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Interview with Alexander Linn, March 23, 1974

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Interview with Alexander Linn, March 23, 1974
Creator:
Linn, Alexander ( Interviewee )
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English

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Subjects / Keywords:
Seminole Indians
Seminoles -- Florida
Seminole Oral History Collection ( local )
Rev. Alexander Linn Papers ( local )

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This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.

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Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
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This interview is part of the 'Seminoles' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
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SEM 108 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

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SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
In cooperation with The Seminole Tribe of Florida
INTERVIEWEE: REVEREND ALEXANDER LINN
INTERVIEWER: TOM KING
DATE: March 23, 1974


INDEX
Board of National Missions, 2
Brighton Reservation, 8
Brown, Frank and Will, 4
Bureau of Indian Affairs, 13-14
Caloosahatchee River, 3
Cattle rustling, 5, 9
Dress, 10
Everglades, 4-5, 7
Family, 3
Farming, 8
Fort Blount, 3
Glenn, James, 12-14
Government aid, 13
Green Corn Dance, 10
Hackensack, New Jersey, 1
Hamburg, New Jersey, 1
Hospitality, 10
Hunting
alligators, 5
stray pigs, 5
Immokalee, 4, 11
Indian Prairie, 14


Indiantown, 14-15
Indian villages, 3, 8
Intermarriage, 3
Jackson, Andrew, 3
King, Willy, 12
Lake Okeechobee, 2, 4, 7, 10, 14
Land ownership, 8-9, 13-15
Language
Creek [Muskogee], 12
English, 7-8
Medicine, 1
Religion
Christianity for the Seminoles, 5
church, 2
missionary activity, 12
St. Petersburg, Florida, 1-2
Seminole
Cow Creek Indians, 3, 7, 10, 12, 15
meaning, 3
Miccosukee, 3, 7, 10
Slavery, 3
Smithsonian Institution, 12
Sussex, New Jersey, 1
Tiger, Ada and Missy, 15
Trading, 11-12
Transportation, 4, 11, 15
White impact on Indians, 9


S: [I was born in the] little town of Hamburg, up in New Jersey. My
father was the son of a horse and buggy doctor, years ago up
there. In the town of Sussex there is a memorial hospital that
has been built in his memory. My father was then given over to a
doctor in Newton, New Jersey, the county seat of Sussex County,
in which I was born. His mother, then of course widowed, had a
considerable amount of trouble raising a family of four boys. He
became a successful druggist and settled in the town of Hamburg
where I was born. Hamburg was a town without a high school. High
schools were rather rare in those days. That's way back in 1881
when I was born.
When it came time for me to continue my education beyond the
grade school, I went to live with an aunt in Hackensack, New
Jersey, where I lived for three years. I'd had one year in a
private school in the town of Sussex--Sealey's Select School. It
had a good name, and it was a good school as such schools go.
But I enjoyed my stay in Hamburg; however, I was an asthmatic, and
wherever : I went, I suffered considerably with asthma. My school-
ing was very irregular. But I always enjoyed such stories as the
Leatherstocking Tales, and things of that kind that gave us a
pretty good idea of the Indian life in our country. I was always
sympathetic with anything that was being done to assist the Indian
for his betterment. When I graduated from high school, for some
strange reason they made me the class orator, and my address was
on the American Indian. As I look over that address today, I find
that it was very immature and high schooly.
My health didn't improve at all in that country, and I was so
irregular in my schooling that I went over to New York and had a
talk with a specialist in pulmonary disorders. He said, "Now
you're young and unattached, why don't you just start out and go
to where you will be as free as possible from the idiosyncrasies
that seem to be disturbing you, like the hay, and the threshing,
and the cows. We can't tell how many difficulties you may have,
but go until you find a place where you're as free from them as
possible." I went down to the Jersey coast almost every summer
when I was in college, and was clerk in a hotel there like a lot
of college boys were, and are yet, I believe. There I met a man
who was coming to Florida, where he had a hotel in St. Petersburg
--the Huntington Hotel. I booked with his hotel help.
We sailed on one of the Clyde Line steamers for Jacksonville,
on the Savannah Line--that's what I believe we did. And there we


2
took the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, the old wood-burning loco-
motive that had to stop every once in awhile. You see, this is
back in 1905, and things were nowhere near as modern and as well
equipped as they are today. By the time we got in St. Petersburg,
we were pretty well blackened up with the smoke from the loco-
motive and pretty well tired out from sitting up all night. How-
ever, it was all new country to me, and I enjoyed it every bit.
My health seemed to be improving as I came on down, for no partic-
ular reason that I can think of. So we came to St. Petersburg,
where I stayed as clerk of the hotel that winter and recovered my
health. A merchant there then offered me a job as bookkeeper in
his hardware and furniture business. And from one thing to another.
But I was always interested in church work, and in work with
youth, and always interested in trying to see new people, and find
out where they were and what could be done for them. So it
wasn't long before the church had me preaching a little to groups
of people here, there, and yonder around St. Petersburg. I would
go up to Tarpon Springs or over to Pinellas Park or to a little
church that was right there in St. Petersburg and hold services
for them. It must have been a pretty crude kind of ministry, but
anyway they tolerated it and encouraged me. And then when the
Board of National Missions heard of me and what I was doing, they
asked me if I would consider a full-time job, which I did. I be-
came a full-time worker in the department of church extension and
Sunday school missions, and devoted all of my time to the organ-
izing of the Sunday schools, and sometimes stay with them until
they became churches. In this way, however, the opportunity was
afforded for me in the large field that I had, all of Florida, to
contact any group of people who might be interested in the ministry.
When I came across a small group of Indians over around Lake
Okeechobee, I made up my mind that I was going to give some time
to that because it was well within my work.
When I met these groups of Indians who were temporarily
camped, perhaps near some store where their husbands were trading,
I decided that I was going to follow their trails into their
wilderness homes, and inquire of them how they felt about religious
matters. So this I did. My first visits to the Indians were in
the Indian Prairie section, which is north of Lake Okeechobee.
There I met a man who was a good friend to me as long as I visited
the Indians, and his name was Coffee Gopher. When I visited there
about a year ago, I saw that his children were pleased to know that
I had known their grandfather, Coffee Gopher.
That was a very interesting field for me, because it was not
difficult to travel through that flat country and go from one
cabbage palmetto hammock to another. Sometimes the Indian villages
were so well hidden by the shrubbery around them that you might
walk by a camp and not know it was there. The grass was tall,


