"Today in Florida History"

for January

 

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 1  

1836      On this date, the Seminole people were supposed to migrate to Oklahoma.  The Second Seminole War started on December 28 to forestall this activity.

 

1862      Union guns on Santa Rosa Island opened fire on an unnamed steamer brought into the Navy yard by Confederate forces in Pensacola.  Although the Confederates suffered no casualties, a large storehouse was hit by an exploding shell and burned to the ground. 

 

1862      Governor John Milton called the “Columbia Trapiers” into service today.  This unit is commanded by Captain J. R. Francis.

 

1862      Two Federal blockade ships, the U.S.S. Rhode Island and the U.S.S. South Carolina, were sighted in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola.

1863      The Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone’s River) continued today as Confederate forces under General Braxton E. Bragg do battle with Union forces under the command of General William S. Rosecrans.  The Florida 4th Infantry Regiment suffered 55 casualties, killed or wounded, but captured 250 enemy weapons. 

1863      The Federal ship  U.S.S. Gem of the Sea captured the Confederate sloop Ann six miles east of Jupiter Inlet. 

1864      The U.S.S. Rosalie put into Charlotte Harbor today after a rendezvous with the U.S.S. Gem of the Sea in the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

1883      The City of Eustis was incorporated.

 

1885      The City of Lakeland was incorporated today. 

 

1885      Florida’s fifth Constitution, created by a Constitutional Convention that met in Tallahassee on June 9, 1885, went into effect today and remained the basic law of the Sunshine State until 1968.  The 1885 Constitution replaced the “Carpetbag” Constitution of 1868.

 

1895      The Tampa Tribune began daily publication today.

 

1914      The first scheduled commercial airplane flight was made today from St. Petersburg to Tampa.  Tony Jannus, a pioneering aviator, opened the service with his flying boat, the Benoist, which could haul one passenger and a small amount of freight.  A. C. Pheil, former mayor St. Petersburg, purchases the first passenger ticket for $500.00.  Jay Dee Smith was Jannus’ mechanic.  Two daily round trips were flown for 28 consecutive days. 

1935      Bucknell University defeated the University of Miami 26-0 in the first every Miami Orange Bowl game. 

1936          Cypress Gardens, the longest continuously operating tourist attraction, was opened today by Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Pope, Sr.  Cypress Gardens closed in 2003 and is under consideration for purchase by the State of Florida.

 

1946      The University of South Carolina suffered a 26-14 loss to Wake Forest University in the first-ever Gator Bowl.

 

1960      Indian River Community College at Fort Pierce was established today.

 

1978      Anne Cawthon Booth was appointed the Judge of the First District Court of Appeal (Tallahassee) by Governor Reubin O’D. Askew today.  Ms. Booth became the first woman to serve as an appellate judge in the State of Florida. 

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 2  

 

1830      Henry Morrison Flagler, founder of the Florida East Coast Railway and developer of the East Coast’s tourist industry, was born today in Hopewell, New York.  Flagler, whose interest in Florida stemmed from visits to St. Augustine, combined his railroad interests with hotels and steamships.  An early partner with John D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil, Flagler spent millions on his Florida projects, eventually constructing the longest railroad over water with his Florida Overseas Railroad, which connected the mainland with Key West.  Flagler eventually planned to span the Straights of Florida to connect his Key West terminus with the island of Cuba.

 

1847      Nathaniel P. Bemis took office as Florida’s Comptroller today.

1848      Julia A. Tuttle, the so-called “Mother of Miami,” was born today in Ohio.  An early (1872)  settler in the present-day Miami area, Ms. Tuttle was reported to have lured Henry Flagler and his railroad south when she sent him a branch of blooming orange blossoms during the devastating freeze of 1894-95.  (See entry for September 14).

 

1861      The artillery duel between Confederate and Union forces at Pensacola continued until about 4 o’clock this morning.  Casualties were minimal for both sides. 

 

1861      General Robert E. Lee has asked Brigadier General J. H. Trapier to increase the number of cannons and manpower on Cumberland and Amelia Islands to protect Fernandina from a Union attack.

