Front Cover
 The papers of Albert Sawyer and...
 Clowning around: The Miami Ethiopian...
 South Florida's prelude to war:...
 Historical Association of Southern...
 List of members
 Back Cover

Title: Tequesta
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00101446/00062
 Material Information
Title: Tequesta
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Historical Association of Southern Florida
Publisher: (multiple)
Publication Date: 2002
Copyright Date: 2010
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00101446
Volume ID: VID00062
Source Institution: Florida International University: Florida History and Heritage
Holding Location: Historical Museum of Southern Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 2096319
lccn - 42015131
issn - 0363-3705


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    The papers of Albert Sawyer and the development of the Florida East Coast, 1892 to 1912
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
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        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Clowning around: The Miami Ethiopian clowns and culture conflict in black baseball
        Page 40
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    South Florida's prelude to war: Army correspondence concerning Miami, Fort Dallas, and the Everglades prior to the outbreak of the third Seminole war, 1850-1855
        Page 68
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    Historical Association of Southern Florida
        Page 116
    List of members
        Page 117
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    Back Cover
        Page 135
        Page 136
Full Text


Paul S. George, Ph.D.
Sara Mufioz
Managing Editor

Kelly Geisinger
Editorial Assistant



Editor's Forew ord...... .... ............. ...... .................. ........... ........ ... ...... 3
Paul S. George, Ph.D.

The Papers of Albert Sawyer and the Development of the Florida
East Coast, 1892 to 1912 5
William G. Crawford, Jr.

Clowning Around: The Miami Ethiopian Clowns and Cultural
C conflict in Black Baseball. ....... ............... ...... .................. ........ 40
RaymondA. Mobl

South Florida's Prelude to War: Army Correspondence Concerning
Miami, Fort Dallas, and the Everglades Prior to the Outbreak of
the Third Seminole War, 1850-1855 ......... ........ ............... .. 68
Christopher R. Eck

Historical Association of Southern Florida Members 116

Tequesta is published annually by the Historical Association of Southern Florida. Communications
should be addressed to the Managing Editor of Tequesta, Historical Museum of Southern Florida,
101 W. Flagler Street, Miami, Florida 33130. Tel-305.375.1492. The Association does not
assume responsibility for statements of facts or opinions made by contributors. (ISSN 0363-3705)

Cover-Syd Pollock's barnstorming team, the Miami Ethiopian Clowns, combined excellent
baseball with slapstick entertainment, sometimes playing with painted clown faces, ca. 1940.
Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, N.Y.


Historical Association of Southern Florida, Inc.


Richard A. Wood
Edward A. Swakon
Dennis M. Campbell
William H. Holly
William Ho
J. Andrew Brian
Paul S. George, Ph.D.
Sara Mufioz
Rebecca A. Smith

Chairman of the Board
Vice Chair
Past Chair
Editor, Tequesta
Editor, South Florida History
Curator of Research Materials

Andrew Albury
Carlos J. Arrizurieta
Angela R. Bellamy
Neil A. Burell
Jorge Cano
Xavier Cortada
Robert G. David
Edward H. Davis, Jr.
Michael A. Falke
Gregg P Guilford
Mark A. Karris
Dean C. Klevan
John Knight
Lawrence Levine
Linda S. Lubitz
Bruce C. Matheson
Arsenio Milian
Lewis F. Murphy
Dorothy C. Norton
Dr. Edmund I. Parnes
Lorraine Punancy-Stewart
Dr. Michael N. Rosenberg
Jose Enrique Souto
Dinizulu Gene S. Tinnie
Judy Wiggins

Editor's Foreword

Because the "reach" of the Historical Association of Southern Florida is
South Florida, I have looked north, since assuming the editorship of
Tequesta, to Broward County and beyond for potential articles for the
journal. I became aware of the rich history of Broward County, espe-
cially that of Fort Lauderdale, its flagship city, after serving for five
years as director of a countywide historic preservation board there and
writing extensively about the city and county's past. Accordingly, when
William Crawford submitted an article, entitled "The Papers of Albert
Sawyer and the Development of the Florida East Coast, 1892 to 1912,"
we were happy to consider it for publication. Crawford is a native of
Fort Lauderdale, a practicing attorney, president of the Fort Lauderdale
Historical Society and a commissioner for the Broward County
Historical Commission. He is also a talented avocational historian who
has published several impressive articles on Broward history. In "The
Papers of Albert Sawyer...," Crawford examines the critical role of the
Florida Coast Line Canal and Transportation Company and its related
enterprises in the development of Florida's east coast, especially the
coastal areas of Broward and Dade Counties.
Raymond Mohl, Professor of History at the University of Alabama,
Birmingham, and chairman of the Department of History, is a frequent
contributor to Tequesta. A prolific historian with a mastery of several
areas of local, state, and American history, Mohl has provided our readers,
in this issue of Tequesta, an article entitled "Clowning Around: The
Miami Ethiopian Clowns and Cultural Conflict in Black Baseball."
"Clowning Around..." is more than an article about a group of athletes
cum entertainers who barnstormed the country, providing large doses
of slapstick comedy along with traditional baseball activities before
large, enthusiastic crowds. It is also the story of black baseball in an era
of segregation, of sports as entertainment for a wide audience, of the
opposition by regular black baseball teams to entertainment perceived
as perpetuating race stereotypes demeaning to African Americans, and
of the simmering dispute between black team owners and Jewish book-
ing agents.
Christopher Eck, formerly executive director of Miami-Dade
County's Office of Historic Preservation and now the administrator of
the Broward County Historical Commission and the county's historic


preservation officer, provides, with "South Florida's Prelude to War:
Army Correspondence Concerning Miami, Fort Dallas, and the
Everglades Prior to the Outbreak of the Third Seminole War, 1850-
1855," a rare insight into the personalities and activities at Fort Dallas,
which stood on the north bank of the Miami River near its mouth,
prior to the outbreak of the Third Seminole War (1855-1858). Eck, an
archaeologist, attorney, and historian, has utilized the vast collections of
the National Archives for an article containing military correspondence,
never before published, that sheds new insights into that trying era in
the history of the area. Even more important for southeast Florida his-
tory enthusiasts, the letters provide a wealth of interesting, sometimes
graphic, information on the wilderness that is today's Miami and South
Florida. One of the key buildings comprising Fort Dallas, a converted
slave quarter, stands today in Lummus Park on the northwest edge of
downtown Miami.
My thanks to Sara Mufioz and Kelly Geisinger for their invaluable
assistance in preparing this issue of Tequesta. Finally, I hope you will
visit the Historical Museum of Southern Florida where a treasure trove
of South Florida history awaits your senses. In particular, you will find
"Tropical Dreams: A People's History of Southern Florida," which rep-
resents the permanent exhibit upstairs, to be especially appealing and
rewarding. In recent years, the museum has added several key elements
to the exhibit, including "First Arrivals," which offers fossils and arti-
facts spanning more than ten thousand years of our history, and
"Gateway of the Americas," which focuses on the expansive period
from the end of World War II to the recent past.

Paul S. George
Editor, Tequesta

The Papers of Albert Sawyer and the

Development of the Florida East Coast,
1892 to 1912

William G. Crawford, Jr

In "Henry Flagler and the Model Land Company," published in this
journal six years ago, William Brown and Karen Hudson describe the
creation and operation of Henry Flagler's Model Land Company in
managing and developing the immense land holdings the state of
Florida and others granted Flagler from 1885 until 1912 for building
the Florida East Coast Railway from Jacksonville to Key West.' The
Model Land Company papers, housed at the University of Miami, trace
the development of this Flagler company and its activities from 1907
until 1967. Three years before Flagler began extending his railway
down into the southern portions of Florida, a St. Augustine-based canal
company had already begun dredging in 1882 what would become the
modern-day Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, ultimately connecting
Jacksonville to Miami in 1912. By 1885, the state of Florida had
already reserved most of the land in the southern portion of the penin-
sula for the canal company. No land remained for Flagler's extension
south of Rockledge, near Cape Canaveral. Would Flagler complete the
railway to Miami without the state's promised land grants?
The papers of A. E Sawyer, housed at the State Library of Florida,
offer unique insight into the work of the Florida Coast Line Canal and
Transportation Company and its related enterprises in developing the
Florida east coast. Chronologically organized, this body of material dating
from 1892 to 1912 reveals how this privately financed Florida canal
company built the waterway, sought to develop a million acres of


Florida public land earned in the course of its dredging work, and oper-
ated through leading officers and directors a multitude of enterprises,
the most important of which was the Boston and Florida Atlantic
Coast Land Company, founded in 1892 by Sawyer and Florida canal
company officials at Portland, Maine. In 1897, the canal company even
organized the Indian River and Bay Biscayne Navigation Company to
operate steamboats on the completed portions of the Florida waterway.2
The Sawyer papers also describe the unique relationship between the
canal and railway enterprises. Both enterprises competed for the right
to transport freight and passenger traffic along the coast. Both competed
for the limited amount of public land along the coast available for dis-
tribution by state trustees to further canal and railway development.
Both competed for the sale of land to hundreds of settlers arriving
along the coast beginning in the 1890s. At times, the companies
became fiercely competitive, even squaring off against each other in liti-
gation over the land grants in 1910 and again in 1912. At times, the
railway and canal enterprises worked together to develop and market
jointly their immense land holdings along the Florida coast, particularly
in the southern portion of the state. Flagler even presided over the
Florida canal company for three years until his sudden resignation in
March 1896, two months after steaming into Biscayne Bay aboard the
steamboat J. W Sweeney following the completion of the southern por-
tion of the inland waterway and just a month before his railway
reached Miami.

The Florida Coast Line Canal and Transportation Company
An inland waterway inside Florida's Atlantic Coast had long been the
dream of sevenry-four-year-old Dr. John D. Westcott, a former surveyor
general of Florida and a pioneer St. Augustine resident. Along with
three other prominent St. Augustine entrepreneurs, Westcott formed
the Florida Coast Line Canal and Transportation Company in 1881 to
build the waterway, becoming the firm's first president. The state of
Florida promised Westcott's group 3,840 acres of Florida public land
for every mile of waterway dredged and the right to collect tolls for main-
tenance. By 1885, only twenty-six miles of waterway in the northern
reaches below St. Augustine had been dredged before the St. Augustine
group ran out of money. To the rescue, at first, came famed Civil War
financier Jay Cooke. Cooke's nephew, Henry D. Cooke, joined the

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 7

canal company's board of directors, along with Sam Maddox, a
Washington, D.C., attorney from an old Maryland family, and Boston
investor John W. Denny, forcing
out two of the original directors.
Cooke then enlisted a wealthy
Providence, Rhode Island, investor, "t
forty-year-old George Lothrop
Bradley, one of the principal early "
backers of the Bell Telephone com-
panies, to help finance the dredging. Vt'
Bradley soon became the canal
company's largest stockholder. By 'L4
1892, it was clear that still more
money would be needed to finish
the waterway to Miami. Sam
Maddox, the canal company's sec-
retary, negotiated with Henry I
Flagler in New York for additional
funds for new dredging equipment Dr. John Westcott in Civil War uniform,
and working capital, resulting in the early Middle Florida physician, Surveyor
infusion of $185,137 in cash and General of Florida (1853-1858), and first
Flagler's election as president of the President of the Florida Coast Line Canal
waterway enterprise in March 1893. & Transportation Co. (1881-1888).
Canal directors, now led by Denny Courtesy of the Confederate Memorial
following the death of Westcott in Literary Society, Richmond, Va.
January 1889, also enlisted Albert
Page Sawyer, a successful Newburyport, Massachusetts, insurance and
real estate entrepreneur to head a new company to buy one hundred
thousand acres of the canal company's land grant for one hundred
thousand dollars.3

The Boston and Florida Atlantic Coast Land Company
The son of Josiah Sawyer, an important New England ship owner, fifty-
year-old Albert Sawyer had founded a highly successful insurance and
real estate business with his partner George Piper at the old Federalist
town of Newburyport on the Massachusetts coast. Early on, Sawyer and
Piper promoted numerous businesses around the country, including the
Bell Telephone and Mergenthaler Linotype companies, copper and silver


mining enterprises, and real estate ventures. At the time of his death in
1903 at the age of 63, a New York Times obituary reported that Sawyer
had been one of Newburyport's wealthiest residents. In November
1891, in Portland, Maine, Sawyer and Piper organized the Boston and
Florida Atlantic Coast Land Company to purchase a large tract of
Florida canal company land. Other directors included Bradley, Thomas
B. Bailey of Cambridge, Massachusetts (another early Bell Telephone
investor), and twenty-eight-year-old George Francis Miles of Pomfret,
Connecticut, an Irish-born engineer who had worked on the Canadian
Pacific Railway before joining the Florida canal company in 1889. Two
months after the new land company's incorporation, on January 4,
1892, John Denny, the canal company's president, signed a deed trans-
ferring one hundred thousand acres of Florida east coast land to
Sawyer's Boston and Florida firm for one hundred thousand dollars.
This vast expanse of real estate consisted of individual parcels as small
as thirty-six acres and as large as a square mile at locations beginning at
a point just south of St. Augustine and extending down the Atlantic
coast to the end of the Florida peninsula, a distance of over three hun-
dred miles. Until directors voted to allow shareholders to exchange
stock for land, Sawyer's new land company experienced difficulties in
attracting outside investors. Among the later investors, and soon to
become one of the largest, was Sir Sandford Fleming, Chief Engineer
during construction of what would become the Canadian Pacific
Railway, a promoter of the concept of Universal Time, and the designer
of Canada's first postage stamp. Like most of the Boston and Florida
company's original shareholders, Fleming would hold on to his shares
for more than thirty years before earning significant profits.4

The Bradley Trusts
In May 1892, just four months after selling the large tract of property
to Sawyers Boston and Florida land company, the Florida canal company
sold some of its state land grant to Sawyer as trustee of the Lake Worth
and New River Land Trusts to generate more cash for dredging operations.
Sawyer formed the two Florida land trusts for Bradley and his business
associates and friends, most of whom were wealthy New Englanders
serving as officers and directors of the Florida canal company. The
Lake Worth Land Trust, the first of the Bradley trusts, was created on
May 27, 1892, for Bradley, who held twenty-nine of the forty shares;

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 9

Frederic Amory, an important Boston, Massachusetts, textile and insur-
ance company executive and fourteen years later the Florida canal company's
president, owned two shares; Samuel Maddox, a Washington, D.C.,
lawyer (the canal company's secretary and later president of the Bar
Association of the District of Columbia ), three shares; and Sawyer, six
shares. The Lake Worth trust bought 2,200 acres of canal company
land in the area of Lake Worth. Ten years later, in 1902, this trust
would develop a tract of land appropriately named "Sawyer's Addition
to the Town of Boynton," adjacent to the western boundary of the
Town of Boynton's original limits. In 1913, Albert Hayden Sawyer,
Sawyer's son, as successor trustee of the Lake Worth Trust, would subdivide
portions of three sections of trust land near the city of Lake Worth in
present-day Palm Beach County. Together these three parcels stretched
from north to south a distance of three miles and varied in width from
one mile to a half a mile. The second Bradley trust -the New River
Land Trust- was created on May 28, 1892, one day after the making
of the Lake Worth Trust, for Bradley only. This trust bought 1,831
acres of canal company land in present-day Fort Lauderdale for
$10,016.23. Within a few months, the Florida canal company, the
Boston and Florida company, and the two Bradley trusts began employing
the same real estate agent, Albert W Robert of West Palm Beach, to
market jointly the holdings of all four enterprises in what was then
Dade County, stretching from Jupiter to the end of the Florida peninsula.
By June 24, Robert began transforming one tract of Lake Worth trust
land just west of present-day Boynton Beach into a large plantation for
the experimental cultivation of pineapples, mangoes, and tangerines
called the Belleville Plantation.6

Flagler and the Florida Canal Company
While the Boston and Florida company and the Bradley trusts made
plans for the sale of their holdings and the Florida canal company
pushed dredging operations still further into the southern reaches of the
Florida peninsula, Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway moved
like a juggernaut down the Atlantic coast. By the fall of 1892, the
Flagler railway had reached New Smyrna, pushing toward Rockledge.
Considering further extension of the railway to Miami, Flagler paused
to reflect on what public land might be available for his efforts. Seven
years earlier, the state of Florida had already reserved most of the available


remaining land for the Florida canal company for construction of the
inland waterway. With little or no land left, Flagler now decided against
building the railway to Miami unless owners along the way donated some
of their land to assist in the venture. Writing to Sam Maddox, the canal
company's secretary, on November 4, 1892, Flagler offered to extend the
railway south of Rockledge for what would ultimately amount to almost
a fourth of the canal company's million-acre land grant:

Other roads constructed in Florida have received from 6,000 to 20,000
acres of land for each mile of road constructed. These grants have nearly,
if not quite, exhausted the lands at the disposal of the state for such pur-
poses. Your own canal has received from the state a grant of alternate sec-
tions within the six-mile limit along its route. Our railroad will practically
follow the same course, and for this reason we are shut off from any possible
subsidy at the hands of the state. We believe therefore that you can well
afford to aid us in this undertaking by dividing with us your land grant. If
you cannot do this we should receive at the least 1,500 acres for each mile
of road which we shall construct south of Rockledge, not, however, to
exceed 104 miles.

Urging the canal company's board to accept Flagler's proposal,
George Miles, the Florida canal company's general manager, pointed
out the benefit of the railway's extension to the firm's still undeveloped
South Florida land grant. Eventually the firm's directors approved the
plan over strong opposition from a few of Miles's associates.
As early as August, Miles had been negotiating with Flagler to invest in
the Florida canal company. George Bradley, the canal company's largest
investor, pitched two fellow Boston and Florida land company investors-
Albert Sawyer and his business partner, George Piper-to become stock-
holders in the reorganized company, arguing that the two "would find a
large profit" in the purchase. On October 14, 1892, with Maddox in New
York completing arrangements with Flagler's lawyers, Bradley told Sawyer
that Flagler's involvement would make it "easier to sell our lands.""
In January 1893, Flagler made the first of his cash payments to the
Florida canal company, and on March 16, at the annual meeting held
in Sr. Augustine, Florida canal company stockholders formally elected
Flagler a director. Directors then chose Flagler to succeed John Denny
of Boston as president. Other canal company directors selected were

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 11

long-time Flagler associate Joseph Parrott, as vice president; Henry
Gaillard (the only canal company original director still serving), treasurer;
George Miles, general manager; Sam Maddox, secretary; George
Bradley, the company's largest stockholder; and Fred Amory, a prominent
New England textile and insurance
magnate from an old Boston family.
The following month, Flagler, on
Miles's assurances, wrote Miami
pioneer Julia Tuttle, an early investor
in the Florida canal company's
bonds, that the enterprise expected
to complete the waterway from
Lake Worth to Biscayne Bay within
two years."
By the beginning of 1894,
Flagler's railway had reached Fort
Pierce, over two hundred miles
south of St. Augustine. A few
months later, work on the Florida
George Lothrop Bradley, Bell Telephone waterway between Lake Worth and
director and the Florida canal company's the New River at Fort Lauderdale
president from 1899 until 1906. Bradley progressed so quickly that the
was the canal company's largest investor dredge working north from the
and a major stockholder in the Boston New River almost reached the
& Florida land company. Courtesy of Hillsboro River at Deerfield. The
the Bradley Hospital, East Providence, cutting south from Lake Worth
Rhode Island. proceeded along a route connecting
a series of small lakes, ponds, and
lagoons. North of the Hillsboro Inlet, company directors expected to
encounter higher, more difficult land. A second dredge working south
from Lake Worth averaged two hundred feet every twenty-four hours,
cutting a waterway twelve feet deep and sixty feet wide, according to a
Jacksonville newspaper account. Rumors also circulated that the canal
company intended to put other dredges to work between Lake Worth
and Fort Lauderdale."
Fulfilling a promise made three years earlier, canal company directors
in 1895 authorized the transfer to the Flagler railway of 102,917 acres
of the firm's land grant for the railway's extension from Fort Pierce to


West Palm Beach. Two years later, the company would convey an addi-
tional ninety-four thousand acres, including lands extending all the way
to Biscayne Bay, for the further extension of the railway to Miami.'2

Joint Developments of White City and Santa Lucia
Both the Flagler railway and the Florida canal company began jointly
developing the White City and Santa Lucia settlements near Fort Pierce
in today's St. Lucie County. The firms appointed Iowa native Charles
Tobin McCarty, the owner of a large lemon, orange, and vegetable
grove operation at Ankona, mid-way between Fort Pierce and present-day
Stuart, to manage their colonies, expecting him to advise settlers on
climate and soil conditions and supervise their farming operations.
McCarty replaced Louis Bauch, a Danish settler who returned to his
native land to bring back more Danes to settle on the Florida east coast.'3
Conceding that Sawyer did not share in Sam Maddox's view that
"Mr. Flagler must control the waterway," Bradley remained enthusiastic
over the Florida waterway's prospects: "I find myself immensely interested
of late in this Florida matter. I think that there is a fine opportunity for
a fair share of business." Of Flagler's interest in the project, Bradley
believed that the railway magnate "must have the waterway and that he
is still trying to get it in the most economical way." The Providence
native even began circulating among his colleagues a plan to pool at
least $380,000 of canal company stock, with Sawyer and Maddox as
trustees, to keep the canal out of Flagler's hands. The proposal called
for Bradley, Bradley's brother Charles, and Fred and Harcourt Amory
to pool together $260,000 worth of stock, with the balance of the stock
to be contributed by the remaining investors. The end game was the
sale of all of the canal company securities to Flagler within a year's time,
believing the outlook "especially bright" for Florida's east coast in 1896.14
By May 1895, the Florida canal company had completed the inland
waterway between the New River and Lake Worth when dredges oper-
ating from both ends of the section met.'5 While Flagler's Florida East
Coast Railway engineers began survey work for the extension of the
railway to Miami, the Boston and Florida land company joined Flagler
and the canal company in appointing William S. Linton of Saginaw,
Michigan, as exclusive agent in the sale and colonizing of lands owned
by all three firms south of Fort Pierce and north of the Miami River for
a commission of twenty percent during a five-year period, but only if

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 13

he organized two or more immigration companies and met stringent
sales goals by certain dates. Linton would establish a settlement bearing
his name, today known as Delray Beach. Flagler's interest in financing
the canal company, however, undoubtedly started to wane when he
agreed to take canal company land in exchange for funding the dredg-
ing of the inland waterway to Biscayne Bay at the rate of $7.50 per
acre-a bargain for the canal company given the low land prices prevailing
at the time.'6 In July, West Palm Beach justice of the peace A. L.
Knowlton resigned his commission to go to New River to survey the
square-mile site for the Flagler railway's new town of Fort Lauderdale
located on land owned by William and Mary Brickell. Like many other
land owners, the Brickells agreed to share their land with Flagler for
extending the railway through their property and picking up the cost of
surveying and platting the land. Knowlton would complete the project
just five months later in January 1896."7
By August, the Florida waterway became navigable between West
Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The Florida canal company placed
one of its boats-the Hittie-on the waterway, scheduling a run between
the two settlements every three weeks,1 while Flagler railway contractors
began construction of a bridge to Palm Beach across Lake Worth at
West Palm Beach." Through August 1895, the waterway's cost had
been staggering. The canal company had spent more than $7,500 a
month for the last two and a half years dredging the Florida waterway.20
The next month, Florida canal company directors accepted a Flagler
proposal to extend the railway beyond Palm Beach to Biscayne Bay for
an additional fifteen hundred acres of the company's lands for every
mile of railway constructed. Two months later, the Boston and Florida
company agreed in principle to contribute ten thousand acres for the
railway's extension to Miami.2 The Florida canal company also
employed real estate broker Fred Morse to market the firm's massive
land grant in South Florida. Morse, who also served as Flagler railway's
right-of-way agent for the proposed line from the New River south to
Biscayne Bay, understandably urged cooperation between the canal
company and the railway.22
By the middle of January 1896, the Florida canal company had com-
pleted the waterway, known then as the Florida Coast Line Canal, to
Biscayne Bay. Canal company president for a few more months, Henry
Flagler took the first trip down the inland waterway from Lake Worth


