Sunday, December 30, 2007

Current Project: The Book

The project I have been delaying for quite a period of time is finally moving along. The "Jackson County War" book is intended to be the definitive account of the years 1866-1871 in Jackson County starting from when the Bureau arrived, carrying through the murderous years after readmission and lasting until the violence quieted down with the reassertion of white control over most county posts and the intervention of the U. S. government under the Enforcement Act.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hamilton's brawl in Walton County, Florida

Dale Cox, author of the authoritative "Battle of Marianna" brought to my attention John L. McKinnon's "History of Walton County." Published in 1912, "History of Walton County" is unabashedly sympathetic to the white southerners and critical of carpetbaggers and Republicans. Amazingly, McKinnon has a detailed account of Hamilton's the melee with Walton County whites while on a campaign to organize black voters prior to the election for delegates to the state constitutional convention. Emanuel Fortune describes this brawl in his testimony before the Congressional "Ku Klux Klan" committee that interviewed witnessed in Jacksonville in late 1871.

First is Fortune's account:
"I went with Colonel Hamilton to Walton County to inform the people there of the constitutional convention, and to get the republicans there to go in favor of the convention. He and I went into the court-house; the audience, of course, were generally back country people, very poor people. After the meeting, at which he and I both spoke, we were informed that while speaking there was some disposition for a disturbance. After the meeting we all dispersed, and in going to the hotel some colored men came to us, and we were advising them what to do on the day of election. After they came several more came, and there was a right good bunch around us, some eight or ten. The white fellows, who were off at a store not very far off, got very bitter about it, as they did not want us to communicate with them at all. They came hustling up toward us, and Colonel Hamilton, I suppose, got mad, for he spoke very abruptly to them. They pitched right in for a fight, and there was quite a scuffle. Men were going to cut him in the back, but I kept them off. One picked up a rail and it broke in two, and they turned and fled. It all ended by his tripping in the wild grass, and this fellow got on him and choked him. That ended the fight, because he considered that he had the best of it." [Source: Testimony Taken by the Joint Select Committee to Inquire Into the Conditions and Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States," House Report No. 22, pt. 13, 42nd Congress., 2d Sess (Washington 1972), 98-9.]

Next is McKinnon's version of the same event with some prefacing material:
[342] The carpetbaggers followed close behind us with their best speakers in negro precincts. W. J. Purman, Hamelton and Dickson, with their headquarters at Marianna, were the campaigners through Walton. They made extrava-
[343] gant, rash promises to the negroes, reminding themselves no doubt of the old rhyme:
“Much to promise and little to give Causes the fools in comfort in live.”
“The forty acres and the mule,” was their leading promise to the end. The whites attended all of their meetings when they knew of them, and would take them up on their rash, foolish promises; but they would hold secret, night meetings, and say things that they would not dare say in the presence of the whites. They were good speakers and educated as to books, but bankrupts as to character. They called an open advertised meeting at Euchee Anna in the open day time, pretty much every negro voter was there. This was called their “Grand Rally Meetings.” The white voters were there in force, the meeting was held in the old courthouse in the southern part of the town. They had to be checked up several times in their extravagant statements. They lead us to believe they wanted their opponents to reply when they were through. But when they finished, they had a tacit understanding with the negroes to meet them for private instructions, and they went out in a body in the direction of the hotel where they had stopped, not by the street way, but direct through a grove that intervened, and when they were well in the grove and near the hotel they stopped. Hamilton, a tall, stout, rawboney man of fair complexion, light hair and blue eyes weighing about two hundred pounds, 38 years old, a college athlete in appearance, stood talking to the negroes as they gathered around him in the grove. The white voters who moved on to the business part of town by the street way,
[344] saw that he had stopped and was talking with the negroes. Bill Bell, a farmer from Knox Hill, a full match in build, weight, and years, for Hamilton, with dark complexion, black hair and dark eagle piercing eyes, said, “Men we have had enough of this today, and those negroes have had enough, let’s go over there and send these rascals over the river and the negroes home, where they belong?” “All right” came from everybody. They walked up to the circle, Bell in the lead, while Hamilton was yet speaking. Bell with his right hand on the left shoulder of one negro, his left on the right of another, made a breach and enlarged at the circle, walked right up in front of Hamilton and said in loud unmistakable tones, using severe ugly adjectives, “See here, Hamilton, these negroes have had enough of this stuff today, you are fixing them up to be put under the ground. You were allowed to say too much in yonder building, you can’t sneak out here in these bushes and stir up the devil in them, and let me tell you right here, if you know what is best for you, you had better cross the river and crawl up in your hole.” Hamilton straightened himself up boastingly with an air of bravery, and he was brave with his big crowd of negroes around him and said, “I am a free born American citizen exercising the right of free speech and don’t want to be disturbed in this way.” “You are,” said Bell, “a free born American jackass risking the dangers of a free fight!” “You are more of a jackass than I am,” said Hamilton. As these words fell upon Bell’s ears, he dealt a blow with his right fist directly in Hamilton’s breast that staggered him. It was promptly returned and while these blows and fencings were flying swiftly there went up a cry from the white voters, “A fair fight, a fair fight!” They clenched each
[345) other then and went at it right. The negroes indiscriminately took to the woods, running pell-mell in every direction. Purman and their negro driver made for the hotel, got their horses and were ready on the ground a little while to go for the river. Bell proved more than his equal in a clenched wrestle. Hamilton realizing his situation cried out, “Am I left alone, have they all deserted me?” It was then the white voters laid hold on them, loosed their hold on each other, pulled them apart and there they stood unexhausted in front of each other with their faces scratched a little, the greatest damage done being to their Sunday clothes. Hamilton got into the carriage with Purman and the negro driver and they went down the Douglass Ferry road, the negro driving with such flying speed through the sand and dust that flew so thick and high above their heads, that they were hid from view. When they got to the ferry it was night. They urged Mr. Campbell to help them across that night, that they might be safe. When they had told him what had befallen them that day at Euchee Anna, he told them that it would not be safe to try crossing the river at night and that he knew all of those men and would guarantee their safety with him that night, that all they wanted was for them to let the negroes alone. They stopped until morning in security and passed over the river, and that was the last of carpetbaggerism in Walton. The most remarkable and creditable thing in this whole affair was, that there was neither knife or pistol drawn during the encounter, notwithstanding in these times, and on such occasions men went armed to the teeth. [Source: Florida Heritage Collection ]