3
sometimes as tall as my head, and you would find a trail meander-
ing through this grass that would lead you to their village, if
you were hunting their village. These Indian villages were not
tribal villages, they were family villages. You would find the
patriarch and the matriarch there, and their sons, and their
sons' wives, or their daughters, and their daughters' husbands.
Strictly a family affair--rarely ever any real stranger to the
whole family would be there. And so you wouldn't ordinarily
find more than ten or twelve or fifteen men and women and children
in the camp.
They lived a very simple life--not very sanitary, I must
say. Sometimes forest fires and our tropical storms created a
great deal of disturbance among the Indians. Often they would
have to resort to considerable repair on their chickees after a
storm had passed through that area. I also became interested in
the Indians south of Lake Okeechobee, a larger group of Indians
we call the Miccosukees.
The name Cow Creek Indian and Miccosukee Indian, those are
tribal names, but usually when we speak of our Florida Indians,
we call them Seminoles. Now the word Seminole means "runaway."
It refers to those Indians who, when the larger nations of south-
eastern United States, principally in Georgia, were pressed by
the colonies to keep moving farther west, these tribes of Indians
refused to go. But they crossed the Florida line--Florida was
then Spanish possession--and came over into Florida to make their
home. And that's the reason we call them Seminoles. We usually
don't speak of our Indians if we see them as being Cow Creeks or
Miccosukees; we just call them Seminoles.
The government has given a good deal of consideration to the
Seminole Indians. Perhaps the first difficulty that arose between
the Seminoles and the federal forces of colonial days was due to
the fact that the Negro slaves would escape from their masters and
cross over into Florida, which was then Spanish territory, and
make their home with the Indians. There was very little inter-
marriage between the Seminole Indians and the Negroes; it was dis-
couraged whenever it happened. The Negro became the servant of the
Seminole, just as he had been the servant of the white man in
Georgia or Alabama or wherever he might have escaped from.
General Jackson [Andrew Jackson], some years ago, before
Florida became the United States possession, made a raid through
north Florida trying to recover for the plantation owners of
Georgia and Alabama some of the escaped Negro slaves. They heard
that he was on: the way to return them to their owners, so a
lot of them took refuge in an old fort that was called Fort Blount,
up on the Caloosahatchee River. Something like 270 or 300 Indians
--men, women and children--gathered there. When Jackson was on
his hunt to recover these slaves he fired a charge into the powder


4
magazine where a considerable amount of explosive material had
been stored, and blew up the fort, killing about two-thirds of
the Indians and the Negroes who had taken refuge there. That
was a regrettable incident. Such things as that did occur from
time to time; however, nothing to exceed that in the extent of the
holocaust.
I believe I said I did want to visit the Indians south of
Lake Okeechobee. I had a "T" model Ford in those days. It was a
coupe. And I had bought that "T" model Ford without any idea of
being interested in the Indians of Florida. It was not the very
best sort of a conveyance for some of the country through which I
had to travel, except that in bad weather you could close it all
up and it did lend some comfort to the traveller.
I found, especially in the summer time, that south of Lake
Okeechobee was a very difficult country for my labors, if you want
to call them labors. And sometimes they really were. The country
is flat, and it has a hard pan almost over the entire area, and
the water gathers every time it rains in innumerable pools and
streams. I would often have to get out of the car and walk across
a wet spot to see how deep it was, and whether or not the ground
under the wet spot was soft, and I might bog down. I did a lot of
wading and exploring to discover where I could go. The ox carts
of the Indians had a very high axle compared with the axle of a
Ford car, and so there were a lot of obstructions that were not
always visible. I would have to get out and take an ax and cut
down a cypress knee, or some little growth that was in the way of
our progress. I usually picked up an Indian boy when I went into
that country.
My first trip in to the Seminoles south of Lake Okeechobee,
I stopped at the town of Immokalee, where a man by the name of
Brown lived. Brown had been dealing with the Indians for a good
many years. I knew that he could tell me something about how to
follow the trail in there. He said to me, "Now, why don't you wait.
My son is out on the reservation there now. He's a sort of care-
taker. His boys have gone to Fort Myers to do some shopping.
They'll be along pretty soon, and one of them will get right in
your car with you, and ride along with you all the way in to the
reservation house." So that's what I did. It was a very enjoyable
trip because those boys were living in that Everglades country,
and they knew every twist and turn. We would drive through a pond
without any fear of being stuck or getting in over our heads, or
anything like that.
The first time I visited the Indians south of Lake Okeechobee,
I went out and put up my tent on Frank Brown's place--Frank Brown,
the son of Will Brown. Frank was living with the daughter of a
frontiersman out there, and he had abandoned his wife in Immokalee.
He was at that time trying to get something against his wife,


5
persuading some of his Immokalee freelancers to go in there and
implicate her in some activities which would give him an opportunity
to sue her for a divorce. But I didn't let the troubles of the
individuals worry me too much, and I enjoyed my stay of a couple
of weeks at Frank Brown's place. I hunted alligators with him;
I hunted stray pigs with him. When I left there two weeks later,
I took a good portion of a pig we had caught and slaughtered in
to his father. But on the way out, I got lost--I wandered around
so much that I don't know whether that meat was fit to eat by the
time we got into Immokalee.
That's a vast country in there. When I left Frank Brown's
early in the morning, after spending two weeks there visiting the
Indians, one of his boys accompanied me, and I visited I guess a
half dozen camps of Indians, separated several miles apart. When
you live like an Indian in the Everglades, you don't want to be
too close to your neighbors, because your outhouse is the woods.
What you eat, you gather from where you are. We had a very inter-
esting time, and that rough life seemed to agree with me.
And if we did some things that were not altogether legal....
Like, I know one afternoon Frank was gone all day, and he must have
rounded up several hundred head of cattle in his lot that night.
What he was going to do, was to cut out of that big herd of cattle
any calves that he found that were not marked. I think that that
was legal enough, that anyone had a right to take a calf that was
not marked, because who knows who that calf belonged to? But in
the middle of the night, that herd of cattle broke loose, and they
went tearing by my tent. However, they did me no harm, and it
was an interesting experience. Frank built up quite a herd of
cattle that way. Sometimes when they had a herd of cattle in there,
or a number of cattle, they would take a pole they had that had a
noose on the end of it, and they would catch that around a cow's
nose, and twist it until I know that hurt her so she behaved her-
self. Then they dared to go up and milk that wild cow, and so
they had milk for their camp, which was also an interesting exper-
ience.
I visited Frank in his house. He had me over there one day
for dinner, and I read a little scripture, and I preached a little
sermon. I don't know whether it did him any good or not, but it
didn't do him any harm. I suppose Frank had to keep on living the
life he was living. I don't know how out in that wild country any-
body could do any different from what Frank did. But be that as
it may, those things come and go.
I: Reverend Linn, did you ever make any attempts to convert any
Seminoles to Christianity?
S: Well, that's a difficult question to answer, because I'm a queer


6
fellow when it comes to religion. It didn't matter to me if the
Indians wanted to call my God their Great Spirit. Now that made
a difference to some of my religious associates, because they said
they were pagan because they worshipped the Great Spirit. But I
said, "Maybe they think I'm pagan because I call my Great Spirit
God." And so some of my friends looked a little bit askance at
some of my religious activities among the Indians. But I visited
with them, and talked with them as though we were both believers
in God. Now they may not have known Christ, and the Son of God,
and when you'd begin to talk about the triune Jehovah, Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit, you get into a lot of difficulties. It was
easy enough to say that God had a Son, and He was born in a manger,
and He grew up very much the same as most any other boy might
grow up, except that God was his Father, and the conception was
of the Holy Spirit, and He was the Son of God. And He lived
among us so that we might know more about God the Father from
whom He came.
I: Did any of the Seminoles ever show any interest in...?
S: Oh yes. Yes, they did, but to really know that I made any con-
verts would be a rather difficult thing for me to decide, because
that's a delicate matter. Religion is a very delicate matter.
And this talk about converts not only applies to my work with the
Seminoles, which was only a part of my ministry, and perhaps to me
in interest it was the major part, but to my board. In the amount
of time devoted to it and the results, it was a minor part, because
I built several churches, organized a lot of Sunday schools, con-
ducted vacation Bible schools all over the state for a number of
years.
My real interest from a religious standpoint in my work among
the Seminoles was not myself to learn their language and preach
to them, because the groups were so widely scattered it would be
difficult; you couldn't ring a church bell and get them all to-
gether or anything like that. It was largely a matter of visiting
each camp and doing what we called personal work. My real interest
in visiting the Indians, from a standpoint of religion, was that
we might find an Indian of their own kind, perhaps from Indian
Territory, or Oklahoma, somewhere, wherever he could be found,
and send him in there to live with them and work with them. That
we were never able to accomplish. That, rather than my ever being
able to preach to them in their own tongue, was the idea we had
in mind.
I: Did you ever learn any of the language?
S: I knew words, but if I wanted to talk with the Indians, there was