One of the Florida canal company's dipper dredges in the East Coast Canal on the
cut between Lake Worth and Lake Boca Raton, around 1910. Courtesy of the Florida
State Archives.

to Biscayne Bay aboard the old Indian River steamboat Sweeney. Three
months later, Flagler embarked on a trip down Florida's east coast as a
passenger on the first train traveling to Miami, arriving there on April
13, 1896."
In February, the Boston and Florida land company began an impor-
tant joint venture with Flagler when Sawyer agreed to grant a half-
interest in the Boston and Florida firm's properties in South Florida as
part of the firm's ten-thousand-acre donation for Flagler's extension of
the railway to Miami. James Ingraham, Flagler's land development
head, brought news of the opportunity to locate a Danish colony of
four hundred families at present-day Dania Beach. Flagler set the price
of pine land at seventeen dollars an acre and rich agricultural muck
land at one hundred dollars an acre. With the Boston and Florida land
company's consent, Flagler submitted a plat of their jointly-owned
property at the settlement of Modelo (so named for Flagler's Model
Land Company), laying out lots for future sale. This plan laid our a
town comprised exclusively of residential lots, mostly 50 feet wide by
105 feet deep on either side of the Flagler railway, which ran through
the middle of the town diagonally from the northeast corner to the
southwest. The naming of many of the streets reflected the Scandinavian

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 15

origin of the early settlers. Some streets bore names like Skandia,
Dannenborg and Denmark. Three avenues were named Valhalla,
Thorvaldsen, and Copenhagen. Lots laid out on the west side of the
railroad track were parallelogram-shaped conforming to the diagonal
line along which the railway track ran through the plan. The Flagler
plan also featured two large parks dedicated to the public directly across
Dania Avenue from the Railroad Depot Grounds.21
With the railway's completion to Miami imminent, Flagler started to
lose interest in the Florida canal company's work in developing an
intracoastal waterway. At the waterway firm's annual meeting in St.
Augustine in March, Flagler unexpectedly resigned as president and
director after a three-year stint.2 According to Miles, who succeeded
the railway magnate as president, Flagler resigned at his request because
Flagler feared that the waterways development might adversely affect
railroad rates.26 To pay back Flagler's cash advances totaling $185,137 to
dredge the waterway to Miami, the canal company deeded to Flagler
nearly twenty-five thousand acres of land.2
In the summer of 1896, Wallace Moses, the Lake Worth Trust's
land agent and successor to Albert Robert, reported the possibility of
selling the Trust's pine lands lying west of the Flagler railway and to
the north and southwest of the Town of Boynton for pineapple culti-
vation. The land in one of the three sections belonged to Sawyer's
Boston and Florida land company; the Trust owned the acreage in the
other two sections. Moses suggested lowering the prices in the area to
meet those offered by Flagler and the canal company for similar land
in the vicinity. The Trust attempted to sell lands south of the New
River to Swedes and Germans, but Julia Turtle's plans to charge higher
prices in the area caused a re-evaluation of arrangements with Flagler.
In addition to reporting that it would be "impossible" to get any-
thing done until after the elections in October, Miles boasted that
the Florida canal company's longest-tenured director, Henry
Gaillard, had been nominated for the state senate to represent St.
Johns County, and he expected Captain Dimick of Palm Beach,
another canal company friend, to be elected senator to represent
Brevard and Dade counties. With Flagler's Royal Palm Hotel in
Miami now "roofed-in," the Florida canal company began dredging a
ten-foot channel to the Miami River from Cape Florida under a con-
tract with the railway magnate.28


In September, Miles entered into a contract with "some Swedes and
Germans" for the sale of two Boston and Florida company land tracts,
along with Flagler railroad and Model Land Company acreage, com-
prising in all some eight thousand acres of South Florida land. The
Irish engineer expected land prices in the area to be set at $12.50 per
acre for pine land and $37.50 per acre for muck land. After December 1,
Miles anticipated a rise in prices to $17 for pine land and $50 for
muck. The prospect for making sales in autumn seemed "exceedingly
good." Julia Tuttle's land initially had been part of the sale of the large
tract, but at the last minute, she withdrew her lands. Sawyer had also
been studying the ramie (hemp) industry for some time, deciding to start
a plantation to cultivate the plant at Seville in present-day Volusia
County along the line of the Jacksonville, Tampa & Key West Railway,
where both Miles and his brother owned land. A new decorticating
machine for the stripping of the fiber from the plant had just been
invented and Miles expected no difficulty in finding a market for the
processed fiber. Miles's plan would later attract the attention of many of
the major canal company investors like Bradley and Sawyer and local
investors like William Deering, leading to still another "off-shoot" business
of the Florida canal-building enterprise -the National Ramie Company.29
James Ingraham, Land Commissioner of the Florida East Coast
Railway, reported on the progress that had been made in the joint
development of the settlements at Modelo and Halland. At Modelo,
the Flagler company built a road and two ditches from the center of the
east side of the town across the marsh to the Florida canal company's
East Coast Canal. The ditches drained the land for half a mile on each
side. To reach pine lands west of the town site, the Flagler railway
began building a road across the marsh about half a mile long. At
Halland, Ingraham unveiled plans to develop the Town of Hallandale.
Flagler's company constructed a ditch eight feet wide from the eastern
boundary of the Hallandale town site east to the Florida East Coast
Canal. A purchaser of a lot outside the town was to be given, free of
charge, a town lot, 50 feet by 125 feet. On the selling out of the land
in a Boston and Florida company section, Ingraham expected that the
joint venture would have to build a road across a narrow marsh to reach
property west of the Boston and Florida company lands.30
The first sales of land in these South Florida colonies prompted the
Boston and Florida company to consider owing William Linton of

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 17

Michigan a twenty-five percent commission under their year-old agree-
ment. Miles now asked for a commission for his work in developing the
settlements. Elaborating on his extraordinary work in dealing with Julia
Tuttle, Miles pointed out that Tuttle's "unreasonable demands" for
including her lands in the Modelo (Dania Beach) project forced the
group to exclude her lands. He also agreed as the Boston and Florida
company's agent to pay half of the six-hundred-dollar expense for the
proposed road west of Modelo out of future sales of company lands.
Still unsettled was the question of the location of the lands the Boston
and Florida company was to donate to comply with Sawyer's promise
to convey ten thousand acres for the railway's extension to Miami.3
In the latter part of October 1896, one of Flagler's key men, James
Ingraham, wrote Miles that work progressed "very satisfactorily" in the
establishment of the colonies at Linton (Delray Beach), Boynton
(Boynton Beach), Modelo (Dania Beach) and Halland (Hallandale
Beach), with settlers coming in "daily." The only unmet requirement
was the completion of a drainage system to reclaim the marsh lands.
Ingraham now sought a donation of an eighty acre tract of land owned
by the Boston and Florida company in present-day Boca Raton for a
sand pit to be used in constructing the railway. The grant was to be
deducted from the still-unsettled ten-thousand-acre grant the company
owed Flagler. Grateful that Sawyer had asked his advice, Miles thought
Flagler's people "somewhat 'foxy'" and not "bashful about asking
favours." In fact, the Irish engineer strongly recommended a change in
the donation's terms in light of Flagler's reduction of prices in the
Modelo and Halland colonies. Miles further urged that the value of the
railway's subsidy -suggesting one hundred thousand dollars- be
agreed upon and that Flagler take a half interest in any Boston and
Florida company lands included in any colony until Flagler received
one hundred thousand dollars' worth of land at present-graded prices.
In Miles's view, the chief advantages to Sawyer's Boston and Florida
company were the benefits of any Flagler advertising as well as any rail-
road privileges and other perquisites granted land purchasers, thus pre-
venting such a "powerful organization" from discriminating against
their lands.32
By the end of November 1896, the Flagler railway and Boston and
Florida company had sold sixty-five acres at the Modelo colony -fifty
acres of pine lands and fifteen in muck- yielding sales of $1,200, but


only a paltry $135.25 in cash with the balance to be paid over three
years. No sales had yet been made at the as-yet-unplatted Halland site
while the Flagler railway awaited the completion of surveys and
drainage ditches in the area. Although a number of settlers were ready
to close on their purchases, the Flagler organization had not yet com-
pleted maps for the land."

Indian River and Bay Biscayne Navigation Company
At the beginning of 1897, Miles, Sawyer, and other canal company
promoters began formulating plans for the Indian River and Bay
Biscayne Navigation Company to operate steamboats on the Indian
River. It was the first of three such ventures undertaken by Miles. All
three enterprises would eventually fail as a result of fierce railway com-
petition and poor waterway maintenance. Miles chose two boats for
purchase, asking Bradley to select a trustee in whose name the vessels
could be titled. In order to avoid untoward interest in the venture,
Miles suggested that the group appoint as trustee someone not particu-
larly well known on the Florida east coast. Bradley asked Sawyer
whether he had some "suitable friend whose name is not known" in
connection with the group's "Florida interests," suggesting even Sawyer
himself and Edward Walker, a wealthy Springfield, Massachusetts,
building products manufacturer, as possible trustees to hold tide to the
boats.34 By January 4, Miles had secured two steamers for sixty-five
hundred dollars, asking Sawyer to name a trustee "this week if possible."
At the same time, Bradley worked hard to raise thirty thousand dollars
to place the "Florida holdings" on a sound footing."
Sales at the colonies of Modelo and Halland slowed toward the end of
January 1897. Miles complained that settlers preferred the better-located
Flagler railroad and Model Land Company lands over the Boston and
Florida and Florida canal company lands at Modelo. He also questioned
whether the company had done well in locating the Halland colony
because of the need to cut drainage canals and build roads through
marsh lands. Swedish Lutheran settlers seemed pleased with the develop-
ment, but complained loudly about the "outrageous freight charges"
imposed by the Flagler railway. Some reported paying as much as twenty
dollars to ship "a few pieces of furniture" from Jacksonville.36
Miles still tried to promote the ramie industry on the Florida east
coast. The Irish engineer wrote of "an old gentleman here (Mr. William

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 19

Deering) a large manufacturer of Reaping Machines and Binder twine
in Chicago who is much interested in Ramie." Miles continued to press
Ingraham for details on the results of recent land sales at Modelo and
Halland. The Flagler organization had not yet received complete infor-
mation on the total cost of drainage and road construction to be appor-
tioned among the joint land owners. About seventy-five hundred dollars'
worth of Boston and Florida company land had been sold in the two
colonies, but only a quarter of that amount had actually been received
in cash. To reach the western pine-land properties, the Flagler railway
cut several main drainage ditches and built a road about three-quarters
of a mile long because of Julia Tuttle's last-minute withdrawal of two
square miles of land from the proposed Modelo development. While
land sales remained slow in the two colonies, Miles reported a bright
spot just below the Halland colony. In the northern part of today's
Miami-Dade County, Cuban investors sought to purchase about nine
thousand acres of Flagler railroad, Florida canal, and Boston and
Florida company land for a sugar-growing operation. Miles expected
the Boston and Florida company's share of the sale to amount to a
stunning thirty thousand dollars.7
In the latter part of April 1897, Miles boasted that Flagler finally
agreed to the Irish engineer's plan for transferring Boston and Florida
lands to Flagler for the railway's extension to Miami. Miles sent
Maddox a deed from the Florida canal company to Flagler and another
deed from Flagler to Sawyer and Gaillard as trustees, returning to the
canal company some 94,500 acres of land conveyed to Flagler, on the
condition that the canal company use the sales proceeds exclusively to
finance waterway construction. Of the acreage deeded, some 12,500
acres were to be conveyed to Springfield, Massachusetts, investor
Edward Walker and other new waterway investors as bonus lands for
purchasing canal company bonds and investing in the steamboat com-
pany. From St. Augustine, Miles reported that the Clyde Steamship
Company appeared interested in chartering the New England group's
St. Sebastian for the summer to run between Jacksonville and Sanford
on the St. Johns River. The end of April, Fred Morse, now Miami agent
for the Boston and Florida land and Florida canal companies as well as
for the Flagler railway and Model Land Company, informed Miles that
he had found a purchaser for ten acres of land in present-day northern
Miami-Dade County at the robust price of fifteen dollars an acre.3


About the middle of May, the steamboat company's Della was not yet
yielding a profit. The boat seemed too small for the pineapple business
and growers feared the New England group's new steamboat line was
only a temporary one. If the Flagler system gave the line "the whole of
the river business at proper rates," Miles thought, "[w]e will have both
railroads working for us even though they fight each other." Flagler, how-
ever, insisted on Miles's line dealing exclusively with the Flagler railroad.3"
The promised Flagler accounting of the lands benefitted by the
Flagler roads and drainage canals in the two South Florida colonies still
had not arrived. Miles sent James Colee-one of the Florida canal com-
pany's incorporators-to South Florida to investigate and report back on
the holdup. Real estate sales now seemed to be picking up, with Fred
Morse reporting the sale of 210 acres of canal company land about two
miles west of Lemon City in present-day Miami-Dade County for
$3,150.40 Soon Miles received a rough accounting from the railway of
the money spent on roads and canals in developing the colonies of
Modelo and Halland. With proceeds of lands already sold only enough
to pay the Boston and Florida company's share of the expenses, the
Irish engineer estimated that the company still held about fifteen hun-
dred acres in the area valued at $28,800. Morse sold another forty acres
of Boston and Florida company land near present-day Hialeah for six
hundred dollars, but only forty dollars of the purchase was paid down
on the transaction -he balance was to be paid over a three-year period.4
During the summer, Miles mulled over the strength of the pineapple
business on the Indian River, questioning whether to add the St. Sebastian,
still under repair in Jacksonville. The Flagler railroad now appeared
afraid that the presence of the new steamer might undercut railway
rates along the Indian River. The policy of Miles's company was to
accept freight from both the east and west sides of the river at the same
rate, provided the mileage to Titusville was the same. The policy, how-
ever, "touched" the Flagler railway, at "a tender spot," as the railway had
been "salting the people on the East Side -Merritt's Island, the Indian
River Narrows, etc.- until they have left them little chance to make
anything on their crops," Miles believed. Guaranteeing the Flagler rail-
way nothing, Miles told Flagler officials that his steamboat company
did not intend to cut rates at "competitive points."42
By the end of July, Miles had returned to Boston for Sawyer's
approval of an application to purchase forty acres of Boston and Florida

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 21

company land located two and a half miles west of Biscayne Bay at
$12.50 an acre. Miles and Sawyer still were exchanging drafts of pro-
posals for the formal written agreement on the Boston and Florida
company's promise to provide land for the railway's extension to
Miami. Miles insisted that the joint development contract require that
in the event Flagler terminated the agreement, Flagler would lose all
rights to unsold land in the Modelo and Halland colonies, taking the
balance of the subsidy from the Boston and Florida company's average-
graded lands. He believed that as long as Flagler's interest in the
colonies remained an undivided half portion, his railway land depart-
ment would remain interested as the "colonizing medium," thus per-
mitting the Boston land company to ride Flagler's "coat-tails.".43
During the first week of August, the Florida land business seemed to
be improving along the Florida coast. And Miles expected a "boom" in
the business during the winter. Joseph Parrott, Flagler's right-hand man,
told Miles that Flagler planned significant improvements at Miami.
Flagler had purchased "a considerable portion" of Julia Tuttle's interest
in the town for "nearly $90,000," according to Miles. The Irish engi-
neer regarded the sum as "absurd," given that the lands had been "wild"
only eighteen months before."
By the middle of October 1897, Ingraham had reported that six hun-
dred acres in ten-acre lots had been purchased at the Halland settlement
and that a hundred tickets had been sold for an excursion from
Jamestown, Ohio, to Halland, despite the absence of a formal survey
and plat. Miles expected the sale of the six hundred acres would net
twelve thousand dollars after commissions, with half of the land Boston
and Florida company acreage. Ingraham reiterated the terms and condi-
tions of sale at the two colonies. Each purchaser of "outside" lands who
wished to build in the town was to receive one lot free, with such lots
to be taken alternately, leaving the remaining lots available for sale.
Cash buyers were to receive a deed, but if buyers paid over time, they
were given an agreement to convey the lot either when buildings were
erected or the lot was otherwise improved, or when buyers paid all of
the installments due on the purchase.45
Prospects for the Boston and Florida company's properties in present-
day St. Lucie, Palm Beach, and Broward counties continued to brighten,
while the steamboat business progressed daily. Writing from Florida at
the beginning of December, Miles reported that new settlers were arriving


at White City in today's St. Lucie County, while old settlers expected to
ship fifteen thousand crates of vegetables from the area. There was also
a renewal of overtures" from the Flagler railway, which seemed inclined
to give Miles's steamboat company "the whole of their business" with-
out requiring the company to tie itself exclusively to the railway. Miles's
company would thus be left free to deal either with the Flagler railway
or the Jacksonville, Tampa line.4
By the end of 1897, opportunities for the Indian River and Bay
Biscayne Navigation Company looked even more favorable with news
that Flagler still had under consideration using waterway transportation
in connection with his railroad business. The Florida canal company
had almost completed construction of the canal connecting the Indian
River with Lake Worth, and the steamer Courtney reportedly cruised
through the passage.47
The New England group's steamboat company advertised a schedule
of hefty charges to transport passengers and freight on the waterway
between Titusville on the Indian River and Palm Beach on Lake Worth,
with thirty-three stops in between, including Cocoa, Melbourne, Fort
Pierce, Jupiter, and Juno. A passenger traveling the entire distance-
spanning some 143 miles-would expect to pay $4.30 for the trip,
with an extra charge of seventy-five cents for a meal. A single state-
room berth cost an additional dollar, while the charge for an entire
state-room called for another $2.00. Miles's company allowed each pas-
senger 150 pounds of baggage without extra charges.48
As the outlook brightened for the Boston and Florida company's
properties at Halland, Modelo, and White City, Flagler's Florida East
Coast Railway, the development company's partner in the projects,
furnished funds for the return of Ormond pioneer John A. Bostrom
to his native country, Sweden, to encourage Swedes to settle in their
South Florida communities. While in Sweden, Bostrom interviewed
prospective settlers and published a pamphlet in Swedish advertising
the settlements. Because of the Boston and Florida company's stake
in the same properties, the Flagler company later suggested in a letter
to Miles that the Boston and Florida company contribute a quarter
of the cost of the promotion, which totaled $734.61 for Bostrom's
passage and expenses. Miles sent the request to Sawyer, advising that
"the expense was not authorized in any way by us." Flagler would
also employ another Swede, Olaf Zetterlund, to attract a colony of

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 23

Swedes to settle in Hallandale in the southernmost part of today's
Broward County."9
In the spring of 1898, Sawyer's Boston and Florida land company
and Flagler's Florida East Railway Company jointly platted their land
holdings at the Halland settlement, naming the new community,
"Town of Hallandale, Dade Co., Fla." One square mile of the southern-
most portion of the community lay in what is now the northernmost
part of Miami-Dade County. The formal map of the town displayed a
160-acre town center comprised of small lots surrounded by large ten-
acre plots to be used for agriculture.0" Flagler's land company also
joined the Florida canal company, the Bradley trusts, and the Boston
and Florida land company in employing the same real estate agents to
sell their combined Florida land holdings at Linton (now Delray Beach)
and Boynton (now Boynton Beach) in what is now Palm Beach
County, at White City in present-day St. Lucie County, and at Modelo
and Halland in today's Broward County. Joint real estate agents would
represent the four groups' holdings well into the next century, selling
contiguous as well as jointly-owned lands."
On February 4, 1898, Albert Sawyer and his son, Albert Hayden
Sawyer, became trustees of the third Bradley trust, called the Walker
Land Trust, created for the benefit of investors in the steamboat venture
and the canal company's latest issue of debentures, including Bradley,
who held 100 shares in the trust; Edward M. Walker, Treasurer of the
Florida canal company, who also held 100 shares; Fred Amory, 15
shares; Sawyer, 15 shares; Sam Maddox,10 shares; and a new investor,
Arthur Merriam of Manchester, Massachusetts, 10 shares. The Florida
canal company transferred 12,500 acres of land in Brevard and Dade
counties to the trust as part of an agreement to attract new capital for
dredging operations reached among Bradley and his colleagues some
months before.52

The Spanish-American War
In March, the Florida canal company officially offered the U. S. gov-
ernment the "full use" of its private inland waterway in the event of war
with Spain, which appeared imminent following the sinking on
February 14 of the battleship Maine at Havana, killing 260 men.
Bradley believed that the war would demonstrate the usefulness of the
waterway for defense purposes, making a future sale of the Florida East


Coast Canal to the United States government a real possibility. At the
same time, the Flagler railway land department made considerable sales
of Boston and Florida company lands. In the opinion of Miles, the pro-
ceeds of the sales would easily enable the company to obtain a loan to
pay the taxes on the company's substantial inventory of unsold land."
While most of the U.S. Army's activity during the Spanish-American
War centered around Tampa Bay on Florida's west coast, the military's
top brass became increasingly interested in the possibility of using
transportation facilities along the east coast as an alternative. So tempt-
ing was the potential railway business during the war that Henry
Flagler personally lobbied Washington officials to use his railway to
transport men and materiel down the Florida east coast to the island of
Cuba. Florida Congressman Robert W Davis wrote Flagler on May 3,
1898, that he had visited both the War and Navy Departments "time
and time again" in the interest of the Florida East Coast Railway and
towns and cities along the Florida east coast, pointing out "the superi-
ority of Miami over Port Tampa from a sanitary point of view." Only a
few weeks later, on a tour hosted by the Flagler railway, Major General
J. E Wade, accompanied by his aides, Lieutenants Read and Almy,
Army Corps of Engineers Captain David Gaillard, Colonel J. E.
Weston, and Surgeon Woodson of the Army's medical department,
traveled together to visit West Palm Beach and other towns along the
east coast to locate suitable camping grounds for troops and determine
what modes of transportation existed. Captain Gaillard, a South
Carolina cousin of Henry Gaillard, the Florida canal company's longest
serving director, would later become internationally famous as the
superintendent of construction of the Culebra Cut, the scene of the
most difficult blasting and dredging work during the construction of
the Panama Canal. On the Army's departure from the West Palm Beach
visit, a local newspaper remarked," thatt some of them fully enjoyed
every minute of their stay here they admitted, also their surprise at
what and whom they found in this supposed wilderness."54
In late May, the U.S. Army contracted with Miles's steamboat company
to transport three mortar carriages down the waterway from Titusville
to Key West for the war effort in Cuba. A local account of the company's
munitions shipments reported that the steamer Sebastian, bound for
Key West, carried a forty-ton mortar through the canal at Juno on
Saturday, May 21, 1898. So large was the cannon, according to the

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 25

report, that "a man on horseback could easily pass through it without
dismounting."" The Army chose Miles's company to ship the freight,
according to Miles, when the Plant system of railways and steamships
on Florida's west coast refused to take the cargo from Tampa to Key
West for less than nine thousand dollars. The Irish engineer had the
material shipped by rail to Titusville "where I had them transferred to
one of our steamers and we delivered them at the Key West fort for
$2,500." Miles's firm later abandoned the transportation business, with
the loss of its railroad connection at Titusville after Flagler purchased
the Enterprise Junction-to-Titusville branch line.57 The failure would
not be Miles's last. During the next twenty years, Miles would attempt
two more times to establish a steamboat business on the Florida east coast
canal, but neither effort proved profitable and both eventually failed.
A year after the Spanish-American War, in 1899, Miles resigned the
presidency of the Florida canal company. Miles's Pomfret, Connecticut,
neighbor, George Bradley, succeeded the Irish-born engineer, heading the
enterprise until his death in 1906.58 In May, James Ingraham met with
Bradley and Miles at Bradley's Washington, D.C., home to discuss busi-
ness relating to both the Flagler interests and the Florida canal company's
ventures. Ingraham informed the two that Flagler was "not prepared to
go on with the Sugar Co.," an enterprise Flagler and the canal company
had discussed undertaking. Suggesting that Flagler consider managing the
canal company's lands, Miles also told Ingraham that the canal company
had in hand sufficient capital to extend the Florida waterway to St.
Augustine and planned to dredge the channel eight more miles to the St.
Johns River to link Jacksonville to the inland waterway. In a letter to
Joseph Parrott, Ingraham later warned that if successful, the Florida
waterway would "afford competition enough to affect [railway] rates
unfavorably."" Cooperation, though, between Flagler and the Florida
canal company would last at least until the next year, when Flagler hired
the canal company to dredge rock and sand from the bottom of Biscayne
Bay for Flagler's ocean shipping operation at Miami."
On July 21, 1900, James Ingraham, now tided Third Vice President
of the Florida East Coast Railway for Lands and Industrial Enterprises,
confirmed in a letter to Sawyer that the Boston and Florida company
owned the west and south tiers of forty-acre lots in one of the sections
included in the White City colony. Because Miles was absent Ingraham
did not know whether Sawyer's company was still in the arrangement


with Flagler. In any event, he sent Sawyer an application for deed to
five acres of the land, along with a check for $55.66 and a commission
receipt for $10. Ingraham asked Sawyer to send a deed for the sale and
a memorandum of all prior sales made in this section.61
Two years later, in the fall of 1902, just west of the original town of
Boynton in southern Palm Beach County, Albert Sawyer, as Trustee of
the Lake Worth Land Trust, subdivided a 20-acre tract of land into 22
lots, each approximately 273 feet long and 40 feet wide, with two more
lots each about 100 feet square surrounding a centrally-located site for
the Boynton public school, which the trust donated to the Dade
County School Board in 1896.62 The Newburyport investor named the
subdivision "Sawyer's Addition to the Town of Boynton." The next
year, with Bradley still at the helm, the Florida canal company completed
dredging the waterway between Ormond and Miami-a distance of
about three hundred miles. Two dredges, working at opposite ends,
however, kept on dredging the Matanzas-Halifax canal, soon to connect
St. Augustine with Ormond to the south.63