The versions are generally similar but with some different details. Fortune's account is an eyewitness testimony recited almost four years after the incident. McKinnon is unclear about whether he was present at the event or is relating an account he heard from others. Either way, McKinnon, publishing his book in 1911, McKinnon was presumably remembering events that took place more than forty years earlier. The major differences are McKinnon's placement of Purman at the scene which Fortune does not mention. Considering that Fortune was, if anything, closer personally to Purman, and mentioned both men repeatedly in his testimony, it is unlikely that Fortune forgot Purman's presence. Hamilton and Purman were so closely associated, particularly in the disdain of white Floridians, that McKinnon probably naturally assumed that Purman was also in Walton County that day. Also, McKinnon does not mention Fortune's role in the fight and instead dismissively refers to the "negro driver." Fortune, conversely, was an able speaker and a candidate for the convention and, according to his son, a fierce and courageous fighter. Fortune, however, does not refer to the desperate scramble to get out of the county and "across the river" that McKinnon describes with obvious amusement. The accounts do agree in the general nature of the fight and that Hamilton got the worst of it. Hamilton, of course, despite his height and youth, suffered from a disabling leg injury and may have already had the chronic respiratory ailment that tormented him for years. McKinnon's physical description of Hamilton conforms with other contemporary accounts, except that McKinnon overestimates Hamilton's age by 11 years.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jimmy Coker- making Florida safe for democracy (United States v. James Coker)

On November 8, 1870, elections were held in Florida for Congressman and state assemblyman. The Democratic candidate, S.L. Niblack disputed the victory of Republican Josiah T. Walls (who had defeated Hamilton for the Republican nomination back in August). Testimony taken in the dispute went into detail about a disturbance at the polls in Marianna on election day. Unsurprisingly, James P. Coker was in the middle of the fray. A number of Jackson County freedmen testified.

