OLD FT. DRUM WAS SITE OF A POSTWAR INDIAN TRADING POST


THE TAMPA TRIBUNE, Sunday, December 13, 1959
Contributed by Melissa Dyals

Albert DeVane of Lake Placid, Fla., is a veteran and accomplished historical and genealogical researcher with intimate and widespread friendships among the Florida Seminoles. In compiling this history of old Fort Drum for the Pioneer Florida page he has consulted both official records and his Indian friends for, as he says, "the once prosperous town of Fort Drum, like old Newnansville, is now a ghost town. Only a filling station and a few scattered houses mark the old site today."

OLD FORT DRUM

"After General Worth's order No. 28, declaring the second Seminole War at an end August 14, 1842, the Seminoles began moving into the territory assigned them by treaty.

"The white man's greed for their lands and border invasions by unscrupulous men, often dressed as Indians stealing their cattle, horses and slaves, was causing much dissension.

"Some were playing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They were telling the frontier pioneers that the Indians were getting ready for war. They would go among the Indians, posing as their friends, telling them the Army was repudiating their treaty and preparing to send the all west.

"This kept the frontier in a turmoil. In 1849 it looked as though the third Seminole War was about to start.

* * *

"GENERAL MEADE ordered several new forts established, one of which was Fort Durm, our subject. This fort was built and garrisoned with Federal troops in 1849.

"A parley among the chiefs and the Army resulted in the chiefs stating that the trouble was caused by some renegade Indians. They convinced the Army of their truthfulness and everything settled down to normalcy again. The Army deactivated Fort Drum on May 28, 1850.

"In 1856, at the start of the third and last Seminole War, Fort Drum was again garrisoned by the Florida militia. They continued there until about 1861, or the start of the Civil War.

"About 1870 or 1871, Henry Parker moved into the Kissimmee river valley. He built and operated a ferry at Bluff hammock. A little later he moved down the river near the site of Fort Bassinger. He sold this place to Rabon Raulerson of Bartow in 1873. He then moved to Fort Drum, built a double pen log house and a store or trading post.

* * *

"SOME OF THE Seminole Indians, who had lived in the territory before the last war, began to move out of the Everglades, back to their old hunting grounds, a few of whom I shall name:

"Chipco; Old Tom Tiger; Big Tom Tiger and Captain Tom Tiger; Chief Tallahassee and his six sons--Billy Buster, Billy Ham, Mr. Dennis, Old man, Chipco 2nd (or little Chipco), and Tommy Hill; Indian Henry Parker and his squaw Polly Parker, "the Evangeline of the Seminoles," who escaped from the Army at St. Marks when being taken to Arkansas Territory; Charlie Peacock; Old Nancy, grandmother of Billy Bowlegs 3rd; Jimmie Gopher and son Coffee; Dr. John; Tommy Micco and sons Sam Jones 2nd; Oscar Hall, Charlie Micco and Frank Shore, present medicine man of Brighton Seminoles; Tom Biglow and sons Joe Bowers and Jake Morgan; Eli Morgan, only child of Billy Bowlegs; Billie Doctor; Charlie Snow and son Sampson; Lake Wilson; Jim Jumper; Na Haw and Osceola Tiger, sons of Captain Tommy Tiger; Billy Smith, old medicine man who succeeded Captain Tom Tiger, and his sons Tom, Dick and Morgan; John Pearce; John Jumper and George Osceola.

"There are other Seminoles who never took a white man's name and are very difficult to name.

"Henry Parker's store became a trading post for the Seminoles. He gave them groceries, supplies, guns, ammunition, in exchange for alligators, deer and otter hides, alligator teeth and bird plumes, also coontee flour which was used for starch and cooking by the pioneers.

* * *

"NEW SETTLERS began moving into the territory -- cattlemen and small farmers and hunters.

"The place began to boom, with a church, school, blacksmith shop, shoe and saddle shop. There was another store run by George Drawdy.

"Henry Parker was elected to the legislature. And while in Tallahassee, through contacts he had made, was promised a post office for Fort Drum. The government soon after made the award and he was named postmaster. Advertisements were placed in newspapers and public places asking for bids on mail delivery by horseback from Kissimmee to Fort Pierce, via Fort Drum. The contract was awarded to James Webb, and early pioneer into the territory, whom we will discuss later.

* * *

"A PARTIAL LIST of the pioneers who were living in the area at time were:

"Will iam Raulerson, son of Rabon; Milton and Jasper Lee; George Drawdy; Henry Holmes; Streety Hair , Sr., son of Calvin; Marcy Browning; John Barton; John Parker, from Georgia; James Webb; John McLaughlin and son Edd; Eli Morgan and sons; Rev. Joel Swain and sons; Redden Manning, Morgan and first telegraph wire rider on the line from Kissimmee to Jupiter, Moody Knight, Wayman Potter, Tip Padgett; Crayton Parker; Hiram Platt; Reuben Carlton and Mr. Powers (when horse races were being run); Teat Alderman; John Willis; Bill Beecher (blacksmith); Hardy Johns, Robert Lamartin and Charlie Dupont (school teachers): Elmo Boatwright; Wade H. Raulerson, son of Jacob and grandson of Kingsley; Bob Willis; Mart Smith; Singletons; Laports; two Tom Campbells; Robert Anderson; James Anderson; D. L. Robert s; Joseph Pressley; Thomas Cason and Mr. Crew s; Herley Holmes; Hilton Brown and Milton Lee (all three ran a store).

"School teachers remembered were Miss Schofield, Miss Geiger and Miss Bell.

* * *

"THE FIRST CHURCH organized at Fort Drum was of Primitive Baptist faith. Rev. Joel Swain was pastor.

"Reverend Swain was son of Morgan Swain, who was a blacksmith and had the first shop in old Troupville, second county seat of Lowndes County, Ga., in 1826. His grandfather was Canneth Swain, a Revolutionary soldier.

"Reverend Swain was the second called pastor of Mt. Enon Church (Plant City) being called Dec. 1, 1868. He served until 1878.

END