Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#58 Marianna Home Guard (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)

Battle of Marianna Monument
The Marianna Home Guard, which bore the brunt of the fighting at the Battle of Marianna 150 years ago next week, is #58 on my list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.

Please click here to see the complete list as it is unveiled.

After the St. Andrew Bay Raid came within 30 miles of Marianna in July 1864, Governor John Milton ordered every male citizen of Florida over the age of 15 to join militia companies to help repel future such invasions. The Marianna Home Guard was among the companies that formed in response to his order.

Robert Daffin portrays Capt. Norwood in
the new Battle of Marianna documentary.
Organized by the governor himself during a meeting at the Jackson County Courthouse in Marianna, the unit originally mustered 44-men and officers. It was doubled in size by the addition of volunteers as Union troops approached the city on the morning of September 27, 1864.

The new company elected its own officers, as was the custom in those days. Jesse J. Norwood, a local attorney who had served in the 5th Florida Cavalry, was named captain. Dr. A.F. Blount and Christian J. Staley were elected as lieutenants and Edwin W. Mooring became adjutant.

The men had no uniforms and carried their own weapons - mostly shotguns, pistols and antique firearms - because they were in essence "minutemen" who continued to pursue their daily occupations but would turn out on a moment's notice in the event of a pending attack. When the bells of the city rang on the morning of September 27, 1864, the company had drilled only once.

I will post more on the courageous stand of the Marianna Home Guard at the Battle of Marianna next week. Here is the list of all known members:

Marianna Home Guard

Commanding Officer       

Captain Jesse J. Norwood
Dr. A.F. Blount, Lieutenant
Christian J. Staley, Lieutenant
Edwin W. Mooring, Adjutant
Members and Volunteers
B.G. Alderman                                       
Isaac Anderson                                    
William E. Anderson       
Lawrence T. Armistead       
Robert Armistead       
J. Austin       
Franklin Baltzell      
Richard Baltzell       
Thomas W. Baltzell       
Henry O. Bassett       
John Blaney       
James H. Brett       
Albert G. Bush       
Allen Henry Bush       
Rev. Richard Bush       
John C. Carter       
John Chason       
Ellis Davis       
John Davis, Sr.       
Marmaduke Dickson       
Dr. Horace Ely       
Miles Everett       
Francis M. Farley       
Samuel B. Gammon       
Thomas N. Gautier       
Peyton Gwin       
Samuel (William) Harrison       
John W. Hartsfield       
Dr. Thaddeus W. Hentz       
W.H. Hinson       
J.B. Justiss       
W.O. Kincey       
Rev. R.C.B. Lawrence       
Arthur Lewis (Sr.)       
Felix H.G. Long
Dr. Nicholas A. Long
Israel McBright
W.L. McKinley
Adam McNealy
Alex Merritt
C.R. Moore
Nicholas Morgan
Milton Mosley (Mosely)
John T. Myrick, Sr.
John T. "Jack" Myrick, Jr.
Charles Nickels
Woodbury "Woody" Nickels
Rev. E.B. Norton
James (Daniel) O'Neal
Frederick R. Pittman
Walter J. Robinson
H. Sewell
Henry Stephens (Stevens)

Isaac Hugh Stone (Private from 5th Florida Cavalry in hospital at Marianna)
Solomon Sullivan
Peter Taylor
Charles Tucker
Charles Tucker (from Quincy)
Hinton J. Watson
O.M. Watson
John B. Whitehurst
Dr. W.S. Wilson
William B. Wynn

If you have an ancestor who served in the Marianna Home Guard and do not see them listed here, please let me know by leaving a comment. We are trying to identify every possible member in time for the Battle of Marianna 150th Commemoration on September 27, 2014.

To learn more about the Battle of Marianna, please visit

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#59 The Greenwood Club Cavalry (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)

Grave of Captain Henry Robinson
The school boys of Greenwood turned out in defense of their homes and families at the Battle of Marianna 150 years ago this month. Their company, the Greenwood Club Cavalry, is #59 on our list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.

Please click here to see the entire list as it is unveiled.

The withdrawal of most regular Confederate troops from Florida in the months after the Battle of Olustee left vast areas of the state with no protection. Even before Governor John Milton ordered all men and boys over the age of 15 to enlist in militia or "home guard" companies for the defense of the state, individuals in some communities responded to the need and organized companies of their own.

This was the case in northwestern Jackson County where around 30 men and boys formed the Campbellton Cavalry (see #60 the Campbellton Cavalry). At the academy or school in Greenwood, instructor Henry J. Robinson led his students in doing the same.