 

1863      Florida units with the Confederate Army of Tennessee were still engaged in the Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone’s River) in Tennessee.  Captain Augustus O. MacDonnell of the 1st and 3rd Florida Consolidated narrowly escaped serious injury when his sword was shattered by a shell fragment.

1864      The Confederate Congress has approved the following Floridians as adjutants in Florida regiments and battalions:

      James B. Johnson, 5th Infantry Regiment

      R. J. Reid, 2nd Infantry Regiment

      W. McR. Jordan, 3rd Infantry Battalion

      B. F. Parker, 4th Infantry Battalion

      James O. Owens, 6th Infantry Battalion

      George Dawson, 7th Infantry Regiment

      F. Philips, 1st Cavalry Regiment

      C. B. Paslay, 7th Infantry Regiment

 

1865      Senators Augustus E. Maxwell and James M. Baker, along with Representative Robert B. Hilton, join other Confederate legislators as the Confederate Congress re-convenes after a one-day New Year’s Day recess.

 

1877      George Franklin Drew, the twelfth governor of Florida (1877-1881) was inaugurated today.  (See entry for August 6 for more information)

 

1898      Booker T. Washington, the noted African-American leader, addressed an audience in Jacksonville today.  His speech stressed that the development of commercial and industrial project held the key for the advancement of the American Negro.

 

1917      Ernest Amos took office as Florida’s Comptroller today.

 

1917      Sidney Johnston Catts, Florida’s Prohibition governor, took the oath of office today as the state’s twenty-second governor.  (For more information, see entry for July 31.)

 

1933      David Sholtz became Florida’s twenty-sixth governor today in inauguration ceremonies in Tallahassee.  (For more information about Sholtz, see the entry for October 6.)

 

1945      Millard Fillmore Caldwell was inaugurated as Florida’s twenty-ninth governor today in Tallahassee.  (For more information, see entry for October 23.)

 

1979      On this day, “Bob” [D. Robert} Graham was inaugurated as the Sunshine State’s thirty-eighth governor.  He would succeed himself as governor on January 4, 1983.  Graham was born on November 9, 1936 in Coral Gables.

   Graham graduated from the University of Florida in 1959 and received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1962.  He served in a variety of executive positions in the Sengra Corporation (The Graham Companies), was a developer of Miami Lakes, and helped administer the family’s cattle holdings. 

   As governor, Graham supported a number of environmental measures to save the state’s Everglades, sea shores, and barrier islands.

   Governor Graham engendered a strong public support through his personal program of “workdays,” a program he still practices as Senator. 

1979      George Firestone assumed the position of Florida’s Secretary of State.  He was succeeded on August 5, 1987 by Jim Smith, who was appointed by Governor Bob Martinez.

 

1979      Jim Smith assumed office as Florida’s Attorney General on this date.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 3  

    

1823      Joseph M. Hernandez was seated as the first Territorial Representative to the United States Congress from the Territory of Florida.

 

1861      Delegates to the Florida Secession Convention meet in Tallahassee to take up the question of secession.  Edmund Ruffin of Virginia arrived to confer with Governor Madison Starke Perry and members of the convention.

 

1863      John Branch, the sixth Territorial Governor of Florida, died today in Enfield, North Carolina.  (For more information, see entry for August 11.)

 

1863      The Battle of Murphreesboro (Stone’s River) came to an end today.  General Braxton E. Bragg withdrew from the battle despite apparent victory during the first two days.  Florida units in the Army of Tennessee suffered a large number of casualties.  (See entry for December 31.)

 

1865      The U.S.S. Kanawha today captured the Confederate schooner Mary Ellen today in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

 

1877      William D. Bloxham assumed office as Florida’s Secretary of State.  He will hold this position until he was succeeded by F.W.A. Rankin, Jr. on October 1, 1880.

 

1877      George P. Raney was sworn in as the Attorney General of Florida.

 

1893      Henry Laurens Mitchell was inaugurated as Florida’s sixteenth governor (1893-1897)  today.  (See entry for September 3 for more information.)

 

1893      William N. Sheats became the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction today, while C. B. Collins was sworn in as Treasurer.

 

1897      W. H. Reynolds took office as Florida’s Comptroller.

 

1905      Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, “Florida’s Fighting Democrat,” was inaugurated as Florida’s nineteenth governor today.  (For more information about Broward, see entry for October 1.)

