1905 St. Lucie county was named "for Saint Lucy
of Syracuse, saint of the Roman Catholic church. The name was first
given to a fort built by the Spanish near Cape Canaveral in 1565.
1898 The Battles of San Juan and Kettle Hills
occurred on this date during the short-lived Spanish-American War.
The American Army, under the command of General William Shafter, are
led by the "Buffalo Soldiers," African-American troops who are the
first troops to reach the top of San Juan Hill. It is Lieutenant
Colonel Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt who receives most of the press
notices and becomes an instant military hero. Based on his military
exploits and the publicity surrounding them, Roosevelt was elected
Vice-President in 1900 and assumed the presidency when McKinley was
assassinated in 1901.
Shafter, who was called "El Gordo [the Fat One],"
weighed over 380 pounds and had to use a buckboard in the field
because no horse could carry his weight for any extended period of
1776 English reinforcements from St. Augustine
are assembled to deal with a successful raid by American rebels from
Georgia on the plantations of northeast Florida.
1864 The U.S.S. Merrimac, under the command of
Acting Lieutenant W. Budd, captured the blockade-running sloop
Henrietta at sea west of Tampa. The Henrietta was carrying a cargo
A Federal expedition from Fort Meyers sails for
Bayport on the west coast of Florida, near Cedar Keys. It is
composed of the 2nd U.S. Colored Infantry and the 2nd Union Florida
Cavalry [white], some 240 men in all.
1929 The Radio Corporation of America [RCA]
opened the first successful coast-to-coast radio station on Palm
Beach's Rainbow Pier. Commercial radio first arrived in the United
States in 1922 when KDKA went on the air in Pittsburgh,
1935 The first land was acquired for what would
eventually become Torreya State Park on the Apalachicola River near
Bristol. The park opened to the public in 1940.
1950 Governor Fuller Warren takes credit for
fulfilling a campaign promise made in the election of 1948 when the
"no fence" law goes into effect. This law required livestock owners
to fence their animals and to keep them off the state's highways.
1951 Mary Hardy Reeser entered the record books
and achieved fame of a sort when she became the most famous case of
"spontaneous combustion"--that is the self-immolation of the human
body because of entirely natural causes.
1957 Daytona Beach Community College was
established on this day.
1958 North Florida Junior College [Madison] was
1961 Author Ernest Hemingway died.
1693 Spanish expedition under Laureano del
Torres y Ayala arrived at Pensacola Bay by following an overland
route from the St. Marks (Apalachicola) area.
1887 The first issue of the Florida Metropolis
published. This paper was later renamed the Jacksonville Journal.
1903 The Crystal River community was formally
organized as a town.
1957 Gulf Coast Community College founded at
Prominent Floridians born on this day:
1885 Herman Gunter, first Director of the
Florida Geological Survey , was born in Brooklyn, New York.
1909 Hoke S. Welch, newspaperman, was born in
Atlanta, Georgia. Welch served as the managing editor of the Miami
Daily News for many years.
1823 Monroe County, Florida's sixth county, was
created and named for James Monroe, the fifth President of the
1863 Boats from the U.S.S. Fort Henry, under the
command of Lieutenant McCauley, captured the sloop, Emma, north of
Sea Horse Key [Cedar Key] with a cargo of tar and Confederate mail.
1898 The U.S. Fleet destroyed the Spanish Navy
as it attempted to flee from Santiago Harbor. Spain loses 800
sailors and all its ships, while the U.S. loses only one sailor.
1896 Pompano Beach is first settled.
1908 Pompano Beach is incorporated as a town.
1925 The "1920s Boom" continues. Permits were
granted for 425 hotels, mostly in South Florida, valued at
$27,560,950, a record to that time.
Tourists travel to Florida is reported up 243
percent over 1924.
1968 Hillsborough Community College is founded
1971 Melbourne native Jim Morrison of the rock
group, the Doors, drowned in a bathtub in Paris on this date.
Morrison is buried in Paris.
1594 Maria Viscente and Vincent Solana were wed
in the St. Augustine Catholic Mission. This was one of the earliest
European marriages in Florida.
1868 Military government came to an end when
civilian control of the state government was restored. Federal
troops continued to occupy Florida until the striking of the
Compromise of 1877. The [Tallahassee] Floridian reported that the
Republican Party held a Presidential campaign rally to celebrate
this auspicious occasion and that the crowds from all over the
state, particularly newly enfranchised freedmen, made up "Probably
the largest crowd here, ever before at any time."
1923 Bridge over the Banana River [Brevard
County] was formally opened with great fanfare. This bridge made it
possible to access the barrier island [present day Highway A1A] by
1924 Opening of the Conners Highway across
Florida. More than 15,000 individuals celebrate the event at
1955 Governor LeRoy Collins breaks ground near
Fort Lauderdale for the construction of the Sunshine Parkway.
1824 [In the matter of the Republic of East
Florida] Letter from the Correspondence of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas
Adam Smith, United States Army Commander in Florida 1812-1813, to
the Adjutant and Inspector General:
Camp Before St. Augustine
5th July, 1812
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
favors of the 26th and 27th of May, 1st, 2nd, and 13th of June. It
transmit herewith a return of the Detachment under my command for
I have been informed by his Excellency Governor
Mitchell that at least one hundred and fifty more Volunteers are on
their way to join me. This force with the Marines on Amelia Island
aided by six or eight gunboats will be sufficient to reduce the town
if authority is received to take active measures in a short time.
The Volunteers at present with me [are] only engaged
to serve twenty days after their arrival, but I expect to be able to
prevail on them to remain longer, particularly if I am authorized to
reduce the town and the citadel (Castillo de San Marcos]. The
[Spanish] garrison has been reinforced with one hundred blacks from
I send herewith the copy of a contract made with
Major] Long for the supply of rations in this Province during the
pleasure of the Secretary of War.
