Jackie Robinson, Daytona Beach and Desegregation

City Island Ball Park, Daytona Beach, circa 1940

City Island Ball Park, Daytona Beach, circa 1940

Today is the birthday of Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972).

City Island Ball Park, renamed Jackie Robinson Ball Park in 1990, was built circa 1915. Daytona Beach was the first city in Florida that allowed Robinson to play during spring training in 1946 when he was a member of the Montreal Royals of the International League.

Both Sanford and Jacksonville, citing segregation laws, refused to let Montreal play an exhibition game against the Brooklyn Dodgers, parent club of Robinson’s Royals. Daytona Beach agreed to the game, which was played on March 17, 1946.

As a result of the resistance by Jacksonville, the Dodgers moved spring training to City Island Ball Park, and in 1948 built Dodgertown in Vero Beach. Jackie Robinson Ball Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Osceola (ca. 1804-1838)

On January 30, 1838, the famed Seminole warrior Osceola died at Fort Moultrie in Charleston, South Carolina.

Painting of Osceola by R.J. Curtis (1838)

Painting of Osceola by R.J. Curtis (1838)

Osceola is an Anglicized version of Asi-Yaholo, meaning “black drink speaker” in the Muscogee language. Asi-Yaholo is not actually a name, but a title. In this case it refers to a function performed at the Green Corn Dance. The black drink was a caffeinated beverage made from the leaves of yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) consumed as part of the ritual process associated with the Green Corn Dance. Osceola may also have been known as Tallassee Tustenuggee, a war title attached to his home village. Therefore, we do not know his personal name; we only know titles he earned in connection with the black drink, the Green Corn Dance and the military-political structure of the Muscogee-Creeks.

Another layer of confusion surrounding Osceola’s name and identity is that he was often known as Billy Powell to Anglo-Americans. William Powell was an Indian trader sometimes identified as the father of Osceola, though it appears more likely that Powell married Osceola’s mother after his birth.

Osceola was probably born in Tallassee, a Creek Indian town in eastern Alabama, circa 1804. He came to Florida with his family during the Red Stick War (1813-1814). Osceola rose to prominence among the Florida Seminoles during the tense period leading up to the outbreak of the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). He emerged as one of the most vocal opponents of Indian Removal among the Seminoles in Florida.

On December 28, 1835, Osceola led an attack on Fort King (near modern-day Ocala) which resulted in the assassination of the American Indian Agent Wiley Thompson. Simultaneously, Micanopy and a large band of Seminole warriors ambushed troops under the command of Major Francis Dade south of Fort King on the road to Fort Brooke (later Tampa). These two events, along with the Battle of Withlacoochee on December 31 and raids on sugar plantations in East Florida in early 1836, marked the beginning of the Second Seminole War.

Excerpt from “A Map of the Seat of War in Florida,” by Captain John Mackay and Lieutenant J. Black, U.S. Topographical Engineers (1840)

Excerpt from “A Map of the Seat of War in Florida,” by Captain John Mackay and Lieutenant J. Black, U.S. Topographical Engineers (1840)

In the below letter to Governor Hugh McVay of Alabama, a copy of which resides in the State Library of Florida’s Manuscript Collection, General Thomas Sidney Jesup reported: “One of my detachments under General Hernandez has seized Powell and fifteen other Chiefs and Sub-Chiefs, and ninety eight first rate warriors.”

Letter from General Thomas Sidney Jesup to Governor Hugh McVay (November 7, 1837)

Letter from General Thomas Sidney Jesup to Governor Hugh McVay (November 7, 1837)

Jesup failed to mention the tactics used to apprehend Osceola. In late October 1837, Osceola contacted General Joseph Hernandez, through a black interpreter named John Cavallo (also John Horse), to arrange negotiations about ceasing hostilities. Jesup responded by ordering Hernandez to seize Osceola and his party should he have the chance.

Osceola’s camp, located one mile south of Fort Peyton, raised a white flag of truce in order to signal their desire to negotiate. When Hernandez and his entourage reached the camp, they promptly seized Osceola and the warriors, women and children present. Osceola and his band were brought to St. Augustine and imprisoned at Fort Marion (Castillo de San Marcos).

