One of the fiercest anti-removal leaders in Florida was Halleck Tustenuggee, a Miccosukee Indian. One of his villages was on Crescent Lake during part of the Second Seminole War. (Called Dunns Lake during that time.) From here he would make raids on the St. Johns River between Jacksonville and Fort Mellon on Lake Monroe. It took a long time for the Army to find his village, even though it was close to the town of Palatka; a major river port at that time.
Other Second Seminole War forts: Forts Hunter, Lawson, and Fulton.
Fort Brooks, not to be confused by a fort of the same name in Tampa, was along the Oklawaha River. Today the site is underwater because of the Rodman Reservoir, renamed Ocklawaha Lake a few years ago. (Yes, there are two different ways to spell the river and the lake.)
Fort Gates was on the west side of the St. Johns River and north of Lake George. Fort Shannon was at Palatka.
Mount Royal was an important ceremonial mound, and later a Spanish mission was also on the site. William Bartram visited here in the 1770's.
Mount Royal along Little Lake George and the St. Johns River has produced some spectacular finds linking early Floridians with the Mississippian mound building culture. This was a burial mound used from 1200 to 1500 A.D. It also had a large causeway connecting to a pond north of the mound. (The causeway is supposedly reconstructed, but looking around I could not see any sign of it.) Later the Seminoles had several villages in the area.
Today this is a small park with an interpretive sign and nothing else. (No bathrooms.) Open to the public, but you have to make a real good effort to find it. It is off county road 309; turn down the road near the fish hatchery with the Mount Royal historical marker. Follow the small signs down the dirt road.
Putnam County Historical Museum:
The Putnam County Historical Museum is one of two structures left in Florida from over 250 Seminole War forts.
This building was the officer's quarters of Fort Shannon in Palatka.
Palatka became a major settlement and river crossing after America took over Florida from Spain. At the time it was considered a frontier community. At the beginning of the Second Seminole War, the town became abandoned because of fear of raids from the native Seminoles. Fort Shannon was quickly established as a major quartermaster depot at the St. Johns River crossing. In 1840, General Walker K. Armistead moved the supply depot from Garey's Ferry to be closer to the interior of the territory. The fort was deactivated at the close of the war. The Putnam County Historical Museum is inside the remaining officer's quarters, which makes it the only well preserved building from a Seminole War fort in Florida. (We're not counting St. Augustine, which was built by the Spanish, and the remains of Fort Dallas are in a bad state of disrepair from what I have heard.) The actual site of Fort Shannon was about a block away, where the Holiday Inn is today.
Also visit the Bronson-Mulholland House next to the museum, built in 1854. If you visit both these buildings, be aware that they are only open 2:00 to 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. To find the historical museum, follow the signs to the Bronson-Mulholland house off 3rd Street.
Read about Halleck Tustenuggee. The war would not end until he was captured!
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© 1998, 2002 Chris Kimball
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