Fort Christmas and Museum

Continuing on from my previous post, Christmas in June, here are some more photos and information on Fort Christmas. The Fort itself is a replica completed in 1977, exactly 140 years later.

Here are some pictures of the Fort:

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The Museum is inside the Fort. Below are pictures of some of the displays.

American Flag.  The American Flag of 1837 had 26 stars.  The 27th star was added when Florida was granted statehood in 1845.

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 2014-06-14 Ship_Fotor

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U.S.S. United States, model

In 1794 the United States Congress authorized construction of six frigates.  The U.S.S. United States was launched in Philadelphia, May 10, 1797.  These frigates were still in service during the Seminole Indian Wars.  They carried troops and supplies to Florida from the north.

In 1835 the U.S. Navy was a small defensive organization consisting of 785 officers and 3,627 sailors, augmented by a Marine Corps of 58 officers and 1,177 men.  By the 1837-38 winter campaign the army command realized that small shallow-draft vessels were needed.  The Seminoles were hiding in the southerly swamps and the soldiers could not follow.  The formation of the Mosquito Fleet, seven ships manned by 622 officers and men, and the development of riverine warfare were instrumental in penetrating the swamps of Florida.  By 1842 around 300 Seminoles remained in hiding in the swamps.  The war ended not with victory or truce.  The government simply no longer felt it expedient to send military forces into the Florida Everglades to harass and track down the remaining Seminoles.

Site of Fort Christmas, 1837

The Third Regiment of Artillery, four companies of the 3rd and 4th Dragoons of the United States Army and four companies of Alabama Volunteers reached this site, December 25, 1837.  A fort was completed on December 27th and they called it Fort Christmas having started it on Christmas day.  “The length and breadth of the picket is 100 feet.”  Blockhouses, 20 feet square, were built at two of the angles.  On January 3rd, 1838 the forces moved further south, leaving behind a garrison of the 3rd Artillery under Major Lomax.  The fort was abandoned in March of 1838 as it was no longer needed to obtain supplies from Fort Mellon.  Supplies were arriving by ship at the fort in Jupiter Inlet.

An Indian village, Powell Town, of some 30 or 40 lodges was located on the opposite side of a small stream from the fort.  “Most of the lodges were nothing more than 4 upright poles supporting a roof made of palmetto leaves on pine bark open at the sides with a platform of poles rais’d 3 or 4 feet from the ground for the purpose of sleeping on.  In the vicinity of each village was a cattle pen.”

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This is just a sampling of pictures that I took of the Fort and the museum.  It’s kind of hard to pick when you’ve taken well over 100 pictures of a small place!  I’ll have one more post showing some of the houses and their interior.

You can click here if you would like to see the first post in this series — Christmas in June

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11 comments on “Fort Christmas and Museum

  1. Imelda says:

    Thanks for this piece of history. 🙂

  2. Joanne says:

    What a fabulous collection of artifacts that have been acquired – Fort Christmas is just amazing! 🙂

  3. Sue Slaght says:

    Thank you for this historical tour. So much in such a little spot! It is hard to narrow the photos down for a post isn’t it? 🙂

  4. what an interesting history and great photos Linda!! You really give a sense of the place!

  5. […] Second:  Fort Christmas and Museum […]

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