Search billions of records on

Apopka Historical Society and Museum of the Apopkans



 What's New
 Board Of Directors
 Florida History
 History of Apopka
 History of Society
 How to Volunteer
 Map & Directions
 How to Join
 Buy a Brick
 Gift Shop

This Day In Florida History  --  April  


1861 Confederate General Braxton E. Bragg reports that he has 1,116 men under his command at Pensacola and that his forces are busy fortifying Forts McRea, Barrancas, and in the areas around the lighthouse and naval hospital.

1864 This morning, the Federal transport steamer, Maple Leaf, struck a Confederate torpedo on the St. Johns River and sank immediately in three fathoms of water. A detachment of Confederate artillery and a company of infantry troops were dispatched to the area to ensure that the wreckage is complete.

1865 Governor John Milton, the fifth governor of Florida (1861-1865), committed suicide today at his home near Marianna. Milton, an ardent Confederate, had informed the Florida Legislature in his last message that "death would preferable to reunion."

1886 A major disaster struck Key West today when more than fifty acres of the city's homes and businesses were destroyed by fire.

1907 The Hav-a-Tampa Cigar Company was founded today in Tampa.

1918 Floridians were just as confused as the rest of the American population as "Daylight Savings Time" took effect today in an effort to save fuel for the American war effort.

1921 Mrs. J. B. O'Hara of Palm Beach County was elected the first president of the League of Women Voters of Florida at the group's meeting in Jacksonville.

1931 United States (five star) General James Lee Dozier, who was kidnaped and held hostage by members of the terrorist Red Brigade for 42 days in 1981, was born today in Arcadia. Dozier, who was assigned to duty with NATO, was kidnaped in Verona. The Red brigade had earlier kidnaped and killed Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.

1943 Floridians joined the rest of the American population today in having to deal with rationed foodstuffs. Meats, fats, and cheese products were rationed for the first time during World War II.

1961 Miami officials complain to the Federal government that 50,000 Cuban refugees are severely impacting the local economy and creating a potentially explosive social situation in the city. The refugees had fled the Castro regime.

1971 President Richard M. Nixon today ordered that Lieutenant William Calley, a native of Miami, freed from prison while his conviction for the murder of Vietnamese civilians at the enclave of My Lai is reviewed.


1513 Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the Florida Peninsula today near the mouth of the St. John's River.

1836 The United States Congress was petitioned today for land grants to fund the creation of seminaries in East and West Florida.

1861 A large contingent of Confederate troops arrived in Pensacola today to augment the forces under the command of General Braxton E. Bragg.

1863 United States Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles today ordered all ironclads in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron "in a fit condition" to be dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico where they are urgently needed.


1856 The newspaper, "The Florida Peninsula," announced today that Captain ( unknown ) Casey, the agent for Indian Affairs in Florida, had authorized the payment of the following rates for the capture of Seminoles:

Each warrior: $250-$500

Each woman: $150-$200

Each boy over the age of ten: $100-$200

1861 Florida Governor Madison Starke Perry today issued a formal call for the Florida State Convention to meet in Tallahassee on April 18.

1862 Federal forces occupied Apalachicola today. These troops, form the U.S.S. Meredita and the U.S.S. Sagamore, captured two schooners, two pilot boats, and a sloop.

1862 Boats from the U.S.S. Isaac Smith today captured the British blockade runner British Empire in Matanzas Inlet near St. Augustine. The British ship was carrying a cargo of dry goods, provisions, and medicines. The Federal commander has order that these goods, valued at around $3,000, be placed in local shops for sale to the needy population of the city.

1863 Federal troops attacked Bay Port today. The engagement lasted two hours. The federal force was repulsed. Confederate forces suffered two seriously wounded men.

1929 Edna Giles Fuller of Orlando, the first woman ever elected to the Legislature of Florida, made her first formal speech in the Florida House of representatives today.

1959 Cuban leader Fidel Castro demanded the reinstatement of the Cuban sugar quota on exports to the United States today. Florida sugar growers and Cuban expatriates have protested against any such renewal of the quota.


1861 Officers and crewmen of the U.S.S. Powhatan, who have been on shore leave in Pensacola, are ordered back to their ship as the Federal warship prepares to depart the port.

1862 The Confederate sloop LaFayette, carrying a cargo of cotton, was captured today by the U.S.S. Pursuit.

1867 Jonathan C. Gibbs was elected to the Executive Board of the Union Republican Party of Florida today in Jacksonville. Gibbs, who was Florida's first African-American Secretary of State, was the first African-American to hold the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the equivalent of today's Commissioner of Education.

