Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Buy my books at the author's discount price

The publisher's price for both my books is exorbitant, despite my pleading to lower the rate.  Consequently, I'm happy to offer both my books:
The Jackson County War  and After War Times for my author's price plus shipping at about $25 each for the hardcover editions, instead of the list price of $39.95.
Contact me directly at danweinfeld@gmail.com if you want to take this offer.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Evidence that Emanuel Fortune was a Russ Family Slave

In working on the After War Times book, we had assumed that the Russ family had held Emanuel Fortune as a slave, but could not find proof.  Finally, evidence comes from the court case of Russ v. Russ in the Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Supreme Court of Florida for the 1860-61 term (available on google books).  The case involved a challenge on behalf of a Russ granddaughter o the settlement of the will of Joseph Russ who had died in 1849.  Russ's will, which is dated Feb. 11, 1845, is reprinted in the court report and contains the following provision:

The slaves bequeathed by Joseph Russ to his son, Joseph W. Russ, under "Item 6th," include Dorah and her children, who include Madison, Emanuel and Hammon.  Dorah is certainly the woman identified by T. Thomas Fortune in After War Times as his grandmother Docia.   Fortune mentions both Madison and Hammon as step-brothers of Emanuel.  Their father was John Pope who became the county's leading AME Minister and a county school board member after Emancipation. Fortune writes that both Madison and Hammon fled Jackson County to join the U.S. Colored Troops.  Emanuel is certainly TT Fortune's father and would have been about 11 years old at the time the will was sworn.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Military Occupation of Jackson County during Reconstruction

Greg Downs, author of the groundbreaking book  After Appomattox took on the imposing effort of collecting military posting information for the South during the Reconstruction period. To supplement his book and graphically demonstrate his findings, Downs created the invaluable http://mappingoccupation.org website.  Downs has also helpfully posted his raw data in an excel spreadsheet, which includes many locations in Florida.   

Downs begins his dataset with May 1865, but doesn't show troops stationed in Marianna until September.   This appears to be incorrect since both military and private correspondence state that Capt. John F. Little and fifty soldiers from the 161st NY Volunteers occupied Marianna in early July 1865 and remained at least through September.  Downs does report 151 soldiers in Marianna during Sept. and Oct.   (I find this number a bit strange - is there a transcription error with the regiment ordinal "161"?).  Around this time Major Nathan Cutler returned to Marianna to replace Capt. Little as commander of the post.

The most surprising data to me is Downs' claim of the appearance in November and December 1865 of United States Colored Troops in Marianna.  After troops initially left in October, reports of lawlessness, including drunkeness, arson, and violence, prompted the US military commander in Florida to send soldiers back to Jackson County.  My research indicates that soldiers from the 7US Infantry were dispatched to Marianna.  I'm skeptical that USCT troops were stationed in Marianna at this time - or if they did arrive, that they stayed long at all - because no contemporaneous reports knowns to me from late 1865 mention USCTs in Marianna. We do know from letters that Marianna whites were very apprehensive about the possibility of USCT occupation troops so the absence of any known complaints about their arrival in late 1865 seems to contradict Downs' dataset.  Neither does Bureau officer Charles Hamilton, who arrived about a month later, ever refer to USCT posted in Jackson County.

Date               # of soldiers           Regiment/Commander 
July - Aug         50                       161NY / Little 
Sept – Oct.      151    
Nov:                  38 (USCT)*         *(probably 7 US/Comba).
Dec:                   87 (USCT) *           

Jan:                   86                         7 US / Comba 
Feb:                  49                         7 US/  Comba
March               49                         7 US/ Comba
[April                  ?                         7 US/ Comba]
Dec:                    8                         7 US

Jan:                   7                           7 US
Feb:                  8                           7 US
March               7                           7 US
April                 7                             "
May                  7                              "
June                14                              "  / Benjamin

[Feb - May      ?                           7 US/Bomford & Hancock
July                 ?                            7 US/ Coolidge]
Oct:                70                           7 US
Nov:               70                           7 US                  
Dec:                67                           7 US


Jan:                67                             7 US
[Oct - Dec.     20                             8 US  

Jan. - April     20?                           8 US

Dec.                20                             2 US

Nov.                 ?                              2 US]

Italics indicate data not reported by mappingoccupation.org. This information comes from the Freedmen's Bureau reports and The Jackson County War book. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

More good stuff from the Pensacola Commercial newspaper: a Jackson County murder story

From the Pensacola Commercial, April 22, 1885, the murder of Pat Clark by R. C. McAllister:

Friday, July 03, 2015

Description of Jackson County from a Visitor in 1884

In 1884, the Pensacola Commercial (a very conservative Democratic Party newspaper) printed a series of articles from correspondent W. C. Gunn describing places he visited in West Florida.

