Front Cover
 Title Page
 Front Matter
 Front Matter
 Table of Contents
 Facts of Earlier Days
 Present Condition and Attitude...
 Introduction to Vocabulary
 Back Cover

Title: The Seminoles of Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00000023/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Seminoles of Florida
Physical Description: 126 p., <9> leaves of plates : ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Moore-Willson, Minnie, b. 1863
Willson, J. M.
Publisher: s.n.>
Place of Publication: <s.l
Manufacturer: American
Publication Date: 1896
Subject: Seminole Indians   ( lcsh )
Indians of North America -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Seminole language -- Glossaries, vocabularies, etc   ( lcsh )
Indians of North America -- Languages -- Glossaries, vocabularies, etc   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Summary: Overview of the history and customs of the Seminole Indian tribe of Florida as seen through the eyes of the author and her husband. Includes vocabulary of Seminole language.
Statement of Responsibility: by Minnie Moore-Willson.
Funding: Florida heritage collection.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00000023
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000128294
oclc - 23897848
notis - AAP4295
lccn - 02018106
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
    Title Page
        Page vi
    Front Matter
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    Front Matter
        Page xi
    Table of Contents
        Page xii
        Page xiii
    Facts of Earlier Days
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21a
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29a
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Present Condition and Attitude of the Seminoles
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39a
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43a
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61a
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97a
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
    Introduction to Vocabulary
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
    Back Cover
        Page 127
        Page 128
Full Text

* C:

-.5 9. :


a. -


~ i;
-. f:1 >




( 9.




I. -


.9 .. 9


-: *9 -
9., 9949'i
9!: 9.

- *


-' 1-


Cl o


Thomas Leslie Turner



0 OF

P IAr-"' ,^ wrw -I' *3' P.^


c ;i

: ~

*- .
"--*" ^ .l" .
; ;. s -
'- 1 "i

t -. -, ^ ,
.. : ,
oo "

*. 1L .
:. ,, -^ *--, &.-
^"' :'1:

*, \ ^. ^ ^

^ *. .
'-*' -^
*" ..: .' .'

-'. I : ,
*b-^ -* 1

r a ,
:, \ r
.;I: ^^-
-^ -'-.<- -- SK ^~
J ^ ^ "*




`C -:. a'
:' b:






f; '

? ~i



;. ; ;

.* -
'F :' ul
Ic .I.

. ;>

to I

-, *.
.4 -* i .-'. -.
~ l ) A

t 1 m"...

1' I
- ..*

- .-




' *. ..-


'^ < \


t .


.4 p.

2~ *~
N: 'i 4

. : _.

-. -


- *


~'r ~





One of the Last Seminole Battle Grounds.






1019 Cherry Street

.0 C
*6. C
6* *g.
0. 0.

Copyright, 1896

b v


00 80
0~ 0
08 *Q

,Q 0






To my uncle
who has encouraged me in its publication,
this book is affectionately dedicated.


That there is yet a tribe, or are tribes of Indians in Florida is
a fact unknown to a large part of the people of this country; there
are even students of history who have scarcely known it. These
people, driven, about seventy or more years ago, into the dreary
everglades of that Southern Peninsula, have kept themselves
secluded from the ever encroaching white population of the State.
Only occasionally would a very small number visit a town or a
city to engage in traffic. They have had no faith in the white
man, or the white man's government. They have aimed to be
peaceful, but have, with inveterate purpose, abstained from inter-
course with any of the agencies of our government. My friends,
Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Willson, Jr., of Kissimmee, Florida, have found
their way to a large degree of confidence in the hearts of this
people. They have learned something of their history, and have
studied their manner of life, their character and habits.
Mr. Willson has been allowed, and invited to go with some of
their men on familiar hunting expedition. He has seen them in
the swamps, in their homes, and in their general life environments.
He has been admitted to their confidence and friendship. He has
consequently become deeply interested in them. Mrs. Willson also
has become acquainted with some of their chief personages. Both
have learned to sympathize with these Indians in their hardships,
and in their treatment at the hands of the white race.
Mrs. Willson began to write about them and her writing has
grown into a book ; and she has been encouraged to give this book
to the world, in the hope that the attention of good people may be
drawn toward them, and that at last a true interest may be
awakened in their moral and material well-being. They are truly
an interesting people, living, although seeluded, almost at our
doors. .

'. -
; -*\t1

Mrs.Willson has written earnestly, enthusiastically, and lovingly
regarding them, and it is to be hoped that a new interest may soon
be taken in-them both by the churches and the government, and
that they may soon enter upon new realizations, and be encouraged
to place a confidence in the white race to which, until quite
recently, they have been utter strangers.
Mr. Willson has prepared the vocabulary. The words and
phrases hereigiven have been gathered by him in the course of eight
or ten years of friendly intercourse with members of the tribe.
They have assisted him in getting the true Indian or Seminole
word and in finding its signification. Old Chief Tallahassee has
been especially and kindly helpful; so has Captain Tom Tiger.
This vocabulary of this peculiar Indian tribe, though not complete,
ought to prove helpful to those who are interested in the languages
of the people who roamed the forests of this great land before it
became the home and the domain of those who now live and rule
in it.
This book, in its first part, gives some account of the earlier
years of the Seminole history. In the second part the reader is
introduced to the later and present state of things and facts regard-
ing them.
In the third part is found the vocabulary-a number of Semi-
nole words, phrases and names, with their interpretation into our
own tongue.
This little book is given to the world in the hope that it will be
found both interesting and valuable to many readers.
Vineland, N. J.



Origin of Troubles 4
Efforts at Indian Removal 9
The Massacre of General Thompson and of Dades Forces 13
A Dishonored Treaty 8
As-se-ho-lar, The Rising Sun, or Osceola 20
The Hidden War Camp 26
Wild Cat and General Worth 29

Our Duty to These Wards of the Nation 50
Tallahassee 54
Increasing 56
Appearance and Dress 59
Independence and Honor 62
Endurance and Feasts 65
Slavery 69
Unwritten Laws 70
Gens and Marriage 76
Beauty and Music 77
Seminoles at Home .79
Billy Bowlegs 84
Religion 86
Bought-Back 91
Mounds 92
Picture Writing 94
Medicine 95
Abiding Words of Beauty 97
Conclusion 99
Introduction to Vocabulary 102

Words Regarding Persons. 105
Parts of Body o6
Dress and Ornaments .
Dwellings, Implements, etc. 109
Food .113
Colors .14
Numerals .1 14
Divisions of Time 115
Animals, Parts of Body, etc. 116
Birds 117
Fish and Reptiles 118
Insects 119
Plants 120
The Firmament-Physical Phenomena, etc. 121
Kinship 121
Verbs, Phrases, Sentences 122
Indian Names of Some Present Seminoles 126

Part First.

Facts of Earlier Days.

THE history of the American Indian is a very iliad
of tragedy. From the day Columbus made the
first footprints of the European in the damp
sands of Cat Island, the story of the original owners
of fair America has been full of melancholy, and fills
with its dark pages every day of a quartet of centuries.
Columbus describes the innocent happinessof these
people- "They were no wild savages, but very gentle
and courteous," he says, without knowing what evil is,
without stealing, without killing." They gave to him
a new world for Castile and Leon, while in exchange
he gave to them "some glass beads and little red caps."
The tragedy of the new world began when we find
this same admiral writing to the Spanish majesties
that he would be able to furnish them with gold,
cotton, spices, and slaves-" slaves! as many as their
Highnesses shall command to be shipped"; and thus,
this land, a paradise of almost primeval loveliness, was
transformed into a land of cruel bondage, desolation
and death.
History scarcely records an instance when hospi-


tality was not extended by the red man to our first
explorers. Swift canoes shot out from the shaded
shores, filled with men clad in gorgeous mantles, and,
in broken accents, their greeting was "Welcome!"
" Come, see the people from Heaven," they cried, but
were soon destined to believe they were from a very
different region. Amid the salutes of artillery, the
music of trumpets and the cheers of thousands of Cas-
tilians did De Soto march upon the native population.
Greyhounds of wonderful fleetness, and bloodhounds of
largest size and ferocity were brought to be turned
loose upon the savages; also handcuffs, chains and neck
collars to secure them. From old Spanish accounts we
conclude that the Indian population of De Soto's time
was very large, and that the natives were in a higher
state of civilization than at any later period; that their
speech, though brief, was chaste, unaffected, and evinced
a generous sentiment. Cortez found the Aztecs and
their dependencies challenging comparison with the
proudest nations of the world, and in their barbarous
magnificence rivaling the splendors of the Orient.
Advanced in the arts, dwelling in cities, and living
under a well organized government, they were happy
in their position and circumstances.
Notwithstanding the hospitable treatment shown
by the natives to the newcomers, the Castilians
destroyed them by the thousands. One explorer after
another wrote of these friendly people in the new land.
"They are very liberal," says the narrator, "for they


give what they have." Sir Ralph Lane describes the
welcome by the natives, who came with "Tobacco,
Corne and furs and kindly gestures to be friends with
the strange white men, etc., etc., but adds, "the Indians
stole a Silver Cup, wherefore we burnt their Towne
and spoylt their Corne," etc., etc.
The time will soon be over for the study of the
Aborigines of America. We have in 250 years wasted
them from uncounted numbers to a scattering popula-
tion of only about 275,000, while in the same length
of time a cargo of dusky slaves from the African shores
have become a people of millions, slaves no longer, but
protected citizens. In the redskin, whom we have
dispossessed of his native rights, we recognize no
equality; yet the descendant of the barbarous black,
whose tribe on tile Golden Coast still trembles before a
fetish, may now sit at the desk of Clay or Calhoun.
Truly the tangled threads of modern morals are hard to
The first explorers made captives of the Indians,
and carried them in irons to Spain, where they were
sold as slaves to the Spanish grandees. Two hundred
years later the people of Carolina sought to enslave
those among them. The red men rebelled at the sub-
jection, and in order to escape bondage, began to make
their way to the "Indian country" -the present site of
Georgia. African bondsmen soon followed the example
of the Indian captives, and in time continued their
Journey to Florida.


In the attempts to recapture runaway slaves is
based the primeval cause of the Seminole Wars.

The history of the Seminoles of Florida begins
with their separation from the Creeks of Georgia as
early as 1750-the name Seminole, in Indian dialect
meaning wild wanderers or runaways. Seacoffee, their
leader, conducted them to the territory of Florida, then
under the Spanish colonial policy. Here, they sought
the protection of Spanish laws, refused in all after
times to be represented in Creek councils, elected their
own chiefs, and became, in all respects, a separate
To-day the Seminoles of Florida are only a frail
remnant of that powerful tribe of Osceola's day. Their
history presents a character, a power and a romance
that impels respect and an acknowledgment of their
superiority. Of the private life of the Seminole less
is known, perhaps, than of any other band in the
United States. His life has been one long struggle for
a resting place; he has fought for home, happy hunting
grounds and the burial place of his fathers. At pres-
ent we can only see a race whose destiny says-ex-
The wilds of Florida became a home for these
Indians as well as for the fugitive negro slaves of the
Southern States. The Indian and the negro refugee,
settling in the same sections, became friendly, and in


time some of their people intermarried. The same
American spirit that refused to submit to "Taxation
without Representation," was strong in the breast of
the Seminole, and Florida, belonging to Spain, afford-
ed him a retreat for his independent pursuits. Subject
only to the Spanish crown, the exiles found a home,
safe from the inexorable slave catchers. The Seminoles
were now enjoying liberty, and a social solitude, and
refused to make a treaty with the colonial government,
or with the Creeks from whom they had separated.
One demand after another was made upon the Spanish
government at St. Augustine for the return of the
fugitives, which was always rejected. African slaves
continued to flee from their masters to find refuge with
the exiles and the Indians. They were eagerly received,
and kindly treated, and soon admitted to a footing of
equality. The growing demand for slaves in the south-
ern colonies now made the outlook serious, and from
the attempts to compel the return of the negroes grew
the first hostilities.
One of the first communications ever sent to Con-
gress after it met was by the Georgia colony, stating
that "a large number of continental troops would be
required to prevent the slaves from deserting their
masters." But in that momentous year of 1776, Con-
gress had more important duties on hand, and it was
not until 1790 that a treaty was entered into between
the Creeks and the United States. In this treaty, the
Creeks, now at enmity with the Seminoles, agreed to


