Fort Christmas Historical Park and Museum|
The Seminole Wars
The First Seminole War began in 1817 when the United States invaded Spanish Florida, home of the Seminole Indians. The invasion resulted from the conflicts between the Indians and white settlers along the Georgia border over runaway slaves and the white man's desire to settle the lands. General Andrew Jackson subdued the Seminoles, ending the war in 1812. This led to Spain ceding the Florida Territory to the United States with the ratification in 1821.
When the United States took possession of Florida, the Seminoles raised crops, cattle, and had citrus groves. The government wanted to move the Indians south on a reservation which lead to the treaty of Moultrie Creek in 1823. In less than 10 years the settlers wanted this land. A council was called and the treaty of Payne's Landing was signed in 1832 to move the Indians to the Arkansas Territory west of the Mississippi River.
Many Seminoles opposed the treaty and resistance intensified under the leadership of Osceola, who refused to sign. Outraged, General Thompson had him arrested, placed in irons, and imprisoned. Pretending he would sign the treaty he was released and began his highly successful guerrilla war.
With Fort King needing reinforcement, 111 officers and men left Fort Brooke December 23, 1835 on the 100 mile march. The party was ambushed and all but three were killed and scalped. The Second Seminole War began with this battle known as "Dades Massacre".
During the Seven Years, 1835 - 1842, many forts were built while pursuing the Indians. General Jessup called a peace conference and Osceola was captured under a flag of truce. He was imprisoned at St. Augustine and later moved to Fort Moultrie, S.C., where he died three months later in January, 1838. The war dragged on and was declared ended in 1842. General Worth reported to the War Department that 3824 Seminole Indians had been shipped west with about 300 remaining in the Florida Everglades.
This was one of the costliest, in terms of money and lives, of any of the Indian wars. The estimated cost of the campaign was 40 million. More than 1500 military personel, not including civilians were killed.
The third Seminole War, 1855 - 1858, was provoked by aggavated acts of a party of surveyors. Several encounters took place and, finally, in 1858, about 160 Seminoles agreed to emigrate. The Seminoles, as a nation in Florida, had been destroyed.
The Fort Christmas Historical Park and Museum recaptures history during the Seminole Wars when Florida Was a territory. Many forts were built during the Wars by the United States Army, the Florida Militia, and the Volunteers.
Fort Christmas was constructed December 25-27, 1837, was part of the long bitter conflict. The recreation by Orange County Parks Department was dedicated, December 1977, to Americans of all races who fought and died on this land so long ago.
-From Orange County Parks and Recreation -