According to witnesses, Coker approached a polling station in Marianna and ordered the black men waiting to vote to stand back and, this failing, began hitting people with his walking stick. When the black voters objected and insisted on their right to vote, Coker said that they had been there long enough and that if they did not give way, he would clear them out or he would "have their blood or guts." Coker rushed the polls with a group of white men and when the black men refused to fall back he said "God damn you, I won't leave enough of you to tell the tale, let alone to send the news to [Gov.] Reed." Coker pulled out his pistol and turned toward Jerry Robinson who was standing behind Coker. When Robinson insisted on his waiting his turn to vote, Coker said "Didn't you hear me give the order for you God-damn niggers to leave the poll?" and threatened to kill Jerry Robinson. According to Richard Pooser, Coker stated that the blacks were obliged to vote the Democratic ticket and that if they didn't' they would have to leave Jackson County. Jesse Robinson, a candidate for Jackson County representative to the state assembly that day, testified that he was struck in the mouth by Dr. Alexander Tennille and that he looked back to see Coker and Jerry Robinson fighting and witnessed Coker drawing a pistol with the evident intent of shooting Jerry Robinson. "Little" Jim Baker overtook Coker, seizing him around the waist as Coker struggled to get away, and grabbed Coker's pistol. Baker likely prevented Coker from shooting Jerry Robinson. Benjamin Livingston testified that he heard Baker tell Coker to "go and make up with that negro, or it might cost him a great deal of trouble. He (Coker) said, 'I won't do it; I would rather kill him.'"

Daniel Bryan stated that after Tennille struck Jesse Robinson, he kicked Bryan and said "forty acres of land, God damn you, without a mule." Tennille then approached Richard Pooser who related that Tennille said "Pooser, God damn your radical soul to hell, forty acres of land without the mule. This has been a negro Government, but now it is going to be a white man's Government. You have been voting for niggers, carpet-baggers, and scalawags, and we white men are going to put a stop to it." Tennille waived a hickory stick over his head telling the blacks to get back so the whites could vote. Many black citizens, perhaps 100 to 200, who were waiting to vote went home after this outburst of violence.

For these actions, Coker was indicted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida for hindering, delaying obstructing and preventing citizens from exercising their right of suffrage, as guaranteed by the Fifteenth Amendment. A warrant for his arrest was issued on Dec. 13, 1871. The case of U.S. v. Coker was closed without conviction or going to trial.
(sources: 42d Congres, 2d Sess., Mis Doc. 34, Part 2, Additional Papers in the case of Silas L. Niblack vs. Josiah T. Walls; NARA, RG21, U.S. Dist. Courts, Northern Dist. of FL, Tallahassee Div., Criminal Case Files 1850-1871, Box 1.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Posting Charles M. Hamilton's Freedmen's Bureau Papers

Among my main reasons for this starting this blog was my imagining the creation of a virtual file cabinet. A significant amount of the material I collected during research of the Fleishman and Hamilton articles does not appear in print. For example, while I cite many newspapers and letters, the complete text of those sources, obviously, are not contained in the articles. I am uncomfortable, however, with the depository of these primary sources being a drawer in my basement. With no proprietary interest in keeping the contents of these sources to myself, I originally envisioned putting this information on-line, searcheable and discoverable by other researchers. I initially transcribed Hamilton's Freedmen's Bureau papers in order to conveniently search the text of Hamilton's monthly reports and miscellaneous letters from 1866 and 1867. Currently, I am considering ways of posting those papers, whether as full text, or as links. Another, more ambitious project that I am considering is creating a virtual Marianna Courier. I can find only one intact 1873 copy of that newspaper from the reconstruction period at the New York Historical Society. Many excerpts from the Courier, however, do exist having been reprinted in other local newspapers, a number of copies of which sit in my files. If they could be scanned (I don't have the patience to transcribe them all), they could be posted on the net and added to with subsequent findings.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Current Project

I am currently transcribing and annotating a series of 21 articles published by T. Thomas Fortune in 1927 titled "After War Times." In these articles, Fortune recalls his boyhood in Marianna, his involvment in the politics and patronage system of Florida Reconstruction, and his move to Washington where he attended Howard University. The articles give an eyewitness account (though somewhat clouded by the passage of years) of events and individuals - many of whom are mentioned in my articles and this blog.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Jonathan C. Gibbs really, really hated William Purman

