Territorial Period 1821-1845
the early 19th century, armed incursions across the Spanish borderlands
of Florida by U.S. forces pursuing runaway slaves and Creek Indians created
an undeclared invasion of Spanish territory. Years of military challenges
to dwindling Spanish defenses lessened the already weak grip of the Spanish
government on Florida. Spain had no choice but to cede Florida to the
United States in 1821.
the plantation economy in Northeast Florida continued to flourish. The
latest industrial and steam power technology was used in its large sugar
factories. All this ended with the outbreak of the Second Seminole War
in 1835. The Seminole Indians of Florida were revolting against U.S. policies
which would remove them to the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma.
The Southeastern Indians were pushed into the then worthless lands of
the Indian territory soon after gold was discovered in Georgia. The discovery
of gold provided an excuse to take Indian lands. The Seminoles and their
Black allies resisted this forced relocation and many held their ground
in the territory of Florida by waging war against the planters and settlers.
During the winter of 1835-36, the citizens of St. Augustine watched in
dismay as clouds of billowing smoke drifted towards the city from the
south. Except for the slave quarters, all of the plantations along the
Halifax and Tomoka Rivers were burned to the ground by the Seminole Indians.
Efforts to save the plantations were futile. The people of St. Augustine
provided refuge for an exodus of plantation inhabitants. Within one month,
the thriving plantations from Pellicer Creek to Cape Canaveral were reduced
to ruin. The heyday of sugar was over, and it was never fully reestablished
as an important crop in Northeastern Florida.
Introduction to Steam Power
Thomas Dummett, an officer in the British Marines, purchased two East Florida
plantations containing 3,000 acres in 1825. Dummett sent to the West Indies
for a sugar specialist after several failed attempts to produce sugar
on his East Florida land. Under the specialist's expert direction, Dummett
soon had plentiful cane fields and a busy sugar mill and rum distillery,
which included the first steam-operated mill in the area.
to the memoirs of his daughter, Anna, the family lived in a big log house
thatched with palmetto and surrounded by Bermuda grass and mossy oak trees.
It was furnished with claw-footed tables and family portraits. Festive
parties and dinners were held there before the Seminole War forced the
family to flee to St. Augustine. The houses and buildings had once been
a part of John Bunch's plantation. Only the sugar mill and distillery
were built by Dummett. Anna also wrote laughingly of falling into a molasses
cistern by accident, and told of teaching her slave playmates to read.
enjoyed a good relationship with the Seminoles, who worked with his cane
hands during the busy grinding season, but their dissatisfaction with efforts
to remove them from Florida was reflected in the words Billy Bowlegs,
the Seminole leader, spoke to Dummett. "We compare ourselves to a
beautiful flower ...growing in poor soil. If that flower is transplanted...it
will die." After an Indian raid during the Seminole War, the Dummett
plantation was abandoned by the family in 1836. The site of the Dummett
sugar mill still can be visited.
Bulow Creek State Park
Dummett Plantation was only one part of one of the many grants given to
John Moultrie. Moultrie had called it "Rosetta" and installed
a manager on the property. By 1777, the main house, outbuildings, barns
and slave housing were completed. The plantation grew indigo and rice,
but it also provided corn, sugar cane and provision foods. When the British
ceded Florida back to Spain, Moultrie abandoned Rosetta. It was granted
to John Bunch in 1804. After 20 years, Bunch sold 2,175 acres of the
property and 90 slaves to Thomas Dummett, who installed what was probably
the first steam-powered sugar mill in Florida. Today, the chimneys of
the old sugarworks stand tall despite years of neglect.
Creek State Park Dummett Mill Ruins - Go two miles north of
State Park entrance on Old Dixie Highway (North Beach Street), on the right.
No park fee, no facilities, trails. For information, please call (386)
Smyrna Beach Sugar Mill Cruger and Depeyster Plantation
1830, Henry Cruger and William Depeyster purchased 600 acres to build
a sugar mill. The land had been part of the original Turnbull grant which
became a part of the Second Spanish period grant to Dr. Ambrose Hull.
Using the land as collateral, they secured a $10,000 loan for the purchase
of steam equipment from the West Point Foundry in Cold Springs, New York.
Cruger and Depeyster's venture was ill-timed. Just five years after they
began their enterprise, the sugar mill was destroyed by the warring Seminole
Indians. Today its beautiful arched walls remain to remind us of the industry
and endeavors of their ill-fated partnership.
Smyrna Beach Sugar Mill - From U.S. 1 in New Smyrna Beach, go two
miles west on S.R. 44. Turn left on Mission Road. The mill is two
blocks further on the right. No fee, facilities, picnicking.