1881 Morris A. Dzialinski, a former Confederate soldier and a Democrat, was elected mayor of Jacksonville today. He was subsequently re-elected in 1882. Dzialiniski was Jewish.

1913 Francis Langford, singer and actress, was born in Lakeland today.

1919 Playing for the Boston Red Sox at Tampa's Plant Field, George Herman "Babe" Ruth hit his longest home on record today. The home run measured 587 feet.

1968 An unmanned Saturn V booster was launched today as NASA continues its test program for the launching of a manned mission to the moon in the Apollo program.

1978 The new Capitol Building in Tallahassee was formally occupied today.


1861 The 1st Florida infantry regiment, consisting of about 500 men, was mustered into Confederate service today at the Chattahoochee Arsenal. Patton Anderson of the Jefferson County Volunteers was elected colonel of the regiment.

1861 Joseph J. Finegan, a resident of Fernandina, was commissioned a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army today and placed in command of the Military District of Middle and East Florida.

1865 Captain J. J. Dickison, the commander of Company H of the 2nd Florida cavalry, reported that his troops had successfully intercepted the courier line between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Four Federal troops were reported killed and a fifth wounded. Two horses and the mail pouches between the two towns were captured.

1894 The Melbourne Times was founded today.

1970 Legislation was introduced today in the Florida Legislature to make the "moonstone" the official gem of Florida. The occasion was marked by the appearance of two astronauts from the second team of moon walkers before a joint session of both houses of the Legislature. The "moonstone" is described as "a transparent or translucent feldspar of pearly or opaline luster."

1993 The newly formed Florida Marlins baseball team played their first game in Joe Robbie Stadium today. The Marlins won a 6-3 game with the Los Angeles Dodgers.


1818 The Spanish fort at St. Marks was occupied today by Major General Andrew Jackson and his troops. The protests of the Spanish commander were ignored.

1856 American troops of the 1st and 2nd U.S. Artillery, commanded by Captain L. G. Arnold, fought a two day battle with Seminole warriors at Big Cypress Swamp, near Billy's Town. Two enlisted men were killed and one wounded.

1862 The U.S.S. Pursuit captured the steamer Florida today as she was loading a cargo of cotton at North Bay at the head of Bear Creek.

1863 The U.S.S. Huntsville captured the sloop Minnie today off Charlotte Harbor. The Minnie was carrying a cargo of cotton.

1865 The 5th, 8th and 11th Florida Infantry Regiments, commanded by General Theodore Brevard, which have been in retreat since the Army of Northern Virginia's lines were broken at Petersburg, were pressed into battle today as skirmishers. These units were captured by a Federal cavalry force under the command of Brevet major General George Armstrong Custer.

1900 The Peninsular Life Insurance Company was founded today in Jacksonville.

1908 A United States Bird Refuge was established today at Tortugas Key.

1926 Alexander Butterfield, who served as an aide to President Richard Milhouse Nixon, was born today in Pensacola.

1927 Webber College was established today in Babson Park.

1965 NASA launches Early Bird, the world's first commercial satellite


1790 The "Father of Florida Methodism," John Slade, was born today in Beech Branch, South Carolina.

1862 Captain R. S. Smith, commanding the Marianna Dragoons, led troops to St. Andrew's Bay today in an effort to recapture the steamer, Florida (See entry for April 6).

1864 The U.S. schooner Beauregard captured the English schooner Spunky today off Cape Canaveral. The Spunky was en route to the Bahamas with a cargo of cotton.

1892 James E. In graham, the president of the South Florida Railroad, arrived in Miami today at the head of the expedition he led through the Everglades. Ingraham was seeking to determine whether or not it was feasible to run a cross-Everglades railroad from Fort Myers to Miami.

1894 The Lemon City Library was organized and opened to the public. The library is now a part of the Miami-Dade public library system.

1919 The State Masonic Home and Orphanage was organized today on Coffee Pot Bayou near St. petersburg.

1945 The first chapter of the National Secretaries Association was formed today in Orlando.

1973 The last of 348 flights bringing refugees from Cuba landed in Miami today. Nearly 261,000 refugees made the flight from Cuba to Miami during the seven-and-one-half years they operated from 1965 until 1973.