1830 Judge F. Bethune reports weather conditions
for his New Ross plantation five miles north of Jacksonville on the
St. Johns River as 82 degrees and fair weather in the morning, but
by three o'clock , the temperature had soared to 95 degrees.
1838 The United States Congress votes to enlarge
the U.S. Army to a strength of 11,800 men as a result of the demands
of the Second Seminole War in Florida.
1894 On this day, Elwyn Thomas, Justice of the
Supreme Court of Florida, was born at Ankona, Florida.
1812 From the correspondence of Lieutenant
Colonel Thomas Adam Smith, United States Army, encamped before the
Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine.
"The Spaniards have not altered their conduct since
the arrival of the one hundred black troops and it is difficult to
determine whether they or the Patriots are the most inactive. It is
unfortunate that the [U.S.] Government did not authorize the taking
of the town immediately on my arrival before its walls. The
Spaniards were then so panic struck and badly defended that it would
have fallen an easy prey. If well defended now, the lives of many
brave men will make its possession a dear attainment. However, if
prompt measures are even now taken, I conceive the Garrison will not
hold out long."
1864 A Federal column of black and white
soldiers advanced from Cedar Keys on the Gulf Coast into the
interior. After the column had advanced for a few miles, it was
attacked by Confederate cavalry and retreated to Cedar Keys. The
Federal force suffered eight wounded. Confederate losses are
1876 Gainesville Sun first published as a weekly
newspaper called the Gainesville Times.
1887 Florida's 25th governor, Doyle Elam
Carlton, was born at Wauchula. Carlton's term of office was from
January 8, 1929-January 3, 1933. He died in Tampa on October 25,
1863 The U.S.S. DeSoto, with Captain W. M.
Walker in command, captured the blockade runner, Lady Maria, off the
coast of Clearwater, Florida, with a cargo of cotton.
1835 President Andrew Jackson approves a measure
to prevent traders and runaway slave hunters out of the Seminole
territory. This is in an attempt to quickly end the conflict between
white Floridians and the Seminoles. The measure is not successful,
and the United State Army is dragged into the Second Seminole War
1838 The Territorial Legislative Council of
Florida was reorganized by the U.S. Congress into a bicameral body
with an Upper House [Senate] and a Lower House [House of
1862 The U.S.S. Penquin, under the command of
Lieutenant J. C. Williamson, is ordered to Key West for duty with
the East Gulf Blockading Squadron.
1863 The Trustees of Florida's Internal
Improvement Fund withdrew from public sale all lands lying within
two miles of a coast or marsh. The purpose of this action was to
prevent speculators from buying all lands suitable for salt
production. Salt was an essential item for civilian and military use
during the Civil War.
1864 The small schooners, U.S.S. Ariel [Acting
Master Russell], U.S.S. Sea Bird [Acting Ensign Ezra L. Robbins],
and the U.S.S. Stonewall [Acting Master Henry B. Carter],
accompanied by the 29-ton sloop, Rosalie, [Acting Master Coffin],
transported Union troops on a raid on Brooksville. After
disembarking the troops, the Ariel and the Sea Bird proceeded to
Bayport, where a landing party captured a quantity of cotton and
burned the custom house.
1965 LeRoy Collins, former governor of Florida,
was named Under Secretary of Commerce by President Lyndon Johnson.
He served in that capacity until October 1, 1966.
1848 Company C, Florida Volunteer Battalion,
mustered out of service at Mobile following service in the
1862 In response to a July 4 letter from S. R.
Mallory which informed Governor John Milton that the 2nd Florida
regiment had lost 471 soldiers since May 1 and which suggested that
the governor start a recruitment drive for that unit, Milton replied
to General James Longstreet on this date that an effort would be
made. Milton states that this will be a hard task since so many have
already been mustered into Confederate service and that "those who
are left are scattered throughout the state."
1863 Two U.S. Navy cutters, the Restless and the
Rosalie, captured the schooner Ann and an unnamed sloop in Horse
Creek, Florida, with cargoes of cotton.
1951 William Thomas Cash (July 23, 1878-July 8,
1951), first state librarian for Florida, died . A Teacher and
school superintendent in Taylor County, Cash was also a member of
the Florida House of Representatives (1909, 1915, 1917) and a member
of the State Senate (1919). From 1925 until 1928, he was the editor
of the Perry Herald. In April 1927, Cash was appointed state
librarian, a post he held until his death. During his
administration, he built the library from a small collection of
1,500 uncatalogued volumes to over 50,000 volumes. Cash was the
author of two books, The History of the Democratic Party in Florida
(1936) and the four-volume The Story of Florida (1938).
1974 Dorothy W. Glisson (Mrs. W. E.) appointed
to position of Secretary of State to serve remainder of the term of
Richard B. Stone.
1539 Hernando de Soto inaugurates postal service
in Florida when he writes a letter to the Cabildo of Santiago de
Cuba from Espiritu Santo (Tampa Bay).
1835 William Dunningham Bloxham, 13th governor
of Florida [January 4, 1881-January 6, 1885] and 17th governor
[January 5, 1897-January 8, 1901], was born in Leon County.
Bloxham's first term of office was marked by the sale of 4,000,000
acres of public land in Florida to Hamilton Disston for $1,000,000.
His second term was consumed with finding solutions to the economic
distress caused by the hard freezes of the mid-1890s.
1862 The Federal schooner Wanderer is ordered to
check the Indian River Inlet to determine whether that waterway is
being used by Confederate blockade runners.
