i62D oe SENATE DocEm"
ig smwm No. 89
EVERGLADES OF FLORIDA
ACTS, REPORTS, AND OTHER PAPERS,
STATE AND NATIONAL,. RELATING TO
''THE EVERGLADES OF THE STATE OF
FLORIDA AND THEIR RECLAMATION
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OTOB
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
Augut 7, 1911.
Raolfd, That there be printed a a public document, under the direction of the
Joint Committee on Printing, a compilation of acts, reports, and other papers, State
and National, relatig to the reclamation of the Everglades of the State of Florida,
with accompanying iuustrtions.
2 aaL e G. BNnxrrT, BWer ty.
Prefatory note............................................................. 5
I. HISTORY or DRAINAGE AND RECLAMATION WoRK IN THE EVERGLADES
or FLoBmA......................................................... 7
Notes to History of Drainage and Reclamation Work in the Everglades
of Florida.................................... ................ 19
II. TREATY, ACTs, RESOLUTIONS, REPORTS, AND PAPER RELATING TO THE
EVERGLADES or FLORIDA........................................... 31
Treaty with Spain ceding Florida to the United States, 1819......... 31
Act of Congress granting lands to States for internal improvement, 1841. 33
Act of Congress for admission of States of Iowa and Florida, 1845...... 33
Act of Congress supplemental to act for admission of Iowa and Florida,
granting additional lands and funds, 1845......................... 34
Resolution by Legislature of Florida recommending adoption of
measures for reclaiming of Everglades, 1845....................... 34
Extract from letter from Hon. J. D. Westcott, jr., to the Secretary of
the Treasury, May 11, 1847 .................................... 35
Extracts from instructions to Buckingham Smith from the Secretary
of the Treasury June 18, 1847.................................... 37
Resolution of the Legislature of Floridafor acquiring and draining Ever-
glades, 1848.................................................... 39
Report of the Secretary of the Treasury to the Senate, 1848.......... 39
Letter of the Commissioner of the General Land Office to the Secretary
of the Treasury, 1848 .......................................... 41
Bill for draining of Everglades introduced in the Thirtieth Congress
by Senator Westcott, 1848........................................ 43
Report of the Committee on Public Lands to the Senate on the Westcott
bill for the drainage of the Everglades. 1848...........-..... ..... 44
Report of Bucklingfam Smtli onl hIa reomoiimnee of the Everglad,
1848 ..................................---.....--......--.............. 48
Appendix to report of Buckingham Smith 1847-48:
1. Extract from report of Col. R. Butler, surveyor general of
Florida, to Commissioner of the General Land Ofice, 1847.. 55
2. Letter from Gen. James Gadsden of South Carolina, to Hon.
R. J. Walker, Secretary of the reasuryMa 71847....... 55
8. Letter from Maj. Gen. T. S. Jesup to Hon. J. D. Wescott, jr.,
Feb. 12, 1848............................................. 56
4. Letter from Gen. Wi. S. Hamey to Buckingham Smith, Esq.,
Jan. 23, 1848........................................... 56
5. Letter from Lieut. Col. 8. H. Long, topographical engineers, to
Hon. J. D. Westcott, r., Feb. 7, 1848...................... 57
6. Letter from Maj. J. D. Gha topographical engineers, to
Hon. J. D. Westcott, jr., Mar. 1848... ............... 59
7. Letter from Capt. J. McClelland, topographical engineers, to
Hon. J. D. Westcott, jr Feb. 25,1848.......... ....... 59
8. Letter from Commodore L Powell, United States Navy,
to Hon. J. D. Westcott, r. Mar 1, 1848.................. 60
9. Letter from Lieut. C. R. P. Rodgers, United States Navy, to
Hon. J. D. Westcott, jr., Feb. 14, 1848.................... 60
10. Letter from A. H. Jones, sq., United States surveyor, to
Buckingham Smith, Nov. 12,1848......................... 61
11. Memoranda as to Everglades, by S. R. Mallory, Esq., collector
of the customs at Key West, to B. Smith, Esq., September,
12. Extracts from manuscript of John Lee Williams, Esq., as to
13. Extracts from letter from George McKay, Esq., United States
surveyor, to B. Smith, Esq ,Dec. 6,1847 ................. 65
14. Extracts from letter from Mj. Wm. H. Chase, United States
Engineers, to Hon. J. D. Westcott, jr., August, 1847........ 66
II. TzMATr, Aors, RasoLvrons, Rsrowar, AND PAPzU Rs~arTno TO TH
EvnuoLADxs or FLOzIDA-Continued. Pfa
Act of Congres to enable State of Arkanas and other States to reclaim
swamp land, 1850 ............................................... 67
Act of Flrida Legature to secure swamp and overflowed lands
granted to State, 1851 ............................................ 67
Act of Florida Legislature to amend act to secure swamp lands, etc.,
1853................................... .................. 68
Act of Florida Legislature for system of internal improvements in
State, 1866 ....................................... ............ 69
Memoir by Lieut. J. C. Ives to accompany Davis map of the Ever-
glades, 186 (with map).................. .................... 71
Report by Lieut. Col. Q. A. Gillmore on steamboat communication,
Report by Dr. H. W. Wiley, Bureau of Chemistry, United States De-
partment of Agriculture, on the Mack Lands of the Florida Penin-
ksla, 1891.................................................... 73
Cane and Cassava Culture in Florida, by Dr. H. W. Wiley, 1902..... 81
Florida Canes, by Dr. H. W. Wiley, 1906. ........................ 83
Mmnage by Gov. W. S. Jennings to Legilature of Florida relative to
reclamation of the Everlade (with hart), 1908 ................. 84
United States patent to Eveglades, 1905............................ 91
Status of swamp and overflowed lands patented to State, 1904........ 94
Area of Florida and of wet lands unpatented, 1904................... 94
Drainage iaveetigations by C. 0. Elliott, United States engineer in
charge,1904 ..............................:....................... 94
Offal State map of the Everglades, adoted 1905 .................. 97,98
Memsge by Gov. N. B. Broward to Legiature of Florida relative to
reclamation of Everglades, 1906................................ 99
Report of Florida jont legislative committee on drainage, 1907....... 109
Amended State oical p of Everglade, adopted 1907........... 114,115
Ownership of the Eve es........................................ 115
Present acr e in then 1908............................... 116
Concii -wfeIade laadsby the Florida Commsiionerof Agriculture. 116
Sateen wing tatus o wamp nd, etc., in Florida, 1908....... 120
Odcial m of the Evergad, adopted 1908............... 120
Report joint legislative committee on drainage, together
with an abstract of the report by J. O. Wrht, 1909............... 121
Resolutions by Florida House of Eepresentatves, 1909............. 139
Report on the Drainage of the Everglades of Florida by J. 0. Wright,
uper ng drainage engineer, transmitted to the Secretary of Agri-
culture June 25, 1909.......................................... 140
Senate bill No. 7306, for survey of Everglades, by Senator Duncan U.
Fletcher, 1910.................................................. 181
Instructions for rveyin Everglades, by Trustees of the Internal Im-
provement Fund Flrid 1910, with map.................... 181
General Classification of Florida Soils............. ........... 185
Message by Gov. A. W. Gilchrist to Florida Legislature relative to
reclamation of Everglades, 1911................................. 188
Report of Florida joint legislative committee on Everglades, 1911..... 193
As early as the year 1845, the attention of the Government of the
United States was officially called to the Everglades of Florida. In
that year the Legislature of Florida, by a joint resolution, instructed
the Senators and requested the Representative from that State to
press upon the National Congress the importance of examining and
surveying the Everglades, wih a view to their reclamation.
In 1847 Hon. J. D. Westcott, Jr., United States Senator from Florida,
by a letter, requested the Secretary of the Treasury to appoint "an
agent to make a reconnaissance of these lands, and make a report as
to the probable practicability of the work (of reclamation), to be
laid before Congress at its next session."
In response to this request, the Secretary of the Treasury, on
June 18, 1847, appointed Mr. Buckingham Smith, of St. Augustine,
Fla. to procure 'authentic information in relation to what are gen-
erally called the 'Ever Glades' on the peninsula of Florida," "for the
purpose of ascertaining the practicability and expediency of draining
On June 1, 1848, Mr. Smith submitted to the Secretary of the
Treasury his celebrated report on the subject named. This report,
accompanied by a collection of letters and other papers, was, on
August 10, 1848 submitted by the Secretary of the Treasury to the
Senate, and with it modern, scientific knowledge of the Everglades
of Florida began. These papers the Senate of the United States
published in full in its "Reports for the first session of the Thirtieth
Congress." In the same year Senator Westcott procured.the print-
ing of extra copies of this report and appendix 'for distribution,"
as he states, "where he hopes it may be of service."
In the 63 years which have since elapsed, interest in the reclama-
tion of the Eveglades, already keen in 1848, has become Nation-wide,
and to-day the State of Florida, equipped with ample funds and ex-
pert supervision, is actually engaged with vigor in the drainage of
this vast tract.
Through the activities of private individuals, the State of Florida,
and the Nation itself knowledge f the Everglades region has at the
same time materially increased, and public documents, national and
State, pertaining to it have multiplied. These include formal reports
by experts from the bureaus in Washington, messages from gover-
nors of Florida, and the findings of investigating committees appointed
by the legislature of the State. The demand has now arsen that
these State papers, in so far as still relevant, be brought together and
made available to the general public. Accordingly a compilation of
acts, reports, and other papers, State and national, relating to the
Everglades was submitted to the Committee on Printing by Hon.
Duncan U. Fletcher, United States Senator from Florida, with the
request that it be printed as a public document. In accordance
therewith, Senate resolution No. 130, authorizing the printing of
this compilation, was reported from the Committee on Printing,
considered in the Senate by unanimous consent, and agreed to on
August 7, 1911.
I. HISTORY OF DRAINAGE AND RECLAMATION WORK
IN THE EVERGLADES OF FLORIDA.
By the treaty of February 22, 1819, the Kingdom of Spain ceded
to the United States in full property and sovereignty all territories
known by the name of East and West Florida.1 After the United
States acquired the territory known as East and West Florida, such
territory was held subject to the Constitution and laws of the United
States. The territory known as East and West Florida was, by act
of Congress, approved March 3 1845, admitted into the Union under
the name of the State of Florida on an equal footing with the original
States in all respects whatsoever, on the express condition that the
State should never interfere with the primary disposal of the public
lands lying within it. By this act the State of Florida became vested
with all o the rights and powers, as to property and sovereignty,
possessed by the original States of the Union. Thus the beds of the
navigable rivers and lakes within her borders became vested in the
sovereignty of Florida and remained for the free use of the citizens
of the State. (State v. Gerbing, 56 Fla., 603.)
The Legislature of Florida in 1845 (see p. 34), and again in 1848
(see p. 39), adopted resolutions calling attention to the drainage of
the Everglades, which resolutions formed the basis of the activity
of Senator Westcott in his efforts to have the lands granted to Florida.
Act of Congress of 1850.-Through the efforts of Senator West-
cott, one of the first United States Senators from Florida, the swamp
and overflowed land-grant act was enacted, and by amendment made
applicable to all the States of the Union, which is usually referred to
as the act of Congress approved September 28, 1850. (See p. 67.)
Under this act u ward of 20,000,000 acres of land have been patented
to the State of Florida, as will appear by the records of the Land
Office and in the tabulated statement in the biennial report of the
Commissioner of Agriculture of Florida for 1907. The primary pur-
pose, as expressed in the act of Congress, is to aid the States to reclaim
the swamp and overflowed lands within their limits by means of
drains and levees.
The act of Congress granting the swamp and overflowed lands for
the purpose of drainage and reclamation further provides that title
thereto shall be conveyed to the various States by patents from the
General Government; and, in pursuance thereof, patents were issued
by the Government to the State of Florida conveying all the swamp
and overflowed lands approved, subject to the disposal of the
l B page of this document or Articles IT and VII of the complete aty with Spain to be found In
nler's Purbhae of Florids, pp. S7-i24, or Treatie, Conventons, et..,eate Doo. 367,61st Cong., p. 1651.
EVBY RGDIS OF FLORIDA.
State laws of 1861 and 1866.-Following the enactment of the act
of Congress approved September 28, 1850, the Legislature of the
State of Florida passed an act (ch. 332), in 1851, accepting the grant
aforesaid and made provision for a board of internal improvement,
composed of a membership from the various judicial circuits of the
State. (See p. 67.) In 1854, this board, after some effort to handle
the fund, prepared a report setting forth the reasons why the board
found itself unable to handle the fund, and their efforts and views,
accompanied by a bill, which it recommended that the legislature
pass, and which became a law under date of January 6, 1855, and is
known as chapter 610, Laws of Florida. This act creates Trustees of
the Internal Improvement Fund, by designating the Governor, Comp-
troller, Treasurer, Attorney General, and Commissioner of Agriculture
and their successors in office as Trustees (see note 1, p. 19), and grants
to said Trustees irrevocably the lands granted to the State of Florida
by the act of 1841 for internal improvement purposes remaining
unsold, and also the lands granted to the State of Florida under the
act approved September 28,1850, for the purposes and trusts therein
set forth, the main trust being the drainage and reclamation of the
swamp and overflowed lands. (See p. 69.)
Policies of Trutees.-During the first 25 years of the management
of the fund under the provisions of chapter 610, the Trustees and the
executives of the various administrations, up to and including the
year 1879, adhered strictly to the terms of the grant by Congress, its
acceptance by the legislature in 1851, and the provisions made for
the administration of the fund by chapter 610; and in each and every
instance where the legislature sought to divert the Internal Improve-
ment Fund, or the lands belonging thereto to purposes other than as
expressed therein within the strict rule and construction thereof mak-
ing the fund applicable solely to the drainage and reclamation of the
swamp and overflowed lands, this attempted legislation was vetoed
by the then Governors, including the veto of Gov. Drew in 1879 of
the first railroad land-grant acts that were passed by the State legis-
lature, which resulted in the legislature inserting in acts thereafter
attempting to grant lands to railroad companies provisions making
said grants subject to the trusts and provisions of the act aproved
January 6, 1855, providing for the sale and disposition of the lands by
the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, and the application
of the proceeds thereof, or the use of the lands n kind for the main
purpose of the act, viz, the drainage and rendering fit for cultivation
of the swamp and overflowed lands of the fund.
It appears from a close examination of the various acts of the legis-
lature, beginning in 1879, and continuing down to a very recent date,
attempting to grant swamp and overflowed lands to encourage the
construction of railroads, aggregating 15,000,000 acres, that only a
residuary interest therein was attempted to be granted by the
Immediately following the several acts of the legislature attempting
to grant lands to aid in the construction of railroads beginning with
1879, the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund established and
observed the policy of regarding such acts as absolute grants of the
lands mentioned therein, and of conveying such lands to the railroad
companies in accordance with this interpretation of the meaning of
such acts of the legislature; and from 1879 to 1900, inclusive, upward
NYURGIAADES OF FLORIDA.
of 8,000,000 acres of swamp and overflowed lands were deeded by
the Trustees to railroad companies under legislative land grants.
Dis ton ale.-The efforts of the Trustees of the Internal Improve-
ment Fund to handle the vast trust and discharge the duties devolving
upon them were greatly disturbed by the effects arising from and
during the War between the States. The fund however, or its man-
agement, had never in any wise been changed by law nor had the
powers and duties of the Trustees and their successors in office been
curtailed or limited in any particular during this period of time, not-
withstanding many large obligations against the fund matured that
the fund did not have the ready money to meet, and caused its financial
management to be placed temporarily in the hands of the United
States court; this was relieved during the first term of Gov. Bloxham,
beginning in 1881, by the sale to Hamilton Disston of 4,000,000 acres
of swamp and overflowed lands. The application of the proceeds of
the sale of these lands relieved the fund from its temporary embar-
rassment, and the entire fund was again left in the possession, control,
and management of the Trustees.
First comprehensive drainage plan.-On February 26, 1881, a
contract was entered into by and between the Trustees and Hamilton
Disston and others in which it was agreed by Disston and his asso-
ciates that they would drain and reclaim, at their own expense and
charge, all the overflowed lands in the State of Florida lying south of
township 23 and east of Peace Creek belonging to the State of Florida
or the Internal Improvement Fund. (See note 2, p. 20.)
Under this agreement drainage operations began near Kissimmee
and were prosecuted for some years, during which time many ques-
tions were raised about the drainage operations, resulting in an act of
the legislature being passed (chap. 3639, Laws of Florida) authorizing
the governor to appoint a committee to investigate and ascertain what
quantity of land the Atlantic & Gulf Coast Canal & Okeechobee Land
Co. (this being the corporation to which Hamilton Disston and asso-
ciates assigned their contract with the Trustees) had reclaimed for the
State, and other purposes, under which act the governor appointed
Messrs. J. J. Daniel, W. H. Davison, and John Bradford. This com-
mittee made an extensive examination into the drainage operations,
the number of canals dug, the length, width, and depth of the same,
and the location thereof; they also examined the capacity of the
canals for carrying off the water along the prescribed route, with their
probable influence on the waters along said route, the actual effect
produced upon the waters along said route, and the watershed or
area of country which the canals were intended to relieve. The
examination was made by the committee during the period of the
year of the greatest annual depression of the waters of the rivers and
lakes, which period was determined by information obtained from
the Federal Government on the subject as well as by meteorological
observations and reports of the Government and others. The com-
mittee quoted the paragraph in the Disston contract referring to the
permanent lowering of the waters of Lake Okeechobee and the Kis-
simmee River, its lakes and tributaries, and stated that this was and
is the main feature of the general plan of drainage as embodied in
the contract made with the Trustees; that the lands can only so be
reclaimed by permanently lowering and keeping reduced the waters
of Okeechobee and its confluents, and that if their waters are not
ZVERGLADES OF FLORIDA.
permanently lowered and kept reduced the plan of drainage is not
carried out and there can be no reclamation under the contract, inas-
much as the company had failed to reduce the lakes and rivers which
were to be lowered in order to effect this reclamation. They further
state that they had taken time to observe the waters in the drainage
district at every season of the year in order to test the permanent
character of the work and better assure themselves of the correctness
of the conclusions reached. (See note 3, p. 21.)
The committee's report having been communicated to the Trustees
of the Internal Improvement Fund, some further efforts were made to
place the drainage operations in more satisfactory condition, which
resulted in a modification of the original Disston contract, which
appears to have failed to carry out the object that the Trustees had
in contemplation when the modification was granted. The original
contract established a drainage area or district embracing approxi-
mately 9,000,000 acres of land, the drainage company to receive for
its expenditures in drainage operations deeds from the Trustees to
alternate sections of land belonging to the State of Florida or to the
Internal Improvement Fund within the terms of the contract which
may be reclaimed and thus rendered fit for cultivation.
The Disston contract was amended August 17, 1888, under which
amended contract the Trustees were to deed, for and in consideration
of the cost of such drainage operations, to the Disston company 1
acre of land for each 25 cents that the company expended m such
work. The change in the contract thus permitted drainage opera-
tions to be carried on in the issimmee Valley many miles distant
from Lake Okeechobee, and at a much higher altitude than the lake,
and thus the only canals excavated by the Disston company that
would have tended to reduce the waters of Lake Okeechobee and the
Everglades, if they had been completed, were a canal from the south-
west shore of Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River and one
extending south from Lake Okeechobee into the Glades without outlet.
Drainage operations under the Disston contract ceased about 1889.
(See Minutes of Trustees of Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 7, p. 416.)
Dr. H. W. Wiley, of the Bureau of Chemistry, in 1891, made a
report to the Department of Agriculture on "The Muck Lands of
the Florida Peninsula," which furnished valuable scientific data on
the constitution of the soil and climatic conditions of the Everglades;
and in 1905, Dr. Wiley filed a report on "Cane and Cassava Culture in
Florida," containing analyses of Florida sugar cane. (See pp. 73-8 1.)
Plan adopted by Jennings's administration.-In the latter part of
1902 Gov. Jennings took up the question of draining the Everglades
and had much data compiled touching the feasibility and practica-
bility of draining the Everglades, the topography, rainfall, watershed,
altitude above sea level, outlets, etc., and presented a reference thereto
in his message to the legislature of 1903, with profile drawings showing
the altitude of Lake Okeechobee, profiles of the Kisaimmee River and
lakes, including Okeechobee, and their elevations above tidewater,
showing the normal elevation of Lake Okeechobee to be 20.42 feet
above the level of the Gulf of Mexico and practically the same height
above the Atlantic Ocean with reference to the surveys or levels
made by Gen. Gillmore, Col. Hopkins, Maj. Wurts, V. P. Keller, J. W.
Newman, and W. H. Caldwell, assistant United States engineer. The
message made reference to the expedition of Mr. James E. Ingraham,
EVELGLADES OF FLRMIDA.
the nature and character of the soil, its fertility and growths thereon,
naming the principal drainage outlets to be deepened by the cutting
of canals from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico and the waters
of the Atlantic Ocean on the East. (See p. 84.)
The patent to the Everglades was obtained on April 29, 1903 (see
p. 91) about the same time that Gov. Jennings's message was sub-
nitted to the legislature, and systematic effort was made to put in
tangible form the records and minutes of the Trustees by having the
minutes printed, which had not theretofore been done, and tables
were prepared showing the status of the fund, both in lands and
moneys, which showed that the fund was really without money or lands,
that the railroad legislative land-grant claimants were claiming all of
the lands that the fund had or could become entitled to.
A sale was made by the Trustees to Neill G. Wade (see Minutes of
Trustees of Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 5, pp. 118, 119) of
approximately 100,000 acres of land, proceeds to be used for drainage
work, which land the railroad companies claimed belonged to them,
and brought suit to recover the lands or the proceeds arising from the
sale thereof, challenging the power of the Trustees to sell thelands and
use the proceeds for any other purpose than to turn the moneys over
to the railroad claimants. This caused the Trustees to examine more
particularly into their powers and duties relating to the management
and disposition of the lands of the fund, which resulted in4he Trustees
propounding questions to Hon. D. U. Fletcher, of the Jacksonville
bar, Hon. R. W. Williams, of the Tallahassee bar, and Hon. T. L.
Clarke, of the Monticello bar, asking for their written opinions on
the subject, which were furnished in due course, which questions
were answered in effect by all of them that the Trustees of theInternal
Improvement Fund are clothed with full power under the laws of
Florida to sell the swamp and overflowed lands granted under the
act of Congress of September, 1850, for the purpose of carrying out
the provisions of the laws on the subject and were limited by the
objects of the grants of the Federal Government of 1850 to the drainage
and reclamation of the swamp and overflowed lands.
This condition being presented to the Trustees of the Jennings
administration caused them to make a comprehensive investigation
into the whole subject matter and history of the Internal Improve-
ment Fund, resulting in having the minutes published and statements
prepared showing the status of all chartered railroad companies, of all
land grants, of all lands conveyed to railroad companies and canal
companies, the total acreage of the lands granted to Florida under the
act of 1850, and the disposition thereof. A further result of this inves-
tigation was the adoption by the Trustees of a resolution asserting a
superior title to the lands in the fund over that of the railroad land-
grant claimants under subsequent and residuary legislative enact-
ments, and declaring it to be the fixed determination and policy of
the Trustees to defend the title to the lands for the purpose of per-
forming the trust of drainage and reclamation. (See note 4, p. 24.)
During the early part of the year 1901 the representatives of various
railroad companies made demand for hearings before the Trustees
of the Internal Improvement Fund, to settle questions of priorities
between claimants under railroad land-grant acts. The Trustees
having arrived at the resolution above set forth, determined not to
execute deeds under or by virtue of any railroad land-grant act of
BEY GLADS OF FWRAIDA.
the legislature; and upon the announcement of this decision and
policy numerous suits were instituted to compel the Trustees to exe-
cute deeds under and by virtue of the various land grants represented
by the various railroad companies, and active litigation followed,
beinning in the year 1902.
uring the Jennings administration, ending January 1, 1905, no
deeds were executed by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement
Fund under and by virtue of any railroad land-grant acts, either
voluntarily or under compulsion by the courts.
Coateation of Trustees ustaied by coort.-The contention of the
Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, based upon the decision
of the Trustees in 1901, andobserved by them subsequently, has been
expressly sustained by the courts, and does not appear to be longer a
question of controversy. The whole subject matter was resolved in
one case, that of the Southern States Land & Timber Co., before Judge
Swayne upon an application to enjoin the Trustees from the exercise
of any discretionary power over the fund or any disposition of any of
the lands for any purpose other than to deed them to railroad com-
panies under their respective land grants made by the legislature, and
especially as expressed in the prayer of the bill in this language:
That the Trustees be enjoined from selling or disposin of any of the lands patented
to the State of Florida by the act of Congres of September 28 180 and from pledging
encumbering, or otherwise charging the same or any part tre for the purpose
drainage and recamation, and further, for a perpetual writ of i;njution enjoining and
restraining aid trustees from selling or otherwise disposing of or hag d landfor
the purpose of drainage and reclamation under any contract or otherwise.
This proposition involved the entire fund. It was a test case,
tacitly agreed upon by all the railroad companies, and so presented.
The Trustees, on the one hand, claimed that they had the power to do
all of the things complained of and full discretion to sell and dispose of
the lands, and to use the proceeds thereof for purposes of drainage and
reclamation; and, as it will be observed, the railroad land-grant claim-
ants claimed that the lands of the entire fund belonged to them, and
were not subject to sale and disposition by the Trustees for the purpose
of drainage and reclamation. This whole case was raised by this bill
of complaint, and the whole fund, its management and disposition,
depended upon the result thereof. After argument, the court made
provision under an order for a temporary injunction, as follows:
That said Trustees hall have the right to sell or otherwise dispose of aid lands a
number of acres not exceeding 100,000, for the purpose of using the proceeds for pur-
pos of drainage and reclamation, and shall hve the right, after six months from this
date to make application to this court for further order touching the sale or disposition
of sad lands for purposes of drainage and reclamation and paying the expenses of the
An order embracing the above was signed by Judge Swayne on the
2d day of May, 1907. It will be observed that he expressly authorized
and empowered the Trustees to sell or otherwise dispose of said lands
as stated, for the express purpose of usin the proceeds for the purpose
of drainage and reclamation, and to apply to the court for authority
and permission to sell more lands at the end of six months, for the
purpose of drainage and reclamation and paying the expenses of the
trust. This is the most important decision rendered in connection
with the fund during its 50 years' existence. It expressly upholds the
contention of the Trustees and the policy adopted in 1901 and since
observed and followed.
EVEBGLADES OF FLORIDA.
This decision was followed by notice and motion of counsel repre-
senting the various railroad companies for a modification of said
injunction, and a request for an order in accordance with the prayer
of the bill quoted above. The cause came on for hearing, and was
reargued before Judge Swayne, argument closing on the 20th day
of May, at which time the judge modified the order in some imma-
terial part, but declined to change or revoke the feature authorizing
the Trustees to sell or dispose of or incumber any of said lands for the
purpose of drainage and reclamation which seemed to settle the
whole subject of the main and general Atigation against the Trustees,
which was followed by the settlements mentioned, all of which were
based upon questions of contracts or certificates issued by the Trus-
tees of the Internal Improvement Fund prior to 1901.
In the case of Malone, a grantee of the Trustees, against Yoeman,
in the sixth judicial circuit of the State of Florida m and for De Soto
County, a decision was rendered squarely on the merits of the conten-
tion of the Trustees, which clearly established that the title vested in
the Trustees is superior to the residuary interest granted to the rail-
road companies by the railroad land-grant acts of the legislature.
This suit was in ejectment; the issues were made up upon a statutory
declaration and plea of not guilty, the plaintiff claiming title by virtue
of a deed from the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund; the
defendant claiming title by deed based upon a legislative land grant
to the Gainesville, Ocala Charlotte Harbor Railroad Co., approved
March 4, 1879.
Thus it will be seen that the litigation has been favorable to the
Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, and that no suit has
been neglected or lost or decided adversely to the Trustees, of the
suite above enumerated, based upon open land-grant claims, or touch-
ing the powers and duties of the Trustees in the exercise of their
discretion in the management of the fund, the sale of the land, and
the use of the proceeds thereof for the purpose of drainage and
Jennings's efforts to begin actual drainage.-During the latter part
of the Jennings administration, a comprehensive pln for the drain-
age of the Everglades was prepared and submitted to the officers of
the Southern States Land & Timber Co., the Consolidated Land Co.,
and other companies owning great areas of land in the Everglades
and several conferences were had between the officials of the land
companies and the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund.
These plans for drainage and reclamation work were merged in the
subsequent settlements and plans for drainage followed by the subse-
The policy of the Jennings administration, as will appear by the
minutes adopted by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund
(vol. 5, p. 267), establishing and declaring the fixed policy of the
administration to be that of drainage and reclamation, is further
shown by the testimony of Gov. Jennngs in the suit of the Louis-
ville & Nashville Railroad Co. against the Trustees of the Internal
Improvement Fund in the United States court, taken at Tallahassee,
Fla., on November 28, 1904, in which he stated that he thought
it was the purpose of the act of Congress, and that he as a Trustee
understood and acted upon the belief, that his first and chief duty
in handling the swamp and overflowedlands was to have these lands
drained and reclaimed. (See note 5, p. 24.)
14 EVERBOGDES OF FLORIDA.
Gov. Jennings' term expired soon after this testimony was taken,
viz, on January 3 1905, at which date Gov. N. B. Broward was
inaugurated. Within a few days thereafter former Gov. Jennings
was employed as general counsel of the Trustees of the Internal
Improvement Fund; and immediately thereafter Jennings wrote a
letter to Gov. Broward, calling particular attention to the Louis.
ville & Nashville Railroad suit and the purpose of the testimony
urging the immediate launching of a dredge, and the beginning of
actual drainage operations in the Miami ver, or that the Trustees
should determine at which place the work should begin, at an early
date. (See note 6, p. 25.)
Chamber srvey.-Prior to the close of the Jennings administra-
tion the governor requested the Commissioner of Agriculture to pre-
pare a plat or chamber survey of the Everglades, which was made
and officially adopted by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement
Fund on the 2d day of January, 1905, and appears in the minutes of the
Trustees, volume 6, pages 1 to 7. (See pp. 97-98.) Further informa-
tion relating to the map of the Everglades, and supplemental thereto,
appeas in volume 7, pages 66 to 71, and resolutions on the subject.
This map of the lands embraced in Everglades patent No. 137 was
made by extending through the Everglades the Government town-
ship and range lines as surveyed and located by the United States
Government on the kast, North, and West sides of the Everglades.
The townships and ranges thus formed and platted in the Everglades
are numbered according to the United States survey system, and with
the same numbers they would be designated with if the Government
survey were actually carried through the Everglades.
Drainage work uader Gov. Broward's administration.-On Sep-
tember 21 1905, Capt. J. O. Fries, civil engineer, reported to the
Trustees oi the Internal Improvement Fund a preliminary survey of a
route between Lake Okeechobee and the Atlantic Ocean for the pur-
pose of draining and reclaiming lands in that vicinity. (See note 7,
On November 6, 1905, V. P. Keller, a civil engineer, made for the
Trustees a map of part of the Everglades showing the profile of the
drainage canals from Lake Okeechobee to Lake Worth. (See Minutes
of Trustees of Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 6, p. 89.)
On November 9, 1905, the Trustees directed John W. Newman,
engineer, to proceed to make a hydrographic and topographical sur-
vey of New River from Fort Lauderdale, including both the north
and south branches of said river, to a point in the Everglades where
the altitude approximates the mean low-water level of Lake Okeecho-
bee and to prepare profiles of said survey. (See Minutes of Trustees
of Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 6, p. 91.)
On December 12, 1905, the route recommended by J. W. Newman,
engineer, was adopted by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement
Fund as the official route of the first drainage canal, from the mouth
of Sabate Creek, in section 19, township 50 south, range 42 east,
following the open Glades to the south end of Lake Okeechobee.
(See note 8, p. 26.)
In a special message to the Legislature of Florida in 1905 Gov.
Broward recommended the adoption of a drainage law, for the pur-
pose of providing additional funds to insure the drainage and recla-
EVEBGLADES OF FLOBIDA.
nation of the Everglades, some question having been raised by the
railroad land grant claimants as to the powers and duties of the Trus-
tees of the Internal Improvement Fund to use the proceeds of the
sales of Everglades lands for the purpose of drainage and reclamation
at that time.
The drainage-tax law and operations thereunder.-Pending the
litigation referred to between the railroad land grant claimants against
the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund as to the ownership
of the Everglades, at the beginning of Gov. Broward's administration,
January 1905, former Gov. Jennmgs designed and prepared a drain-
age-tax law defining a drainage district embraced in the Everglades,
and providing for an acreage tax of 5 cents per acre per annum, to
be assessed against all of the lands in said drainage district, as an
auxiliary or supplementary resource or fund to assure the drainage
of the Everglades without regard to the ownership of the lands. (See
note 9, p. 27.) This law was attacked as being unconstitutional,
and durmg the lawsuit a great volume of testimony was taken touch-
ing the feasibility and practicability of drainage. The United States
court having ruled against the constitutionality of the law, an amend-
ment thereof was drafted by former Gov. Jennmgs, which was enacted
by the legislature and approved May 28, 1907. (See note 10, p. 27.)
This amended act was sustained by the decision of the United States
circuit court and the United States circuit court of appeals, and the
litigation was then amicably settled between the litigants and the
State Board of Drainage Commissioners, resulting in the appoint-
ment of J. O. Wright, chief drainage engineer, and the Furst-Clark
Construction Co.'s contract for the drainage of the Everglades,
herein referred to.
It will therefore be observed that the drainage of the Everglades
has two separate and distinct sources of revenue providing for the
carrying on of the work of reclamation:
First. The Everglades lands proper, owned and controlled by the
Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, who are authorized and
fully empowered under the act of January 6, 1855, to sell such lands
and apply the proceeds thereof to the purpose of drainage and recla-
mation. The drainage canals and other works which have been con-
structed by the Internal Improvement Board, out of the proceeds of
the sales of Everglades lands are properly within their powers and
duties conferred on them by the acts of the legislature and the act of
Congress of 1850.
Second. The new and additional source'of revenue provided by
the enactment of the drainage law which assesses a tax on the area
included in the drainage district of 5 cents per acre per annum, fur-
nishing an annual net revenue of approximately $200,000.
After the enactment of the drainage law, and in the ensuing liti-
gation, the most difficult problem and matter from the State's stand-
point was the allegation made in the courts on behalf of the com-
plainants seeking to enjoin the collection of the tax and to have the
drainage law declared unconstitutional, to the effect that the State
authorities did not have sufficient technical information touching the
feasibility and practicability of the drainage of the Everglades to
sustain a special assessment and the expenditure of public money.
Practicability of Everglades drainage.-To meet this charge the
State officials, through Gov. Broward, applied to the Secretary of
UVUGJJ&M OF YZARL.
Agriculture for assistance in the matter of designtin a competent,
expert dr e engineer to investigate the question of the feability
and practicality of the drainage of the Everglades, by taking the
level and making such examination as was found necessary for this
purpose, having in view the necessity of obtaining, to meet this alle-
gation of the complainants' bills, as well as for te use of the State
engineer in charge of the drainage of the Everglades, the most reliable
and competent information that could be procured. The Secretary of
Agriculture considered the request favorably and ordered the inves-
tigtion to be made through the Office of Experiment Stations,
Irrigation and Drainage Investigations, Elwood Meade, chief by J. O.
