IZe t4eS *- THE JOURNAL OF THE HISTORICAL
S ASSOCIATION OFSOUTHERN FLORIDA
Editor: Robert E. McNicoll
Advisory Editorial Board
Hervey Allen Ruby Leach Carson Lewis Leary
Pauline Corley Marjory Stoneman Douglas C. W. Tebeau
Gaines R. Wilson
George Edgar Merrick, Helen C. Freeland
Some Plant Reminiscences of Southern Florida
Henry Perrine, Pioneer Horticulturist of Florida
T. Ralph Robinson
Ceremonial Practices of the Modern Seminoles
Robert F. Greenlee
Food Plants of the DeSoto Expedition, Adin Baber
The Administrative System in the Floridas, 1791-1821
Duvon Clough Corbitt
Florida in History and Literature, Watt Marchman
Constitution of the Historical Association
Communication, Spessard L. Holland
List of Members
COPYRIGHTED 1942 BY THE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA
t ~t44tC'A is published annually by the Historical Association of Southern Florida
Sas a Bulletin of the University of Miami. Subscription, $1.00. Com-
munications should be addressed to the editor at the University of Miami. Neither the
Association nor the University assumes the responsibility for statement of fact or of
opinion made by the contributors.
VOLUME ONE AUGUST, 1942 NUMBER Two
George Edgar Merrick
by HELEN C. FREELAND
T HE Historical Association of Southern Florida mourns the passing
of George Edgar Merrick, one of its founders, and its first
president, who died in the early morning hours of Thursday,
March 26, 1942, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.
His is the story of a dreamer and his accomplishments, of a builder
who made a beautiful vision become a reality, of a writer, a poet, a
philosopher, a lover of the beautiful, a creator, a thinker, and with it all,
a very human man. To understand him, we must know his family
background and his life story.
George Merrick did not know very much about his maternal forebears,
except that, in his mother's near kin folk were numbered famous artists,
writers and musicians. His mother herself was a painter, specializing in
nature and delighting in transferring to canvas, portrayals of the beau-
tiful tropical flowers surrounding her home in southern Florida. She was
also a musician, and found time in her busy pioneer life to instruct her
daughters on the piano and organ. There is no doubt that George's
artistic ability came to him from his mother's family.
George Merrick was descended in the eighth generation of his paternal
line from a Welsh ancestor, John Merrick, who emigrated from Wales
to Talbot County, on the eastern shore of Maryland in 1669. John
Merrick was of pure Celtic stock, and the family are still in possession
of the same ancestral estate, "Bordorgan," Angelsy, Wales, where Mer-
ricks have lived for over a thousand years. The notto on the family
crest is, "God, Enough; Without God, Nothing." John Merrick, and
after him, his descendants, lived through seven generations on their
original grant of land in Maryland, and George's father, Solomon Grease-
ly Merrick, was born there. Solomon Merrick married Althea Fink of
Springdale, Pennsylvania, whom he met while they were both attending
Lebanon Valley College, at Annville, Pennsylvania. After her graduation,
Miss Fink had taught art and penmanship in the college. Solomon
Merrick later graduated from Yale University, and assumed the pastorate
of the Congregational Church at Gaines, New York. Solomon and Althea
Merrick had seven children. Their eldest child, George Edgar, was born
on June 3, 1886, at the home of his maternal grandparents in Springdale,
Pennsylvania. When George was eight years old, his father left Gaines,
and accepted a call to the old Plymouth Church at Duxbury, Massachu-
setts. George completed grade school there, and attended Partridge
Academy for a year.
His parents, induced by the rigorous winters typical of New England,
decided to seek a milder climate in Florida. The Reverend Merrick
corresponded with Reverend James Bolton, pastor of the Community
Church in Coconut Grove. He sought his advice and through him, learned
of the one hundred sixty acre Gregory homestead in Dade County which
was for sale. He purchased this homestead, without seeing it, with his
life savings of eleven hundred dollars.
George Merrick was early in life interested in writing and some of
his boyhood poems were published in the Springdale Press. But this phase
of his character had to stay dormant for a time, for he and his father
preceded the family to Florida to make sure of suitable living conditions.
They arrived during the Spanish-American War. The Miami area was
quarantined on account of a yellow fever epidemic. George, then a boy
of thirteen, went with his father to a friend's home on the Loxahatchee
River, where they spent several months waiting for the quarantine to
They found much hard work awaiting them when they reached their
homestead. Only one acre was under cultivation. They cleared more
land, planted vegetables, and set out many varieties of fruit trees. They
made the cabin already on the land as habitable as possible with the
limited means at their disposal. They overcame the many trials of a
pioneer life with courage, always saying, we will be able to do this or
that, "when the groves begin to bear."
By the time Mrs. Merrick and four children (one daughter died in
the north and a son was born in Florida) arrived, the vegetables were
being marketed. This was not so easy in those days. George hauled
them with mule and wagon over narrow rough roads to Miami, where
he sold as much as possible to the Royal Palm Hotel, which had its
opening season in the winter of 1898-1899. Any remaining of his load
had to be peddled to stores or to housewives. Miami was a small village
at that time. It had been incorporated two years previously on July 28,
HELEN C. FREELAND
1896, with a population of five hundred and two persons, including
Negroes. The town extended, mainly, from the railroad tracks on the
west to Biscayne Bay on the east, and from the river on the south to
what is now eleventh Street. It was a tiresome whole day's trip from
his home to Miami and back again.
During this time, his education was not neglected. His father had long
dreamed of establishing a small, congenial colony of retired professional
men. A few came, and he sold, or, in a few instances, gave them small
plots of land. George was tutored by one of these men, a retired Yale
professor, to enable him to enter Rollins College at Winter Park, Florida,
in 1907. During the one year he spent there, his writings received favor-
able notice. He was an editor of the school paper and won the Ronan
medal for oratory. In the fall of 1908, he enrolled in the New York Law
School, then a part of Columbia University. He divided his time between
writing and the study of law, but writing was nearer to his heart. He
had several short stories accepted, and won a short story contest con-
ducted by the New York Evening Telegram with his story "The
Sponger's Delilah." The prize story was printed in the issue of Feb-
ruary 24, 1910.
Soon after their arrival in Florida, his father accepted the pastorate
of the Congregational Church in Coconut Grove. The family all attended
there and his sister, Ethel, played the organ. Distances seemed greater
then, with inadequate means of transportation, and it was a labor of
love to travel the weary miles at first with mule and wagon, later with
horse and carriage, and still later, "when the groves began to bear," in
one of the early Maxwell cars. It was, therefore, quite fitting that George
Merrick should be on the Board of Trustees who later built the artistic
Plymouth Congregational Church.
Reverend Merrick's health failed and George left school to assume
the management of the home place, entering into the partnership of
"S. G. Merrick and Son." When his father died in 1911, he assumed the
entire management of the plantation. In the period between 1911 and
1920, he gradually built up the largest and most prosperous plantation
in the area, having over a thousand acres under cultivation, chiefly in
citrus and tropical fruits. The first full carload of grapefruit shipped from
Dade County came from his groves. Coral Way, at that time was a
narrow, shady road of crushed and rolled coral rock, bordered on either
side by the beautiful Merrick groves. The original cabin had been fol-
lowed by a new house in 1900, and in 1906 an artistic coral house was
erected in front, including the original four room house. This spacious
house with wide verandas had a colorful tile roof, which led them to
name it "Coral Gables," and the entire acreage with the house was called
"Coral Gables Plantation." Thus it was that when the City he later
planned came into existence, it was named after his home place.
In 1916, George Merrick married Miss Eunice Peacock, only child of
Robert Alfred S. Peacock and Lillian Frow Peacock of Coconut Grove.
Mr. Peacock came to this area from England in 1878 and formerly
had owned and operated the old "Peacock Inn," first tourist hotel in the
Biscayne Bay country. Miss Peacock was educated in the local schools,
and attended the Model School for Girls in Trenton, New Jersey.
George Merrick served as County Commissioner in Dade County from
1914 to 1916. He was much interested in the development of transporta-
tion and good roads, by means of which the back country could be
developed. He was an early advocate of the Tamiami Trail, and a cause-
way across the bay, both of which projects were begun during his term
as County Commissioner. He also was one of the group who persuaded
S. Davies Warfield to extend the Seaboard Railway to Miami.
The dream that later materialized in the founding of the City of Coral
Gables, developed in George's mind during his boyhood years. His father's
idea of interesting a small congenial group of retired educators and
ministers to settle on small tracts was developed and expanded until he
had a vision of a great and beautiful city. To gain experience and to
increase his capital, he entered the real estate field, still, however,
retaining active management of the Merrick Groves. He became vice-
president, in charge of the development department, of the Realty
Securities Corporation, and, in association with Clifton D. Benson and
the late T. O. Wilson, founders of the company, developed and sold
a number of subdivisions, among which were North Miami Estates,
Riverside Farms, Kirkland Heights, Grapeland, Coconut Grove Sub-
division, Goulds, Acadia, Aqua Vista, and, later, Twelfth Street Manors
and South Bay Estates. This was his deliberately planned apprenticeship
for the city building which was to follow.
After having worked out on paper the plans, essential details, and
limits of his "dream city," he began to turn his ideas into a reality. The
first streets were laid in the spring of 1921. He brought together out-
standing artists, architects, city planners, and engineers, many of national
repute, to assist in the building of Coral Gables, his "City Beautiful."
Between the spring of 1920 and the fall of 1923, over fifty million dollars
was expended under his direction in permanent improvements and build-
ings. During the same period, nearly one hundred fifty million dollars
HELEN C. FREELAND
was received in the sale of Coral Gables property throughout the entire
nation. Over three thousand salesmen were employed at one time. Eighty-
six large Coral Gables busses brought people from the states east of the
Mississippi and many of them purchased homesites and today are resi-
dents of Coral Gables. Over three million dollars was expended in adver-
tising. Able writers, artists and orators contributed to this unique system
of advertising and sale, the like of which has never been known before
or since. Among these notables, were Rex Beach, Denman Fink, Phineas
Paist, and William Jennings Bryan. Mr. Beach wrote eloquently on
"The Miracle of Coral Gables," and Mr. Bryan lectured daily at the
Venetian Pool for nearly two years.
Outstanding among the Coral Gables institutions founded by George
Merrick were the Miami Biltmore Hotel ensemble, consisting of a four
hundred room hotel, with its beautiful Giralda Tower, and the Miami
Biltmore Country Club, with its two eighteen-hole golf courses designed
by Donald Ross. Both buildings are unusual in design and equipment.
The million dollar Douglas Entrance and the Venetian Pool (trans-
formed from an unsightly rock pit), the City Hall-all are monuments
to his love of beauty.
Before any building had been started in Coral Gables, George Merrick
had made plans to build a great university. He gave one hundred-and-
sixty acres of land and pledged four million dollars, one million of which
he made immediately available. The main building was started. The
cornerstone was laid dedicating the University to the memory of his
father on February 4, 1926. Thousands of spectators, including many
noted men, were present. The pledges to the endowment fund amounted
to nearly eight million of the goal of fifteen million dollars. Few of the
pledges, except that of Merrick, materialized, due to the devastating
hurricane of September, 1926, and the ensuing financial depression.
However, the University of Miami, whose start Merrick had made pos-
sible and whose early achievement he largely guided, opened its doors to
nearly eight hundred students on October 15, 1926. The school was
housed, not in the magnificent building originally planned, but in the
nearly completed Anastasia Hotel on University Drive. The original
building stands, skeletonlike, the only unfinished structure of boom days
in Coral Gables. The school has steadily progressed, fulfilling George
Merrick's dream since it is also serving the youth from many Latin-
American countries. The University has been unusually fortunate in that
it has numbered on its faculty from the beginning outstanding educators,
many of whom were willing to forego the larger remuneration received
in large northern universities, in order to help in the building of a new one.
George Merrick served as Regent and Trustee of the University from
its beginning to the time of his death.
Millions were spent in tropical planting, gathered from all the tropical
world. The plans for each building had to be submitted for approval to
a planning board so that each structure would conform to the type
building allowed in the particular neighborhood. The broad thorough-
fares which meet in beautiful plazas with their Spanish wells, pools,
and fountains, make a sight nowhere else to be seen.
In 1920, the Four Seas Company, of Boston, published Mr. Merrick's
"Songs of the Wind on a Southern Shore," a compilation of his Florida
and Caribbean poems. A second edition was published in 1926. Before
and since that time, many of his writings, including poems, short stories
and historical articles have appeared in various publications, including
the Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, Tequesta, and in a
number of Latin-American magazines. At the time of his death, he was
compiling a volume of nature poems, as well as a volume of short stories
based on pioneer days of South Florida.
George Merrick was decorated by King Alphonso of Spain in 1927 for
his wonderful expression of Spanish architecture in Coral Gables, and
was made a "Don of the Order of Isabella De Catolica."
The financial collapse which followed the terrible hurricane of 1926,
brought financial disaster for Mr. Merrick. The Merricks voluntarily
sacrificed all of their assets in an endeavor to complete Coral Gables
and to hold it together as a City entity. The latter aim was eminently
successful, but thereafter, the control of his wide realty holdings passed
into other hands. The Merricks bravely started out to begin all over
again. For a few years, they operated the Caribbee Fishing Camp on
Matecumbe Key, on land bequeathed to Mrs. Merrick by her father,
R. A. S. Peacock. A hurricane completely destroyed this camp in the
fall of 1935.
In 1934, they both entered the real estate field, when "George E.
Merrick, Incorporated," was formed. Mr. Merrick served as Chairman
of the Dade County Planning Board from 1935 to 1939. He had always
advocated County zoning and spent much time in the work of the Dade
County Zoning Commission, of which he was chairman from 1937 to
1939. Under his leadership, the Dade County Zoning Code, which is a
model code for county areas throughout the United States, was worked
out. He was a Director of the Fairchild Tropical Garden.
HELEN C. FREELAND
He was never particularly interested in the money he could make,
did make, and refused to keep, when reverses came to Coral Gables.
After the crash came, he had not a foot of soil to his name. His dream
of a beautiful city had become a reality, but one in whose destiny he
no longer had a guiding hand. He had built well, but of those who
admire its charm today, few know its true story.
Mr. Merrick was appointed Postmaster of Miami, after receiving the
highest grade of the sixty-six taking the competitive civil service exam-
ination for the post. He was sworn into office on June 1, 1940. He im-
mediately applied his energetic, able mind, and his creative genius to
the task of improving the service rendered by the Miami post office.
During the fall of 1939, Mr. Merrick and Gaines R. Wilson conferred
together as to the feasibility of the formation of a historical society in
South Florida, to include Cuba, the Bahamas and the Keys. In response
to their invitation, a small group of those interested in the project met
on January 4, and January 18, 1940. They set up definite plans for such
a society, which they named the "Historical Association of Southern
Florida." Mr. Merrick acted as Chairman at these preliminary meetings,
and was chosen by unanimous approval to be the first president. His
assistance in planning the scope of the program to be undertaken and
his influence in securing members has been invaluable. He served as
President of the association until May, 1941. His interesting article on
"Pre-Flagler Influence on the Lower Florida East Coast," was a valuable
contribution to our program, to the society's journal, "Tequesta," and
to the historical record of the region. He knew his subject, and gave
those who were fortunate in hearing him, a new insight into the history
of the section.
Saturday afternoon, March 28, 1942, was a sad occasion for the family,
the friends and associates who gathered by the hundreds at the Plymouth
Congregational Church to show their love and respect for George E.
Merrick. Men and women of all walks of life came to pay tribute to the
backwoods' farm lad who became one of the area's most outstanding
citizens. His mortal remains lie interred beside those of his parents in
Woodlawn Park Cemetery, but his memory lives on in the hearts of his
friends and in the beautiful City he planned and founded.
Some Plant Reminiscences
of Southern Florida*
by DAVID FAIRCHILD
ISTORY so far as it concerns plants is a thing which belongs in an
an entirely different category from the history of human beings
and their behaviour towards each other. Just where the difference
lies will be hard to explain but before I launch out into a series of
reminiscent remarks I would like to try and make my point.
Human beings are pretty well known to other humans. Almost any
little child knows how many legs a human being has and what are the
principal characteristics of humans but there are very few artists or
historians who have very definite ideas of the characteristics of even
the commonest plant. I have been often taken to art collections to be
shown paintings of trees which no botanist could ever by any possible
means identify. It often requires an expert working for months to iden-
tify plants from the word descriptions of historians. I am speaking in
terms of the general run of historians. There are doubtless historians
whose accounts tally pretty closely with the botanical or the horticultural
accounts of the things they are trying to record the behaviour of.
If my audience does not agree with me it may perhaps be because few
of them have ever tried to read the word picture of let us say an apple
tree. I have chosen here a tree which since the discovery of America
has been a more or less constant companion of the American from the
time of the pioneers to the present day,-almost as constant a companion
as the dog. Suppose I had chosen any one of the newer fruit trees which
have come into America in my own lifetime. How many historians are
there in the State of Florida who could identify one were he taken up to
an avocado tree when it is not in fruit? I repeat that to the masses of
mankind history is the account of the doings of man. I am using the
word in the sense of the Florida Historical Society, not in the sense of
the Naturalist who has his term Natural History to fall back upon. We
are not here discussing the descriptions of the other species of living
*Delivered, Annual Meeting, Florida Historical Society, March, 1941 at the Fairchild
organisms which inhabit the planet and which descriptions have multi-
plied enormously since the days of the great botanist Linnaus.
As I sit here at my typewriter and let my mind sweep back over the
days which I have spent in the state of Florida, I discover what an
impossible task it is to give anything but a most distorted picture of
that past. Even the common words which I will have to use do not carry
the meanings which they did at that time. The word Avocado in 1898
when there were none in Florida, except an occasional specimen in some
experimenter's yard, has a very different meaning now from what it had
then. Were I writing in those days I would have to begin with the
assumption that none of my readers had the faintest idea what an
avocado was, for the word itself had not penetrated into the literature
of the Floridians. If they knew anything about the avocado it was as an
Alligator Pear. Why alligator and why pear are points I have never
quite comprehended. They illustrate what I wish to bring out however,
viz. that the so called "things" of history are merely symbols and that
it is with these symbols and not with the things that History is mainly
I think I know what the Program Committee wished me to do when
it asked me to present a paper on the history of plant introduction in
Florida. But I submit to my audience that what they want me to do and
what I can do are very different things indeed.
Let me try to explain how vastly different the task is from writing
an account of the human happenings here in the State.
In 1898 when I first came to Florida in company with James Ingraham,
the Vice-President of the Florida East Coast Railway, it was to see a
little clearing in the Brickell Hammock-now practically a thing of the
past. It was with the purpose of seeing if tropical plants could be grown
in it and if they could, whether or not these plants would be useful to
the people; then a few hundreds only-who were coming to settle here.
I was organizing in Washington what was then called a Section of Seed
and Plant Introduction.* Of the romance which gathered about that
little clearing I could speak in general and passionate terms for it was
one of the most interesting places in the world to me then and remains
a memory of wonderful days spent with new plants which grew into
trees that have been destroyed to make room for an apartment house.
This latter was erected where precious "specimens," brought from the
*Now Division of Plant Exploration and Introduction, Bureau of Plant Industry,
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
far covers of the world were planted and flowered for the first time on
the soil of North America.
It was with the feeling perhaps that words would never suffice to give
a picture of the behaviour of the strange looking new things which Edward
Simmonds and I planted there in that little garden that I brought my
camera down from Washington and began to take photographs of the
little plants, small as they were. This feeling of the insufficiency of word
symbols has grown upon me and through the years I have continued to
take photographs of the "stream of living plants" which has come into
Florida through the activities of that Section of Seed and Plant Intro-
duction. These photographs have mounted up and now constitute a real
problem for what to do with them and where to store them is the ques-
tion. Incidentally I imagine there are many which have a significance
in the human history sense, giving views of people and man-made things
which have changed with time and even passed away.