1863 A boat crew from the U.S.S. Tahoma,
commanded by Lieutenant Commander A. A. Semmes, captured an unnamed
flatboat with a cargo of sugar and molasses near Manatee River,
1888 Town of Lake Helen incorporated.
1957 City of St. Petersburg Beach is created
when the municipalities of Pass-A-Grille , Don Ce Sar ,
and Belle Vista Beach  are consolidated with St. Petersburg
1861 Colonel Brown, Federal commander of Fort
Pickens in Pensacola Harbor, receives reinforcements of New York
Volunteers, but informs the Secretary of War that more are needed to
hold the fort against an anticipated Confederate assault.
1862 A Federal ship departs Egmont Key for Key
West with a full manifest of Union sympathizers and runaway slaves.
1864 U.S.S. Roebuck, Acting Master William L.
Martine commanding, captured the blockade-running British schooner,
Terrapin, at Jupiter Inlet with a cargo of cotton and turpentine.
1892 Spessard Lindsay Holland, the 28th governor
of Florida [January 7, 1941-January 2, 1945], was born at Bartow. He
graduated from Emory College, now Emory University. A veteran of
World War I, Holland presided over the militarization of the state
during World War II. Highlights of his administration include the
creation of the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and the
Everglades National Park. Holland was appointed to fill the
unexpired term of Charles O. Andrews in the United States Senate.
Holland was elected to four additional terms. He left the Senate in
January 1971. He died in Bartow on November 6, 1971.
1898 In the Spanish-American War, General
William Shafter demands the surrender of the city of Santiago.
American troops are weak and suffering high casualties from malaria.
The Spanish surrender the city on July 17. American casualties are
514 dead from disease and 260 from combat. Thousands of American
troops are sick.
1875 Mary McLeod Bethune was born. On October 3,
1904, she opened her school in Daytona. Since she had only $1.50 in
cash, it was necessary for her to scrounge to keep the school open.
Describing the early days, Mrs. Bethune wrote, "We burned logs and
used the charred splinters as pencils, and mashed elderberries for
ink....I haunted the city dump and the trash piles behind the
hotels, retrieving discarded linen and kitchenware, cracked dishes,
broken chairs, pieces of old lumber. Everything was scoured and
mended." She achieved national prominence as an advisor to Franklin
Delano Roosevelt and Mrs. Roosevelt during the New Deal. In 1923,
her school became Bethune-Cookman College and exists today as one of
the great African-American institutions of higher learning.
1947 Town of Hilliard founded.
1963 Florida State Symphony and Florida State
Opera created by the Florida Legislature. Both cultural
organizations are administered by the Florida State University
School of Music.
1864 A landing party from U.S.S. James L. Davis,
under the command of Acting Master Griswold, destroyed Confederate
salt works near Tampa. These works were capable of producing 150
bushels of salt per day. The vats, reportedly owned by secessionists
"Haygood" and "Carter," were reported to Federal authorities by a
Mr. Johnston of Tampa.
1864 The following Florida units are
participants in the Battle of Atlanta (July-September 1864):
Florida Marion Artillery
Florida First Cavalry Regiment
Florida 1st (Reorganized) Infantry Regiment
Florida 3rd Infantry Regiment
Florida 4th Infantry Regiment
Florida 6th Infantry Regiment
Florida 7th Infantry Regiment
1867 First state-wide convention of the
Republican Party is held in Tallahassee.
1906 Tracks of the Miami Electric Street Railway
Company begun at the power house and completed to Avenue "B" by a
crew of workmen. Extensions north to Little River and south to
Coconut Grove planned.
1969 Dr. Thomas G. Carpenter is appointed as the
first president of the University of North Florida at Jacksonville.
1861 The East Florida State Seminary holds its
closing exercises for the year.
1862 The Federal gunboat, Tahoma, arrives at Key
West with the Confederate schooner, Uncle Mose, and its cargo of
cotton as the prize.
1863 The 1st, 3rd and 4th Florida Infantry
Regiments are part of the fighting near Jackson, Mississippi.
According to official reports, these units, plus the 47th Georgia
and Cobb's Battery, took 200 prisoners and the colors of the 28th,
41st, and 53rd Illinois Regiments.
1864 U.S.S. Ariel, the Sea Bird, the Stonewall,
and the Rosalie transported Union troops for a raid on Brooksville,
where they captured a quantity of cotton. The troops also burned the
Federal troops advance on Confederate pickets at
Cedar Creek at the railroad. Two Confederate scouts from the 2nd
Florida Cavalry are captured and killed.
Master W. L. Martine of the bark, Roebuck, report
that twenty-six refugees have arrived at Indian River Inlet and ask
for transportation to St. Augustine.
1875 Citizens of Leesburg vote for incorporation
as a city.
1944 Long time congressman, Ira William (Bill)
McCollum, Jr., was born in Brooksville.
1958 Dan Sikes of Jacksonville wins the National
Public Links tournament at Chicago.
1781 Members of the American Continental
Congress recommend "relief payments" for American prisoners of war
released from British captivity at St. Augustine.
1861 The 2nd Florida Infantry Regiment is
assembled at the Old Brick Church in West Jacksonville and mustered
into Confederate service. The Alachua Guards, Leon Rifles, Columbia
Guards, Hammock Guards (Marion County), Gulf State Guards of Jackson
County, St. Johns Greys, St. Augustine Rifles, Hamilton Blues, Davis
Guards of Nassau County, and the Madison Rangers.
Two detachments of Confederate Coast Guards are
called to active duty by Brigadier General J. Taylor.
1863 Confederate report that they opened fire on
three launches in the St. Mark's River opposite old Port Leon.
Although the men in the launches return fire, no Confederate
casualties are reported.
