Tuesday, June 30, 2015

There's lots of ways to celebrate the 4th of July...

 Grill out!
Apalachicola, 1952. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida.
 Compete in a watermelon-eating competition.
1968. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida
  Enjoy a parade.
DeLand, 1884. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida.
Enter a beauty pageant.
Daytona Beach, 1952. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida
Put on a show.
Silver Lake, 1957. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida.
 Or...watch some fireworks, of course!
Tallahassee, 1985. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida.

It's also a nice time to think about that part of history. When I lived in Boston, it was hard to find a spot that didn't have ties to the Revolutionary War. But in Florida, these places are a little harder to find. However, there's three here in Northeast Florida!

Battle of Thomas Creek
When the war began, East and West Florida were British colonies, handed over after the French-Indian (or Seven Years') War. American troops tried three times to invade East Florida, the second on May 17, 1777, around Thomas Creek in present-day Jacksonville. (The first attempt was in 1776 and fell apart before it even began.)

Georgia militiamen were supposed to meet troops from the Continental Army near Cow Ford, as Jacksonville was known as then. However, when the Army was delayed, the British learned of the plans and ambushed the militia.

The actual location for the battle is still up for debate but archaeologists have found British buttons in an area that could be an associated encampment. Today, a historic marker also stands nearby where US 1 crosses Thomas Creek.

To read the inscription of the historic marker, or get the coordinates to find it yourself, check out it's posting on UNF's Digital Commons website.

Historic Marker comemorating the Battle of Thomas Creek. Photo Credit: Waymarking.com
Battle of Alligator BridgeAgain in 1778, Georgia militiamen and Continental troops rallied together to attack the British troops in East Florida. On June 30, the sides meet at near a bridge at Alligator Creek, a tributary of the Nassau River. A skirmish ensued until the Continental Army retreated.

The exact site for this battle is also still disputed. A historic marker along Highway 301 in Callahan commemorates this battle. To locate the marker to visit it yourself, check out the marker on Waymarking.com.

Marker for the Battle of Alligator Bridge. Photo Credit: Waymarking.com.

The Storm Wreck
After the war ended, British Loyalists hit the road back to friendly territory. East Florida was still the closest friendly port-of-call. A large fleet of ships of all shapes and sizes left Charleston under way to St. Augustine, but a storm hit when they arrived. Several boats sank, including the yet-to-be-specifically-indentified Storm Wreck.

Archaeologists with the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) at the St. Augustine Lighthouse discovered the wreck in 2009 and have worked at the site for several field seasons sense, recovering everything from military buttons to door hardware - things fleeing residents would take with them.

LAMP Archaeologists raising a canon from the Storm Wreck in June 2011.

For more information on the Storm Wreck, please visit the LAMP's website.

Happy 4th of July from FPAN!

Text and Photos (unless noted) by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN Staff.

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