restore the slaves of the Georgia planters who had
taken refuge among them. The Seminoles refused to
recognize the treaty-they were no longer a part of the
Creeks, they resided in Florida and considered them-
selves subject only to the crown of Spain. One can
readily believe that the Spanish authorities encouraged
their independence. Legally the exiles had become a
free people.
The Creeks now found themselves utterly unable
to comply with their treaty. The planters of Georgia
began to press the government for the return of their
fugitive slaves. Secretary Knox, foreseeing the diffi-
culty of recovering runaway slaves, wrote to the Presi-
dent advising that the Georgia people be paid by the
government for the loss of their bondmen. The
message was tabled, and until I8To the Seminoles and
negroes lived in comparative peace.
The people of Georgia, now seeing the only appar-
ent way to obtain possession of their slaves would be
by the annexation of Florida, began to petition for this,
but the United States, feeling less interest in slave
catching than did the state of Georgia, manipulated
affairs so slowly that Georgia determined to redress her
own grievances, entered Florida and began hostilities.
The United States was too much occupied with the
war with Great Britain to take cognizance of Indian
troubles in a Spanish province, hence the Georgia
intruders met with defeat. For a short time after these
hostilities ceased the Seminoles and their allies enjoyed


prosperity, cultivated their fields, told their traditions
and sang their rude lays around their peaceful camp
fires. Seventy-five years had passed since their an-
cestors had found a home in Florida, and it was hard
for them to understand the claims of the southern
The year 1816 found the Seminoles at peace with
the white race. In a district inhabited by many of the
Indians on the Appalachicola river was Blount's Fort.
The fort, although Spanish property, was reported
as an "asylum for runaway negroes." General Jackson,
now in military command, ordered the "blowing up of
the fort and the return of the negroes to their rightful
owners." The exiles knowing little of scientific war-
fare believed themselves safe in this retreat; and when
in 1816 an expedition under Col. Duncan L. Clinch
was planned, the hapless Indians and Negroes un-
knowingly rushed into the very jaws of death. A
shot from a gunboat exploded the magazines and de-
stroyed the garrison. History records that of 334 souls
in the fort, 270 were instantly killed! The groans of
the wounded and dying, the savage war whoops of the
Indians inspired the most fiendish revenge in the
hearts of those who escaped, and marks the beginning
of the first Seminole War.
Savage vengeance was now on fire, and "Blount's
Fort" became the magnetic war cry of the Seminole
chiefs as they urged their warriors to retaliation. This
barbarous sacrifice of innocent women and children


conducted by a christian nation against a helpless race,
and for no other cause than that their ancestors, one
hundred years before, had been born in slavery, marks
a period of cruelty, one of the most wanton in the
history of our nation.
The inhuman way in which the massacre was
conducted was never published at large; nor does the
War Department have any record of the taking of
Blount's Fort, as is shown by the following:

"An examination of the records of this Depart-
ment has been made, but no information bearing upon
the subject of the taking of Blount's Fort, Florida, in
the year 1816, has been found of record."
"By authority of the Secretary of War."
Colonel, U. S. Army, Chief of Office."
"WASHINGTON, July 25, 1895-"

History does not dwell on the cruel treatment the
Indians received from the United States authorities
during the Seminole Wars, yet pages of our National
Library are devoted to the barbarity of the Seminoles.
There are two sides to every question, and it is only
what the Indian does to the white man that is
published, and not what the white man does to the
The facts show that instead of seeking to injure
the people of the United States, the Seminoles were,
and have been, only anxious to be free from all contact


with our government. In no official correspondence
is there any reference made to acts of hostility by the
Indians, prior to the massacre at Blount's Fort.
But Floridians, who had urged the war with the
hope of seizing and enslaving the maroons of the inter-
ior, now saw their own plantations laid waste, villages
abandoned to the enemy, and families suffering for
bread. The war had been commenced for an ignoble
purpose--to re-enslave fellow-men-and taught that
every violation of justice is followed by appropriate
Few of the people of the United States knew the
true cause of the war, nor the real inwardness of the
purposes of those in command, as history and official
documents show that affairs were in the hands of the
Executive rather than in those of Congress. The first
war was in itself an act of hostility to the King of
Spain; yet nothing was gained by our government
except possession of part of the fugitives. Military
forces could not pursue the Indians into the fastnesses
of the Everglades, and after two years of bloodshed and
expenditure of thousands of dollars, peace was in a
manner restored, and the army was withdrawn without
any treaty being signed.

The Indians had set the American government at
defiance. The slaves of Southern States continued to
run away, taking refuge with the exiles and Seminoles;


the slave-holders of Georgia became more clamorous
than ever. The Spanish crown could not protect her-
self from the invasion of the Americans when in pur-
suit of runaway negroes. She had seen her own
subjects massacred, her forts destroyed or captured, and
her rights as a nation insulted by an American army.
In 1819, by a combination of force and negotiation,
Florida was purchased from Spain for $5,000,000.
Thus the Seminoles were brought under the
dominion they so much dreaded. Slave-holders
once more petitioned to the United States for aid in
the capture of their escaped property. The United
States, foiled in their treaty with the Creeks, now rec-
ognized the Seminoles as a distinct tribe, and invited
their chiefs to meet our commissioners and negotiate
a treaty. The Seminoles agreed in this treaty to take
certain reservations assigned them, the United States
covenanting t take the Florida Indians under her
care and to afford them protection against all persons
whatsoever, and to restrain and prevent all white per-
sons from huntig, settling or otherwise intruding upon
said lands.
By this treaty all their cultivated lands were given
up to the whites, and the Seminoles retired to the
interior. Once more this long persecuted people found
refuge, but it was only for a short time. The value of
slaves in States North, caused slave catchers with
chains and bloodhounds to enter Florida. They seized
the slaves of the Indians, stole their horses and cattle


and depredated their property. With such a violation
of the treaty, renewed hostilities were inevitable.
The Indians petitioned for redress, but received
none. Affairs grew worse until 1828, when the idea of
emigration for the Indians was submitted to the chiefs.
After much persuasion, a few of the tribal leaders were
induced to visit the Western country. They found the
.climate cold, and a land where "snow covers the
ground, and frosts chill the bodies of men," and on
general principles, Arkansas a delusion and a snare.
The chiefs had been told they might go and see for
themselves, but that they were not obliged to move
unless they liked the land. In their speech to the
Commissioner they said: We are not willing to go.
If our tongues say 'yes', our hearts cry 'no.' You
would send us among bad Indians, with whom we
,could never be at rest. Even our horses were stolen
by the Pawnees, and we were obliged to carry our packs
on our backs. We are not hungry for other lands--
we are happy here. If we are torn from these forests
our heartstrings will snap." Notwithstanding the
opposition to a treaty, by a system of coercion, a part
of the chiefs were induced to sign, and fifteen undoubted
Seminole cross-marks were affixed to the paper. This
was not enough, according to Indian laws, to compel
emigration. The stipulations read, "prepare to emi-
grateWest, and join the Creeks." There was no agree-
ment that their negroes should accompany them, and
they refused to move. Expecting a tribe which had


lived at enmity with the Creeks since their separation
in 1750 to emigrate and live with them, was but to put
weapons into their hands, and did not coincide with
the ideas of the Seminoles.
The United States prepared to execute-not a red-
skin was ready, and troops were sent. The Indians
began immediately to gather their crops, remove the
squaws and piccaninnies to places of safety, secure
war equipments,-in short, prepare for battle.
It was a question of wonderment many times
among the officers how the Indians procured their
ammunition in such quantities, and how they kept
from actual starvation. Hidden as they were in their
strong fortresses-the fastnesses of the swamps-many
believed that they would be starved out, and would
either stand a fair field fight or sue for peace. An old
Florida settler who carried his rifle through seven years
of Indian warfare, explains the mystery. He says:
"The Indians had been gathering powder and lead for
years, ever since the time Chief Neamathla made his
treaty with General Jackson. Besides, Cuban fishing
smacks were always bringing it in and trading with
the redskins for hides and furs. As for provisions,
they had their Koontie' flour, the acorn of the
live oak, which is fair eating when roasted, and the
cabbage of the palmetto tree. For meat, the woods
were full of it. Deer and bear were abundant, to say
nothing of small game, such as wild turkey, turtle and
squirrel." The Seminoles at this time, 1834, owned,


perhaps, two hundred slaves, their people had inter-
married with the maroons, and in fighting for these
allies they were fighting for blood and kin. To remove
the Indians and not the Negroes was a difficult thing to
do. The Seminoles, now pressed by the United States
troops, committed depredations upon the whites; bloody
tragedies occurred, and the horrors of the second Sem-
inole War were chronicled throughout the land.

It was now that the young and daring warrior,
Osceola, came into prominence. He had recently
married the daughter of an Indian chief, but whose
mother was the descendant of a fugitive slave. By
slave-holding laws, the child follows the condition of the
mother, and Osceola's wife was called an African slave.
The young warrior, in company with his wife, visited
the trading post of Fort King for the purpose of buy-
ing supplies. While there the young wife was seized
and carried off in chains. Osceola became wild with
grief and rage, and no knight of cavalier days ever
showed more valor than did this Spartan Indian in the
attempts to recapture his wife. For this he was arrest-
ed by order of General Thompson and put in irons.
With the cunning of the Indian, Osceola affected peni-
tence and was released-but revenge was uppermost in
his soul. The war might succeed or fail for all he cared-
to avenge the capture of his wife was his every


thought. For weeks he secreted himself, watchingan op-
portunity to murder General Thompson and his friends.
No influence could dissuade him from his bloody pur-
pose. Discovering General Thompson and Lieutenant
Smith taking a walk one day, Osceola, yelling the war
cry sprang like a mountain cat from his hiding place
and murdered both men.
His work of vengeance was now complete, and
almost as wild as a Scandanavian Saga was the fight
he now gave our generals for nearly two years.
While Osceola lay in wait for General Thomp-
son, plans were being completed which resulted in the
Dade Massacre.
The enmity of the Indian is proverbial, and when
we reflect that for fifty years the persecutions by the
whites had been "talked" in their camps, that the
massacre of Blount's Fort was still unavenged, that
within memory fathers and mothers had been torn,
moaning and groaning from their midst, to be sold into
bondage; with their savage natures all on fire for re-
taliation, no vengeance was too terrible.
Hostilities around Fort King, now the present
site of Ocala, becoming severe, General Clinch ordered
the troops under Major Dade, then stationed at Fort
Brooke, (Tampa) to march to his assistance. Neither
officers nor soldiers were acquainted with the route-
and a negro guide was detailed to lead them. This
unique character was Louis Pacheo, a negro slave be-
longing to an old Spanish family, then living near


Fort Brooke. The slave was well acquainted with the
Indians, spoke the Seminole tongue fluently. He
was reported by his master, as faithful, intelligent
and trustworthy, and was perfectly familiar with the
route to Fort King.
The affair of Dades Massacre is without a parallel
in the history of Indian war-fare. Of the Io1 souls,
who, with flying flags and sounding bugles merrily re-
sponded to General Clinch's order, but two lived to
describe- in after years the tragic scenes. One was
Private Clark, of the 2nd artillery, who, wounded and
sick crawled on his hands and knees a distance of sixty
miles to Fort Brooke. The other was Louis Pacheo,
the only person of the command who escaped without a
The assault was made shortly after the troops cross-
ed the Withlacoochee river, in a broad expanse of
open pine woods, with here and there clumps of pal-
mettoes and tall wire grass. The Indians are supposed
to have out-numbered the command, two to one, and
at a given signal, as the troops marched gayly along, a
volley of shot was poured into their number. The
"gallant Dade" was the first to fall pierced by a ball
from Micanopy's musket, who was the King of the
Seminole nation. A breastwork was attempted by the
soldiers, but only served as a retreat for a short time;
the hot missiles from the Indians soon laid the last
man motionless, and the slaughter was at an end.
On February 20, 1836, almost two months after


the massacre, the dead bodies of the officers and sol-
diers were found just as they had fallen on that fatal
day. History is corroborated by old settlers, who say
"that the dead were in no way pillaged; articles the
most esteemed by savages were untouched, their
watches were found in the pockets, and money, in sil-
ver and gold, was left to decay with its owner-a lesson
to all the world-a testimony that the Indians were
not fighting for plunder The arms and ammunition
were all that had been taken, except the uniform coat
of Major Dade." Their motive was higher and purer
-they were fighting for their rights, their homes, their
very existence.
What became of the negro guide? History records
that Louis, knowing the time and place at which the
attack was to be made, separated himself from the
troops. As soon as the fire commenced, he joined the
Indians and negroes, and lent his efforts in carrying
forth the work of death. An extract printed over forty
years ago describes the character of the negro Louis.
It reads as follows:
"The life of the slave Louis is perhaps the most
romantic of any man now living. Born and reared a
slave, he found time to cultivate his intellect-was fond
of reading; and while gentlemen in the House of Rep-
resentatives were engaged in discussing the value of
his bones and sinews, he could probably speak and
write more languages with ease and facility than any
member of that body. In revenge for the oppression
to which he was subjected, he conceived the purpose


of sacrificing a regiment of white men who were
engaged in the support of slavery. This object effected,
he asserted his own natural right to freedom, joined
his brethren, and made bloody war upon the enemies
of liberty. For two years he was the steady compan-
ion of Coacoochee, or, as he was afterwards called,
"Wild Cat," who subsequently became the most war-
like chief in Florida. They traversed the forests of
that territory together, wading through swamps and
everglades, groping their way through hommocks, and
gliding over prairies. For two years they stood shoul-
der to shoulder in every battle; shared their victories
and defeats together; and, when General Jessup had
pledged the faith of the nation that all Indians who
would surrender should be protected in the enjoyment
of their slaves, Wild Cat appeared at headquarters,
followed by Louis, whom lie claimed as his properly,
under slaveholding law, as he said he had captured
him at the time of Dade's defeat."