1864 Union and Confederate troops clash at
Little and Big Trout Creek.
1865 William Marvin is appointed Provisional
Governor of Florida by President Andrew Johnson and directed him to
call a constitutional convention to write a new constitution for the
state as a condition for being readmitted to the Union. Although the
Convention met in Tallahassee on October 28 and wrote a new
governing document, the new constitution, which would have become
effective on November 7, was never activated because Congress
assumed responsibility for establishing the rules for readmission
and Johnson's program was rejected.
1887 Present day Titusville was incorporated as
the City of Sand Point on this date.
1971 Rhonda Spence became the first Florida
citizen to cast a ballot under the age of twenty-one when she voted
in a city election in DeFuniak Springs. Twenty-year old Lennie H.
Andrews, a sailor, had turned in an absentee ballot on the Friday
preceding the election, but the ballot was not opened until after
Miss Spence had cast her vote.
1972 In the first Democratic National Convention
held at the City of Miami Beach, Senator George McGovern of South
Dakota was nominated to run against incumbent President Richard M.
1832 Congress appoints a committee of three men
to investigate the country west of the Mississippi River with the
idea of finding a suitable area for relocating Indians from Georgia,
Alabama, and Florida.
1846 Augustus E. Maxwell became the Attorney
General of Florida and served until April 11, 1848.
1861 A detachment of the Florida Mounted
Volunteers is sent to take up station at Fort Meade. Under the
command of 1st Lieutenant J. R. Durrance, the unit includes a
sergeant, a corporal, and fifteen enlisted men.
1863 The U.S.S. Jasmine, with Acting Master
Alfred L. B. Zerega, captured the sloop Relampage, near the Florida
Keys. The Relampage was heading out of Havana with a cargo of copper
1864 A detachment of Federal cavalry landed at
Broward's Neck, Duval County.
1896 First convention of the Florida Division of
the United Daughters of the Confederacy opened in Jacksonville.
1926 The Orlando Art Association changed its
named to Loch Haven Art Center, Incorporated.
1839 This is the date Chitto Tustenuggee and
Halleck Tustenuggee agreed to move the Seminoles south of Pease
Creek and to "remain their until further arrangements were made."
This arrangement was negotiated by Major General Alexander Macombs
on May 20, and which "ended" the Second Seminole War by allowing the
Indians to remain in Florida. The "peace" was short-lived because
neither Indians nor whites accepted the terms of this peace.
1862 The Florida Sentinel reports that Florida
has contributed eight regiments of infantry, two light artillery
companies, one regiment of cavalry, and two independent partisan
cavalry companies to the war effort.
1863 U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba, under the command
of Commander Wyman, captured the steamer, Lizzie, off the coast of
1864 Confederate forces under Captain McElbey of
the 5th Florida Cavalry are located at Green's Plantation on the
road to Baldwin. Federal forces are advancing down the road. A small
skirmish is fought at Little Trout Creek. The Confederate forces
retreat toward Baldwin, while the Federal forces move to the
vicinity of Otter Creek.
1885 Construction began on the 55 mile stretch
of railroad from Tavares to Kissimmee. This line, originally the
Tavares, Apopka and Gulf Railway Company, is now a part of the
Seaboard Coastline System.
Roy H. Chapman, Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme
Court (1945-1946) , was born in Lake Butler, Florida.
1902 Democratic candidates for state offices
chosen by popular votes instead of convention balloting in the
state's first-ever primary election.
1903 The City of Perry elects its first town
1821 Andrew Jackson prepares take possession of
Florida for the United States following its purchase from Spain.
This is the final day of Spanish control of La Florida and will end
Spanish control of territory on the North American continent.
1926 The first undersea color photographs were
taken off the coast of Florida, ushering in a new era of
oceanographic research and discovery.
1930 Michael Bilirakis, long-time Florida
congressman, was born in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
1969 Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Ed Aldrin, and
Michael Collins are launched from the John F. Kennedy Space Center
(Cape Canaveral) aboard Apollo 11. The target of the mission was to
land a man on the moon, thus fulfilling a promise made to the world
by President Kennedy nearly a decade earlier. The Apollo 11 was
launched from Pad A at 9:32 a.m. (EDT).
1821 General Andrew Jackson formally accepts
sovereignty to Florida on behalf of the United States in Pensacola
at Government House and Fort Barrancas. American troops, led by
Colonel George Brooke (for whom Fort Brooke--later Tampa--was
named), with General Jackson following, exchanged courtesies with
Spanish Governor Cavalla and a formal exchange of ownership ceremony
1861 Already facing shortages of essential
civilian goods, such as newsprint, the St. John's Mirror of
Jacksonville was published with pages one-fourth the regular size.
1862 The 6th and 7th Florida Infantry regiments,
along with the Marion Light Artillery, are ordered to Tennessee to
protect that state against and anticipated Federal campaign.
1863 The C.S.S. Florida, with Commander John
Newland Maffitt at the conn, puts into Bermuda to obtain coal and
make repairs. In addition, the crew of the Florida buried J. L.
Lynch, the Assistant Paymaster, who had died of consumption.
Maffitt, upon reaching Bermuda, send word to the port commander that
he planned to salute the British flag and asked whether or not the
British would return the salute. Colonel William Munro, the British
commander, consulted with the Governor and informed Maffitt that the
British would return gun for gun any salute offered. This, perhaps,
is the only time such an honor was paid to the Confederate naval
flag.--See Frank L. Owsley, Jr., The C.S.S. Florida, Her Building
and Operations, pp. 74-75.
1864 A detachment of Federal cavalry occupy
Callahan in Duval County and burned two rail cars loaded with iron.
They also arrest Wingate Broward and Joseph Hagans, while
confiscating a number of horses and heads of cattle.
1877 The First Florida Artillery was organized
in Jacksonville with George C. Wilson as the captain. This unit was
renamed on April 1, 1884, and was then known as the Wilson Battery.
1881 City of Maitland incorporated.
1908 Kissimmee proposes the first city ordinance
to regulate airplane flights and to mandate such safety features as
brakes, lights, etc.
1845 The Florida Legislature authorizes the
Secretary of State to establish a state library for the use of the
Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of state government.
1863 The U.S. District Court in Key West
approves the appropriation of the captured Confederate sloop,
Rosalie, into the Union navy for use as part of the squadron
blockading Charlotte Harbor.
The U.S.S. Sagamore, a Union gunboat, destroys a
Confederate starch mill at Cape Florida.
1864 Union troops from Bayport are on the march
inland (some 40 miles) for the purpose of destroying plantations,
confiscating livestock, and to test Confederate resistance. The
Union force is made up of 240 men from Ft. Myers.
1899 The Florida Power Corporation of St.
Petersburg is incorporated.
1861 The Montgomery Mounted Rifles, a
Confederate force, landed on Santa Rosa Island. The Confederates
attacked a small boat that was on its way to the shore from the
Union ship, Mohawk. The Federal crew suffered a number of wounded,
and the officer in charge of the landing party was killed.
1863 Federal soldiers from the U.S.S. Fort
Henry, anchored at Cedar Key, captured twenty-two bales of cotton on
an expedition up the Waccasassa River.
1864 Confederate units reoccupy their lines near
1879 The first issue of the Florida Telegraph,
now the Bradford County Telegraph, was published in Starke.
1901 Jacksonville's Stanton School, founded in
December 1868 as a pioneer high school for freedmen, was ordered
rebuilt following the great Jacksonville fire. The fire, which
occurred on May 3, 1901, destroyed 2,300 buildings and inflicted
more than $15,000,000 in losses. More than 9,000 persons were made
1978 Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. was appointed
Secretary of State by Governor Reubin Askew. McCrary was the second
African-American to serve in this post and as a member of the
1598 In an unusual move, Fray Francisco de
Avila, a Franciscan monk, refused to testify at the St. Augustine
trial of seven Indians accused of killing another Franciscan priest.
1861 The 1st Florida Cavalry Regiment, under the
command of Colonel G. W. M. Davis, is assembled at Camp Mary David,
about six miles south of Tallahassee. The regiment consists of 10
companies drawn from Columbia, Nassau, Suwanee, Leon, Levy, Duval
and Alachua counties.
1863 Union and Confederate forces skirmish along
the mouth of the Waccasassa River. Two Union soldiers are killed.
1891 David Shelby Walker, the eight governor of
Florida (December 20, 1865-July 4, 1868) died on this day in
Tallahassee. Walker, an ardent Whig and Constitutional Unionist,
opposed secession, but supported the Confederacy when Florida left
the Union. His administration had the difficult task of restoring
civil government during the occupation by Federal troops when the
1905 The Jacksonville Young Men's Christian
Association, originally organized in 1870, is re-organized and
1916 Joe Grotegut, long-time managing editor of
the Daytona Beach Morning Journal, was born this day in Rock Island,
1922 Alan S. Boyd, the first Secretary of
Transportation [January 6, 1967-January 20, 1969], was born in
Jacksonville. He became the first Floridian to serve in the cabinet
of a president of the United States. (Stephen R. Mallory of
Pensacola served as Secretary of the Navy in the Confederate cabinet
of Jefferson Davis.)
1965 Today is the anniversary of the
establishment of Tallahassee Community College.
1969 At 4:15 (EDT), Astronaut Neil Armstrong
advised controllers at Kennedy Space Center that, "The Eagle has
landed." The United States successfully carried out the promise of
the late President John F. Kennedy to put a man on the moon before
the end of the decade of the 1960s.
1985 On this day, Mel Fisher discovered the
wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, a Spanish galleon, sunk in a
1622 hurricane, carrying more than forty tons of gold and silver.
1821 On this date, Escambia and St. Johns
Counties became the first two counties in Florida (now numbering
67). Escambia County is named for the Escambia River, but the
origins of this name is lost forever. Some scholars think "Escambia"
is derived from the Spanish verb, "cambar," which means to barter.
Others, however, argue that the word is derived from either the
Choctaw or Chickasaw dialects. St. Johns County was named for San
Juan Bautisata, the Catholic saint.
1839 An enlisted man in Company F of the 6th
U.S. Infantry, commanded by Captain J.P. Davis, was killed by
Indians while riding the mail route between Fort Brooke (Tampa) and
1862 Federal naval officials are concerned over
the disappearance of the U.S.S. Beauregard near the mouth of the
Crystal River. Union officials report that the ship and its crew
were likely captured by Confederate forces or lost at sea.
1863 The Quartermaster General of the
Confederacy issued a call for as many Florida palmettos as can be
harvested for use in Richmond hospitals.
The Confederate blockade runner, James Battle,
arrived in Key West with a cargo of 600 bales of cotton.
1864 Confederate forces burn and destroy two
trestles on the Cedar Keys Railroad about five miles south of
On July 20, an expedition of 400 men from the 2nd U.
S. Colored Infantry and the 2nd Florida Cavalry (U.S.) moves from
Cedar Keys to St. Andrews bay on a mission into the interior. The
campaign continues until July 29, with tremendous destruction of
property and the confiscation of 115 slaves.
1896 Boynton Beach was founded on this day by
Major N. S. Boynton of Michigan.
1898 General Nelson Miles sails with a United
States invasion fleet for the Spanish-owned island of Puerto Rico as
the hostilities in Cuba are now into their third month.
