1836 On this date, the Seminole people were
supposed to migrate to Oklahoma. The Second Seminole War started on
December 28 to forestall this activity.
1862 Union guns on Santa Rosa Island opened fire
on an unnamed steamer brought into the Navy yard by Confederate
forces in Pensacola. Although the Confederates suffered no
casualties, a large storehouse was hit by an exploding shell and
burned to the ground.
1862 Governor John Milton called the "Columbia
Trapiers" into service today. This unit is commanded by Captain J.
1862 Two Federal blockade ships, the U.S.S.
Rhode Island and the U.S.S. South Carolina, were sighted in the Gulf
of Mexico near Pensacola.
1863 The Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone's River)
continues today as Confederate forces under General Braxton E. Bragg
do battle with Union forces under the command of General William S.
Rosecrans. The Florida 4th Infantry Regiment suffered 55 casualties,
killed or wounded, but captured 250 enemy weapons.
1863 The Federal ship U.S.S. Gem of the Sea
captured the Confederate sloop Ann six miles east of Jupiter Inlet.
1864 The U.S.S. Rosalie put into Charlotte
Harbor today after a rendezvous with the U.S.S. Gem of the Sea in
the Gulf of Mexico.
1883 The City of Eustis is incorporated.
1885 The City of Lakeland is incorporated today.
1885 Florida's fifth Constitution, created by a
Constitutional Convention which met in Tallahassee on June 9, 1885,
went into effect today and remained the basic law of the Sunshine
State until 1968. The 1885 Constitution replaced the "Carpetbag"
Constitution of 1868.
1895 The Tampa Tribune begins daily publication
1914 The first scheduled commercial airplane
flight was made today from St. Petersburg to Tampa. Tony Jannus, a
pioneering aviator, opened the service with his flying boat, the
Benoist, which could haul one passenger and a small amount of
freight. A. C. Pheil, former mayor St. Petersburg, purchases the
first passenger ticket for $500.00. Jay Dee Smith was Jannus'
mechanic. Two daily round trips were flown for 28 consecutive days.
1935 Bucknell University defeated the University
of Miami 26-0 in the first every Miami Orange Bowl game.
1936 Cypress Gardens, the longest continuously
operating tourist attraction, was opened today by Mr. and Mrs.
Richard D. Pope, Sr. Cypress Gardens is still an important
attraction for tourists to Florida.
1946 The University of South Carolina suffered a
26-14 loss to Wake Forest University in the first-ever Gator Bowl.
1960 Indian River Community College at Fort
Pierce was established today.
1978 Anne Cawthon Booth was appointed the Judge
of the First District Court of Appeal (Tallahassee) by Governor
Reubin D. Askew today. Ms. Booth became the first woman to serve as
an appellate judge in the State of Florida.
1830 Henry Morrison Flagler, founder of the
Florida East Coast Railway and developer of the East Coast's tourist
industry, was born today in Hopewell, New York. Flagler, whose
interest in Florida stemmed from visits to St. Augustine, combined
his railroad interests with hotels and steamships. An early partner
with John D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil, Flagler spent millions on
his Florida projects, eventually constructing the longest railroad
over water with his Florida Overseas Railroad, which connected the
mainland with Key West. Flagler eventually planned to span the
Straights of Florida to connect his Key West terminus with the
island of Cuba.
1847 Nathaniel P. Bemis takes office as
Florida's Comptroller today.
1848 Julia A. Tuttle, the so-called "Mother of
Miami," was born today in Ohio. An early (1872) settler in the
present-day Miami area, Ms. Tuttle is reported to have lured Henry
Flagler and his railroad south when she sent him a branch of
blooming orange blossoms during the devastating freeze of 1894-95.
(See entry for September 14).
1861 The artillery duel between Confederate and
Union forces at Pensacola continued until about 4 o'clock this
morning. Casualties were minimal for both sides. 1861 General Robert
E. Lee has asked Brigadier General J. H. Trapier to increase the
number of cannons and manpower on Cumberland and Amelia Islands to
protect Fernandina from a Union attack.
1863 Florida units with the Confederate Army of
Tennessee are still engaged in the Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone's
River) in Tennessee. Captain Augustus O. MacDonnell of the 1st and
3rd Florida Consolidated narrowly escaped serious injury when his
sword was shattered by a shell fragment.
1864 The Confederate Congress has approved the
following Floridians as adjutants in Florida regiments and
James B. Johnson, 5th Infantry Regiment
R. J. Reid, 2nd Infantry Regiment
W. McR. Jordan, 3rd Infantry Battalion
B. F. Parker, 4th Infantry Battalion
James O. Owens, 6th Infantry Battalion
George Dawson, 7th Infantry Regiment
F. Philips, 1st Cavalry Regiment
C. B. Paslay, 7th Infantry Regiment
1865 Senators Augustus E. Maxwell and James M.
Baker, along with Representative Robert B. Hilton, join other
Confederate legislators as the Confederate Congress re-convenes
after a one-day New Year's Day recess.
1877 George Franklin Drew, the twelfth governor
of Florida (1877-1881) was inaugurated today. (See entry for August
6 for more information)
1898 Booker T. Washington, the noted
African-American leader, addressed an audience in Jacksonville
today. His speech stressed that the development of commercial and
industrial project held the key for the advancement of the American
1917 Ernest Amos takes office as Florida's
1917 Sidney Johnston Catts, Florida's
Prohibition governor, took the oath of office today as the state's
twenty-second governor. (For more information, see entry for July
1933 David Sholtz became Florida's twenty-sixth
governor today in inauguration ceremonies in Tallahassee. (For more
information about Sholtz, see the entry for October 6.)
1945 Millard Fillmore Caldwell was inaugurated
as Florida's twenty-ninth governor today in Tallahassee. (For more
information, see entry for October 23.)
1979 On this day, "Bob" [D. Robert} Graham was
inaugurated as the Sunshine State's thirty-eighth governor. He would
succeed himself as governor on January 4, 1983. Graham was born on
November 9, 1936 in Coral Gables. Graham graduated from the
University of Florida in 1959 and received a law degree from Harvard
Law School in 1962. He served in a variety of executive positions in
the Sengra Corporation (The Graham Companies), was a developer of
Miami Lakes, and helped administer the family's cattle holdings. As
governor, Graham supported a number of environmental measures to
save the state's Everglades, sea shores, and barrier islands.
Governor Graham engendered a strong public support through his
personal program of "workdays," a program he still practices as
1979 George Firestone assumes the position of
Florida's Secretary of State. He was succeeded on August 5, 1987 by
Jim Smith, who was appointed by Governor Bob Martinez.
1979 Jim Smith assumed office as Florida's
Attorney General on this date.
1823 Joseph M. Hernandez is seated as the first
Territorial Representative to the United States Congress from the
Territory of Florida.
1861 Delegates to the Florida Secession Convention
meet in Tallahassee to take up the question of secession. Edmund
Ruffin of Virginia arrives to confer with Governor Madison Starke
Perry and members of the convention.
1863 John Branch, the sixth Territorial Governor of
Florida, died today in Enfield, North Carolina. (For more
information, see entry for August 11.)
1863 The Battle of Murphreesboro (Stone's River)
came to an end today. General Braxton E. Bragg withdraws from the
battle despite apparent victory during the first two days. Florida
units in the Army of Tennessee have suffered a large number of
casualties. (See entry for December 31.)
1865 The U.S.S. Kanawha today captured the
Confederate schooner Mary Ellen today in the Gulf of Mexico off the
coast of Florida.
1877 William D. Bloxham assumes office as Florida's
Secretary of State. He will hold this position until he is succeeded
by F.W.A. Rankin, Jr. on October 1, 1880.