Great Oaks was  landmark of Greenwood in 1864.
The unit formed by Robinson and the school boys of Greenwood was dubbed the Greenwood Club Cavalry, the word "club" inserted as a probable indication that the company had been formed privately. The boys continued their studies, but Robinson also gave them military training. They were Florida's "other" cadets of the War Between the State (or Civil War).

It should be noted that the Greenwood unit is often confused or blended with another company, Captain George Robinson's Jackson County Home Guards. Both companies were from eastern Jackson County and both were headed by captains named Robinson.

View of Ely Corner where Greenwood Club Cavalry helped
drive back a Union charge during the Battle of Marianna.
Henry J. Robinson was a former member of the 5th Florida Cavalry and had a basic understanding of cavalry tactics. Taking on the mantle of captain of the Greenwood Club Cavalry, he led his students through horseback and weapons drills. By the time Union troops entered the county on September 26, 1864, the Greenwood boys had become proficient.

Robinson was not the only adult member of the unit. Dr. M.A. Butler of Greenwood served as a lieutenant and other adults of the community joined the company after July 1864 when Governor Milton ordered all male citizens of the state to join the militia.

The courageous role of the Greenwood Club Cavalry in the Battle of Marianna will be discussed in a future posting. While the fight at Marianna was the heaviest action in which the company took part, it also responded to Union raids on at least two other occasions.

An original roster of the company has not been found, but the following list was compiled from 19th century documents and later pension application files:

Greenwood Club Cavalry

Henry J. Robinson, Captain
Dr. M.A. Butler, Lieutenant
Francis "Frank" Allen (76 years old)
Henry Applewhite
William Arnold
C.C. Avery
James S. Baker
Bolling Barkley
Thomas Barnes
J.R. Bowles
William Henry Cox
James H. Dickson (left to join cadets in Tallahassee before Battle of Marianna)
John J. Dickson (59 years old)
James R. Ferguson
Charles A. Finley
Davis Gray
Hansel Grice
William H. Harvey
W.H. Kimball (Sheriff of Jackson County)
James R. McMillan
T.D. Newsome
Andrew Scott, Corporal
Robert Sorey
William D. Sorey

This list is incomplete. If you have an ancestor that served in the Greenwood Club Cavalry, please let me know by leaving a comment. We would like to assemble as many names as possible in time for the Battle of Marianna 150th anniversary on September 27, 2014.

Monday, September 15, 2014

#60 The Campbellton Cavalry (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)

William J. Daniel was a member of the Cambellton Cavalry
He is buried at Campbellton Baptist Church.
With the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Marianna approaching, the next few articles in our list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida, will focus on the men and boys that defended the county on September 26-27, 1864. The countdown continues with #60 the Campbellton Cavalry (sometimes called the Campbellton Home Guard).

Please click here to see the entire list as it is unveiled.

Soldiers and officers from both North and South enlisted and fought for a variety of reasons in 1861-1865, but the men and boys of the Campbellton Cavalry fought for one reason and one reason only - to defend their homes and families.

Spring Hill United Methodist Church
Established in 1897 at Spring Hill near Campbellton.
Most of the regular Confederate forces were withdrawn from Florida during the months following the Battle of Olustee in early 1864. The result was that homes and communities across vast regions of the state were left utterly defenseless.

At Spring Hill, just southwest of Campbellton, a group of around 30 local men and boys gathered in May 1864 to form a volunteer unit that they dubbed the Campbellton Cavalry. They came from as far south as present-day Cottondale and as far east as modern Malone, although most lived in the area from Campbellton to Holmes Creek.

F.B. Callaway served with the Campbellton Cavalry
He is buried at Campbellton Baptist Church
The citizen soldiers were comparable to the "Minutemen" of an earlier time. They continued their daily occupations, but were prepared to respond and fight in the event their homes were threated by Union troops or one of the deserter gangs that roamed the area. Like most such units of the time they elected their own captain.

That distinction went to a plantation owner named A.R. Godwin. A well-known resident of Jackson County, he was respected and trusted by his friends and neighbors, had served as a justice of the peace and was a member of the county grand jury on at least one occasion.

A reenactor armed with a shotgun prepares to fire.
From the documentary The Battle of Marianna, Florida to be released 9/27.
The company was in essence an irregular cavalry formed by civilians and disabled Confederate veterans. Its men had neither uniforms nor government arms.

Most of them carried the percussion lock shotguns that were so common in Jackson County homes of that age. While designed for hunting, these smoothbore guns were easy to load and could be fired accurately from horseback.

For the first few months of its existence, the Campbellton Cavalry did not do much actual duty. Some of the men wrote later in their pension applications that they guarded creek crossings and occasionally responded to reports of deserter activity. There is no indication that they came under fire prior to the Marianna Raid.

