1861 Confederate mail service officially began
1861 The Federal blockade of the City of
Fernandina started today with the arrival of the Union ship, U.S.S.
Perry, under the command of Lieutenant Enoch G. Parrott.
1864 Federal troops moving out of Jacksonville
surprised Confederate troops at Camp John Milton on McGirt's Creek
and drove them toward Baldwin. The Union troops numbered about
2,500. They destroyed the Confederate camp.
1881 The sale of 4 million acres of Florida
public land to Hamilton Disston was approved today by the Florida
Legislature. Disston purchased the land for 25 cents an acre.
Through this sale, the State of Florida managed to avoid bankruptcy.
1899 The City of Dunedin was incorporated today
by the Florida Legislature.
1899 The City of Vernon was incorporated today.
1905 Jacksonville's Carnegie Library, dedicated
as the first free library in the eastern part of the Southern
States, opened today.
1909 The Florida Citrus Exchange was organized
in Tampa today.
1934 Singer Patrick Aloyesius Boone ("Pat") was
born today in Jacksonville.
1937 Aviatrix Amelia Earnhart and navigator Fred
Noonan left Miami International Airport today as they continued
their "round-the-world" flight. The flight would end a few weeks
later with the disappearance of the plane and its occupants. The
"Amelia Earhart Mystery" is still unsolved.
1964 The U.S. Supreme Court reversed an earlier
ruling by the Florida Supreme Court and ruled that school prayers
and Bible readings in public schools were unconstitutional.
1969 The Merritt Island Public Library was
1862 Confederate troops surprised a detachment
of 11 men from the U.S.S. Kingfisher on an expedition up the Aucilla
River. Two Union soldiers were killed and nine captured.
1864 A detachment of soldiers from the U.S.S.
Sunflower destroyed a sizable salt works on the shores of Tampa Bay.
Four kettles, a quantity of salt, and several furnaces were also
1865 Florida-born Confederate General Edmund
Kirby Smith surrendered his army to Federal forces today in Texas.
1878 The Florida Supreme Court ruled today that
cigarette manufacturers can be held liable in the deaths of smokers.
1991 The space shuttle (STS 40) was launched
today from Cape Canaveral.
1995 Hurricane Allison made landfall between St.
Georges Island and St. Marks in the Panhandle today.
1840 William Dudley Chipley, West Florida
entrepreneur and railroad developer, was born today in Columbus,
1863 The U.S.S. Tahoma captured the Confederate
schooner Statesman in Tampa Bay. The Tahoma's crew was able to
effect the capture despite harassing fire from a Confederate
1905 The City of Largo was incorporated today by
the Florida Legislature.
1925 Gulf County, Florida's 66th county, was
created today by the Florida Legislature. The county is named in
honor of the Gulf of Mexico, which forms its southern boundary.
County Seat: Port St. Joe
1939 Singer-songwriter Gary U S Bonds, nee Gary
Anderson, was born today in Jacksonville.
1944 Thousands of Floridians and
soldiers/sailors trained in Florida participated in the Normandy
invasion today. The Normandy operation marked the beginning of the
end for Nazi Germany.
1944 Florida College, the alma mater of
evangelist Billy Graham, was chartered today in Temple Terrace.
1956 Crime novelist Patricia Cornwell was born
today in Miami.
1990 A Fort Lauderdale Federal judge ruled the
"2 Live Crew" album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, as obscene and
devoid of redeeming social or artistic value.
1995 Hurricane Allison continued to cut a path
of destruction across Northern Florida today. It would eventually
cause one death and approximately $1.7 million in damages.
1837 More than 700 Seminoles slipped away from
the United States Army and made their way to the Everglades as the
program to transport Seminoles to Oklahoma began.
1862 Confederate General Joseph J. Finegan,
commander of Middle and East Florida, has begun the construction of
a seven-gun redoubt at Alum Bluff on the Apalachicola River.
1873 African-American sawmill workers idled
mills in North Florida today. The workers, members of the
Jacksonville Labor League, were seeking a 10-hour day and a minimum
payment of $1.50 per day.
1913 Port St. Joe was incorporated today by the
1929 The City of Chief land was incorporated
today by the Florida Legislature.
1917 The first man in Cocoa to register for the
newly created draft was David W. Jones. Jones was also the smallest
man to register, measuring a mere 4 feet, 1 inch in height and
weighing only 87 pounds.
1845 Andrew Jackson, general and former
President of the United States, died today at the "Hermitage," his
plantation in Tennessee. Jackson was especially important in the
modern history of Florida, since he was largely responsible for its
acquisition by the United States following his invasion of the then
1925 The charter for the City of Avon Park,
founded in 1886, was approved by the Florida Legislature today.
1925 The Naval Aviation Museum at the Naval Air
Station Pensacola was formally opened today.
1943 William Calley, the Army lieutenant
convicted in the My Lai massacre in South Vietnam, was born today in
1864 The U.S.S. Proteus captured the British
schooner R.S. Hood off the Florida coast today.
1865 The first African-American missionary,
Reverend William G. Steward, arrived in Jacksonville today from
Charleston to begin organizing churches for the newly liberated
freedmen in the state.
1891 The City of Clermont was incorporated
today. The city was later re-incorporated in 1917.
1966 Hurricane Alma struck northwest Florida
today, 20 miles east-northeast of Apalachicola. Alma caused $10
million and six deaths.
1862 United States Secretary of the Navy Gideon
Welles instructed units of the Federal navy to investigate rumors
that Confederates had constructed a road from the northern Indian
River Lagoon to Volusia that would allow them to escape the Union
1863 The U.S.S. Fort Henry captured 250 bushels
of corn belonging to Confederate Senator David levy Yulee today on a
barge off the mouth of the Withlacoochee River.
1864 The United States' steamer, Union, today
captured the Confederate sloop Caroline off Jupiter Inlet.
1865 The Midway African Methodist Episcopal
Church was established today.
1919 Vero, now Vero beach, was incorporated
today by the Florida Legislature.
1921 The Town of River Junction (now
Chattahoochee) was incorporated today by the Florida Legislature.
1936 The first land for Hillsborough River State
Park, near Zephyrhills, was acquired today. The park, which opened
in 1938, would become a favorite camping spot for the "Tin Can
Tourists" who came to the Sunshine State.
1963 Governor Farris Bryant signed a bill today
to create Florida Technological University (Now the University of
Central Florida) in Orlando.
1990 "2 Live Crew," a rap group, was arrested
today in Hollywood, Florida, for performing songs from their album
which had already been ruled obscene by a Federal judge.
1862 The Union navy captured two Confederate
vessels in the Gulf of Mexico today. The U.S.S. Susquehanna captured
the Princeton, a blockade runner, while the U.S.S. Bainbridge
captured the schooner Biagorry and its cargo of cotton.
1913 Preparations are underway today for
tomorrow's grand opening of the first bridge crossing to Miami
1925 The City of Clewiston was incorporated
1937 The City of Fort Walton was incorporated
1953 The Sabal palmetto palm tree was designated
as Florida's official state tree today by the Florida Legislature.
1964 Dr. Martin Luther King and seventeen
companions were arrested today in St. Augustine (in violation of
Florida's unwanted guest law) for their attempt to desegregate a
well-known and popular restaurant in the city.
1993 The United States Supreme Court ruled today
that the City of Hialeah could not outlaw animal sacrifices for
1565 French settlers at Fort Caroline continue
to experience severe conditions, particularly the lack of food.
1913 The first bridge crossing to Miami Beach
opened today and signaled the intense development of that area.
1928 The first city elections were held today in
1861 Confederate President Jefferson Davis has
designated today as a Confederate "Day of Thanksgiving," and has
called for fasting and prayer for the protection of the Confederate
States of America.
1863 The U.S.S. Sunflower today captured the
Confederate blockade runner, Pushmataha, near the Tortugas.
1915 Okaloosa County, Florida's 52nd county, was
created by the Florida Legislature today. The name of the county is
derived for the Choctaw Indian language for "black water." The
Blackwater River is located in the county. Okaloosa County was
created from land taken from Santa Rosa and Walton Counties. County
1942 The City of Dania, which was originally
founded as "Modello," was chartered today by the Florida
1974 Governor Reubin Askew announced the
appointment of Dorothy Glisson as Florida Secretary of State, thus
making her the state's first female Cabinet officer.
1826 Captain Joseph Fry, called the "Cuban
Martyr," was born today in Tampa. Fry was executed in 1873 by
Spanish authorities for carrying Cuban rebels aboard his ship.
1863 The Federal ship, U.S.S. Somerset, shelled
Confederate salt works on Alligator Bay, near St. George's Sound.
Following the shelling, 65 Union sailors and marines were put
ashore. They destroyed 65 kettles, 200 bushels of salt, and thirty
1934 The first bachelor's degrees were awarded
by the Jacksonville College of Music today. The Jacksonville College
of Music is now part of Jacksonville University.
1963 Marymount College in Boca Raton was founded
1822 The City of Jacksonville was founded today.
1862 The U.S.S. Somerset and the U.S.S. Tahoma
shelled the Confederate fort near the lighthouse at the St. Marks
River. When Confederate artillery units withdrew, Federal troops
landed and burned the fort, the interior of the lighthouse, and the
buildings used as barracks for the Confederate troops.
1863 G. Troup Maxwell announced today that he
would be a candidate for the Confederate Congress from the Second
Florida Congressional district. General elections are scheduled for
1893 The City of Palmetto was incorporated today
by the Florida Legislature.
1917 The "new" Cocoa High School was dedicated
1931 North Miami Beach, originally chartered as
"Fulford," was reincorporated today by the Legislature.
1978 Former Florida Supreme Court Justice David
L. McCain was disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court for conduct
undermining the judicial process. McCain was disbarred for using his
influence on lower court justices for his friends.
1779 Spain joined the fledgling United States of
America today by declaring war against England. Spain hoped to
retrieve the colonies of East and West Florida lost to the English
in 1763. Spain would regain the territory in 1783.
1834 The stagecoach road between Tallahassee and
Pensacola was delayed when the construction of the portion between
Marianna and the Apalachicola River was delayed. The U.S.
Quartermaster, overseeing the project, brought charges of
mismanagement against the contractor.
1862 The U.S.S. Somerset captured the British
blockade runner, Curlew, off the coast near Cedar Key.
1863 The Circassian, a Union supply steamer,
captured the Confederate sloop, John Wesley, off the coast of St.
Marks today. The Wesley was carrying a cargo of 12 bales of cotton.
1864 Federal troops from the schooner J.S.
Chambers, dispatched up the Waccasassa River, returned to their ship
today with 12 bags of cotton.
1949 The first rural postal route, 57 miles
long, began in Brevard County today. The route originated from the
Melbourne Post Office.
1955 NBA player Wayne "Tree" Rollins was born
today in Winter Haven.
1955 Judge and Mrs. Chillingsworth of West Palm
Beach mysteriously disappeared today. They have never been seen or
heard from since.
1970 The City of Miami experienced the first of
what would become three days of rioting in the Liberty City area.
1838 Captain L. J. Beall and a detachment of
twenty enlisted men from the 2nd U.S. Dragoons were attacked today
at Kenahapa Prairie by a group of Seminoles. Six enlisted men were
wounded in the fray. Seminole casualties are unknown.
1871 James Weldon Johnson, African-American
poet, teacher, activist, and diplomat, was born today in
1880 The first post office in Melbourne opened
1929 The first regularly scheduled flight from
North to South America departed Miami today. Clipper airplanes,
carrying mail and passengers, took four days to complete the trip to
Miami to Cartagena, Colombia.
1942 Four German saboteurs from a U-boat landed
today on Ponte Vedra Beach. They were to link up with a second team
of agents in New York. All were arrested within three days,
following the defection of one of the members, Walter Dasch, and all
of them, with the exception of Dasch, were subsequently executed.
1950 Betty Rowland of Rollins College won the
Women's National Intercollegiate Golf Championship today in
1958 Florida Presbyterian College, now Eckerd
College, was founded today in St. Petersburg.
1862 The 7th Florida Infantry Regiment and the
1st Florida Cavalry joined Confederate troops in Tennessee. The
Confederate troops are under the command of St. Augustine native,
Edmund Kirby Smith.
1863 The Federal schooner, John S. Chamber,
today captured the British blockade runner Rebekah thirty miles west
of Charlotte Harbor. The Rebekah was carrying a cargo of whiskey.
1863 The U.S.S. Tahoma today captured the
British blockade runner Harriet near Anclote Keys. The Tahoma also
chased another British ship, the Mary Jane, ashore near Clearwater.
The Mary Jane was destroyed by the Tahoma.
1919 Florida's first Kiwanis Club was organized
in Tampa today.
1953 KC and the Sunshine Band guitarist, Jerome
Smith, was born today in Miami.
1983 Dr. Sally Ride became the first American
woman in space today when she rode the space shuttle into orbit.
1990 James Edward Pough gunned down eight people
in a Jacksonville loan office today.
1915 Mrs. Zena M. Drier cast the first
non-school board election ballot in the Fellsmere municipal
1947 Although in use since 1939, the Banana
River Naval Air Station (now Patrick Air Force Base) was dedicated
1861 The First Florida Cavalry began assembling
at Camp Mary David, six miles south of Tallahassee. The unit will be
activated for Confederate service in two weeks.
1862 The U.S.S. Beauregard captured the blockade
runner Lucy off Deadman's Point Key today.
1862 Colonel J. J. Finley and the 6th Florida
Infantry regiment arrived in Chattanooga today.
1864 An armed expedition from the U.S.S. Iuka
returned from a raid up the Waccasassa River today. The raiders
brought with them twenty-seven bales of captured cotton.
1918 Ralph Rubin, a Cocoa man, was credited with
discovering a German spy on a train as he came home on his first
leave from service.
1968 The Orlando Art Association was renamed the
Loch Haven Art Center, Incorporated today.
1846 The first issue of the Whig Banner was
published today in Palatka. The Whig Banner was the first newspaper
published in that city.
1884 John Wellborn Martin, the 24th governor of
Florida, was born today in Marion County. (For more information, see
entries for January 6 and February 22.)
1887 The City of Welaka was incorporated by the
Florida Legislature today.
1982 The Florida Senate, meeting in special
session, declined to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
1993 The space shuttle (STS-57) was launched
today from Cape Canaveral.
1948 Today control of the Banana River Naval Air
Station was transferred to the United States Air Force, which made
it the headquarters for the Long Range Missile Testing program.
1961 The City of Lauderdale Lakes was
1965 The Florida Legislature chartered Florida
International University today.
1827 A Catholic Mass was conducted today in
Tallahassee by Monsignor Michael Portier, the Bishop of Mobile.
1845 James A. Berthelot of Tallahassee was
elected as the first President of the Florida Senate today.
1862 The U.S.S. Pursuit captured the Confederate
sloop Kate today. The Kate had sailed from Nassau with an assorted
1863 The U.S.S. Beauregard has been assigned
blockade duty north of Cape Canaveral and Mosquito Inlet.
1881 The City of Hawthorne was incorporated
1938 Marineland, then called marine Studios,
opened today near St. Augustine. More than 30,000 tourists,
scientists and photographers attended.
1972 Hurricane Agnes struck Florida with a
vengeance today. In her stay in the Sunshine State, twenty-five
people would die.
1823 Gadsden County, Florida's fifth county, was
established today. The county is named in honor of James Gadsden, an
aide-de-camp to Andrew Jackson during the 1818 campaign. County
1845 Hugh Archer of Leon County was elected the
first Speaker of the Florida State House of Representatives today.
1863 The U.S.S. Tahoma today captured a
Confederate flatboat in a bayou near the Manatee River. The flatboat
was carrying a cargo of sugar and molasses.
1950 The first German V-2 rocket was launched
today from Cape Canaveral. Captured German rockets became the basis
of the United States' early missile program.
1564 The Fort Caroline colony, located on a
bluff above the St. Johns River, was started today by Rene
1845 Governor William Moseley was inaugurated as
Florida's first governor today.
1863 The U.S.S. Sagamore captured the British
schooner Frolic off the Crystal River. The Frolic carried a cargo of
cotton and turpentine.
1864 The U.S.S. Proteus today captured a British
steamer, the Jupiter, off the east coast of Florida. All cargo had
been thrown overboard prior to capture.
1868 Florida was conditionally re-admitted to
the United States today. federal occupation of the state, however,
would not end until 1877.
1992 The space shuttle (STS-50) was launched
today from Cape Canaveral.
1549 Fray Luis Cancer de Barbastro, a Dominican
friar working in the St. Petersburg area as a missionary to Native
Americans, was clubbed to death by members of the Calusa tribe.
1864 The U.S.S. Norfolk Packet captured the
blockade running sloop, Sarah Mary, off Mosquito Inlet today. The
Sarah Mary was carrying a cargo of cotton.
1893 The first rails of Henry Flagler's Florida
East Coast Railroad reached the Brevard County community of Eau
1907 The first public school term in Panama City
1862 The 2nd Florida Infantry Regiment, fighting
at Ellison's Mill, Virginia, lost 8 soldier killed today and 52
wounded. Among the soldiers killed was Captain G. W. Parkhill.
1911 Joe Lang Kershaw, the first
African-American male to be elected to the Florida House of
representatives in the 20th Century, was born today in Live Oak.
Kershaw was elected to the House in 1968 and represented Dade
1982 The space shuttle (STS-4) was launched
today from Cape Canaveral.
1566 Three Spanish Jesuit monks--Father Rogel,
Father Martinez and Brother Villareal--left Spanish to join Pedro
Menendez de Aviles in Florida. Their purpose was to Christianize the
Native Americans in the peninsula.
1863 Boats from the U.S.S. Fort Henry captured
the schooner Anna Maria in the Steinhatchee River. The Anna Maria
was carrying a cargo of cotton.
1864 Troops boarded three Federal ships today at
Punta Rassa to sail north to Bayport. This is preliminary to an
attack on Brooksville.
1817 General Gregor McGregor and his crew of
adventurers captured Amelia Island today in the name of the combined
governments of Mexico, Venezuela and New Granada.
1864 Master W. L. Martine, commanding the U.S.S.
Roebuck, dispatched a shore crew of twelve sailors to investigate
rumors of increased blockade running near Jupiter Inlet.
1931 The highest temperature ever recorded in
Florida was reached today at Monticello. The high mark was 109
1936 First lands acquired for O'Leno Recreation
Area near High Springs.
1778 British troops turned back attacking
Americans in a skirmish at Alligator Creek, near Callahan.
1871 An application was filed with the U.S.
Postmaster today for a post office at Arlington. Arlington was later
renamed Eau Gallie.
1862 The 2nd Florida Infantry regiment sustained
heavy losses today in the Battle of Frazier's farm in Virginia.
1864 Troops from the U.S.S. Roebuck today
captured the Confederate sloop Last Resort in Jupiter Inlet. The
sloop was carrying a cargo of six bales of cotton.
1936 Actress Nancy Dussault was born today in
1945 University of Miami tennis star Francisco "Pancho"
Segura won his third consecutive national collegiate tennis
championship today in straight sets. His opponent was Lt. Frank
Mehner of the U.S. Military Academy.
1965 NBA basketball player Mitch Richmond was
born today in Fort Lauderdale.