J.C. Gibbs is universally regarded as the most admirable figure of Florida's reconstruction era. Born free in Philadelphia, Gibbs attended Dartmouth and became the first black to hold a state-wide office in Florida. Gibbs was appointed Secretary of State by Gov. Reed after Purman declined appointment in favor of various other posts [See my posting below on Gibbs dated May 1, 2006]. Gibbs made sure to appear in Jackson County in August 1870 to challenge Hamilton's campaign for re-election to Congress. At the subsequent convention, Gibbs in fact was himself a candidate contesting Hamilton's renomination. According to Gibbs, the ostensible reason for the speeches in Marianna was the dedication of a school house. Gibbs, Hamilton and Purman all spoke before a large, tense, armed audience. Gibbs spoke without incident and had no problems during his visit but Hamilton and Purman barely escaped with their lives for fear of assassination by local whites. The conservative Tallahassee Weekly Floridian gleefully reported that Gibbs had stated that Hamilton and Purman were to blame for the violence in Jackson County. With no copies of the speeches available, I had always assumed that, as usual, the Floridian was exaggerating to exploit the divisions in the Republican Party. To my surprise, the Floridian was reporting Gibbs' position accurately. On March 8 and 18, 1872, Gibbs was examined as a witness in the contest by S.L. Niblack of Josiah T. Walls' victory in the 1870 Congressional election (Walls had defeated Hamilton for the Republican nomination). Walls had called several witnesses to show that the Republican vote in Jackson County on Nov. 8, 1870 had been supressed because of threats of violence, primarily by James P. Coker.

Asked about the "state of society" in Jackson County around the 1870 election, Gibbs testified that "I know that a highly disturbed state of affairs existed in Jackson County. I was there in the month of August, preceeding the election with the member of Congress, Mr. C. M. Hamilton." This of course was literally true, except that Gibbs traveled to Marianna with the intention of undermining Hamilton by challenging his hold on his most reliable base of voters just prior to the Republican state convention. Gibbs then confirmed most "deliberately" the questioner's statement that during his Aug. 1870 speech Gibbs had charged Purman "with being responsible for the bloodshed and disorder that existed in Jackson County." Purman, according to Gibbs, had given "advice and counsel contrary to the peace and welfare of all parties; he was wild and erratic in his course." Gibbs testified that "There is no friendly feeling toward [Purman] from me, because he has acted unjustly toward me; still, I want justice accorded him, and my prejudice is not sufficient to cause him injustice; but I don't think Major W.J. Purman is anxious for justice in his case." When asked if Gibbs believed himself to be in "danger of being poisoned by Major Purman or any any other Federal office-holder," Gibbs replied that he "honestly and truthfully believe that Major W.J. Purman is so treacherous that no one can tell exactly what he will do."

What are the reasons for this animosity against Purman - a Republican stalwart who retained the loyalty of Jackson County blacks, who had survived an actual assassination attempt, and whose decline of the post Secretary of State had made Gibbs' appointment possible? First of all, Purman was a leading figure in the organization of the "moderate" faction of the Florida Republican Party and was instrumental in their seizure, using underhanded tactics, of the 1868 convention from the "radical" faction. Gibbs, a delegate to the convention, initially voted with the radicals. Whatever Purman's personal sympathies, the moderates were correctly seen by Gibbs and many Florida black Republicans as exploiting black votes to gain power while promoting black rights but simultaneously denying Florida blacks real influence in Florida's government. In 1870, Purman was also the prime backer for Hamilton's re-nomination for Congress, a post that Gibbs was determined should go to a black (See Gibbs' letter to Charles Sumner, Aug. 24, 1870). Gibbs also alludes to having been "violently attacked" during a debate in Florida's senate by Purman.

[AMENDED 7/3/08: This "attack" probably refers to Purman's leading an investigation by the Senate in January 1872 into Gibbs' conduct regarding financial matters while Sec'y of State. Apparently Gibbs was absolved of Purman's charges of misapporpriation of funds. An anonymous correspondent to the Republican Jacksonville Courier alleged in early 1872 that Purman's attempt to remove Gibbs from office stemmed from Gibbs' blocking Purman from running for state Senate from Jackson Co. (presumably the letter writer meant the 1872 fall election) as part of a deal to support Osborn's renomination for U.S. Senate. This correspondent alleged that Gibbs had received several warning in late 1871/early 1872 to "be careful of his water bucket lest poison be put inside it by some of his dear carpetbagger friends." The veracity of this letter is uncertain and it is not out of the realm of possibility that it was written by some mischief-making Democrat.]