Remarkably, on November 30, Coacoochee (Wildcat) and 19 other Seminoles escaped Fort Marion; Osceola was not among them. Coacoochee’s escape prompted Jesup to transfer the most important Seminole captives out of the area. In late December 1837, Osceola, Micanopy, Philip and about 200 Seminoles embarked from St. Augustine for Fort Moultrie in Charleston.

Osceola, who previously contracted malaria in Florida, became severely ill soon after arriving at Fort Moultrie. During his brief incarceration in South Carolina, Osceola sat for a portrait by George Catlin just days before his death on January 30.

Portrait of Osceola by George S. Catlin (1838)

Portrait of Osceola by George S. Catlin (1838)

Osceola was buried on the grounds of Fort Moultrie. The epitaph on his tombstone reads: “Oceola/ Patriot and Warrior/ Died at Fort Moultrie/ January 30, 1838.”

Thomas Sidney Jesup and the Second Seminole War (Part Five)

General Thomas Sidney Jesup commanded military operations against the Seminoles in Florida during the early stages of the conflict now known as the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). The Second Seminole War was the longest and costliest Indian War in American history. Jesup’s field diary, available on Florida Memory, contains his perspective on the war from October 1, 1836, to May 30, 1837. This series of blog posts places significant entries from the Jesup diary in the context of the Seminole Wars and the history of Anglo-American Indian-African relations in the American South. Below is the fifth post in the series.

“…several hundred head of cattle and a few ponies were taken to day.”

“…several hundred head of cattle and a few ponies were taken to day.”

Florida Indians herded cattle long before the outbreak of the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). Indian (and African) cowboys tended Spanish livestock as early as the 17th century. After the destruction of Spanish Missions in northern Florida by the Creeks and white settlers from Carolina (1702-1704), Muscogee-speaking Indians migrated south into the vacant lands.

By the late 18th century, these Muscogee-speaking migrants came to be known as Seminoles. The largest of the Seminole settlements was Cuscowilla, located on the Alachua Prairie near modern day Micanopy, Florida. The naturalist William Bartram, who came to Florida in the mid-1770s, wrote that the Seminoles worked thousands of cattle on the Alachua Prairie. They sold hundreds of animals yearly to the Spanish and the British. The leader of the Alachua Seminoles during Bartram’s time was appropriately known to the British as the “Cowkeeper.”

After Florida became a territory of the United States in 1821, Seminoles increasingly came into conflict with white settlers over land, cattle and runaway slaves. The ill-defined boundaries between Seminole and American lands resulted in numerous instances of violence along the frontier. Whites stole Seminole cattle, and vice versa. The issue of slavery compounded the problem, as plantation owners often ventured into the Seminole Country in search of runaway slaves.

The Second Seminole War began after a series of coordinated attacks by Seminoles and their African allies in late 1835 and early 1836. The swiftness of these offensives caught the Americans off guard and required a significant change in strategy on the part of the U.S. Army. Jesup arrived in Florida to implement this plan, which included building a network of forts and supply depots and conducting raids into the heart of Seminole territory.

Seizing cattle and burning crops formed the basis of undercutting the Seminoles’ ability to sustain their war effort. In this entry, Jesup reports the capture of “several hundred” head of Seminole cattle near the Withlacoochee River. Jesup regularly reported that his men rounded up hundreds of animals (cattle and horses) at a time. Nearly every week of the diary includes references to the depletion of Seminole herds.

Excerpt from "A Map of the Seat of War in Florida," by Captain John Mackay and Lieutenant J. Blake, U.S. Topographical Engineers (1839)

Excerpt from “A Map of the Seat of War in Florida,” by Captain John Mackay and Lieutenant J. Blake, U.S. Topographical Engineers (1839)

During negotiations with Jesup, Seminole leaders insisted that they be allowed to drive their animals west as a condition of their agreement to emigrate. Jesup refused and instead offered compensation for livestock left behind in Florida (see Jesup diary, March 5-6, 1837). Through the efforts of the U.S. Army, Seminole cattle were reduced to near zero by the end of the Seminole Wars in 1858. Federal Indian agents in the early 20th century counted only a handful of oxen owned by Seminole camps.

It was not until federal programs in the 1930s and 1940s that cattle again became a mainstay of Seminole life. Today, the Seminole Tribe is one of the largest cattle owners in the state of Florida.