Following Louis Pacheo's career, we find him
sharing the fortunes of Wild Cat in the Indian Terri-
tory. Subsequently, Wild Cat, with a few followers,
Louis among the number, emigrated to Mexico. Fifty-
seven years passed from the date of the Dade massacre,
when Louis Pacheo, venerable and decrepit, once more
appeared on Florida soil. The old negro,-longing for
the scenes of his youth, returned to end his days in the
hospitable home of his old missus," who yet resides in
Jacksonville, Florida. In his confession he claims to be
innocent of the charge of betraying the troops, and
asserts that he was forced into remaining with the


Indians. .The vagaries of a childish mind may account
for his diversion from well-established history. The
old slave lived for three years after his return to
Florida, and died in January, 1895, at the age of
95 years.

The tragic news of the Dade Massacre convinced
the United States that war had commenced in real
earnest. From this time on, skirmish after skirmish
ensued, bloody murders were committed by the red-
skins, thousands of dollars were being expended by our
government, and the white population of Florida was
in a suffering condition. The Indians were not suffer-
ing for food. The chameleon-like character of the war
prevented any certainty of success. General Jessup,
considerably chagrined, wrote to Washington for per-
mission to resign both the glory and baton of his com-
There could scarcely arise a more painful theme,
or one presenting a stranger variety of aspects, as it
whirled scathing and bloodily along, than did the Indian
War. Yet it is a remarkable fact that no Seminole
warrior had ever surrendered, even to superior num-
bers. Our military forces had learned what a hydra-
headed monster the war really was, and attempts were
again made to induce emigration. The horrors of the
Dade Massacre and of Fort King had reached the world.
General Jessup sought negotiations, but found the same


difficulties to encounter as before, viz.: that the chiefs
would not enter into an agreement that did not guar-
antee equal rights to their allies as to the Indians.
Official documents show that General Jessup agreed
that the Seminoles and their allies who come in and
emigrate West, shall be secure in their lives and prop-
erty; that their negroes, their bona fide property, shall
accompany them West, and that their cattle and ponies
shall be paid for by the United States." The Indians,
under these terms, now prepared to emigrate. History
records that even Osceola avowed his intention to
accompany them. Every preparation was made to emi-
grate, and a tract of land near Tampa was selected on
which to gather their people. Hundreds of Indians
and negroes encamped here. Vessels were anchored
to transport them to their new homes. Peace was ap-
parent everywhere, and the war declared at an end.
At this point a new difficulty arose. Slaveholders be-
came indignant at the stipulations of the treaty, and
once more commenced to seize negroes. The Sem-
inoles, thinking themselves betrayed, with clear con-
ceptions of justice, fled to their former fastnesses in the
interior, and once more determined to defend their
In the violation of the treaty, to use General
Jessup's words, all was lost!!
All the vengeance of the Indian was again aroused,
and the wild Seminole war-cry, "Yohoehee! yohoe-
hee," again broke through the woods.



The fame of Osceola now reached the farthermost
corner of the land. His name, signifying Rising Sun,*
seemed prophetic, and he became at once the warrior
of the Ocklawaha-the hero of the Seminoles. The
youngest of the chiefs, he possessed a magnetism that
Cyrus might have envied, and in a manner truly ma-
jestic led his warriors where he chose.
In the personal reminiscences of an old Florida
settler, in describing Osceola, he says, "I consider him
one of the greatest men this country ever produced.
He was a great man, and a curious one, too; but few
people knew him well enough to appreciate his worth.
I was raised within ten miles of his home, and it was
he who gave me my first lessons in woodcraft. He was
a brave and generous foe, and always protected women
and, children. An act of kindness was never forgotten
by him. Osceola had received a favor from one of the
officers who led the battle of the Withlacoochee. Ob-
serving him in the front ranks, he instantly gave or-
ders that this man should be spared, but every other
officer should be cut down. Osceola's father was an
English trader named Powell, and his mother the
daughter of a chief known as Sallie Marie-a woman
very small in stature, and with high cheek-bones. Os-
Catlin and others give the black drink as the signification of Osceola,
or Asseola, from the man's capacity for that drink. Asseola was doubtless the
original and true name. But "Asse" or "hasse," in the present Seminole
tongue, means the sun." This, with the affix ola," or he-ho-lar," would
mean the rising sun rather than the black drink."


Sister-in-law of Osceola, 85 years old, and her great great-grand-children.


ceola lacked this peculiarity, and was one of the finest-
looking men I ever saw. His carriage was erect and
lofty, his motion quick, and he had an air of hauteur
in his countenance which arose from his elevated pride
of soul. I tell you, he was a great man; education
would have made him the equal of Napoleon. He
hated slavery as only such a nature as his could hate.
He was Indian to the heart, and proud of his ancestry.
He had too much white blood in him to yield to the
cowardly offers of the government, and had he not been
captured, the Seminole War would have been a more
lasting one than it was. I could talk all day about
Osceola," remarked the old Captain, as he drew a sigh.
Did the Indians take scalps, Captain?" "Take scalps?
-well, yes, if Osceola wasn't around. He was too
much of a white man to allow it himself."
The admixture of Caucasian blood, stimulated the
ambition of Osceola's Indian nature; his book learning,
together with the teachings of nature, made him able
to cope with the most learned. Living until he was
almost twelve years of age in the Creek confederacy of
Georgia, his youthful mind received deep and lasting
impressions from Tecumseh's teachings. To these
teachings, as well as the blood he inherited from his
Spartan ancestors was due, no doubt, his supremacy in
the Seminole war. In the manner in which lie led the
Seminoles may be seen the influence of the great
Shawnee. Osceola's power was in his strong personal
magnetism; he swayed his warriors with a look-a


shout of command produced an electric effect upon all.
He was a hero among his people, lie was feared and
dreaded by our officers. In this day, as we study his
life and character, we must recognize in the young
Seminole fighter, the greatest of chiefs, the boldest of
Interviewing old settlers who well remember
events of those stirring times, one finds the heroic part
of Osceola's character to have been not overdrawn in
history. The Seminole chief, Charles Omatla, was an
ally of the whites, and was attacked and murdered
by Osceola's warriors. On his body was found gold,
which Osceola forbade his men to touch, but with his
own hands he threw the gold himself as far as he
could hurl it, saying "it is the price of the red man's
Osceola's pride was majestic; he was imperious,
full of honor, but with the quickness of the Indian he
noted the path to popular favor. His power was recog-
nized by the officers. "Talk after talk," with the
Indians was the order of the times. It was at one of
these meetings that Osceola inothe presence of the com-
missioners attracted attention by -:i. i n i, "this is the
only treaty I will ever make with the whites," at the same
time drawing his knife and striking it into the table
before him. The cause of this outburst was that the
stipulations of the treaty guaranteed no protection to
the allies. He was arrested for his insolence, but was
released on a compromise. His vengeance became


more terrible than ever, and in defiance Yohoehee"
echoed through the woods and war to the knife" was
resumed. It was now that the daring chief made the
bold and well conducted assault against the fort at
Micanopy. A short time after, this savage hero per-
formed a piece of strategy before unheard of in the
annals of war. Surrounded by two armies of equal
strength with his own, he carried away his warriors
without leaving a trace of his retreat. That host of
Indian braves melted out of sight as if by magic, and
our disappointed generals could not but agree that a
disciplined army was not adapted to the work of
surprising Indians. They were learning to recog-
nize the character of the men our nation had to deal
The Indian method is to decoy by a broad plain
trail, then at a certain distance the foremost of the
band makes a high long step-leaves the trail and
alighting on the tip of his toe, carefully smoothes out
the brushed blades behind him. The rest of the-band
go on a few yards farther and make their exit the same
way, and so on till the end is reached. Many times
our troops made long night marches to find-what?
nothing but a few smouldering camp fires.
The war waged on in defiance of the power of a
mighty nation-a nation that had said to old 'King
George, "attend to your own affairs" and he obeyed.
One is half tempted to believe that a kind of dark
fatality controlled our army's best planned movements.


After months of warfare, Osceola in company
with Wild Cat and other chiefs was persuaded, under
a flag of truce, to meet General Hernandez on October
21, 1837, at St. Augustine. With that grave dignity
characteristic of the red man, dressed in costume be-
coming their station, with as courtly a bearing as ever
graced kings, heralding their white flags they approach-
ed the place of meeting.
History verifies the Seminole account of this blot
on our nation, that as the officers approached, they
asked of Osceola: "Are you prepared to deliver up the
negroes taken from the citizens? Why have you not
surrendered them as promised by your chief Cohadjo?"
According to history, this promise had been made
by a sub-chief and without the consent of the tribe.
A signal, preconcerted, was at this moment given and
armed soldiers rushed in and made prisoners of the
An account of this violated honor, recently giv-
en by the venerable John S. Masters, of St. Augustine,
Florida, is opportune at this point. The old soldier
in speaking of the affair said, I was one of the party
sent out to meet Osceola when he was coming to St.
Augustine under a flag of truce. "Did you honor
that truce?" was asked. Did we? No sir; no soon-
er was he safe within our lines than the order to seize
him, kill if necessary, was given, and one of the
soldiers knocked him down with the butt of his musket.
He was then bound and we brought him to Fort Mar-


ion and he was put in the dungeon. We were all out-
raged by the cowardly way he was betrayed into being
At this violation of the sanctity of the white flag
our officers wrote: "The end justifies the means-they
have made fools of us too often."
The foul means used to capture the young Sem-
inole leader was not blessed by victory, as a continu-
ance of the bloody war for five years proved that the
God of justice was not wholly on the white man's side.
The stain on our national honor will last as long as we
have a history. Osceola, with the other chiefs was
confined for a short time in St. Augustine, but the
daring savage was too valuable a prize to trust on
Florida territory, and he was taken to Fort Moultrie
where he died January 30, 1838, at the age of thirty-
four years.
Thoroughly and thrillingly dramatic was the death
scene of the noble Osceola as given by Dr. Weedon his
attending surgeon. Confinement no doubt hastened
his death, and his proud spirit sank under the doom of
prison life. He seemed to feel the approach of death,
and about half an hour before the summons came lie
signified by signs--he could not speak-that he wished
to see the chiefs and officers of the post. Making known
that he wished his full dress, which he wore in time of
war, it was brought him, and rising from his bed he
dressed himself in the insignia of a chief. Exhausted
by these efforts the swol'ing heart of the tempest-tossed


frame subsided into stillest melancholy. With the
death sweat already upon his brow, Osceola laid down a
few minutes to recover his strength. Then, rising as
before, with gloom dispelled, and a face agleam with
smiles, the young warrior reached forth his hand and
in dead silence bade each and all the officers and chiefs
a last farewell. By his couch knelt his two wives and
his little children. With the same oppressive silence
he tenderly shook hands with these loved ones. Then
signifying his wish to be lowered on his bed, with slow
hand he drew from his war belt his scalping knife which
he firmly grasped in his right hand, laying it across the
the other on his breast. In another moment he smiled
away his last breath, without a struggle or a groan.
In that death chamber there was not one tearless eye.
Friends and foes, alike, wept over the dying chief.
Osceola died as he lived-a hero among men.

Wild Cat and Cohadjo were allowed to remain in
the prison at St. Augustine. Wild Cat feigned sick-
ness and was permitted, under guard, to go to the woods
to obtain some roots-with these he reduced his size
until he was able to crawl through an aperture that
admitted light into the cell. Letting himself down by
ropes made of the bedding, a distance of fifty feet, he
made his escape, joined his tribe and once more rallied
his forces against our army. Latter day critics have
questioned the correctness -of this bit of written history.


