Osceola Powell Genealogy

Image: Osceola portrait by Samuel Waldo and William Jewett, 1851. I have an original print that I got off of eBay twenty years ago when eBay was legit.

In the past few years, people approach me with claims that they are related to Osceola, also known as Billy Powell (Jr.) because their last name is Powell. I have heard this claim from a lot of people over 40 years.

Several have wanted me to help with genealogy to prove that they are related to Osceola so they can join the Seminole Tribe of Florida. It doesn’t work like that. The Seminole Tribe is not accepting new members, and you now have to have fifty percent blood quantum. So there is no chance of that.

So, what about someone with the name of Powell claiming to be related to Osceola? Well, there are problems with that.

To begin with, all our southeastern tribes are matrilineal, and the family is traced through the mother. Any inheritance and lineage is always through the women. So, you would have to show lineage through Osceola’s sisters from his mother, Polly Coppinger, to be related. And I have met people who are descended from the sisters.
Second, it is not clear that Osceola’s biological father was William Powell (Sr.). Osceola himself denied it. But other people who were contemporaries said he was. I doubt that we will ever know for sure.

The genealogy has never been clear. There is no clear record where William Powell (Sr.) came from in the Powell family. We don’t know where and when he was born, and where and when he died. It is not clear who his parents were. He had three or four wives and an unknown number of children.

Pat Wickman does a good job trying to figure out the genealogy in the book, “Osceola’s Legacy.” The revised edition from 2006 has much more information than the original book from 1991.

The Powell family is very large and extensive. They are all over the southeast, in Virginia, North and South Carolina originally. There is not one Powell who is the first Powell that every Powell descended from. There are several Scottish, English, and Welsh Powells who came over to the western hemisphere at different times in the 17th and 18th centuries. I found the same name among a doctor, Methodist minister, and congressman who lived the same time as Osceola.

Image: Osceola by Captain John Rogers Vinton.

There is also the Powell genealogy book, “History of the Powell Families of Virginia and the South” by Reverend Silas Emmett Lucas, Jr., 1969. Lucas does a good job and traces the genealogy of nine different Powell families, and a few unconnected miscellaneous ones.
Nowhere in Lucas’ book does he definitively identify William Powell (Sr.), the supposed father of Osceola or Billy Powell. Although, he gives a couple thoughts.

One branch of the family settled in Isle of Wright County, Virginia is descended from James Powell. A William Powell is in the family line, and is suspected to be the William Powell who married the mother of Osceola. But Rev. Lucas says, “It is in this line, due to inadequate records available to the editor and also unproven assumptions by people doing Powell research, that considerable confusion has arisen concerning the posterity of this James Powell.” (Lucas, page 220.) So there are no clear records with this William Powell. But Pat Wickman thought that this was where William came from, even with Rev. Lucas’s doubts. Both Lucas and Wickman have different birth years for William Powell that are 10 to 13 years apart.

Unlike Wickman, Lucas suspects that William Powell is from the John Powell family of Robeson County, North Carolina. In this family, is John Powell, who married Sallie Marie, “daughter of a Seminole Indian Chief in Florida” who were parents of Osceola.

There is an obvious problem right there, that several people ignore, is that they are not William Powell and Polly Coppinger, the names of the parents of Osceola given by Osceola’s contemporaries. They are either William and Polly, or they ain’t! John would not be called William. Polly would not be called Sallie. It is simple as that. They are two completely different names. So how can they be the same people? I saw someone try to correct that by changing the name of Osceola’s supposed father to John William Powell. But it appears that they were just making that up with no documentation and no evidence that it was John William. That is just fraudulent research by adding the name.

But a family member of the John Powell of Robeson County line was so convinced of the relationship to Osceola, that he named a son born in 1879 as Osceola Powell. (1879-1884)
Just being named Osceola doesn’t automatically mean that they are related. Major Dade’s relatives named a family member born in 1869 as Osceola Dade. He is buried in Missouri. Several years back, I also talked to someone from the Crockett descendants, who had an Osceola Crockett in their family, born about 1851. None of them were actually related to Osceola. They are giving their kids the celebrity name of the time, which happened to be Osceola.

Osceola by Surgeon Ellis Hughes during the 2nd Seminole War.

Then there are other William Powells thrown into the mix. There is the Creek chief and war leader from Georgia in 1813-1814, a William Powell called Ussa Yaholo. He is not Osceola. I found mention of a ferry operator in 1818 listed as William Powell in southern Alabama. There is also a William Powell buried at Fort Gibson National Cemetery which I found when I first visited in 1997. That William Powell was the post sutler at Fort Arbuckle in Oklahoma, and died in 1869 or 1870. A year after he died, Fort Arbuckle was abandoned, and the cemetery burials were moved to Fort Gibson’s cemetery.

As far as Lewis Thornton Powell, one of the Lincoln assassination conspirators who was hanged that I mentioned on my last blog, he is not related to William Powell & Osceola. Lewis’ father, George Cader Powell, and mother, Caroline Miranda Powell (they were 4th cousins to each other) are descended from from another Powell family of John Powell in Norfolk County, Virginia. I already have genealogy information on this branch of the Powell family, because I had a direct ancestor who married into them in Fort Myers, Florida.

I think that the damming evidence is given by Rev. Lucas himself, when he said about the John Powell / Robeson County family, that, “this relationship to Osceola has been passed down to all branches of the family.” (page 460.) In other words, everyone in the family believed they were related to Osceola, by hearsay and no evidence, even though there were many unrelated Powell branches. The only thing common was that they had Powell for their last name.

So just because someone has the last name of Powell, is no evidence that they are related to Osceola. There is no evidence, no documentation. Only hearsay.

The end result is that several people have created many confusing family trees on Ancestry (dot) com that show they are related to Osceola, with no evidence or documentation. They have just made up the connections and it is a mess. Some get absurd, like William Powell having anywhere from 40 children. This makes it totally impossible to create a genealogy tree for Osceola with several erroneous trees floating around several websites.

And I know someone will mention it, but what about DNA? The answer is simple. There is no available DNA on Osceola. Where are you going to get the DNA, anyway? The Seminole Tribe of Florida will not allow this to be done, and will refuse to release any DNA records.

The Skull of Lewis Powell

We all know the story of Osceola’s head stolen from his body by Dr. Frederick Weedon. It eventually was passed on to Weedon’s son-in-law who was also a doctor, and it supposedly burned up in a fire in 1866. That is the short version of the story.

The other week, a person made a claim to me that Osceola’s head was mistaken for the head of Lewis Thornton Powell, which was buried about twenty years ago in Geneva, Florida. This person said that the heads were similar and that they were related, so it was easy to mix them up from the Smithsonian. I will explain why this cannot be true. The skull has been investigated using modern forensic science.

This was an interesting claim to me. Because, I also happen to have genealogy information about Lewis Powell since his niece married one of my ancestors in Fort Myers, Florida.