1877 George P. Raney is sworn in as the Attorney
General of Florida.
1893 Henry Laurens Mitchell was inaugurated as
Florida's sixteenth governor (1893-1897) today. (See entry for
September 3 for more information.)
1893 William N. Sheats became the state's
Superintendent of Public Instruction today, while C. B. Collins is
sworn in as Treasurer.
1897 W. H. Reynolds takes office as Florida's
1905 Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, "Florida's Fighting
Democrat," was inaugurated as Florida's nineteenth governor today.
(For more information about Broward, see entry for October 1.)
1905 William M. Holloway became Florida's
Superintendent of Public Instruction today.
1924 The "Southern Jewish Weekly" was founded today
1925 The first races at St. Petersburg's Derby Lane
greyhound track were run today. The track, operated by the Kennel
Club, is the oldest greyhound track in the world.
1933 J. M. lee assumes the office of Comptroller
1941 J. Edward Larson is sworn in as the Treasurer
of Florida today.1961 Cecil Farris Bryant took office today as the
Sunshine State's thirty-fourth governor. (For more information on
Bryant, see entry for July 26.)
1961 Doyle E. Connor was sworn in as Florida's
Commissioner of Agriculture today, and Tom Adams is installed as
Secretary of State.
1966 Dr. Earl S. Weldon assumes the presidency of
Seminole Junior College, which was chartered in 1965.
1967 Claude Roy Kirk, Jr. was installed as Florida's
thirty-sixth governor today. Kirk was born on January 7, 1926, in
San Bernardino, California. He lived in a variety of locales during
his youth, and graduated from high school in Montgomery, Alabama,
when he was seventeen. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and, after
officer training at Quantico, Virginia, was commissioned as a second
lieutenant. He left the Marines in 1946 and entered law school. He
received his law degree in 1949. Kirk returned to active duty in
1950 and served in combat in Korea. After the war, he entered the
insurance and investment business in Jacksonville, eventually
heading up the Kirk Investments Company. A former democrat, Kirk led
the "Floridians for Nixon" campaign in 1960. In 1964, he waged an
unsuccessful race for the U.S. Senate. In 1966, he was successful in
his campaign for the governorship and became the first Republican to
hold this position since the end of Reconstruction. In 1978, he ran
an unsuccessful campaign for governor as a Democrat. In 1988, he
failed in his bid for the U.S. Senate as the Democratic nominee.
1987 John Wayne Mixon served only three days as
Florida's thirty-ninth governor. Mixon, the Lieutenant Governor,
succeeded Bob Graham, who resigned three days before the end of his
second term to take his position in the United States Senate. Mixon
was born June 16, 1922, near Brockton, Alabama. He entered public
service in 1967 when he was elected to the first of six consecutive
terms of office in the Florida House of Representatives. Mixon
served in the United States Navy during World War II. He attended
Columbia University in new York, the Wharton School of Finance at
the University of Pennsylvania, and graduated in 1947 from the
University of Florida.
1989 Tom Gallagher takes the oath of office as
Florida's Treasurer today.
1847 The appointment and licensing of port and
harbor pilots by Dade County officials authorized by state
1861 Governor Madison Perry and his advisors
make the decision to seize Federal properties in Florida.1862 The
Union blockader, U.S.S. Sagamore, has been sighted near Santa Rosa
1863 William Dunn Mosely, Florida's first
governor under statehood (1845-1849), died today. Moseley was born
at Moseley Hall, Lenoir County, North Carolina, on February 1,
1795. He attended the University of North Carolina with such
notables as James K. Polk, later president of the United States.
After college, he practiced law in Wilmington, North carolina, and
entered public service as a state senator. He was defeated in the
North Carolina gubernatorial race of 1834. In 1835, Moseley
purchased a plantation in Jefferson County, Florida, and resided
there until 1851. A member of the Territorial Legislature, Mosely
defeated Richard Keith Call, the third and fifth Territorial
governor of Florida, in the contest to become the first governor of
the new state of Florida. In 1851, Moseley moved to Palatka, where
he was a planter and fruit grower. 1881 William Dunnington Bloxham,
the thirteenth (1881-1885) and seventeenth (1897-1901) governor of
Florida, was inaugurated today. Born in Leon County on July 9,
Bloxham's first administration was marked by the sale of the Disston
Land Purchase. He died at Tallahassee on March 15, 1911. (For
more information, see the entry for July 9.)
1901 The first issue of the "Daytona News" was
1921 Rivers Buford is sworn in as Florida's
Attorney General today.
1925 Cary Augustus Hardee, the 23rd governor of
Florida, was inaugurated today. During his administration, the
convict leasing system was outlawed. Hardee died ion November 21,
1957. (For more information, see the entry for November 13.)
1949 Fuller Warren, the thirtieth governor of
Florida, was inaugurated today. A native of Blountstown, Warren was
born on October 3, 1905, and died in Miami on September 23, 1973.
1949 Richard W. Ervin takes office as Florida's
Attorney General, and Thomas D. Bailey assumes office as the
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
1961 Thomas LeRoy Collins, the thirty-third
governor of Florida, took the oath of office today. Collins was born
on march 10, 1909, in Tallahassee. A graduate of Leon High School,
Collins attended the Eastman School of Business at Poughkeepsie, New
York, and received a law degree from Cumberland University. He
married Mary Call Darby, the great-granddaughter of two-time
Territorial Governor Richard Keith Call. Collins was elected as Leon
County's representative to the Florida House in 1934, 1936, and
1938. He was elected to the Florida Senate in 1940 an re-elected in
1942. He resigned to serve in the U.S. navy, and was re-elected in
1946 and 1950. Collins was first elected governor to complete the
two remaining years of the term of the late Governor Dan McCarty. He
was elected for a full term in 1956. Collins' term was marked by the
rise of the civil rights movement in Florida, and through his
leadership, Florida avoided much of the violence and turmoil that
marked desegregation in other Southern states. Following his terms
as governor, Collins served as Undersecretary of Commerce in the
Johnson administration. He was unsuccessful in a bid for the U.S.
Senate in 1968. He died on March 25, 1991.
1978 Janet Reno became Florida's first State
Attorney when Governor Reubin D. Askew appointed her to head up the
Eleventh Judicial District (Miami) when Richard Gerstein resigned.
Ms. Reno is currently the Attorney General of the United States.
1836 Lewis Cass requests an appropriation of
$80,000 from the U.S. House of Representatives for "the expenses
attending the repression of the hostilities commenced by the
Seminole Indians in Florida."
1861 The Quincy Guards, commanded by Colonel
Duryea, seized the Chattahoochee Arsenal today. The troops
confiscate 500,000 rounds of musket cartridges, 300,000 rounds of
rifle cartridges, and 50,000 pounds of gunpowder.
1861 The Florida Secession Convention reconvenes
today. John C. McGehee, a passionate state-rights planter from
Madison County, is elected permanent chairman. McQueen Macintosh of
Apalachicola introduces a resolution declaring Florida's right to
secede and urges the passage of a proclamation declaring the state
is no longer a part of the United States.
1863 Crews from the U.S.S. Sagamore seized the
British blockade runner Avenger in Jupiter Inlet. The Avenger was
carrying a cargo of coffee, gin, salt, and other goods.
1865 An expedition from the U.S.S. Winnebago
seized two copper kettles used for distilling turpentine, 1,280
copper pipes, and four sloop-rigged boats in the Gulf of Mexico
1887 An inch of snow fell at Pensacola today.
1929 Gene Sarazne won the $750 first prize at
the Miami Open Golf Tournament. His score was 294 for 72 holes. The
monetary prize was $750.1941 Frederick Preston Cone took the oath of
office today to become Florida's 27th governor. (See entries for
July 28 and September 28.)
