1840 Members of the 7th U.S. Infantry, under the
command of Captain H. H. Holmes, were attacked by Seminole warriors
near Fort Number 5 [?]. One enlisted man was killed and two wounded.
1861 Two companies of Confederate volunteers
have been assigned to guard the Chattahoochee Arsenal, while some
1,500 Confederate troops from Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama are
encamped at Pensacola Bay. Several batteries have been set up facing
Forts Pickens, Barrancas and McRee.
1862 A Union gunboat anchored near the St. marks
Lighthouse today and began to shell the salt works near there. The
Confederate gunboat Spray moved into the area and exchanged shots
with the Federal boat. Elsewhere, the schooner Isabel was captured
today in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast by the U.S.S.
1863 The U.S.S. Tahoma captured the British
schooner Margaret near St. Petersburg. A second Union ship, the
U.S.S. Hendrick Hudson assisted in the capture. In other action, the
U.S.S. Stars and Stripes bombarded a Confederate encampment at Long
Bar near St. Marks today. A Confederate steamer was also fired on by
the Union ship.
1881 Henry A. L'Engle was sworn into office
today as Florida's Treasurer.
1882 The Jewish Reform Synagogue, Congregation
Ahavath Chesed was founded today in Jacksonville. Mayor Morris A.
Dzialinski was the first president.
1920 The North Florida Council of the Boy Scouts
of America was chartered today in Jacksonville. The first Scout
troop was chartered in Jacksonville in 1910.
1929 The Edward W. Bok Singing Tower and Bird
Sanctuary in Lake Wales was dedicated today by President and Mrs.
Calvin Coolidge. Governor Doyle E. Carlton also participated.
1939 The Gulfstream Park race Track at
Hallandale opened for its first thoroughbred racing meeting.
1946 Guitarist Howard Bellamy was born in Darby,
1958 The United States launched its first space
satellite into orbit around the Earth today. The 30.8 pound Explorer
satellite was put into orbit by a Jupiter-C rocket that lifted off
from Cape Canaveral at 10:48 a.m.
1959 Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500 motor
1961 The Strategic Air Command launched the
first solid-fuel rocket, Minuteman, today from the Eastern Test
range facilities (Cape Canaveral). The rocket was a multi-stage
rocket that successfully fired all stages.
2003 STS 107, Space Shuttle Columbia was lost today
when re-entering the earth’s atmosphere prior to landing at Cape
Kennedy. All Astronauts were lost.
1831 The Bank of St. Augustine was chartered
1841 Madison Court House, the name originally
given to present day Madison, was incorporated today.
1861 Governor Madison Starke Perry addressed a
request to the Florida Legislature to reorganize and strengthen the
Florida militia in order to protect the state against a possible
1862 The Confederate War Department in Richmond
today requisitioned two-and-one-half war regiments from the State of
Florida for service in the Confederate Army.
1863 A Federal naval officer on a reconnaissance
mission on the Indian River reported the discovery of several
packages and 41 sacks of salt in a cache near Jupiter Inlet. He
destroyed them all.
1864 Federal Major General Quincy A. Gillmore,
commander of the Department of the South, requests the support of
two or three gunboats for a planned occupation on the west bank of
the St. Johns River.
1865 Confederate Major General Sam Jones assumed
command of the District of Florida today. At sea, the U.S.S. Pinola
captured the British blockade runner, Ben Willis, in the Gulf of
Mexico off the Florida coast, The Willis carried a cargo of cotton
for British textile mills.
1892 Citizens in St. Petersburg voted 15-11
today to seek incorporation of that city.
1901 Fort Pierce, named for General Benjamin K.
Pierce, brother of President Franklin Pierce, was incorporated
1914 Lieutenant J. H. Towers and Ensign G.
Chevalier made the first flight from the Pensacola Aeronautical
Station today. The twenty minute flight covered the military
reservation and Bayou Grande.
1951 Snow began to fall in north and central
Florida today. Crescent City and St. Augustine are receiving the
1986 NASA, continuing its investigation of the
January 28 explosion of the Shuttle Challenger, today revealed that
the shuttle's solid fuel rocket boosters were not equipped with an
adequate warning system.
1768 Dr. Andrew Turnbull arrived in Minorca
today to begin the recruitment of 1,400 Greek, Minorcan, Italian,
French and Corsican settlers for his planned colony at New Smyrna.
1862 The Confederate steamer Florida has
reportedly successfully eluded Federal ships blockading the coast of
Florida and is safely at sea.
1862 The annual meeting of the stockholders of
the Union Bank of Florida was held today in the bank's offices in
1864 Governor John Milton, planning to leave
Tallahassee, received a telegram today warning him that about 100
deserters have organized to capture him and turn him over to the
Federal ships blockading the Gulf Coast.