Wrght supervising drainage engineer. (See pp. 130 and 140 for
texts of Wight reports.)
The State school fud.-Gov. Broward also caused an investigation
to be made into the legal status and constitutional rights of the State
school fund over the public lands which resulted m an opinion of
W. S. Jenn general counsel for the Trustees of the Internal
Improvement Fund, under date of October 19 1907, transmitting a
resolution for adoption by the State Board of Education on the sub-
ject, which was adopted and transmitted to the Trustees of the Inter-
nal Improvement Fund, accompanied by a demand for an accounting
in accordance therewith, which was acceded to by the Trustees, and an
accounting was ordered granting to the State Board of Education 25
per cent of the proceeds of the sales of public lands under the consti-
tutional provision relating thereto. This was followed in February,
1908, by the opinion of W H. Ellis, Attorney General, in repl to an
inquiry on the subject by Gov. Broward, to the same effect holding
that the school fund, under the State constitution, was entitled to 25
per cent of the proceeds of the sales of all public lands of Florida.
(See note 11, p. 28.)
As heretofore stated, the drainage act was passed, and afterwards
an amendment thereto was recommended by the Governor, and like-
wise passed, and is the law.
During his administration Gov. Broward was a forceful champion
and advocate of the drainage and reclamation of the Everglades, and
devoted great effort and much ability to the work, as didhis associ-
ate Trustees. The Trustees during the Broward administration
caused to be constructed the dredge Erglades, which was launched
at Fort Lauderdale on the 4th day of July, 1906; also the dredge
Okeechobee, which was launched during the month of October, 1906.
The dredges Caloosahatchee and Miamt were constructed under con-
tracts let by the Broward administration on August 17, 1908. The
Caloosalatcaee was launched in March, 1909. (See Minutes of
Trustees of Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 7, p. 293.)
The litigation relating to the title to the lands was settled and several
important sales of Everglades lands were made to provide means to
carry on the great drainage work among them being sales to J. H.
Tatum & Co.;W. R. Comfort, of New York; R. P. Dave, of Colorado;
the Davie Realty Co.; and Richard J. Bolles. The sale of the greatest
moment, and that gave impetus to the work, was that to Richard J.
Bolles, providing a million-dollar fund for the work, which, it is
claimed, practical insured its completion.
Gor. Gilchrist's admiaitratia.--Gov. Albert W. Gilchrist and his
associate Trustees have likewise pursued the work of the drainage and
UVRUGLADUS OF -FLORIDA.
reclamation of the Everglades with the greatest energy and determi-
nation. They rushed to completion the construction of the dredges
Clooeohatehee and Miami, which were launched during the first few
weeks of the Gilchrist administration and have been kept continually
at work since. Special attention has been given to increasing the
facilities for carrying on the work with greater rapidity and efficiency.
During the latter part of 1909 special effort was made to let the
cutting of the canals by contract, for the purpose of interesting large
dredging concerns to take charge of the work and complete it as soon
as p il
During the early part of 1910 the Trustees held important con-
ferences with the officials of the land companies owning large areas of
Everglades lands, among them being Pearl Wight, president of the
Southern States Land & Timber Co., of New Orleans; W. S. Harvey
president of the Empire Land Co., of Philadelphia; W. F. Coachman,
president of the Consolidated Land Co., of Florida; J E. Ingraham,
vice president of the Model Land Co. and of the Florida East Coast
Railway Co., of Florida; a representative of the Florida Land &
Timber Co., of Chicago; and R. J. Bolles, which resulted in the land
companiesnamed, who were complainants in the suits pending in the
Supreme Court of the United States to enjoin the collection of the
5-cent acreage tax, dismissing their suits and the companies agreeing
to pay all drainage taxes thereafter, and in R. J. Bolles agreeing to
the anticipation of the deferred payments to aid in financing an
amplified plan of drainage. Immediately thereafter J Wright,
supervisng drainage engineer of the United States, was engaged as
chief drainage engineer of the State of Florida, to have charge of all
its drainage operations in the Everglades. (Minutes of Trustees of
Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 8, p. 352.)
This was followed by the letting of a dredging contract to the
Furst-Clark Construction Co., of Baltimore, and an increase in the
number of dredges from four to eight, thus insuring the progress
of the great work at a rate which far exceeds any previous progress
in excavation, as will appear by the quarterly progress reports of the
engineers. (See p. 200.)
In the meantime sales of Everglades lands by the Trustees and other
owners of Everglades lands have increased the number of individual
owners of lands in the Everglades from about a dozen owners in 1909 to
upward of 15,000 on July 1 1911, and the valuation of Everglades land
has been greatly enhanced. A conservative estimate of the increase
in the value of Everglades land may be obtained by comparing the
price of $2 per acre realized by the State for the sales made prior to
1909 with the price of $15 per acre obtained by the State for lands
sold in 1910. Since the latter date prices have risen considerably.
Government engineer's report.-Notwithstanding the efforts made
by Gov. Broward and Gov. Gilchrist to secure copies, or the publica-
tion of the report in full, of the Government engmeers investigating
the Everglades, Florida has not been favored with the valuable data,
or any part thereof, contained therein, other than was published in
extracts from said report heretofore referred to as extracts from the
report of J. O. Wright, supervising drainage engineer, dated February
25, 1909; and while the main canals were official designated in the
contract between the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund
5644*-S. Doc. 89, 62-1--2
BYEBy=&DUS 01 POF RhA.
and Richard J. Boles, under date of December 23, 1908, and are
being cut as therein provided, the information contained in the
Government engineers' reports, as published herewith, will no doubt
be of great value to the future work incident to the drainage of the
Coaolsioa.-The entire plans have been laid out for the drainage
and reclamation of the Everglades by means of lowering the waters
in Lake Okeechobee, as outlined by the State authorities years ago,
and the reduction of the water level in the Everglades, thus making,
it is believed, available and habitable approximately 3,000,000 acres
of exceedingly fertile lands greatly favored by climatic conditions,
and funds have been provided to complete the work, which, it is
claimed, has been progressing satisfactorily and is about one-third
The act of Congress approved June 25, 1910, making appropria
tions for rivers and harbors, among other appropriations for river
and harbor work in Florida, made an appropriation for a-
survey of the Kimimmee and Calooahatchee Rivers, and Lake Okeechobee and its
tributaries, with a view to adopting a plan of improvement of said waters which will
harmonies as nearly a my be practicable with the general scheme of the State of
Floid for the drainage of the Evglades.
This survey work has been practically completed under the super-
vision of the United States Engineers' office for the District of Florida.
The field notes and profiles have been completed, but the report has
not as yet been acted upon by the Board of Engineers for Rivers and
In the report of Buckingham Smith, transmitted to the Senate of
the United States by Senator Breese, Chairman of the Committee on
Public Lands, in 1848 (see p. 44), will be found a comprehensive
treatise on the subject of the Everglades and the hopes indulged in
respect thereto, enumerating many tropical fruits that grow m this
area and not elsewhere in the United States, and other products, and
stating that the Everglades is the only region that can be looked to as
capable of rendering us to any extent whatever independent of other
countries with respect to those productions.
NOTES TO HISTORY OF DRAINAGE AND RECLAMATION WORK IN THE
EVERGLADES OF FLORIDA.
NOTE NO. 1.-MEMBERS OF BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT FUND,
STATE OF FLORIDA, FROM 1855 To 1912.
1855 to 1858.-James E. Broome, governor; N. B. Papy, attorney general; Davis S.
Walker, register; Theo. W. Brevard, comptroller; Charles H. Austin, treasurer.
1858 to 1860.--M. S. Perry, governor; N. B. Papy, attorney general; Davis S.
Walker, register; Theo. W. Brevard, comptroller; Charles H. Austin, treasurer
1860 to 1861.-M. S. Perry, governor; N. B. Papy, attorney general; H. A. Corley,
register; Thoe. W. Brevard comptroller; Charles H. Austin, treasurer.
1861 to March 4 1861.--M. S. Perry, governor; N B. Papy, attorney general; H. A.
Corley, register; R. C. Williams, comptroller; Charlee H. Austin, treasurer.
March 4, 1861, to December 10, 1861.-M. 8. Perry, governor J. B. Galbraith, attor-
ney general; H. A. Corley, register; R. C. Williams, comptroler; Charles H. Austin,
December 10, 1861 to January 16, 1865.-John Milton, governor; J. B. Galbraith,
attorney general; H. A. Corley, register; Walter Gwynn, comptroller; Charles H.
January 16, 1865 to November 17, 1865.-A. K. Allison, governor; J. B. Galbraith,
attorney general; H. A. Corley, register; Walter Gwynn, comptroller; Charles H.
November 17, 1865, to January 9 1866.--Charles H. Austin, temporary president;
J. B. Galbraith, attorney general; H. A. Corley, register; Walter Gwynn, comptroller;
William Marvin, provisional governor (not acting as trustee); Charles H. Austin,
January 9, 1866, to July 1, 1868.--Davis S. Walker, governor; J. B. Galbraith, attor-
ney general; H. A. Corley, register; John Beard, comptroller; Charles H. Austin,
August 81, 1868, to January 7, 187S.-Harrison Reed, governor; A. R. Meek, attor-
ney general; John 8. Adams, commissioner of immigration; R. H. Gamble, comp-
troller; 8. B. Conover, treasurer.
January 7, 1872 to February 26, 1872.-Harrison Reed, governor- J. B. C. Drew,
attorney general; John 8. Adams, commissioner of immigration; R. H. Gamble, comp-
troller; S. B. Conover, treasurer.
February 6, 1872, to May 7, 1872.-Samuel T. Day, governor; Horatio Bisbee, jr.,
attorney general; John S. Adams, commissioner of immigration; R. H. Gamble, comp-
troller; S. B. Conover, treasurer.
May 7, 1872, to January 11, 1878.-Harrison Reed, governor; J. P. C. Emmons,
attorney general; John S. Adams, commissioner of immigration; R. H. Gamble, comp-
troller; 8. B. Conover, treasurer.
January 11, 1873 to May 21, 1874.-0. B. Hart, governor; William Archer Cocke,
attorney general; H. A. Corley, commissioner of lands and immigration; C. A. Cow-
gill, comptroller; Charles H. Foster, treasurer.
May 21,1874, to January 16, 1877.-M. L. Stearns, governor; William Archer Cocke,
attorney general; Dennis Eagan, commissioner of lands and immigration; C. A. Cow-
gill comptroller; Charles H. Foster, treasurer.
January 16,1877 to January 4,1881.-George F. Drew, governor; George P. Rainey,
attorney general; H. A. Corley, commissioner of lands and immigration; Columbus
Drew, comptroller; Walter Gwynn, treasurer.
January 4, 1881, to March 8, 188S.-William D. Bloxham, governor; George P.
Rainey, attorney general; H. A. Corley, commissioner of lands and immigration;
William D. Barnes, comptroller; Henry L. Engle, treasurer.
March 8, 1882, to January 18, 1885.-William D. Bloxham, governor; George P.
Rainey, attorney general; P. W. White, commissioner of lands and immigration;
William D. Barnes, comptroller; Henry L. Engle, treasurer.
BYEBGLADE8 OF FLORIDA.
January 13, 1885, to Jnuary 9, 1889.-Edward A. Perry, governor; C. M. Cooper*
attorney general C. L. Mitchll, commit ner of lands and immigration; William D.
Barnes, comptroller; Edward Crill, treasurer.
Janay 9, 1889, to May 8, 1890.-F. P. Fleming, governor W. B. Barnes comp
troller; F. J. Pos, treasurer; W. B. Lamar, attorney general; L. B. Wombwell, com-
miioner of agriculture.
May 8 1890 to January 5, 189.-F. P. Fleming, governor; W. D. Bloxham, comp
troller; F. J. Pons, treasurer; W. B. Lamar, attorney general; L. B. Wombwell, com-
mimsier of agriculture.
January 5, 189. to January, 1898.-F. P. Fleming, governor; W. D. Bloxham,
comptroller; E. J. riy, treasurer; W. B. Lamar, attorney general, N. B. Wombwell,
commissioner of agriculture.
Janu 189 to january, 1897.-Henry L. Mitchell, governor; W. D. Bloxham,
comptroller C. B. Collins, treure; W. B. Lamar, attorney general; N. B. Womb-
well, commuioner of agriculture.
January 7 1897 to Jin, 1897.-W. D. Bloxham, governor; W. H. Reynolds, comp-
troller C. Collins, treasurer; W. B. Lamar, attorney general; N. B. Wombwell,
commaoner of agriculture.
Juem, 1897,jo Janary, 1901.-W. D. Bloxham, governor; W. H. Reynolds, comp-
troller; J. B. Whitfield, treasurer; W. B. amar, attorney general; N. B. Wombwell,
comm ioner of agriculture.
Jay 4, 1901, to August 9, 1901.-W. S. Jenning, governor; W. H. Reynolds,
comptll er; J. B. Whitfild, treasurer; W. B. amar, attorney general; B. E. McLin,
commiqoner of agriculture.
Auust 9 1901, to Fbruary 18,1903.-W. S. Jennings, governor; A. C. Croom, comp-
troller; J. A. Whiteld, treasurer; W. B. Lamar, attorney general; B. E. McLin, com-
misioner of agriculture.
Mmar 2s, 1903, to Pebrary t, 1904.-W. 8. Jennings, governor A. C. Croom, comp-
troller; W. V. Knott, treasurer; J. B. Whitfield, attorney general; B. E. McLin, com-
misioner of ariculture.
My 17, 194 to Janury 4, 1905.-W. 8. Jennings, governor; A. C. Croom, comp-
troler W. V. Knott, treasurer; W. H. Ellis, attorney general; B. E. McLin, com-
miioner of agriculture.
January 19 1905, to Jauary 4, 1909.-N. B. Broward, governor; A. C. Croom,
comptroller; W. V. Knott, treasurer; W. H. Ellis, attorney general; B. E. McLin,
commissioner of agriculture.
Jarnuo y 1909, to --- 191.-A. W. Gilchrist, governor; A. C. Croom, comp-
trolleW.V. Knott, treasurer; Park M. Tramell, attorney general; B. E. McLin,
commissioner of agriculture.
Mxszms or rTH BoAnw or DUxANAGo CoxxtsUOnBS UNDER THE DBAINAGO
1905 to 1909.-N. B. Broward, governor; A. C. Croom, comptroller; W. V. Knott,
treasurer; W. H. Ellis, attorney general; B. E. McLin, commimioner of agriculture.
1909 to 1912.-A. W. Gilchrist, governor; A. C. Croom, comptroller; W.V. Knott,
treasurer; Park Trammell, attorney general; B. E. McLin, commissioner of agi-
Norm No. 2.-AeOBz MNT BETWzEN HAMILToN DISSTON AND TRaUTEEs or THa
IrNTRNMA IIrxovZxZNT FUND FOB THE RECLAMATION or O OVarLOWD LANDS.
Articles of agreement made and entered into this the 26th day of February A. D. 1881
by and between Hamilton Dimton, William H. Wright, and Whiteld Drake, of
the city of Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, William C. Parsons, of
Arizona, Albert B. Linderman, of the city of Philadelphia aforesaid, and Ingham
Corvell, of the State of Florida parties of the first part, and William D. Blom,
governor of Florida, George P. Rainey, attorney general, Hugh A. Corley, commis-
ioner of lands and immigration, Walter Gwynn, treasurer, and William D. Barnes,
comptroller of aid State, and ex officio the Trustees of the Internal Improvement
Fund of the State of Florida, of the second part, witnemeth:
That the parties of the first part for themselves, their heirs, executors, administra-
tor, jointly and severally agree and bind themselves, at their own expense and charge,
to drain and reclaim by draining all overflowed lands in the State of Florida practi-
WVERGLADES OP FLORIDA.
cable and lying south of township 23 and east of Peace Creek, belonging to the State
of Florida or said Internal Improvement Fund, now subject to overflow by Lake
Okeechobee, the Kissimmee River and its branches, and the lakes contiguous to said
river whose waters now flow into or can be made to flow into, said river or into Lake
Okeechobee, or into the Calooahatchee River, or Miami River, or other outlets, by
cuts or canals, including both those already patented as well s those that may here-
after be patented to esad State by the Umted States, the said lands to be reclaimed
and drained and rendered fit for cultivation by pernently lowering and keeping
reduced the waters of Lake Okeechobee, nd thereby permanently lowering and
keeping reduced the high-water level of said river, and y thus lowering the waters of
mid lake creating an increased current in id never, and by the increased current
thus created causing the bed of mid river to cut or wash out, and by these means and
by cutting off bends in said river to further increase the current of said river and per-
manently confine the water flow of mid river within its natural banks, and there
effectually and permanently prevent the overflow of the banks; it being understood
and agreed that the dranage, reduction, or lowering of the waters of Lake Okeechobee
may be made by a series of canals or cuts from the waters of sid lake to the Caloon-
hatchee River, on the west, and by cuts and canals from said lake eastwardly to the
waters of the St. Lucie, or other available points; and also by cuts or canals south-
wardly to some stream or streams through the Everglades; and also by cuts or canals
on the southeast side of the Everglades to the Miami River and to any small streams
heading or rising in the Everglades: Provided, however, That no canals or cut shall
be made, dug, or constructed unless the same be necenry to reduce the waters of mid
Lake Okeechobee, to effect the mid object of d ge and permanently reclaim said
The parties of the second part, for themselves and their successor in office, do agree
and bind themselves, and their succemors in the administration of said trust,a that ey
will, and their successors shall, pay, give, grant, convey, and deed the alternate sec-
tions of and, belonging to the State or to their fund, now patented or that may be
hereafter acquired within the limits of this contract, which may be reclaimed and
thus rendered fit lor cultivation; such lands to be conveyed in such quantities and
at such times as may be justified by the progress of the work, and will be equitable
and just to the mid parties hereto; it beg mutually agreed that the policy of the
board of trustees will at all times be such as not to pay m excess of the work done, and
yet to such extent and at such times at will facilitate and aid the faithful performance
of the covenants of the parties of the first part: Provided, however, That no lands or
compensation shall be conveyed or payable to mid parties of the first part until some
considerable quantity of lands, not less than 200,000 acres, shall have been
It is further understood and agreed that all work shall be done in a substantial and
first-clas manner, and that time is to considered as the essence of this con-
(Minutes of the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 2, pp. 463-466.)
NOra No. 3.-AsTsRa r OF REPORT BY J. J. DANIEL, W. H. DAVIsON, AND JOHN
BRADFORD, COMMIrTEE APPOINTED BY THE GOVEaNOR oF FWORIDA ON NOVEMBER
To the GovENonB o THE STATE OF FLOIDA.
SIR: having been appointed by you, under date of November 17, 1885, to perform
certain duties indicated and described by chapter 3639 of the laws of the State of
Florida, entitled "An act authorizing the governor to appoint a committee to investi-
gate and ascertain what quantity of land and the number of acres the Atlantic and
Gulf Canal and Okeechobee Land Company has reclaimed for the State, and other
purposes," we respectfully report that we have concluded the investigation contem-
plated by said act and submit the following statement of facts as the result thereof:
The Atlantic & Gulf Canal & Okeechobee Land Co., which for greater brevity we
will hereafter designate as the Drainage Co., has dug a canal from the East Tohopeka-
liga Lake, which is now known and will be designated in this report as East Lae, to
and into Lake Tohopekaliga, the length of which is 3.2 miles, the width from 33 to 36
feet, and the depth from 4 to 7 feet.
The least depth of water found was 2 inches, and the average current 11 miles per
hour. From the south end of Lake Tohopekaliga, at a point near the former outlet
of the Kiimmee River, now known as Southport, the company has dug a canal to
EVEBOGLADEBS OF FLOBIDA.
and into Cypres Lake, the length of which is 3.6 miles, the width 70 feet, and the
depth from 5 to 8 feet, with an average current of 1i miles per hour.
From Cypress Lake to Lake Hatchneha a canal has been dug 2.4 miles in length,
70 feet in width, and from 4 to 6) feet in depth.
During the pat summer a canal has been cut from Hatchineha in the direction of
Lake Kasimmee and to within a few hundred yards of the latter lake. This canal
has not been completed. Its width is reported to be 36 feet.
Below Lake KiEsimmee there have been several cuts made across loops or bends in
the river the entire length of which approximates 2 miles, the width varying from
46 to 60 feet, and depth from 2) to 6 feet. These cuts are on the upper part of the
river between Lake Kuisimmee and Orange Bluff. This point is estimated to be about
30 miles from the south end of Kimimmee Lake, and below it to Lake Okeechobee there
has been no work of any moment done by the Drainage Co. From a point on the south-
west side of the Okeechobee a canal has been dug 25 feet in width and from 4 to 7
feet in depth, a distance of 2.57 miles, with an average current of 14 miles per hour,
connecting the waters of the Okeechobee with Lake Hicpochee.
From Lake Hicpochee to Lake Flirt a canal has been dug a distance of about 4 miles,
the cut being 46 feet in width and from 4 to 10 feet in depth, with a current of 1) miles
After reaching Lake Flirt a series of cuts have been made westward along and near
this lake and into the headwaters of the Caloosahatchee River for a distance of about
9 miles, varying from 40 to 45 feet in width and from 2 to 7 feet in depth.
The width of these canals we give from actual measurements made at different
points. Soundings were taken along their entire course and by cross sections at
short intervals, and speed of current noted. The length we give as reported by the
company's engineers, whose statements correspond substantially with our observa-
tions and measurements.
Below Lake Flirt the Drainage Co. has expended good deal of work in opening and
cleaning the channel of the Caloosahatchee, through a limestone ridge above Fort
Thompson, at a point known as the rapids.
In addition to this work we find that the company has, by the use of a snag boat,
cleared away the obstructions in Tiger Creek, an important tributary of the Kissimmee,
which enter Lake Kirsimmee from the west, connecting it with Tiger Lake, Lake
Rosalie, and Walk-in-the-water Lake, making this stream practicable for the lighter
class of steamers which navigate the river into Lake Rosalie, and under favorable
circumstances, to a point above that lake.' *
Your committee reached Kisimmee City on the 20th of February, 1886, and pro-
ceeded from that point down the river, through the lakes to Fort Myer, making the
examinations, the results of which, verified by the statements of reliable witnesses,
as well as by subsequent observations are given in this report. *
Your committee found by examination that the waters of East Lake, at the time
of their last visit in the latter days of February, had been lowered about 6) feet.
This lowering of the waters was to be attributed largely, if not altogether, to the
opening of the canal. *
Lake Tohopekaliga your committee found to be about 5) feet below its highest
level before the canal from Southport to Cypress was cut, as shown by persons long
resident and familiar with the waters of the lakes. Proceeding southward along the
Southport Canal, the level of the waters and adjacent marshes gradually approxi-
mated until, at a distance of a little more than 2 miles from the south end of the
Tohopekaliga, being about two-thirds of the distance between the two lakes, the
waters were no longer confined to the banks of the canal, but flowed freely over the
lowlands on either side, and your committee found, on reaching Cypress Lake, from
actual observation and the statements of persons connected with the drainage work
from its inception, the waters of the lake were nearly at their normal height.
From this point southward to Lake Okeechobee, both from their own careful obser-
vations and from the statements of settlers and persons thoroughly acquainted with
the river and lakes, your committee are satisfied that very little effect has been
produced upon the waters along their route by the opening of these canals.
In other words, the facts show that from Cypress Lake to Lake Okeechobee the
canals which have been dug have not thus far exhibited sufficient capacity to carry
off the waters along the route or materially reduce their normal level.
That the canal from Lake Okeechobee to Lake Hicpochee had not materially low-
ered the waters of the former lake was evident, though even so small an outlet can
not but have produced some effect. ** *
SIn threpr of the genealounsel ftr the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund for Sept. 1,1908
.7,. 46, ofminates), t is stated that "After this, the Soth Canawas cut 10 miles ln and 4 feet
f the o an pproximate total of 90 miles of canals cut, 70 miles of which being inthe vicinity
ofthe towof !"m'a
EVERGLADEB OF FLOBIDA.
The canals below Lake Hicpochee and through Lake Flirt into the headwaters of
the Caloosahatehee were evidently producing some results. *
From Fort Thompson westward to the Gulf the waters were at their normal level.
No outlet had been provided by the Drainage Co., and no change could be ex-
The permanent lowering of the waters of Lake Okeechobee, the Kissimmee River,
its lakes and tributaries, was and is the main feature of the whole plan of drainage
as embodied in the contract made with the Trustees. *
The effect of the lowering of the waters of Lake Tohopekaliga and East Lake, on
the contiguous marshes adjacent to the country, when examined by the committee
in February and March of 188, was very marked. At Narcoosee, on the east side of
the lake, at which point an English colony have located, and on the west side of this
lake where the canal enters the cross praise, and at Southport and several other places
on the Tohopekalig, extensive areas of marsh lands were ditched and being pre-
pared for crops, plows were upturning the rich mold, and, notably at Southport,
crop of vegetables were in process of cultivation. The creeks leading into
the lakes for some distance back were sensibly reduced and their waters running
with rapid current, while the adjacent country, for a considerable distance, was
visibly affected by the drainage operations.
From Cypress Lake southward, however, the committee found the waters of the
lakes and nvers very nearly at their normal level; neither Okeechobee nor the rivers
and lakes above had been either permanently or sensibly lowered by these
Below Lake Cypress they (the committee) did not find the watercourses sensibly
lowered or reduced by the work of the company, except in Lake Flirt and the Caloo-
sahatchee above Fort Thompson and in the lakes at the head of Tiger Creek. *
After mature and carefuldeliberation, the committee find, and so report, that the
only lands that can be considered reclaimed are those lying on and adjacent to East
Lake and the Tohopekaliga, and these lands can not be treated as permanently
drained until relief is given to the rivers and lakes below.
The number of acres so reclaimed they estimate at about 80,000. The reclaimed
lands around East Lake, with proper subsidiary drainage, may be considered as fit
for cultivation in any ordinary season, provided the canal is freed and kept free
from bars and obstructions. *
While the company has not progressed as rapidly as may have been desired and
expected, the progress made has been sufficient to establish, beyond any reasonable
doubt, the practicability of the drainage scheme and the admirable quality of the
soil when brought into condition for the cultivation of crops.
The commissioners not only considered the reclamation of these lands practicable,
but are impressed with the fact that both the State and the drainage company will
greatly profit b the reclamation, if fully carried out as contemplated in the contract
made with the Trustees.
In this connection, your committee desire to express in very positive terms, their
conviction that the interests of the State and of the rage Co. are reciprocal in
So far as the State is concerned, the beneficial results to be anticipated from the
reclamation of these lands can not well be overestimated, while the company will
be amply compensated for the expenditure of money, time, and labor required by the
incr d value of the reclaimed lands to which they wil be entitled under their
Notwithstanding the experience of the past summer, we are satisfied that the plan
of drainage outlined in the contract between the Trustees and the Drainage Co. can be
carried out and will accomplish the object proposed.
The scheme of drainage contemplated is one of great magnitude and of the utmost
importance to the State. The area of country embraced is estimated at 15,000 square
miles, or over 9,000,000 acres, extending from the foothills of Orange County to the
southernmost point of the peninsula. Vast as is this area, and extensive as is the
drainage required, we feel assured that the problem is capable of solution with an
expenditure of money, time, and labor not disproportionate to the results to be rea-
sonably anticipated; and that the plan outlined the contract, if carried out in its
fullness, will accomplish the object desired *
The reduction of the waters is simply a question of sufficient capacity in the canals
which may be dug for their relief.
Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, which form a part of its great basin, furnish
the receptacle for the drainage of the vast region embraced in the drainage district.
The lake at its normal level, is 20.24 feet above mean tidewater.
It needs no demonstration to show that if sufficient outlet is afforded, Lake Okee-
chobee may be reduced so as to receive, without engorgement, the waters which flow
24 EVB alADE OF FLORWIDA.
into it. The lowermg of this lake is, by the contract with the trustees, made the
basig point of the whole drainage scheme. If sufficient vent be given to its waters
and other level is sufficiently reduced, an opportunity is given to relieve the country
Without permanent lowering of the Okeechobee there can be no complete reclama-
tion of the region above. This is the primal and most important factor in the entire
lan, which, by the terms of their agreement, the Drainage Co. is to carry into effect
We suggest that the Trustees employ a thoroughly competent, reliable, and skilled
engineer, whose duty it shall be to make a complete top phial survey of the entire
drainage district, with a view to the intelligent determination of what is required for
its relief, and to see that the interests of the tate are protected, and that the Drainage
Co. complies with the terms of its contract.
In addition to what we have before said a to the character of the lands which have
been or may be reclaimed under this contract, we desire to say that the marsh lands
around East Lake, on the Cros Prairie, and around the Tohope i are of the very
finest kind. Capt. R. E. Rose has now under cultivation several ndred acres of
these lands, the fertility of which can not but impress the most casual observer. His
farm, which he calls t. Cloud is at the upper end of the Cross Prairie. Thesamechar-
acter of soil is to be found at aresfoot Farm and at Southport on the Tohopekaliga.
The saw-gras marshes below we consider to be still better and more valuable. We
estimate that of these rich, alluvial lands there will be brought into market, if the
drainage is prosecuted, not less than 500,000 acres, and not less than 500,000 acres of
secondary r intermediate lands. There will remain 5,000,000 acre more of lands,
excluding such as may be considered unreclaimable, the value of which will be
largely increased by the drainage work *.
The drainage of this territory has long been the subject of discussion and many
theories have been advanced regarding t. However interesting these theories may
be, we have only to do with the cts bearing upon the contract between the Atlantic
& Gulf Coast Canal & Okeechobee Land Co. and the Trustees, under the instructions
with which we have been charged.
We have taken time to observe the condition of the waters in the drainage district
at every season of the year, in order to test the permanent character of the work and
better assure ourselves as to the correctness of the conclusions which we have reached.
The general view of the drainage problem which we present for the consideration of
the board, as requested by you, we submit with distrust as to our ability to advise upon
a subject so important in it character, without more careful and accurate inves
tion than we have been able to make, but with the earnest desire to impress upon both
of the contracting parties our profound conviction of the magnitude of the work
required, and the ager benefits, both to the State and the company, of its successful
The interests of both parties are alike involved in the speedy completion of the
J. J. DANIzL.
W. H. DAVIsox.
Nora No. 4.-RIuoLUTrrN oir v TauuBsrs o T~S INrr IAL IMxrovuxrNT
Be it resolftd by the Truste of te Intenal Improvement d, all Ubing preAt, That
the Trustees adhere strictly to the provisions ofthe act of January 6, 185, chapter 610,
Laws of Florida, as to their powers and duties and the purposes for which aid trust
was granted, and that they will assert their rights and defend the title to the lands
granted and irrevocably vested in them for the purposes therein set forth of reclaiming
aid lands by means of levees and drains.
(Minutes of the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 5, p. 267.)
NOTB No. 6.-Gov. JXNNINos's Tz aIMOy.
In the suit of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. against the Trustees of the
Internal Improvement Fund, instituted in the early part of 1902, in which the railroad
company claimed the lands of the fund as against the Trustees, who were alerting
superior right to the lands, that the same might be used for the purposes of drainage
EVERGAMDES OF FLORIDA.
and reclamation, and during the taking of the testimony, on November 28, 1904,
Gov. Jennings was called to the stand as a witness and was asked by counsel for the
rilroad company this question:
"Q. Do you know of any other disposition of these funds during your trusteeship,
except payment of debts, anteceding the time you became governor, and the payment
of current expenses of the board?-A. I do not recall any.
"Q. Have there been any sums paid for reclamation or drainage?-A. I think not."
"Q. Have you, as a trustee, understood and acted upon the belief that your first
and chief duty in handling the swamp and overflowed lands was to have these lands
drained and reclaimed?-A. Yes sir; I think that was the purpose of the act, but
we found the fund in such condition, so many claims by the railroads and other
claims against that fund, that we have not been able to undertake the work of draining
and reclaiming any of the lands under the conditions surrounding the fund at the
"Q. Have you reason to believe, and do you believe, from your experience since
you have been a trusteet that if the fund had not been tied up by litigation and held
m the condition that it e on account of suits, advantageous arrangements might have
been made to drain large parts of swamp and overflowed lands belonging to the fund?-
A. I am under that impreon. There was one mall effort made in that Eloniah
Canal matter, but most of it was under a former contract. We had hoped to carry out
this policy, but have not been able to do so on account of the condition we found the
NorT No. 6.-LrTTrz or W. 8. JENNINGS, GENERAL COUNSEL or THE TRUSTzEE
or THB IINT nNAL IYRovzxuNT FUND, TO Gov. N. B. BROWARD.
JANUARY 21, 1905.
Hon. N. B. BnOWARD,
Governor and Pre#dent Internal Improvement Board,
DEAR GovERNoR: According to promise, I examined particularly into the question
of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad suit and other matters that you discussed with
me, and beg to thank you again for your expressed confidence.
I do not underestimate the burden that I am to assume in this work and am
impressed with the importance of the work before the Trustees. While I am entirely
confident of our former expressed views and conduct, I know that the railroad com-
panies are relying with a great deal of confidence upon the stand they have taken and
will fnd some decision tending to sustain them, which we must overcome. I can
only repeat, as my only means of emphasizing the fact, that I deem it of the utmost
importance to the success of the Trustees in the litigation that some work shall be
begun to meet the allegations in the bill of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, to
the effect that the Trustees are not performing any of the trusts required of them under
the law. This line of attack was clearly brought out during the taking of the testi-
mony of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad suit some time last December; it was
apparent that the effort there was to prove that the Trustees were not performing any
of the trust claimed by them in their pleadigs.
Among other questions propounded to me as a witness was one inquiring, in effect,
if I knew of any disposition of these funds during my trusteeship, except the payment
of debts anteceding and during the time I was governor and the payment of the current
expenses of the board, which I was unable to answer in the affirmative. I was further
asked if there had been any sums paid for reclamation or drainage, which was likewise
answered in the negative; but upon recros-examination I was asked by our counsel
if I, as a trustee, understood and acted upon the belief that my first and chief duty in
handing the swamp and overflowed lands was to have these lands drained and
reclaimed, to which I answered in the affirmative, stating that I thought that was the
purpose of the act, but that we found the fund in such condition-so many claims by
the railroads and other claims against the fund-that we had not been able to under-
take the work of drainage and reclaiming any of the lands under the conditions sur-
rounding the fund at the time; that I had reason to believe, and did believe from my
experience as a trustee, that if the fund had not been tied up by litigation and held in
the condition that it is on account of suits advantageous arrangements might have been
made to drain large bodies of swamp and overflowed lands belonging to the fund; that
we hoped to carry out this policy, but had not been able to do so on account of the
condition we found the fund in.
EVERGJO.DIS OF FLOBIDA.