1965 William Hayden Burns took the oath of
office today to become Florida's 35th governor (1965-1967). Burns
was born on March 17, 1912 in Chicago, Illinois. he attended
Jacksonville public schools and Babson College. During World War II,
Burns served in the U.S. navy. In 1949, he won his first election to
public office when he was elected Mayor-Commissioner of
Jacksonville, a position he won in 1951, 1955, 1959, and 1963. In
1960, he finished third in a race for the Democratic nomination for
governor. In 1964, he achieved the office. Although eligible for a
second two-year term, he was defeated by Claude Roy Kirk, Jr., a
Republican, in 1966. In 1971, Burns was defeated in his bid for
election as Mayor of Jacksonville. Burns died in Jacksonville on
November 22, 1987.
1965 Earl Faircloth is installed at the Attorney
General of Florida today.
1971 Reubin D. Askew, the thirty-seventh
Governor of Florida, was inaugurated today for the first of his two
consecutive terms as governor. (For more information, see entry for
1971 Thomas D. O'Malley assumes office today as
Florida's Treasurer, and Robert L. Shevin is inaugurated as Attorney
General. Richard B. Stone is inaugurated as Secretary of State.
1979 Jim Smith took the oath of office today for
the position of Florida Attorney General.
1836 Casualties from the Seminole uprising
continue. Authorities report that sixteen East Florida plantations
have been laid to waste.
1839 E. L. Drake of Escambia County became the
first Speaker of the Florida Territorial House of Representatives
1855 The Internal Improvements Fund was
established today. This created the mechanism by which improvements
can be funded through the sale of public lands.
1861 U.S. Senator Stephen F. Mallory of Florida
recommends that the state's Secession Convention secede. This
declaration followed a caucus of Southern senators called by
Jefferson Davis and John Slidell of Mississippi.
1863 The U.S.S. Pocahontas captured the blockade
runner Antona today off Cape San Blas, Florida.
1863 The U.S.S. Ariel today captured the sloop
Good Luck, a blockade runner from New Smyrna near Key Biscayne Bay.
1885 Edward Aylsworth Perry became the
fourteenth governor of Florida (1885-1889) today. (See entry for
October 15 for more information.)
1895 The first Sunday edition of the Tampa
Tribune was published today.
1925 John Wellborn Martin took the oath of
office today as Florida's twenty-fourth governor. Martin was born on
June 21, 1884, in Marion County. Admitted to the bar in 1914, he
began the practice of law in Jacksonville. From 1917 until 1924,
martin was the Mayor of Jacksonville. Martin presided over the end
of the Florida "Boom" and the Florida "Bust." During his
administration, Florida began an expansive program of highway
construction, direct State appropriations to finance public schools,
and the distribution of free text books to students in grades 1-6.
In 1928, he was defeated in his bid for a United States Senate seat.
In 1932, he lost a bid to regain the governor's office. In the
1940s, Martin served as a co-receiver and trustee for the Florida
East Coast Railroad. He died in Jacksonville on February 22, 1958.
1953 Daniel Thomas McCarty was inaugurated as
the state's 31st governor today. McCarty was born in Fort Pierce on
January 18, 1912. On February 25, 1953, McCarty suffered a
debilitating heart attack and died on September 28. (See entry for
September 28 for more information.)
1985 A Pensacola abortion clinic was bombed
today marking a significant turn of direction in the anti-abortion
movement's opposition to legalized abortion.
1987 Robert "Bob" Martinez of Tampa became the
40th governor of Florida today. Martinez was born in Tampa on
December 25, 1934. He attended the University of Tampa and the
University of Illinois. A high school teacher for seven years,
Martinez also served as the Executive Director of the Hillsborough
[County] Classroom Teachers Association until he took over the
family business, the Café Sevilla. In 1979, Martinez was elected
Mayor of Tampa as a Democrat, and re-elected as a Republican in
1983. Martinez alienated many Floridians through his anti-abortion
stance, because of his reneging on a campaign promise not to raise
taxes, and because of his somewhat imperious leadership style. He
also campaigned against the creation of a state lottery system, but
approved the measure after it was passed by the Florida legislature.
He was defeated for re-election by Lawton Chiles in 1990. Following
his tenure as governor, he served briefly as the head of the Drug
Enforcement Agency under President George Bush.
1821 The first organized Baptist congregation,
Pigeon Creek Baptist Church, was organized today near Callahan
(Northeast Florida). The congregation consisted of both black and
1841 Company I, 3rd Artillery, United States
Army engaged in fighting with Seminole Indians near Ft. Lauderdale
today. One enlisted man was wounded and subsequently died from his
wounds on January 22.
1848 William R. Hayward is sworn in as the
Treasurer of the State of Florida.
1861 Federal soldiers guarding Fort Marion
(Castillo de San Marcos) in St. Augustine surrender the post to a
company of local volunteers. In Tallahassee, the Secession
Convention, after hearing appeals from Edmund Ruffin of Virginia,
E.C. Bullock of Alabama, and L.S. Spratt of South Carolina, approves
the McIntosh resolution by a vote of 62-5 for immediate secession. A
committee of 13 is appointed to prepare the official secession
1903 Florida author Zora Neale Hurston was born
today. Some controversy exists as to the actual place of her birth.
Some authorities claim it was in Eatonville (east of Orlando), but
the latest scholarship places her birth place in Alabama. Regardless
of where she was born, Hurston certainly considered Eatonville her
home and centered many of her stories there.
1911 Thelma (Butterfly) McQueen was born today
in Tampa. McQueen gained enduring fame for her portrayal of "Prissy"
in the 1939 epic, "Gone with the Wind."
1913 Park Trammell, the 21st governor of Florida
(1913-1917), took the oath of office today. Trammell, who was born
on April 9, 1876 in Macon County, Alabama, attended grade school in
Polk County. During the Spanish-American War, he served in the
Quartermaster Corps in Tampa. After studies at Vanderbilt
University, Trammell received a law degree from Cumberland College
(also the alma mater of LeRoy Collins) in 1899. A citrus grower and
attorney in Lakeland, he served two terms as Mayor of the city. He
was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1903 and to
the Florida Senate in 1905. He served as President of the Senate. In
1908, Trammell was elected Attorney general, and in 1912, he was
elected governor. The hallmark of the Trammell administration was
campaign spending reform and the equalization of property tax
assessments in all counties. In 1916, he was elected to the United
States Senate and served in that capacity until his death in
Washington on May 8, 1936.
1913 Thomas F. West takes the oath of office as
the Attorney General of Florida today, while William N. Sheats is
installed as the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
1941 Spessard Lindsey Holland is sworn in as the
28th governor (1941-1945). He was born at Bartow on July 10, 1892
and died on November 6, 1971. (For more information see entries for
July 10 and November 6.)
1941 J. Tom Watson took the oath of office as
Attorney General today. Watson was somewhat frustrated as Attorney
General since Florida was a "right to work" state and Federal war
industries contracts recognized the rights of unions to organize
laborers. Despite a lawsuit and strong protests by Watson, the
Federal government persisted in this policy. As soon as World War II
was over, Watson immediately and successfully sought to restore the
"right to work" law.
1969 Floyd T. Christian assumes office as the
first Commissioner of Education in Florida. The Constitution
Revision of 1968 provides for this new title, which is a change from
the previously Superintendent of Public Instruction.
1975 Bruce A. Smathers is installed as Florida's
Secretary of State today, and Gerald Lewis takes the oath of office
as the Comptroller of Florida.