Last winter, during the height of the season, the Ponce
de Leon guests enjoyed a unique entertainment. A
wealthy tourist made a wager of one hundred dollars
that "Wild Cat never could have made his* escape
through the little window in the old castle." Sergeant
Brown accepted the wager and himself performed the
feat, to the great delight of the excited spectators.
Our soldiers fighting in an unexplored wilderness,
along the dark borders of swamp and morass, crawling
many times on hands and knees through the tangled
matted underbrush, fighting these children of the forest
who knew every inch of their ground could hope for
little less than defeat. Even General Jessup in writing
to the President said: "We are attempting to remove
the Indians when they are not in the way of the
white settlers, and when the greater portion of the
country is an unexplored wilderness, of the interior of
which we are as ignorant as of the interior of China."
By way of illustrating the enormity of the task
the government had in subduing the Seminoles, it is
only necessary to describe one of the many Indian
strongholds in the swamps of Florida. About ten
miles from Kissimmee, west by south, is a cypress
swamp made by the junction of the Davenport, Reedy
and Bonnet creeks. It is an aquatic jungle, full of
fallen trees, brush, vines and tangled undergrowth, all
darkened by the dense shadows of the tall cypress trees.
The surface is covered with water, which, from appear-
ance may be any depth, from six inches to six feet;


this infested with alligators and moccasins would have
been an unsurmountable barrier to the white troops.
A few years ago when the Seminoles yet frequented
this section for trading purposes, old settlers have seen
them coming from the swamp carrying bags of oranges.
Interrogations received no answers and white settlers
year after year searched for the traditional orange grove,
but without success.
So difficult to penetrate and so dangerous to ex-
plore is the swamp that it was not until fifty years after
the Indians had left their island home that a venture-
some hunter, during a very dry season, accidentally
discovered the old Seminole camp. The Indian mound,
the broken pottery and the long hunted for sweet
orange grove were proofs of the old camp. The
majestic orange trees laden with golden fruit, were an
incentive to further research. With a surveyor work-
ing his way, as guided by the point of the compass,
this wonderland was explored, and proved to be a com-
plete chain of small hommocks or islands running
through from one side of the swamp to the other;
the topography of the marsh being such that a skirm-
ish could take place on one side of the jungle and an
hour later, by means of the secret route through .the
swamp, the Indians could be ready for an attack on the
other side, while for the troops to reach the same point,
by following the only road known to them, it would
have required nearly a day's marching. The Indian trail
is lost in the almost impenetrable jungle; but the toma-

A. Indian R-t Duringthe emintoe War


hawk blazes are perfectly discernible. The Seminoles
held the key to these mysterious islands and in the heart
of the great swamps they lived free from any danger of
surprise. This retreat must have been a grand rendez-
vous for them, as its geographical position was almost
central between the principal forts. Lying between
Fort Brooke (Tampa) and Fort King (Ocala), within a
distance of thirty miles from the scene of the Dade
massacre, about forty miles from Fort Mellon, the pres-
ent site of Sanford, the camp could have been reached
in a few hours 'by Indian runners after spying the
movements of the troops at any of the forts. The old
government road, over which the soldiers passed in
going from Fort Brooke to Fort Mellon, passes so close
to the old Indian camping ground that all travel could
have been watched by the keen eyed warriors.

At this period of our national history we are un-
able to picture or appreciate the condition of those
slave days, when all blacks of Southern States were
regarded as the property of the whites. The fear, the
torture, the grief suffered by the negroes and half breeds,
who had been a people with the Seminoles almost one
hundred years, is beyond our conception. When Indian
husbands were separated from wives selected from the
exiles-when children were torn from their homes and
carried to slavery, the vengeance of these persecuted
people was constantly alive. Persons of disreputable


character-gamblers, horse thieves-were employed as
slave catchers and showed no mercy to the helpless
After the violation of the treaty at Tampa, and
the capture of Osceola and Wild Cat, under the sacred
truce of the white flag, Wild Cat became a most daring
enemy to the troops, and kept his warriors inspired to
the most savage hostilities.
General Scott was now placed in command of
the army, yet the same harassing marches continued,
and it was not until seven generals had been defeated
at the game of Indian warfare by the wily chieftains
that any sign of success was apparent.
Our Government discouraged at being unable to
conquer the Indians, or protect the white settlers,
again negotiated for peace, but using a more powerful
weapon than in former years-that of moral suasion.
Executive documents show that all through the war,
artifice and bad faith were practiced upon the Indians.
The Government was astonished that a few Indians and
their Negro allies could defy United States troops. All
efforts had failed, even to the horrible policy of employ-
ing bloodhounds. To-day we shudder at the barbarity
of such an act, but official documents show how much
the subject was discussed by Congress and war author-
ities. A schooner was dispatched to Cuba and return-
ed with thirty-five bloodhounds-costing the Govern-
ment one hundred and fifty dollars apiece. They were
speedily put upon the scent of Indian scouting parties,


but proved utterly inefficient. The public believed the
hounds were to trail Indians, but reports show their
use was to capture Negro slaves. The Seminoles were
a species of game to which Cuban hounds were un-
accustomed and they refused'to form acquaintance with
the new and strange objects. The Indians had a secret
peculiarly their own of throwing the dogs off the scent,
and the experiment, to close the war thus, proved a
failure and served no other purpose than to reflect dis-
honor on our nation.
Wild Cat, after his escape from prison, was a
terrible and unrelenting foe. Occupying with light
canoes the miry, shallow creeks, and matted breaks
upon their border, he was unapproachable. A flag was
sent him by General Worth, but remembering well an-
other flag which had meant betrayal, capture and
chains, the daring hero fired upon it and refused to
meet the general. In the summer of 1841, General
Worth's command captured the little daughter of Wild
Cat and held her for ransom. The little girl-his only
child-was the idol of the old warrior's heart. On
learning of her capture, Wild Cat relented, and, once
more guarded by the white flag, was conveyed to
General Worth's camp. History gives an interesting
account of the old chief's approach. His little daughter,
on seeing him, ran to meet him, presenting him with
musket balls and powder, which she had in some way
obtained from the soldiers. So much overcome was
the fearless savage on meeting his child that the digni-


fled bearing so carefully practiced by all Indians, gave
way to the most tender emotions.
The moral suasion, the humanity of General
Worth made a friend of Wild Cat, and he yielded to
the stipulations.
The speech of the old chieftain, because it breathes
the same sentiment of the Seminoles of to-day, we give
below. Addressing General Worth, he said:
"The whites dealt unjustly with me. I came to
them when they deceived me. I loved the land I was
upon. My body is made of its sands. The great
spirit gave me legs to walk over it, eyes to see it, hands
to aid myself, a head with which I think. The sun
which shines warm and bright brings forth our crops,
and the moon brings back spirits of our warriors, our
fathers, our wives and our children. The white man
comes, he grows pale and sickly; why can we not live
in peace? They steal our horses and cattle, cheat us
and take our lands. They may shoot us, chain our
hands and feet, but the red man's .heart will be free.
I have come to you in peace, and have taken you by
the hand, I will sleep in your camp, though your soldiers
stand around me thick as pine trees. I am done.
When we know each other better, I will say more."
Through the gentleness and the humanity of the
"gallant Worth," Wild Cat at this meeting agreed to
emigrate with Ihis people. He was permitted to leave
the camp for this purpose. By some contradictory
order, while on his way to his warriors, he was captured


by one of our commands, put in chains and transported
to New Orleans.
When General Worth learned of this violation of
his pledge, he felt the honor of our country had again
been betrayed, and acting on his own discretion sent a
trusty officer to New Orleans for the return of Wild
Cat. General Worth by this act, not only showed the
nobility of his own character, but proved that the savage
heart can be touched with kindness and is always keenly
alive to honor and faithful pledges. Moreover the
justice of the act had much to do with the successful
turning of the war.
When the ship, which brought the chief, reached
Tampa, General Worth was there to meet it and publicly
apologized to the brave old warrior for the mistake
that had been made. Our gallant commander had
proven his humane heart, although at expense of both
time and money. Through the policy of General
Worth, the whole character of the war was changed.
On the 31st of July, 1841, Wild Cat's entire band was
encamped at Tampa, ready to be transported to their
new homes.
The original idea of re-enslaving the fugitives was
abandoned. General Worth and Wild Cat now be-
came the most ardent friends-the general consulting
with the famous chieftain until every arrangement for
the removal was perfected. Seeing a chief of such
prominence yield to emigration, band after band gave
up the fight and joined their friends at Tampa. From

the time of Wild Cat's removal in the fall of 1841,
until August, 1843, small bands of Indians continued
to emigrate. General Worth now advised the with-
drawal of the troops. A few small bands throughout
the State refused to move, signed terms of peace, how-
ever, by which they were to confine themselves "to the
southern portion of the Peninsula and abstain from all
acts of aggression upon their white neighbors." As
vessel after vessel anchored in Tampa Bay to carry
these wronged and persecuted people to their distant
homes, the cruelty of the undertaking was apparent to
the most callous heart. With lingering looks the Sem-
inoles saw the loved scenes of their childhood fade away.
The wails and anguish of those heart-broken people,
as the ships left the shores, touched the hearts of the
most hardened sailor. They were leaving the graves
of their fathers, their happy hunting grounds, beauti-
ful flowery Florida. But it is the destiny of the Indian.
Among that band there was not one voluntary exile.
Poets and artists picture the gloom, the breaking hearts
of the French leaving Acadia; at a later day the same
sad scenes were witnessed on the Florida coast, but
it was not until years after, that a philanthropist gave
to the world an intimation of the melancholy picture of
these poor struggling, long hunted Seminoles leaving
the shores of their native lands.

Part Second.

The Present Condition and Attitude
of the Seminoles.

T O-DAY, the Seminoles of Florida are a beggared
and spectral type of a once powerful race.
Secure in the mysterious marshes, they present
an eloquent picture of a helpless wandering tribe.
At the close of the war a few bands of the Indians
refused to submit to banishment, and concealing them-
selves in the fastnesses of the everglades, made their
removal an impossibility. This part of the tribe,
according to their traditions, belonged originally to the
Aztec race, and for this reason they claim a pre-
eminence over all the tribes of Aborigines of America.
Though defeated in war they never submitted to
the Government of the United States, and hence re-
garded themselves as stronger in character, more valiant
in defense, and more determined in purpose than that
part of the tribe which succumbed to emigration to
the Indian territory. An inexorable decree has forced
the Florida Indian into the most desolate lands of the
State. Where they once trod as masters they now

fear to place foot. We cannot be unmoved by the
thought that here are the tattered and poverty
stricken handfuls of a tribe of warriors that held at
bay a strong government for half a century-a tribe
that county their cattle, their lands and their slaves in
magnificent proportions. At the present time, to
avoid complications with the South Florida cattle
herders, none of the race are permitted to own cattle.
There is a certain pathos in the Indian's story of his
relation to the white race, which arrests our attention
and compels sympathy. But, it is destiny! What of
the future? Touch any point in the red man's history,
where you will, or how you will, and the helpless savage
always gets the worst of it. We judge the Indian too
harshly. It is hard to give up old traditions, especially
if the adherence to them means a life of ease. We are
all in the pursuit of that which will make us happy.
The story is the old one of the merciless extinc-
tion of the lower race before the higher. It is a story
of the "survival of the fittest." The Florida Indian
can go no further. An old anecdote is brought to light
which illustrates the Indian's own view of the case.
The famous Seneca chief, Red Jacket, once met a
government agent, and after pleasant greetings, they
both sat down on a log, when Red Jacket asked the
agent to "move along." The agent did so and the
chief followed. This was done several times, the
agent humoring the whim of the old chief, until he
had reached the end of the log, when the same re-


quest-"move along," was repeated. "Why man,"
angrily replied the agent. "I can't move along further
without getting off the log into the mud." "Ugh!
Just so white man want Indian to move along-move
along; can't go no further, yet he say move along."
And so with the Seminole to-day. The clearings they
have made in the forests, and the only homes they have
ever known have been bought from the State by spec-
ulators and they are compelled to "move along." The
history of the western Indian as he sells or surrenders
the heart of his great reservation proves that the white
man will have his way. The broken treaties of the
past the Seminole has not forgotten. The old chiefs
are as proud as the most imperious king. They re-
gard these lands as their own, and cannot understand
the government's claim. They say, "what right has
the big white chief at Washington to give to us what
is already ours-the lands of our fathers? The white
man who receives any confidence from the Florida
Indian, must indeed possess great magnetism, for the
Seminole is suspicious of every overture and will mis-
lead his questioner on all occasions. And while the
white man is studying "poor Lo," "poor Lo" is similarly
engaged in studying him, and continually revolving
in his suspicious mind, "what can the pale face want
from the Indian any way?"
The chiefs have taught the young braves all about
the outrages perpetrated upon their tribe by unscrup-
ulous agents during the wars; and while the Indians


themselves, in many cases practiced cruelty, it was
always in retaliation for some grievous wrong of anterior
date. History records case after case of robberies and
enormities committed on the Seminoles previous to the
war and during its progress. Micanopy requested a
lawyer to draw a form of writing for him which soon
after proved to be a conveyance of a valuable tract of
land!!! Afterwards the war whoop and the deadly
hand of Micanopy was heard and felt among the
swamps and prairies.
In the mutual relations between the whites and
the Indians, it requires no skilled advocate to show'on
which side must lie the wrongs unrepaired and un-
avenged. Without doubt the Indian has always been
the victim. One thing is certain, the Indian chiefs,
when fairly dealt with, have always evinced an earnest
desire to make just terms. Ever since the Caucasian
landed on the shores of America, a white man with a
gun has been watching the Indian. Four centuries
have gone and with them a record of broken treaties and
violated pledges. The records of the Indian Bureau
support the statement, that before the first half of the
present century had passed, we had broken seven solemn
treaties with the Creeks, eleven with the Cherokees;
the Chickasaws and Choctaws suffered too, saying
nothing of smaller tribes. History reveals how well
the Delawares fought for us in the revolutionary war.
They were brave "allies," fighting out of loyalty to
the "Alliance," and inspired by the promised reward,