From our several conferences with Mr. Wisner I have become convinced that a
suitable dredge could be purchased for from $25,000 to $36,000. In conversation
some time ago with Mr. J. H. Tatum, of Miami, he informed me that he could procure,
without any considerable cost to the Trustees, right of way over the waters of the
Miami River into the Everglades and also suitable ground for dredge building and
launching, which, I think, should be taken up at once and definite step be taken
to start even a small dredg, in order that our pleading in these suits may be sustained
by the facts and that the Trustees may be sustained in their efforts.
I have named the matter of financing the Trustees to Mr. Coachman, our president,
and while no definite arrangement has been made about providing the money I feel
confident that we can arrange with the Trustees to furnish them necessary funds up to
$25,000 anyway for this purpose. I consider the launching of a dredge absolutely
essential to the success of the litigation, and if you have not fully decided to start
the dredge in the Miami River immediate steps should be taken to determine where
the start should be made.
From my investigation of the law, I do not deem it advisable to propose a constitu-
tional amendment on the subject of the drainage tax. I do think, however, that you
should consider recommending to the legislature the adoption of a drainage law that
would be fair to all landowners, without regard to ownership, sothat in the event
that the Trusteesdo not succeed m sustaining their views as heretofore expressed there
will be a fund provided for carrying on the drainage work.
Yours, very truly,
W. 8. JENNINoS, Generdal Counel.
Nora No. 7.-RBrorr or CAPT. J. O. FmBEs ON ItPEIMINARY SURVEY.
TALLAHASSEz, FLA., September 21, 1905.
Capt. J. O. Fries, civil engineer, appeared before the Trustees and reported the
result of his labors in making a preliminary survey of a route between Lake Okeechobee
and the Atlantic Ocean for the purpose of draining and reclaiming lands in that
S vicinity. He also presented an account for his services and expenses, amounting to
6652.50, which was approved and ordered paid, after deducting the $150 already paid
him on mid account.
(Minutes of the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 6, p. 79.)
Nora No. 8.-RasoLUTION or Trn TRUST S or T E INTERNAL IMPBOVzMENT
FUND ADOPTING CANAL ROUTE.
TALLanassE, FLA., December 1,, 1906.
It i raolmd, That they adpt as the route for the first canal to be dug by the Trustees
of the Internal Imprvemen und, for the drainage and reclamation of the lands of
the fund, and for the lowering of the waters of Lake Okeechobee to prevent their over-
flow the route recommended by Mr. J. W. Newman, civil engineer, now in the employ
of te Trustees, which route is described as follows: "Beginning at the mouth of
Sabate Creek, at a stake marked 50, in section 19 township 0 8., R. 42 E., continuing
thence south 700 W. 2,500 feet; thence N. 73 W. about 4 miles to a stake marked 90;
from this stake, turning north 32 W., following the open Glades to the sonth end of
The depth of the canal at the beginning is to be 10 feet; at the end of 1 mile it is to
be 12.7 feet; at the end of 2 miles it is to be 14.6 feet; at the end of 3 miles it is to
be 14.5 feet, continuing the same depth to stake No. 90, from which point the depth
of the canal is to gradually diminish to 10 feet deep at lake Okeechobee.
It isfurth resold, That in digging northward, when we find water having outlet
to the Glades not through New River, but through some other river or creek, that we
dig a canal eastward through such river or creek as an outlet for such waters.
The canal at the beginning to be 65 feet in width, and each outlet to the Everglades
to be 50 feet in width, minimum dimensions.
(Minutes of the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 6, p. 96.)
EVEBGIADES OF FLOBIDA. 27
Non No. 9.-Dnamn Aox Tax LAw APPROVED BY GovEBNOa MAY 27, 1905.
SEzrtoN 1. The governor, the comptroller, the State treasurer, the attorney general,
and the commissioner of agriculture of the State of Florida and their successors in
office, are hereby constituted and designated as a Board of drainage Commiiones,
and are hereby authorized and empowered to establish a system of canals, drains.
levees, dikes, and reservoirs of such dimensions and depth as in the judgment of said
Board of Drainage Commissioners is deemed advisable to drain and reclaim the swamp
and overflowed lands within the State of Florida, or such parts or portions thereof as
is deemed best by said Board of Drainage Commissioners from time to time, and to
provide for the irrigation of the lands reclaimed, and to maintain such canals drains,
levees, dikes, and reservoirs in such manner as will be most advantageous to te terri-
tory so drained, the State of Florida, its inhabitants, and the commerce thereof.
Sac. 2. That the Board of Drainage Commissioners are hereby authorized and
empowered to establish drainage district and to fix the boundaes thereof in the
State of Florida; that the Board of Drainage Commissioners be, and it isereby, author-
ized and empowered to prepare a list or lists of all the alluvial or swamp and overflowed
taxable lands within such drainage district or districts, and levy thereon an acreage
tax not exceeding 10 cents per acre per annum to be fixed annually by said Board of
Drainage Commissioners, and the various tax assessors of the various counties embraced
in part or in whole within such drainage district or districts shall receive such list or
lists and enter the same upon the tax rolls of the county or counties in which such
lands may lie and the amount so levied by the Board of Dranage Commissioners in such
manner and form as may be prescribed by the Board of Drainage Commissioners from
time to time, which amount shall be collected by the various ta collectors of the
counties wherein such levies have been made as other taxes are collected in accordance
with law, and pay over said amounts collected to the Board of ainage Commissioners.
SE. 8. That the Board of Drainage Commissioners be, and it is hereby, authorized
to exercise the right of eminent domain in the condemnation of lands for the location
of its canals, drams, levees, dikes, and reservoirs for the purposes aforesaid, and may
enter upon, take, and use such lands as it may, pending condemnation proceedings,
deem necessary for such purposes, and in ascertaining the compensation to be paid for
such land or right of way, benefits to be derived from such drainage shall be considered
by the jury.
Sby 4. That all laws and parts of laws in conflict with this act be and the same are
SEc. 5. This act shall take effect upon its approval by the governor.
(Fla. Stats., chap. 5377, May 27, 1905.)
NoTE No. 10.--DAINAGO TAX LAw As AMENDED MAY 28, 1907.
Sao. 2. That a drainage district is hereby established, beginning at the intersection
of township line between townships 36 and 37, south and east with the range line
dividing ranges 31 and 32 and extending east along said township line to the inter-
section of the range line dividing ranges 39 and 40 and south to the intersection of
township line dividing townships 41 and 42; thence east along aid township to the
intersection with the range line dividing ranges 41 and 42; thence south along id
range line to the intersection of the township line dividing townships and 52; thence
west along said township line to the intersection of the section line dividing sections
3 and 4 in township 52, range 41 east; thence south along said section line to the waters
of Biscayne Bay; thence along the coast line of said waters and the waters of the Gulf
of Mexico to the point of the range line between ranges 31 and 32 intersecting with the
coast line of the aid Gulf of Mexico; thence north along said range line to the inter-
section of the township line between townships 36 and 37, the point of beginning. A
tax of 5 cents per acre is hereby levied annualt including the year 1907, upon all the
lands within said drainage district that were included i patents received by the
State of Florida from the United States under act of Congress approved September
28, 1850. The net proceeds arising from aid acreage tax hall be used and applied to
the drainage and reclamation of the lands within ad drainage district, described and
established in this act. The Board of Drainage Commissioners shall prepare a list, or
lists, of such patented lands and send them to the tax assesors of the several counties
embraced in part or in whole within such drmige districts. And the tax assessors of
the several counties embraced in part or in whole within such drainage district shall
receive such list or lists and shall enter the same upon the tax rolls of the county or
mVy GL&DUS O PPLOIDMA.
counties within which mid lands may lie and the amount so levied by this act, and
include mid acreage tax in his warrant to the tax collector in the usual tor prescribed
by law, which amounts shall be collected by the several tax collectors of the counties
wherein such levies have been made as other taxes are collected on real estate in
accordance with law, and pay over mid amounts so collected to the Board of Drainage
Commissioners. Such moneys so collected shall be used exclusively for the purposes
stated in this act within the aid drainage district.
(Fla. State., chap. 6709, May 28, 1907.)
Nora No. 11.--LrnR AND MINRuTz RLATINGw T T LH SCHOOL FUND.
OcTroBn 19, 1907.
Hon. N. B. BnowanD,
Chairman 8tate Board of FAduation, TaUahasee, Pla.
DRAB Sm: I have prepared resolutions relating to the provisions found in the
constitutions of 1868 and 1885 on the subject of the sources from which the common-
school fund shall be derived, among them being 25 per cent of the sales of public lands,
as stated in the aid constitutions. I have gTven the matter considerable time,
research, and thought and have prepared resolutions along the lines that you sug-
gested, which I am pleased to inclose herewith. My investigation of this question
has resulted in ndings as indicated and outlined by said resolutions, and leads me to
conclude that, as counsel for the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, I should
not express an opinion thereon at this time.
Yours, very truly, W. S. JXNNINGB,
General Counael, Tustees Internal Improvement Pund.
TALLAHASSEz, FLA., MarcA 0S, 1908.
S4. *4 *
The following certified copy of resolutions adopted by the State Board of Education
were submitted to the Trustees:
Whereas section 4 of article 8 of the constitution of the State of Florida, adopted
February 25, 1868, contains, among other provisions, the following:
The uomm.aoMebool fund hall be derived fm the folowlngsoroes: The proceeds of land r
other pretty which may saue to the State by eamat or becare; the proceed of all property ntd
tothe State when the purpose ofehant hll not be peefed; 28 per cent o the ale o
publlands whclh are now or may rafter be owned by the State;
And whereas large areas of public lands had been granted the State of Florida by
the Congress of the United States, two of the most important grants being the act of
Congress approved March 3, 1841, and the act of Congres approved September 28,
180 commonly known as the swamp and overflowed land grant act, under which acts
the 8tate of Florida became seized and posseed of upwardof 20,000,000 acres of land,
the greater portion of which lands had been vested in the State of Florida, prior to
and at the date of the adoption of the aforesid constitutional provision on the 23d
day of February 1868, and subsequent thereto;
And where the constitution of the State of Florida, adopted by the convention of
1885, that became effective January 1, 1887, contains among other things, at section
4, Article XII, under the subject education, the following provision:
That the State school fund sha be derived from the following souro;
Among them being enumerated the following items:
Twenty-ve per cent of the sales of public land whieh are now or may hereafter be owned by the State;
And whereas public lands are defined by high legal authority in the following
"Publi lands" I, habitualy ued in legislation to describe sch lands a re subject to sale or other
dipsal under general laws. (Andeson's Law Dictionary, Newhall v. Sanger, 2 U. 8., 786; Worth .
Branm, 9 U. 8., 118.)
And the second headnote in the Newhall v. Sanger case, above cited, reads as
The words publici lands used in our legIlation mean mch a are subject to mleor other dispol under
EVEBGLADES OF PLORIDA.
And in delivering the opinion of the court in the above-entitled case, Justice Davis
of the Supreme Court of the United States uses this language:
The word "publiolands" a habituaay ued n our legaton to deabe ch as are subject to msa or
other disposal under general laws. (Text, nt page of decision.)
Whereas the State of Florida has disposed of several million acres of said public lands
since the adoption of said constitutional provisions, which have been i full force
and effect continuously since the adoption of the first provision in 1868, without any
accounting or distribution or payment to the State Board of Education, or otherwise
applying said constitutional proportion of 25 per cent or any other amount or per cent,
to said fund as required by the constitution of the State of Florida, and the State Board
of Education is advised that said constitutional provisions are in full force and effect,
and that said school fund is entitled to 25 per cent of the sales of all public lands affected
and under the provisions of the constitution above referred to: Now, therefore, be it,
by the State Board of Education,
(1) Reolved, That it is the opinion of the State Board of Education that the State
school fund, under said constitutional provisions, is entitled to receive and recover
25 per cent of the sales of all public lands of the State of Florida from the date that the
constitution of 1868 became effective to the present time, being the proceeds from the
sale of said public lands which have been owned by the State of Florida since the
constitution of 1868 became effective, or may hereafter by owned by the State-of
(2) Resolved, That an accounting be demanded of the Trustees of the Internal
Improvement Fund of the State of Florida under the clauses of the constitution of
1808 and of the constitution of 1885, requiring that 25 per cent of the sales of public
lands be paid to the State Board of Education for the use of the common-school fund
as provided by the said constitutions, showing the'total acreage of the public lands as of
the date of February 23, 1868, the number of acres of public lands thathave been vested
in the State of Florida since the adoption of said constitution of 1868, the acreage sold
since that date by the State of Florida, or by its authority or consent, the amounts of
money received from said sales the amounts paid over to the said common-school
fund or to the State Board of Education for said fund, since said constitution of 1868
became effective, if any, and the total acreage of public lands vested in the State of
Florida, or her grantees in trust not disposed of.
(3) Resolved, That the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund of the State of
Florida be furnished with a copy of these resolutions, that the commissioner of ari-
culture of the State of Florida be furnished with a copy of these resolutions, and that
the land clerk of the State Board of Educationbe furnished with a copy of these reso-
lutions, and that aid land clerk shall assist in the preparation and compilation of
such data in the making and stating of the account referred to in the foregoing reso-
N. B. BaowamB, Governor.
W. M. HOLLOWAT, secretary.
Adopted 22d day of October, 1907.
Upon motion it was
Resolved, That the accounting requested by the State Board of Education in said
resolutions be made by the Trustees; and
Resolvedfurther, That the secretary of the Trustees do proceed to make up an account
and report same to the Trustees showing the total acreage of the land held by the Trustees
as to the date of February 23, 1868, the number of acres of public lands that have
been vested in the Trustees since the adoption of the State constitution of 1868, the
acreage sold since that date by the Trustees or by their authority, the amounts of
money received from said sales, the amounts paid over to the State school fund or to
the State Board of Education for said fund since said constitution of 1868 became
effective, if any, and the total acreage of public lands vested in the Trusteesnot dis-
Resolved further, That the secretary is directed to proceed at once to make up such
accounting, and to continue the same with all reasonable dispatch, without inter-
mission, until the said account shall be made up and submitted to the Trustees.
(Minute of the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 7, p. 240.)
EVEGIjADES OF FLORIDA.
TALLAnASSE, FLA., September t, 1908.
0 e 4 4 *
Whereas on the 22d day of October, 1907, the State Board of Education of Florida
adopted certain resolutions which were transmitted to the Trustees of the Internal
And whereas on the 21st day of November, 1907, the governor addressed a communi-
cation to the attorney general, as follows:
NoVEMBER 21, 1907.
DBo. W. H. Rau,
AmaneuQ G*ml, INlAVsue, FIe.
Sm: action 4 o artce 8 of the eontitutin of Florlds contains ammg other provision the blowing:
"The oommonmchool fund sha be derived hom the lfowing sourc, amom other, 25 per
sent of thel ado pblic lands which r now, or mayu beftr be owned by the 8tateb
I have the honor to mk or your opinim as to whether or not thi el of the ontitation Is of full foce
snd dit and is apilble to the ands in the hands of the Trustee of the Internal Improvement Fund of
the 8stae orl d and, if so, from what date and to what mlee of public lands is the State school board
entitled to an eooanting and recovery
I have the hoor to be, very respettauy, N. B. BBowAin, oernor.
Andwhereas on the 5th day of February, 1908, the attorney general submitted to the
governor his answer to said communication, as follows:
TA rxAnAz, FLA., Febrtur 5, 1908.
Boa. N. B. BEowAnD,
oeasoar, TehsueM, I.
DBA 0: Your letter of rnt daeq tim opinion a to whether section 4, Article II of the
n whmlt i rovtlel almongIt br that te coImmon-echool fund shall be derived
fnom th smLarc m u per cent of the sales public lnds which ae now
er umy bhse afer ownd by tthe ste a of folr and let and t appicable to the hands in the
andso the TLruteoio thtbfternal Immoment Fundtf the Stteoo FlorlTs and iUro, homawhtdate
and to what seles of at public lands is otate stcool board titled to an e etanId n r covty
In my opin the en of thcostitution of ,a well a that of 1886, is elfe ting; it s a
wntatthe pbl o arng from sale of public bands. The toumr wMa the uetodian at
lg hdaInsttion ndr th constitutiobn of 110 had the x"adminiostrove
Ipriihn" o rt h ctop blttio neto, and o of the ooittion refeoed
to e alyi 2 per c nt othe s uof a blie d to the commo ool fnd m a a direction to the
Trustees to oa such prto of them ml.
Th e-dttd an of ble maeo materiel a p, Ezept vesing a Ste Boad of Mdarilon of Flore
l" with tpo and dnty ofmanaging nd investing 8tg etahoolfumds. The State Board of Ed-
tion, thr the oderiet to daand n seesontl toom the TrustIes of the Internal t
und oit Stheab of rdeeor 26Is per cenatte of mo tmsofallinds thontained I n
mor t Fund fam FebruIryU1 (or tbathte sinea bem andI d pided into said fund),
to zctadBalanh sles wee made or the parpoE ofd a upon the d nld
by the ofbaad ribosdds which bdacqureindgrm under the oL and acnh Iae sumay
Very kepetiy, W. H. Gus,
And whereas on the 30th day of March, 1908, it was resolved by the Trustees of the
Internal ImprovementPund that an accounting as aforeaid be made to the State Board
of Education, and directed that the secretary of the Trustees do proceed to makeup such
account and report same to the Trustees;
And whereas such account has not yet been reported to the Trustees, on account of
which it has not yet been practicable to make or offer any settlement between the
Trusteesand the State Board of Education on said account coveringthe period between
maid February 2, 1868, to said February 6, 190
And whereas it appears from the records of the Trustees of the Internal Improvement
Fund that the Trustees have received, as proceeds of the sale of public lands between
said February 6, 1908, and the 31st day of August, 1908, both inclusive, the sum of
And whereas under the constitution and laws of Florida, as construed by the attorney
general, 25 percent of said amountof $33,299.75, said 25 per cent amounting to $8,824.94,
io due and payable to the State Board of Education of Florida by the Trustees aforesaid:
It is therefore ordered by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund that the
said sum of $8,324.94 be this day paid to the State Board of Education of Floridar
And it is further ordered that hereafter on the first day of each month, 25 per cent of
the proceeds of all sales of public lands by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement
Fund during the next preceding month shall be paid by the Trustees to the State Board
of Education of Florida.
(Minutes of the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 7, pp. 313-322.)
II. TREATY, ACTS, RESOLUTIONS, REPORTS, AND PAPERS
RELATING TO THE EVERGLADES OF FLORIDA.
TREATY OF 1819 WITH SPAIN CEDING FLORIDA TO THE
The United States of America and His Catholic Majesty, desiring
to consolidate, on a permanent basis, the friendship and good cor-
respondence which happily prevails between the two parties, have
determined to settle and terminate all their differences and preten-
sions by a treaty, which shall designate, with precision, the limits of
their respective bordering territories in North America.
With this intention the President of the United States has fur-
nished with their full powers John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State
of the said United States; and His Catholic Majesty has appointed
the most excellent Lord Don Luis De Onis, Gonzales, Lopez y Vara,
Lord of the town of Rayaces, Perpetual Regidor of the Corporation of
the city of Salamanca, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal American
Order of Isabella the Catholic, decorated with the Lys of La Vendee,
Knight-Pensioner of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of
Charles the Third, Member of the Supreme Assembly of the said
Royal Order; of the Council of His Catholic Majesty; His Secretary,
with Exercise of Decrees, and His Envoy Extraordinary and Minister
Plenipotentiary near the United States of America;
And the said Plenipotentiaries, after having exchanged their
powers, have agreed upon and concluded the following articles:
ARTIoCL 1. There shall be a firm and inviolable peace and sincere
friendship between the United States and their citizens and His
Catholic Majesty, his successors and subjects, without exception of
persons or laces.
ART. 2. His Catholic Majesty cedes to the United States, in full
property and sovereignty, all the territories which belong to him,
situated to the eastward of the Mississippi, known by the name of
East and West Florida. The adjacent islands dependent on said
provinces, all public lots and squares, vacant lands, public edifices,
fortifications, barracks, and other buildings, which are not private
property, archives and documents, which relate directly to the prop-
erty and sovereignty of said provinces, are included m this article.
The said archives and documents shall be left in possession of the
commissioners or officers of the United States, duly authorized to
ABT. 3. The boundary line between the two countries, west of
the Mississippi, shall begin on the Gulph of Mexico, at the mouth of
82 mVaXBnoADs o0 lLOmIDA.
the River Sabine, in the sea, continuing nokh, along the western
bank of that river, to the 32 of latitude; thence by a line due
north, to the degree of latitude where it strikes fte Rio Roxo of
Natchitoches, or Red River; then, following the course to the Rio
Roxo westward, to the degree of longitude 100 west from London
and 23 from Washington; then, crossing the said Red River, and run-
ning thence, by a line due north, to the river Arkansas; thence, follow-
ig the course of the southern bank of the Arkansas, to its source, in
latitude 42* north; and thence, by that parallel of latitude, to the
South Sea. The whole being as laid down in Melish's map of the
United States, published at Phildelphia, improved to the 1st of Janu-
ary 1818. But if the source of the Arkansas River shall be found
to fall north or south of latitude 42 then the line shall run from the
said source due south or north, as the case may be, till it meets the
said parallel of latitude 42, and thence, along the said parallel, to
the South Sea:
All the islands in the Sabine and the said Red and Arkansas Rivers,
throughout the course thus described, to belong to the United States;
but the use of the waters, and the navigation of the Sabine to the
sea, and of the said rivers Roxo and Arkansas, throughout the extent
of the said boundary, on their respective banks, shall be common to
the respective inhabitants of both nations.
The two high contracting parties agree to cede and renounce all their
rights, claims, and pretensions, to the territories described by the said
line, that is to say: The United States hereby cede to His Catholic
Majesty, and renounce forever, all their rights, claims, and pretensions,
to the territories lying west and south of the above-described line;
and, in like manner, His Catholic Majesty cedes to the said United
States all his rights, claims, and pretensions to any territories east
and north of the said line, and for himself, his heirs, and successors,
renounces all claim to the said territories forever.
Awr. 15. The United States, to give to His Majesty a proof of
their desire to cement the relations of amity subsisting between
the two nations, and to favor the commerce of the subjects of His
Catholic Majesty, agree that Spanish vessels, coming laden only
with productions of Spanish growth or manufactures, directly from
the ports of Spain, or of her colonies, shall be admitted for the term
of 12 years, to the ports of Pensacola and St. Augustine, in the Flori-
das, without pa&vg other or higher duties on their cargoes, or of
tonnage, than w be paid by the vessels of the United States. Dur-
ing the said term no other nation shall enjoy the same privileges
within the ceded territories. The twelve years shall commence three
months after the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty.
ART. 16. The present treaty shall be ratified in due form, by the
contracting parties, and the ratifications shall be exchanged m six
months from this time, or sooner if possible.
In witness whereof we, the underwritten Plenipotentiaries of the
United States of America and of His Catholic Majesty, have signed,
by virtue of our powers, the present treaty of amity, settlement,
and limits, and have hereunto afixed our seals, respectively.
ZVZDGL&DEB OF FLORIDA.
Done at Washington this twenty-second day of February, eight-
een hundred and nineteen.
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. [SEAL.]
Lms DE ONIB. [SEAL.]
The foregoing treaty was ratified by the Senate of the United States, February24,
1819, and on October 24, 1820 by His Catholic Majesty Ferdinand the Seventh,
of the Spains, who declared it to be his deliberate illhat this ratification be as vaid
and firm and produce the same effects as if it had been done within the determined
od (six months from February 22, 1819). By the same ratification His Catholic
Majesty annulled three grants of Florida lands made in favor of the Duke of Alagon,
the Count of Punonrostro, and Don Pedro de Vargas. (See Treaties, Conventions, etc.;
S. Doc. No. 357, 61st Cong., pp. 1651, 1657.)
ACTS OF THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES.
AN ACT To appropriate proceeds of sales of public lands and granting one-half mil-
lion acres to Florida.
[5 U. S. Stat. L., 45.]
And there shall be, and hereby is, granted to each new State that
shall be hereafter admitted into the Union, upon such admission, so
much land as, including such quantity as may have been granted to
such State before its admission and while under a Territorial govern-
ment, for purposes of internal improvement as aforesaid, as shall make
five hundred thousand acres of land, to be selected and located as
Approved, September 4, 1841. -
AN ACT For the admission of the States of Iowa and Florida into the Union.
(6 U. s. Stat. L., 742, 743.]
Whereas the people of the Territory of Iowa did, on the 7th day
of October, 1844, by a convention of delegates called and assembled
for that purpose, form for themselves a constitution and State gov-
Whereas the people of the Territory of Florida did, in like manner,
by their delegates, on the 11th day of January, 1839, form for them-
selves a constitution and State government, both of which said consti-
tutions are republican; and said conventions having asked the ad-
mission of their respective Territories into the Union as States, on
equal footing with the original States:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives ofthe United
States of America in Congress assembled, That the States of Iowa and
Florida be, and the same are hereby, declared to be States of the
United States of America, and are hereby admitted into the Union
on equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatsoever.
SECTION 5. And be it further enacted, That said State of Florida
shall embrace the Territories of East and West Florida, which by the
treaty of amity, settlement, and limits between the United States
and Spain, on the twenty-second day of February, eighteen hundred
and nmeteen, were ceded to the Umted States.
5644'-8. Doc. 89, 62-1- 3
BY ERGLADES OF FORIMDA.
Sz oroN 7. And be it furer enacted, That the said States of Iowa
and Florida are admitted into the Union on the express condition
that they shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the public
lands lying within them, nor levy any tax on the same whilst remain-
ing the property of the United States: Provided, That the ordinance
of the convention that formed the constitution of Iowa, and which
is appended to the said constitution, shall not be deemed or taken)
to have any effect or validity, or to be recognized as in any manner
obligatory upon the Government of the United States.
Approved, March 3, 1845.
AN ACT Supplemental to the act for the admission of Florida and Iowa into the
Union, and for other purposes.
(5 U. S. stat. L., 788.]
Be it enacted by the Senate and House ofRepresentatives of the United
Stats of America in Congress assembled, That in consideration of the
concessions made by the State of Florida in respect to the public
lands, there be granted to the State eight entire sections of land for
the purpose of fixing their seat of government; also section num-
bered sixteen in every township, or other lands equivalent thereto, for
the use of the inhabitants of such township, for the support of public
schools also two entire townships of land, in addition to the two town-
ships already reserved, for the use of two seminaries of learning, one
to be located east and the other west of the Suwanee River; also five
per centum of the net proceeds of the sale of lands within said
State, which shall be herafter sold by Congress, after deducting all
expenses incident to the same; and which said net proceeds shall be
applied by said State for the purposes of education.
Approved, March 3, 1845.
RESOLUTION BY THE LEGIS ITURR OF FLORIDA.
PREAMBLE And resolution by the Legislature of Florida, adopted December 10,
1845, recommending the adoption of measures for reclaiming the Everglade lands
in that State.
Whereas there is a vast and extensive region, commonly termed
the Everglades, in the southern section of this State embracig no
inconsiderable portion of its entire peninsula, which has hitherto
been regarded as wholly valueless in consequence of being covered
by water at stated periods of the year, and the supposed impractica-
bility of draining it. And whereas recent information, derived from
the most respectable sources, has induced the belief, which is daily
strengthening, that these opinions are without foundation, and, on
the contrary, that at a comparatively small expense the aforesaid
region can be entirely reclaimed, thus opening to the habitation of
man an immense and hitherto unexplored domain perhaps not sur-
passed in fertility and every natural advantage by any other on the
globe. And whereas it is no less the interest of the General Govern-
ment than of Florida, with its vast donation of unlocated land, to
EVEBGLADES OF FLORIDA.
adopt some early and efficient measures to test the accuracy of these
Be% it therefore resolved by the senate and house of representatives in
general assembly convened, That our Senators in Congress be instructed,
and our Representative requested, to bring this important subject to
the attention of Congress at the earliest day, and earnestly press upon
its consideration the propriety and policy of forthwith appointing
competent engineers to examine and survey the aforesaid region.
Resolved, That immediately upon their passage and approval his
excellency the governor be requested to transmit to the persons above
named, to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and to the
President of the United States certified copies of the foregoing pre-
amble and resolution, and to communicate with the latter officer,
and furnish him with all the information in his possession in reference
to a subject of deep interest to the General Government as well as to
Passed by the senate December 2, 1845. Passed by the house
of representatives December 4, 1845. Adopted by the governor
December 10, 1845.
STATE OF FLOIDA:
I, James T. Archer, secretary of state of the State aforesaid, do
hereby certify that the foregoing contains a true transcript from the
preamble and resolutions in my said office.
Witness my hand and the great seal of the State of Florida, at the
capitol, in Tallahassee, this 11th day of December, A. D. 1845, and
seventieth year of American independence.
[L. s.] JAMEs T. ABHEB,
Secretary of State, Florida.
EXTRACT FROM LETTER FROM HON. JAXES D. WESTCOTT, JB.,
TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
WASHINGTON, May 11, 1847.
Srm: Referring to the conversations I have had with you, and
the letters I have written on the subject of measures being adopted
by the Government to reclaim the vast quantity of valuable lands
on the peninsula of Florida called the "Everlades," now sub-
merged by fresh water, I will recapitulate my views as to the in-
cipient steps advisable to be taken. You have the opinions of that
intelligent and able gentleman, and practical engineer Gen. Gads-
den, in a letter addressed to you at my request. He has promised
to give them more particularly and m detail. This subject has,
since 1822, attracted no little attention in Florida. Years before
the cession the project was partially attempted by the Spaniards,
but was not carried out, because those who undertook it were not
competent to the task. Gen. Charles F. Mercer, of Virginia, some
years ago examined the subject, and wrote an elaborate essay for
the public prints, setting forth the advantages of the measure to
the country. Petitions have been repeatedly proposed to our local
legislature for its aid, and it has more than once passed resolutions
invoking the action of the General Government to effect the reclaim-
EVR3Gj&DES OF PWLORA.
ing of those lands. I have before inclosed to you a printed copy as
laid before Congress, of those adopted at a recent session. The
project has been favorably referred to in more than one official
report of the United States officers on duty in Florida. Gen. Gadsden,
more than 20 years ago, noticed it approvingly. Gen. Worth, or
the late Lieut. Blake topographical engineer, and others of high
reputation have, I believe, called the attention of the Government
to it in official correspondence or reports. I have caused maps and
plate, exhibiting the general character of that region and of the face
of the country, to be submitted to you, from which you can, I think,
form a pretty safe opinion of the practicability of the plan proposed.
I am no engineer-know but little of such matters, but any man
can venture to decide that if, as is alleged the waters in the Gulf
or Straits of Florida opposite the Everades, are some 6, 7, or 8,
and perhaps 10 feet, beow the waters m the Glades, and that the
general depth of the waters in the Glades, when there is no freshet,
is but from 1 to 5 feet, except in.channels and some deep ponds
across the peninsula; and that the distance from the edge of the
Glades to the shores of the Florida Straits is in many places less than
6 miles; and that the actual distance to the heads of several navi-
gable streams emptying into the straits is not more than a mile; and
that the narrow ridge which separates them from the waters of the
Glades is of soft coral rockt requiring excavation, easily made, of but
10 or 12 feet at most to unite the fresh and salt waters, and drain the
lands in the Glades, the scheme is feasible and without very great
risk. What would be the value of the now subaqueous lands,
reclaimed by such work, I will not pretend to say. Of course, it
would depend on their quality. As to this, I rely greatly on the
representations of the Hon. John P. Baldwin, Col. Wm. F. English,
Col. Richard Fitzpatrick, and George McKay, Esq., all of whom
have resided in their vicinity and who have repeatedly informed
me that many of them would be the best sugar and rice lands in the
United States. I believe they would, at all events, give us the
desideratum of lands that could enable us to rear the tropical fruits
we now import from Cuba and the West Indies, even if not suffi-
ciently fertile for, or adapted to, rice or sugar. Their being reclaimed
would also occasion settlements to be made at least on some of them,
and it is important for the country that South Florida should be
densely populated. All the gentlemen I have last above named
are of the highest respectability and intelligence, and Mr. McKay
is a United States surveyor, who surveyed most of the contiguous
coast of the Atlantic or straits, and up to the margin or "rim of the
basin" of the Glades. Doubtless, on draining the vast lake called the
Everglades-nearly 90 miles in length and from 50 to 70 in breadth-
interspersed with islands, and what are now bogs or morasses, there
would be left rivers and channels running through it, and some of the
spongy morasses might be irreclaimable for any valuable purpose for
years hence. Doubtless, too, the sudden exposure of such a vast
extent of soil, so long covered with fresh water, to the action of an
almost vertical sun, and the immense quantity of dead fish and
vegetable substances thereby exposed to decomposition upon it, might
occasion temporary pestilence in its neighborhood, but it would
probably not extend beyond one season, and could be guarded against;
and this, in fact, furnishes a reason why the work should be done
EVERGLADES O FLORIDA.
before many settlements are made on the coast. The quantity of
lands that would probably be reclaimed has been variously esti-
mated from one to two or even three, millions of acres, and indeed
more. I do not consider it practicable to estimate it at anything
The waters in the Gulf of Mexico opposite the Glades are said to be
considerably below those in the Glades, but not so much as the waters
of the straits. It is also said they sometimes mingle through the
lagoons and creeks in the bayous and coves above Cape Sable and
below the northwest point of Charlotte Harbor. If so, it is not a
chimerical idea to anticipate a cut from the Gulf to the Glades would
effect a channel for at least small coasting vessels and steamboats
through that part of the peninsula at comparatively small expense,
and it is not improbable that passes on the Gulf coast may have to
be stopped and the shore in some places leveed to promote this
object and aid in the keeping such channel open. *
Now, sir, under this responsibility I do not hesitate to say that I
regard it important that this work should be undertaken and completed
as soon as possible. It is decidedly advisable that the Government
should satisfy itself-send an agent to make a reconnaissance of these
lands and make report as to the probable practicability of the work,
to be laid before Congress at its next session. *
I assure you of my high respect.
Your obedient servant,
JAxME D. WESTCOTT, Jr.
Hon. R. J. WALKER,
Secretary of the Treasury.
EXTRACTS FPRO INSTRUCTIONS TO BUCKrIGHAX SMITH, ESQ.,
BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
TREASURY DEPARTMENT, June 18, 1847.
Sm: You are hereby designated, under the eleventh section of the
act of Congress of August 6, 1846, "providing for the better organi-
zation of the Treasury Department and for the collection, safe-keeping,
transfer, and disbursement of the public revenue," an agent to
examine the land offices at Tallahassee, Newnansville, and St. Au-
gustine, in the State of Florida, said examination to be prosecuted
and completed with all convenient dispatch and to be concluded
before the 1st day of November next, and full report thereof made
to this department. *
But the most important service expected of you is the procurement
of authentic information in relation to what are generally called the
"Everglades" on the peninsula of Florida.
It has been represented to the department that there are several
millions of acres of public lands in the vast lake called by that name,
and which can be reclaimed and rendered valuable at an expense
comparatively small with the advantages resulting from such measure.