Lewis Powell was hanged in 1865 at the age of 21 for being a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination plot, and his attempt to assassinate Secretary of State William Seward. Powell and his co-conspirators were buried and reinterred at least twice in the next four years.

During one of the times Powell was dug up, his head was not reburied, but kept by the Army Medical Museum. It was later sent to the Smithsonian, where it ended up among the many Native American remains there. Powell’s head was rediscovered in the 1990s when Native American remains were being repatriated to different tribes.

True, the head of Lewis Thornton Powell was found in the Smithsonian’s collection of Native American remains. But the skull was positively identified as belonging to Lewis Powell.

Once positive identification was made of the skull, it was reburied in a cemetery in Geneva, Florida, next to Lewis’ mother, Caroline Powell.

A more detailed description of the forensic investigation can be found on this website, which I have shown a few photos from below:


On the front of Lewis Powell’s skull is the catalog number from the U.S. Army Medical museum, 2244.

Front view of skull with catalog number.

On the side is written, “white U.S.,” which indicates that he is a white person from the United States, not a Native American.

Side view of skull with indication of the race and origin.

It was typical to label the skull in this manner. The phrenology collection of skulls by Dr. Samuel Morton in Philadelphia (which numbered about 8000 skulls) from the 19th century had similar catalog numbers engraved on them with also the race and where they came from mentioned in Dr. Morton’s catalog.

Lewis Powell was kicked by a mule when he was a teenager, which broke his jaw. He has a peculiar jawline which is not symmetrical because of this accident. This is plainly evident on the skull. Using well known modern forensic techniques, the photographs of Powell was lined up with the skull. They lined up precisely. (Below.)

How do we know for certain that this same skull is not Osceola? Because we also have a cast of Osceola’s head. Not a photograph, but a death mask. When Osceola died, a plaster cast was made of his head, as well as his hands and his upper torso. Several copies of these casts were made. You can easily find these on the internet if you want. I am not going to post a photo of them here because some of my Seminole friends find it offensive.

Comparing the image of the skull with death mask of Osceola, shows that they had an entirely different jaw line. Lewis Powell had a square, asymmetrical jaw. Osceola has a narrow, thin jaw. There was also a feature on Osceola’s head described by Dr. Weedon’s grand-daughter, that I have been told about, that is not present on the skull of Lewis Powell.

Lewis Powell and Osceola do not have similar facial anatomy. The skull has been proven to be Lewis Powell using modern forensic science that has been used many times to discover the identity of skeletal remains.

As far as Lewis Powell and Osceola being possibly related, there is no proven connection shown. I will discuss this in another blog.

Fort King Post Returns Part 3, 1840-1843

This is the third and final set of the post returns of Fort King. I have more information in my book, “Alachua Ambush” of the events in 1840 and 1841, especially about Captain Rains and the battle near Fort King.

I would like to inform anyone that this blog is copywritten material and cannot be copied and reproduced without my permission. I have seen some of my other work show up on websites and in books. I recognize the material when I see it, and know when the authors did not have my permission. Especially when they do not give sources. That is theft and takes away from my years spent in time, research, and the books that I have written. I have grounds to take legal action if I feel it is necessary. Thank you.

Below: Post Return from April 1840.

Fort King Post Returns part 3

January 1840
The companies switch with Fort Micanopy, and Co. A, 7th Infantry with Capt. Gabriel J. Rains assumes command of Fort King. 47 men at the post. Surgeon S.P. Moore remains as surgeon at the post.

February 1840
44 men at the post.
Orders given are that if Indians attack, to notify the nearest posts. Orders are given to examine the bridge on the Ocklawaha River and report on its condition. (Capt. Rains will replace it with a pontoon bridge that was designed by the late Col. John Lane.)

March 1840
34 men present. Arrangement to scout with Cuban dogs. Two soldiers shot and killed by Indians.
The incidents in March and April are detailed in the book, “Alachua Ambush” with the original eyewitness reports.

April 1840
A major battle outside Fort King on April 28th has Capt. Rains, “wounded in a fight with the enemy.” 2nd Lt. James R. Scott assumes command of the post. Three men killed and five wounded in the action on the 28th. One deserted. (Missing in action?) Although it says at the end of the month that 37 men remain at the fort, during the battle on the 28th, there are only 19 men available for duty. Rains says of the 16 men with him, “being all the disposable force at this post.” The company was so injured afterward that it could no longer do any field duty.
Orders are given relating to the conduct of Volunteers when their officer is killed by Indians. The Florida Mounted Volunteers will hereafter be designated as Militia.
There is no Post Return filed for the month of May.

June 1840
Co. I, 2d Dragoons arrives and adds to the soldiers at the post, with Capt. Ben Beall commanding. Captain Rains is ordered to Washington, and we be gone from Florida for over a year. 58 soldiers at the post; one missing and one died.

July 1840
All the companies depart and are replaced by companies C, D, & H, 2d Infantry, with Capt. Silas Casey commanding. (No relation to Capt. John Casey.) 131 men are present. 6 men are out sick, 2 in confinement, 1 deserter.

August 1840
Surgeon Byrne returns to the fort as Surgeon Moore is sent to Fort Micanopy. 125 men at the post. Two in confinement and three ordinary deaths.

September 1840
Co. E, 2d Infy, joins the garrison at the post from Fort Wacasassa. Lt.Col. B. Riley briefly commands and returns command to Capt. Casey. 141 men with two in confinement and one desertion. A regular court-martial is held at Fort King but no details are given.

October 1840
Capt. Silas Casey commanding with four officers and Surgeon Byrne. Companies C, D, E, & H, 2d Infy., with 189 men. Two ordinary deaths and one desertion.

November 1840
A large detachment leaves with Capt. Casey. 1st Lt. E.R. Long commands with 103 men. L.H. Holden joins as surgeon.

December 1840
Lt.Col. Riley returns and assumes command. Two surgeons, Lt. Anderson as adjutant, Capt. Casey, two 1st Lieuts., and four 2d Lieuts. 216 men at the post. One desertion. Two died in the hospital.

January 1841
209 men at the post.

February 1841
205 men at the post. Two ordinary deaths. Surgeon Byrne leaves, and Surg. Holden remains. Two soldiers discharged by the surgeon.
On orders, the QM department will furnish the commander of posts with garden seeds. Commanders will suffer no timber to be cut on public land except for public purposes.

March 1841
Surgeon J.B. Porter joins the post. Two soldiers surrender from desertion. 200 men at the post.

April 1841
Announcing the death of President Harrison. Lt.Col. Riley on leave, 1st Lt. H. W. Wessells assumes command. Surgeon Porter the physician still present. 181 men at the post.

May 1841
Major J. Plympton assumes command of the post. 163 men present. One ordinary death.

June 1841
Maj. Plympton leaves for Fort Russell and 1st Lt. Wessells commanding. One ordinary death. The garrison is reinforced by “D” Troop, 2d Dragoons, and is in the field. 137 men at the post. 27 sick men left at the hospital by detachments that are in the field. Col. Worth takes command of the Army in Florida.