1513 Juan Ponce de Leon claimed Florida for Spain today.

1693 Admiral Andres de Pez, accompanied by Dr. Carlos de Siguenza and others, explored Pensacola Bay today.

1823 Dr. Thomas Williamson was appointed surgeon at the U.S. Government hospital at Key West. The hospital was established to care for U.S. seamen.

1861 The Confederate government sent a second requisition for troops to the State of Florida today. Another 1,500 men are requested for duty with the Confederate Army.

1862 Federal troops withdrew from the former Confederate battery at St. Johns Bluff.

1862 Federal troops preparing to evacuate Jacksonville spent the night aboard troop transports when heavy winds prevented the ships from sailing.

1862 Captain R. S. Smith and troops from the Marianna Draggons prevented Federal troops aboard the captured steamer Florida from landing in St. Andrew's Bay. Four to five men of a seven man landing party were killed. The Union troops retreated to the Florida and left the bay area.

1863 The U.S.S. Gem of the Sea captured the British blockade runner Maggie Fulton today off the Indian River Inlet.

1864 More than 500 Federal troops evacuated Jacksonville today, two years to the day after the first Federal evacuation in 1862.

1925 The University of Miami was chartered today.

1964 First Gemini test flight orbits Earth three time


1824 John McIver of North Carolina became the first settler in the new town of Tallahassee today, when he arrived with a group of seven persons and took up residence there.

1862 Federal troop ships, evacuating troops from Jacksonville, reached Mayport today, but could not set out to sea because of the low tide which prevented the ships from "crossing the bar."

1876 Park Trammell, the 21st governor of Florida (1913-1917), was born in Macon County, Alabama, today. Trammell attended school in Polk County as a youth. As a young man, he worked in a newspaper office. During the Spanish-American War, he served in the Quartermaster's Corps in Tampa. Trammell studied law at Vanderbilt University and Cumberland University, from which he graduated in 1899. Returning to his Polk County home, he practiced law, owned and operated citrus groves, and operated a newspaper. He served two terms as mayor of Lakeland, was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1903, and was President of the Florida Senate in 1905. In 1908, Trammell was elected Florida Attorney General, and, in 1912, was elected governor. From 1916 until 1936, Trammell served as United States Senator. He died in Washington, D.C. on May 8, 1936, and is buried at Roselawn cemetery in Lakeland.

1895 The Colored State Teachers Association met at the A.M.E. Church of Tampa today.

1970 Governor and Mrs. Claude Kirk, Jr., became the proud parents of a son, Erik Henry, today in Tallahassee.

1982 Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was convicted of drug dealing in Miami today. Noriega was convicted of allowing Columbian drug dealers to use Panama as a trans-shipment point for cocaine shipments and of providing protection for the shipments.


1840 Company I of the 2nd Dragoons, commanded by Captain B. L. Beall, encountered a party of Seminole warriors near Fort Wool today. In a brief skirmish, one enlisted man was wounded. Seminole casualties are unknown.

1843 Two Mormon elders, William A. Brown and Daniel Cathcart, were assigned to Pensacola by the Illinois Conference of the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

1862 A Confederate force of some forty men from Company f of the 1st Florida Cavalry, under the command of Captain William M. Footman, captured two Federal soldiers near the Amelia Island Railroad. In a skirmish just a few hours later at the Judge O'Neal House, four Federals were taken prisoner and one was killed.

1864 Confederate troops at St. Andrew's Bay are reportedly busy constructing boats for use in preventing deserters from reaching Federal ships in the bay and the Gulf.

1951 Miami Ballets, Incorporated, now the Ballet Guild of Greater Miami, was chartered today.

1969 The Niceville Campus of the Okaloosa-Walton Junior College was dedicated today.


1848 James T. Archer assumed the office of Florida Attorney General today.

1861 United States troops occupied Fort Pickens today as relations between the United States and the Confederate States deteriorated.

1862 Former Governor Madison Starke Perry was elected colonel of the 7th Florida Infantry Regiment today when it was mustered into Confederate service in Gainesville.

1863 Confederate General Joseph J. Finnegan issued a proclamation today that put those persons who have been enrolled for active duty in Confederate forces but who have not reported for duty on notice that they will be rounded up and dealt with as deserters.

1864 The U.S.S. Nita captured the schooner Three Brothers today at the mouth of the Homosassa River. The schooner was carrying an assorted cargo and several passengers, one of whom was slapped into leg irons after he continued to assail the Union sailors with foul language.

1865 The U.S.S. Sea Bird today captured the Confederate sloops, Florida and Annie, at the mouth of the Crystal River. Both Confederate boats were carrying cargoes of cotton.