Florida and the Civil War (January 1863)

Florida’s Most Famous General Never Fought in Florida

On January 14, 1863, the Confederate War Department assigned Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith command of Confederate forces in Texas and the area of Louisiana west of the Mississippi River. Within a month, Confederate president Jefferson Davis expanded Kirby’s command to include all of the territory within the Department of the Trans-Mississippi: Arkansas, Missouri, West Louisiana, Texas, the Indian Territory (today’s Oklahoma), and the Arizona Territory. For the next two-and-a-half years, Smith directed Confederate military, administrative, and economic affairs in the Trans-Mississippi, which had to become self-sufficient after the fall of Vicksburg in July 1863 cut off Smith’s command from the rest of the Confederacy. Smith’s position as commander of the Trans-Mississippi or “Kirby Smithdom” as the area became known, made him one of the most important and powerful Confederate generals of the Civil War; however, his name is relatively unknown today compared to the pantheon of generals in gray that includes such names as Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, P. G. T. Beauregard, and Joseph E. Johnston. Smith’s responsibilities in the West and his earlier exploits during the war make him the most significant of Florida’s Civil War generals.

Confederate General Kirby Smith, between 1861 and 1865

Confederate General Kirby Smith, between 1861 and 1865

Edmund Kirby Smith was born in St. Augustine, Florida, on May 16, 1824. Smith’s father, Joseph Lee Smith, served as a federal judge in the newly acquired U.S. territory. He installed his family in the Segui House on Aviles Street in St. Augustine, renting the house from the descendants of Bernardo Segui. Due to General Smith’s fame from the Civil War, the house is now known as the Segui-Smith House and contains St. Augustine’s historical library. Edmund left St. Augustine in 1836 to attend Benjamin Hollowell’s school in Alexandria, Virginia, in preparation for an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He obtained the appointment and attended West Point from 1841-1845. Upon graduation, Edmund entered the Fifth Infantry Regiment as a second lieutenant and was serving in that unit when the United States went to war against Mexico. Edmund was part of the victorious army that captured Mexico City and participated in the celebrations that followed Mexico’s surrender in February 1848. Unfortunately, Edmund’s brother, Captain Ephraim Kirby Smith, did not survive the war; he was killed leading his men during the Battle of Chapultepec on September 8, 1847. In order to distinguish himself from his brother, Edmund went by his middle name “Kirby” and signed all of his future correspondence as “E. Kirby Smith,” the name that he came to be known by during the Civil War.

Segui-Smith House, home of the St. Augustine Historical Society library

Segui-Smith House, home of the St. Augustine Historical Society library

Kirby Smith was stationed with the Second U.S. Cavalry Regiment in West Texas in February 1861, when Texas joined six other Southern states to form the Confederate States of America. After returning to Florida for a brief visit, the Confederate Army assigned the now Lieutenant-Colonel Smith to Virginia, where he served under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston. By the time of the Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861, Smith commanded a brigade as a brigadier general and rushed to support General Stonewall Jackson’s men at the height of the battle. Smith’s brigade helped counter the Union attack and enabled the Confederates to turn a likely defeat into victory. Wounded during the fighting, Smith was reported as killed in action. His family began to mourn his death before receiving news that he had survived and was recovering in Lynchburg, Virginia.

After his recovery, the Confederate War Department assigned Smith to take command of forces in all of Florida east of Pensacola. Before he could begin his move, however, the department decided he could be of more use if he remained in Virginia. Smith stayed in Virginia until March 1862, when he was reassigned to command the Department of East Tennessee. Centered at Knoxville, the Department of East Tennessee became the right-wing of the Confederate invasion of Kentucky in September 1862. Although the invasion achieved some early success, poor coordination between Smith’s army and Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee failed to defeat the larger Union armies that contested the invasion. By October 24, Smith was back in Knoxville, where his disillusionment with the war almost led him to resign his command. It was during this time that Smith received news of his promotion to lieutenant general. Within two months, Jefferson Davis, upon the recommendation of Robert E. Lee, decided Smith was the general he needed to take command of Confederate forces in the West. Smith took up his appointment as commander of the Trans-Mississippi on February 9, 1863.

