TOUR AMERICA, 2020: PARADISE OAKS RV RESORT, BUSHNELL, FLORIDA

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Places We Have Called Home In 2020

138

November 14, 2020

Temperature 81 Degrees, Humidity 90%

The Seminole Indians

The Seminole Wars

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What an absolutely gorgeous day we had today.  Bright blue skys, moderature temperatures, and a gentle breeze blowing all day.

After all the rain we’ve had I just could not and would not spend the day inside today.  So I spent the day puttering around outside.

I scrubbed each tire and adjusted air pressure since we’ll be on the road Monday and Tuesday.

I gave Elvira a good bath so that now she is looking all spiffy.

I vacuumed the outside storage lockers, cleaned out some junk and threw it away, and rearranged where necessary.

I grilled some catfish for lunch.

And I even took a nap in my chair outside.

A perfect day in my opinion.

Let’s go back to Fort King now and discover some of the history of the Seminole Indians.

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Long before there were snowbirds in Florida there were native inhabitants known as the Seminoles.

The Seminole Indians were part of a larger cuture and trade network that stretched across North America.  They were made up of many different tribes that over time slowly made their way to what we know today as Florida.  They created a diverse culture with a variety of skills that was often baffling to outside observers.

The original Seminoles came to Florida because it was controlled by the Spanish, who had no interest in returning slaves to the British. Hence, many black Africans escaping from slavery in the Carolinas and Georgia came to Florida and built settlements near the Seminoles. They formed a union with the Seminoles based upon both their mutual fear of slavery. This union was a strong one which surpassed attempts by the U.S. to break them apart. Intermarriages and friendships were common. In fact, they were so closely allied that the blacks became known as the Black Seminoles.

When the Spanish learned that they could not control the Indians, they started calling them cimmarones, the Spainish word for runaways or wild ones.  These Florida Indians heard this word as shiminole and thus called themselves seminole which they took as a matter of pride.

Originally, the Seminoles were hunters who used muskets to hunt deer, turkey and other game and who fished. They gathered fruits, nuts and berries. Later, however, they settled down and became excellent farmers. They grew corn, sugarcane, guava and bananas. They also were successful in raising stock, including horses and cattle.

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All was well until Spain ceded control of Florida to the United States.  When that happened settlers began pushing southward into Florida.  Tensions began to rise between the Seminoles and the settlers.

In 1812, Seminoles learned that a group of Georgians who called themselves Patriots were plotting to attack Seminole settlements. The Seminoles got the jump on these potential invaders by attacking them on their plantations.

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This action infuriated the government and as a result, American troops led by Andrew Jackson crossed into Florida and destroyed Seminole towns in nothern Florida.

Thus began the first of three Seminole wars.

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In an effort to end the war, and manage the relationship between white settlers and the Seminoles, the U.S. government made one promise after another in the form of treaties that were intended to outline the terms under which the Seminole would give up their land to make way for American settlers.

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The first of these treaties was The Treaty of Moultrie Creek.

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The Seminoles were given four million acres just south of present day Ocala.  The intent was to make way for settlers into northern Florida.  Unfortunately, the Seminoles soon discovered that the land could not be farmed and they were cut off from either ocean so they also could no longer fish.  Unable to survive on the land given them they soon began to move off the reservation.  Once again tensions began to escalate between the Seminole and the settlers, and the settlers implored the government to again act so that they could continue to expand into Florida.

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On May 28, 1830, the settlers got the backing they wanted from the U.S. government. The Indian Removal Act was passed by Congress at President Andrew Jackson’s urging. The Indian Removal Act gave the government the authority to remove all Indian tribes east of the Mississippi to the Indian Territory in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

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While the bill specified that the consent of the Indians had to be obtained and compensation dispersed to the tribes, the reality of the situation was that those who did not go peacefully were forced to go anyway.  Most of the Seminoles were forced off their land and onto the Trail of Tears, a horrendous march to the Indian Territory in Arkansas and Oklahoma. The Trail of Tears claimed thousands of lives  due to hunger, cold, disease and sorrow.

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But not all the Seminoles went west.  A small group tired of broken promises  successfully resisted removal and they did so fiercely. Their resistance to removal brought about the Second Seminole War.

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On December 23, 1835 two companies of troops under the command of Major Dade left what is today Tampa traveling along the Fort King Road headed toward Fort King.  Their mission was to resupply and reinforce the troops at Fort King.