It is represented that these lands can be drained by two or three-small
canals, from the lake into the rivers opposite to it, emptying into the
Gulf of Mexico, and into the straits of Florida. Copies of sundry
communications to this department on this subject are inclosed to
EVERGLADES OF FLORIDA.
you. They are for your own consideration and to be returned to the
department with your report. You will please give them an attentive
perusal, with a view in your report of correcting any errors of fact or
opinion they may contain. The legislature of the State of Florida
has, by resolution, asked the action of the Federal Government in
relation to draining these lands. This department is not in possession
of any official information in relation to them which would justify its
recommendation of such measure; but the opinion is entertained,
from the representations made, that the measure is not only practi-
cable, but would be beneficial to the public interests. The depart-
ment relies upon you to procure and furish, in your report, full infor-
mation on this subject. It is expected that you will visit personally
and make a reconnaissance of that section of the peninsula. You are
herewith furnished sundry maps, charts, etc., of portions of it, some
of which, though not regarded as entirely correct, may still be of
service to you. You are not expected to make a survey of the country,
either topographical or otherwise, but it is desired that your recon-
noissance should be as full and complete as practicable.
You can doubtless, without ascertainment by instruments of the
levels, approximate to the relative elevation of the waters in the
rivers on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, opposite to the Everglades,
with the waters in the Everglades; and you can ascertain pretty cor-
rectly the general depth of the water in the lake and the probable
quantity of land that can be reclaimed by draining it by canals into
those rivers. You can ascertain the opinions of mtelligent persons
and you can obtain data for the formation of your own opinion as to
the quality of those lands so susceptible of being reclaimed and their
value and their adaptation to the cultivation of different products.
You will particularly specify those products. This information will
be important. You will examine personally, if you can, the region
where the proposed cuts will have to be made; state its character;
geological formation; the probable length and breadth and depth of
ihe proposed cuts or canal; the probable excavation necessary; and
also the character and anticipated expense and results of the work
sought to be undertaken. Any information that you can obtain in
writing, from intelligent citizens acquainted with this subject, you
will communicate with your report, and you will seek from them facts
and specific data showing the grounds of opinions that may be given.
It is to these, rather than mere opinions, that Congress and the
department must look to justify action on any subject. *
The department relies with confidence on your impartial fulfillment
of this service, free from any sectional or local predilections, and that
your report will confirm the character for intelligence (which it) has
received in relation to you from your friends of different sections of
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. J. WALKED,
Secretary of he Treasury.
BUCKINooHA SMrrn, Esq.,
St. Augustine, East Florida.
EVEBGLADES OF FLORIDA.
RESOLUTION BY THE LEGISLATURE OF FLORIDA, APPROVED
JANUARY 6, 1848.
PREAMBLE And resolution in relation to draining the Everglades.
Whereas large tracts of the public lands lying in the vicinity of
Lake Okeechobee and in that region south of said lake, called
"The Everglades," being covered with water, are incapable of being
surveyed and subdivided, and are therefore valueless to the United
Whereas it is believed that a large portion of said lands may be
drained by canals, reclaimed, and made valuable for the cultivation
of tropical plants and fruits; and
Whereas it is believed that these lands, if reclaimed, would not
only remunerate this State for the expense of such reclamation, but
would yield a considerable surplus above such expense: Therefore
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of
Florida in general assembly convened That Congress be requested to
grant to this State all of said lands dying south of Carloosa Hatchee
River and of the northern shore of Lake Okeechobee, and between
the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, on condition that the
State will drain them and apply the proceeds of the sale thereof, after
defraying the expense of draining, to purposes of education.
Passed the senate December 30, 1847.
C. W. DOWNING.
Secretary of te Senate.
D. G. McLEAN,
President of the Senate.
Passed the house of representatives January 6, 1848.
W. B. LANCASTER,
Clerk House of Representatives.
Speaker House of Representatives.
Approved, January 6, 1848.
W. D. MOSELEY.
STATE OF FLORIDA:
I, James T. Archer, secretary of state of Florida, do hereby cer-
tify that the foregoing is a correct transcript of a resolution on file
in my office entitled "Resolution in relation to draining the Ever-
Witness my official signature and the great seal of the State afore-
said, at Tallahassee, this 22d day of February, A. D. 1848.
[L. s.] JAMES T. ARCHER,
Secretary of State.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO THE SENATE
OF THE UNITED STATES.
TREASURY DEPARTMENT, August 10, 1848.
SIR: In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 9th
instant, requiring "that the Secretary of the Treasury be directed
to commumcate to the Senate any information in his department as
BVYEGLADES OF FLORIDA.
to the practicability of reclaiming the Everglades in the State of
Florida, or as to the expediency of ceding them to the said State
for that purpose; and his opinion as to the best mode and means of
accomplishing such object,' I have the honor to transmit to the
Senate a copy of the report of Buckingham Smith, Esq., a gentle-
man of character and intelligence, who was in 1847 employed by
this department to examine the land offices in Florida, and directed
also to make a reconnaissance of the Everglades as a part of the
public lands, for the purpose of ascertaining the practicability and
expediency of draining them, etc., and appended to which are
sundry documents and letters furnishing information on the same
subject. Annexed hereto are also copies of the instructions of this
department to Mr. Smith and to Lieut. Martin, commanding the
revenue cutter Wolcot, who assisted Mr. Smith in his examinations,
and also copies of the application to the department, in compliance
with which the examinations were directed.
Herewith likewise is submitted a letter from the Commissioner
of the General Land Office to this department in reply to inquiries
as to the quantity of public lands at the southern end of the Florida
Peninsula, specifying the quantity of lands that have been surveyed,
and those that are generally covered with water, and those that are
only occasionally covered with water and those that are capable
of being surveyed or are too valueless for survey.
The papers transmitted contain all the information on the files
of this department on the subject mentioned in said resolution.
As to the practicability of draining the Everglades, these data
would seem to indicate that it is practicable, and at an expense
probably not exceeding $500,000, as estimated by Mr. Smith m his
report. Of the value of the lands reclaimed by such draining, I
am unable to give any decided opinion. Whether they will be
worth the expense of the work is questioned by intelligent men
acquainted with the country, and, on the other hand, equally
intelligent men have expressed the opinion, which would seem most
probable, that their value will far exceed the cost of draining the
Glades and adjoining swamps. The test of experience can alone
solve the doubt. These lands are, however, utterly worthless to
the Government at this time, as stated in the letter of the Commis-
sioner of the General Land Ofice.
The Committee on Public Lands of the Senate have transmitted
to me a copy of the bill now before said committee, to cede said
lands to the State of Florida, for the purpose of effecting their
draining, and requesting my opinion as to its provisions. Upon a
perusal of that bill it seems to me that its provisions are well cal-
culated to insure the accomplishment of the object and by means
more eligible than if attempted by the Federal Government. The
cession to the State of these lands and of all others within it of similar
character would seem to be the most proper and advantageous
disposition that can be made of them.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. J. WALKER,
Secretary of the Treasury.
To the PRESIDENT OK THE SENATE.
EVEEGL&DES OF FLORIDA.
LETTER FROM TIE CONMIS8IONER OF THE GENERAL LAND
OFFICE TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
GENERAL LAND OFFrCE, August 10, 1848.
Sm: In reply to your inquiries of this office as to any informa-
tion in its possession respecting the Everglades in the State of
Florida, and the lands in said State, below the line dividing town-
ships 36 and 37, south of the base line in said State, I have the
honor to state:
That the name "Everglades" designates that region of the penin-
sula of Florida lying south of Lake Okeechobee, and generally covered
by water from 2 to 7 feet deep at least for some months in every year.
That the greater part of the peninsula below this line between
townships 36 and 37, and which it is proposed by the bill now before
the Committee of Public Lands of the Senate (which bill has been
submitted to me by Messrs. Westcott and Cabell, of said State) to
be ceded to the State of Florida being unsurveyed, and there not
being any nautical surveys of the western coast below Tampa in
this office, an approximate estimate only can be made of the area
of the peninsula and keys, including the lands and interior waters
south of said line, and excluding the islands and keys south and
east of Cape Sable. It is supposed, however, that such area may
be stated at about 7,800,000 acres of land and water.
Of this aggregate area, it is estimated that there is always covered
with water about 4,300,000 acres.
This estimate includes rivers lagoons, sounds, and Lake Okee-
chobee, and other lakes south of said line, that it is not proposed to
drain and can not be drained. It includes also the swamps and all
those portions of country comprising parts of the region called
the Everlades, the greater part of which it is not supposed can be
Of the aggregate before stated, it is estimated there are about
1,000,000 of acres that are only occasionally covered with water, i. e.,
for some months during and after the rainy seasons in each year;
much of which, however, on the eastern and southern margins of
the Glades, are represented as valueless until the Glades are drained,
in consequence of such annual overflow, and of which also a con-
siderable portion it is not anticipated will ever be made valuable by
Of the remaining 2,500,000 acres, the quantity of 1,000,000 acres
has been surveyed (about 590,682 mto sections and 409,318 by the
exterior lines of townships), mostly of very inferior quality, judging
from the small quantity (only 360 acres) sold since a large portion
of them were brought into market. The residue of said lands, being
1,500,000 acres, are represented as poor and valueless generally, and
most of them probably not worth the expense of surveying.
No sufficient data, on which to base a correct statement of the
quantity of lands within said limits legally subject to patent under
the acts for the armed occupation and settlement of Florida, is in this
office, but it is considered that 16,000 acres will certainly cover all
such claims that can be legally established.
Twenty-three thousand and three acres have been granted by
special acts of Congress to Dr. H. Perrine and his widow and heirs,
within said limits, for the cultivation of tropical fruits and plants,
EVUBGLADUS OF FWRAIDA.
and which grant is allowed by law to be located in separate sections,
and the reasonable presumption is, that they have located the choicest
lands in that part of the country.
There are, it is believed, several claims under Spanish grants within
said limits, amounting to many thousand acres; but inasmuch as
they have not all yet been definitely confirmed, and the surveys
thereof finally concluded, this office is without certain data whereon
to base a precise statement of the aggrate quantity of such claims.
The great Alagon claim covers two-thirds of the entire district pro-
posed to be ceded to the State of Florida, and extends much higher
up (north) than the line before specified. This claim is in suit, but
it is not supposed there is the slightest danger of the claimants suc-
ceeding in such suit.
The project of draining the Everglades, if successful, may perhaps
reclaim for cultivation, within the limits of the proposed grant to
Florida, about a million of acres of these lands, now covered with
water; some continually, and the residue occasionally only. It can
not be anticipated to reclaim but a part of the Everglades, a part of
the Ateeenahoofa or Big Cypress Swamp, a part of the Halpatiokee
Swamp and the skirt of poor lands on the margin of the Glades,
covered with water some months of every year, and which is very
barren. Much of the subaqueous lands will still remain inundated;
and no one can expect that the parts that are so drained can all be
made susceptible of cultivation.
The entire peninsula south of the northern line of the proposed
grant to Florida, whether occasionally covered with water or not
subject to overflow, is, at this time, utterly worthless to the United
States for any purpose whatever. Col. Robert Butler, the surveyor
general of that State, in his official report, made October 2, 1847,
says: "I now ask your attention to the Everglades, which can not
be surveyed without first being drained-" and that officer recom-
mends the cession of a moiety of that region to the State of Florida,
for the purpose of having them reclaimed.
Draining the Glades, as suggested, will, it is supposed, still leave
large rivers, lakes, ponds, and channels in the Glades filled with water;
and, as before observed, many of the lands drained will also remain
valueless. But the results of the proposed work can only be ascer-
tained by actual experiment.
The great depth of Lake Okeechobee forbids the idea of draining it
entirely; and, indeed, I learn from Mr. Smith's report, it is con-
templated only to decrease its waters but a few feet, leaving it of
sufficient depth to be navigated by vessels that may be able to
navigate the canals from said lake to the Gulf and to the Atlantic.
As before observed, the lagoons, bays, sounds, and rivers, within the
said district will not be affected by the contemplated work.
The bill before the Committee on Public Lands of the Senate grants
to the State of Florida alternate sections of the surveyed landsbelow
said line dividing townships 36 and 37-the nearest township line to
the north end ofLake Okeechobee. In consideration of the fact before
adverted to that the value of these lands, now esteemed of but little
amount will be perhaps enhanced by the proposed improvement to
the legal minimum price of the public lands, and in consideration also
of the reclaiming of several hundred thousand acres of bottom land
on the banks of the Kisnimmee River and its tributaries outside and
EVERGLADES OF FLORIDA.
north of the proposed grant, and the benefit of which will inure solely
and directly to the Federal Treasury, it is deemed that this provision
is equitable and just.
In my annual report I had the honor to express my convictions
as to the policy of the Federal Government with respect to all such
lands as those proposed to be ceded, situate in any of the States, and
I had the honor of advancing the principles I conceived to be sound
on that subject, and I am gratified to find that the proposed bill
sustains what I then deemed it my duty to say.
I transmit with this letter the map of this region, prepared at this
office for Mr. Smith, which gives a better idea of it than can be given
by any description.
I have the honor to remain, with great respect, your obedient
RICHARD M. YOUNG, Commissioner.
Hon. ROBERT J. WALKER,
Secretary of the Treasury.
BILL FOR DRAINING OF EVERGLADES, INTRODUCED IN THE
THIRTIETH (1848) CONGRESS BY SENATOR WESTCOTT.
[Seate 338, public, 30th Cong., Itt s.]
Mr. Westcott, of Florida, introduced the following bill, which was
read twice and referred to the Committee on Public Lands:
A BILL To authorize the draining of the Everglades, in the State of Florida, by said
State, and to grant the same to said State for that purpose.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Reprentatives of the United States of Ameria
in Congress assembled, That there be, and hereby is, granted to the State of Florida
and its assignees, all the lands, lakes, and water-courses, with $he appurtenances,
situated in said State and south of the line of the public land surveys therein, running
due east from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, being the line dividing town-
ships thirty-sx and thirty-seven south, in said State; said grant to include the islands
or eys adjacent to the coast north of Cape Sable, and not to include any such islands
or keys that are south and east of said cape; and aid grant is made to aid State upon
the following conditions, to be accepted by said State, by act of the legislature thereof,
or this grant to be void, viz:
First. The said State shall, on or before the first day of January, eighteen hundred
and fifty-one, cause to be commenced, under the direction of a competent engineer,
to be appointed under authority of a law of said State, the construction of drains and
canals, to be sufficient, if practicable, for inning the Everglades aforesaid, and for
reclaiming the subaqueous land thereof, and for ecreasing the waters of the Lake
Okeechobee, and draining and reclaiming the swamps and low lands contiguous thereto,
within said boundaries; and drains and canals for draining and reclaiming the swamps
and low lands between the Everglades, and between said lake and the Atlantic and
Gulf coasts and the coasts of the traits of Florida, and so that, if practicable, a com-
munication may be made by such canals, for vessels, between the Gulf and the Atlantic
waters and said State shall cause said works to be completed and finished within ten
years rom the time the same shall be commenced as aforesaid.
Second. That aid State shall not sell, alien, transfer, pledge, or mortgage, or other-
wise dispose of said lands, or any part thereof, or any of the rights or privileges derived
from this grant, except to effect the full and faithful fulfillment of said condition above
stated; and the entire avails and proceeds of any disposition thereof, or any part
thereof, made by aid State shall be exclusively and sacredly appropriated to the
completion of said work.
Third. No sale of any of said lands shall be made for a less price than one dollar and a
quarter per acre (and this restriction shall extend to lands within aid boundaries not
reclaimed as well as other lands) until aid works are fully completed.
EVEIGLADEB OF FLORIDA.
Fourth. Until the President of the United States shall authorize the same in writing
no entry or encroachment sdll be made or allowed by aid State, into or upon the
district reserved for the Seminole Indians yet remainig in Florida, part of which is
within said boundaries; and for any delay occasioned to the commencement or com-
pletion of aid work by the withholding of such authority, the period stipulated for
esch commencement and completion in said fist condition shall be extended a corre-
Fifth. One thirty-dxth part of all aid lands within said boundaries shall bareserved
by aid State, and appropriated to the use of common schools for the inhabitants of aid
lands, in lieu of the sixteenth section now so appropriated in each township of the
public lands in sad State; the said one thirty-ixth portion to be designated in such
mode and manner as the legislature of said State may, by law, direct.
Sixth. Of the public lands south of said line, and surveys of which have been com-
pleted and approved prior to the passage of this Act, one-half is excepted from this
grant; the same to be reserved by he Secretary of the Treasury for the United States,
m alternate sections; and when there are fractional sections, one-half of such fraction
to be reserved for the United States, the State, however, to have the right of way for
said works through aid lands. And the President of the United States may, at any
time within two years from the page of this Act, reserve for the United States, at
such points, within aid grant as may be reported after examination and survey by a
proper officer, to be adviable, such tracts not exceeding half a section at each point,
as may be necery for lighthouses, forte, docks, arsen navy yards, or other public
works within aid boundaries, to be used by the United States for such public works,
but upon relinquishment of such reservations, to revert to said State, conformably to
this Act. And this Act shall in no wise affect rghto acquired under any Spanish grant,
heretoforeorhereafterconfirmed to any of aid lads, or any right acquired under any
public sale by the United states, or by private entry of any of aid lands, orunder any
nation or other grant by the United 8tate, or under the preemption acts, or under
the acts respecting the armed occupation and settlement of Florida.
Seventh. Any residue or surplus of the avails, or proceeds, of said sales of said lands,
after defraying the expenses of said works stipulated to be completed in said first
condition, as asoreaid, shall be devoted by the legislature of said State exclusively to
the purpose of education within aid territory hereby granted; the principal of such
residue to be invested as the legislature of said State may by law direct, as a permanent
ppetual fund, and the interest thereon only to be expended as aforesaid.
Eighth. No tolls or cages shall be exacted for painng through any of said canals,
from vessels or bats of the United StatesS or in the service of the United States, or
aden exclusively with public stores, mumtions of war, or other freight of the United
States, or the United Stats mails, or transporting, as aforeaid, troops in the service
of the United States, through any of aid canals; nor shall tolls or charges be exacted
for any freight or mals of the United States or for such troops; but such reasonable tolls
may be charged and collected from other vessels, and eight, and persons, as said
legislature may by law allow, to be applied to keeping the ad works in repair.
Ninth. Be t fiurter enacted, That the surveys of the said lands by said State shall
conform as nearly as practicable, to the form and plan of the surveys by the United
States of public lands in said States.
Report of the Committee on Pablio eands to the United States Seate
on the Westoott bill for the drainage of the Everglades.
[Senate Rep. Com., No. 242, 30th Cong., 1st ssi.
Mr. Breese made the following report to accompany bill S. 338:
The Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred bill No. 338, "to authorize
the draining of the Everglades, in the State of Florida, by said State, and to grant the
same to aid State for that purpose;" and to which was also referred the report of the
Secretary of the Treasury respecting said measure, and the accompanying documents,
That from the data submitted to the committee, and accompanying the report of
the Secretary of the Treasury, the committee has been induced to believe the measure
proposed by this bill should be adopted.
The region proposed to be granted to the State of Florida, to enable that State to
effect the desired improvement, is now nearly or quite valueless to the United States;
and will so remain until reclaimed by draining it by means of canals. More than
EVERGLADES OF FLORIDA.
six-sevenths of it is yet unsurveyed, and it is officially reported by the surveyor general
of Florida that "it can not be surveyed without first being drained;" the .correctness
of which report is corroborated by all the evidence adduced on the subject. The
portion that has been surveyed is also reported as being of little worth; and that the
fact that but one-half section, out of 590,132 acres that has been surveyed in sections,
has been sold fully proves the correctness of such statement. The suggested improve-
ment, it is believed, may make some of these surveyed lands salable.
The cost of the proposed canals, it is estimated will be about half a million of dollars.
The quantity of lands capable of being reclauned and rendered fit for cultivation,
it is estimated, is about 1,000,000 acres. But on this point and also as to the antici-
pated enhanced value of the other lands (besides those now covered with water within
the region proposed to be granted to the State of Florida), to be affected by the proposed
work, no certain calculation can be made based upon data obtained from mere explora-
tions, or even from surveys of the most particular character. The true consequences
and results can only be ascertained by the experiment being actually made.
The propriety of the Federal Government undertaking this work, even if it could do
so with profit, is doubted by the committee.
It is believed that the work suggested can for the reasons given in the documents
appended to this report, and the cogency of which must be conceded by every practical
mind be bet undertaken and completed by the State of Florida, or by associations
of individuals under its authority. The improvements can in such case be made to
effect n6t merely the draining of those now covered with water, but the enhancement
of the value and price of the other public lands, and also the promotion of important
local interests of that region in many respects, and at the same time the interests of
the Union generally (beyond the pecunary interest in these lands) may be advanced.
The proposed canal being made nnels of communication by vessels across the penin-
sula from the Atlantic to the Gulf waters, thus avoiding the perilous reefs farther south,
is a consideration of no trifling moment to the navigating interests of the Union.
The bill referred to the committee provides for a grant to the State of Florida, with
such view, of all the lands below a specified line of the public surveys, near the
northern end of Lake Okeechobee, with certain reservations; and it contains stipula-
tions and conditions which (if the State accepts the grant with such conditions) will,
it is believed, insure the completion of the work as far as it can be effected.
By the proposed improvement, if successfully carried out, it is believed the United
States will derive great immediate pecuniary benefit by the draining of several hun-
dred thousand acres (outside of the boundary of the district proposed to be granted
to Florida), being the bottom lands on the isimmee River and its tributaries, now
valueless by reason of their annual overflow. The committee agree with the Com-
missioner of the Iand Office that this is a full consideration for the grant made by the
bill of the alternate sections of the surveyed lands below the northern boundary of
the proposed grant, even if no other existed.
The committee will not enlarge on other important results beneficial to the whole
Union, which may be anticipated, if the proposed work is successfully carried out.
They are fully set forth in the documents annexed to the report of the Secretary of the
Treasury, being the opinions of some of .the most intelligent citizens of the United
State, and well qualified to judge correctly on such subjects, and several of whom
have personal knowledge of the region in question.
Nor do the committee deem it necessary to comment on the particular details of the
proposed bill. These details have received the approval o the Secretary of the
Treasury and of the Commissioner of the General and Office, and they are deemed
proper and suitable for the protection of the respective rights and the promotion of
the respective interests of the Federal Government and of the State of Florida, with
reference to the territory included in the proposed grant, and of those citizens who
may become residents within its boundaries, and of all others; and they authorize,
in the judgment of the committee, the measures best calculated to insure the success-
ful accomplishment of the work, if it can be accomplished at all.
The committee therefore report the bill without amendment and recommend its
BRPORT OF BTCKINGHAM SMITH, ESO., ON HIS BECOWNOIS.
SAICE OF THE EVERGLADES 1848).
WAmHINGTON CITY, June 1, 1848.
Hon. R. J. WALEB,
secretary ofthe Treasury.
Smi: Having made a report to you upon so much of the duties
assigned to me by your instructions of the 18th of,June 1847, as
related to the land offices of Florida, and other subjects, I have now
the honor to submit the report of my reconnaissance of the Ever-
glades, excepted from my former reports, to enable me to obtain
additional information deemed important. *
There is a faint tradition that the draining of the Everglades
was contemplated and indeed, undertaken a century or more since
by either the Spanish Government or an association of Spanish sub-
jects in Cuba, though abandoned perhaps on account of difficul-
ties with the peinsulIndians. Some of the old maps seem to
indicate something like cuts or canals from the Everglades to the
waters emptying nto the Gulf of Mexico; and during the late war
with the Seminoles a canal was found on the northeastern border
of Lake Flirt leading to the prairie of Lake Hicpochee and in the
direction of Lake Okeechobee a work, it is supposed too consider-
able to have been undertaken by the Indians of lorida.
During the 21 years that Florida was a British province, from 1763
to 1784, surveys of the eastern coast were made by William Gerard
De Brahm, Esq., an engineer officer of reputation in the service of that
Government, and who was its "surveyor general for the southern
district of North America." The official reports of these surveys
and others of Georgia and Carolina have never been fully published,
and, indeed, it has not been generally known in this country how far
they had been perfected. *
The Everglades extend from the southern margin of Lake Okeecho-
bee some 90 miles toward Cape Sable, the southern extremity of the
peninsula of Florida, and are m width from 30 to 50 miles. They lie
in a vast basin of lime rock. Their waters are entirely fresh, varying
from 1 to 6.feet in depth. Their usual level is, I am satisfied more
than 12 feet above that of the waters of the straits of Florida and
of the Atlantic Ocean, but of course not so great above the Gulf of
Mexico. As the Everglades extend southwardly from Lake Okee-
chobee they gradually decline and their waters move in the same
course. They have their origin in the copious rains which fall in
that latitude during the autumn and fall and in the overflow of Lake
Okeechobee through swamps between it and the Everglades.
Lake Okeechobee is the reservoir of the waters of the Kissimmee
River, which rises up the peninsula some hundred and odd miles, and of
streams of minor extent, flowing into the lake from the country con-
tiguous to it. It is of fresh water, said to be deep, and its average
EVERLADES OF FLORIDA. 47
diameter is about 30 miles. It contains a few islands, each of them
several acres in extent. Its location is given on the annexed map,
prepared at the General Land Office.
The rim of the basin is of lime rock. The waters of the Glades
are at different distances from the coast of the Gulf, of the straits,
and of the ocean. On the eastern and southern sides of the peninsula
they are within from 2 to 10 miles of the shores of the straits and
ocean, while on the western side they are from 10 to 50 miles from
On the southern and eastern sides the lands between the basin and
the coast are generally rocky, though tracts are found of limited extent
that could be made fertile. Many small rivers or creeks empty into
the bays and sounds on the southern and eastern sides. In wet sea-
sons, when the basin is full, its waters find outlets over the low places
in the rim and form rivulets running into the necks of the rivers; and
there are instances where the waters of the Glades find subterranean
passages to the sea.
On the eastern side commencing at Cape Sable, are North Creek,
Miami River, Little River, Arch Creek, River Ratones, New River,
Snook Creek, and Hillsboro River, as is indicated on the map accom-
panying this report. Farther north are the Rivers Locahatchee and
San Lucia, sng westwardly from their mouths, the former rising a
few miles from Lake Okeechobee and outside the somewhat elevated
lands that separate the lake from the extensive swamp of Halpati-
okee, which supplies the waters of both rivers.
On the western side of the peninsula the coast is somewhat different.
A cluster of low keys or mangrove islands (quite as correctly deli
eated on the map as they can be without an expensive andusel
survey) the channels between which contain salt water, and t
islands n of mud, upon which mangrove trees are thickly gro
ing, extend from the Bay of Ponce de Leon, or Chatham, into White
Water Bay, and inwardly farther north from about 5 to 25 miles
from the Gulf. The waters of the Everglades fall into these channels
by many small rivulets running over the margin of the basin into
them, and in times of very high water in the Glades wide sheets of
shallow depth are found rippling slowly through the dense shrubbery
growing on the margin, which in this region is apparently of a more
level surface than at other points.
The western rim of the Everglades, farther northward, deflects from
the Gulf coast eastwardly untif it comes near to Lake Okeechobee and
the country contiguous to the Caloosahatchee, where it is due east
from that coast about 50 miles. Between it and the coast on the
west is the Atseenahoofa, or Big Cypress Swamp, which contains sev-
eral hundred thousand acres of land, now useless to civilized man for
any purpose. It can only be made valuable by draining the Ever-
glades. Its waters are chiefly supplied from them by passageways,
shallow, deep in mud, and often obstructed by dense thickets of
shrubbery and vines and by large trees. From the character of its
connection with the Glades in many places it may be considered a
part of them. Several streams running into the Gulf have their
sources in this swamp.
Commencing at Cape Sable and passing up the western coast are
Shark River, Harney. River, Chittohatchee, Delaware or Gallivans
River, the two Caximbas Rivers, Corkscrew River, and Otsego River,
UVERGLADES OF FLORIDA.
the two last emptying into Otsego Bay. They will be found described
on the map with sufficient accuracy to enable a correct opinion to be
formed respecting their connection with the Glades and the use that
can be made of them in draining the Glades and the Big Cypress
Farther north the Caloosahatchee finds its source some 90 miles
from its mouth in the low lands outside of the western margin of
Lake Okeechobee and in the swamp at the north end of theEverg ades.
It is, in fact, connected by sloughs of shallow depth with both the
lake and the Glades at different points and receives supplies of water
from both. It is supplied also by minor streams that drain the neigh-
boring country and by Lake Flirt and Lake Hicpochee. The map
indicates the old canal before spoken of to connect the waters of Lake
Flirt and Lake Okeechobee.
The margin of the region of the Everglades nearest to the Caloosa-
hatchee and Lake Okeechobee, as before described, is interspersed with
sloughs and swamps, through which the waters of all, in wet seasons,
mingle by shallow passages. More eastwardly the waters of Lake
Okeechobee and of the Glades are said to be in like manner connected
with the Lochahatchee, which receives also some of the surplus waters
of the Halpatiokee Swamp, which extends up the coast some 50 miles,
and being from 12 to 15 miles in breadth. The sources of the San
Lucia are also toward the northernmost extremity of that swamp.
The geology of the southern portion of the peninsula of Florida
is similar to that of the seacoasts of Georgia and South Carolina.
Oolitic limerock, filled with the shells and corals of species that still
t, forms the great geological feature of the country. The rock is
uand susceptible of easy excavation. Exposure to air hardens
and renders it useful for building purposes. On the eastern side
She peninsula this rock shows itself though the thin coating of
vegetable matter, or mud or sand, that ordinarily covers it; and it is
also in detached pieces of different sizes, scattered above the ground.
It contributes to the fertility of the soil, and being from its porous
nature long retentive of moisture, affords sustenance to trees and
plants in seasons of drought. The rim of the Everglades is generally
of this character. Along the eastern verge of the Glades, and between
them and the sea, there are spots of wet and black prairie land* there
are also spots grown up in pine trees, the roots of which are imbedded
in a dark soil of vegetable mold, lodged in the crevices and fissures
of the rock; and there are tracts of what is called "dry hammock,"
covered with trees of various kinds growing in the same manner.
Such land is more valuable for cultivation than any other part of the
The same rock forms the bottoms of the openings through the rim
of the Everglades to an unknown depth. It composes the floor of
Biscayne Bay of the other bays and sounds and of the rivers along
the coasts on both sides of the peninsula, and also of the basin of the
Everglades. It belongs to the post-Pliocene formation of Lyell. The
fossils are not very obviously identical with those in the rock of the
Georgia and Carolina seacoast; but this arises from the effects of the
different latitudes of the two regions upon similar living animals, of
which the fossils are the remains.
The rise of the tide at the mouth of the Miami, as marked by the
wearing of the soft rock, is 2 feet; at the mouth of the Little River
BVEGTJADES OF FOBIDEA:
about 15 inches, and on the western side of the peninsula, at the Man-
grove Islands, its rise was much greater than at any other place on the
coast visited by me. At the mouth of the Caloosahatchee it is
about 3 feet.
The rise of the land from the seacoast toward the Glades is mani-
fest from the appearance of the banks of the rivers. At the mouth of
the Miami the bank shows an elevation of from 2 to 3 feet above the
water at the mouth of the river, to 12 feet or more at the head of
the river. At this last point, within the distance of 150 yards
the rise is 6 feet. Places exist where the rocky rim approaches the
coast at a greater elevation than at the Miami, and on a level with the
margin of the Glades, and at such places it is precipitous, 12 or 14 feet.
This is the case a few miles to the north of the Miami. The vaulted
rock across Arch Creek is 2 miles from the mouth, and above and
below it the waters rush with great force through perpendicular rocks
that, for 150 yards, overhang them on both sides the height of a
dozen feet, and where the stream is about 15 yards in width.
Inside the basin, near the heads of the rivers of the eastern coast,
there are covers or indentations in the shore of the Glades about 2
miles in depth. The nearest point touches the margin of the rim
where the waters of the Glades approach the heads of the rivers, and
where these waters are about a foot in depth. There are within the
coves, channels, converging to such point, and in which the waters
are from 1I to 21 feet m depth. The shallow places between them
are covered with mud and rank saw grass. There are also sinks or
holes of water several feet deep. Near the head of Little River these
sinks or holes have 6 feet or more water, and similar depressions ne
to the head of the Miami have 11 feet. Immediately east of the
and on the line where the waters of the glades fall into the heads of
rivers, over rocky passages of ndt more than 15 or 20 yards wide, am
from 50 to 150 yards in length, the waters run through rapids scarcely
a foot in depth. The fall of these rapids is, as before stated, upwards
of 6 feet, and drains or canals could easily be cut at these points. But
to draw off 4 of 5 feet of water in the Glades, such drains must extend
several miles from the river into the basin. I refer to the map as
exhibiting all the data on this point that I have obtained.
The distance in a straight line from the navigable waters of the
Caloosahatchee to the Lake Okeechobee, it is estimated, does not
exceed 15 miles, and on the eastern side it is believed that canals of
similar distance will connect the waters of the lake with those of the
Lochahatchee of more than 6 feet depth, and, with like waters in the
San Lucia, and as to all three, it is certain the fall is sufficient for such
To reclaim the Everglades and the Atseenahoofa and Halpatiokee
Swamps and the lowlands on the margin of the Kissimmee River and
its tributaries, and the other rivers emptying into Lake Okeechobee,
this lake must be tapped by such canals running into the Caloosa-
hatchee on the one side and into the Lochahatchee or San Lucia, or
both, on the other, and cuts must also be made from the streams on
both sides of the peninsula into the Glades. Besides, after the height
of the waters in the Glades should be decreased, even as much as 5 feet,
there will probably be a necessity for several drains through the
5644'-8. Doe. 89, 62-1---4
UVIRUGLADEB OF FORIDA.
Glades and those swamped, by which the waters accumulating from the
rains may be conducted to the ocean or gulf.
That the level of the waters of the Everglades is several feet above
the level of the waters outside the peninsula is demonstrated to any
intelligent man who visits that region not merely by the facts I have
stated[ but he must observe that, on the eastern side, the effect of the
tides is not perceived a short distance up from the mouths of the
streams, and that above the influence of the tides there are, when the
waters are high in the Glades, continued rapid currents of fresh water
from them. I am informed that when the waters in the Glades
decrease during the dry season the beds of these currents near the
Glades become dry. The elevation from the sea to the top of the rim
that encompasses the Glades, and which is but little above the surface
of the waters in the basin is as certain as if it had been ascertained
with leveling instruments m the hands of an engineer. The general
opinion on this point is fortified by that of several gentlemen, some
of them officers of the Navy and Army, expressed in letters which I
have appended to this report, and, in fact, by one of these letters I am
informed that "a line of levels was run from the ocean to the Glades
at the mouth of the Miami" by a scientific officer of the Army in 1840
or 1841, which proves the correctness of that opinion beyond all
doubt. It is not probable that the elevation of the waters of Lake
Okeechobee is much higher than that of the waters in the basin of the
Glades; nor can the waters of the Atlantic rivers opposite the lake
be much lower than the streams farther south; but it is not in my
judgment, necessary that the fact should be otherwise to establish the
acticability of draining the Everglades. If the modes herein sup-
td are not pursued, some other devised by a skilful engineer, can
adopted. The difference of the levels that I have stated (12 feet)
f the respective waters is sufficient to enable the draining to be
effected. But it is believed this difference is understated. It is the
opinion of one of the most distinguished and intelligent military
officers of the United States that the waters of the Glades, and of the
lake are much'higher above the level of the sea.1 The distance from
the lake to the eastern coast of the peninsula is less than 40 miles in a
direct line, and not exceeding 15 miles to navigable waters emptying
into the ocean; and if the judgment of that officer be correct the
favorable success of the undertaking can not be questioned. *
As to the effect, so confidently predicted by many of superior intel-
ligence and judgment in such matters to myself, that the draining of
the Everglades of 4 or 5 feet of its waters will reclaim, for the profitable
cultivation of coffee, sugar, tropical fruits, and other productions of
tropical climates, large tracts of the present subaqueous soil of the
basin and the lowlands of the Atseenahoofa and Halpatiokee Swamps;
or for the successful raising of cotton, corn, rice, and tobacco the facts
I may give as to the characteristics of those regions will perhaps be
more satisfactory than the expression of my individual opinion.