July 1841
Lt.Col. Riley returns and assumes command of the post. 173 men at the post. One death and one desertion. 25 men in the hospital; about half return to their regiment.

August 1841
223 men at the post. Eight sick in the hospital. Three died and one deserter who was recaptured. Asst. Surgeon Van Buren becomes the post physician.

September 1841
217 men at the post. Eight in the hospital.

October 1841
Surgeon J.H. Bailey becomes the post physician. 183 men on the post. Two deaths, 13 in the hospital.

November 1841
Lt.Col. Riley and much of the command leaves for Palatka. 1st Lt. Wessells in command, with Surgeon Bailey and three other Lieuts. Companies D & H left on the post. 134 men present, with one death. 15 men in the hospital.

December 1841
160 men at the post. Four ordinary deaths.
Orders: Extending the allowance of oats for cows belonging to the Hospital department.

January 1842
1st Lt. J. McKinstry assumes command at the post on Jan. 16th. J.H. Bailey is the surgeon, and no other officers. 91 men at the post. Most of the garrison has gone to Palatka. Left behind are two in confinement and 17 sick in the hospital.

February 1842
72 men for duty. One died, one man in the hospital from wounds received in action. Three others still remain in the hospital while the others from the previous month have been discharged and sent to Palatka.

March 1842
The return of scouts with Maj. Plympton commanding the post, and Surgeon Bailey and five other lieutenants. 166 men at the post. Co. A, C, & D, 2d Infantry, and Co. B, 8th Infy., with some smaller detachments of both regiments. One ordinary death, and several sick in the hospital.
Order are given for limiting the number of horses at military posts.

April 1842
189 soldiers present. The active companies at the post are Co. A, D, & K, 2d Infantry, with smaller detachments. There is a long list of sick in the hospital, and a couple soldiers who have been sent to St. Augustine for the court-martial of Capt. M. Howe.

May 1842
Capt. Isaac V.D. Reeve commanding the post with Surgeon Bailey and 2d Lt. Calvin Hetzel. (Reeve saw a lot of action in the Florida War, including the last battle against Halleck Tustennuggee’s band in Big Hammock near Pilaklikaha in April 1842.) 76 men at the post. One dragoon soldier in the hospital from wounds received in the field. The active companies are Co. B, 8th Infy., and Col. K, 2d Dragoons.
The 2d Infantry has been removed from Fort King and Fort Russell to Palatka to be transported up to New York. Signs that the war is definitely winding down.

June 1842
Capt. John Page (4th Infantry) assumes command of the post. William Levely is the surgeon, and three lieuts remain. The garrison is made up of Co. F, 4th Infy., and Co. B, 8th Infy. 143 men at the post with two ordinary deaths. One wounded dragoon soldier still in the hospital.
Orders include: Reducing the number of horses and dragoon soldiers in Florida. Directing weekly scouts to be made in the vicinity of the posts.

July 1842
144 men at the post. One dragoon soldier in the hospital.
Orders include: “Relative to the internment of remains of officers &c at St. Augustine.”

August 1842
Captain Page is relieved by Capt. Thomas P. Gwynne, 8th Infantry. The garrison is Co. A & B, 8th Infy. The 4th Infantry departs for St. Augustine. 135 men at the post. One dragoon soldier still in the hospital from wounds received in April.
Orders include: Relating to abuses committed by officers & non-comm officers. Rescinding previous order concerning public horses. Ordering reinternment of remains of officers &c at St. Augustine. Announcing termination of Hostilities.

September 1842
134 men at the post.

October 1842
141 men at the post.

November 1842
Capt. Gwynne still commands the post, but is joined by three more officers. 135 men at the post. Pvt. Roberts, 2d Dragoons, who has been in the hospital since April for wounds received in action is given a certificate for pension.
Orders: Quartermaster Dept. to furnish all horse equipment. Genl. Worth resumes command of the 9th Military District.

December 1842
Surgeon William Van Buren takes up duties as the physician. 125 men at the post.

January 1843
Capt. Edmund Ogden assumes command of the post with the departure of Capt. Gwynne on detached service. 100 men at the post; four desertions.

February 1843
The last month of post returns. Capt. Ogden commands the post with Surgeon Van Buren and 2d Lt. Hetzel. Co. B, 8th Infantry is the remaining company as garrison with all other companies sent to Palatka.
Orders: Lt.Col. Belknap is commanding the 8th Infantry.
There are no Post Returns for the month of March. The remaining garrison abandons the post and arrives at Palatka / Fort Shannon on April 7th.

Below: the last month of post returns filed, Feb. 1843.

Fort King Post Returns Part II, 1837-1839

Fort King Post Returns part 2

April 1837
Fort King is reoccupied on April 28, 1837 after being abandoned for 11 months. Major Thomas Childs commands the post with six other officers and a surgeon, five companies from the 3d and 4th Artillery, with 136 men at the fort. Also at the post is one company of Georgia Volunteers, and “Indian Marines” of the Creek Regiment. Orders have been issued prohibiting citizens from entering certain parts of Florida.

May 1837
The number of troops has increased to 187 with the arrival of a detachment of 4th Artillery. The Georgia Mounted Volunteers have left for Black Creek, and Creek Indian Regiment has sent most of the warriors to Fort Mellon with 22 remaining at Fort King.

June 1837
181 soldiers at the post. One death reported. Maj. Childs commanding but sick.

July 1837
133 men at the fort. Maj. Childs is still commanding and on the sick list.

August 1837
Capt. P.H. Galt (4th Arty) assumes command of the post as Maj. Childs departs. Five other officers and a surgeon are present. Two companies are added; Co. A, 2d Dragoons commanded by Townshend Dade; and Co. C, 1st Artillery. 185 men at the post. One desertion.

September 1837
158 soldiers present and one death.

October 1837
159 men present at the post.

November 1837
Most of the companies at the fort depart for Fort Micanopy except Co. C, 4th Artillery and one company of East Florida Volunteers. 81 men present, and the sick of the departed companies are left at the fort.

December 1837
124 men present at the post due the East Florida Volunteers.

January 1838
Capt. Galt commanding and five officers and the surgeon. Co. C, 4th Artillery and a company of Alabama Volunteers with 113 men at the post. Five men in the hospital.

February 1838
Capt. Galt commanding with two other officers and the surgeon. 81 men at the post including the Alabama Volunteers.

March 1838
One company on the post and 50 men due to the Alabama Volunteers being mustered out of service. One deserter, five men in the hospital. Rations issued to Seminole Indians.

April 1838
49 men at the post. In Orders, Troops ordered to Cherokee country and Col. Twiggs captures Seminole prisoners.

