Fort List

by Chris Kimball

1st, 2nd & 3rd Seminole War forts by county

Just to give you an ideal of how widespread the war was in Florida, here is a list of some of the forts established in Florida during the three Seminole wars. This is not a complete listing of all the forts. I have counted about 250 total. It could be as many as 400, depending on whom you ask. Making a complete list can drive one insane, and I have never seen a list that didn't have some mistakes. One reason for the confusion is the forts with the same name: There are at four Fort Brooke's, three Clinch's, and two Macomb's.  Usually the summer sickness among the troops would force most forts to be abandoned in the summer, or when the army campaigns moved elsewhere.  If they were reactivated the next season, they may even be a few miles down the road from the previous fort or camp, but with the same name.  Fort Gatlin near Orlando was in three different locations.  Calling some forts a "Fort" is very generous; some were not much more a temporary camp or fortified stable. There is no pattern on what a fort might appear as.  Their dimensions and facilities differed between each individual post.

Some forts may only have numbers for names.  In 1838 when General Zachary Taylor became commander of the forces in Florida, he divided the state into 20-mile square grids. Close to the center of the square was a fort, which had a number corresponding with the square that it was in. East of the Suwannee River, they would be known as "East Florida forts." West of the Suwannee River was known as Middle Florida, so those were known as "Middle Florida forts." For example: a fort in East Florida was in square 6, so it was known as "Fort 6 East Florida," or sometimes "Fort 6 E.F." Sometimes these numbered forts were an already established fort, so they were usually called by the old name, but sometimes known by the number. Fort King was "Fort 1 E.F." and Micanopy was "Fort 7 E.F."

It is a sad fact that many people do not even realize that their city or town had the start as a Seminole War fort, like Fort Lauderdale or Fort Myers. Some people I have talked with are surprised to learn this, and believed that the name was just something given to the town. They are even more surprised to learn that the forts were not from the Civil War, but the 2nd Seminole War.

Unfortunately we are quickly losing historical sites to "developers" and county commissioners who only see dollar signs when it comes to building. We must spread the word to protect these historical sites, and it has been a losing battle. Even when the fort site is known and significant evidence indicates where it was, it still becomes victim of the bulldozers. We have lost important fort sites like Fort Drane near Ocala, and Fort Brooke in Tampa.

One of the last remaining undeveloped fort sites is Fort King in Ocala, which has just been purchased by the local community to be turned into a local park.  It is also up for nomination as a National Historical Landmark, which would be the first Seminole War site with such designation.

Florida has a dismal record of preserving its historic heritage and these fort sites. There are only a few fort sites that have been saved as a museum or park.  Most do not even have a roadside historical marker.  Hopefully the developers will not destroy them all, but it is almost too late.

Listing of Forts by Counties:

Alachua County
Micanopy/Defiance (town of Micanopy)
Hogtown
Harlee
Gilleland
Tarver /Tarver's
Crum/Croom
Wacahoota
Walker

Baker County
Moniac

Brevard County
Ann

Broward County
Lauderdale (town of same name)

Charlotte County
Casey

Citrus County
Cooper (today a state park)

Clay County
Heilman (today Middleburg)
VanCourtland (today Camp Blanding)

Collier County
Doane
Keais
Old Fort Foster

Columbia County
Alligator (today Lake City)

Dade County
Cape Florida (today a state park)
Dallas (today Miami)
Henry

DeSoto County
Ogden (town of same name)

Dixie County
McCrabb
Griffin
Wool

Escambia County
Barrancas (today a National Park)

Flagler County
Bulow (today a state park)

Franklin County
Gadsden (today a park)

Gilchrist County
Fanning (town of Fanning Springs)
White (town of same name)

Hamilton County
"Fort Number 21" (town of White Springs)

Hardee County
Green (town of same name)
Chokonikla (Today Paynes Creek state park)

Hendry County
Denaud
Thompson
T.B. Adams

Hernando County
Cross

Highlands County
Basinger (town of same name)
Kissimmee

Hillsborough County
Brooke (today a parking garage in Tampa)
Egmont Key (today a state park)
Foster /Alabama (today Hillsborough River state park)

Lafayette County
Barker
Macomb
Frank Brooke

Lake County
Butler
Mason

Lee County
Harvie
Myers (town of same name)

Levy County
Clinch
Wacasassa
Wekiwa

Madison County
Noel

Manatee County
Crawford
Hamer

Marion County
King (today Ocala)
Drane
Fowle
Hook
Russell
Wheelock
MacKay/McCoy (town of same name)
Izard (future state park)

Monroe County
Tavernier Key
Poinsett

Nassau County
Clinch (today a state park)

Okeechobee County
Lloyd (or Floyd)
Drum (town of same name)

Orange County
Gatlin (today Orlando)
Maitland (town of same name)
Christmas (town of same name & park)
McNeil

Osceola County
Davenport (town of same name)

Palm Beach County
Jupiter (town of same name)
McRae

Pasco County
Dade (today Dade City)

Pinellas County
Harrison

Polk County
Carroll
Cummings
Fraser
Gardner
Arbuckle
Meade (town of same name)

Putnam County
Shannon/Palatka (town of Palatka)
Brooks
Gates

St. Johns County
Peyton
Searle
Hanson
Marion (today Castillo de San Marcos National Monument)

St. Lucie County
Pierce (town of same name)
Capron

Sarasota County
Myakka

Seminole County
Mellon
Reid
Lane (today a county park)

Sumter County
Armstrong

Suwannee County
Suwannee Springs (today a county park)

Taylor County
Andrews
Econfinee
Pleasant

Volusia County
Kingsbury
New Smyrna (town of same name)
Volusia/Barnwell/Call (town of Volusia)

Wakulla County
Macomb
San Marcos/St. Marks (San Marcos de Apalache state park)
 

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© 1998, 2003 Chris Kimball