Macrae Plantation and the Addison Blockhouse
Macrae brothers, Kenneth and Duncan, purchased one-fourth of the former
Addison Plantation owned by Thomas Dummett. They built a plantation and
steam-powered sugar mill using the Addison house and outbuildings already
on the property. They grew and processed sugar at the site from 1832-1836 when the Second Seminole Indian War suddenly ended their visions
early morning skirmish in 1836 forced soldiers to use the sugar factory
and detached kitchen of the house as a defensive bulwark. A cannon named
after a fallen comrade, "McDuffie," was placed on the roof of the
former kitchen. The main house and other buildings were destroyed, although
the slave quarters were left undisturbed, as was the custom of the Seminoles.
Troops assembled near the encampment. The Seminoles ambushed troops who
ventured to collect firewood and cut sugar cane. After killing and wounding
several solders, the Indians retreated. Three days later, the men received
orders to abandon the camp and move west, leaving behind a number of their
wounded in a nearby wooden stockade, where they would be rescued later.
After this damaging attack by the Seminoles, the plantation was abandoned.
Macrae sugar mill ruins are quite extensive but the Addison Blockhouse
and the Macrae ruins are not open to the public. Still visible today,
the fortified kitchen has long been misidentified as the "Addison
Blockhouse." The Addisons were even not alive when the skirmish took
place. The site should be more properly called the Macrae Blockhouse,
but the name is not likely to change. The present structure was partially
rebuilt in the 1920s as part of a Florida land boom development.
James Ormond owned a plantation in Exuma and the ship "Somerset,"
an armed brig he used to ply the waters of the West Indies and the Gulf
for the Panton, Leslie and Company trading firm. In the early 19th century
he acquired land grants in Spanish Florida where he was later murdered
by a runaway slave. One grant was for a plantation formerly known as "Damietta"
during the British Period.
family retreated to Scotland to live with another son, James Ormond II,
a junior partner in a trading company which failed. To avoid debtor's
prison, James Ormond II soon fled to Florida with his mother and Emmanuel,
a younger brother. He exchanged 2,000 acres of the elder Ormond's land
grant for a land tract of equal size in the Tomoka basin, just north
of McHardy's plantation.
Ormond III was born to a beautiful but anxious mother, the grey-eyed Isabella
Ormond. His mother's nervous
condition led him to live for a time on the Bulow plantation after returning from school in St. Augustine,
learned John Bulow's methods of plantation management. While there, he
wrote many amusing tales about Bulow's wild bachelor ways. He admired
his mother and described her as an accomplished musician and a natural
artist, but he was separated from her often.
father and Uncle Emmanuel died in 1829. Only one more crop of cotton was
grown before the Ormond Plantation was left to decay. Its slaves were
sold to work sugar crops on the Cruger & Depeyster Plantation in New Smyrna
Beach. James III later joined the militia during the Second Seminole Indian
War and served under the leadership of his old friend, Douglas Dummett.
Creek State Park Ormond Plantation Site and the Fairchild Oak
Ormond Plantation was established by James Ormond during the Second Spanish
Period. The plantation, once a complex of 12 buildings, was destroyed,
and nothing remains above ground to hint of its former prosperity. Still,
the site is worth visiting. A magnificent stand of live oaks, including
the landmark Fairchild Oak, marks the location of the former plantation.
Plantation Site & the Fairchild Oak is 4.5 miles north of the
Tomoka State Park entrance on Old Dixie Highway, about two miles on the
right. No fee, facilities, picnicking. For
more information, please call (386) 676-4050
Descended from a German Baron
Bulow brought 300 slaves from the Bulow plantation near Charleston, S.C.
They cleared 2,500 of the 6,000 acres he acquired in 1821 from the estate
of the Bahamian planter James Russell. Russell had traded his schooner,
"The Perseverance," to the Spanish for the tract in 1812. The
Bulow fortune, which included large plantations and stately townhouses
in South Carolina, was first established by Baron Joachim Von Bulow, who
organized the Lutheran church in the Carolinas.
Bulow Plantation in Volusia County had potential that its founder was never to experience.
He died three years after his arrival in Florida and was buried in the
Huguenot Cemetery in St. Augustine. The plantation passed to his minor
son John Joachim. John returned to Florida after a Paris education to
rebuild Bulowville, as it was called. Bulow was described by James Ormond
III, as "young, his own master, but wild and dissipated, graduated
in all the devilment to be learned in Paris." After an 1831 visit
to the plantation, the ornithologist John James Audubon wrote about Bulow's
John James Aubudon
prospered until 1835, when young Bulow disagreed with the plan to exile
the Indians to the West. Bulow had a friendly relationship with the Seminoles,
who supplied the plantation with meat. Bulow's resistance led to his imprisonment
and the conversion of his plantation into an armed camp by U.S. troops.