Albert Page Sawyer Dies
On Saturday, November 21, 1903, just ten months after floating a one
hundred thousand dollar bond issue to finance canal construction,
tragedy struck the New England group when Albert Page Sawyer, the
Boston and Florida company's president, died at his home in
Newburyport, Massachusetts, having been in poor health for a number
of years. Trustee of the three Bradley land trusts in Florida, Sawyer
reportedly had been one of the wealthiest men in Newburyport when
he passed away at age sixty-three.64 Sawyer's son, thirty-two-year-old
Albert Hayden Sawyer, an 1894 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, would succeed his father as trustee of the Bradley trusts
and as president of the Boston and Florida land company."5

State Freezes Canal Company Land Grants
A few months after Sawyer's death, with only nine miles of cuts remaining
before completing the Maranzas-Halifax canal, the first of a flurry of
lawsuits emerged over the public land grants promised both Flagler's
railway and the Florida canal company well before the turn of the cen-
tury. State land grants already made to the canal company for dredging
the Florida waterway amounted to 475,015 acres. Frustrated over the

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 27

failure of the canal company to carry out dredging operations with suf-
ficient speed, state trustees froze further grants south in what is now
Miami-Dade County, even ordering a return of 92,070 acres regarded
as erroneously deeded to the company. In a court proceeding brought
in Tallahassee in June 1904, the Florida canal company sued to keep
state trustees from disposing of public lands reserved for the company.
A Leon County Circuit Court judge temporarily stopped the state from
disposing of the canal company's reserved lands. As Miles observed at
the time, the State "cannot give valid title but they may put us to much
inconvenience if we permit them to do so." More suits and countersuits
followed, tying up the public lands so tightly that neither the state nor
the canal company could dispose of the vast expanse of Florida lands.66
In October 1904, Edward Walker, a leading waterway investor and the
Florida canal company's vice president and treasurer, brought sobering
news that land sales had fallen off and the dredges were not doing good
work, especially the Wimbee, which advanced only four thousand feet in
September. Repair bills had been staggering. Walker now called on
Bradley for three thousand dollars to pay September bills amounting to
almost four thousand dollars.7 By the end of the month, Miles suggested
a scheme to drain their lands in order to stimulate land sales. Sir
Sandford Fleming, the acclaimed Canadian Pacific Railway engineer, now
seventy-seven years old, seemed to Miles "impatient to realize something"
on the investment he made in the Boston and Florida land company
twelve years before, recalling that Fleming expected him "to do every-
thing in my power to see that some substantial results are obtained, as I
am responsible for his purchase of the stock." Miles offered to resign as a
director in favor of Fleming's son, Sandford H. Fleming, but had not yet
heard from Fleming. Sawyer hoped that Miles would not resign, suggest-
ing that Fleming's son could be added to the board and that he (Sandford
H. Fleming) might want to travel to Boston to look over the books with
Sawyer and Piper. On the question of selecting local real estate agents,
Miles urged Sawyer to consider carefully the question of appointing real
estate agents who were not "mixed up" with the Flagler companies,
believing that better results would be obtained otherwise."A

Walker Dead
In August 1905, the New England group learned that the Florida canal
company's fifty-nine-year-old vice president and treasurer, Edward M.


Walker, lay dying. Suffering from the final stages of Bright's disease,
friends and associates expected Walker to live only a short while. With
Bradley, the canal company's president, vacationing in Europe for the
summer and its vice president near death, the firm struggled to secure
releases to sell company land. Albert Hayden Sawyer traveled to
Springfield, Massachusetts, to obtain the dying Walker's signature to
secure one release. While acknowledging the "great loss" that Walker's
impending death would bring, Bradley wrote young Sawyer from
abroad that he (Bradley) had personally loaned the Florida canal com-
pany from month-to-month since October 1904 a total of $46,300 to
finance dredging operations. Walker finally died on October 2, 1905, at
the age of 59.6

Bradley Dies
Less than six months later, on March 26, 1906, George Lothrop
Bradley, the Florida canal company's president and largest stockholder,
also passed away at the age of fifty-nine. Within a span of three years,
three of the most important figures in the Florida canal and Boston and
Florida land enterprises had passed away. Following an operation in
New York City, Bradley died of pneumonia at his Washington, D.C.
home, just a few weeks after returning from a Florida canal company
board meeting at St. Augustine. Bradley's death now left serious doubts as
to whether the waterway would ever be completed. Efforts to complete
the Florida waterway had slowed for more than three years with hun-
dreds of thousands of acres of state land tied up in protracted litigation.
On December 1, 1906, within nine months of Bradley's death, state
trustees and the St. Augustine canal company reached an agreement to
settle the lawsuits that had plagued the company and delayed construc-
tion. The canal company agreed to pay $50,000 for more than 200,000
acres of state land and to escrow with pioneer Jacksonville banker Bion
Barnett (son of the founder of the Barnett Bank), as trustee, 100,000
acres to be sold for the construction of a waterway from St. Augustine
to Jacksonville. For its part, the state of Florida deposited two deeds in
escrow with Barnett, each representing more than 117,000 acres of
state land, for the construction of the remaining portions of the canal.
The first deed was to be delivered to the canal company when the canal
between the Matanzas and Halifax rivers was completed and half of the
work between the St. Augustine and the St. Johns rivers was done. The

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 29

View of the high banks of Fox's Cut in Flagler County, 1915. The Florida canal com-
pany dredged this and other 'dry' cuts between the Matanzas and Halifax rivers for
thirty years, off and on, from 1882 until 1912. Courtesy of the Florida State Archives.

second deed, representing the balance of the state land grant, was to be
turned over when the canal company finished dredging the St.
Augustine-to-St. Johns River canal. Further securing the waterway's
future, both Bradley's estate and his wife, Helen, continued to invest
hundreds of thousands of dollars in the dredging work to protect the
Bradley estate's interest in the four hundred thousand acres of land the
canal company expected to earn in completing the waterway project.

Flagler Sues the Florida Canal Company and State Trustees-Twice
Four years later, while the Florida canal company moved forward with
plans to finish the waterway under a new contract with the state, a
proposed sale of over a hundred thousand acres of its promised land
grant to John M. Barrs, a close associate of former Governor Napoleon
Broward, caused Flagler to sue both the state of Florida and the canal
company to stop the conveyance. In one lawsuit filed in the Palm
Beach County Circuit Court in October 1910, the Flagler railway
claimed it was owed 75,582 acres of land for extending the railway
south to Miami under several agreements with the canal company,
beginning with Flagler's land-sharing proposal in 1892. The suit sought
fifteen hundred acres of state land for every mile of railway constructed
for the railway's extension beyond Palm Beach to Biscayne Bay.7
Two years later, in December 1912, the Flagler railway filed another
lawsuit against the Florida canal company seeking essentially the same


relief, but this time the suit was filed in the St. Johns County Circuit
Court at St. Augustine.73 Both cases moved slowly through the court
system until finally the Flagler and Florida canal companies reached a
settlement, resulting in the dismissal of the West Palm Beach suit in
January 1913, and the St. Augustine litigation seven months later,7 To
settle both suits, the Florida canal company agreed to convey another
20,002 acres of land lying within Dade, Orange, and Brevard counties
to Flagler's railway company.75
Meanwhile, in November 1912, the Boston and Florida company
subdivided for development two large tracts of land in the northern
part of Broward County and the southern portion of Palm Beach
County. The tracts, each a square mile in size, occupied the northern
part of Deerfield Beach and the southern section of Boca Raton, strad-
dling the Hillsboro Canal. Each tract encompassed 64 lots, each
approximately 660 feet by 660 feet, with large stands of cypress and
sawgrass running throughout the sections. Today the easterly tract is
bounded on the west by the Sunshine State Turnpike and on the east
by Powerline Road.76

State Trustees Make Final Grants to Canal Company and Flagler
Six years after Bradley's death-and nearly thirty years after the Florida
canal company had begun dredging work, Florida trustees finally
accepted the Florida East Coast Canal as finished according to the
state's specifications. In November 1912, Fred Elliott, the state's
drainage engineer, told state trustees that the canal company had com-
pleted the thirty-mile-long Matanzas-Halifax Canal between St.
Augustine and Ormond, just above Daytona, with the exception of a
three-and-a-half-mile strip. Notwithstanding the unfinished work, the
trustees, in December, made their final land grant to the St. Augustine
canal company, resulting in a total of 1,030,128 acres of public land
granted to the privately-held firm for dredging 268 miles of inland
waterway during the thirty-year period beginning in 1882.'
While the Florida canal company's request for the last of the land
grants generated considerable debate throughout the state, the state
trustees' compromise over the grants promised the Flagler railway
caused hardly a whisper. On December 20, 1912, to complete settle-
ment of the lawsuit Flagler brought against the State and the Florida
canal company over lands held in reserve for both the railway and canal

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 31

companies, state trustees agreed to deed the Flagler railway 250,000
acres of public land, 200,000 acres of which lay in the extreme south-
ern portion of the Everglades, with the remaining 50,000 acres located
north of the new town of Fort Lauderdale.73
Seventeen years after the last land grant, in 1929, the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers assumed control over the Florida East Coast Canal
and by 1935 had converted the old privately owned toll way into the
modern-day Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to
Miami. By the boom times of the 1920s, Flagler as well as the Florida
canal company, the Boston and Florida land company, and the three
Bradley trusts had disposed of most of their holdings, enriching the
heirs of investors like Sawyer and Bradley who had held onto their
investments for more than thirty years. Today, over a million acres of
Florida east coast land stretching from St. Augustine to Miami originate
in grants made to the Flagler railway and the Florida Coast Line Canal
and Transportation Company for developing Florida's east coast trans-
portation infrastructure beginning in the early 1880s.

Crucial to the development of the Florida east coast that began in the
1880s were the State's large reserves of public land and its willingness to
grant land for railway and inland waterway development. Such grants
led to the construction of Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway and what
would become Florida's modern-day Atlantic Intracoasral Waterway.
Flagler received public land not only from the state of Florida but also
from private entities such as the Florida Coast Line Canal and
Transportation Company and the Boston and Florida Atlantic Coast
Land Company as well as from private individuals such as Julia Tuttle
and the Brickells for extending the Florida East Coast Railway into the
southern reaches of the Florida peninsula. Both Flagler and the Boston
and Florida land company cooperated in developing settlements along
the lower east coast such as White City (near Fort Pierce), Linton
(Delray Beach), Boynton (Boynton Beach), Modelo (Dania Beach), and
Halland (Hallandale Beach). In the final analysis, competition between
the two enterprises lowered land prices and transportation charges for
newly arriving settlers. The firms developed Modelo and Halland in dif-
ferent ways. In the case of Modelo, the Boston and Florida company's
interest in the platted land remained completely undisclosed. In a similar


way, Flagler and the Brickells developed the Town of Fort Lauderdale,
but it was Flagler's interest that remained hidden from the public
record until the Brickells began conveying lots to Flagler's Fort Dallas
Land Company soon after the plat's submission as a public record. In
developing Hallandale with the Flagler railway, the Boston and Florida
land company's interest was expressly stated and made a part of the
public record. Both entities developed what is today Hallandale Beach.
While the Model Land Company papers shed light on the develop-
ment of the Florida east coast from the perspective of Flagler's interest
in developing his land grants, the Sawyer papers draw our attention to
the land and waterway operations of the Florida canal company and its
related enterprises such as the Boston and Florida Atlantic Coast Land
Company, the Bradley trusts, and the Indian River and Bay Biscayne
Navigation Company in their attempts to exploit the canal company's
vast real estate holdings stretching from St. Augustine to Miami.
Although much is known about Flagler and his associates and enterprises,
little is known about Albert Page Sawyer, George Francis Miles, and
George Lothrop Bradley, as well as their Florida businesses. Miles's con-
nection to Canadian investors like acclaimed engineer Sir Sandford
Fleming of the Canadian Pacific Railway has also not yet been fully
examined. Moreover, no photographs or other pictures of Sawyer or
Miles are known to exist. And to date, there exists no finding aid or
other guide to assist those interested in exploring the Sawyer papers in
greater detail. To those interested in these important papers is left the
task of wading through the thousands of pages of manuscript spanning
twenty years to unravel the complex and sometimes convoluted business
transactions of an obscure group of New England investors who sought
to develop what is today Florida's Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and over
a million acres of Florida east coast land from St. Augustine to Miami.

The Papers of Albert Sawyer 33

'William E. Brown, Jr. and Karen Hudson, "Henry Flagler and the
Model Land Company," Tequesta LVI (1996).
2A. P Sawyer Papers, MSS 175, Florida Collection, State Library of
Florida, Tallahassee, Florida.
SWilliam G. Crawford, Jr., "A History of the Florida East Coast Canal:
the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Miami,"
Broward Legacy 20, Nos. 3-4 (Summer/Fall 1997), pp. 7-9. Rowland H.
Rerick, Memoirs ofFlorida, II, Francis P. Fleming, ed., (Atlanta: The
Southern Historical Association, 1902), pp. 157-58. See, also, Joe
Knetsch, "A Finder of Many Paths: John Westcott and the Internal
Development of Florida," in Florida Pathfinders, Lewis N. Wynne and
James J. Horgan, eds. (Saint Leo, Fla.: Saint Leo College Press, 1994),
for a well-researched biographical sketch of Westcott. "Death of Dr.
Westcott," Florida Times Union, 2 January 1889. Articles of Association
of the Florida Coast Line Canal and Transportation Company (here-
inafter referred as "the Canal Company"), dated 7 May 1881, and
recorded June 24, 1881 in Book B, at Pages 214-15, Office of the
Secretary of State (Letters Patent issued May 23, 1881); Additional
Articles of Association of the Canal Company, dated 24 June 1882, and
recorded 10 August 1883, in Book B, at Page 440, Office of the
Secretary of State; and second Additional Articles of Association of the
Canal Company dated 24 February 1885, recorded 11 November
1885, in Book B, at Page 562, Office of the Secretary of State.
SCertificate of Organization of the Boston and Florida Atlantic Coast
Land Company (hereinafter referred to as "the Boston and Florida
Company"), 24 November 1891, recorded in Corporations Book 1, at
page 29, of the Public Records of Broward County, Florida. Deed exe-
cuted by the Canal Company in favor of the Boston and Florida
Company on 4 January 1892 and recorded on 30 January 1892, in
Deed Book "E," at Page 343, of the Public Records of Dade County,
Florida. For biographical information on Sawyer, see, "Death List of a
Day: Albert P Sawyer," New York Times, 22 November 1903, p. 7, col.
5; Eleanor Grace Sawyer, Sawyer Families ofNew England, 1636-1900
(Camden, Me: Penobscot Press, 1995), pp. 95,134; John D. Parsons,
Newburyport: Its Industries, Business Interests and Attractions,
(Newburyport, Mass.: William H. Huse & Co., 1887), pp. 83, 88;
Newburyport and Amesbury Directory, 1891 (Boston, Mass.: Sampson,


Murdock, & Co.,1891), pp. 351-52; Ibid. (1892-3), pp. 351-52;
Laurence P Dodge, "Sea Water Gold," 23 February 1954, typed manu-
script, Newburyport (Mass.) Public Library. For a biographical sketch
of Fleming, see, W Stewart Wallace, The MacMillan Dictionary of
Canadian Biography, 3rd ed. (London: MacMillan, 1963), p. 236. On
Fleming's purchase of the Boston and Florida securities, see, George F
Miles to Sandford Fleming, 21 March and 1 May 1893, Flagler
Enterprises Letters, MSS 0:107, Box 146, Special Collections, Robert
Manning Strozier Library, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.
5 Warranty Deed executed by the Canal Company in favor of Albert
Sawyer, Trustee, on 26 May 1892, and recorded in Deed Book "E," at
page 343, of the Public Records of Dade County, Florida.
6 Lake Worth Land Trust, 27 May 1892, recorded in Miscellaneous
Book 1, at Page 212, of the Public Records of Palm Beach County,
Florida. New River Land Trust Declaration, 28 May 1892,
Miscellaneous Book 1, at Page 218, of the Public Records of Palm
Beach County, Florida; Warranty Deed executed by the Canal
Company in favor of Albert P Sawyer, Trustee, on 26 May 1892, and
recorded in Deed Book "E," at Page 494, of the Public Records of
Dade County, Florida. Plat ofSawyer's Addition to the Town ofBoynton,
recorded December 11, 1902, in Plat Book "B," at Page 68, of the
Public Records of Dade County, Florida. Plat ofE 1/2 of W 1/2 of Sec.
33, T 44, R. 43; West Halfof Sec. 28, Tp. 44, R. 43; and West Half Sec.
21, Tp 44, R. 43, recorded on 2 September 1913, in Plat Book 5, at
Page 12 of the Public Records of Palm Beach County, Florida. Albert
W. Robert to Albert P Sawyer, 13, 24 June and 19 July 1892, Albert P
Sawyer Papers (hereinafter referred to as "SP") Folder 1. Compare
advertisements for "Albert W. Robert," Tropical Sun (Juno), 16 June
1892, showing Robert as agent for the Canal and Boston and Florida
companies as early as June 1892.
7 (Verified) Complaint, Florida East Coast Railway Co. v. Canal Company,
et al. and Exhibits thereto, St. Johns County Circuit Court, Chancery
Case No. 1162, 28 December 1912 (hereinafter referred to as FEC v.
Canal Co. (St. Johns/Putnam). Case later transferred to Putnam County
because of Judge Gibbs's recusal on grounds of bias and prejudice.
' George E Miles, "History of the Florida Coast Line Canal &
Transportation Company," undated typewritten manuscript attached to
a letter written by Miles to Gilbert Youngberg dated 30 September

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 35

1928, Gilbert Youngberg Papers (hereinafter cited as "YP"), Box 4,
Folder 1, Special Collections, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, at
pp. 7-8.
9 George Bradley to Sawyer, 12 August and 14 October 1892; George
Miles to Sawyer, October 15 1892; Bradley to Sawyer, December 21,
24, 1892; all SP Folder 1.
10 Bradley to Sawyer, 31 January 1893, Sawyer to George T. Manson, 13
February 1893, SP Folder 1. Seth Perkins (Florida Canal and
Transportation Company) to Youngberg, 4 May 1928, and Swan to
Youngberg, 4 September 1928; both in YP, Box 4, File 29. See, also,
Edward N. Akin, "The Sly Foxes: Henry Flagler, George Miles, and
Florida's Public Domain," Florida Historical Quarterly LVIII, No. 1 (July
1979), pp. 22-36, for a discussion of Flagler's indirect acquisition of pub-
lic lands through agreements with the Canal Company and the Boston
and Florida land company. Swan to Youngberg, 4 September 1928, YP
Box 4, File 29. [No title], Tropical Sun (Juno), 30 March 1893.
Typewritten notes of Youngberg on Flagler to Tuttle, 27 April 1893,
Turtle Collection, State Library of Florida, in YP Box 4, File 9. Evidence
of Tuttle's ownership of Canal Company debentures (bonds) may be
found in a transcript of a letter from Tuttle to Horace S. Cummings
dated 20 March 1893, filed 4 April 1899, and recorded in Deed Book
"U," at Page 301 of the Public Records of Dade County, Florida.
" "The East Coast Canal," Florida Daily Citizen, 6 June 1894.
2 (Verified) Complaint, FEC v. Canal Co. (St. Johns/Putnan), p. 6.
""A Great Strip of Land," Tropical Sun (West Palm Beach), January 31, 1895
"Bradley to Sawyer, 17, 19, 21-22 April 1895, SP Folder 4.
" Business Directory Guide and History of Dade County, Fla. for 1896-97,
West Palm Beach, Fla.: C. M. Gardner and C. F Kennedy, Publishers,
(Tropical Sun Print), p. 32.
'"Linton (Southern Florida Land Company) to Sawyer, 19 June 1895;
Agreement between Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Indian River Railway
Co. and Florida Coast Line Canal & Transp. Co., first parties, and
William S. Linton, second party, 21 May 1895; both in SP Folder 4;
Bradley to Sawyer, 25, 27 July 1895, SP Folder 5.
7 Business Directory, op. cit., pp. 33, 36. Town ofFort Lauderdale, Dade
Co., Fla., surveyed by A. L. Knowlton on 20 April 1896, and recorded
on 1 September 1911, in Plat Book B, at Page 40, of the Public
Records of Dade County, Florida.