Unless the effect is as has been anticipated, at least partially most of
the region south of the northern end of Lake Okeechobee wil remain
valueless for ages to come. The borders of the Everglades and adja-
cent lands susceptible of profitable cultivation can not now sustain
any very dense or very numerous population. The acquisition of the
1 See Gon. Jeup's letter in appendix, No. 3, p. 56.
EVEBGLADES OF FLOBIDA. 51
advantages and benefits I have adverted to, as resulting to the Union
rom such population being there, depends, therefore, on the favorable
success of the project of reclaiming the lands mentioned.
The appearance of the interior of the Everglades is unlike that of
any region of which I have ever heard, and certainly it is in some
respects the most remarkable on this continent.
Imagine a vast lake of fresh water extending in every direction
from shore to shore beyond the reach of human vision, ordinarily
unruffled by a ippple on its surface, studded with thousands of islands
of various sizes, from one-fourth of an acre to hundreds of acres in area,
and which are generally covered with dense thickets of shrubbery and
vines. Occasionally an island is found with lofty pines and palmettos
upon it, but oftener they are without any, and not unusually a solitary
majestic palmetto is seen, the only tree upon an island, as if to guide
in approaching it, or as a place of signal or lookout for its former
denizens. The surrounding waters, except in places that at first seem
like channel ways (but which are not), are covered with the tall saw
grass, shooting up its straight and slender stem from the shallow
bottom of the lake to the height often of 10 feet above the surface
and covering all but a few rods around from your view. The water
is pure and limpid and almost imperceptibly moves, not in partial
currents, but, as it seems, in a mass, silently and slowly to the south-
ward. The bottom of the lake at the distance of from 3 to 6 feet is
covered with a deposit of decayed vegetable substance, the accumu-
lated product of ages, generally 2 or 3 feet in depth on the white sand
and rock that underlies it over the entire surface of the basin. The
flexible grass bending gently to the breeze protects the waters from
its influence. Lilies and other aquatic flowers of every variety and
hue are to be seen on every side, in pleasant contrast with the pale
green of the saw grass, and asyou draw near an island the beauty of
the scene is increased by the rich foliage and blooming flowers of the
wild myrtle and the honeysuckle and other shrubs and vines that
general adorn its shores. The profound and wild solitude of the
place the solemn silence that pervades it, unless broken by the
splashing of a paddle of the canoe or light batteau, with which only
can you traverse the Pahayokee, or by the voices of your "compagnons
du voyage," add to awakened and excited curiosity feelings bordering
on awe. No human being, civilized or savage, inhabits the secluded
interior of the Glades. The Seminoles reside in the region between
them and the Gulf. Except for the occasional flight of an eagle or a
bittern, startled by the strange invaders of their privacy, or for a view
of the fishes in the shallow waters gliding swiftly from your boat as it
goes near to them your eye would not rest on living thing abiding in
this wilderness of "grass waters," shrubbery, and flowers. Reflections
upon the past history of the region around you, unbidden, force them-
selves upon the visitor to the interior of the Glades. On these islands,
in ages that have long since passed away, the haughty and ferocious
Carib cacique dwelt. He and his people were driven from their homes
by more powerful people, who were in turn expelled by stronger foes.
Here the daring and reckless buccaneer of later times came, after his
cruise for plunder, to revel in safety upon his unhallowed spoils.
Once in this secluded spot the Catholic missionary pursued the
heavenly vocation of teaching the benighted pagan the truths of the
gospel; and here he sealed his devotion to his God by yielding up his
52 VXBoGLADS OF FLOMI A. *
life to the vengeance of the infidel savage. Part of these Glades a
now in the allotted district of the wily and intrepid Arpiarka, the chi
of those of his tribe that fought sofiercely and so obstinately inresisting
the enforcement of the policy of the Federal Government of removing
them west; and who finally succeeded in constraining the United
States to abandon that policy and allow them to remain still longer
on the hunting grounds and near the graves of their fathers. The
recollection also that the sacred name of Laguna del Espiritu Santo"
was given to this region by the Spanish discoverers is not without
influence upon the visitor. The effect of such visit to the Pahayokee
upon a person of romantic imagination and who indulges his fancies
on such subjects, it may be presumed, would be somewhat poetic.
But if the visitor is a man of practical, utilitarian turn of thought, the
first and the abiding impression is the utter worthlessness to civilized
man, in its present condition, for any useful or practical object, of the
entire region. A solitary inducement can not now be offered to a
decent white man to settle in the interior of the Everglades. Some
of the islands may be fertile, but their inaccessibility, except by small
boats, and the entire isolation from society their residents would have
to encounter, would deter most men (who did not desire to avoid their
fellows either from misanthropy or fear of justice for crimes com-
mitted) from making the Glades their homestead.
Of the practicability of abstracting 5 feet or more in depth of the
waters from the basin of the Everglades and from the Atseenahoofa
and Halpatiokee Swamps near the Glades by the means suggested I
have given my opinion and the data on which it is founded. When
the waters are thus abstracted, the deposit beneath them in the basin,
generally from 2 to 3 feet in depth and sometimes more before the
rock is found, will be left exposed and become dry. Whether it is of
such character that without any admixture of loam or other soil it can
be relied upon for the cultivation of anything can only be determined
by actual experiment. This deposit is exceedinglylight and when
dry and broken to pieces becomes an impalpable powder. If it should
be found to be a good compost, its speedy exhaustion and its liability
when dry and exposed to the surface to be removed by the winds are
obstacles to its extensive successful use in the cultivation of sugar,
rice, tobacco cotton, or corn that should be anticipated. But even
then, that the basin may be advantageously appropriated to the
rearing of tropical fruit trees and plants, by excavations if necessary
in the rock of its bottom and filling them with the deposit and soil in
their vicinity, I have little doubt; and that large tracts of fertile and
valuable lands, adapted to the cultivation of any of the products
named, can be reclaimed in the Atseenahoofa and Halpatiokee
Swamps by the undertaking suggested, if properly carried out, I do not
question. I do not hesitate also to state my conviction that the
increased value of the lands thus reclaimed would equal the cost of
such undertaking. Besides, by decreasing the waters of Lake
Okeechobee 5 or 6 feet, hundreds of thousands of acres of the best
bottom lands on the shores of the River Kissimmee and other rivers
tributary to that lake (those on the Kissimmee extending the distance
of 100 miles up that river) would be also reclaimed, and a large
quantity northeastwardly of that lake may likewise be drained by
proper canals, as suggested, connecting the lake with the ocean and
lateral drains running into the prairies there situated. *
EVELGLADES OF FLORIDA.
The Everglades are entirely below the region of frost, and the
meteorological and barometrical statistics of different times within
the last 80 years, furnished by several different writers, prove that
the climate is as favorable Lo the cultivation of tropical fruits as that
of any country between the twenty-eighth and twenty-fourth par-
allels of either north or south latitude. De Brahm, in his manuscript
work, before noticed, has compendious tables which he calls "Ephem-
erides containing useful information of this character in relation
to different points of the Peninsula of Florida. Dr. Perrine has
furnished similar tables, and he states that most of the productions,
natural to the tropical latitudes, can be best cultivated on the bor-
ders of the temperate latitudes, nearest the Equator; and experience
verifies his statement. It is known that in China many productions,
originally from between the Tropics, have become acclimated, and are
reared successfully as ligh as the fortieth degree of latitude. *
If the hopes indulged of the favorable success of draining the
Everglades should be but partially realized; if the interior of the
Glades, from the causes I have intimated, or others, should be proved,
by the test of experiment, not to be adapted to the cultivation of
sugar, cotton, rice, and tobacco corn, sisal hemp, and the other
most important products specified in the documents and publi-
cations referred to; and the extensive region in the basin now sub-
aqueous is, in consequence, as I have little doubt it can be, appro-
priated profitably to the growing of tropical trees and plants bearing
fruits, as I have suggested, the result will still be highly beneficial
to the Union, and, m my judgment, will fully compensate for the
expenses incurred. If the large quantities of lemons, limes, oranges,
bananas, plantains, figs, olives, pineapples, coconuts, and other
tropical fruits, enumerated in the publications cited, now imported,
at high prices, from the West Indies and elsewhere, could be supplied,
or only in part supplied, from this region, it would be of no trifling
advantage to the whole country. Such fruits could be shipped to
any part of the United States in less time, in better preservation, and,
of course, at much less loss, and cheaper than from any part of the
world, and without the payment of any export or import duties.
This region, it should not be forgotten, is the only section of the
Union the climate of which is congenial to such productions in such
degree that any expectation may be entertained of rearing them for
shipment, and the only region that can be looked to as capable of
rendering us to any extent whatever independent of other countries
with respect to those productions. But if it should be ascertained
that the more important staples of sugar etc., before specified, can
also be advantageously cultivated in south Florida, after this under-
taking is finished, then, that the results must be of inestimable value
to the whole Confederacy, will be so clearly manifest, as to render
comment wholly superfluous.
Eminent statesmen and philosophers have, in estimating the serv-
ices of individuals to their country and to their fellow men,
advanced the opinion that he who causes two sheaves of wheat to
grow where one only grew before, better deserves the thanks of his
race than the author, the legislator, or the victorious general. The
degree of merit awarded by them to the particular act first specified
may be extravagant, but no one of sound moral judgment will, it is
presumed, deny that the increase of the agricultural resources, and
the promotion of the agricultural interests of a people already polit-
ZVIEGLADUS O1 FI ODA.
ically free, is the very highest service that can be rendered them,
and most conducive to the preservation of their independence, pros-
perity, and happiness. The'citizen, whether in executive or legis-
lative station, or without either, who sudceeds in making fit for cul-
tivation, even if but partially a region equal in extent to either of
the three smallest States of this Confederacy, now as useless as the
deserts of Africa, will earn a rich meed of praise from the people
of Florida and of the Union. The Everglades are now suitable
only for the haunt of noxious vermin, or the resort of pestilent rep-
tiles. The statesman whose exertions shall cause the millions of
acres they contain, now worse than worthless, to teem with the
products of agricultural industry; to be changed into a .garden in
which can be reared many and various exotics, introduced for the
first time for cultivation into the United States, whether necessaries
of life, or conveniences, or luxuries merely; that man who thus adds
to the resources and wealth and independence of his country, who
contributes by such means to the comfort of his fellow men, will
merit a high place in public favor, not only with this own generation,
but with posterity. He will have created a State. I feel that to
be connected with the inception of a measure which, if carried out
properly, will probably produce such results; to be identified, even
in a secondary position, with the commencement of an undertaking
that must be so eminently beneficial to my country, is a privilege
of no mean consideration. *
Though it is not anticipated that the draining of the Everglades,
and the settlement of south Florida, and the cultivation of exotics
of the kinds mentioned on the many thousands of square miles of
land in that region, will change the destiny of the confederacy, or
either cause or prevent any great revolution on this continent, yet,
looking at the past incidents I have alluded to, it may, without ex-
travagance, I think, be foretold that if anything approximating to
the sanguine expectations of many intelligent officers and citizens are
realized in lees than 10 years a new, independent State may be added
to the Union, formed out of east and south Florida, dissevering the
unnatural connection now existing between them and middle and
west Florida sections totally dissimilar in pursuits, interests, and
habits from the former; and the enterprise, industry, and progressive
spirit of our citizens of other portions of the Union, now led elsewhere,
may be directed into channels equally profitable and more conducive
to the peace, prosperity, and permanent happiness of the Union and
the perpetuity of our republican institutions.
I have thus given to you all the information upon the subject sub-
mitted to my examination that I can furnish. Whether the under-
taking which, if it succeeds as hoped, promises to be so eminently
beneficial to the country should not be commenced forthwith, I sub-
mit to your patriotic and enlightened consideration. In my judg-
ment the experiment is worth a trial.
I have the honor to subscribe myself, with high respect, your obe-
dient servant, Bu SMH.
NoT.-(a) Prof. Nicolet, in hi sketch of the history of St. Loui Mo. in page 92,
Senate Document No. 237, printed February 10, 1841, second semon ftwenty-ixth
Cor y mays:
it 'not surpriing that during the 32 years that Spain had poaeson of super
Louiiana the province was never settled by native Spanirds, excepting the ofcer
BVBEGLADES OF FLORIDA. 55
who ruled over it and a few fur traders? The inhabitants were French or the descend-
anto of French from Canada or lower Louisiana; and the Spaniards have left no
remembrances of themselves, having their land register-no institutions, no works,
not a single monument of public utility. Doubtless the golden treasures buried in
the mountains of Mexico and of south America were too luring to allow emigrants
to be tempted from them and engage themselves in the labors of agriculture in the
rich valley of the Mississippi. But taking a retrospect, when Spain was the greatest
of maritime powers, when during the reign of Ferd d and Isabella her navigators
discovered new worlds, giving her an empire on which the sun never set; when the
great armada struck terror in the bosom of the haughty Elizabeth, it becomes painful
to think how ephemeral is the ascendancy even of the bravest and most prosperous
nations, how truly rapid their decline and fall"
APPENDIX TO REPORT OF BUCKINGHAM SMITH.
No. 1.-ExTracr mFOM THE REPOrT OF COL. R. BurTLB, SuRVrTOR GIuzBAL or
FLoRIDA ix 1847, TO'THr ComIassONER or GzuxN AL LAND OrmcE.
[See Ex. Doo. No. 2, first ssmon 30th Cong., p. 155.]
I now ask your attention to the Everglades, which can not be surveyed without
first being drained. You will observe, from the diaram map accompanied, that
the surveys have been extended around a large portion of them and 1 am led to
believe that, if drained, a region of valuable land would be reclaimed and rendered
very productive; but being interior and without any navigable stream flowing from
them a question arses whether the draining of them by the United States would not
conlct with State sovereignty; and if Congress should so determine, might not a grant,
for specific purposes (mk roads and building bridges to facilitate intercourse), be
made to the State of Florida of one moety in a definite form, conditioned that the
State authorities cause them to be drained at the State's proper cost and within a
given period, of which I believe them susceptible. The United States would thus
realize, for survey and sale, the other moiety and the State acquire a valuable fund
for the purposes above stated, after meeting te expenses of draining, and thus would
be opened a large fertile surface for the habitation of man, cultivating sugar and
tropical fruits extensively thereon.
No. 2.--LTrBB ow GEN. JAMEB GADSDEN, OF SOUTH CAROLINA, TO HON. R. J.
WALXnB, SBECBrTAY OF THE TB ASuBY.
WAsmoGToN, D. C., May 4, 1847.
DzAB Sm: At the request of Hon. Mr. Westcott, of Florida, stating at the same
time that it would be acceptable to you, I take the occasion of expressing an opinion
favorable to the practicability of draining the Everglades and, with them, by same
process, most of the lowlands and prairies forming the basin of the upper St. Johns
In the years 1823 and 1824 I was engaged in defining the Indian boundaries, under
the treaty of Fort Moultrie, and at the same time in examining into the practicability
of a road from St. Augustine to Cape Florida.
In the surveys and examinations connected with the performance of these opera-
tions, I was forcibly struck with the fact of the elevation of these regions above the
level of the sea, and which had been supposed to be submerged, forming lakes,
impenetrable swamps and lagoons.
he elevation of te Everglades and prairies of the St. Johns above tidewater
proved the capability of their being drained, while the inlets along the coast and
the number of small rivers and creeks which at seasons relieved the overflowing of
the interior basin of Florida, showed that by deepening these natural outlets at their
heads and multiplying the number of parallel and artificial cuts at favorable points
the whole country, at times submerged, might be reclaimed and brought into profit-
able cultivation. If I did not advert to these views in a report made at that early
period to the Department of War, I have subsequently mentioned them in conversa-
tion, and, I think, at one time gave publicity to them with some details through the
columns of a newspaper.
The subject is one of great public interest, in my estimation, and merits investiga-
tion, for should the basin of the interior of southern Florida be susceptible of reclama-
tion it will open to the United States the only portion of her territory capable of
66 viBMOLADE OF FLORIDA.
competing with tropical latitudes in all those productions which enrich them. I
write in great haste and would if desirable, when more at leisure, enlarge on the
views herein so briefly convey.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. R. J. WALXa,
Secretary of the Treasury.
No. 3.--Larrin moM GZN. THOMAS 8. Jasur, QuAraxAir Sr GNxnRAl, TO
HoN. J. D. WBTssorr, ia., UNITED SJTATs SENATOR.
WAsmoNTON, February 12, 1848.
Mr Duta 8SI: In reply to your inquiry whether it would be practicable to drain
the Everglades in south Florida and what would be the advantages, political and
military, of that measure, I have to remark that I entertain no doubt of the practica-
bility of the measure.
From my own observation, when commanding the army operating in that country
10 years ago, as well as from reports made by and information derived from intelligent
officers who operated near and who explored the Everglades and the large lake
(Okeechobee) north of them, I have no doubt both the glades and the lake are from
o0 to 50 feet above the level of the sea in the most violent storms. The practicability
of draining both I take for granted. As to the expense, that can be determined
only by accurate surveys. The effect of the measure would be to reclaim many
hundred thousand acres of valuable land, without including the bed of the Ever-
glades, now subject to inundation for several months in every year. The Kisimimmee
River is the outlet of Lake Tohopekaliga, and connects that lake with the great
lake Okeechobee. It is a sluggish stream, bordered by a large body of as rich fands
as any in the South, which it inundates to a vast extent during the rainy season.
Were the surface of the lake and the Everglades lowered, those ine lands would be
reclaimed and would soon be converted into as valuable sugar plantations as any
in the world. The hammocks in this part of the country are all extremely rich and
would all soon be converted into sugar plantations. The swamps are generally
peat swamps, which, if drained, would oo be converted into olive, lime, and orange
plantations and would be cultivated by a numerous white population, which would
be interposed between the sugar plantations, cultivated by saves and the free blacks
of the West Indies. This, in a military point of view, would be highly important
and add greatly to the strength and security of the South.
To protect our valuable and growing western and southwestern commerce, we
must command the communication between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.
This can be done only by fortifications on the Florida Keys, combined with war
steamers; to support those fortifications we require a numerous population in their
One of the effects of reclaiming the inundated lands of south Florida will be to
give us this population, whose labors will render us as independent of the West
Indies as regards most of the tropical products, as their presence will protect us
from the influence of the policy adopted in the British Islands.
You must take these crude and hasty remarks for what they are worth; for, pressed
as I am by official engagemepts, I can do justice neither to the subject nor to myself-
I have not time, even, to read what I have written.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant, TH. S. JzsuP.
The Hon. J. D. WzsTcorr, Jr.,
Senate United States, Washington.
No. 4.-LETTER FROM GEN. WILLIAM S. HARNEY, UNITED STATES ABMY, TO BUCK-
INGHAM SMrrH, EsQ.
WAeHNGToN, January 23, 1848.
Dzla SIB: I cheerfully comply with your request to state to you, in this form,
my knowledge of that region of your State called the "Everglades," and my judg-
ment as to the feasibility of dramng them, and as to the mode of draining them,
and the benefits that would ensue therefrom.
During the late Seminole War I was repeatedly in the Everglades and on the rim
or margin at different points, and crossed it from Miami to Shark River. It is a
vast, fresh-water lake, of shallow depth, from 60 to 90 miles in length, and from 25
to 50 miles in width. Its general depth is from 2j to 6 feet of water, over (say from
ZVEBGLADES OF FLORIDA.
2 to 6 feet of) soft mud, or vegetable deposit. It is interspersed with thousands of
islands, from a quarter of an acre to several acre in area and generally having a few
trees on them. Water grasses of several feet in height above the water cover its
entire surface except in a few channels or where there are small ponds of water with
sand bottom rom to 6 feet deep. There are no trees in the waters of the interior
of the Everglades, but the margin of the "Glades," running out about on an average
1 mile, is full of fine cypress trees. The Everglades are supplied with water, m
my opinion, from two sources: First, the rains that fall in it; second, from the lake
Okeechobee, lying on its northern extremity and separated from it by a very narrow
strip of graM swamp. This is proved by the fact of which I have been informed,
and of the truth of which I am satisfied, that in seasons of drought the water in the
Everglades is very much diminished, and its fall in such.eeasons corresponds to the
fall in the adjacent lake. The lake s a deep reservoir for the rains that fall on the
easternnorthern, and western sides of it for many miles (the country for some dis-
tance depressing as its shores are approached). On its northern side it receives all
the waters of th simmee River and its tributaries, rising over a hundred miles
farther up the peninsula and being the natural drains for that distance for the whole
region except that contiguous to the sea and gulf coast, or the River St. Johns, and
the lakes at its source.
The bottom of the Everglades,. below the deposit I have mentioned, is of lime-
rock, common in that region, and its general level, I am fully satisfied, is several
feet above the level of high water in the Gulf of Mexico on the west, or the Straits
of Florida on the east and south-a few miles only distant from the rim or margin,
for 50 or 60 miles from its southern extremity. Of the practicability ofdraing
them I have no question. That such work would reclaim millions of acres of highly
valuable lands, now utterly valueless because incapable of use, I have no doubt.
My plan for doing the work would be to dig a large and deep canal from Lake Okee-
chobee into the Caloosahatchee River on the west side and a like canal from the
lake to the head of the Loxahatchee River on its east side, and smaller canals from
the Glades through the river into the head of the Ratones, Little River Arch Creek,
Miami, Shark River, and other outlets on both sides of the peninsula. I am satisfied
these canals and drains once opened the Glades will become dry; I am also con-
vinced these canals could be easily kept open by the water running through them.
Of the cheapest mode, and of the cost of such undertaking I can not pretend to make
an accurate estimate. The two chief canals would not probably be more than 10,
or at the outside 15 miles in length each, 30 feet wide, add from 5 to 15 feet deep;
and the others need be but small drains or ditches of from 3 to 5 miles in length.
No person can say with positive certainty what the soil of the Everglades when
drained would or would not produce; but it is my opinion it would be the best sugar
land in the South and also excellent for rice and corn. But if not, it could at any
rate in that latitude be made valuable for the raising of tropical fruits, and it is the
only region of the present United States in which they can be raised. Its being
made susceptible of cultivation (and instead of being as now a waste of waters fit
only for the resort of reptiles) would e a happy epoch for Florida. I do not know
of a project that I regard as more calculated to benefit the country than this, if suc-
cessful. If it does succeed, it affords the Union just the kind of cultivable land
that is wanted to render us to a great extent independent of the West Indies. If
it does succeed, in less than fve years that region will, I have no doubt, have a popu-
lation of a hundred thousand souls and more. Our coast in south Florida is now
extremely exposed in time of war. This population would protect it and afford
security to the whole commerce of the western country passing along its shores. It
would also tend to the security of the entire southern portion of the Union in an
eminent degree. But it is not necessary for me to advert to these considerations.
This letter is already tedious, and I close it with the assurance that
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. S. HARNEY,
Colonel, United States Army.
To BucKINoHAM SMrre, Esq.
No. 5.-LETr R PROM LiEUT. COL. S. H. LONG, TOPoomRAPHcAL ENGINEER TO
HON. J. D. WsrcOTrr, Ja., UNITED STATEs SENATOR.
PrrIrssB February 7, 1848.
Sm: I have perused with interest and satisfaction the several papers you did me
the honor to exhibit for my inspection in relation to the Everglades of your State.
Although I have never had an opportunity of visiting that part of the country, yet
from the documents above mentioned and from conversations with several intelligent
58 VIEBOIAD OF FLOBIDA.
gentlemen who have explored the Everglades I have obtained much authentic and
valuable information in regard to the character and aspect of the district of country
aiead ptedby that name.
main ody this district appeal to be situated between 25 31' and 27 of
north latitude, and between 800 SYnd 810 15' of west longitude from Greenwich.
Its extent from north to south is about 100 miles, and its verge width from east to
west about 50 miles. It is bounded on the north by Lake Okeechobee which may
be regarded as an extensive water sheet covering a portion of the Evelades and hold-
ing it in a state of constant submersion, and on the east, south and west by a sort of
rim or margin, elevated a few feet above the common level ao the included district
and of the circumjacent country. A psofuion of insular tracts of greater or less extent
and of elevations about equal to that of the rim, or a few feet above the common level
of the district, are scattered in every direction over the surface of the district.
With the exception of these inflated tacts and the rim with which it is bounded
the entire district is subject to periodical overflows of water to the depth of 2 or 4
feet during the rainy season, which usually prevails from August or ptemberto
February or March of every year. These overlows are supposed to have their prm-
cipal onp in the country northward of lake Okeechobee and to be brought down
to the lake through the channel and valley of the Kissimmee River.
The entire district embraces a area of about 5,000 square miles, nearly one-half of
which, agreeably to the best information I can obtain, i susceptible of di e, and
when thus reclaimed would present fields of vast magnitude adapted to the cuttiva-
tion ofsuga rice, and numerous tropical products of great value. The method of
dinge that h been proposed and recommended is as follows, viz:
Pit. A spacious cana or drain leading from Lake Okeechobee westward, through
the valley or pass of Oloohatchee River to the Gulf of Mexico-
Second. A similar canal leading from the same lake estw through the valley
of Lochahatchee River to the Atlantic Ocean; and
Third. Numerous drains of much smaller size leading across the rim and communi-
cating, respectively, with one or more of the numerous rivulets that rise in the vicinity
of the rim and empty into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic at various points along the
coast of Florida.
It is believed by many that the two large canals first mentioned will amply subserve
the rposes of dia; but should they prove inadequate that the desired end may
be etually ttained by means of the smaller drains mentioned in the third propo-
The practicability of draining the Everglades must of course depend on the eleva-
tion of Lake Okeechobee and of the Everglades themselves above the level of the
high tides in the ocean. This elevation is supposed to be from 12 to 20 feet. The
difference of the levels alluded to, so fr as I can learn, has never been determined
by instrumental surveys. Its accurate determination should unquestionably precede
any attempts to accomplish the object in view.
By means of the two canals connecting Lake Okeechobee with tidewater together
with a lock in each (if found necessary) of suitable dimensions to admit maul coasters
and steamers, it is supposed that a line of continuous navigation may be opened
entirely across the ithmus of Florida from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. In
case the locks should be found expedient and proper they should be accompanied by
spcios waste weif or uiaes a perh flood gates in order to afford a full and free
diehage of water from the lake, etc.
The portion of the Everglades believed to be susceptible of drainage in the manner
herein contemplated embraces an area of at least 1,000,000 acres, and the cost of drain-
age, surveys, etc., included, it is also believed, will not exceed 8$00,000, or 30 cents
The benefits likely to result not only to the State of Florida, but to the United
States generally, are incalculable. These advantages will manfest themselves not
only in giving great value to lands now entirely waste and useless, but in adding an
incalculable amount of the choicest and richest products to the means of subsistence
and to the comforts of human life. An early appropriation to the amount above
mentioned, viz, $300,000, is deemed advisable and is hereby most respectfully rec-
ommended. I have the honor to be, sir,
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
8. H. LONG,
Lieutenant Colonel, Topographial engineers.
Hon. J. D. Waurcot Jr.,
United States senate.
NVEUGLADES OF FWEIDA.
No. 6.-LrrIml x aoX MA. J. D. GRanx, TOPOOGAmPCAL ENoINzua, To HoN.
J. D. WMaxorr, Ja.
WAHqeoTON, March 1, 1848.
SI: Having considered the very interesting and important subject of draining the
submerged district of country within the State of Florida known by the popular
name of "the Everglades," I heerfully say that I fully concur in the views and opin-
ions expreed in the letter of Lieut. Col. 8. H. Long, of the Corps of Topographical
Engineers, addressed to you from Pittaburg, under date of the 7th of February ultimo.
I will only add that m my opinion the drainage should be effected through the
channels of rivers already communicating with the sea. This would be done by arti-
ficial canals made to draw the water from "the Everglades" into the head branches
of these rivers.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. GRam&M,
Major, Topographial Engineers.
Hon. J. D. WBSTCO'T, JR.,
United States Senate.
No. 7.-LBTTrrE r O CaPr. J. MCCLELLAND, TOPooGAPHImCA ENGINEERS, UNITED
STATES ARMY, TO HON. J. D. WBSTCOTT, JB., UNITED STATES SENATOR.
WASHNGTON CITY, February SS, 1848.
DLB Smn: In reply to the inquiries made by you a few days since, in regard to
the character of the Everglades of Florida, the nature of their soil and of that of the
country in their vicinity and of the possibility of draining them, I give you with
pleasure the following information obtained by me in the course of an expedition to
them and the Big Cypress Swamp against the Seminole Indians in January, 1841:
After leaving the (Cloosehatchee River at a point about 30 miles above its mouth,
we traversed a prairie in a southwesterly direction, and at the distance of 25 miles
reached the north side of the Big Cypress Swamp. Our direction was then changed
to the east, and after marching a distance of 30 miles, we reached the west side of the
Everglades. We observed that the prairie had been overflowed and that the water
had receded to the Everglades, showing a descent toward them. The soil of the
prairie is a rich limestone, rocks of which were visible in many places. The surface
of the ground was covered with a rich coat of ras, the best evidence of fertility, and
the soi of the hummocks, with which the prairie is interspersed, can not be exceeded
for richness. It is to be presumed that as the prairie when overflowed is part of the
Everglades that the character of their bottom corresponds with that of the prairie in
composition and fertility.
The overflow of the country west of the Everglades is caused by the rush of water
from Lake Okeechobee first to the Everglades and the slowness of its escape to the
Atlantic causes it to spread westward, so that by draining the Everglades you would
secure from inundation this rich prairie, and in all there would be reclaimed in the
Everglades a tract of the richest sugar and cotton land of 2,700 and in the prairie 800
or 900 square iles; and by the means used for effecting your purpose a canal 12 miles
in length from the lake to the head of Caloosahatchee, and another, say, from 10 to
18 mies long, from the lake to the head of the Lochahatchee, you would obtain a
water communication (canal and river) between the Atlantic and Gulf, and at a cost
probably not more than three or four hundred thousand dollars, depending upon the
dimensions adopted for the canals and other drains, but certainly inconsiderable
compared with the great benefit to be derived from the expenditure.
The Everlades were traversed in various directions during the campaigns against
the Seminole, and the description given of them by the officers engaged in theexpe-
dition gree tht' they are inte ed with islands i every direction, varying m
sie, but all having a rch soil anduxuriant growth upon them."
In the course of the year 1840 or 1841 Iwas formed by the late Capt. J. R. Vinton,
Third Artillery, that he had run a line of levels from the Atlantic Ocean to the Glades,
and found their elevation above it from 10 to 15 feet. This was taken at Fort Dallas,
at the mouth of Miami River, which empties into Biscayne Bay. The height of
Lake Okeechobee must be considerably greater than this.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain, Topographical Engineer.
Hon J. D. WESarorr, Jr.,
United States Senate.
60 EVBBRGmADS OF FLORIDA.
No. 8.--Lmrn ruao ComXuAnn L. M. Powzu, UMnrrD SBrAT NAVY, TO Hon.
J. D. Wzsrcorr, JI., UNMrrD STATEs SENATE.
WAsmINwTON, HanA 1, 1848.
MT DEAa Sm: I have read with great interest the papers submitted by several
ofcer familiar with the topogrphy of southern Florida, touching your proposed plan
for the drainage of the great basin of the Evelades, and, without presuming to offer
an opinion as to the expense of so great an undertaking (great in its results, I mean),
I my be pardoned if I express my entire conviction of its practicbility-an opinion
formed in 1837, when I first viewed the Everglades, and not changed upon a subee-
quent partial exploration.
I have entered the Glades from several points on the eastern coast of Florida, and
never failed to find a decided current between the tidal water level and that of the
waters of the lake, the river, heading in the Glades, obstructed at or near the junction
by rapids, or as at the iami by a pretty fall of 15 or 20 feet.
This surely indicates a level to the bottom of the basin of the Gladee, when the
known depth, a foot or two at most, is considered much above the level of tide water,
which strp the question of thorough drainage of its most impong diffilty.
Again, the margin of the ve es, wherever I have viewed it closely-a, for
example, where te waters of the lake break through it and form the source o the
eastern river-is composed of a ledge of limestone, which crops out and makes a rim
to this shallow but extensive basin. I have seen this formation at different points,
and, from the uniformity of its geological features, do not doubt that it is character-
isti of that portion of South Florida known as the Everglades-the Okeechobee
included, which i only the deepest and least obstructed part.
A knowledge of this fact indicates the remedy for the second difficulty to be encoun-
tered in the proposed work. If mere drainage of the waters be desired only, a bountiful
Providence has already pointed out the way, and has partially accomplied it. The
surplus water of the great lake have, at several points, and by the nearest route, worn
down the narrrow cky irdle and opened a deep and ample channel beyond it to the
sea. We have only to follow up the work, and break down the barrier to the proper
level at these natural outlets to empty out the basin.
Should the bottom of the Okoeelobee Lake be found, on survey, to be below the
necessary level for drainage merely, so much the better. A canal or cut, from the
head of one of the river on the eastern aide, would connect the lake with the Atlantic
Ocean, and, in conjunction with the taps made into the wall of the great basin farther
south, as at the Miami, Arch Creek, atones, New River, etc., wouldopen a navigation
to the interior and effect the desired drainage.
The results of such a work as this are beyond mere speculation. A vast extent of
fertile lands which if not within the Tropics actually, have truly a tropical climate
to mature the products of the soil, would be reclaimed to the use and enjoyment of
I am, dear air, yours, faithfully,
L. M. PowLL,
Commander United Statu Navy.
Hon. J. D. Wzancorr, Jr.
No. 9.-Lwrr t raoM LIzUr. C. R. P. RODEOS, UNrrID STATzE NAVY, TO HoN.
JAMas D. WuarcoTr, Jn., UNITED STATES SENATOR.
WAsmNGroN, February 14, 1848.
Sm: During my three years' service in Florida, I traversed in canoes the greater
of the verglades, and became familiar with their peculiarities and character;
but, as nearly six years have elapsed since I last crossed them, and as I have not in
Washinton my notes of the expeditions in which I shared, I fear that the information
I can give you may seem somewhat meager. The map of Florida published in 1846
(a copy of which you have kindly finished me) will give a good idea of the extent of
the verglade and an approximate idea of the position of their most important islands.
