Florida Militia Indians?

"Richard's Company of Friendly Indians; Florida Mounted Volunteers (Florida War.)"

It was a big surprise for me to find a unit of "Indian Scouts" employed by the Florida Militia. The regular Army employed several units of "friendlies" against the Seminoles, but this is the only instance I found record of a whole unit of "friendlies" drawn up by the Florida Militia. Here is the complete list of 75 names of "Richard's Company of Friendly Indians; Florida Mounted Volunteers, Florida War" (2nd Seminole War) from microfilm of the actual enlistment cards. Of the history of the unit, I could find scarce other information than what is listed on the cards. This unit served at a time when the largest number of United States and militia units were employed in Florida.

Above is another famous Creek leader who was with a different regiment of "friendlies." Paddy Carr (from the McKenney-Hall portraits) sided with the Americans and came to Fort Brooke at Tampa Bay with the Creek Regiment commanded by Col. John Lane in 1836-1837. His unit participated in the Battle of Wahoo Swamp. There were 759 Creeks with his unit, and 110 died during their year in Florida

All enlistment dates for being mustered out of the unit are April 23, 1838 at Camp Relief. Dates of enlistment vary. Many, including Captain Richards, the enlistment date is 10-15-1837. There are several others with an enlistment date of 11-1-37. Still others have different dates of service. It is possible that the officers and staff started out and picked up much of the majority of the unit a couple weeks later. There are also those that joined at a later date, so they must have been picked up along the way. Ranks are included if given.

The company commander was Stephen Richards. From Sprague's "The Florida War", we find out Richards was an interpreter for Indian Agent Gad Humphreys at the Treaty of Moultrie Creek, or Treaty of Camp Moultrie, in September 1823.  In article 10 of the treaty, Richards is given a gift of, "one mile square, at the Ochesee Bluffs, embracing Stephen Richards's field on said bluffs, be conveyed, in simple, to said Stephen Richards." (This area seems to be in Calhoun County.)  Richards also served as Interpreter at the Treaty of Payne's Landing, in May 1832.  Later on, it seems that Richards was dismissed from his duties working for the Indian agent for allegations of fraud.

Some Creek descendents filled in some more information about the unit. These Indians were told that they would be allowed to remain in Florida if they joined Richard's militia unit. It was common practice for the government to use Indians to find other Indians. One Creek person told me that the unit came through and burned his ancestor's farm. Kind of like being chased out by your cousins.

Of the Indians, we know little. One clue may be the names of Perryman and Yellowhair, both familiar Indian names in north Florida. There are a couple French names, and they could be Florida Choctaws. Some names are definitely Muskogee words, like Chebon or Lusta.

If you have any information on the unit, let me know!

Names listed in Unit:

Cpt. Stephen Richards (mounted) Note: "enrolled 10-15- 1837, Walkers Town, Jackson County. Commanding detachment of 13 men to 1 Nov. from then full company."

J.H. Bison
Black Billy
Black John
Pvt. Samuel Bray
Pvt. William Brown (mounted)
Martin Caseboury
Pvt. Gilbert Chermichael
Davey Chopka
Johny Chopka
Big Davy
U-Lousa (or Davy)
R.B. Evans
James E. Fairley
Mr. Fobby
Tom Fobby
Anthony Garshaw
William Gay
2nd Sgt. J.D. Gill
2nd Cpl. William Goodrum (mounted)
Jake (killed 1-1-38)
Spanish John
Peter Leonard
Lewy (killed 4-16-38)
Chebon Louc
Samse Lucco
Lusta Chebon
Moses Manning
John Mealey
John Newcommer
Pvt. George Perryman
Thomas Perryman
James Richard Sr.
James Richard Jr.
1st Sgt. John Richards (mounted)
1st Lt. John G. Richards (mounted)
1st Cpl. W. Riley
James Sepions
William P. Simmon
Te Pikie
Old Tommy
To (or Capt. Billey)
Col. Toney (probably not a real commissioned rank?)
Tot-tour-Hargo (or Capt. Billy)
Charley Walker
Jim Walker
2nd Lt. John Walker
Jackson Wood
Silas Wood
Isaac Yellowhair

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(c) 1997, 2002 Chris Kimball