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This Day In Florida History  --  May  

MAY 1

1562 French Huguenot leader Jean Ribault landed at the mouth of the St. John's River today. He and his followers were seeking to establish a colony for French religious dissenters.

1863 Florida' 2nd Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Regiment, and 8th Infantry Regiment, assigned to the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, were part of the action at Chancellorsville that started today and which would last until May 4th.

1864 The U.S.S. Fox captured the Confederate sloop Oscar today in the Gulf of Mexico. The Oscar was bound from St. Mark's to Havana.

1889 Hard rock phosphate deposits were discovered today in Marion County.

1890 William D. Bloxham assumed office as the Comptroller of Florida today.

1934 The Miami jai-alai fronton, established in 1925, was reorganized today as the Fronton Exhibition Company, Incorporated.

MAY 2

1815 David Shelby Walker, the eight governor of Florida (1865-1868), was born today in Russelville, Kentucky. He died on July 20, 1891. [For more information, see entries for July 20 and December 20.]

1839 Lieutenant William Hulbert of Company F, 6th United States Infantry, was killed in a skirmish with Seminoles today near 14 Mile Creek, near Fort Frank Brooks.

1847 The Pensacola Baptist Church, now the First Baptist Church of Pensacola, was organized today.

1863 Florida' 2nd Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Regiment, and 8th Infantry Regiment, assigned to the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, were part of the action at Chancellorsville.

1944 Singer James Purify was born today in Pensacola.

1965 The U.S. early Bird satellite, launched from Cape Canaveral, began broadcasting transmissions from Europe to North America today.

MAY 3

1862 The Federal steamer, R. R. Cuyler, captured the Confederate schooner Jane about forty miles southwest of Tampa in the Gulf of Mexico. The Jane was carrying a cargo of pig lead.

1863 Florida' 2nd Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Regiment, and 8th Infantry Regiment, assigned to the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, were part of the action at Chancellorsville.

1864 Some eleven officers and forty-seven men off the Confederate ship, C.S.S. Chattahoochee, today launched an expedition against Federal forces operating around St. George's Sound in Apalachicola Bay.

1865 Federal troops are ordered to take possession of Key Biscayne today and to guard the passes near the key in order to prevent any attempt by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to escape to Cuba or the Bahamas.

1901 Jacksonville was swept by a devastating fire today. More than 600 acres of buildings in the center of the city were destroyed. The loss was estimated at $15,000,000 in 1901 dollars.

1902 The African-American actor Stepin' Fetchit was born today in Key West.

1912 Bob Fowler today successfully completed the first west-to-east transcontinental air plane flight from Los Angeles to Jacksonville. His time: four months.

MAY 4

1863 Florida' 2nd Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Regiment, and 8th Infantry Regiment, assigned to the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, were part of the action at Chancellorsville.

1864 The Confederate detachment from the C.S.S. Chattahoochee arrived at Chattahoochee early this morning and then proceeded to Rico Bluff.

1872 The administration of Samuel T. Day, Acting Governor of Florida during the impeachment trial of Governor Harrison Reed, ended today. The Florida Senate voted 10-7 to dismiss the charges brought against Governor Reed.

1931 Winter Park reincorporated as a city (originally incorporated in the 1880s).

1959 Howard Van Smith, a journalist for the Miami News, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize today for his stories on the conditions of migrant workers in Immokalee.

1973 Donald Segretti, the "dirty tricks" man for President Richard M. Nixon, was charged with publishing fraudulent campaign documents in the 1972 Florida primary today.

1989 The space shuttle, STS-30, was launched today from Cape Canaveral.

MAY 5

1862 The Florida 2nd Infantry Regiment, assigned to D. H. Hill's Division of the Army of Northern Virginia, participated in the Battle of Williamsburg (VA) today.

1863 The U.S.S. Tahoma captured the schooner Crazy Jane near Egmont Key near Charlotte Harbor. The Crazy Jane was carrying a cargo of cotton and turpentine.