How to record the arrival of a new "Plant Immigrant" as I decided to
call these plant introductions in order to dramatize them somewhat and
drag them out into the light where people could see them and stop calling
them by such generalized names as "plant growths" or "tropical verdure"
or just "tropical vegetation" or "economic plant material," became a
problem, and my friend O. F. Cook and I decided upon a system by
which a printed account of the arrival of every plant species or variety
was made. It is to this record of over 180 thousand introductions that
I would refer the historians in search of historical data. In the 16 vol-
umes on my desk here before me I can find the abstracts taken from
Agricultural Explorers Notes or traveller's journals or letters relating to
particular plants of which the seeds were collected in some foreign
The commonest tree on the streets of Coral Gables, which is being
superceded now by the slower growing species, Pithecolobium dulce,
was brought to Washington Dec. 1st 1899 by a Botanical Collector whose
work on the plants of Mexico is a matter of record. His name was Dr.
Edward Palmer and I had the pleasure of taking down from his rapid-
fire conversation descriptions of his collections of the seeds of many
interesting plants. He took no photographs but made dried specimens
of leaves and fruits which he had collected and preserved. The seeds of
this Mexican tree, known as Huamuchil to the Mexicans of Guymas,
soon attracted Edward Simmonds' attention because of their rapid
growth; they germinated in a day or two when put in the ground. With
the mushroom growth of buildings and street construction which began
in the Miami area soon after its arrival here, it kept pace and quick
effects could be produced with it which vied with those secured by the
use of an even more rapid growing tree, the Australian Casuarina
equisEtifolia, which came to be called the "Australian Pine" although
no relation whatever to a pine. Take these two trees out of the landscapes
of the Miami of those days and one wonders what would have been
found to take their places; something slower growing but better perhaps.
Another tree from Australia has had a picturesque career. The Cajeput
tree, Melaleuca leucadendron. Introduced by my friend Dr. John C.
Gifford as a small packet of seeds so tiny that neither he nor Ed. Sim-
monds felt able to undertake their germination without greenhouse
facilities, the first seedlings were produced in the Greenhouse in Wash-
ington and sent down as little spindling things to find a home here. This
they did with a vengeance and soon these seedlings bore such quantities
of seeds that we planted a row of them at Davie on the edge of the
Everglades where an Experiment station had been started by some Real
Estate developers. I have a series of photographs showing how those
trees grew and how their seedlings covered the surrounding land then
occupied by an orange grove. They completely smothered the orange
trees with their growth and I thought at one time that they threatened
to sweep over the Everglades and transform their broad prairies into an
Australian landscape. Today the builders of new white-walled houses on
Miami Beach and elsewhere are paying fancy prices for this striking
white barked tree and planting it beside their front doorways as choice
I have chosen these examples for the reason that I assume there are
many present who know them by name. But I wonder as I sit here and
try to visualize a history which would take into consideration anything
but the doings of humans, how it would be possible to substitute the
names of these trees under which today thousands of little children
play, for the political and military and movie star names of humans
with which the so called "literature" of the period is filled. Would it be
possible ever to bring a blush of shame to the cheek of a young girl in
her teens in any way comparable to that which suffuses it when the
teacher discovers that she never even heard of Queen Elizabeth or King
Arthur of the Round Table, or Napoleon or Theodore Roosevelt or
George Washington the Father of his Country, by disclosing to the class
that although she plays under a Cajeput tree every day she does not
have any idea what it is nor that it has a history which reaches back
beyond the days of the arrival of men and women on this planet? She
would scoff at the very idea that it mattered. All her friends and class-
mates are familiar with the names of people. They would shame her if
she could not give the names of the great movie stars. They would never
bother her if she shrugged her shoulders and threw out her hands and
remarked that she didn't know and didn't care; that it was just a tree.
No. The names of people and the things they eat and drink and do,
take precedence over everything else in this world as it stands today.
If you do not believe this look at any newspaper or popular magazine or
simply look out of your car as it speeds along through the ghastly
wilderness of vari-colored signs which disfigure landscapes which were
once pleasant things to gaze upon. We have, let us say, a half million
sign boards at least scattered about through the Miami area, repeating
ad nauseam the name of some food or drug or drink. But where is
there a single word of explanation, where anyone can see it, that relates
to any other living organism than the one species Homo sapiens? The
names of these man-made stuffs have been seared into the minds of the
children as the initials of the ranchers of the plains are seared with a
red hot iron into the flanks of their yearling calves. The children cannot
escape. They must know these things for their fellows know them and
will make fun of them if they don't.
It is into this state of affairs that I am invited to walk calmly and
dispassionately and in twenty minutes give a sketch of the "history" of
the introduction of plants into South Florida.
Ladies and gentlemen you have not the necessary vocabulary at your
command to enable you to follow me were I to give you for example the
names alone of the twenty most spectacular introductions. You would
have to have a glossary in your hand to identify the characters of my
story. Anthony Adverse has so many characters in it that I who read
few novels get confused and have to turn back to see which person has
come on the stage now. In the history you desire me to write, you who
would attempt to read it would not even have any visual picture whatever
of what my characters looked like, for they would not bear the semblance
of the human form with which you are so familiar that you do not need
to know just what he looked like. You can make your own imaginary
picture of humans.
Let me see if I can illustrate such a history of plant introduction
without photographs for your enlightenment.
When I arrived in Miami in 1898 and went to the little garden on
Brickell Avenue I found Herbert J. Webber standing beside a tree of
the Seratonia siliqua or Carob the seeds of which I had sent him from
the shores of Italy. He was sure that it would be a great thing here and
I felt pleased to see it. Forty-three years have passed and the other day
I found a friend of mine growing the carob in a few tin cans, thinking
to try it out again. It is a Mediterranean tree and does not like the wet
summers of Florida.
In the same garden there were growing some trees of the White Sapote
(Casimiroa edulis) the fruits of which Wilson Popenoe in his "Manual
of Tropical Plants" described thus: "The white sapote is a medium
sized erect or spreading tree, having palmately compound leaves, small
inconspicuous flowers, and yellowish green fruits the size of an orange.
The fruits have a thin membranaceous skin, yellowish flesh of soft melt-
ing texture and sweet or slightly bitter flavor, and one to five large oval
or elliptic seeds." Popenoe wrote this 21 years ago. I have growing on
my Kampong at this time and they are loaded with young fruits a
number of varieties as distinct as the Wine Sap apple is from the Stark's
Delicious, of this White Sapote and I would not be able to recognize the
things I have here from such a description as Popenoe gives; and yet
his description is a fair one as horticultural descriptions go.
You see what a wierd thing a history of Florida Horticulture would
be from my point of view.
I think I can elucidate the difficulty somewhat by referring to some
of the new work which is being done in the field of symbols for we must
recognize that there is a fundamental difference between a word symbol
and the thing itself.
There are two ways of teaching a person what a thing is. The common
easy chair or class room method is to "describe it." Get a dictionary
and read about it. The dictionary description is composed of words and
many of those words you will have to look up too and if you look up all
the words you will find that you have yet another crop of other words.
You get only such a picture of the thing as your imagination builds out
of what experiences you have had with similar things. In the case of the
White Sapote a child would get nothing from the dictionary which would
enable it to recognize a White Sapote were he to be brought where a
tree loaded with fruits was standing. This method in the new parlance
of my friend Count Alfred Korzybski is the intensionall" method; the
method of definitions; the Aristotelian method if you please.
Now the other method which he calls the extensional method is to take
the child to a White Sapote tree and let him feel its leaves and fruit and
sink his teeth into its delicious fruit flesh.
But how can such a method be used in the crowded class rooms? It
cannot, and here is where the rub comes. I doubt if it is worth while to
try to teach a child what a White Sapote is from a book. There are many
principles in the use of symbols which can be drilled into children's
heads in the class room but by the intensional methods mighty little that
is worth while about practical horticulture. And so I come to the kernel
of my remarks.
If it is desirable that the history of the horticulture of Florida be
written in such form that it will be something more than another leaflet
or short lived book to please the imaginations of those who delight in
those fantasies of the past which come as one reads "accounts of past
occurences," some museum and permanent garden method will I suspect
have to be worked out; something that will keep on display as the
museums of natural history and the great Zoological gardens do, the
actual objects in the life, or their stuffed skins or the best possible
photographs of the things, or life sized models; something besides those
futile word descriptions which so often merely confuse the mind.
In the Fairchild Tropical Garden and this Palm Museum I think there
has been made a small beginning that is pointed in the right direction.
It deserves to have the most serious attention attracted to it in order
that it may be built up into an institution of education of the extensional
kind where in the future thousands of little children will come and see
for themselves, with their own eyes, not through those of book writers,
the living elements, other than man-fashioned, which make the world of
actualities. To consign little children to a life of the streets and buildings
where they see nothing living but other beings like themselves is it
seems to me to dwarf their imaginations and start them along the road
to that mode of life which ends in wars and insanities of various kinds.
In my imagination I picture a historic scene in which the origin of
the citrus groves of Florida would be shown; the kinds of citrus fruits
from which the orange arose in China; the palm groves of the Tropics,
the industries which have been built around the various species; the
nut trees, the spice trees, the poison trees; the hundreds of kinds of
fruit species with opportunities for tasting the fruits; the gorgeous vines
gathered from all over the tropics; the fiber plants; and the host of
flowering trees and shrubs the use of which about our homes will trans-
form them into abodes of beauty such as the world has never yet seen.
This dream is one which has grown with the years of my experience
here and has become more and more of a reality and my conviction of
its possibility has been strengthened.
The insanity of this terrible war will pass and leave deep scars on the
minds of millions of children scattered throughout the whole world and
some methods more comprehensive than those we have been using must
be evolved in order to bring these children into a realization that they
must know things from actually seeing and touching them and not from
merely pronouncing their names. Children are being borne into a world
of symbols. Let us drill the fact that it is a world of symbols into their
minds and give them actual living things to get acquainted with for
I am conscious that I have probably not made my point clear but I
have taken up your time and explained why I am incapable of writing a
"Historical Sketch" of the Plant Introduction work here in Florida.
My photographic collections, all my notes and so called historical
records and the living plants with which I have associated I hope may
some day be utilized along the lines of a great out-of-doors museum or
arboretum and garden in which the children can play and learn what a
world of fascinating romance this world of the plants really is, quieting,
and saner than the world of the human beings.
THE KAMPONG, COCONUT GROVE, FLORIDA
March 26th, z941
Pioneer Horticulturist of Florida*
by T. RALPH ROBINSON
PLANT introduction, so all important to a newly developed region
like Florida largely dependent on her horticultural products, is
commonly thought of as a recent enterprise. And so it is, at least
on a systematic and world wide basis such as is exemplified in the mon-
umental work of Dr. David Fairchild and his collaborators of the United
States Department of Agriculture, such men as Popenoe, Swingle, Meyer,
Dorsett, Cook, and Collins. Private introductions by such men as Pliny
and Egbert Reasoner, Taber, Meade, and Nehrling have also contributed
richly to Florida's store of plant material during the last half century.
While we are at this meeting stressing the historical side of Florida's
horticultural development it seems especially fitting to remind our
present day fruit growers that almost 100 years ago a valiant and well
planned effort was made to establish in Florida new industries capable
of producing for the nation many of the tropical crops that were at that
time either unknown or secured through costly importation. This was
the dream and lifetime effort of Dr. Henry Perrine, to whom Florida has
given, I fear, scant recognition. Some account of his life, aims, and tragic
death may serve to accord to him the belated tribute due to such a "hero
of agriculture," a title recently bestowed upon him in an appreciative
and fascinating article contributed to the Bulletin of the Garden Club of
America (November, 1941). This article was written by Frances Cleve-
land Preston, wife of the late President Grover Cleveland and a step-
daughter of Henry E. Perrine, a son of Dr. Perrine.
Henry Perrine was born April 5, 1797, at New Brunswick, New Jersey,
of French Huguenot ancestry. He studied medicine and soon after
receiving his degree in Philadelphia went to Ripley, Illinois, to practice
medicine, later removing to Natchez, Mississippi. Due to ill health
following accidental poisoning he decided to seek a still milder climate
and secured in 1827 an appointment as U. S. Consul at Campeche,
*Reprinted with permission of the author from the Proceedings of the Florida State
Horticultural Society for 1937.
T. RALPH ROBINSON
Yucatan, where he remained for ten years. He was interested in botany
and made extensive collections of the plants growing in that region. These
herbarium species are now to be found in the collections of the New
York Botanical Garden. During his stay in Yucatan he survived serious
attacks of both yellow fever and cholera and is credited with having had
unusual success in treating these diseases among the natives, services
which he rendered gratuitously.
Soon after his arrival in Yucatan he received from Richard Rush,
Secretary of the Treasury, at the instance of President John Quincy
Adams, a circular letter calling on consular officers to secure plants of
probable utility for cultivation in the United States. A Treasury Circular
of September 6, 1827, states that "Dr. H. Perrine appears to be the only
American Consul who has unreservedly devoted his head, heart, and
hands to the subject of introducing tropical plants in the United States
and his voluminous manuscripts alone exhibit a great amount of labor
and research which promises to be highly beneficial to our common
country." Some of the manuscripts referred to were later published as
Congressional documents, a few of which may be worth citing. In Senate
Document No. 300, published in 1838, the following papers were pub-
lished: "Letters on Tropic Plants," "Meteorologic Tables of Indian Key"
(Fla.), "Geography of Plants," "List of Official and Economic Plants of
the Tropics" (a list of plants already introduced by him into south
Florida), "Cuban Economic Plants," and "Tropic Fiber Plants." In the
House of Representatives Report No. 564 appear "Plants of Mexico,"
"The Agave sisalana or Sisal Hemp," "Letters on Tropical Plants," and
"Propagation of Fibrous Leafed Plants." This later report also states that
upward of 200 species and varieties of tropical economic plants were
already planted, mostly in boxes, at Indian Key, Florida, ready for
removal to the mainland when the Seminole Indian war should cease.
While gathering together this material for trial in Florida, Dr. Perrine
conceived the idea of forming a colony under a government grant for the
planting of tropical crops after preliminary trials had shown that they
offered promise of success. Meanwhile he established connections with
settlers on the lower East Coast of Florida, notably Captain Dubose of
Cape Florida, at the southern end of Biscayne Bay, and Mr. Charles
Howe of Indian Key. To them he sent seeds and plants collected about
Campeche, many of which were established in nurseries and test plantings
before his return to the United States in 1837. In 1838 Congress passed
an act granting to Dr. Perrine and two associates, James Webb of Key
West and Charles Howe of Indian Key, a township of land (6 square
miles) on lower Biscayne Bay for the propagation and cultivation of
tropical plants. This is said to have been the first agricultural grant made
by Congress. By a curious coincidence the tract granted lies only a short
distance south of the present Plant Introduction Garden of the United
States Department of Agriculture, the latter location being acquired
originally by the government for a flying field known as Chapman Field.
Soon after the grant was made Dr. Perrine returned to the United
States, stopping off at New Orleans en route north. There he was invited
to settle in Louisiana and was offered a tract of land on La Fitte Island
for his plant introduction work. He was, however, convinced that the
southern tip of Florida, then considered almost worthless, offered the best
opportunity for the growing of the tender tropical crops in which he
was chiefly interested.
The development of the land grant as planned was prevented, however,
by the disturbances in south Florida due to the Seminole War then in
progress. Accordingly, when Dr. Perrine with his wife, daughter, and
son came to Florida in 1838, traveling by way of Key West, he settled for
the time on Indian Key, a small island of about 12 acres lying a few miles
southeast of Lower Matacumbe Key. There Charles Webb and three or
four other families with their servants and slaves were already established.
There were docks, shops, and warehouses, and the island seems to have
been something of a trading post for coasting vessels of light draft. There
many of his seeds and plants had already been sent and he spent the next
18 months in further propagation work and in making actual plantings.
Plantings, however, were necessarily restricted to the nearby keys, select-
ing the most favorable locations but leaving the plants to nature's care
and an occasional visit from himself. It is small wonder then, when we
consider the rocky nature of these keys, that few plants survived without
human care to stand as memorials of his labor.
Among the products listed in various documents as desirable for culture
and ready for introduction were Sisal hemp, yam, ginger, cassava, indigo,
sugar cane, pimento, tea, orange, shaddock, grapefruit, lime, citron, sugar
apple, banana, plantain, pineapple, coconut, sapodilla, sour sop, avocado,
mango, mamey sapota, olive, boxwood, and ship timber. Various spices
and medicinal plants were also included and the white mulberry was
introduced to afford the basis for a silk industry. His interest extended
even to bee culture and he sent several swarms of stingless bees from
Yucatan to Mr. Howe at Indian Key.
The Indian Key colony felt secure from Indian attack on their isolated
island, but in the early morning of August 7, 1840, a band of Indians
T. RALPH ROBINSON
(locally called "Spanish Indians") under Chekika landed without being
observed, the party consisted of 17 canoe loads. But for a wakeful
workman the whole colony would probably have been annihilated at
daybreak. As the attacking party lay hid waiting for daylight they were
discovered by Bieglet and the premature attack began between 2 and 3
in the morning. Under cover of darkness many members of the colony
escaped to boats or lay hid in the bushes or rock crevasses until the
Indians left after daylight. Dr. Perrine, however, together with five or
six other members of the colony, fell a victim of their brutal attack. Had
he sought safety in flight he might also have escaped, but he felt con-
fident that by parleying with the savages in Spanish he could dissuade
them and avert a general attack on the colony. His wife, son, and
daughter concealed under the house in a sort of cistern or tidewater bath,
had a most miraculous escape. With the house burning down over their
heads they managed by desperate digging with bare hands to loosen
some palm posts, or piles, that barred passage way to the bay shore and
emerged just at a most opportune time to seize a nearby boat and
escape. The boat they took was one that the Indians had started loading
with loot from the storehouse, and the Indians had just left the boat to
secure another load of provisions when they made their fortunate escape.
They were soon picked up by a passing schooner and taken to a military
post at Tea Table Key, where they were cared for until they could start
their long sad journey northward.
The Indians left the island shortly after daybreak, having set fire to
all the buildings and destroyed everything of value which they could not
carry off. In the burning of the Perrine house all of the records made by
Dr. Perrine were lost, together with a large chest of seeds all ready for
planting when conditions became favorable. This chest incidentally
played a part in saving the lives of the Perrine family, as the Doctor
used it to conceal the trap door leading to the cistern-like bath where the
wife and children were placed in hiding on the approach of the Indians.
During the following day some of the survivors, including Dr. Perrine's
young son, returned to the scene of desolation and Mr. Howe gathered up
the charred remains of Dr. Perrine's body which he buried near a Sisal
plant on Matacumbe Key, a plant in which Dr. Perrine had shown special
For most of the details regarding this tragic affair we are indebted to
a book written and privately printed some forty-five years later (1885)
by the son, Henry E. Perrine. This rare volume, being written largely
for the benefit of his children and grandchildren, is entitled "The True
T. RALPH ROBINSON
Story of Some Eventful Years in Grandpa's Life." The author was 13
years old at the time of the Indian Key Massacre and he gives a vivid
and circumstantial account of that wild and tragic night. In the book is
included a detailed map or "Ground Plan of Indian Key in 1840." This
map shows seven good sized houses besides numerous cabins for servants
and slaves. Three good sized piers are shown, and locations are indicated
for tree plantings already made, such as lime trees, lemons, oranges, figs,
tamarinds, mulberries, palm trees, etc. At this point it may be stated
that none of these plantings today survive. The writer had the privilege
six years ago to visit Indian Key, in company with David Fairchild, who
of course had a special interest in this pioneer attempt to introduce
tropical plants into Florida. We found that the Sisal plants introduced by
Perrine had taken the whole island, it being possible to walk only around
the extreme shores of the rocky island because of the dense jungle formed
by the thicket of "century plants." The foundation walls of the home of
Charles Howe are still intact, showing that the house must have been a
substantial building. Little else remains to indicate that the island was
ever inhabited, much less witnessed the beginning of an ambitious and
unique horticultural enterprise unexampled in all previous history. It
would seem to be a fitting project for this Horticultural Society to see
that a proper tablet be prepared and erected on Indian Key as a Florida
memorial to Dr. Perrine-truly a martyr to his horticultural zeal.
It is idle perhaps to speculate as to what would have been the effect on
Florida's horticultural development had Dr. Perrine's heroic efforts not
been terminated in such a catastrophe. The only plants known to have
been introduced by him on the Keys which seem to have survived despite
REFERENCES TO GROUND PLAN
A. Dr. Perrine's house with wharf in front
B. Mr. Howe's house and negro dwelling
kitchen, shop and cistern.
