1835-1842 - The Second Seminole War

1835 - Second Seminole War

   In 1823, at the Treaty of Moultie Creek, the Seminoles were ordered to live in a reservation, much of which was located in modern day Lake County.
   One large tribal camp was located about five miles northwest of present day Groveland in the area of Tuscanooga. The area was named after their leader, Halpatter Tustenugee. Records indicate there were somewhere between 180 to 300 members of the tribe living there.

   The Second Seminole War began as a result of the United States, under the presedency of Andrew Jackson, leader of the Democratic Party, voiding the Treaty of Moultrie Creek by instituting the 1830 Indian Removal Act and demanding that all Seminoles relocate to Indian Territory in what is present-day Oklahoma.

Some tribes relented and signed treaties, such as the Treaty of Payne's Landing in 1832, which exchanged portions of Seminole ancestral lands for those in the midwest.

   The Seminole tribes began a resistance against the United States' Indian Removal Act.

1835 - Dade Battlefield and Tuscanooga

1835 - Seminole Indian Reserve
[1835 Map showing the undefined boundaries of the Seminole Reservation. The eastern boundary can be seen passing through the Clermont/Lake Apopka area. Showing that the Groveland and Mascotte areas were still contained within the Reservation.]
[The site of the Dade Massacre can be seen on this map of Important Sites during the 2nd Seminole War.]

   Hostilities led to the Second Seminole War when in December of 1835 the Seminoles successfully ambushed Major Dade and his troops as they marched through the area of modern Bushnell.
   The area now known as Tuscanooga (located west of modern Groveland) was once a 900 acre island inhabited by Native Americans.
   Led by Halpatter Tustenugee, these Natives participated in the battle against Major Dade in Bushnell, FL.
   The site is now known as Dade Battlefield State Park.
   Other nearby tribal camps were located at Okahumpka and northwest of Center Hill. It is likely that these groups also took part in the battle.

The War Continues

   The war continued for the next several years with a series of engagements throughout the Florida Territory and extending even south to the Florida Keys.
   Despite the Seminole fighters being at a tactical and numerical disadvantage, Seminole military leaders effectively used guerrilla warfare to frustrate United States military forces, whose now archaic method of fighting was designed for open fields.
   The U.S. forces eventually numbered over 30,000 including militia and additional volunteers.

   In 1836, General Thomas Sidney Jesup was sent to Florida to take command of the campaign.
   Not wanting to waste his efforts, as previous commanders had done, in pursuing parties of Seminole fighters, who could disappear into the thickets and swamps without a trace, Jesup changed tactics and engaged in a search and destroy campaign.
   Instead of fighting the warriors, Jesup targeted Seminole civilians and farms, an immoral strategy, which eventually changed the course of the war.
   Jesup also authorized the controversial abduction of Seminole leaders Osceola and Micanopy, by luring them under a false flag of truce.
   By the early 1840s, many Seminoles had been killed and many more were forced, by impending starvation due to the destruction of their farms, to surrender and be removed to Indian Territory.

   Though there was no official peace treaty, several hundred Seminoles remained in Southwest Florida after active conflict ended.

1842 - War Ends and The Armed Occupation Act

   In 1842, at the end of the Second Seminole War, Congress passed the Armed Occupation Act. It offered 160 acres of land in Florida to any man who would take up arms to protect the area against potential renewed Native hostilities. So long as he would build a habitable dwelling and live on the property for five years, while cultivating at least five acres of his homestead.
   Many American settlers accepted the challenge and joined the blacks and previous settlers who were already engaged in farming the area.
   Settlements and small towns began to quickly appear and some vanished just as fast.

   The Native Americans left this area following the end of the Third Seminole Indian War.

   In 1880, after less than 200 years of the tribe being formed, it is reported that only 208 Seminoles remained in Florida.

[Contributors: Mary Helen Myers, Jason Brown]

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