apr on, stirring about the sandbox forward with its b e d of g lowing charcoal embers, h a d to shiver. His fa ce \vas daube d with grease and soo t but one of the Yankee sailors had his own id ea. I don' t know who he is," h e said "but I'm damned if ever I saw a Jew cook work ing on a fishing boat till now." Tre sc a, who knew the secrets of the inside pas sage at Kn ig hts Key, took the small boat through himself. At th e K < y he secured a bigg e r boat the Blonde, and took her into Bimini in safety. The adventurous Benjamin r eache d N assa u then on to Havana and London where he be came the legal adviser o f Queen Victoria. He paid Tresca fift ee n hundred dollar s in go ld coin gave him the Blonde, and sent ten-yard lengths o f b l ack silk to the ladie s of the f amilies who had befriend e d him in the valley of the Manatee. His cavalry saber h e gave to James McKay I n

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194 The Mangrove Coast a special case above the fireplace in the dining room of the Gamble man sion, the saber hangs today. One Spring morning in Sarasota in 1886, Colonel J. Hamilton Gillespie car efully teed up his ball, let fly his driver and watched the white dot slowly sink to the turf against the bright green of the scrub palmetto off the fair way. Golf enthusiasts in Florida like to tell you that this was the first golf ball ever put in play in America Maybe! Others make the same claim, and the debate grows acri monious at times. The facts seem to be simple enough. Colonel Gillespie was the general manager of the Florida Mortgage and Investment Company, a Scotch-British group which included the Archbishop of Canterbury among its stockholders. The group had purchased sixty thousand acres near Sarasota from the Disston interests. Late in 1885 some fifty Scotch and English families from the Paisley, Stirling and Hamilton districts arrived in Sarasota. Each had purchased an acreage plot outside the city, and most of them had titles to other lots within the village. Few knew anything at all about farming and none understood any of the special problems presented by the land in Florida. As an experiment in colonization along the Mangrove Coast, it soon took its place with all the others from Juan Ponce de Leon down. Colonel Gil lespie, general manager for the company, had other inter. ests however. His job was to manage the company's af..

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The Sugar Kettles 195 fairs, but beyond that it was the Colonel's chief intention to have a fly at golf. He located a natural cl earing on the edge of the town, roo m for a four-hole course. It was on this course, in the bright sunlight in 1886 that Colonel Gillespie took his initial drive. Late r the course was enlarged to nine holes and was used as a golf course by the Colonel and his friends for almost twenty yea rs. Alec Browning one o f the l as t of the original colony, tells of crossing the cleared ground when he was a boy and seeing the Colon el chopping away at the little ball. Although a Scotch lad from Pai s l ey, Browning had never seen a golf game befor e. H e turned to look at the tall, eager Scot, so busily engaged with his little white ball and long crooked club, and he lingered a bit to enjoy the sight. "Do you play?" asked the Colonel of the boy who con-fu dl a" } se y sa1 no. "Mon, y' er missing half y er lif e," he said. This, said old Alec, was i n May, 1886 . It was Gillespie, it is said, who sold Henry B. Plant on the value of golf as a Florida tourist attraction. Plant hired him to build golf courses for him at Winter Haven Tampa, Belleair and Havana, Cuba. When he died on September 7, 1923 while walking across the little course which he had laid out himself and which he loved so well, Gillespie had left his mark on the whole of the Mangrove Coast.

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196 The Mangrove Coast Almost any sunny afternoon, the old yawl is tied up to some fishing dock along the Mangrove Coast. Skipper Hamlin likes best the long municipal dock at Sarasota, but you can find the Phantom anchored off the docks at Nokomis-Venice or Cortez just about as often as you'll find it in Sarasota Bay. Nothing particularly distinguishes the Phantom. Built a trifle on the heavy side compared with modem yachts, she can sail in most regattas and excite no special com ment. Yet the Phantom is sixty years old at least, the last of the fleet of coastwise trading vessels upon which life once depended all along the Mangrove Coast from the founding of Fort Brooke in 1823 until the railroads pushed south of Tampa round 1900. For ahnost eighty years the little schooners, sloops and yawls of the Man grove Coast had things their own way and were the peo ple' s only transport. For years Captain Frederick Tresca's little schooner, the Margaret Ann, carried the mail for the people along the Manatee and Sarasota Bay. The Leg o' Mutton fol lowed the Margaret Ann in the postal service, carrying the mail to Manatee for years. Then steamboats came in after the Civil War and took the lucrative mail contracts from the smaller sailing vessels and the Erie, the Mary Disston and the Rambler ran the route between Sarasota, the Manatee, and Tampa. Other vessels went north to Cedar Keys to connect with the railroad, and

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The Sugar Kettles 197 others sailed from Tampa for Charlotte Harbor points and Key West. The Key West trade always excited the attention of the masters of the light-draft sailing vessels along the coast and for a long time it was a steady and profit a ble run. Key West was dependent upon the mainiand farmers for most of its vegetables, fre s h meat and forage and the p rices fetched were high. The Sarasota schooner Vision was one of the early b o ats in the trade. She was a fast bit of marine architec ture, and Jim Mason, her skipper, counted on two round trips a month. H e would leave Sarasota l oaded with sweet potatoes below decks razor-back hogs and chickens above, and averaged a profit of sixty dollars per trip for himself above all expenses. In the eighties along the M angrove Coast that was han d so me money. Mason used to buy swee t potatoes in Sarasota at forty cents a bushel and sell the m on the dock at Key West a t two dollars and forty cents. Razor-back hogs on the boat cost about four and a half cents a pound and Key Westers were glad to pay nine cents a pound fo r the same. Later on the Ruby, the Emma, the Wild Goose and the Rosa went into the trade. Some went into compet i tion with the V ision for the Key W es t business. Others mere l y traded at minor points a l ong the coast. Among these boats was the Emma M. Little. The Emma M. Little is now the old Phantom still sound of hull and mast. Forty years ago she was equipped with a gasoline marine engine. The

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198 The Coast engine was built so long ago that it does not even carry a serial number and must therefore be one of the oldest marine engines in use in the world today. But in a fog or a dead cahn Skipper Hamlin claims it can still kick the old Phantom along.

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CHAPTER }[_7 BECKONING PORTS TAMP A, the town evolved s lowly from the Fort. During the Seminole wars, the white civilians living round Fort Brooke asked for permission to erec t their cabins insid e the stockade to save them from sudden Indian assaults, and this concentration inside the military reservation halte d the building of dwellings in the village area. Levi Collar was one of the first to move his family away from his homestead on the eastern shore of Tampa Bay and put up a cabin under military prote ctio n. Collar, who had had a cabin on the Withlacoochee Ri ve r was the first white man to study the advantages of th e hi gh hammock lying east of the mouth of the Hillsborough River. Drifting into the Tampa Bay country in the summer of 1822, he noted at once the possibilities of the lo cation between river and bay, with a deep channel cutting through white sand right up to the steep banks of the hammock. He marked the fertile spo t in his memory as the homesite he wanted for his own, and when he came back the following summer h e was bitterly disappoint e d 199

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200 The Mangrove Coast to find Colonel George M. Brooke and Lieutenant Gadsden on the spot with a contingent of U. S. troops from Pensacola. He settled six miles east, and reconciled himself to selling garden truck to the troops who were at work building Fort Brooke. When the Seminole wars broke out and the Commandant wanted to utilize Collar's knowledge of the country he was invited to bring his family into the Fort. One of the old charts of the Fort, dated January 1838, shows where the officers' homes were situated. Major Frazer, Lieutenant McCrab. and Captain Evans had homes east of the point dividing the river from the bay. Next to them was the prisoners' pen, and behind are shown long lines of marquees where the soldiers must have been quartered temporarily while "the Long Shed" and the barracks were in course of construction. The maps show the tents of "the German Dragoons," with a large horse shelter close by, and across a narrow roadway, a small graveyard. Facing the marshy mangrove key, now called Davis Is1and, on the tip of the point, was Frazer's redoubt, flanked by a small park of artillery. The who1e picture is in the map, the two small piers for rowboats and canoes; the larger and more substantial wharf leading to the quartermaster's warehouses and Al len's store, behind the redoubt up the Hillsborough River. At the time Fort Brooke was the main supply base for the soldiers fighting the Seminoles and took care of upward of three thousand men.

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Beckoning Ports 201 As the Indians fell back into the 'Glades, ploughing and sowing was r esume d around the bay, and a colony of Cuban fishermen collected along Spanishtown Creek. A few settlers dared to erect their cabins well beyond the pale of the reservation, and by '3 1 there were enough to just ify the Post Offic e to erect a station. T ampa Bay Post Office, it was called, soon clipped to Tampa Bay. In 1834, the state created Hillsborough county, a vast stretch of land later cut up to form ten counties. It was not untill846 that the ferry began to operate and a non-military store was opened. About that time Simon Turman and John Jackson came up from Manate e. Si mon Turman became a probate judge and editor of the weekly "Peni n su l a r ." John J ackso n surveye d the town site and named mos t of the streets north of the fort after the presidents, and when he ran out of presidents, hon ored Lafayette and Franklin. Looking back over old files, the mileposts of the town's history appear The year the "streets" got their name, the county commissioners ordered the constructio n of a "road" between B ell's Ford on the Alafia River nine miles south of Tampa to Tur man's Landing on the Manatee It couldn't be more than a blazed trail from one creek ford to another, but it gave the early cattlemen a chance to drive their animals south to the ranges, and it offered path for an occasional horseman to get safely through the bush to Tampa Bay. Years later, even, the record is that it took five days to

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202 The Mangrove Coast drive from Manatee to Tampa Bay, a distance of forty miles. The beginnings of Tampa were no better than might have been expected. Along with the soldiers who packed the Fort and the sailors who made port with the big Heet of supply schooners constantly anchored in the river, came a horde of camp followers out for profits. "To say that our city was infested with gamblers, No. 1 blacklegs, burglars, thieves robbers and cutthroats of every shade and high and low degree," said the .. Pen insular," afterward discussing the founding of Tampa, "is but speaking the simple truth. One morning a man, a noted villain, was found swinging to a pine tree. A few were whipped. Others were warned and got their orders to leave. The effect was electrical. Robberies ceased. Gamblers fled." The sweep wasn't as clean as all that. Plenty of color and trouble remained in the struggling little village, Postmaster De Launay's passionate pen set down for the editorial page of the "Peninsular" his protests against the irregularity and the dishonesty with which the United States Mails were handled. For all his precau. tions, money was stolen from nearly every sa9k. The advertising in editor Tuqnan' s paper gives another chapter away. The Georgia lotteries the "Pen insular's" best advertisers. The Georgia State Lottery and the big Consolidated Lottery of Macon paid out for. seductive half-pages. The Georgia State in the Spring

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B ec k oning Ports 203 of 1860 operated an attractive sweep, with a capital prize of sixty thousand dollars, in the interests of the Monti cello Academy. Full tickets were priced at ten dollars each, and the drawings were held weekly at Savannah. More than one prize to every two advertis e d the Georgia State. The old advertisements show how the s p e culative spirit was early inj e cted into Tampa blood. The ads make good r eading-there was the Consolidat e d of Ma con offering three p lans of investment, the City, the H avan a and the Comb ina tion. The City Pl an hung up a capital prize of fifty thousand dollars with tick ets at a dollar each; the t e mpted with a capital priz e of sev enty thousand dollars; and the Combination h eld out a one hundred thou sand d o llar plum. A Combi nation t i cket cost sixteen d ollars, and thre aded through these off e r s of so much f o r so very little were calls for la bor. H elp Wanted-Agents f o r the sale of tickets, with jui cy comm i ssions hint ed. Bank Night at the movi es, and the clatter of nickels out of the machine, are nothing to the old days. The opening of the first cross-state railroad in 1860 quic k ened the tempo of men and mails, and brought Tampa regularly within a w eek's journey to N e w York. Tra ins left Fernandina o n the eas t coast daily except Sun d ay, for Cedar Ke ys, t o connect with steamers sail in g for Manatee and Tampa. True it was quite a whil e b ef o r e the railroad r ea ll y go t to the wes t shore. It ende d four miles inland in the bus h and horse carts and wagons

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204 The Mangrove Coast got their bit from passengers and baggage dumped at the railhead. Water-borne transport remained the real master of transport for another quarter of a century. The big thousand ton steamers, the Galv eston and the Mata gorda, tapped Tampa twice a month between Texas ports, Key West, Havana and the North. Snappy brigs and sweet-lined schooners sailed out of Tampa monthly in the coastwise trade, and every sort of sail and steamer competed for the passengers and cargo that went south to Havana, or north along the eastern seaboard. History is in the changing cargoes. Texas began to ship ponies to the cowmen of the Florida ranges, and Florida cattle began to move to Cuba. A whole bookcould be \vritten about the Florida cattle trade. The revival of the cattle business was the first sign of life on the Florida coast after the Civil War. There were four lawyers in Tampa in 1860, not so much practicing as adventuring in the mazes of the law, and it was one of these that threw off the stiff inhibitions of the profession in the cause of chivalry and pleaded eloquently with the judge for the first and only proxy marriage in the state's florid history. The lady in the case was a widow, and the man in the lumber business "back of Ocala" superintending a cutting job. It would take ten days to get a message to the lady's betrothed and . get him back in person to Tampa. His client, said the pleading attorney, "poured out her love like the rush of a river," and the situation was most definitely in the

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Be c konin g P orts 205 nature of emergencies. The Judge could but act at once. The license was fetched and he read the marriage lines to the lady and her lawy er. Then he mopped his head and made the single stipulation. "You tell the groom ," he said, when he gets back here in Tampa he's not to say anything or see anybody until h e's come up here to m e Certainly in the spring of that year Tampa somewhat out at the elbows, was a rough and tousled conglomera tion of cabins, made of log or home-sawn slab, palm frond l ean-to's and battered tents clustering about the entrance to the Fort-the youngest, toughest army town along the nation's southern frontier. T ampa barracks h ad spawne d a husky garrison brat that easily t ook to the wars. The lo ng draw n out conflict with the Semino les gave the settlement a strength of its own, developed out of e xperience in fighting. The M exican War cut the military importance of Fort Brooke down just when it was best for Tampa to be separated from military domination. The Civil War did almo st no d amage to its men and arms but ruined the economy that it was defending. A few harmless cannonballs overhead an d land e d in the palmetto scru b and a single cannonb a ll buried itself in Thomas Duke's k itchen, but looking back on the re lations between the little Confederate garrison in Fort Brooke and the Union blockading squadron that close ly invested the bay and

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206 The Mangrove Coast town almost from the outbreak of the war, the whole affair is amusing, like an old crinoline skirt. The savage effectiveness and brutality of modern war are missing. True, in April 1863, Lieutenant-Commander William B. Eaton of the U. S. schooner Beauregard sent a sharp note to Major R. B. Thomas, commander of the Tampa forces, demanding the immediate evacuation of all women and children and the surrender of the town, threatening to turn loose his cannon. The Beauregard was patrolling the waterfront from an anchorage just out of range of the fort's cannon. Major Thomas replied with politeness rejecting the demand for surrender but accept ing the suggestion that the women and children be re, moved. "I regret that my design of commencing an attack upon Tampa did not meet with your approval," wrote Commander Eaton to the Confederate Major some days later, "but would say in justification of course that the threat to bombard the town was an inadvertence and should have read 'fort' or 'battery' which, however, laid directly in front of and afforded protection to the town. I have the best information from parties who have been in the town but a short time before and made their escape, that the women and children had all been re from the town and that most if not all the prop erty owners were strong secessionists. You will, I have no doubt, overlook the error in judgment which I have made on taking into consideration the fact that I have

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B eckoning Ports 207 b een here with my vessel six months and after a l ong p erio d of inaction I was naturally anxious to give my officers and men another opportunity to show their mettle and afford them the chance they so much desired of d oing something if ever so little, toward crippling the enemy. Very respectfully W. B E aton, Lieutenant Com m ander." B y 63 it w as plain tha t Tampa and the Mangrove Coast must function in the conflict as supp l y base for the armies of the Confederacy in Georgia and Tenne ssee. James McKay, Archib a ld M cNeill, and Jake Summ erlin w ere engaged by the Confederacy to secure huge quantities of supplies. The records show that in 1861 J a k e Summerlin was marketing ov e r eight thousand head of cattl e annu ally and was Florida s leading cattleman. During the war he drove thousands of Florida steer s to B aldwin, the northern railhea d and f o r the greater part of the m h e received n o tangible r ecom pense. Archibald McNeill, Frederick Tresca and Donald McKa y w ere blockade running and th e Beauregard, the Stonewall and the Gem of the Sea, the barks, Kingfisher and Pursuit and the tender, Rosali e, beating between Charlotte H arbor and Clearwate r were the team that opposed the m as they tried t o s lip through and past bringing up their cargoes fro m Nassa u and Havana. Whe n Sherman marched from Atlanta t o the sea and the l owe r Sout h was defini tely cut off from the armies in Vir ginia, Summerlin and Donald McKay worked in partners hip so well, that the blockad-

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208 The Mangrove Coast ing Union squadron was in a ferment to the end. Ha vana, cut off from its normal supply of Florida beef, was in desperate need of meat. Summerlin had. cattle. Me. Kay had the Scottish Chief, a fast and snappy steam side wheeler. He had the ship, and he had the map of the channel amid the keys between Charlotte Harbor and the Florida Straits in his brain and marrow. No Federal skipper could match him. The Confederate pair bet their cattle, boat and savvy of the waters against the Union blockade, and pulled off six successful trips to before Appomattox. An eight-dollar Florida steer fetched two sparkling Spanish doubloons on the docks at Ha vana, and a gold doubloon was worth fifteen sound Union dollars in those days. Flour, sugar, processed to bacco, quinine pills, calico, shoes, suiting and woolen cloth, salt and tea were almost beyond price, they were so scarce. Women's dresses were to be had for five hun dred dollars down along the coast, and calico, what there was of it, was parted with for ten dollars the yard. Flour was selling at a hundred and twenty-five dollars a barrel. A Florida ranchntan had to tum in fifteen steers to get a barrel of flour, and at that he thought that luck was with him if he found a trader to deal on that basis. Many a Florida ranchman trekked over a hundred miles through }).early trackless jungle to get a box or two of: quinine pills, a sack of ''real" tobacco and perhaps a pair of shoes. The prices were high, high beyond all reason, but the

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. B eckoning Ports 209 risks of the blockad e runners were tremendous, and M c Kay and Summerlin knew how to take them. Othe r runners were caught on their first dash by the Unio n watchers. Not Captain Frederic k Tresca, though who knew the secret waters of the inner passage as well as M cKay, an d made his tri ps t o Nassau until close to the end of the "':a r Captain John Curry goes down in h istory, too, a s one of the best of the Manate e s kippers, but he lost two of his vessels in "the trade." One o f the m the Ariel, recondition e d b y the Yankees, was put to work again in the same waters by the Florida Blockade P atrol. With the collap se of the Confede r acy, cattlemen along the Mangrove Coas t stuck together to hold the Cuban trade. Summerlin buil t a l oading statio n an d an e i ght hundr edfoot wharf at Punta R assa on Charl otte Har bor. McKay built a nothe r on T ampa B ay, and a third w as built at Boca Grande. B lazed trails were cut through the jungle and palmetto scrub a s far back as the h ea d waters of the Peace Miakk a and the Manatee so that . .. the h erds eould be dri ven thr o u g h quickly with the l east los s of time and wei ght. Zibe King, the Carleton s, the Hendr ys, an d the P arkers all became great nam es in the cattle trade. Dr. H T. L y k es and his seve n so ns found ers o f the international ca ttl e a n d ship ping firm whose Bag i s known in ports all over the world, began to play their part. The war was ov e r New foundations had to