The Everglade seem a large basin of limestone, covered with pure fresh water,
varying in depth from 6 inches to 6 feet; the rock, many places bare, is generally
covered with a pure vegetable deposit, producing a growth ofrank, useless gra. Vast
plains covered with this gras make up the greater portion of the Everglades. Innu-
merable islands are scattered over these plans, varying in extent from a few yards to
many acres, and covered with a black soilof no great depth, but of remarkable richness.
These islands are shaded by large trees of various kinds, and, where cultivated, appear
to have amply rewarded the labors of the Indian husbandman. They seem to be
EVETGLADES OF FLOBIDA. 61
constantly increasing in sise, and may be observed in every stage of formation, from
the fit gathering of soil around the rootsof a fewmangrovebushes, totheislandcovered
with lofty trees, cultivated fields, and the villages of its Indian inhabitants. I have
never visited the portions of the Everglades which approach Lake Okeechobee, and
therefore will express no opinion as to the probability of their waters being drawn from
the overflow of that lake. I can remember no spring in any prt of the Everglades,
nor do I think that the fall of rain would supply the water which is continually pourng
itself into the sea through the numerous rivers on both sides of the peninsula.
The freshness of these rivers, the rapidity of their currents at all seasons, taken in
connection with the shallowness of the Everglades, abundantly prove that the bottom
of these Glades is considerably above the level of the sea. It may be well for me to
state; in conclusion, that after observing the climate of the Everglades at every sea-
son, I consider it one of the most healthy in the world.
I am, sir, very respectfully, yours, C. R. P. RODGzas,
Lieutenant, United States Navy.
Hon. JAXwz D. WESTCOTT, Jr.
No. 10.--LwrrTn ano A. H. JoNzs, ESQ., UNTrrD STATES SURBVYOR, TO BUCxING-
nan Burr, Esq.
ST. AUGUSTINE, EAST FLORIDA,
November It 1i7.
Sm: In reply to your letter of inquiry upon the practicability of draining the Ever-
glades, together with other questions connected with the same subject, I have to state
that two years' professional labor as a Government surveyor in the country bordering
the Everglades upon the Atlantic side have rendered me well acquainted with its
The scene of my operations has embraced the headwaters of the St. Johns River
and the country extending from Jupiter Inlet to Lake Okeechobee, thence south to
the lower end of Lake Worth.
At the time of "working up" the country included between the Okeechobee and
the Atlantic my instructions compelled me to extend my lines as far into the Ever-
glades as was practicable, the whole being bounded on the west by the Everglades
or the distance of 25 miles.
So far as I have understood the instructions given by the department to govern
you in your reconnoisance. the most important facts to be ascertained are:
First. To discover whether sufficient fall exists between the Atlantic, the Gulf of
Mexico, and these Glades to make their drainage practicable.
Second. To ascertain the sources of the vast volume of water that periodically
accumulates in the Everglades.
Third. If sufficient fall is found to effectually drain them,, whether the quantity
and quality of land capable of being reclaimed will guarantee the propriety of incur-
rng the expense.
In answer to the first inquiry, I know of no actual level ever having been taken of
this country, and am, therefore, only governed by an exp ce of ve years as an
engineer upon the canals of Pennsylvania and Ohio in taking my belief that a fall of
at least 12 feet will be found upon a proper examination with instruments.
The numerous rivers that have their nee in the Everglades have a strong and per-
manent current until they meet tidewater. The savannas that intersect each other
through the pine woods extend from the rim of the Everglades to the Atlantic, thereby
affording a vent also for the escape of the surplus water during the rainy season where
the Everglades are overflowing.
The accumulation of water originates from two cause, vis: The actual fall of water
over this wide extent of swamp land in the rainy season, which usually begins in May
and continues until the last ofJune, and sometimes longer. It is also a reservoir into
which flows all the surplus water the the surrounding country that falls for 50 miles
north. The water that accumulates in the Kissimmee prairies and Tohopekaliga lake
find a vent through the Kissimmee River into Okeechobee Lake, thence into the
Everglades. This lake is a magnificent sheet of fresh water, having an extent of 40
miles north and south and a width of 20 miles. It has no regular outlet to the ocean
or Gulf, but looms south, gradually losing its borders amidst the saw-grass marshes of
the Everglades, and is thereby proved to be an important auxiliary in keeping them
In relation to the quantity and quality of land capable of being reclaimed, of
course, can only speak of suc portions as I have examined. I never heard or read
of so vast an accumulation of decayed vegetable substance as is found in the north-
62 VYBnGLADE8 OF LOBIDA.
eastern section of the Eveglades. I frequently extended my lines for a mile or tu'o
into them when closing my township corner and when placing pots and making
embankments around them I have thrust my Jacob's staff (m ng 6 feet) with all
Sup to the top-even then, apparently, not striking e ndr strata of sand or
rock. Throughout the whole distance examined by me this extnadinry deposit
of decayed vegetable substance existed, the whole being covered by a very high and
thick growth of saw gas. This high gras is known to be of annual roth, so that
in the course of time, if nature bellowed to take her own way, the man must eventu-
ally fill up from the continued decay of so vast a top growth. As it is now, however,
it strikes the eye like the outcrop of creating, where nature has a yet only been half
The most certain plan to be adopted effectually to drain this large extent of swamp
land would be to connect ake Okeechobee with the Miami River by means of a ditch
running through the heart of the Everglades, since that lake as before stated, is the
great eervoir that constantly supplies the surrounding lowlands with water. The
Spropely made use of to inudate the surrounding swamp at the proper season
would frnish the largest extent of valuable rice land that could be found in the
Ditches simply running acrem the pine ridge from the rim of the Everglades to the
ocean would not be sufficient; they must extend into the heart-tap the principal
fountain-to make the drainage constant and sure; otherwise the accumulation of
water in the rainy season would still exist and the undertaking prove abortive.
The amount of good valuable land that could be thus reclaimed might exceed a
million of acres, suitable to the growth of two of the most important products of south-
ern agriculture, vi, sugar cane and rice. The extent of country adapted to their
successful growth is limited in the United States, and it behooves our Government
whenever it is in her power to adopt such measures as are beet calculated to advance
and encourage their cultivation.
The practicablity of draining the Everglades is, then, a subject of vast importance
not only to the prosperity of Florida but the interests of the whole southern country
would receive an impetus in its successful accomplishment.
I do not hesitate to pronounce in its favor and would recommend an early and more
thorough examination with instruments in order to obtain true scientific results.
Respectfully, yours, etc.,
A. H. JONEs.
To BUCKINowoA SMrr, Esq.
No. 11.--MzxoaxNDA FRO S. R. MAXLzTo, EsQ., CoLLoron ow CUsrroM or TzB
UNXrrD STATas AT KxT WxaT, TO B. SMrrI, EsQ., 1847.
KEY WErT, September, 1847.
The Everglades, extending from Jupiter Inlet on the east to the Caloosahatchee on
the west, and from 30 to 50 miles wide, are no more than what their Indian name,
Pah-hay-okee, denotes, viz, "Grassy water." This immense grassy plain, covered
in the wet season-i. e., from iuly to January-with an average depth of 26 inches
water. Large fields of dense saw gra shooting up from 3 to 5 feet in wet,-and from
6 to 8 in dry, seasons render the effort to penetrate it difficult at all times and impas-
sable in very dry seasons. Canoes or very light narrow boats are the proper means at
all times. The Everglades have never been topographically surveyed or even care-
fully examined, though many persons have penetrated and crossed them. In all
charts that I have seen distances in them are overrated, which, I suppose, is the
result of the labor and difficulty employed in getting through them, as compared with
the time consumed, and also by the fact that a haze, produced by the constant and
great evaporation, always hangs over them and gives objects the appearance of in-
creased distance. The earth upon which these fields of saw gras grow is a blackish
mud, in places from 2 to 8 feet deep, but frequently only 18 inches or two feet, and
the bottoms of the small gulleys or channels through which voyagers are compelled
to pas are in almost all cases the hard, white limestone, against which the oar or pole
sounds ringingly, and rebounds. These channels, as a general rule, are from 4 to 6
feet deep, but many are found for short distances to be as deep as 10 feet. The Ever-
glades are studded with many islands, among which the two Pine Islands, from 4J
to 7 miles south of the south branch of New River and Sam Jones Island off Arch Creek,
are good specimens. To visit these islands, and all others in the Glades in the wet
season, is to find but small pieces of land free of water; but in the dry season ten times
the surface, perhaps, is exposed. I have always found that the ndges and beds of
VEnROLAm us OF FWonIDA. 63
saw grs were dense about these islands. On Sam Jones Island very rich hammock
is found on its north side and where live oaks of immense age and size may be found.
These islands generally contain more or lees rich land. The Everglades on the west
and north ar tinged with cypress swamp, in which they run in wet seasons to a depth
of from 20 inches to 3 feet; and back of these swamps the pine land lies, down to the
vicinity of the seaboard on the eastern coast. A cane gram, of which cattle are very
fond, grows in abundance at the margin of these Gladesbetween the pine and cypress
lands. The piny woods are very rocky, the growth usually smaller than that of
Alabama, eorgia, or Carolin, and the wood very knotty and pitchy excellent for tar.
In the neighborhood of New River, upon all its forks and branches, and between
its two principal arms, there is much good land lying in small detached parcels and
upon which tropical fruits will readily grow; the cocoanut, lemon, and lime have been
successfully tried. This, justabout New River, is a fine country for a man with small
means, say three or four hands, who wishes to be independent. The woods and
streams abound with game and feh, frost is rarely seen, the coomty grows profusely
and its preparation is a bagatelle. The most indolent man I ever knew prospere
there. New River bar may be crossed in 4 feet and at times more water. I have
seen two large steamboats 7 miles up. It runs parallel with the seacoast in a direct
line and separated from the sea only by a ride of and from 75 to 250 yards wide for
5 miles and then branches off, the best branch g the left or south one, along which
Fitzpatrick and Cooly were located with other. oo's hammock on the right side
of this branch is good land. The left side of this stretch of New River is bor-
dered by salt-marsh land from one-fourth to three-fourths of a mile wide. This land
is worth an examination, as it is said to be rich. The pine woods are covered with the
saw palmetto, and contain many ponds, low grounds, in which the water during the
wet seasons collects. In all the streams emanating from the Everglades, from Jupiter
to the Miami, rapids are found near their junction with the Glades. These rapids are
nothing more than water, running at about 7 knots in wet seasons over the elevated
ledges of rocks, which there form the bottom, and are about from 9 to 28 inches deep.
The land in the cypress swamps here appears to be neither rich nor deep, being appar-
ently but pure silex with an admixture of sediment. The good land of all this country
on the east side of the Glades (the west shores have never been examined), that which
is always above water and such as would invite the cultivator, from Jupiter to Key
Biscayne Bay, lies in small bodies and is in small proportion to the poor land. A few
good spots are found at the hunting ground 12 miles below the Miami. It is a very
easy matter to go from New River to the Miami and thence to Shark River on the west
coastthrough the Glades. An Indian may be procured at Fort Brooke, Chico, who can
be relied on, for a small reward. But Mle fish or game can be found in the Glades,
and no Indians live there.
Whether sound policy and expediency, keeping in view the expense and the lands
to be reclaimed, dictate the attempt to drain these Everglades; and whether it be
possible to accomplish it to any considerable extent are questions which a careful
examination of the lands and streams, a knowledge of the quantity of water falling
per annum, and a connected system of levels can only adjust or solve. I am not com-
petent to express a valuable opinion; but I have been in the Glades and about them,
from Jupiter to the Miami, much. I have ate of its fish, drank of its waters, smelt of
its snakes and alligators, and waded through its mud to my middle for weeks, and am
au fait upon all these, besides posseessng some little acquaintance with its mosquitoes
and horse flies, both of which can be recommended. I have also, together with a
friend, taken soundings with poles marked for the purpose, from our boats for miles
and miles; all of which labor might as well have been expended in survey the
moon. Dr. Lightner, my friend, was engaged in the botany of Florida (a fertile feld),.
and was also anxious to establish or refute the practicability (not the policy) of drain-
ing the Glades. My own impression is that large tracts of the Glades are fully as low
as the adjoining se, and can never be drained; that some lands around the margins
may be reclaimed by drainage or by dyking, but that it will be found wholly out of
the question to drain all the Everglades. As the country now is, healthy and mild,
withitsgood lands in small parcels, with water at hand anywhere for irrigation, I think
it offered inducements to small capitalists, men with from 1 to 10 hands, to go there
and raise fruits. Fruit will grow well there.
S. R. M.
joEy GIA&D OF YLOMIDA.
No. 12.-EveOL&.os.-ErrxrcTs wFoM Manuscarom or JOHa Lz WuaSILU ESQ.
The Pay-haho-kee, or Grass-water, extends from 26 36 nearly to the 27* of north
latitude, or about 120 to 130 miles long, and 70 miles at its widest part. It is bounded
on the south by lg islands, which separate it from the Florida Kes; on the west
by small islands and the Big Cypress Swamp; an the north by Pine Islands and the
Lochahatchee Swamp; and on e eat by le island, which separate it from the
Atlantic. It ia basin of water sprinkledwith small ilets, overgrown with mw-
gra from 4 to 6 feetgh. The average depth of water is om 2 to4 leet, but cut up
with ma eandering channels of open water sometimes not more than 1 foot wide,
and in other place spending into small peds. In these channels have been dis-
covered deep rund holes o clear water. Whether these are spring or sinkholes is
unknown. Thehowever, abound with ish and turtle and sometimes, though rarely,
they are haunteb the manatee or seacow, a rge y amphibiom animal. One of
these animals was ta by Col. Haney which ghed 800 or 900 pounds and had
a kin three-quarters of an inch thick. They yield a lre quantity of valuable oil
and their bones re an excellent substitute i Th Eve re based upon
the soft limestone rock which we have bee described as the substitum of the whole
territory. Its elevation above the tide has not yet been accurately leveled, but is
believed to be full 0 feet. The r isos thick m aompces to prevent the pas-
e of canoes or boa. eeraly speaking, however the grass is much mre sparse.
any t the stands are but lite above t level of the water; but sme of them are
from 2 to 3 feet hig, with a soil as rich as any that can be formed. Others aremore
ndy. The principal timber n meet of the rich islands is liveok, wild fig, paya,
and cabbage palmetto thickly estooned with a great variety of vines. All te islands
r surrounded with dem gr le, freu 00 to 500 yards wide. Boat canonly
approachhe outwad edge this circle. A ircle of groves is often formed inside
of thegr. The Indians cultivate the inside of the islands only, leaving a border of
hiva and wild fig, whichare very namentl trees. Thewild g is, by the Span-
isrds, called havi. It is a little fig about the se of a kernel of corn perfect g in
miniature. In their fields they plant cmn pumpkins, tobacco squashes, melons,
and lima beans in abundance. Coconut, plntains, banans, and sweet potatoes are
found on some of the island. It is very probable that coffee would grow here, as frost
never reaches these isad. itto-tus-te-n-ee, or Snake-warrior, took
possession of an island about 20 miles west of le River; had procured to be cleared
about 20 acres first-rate land; built upon it two small towns, and drew to it, from
Sam Jones's men, near 60 inhitants. Aout miles west of Chittos Island is situ-
ated Tucone. It inhabited by an IndWh family, who have erected a few houses
and cultivated some small felds of corn and cane. The island cultivated and usually
inhabited by Sam Jones is about 20 miles west of Tuscones. It is about half a mile
long, but not quite so wide. It had three vilaes ad as many hunting pounds.
Attached to this are many smaller islands, all cultivated for provisions, but nohouses.
Narrow channel of water separate them from each other. The old chief is sid to
have hme 70 warriors, many of them with families. Most of these islands swarm with
feas, cockroaches, and mosquitoes. A great many islands were found near there
highly cultivated; but it is not probable that one-tenth purt of he islands have ever
been visited by the whites. On the southern route from the Miami Biver, and about
40 miles from that stream, there is a beautiful island called Hocomothlacco. Around
this island there is a circle of grass, or mud, 400 yards wide. It is highly cultivated
with provisions. Seven miles north and northwest of this lies Efnoc-co-qu-hee.
This is not cultivated but has some cleared land on it. It is used as a kind of cara-
vanary or stopping pce for boats on their route across the Big Cypress. Six miles
northwest is Uo-cho-o-ne-ha-jo. This island is cleared and cultivated. It is near
the center of the Glades. Six miles farther is In-tas-kee, a large island inhabited and
richly cultivated. From this island the current passes to the east; after paying it
the current sets to the southwest. This circumstance gives credence to a statement
made by a respectable gentleman who resides near the border of the Glades, and who
has often visited them. He states that not far from the center of the Everglades there
is an immense spring rising from the earth, covering an extent of severalacres and
throwing up a large quantity of water with great force, and supplying the Everlades
with al the water owing through them. This is rendered somewhat probable, as
the Lake Okeechobee receives two large rivers (the Kis-im-mee and loth-to-pop-
ko-hachee), without a apparent outlet. The northeast part of the Everglades ter-
minates in the Loxahatchee Swamp.
EV nBLADWE OF FLORIDA. 65
No. 13.-ExTRAcre rPao LErrTT or GEORGE MACKAY ESQ., UNITED STATES
SURVEYOR, TO BUCKINGHAM SMITH, ESQ.
FLOWIDA, December 6, 1847.
Sin: In compliance with your request, to furnish you with such data as I may poses
in relation to the practicability of draining the Evergldes of Florida, I must refr you
to other communications that I have made on the subject, and can only my that,
without a proper survey or examination, no certainty can be arrived at as to the extent
of the fall of water or the feasibility of effective reclamation.
Although I executed the public surveys upon the eastern margin of these Glades
and extended the township lines into them every 6 miles for nearly a hundred miles,
yet so different were the observations and conclusions attending the termination of
each of these lines, it was with ~auch difficulty and, indeed, not until I had completed
the whole survey, that I formed an opinion that a large portion of them might be
drained. They may be divided into north and south Everlades, distinctive in their
general character, as may be readily discovered in traveling their rim or shore. In
the region southwest of the head currents of the Miami River, when the rainy season
had made the water superabundant, I observed that there were currents and counter
currents running in every direction, frequently quite rapid, and in the dry season I
found that the course of these currents was, owing to numerous rock basins, in many
instances perforated with holes in the bottom like a colander,into which these currents
poured and disppeared; and in the pine woods, between these Glades and the Bay of
Bicayne, may ten be heard the rppling sound of running water, and frequently,
in the fissures of the rock, it may be seen at from 6 to 8 feet below the genera surface
of the ground; and there are springs in the midst of the bay, where, by very indifferent
means to shut out the salt water, pure fresh water has been raised 3 or 4 feet above the
surface of the ocean; taken in connection with the falls of the Miami River, which
came under your immediate observation, together with the facts of the difference of
elevation between the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Florida, and that there are large
rivers running into both gulfa, and that the waters generally m the Glades do not rse
above 2 inches, no reasonable man can doubt a considerable fall of water to the ocean.
Passing from these southern Glades, which have generally a rocky surface or founda-
tion, to the head currents of New River, large islands, extending to the westward,
covered with a variety of timber, by their continuous succession seem to be a sort of
barrier or terminus of the rocky Glades. Here begin the groves of cypress upon the
rim or marin, and a more general uniformity of surface and depth of water throughout.
Here also begin the appearance of reg channels, which seem to have been cut
off from their confluence with the oceanhy the cypress groves extending across and
forming an impassable dam for several miles.
There is a point in this region which appears to have been one of the main outlets
of the basin, which must have commenced damming some centuries ago, and by
a succession of rains and droughts so filled it up with decayed vegetation that when-
ever the water rises above a certain height it rushes through the cypress, or falls gen-
erally over the margin like a flowing bowl, and passes, by way of the lagoons, to the
sea. This is, perhaps, the most interest point that I can bring to your notice. A
broad channel, about 1i miles wide, with frsh-water grass,-evidently fling up, com-
mences directly underneath this cypress dam, and has its outlet into Hilbboro and
New River Lagoons. After passing nook Creek, and still further north, the pine woods
and the Everglades are more intimately associated for several miles, when the cypress
again commences and continues without interruption, with one exception, to the
Okeechobee. This exception is a channel of considerable magnitude, communi-
cating about midway of Lake Worth, but now grown up with cypre or filled with saw
grass, yet the waters seem still to ind some passage to Lake Worth, which is fresh
water, extending along parallel with the sea, and at many points not more than 30
yards distant, having a dischage into the Ebtenchatchee and Jupiter Bay.
I was forcibly impressed withthe peculiarity of the southern Glades-a vast rock of
interstices and partitions, something in the form of a honeycomb-the interstices or
cells, filled with soil, saw grass, or water, are barren, and varying from 1 acre to 20,000
acres or more, the partition vayig from 1 chain to 1 mile wide, barren, with islands
of trees, traverable with canoes inigh water, and upon horseback in low water, the
whole presenting the most romantic view of grass, prairie, and water, with gems of
islands of rare timber and shrubbery.
Very little can be known of the north Glades. They are uniformly saw grass. It is
impossible to penetrate them with canoes in high water, and in low water they are
so generally boggy it is impossible to explore them on foot. They are universally
bespangled with myrtle and willow and coesplum clumps of bushes.
5644'-8. Doc. 89, 62-1----5
66 ~VE G&DBS 0 FLOWBIDA.
On the mibjt the ttlement of the Island of the Eeralades, I saw nothing that
indicated civilimsat, excepting upon a small island at the head of the Miami River
where are to be seen the fallen walls of a stone building, broken earthenware and
bottle of a shape I have neverbefore seen, and of an age I will not venture to deter.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BUcamoarKI Sxm8 Esq.
No. 14.-ExTrAcres rao LzwmB or MA. W. H. Owase, Unrru STATzS AimY,
Come or E wNmsne, To Hox. J. D. WnSwoorr, JI.
WAsaHmONero, Augwt, 1848.
Mr DUaB 8m: I have read the letters and memoranda which you placed in my
hands relating to the Everlades of Florida.
These paper, authored by engineers, rvey ad other observers, can not fail
to be interesting to those who have given thought to the subject.
Theepinions of all these ae almost unanimous as to thepracticability of draining
this portion of Florida. By taking the opinion, then, and adding to them my own
observations made at and near the Miamiiver, I can not fail to arrive at the con-
clusion that a system of drainage, adopted atr a careful survey had been made of
the county, would result in reclimig, perhaps, 1 000,000 acres ao land, a part of
which would be suitable to the culture, not only great staples cot, sugar,
rice and tobacco, but possibly of coffee and certainly o most of the tropil futa.
With the exception ofa s*igle line of leels run by Capt. Vi ton, of the Army, no
accurate measurement on this coe has been made, so that the heights of the brain
above the Atlantic exprased in the various estimates, are entirely conjectural.
The line of lev however, run by Capt. Vinton, showing the elevation of the
Glades to be some 10 feet or more higher than the sea, i surprisingly coincidentwith
the opinion expred by the various writers on the subject, afford in this way,
much encorement for the prosecution of systematic surveys, by which the truth
may be brought out.
Swill not dwell here upon the great advantages that would accrue to the United
States in general, and to the State of Florida especially, if the drainage of the Ever-
glades could be effected; and I will contemyself by saying that the strategic po-
tiomin the Florida Straits would be relieved at once of theonly disadvantage they
labor under could the southern portion of Florida be broughtwithih the pale of cult
nation, for ample supplies of every possible description required for the food of an
army would then be awn thence without hindrance f an enemy.
In the event of success, while the States in which the land lays would be amply
remunerated, the United States would be doubly so by increased productions, not
only in quantity, but variety. Indeed, it might then be claimed that nothing that
any other climate produced could not be produced within the limits of "the present
I am, very truly, your obedient servant, Wx. H. CHasz.
The Hon. J. D. Wneroorr, Ji.,
Of tS Unitd Bltat Beate, Waatings.
ACT OF CONGRESS S (1850) TO ENABLE STATES TO RECLAIM
AN ACT To enable the State of Arkansas and other States to reclaim the "Swamp
Iands" within their limits.
[9 U. S. Stat. L., 519, SO.I
Be it enacted by the Senae and House of Represntaties of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That to enable the State of
Arkansas to construct the necessary levees and drains to reclaim the
swamp and overflowed lands there, the whole of those swamp and
overflowed lands, made unfit thereby for cultivation, which shall
remain unsold at the passage of this act, shall be, and the same are
hereby, granted to said State.
SEz. 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the
Secretary of the Interior, as soon as may be practicable after the
passage of this act, to make out an accurate list and plats of the lands
descried as aforesaid, and transmit the same to the governor of the
State of Arkansas, and at the request of said governor cause a patent
to be issued to the State therefore; and on that patent, the fee simple
to said lands shall-vest in the said State of Arkansas, subject to the
disposal of the legislature thereof: Provided, however, That the pro-
ceeds of said lands, whether from sale or by direct appropriation in
kind, shall be applied, exclusively, as far as necessary, to the purpose
of reclaiming said lands.by means of the levee and drains aforesaid.
S a. 3. And be it further enacted, That in making out a list and
plats of the land aforesaid, all legal subdivisions, the greater part of
which is "wet and imfit for cultivation," shall be included in said list
and plates; but when the greater part of a subdivision is not of that
character, the whole of it shall be excluded therefrom.
SBo. 4. And be it further enacted, That the provisions of this act be
extended to, and the benefits .be conferred upon, each of the other
States of the Union in which such swamp and overflowed lands,
known as (and) designated as aforesaid, may be situated.
Approved, September 28, 1850.
ACTS OF FLORIDA LEGISLATURES (1851-1855) RELATING TO THE
AN ACT To secure the swamp and overflowed lands lately granted to the State, and
for other purposes.
Fla. Stats., No. 21, chap. 332.1
SBETION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representaties
of the State of Florida in general assembly convened, That the governor
is authorized, and hereby requested, to take such measures as to him
EVERGLADES OF VLOBWA.
may seem expedient and most to the interests of this State, in securing
and lassifymg the lands lately granted to this State, designated as
"swamp or overflowed lands, and that the plats of said land, as
soon as secured, shall be delivered to the register of this State, and said
lands shall be subject to sale under the same rules, regulations, and
restrictions as are now, or may hreafter be, imposed upon the sale
of Seminary lands.
Soc. 2. Be it rher enacted, That all the necessary expenses of
examining the lands to be secured or in procuring maps, plates, records,
field notes brother evidence touching theitle and description of said
lands, shah be paid out of any moneys received from the sale of said
lands: Provided further, That the accounts shall be first audited by
the comptroller, and his warrant drawn therefore, as in other cases.
SuE. 3. Be it further enacted, That there shall be, and hereby is, cre-
ated and constituted, a board of internal improvement for te tate
of Florida, to consist of the governor, attorney general, treasurer,
comptroller, and State register of public lands, for the time being,
who shall be, ex office, members thereof, and one member from each
of the judicial districts of this State, to be elected by the general
assembly, to serve two years, and until their successors shall be
elected, which said members, ex officio and elected, shall constitute
the board of internal improvement of the State of Florida, and shall
hold an annual meeting on the first Monday in December in each
Sac. 4. Be it further enacted, That the treasurer shall keep a sepa-
rate and distinct account of all moneys or bonds received from the
sales of all swamp or overflowed lands, and shall make an annual
statement of the same to his excellency the governor, to be laid
before the general assembly at their regular session.
Sac. 5. Be it further enacted, That the said register shall report
biennially to the governor, at least ten days before the meeting of the
general assembly, to be laid by him before them, upon the several
matters committed to his charge, the progress made in securing the
said lands, and such other matters as may be deemed proper in con-
nection therewith, and shall report at all other times to the governor
when he may think the public interest may require it to be done.
Sw. 6. Be it further enacted, That settlers on said lands shall be
entitled to the benefit of the present preemption laws as on other
Passed the house of representatives January 23, 1851. Passed the
senate January 23, 1851. Approved by the governor January 24,
AN ACT To amend "An act to secure the swamp and overflowed lands lately granted
to the State, and for other purposes."
[Fla. Stats., No. 17, cabp. 46.]
SEzCTON 1. Be it enacted y the Senate and House of Representative
of the 8tate of Florida in genera assembly convened, That the third
section of the act to which this is an amendment, approved January
twent-fourth, eighteen hundred and fifty-one, be and is hereby,
repeaLed, and that the following be substituted in lieu thereof, viz:
That there shall be, and hereby is, created and constituted a board
EVEBOLADES OF FLORIDA. 69
of internal improvement for the State of Florida, to consist of the
State engineer as president and eight commissioners to be elected by
the general assembly, to wit, two of said commissioners shall be
appomted from each judicial district, to hold their offices for four
years and until their successors are appointed, and in case of vacancy
rom any cause, the governor is empowered to fill such vacancy until
the next meeting of the general assembly; the engineer, with the two
commissioners of each district, shall be a competent board to deter-
mine upon and recommend plans for the reclamation of swamp lands
and to appraise the value of said lands, either before or after recla-
mation of said lands, as may be deemed by them most advisable, in
the respective districts in which said lands may be situated, and they
shall also be competent to determine and recommend any plans for
local works of internal improvements, to be laid before the general
assembly for its action; the State engineer is hereby authorized and
empowered, whenever he may deem that the interest of the State
requires it, to convene a general meeting of the board of internal
improvement by giving at least thirty days' notice by letter to each
commissioner, informing him of the time of said meeting, and for
such and any service the commissioners shall receive from the swamp-
land fund or any moneys which may be in the hands of the treasurer
belonging to said fund, while engaged in such service, the same per
diem and mileage as are paid to members of the general assembly.
SEC. 2. Be further enacted, That if, in the opinion of the governor
and board of internal improvement, there is any work connected with
the reclamation of swamp lands which it is deemed advisable to be
done during the interval of the sessions of the general assembly, the
governor, with the consent of the board of internal improvement, may
authorize the State engineer to contract with persons or companies to
reclaim swamp lands for a portion of said lands, not exceeding one-
half of said lands so reclaimed; the State engineer shall make a
biennial report of his proceedings to the governor, to be laid before
the general assembly, and he may report at such other times as he
may deem the public interest to require it.
Passed the house of representatives, December 30, 1852. Passed
the senate, January 5, 1853. Approved by the governor, January
AN ACT To provide for and encourage a liberal system of internal improvements in
(Fla. Stats., No. 1, chap. 610.]
Whereas the constitution of this State declares "that a liberal
system of internal improvements, being essential to the development
of the resources of the country, shall be encouraged by the govern-
ment of this State and it shill be the duty of the general assembly,
as soon as practicable, to ascertain by law, proper objects of improve-
ment in relation to roads, canals and navigable streams, and to pro-
vide for a suitable application of such funds as may be appropriated
for such improvements": Therefore-
S Ep ON 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
of the State of Florida in general assembly convened, That so much of
the five hundred thousand acres of land granted to this State for
BY MICIL&DU OF FIORIDA.
internal roement pur es by an act of Congress pae
third day of March, anno Domini eighteen hundred and forty-Ae
as remains unsold, and the proceeds of the sales of such of saidlands
heretofore sold as now remain on hand and unappropriated, and
proceeds that may hereafter accrue from the sales of said lands;
the swamp land or lands subject to overflow, granted to this Sta
by an act of Congress approved September twenty-eighth, anno
Domini eighteen hundred and fifty, together with al the proceeds
that have accrued or may hereafte accrue to the ate from the sale
of said lands, are hereby set apart and declared a distinct and separate
fund, to be called the Internal Improvement Fund of the State of
Florida and are to be strictly applied according to the provision of
Sxo. 2. Be itfiuther enacted, That for the purpose of assuring a proper
application of said fund for the purpo herein declared said lads
and all the funds arising from the sles thereof after paymg the e-
expenses of selections, management, and sale, are 7eby imv-
ocay vested in five trustees, to wit: In the goveoi6r of this State,
the comptroller of public accounts, the State treasurer, the attorney
general, and the register of State lnds, and their successors in office,
to hold the same in trust for the uses and purposes hereinafter pro-
vided, with the power to sell and transfer said lands to the purchasers
and receive payment for the same and invest the surplus moneys
arising therefrom, from time to time.
Sw. 16. Be it further enaed, That the trustees of the internal
improvement fund shall hereafter fix the price of the public lands
included in the trust, having due regard to their location, value for
agricultural purposes, or on account df timber or naval stores, and
make such arrangements for the drainage of the snamp or overfowed
lands, as in their judgment may be most advantageous to the internal
improvement fund, and the settlement and cultivation of the land,
and the said trustees shall encourage actual settlement and cultivation
of said lands by allowing preemptions under such rules and rgula-
tions as they may deem advisable: Proided, That in no case sh a
preemption for more than one section of land be granted to any one
Passed the house of representatives December 29, 1854. Passed
the senate January 2, 1856. Approved by the governor January 66
..-4; i -
or THE PENINSULA or
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BY ORDER OF THE
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SE4'HlETAMY OF WAR
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FEE REEF CHALfYtL
Somet" eam. .89 ; ol d "g, dt Smes.
MEMO TO ACCOMPANY A MILITARY MAP OF THE EVER.
LADbS, COMPILED BY LEUT. 1. C. IVES, UNITED STATES
ARMY, I 1866, BY ORDER OF THE HON. JEFFERSON DAVIS,
SECORTARY OF WA..
The first authentic description of the Everglades of Florida, with
map, profiles, and levels was doubtless the Memoir to Accompany
a Milik Map, compiled by Lieut. J. C. Ives, top hical engi-
neer, under the general direction of Capt. A. A. umphreys, topo-
.gaphical enneer, by order of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, Sretary
of War, published in 1856, and commonly known as the "Davis
map." The following quotations are taken therefrom:
The' Everglade of Florida cover an area of about 4,000 square miles; embracing
more than half of the portion of the State south of Lake Okeechobee. The subsoil
of this vat region is rlline limestone. Upon the surface of this, which is very ugh
add irregular, lies an immense accumulation of sand, alluvial deposits, and decayed
vegetable nmtter; forming a mas of quicksand and soft mud, from 3 to 10 feet or
more in depth, that overspreads all but a few points of the first stratum. Upon the
mud rests a sheet of water, the depth varying with the conformation of the bottom,
but seldom, at dry season, greater than 3 feet. The whole s filled with a rank growth
of coare and tough from 8 to 10 feet high, having a sharp, serrated edge like a
haw, from whih t otns its name of saw grass. In many portions of the Everglades
is saw grass is so thick as to be impenetrable, but it is interited by numerous nar-
*ror and tortuous channels that form a kind of labyrinth, where outlets present
themselves in every direction, most of them, lio*ever, terminating, at longerxr
shorter distances, in a impssable-barier of grass, mud, and quicksand. The sur-
face of water is quickly affected by rains; the alternate rising and falling during wet
seasons being very rapid. The difference of level between the highest and lowest
stages of water is fr 2 to 3 feet. The general surface of the Everglade is therefore
subject to great chdages; the character of marshy lake or mud flat preainating
according to the wenem or dryness of the season. It is probable that, sometimes,
more than onehalf of the surface has no water upon it. Besid= s the mud lands,
malll keys are here and there met with which re dry at all seasons. Upon these the
soil is very rich. There are many such, undoubtedly, that are often made the sites
of Indian gardens. : *
-a the year 1855, (pt. Dawson, FiPt Artillery, made two explorations into the
rveades. The st wa undertaken during the month of March, which is one of
he ryet of the year, June ad.October being ordinarily the rainy months. *
The water at firt was very sallo, but in 6 miles increased in depth to 20 inches
The general direction was weet, though the route was extremely winding and
circuitous. At the end of 18 milessit was found the usual course to the west
erm ide was impracticabe, long mud banks were encountered, in which
the men sank to their middles while dra their boats. The course through the
intervening pond was greatly obstructed fungi clumps of tres, and bushes, and
innumerable keys could be seen in all directions, tl ground everywhere being boggy
ad wet. The third day the water became in many places too shoal to float the canoes,
the breaks between the ponds were of greater extent, and the men were annoyed by
the saw gass cutting their feet and limbswhile forcing a way along. On the fourth
day all the ditfcultis increased, breaks occurring 200 or 300 yards in length, grown up
with old aw gass and without water. The ponds were but a few yards across and
filled with fungi The keys were smaller, however and fewer in number. At the
end ec the day the command had reached a point 43 miles by the tril and 271 in a
direct line hrom Adams's Landi, when all progr was barred by a sea of tall aw
grs, extending as far as the eycould reach; occasional small keys being seen, but
72 EVEBOLADES OF FLORIDA.
A second exploration by Capt. Dawson was undertaken during the month of June,
at which time the surface water was more than a foot deeper than before. After six
days of difficult and laborious exertion he succeeded in obtaining a point a few miles
northeast of Prophet's Landing, where further advance wa stopped by want of water.