1865 The British schooner John Hale , flying the
English colors, was captured today near St. marks by the Union
schooner Matthew Vassar. The Hale's cargo consisted of lead, rope,
blankets, and shelter covers. Union officers suspect that the Hale's
crew had thrown arms and ammunition overboard prior to capture.
1926 The first broadcast of Pensacola's WCOA
Radio was piped to the assembled crowd in Plaza Ferdinand.
1951 Snow continued to fall today in north and
central Florida. Trace amounts are found as far south as Lakeland.
Crescent City and St. Augustine have received two inches of the
1984 The Space Shuttle Challenger (STS 41-b) was
launched successfully from Cape Canaveral today. The Challenger
carried five astronauts.
1994 Mission STS-60 (the space shuttle) was
launched today from Cape Canaveral.
1832 Columbia County, the state's 16th county,
was created by the Florida Legislature today. The county was named
for the poetic name of the United States. County Seat: Lake City
1836 Dade County, Florida's 19th county, was
created by the Legislature today. The county was named in honor of
Major Francis Langhorne Dade, United States Army, who, along with
106 men, perished today in an Seminole Indian ambush near
present-day Bushnell. Dade County is the most populous county in the
state. County Seat: Miami
1861 Delegates from Florida join with delegates
from Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana
today in Montgomery, Alabama, to organize the provisional government
of the Confederate States of America.
1863 A crew for the U.S.S. Sagamore today
captured the Confederate schooner Pride near the Indian River
Narrows. The Pride's cargo of 188 bushels of salt and its crew were
1864 A boat from the Federal schooner,
Beauregard, sent to Jupiter Inlet to look for blockade runners today
captured the Confederate boat Lydia, which was on her way to the
Inlet from Sand Point. The Lydia was carrying two bales of cotton
and five barrels of turpentine.
1864 Union General Quincy A. Gillmore continues
preparations for his attack on the west bank of the St. Johns River.
Federal Brigadier General Truman Seymour is ordered to load his
troops on ships in preparation for a rendezvous with other Union
units at the mouth of the St. Johns.
1897 Duncan U. Fletcher was elected the
president of the Jacksonville Bar Association today.
1931 Sir Malcolm Campbell set a ground speed
record of 245 mph today at Daytona Beach.
1945 The18th Engineering Battalion, United
States Army, arrives at the United States Naval Amphibious Training
Base in Fort Pierce. The unit, which has been reassigned to Frt
Pierce, has just completed 32 months of duty in the Yukon.
1861 The Florida Senate approves a bill to
incorporate the town of Monticello in Jefferson County.
1862 The U.S.S. Keystone State captured the
British blockade runner, Mars, off the coast at Fernandina. The Mars
was carrying a cargo of salt.
1864 The U.S.S. DeSoto today captured the
Confederate blockade runner Cumberland in the Gulf of Mexico. The
Cumberland, a 700-ton steamer, was carrying a cargo of guns and
ammunition, including 100 barrels of gunpowder.
1912 J. C. Luning was installed as Florida's
Commissioner of Agriculture today. He would hold this post for a
mere 14 days.
1926 The City of Miami Shores was incorporated
today. Originally settled in 1905 as Arch Creek Farms, the town
later became known as the City of North Miami.
1940 The first papers of incorporation of Barry
College were filed today. Barry College is located in Miami.
1845 The first session of the Florida Conference
of the Methodist Episcopal Church met in Tallahassee today.
1870 Governor Harrison Reed received the news
that his impeachment and removal for office had been recommended by
a state legislative committee. This is the third of four
unsuccessful attempts to remove the Republican chief executive.
1875 Four thousand acres were purchased today
from the state Internal Improvement Department today. This acreage
became the site of the City of orange City, which was started in
1876 with the sale of housing lots to prospective residents.
1897 Millard Fillmore Caldwell, 29th governor of
Florida (1945-1949), was born today in his parents home near
Knoxville, Tennessee. He attended Carson-Newman College, the
University of Mississippi, and the University of Virginia. Caldwell
came to Florida in 1924. In 1929, he was elected to represent Santa
Rosa County in the Florida House of Representatives. In 1933, he was
elected to the U.S. House of representatives from Florida's 3rd
District. In 1941, he retired to private law practice. In 1944, he
was elected governor. His administration was considered very
progressive. In 1962, Caldwell was appointed a Justice, Supreme
Court of Florida. He was elected for a full term that same year. In
1967, he was elected Chief Justice. Caldwell retired in 1969. He
died in Tallahassee on October 23, 1984.