C. Carpenter Shop.
D. Blacksmith Shop.
E. Store where the six Indians were when
Mrs. Perrine and the children took the
boat at F, which they were loading with
G. Mr. Houseman's house, kitchen and negro
H. Large Warehouse under which two men
and a boy were concealed in a cistern.
I. State Senator English's house and kitchen.
J. Cottages of Glass and Beiglet who gave
L. Place where the Indians lay when disco-
vered by Beiglet.
M. Tropical Hotel.
N. Mott's house and kitchen.
O. Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Sturdy's house and
P. Other cottages and kitchens, vacant.
R. Bath house where the old lady sought re-
T. About the place where Mrs. Smith and
baby and her mother Mrs. Sturdy crou-
ched down behind the rocks.
lack of human care are the so-called "wild limes," the Sisal, and a number
of date palms scattered along the Keys. Pineapple culture was at one time
practiced on some of the Keys and may have had its origin in plants
which he set out on his frequent trips along the Keys seeking favorable
locations for trial plantings. Houseman, who was one of the Indian Key
colony, is known to have had a pineapple plantation on Matacumbe Key.
It is clear from his writings that he had great hopes for developing a
fiber industry based on the Sisal and henequen fibers, both derived from
two species of Agave, A. sisalana and A. fourcroydes. He had given these
plants intensive study in Yucatan and published a description of the
former as a new species, up to that time undescribed by botanists. His
name remains today the valid name for the species, Agave sisalana
Perrine. While the introduction of these fiber plants failed to develop a
profitable fiber industry in Florida, it proved in later years to have an
important effect on American agriculture. The sisal plant in particular
found a congenial home in Florida and spread rapidly along both coasts.
Some fifty years later when binder twine became essential in the opera-
tion of the recently invented reapers and binders the only source of
supply of necessary fiber was in Yucatan. Mexico promptly established
an embargo on the export of plants or seeds, enjoying for a time a
highly profitable monopoly. From the sisal plants growing wild in South
Florida, however, Florida nurserymen were able within a few years to
furnish hundreds of thousands of seed bulbs, or bulbils, to the planters
in other lands, notably Java where within a few years extensive planta-
tions were in production. Thus through competitive prices American
farmers and users of cordage were saved many millions of dollars during
the past fifty years, and indirectly the dream of the plant introducer
Perrine's name has been perpetuated in Florida in the naming of the
town of Perrine (first known as Perrineville) about 15 miles southwest of
Miami. This town was founded by the son, Henry E. Perrine, when he
revisited Florida in 1876, bringing with him eight other settlers from
Buffalo and Palmyra, N. Y. They took up land on or near the Perrine
Grant, but no serious effort appears to have been made to resume the
plant introduction work on the scale undertaken by the father. Perrine at
this time revisited Indian Key en route up the coast from Key West, but
found no remains of the early plantings except a few palm trees and
sisal plants, "every other trace of human habitation or care had dis-
appeared." Likewise on Matacumbe Key, where a nursery had been
started, no trace of the early plantings remained. He attributes part of
T. RALPH ROBINSON
the loss of plants to the periodic hurricanes, one of which devastated the
keys shortly before his arrival.
A recently introduced variety of lemon has been named the Perrine
lemon. The Mexican or "Key" lime introduced by Perrine was used in
numerous hybrids made by the citrus breeders of the United States
Department of Agriculture. One of these new fruits, a hybrid between
the lime and the Genoa lemon, seemed to meet the need of Florida for a
lemon of medium size, good quality, free from lemon scab and anthrac-
nose, and possessing great vigor of growth and fruitfulness. To this
hybrid lemon when first introduced by the writer in 1931 at the Miami
meeting of the Florida State Horticultural Society was given the name
"Perrine," with the statement that "it would be only poetic justice,
though long deferred, if one of the offspring of the Mexican lime he
introduced should perpetuate his name and bring to the region he loved
an additional source of income for citrus growers." The first commercial
crop of the Perrine lemon marketed during the season just closing seems
to have fully justified the hopes here expressed.
In the original grant made by Congress the hope was expressed that
"through the introduction of tropical and sub-tropical plants there may
be rendered valuable our hitherto worthless soils by covering them with
a dense population of small cultivators and family manufacturers and
that these will promote the peace, prosperity, and permanence of the
union." We are fast seeing this hope realized in the region of which the
Perrine Grant formed the nucleus, and the influence here set in motion is
spreading rapidly over large portions of south Florida, where killing
frosts seldom occur. Even a hundred years may be too short a time to
properly evaluate the work of such a pioneer as Dr. Henry Perrine.
Despite his seeming failure through tragic fate, yet his career may still
serve as an inspiration to those of us today who are interested in develop-
ing new tropical crops and who are privileged to labor without the
tremendous handicaps imposed upon his brave spirit. All honor to Henry
Perrine, physician, botanist, plantsman, and pioneer introducer of useful
plants chosen to serve his country's need.
Henry E. Perrine. The True Story of Some Eventful Years in Grandpa's Life. 1885.
Buffalo, N. Y.
Frances Cleveland Preston. A Hero of Horticulture, Bull. Garden Club of America.
Jefferson Bell, in Miami (Fla.) Herald. Mar. 2, 1924.
W. R. Maxon, Biographical Sketch in Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. 14,
pp. 480-481. 1934.
J. K. Small. Jour. N. Y. Botanical Garden, Vol. 22, pp. 216-217, 1921, with
biographical sketch by J. H. Barnhart.
C. F. Millspough. Biographical Sketch of Dr. Henry E. Perrine (unpub. mss.).
See also "Further Notes on the Perrine Episode" by T. Ralph Robinson in the
Proceedings of the Florida Horticultural Society for 1938. This also adds the
Williams, John Lee. The Territory of Florida, published by A. T. Goodrich,
New York, 1937.
Warren, Cecil R. Keys Highway Opens Area Steeped in Historic Lore, Miami
Daily News, March 29, 1938.
Reese, Joe Hughes. Florida's Priority in Plant Introduction. Hollywood Maga-
zine, March, 1925.
of the Modern Seminoles*
by ROBERT F. GREENLEE
THE modern Florida Seminoles are descendants of the Indians who
remained in the Everglades after the close of the Seminole war
in 1842. One hundred years later we find a people radically
transformed both in material aspects of life and in their ideas and religious
customs. In this instance we are concerned with their ceremonial and
medicinal practices-vestiges of a much richer life which has vanished
due to the coming of white people in ever increasing numbers to what
was formerly a cloistered Indian world. To discover and record these
remnants of the Seminole's former life before it disappeared forever from
the minds of the older generation was one of the chief objects of the
A medicine man of the Big Cypress swamp settlements was my chief
informant. He consented to interpret many phases of ceremonial life,
especially those connected with the annual Green Corn dance and his
own specialty, medicine. A number of chants from the old medicinal
formulas, many of them rendered in the special medicine man's language,
with its archaic words and phrases were recorded on phonograph records.
A similar study was made by Miss Frances Densmore. This was published
in 1932 by the Smithsonian Institution. She used the same informant
I did and was able to record "75 songs of the corn and hunting dances
as well as the alligator, catfish, quail, screech owl, and other dances."
The songs sung for me include several from the Green Corn Dance, the
horned owl chant from the hunting dance, several of the Seminole mourn-
ing chants, as well as a number of medicinal formulas. I shall now give
a few of the general features of Seminole social organization, ceremonial
and medicinal practices.
In the Seminole social organization descent is counted only on the
mother's side and with clans as a basis, a child belongs solely to the clan
of the mother. Nine clans are found among the Big Cypress people, all
*Delivered at the annual meeting of the Florida Historical Society in Miami, March,
but one of them being named after some animal. Thus Panther, Wildcat,
Tiger, Bird, Otter, Wind, Wolf, Snake, and City or Town clan are the
chief active clans. A Deer clan also exists but it is dying out due to the
fact that there are only three men left and no women. Since the children
follow the clan of the mother the Deer clan will be extinct in the next
generation. A similar fate was in store for the Alligator clan noted by
Clay MacCauley in 1880. Now it has disappeared completely. Each one
of these nine clans is exogamous, that is, a man must marry outside of
his mother's clan. Among the Seminoles a further provision is made
whereby certain groups of the nine clans are linked together which
restricts a man's choice of a mate even further. Thus the Tiger, Panther,
and Wildcat clans are linked; the Otter and Town clans are similarly
joined; as also are the Bird and Wind. Under this marriage restriction a
member of the Bird clan would be obliged to avoid marriage with a
girl of the Wind dan but he would be permitted to choose one from any
other clan. A study of the marriages recorded by the U. S. government
Seminole census shows that extremely few marriages occur which do not
correspond to this usual pattern. Due to the fact that so few clans survive
from the much larger number once in Florida, it has now become allow-
able for a man to marry a woman of his father's clan though I was told
that in the old days this clan was prohibited to him also. As an example
we can note Ingram Billie's family where Wilson Billie, Ingram's brother
married Ingram's daughter. Though she would be considered his niece
by our system of reckoning kin, she was a member of her mother's clan,
the Wind clan, hence a proper bride for a Panther man. Another instance
in the same family is where Annie Billie, Panther clan, Ingram's sister
married Charlie Billie, Ingram's son-her nephew by our system but
outside of the clan by Seminole custom and hence a fit mate.
Of special interest is the clan known as the City or Town clan which
my informant maintains is composed largely of Indians of mixed blood.
He indicated that when the Seminoles fought at St. Augustine they found
two white girls wandering in the woods, lost, tired, and hungry. He
thought perhaps they were Spaniards. Some of the tribe wanted to kill
them, but the chief said no, as they were women they should be kept
and made to work. Eventually they married Seminole men. Since these
women were not Indian they belonged to no clan, and consequently their
children had no clan affiliations. To solve this problem the City clan was
created, its original members being the children of those two marriages.
He says that this clan is composed of descendants of captives and mar-
riages outside the tribe such as Seminole-Spanish or Seminole-White,
ROBERT F. GREENLEE
anything but Seminole-Negro. Members of the City clan now include
influential members of the tribe.
Two classes of medical practitioners exist among the Florida Seminoles.
The most important are the medicine men who are not only in charge
of the entire ceremonial life of these people, but hold a good deal of
political power as well. A medicine man is responsible for curing sickness
and must undergo a period of instruction and training to fit him for this
duty. The main distinction between the medicine man and the "doctors,"
or second class practitioners, lies in the possession of a fragment of war
medicine by the former. My informant said that he inherited his med-
icine from Old Billie Motlo, and that his brother obtained his from his
mother's brother. He further said that when he died his medicine would
go to his brother who in turn would present it to a suitable member of
the Panther clan. Thus we see that the passing down of the medicine,
which is the source of power to each practitioner, is a matter of inheri-
tance within the same clan. This medicine is so supernaturally powerful
that it cannot be kept at the settlements but is hidden away at the
ceremonial grounds where the annual Green Corn Dance is held. The
medicine is composed of a silver-colored powder and is kept in small
buckskin bags. This war medicine is taboo to women. They may not
approach too near it since its great power would knock them down,
according to Seminole belief. When I asked about the origin of the war
medicine I was told that it was derived from thunder and snake-thunder
in the sky and snake in the water. Thunder went way up to the sky got
the medicine and then made it rain. The rain brought the medicine to
earth to water where the snake got it. One man went over to the creek
and obtained a small bundle of medicine from snake. This bundle was
brought to the king or chief who kept it. Once there was a big war and
the king didn't want to go. He gave some of the medicine to a man who
went for him. They called the man war chief. This medicine kept the
war chief very strong. When he died he gave the medicine to his clans-
men. A part of the medicine went to his son. Finally the medicine of
supernatural power became divided into seven parts as it is today. When
this powerful medicine passes to new hands the old buckskin bags are
destroyed and the medicine is transferred to new ones.
The tribal lore, ceremonial practices, and healing are not taught in-
discriminately to all the young men but only to those who show that
they are willing to pursue the requisite preparation. Not all boys are
interested and similarly not all boys are considered as possessing the
suitable temperament. A medicine man need not confine his instruction
to members of his own clan, but may teach anyone whom he considers
deserving. However, the inheritance of the sacred medicine is strictly a
The preparation of the medicine man advances by degrees. The
respective degrees are named after the months in the Indian lunar cal-
endar. Thus during the first month (fubli hasi) "wind moon" of his
preparation a prospective medicine man is given the "black drink"
which acts as a purgative. Herbs and medicine are then given him for
eight additional days. After this the "medical student" is allowed to study
on his own but he is expected to return to the medicine man who is in
charge of his teaching on the first month of the ensuing year for further
instruction and to ask questions. In order to cure one must learn the
proper magical chants and formulas. Hence the teaching of the songs
in connection with each one of the various types of disease undoubtedly
forms a significant part of the training of a new medicine man.
A Seminole has a decidedly different notion about medicine from that
held by white people. Whereas we think in terms of drugs, ointments,
stimulants, or cathartics which will benefit the body in a predictable
fashion, the Seminole relies on the actions of the medicine man. These
people have confidence in his power to cure disease or to alleviate mental
suffering. The Indian medical doctor must also have his patients consider
life as supernaturally dangerous as possible. The more fraught with
danger he makes the affairs of everyday life, the more clients he has,
and the more secure his position.
A most common cause of disease is the loss of the ghost or soul. The
Seminoles believe in the existence of a double soul. One soul may leave
the body in sleep and wander far afield while the other leaves the body
only at death. The nightly adventures of the first soul are revealed in
dreams. To discover the cause of sickness a medicine man must analyse
In order to explain the diagnosis through loss of the soul my informant
drew a diagram on the ground to illustrate his conception of the subject.
He was trying to show me graphically the Seminole theory of well-being,
of disease, and'of the final death and destruction of the soul. The world
is considered as divided into four cardinal directions, north, south, east,
and west. West is believed to be a ritually dangerous direction since the
dead are thought to travel over the Milky Way (solopi heni-spirit or
ghost road) to the west. The designation of the Milky Way as the path
of the dead to the afterworld is an Indian idea which was found among
most of the Southeastern tribes and even among some tribes of the
ROBERT F. GREENLEE
A.-First let us consider the situation at death. One soul or ghost goes
up north and likes it there. The soul goes to the north and then continues
around to the east. If, when it gets to the east, the medicine man is not
able to call it back to its proper position (central) the ghost will go over
the Milky Way to the west. As the city of the dead is located in the west
this happening indicates the death of a person. Four days after death
the second soul or ghost follows the first at night fall. This accounts for
the four day mourning period in which all the relatives of the deceased
must stay in their camps to wait for the final passing of the second soul
to the afterworld. At this time, also, mourning chants are sung for the
bereaved so that they may be permitted to forget their loss and to have
life in the community restored to normalcy as soon as possible.
B.-If the soul wanders at night, goes to the north and then returns
at dawn the person has merely been dreaming. This is in no sense an
abnormal ghostly episode.
C.-My informant explained that sometimes the ghost enjoyed his
nocturnal adventures so much that it refused to come back at dawn.
When this happened the person who had dreamed suddenly found that
his body became sick. Hence a medicine man always asks his patients
first about their dreams. Upon learning from the dreams how the soul
has been detained the medicine man obtains the proper herbs, mixes
them in a pot, and sings the proper chants beseeching the soul to return.
It is also important to blow his breath through the "medicine pipe," his
"ammunition" as this power of breath is quaintly called. The medicine
man believes that certain magical power comes from himself through the
pipe and that this power is sufficient in most cases to retrieve the wander-
Dreaming about fire may cause fever to their way of thinking. To
illustrate this my wife and I once saw our medicine man friend sauntering
down the Tamiami Trail with his blowing tube in his hand on the way
to obtain some herbs. When asked what he would use them for he replied
that his wife had told him that she had dreamed of fire. He accordingly
was afraid that she might contract a bad fever. Medicine was necessary
to prevent this contingency from occurring.
Aside from diagnosis by dreams there are many examples of diagnosis
through observing bodily symptoms. In these cases the type of disease is
often named after an animal. For instance, if a baby cries and scratches
and never stops-similar to the actions of a monkey, he is thought to have
monkey disease. The treatment is to sing a particular chant to the
monkey and supposedly the child will be cured.
The dog disease is considered to be caused by both the dog and the
buzzard, hence the chants are sung to make these creatures desist. The
symptoms of this malady are stomach ache, loss of appetite, vomiting,
and bad dreams. Along with the medicinal chants herbs are mixed and
medicine prepared. Both together should produce a cure.
The actual curing of disease is brought about largely through the
recitation of certain formulas, by the performance of certain rites, and
by the concoction of herbal medicines in a specific manner. The cure is
magical not strictly medicinal as among ourselves though Seminole herbal
medicine is efficacious by itself in some instances. The Seminole doctor's
theory of medicine springs from the belief that Man, the medicine man
in particular, can control the baneful forces of disease and dispel them
if only the diagnosis of the disorder can be ascertained. Some of the
herbs used to effect a cure are sweet bay leaves (otli), willow (hoaniti),
cedar leaf (acini), and sassafras.
Recent innovations due to closer contact with white people have
changed the Seminole idea of medicine and curing. The medicine man
now imitates the white doctors and I know of an instance where pre-
pared drugs have been ordered from a wholesale drug company. These
additions consist of herbs, barks, and roots, which white pharmacists
had on their shelves at the turn of the century. Epsom salts have become
quite a favorite and a store of bottles can be seen on the platform of the
medicine man's chekee or dwelling. A greenish concoction for the relief
of lumbago and dispensed by Dr. Pender of Everglades, also has had a
wide following in the Indian world. Rubbing alcohol was also a favorite
external but mostly internal medicine at one time, and the unwary white
person still hears with monotonous regularity the Seminole plaint, "You
got 'em lubbing alcohol," or, "You got 'em Epsom salts."
Magical practices still have a following among the Seminoles. There
is a ceremony which they believe will produce rain by putting a pot in
the ground and filling it with water and blowing the breath upon the
water. Then the rain is called through chants. One must not eat all day
long till the rain comes. To make the rain stop it is merely necessary
to light tobacco pipes and blow smoke against the rain for ten or twenty
minutes. The rain procuring ceremony is not confined to medicine men
but can be produced by anyone, even the women, I was told.
Tobacco is frequently used for magical purposes among the American
Indians. The Seminoles are no exception to the general rule. Tobacco is
employed to ward off evil influences. For instance, some Indians once
came to the camp of our medicine man friend from Miami and told him
ROBERT F. GREENLEE
that lots of fever raged in that city. He decided to make medicine in his
camp to ward off the fever. To accomplish this he took two tablespoons
of dried tobacco which he kept wrapped up in a rag. He proudly brought
this rag and tobacco out and showed them to me. He said that this
medicine was used on the occasion just mentioned. When he made this
sort of medicine he did not sleep all night. He sang a song and then blew
on the tobacco. Then he wrapped up the tobacco for a while and held it.
This process was repeated four times during the course of the night. At
daybreak some tobacco was placed in the pipe and smoked. Then he
declared that fever had never come to his camp. A tobacco pipe is
smoked, or was formerly smoked, to blow away hurricanes so that they
would go around the Indian camps and hit somewhere else. This is a
striking instance of the belief in the potency of supernatural power.
While my wife and I were watching the recital on the platform of his
dwelling, he took out a splinter which he kept hid in the bag. After
looking all around before talking, he said in a guarded tone that this
was the strong thunder medicine which he had taken from a tree just
after it had been split by lightning. A splinter taken under such circum-
stances is sure to be very powerful and its proximity to the tobacco
further enhanced the potency of the plant.
Although black magic or sorcery is not employed by the modern
Seminole medicine men to my knowledge, it is likely that at one time
it was in full bloom. My informant indicated that he knew a medicine
which would make a person sick. This sorcery is devised to make one
contract a fever. To produce this effect the medicine man retires about
half a mile from his camp. There he makes a fire at night and then sings
songs. This is done when the person to be injured is asleep. The purpose
of the songs is to call the intended victim's soul to the medicine man.
When he gets the soul he puts it into the fire and burns it up. This severe
treatment can be given to anyone in any camp no matter how far away
the camp may be from the one where the medicine man is preparing his
malevolent spell. On the following day the person cursed will have a
fever which he cannot dispel and pretty soon he will die. The counter-
magic to rid the patient of this mischief consists of songs intended to
bring back the burnt soul. Frequent applications of cold water are given
to calm the fever and reanimate the burnt soul. As soon as the soul has
been revived the fever will vanish.