The headquarters for his new department was located in Alexandria, Louisiana. With forces that never exceeded about 70,000 men, Smith was entrusted with the defense of the entire Trans-Mississippi. He was also expected to relieve the Union threat to Vicksburg by conducting offensive operations along the Mississippi River. Smith directed his forces to invade Missouri and attack Union strongholds in Arkansas, but these efforts failed to dislodge the Federals or save Vicksburg, which surrendered to the Union on July 4, 1863. Vicksburg’s fall forced the Trans-Mississippi to rely on its own resources. Smith devoted much of his time addressing the department’s economic and administrative problems. Jefferson Davis gave him full authority to govern the region as he saw fit. Due to his efforts and the incompetence of Union general Nathaniel P. Banks, Smith’s forces were able to turn back a Union invasion of East Texas in 1864. By 1865, however, large scale desertions brought on by the increasing likelihood that the Confederacy would lose the war, depleted resources, and ongoing Indian raids severely weakened Smith’s department. Although he would be the last Confederate commander to surrender to the Union (June 2, 1865), the Confederate hold on the Trans-Mississippi became increasingly untenable in the last months of the war. There was little Smith could do to resist the inevitable defeat.

Statue of General Kirby Smith, located at the National Statuary Hall Collection, Washington, D.C.

Statue of General Kirby Smith, located at the National Statuary Hall Collection, Washington, D.C.

Kirby Smith outlived all the other top-ranked Confederate generals. After a post-war career as a businessman and educator (president of the University of Nashville and professor of mathematics at the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee), Smith died at Sewanee on March 28, 1893. Although he is buried in Tennessee, Smith’s native state did not forget him. In 1922, a bronze statue of Smith was placed in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol, where it stood along with the marble statue of inventor John Gorrie as Florida’s contribution to the Hall. Kirby Smith’s statue remains in the Capitol to this day.

Seminole County’s 100th

2013 marks the 100 year anniversary of the founding of Seminole County. On April 25, 1913, Seminole County was carved out of Orange County. Enjoy a few of our favorite images of Seminole County’s people, places and events.

Drawing of Fort Mellon on Lake Monroe (ca. 1837)

Drawing of Fort Mellon on Lake Monroe (ca. 1837)

Altamonte Hotel, Altamonte Springs (1880s)

Altamonte Hotel, Altamonte Springs (1880s)

Sanford Waterfront (1882)

Sanford Waterfront (1882)

Waiting for the train, Altamonte Springs (ca. 1885)

Waiting for the train, Altamonte Springs (ca. 1885)

Hotel Sanford (1886)

Hotel Sanford (1886)

Steamboats on Lake Monroe (ca. 1886)

Steamboats on Lake Monroe (ca. 1886)

Cassava seedbeds, Lake Mary (early 1900s)

Cassava seedbeds, Lake Mary (early 1900s)

Main Street in Oviedo (ca. 1900)

Main Street in Oviedo (ca. 1900)

Sanford telephone exchange (1910s)

Sanford telephone exchange (1910s)

Automobile transported by ferry on Lake Monroe (February 14, 1912)

Automobile transported by ferry on Lake Monroe (February 14, 1912)

Sanford Machine and Garage Company (1917)

Sanford Machine and Garage Company (1917)

The Senator, near Longwood (1920s)

The Senator, near Longwood (1920s)

Jewish women’s club outside the Celery City Tea Room in Sanford (1933)

Jewish women’s club outside the Celery City Tea Room in Sanford (1933)

Dedication of Lake Monroe Bridge (April 6, 1934)

Dedication of Lake Monroe Bridge (April 6, 1934)

Celery harvest near Sanford (1937)

Seminole County Courthouse (1940s)

Seminole County Courthouse (1940s)

Sanlando Springs (1946)

Sanlando Springs (1946)

Band shell on Lake Monroe (1949)

Band shell on Lake Monroe (1949)

Members of the New York Giants and the Sanford girls team warming up (April 1950)

Members of the New York Giants and the Sanford girls team warming up (April 1950)

Beulah Conley operating a toroid coil winding machine in Casselberry (January 1958)

Beulah Conley operating a toroid coil winding machine in Casselberry (January 1958)

Larry Aubrey on the St. Johns River near Sanford (February 1960)

Larry Aubrey on the St. Johns River near Sanford (February 1960)

Barbara Muller of Lake Mary performing at the Florida Folk Festival (1976)