1900 Eugene V. Debs, the leader of the Socialist
Party of the United States, gave a lecture to some 55,000 persons
today at Tampa's Court House Plaza.
1907 Maas Brothers department Stores were
incorporated today. originally founded by Abe Maas on Franklin
Street in Tampa in october 1886, Maas Brother's became a statewide
chain of stores by the 1960s.
1956 Florida's first Jordan-Marsh department
Store opened at 1501 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami today.
1806 The United States Senate approved a secret
appropriations of $2 million to be used for the possible purchase of
1863 Federal naval authorities report the
destruction of two casks of sperm oil, 47 sacks of salt, and one
boat sail near Jupiter Inlet. These materials are presumed to be
1864 Union troops under General Truman A.
Seymour landed at Jacksonville. This was the fourth occupation of
the city by a Union army. The troops were to be used in a major
Federal push into the center of the Sunshine State, a push that
would culminate with the Battle of Olustee on February 20. Many of
the African-American troops in the Union force were former free
blacks and runaway slaves from the north Florida area.
1864 The Confederate steamer St. Mary's, trapped
in McGirt's Creek above Jacksonville, was sunk by the U.S.S.
Norwich. The steamer's cargo of cotton was destroyed to prevent
capture by Union forces.
1893 The first edition of the Tampa Evening
1969 Diane Crump became the first female jockey
in thoroughbred racing when she raced at Hialeah.
1979 Gwen Sawyer Cherry, the first
African-American woman to serve in the Florida Legislature, was
killed today in a one-car accident in Tallahassee. Born in 1923, Ms.
Cherry received her law degree from FAMU, where she taught classes.
She was first elected in 1970 to represent Dade County in the House
1571 Father John Baptist Segura, Vice-Provincial
of Catholic [Jesuit] missions in Florida, and eleven companions were
killed today at their mission on the Rappahannock River near the
Chesapeake Bay. This was part of the plan of Pedro Menendez de
Aviles to explore the land north of present-day Florida to find the
northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean and the Far East. As a result
of this episode, the Jesuits abandoned their attempts to convert
Florida Native Americans to Catholicism in 1572.
1832 The Territorial Legislature of Florida
repealed an anti-dueling law, which again made it legal for
gentlemen to settle their differences through personal combat.
1832 The Merchants and Planters Bank of Magnolia
was incorporated today.
1832 Franklin County, Florida's 17th county, was
established today. The county is named in honor of benjamin
Franklin. County Seat: Apalachicola
1837 Lieutenant Colonel William T. Harney and
his small force were attacked today at Camp Monroe by some 200
Seminole Indians led by King Philip and Coacoochee. The U.S. Army
lost 1 officer killed and eleven enlisted men wounded before the
attack was beaten off. Captain Charles Mellon of the 2nd United
States Artillery was the officer killed. The name of the encampment
was changed from Camp Monroe to Fort Mellon to honor this fallen
1861 LaVilla Institute and the College of St.
Augustine were incorporated today.
1861 Baker County, the state's 38th county, was
established today. The county is named in honor of James McNair
Baker (1822-1892, Confederate States Senator and Judge of the 4th
Judicial District in Florida. County Seat: MacClenny
1861 Polk County, Florida's 39th county, was
established today. Named in honor of James Knox Polk, the 11th
president of the United States (1845-1849). County Seat: Bartow
1861 The Confederate Constitution has been
approved by the delegates to the Convention in Montgomery, Alabama,
and has been submitted to the Southern states for their approval.
1913 The Colonial Dames Club of Tampa was
1957 Vanna White, whose fame rests on her
ability to turn selected letters on the game-show "Wheel of
Fortune," was born today in Miami.
1958 The Daytona Beach International Speedway
Corporation was organized today.
1837 Captain George W. Allen and Company K of
the 4th United States Infantry were attacked today near Clear River
by Seminole Indians. One U. S. officer was killed in the skirmish.
1838 General Thomas S. Jesup, the commander of
United States troops in Florida, reported that in his opinion
"...the prospect of terminating this [Seminole] war in any
reasonable time is anything but flattering. My decided opinion is
that unless immediate emigration be abandoned, this war will
continue for years to come, and at constantly accumulating expense."
Jesup proposed that the area west of the Kissimmee River, Lake
Okeechobee, and Panai-Okee and east of Pease Creek and south to the
extreme end of Florida be set aside for the Seminoles. The Secretary
of War did not approve this plan, and some 500 Seminoles, who had
entered Jesup's camp on the strength of this recommendation, were
seized and transported to Tampa for the purpose of removal to the
1861 The steamer Everglade today unloaded its
cargo of 1,500 muskets at Fernandina. The muskets are from the
1861 The U.S.S. Brooklyn arrived off Pensacola
today with troops to support the Union occupation force at Fort
Pickens. The troops were not off loaded as both Union and Florida
forces maintain an uneasy peace in the area.