May 1838
The 4th Artillery is replaced by Companies B & G, 2d Dragoons on May 1st. Capt. William Tompkins commanding, with Capt. William Fulton, Lt.’s John H.P. O’Neale, Nathaniel W. Hunter, and Lawrence Pike Graham (Yes, another Graham and not related to the others.) A coincidence is the surgeon’s name is William S. King, and he is not related to Col. William King who the fort is named after. But his birth date is December 28th, 1810, twenty-five years before Major Dade’s death. 135 men on the post. One death and one desertion. Under orders, Brig. Gen. Zachary Taylor has assumed command in Florida, Capt. Tompkins is charged with the defense of the country around Forts King, Harlee, and Micanopy. And officers are prohibited from carrying public (Army issued) horses out of Florida.

June 1838
139 men on the post. Orders required that public horses be returned.

July 1838
Co. B leaves and Co. H, 6th Infantry joins the garrison. 103 men present and one death recorded.

August 1838
Surgeon King replaces with Surgeon William Sloan. 112 men present. One death and one desertion.

September 1838
Major Thomas Fauntleroy assumes command of the post. 97 men at the post and one died.
Orders: Dragoons are exempt from public duty.

October 1838
Co. B, 1st Infantry arrives, increasing the number of men at the post to 142.

November 1838
The men of the garrison depart and are replaced by Co. G, 4th Artillery under Capt. John Monroe. Dr. Sloan remains as surgeon. 55 men at the post.

December 1838
A detachment of Florida Volunteers arrives at the post. 45 men present.
Fort Fowle is established as a dependency of Fort King on the crossing on the Ocklawaha River.

January 1839
The Florida Volunteers have transferred to Fort Walker, with only Co. G, 4th Arty at the post under Capt. John Monroe. Detachments have gone to Fort MacKay and Fort Fowle. 26 men at the post and one died.

February 1839
The number of troops is greatly increased with the arrival of Co. G, 2d Dragoons under Capt. Howe, Co. E, 2d Infantry under Capt. Kingsbury, and Florida Volunteers, bringing the number at the post up to 151. Surgeon Byrne is the doctor. One died.

March 1839
Most of the troops depart. Remaining is Co. G, 4th Arty., and a detachment of Co. F, 2d Dragoons. Capt. Monroe and Surgeon Byrne remain. 50 men on post.
The Alabama Volunteers have returned to Fort Mitchell and mustered out of service. 50 men left on the post with just Co. C, 4th Arty. One desertion. Orders include rations to Seminole Indians, and the sale of whiskey in Army posts is prohibited.

April 1839
Lt. Col. Whistler assumes command of the post with Co. E, 7th Infantry with 47 men. Surgeon Byrne being the only officer who remains from the previous garrison. Several soldiers are on detached service escorting wagons from Fort Brooke, escorting Indians, or in the regimental band.

Separate returns are filled out for companies C & K, 2d Dragoons under Lt. Darling and Capt. L. Beall, encamped near Fort King with 123 troops.
The garrison is being strengthened due to Commanding General of the Army Alexander Macomb, who will arrive at Fort King in May to negotiate with the Indians. Nothing of this is mentioned on the Post Returns. The Dragoons are on duty, no doubt, to escort the general and impress upon the Indians the military might of the United States.

May 1839
The number of men at the post are 95 including both Infantry and Dragoons. Detachments of soldiers from the previous month have gone to other nearby posts.

June 1839
Dr. Moore becomes surgeon at the post. 82 soldiers are at the post.

July 1839
The post garrison that remains is Co. E, 7th Infy., and a detachment of Co. F, 2d Dragoons. Lt.Col. Whistler commands the district. 59 men at the post.

August 1839
55 men at the post. A large number of sick are reported.

Lt.Col. Whistler departs to visit posts in the district, leaving 1st Lt. G.R. Paul commanding. The Dragoons also depart. 46 men at the post.

October 1839
1st Lt. Richard Gatlin arrives and assumes command of the post. Co. E, 7th Infy., and a detachment of Co. F, 2d Dragoons make up the garrison. 67 men at the post.

November 1839
75 men at the post.

The 7th Infantry Headquarters transfers to Fort Micanopy. 1st Lt. Gatlin departs for Micanopy and 2nd Lt. T.B. Gannett assumes command. 53 men at the post.

Fort King Post Returns 1827-1836

Fort King Post Returns part 1

Back in November, I wrote about the first few years of Fort King. See it here:

I wanted to share what is on the post returns, which is very enlightening of the history of the fort, as well as the beginning history of the Florida Second Seminole War. It does not cover everything that was happening at the time, but it is still enlightening.

Every fort and post at this time was required to do a monthly report of personnel. On the front page would be the Post Return, showing the number of men and changes, along with General Orders and Standard Orders. Often the names of sick or confined men would be listed. On the backside, was “Commissioned Officers,” showing all the officers on the post. Officers of the same company but absent or on special duty would also be listed. The information on the returns is how it was on the last day of the month.

This was a standard form printed by the government. The adjutant at the post would make three copies; one to stay in the post adjutant box, one to be sent to the regiment or Florida headquarters, and one to be sent to the Army Adjutant office in Washington, D.C. This would require the post to make three perfect copies per month, and the officers serving as adjutant would have to handwrite all copies. So if none were done wrong or disposed of, the post would need at least 36 forms a year. Sometimes the larger forts would fill out post returns for smaller, satellite forts. Often the post would run out of forms and have to order new ones, while in the meantime, have to complete the monthly return on a sheet of paper. So we often see reports that appear a little different.

What the first Post Returns look like from the microfilm:

March 1827—First month of the Post Returns.
Capt. (Brevet Major) James M. Glassell of the 4th Infantry, arrived March 25th from Fort Brooke.
Capt. Glassell would command Camp King for the first two years.
4th Infantry, Companies F and H, with 87 men present. Both companies employed in building quarters.

April 1827
One Sergeant died.

May 1827
One Private deserted. A sergeant sent in pursuit.
13 soldiers working to clear the Ocklawaha River.
The number of soldiers present at the post is 70 due to other special detail work or to bring supplies from Tampa/Fort Brooke.

June 1827
The deserting private was apprehended but the musician deserted.
Three men were discharged from the Army by Surgeon’s certificate.

July 1827
Three soldiers deserted but are apprehended. (How desperate do you have to be to desert from Fort King in 1827, out in the middle of Indian territory?)
Company F leaves for Fort Brooke, leaving only Capt. Glassell and Company H, with 37 men at the post.

August 1827
“The post is at present supplied with provisions, but miserably destitute in medicines and hospital stores. The place continues healthy, as most of the cases are from sore feet occasioned by an insect called Chiger [chigger]. I have this morning (8 Sept.) sent the acting Quarter Master, to see what kind of wagon road can be had between this and Palatka on the St. Johns. On his return Lt. [Joseph] Searight will be again sent down the [Silver and Ocklawaha] river to view it. J.M.G.”

September 1827
“This Post continues healthy, but the Hospital and Medical Dept. still destitute of supplies.—The cases reported are principally from sore feet, occasioned by chigers.—I left the post on 29 Sept. & returned on the 1st Oct., but not being present on the 30th could not sign the return. J.M. Glassell, Capt. Commg., Fort King, 5th Oct. 1827.”
34 men present.
The Post Returns the next few months do not list any significant changes, so I will only mention the interesting quotes and events.

