1855-1858 - The Third Seminole War

1855 - Third Seminole War

   The Groveland area was once part of the "Heart of Seminole Territory".
   During the third Seminole War, some of our ancestors had already begun arriving.

   The Third Seminole War began as the Seminoles responded to the U.S. further encroaching on their lands. An influx of a large number of settlers in Southwest Florida led to increasing tension with the few remaining Seminoles living in Florida.

   In December of 1855, U.S. Army personnel located and destroyed a large Seminole plantation west of the Everglades Some believe this may have been a deliberate provokement of a violent response that would give the U.S. and excuse to remove the remaining Seminole survivors from the region.
   Holata Micco, a Seminole leader known as Billy Bowlegs, responded with a raid near Fort Myers. This led to a series of retaliatory raids and small skirmishes. However, no large battles were fought.
   Following the tactics developed by Jesup, the United States military strategy was to target Seminole civilians and destroy their food supply, rather than attack the warriors.

   By 1858, most of the remaining Seminoles, war weary and facing starvation, acquiesced to being removed to the Indian Territory in exchange for promises of safe passage and cash payments.
   An estimated 200 to 500 Seminoles in small family clans still refused to leave and retreated deep into the Everglades and the Big Cypress Swamp to live on land considered unsuitable by American settlers.

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

[Contributors: Mary Helen Myers, Jason Brown]

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