1848 Holmes County was established as Florida's
27th county today. The county takes its name from Holmes Creek, the
eastern boundary of the county. County Seat: Bonifay1853 Sumter
County, Florida's 29th county, was created today. The county is
named in honor of General Thomas Sumter, a native of South Carolina
who was prominent in the Revolutionary War. County Seat:
Bushnell1853 David Levy Yulee and his financial partners incorporate
the Florida Railroad Company today. The railroad is planned to run
between Fernandina and Cedar Key.
1861 Governor Madison Starke Perry orders the
occupation of Fort Clinch (Amelia Island) by Florida troops. He also
authorizes Colonel William Chase to seize the Federal forts at
Pensacola if he can.
1861 In the Secession Convention, the Ordinance
of Secession is introduced for debate. The efforts of George T. Ward
of Leon County and Jackson Morton of Santa Rosa County to defer
secession until Georgia and Alabama have seceded are defeated.
1863 In a rather busy day of activity, the Union
Navy ships of the Blockading Squadron engaged in efforts along the
entire coast of Florida. In North Florida, the U.S.S. Uncas reported
an attack by land-based Confederates as it moved along the Nassau
River. Three Federals were wounded. In Tampa Bay, the U.S.S. Tahoma
captured the blockade runner Silas Henry with a cargo of cotton. The
Silas Henry had run aground in Tampa Bay. The U.S.S. Sagamore seized
the British sloop Julia ten miles north of Jupiter Inlet with a
cargo of salt. The Julia is the ship suspected for carrying away the
light from the Cape Florida lighthouse.
1864 Two armed boats for the U.S.S. Roebuck are
dispatched to Jupiter Inlet to halt the influx of small blockade
runners from the Bahamas.
1885 C. M. Cooper is installed as the Attorney
General of Florida.
1888 William B. Lamar takes the oath of office
as Attorney General of Florida.
1889 Francis Philip Fleming, the 15th governor
of Florida (1889-1893), took office today. Fleming was born at
Panama park, Duval County, on September 28, 1841 and died in
Jacksonville on december 20, 1908. (For more information, see
entries for September 28 and December 20.)
1889 F. J. Pons was sworn into office today as
the Treasurer of Florida.
1901 William Sherman Jennings, the 18th governor
of Florida (1901-1905), was sworn into office today. Jennings was
born at Walnut Hill, Illinois, on March 24, 1863. He was a cousin of
three-time Democratic presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan.
He came to Florida in 1885 to complete his training as an attorney
and later opened a practice in Brooksville. He was appointed Circuit
Court Commissioner in 1887 and County Judge in 1888. In 1893, he
resigned the judgeship to serve as a member of the Florida House of
representatives, where he became Speaker in 1895. The primary
election system, which replaced the nominating convention, was
instituted during his administration. Jennings is credited with
saving 3,000,000 acres of public land and for espousing the
reclamation of the Everglades. He died in St. Augustine on february
1914 Mrs. L. A. Whitney became the first woman
to fly aboard a scheduled airline when she flew from St. Petersburg
to Tampa on the Benoist, piloted by Anthony Jannus.
1929 Doyle Elam Carlton took the oath of office
today to become Florida's 25th governor (1929-1933). (For more
information, see entries for July 6 and October 25.)
1965 Jack "Murph the Surf" Murphy and a
companion were arrested today in Miami. They are suspects in the
American Museum of natural History robbery last October in which the
fabled "Star of India," the world's largest sapphire, was stolen.
1965 A three-judge Federal court order Florida
to complete reapportionment by July 1.
1969 In a daring ploy, 81 Cubans shoot their way
past Cuban guards at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. They seek asylum in
1987 Construction started today on the Orlando
Arena, the home of the Orlando Magic, the National Basketball
1855 Manatee County, Florida's 31st county, was
established today. It is named in honor of the manatee or sea cow,
an endangered species. County Seat: Bradenton
1861 Federal troops in Pensacola make ready to
defend Federal forts against confiscation by Florida troops.
1861 Floridians are in a quandary about the news
that South Carolina troops have fired on the Union vessel Star of
the West, which is carrying reinforcements for Fort Sumter in
1861 In Tallahassee, the final debate on the
Ordinance of Secession concludes in late afternoon. Delegates agree
to postpone a final vote until tomorrow.
1862 Elias Yulee, brother of David levy Yulee,
has been nominated by Confederate President Jefferson Davis for a
commission as major in the Confederate Army.
1863 According to federal dispatches, an empty
and unmanned schooner, the Flying Cloud, has been boarded near the
St. Lucie River.
1863 The U.S.S. Ethan Allen today destroyed a
large salt works south of St. Joseph's Bay. The works were capable
of producing 75 bushels of salt per day.
1876 The Union Congregational Church, now the
Arlington Congregation Church, of Jacksonville was organized today.
1990 Shuttle launch STS-32 was launched today
from Cape Canaveral.
1800 A survey party measured 5 inches of snow
today at Point Peter, near the mouth of the St. Mary's River. This
is the highest recorded total in Florida history.
1839 The first Florida Constitution was adopted
in the assembly at St. Joseph's today.
Governor Madison Starke Perry read a telegram from
Florida's congressional delegation that informed them that "Federal
troops are said to be moving or about to move on Pensacola forts."
This warning, given just before the final debate on the state's
secession ordinance, creates a sense of urgency among the delegates.
After two hours of debate, the Secession Convention approves the
measure by a vote of 62-7. Florida thus becomes the third state to
leave the Union. In Tallahassee, crowds dance in the street.
Fireworks, a large parade, and the ringing of church bells join
together to manufacture an atmosphere of celebration and joy.
Similar demonstrations are held in Tampa, St. Augustine, Madison,
Pensacola and Jacksonville. In Pensacola, the commanding officer of
Federal forces consolidates his men in Fort Pickens. Later that
evening, Union Lieutenant H. Erben leads a raiding party which
batters in the gates of Fort McRea. The Union raiding party spikes
the guns of the fort and dumps about a dozen barrels of gunpowder
into the sea.
1863 The Confederate War department authorized
the formation of a new cavalry regiment in Florida to be composed on
men not subject to conscription to operate in Florida and Alabama
west of the Apalachicola River.
1864 Boat crews from the U.S.S. Roebuck, under
the command pf Acting Master John Sherrill, captured the
blockade-running Confederate sloop, Maria Louise, with a cargo of
cotton off Jupiter Inlet, Florida.
1880 Construction started today on the South
Florida Railroad in Sanford.1885 Voters in Plant City approved the
incorporation of that city today. The vote was 49-1.
1888 Henry Flagler's famous Ponce de Leon Hotel,
one of the earliest luxury resorts in Florida, opened today in St.
Augustine.1959 Gold medal Olympic runner Chandra Cheeseborough was
born today in Jacksonville.
1968 Floridians and other Americans joined
together to lament the end of the 141 year-old Saturday Evening
Post. The magazine, which frequently came into Florida homes, was a
staple in the literary diet of rural Floridians.
1839 Florida's first constitution was signed by
members of the constitutional convention meeting in St. Joseph's
today. Although the document would not become the law of the land in
1839, it provided the basic framework for the first state
constitution in 1845.
1861 The Ordinance of Secession, approved by the
Secession Convention yesterday, was signed today. Florida became an
"independent nation" until it joined the Confederate States of
America on January 28. Soon-to-be governor, John Milton, unfurls the
new flag of Florida, a white silk banner with three stars. The stars
represent the three southern states which have seceded-South
Carolina, Mississippi, and Florida.
1864 The U.S.S. Honeysuckle, under the command
of Acting Ensign Cyrus Sears, captured the British blockade runner,
Fly, near Jupiter Inlet. Boat crews from the U.S.S. Roebuck, under
the command of Acting Master Sherrill, captured the British Blockade
runner, Susan, and its cargo of salt at Jupiter Inlet.
