The Everglades in the Time of Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Seminoles hunting alligators

Seminoles hunting alligators

Image Number: PC1302

The first documented peoples in the Everglades were the Calusa and related cultures.

Decimated by disease, they were followed by the Florida Seminoles, who settled into South Florida during the Second and Third Seminole Wars.

While most of the Seminoles were relocated to the West by the Federal government in the mid-1800s, many stayed behind to make their home in the Everglades and along the Tamiami Trail.

Black Seminole in the Everglades (1952)

Black Seminole in the Everglades (1952)

Image Number: C017188

Originally comprised of escaped slaves who ran to the Seminoles peoples, the Black Seminoles resided both in the Everglades as well as in the Indian territories in Texas and Oklahoma.

Farmer and mule grinding cane (1916?)

Farmer and mule grinding cane (1916?)

Image Number: SM0370

Yeomen farmers, often referred to as "crackers", settled in and near the Everglades in the late 1800s.

Harvesting palm for "swamp cabbage" (1950s)

Harvesting palm for "swamp cabbage" (1950s)

Image Number: PR12568

Many of the native plants and animals provided food for people living near the Everglades.

Pictured is Everglades trail guide and long-time native George Espenlaub harvesting the heart of the sabal palm (swamp cabbage).

Family from the Everglades (ca. 1929)

Family from the Everglades (ca. 1929)

Image Number: SM2424

Although there had been tourism and development there since the early 1900s, most of the Everglades was considered waste land because of its mosquitoes, lack of timber, and the perception that wetlands were "useless."

Most who lived there were poor farmers and laborers.

Glen Simmons on his glade skiff (1980s)

Glen Simmons on his glade skiff (1980s)

Image Number: FA2056

Simmons represents the continued cultural traditions of the Everglades that date back to the 1800s.

For more on Simmons as well as the Florida Folklife Program which has preserved many of these traditions, see the Florida Folklife Collection.