Monday, December 21, 2009
At the end of December, Florida Congressman Charles Hamilton and Florida Secretary of State Jonathan C. Gibbs called upon President Grant and Secretary of War William Belknap to appeal for help in preventing future violence in Jackson County. They argued that recently "a bitter spirit" prevailed in West Florida, and the formation of a militia to keep the peace required a nucleus of United States soldiers. They asked that three or four companies of soldiers, preferably colored troops, be sent to "overawe the lawless element." President Grant and Secretary Belknap reportedly responded with great interest to this presentation and assured the Florida Republicans that the federal government would assist in the preservation of law and order. No additional troops were sent, but the soldiers who arrived in Marianna in late October stayed there until the following April (1870). This would not be the last time President Grant showed personal interest in the situation in Jackson County.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
William James Purman may not be my favorite Florida Carpetbagger, but he is the most interesting and, perhaps, the most controversial of his peers. He is a fascinating subject for a biographical article. I considered writing a "formal" article for a scholarly journal, such as the FHQ, but past experience has proven that journal articles about long-forgetten Reconstruction Era figures garner little, if any, attention. The blog format is appealing because of the informality which encourages revisions, digressions, and copies of long quotations. Furthermore, more readers will stumble across a blog page, either through google searches, or just accidentally, than will ever see an article in a local history journal. I've assembled quite a lot of information about Purman, and I'll be posting over at www.williamjpurman.blogspot.com over the next few months.