viz: The "territorial right to a State as large as
Pennsylvania and a right to representation in our
Congress." But where are the Delawares to-day? One
remove after another was made until we find only a
remnant existing-some with the Cherokees, and a few
with the Wichita agency.
A great deal has been written about the Florida
Indian which is not in accordance with facts. There
are many obstacles in the way of an intimate acquaint-
ance with their customs and home life. Living as
they do in the almost inaccessible morasses, their con-
tact with civilization has been regulated by their own
volition. Visitors, traders and government agents have
been denied their confidence, and it is only on their
visits to settlements for the purpose of trading that
they meet the white man. At such times the Seminole
is on the alert, ever suspicious, and to the numerous
interrogations applied to him by the inquisitive strang-
er, his answer is an indifferent-"me don't know."
The Seminoles live to themselves, shun all inti-
macy with the Caucasian, and their personal appear-
ance is therefore almost unknown to Americans.
The greater part of the tribe seldom, if ever, leave
their marshy homes. To reach their camps uninhabit-
able wilds must be traversed and sometimes miles of
mud and water waded, then, perhaps, only to find the
camp deserted. For, while the Seminole has regular
settlements, at various times during the year the entire
camp will assemble at some point where game is


abundant and a "big hunt" will occupy a few weeks.
Again syrup boiling will be the festival all will join in;
at another time a large quantity of Koonti (wild cassava)
will be made into flour. At these gatherings the tribe
or families occupy temporary dwellings called lodges.
The innate dislike of the Seminole towards strangers
is his hardest prejudice to overcome; yet he is hospitable
when he convinces himself that the visitor is no govern-
ment agent, nor comes for any mercenary motive. The
person who is fortunate enough to reach their hunting
grounds, secure their confidence, observe their weird
home life and their childish untutored ways, meets with
an attractive spectacle of romance and may study these
aborigines in their primeval customs. For to-day, with
the exception of the chiefs and a few of the adventure-
some warriors, they know nothing of the innovations
of the last half century. So strong are they in their
resolution to hold no intercourse with our nation, that
neither bribery nor cajolery will have any effect upon
them. A few years ago an effort was made by the
authorities of the Sub-Tropical Exposition at Jackson-
ville, Florida, to secure a few of the Seminole braves
for exhibition. After many proffered bribes,, the young
warriors with the adventurous spirit of youth consented
to go to the big city." A council was held and the
chiefs said "halwuk (it is bad): if you go you never
come back." The council of the chiefs is always
respected and the young braves remained with their
fathers. The Indians in Florida number about 600.


They live in tribes apart, each independent of the other,
but in friendly relation.
The life of the Seminole has been without any aid
or instruction from the white man. He has adopted
a few of the implements, weapons and utensils of
civilization; but in no other way has he imitated his
pale faced brother. In the natural course of evolution
he has made some progress--he has not degenerated.
Government reports show an annual appropriation
of almost $7,000,000 for the Indian service; yet the
Florida Indian has not received any part of it, and with-
out it he has shown a prosperous condition. The
Smithsonian report, in comparing this interesting
people with the native white settlers, says, "that suc-
cess in agriculture and domestic industries is not to
be attributed wholly to the favorable character of the
climate and soil; for, surrounded by the same con-
ditions, many white men are lazy and improvident,
while the Seminoles are industrious and frugal."
President Cleveland in his message for 1895 per-
tinently says, In these days, when white agriculturists
and stock raisers of experience and intelligence find
their lot a hard one, we ought not to expect Indians to
support themselves on lands usually allotted to them."
Yet in Florida, we find the red race not only self-
sustaining, but refusing any aid from our Government.
Several years ago, the Government appropriated
$6,000, "to enable the Seminoles of Florida to obtain
homesteads upon the public lands, and to establish


themselves thereon." A few of the Indians con-
sented to accept; but the agent, on investigation,
found that the lands which the Indians desired
had passed into State or Improvement Companies.
To-day the Seminole is embittered; and, having
been driven from one reservation to another, he
refuses to exchange "Indian's good lands for white
man's bad lands," and in the bitterness of his conquered
spirit, takes his dusky tribe to the dark shadows of the
cypress swamps, where no pale faced government
officer dare disturb him. Again Congress tacked an
item to the appropriation act giving $6,000ooo for the
support of the Seminoles of Florida,'for the erection
and furnishing of a school, for teachers and the fur-
nishing of seeds and implements for agricultural
purposes." In the winter of 1889, an agent inspired
with confidence in himself, and with the hope of
manipulating a $12,000 appropriation, came to Florida
by appointment from Washington to renew the effort,
" to find suitable lands upon which to settle the Indians,
and to furnish the seat of an educational establishment."
Securing an interpreter the agent visited the Indian
camp. A council of chiefs listened quietly to his
overtures, but with the same proud spirit of Osceola's
day, they refused firmly to accept any aid from a
Government which they regard as having stolen from
them the lands of their fathers. As the agent dwelt
on the presents the red men of Florida should receive
from the big white chief, Tiger Tail, a worthy de-

* norid~ GrOup


scendant of the invulnerable Tustenuggee replied, "You
came from Great Chief? You say Great Chief give
Indian plow, wagon, hoe?" then pointing in the
direction of a small settlement of shiftless whites, he
added, "lie poor man, give 'em to him. Indian no
want 'em." Delivering his speech with the spirit of
an old Norse king the chief strode majestically away,
leaving the agent no nearer the fulfillment of his trust.
At present, however, there is an Indian agency in
Florida which was established in May, 1892. The
agency is located East of Fort Myers, and about 35
miles from the nearest Indian camp, and is supported
by a yearly appropriation of $6,000. The appropri-
ation act reads, "for the support, civilization and
instruction of the Seminole Indians in Florida, $6,ooo,
one half of which sum may be expended in the
discretion of the Secretary of the Interior in procuring
permanent homes for said Indians." Little progress
so far has been made. Five years ago the Government
built a saw mill, and attempted a school, but the Indians,
according to the statement of Col. C. C. Duncan, U. S.
Indian Inspector, to a Times- Union reporter, refuse to
send their children to the school or to work the saw
mill. Many white traders who purchase hides, plumes
and furs from the Indians, tell them that the establish-
ment of an agency is for the purpose of rounding them
up and sending them West. These Indians have been
cheated and baffled so often by knaves, who go among
them for that purpose, that they imagine all whites to


be of the same character, and cannot tell whether a
" talk comes from their great father at Washington,
or whether some impostor be imposing upon them for
his own gains; hence the Seminole never removes his
cloak of suspicion.
The Government has recently purchased four
sections of land, in a cypress swamp about seventy-five
miles from Fort Myers, for these Indians. The price
paid for said lands is $2,600.
President Cleveland in his message on the Indian
question wisely and humanely says, "I am convinced
that the proper solution of the Indian problem and the
success of every step taken in that direction depend to
a very large extent upon the intelligence and honesty
of the reservation agents and on the interest they have
in their work. An agent fitted for his place can do
much towards preparing the Indians for citizenship,
and his advice as to any matter concerning their wel-
fare will not mislead." An appropriation of $6,ooo
may seem small for an Indian agency, yet properly ex-
pended good results should follow. The Seminoles are
prosperous and industrious, and, aside from providing
them with suitable lands, they need nothing more
than civilizing Christian influence. Work in this
direction has been undertaken and a part of this
Florida field is now being occupied, for the first time,
by a mission under the auspices of the Episcopal
church. While the results so far accomplished are not
what might be wished, yet they are of an encouraging


nature. The friendship and confidence of the Indians
is gradually being secured, which is the chief requisite
to the desired results.
We cannot but admire the proud and independent
spirit of the Seminole as he refuses, in firm but Indian-
like measures, the proffered liberality of a Government
which he believes has wronged him. And, from his
high pinnacle of pride, he certainly bears the distinc-
tion of being the only American who has been found
unwilling to share the spoils of the nation. So he says,
"We have listened to the great father at Washington.
The great spirit wishes no change in his red children.
If you teach our children the knowledge of the white
people, they will cease to be Indians. To know how
to read and write is very good for white men, but very
bad for red men. Long time ago, some of our fathers
wrote upon a little piece of paper without the nation
knowing anything about it. When the agent called
the Indians together he told them the little paper was a
treaty which their brethren had made with the great
father at Washington, and lo! they found that their
brethren by knowing how to write had sold their lands
and the graves of their fathers to the white race. Tell
our great father at Washington that we want no
schools, neither books, for reading and writing
makes very bad Indians. We are satisfied. Let us a
alone." After this speech delivered in the native
tongue, the council breaks up, and the proud Seminole
betakes himself to the Everglades. The Seminole is


disposed to make a child's bargain with the big white
chief. "You let me alone, and I will let you alone."
Photographs of the Carlisle Indian boys have
been used to illustrate the improvement which follows
education; but the Seminole youth turns away with
disdain, as he notes the closely shaven head and the
American dress, and says, "Indian no want books,
make 'em white man, white man mean heap-lie too
much." With a gesture faithful to the Indian, he refers
to the "long time ago, Seminoles had lands, cattle,
slaves, white man steal 'em." This statement of the
Indians is corroborated by the old white settlers of to-
day, who fought the Indians. They tell that General
Jessup's army, on coming to the great cattle country of
South Florida, began a systematic slaughter of all the
cattle found. A body of soldiers, too large to fear an
attack would round up a herd of the Indian's cattle
and sitting on their horses shoot them all down. Up
to this time the Indians were regular stock dealers,
their customers being the Cubans and the Minorcans.
General Jessup's report of his march into the Indian
country" says, "On the 28th (January, 1837,) the
army moved forward and occupied a strong position on
'Ta-hop-ka-li-ga' Lake, where several hundred head of
cattle were obtained."
The tribe to-day are taught by the chiefs to re-
gard the whites, in general, as lacking in honor and
courage, weak and insignificant, or in Seminole dialect,
"white man-ho-lo-wa-gus," (no good). This is easily


understood when we consider the strong attachment an
Indian bears to his native hunting grounds ; and when
the memory runs back to the time when our Govern-
ment banished their friends and relatives to the un-
known wilds of the West, and they went silent and
weeping towards the setting Sun. Their bitterness is
consistent with their ideas of injustices practiced upon
History, romance and poetry have embodied the
characteristics of the red man to our perceptions from
childhood. And while treachery may be a distinguish-
ing feature of the Indian nature, yet the lowest one of
them has some conception of honor when fairly
approached. History shows that all through the
Seminole war, misrepresentations and dishonorable
schemes were practiced against them by the whites.
Almost universal sympathy goes out to this remnant of
a people who fought so bravely and so persistently for
the land of their birth, for their homes, for the burial
place of their kindred. As their traditions tell them
of the oppression their people suffered as they wander-
ed in the wilderness thrice forty years, who can tell the
secret of their hearts? To do this, it would be neces-
sary to become, for the time, an Indian, to put our-
selves in his place-and what white man has ever done
this? Ask the waters of Tohopeliga, or the winds that
waft across Okeechobee. To the elements are whis-
pered the heart throbs of these red fawns of the forest.
The present Florida Indians are descendants of that


invincible tribe who were never conquered by the force
of arms. Refusing in 1842 to accompany their people
to the mysterious West, they ceased to exist save for
themselves. Finding refuge in the almost inaccessible
Everglades, they were for a time almost lost to the
historian. They have no legal existence, and hence
no rights that a white man is bound, by law, to respect.
There are no Indian troubles in Florida at present, but
every few months a cry comes from hungry land
grabbers, or from trappers and hunters, that the Sem-
inoles are killing off the deer and plume birds. The
changing condition in the lower peninsular country will
eventually lead up to difficulties; and "where shall we
locate the Indians?" becomes a,serious problem.
The Florida Times-Union editorially says, "All
the murderous, cut-throat, unkempt and squalid Indians
in the United States, whom the Government fears, are
provided with reservations and such luxuries as they
never before had in their lives, but the Seminoles of
Florida, the finest specimens of Indian manhood in
this country, clean in body, pure in morals, and as
brave as the lion that roams the desert, with whom so
many treaties have been wantonly broken, are being
driven farther and farther into the Everglades and their
hunting grounds confiscated to the land grabbers. Is
this justice? "
Should the whites drive off the Seminoles, and
thus approve their greed for land by taking the pos-
sessions the Indians now occupy, what good would it