* The edge of the Big Cprewas approached to within 8 miles, but it was
impossible to get any nearer. The distance in a direct line from Fort Dallas to the
place where the party turned back was 65 miles. By the trail it was estimated to be
0 miles. For 8 miles the cnoes had to be dragged through the mud
and saw grass. *
In December, 1841, the command of Maj. Childs crossed in four days, from Fort
Dallas to Prophet's and Waxy Hadjo's andin, and afterwards recroeed the Ever-
glades to Fort lauderdale in about the same time. The first line passed over was
undoubtedly the same as that traversed by Capt. Dawson, but no such obstacles were
encountered as were experienced by the latter. There appear to have been at that
time a pa e for canoes without having to resort to hauling. The Indian guide who
accomainie Capt. Dawson stated that the country was greatly changed since he had
crossed it 16 years before, and that the keys were larger and more numerous. Settlers,
who have resided upon the Miami River for 10 or 12 years, assert that the gradual fill-
ing up of the Everles has been very perceptible. It would be reasonable to infer
from the nature of the country.that this must have been the case. The lling up
appears to have been greatest toward the north and west, the southeastern portions
always containing the most water. The late examinations would seem to establish
the fact that, at present, during dry seasons, the Everglades are imassable. Only
during high stae of the water would it be possible to croes. Even then the psege
wold be attended with great diffalties.
REPORT BY LImUT. COL A. GOLMXOR, COPS OF ENGINEXUS,
Ir 1888, UPON SUVEY MADE WITH A VIEW OP OPENING A
STEAMBOAT COMMUNICATION FROX THE ST. 7OsF8 RIVE,
FLA., BY WAY OF TOHOPEKALIGA .LArE, TO CEARLOTTE HA.
BOB OR PEACE CREEL
Lient. Col. Gillmore, whose observations were made largely within
the limits of the drainage district, in speaking of the nature of the
The subsoil is a wellstocked receptacle and storage maaine of the rain water
thus absorbed, from which, by innumerable veins and rivulet, the lakes and ponds
are fed. This condition is very favorable to the employment of the large lakes as
natural reservoirs for a canal with locks, since the demand for water to operate such
a canal would be moderate enough to cause no violent disturbance of the existing
hydraulic relations. But an open and comparatively deep cut would soon cause a
very active flow of these subterranean waters to its bed, which would probably be
abundantly provided with water from that source for a certain length of time. But
gradully the level of these subterranean waters will be lowered by the unceasing
drain the stock of stored-up water will become exhausted. and while the swamps
may be reclaimed by the operation, their usefulness, as direct or indirect feeding
reservoirs to the canal, will be destroyed or very materially impaired. (Ex. Doc.
189, 47th Cong., lst sem., May 23, 1882, p. 6.)
REPORT BY DR. H. W. WILEY, OF THE BUREAU OF CHEMISTRY,
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, II 1891, ON
THE MUCK LANDS OF THE FLORIDA PENINSULA.
(See Annual Report, Secretary.of Agriculture, lD1, pp. 13-71.1
The establishment by this department of an experimental station at
Runnymede, Fla., for investigating the growth of sugar cane in
reclaimed swamp muck has rendered some account of that kind of
The possibilities of bringing into successful cultivation the swamp
lands of Florida have occupied the minds of capitalists for several
years. It has now been about 10 years since Mr. Hamilton Disston,
of Philadelphia, formed the plan of reclaiming the swamp lands of
Florida for agricultural purposes by drainage canals. These lands
are found in detached localities over the whole State, but the parts
of them which demand our attention at the present time are found
extending from near the central portion of the peninsula in a southerly
direction to Lake Okeechobee, and thence into the Everglades to the
Gulf. It is on these lands that the experiments of reclamation have
been made, and several thousand acres of swamp lands have been
already freed of water and made ready for cultivation. Of these
lands, at the present time, about 2,000 acres are planted in sugar
cane, from 5,000 to 6,000 acres in rice, and quite a large area in
Vast tracts of reclaimed land, however, are still in the wild state,
the water simply having been taken off them, but no attempts
having been made to fit them for cultivation.
The muck lands, which form the subject of the present paper, begin
near the headwaters of the St. Johns, about 20 miles southeast of the
town of Orlando. These lands form the borders of the lakes and
rivers, but the chief deposits are about the lakes. The configuration
of the internal lakes of Florida is of the simplest nature. About the
edges of the lakes the waves have thrown up a ridge of sand and
muck, and this ridge is usually covered with cypress trees. Back of
these come the swamp lands proper, which, during the greater part of
the year before the system of drainage was established, were under
water. These swamp lands vary in width from a very few feet to
many miles, and are bordered in turn by the sand and pine lands.
The first of these lakes in geographical order is known as Lake
Hart. A canal has been cut from this lake to the headwaters of the
St. Johns, and a large area of rich vegetable mold has been recovered.
All other systems of drainage in the lands to which reference is made
are drained toward the south, Lake Hart marking the watershed
between the headwaters of the St. Johns and the headwaters of the
Kissimmee. Only a few miles south of Lake Hart is found Lake
East Tohopekaliga. This lake has been drained by a canal into Lake
Tohopekaliga, on the shores of which is found the town of Kissimmee.
EV BGL&DES OF LRAWIDA.
Lake Tohopekaliga has also been connected by a drainage canal with
Lake Cypress, and Lake Cypress by another drainage canal with
Lake isimmee. Lying east of Lake East Tohopekaliga is found
another series of lakes, viz Lake Preston, the most northern one,
Lake Alligator central, and Lake Gentry, the most southern of the
three. These fakes are soon to be connected by drainage canals, and
the last one, Lake Gentry, is to be opened into Lake Cypress. About
60 sections of land, or, in all, about 40,000 acres of rich muck land,
will be recovered as soon as these canals are finished.
Passing from Lake Kissimmee into the Kissimmee River, we find
a stream bordered on both sides by rich deposits of muck passing
gradually into the sand and pine lands back of them. The river is
- extremely tortuous1 and while the distance from Lake Kissimmee to
Lake Okeechobee is only about 60 miles in a direct line, a boat,
following the course of the river, passes nearly 150 miles in order to
reach the lake.
No attempts have been made so far to reclaim the muck lands
bordering the Kissimmee River by canals, and it is not possible to
accomplish this by natural drainage. The level of the Kissimmen
River, even at low water, is almost the same as that of the muck lands
bordering it, and during the rainy season, lasting from June till
October, the river becomes a veritable lake. There would, therefore,
be no possibility of natural drainage for these lands, but by the
P9astrl tieB Of IYgn ulelag the riy an t i atKWvitea 9f PtPaMe
znmAy thousands of acres could be recovered. Art 'cial drainage is
no longer an experiment, but in many. parts of the country it;i
practiced with entire success. The pantatios on the Miinsippi
River below New Orleans are nearly all provided with artificial
drainage systems, inasmuch as the natural drainage in that locality
is entire insufficient to free the lands from water. The great fertility
of the Flrida muck soils would render such a system of drainage
prfitable as soon as the country is opened up to the markets of te
Passing from the Kissimmee River through Lake Okeechobee, we
come to the largest body of muck lands in the world. The northern
shores of Lake Okeechobee are tinged with a very little muck, but as
you approach the southern border the muck deposits become deep
and wide, until finally they merge into those vast deposits of muck
which form the northern border of the Everglades. The exact extent
southward of this body of muck is not known, but it has been accu-
ratey surveyed for a distance of about 50 miles and found to be of
excellent character throughout the whole of this distance.
As has been said before, the problem of drainage for the muck lands
for the central portion of the peninsula, beginning with Lake Hart
and continuing to Lake Cypress, is an exceedingly simple one. All
that is necessary to secure the drainage is the construction of canals.
This is easily done by dredge boats, inasmuch as the muck is easily
moved and a good dredge boat is able to cut 300 feet of muck a day,
8 feet deep and 60 feet wide. When, however, we come to the vast
deposits of muck on the Okeechobee, the problem is quite a different
one. Two methods of procedure have been proposed. One of these
contemplates nothing else than the drainage of Lake Okeechobee
itself. This body of water is a peculiar one. It receives through
its principal tributaries and the Kissimmee River most of the dram-
EVBBLADES OF ILOBIDA. 75
age of the central peninsula of Florida. It has, however, no outlet
except the overflow through the Everglades into the Gulf and westerly
through the marshes into the headwaters of the Caloosahatchee.
The b-ilding of a canal to the Atlantic Ocean, which would remove
the surplus water of the Okeechobee and permanently lower its level,
would be an undertaking of considerable magnitude. The nearest
distance is about 40 miles directly eastward from the central eastern
part of the lake. The whole 'of this .distance, however, would be
through sand, which, of course, is much more difficult to move, on
account of its greater compactness and greater weight, than the
muck itself; it is therefore probable that it would be more economical
to cut the canal in a southerly direction from the center of the
southern border of the lake directly through the mnuck into the Ever-
glades. A careful computation of the amount of drainage received
by Lake'Okeec'hobee would show that for the purpose of securing
ope drainage during the rainy season, the canal would have to be
300 feet wide and 12 feet deep. Such a canal would permanently
lower the water 6 feet in the lake and would make ready for cultiva-
tion the vast body of muck lands already described.
The second method proposed is one which is now actually in opera-
tion, viz, the drainage of a portion of the muck lands of the Okee-
chobee. The system which is proposed, and which is now largely
completed, looks to the recovery of only a portion of the land on the
southwestern border of the lake. LIae Hicpochee is a small body of
water, wLich, at nearest po. i L only about R8 MilE fram
Lake Okeechobee. cana has been constructed from Lake Okee-
chobee to Lake Hiipochee. A longer canal, about 18 miles, has
also been built almost directly east from Lake Hicpochee to connect
with Lake Okeechobee at another point. Westerly from Lake Hic-
pochee a canal has already been built into Lake Bonnet and Lake
Flirt connecting them with the headwaters of the Caloosahatchee.
The next. step in this scheme for the reclamation of this body of
land consists in the erection of a levee along the borders of the lake.
This levee is to extend to the pine lands at two points, one about 15
miles north of Lake Hicpochee and another at some point south of it,
at such convenient distance as may be found necessary for the work.
The levee along the bank of the Okeechobee will completely protect
this portion of the land from any overflow from this lake. The
drainage through the system of canals established to the headwaters
of the Caloosahatchee will be sufficient to carry off the natural rain-
fall of this body of land. About 50,000 acres of land are included
already in the canals which are under construction, and a very little
additional expense would increase this area to 100,000.
Col. J. M. remer, at my request, has made an approximate esti-
mate of the total amount of muck lands indicated m the scheme
already given. He estimates the amount at 1,000,000 acres. He
These lands are found in bodies of greater or les extent throughout the Kireimmes
alley, the nrthen limit be ing in the vicinity of Lake Hart. A map of the region
west of Lake Okeechobee shows, i detail, the extent and depth of snw gra or muck
oil, and the ease with which it can be reclaimed and cultivated by labor-saving
appliances was fully discued by during your recent trip through the Okeechobee
country. This trct is no ( 22,1891) virtually dry, due to the low stage of water
in Okeechobee and vicinity. The surface of the soil s at least 30 inches above the
water level. Reports from Okeechobee show that the muck lands south of the lake
YVENROIADES OF FWORIDA.
we an at present above the water level from 18 inches to 2 feet. We are cutting a
canal to the southwest from a point on the shore of Lake Okeechobee near Ita
By the single canal connecting Lake Okeechobee with Lake Hic-
pochee and thence to the Caloosahatchee, the level of the water in
the Okeechobee has been permanently lowered from a foot to 18
inches. If one small canal, through the imperfect drainage system
of the Caloosahatchee River, can secure this result, wb can easily
imagine the success which would attend the construction of the
large canal mentioned above.
The total elevation of the highest point of this muck-land system,
viz, Lake Hart, above the tide level is about 72 feet. Lake Okee-
chobee itself is 20 feet above the tide. It is thus seen that there is
abundant natural fall to carry off the whole of the water, provided a
canal of sufficient size can be constructed.
The origin of the muck soil is, of course, vegetable matter. There
are no data for estimating the length of time required for the forma-
tion of these muck deposits. It is known that it must have been of
great duration. For this reason it is not probable that the flora
which is found over the muck region at the present time would repre-
sent accurately the character of the vegetation in prehistoric times.
I have had samples collected of the principal vegetable growths
which cover the muck lands at the present time. The whole of the
Okeechobee muck lands is covered almost exclusively by saw grass.
This is a cyperaceous plant of the genus Cladium; its botanical name
is Cladium Mariscus or C. effusum. During the winter and early
spring months this dense growth of grass often becomes dry enough
to burn, and large areas are often burned over. Other plants which
are at present contributing to the growth of muck, are as follows:
Common name. Botanal name.
Yellow pond lily.............................Nymphea flava.
Maiden cane grpm.............................Panicum Curtisii.
Alligator wampee............................ Pontederia cordata var.
Sedge...................................... .Cyperus sp.
Fernbrake ................ ...............Osmunda ep.
Mallow..................................... Malva sp.
Broom sedge................................Andropogon ap.
Arrow weed................................. Sagittaria.
In regard to the depth of the soil, it varies from the merest covering
at the edges near the sand to from 15 to 16 feet in its deepest portions.
The greater part of the muck lands, as before indicated, will vary from
3 to 6 feet in depth, while along the Okeechobee the average depth is
much greater. The soil varies m color from almost jet black to black
The subsoil lying under the muck in the upper region around Kis-
aimmee is pure sand. The Okeechobee muck however, is underlaid
with a thick stratum of shell marl containing pebbles very rich in phos-
phorus, and this rests upon a coraline or limestone formation. This
limestone formation is very porous in structure, full of cavities of
varying sizes, capable of being ground with extreme ease and thus
prepared for application to the soil. At distances which vary from
2 or 3 miles to perhaps 15 or 20 from the shore of the lake this lime-
stone formation comes nearest to the surface and forms a kind of a
natural dam for the waters of the lake. This line of demarcation
may properly be considered as the border between the lower and
UVNBWLDUS OF FWIBEDA
Of course every plan of constructing a canal through the muck
lands must include the breaking up of this crust when t approaches
the surface. This, however, is most easily done and would oppose
no great barrier to the progress of the work. This crust has already
been broken through by the drainage company in opening the Upper
Caloosahatchee to a freer connection with Lake Okeechobee, through
Lakes Flirt and Bonnet, by the system of canals already described.
As will be seen farther on the muck soils of Florida are markedly
deficient in mineral constituents. The presence, therefore, of so large
a body of limestone, mingled with phosphatic pebbles, is a matter of
no mean importance when the agricultural future of these lands is
considered. A few of these pebbles were picked up at the head-
waters of the Caloosahatchee and examined for phosphoric acid. The
mean percentage of phosphoric acid found was 0.697. This region
has not been prospected at all for phosphate deposits, but it would
not be surprising if they were discovered to exist here in great abun-
dance, as they are found from 60 to 100 miles farther west, in the
Peace River region.
The question of the subsidence of these soils under cultivation is
also one of considerable importance. If the organic matter which
they contain should decay there would, of course, be a marked depres-
sion in the level of the soil. The oldest portions of the muck land in
cultivation have now been tilled for about eight years. In these lands
where sugar cane was planted it has been found that there has been
a subsidence of several inches, so that the stubble of the sugar cane
has been left protruding to this distance above the surface. This
depression, however, seems to have occurred chiefly in the first two
or three years of the cultivation, and there seems to have been no
such marked lowering in the surface of the soil since that time. It
is not likely, therefore, that the soil will ever again be sufficiently
depressed to bring it under the level of the water, although it must
be confessed that the period of observation has been entirely too
short to make any definite prophecy in regard to the future.
The organic matter, however, of the muck lands does not seem to be
subject to complete decomposition by the natural processes of decay.
The humic bodies, consisting largely of carbon, appear to be capable
of resisting partially, if not altogether, the oxidation to which they
are exposedby cultivation. There is considerable danger, however,
from fire, especially during the dry season. When fires are once
started with dry muck they continue to burn until the lands are
flooded on the accession of the rainy season. But even in cases
where a complete burning of the soils by conflagrations of this kind
is observed the depression does not appear to be very great, and these
places are entirely above the water line, except, perhaps, m times of
very severe rains. There is, therefore, it is thought, no danger in the
future of such a depression of the land as to render unavailing the
drainage which has been accomplished.
The question of climate is also one of prime importance, especially
in consideration of the culture of sugar and rice.
In regard to precipitation the climate of Florida is divided dis-
tinctly mto a rainy and a dry season. The rainy season begins early
in the summer, in the latter part of May or June, and continues until
about the middle of September or the 1st of October. From October
to June the climate of the central peninsula of Florida is essentially
78 VEBOmADE o8 OF LORMA.
dry, although showers may frequently occur. This distribution of
the rainfall has its advantages and disadvantages. So far as the
culture of rice is concerned, it is extremely advantageous. The
rainy season occurs during the time when the rice fields are to be
flooded, and thus the necessity for artificial flooding is greatly dimin-
ished by the great rainfall of the summer. There is also an advan-
tage to the growing cane crop in having the rainfall come during the
hot months, at the period of most rapid growth. It is equally as
advantageous however, during the manufacturing period, to have a
dry season. For this reason the period of the manufacture of sugar
in Florida has many advantages over the same time of the year in
Louisiana. In Louisiana, especially after November, the planter is
exposed to frequent and protracted rains, rendering the fields muddy
and the roads over which the cane is to be hauled almost impassable.
The Florida planter can confidently count on a continuous manu-
facturing season, being rarely interrupted by rains. The disadvan-
tages of the dry season in the central peninsula of Florida are chiefly
fel by the growers of vegetables. These vegetables are grown for the
early northern markets, and the gardening period in central Florida
begins about the last of December and ends about the 1st of May.
It is during this season that rains are most infrequent and therefore
the gardener is subjected to grave dangers from drought. It is
during the same period, too, that the spring planting of sugar cane
takes place, and, owing to the dry weather, the planted cane may be
affected with dry rot. The disadvantages, however of the dry sea-
son are easily overcome by artificial irrigation, which, on account of
the level surface of the soil and the short distance which the water
must be pumped, is rendered particularly easy. By establishing a
pump near a branch of the lake and raising the water about 8 feet
the whole of the muck lands can be easily irrigated. It is not neces-
sary that the water be brought to the surface of the soil at all, as, on
account of the porous nature of the muck, the land is thoroughly
moistened by subirrigation; it is only necessary to bring the water
high enough to allow it to flow into the drainage ditch to secure a
complete permeation of the soil with moisture. Upon the whole,
therefore, in regard to precipitation, it may be said that the climate
of the central peninsula of Florida is favorable, not only to the growth
of the staples-sugar and rice-but also for market gardening.
In regard to the temperature, equally favorable conditions obtain.
Frosts are of rare occurrence, and when they do occur usually do but
little injury. Only twice in eight years have the eyes of the cane been
injured by frost, and even in these cases they were not all killed. In
no instance has cane been known to freeze m the Florida peninsula,
during the period over which these observations extend. It may be
said, therefore, that no danger need be apprehended by the planter,
even in the central portion of the peninsula, from frost. On account
of this immunity from frost, the cane may be allowed to ripen during
the months of November and December, and grinding operations need
not begin until January or even later. The climatic conditions of
temperature therefore, in this respect, approach those of the island
of Cuba. This being true of the central portion of the peninsula, it
is true in a much greater degree of the lower portion, vz, the Okee-
chobee section. In this region frosts are almost entirely unknown.
The coconut and the date palm flourish, and tropical plants of every
YZVEWLADRs O FOIA)BIDA.
description predominate over the subtropical. In March, 1891, dur-
n a visit to this region, numerous fields of cane were seen along the
Caloosahatchee which had not yet been cut, and which, although not
entirely green, were only affected in color by the maturity of the plant
presenting a rich yellowish green. In this region the sugar cane is
absolutely free from any danger from fros, although occasionally
light frosts have been known to injure more delicate plants. It may
be said then, with confidence that in the region of the Okeechobee
Lake the lands which may be recovered for sugar-making purposes
have all the advantages of the climate of Cuba.
The manufacture of sugar from the cane in this region may be post-
poned with perfect safety until the beginning of February and the
months of February, March, and April be the months o greatest
activity in sugar manufacture.
On account of the ease of irrigation, the whole area of the muck
lands of Florida is particularly well suited to the growth of rice. In
regard to the actual success of rice culture, however, it is not possible
to speak from any but theoretical considerations, inasmuch as until the
present year no experiments of any consequence have been made in
rice culture. During the present season several thousand acres have
been planted in rice on the muck and semimuck lands of the State, and
the result of this trial will be awaited with interest by those interested
in the agriculture of that region.
In regard to the culture ofrice, it may be said that it can be grown
on the muck lands of slight depth, known as prairie lands. These
lands often have a covering of only a few inches of muck, underneath
of which is found firm, hard, white sand. These lands are not suitable
to the culture of cane, but are supposed to be well suited to the growth
Another important consideration in connection with the muck lands
of the Okeechobee country is found in the method contemplated for
their cultivation. These lands will be intersected by numerous drain-
age canals, and by means of these canals not only can the land be
cultivated by steam from engines carried on boats in the canals them-
selves, but also the products of the fields can be transported on the
same canal, with an economy which will render the competition of
mule or horsepower methods of cultivation almost impossible. Com-
petent engineers have made estimates for the actual cost of steam
cultivation, on the canal system indicated above, and, allowing for
all contingencies of unexpected expenses, it appears reasonable to say
that, with the yield of cane which can be secured on such lands, it will
be possible to place the cane at the doors of the factories, by means
of a system of canals used in irrigation and cultivation, at an expense
which will fall below $2 per ton. This expense includes all the cost of
cultivation, harvesting, and transportation.
It is not necessary to dwell upon the fact that with cane produced at
such a cost, even the island of Cuba could not compete with Florida
in the production of sugar. There is practically no other body of land
in the world which presents such remarkable possibilities of develop-
ment as the muck lands bordering the southern shores of Lake Okee-
chobee. With a depth of soil averaging, perhaps, 8 feet, and an extent
of nearly half a million acres, with a surface almost absolutely level, it
affords promise of development which reaches beyond the limits of
UVJGLADR OF MAPIAMA.
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE MUCK O0IL8.
Preliminary examinations of the muck lands of Florida have been
made by Mr. D. C. Sutton, of the Department of Agriculture, assistant
in charge of the experiment station at Runnymede. Three samples of
the soil were taken by him, of which No. 1 was from the oldest cultiva-
ted land on the estate of the Florida Sugar Manufacturing Co's.
station, about 4 miles from the experimental field at Runnymede.
Soil No. 2 was from a portion of the field which had been in cultiva-
tion for only a short time. No. 3 was taken from a spot farther back,
on the lands of the same company near the prairies. The results of
the analyses are given in the following table:
No. 1. No. 2. No. 3.
Insolu e m tter.............................................................. 23.21 21.45 40.80
Soable lics.................................................................... 02 .02 .08
Potlsh.......................................................................... 11 .10 .07
od.......................................................................................... 17 .15 .10
L mea ......................................................................... .18 .16 .10
au s eld ................................................................. 19 .01 .00
Putoideof Iron, alumina..................................................... 3.06 279 1.83
d- -m::l:::i.. ......................................................... 19 .16 .09
8 ac kl. ................................................................. 01 .01 .01
C matter......... ...... .............. .................. 8.11 70.52 8.65
nic chlorine, and loss................................ ............. 4.95 4.631 2.263
100.00 100.00 100.00
These analyses were made before the establishment of the experi-
ment station at Runnymede. On the establishment of this station it
was deemed advisable to make a more complete analysis of the soils
from the station itself. For this purpose, four samples of soil were
taken, two of them from the station and two from oldcultivated land,
in order to determine the degree of change which would take place
during cultivation. The two samples which were taken from the sta-
tion are shown.
Sample No. 1 was taken from the front part of the station, near the
cypress grove. Sample No. 2 was taken from the back part of the
station land near the pine land. These two samples show the two
distinctive characters of the muck. The first sample is a muck of a
brown color which drains easily and is very porous. No. 2 is a muck
of a deep black color, more compact, and less easily drained. Sample
No. 3 was taken from the orchard of the St. Cloud plantation, about
4 miles from the station, from a portion of land which, at present, is
planted in grapes and has been in cultivation for five years, principally
m vegetables. Sample No. 4 was taken from a field on the St. Cloud
plantation which has been in cultivation in cane for five years.
In samples 1 and 2 is shown a complete section of the soil from the
top and the sand below. Samples 3 and 4 were purposely taken from
the surface in order to show the effect of cultivation and oxidation on
the character of the soil.
EVUSLADES OF MAMMAIDA.
[Dried at 110.]
Carbon. Hydroeio. Voaale. Aa NltrorSn.
SlaNo. : Pa cm. PaeOmt. Par et. Pae t. Pr cent.
g gte tfoot................................. 57.67 4.48 0.00 146.14 2.24
M 7, m ooot .............................. 47.07 &1 72.0 1 s0 1.40
I SM thid foot .................. .52 .53 1.00 46.06 .31
son No. 2t:
80M st foot .. ........... ............... .21 6.S 91.70 1S1.5 2.33
80o Med foot .............. .67 6...04 98.60 18. 32 2.83
nM, thlrd 4ot ............... ............ 48.27 &.34 9.78 1 .W9 2.33
,forth oot............................ 21.72 2.03 40.88 81.05 .96
soil No. 88 ........... .... ............ 1 72 2.72 45. 0 114.03 1.26
Bol No. 4, 88........... .................. 19.48 2.W 46.70 167.96 1.18
The above figures show the composition of the soil in layers of 1 foot.
Sample No. 1 had a depth of 3 feet, but the last foot was largely mixed
with sand, as is shown by the decrease in carbon, hydrogen, mtrogen,
and absorptive power and the increase in mineral or nonvolatile matter.
Under the column "Absorption" is given the percentage of water
which the perfectlydrysoils wil absorb. It is seenthat the pure muck,
where unmixed with sand, will absorb more than its own weight of
water-in one case almost double its weight. The importance of this
property in times of drought and in relation to subirrigation must not
be overlooked. The quantity of nitrogen in the layer of muck immedi-
ately above the sand is much less than in other parts of the soil, but
this is not due to any impoverishment of the muck itself, but to the
great admixture of sand. In the dry muck which has not been culti-
vated the value of the nitrogen reaches in one case $10.19 per ton, esti-
mating nitrogen at 18 cents a pound. Cultivation for a few years
reduces the percentage of nitrogen in the surface soils, as is indicated
by the numbers obtained with samples 3 and 4. *
CANE AID CASSAVA CULTURE DI FLORIDA.
(Addres by Dr. H. W. Wiley before Florids Agricultural Bociety at Jaokeonvlle, Ia. In Blletin Nb.
70 of Bureau of Chemstry, U. 8S. Department of Agriculture; Manufacture of Table Stups from Sugar
Cane, 19092 pp. 9,10.]
The problems connected with the sugar and starch products are
four or five in number.
First of all, the soil is to be considered, and therefore agricultural
interests should pay some attention to staple crops-that is, crops
that have a market the year round and can be preserved and mar-
keted at any time. Sugar and starch are types of such crops. These
substances take absolutely nothing from the soil; they are fabricated
by the plant from the atmosphere and water; hence the sale of such
products does not tend to impoverish the soil.
The soils of Florida are largely of a sandy nature-that is, they
have been deposited from water; they are typically different from
the soils of the great Northwest, which were produced by the grinding
effect of moving icebergs and represent the richest soils, probably,
in the world. Sandy soils are not suitable for producing wheat, for
5644--8. Doc. 89, 62-1---6
Eav rmADE OF 0IFLAMDA.
instance, but they are well adapted to producing sugar and starch.
In Florida it is more a question of climate than of soil, since, with a
favorable climate, scientific agriculture will produce a crop from
almost any kind of soil.
The second problem to be considered is that of fertilizers. Per-
haps there is no State nore favorably situated than Florida in respect
to fertilizers. You have here inexhaustible deposits of phohate.
In the leguminous crops which grow here, namely, peas, beans, lalfa,
and beggr-weed greas, you have a most valuable means of assimi-
lating mtrogen from the air. In cotton seed, fish scrap, and other
animal refuse you have access to large stores of nitrogen. Through
your seaports stores of fertilizing materials such as nitrate of soa
and potash salts can be brought from South America and Germany.
It would be hard to find any other portion of our country where fer-
tilizers could be sold more cheaply than in this State.
CHARACTER OF THE MARKET.
The third problem is the character of the market. This country is
the greatest sugar and starch consumer in the world. We use more
than 2 000,000 tons of sugar annually. Of this quantity, before the
Sanis War, we made only about 300,000 tons--about one-seventh
Since the Spanish War we have acquired Hawaii, Porto Rico, and
the Philippines, all of which give us large additional quantities of
sugar. This year we will produce about 100,000 tons of beet sugar,
so that at the present time it may be said that we produce about one-
third of all the sugar we consume but still there is a vast foreign
market which we might supply with the home product. There is no
danger, therefore, of overstocking our home market with increased
sugar production nor is there danger of the beet sugar driving the
cane sugar out of the market. For many purposes, as, for instance
the manufacture of sirup, beet sugar is unsuitable, and there will
always be a demand for all the cane sugar that can be made.
The sugar crop of the whole world for the present year is about
10,000,000 tons, of which nearly 7,000,000 are made from the sugar
THE SUGAR BEET.
The sugar beet can not, however, be grown in Florida profitably.
Here you must depend on the sugar cane for sugar and upon the
cassava and potato for starch. From starch glucose can also be
made, and it seems to me that in the near future the glucose industry
will pass from the indian-cor belt to the cassava and potato belt.
In one particular industry Florida and the southern parts of Georgia
and Alabama stand preeminent, and that is the manufacture of table
sirup from sugar cane. It is important, however, to secure uniform
grades to hold the markets of the world, and this can only be accom-
plished by mixing together the products of small farmers or by the
establishment of central factories, where the cane grown in the neigh-
borhood can be manufactured under standard conditions.
By the development of these great industries sugar and starch
making, including table sirups, untold wealth wil in the near future
flow into Florida. From by-products of the factories immense quan-
MVEB oADE OF PLOBIDA. 88
titles of cattle food can be obtained, both from sugar cane and the
starch-producing plants. Thus a dairy industry can be established
in connection with sugar and starch making, which will add much to
the wealth of the State.
pa Bulletin No. 10, by Dr. H. W. Wiley, of Bureau of Cmlt B. Depewmt of Aoultre:
Ep[In Bulle Work In the Produot of Ttble 8p tw r, 1906 p. 1Lt
It is interesting to compare the canes of Georgia with some grown
below the frost line in Florida. The figures given in the following
table show that in southern Florida, where the canes continue to grow
throughout the winter without being frost bitten, they attain a
remarkable degree of sweetness. There is a minimum quantity of
reducing sugar present, which probably would be indicated as zero by
the ordinary volumetric method. It may be considered that the
amounts of reducing sugar obtained in the mature cane were in most
cases due to the action of the reagents upon the cane sugar. In other
words, the canes have apparently attained their normal maturity.
The increasing richness of the canes is shown by comparing those
harvested in March with those from the same locality analyzed in
November. The cane received on November 11 contained 13.50 per
cent of sucrose, while the canes from the same locality received on
March 31, and cut probably three days previously, contained 20.90
per cent of sucrose. The purity of the juice received on November 21
is 79 per cent, while that of the juice received on March 31 is 91.30
per cent, the richest cane ever analyzed in this bureau.
Canes of this degree of richness would be of exceptionally fine qual-
ity for sugar making, but it would be rather difficult to make a sirup
from them which would not crystallize. In other words, the ordinary
inversion from evaporation would scarcely be sufficient to prevent
crystallization of the finished product.
TABL III.-AnalZsu of lorida cane.
No. Descripton. Date. Sucrose. Ing Purity.
Per OetL Per conL
3800 Red cane OrangeCoanty, Fla...................... Nov. 21,1905 13.50 0.30 79.00
Manatee County, Fil.:I
4022 D 4... ............................... Feb. 19,1906 15.0 .24 87.20
4023 D9 ....................................... ........... do........ 17.65 .26 8.40
4042 RIbbonae......................... Mar. 8,1906 1.00 .14 88
4043 D .........................................do...... .840 .15 a80.
4051 D74. ......................................... Mar. 31,106 0 .10 8 0
4052 re nor 8mp an en ..................................do........ 90 .22 L3
I Orown by H L. Abel at Tar COes.
ElBSA 0E OF GOV. W. & S ZWINw8 4'0O THE LZGISLATURE OF
LORIDA CREATIVE TO ELCALATIO OF E01 GLADRS.
ExcUTIVZ Om sc, .
Tadaassee, April 7, 1908.
GentLemen of the enate and House of Repeeitative :
From a careful study of the history of our State and its wonderful
development and progress there seems to have been no question that
has caused greater research and effort on the part of my predecessors
as far back as the territorial days and almost continuously since
than the problem of drainage and reclamation of the swamp and
overflowed lands of our. State. This question was discussed as of
national importance as early as 1835 by men of national character,
position, and reputation. It was the paramount question with our
first Senators in the Congress of the United States, which culminated
in the act of Congress granting to the State the swamp and over-
flowed lands in 1850, which was, in turn, granted by the State to the
Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund irrevocably for the pur-
pose of aiding in the drainage and reclamation of the lands of the
character designated as "swamp and overflowed." You must admit
that, notwithstanding strenuous efforts have been put forth to solve
this problem, it is to-day the paramount question before the people
of Florida and is of sufficient importance to invite the attention of
the lawmakers of the Nation to accomplish what the forefathers pro-
vided for. Notwithstanding the comparatively large acreage of lands
granted by the General Government to the State of Florida for the
purposes mentioned, it has been a gigantic undertaking-one that
will require time, great skill, and a large sum of available money to
carry out. We must realize that the acreage of lands granted have
not been available. They have not been available nor salable for the
reason that they are of the character of land designated as "swamp
and overflowed," not tillable and without commercial value, and
therefore it has been impossible to utilize such lands to drain and
reclaim themselves and thus the State has been placed in the atti-
tude of the man who undertook to lift himself and so far has been
almost as helpless in accomplishing the task.