7
always an Indian who knew more English than I knew Indian. You
ought to meet a young fellow, I think his name is Wells. Have
you heard of him? He's supposed to be translating the Bible into
the English, or into the Indian language. He's a clever young
fellow. I don't know how he's making out. I wasn't too much in
sympathy with that, because I thought before he could learn
enough of the Indian language to convert our Bible into their
tongue, the older people who might have use for such a Bible would
be gone. The younger people would all be able to read the Bible
in English. However, I was in sympathy with the effort from this
standpoint, that that language had never been reduced to writing,
and in order to preserve it a written language would have to be
had. So I was in sympathy with what he was doing, but not from
the standpoint from which he was doing it, perhaps.
I: You mentioned earlier that you had gone first to Lake Okeechobee
very early in this century, but you didn't give me a date. Can
you remember what year it was that you first made contact with
the Seminoles?
S: I went to Lake Okeechobee in 1925.
I: And that's when you first made contact with the Seminoles?
S: That's right.
I: Were these Seminoles Cow Creek or Miccosukee?
S: The first I met were Cow Creek. I met them at the general store
at Lakeport.
I: Approximately how many Indians lived in that area at that time?
S: It would be one or two hundred.
I: That would be on the northwest shore of Lake Okeechobee?
S: That, or the north shore.
I: Can you remember the names of any of the Indian leaders, anybody
who'd be influential?
S: I think I told you about Coffee Gopher.
I: You said that he was a friend of yours.
S: Yes, and he was an influential Indian.


8
I: Did he have any position within the tribe? Was he a medicine man?
S: I can't tell you that, I'm sorry to say. The inter-tribal rela-
tions I never got too well acquainted with, and I should have.
I: I take it then that Coffee Gopher spoke English?
S: He did, very well.
I: Do you know what clan he belonged to?
S: No, I'm sorry, I don't know.
I: Do you happen to know the names of any of the medicine men who
administered to the needs of the Indians on the west coast of Lake
Okeechobee, north coast?
S: ...[no comment]
I: I'm curious as to whether or not the Indians who lived on the
northwest shore of Lake Okeechobee were permanent residents of
the area, or did they migrate around? Were their camps more or
less permanent in nature?
S: More or less permanent, yes.
I: Did they do any farming? Did they make any gardens?
S: Yes, they had some gardens.
I: Can you give me an indication of how large the gardens were?
Were they strictly for subsistence purposes, or was it possible
for them to sell surplus vegetables?
S: So far as I know, they weren't interested in selling vegetables
at all. They did however, later on, work in large gardens that
were for commercial purposes. I have some pictures of Indians
picking beans, picking tomatoes--that was down in the muck lands
around the lake.
I: I believe at that time, 1925, that that area where the Brighton
Reservation is now was not federal property. As far as I know,
it belonged to private individuals. Do you remember the story
about that?
S: I don't remember. Do you mean that covered the camps, the Indians'
camps were built on...?


9
I: I don't know whether they were built on private land, or whether
it was state land that had never been sold to farmers.
S: No, I couldn't tell you about that.
I: But I do know that it was not a reservation.
S: Yes.
I: It had not been set aside for the use of the Seminoles.
S: My friend Glenn was instrumental in acquiring quite a lot of land
in there.
I: Perhaps you could tell me about that.
S: I rode around with him, and we went to see owners and so forth.
I can't tell you how much he bought.
I: He bought the land from private owners then, is that correct?
S: Some of it, yes.
I: And then turned it over to Seminoles?
S: Turned it over to the Seminoles.
I: About when was that?
S: Well, I think I have a lot of Glenn's reports here. I think I
would have to refer to those reports.
I: Can you give me an indication of what the extent of the white
impact on that area was at that time? How extensive were the
white settlements? Were there large white farms or other com-
mercial enterprises? How close together were the Indians and the
whites forced?
S: So far as I know, the whites had no trouble with the Indians. If
they had any trouble at all, it was with other whites. I think
the Indians minded their own business, and until the government
came in there and allotted them a certain number of cows and a
bull for so long a time, I think they were afraid to raise any-
thing that might cause the whites to suspect that they were steal-
ing their cattle. They were very careful.
I: Were any Indians working as cowboys for white ranchers in the 1920s?


10
S: I don't think so.
I: I know later on that became fairly common.
S: Yes.
I: Do you have any idea where the Indians around Lake Okeechobee
went for the Green Corn Dance?
S: No, I don't.
I: I'm curious as to whether or not there was one held in the area,
I mean near Lake Okeechobee, or whether they had to perhaps travel?
S: I really don't know. That wouldn't be difficult to find out, I
would think. Well, I couldn't give you any help on that. I never
attended a Green Corn Dance. I think I could have, if I had
wanted to. I could have attended a part of their ceremonies, maybe
not all. And whites have, you know--they say they have. But I
lived a rather simple life, and I would ease in on a camp with...
somebody was acquainted in that camp, and stay awhile and visit
and talk and observe. And then I would ease out again. I'm a
queer fellow.
I: Do you know if there was any animosity between the Miccosukees
and the Cow Creeks?
S: I never knew of any animosity. I think each clan is pretty well
centered in itself, and is inclined to look askance at any other
clan. I'm not sure whether there was any inter-marrying between
the Cow Creeks and the Miccosukees. But I imagine it could be
effected today.
I: Do you have any opinion concerning the differences between the
Miccosukees and the Cow Creeks, other than their language? Did
you notice any differences, and if so, what were they?
S: I think the Miccosukees were more loyal to their tribe. I think
the Miccosukees were more particular about their dress.
I: How were you received by the Seminoles whenever you would enter
a Seminole camp?
S: I was always welcome. I was never disturbed in that way. I always
tried to attend to my own business, and not seem too curious about
what was going on in the camp. I tried to observe. I never made
any criticism that I can think of. If I had anything to say about