Interpretive kiosk at Campbellton Baptist Church
includes information on the Campbellton Cavalry.
The company was independent until August 1864 when troops in Northwest Florida were reorganized following the St. Andrew Bay Raid. Godwin's unit and Captain W.B. Jones' Vernon Scouts of Washington County were attached to Captain Wilson W. Poe's Company C, 1st Florida Infantry Reserves (Mounted). Together they formed a battalion for home defense with Poe as overall commander. Godwin and Jones retained company command of their individual units.

All three companies would fight against the Union troops that attacked Jackson and Washington Counties on September 26-28, 1864. The role of the Campbellton men in defending Jackson County during Marianna Raid will be discussed in future articles of this series.

No original roster of the Campbellton Cavalry has been found and only a partial list of its members can be reassembled from original accounts and later pension records:

Men of the Campbellton Cavalry

Alexander R. Godwin, Captain
William A. Abercrombie
George Ball
Samuel Bosworth
William Clayton
Cullen Curl
William Daniel
Mark Elmore
F.B. Haywood
Spencer Lamb (also given as Lamb Spencer)
William Mathews
A.J. McNeal
Charles Tipton
Ezekial Register
J.W. Rouse
Jasper Newton Williams
J.W. Williamson

If you had an ancestor that served in the Campbellton Cavalry and do not see them listed here, please let me know by leaving a comment.  I hope to identify as many of the men as possible before the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Marianna on September 27, 2014.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

#61 T. Thomas Fortune (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)

T. Thomas Fortune
Marianna-born journalist and civil rights leader
The noted journalist and civil rights leader T. Thomas Fortune is #61 on our list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.

Please click here to see the entire list as it is unveiled.

Timothy Thomas Fortune was born into slavery at Marianna on October 3, 1856, but was destined to demonstrate just how far Americans could rise with education, hard work, inspiration and determination. He has been called "Tuskegee's Point-Man" for his support of Booker T. Washington and the innovative programs at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University).

Based on Fortune's own memories, much about his childhood has been misrepresented by modern writers. His father, Emanuel Fortune, was a slave of Joseph W. Russ, prominent Jackson County resident. Russ not only encouraged Emanuel's education, but entrusted him with the management of his large leather tannery. (Note: Russ was the father of the Joseph W. Russ, Jr. who later built Marianna's beautiful Russ House).

Emanuel Fortune
Father of T. Thomas Fortune
When Emanuel married Sarah Jane Hires, Joseph Russ arranged for the two to live together at the home of Eli P. Moore, a leading Marianna merchant and partner in the firm of Alderman, Moore & Company. It was there that T. Thomas was born in 1856.

According to the later writings of T. Thomas Fortune, he and his parents were treated extremely well by Russ and Moore. He grew up playing with Moore's four children and later remembered that he was never treated as anything other than a member of the family during the eight years that he lived in slavery.

When the War Between the States (or Civil War) came to an end, Emanuel Fortune enrolled his son in the new public school established in Marianna by the Freedman's Bureau. He excelled in his studies and quickly gained the attention of the publisher of the Marianna Courier newspaper, Frank Baltzell.

Marianna as it appeared when T. Thomas Fortune lived there.
State Archives of Florida/Memory Collection
Just a few years older than T. Thomas, Frank likely had known the young man all of his life. Baltzell gave Fortune a job at the newspaper, starting him on a career that would lead him to heights never before attained by an African American in the United States.

T. Thomas Fortune went on to work at newspapers in Jacksonville, Washington, D.C. and New York over the years that followed. He enrolled at Howard University but was forced to withdraw after a few semesters due to financial restraints.

T. Thomas Fortune
He published his first book, Black and White, Labor, and Politics in the South, in 1883, establishing himself as a powerful spokesman for the civil rights movement. It was T. Thomas Fortune who coined the term "Afro-American" (which eventually transitioned to today's African American) and he was a leading figure in the Afro-American League.

T. Thomas Fortune cultivated the friendship of Booker T. Washington during the 1890s and became a leading advocate of Washington's visionary Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama. He helped with the preparation for publication of Washington's landmark book The Future of the American Negro.

Home of T. Thomas Fortune in New Jersey
Courtesy Library of Congress
By the early 1900s Fortune was the chairman of the National Negro Business League. He also continued his career in journalism, becoming editor of the New York Age and The Negro World. The latter paper achieved a paid circulation of more than 200,000 under Fortune's leadership and was distributed in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and Central America.