8 Larry Wiggins, "The Birth of the City of Miami," Tequesta LV
(1995), pp. 5-38; see, also, "East Coast Line Canal and Transportation
Company," Indian River Advocate (Titusville, Fla.), 23 August 1895.
""Building the Big Bridge," Florida Times-Union, 17 August 1895.
"0"Cutting the Big Canal," Florida Times-Union, 18 August 1895.
2 (Verified) Bill of Complaint, FEC v. Canal Co. (St. Johns/Putnam),
pp. 4-5. Parrot to Sawyer, 9 November 1895, SP Folder 5.
2"Bradley to Sawyer, 24 November 1895; Robert to Sawyer, 26, 30
November and 17 December 1895; all in SP Folder 5; Robert to
Sawyer, 14 April 1896, SP Folder 6.
3 Wiggins, "Birth of Miami," op. cit.
24Map of the Town ofModelo, prepared by W. C. Valentine on 29 July
1896, and recorded on 1 September 1911, in Plat Book B, at Page 49,
of the Public Records of Dade County, Florida; Miles to Sawyer, 15
February 1896; Ingraham to Miles (copy of telegram), 15 February
1896; Ingraham to Miles (copy), 15 February 1896; Ingraham to
Sawyer/Miles, 23 March 1896; Sawyer to Ingraham (copy), 24 March
1896; all in SP Folder 6. Akin, "Sly Foxes," op. cit., p. 31.
A5 Gilbert A. Youngberg, "The East Coast Canal." Florida Banker 7
(September 1931), p. 28.
26 Miles to Youngberg, 15 September 1928, YP Box 4, File 20.
"Warranty Deed executed by the Canal Company in favor of the
Model Land Company on 28 February 1896, and recorded on 16 June
1896, in Deed Book "O," at page 166, of the Public Records of Dade
County, Florida.
"Wallace Moses to Sawyer, 17 August 1896, 4 September 1896; Miles
to Sawyer, 27 August 1896; all in SP Folder 7.
"2Miles to Sawyer, 12 September 1896, SP Folder 7.
30Ingraham to Miles, 18 September 1896, SP Folder 7.
" Miles to Sawyer, 19 September 1896, SP Folder 7.
32Miles to Sawyer, 23 October 1896; Ingraham to Miles, 27 October
1896; Ingraham to Sawyer, 4, 11 November 1896; all in SP Folder 7.
"Ingraham to Miles, 24 November 1896, SP Folder 7.
3 Ibid.
5 Bradley to Sawyer, 4, 5, 9, 11, 13, 17 January 1897, SP Folder 8.
6 Miles to Sawyer, 28 January 1897; E Jacobson, Pastor, Swedish
Evangelical Lutheran Bethlehem Church to Ingraham (typewritten
copy on Canal Company stationery), 2 February 1897; Moses to

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 37

Sawyer, 2 February 1897; all in SP Folder 8.
37Miles to Sawyer, 20 February 1897, SP Folder 8.
38 Miles to Sawyer, 21, 23 April 1897; Frederick Morse to Miles, 29
April 1897; both in SP Folder 8.
~3Miles to Sawyer, 18 May 1897, SP Folder 9.
"Miles to Sawyer, 11 May 1897, SP Folder 9.
SMiles to Sawyer, 11 June 1897 (second letter this date written on
Canal Company stationery), SP Folder 9.
4 Miles to Sawyer, 25 June 1897, SP Folder 9.
"Miles to Sawyer, 30 July 1897, SP Folder 9.
"4 Miles to Sawyer, 7 August 1897, SP Folder 9.
"Miles to Sawyer, 14 October 1897; James Ingraham to Sawyer,
October 20,1897; both in SP Folder 10.
6 Miles to Sawyer, 6 December 1897, SP Folder 10.
47 [no title], Miami Metropolis, 17 December 1897.
4 Indian River and Bay Biscayne Inland Navigation Company, Local
Passenger Tariff No. 2 in Effect March 2st, 1898, A. M. Taylor Papers,
Alma Clyde Field Library of Florida History, Florida Historical Society,
Cocoa, Florida.
"Ingraham to Miles, 14 December 1897; Miles to Sawyer, 16
December 1897; both in SP Folder 10. See, also, Ingraham to Parrott,
May 1,1897, E. C. Railway Correspondence, Florida East Coast
Railway, St. Augustine, Fla., Box 1, Folder 9 (1897), for preliminary
planning by Ingraham for the trip.
"5Map of the Town of Hallandale, Dade Co., Fla., prepared by W. C.
Valentine on January 27, 1898, recorded on 1 September 1911, in Plat
Book B, at page 13, of the Public Records of Dade County, Florida.
51 See, e.g., Model Land Company Papers, Box 13, File 361 (Special File
439), correspondence written in 1916 between A. H. Sawyer, represent-
ing the Boston and Florida Atlantic Coast Land Company and the
New River Land Trust, Frederick Morse, a Miami real estate agent, and
James E. Ingraham, representing the Model Land Company.
2"Walker Land Trust, executed on 4 February 1898, and recorded on 9
March 1899, in Miscellaneous Book B, at Page 195, of the Public
Records of Dade County, Florida.
53 Bradley to Sawyer, 2, 5 March 1898, SP Folder 11. See, also, Miles
(on Maddox's letterhead) to Secretary of Navy John D. Long (Copy), 3
March 1898, offering the use of the Florida waterway to the federal


government, and Long to Miles (Copy), 5 March 1898, acknowledging
the offer; both in SP Folder 11.
4 Davis to Flagler, 3 May 1898, Florida East Coast Railway
Correspondence, Florida East Coast Railway, St. Augustine, Florida
(1898), Box 1, Folder 10. "Major-Gen. J. E Wade and Staff," Tropical
Sun (West Palm Beach), 19 May 1898.
"Irvine Mather, "Inland Water-Ways of Florida," Florida Magazine 6,
No. 1 (January 1903), pp. 5-15, 13-14; "Juno Jingles," Tropical Sun
(West Palm Beach), 26 May 1898.
"5Miles to Youngberg (Note), 26 August 1928, YP Box 4, File 20; George
E Miles, "The Inland Waterways of Eastern Florida," Atlantic Deeper
Waterways Association, Proceedings, 17-20 November 1909, p. 87.
7Miles to Youngberg (Note), 26 August 1928, YP Box 4, File 20.
"Miles, "History," op. cit., pp. 8-9.
" Ingraham to Parrott, 8 May 1899, Florida East Coast Railway
Correspondence, Florida East Coast Railway, St. Augustine, Florida, Box
1, Folder 11 (1899).
60U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Annual Report of the Chiefof
Engineers, 1900 (Part 3), pp. 2009-10.
" Ingraham to Sawyer, 21 July 1900, SP Folder 14.
6 Plat ofSawyer's Addition to the Town ofBoynton, recorded in Plat Book
B, at page 68, of the Public Records of Dade County, Florida, on 11
December 1902.
63Mather, Inland Water-Ways, op. cit., p. 9; George E Miles, "The
Waterway of the Florida Coast Line Canal and Transportation Co,"
Engineering News 52, No. 8 (August 25, 1904), pp.163.
""Death List of a Day-Albert P Sawyer," New York Times, 22
November 1903, p. 7, col. 5; "Laid at Rest," Newburyport Daily News,
23 November 1903.
65 See, Albert H. Sawyer, "Comparison of Vital Statistics of Groups of
Towns of Various Populations in Massachusetts," Thesis (B.S.), 1894,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Institute Archives, Cambridge,
Mass.; "Albert Haydn [sic] Sawyer," New York Times, 20 April 1941, p.
43, col. 2.
66 Bill of Complaint, 30 June 1904, Florida Coast Line Canal & Transp.
Company v. Trustees of Internal Improvement Fund, Leon County Circuit
Court, cited in sworn Answer of the Canal Company in Florida East
Coast Railway Co. v. Albert W Gilchrist, etal, TIIF Chancery Case No. 59,

The Papers ofAlbert Sawyer 39

Palm Beach County Circuit Court (hereinafter cited as "FEC v. TIIF
(Palm Beach)"), pp. 30-37. Miles to A. H. Sawyer, 3 June 1904, SP
Folder 18.
"Edward Walker to Hayden Sawyer, 14 October 1904, SP Folder 18.
6 Miles to Hayden Sawyer, 26 October 1904; Hayden Sawyer to Miles,
29 October 1904 (copy); both in SP Folder 18.
9 Miles to Hayden Sawyer, 2 August 1905; Hayden Sawyer to Miles,
August 9,1905; Bradley to Hayden, 11 August 1905; all in SP Folder
20. "Death of Edward M. Walker," Springfield (Mass.) Daily
Republican, 3 October 1905.
7"Death of Mr. Bradley," The Tatler (St. Augustine), 31 March 1906.
7 Sworn Answer of the Canal Company, FEC vs. TIIF (Palm Beach), pp.
30-37. A copy of the 1906 Agreement is attached to the Answer.
72 Bill of Complaint, FEC v. TIIF (Palm Beach).
73 Bill of Complaint, FEC v. Canal Co. (St. Johns/Putnam).
7 Progress Docket, page 2, FEC v. TIIF (Palm Beach); Order of
Dismissal, August 2, 1913, FEC v. Canal Co. (St. Johns/Putnam).
5 Perkins to Youngberg, 21 April 1928, YP Box 4, File 9.
76 Boston and Florida Atlantic Coast Land Co.'s Subdivision of Section 33,
Township 47 South, Range 42 East, recorded on 5 November 1912, in
Plat Book 2, at Page 62 of the Public Records of Palm Beach County,
Florida. Boston and Florida Atlantic Coast Land Co. s Subdivision of
Section 35, Township 47 South, Range 42 East, recorded on 5 November
1912, in Plat Book 2, at Page 63 of the Public Records of Palm Beach
County, Florida.
77 Minutes of the Internal Improvement Fund, 19 November 1912, pp.
575-79; "Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville, Fla. to Miami, Fla.,"
House Document No. 586, 69th Cong., 2d Sess. Letter from the
Secretary of War transmitting Report from the Chief of Engineers on
Preliminary Examination and Survey of Intracoastal Waterway from
Jacksonville, Fla., to Miami, Fla., 10; Youngberg, "East Coast Canal,"
op. cit., p. 5.
7" "Compromise Effected With State Over Florida Lands," St. Augustine
Record, 20 December 1912.


Clowning Around:

The Miami Ethiopian Clowns and

Cultural Conflict in Black Baseball

RaymondA. Mohl

In October 1939, columnist Stanley Sweeting of the Miami Times
interviewed Leroy "Satchel" Paige, the legendary black ballplayer who


Satchel Paige's All Stars
Ethiopian Clowns
Perry Stadium
Saturday Nite June 14th
NI S6MB An ArS P. M.
All Seags 60 Censu

Promotional newspaper ad for Clowns
game, 1942. Like the Ethiopian Clowns,
Satchel Paige's barnstorming all-star
team was a major attraction for black
baseball fans. Indianapolis Recorder, 1942.

was in Miami for a game with a
local black team. As Sweeting
reported, Paige complimented
"Miami's local baseball club, the
fast-fielding, hard-hitting
Ethiopian Clowns, distinguishing
them as one of the greatest clubs
he has ever played against." A
decade and a half later, in a 1953
interview with Collier' magazine,
Paige offered a set of "rules for
staying young." Rule number six
recommended: "Don't look back,
something might be gaining on
you." Fortunately, this rule does
not apply to historians. Thus, this
article will "look back" on one

aspect of Miami's black sports history, focusing especially on the clowning
tradition of the Miami Ethiopian Clowns and the controversies
spawned by the on-field combination of sports and comedy.
The Miami Ethiopian Clowns began playing in the late 1930s. They
barnstormed around the nation, playing an average of two hundred

Clowning Around 41

Syd Pollock's barnstorming team combined excellent baseball with slapstick entertain-
ment, sometimes playing with painted cown faces, ca. 1940. Courtesy of the National
Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, N.Y.

games a year, beginning during spring training in Miami in March and
then hitting the road until October, when they typically returned to
Miami for a final home stand against a variety of Negro League and
all-star teams. By 1940, according to the team's owner, Syd Pollock, the
team was "breaking attendance records from coast to coast" and had
"thrilled" over a million baseball fans during its barnstorming tour that
year. Because of the popularity of their on-field clowning antics, which
included at various times wearing grass skirts, wigs, or clown suits; slap-
stick comedy, flashy practice routines and baseball trickery; and even
wearing "whiteface" make-up, the team came to be known as the
Harlem Globetrotters of baseball. In fact, Abe Saperstein of the
Globetrotters and Syd Pollock of the Clowns were close associates; both
were sports promoters and booking agents. Saperstein himself was
deeply involved in black baseball, not just as a booking agent but as
part-owner of several Negro League teams, and he even fielded a clowning
Globetrotter baseball team for a time in the 1940s and early 1950s.'
In 1942, Pollock's Ethiopian Clowns moved to Cincinnati. The team
joined the Negro American League in 1943, and then shifted to a new
base in Indianapolis for the 1944 season. However, the team's roots
remained in Miami, where they continued to hold spring training, and


the Clowns roster always included many Florida ballplayers. Like most
Negro League teams, the Clowns continued to barnstorm extensively as
well. The Clowns did well enough in the Negro American League, win-
ning the championship at least four times before the League collapsed
in the mid-1950s. But owner Syd Pollock thought of baseball primarily
as entertainment, which the Clowns provided. Spectators turned out in
large numbers for the Clowns' appearances, and they always seemed to
have a good time. Attendance at Clowns games generally surpassed that
for most other Negro League or barnstorming teams, suggesting that
many baseball fans-both black and white-found the combination of
baseball and slapstick entertainment appealing.3
But not everyone loved the Miami Ethiopian Clowns. By the late
1930s and into the early 1940s, the clowning around that had become
the trademark of the team and accounted for its great fan popularity
had begun to stir anger and resentment in some quarters. Baseball
clowning was attacked by sportswriters and some players in the black
press as demeaning and undignified. Clowning around on the ball field,
it was argued, played to the negative and offensive stereotypes about
Blacks common at the time. Other Negro League owners envied the
Clowns' attendance statistics, but they disliked the clowning, too.
Baseball purists thought clowning should be banned from the game.4
Use of the Ethiopian label stirred controversy, as well. Ethiopia had
only recently been invaded by an Italian army, as Benito Mussolini
sought to colonize north Africa. The black press in the U.S. took up
the Ethiopian cause. Ethiopian successes on the battlefield stirred great
pride in black America. The embattled African nation quickly became
"a symbol of liberation" for peoples of African descent around the
world. Combining the Ethiopian name with baseball clowning, critics
contended, seemed an insult to Blacks everywhere.5
Equally important, perhaps, black team owners also resented the role
of the Jewish booking agents and promoters such as Pollock and
Saperstein, as well as two other booking agents-Ed Gottlieb of
Philadelphia and Nat Strong of New York. Black team owners lacked
sufficient capital to build their own ball parks. Most of the land in
urban black ghettos was owned by Whites in any case. As one black
sports writer noted in 1929, "Playing parks in the big cities is our chief
handicap. The scarcity of available ground and the expenses of con-
struction is [sic] almost prohibitive." Thus, black owners relied on the

Clowning Around 43

booking agents for access to the larger urban ball parks in the Northeast
and Midwest. Black teams played in major league ball parks when the
white home team was on the road, but the booking agents were the
gatekeepers to those venues. The owners felt that they were being
squeezed on the percentage of the gate taken by the booking agents.
Thus, controversy swirled around Syd Pollock's Ethiopian Clowns in
the late 1930s and into the early 1940s-controversy that involved both
cultural conflict within the black community over the acceptability of
baseball clowning, and a more focused set of disputes between Blacks
and Jews over economic control of black baseball."
A bit of background history on black baseball will help place the story
of the Miami Ethiopian Clowns in context. Black baseball in America has
a fascinating history, which sports historians have only recently begun
uncovering. We now know, for instance, that black baseballers played in
the early major and minor leagues in the late nineteenth century. By the
early twentieth century, however, with the rise of Jim Crow in the North
as well as in the South, black players had been locked out of "organized"
(read white) baseball. A short-lived "League of Colored Base Ball Players"
surfaced as early as 1887. In 1910 and 1911, a proposed National Negro
Baseball League of America also failed to get off the ground. But many
black teams competed regularly in the 1890s and the early years of the
twentieth century, with the best teams meeting in the "colored champi-
onship of the world," a black version of the white World Series.
The first successful effort to organize black teams came in 1920,
when the Negro National League was formed in Kansas City, the inspi-
ration of Rube Foster, a former star player and later owner of the
Chicago American Giants. Composed mostly of midwestern teams, the
Negro National League (NNL) soon found a counterpart in the Eastern
Colored League, formed in 1923, and the two leagues began playing a
Negro World Series in 1924. Black baseball thrived for some years in
the 1920s, but the Eastern League folded in 1928, and, as the Great
Depression deepened, the Negro National League collapsed as well in
1931. By 1933, however, with an infusion of "gangster capital" derived
from the "numbers" rackets in the black ghettos of urban America, the
Negro National League was revived. Gus Greenlee, the chief numbers
racketeer in Pittsburgh, took the lead in rebuilding the league, which
included teams from Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore,
and Newark. A competing East-West League emerged about the same


time, promoted primarily by another Pittsburgh sports promoter,
Cumberland "Cum" Posey, but the league fell apart after only one season.
In 1937, the Negro American League (NAL) was established, representing
southern and midwestern teams from Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago,
Detroit, Memphis, and Birmingham, among others. Over the years,
some teams dropped out and others joined; the Negro Leagues generally
lacked the stability of the white major leagues. The massive migration
of southern Blacks to northern cities that began in earnest in the 1920s
provided the large spectator base that supported the Negro Leagues
from the late 1930s to the demise of organized black baseball in the
mid-1950s. The annual East-West All-Star Game between the NNL
and NAL attracted great fan interest, even more than the Negro League
World Series between NNL and NAL pennant winners.8
In the days before television, African Americans throughout the
country also supported a variety of black minor league and semi-pro
teams, as well as the more accomplished and more organized Negro
League teams. A Southern Negro League, first established in the 1920s,
continued to thrive into the late 1940s, including at different times
such teams as the Atlanta Black Crackers, the Chattanooga Choo
Choos, the New Orleans Black Pelicans, the Little Rock Black
Travelers, the Memphis Black Chicks, the Nashville Black Vols, the
Mobile Shippers, the Lexington Hustlers, and the Jacksonville Eagles.
Several black semi-pro leagues sprouted in California and the Pacific
Northwest, along with an integrated California Winter League. Abe
Saperstein headed a Tri-State Midwest League. In the South, the Texas
Negro League and the Georgia-Alabama League drew on widespread
baseball enthusiasm among black fans in small southern towns and cities."
In Florida, organized black professional and semi-professional baseball
had been around since the late nineteenth century. As early as 1895,
when baseball was reported to be "the National Craze," a "colored State
baseball association" was formed in Tampa, with teams in Jacksonville,
Orlando, Ocala, Gainesville, and Tampa. As one Tampa newspaper
reported at the time, "the inauguration of this scheme has filled our
colored people chock full of base-ball enthusiasm, and the national
game is likely to be as popular among the colored people of Florida this
year as football ever was among Yale students." Florida's mild climate
permitted year-round baseball, which was especially popular in
Jacksonville, Florida's largest city at the turn of the century.

ClowningAround 45

Jacksonville's oddly named black Roman Cities team dominated play in
north Florida and south Georgia during the 1890s, and the city always
had team entries in early southern black leagues. Some northern black
teams spent their winters in Florida. As baseball historian Robert
Peterson wrote in Only the Ball Was White (1970), "In 1889, the [New
York] Cuban Giants spent the winter at a resort hotel in Jacksonville
Florida, where they supplemented ballplaying with waiting on tables to
earn their board." As winter tourism became established in South
Florida in the early twentieth century, major hotels in Palm Beach such
as the Breakers and the Royal Poinciana established their own black
teams to entertain winter visitors. In 1946, a brand new Florida State
Negro Baseball League included such teams as the Daytona Black Cats,
the St. Pete Pelicans, the Tampa Pepsi Cola Giants (and later the Tampa
Black Smokers), the Miami Giants, and teams from Bradenton, Bartow,
Lakeland, Cocoa, Orlando, and West Palm Beach. A year later some of
those black teams were gone, but others had replaced them, such as the
Coconut Grove Black Spiders and the Tampa Rockets. In the forties,
the Southern Negro League included such Florida teams as the
Jacksonville Eagles and the West Palm Beach Rockets. In 1949, two
Florida black teams-the Miami Giants and the West Palm Beach
Rockets-joined the International League of Cuba, with many of their
games played in South Florida. Baseball, in short, has been extremely
popular among black Floridians since the beginnings of the sport.10
As sports writers and baseball historians have noted, black baseball in
the days before integration generally was faster, flashier, and more aggres-
sive than the brand of play in the white major leagues. African American
fans who attended Sunday afternoon doubleheaders also came out for a
good time. The mixture of sport and entertainment began quite early in
black baseball history. Clowning around on the baseball field was already
well established by the late nineteenth century. The black writer James
Weldon Johnson, originally from Jacksonville, in writing about the 1890s
Cuban Giants in his novel Black Manhattan (1930), noted that:

They brought something entirely new to the professional diamond; they
originated and introduced baseball comedy. The coaches kept up a con-
stant banter that was spontaneous and amusing. They often staged a
comic pantomime for the benefit of the spectators.... Generally after a
good play the whole team would for a moment cut monkey shines that


would make the grand stand and bleachers roar. Delighted crowds went as
much to hear as to see the Cuban Giants play ball.

By contrast, Johnson wrote, "baseball in the white professional world...
remained a dignified and rather grim performance." Sol White, a for-
mer star player and author of Sol Whites History of Colored Baseball,
originally published in 1907, wrote that in the 1880s and 1890s,
"Every man on a team would do a funny stunt during a game." By the
time he was writing, however, White noted that "the funny man in
colored baseball is becoming extinct." As Don Rogosin has suggested in
Invisible Men: Life in Baseball' Negro Leagues (1987), one of the better
histories of the subject, baseball clowning drew upon "a long tradition
of comedy deeply embedded in black American folk culture." But when
the first Negro National League was formed in the 1920s, team owners
and leading players rejected clowning and sought to imitate the profes-
sionalism of white major leaguers."
By the 1920s, clowning had been relegated to a "baseball minstrel
circuit" of small-town barnstorming. The black clowning and novelty
teams of the period included the Tennessee Rats, the Kokomo Circus
Giants, The Florida Colored Hoboes, the Colored House of David,
and, by the 1930s, the Zulu Cannibal Giants. The 1976 film, The
Bingo Long TravelingAll-Stars and Motor Kings, according to some
sources, was loosely based on such barnstorming comedy teams. The
Zulu Cannibal Giants, organized by Charles Henry, a former player
and black baseball promoter from Louisville, carried on-field baseball
comedy to new extremes. Players suited up in grass skirts and wore
makeup or "war paint" similar to that used by actors portraying
Africans in the popular, but racially insensitive Tarzan movies of the
time. In the early 1930s, the Zulu Cannibal Giants regularly traveled to
Miami for a season of winter ball, which is where we can pick up the
story of Syd Pollock's Ethiopian Clowns.12
When the Zulus came to Miami for winter baseball, they regularly
played a local black team, the Miami Giants, financed in the late 1920s
by a local black bootlegger and numbers king, Johnny Pierce. Playing
around Florida, the Miami Giants also went on the road, barnstorming
up and down the east coast and eventually coming to rely on Syd
Pollock as their booking agent. In May 1929, for instance, after playing
a spring schedule in South Florida, the Miami Giants traveled north for

Clowning Around 47

a three-game series with the Gainesville Stars, then went on to Georgia
for games with the Thomasville Giants, the Dalton Tornados, and the
Atlanta Gray Sox, and still later barnstormed through Tennessee,
Kentucky, Ohio, and New York. As the barnstorming season came to a
close in the fall, Pierce's Miami Giants would return to South Florida
for winter baseball. By 1937, perhaps at the urging of booking agent
Pollock, Pierce had renamed his Giant team the Ethiopian Clowns.
During that year, as the team was traveling in the Northeast, they ran
out of money. Hunter Campbell, the team's traveling manager, called
Pollock to tell him they were heading back to Florida. Instead, Pollock
sent money to Campbell so that the Clowns could fulfill their booking
commitments. Later that year, Johnny Pierce died and Syd Pollock
bought the team from Pierce's widow. Over the next twenty years, as
Pollock perfected his promotional techniques, the Miami (and later,
Indianapolis) Clowns, like the Harlem Globetrotters, became synony-
mous with sports comedy."
s o.e SSyd Pollock was the moving
.force behind the Ethiopian
Clowns. He was born in North
+ Tarrytown, New York, in 1901;
his parents were theatrical people
involved in vaudeville. By the early
1920s, the young Syd Pollock was
managing the theater owned by
his parents in North Tarrytown,
showing silent films and booking
vaudeville acts. This early business
experience soon led to a larger role
as a vaudeville booking agent.
Clowns owner Syd Pollock was involved Pollock was also an avid baseballer,
in black baseball from the mid-1920s playing for the local Westchester
through the 1950s. Courtesy of the Blue Sox and booking their games
Pollock family. as well. After a baseball injury,
Pollock became a full-time book-
ing agent and, by the mid-1920s, a team organizer, promoter, and
owner of barnstorming black baseball teams.'4
Pollock's career as a team owner in black baseball began in 1926 with
the Havana Red Sox, the beginning of Pollock's long association with


Cuban baseball. Over the next few years, he developed and perfected
the promotional techniques he used later with his various Clowns
teams. Composed primarily of Cuban players, including the famous
pitcher Luis Tiant, Sr., the Havana Red Sox generally began their season
in Miami in March with numerous games against local competition. In
1929, for instance, they opened in Miami with an eight-game series
against the Miami Athletic Club, then launched the long barnstorming
season on a northward swing through the southern states. The team
played almost daily, with weekend doubleheaders. Pollock promoted
awareness of the team through his dispatches to the black newspapers
about the team's prowess. Pollock's idea of baseball as entertainment as
well as sport makes a first appearance with the Havana Red Sox, too. In

ll In One rg Show.r
Sunday Night, Sept. 2
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Abe Saperstein's Harlem Globetrotter
clowning baseball team barnstormed
around the country in the mid-1940s.
The game in 1944 also featured the
white House of David novelty team and
Olympic track champion Jesse Owens.
Indianapolis Recorder, 1944.