Aside from rituals dealing with curing one discovers certain rites which
are used on occasion to produce definite desired results. For example, to
keep from losing a new born baby if the mother has already lost children
before they reach maturity, the following rite is performed. When the
baby is four or five weeks old a "doctor" makes a medicine fire with the
logs pointing outwards in the four cardinal directions. Corn is then put
in a pot which in turn is placed on the fire. One ear of corn is set on the
end of each log at N, E, S, and W points. Then the corn is moved from
the north to the west position. The ear is turned over and the baby's
name is called out. Then one must slide the west corn to the south, turn
the ear over and again call out the child's name. Then move the south
corn ear to the east, turn the ear over and repeat the baby's name. Then
the corn must be slid from the east position to the north again, it must be
turned over and the baby's name repeated a final time. Then the child is
placed on the ground and the doctor must pretend that he is looking
everywhere for the child till at last it is found. This little rite is supposed
to bind the baby to the mother's clan as well as to aid in bringing it to
At first I thought that these small rites might well be derived from the
imagination of the medicine man but one morning when my wife and
I went to a camp to take my informant and his wife to Ft. Myers, we
saw one of the so-called "doctors" or minor practitioners holding a new
born baby over the coals of the fire in the cook shed. A small bower of
bay leaves had been placed in the coals and the baby was being immersed
in the smoke from the bay leaves when we arrived. We asked for the
meaning of this rite and were told that it was to keep the child from
being lost when it left the camp for the first time.
An interesting avoidance occurs in connection with mentioning of
recently widowed people of both sexes. Speaking of widows is dangerous.
The belief is that if you talk too much about widows your wife will die.
Widows are obliged to eat by themselves. At the annual Green Corn
Dance a widower strips the clothes from a recently made widow, or
at least most of her clothes, throws them away and then she obtains new
ones. Our friend had a widow staying at his camp, his wife's sister. He
would neither make medicine for her or for her infant child. He would
speak to her only sparingly as necessity demanded. A widow remains
in a ritually unclean state for a certain length of time, her hair is let
down, and her beads are removed. She becomes an active member of her
group again after being ceremonially readmitted at the Green Corn Dance.
The Green Corn Dance or world renewal ceremony is well known in
outline to most people who know anything about Seminole life. The
dance is performed as a new year festival much in the same manner as
did the Creek Indians from whom they are descended. For this dance
ROBERT F. GREENLEE
new clothes are made by the women for their entire family. Old fires in
the camps are allowed to die out and a new fire is kindled by resort to
the ancient fire drill instead of using matches. Then again, the new corn
crop cannot be eaten by the men till they have been made ritually pure
for its reception.
Another striking feature is the scratching of the men and boys with
an instrument made of bone in which teeth of the gar fish have been
inserted. This allows the blood to flow freely and supposedly cleanses
the blood and the men who partake of the rite. Likewise, taking a con-
coction of herbs which induces vomiting is supposed to cleanse the
stomach for the reception of the green corn. A ball game is played
between the girls and boys, stomp dances are held, and a feast of beef
looms prominently in the festivities.
Unfortunately the Green Corn Dance which I attended was a degen-
erate variety of the original Creek ceremonial but the essential features
were still present.
A revolution in the ceremonial life of the Seminoles is now in progress.
Just as surely as increased Indian-White contact continues, their old
values will gradually sink in importance and allure. The older generation
will find it increasingly difficult to instill youth with the zest and fire of
the old Seminole life which has lingered on since the time when these
people were left to fend for themselves after the close of the Seminole
wars. Each death of a Seminole elder brings a fresh irretrievable loss of
lore and the knowledge of old ceremonies now in the process of change
and distortion. The need for penetrating linguistic studies and further
data on Seminole customs is pressing. Before long the old civilization
of the Seminole with all of its colorful contrasts will be, to all intents
and purposes, as dead as the proverbial dodo.
Food Plants of the DeSoto Expedition
by ADIN BABER
FaUR hundred years ago, Hernando De Soto, the Spanish explorer
led nearly seven hundred men, four white women, at times a few
hundred Indian men and women, a few colored slaves, about two
hundred fifty horses, some mules, a drove of hogs, possibly some cattle,
and a pack of dogs on an exploratory march through Florida, or what
is now a dozen of the southeastern states. After the first few months,
all the food was obtained from the country through which the expedition
He first established a base of supplies on Tampa Bay near Bradenton,
Florida, and later moved it to what possibly is now St. Marks, when he
made his first winter camp just west of the place which is now Talla-
hassee. By spring, most of the supplies that had been brought in the
ships had been consumed. He planned to make a reconnaissance march
into the interior and return to the bay, now named Mobile, to replenish
them from the supply of the ships. However, he subsequently learned
that his army could live off the country. After the famous battle with
the Indians of Mobile, he turned away from the coast and spent three
more years in the unmapped wilderness.
Of course these Spanish adventurers would have been almost helpless,
so far as gathering food plants and subsisting on them was concerned,
had it not been for their Indian guides, prisoners, and camp followers.
The food plants and vegetables of this continent entirely differed from
old world plants in pre-colonial days, and just what was edible could
not have been known by the white men. What was lacking in knowledge
was made up in hunger and the hardihood to try anything. Many things
were tried out as food, and notes were made of it. It is from four different
journals, contemporary records, diaries of early travelers, and findings
of the earlier botanists, that we can know fairly well what definitely was
eaten, what probably was eaten, and what possibly was eaten.
Any Boy Scout can name the game animals, birds, fish, and insects,
that made up the meat dishes of the early Indians, and we know that
some of the increase of the swine herd was eaten, so we pass over much
of that. Let us see: On the ships that sailed from Havana for Tampa
Bay, there was included in the cargoes: 3000 loads Cacabi, Manihot
esculenta, or Cassava, Palmata aipi, 2500 shoulders of bacon, 2500
fanegas of corn, Zea mays. There was clothing of all kinds, shoes, etc.,
arms of all kinds: shields, helmets, etc., ships supplies: sails, ropes,
pitch, tallow, etc. There were garden seeds which were to be planted
when the first landing was made, "Lettuce, radishes, and other garden
Had the Spaniards landed in lower Florida, they might have found
the Coco plums, Chrysobalanus icaco, but these are not mentioned. I do
not know if they tasted Sea grapes, Coccolobis uvifera, but we know
definitely that the "first to land and explore around brought back on
board the ships many green grapes (Vitis vulpina) and grass for
horses." The Guava, Psidium guajava, they did not find, but some of
them may have tasted it in Central America. All disembarked, and some
exploring round about, may have found the Papaya, Carica papaya, for
it was growing wild in north Florida, in 1774.
In the middle of July 1539, the expedition left the shores of Tampa
Bay, and following a trail that later probably developed into the old
country road of recent days, went by the Lake of the Rabbit (Lake
Mango?) and the Lake of the Flints (Thonotosassa); and, after a torrid
march, reached some cultivated fields of the Indians, probably near
present Richland, where the first green corn was eaten.
The next few days were spent wandering through the morasses of the
Withlacoochee River swamps. If these were finally crossed where there
is now a sand road just south of Tsala Apopka Lake, no growing gardens
were found to plunder, and the members of the expedition ran out of
all supplies, including the emergency rations, "biscuits and cheese." In
this extremity they ate "roots roasted and others boiled with salt." Now
these could have been the Arrow Head, Saggitaria variabiles, or the
Swamp Potatoes, Saggitoria lorata, such as Cabeza de Vaca, of the ill-
fated Narvaez expedition, had to dig while a prisoner of the Indians; or
it may have been the roots of the American Lotus, Nelumbo lutea. When
the villages were found, "Blites" were gathered and stewed in salt water.
Now Blites is translated from Spanish Bledo, the Italian is Bledum,
meaning in Europe a member of the Chenopodiums; but this genus of
plants was not native to this country, or not many of them; so we must
determine some "Greens" native to Florida swampland and growing in
July and August. It may have been one of the Portulaca, Sesuvium
portulacastrum, or Salicornia ambigua, or Sea Goosefoot, Chenopodium
July 26, 1539, As soon as the Withlacoochee River itself was crossed,
they came upon the Cabbage Palms, Sabal palmetto, the hearts of which
were eaten. Others ate young corn stalks, and immature ears of corn
on the cob. Maybe some ate the fruit of the Saw Palmetto, Serenoa
serrulata, or the pith of another native palm, Sabal minor. Meantime,
De Soto, who had gone on ahead with some of the mounted troops, came
upon an abundance of provisions near present Ocala, and sent some back
by "pack mules to the main army." This was "corn, of which there was
much ripe, and other provisions." No doubt, there was the product of
the Coonti, Zamia floridana, which the Indians alone knew how to
prepare; a Spaniard had sampled one of the raw roots and died. For
the first time on the trip, they had Beans, of which the Indians grew
about all the present known varieties.
These may have been the dolichos, Dolichos lablab, for this variety
later was seen in that section by the botanist, Romans. And they may
have been of the Hyacinth of which there were two species indigenous
to Florida. For seasoning these beans were cooked with "little dogs" and
wild pepper, and this was no doubt the first hot dogs served to white
men in America, July 29, 1539.
August 11, 1539, our Spaniards being well-fed and feeling good, went
northward up into the Alachua country where a variation was added to
the daily diet of corn. They ate "Chestnuts, but the trees that bear them
are only two palms high and they grow in prickly burrs." Now we are
on solid ground botanically; these were chinquapins, Castanea alnifolia.
Striking the trails that crossed the Sante Fe and Suwanee Rivers, as
later named, we follow what later became the Spanish Highway across
northern Florida, northwest into the Tallahassee country where, as
previously mentioned, the first winter camp was established, October 8.
Many provisions were now laid in, including maize, Ranjel distinctly
says "Kidney beans," Phaseolus vulgaris, dried plums, Prunus umbellata,
and pumpkins. The pumpkins were described by Elvas at being more
"savory" than European ones, Curcurbita moschata. In one of the books
by Dr. Charles T. Simpson, pumpkins raised by the Seminole Indians,
are described as being unusually small and sweet. I think he must be
describing the same kind that the Spaniards tasted, because one time
when I solicited Indian Anna to purchase garden seed, she briefly said,
"No." An interpreter explained that the Indians made a practice of
raising their own seeds year after year. Confirming that: The Department
of Agriculture recently collected thirty-three different strains of corn
from different Indian tribes. (Chromosomes of Maize from North
American Indians Vol. 56 No. 3.) Also was gathered and eaten "Grain
like coarse millet" and, at a later period Romans mentions two varieties
of edible Panicum. One American vegetable they did not have was the
potato, Solanum luberosum. These had not been introduced from South
The Spaniards could have learned to prepare properly the St. Johns
coonti, Zamia pumila, although they had a starchy diet in the ever
available corn. In the summer, it had been eaten roasted green in the
husk, boiled on the cob, and pounded green for a porridge. By now, the
corn was dry and use could have been made of the many mortars the
Indians had (Cabeza de Vaca 1528) for grinding it into meal for mush,
or it was pulverized into a paste for cooking on the hot stones. The
Spaniards had brought along garden tools, and maybe iron hoes were
then used to bake the first "hoe cakes." Then there was hominy made
with the ash lye; or the corn was boiled with beans for frijoles. Corn
was boiled, roasted, and pounded into flour; or it was crushed and sifted
through cane baskets, the coarse part boiled with pumpkin, or beans, or
bean leaves, then thickened with the fine corn flour, and the whole mass
seasoned with soda lye ashes, to make the famous Sagamite.
No doubt all this was washed down with copious Calabash gourdfulls,
Curcurbita lagenaria, of a good American tea Dahoon, Ilex cassine, but
I am sure that these hardy souls could scarcely stomach the drink made
from "Fruit like a bean," the infamous black drink Yaupon, Ilex
vomitoria. Then, unknowingly anticipating press agent Raleigh, they
filled their new pipes with a soothing blend of tobacco, Nicotiana
tabacum, and sumac, Rhus copallina, and relaxed before the blazing logs
of turpentine pine knots.
Then spring came at last. The Live Oaks, Quercus virginiana, put out
flowers and young leaves and ambition stirred this first group of winter
visitors to Florida. They quaffed the great spring beverage and named
it sassafras, Sassafras oficinale. March 3, 1540, packing their remaining
maize, they set off up the Flint River valley into what is now Georgia.
They camped the first night out in a pine wood, Pinus rigida, or perhaps
Pinus taeda, or Pinus echinata, and the second, in a "Land with bushes,"
Oak scrub, Quercus nigra, and in a week came to a place called "Capa-
chequi" where there were plenty of supplies. Among these in this section
were "corn cakes and young onions," which Ranjel says, "were just like
those of Castille, as big as end of thumb." It may be a moot question
just which Allium this was, but I shall venture Allium continue.
By the end of April, having travelled in a northeasterly direction and
crossed a few rivers, they were lost and famished, and reduced to a
vegetable diet of again "Unknown herbs and greens gathered in the
woods," perhaps, Smilax laurifolia. There were found quantities of
mulberries, Morus rubra, and of all good things to eat, the strawberries,
Fragaria virginiana, and not edible but enjoyable were "Countless roses
at the sides of the trails," Rosa carolina. They arrived at the Savannah
River near the falls (Augusta, Ga.) where Gallegos located seven cribs
full of corn, and all was well again. The Indians here lived on "Roots
of herbs which they seek in the open fields," perhaps, Smilax beyrichii.
Surely there were the blackberries, the small ones, Rubus trivialis.
Turning north towards the mountains they found the population thin
and the food scarce. They fell back on corn and little dogs, but after
crossing the Blue Ridge into now western North Carolina, they were
met by twenty Indians carrying twenty baskets of the mulberries, and
an enormous amount of them were eaten. Coming into what is now east
Tennessee they entered a veritable land of milk and honey. There were
hickory nut milk, Hicoria alba, and, believe it or not, honey, and
calabash gourds, Curcurbita texana, of hickory nut oil, and bear fat,
The hickory nuts were crushed and allowed to set and settle. The
cream or oil that raised was skimmed off and used as oil for cooking,
or as a spread like butter. In this Tennessee valley, they rested a month
while the horses were permitted to graze in the good Blue Grass, Poa
pratensis, or Red Top, Agrostis alba. Two centuries late the cattlemen
were grazing herds in these valleys. There was plenty of corn, and cook-
ing beans, Phaseolus vulgaris, that had grown on high vines.
August 30, 1540, leaving the Tennessee River they bore southwardly
to the Coosa River in Alabama, where were found most excellent grapes.
One man was lost who wandered away to search for possibly the original
wild scuppernongs, Muscadinia rotundifolia.
Fall began to approach as Mobile Bay was neared, October 16th.
Bread made from chestnuts, Castanea pumila, was eaten. Here occurred
the bloody battle of Mavilla, the greatest battle of all time on this
continent between white men and the Indians. All provisions were lost,
and De Soto would not go on to Mobile Bay and receive supplies, but
turned the army northward up the Tombigbee valley. Oil was had from
the chestnuts, to mix with corn meal, which was captured with other sup-
plies before winter quarters were established in now northern Mississippi.
Here were the Chicasaw plums, small and sour, Prunus augustifolia, the
wild sweet potato, Ipomoea pandurata, and the sunflower seeds, Helian-
thus gigantea, which pounded into flour and mixed with cornmeal made
a bread. Also there was an abundance of acorns, Quercus virginiana and
Quercus nigra, which were crushed and the bitter elements washed away
to make flour. Also there were many walnuts, Juglans rupestris.
Spring came again, the spring of 1541, and forth fared the Christians
to plunder the Indian granaries of corn, on their march westward where
they came upon and discovered the Mississippi River, Saturday, May
21, 1541, at about present Frior's Point, perhaps. After building boats
and crossing, they marched northwest until they came to a "-plain
upon which grew a plant so rank and big" that the horses could not
break through. If this was the prairie bluestem, Andropogon furcatus
Muhl, far later travellers had the same difficulty. Soon they arrived in a
territory where there were no provisions but meat, as the Indians did
not plant truck patches, on account of the buffaloes trampling them.
Upon turning southward, they came into the rich river margins where
there grew an abundance of provisions, and also salt was found, Septem-
ber 6th. Here they ate the Jerusalem artichoke, which is neither an
artichoke, nor from Jerusalem, but a sunflower, Helianthus tuberosus.
Soon after visiting the "Hot streams" where were Indians gathered
from many tribes, as do their white successors, they went into their
third winter quarters in what is now Arkansas, where there was plenty
of firewood and food: Persimmons, Diospyros virginiana, which dried
made into a kind of bread; grapes, Vitis cordifolia; plums, Prunus
americana; and a new winter drink if they liked, made by the Indians
from fermented honey locust seed pods, Gleditsia triacanthos.
The warm spring of 1542 crept into those Ozark hills, and the farrow-
ing sows had multiplied the hog crop into seven hundred head. These
were auctioned off among the effects of the redoubtable leader, De Soto,
after his death, on the west bank of the Mississippi River, May 21, 1542.
These were the first swine to be fattened on good American corn, and
The leadership now fell to Moscoso, and it was agreed by the chief
men to try to march westward through what is now called Louisiana
and Texas to reach Mexico. Accordingly, they set out, stopping long
enough on the way to make salt, and finally arrived at the Red River,
where was found much food among the Caddo Indians. Passing on into
Texas, they heard reports of other Christians, and an Indian said, "They
were travelling about near there." Perhaps this was the Coronado expe-
edition. After the cross timbers were passed, food and corn became more
and more scarce, and it was decided to return to the Mississippi Valley
where there was much corn, and go into winter camp. This was done,
Again through the winter, they subsisted upon all the Indian food
products of the Mississippi River valley, using the time to build boats
in which to descend the river. A great Spring of 1543 flood detained
them, and it was not until July 2nd that they started down the river on
the last long, but successful, journey that took them into the Gulf of
Mexico, where they skirted the coastline, and reached Panuco, Mexico
on September 10, 1543.
Thus was tested for four years the original American diet.
Adair, James, The History of the American Indians, London, 1775.
Bailey, L. H., How Plants Get their Names, New York, 1936.
Bartram, William, Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and
West Florida, Mark Van Doren, editor, New York, 1928.
Bourne, Edward Gaylord, Editor, Narratives of the Career of Hernando DeSoto in the
conquest of Florida, as told by a knight of Elvas, and in a relation by Luys
Hernandez de Biedma, factor of the expedition, translated by Buckingham Smith,
together with an account of De Soto's expedition based on the diary of Rodrigo
Ranjel, his private secretary, translated from Oviedo's Historia General y Natural
de las Indias. 2 vols. New York, 1922.
Cabeza de Vaca, The Journey of Alvar Ninez Cabeza de Vaca, Fanny Bandelier, Trans.,
New York, 1905. The account of the ill-fated expedition of Pinfilo de Narvaez.
Calderon, A r7th Century Letter of Gabriel Diaz Vara Calderdn, Bishop of Cuba, Lucy
L. Henhold, Trans., Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 95, No. 16,
DeCandolle, A., Origin of Cultivated Plants, 1886.
EIvas, True Relation of the Hardships Sufered by Governor Hernando De Soto and
Certain Portuguese Gentlemen During the Discovery of the Province of Florida,
Newly Set Forth by a Gentleman of Elvas, r557. Trans. and edited by James A.
Robertson, DeLand, Florida; Florida State Historical Society, 1932.
Garcilaso de la Vega, La Florida del Inca, Madrid, 1723.
Michauz, F., The North American Sylva, Philadelphia, 1857.
Mooney, James, The Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees, Bureau of American Ethnology
Seventh Annual Report, 1885-6.
Parkman, Francis, The Jesuits in North America, 1867.
Romans, Bernard, A Concise Natural History of East and West Florida, New York,
Simpson, Charles T., Florida Wildlife, New York, 1932.
Small, J. K., Flora of the Southeastern United States, New York, 1903.
Smith, Buckingham, Trans., "Letter to the King of Spain from Officers at Havana in
De Soto's Army." Florida Historical Quarterly, Jan., 1938.
-- Narratives of the Career of Hernando de Soto in the Conquest of Florida, N. Y.,
Bradford Club, 1866.