T. Thomas Fortune died on June 2, 1928, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Signs designating Jackson County as his birthplace stand on U.S. 90 near Sneads and Cottondale. His home in Red Bank, New Jersey, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and remains a landmark to this day.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

#62 Camp Governor Milton, Civil War camp at Blue Springs (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)

Blue Springs from site of Camp Governor Milton
The important Confederate camp established at Blue Springs during the War Between the States (or Civil War) is #62 on our list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.

Please click here to see the entire list as it is unveiled.

Blue Springs (or Jackson Blue Springs as the state has renamed it) has been a landmark for thousands of years. Early American Indians frequented the spring and surrounding caves to hunt and fish. The actual Old Spanish Trail passed by the spring, which was a frequent stopping point for Spanish missionaries, soldiers and explorers. The U.S.Army of Major General Andrew Jackson visited Blue Springs during the First Seminole War of 1817-1818. During the 1820s it became the centerpiece of Major William Robinson's cotton plantation.

Sylvania Plantation Marker at Blue Springs
By the time Florida seceded from the Union in January 1861, the beautiful spring was known by its present name and was owned by Governor-elect John Milton as part of his Sylvania Plantation. He enjoyed fishing in Blue Springs and sitting by the water to reflect during the trying times of the War Between the States.

The availability of a large quantity of fresh water, access to good roads leading in all directions, proximity to Marianna and the good condition of the buildings of the former Robinson Plantation led the Confederate Army to establish Camp Governor Milton at Blue Springs in 1862.

Historic photo of Blue Springs with plantation house visible.
State Archives of Florida/Memory Collection
The camp stood on the hill overlooking the head spring where the parking area is located today. The surrounding farms and plantations provided a steady supply of provisions plus corn could be ground downstream at Coker's Mill.

While the term "camp" implies a temporary establishment and evokes mental images of soldiers sleeping in tents, Camp Governor Milton was a more permanent facility. Surviving documents include receipts for lumber and nails used to build a hospital. Soldiers were quartered in the original Robinson plantation house and outbuildings instead of in tents.

Underwater view of Blue Springs
Photo by Alan Cox
In fact, the camp was occupied from 1862 until the end of the war in 1865. Among the units known to have been stationed there at various times were Captain Walter Robinson's Independent Company (later Company A, 11th Florida Infantry); the Marianna Dragoons (later Company B, 15th Confederate Cavalry); Company C, 1st Florida Reserves; Captain Robert Chisolm's Woodville Scouts of the Alabama State Militia (later Company I, 5th Florida Cavalry); Companies A and E, 5th Florida Cavalry, and detachments from other companies.

View from Blue Springs at Sunset
Photo by Camille Lakey
Troops from Camp Governor Milton played a critical role in several Florida actions of the War Between the States. Robinson's company marched from Blue Springs to attack Union sailors trying to get the captured blockade runner Florida out of St. Andrew Bay in 1862. The next year the same company attacked another Federal detachment at St. Andrews (present-day Panama City). In September 1864, a detachment of Chisolm's company fought at the Eucheeanna Skirmish in Walton County and then the entire company took part in the Battle of Marianna. Finally, in March 1865, companies of the 5th Florida Cavalry rode from Blue Spring to Tallahassee to fight at the Battle of Natural Bridge.

The camp was abandoned at the end of the war and not used by Union occupation troops during the Reconstruction era. The buildings are gone now, but traces of the Confederate soldiers that once served there can still be seen in the form of carvings left in the rocks and caves around Blue Springs.

To learn more about the history of Blue Springs Recreational Area, please visit

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#63 The Squalus, Jackson County and Fingerprint Technology (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)

Grave of Joshua Casey
Campbellton Baptist Church
Campbellton, Florida
The maritime disaster that claimed the life of a Jackson County man and led to the first systematic use of fingerprint technology is #63 on our list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.

Please click here to see the complete list as it is unveiled.

On May 23, 1939, the submarine USS Squalus attempted a test dive off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Despite all indications that systems were functioning properly and that the sub was ready to dive, a major problem developed. Water started pouring into the engine room.

USS Squalus
Courtesy U.S. Navy Historical Center
The submarine settled to the bottom, 243 feet from the surface, as 26 men drowned in its rear compartments. Another 33 men rushed to the front of the submarine and managed to close the watertight doors and prevent their compartments from flooding. They were rescued in a dramatic three day operation by the U.S. Navy.

The submarine itself was raised and repaired by the Navy, then sent back to see to help fight World War II with the new name USS Sailfish.

It is one of the most dramatic and tragic stories in the history of the U.S. Navy, but in death the unfortunate 26 sailors of the Squalus forever changed American history. One of them, Joshua Casey, was from Jackson County.