1861 Jefferson Davis of Mississippi has been
elected Provisional President of the Confederate States of America.
Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia, an opponent of secession, has been
1863 The Quincy extension of the Pensacola and
Georgia Railroad began operations today. The train trip from Quincy
to Tallahassee takes only two hours. The train continues to its
terminus at Lake City.
1864 The Union gunboat Para sailed thirty miles
up the Nassau River today, shelling the woods along both sides of
the river and taking an inventory of several lumbering plants.
1864 The 97th Pennsylvania, a Federal force
encamped at Fernandina, today raided the surrounding area and
captured a small force of Confederates in a nearby swamp.
1864 Union forces today occupied Baldwin (about
19 miles west of Jacksonville) and captured cotton, artillery
pieces, a train of cars, and enough forage for 1,000 men in the
field for four days.
1864 A small skirmish occurred between
Confederate cavalry units and Federal forces at the south fork of
the St. Marys River. The Union forces successfully forded the river
and captured the village of Sanderson, some thirty miles west of
Jacksonville. Retreating Confederate forces set fire to supplies of
cotton, corn, and turpentine.
1915 The Subtropical Mid-Winter Fair, which was
inaugurated by a parade of 150 horse and automobile-drawn floats,
opened today in Orlando.
1942 The first Congressional Medal of Honor
awarded in World War II was presented posthumously to Sandy
Nittinger of Fort Lauderdale.
1967 Today marked the beginning of what would
eventually become a record 768 consecutive days of sunshine in the
1973 The first measurable snow since 1958 cover
a portion of the Sunshine State. Pensacola reported two inches.
DeFuniak Springs and Quincy reported similar amounts. Trace amounts
were reported as far south as Clermont. Unofficial reports put the
accumulated total of 6 to 8 inches at Jay.
1831 The City of Monticello was incorporated
1834 The Tallahassee Railroad Company was
incorporated today. This railroad, utilizing "mule power," stretched
from Tallahassee to Port Leon (near St. Marks), a total of 22 miles.
1836 General Edmund P. Gaines, whose command of
the U. S. Western Military Department included part of Florida,
arrived today at Fort Brooke with six companies of the 4th U.S.
Infantry and a regiment of Louisiana Volunteers.
1864 Union forces today encountered Confederate
outposts a few miles east of Lake City. The Federal troops captured
about 20 Confederates and destroyed almost $1 million in property.
Federal forces lost 5 men killed and 10 wounded.
1899 Electric street lights brought daylight to
nighttime as Avenue B and 12th Street in Miami were illuminated by
1832 The City of Jacksonville was incorporated
today by the Territorial Legislature.
1863 Colonel J. S. Morgan of the 90th Regiment
of New York Volunteers, headquartered at Key West, today issued an
order that "All white persons residing within the limits of this
command having husbands, sons or brothers in Rebel employment, or
who have at any time declined taking the oath of allegiance to the
U.S. Government are hereby required to transport in person at these
headquarters on or before Tuesday, the 17th instant, and register
1883 The Leesburg Methodist Church was dedicated
1894 Henry Flagler opened his "Royal Ponciana
Hotel" today in Palm Beach. The "Ponciana" was the world's largest
wooden resort hotel. [Some argue that the "Belleview," built by
Henry Plant on the West Coast, deserved this distinction. The
"Belleview" is still in operation and certainly holds undisputed
claim to the title today."]
1920 Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr., the first
African-American to achieve four-star rank in the armed forces of
the United States, was born in Pensacola.
1984 The first landing of a space shuttle at
Kennedy Space Center [Cape Canaveral] occurred today.
1984 Responding to pressure from South Florida's
conservative Cuban population, the Reagan Administration announced
today that Cuban aliens will be granted residency status in the
United States. Haitian refugees were denied the same treatment.
1993 Janet Reno, Chief State Prosecutor of Dade
County, was nominated to become the first female U.S. Attorney
General by President Bill Clinton.
1842 One American officer and one enlisted man
were killed today in a confrontation between Seminole Indians and
Company H of the 8th U.S. Infantry at Wahoo Swamp.
1861 The reverend A. D. Pellicer, formerly a
resident of Sr. Augustine, rendered the opening prayer for the
opening of the Confederate Congress.
1864 Federal forces commanded by Brigadier
General Truman Seymour have concentrated at Baldwin in preparation
for a major push westward into the heart of Florida.
1887 The City of Tarpon Springs is incorporated
1894 The oldest Florida chapter of the Daughters
of the American revolution was founded today in Jacksonville.