11
a condition in the camp, it would be to someone who spoke English
among the Indians. I would talk it over with him, and suggest
some improvement. I rarely ever did anything of that kind, be-
cause I'd lived in a tent a lot myself, and I know what camp life
is; and you have to accustom yourself to inconveniences, and un-
sanitary situations.
I: What sort of improvements would you suggest?
S: Oh yes, I used to talk with them about gathering up waste material
of every sort. Some of the camps really were kept in remarkably
good condition. I would visit a camp that would...well, the mem-
bers had gone off on a visit somewhere, and would be gone for some
time, and it was just as clean as it could be. But if anyone were
living there, the Indians have a great idea of just throwing down
what they don't want, and leaving it where it lands. Where there
are fifteen or twenty people living in a camp like that, some care
must be taken in disposing of cast away stuff.
I: You made some mention earlier about Seminole ox carts. To what
use did they put those carts?
S: They were very common when I first went among the Indians. If
they were going into some town to put up a temporary camp, they
took their oxen along, their ox carts. Sometimes it would be a
two-wheel cart, sometimes it would be a four-wheel cart; they
used them for convenience and conveyance when they wanted to go
to town, or wanted to go from one camp to another, sometimes.
I: Did they build those carts themselves?
S: I don't think so, because I think those carts had...I'm quite
sure those carts had steel rims on the wheels, and regular hubs.
I think they obtained them somewhere. They must have purchased
them from somewhere, in a trade or something like that. I have
a lot of pictures of ox carts. I don't know whether I have a
picture of an ox cart with the ox pulling it or not.
I: During the time in which you were having contact with the Indians
living around Lake Okeechobee, what was the chief article of trade?
What were they gathering and trading?
S: You know, I never will forget, when a family of Indians went to
town--to Immokalee--when they left, they were all wearing shoes
and stockings, and when they got to the border of the Everglades,
they took off their shoes and slung them across their shoulder and
went barefoot. I think that they were sometimes induced to pur-
chase what they had no use for.


12
I: What were they taking into town, into the trading post, as trade
goods?
S: Well what they did with them, I don't know--and I should inquire
to make sure--but the Indians north of the lake gathered a lot of
these palmetto nuts. Do you know what they are? They're about
the size of an English walnut I guess. Maybe not quite that big.
What they did with them, I don't know, but they evidently had
some sale for them. Outside of that, I think that what they took
usually was the hides of some animals.
I: Was there any missionary activity going on in that area from
other sects?
S: Now there was a Willy King who came in. You probably have heard
of him and his wife; and he had one child. They did some mission-
ary work among the Cow Creeks. I don't know just where he lived.
I have his picture, and I talked with him considerably. I don't
think he was too successful among the Indians. He had a Bible
written in their language, in the Creek language. He wasn't very
well; he didn't live there very long. I don't know just what
happened to him, but I wouldn't think perhaps that his missionary
work was too successful. Yet he was a good fellow, and he was a
good go-between. I know he did all that any man in that situation
could possibly do for his people.
I: You've mentioned someone by the name of Glenn I believe?
S: Yes, James Glenn. James Glenn was a Presbyterian minister. I
don't know where he had his education. He had four years of
college and three years of seminary. He was appointed by our
board of missions, on my recommendation, to my church in Ever-
glades, and served there for several years. Then when the matter
of an Indian agent came up, he thought that he would like to have
that position; and he did get that appointment, and served for
several years as a Seminole Indian Agent.
I don't know what his title was, but for some reason or
other he didn't seem to work very well with the Washington author-
ities. Maybe he didn't have the right idea for the Seminole
people...I don't know. After a few years--it was quite a shock
to him, and quite a disappointment--he received a notice from the
Washington offices that his services would be discontinued in
maybe thirty days. He was without a home, without a job, and it
was considerably embarrassing. He talked it over with me, and he
felt terribly hurt about it, because he felt that he was doing a
good work among the Indians. I'll say frankly I didn't think so.
I hadn't been in touch with the Washington people at all.
I would visit the Smithsonian Institution when I went there, and


13
I would talk with someone who was interested in Indian affairs,
and chat with them about one thing after another. But it was
quite a blow to Glenn, and yet I know it was time that something
was done, because....
Right now, I guess, more than ever before, attention is being
given to the welfare of the Seminole Indian. Don't you agree?
Yeah, and it's too bad that it's been so long delayed. But I
think the most of us didn't have any idea what ought to be done,
and we didn't know what resources there were to do it with.
I: What was it that Glenn was doing that you and the Bureau of
Indian Affairs felt was not exactly correct? What were his ob-
jectives in dealing with the Indians?
S: I just think probably he didn't know what he should be doing;
and I didn't know what he should be doing. That isn't a very
good situation. Maybe he knew more about what the government
wanted him to do. A man by the name of Nash came down and made
out a report. He made a survey of the Indian situation. I have
his report. Nash got acquainted with Glenn, and it was through
Nash that Glenn got his appointment. Because there was no one...
Captain Spencer [Lucien C. Spencer] had died, I think, or some-
thing like that, and it was Captain Spencer whose office they
were trying to fill. This woman who you see in the pictures I
have teaching school over at Dania was Captain Spencer's daughter.
If I remember correctly, her name is Marshall.
I: What was Glenn up to? Just what did he do when he dealt with
the Indians; what were his responsibilities and duties?
S: I visited the Indians with him several times. He went with me a
number of times, my camping outfit, and my guide. I think if he
heard of an Indian who was ill, he tried to do something for
him. I really don't believe that I myself, nor Glenn, nor any
man, just because they were interested in the Indians and would
like to see something beneficial done for them, that doesn't
mean they were able to do what ought to be done. I think that
Glenn just had a bigger job on his hands than he could handle.
One thing he did do, and that was to acquire land for their reser-
vation north of the lake. I remember that.
I: That was paid for with government funds?
S: That was paid for from government funds.
I: And when was that approximately?
S: As far as the buying of land for the reservation north of Lake


14
Okeechobee in what we call the Indian Prairie section--I traveled
around with James L. Glenn considerably in that area, and talked
with different men when those purchases of land were being made.
If I can remember correctly, it was between the years of '34 and
'35, as nearly as I can remember. I imagine if one is really
interested, that the records from the county could be examined
and determined.
I: After the land had been purchased on the northern shore of Lake
Okeechobee, was there any concerted effort by the government or
by the B.I.A. or by agent Glenn to get the Seminoles to move on
to that land?
S: Not that I know of. I never heard of any effort made to get them
to move off of that land.
I: Move on to it, I said.
S: Move on to it?
I: Yes, from the land that they were living on, the privately owned
land. Were they asked to leave that and move?
S: Oh, it seems to me that the land that they purchased was to a
large extent the land on which the Indians were then living.
I may be wrong about that now, because I didn't follow that up.
But I didn't see any of the Indians moving their camps from one
place to another at that time. I think probably you'll find
that that's the case, that the land that they purchased was the
land on which the Indians, most of them, were already living.
Have you found anything different than that?
I: Well there was a group of Indians living at Indiantown, on the
east side of Lake Okeechobee.
S: Oh yes, I know.
I: And I believe a large number of them moved over to what is now
Brighton after that land had been purchased.
S: Very likely, yes.
I: I don't know whether they were asked to move over there, or they
voluntarily did so.
S: There weren't too many Indians ever living at Indiantown were
there?