Perhaps to a unique degree, Purman endured the bitter animosity of Florida's Democratic whites and black radicals. Despite Gibbs' opposition, Purman went on to be elected to Congress from Florida in 1872. In 1874, Gibbs challenged Purman's reelection by seeking nomination to Congress for himself (Brown, 30). Purman prevailed over Robert Meacham in a bitterly contested nomation process. Gibbs died on August 14, 1874 in the middle the contentious nomination fight.

New addition (7/8/07): Some additional information that may provide an another reason Gibbs was so intent on seeing Hamilton defeated for renomination for Congress in August 1870. According to Canter Brown, Jr.'s Florida's Black Public Officials, 1867-1924, Gibbs had been the radical "mule team's" nominee for Congress in 1868 after the debacle of the Constitutional Convention in Jan.-Feb. 1868 (p.11). Hamilton prevailed at the subsequent election. In light of Gibbs' receiving votes for the nomination at the 1870 convention, it is clear that Gibbs aspired to - or was at least willing to be supported for - attaining the Congressional seat held by Hamilton. This personal defeat in 1868 as a result of the triumph of the Osborn-Purman moderate Republicans at the bitterly contested convention might have added more fuel to the fire of Gibbs' resentment toward Purman and his close associate Hamilton.

Addendum [2/4/08]: The flattering comment of Purman's biographers that he had given up the position of Secretary of State in 1868 so that a black might receive that post and thereby preserve party comity may be exaggerated. The initial sec'y of state upon readmission was a white man, George Alden. Gibbs only received the job later in the year.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Libels from Wallace's "Carpet-bag Rule in Florida"

In the Hamilton paper, I cited John Wallace's influential history "Carpetbag Rule in Florida" first published in 1888. James Clark has effectively analyzed the biases in Wallace's book and has even questioned Wallace's authorship (see, Clark, "John Wallace and the Writing of Reconstruction History," FHQ 67 (April 1989). From my observation, Wallace (or the Democratic politician who used Wallace's name - Clark suggests William Bloxham) mixes in accurate reporting and even precise character analysis with outrageous libels against FL Republican politicians. Just two years after publication of Carpetbag Rule in Florida, Democratic Senator Samuel Pasco observed of Wallace's book that "[m]any of its details are inaccurate and there are manifest errors and mistake of facts when the author gets beyond his personal experience, but within that range there is no reason for doubting his disclosure of plots, intrigue, and villainy." Samuel Pasco, et al., Why the Solid South or, Reconstruction and its Results (Baltimore, 1890) p. 162. Pasco's comments did not deter generations of historians from citing Wallace without question. Several of Wallace's disparaging comments and back-handed compliments about Hamilton are found in my FHQ Hamilton paper. Here are a few more issues raised by Wallace:
1. What was Hamilton up to at the Florida Constitutional Convention of 1868?
Even though Hamilton was not an elected delegate to Florida's Constitutional Convention, NY Tribune reporter Solon Robinson named him among the "leading agitators" working on behalf of the "moderate" faction battling the "radicals" for control. Wallace quotes the Richards-Saunders report to Congress about the 1868 FL Constitutional Convention. Richards and Saunders, "radical" leaders, accused Hamilton of aiding the moderate faction's underhanded tactics for gaining a majority of seats (Hamilton, FHQ, 495). According to Richards and Saunders, "C.M. Hamilton, until very recently agent in the Freedman's Bureau, and believed by most of the delegates to be still in command, with power to enforce his orders, went and took from their beds two of the delegates who had already signed one constitution, took them to the State-house, and, between the hours of twelve and two o'clock in the night, they assumed to organize a convention..." [US House of Rep., 40th Cong., 2d Sess., Mis. Doc. No. 109 "Constitution of Florida" dated March 23, 1868, p.2]. A response to Richards/Saunders authored by Wm. Gleason and George Alden, introducing the moderate-drafted constitution presented to Congress, rejected this allegation: "The accusation made against C.M. Hamilton that he went and took from their beds two of their delegates who had signed the minority constitution, is false in every particular..." [US House of Rep., 40th Cong., 2d Sess., Mis Doc. No. 114, "Proceedings of the Florida Convention," dated March 31, 1868, p. 9]. While this rebuttal is obviously not dispositive, Wallace's account, repeating the allegations of Richards & Saunders, has gone unquestioned by historians.