The Post Returns from October when the fort finally received the proper forms to fill out.

December 1827
37 men present

February 1828
“The post quite healthy; the principal cases of sickness reported occasioned by intoxication immediately after payment. Recruits much wanted to fill the company. No column in the alterations to report Lt. Eaton as to the post aggregate by promotion. He is detained until another officer can relieve him.”

May 1828
Only 30 present on the post. Not present 39.

June 1828
‘No convicts at the post.—The place hitherto healthy; most of the cases being accidental; and also at present well supplied with everything but medicines & hospital stores.”

No July returns.

August 1828
Number of soldiers at the post is up to 45.
“No convicts at the post.”

September 1828
“There are no convicts at this post. The cases of sickness are accidental and chronic.”

February 1829
Number of soldiers at the post is down to 34.
1st Lieut. Joseph Shaw is on furlough. His status is listed as “unknown” and “Reported to have been on command.” Army Adjutant General Roger Jones writes a comment underneath: “Find out Lt. Shaw’s position and inform the commander of his company.”

April 1829
Lt. Shaw is reported to be at Ft. Mitchell. Lt. Newcomb is at Palatka to bring up provisions.
Only 28 soldiers on the post.
“No convicts at the post.— Three convicts at other posts reported on ‘detached service’ having received an order from the adjutant of the regiment to report them thus.”

May 1829
1st Lt. Shaw is commanding the post with 2nd Lt. Newcomb and Asst. Surg. Hawkins the only other officers. Capt. Glassell has left on recruiting service. 29 people on the post.

June 1829
The last month of post returns before Camp King is abandoned for the next three years. Surg. Hawkins present, Lt. Shaw commanding the post. Lt. Newcomb acting as Quartermaster. Capt. Glassell on recruiting duty. Lt. Baker at Mobile Point performing engineering duty and never joined the company. 40 men present.

Sometimes after the post was abandoned, it was burned and had to be rebuilt when reoccupied three years later.

July 1832
Following the Treaty of Paynes Landing in Spring 1832, Fort King was reoccupied. Company D, 4th Infantry arrives and constructs new buildings, quarters, a hospital, and even work on building a boat to bring supplies by waterway. The surgeon was held back at Fort Brooke, so Lt. Graham has to hire a temporary civilian replacement. Graham also contracts Erastus Rogers to be the Post Sutler.
Officers on the post are 1st Lt. William M. Graham (promoted to Captain), Bvt. 2d Lt. Bradford Alden, and acting surgeon John Hamilton.
“Company D, 4th Regiment of Infantry commanded by 1st Lieut. Wm. M. Graham left Fort Brooke, Florida on the 12th and arrived and reoccupied Fort King, Florida on the 18th of July, 1832 in obedience to order No. 49 from Adjt. Genl. Office dated 7th June 1832.”
There are 42 men at the post on the first month return.
Also listed under Company D but on Special Duty is Capt. James H. Hook, serving as Assistant Commissary General of Subsistence in Washington, D.C. He never came to Fort King since he was appointed to the position in Washington in 1829, but has been unofficially serving in that position since at least 1821. Capt. Hook originally commanded Fort Hawkins, Georgia, but suffered a crippling injury that followed him the rest of his life, so he went to work in subsistence where he would not be in the field. It is ironic that he shows up for one month on the Fort King post returns, because he will come in possession of Osceola’s clothing and personal items in 1838, given to him by Dr. Frederick Weedon and Captain Pitcairn Morrison. (Besides plundering Osceola’s personal items, Morrison will later be partially responsible for the Bascom affair in Arizona in 1861 that will start 25 years of warfare with the Apache.) These are items Osceola probably had with him at Fort King.
There are several letters in the “Adjutant Received” letters from Capt. William Graham, arguing that he should have been promoted ahead of James Hook. Maj. Hook in Washington will be in charge of subsistence or feeding all the Native tribes being removed under the Indian Removal Act, and at the same time amass a huge collection of Native American artifacts and clothing from all over the country. Something that might be considered very questionable and unethical today, but was commonplace in the 19th century. When Hook dies in 1841, his wife will sell his collection, and the Osceola items are purchased by Capt. John Casey.

August 1832
2d Lt. Joseph Harris joins the post to serve as Subsistence officer. Lt. Alden is working on building a boat and finishing quarters. Dr. Hamilton is dropped from the returns because he is a civilian and not commissioned officer.

September 1832
Asst. Surgeon John Thurston joins the post on 10th Sept.
There are 35 men present with four desertions with two apprehended.

November 1832
The number of soldiers at the post are 42.

December 1832
Capt. Graham is summoned to attend a civil court in Newnansville.
Three soldiers deserted and apprehended.

January 1833
Capt. Graham is back. Assistant Surgeon James W. Roper replaces Surgeon Thurston. One soldier died; no name or details given. 37 soldiers present.

March 1833
Surgeon Roper is ordered to New Orleans to take his exam in front of the medical board. One soldier deserted and apprehended.

April 1833
Capt. Graham and Lt. Alden, and a total of 35 men present.

May 1833
Capt. Graham with 24 men. Lt. Alden takes the boat to Palatka for subsistence and quartermaster stores.

June 1833
Surgeon Roper has gone to Harper’s Ferry (Virginia). 34 men with one soldier deserted and apprehended.

July 1833
Capt. Graham is the only officer at the post. Lt. Alden left for West Point. 44 men at the post.

August 1833
54 men at the post.

October 1833
Surgeon Roper (not yet returned to Florida) goes to New York for another examination of the medical board headed by Surgeon Lawson (who is soon after Army Surgeon General). One soldier died at Fort King. 52 men present.

November 1833
Captain Graham present. Surgeon Roper returns to Fort King after being gone for eight months. 44 men present.

39 men present.

January 1834
Captain Graham is present and doing all the officer duties at the post. Surgeon Roper is listed as sick. 42 men present.

February 1834
Surgeon Roper still sick at the fort. 35 men present.

March 1834
Surgeon Roper dies of “Pulmonary Consuption” on 20 March. (What a waste, after sent through all those boards of examination, and he comes back and dies.) 36 men present.

April 1834
54 present. The first time since August there is a full company of soliders, except the officers. Capt. Graham is the only officer present.

May 1834
One man discharged for disability. 53 men present. Capt. Graham still the only officer. The following months will show that the status of the fort remains unchanged.

September 1834
Only 37 men present.

October 1834
44 men present.

November 1834
Captain Graham finally gets relief, as he is joined by Lt. John Graham and Surgeon George Clarke. William Graham and John Graham are not related, but William’s brother James Graham is famous in the old Northwest as an Army Engineer. One man died; 43 men present.

December 1834
Big changes as Brevet Brig. Gen. Duncan L. Clinch arrives and assumes command of the post, adding Company D, 2d Artillery (with already present Company D, 4th Infantry). Also added are Dr. Weightman as surgeon, Capt. Drane, Lt. R. Smith, with a total of 90 men at the post. Five other lieutenants and one sergeant are absent on special duty elsewhere.