1899 Tallahassee recorded a temperature of -2
degrees F today. This is thought to be the lowest temperature ever
reached in Florida. This was also the date of the greatest snowfall
on record for the Sunshine State, as well as the greatest southern
extension of snow. Four inches were reported at Lake Butler, 3.5
inches at Marianna, 3 inches at Lake City, and trace amounts as far
south as Fort Myers, Avon Park, and Titusville.
1903 Edward Waters College, one of Florida's
oldest colleges for African-Americans, was re-chartered in
1963 A Northwest Orient Airlines plane crashed
in stormy weather north of Miami today. Forty-three persons were
1778 The American Continental Congress received
a proposal from the State of Georgia to launch an invasion of
British East Florida with American forces led by Major general Howe.
1831 The City of Fernandina [Beach] was
re-incorporated today. The city had first been incorporated on
January 1, 1825.
1864 Confederate forces under the command of
General Joseph Finegan have concentrated at Camp Beauregard near
Olustee on ocean Pond. General Finegan selected the position because
of the protection offered by two small lakes. It is also the
location of the major road and railroad into the interior of the
state. Confederate soldiers have started the task of building
entrenchments and fortifications. It appears a major battle will be
fought on or near this spot.
1912 The first meeting of a Rotary Club in
Florida was held today in Jacksonville.
1958 Tallahassee residents awakened to discover
that the city had received a record 2.8 inches of snow today. Snow
extended south to the 30 degree latitude.
1839 Fort Lauderdale was occupied as a military
outpost by Company K, U.S. Artillery, today.
1850 Fort Harvie on the Caloosahatchee River was
ordered re-activated today. The fort was re-named in honor of
Lieutenant Colonel Abraham C. Myers.
1861 The Florida Legislature today incorporated
the Alachua County railroad Company and authorized it to raised
$200,000 in capital to construct a railroad from Waldo to
1892 Three inches of snow was reported today at
Pensacola, while Tallahassee reported two inches. Lake City reported
an accumulation of one inch, while Leesburg reported a trace.
1940 Attraction operators, tourists, and marine
scientists were delighted when the first porpoise to be born in
captivity was born at Marineland, south of St. Augustine.
1962 Former Governor Millard Fillmore Caldwell
appointed to service as a Justice, Florida Supreme Court.
1883 The first issue of the Halifax Journal ,
Daytona's first newspaper, was printed today.
1898 The U.S.S. Maine exploded today in Havana
Harbor and set into motion the events leading up to the
Spanish-American War. More than 250 men were killed and some 50
wounded. The wounded were transferred to hospital facilities in Key
1904 W.H. Ellis assumed the office of Attorney
General of Florida today.
1933 President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt
narrowly escaped an assassination attempt tonight following a speech
in Miami's Bay Front Park. As he sat in his car, five shots rang
out, wounding Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, who was standing on the
running board of the car. Four other persons were also wounded.
Mayor Cermak was, it is feared, fatally wounded.
The would-be assassin, Guiseppe Zangara of
Hackensack, New Jersey, was wrestled to the ground by a policeman
and hustled off to jail. His only statement was "I'd kill every
president." Hidden in his clothing was a newspaper clipping
describing the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901.
Zangara was eventually put to death by the electric chair in Raiford
1936 The State of Florida acquired its first
parcel of land for the Gold Head Branch State Park near Keystone
1981 Richard Petty wins the Daytona 500 for the
1861 The British consul at Pensacola throws down
the gauntlet to challenge the possible blockade of the Confederate
States of America when he issues clearance papers for a ship
carrying a cargo of cotton for British textile mills.
1864 Federal forces withdraw from Gainesville
following a skirmish with Confederate cavalry under the command of
Captain J.J. Dickison.
1864 The U.S.S. Para escorted Federal troops up
the St. Mary's River to Woodstock Mills, Florida, to obtain lumber.
The Para engaged Confederate troops along the river bank. Union
transports successfully loaded a large amount of lumber and began to
withdraw down the river.
1911 St. Cloud, originally established as a
community for veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic [Union] was
1919 The State of Florida Board of health
reported that 3,007 Floridians had perished in the first three
months of great influenza outbreak that swept the world immediately
following World War I. Other killers were Tuberculosis (288);
Malaria (50); Dysentery (41); Typhoid (37); Pellagra (36); and
1965 The first Pegasus satellite was launched
from Cape Canaveral today. The purpose of the Pegasus is to study
meteoroids and other potential hazards that might be encountered by
the Apollo missions.
1845 "Preacher's Aid Society of the Florida
Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church" is chartered by
the Territorial Legislature.