do them ? Internal improvement companies, by their
franchises, would sooner or later take the blood-stained
acres from them. Let settlers in Florida, or in any
part of the country, turn over their accounts and see
how many acres have been credited to them, either
from the State or from the general Government, without
the equivalent of homesteading or for cash. The
Western style of disposing of the Indian's inherit-
ance must not be followed in fair Florida. It seems
hard that these natives who ask no aid of our nation,
should be forced to the wall by tie march of civiliza-
tion. To the Western Indians, under the protection of
the Government, and supplied in a large measure by
the taxes which civilization pays, pages are devoted by
philanthropists for the betterment of their condition.
The rights of the Seminoles of Florida should be
defended. The day is not far distant when they must
be made to go to the reservation in Arkansas or to
lands set apart for them in Florida. To remove them
from their tropical homes to the chilling blasts of the
Indian Territory would be an act of cruelty and wholly
unnecessary. Those of us who have enjoyed life in
this land of the palm, this land of the balmy air and
life-giving sunshine, reveled in the eternal bloom of
the flowers and the ceaseless song of the birds, can well
picture the struggle it would cost the patient Seminole
to be forced to a cold western land. No, fair Florida,
the ancestors of these proud people were forced to the
country of the setting sun silent and dejected. But,


with the spirit of Osceola, if they must perish, it will
be here-here upon the land of their birth, upon the
graves of their kindred. The lands they now occupy
are of little value to the white race and might be made
a safe reserve for them-forever. Cow boys who hunt
upon the Okeechobee plains, say the Indians are peace-
,ably disposed and friendly, and have never yet disturbed
or threatened. They are certainly not foot sore for the
war path and are fearful of doing any thing to arouse
the whites. Indian no fight," is the answer to the
questioner. They have sense enough to know that if
war should come again it would mean extermination
for them ; and their love for the Flower Land" is so
deep that the thought of exile would cost a struggle
they dare not attempt. Yet, feeble remnant as they are,
with the same heroic blood coursing their veins that
inspired their ancestors and made them almost invul-
nerable, the present Seminole would choose to die
rather than submit to removal. And in their swampy
fastnesses, they could maintain a contest that would
cost us thousands of dollars and many precious lives.
Under the present status the Seminoles are pros-
perous, happy and contented. But the vanguard of
civilization is marching on, and thinking friendly
minds must solve the question of the protection of this
remnant of a tribe we have dispossessed of their natural
rights. Dwellers of every land, from Scandinavia to


Japan have a Christian welcome to our shores. The
slums of Europe pour in upon us to fill our almshouses
and to be supported by our taxes. We have, during
the past quarter century, contributed more than
$5,000,000 to the education of the freedmen; yet, except
in individual cases, the improvement is scarcely notice-
able. Men and women are sacrificing their lives for
the heathen of other lands.
Christianity is donating millions of money to this
end, while our own "wards," too many of them, are
yet living in the dark superstitions of their fathers.
It is possible it will take time and patience before any
shining results are apparent. Not until confidence is
restored will the embittered Seminole yield to the
overtures of our Government. In an educational sense
the older Indians will not be benefitted, except through
the influence of their children. The logic of events
demands absorption of this people into our National
life, not as Indians, but as American citizens; and the
sooner they can be induced to accept lands from the
Government, and education for the youth, the sooner
will the civilization of the Seminole cease to be a
theory. The permanent duty of the hour is to prepare
the rising generation for the new order of events that
must come. Because these bands of the Seminoles
are prouder, more invincible than the old Saxons,
because they are savages, yet heroes many of them, all
the good of life should not be withheld from them. It
has taken years of labor to obtain the shining of even


the few rays of light that relieve the gloom of the
heathen countries of the Orient. It would be unreason-
able to expect the offspring of savages to attain in a
short time to anything like the thrift of a Nation like
ours. Yet, with a few years of humane treatment,
unviolated pledges, with Christian and patriotic
examples set before them, this little band of Florida
Indians would become worthy representatives of this
fair land.
Were any future danger to threaten the United
States, the Seminoles would be found to be brave allies.
The pledge to General Worth by this remnant of
hostiles, who in 1842 refused to emigrate with the rest
of their tribe, temporarily agreeing "to confine them-
selves to certain limits and abstain from all aggressions
upon their white neighbors," seems to be held sacred
by their descendants. Putting the question to Billy
Bowlegs, one of the most intelligent of the present
Indians, as to what his people would do were the
whites to encroach, and take the clearings his tribe are
now occupying-" Would Indian fight? The young
brave replied with downcast face, Indian no fight,
Indian no kill, Indian go." Pursuing the subject
further--" but Billy, by and by, may be one year, five
years, may be, white man go, take all your land, take
Okeechobee, then where will Indians go ?" With the
same bowed head, the answer came low and soft, me
don't know-Indian go." Then to test his idea of an
ally the question was asked, "what would Seminole


Indians do, Billy, if the Spaniards from across the big
salt water should come to fight the white people of
Florida? Quickly and with spirit came the answer,
" Indians help white man to fight." Unless action be
taken, there will come a time, when, leaving no trace
behind him, the Seminole shall pass out of the world-
he shall go, like the mist.
We cannot undo the past, but the future is in the
hands of the people. In Canada there are over 100,000
Indians. They are called the Indian subjects of Her
Majesty; all held amenable to the law and protected by
it. Statistics show that on one side of the line the
nation has spent millions of money in Indian wars,
while on the other, with the same greedy Anglo-Saxon
race, not one dollar has been spent, and there has never
been a massacre.
The caustic remark that the only good Indian is a
dead Indian, might apply to the savage Apache; but
when one has studied the home life of the Seminoles,
observed their domestic felicity, from which many white
men might take example, noted their peaceful, content-
ed character, he can only see in them an attractive
race, and worthy the proud lineage they claim. Surely
if ever the strong were bound to aid the weak, we are
bound to help them, to treat them as human beings,
possessed of human rights and deserving the protection
of American law. This without doubt they will be
willing to accept, when our nation by kind, courteous
and honorable means secures their lost confidence; and


when our national Christianity shall take measures to
make our land for them a home where they may dwell
in peace and safety.


Almost four hundred years have passed since that.
fair April day when Ponce de Leon anchored on the
verdant shores of Florida. Since the Spanish cavalier
planted the silken flag of Spain upon her soil, Florida
has been surrounded by a halo of romance and tragedy.
Between the time of her discovery and to-day, what
marvelous scenes have been witnessed upon her fair
plains and along the borders of her wild dark rivers.
The ancient race who greeted the old Castilian has
vanished and, save in the little band of Seminoles
secreted in the mysterious and weird wilderness of the
Everglades, no trace of the red man is visible. A de-
scription of a type of this fragment of a. people will
enable the reader to form a better conception of the
tribe as a whole; and no name is more worthy a place
in these pages than that of Talla-hassee.
The old chieftain in appearance is noble and intel-
lectual, and there is that in his look and bearing which
at once pronounces him something more than the mere
leader of a savage tribe. While his silvered head
marks the cycle of many years, in his attire of scarlet
and white, embraced by the traditional brightly beaded
sash, he exhibits a dignified and patriarchal bearing.
His countenance, while indeed mellowed with the cares

Ch-rT.hllafl. -th.Ti-~ N-T.,-d ---


of three score years and ten, is kindly and shows a
conquered spirit. The lineaments of noble features
are traceable in the broad forehead, the firm thin lips
and eyes that might pierce the rays of the sun. Talla-
hassee shows no resentment to the whites, yet he be-
lieves they have treated the Indian badly.
When Osceola, with his compatriots went on the
war path, Talla-hassee was a small boy and remembers
well when his father and a few companions were sur-
rounded and killed by the soldiers near Talla-hassee,
the capital of the State. Chipco, the chief of the tribe,
was Talla-hassee's uncle; he escaped from the soldiers
and made his way to the Everglades where he lived to
be nearly one hundred years old. Rosa, the sister of
Talla-hassee became his squaw. They were childless,
and at Chipco's death Talla-hassee inherited the title,
but as a reward for bravery displayed in saving his life
on two occasions, Chipco had made him chief years
before he died.
There is no trace of a revengeful spirit in either
word or manner when Talla-hassee speaks of his father's
tragic death, but with the stoicism of a philosopher, he
seems to have accepted it as one of the cruel fortunes
of war, and has nobly "buried the tomahawk." Talla-
hassee is no stern warrior with blood stained hands,
but wears worthily the dignities of his ancestral station
and in many ways might be imitated with profit by his
more cultured pale faced brother. He is a true type of
the "noble red man and in any other walk of life


would have risen to eminence. Of all the Seminoles,
Talla-hassee is the most friendly to the whites. With
the inborn courtesy that is native to all true greatness,
this untutored Indian will welcome you to his wigwam
and with royal grace dispense the hospitalities at his
command. Few enter his presence, and none leave it
without this mental tribute to his high character. The
old chief is treated with care and consideration, and a
homage is paid him by the younger members of the
band. Among the Seminoles, when a member of the
tribe becomes too old for usefulness or self-help, it be-
comes the duty of the young men to contribute their
share to his support. They are taught to do this more
as an honor than as a burden.
It is generally believed that the Seminoles are
dying off, and can last but a few years longer. On the
contrary, they have large families of strong healthy
children, and the past ten years has shown a marked
increase in their number. The strict law allowing no
persons of a like gens to marry is a reason why the
tribe does not multiply still more rapidly. There are
instances where eligible young men find great difficulty
in getting a wife because of the strictness governing
the gens or consanguinity law. One chief has two
daughters who find the same trouble in getting married
because the men of their choice are too closely con-
nected to them. Thus a member of the Deer clan


may not marry into the same clan, no difference how
far removed the relationship may be. Relationship on
the father's side is not guarded against so strenuously,
as the gens is all counted through the mother. Very
often the law of marriage causes strange alliances-
young men twenty years of age having very old women
for wives. From the best obtainable resources, there
were in the year 1859 only one hundred and twelve
Indians left in Florida. In 1880 by actual count, as
reported by the Smithsonian Institute, the Seminoles
of Florida numbered two hundred and eight. According
to data gotten from the Indians themselves the tribe
to-day numbers nearly six hundred. Of this number a
great proportion are young children, or in the language
of the chief as he made a numerical calculation of the
members of the different families-" heap piccaninnies,
piccaninnies ojus (plenty). The Seminoles are divided
into four bands, who live in groups apart; each
independent of the other, but in friendly relation.
They are the Miami Indians, the Big Cypress band, the
Talla-hassees and the Okeechobees. Since the death of
Woxo-mic-co (Great Chief) five years ago, no one has
been elected to fill his place, and it is doubtful if his
office will ever be filled.
No event in the history of the Seminole since the
closing of the war, has been more tragic than the
slaughter of eight of the band, by the hand of Jim
Jumper, a half-breed belonging to the tribe. The
killing occurred in February, 1891. According to the

Indians, the negro had bought some bad whiskey from a
white trader, and it made him "crazy too much in
his head "-doubtless delirium tremens. With his
Winchester in his hand he started out. The first victim
was his faithful squaw who happened to be close by.
Rushing forward and through the camp, and meeting
the venerable Woxo-mic-co, head chief over all the tribe,
who was on a visit to the Cow Creek band from his
council lodge at Miami, the crazy half-breed sent a ball
through the old chief's head, killing him instantly.
Old Tom Tiger, one of the land marks of the Indian
wars, hearing the firing came to the rescue, but was
shot down before he had time to interpose. Young
Tiger, stepping out of the wigwam in time to see his
father fall to the ground, with a blood curdling war
whoop sprang upon the maniac and a hand-to-hand
fight ensued; but he was at the wrong end of the rifle,
and before he could wrest it from his antagonist
another report was followed by the death cry of the brave
young Indian. The wildest panic ensued-the women
and children huddling in their wigwams or fleeing to
the woods. The murderer now rushed into the
wigwam of his sister, and with his knife murdered her
and her two little children who were clinging to her
dress in terror. Brandishing his knife he started into
the woods, where he was killed by a bullet from Billy
Martin's rifle. The wailing and the anguish in that
camp can better be imagined than described. After
the burial ceremony over the murdered victims, the


body of the murderer was dragged far into the swamp,
to be fed upon by the vultures. Thus passed away in
less than half an hour eight innocent lives, victims to
the demoralizing influence of the white man's whisky.
The Indian village was broken up, the entire band
moving away to escape the visitations of the spirits of
the murdered ones.
On the death of Woxo-micco, four candidates
for the position of Big Chief appeared, but five years
have passed and yet no chief has been elected. In
the old chieftain's death the last vestige of Seminole
war spirit is obliterated. Nowhere in their history is
their determination to live at peace with their white
neighbors more conclusively proven than in the aboli-
tion of the office of Great Chief, Big Chief" and
war councils, in their minds, being inseparable.
The authority of the sub-chiefs, who are leaders
of the different bands, is purely personal; they cannot
decree punishment-a jury or council alone can do
this. The Government is not harsh, and there is as
much freedom as could be possible in these forest