1880 Former President Ulysses S. Grant visited
the Silver Springs resort today. Grant was part of a group of
northern tourists who took the steam boat Osceola up the Oklawaha
River to the Springs.
1966 The Constitutional Commission to revise the
1885 state constitution was organized today. The Commission
delivered its recommendations to the Legislature on December 13.
1828 The City of Key West is incorporated today
by the Territorial government of Florida.
1861 Confederate forces seize the U.S. Navy Yard
at Pensacola. Forts McRea and Barrancas were also taken. Federal
forces garrisoned Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island.
1877 Columbus Drew was worn in today as the
Comptroller of Florida.
1911 The Jacksonville YWCA was founded today.
1942 Lieutenant Alexander (Sandy) Nininger, Jr.
of Fort Lauderdale was killed in action today at Bataan, Philippine
Islands. He became the first United States soldier to be awarded the
Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II.
1969 Joe Namath and the New York Jets defeated
the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in the first ever Super Bowl in
Miami. The score was 16-7.
1986 Representative Bill Nelson, a resident of
Brevard County, rode into space today aboard the shuttle Columbia
(STS 61-C), which was launched from Cape Canaveral. 1988 The
first Florida lottery tickets went on sale today. Thousands of
citizens from Alabama and Georgia crossed state lines to purchase
1849 Putnam County was established today. Putnam
County is named for Benjamin Alexander Putnam, a lawyer, politician,
and judge. He was the first president of the Florida Historical
Society. Putnam was born on Putnam Plantation near Savannah,
Georgia. He attended Harvard University, studied law privately in
St. Augustine, and practiced there. In the Seminole War (1835-1842),
Putnam served as a major, colonel, and adjutant general. From 1849
until 1854, he served as the Surveyor General of Florida. He died at
his home in Palatka on January 25, 1869. County Seat: Palatka
1861 Shots from the Federal garrison in Fort
Pickens forced a Confederate reconnaissance detachment to abandon
their effort to reconnoiter the area around the fort. 1863 Benjamin
F. Allen assumes office as Florida's Secretary of State. Allen was
appointed by Governor John Milton to replace Fred L. Villepigue, who
was ruled ineligible for the office by the Florida Attorney General
because he held a commission in the Confederate Army. Allen, who is
a private in the Florida Light Artillery Company, is seeking a
discharge in order to assume his new office.
1863 A Confederate officer from Lake City met
with the commander of the U.S.S. Norwich, operating in the St.
John's River, in an effort to re-open postal routes between Florida
and northern states. Confederate officials, by command of General
Joseph J. Finegan, forward letters from northern
1864 Boat crews from the U.S.S. Two Sisters,
under the command of Acting Master Thomas Chatfield, captured the
schooner William off the Suwannee River today. The William carried a
cargo of salt, bagging, and rope.
1881 W. D. Barnes takes office today as
Florida's Comptroller General.
1939 The first concert in Miami's Lummus Park
was given today by the 20-piece Miami Federal orchestra.
1963 More than 100 U.S. citizens arrived today
from Castro's Cuba.
1964 The Stephen Foster Center in White Springs
observed the 100th anniversary of the composer's death.
1974 The Miami Dolphins won Super Bowl VIII by
defeating the Minnesota Vikings 24-7.
1982 A twin-engine Air Florida jet, bound for
Tampa, crashed into the Potomac River today immediately after
takeoff from Washington's national Airport. Some seventy-eight
persons were killed. The jet, encumbered by ice on the wings,
crashed into the 14th Street Bridge, struck a truck and at least
four cars. Six persons died on the bridge. Horrified commuters and
emergency personnel worked to rescue the passengers from the icy
waters of the river. Traffic was so snarled that emergency vehicles
were forced to resort to using the sidewalks to reach the crash
scene. Some investigators suspected that the mass firing of the air
controllers by the Reagan administration five months earlier
contributed to the disaster, although the final report of the
national Transportation safety Board did not place any blame on this
1993 Space Shuttle launch STS-54 was sent into
space today from Cape Canaveral.
1861 The United States Senators from Florida,
David Levy Yulee and Stephen F. Mallory, were officially informed
today of Florida's secession from the Union.
1862 The bodies of three Union sailors were
recovered on the beach at St. George's Island and given a military
1864 Small boats from the U.S.S. Roebuck chased
the blockade-running British sloop, Young Racer, and forced her
aground north of Jupiter Inlet. The sloop, which was carrying a
cargo of salt, was destroyed by her crew.
1864 The U.S.S. Union, under the command of
Acting Lieutenant Edward Conroy, captured the blockade-running
steamer, Mayflower, and its cargo of cotton near Tampa Bay today.
1874 The Florida Medical Association was founded
today in the office of Dr. Abel Seymour Baldwin in Jacksonville.
1892 Pensacola report four-tenths of an inch of
1941 Oscar-winning actress Faye Dunaway was born
today in Bascom.
1949 Lawrence Kasdan, award-winning
screenwriter, was born today in Miami Beach.1968 The Oakland Raiders
lost to the Green Bay Packers (33-14) before an estimated 75,000
fans in the first Super Bowl held in Miami's Orange Bowl.
1973 The Miami Dolphins won Superbowl VII today
by defeating the Washington Redskins by a score of 14-7.
1811 The United States Congress authorized the
U.S. Army to occupy Florida.
1859 Lake City, formerly known as "Alligator,"
was incorporated today.
1864 The federal schooner, U.S.S. Beauregard,
today captured the British schooner, Minnie, about twenty miles
south of Mosquito Inlet. The captured ship was carrying a cargo of
salt, liquors, and earthenware.
1865 Florida units attached to the Army of
Northern Virginia (Confederate) are engaged in heavy fighting today
at Petersburg, Virginia.
1864 Captain John Westcott of the 2nd Florida
Infantry Battalion has been promoted to major by the Confederate War
Department. His effective date of rank will be January 24, 1863.
1873 Clayton A. Cowgill assumed office as the
Comptroller of Florida today.
1897 The Royal Palm, Henry Flagler's luxury
hotel, opened today in Miami. The Royal palm featured a swimming
pool and other amenities.
1918 Country and western singer/songwriter Hank
Locklin was born today in McLellan.
1925 Hialeah Race Track opened today.
1936 The Florida branch of the Colonial Dames of
the XVII Century was chartered today in New Port Richey.
1949 Ronnie Van Zant, the leader of the
Jacksonville rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, was born in Jacksonville
1959 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in
Daytona Beach was incorporated today.
1979 J. H. Williams of Ocala was appointed
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture by President Jimmy Carter today.
1792 William Augustus Bowles and a band of Creek
warriors today captured the Panton, Leslie and Company trading post
near St. Marks.
1862 Union sailors and soldiers took possession
of Sea Horse Key and Cedar key today. Although there were no
casualties, Union forces destroyed the railroad depot and wharf,
several box cars loaded with supplies, several ships and boats, and
a considerable supply of guns and ammunition. Capture of Cedar Key
effectively ends the importance of the newly constructed railroad
from Fernandina to this Gulf town.
1864 The U.S.S. Roebuck captured the Confederate
sloop Caroline today as it was attempting to run the blockade into
Jupiter Inlet. The Caroline was carrying a cargo of salt, gin, soda,
and dry goods.
1864 The U.S.S. Stars and Stripes captured the
British blockade runner Laura off the Ocklockonee River with a cargo
of whiskey, cigars, and assorted merchandise.
1873 William A. Cocke was sworn in today as
Florida's Attorney General, while Charles H. Foster took the oath of
office as State Treasurer.
