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seminolewar


Mrs. Montgomery and Bloody Alachua

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One of the bloodiest places in Florida during the 2nd Seminole War was in Alachuca County. I discovered this about ten years ago while researching all the battles and casualties in the war.

And to zero it in closer, the road between Micanopy and Wacahoota had more killings and deaths than anywhere else. Unless you count the number killed in one day at Dade Battlefield. But that was just one day—this place continued throughout the war with skirmishes and killings. The first and last soldiers killed during the war died within a few miles of here. From the Battle of Black Point on December 18th, 1835, until the last soldier shot by and Indian in May of 1842.

Unfortunately this was all forgotten in recent years. When Yulee built the railroad in the 1850s, the bloody road was bypassed and forgotten. Where the road once ran is now on private land.

If I ever write another book on the history of the Seminole War, it will be about the war in Alachuca. I have researched countless journals and newspapers about events that happened here.

And one of the battles that intrigued me the most was the battle of Martin's Point on December 28, 1840. In 1997 we did a wreath laying ceremony in Micanopy in commemoration of this battle. In the battle, the wife of Lt. Alexander Montgomery is killed, which created uproar in all the newspapers of the brutality of the war. But one thing that has eluded me throughout the whole research has been the first name of Mrs. Montgomery.

So I was doing some research in the library at FGCU the other day, and was catching up with the past issues of the FHQ, which I have not paid attention too in the last few years. In the winter 2004 issue, Vol. 82/issue 3, is the journal of Lt. James W. Anderson, who was with the 7th Infantry.

The article gives Mrs. Montgomery’s full name as Mrs. Elizabeth Fanny Taylor Montgomery. From my previous research of census records, I knew she was daughter of the owner of a mercantile / trading store in Cincinnati. She had been married only three months when she was killed. Now I finally know her full name.

Lt. Anderson goes on to say that he blames the tragedy of her death to Lt. Sherwood’s "want of experience."

A few months later, an expedition under Col. Worth raided a Seminole camp near what is now Lake DeLancy in the Ocala Nat'l Forest, and discovered the cloak of Mrs. Montgomery and the greatcoat of Lt. Sherwood in the camp.

This was the part of the war where the warriors on both sides were killing without mercy. Lt. Anderson said that if he was Lt. Montgomery, he would go down to Tampa bay where the Seminoles were waiting for deportation, and kill them all. (I won't go into the details, but it was along the lines of Capt. Rains' exploding booby traps.) But by this time, this is what the war had become.
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