1862 Federal naval forces on duty in the Gulf of
Mexico today attacked the home of Abel Miranda on the Pinellas
Peninsula (Tampa Bay), destroying citrus trees and livestock.
Sailors then confiscated supplies of bacon, corn, syrup and potatoes
and carried them off to their base on Egmont Key.
1864 A boat expedition from the U.S.S. Tahoma
destroyed a large salt works near St. Marks. A large quantity of
salt was also destroyed.
1865 The U.S.S. Mahaska captured the schooner
Delia off the coast of Bayport, Florida, and seized its cargo of pig
lead and sabers.
1884 The First Presbyterian Church of Eustis is
1912 W. V. Knott assumed the office of
Comptroller of the State of Florida today.
1959 The first boy was enrolled at Florida
Sheriffs' Ranch near Live Oak. The ranch, founded in 1957, was
created to serve as a home for non-delinquent dependent, homeless
and/or neglected boys between the ages of eight and seventeen years
1959 Olympic Gold Medal freestyle winner Ambrose
"Rowdy" Gaines was born today in Winter Haven.
1842 Colonel William J. Worth reported that only
300 Seminoles were left in Florida and that it was impossible for
the U.S. Army to capture or kill them all. He recommended to his
superiors in the War Department that a peace treaty be made with
them. They agree and Worth, on August 14, declares the Seminole War
at an end.
1842 Santa Rosa County, Florida's twenty-first
county, was established today. Named for Santa Rosa Island, which in
turn was named for St. Rosa de Viterbo, a Catholic saint. During
Emperor Frederick II's war against Pope Gregory IX, Rose, then 12
years old, preached against submission and obedience to the emperor.
As a result her family was banished. County Seat: Milton
1861 Jefferson Davis of Mississippi took the
oath of office as the provisional President of the Confederate
States of America. Among the military companies firing cannon
salutes for President Davis are troops bound for Pensacola.
1862 The Federal gunboat, Ethan Allen, entered
Clearwater harbor today and captured the schooner Spitfire and the
sloops Atlanta and Caroline.
1879 The City of Orange Park is incorporated
1967 Governor Claude Kirk, Jr., wed Miss Erika
Mattefeld today in West Palm Beach. It was the second marriage for
1973 Richard Petty won the Daytona 500 today.
1979 Richard Petty won the Daytona 500 today as
the race leaders were involved in a major crash on the last lap of
1821 The United States Senate gave its approval
to the Adams-Onis Treaty today. Under the terms of this
transcontinental treaty, Spain ceded Florida to the United States in
exchange for the elimination of approximately $5 million in
outstanding financial obligations.
1825 The Florida Intelligencer, Tallahassee's
first newspaper, began operations today.
1885 E. S. Crill assumed the office of Treasurer
of Florida today.
1889 Dade County voters approved the relocation
of the county seat from Miami to Juno.
1912 J.C. Luning, who had assumed the office of
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture on February 5, left office
today, having served a total of 14 days.
1839 A "Memorial of the People of the Territory
of Florida" asking for the admission of the Territory as a state of
the Union was introduced in the U.S. House of representatives today.
1839 Two soldiers of Detachment K, 3rd United
States Artillery, were killed by Seminoles today while chopping wood
near Fort Lauderdale.
1862 A company of volunteers from Leon County
were mustered into Confederate service today with Richmond N.
Gardner as captain.
1864 The largest Civil War battle to take place
in the State of Florida occurred today at Ocean Pond/Olustee. Union
and Confederate forces were about evenly matched with 5,500 soldiers
each. The Confederates, under the command of general Joseph J.
Finegan, had prepared defenses in the area (see citation for
February 13). The failure of the Union commander, General Truman
Seymour, to commit his forces in concert and as a whole gave the
Confederates a strategic advantage. At the end of the day, the
Confederates controlled the battlefield and Federal forces were in a
hasty retreat toward Jacksonville and the safety of the guns of the
Union Casualties: 203 killed, 152 wounded, 506
missing. Confederate casualties: 93 killed, 847 wounded, 6 missing.
Union losses of material: 400 accouterment sets, 130,000 rounds of
small arms ammunition, 1,600 small arms, five cannons.
1865 The Battle of Fort Myers, the southernmost
land battle of the Civil War, took place today. With no clear
winner, both Union and Confederate commanders claimed victory.
1877 The Titusville Star-Advocate began
publication in New Smyrna Beach today as The Florida Star.
1883 The Village Improvement Association,
Florida's first Woman's Club, was organized today at Green Cove
1889 The Florida State Board of Health was
created by the Florida Legislature today following the Yellow Fever
epidemic that swept through Jacksonville.
1900 The Miami Board of Trade, the forerunner of
the Miami Chamber of Commerce, was organized today.