1935 Ma Barker and her gangster family were
killed by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by
Melvin Purvis, in a bloody shootout today in Oklawaha near Lake
1936 A "photo-finish" camera was used for the
first time today at Hialeah Race Track.
1944 Country music singer Jim Stafford was born
today in Eloise.
1821 Ossian Bingley Hart, the first Florida-born
governor of the state, was born today in Jacksonville. Hart's
father, Isaiah David Hart, was a founder of Jacksonville. Ossian B.
Hart was an attorney who initially practiced law in Jacksonville,
but eventually moved to Fort Pierce to become a farmer. In 1845, he
represented St. Lucie County in the Florida House of
Representatives. In 1846, he moved to Key West and resumed the
practice of law. In 1856, he moved to Tampa. Although the son
of a slave-owner, Hart was opposed to Florida's secession and
actively opposed it. His opposition earned him a great deal of
trouble during the Civil War. In 1868, Hart was appointed an
Associate Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. In 1870, he was
defeated in a bid for Congress. He was elected governor as a
Republican in 1872, but died of pneumonia in 1874.
1861 Jackson Morton of Santa Rosa County, Patton
Anderson of Jefferson County, and James B. Owens of Marion County
were appointed as Florida's delegates to the Southern Convention
scheduled to meet in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 4.
1862 The U.S.S. Connecticut captured the
Brit6ish blockade-runner, Emma, off the Florida Keys.
1863 A Federal naval officer reports that he has
found 45 bags of salt on a conch bar near Jupiter Inlet. It is also
reported that a small boat with two Confederates has been captured
near the St. Lucie River.
1866 John Beard assumed office today as
1873 S. B. McLin is installed as Florida's
Secretary of State today.
1884 The first issue of the Florida Baptist
Witness was published today.
1919 Florida's first Veterans of Foreign Wars,
Post #30, was chartered today in St. Petersburg.
1964 James W. Kynes took the oath of office
today as Florida's Attorney General. 1981 Snow fell in Fort
Lauderdale and Miami today.
1856 Detachments of Companies C and L of the 2nd
United States Artillery, consisting of six men, were attacked today
by Seminole Indians near Fort Deynaud.
1861 Despite demands by Confederate forces in
Pensacola, Union Lieutenant Adam Slemmer refuses to surrender Fort
Pickens to them.
1862 The Federal gunboat Sagamore, operating off
the Gulf Coast near the Apalachicola River, sent several boats
ashore to investigate conditions on St. Vincent's Island. The
Federal officer in charge reported that the fort on the island had
been burned and abandoned.
1864 The U.S.S. Stars and Stripes captured the
British blockade-runner Laura today off the Ocklockonee River after
a chase of nearly seven hours. The Laura was carrying a cargo of
cigars, whiskey, and general merchandise.
1908 The Jewish Congregation Sons of Israel was
chartered today in St. Augustine.
1912 Daniel Thomas McCarty, the 31st Governor
(1/6-9/28/53), was born today near Fort Pierce. For more
information, see the entries for January 6 and September 28.
1941 Singer Bobby Goldsboro was born today in
1861 A Federal force under the command of Brevet
Major L. G. Arnold occupied Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas
today. In St. Augustine, Colonel G. C. Gibbs announced that the city
was preparing its defenses against a Federal attack.
1862 The U.S.S. Itasca, under the command of
lieutenant Charles H. B. Caldwell, today captured the Confederate
ship, Lizzie Weston, off the coast of Florida en route to Jamaica
with a cargo of cotton.
1863 The effectiveness of the Federal blockade
of the Southern coast is revealed in this captured letter from
Nassau: "There are men here who are making immense fortunes by
shipping goods to Dixie....Salt, for example, is one of the most
paying things to send in. Here in Nassau it is only worth 60 cents a
bushel, but in Charleston brings at auction from $80 to $100 in
Confederate money, but as Confederate money is no good out of the
Confederacy they send back cotton or turpentine, which, if it
reaches here, is worth proportionally as much here as the salt is
there....It is a speculation by which one makes either 600 or 800
per cent or loses all."
1864 The U.S.S. Roebuck today captured the
British blockade-runner Eliza about a mile inside Jupiter Inlet with
a cargo of fourteen bales of cotton. Roebuck also captured the
British sloop Mary inside Jupiter Inlet later in the day. The Mary
had a cargo of 31 bales of cotton.
1926 The first broadcast from Radio Station
WIOD, originating from Collins Island near Miami Beach, was aired
1957 National Football League running back Ottis
"O.J." Anderson was born today in West Palm Beach.
1827 Jefferson County was created today by the
Florida Legislature. Jefferson County is the thirteenth county
created in the state and is named for President Thomas Jefferson,
who died on July 4, 1826. County Seat: Monticello
1874 The public library, reading room, and
historical association of St. Augustine was chartered today.
1885 C. M. Cooper assumed office as the Attorney
General of Florida today.
1890 The St. John's River railroad bridge, the
first major steel railroad bridge in Florida, opened to traffic
1920 Today is the birthday of former U.S.
Congressman Sam M. Gibbons of Tampa. A highly decorated combat
veteran in World War II, Gibbons had a distinguished career in the
Florida House of representatives, the Florida Senate, and was first
elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1962. He
served until 1996.
1924 Country and western singer "Slim" Whitman
was born today in Tampa.
1969 Alan S. Boyd, the first Federal Secretary
of Transportation (appointed January 16, 1967 by President
Lydon Baines Johnson), left office today. Boyd, a native of
Jacksonville, was born on July 20,
1922. After successful stints as the general
counsel for the Florida Turnpike Authority and as a member of the
Florida Railroad and Public Utilities Commission in the Collins
administration, Boyd served on the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board. He
was appointed first to the position of Undersecretary of Commerce
for Transportation by Johnson, and when that position was elevated
to a separate Cabinet department, he was promoted. After his Federal
service, Boyd served as the President of the Illinois Central Gulf
Railroad. He subsequently returned to Federal service as the
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AMTRAK, a position he held
until June 20, 1982.
1977 Today Florida residents as far south as
Cutler Ridge in Dade County saw snow. The extreme cold and numbing
wind brought about widespread power failures, hundreds of traffic
accidents, several deaths and the loss of a large part of the
state's citrus and vegetable crops.
1978 Although appointed on January 4 as State
Attorney, Janet Reno began her tenure today as the first female
State Attorney in Florida.
1861 Florida's United States senators David Levy
Yulee and Stephen R. Mallory, along with U.S. Representative George
S. Hawkins, formally withdraw from the United States Congress today.
This following Florida's secession from the Union.
1861 Florida's Secession Convention adjourns in
1863 The Federal steamer U.S.S. Uncas in the St.
John's River fired on Confederate pickets near Cedar Creek. A
Parrott gun on board the Union vessel exploded, seriously wounding
one man whose arm was shattered and amputated.
1865 The U.S.S. Honeysuckle arrived in Cedar key
today with the British schooner Augusta in tow. The British vessel
will be taken to key West and claimed as a war prize by Acting
Ensign Charles N. Hall and his crew.
1862 The Confederate schooner Olive Branch bound
from Cedar Key to Nassau with a cargo of turpentine was captured by
the U.S.S. Ethan Allen.
1881 J. L. Crawford took the oath of office
today as Florida's Secretary of State.
1927 Today President Calvin Coolidge signed the
Act to Survey A Waterway from Cumberland Sound, Georgia, and Florida
to the Mississippi River." This act was the forerunner of the later
Cross-Florida Barge Canal legislation.