2. Purman the Profligate
Perhaps the most outrageous libel in Wallace targets William Purman. Purman is a leading contender among several viable candidates for the title of most hated man in Reconstruction era Florida. It seems that everyone involved in politics, excluding the men who knew him best (Hamilton, Dickinson and the Fortunes), made some terrible accusation against him. Wallace (or more likely, Bloxham) writes of a meeting in 1874 in Chattahoochee pitting Republican politicians Marcellus Stearns and Malachi Martin against Purman. After a chaotic violent session, Purman, according to Wallace "returned later in the evening and called a lot of colored women together, and after giving each of them some money, he said to them that he was a good "Publican," and wanted supper; and to further assure them that he was a good "Publican," told them that he did not want to sleep with any white person, but wanted to sleep with the blackest person in the neighborhood. John D. Harris, a Methodist preacher, was along as one of Purman's canvassers, and it looked as though he had been "dipped" three or four times, and so Purman selected him to sleep with. This action on the part of Purman had its desired effect, as most of the freedmen spoke out and declared him to be a good "Publican," and he had no more trouble in that part of the country." (Wallace, p. 300).

It is difficult to know where to begin to refute these charges of immorality. First of all, Purman had been married to Leodora Finlayson since 1871 and already had one child. It was apparently a successful marriage as evidenced by its duration (fifty years), the six children and the affectionate letters Purman wrote about his wife after her death. Secondly, it was common for the opponents of the carpetbaggers to attempt to discredit them by spreading accusations of their consorting with blacks. For example, after John Q. Dickinson's assassination, rumors were spread that he was murdered by a black man jealous over Dickinson's relatinship with his wife. The insinuation of homosexuality, however, goes even beyond the normal accusations of immorality. Perhaps not surprisingly, Dunning school historian Walter L. Fleming reprinted this section without comment in his "Documentary History of Reconstruction," vol. II (Cleveland, 1907), p. 282.

3. Purman's inflammatory oratory
Walter Fleming also quoted another passage from Wallace which describes the effect of Purman's oratory on his black audiences: "He played upon the weaknesses and impulses of the colored people and drew from them shouts of joy, and responses of applause and approval with the skill and ease a master organist brings out the great swells of music by a gentle touch of the key. These would occur when he was eloquently depicting to this eager listening audiences the horrors of slavery and the cruelty and oppression they had undergone." Fleming, quoting Wallace, vol. 1, pp. 377-8. Purman as Jackson County Bureau Agent made many speeches to the local freedmen of Jackson County concerning their "rights and responsibilities" as citizens. Contrary to Wallace's (and Fleming's) intention, this passage adds to our admiration of Purman.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Business Dealings of Our Cast

Reconstruction era Florida provided a free-for-all business environment in which members of the state legislature eagerly participated. Lists of incorporators of various transportation and related land improvement companies reveal complex, constantly shifting personal alliances. In 1868, Senator Osborn and his associate, M.H. Alberger, appear as stockholders of the Southern Inland Navigation and Improvement Co. Alberger also appears as a shareholder with Florida's other senator, Gilbert, on the stockholder list of the St. Johns and Halifax Navigations and Improvement Co. Gilbert, however, joined Emanuel Fortune and Purman in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Railroad Co.
The infamous (at least to readers of this blog) Great Southern Railroad Company brought together such disperate figures as Reed, Carse, T.W. and A.C. Osborn, Stearns, Jenkins, Charles Hamilton, Purman, Josiah Walls and Pearce. Purman and U.S. Marshall Wentworth held shares in the Pensacola and Barrancas Railroad Co. Robert Meacham was an owner of the Monticello and Georgia Railroad Co. Charles Hamilton appears together with Purman, Wentworth, J.Q. Dickinson, Jackson Co. Sheriff Thomas W. West and Charles E. Dyke Jr. (!) as shareholders of the West Florida Railroad Co. to stretch from St. Andrews Bay (modern Panama City) to Marianna). Walls and Meacham joined in the Suwanee and Inland Railroad Co. and Purman, Wentworth and Malachi Martin (!) were among the owners of the Florida Telegraph Co. Hamilton and Purman appear on one last time together on the shareholder list of the Aquatic and Tropical Plant Propagating Co. (to cut a canal to Lake Okeechobee to be consolidated with the efforts of Osborn's South Inland Navigation and Improvement Co.). All these companies were created in 1868, immediately upon readmission of the state and meeting of its legislature. Is it doubtful that Hamilton ever saw a cent from these ventures. Purman continued to have business interests for years in the state.