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210 The Mangrove Coast built. The new Florida was founded on beef a;n,d Many people remember how the .. ... ,,_,-.;;;., ; hoxne from Havana lugged the bulging sacks of coiri off the boats threw the clinking bags over saddl e -horns and as carel e ssly threw them on the Hood of the ranch houses until such time as the money wanted. There were no banks south of Tallahassee when Ambler, Marvin and Stockton of with Senator James Taliaferro, sent young T. C. ferro to Tampa to open the First National. Two gold . doubloons sealed in a tin can contrived the standard .... . .; baby rattle on the big ranches around the headwater { of the Miakka and the Peace. . :: : The somnolent 'seventies passed gently over the MaJ.l::.? grove Coast. A banking panic in Wall Street and a .. ( litical scandal in Washington could not greatly the people who had used Confederate currency for most two years after Appomattox because they other paper currency .to Spanish doubloons and. }; y, few Mexican and Yankee silver dollars were in cirt:ul,a.;: . ; _!'' :.(., but that was all. Doubloons were worth fifteen J ; Ltrs United States currency, and the hard-bitten the Coast needed a money symbol for ... J;riuch smaller than fifteen dollars. >' .In search of health Sidney Lanier arrived in Tampi 1n December 1876. "Tampa is the most forlorn little collection of onestory houses imaginable," he wrote Gibson Peacock in

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Beckonin g Port s 211 Philadelphia. But Lanier put up at the Ora nge Hote l :. and it was no t long before he was enter taining the cream . Tampa's social crop with flute solos. ; I n 18 84 Henry B. Plant and his r ai lroad arrived. The plans for the f antastic Tampa Bay Hotel; now the prin cipal building of Tampa University, were drawn. V. . Martinez Ybor with I gnacio Haya, cigar tycoons o f Cuba and Key West, seeking a l ocatio n further away from the internal turmoil of Cuba, came to Tampa. It had been their first thought to bring the factories to the Manatee, but repulsed there they returned to Tampa. Sanchez and Hayo joined them to bring Ybor City into being and with it the Tampa cigar. Pion eer was passing. Its population in 1 880 was but slig htly over eight hundred but by 1885 i t had swo llen to thirty-five hundred. Even the dreaded yellowjack, which swept in from the West I ndies in the summer of 188 7, could not hold back the development of the city. Dr. John T. a leading medical au thorit y of the Tampa district, aroused con siderable medical outcry that year whel} he he was convinced from his own r esearches Dr. Car. los Finlay of Havana had been right stated . some years previously that the mosquito was the carrier of the disease. Walter Reed 's concl u sive tests finally fixed the guilt upon the Stegomyia fasciata over a decade l ate r but Dr. Wall 's pronouncement and the date o f it are remembered in Tampa.

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212 The Mangrove Coast Many distant and divergent things have affected the development of Tampa. California and the go l d rush; the Civil War; bigoted stupidities of the Reconstruc tion Era, the irresistible pull to the West in the wake of the railroads set the town back. The tempo of its b e ginning slackened. Decades passed. The Seaboard Rai lroad followed the Plant sys t em and gave Tampa real rail com petition. The Spanish War placed Tampa on the national map. The first World War established the ship y ards. The ooom" built the modern hotels the boulevards, and Davi s Island. The second World War has given it MacDill Field and an enormously expanded s h ipping industry. But the town is still far from being in full stride. The measure of its future is still in incubation. The rich acres of its vast hinterland hav e scarcely been touched. On the far horizons slowly rise the vision of the beckoning ports of Lati.D. America and the South Pacific.

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CHA PTER ][ TAMPA WINS THE SPANISH WAR THE Spanish War crept quietly up on Tampa. I n the early 'eighties, Don Ybor, tired of the everlast ing factional differenc es and labor troubles that were wrecking the hand-rolled cigar mdustry of Key W es t, came to the Tampa district looking for a new loc a tion Don Ybor that if h e could ge t his Cuban cigar w o rk ers out of the disturbin g atm ospher e of K ey West and furth er away from Cuba, production would in c r ease and h is properties flou ris h He p roposed to bring some two thousan d Cuban cigar and their families along with him to a new locati0n. Tampa had then a population of about twenty -five hundred. Bradenton Manatee and Palm etto, clu s t e r e d together on the Man a t ee River, looked attractiv e, an d Don Ybor went there rst, but the folks around the mouth of the M ana t ee would have none of the proj e ct. Angril y, Don Ybo r went to Tampa, where m ore enterprising so uls saw th e point of his proposa ls quicker and we l comed him. Ybor City, suburb of Tampa, was born, an almost entirely Cuban 213

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214 The Mangrove Coast ct:>mmunity, reflecting in Tampa s political and social life every upheaval that swept Havana. Tampa grew accus tomed to Cuban revolutionists; to little groups of dark faced, whispering men who clustered under the Spanish balconies that overhung the business streets; to rwnors of plots and counter-plots; to gun-runing and even, time and again, to assault and assassination. The men who took out the Three Brothers and the Dauntless, noted gun-runners of the early 'nineties, knew that Tampa waterfront well, and there were many men along the docks of the Hillsborough River who understood every crook and cranny in the convoluted Cuban coast better than any harbor in America except, possibly, Key West. So the ruckus in Cuba was no great news in Tampa. H. B. Plant had brought his Plant System railroads into Tampa some years before and had erected the imposing Tampa Bay Hotel, the only one in Florida that rivaled the. great hotels Flagler was building in St. Augustine. The activities of the Plants were of infinitely greater Interest to Tampa, as 1898 rolled in, than the scurryings of Gomez and Maceo, or the ponderous pronouncements of the revolutionary president, Estrada y Palma. The paving issue was in the forefront of interest. "Tampa/' declared the "Times" editorially, "is losing $1000 .00 per day by not having her streets paved. Latin-American trade, too, was beginning to interest Tampa shippers and businessmen. The Plants had a line to Honduras and another to Jamaica, and of course the Olivette and the

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. Tampa Wins the Spanish War 215 Mascotte made regular trips to Havana. -when Bonacker and Bowyer, early in January, announced the building of the first important cold-storage warehouse in Tampa, to be used in developing Central-American and West In dian trade, it began to look as if there might be some thing in the idea. The Olivette was putting on a regular excursion to Havana at about forty dollars a ticket, two and a half days' voyage, and two days in Havana, includ ing a "cock fight in the plaza-very interesting ," and sometimes a Sunday bullfight. The Mascotte advertised its first excursion to Puerto Cortez, Honduras, three days each way with two days in port for eighty dollars, first cla ss. "You can certainly bring back a parrot or a mon k ey." Mr. and Mrs. Plant and a party of guests took advantage of the excursion and went over late in the Spring. The Maine was blown up on the night of February 15th. The "Tribune" was a morning paper and caught for its regu lar edition the meager dispatches which fir st touched American soil at the little Punta Rassa cable station. The "Times," the evening paper, was tipped off, and went "extra." Neither paper had much of a wire service in those days although both began taking a r egular press service after the soldiers began to pour in I B u t even then the papers were models in restraint. The Times" gave the Maine story a one-column, three deck head the next day in its regular edition. "Horrible Accident," said the headline. Editorially the paper urged the need for coolness and the patience to "await devel-

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216 The Mangrove Coast opments." There was no prescience in the mind of the "Times" editor that the dull rumble that doomed the Maine also rang the bell for a new day forTampa. War was not declared for almost two months after the Maine went down. Popular interest rose and fell with events. As late as March 30th, when the clouds of inter national discord were visibly daily growing blacker and the captain of the Tampa Rifles was ordering his men by advertisement to get ready with their uniforms, the ar rival of the big British schooner yacht Rhuoma with a party of British sportsmen over for a two weeks' tarpon fishing jaunt off Passe Grille and Punta Rassa, received almost as much attention as the threats of war. But the next day the "Times" stated casually that Tampa was looming up as a possible embarkation point for the American army invading Cuba-provided that war was de. dared. The other possible points mentioned by the "Times" were Mobile and New Orleans. The "Times did not to Jacksonville, which later on became a voluble and bitter contender for army encampments. The advantages of Tampa's location and deep harbor gave the city a great start, particularly the fact that near the harbor . .and railroad were large open spaces of relatively high, dry pine flats good for cantonments. Fitzhugh Lee, America's consul-general in Havana, returned home via Tampa on April 4th. The city gave him a tumultuous welcome. Two special trains with over a thousand passengers aboard, as well as a band, trundled the ten or .

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Tampa Wins the Spanish War 2 1 7 twelve miles from Tampa to the port t o wel come the doughty consu l-g enera l One of the M a ine surv i vors j ust out of a Havana hospital was pushed off his feet and under a moving train and to be into a Tampa b ed. H e made a quick recovery and gave away severa l of his uniform buttons to grateful Tampa girls. The jostling crowd set up a tremendous roar when the stocky form o f the General appeare d on the pilot house deck o f the Olivette. "What are you yelling for?" shoute d the General. "Do you want to fight?" "Yes," roared the mob. "That's the word I wanted to hear you say," he gustily r eplied. Later, talking t o newspapermen, the Gener a l explained that because of his diplomatic status and the t e n seness of the situation he could not talk for publica tion about the Cuban situation. "But, General," persisted one reporter-for in those days reporters p e rsisted-"do you think we can l ick Spain?" "Lick Spain?" repli e d the soldierly diplom a t, "sure, if w e go at it in the r ight way." Then the General hurried away with his fam il y and party to a privat e car proffered him by the Plant S ys t em. The train was a s pecial and quickly whirled away to Washington. Later General Fitzhugh L ee returned as commanding officer of the Seventh Corps. Congestion in Tampa was so great by then that he took the S eventh to

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218 The Mangrove Coast Jacksonville and later to Savannah, whence it embarked for the front. Tampa's civic pulse was thumping. The War Department had agents all over the place, looking into shipping matters, sounding the harbor, checking up on local pilots, especially pilots like Captain James McKay, "who knew the Cuban coast better than he did his own bedroom." A Tampa schooner was chartered to haul two big can nons weighing fifty tons each to Key West, and when that hard job was completed the schooner took on another for the same place. The long agonizing congressional debate was on. Despite all that Spain could do, too late for peace, the war resolution passed amid the throaty cheers of a young and naive nation that wanted a bust and saw its chance. Mayor Gilett wired Congressman Sparkman to get busy on the encampment problem, and was advised that the congressman had seen Secretary Alger. Mayor Gilett wanted the camps located close enough to town so that the men would have easy access to the business district. The Fifth Regiment came in early on April 18th. General Benjamin Wade and his staff followed shortly and took over command of the entire area. Two hundred and fifty acres were set aside not far from Ybor City, about a mile and a half from the center of town. Sidewalks were hurriedly built connecting the camp with the inain streets. Clara Barton arrived with her Red Cross staff, en

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Tampa Wins the Spanish War 219 route for Key West, and waited at the Tampa Bay Hotel, which had reopened for summer business, u ntil trans portation was available. Troop trains poured in, at first one or two a day and then fifteen an d thirty daily, some times with fifteen cars to each. Almost overnight there were twenty thousand soldi ers in the Tampa district; then there were; thirty thousand, then fifty thousand. Shafter arrived then General Miles. The big lobby at the Tampa Bay explodedin a flash of golden braid, glittering sword hilts, boots bright with polish. Wide-brimmed "Stetsons and the dark blue uniforms ot the army men were the prevailing note, but here and there were mono cled men in foreign uniforms, the military attaches of European nations, standing by to see what they could of the show. Also there were officers' wives and a throng of newspapermen from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Detroit, Cleveland Cincinnati and Chicago. Richard ;Harding Davis, Caspar Whitney, John Fox, Jr. and Frederic Remington were there-all writing their heads off. The first and second companies of the Signal Corps departed for Sanibel Island,. Key West and Tortug as, the :first troops to leave Tampa, but their going made only a ripple. Volunt eers were arrivin g from Ohio, Maryland, Michigan and New York. A detachment of oolored troops under white officers was not so weloome, and there was some local trouble from Negro-baiting whites before the

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220 The Mangrove Coast contingent left town for Cuba. Over in Ybor City the Cuban army was enlisting some five thousand m e n, most of whom were sent to join Gomez long before the Amer ican troops under Shafter got away. Captain McKay in his new ship, the F anita, ran both men and guns to Go mez and in the transport Gussie landed a Cuban contin gent and a big cargo of arms at Cardenas in one of the first battles our forces had with the Spanish army. Early in May came the first pay-day. "Over $175 000 was paid out yesterday," stated the "Times", "to soldiers in Tampa." The Tampa post office did the biggest money-order business in its history with the soldiers sending money back home. But all of it didn't go home. "The storekeepers of Tampa," wrote the Washington "Post" correspondent, "are making so much money that the city banks will hardly hold it. Even a lemonade man, equipped with a bucket and two tin cups, can gross $25.00 per day." With Shafter's arrival the brigade organization was announced. The transports began to flle in. Tampa, up to now, had been a busy gulf port but never a great one . Now the long Plant System wharf was jammed with big ships ; the Gussie, the Berkshire, the Comal, the Alle gheny and the Whitney. "Shucks," said the port captain, "this is nothing. H you'd seen the messages I saw from Sampson to Shafter last night you'd open your eyes."

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Tampa Wins the Spanish War 221 In this the last great amateur war, there was a comic fringe. "William Astor Chanler ," said the "Tribune", "has ar rived with his private expedition to Cuba. Mr; Chanler is paying all of the expenses of a group of a dozen of his New York friends and if they cannot connect with the Am e rican army they will join the Cuban. It is Mr. Chan ler's belief that he now has a way worked out by which h e and his party can get t o the front very qui c kly and fight the Spanish. Otherwise, he states, he will buy or charter a boat and go on and see the fun." Two Frenchmen, Anthony Varicle and Maurice Mal let arrived in the United States and set out for Tampa with two new type balloons which they had constru cted in Paris for scouting work against the Spanish army. Shortly afterward, Epifanio Valdes, a Cuban, announced in the Tampa press his invention of a .. completely new type gas airship" equipped with thirty-foot paddle wheels that would drive the seventyfoot bag two hun dred miles an hour. It was equipped to alight on the water in a calm sea and make thirty miles an hour. But the conception of a directed gas bag capable of making two hundred miles an hour was far beyond the mili t ary imagination of that p eriod, an d Epifanio dis a ppears in the clamor of immediate events. The balloon idea, how ever, was not entirel y abandoned. In June the Signal Corps received a balloon of twenty thousand cubic feet gas capacity, and taking it to a vacant space back of 'the

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222 The Mangrove Coast army camp, inflated it with gas from the Tampa Gas Works. The local gas, however, was too heavy and the balloon would not ascend. "Except for that detail," observed the r eporter ''the balloon test was an entire success." The balloon went on to Santiago. Tampa had heard of the Rough Riders, and their departure from San Antonio for Tampa late in May was played up by the Tampa newspapers. enough, the actual arrival of the regiment was accepted calmly. In its mod est story the "Times" mentioned neither Colo nel Wood nor Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt, and incor rectly named Major Brodie as commander. The regiment came in seven sections, with Wood in command of three and Roo sevelt of four. The r ailroads were in such con fusion that it took four days to bring the troopers into Tampa from San Antonio. Roosevelt declared he found things in a sad state. "Everything connected with military or railroad mat ters was in an almost inextricable tangle," he wrote. "The r ailroad people unloaded us as best they could. There was no one to meet us. We had to buy the men food out of our own pockets, and seize wagons to get our spare baggage taken to the camping ground which we at last found had been allotted to us." The cavalry outfits were generally located at Port Tampa and most of the regular United States cavalry troops were there, but Roo sevelt states that when, a few

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Tampa Wins the Spanish War 223 days later, they received orders to embark, leaving their horses and four troops behind, they were instructed to take the train to Port Tampa at midnight. The regi ment, fea r ful of being left behind in the confusion, reached th e railroad early but could find no train. While the soldiers slept, Colonel Wood and his Lieu tenant Colonel wandered about the railroad yards in search of information. "We ran into a Brigadier General and a Major Gen eral," stated Roosevelt, "but nobody knew anything." Then the regiment was ordered to another yard. Still no train. Finally the disgusted Rough Riders seized a passing coal train, loaded the men. on, and made the port. Then came the sickening search for someone who could tell them what transport to take, where to find her, and when to line up to board her. At last Wood and Roose velt discovered an officer who informed them they were to go on the Yucatan. The vessel was in midstream and Roosevelt, ascertaining that two other regiments were also assigned to the same boat, double-quicked his Rough Riders to the wharf, and, as soon as the Yucatan came alongside, marched his men aboard. "The transport was overloaded, the men were packed like sardines, so at night it was only possible to walk by continually stepping over the bodies of the sleepers." The rations were bad, the "canned fresh beef was hor rible stuff." There were no cooking facilities, no fresh vegetables, no ice, and the water was bad. For almost

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224 The Mangrove Coast a week the Yucatan waited in Tampa Bay for sailing orders. Tampa itself knew little of this. The Port was almost ten miles away. The censorship was effective if the quartermaster's department was poor, and Tampa knew only that the troops had embarked. Many believed that the fleet had already sailed. "The government censors," related the "Tribune," "have been at work for a week attempting to create an erroneous impression as to the exact time the fleet would start. Saturday night they caused a long telegram to be sent from this place stating that the fleet had sailed last Wednesday morning and describing the departure in minute detail. Since that time telegrams have been sent from Key West stating that the fleet had arrived there." Tampa newspapers even received dispatches from New York based on false information sent out by the censors to deceive Spanish spies, announcing that the fleet was in the Bahama channel. That was a day before the departure of the fleet from Tampa. Spies, of course, could have clustered about Tampa Bay and counted the transports on their fingers. Before the flotilla left, dis patches reached General Miles, who with his staff was at the Tampa Bay Hotel, from General Garcia near San tiago Hernandez of the Cuban army," said the "Times", "arrived yesterday bringing General Miles a message from General Garcia, who commands the

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Tampa Wins the Spanish War 225 gent forces in the vicinity of Santiago. Garcia states he has 9000 men well equipped. They have taken fine points and are ready to co-operate with the U. S. Forces." It was this message from Garcia that Shafter awaited. With General Miles's approval, the tempo of departure increased. The rails of the little single track railrpad that ran to the port fairly smoked from the rushing troop trains. Thousands of soldiers stumbled over the yard tracks and through the rank growth of jimson weed to the dock where thirty-two transports waited. A rumor that a Spanish gunboat had been seen off Egmont Key startled the port for a few hours and held up embarkation plans. Then it was discovered that the Helena was patrolling outside the bay entrance. In a short time two other gunboats of lighter draft came in and took up positions off St. Petersburg. Transport after I transport swung alongside the dock and took on its contingent of shouting, cheering men. Crammed to the bursting point, the vessels rocked in the heavy tide. Pelicans, excited by the refuse from the overworked gal leys, patrolled the bay, swooping suddenly and. with tre mendous force to snatch floating tidbits, to the delight of soldiers from the plains. The sun beat down, hot and clear, the unshaded decks became frying hot. In streaks of shade the soldiers lay in windrows, di-enched with sweat and panting like an exhausted kennel pack. The sun, in a last arch of crimson, gold and amethyst, was slipping toward the sharp horizon on June 18th when

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226 The Mangrove Coast the signal to depart finally came. The ships swung off two by two, led by S. S. Miami. The little Hornet acted as traffic cop and puffed busily up and down the line getting the transports properly spaced, carrying verbal orders from flagshi p to captains, and generally paging the maneuver. There were ships in a ll Be hind the transports came the supply craft, flanked by gun boats. With the Miami was the Gussie, an old-tim e r in this Cuban business, and one of the few vessels that had been under fire, and then at regular intervals came the Comal, the Miller, Berkshire, the Whitney, the Seneca, the San Diego, City of Washin gton, Iroquois, Cherokee, the Matteawan and many others. The busy Olivette, which had so frequently bustled from Port Tamp a to Morro Castle and back in the piping days of peace, was a hospital s h ip. Off the keys awaited the Helena. Slow l y the big vessels worked their way towar d the southwest channel, the western sky turning turquoise and scarlet as the light dimmed Behind each vessel trail e d a long plume of smoke, the propellers beat steadily, a faint thrum that cou ld be heard far inlan9 by the citrus growers on Pinellas Point and the tomato ranchers at Terra Ceia. The farew e ll cheers had died; even the most ebul lient troop er h a d ceased his raucous yells. From the flag ship a stream of colored scraps spo uted, the vessels s l owed, swung, and then in new formation turned stiffiy south toward an "unknown destin atio n. Off to one side, skittering along, impudent and scared of official r e pri-

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Tampa Wins the Spanish War 227 mand, were two tugs, the New York "Journal's" special chartered boat and the New York "Sun's" K.anapaha. A nation had boiled over, broken loose and was on a tear that was to take it, like the transports, to "unknown" destinations. The Plant executives, the boys who had sweated and cursed over the transportation of all this flotilla, waited at the harbor bar in the little Mascotte, to give a last cheer as the fleet passed by in the darkening twilight.