SOME FLORIDA POPULATION FACTS:
1830 34, 730
1863 The Federal steamer U.S.S. Bibb left the
St. John's River for Port Royal, South Carolina, today. It carried a
white refugee named Jackson, who reported to Federal officials that
the Confederates had a man-of-war carrying eight guns on the
Chattahoochee River. He also reported that the steamer Cuba is
preparing to run the blockade via the Suwannee River.
1863 It is reported that Federal Brigadier
General Adam J. Slemmer was captured in the recent Battle of
Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Slemmer first came to the attention of
Floridians when he was a Lieutenant in command of Fort Barrancas in
January 1861. It was Slemmer who ordered Federal troops to
concentrate in Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island in Pensacola
1880 Residents of key West were awakened today
by aftershocks from the earthquakes that struck the island of Cuba.
1908 In Jacksonville, the Kalem Company,
organized in 1907, produced what is regarded as the first dramatic
film in Florida. The picture was entitled, "A Florida Feud
1912 The first train arrived in Key West,
marking the completion of the Florida East Coast Railway. Henry
Flagler arrived in his private car, "Moultrie." The Overseas
Extension of the Florida East Coast system spanned 127.84 miles from
Homestead to Key West. Seventy-five miles were over marsh or water.
The longest viaduct of the system, between Knights Key and Bahia
Honda Key, covered seven miles. Building the extension from Miami to
key West required a labor force of 3-4,000 men and seven years of
work. The railroad extension was abandoned after the destructive
hurricane of 1935, but was eventually adapted for use as a major
highway.1935 Snow started falling late today in the Florida
1973 The Orlando "Sentinel" and the Orlando
"Evening Star" were combined as the "Sentinel Star" today.
1984 The Oakland Raiders scored a 38-9 win over
the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII, which was held in
1985 Ninety percent of Florida's citrus crop was
destroyed by the worst freezing weather in the 20th Century in the
state. Governor Bob Graham declared a "state of emergency" since the
Weather Bureau predicted more cold weather.
1992 The space shuttle (STS 42) was launched
today from Cape Canaveral.
1837 The Seminole Indian leader Osuche and his
son were killed by U.S. Army troops near Lake Apopka.
1851 The State of Florida today appropriated
$1,000 to build a wagon road from Miami to Indian River in St. Lucie
1851 Florida's first Board of Agriculture was
established today.1861 Confederate garrisons at St. Augustine
removes lenses from the St. Augustine and Jupiter Inlet lighthouses
forcing them to shut down.
1865 The British blockade runner Fannie McRae
was captured today by the Federal tender Fox between St. Marks and
Deadman's Bay in the Warrior River.
1873 Jonathan C. Gibbs was sworn into office
today as the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
1880 Aftershocks from the earthquake on Cuba
were felt again by Key West residents.
1923 Hugo Award-winning science-fiction writer
Walter M. Miller, Jr., was born today in New Smyrna Beach.
1935 One inch of snow was reported today in
Panama City, while Apalachicola reported two-tenths of an inch of
the "white rain."
1834 The City of Chattahoochee was incorporated
1838 More than forty Seminole Indians were
captured during a battle with the United States Army at Indian
Crossing on the Lookahatchie (Loxahatchee?) River. Two soldiers were
killed and five wounded. Forty Seminoles were captured.
1840 Captain J. R. Vinton and Company B, 3rd U.
S. Artillery, engaged a force of Seminole Indians at Fort New Smyrna
Beach today. Four soldiers were wounded. Indian casualties are
1840 Captain E. D. Bullock and a detachment from
Company E, 2nd U. S. Dragoons were attacked today by a band of
Seminole Indians near Fort Preston. One soldier was wounded.
1846 William H. Brockenbrough was seated in the
United States House of Representatives as Florida's first member of
the Lower House. Brockenbrough was seated after successfully
contesting the election of Edward C. Cabell. Both Cabell and
Brockenbrough were from Tallahassee.
1853 Charles H. Austin was worn into office
today as the Treasurer of Florida.
1854 Theodore W. Brevard was sworn into office
today as Florida's Comptroller.
1862 Confederate President Jefferson Davis has
recommended Joseph J. Finegan of Fernandina beach be given a
commission as Lieutenant Colonel in the Confederate Army.
1863 The U.S.S. Paul Jones has been assigned to
deliver ammunition and other stores to ships on patrol duty in the
St. John's River. The Paul Jones is also instructed to proceed up
the river "as far as you may deem necessary" on a reconnaissance
mission. After that mission is completed, the ship is to join the
federal blockade off Florida's east Coast.
1884 The first train arrived in Tampa today on
the Plant System.
1985 The space shuttle (STS 51-C) was launched
today from Cape Canaveral. 1927 Former United States Senator from
Florida, Paula Fickes Hawkins, was born today in Salt Lake City,
Utah. Senator Hawkins was elected in 1980 and defeated for
re-election in 1986.
1989 Convicted serial killer Theodore Bundy was
executed today in Starke's Raiford Prison. Bundy died from
electrocution in "Old Smokey." On July 23, 1979, Bundy was convicted
of the murder of two co-eds at Florida State University. During a
period of 15 years, it is suspected that Bundy killed more than
thirty young women in Washington, Utah, Colorado, and Florida.
1814 Petitioners representing the "Republic of
East Florida" asked Congress to admit their republic, with its
capital at Fernandina, into the Union. They were unsuccessful in
1834 Hillsborough County, the state's eighteenth
county, was created today by the Florida Legislature. It is named
for Wills Hills, the Earl of Hillsborough. Hillsborough, who owned a
large land grant in Florida, dispatched the surveyor Bernard Romans
explored the east and west coast of Florida. He described Tampa Bay
as a body of water well-suited for large ships and which could
supply them from the surrounding countryside. County Seat: Tampa.
1842 Companies B, K, and part of Company G of
the 2nd U. S. Infantry, commanded by Major Joseph Plympton, were
attacked today at Haw Creek, a branch of the Wahoo Swamp. One
enlisted man was killed and two others wounded. Two Seminole
warriors were captured.
1849 The City of Tampa was incorporated today.
1851 John Beard was sworn into office as
Florida's Comptroller today.
1895 James J. Corbett knocked out Charley
Mitchell to retain his heavyweight boxing title in a bout fought in
Jacksonville today. The fight lasted three rounds.
1963 Flagler College, located in the old Ponce
de Leon Hotel built by Henry Flagler, was chartered today in St.
1984 NASA scientists and engineers were
delighted with President Ronald Reagan's announcement today that he
fully endorsed the development of a permanently manned U.S. space
station. The development of such a space station would mean hundreds
of new jobs at the Cape Canaveral launch facility in Brevard County.
1767 Rollestown, a Utopian community for the
poor of London, was settled today near San Mateo by Denys Rolle and
forty English immigrants.
1827 Steamboat travel on the Apalachicola River
in the Florida Panhandle.
1828 The steamboat Fannie arrived in Columbus,
Georgia, today on a journey that began at the mouth of the
1836 Calhoun County, named for John C. Calhoun
of South Carolina, was established today. County Seat: Blountstown
1861 The Marion Artillery of St. Augustine
announced today that it had fortified Fort Marion (Castillo de San
Marcos) with several 32 pounders and 8 inch howitzers.
1862 The U.S.S. Sagamore left its moorings at
St. Vincent's Island and moved further up the channel of
1943 The formal commissioning of the Amphibious
Training Base at Fort Pierce took place today at 10:00 a.m. when
Captain C. Gulbranson, USN, read the orders from the U.S. Department
of the Navy.
1962 The U.S. rocket, Ranger 3, launched from
Cape Canaveral strayed from its project path today and missed its
target, the moon, by 20,000 miles.
1965 The body of State Treasurer J. Edwin
Larson, how died in office, is on public display in the Capitol
rotunda in Tallahassee in order to give his many friends and
supporters and opportunity to bid him farewell.