1927 Sidney Potier, the Oscar-winning actor, was
born today in Miami.
1962 Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr.,
became the first American to orbit the Earth in his Mercury
spaceship, Friendship 7. Glenn, enclosed in the Friendship 7 high
atop an Atlas rocket, was hurled into space at 9:47 a.m. The rocket
placed the Mercury capsule in orbit 99 miles above the surface of
the Earth. The launch came after ten separate delays caused by bad
weather conditions and technical glitches to equipment. The Mercury
made three full orbits of the Earth and landed in the Atlantic at
2:43 p.m. Hundreds of thousands of Floridians lined the beaches of
the East Coast to catch a glimpse of this historic event.
1861 Stephen R. Mallory of Florida was appointed
Secretary of the Confederate States Navy today by President
1864 The U.S.S. Para today captured the small
Confederate steamer Hard Times on the St. Marys River.
1865 Confederate forces launched an unsuccessful
attack against Union forces at Fort Myers. Nine Federal prisoners
were seized, one Union soldier killed, and some livestock was
1884 Albert J. Russell assumed the office of
Florida Superintendent of Public Instruction today.
1895 The Florida Federation of Women's Clubs was
organized at Green Cove Springs today.
1949 Mary McLeod Bethune was granted the first
honorary degree given by a Southern white college to an
African-American woman by Rollins College (Winter Park) today.
1819 The Adams-Onis Treaty was formally signed
today. Spain ceded Florida to the United States.
1836 General Edmund P. Gaines arrived at Ft.
King with six companies of the 4th U.S. Infantry and a regiment of
1862 Jefferson Davis is inaugurated today as the
first regular, non-provisional president of the Confederacy.
1862 Command of the Federal Department of
Florida is assumed by Brigadier General Lewis G. Arnold.
1863 Boat crews from the U.S.S. Gem of the Sea
moved up the Indian River narrows today, discovering several places
where cotton had been stored and a shipyard.
1885 The incorporation of the City of Chipley
ratified by the Florida legislature.
1958 John Wellborn Martin, the 24th governor of
Florida (1925-1929), died today in Jacksonville. Martin was born in
Plainfield in Marion County on June 21, 1884. Admitted to the bar in
1914, he practiced in Jacksonville. He was a three-time mayor of
that city (1917-1924). As governor during the Florida "Boom," Martin
embraced a number of progressive reforms, including the construction
of major highways, the direct financing of public schools through
legislative appropriations, and the furnishing of free textbooks for
students above the 6th grade. He was subsequently defeated for the
Democratic nomination for U. S. Senator (1928) and for the party's
nomination for governor (1932). In the 1940s, Martin was a
co-receiver and subsequently the trustee for the Florida East Coast
1959 The first "Daytona 500" race, with a purse
of $19,000, was won today by Lee Petty of Randleman, N.C. Petty
averaged 135.42 mph in his 1959 Oldsmobile. Johnny Beauchamp of
Harlan, Iowa, finished second in a 1959 Ford Thunderbird. Petty's
win was disputed as the two men finished neck-and-neck in a photo
1839 The Episcopal Congregation of St. Johns in
Jacksonville was incorporated today.
1844 The City of Milton was incorporated today.
1863 The U.S.S. Gem of the Sea today captured
the Confederate steamer Charm about five miles up the St. Sebastian
1864 The 4th Florida Infantry regiment was
consolidated today with the 1st Florida Cavalry, Dismounted, in
winter quarters at Dalton, Georgia. The consolidation was needed
after both units suffered tremendous losses in fighting at
Missionary Ridge, Tennessee.
1865 A Federal expedition under the command of
General John Newton sailed from Key West today for the west coast of
Florida. St. Marks is believed to be the destination of this
1958 The last race on the old Daytona Beach race
track was held today.
1971 Fight fans were surprised when Mohammed Ali
sparred ten rounds today in Miami without saying a single word.
1840 John Warren of Duval County submitted his
resignation today as the first president of the Territorial
Legislative Council. That body has a membership of eleven men.
1862 The U.S.S. Harriet Lane captured the
Confederate schooner Joanna Ward off the coast of Florida today. The
Harriett Lane was commanded by Lieutenant Jonathan M. Wainwright,
the grandfather of General Jonathan M. Wainwright who was forced to
surrender Bataan to the Japanese in World War II.
1863 The U.S.S. Tahoma today captured the
Confederate schooner Stonewall near Key West.
1864 The U.S.S. Nita pursued a Confederate
steamer, the Nan-Nan, in the Suawnee River today. When it appeared
that capture was inevitable, the Confederate crew set fire to the
vessel. The Nan-Nan was carrying a cargo of about sixty bales of
cotton and was armed with a six-pounder cannon and plenty of
1865 The Federal expedition under the command of
General John Newton reached Punta Rassa today. It immediately
departed for Cedar Key late in the afternoon.