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CHAPTER JI9 SNAKES-SURE, SIXTY-FOOTERS THE keys of Florida easily divide into two groups: the inner keys and outer group. Geologically their limestone formation is not different from the mainland although the Bahia Hondo group of keys, off the southeastern comer of the Florida tip of the mainland, have more of a coral base. All are overcrusted with layers of fine white sand of almost talcum white and fineness; humus ; man grove roots; sea grape; sea plume. Around Sarasota the coco palms begin to appear. Now and again in lower Sarasota Bay you will see one drooping over the water side in the best South Sea Island manner. Around Char. lotte Harbor you will find them in profusion. Florida's history is inextricably tangled in the story of the keys. Columbus' first landfall, off San Salvador, brought the key into our American history. Ever since the keys have been the links binding our mainland to foreign shores south, southeast and southwest of us. From that day the great Gulf of Mexico-Caribbean Sea area has constantly influenced our entire national life. 228

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Snakes-Sure, Sixty-Footers 229 Without much general recog nition of the fact, this vast sweep of island-bound sea has been the American "Mare Nostrum." Our domination of it has been essential to our existence. Our naval men understood all this long before either our politicians or our economists paid any tion to it. Along the borders of this mighty body of water our contacts with other nations press most closely. Great Britain maintains a light-buoy less than twenty flying minutes off Miami Harbor; Cuba is two flying hours away; Yucatan is slightly over three. A passenger can breakfast in Miami and eat lunch at the Strangers Club on the Cristoba l -Colon waterfront. The Navy urged the buildin g of Fort Jefferson. The Navy recognized Key West as a vital naval center. Sloppy-minded politicians with an embryonic under standing of our entire problem of foreign relations, al lowed both to sink into a shameful-almost a traitorous -desuetude. Today millions of dollars are being dumped into the limestone and coral rock of Key West in the frantic effort to make up for the years in which the naval station was allowed to disint egrate. The rehabilitation of Fort Jefferson still seems to be too great a nut for the of ficial minds to crack. Yet Fort J effe r so n is less than three hundred fifty miles from Yucatan. In terms of modem fighting planes that is about an hour's flight and l ess than two for a modern bomber. Yucatan, the opposing point of land thrust into the Gulf, toward Florida, has long

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230 The Mangrove Coast been regarded as the ideal base. for an enemy air attack upon the lower Mississippi Valley, the southeastern area, Florida and western Cuba. The great cities of Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami, in the United States, and Ha vana, Cuba, all lie under the possible threat of an air attack from Yucatan. The Dry Tor.tugas, where the great ruin of Fort Jefferson stands, should be one of our most sensitive southwestern listening posts. In the rush of recent construction no unofficial person knows what part old Fort Jefferson is destined to play in coming events. The Tortugas are a good two hundred miles beyond the Mangrove Coast, but the Gull coast keys ;march in a long and closely integrated line. Sanibel connects with Estero and Estero is hard on the heels of Big flickory and Little Hickory keys. The keys lie like a chain south of Naples, and studded among these innumerable keys, mangrove spits, sandbars and shallow reaches of the Ten Thousand Islands, you will find Panther, the retreat of Juan Gomez, "the last of the buccaneers," Indian, Sem inole, Mormon, Pavillion, with its shining beach, Jewel; Rabbit, Porpoise, Hog, Pelican and Mosquito. From Marco south to the estuary of the Shark, the keys and. keylets are beyond all number. You weave among in and out between rows of big mangroves often .eighty feet high. Buttonwood, water oak, stunted cypress and, on the higher ground, coco and cabbage

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Snakes-Sure, Sixty-Footers 231 and a rare mahogany flourish on the larger keys. Who penetrates deeply enough into Whitefish Bay via the countless water trails will find groves of the great royal palm long ago transplanted by wind and wave from Cuba. At Shark comes the great bend of Cape Sable, pot a cape at all but almost a peninsula dotted with many capes like East Cape and Middle Cape. North of Cape Roman and Key Marco you quickly reach Sanibel, Costa, Pine and Big and Little Gasparilla, off Charlotte Harbor, and Treasure Island and Siesta Key frame the outer edge of lower Sarasota Bay, while to the north lie Longboat, Anna Maria, Egmorit, Mullet, protecting lower Tampa Bay. Pass-A-Grille, Treasure and Indian beaches are on the fine keys off the St. Peters burg and Clearwater coast. The "Cape Sable Country" is land farther from "civi lization" than any other place within the continental boundaries of our country. It is the last true frontier. Leave your cruiser anchored off a key-head-slip quietly in a canoe among the hundreds of keys in the deep of the late afternoon and you are likely to flush a surprised and even indignant Cuban skipper in a small, sloop rigged vessel, sail down, engine dead, quietly poling his way up a secret channel to some assignation: What's up -:-dope, Chinamen, refugees, or Bacardi? Why press the question? If you happen to know enough Spanish and must ask, put in your hail from a safe thirty yards dis tance. The stocky, dark-,skinned fishermen will come to

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232 The MangrO'Ve Coast the stubby rail with a stock answer, L ooking fo r button wood to make a little charcoa l. We ran out of wood. Do you think we can get sweet water farther up?" The Cuban would be amazed if you answered the query he fends you off with. H e k nows the jungles of Cape Sable k eys bette r than any guide out of E verglades, Key West o r Fort Myer s. Ofte n his shadowy sails, tinted as blue a s the dusk o f the lat e afternoon, esca p e as you hail pol ing swiftly around the bend. of the nearest key. There is always a key within twenty yar d s. You h ear them snap on the e n gine and its quick bark and rumbling grow l The sloop disappears down a channel cut off by overhanging mangrov es. Smart gui des do not try to follow. The Coast Guard i s h e lpl ess. To know the intricate channel system of the Shark-Cape Sable country is to inheri t the accumulated wisdom of the Seminoles; the lore of generations of guides. Even the best guide ca n eas ily get lo st in the vast mass of k eys, co on-oyster bars, clam beds and salt grass. The egrets, the p elicans, t e rn s and gulls live in and about the keys in thousands. The little Florida deer slips among the trees on the hig h e r land inside. B ea rs show themse l ves in the late summe r and fall and at night the h a rsh coughing bark of the panthe r a n d the guttural s narl o f the wildcat punctuate the lo n esom e qua cking of the waterbir d s The high thi n cry o f the l ovely curved b ea k curl ew i s heard as H ocks of them in the twili ght hurry to their r ooke ries. In the upper reaches of the.

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STULkes-Sure, Sixty-Footers 233 Shark and the Harney Rivers, both of which short broad streams act as natural drains for the Everglades, the natives believe the web-footed panther has his lair. Eighteen-foot gopher snakes, they say, haunt the higher keys, driving away both the rattlesnakes and the ugly snouted cotton-mouth moccasin. Here, too, lives the crocodile. It was in this neighborhood that Bus ter Farrel's sixty-foot boa constrictor lurked. The story of the great snake of the Cape Sable country is em bedded deep in folklore not only of the Seminoles but also of the white settlers in that district. For years the Cow Seminoles, who live on the Brighton reservation, refused to venture into the Cape Sable region because of a huge serpent which, they asserted, made that area its habitat and chased and devoured human beings. The Florida State Department of Agriculture, in its pamphlet "The Seminole Indians of Florida," prepared by the Flor ida Writers' Project, tells the story in full and adollows: "According to Uncle Steve Roberts of the serpent 'wasn't no legend but a fact. Buster Farrel, an Indian, killed the critter in 1892,' he explained. 'Buster was hunting when he come across a trail where the grass was all beat down in a wide path, and thinking .it was a whopping big 'gator, he followed it. Pretty soon he spotted the snake. It was more'n a good rifle shot from him but he fired anyhow, and the critter went threshing off in the grass makin' more noi se than a hurricane. Bus ter go to see whether he'd hit it or not remember-

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234 The Mangrove Coast ing the stories about the serpent swallowing Indians whole Wasn't 'til some days later he seen a flock of buz. zards fl.yin' around the place, and when he went down there he found the snake. The buzzards had tore and scattered the carcass so bad Buster couldn t measure it, but he swo:re the snak e was all of 60 feet long and as big as a barrel. He cut off and kept the jaw bones, which were so big he could open them up and drop them oveJ," his body.'" The Seminoles believed the snake lived in a lake back of Cape Sable and that this lake had an underground connection with the gulf which permitted it to make its way, in and out, between the gulf and the Everglades. The web-footed panther may be only a legend. In the Congo country there are stories about a web-footed lion. It's a swamp-land tale. But it is easier to believe in an eighteen foot gopher snake. The gopher is a constrictor of the black snake family, a deadly enemy of the rattler. It lives on young rats, small birds, raccoons, and rattle snakes. I myself have seen gopher snake skins ten feet long. One topping fourteen was reported killed on Treas ure Island, south of Siesta Key on Sarasota Bay, not long. ago. In. the steaming bog lands of the unexplored Glad e country along the upper waters of the Shark, an eighteen footer might very well be fact. A big gopher or black snake will clear out the rattlers half a square mile; chase away the moccasins, too, and keep all other crawling; biting vermin at a distance-all, of course, excepuhe

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Snakes-Sure, Sixty-Footers 235 mosquito. The Cape Sable-Shark country breeds literally billions of mosquitoes. The 'Glades guides have to admit the mosquitoes. ''I've known men," Ed, our own guide on a recent trip, admitted, as he brought his canoe up easily to make the sharp bend about a baby key, "to all but die of suffoca tion from mosquitoes here in midsummer. So thick they are you don't dare breathe. They fill your nostrils and choke your nasal passages, swarm into your throat and almost kill you coughing. If you get left in this country after dark without a mosquito bar you risk your life. I know a man who was killed by mosquitoes on a mangrove key up Lassman's River just a year ago. He was literally bitten to death in a single night. He wasn't stung until he went blind, as happens in Labrador, and then starved to death. He was killed by bites in one night. He was deerhunting on the key when he lost his boat and had no way of getting off. We found him late the next after noon. I never want to see another sight like that." The mosquito is a short dista.nce flyer. Except for that it would make the entire peninsula of Florida :uninhab Along the Mangrove Coast enlightened co-opera tion between the federal government and. the more pro gressive counties is instituting mosquito control with in creasingly satisfactory results. The great summer curse on all Florida within a few years will be largely elim inated. Already in some counties the mosquito pest is only a quarter of what it used to be. Cleared of the mos-

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236 The Mangrove Coast quito pest Florida will yet become one of the great sum mer resorts of the nation. Mosquito control along the Mangrove Coast depends on drainage. All along the keys beneath and just beyond the mangrove line countless pools of water are left by the heavy rains of the late fall or early spring. The govern ment mosquito control constructs numbers of compara tively shallow ditches that connect the beach pools with the tides. This daily flow of salt water washes away the mosquito larvae. Surface pools of rainwater are drained when possible; otherwise, especially in rural districts, oil is applied. In the cities the smaller pools, neglected cans and pans full of water, and bad backyard drainage must be watched. Florida and the whole American south are backward in mosquito control compared with Cuba, Bra zil and the Canal Zone. Havana, once one of the worst of the mosquito ports of the world, is markably free of mosquitoes today. The Floridia.Jl who spends a summer vacation in Havana enjoys the cool Gulf Stream breezes sweeping through his wide open hotel windows that are entirely screenless, and goes out to the lovely summer casino or a late evening dinner on the lawn without a bite or an ankle slap to mar the entire evening General Leonard Wood and his associates in Havana rescued Havana from the mosquito curse. No one, as yet, has done as well for any city in Florida. Pub. lie interest, however, is aroused. The possibilities of sum.; mer tourist business act as a spur. Florida may yet do for

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Snakes-Sure, Sixty-Footers 2:37 itself what other Americans were permitted to do for other people-as well as our own-in Cuba and in the great swamp area of the Panama Canal Zone. Mosquitoes are an ancient curse. Every civilization that has grown up along the waterside has paid toll in suffering to the insects. The delta of the Nile was, and still is, one of the world s major mosquito breeding grounds. The old Egyptians, Herodotus remarks, built tall towers over the marshland. These towers were high enough to catch the off-sea evening breezes which did not touch the ground and the Egyptian marshland farmers would climb these every evening to get freedom from the pests. Egyptian fishermen wrapped themselves up in layers of fish nets. The mosquitoes could and did bite through sheets easily enough but they could not get to the :flesh so well through the confusing folds of net. The early Spanish explorers along the Florida coasts suffered ter ribly from mosquitoes and red bugs. The chronicles of the Narvaez and De Soto expeditions tell of the agonies of the Spanish soldiers, encased in coats of chain mail, plates of solid steel and leather when the mosquitoes and red bugs manage d to crawl in under steel to sting and bite to their hearts' content. The mangrove keys in the Shark River country are often so close together that the narrow channels seem more like creeks than parts of a tidal estuary. Only the rush of the tide as. it laps and curls off the sides of your

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238 The Mangrov e Coast boat makes it plain that you are not in some sluggish southern creek. The big mangroves with twenty-four inch trunks stretch nearly across the passageways an d in the splo t ched sunlight you can see how the tangled mass of mangrove, cyp r ess and buttonwood roots make a floor over which a wildcat can easily creep or a bear or rac coon run. Impa ssable treach erous country for even the most cat-footed 'Glades Cracker." The twisting root s of the mangrove are like snakes in the half light. "Still not so many here as you might think, says Ed as he swings the cruiser sharply over an oyster shell bank and points it down a narrow lane of overhanging bou ghs I haven't smelt a cottonmouth or a rattler all day." "Can you sme ll a snake?" I asked. Snake smelling is an old story all over Florida but i s still not credibl e to an office-bound northerner. "Sure I can sme ll 'em," says Ed. "A rattler smells like an old sweaty shirt. A cottonmouth sme lls the same only stronger. It's a mean stink and if the snakes are aroused and mad, it gets thicker and meaner. "Ifs the black snakes that keep off the rattl ers," says Ed. "In the 'G l a des I'd rather have a good bull black snake around me than a hound dog. Hound dogs just seem to attract rattlers. I think that rattlers hate dogs. A hunte r can go p lo wing through a palmetto bunch and unless he steps on a rattler, it will pretty surely slide

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Snakes-Sure, Sixty-Footers 239 off to one side and get away. Rattlers don't go round looking for people to bite. If you step on a rattler he'll coil and strike but not otherwise unless he's scared, or in the spring when he's shedding and nervous and doesn't see too well. But rattlers will lay for the dogs and strike at them when they are in the air jumping through the scrub. H a dog is bitten in the l egs and you have serum with you they get mighty sick but they can be save d. I've carried a setter across my shoul ders for six or eight miles m any a time to get him back to a vet. I've lost a lot of dogs too We lose a dozen dogs a year backof Fort Myers in the bird season b ecause of the reptiles. That's why we like black snakes." The sun was slipping swiftly away in heaped up ame thyst and purple clouds, a h uge b all of Chinese lacquer red on the edge of the gulf. The water turned to a deep olive green. Ahead, bobbing in the water, were a herd of manatee, their sleek, round brown heads glistening for an instant in the sun's last rays. A tarpon, an honest-to goodness big one, suddenly rose from the water close to one side, looked at us with stony impassivity out of his great staring eye, and curved back into the water again with but hardly a ripple to mark the spot. The curlews, their white backs shining in the sun's rays, were coming in, and high above them, their wings thrumming like pro peller strokes, flew a formation of black mallards. W e were deep into Whitefish Bay behind Cape Sable

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240 The Mangrove Coast and south of the Shark. In the galley the cook was working the Flit gun before dropping a can of soup into the hot water. Ed's mind was still on snakes. "I saw a black snake fight a rattler once," he. said. "It was back of the Miakka River in lower Sarasota County. I was riding the line for a big cow outfit . Another fellow was with me. Meanest fight I ever saw," he continued. "We were up alongside a gully looking for a bunch of calves and I stopped to roll a cigarette I heard a sort of a swishing, down in the bottom ten feet below me, and I looked down. Then I signaled my friend to lean over and look too. "There was a black snake around five feet long but not very thick. He had two wraps around the neck of a rat tler. The rattler wasn't as big, maybe a foot less in size, but he was fighting hard. Both were about ten inches up in the air swinging back and forth. The rattler had only three inches of free way for his head and he was waving around trying to get a fang into the black snake's back. Every little while the black snake would stiffen and then plunge the rattler's head into a little slimy mud hole round which they were fighting. The black snake was trying to hold the rattler's head in under the trying to smother him probably. The rattler whipped about desperately to get loose and would finally break through enough to get his head up again. Then the performance would be repeated. Pretty soon we noticed a

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Snake s-Sure, Sixty-Footers 241 second snake lyin g stretche d out on a warm flat stone about ten feet away watching the battle with complete absorption. It was probably a female. None of the snakes paid the slightest attention to us. The terrific wrestling match continued for another ten minutes. The rattler's efforts grew weaker. It was plain to be seen that the rat tler couldn't last much longer. The black snake januned the rattler's head i n the mud and it didn't even try to come up. Its body slackened off and got pretty limp but the black snake held on for at least another five minutes Then it let loos e and the rattler lay motionless on the sand and mud. The black snake shook itself, coiled and struck at the rattler's back, pulling its head out of the mud. And then, by J ing, that darn e d black snake swung around to the rattler' s head, opened its mouth and started to swallow that rattler whole. A full six inches was gone as we had to pull out. The other snake just lay there and watched. Never moved." Down in. the galley the cook was still fussing with his pans. Twilight is a matter of a few very brief minutes in the Shark River country in March and Ed was push ing the cru is e r into the stream intending to spend the night offshore "Blows the skeeters' and gnats away," h e said ... Any how we want to get an early start for Harney Creek and Lossman' s River and if we are out in the gull can get a way on the fly with the first break of d awn." Snake talk, howeve r, still continued. The guides

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242 The Mangrove Coast grouped round the stern were muttering among them selves while Ed outlined the next day's program. "I feel as you do, Ed, about black snakes," said one, "hut I don't go along on gopher snakes. I kill gophers every time I see 'em and I've seen a plenty. I favored gophers along with black and king snakes until I saw one killed and opened up once. It was back of Fort Myers and it must have been over twelve feet long. It had ten baby quail in its stomach and that settled it for me. Black snakes chase rats and other varmints and while I've seen a king in a blackbird nest once in a while, going after the eggs, yet kings are such terrible poison on diamond backs and cottonmouths, I wouldn't huit a king ifl could help it, but rm off gophers." George, down in the galley, despite the music of his pots and pans had been following the conversation. He broke in suddenly. "I saw a gopher swallow a puppy once," he said. "I was doing a bit of farm work on the upper Miakka River. We was just finishing up milking when we heard the damnedest squalling and squawking you ever heard back of the corn crib. We hustled back and found a big gopher with a three-months-old hound pup in its jaws doing his best to gulp him down. One of the boys grabbed a heavy field hoe and hit the gopher about a foot back of his neck and cut him in two. A min ute later the puppy got loose. but he was a terrible scared

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Snakes-SU1e, Sixty-Footers 243 pup. Yes sir, I think gophers is almos t as bad as 'gators around game and stock." It might b e in serte d here that "Texas Jim" Mitchell who has hunted and sacked literally thousands for zoo and laboratory purposes-Jim being one of the big pro ducers of venom for rheumatism-thinks rather highly of the rattler. The rattler gives a warning and rattles, Jim points out, and the Florida rattler behaves himseH-outside of dogs -and is slow t o strike. "The rattler is no nervous r eptile. Step on him, and unless he's already irritated by something else, the chances are twenty to one he won't strike. He'll coil. His neck and head will be twisted in that deadly s formation that precedes a strike. But he' ll hold his head back and mouth closed. Out will flash the rather thick, black, split tongue, the antenna by which the snake hears his head will sway slightly and the frenetic whine of. the thrumming rattles will take on a shriller note but that is all. Touch him a second time and he still will not strike. The head will sway; the tongue will flash in and out, out and in. The whole diamond-marked brown an d dun orange mass will slowly revolve, coming around with the deadly deliberation of a great three-rifled turret on a modern battleship. The snake's nose, the flashing antenna, have done their work well The snake knows where the enemy lies. Its h ead is aimed directly at it.

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244 The Mangrove Coast Touch it again. There is a blur; a split second's view of the open jaws and the head is back again; swaying like that of a boxer, the muscles of the neck and the body as rigid as coiled steel; the body cocked in the 'S' po sition seeking, searching for the point of attack. The rattles are keening the air is full of the telltale musky odor of old clothes or cucumbers. The squat pointed head with the bulging pouches over the jaws moves in an almost invisible beat to some rhythm that only Mas ter Rattler can hear. With no further disturbance the head will slowly drop down to the first fold, the body relaxes, the under coils flatten out into a deep triangular shape, the tenseness and the reptile will soon go t I ,, o seep. It is pretty nearly impossible for a rattler to strike above the eighteen-inch line Most strikes land between eight and ten inches from the ground. Good, strong heavy hunting boots suffice therefore on excursions. Bad strikes above the boot top may come when the hunter is stooping over to pick up a bird or crouches to hide from approaching game. A Florida hunter may go through an entire season without seeing a rattler, copperhead or moccasin. The moccasins are more numerous than the others but are a slow and sluggish snake. Frequenters of marshy ground, they are held in less respect than the rattler by .the "Crackers" who know most about them. I have talked to men who have hunted the Florida jungles year after

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Snakes-Sure, Sixty-Footers 245 year without seeing a single poisonous snake. But no careful sportsman in Florida will go into the field with out anti-venom or without equipment to help his dogs, if snake bitten. Most doctors place confidence in anti venom and vac uum cups. Not Texas Jim. "Doctors won't like me for saying so," he said, "and rm not one to fight with them, but anti-venom and the cup aren't enough. The Seminoles understand snakes better than anybody and while they have come to regard anti-venom as a fine thing they still stick to their own remedies. It's a rare Seminole that dies of snake bite. "If you suffer a rattler strike," says Jim, "use the venom. Cut deep and use it quick. Then, brother, get a friend to kneel over the bite and suck-suck like a starving Jersey calf. That's the best quick remedy in the world. Get to a doctor and a hospital. You won't die if you do that...:...and all hands keep their heads.'' There are more rattlesnakes eaten as food by the people of the city of New York than any other city in the world. I don't know why or if it means something profound. Hollywood comes next and then Chicago. The commercial canning of rattlesnake flesh as food began about ten years ago in Arcadia, Florida, but as the demand increased Mr. George K. End, the proprietor of the factory, determined to move his plant closer to a larger center of population. He located his factory mid-

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246 The Mangrove Coast way between Tampa and St. Petersburg. He was able to secure the consent of a gracious and interested federal government in the location of a post office which he promptly named Rattles n ake, Florida. And here, in his clean but modest plant, Mr. End produces not only canned rattlesnake but likewise rattlesnake oil (rheuma tism) and rattlesnake venom-the latter for hospital use and laboratory experimentation. The eating of rattlesnakes is nothing new. The Aztecs regard the snake as a delicacy, but rattlesnake was com mon food among the Indians of the south when they first encountered Europeans. John Sparke an officer on the Jesus of Lubeck, one of Sir John Hawkins' fleet that ex plored the east Florida coast in 1564, reported that the French colonists about the St Johns River had already discovered the food values of the rattlesnake by the time of their visit. Adders, reported to be of "great bignesse" were numerous and some were killed that were a full yard and a haH long. "On these adders," he writes, "the Frenchmen did feed, to no little admiratio:q. of us, and affirmed the same to be delicate meat." Observing that this bit of gastronomic daring deeply intrigued the interest of the simple-minded British, the Frenchmen decided to give John a real story to take home-which John faithfully reported . "And the captains of the Frenchmen," he has written, "also saw a serpent with three heads and four feet, of

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Snakes-Sure, Sixty-Footers 241 the bigness of a great spaniell, which for want of a har quebuz he durst not attempt to slay." The rattlesnake, Mr. End says, is one of the cleanest animals in the world. Its poison glands are entirely sep arated from the rest of its body and once the head is re moved the body is as innocent of poison as "the body of a Iamb." The rattlesnake is a discriminating eater. It will consume only live animals-cottontail rabbits being its favorite food -and only eats four or five of them a year. So positive is its dislike of anything dead that a rattlesnake will not even crawl over the body of a dead animal. "We use about a thousand a year," says Mr. End. "We could use two thousand. They weigh between six and ten pounds each on the average. Ten pounds is very good." They come to the factory alive in sacks. Rattlesnake meat, Mr. End went on, is generally pink in color, has no fat and a good deal like the breast of quail. It is, he asserts, crammed full of all the vitamins. "And why not? The snakes live on the best of .food and spend all day lying out in the warm Florida sun doing nothing but absorbing vitamins." Some people like their rattlesnake straight, just boiled and canned; others like it smoked. "But how do they eat it?" I asked. "Oh," says Mr. End, "some use it in salad and others as a spread. It's nice as a spread." "Is it?" I said. "Who eats most of it?"

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248 The Mangrove Coast "I don't know," says Mr. End. "Clubmen and swells." Perhaps the eigh teen-foot black snakes aren't quite eighteen feet Perhaps the web-f ooted black panther is more story than fact. There are plenty of things about the Everglades that every hunter and trapper the little settlements deep inside know about, and cannot explain. Ghost fires for instance The most talkative of the "Crackers" admit you do not see them often. Few people not of the Everglade f olk h ave ever seen them at all. A few of the "sports" and "outsiders" have, though. The "Crackers" and "ou tsiders" alike tell the same story. Always it is on a dark night that the fires occur. They are always on the horizon; sometimes they appear in great belching waves, scarlet to yellow, heaving and tossing, or again, the fires appear like a single, straight solid column reaching from the t ops of the palm s stra ight into the skies. No noise. No crackling. No smell of smoke. Just a bright, unearthly radiance and a vast stillness. Then they fade out as if a giant hand were slowly dim ming down the wick. Tremendous outbursts of marsh gases have been advanced in explanati on. Some elec trical disturb ance, say others. About the crocodiles there is no diSpute. That there were colonies of this most ruth less and savage type of saurian in the Florida marshes was scientifically established sixty years ago, but be cause of their rarity compared with the inllnitely more

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Snakes-Sure, Sixty-Footers 249 numerous 'gator" the fact that crocodiles live in the United States is scarcely realized. The alligator is at best an unpleasant creature. Its habits and its appetites are, to be conservative, repulsive. Out in the swamps or along the edge of the woods, in the early evening, its hoarse, muffied bellow chills the skin of any but the hardened Cracker. The alligator kills and eats a great many fish for some reason; mostly gar fish and other piscatorial debris. He takes an occasional turtle, shell and all, and there is no question but that he loves young duck, all sorts of water birds, any animal ahnost that he can easily and safely seize, haul under water, drown. He allows his prey a few days to soften up and decay, then he swallows it. The stories about 'gators taking young pigs and lambs, even calves which wandered too far into the jungle country and got too close to the water, are many. And out of the welter of stories of 'gators attacking men and women-and chil dren-possibly some are true. But attacks upon human life by alligators in the swamp country back of the Man grove Coast are certainly rare. In every community there are plenty of men who think nothing of diving into a pool where alligators lurk, to grapple, throw them about and capture them. Keep clear of the terrific smash of their wonderful tails and you are fairly safe. On the other hand, the crocodile is a bad and dangerous egg from every angle. In appearance the crocodile and the alligator are generally similar. Their habits and

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250 The Man grove Coast feeding grounds are the same. They are often t ogethe r in the same holes in the streams or in the quieter ponds or wallowing pools in the cypress bays in the swamps. The crocodile can and do es very effectively swing open both jaws, whil e the l owe r jaw of the all igato r i s fixed and r igid. The crocodile is of a lighter green colo r almost olive g reen at tim es. The outstanding differen ce b e twe e n the alli ga tor and the crocod ile i s the nose, tha t of the croco dil e mark e dl y the m or e pointed. The alligato r is mor e o r less a timid, retiring sou l ask ing for littl e beyond its d a ily menu of fish. The cro c odil e i s a ruthless and savage go-getter. The croco dile will attack anythin g that it can hope to se t its vicious rows of t eeth in to o r smash with i t s fierce l y swinging tail. It w ill lunge a t a man, track a child along a swamp path and even li e in wait for it s return The c rocodile w ill instantly attack a man preci p ita ted into water by the overturn of a canoe. Many have been known to follow men upon islands and bars and rush at them in fierce and burning ardor to sink their jaw s into their B.esh. Fortunate l y fe w of the m are l ef t in Florida. On e wa s s hot lunging across a narrow pond to get at a c hild play ing a long th e banks a f e w yea r s ago down o n th e south ern keys. It was unusually larg e nearly a fourt eenfo o t e r and it took two bulle t s from a .30-.30 rille, under the forward left leg, to bring it down in the shallow of th e

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Snakes-Sure, Sixty-Foote1's 251 pond. There used to be a great many more of both croc odiles and 'gators and, because they were so often con fused and all called alligators, it may be that many bloody deeds charged against the 'gator were really sins of the crocodile. The range of the crocodile was always less extensive than the alligator's in Florida. Some experts think the crocodile was never more than a visitor among the swamps and streams behind the Mangrove Coast.

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CHAPTER .20 CORN IS THEIR TIPPLE RANDY was boss of a prospe rous cafe but he was n o t at all happy. L eaning o ve r the l ong beautifully polished rosewo od bar he studied the communica tion from hi s liquor wholesalers in Tampa; an enclosure f rom the Treas ury age nts of Uncl e Sam and an opinion, brief and to the point, from his attorney Another liquor tax was on. His but to pay it. The t ax went on at midnight. The mark-up in the prices would have to b egin a t once The bottle customers would get the bad news the next morn ing. How the bar consu m ers would growl a t the increase in the cost of their drink s Rand y hated to consider. War was h e ll in the liquor business. He walked over to the t all s h e l ves where the bottles res t e d like books in some o ld-fashioned library. Slowly scratching his chin h e took down the old price l abels and wrote in the new ones. "Four-fifty," h e said, ":five-fifty to six-fifty Getting awful hig h The R evenue boys had better look out. The r e's going to b e a l ot of b lu e sm oke over the ham mocks." 252

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Corn Is Their Tipple 253 But Randy was wrong about blue smoke. Blu e smoke is old stuff and the boys who run the stills in the ham mocks along the Mangrove Coast tolerate no blue smo k e no r any other kind in their operations today. "Nix on the smoke," said the Boy Moon shiner. The Boy Moo nshiner looked like a well-put-together junior at Gainesvill e; his clothes were distinctly campus cut, but his only l aboratory had been the big black stewing pots and the slender coiled copper worm o f the "still" back in the hammocks. Now, he told me, he was "throug h with runnin g the juice." ''I've got a business," he said briefly. "And besides that," he continued, "in the sixteen years that I'v e been in and out of the stills I've seen a lot of mon ey made but I never saw a single moonshiner keep a worthw hile wad. Over half of the boys I knew who were big shots in running liquor along the gulf coast during prohibition are on relief right this minute. A few of them are still at it, hustling s moke' in the Negro sections at a dollar fifty a gallon and jus t getting by. Some of the boys who ran the b oats in from Bimini are still fooling around bringing in Chinamen and a l9ad of heroin now and again, but that's terribly dangerous, and in the end, the money isn't big enoug h. Some went back to farming. They :figure their AAA checks will give 'em a big enough cas h crop to buy store stuff-that with a month or two of work on the WP A. But with red whisky going to over two dollars a 'fifth; things may pick up. The boys

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254 The Mangrove Coast off the back lands want their whisky and they can't pay two to four dollars a bottle on a a month pay check-not and keep their folks together." The Boy Moonshiner went on. "Smo ke," he said, "is obsolete. The old Cracker that taught me how to make my :first run told me that they burned cornco bs up in north Geor gia, but down here on the coast we use gas oline burners. No smoke at a ll to brin g the wrong people round; easy to operate and much hotter and fa ster than even fat pine." On the gulf coast, says the Boy Moonshiner the matter of the lo cation of a still was never difficult. The g!'-"eat outer frin ge of swamp land encircling the 'Glades was too close; the vast stretches of prairie land, studded with "bay head s" bristling with d ense cypress and palm growth, were easy of access. "It's best never to be over :five or six miles from town," he said. "There i s only one reall y dange rous time in handling a load of liquor and that's when you take it to town. The the haul, the better. On the road people see you. If they note that you come along every few days with a load behind you, they begin to talk. Or you h ave an accident and spill a lot of whisky on the p avement. A hundred things can happen to you bringing it in. So I always kept my still close in. "If s almost impo ssible to keep a st ill in safe operation

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Corn Is Their Tipple 255 in a town," he went on. "It's the smell of the mash. It seems that you can do nothing about it. You can pretend you are making up a hog feed or something for the chickens, and that may stifle neighborhood gossip for a week or two, but it always gives you away in the end. Someone is bound to recognize the acrid yet musty al coholic odor of the discarded mash, and talk-perhaps to the sheriff, perhaps simply at the corner store. B .ut sooner or later a deputy gets wind of it and drops round. And then, even if no arrest takes place, the velvet is out of the game. Paying off sheriffs or policemen or special prohibition people is almost as bad as paying a tax," he said. "Overloads the business and keeps you on the jump all the time," was how he put it. "I never paid the federal prohibition men a penny," he said. "The federals never caught up with me because 1 operated small stills and they were looking for the big men. All I ever had to fork over was five dollars or ten dollars a delivery in one or two counties. Once in a while I gave a cop a ten-dollar bill or maybe a gallon of extra good stuff. When you work it on that basis you are safe h eno...:g The situation is tougher now, according to the Boy Moonshiner. It's sugar trouble. Sugar is the base in making '''shine." It's the essential ingredient. The federal government lately makes a sharp check on all sugar pur chasers. All wholesalers and dealers in sugar are pected to keep watch. Any unusually large purchases by .

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256 The Mangrov e Coast strange customers, or any too-regular purchases made by people whose need of sugar is not obvious, are sup posed to be r eported to the officials. O f course the war time sugar restrictions have about doubled this troub le. Lots of people don't know how the government keeps tabs now," he said, "but it's a fact, and it makes the work of maintaining you r runs regularly, which is very im portant, a l ot more difficult than it was a few years ago. The men w h o operate the big five-hundred and thou Sand -gall on stills are specially They need lots of and sometimes they can't keep it coming in quan tities big enough to insur e steady production. Hauling in too much sugar sets the revenue men lookin g aroun d and that leads to raids I know one b i g thousand -ga ll on still up ba ck o f Tampa that was picked up because of its sugar trail." The Boy Moonshiner thought maybe he coUld beat the sugar situation himself though. He had contacts. Some small fruit and tomato canners, friends of his, would always let him have a few hundred-pound sacks. There was no close check at all on the canners. Als o he knew a sugar l eak in Miami. He had heard too of a re tired rum runner operating a schooner between Cuba and a point south of Fort Myers, and bringing in suga r sans quota, sans duty . "That fellow takes his schooner over to a spo t west of Havana, not so far from one of the centrals. H e gets his raw sugar from a friend, who sacks it for him and

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Corn Is Their Tipple 257 delivers to the boat. He can carry a good jag of it and at the price he buys it in Cuba he can make a pretty profit. No one ever bothers him. Anyhow most of his run is at night. He takes care of a couple of fellows who have big stills back of Miatr:J.i. One other man is on the boat with him and I'll bet he's clearing better than seventy five hundred dollars a year. It's one of the neat est things on the coast, but of course it's only good if you have the connections fixed at both ends. It's not a wide open market like whisky was while the country was dry. One of the nicest things in the world to operate is a fifty-gallon still." There was a warm reminiscent glow in the boy's brown eyes as he spoke. He seemed to be seeing the cluster of big smoke-blacked pots among the palms on the high-up hammock; the standing boiler of the cooker with its peaked top and the copper tubing leading from it to the elevated stand where the water barrel stood. The fine coiled length of copper tubing in which the hot alcoholic vapor was reduced to liquid again, and the trickle of colorless liquid into the waiting can, was pleasant to think about. If you are careful and clean and have any of the. instincts of a good housekeeper, he went on, you can make a nice run off a fifty gallon still-easily five gallons of good 'shine per run. Commercially, you needed to work on a rougher basis. You would have to make at least ten or twelve runs a week to make it worth while, but the Boy Moonshiner

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258 The Mangrove Coast was smiling over the joy of pure amateur effort-no illegal distribution, just production of fine 'shine for oneself. "Just yourself," he said, "and once in a while for a few of your friends. It wouldn't be hard. and I guess it isn't illegal if you do it that way. And there isn't any whisky like good corn-meal 'shine if it's cooked right and you give it time to age. "'Shine," he said, "is not much good if it's less than six months old; and it should be kept in a good charred oak barrel. Not every barrel, even if it is charred, is good to age 'shine in," he said. "But a man who knows his way about barrels can pick the good ones. If the 'shine is soundly sloshed about every few days, something mighty appetizing in the way of whisky will appear at the end of six months. Not enough of the real six-month stuff gets on the market." The talk about ten-year-old 'shine was tall moonshine, he added. Though he once had had, he said, a gallon of 'shine that was honest to God, twenty years old. It came to him as an inheritance from an uncle in North Carolina. "I sipped from it for a year," he said. His eyes glistened. "It ran over your tongue like sugar water. It seemed to almost evaporate before it hit your gullet. But pretty soon you felt it warm in your stomach. I that was the finest 'shine in the My own was good but I never drank it. When you still it for dis tribution you should never drink."

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Com Is Their Tipple 259 However, said the Boy Moonshiner, returning to his original theme, if you made it just for yourself, three or four runs a year, never touching a run until it was at least a year old, there certainly could be no valid ob jection to a man's drinking his own stuff. The development of a still in every kitchen would be an excellent thing, he said, for the national inorale. Everybody would get better liquor, it would be healthier and safer, and people would drink at home and enjoy it more. "Why," he said, "it would be just like eating a cake at home. Mother's cakes were always better'n those you bought at a bakery. It would be the same in 'shine. That would be the trouble though. So many people would go to cooking their own 'shine and drinking in their own kitchens that the government QOuldn't stand it. The government would lose so much money ill taxes. Probably millions. You can't keep on spending money like they . are doing now without you get lots of jack off taxes. And that means whisky." "It's always been whisky that caJried the govern ment," propounded the Boy Moonshiner. "Not so long ago whisky was about all that carried it. Whisky paid for the army and the navy and all the congressmen and the senators, but they have outspent whisky lately. So you see the government couldn't stand for a lot of people having their own private stills. We all have got to do our drinking in bars to keep up the government now adays."

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260 The Mangrove Coast He had more to say about how the Florida gulf coast country was never especially noted for its 'shine. After sixteen years of active operation, he concluded that Flor ida moonshine, when properly stilled and aged, was as fine as any made in the country. The Florida product was well up to any produced in the stills of the Carolinas, or down Sandy Creek Valley in Kentucky, or in the mountains of east Tennessee. "That stuff they boil out over around Memphis," he observed, "was and is the worst in the world. Thaf s the poison they sell down that Beale street, which sets off the colored folks in big razor rows. They still good 'shine in east Tennessee but not much gets over to the Mis sissippi river. "The old fellow who taught me how to put it up told me that the best 'shine cooker there ever was lived in western South Carolina. He made whisky over there for a long time and had a select trade-only judges, lawyers and barbers He sold his customers direct He never sold anything that was less'n four years old. But one night he and his brother got into a fight and a guy was killed. He had to beat it out to northern Wyoming and live in a cave in the hills and make 'shine for the cowboys. No one ever bothered him out there. He wrote my old boss and told him it was a nice plaee but that the cowboys wanted a handful of dry peaches put into every barrel. That colored it up and they liked the taste that way, but the old man said he didn't think

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Corn Is Their Tipple 261 it improved it any. Out in Wyoming four d ollars a gallon was the price. During the boom down here," the Boy said, "I have sold two-day-o l d 's hine in two-gallon jugs at eighteen dollars per jug but that was out of line and didn't last long. In the 'dry' tim e you could get four to six d ollars a gallon and sometim es a little more if you had a good product and knew your people With the bigger stills the cost per gallon is quite low and the big distilleries must ge t the rost way down-maybe fifty cents a gallon. Of course rm not including their bottles or advertising or aging overh ead. That's just my esti mate, but I know I could produce it for a dollar even if I aged it six months. I n fact, 's hine sells around three dollars a gallon now although the stuff they sell in the jungles is priced as low as a dollar-twenty-five to two dollars. The hot spots will retail that poison at ten cents a shot and three shots will send you out foaming. "If you have a nice private line of cus t omers and can afford to let your 'shine mature for a year you can count on a steady trade at four doll a r s a gallon, but a line like that takes years to build up. And of course, th ere is always a risk." On the Florida gulf coast the Boy Moonshiner thought there was probably two hundred thousand gal lons of moonshin e produced each year. The whole state, he believed, produced over a million The federal goy ernment was increasing ly active which cut the produc tion. With the price of "fancy" whisky rising (and any

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262 The Mangrove Coast whisky produced by a legal distillery and sold in a labeled bottle was "fancy"), he thought production would go up sharply. "It will," he said, "if they can fix it to get the sugar." Taxes; he repeated, largely made the whisky market. Aging was the big problem. There was no real substitute for time, although putting the new stuff into charred barrels and giving it a long ride over a rough road in a truck was considered a helpful substitute. However, that was often dangerous, he pointed out. Some of the boys strained theirs through a couple of pieces of carpet, and. held that that aged it overnight. One man he knew used to strain it through several lengths of yarn, letting it drip from one skein to another. Good material made good 'shine. For a fifty-gallon still, you needed thirty pounds of the best crushed corn meal, and with this at least fifty pounds of sugar. You had to be sure you had best of soft water. On the gulf coast the water problem is a bad one because so often our water has sulphur in it or a trace of salt. Good 'shine must be made out of good water . As a rule you can get good water twenty to thirty feet. But if you are located too close to the gulf you are al. ways likely to get a taint of sulphur or salt. Put your meal into your cooking pot along with the sugar, stir it up and then cover it with water. It will start tion soon. If you are in a hurry heat yolir water and" fermentation will start a lot earlier. Let it bubble for .at.

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Corn Is Their Tipple 263 least six days; then skim off the foam and draw off the liquid. Leave the mash there. The second and third run off the mash produces a better whisky than the first run but for every run you've got to add another fifty pounds of. sugar. That's why sugar is so important. Pour the liquid into the boiler and keep the fire slow. Use a gas oline burner for this fire, is the boy's recipe, although lots of cooks say a charcoal fire is better. The fire must be kept fairly low The stuff shouldn't boil up for at least an hciur and a half. The steam will go through the coil and cool back into liquid. The run should be about a gallon every twenty minutes. Rye runs about the same except that rye ferments a great deal more actively. Down on the coast com is standard, although the boys always made a few rye runs to take care of the odd cus tomers. Some of them were very odd, he said . "Outside of the litter of folks that crowd into Palm Beach in the Winter, no one ever heard of Scotch until prohibition, and it never was very popular along the Florida gulf coast. Of course, the northern tourists brought a demand for it and the boys operating between here and Bimini and Havana brought it in. I got hold of a consignment of Scotch mash once and put'it through, but did not do so well it. It had a kick; it had alcohol and it certainly wasn't com but we couldn't sell it for Scotch. It's my guess that our water wasn't just right for it or perhaps my timing wasn't so good. One of the boys tried to make a run. with apricots once, but it was

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264 The Mangrove Coast terrible. Another tried plums and blew up his still. Anyhow corn is our natural. After all, it's America's greatest contribution to the business of drinking-and that's one of the great businesses of the world. The gulf-coaster wants 'com'-not Bourbon, not rye, not Scotch, just good 'corn.' When he is in his party clothes he will fool around and pretend he is crazy after cocktails but take the north erner away and you couldn't sell a cocktail a day in most of the bars down here. Corn is his tipple-cOrn with just a trace of the original kernel; the very sniff of it brings up the memory of the old barnyard, the cows and the chickens; corn that's pale yellow and slides down your throat like hot butter, that's their native drink down here and it's one to be proud of. "I don't suppose I'll ever run another still," said the Boy Moonshiner. "That is, not commercially. My mother doesn't like it and no glamour and excitement in the business any more. It's just a business now -like selling policy tickets. But I've still got the hankering to make a run on my own some time, just for myself, and make the finest batch of 'shine that was ever made. I'd get me the best corn meal, the sweetest sugar and the softest spring water. I'd get it tested and all ofthat Make the finest mash and let it ferment until the foam is stiff and high and the liquid almost hops out of the pot. I'd give it a full three runs and try to squeeze 01.1-t about twenty gallons. Then I'd hunt up just the right

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' Corn Is Their Tipple 265 barrel, one thafs been charred at least a year but never used. fd put my 'shine away in the haymow and keep it there for the next ten years-but hell, how do I know where I'll be in the next ten years?"

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C H A P T E R .2 ][ THIS HOLLOW SPHERE DR. CYRUS R. TEED was a skeptic. Born in 1839 on a farm at a place where the road widened out, Teedville, New York (later Trout Creek), he took to the medical profession as soon as a try school education. would let him, studied with an uncle, and began practice in Utica. The Civil War closed down upon him upon thousands of others. He served as a surgeon in the Union armies and then turned to private practice. Home from the batter and crash of war his own uralborn doubting instincts boiled and bubbled. Dr. Teed wanted to know. He wanted to find the answers for himself-answers that would satisfy. Now the Bible, for one thing. In the 1870's the Bible was a very definite and personal thing in the lives of many Americans. It was an intimate part of family Resting on the parlor center table it was a visible and physical reminder of the power of the Almighty and his 266

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This H ollow Sphere 267 direct interest in the affairs of every memb er of the family. Teed began to doubt. He engaged in lengthy res ea r c h going deep into authoritie s whic h, dusty and dull as they may seem to us now, were primed with controversy as old as his tory. H is search was f o r the T ruth. Probing into the l ore of the theol og i ans the Churchmen and the Schoolmen, he ran up against a p r ob lem of science....:the Copernican System. Wasn't it all based on guesswork, after all? h e rea soned as he struggled with t he problems that tumbled about him as he bored into the s trong walls of the old P ole's p hil osop h y. Did Copernicus r eally prove anything? Was his h y pothesis r eally subje c t t o any greater degree of proof than those of a dozen other "scie nti s t s"? Wasn't it simply that Cope r nicus had sec ured the doc tor's nod at a time when polit i cally, ecclesiastical l y, and economica lly it was a sound thing to give the weight of "authority" to the old Pol e? O r wasn't it? Teed worked hard on that one. Struggling down the Copernica n trail, Dr. Teed was bitten with another idea. "All life d evelops from ce llular f o rms or conditions," h e said. Nature is uniform l ife in the. aggregate must conform to the same gene r a l laws. The Universe must f .. con orm.

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268 The Mangrove Coast The Universe, thought the Doctor. The Universe; then the Earth. And then Dr. Teed made a discovery that to him--and to a goodly number of others-was cond.usive. He became convinced by the chain of his own reasonillg that the earth was a hollow globe-that the inhabitants of the earth did not live on the outside of the globe, held tidy and tight by the law of gravitation, but on the inside. He declared the earth to be a hollow globe of twenty-five thousand miles circumference, with the sun, the moon, and all the stars contained inside. In 1896, near Naples; Florida, a geodetic expedition, organized and equipped by Dr. Teed, manned by dis ciples of the Doctor, took the apparatus required for his experiment. On the flat sands of the gulf beach, they conducted the experiments and proved the case-to their satisfaction. The curvature of the earth, declared the Doctor, was up, not down. But this simplification was only made later. During the years following the Doctor's discovery of "cellular cos mogony," and while he was still formulating the principle in his mind, he drifted into mental healing. He became a leader in the organization of mental healers ... He opened offices; lectured throughout the country, established a magazine. And as he worked upon the theories of cellular cosmogony, and edited his magazine, Dr. Teed also took a look at the economic system. The

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This Hollow Sphere 269 competitive system, he asserted, was an outgrowth of pa ganism, a "form of economic cannibalism." He foresaw world-wide revolution as a consequence. Human rela tions, he declared, must go back to the primitive base of the early Christian church where all goods were held in common. This belief in the need of a social system based upon collective ownership led to the organization of the Koreshan Unity, a group which was to work out these principles in daily life. The Unity was first located at College Place, Chicago, then it moved into the suburbs. But society in the up and competing Middle West was not friendly. 1893 was World's Fair year in Chicago. Many men from far places visited the city. Among them was a real estate dealer from Fort Myers. He met Dr. Teed and described the Charlotte Harbor area so convincingly that Dr. Teed made the trip to the rail-head at Punta Gorda and took a sloop to Fort Myers. After an exten sive investigation he accepted the proposal of a resident who agreed to deed a large tract near the gulf and drained by a stream, if he would establish a colony on the land. The first group of colonists, twenty-four of them, arrived in February, 1894, and began the heart breaking labors inevitable to pioneers in virgin land. The grubbing of the palmettoes, clearing the underbrush and trees, fighting off the hordes of midges, red bugs, sand Hies and fleas again and again almo s t broke down the little company's morale, but Teed's leadership

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270 The Mangrove Coast was still vital, his vision kept them going. A lo g house was finally erected, the fleas were routed, kitch ens were built, and life began to come up to the dream. In Dec em ber, 1896; Dr. Teed's geodetic expedition arrived The time had come to put the Theory to test. Upwards of a dozen men were in the party. The noon high sun beat down on the glittering san d shore The surface of the gulf, level and undisturbe d as a mirror, lay blue and green. To one side were piles of curious lo oking objects of wood. They looked like sections of a light fence. On closer examination they seemed to b e double T-squares. They composed Dr. Teed's rectilin eator. With them he expected to prove that the earth's surface was not convex and constantly falling away from any given point but, on the contrary, concave and rising upwards. The D octor had reasoned it all out during the dark nights of the winter of 1869 and 1870, a quarter of a century before. For some weeks previous to the beginning of the geo detic operations two fifteen-foot two-by-six-inch perpen dicular stakes had been set out upon the beach. They marked the points along the line of the Koreshan com munity's first survey t o d e t ermine to their satis fa ction the true contour and ratio of curvature of the earth's sur f ace. From the fixed stake on the approach to the Naples dock the stakes marked the direction of the meridian line. Standing in a l ong line were lesser stakes that indicated

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This Hollow Sphere 271 shorter intervals of space. A survey had been made along the coast with the usual surveyors' instruments, and the line had been measured along which the rectilineator was to be moved section by section, in precise adjustments, for four and a half miles down t}le coast. As the air line was to be straight and the shore line was irregular, excavations were necessary, and all obstructions were cleared away. "The leveling of the first section was the point for the exercise and application of the greatest skill and accu racy," states the Koreshan booklet "The Cellular Cos mogony," which reports the test in detail. "The first sec tion must be accurately leveled. For this purpose we ob tained the finest and most sensitive spirit levels obtain able. In connection with this we had our twelve-foot mercurial geodetic level, invented specially for this sur vey. Being twelve feet in length it was susceptible of being used with great accuracy and precision. Applied to the first section the spirit and the mercurial levels agreed." At 8:50 in the morning of March 18th, 1897, the level ing was concluded and pronounced perfect by the staff working on the problem. From then on the line was pro jected on the basis of the principles upon which the test was based. Carefully and patiently for eight weeks the staff worked along the line south of the Naples dock, checking and cross-checking-careful, tedious and trying work.

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272 The Mang1'0ve Coast At the end the staff believed that they had proved their case. The curvature of the earth, s surface, they declared, was up not down. "Cellular Cosmogony" will give you all the mathematical details of the measurements, much too intricate for this slight review. But to the members of the Koreshan colony the test rendered their position imEreg nable. "The Universe," the Koreshan Unity believe, "is an egg or shell, obtaining as a structure perpetually recreative and existent." Within this shell there are "three distinct domains of stars and three distinct atmospheres." The stars, they say, are not worlds "but focal points of substance or centers of combustion." They do not believe the planets are in habited. Other experiments were tried in time. None so com pletely convinced Dr. Teed and his adherents as the four mile survey. Satisfied himself, Dr. Teed made no passionate effort to enforce his theory upon the world. The Koreshan community accepted it. The world could take its own time discovering the truth. The community meanwhile slowly grew; its saw-mill prospered and the earlier log houses gave way to well -built tropical houses. Dealing like communists among the Kore shanians dealt on a competitive basis with the outside world. They sold their lumber and fine nursery stock from their extensive gardens, vegetables, berries and .

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This H oUow Sphere 273 truck. The community was in no sense isolated. Its mem bers took a keen interest in local affairs, and now and then injected themselves into county politics, and the solid vote of the Unity voters became a political weapon of real force. To protect their interests they established The American Eagle; a weekly newspaper. Its editor today, A. H. Andrews, a pioneer in the colony, is recognized as one of the ablest editorial writers in Florida weekly journalism. In becember, 1908, at the age of sixty-nine, Dr. Teed died. There were desertions after the founder s death, but the Unity went on. Its extensive land holdings rose in value. It added an electric light plant, a wood-working plant, machine shop, laundry and bakery to the list of its enterprises. A part of its beach land was developed and sold. New adherents were not so easy to get. Six months probation is required during which the appli.,. cant must study and fully accept the Koreshan teachings. Whisky and tobacco are banned. Every applicant must prove his willingness to work. Those entering the com munity contribute what they have of this earth's goods -little or much-to the general treasury In turn they, receive the support o the crimbined resources of the Unity. They live quietly and at peace with their neigh bors and the world. No member of the Koreshan sect ever burned an obdurate fellow-man at the stake for refusing to accept Dr. Teed's conclusions as to the hollow

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274 The Mang1ove Coast nature of our allegedly whirling sphere. No howling group of gesticulating Koreshaners ever screamed about a bonfire made of books which do not concur in Dr. Teed's conclusions as to the inherent poison in the competitive system or the advantages of collective ownership. Perhaps tolerance is the key to their modest growth. New causes, they say, need strident screamers; bung-eyed fanatics, thick-necked, thick-waisted and thick-ankled adherents, who ask no reasons why but merely whom to strike and when. The gentleman from Nazareth took the quiet way. Most of His adherents took the other. Today the votes seem to show that the old Human Animal needs the stridency; the hotfoot, the club and the brass knuckles. Perhaps.