In personal appearance, many a Seminole brave
might be taken as a type of physical excellence. He
is bright copper in color, is over six feet in height, his
carriage is self-reliant, deliberate and strong. His step
has all the lightness and elasticity that nature and


practice can combine to produce-as lithe and soft as
the tread of a tiger. The Yale, the Harvard or the
Oxford student with years of training in the athletic
school, would be but a novice in the art of grace,
suppleness and mode of walking, as compared with this
son of the forest. His features are regular, his eyes
jet black and vigilant, always on the alert; his nose is
straight but slightly broadened, his mouth firm as a
stoic's. The hair is cut close to the head, except the
traditional scalp lock of his fathers, which is plaited
and generally concealed under the large turban that
adorns his head.
The dress of the Seminole chief consists of a
tunic embraced by a bright sash, close fitting leggins of
deer skin, which are embellished with delicately cut
thongs of the same material, that hang in graceful
lines from the waist to the ankle where they meet the
moccasin. The moccasin is also made of deer skin
and covers a foot shapely and smaller than that of the
average white man. A picturesque feature of the dress
is the turban. Oriental in its effect, it has become the
emblem of the race. It is worn almost constantly;,
and is made impromptu from shawls or colossal hand-
kerchiefs wrapped round and round the head and then
secured in shape by a band, often made of beaten
silver which encircles the whole with brilliant effect.
With young braves the more important the occasion,
the more enormous the turban. Another characteristic
of the dress is the number of handkerchiefs worn,

BulygBuse. Tommprual Tanaihm.~ Chaldiersear


knotted loosely about the neck. Regardless of the
temperature, the Indian adorns himself with six, eight
or perhaps a dozen of bright bandannas, exhibiting
great pride .in the number he possesses. A belt made
of buckskin completes the costume. From this are
suspended a hunting knife, a revolver, a pouch in which
is carried the ammunition and small articles necessary
for the chase.
The physique of the women will compare favor-
ably with that of the men. They are healthy and
robust, and among the younger members some comely
well-featured women are found. The dress of the
squaw is very simple, consisting of a straight, full skirt,
made long enough to hide the feet. The upper part of
the dress is a long sleeved, loose fitting waist, which fails
to meet the waist band of the skirt by about two inches;
this oddly fashioned garment is cut large enough in the
neck to be put on or taken off over the head. A large
collar, fashioned after the collarettes worn by the
fashionables of the season of 1896, completes the toilet.
A Seminole woman wears no head dress of any de-
scription. Even when visiting the white settlements
they go with their heads uncovered. Neither do they
wear the moccasins, at home or abroad, in winter or in
summer. They are always bare-footed.
Vanity and coquetry are inborn in the female
character. The Seminole maiden whose life has been
spent among the swamps "far from the adding"
crowd and fashion's emporium still practices the arts of


her pale faced sister. She affects the bang and the
psyche knot with as much ease as the New York belle,
and with such metropolitan airs soon captivates her
forest lover. The same passionate desire for gold and
jewels, ever uppermost in the heart of the civilized
white woman, be she peasant or queen, shows itself in
the Seminole squaw. Silver breast-plates, made from
quarters and half dollars, beaten into various designs
add to their personal adornment on festal occasions.
What the turban is to the brave, such is the necklace
of beads to the woman. It is her chief glory and is
worn constantly. Her ambition seems to be to gather
as many strings of these brightly colored beads about
the neck as she can carry, often burdening herself with
several pounds. Even the wee tots are adorned with
small strings of the much prized necklace.
A few years ago, chief Talla-hassee with two or
three of the squaws visited Kissimmee. Being taken
into a room to see a newly born babe, he directed a
squaw to take from her neck a string of beads and put
it around the neck of the "little white pappoose."
This was done as an act of greatest honor, to show
the Indian's appreciation of hospitalities received at
this house.
To-day as we meet the Seminole "at home," we
find the wigwam made of palmetto leaves and the skins
of wild animals; the floor of this structure is made of


split logs and elevated about two feet above the ground.
A few of the Indians have in late years built board
houses, but the roof is made of palmetto thatch. Here,
surrounded by the gloom and weirdness of the Ever-
glades, miles from white man's habitation, the baying
of the alligator, the hooting of the great horn owl and
the croaking of the heron are the only sounds to be
heard. Truly the picture is one of melancholy and
profound dreariness. But here we find the Aborigines
contented because they are out of the white man's
power. Here they hold their councils, here around the
camp fires the traditions of the old turbaned tribe are
taught to the youths; here too they follow the same
customs of the race of one hundred years ago. Here
is instilled into the youth the story of the perfidies
practiced upon their fathers by the white man; and as
the children listen to the glories of Osceola, and the
tragic ending of their hero, the spirit of conservatism
is engendered, and with swelling hearts they go on, on,
resolute in their determination to avoid disaster, by
keeping aloof from the white man. Although far
from the influence of civilization, knowledge has come
to these people naturally which we have painfully
acquired by books. Driven to these Florida Jungles
after a seven years bloody war, here the Seminole,
thrown absolutely upon his own resources has contin-
ued. to dwell. He has accepted no aid, his people have
increased, and in a manner have prospered. No alms-
houses are supported for their benefit. This independ-


ent Indian does not increase the expense of the jail
nor the penitentiary; he is no starving Indian who
must be fed at the expense of the Government. In
these red sons of the forest we meet the original "real
Indian," unchanged by contact with the white man.
The visitor to the "Wild West," who complains that
"the Indians do not look like the Indians of fifty years
ago would have little ground for his complaint were
he to visit the Seminoles in their marshy fastnesses.
Florida can boast of one of the few tribes of "real
Indians" in the United States. The present Seminole
must be credited with a high sense of honor; and he
can keep a pledge as well as did Massasoit. A few
years ago during a terrific coast storm some Indian braves
asked shelter of a Florida settler. The Indians were
received and entertained until the weather settled. On
leaving, the chief sweeping his hand towards the broad
Savannah, said, "Captian, hunt deer?" The answer
was-"sometimes." "Indian no hunt Captain's deer"
was the rejoinder. Very little in itself, but it meant
much, for since that time there has not been an Indian
hunter within miles of the place.
Famed in song and story is the pledge of the old
turbaned tribe of the Seminoles. Not more worthy
are they of commemoration than their descendants of
to-day. A few months ago, Billy Bowlegs and Tommy
Doctor paid an unexpected visit to Kissimmee. They
walked from their camp at Okeechobee Marsh, a
distance of one hundred and twenty-five miles to tell



their white friend that Indian no lie." This was all.
They apparently had no other business in town, and
after a few hours visit left as quietly as they had come.
Their mission was completed-their white brother
believed them, their honor was clear-they could
now dance at the Green Corn Dance with merry
A few months prior to this, these Indians had
promised their white friend to act as guide on a bear
hunt in the Everglades. All arrangements had been
made for the hunt, except to fix the time and place of
meeting. This was to be done through a white settler.
Later, plans for the hunt were perfected and word was
sent to the Indian village. According to their promise
the Indians came to the settler's home on the day
specified, but found that the white man had left his
house early in the morning with no message as to how
or where the Indians should follow. The Indians, not
knowing which way to go to find the party, could do
nothing but return to their camp-a distance of forty
or fifty miles. Subsequent developments proved that
the white man wished to act as guide, and thereby earn
for himself the remuneration he expected the Indians
would receive.

When one sees the great moral strength of the
Seminoles, notes the wonderful physical endurance of
which they are capable, observes the fearless, haughty


courage they display, he cannot but be surprised that
the Florida wars were not more disastrous than they
were, or that any of the Seminoles ever yielded to
removal. To test their endurance the old chiefs have
been known to take a live coal from the camp fire,
place it on the wrist and without an emotion let it
burn until the heat was exhausted. Tustenuggee would
remove the cool ember and quietly reach down and put
a fresh one in its place. This old chief, so famous in
history, never yielded to removal and lived till a few
years ago with his tribe in the Everglades. The goal
of the Seminole is to learn to endure and to achieve.
To this end is every Seminole boy educated, and
different modes of developing the powers of endurance
are employed. Carrying a deer for a long distance
without fatigue, walking or running for many miles,
jumping, wrestling, poling a canoe, etc., are some of
the practical modes. The Spartan spirit is supreme in
the minds of the tribe, and the youth are taught that
no merit is greater than that of bearing pain without
complaint. At the annual feast of the Green Corn
Dance the young Indians of a certain age are initiated
into the rights of warriors, and are subjected to trying
ordeals. They must pass through the "In-sha-pit,"
which means the cutting of the legs till the blood
flows, and other cruel arts, after which the Indian boy
is pronounced a warrior, ready for the battle of life,
whatever the Great Spirit decrees. It is the strict
adherence to the teachings of their ancestors that


makes the present generation the brave and proud
people that they are.
Strange as it may seem, the Seminoles celebrate a
Christmas-" all same white man's Kismas is their
reply when questioned concerning the celebration.
This is the great feast of the "Shot-cay-taw" (Green
Corn Dance), and occurs each year about the first of
July, which is the beginning of the Indian's New Year.
At the annual meeting the whole band assembles for
the feast. The ceremony is largely under the control
of the medicine men who are important personages
among all the bands, and act as advisers, as priests and
as doctors. The medicine men select from the youths
their successors and train them for the position they
must occupy at their death. The Feast, over which
they preside is the fitting time for rejoicing, sorrowing
and purifying. The ceremony preceding the dance
permits all men who have violated the laws to be
reinstated by undergoing certain trying ordeals. The
transgressors appear a short time before the dance.
They are placed in a closed skin tent, where a large
hot stone lies on the fire. The famous black drink "
of Osceola's time is administered, water is poured on
the stone and the culprits are shut up in this suffocating
steaming heat. If they pass the ordeal they are forgiven
their transgression and allowed to join in the feasting
and dancing when it occurs. The same "black
drink which is a nauseating medicine, made from
herbs, is taken by all the members of the tribe on the


first day of the dance. This cleanses the system and
enables them to "eat, drink and be merry" to the
fullest extent. When they are ready for the dance,
the shells of the highland terrapin, partly filled with
pebbles, are strapped around their legs, and, as they
dance, singing the rhythmical long cadenced songs of
their fathers, they make melodious music. It is at this
time, too, that the fires of the past year are extinguished
-not a spark is allowed to remain. New fire is
produced artificially; this is the "Sacred Fire" and
must be made with the flint rock of their ancestors.
The new fire is presented from one tribe to another
and is received as a token of friendship. They then
assemble around the fires, singing and dancing. Grati-
tude is expressed to the Great Spirit if the years have
been abundant. If death has overtaken the tribe,
mournful strains, expressive of pity and supplication
are invoked. This custom was borrowed from the
Nachez Indians who worship the Sun. The medicine
men arrange the date for the Green Corn Dance, which
is governed by a certain phase of the moon, and runners
are sent from band to band to announce the time.
At this great re-union old friendships are revived,
courtships take a prominent part and plans are formu-
lated for hunting expeditions, syrup boiling and
Koonti gatherings." Members of one settlement
will agree to meet certain members of another family,
at a certain point and on a fixed day of the moon.
There will be no broken pledges-no disappointments.


The Seminole promises nothing to his people that he
will not fulfil.
An exciting feature of the dance is the racing
for a wife. A level course is laid off and the race
begins. The dusky lover selects the maiden for whom
he would strive, because he must catch her before he
may court her. The Indian girl is his equal, and often
his superior in fleetness, and need not be caught unless
she so wishes. But, like her civilized sister, she
generally encourages the pursuit until she is tired and
then gracefully yields on the homeward stretch.
However, should she win the race the young lover
need have no further aspirations in that direction.
He may be saved the embarrassment of future
humiliation. One of the most picturesque games
enjoyed by the Indians during the Festival is the
dancing around the festal pole. On the night of the
full moon they dance from sunset until sunrise. It is
very interesting to see the harmony in running around
the circle as the women throw the ball at the pole in
the centre-the men catch it in their bags that are
made around a bent stick, which has a bow about four
inches in diameter, with a cross on the lower side.
When the dancing is over, the circle about the pole is
perfectly symmetrical and about ten inches deep, made
by the running and dancing.
That slavery exists among the Seminoles is a dis-
puted question. That it does, is known to a few; but


any interference would be received as an act of imper-
tinence by the Indians as well as by the slaves them-
selves; as was evidenced last winter, when a tourist
meeting Tustenuggee's slave (who was watching the
canoe, while his master sold some skins) attempted to
ask some questions and at the same time to enlighten
the Negro on his true condition. As the chief came
back to the canoe the philanthropic stranger began to
explain his mission. The chief, with the ferocity
which at once stamped him as a true Tustenuggee,
ordered the Negro to "go," which command was in-
stantly obeyed. Then turning to the stranger he said,
"white man's slave free-Injun este lusta (Negro)
belong to Injun-now you go." The philanthropist
also quickly obeyed. Talla-hassee's squaw died about
sixteen years ago leaving a family of six boys, the
youngest one being but a small piccaninny. These
boys have been cared for by the two Negro slaves who
speak only the Seminole language and have seemed
perfectly content to do the drudgery for the family.
The number of Negroes among the tribe at the present
time is small. They are allied to the Indians, and
while they are expected to obey, they are treated kindly,
more as companions than as slaves.

