Fort Christmas Homes

This will be my final installment on our visit to Fort Christmas park. Below is a sampling of some of the homes and interiors. Enjoy!

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There is a 1930s pavilion, a 1920s ball field, cane mill and syrup kettle (used at the annual Cracker Christmas event in December), a church exhibit, a research library, a turpentine exhibit, textile equipment exhibit, sugar cane patch, post office exhibit, chicken coop, cow camps, vegetable garden, hunting, fishing and trapping exhibit, and a ranching exhibit.  WHEW!

If you wish to check out my first two posts, please click on the names:

First:  Christmas in June

Second:  Fort Christmas and Museum


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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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

Christmas in June

A couple of weekends ago, hubby and I headed out in the car to get out of the house for a while before the daily thunderstorms hit. We really didn’t have any particular route in mind. We just started heading for the coast and figured if it didn’t cloud over, we might get to the beach. But, along the way, we passed a sign for the little town of Christmas. On a whim, we turned off and decided to check it out. We really didn’t check out the town but we did go visit Fort Christmas Historical Park. You can find the following at the entrance to the turn-off.  I took so many pictures at this place, I’ll post them in two or three separate posts.

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From the brochure:  In 1976 as a bicentennial project Orange County Parks and Recreation Department, with support of the Army Corps of Engineers, began construction of a full-size replica of Fort Christmas.  The new replica was completed in December of 1977, one mile south of the original location, exactly 140 years later.

In May of 1990 the Fort Christmas Historical Society was formed. Through their efforts a Master Plan was developed to create a living history settlement. The society has become instrumental in the preservation of rural heritage of East Orange County.

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After stopping in the reception building, the first place we visited was the 1932 School Lunchroom.  The lunchroom served home cooked meals and local women were hired as cooks. There were never any leftovers! Later it became a classroom.

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There were lots of kitchen exhibits.

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The next building we visited was the 1906 School.  Union School became Christmas Elementary in 1959 and closed due to overcrowding in 1969.  The two room school grew with the addition of a stage in front and a small classroom in back.  Later the front room became the kitchen, lunchroom, and auditorium.

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Next time I’ll post the photos from the Fort and Museum.


Revolutionary War = Independence Day


Washington Crossing the Delaware byEmanuel Leutze
Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City – 1851

Since I began delving into my genealogy, it seems that especially at times like this my thoughts are turned to my ancestors who sacrificed so much. I present just a few of the family patriots related to me and mine who served so valiantly. I know that there are more and I will find them and honor them when I do.

John Arthur, Sr.

Wounded in Yorktown in final battle with Cornwallis. On 17th May 1843, in Bedford County, Virginia John made a declaration for his pension stating he was 85 years of age.  He married 12 Oct 1784 in Bedford County, Virginia to Elizabeth ADDAMS (ADAMS), with the consent of John ADDAMS.  In his pension papers it states that she was the daughter of John & Sarah ADDAMS.  Elizabeth was born 28 Sep 1769.  John ARTHUR died 24 Aug 1850, Bedford County, Virginia.  John ARTHUR was drafted into the Bedford Militia and served the following four regular tours:  about the last of May 1780 under Capt. Thomas LEFTWICH.  He served at Gate’s Defeat at Camden, SC; from 15 Jan 1781 three months in Capt. Isaac CLEMANS’ Company during the siege of Ninety-Six in SC under Gen. GREEN; Sept.1781, two months under Capt. John TRIGG in Col. TUCKER’s Regiment.  He was injured by a cannon ball from the enemies’ guns 19 Oct 1781 during battle of Yorktown and surrender of Lord CORNWALLIS for which he was granted a pension from the State of Virginia. He received wounds to both of his knees, right arm and under jaw. He was granted 100 acres 11 Apr 1818 Bedford Co.

Joel Arthur

Joel ARTHUR, born in 1761, Bedford Co., VA fought under Capt. John TRIGG, Lieut. John DAVIS, Ensign William HANDCOCK, under the command of General MULLENBURG, Col. MERRIWETHER and Major McCLURE in 1780 around Portsmouth, VA.  In June 1781 for three months in the militia under Capt. Thomas LEFTWICH and Major OVERSTREET by way of Richmond and was stationed between Little York and Norfolk.

Thomas “Tom Titt” Arthur, Jr.

Thomas served in the Revolutionary War. He was a resident of Bedford Co. living “between the waters of Goose Creek and Stauton River” during that time. He was in the battle of “Gates’ Defeat”, Siege of 96. It was stated that his nickname as a boy was “Tom Titt” and after he came from the war, he was called “Squirrel Tom” to distinguish him from the others of the same name in that neighborhood. He stated his brother, John ARTHUR, as 85 yrs old in 1843, living in Bedford Co. and had served two tours in the Revolution with Thomas.

Matthew Wallace

1744-1831. Matthew was listed as a private in the 4th Class of Chanceford Township. Inhabitants in Capt. Joseph Reed’s Company in a 26 Apr 1778 return.

Jeremiah Burns, Sr.

Assisted in establishing American Independence while acting in the capacity of Private.  His services during the Revolutionary War were as follows:  From Records Nat’l Archives, enlisted at Bedford Co, VA in 1776 for a period of three years as a private in Captain George Lambert’s Company, commanded by Colonel George Matthews under Major General Nathaenel Greene, it being the 14th Virginia Regiment, afterwards consolidated into the 7th.  At expiration of three years he reenlisted for another three years.  In 1781 he was marched to Yorktown and served in that seige.  He also had served in the battles of Germantown and Manmouth.  He was discharged soon after the Seige of York by Col. Roan.  Jeremiah came with his family to KY and settled in that part of Greenup Co. that became Lawrence Co. when created from Floyd & Greenup Counties in 1821, effective 11 Feb 1821.  On 28 Jul 1818 he applied for his pension.  Certificate of Pension No. W.F. 2063 was issued.