1961 Alan Shepard became the first American in space today as his Freedom 7 capsule, atop a Redstone rocket (Mercury 3), carried him 115 miles into the atmosphere. Launched at 10:34 a.m., Shepard spent 15 miles in space and landed at 10:49 a.m., 302 miles from Cape Canaveral near the Bahamas. During the journey, he maneuvered his spacecraft by firing small rockets.

1979 John Spinkellink was put to death today at Starke as Florida reinstituted the death penalty after its use had been restricted by the United States Supreme Court.

MAY 6

1851 Dr. John Gorrie, a physician in Apalachicola, patented his ice-making machine today. Gorrie, 1802-1855, looking for a way to cool patients suffering from malaria fever, was granted Patent No. 8080. His invention led the way for commercial ice making machines and eventually for the development of air conditioning. He is one of two Floridians honored with a statue in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C.

1886 The First National Bank of Tampa received its Federal charter today.

1935 Unemployed Floridians and other similar Americans had much to rejoice about today as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal agency designed to give work to workers of all kinds, including teachers, writers, musicians, academics, artists and other who are "hard to employ."

Florida Facts:

Names of Individuals for whom some state buildings are named in the Capitol Complex:

R.A. Gray, Secretary of State

William D. Bloxham, Governor

Duncan U. Fletcher, United States Senator and Governor

J. Edwin Larson, State Treasurer

Farris Bryant, Governor

Hayden Burns, Governor

Charley E. Johns, Acting Governor

LeRoy Collins, Governor

Fred C. Elliot, Engineer, Internal Improvement Fund

Spessard L. Holland, Governor and United States Senator

Millard F. Caldwell, Governor and State Supreme Court Justice

Doyle E. Carlton, Governor

MAY 7

1822 A United States Custom District was established today at Key West.

1863 The Confederate schooner Sea Lion, carrying a cargo of cotton, was captured in the Gulf of Mexico today.

1864 The U.S.S. Sunflower today captured the Confederate sloop Neptune with its cargo of cotton as Federal troops occupied Tampa.``

1877 The Bank of Jacksonville was founded today by William Boyd Barnett. This bank ultimately became a statewide operation under the name Barnett Bank until it was sold to Nationsbank in 1998.

1924 Mrs. H. M. Strickland was sworn into office today as the first female mayor of Live Oak.

1956 E. D. Jackson, Jr., the first African-American nominated for public office in Jacksonville in forty years, was successful today in his campaign for Justice of the Peace.

1963 America's second Telstar satellite was successfully launched today from Cape Canaveral.

1992 The space shuttle, STS-49, was launched today from Cape Canaveral.

MAY 8

1781 The British garrison surrendered Fort George in Pensacola to a large combined force of French and Spanish troops today.

1860 The Pensacola and Georgia Railroad started laying track for a line to run between Lake City and the Suawnee River.

1866 The Ocala Star-Banner was founded today as the weekly Banner.

1889 DeLand University amended its charter today to rename the University John B. Stetson University.

1917 Okeechobee County, Florida's 54th county, was created today by the Florida Legislature. The name is taken from two Hitchiti Creek words that mean "big water." County Seat: Okeechobee

1923 Collier County, Florida's 62nd county, was created today by the Florida Legislature. It is named in honor of developer Blanton G. Collier. County Seat: Naples

1936 Park Trammell, the 21st governor of Florida (1913-1917) and United States Senator (1917-1936), died today in Washington, D.C. He is buried at Roselawn Cemetery in Lakeland. [For more information, see entries for January 7 and April 9.]

MAY 9

1832 Fifteen Seminole chiefs, meeting at Payne's Landing (near Micanopy), signed a treaty to cede their lands in Florida to the United States.

1861 When a 32-pounder is fired by Confederate troops at Fort Marion (Castillo de San Marcos) in St. Augustine, residents of St. Augustine feared the city was under attack by Federal forces. Their fears were calmed when the fort's commander, Lieutenant Charles F. Hopkins, explained that the firing had been undertaken to clean the bore of the cannon.

1862 Confederate forces evacuate Pensacola today, torching all the military installations and property in the city. The steamer Fulton was set afire, along with two privately owned smaller boats.

1865 Confederate forces in Tallahassee, under the command of Brigadier General Samuel Jones, are making preparations for the official surrender of the city to Union forces tomorrow.