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C H A P T E R .2..2 SILVER-SIDES AND HAMMERHEADS ALL Florida is undivided. Down both coasts and off Key West is one vast fishing camp. Few men are brave enough, or well enough to join in debate as to whether the East Coast or the West Coast has the better waters for non-commercial sporting fishing. True, the great Gulf Stream brings advantages to the East Coast the sailfish, the bonito, the amberjack and the dolphin. But most of these are found on the West Coast too, be sides, for the early winter fishing, grouper and the sea trout. Great schools of flashing king and Spanish mack erel arrive in the Gulf in March and April and furnish sport unequaled in its class in the world; and then in May and June come the tarpon! Traditionally along the Mangrove Coast the tarpon season opens May 15th. There is no legal season for tarpon. Great schools of the giant silver-sides commence working north from the waters about Panama Bay and the Mosquito Coast early in January and within the month the first of the tarpon are being caught off the 275

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276 The Mangrove Coast beach of the Cape Sable country and in the broad reaches of the Shark River. But the tournaments held by almost every community from Tarpon Springs to Everglades City, generally start in and finish on the first of August. Sarasota claims to have conducted the oldest continuous tarpon tourn ament in the world but other communiti es along the coast had organized tarpon fishing contests earlier. Today Boca Grande is the center for early tarpon fishing. From late to early June splendid tarpon fishing can be found in the deep channel of Bo ca Grande pass. Five to eight cent forty-five to one hundred and fifty pound ers have been caught by a single man in a day at Boca Grande in late May, but the law now holds the fishermen to one tarpon per rod per trip. The fishing is good both on the morning an d evening tides and the fleet of "charter" boats seen at sunse t is unforgettable. Bef ore the w:ar fishermen came from all over the world to take a fling a t the tarpon. British sportsmen made annual excursions to Boca Grande, Venice-Noko mis, Sarasota and Pinellas county beaches; distin guis hed statesmen, juris ts, industrialists and sim ple fishermen from all over North America made the pilgrimage an an-: nual devotion. The British sportsmen discovered the thrill in a tarpon strike back in the nineteenth century. Forty years ago the Duke of Sutherland in his famous g lob e trotting yacht, the Sans Peur, every year visited every

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Silver-Sides and Hammerheads 277 good tarpon hole a long the beach with a deputation o f lu cky, fish-minded Briti s h ers. The great fish mov e north see king crabs and othe r ma r i n e food. Enormous schools, lea ping into the air, thr eshing the water with their tails, r o ll their way north ward f ollowing the contou r of the gulf coast. B y mid J une mo s t of the tarpon are off the Venice, Sarasota, C l earwater beaches in great schools. By Jul y tarpon can be caught off M ob ile. Still another grea t stream of north ward moving tarpon come up fro m Mexican wa t ers and work a long the Texas littor a l the two streams merging off the Loui siana coast. Until the summer of 1 885, it was gospel a long the Florida g ulf coast tha t a tarpo n could never b e caught with ordinary tackle and bait and that if a tarpon tangled on such gear the tackle would break in les s than five m inutes. H a rpoon s were u sed for tarpon. The Indian s liked the heavy, coarse meat of the fish and usually speared them. Ther e were recorded in s t ances where the great silver sides had been trapped in nets. Some had been caught with a shark outfit of rop e and chain. There were no r ecorde d catches with rod an d reel Every spring the vas t schoo l s swept in from the south, l eaping clear of the water in wonderful flas hes of irides cent silver, rolling with the tide, flipping their tails ap parently utterly unint ereste d in any form of lure On

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278 The Mangrove Coast every hotel porch from Schlutz's at Punta Rassa to the old Bell Haven on Sarasota Bay, the arguments were on how to bring the beauties in. But no one did anything about it until W. H. Wood, a New York City sportsman, experienced with deep sea fishing in the east, came along. Determined to prove that with proper fishing the tarpon could be caught on hook and line, he ordered a special reel. It was a white metal and rubber job that was made to hold twelve hundred feet of twenty-one thread line, without gearing. Two extra strong bamboo poles were constructed, each five feet long. A gaff hook, attached to an ash hoe handle, completed the equipment. Wood chose a codfish hook and, at Punta Rassa, decided to bait the hooks with mullet tied on with wire. Some of the old fishermen who lived at Punta Rassa talked with him and watched him. They were not enthusiastic. "How you going to hold a sixty-pound tarpon if you get one on a little pole like that?" asked one. "A good tarpon'll give you one flip of his tail and jerk that switch right out of your hands or he'll bust it in two." "But I'll play him," said Wood. 'Til play him and tire him out. Then he can be brought in and gaffed." "Sure," said one of the old fellows, "you'll play him. But he'll play you and if you don't watch out he'll jerk you out of the boat and then all the playing will be Wood suffered many a jeer from the local fishing colony. Late in March his day arrived, fifty-six years ago.

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Silv e r Sides and H ammerheads 279 He was working from a skiff close in shore t oward a beach lined with m an groves. H e was using mullet for bait. H e noted tarp o n playing d ose in and as his guide m oved t owar d the rolling fish h e caught sight o f an other tarpon fifty fee t out. H e cast his bait six feet a h ea d of the tarpo n and the big :fish whirl e d and took it. Then his booty trail e d off s lowl y with the bait apparently h eld li ghtly in his m ou th. I gave him fifteen or twenty f ee t of extra line," sai d Mr. Wood thereby establishing once and for a ll as a sound tarpon fisherman, "and I waited un til he h a d taken up all of the s lack. When it seemed he had it :6rmly in his mouth, I drew in sha rply and hooked him. "Ins tantl y the big fish was up and out of the water, g l eaming in the sun, and s h aking his head to d i slo d ge the hook. We .paddled towar.d. him to pick up line an d he made off through the wat e r. He must hav e carried us half a mile an d during the run made six othe r l eaps in the a ir, fighti n g hard t o r i d his mouth o f the hook. Then h e s lowed down and in his next l eap hardl y cleare d water. As h e tir e d I slowly w or k e d him close to the row b oat I wan t e d to gaff him but my guide was afraid if we brought him into the boat h e would knock it to pieces; So I wai t ed. When a sailboat came a l ong I stepped into i t and bega n ree lin g him in. It was Mr. Smith who gaffed h im finall y, then we brought into our boat. A tarpon had been caught with a twenty-one thread l ine, on a

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280 The Mangrove Coast five-foot bamboo rod with never more than two hundred and fifty feet of line out. It could be done! We had taken only twenty-six and a half minutes to land him." That was a first. Wood took his fish in good time. Even with modem tackle and with all the experience in tarpon fishing that has been piled up in the last half century, landing a ninety-three-po1,1nd tarpon from a rowboat, with no friendly and powerful engine to help, in twenty six and a half minutes is a remarkable per(ormance. Without realizing it at the time, Wood invented a new and fascinating sport and initiated a great tourist attraction. Ten thousand tarpon-fishing tourists, at least, visit the resorts of the Mangrove Coast every year be-tween May 15th and August 1st. Around three thousand tarpon are landed yearly, at times more. Tarpon fishing has become a cult. One man I know has caught one thousand three hundred and seventy-five tarpon in the last twenty-five years and hopes to make it fourteen hundred before his fishing days are over. There seem to be as many of the great fish as ever but old guides will tell you that the tarpon are becoming smarter. They take the lure less easily. On the other hand the tarpon fisher n1en are no longer so hungry for the kill. Dozens of tar pon are caught each year; their weight estimated, snap shots taken and then returned to the sea. The fish have no value as food, and several of the best tarpon tourna ments no longer require the "body" in order to

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Silver Sides and Hammerheads 281 pate in the awarding of the prizes. The rep ort of the fish e rman and his guid e are all that i s required. "A man who will fight a tarpon for thirty minutes to an hour and a half and then releas e him isn't the sort of f ellow who would lie about ten or twenty pounds," says one club official "and a good guid e i s a reliable esti mator of weight. we want the tarpon to li ve. Tarpon caught in recent years a long the Mangrove Coas t have weighed up to two hundred and three pounds. Twentyfive years ago several caught in Sara sota Bay weighed up to two hundred and sixte e n pounds but today the tarpon, though oft en playing in the bay, rare l y take the lure except outside in the main body of the gulf. Tarpon seldom s how up until May 15th but a few have been caught in uppe r Sarasota Bay as early as midJ anuary Generally s peaking, baby tarpon-meaning small tarpon wei ghing from thr ee to six pou nds and every pound a ton of fight-start s howing in the Shark River section ea rly in F e bruary. From then on the march of the tarpon up the co as t depends on the increasing warmth of the water and the behavior of the crabs upon which they f ee d. The t a rpon follow the crab s and the crabs go north according to the he a t. T arpon fishing is a cross b etwee n huntin g e l ep hants, sea rching for whale and picking up a live wire. You do not cas t your lure into a likely "spot. There simply isn't such a thi ng. There places, like Boca Grand e channel,

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282 The Mangrove Coast Mansota beach near Venice or off "the Pines" on Longboat Key where they do seem to gather more certainly than elsewhere, but by and large, tarpon are where you :find them. The boats go out in the early morning just before dawn, and, as the sun moves up through the pink and blue mists, the guides and :fishermen eye the horizon line for signs of :fish. Sometimes you will spot them-fifty or a hundred of them-madly thrashing about in circles, their tails :flashing in the sun like propeller blades the water churned foamy. Again you will sight them, slowly and solemnly marching, two by two in almost equidistant lines, down some invisible sea lane. You can bring your boat down between them and often they will not even sound at your approach. Another time they will roll and dive about your boat so close you can touch them with a pole, or a pair of them will start ahead of your boat and play tag with you for miles without ever stopping to show the slightest interest in bait. At times when there will be hundreds of tarpon exploding about you, boiling up in clusters on all sides, not a :fish will be taken. Then suddenly the fish will bite! When the biting streak occurs, about once or twice in twenty-four hours, they all seem to bite at once furiously, recklessly, at almost anything. Then the mood . will seem to pass as suddenly as it started. Between times there is little to do but wait, and hope. Occasionally there will be short biting periods at midday. Once in a while a single tarpon will be caught when the rest of the school

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Silver-Sides and H ammerheads 283 seem to be utterly devoid of any inte rest in food. That does not happen often. Generally speaking tarpon bite when they bite and they don't when they won't. The fishing varies slightly in different localities. After a school has been located, the fishing boat, generally a gas driven vessel from twenty to thirty feet in l ength, fishing two rods, will appr oach slowly. No great care has t o be taken as the fish pay no attention t o the boats when they are at play. In the Boca Grande Channel sports men usually fish off the bottom, baiting their hooks with crab and keeping around :fifteen feet off the floor of the gulf. The boats push along at about two miles an hour dragging the bait and tackle behind them. The strike is invariably light. The fish takes the bait gently into its mouth, as if it were afraid of crushing it, and will run for fi.fteen or twenty feet with it. The fish will then come down on the bait and then is the time to strike. Hundre d s of tarpon are lost every year through a too quick je rk back on the pole. Men who are used to eastilig for bass, for instance, :find it hard to overcome the tendency to pull back wildly when they feel the strike. U they do almost invariably the tarpon drops the bait and gets away. This explains why freshmen tarpon fisherwomen are often more successful than men. When a man feels a strike he almost always instinctive l y respond s with a quick j erk. Women, on the other hand, will often drop the pole and scream, ''I've got a, what11 I do?" The tarpon begins to move away and about the time she seizes

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284 The Mangrove Coast her rod and swings it back, the tarpon has bitten down on the crab-and she has her fish hooked on her line. North of Boca Grande it is customary to use a big white and red bobber with about fifteen or eighteen feet of line floating free with the bait. When the tarpon are sighted and a safe approach has been made, the fisherman casts his line in front of the game fish he hopes to attract as they swim past. If the fish are in a biting mood, the move brings success. The instant the tarpon feels the hook the battle is on. There are few feeble fighters. The big silver-sides will be in the air with a smashing rush, the water will fall away in waves as he comes up, his head shaking madly to throw off the hook. Three-four-five times he will make the leap and then will probably sound deeply and seesaw all the way up. An average weight for tarpon is around sixty-five pounds and a sixty-five pounder can keep a fisherman in a state of nervous hysteria for twenty five minutes without exerting himself at .all. I have seen tarpon fishermen so exhausted after a twenty-five-minute continuous leaping, sawing and jumping match with a tarpon as not to be able to stand or to speak from sheer mental and physical exhaustion for ten minutes. These men only want one tarpon a season. Some men come to the Mangrove Coast year after year and fail to get their tarpon. Others will average a tarpon a tide for a week at a time. Jesse Tucker, a well-known

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Silver-Sides and Hammerheads 285 Sarasota tarpon fisherman, h o lds a Mangrove Coast r ec ord f or catching five tarpon ran g in g from fifty-five pounds to one hundred and two pounds, in four h ours But J esse once h ooked a tarpon o ff a bay brid ge, while casting for m ackerel, and held it for two jump s before the startled fish was a ble to run the line out and get away Lassoing a tarpon is not fr equent, but both K irk Lincoln and V T. H a mlin the well-known newspaper cartoonist, have so cas t their lines as to h ave them whip about the flourishin g tail of a tarpon and both were able t o b ring their fish to gaff. A few years ago on a bet Bert Cohn floated out into the gulf in a barrel, made a cast and caught and killed his tarpon-a 1 25-poun der. The guides t e ll you that only ten p e r cent of any scho ol of tarpon are eve r seen on the surface at one time the proportion is correct, a school of five hundred tarpon can not be at a ll u nus ual, for I h a v e often seen fifty tarpon rolling and tossing at one time. E ve n a sch ool of five hundred tarpon the guides will say is no great shucks. From Clearwa ter to B oca Grande every guide will swear to ha ving seen that many at one time rollin g in a long creaming l ine in the moonlight. That would mean sc hools of a t l east five thousand fish. Once I was out fishing the late afternoon tide. Tarpon fishermen as a rule are a conservative lot and resist inno vation, but O scar Babcock h a d cut a trap door i n the cabin of his new thirty foot e r thus enabling Wesley his

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286 The Mangrov e Coast guide, to stand on the high steersman's chair; operat e the steering wheel with the big toe of his right foot and yet kee p an eager eye out f0r s ign of fis h. The sun was s lipping into an exp l osion of turquoise and red cl ouds and the boat was rising and falli ng easily with gentl e roll. In the tiny galley Archie was working over the stove h ea ting up the sou p and the coffee. As he worked he ta lk e d Once in a while you wil l see a school of. tarpon a thousand fis h or more," said Archi e. I saw a schoo l like that l ast week almost a quarter of a mile lo ng. And there wasn't a bite in the whol e parade." W came down from his stan ding perch an d resumed his seat at the whee l B es t tim e to see tarpon," h e said, is at night. And the best night is a dark one. A dark night when the phorus is burning g ood. Mter a shower, in the dark of the moon. The water fires up fine then and you can see the tarpon c uttin g through the water a hundred yards off. You can see t h em from head to tail then, lo oking like they had their in sides trimmed with neon signs. I was off the Pines' north of Sarasota last s umm er," he went on "when one night I sa w a g low off toward the shore. I brought the boat up within thirty yards of it. Y oli could see plain it was noth ing but tarp on. Mu s t have been thousands of them. A glowing line for alm ost a q u ar t e r of a mile d own the beach. The streak was a fu ll hun dred ya rds wide. Sometimes the mass would run three

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SilverSides and Hammerheads 287 and four fish d ee p. They weren't hitting it up and they didn't seem to be going any place. It took 'em a bout half an hour to pas s me. On ce in a while one or two would co me to the t o p and roll and the drops of water would loo k like pinwh e els s parkling. That was the greate s t tarpon show I ever saw." Offshor e there was some sort o f disturbance in the wa ter. In the l a te sunl ight a li gh t brown patch oould be see n just under the sur f ace of th e w a ter. A broad, sharply pointed head came up and swung into the air, ahnost erect. "Look at that loggerhead, said Arch. "Now if w e had a jig I'd go over and let him h ave it." Can one ge t in that close to them?" "Lots of times th ey are asleep but you can slide up pretty close almo s t any time. These big loggerheads aren't afra i d of anyth ing. You w ill find them often s loshing about on the surface d ead asleep. On a light line they1 1 give you quite a fight b u t they aren't worth much. The ha wk bill turtle s hell sells pr et ty well sometimes and then ag ain it doesn't We d on't hunt them often. A green turtle will gi v e you a pretty good steak but th e brown ones aren t good ea ting. If you w a nt a real fight in these gulf waters tak e on a manta ray. "Isn't that a ska t e?" asked on e of the passengers. "I saw one once that was six fe e t across. Six f oot," r ep li e d Wesley with po li te scorn is n o th ing We don t bother with SL"{-footers. We tak e them on

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288 The Mangrove Coast when they run fifteen to twenty feet across. The biggest one I ever saw was twenty-five foot across. It weighed three thousand pounds and it dragged the boat, a fishing cruiser as big as this, ten miles before it slowed down. The big manta ray are kings of the gulf. Nothing can touch them. They almost let you run into them before they move. But the instant they feel the harpoon sink into them they drop fifty or sixty feet into the water. Then those big flappers of theirs get to working and they head out to sea. As quick as we land a harpoon into one w.e al ways throw the boat into reverse until he gets to going good. When he tires after an hour or so we go into reverse again and start pulling just to keep him from get ting any rest. A big ray will fight from six to eight hours. I heard of one once that pulled a boat for seventeen miles before he slowed down. Manta ray is the biggest, wildest game in the whole gulf!" "I saw a manta ray eating once," said Arch. "Something to look at. All there is to their heads is a couple of big eyes that look like tail lights to an automobile and a mouth as big as a bushel basket. We were laying off Venice looking for tarpon and then suddenly this old chap comes up in the middle of a school of sardines. He opens his mouth and brings his big flippers around and scoops up sardine by the bucketful. I mean it-a regular bucketful at every scoop We took a shot at him with a . 30-.80. It didn't even feaze him. It did scare the sardines and they flipped up their tails and shot off."

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Silver-Sides and Hammerheads 289 Wesley had no fear of the sting ray. "You will never get stung unless you step on one of them," he said, "and even then the sting isn't anything like as bad as a snake bite. It's painful but not fatal. If they get on your line, cut them loose. That's the simplest way. Once in a while we jig for them," said Arch. 'We like 'em for shark bait." It was late in May and the high noonday Florida sun was blazing down with all its power. The flat surface of the gulf had the greasy silver look of molten lead. For ward on the tip of the cabin house, in the shade of the tarpaulin temporarily rigged from the signal mast to the shaft of a club burgee, rested the Skipper. His two "sports" .. were somnolently drinking beer in the cockpit aft. Trailing behind the transom stern were two tarpon, each well over five feet long, caught on the morning tide. The glassy surface of the gulf just back of the boat broke suddenly. There was the flash of a tail, a blurred vision of a long white under water streak, a horribly gaping mouth and a great dead eye in a soiled ivory setting. The light line that had held one of the tarpon lay listlessly on the water, merely the head and a foot or so of torn tarpon flesh dragging behind. The Skipper tumbled to the cat deck and slipped back into the cockpit, spitting out words, good, sound preShakespearean profanity.