Swanton, John R., Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors, Bull. 73,
Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, 1922.
Yanovsky, Elias, Food Plants of the North American Indians.
The Administrative System
in the Floridas, 1781-1821
by DUVON CLOUGH CORBITT
U PON superficial examination of the administrative system used
in the Floridas during the second Spanish period, it would appear
to have been simplicity itself. On closer investigation, however,
it proves to have been about as complicated as Spanish genius could
make it with the material at hand. The traditional check and balance
system was there in all its glory, not only in the provinces of East and
West Florida themselves, but in the relations of their officers with the
higher authorities. Loosely joined together under a common chief (who
was also either captain general of Cuba or viceroy of New Spain), and
placed in a precarious position with respect to the Indians and other
neighbors, the Floridas presented special problems, the study of which
reveals at the same time the strength and the weakness of Spanish in-
stitutions. And finally, the attempts to apply the Spanish Constitution of
1812 to the provinces (1812-1814 and 1820-1821) produced results of a
nature not to be found elsewhere in the Spanish dominions. The purpose
of the present study is to outline the regular administration in the Florida
provinces, and to follow it up with another on the effects of the constitu-
The Captaincy General of Louisiana and the Floridas
W HEN in 1779 Spain decided to take part in the American
Revolution, her province of Louisiana was attached to the
captaincy general of Cuba. The governor of the province was
responsible to the captain general in Havana, but he enjoyed and
exercised the right of corresponding directly with the supreme authorities
in Spain. The incumbent at the time was the young and energetic
Bernardo de GAlvez, who upon hearing of the declaration of war, seized
the initiative and attacked the British posts along the Mississippi. By
March of 1780 Manchak, Baton Rouge, Natchez and Mobile were in his
hands, and preparations were under way for an attack on Pensacola.
He was rewarded for his activity by an appointment to govern Louisiana
and the newly-conquered territory with complete independence from the
captain general of Cuba, and since Pensacola was expected to be in
possession of the Spaniards soon, its district was added to the new
jurisdiction. The appointment, dated February 12, 1781, reads:
The King, having considered the great extent acquired by the Province of Louisiana
through the conquests that you have made of the English Forts and Settlements on the
Mississippi and at Mobile, and having in mind the decorum with which you should be
treated as Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Operations at Havana; has been pleased
to decree that, for the present, and while you govern Mobile and Louisiana, their
administration shall be independent of the Captaincy General of the Island of Cuba,
and that Pensacola and its district shall be added to your jurisdiction as soon as they
are occupied by the forces of the King, who fully authorizes you to govern and defend
them through Substitutes during your absence.'
GAlvez's first step in his new capacity was to inform Colonel Pedro
Piernas, his subordinate in New Orleans, of the change. Although nothing
was said about the creation of a captaincy general, colonial officials
assumed that such was the intention,2 and later events proved that they
had judged correctly. The term was officially adopted a few years later
(in 1784) when East Florida was added to the new jurisdiction.
East Florida, however, seems to have been first organized as a separate
administrative unit, from the tenor of the royal order appointing Vicente
Manuel de Z6spedes to take over its government from the British
authorities. The order conferred on Z6spedes
the Government and captaincy general of the City of St. Augustine and the Provincias
de Florida, with an Annual Salary of four thousand pesos (for the present) payable
from the Royal Treasury, and the Rank of Brigadier in the Royal Armies.3
Although in the copy of the order in the Archivo Nacional de Cuba the
word Provincias appears in the plural, it seems likely that only East
Florida was intended. This is indicated by the fact that Z6spedes never
tried to assume jurisdiction over anything farther west than the St.
Marks region. What was intended by the term "captaincy general" is
uncertain. It is possible that the home authorities planned to set up a
government in East Florida equal in rank to that in Louisiana and West
Florida, but it is more likely that the term was used to indicate that
1. Archivo Nacional de Cuba (hereinafter cited as A.N.C.), Floridas, legajo 2, no.
1. The copy here is one sent to Pedro Piernas on August 18, 1781.
2. Mird to Gilvez, April 9, 1792, ibid., legajo 3, no. 7.
3. A copy of the order, dated October 31, 1783, is in ibid., legajo 10, no. 6.
DUVON CLOUGH CORBITT
Z6spedes was the commander of all troops in the territory. Later gover-
nors were occasionally referred to by that title. On the other hand, the
term "captaincy general" may have been used carelessly by the persons
who drafted the order. Numerous examples of such carelessness might be
cited from Spanish colonial documents.'
If a new captaincy general was intended, a change of heart was soon
wrought in the Peninsular authorities, for Bernardo de Gilvez was given
jurisdiction over a captaincy general consisting of Louisiana and both
Floridas.5 At the time he was also made captain general of Cuba and
given the promise of the viceroyalty of New Spain when it should become
vacant. According to the historian Pezuela, this promise was given because
Bernardo's father, Matias de Galvez, then viceroy was in very bad health.
When the ship bearing Bernardo to Cuba touched at Puerto Rico, the
young captain general learned of his father's death. The three months
that he spent in Cuba, beginning February 4, 1785, was only a period of
preparation for the transfer to New Spain, much to the disappointment
of the Cubans who had been looking forward to his administration of
Louisiana and the Floridas seem to have been considered in Spain as
a monopoly of Bernardo de GAlvaz, for, although another captain gen-
eral was appointed to Cuba, they continued under his command until
his death on November 30, 1786. The personal factor is clearly indicated
by the disposition of those provinces after his decease, when a royal
c4dula transferred the captaincy general of Louisiana and the Floridas
from the viceroy of New Spain to Jos6 de Ezpeleta who was then govern-
ing Cuba. The cddula enumerated the following reasons for the change:
(1) the "particular merit, services, activities, and military ability" of
Ezpeleta; (2) his "zeal and love" for the royal service; (3) the fact
that he was "the only Executive Officer who could give the assistance,
and speedy succor needed by Louisiana and the Floridas."7 A fourth
reason might have been given: the difficulty of communication between
those provinces and Spain by way of Mexico City.
4. The results of a recent study of the use of the term "capitania general" in con-
nection with Cuba have not been entirely satisfactory. See D. C. Corbitt, The
Colonial Government of Cuba (Manuscript Ph.D. thesis in the library of the
University of North Carolina).
Jacobo de la Pezuela, Historia de la Isla de Cuba (4 vols.; Madrid: 1869-1878),
6. Ibid., III, 199-200. Pezuela, Diccionario de la Isla de Cuba (4 vols.i Madrid:
1863), II, 382-383.
7. A.N.C., Floridas, legajo 10, no. 9. The cddula is dated March 3, 1787.
In order to prevent exasperating delays, Galvez had found it necessary
to authorize his subordinates in New Orleans, Pensacola and St. Augustine
to communicate directly with Spain, simply sending him duplicates of
their correspondence. This privilege allowed to his subordinates was not
new in Spanish administration: It had been more or less an unwritten
law of the Spanish government to learn about colonial affairs from more
than one source. There was not an officer of importance in the colonies
but had an associate or a subordinate who exercised the privilege of
writing directly to the home government. GAlvez himself, while governor
of Louisiana, had been very active in the enjoyment of this right.
Between 1777 and 1781 he had sent 462 letters to the Minister of the
Indies and only 304 to his immediate superior, the captain general of
Cuba. Those to the captain general were often duplicates or summaries
of those sent to Spain, but a careful perusal of the correspondence shows
that much was written home which the captain general did not hear
about. Even if GAlvez had forbidden his subordinates in Louisiana and
the Floridas this right, it is very likely that the Spanish government
would have overruled his orders."
The experience of Ezpeleta amounts to almost positive proof of this
assertion. His appointment as captain general of Louisiana and the
Floridas removed any necessity for direct communication between those
provinces and Spain, since mail between them had necessarily to pass
through Havana. Realizing this fact, and desiring naturally to increase
his control of the new jurisdiction, Ezpeleta ordered the practice stopped
on the ground that it was no longer necessary.9 His attitude was logical,
but the home government wanted as many checks on its colonial officers
as possible and his order was countermanded.
The wisdom of combining the government of Louisiana and the Floridas
with that of Cuba was questioned by Governor Estevan Mir6 of Louisiana
in a letter to the ministry of January 11, 1787. He believed that he
himself should have been given the office of captain general, but the
ministry thought otherwise. The decision was made for administrative
reasons and not because of any lack of confidence in Mir6's ability, as is
demonstrated by the fact that upon the retirement of Intendant Martin
Navarro of Louisiana early the next year the duties of the latter were
8. See the letterbooks of Bernardo de Galvez, ibid., legajo 15, nos. 77 and 79.
9. Ezpeleta to Valdis, December 6, 1787, A.G.I., Papeles de Cuba, 86-6-16 (tran-
script in the McClung Collection, Lawson McGhee Library, Knoxville, Tennessee).
A translation appears in the East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications, No.
12 (1940), pp. 116-117. See also A.N.C., Floridas, legajo 3, no. 7 and legajo 10,
DUVON CLOUGH CORBITT
given to the governor along with the corresponding increase in salary.'0
A few years later Mir6's successor, the Baron de Carondelet, developed
a similar ambition to be captain general. In this he had the support of
his brother-in-law, Captain General Luis de las Casas of Cuba, and that
of Diego de Gardoqui, then Secretary of Treasury. In 1795 the king
authorized his minister Godoy to erect Louisiana and the Floridas into
a comandancia whenever he saw fit to do so and the next year Las Casas
authorized Carondelet to act as comandante general interino. He filled
this position from December, 1796 to August, 1797, when the continental
provinces were returned to their former status. In 1801 Captain General
Someruelos of Cuba recommended a separate government for them,
but the cession of Louisiana to France was then pending and nothing
was done about the suggestion."
What appears to have been the last attempt to separate the Floridas
from dependence on the captain general in Havana was made in 1807.
Governor Vicente Folch of West Florida suggested the appointment of
such an officer in the Florida provinces and went so far as to nominate
himself for the position, alleging his long experience on that frontier.
The home authorities, however, had other opinions on the subject and
Folch's proposal was passed up.'2
The loss of Louisiana to Spain reduced the captaincy general to East
and West Florida, but Spain managed to keep a hold on the territory as
far west as the Mississippi until the revolution of 1811 in West Florida,
at which time the Perdido River became the de facto boundary, though
the Spaniards in the province continued to claim the Mississippi bound-
ary for some time to come.13
The captaincy general of the Floridas was temporarily destroyed by
the application of the Spanish Constitution of 1812, By that famous
document all chiefs of provinces were transformed into jefes superiors
politicos, and an attempt was made to separate political from military
functions. If the Florida provinces had contained sixty thousand inhabi-
tants each they would have been entitled to a jefe superior politico in
each of their capitals, but together they could muster scarcely a sixth of
that number. Therefore, East and West Florida were attached to the
10. Ibid., Reales Ordenes, VIII, pp. 523-524.
11. A. P. Whitaker, The Mississippi Question, 1795-1803 (New York and Boston:
1934), p. 29. See also chapter II, note 3.
12. I. J. Cox, The West Florida Controversy, 1798-U8r3 (Baltimore, 1918), pp. 214-
215. Folch's letter to Godoy on the subject was dated August 8, 1807, ibid.
p. 215, note 41.
13. A.N.C., Floridas, legajo 13, no. 8.
province of Havana as mere districts (partidos) and their respective
governors became simple jefes politicos, a term used to designate subor-
dinate officers representing the jefes superiores in important cities. This
was in 1812. The next year, when the Diputacidn Provincial of Havana14
met to decide on the permanent status of the Floridas, it was voted to
further reduce them to mere parishes of the partido attached to the city
of Havana because they did not have the five thousand persons necessary
to be rated as districts. This change was to take effect in 1815 but the
Floridas escaped this additional humiliation because Ferdinand VII
returned to the throne of Spain and abolished the Constitution, with
whose abrogation they rose again to the status of provinces, and together
made up the captaincy general of the Floridas. The jefe superior politico
in Havana became captain general and the jefes politicos in Pensacola
and St. Augustine resumed their governorships. It should be mentioned,
however, that custom was strong, and the constitutional period so short,
that the time-honored titles were used even in many official documents
even when the Constitution was in effect. Such combinations as "capitdn
general jefe superior politico" and "gobernador military y jefe politico,"
were in frequent use at the time and indicate the confusion that reigned.
The restored regime lasted until the 1820 revolution in Spain reinstated
the Constitution. This automatically abolished the captaincy general and
reduced the Florida provinces once more to districts, or partidos of the
Cuban province of Havana. The question of further reducing them to
parishes because of insufficient population was again suggested, but before
it was acted upon orders came to hand over the Floridas to the United
Complications in the business of administering the captaincy general
of the Floridas were due to a number of circumstances. In the first place
it was not self-supporting and depended upon a situado, or subsidy from
New Spain to make up the annual deficit. Since Cuba depended on a
similar subsidy, the captain general in Havana could not supply the
deficiency in the Floridas from his island jurisdiction. Any naval forces
used, except a few galleys and gunboats built for river and coastwise
service, were under the command of the comandante general del aposta-
dero of Havana, who was the commander of the Spanish West Indies
14. Each province had an advisory and legislative body called a diputacidn provincial.
It is proposed to treat this body in more detail in the study of the effects of the
Constitution on the Floridas.
15. A.N.C., Gobierno Superior Civil, legajo 861, no. 29160. Diario del Gobierno
Constiucianal de la Habana, December 6, 1820.
DUVON CLOUGH CORBITT
Fleet. Some of the naval commanders were very jealous of their positions,
and consequently were often at cross purposes with the captains general.16
The right of the governors to correspond directly with the home
government has been mentioned. In judicial matters there was always the
possibility of an appeal to the audiencia in Puerto Principe (now
Camagiiey), Cuba. Still more troublesome were the handling of Indian
affairs and the relations of the Florida officials with the intendant in
Havana, topics that have been reserved for separate treatment.
The Intendancy of Louisiana and West Florida
THE disasters of the Seven Years' War led Spain to make a number
of changes in her colonial system, including the introduction of
intendancies into America. The creation of the Cuban intendancy
in 1764 led the way. Louisiana followed in 1780 with the appointment
of Martin Navarro as indendant on February 24. As Spanish dominion
was extended over West Florida, Navarro's jurisdiction extended until
all the province came under his financial supervision by 1781.
In Cuba the indendant was an officer equal in rank to the captain
general, and independent of him. In New Spain, on the other hand, the
viceroy with the title of superintendent was in charge of the financial
administration. The Louisiana plan was a kind of compromise between
those of Cuba and New Spain. The governor there controlled land grants
until 1798. He was also responsible for Indian affairs,' but was obliged
to consult the intendant in cases involving finance, such as duties on the
fur trade, permits for commerce with foreign countries to secure Indian
goods, and licenses for the use of foreign ships to haul these goods as
well as the furs. It was necessary to spend thousands of dollars each year
to keep the friendship of the Indians, and this called for the joint action
of the governor and the intendant also.'
16. Pezuela, Historia de la Isla de Cuba, III, 115-119. JosA Maria Zamora, Biblioteca
de la legislacidn espariola (Madrid: 1844-1849), III, 334-345. See Corbitt. The
Colonial Government of Cuba, chapter II. From 1812 to 1816 the captain general
was also the naval commander. This was probably due to the fact that the incum-
bent, Juan Ruiz de Apodaca, had been a naval officer.
1. A. P. Whitaker, The Mississippi Question, r795-o803, p. 30 and chapter II, note 6.
2. See the correspondence of Mir6, Navarro, McGillivray and Panton in Georgia
Historical Quarterly, XXI, No. 1 (March, 1937). pp. 72-83. For similar docu-
ments see D. C. and Roberta Corbitt (eds.), "Papers Relating to Tennessee and
the Old Southwest, 1783-1800," East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications
for the years 1937 to 1941.
Upon the promulgation of the Ordenanza de intendentes for New Spain
in 1786, the Louisiana intendant was instructed to follow it in so far as
was practicable, with the reservation, however, that of the four causes
mentioned therein justicia, policia, hacienda y guerra only two,
hacienda y guerra, were to come under his jurisdiction, justice and police
being especially charged to the care of the governor.3 There were many
matters calling for the joint action of the two officers; yet, they seem to
have cooperated without much friction. For example, the comment by
Mir6 on his relations with Navarro on the question of a change of
Indian policy: "It is my plan, to which the intendant, with whom I
always proceed in accord in Indian affairs, agrees . .4. Professor Whit-
aker's careful study revealed the same kind of cooperation during the
administration of Francisco Rend6n (1794-1796).5 Not until the appoint-
ment of a man with a contentious turn did the harmonious relations
between governor and intendant cease, i.e., Juan Ventura Morales, of
whom more later.
Such cordial relations may have resulted from the instructions sent
to the first intendant, Martin Navarro, putting him in subordination to
the governor.6 It is remarkable, however, that this was done because a
few days previous to the signing of the instruction an order to the captain
general of Cuba concerning his relations with the intendant in Havana
stated that the king desired to have
treated with decorum an officer like the intendente de ejircito y real hacienda, who is
so important to His Majesty that in him is vested the collection, preservation, and
disbursement of all branches of the revenue, with complete independence of you and
. . who is a jeft principal, without other superior than the Superintendente General
de Real Hacienda de Indias.7
Navarro retired from the Louisiana intendancy in 1788, at which time
Governor Mir6 Was invested with the powers of the office.8 The inclusion
of the phrase, "for the present," in Mir6's commission as intendant sug-
3. Instructions of June 7, 1799 to Ram6n L6pez de Angulo, A.N.C., Floridas, legajo
16, no. 126. The Ordenanza de intendentes appears in Zamora, Biblioteca de
legislacidn ultramarina, III, 371-388.
4. Mir6 to Sonora, June 1, 1787, East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications,
No. 11 (1939), pp. 77-78.
5. Whitaker, op. cit., p. 31.
6. Ibid., Chapter II, note 6.
7. W. W. Pierson, "Establishment and Early Functioning of the Intendencia of
Cuba," James Sprunt Historical Studies, XIX, No. 3, p. 93. Carlos de Sedano y
Cruzat, Cuba desde zSo d z873 (Madrid: 1873), p. 60.
8. A copy of Mir6's commission is in A.N.C., Reales Ordenes, VIII, pp. 523-524.
DUVON CLOUGH CORBITT
gests that the union of the offices was looked on as temporary; neverthe-
less, it was continued until well into the term of Mir6's successor, the
Baron de Carondelet. In 1793 there was appointed another intendant,
Francisco Rend6n, who reached his post early the next year.9 According
to Professor Whitaker. this move was made in order to insure the opera-
tion of the new commercial system promulgated the year before.'0 No
further combination of the offices of governor and intendant occurred
until long after Louisiana had passed from Spanish control.
The last occupant of the intendancy in New Orleans was Juan Ventura
Morales, who achieved lasting fame by his action in closing the American
deposit at New Orleans; in fact, he might be called the last of the
Louisiana-Florida intendants for, with the exception of an occasional
suspension from office after he went to Pensacola, he held the position
until its abolition in 1817. Morales became acting intendant of Louisiana
and West Florida in 1796 on the retirement of Rend6n. Ram6n L6pez
de Angulo, a full-fledged intendant, succeeded him in 1800, but was
summarily removed the next year upon his violation of the laws by
marrying a New Orleans girl named Marie Delphine Macarty." Morales
again became provisional intendant and held office until the Spanish
colors were struck in 1803. As a matter of fact, he remained in Louisiana
three years longer, refusing to leave until expelled by the American
For some time after the lowering of the flag Morales and the other
Spanish officials in New Orleans were at a loss what to do because no
definite orders were sent to govern their conduct. But Morales stayed
long after such orders came. He may have hoped for another diplomatic
shake-up which would return Louisiana to Spain. Doubtless, he did not
relish the idea of living at the frontier post of Pensacola after his taste
of more attractive life in New Orleans. Furthermore, in Pensacola he
would drop to the level of Governor Vicente Folch y Juan who, as
subdelegado of the intendancy, had long been his subordinate. Moreover,
these two officers had developed an antipathy for each other that approxi-
mated hatred, and matters did not mend after the Americans took over
Louisiana. Morales continued to give orders from New Orleans as
9. Gardoqui to the intendant of Cuba (Pablo Valiente), October 30, 1793, ibid.,
Floridas, legajo 14, no. 48. Whitaker, op. cit., chapter II, note 7.