1950 Construction of concrete launching pads for America's rocket program began today at Cape Canaveral.

1980 Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which crosses Tampa Bay at St. Petersburg, was struck by a phosphate freighter. A 1,200 foot section of the bridge collapsed, and thirty-five people were killed when a Greyhound bus, several cars, and a truck fell into the bay.

1981 A 350-foot-wide and 150-foot-deep sinkhole, thought to be Central Florida's largest, appeared in Winter Park today. A residence, part of a municipal swimming pool and a number of trees fell into the crater.

1991 The Astronaut Memorial was dedicated as a national monument at Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

MAY 10

1861 Union president Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus in Florida, citing the existence of an "insurrection" against the United States in that state.

1862 Federal forces occupy Pensacola, which is surrendered peaceably by the mayor of the city.

1862 The Federal barge, James L. Davis, arrived in Apalachicola today and found the inhabitants in an "almost starving condition."

1865 Major General Samuel Jones, CSA, formally surrenders Tallahassee, the only Confederate state capitol east of the Mississippi that was not captured by military action, and all Confederate troops and property in the state to federal Brigadier General Edward M. McCook.

1904 Napoleon Bonaparte Broward won his primary today in an ultimately successful campaign for the Florida governor's office.

MAY 11

1861 "The Cowboys," a local militia company, is organized in Duval County today.

1864 Captain J. J. Dickison, commanding Company H, 2nd Florida Cavalry, has positioned his men to keep watch on Federal activities in the area around Fort Butler.

1893 The City of Carrabelle was incorporated today.

1905 The Florida Legislature adopted the first automobile regulations today. All vehicle owners were charged $2.00 to register their automobiles.

1907 The City of Wildwood was incorporated today.

1910 Jacqueline Cochran, the first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound, was born today in Pensacola.

1923 Hendry County, Florida's 63rd county, was created today by the Florida Legislature. The county was named in honor of Captain Francis Asbury Hendry, legendary cattle baron and Civil War hero. County Seat: LaBelle

MAY 12

1742 General James Oglethorpe and troops from Georgia attacked St. Augustine from the sea, but failed to capture the Castillo de San Marcos. After a prolonged siege, Oglethorpe and his soldiers left the area in September.

1861 Florida newspapers report that three former residents of St. Augustine, Abraham Dupont, William Quincy, and Thomas Mirando, participated in the assault against Fort Sumter.

1863 Governor John Milton named Mariano D. Papy of Tallahassee as the state's Impressment Commissioner.

1864 The U.S.S. Beauregard today captured the British sloop Resolute while the sloop was at anchor off Cape Canaveral.

1865 The crew of the Confederate gunboat Spray surrendered their boat to Federal authorities at Fort Ward at St. Marks.

1865 David Levy Yulee was appointed Florida Commissioner and dispatched to Washington to confer with President Andrew Johnson about conditions in Florida. Yulee was appointed by Acting Governor Abraham Kurkindolle Allison, who had assumed the office following Governor John Milton's suicide on April 1, 1865.

1887 Osceola County, Florida's 40th county, was established by the Florida Legislature today. The county is named after the Seminole chief, Osceola. County Seat: Kissimmee

1912 The United States battleship, Florida, commissioned in 1911 was launched today under the sponsorship of Elizabeth Lagere Fleming, the daughter of former Governor Francis P. Fleming. The Florida was 510 feet long, displaced 21,825 tons, had a speed of 22 knots, and cost $6,400,000. This was the fifth United States Navy ship to bear the state's name.

1912 Tampa's Union Station, now fully refurbished and a major shopping area, was opened today.

1982 The Florida Supreme Court approved the reapportionment plan created by the Florida Legislature, which created single-member districts and which vacated all seats in the Florida Senate.

1993 The African-American boycott of tourism in Miami ended today. The boycott had been called when the city's officials snubbed South African political activist Nelson Mandela.