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290 The Mangrove Coast "It's that God damn e d old bastard," he spluttered. "That double nosed white bellied sonofabitch. It's the Old Un. He's the meanest hungriest, cussedesthamm erhead in the world. If he's hanging around here we might as well beat it. And if we do beat it we will still be lucky if we can shake him off our stem." And that's how I met the "Old Un," the blight of the tarp on-fishe rmen's perfect day, the ruthless raider of the seas, the meanest hammerhead according to gulf coast tarpon fishermen that ever liv ed. All hammerheads, according to the gulf coast guides, are bastards but the "Old Un" is the worst because he is not only a shark with all the bottomless yen for food that goes with shark nature. H e is a hammerhead shark and the s martest hammerhead besides. There are sand sharks along the Mangrov e Coas t any month in the year, timid scavenge rs of the sea, living easy, raiding the great masses of mullet in the wint e r months. The sand sharks forage along the bay shore for young and luscious sting ray and even follow the yachts for the bits of meat that come overboard from the galley slops. Once in a blue moon a deep-water fish erman will come in with a b arracuda but they are so rarely seen along the beach that word of catching one is something of an event at any fis herman's wharf. But the big shark from the deep and yet warm waters off Mexico and Cuba rarely come north until June. Apparently they follow the big schools of tarpon, and lurking off the ir

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Silver-Sides and Hammerheads 291 Hanks, pick up any injured or sickly members of the school that drop away from the main body. With uncanny instinct they have learned to hang about the tar pon .fishing cruisers and with one mighty rush cut a hooked tarpon and swallow it in one great gulp, leaving scarcely a bare memento to the :fisherman. There is not one authenticated instance of any shark, hammerhead or leopard, ever killing anyone on the coast. Occasionally, of course, a guide gets a hand sliced from a glancing blow as a shark rushes a tarpon when the guide is pulling it aboard. "See those scratches," said Arch, displaying the back of his right hand. It was lined with slashes, cut as if made with a razor blade. "I got those last week off Gasparilla Key. I was leaning over the side hauling in a tarpon-a forty-five pounder-when a small leopard which had been hanging around all morning made a dash for the .fish; I had only a short reach on the gaff and, as I bent over to swing the fish, gaff and all to one side, my hand was under water. The leopard closed his rush and snapped. His teeth just grazed my hand. I don't think it was snapping at my hand special. Whatever happened to be near the tarpon got hit." This reminded the Skipper of a :fisherman who lived on Panther Key, south of Fort Myers, who had had his leg badly striped one day by a leopard shark in much the same fashion. The man had a very large tarpon tied to a small boat and he thought it would be easier to beach the

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292 The Mangrove Coast .fish and the boat if he jumped overboard in shallow water and dragged the fish ashore .first and then picked up his boat. He went overboard in about six feet of water and a leopard smashed in at the tarpon and caught the side of his leg. "I don't think any of these gulf sharks are looking out for human beings for food," continued the Skipper, "but I'm not anxious to be around when they are hungry, espe cially if there's any bloqd in the water. It's funny how quickly they seem to get the scent of blood. You may be fishing for hours without seeing a shark but if you catch a tarpon and he bleeds some into the water, the chances are their ugly beaks will turn up inside of ten minutes. Once they come around they stick with you all day long." "Did you ever try shooting them?" I asked. "Doesn't seem to bother them a he said. "Take that old devil out there, that hammerhead. He's the big gest hammerhead I ever saw. I'll bet he will run over twenty feet long and his hammerheaded nose is six feet across. He's been coming around every summer for years. He's worked out a regular system. He'd rather let you catch his tarpon and then take it off your line than fish for himself. We tried shooting him. We let a tarpon out on a line about ten feet off the side of the boat. As the old fellow came up we let him have it. I know we planted at least six .44 slugs in his head. He never even stopped his rush to give us a blink. We could see they hit him but they made no more impression on him than if they were

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Silver-Sides and Hammerheads 293 dabs of putty. Our tarpon weighed over seventy pounds and he took over half of it in one clean bite. He just seemed to waft it down:' "The porpoise have their goat, though," said Arch. "You don't see any old sharks fooling around with a porpo1se. Shark versus porpoise has been a moot question on fishing club porches and among the guides for half a century and more. One school holds that the porpoise can chase away any shark and even that, as soon as a school of porpoise shows up, sharks leave. The studies made of porpoise life through the facilities offered by the construction of the great tanks for the Marine Studios south of St. Augustine add more to our knowledge than any ever made on porpoises before. By placing various types of shark in the tanks with the porpoise it was discovered that the sand shark was almost immediately attacked by the porpoise which apparently "ganged" up on the shark, and they chased and butted him all over the tank. Attendants had to remove the shark from the tank to save its life. Later a leopard shark was placed in the tank and the behavior of the porpoise was decidedly different. The porpoise stayed well together and kept a sharp watch on the invader but made no effort to attack him. On the other hand the leopard shark stayed as far out of harm's way as possible. Apparently both sides had a respect for the other's fighting powers and neither cared to open hostilities.

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294 The Mangrove Coast Porpoise schools are a familia r sight along the Man grove Coast. They follow mullet, upon which they feed, and as they must come to the surface of the water for air every few minutes their disporting is a l ways an interesting show. They breathe through a small nostril located on the back of the head just above the neck and they come to the surface to expe l what air remains in their lungs and take on a fresh supply The Marine Studio obs e rvers believe that porpoises communicate with one another by signals made through this nostril. The sharp whistling noises vary, it is believed, to indicate alarm, food, or signals for play. "Did you ever hear of a fish )lolding a wake?" asked Arch. No one had. "The blackflsh do," he said. 'Tve seen them. Those big blackflsh run fifteen to twenty-five fee t long and you see them in the summer off Cape Sable. If a blackfish gets sick or hurt the whole school will nuzzle it into the sha l lows and when it dies the waves will wash it ashore. Then the blackfish will hang around in a big circle all the n ext day. I saw a wake once when I was commercial fishing off Lossman' s River. There must have been fifty black fish sticking aroun d with the dead one washed on the beach. The next day we went by and they were all gone except for the dead one. It was eighteen feet lon g."

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EPILOGUE Enough. No book can set down the magic of the Man grove Coast. Though this one has dealt, in one manner or another with history, it i s no history of the re g ion but a call to the histori ans to see how rich the past of this coast is. Some scholar would serve his country well by research into the part Florida played in the pre Columbian world of the Caribbean and the gulf. We need to know more of the trend of Spanish exploration and Spanish aims in the fift y years that followed the discovery. . Just one hundred years ago, in January 1842 Josiah Gates established the first permanent white settlement on the Manat ee a fter three hundred years of intermittent effort by other men. Four flags, the Spanish, the British, the Confederate and the Stars and Stripes have flown over the coast; five, one could say, if one adds the short time when the lilies of France waved over the northwest portion of the gulf coast, but that time hardly counts, for the Span is h disputed it and it faded so soon. And some 295

PAGE 301

296 Epilogue might count the buccaneering banners of the dim repub lics of Buenos Ayres and Cartag ena, tossing against the high blue sky, in the brief tumult of a pirate reign along the keys. But the pull of the Mangrove Coast is not its history, for neither the historians nor its own people have laid claim or put great value on its past. Its attractio ns lie in its intangib l es: the gleam of white sand, the softness of southwest winds pink and turquoise sunsets, and the abiding simplicity of its people. In some curious way, the coast has managed to retain a simplicity in standa rds and outlook that seems to date back to the early days of the century or, perhaps instinc tively to r each forward into the d ecades ahead of u s all. The people of the coast are like o ther Americans-they believe in a chicken in the pot and a car in the garage; they believe in these things for everybody, but if the chicken is tender and the car runs, on the Ma ngrove Coast they do not bother about the yea r of the car or its lines or its gadgets. Nobody ke e p s up with the Jon eses. The o l d-timers t ell a story about Bone Mizell that is a true coast story. Bone's name was Napoleon, so of course everybody called him Bone. He was well over six 'feet, a big hunk of a man, afraid of no one. He trailed along with the Zibe King outfit back of Arcadia and was the only two-f oo ted critter on the great King ranch who would stand up to Zibe and toss it back as h ard as Zibe sent it. As a matter of pride, and as a convenience, Bone .

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Epilogue 297 always wore a ten-gallon hat. In or out of door s he rarely took it off. Judge Wall was a strict disciplinarian. One day whe n his court was in session in Arcadia, Bone yanked open the courtroom door and strode down the center aisle, the t en-gallon hat on his head, his eye on the ju dge. "M izell, rapped out the J udge, "co m e h e r e. I fine you t en doll ars for contempt, co m i n g in t o this court with your hat on. Bone stared stonily at the judge for an instant then reached into his high-cut pants poc ket and pulled out a bill. "Her e," he said, tos s ing the money on the Judge's des k "take twenty dollars. I walked in with it on, and so am I walking out." Fro m the first the Mangrove Coast, besides being h ospi t able and "agin sno b s," saw th ere was a future in the business of entertaining the t ou ri sts who came in trailers While other communities were passing ordi-. nances forbidding trailers from p arking within their city limits Sarasota, for example, was making model ar rangements for laundries and socia l halls and water and. light for as many traile r s as wanted to come. It boasts today of the finest mun i cipal trailer camp i n the world but other cities press it clos e. Along the M angrove Coast t oo it was early recognized that there was soci al and economic sense in wel coming the fisherman to the bridges, setting a legal place from which to cast his line,

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298 Epilogue and protecting him from the traffic. Appropriations were generous for fine municipal beaches for all the local in habitants and all the tourists. There are any number of luxurious and exclusive clubs along the coast, but they strike a minor note. They are extras and do not monop olize the wonders of the shore. The story of the founding of the John and Mabel Ringling Memorial Art Museum at Sarasota, easily the most comprehensive artcollection in the Deep South, is the story, not of a museum, but a movement stimulating fresh creative art. Art colonies sprang up all along the coast, in Tarpon Springs, at Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Bradenton and at Fort Myers. Local museums everywhere show the local work. By midDecember the tourists start rolling in from the Midwest and Ohio, down for Christmas. A month later, the New Yorkers, the rich and leisured, the government and corporation pensioners from Connecticut Pennsyl vania and New England come-come for the same reason as the robins do, to evade the cold and eat, to gather in Hocks and chatter in high voice. Down on the coast they say the robins come down to get drunk eating the fer mented berry of the cabbage palm and point to them on the ground with their thin little legs in the air, helpless and oblivious. Tourists, of course, never touch the berries .. of the cabbage palm. There are many things in the colorful life of the Mangrove Coast that I have not touched .upon and that are

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Epilogue 299 important. I did speak of art and culture. But I did not mention bolito. Yet bolito daily affe. cts the lives of more people along the coas t tha n art will ever touch Thou san d s each d ay tra nsla te their dr eams and h u nches into d e finite figures and play their nickels, dimes and dol lars upon the numerals so conceived. Dream of a spider and pla y 7 17 or 37. See a snake an d drop a dime on 35. Every kitchen has it s dream book. Of course it's illegal. Int e rm itte ntl y the breath of th e law is hot upo n the necks of the operators but nightly from K ey West t o Tampa in dozens of parlors" th e littl e numbered balls are thrown. Cockfightin g like bolito is a par t of our Cuban an d Spanish inh e r ita n ce. Cockfighting, however, is exclusive. Th e te nse gr oups of men that gather in some remote hammock to w i tness the best rooster b l ood of the coast and the South fight i t out i n a spray of blood and feathers are definitely careful as to who is invited to see the mains. But thou san d s o f dollars change hands in the bets that are screamed across the pits. The war has mad e changes everywhere On the coast one note s that people ride in buses more but they m ove about to the same places. There are no priorities or re strictions yet on sunshine or s wimming hours. The aged and infirm, the businessmen wh o h ave called it a day are nearly all of th e m back, though many have gone out of r etirement, busy again in their old s h o ps or clogging the stree ts of Was hington. The youth of the coast has b een

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300 Epilogue swept into the army and navy, but in return the youth of the nation are flood i ng back into the great camps and training centers of Florida. Tons of sweaters and socks go north each week for the Red Cross and to the British War Relief, and thousands and thousands of dollars be sides. They give along the Mangrove Coast-they give, not "till it hurts," but from nature and habit and with a sheer, keen joy in giving. Everybody along the coast talks aviation: its past, its future. The great bombers roar into the air from MacDill Field on their wide and vague patrols. They set men talking about the little experiment twenty-eight years ago on New Year's day. Mayor A. C. Pheil of St. Petersburg paid four hundred dollars then to be the first paid pas senger on any commercial air line in the world His ticket read from St. Petersburg to Tampa and return. Tony Janus took on his passenger and nosed his old Benoist biplane into the air, and brought him down at the Tampa Sarasota Transportation Company's docks. It was tremendous. Pheil said that part of the way they Hew at 75 miles an hour. Miss Mae Peabody, of Dubuque, Iowa, went as first lady passenger, and others took the regular trip at five dollars a head, but the line didn't last long. The First World War reached out and got Toriy. The Russians offered him bigger money to fly for the Czar, and he went away and never came back to the coast. The great dark ships that hover over Gadsden

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Epilogue 301 Point today could swallow haH a dozen of Benoists, but his was a First, and memorable. The coast has a future. And because it has a future, its past is doubly worth looking into. One is bound to be grateful to those who have already put what they have discovered into sharable form. More people should know about Mrs. Lillie B. McDuffee's Lure of the Manatee," a privately printed book with a remarkably detailed and documented story of the settlements along the Manatee from 1842 to 1930. For years she rifled old and forgotten letter files in dusty Florida attics, interviewed pioneers, ransacked newspaper files and official records and put together from these sources the best picture we have of the development of an American community along the Florida frontier. Professor A. J. Harris, of Rollins College, Dr. Mark Boyd, of Florida State Women's College at Tallahassee, Professor John C. Gifford, of Miami Univer sity, Watt Marchman, secretary of the Florida State Historical Association at St. Augustine, Caritu D. Corse of the Florida Federal Writers' Project, Jacksonville, Commander C E. Edge of the United States Coast Guard, St. Petersburg, Captain Dudley Knox, retired, of the Office of Naval Records at Washington, the Marine Library at Newport News, and Essex Institute at Salem, Mass., were all endlessly generous in feeding my own curi osity about the coast, with material and helping me check facts.

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302 Epilogue The publish ers of the Tampa and St. Petersburg news papers opened their files to me. E. D Lambright, editor of the Tampa Tribune," especially, turned up so u rces for me on Gasparill a, and the kind but harried men and women of room 300 at the New York Public Library, who were never too busy to be helpful to a blundering stran ger fumbling in their stacks, a ll h ave convinced me that the Mangrove Coast, its future and its past, is full of friendly magic. All who come close to it, who have studied its h istory or fished along its sho res partake of a "fellowship. r

PAGE 308

INDEX Abaco, 108 Abel, E. C., 82 Alabama, 86, 126, 135 Alafia River, 78, 201 Alger, Secretary, 218 Allegh eny 220 Alli gator, 113 Alvarado, 26 Ambler, Marvin and Stockton, 210 Ambri ste r, 183 Amelia Island, 116 "American Coast Pilot," 109 "American Eagle, The," 273 Anas co, Juan, 71, 72, 73, 75, 81 An colote Anchorage, 3 Ancolote Ke y, 51 Andr ews, A. H., 273 Ann Martin, 136 Anna Maria, 73, 74, 231 Anna Maria Key, 68, 128 Arawak Indians, 15 Arbuthnot, ISS Arcadi a, Florida, 245, 294, 295 Ariel, 209 Aristides, 113 Arkwright, Thomas, 96, 97 Ascano Juan, 64 Atzeroth family, 180 Aztecs, 14, 246 B Babcock, Oscar, 285 Bahamas, 15 Bahama Straits, 116 Bahia Hondo, 228 Baltim ore, 171 Bank of Louisiana, 176 Bank of Pensacola, 176 Barataria, 114 Barton Clara, 218 Basing er, Captain, 151, 152 Beaur egard, 206, 207 Bell Haven, 278 Bell's Ford, 201 Bellamy f amily, 170 B ellea ir, 195 Belleroplwn, 179 Benjamin, Judah P., 191-193 Berkshire, 220, 226 Biddle, Captain, liS Big Hickory Key, 230 B imini, 28, 42, 128, 263 Biscayn e Bay, 28, 35, 44, 89, 90 Bishop of Palencia, 29 Bishop of R ome, 34 Blnck Caesar, 110 Blonde, 193 Boca Ciega Bay, 72 Boca Grande, 46, 47 104, 106, 165, 209, 276, 285 B oca Grande Channel, 281, 283, 284 Bold Commander, 113 Bonacker and Bowy er, 215 Bonfal, M ons ieur, see Benjnmin, Judah P., 191 Dontfays family, 142 Bowlegs, Billy, 110, 158-165, 189 Boyd Dr. Mark, 109, 299 Braden Creek, 186 B raden, Dr. Joe, 164, 186, 189 Braden famif y, 178, 187 Braden, Hector, 186 Br adent on, 18, 67, 76, 83, 186, 21S, 296 Bradlee, 104 Bravard, Caroline, 175 Breckenridge, Judge Henry M., 183 140 Bre vard family, 170 Brit ish West Indies, 126-127 Brodie, M ajor, 222 Brona ugh, Dr. J. C., 132, 140 B r ooke, Colonel George M ., 132, 138,200 Brosnahan family, 142 Browning. Alec, 195 Buenos Ayres 294 80S

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304 Index c Cabo de Corrientes, 38 Cabot, John, 21, 27 Cadiz, 22, 23 Calderon, Peter 87 Call family, 170 Call, General R. K., 171, 173 Callava, Jose, 130 142 Caloosahatchee, 9, 47 124 Caloosas, 14-20, 48, 54, 7 4, 92 Campbell family, 141, 1 42 Canal Zone, 236 Canary Islands, 22, 31 Cancer, Father, 7, 64, 71, 131 Cantina map, 23, 24 Cape Antonio, 112 Cape Canaveral, 14 Cape Honduras, 22, 25 Cape Roman, 231 Cape Sable, 14, 231-235, 239, 276 Captiva Island, 105, 108 Cardenas, 220 Caribbean Sea, 228 Carleton family, 209 Carney's ferry, 164 Carroll, 141 Cartagena, 294 Cartayo, Lieutenant, 72 Casa Blanca Hill, 88 Cedar Keys, 64, 122, 126, 196, 203 Central America, 14 Chaires, Furman, 164 C!:taires family, 170, 176, 178 Charleston, 116 Charlevoix, 94 Charlotte and Northern Railroad, 104 Charlotte Harbor, 9, 19, 24, 45-48, 55, 72, 7 4, 89, 92, .102, 108, llO, 116, 122 124, 129, 183, 197, 207, 209, 228, 231, 269 Chase family, 142 Cherokee, 226 China Coast, 8 Cinpango, 25, 41 City of Washington, 226 Civil War, 205-209. 212 Clarissa, 113 Clark, Henry, 180, 181, 184 Clearwater, 78, 101 Coast Guard, 128, 232 Coffee, 141 Cofield and Davis, 190 Cofrecina, 118 Collar, Levi, 199, 200 Coll i er, Captain W. D., 100 Co l on, D on Cristobal, 41 Columbus, Christopher, 17-32, 53, 228 Comal, 220, 226 "Concise Natural History of East and West Florida," Roman, 94 Congo country, 234 Consolidated Lottery of Macon, 202203 Cordoba, Francisco, 63, 64, 71 Cordova, 7 Cortez, 26, 56 Costa, 231 Cow Seminoles, 166 Cowe, Carila A., 299 Clearwater, 207, 231, 277, 285, 296 Craig family, 170, 178, 187 Craig, Pinckney, 186 Creeks, 17, 20 Cristobal, Don, 42 Cuba, 15, 135, 204, 213, .214, .216, 229, 231, 236, 237 Curry, Captain John, 209 Cushing, Dr., 17-18 D Dade, Major, 147-151 Dahlonega, 63 Dauntless, 214 Davenport, Captain, 165 Davis, Frederick, 28, 30, 45, 46 Davis Island, 200, 212 Davis, Jelierson, 190, 191 Davis, Richard Harding, 219 de Alaminos, Anton, 37-43, 62, 63, 72 de Aviles, Pedro Menendez, 89, 131 de Bobadilla, Isabella, 72, 76-79 de Cartayo, Lt. Rodriguez, 19 de Cosa, Juan 38 de Gallegos, Baltasar, 81 de Ia Ruas family, 142 De Launay, Postmaster, 202