1862 Brigadier General Samuel Jones has been
assigned to command the Army of Pensacola relieving General Braxton
1864 Union General Alexander Asboth, in command
of Federal forces at Pensacola, reports that 1,200 Confederates are
encamped at nearby Pollard. He also reports that two companies of
Confederate cavalry is camped at the head of Choctawhatchee Bay.
1865 Lieutenant Charles A. French of the U.S.S.
Ino captured an unknown ship with a cargo of cotton and sugar today
on the Manatee River.
1939 In order to help Florida citrus growers
avert a complete financial collapse, Florida Commissioner of
Agriculture Nathan Mayo urges the universal adoption of a standard
minimum selling price of thirty-two cents a box.
1949 WTVJ in Miami began operations today as
Florida's first broadcast television station with special
authorization granted by the Federal Communications Commission.
1967 Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger
Chaffee were killed in a fire during a test firing of the first
version of the Apollo spacecraft. NASA officials said an electrical
spark must have ignited the pure oxygen inside the cabin of the
Apollo spacecraft as the three astronauts were seated in the cabin.
The fire broke out at 6:31 p.m. as the Saturn rocket, which carried
the spacecraft, sat on launching pad 34. Because the entire
procedure was a test firing, the gantry remained in place and
blocked the emergency escape system. Unable to escape, the
1992 Aileen Wournos, one of the rare female
serial killers, was convicted of killing three male motorists along
Florida highways in 1990.
1831 Today the name of the West Point community
was changed to Apalachicola.
1861 Former U. S. Senator David Levy Yulee
informs former U.S. Senator that the Federal warship, U.S.S.
Brooklyn, is bound for Fort Pickens with two companies of soldier
aboard. Mallory immediately informs friends in the Union capital
that Confederate forces will not attack as long as conditions do not
change. When this information is passed along to outgoing President
James Buchanan, who ordered the troops be kept aboard the ship and
1863 The U.S.S. Sagamore captured and destroyed
the British blockade runner, Elizabeth, today at the mouth of
1864 The U. S. schooner, Beauregard, captured
the British blockade-runner Racer about ten miles north of Cape
Canaveral. The English vessel had left New Smyrna bound for Nassau
with a cargo of cotton.
1864 The British steamer Rosita was captured
today by the U.S. Army transport steamer Western Metropolis about
eighty miles out of Key West. The Rosita was carrying a cargo of
liquor, cigars, and assorted merchandise.
1878 The reading room of the Jacksonville Young
Christian Association was opened today.
1885 The Florida legislature approved the
incorporation of the City of Ocala today.
1902 H. Clay Crawford took the oath of office
today for the position of Florida Secretary of State.
1927 WMBR Radio, originally chartered in Tampa,
began broadcasting today in Jacksonville.
1958 The United States Air Force successfully
tested its Thor missile today at Cape Canaveral.
1965 Broward Williams took the oath of office
today as the Treasurer of Florida.
1986 The Space shuttle Challenger exploded after
launch from Cape Canaveral today killing all seven astronauts
aboard. The Challenger, which was scheduled to liftoff at 9:38 a.m.,
was kept on the launch pad for two hours because unusually low
temperatures at Cape Canaveral caused ice to form on the shuttle and
ground support system. At 11:38 a.m., the shuttle lifted off
flawlessly from the pad. When the space vehicle had achieved an
altitude of ten miles and immediately prior to the full ignition of
the main engines, the shuttle exploded in a ball of fire that was
visible throughout the State of Florida.
Killed in the explosion were:
Francis R. Scobee Michael J. Smith Judith A. Resnick
Ronald E. McNair
Ellison S. Onizuka Gregory B. Jarvis Christa
1862 The U.S. Storeship Supply captured the
Confederate schooner Stephen Hart south of Sarasota with a cargo of
arms and ammunition.
1864 Governor John Milton informs General Pierre
Beauregard, commanding the Department of South Carolina, Georgia,
and Florida, that Confederate army deserters are organizing
themselves into bands in the state. The areas of the strongest
groups are in LaFayette, Washington, Walton, Taylor and Levy
counties in West Florida. They deserters are also operating in
strong bands from Tampa to Fort Myers in Southwest Florida.
1865 The 34th U. S. Colored Troops have been
transferred to Florida.1885 Frederick Delius, later a world-renowned
composer, celebrated his 23rd birthday at Solano Grover (St. Johns
County), during a short stay in Florida.
1995 Super Bowl XXIX held in Joe Robbie Stadium
SOME FLORIDA FACTS: Cyrus Teed, founder of the
Koreshan Unity Movement, taught his followers that humans resided on
the inside of the earth. Teed, who assumed the name, "Koresh,"
[Persian for "Lion"] organized his followers into a utopian commune,
which was located at present day Estero in Lee County. Teed, who
espoused equal rights for women, envisioned his commune at Estero as
the future center of the world's commercial, political, and
religious activities. In his writings, he prophesied the rise of a
"New Jerusalem" which would be home to 10 million residents, and
which would be built in a minimum of 10 stories. Each story would be
segregated by the type and weight of transportation used. Teed died
in 1908 as a result of wound incurred during a fight with political
opponents on the streets of Fort Myers. His followers, confident
that he would come back from the dead, refused to bury him until
forced to do so by a health inspector for Lee County. Teed's body
was placed in a mausoleum on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and
guarded 24 hours a day. In 1921, a hurricane destroyed the mausoleum
and Teed's body was lost. Because the community practiced celibacy,
the number of member gradually diminished. In 1961, the few
remaining adherents gave the State of Florida 305 acres of land for
use as a state park.
1561 Governor of Pensacola Tristan de Luna was
relieved of his command by Spanish authorities following his
unsuccessful administration of the newly created colony.
1838 Chief Osceola. a leader of the Seminole
Indians, died at Fort Moultrie in Charleston, South Carolina.
1862 The U.S.S. Kingfisher captured the blockade
runner Teresita today in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of
1862 General J. H. Trapier, in command of
Confederate forces in Florida, reports that he has the following
number of men under his command:
Infantry: 133 officers, 1,994 enlisted men
Cavalry: 46 officers, 1,080 enlisted men
Artillery: 6 officer, 89 enlisted men
1943 Baseball player and manager Davey Johnson
was born in Orlando today.
1964 A Ranger spacecraft was launched today from
Cape Canaveral. The Ranger, carrying six television cameras, was
aimed at the moon. It is hoped that the spacecraft will transmit
valuable pictures back to Earth to help with the planning of the
American manned moon landing attempt later in the decade.
1831 The Bank of Pensacola was formed today.
1863 Confederate authorities report that in the
District of East Florida, there are 810 men and officers on duty,
while the District of Middle Florida as a total of 751 men and
1881 Eleazer K. Foster assumed the office of
Superintendent of Public Instruction today in Tallahassee.
1891 The grand Tampa Bay Hotel opened for guests
today. A grand ball would be held on February 5.
1897 The citizens of the community of Lakemont
considered changing its name today to "Frostproof" after being
spared serious damage to citrus crops during two consecutive hard
freezes. The formal incorporation of the community as "Frostproof"
occurred on August 8, 1914.
1951 Harry Wayne Casey of KC and the Sunshine
Band was born in Hialeah.
1958 The first American satellite, Explorer I,
was placed into orbit today by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency
from Cape Canaveral aboard a Jupiter C rocket.
1961 Ham, America's first astrochimp, was shot
into space today in an 18 minute flight that reached an altitude of
150 miles. Ham's flight in the Mercury capsule is a preliminary test
before the launching of a human into orbit.
1971 Apollo 14 was successfully launched today
at Cape Canaveral.