1908 Governor Napoleon B. Broward declared martial law in Pensacola today as striking Street Railway Union workers and strike breakers from New York clashed in the streets of the city.

1955 Ray E. Green assumed office as the Comptroller of Florida today.

1978 James E. Halderman of Fort Pierce began his term of office as a Justice on the Florida Supreme Court today.


1829 St. John's Episcopal parish was established as a mission in Jacksonville today.

1834 President Andrew Jackson formally signed the Treaty of Payne's Landing today. By the terms of this treaty, the Seminole peoples agreed to a conclusion of hostilities in Florida and the cession of lands in Florida. The Seminoles were to be transported to lands west of the Mississippi, paid almost $100,000, and to receive a large amount of blankets, dry goods, and other services. The Treaty of Payne's Landing did not end hostilities, since some Seminole leaders refused to accept the terms of the treaty.

1861 The 1st Florida Infantry regiment arrives in Pensacola for duty with Confederate forces under the command of Brigadier General Braxton E. Bragg.

1862 Federal forces in St. Augustine, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Louis Bell, placed the city under martial law today. No one is allowed to enter or leave the city unless that person has taken an oath of allegiance to the United States. At Fort Marion (Castillo de San Marcos), Union forces have mounted ten howitzers and other artillery pieces as they prepare that fort for defense against a possible Confederate attack.

1863 The U.S.S. Annie captured the schooner Mattie off the Florida Gulf Coast today.

1865 Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, today. Lee's surrender signaled the end of the Confederate States of America, although the final Confederate surrender would not take place until mid-May.

1981 The space shuttle Columbia rose from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center a few seconds past 7:00 a.m. today. The astronauts, John Young and Bob Crippen, brought the shuttle to a safe landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.


1861 A new steamship line has been incorporated today to serve between the Confederate States and Europe. The port of Charleston will serve as the Confederate home for this line and Liverpool will be its European Terminus. Floridians are joining the incorporators who have pledged $350,000 in capital.

1862 The Federal gunboat, U.S.S. Beauregard arrived in Tampa today to demand the surrender of Fort Brooke. When the Confederate commander, Major R. B. Thomas, refused, the Beauregard shelled the fort. No casualties were reported.

1864 Federal troops from the U.S.S. Restless landed today with orders to proceed up East Bay to destroy Confederate ships thought to be anchored there and to destroy Confederate salt works in the area. Two large saltworks were destroyed, along with 300 bushels of salt, 200 bushels of corn, and 50 bushels of meal.

1864 Confederate General Joseph J. Finegan ordered troops to scout the banks of the St. John's River near Yellow Bluff and Broward's Neck to see what, if any, activities Union troops are engaged in. Finegan's order comes as a result of Federal reinforcements being added to the existing forces in Jacksonville.

1865 Confederate Florida is devastated by the news of General Robert E. Lee's surrender in Virginia. The state's population is busy speculating what will happen next.

1886 Seventy-seven Chiricahua Apache Indians, captured in the western part of the United States, arrived in St. Augustine today. They will be imprisoned in Fort Marion. Geronimo, the war chief of the Chiricahua, is being held in Fort Pickens in Pensacola.

1886 Tampa's first "claro" or clear cigar was rolled in Factory No. 1 today. This marked the beginning of an industry that would eventually see more than 1,000,000 cigars a day produced in factories in Tampa's Ybor City and the City of West Tampa.

1925 The City of Naples was incorporated today.


1528 Panfilo de Narvaez landed 400 men and 80 horses at Tampa Bay and began his exploration northward. (Some scholars, however, insist that the actual date was April 15.)

1808 William Marvin, Florida's seventh governor (July 13, 1865-December 20, 1865), was born today at Fairfield, New York. An attorney, Marvin was appointed by President Andrew Jackson as the United States District Attorney at Key West. He was twice appointed Federal District Judge and used his experience to write the textbook, "Law of Wreck and Salvage." He served two terms in the Territorial Legislature and was a delegate to Florida's first constitutional convention. In 1865, he was appointed provisional governor by President Andrew Johnson for the purpose of reestablishing State Government in Florida. Although he was subsequently elected as a democrat to the United States Senate, that body refused to seat him. In 1867, he moved to Skaneateles, New York, where he died on July 9, 1902.

1840 Detachment A of the 7th United States Infantry, commanded by Captain G. J. Rains, clashed with Seminole warriors near Fort King today. Two enlisted men were killed. Seminole casualties are unknown.

1863 The U.S.S. Huntsville today captured the blockade runner Ascension off Florida's Gulf Coast.

1863 The U.S.S. Sonoma captured the schooner Clyde today in the Gulf of Mexico. The Clyde carried a cargo of cotton and naval stores.

1865 Floridians, like other Americans, are shocked at the news received by telegraph tonight that United States President Abraham Lincoln has been wounded by an assassin while attending a play at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. Lincoln's condition is grave, and he is being treated by a number of doctors.

1920 Some 6,500 cigar workers walked off their jobs today at twenty-seven of Tampa's cigar factories. This strike, which would last ten months, centered in part over the issue of whether the owners would tolerate the presence of the "Lector," or reader, in each factory. The owners fear that the readers are radicalizing the workers with their selections of books and newspapers.

1960 Nathan Mayo vacated (by death) the office of Florida Commissioner of Agriculture today after holding the office for 37 years.



1862 The 6th Florida Infantry Regiment was mustered into Confederate service today at Chattahoochee. Jesse J. Finley was elected Colonel.

1863 The U.S.S. William G. Anderson captured the Confederate schooner, Royal Yacht, today in the Gulf of Mexico. The schooner was carrying a cargo of cotton.

1865 Floridians were dismayed at the announcement of Federal President Abraham Lincoln's death at 7:22 a.m. this morning as a result of wounds inflicted by an assassin, John Wilkes Booth. They were also alarmed at what the news of additional efforts to assassinate Lincoln's Cabinet might mean for the defeated South.

1896 Henry Flagler's railroad arrived in Miami today. The first train, a wood burning steam engine, carried a load of building materials--certainly a harbinger of Miami's future.

1918 The first Marine aviation squadron was created today at Miami Naval Air Station. The unit was commanded by Captain A. A. Cunningham.


1861 The Confederate War Department today issued its third troop request from Southern states. Florida's quota is 2,000 men. Other states are bing asked to furnish 5,000 men each.

1861 The U.S.S. Atlantic arrives off Santa Rosa Island (Pensacola) and disembarks 1,000 men for the defense of Fort Pickens.

1862 The Confederate Congress enacted the first Conscript Law today, making all Southern white men between the ages of 18 and 35 subject to military service.

1863 The U.S.S. Hendrick Hudson today captured the British blockade runner Teresa off the Florida coast.

1864 Federal reinforcements have been ordered to Fort Myers. Four Federal ships will transport the troops.

1865 All Federal ships in Florida ports are ordered to fire their guns each half-hour in honor of slain Federal president Abraham Lincoln. The order remains in effect from sunrise to sunset. All Union flags are also ordered to be flown at half-mast.

1915 The first successful catapult launching of an AB-2 flying boat occurred today in Pensacola. Lieutenant P.N.L. Bellinger (USN) was at the controls.

1934 Jacksonville University was founded today.

1965 Ground-breaking ceremonies were held today for the University of West Florida in Pensacola, ten years after the University was first authorized by the Florida Legislature (1955).

1980 Edmund Skellings of Dania was named Florida's Poet Laureate today by Governor Bob Graham.


1822 William Pope Duval is commissioned the first Territorial Governor of Florida today by President James Monroe.

1861 Governor-elect John Milton arrived in Tallahassee today to be present when the Florida Constitutional Convention convenes tomorrow.

1861 Confederate Brigadier General Braxton E. Bragg today imposed martial law in Pensacola and ordered the cessation of all trade and communications with Federal forces in Fort Pickens. The U.S.S. Powhatan arrived today with more men and supplies for Fort Pickens.

1863 The U.S.S. Wanderer today captured the Confederate schooner Annie B southwest of Egmont Key with a cargo of cotton aboard.

1911 The Town of Palm Beach was incorporated today. The town, originally called Palm City, was settled in 1880. Railroad magnate henry Flagler made his first land purchases there in 1893.

1914 The nations' first unit of the American red Cross Volunteer Life Saving Corps was chartered at Jacksonville (the called Pablo) Beach today.

1930 Herberta Leonardy of Coral Gables became the first Florida woman admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court today.

1961 The abortive Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba failed today. The effort, ordinated by the Eisenhower government but carried out by the Kennedy administration, was an effort by Cuban expatriates to overthrow the regime of Fidel Castro.

1962 F. Malcolm Cunningham, the first African-American city councilman to hold office since the end of Reconstruction, was elected today in Riviera Beach.


1857 Skirmishes continued around and in the Big Cypress Swamp areas today as men of the 4th United States Artillery and the 5th United States Infantry engaged Seminole warriors.

1861 Confederate attempts to bribe the Federal troops at Fort Pickens into surrendering was foiled because of the alertness of the fort's commander, Colonel Harvey Brown.

1861 The Florida Convention was called to order today in Tallahassee at 4:00 p.m. Forty-five members were in attendance, in addition to Governor Madison Starke Perry and Governor-elect John Milton. The Convention unanimously approved the adoption of a permanent Constitution of the Confederate States of America.

1862 Brigadier General Joseph J. Finegan of Fernandina formally assumed command of the Department of East and Middle Florida today.

1863 Federal ships were busy today. The U.S.S. Susquehanna today captured the schooner Alabama off the Gulf Coast of Florida and its cargo of coffee, wine, nails and dry goods. On the east coast, the U.S.S. Gem of the Sea captured and destroyed the British blockade runner Inez off Indian River Inlet.

1864 Boats from the U.S.S. Beauregard seized the British schooner Oramoneta today and removed its cargo of salt and percussion caps. The Federal schooner Fox captured and burned the schooner Good Hope near the mouth of the Homosassa River. The Fox was forced to retreat because of Confederate gunboats sallying out of the river. Elsewhere, the U.S.S. Pursuit landed men near Cape San Blas in St. Joseph Bay. A saltworks and accompanying buildings were destroyed.

1962 National Football League linebacker Wilbur Marshall was born today in Titusville.


1698 The Spanish monarchy issued a "cedula" or royal edict today authorizing the establishment of a fort at Pensacola in order to prevent the area from falling into French hands.

1842 Units of the 2nd United States Dragoons, the 2nd United States Infantry, the 4th United States Infantry and the 8th United States Infantry suffered one enlisted man killed and three enlisted men wounded in a skirmish with Seminole warriors at Big Hammock near Pilaklikaha today.

1853 Mariano D. Papy assumed the office of Florida Attorney General today.

1857 Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, the 19th governor of Florida (1905-1909), was born today in Duval County. [For more information see the entry for October 1.]

1861 A flotilla of some 25 steam tugs and schooners, filled with soldiers, attempted an attack on the Federal ships U.S.S. Powhatan and U.S.S. Atlantic near the Gulf side of Santa Rosa Island. A shell from the Powhatan forced the flotilla back. In other news, United States President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a blockade of all ports of the Confederate States.

1862 The 3rd Florida Infantry regiment, commanded by W.S. Dilworth, was ordered to proceed without delay to Corinth, Mississippi, today.

1930 The Publix Supermarkets, first founded in Winter Haven in 1930, was incorporated today by George Jenkins of Lakeland.

1977 In a Florida case, the United States Supreme Court ruled today that spanking is not unconstitutional.


1807 John Milton, the fifth governor of Florida (1861-1865), was born near Louisville, Georgia, today.

1863 A landing party from the U.S.S. Port Royal captured a quantity of cotton at Apalachicola today. The Federal troops also captured three Confederates. Elsewhere, the U.S.S. Octorara captured the British blockade runner W.Y. Leitch just east of Florida. The English vessel was carrying a cargo of salt.

1913 Three aircraft and a detachment of fifteen men left Pensacola today aboard the U.S.S. Birmingham today for operations off the coast of Tampico during the Mexican-American crisis.

1927 Phil Hill, the first American to win the World Driving Championship, was born today in Miami.

1929 More than 2,000 alligator hides were shipped north today from Arcadia. The hides, selling for $2.50 each, will be manufactured into shoes, belts, and purses.

1939 1960's singing idol, Johnny Tillotson, was born today in Jacksonville.

1945 Steve Spurrier, Heisman Trophy winner and University of Florida football coach, was born today in Miami beach.

1967 The Florida Legislature passed a bill today, which was signed by the Governor, designating "orange juice" as the official beverage of the State of Florida.


1863 The 1st Regiment of Florida Cavalry suffered nineteen casualties (killed, wounded or captured) in fighting near Danville, Kentucky.

1963 Ground breaking ceremonies were held for a new campus of Florida Beacon College (founded in September 1947).

Florida Facts:

* The official motto of Florida is "In God We Trust," which was adopted by the 1868 State Legislature.

* The 1965 Florida Legislature established the Asolo Theater as the "State Theater of Florida."

* The 1935 Florida Legislature adopted Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home" as the official song for the State of Florida.

* The 1970 Florida Legislature adopted "Sunshine State" as the official nickname for Florida.