From the issue dated Sept. 6, 1884, here is W. C. Gunn's assessment of Jackson County:

 “Gunn Shorts On Our Picket Line”

During the war, Jackson County was known as the Egypt of West Florida. When unpropitious ___ ___ the ___ crops elsewhere “and the dearth was in all counties, ”in all the land of Egypt in Jackson there was bread.” From Holmes, Washington, Walton and even as far West as Santa Rosa “the people came into Jackson for to buy corn.” The lands of the greater part of Jackson are perhaps the most fertile and productive of all the counties of West Florida. This is true of the Northern part of the county in particular. The soil has a heavy admixture of [lime?] and quarries of lime rock can be seen everywhere. This rock when exposed to the air becomes very hard and has been utilized for building purposes. All through this belt the chimneys are built with it and withstand the elements successfully. The lands are peculiarly adapted to growing corn, but cotton also does well, besides the smaller crops of sugar cane, peas, potatoes, rice, etc.

Prior to the war, large slave holders owned most of these lands, and they were laid out in immense plantations, where stately residences were built, and the planter reveled in luxuries as he looked over his broad acres, while an overseer looked after the cultivation of his crops. He counted his bales of cotton by hundreds, drove a pair of spanking bays, dressed in the best of style, entertained his company most hospitably, and was the personification of what has long been known as the Southern gentleman, but an end came to all that, and many of these beautiful residences are a mass of ruins, the fences have rotten down and the plantations grown up in pine saplings. Thrifty small farmers are found now in place of the former planter, and lands that have been cultivation for thirty years and forty years still yield abundantly. There are some natural curiosities, such as immense caves, which rival, if not exceed, at least in beauty, the celebrated Mammoth Cave of Kentucky; then there is the celebrated Long Moss [?] Spring, six miles East of Marianna that for beauty and curiosity defies description. Marianna, the county site, is an old town, and was once the seat of considerable wealth. It is situated on the Chipola river, a beautiful stream abounding in the finest fish; though not as prosperous as in old time ante-bellum days, she still, to a great extent, maintains her former prestige as a business place. Her merchants are liberal and public spirited and her citizens refined and hospitable; her bar can boast of some of the best talent of the South, and she has also some of the most skillful physicians of the State. There are two good hotels, two livery stables and two of the most sprightly papers published in Florida.

Greenwood, nine miles Northeast of Marianna, is one of the prettiest little towns to be found anywhere. Here too, considerable business is done, it being right in the midst of one of the best farming districts of the county; some of the best people of the county are here.

 Campbellton is in the extreme Western end of the county, and is in what is considered the richest portion. It is twenty miles from Marianna and about sixteen from Chipley. It is always a pleasure to me to visit Campbellton for if there is a place under the sun where the people can always make you believe they are glad to see you, it is there and they mean what they say: a stranger is always “welcome in their gates.”

Taken altogether, Jackson possesses as many natural advantages as any county in the State. She has rich farming lands, fine natural pasturage, and an almost inexhaustible supply of the finest timber in the worlds. The blacks outnumber the whites, though hundreds of them have long ago deserted the Republican party and aligned themselves with their white friends in the interests of good government and consequently the county is Democratic.

 W.C. Gunn

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Now Available as an Audiobook: "The Jackson County War"

To download and listen to the audiobook version of "The Jackson County War" through audible.com: http://www.audible.com/pd/History/The-Jackson-County-War-Audiobook/B00T6PRR4W/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1423591932&sr=1-1

Monday, October 13, 2014

Announcing publication of T. Thomas Fortune's "After War Times: An African American Childhood in Reconstruction-Era Florida"

Those interested in Jackson County history, Florida history, and African American history should enjoy T. Thomas Fortune's memoir "After War Times," available in a single volume released earlier this month by the University of Alabama Press. The introduction is by Prof. Dawn Herd-Clark of Fort Valley State University with an afterword by Prof. Tameka Bradley Hobbs of Florida Memorial University. I edited and annotated the memoir and added a brief editor's note. The book is available through Univ. of Alabama Press directly at http://www.uapress.ua.edu/product/After-War-Times,5862.aspx or through amazon.com: After War Times: An African American Childhood in Reconstruction-Era Florida.  T. Thomas Fortune was born into slavery and lived his first dozen years in Jackson County, Florida. After several years in Jacksonville followed by education at Howard University in Washington DC, Fortune launched a career in New York as a journalist, newspaper editor, and activist. He was later lauded as the dean of African American journalists. This memoir and accompanying essays are particularly appropriate for high school and college students.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chickamauga: One of Jackson County's Deadliest Days

The Battle of Chickamauga on Sept. 19, 1863 was terribly bloody for Jackson County. As recounted in Jonathan Sheppard's masterful history of Florida's troops in the Confederacy's western theater, By the Noble Daring of Her Sons, Florida soldiers were heavily engaged in combat. Jackson County suffered thirteen deaths at the battle, possibly making Chickamauga the deadliest event in the county's history.