15
I: Well as I understood it, it used to be probably the center of the
Cow Creek Indians.
S: Well that must have been before my day, because when I visited
Indiantown, the Seaboard Air Line Railroad was negotiating with
some Indiantown land owners to move their headquarters to Indiantown.
The wives of the men who would have been concerned in such
a move were not pleased with Indiantown as a possible place to
make their home, and so the Seaboard Air Line changed their plans,
and decided to make West Palm Beach their headquarters. The idea
of Seaboard Air Line having headquarters in Indiantown was given
up entirely.
It was in that interest that I went to Indiantown, and found
Ada and Missy Tiger there. I can't think of the old man's name
who went around with me and showed me the grave, and talked with
me about the Indians; I believe at that time that they were the
only Indians there, Ada and Missy Tiger. I think the other Indians
had already gone.
I: When was this?
S: Oh, I'd have to think seriously because my head is too full of
dates and occurances to really settle on that. I think I could
find out, because I got well acquainted with the Seaboard Air
Line people, and I had a pass over their line all over the entire
state for quite a long time. They were interested in Naples.


Full Text

PAGE 1

SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA In cooperation with The Seminole Tribe of Florida INTERVIEWEE: REVEREND ALEXANDER LINN INTERVIEWER: TOM KING DATE: March 23, 1974

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INDEX Board of National Missions, 2 Brighton Reservation, 8 Brown, Frank and Will, 4 Bureau of Indian Affairs, 13-14 Caloosahatchee River, 3 Cattle rustling, 5, 9 Dress, 10 Everglades, 4-5, 7 Family, 3 Farming, 8 Fort Blount, 3 Glenn, James, 12-14 Government aid, 13 Green Corn Dance, 10 Hackensack, New Jersey, 1 Hamburg, New Jersey, 1 Hospitality, 10 Hunting alligators, 5 stray pigs, 5 Immokalee, 4, 11 Indian Prairie, 14

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Indiantown, 14-15 Indian villages, 3, 8 Intermarriage, 3 Jackson, Andrew, 3 King, Willy, 12 Lake Okeechobee, 2, 4, 7, 10, 14 Land ownership, 8-9, 13-15 Language Creek [Muskogee], 12 English, 7-8 Medicine, 1 Religion Christianity for the Seminoles, 5 church, 2 missionary activity, 12 St, Petersburg, Florida, 1-2 Seminole Cow Creek Indians, 3, 7, 10, 12, 15 meaning, 3 Miccosukee, 3, 7, 10 Slavery, 3 Smithsonian Institution, 12 Sussex, New Jersey, 1 Tiger, Ada and Missy, 15 Trading, 11-12 Transportation, 4, 11, 15 White impact on Indians, 9

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S: [I was born in the] little town of Hamburg, up in New Jersey. My father was the son of a horse and buggy doctor, years ago up there. In the town of Sussex there is a memorial hospital that has been built in his memory. My father was then given over to a doctor in Newton, New Jersey, the county seat of Sussex County, in which I was born. His mother, then of course widowed, had a considerable amount of trouble raising a family of four boys. He became a successful druggist and settled in the town of Hamburg where I was born. Hamburg was a town without a high school. High schools were rather rare in those days. That's way back in 1881 when I was born. When it came time for me to continue my education beyond the grade school, I went to live with an aunt in Hackensack, New Jersey, where I lived for three years. I'd had one year in a private school in the town of Sussex--Sealey's Select School. It had a good name, and it was a good school as such schools go. But I enjoyed my stay in Hamburg; however, I was an asthmatic, and wherever . I went, I suffered considerably with asthma. My school ing was very irregular. But I always enjoyed such stories as the Leatherstocking Tales, and things of that kind that gave us a pretty good idea of the Indian life in our country. I was always sympathetic with anything that was being done to assist the Indian for his betterment. When I graduated from high school, for some strange reason they made me the class orator, and my address was on the American Indian. As I look over that address today, I find that it was very immature and high schooly. My health didn't improve at all in that country, and I was so irregular in my schooling that I went over to New York and had a talk with a specialist in pulmonary disorders. He said, "Now you're young and unattached, why don't you just start out and go to where you will be as free as possible from the idiosyncrasies that seem to be disturbing you, like the hay, and the threshing, and the cows. We can't tell how many difficulties you may have, but go until you find a place where you're as free from them as possible." I went down to the Jersey coast almost every summer when I was in college, and was clerk in a hotel there like a lot of college boys were, and are yet, I believe. There I met a man who was coming to Florida, where he had a hotel in St. Petersburg --the Huntington Hotel. I booked with his hotel help. We sailed on one of the Clyde Line steamers for Jacksonville, on the Savannah Line--that's what I believe we did. And there we

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2 took the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, the old wood-burning loco motive that had to stop every once in awhile. You see, this is back in 1905, and things were nowhere near as modern and as well equipped as they are today. By the time we got in St. Petersburg, we were pretty well blackened up with the smoke from the loco motive and pretty well tired out from sitting up all night. How ever, it was all new country to me, and I enjoyed it every bit. My health seemed to be improving as I crune on down, for no partic ular reason that I can think of. So we came to St. Petersburg, where I stayed as clerk of the hotel that winter and recovered my health. A merchant there then offered me a job as bookkeeper in his hardware and furniture business. And from one thing to another. But I was always interested in church work, and in work with youth, and always interested in trying to see new people, and find out where they were and what could be done for them. So it wasn't long before the church had me preaching a little to groups of people here, there, and yonder around St. Petersburg. I would go up to Tarpon Springs or over to Pinellas Park or to a little church that was right there in St. Petersburg and hold services for them. It must have been a pretty crude kind of ministry, but anyway they tolerated it and encouraged me. And then when the Board of National Missions heard of me and what I was doing, they asked me if I would consider a full-time job, which I did. I be came a full-time worker in the department of church extension and Sunday school missions, and devoted all of my time to the organ izing of the Sunday schools, and sometimes stay with them until they becrune churches. In this way, however, the opportunity was afforded for me in the large field that I had, all of Florida, to contact any group of people who might be interested in the ministry. When I came across a small group of Indians over around Lake Okeechobee, I made up my mind that I was going to give some time to that because it was well within my work. When I met these groups of Indians who were temporarily camped, perhaps near some store where their husbands were trading, I decided that I was going to follow their trails into their wilderness homes, and inquire of them how they felt about religious matters. So this I did. My first visits to the Indians were in the Indian Prairie section, which is north of Lake Okeechobee. There I met a man who was a good friend to me as long as I visited the Indians, and his name was Coffee Gopher. When I visited there about a year ago, I saw that his children were pleased to know that I had known their grandfather, Coffee Gopher. That was a very interesting field for me, because it was not difficult to travel through that flat country and go from one cabbage palmetto hammock to another. Sometimes the Indian villages were so well hidden by the shrubbery around them that you might walk by a camp and not know it was there. The grass was tall,

