"We know as little of Florida as we do of the interior of Africa. Every foot we advance in the country we make new discoveries and meet with more obstacles to surmount, but they all vanish before our little band who are deserving of a better fate. The people of our country do not appreciate our exertions . . ."

--Joseph Van Swearingen to his sister, Kissimmee River, 15 December 1837
Written 10 days before his death in the Battle of Okeechobee, Second Seminole War

The Pioneer Days in Florida: Diaries and Letters from Settling the Sunshine State, 1800-1900 Collection will digitize 19th century manuscript materials from the Florida Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection within the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History.

The Pioneer Days in Florida project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) will digitize 36,530 pages of diaries and letters describing frontier life in Florida from the end of the colonial period to the beginnings of the modern state.  These first-hand accounts, comprising some of the rarest materials in the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, document the experiences of settlers, soldiers, and travelers who trail-blazed Florida during the wars of Indian Removal, the Civil War, and the Gilded Age. Additionally, the project team will create 3 lesson plans for use by teachers and conduct usability testing and extensive promotion and outreach.