Jackson County's Chickamauga Honor Roll

Thomas Anderson     29yo G6FL 9/19
Lorenzo Basford        22yo I4FL 9/20
Benjamin Bradberry  22yo E6FL 9/19
Twiggs H. Darby       27yo C6FL 9/21
John Dickson             16yo F2FL 9/21
James Fair                  18yo E6FL 9/19
John Gay                    21yo F6FL 9/19
Richmond F. Hart       30yo E1FL Cav 9/19
Lt. James Hays           42yo D6FL 9/19
Green Keel                 18yo F6FL 9/19
George W. Revels      24yo E/F6FL 9/19
David D. Rogers        28yo I4FL 9/20
Sgt. S. F. Stanton        31yo D6FL 9/19

 William A. Green, of Co. K 25th Alabama, passed away four weeks after he was wounded in battle. In addition, at least 9 Jackson County soldiers, mostly from Co. E of the 6th Florida, were wounded at Chickamauga.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jackson County men at Antietam's Bloody Lane

Jackson Co. soldiers in the 2nd and 8th Florida Infantry Regiments, in R. H. Anderson's division, entered the action at Antietam about 10 AM on Sept. 17, 1862.  As told in Zack Waters' masterful, prize-winning book, A Small But Spartan Band, the Florida brigade crossed the Hagerstown Pike and took cover in Piper's apple orchard (replanted by the NPS).

General Rodes ordered the men forward and they passed the cannons and bounded down the slope through a ruined corn field toward the Sunken Lane.

The Florida men were positioned to support the 4th and 14th North Carolina regiments fighting in the Sunken Road - soon to be known as the Bloody Lane.
Waters writes that some Florida men crossed the lane, and charged up the hill toward the Union line, "only to be repelled with severe losses."  According to one participant, "the whole Regiment was cut to pieces."

An errant maneuver by a neighboring regiment opened a gap in the Confederate line.  Union troops poured in and the grey line was flanked and collapsed.  Along with the rest of the troops lining the Sunken Road, the Floridians retreated back through the orchard, retracing their initial approach.

The Floridians' performance drew criticism at the time, but Waters' examination of contemporaneous accounts shows a different story: the Florida brigade fought valiantly while sustaining terrible losses. Nearly fifty percent of the 570 Floridians engaged were casualties. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013


Please go to www.bloodandoranges.com for my research and writing updates. I've always intended that ww.thejacksoncountywar.com serve as a companion website to my book of the same name. This site is a repository for information that did not make it into the limited confines of the book and a place to make available related additional research that I've worked on.  www.bloodandoranges.com  is a joint project with Billy Townsend - author of the remarkable Age of Barbarity.  The focus of www.bloodandoranges.com  is much broader than this website: it is intended to address various issues related to the intersection of race, politics and economics in Florida during the century from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights era.  Our hope is to encourage anyone with interest in these topics to participate in the discussion and contribute postings.     

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Co. I of the 4th Florida Inf.Gets its Baptism of Fire at Murfreesboro

The Jackson County men who comprised Company I of the 4th Florida Infantry regiment had suffered terribly from the December cold in central Tennessee.   The 4th, which had not yet seen combat, had been assigned to Brig. Gen. William Preston’s brigade in Breckinridge’s division of Bragg’s army.   On December 31, 1862, the 4th was sent into action at the Battle of Murfreesboro.  Three previous Confederate assaults against the sector known as the Round Forest had been repulsed.  The 4th made its attempt and advanced until hit by canister from the 10th Indiana Battery.  The 4th was exposed and suffered terrible casualties until Gen. Preston personally led the men to nearby woods where the 1st and 3rd Florida had found cover.   
New Year’s eve was a bitterly cold night and because of the closeness of the armies, the soldiers could not make fires.  The Floridians remained in place until the afternoon of Jan 2nd.   Breckinridge and his brigade commanders, all lawyers, formed their men in lines and led them over a ridge straight into the range of massed Union cannon.   The 4th lay prone and held its ground as other troops retreated before a Union counterattack.  Breckinridge’s men ran before the assault, but the 4th distinguished itself for its orderly actions, allowing Preston’s artillery to withdraw and save its guns.  As darkness fell, the troops returned to their original lines. 
According to Jonathan Sheppard, the 4th was effectively decimated with 194 casualties out of the 458 who entered the fight two days earlier.   Among Breckinridge’s 19 regiments, the 4th suffered the most killed and 2nd most casualties.   I’ve found the following casualties among Jackson County men from Company I:  killed or mortally wounded:  Henry T. Barnes, E. A. Ellerby, William Alexander and Thomas J. Watts.   Seriously wounded: Leroy Mozely, James A. Sills, Anderson Smith and William Taylor.   Lt. C.C. Burke was wounded and captured.  Several other Jackson Co. men were also made prisoner by the Union.   (Note that Nathan Minchen of Company I had died of disease on Nov. 8, 1862.)   The actions of the 4th Florida described above are drawn from Jonathan Sheppard’s excelland and authoritative: “By the Noble Daring of Her Sons” The Florida Brigade of the Army of the Tennessee, Univ. of Alabama Press (2012)http://www.amazon.com/Noble-Daring-Her-Sons-ebook/dp/B008VFVAPU/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Marianna Day