a report to the Chicago Defender in
May 1929, Pollock boasted of the
team's "dazzling pace" and strong
win record, but went on to tout
the fun and entertainment provided
to fans: "The visitors [Havana Red
Sox] lived up to their reputation of
entertaining as well as playing sen-
sational ball, singing their song
entitled 'Whoopee' in their Cuban
dialect much to the amusement of
the crowd, performed their famous
shadowball exhibition and keeping
the game pepped up with their
jabbering in Spanish, with the fans
in an uproar from the time the
Red Sox took the field until the
last out was made." A week later,
Pollock reported that "the attrac-
tion is provoking a real sensation
everywhere, breaking attendance
records in most every town and

city they appear." The idea that the baseball team was an "attraction"
serves as key to understanding Syd Pollock's approach to black baseball."5
Pollock's Havana Red Sox continued to barnstorm through the 1930
season. During that year, a second touring Pollock team emerged, the

Clowning Around 49

Florida Cuban Giants, composed of many ball players from Florida,
which Pollock began calling "the Alligator State." By 1931, those two
teams had disappeared, now replaced by another Pollock team, the
Cuban House of David, a knock-off of the original white, bearded
House of David team from Benton Harbor, Michigan. The
"bewhiskered Islanders," or "bearded beauties," as Pollock often called
his new team in press reports, barnstormed for two seasons. In the
1932 season, the team joined Cum Posey's new East-West League. The
players barnstormed through small-town America as the Cuban House
of David, but shaved their beards and became the Cuban Stars for
league games in the big cities. By 1933, the East-West League had dis-
appeared, as had the Cuban House of David. Pollock's team that year
was the Cuban Stars, but the players were mostly black Americans, with
a few Puerto Rican players added to maintain the Hispanic charade,
presumably a cost-saving measure in the depths of the Great
Depression. Always on the cutting edge of baseball innovation, Pollock
introduced a set of portable lights that year, permitting the barnstorming
Cuban Stars to play night games and build a better gate.'6
Pollock became increasingly involved in black baseball in the
1930s. In addition to promoting his own teams, he booked games
for the Miami Giants and the Zulu Cannibal Giants, later called
the Zulu African Jungle Giants. The details are fuzzy, but he may
have owned, or partially owned, other teams, such as the Puerto
Rican Stars, the Borneo Cannibal Giants, and the Canadian
Clowns, a white clown team that barnstormed towns along the
Canadian Pacific Railroad in the early 1930s. These early years of
owning and booking comedy baseball teams set the stage for Syd
Pollock's most enduring baseball creation, the Miami Ethiopian
Clowns and its successor Clowns teams.17
While booking and promoting these various reams, Pollock also
became an early advocate of integrating major league baseball. In an
open letter in September 1933 to Bill Veeck, Sr., then president of the
Chicago Cubs, Pollock pushed for an end to the major-league ban on
black players. The majors were suffering severe attendance declines in
the depths of the Great Depression. Veeck had complained in the press
that "major league baseball must do something drastic in order to revive
interest in 1934." Pollock offered to place entirely black teams, includ-
ing possibly his own Cuban Stars, in each of the major leagues for the


1934 season. Such a plan, Pollock suggested, would make baseball more
exciting, stimulate spectator interest, and boost profits for owners.
As the headline in the Chicago Defender sports section put it, "Syd
Pollock Tells Veeck of Cubs How to Fill Park." There is no record
of Veeck's response at that time, but a decade later, the more
famous Bill Veeck, Jr., claimed in his autobiography, Veeck-As in
Wreck (1962), that he sought to buy the Philadelphia Phillies in
1943 and stock the team with black players, a plan supposedly
nixed by baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. It
made a good story, but Veeck's claims have recently been disproved
by baseball historians.'
Pollock's letter to Veeck, Sr. came at the beginning of a white
journalistic campaign to integrate the major leagues. Earlier the
same year, another Tarrytown sports personality, New York Daily
News sports editor Jimmy Powers, began pushing the issue in his
widely read column, "The Powerhouse." As the Chicago Defender
noted in 1933, Powers and the Daily News had "taken a stand
against the color line in major league baseball." Other well-known
white newspapermen, such as Paul Gallico, Westbrook Pegler, Lloyd
Lewis, and Heywood Broun, also raised questions about the exclu-
sion of Blacks from major league baseball. Also agitating on the
desegregation issue at the same time was the American Communist
Party and its newspaper, The Daily Worker, which coordinated
efforts with black sports writers to end the race barrier in white
baseball. In 1938, continuing the campaign, Powers identified several
black players who could almost guarantee a pennant for the strug-
gling, white New York Giants team. Powers continued to use his
"Powerhouse" column to promote baseball desegregation until the
mid-1940s when the color line finally fell.'9
As owner of the Miami Ethiopian Clowns beginning in 1937, Syd
Pollock mastered the art of promotional hype. Few black newspapers
had the financial resources to send sportswriters on the road to report
on black baseball. Consequently, the African American press relied
primarily on reports mailed in by team managers or owners for their
baseball coverage. In 1929, for example, the Chicago Defender published
a "Notice to Baseball Men," laying out the guidelines for special delivery
game reports. This system fit perfectly with Pollock's promotional talents.
He relentlessly over many years wrote his own press reports and mailed

ClowningAround 51

them off to black newspapers around the country. Thus, the same stories
about the Clowns would appear throughout the nation. African
Americans had great pride in their sports heroes, and the sports pages
of the black papers were widely read. Consequently, few black sports
fans could have avoided weekly accounts of the Miami Ethiopian
Clowns, and later the Cincinnati or Indianapolis Clowns-almost all of
them written by the team owner himself. By the early 1950s, Pollock
was sending out thirty thousand pieces of mail a year from his Clowns
office in Tarrytown.2
When the Clowns were traveling, which was most of the time,
Pollock sent long press releases in advance to the black papers in cities
on the tour. In fact, advance stories about coming Clowns games bris-
tled with promotional excitement, seeking to build fan anticipation in
the week prior to the game date. By contrast, follow-up stories on
games just completed were shorter or sometimes never appeared.
Laying the promotional groundwork in advance of a game and building
the gate were important to a team's financial success. Pollock's typical
pre-game Clown press release invariably began with ubiquitous refer-
ences to "the nationally famous Miami Ethiopian Clowns," or "the sen-
sational Clowns," or "the world champion traveling ball club," or "the
greatest traveling club in the nation," or "the inimitable funsters of the
diamond," or "Syd Pollock's amazing baseball club," or "the wonder
team from Miami, Florida." One hyped-up press release in 1940 asserted
that "those classy Ethiopian Clowns, who hail from the sunny shores of
Miami, Fla., are rated the fastest and peppiest traveling combination
touring the U.S. ... [They] carry the greatest assembly of Negro baseball
talent ever assembled together on one ball club." The prototype press
release went on to note the Clowns terrific won-lost record and the
record crowds that greeted them everywhere they played. Top Clown
players were identified, with some of their notable pitching and batting
accomplishments. Then, the standard press release would turn to the
team's clowning antics and the good time that fans might anticipate at
the coming game. With the Clowns playing as many as two hundred or
more games in a seven-month season, Pollock's advance publicity and
sports hype helped turn out big crowds for the team's performances.2
Pollock had few rivals at the time in the art of sports flair and
promotion. A few examples from the early forties convey the verbal
flavor of this genre of sports publicity. A press release in 1939, for


instance, characterized the Ethiopian Clowns as terrific ball players
who in most games

hogged the spotlight with their funmaking. The latter interferes in no
whit with their able playing, for with all their horse-play, they show more
speed than a flock of gazelles, handle the ball with the dexterity of shell-
game manipulators, and at any stage of a tilt, convulse the fans when
infielders and outfielders alike recline on the ground while pitchers hurl
their smoke ball past their batsmen.... The dusky warriors of the diamond
have a continent-wide reputation for mixing mirthful entertainment with
outright clever baseball ability.

A year later, Pollock wrote of the Clowns: "Their bats are loaded with
dynamite, they are as speedy as a flock of gazelles, and handle the ball
with the dexterity of major leaguers." Notice the similarity of language
and imagery in the two press releases, which draw upon stock phrases
used often over the years. According to a 1941 Pollock press release, if
the Ethiopian Clowns failed to live up to advance expectations, "then
Washington never crossed the Delaware, the Yanks never won a national
pennant, and the late Chamberlain never said a mean word about
Hitler." Of the Clowns pre-game "pepperball" warmup routine, Pollock
wrote: "The Clowns deft manipulation of the spheroid in the 'now-
you-see-it, now-you-don't' performance...would put a flock of
Houdinis to shame." Pollock was a man with a mission and an undeni-
able flair for sports hyperbole.22
The Clowns held their own against most of the ball clubs in the
Negro Leagues and usually triumphed easily over small-town amateur
and semi-pro teams on barnstorming tours. But clowning around was
what distinguished the Clowns and what the fans came out to see.
And they rarely disappointed those who enjoyed baseball comedy.
The Miami Ethiopian Clowns began in the 1930s with the grass
skirts and whiteface routines. Players took the field under such names
as Wahoo, Tarzan, Impo, Bebop, Abbadaba, Kaliharri, Selassi, King
Tur, and Nyasses. For a time in the late 1930s they dressed up in real
clown outfits, performed slapstick skits derived from vaudeville and
minstrel routines, and amused the crowds with their "shadowball"
warm-up activities. Dave Barnhill, later a top pitcher in the Negro
Leagues, played for the Ethiopian Clowns in the late 1930s and married

Clowning Around 53

owner Johnny Pierce's daughter. Barnhill remembered his Clown days
in an interview: "We'd come to the park with paint on our faces like a
clown. Even the bat boy had his face painted, too. We wore clowning
wigs and the big old clown uniforms with ruffled collars. My clown-
ing name was Impo. We'd play 'shadow ball,' pretend to hit and
throw without any ball at all. They'd 'hit' the ball to me, I'd run to
field it, I'd jump, turn a flip, grab and throw it like I'm throwing the
ball to first base. They'd pay us extra money to do it over again, that's
how good it was. Then when we were supposed to get down to busi-
ness, we pulled the clown suits off, and we had our regular baseball
uniforms underneath. But we didn't change our faces. We played with
the clown paint still on our faces."23
The Clowns were famous for their vaudeville-type, slapstick rou-
tines. A tooth-pulling comedy skit invariably got big laughs. A former
Clown player, Othello "Chico" Renfro, later a sports writer in Atlanta,
described these on-field antics: "We used to take infield practice with
an imaginary baseball. The crowd loved it. We played baseball up until
the fifth inning, then the fun began." Two players, King Tut and
Goose Tatum, went into their tooth-pulling routine. As Renfro reported
the action: "They'd go through a tooth pulling act where Goose was
the dentist and Tut was the patient. Tut would fill his mouth up with
corn, and Goose kept pulling his teeth and pulling his teeth and it
never seemed to do any good. So he'd go get a fire cracker and light it,
and as soon as the firecracker would go off, King Tut would jump up
and go hollering and spitting out all the corn, like all his teeth were
coming out." "Everyone in the place laughed," Renfro remembered
vividly. Goose Tatum, incidentally, perfected his clowning abilities in
black baseball and later became a clowning basketball star for the
Harlem Globetrotters.24
Over the years, Syd Pollock and his Clown teams perfected baseball
comedy and invariably put on an entertaining show. The Clowns had a
number of routine slapstick skits such as the tooth pulling act or a pop-
ular and funny rowing and fishing routine. But they often improvised
as well, especially in non-league games when they were well ahead in
the score. Instead of running to first base on a routine infield grounder,
the batter might run instead to third base. With runners on first and
second, the runner on first base might steal second, while the player on
second would run to first. Sometimes the first- or third-base coaches or


the umpires would run the bases, too. The crowds would usually roar
in astonishment and unexpected pleasure. 25
Pollock tempered the on-field clowning somewhat after his team
joined the Negro American League in 1943. But in later years, as Negro
League baseball declined in the 1950s, clowning and novelty acts
became a more important drawing card to maintain a profitable gate.
For instance, Pollock was the first team owner to put a woman in the
lineup as a regular player. In 1953, twenty-three-year-old Toni Stone
from St. Paul, Minnesota, became the Clowns' regular at second base,
hitting a respectable .243 for the season. Stone already had several years
of professional experience in Pacific Coast ball, but the Clowns sold her
contract to the Kansas City Monarchs the next year, where she played
regularly. Meanwhile, the Clowns hired Mamie Johnson and Connie
Morgan to pitch and play second base, respectively. The novelty of
women on the diamond added to the Clowns attendance at a time
when the integrated major leagues had begun to draw fans away from
Negro League games. Pollock tried a lot of other baseball gimmicks, as
well, including dwarf pinch-hitters, one-armed players, a catcher in a
rocking chair, a first-baseman with a three-foot-long glove, juggling
acts, a one-man band in a baseball suit, anything to pull in the fans or
get a laugh. Bill Veeck, who jazzed up major league baseball as owner,
successively, of the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns, and Chicago
White Sox, learned a lot from his friend Syd Pollock.26
However, as noted earlier, clown baseball had its detractors. As early
as 1939, opposition to clowning around began to surface in the black
press. A. E. White, a syndicated writer for the Associated Negro Press
(ANP), wrote a stinging article about black baseball in July 1939. He
was critical of the powerful role played by white owners, promoters,
and booking agents, who, he wrote, rarely worked for the best interests
of black ball. White promoters and bookers virtually controlled the
scheduling for Negro League teams and barnstorming independents.
Teams and players were powerless pawns exploited for the interests of
others. The worst consequence of this situation, White contended, was
that white owners and promoters expected black ballplayers "to be
clowns and do the unusual in baseball-not play good straight clean
baseball, but dress in grass skirts, adopt fictitious and phoney names
and put on a show before the game and during the intermission between
doubleheaders." Clearly, this verbal blast was aimed at promoters and

Clowning Around 55

booking agents such as Syd Pollock and Abe Saperstein, and at those
who created and profited from such teams as the Zulu Cannibal Giants
and the Miami Ethiopian Clowns27
A year later, at the end of the 1940 baseball season, Pollock was on
the defensive once again. This time it was Cum Posey who attacked
Pollock and the Ethiopian Clowns. Posey was a powerful figure in black
ball, a former player and then owner of Pittsburgh's Homestead Grays,
and also a sports columnist for the widely read Pittsburgh Courier. The
whole idea of "clowning around," Posey wrote, was demeaning to
Blacks, while invoking the name of Ethiopia held that nation up to
ridicule. Posey urged black editors to keep news of the Ethiopian
Clowns out of their sports pages.28
Pollock responded immediately and vigorously with an open letter
published in many black newspapers rejecting Posey's charges. He
asserted instead that his team was providing both good baseball and
good entertainment for tens of thousands of fans throughout the country.
Pollock concluded by suggesting that Posey was "motivated more by
jealousy, than by ... personal interest in the Negro race." The public
exchange between Posey and Pollock reflected some bad feelings
between the two men going back more than a decade: In the 1932 season,
Pollock pulled his Cuban Stars team out of Posey's new East-West
League, contributing to its demise; and in 1929 Pollock and Posey con-
ducted a bitter public dispute about Negro League rules and business
conditions. The verbal battle between Posey and Pollock also exposed
some deep fissures in black baseball. The public discussion often
focused on the appropriateness of baseball clowning. Behind the scenes,
however, the control of white booking agents such as Pollock and
Saperstein over ball parks and schedules loomed large.29
The issue simmered into the early 1940s. In a decisive move in
December 1941, Negro League owners banned their teams from play-
ing games with the non-league Miami Ethiopian Clowns. As reported
in the African American press in January 1942, "the eastern owners had
long been of the opinion that the painting of faces by the Clowns players,
their antics on the diamond, and their style of play was a detriment to
Negro League baseball." In other action, the owners also banned league
teams from playing two other Pollock teams, the Cuban Giants and the
Havana Cubans, allegedly because these teams were "using Cuban
names for players who ... were American Negroes." But when these


Clowns team photo, early 1940s. This photograph carries the autograph of Buster
Haywood who played for the Clowns in the 1940s and managed the team in the 1950s.
Courtesy of Raymond A. Mohl.

matters were discussed by black sportswriters, the issue of financial
control by booking agents such as Abe Saperstein and Syd Pollock was
always given prominence in the decision to ban play with the Miami
Ethiopian Clowns. The black owners, it seems, attacked Pollock not
just because of his team's on-field clowning but because of his role as a
powerful booking agent and his close relationship with Saperstein.30
The ban on the Ethiopian Clowns did not find universal approval.
Some black sports writers supported Pollock and the Clowns. Unlike
some black team owners, sports columnist R. E. Rea of the Baltimore
Afro-American wrote, Pollock was meeting his payroll, employing black
ballplayers, and stimulating fan interest. In a series of articles, Rea chal-
lenged the black owners to build their own ball parks, take over their
own booking, pay better salaries, and put on a better show to attract
fans. The ban on the Clowns, Rea noted humorously, was "as childish a
gesture as Snow White's revelry with the Seven Dwarfs." To Rea, the
Clowns were not a "detriment" but composed of good players trying to
make a living playing ball. "Instead of trying to kill off these star players,
it would be better to take them into League circles." Finally, Rea
recommended that the black owners work with the white promoters,
who were doing a good job for black baseball.3
With the ban on the Ethiopian Clowns about to take effect, Pollock
and Saperstein soon posed a new challenge for the Negro League owners.

Clowning Around 57

In March 1942, they announced the formation of a new league-the
Negro Major Baseball League of America-with headquarters in
Chicago and with several prominent African Americans (including for-
mer All-American football star Fritz Pollard) holding official positions
in the new league. Teams scheduled to play in the new league included
the Chicago Brown Bombers, the Detroit Black Sox, the Boston Royal
Giants, the Baltimore Black Orioles, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Gophers,
and, not surprisingly, Pollock's Clowns, now renamed the Cincinnati
Ethiopian Clowns. Pollock had been successful with a non-league barn-
storming team, but recognized the financial advantages of regular
league play in big-city ball parks. Shifting the "home" base from Miami
to Cincinnati reflected an effort to tap into fan interest in the Midwest,
where most of the new league teams were located."
The Pittsburgh Courier played a leading role in attacking the new
league. The paper's sports editor, Wendell Smith, blasted Pollock and
Saperstein, labeling the new league an "outlaw" organization. It was
nothing less, Smith charged, than an effort by the white booking agents
to "take over organized Negro baseball." In the same paper, Cum Posey
used his column "Posey's Points" to condemn the "Abe Saperstein
Protective Association." Saperstein, Posey contended, was "out to keep
control of the independent baseball parks of the middle west," at the
expense of the Negro League teams. Pollock, too, came in for Posey's
criticism, as he was "capitalizing on the rape of Ethiopia when that
country was in distress" by calling his team the Ethiopian Clowns.
Posey also hinted, however, that if Pollock dropped the Ethiopian label,
then his team might not be "blacklisted" by the League teams. While
sports editor Smith took a hard line toward the new league, Posey
offered a softer position-one more open to compromise.3
As the upstart league began the 1942 season, the Courier's attack on
Pollock and baseball clowning intensified. Wendell Smith used his col-
umn to skewer Pollock's Clowns as "the awful Clowns of Negro baseball."
Pollock thought his "minstrel show" was "good enough for Broadway,"
Smith wrote, but their performances on the baseball field were demeaning
and racially dangerous. The slapstick comedy performed by the
Ethiopian Clowns represented to Smith "the kind of nonsense which
many white people like to believe is typical and characteristic of
Negroes." While Wendell Smith was attacking clown baseball, he and
his newspaper, the Pittsburgh Courier, were at the same time leading a


press campaign to integrate the white major leagues. Not coincidentally,
the Courier had earlier led a nationwide campaign against the extremely
popular radio comedy, the Amos n'Andy show, claiming that its stereo-
typical portrayal of African Americans was damaging and demeaning.
The Amos n'Andy show survived the newspaper's crusade against it, but
many of the same arguments were now used in the Courier's attack on
clown baseball.3
In retrospect, the Pittsburgh Courier campaign against baseball clown-
ing coincided with three other powerful forces for racial change in the
U.S. in the early 1940s. First, American involvement in World War II
initiated major social transformations on the home front. Again leading
the charge, the Pittsburgh Courier announced that for black Americans
the war effort had two goals: victory over totalitarianism abroad and
victory over racism and segregation in America. Thus, the "Double-V
campaign" was born-a powerful idea that resonated throughout black
America. Second, active support for the civil rights movement took off
during the war years, with rising membership in the NAACP, a succession
of favorable U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and major racial break-
throughs for Blacks in union employment and government policy such
as the creation of the President's Committee on Fair Employment
Practice (FEPC) and, by 1946, the President's Committee on Civil
Rights. Finally, these changes took place in the context of a great mass
migration of southern Blacks to northern and western cities. As a con-
sequence of these transforming developments, black America became
restive and more militant. Race riots in Detroit, New York, and else-
where challenged the racial status quo. Articulate black spokesmen in
the press, in politics, and in national race organizations like the
NAACP spoke out for racial equality and rejected as offensive the racial
stereotyping that had been common in the past. In the cauldron of
racial change sparked by the war, clowning baseball was targeted for
attack by those adhering to the emergent civil rights agenda. As the
newspaper that initiated the "Double-V" campaign, the Pittsburgh
Courier led the charge on the sports front. The nation's largest black
newspaper, with a weekly circulation of about two hundred thousand,
the Courier played a major role in raising racial consciousness during
the war years.5
Black baseball began the 1942 season in controversy, but ended in
compromise of sorts. Without the regular contracts typical in white

Clowning Around 59

baseball, Negro League players began jumping to teams in the new rival
league that paid slightly better salaries. With their best players jumping
ship, their bookings in jeopardy, and their attendance dropping, the
resolve of the NNL and NAL owners weakened. By September, after
winning the Negro Major Baseball League title, the Cincinnati Clowns
were playing double-headers against Negro League teams in violation of
the league ban.36
In a final resolution of the dispute with the Negro Leagues, Pollock
agreed to drop the Ethiopian name and the most offensive aspects of
clown baseball-the whiteface makeup, wigs, grass skirts, and clown
suits-and limit most of the slapstick comedy to pre-game activities
and between games of double-headers, or to non-League games on
barnstorming tours. In return, Pollock's Cincinnati Clowns team was
admitted to the Negro American League for the 1943 season, while the
existing NAL team from Cincinnati, the Buckeyes, was shifted to
Cleveland. The next year, 1944, Pollock's team found a new home in
Indianapolis, although they continued to play some "home" games in
Cincinnati for a while. The Clowns attracted a large gate for NAL and
inter-league games, justifying for a time Pollock's long-term goal of par-
ticipating in Negro League play. Meanwhile the problem of the white
booking agents lingered on unresolved, and within a year, Cum Posey
was attacking Abe Saperstein again.3
For the next decade, the Indianapolis Clowns added to the spectator
allure of Negro League baseball, even as fan interest and loyalty quickly
shifted to newly integrated major league teams such as the Brooklyn
Dodgers and the Cleveland Indians, the first teams to integrate. The
Negro Leagues ultimately disbanded by the mid-1950s, an inevitable
consequence of baseball desegregation and of that increasingly impor-
tant sports medium-television. One by one the teams folded, and in
1950 those remaining merged into a single Negro American League.
The Clowns won four pennants during the early 1950s. The team con-
tinued to hold spring training in Miami in the mid-century years, playing
numerous exhibition games with a new Pollock team from Cuba,
Havana La Palomas, described in the Florida Sentinel as "the new edition to
Pollock's Baseball, Inc." One of the prominent Clown players during
this period was Henry "Hank" Aaron, who as a teenager from Mobile,
Alabama, signed his first professional contract with Syd Pollock's
Indianapolis Clowns in 1952. By mid-season, as Aaron was tearing up


the NAL, the Clowns sold his contract to the Boston Braves for ten
thousand dollars, and the rest is history.38
The Negro American League finally collapsed in 1955. Soon after,
Syd Pollock sold the Clowns to Ed Hamman, a white professional
clown who had traveled with the team for many years. Hamman had
earlier learned something about the links between baseball and entertain-
ment as a young man when he played for the original bearded House of
David team. Under Hamman, the team continued to barnstorm into the
1980s, but it was all clowning by that time, with no pretense toward
baseball professionalism. Oddly, in 1967 the sixty-ish Satchel Paige, still
looking forward, signed with the Indianapolis Clowns for one thousand
dollars a month, briefly returning to the barnstorming schedule that
had always been common in black baseball. Meanwhile, Syd Pollock
had moved his family from Tarrytown to Hollywood, Florida, in 1955
and went into the real estate business, although he continued to work
as a baseball booking agent and talent scout as well. The Clowns 1958
Souvenir Program and Fun Book humorously suggested that "Syd's story
might almost be called 'From Sandlots to Houselots,'" a line probably
written by Pollock himself.
The saga of the Miami Ethiopian Clowns, then, reflects some of the
cultural and economic complexity of Negro League baseball during its
peak years. Clowning around had historically been an integral part of
black baseball, but its acceptability waned by the 1940s as civil rights
issues became more pressing in black America. The Miami Ethiopian
Clowns were popular among both black and white audiences, and they
had better attendance statistics than any other black ball team over two
decades. But there were many critics; indeed, there were some offensive
and demeaning aspects to the clowning tradition. And just below the
surface, the dispute between the black team owners and the Jewish
booking agents simmered for years. The few historians of black baseball
who have discussed clowning have been critical and dismissive, generally
following the Pittsburgh Courier's line of attack. But, as this article has
sought to demonstrate, there is a lot more to this fascinating story of
Florida baseball history than initially meets the eye.40