10. Ibid., note 7. Professor Whitaker cited a memorandum by Gardoqui dated May
11. Whitaker, op. cit., p. 161 gives an account of the L6pez y Angulo affair. A copy
of the order removing him from office is in A.N.C., Reales Ordenes, XV, p. 59.
though Folch were still his subordinate, to the confusion of the com-
mandant at Mobile and others. Contradictory orders were issued about
trade through that port with the American territory up the river.12 The
climax to the situation was reached in January, 1806, when Governor
C. C. Claibourne peremptorily ordered Morales to leave Louisiana, and
Folch flatly refused to allow him to land at Pensacola, forcing him to
leave the port with his goods and papers, and to disembark at Mobile.13
Naturally Morales protested to Spain and he was ordered to proceed at
once to Pensacola and assume the authority of intendant of the province.
Both he and Folch were admonished to "try to preserve the best of har-
mony, and to avoid disputes and contentions.""14
But Morales willed it otherwise. Even before this admonition reached
him he was accusing Folch of making innovations in the financial admin-
istration of West Florida and proceeded to take matters into his own
hands as far as the western part of the province was concerned, issuing
orders to the officers commanding the troops on the Pascagoula River.
The officers appealed to Folch, who informed the intendant that only
the commandant at Mobile had such a right. Mutual recriminations fol-
lowed until the latter appealed to Spain. The king commanded all
documents concerning the quarrel to be forwarded to him for examina-
tion,15 and in the meantime Morales was off on another tack with Folch.
Before Morales' arrival in Pensacola the finances of West Florida had
been administered by the traditional oficiales reales in the form of an
accountant and a treasurer, supervised by the governor as subdelegado
of the intendancy in New Orleans. In addition to the oficiales there were
clerks, warehousemen, porters, etc., many of whom were also officers or
soldiers of the garrison.16 With the transfer of the seat of the intendancy
to Pensacola in 1806, the number of clerks and minor employees in the
financial department increased, and there was added an asesor, or legal
This appointment is interesting because the first asesor was Jos6
Francisco Heredia, the father of the famous Cuban poet, Jos6 Maria
Heredia. Thus it came about that the poet lived in Pensacola between
the ages of three and seven, his favorite sister, Ignacia, being born there
in 1808. Of more importance to the present study is the fact that Jos6
12. Cox, op. cit., pp. 148-182.
13. A.N.C., Floridas, legajo 18, no. 48.
14. bid., legajo 14, no. 48. The orders from Spain were dated March 31, 1806.
15.Ibid., legajo 2, no. 24.
16. Ibid., legajo 17, no. 242 and legajo 18, no. 87.
DUVON CLOUGH CORBITT
Francisco received his appointment from the intendant of Cuba, who,
upon reporting the move to Spain for royal approval, was curtly informed
that he had exceeded his authority; Morales' assistant should have been
appointed by the captain general." Heredia remained in Pensacola as
asesor to the intendant, however, until 1810, at a salary of one thousand
pesos assigned him by the Cuban intendant." Thereafter the auditor de
guerra, or legal adviser to the governor, acted as asesor to the intendant
of West Florida.19
The appointment of Heredia illustrates the confusion as to the super-
vision of the intendancy in Pensacola. Both the Cuban intendant and
Morales contended that the right should belong to the former instead of
to the captain general in Havana. The reprimand that followed failed to
settle the matter, and before long the two Havana authorities were at
swords points about Florida finances as well as their respective positions
in Cuba itself."2 The situation became acute during the administration
of Captain General Juan Ruiz de Apodaca (1812-1816), who claimed
absolute control over West Florida finances under an instruction of
January 26, 1782 to Bernardo de Galvez as captain general, in which the
latter was referred to as the superintendent de real hacienda de la
Luisiana y de la Florida Occidental. A bitter dispute lasted until the
arrival in Cuba of two more pacific personalities-Captain General Jos6
Cienfuegos and Intendant Alejandro Ramirez. On August 9, 1816-
exactly forty days later-the argument that had promoted hard feelings
for a generation was settled.
Cienfuegos and Ramirez adopted the simple expedient of giving honor
to whom honor was due, and in so doing each obtained the full cooperation
of the other. The question of finances in the Floridas was settled by
Cienfuegos's turning the whole matter over to Ramirez until the king's
will on the point should be ascertained-a logical move since both Cuba
and the Floridas were dependent on a subsidy from New Spain which
was usually sent to Havana for distribution. Royal approval of the
Cienfuegos-Ramirez agreement was given on September 3, 1817, Ramirez
17. Two copies of the order, dated May 7, 1806, are in ibid., legajo 18, no. 50.
18. For data on the residence of the poet and his father in Pensacola see Jos6 Maria
Heredia, Poesias completes (Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, editor; Havana: 1940-
1942), I, 19.
19. A.N.C., Floridas, legajo 18, no. 149.
20. The argument was not definitely settled until 1854 when the two positions were
united. Joaquin Rodriguez San Pedro, Legislacidn ultramarina (16 vols.; Madrid:
1865-1869), I, 75. See D. C. Corbitt, The Colonial Government of Cuba, chap-
ter II for an account of the attempts to settle the trouble.
being made superintendent of the Floridas as well as of Cuba.21
The foregoing imbroglio over the superintendencia was scarcely ter-
minated when the intendancy of West Florida was abolished. Morales,
who in 1810 achieved his heart's desire by becoming a full-fledged in-
tendant (hitherto he had been only provisional), was promoted to the
intendancy of Puerto Rico and became in a sense the successor to
Ramirez. Unlike Ramirez, however, who was promoted to Cuba for his
brilliant work in Puerto Rico, Morales was relieved in 1819 and dropped
out of the colonial administration.
The last years of Morales in Pensacola deserve a parting comment.
Rare were the epochs when he was not the center of a storm. On one
occasion he was suspended from office on account of his failure to report
properly the results of a hurricane on October 11 and a fire on October
24, 1810, which destroyed many records.21 Perhaps the dispute in 1812
over who should be his substitute can be laid to contagion. The auditor
de guerra, as the intendant's legal adviser, and the accountant, as second
in the financial administration, each claimed the law on his side. Never-
theless, an order of the regency passed over both claimants and conferred
the provisional intendancy on the governor of Pensacola.23 Another and
more serious difficulty arose in 1817, though the exact nature of the
trouble is not very clear. Finally, however, the king announced that "he
was pleased to proclaim the innocence of the Intendant of Pensacola,
Don Juan Ventura Morales," without mentioning any specific accusa-
tion.24 At this juncture Morales was transferred to Puerto Rico,25 and
with his departure the West Florida intendancy came to an end. Finances
there had long since ceased to justify the payment of four thousand pesos
for their administration; 6 in fact it is doubtful whether any reason
could be produced for ever having had an intendancy in Pensacola other
21.D. C. Corbitt, "The Contention over the Superintendencia of the Floridas,"
Florida Historical Quarterly, XV, No. 2 (October, 1936), pp. 113-117.
22. A.N.C., Floridas, legajo 18, no. 144.
23. Ibid., legajo 18, no, 149.
24. Ibid., legajo 19, no. 34. The royal order in question was signed on February 19,
25. Morales was relieved of the intendancy of Puerto Rico December 30, 1819 at his
own request. Ibid., Reales Ordenes, XXIII, pp. 579-581. He had been in the
administrative service since 1777 at which time he was appointed clerk in the
secretaria de gobierno of Louisiana. Bernardo de Galvez to Joseph de Gilvez,
December 30, 1777, A.N.C., Floridas, legajo 15, no. 79.
26. This salary was assigned to Morales by an order of March 21, 1810 which made
him full intendant, Ibid., Reales Ordenes, XVIII, p. 267.
DUVON CLOUGH CORBITT
than that of providing employment for a man released by the loss of
Louisiana. During the closing years of Spanish rule in West Florida the
governor supervised the treasury administration as subdelegado of the
superintendent de real hacienda in Havana," Alejandro Ramirez. It
should be remembered, that during much of 1818 the province was
occupied and administered by American armed forces.
With the abolition of the intendancy in Pensacola the financial systems
of East and West Florida were harmonized for the first time. It is true
that on at least two occasions the governors of the former had requested
the creation of an intendancy in St. Augustine, but always with the view
to the office for themselves. The first was made as soon as it was known
that Mir6 had been entrusted with the office left vacant by Navarro in
New Orleans. The petition was laid before the captain general of Cuba
early in 1790 and was forwarded to Spain on March 26. There was a
prompt negative reply on July 9.28
A second suggestion for the creation of an intendancy in East Florida
was made by the governor of the province in 1799, with the ostensible
purpose of removing certain evils attendant on the existing system. He
would even have been satisfied with the establishment of a subdelegacidn
of the Havana intendancy, but the authorities in Spain merely instructed
the governor to report any irregularities that might occur in the finance
administration to them.29 Except for the two constitutional periods
(1812-1814 and 1820-1821), when municipal finance was temporarily
in the hands of the city government of St. Augustine, the accountant
and the treasurer, supervised by the governor as the representative of the
captain general in Havana, were responsible for the financial part of the
East Florida government until 1816. At that time the governor auto-
matically became subdelegado of the Cuban superintendent by the
relinquishment by Cienfuegos of control of Florida finances.
During the constitutional periods the municipality of St. Augustine
was responsible to the Diputacidn Provincial in Havana for all of its
activities. This affected East Florida during both periods; West Florida
only during the first, since Pensacola had insufficient population in 1820
27. The intendancy of Cuba was raised to a superintendencia in 1812, at which time
Cuba was divided into three provincial intendancies.
28. A copy of the king's reply is found in A.N.C., Floridas, legajo 14, no. 79. Another
copy is in ibid., Reales Ordenes, IX, pp. 483-484. The reply stated that there was
absolutely no need for such an intendancy, but rather for a punctual observance of
the Laws of the Indies.
29. Ibid., Floridas, legajo 16, no. 130. The reply was dated June 18, 1799.
to warrant municipal government.30 There was an alcalde in Pensacola
for a time who disputed with the governor the control of many phases
of the administration, but this will be better treated in another connection.
The Government of West Florida, 1779-1821
BRITISH West Florida extended from the Appalachicola River to the
Mississippi, and north to the thirty-second parallel, but the gov-
ernor at Pensacola also exercised some jurisdiction as far north as
the Chickasaw nation, or what is now northern Mississippi.' The bound-
aries of the territory that came to be known as Spanish West Florida
were not so well defined. The British division line to the east was removed
in 1784 when the St. Marks district was shifted from the jurisdiction of
St. Augustine to that of Pensacola, a logical move since communication
with the latter was much easier than with the former. In this way the
trading post of Panton, Leslie and Company at St. Marks could be
more effectively supervised. No division line was ever drawn between the
St. Marks district and the jurisdiction of the governor at St. Augustine,
but it proved to be unnecessary because the intervening territory was
never settled by whites during the Spanish period. The northern boundary
was more troublesome.
The secret clause in the treaty between the United States and Great
Britain dealing with the area lying between th thirty-first and the thirty-
second parellels was responsible for a dispute between Spain and the
United States. The matter was further complicated by Spain's claiming
the whole east bank of the Mississippi and jurisdiction over the Indian
nations that had formerly traded with Mobile and Pensacola.2 Treaties
with the Creeks at Pensacola and with the Choctaws and Chickasaws at
Mobile in the spring and summer of 1784 went far toward making good
these claims and sent Spanish influence to Middle Georgia on the east
30. Some of the effects of the constitutional system on the Florida administration will
appear in the sections on the provincial governments. A more detailed study of
the constitutional phase is in preparation.
1. Governor Johnston to the Council of Choctaw Chiefs, March 26, 1765. Dunbar
Rowland, Mississipfi Provincial Archives (Nashville: 1911), I, 222.
2. For the Spanish claims see Mir6 to GAlvez, March 12, 1784, East Tennessee
Historical Society's Publications, No. 9 (1937), p. 116. For a discussion of these
claims see D. C. Corbitt, "James Colbert and the Spanish Claims to the East Bank
of the Mississippi," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, March, 1937.
DUVON CLOUGH CORBITT
and to the Cumberland on the north. Within a decade the imperialistic
Carondelet had garrisoned the debatable land with detachments of troops
stationed at Walnut Hills, Chickasaw Bluffs, Fort Confederation and
Fort St. Stephen. Natchez was in the same area but it had been in
Spanish hands since Gilvez occupied it in 1779. The only posts whose
ownership was not disputed by the Americans were Mobile, Pensacola
and St. Marks, the last being garrisoned in 1787 at the request of
Natchez and its district had a governor but was at the same time under
the supervision of the governor at New Orleans; nevertheless, the former
enjoyed the privilege of corresponding directly with the home govern-
ment.4 Walnut Hills, Fort San Fernando de las Barrancas at Chickasaw
Bluffs, as well as Fort Confederation, took orders after their establish-
ment in the nineties from New Orleans. Fort St. Stephen, like Mobile,
was dependent on Pensacola; although, as will be pointed out later, the
chief at New Orleans could send orders directly to them when he chose
to do so.
It will appear from the foregoing paragraphs that between the close
of the American Revolution and the loss of Louisiana by Spain, the so-
called province of West Florida could be said to extend from the Pearl
River on the west to some point east of St. Marks, north beyond Fort
St. Stephen and the Tensaw district, and as far northeast into the Creek
nation as Spanish influence reached. The frontiers just described were
very indefinite, but where in her colonies did Spain delineate or survey
Internal relations between the various officers were even less clear
than the boundaries of their jurisdiction. In one sense the whole of West
Florida was part of Louisiana, since the governor at New Orleans exer-
cised jurisdiction over it. However, Spanish officialdom chose to look
upon it as a province, and the governor, or commandant at Pensacola
was allowed some liberty of action. He could correspond directly with
the captain general, and not infrequently received orders by the same
route;' although the majority of his relations with the superior officers
3. Mir6 to McGillivray, July 13, 1787 and McGillivray to Mir6, July 25, 1787,
Archive General de Indias, Papeles de Cuba, legajo 200. For a translation see
East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications, No. 11 (1939), pp. 84-88.
4. Whitaker, The Misssisppi Question, 1795-1803, p. 30.
5. O'Neill to Gilvez, May 20 and 30, 1786 September 24, 1786; and October 11,
1786, East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications, No. 10 (1938), pp. 137-
151. O'Neill to Las Casas, October 2 and 18, 1790, Archivo General de Indias,
Papeles de Cuba, legajo 1445 (transcript in the McClung Collection).
were conducted through the governor at New Orleans. Some of the
Pensacola governors used their liberty to complain to the captain general
about the conduct of their superiors in the Louisiana capital.6
The position of the commandants of Mobile and St. Marks was
analogous to that of the governor at Pensacola in that, although they were
nominally under the jurisdiction of the governor at Pensacola, the gov-
ernor at New Orleans could send orders to them direct when he chose
to do so. The system became so confusing to Pedro Favrot at Mobile that
in December, 1786, he requested Governor Arturo O'Neill of Pensacola
to clarify his position. The latter replied: "The Superior direction and
orders of Don Estevan Mir6 are to be given preference, and it remains
for me only to give a general explanation of the rules that you are to
The loss of Louisiana by Spain simplified the situation by removing
the governor at New Orleans. Manuel Salcedo, the last incumbent, would
have had it otherwise. With no definite instructions as to his future
conduct, and loath to surrender his prerogatives as governor, Salcedo
moved up to Baton Rouge and attempted to continue ruling West Florida
from that point. The home government, however, elected to make
Pensacola the capital, and the governor of that post came into his own.8
Thereafter West Florida could boast of reasonably definite frontiers:
the Mississippi on the west and the thirty-first parallel on the north,
and the eastern boundary still undisputed.
For a time the commandant at Baton Rouge, Carlos de Grand Pr6,
was a vexing problem for Vicente Folch at Pensacola. Many factors con-
tributed to disturb the relations of Grand Pr6 with his new chief, but
the basis of the trouble probably lay in the fact that the former had
long drawn a salary as governor of Natchez, although no Spanish governor
had actually resided at that post since 1797, at which time Grand Pr6
had been commissioned to reoccupy it.9
Until the cession of Louisiana there were no civil officers in West
Florida. Financial and judicial, as well as administrative affairs were
carried on by the post commanders assisted by their lieutenants and other
employees, usually from the military forces. Finances were directed by
6. For instance see O'Neill to Gilvez, November 8, 1786, East Tennessee Historical
Society's Publications, No. 10, pp. 153-154.
7. O'Neill to Favrot, December 1, 1786, ibid., p. 135.
8. Cox, op. cit., p. 149.
9. Whitaker, op. cit., p. 65. For troubles between Folch and Grand Prd see Cox,
op. cit., p. 150-161.
DUVON CLOUGH CORBITT
the governor at Pensacola acting as subdelegado of the intendant in New
Orleans. Judicial and administrative decisions were appealable to the
governor of Louisiana, and beyond him to the king by way of Havana
or Santo Domingo according to the fuero, or charter of privileges that
might be involved;10 the judicial powers of the governor of Pensacola
himself were practically limited to conciliation and evidence collecting.
Minor cases were handled after the manner of a police court, or as by a
referee or friend. Major suits, along with evidence collected, were referred
to New Orleans for review by the governor and his asesor as long as
Louisiana belonged to Spain.
There is an eloquent though pathetic description of the working of the
administration at Pensacola written by Arturo O'Neill, who had been
ordered by Mir6 to deliver some munitions to McGillivray's Indians in
a way that the Americans would be unable to prove Spanish complicity.
I shall carry out your orders as far as possible. I should advise you, however, that the
presents of Powder and balls cannot be made in the quantities prescribed with the dis-
simulation and secrecy that you suggest to me, for these things are deposited in the royal
Warehouses, and to take them out the Adjutant of the Plaza, the Officer in Command
of Artillery, the Accountant who audits it, the Guard of the Indian Warehouse, the
Guard of the Artillery Warehouse, and the Porters and Wagoners who bring it to this
Place, must be informed after which follows the buying, and putting the Powder and
balls into sacks for transportation, turning them over to the Indians who are not a little
scrupulous about weight and Quality, and the distribution which is made through others
as has sometimes been done through Mr. Panton, in which manner the number of
persons knowing about it is increased.11
After 1803 the establishment at Pensacola inherited the position that
had belonged to the Louisiana capital. The first change was made in
obedience to the following order of December 10, 1803:
The King has resolved that, when that Province [Louisiana] is handed over to the
French Republic, West Florida shall remain under the control of the commandant of
Pensacola, that, in order that he may have an adviser in Civil and Criminal cases that
shall arise in the District under his command, the Auditor de Guerra y Asesor de
Gobierno that now resides in New Orleans shall move to the said Plaza, and that for
10. The Spanish administration of justice was a confusing jumble because so many
persons enjoyed fueros, or the right to be tried in the special courts of their
class, rank, order or organization. Suits in the Floridas involving fueros reached
Spain by way of Havana, where the captain general ordinarily presided over the
special courts of appeal. Ordinary suits went to the audiencia in Santo Domingo
(in Puerto Principe, Cuba after 1800) before going to Spain.
11. Archive General de Indias, Papeles de Cuba, legajo 37 (transcript in the McClung
Collection). A translation is printed in East Tennessee Historical Society's
Publications, No. 11 (1939), p. 90. O'Neill's letter was dated August 3, 1787.
the provincial discharge of the duties of Secretary of that Province the said Commandant
shall choose from the Garrison a Subaltern Officer, who shall receive a gratification
above his salary of two hundred and fifty pesos annually as is the practice with the
officer who performs those duties in East Florida. 2
In this order are to be found listed the important officers of the ad-
ministration outside of those attached to the intendancy. There was the
usual complement of assistants in the offices of the secretary, the auditor
and the governor, but with few exceptions they were military men selected
from the garrison.
Mobile and St. Marks had even less civilian interference in the govern-
ment than Pensacola. The commandants and their fellow officers governed
everything, even to finances. Usually the only civilians in the administra-
tion were the men in charge of the supply warehouses, one or two ware-
house guards (even these were at times soldiers) and the employees of
the trading post of Panton, Leslie and Company, who, although not
officially part of the administration, usually counted for as much as, and
some times more than the commandant himself. Baton Rouge was also
governed by a commandant with military assistants.
