During the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Seminoles had several
villages in the area. On Lake Miccosukee was the huge Seminole village
complex of Miccosukee. Is was actually not one village, but a large grouping
of several villages. It was burned in 1818 by andrew jackson*. The town
covered much area around the lake in what is today Leon and Jefferson County.
William Augustus Bowles declared Miccosukee his capital city for the State
* The author chooses not to capitalize this particular name.
Second Seminole War forts that were in the county: Fort Braden and Harriet.
Postcard from State of Florida Archives
"The Grove" mansion in Tallahassee was originally the home for Richard K. Call, who was Governor and Commanding General of the Florida Militia during the Second Seminole War.
North of Tallahassee on Lake Jackson is one of the most important mound complexes found today in Florida. The Lake Jackson mounds date from around 1200 to 1500 A.D. There are six earthen temple mounds which are considered an extremely important ceremonial and political complex.
Usual pottery and stone tools have been found here. The most important items found were copper breast plates and beaded necklaces. One copper plate has a stunning image of a bird-like person on it and is the largest such breast plate found in north America to date.
A small mound probably built around the same time as the Lake Jackson mounds. (Also north of Tallahassee.) Most likely the site of an early Floridian village. You can walk to the location, but there is not much to see. Recently the land was purchased by the State of Florida.
On Riddle Dr., south of Killearney Way and east of Highway U.S. 319. Off the north side of I-10.
DeSoto Winter Encampment Site, Village of Anhaica:
Site of the Apalachee village of Anhaica, where in 1539 Spanish Conquistadore Hernando DeSoto decided to halt his command for the winter. He left over a quarter million artifacts behind that were recovered by archaeologists in the early 1990s. This must have been a time of decision for DeSoto, as the soldiers decided to leave behind the ineffective chain armor in place of heavy cotton. Then he decided to continue on his journey and head north, going as far as the Appalacian Mountains and as far west as the Mississippi River. The DeSoto expedition had a devastating effect upon the native people and mound builders of the southeast.
This is the northern trailhead of the DeSoto trail throughout Florida, where there are interpretive kiosks around the state. And the state just announced that they will upgrade these kiosks that have been facing neglect for many years.
The site belongs to the state in downtown Tallahassee, and I am told that it consists of mainly state office buildings. I haven't been here, although I have heard that they hold occasional interpretive programs.
San Luis State Archaeological Site:
The Spanish mission of San Luis de Talimali (de Apalache) was in the area of modern Tallahassee until it was destroyed by Governor Moore of South Carolina and his forces in 1704. When the Spanish arrived in Florida they set up an extensive mission chain similar to those found in the southwestern U.S. The major difference was that these eastern missions were much older and built out of wood. The missions out west were built of adobe, which lasts much longer than wood due to climatological difference between the two areas. Eastern rains and humidity would destroy adobe structures just as it does untreated wood. Wood, too, last longer in the southwest due to aridity.
When the Spanish arrived in the southeast, they wasted no time in trying to convert the aboriginal Floridians. They were very successful in this. Many of the Apalachee and Timuquan Indians made good converts. One time the bishop from Cuba baptized 5,000 Indians in one ceremony. Unfortunately, the Spanish also forced Indians into slave labor until they were nearly decimated by diseases brought by the Europeans. Baptism and slavery do make an odd pair, indeed!
From 1700 to 1705 the English from South Carolina led by Governor Moore raided and destroyed the Spanish mission chain, which they looked upon as getting too close to the English colonies. Tens of thousands of Apalachee Indians were carried off into slavery by Governor Moore, never to be heard from again. The Apalachee had adapted Spanish culture so well that when San Luis was burned, one could not separate the Apalachee bodies apart from the Spanish. The English brought with them Yamassee Indian allies from South Carolina, but 10 years later the English chased them out, so the Yamassee moved to St. Augustine and allied themselves with the Spanish.
Today San Luis has a reconstructed mission village where living history events and festivals are periodically held. Work is still being done to reconstruct the mission village, but it should be impressive when done. An impressive 60 foot high thatched council hut is one of the reconstructed buildings. The large church with a thatched roof is also finished and well worth the visit.
Museum of Florida History:
The Museum of Florida History in downtown Tallahassee behind the State Capitol building in the R.A.Gray building. It has a display of ancient Floridian artifacts. Unfortunately on the subject of the Seminole wars in Florida, the museum is brief, with not much more then the McKinney-Hall prints from the early 19th century. (Which you can see in many books without having to go to the museum.) Fortunately plans are in the works to change this in the next few years and make more extensive 2nd Seminole War displays.
Also in the building is the state archives and state library. In the basement is the state conservation lab that is used to conserve valuable historical artifacts. The archives and library holds a priceless collection of documents and publications that is invaluable to anyone doing historical research. The library and archives in the building are among the best in the country. The archaeology site file archives have set the standards for other states to follow.
Outside the R.A.Gray building are new sculptures of Seminoles and Miccosukees
on the lawn. The Miccosukee family sculpture is titled, "Moving On."
The Seminole sculpture is "Seminole Family" of a family from the 1830s.
The Seminole sculpture is by artists Brad Cooley Sr. & Brad Cooley
Jr., who also have some outstanding sculptures at Big Cypress Reservation,
at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum and Billie Swamp Safari. Future sculptues on
the lawn are also planned, of natives at the time of European contact,
and Paleo man.
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© 1998, 2002, 2006, 2007 Chris Kimball
Note: None of this material can be reproduced without written permission from the author.