Clowning Around 61

Miami Times, 28 October 1939, clipping in Stanley Sweeting
Collection, microfilm in Miami-Dade Public Library; Richard
Donovan, "'Time Ain't Gonna Mess with Me,'" Collier', 131 (13 June
1953), 54-59. On Paige, see also Leroy (Satchel) Paige, Maybe I'll Pitch
Forever (New York: Grove Press, 1971); Leroy Satchel Paige, Pitchin'
Man: Satchel Paige' Own Story (Westport, Conn: Meckler, 1992); John
B. Holway, Josh and Satch: The Life and Times ofJosh Gibson and
Satchel Paige (New York: Caroll and Graf, 1992); Mark Ribowsky,
Don't Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball (New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1994). Interestingly, in another bit of little-known
Miami sports history, Paige pitched successfully for the Miami Marlins
of the International League for three years in the 1950s. See Paige,
Maybe I'll Pitch Forever, 237-248.
2 Indianapolis Recorder, 18 March 1939, 6 June, 22 June 1940, 1 March,
7 June, 1941, 1 September 1945.
SDick Clark and Larry Lester, eds., The Negro Leagues Book (Cleveland:
Society for American Baseball Research, 1994), 23-24; Phil Dixon with
Patrick J. Hannigan, The Negro Baseball Leagues, 1867-1955: A
Photographic History (Mattituck, N.Y.: Amereon House, 1992), 19-20;
James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball
Leagues (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1994), 633; "Meet Syd Pollock's
Indianapolis Clowns," Press Release, 1952, Indianapolis Recorder
Sports Collection, Collection P303, Box 128, Indiana Historical
Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.
SOn these points, see Jules Tygiel, "Black Ball," in John Thorn, et al.,
eds., Total Baseball: The Encyclopedia ofMajor League Baseball (6th ed.;
New York: Total Sports, 1999), 499; Donn Rogosin, Invisible Men: Life
in Baseball's Negro Leagues (New York: Atheneum, 1987), 141-151.
SJoseph E. Harris, African-American Reactions to War in Ethiopia, 1936-
1941 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1994), quotation
on p. xi; William R. Scott, The Sons ofSheba' Race: African-Americans
and the Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935-1941 (Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 1993); Brenda Gayle Plummer, Rising Wind- Black
Americans and U.S. Foreign Affairs, 1935-1960 (Chapel Hill: University
of North Carolina Press, 1996), 37-57; Penny M. Von Eschen, Race
and Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957 (Ithaca:
Cornell University Press, 1997), 11.


6 Chicago Defender, 13 April 1929; Jules Tygiel, Past Time: Baseball as
History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 132-135; Rob
Ruck, Sandlot Season's: Sport in Black Pittsburgh (Urbana, University of
Illinois Press, 1987), 144-124; James Overmyer, Queen ofthe Negro
Leagues: Effa Manley and the Newark Eagles (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow
Press, 1998), 127-165; Mark Ribowsky, A Complete History of the Negro
Leagues, 1884-1955 (New York: Birch Lane Press, 1995), 63-65, 154-
155, 230, 239; Michael E. Lomax, "Black Baseball, Black
Entrepreneurs, Black Community" (Ph.D. Dissertation, Ohio State
University, 1996), 505-506.
'Jerry Malloy, Sol White's History of Colored Baseball, with Other
Documents on the Early Black Game, 1886-1936 (Lincoln: University of
Nebraska Press, 1995); Larry Bowman, "Moses Fleetwood Walker: The
First Black Major League Baseball Player," Baseball History, 1 (1989),
61-74; David W. Zang, Fleet Walker's Divided Heart: The Life of
Baseball's First Black Major Leaguer (Lincoln: University of Nebraska
Press, 1995); Steven A. Riess, Touching Base: Professional Baseball and
American Culture in the Progressive Era (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood
Press, 1980), 193-198; Harold Seymour, Baseball: The People's Game
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 531-609; Tygiel, "Black
Ball," 493-497; Rogosin, Invisible Men, 10; Clark and Lester, eds., The
Negro Leagues Book, 15-17.
STygiel, "Black Ball," 496-500; Clark and Lester, eds., The Negro
Leagues Book, 17-19, 242; Dixon and Hannigan, The Negro Baseball
Leagues, 153-157; Rogosin, Invisible Men, 14-17, 25-27; Ribowsky, A
Complete History of the Negro Leagues, 154-156; G. Edward White,
Creating the National Pastime: Baseball Transforms Itself 1903-1953
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), 127-159. On the signifi-
cance of the East-West game, see Larry Lester, Black Baseball's National
Showcase: The East-West All-Star Game, 1933-1953 (Lincoln: University
of Nebraska Press, 2002).
9 Miami Tropical Dispatch, 29 June 1946, 15 March 1947, 12 March,
25 June 1949; Indianapolis Recorder, 7 May 1938, 16 March 1956;
Rogosin, Invisible Men, 28-29, 44-46; Ribowsky, A Complete History of
the Negro Leagues, 169-170, 190.
o1 Tampa Morning Tribune, 21 May 1895; Chicago Defender, 1 February
1930; Pittsburgh Courier, 20 April 1946; Florida Sentinel, 27 April, 20
July 1946; Miami Tropical Dispatch, 20 July, 10 August 1946, 15

ClowningAround 63

March, 21 June, 1947, 12 March 1949; Tampa Tribune, 1 October
1994; Agnew Welsh Scrapbook, p. 48, Florida Room, Miami-Dade
Public Library; Stuart Mclver, "Cooks to Catchers, Bellhops to
Batters," Sunshine: The Magazine of South Florida (22 August 1993),
22-26; Kevin M. McCarthy, Baseball in Florida (Sarasota: Pineapple
Press, 1996), 83-87; Seymour, Baseball: The People's Game, 542-543;
Rogosin, Invisible Men, 27-28; Robert Peterson, Only the Ball Was
White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional
Teams (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970), 39.
" Chicago Defender, 8 August 1938; James Weldon Johnson, Black
Manhattan (New York: Knopf, 1930), 64-65; Malloy, ed., Sol White's
History of Colored Baseball, 74; Rogosin, Invisible Men, 80-82, 142,
145; Tygiel, "Black Ball," 499.
1 Chicago Defender, 16 March 1929, 29 March 1930; Bruce Chadwick,
When the Game was Black and White: The Illustrated History of Baseball's
Negro Leagues (New York: Abbeville Press, 1992), 92-94; Rogosin,
Invisible Men, 145; John B. Holway, Black Diamonds: Life in the Negro
Leagues fom the Men Who Lived It (New York: Stadium Books, 1991),
94-95; Buck O'Neil, I Was Right on Time (New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1996), 70-73; William Brashler, The Bingo Long TravelingAll-
Stars and Motor Kings (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993).
Suggesting the wider dimensions of sports comedy, the Zulu Cannibal
Giants also had a basketball team in the late 1930s that played in grass
skirts and war paint. See Chicago Defender, 2 January 1937. On the
Tarzan movies, see John Taliaferro, Tarzan Forever: The Life of Edgar Rice
Burroughs, Creator of Tarzan (New York: Scribner, 1999); John E Kasson,
Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man: The White Male Body and the
Challenge ofModernity in America (New York: Hill and Wang, 2001).
13 Miami News, 13 May 1929; Chicago Defender, 27 February 1937;
Alan J. Pollock [son of Syd Pollock], telephone interview with
Raymond A. Mohl, 14 August 1998; Holway, Black Diamonds, 94-95;
Rogosin, Invisible Men, 146-147.
" Jerome E Pollock [son of Syd Pollock], telephone interview with
Raymond A. Mohl, 27 July 27 1998; Alan Pollock, telephone inter-
view, 31 July 1998.
I' Chicago Defender, 18 August 1928, 16 March, 18 May, 25 May, 1
June, 20 July 1929. On baseball in Cuba during this period, see
Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, The Pride ofHavana: A History of Cuban


Baseball (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); Lisa Brock and
Bijan Bayne, "Not Just Black: African-Americans, Cubans, and
Baseball," in Lisa Brock and Digna Castenada Fuertes, eds., Between
Race and Empire: African-Americans and Cubans before the Cuban
Revolution (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998), 168-204;
Louis A. Perez, Jr., "Between Baseball and Bullfighting: The Quest for
Nationality in Cuba, 1868-1898," 81 (September 1994), 493-517; Rob
Ruck, "Baseball in the Caribbean," in Thorn, et al., eds., Total Baseball
16 Chicago Defender, 26 April, 24 May 1930, 30 May, 11 July, 5
September 1931, 27 February, 26 March, 2 April, 14 May 1932, 18
March, 6 May 1933. On the House of David novelty team, see Joel
Hawkins and Terry Bertolino, The House ofDavid Baseball Team
(Chicago: Arcadia, 2000).
17 Chicago Defender, 23 August 1930; Philadelphia Tribune, 30 May
1940; Holway, Black Diamonds, 94-95; O'Neil, I Was Right on Time,
" See Chicago Defender, 2 September 1933 for Pollock's letter to
Veeck, Sr. For Veeck, Jr.'s claims, see Bill Veeck with Ed Linn, Veeck-
As in Wreck: The Autobiography ofBill Veeck (New York: G. E Putnam's
Sons, 1962), 171-172; Gerald Eskanazi, Bill Veeck: A Baseball Legend
(New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988), 25-26; Rogosin, Invisible Men, 196-
197. The Veeck story is challenged in David M. Jordan, Larry R.
Gerlach, and John E Rossi, "Bill Veeck and the 1943 Sale of the
Phillies: A Baseball Myth Exploded," The National Pastime, 18
(September 1998), 3-13.
19 New York Daily News, 8 February 1933; Chicago Defender, 25
February 1933; 15 August 1936, 27 August 1938; Baltimore Afro-
American, 17 September 1938; Indianapolis Recorder, 17 June, 22 July
1939; H. B. Webber and Oliver Brown, "Play Ball!" [NAACP] The
Crisis, 45 (May 1938), 137; Buck Leonard with James A. Riley, Buck
Leonard, the Black Lou Gehrig: An Autobiography (New York: Carroll
and Graf, 1995), 98-99; Peterson, Only the Ball Was White, 175;
Richard Crepeau, Baseball: America's Diamond Mind, 1919-1941
(Orlando: University Presses of Florida, 1980), 168-169; Kelly E.
Rusinack, "Baseball on the Radical Agenda: The Daily Worker and
Sunday Worker Journalistic Campaign to Desegregate Major League
Baseball, 1933-1947," in Joseph Dorinson and Jorem Warmund, eds.,

Clowning Around 65

Jackie Robinson: Race, Sports, and the American Dream (Armonk, N.Y.:
M.E. Sharpe, 1998), 75-85.
20 Chicago Defender, 18 May 1929; Alan Pollock interview, 31 July
1998; Rogosin, Invisible Men, 88-89; "Meet Syd Pollock," Indianapolis
Clowns Souvenir Program Book, n.d., c. 1955, unpaginated, in
Indianapolis Clowns File, National Baseball Hall of Fame Library,
Cooperstown, New York.
21 For examples of Pollock's exaggerated claims, see Indianapolis
Recorder, 24 June, 16 September 1939, 1 June, 22 June 1940, 1 March,
26 April 1941.
2 Indianapolis Recorder, 24 June 1939, 22 June 1940, 7 June 1941;
Miami Tropical Dispatch, 22 March 1947.
23 Holway, Black Diamonds, 139-140.
24 John Holway, Voices from the Great Black Baseball Leagues (rev. ed.;
New York: Da Capo Press, 1992), 340-341; Paul Debono, "The Negro
Leagues Major Part of Baseball History," Indianapolis Recorder, 27 May
1989; "The Dynamite Days of Negro Baseball," undated clipping,
Sports-Baseball File, Black History Program, Indiana Historical Society,
Indianapolis, Indiana.
25 For examples, see Chicago Defender, 17 September 1938, 29 August
1942; Indianapolis Recorder, 24 August 1940, 2 August 1941; Frazier
"Slow" Robinson, with Paul Bauer, Catching Dreams: My Life in the Negro
Baseball Leagues (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1999), 105-106.
26 Alan Pollock interview, 31 July 1998; Miami Times, 28 February, 11
April, 1953; BiffBennett, "Sportalk," Sport, 16 (July 1954), 8, 88;
Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, interview with Reba Cottingham, Negro
League Oral History Collection, Archives and Special Collections,
University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland; Eugene L. Meyer, "In a
League of Her Own," St. Petersburg Times, 2 February 1999, 1D, 3D;
Gai Ingham Berlage, "Robinson's Legacy: Black Women and Negro
Baseball," in Peter M. Rutkoff, ed., The Cooperstown Symposium on
Baseball and American Culture: 1997 (Jackie Robinson) (Jefferson,
N.C.: McFarland and Company, 2000), 123-135; Indianapolis Clowns
Souvenir Program andFunbook, n.d., c. 1958, Indianapolis Clowns File,
National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, New York.
27 Baltimore Afro-American, 22 July 1939; Indianapolis Recorder, 22 July
1939; Chicago Defender, 29 July 1939.
2 Indianapolis Recorder 5 October 1940; Ruck, Sandlot Seasons, 120-136.


2 Indianapolis Recorder, 5 October 1940; Alan Pollock interview, 30
July 1998; Neil Lanctot, Fair Dealing and Clean Playing: The Hilldale
Club and the Development of Black Professional Baseball, 1910-1932
(Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Company, 1994), 194-195.
" Indianapolis Recorder, 3 January 1942; Chicago Defender, 3 January
1942; Baltimore Afro-American, 3 January, 21 February, 7 March 1942;
Philadelphia Tribune, 28 February 1942; Pittsburgh Courier, 4 April 1942.
1 Baltimore Afro-American, 10 January, 30 May 1942.
32 Pittsburgh Courier, 3 March 1942; Chicago Defender, 28 March, 16
May 1942; Indianapolis Recorder, 28 March, 1 April, 23 May 1942;
Alan Pollock interview, 30 July 1998.
33 Pittsburgh Courier, 28 March, 4 April 1942. Syndicated columnist A.
E. White also continued a parallel attack on Saperstein, Pollock, and
the Clowns. See Indianapolis Recorder, 8 August 1942.
34 Pittsburgh Courier, 16 May 1942. On the newspaper's campaign to
break down the major league color barrier, see Bill L. Weaver, "The
Black Press and the Assault on Professional Baseball's 'Color Line,
October 1945-April 1947," Phylon, 40 (Winter 1979), 303-317; David
K. Wiggins, "Wendell Smith, the Pittsburgh Courier-Journal and the
Campaign to Include Blacks in Organized Baseball, 1933-1945,"
Journal ofSport History, 10 (Summer 1983), 5-29. On the controversy
over the Amos n'Andy show, see Melvin Ely, The Adventures ofAmos n
Andy: A Social History ofan American Phenomenon (New York: Free
Press, 1991), 160-193; William Barlow, Voice Over: The Making of
Black Radio (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999), 35-46;
Joseph Boskin, Sambo: The Rise and Demise ofan American Jester (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 166-175.
35 On racial change during World War II, see Richard M. Dalfiume,
"The 'Forgotten Years' of the Negro Revolution," Journal ofAmerican
History 55 (June 1968), 90-106; Harvard Sitkoff, "Racial Militancy
and Interracial Violence in the Second World War," Journal ofAmerican
History, 58 (December 1971), 661-681; Lee Finkle, "The Conservative
Aims of Militant Rhetoric: Black Protest during World War II," Journal
ofAmerican History, 60 (December 1973), 692-713; Peter J. Kellogg,
"Civil Rights Consciousness in the 1940s," The Historian, 42
(November 1979), 18-41; John Morton Blum, VWasfor Victory:
Politics and American Culture during World War II (New York: Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich, 1976), 182-220; Patrick S. Washburn, "The

Clowning Around 67

Pittsburgh Courier's Double V Campaign in 1942," American
Journalism, 3 (1986), 73-86.
36 Indianapolis Recorder, 28 March, 11 April, 18 July, September 1942.
37 Indianapolis Recorder, 2 January, 13 February, 10 April, 31 July, 2
October 1943, 8 April, 15 April, 8 July 1944.
-3 Florida Sentinel, 27 April, 4 May, 21 September 1946, 29 March, 12
April 1947. On Aaron and the Clowns, see Joel H. Cohen, Hammerin
Hank of the Braves (New York: Scholastic Book Services, Inc., 1971),
19-28; Hank Aaron with Lonnie Wheeler, I Had a Hammer: The Hank
Aaron Story (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), 23-39; Hank Aaron
with Dick Schaap, Home Run: My Life in Pictures (New York: Total
Sports, 1999), 23, 34-35, 38-39, 188-191.
9 "Baseball's Comedy Kings," Ebony, 14 (September 1959), 67-70;
"Indianapolis Clowns: The Funny Men of Baseball," Sepia, 14
(August 1965), 60-64; Al Harvin, "Clowning Helps Keep
Indianapolis Clowns Integrated," New York Times, 30 May 1971; Bill
Heward with Dimitri V. Gat, Some Are Called Clowns: A Season with
the Last of the Great Barnstorming Baseball Teams (New York: Thomas
Y. Crowell Company, 1974); Indianapolis Clowns Souvenir Program
and Funbook, 1958, unpaginated.
40 P Mills, "Clowning in the Negro Leagues: A Disgrace or Grand
Tradition?" Black Ball News (October 1999), available on the internet
at: http://www.negroleaguebaseball.com/1999/October/clowning.htm


South Florida's Prelude to War:
Army Correspondence Concerning
Miami, Fort Dallas, and the Everglades
Prior to the Outbreak of the
Third Seminole War, 1850-1855

Christopher R. Eck

Most readers know that the National Archives in Washington, D.C., con-
tain a wealth of historical documents covering all aspects of the American
Experience from the colonial era to the present. These documents have
been mined for decades by historians
S seeking to understand the history of
the United States. Among the mil-
lions of preserved documents are
thousands of collections created in
the nineteenth century by the United
States military during this nation's
epochs of territorial expansion and
the ensuing conflicts that arose with
the numerous American Indian
tribes that were confronted by settlers
and the federal government.
Artwork commissioned by the U.S. Since few people, other than
Army Quartermaster General in 1885, Seminoles and U.S. military per-
depicting the official U.S. Army uniforms sonnel, lived in southern Florida
of the Third Seminole War period, for much of the period covering
1855-1858. Courtesy of the Broward the Seminole Wars, the military
County Historical Commission, correspondence produced by those

South Florida's Prelude to War 69

officers stationed in southern Florida with their military commanders
and staff members at distant headquarters provides a unique record of a
significant period of local and American history. The focus of this article
is those letters produced between 1850-1855, extracted from a record
group entitled Letters Sent, Registers of Letters Received and Letters
Received by Head Quarters, Department ofFlorida 1850-1858. The let-

,- ,

I ; .

-4 J. ,qr-

A portion of the U.S. Army
southern Florida, entitled "Ske
Southern part of Florida," ca. 1
portion depicts the area fror
Fort Dallas north to Fort L
Courtesy of the Broward
Historical Commission.

ters detail military communications
covering operations in South
Florida prior to the outbreak of the
Third Seminole War in December
S 1855, particularly at the military
base first established in 1837 by
the U.S. Army at the former
Richard Fitzpatrick/William
English plantation along the north
bank of the Miami River and
named Fort Dallas (after Navy
Commodore Alexander J. Dallas),
which, in no small measure, served
as the catalyst for a permanent set-
tlement that would eventually
become the City of Miami.
Smap of The following letters, transcribed
tch of the and edited from collections in the
842. This National Archives, have never
n around before been published and they
auderdale. provide new insight into better
County understanding the lives of those
individuals who blazed a trail in
this tumultuous period of the area's

past while laying a foundation for its present and future. The Seminole
War era drew to the area many officers who had distinguished themselves
in prior service, or who would serve with distinction in the coming Civil
War for both Union and Confederate forces. The letters these officers
produced have been transcribed as written, complete with original
spelling and punctuation, and have been annotated to provide the reader
with a better understanding of each document's author and its recipient,
and of South Florida history generally.


These writings also demonstrate the relative isolation of the Fort
Dallas command from others in central Florida and farther north along
the Atlantic coast and Gulf of Mexico. Being stationed at Fort Dallas
carried with it additional burdens from most other postings. It was a
place apart. Because of its isolation, the military turned to letter writing
as one way to counter this remoteness.'
In July 1850, when these letters begin, fifty-one men were enumerated by
County Marshall WC. Maloney for the purpose of the federal decennial
census as being stationed at the "Garrison at the Miami River." Brevet
Major Francis Woodbridge2 of Vermont commanded the fort with
Lieutenant JA. De Sagnol of New Jersey and Lieutenant James M.
Robinson4 of New Hampshire as junior officers. The fort's surgeon was Isaac
L. Adkins5 of Delaware. The average age of these officers was twenty-eight.
Among the 47 soldiers counted in the 1850 census, 33 of the men-
70 percent-were foreign-born. Twenty-five were Irish (53 percent of
the total), 5 were German (11 percent of the total), 2 were Scots, and 1
was English. Half of the 14 native-born soldiers were from New York
and only two were from Southern states (one each from Georgia and
North Carolina). The average age of the troops was twenty-seven. Not
only were these men stationed in a forbidding and foreign environment
during a time of military tension, but they were truly foreigners them-
selves-either to the region or to the nation as a whole. Fortunately for
them, the first group of soldiers discussed below were only stationed at
the fort from September 1849 until the end of 1850.

Letter from Lieutenant Beekman DuBarry to Major Allen Lowd,
18 July 1850

Lowd, Maj A6
Comm'7 in Indian River
Ad: Gen8: of the Troops in Fla.
Tampa Bay July 18' 1850
The Colonel Comm* in Fla. directs me to say that he wishes you to for-
ward, via Savannah, a semi-monthly field return of your actions and (as far as
heard from) (say for the 15' day) & directs that you send your monthly

South Florida's Prelude to War 71

returns by express party across the country, to leave your post about the 3d day
of each month, should you not have received the return from Fort Dallass,9 do
not detain the express, but from that post, return via Savannah-
I have the honor to be &
B. DuBarrylO
Lieut. & A. Asst. Adjt. Genl:

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Beekman DuBarry to Major Allen Lowd, 19 July 1850

Lowd, Maj A
Comm41 in Indian River
The Colonel Comm# in Florida district directs me to say, that if the
Depot Commissary at Indian River has not in hand supplies for the
troops at Forts Capron and Dallas, to the 15'1 of November next, you will
direct him to make, immediately, requisitions for what ever is necessary
required to provision those forts to that date. As soon as a sufficient quan-
tity is obtained, Fort Dallas will be supplied to the 15" of November next.
Yours sir & -
B. DuBarry
Lieut. & A. Asst. Adjt. Genl:

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thornley S. Everett to Major William W. Morris, 23 September 1850

Morris, Maj. W.W."
Comm9: Key West
Hd. Qrs. Troops in Florida
Tampa, Sept. 23, 1850
By direction of the Col. comn. I have the honor to enclose herewith a
communication for the Comn. Officer at Fort Dallas,'2 which the Col. wishes
you to forward by the earliest opportunity to which may chance to offer.
I am Sir Very respect'ly
Your Obt. Servt.'3


T.S. Everett"1
Lt. & A.A.A.G.