Other factors there were that deserve special mention. As early as
1787 it was found convenient to work out a special system for dealing
with the settlement of Tories, pioneers, vagabonds and half-breeds at
Tensaw on the Tombigbee. As a result one of the settlers, Tom Linder
by name, was appointed alcalde.13
A variation of this plan was used on a wider scale in the Pearl River-
Baton Rouge territory where the population had a similar composition.
Even while the Baton Rouge district was part of Louisiana the white
residents were allowed to have an alcalde and a syndic, chosen by the
governor upon their own recommendation. By 1810 the territory between
the Pearl and the Mississippi Rivers was divided into four districts
(Feliciana, Baton Rouge, St. Helena, and Tangipaho or St. Tammany),
each with an alcalde and a syndic. These officers were responsible for
carrying out orders from the governor at Pensacola or from the neighbor-
12. A copy of this order is found in A.N.C., Floridas, legajo 2, no. 43. It is con-
tained in a letter from Folch to Morales of January 23, 1804, informing the
latter of the appointment of Sublieutenant Francisco Morej6n of the 5th Company
of the 3rd Battalion of the Regiment of Louisiana to the secretaryship.
13. O'Neill to Mir6, March 27, 1787, East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications,
No. 11, pp. 67-68.
14. Cox, op. cit., pp. 152, 155, 161 and 312.
DUVON CLOUGH CORBITT
The appointment of the district alcaldes is interesting in that the
practice ran parallel to a similar plan adopted in East Florida in 1813.
There Governor Kindelan, faced with the necessity of ruling Anglo-
Americans along the St. Marys and the St. Johns, chose some persons
from among them to represent authority in the several districts. Kindelan,
however, confessed that he was following the practice common since
1763 in Cuba, where he had served for some time. There the captains
general had found it convenient to use residents from each locality to
represent them and keep order. The practice that grew up in West Florida
was very much like that followed in Cuba, but appears to have evolved
from local conditions rather than having been imported from Cuba.
Ironically enough, it was in the Pearl-Mississippi territory that dis-
satisfaction arose: in fact, these very alcaldes played an important part
in the next move, meeting in a junta somewhat after the pattern of those
which promoted independence in the South American colonies. By 1810
the inhabitants of the territory had revolted and had abolished Spanish
control. United States troops occupied this district and that east of the
Pearl River and west of the Perdido the next year. Thus it came about
that only Mobile, Pensacola and St. Marks remained in Spanish West
Florida to enjoy the blessings of the Constitution of 1812."
The Constitution provided for municipal government in towns whose
districts could muster one thousand or more inhabitants. Under this
provision Pensacola was organized as a municipality with an alcalde,
four regidores or councilmen and a sindico-procurador.16 This organiza-
tion functioned until the abrogation of the Constitution in 1814. There
was an attempt at reorganization in 1820 about which it will be necessary
to say more later.
One provision of the Constitution whose purpose was to separate the
political from the military functions was the cause of much contention
in the two Florida provinces. Such a step would have been inadvisable
in the frontier provinces of East and West Florida, where danger from
Indian attacks or troublesome white neighbors called for an essentially
military system. A special adaptation of the constitutional requirements
were, therefore, attempted, by which the governors retained their military
IS. The Spanish inhabitants of West Florida continued to claim everything up to the
Mississippi, especially when calculating representation in the Cortes and in the
Diputacidn Provincial in Havana. It is interesting to note that, although the
Spanish authorities made the same claim, they did not accept it when apportioning
the representation. A.N.C., Floridas, legajo 13, no. 8.
16. Ibid., legajo 1, no. 42.
commands and took over the duties of jefes politicos.'7 This amounted
to a cancelation of the strict orders of the national charter, and the
alcaldes of St. Augustine and Pensacola were not slow in protesting to
The problem was further complicated by the Spanish conception of a
municipality. Since all land in the Spanish dominions was considered
as attached to some municipality, the alcaldes claimed jurisdiction over
the respective provinces. The direction taken by their claims varied
slightly, that of the alcalde of St. Augustine leaning toward giving orders
to officers as well as to residents of rural areas. The essentially military
character of Mobile and St. Marks prevented the alcalde at Pensacola
from asserting jurisdiction over the commanders of those posts: instead,
he demanded that the public records be taken from the secretaria de
gobierno and placed in his care. When the governor (or jefe politico as
he was called) refused, he appealed to the audiencia in Puerto Principe
(formerly that of Santo Domingo), which sustained the demand.8 It
was a fruitless victory, for before the decision could be enforced the
constitutional regime was abolished (1814), and the old order returned,
only to be wiped out completely with the advent of Jackson in 1818.
A few months later Mariscal del Campo Juan Maria Echevarria was
commissioned to receive the province from the Americans, for which
purpose he left Havana with twenty-four officers and four hundred and
eighty-three men. Eight of the officers were for the permanent government
of the province. Lieutenant Colonel Jose Callava went to assume the
post of governor, and along with him went a captain to be secretary of
the government. There were an adjutant and five other officers for the
military establishment. Instead of restoring the intendancy that had
functioned until 1817, Callava was named subdelegado of the financial
administration in Havana. To assist him in this capacity went a treas-
urer, one treasury official, a clerk, a warehouse guard, and an officiall
de cuenta y razdn de artilleria."19 An auditor de guerra was soon ap-
Spanish control was scarcely restored in West Florida when news
arrived (early in May, 1820) that the Constitution of 1812 was back in
force. Callava and the other officials took the necessary oaths to support
17. Minutes of the City Council of St. Augustine. The originals are in the Library
of Congress. A copy is in the possession of the St. Augustine Historical Society
and Institute of Science.
18. A.N.C., Floridas, legajo 13, no. 6.
19. Ibid., Floridas, legajo 9, no. 33.
DUVON CLOUGH CORBITT
the charter and set about reorganizing the administration so as to conform
to its provisions. The title of gobernador military y jefe politico came into
use again and the question of a municipality was taken into consideration.
A census, however, revealed only 695 residents in Pensacola and its
district--a number far short of the one thousand required by the Con-
stitution. It was claimed, nevertheless, that Pensacola could qualify
under some special conditions laid down for exceptional cases. Callava
was uncertain and referred the matter to his legal adviser, the auditor
de guerra, NicholAs Santos Suarez. The latter handed down the amazing
opinion that Pensacola could not legally have municipal government,
but that it should have an alcalde. The governor followed up this con-
tradictory decision with a call for an election on June 15, 1820.
As soon as the new alcalde, Jos6 Noriega, took office, he reopened the
business of the first constitutional period by demanding the public
records, and he laid claim to all government functions in the province
that were not strictly military. After several weeks of wrangling, with
insufficient legal data (most of the documents of the former period had
been taken to Havana from fear of Jackson), Noriega uncovered a law
indicating that Santos Suarez could no longer hold office because of his
military position as auditor de guerra. Both sides then appealed to
Havana, Santos Suirez going in person to present his own case and
that of Governor Callava.
It was late in October, 1820, before the West Florida troubles were
laid before the Diputacidn Provincial in Havana, and a decision was not
reached until November 4 to the effect that the population of Pensacola
warranted neither a council nor an alcalde.20 Before it could be enforced,
however, orders had come from Spain to hand over Florida to the United
States. Thus it happened that when Andrew Jackson arrived to take
control of West Florida, he found the public welfare in the hands of the
mutually antagonistic alcalde and governor, neither of whom had any
clear idea of his own functions or powers. Small wonder that H. M.
Brackenridge, whom Jackson appointed to succeed Noriega as mayor,
could find no one to coach him in his duties. Not realizing that he was
trying to ascertain what related to an office that did not exist, he wrote
thus to Jackson:
I canont speak positively with respect to the duties and powers peculiarly and exclusively
belonging to the office . . The alcalde here has acted as notary public; as chief
of the police, he exercised a criminal jurisdiction, but of what nature I do not exactly
20. Ibid., legajo 13, no. 6. Diario del Gobierno Contitucional de la Habana, October
21 and 26, 1820.
know. . I have been able to procure but little information from my predecessor in
office; what he said was summed by the remark that I had more power than the
Noriega had surrendered none of his claims although Spain had lost the
21. Brackenridge to Jackson, July 18, 1820, American State Papers, Miscellaneous,
22. In the next issue of Tequesta will appear an article by Mr. Corbitt on "The
Government of East Florida" and "Agencies for Handling Indian Affairs" in this
same period. (EDImT).
Florida in History and Literature
Fabulous Florida, Florida's Story for Children, by Ruby Leach Carson,
Manfred, Van Nort and Co., Dallas Texas, 1942. Ilustrated, maps,
appendix, glossary, 249 pages, $2.50.
Students of Florida's varied and romantic history have been fortunate
in the last two years. Dr. Kathryn Abbey's, Florida, Land of Change,
reviewed in the preceding issue of Tequesta, answered the long felt need
for a textbook for more advanced students as well as for the general
adult reader. Fabulous Florida, by Ruby Leach Carson, written for
youngsters, appeared early this year to delight the hearts and stimulate
the imagination of old and young alike.
The author of Fabulous Florida has been closely associated with the
origin and development of the Historical Association of Southern Florida
and needs no introduction to its members. She is admirably equipped
to write the history of the state, for she has been studying, teaching, and
writing in that field for a number of years, and writes out of an abundant
knowledge and a deep appreciation of all the human elements that have
gone into the making of the state's history. The book is a remarkable
combination of authoritative information and simple, effective story-
telling that will appeal to youngsters and satisfy the demands of more
mature readers for a substantial account of the facts in the history of
The material is divided into eight units, with a total of fifty short
chapters, each complete in itself. Original illustrations and maps as well
as reprints of standard ones add to the interest and value of the book.
Various tables, charts and lists of important persons and events, and a
glossary, increase the usefulness of the volume. The story of the state
from discovery to the present day is built around the lives of the people
who made it. An amazing number of them are identified and described
in a manner to make them come alive again in the minds of the reader.
This technique appeals to children. It would also clear history of the
charge of dryness if it were applied in writing for college students and
In the preparation of the text Mrs. Carson had the advice of expert
educators at the Merrick Demonstration School of The University of
Miami and of the Demonstration School of The Florida State College,
and others. Her own children, Carol and Jack, were the "guinea pigs"
on which the presentation of all the stories was tested. Their reactions
were expert judgments on the difficult problem of adapting these accounts
to the capacities of the child mind, without distorting their historical
accuracy. The author and the publishers may well feel proud of Fabulous
The Mangrove Coast. The Story of the West Coast of Florida, by Karl A.
Bickel. New York, Coward-McCann Inc., 1942. 344 pp., $3.50.
There have not been many general histories of the Florida west coast
published, so that when a book such as Mr. Bickel's appears it is the
subject of great interest and expectation. A great variety of sources have
been quoted and there is no paucity of detail. One moves from the
wanderings of Ponce de Leon and De Soto through the days of the
coastal pirates, the Civil War, the Spanish American War to the flush
days of the 90's and the great Tampa Bay Hotel to the present day. All
these events Mr. Bickel follows with a running commentary gleaned
from old newspapers and other sources reflecting contemporary public
reactions. There are also 32 full pages of photographs.
A Guide to Miami and Dade County, in the American Guide Series,
prepared under the direction of Carita Doggett Corse and associates in
the Florida Writers' Projejct, Works Progress Administration, North-
port, N.Y., Bacon, Percy and Daggett, 1941. 250 pp. $2.25.
This book is an up to date guide to this area in a graphic picture of the
natural setting of flora and fauna and geology, together with a Calendar
of annual events, descriptions and locations of all points of interest. It
is more than just a guidebook. Space is devoted to activities peculiar to
this locality, including in each case a historical sketch of its beginnings.
There is an effective foreword by Marjory Stoneman Douglas. A special
feature is an unusually large number of excellent pictures.
The following two items, though not new, are mentioned herb for the
benefit of members of the association. Copies are available of The Com-
modore's Story by Ralph Middleton Munroe and Vincent Gilpin, New
York, Ives Washburn, Publishers, 1930. Of this book the New York
Times Book Review, November 30, 1930, says, ". . This story of his
life, written with much varied detail, is just such a local chronicle of the
development of a community as every city or region ought to be glad to
have .... It is the kind of volume that is always treasured in historical
collections because of its value as a source book .."
Also, Pioneer Reminiscences, by Mrs. Harlan Trapp, privately pub-
lished in 1940, is a personal narrative of Mr. and Mrs. Trapp's early
experiences in Coconut Grove. Mr. Trapp first came to Coconut Grove
in 1887. He brought Mrs. Trapp back with him in 1895. Mr. Trapp is
the only living charter member of the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, founded
in 1887. The famous Trapp avocado was named for him.
Florida Bibliography, 1941*
by WATT MARCHIMAN
The compilation below was prepared to offer to the readers of Tequesta,
a selected list of writings of literary and historical nature on the subject
of Florida and Floridians that were published in 1941. The comments
are merely descriptive. Only novels with authentic Florida characters
and backgrounds are included.*
Abbey, Kathryn T. Florida, Land of Change. Chapel Hill, University of
North Carolina Press. Illus., maps, index.
An excellent general history of Florida, written from secondary sources.
Blanding, Don. Floridays. New York, Dodd Mead & Co.
Colorful poems about Florida days and nights, illustrated with many of Bland-
ing's full-page drawings and decorations.
Chatelain, Verne E. The Defenses of Spanish Florida, 1565 to 1763.
Washington, D. C., Carnegie Institution of Washington. Illus., maps,
A monograph presenting Spain's defense of Florida. The study constitutes in
part a report of the investigations of the St. Augustine Historical Program.
Crandall, C. W. Treatise on the Practice in Actions and Law in the
Circuit Courts and Supreme Court of Florida. 1940 supplement. New
York, The Bobbs-Merrill Co.
*Mr. Marchman is preparing a similar bibliography for 1942 to appear in the next
issue of Tequesta. Any significant omissions from the 1941 list will be added as a
supplement in 1943. The inclusiveness of the compilation will be increased now
that this has been established as a regular feature of the journal.-THE EDITOL
Hamilton, Holman. Zachary Taylor, Soldier of the Republic. New York,
The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Illus., maps, index.
Chapter IX, "Florida Glory," is devoted to Taylor's activities in the Seminole
Indian War and in the Battle of Lake Okeechobee.
Laramore, Vivian Yeiser. Florida Poets, z941. Dallas, Tex., Manfred,
Van Nort Co.
Compilation of poems of Florida writers by the Poet Laureate of Florida.
More, L., ed. Florida Hotel and Travel Guide. New York, Florida Guide
Co., Illus., maps, index. 575 pp.
A good general guide book to Florida.
Nance, Ellwood C. Florida Christians, Disciples of Christ. Winter Park,
Fla., The College Press. Illus., 314 pp.
A compilation of the history of the Christian churches in Florida, prepared by
the Dean of the Knowles Memorial Chapel, Rollins College.
Venable, Elizabeth Marshall. William Adam Hocker (1844-r918), Justice
of the Supreme Court of Florida. A Biography. Privately printed.
Illus., 107 pp.
Work Projects Administration, Federal Writers' Project. A Guide to
Key West, Florida. (American Guide Series) New York, Hastings
House. Illus., bibliog., index. 122 pp.
A fine guide book to this old Florida port town.
Work Projects Administration, Federal Writers' Project, Florida Recrea-
tion Handbook. 28 pp. New York, Bacon and Wieck.
Work Projects Administration, Federal Writers' Project. Tamiami Trail.
Illus. Florida Highways, v. 9, pp. 8-9, 24-7, Dec. 1941.
Work Projects Administration, Florida Historical Records Survey.
Inventory of County Archives of Florida. No. 10. Clay County (Green
Cove Springs). Front., bibliog., index. 478 pp. Mimeo.
Inventory of County Archives of Florida. No. 37. Leon County
(Tallahassee). Front., bibliog., index. 201 pp. Mimeo.
---Inventory of Federal Archives in the States. No. 9, Florida.
Series III. The Department of the Treasury.
Series V. The Department of Justice.
Series VII. The Department of Navy.
Series VIII. The Department of the Interior.
Series IX. The Department of Agriculture.
Series X. The Department of Commerce.
Series XI. The Department of Labor.
Series XII. The Veterans' Administration.
Series XVI. The Farm Credit Administration.
Series XVII. The Miscellaneous Agencies.
-- Guide to public vital statistics records in Florida. Bibliog., ap-
pendix, 70 pp. Mimeo.
List of the materials in the Austin Cary Memorial Forestry Col-
lection in the University of Florida. Index, 47 pp. Mimeo.
List of municipal corporations in Florida (revised). Index, 89 pp.
---Spanish Land Grants in Florida. In five volumes. Unconfirmed
and Confirmed claims. vols. 3-5 published in 1941.
-- Transcriptions of public archives in Florida. Ordinances of the
City of St. Augustine. (v. 1, 1821-1827; v. 3, 1843-1861). Index,
--Translation and transcription of Church archives of Florida:
Roman Catholic Records, St. Augustine Parish. White Bap-
tisms, 1784-1792 and 1792-1799. In two volumes. Index to each
Corley, Pauline, The World and Richard. New York, Random House.
A young Southern belle loses both husband and child after a year of marriage.
In readjusting her life, she is attracted to and adopts a deformed foundling and
dedicates her life to its survival and return to normalcy. In her struggles she
brings happiness into the child's life as well as into her own. Concluding scenes
Faherty, Robert. Big Old Sun. New York, Putnam.
This story is one of violence, with explosive passions of the characters-a Georgia
cracker, a girl and a conch boy-barely held in check. For background there are
colorful descriptions of life on the Keys, of 'gator hunts and of fishing. The
setting and characters are real and the story moves rapidly.
Havron, Laurie. Hurricane Hush. New York, The Greystone Press.
The setting is in the turpentine woods of Florida. Farrell Lull, a descendant of
an old Florida family, believed herself to be in love with a young turpentine
worker. The affair flourished through one summer until the night of the
hurricane when Farrell discovered at last the power of her emotion.
Pratt, Theodore. Mercy Island. New York, Knopp.
Marooned on one of the Florida keys, six people fight for existence and against
the jealousies and hatreds among themselves and against the island's queer spell.
Strabel, Thelma. Reap the Wild Wind. Triangle Books.
An historical romance of Charleston, Key West and the Florida keys. The back-
ground is an excellent picture of life in Key West and it's connection with the
mainland in the middle eighteen hundreds. The story is tempestuous and melo-
Wylie, Philip, Salt Water Daffy. New York, Farrar & Rinehart.
Serialized in the Saturday Evening Post, Salt Water Daffy presents Crunch and
Des, two Miami fishing guides, in a new series of stories. They leave Miami to
go to Hollywood where they secured jobs as doubles. Later, returning to Florida,
they again find fish enthusiasts eager to go out after the big ones.
Adams, S. H., Sack of snakes: Florida snake collector. New Yorker, v. 17,
pp. 30-4, Mar. 1, 1941.
Babcock, E. L., Tampa in outline. Florida Municipal Record, v. 14,
pp. 18, 40, 57, Nov. 1941.
Boyd, Mark F., From a remote frontier: San Marcos de Apalache, 1763-
1769. Florida Historical Quarterly, v. 19, pp. 179-212, Jan.; pp. 402-
414, Apr.; v. 20, pp. 82-92, Jul.; pp. 203-209, Oct. 1941.
Brookfield, C. M., Cannon on Florida reefs solve mystery of sunken ship:
wreck of H.M.S. Winchester. Illus., map. National Geographic Mag-
azine, v. 80, pp. 807-27, Dec. 1941.
Carson, Ruby Leach, Florida, promoter of Cuban liberty. Florida His-
torical Quarterly, v. 19, pp. 270-92, Jan. 1941.
Cash, W. T., It Happened in Florida. Wentworth's Magazine, v. 1, p. 6,
Roads of Early Days in Florida. Florida Highways, v. 9. pp. 20-1,
Chatelain, Verne E., Spanish contributions in Florida to American cul-
ture. Florida Historical Quarterly, v. 19, pp. 213-45, Jan. 1941.
Colt, H. Dunscombe, Some notes on an archaeological survey for Florida.
Florida Historical Quarterly, v. 19, pp. 293-96, Jan. 1941.