In honor of Marianna Day, here's a link to my post from a few years ago describing various ways the fateful date of Sept. 27th was commemorated in Florida in the 20th century.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review of "The Indians of North Florida" by Sewell and Hill

My review of The Indians of North Florida:  From Carolina to Florida, the Story of the Survival of a Distinct American Indian Community by Christopher Scott Sewell and Steve Pony Hill appears over the new blog www.bloodandoranges.com
Here's the link:  http://bloodandoranges.com/2012/09/19/book-review-christopher-scott-sewell-and-s-pony-hill-the-indians-of-north-florida-from-carolina-to-florida-the-story-of-the-survival-of-a-distinct-american-indian-community-backintyme-publi/

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Basheba Thomas and the Southern Claims Commission

The Southern Claims Commission was created in 1871 to allow Southern unionists to recover compensation for property confiscated by federal troops during the Civil War. The crucial test for the applicant, besides documenting the lost property, was to prove that he or she had been loyal “to the cause and the government of the United States during the war.” The SCC files are full of great information including lots of personal details. Fortunately, fold3.com has made this material available on line (see Dick Eastman’s blog post about the SCC files generally and fold3.com, at: http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/03/southern_claims.html ; also check out Robert Moore’s blog for lots of information about Southern Unionists and the SCC process. http://cenantua.wordpress.com ).

There is some amazing stuff to find on fold3.com. Looking for something unlrelated, I came across claim file for Basheba Thomas. Yes, we now know that Miss Thomas spelled her name “Basheba” and not “Bathsheba” (ed. - add that to the corrections list!). As discussed in the JCW book, Basheba was sympathetic to the Freedmen’s Bureau officers and their goals. Most significantly, she held the federally controlled (i.e., Republican) office of Marianna post-mistress for several years during the Reconstruction era (did that make her the first female officeholder in Jackson Co.?).

Basheba’s claim arose from the seizure of her food supplies by Union troops during the Battle of Marianna. (The only other such claim I know about was submitted by Martha Finlayson, but her case seemed to have been misfiled with Alabama claims and then lost).
Here is the claim with the amounts approved and disallowed by the SCC:

[source: www.fold3.com ]

That’s a lot of bacon and lard! What makes the file fascinating are the statements and the people who show up in the supporting paperwork. The initial petition attests that the above listed property was taken by U. S. troops in General Asboth’s command on Sept. 27, 1864, and removed to “Ft Pickens of the Navy Yard near Pensacola except so much thereof as was consumed at or near Marianna or on the march therefrom to Pensacola.” This filing, dated June 12, 1871 was witnessed by James F. McClellan (!) and James C. McLean before Judge of the County Court W. E. Anderson (all significant player in the JCW). In the claim, Basheba appointed as her attorney….Charles M. Hamilton of Wash. DC, (fresh out of Congress and looking for work), who filed the petition with the SCC. The claim states that Basheba lived alone and at the time of the confiscation (9/1864) had lived with “a sister & one servant both of whom are now dead.” A claim was refiled or supplemented in May 1874 with a different DC attorney, probably because Hamilton was incapacitated and out of the law business by that time. This refilling was swown to before Charles F. Britton, the U.S. Commissioner for the Northern District of Florida. Basheba testified that she was a fifty years old, single woman, never married, with the occupation of “P.M. at Marianna Jackson County Florida.” In answer to a series of questions, Basheba alleged that she had been “threatened with imprisonment by some few don’t know their names” presumably arising from her loyalty. She also stated that “my sympathies were always with the United States and are yet and I do solemnly declare that from the beginning of hostilities to the end of the same my sympathies was with the Union cause.” The supplies were taken from her smokehouse at about 12 noon: “there was about thirty United States soldiers engaged in the taking, they were some three fourth of an hour engaged in the taking. There was some officers present don’t know their names, knew they were officers from the stripes on their shoulders and arms.” Answers to other questions added details: “it was told off by the soldiers [I] was too scared to recollect what was said.” The troops stayed about “eight hours left at night.” Basheba knew the quantities of her stores because she had purchased them by weight on Sept. 17 & 18 prior to the battle.