Between 1850 and 1854, the Army, acting on behalf of the federal
government, attempted to encourage those Seminoles who had
evaded capture to remove west to the Arkansas territory. In July
1848, tensions between white settlers and Indians had once again
erupted in violence with attacks on white settlements along the New
River near the old Fort Lauderdale and along Pease Creek northwest
of Lake Okeechobee. The New River attack had sent the settlers
fleeing south to Key Biscayne where a Coast Guard cutter found
them. A subsequent patrol by Lieutenant Commander B.W. Couch
of both the New and Miami Rivers found no signs of Seminoles in
the area.5
Because the white settlers implored the government for additional
military protection, forts that had been abandoned after the end of
the Second Seminole War in 1842 began to be reactivated in late
1849 -as Fort Dallas was- and 1850. Leading up to the outbreak
of hostilities in December 1855, a gradual stepping up of military
activity began to occur throughout the state. To the military, if the
Seminoles could not be forcibly led out of the peninsula, then one
tactic would be to harass them to such an extent that emigration
would be preferable. Indians found outside of the territory assigned
to them that covered the southwestern portion of the state -from
the western boundary of Dade County, north from the Shark River
at the southern end of the Everglades to the Kissimmee River above
Lake Okeechobee, and west-southwest from the Kissimmee over
to the Gulf of Mexico at Charlotte Harbor, and south-southeast
back to the Shark River- were subject to seizure by the Army.
Nevertheless, the military did require its officers and troops to
avoid the occasion for conflict with the Seminoles; thus, an uneasy
detente existed.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas J. Haines"' to Colonel Samuel Cooper, 10 October 1854

South Florida's Prelude to War 73

Cooper Col. S." Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Adjt. Gen. U.S.A Fort Brooke,' 10'" October 1854
In compliance with your instructions of September 21st. I have the
honor to submit for the consideration of the Secretary of War, the follow-
ing reports, in relation to the future disposition of the Troops in South
Florida, for the purpose of restraining the Indians, and of impressing them
if possible, with the necessity of emigrating.
There are six companies on this side of the Peninsula, (3) three now
at Fort Meade, 46 miles East of this Post on Pea River," and three at Fort
Myers, 15 miles above the mouth of the Caloosa Hatchee at the highest
point on that river, that can be occupied during the rainy season, with
disregard to the health and comfort of the Troops.
Details from these companies furnish a Guard, mechanics, laborers
and teamsters for this Depot.
I propose, in obedience to your instructions, to open a road from
Fort Meade2o to the Caloosa hatchee with a branch to Fish Eating Creek,21
or some other point on Lake Okee-cho-bee, and another from Fort Myers
to the same point, this last road to pass up the south side of the Caloosa
Hatchee as far as the ford at Fort Thompson."
I am at present of the opinion that it is impracticable to construct a
road along the Southern Shore of Lake Okee-cho-bee as the waters of that
Lake are continuous with those of the Everglades and that all transporta-
tion in the middle of the Peninsula and South of Okeechobee, must be by
water and in boats or canoes.
The troops now at Fort Meade, can occupy the position on Okee-
cho-bee during the winter and spring months, and with a few boats can
command that Lake. The exploration of its outlets, more particularly those
into the Everglades will be an important duty.
If time permits, during the ensuing season, I further propose to open
roads South of the Caloosa hatchee to one or more of the principal Indian
Landings on the west side of the Everglades, to Miami river, and other
points on the Atlantic side.
All these avenues will be immediately required in the event of hostilities,
and in the meantime will greatly annoy the Indians, and tend to confine
them to the country South of the Caloosa Hatchee.


I am of the opinion that no location can be found on or near
Okeechobee which will be healthy during the rainy season, the whole
country being at that time under water. I would therefore suggest that
during that portion of the year the Troops near Okeechobee should be
withdrawn and either return to Fort Meade or be stationed at Fort Myers
and Tampa Bay as many at that time be deemed expedient unless some
unforeseen circumstances should dictate a different policy.
On the Atlantic side of the Peninsula, there is but one company, now
at Fort Capron," near Indian River Inlet. I do not think that the removal
of that force to the vicinity of old Fort Jupiter would be of any advantage;
while it would entail much additional trouble and expense in supplying it,
as Jupiter Inlet is believed to be so obstructed as to render it nearly if not
quite inaccessible even to the smallest coasting vessels.
If any force is considered necessary to give confidence to the frontier
Settlers on Indian River, the present Post at Fort Capron is as good as any
for that purpose -but I regard the occupation of Key Biscayne Bay as of
vastly more importance.
The strip of land between the Everglades and that Bay, although outside
the Indian limits, is frequently visited by them. There they procure their chief
supply of Koontee," besides it is a favorite hunting ground, and probably
the only point where they may procure supplies by contraband trade.25
I therefore recommend that two companies be stationed there
and that they may be supplied with suitable Canoes for navigating
the Everglades.
In case of hostilities a force can move by water from that position
across the Everglades to the immediate vicinity of the Indian Settlements.
The knowledge of the fact will not be without its influence upon the
Indians and a military force at or near the Miami, will annoy them more
than would the occupation of any other point.
I shall of course require some additional means of transportation,
tools, &c. for the Quarter Masters Department and estimates will be for-
warded to new Orleans as soon as practicable.
It is well known to the Department that the operations herein
suggested, extend over a very large surface of country and as the force
under my control is very limited, the heavy details required to meet
the great demand for transportation and labor would reduce the present
companies too much to allow of the necessary Guards and of a proper
military display. I would urgently recommend that the Companies of

South Florida's Prelude to War 75

this Command be increased to 74 Privates, under the provision of the
Act of June 17, 1850.2
These views are submitted after free consultation with Capt. Casey.27
I have to request that the Topographical Bureau may be directed to fur-
nish me with all sketches of and information concerning the Southern
part of Florida, which it may have in its possession.
As it is not proposed that the Garrison at Key West shall take any
part in the operations and it is advisable that the officer second in rank
and upon whom the command may devolve should be upon the ground
and acquainted with the country and operations in progress, I would rec-
ommend that the Post be detached from this command.
I am Respectfully
Your Very Obedt. Servt.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas J. Haines to Captain Bennett H. Hill,28 11 December 1854

Comd'g Officer Battr. 1" Arty. ) Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Near Fort Dallas ) Fort Brooke Dec'. 11. 1854
Key Biscayne Bay
The Colonel Comd'g directs that you take post with your command at
or near Fort Dallas. The material objects in establishing this Post, are to
prevent the Indians from visiting the Koontee grounds to procure Koontee,
to confine them within their limits, and to prevent all trade with them in
violation of the laws of Florida.
All Indians found without their limits are liable to seizure and will be
taken and sent to Fort Myers when practicable, but they will not be fired
upon unless it becomes necessary for the safety of the Troops, or some act of
hostility shall have been committed by them.
Ten canoes are now being constructed for the use of your command
in exploring the Everglades and will be sent you as soon after being
furnished as transportation can be procured. You will make requisitions
direct upon the Quarter Master General for such other transportation
/land and water/ as you may require.
You will cause New river to be examined with a view to the establish-
ment of a small Post, at or near the site of old Fort Lauderdale.


I transmit herewith for your information & guidance copies of the
law with reference to trade and of a letter from Capt. J.C. Casey, in
charge of Indian Affairs. Also such other information with reference to the
country in the vicinity of Key Biscayne bay, as I have been able to obtain.
You will transmit to these Head Quarters, such reports relative to the
condition of your Post and vicinity as you may deem necessary for the
information of the Colonel Commanding.
Very Respectfully,
Your Obedt Servt.
T.J. Haines
Lieut. 2" Arty.
A.A.A. Genl.

Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe" to Major General Thomas
S. Jesup,"3 19 December 1854

Jesup. T.S. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Mr. Genl. Fort Brooke, Dec'. 19, 1854
I have the satisfaction to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the
7'h Inst.3
The Barges, Whale and Durham Boats which you have providently
ordered for the service in Florida being excellently adapted to the uses
designed, will with those constructing here pretty much supply our wants
in that species of transportation.
In relation to your suggestion of a steamer to be placed on Lake
Okeechobee, I am of opinion that rowboats will answer every end proposed
as well as any other description of vessel. The Lake is not necessarily so
much of a highway as to compel the Indians to make use of it should they
desire to migrate, since safe avenues by the Everglades are open to them. A
considerable portion of its Circuit has a wide margin of Swamp and the
influence of malaria on health in Summer would cause its abandonment
during that season.
The Canoes which are constructing for the Okeechobee and the
Everglades do not progress so rapidly as we could desire, but the

South Florida's Prelude to War 77

labor of working them into shape exceeds our estimate of that species
of work.
I regret that delay has occurred in sending the Steamer Fashion"
here. I am informed that she will not be despatched so as to arrive at
Tampa until after the beginning of next month.
The companies destined for Key Biscayne I have directed to take
post at Fort Dallas, or its vicinity-seven or eight feet of water can be
carried within less than half a mile of that point, for this distance a
lighter" will be required.
The means or wants of the company at Indian River, intended for
Fort Jupiter, I am not acquainted with, a depot which I called for
some time since not having been received here. It was intended to
embrace a reconnaissance as far as Jupiter, and I directed that a dupli-
cate of should be sent direct to the Adjutant General.
I am Respectfully
Your very obedt. Servt.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas J. Haines to Captain Bennett H. Hill, 29 January 1855

Hill Capt. B.H.
Comd'g Fort Dallas Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Fla. Fort Brooke, January 29, 1855
I am directed by the Col. Comd'g to acknowledge the receipt of your
communications of January 13'1 & 18t.4 It is desired by the Col. Comd'g
that the Troops be comfortably quartered, and such are the directions of the
Quarter Master General. Such measures as you may think necessary to take
for that purpose will be reported direct to the Quarter master General.
A Paymaster was ordered to this Post in August last but has not yet passed.
The Col. Comd'g proposes soon to visit your Post and will then confer
with you further relative to the subjects mentioned in your letter.
Very Respectfully
Your obed. Servt.
T.J. Haines
1st Lieut. 2nd Arty.
A.A.A. Genl.


Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General Thomas
J. Haines to Brevet Major Joseph A. Haskin,35 2 February 1855

Haskin Maj. J.A. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
1" Arty. Comd'g Fort Brooke February 2, 1855
Fort Capron
In accordance with instructions from the War Dept: the Col. Comd'g
directs that you move with your Command to Old Fort Jupiter, or such
other point in its vicinity as you may deem advisable.
The object of establishing a Post at that point was stated in my letter
of Nov: 26 '54. A Blockhouse will probably be erected upon the Eastern
Side of Lake Okee-cho-bee, or its site selected before you arrive at Fort
Jupiter, and in locating the Post you will keep in view facility of
Communication with the block house & of procuring your supplies.
As it is probable that you will be obliged to draw your supplies from
Fort Capron, you are authorized to leave at that Post a sufficient guard to
protect the Stores and other public property there.
Your letter of Dec'. 25 '54, and the accompanying report of land and
water transportation were received; should you deem more necessary, the
Col. Comd'g. Directs that you make Requisitions for it (as also for all
other Quarter Master Supplies) direct upon the Quarter Master General,
as with the present means of communication with your post much delay
would be occasioned by sending them to these Head Quarters.
It is hoped that after your arrival at Fort Jupiter more frequent and
expeditious communication may be established with you, via Fort Myers
& Lake Okee-cho-bee.
As no report or acknowledgment of the receipt of the communication
to you from these Head Quarters dated Nov. 26 '54 has been received, I
transmit herewith a copy of that Communication.
Should the examination directed have been made, You will send a
copy of the Report to these Head Quarters by the Express rider in his
return. You will also send to Fort Dallas copies of all communications sent
to this Post by the Express rider, as the Col. Comd'g. Proposed in a few
days to visit that Post.
Very Respectfully
Your obedt. Servt.
T.J. Haines

South Florida's Prelude to War 79

1" Lieut. 2"d Arty.
A.A.A. Genl.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas J. Haines to Captain Bennett H. Hill, 2 February 1855

Hill.Capt. B.H. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
1". Arty. Comd'g Fort Brooke February 2, 1855
Fort Dallas
I am directed by the Col. Comd'g to acknowledge the receipt of
your communication of Jany. 2d and to inform you that no mules or
horses can be sent you from this side of the Peninsula: you will there-
fore make requisitions for such as you may require direct upon the
Quarter Master General (in accordance with instructions from these
Head Quarters, Dated Dec'. 11, 1854.).
Very Respectfully
Your obed. Servt.
T.J. Haines
1" Lieut. 2nd Aty.
A.AA. Genl.

Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe to Colonel Samuel Cooper
and Major William W. Mackall,36 11 February 1855

Cooper, Col. S. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Adj. Genl. U.S.A. Fort Brooke Feb. 11, 1855
Mackall, Maj. W
Asst. Adj. Gen'.
The Steamer Fashion leaves here to day for Key Biscayne Bay with
canoes prepared here for the service of the Troops at Fort Dallas.
I avail myself of this opportunity to make an official visit to that Post.
During my absence, Capt. Casey, Subsistence Department, will take
charge of all public documents received at these Head Quarters, and dis-
tribute such orders as may require it.


I am Sir Very Respectfully
Your obdt. servt.
John Munroe
Major 2nd Regt. Arty. Bvt. Col."

Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe to Brevet Major Joseph A.
Haskin, 19 February 1855

Haskin, Bvt. Maj. J.A. 1" Arty. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Comdg. Fort Jupiter, Fla. Fort Dallas, Feb'. 19. 1855
The Colonel Comds. Directs that you open a practicable road for
wagons from Fort Jupiter to the Blockhouse to be established upon the
Eastern side of Lake Okeechobee. Cap'. Harvey A. Allen, 2nd Art'y. Has
been directed to blaze the above mentioned route.
As soon as the Blockhouse is constructed (which will be done by
Capt. Allen,'3 or some other officer detached from the command upon the
Caloosa Hatchee), you will send a Detachment consisting of one Comd.
Officer (if practicable), one Sergeant, one corporal and twenty Privates to
garrison it. They will draw their supplies from Fort Jupiter, and be
relieved from time to time by other details as you may direct.
Should it become necessary to communicate with Capt. Hill without
delay via Jupiter, you will be informed of the fact, and will forward to him,
by Express such communications as may be sent you for that purpose from
these Head Quarters or from Bvt. Colonel Harvey Brown,"' 2"n Ary.
Very Respectfully
Your obdt. servt.
Captain T.J. Haines John Munroe
1" Lieut. 2" Arty. Major 2nd Regt. Arty. Bvt. Col.
Actg. Asst. Adj. Genl. Commanding

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas J. Haines to Captain Bennett H. Hill, 19 February 1855

Head Quarters Troops in Florida

Hill, Cap'. Bennett H.

South Florida's Prelude to War 81

P1. Reg'. Artillery Fort Dallas, Feb'". 19, 1855
Comdrs. Fort Dallas, Fla.
I am directed by the Colonel Comds. To inform you that (to carry
into effect the instructions of the Sectu. of War)4 he desires that the dif-
ferent routes (water trails) from Miami & New rivers to Shark River,
Prophets Landing4' & other points on the Western side of the Everglades
& routes between these latter points and also the chief inhabited Islands
in the Everglades, be carefully explored.
He directs that you will with as little delay as practicable organize a
command of about 75 men, to cross the Everglades from Miami to
Prophets landing or some other point in the Everglades in its vicinity.
A Command from the Caloosa Hatchee is now engaged in opening a
road to, and along the Everglades and a Blockhouse will be established at some
point between Prophets & Waxy Hadjo's Landings,42 probably near the latter.
By skirting along the Everglades between these two landings, the site
for the Blockhouse may be found. Your command will communicate with
that at the Block House, and after recruiting, return to your Post, by such
route as you may direct.
After the return of the command, you will make such of the other
examinations desired, as you may deem advisable with as little delay as
practicable. The organization of the parties required, and the roster to be
examined are left to your discretion, but it is desirable that parties be in
motion through the Everglades as much as practicable. Reports of the
Explorations will be forwarded to these headquarters.
Should your command meet with Indians without their limits,
they will be governed by the Instructions previously given you. Should
any be met within their limits, they will not be molested, unless
forcible opposition be made by them which must be repelled and the
explorations continued.
The parties will not seek communication with the Indians, but
should it be sought by them (within their limits) they will be informed
that you are carrying out the orders of the President, that you have none
but friendly intentions, but that if opposition be made, you are prepared
to repel it, and the consequences must rest on their own heads.
Very Respectfully
Your obdt. serv'.
T.J. Haines


1" Lieut. 2"Aty.
A.A.A. Genl.

Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe to Colonel Samuel Cooper,
25 February 1855

Cooper, Colonel S. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Adj'. Gen'. U.S.A. Fort Brooke Feb'. 25" 1855
I reported in my letter to you dated Fort Brooke Feb 11' that I
would avail myself of the opportunity presented by the Government
transport steamer Fashion carrying canoes from here to Fort Dallas, to
visit that Post.
I left here on the 121 and returned on the 24' and visiting Punta
Rassa, Fort Myers, and Key West on my outward trip, and Key West and
Punta Rassa on my return.
Copies of my Instructions to Cap'. Hill, 1" Artillery commanding at
Fort Dallas, and also those for Captain & Bvt. Major Haskins, 1" Artillery,
Commanding at Fort Jupiter, are herewith enclosed.
Lieut. Haines, 2'd Art". Actg. A.A. Gen., who accompanied me, I left
at Fort Dallas, to execute Special Orders N. 14, which orders are also
remitted you herewith.
I am, Very Respectfully
Your obdt. servt.
John Munroe
Major 2"n Regt. Arty. Bvt. Col.

Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe to Major General Thomas
S. Jesup, 25 February 1855

Jesup, Maj. Gen'. T.S. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Q0. M'. Gent. U.S.A. Fort Brooke, Tampa Feb'. 25 1855
I have received your letter of the 14'1 inst., time is not left me to reply
to it in a satisfactory manner. Having returned but yesterday from a visit I

South Florida's Prelude to War 83

made in the Steamer Fashion to Fort Dallas, Key Biscayne, where she
delivered the ten canoes built in this vicinity for the Everglades.
I regret that I have not at present an available officer to detach on an
examination of the Kissimmee river.
Lieut. James Totten of the 2"d Artillery now on the Coast Survey,43
and engaged on the survey of the Florida reef, but whose four year tour
has expired, would be a most competent person to perform the duty, and
I have a reason to believe that it would not be in opposition to his wishes.
I presume that on your application no difficulty would be presented
to his being relieved, when I could place, at once, at his disposal the men
and boats necessary for the service.
I am Respectfully
Your very obdt. serve .
John Munroe
Major 2" Regt. Arty. Bt. Col.

Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe to Major William W
Mackall, 28 February 1855

Mackall, Maj. W.W. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Asst. Adj. Gen'. Fort Brook. Feb'y. 28 1855
Hd Q. Dep' of the East}
I have the honor to enclose you for the information of the
Commander of the Department, and transmitted to General Head
Quarters, Copies of the following enumerated papers, which I have trans-
mitted to the Adj'. Gen'. Of the Army viz.
1. Letter to the Adjutant General
2. Instructions to Capt. Hill, 1" Arty. Com'. at F. Dallas
3. d. Capt & B'. Maj. Haskins, 1- Arty. Comr. at F'. Jupiter
4. Special Orders N. 14.
I am Very Respectfully
Your obdt. serv'.
John Munroe
Major 2nd Regt. Arty. Bt. Col.


Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe to Colonel Harvey Brown,
7 March 1855

Brown, Col. H. Maj. 2" Arty. ) Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Corm. Troops on the Caloosahatchee ) Fort Brooke March 7. 1855
Fort Myers

I send by the "Texas Ranger"44 which leaves tomorrow, A.W. Thompson, a
deserter from Bvt. Major Haskins CompY. D 1" Art'. who surrendered
himself at this Post on the 23'. ultima; be pleased to forward him by the
first conveyance that presents itself Enclosed is a letter to Major Haskins
which I request may be transmitted at the same time.
Capt. Montgomery"4 takes with him to Fort Myers a quantity of
Carpenter's tools, should this supply be insufficient, you will have an esti-
mate made out for such articles as may be required. This estimate to be
substituted for the last forwarded here by Major Anderson,46 which in
some of its particulars appears to me to be unreasonably large.
The Steamer "Fashion" which left here on the 21 inst: will be detained at
New Orleans about a fortnight for repairs, and is expected to return with lum-
ber &c. Any subsistence or other supplies you may need, I desire may be
required for at once, so as to avail ourselves of the conveyance she presents.
20.000 blank Cartridges with percussion Caps are sent you for the
service of both posts. As none are retained here you will judge of the
economy to be used in their expenditure.
Enclosed I forward for your information copies of my instructions to
Cap'. Hill, 1" Art' Comds. At Fort Dallas and to Bvt. Maj. Haskins 1 Arty
Comdr. At Fort Jupiter. The latter has, you will perceive been directed to fur-
nish a garrison for the Blockhouse on the East side of Lake Okeechobee and
supply it with provisions. If he is deficient in transportation it may be neces-
sary for him to draw his supplies of subsistence from the West side, of this
Lieut. Haines can inform you, in which case the present instructions will have
to be modified.
After the "Texas Ranger" has fully supplied the posts on the
Caloosa hatchee, Cap'. Montgomery is authorized to bring her up
here, to return with such Barracks furniture, Medical Stores &c as still
remains at this Post. He need not relieve Maj. Anderson until after he
has performed this duty.

South Florida's Prelude to War 85

I would have broken up the Hospital Department but for a Surgical
case, which will not bear removal, and have to wait until the individual
recovers sufficiently for transportation.
I am Very Respectfully
Your obdt. serv'.
John Munroe
Major Zd Regt. Arty. Bt. Col.

Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe to Major William W.
Mackall, 14 April 1855

Mackall, Maj. W.W. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Asst. Adj'. Gen'. Fort Myers. April 14. 1855
Hd Q. Dep' of East.
I have the honor to transmit Charges against Private Patrick
Donoghue,47 C. "M" 1" Art'. and to request that a General Court Martial
may be convened at Fort Dallas for his trial.
I am Sir, Very Respectfully
Your obdt. serve .
John Munroe
Major 2nd Regt. Arty. Bt. Col.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas J. Haines to Captain Bennett H. Hill, 20 April 1855

Hill, Cap'. B.H. 1" Arty. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Comdgs. Fort Dallas Fort Brooke April 20. 1855
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of March
10* and the accompanying report & instructions.
The Colonel Comde. is desirous that the Everglades shall be explored
as far as practicable, as soon as the state of the water will permit, and it
can be done with a due regard to the health of your command, but the


time of making the examination as well as the portions to be examined is
left to your discretion.
As the Detachment now at the Block House near Waxy hadjo's land-
ing will soon be withdrawn, it is advisable that any command which you
may send across to that point or vicinity, should take with it sufficient
provisions to enable it to return to Fort Dallas.
Very Respectfully
Your obdt. servt.
T.J. Haines
1st Lieut. 2nd Aty.
A.A.A. Genl.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas J. Haines to Captain Bennett H. Hill, 16 May 1855

Hill, Cap'. B.H. 1" ArtY. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Comd". Fort Dallas Fort Brooke May 16. 1855
I am directed by the Colonel Comd&. to inform you that he
deems it advisable that the Troops at your Post be supplied with fresh
beef by contract. The Steamer Fashion cannot be spared at present
for transporting the cattle from Tampa, and no suitable vessel can
be obtained for the purpose. It is understood that the Contractor for
supplying Fort Jupiter would be willing to take the Contract for
your Post.
Very Respectfully
Your obdt. servt.
T.J. Haines
1" Lieut. 2nd Ary.
A.A.A. Genl.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas J. Haines to Captain Samuel K. Dawson, 22 June 1855

Dawson, Capt. S. K. 1P Artc. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Fort Dallas Fort Brooke June 22, 1855

South Florida' Prelude to War 87

I am directed by the Colonel Comdr. to acknowledge the receipt of your
communication of May 28, 1855, and to inform you that he does not deem
it necessary to take any action in the case.4
Very Respectfully
Your obdt. servt.
T.J. Haines
1" Lieut. 2nd Aty.
A.A.A. Genl.