MAY 13

1887 Lee County, Florida's 41st county, was established today by the Florida Legislature. The county is named in honor of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. County Seat: Fort Myers

1862 The U.S.S. Vincennes arrived in Pensacola Bay today to assist with the Federal occupation of the City of Pensacola. The Vincennes is the first Federal ship to enter Pensacola Harbor since the outbreak of the Civil War.

1863 The U.S.S. DeSoto captured the Confederate schooner Seabird off Pensacola Bay, while the U.S.S. Huntsville captured the Confederate schooner A.J. Hodge at sea off the east coast of Florida.

1926 The cornerstone for the Sarasota County Courthouse was laid today.

1955 Jacksonville was rocked by a riot tonight following a concert performance by Elvis Presley.

1959 Newspapers throughout the nation are reporting the "new" Florida land boom today as lots in Florida subdivisions are being marketing through mailouts and national advertising.

1969 The Florida Legislature today ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which granted suffrage rights to women. The amendment, which was approved by enough states to become a part of the "law of the land" on August 26, 1920, was finally approved by the Legislature in recognition of the achievements of the Florida League of Women Voters. Florida was the 50th state to ratify the amendment.

1983 NASA scientists at Cape Canaveral rejoiced today as "Pioneer 10," launched eleven years ago, becomes the first spacecraft to exit the Earth's solar system.

MAY 14

1863 The U.S.S. Fort Henry captured a small flatboat loaded with corn in Wacassassa Bay near Cedar Key.

1921 Sarasota County, Florida's 60th county, was established today by the Florida Legislature. The actual origin of the name "Sarasota" is unknown, but popular legend has it that the name is a combination of the names of DeSoto's daughter Sara. Another legend is that the name was given by Spanish explorers to describe a Native American "place for dancing." County Seat: Sarasota

1926 Opa Locka's incorporation as a town was approved by voters today by a count of 28-0.

1929 Airmail service between the United States and South America was started today in Miami.

1931 Eau Gallie, originally founded in January 1887, was reincorporated today.

1970 The Miami Bible Institute changed its name today to Miami Christian University.

1973 The United States put its "Skylab" satellite into orbit today from Cape Canaveral.

MAY 15

1896 The Miami Metropolis, the forerunner of the Miami News, was founded today.

1922 WDAE Radio in Tampa was licensed today as Florida's first commercial radio station.

1926 Albert Waller Gilchrist, the 20th governor of Florida (1909-1913), died today in New York. [For more information, see entries for January 5 and January 15.]

1933 The Ringling School of Art, originally founded as part of Florida Southern College in 1931, was incorporated today as a separate and independent institution. The Ringling School of Art is located in Sarasota.

1947 Florida State College for Women, which held its first classes in 1857, was reorganized and renamed Florida State University today. It also became a co-educational institution.

1963 The Mercury 9 spacecraft was launched today from Cape Canaveral.

MAY 16

1824 Edmund Kirby Smith, Confederate general and Commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi West, was born today in St. Augustine.

Smith was a graduate of West Point (1845), fought in eight battles of the Mexican-American War, taught mathematics at West Point, was wounded in Indian fighting, and was a noted botanist. In 1861, he resigned his position with the United States Army to enter Confederate service.

Smith organized the Army of the Shenandoah and was severely wounded at the Battle of First Bull Run. After campaigns in Tennessee and Kentucky, he was given command of the Trans-Mississippi West. When Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863, Smith's command was isolated from the mainstream of the Confederacy. As an independent Department commander, his control over the Confederacy west of the Mississippi was virtually absolute.

Following the end of the War Between the States, Smith taught mathematics at the University of the South (Suwannee).

During the war, Smith signed his orders and reports as "E. Kirby Smith," and thus arose the habit of referring to him as "Kirby Smith." Following his death on March 28, 1893, his family adopted this as their family name and hyphenated it as "Kirby-Smith." When he died in 1893, Kirby Smith was the last full general of the Confederacy.

Florida selected him as one of two individuals (John Gorrie was the second) to represent the state in the Hall of Statues in the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

1863 The United States schooner, Two Sisters, reports the capture today of the Confederate schooner Oliver S. Breese off the Florida Keys.

1864 Federal troops from the U.S.S. Somerset landed near Apalachicola today. After a brief skirmish with Confederate troops, the Federal troops reported the capture of six small boats, four prisoners, and a quantity of ammunition and supplies.

1938 George Couper Gibbs assumed office today as the Attorney General of Florida.

1944 Governor and Mrs. Spessard L. Holland dedicated the 85-mile Overseas Highway to Key West today in ceremonies at Florida City.

1963 The City of Cape Canaveral was incorporated today.

1984 David Kennedy, a member of the famous Kennedy Clan, was found to have been killed of a drug overdose in a West Palm Beach hotel.

1987 The last known "dusky seaside sparrow" died in captivity at Disney World today.

MAY 17

1775 The American Continental Congress ordered all trade between the American colonies in revolt against Great Britain and East and West Florida stopped.

1842 United States troops engaged Seminole warriors in two skirmishes today. Two enlisted men were killed when Company D and Company E of the 7th United States Infantry confronted a party of Seminoles at Fort Wacahoota. In another skirmish near Clay's Landing on the Suawnee River, Company f of the 7th United States Infantry, under the command of 1st Lieutenant L. F. Britton, had one enlisted man killed and two wounded. Seminole casualties were unknown.

1863 The U.S.S. Kanawha captured the Confederate schooner Hunter today in the Gulf of Mexico. The Hunter carried a cargo of cotton. In other news, the Confederate blockade runner Cuba was burned by her crew prevent its capture by the U.S.S. DeSoto. The decision to burn the ship came after a six-hour sea chase. The Cuba's cargo was estimated to have a value of $1,250,000 (Confederate).

1864 A convention of Unionists was convened today in Jacksonville to elect delegates to the Republican Convention, which is scheduled to meet in Baltimore on June 7.

1913 Domingo Rosillo flew across the Straights of Florida, from Key West to Havana, to become the first person to fly between the United States and Cuba. The flight took two hours and 30 minutes.

1973 The Florida House of representatives voted 61-55 in favor of articles of impeachment against Lieutenant Governor Tom Adams today. Failing to meet the Constitutional requirements for a two-thirds vote, the vote failed. In a subsequent action, the House voted 88-26 to officially censure Adams for "misconduct and misdemeanor" for his improper use of state employees.

1980 Miami erupted in the first of what would be three days of riots today. The riots started after four city policemen were acquitted of the murder of an African-American businessman. The final toll for the three days of rioting was 14 persons dead, several hundred wounded, and millions of dollars in property damage.

MAY 18

1773 Reverend John Ledbetter, an Anglican minister, was provided with a Royal Bounty to pay for his passage to the colony at New Smyrna.

1863 The U.S.S. Kanawha captured the Confederate schooner Ripple today in the Gulf of Mexico.

1955 Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder and first president of Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, died today. Ms. Bethune, who was born to former slave parents on July 10, 1875, began her own school on october 3, 1904, with a capital of only $1.50.

Bethune's career in education began when she received a scholarship to attend Scotia Seminary in North Carolina. A second scholarship provided the means for her to attend the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. After teaching eight years at schools in Augusta, Georgia, and Palatka, Florida, she opened her own school.

In 1923, Bethune-Cookman College was created. In 1924, Mrs. Bethune was elected president of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs. In 1935, she founded and became the first president of the National Council of Negro Women. A close friend of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, Mrs. Bethune was part of the "Black Cabinet," which advised President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on matters regarding African-Americans in the United States. She was also a consultant to the founding conference of the United Nations.

1964 Governor Farris Bryant participated in ground breaking ceremonies for the first permanent building on the campus of the Lake-Sumter Community College in Leesburg today.

1969 The Apollo 10 spacecraft was launched today from Cape Canaveral.

1985 Many populated areas of the state face threats from wildfires as Florida experienced the largest outbreak of fires in the state's history to date.

MAY 19

1840 In an encounter with Seminole warriors near Micanopy, Lieutenant J. W. Martin, commanding Detachment K of the 2nd United States Infantry, was killed. Tow enlisted men were captured or killed, and one Seminole warrior was captured.

1840 Lieutenant J. S. Sanderson was killed today in a skirmish between Seminole warriors and Detachments F, H, and I of the 7th United States Infantry at Levy's Prairie, eight miles from Micanopy. Five enlisted men were also killed, and one enlisted man was wounded. Seminole casualties are unknown.

1864 The U.S.S. DeSoto today captured the schooner Mississippian today in the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippian was carrying a cargo of cotton and turpentine.

1887 DeSoto County, Florida's 42nd county, was created today by the Florida Legislature. The county was named in honor of the Spanish explorer, Hernando DeSoto. County Seat: Arcadia

1903 Bradenton, then spelled "Bradentwon," was incorporated today.

1927 The second charter for the City of Naples, originally founded in 1876, was approved today by the Florida Legislature.

MAY 20

1839 Captain J. P. Davis, of Detachment K of the 7th United States Infantry, was killed by Seminoles today while riding the messenger express between Forts Number 3 and Number 4.

1861 William Wing Loring of St. Augustine resigned his commission in the Untied States Army today and accepted an appointed as a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army.

1862 A skirmish between Federal troops and Confederate troops occurred today at Carr's Hill near the Gulf of Mexico. Seventeen Union soldiers were killed or wounded. The Confederate troops experienced no casualties.

1865 General E. M. McCook, commander of the Federal occupation forces in Florida, today ordered that the flag of the United States be raised over the state's capitol building, effectively signaling an end to Florida as a Confederate state.

1913 Henry Morrison Flagler, railroad entrepreneur and Florida hotelier, died today. Flagler, an associate of John D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil, first visited Florida in 1883. He immediately saw possibilities for exploitation of the state's natural assets. He began his economic ventures in Florida by purchasing several short railroad lines and combining them into a single system, the Florida East Coast Railway. Gradually, Flagler extended his lines southward, eventually reaching Key West. Where the railroad went, he either purchased existing tourist hotels or constructed his own. In several instances, Flagler created entire new towns centered around his transportation system and resort hotels.

The Florida Legislature repaid part of the debt of the people of Florida to this developer when it enacted a special divorce law that allowed Flagler to shed an insane wife and remarry. Until that time, a spouse was not legally able to divorce an insane spouse, and the Florida law eliminated that provision. As soon as Flagler divorced his wife, the law was repealed.

1920 Union County, Florida's 61st county, was established today by the Florida Legislature. The county was originally to be named "New River County," a county that had existed from 1858 until 1861, but which had its name changed to Bradford County to honor captain Richard Bradford, the first Florida officer killed in the War Between the States. The sponsor of the bill to create the county amended his proposal to change the name to Union County. The new county was carved from territory in Bradford County. County Seat: Lake Butler

1929 Laurie Yonge completed the world's record for endurance in air flight today. Her record of 25 hours and five minutes was completed over Jacksonville Beach and North Florida.

1933 Camp P-54, the first Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Florida, was established today in Eastport (Duval County). Men assigned to the camp were given the task of creating more than 25 miles of fire breaks.

MAY 21

1843 More than 2,000 persons assembled near Tallahassee for the Micasukie Methodist Camp Meeting.

1862 The 4th Florida Infantry regiment left for Corinth, Mississippi, today.

1863 The U.S.S. Union today seized the British blockade runner Linnet west of Charlotte Harbor.

1864 Florida cavalry forces near Palatka, commanded by captain J. J. Dickison, were reinforced today by twenty-five artillerymen and several guns from Dunham's Battery.

1947 Hallandale, originally incorporated as a town in 1927, was reincorporated today.

MAY 22

1821 U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams named John Bird and Alexander Anderson Attorneys of the United States for Florida today.

1863 Boats from the U.S.S. Fort Henry captured the sloop Isabella in Wacassassa Bay.

1865 Part of the baggage of Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrive at David Levy Yulee's Cotton Wood plantation near Archer. Davis was attempting to flee the North American continent after the surrender of Confederate armies in Virginia and North carolina. For years, rumors persisted that a considerable part of the Confederate treasury was buried on Yulee's property. If so, it has never been found.

1907 The Florida Legislature approved the incorporation of Pablo beach (now Jacksonville Beach) today.

MAY 23

1805 Jean-Pierre Augustin Marcellin, first Bishop of St. Augustine (1870), was born in LePuy, France, today.

1863 Florida Governor John Milton issued a strong letter of protest to Confederate President Jefferson Davis against the Confederate Congress' reduction in the number of plantation overseers exempt from military service.

1864 Confederate troops under the command of Captain J. J. Dickison captured the Federal gunboat Columbine near Palatka. The Columbine was destroyed to prevent its re-capture by Federal troops.

1911 Pinellas County, Florida's 48th county, was created by the Florida Legislature today out of territory that comprised part of Hillsborough County. The name "Pinellas" was derived from the Spanish name, "Punta Pinal," or "point of pines." County Seat: Clearwater

MAY 24

1818 Fort Barrancas, garrisoned by Spanish troops, surrendered to Major General Andrew Jackson today. American troops replaced Spanish troops.

1824 President James Monroe appointed Robert Butler as Surveyor of Public Lands in the Territory of Florida today.

1862 Two Federal vessels, the Amanda and the Bainbridge, captured the Confederate steamer Swan west of the Tortugas. The Swan was carrying a cargo of cotton and resin.

1863 The U.S.S. Port Royal captured the Confederate sloop Fashion near Apalachicola Bay. A small barge and ship repair facilities were also destroyed at devil's Elbow.

1880 Florida's first telephone exchange opened today in Jacksonville. Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company opened with 34 subscribers.

1893 Holy Name Academy, organized in 1889 by the Benedictine Sisters, was chartered today in San Antonio in alliance with Saint Leo College.

1905 St. Lucie County, Florida's 46th county, was established today by the Florida Legislature. This was the second county to bear this name. The original St. Lucie County, created as Florida's 25th county on March 14, 1844, was subsequently renamed Brevard County on January 6, 1855. The county was named for St. Lucie of Syracuse. County Seat: Fort Pierce

1924 WDBO Radio in Orlando, originally operated as a college station at Rollins College, made its inaugural broadcast today.

1965 The Asolo Theater of the Ringling Museum in Sarasota was named the official state theater today by the Florida Legislature.

1962 The Mercury 7 spacecraft was launched today from Cape Canaveral.

MAY 25

1843 Tallahassee was swept by a devastating fire today as homes and businesses were leveled. The damage was appraised at approximately $650,000.

1861 The Pensacola Rifle Rangers were organized today. Edward A. perry was elected captain.

1864 The Florida Brigade, under the command of General Joseph J. Finegan, arrived in Richmond today. It will become part of Anderson's Division of the Army of Northern Virginia.

1865 David Levy Yulee, former United States and Confederate States senator, was arrested today by Federal authorities in Gainesville.

1893 Lake Butler was incorporated as a town today by the Florida Legislature.

1921 The incorporation of Eatonville, founded in the 1880s as a town controlled by African-Americans, was approved today by the Florida Legislature.

1973 NASA launched the Skylab I satellite today from Cape Canaveral.

1979 John Spenkelink was executed today at Starke. Spenkelink's execution was the first in Florida following the Supreme Court's ruling that the death penalty was not unconstitutional in 1977.

MAY 26

1845 David Lvy Yulee was elected as Florida's first member of the U.S. House of representatives today. Yulee did not take the seat, but was elected to the U.S. Senate later that year, a position he did take.

1863 Walter Gwynn assumed the office of Comptroller of Florida today.

1864 Federal forces from the U.S.S. Wartappo attacked Confederate salt works at Goose Bayou today. Men from the 2nd Florida (U.S.) Cavalry destroyed about sixty kettles.

1896 L.N. Richardson was elected the president of the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Colored Medical Association of Florida. The Association met in Ocala.

1898 The first diplomas were awarded by the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine.

1911 The City of Winter Haven was incorporated today.

1925 Boca Raton was incorporated today.

1955 The City of Miramar was founded today.

MAY 27

1822 Andrew Jackson delivered his "farewell address" today after appointing William G. D. Worthington as acting governor of East and West Florida.

1861 The Coast Guards, a company from the Crystal River area, was organized today. James L. Miller is elected as captain.

1863 The Confederate gunboat C.S.S. Chattahoochee exploded on the Apalachicola river today. Eighteen men were killed and twelve others were wounded. Faulty boilers were responsible for the explosion.

1864 Federal forces attacking Confederate salt works at East Bay were fired upon by Confederate forces. No casualties were reported on either side.

1887 Lake County, Florida's 47rd county, was established today by the Florida Legislature from territory taken from orange and Sumter counties. The county takes its name from the more than 500 lakes, named and unnamed, that are contained in the county. County Seat: Tavares

1891 Florida's first salvation Army Corps was established today in Jacksonville. Five years later on this date, a Salvation Army officer was arrested while conducting street services and charged with disturbing the peace.

1958 Pratt and Whitney established its Florida research and Development Center in West Palm Beach.

MAY 28

1864 Union soldiers from the Federal schooner Fox destroyed salt works between the Suwannee River and St. marks. Twenty-five kettles and 100 bushels of salt were destroyed.

1892 The Florida East Coast Railroad Company was incorporated today.

1917 The City of Lake Wales was incorporated today by the Florida Legislature.

1932 The Daytona Art League was incorporated today.

1935 The Florida Legislature adopted Stephen Foster's Old Folks At Home as the official song of Florida.

1937 A new hospital was dedicated in the City of Melbourne today. The cost of the new facility was $45,000.

MAY 29

1586 Sir Francis Drake, the famous English "Sea Dog" burned and sacked the town of St. Augustine today.

1765 The Creek nations held a meeting with British officials in Pensacola to consider trade relations.

1895 The City of High Springs was incorporated today by the Florida Legislature.

1935 The first homestead exemption for Floridians was approved today by the Florida Legislature. Homeowners were allowed to deduct $5,000 from the appraised value of their property.

1942 Members of the Eau Gallie Yacht Club rescued eight sailors whose ship had been torpedoed by a German U-Boat in the Atlantic.

1970 The Florida Senate today approved the play The Cross and the Sword as the official play of the State of Florida.

MAY 30

1539 Hernando DeSoto, Spanish governor of Cuba, landed at Tampa Bay with men, animals, and equipment as he prepared to scour the southeast in search of gold and valuables.

1863 The U.S.S. Fort Henry captured a small sloop and a scow today in Wacassassa Bay. The scow was carrying 56 bales of cotton.

1863 Confederate General Pierre Beauregard arrived in Tallahassee today, along with Confederate General Howell Cobb of Georgia. Both men will address a public gathering in the Senate chambers of the State Capitol.

1864 The U.S.S. Bermuda captured the sloop Fortunate today off the coast of the Indian River Lagoon. The sloop was bound for Nassau with a cargo of cotton.

1865 For United States Vice-President and Confederate General John C. Breckinridge arrived at Carlisle's Landing on the Indian River Lagoon. Breckinridge and his party are escaping capture by Federal soldiers and to make their way to Cuba.

1907 The first edition of the Panama City Pilot was published today.

1917 The Florida State Museum (now the Florida Museum of Natural History) was established at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

1925 Martin County, Florida's 64th county, was created today by the Florida Legislature. The county is named in honor of Governor John W. Martin (1925-1929). County Seat: Stuart

1925 Indian River County, Florida's 65th county, was created today by the Florida Legislature. The county is named for the Indian River Lagoon, which flows through it. County Seat: Vero Beach

1956 African-Americans in Tallahassee began a bus boycott in that city. They were protesting the system of segregation that required non-whites to ride in the back of busses.

1989 Former United States Congressman and Senator Claude Pepper died today.

MAY 31

1861 Federal mail service comes to an end in Florida and the rest of the Confederate States of America. Confederate Postmaster General John Reagan announces that the CSA will now perform the functions previously carried out by the United States Postal Service. The official date of the new service will be June 1.

1863 The U.S.S. Sunflower captured the British blockade runner Echo near the Tortugas. The Echo was carrying a cargo of 185 bales of cotton.

1899 An amendment to the state constitution was approved by the Florida Legislature today which provided for the adoption of the current state flag.

1961 Lake City Community College was authorized by the Florida Legislature today.