The Government among the Seminoles is peculiar,
it is remarkable, it is magnificent. There is no lying,
no stealing, no murder, and yet apparently there is no


restraining law. Anxiously and carefully have we
studied their form of Government, knowing that they
leave their money, their trinkets and their garments in
the open wigwams. With carefully framed questions
we asked of Billy Bowlegs, while on his recent visit to
our home, "Billy, your money, you leave it in your
wigwam, you go back, money hi-e-pus (gone), Indians
steal it, then what you do?" He answered, me don't
know." "Yes, but Billy, white man come in my house,
my money steal 'em-by and by, in jail me put him.
Indian, all the same, bad Indian steal. What does
Indian do?" Again the answer came, "me don't
know." Making the points plainer, illustrating by the
theft of his gun, his provisions, his moccasins, showing
him that a bad Indian from one of the other settlements
might come in his absence and steal his winchester,
with perfect understanding of our meaning, the reply
came as before, "me don't know, Indian no take 'em-
Indian no steal." In such a socialistic State, where
there is no crime, there can be no punishment. Were
a crime to be committed, a council of chiefs would
meet and decree a punishment, and it would have
enough severity to serve as a lesson for all future mis-
The only "fall from grace" we have ever known
among any of the bands, extending over a period of
ten years acquaintance, was in the case of Buster Flint.
Old Buster was a large powerful Indian, but as the
braves express it, he was "ho-lo wa-gus" (no good),


" lazy too much," and laid around the settlement as a
regular loafer, too indolent to work or hunt and in con-
sequence was ragged and unkempt. On one occasion
while our tent was pitched near the palmetto wigwams,
and the hunters had been absent for the day, on the
return a small red napkin was found to be missing.
Upon calling Captain Tom Tiger's attention to the fact,
lie replied, me know," and very soon the napkin was
quietly returned to its place. Old Billy could not
resist the bright red cloth and the others knew his
weakness. What punishment was meted to the old
Indian was not learned, but certainly enough to terrify
him during the remainder of our visit.
The Seminoles mean to be honest in their dealings
with the whites. Occasionally the white man may be
deceived when the Indian intends no wrong. As the
National Editorial Excursion made a tour of Florida
last winter, the train made a stop at a little trading
post on the east coast. Quite a joke was innocently
played upon the party by Captain Tom Tiger. A few
Indians had come into the village to trade at the
stores. Captain Tom had brought with him a load of
sour oranges, which grow wild in the region of his
camp. The oranges are beautiful to the eye, but oh,
how bitter! The merry editors saw the golden fruit
and immediately offered to purchase. The chief was
glad to sell, and only asked one cent a piece for the
fruit, but the editors would not take advantage of the
Indian's ignorance of the price of oranges, so they


paid him twenty-five cents per dozen for them. At this
the load of oranges was soon disposed of and the chief,
with perfect honesty of intention in the transaction, was
the proud possessor of about twenty-five dollars. Those
of the party who first tasted the fruit said nothing un-
til all the oranges had been bought; then they were
told to taste their oranges, and a laugh, long and loud
went up from one end of the car to the other, and as
the train rolled away the good natured, but victimized
passengers treated Captain Tom Tiger, chief of the
Seminoles, to a shower of sour oranges. The Indian
was dumbfounded. The wild orange is an article of
barter in Florida, but not until the idea dawn-
ed upon Tom that the excursionists had mis-
taken his fruit for the sweet orange did he awaken
from his bewilderment, and with earnest nods of the
head and impressive gestures he soliloquized, "white
man no like Indian's orange-sour too much. Me tell
white man, one orange, one cent. White man tell me
one orange, two cents. Indian no cheat white man."
The Seminoles look upon the dim past as a lost
paradise, in which there was happiness and innocence.
Before the white men came we were men," says the
Indian. Their faith in their forefathers is reverential.
They believe they always did what was right. They
were kind and true to their friends, but terrible to
their enemies.
The Florida Indians are an industrious people.
While the fruits of the chase are their main support,


they cultivate fields, raising vegetables, corn and sugar
cane. The men make canoes which they sell to
hunters and trappers. Moccasins, baskets and koonti
starch, plumes, smoked skins and venison are among
their exports. Complaints are sometimes heard that
the Indians are killing off the deer and the alligator,
which is very true; but alike are the white man and
the negro engaged in the same occupation. Before
the white race taught the Indian the monetary value ot
the game of the country, he slew them only for food
and clothing. Long centuries had he lived on this
continent, but the herds of buffalo were not lessened;
nor the vast quantities of game driven to the fastnesses
of the forest. Till the white trader came to hunt the
game as a source of revenue or for ruthless sport, the
Indian knew no such motive.
Like his forefathers the Seminole is no prohibi-
tionist, but enjoys the fire water as much as did the
savage tribe that drank to Hudson's health. Since
that first great tipple in New .York, which ended in
such a scene of intoxication, causing the Mohicas to
name the island the place of the big drunk," the
Indian practices more precaution; and one of their
number always remains sober and watches his boozy
brother like a hawk. This is the practice of the
Seminoles. Before going on a spree a selection is
made of one of their number, whose duty it is to stand
guard over all weapons and see that no injury is done
to any member of the tribe. The sprees in which


they indulge are too infrequent to warrant them being
classed as intemperate.
Only a few of the tribe talk broken English. The
chiefs disapprove of it on general principles-for fear
they will talk too much. To keep aloof from the white
man, and the white man's ways, is the training of the
Seminole youth. Occasionally a few of the tribe leave
their marshy homes. These talk English sufficiently
to do their trading when visiting towns to dispose of
their plumes, deer skins, basket work, etc. These
products always find ready sale; and when the great
day of shopping begins a corner in red calico and
fancy colored beads is the result. The squaws have
control of their own money, when on a purchasing
expedition, a fact which makes them very American.
The squaws are about as social as the half wild
deer that are petted by the guests of the St. Augustine
hotels. As seen in their camps, clustered together,
half alarmed, half curious, the side glances from their
dark brown eyes seem to utter a protest against the
Government's eternal "move on." A more severely
pure minded people are not to be found on the globe.
The women are above reproach. Were a white man
to insult a Seminole woman by word or look it would
be well for that man to never appear in the presence of
the tribe again. The Seminole girl who would
unwisely bestow her affections would be killed outright
by the squaws. In the history of the Everglade
Indians only one such case is known, and at the birth of


the half breed child the mother was taken to the woods
and there hung to a tree by the indignant squaws.
The infant was also destroyed. In questioning, as to
which of the squaws did the killing, the answer was
" all, every squaw." On the principle of American
lynch law each hand helped pull the rope.

The Seminoles, like other Indian tribes, are classi-
fied by gens. This lineage in the Florida tribe is traced
through the mother. The child belongs to the clan
which the mother represents. The mother exercises
absolute ownership, and should a squaw and her
husband separate for any cause, the children belong
unconditionally to the wife. One young Indian of
our acquaintance is divorced from his squaw. They
have one piccaninny now three years old. Asking the
father to give the boy up, and holding out alluring
inducements, he replied, "Munks-chay (no), squaw's
piccaninny." The gens represented in the Seminole
tribe to-day, are the Otter, the Tiger, the Deer, the
Wind, the Bird, the Snake, the Bear and the Wolf.
Other gens are now extinct in Florida. Thus, in asking
about the Alligator tribe, the chief replied, "all gone-
long time ago-to Indian Territory." A young brave
dare not marry a girl from his own gens, he must select
her from another clan. When asking a chief what
he would do, were he to want a girl from his own gens
for a wife and the girl should want to marry him, he


replied, "Me no marry her." The young Indian is
shy and bashful in his courtships, and having resolved
to marry conceals his first overtures with all the Indian
cunning. His intention is secretly conveyed to the
girl's parents, and should there be no objection the
young woman is at liberty to accept or reject. No
Seminole girl is forced into a marriage. The lover, with
permission to woo, shows some token of affection; a
deer is killed and laid at the door of the wigwam. If
the present is received the lover is happy. If it remains
untouched, he may do as his white brother does, go
hang himself, or, as is usual, go seek a more willing
fair one. The prospective bride, to show her appreci-
ation of her lover, makes a shirt and presents it to him.
No pomp or ceremony is connected with the marriage.
The day is set by the parents, the groom goes to the
bride's house, at the setting of the sun. He is now
her husband, and at her home he lives for a period.
When the young couple build their own wigwam, they
may build it at the camp of the wife's mother, but not
among the husband's relatives.

The Indian has a high sense of beauty in woman,
as has been demonstrated on several occasions during
their visits to the different towns. A Seminole chief
was taken to the parlor of a hotel, where a new piano
was the exciting theme, to see what effect the music
would have upon his savage mind. But the fair-


haired performer absorbed his attention, and with a
shrug which showed his appreciation for beauty more
than for music, he said, Ugh white man's squaw
heap purty."
Music is not a genius with the Seminoles. True,
they have some songs which are monotone and
rhythmical. They are the hunter's songs, the camp
songs and the lullabys. The war songs which sent such
terror to the hearts of the white settlers in Seminole
war days, they seem to have forgotten. Some of the
Indians have natural musical ears, and they are
recognized by their people as musical leaders. They
have no standard pitch, but start their songs where
the natural quality of the voice renders it easiest
to sing. The pitch of the song depends upon the
An incident, full of pathos, yet illustrating one
of life's parodies, is recalled. It was occasioned by
hearing the music of some old familiar tunes played
in a gruesome Everglade home. As the picture recurs,
one sees a savage tribe-a weird camp scene, with its
storm beaten wigwams in the back ground-and dusky
warriors and squaws moving hither and thither in the
dim shadows of the camp fire. In the centre of the
group sat the musician, who was the happy possessor
of a box of music,"-an organette which he had
recently purchased. The melodies of Home, Sweet
Home," "Hail Columbia" and "Nearer My God To
Thee," floated out upon the stillness of the night,


telling the story of the white man's inheritance-
happy homes, a free Government and an ennobling
religion. To the Seminole-God's image in patient
red-the tuneful strains contained no more sentiment
than the murmur of the brook; for they are a people
without a home, without a country, and without a
God in the sense of these songs.

A characteristic of the Seminole is to make his
camp in some secreted spot where the white man would
least expect to find his habitation. The peculiar physi-
cal formation of Florida makes this very possible. The
Everglade region, which is the immediate environment
of the Seminoles, is a watery prairie, with here and
there high points of ground. On these fertile "hom-
mocks" the Seminole makes his home. Approaching
such a home one sees marks of labor; a clearing is
made, the wigwam is built, sugar cane, corn and sweet
potatoes are growing. A few chickens run around and a
general air of contentment pervades all.
A visit to a Seminole camp reveals many inter-
esting little things which touch the heart and enlist the
sympathy of the observer. The affection displayed by
the stern faced father, when coddling his pappoose, con-
vinces the most skeptical that in the barbarian of the
forest "the heart of man answers to heart as face to
face in water," whatever the skin it beats under. Old
Tom Tiger, without question one of the most ferocious


looking of the Seminoles, would take the baby-boy
from its tired mother's arms and softly croon a lullaby,
swaying the pappoose backwards and forwards in his
great strong arms till the little fellow would fall asleep.
Another instance of parental affection, as given by
the Rev. Clay McCauly in his report on the Seminoles
of Florida to the Bureau of Ethnology, is full of touch-
ing interest. While the incident occurred several
years ago, and the little boy is now almost grown to
manhood, still it cannot fail to reach the heart of the
reader. We give it in the writer's own words. "Talla-
hassee's wife had recently died, leaving him with the
care of six boys; but the strong Indian had apparently
become both mother and father to his children. Espe-
cially did he throw a tender care about the little one
of his household. I have seen the little fellow clamb-
ering, just like many a little pale face, over his father's
knees persistently demanding attention, but in no way
disturbing the father's amiability or serenity. One
night, as I sat by the camp fire of Talla-hassee's lodge, I
heard muffled moans from the little palmetto shelter on
my right, under which the three smaller boys were
bundled up in cotton cloth on deer skins for the night's
sleep. Upon the moans followed immediately the
frightened cry of the little boy, waking out of bad
dreams, and crying for the mother who could not
answer; "Its-Ki, Its-Ki, (mother, mother,) begged the
little fellow, struggling from under his covering. At
once the big Indian grasped his child, hugged him to

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs