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This Day In Florida History  --  July  


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 time.

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 of cotton.

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, Pennsylvania.

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 chartered.

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 Panama City.

Prominent Floridians born on this day:

1885 Herman Gunter, first Director of the Florida Geological Survey [1933], 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 United States.

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 in Tampa.

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 automobile.

1924 Opening of the Conners Highway across Florida. More than 15,000 individuals celebrate the event at Okeechobee City.

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 June.

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 Havana.

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 unknown.

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, 1972.

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 [1835-1842].

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 Representatives].

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 Mexican-American War.

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, Florida.

1888 Town of Lake Helen incorporated.

1957 City of St. Petersburg Beach is created when the municipalities of Pass-A-Grille [1911], Don Ce Sar [1950], and Belle Vista Beach [1949] are consolidated with St. Petersburg Beach [1943].



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 customs house.

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. Nixon.


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 boiler tubing.

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 Florida

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 officers.


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 followed.

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 Cedar Key.

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 homeless.

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 Cabinet.


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 war ended.

1905 The Jacksonville Young Men's Christian Association, originally organized in 1870, is re-organized and chartered.

1916 Joe Grotegut, long-time managing editor of the Daytona Beach Morning Journal, was born this day in Rock Island, Illinois.

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 Fort Andrews.

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 Baldwin.

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 Have Not.

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 Black Creek.

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 of provisions.

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 involved)

1885 F. E. Henderson, former Assistant Director of the State Beverage Department, was born this day in Sherman Heights, Tennessee.


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 Harbor.

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 River, Florida.

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 runner.

1864 Union forces cross the South Fork of Black Creek (near Jacksonville) and attack two trestles on the Baldwin-Gainesville Railroad.

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 exploration.

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 Congress.

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 forces.

Guantanamo surrenders to General William Shafter.

General Merritt reaches the Philippine Islands with reinforcements.

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 Florida district.

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, Puerto Rico.

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 [1946] 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 have taken?


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 rations.

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 activity.

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 ring.

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 26.

Spanish forces attack American soldiers at Malate (near Manila) in the middle of a heavy rain storm but are driven back.

1917 American destroyers engage two German submarines attacking an Atlantic convoy in British waters.