PAGE 6

3 sometimes as tall as my head, and you would find a trail meander ing through this grass that would lead you to their village, if you were hunting their village. These Indian villages were not tribal villages, they were family villages. You would find the patriarch and the matriarch there, and their sons, and their sons' wives, or their daughters, and their daughters' husbands. Strictly a family affair--rarely ever any real stranger to the whole family would be there. And so you wouldn't ordinarily find more than ten or twelve or fifteen men and women and children in the camp. They lived a very simple life--not very sanitary, I must say. Sometimes forest fires and our tropical storms created a great deal of disturbance among the Indians. Often they would have to resort to considerable repair on their chickees after a storm had passed through that area. I also became interested in the Indians south of Lake Okeechobee, a larger group of Indians we call the Miccosukees. The name Cow Creek Indian and Miccosukee Indian, those are tribal names, but usually when we speak of our Florida Indians, we call them Seminoles. Now the word Seminole means "runaway." It refers to those Indians who, when the larger nations of south eastern United States, principally in Georgia, were pressed by the colonies to keep moving farther west, these tribes of Indians refused to go. But they crossed the Florida line--Florida was then Spanish possession--and came over into Florida to make their home. And that's the reason we call them Seminoles. We usually don't speak of our Indians if we see them as being Cow Creeks or Miccosukees; we just call them Seminoles. The government has given a good deal of consideration to the Seminole Indians. Perhaps the first difficulty that arose between the Seminoles and the federal forces of colonial days was due to the fact that the Negro slaves would escape from their masters and cross over into Florida, which was then Spanish territory, and make their home with the Indians. There was very little inter marriage between the Seminole Indians and the Negroes; it was dis couraged whenever it happened. The Negro became the servant of the Seminole, just as he had been the servant of the white man in Georgia or Alabama or wherever he might have escaped from. General Jackson [Andrew Jackson], some years ago, before Florida became the United States possession, made a raid through north Florida trying to recover for the plantation owners of Georgia and Alabama some of the escaped Negro slaves. They heard that he was on,. the way to return them to their owners, so a lot of them took refuge in an old fort that was called Fort Blount, up on the Caloosahatchee River. Something like 270 or 300 Indians --men, women and children--gathered there. When Jackson was on his hunt to recover these slaves he fired a charge into the powder

PAGE 7

4 magazine where a considerable amount of explosive material had been stored, and blew up the fort, killing about two-thirds of the Indians and the Negroes who had taken refuge there. That was a regrettable incident. Such things as that did occur from time to time; however, nothing to exceed that in the extent of the holocaust. I believe I said I did want to visit the Indians south of Lake Okeechobee. I had a "T" model Ford in those days. It was a coupe. And I had bought that "T" model Ford without any idea of being interested in the Indians of Florida. It was not the very best sort of a conveyance for some of the countrythrpu~h which J had to travel, except that in bad weather you could close it all up and it did lend some comfort to the traveller. I found, especially in the summer time, that south of Lake Okeechobee was a very difficult country for my labors, if you want to call them labors. And sometimes they really were. The country is flat, and it has a hard pan almost over the entire area, and the water gathers every time it rains in innumerable pools and streams. I would often have to get out of the car and walk across a wet spot to see how deep it was, and whether or not the ground under the wet spot was soft, and I might bog down. I did a lot of wading and exploring to discover where I could go. The ox carts of the Indians had a very high axle compared with the axle of a Ford car, and so there were a lot of obstructions that were not always visible. I would have to get out and take an ax and cut down a cypress knee, or some little growth that was in the way of our progress. I usually picked up an Indian boy when I went into that country. My first trip in to the Seminoles south of Lake Okeechobee, I stopped at the town of Immokalee, where a man by the name of Brown lived. Brown had been dealing with the Indians for a good many years. I knew that he could tell me something about how to follow the trail in there. He said to me, "Now, why don't you wait. My son is out on the reservation there now. He's a sort of care taker. His boys have gone to Fort Myers to do some shopping. They'll be along pretty soon, and one of them will get right in your car with you, and ride along with you all the way in to the reservation house." So that's what I did. It was a very enjoyable trip because those boys were living in that Everglades country, and they knew every twist and turn. We would drive through a pond without any fear of being stuck or getting in over our heads, or anything like that. The first time I visited the Indians south of Lake Okeechobee, I went out and put up my tent on Frank Brown's place--Frank Brown, the son of Will Brown. Frank was living with the daughter of a frontiersman out there, and he had abandoned his wife in Immokalee. He was at that time trying to get something against his wife,

PAGE 8

5 persuading some of his Immokalee freelancers to go in there and implicate her in some activities which would give him an opportunity to sue her for a divorce. But I didn't let the troubles of the individuals worry me too much, and I enjoyed my stay of a couple of weeks at Frank Brown's place. I hunted alligators with him; I hunted stray pigs with him. When I left there two weeks later, I took a good portion of a pig we had caught and slaughtered in to his father. But on the way out, I got lost--I wandered around so much that I don't know whether that meat was fit to eat by the time we got into Immokalee. That's a vast country in there. When I left Frank Brown's early in the morning, after spending two weeks there visiting the Indians, one of his boys accompanied me, and I visited I guess a half dozen camps of Indians, separated several miles apart. When you live like an Indian in the Everglades, you don't want to be too close to your neighbors, because your outhouse is the woods. What you eat, you gather from where you are. We had a very inter esting time, and that rough life seemed to agree with me. And if we did some things that were not altogether legal Like, I know one afternoon Frank was gone all day, and he must have rounded up several hundred head of cattle in his lot that night. What he was going to do, was to cut out of that big herd of cattle any calves that he found that were not marked. I think that that was legal enough, that anyone had a right to take a calf that was not marked, because who knows who that calf belonged to? But in the middle of the night, that herd of cattle broke loose, and they went tearing by my tent. However, they did me no harm, and it was an interesting experience. Frank built up quite a herd of cattle that way. Sometimes when they had a herd of cattle in there, or a number of cattle, they would take a pole they had that had a noose on the end of it, and they would catch that around a cow's nose, and twist it until I know that hurt her so she behaved her self. Then they dared to go up and milk that wild cow, and so they had milk for their camp, which was also an interesting exper ience. I visited Frank in his house. He had me over there one day for dinner, and I read a little scripture, and I preached a little sermon. I don't know whether it did him any good or not, but it didn't do him any harm. I suppose Frank had to keep on living the life he was living. I don't know how out in that wild country any body could do any different from what Frank did. But be that as it may, those things come and go. I: Reverend Linn, did you ever make any attempts to convert any Seminoles to Christianity? S: Well, that's a difficult question to answer, because I'm a queer

PAGE 9

6 fellow when it comes to religion. It didn't matter to me if the Indians wanted to call my God their Great Spirit. Now that made a difference to some of my religious associates, because they said they were pagan because they worshipped the Great Spirit. But I said, "Maybe they think I'm pagan because I call my Great Spirit God." And so some of my friends looked a little bit askance at some of my religious activities among the Indians. But I visited with them, and talked with them as though we were both believers in God. Now they may not have known Christ, and the Son of God, and when you'd begin to talk about the triune Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you get into a lot of difficulties. It was easy enough to say that God had a Son, and He was born in a manger, and He grew up very much the same as most any other boy might grow up, except that God was his Father, and the conception was of the Holy Spirit, and He was the Son of God. And He lived among us so that we might know more about God the Father from whom He came. I: Did any of the Seminoles ever show any interest in ? S: Oh yes. Yes, they did, but to really know that I made any con verts would be a rather difficult thing for me to decide, because that's a delicate matter. Religion is a very delicate matter. And this talk about converts not only applies to my work with the Seminoles, which was only a part of my ministry, and perhaps to me in interest it was the major part, but to my board. In the amount of time devoted to it and the results, it was a minor part, because I built several churches, organized a lot of Sunday schools, con ducted vacation Bible schools all over the state for a number of years. My real interest from a religtous standpoint in my work among the Seminoles was not myself to learn their language and preach to them, because the groups were so widely scattered it would be difficult; you couldn't ring a church bell and get them all to gether or anything like that. It was largely a matter of visiting each camp and doing what we called personal work. My real interest in visiting the Indians, from a standpoint of religion, was that we might find an Irtdian of their own kind, perhaps from Indian Territory, or Oklahoma, somewhere, wherever he could be found, and send him in there to live with them and work with them. That we were never able to accomplish. That, rather than my ever being able to preach to them in their own tongue, was the idea we had in mind. I: Did you ever learn any of the language? S: I knew words, but if I wanted to talk with the Indians, there was