January 1835
1st Lt. F.A. Dancy takes command of Co. D, 2d Arty, from Capt. Drane who has ordnance duty in St. Augustine. 74 men present.

February 1835
Capt. Drane returns. 70 men for duty including loses accounted for disability and expiration of service.

March 1835
Six companies are now present at Fort King as talks with the Seminoles are held at the Indian Agency, and the government will pressure the Seminoles to remove. Brig. Gen. Clinch is commanding, with Maj. Fanning, three surgeons, and 15 other lieutenants and captains. 245 men present for duty. Two desertions and one apprehended. Companies present are Co. C, 1st Arty; Co. D & F, 2d Arty; Co. C & I, 3d Arty; Co. D, 4th Infy.

April 1835
Gen. Clinch departs and Brevet Lt. Col. A.C.W. Fanning assumes command. Capt. Drane’s Company D, 2d Artillery with Dr. Weightman leaves to Fort Marion in St. Augustine. Two surgeons and 12 other officers are at the post with Capt. Wm. Graham, Lt. C. Smyth (who will be killed at the end of the year,) Lt. Mellon and Lt. Maitland, who will also be killed during the coming war. Lt. John Graham is commanding a boat party bringing in subsistence stores from Paynes Landing. 211 men present; two died.

May 1835
Lt.Col. Fanning commanding and the same number of officers. Co. C, 3d Arty has gone to a local plantation known as the Flotards, 12 miles away. 186 men with two died.

June 1835
Lt. Col. Fanning commanding, two surgeons and 9 officers, with four companies with 153 present. One deserted.

July 1835
Lt. Col. Fanning commanding; two surgeons, and ten officers present. Co. I, 3d Arty with Surgeon Clarke are sent to “Camp Witumpkey” (Fort Drane). 255 men; one died and one deserter apprehended.

August 1835
Lt.Col. Fanning, two surgeons, and 11 officers at the post. 284 men with the addition of Co. H and the return of Co. I, 3d Arty. Two died and one deserter apprehended.

September 1835
Four soldiers desert and are apprehended.

October 1835
279 present at the fort; one soldier died.

November 1835
Lt.Col. Fanning commanding, Surgeon Clarke present, and 12 officers. Six companies and 290 soldiers present. One died, three desertions, and four deserters apprehended. Co. C, 1st Arty; and Co. D, 4th Infantry have been detached to “Wetumpkie”. 50 recruits have been ordered to Ft. King. Several officers have resigned from the Army, which is noted on the bottom of the form.

December 1835
On the morning of Dec. 28th, all the companies depart Fort King for Wetumpka/Clinch’s Plantation, except Co. I, 3d Arty, 12 sick men, and a hospital steward also stay behind, and four soldiers in confinement. Lt.Col. Ichabod Crane (Yes, Washington Irving did steal his name to use as a character in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.) assumes command with 46 men in the garrison in the afternoon, as Lt. Constantine Smyth is killed by Osceola’s warriors along with Indian Agent Wiley Thompson. Post Sutler Erastus Rogers and two other store clerks Roger Suggs and Mr. Kitzler are killed. The Second Seminole War has begun.

January 1836
Lt. Col. Crane commanding with Surgeon Clarke and three officers. Only Co. I, 3d Arty, is assigned to the post. 47 men are present. In addition to those are two men in the hospital for wounds at the Battle of Withlacoochee, ten previously left in the hospital, and three men confined.

February 1836
Lt. Col. Crane commanding the post with Surgeon Clarke and four officers. Only Co. I, 3d Arty, is assigned to the post. 50 men encompass the garrison. In addition are 2 hospital stewards, 19 sick in the hospital including those brought from Fort Drane, and 6 in confinement. Genl. Gaines arrives on the 26th and leaves behind two officers and 34 men of the Louisiana Volunteers who are sick.

March 1836
Capt. Lemuel Gates assumes command with a surgeon and two lieutenants. Co. C, 1st Arty, replaces Co. I, 3d Arty. 50 men in the garrison. Two men still remain in the hospital.

April 1836
Capt. Gates with 49 men at the garrison with two men in the hospital. Genl. Clinch passes by with 1100 troops heading to Fort Drane.
Fort King is abandoned on May 27th for 11 months. The garrison moves to Fort Drane, which is also soon abandoned. Captain Gates gets sick and dies from disease on August 6th at Fort Defiance (Micanopy.)

Seminole War News and the Battle of Welika Pond

We have had several news stories this week concerning the Second Seminole War. The first two stories I will only briefly discuss. The third is more interesting. All three stories involve cemeteries.

From an article in the Tampa Times newspaper, we learn of remains of five soldiers found near the former site of Fort Brooke in downtown Tampa. They have been reinterred at a local cemetery with full military honors.

Since Fort Brooke was an active military post starting in 1824 for the next 60 years, they could be from any period of this history.

Previously, Seminole burials were found in the same area downtown and returned to the Seminole Tribe of Florida. That is why the Seminole Tribe has a casino and complex on the other side of town from Fort Brooke, which the city gave to the tribe as a place to rebury the remains back around 1980.

Again in the Tampa Times, an article about the Brooksville Cemetery. An archaeology company was seeking to survey areas of the cemetery without disturbing burials, to see if there was evidence of the Creek/Seminole village of Chocochatti being at that location. But it is not happening. The city council was not unanimous about the request being approved, so the archaeology company withdrew the proposal. This archaeology company is the best one in the field, in my opinion, and would have done a very respectful and meticulous survey.

And the third story is my favorite. From Gainesville. The old cemetery in the town of Micanopy is running out of space and wants to expand. This cemetery dates back to the founding of the town, almost 200 years ago. Although there were a large number of military burials from Fort Micanopy, it is undetermined where they are, and if they are also part of the old cemetery.

The city is interested in taking over adjacent unused land to add to the cemetery. But there is a problem. This could have been where the battle of Welika Pond happened on July 19, 1836. Micanopy is very concerned about historic preservation, unlike most Florida towns. So the possibility of this being the site of the battle has put the cemetery expansion plans on hold.

The only way to determine if this was the battle site is to conduct an archaeological survey. I am not sure if this will even settle the question, because this area has probably been metal detected for decades, and might not have many remains of shots and bullets. The battle involved dragoon and artillery soldiers against ambushing Seminole/Miccosukee warriors. The warriors outnumbered the soldiers about four to one.

There are also two different phases of the battle of Welika Pond, which happened at two different locations.

My recent book, Alachua Ambush, covers Fort Micanopy history from 1839 to 1841. I did not include this battle and history in 1836 because it is already widely known. I wanted to cover the mostly unknown history.

So what do we know about Micanopy during this time?