Corbitt, D. C., The Return of Spanish rule to the St. Mary's and the
St. Johns, 1813-1821. Florida Historical Quarterly, v. 20, pp. 47-68,
---- Papers Relating to the Georgia-Florida Frontier, 1784-1800,
XVIII, edited and translated. Georgia Historical Quarterly,
V. 25, Mar. 1941.
----lbid., XIX concluded in June 1941 number.
Farris, Charles D., The courts of Territorial Florida. Florida Historical
Quarterly, v. 19, pp. 346-67, Apr. 1941.
Faye, Stanley, Commodore Aury. Louisiana Historical Quarterly, v. 24,
pp. 611-697, Jul. 1941.
Howe, Charles, A letter from Indian Key, 1840. Florida Historical
Quarterly, v. 20, pp. 197-202, Oct. 1941.
Huhner, Leon, Moses Elias Levy, Florida pioneer. Florida Historical
Quarterly, v. 19, pp. 319-45, Apr. 1941.
Leary, Lewis, James Holmes' Florida plantation, 1804. Florida Historical
Quarterly, v. 20, pp. 69-71, Jul. 1941.
Lewis, M. F. W., Watery pastures. Illus. Audubon Magazine, v. 43, pp.
511-20, Nov. 1941.
Olschki, Leonardo, Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth: history of a
geographic myth. Hispanic-American Historical Review, v. 21, pp.
361-85, Aug. 1941.
Publicity in 1669; excerpts from a London advertisement found in an
Annapolis, Md., library. Hobbies, v. 46, pp. 116-7, Aug. 1941.
Sharp, Helen, R., Samuel A. Swann and the development of Florida,
1855-1900. Florida Historical Quarterly, v. 20, pp. 169-96, Oct. 1941.
White, E. B., One mans' meat. Harper's Magazine, v. 182, pp. 553-6, Apr.
Wreck a-s-h-o-r-e Illus. (Key West) Saturday Evening Post, v. 213,
pp. 16-7 +, Mar. 1, 1941.
Wroth, Lawrence C., Source materials of Florida history in the John
Carter Brown library of Brown University. Florida Historical Quarter-
ly, v. 20, pp. 3-46, Jul. 1941.
Wylie, Philip. Florida detour. Harper's Magazine, v. 184, pp. 101-4, Dec.
Park, N., Leaf from Louisiana's book: G. Whitten house, Miami. Illus.,
plans. Art and Decoration, v. 54, pp. 13-5, Dec. 1941.
Record poll of urban architecture (Miami). Illus., map. Architectural
Record, v. 89, pp. 21-2, Apr. 1941.
Shelborne Hotel (Miami Beach). Illus., plans. Architectural Record, v.
90, pp. 41-6, Jul. 1941.
Vacation house on Indian River, Hobe Sound. Illus., plans. Architectural
Record, v. 90, pp. 62-5, Jul. 1941.
Baker, J. H., Saving southwest Florida: Everglades National Park.
Audubon Magazine, v. 42, p. 209, Mar. 1941.
Morrison, K. D., America's last frontier: Florida Everglades, perhaps
the site of our next national park. Nature Magazine, v. 34, pp. 570-2 +,
Shaw, Jimmy, The hermit of Cape Sable. Illus. Florida Game and Fish,
v. 2, pp. 3-5, Jan. 1941.
Wylie, Philip, Florida Chechako, Illus. Florida Game and Fish, v. 2,
pp. 3-5, Mar. 1941.
Faye, Stanley, Spanish fortifications of Pensacola, 1698-1763. Florida
Historical Quarterly, v. 20, pp. 151-68, Oct. 1941.
Fillingim, T. D., Old Fort San Carlos: Fort Barrancas, Pensacola, Fla.
Illus. Wentworth's Magazine, v. 1, p. 9, Apr. 1941.
Howard, Clinton N., Colonial Pensacola: The British Period. Pts. 2 and
3. Florida Historical Quarterly, v. 19, pp. 246-69, Jan.; pp. 368-401,
Murrill, W. A., Some Florida novelties. Mycologia, v. 33, pp. 279-87,
531-20, Nov. 1941.
Interesting places in and near Pensacola. Wentworth's Magazine, v. 1,
pp. 13, 22. Dec. 1941.
Pensacola during the War Between the States. Illus. Wentworth's Mag-
azine, v. 1, pp. 11, 15, May 1941.
Mowat, Charles L., St. Augustine under the British flag, 1763-1775.
Florida Historical Quarterly, v. 20, pp. 131-50, Oct. 1941.
Study reveals how Spain defended early America. Science News Letter,
V. 40, p. 199. Sept. 27, 1941.
Work Projects Administration, Federal Writers' Project, St. Augustine
Shrimp Fleet. Illus. Florida Highways, v. 9, pp. 8-9, 30-2, Nov. 1941.
of Historical Association of Southern Florida
ARTICLE I: NAME
The name of this association shall be Historical Association of Southern Florida.
The place where it is to be located is Miami, in Dade County, Florida.
ARTICLE II: OBJECTS
The purposes of the Historical Association of Southern Florida are
(1) To discover, collect and preserve all materials, especially original and source
materials, pertaining to the history of or in any manner illustrative of Southern Florida
and related areas such as the Keys, Bahamas, Yucatan, Cuba and West Indies generally.
(2) The dissemination of this knowledge for the enlightenment of our citizenry
through preparing, editing and publishing historical materials descriptive and illustra-
tive of Sotuhern Florida and related areas especially through an annual journal and
programs of historical papers.
(3) To promote historical research.
(4) To preserve and perpetuate historic sites and places.
(5) To bring together those interested in the history of these areas.
(6) To promote and stimulate public interest in and appreciation of the history of
Southern Florida and related areas and to further in every way Southern Florida's
ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP
All persons of good character may become members of this Association upon pay-
ment of dues as provided by the by-laws. Honorary members may be chosen at all
annual meetings but only upon unanimous recommendation of the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors may provide by appropriate by-laws for additional types of
membership, such as contributing members, life members and other special types of
members, as the Board sees fit, who shall pay such dues as the Board may determine.
ARTICLE IV: TERMS OF EXISTENCE
This Association shall have a perpetual existence.
ARTICLE V: ORIGINAL INCORPORATORS
Founding members and charter members in list of members on page 78-80.
ARTICLE VI: OFFICERS AND ANNUAL MEETING
Section 1. The affairs of the Association are to be managed by the following officers
and directors, namely:
A President, a First Vice-President, a Second Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer,
Editor of the Journal, a Librarian and a Board of Directors consisting of the President,
the First and Second Vice-Presidents, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Editor of the
Journal, the Librarian and not more than twenty-one directors chosen from the member-
ship at large.
Section 2. Such officers and directors named herein shall be elected annually.
Section 3. Such officers and directors are to be elected at the annual meeting of the
Association which shall be held on the fourth Tuesday in May unless otherwise
designated by the Board of Directors, the place of such annual meeting to be
designated at least ten days in advance by the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE VII: CHARTER OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS
The names and residences of the officers and directors who are to manage all of the
affairs of the Association until the first election are as follows:
George E. Merrick, Miami
F. M. Hudson, Miami Mrs. James M. Carson, Miami
First Vice-President Second Vice-President
Gaines R. Wilson, Miami Thomas P. Caldwell, Coral Gables
Lewis Leary, Coconut Grove Mrs. Mabel B. Francis, Miami
Editor, Tequesta Librarian
Hervey Allen, Coconut Grove Dr. John C. Gifford, Coconut Grove
A. H. Andrews, Estero, Florida Cornelia Leffier, Miami
Bowman F. Ashe, Coconut Grove Mrs. Charles W. Ten Eick,
James M. Carson, Miami Hollywood, Florida
D. Graham Copeland, Everglades, Florida John G. McKay, Miami Beach
S. Bobo Dean, Miami Beach Robert E. McNicoll, Coral Gables
Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Mary Moseley, Nassau, N.P. Bahamas
Coconut Grove Thomas J. Pancoast, Miami Beach
Gaston Drake, Miami William R. Porter, Key West
George C. Estill, Miami Edwrd C. Romfh, Miami
Mrs. William L. Freeland, Coral Gables Charlton W. Tebeau, Coral Gables
ARTICLE VIII: BY-LAWS
Section 1. The by-laws of the Association are to be made, altered or rescinded by a
two-thirds vote of members present and voting at any regular meeting with the revisions
having been read at a previous meeting.
Section 2. The Board of Directors shall at its discretion create such committees as
may be necessary to carry on the work of the society and the President will appoint
such committees subject to the approval of the Board of Directors and said Board
shall determine what publication or publications, if any, shall be issued by the Associa-
tion, and shall provide funds for the expenses of issuing and handling the same.
ARTICLE IX: LIMIT OF INDEBTEDNESS
The highest amount of indebtedness or liability to which the Association may at any
time subject itself is $10,000.00 dollars, which shall never be greater than two-thirds
of the value of the property of the Association.
ARTICLE X: VALUE OF REAL ESTATE
The amount in value of the real estate which the Association may hold, subject
always to the approval of the Circuit Judge, is $25,000.00 dollars.
ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS
This Association may amend its charter by resolution as provided in the by-laws,
and as provided by law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned have hereunto set their hands and seals.
GEORGE E. MERRICK
F. M. HUDSON
JAMES M. CARSON
GAINES R. WILSON
WILLIAM B, ROMAN
Historical Association of Southern Florida
ARTICLE I: NAME
The name of this Society shall be the "HIsTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN
FLORIDA." Its headquarters shall be in Dade County, Florida.
ARTICLE II: OBJECTS
The objects for which this Association is formed are to:
1. Discover, collect and preserve all materials, especially original and source materials,
pertaining to the history of or in any manner illustrative of southern Florida and
related areas, such as the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, Yucatan, Cuba and the West
2. The dissemination of this knowledge for the enlightenment of our citizenry
through the preparation and publication of historical material descriptive of and
illustrative of southern Florida and related areas through an annual Journal and
programs of historical nature;
3. To promote historical research, and to preserve and perpetuate historical sites;
4. To bring together those interested in the history of these areas to promote and
stimulate public interest in and appreciation of the history of the area and to further in
every way the perpetuation of the knowledge of Florida's historic past.
ARTICLE III: ELIGIBILITY AND MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. All persons of good character, agreeable to the Board of Directors may
become members of this Association upon the payment of annual dues.
Section 2. Honorary members may be chosen at any regular meeting, provided that
names for such membership may be presented only upon unanimous recommendation of
the Board of Directors. A majority vote at the annual meeting shall elect.
Section 3. The Board of Directors may, from time to time, provide for additional
types of membership, with such dues as the Board may determine.
ARTICLE IV: TERM OF EXISTENCE
This Association shal have a perpetual existence.
ARTICLE V: OFFICERS
Section 1. The officers of this Association shall consist of a President, a Vice-President,
a second Vice-President, a Recording Secretary, a Corresponding Secretary, a Treasurer,
an Editor of the Journal and a Librarian.
Section 2. There shall be directors, not more than twenty-one in number, chosen
from the membership at large.
Section 3. Such officers and directors shall constitute a Board of Directors and shall
be elected by ballot at the Annual Meeting.
ARTICLE VI: DUTIES OF OFFICERS
Section 1. The president shall preside at all meetings and shall perform such other
duties as pertain to the office. He shall be member ex-officio of all committees except
the nominating committee.
Section 2. The vice-presidents, in their order, shall in the case of the death, absence,
or resignation of the president, perform the duties of the office.
Section 3. The recording secretary shall keep a permanent record of all meetings and
shall have charge of all records and documents, except those which properly are in the
care of the librarian and editor.
Section 4. The corresponding secretary shall conduct the general correspondence of
the Association, and shall send out notices of all meetings, upon receipt of programs
from the Program Chairman. He shall notify all officers of their election, all com-
mittees of their appointment and members of any action affecting them. In case of the
absence of the recording secretary, he shall perform such of his duties as are imperative.
Section 5. The treasurer shall collect the dues and have charge of all funds of the
Association, and shall deposit same in a bank designated by the Board of Directors. He
shall keep an alphabetical list of all members with addresses, date admission to the
Association. He shall make all payments for authorized purposes by check only. His
accounts shall be audited at the close of his term of office in a manner determined by
the Board of Directors.
Section 6. The editor of the Journal shall have charge of the publication of the
"Tequesta," official journal of the Association. He shall be assisted by associate editors
who shall be appointed by the president with the approval of the Editor and Board of
Section 7. The librarian shall have charge of all books, manuscripts, relies, docu-
ments and maps, including all surplus copies of Tequesta, and such other materials as
may be the property of the Association and such other materials loaned to the Associa-
tion. He shall keep an itemized, classified list of all accessions with the name of the
donor, date of the gift and any information pertaining to them. He shall continually
strive to increase these accessions.
ARTICLE VII: BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section 1. The officers and directors shall constitute a Board of Directors.
Section 2. This Board shall direct and control the affairs of the Association and in
general adopt any measures advisable for the well being of the Association, providing
that no debt or liability, except for current expenses, shall be incurred, unless approved
by the members of the Association at a regular meeting.
Section 3. The Board shall fill any vacancy in office which occurs for any reason
other than expiration of the term thereof, such elected officer to continue until the
following annual election.
ARTICLE VIII: MEETINGS
Section 1. Program, social or business meetings shall be held at such times and
places as arranged by the Program Committee with the approval of the Board of
Section 2. The annual meeting shall be held on the fourth Tuesday in May unless
otherwise designated by the Board of Directors, for thepurpose of electing officers,
receiving annual reports of officers and committee chairmen and for the transaction of
any business that may arise.
Section 3. Meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by the president at any
time, or upon the written request of three members of the Board.
ARTICLE IX: COMMITTEES
Section I. The president shall appoint such committees as are approved by the
Board of Directors, with the exception of the nominating committee which shall be
elected by the Association at the meeting immediately preceding the Annual Meeting.
Section 2. The Board of Directors shall direct the scope of the work of all com-
ARTICLE X: DUES
Section 1. Annual dues of one dollar are payable on or before November first for the
succeeding calendar year, and are delinquent on January first, the membership card
being considered a receipt.
Section 2. Tequesta, official journal of the Association, shall be mailed to all mem-
bers in good standing at the time of publication of same.
ARTICLE XI: QUORUM
Section 1. Twenty members present shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of
business at any meeting.
Section 2. Five members shall constitute a quorum at a meeting of the Board of
ARTICLE XII: AMENDMENTS
These by-laws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of members present and voting
at a regular meeting, provided that notice of the proposed amendment shall be sent to
all members at least two weeks before the meeting at which it is to be considered.
ARTICLE XIII: PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
Robert's Rules of Order Revised shall govern the Association.
to the Historical Association of Southern Florida
IT is most fitting that the extreme southern section of Florida should
have a historical journal, and it is even more appropriate that the
Historical Society of this area should publish it.
There are not a few who err in thinking that everything of importance
in that part of Florida south of parallel 29 degrees north latitude has
happened within the last fifty or sixty years. As a matter of fact history
was being made in southern Florida long before the founding of James-
town, in fact even prior to the birth of Shakespeare.
During Ponce de Leon's voyage in 1513 he discovered a group of
islands on which were numerous turtles and gave them the name "Tor-
tugas," which they have borne ever since. Later on Ponce de Leon sailed
up the west coast and into Charlotte Harbor which long afterward was
known as "the Bay of Juan Ponce."
On the mainland near this same bay in 1566 Pedro Menendez was
married to the sister of the chief of the Caloosa Indians and as a result
of the Spanish visit a mission was established.
Even prior to the coming of Menendez Spanish treasure fleets from
Mexico had been wrecked along the islands and coast of Florida or
grounded on its reefs, but there came a time when what were known as
"the plate fleets" suffered more from pirates than from storms or treach-
erous coastal channels.
The most famous of these pirates was Jose Gaspar and many are the
romantic tales concerning him. Many persons during the years have
searched the islands and coasts of South Florida hoping to find some
pirates cache or the gold from the wreck of a plate fleet. The story of the
wreckers of Key West has been many times written, but it always has
a new interest for us every time it is related.
The history of South Florida's part in the Indian wars of the State
is particularly interesting, and I am glad that the names of such men as
Dade, Meade, Worth, Eustis, Myers, Lauderdale and many others are
perpetuated in your place designations. Many now living do not know
why Eustis, Lake Worth, Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale received the
honored names the bear.
In bringing unknown historical material to light you are doing a good
work. Your society will promote useful research and will be the means
of illuminating your interesting history.
I not only wish you well, I believe your success is assured.
Signed: SPESSARD L. HOLLAND
ADIN BABER of Kansas, Illinois, and Miami, Florida has made a hobby
of the study of early American history as shown by the records of the
movement of commerce and military supplies over early trails and
DUvoN CLOUGH CORBITT, Ph.D., is a professor in Candler College,
Havana, Cuba. He has published many results of his researches in the
Cuban and the Spanish archives.
DAVID FAIRCHILD of Coconut Grove organized the Section of Foreign
Seed and Plant Introduction of the U. S. Department of Agriculture in
1898. He became head of this organization as it developed into a Division.
He conducted as its Agricultural Explorer various Expeditions in many
parts of the world in search of new and valuable plants of promise for
agricultural and horticultural uses in America. This Division has fostered
the introduction of nearly 200,000 varieties and species of useful plants.
He came to Miami first in 1898 and made his home here in 1916 and is
the author of "Exploring for Plants" and "The World was my Garden"
and the "Book of Monsters" and has been President of the American
Genetic Association since 1913. This association publishes the Journal of
HELEN C. (Mrs. Wm. L.) FREELAND of Coral Gables knew George
Merrick intimately for thirty-one years. She has seen the city of Coral
Gables grow from its inception in the mind of the founder. Mrs. Freeland
has wide interests in history and genealogy and has done much research,
especially in the latter.
ROBERT F. GREENLEE of Ormond Beach, Florida, has lived among the
Seminoles, has been permitted to witness their ceremonies and to make
recordings of them. These recordings are available to students of Indian
WATT MARCHMAN, is now residing in St. Augustine, where he is Cor-
responding Secretary and Librarian of the Florida Historical Society.
T. RALPH ROBINSON, has retired from government service and lives at
Terra Ceia, Florida. He was a plant physiologist in the Division of
Fruit and Vegetable Crops and Diseases, Bureau of Plant Industry,
United States Department of Agriculture. He spent much of his active
life in Florida stations.
Historical Association of Southern Florida
E. S. Bradfield
Mrs. Charles Brickell
Thomas P. Caldwell
James M. Carson
Mrs. James M. Carson
Mrs. Francis B. Crowninshield
Mrs. Thomas Means Culbertson
Mrs. Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Lisa deF. Downer
Sophie W. Downer
Mrs. Henry J. Egger
Mrs. William L. Freeland
Mrs. Florence P. Haden
F. M. Hudson
Lemon City Public Library
Hugh M. Matheson
John G. McKay
George E. Merrick (deceased)
Col. Robert H. Montgomery
Mrs. Robert H. Montgomery
William R. Porter
Dr. Edwin L. Rasmussen
Edward Coleman Romfh
Mrs. Robert Morris Seymour
Frank B. Shutts
Dr. Maurice H. Tallman
D. Earl Wilson
Gaines R. Wilson
Mrs. T. A. Winfield
Kathryn T. Abbey William Mark Brown
Adam Gillespie Adams Mrs. William Mark Brown
Rachel Adelman Mrs. James D. Browne
Hervey Allen Thomas C. Brownell
Howard Reade Anderson Mrs. Franklin Coleman Bush
A. H. Andrews Mrs. Thomas P. Caldwell
Bowman F. Ashe Willard Caler
Mrs. Josephine Stephens Ayer Park H. Campbell
Adin Baber Mrs. Park H. Campbell
Charles H. Baker, Jr. Marie Louise Cappick
Georgia I. Barnes Mrs. William R. Catlow, Jr.
Georgia May Barrett Buckner Chipley, Jr.
Rev. Joseph Barth Mrs. Flournoy B. Clark
John M. Baxter Mrs. Mary Helm Clarke
Sara H. Bayne Ernest F. Coe
K. Malcolm Beal Coconut Grove Civic Club
Margaret M. Beaton Jesse Jaudon Combs
Mrs. Alfred John Beck Walter H. Combs, Sr. (deceased)
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