Although I previously alluded that I am not very big on monuments when the Seminoles have none, I do think that markers honoring veterans and graves are appropriate. St. Francis cemetery in St. Augustine is well worth the visit. Markers on Dade Battlefield are appropriate because they tell people what happened there. On-the-spot markers help educate people and help to preserve the site. With out-of-control development in Florida that has gone on for the last 60 years, saving battlefields and historical sites has become difficult. And without markers on those spots, darn near impossible.
So back to the grave markers. This is one that holds a lot of significance to Florida history and the Second Seminole War. And it is not even in Florida, but way up in New York State, south of Rochester.
This is the grave to Ransom Clark, in a small rural cemetery along a two-lane highway. I visited here in 2006. I can think of three other people besides myself who have seen it, and I am probably the only one among our small number who does Seminole interpretation. So I felt it appropriate that I honored this brave, fallen warrior.
You can see his small VA marker tucked away here. The grave to the left is his father, Benjamin Clark.
Here is a closer view of Clark's marker.
It reads: Ransom Clark, Private, Company C, 2nd U.S. Artillery, 1812-1840 (dates lived), Survivor, Dade's Battle in Florida, 28 December 1835.
And here is the back side, showing that the Dade Battlefield Society had the VA marker erected here in 2003. If you were at the battle reenactment last year, you may have seen the original marker on display by the breastwork.
Ransom Clark was among only three who survived Dade's command and made it back to tell their story. The others were Private Joseph Sprague, who was probably illiterate and never recorded an account of the battle, and died a couple years later of disease unrelated to Dade's battle in the military hospital in Palatka. And Louis Pacheco, who was the slave and guide for Major Dade, who told his story many decades later.
Ransom Clark was shot five times and suffered very serious injuries, but still limped back 60 miles to Fort Brooke on Tampa Bay. You got to respect his determination for doing that. And from his account, the world found out what happened to Major Dade and his command. Clark died 5 years later from injuries received in battle.
The Dade Battlefield Society is raising money to erect a historical marker at the cemetery where Clark is buried, to let the people of New York know about him. Donations will be collected in a couple weeks at the annual reenactment, so consider giving a few dollars.