Rescue and salvage ship over USS Squalus in 1939
Courtesy U.S. Navy Historical Center
It is a little known fact that prior to 1939, crimes in the United States could not be solved by using fingerprint technology. Recognition of the possible benefits of using fingerprints for identification was not a new idea and individual agencies in the U.S. had been taking fingerprints for some time. One of them was the U.S. Navy.

Even so, actually using fingerprints to identify bodies from a mass casualty event had never been attempted. The use of the technology to identify the bodies recovered from USS Squalus forever changed identification procedures in the United States.

Federal investigators were able to use fingerprints to positively identify the remains of Joshua Casey and the other men who died when the Squalus went down. In doing so, they changed the way law enforcement and death investigations were handled. Thanks to the unfortunate men who died on the submarine, it was proved that fingerprint technology was accurate and a critical new tool for investigators.

Grave if Joshua Casey
The number of crimes solved and bodies identified using fingerprint technology since 1939 numbers into the millions. The Jackson County man whose death forever changed history helped make modern crime and death investigation a reality.

The grave of Joshua Casey can be visited today at Campbellton Baptist Cemetery. He rests beneath his native soil within view of Florida's oldest Baptist church in continuous operation. The memory of his tragic death has been all but forgotten locally, but Casey is deserving of greater recognition for the role he played in giving law enforcement a vital tool that has been used to save thousands of lives by bringing murderers to justice before they can kill again.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

#64 Medal of Honor recipient at Salem Cemetery (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)

Grave of Private Ira Hough
Salem Methodist Church near Graceville
A final resting place of a Union hero of the War Between the States (or Civil War) is #64 on my list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.

Please click here to see the full list as it is unveiled.

Visitors to historic Salem Cemetery in northwestern Jackson County are often surprised to find the grave of a Yankee soldier who received the Congressional Medal of Honor. The peaceful burial ground is the final resting place of Private Ira Hough of Indiana, a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Ira Hough later in life
Hough was 19 years old when he enlisted in Company E, 8th Indiana Infantry. Nearly 6 feet tall, he had black hair, black eyes and a fair complexion. The young soldier was already a veteran by the time he found himself engaged in the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, on October 19, 1864.

The first hours of the battle had not gone well for the Union army. Storming out of early morning mists and fog, the Confederate soldiers of Gen. Jubal Early had attacked the Federal force of Gen. Philip Sheridan. Early had fewer than 15,000 men compared to the 32,000 Union soldiers in Sheridan's army, but his attack was well-planned and fierce.

In early fighting, the outnumbered Confederates overran the Union VIII and XIX Corps before finally slowing in the face of a desperate stand by the men of the VI Corps. By 10:30 a.m., however, Early had defeated all three corps and the Union army was in retreat.

Sheridan at the Battle of Cedar Creek
Library of Congress
Sheridan had been in nearby Winchester, Virginia, when the battle erupted. In a desperate gallop still remembered as "Sheridan's Ride," he reached the battlefield to find his army shattered and on the verge of complete destruction. Rallying his troops, he led a counterattack that finally turned the tide of the battle and forced Early's hard-fighting Confederates to withdraw.

Grave of Isaac Hough
Among the troops that rallied to the general's flag for the counterattack was the 8th Indiana Infantry. Private Ira Hough, of Company E, was on the main battle line as Sheridan pushed forward and was one of 20 men credited with breaking into the Confederate lines and capturing the flags of their Southern foes.

The act was one of such distinction that all 20 men were named recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. President Abraham Lincoln personally presented Hough with his medal on October 26, 1864.

The young soldier from Indiana continued to serve with his regiment until the end of the war, when he returned home and resumed his pre-war occupation of farming. He married Elizabeth Moore in 1868 and continued to live in Indiana for more than 20 years.

Salem Methodist Church in Jackson County, Florida
In 1888 and well after the end of Reconstruction, however, he and Elizabeth relocated to a farm in northwestern Jackson County between Graceville and Chipley. They raised their family and lived there until her death in 1902.  Ira mourned his lifelong companion and relocated to Missouri for a few years after she passed away, but by 1907 was back in Florida.

He died at the home of L.J. Collins, Jr., on October 18, 1916. He and Elizabeth rest side by side at Salem Cemetery adjacent to Salem Methodist Church in Jackson County.

To reach Salem Church and Cemetery from Graceville, drive south on State Highway 77 for 5 miles and turn right on Tri County Road. Follow Tri County Road for 3.5 miles and you will see the church on your right at the intersection with Hickshill Road and Christy Lane.

Please click here to see other installments in the list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.