Letter from Lieutenant Lewis Morris4 to Major General Thomas S.
Jesup, 1 July 1855'"

Major Genl. T.S. Jesup Office of A. Assist. Quartermaster
Quartermaster Genl. U.S.A. Fort Dallas Fla.
Washington July 1. 1855
Agreeable to Par 2 of General Orders N. 11, dated War Dep'.
A.G.O. Washington May 23, 1853 I have the honor to report that the
following barracks, quarters, hospital and other public buildings occupied
by Troops have been built since the establishment of this Post on the third
day of the present year.
On our arrival here, we found the walls of a two Story Stone building 42
by 20 feet. This building has been roofed, both stories floored, and a piazza ten
feet wide added to the front, and is now occupied as quarters by C "P" 11, Are.
There was also the first story walls of a stone building 95 by 17 feet. To
this has been added a 2"d Story of boards with piazza (eight feet wide) in front.
The first story is now used as a Quartermaster & Commissary Store house;
And the Second Story is Occupied as quarters by C0 "M" 1" Artillery.
One frame building 30 by 19 feet with piazza (eight feet wide) in
front now occupied as Hospital.
One small frame building twelve feet square for Hospital Kitchen.
One frame building 15 by 20 feet for Post Bake House.
Four frame buildings for officers quarters with piazzas (eight feet
wide) in front & rear each building Contains two rooms fifteen feet
square with a hall between.


Also the following buildings the sides and roofs of which are thatched
with palmetto.
One Stable to accommodate Seven Mules.
One Forage House 15 by 20 feet.
One Blacksmith Shop 15 by 20 feet.
One Carpenters Shop 15 by 20 feet.
Two Kitchens for Co' "L" and "M" 1" Arty.
These buildings have been built entirely by the Troops. All the timber
for the frames was hewn out here and hauled in by the men at a distance
varying from a Mile to a Mile and a half. The boards, shingles &. were
purchased in New York, Savannah and Key West.
I am, Sir, respectfully
Your Obt. Serv'.
Lewis Morris
Lieut. P Art.
A. A. Qmr.51
B.H. Hill
Capt. [illegible]
Cmmd'g Post

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas J. Haines to Captain Bennett H. Hill, 7 July 1855

Hill, Cap'. B.H. 1 Arty. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Fort Dallas Fort Brooke July 7. 1855
The Colonel Comdd. directs me to inform you that as the order
directing Bvt. LV. Col Taylor, Major 1" Arty. to forward to Fort Dallas, has
been countermanded, he does not feel at liberty to grant your application
for a leave of absence, unless the "private business" referred to be of
great importance.2
Very Respectfully
Your obdt. servt.
T.J. Haines
1" Lieut. 211 Aty.
AA.A. Genl.

South Florida's Prelude to War 89

Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe to Colonel Samuel Cooper
and Colonel Lorenzo Thomas," 15 July 1855

Cooper Col. S. } Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Adjt. Genl. U.S.A. } Fort Brooke July 15, 1855.
Thomas Col. L. }
(A.A. Genl.) Hd. Qrs. Army}
As the season for active operations in this Peninsula has closed, and
the troops have been withdrawn from the field, I deem it proper to report
for the information of the Secretary of War, the duties performed during
the Season.
In compliance with your instructions of Sept. 21, 1854, I transmitted
to you on the 101 of October, my report and view relative to the pro-
posed operations.
On the 13' of October I directed that Lieut. Benson,4" 2," Arty.
should be sent to examine the country from Fort Myers (via Fort
Thompson) to Fort Meade, with a view to the construction of a road
between the two posts. I also directed Major Arnold," Comd'g Fort
Meade, to cause the country in the vicinity of the Post to be examined
with the same view.
The examinations required having been made, Major Arnold was
instructed to open a road from Fort Meade to Fort Thompson, and Capt.
Pratt" to open one from Fort Myers to the same point. Your instructions
of Octb'. 27' having been received, orders were issued on the 12' of
November for the permanent abandonment of Fort Meade.
As I was unable to determine what point in the vicinity of Lake
Okee-cho-bee would be the best for a Post (as contemplated in your
instructions) I directed Maj. Arnold to take post with his command (tem-
porarily) at or near Fort Thompson, at which point he arrived on the 23"
of November.
Temporary Store-houses were constructed there and examinations of
the country between Fish Eating Creek and the Caloosa-Hatchee and
along the Southern Shore of Lake Okee-cho-bee made (by Lieut.
Hartsuff7) with a view to ascertain if a suitable point for a Post could be
found near to lake Okee-cho-bee than that already occupied: an examina-
tion of Fish Eating Creek to its entrance into Lake Okee-cho-bee was also
made by Lieut. Vincent."


It was found that the whole country examined was subject to over-
flow and that neither Fort Thompson nor any other point nearer the Lake
would be tenable during the rainy season. I therefore deferred establishing
the command permanently until I could make a personal examination of
the country along the Caloosa-Hatchee below Fort Thompson.
On the 26* of November instructions were issued to Bvt. Major
Haskins, 1" Arty. Comd'g Fort Capron to cause the inland water route
between Fort Capron & Jupiter and the country in the vicinity of the latter
part to be examined with a view to the transfer of his company to that
point. The examination was made by Lieut. Hill 1" Arty. who found this
route practicable for boats drawing not more than 3 feet. The bar at
Jupiter" was entirely closed.
On the 1 l11 of December instructions were transmitted to Key
Biscayne Bay for the guidance of the officer in command of a
Detachment of the 1I Arty. under orders for that point. The principal
objects of establishing a post there were to prevent contraband trade
with the Indians, to confine them within their limits, and to exclude
them from the Koonree grounds.
On the 6' of January, I left this Post for Fort Myers. Bt. Col. Harvey
Brown 2nd Arty. arrived there on the 101h and the Recruits for the compa-
nies of the 2" Arty. on the 12'.
On the 13", Col. Brown was placed in command of the Troops serv-
ing upon the Caloosa-Hatchee.
On the 16', I left Fort Myers in company with Col. Brown for Fort
Thompson. It being evident from the water marks upon the trees that the
country in the vicinity of the Post is covered with water during the rainy
season. I deemed it advisable at once to withdraw the command from that
position. As the site of op" old Fort Deynaud61 appeared to be the most
eligible and least liable to overflow. I selected that point for the Post.
On the 20' of January the following instructions were issued for the
guidance of Col. Brown.
"You will direct Major Hays6" to move to Fort Deynaud with the
Command, leaving at Fort Thompson a non-Comd. officer & ten men to
guard the stores and provisions which may be left there.
At Fort Deynaud will be the Depot for the supply of the Troops on
Lake Okee-cho-bee and a position of those in the vicinity of the
Everglades. You will cause such stores and blockhouses to be constructed
as you may deem necessary for the safety of the public property.

South Florida's Prelude to War 91

It will be necessary to build a blockhouse opposite to Fort Deynaud
and you will cause a bridge to be built across the river or a float to be con-
structed as you may deem advisable.
After having established his command at Fort Deynaud, Major Hays
will detach an officer with a party of men to construct a blockhouse upon
Fish Eating Creek near the site of old Fort Centre3 -another blockhouse
will also be constructed upon the East Side of Lake Okee-cho-bee and as
far South as practicable.
You will without delay organize a command of about 150 men for
the purpose of opening roads in the direction of of" the Everglades &
Indian towns.
A road will first be opened to Depot No. 1 or some point in that
vicinity where you will establish a Depot & construct a Block-house and
such other defenses as you may deem necessary.
You will cause the country between the Depot & Fort Deynaud to be
examined and if necessary open a road between the two points.
From the Depot you will cut a road to such a point upon the
Everglades as may be deemed the most practicable then along the Everglades
as far as you may deem practicable.
The organization of the different Commands necessary to carry on
the above operations is left to your discretion, but it is advisable that the
labor should be equalized throughout your command (officers and men)
as much as possible.
You will cause a block-house to be erected at Punta Rassa to protect
the store house and a guard will [be] kept at that post after the store house
is erected.
Two additional Store houses will be erected at this Post, also a new
Hospital or the old one enlarged, additional cantonments will also be con-
structed for the accommodations of the Troops which it may become necessary
to withdraw from Fort Deynaud and vicinity during the Summer months."
In accordance with these instructions Lieut. Robertson 2" Arty. was
directed to examine the trails leading from Fort Myers to Cholalapulko,65
which having been done, Capt. Pratt 2nd Arty. left Fort Myers on the 25'1
with companies "G" and "I" 2d Arty. and accompanied by Lt. Hartsuff as
Acting Topgl. Engineer" with detailed instructions from Col. Brown
based upon the above cited.
He opened a road to Depot N. 1 and after examining the country in
the vicinity with Lieut. Hartsuff, selected as a Site for a Block-house a


pine island about one fourth of a mile from the big Cypress67 and a mile
south from the head. A block-house and picketting were erected at that
point and called Fort "Simon Drum". -68
On the 17'h of February Capt. Pratt's command was relieved by Co.s
"E" & "C" under command of Capt. Elzey6 2"d Arty. A road was opened
from Fort Simon Drum to Fort Deynaud by the companies, while
en-route between the two places-Capt. Elzey after building a causeway
across the Okholoacoochee70 about 2 miles North of Fort Simon Drum,
marched with his command on the 23"1 of February for Waxy Hadjo's
landing-having selected the most eligible position for a blockhouse in
that vicinity he commenced its erection on the 27'h. The point selected is
the most Southern (near the Everglades) that it is practicable for wagons
to reach. A Blockhouse and picketing were erected here and called Fort
Shackelford71 -This work having been completed Capt. Elzey marched
on the 13" for Fort Simon Drum at which point he was relieved by C".
"L" & "K" under command of Bvt. Major Hays 2"' Artillery who pro-
ceeded with his command to the Eastward of the Okholoacoochee and
established a temporary Depot. After examining the country between the
Okholoacoochee and the Everglades he proceeded to the westward of the
Okholoacoochee established another temporary dep6t, and examined the
country to the South & West and in the direction Maleo river." Lieut.
Plattr7 2"1 Arty. with C. "K" reached a river supposed at the time to be
Maleo, but afterwards ascertained by him to be about 8 miles North of it.74
Major Hays and Lieut. Hartsuff, Actg. Topgl. Engineer, having
reported that the exploration had been extended as far as practicable,
Major Hays was directed on the 18' of April to return with his company
to Fort Deynaud via Fort Thompson and C. "K" to proceed direct to
Fort Myers.
On the 2"d of April I left this Post for Fort Myers. On the 13' instruc-
tions were given to Col. Brown to send out another Detachment to visit
Fort Drum & Shackelford, make such further examinations as might be
deemed necessary and relieve the garrisons at the Blockhouses. In accor-
dance with these instructions C". "E" & "C" under command of Capt.
Elzey marched on the 2d" of May and reached Fort Simon Drum on the
5'h, having performed the duties required, on the 10" the Companies left
Fort Simon Drum for their respective Posts.
While these operations were being carried on South of the Caloosa-
Hatchee, blockhouses had been constructed near the sites of old Forts

South Florida's Prelude to War

M'Rae7 and Centre by Detachments under command of Capt. Allen &
Lieut. Vincent 2" Arty., the former was completed early in April, and the
latter late in February, and both were garrisoned until the season was so
far advanced as to render their temporary abandonment advisable.
A Store-house and blockhouse were also erected at Punta Rassa."
On the 21d of February Major Haskins 1t Artillery was directed to
move with his command to Fort Jupiter, to open a road to the Blockhouse
on the East side of Okee-cho-bee and to garrison that blockhouse but
subsequent examinations by Capt. Allen & Lt. Haines showing that it
was impracticable to open the road without greater labor than the advan-
tages to be gained would warrant, the latter portion of the instructions
were countermanded.
On the 12,h of February I left this Post on the Steamer "Fashion" for
Fort Dallas with canoes and the Indian guide Chai77 for the use of the
command at that Post in exploring the Everglades. In accordance with
instructions which I had given Capt. Hill 1" Arty. Comd'g the Post, Capt.
Dawson 1" Arty. left Fort Dallas on the 1" of March with a Detachment
consisting of 75 officers, Non-Comd. Officers"7 and Privates for the pur-
pose of exploring the water trails from the Miami to Prophets Landing,
after proceeding to a point some 23 miles South and 20 West from the
Miami he was obliged on the 41' to turn back, there not being sufficient
water to allow of further progress.
Instructions have been given to Capt. Hill to attempt the explo-
rations again as soon as the water has risen sufficiently.
On the 18'h of April Lieut. Benson left Fort Centre with a
Detachment of men to examine the Kissimmee river from its outlet to
Lake Kissimmee, and from that Lake to Lake Tohopkeligaw with a
view of ascertaining if the Kissimmee river and the Lakes North of it
were navigable by a light draft Steamer. He examined the Kissimmee,
Lakes Kissimmee and Cypress, and the outlet of Lake Gentry80 but
was unable to enter lake Tohopkeliga on account of obstructions
caused by water lettuce, willows, grass and briers. On his return he
coasted along the shore of Lake Okee-cho-bee and relieved the garri-
son at Fort M'Rae.
From the report of Lieut. Benson it appears that the Kissimmee is
impracticable for boats of greater length than 60 or 70 feet or of greater
draft than 3 or 4 feet, on account of the short bends, strong currents, nar-
row channels and shallowness of the water, it being at some points not



more than 4 feet in depth. Pine wood can be obtained only at one point,
and that 29 miles above the mouth of the river. On the 18' of April,
Capt. Pratt 2nd Arty. left Fort Myers with his company to examine the
rivers and keys South of Maleo River as far as practicable. He extended his
examination as far as Pavillion Key1 and returned to Fort Myers on the 3"
of May.
Lt. Platt subsequently examined the shore and rivers from Punta
Rassa to Maleo.
Between Fish-Eating Creek and the Caloosa-Hatchee, and South of
that river, many Indian huts and Small fields were found, but few Indians
however were seen. They had generally abandoned their homes and
sought to avoid the Troops.
The Country examined South of the Caloosa-Hatchee so reported as
entirely worthless for agricultural purposes with the exception of a few
small scattered Hammocks, and in the summer season, nearly the whole
of it is under water.
Soon after the withdrawal of the Troops from the field, the command
at Fort Deynaud was attacked with the Scurvey and dysentery, and upon
the recommendation of the Medical Officer, I directed the command
(with the exception of a guard of Officers & 40 men) to encamp near
Fort Myers, where it is proposed to retain it during the Sickly Season.
I transmit herewith an extract from the report of Col. H. Brown,
Major 2"1 Arty. of the operations of the troops under his immediate com-
mand, also an outline sketch of a portion of the big Cypress Swamp. A
Map of the whole country in which the Troops have been operating dur-
ing the winter will be forwarded as soon as it can be prepared.
I am Sir, Very Respectfully
Your Obedt. Servt.
John Munroe
Major 2"d Regt. Arty. Bt. Col.

Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe to Colonel Samuel Cooper,
15 August 1855

Cooper Col. S. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Adjt. Genl. Fort Brooke, August 15. 1855

South Florida's Prelude to War 95

I have the honor to report for the information of the Secretary of
War that Capt. Dawson, 1" Arty. left Fort Dallas on the 19'' of June with
a Detachment comprised of two commissioned officers and 63 Non-
Comd. Officers and Privates for the purpose of coasting the Everglades
and reaching Waxy Hadjo's Landing if practicable.
With great difficulty he succeeded (on the 25" of June) in reaching a
point "North of Prophets Landing and Six miles East of it" but was
unable to proceed farther North, for want of water. The men being unable
to drag the canoes through the mud, the nearest approach that could be
made to the Big Cypress was at a point some few miles South of Prophets
landing and here they were unable to approach nearer than three miles.
The men having been "entirely worn out" they were allowed to
remain in Camp on the 26'h commenced their action on the 27h and
arrived at Fort Dallas on the 30th.
Capt. Dawson estimates the distance passed over to be "something
like two hundred and forty miles" and that the canoes were dragged some-
thing like thirty-six miles, at times the utmost exertion being required
with the crews doubled to force them through the
saw grass.
No Signs of Indians were seen.
The Indian guide (Chai) who accompanied Capt. Dawson represents
that the country is greatly changed since he crossed it Sixteen Years ago.
The Keys having become larger and more numerous.
Capt. Hill Comd'g Fort Dallas reports that Citizens who have resided
from 10 to 12 years on the Miami inform him that there has been a very
perceptible filling up of the Everglades and that at no time is there much
water there as formerly.
The two attempts made to cross them tend to show the Truth of
these Statements and they are also confirmed by the Indian Guide, who
formerly lived on one of the Keys passed by Capt. Dawson.
I transmit herewith a tracing from Lieut. Langdon's sketch of the
route pursued.8
I am Sir, Very respectfully
Your Obedt. Servt.
John Munroe
Major 2"' Regt. Arty. Bt. Col.


Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe to Major William W.
Mackall, 15 August 1855

Mackall Maj. .W .
A.A. Genl.
Hd. Qrs. Dept. East

Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Fort Brooke August 15. 1855.

I have the honor to forward herewith for transmittal to the Head
Quarters of the Army, an extract from my report to the Adjutant General
relative to an explanation of the Everglades made by Capt. S.K. Dawson,
P1 Arty.
I am Sir, Very respectfully
Your Obedt. Servt.
John Munroe
Major 2"d Regt. Arty. Bt. Col.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas M. Vincent to Commanding Officers at Fort Myers, Camp
Daniels," and Fort Dallas, 30 October 1855

Commanding Officer
Fort Myers
Commanding Officer
Camp Daniels
Commanding Officer
Fort Dallas

Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Fort Brooke, October 30. 1855.
By direction of the Colonel Commanding
I have the honor to forward you a
Skeleton Sketch of a portion of South
Florida, for the use of the Post, and for
which the commanding officer will
please hold himself responsible.
I am Very Respectfully
Your obdt. Servt.
TM. Vincent
21. Lieut. 21. Artillery
A.A.Adjt. Genl.

South Florida's Prelude to War 97

Letter from Brevet Colonel John Munroe to Colonel Samuel Cooper,
8 December 1855

Cooper Col. S. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Comd'g Troops on C.H." } Fort Brooke. Dec'. 8, 1855.
Fort Myers.
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 27'
ultimo,"5 directing that the Post of Fort Jupiter be abandoned and suggest-
ing that I cause the garrison (Company "D" 1" Arty.) to move to Fort
Dallas or the Caloosa-hatchee, "with a View to ulterior operations in the
Indian Country."
In exercising the discretion confided to me, I have -thinking it the most
expedient- ordered that Company to the Caloosa-hatchee.
I am, Very respectfully
Your Obedt. Servt.
John Munroe
Major 2" Regt. Arty. Bt. Col.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas M. Vincent to Captain Bennet H. Hill, 15 December 1855

Hill Capt. B.H. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Comd'g Ft. Dallas Fort Brooke Dec'. 15, 1855
I am directed by the Colonel Commanding to inform you that with
the ultimate view of having a connected route between the Miami and
Kissimmee Rivers, he wishes you to detail an exploring parry consisting of
a Commissioned officer and a detachment adequate to the duties of the
exploration -to examine a route for a wagon road from the bluff on the
Ratones to Fort Jupiter- so as to connect with the road leading from
there to Fort Basinger.
It is believed that the bluff about three miles from the mouth of the
Ratones will be the best point of departure for the road, so from that point
to Fort Dallas water communication could be effected. It would be desirable


that the road might lead from a point nearer Fort Dallas, or direct from
Fort D. if practicable. The selection, however, of the point of departure is
discretionary with yourself.
The officer in charge of the exploration will make a detailed report to
you to be forwarded to these Hd: Qrs: concerning the character of the
Country embracing the nature of the soil, that of the water courses, kind
of timber met with &c &c. He will accompany his report by a sketch,
exhibiting the topographical features of the Country examined.
I am Very Respectfully
Your obdt: Servt.
T.M. Vincent
1". Lieut. 21. Artillery
A.A.Adjt. Genl.

Second Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas M. Vincent to Captain Bennet H. Hill, 15 December 1855

Hill Capt. B.H. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Comd'g Fort Dallas. Fort Brooke. Dec'. 15. 1855
I am directed by the Colonel Commanding to inform you that in
relation to Indian Affairs, he deems his instructions to you of Dec'. II.
1854 and Feb'y 19' 1855, as embracing all that is essential to the Subject.
The Colonel's anxiety to have the Indians kept within their boundaries
and more particularly to exclude them from the Koontee Grounds-
induces him to desire that you will keep parties in constant motion.
The Colonel has been informed that the line of Coast extending
North and South from Fort Lauderdale furnished Koontee as abundantly
as that South of the Miami."'
I am Very Respectfully
Your obdt: Servt.
T.M. Vincent
1". Lieut. 2d. Artillery
A.A.Adjt. Genl.

South Florida's Prelude to War 99

On December 7, 1855, an exploring party under the command of
Lieutenant George L. Hartsuffleft Fort Myers with two non-commis-
sioned officers, and eight privates and headed southeast into the Big
Cypress towards the settlement of Seminole leader Holata Micco, or Billy
Bowlegs. On several occasions over the next several days, the soldiers
caught fleeting glimpses of Seminoles, who avoided contact with them.
On December 18, the party came across the settlement's deserted
fields and houses. Though there is disagreement over the significance of
the arrival of Hartsuff's troops into Bowlegs's settlement and whether it
was the actual cause of the Third Seminole War, the presence of the sol-
diers -who apparently trampled some of the crops and took some of
Chief Bowlegs' bananas from his gardens- may well have incensed the
Seminole leader for its disrespectful quality. As the soldiers pressed on
the following day they found several other Seminole encampments and
villages and learned that both Fort Simon Drum and Fort Shackelford
had been burned."
Then, on the morning of December 20, set to return to Fort Myers,
Hartsuff's soldiers were attacked. Four men of the detachment were
killed, several were injured, and Hartsuff himself -seriously wounded
by three shots- was separated from his men and hid from his attackers
until he made it to safety on December 23. The correspondence below
reflects the initial information received after several privates from the
detachment reached Fort Myers late on December 21 to alert the com-
mand of the attack. War had once again begun.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas M. Vincent to Captain Bennet H. Hill, 22 December 1855

Hill Capt. B.H. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Comd'g Ft. Dallas Fort Brooke. Dec'. 22d 1855
I am directed by the Colonel Commanding to enclose you herewith,
some communications for Major Haskin Commanding at Fort Capron, and
request you to forward them to Major H. with all possible dispatch. The
communications refer to the late outbreak by the Indians (the particulars of
which I herewith transmit) and the movement of Major H's command to


Fort Myers. It is necessary that Major H. should receive the communica-
tions without delay.
I am Very Respectfully
Your obdt: Servt.
TM. Vincent
1". Lieut. 2d. Artillery
A.A.Adjt. Genl.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas M. Vincent to Captain Bennet H. Hill, 23 December 1855

Hill, Capt. B.H. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Comd'g Fort Dallas. Fort Brooke. Dec'. 23d. 1855.
I am directed by the Colonel Commanding to inform you of the
attack of an exploring party under command of 1" Lieut. G.L Hartsuff 2'"
Arty. by the Indians. In consequence of this outbreak the instructions
contained in my communication of the 15'h inst: Concerning the survey
of a road to Fort Jupiter-are suspended.
I send you a copy of the Peninsular Extra which will serve to inform
you of the particulars of the attack so far as ascertained. All Indians met
with will be considered as hostile. It is important that parties sent out for
explorations &c. Shall be sufficiently strong for their own protection.
I am very respectfully
Your obedt: Servt.
T.M. Vincent
1". Lieut. 2d. Artillery
A.A.Adjt. Genl.

Letter from Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General
Thomas M. Vincent to Captain Israel Vogdes,"s 23 December 1855

Vogdes, Capt. I. Head Quarters Troops in Florida
Comd'g Key West Bks." Fort Brooke. Dec'. 23'. 1855.
I am directed by the Colonel Commanding to inform you that

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