* The 1973 Florida Legislature designated the historical pageant, authored by Paul Green, "Cross and Sword" as the official play of the state.

* The 1927 Florida Legislature designated the Mockingbird as the official bird of the state. There is a move afoot in the current Legislature to change the official bird to the Florida scrub jay.

* The 1969 Florida Legislature designated the "horse conch" as the official shell of the state.


1564 Rene de Laudonniere, leading three French ships carrying 200 colonists, mostly Huguenots, sailed from France today en route to the river Mai (St. Johns River).

1863 The U.S.S. Octorara seized the British schooner Handy today off the coast of east Florida. The Handy was carrying a cargo of salt.

1864 Several skirmishes occurred between Confederate and Federal troops near Palatka. Captain J. J. Dickison and his cavalry troops killed eleven Federal soldiers and captured 30.

1880 Ormond Beach was incorporated today.

1934 The United States Navy dirigible Macon arrived in Miami following a record setting 54-hour flight from Sunnyvale, California. The dirigible is scheduled to operate from the Opa-Locka Naval Air Base.

1988 The Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic were named as new franchises in the National Basketball Association today. The Heat would start play in 1988 and the Magic in 1989.


1840 There was a bloody skirmish with Seminole Indians today near Quincy. Five persons were killed.

1863 The U.S.S. Tioga seized the British sloop Justina today. The Justina was bound from the Indian River to Nassau with a cargo of salt.

1911 Bob Burman sets a speed record at Dayton Beach, covering a mile in 25.4 seconds. Burman was driving a 200 horse power "Blitzen" Benz.

1921 The following counties were created by the Florida Legislature on this date from DeSoto County:

* Hardee County, named for Governor Cary Augustus Hardee. County Seat: Wauchula

* Charlotte County, named for Charlotte Harbor (which may be a corruption of the name of the Calusa Indian tribe). County Seat: Punta Gorda

* Glades County, named for the Everglades. County Seat: Moorehaven

* Highlands County, named for the hilly terrain in the area. County Seat: Sebring

1928 The newly-formed Florida Grand Opera Company, in its first performance at New York's Carnegie Hall, received good reviews from the city's opera fans. Julia Peters and Carmela Ponselle were the featured performers.


1836 Brigadier General Winfield Scott and his troops arrived today in Volusia on their way to St. Augustine to establish his command headquarters for actions against the Seminole Indians.

1840 Detachment K, 3rd United States Artillery, commanded by Captain W. D. Davidson, suffered four enlisted men wounded in a skirmish with Seminole Indians near Fort Lauderdale today.

1859 The town of Live Oak was founded today by the Pensacola and Georgia Railroad.

1907 The incorporation of the town of Bonifay was approved today by the Florida Legislature.

1913 The Florida Legislature created Bay County today. The county takes its name from St. Andrews Bay. County Seat: Panama City

1974 The Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise was approved today by the owners of the National Football League.


1840 One enlisted man from Detachment I, 1st United States Infantry, died today from wounds received in a skirmish with Seminole warriors on March 18. He died near Fort Barker.

1884 John Lloyd, a member of the African-American Baseball Hall of Fame, was born in Gainesville today.

1913 Seminole County was created by the Florida Legislature today. The county named in honor of Florida's Seminole Indians. County Seat: Sanford

1921 Dixie County was created by the Florida Legislature today. The county takes its name from the "lyric" name for the South. County Seat: Cross City

1928 The Tamiami Trail, linking Tampa and Miami through the Everglades, officially opened today.

1928 American auto racer Bill Lockhart was killed today at Daytona Beach after reaching a speed of 232 miles-per-hour.

1974 Ralph D. Turlington became the Florida Commissioner of Education today. Turlington succeeded Floyd T. Christian, who resigned as articles of impeachment were being prepared. Christian also faced 19 counts of bribery, conspiracy, and perjury, for which he was subsequently convicted. He was fined $11,000 and received a sentence of seven years probation. He served six months at Eglin Prison after being convicted of an income tax evasion charge in Federal court.



1818 Major General Andrew Jackson convened a court martial today for two British subjects in West Florida, Alexander Arbuthnot and Robert C. Armbrister. The two men were charged with inciting the Creek Indians against the United States. The two men were found guilty and put to death. The action was controversial and stirred up a great deal of diplomatic upheaval between the United States and Great Britain.

1861 Colonel George T. Ward was elected a delegate to the Confederate Congress today by the Florida Convention. He replaced Colonel James P. Anderson, who assumed his duties with the 1st Florida Infantry regiment.