The Everglades of Florida cover an area of about 4,000 square
miles, embracing more than one-half of that portion of the State
south of Lake Okeechobee.
Little effort has been made to drain and reclaim this large area.
One great difficulty in the way of reclamation has been the uncertain
UVENGLADES OF FLORIDA.
condition of the title thereto, no patent having been issued by the
United States Government to the State of Florida confirming the
grant of the swamp and overflowed lands under the act of Congress
of 1850. It has been held by decision of the Interior Department
of the United States that the department retained jurisdiction over
the titles to all lands granted under said act of Congress until the
patent had been issued and delivered to the governor of the State
and that any orders or approval by the department of any list of
land numbers was subject to revocation and cancellation by the
department at any time before the issuance of patents without
notice. In 1897 the swamp land department prepared, examined,
and approved list No. 87, embracing 2,942,000 acres, which list was
approved by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, also by
the Assistant Attorney General for the Interior Department and the
Secretary of the Interior, and regularly transmitted to the land office
in Florida, which only awaited demands for the issuance of the
Soon after the transmittal of said list the attention of the Secretary
of the Interior was called to the probable effect the issuance of
this patent would have upon the supposed interest of the Seminole
Indians in Florida, suggesting that the Indians might have some
rights in the premises hat had not been considered, whereupon the
Secretary of the Interior suspended the order approving said list
and appointed Maj. Duncan as Indian inspector to viit the Everglades
and inspect the condition of the country as to the character of the
lands, rights of the Indians, etc., and upon his report a survey was
ordered of a portion of said lands, which resulted n an appeal being
taken from the findings of the Commissioner of the General Land
Office, which was sustained by the Secretary of the Interior and
the approved list, No. 87, was canceled and revoked by the Secretary
of the Interior as of the date of May 18, 1898. The land office of
Florida was not informed officially, formally, or otherwise of any of
the proceedings which resulted in the revocation and cancellation
of said list No. 87, and it was assumed that the lands therein embraced
remained subject to patent to the State of Florida whenever proper
request was made for such patent. With a view to perfecting the
State's title to these lands, I proceeded to Washington on the 21st
day of March, 1903, and was then for the first time advised of the
rulings above stated, which had been made subsequent to the issuance
of the original list of 1898. A new list was then prepared, in accord-
ance with the rulings of the Secretary of the Interior, embracing the
same territory as that embraced in the former list (No. 87), except
that thirteen 40-acre tracts (520 acres) were eliminated as "non-
swamp land," together with the sixteen sections that had been errone-
ously embraced m the former list, said sections having been granted
under act of Congress of 1845 for school purposes, and the patent has
been obtained for the lands embraced in said list, aggregating
2,862,280 acres. *
The excerpt from the memoir of the peninsula of Florida (1841-55)
is submitted to show the steady change going on in that portion of
the State. Since the last exploration nearly 50 years have elapsed,
almost four eras of 14 years. If from 1841 to 1855 the change was
so great, what must have been the changes in the corresponding
perods since that time The Everglades have been crossed and
IVEGLADEI8 OF FWORIDA.
recrossed many times and in different directions since, always with
more or less difficulty.
The few reports of surveyors and explorers added little new infor-
mation about the Everglades until 1881, when the State contracted
with Hamilton Disston to drain a large area of land bordering Lake
Okeechobee and including part of the Everglades. In 1880-1882 a
line of levels was made byGen. Gillmofe, under the direction of the
United States Senate, to discover a practicable route for a ship canal
across the peninsula. These and other surveys by Col. Charles
Hopkins, Maj. Wirts V. P. Keller, J. W. Newman, and others estab-
lished the altitude of Lake Okeechobee, "the head of the Glades," at
21 to 23 feet above tide level, the difference in levels being accounted
for by the different seasons at which the surveys were made. A
subsequent observation and examination, made by W. H. Caldwell,
assistant United States engineer, December, 1901, shows the level
of the lake to be 20.42 feet above mean low-water level of the Gulf
of Mexico. Lake Okeechobee covers an area of 1,080,000 acres.
The bottom is hard sand and mud, water from 5 to 10 feet in depth,
except in a few places of small dimensions, where the depth is 20
to 22.feet. There are four large islands m its southern portion.
These observations show that the bottom of the lake at the deepest
point is over 9 feet, saving these deep basins of small area, above
mean low tide in the Gulf. Accompanying this is a profile showing
the Kissimmee River and lakes, including Okeechobee, with their
levels above tidewater.
In this connection it is interesting and important to speculate as
to what would be the result were a ship canal cut through the Ever-
glades with its bottom level 39 feet below the bottom level of Lake
Okeechobee. What would become of the lakes that now make the
peninsula so desirable 9 Would not a canal of the description pro-
posed cut all the underground waterways and destroy all the lakes
A profile of the surface of the Everglades by J. W. Newman, civil
engineer, is also submitted herewith. That the Everglades can be
drained does not seem to be questionable, nor is it to be doubted that
the simple drainage would redound greatly to the State, but the
inauguration of any project that would exhaust the water from Lake
Tohopekaliga, Cypress, Istokpoga, Okeechobee and others, and
destroy them, deserves profound consideration.
Col. Charles Hopkins made a reconnaissance in 1883 from Lake
Okeechobee to Shark River. James E. Ingraham made an expedi-
tion and crossed the Everglades in 1892, occupying 22 days. The
reports of these and others confirm the early reports of the officers
of both the Army and Navy as to the character of the soil, depth of
water, and the fertility of the land. The report of Col. James M.
Kreamer, chief engineer of the Okeechobee Drainage Co., made in
The surface of this soil is at times exposed, and it is only during or subsequent to a
heavy rainy Meas it is possible to penetrate with a light skiff, and then advantage
must be taken of the natural drains of the vast area. If there was an absence of the
deo saw pn, no difficulty would be experienced in traversing the country in any
direction. A 4-foot reduction of the surface of the waters of this region would be suffi-
dent for cultivation. The surface of the lower Gladesis well elevated above tide level,
but, due to the rim of outcropping lime-rock extending along the Gulf and Atlantic
borders, the waters are in a great measure impounded and retained at varying eleva-
tions above the tide. Levels and measurements taken at Lake Worth establish the
BVBOLADE8 OF FLOBIDA. 87
j '- o 41
a-- \i .s l o .
1 r. 4)* ~I O-CO
= 0E c! o 1
w> o EOO So
O o ,a \ ,
c 4 C \'
4) ) r )Pm o
4n >r ~ "o
.01 rS er J
UT9iKJADI OF HOMDA.
surface of the aemhr watr the Evla to be 101 feet above the tide water o the
Atlmtic and that cal 1,100 eet would afford relief to a vast are westrd.
It would be entirely lasible to cat the rim at frequent interval and permit the im-
pouded water to lw into the Gulf or Atlantic. his would result in exposing great
e ofn ilnow practiealy valu~eM. *
By reference to the profile maps, submitted as follows, it will
be seen that the normal surface of Lake Okeechobee is 20.42 feet
above the mean low-water level of the Gulf of Mexico, which is
only 60 miles west, in an air line, and practically the same height
above the Atlanti Ocean, 36 miles distant on the east. Drainin
the lake and the Everglades are numerous rivers and streams, begin-
ning at the lower end of St. Lucie Sound, on the Atlantic, and extend-
ing around the southern extremity of the peninsula to Charlotte
Harbor or the Gulf, as follows: Halpatiokee, Jupiter, and Hills-
boro Rivers, Ratones and Cypress Creeks, West Fork and South
Fork of Middle River, New River South Fork of New River, Snake
River, Arch Creek, Little Arch reek, Little River, Miami River,
Chi's Cut, Albahatchee River, Shark River, Harney's River, Fat-
sallahonetha River, Roger's, Chittahatchee, Fatlathatchee, Alca-
tapachee and Lakpahatchee Rivers, Wekiva Inlet, Gallivan, False-
water, Malso, Corkscrew and Caloosahatchee Rivers, and five small
unnamed streams that fall into the Gulf of Mexico. From the rapid-
ity of current and the number of these rivers, notably the Miami, and
the steady flow of water it is evident that these streams have their
source-not a spring-(because the quantity of water varies with
the season) in a great reservoir. This being true, then the cutting
through this barrier or reservoir wall, as suggested by the eminent
authorities quoted, would drain the water from the surface of this
vast area and make it tillable without in anywise endangering the
water supply of other sections of the southern peninsula.
Observant stockmen, and other Floridians familiar with the Ever-
glades, all concur in sayin that the reclamation of this vast area is
entirely feasible and that the cost would, in comparison with the value
of the redeemed territory, be a mere bagatele. John R. Mizell,
in a communication addressed to and published in the Times-Union
(newspaper) January 22, 1902, says:
For a more complete description, we will compare this wonderful formation to a
large bowl with two rime; the inner basin consists of Lake Okeechobee, a small inland
e within itself. The normal condition of the Glades proper i rarely ever affected
as to depths of water on the surface, until the inner basm is taxed by its tributaries
beyond its capacity to relieve itself by the flow of water down the Caloonhatchee
River, which flows south into the Gulf of Mexico, except such as flows to the east
through the numerous mall rives and streams into the Atlantic. All the short
streams on the Atlantic aide have been produced in the prehistoric pt by some
extraordinary heavy head of water overflowing the inner basin, and bei unable
to force its way down the Caloosahatchee River, sought the most available places
to force its way to the eastward across the outer basin which has a narrrow ck rim in
most places within a few miles of the coast.
'VmBOLAD s OF FLOBID 89
Sao dti to
F M*.* '|
A& 1 (0B?
. d u d
ss I *5a d
0% 0 MI
4 *h U
Ss d -
d 3P .
aD aa I;'-*
f s s e jdS n > ) % m.
~'~A1~WA~d SpCa !.
g0 VXRBOLADU8 OF IORIDA.
Thus it will appear that the drainage of the Everglades is entirely
feasible and practicable, thus reclaiming 3,760,000 acres, a large yer-
centage of which would be available, and the most valuable agncul-
tura land in the Southern Statee. gain, those who are now under-
taking to reclaim, in a small way the most elevated tracts, and
utilize them by cultivating vegetables that grow and mature during
the driest season of the year, and of short crop seasons, hazard their
entire year's work and expenses by undertaking to plant and grow
crops m the most selected spots under present conditions, as the
experience of the past few weeks bears witness. It is reported that
from 70 to 90 per cent of the entire crop planted within this region
has been destroyed within the past monthly high water, which is a
loss to the citizenship of that portion of our State, and falling upon
those who are not able to bear the low of their all, amounting to more
than a half million of dollars in value. This of itself would justify
the expenditure of an amount necessary to complete the drainage and
reclamation of the Everglades to protect the small acreage already
under cultivation. This disaster only emphasizes the great impor-
tance of undertaking energetically and determinedly to reclaim this
vast and rich territory; and, therefore, I recommend that the Con-
grees of the United States be memorialized for an appropriation of
$1,000,000 to this end.
W. S. JrNNINGo Governor.
PATENT TO THE EVERGLADES, 1908.
THE UNITED STATEs OF AMERICA.
To all whom these presents shall come, greeting:
Whereas by the act of Congress approved September 28, 1850,
entitled "An act to enable the State of Arkansas and other States
to reclaim the 'swamp lands' within their limits," it is provided that
all the "swamp and overflowed lands," made unfit thereby for culti-
vation, within the State of Florida which remained unsold at the
passage of said act shall be granted to said State; and
Whereas, in pursuance of instructions from the General Land
Office of the United States, the several tracts or parcels of land
hereinafter described have been selected as "swamp and overflowed
lands," inuring to the said State under the act aforesaid, situate in
the district of lands subject to sale at Gainesville, Fla., to wit:
The Everglades, being the swamp and overflowed lands within the
following metes and bounds: Commencing at the southwest corner
of T. 60 S., R. 37 E., where the west line of said township touches the
water; then run north along said west line of said T. 60 S., R. 37 E.,
to the northwest corner of said township; then east along the north
line of said township to the southwest corner of T. 59 S., R. 38 E.;
thence north along the west line of Tps. 59, 58, and 57 S., R. 38 E.,
to the northwest corer of T. 57 S., R. 38 E.; thence east along the
north line of said T. 57 to the northeast corner of sec. 6, T. 57 S.,
R. 38 E.; thence north along the west line of secs. 32, 29, 20, 17, 8,
and 5, T. 56 S. R. 38 E., to the northwest corer of sec. 5; thence east
along the north line of T. 56 S., R. 38 E., to the southwest corner of
T. 55, R. 39; thence north along the west line of said T. 55 to the
northwest corner of said township; thence east along the north line
T. 55, Rs. 39 and 40, to the northwest corner of sec. 3 of said T. 55,
R. 40; thence north along the west line of sees. 34 and 27, T. 54 S.,
R. 40 E., to the northwest corer of sec. 27; thence east along the
north line of sec. 27 to the northeast corner of said section; thence
north along the west line of sees. 23, 14, 11, and 2, T. 54, R. 40, to
the southwest corner of sec. 2; thence east along the north line of
secs. 2 and 1 of said T. 54 to the northeast corner of sec. 1; thence
north along the west line of Tps. 53 and 52 S., 41 E., to the southwest
corner of T. 52; thence east along the north line of T. 52, R. 41, to
the northeast corner of said township; thence north along the west
line of Tps. 51, 50, 49, 48, and 47, R. 42, to the northeast corner of
said T. 47; thence west along the north line of T. 47 to the northwest
corner of sec. 2, T. 47; thence north along the west line of sees. 35,
26, 23, 14, and 11, T. 46, R. 41, to the northwest corner of sec. 11;
thence east along the north line of sec. 11, T. 46, to the middle of
said section; thence north along the middle line of sec. 2, T. 46,
R. 41, and sec. 35, T. 45, R. 41, to the middle of the south line of sec.
26, T. 45, R. 41; thence west along the south line of sec. 26 to the
southwest corner of said section; thence north along the west line of
BY IDG&ADI 0 FIACJmA
sece. 26, 23, 14, 11, and 2, T. 45, R. 41, to the northwest corner of
sec. 2; thence west along the south line of T. 44, R. 41, to the south-
west corner of said township; thence north along the west line of said
T. 44 to the northwest corner of said township; thence west along
the south line of T. 43, R. 40, to the southwest corner of said town-
ship; thence north along the west line of said T. 43 to the northwest
corner of said township; thence west along the north line of T. 43,
R. 39, to the northwest corner of said township; thence north along
the west line of T. 42, R. 39, to the northwest corner of said township;
thence north along the west line of T. 41, R. 39, to the southwest
corner of sec. 19, T. 41, R. 39; thence west along the north line of
sec. 24, T. 41, R. 38, to the southwest corner of said sec. 24; thence
north along the west line of said sec 24 to the northwest corner
thereof; thence west along the south line of sec. 14, said T. 41, R. 38
to the southwest corner thereof; thence north along the west line o
said sec. 14 to the northwest corer thereof; thence west along
the south line of sec. 10, same township and range, to the southwest
corer of said section; thence north along the west line of said sec. 10
to the northwest corer of said section; thence west along the south
line of sec. 4, same township, to the southwest corer of said section;
thence north along the west line of said see. 4 to the northwest corer
thereof; thence west along the north line of T. 41, Rs. 38 and 37, to
the waters of Lake Okeechobee; thence southerly and westerly
around the shores of Lake Okeechobee and northerly along said lake
to a point in T. 41 S., R. 32 E., where the north line of said township
strikes the lake; thence west on the north township line of T. 41, R. 32,
to the northeast corer of lot 1 of sec. 6, in said T. 41, R. 32; thence
along the meander line, in a southerly direction, of sees. 6, 8, 17, 16,
21, 28, 32, and 31, in T. 41, R. 32; thence southerly along the meander
line of sec. 6, T. 42, R. 32; thence along the meander line south-
westerly of sees. 1, 11, 14, 22, 21, 28, 29, and 30, T. 42, R. 31; thence
south along the west line of said T. 42 R. 31 to the southwest
corer thereof; thence east along the north line of T. 43, R. 31 E., to the
northeast corer of fractional sec. 4; thence south along the east lines
of fractional sec. 4 and of sec. 9 to the southeast corner of said sec.
9; thence east along the north line of sec. 15 to the northeast corner
of the W. I NW. I of said sec. 15; thence south along the east line of
the W. I NW. I and W. 4 SW. I of said sec. 15, and the east line of
the W. j NW. I sec. 22, to the southeast corner of the W. I NW. I
of said sec. 22, same township; thence east along the middle line of
sec. 22, to the northeast corer of the SW. i of said sec. 22; thence
south to the center of sec. 34, in the same township; thence east
along the middle line of sees. 34, 35, and 36, to the east township
line; thence from the northeast corner of the SE. I of said sec. 36 to
the southeast corner of said section; thence east along the north line
of T. 44 S., R. 32 E., to the northeast corner of said T. 44 S., R. 32
E., thence south along the east line of said township 44 to the south-
east corner thereof; thence east along the north line of T. 45, R. 33,
to the northeast corer of said T. 45; thence south along the east line
of Tps. 45 and 46, R. 33, to the southeast corner of T. 46; thence
east along the north line of T. 47, R. 34, to the northeast corer of
lot 1, sec. 5, T. 47 S., R. 34 E.; thence south to the center of sec. 5;
thence east to the northeast corer of the SE. I sec. 5; thence south
along the east line of sees. 5, 8, 17, and 20 to the northeast corer
EVNGLAMDES OP FWBMDA
of the E. S of said sec. 20; thence east to the center of sec. 21; thence
south along the middle line of sees. 21 and 28 to the southeast cor-
ner of the 8W. i sec. 28; thence east along the south line of sec. 28
to the northeast comer of sec. 33; thence south along the east line
of sec. 33 of said T. 47, R. 34, to the southeast corner of said sec.
33; thence east along the north line of T. 48, R. 34, to the northeast
corner of said township; thence south along the east line of Tps.
48 and 49 to the southeast corner of T. 49, R. 34; thence west along
the south line of said T. 49 to the southwest corner of said T. 49 S.,
R. 34 E.; thence south along the east line of T. 50 R. 33, to the south-
east comer thereof; thence east along the south line of T. 50, R. 34,
to the southeast corner thereof; thence south along the west line of
Tps. 51 and 52 to the southeast corner of T. 52, R. 34; thence west
along the north line of T. 53 to the northwest corner of T. 53, R.
33; thence south along the west line of T. 53, R. 33, to the southwest
corer thereof; thence west along the north line of T. 54, Rs. 32,
31, 30, and 29, to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico; then following the
mainland in a southerly direction to the point of beginning in T. 60
S., R. 37 E. There are eliminated and excepted from the above all
islands in the Gulf of Mexico adjacent to the mainland, all of what
would be the school sections if the lands were surveyed, and the
following descriptions, viz:
The SE. I SW. t sec. 23, and the NW. I NE. I sec. 25, T. 50 S.,
R. 40 E.; the NE. I SW. i sec. 20 T. 50 S., R. 41 E., the W. J NE.
*, E. i NW. SW. NW. I, NW. I SE. I, and N. J SW. I sec. 1
and the E. SE. I sec. 2, T. 51 S., R. 41 E., as surveyed by Special
Agent J. O. Fries in 1898, and as designated on a specialplat approved
November 16, 1899, accepted April 25, 1900, containing in the aggre-
gate an estimated area of 2,862,080 acres, and for which the governor
of the State of Florida did on the 6th day of April, 1903, request
a patent to be issued to the said State as required in the aforesaid act.
Now, therefore, kno* ye, that the United States of America, in
consideration of the premises, and in conformity with the act of
Congress aforesaid, have given and granted, and by these presents
do give and grant, unto the said State of Florida, in fee simple, sub-
ject to the disposal of the legislature thereof, the tracts of land above
described; to have and to hold the same, together with all the rights,
privileges, immunities, and appurtenances thereto belonging, unto
the said State Florida, in fee simple, and to its assgns forever.
In testimony whereof, I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the
United States of America, have caused these letters to be made pat-
ent and the seal of the General Land Office to be hereunto affixed.
(Imprint of the seal of the General Land Office.)
Given under my hand at the city of Washington, the 29th day of
April in the year of our Lord 1903, and of the Independence of the
United States the one hundred and twenty-seventh.
By the President:
By F. M. McKzAN, Secretary.
C. H. BRUSH,
Recorder of the Geneal Land Ofice.
Recorded V. 3, pp. 333-336, inc.
Also filed in the office of commissioner of agriculture of the State
of Florida, at Tallahassee, Fla.
UVBBQUGLAD OF IWmDA.
STATUS OF TIH SWAP AND OVEBRFOWED LAMD8 PATENTED
TO THE STATE TO AUGUST 6, 1904.
Total number of acres of swamp and overfowed lands patented to the An.
State to Aug. 6, 1904 ............................................. 20,138,887.42
Deeded to railrad companies ...................................... 8,242,817.69
Deeded to canal com ......................... .......... 2, 22,816.96
Deeded to Hamilton ion ....................................... 4, 0 00.00
Deeded to Dickem ............................................. 248,802.98
Deeded to Jacs on ................................................ 113,064.80
Deeded to individuals not under legislative grants .................. 2,200,130.31
Total disposed of prior to Aug. 6, 1904........................ 17,066, 932.74
Leaving a balance on hand Aug. 6, 1904............................. 3,076,904.68
(Annal Report, General Counsel, of the Internal Improvement Fund, Florida,
1908-9, p. 14.)
ARIA OF FLORIDA AND OF WET LANDS UNPATZNTED, 190.
The Government's statement shows the total area of the land
surface of Florida to be 35,072,640 acres; that 33,895,534 acres have
been heretofore patented, leaving remaining after deducting home-
stead lands, reservations, and water surface an estimated area of
only 200,000 acres of swamp and overflowed lands.
(Annual Report, General Counsel, of the Internal Improvement Fund, Florida,
1906-9, p. 15.)
DRAINAGE INVESTIGATION, 1904 BY 0 E. LLIOTT, E] IWEERB,
U. S. DEPARTXEf T OF AGRICULTURE, IN CHARGE.
Untod StW D uitit d Apibultn, Ofrn oi ke plmit oStafua, B Iad i6 h aot d Dintw
~Inv o.s'hd, inadsY dihziaut tam ionmta No. 9, Of i(rmlrMat St ai:,
aIIrb d IBft f I anrU ed Dran In'IrSla UK, by 0. 0. Dbitt,
u In -lip lidinnjutlumntii pp. 4l-TIT]
The Everglades of southern Florida are attracting attention by
reason of their ability, under proper drainage and management, to
produce vegetables for the northern winter market and subtropical
fruits of acknowledged excellence. A reconnaissance of lands in the
vicinity of Miami was made for the purpose of determining upon the
feasibility of draining a small tract of Everglade land for experi-
The part examined comprises a belt of land extending about 60
miles north and 25 miles south of the city of Miami and for various
distances from the coast line toward the Everglades. The topog-
raphy of the land near the coast and its relation to the Everglades
which occupy the interior are interesting and important. The rise
of the general surface from the coast line westward for a distance of
3 or 4 miles is 9 to 16 feet. From this, westward across the Ever-
glades, the rate is about 0.3 foot per mile, as ascertained by two
separate surveys made under the direction of the Florida East Coast
Railway Co. The dividing line between the slopes toward the
Gulf and the Atlantic is about 22 feet above tide and extends south
from near the center line of Lake Okeechobee. The belt of land
3 or 4 miles wide first mentioned may be regarded as a rim which
prevents the ready flow of water from the Everglades southeasterly
to the ocean. Numerous small streams extend from the edge of the
XVUBGLADES OF FLOBIDA.
Glades proper through this rim and are the only natural facilities
for draining the Glades.
The rock found in this part of the State is the coral breccia, which
crops out at the surface over the entire width of the rim and is
covered with pine timber and palmetto, with the exception of small
areas termed 'hammocks," which are covered with hardwood trees.
Arms of the Glade land 0.5 to 2 miles wide extend from the head end
of these small streams back into the Everglades proper for a distance
of 2 or 3 miles, bordered by pine woods, beyond which is the open
expanse known as the Everglades. These lands are called "prairies"
and are covered with saw grass. Two types are best known, the
marl and the sand prairies. The soil varies in depth from 1 inch
to several feet and in all cases rests upon a base of coral rock. In
some instances the rock is known as "plate rock," which is apparently
smooth and solid. In other cases the rock is filled with potholes,
making an irregular base upon which the soil rests. In some por-
tions of the northern part of the tract examined muck and peat lands
are found in quite extended beds, but they usually thin out and pass
into the prevailing marl formation.
A great deal of money has been expended in drainage works by
the Florida East Coast Railway Co. The operations of this com-
pany so far have been directed toward opening and enlarging the
natural streams for the purpose of lowering the water of the arms
of the Glades during the winter season, in order to facilitate the
growing of winter vegetables. This drainage has also permitted
some fruit growers owning small detached tracts of Glade land to so
drain them that trees are now successfully grown.
The average annual rainfall of that portion of the State is about 63
inches. The so-called dry season or portion of the year in which
there is the least rainfall occurs between the months of November and
March, during which time the normal precipitation is about 11.5
inches, ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 inches per month. During this season
portions of the prairie lands are planted to vegetables, principally
tomatoes, which are more profitable for shipping to the northern
market than others and when properly fertilized produce large
crops. The remainder of the year these lands are frequently covered
with water and are largely abandoned until the opening of the winter
season, when they are again plowed and planted.
None of the Glade land proper, as far as examined, has been so
drained as to be suitable for the growing of trees or of vegetables
requiring the entire season, except openings which are sufficiently
high to be protected from the volume of water of the interior, and
which, by reason of their more elevated situation, have been arti-
There are some features of climate, soil, and geological structure
peculiar to this section which have an important bearing upon the
success of any reclamation project that may be considered. The soil,
both the marl and the sand, lacks those natural elements of fertility
commonly found in other low-lying lands, and requires the liberal
use of artificial fertilizers to produce either fruits or vegetables.
The soil-water table may be 8 to 20 inches from the surface without
injuring the growth of fruit trees, and it is observed that plants usu-
ally are not as sensitive to a saturated condition of the soil as they
are in colder latitudes, where'clay is a leading element in the composi-
tion of the soiL
3VNUGL&DUS OF 1IIAMDA.
The porous and absorbent nature of the coral rock has an impor-
tant effect upon the water problems of the country. It is known that
cavities exit in the rock at various depths, as shown by drilled wells,
which occasionally penetrate reservoirs of water 4 to 6 feet in depth.
It is also noted by truck farmers occupying cleared land near the
coast that water comes upon their fields m some cases from the under-
lying rock when the water of the Glades is at high stages. It is quite
probable that this open and irregular structure is more strongly
characteristic of the run or coast belt than of land nearer the Glades
since, as we approach the latter, the plate or solid rock seems to pre-
dominate. Ths point, however, has not been demonstrated and is
one of the undetermined factors entering into the drainage of this
portion of the Everglades.
The channels of the streams which now form the overflow outlets
of the interior prairies disappear at the outer border of this vast
expanse at an elevation of 9 to 13 feet above tide. As a result of
surveys made across the Glades, as before stated it is reported that
they have a slope of 0.3 foot per mile in a southeasterly direction.
Should these streams be deepened, enlarged, and extended through
the prairies, a grade of 0.4 foot per mile might possibly be obtained
for the channels, part of which would necessarily be excavated
through the rock.
In case only one channel should be made, it would tap the waters
of the entire area at flood time but would afford no more than flood
relief, even if the canal were fully ample to carry the water of the
entire area, for the reason that this expanse is practically level, and
the water will not flow to-this channel rapidly enough to give good
drainage. This makes it necessary to dredge all of the natural
streams into or through the Glades as far as the divide between the
eastern and western slopes, which is reported to be 22 feet above
tide and to lie in a line extending south from the center of Lake
Okeechobee. For the reasons above mentioned, all of this work must
be done before this area of approximately 3,500 square miles can be
drained sufficiently for summer culture.
The practicabihty of draining small tracts about the border of the
Gladeshas been demonstrated only for the production of winter vege-
tables. While these areas may be somewhat increased and the risk
of winter flooding diminished by the improvement of natural chan-
nels, it will be impossible to extend the area of these lands for fruit
growing or make the Glades more than temporary winter fields until
more effective drainage is provided. The problem which confronts
the investor and cultivator is not so much the possibility of draining
the tract as a whole as what may be done in this direction within the
limit of individual means to fit portions of this land for the produc-
tion of crops.
Investigation of this portion of the Glades was made. with the view
of ascertaining whether some plan might not be devised for reclaim-
ing small areas. An experimental plan for determining whether por-
tions of the marl land could not be closed by dikes to protect them
from outside water and the interior be kept dry by pumping waspro-
posed and a tract selected.for the experiment, ut it has not yet been
put in operation.
The success of this method of drainage will depend upon whether a
good dike can be made of the mail soif and also whether the head of
IVEBHOL&DR OF FLORIDA.
water back of the dike may not force water through the underlying
porous tracts into the inclosed area in greater quantities than can be
profitably removed. The plan merits a trial. Such a method of
improvement would admit of gradually pushing the drainage of the
Glades away from the higher rock lands, leaving an overflowed space
of sufficient width to allow for the passage of the interior water. The
dikes would be 4 feet high, and the total lift of water about 6 feet.
The economic advisability of such work will depend upon the value
of the product. The prestige of Florida fruit in the market is
encouraging and indicates that the State may easily lead in the
quality of many of her fruits. The value of fruit products during the
last two years, as reliably reported, has been $200 to $1,000 per acre,
which amount would justify considerable expenditure for reclamation
improvements. The expense of preparing the rock land for trees is
not less than $100 per acre, while the reclamation by levees, if such
were found practicable, will not be more than $50 per acre, though
there would be a continuous expense for maintenance. Shallow
drainage channels should accompany the levee system to provide
relief from flood water from the Glades and to carry off the water
pumped from the land inclosed by levees.
A combination of the two plans will admit of the gradual develop-
ment of the Glade lands as the demand for their products increases.
OFFICIAL STATE MAP OF THE EVERGLADES, ADOPTED IN 1905.
[Adopted at a meeting of the Truteue of the Internl Improvement Fund of Florida, held in Tallahaee
on Jan. 2, ING.)
The following proceedings were had:
Governor Jennings presented the following letter, together with a map of the Ever-
TALLAHASSzE, FLA., January 2, 1905.
Hon. W. 8. JENNINGs,
Chairman Trustees Iternal Imprvemnent Fund, Tallahassu Fla.
Si8: In compliance with your request I here hand you a map which has been pre-
pared in the land office showing the area of the Everglade patent, known as No. 137.
We have extended the lines by rule from the surveyed lines on the east and the
west side of the Everglades, which is as near a location of the sections, townships, and
ranges a we can furnish without an actual survey of the same.
I trust the same will be satisfactory.
Yours, very truly, B. E. McLrx
Conminssion r of Agricuture.
After consideration, the following resolution was adopted:
"Resolved, That the letter of Hon. B. E. McLin, commissioner of agriculture, be
spread on the minutes of the Trustees and that the map of the Everglades, as prepared
under his direction, be, and the same is hereby, adopted as the official map of the Ever-
glades land, embracing the lands in United States Patent No. 137, containing 2,862,280
acres, and that said map be identified by the secretary indorsing thereon the following
words and figures, viz:
"'Official map of the Everglades, covering the lands embraced in U. S. Patent No.
137, prepared under direction of Hon. B. E. McLin, commissioner of agriculture, and
adopted as official by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund of the State
of Florida, January 2nd, 1905.
"Be it fuher resolved, That the map be entered on record on a separate page of the
minute book of the Trusteesof the Internal Improvement Fund of the State of Florida,
and that a copy of aid map, duly certified as aforesaid be filed in the office of the
Hon. B. E. McLin, commissioner of agriculture ." (Minutes of the Trustees
of the Internal Improvement Fund, vol. 6, pp. 5-7.)
5664--& Doc. 89, 62-1-7
%.S. R.E As S s as a3, 3S 36 4o
r- f ^ -- r-----r--
r ~ r" ,
",Official Map of the
the lands embraced In
SU. S. Pltent No. 137.
Prepared under direc-
tion of Hon. B. E.
of Agriculture, and
adopted a official by
4 the Tnmrtees of thp
Fund of the State of
go Florida, January 2.
W. M. Mcintosh, jr.,
^ t e T ust e* f t e ; ; : ; : ::: :; ;: :: : : ; : : ; : :
MESSAGE OF GOV. N. B. BROWARD TO THE LEGISLATURE OF
FLORIDA RELATIVE TO BECLAXTION OF EVEaRLADES.
Tallahassee, May 3, 1906.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of representatives:
I desire to submit to you the following information in regard to
the present status and future prospects of the trust reposed by the
legislature of 1855 in the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund
of the State of Florida.
From this review of the history of the Trustees of the Internal
Improvement Fund and their powers and duties under the act creating
them and vesting them with the lands I am convinced that it is
their duty and within their powers to drain and reclaim the swamp
and overflowed lands now left in the fund. The question then is:
Is the lowering of Lake Okeechobee and the drainage of the Ever-
glades feasible ?
The question has been decided in the affirmative by many authori-
ties of the highest standing.
In 1880 and 1882 a line of levels was made by Gen. Gillmore
under the direction of the United States Senate. These and other
surveys by Col. Charles Hopkins, Maj. Wirts, V. P. Keller, and J. W.
Newman fix the elevation of the Everglades at from 21 to 23 feet
above tidewater level. The difference in these figures is accounted
for by the depth of the water on the glades when the surveys were
In 1891 a survey made by W. H. Caldwell, assistant United States
engineer, fixed the level of Lake Okeechobee at 20.42 feet above
There are seasons of the year when a large portion of the Glades
are dry. I have been in Lake Okeechobee twice within the last six
months. Once with Mr. B. H. Barnett and Mr. William M. Bost-
wick, jr., of Jacksonville, on the steamer Naomo of Fort Myers, or
Kissnmmee, commanded by Capt. Hall. During the first part of
February of the present year, with Attorney General Ellis and State
Treasurer W. V. Knott, and the State chemist, Capt. R. E. Rose, and
ex-Gov. W. S. Jennings. On the last trip we boarded a steamer at
Fort Myers, proceeded up through the Caloosahatchee River and
several canals into Lake Okeechobee and investigated two canals
leading out of Lake Okeechobee south into the Everglades, then along
the east side of the lake about three-eighths.of a mile from the shore,
going ashore once until we arrived at Taylor's Creek, on the north
end of the lake, where we replenished our supply of wood.
I took frequent soundings of the water for about 20 miles, and
found the water to be uniformly 18 feet deep at three-eighths of a
mile from the east shore. Once, when about a mile from the shore,
I found the water to be 21 feet.