Cuban General Garcia withdraws his forces from
Santiago because of a disagreement with General William Shafter, the
U.S. Commanding General.
1899 Ernest Hemingway, noted author and one-time
resident of Key West, was born on this date. During his tenure as a
"Westie," Papa Hemingway used the setting for his novel, To Have and
1920 Boynton Beach is incorporated.
1822 First official session of Territorial
Legislature Council began in Pensacola.
1839 Twenty-four U.S. soldiers were killed in a
surprise dawn raid by 250 Indians on the Caloosahatchee River near
present-day Fort Myers. The detachment of 28 soldiers, under the
command of Lieutenant Colonel __________[Harvey] were enroute to
Charlotte Harbor to establish a trading post pursuant to General
Macombs's (See FOR JULY 15) treaty. The attacking force of more than
200 Seminoles were led by Holata Micco (Billy Bowlegs) and Chikika,
the last of the Caloosa chiefs.
1861 Floridians read in their newspapers that
General George B. McClellan has been appointed to the command of the
Federal Army of the Potomac.
1863 A small boat from the U.S.S. Fort Henry,
commanded by Orderly Sergeant C. Nugent, made a midnight
reconnaissance into Bayport.
1864 Colonel James Shaw, commanding the 7th U.S.
Colored Infantry, embarks on an expedition up the St. Johns River to
A Federal force composed of elements of the 7th
Vermont Veterans Volunteers, the 82nd U.S. Colored Infantry, the 1st
Florida Cavalry (U.S.), the 14th New York Cavalry, and the 1st
Florida Battery (U.S.) attacked Confederate forces at the
newly-completed Fort Hodgson (Camp Gonzales) 15 miles north of
Pensacola. Eight Confederates were captured, in addition to the
regimental flag of the 7th Alabama Cavalry and a considerable amount
The following Florida units participate in the
ill-fated Battle of Atlanta on this date:
Florida Marion Artillery
Florida 1st Cavalry Regiment
Florida 1st (Reorganized) Infantry Regiment
Florida 3rd Infantry Regiment
Florida 4th Infantry Regiment
Florida 6th Infantry regiment
Florida 7th Infantry Regiment (not directly
1885 F. E. Henderson, former Assistant Director
of the State Beverage Department, was born this day in Sherman
1836 On this day, Seminole Indians attack the
Cape Florida lighthouse on Key Biscayne. Assistant keeper, John W.
B. Thompson, and a slave return fire until evening. The two men are
wounded and the slave dies. The Seminoles set the lighthouse afire,
and when a large drum of oil is punctured, the entire building
appears ready to burn. Thompson retreats to the top of the
lighthouse to escape the flames. In desperation, he throws a keg of
gunpowder to the bottom of the tower. The explosion rattles the
building, momentarily suppressing the fire. The Seminoles are
convinced that both men are dead and withdraw. Thompson manages to
survive, although he is badly burned by the fire.
He is rescued a few days later by the crew of the
U.S.S. Motto, whose crew had heard the explosion although they were
about twelve miles at sea.
1839 One enlisted man was killed when Seminoles
attacked a column of the 2nd Dragoons, commanded by Colonel D. E.
Twiggs, on the Caloosahatchee River, seven miles from Charlotte
1845 James T. Archer is sworn in as the first
Secretary of State (1845-1848) in Florida, and Nathaniel P. Bemis
becomes the first Comptroller of Florida. Bemis' tenure of office
lasted only until August 26, 1845, when he was replaced by Hugh
Archer. Bemis is again named the Comptroller on January 2, 1847, and
serves until he is once again replaced by Hugh Archer on July 24,
1847. Under the Constitution of 1845, the Comptroller was elected by
joint votes of both Houses of the Legislature.
1849 C. W. Downing becomes the third Secretary
of State (1849-1853) of Florida.
1863 Union forces at Jacksonville begin a five
day campaign against Confederate fortifications at McGirts Creek
(north of Jacksonville). In this campaign, Federal troops drive
Confederates forces from their breastworks, tear up a section of
railroad, and burn the railroad bridge over the St. Marys River.
1917 Congregation Beth-David, Miami's oldest
Jewish congregation (begun in 1913 as B'nai Zion), is chartered.
1840 Sixteen enlisted men, under the command of
Sergeant C. O. Williams, are attacked by Indians on the Wekiva
1847 Hugh Archer becomes the Comptroller of
Florida for the second time on this date. His previous term was from
August 26, 1845 until January 1, 1847.
1862 The U.S.S. Quaker City, with Commander __
Frailey at the helm, captured the blockade runner, Orion, at
Campeche Bank, south of Key West.
1863 The gunboat, U.S.S. Sagamore, reported that
it had discovered eleven barrels of turpentine at Haul Over,
thirteen miles north of Cape Canaveral. The Federals speculated that
local Confederates were planning to sent it out on a blockade
1864 Union forces cross the South Fork of Black
Creek (near Jacksonville) and attack two trestles on the
1898 Spanish garrison at San Luis and Palmo
Soriano, Cuba, surrender to U.S. forces.
1922 W. S. Cawthon is sworn in as the
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
1928 Stuart Bank and Trust Company failed to
open its doors, a victim of the "bust" and the failure of the
Bankers Trust of Atlanta, its primary fiscal agents.
1931 City of Miami Shores was re-named the City
of North Miami.
1951 Bumper 8, a captured German V-2 rocket
mated with a United States Army WAC Corporal rocket, was launched
from Cape Canaveral, thus inaugurating the Space Program at what
would become the Free World's largest testing ground for space
1956 Honeywell Aerospace, a major Florida
technology company, was founded in St. Petersburg.