PAGE 10

7 always an Indian who knew more English than I knew Indian. You ought to meet a young fellow, I think his name is Wells. Have you heard of him? He's supposed to be translating the Bible into the English, or into the Indian language. He's a clever young fellow. I don't know how he's making out. I wasn't too much in sympathy with that, because I thought before he could learn enough of the Indian language to convert our Bible into their tongue, the older people who might have use for such a Bible would be gone. The younger people would all be able to read the Bible in English. However, I was in sympathy with the effort from this standpoint, that that language had never been reduced to writing, and in order to preserve it a written language would have to be had. So I was in sympathy with what he was doing, but not from the standpoint from which he was doing it, perhaps. I: You mentioned earlier that you had gone first to Lake Okeechobee very early in this century, but you didn't give me a date. Can you remember what year it was that you first made contact with the Seminoles? S: I went to Lake Okeechobee in 1925. I: And that's when you first made contact with the Seminoles? S: That's right. I: Were these Seminoles Cow Creek or Miccosukee? S: The first I met were Cow Creek. I met them at the general store at Lakeport. I: Approximately how many Indians lived in that area at that time? S: It would be one or two hundred. I: That would be on the northwest shore of Lake Okeechobee? S: That, or the north shore. I: Can you remember the names of any of the Indian leaders, anybody who'd be influential? S: I think I told you about Coffee Gopher. I: You said that he was a friend of yours. S: Yes, and he was an influential Indian.

PAGE 11

8 I: Did he have any position within the tribe? Was he a medicine man? S: I can't tell you that, I'm sorry to say. The inter-tribal relations I never got too well acquainted with, and I should have. I: I take it then that Coffee Gopher spoke English? S: He did, very well. I: Do you know what clan he belonged to? S: No, I'm sorry, I don't know. I: Do you happen to know the names of any of the medicine men who administered to the needs of the Indians on the west coast of Lake Okeechobee, north coast? S: [no comment] I: I'm curious as to whether or not the Indians who lived on the northwest shore of Lake Okeechobee were permanent residents of the area, or did they migrate around? Were their camps more or less permanent in nature? S: More or less permanent, yes. I: Did they do any farming? Did they make any gardens? S: Yes, they had some gardens. I: Can you give me an indication of how large the gardens were? Were they strictly for subsistence purposes, or was it possible for them to sell surplus vegetables? S: So far as I know, they weren't interested in selling vegetables at all. They did however, later on, work in large gardens that were for commercial purposes. I have some pictures of Indians picking beans, picking tomatoes--that was down in the muck lands around the lake. I: I believe at that time, 1925, that that area where the Brighton Reservation is now was not federal property. As far as I know, it belonged to private individuals. Do you remember the story about that? S: I don't remember. Do you mean that covered the camps, the Indians' camps were built on ... ?

PAGE 12

9 I: I don't know whether they were built on private land, or whether it was state land that had never been sold to farmers. S: No, I couldn't tell you about that. I: But I do know that it was not a reservation. S: Yes. I: It had not been set aside for the use of the Seminoles. S: My friend Glenn was instrumental in acquiring quite a lot of land in there. I: Perhaps you could tell me about that. S: I rode around with him, and we went to see owners and so forth. I can't tell you how much he bought. I: He bought the land from private owners then, is that correct? S: Some of it, yes. I: And then turned it over to Seminoles? S: Turned it over to the Seminoles. I: About when was that? S: Well, I think I have a lot of Glenn's reports here. I think I would have to refer to those reports. I: Can you give me an indication of what the extent of the white impact on that area was at that time? How extensive were the white settlements? Were there large white farms or other com mercial enterprises? How close together were the Indians and the whites forced? S: So far as I know, the whites had no trouble with the Indians. If they had any trouble at all, it was with other whites. I think the Indians minded their own business, and until the government came in there and allotted them a certain number of cows and a bull for so long a time, I think they were afraid to raise any thing that might cause the whites to suspect that they were steal ing their cattle. They were very careful. I: Were any Indians working as cowboys for white ranchers in the 1920s?

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10 S: I don't think so. I: I know later on that became fairly connnon. S: Yes. I: Do you have any idea where the Indians around Lake Okeechobee went for the Green Corn Dance? S: No, I don't. I: I'm curious as to whether or not there was one held in the area, I mean near Lake Okeechobee, or whether they had to perhaps travel? S: I really don't know. That wouldn't be difficult to find out, I would think. Well, I couldn't give you any help on that. I never attended a Green Corn Dance. I think I could have, if I had wanted to. I could have attended a part of their ceremonies, maybe not all. And whites have, you know--they say they have. But I lived a rather simple life, and I would ease in on a camp with ..• somebody was acquainted in that camp, and stay awhile and visit and talk and observe. And then I would ease out again. I'm a queer fellow. I: Do you know if there was any animosity between the Miccosukees and the Cow Creeks? S: I never knew of any animosity. I think each clan is pretty well centered in itself, and is inclined to look askance at any other clan. I'm not sure whether there was any inter-marrying between the Cow Creeks and the Miccosukees. But I imagine it could be effected today. I: Do you have any opinion concerning the differences between Miccosukees and the Cow Creeks, other than their language? you notice any differences, and if so, what were they? the Did S: I think the Miccosukees were more loyal to their tribe. I think the Miccosukees were more particular about their dress. I: How were you received by the Seminoles whenever you would enter a Seminole camp? S: I was always welcome. I was never disturbed in that way. I always tried to attend to my own business, and not seem too curious about what was going on in the camp. I tried to observe. I never made any criticism that I can think of. If I had anything to say about