Supporting statements came from Benjamin G. Alderman, Joseph W. Russ and Martha E. Finlayson (no surprise there). Alderman stated that he was a 53 year old merchant in Marinna where he had resided for 40 years. He had “been acquainted intimately with Miss Bathsheba Thomas, claimant, for over thirty years past and that during the war, he had frequent conversations with her in relation to the same, its causes & progress; seeing her nearly daily. – Knows that from the beginning of hostilities between the, so called, Confederate States, and the United States, to the close of the war, the said Bathsheba Thomas, claimant was truly loyal to the United States, in sentiment and in acts as far as circumstances offered, and was firm and unflinching in the maintenance of her union sentiments down to the present day.”

Martha E. Finlayson testified that she was a 60 year old planter residing in Jackson County for 16 years. She was “on the most intimate terms with Basheba Thomas the claimant for sixteen years and that during the war she had frequent interviews with claimant in relation to the rebellion, the war, its causes & progress, seeing her very frequently, three or four times every week and I know that from the beginning of hostilities to the close of the war claimant unflinchingly maintained her union sentiments and that claimant was in every sense truly loyal to the United States and would have sacrificed her last dollar in its support.”

The last statement came from Joseph W. Russ who identified himself as a 60 year old merchant in Marianna, who “runs a farm some six miles off in the county of Jackson where he has resided for over forty five years last past.” Russ has “been acquainted intimately with Basheba Thomas Claimant for over twenty five years past and that during the war he had frequent conversations with her in relation to the war, its causes & progress seeing her two or three times a week. Knows that from the beginning of the War to its close that the said Basheba Thomas claimant was truly loyal to the United States in sentiment and in acts as far as circumstances offered and was firm and unflinching in the maintenance of her union sentiments to the close of the war and is yet.”

For this second filing, the witnesses for the power of attorney were Louis M. Gamble and M. A. Richardson, and signed before Jim B. Erwin, Notary Public on April 21, 1874 and then executed again on May 20, 1874 with Jacob F. Willeford replacing Gamble as witness.

The payment for $114.50 was authorized by the Treasury Dept. in June 1878, only (!) 7 years after the initial filing. It is not indicated how much money the attorneys, “Lincoln and Willard” kept as their fee.

Basheba Thomas lived until 1900 when she was about 81 years old. She left her cow, calf and clothes to her “colored servant”, Lucy Johnson, and her property to the First Presbyterian Church of Marianna which she had helped found decades earlier. [See: http://firstpresmarianna.org/docs/ser20061029.pdf ]

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Honor Roll of Company F: Jackson County's Fallen in the Peninsula Campaign

Jackson County’s soldiers were largely spared in the early battles of the war. A few men perished of disease but the ranks were mostly intact until early 1862. But that spring and summer, about 30 Jackson County men succumbed to disease - that relentless leveler of Civil War soldiers - many at hospital in Chattahoochee. Young recruits, including teenagers, were particularly hard hit. Officers too perished, including Capt. Lawrence Attaway and Capt. Daniel Boone Coleman, a salesman from Wakulla Co. residing in the home of James F. McClellan at the time of the 1860 census taking.

Combat also began to take its merciless toll. Two men were listed as dying at Shiloh in late April: Henry Rogers (age 24) and Franklin Brown (31). At least seven Jackson County soldiers from Company F, the Gulf State Guards, of the 2nd Florida Regiment, died in combat in the Peninsula Campaign, particularly at the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31 and June 1st. The rolls of the fallen heroes of the Company F include: Richard Howard (20), James L. McAnulty (20 yo); Joseph Padrick (21 yo); Thomas Player (23 yo); Albert Butler (21 yo) and Robert Irwin (24). This list is completed by J. Henry Pooser, who only 3 weeks prior to his death had been voted Captain of Company F, in place of James F. McClellan. (Note: Gideon Peacock of Co. F had succumbed to disease at a Richmond Hospital in late April). Thus, only a few months more than one year after the start of hostilities, well over forty Jackson County households mourned their war dead. Many more were to follow.

[I've assembled these names as part of a large database that aspires to trace the service records and fate of Jackson Co. men listed in the 1860 Census.  Please email me with any corrections or questions.].

Monday, July 02, 2012

Charles, F. Crosby, a Panhandle African American, Recounts His Experience in the 86th USCT

From Donald R. Shaffer's "Civil War Emancipation" blog come Charles Franklin Crosby's responses during a pension application interview. Crosby goes into detail about his background, service in the 86th USCT, and his remarkable post-war experiences. It's so rare to find these first person statements from African Americans about their army service.  He was raised as a slave near Geneva, Alabama on the Florida side of the border. I'm assuming he's from Holmes Co. but I don't see the Eli and Polly Nunn family he mentions as his owners on the 1860 census listings for the panhandle counties.  
Here's the link to Shaffer's account (which also appears in his book Voices of Emancipation: Understanding Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the U.S. Pension Bureau Files (2008)):

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"We thank God we have a 'dry town.'"