1863 The U.S.S. Sagamore captured the schooner, New York, today off the Tortugas. The New York carried a cargo of turpentine and cotton.

1864 The U.S.S. Union captured the schooner O.K. today as it was attempting to run the blockade between Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor.

1957 The third generator came on line today at the Jim Woodruff Dam near Chattahoochee. This marked the end of a ten-year recreational, flood control, and power project that cost some $47.5 million.

1962 A U.S. Ranger IV rocket, launched four days ago from Cape Canaveral, crashed today on the dark side of the moon.

1984 David Kennedy, the third son of Robert F. Kennedy, was found dead today in a West Palm Beach hotel from a drug overdose.

1993 STS-55, the space shuttle, was launched today from Cape Canaveral.


1863 Major General Dabney H. Maury was placed in command of the Confederate District of the Gulf today by the Confederate War Department.

1864 The U.S.S. Honeysuckle captured the British schooner Miriam in the Gulf of Mexico today.

1865 The U.S.S. Pontiac was dispatched to the eastern coast of Florida today to prevent Confederate President Jefferson Davis from escaping to Cuba.

1909 The Florida House of representatives approved the orange blossom as the official flower of Florida today.

1929 Barbara Bancroft, the first licensed woman air plane pilot on the East Coast of Florida, today visited her home town of Melbourne.

1929 The Woman's Christian Temperance Union was chartered today in Jacksonville. The organization had first been organized in 1883.


1840 Company A of the 7th United States Infantry, under the command of Lieutenant J. R. Scott, engaged in a skirmish with Seminole warriors today near Fort King. One enlisted man was killed and three wounded. Seminole casualties are unknown.

1861 Two Federal soldiers deserted Fort Pickens today and turned themselves in to Confederate authorities. Seven Federal soldiers were captured by Confederate forces when the boat in which they were riding overturned.

1864 A regiment of Federal troops were reported operating near Fort Butler in Volusia County today.

1885 Rollins College, Florida's oldest institution of higher education, was established in Sanford today.

1899 Several large phosphate deposits were discovered today within the city limits of Bartow, continuing the economic boom that followed initial discoveries of phosphate in 1895.

1917 Flagler County was created today by the Florida Legislature. The county is named in honor of railroad entrepreneur Henry Flagler. County Seat: Bunnell

1960 A Titan ICBM was launched today from Cape Canaveral and successfully completed a flight of more than 3,000 miles.

1991 STS-39, the space shuttle, was launched today from Cape Canaveral.


1814 The U.S.S. Peacock captured the H.M.S. Epervier today near the St. Marys's River. The Epervier was carrying a cargo of nearly $113,000 in specie.

1838 Company I of the 4th United States Artillery, commanded by Brevet Major J. Erwine, encountered Seminole warriors near Tuscawilla Pond today. In the skirmish that followed, two United States enlisted soldiers were killed and two wounded. The Seminole casualties were twelve killed.

1839 Marcellus Lovejoy Stearns, the 11th governor of Florida (1874-1877), was born today at Lovell, Maine. Stearns died on December 8, 1891. [For more information, see the entry for December 8.]

1862 Federal reports place the number of Union soldiers on Santa Rosa Island at 2,119.

1925 The charter for the Town of Coral Gables was approved today.

1940 The current Palm Beach Art Institute, originally the Palm Beach Art League, was incorporated today.

1985 STS 51-B, the space shuttle Challenger, was launched from Cape Canaveral today.


1803 The treaty ceding the territory of Louisiana to the United States was signed today in Paris. The portion of West Florida, from the Perdido River to the Mississippi River, was not part of the original treaty. The United States claimed the area as part of the purchase of the Louisiana Territory. In one bold stroke, President Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States through this diplomatic coup.

1896 Hamilton Disston, the "man who saved Florida," died as a suicide today in Philadelphia. Disston, who purchased 6,250 square miles (4,000,000 acres) of "swamp and overflowed land," for 25 cents an acre. When the Panic of 1893 caught him short of cash, he was forced into bankruptcy. [For more information, read Frederick T. Davis, "The Disston Land Purchase," The Florida Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, number 3 (January 1939), pp. 200-210.

1903 The Florida Legislature approved the incorporation of the Town of Wauchula today.

1915 Broward County was created today by the Florida Legislature. The county is named for Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward. County Seat: Fort Lauderdale

1939 Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, who became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for music, was born today in Miami.