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11 a condition in the camp, it would be to someone who spoke English among the Indians. I would talk it over with him, and suggest some improvement. I rarely ever did anything of that kind, be cause I'd lived in a tent a lot myself, and I know what camp life is; and you have to accustom yourself to inconveniences, and un sanitary situations. I: What sort of improvements would you suggest? S: Oh yes, I used to talk with them about gathering up waste material of every sort. Some of the camps really were kept in remarkably good condition. I would visit a camp that would well, the mem bers had gone off on a visit somewhere, and would be gone for some time, and it was just as clean as it could be. But if anyone were living there, the Indians have a great idea of just throwing down what they don't want, and leaving it where it lands. Where there are fifteen or twenty people living in a camp like that, some care must be taken in disposing of cast away stuff. I: You made some mention earlier about Seminole ox carts. To what use did they put those carts? S: They were very common when I first went among the Indians. If they were going into some town to put up a temporary camp, they took their oxen along, their ox carts. Sometimes it would be a two-wheel cart, sometimes it would be a four-wheel cart; they used them for convenience and conveyance when they wanted to go to town, or wanted to go from one camp to another, sometimes. I: Did they build those carts themselves? S: I don't think so, because I think those carts had I'm quite sure those carts had steel rims on the wheels, and regular hubs. I think they obtained them somewhere. They must have purchased them from somewhere, in a trade or something like that. I have a lot of pictures of ox carts. I don't know whether I have a picture of an ox cart with the ox pulling it or not. I: During the time in which you were having contact with the Indians living around Lake Okeechobee, what was the chief article of trade? What were they gathering and trading? S: You know, I never will forget, when a family of Indians went to town--to Immokalee--when they left, they were all wearing shoes and stockings, and when they got to the border of the Everglades, they took off their shoes and slung them across their shoulder and went barefoot. I think that they were sometimes induced to pur chase what they had no use for.

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12 I: What were they taking into town, into the trading post, as trade goods? S: Well what they did with them, I don't know--and I should inquire to make sure--but the Indians north of the lake gathered a lot of these palmetto nuts. Do you know what they are? They're about the size of an English walnut I guess. Maybe not quite that big. What they did with them, I don't know, but they evidently had some sale for them. Outside of that, I think that what they took usually was the hides of some animals. I: Was there any missionary activity going on in that area from other sects? S: Now there was a Willy King who came in. You probably have heard of him and his wife; and he had one child. They did some mission ary work among the Cow Creeks. I don't know just where he lived. I have his picture, and I talked with him considerably. I don't think he was too successful among the Indians. He had a Bible written in their language, in the Creek language. He wasn't very well; he didn't live there very long. I don't know just what happened to him, but I wouldn't think perhaps that his missionary work was too successful. Yet he was a good fellow, and he was a good go-between. I know he did all that any man in that situation could possibly do for his people. I: You've mentioned someone by the name of Glenn I believe? S: Yes, James Glenn. James Glenn was a Presbyterian minister. I don't know where he had his education. He had four years of college and three years of seminary. He was appointed by our board of missions, on my recommendation, to my church in Ever glades, and served there for several years. Then when the matter of an Indian agent came up, he thought that he would like to have that position; and he did get that appointment, and served for several years as a Seminole Indian Agent. I don't know what his title was, but for some reason or other he didn't seem to work very well with the Washington author ities. Maybe he didn't have the right idea for the Seminole people I don't know. After a few years--it was quite a shock to him, and quite a disappointment--he received a notice from the Washington offices that his services would be discontinued in maybe thirty days. He was without a home, without a job, and it was considerably embarrassing. He talked it over with me, and he felt terribly hurt about it, because he felt that he was doing a good work among the Indians. I'll say frankly I didn't think so. I hadn't been in touch with the Washington people at all. I would visit the Smithsonian Institution when I went there, and

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13 I would talk with someone who was interested in Indian affairs, and chat with them about one thing after another. But it was quite a blow to Glenn, and yet I know it was time that something was done, because Right now, I guess, more than ever before, attention is being given to the welfare of the Seminole Indian. Don't you agree? Yeah, and it's too bad that it's been so long delayed. But I think the most of us didn't have any idea what ought to be done, and we didn't know what resources there were to do it with. I: What was it that Glenn was doing that you and the Bureau of Indian Affairs felt was not exactly correct? What were his ob jectives in dealing with the Indians? S: I just think probably he didn't know what he should be doing; and I didn't know what he should be doing. That isn't a very good situation. Maybe he knew more about what the government wanted him to do. A man by the name of Nash came down and made out a report. He made a survey of the Indian situation. I have his report. Nash got acquainted with Glenn, and it was through Nash that Glenn got his appointment. Because there was no one •.. Captain Spencer [Lucien C. Spencer] had died, I think, or some thing like that, and it was Captain Spencer whose office they were trying to fill. This woman who you see in the pictures I have teaching school over at Dania was Captain Spencer's daughter. If I remember correctly, her name is Marshall. I: What was Glenn up to? Just what did he do when he dealt with the Indians; what were his responsibilities and duties? S: I visited the Indians with him several times. He went with me a number of times, my camping outfit, and my guide. I think if he heard of an Indian who was ill, he tried to do something for him. I really don't believe that I myself, nor Glenn, nor any man, just because they were interested in the Indians and would like to see something beneficial done for them, that doesn't mean they were able to do what ought to be done. I think that Glenn just had a bigger job on his hands than he could handle. One thing he did do, and that was to acquire land for their reser vation north of the lake. I remember that. I: That was paid for with government funds? S: That was paid for from government funds. I: And when was that approximately? S: As far as the buying of land for the reservation north of Lake

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14 Okeechobee in what we call the Indian Prairie section--I traveled around with James L. Glenn considerably in that area, and talked with different men when those purchases of land were being made. If I can remember correctly, it was between the years of '34 and '35, as nearly as I can remember. I imagine if one is really interested, that the records from the county could be examined and determined. I: After the land had been purchased on the northern shore of Lake Okeechobee, was there any concerted effort by the government or by the B.I.A. or by agent Glenn to get the Seminoles to move on to that land? S: Not that I know of. I never heard of any effort made to get them to move off of that land. I: Move on to it, I said. S: Move on to it? I: Yes, from the land that they were living on, the privately owned land. Were they asked to leave that and move? S: Oh, it seems to me that the land that they purchased was to a large extent the land on which the Indians were then living. I may be wrong about that now, because I didn't follow that up. But I didn't see any of the Indians moving their camps from one place to another at that time. I think probably you'll find that that's the case, that the land that they purchased was the land on which the Indians, most of them, were already living. Have you found anything different than that? I: Well there was a group of Indians living at Indiantown, on the east side of Lake Okeechobee. S: Oh yes, I know. I: And I believe a large number of them moved over to what is now Brighton after that land had been purchased. S: Very likely, yes. I: I don't know whether they were asked to move over there, or they voluntarily did so. S: There weren't too many Indians ever living at Indiantown were there?

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15 I: Well as I understood it, it used to be probably the center of the Cow Creek Indians. S: Well that must have been before my day, because when I visited Indiantown, the Seaboard Air Line Railroad was negotiating with some Indiantown land owners to move their headquarters to Indian town. The wives of the men who would have been concerned in such a move were not pleased with Indiantown as a possible place to make their home, and so the Seaboard Air Line changed their plans, and decided to make West Palm Beach their headquarters. The idea of Seaboard Air Line having headquarters in Indiantown was given up entirely. It was in that interest that I went to Indiantown, and found Ada and Missy Tiger there. I can't think of the old man's name who went around with me and showed me the grave, and talked with me about the Indians; I believe at that time that they were the only Indians there, Ada and Missy Tiger. I think the other Indians had already gone. I: When was this? S: Oh, I'd have to think seriously because my head is too full of dates and occurances to really settle on that. I think I could find out, because I got well acquainted with the Seaboard Air Line people, and I had a pass over their line all over the entire state for quite a long time. They were interested in Naples.