1861 The 3rd Florida Infantry Regiment is
organized on Amelia Island. William S. Dilworth was elected Colonel;
J. T. Wright received the most votes for Lieutenant Colonel; while
Lucius A. Church was elected Major.
1863 Colonel G. Troup Maxwell of the Florida 1st
Cavalry declares himself to be a candidate for the Confederate
1884 St. Petersburg Times is founded. The
newspaper was originally published in Dunedin.
1898 U.S. Army invades Puerto Rico during the
Spanish-American War. Author Steven Crane (Red Badge of Courage)
claims credit for capturing an entire town single-handedly.
Spanish forces defeated at Sancti Espiritu by Cuban
Guantanamo surrenders to General William Shafter.
General Merritt reaches the Philippine Islands with
1917 The Jacksonville Times-Union reports that
for only fifteen cents, readers could see Norma Talmadge starring in
"Poppy" at the Imperial Theater, while for the same price, they
could see "Is Any Girl Safe?" at the Rialto. The latter film was
described as a "must see" because it revealed the "white slave
secrets" that placed any woman in America at risk of being forced to
become a prostitute!
1764 Elias Durnford was appointed civil engineer
of West Florida. He contributed to the town plan and early street
layout of Pensacola.
1845 Joseph Branch assumes office as the first
Attorney General of Florida.
1852 Benjamin W. Roberts, African-American
politician during Reconstruction, was born in Monticello. Roberts
served as Monroe County Commissioner [1875-76] and Key West
Councilman [1875-76; 1877-78].
1861 Thomas E. Jordan was appointed postmaster
of Pensacola by Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who also
appointed Chandler C. Yonge as the Confederate attorney for the
1862 A Union reconnaissance of the Indian River
region found no activity in the area.
1864 Confederate Major General Patton Anderson
is transferred from his post as Commander of the Confederate
District of Florida to duty with Major General John Bell Hood in
Atlanta. Anderson's command is assumed by General John K. Jackson.
1876 Town of Daytona Beach was incorporated.
1896 City of Miami was incorporated.
1898 General Nelson Miles lands his invasion
force at Guanica, Puerto Rico.
1916 Cecil Farris Bryant, the 34th governor of
Florida [January 3, 1961-January 5, 1965] was born this date in
Marion County. American and Spanish soldiers skirmish at Yauco,
1916 Cecil Farris Bryant, the 34th governor of
Florida [January 3, 1961-January 5, 1965] was born this date in
Marion County. Bryant was elected to the Legislature  for five
consecutive terms and served as the Speaker of the House during the
1953 term. Governor Bryant focused his attention on improving
education, particularly higher education, in the state. During his
administration, work started on the construction of the
Cross-Florida Barge Canal. On March 23, 1966, Bryant was appointed
to be the Chairman of the Office of Emergency Planning and a member
of the National Security Council by President Lyndon Johnson. His
service ended on these groups in 1967. President Johnson also
appointed Bryant to serve as a member of the United States Advisory
Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, a body which he chaired
from October 1967 until his resignation in 1969.
1917 Jacksonville resident Raffaele Mercogliano,
also known as Ralph Matre, became the first Floridian selected in
the draft for service in World War I. Mercogliana/Matre had been a
resident of the United States for only five years.
1984 The first spadeful of dirt was turned to
launch the $1,400,000 program to return the Kissimmee River to its
natural course along a twelve-mile stretch.
1816 Two hundred and seventy Negroes and Indians
were killed by a direct hit on a powder magazine by U.S. troops
invading Florida. The so-called "Negro Fort," now called Fort
Gadsden, was located on the Apalachicola River.
1864 Union General Birney, operating out of
Jacksonville, captures Baldwin.
1886 The first plat of the new town of Sarasota
(December 1885) was recorded.
1898 Spanish garrison at Calmanera, Cuba,
surrenders to U.S. troops.
1926 Martin County is hit by an 80-mile-an-hour
hurricane, and more than $300,000 in damage is reported. The town of
Jensen suffers more than $15,000 in damages.
1927 Construction started on the construction of
Ringling Museum of Art, designed by architect John H. Phillip,
adjacent to the Ringling mansion, Ca' d' Zan. The John and Mable
Ringling Museum of Art was completed and opened its doors to the
public on January 22, 1930. The Museum is currently owned and
operated by the State of Florida Also on the grounds of the former
Ringling Estate are the Circus Museum and the Asolo Theater.
1931 The State of Florida Veterans of Foreign
Wars organization was chartered.
1954 Ruth Bryan Owen, the first Florida female
to serve in Congress, died in New York. Mrs. Owen represented the
Fourth Congressional District of Florid from March 4, 1929 until
March 1933. Mrs. Owen was the daughter of William Jennings Bryan,
three-time Democratic presidential nominee and Secretary of State
under President Woodrow Wilson. Mrs. Owen also served as the
American Minister to Denmark from 1933 until 1936. In 1949, she
served as an alternate representative to the Fourth General Assembly
of the United Nations.
Interestingly, it is conjectured that Mrs. Owen's
strong stance against the repeal of Prohibition was responsible for
her loss in her third race for Congress, but after having heard the
opinions of her strong-willed father, what other stance could she
1863 Under the command of Lieutenant Commander
English, the U.S.S. Beauregard and Oleander, accompanied by boats
U.S.S. Sagamore and Para, attacked New Smyrna, Florida. After
shelling the town, the Union forces destroyed several vessels,
destroyed a sloop loaded with cotton, and burned large quantities of
cotton on shore. In addition, Marines landed and destroyed all
buildings that had been occupied by Confederate troops.