PAGE 310

Index 305 de Leon, Juan Pon ce, 7, 9, 17, 21, 23, 27-64, 131, 19 4 de Olivera, J F., 91 De Soto, 7, 19, 57, 58, 63, 64, 67-93 131,m De Soto Expedition Commission, 70 de Tobar, Leonora 88 de Vaca, Cabeza, 7 17, '87, 64 Diaz, Bernal, 15, 63 Disston inte rests, 194 Dixon, 183 Donelson Lieutenant Andrew J., 133, 137 Dry Tortugas, 44, 47-50, 59, 61, 230 Du Pont family, 170 Duke, Thomas, 205 Dupxatz, 94 Duval, Governor, 176 E East Cape, 231 Eaton, Lieutenant-Commander '\>Villiam B., 206-207 Econchattie, 172 Edge, Commander C. E., 299 Edison, Thomas A., 10 Egmont Key, 51, 52, 55, 165, 1 83, 184,225 Ellw Fiske, 187 Emerson Ralph Waldo, 170-172 Emma, 197 Emma M. Little, 197 End, George K. 245-248 Englewood, 46, 50 Enterprise, 164, 106, ll3, 114 Erie, 196 Espiritu Santo B a)', 35 Essex I nstitute, Salem, Mass., 299 Estero, 230 Estrada Palma, 214 Everglades, 14, 233, 248 Everglades C ity, 4, 276 F Fanita, 220 Farrel, Buster 5, 233-234 Ferdinand, King, 23 24 Ferguson, "Alligator," 122-123 Fernandina, 208 Finlay, Dr. Carlos, 211 Firestone, Harvey, 10 First National Bank of Tampa, 210 F isherman's Key, 46 Flagler, 214 Florida Blockad e Patrol, 209 Florida Historical Society, 28 Florida Mortgage and Investment Company, 194 Florida State Department of Agri-culture, 233 Florida Writers' Ploject 233 Forb es, Colonel Jam86, 134, 137, 182 Ford, Henry, 10 Fort Barrancas, 1 36, 188 Fort Bro oke, 147 -148, 181, 1 83, 196, 199, 200, 205 Fort Caroline, 89 Fort Dade, 52, 69 Fort Drum, 164 F ort Jefferson 229, 230 Fort King, 144 147 Fort Myers 9, 11, 20, 104, 158-160, 163, 165, 239, 242, 269, 296 Fort Sumter, 9 France, 185, 293 Fraser, Captain U. S., 149, lSl Frazer, Major, 200 G Gadsden, Colone l, 134 Gadsden family, 170 173 Gadsd en, Lieute nant, 200 Gadsden Point, 298 Galc>eston, 204 G a l veston Isl and, 114 Gal vez Springs, 132, 1 33 Gamble, John Gratton, 176,178,185, 186 Gamble, Robert, 173, 176, 178, 185, 186, 188-190 Gambl e Hill, 185 Gambl e Hundred, 185 Garay Francisco 7 IK Garcia, General, 224 G arcilaso, 88 Gardiner, Captain, 151 1 5 Gasp arilla, 9, 1 03-11 0 114 300 Gasparilla Island, 46 Ga sparil l a Key, 105, 108 Gate s, J osiah, 179, 18 0, 181 293

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306 Index Gates, Mrs. Jos iah, 184 Gates House, 186 Gatlin, Surgeon 151 Gem of the Sea, 007 Georgia, 86, 126, 135 Georgia State Lott ery, 203-204 Gi.ffna; Prof. J ohn C., 299 Gilett; May or, 218 Gillespie, Colonel J. Hamilton, 194195 Glazier, Ezeki e l, 188, 190 "Godey's L ady's Dook," 184 Gold Coast, 8, 128 Gomez, J ohnny, 99-106 Gomez, 214, 220, 280 Goos, Peter, 7 Gosse, 104 Great Britain, 229, 293 Green, Commod ore Theodore P., 190 Greenup, Nancy, 185 Gul Blockading Squadron, 190 Gul Coast, 18 Gul Stream, 34 181, 220, 226 H Haiti, 15, 53 Hamlin, V. T., 285 Hamlin, Skipper, 196, 198 Harney, C aptain, 20 Harris, Prof. A J., 299 Hartsoff, Lieutenant George 159-164 H avana, 45, 53, 128, 1 29, 195, 204, 2 14, 280, 236, 263 Haya, I gnacio, 211 Helena, 225, 226 Henderson, Captain, 151, 152 Hendry family, 209 Henry VII, 21 Hernandez; Colon el, 224 Herodotus, 237 Herrera, 28, 33, 45, 4 7-52 Hillsborough county, 201 Hillsborough, Lord, 60 Hillsborough River, 199, 200, 214 Hirrihigua, 77, 78, 80, 86 "History of Florida," Bravard, 175 Honduras, 214 Homet, 113, 134, 136, 137, 139, 226 Houston, 230 H oward, Farmer, see Benjamin, Judah P., 191 I India n Beach, 231 Indian K e y, 20, 230 I ndiana, 174 Iroquois, 226 I vory Coast, 8 J J ackson, Andrew, 130-141, 144-146, 153-157, 183 Jackson, John, 188, 201 Jackson Rachel, 130-141 Jacksonville 216, 230 J amaica, 126, 213 Jefferson County, 170, 176 Jeffery, 60 J errison family, 142 Jesus of Lubeck, 246 Jewel, 230 John and Mabel Ringling Memorial Art Museum, 296 J ohns Pass, 51, 71 J ones, George Noble, 173 K K.anapaha, 227 Kearny, Lieutenant Lawrence, 106, 113 Kentucky, 174 Key Abaco, 32 Key Marco, Key West, 114, 126, 127, 174, 180, 1 83, 197 204, 213, 219, 224, 229, 275, 297 Kingfisher, 207 Kin g, Zibe, 209, 294 Knox, Captain Dudley, 299 Koreshan Unity, 269-274 Krebs, Baron Hugh Ernestus 93-98 L La Cruz River, 38 Lafayette, 172 Lafi tte, 114-115 Lambert, E. B., 299 La Navidad, 41

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Index 307 Lanier, Sidney, 210-211 Leasley, Major John T., 191 Ledwith family, 186 Lee, General Fitzhugh, 216-217 Leg o' Mutton, 189, 196 Leo, 118 Leon County, 170, 176, 186 Le Moyne, 7, 15, 181 Lesley, John, 165 Liberia, 127 Lincoln, Kirk, 285 Lipona, 173 Lisbon, 23 Little Gasparilla, 231 Little Gasparilla Key, 103, 108, 110 Little Hiclcory K e y, 230 Little Spanish Princess, 102-103 Longboat Key, 15, 78, 74, 77, 122, 123, 124, 181, 282 Long Beach, 181 Long, Mrs Ellen, 173 Lopez, Juan, 62 Lossman's River, 235, 294 Louisiana, 187 "Lure of the Manatee," Lillie B. McDuffee, 299 Lykes, Dr. H. T., 209 Lynx, 112 M Macedonian, 113 MacGregor, Sir George, 115-117 Maine, 215 Mallet, Maurice, 221 Manatee, 17, 67-72 76, 78, 80, 114, 115,158,164, Mangrove Coast Indians, 19 Mansota Beach, 282 Manuels, 133, 137, 140 Marchman, Watt, 299 Marco, 230 Marco Key, 17 Margaret Ann, 179, 181, 193, 196 Marine Library, Newport News, 299 Marine Studio, 294 Marshall, John, 185 Martin, Alonso, 78 Martyr, Peter, 34 Mary Disston, 196 Ma.scotte, 215, 227 Mason, Jim, 197 Matagorda, 204 Matteawan, 226 Marjans 14, 17, 85 McCrab, Lieutenant, 200 MacDill Field, 212, 298 McDuffee, Lillie B ., 299 McGill Bay, 71, 75, 17, 84, 85, 87 McGill Island, 70 McKay, Donald, 207-209 M cKay family, 180, 181 McKay, James, 180, 181, 191, 193, 207-209 McKay, Captain James, 218, 220 McLeod, H. A., 193 M c Neil l Archibald, 180, 187 192, 207 Melita, 113 Memphis, 260 Menendez, Pedro, 60, 110 Merenos family, 142 Mexican War, 205 109,209,210,240,242 Miami, 8, 35, 226, 230 Miami Harbor, 229 Miami, S. S., 226 Micanopy, 150-151 Micosukees, 166, 167 Middle Cape, 231 Mil es, General 219, 224, !25 Miller, 226 Miller, Phineas, 97 Miruelo, Diego, 7, 39, 62, 64, 72 Mississippi River, 14, 22, 86, 126, 185, 187 Mississippi Valley, 230 Missouri, 174 M itchell, "Texas Jim," 243-245 Mizell Bone, 294 M obile, 136, .216, 230, 277 Moooco, Chief, 77, 78, 87, 88 M ole of St. Nicholas, 112 Montpelier, 183, 136-137, 140 Moore, Governor, 20 Morm on, 230 Mosquito Coast, 275 Mudge, Lieutenant R. R., 149, 151 Mullet, 69, 231 Mullet Key, 51

PAGE 313

308 Index Murat, Prince Achille, 111-174 Muscogees, 166, 167 Musbkogees, 14 N Naples, 230, 270-211 Narvaez, 51, 58, 63, 64, 11, 78, 91, 131, 237 Natchez, 94 New Orleans, 133, 136, 187, 216, 230 New Poirit Richey, 50 New York, 129, 219, 224 New York "Jownal," 227 New York Public Library, 300 New York "Sun," 227 Nicaragua, 18 Nile River, 237 Nonesuch, 112 North Carolina, 86 Nuttal family, 170, 176 0 Ocala, 81, 87 Oklahoma, 146, 157 Olivera, Governor, 72, 92 Olivette, 214, 215, 217, 226 Orleans, 107, 108 Ortelius, Abraham, 1 Ortiz, Juan, 71-81 Ortubia, Juan, 62 p Palm Beach, 263 Palma Sola, 52, 69, 74 Palma Sola Point, 68, 73 Palmetto; 17, 213 Panama, 25 Panama Bay, 275 Panama Canal Zone, 237 Panther, 99, 101, 230 Parker family, 209 Parkhill family, 170, 173 Pascagoula, 93, 96 Passage Key, 69 Pass-A-Grille, 231 Passe Grille, 216 Patterson, Betsy, 171 Patterson, Commander Daniel T., 107, 108, 112, 185 Pavillion, 280 Peace Creek, 164 Peace River, 109, 124, 209, 210 Peacock, 113 Peacock, Gibson, 210 Pelican, 230 "Peninsular," 201, 202 Pensacola, 54, 114, 115, 126, 130, 133, 135, 136, 187, 140, 141, 143, 171, 280 Perrine, Dr., 20 Peru, 17 Peterson family, 180 Phantom, 196, 197-198 Pheil, Mayor A. C., 298 Philip, 90 Pine, 231 Pineda, Alonso, 64 Pine Island, 46, 47 Pinellas, 51, 52, 276 Pinzon, Alonsa, 62 Pinzon Brothe rs, 31 Pinzon, Vincente, 22 "Piracy in the West Indies," Bradlee, 104 "Pirates' Who's Who," Gosse, 104 Plant, Henry B., 195, 211, 212, 214, 215 Plant family, 214, 215, 227 Plant System, 214, 217, 220 Point Luis Moscoso, 76 Point c:/ Rocks, 119 Ponce de Leon Bay, 24 Porpoise, 280 Porpoise, 113 Port Richey, 9 Port Royale, 113 Port Tampa, 222 Porter, Commander David, 112 Porto Rico, 28, 29, 32, 33, 53, 58 Providence Island, 116 Prudy, 46 Punta Corda, 269 Punta Rassa, 47, 209, 215, 2H/, 278 Pursuit, 207 R Rabbit, 230 Rambler, 196 Rattlesnake, Florida, 246

PAGE 314

Index 309 R ee d family, 186 Reed, Walter, 211 Remington, Frederic, 219 Rhuoma, 216 Riverview, 78 Roberts, Uncle Steve, 233 Rogel, Brother, 89, 90 Roman, Bernard, 94, 95, 108-109 "Romantic and Historic Florida," V e rrill, 110 Roosevelt, Lieutenant Colonel, 222223 Rosa, 197 Rosalie, 207 Rough Riders, 222-223 RubOnia, 77, 83 Ruby, 197 s St. Andrews I sland, 116 St. Armands Key, 122 St. Augustine, 15, 16, 32, 54, 64, 135, 171 St. James Point, 46 St. J ohns River, 34, 246 St. Joseph's, 177 St. Marks, 183 St. Petersburg, 18, 68, 225, 231, 246, 296 Safety Harbor, 78 Sampson, 220 .San Antonio, 222 San Carlos Bay, 46, 47 Sanchez, 211 San Chri.stooal, 30, 40, 41, 44, 47, 49, 51, 52 Sandy Creek Valley, Kentucky, 260 Sanibel, 3, 4, 105, 108, 230, 231 Sanibel Island, 46, 219 Sanibel Key, 3, 9, 188 San Salvador, 22, 31, 228 Sans Peur, 10, 276 Santa M01ia, 31 Sarasota, 6, 19, 46, 125, 196, 228, 276, 277, 295, 296 Sarasota Bay, 14, 15, 72, 73, 92, 119120, 129, 158, 182 228, 231, 278, 281 Schlutz's Hotel, 278 Schoner, Johannes, 7 Schuchert, 18 Scotsll Chief, 208 Seaboard Rnllroad, 212 Sea Cull, 113 Sealey, Reveren d T. T., 164 Seminole, 9, 14, 20, 54, 1661 68, 189, 199, 200, 201, 205, 230, 232-235 "Seminole Indians of Flori da, The," 233 Seminole War, 144-157 Seneca, 226 Shafter, 219, 220, 225 Shark, 113 Shark-Cape Sable country, 232 Shark River, 3, 5, 1 9, 231, 233, 234, 237. 240-241, 276, 281 Shaw Point, 5 1 55, 68-71, 75, 76 Siboney Indians, 15 Sierras family, 142 Siestn Key, 122, 123, 231 Sneed's Island, 18, 70 Snell family, 180, 186 Snell, Simon, 182 Solis, Diaz, 22 South Carolina, 86, 135, 260 Southwest Channel, 69, 70 Southem Life Insuranoe & Trust Company 176 Spain, 293 Spanish-American War, 212, 218-227 Spanishtown Creek, 201 Sparke, John, 246 Sparkman, Congressman, !18 Sprague, 153 Stone, 18 Strangers Club, 229 Strutt, 97 Summerlin, Jake, 207-209 Sutherland, Duke of, 10, 276 Swanton, J ohn R., 70 T Taliafeno, Senator James, 210 Taliafeno, T. C., 210 Tallahassee, 1 691 78 Tallant, 1 7, 18 Tamlami Trail, 167 Tampa, 5, 15, 78, 189, 195, 196,

PAGE 315

810 I ndex 197, 1 99211, 213-224 230 246 296, 297, 299 ' Tampa B a y, 19, 24, 48-51, 55, 6064 68-91, 116, 122, 126, 135 157, 1 82, 184, 1 99, 201-202 209 224, 23 1 ' Tampa Bay Hotel 210 2 14, 219, 224 Tampa Ba y Post Office 201 Tampa Gas W orks, 222 Tampa Sar as ota Tra ns p o rtati on Company, 298 Tampa U niversity, 211 Tampico, 22 Tarpon Sp rings, 5, 276 29 6 Tay1or, Colonel John T., 191 T eed, Dr. Cyrus 266-274 Tegestas, 54 Tenn essee, 8 6 260 T e n Thous and Islands, 129, 230 Tequestas, 14 Terra Ceia, 51, 52, 5 5 71, 75, 77 8 1 87 ;erra. Ceia Isla nd, 18, 19, 63, 70 'Terntory of Florida, The," 183 Texas, 22, 146 Thomas, 153 Thompso n, Gen era l Wil ey, 144 Three Brothers, 214 Tiger Tail 1651 66 ''Times," 2 14, 215, 216, 220 222 224 ' Timuc ans 7, 14-2 0, 51, 54 55, 57, 61, 7 3, 74, 77, 79, 8 0 84-88 Tortug as 85, 21 9 Treasure B eac h, 231 Treasure Island, 231, 234 Tresca, Captain Frederick, 179 1 93 196, 207-209 "Tribune," 215, 221, 224 Turman, Simon, 187, 201 Turman's Landing. 201 Turnbullfamlly,170 178 Ucita, 7 5, 77 Uruon Bank, 186 u Union Bank of Tallahassee 176 177 178 v V a l des, E pifanio, 221 Van B uren, Martin, 153-157 Venice, 92, 277 V enice-No komis, 276 Vera Cruz, 64 Verrill, 110-111 V esp u cci Amerigo, 7, 21-27 53 V ictoria, Queen 198 V illareal, Brother, 89, 90 V ision, 197 w Wade, General Benjamin, 218 Waldseernuller, 21 W all Dr. J oh n T., 211 Wall, J udge, 295 Walto n family, 17 0 Ware family, 186 "Post," 2 2 0 Weedin s I sland, 18 W es l ey, 285-289 West Indi es, 15, 17 Whitaker, Mary W yatt and Bill, 158 -1 59 165 182 Whitefish Bay, 231, 239 Whitney, 220, 226 Whitney Ell, 93, 97, 98 Wild Go ose, 197 William J ohn, 183, 186 Winter Haven, 195 Withlacoochee, 148 Wo od, Colonel, 22 2-223 Wood, General Leonard, 286 Wood W H ., 27 8 -280 Worth, Colonel, 157 Wyatt f am ily 186 Wyoming, 261 y Ybor City, 211 2 13, 218, 22 0 Ybor, Don, 213 Ybor, V. Martinez, 211 Yucatan, 223-224 Yucatan, 14, 18, 22, 229, 230


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