The fort was not called Micanopy in 1836 but known as Fort Defiance at Micanopy. The fort was established at the beginning of the second Seminole war and abandoned in August 1836 due to rampant sickness at the fort. From the letters, often Fort Defiance and Micanopy are used interchangeably. When the fort is reactivated in April 1837, it was named Fort Micanopy. Probably due to everyone calling it Micanopy already. They were no longer defiant about anything. They were just trying not to die of some tropical illness.

A sketch of Fort Micanopy by Tom Brady. But recent archaeology excavations may indicate that the fort had a more disorganized configuration and not so much the typical square fort with blockhouses at the corners. You can buy this book at the Micanopy Historical Museum.

But with the early Fort Defiance, raids and battles in the area were constant. And would remain that way to the war’s end.

After the first six months of the war in June 1836, the United States was looking like it had failed to conquer the Seminoles. The best generals in the army had been unable to have any significant results from campaigns against the Natives. Gov. Call reports to Secretary of War Lewis Cass that the Indians are in full possession of the surrounding country. And on top of that, another war with the Creeks has just started in Georgia.

In June 1836, there was a significant battle outside the fort that moved south to the shore of Tuskawilla Lake. The officers and men are praised for chasing away the Seminole/Miccosukee warriors. The wounded men from the battle only add to an already long hospital sick list.

Fort Drane, about ten miles to the south, becomes so sickly, with only one officer present to command. Governor Call orders the post abandoned, and the commissary and quartermaster stores moved to Black Creek by way of Micanopy. But it takes a month, due to the lack of wagons available to transport the stores, and the high number of soldiers who are sick and unable to march. 200 soldiers are requested to be involved in the post's evacuation, but that many men are not available.

On the morning of July 19, 1836, a wagon train of 22 wagons consisting of the stores from Fort Drane, left that post with 62 soldiers and one howitzer, commanded by Captain Ashby of the 2d Dragoons.

Capt. William Maitland, with the entourage, writes, "On our arrival at Welika Pond, within one mile of this place [Fort Defiance], the discharge of several rifles apprized us of the presence of the enemy.”

Welika in the Muscogee language roughly means an intermittent spring. The water fluctuations in this area of the county and Paynes Prairie can vary greatly. I have been to these areas when they were bone dry or flooded.

From looking up water and geological maps, I could not determine where the pond is exactly.

After fired upon, Captain Ashby and the dragoons charge the hammock but failed to find any Indians. This is the first phase of the battle.

The train of wagons continues with no more sign of the ambushers. They come alongside a long hammock, "within a quarter mile of Micanopy." This is the second phase of the battle, as fire erupted along the entire length of the train, a quarter-mile long. An estimated 250 Indians set off a second ambush.

Captain Ashby and Asst. Surgeon Weighman are both wounded. A messenger sent to bring help from Fort Defiance meets the soldiers from the fort who were already coming. (They heard the firing while at the fort.) 31 more soldiers from Fort Defiance joined with the charge towards the Indians, helping clear the field of battle.

The total number of casualties was 11 wounded, two who later died. Three horses killed and several wounded. No count was available of Seminole/Miccosukee killed or wounded.

Here is the report of the battle from The Evening Post (New York) newspaper, August 11, 1836.

It takes about three more weeks to evacuate Fort Drane. This was because the battle on the 19th convinced the officers that they needed a large detachment of armed soldiers to escort the train. It took three weeks to get enough men together who were not sick and could march that distance. Once the supplies and sick men arrived at Fort Defiance, they departed shortly after for Garey’s Ferry at Black Creek, which became the main supply depot.

Only about a week later, Major Benjamin Pierce (brother of future president Franklin Pierce) received word that Indians were lurking about Fort Drane. He departed Fort Defiance at 2 a.m. with a command of soldiers. He arrived at Fort Drane at sunrise, to surprise about 300 Miccosukee Indians commanded by Powell (Osceola) that had taken up residence around the abandoned fort. I imagine that the Indians were seeking to salvage any food stores or whatever they could find around the abandoned Fort Drane and Clinch’s plantation.

The Indians went into the thick hammocks about 3/4th of a mile away and fought a desperate battle for about an hour. Once the firing ceased, Maj. Pierce decided that the hammocks were too densely wooded to attempt further pursuit.

So, did the battle of Welika Pond happen on property adjacent to the old cemetery? The second phase of the battle was at this distance from the fort, so it is possible. But there is no mention of the cemetery in Maitland's report. The only land features in the report are Welika Pond at the beginning and hammocks for the two separate phases of the battle. Nearly every action in this area (of many) involve Indians ambushing the soldiers from hammocks. As I mentioned earlier, we won't know without an accurate archaeological survey, if this is the place. But we are interested to know the answer.

Major Dade’s Second Daughter

A few months ago, I posted the following article about a shotgun alleged to be Major Dade’s. The article appeared in The Democrat newspaper (Huntsville, Alabama) on Feb. 11, 1843.

Incredible, is that there is a shotgun somewhere unknown, that belonged to Major Dade.
I wonder if it was Doctor Gatlin’s shotgun, and mistaken as one that belonged to Dade? We will probably never know.

I wanted to tell Frank Laumer about this, but just a few days after I found out about the shotgun, word came that Frank unfortunately passed away! He really would have been interested in this news!

In the article is a letter exchange between General Jesup who had the shotgun, and Col. John B. Dade, warden of the penitentiary in the District of Columbia. The Colonel rank is from his position as warden, and not from the Army, so John B. Dade is not listed in Heitman. But Major Dade and Col. Dade are distant cousins, both from Virginia, and familiar with each other. And about the same age.

John B. Dade’s son-in-law Edward Smith, mentioned in the article, died soon after. I think Smith was the only surviving family member at that time. John’s son Townshend Dade was in the 2d Dragoons and had been cashiered out of the Army in 1840, and died in 1841.
Major Francis Dade’s brother Dr. Lawrence Dade, died not long after, in December 1843. He left behind a few small children.

(the Louisville Daily Journal, Dec. 20, 1843.)

Major Dade also had four other sisters.

Now here is the part that got my interest more than the shotgun, which may have been Dr. John Gatlin’s shotgun.

Col. John B. Dade, said that Major Dade had two small children, one since died, and the mother and remaining child in Florida.

Now, everyone had said that Dade only had one child/daughter. So, who is this other child?

Francis L. Dade married Amanda Middleton in Pensacola in 1828. In the same year, Francis was given a brevet promotion to Major, 4th Infantry. He served mostly in Florida, but also at Fort St. Phillip near New Orleans, and went on a recruiting trip around 1831.

Image: Christ Church in Pensacola where the Dades were married.

Francis and Amanda Dade had a daughter, Fannie Dade, born in 1830 and died at age 18 in 1848. Both Fannie and Amanda are buried in Pensacola.

As we all know, Major Francis Dade was shot and killed by Seminole Indians in 1835, known as Dade’s Battle, one of the most famous incidents in the 2nd Seminole War.