Bulow Plantation was destroyed by the Seminoles in 1836; its prosperous
lifestyle, fine library and the plantation reduced to ashes.
Bulowville Sugar Mill
north on Beach Street from the Tomoka State Park entrance in Ormond
Beach, then 5.5 miles north on Old Dixie Highway. Turn right on Old King's
Road. The park entrance is two miles on the right. Park fee, facilities,
Tragedy in DeLeon Springs
purchased 2,020 acres at DeLeon Springs and a plantation named Spring Gardens
in 1823. This same site was later developed by Orlando Rees into a substantial
sugar mill with a water wheel run by the power of the spring.
slaves quickly built a two-story log cabin in anticipation of the arrival
of his wife and household goods. Their supplies soon ran low and the slaves
were starving. Woodruff also argued with a Seminole chief, Yuchi Billy,
who had planted corn and settled on the traditional Indian land with its
rich soil, easy access to the St. John's River and fresh spring waters.
The major threatened Billy with a lashing and gave him three days to leave.
When Billy agreed to leave the land, Woodruff gave him gifts of corn,
gunpowder, sugar and lead.
bad luck continued as food remained in short supply. A terrible fever
spread swiftly through the plantation and, to complicate matters, the
livestock came down with distemper. His wife Jane lost her newborn child, and
their provision ship sank before it could reach Spring Gardens
with much-needed food and supplies.
Woodruff was elected to the Legislative Council of Florida just as many
Seminoles were taking up arms. Despite his family's hardships and the
loss of his child, Woodruff worked his plantation until his death during
a Yellow Fever epidemic in the 1820s. After his death, his wife left Spring
never to return. She died in 1834 and was survived by
only two of their eight children. A nephew, Henry Woodruff, later worked
the plantation until he was killed by the Seminoles during the Second
Seminole Indian War.
Gardens Plantation, DeLeon Springs State Park, DeLeon Springs
spring-run sugar mill at DeLeon Springs and its water wheel mechanism
were built by Colonel Orlando Rees, the owner of the plantation in the late
1820s. The spring's first owner was William Williams, who was given a
large land grant in 1804 which included the spring. Joseph Woodruff later
bought a third of the William's original land grant in 1823. All of its
owners called the plantation Spring Gardens.
Woodruff entertained the notion of building a sugar mill, he died before
he was able to begin the project. Rees set up the water-run mill on the
advice of an engineer who had constructed mills for nearby coastal sugar
planters. John James Audubon, the painter and naturalist, visited Rees
in 1832 and mentioned a "Scottish Engineer" who may have been
Ruben Loring, the engineer of the Dummett Mill, or Duncan Macrae of the
Macrae Mill. The spring's flow soon became the source of power for the mill's water wheel.
are many myths about the spring and its part in the story of Spanish explorer
Ponce de Leon's search for the "fountain of youth," although there is no evidence
that he visited here during his 1513 and 1521 explorations of Florida.
The wheel has been reconstructed and the original chimney is still in
use by the Sugar Mill Restaurant, known for its pancake breakfast and
Springs State Park Take
S.R. 40 from Ormond Beach to U.S. 17; turn
left at Barberville to DeLeon Springs. Or travel S.R. 92
from Daytona Beach to S.R. 17. Turn right to DeLeon Springs State Park.
Park fee, facilities, showers, canoeing, swimming, picnicking. Please
call (386) 985-4212
for more information.
Mill Botanical Garden
Dunlawton Sugar Mill
ownership of the Dunlawton Sugar Mill site dates back to the Turnbull
grant of 1777. In 1804, Patrick Dean and John Bunch, Dean's Uncle, acquired
portions of the former Turnbull property. After Dean was killed by an
Indian in 1818, his aunt Cecily Bunch inherited Dean's portion. John
Bunch continued to work the plantation after her death. In 1830, Bunch
gave the property to his grandson, John Bonnemaison Bunch McHardy. McHardy
was a British Naval officer who rose to the rank of admiral. Having no
interest in the land, McHardy sold it in 1830 to Charles Lawton of Charleston.
named the property Dunn-Lawton, a combination of his mother's maiden name
and his own name. this name remained even after Lawton sold the property
to Sarah P. Anderson of the Tomoka basin. The sugar mill that Sarah and her two
sons constructed there was destroyed by the Seminoles
in 1835. Unlike the other East Florida sugar mills, Dunlawton was rebuilt
in 1846 by John J. Marshall who used the equipment from the Cruger and Depeyster
mill in New Smyrna Beach to reconstruct and expand the mill. The site
also has the old animal-powered cane crusher from the Williams Grove Plantation,
which was located in what is now Daytona Beach.
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