1864 The following units from Confederate
Florida participated in the Battle of Ezra Church as Major General
John Bell Hood attempted to break Union General William Tecumseh
Sherman's siege of Atlanta:
Florida 1st Cavalry Regiment
Florida 1st (Reorganized) Infantry Regiment
Florida 3rd Infantry Regiment
Florida 4th Infantry Regiment
Florida 6th Infantry Regiment
Florida 7th Infantry Regiment
Florida Marion Artillery continued to serve the
Confederacy in the Siege of Atlanta as part of the Hoxton Battalion,
Artillery, 1st Corps, Army of Tennessee.
Hiram Smith Williams, a member of the 40th Alabama
Regiment during the war and a resident of Rockledge, Florida, from
1872 until 1921, noted in his diary:
"Up and off early this morning to the Arsenal in the
North West part of the city. Here were rested until about 11:00
o'clock when the whole army was moved rapidly to the left. We were
ahead of all the infantry, and the first thing we knew, the cavalry
fell back past us, and the balls falling around us showed that the
enemy was near. Such confusion I never saw, the troops hurrying past
us and forming in line of battle, while the continuous roar of
musketry showed that they were hotly engaged. Falling back
half-a-mile we stopped to await orders near the road, and I can
truthfully say that I never saw so many wounded men in the same
length of time before.... A few more such affairs as this and that
of the 22nd (the Battle of Atlanta) and we will have no army left.
This day's work has done more to de-moralize our army than 3 months
under General [Joseph E.] Johnston." From This War So Horrible: The
Civil War Diary of Hiram Smith Williams (University of Alabama
Press), edited by Lewis N. Wynne and Robert A. Taylor.
1898 U.S. General Brooke leaves Newport News,
Virginia, for Puerto Rico with a third invasion force.
The transport, U.S.S. Berlin, leaves New Orleans for
Cuba with the Second United States Volunteers, also known as "Hood's
Immunes." The soldiers were theoretically individuals who were
immune to Yellow Fever.
1944 Construction started on new barracks at the
Underwater Demolition Team training facility at Faber Point in the
Indian River near Ft. Pierce.
1967 Legislative act creating the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement approved.
1863 The Union ship, U.S.S. Rosalie, under the
command of Acting Master Peter F. Coffin, seized the British
blockade runner, Georgie, in the Caloosahatchee River near Fort
Myers. The schooner had been abandoned and carried no cargo.
1898 The City of Ponce, Puerto Rico surrenders
to American forces invading that island.
In the U.S. Army camp at Miami, soldiers were
falling victim to typhoid and intestinal disorders brought about by
unsanitary conditions and "tinned" beef, or beef packed in
formaldehyde which was issued to the soldiers as part of their daily
1901 A.C. Croom takes office as the Comptroller
of Florida, a position he held until February 17, 1912.
1917 Mrs. George Q. Horivitz was unanimously
elected Mayor of Moorehaven.
1975 State Treasurer Thomas D. O'Malley resigned
from office after having been impeached by the Florida House on June
2, 1975. O'Malley was found guilty of nine articles of
constitutional misdemeanors while in office.
1841 The United States Treasury Department
dispatches a revenue cutter to the lower Florida coast to intercept
Spanish fishing vessels, which were reportedly supplying Seminole
Indians with arms and ammunition. Governor William P. Duval urges
the Federal government to take swift and harsh action to stop this
1898 Cuban General Garcia defeats the Spanish
military at Holguin, Cuba.
1901 DeFuniak Springs is incorporated as a town,
and Dr. G. P. Henry is elected the first mayor.
1917 The Jacksonville Times-Union reports the
temperature in Apalachicola was 94 degrees, while Jacksonville had a
temperature of 93. Tampa and Key West reported highs of 90 degrees,
while Miami reported a balmy 88 degrees.
1863 Florida's 22nd governor, Sidney Johnston
Catts [January 2, 1917-January 4, 1921] was born near Pleasant Hill,
Alabama on this date. The son of wealthy planter parents, Catts
received an unusually broad education at the Agricultural and
Mechanical College of Alabama, Howard College, and Alabama
Polytechnic Institute. In 1882, he received a LL.B. degree from
Cumberland University. An ordained Baptist minister (1886), Catts
was a candidate for Congress from the Fifth District of Alabama in
1904. Unsuccessful and in dire financial straights, Catts moved to
DeFuniak Springs, Florida. In 1916, Catts lost the Democratic
primary, but won the general election as the nominee of the
Prohibition Party. Catts' administration was turbulent and marred by
several allegations of fraud, including the appointment of family
members to positions of importance.
Catts was defeated in his bid for the Democratic
nomination for U.S. Senator in 1920. He was twice defeated
(1924 and 1928) in efforts to regain the governorship. Controversy
continue to dog Catts after leaving public office, and near the end
of his life, he was accused of being a part of a counterfeiting
Catts had undeniable popular appeal with many
Floridians and his unsuccessful races to regain the office of
governor were hotly contested. Catts is credited with authoring the
statement, "People in Florida have only three friends--Jesus Christ,
J.C. Penney and Sidney J. Catts!"
Catts died at DeFuniak Springs on March 9, 1936.
1864 Brigadier General John P. Hatch is assigned
to command of the Federal District of Florida.
Captain J. J. Dickison is recommended by Confederate
Brigadier General John K. Jackson for promotion to Colonel, based on
his activities in leading his cavalry unit in South Florida.
1898 American troops are welcomed by the alcalde
(mayor) and citizens of Yauco, Puerto Rico, following the evacuation
by the Spanish soldiers who skirmished with the Americans on July
Spanish forces attack American soldiers at Malate
(near Manila) in the middle of a heavy rain storm but are driven
1917 American destroyers engage two German
submarines attacking an Atlantic convoy in British waters.