According to Heitman’s Army Register, Major Francis L. Dade was the only Dade with the rank of Major in the US Army at the time. He was on recruiting duty in Fredericksburg in 1833. He writes to General Macomb in the adjutant general papers (1833 D105) on Oct. 12, 1833, from Fredericksburg, that a few days earlier was, “the death of our youngest child.” Here is the letter:

Fredericksburg, Va., October 12th, 1833
“I take the liberty to address you a private letter on a subject of much importance to myself and family. For doing so, I hope the censure of the Genl. In Chief will not be incurred. Order no. 85, directing Lt. Col. Twiggs, to detach my company to Key West, and ordering me to break up my recruiting Rendezvous at this place at the end of the month, and proceed to take command of the post, was received this morning. The bad state of my wife’s health was one of the causes, that induced me to procure a removal from Albany to Baltimore, and from thence to this place. She is now more unwell, and too weakly to travel so great a distance, having a few days since suffered an afflicting calamity in the death of our youngest child. I therefore request, that the order so far as it relates to breaking up the recruiting rendezvous here on the last of the month, and directing me to join my company a Key West, may be revoked, and that I may be allowed to continue on the duty in which I am now engaged until next April, when my two years tour on the Recruiting Service will terminate. The people of the surrounding counties, have but lately been informed of a recruiting party being here, and by circulating the advertisements sent me from Washington, they are satisfied of the great change for the better, that has been made in the condition of the Army by the act of the 2nd of March last, and the regulations giving sugar and coffee in lieu of Whiskey. I have enlisted several very respectable young men, and expect this winter, to be very successful in getting many more.”

From F. L. Dade, Bvt. Major U.S.A.; to Major Genl. A. Macomb, Genl. In Chief, U.S.A.

(AG letters received, 1833, D105.)

I did a search on findagrave, and found an unmarked grave of an infant Virginia Dade at St. George’s Episcopal Burial Ground in Fredericksburg.

I contacted the church, who directed me to the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.
In the archives of the newspaper, “Political Arena” (Fredericksburg) dated Oct. 8, 1833, page 3, column 1, appeared this brief article:

“Died in this place, on the 26th ult.—aged 17 months and 25 days—Virginia Laurencetta, daughter of Major Dade, U.S. Army.” (The would mean that she was born about April 1, 1832, and died Sept. 26, 1833.)

So, it seems almost certain that Virginia Laurencetta Dade is the child of Francis L. and Amanda M. Dade. This is a great surprise, most everyone has said that Dade only had one child. The infant child is not even mentioned by the late Frank Laumer, who wrote about Major Dade more than anyone. But the small evidence is here from the Dade family themselves.

Now, where is that shotgun?

Review for Alachua Ambush

On Saturday, I stopped by the museum in Micanopy at the Historical Society/Thrasher Warehouse. The museum took all the remaining Alachua Ambush books off my hands. I gave them a serious discount. So, if you purchase the book at the museum, most of the money goes to the museum. Visit the museum and get a copy there, and support the historical society!

Here is a review from one of the board members of the Micanopy Historical Society. All who have read the book have given very positive critiques; this one pretty much sum them all up:

Christopher Kimball who's a Board member of the Seminole War Foundation came by the museum and dropped off his book for our consideration. The book title is: " Alachua Ambush", Bloody Battles of the Second Seminole War".

I've only thoroughly read the first 65 pages of the total 246 pages and have perused the rest and am prepared to HIGHLY recommend this book. Pages 1-32 go to Great detail to relate events around Micanopy including another "Black Point" type incident. The rest of the book relates events within a hundred-mile radius of our area with numerous reports of activities from other forts. It contains very detailed information on tactics used and activities at Ft Defiance/Micanopy as reflected in military dispatches, soldier's letters, military and newspaper reports. The same is found throughout the book. It also covers individual raids and deaths in the immediate area that I've never seen documented anywhere else. Another great feature is detailed contemporary maps of the area to include little-known nearby forts.

Our other books provide a general overview of the entire war; however, this one relates specific incidents in our immediate area which were gleaned from exhaustive research. This is truly a classic, detailed account of little-known events in our area during the war. I found it to be one of the most fascinating accounts that I've yet read concerning the war and definitely think we should include it in our book offerings.

And I just created a bookstore for all three books:

Letchworth Mound near Monticello, Florida

Image: Letchworth Mound in the summer. (2016)

I saw a story in the news on twitter or facebook last week about archaeological work conducted at the Letchworth-Love Mounds near Lake Miccosukee.

This is the highest mound in Florida, and also the one which the archaeologists know the least about.

According to oral histories of the surviving Muscogee Community, they consider this mound extremely important and of great significance. The event that happened here was spread far and wide by the traders, or sneezers. Even the image of the mound was preserved in the iconography of the local community. It is an amazing story, but for another time.

This area looks much different today, with mostly pine trees. But it was originally a place with sycamore, cedar, cypress, and other hardwoods.

The Muscogee name for the nearby Lake Miccosukee translates to, “shaky, muddy waters,” due to the changing water level and instability of the lake.

There are about two or three Muscogee names that I have recorded for the mound, that translate to, “the place where they met.” Meeting, meeting place, a place where they talked, similar to the old Muscogee word for telephone.

In the Native folklore, a sacred place is almost like a living being, and remains so centuries after it has ceased to be an active site. Letchworth Mound is considered to be one of these places that are still living. If someone told us that they heard singing and stomp dancing on a cold night, we would not be surprised.

The mound is aligned slightly off the north. It may be found that this direction was pointing to the celestial north when the mound was built.

Also, I hope they find evidence of the mound area surrounded by a ring that will have either shell, mica, or white sand. This is a common separation between the ceremonial area and the secular area. This may not have survived, due to farming in the area.

Hopefully, this archaeological excavation will confirm the stories passed down from the local Muscogee community.


Alachua Ambush Now Available

The new book is now available at:

Alachua Ambush: Bloody Battles of the 2nd Seminole War

Never before published letters and accounts of Florida’s Second Seminole War bring to life the bloodiest battles and events. For a long time, the mistaken belief was that the last battle was on Lake Okeechobee on Christmas Day 1837. How wrong that is!

Captain Gabriel Rains tests land mines on the Seminole warriors near Fort King, and they hit back with a bloody battle where he is nearly killed.

James Sanderson was a veteran of the War of 1812. An enlisted man promoted to lieutenant with recommendations of all the officers in the regiment. His experience proved no match against a deadly ambush.

Mrs. Montgomery was 19 years old and daughter of the richest businessman in Cincinnati. She took a Sunday ride out of Fort Micanopy to her death that was reported around the country.

Miccosukee war leader Coacoochee has an epic victory party on a plantation near St. Augustine. Army Dragoons attempt to track him but run into a dead-end in the swamp.

Slaves George and Joe are put on trial in St. Augustine for supplying gunpowder to the Indians.

The Seminole matriarch “Old Betsy” bravely negotiates with the soldiers.

All these stories are straight from letters and army reports in 1840, and many have never been published.

292 pages

I hope to be at Dade Battlefield Reenactment on Saturday morning if I am still alive at that time!