The Koreshan Unity Collection: A Final Look Back (Part 11)

In December 2011, we began a 15-month journey with the Koreshan Unity, a journey that carried vestiges of New York State’s mid-19th century “burned-over district” west to the bustling streets of late 19th century Chicago, and then south to the untamed frontier of southwest Florida at the turn of the 20th century.

The journey was guided by an extensive collection of archival records created and maintained by the Koreshan Unity for over a century; personal letters and journals, religious writings, legal and financial records, publications, and many thousands of photographs documenting the Unity’s founding and founders, their beliefs, and their dream to establish a New Jerusalem against seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Koreshan Deed, 1895

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Moore’s Letter on the Destruction of Apalachee (April 16, 1704)

Between 1702 and 1709, English colonists from Carolina and their Creek Indian allies destroyed numerous Spanish and Native American settlements in La Florida.

Excerpt from “Carte de la Floride et de la Georgie,” by P.F. Tardieu (ca. 1785)

Excerpt from “Carte de la Floride et de la Georgie,” by P.F. Tardieu (ca. 1785)

In early 1704, Colonel James Moore led raids deep into the heart of the Apalachee province. A letter from Moore to the Lord Proprietors, dated April 16, 1704, described the outcome:

“…I raised 50 whites, all the Government thought fit to spare out of the settlement at that time; with them 1000 Indians, which by my own interest I raised to follow me, I went to Apalatchee. The first place I came to was the strongest Fort in Apalatchee, which after nine hours I took…In this expedition I brought away 300 men, and 1000 women and children, have killed, and taken as slaves 325 men, and have taken slaves 4000 women and children…All which I have done with the loss of 4 whites and 15 Indians, and without one penny charge to the publick.”

Transcription of the original by Dr. Mark F. Boyd; a copy of Dr. Boyd’s transcription and associated documents are available at the State Archives of Florida in M86-40, Papers of Mark Frederick Boyd, 1912-1968, box 3, folder “San Luis.”

Ethnohistorian John Hann analyzed several inconsistencies in the remaining versions of Moore’s account and concluded that we cannot be certain about which settlements were razed, the number captives taken, or the causalities suffered by the Apalachee. Regardless of the exact facts and figures, historians agree that Moore’s raids had disastrous consequences for the Apalachee. As a result of the English and Creek expeditions, the vast majority of the Apalachee were expelled from their homeland. Many were sold into slavery, or absorbed by the Creeks. Some refugees fled to Louisiana, where their descendants remain today. A small number reached St. Augustine and accompanied the Spanish to Cuba in 1763, never to return to Florida again.

For further reading, see Mark F. Boyd and Hale G. Smith, Here They Once Stood: The Tragic End of the Apalachee Missions (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1951); Allan Gallay, The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003); John H. Hann, Apalachee: The Land between the Rivers (Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1988).

National Library Week (April 14-20, 2013)

It’s National Library Week! Dorothy Dodd served as State Librarian from 1952 until 1965. She was also Florida’s first State Archivist.

Throughout her tenure at the State Library of Florida, Dr. Dodd actively preserved valuable Florida records and documents. With her foresight and knowledge of the state and its history, she built a collection of outstanding scope and depth. She is credited with assembling more than 15,000 cataloged items in the Florida Collection of the State Library of Florida.

Dr. Dorothy Dodd and student flattening documents (1953)

Dr. Dorothy Dodd and student flattening documents (1953)

Although there was no money for the archives, she managed to rescue from destruction and organize 260 linear feet of territorial and state records and manuscript collections.

These records included negatives from a Tallahassee photographer’s attic and original reports of Florida’s role in the state and federal vote-fraud investigations surrounding the contested 1876 Hayes-Tilden presidential election.

Dorothy Dodd long jumping during field day in Tallahassee, Florida (1920)

Dorothy Dodd long jumping during field day in Tallahassee, Florida (1920)

Nominated by former Governor LeRoy Collins, she was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

Pánfilo de Narváez

On April 14 or 15, 1528, Spanish explorer Pánfilo de Narváez landed near Tampa Bay.

Occidentalis Americ Partis, published by Theodor de Bry, ca. 1591

Occidentalis Americ Partis, published by Theodor de Bry, ca. 1591

His expedition split into two groups. One stayed with the ships and hugged the coast, the other traveled inland towards modern-day Tallahassee. The men at sea failed to reestablish contact with those inland and were presumed lost.

Pánfilo de Narváez

Pánfilo de Narváez

Battered by hurricanes and attacked by local Timucua and Apalachee Indians, Narváez’s men built boats, possibly near the St. Marks River, and attempted to flee Florida. After eight years, only four survivors made in back to Mexico. One of the survivors, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, wrote an account of his experience titled Naufragios y Comentarios.

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

Moonshine Madness

Bootleggers, moonshiners, and rum runners rejoiced when Prohibition banned the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Florida’s long and undulating coastline provided an open door for illicit booze from the Caribbean, and the state’s extensive forests, swamps, scrub, hammocks, and bayous provided ample cover for stills. In 1926, Charlotte County in southwest Florida gained recognition for the biggest haul of contraband liquor on record.

Police testing moonshine after a raid, Immokalee, 1950s

Police testing moonshine after a raid, Immokalee, 1950s

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Viva Florida Week

Join in the VIVA Florida 500 commemoration, April 4-6, 2013, at the R.A. Gray Building in downtown Tallahassee.

Map of Saint Augustine by Baptista Boazio, 1589

Go behind the scenes at the Bureau of Archaeological Research Conservation Lab, view three rarely displayed documents from the State Archives, and take a guided tour of the Museum of Florida History’s new permanent exhibit Forever Changed: La Florida, 1513-1821.

Conservation Lab
10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.

Museum of Florida History
11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.

The R. A. Gray Building is located two blocks west of the Capitol Building on Bronough Street, between the Civic Center and the Supreme Court of Florida: 500 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, 850.245.4400.