The Pensacola Journal of Sunday, Aug. 7, 1911 contained a 9 page, special advertising section devoted to Jackson County.  Amid the usual boosterism ("Handsomest Court House in the State of Florida"!) and enticements for immigration and investment, appears another of Mrs. Fannie B. Chapman's delightful essays.  In this article, she describes the state of Marianna society in 1911.


Lady Who Has Spent LifeTime There Describes it for Journal Readers

By Mrs Fannie B Chapman

The Journal has requested me to give a sketch of the social life of Marianna. My residence here from youth to old age enables me, I think, to form a just estimate of such matters. The majority of the people are of the old-time stock of Southern aristocracy, and while proud of their ancestry, they are not in any wise offensively so.

People are accepted in society not for what they have but for what they are. “A degenerate son or daughter of an illustrious sire” is not more acceptable socially than degenerate children of anyone else. Culture, refinement and nobility of character are indispensable to admission into the best society.

This being true, our people are generous, genial, hospitable, conventional, only in the right and best sense. Our women are cultured, refined and of the highest and best I type of womanhood. They are above reproach as wives, mothers, daughters and sisters as well as friends.

The community as a whole is free from petty jealousies, envy and disturbing elements that do so much to mar the social peace wherever it is found. The men of our town are worthy to be the friends and companions of the women with whom they are associated. There is plenty of life and gaiety among our young people without excess.

Above all we thank God we have a “dry town,” and if ladies are on the street morning, noon or evening they have no fear of a drunken crowd of men, white or black, blocking the sidewalks about saloons, and we have the faith in God and in the honor of the men of our county that saloons are buried in our past- never to come up again.

We have a flourishing Epworth League, Baptist Young Peoples’ Christian Union, U. D. C. chapter, Knights of Pythias, Masonic lodge, and several other good things-Baptist, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Methodists are all well represented. I cannot assert that a religious sentiment predominates but am inclined to believe that it does in quite an eminent degree.

While I do not think ours quite a model town in everything, as there is always room for improvement. In this world of ours, I am quite sure many places might be benefited by a little patterning after us. Is that egotism? If so pardon it-this is my home and mine own people.


The entire special section is very worth examining, particularly for the many photographs and advertisements. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jackson (and Calhoun) County African Americans serving in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War

The National Park Service on-line Civil War Soldiers/Sailors database states that it "contains the records of approximately 18,000 African American sailors." Following are the twenty seven sailors who listed their birthplaces as Jackson or Calhoun County. Nearly half of the 255 Florida born sailors did not list their county or town of birth, so there may be many more who belong on this list.  These names do not appear among the "free men of color" in the 1860 census, so it may be assumed that they were slaves who escaped their bondage to join the United Stats Navy.

Berry, James 13 None Calhoun Co., Florida

Bryant, William 24 Jackson Co., Florida
Campbell, Mansfield 26 Steward/Farmer Jackson Co., Florida
Carraway, Prince 18 Farmer Calhoun Co., Florida
Clayton, Henry 15 None Mariana, Florida
Everett, Grifin 19 None Jackson Co., Florida
Fan, John 17 None Jackson Co., Florida
Hardy, John 27 Jackson Co., Florida
Holden, Adam 29 Wheelwright/Carpenter Jackson Co., Florida
Holden, Nelson 26 Farmer Jackson Co., Florida
Hughes, James 24 Farmer Marianna, Florida
McGregor, Mac 17 None Calhoun Co., Florida
Nichols, Alexander 22 None Jackson Co., Florida
Phillips, Charles S. 20 Laborer Jackson Co., Florida
Pitman, Samuel 20 Laborer Jackson Co., Florida
Porter, Edward 18 Farmer Jackson Co., Florida
Porter, James 23 Farmer Jackson Co., Florida
Rankin, Isaac 23 Laborer Jackson Co., Florida
Rankin, John 21 Laborer Jackson Co., Florida
Ross, James 18 Farmer Jackson Co., Florida
Russ, Adam 28 Farmer Jackson Co., Florida
Tillinghast, George W. 18 None Marianna, Florida
White, Govenor 21 Laborer Jackson Co., Florida
White, Jack 18 Laborer Jackson Co., Florida
White, Levi 26 Laborer Jackson Co., Florida
White, Lewis 15 Laborer Jackson Co., Florida
White, Walton 17 Laborer Jackson Co., Florida

For the complete list of Florida born African Americans in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War, see: http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-sailors.htm?submitted=1&SAlName=&SAfName=&SAshipname_count=None+Selected&SAbirthcity=&SAbirthState_count=1+Selected&SAbirthState=FL&SAcountryName_count=None+Selected

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Recollections of Some Noted Floridians"

Following is an engaging memoir recalling some of the prominent figures in mid-19th century Florida politics, including several men from Jackson County.  The source is the Frank Papy Woodword Collection at the Florida State Archives in Tallahassee.  The author is probably Alfred L. Woodword Jr. (1841-1915).