They never made it.

On December 28, 1835 the two companies of troops (110 men) were ambushed by Seminole warriors on the road in the vicinity of what is today Bushnell, Florida.  In what became known as the Dade Massacre  only two members of Dade’s troops survived and finally made their way back to Tampa.

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The second attack on that deadly day occured at Fort King.  Sixty Seminole warriors managed a surprise and brutal attack on Fort King.  The two commanders of the fort as well the as the current Indian Agent anticipating Dade’s arrival were walking outside the fort’s wall.  Shots rang out from the woods around the fort and both commanders as well as the Indian agent were killed immediately.  Others who lived outside the fort were also killed and buildings outside the fort were burned to the ground.  The Seminole ran off into the woods but returned the following day and burned the fort to the ground.

It was the two attacks on this one deadly day that set the stage for The Second Seminole War.

The Second Seminole War, which dragged on until 1842, cost the United States the lives of 1,500 men and over $20 million.  Eventually, most of the seminole were relocated to the Indian Territory.

  Though Seminole leaders met with President Polk for peace talks, a formal peace treaty was never enacted nor did the Seminoles resistance fade away.

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Settlers continued to push ever southward, putting more pressure on the Seminole and making it nearly impossible for them to survive.  The U.S. Army destroyed a Seminole plantation west of the Everglades.  The Seminole retailiated with an attack near Fort Myers.  This set in motion the balance of the Seminole War which consisted of many raids.

In the end many Seminole were captured and forced to relocate to The Indian Territory. Around 500 Seminole remained in Florida, managing to hide in the Everglades, moving ever southward into areas where white men dared not venture.

We come now to today. . .

The Seminole who were here long before you and I finally became U.S. citizens during WWI.

In 1934, the Wheeler-Howard Act, or Indian Reorganization Act, made life better for the Seminole. It allowed them to compose tribal constitutions, elect tribal councils, and create tribal institutions. It also extended financial credit to the tribes, stipulated needed improvements in educational and medical facilities, restored religious freedom and encouraged the revival of Indian culture.

In 1957 Seminole tribe members voted in favor of the creation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  Today the tribe is engaged in creating economic opportunity for its members, preserving its proud heritage and culture and working to preserve its homeland, the Everglads of Florida.

The more I learned of the Seminole and their story the more I wanted to cry.  Why oh why can’t we learn to coexist with one another?  What gives one the right to think that they are entitled to whatever they want?  Isn’t their room for all of us in this great country of ours?  When we will learn tolerance for those who are different then us? Unfortunately, the pattern seems to continue still today and that is cause indeed – at least for me – for worry and concern.

So ends another day on The Road of Retirement.  It’s been a great day all around.  A wonderful day to be out and about.  A great day to just be alive.  Thank you good Lord for the beauty of this day and the wonder of the world around me that I was able to enjoy.

Thanks for traveling the history trail with me today.  We always appreciate your company as well as your comments and suggestions. Keep safe, keep healthy, live to the fullest the days that God gives you.

These are the voyages of  Elvira and her two intrepid travelers.  Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have never been before.

See you on down the road!

 

 

4 thoughts on “TOUR AMERICA, 2020: PARADISE OAKS RV RESORT, BUSHNELL, FLORIDA

  1. Thank you for the lesson about the Seminole. I learned a great deal. Like you, this story makes me want to cry. It so happens we have reservations next October at Trail of Tears State Park near Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I look forward to visiting this state park. I know I will learn some things which will make me feel like crying. I go there anyway because I think it is so important to know history, so we can learn from it. At least I hope we do! It is also a pretty park, so I read, as it is on the Mississippi. On a final more light-hearted note, it appears the Moultrie Creek Treaty gave the Seminole the land on which Disney World is located. Seems like they should get something out of that! Thanks for your very interesting post, and enjoy your day! P.S. I know the weather must be good when one thinks of washing tires to be out in it!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post and learned like I did about an important part of our past. History to me is so fascinating. In fact, I believe I should have been a history teacher. But more importantly history, I believe like you, is something we need to learn from so the same mistakes are not made in the future. I’ll be looking forward to your post from Trail of Tears State Park. Enjoy the coming week and enjoy to the fullest the days that God gives us.

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  2. Wow, the weather looks amazing. Thank you for the history lesson. We can’t even imagine how difficult those times were. You may want to check out Fort Desoto Park, St. Petersburg when you have a chance.

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