1862 The U.S.S. Mohican and the U.S.S. Bienville
captured the British blockade runner Arrow off the coast of
1864 The U.S.S. Roebuck seized the blockade
running British sloop Two Brothers in Indian River, Florida. The
British ship was carrying a cargo of salt, liquor and nails.
1885 The Immanuel Lutheran Church of Pensacola
was organized today.
1953 Daniel Thomas McCarty, the 31st governor of
Florida (1953), suffered a disabling heart attack today in
Tallahassee. McCarty died on September 28, 1953. Charley Eugene
Johns of Starke became Acting Governor and served from September 28,
1953 until January 4, 1955, when LeRoy Collins of Tallahassee, who
had been elected to serve the remainder of McCarty's term, took the
oath of office.
1958 St. Johns River Community College opened at
1964 Cassius Clay (Mohammed Ali) defeated
Heavyweight Boxing Champion Sonny Liston today at Miami beach. This
is Clay/Ali's first heavyweight title.
1862 The U.S.S. Bienville captured the schooner
Alert off St. John's, Florida, today.
1864 A boat expedition from the U.S.S. Tahoma
destroyed a large salt works on Goose Creek, near St. Marks.
1865 The U.S.S. Marigold captured a British
blockade runner with an assorted cargo in the Straights of Florida
between Havana and Key West.
1946 More than 17,000 persons watched as Winston
Churchill received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of
Miami in Orange Bowl ceremonies today.
1956 Following the end of the NASCAR Grand
National, a private car race was held on the main street of Daytona
Beach. When police intervened and stopped the race, the onlookers,
mostly teenagers, began a five-hour riot that ultimately involved
about 3,000 teenagers. Numerous stores were looted and many cars
1980 The Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant was
shut down following a spill of radioactive water.
1827 Webbville Academy, the first academy
established under the auspices of the Methodist Church in Florida,
is incorporated today near Marianna.
1840 The City of Jasper was incorporated today.
1864 The U.S.S. Roebuck seized the British
blockade-running schooner Nina with a cargo of liquors and coffee at
Indian River Inlet. The Roebuck also captured the schooner Rebel
with a cargo of salt, liquor and cotton at Indian River Inlet.
1964 The Cross-Florida Barge Canal, envisioned
as a short-cut across the Florida Peninsula since the late 1800s and
approved by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was re-started by
President Lyndon Baines Johnson near Palatka. This 185-mile canal
was never finished.
1823 Joshua N. Glenn, the first Methodist
preacher assigned to serve exclusively in Florida, was appointed
minister to St. Augustine.
1839 Seminole Indians attacked Detachment I of
the 2nd U.S. Infantry near Fort Miami today. Captain S. L. Russell
1862 Confederate General Samuel Jones assumed
command of the Department of Alabama and West Florida from General
Braxton E. Bragg.
1863 The U.S.S. Sagamore arrived at Mosquito Inlet
today to investigate reports of a Confederate schooner being loaded
with cotton for England. The commander of the Sagamore, fearing
hidden Confederate gun emplacement, lobbed shells into the inlet in
the hope that the Confederates would burn the ship to prevent its
1864 The U.S.S. Clyde arrived at Cedar Key to
take on coal.
1865 Armed boats for the U.S.S. Honeysuckle
forced the blockade running British schooner Sort aground on a reef
near the mouth of Crystal River, Florida, where she was abandoned.
Sort was the same schooner captured in December 1864 by the U.S.S.
O. H. Lee.
1865 The Federal amphibious force under the
command of General John Newton arrived off Ocklockonee Buoy (near
St. Marks Bar) today. Confederate scout report that 13 Federal steam
ships and three sailing vessels have rendezvoused there in
preparation for a land invasion.
1884 The first issue of the Palatka "Daily News"
was published today.
1909 Panama City was incorporated as a town
1988 Daredevil Todd Seeley jumped his motorcycle
246 feet from ramp to ramp in a World of Wheels show at Tampa.
LEAP YEAR SPECIALS!
1836 General Edmund P. Gaines and his troops are
pinned down by more than 1,000 Seminole warriors during a ten-day
siege at Camp Izard on the Withlacoochee River, near present-day
Dunnellon. The siege would eventually become so critical that the
U.S. troops were forced to kill their horses for food.
1848 The Florida legislature petitioned the U.S.
Congress for a grant of land to erect a courthouse in Tampa.
1892 Sculptor Augusta Christine Savage was born
in Green Cove Springs today.