During the decade lying between the years 1840 and 1850, the little town of Marianna nestled on the west bank of the Chipola river in Jackson County, Florida, possessed as intelligent and cultured society, and could boast of as fine an array of legal and literary talent as could be found in many of the larger cities of the South.
These man and their families were settlers in the newly acquired territory of Florida, and had emigrated principally from the border states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North and South Carolina, lured by prospects of pecuniary or political gain in the new Eldorado. Some were appointees to office under the federal government; some had brought their slaves from the older states, had cleared vast plantations from the pri­meval forests and were now established as prosperous planters; while others still had come as volunteers in the Indian wars, had fought under General Jackson and were so pleased with the country that they had de­cided to remain and adopt it as their permanent home. There were very few of that class of adventurers among them so common to a new country, the old ante-bellum hospitality and courtliness was the rule and not the exception, and characterized their intercourse in all departments of life.
The St. Joseph's Convention - which gave Florida the constitution under which she had been admitted to the Union - had been held in 1838; the Indians through the energy of General Jackson had been conquered, transported or pacified, except a few roving bands of creeks which made occasional raids from Georgia; and taken altogether, no more ideal place for a permanent home could, be found than Jackson county and Marianna. Game was abundant - deer and wild turkey - while the waters of the Chipola teemed with fish, it being no uncommon, thing to catch "Rock Fish" weighing from fifteen to twenty pounds a species of fish which I have never seen in any other river in Florida.
Railroads were unknown.  The shriek of the locomotive had never desecrated the stillness of the virgin forests, and tales of such wonders were listened to with bated breath as they were recounted by more fortunate ones - recent comers - who had actually seen them with their own eyes.
The commerce of the community was all carried on by water - from Columbus, Georgia, by steamboat to Chattahoochee, thence by wagon to Marianna; or from the latter place by barges propelled by poling down the Chipola, through the Dead Lakes to the Big River, thence by boat again to Apalachicola. St. Joseph and its railroad to Blountstown were already waning and being shorn of their glory by the new queen city at the mouth of the river, which had secured a monopoly of the cotton trade down the .river, including Columbus, Eufaula, Ft. Gaines and Bainbridge, and was the only shipping port for a vast area of country.
At Chattahoochee was the ferry for crossing travelers from West Florida to the Capital and East Florida.
The families located at Marianna had a very pleasant social custom of visiting around among each other after supper, and at these family gatherings the conversation generally assumed a literary, legal or political turn. Often have I seen gathered in my father's parlor fifteen or twenty gentlemen with their wives - men who either then or afterwards were distinguished in the history of the state. Though quite a child at the time, I think I can recall some of them sufficiently to present them to you.
There was the towering form of Judge A. E. Maxwell, who I think, has a son still living in Pensacola. The expression on his feathres [sic] was always one of extreme kindliness and mild dignity. Then there was Judge Thomas Baltzell, almost, if not quite, as tall as Judge Maxwell, but heavier built. He was decidedly of a Lincoln type of man, having a mas­sive head with short hair inclined to curl. He was afterwards Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida. He had been a member of the St. Joseph's Convention with such men as John C. McGehee, who was president of the Secession Convention in 1861. Other members of the St. Joseph Convention were D. L. Yulee, afterwards United States Senator. William Marvin, afterwards governor of Florida; Alfred L. Woodward, afterwards receiver of the United States Land Office under President Buchanan.
One of the most prominent figures in these social gatherings was Judge George S. Hawkins, who was, I think, at the time Judge of the Western Circuit and afterwards member of Congress. He was rather under medium size, neat and dapper in appearance, and noted for his keen wit and biting sarcasm - also remarkable for having buried six wives and was then living with his seventh. Many were the joking comparisons made (not in his presence I assure you) between him and Henry the VIII of England. Then there were Thomas and Allen Bush, the latter of whom afterwards became the author of Bush’s Digest Laws of Florida.
But I would be sadly recreant to personal feeling and long, stand­ing friendship did I fail to mention the “noblest Roman of them all," Major Jesse J. Finley, who came from Tennessee, and earned his title fighting the Florida Indians under General Jackson himself.
