Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On this date

It is always interesting to find a story about something and realize it happened on about the same date you discovered the event. I came across this newspaper article about my gg grandfather, William Rowell. It tells of an encounter he had with a band of Indians 174 years ago today.

On September 11, 1838 William Rowell was the Captain of a Florida Militia Company in the Second Florida Seminole War. Rowell moved to the Sunshine State from South Carolina in the prior decade to settle what he must have thought to be prime, uninhabited land.

Instead the early Florida settlers found the land full of Native Americans who sometimes didn't appreciate those they considered illegal alien invaders. Yes, illegal immigrants were considered a problem by the residents of the Sunshine State back then too.

I've found other newspaper articles about Captain Rowell's company but this was the first one I found in a Florida newspaper. The Floridian was published in Tallahassee, Florida from 1831 to 1848. The article has so much detail I wonder if Captain Rowell did an interview or if he had a PR man along.

The location of this encounter is shown as the head of the tide water of the Econfenee River, what we call the Ecofina today. It is located in Taylor County, just west of Perry, Florida where the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

Floridian Sept 22, 1838

 "Tiger Tail" aka Thlocklo-Tustenuggee was one of the more successful Chiefs among the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes during the 2nd Indian war. He was from the Tallahassee area and one of the last to surrender in 1842. There are conflicting accounts of what happened to him after that. I found newspaper articles saying he committed suicide rather than be sent west to Oklahoma, another said he died of disease in a Mobile, Alabama prison and others say he was turned loose after the war, lived to be 90 years old and died of old age in 1881 in Miami, Florida.

Company of Rowells - 2012

If the Miami story is true, William Rowell would have lived to be about the same age and died about the same time as his former adversary.

I received this photo via Facebook recently from some of my Rowell cousins who were out on the Ecofina river. I doubt they knew their ancestor had been chasing Tiger Tail's band in the same spot 174 years ago.

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