Barbara Muller of Lake Mary performing at the Florida Folk Festival (1976)

Tampa in the 1890s

Tampa Bay Hotel (1898)

Tampa Bay Hotel (1898)

Artillery camp (1898)

Artillery camp (1898)

Looking east on Franklin Street (1898)

Looking east on Franklin Street (1898)

Trolley car “The Seminole” (1892)

Trolley car “The Seminole” (1892)

Seidenberg cigar factory payroll office (1894)

Seidenberg cigar factory payroll office (1894)

3rd U.S. Cavalry at Drill (1898)

3rd U.S. Cavalry at Drill (1898)

Haya home at 605 Magnolia Avenue, Hyde Park (1895)

Haya home at 605 Magnolia Avenue, Hyde Park (1895)

Clara Barton and Red Cross colleagues having a picnic (1898)

Clara Barton and Red Cross colleagues having a picnic (1898)

Cuban volunteers in the barracks (1898)

Cuban volunteers in the barracks (1898)

Theodore Roosevelt and other high ranking officials of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment (1898)

Theodore Roosevelt and other high ranking officials of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment (1898)

First Train to Key West (January 22, 1912)

On this date in 1912 the first passenger train arrived in Key West, marking the completion of Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railroad from Jacksonville to the Southernmost City.

Detail from Rand McNally’s 1912 map of Florida showing Flagler’s East Coast Railroad through southeastern Florida and the Florida Keys

Detail from Rand McNally’s 1912 map of Florida showing Flagler’s East Coast Railroad through southeastern Florida and the Florida Keys

Awaiting the train…

Awaiting the train…

Greeting the train…

Greeting the train…

Henry M. Flagler disembarking the first passenger train to Key West

Henry M. Flagler disembarking the first passenger train to Key West

Parade celebrating the arrival of the East Coast Railroad in Key West

Parade celebrating the arrival of the East Coast Railroad in Key West

Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed each year on the third Monday of January, near Dr. King’s birthday (January 15, 1929).

Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King Jr. in Saint Augustine, Florida (1964)

Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King Jr. in Saint Augustine, Florida (1964)

Dr. King led and participated in countless demonstrations during the Civil Rights Movement. Two films from the collections of the State Library and Archives of Florida contain footage of Dr. King from demonstrations in St. Augustine, Florida, and Selma, Alabama.

 

William Augustus Bowles (January 16, 1792)

On this date in 1792, William Augustus Bowles and his band of followers seized control of the Panton, Leslie & Company trading post on the Wakulla River.

William Augustus Bowles (ca. 1795)

William Augustus Bowles (ca. 1795)

William Augustus Bowles arrived in Florida as a British soldier during the Revolutionary War. He defected from Pensacola in about 1778 and sought refuge in the Creek Indian country. During his time among the Creeks, Bowles apparently married Mary Perryman, a daughter of Lower Creek headman William Perryman. Bowles used this union as the basis for his claim to exert political influence among the Creeks, later proclaiming himself “Director General of the Muskogee Nation.”

In 1783, Bowles left North America for the Bahamas. There, he solicited support for a plan to challenge the Indian trade monopoly exercised by Panton, Leslie & Company in Spanish Florida.

Detail from the Forbes Purchase Map (1817) showing the confluence of the St. Marks and Wakulla Rivers

Detail from the Forbes Purchase Map (1817) showing the confluence of the St. Marks and Wakulla Rivers

In January 1792, Bowles and his adherents—made up of disaffected whites, runaway slaves and a few Seminoles—attacked the Panton, Leslie & Company trading post on the Wakulla River. Bowles briefly seized the store, shown on the map above as “Old Store,” located about four miles upriver from Fuerte San Marcos de Apalache, before walking into a trap set by the Spanish. The Spanish first sent Bowles to Cuba, and later imprisoned him in the Philippines. Little did the Spanish know it would not be the last time they would encounter William Augustus Bowles.

Eight years later, having escaped from the Philippines, Bowles again launched a plan against the Spanish and Panton, Leslie & Company, this time striking at Fuerte San Marcos de Apalache. In early 1800, he took control of the fort for several weeks before being ousted by Spanish reinforcements from Pensacola. Bowles evaded capture by Spanish authorities until 1802. In 1805, he died at Castillo Morro in Havana, Cuba.