He was a very large man; tall and well-formed, a man of com­manding presence and courtly bearing and a dignity tempered by great sweetness of disposition and suavity of manner. Before coming to Florida in 1846, he had served in the Arkansas legislature and been mayor of Memphis, Tennessee. He represented. Jackson County in the Florida Senate in 1850, was made Judge of the Western Circuit in 1861, Judge of the Confederate Court in 1862, resigned that position and entered the Con­federate army- as a private and rose successively to captain, colonel and Brigadier General; commanded the Florida Infantry in the army of Tennessee, and was wounded at the battle of Resaca and again at Jonesboro. Removed from Marianna to Lake City in 1865, was a member of Congress from 1875 to 1879 from the Second Congressional district.
In 1879 he was appointed Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit and after serving for six years retired from active life and died in 1904. A record duplicated by but few men.
Where are they now, these noble men of yore, who served their country well and fell asleep? The Chipola still flows on "to join the brimming river," winding in and out among her sluggish lakes. The sweet notes of the boatman's bugle is heard no more. The barges have long since rotted at their moorings; the neigh of the iron horse startles the echoes of her caves and swamps as he leaps her narrow stream.
Resuming my recollections of those Floridians who resided in Marianna during or about the period of time of which I am writing, there looms up very prominently one who afterwards filled a very important and responsible position in-the history of the state during a crisis of great danger and which required unusual courage, firmness and statesmanship. I refer to Colonel John Milton, who was elected governor in 1860 or 1861, and guided the ship of state during the disturbed and dangerous period of the four years of civil strife.
He was known as "Florida's War Governor," and as such was con­fronted by problems peculiarly intricate and difficult which few can now realize of appreciate.
My first recollection of him was when I was a small child in my father's home in Marianna. He resided then on his plantation several miles out from town. I knew him better during the dark days of strife when I was a young soldier, and shall ever hold him in grateful remem­brance for his unvarying kindness to one who was "only a private." These were the days when the noble women of Tallahassee met as a sewing society in one of the rooms at the capitol to make uniforms and knit socks for the men at the front, and it was the duty of the governor to provide the mate­rial from which their handicraft was wrought—grey jeans and woolen yarns. When I chanced to be at home on furlough I sometime dropped in and saw them at their work. Were I an artist I could paint those groups from memory--Mrs. Ellen Call Long; her sister Mrs. Brevard; Mrs. J. J. Williams; Miss Mag Brown, daughter of ex-Governor Brown. Mrs. Pearce, Mrs. Woodward; Mrs. T. J. Perkins; Mrs Selim Myers; a host of Maxwells from Belle Aire, Mrs. Hopkins, Mrs. Dan and George Meginniss, and many more. How they did sew and--talk.
How they would pause now and then to listen with breathless inter­est to some item of news from Tennessee or Virginia, while here and there one attired in darker robes walked silently aside while the big tears would course each other slowly down her cheeks. Such an one had "received news from the front," and such a heart was breaking for a grey-clad warrior who rested in a far off nameless grave.
Governor Milton was ever courteous, gallant and sympathetic, while ordinarily full of life and jest.  Then the scene changes and memory on shifting wing transports me once again to childhood's sunny realm, and I see one calm, sedate, dignified; yet with sunny mein and pleasant face, pass athwart the stage. A large man with a heart and brain to correspond. One who wore the ermine without a stain--W. D. Barnes. Who lifted the bench out of the realm of politics and served with spotless integrity as Comptroller under Bloxham, and several terms thereafter.
Then there approaches one with heavy frame and martial tread. One with force of character and earnestness of purpose stamped upon his every lineament—-John H. McClellan, a fitting man to compile a Digest of Florida laws. I knew him when he commanded on Virginia's plains a company of the immortal 2nd Florida Infantry under the chivalric George T. Ward.
Leonine in his courage, and steadfast in his friendship yet enjoying a joke with the best, as witness how he bore with us when we guyed so unmercifully when he accidently rolled the barrel over the bluff and down among the tents of the 14th Louisiana, camped just below us, and who thought he did it purposely, and in consequence "had it in" for the 2nd Florida.
Just now there dropped from my pen the name of Bloxham.
No true Floridian can write that name without an extra heart­beat and a quickening of the pulse; nor can he pass "the lapse of earth" where rests his honored head without an involuntary slackening of his step and lifting of his hat. Bloxham! He needs no eulogy here. My hand is not worthy to write his epitaph. Patriot, orator, statesman. Patient under misconstruction--genial under criticism; pursuing still his high ideals when least appreciated by men. Caesar and Napoleon left no off­spring, and nature gave us no model when she sent us Bloxham.
We will see thy genial face no more, nor hear thy ringing voice.

[Located at: M73-10, Frank Papy Woodward Collection, Box 1, folder 8, Alfred L. Woodward Writings, FSA]