 

1905      William M. Holloway became Florida’s Superintendent of Public Instruction  today.

 

1924      The “Southern Jewish Weekly” was founded today in Jacksonville.

1925      The first races at St. Petersburg’s Derby Lane greyhound track were run today.  The track, operated by the Kennel Club, was the oldest greyhound track in the world.

 

1933      J. M. lee assumed the office of Comptroller today.

 

1941      J. Edward Larson was sworn in as the Treasurer of Florida today.

 

1961      Cecil Farris Bryant took office today as the Sunshine State’s thirty-fourth governor.  (For more information on Bryant, see entry for July 26.)

 

1961      Doyle E. Connor was sworn in as Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture today, and Tom Adams was installed as Secretary of State.

 

1966      Dr. Earl S. Weldon assumed the presidency of Seminole Junior College, which was chartered in 1965.

1967      Claude Roy Kirk, Jr. was installed as Florida’s thirty-sixth governor today.  Kirk was born on January 7, 1926, in San Bernardino, California.  He lived in a variety of locales during his youth, and graduated from high school in Montgomery, Alabama, when he was seventeen.  He enlisted in the Marine Corps and, after officer training at Quantico, Virginia, was commissioned as a second lieutenant.  He left the Marines in 1946 and entered law school.  He received his law degree in 1949.

   Kirk returned  to active duty in 1950 and served in combat in Korea.  After the war, he entered the insurance and investment business in Jacksonville, eventually heading up the Kirk Investments Company.

   A former democrat, Kirk led the “Floridians for Nixon” campaign in 1960.  In 1964, he waged an unsuccessful race for the U.S. Senate.  In 1966, he was successful in his campaign for the governorship and became the first Republican to hold this position since the end of Reconstruction.

   In 1978, he ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor as a Democrat.  In 1988, he failed in his bid for the U.S. Senate as the Democratic nominee.

1987      John Wayne Mixon served only three days as Florida’s thirty-ninth governor.  Mixon, the Lieutenant Governor, succeeded Bob Graham, who resigned three days before the end of his second term to take his position in the United States Senate.  Mixon was born June 16, 1922, near Brockton, Alabama.  He entered public service in 1967 when he was elected to the first of six consecutive terms of office in the Florida House of Representatives.

   Mixon served in the United States Navy during World War II.  He attended Columbia University in new York, the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, and graduated in 1947 from the University of Florida. 

1989      Tom Gallagher took the oath of office as Florida’s Treasurer today. 

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 4  

 

1847      The appointment and licensing of port and harbor pilots by Dade County officials authorized by state government. 

 

1861      Governor Madison Perry and his advisors made the decision to seize Federal properties in Florida.

 

1862      The Union blockader, U.S.S. Sagamore, was sighted near Santa Rosa Island.

 

1863      William Dunn Moseley, Florida’s first governor under statehood (1845-1849), died today.  Moseley was born at Moseley Hall, Lenoir County, North Carolina, on February 1, 1795.  He attended the University of North Carolina with such notables as James K. Polk, later president of the United States.  After college, he practiced law in Wilmington, North Carolina, and entered public service as a state senator.  He was defeated in the North Carolina gubernatorial race of 1834.  In 1835, Moseley purchased a plantation in Jefferson County, Florida, and resided there until 1851.  A member of the Territorial Legislature, Moseley defeated Richard Keith Call, the third and fifth Territorial governor of Florida, in the contest to become the first governor of the new state of Florida.  In 1851, Moseley moved to Palatka, where he was a planter and fruit grower. 

 

1881      William Dunnington Bloxham, the thirteenth (1881-1885) and seventeenth (1897-1901) governor of Florida, was inaugurated today.  Born in Leon County on July 9, Bloxham’s first administration was marked by the sale of the Disston Land Purchase.  He died at Tallahassee on March 15, 1911.  (For more information, see the entry for July 9.)

 

1901      The first issue of the “Daytona News” was published today.

 

1921      Rivers Buford was sworn in as Florida’s Attorney General today.

 

1925      Cary Augustus Hardee, the 23rd governor of Florida, was inaugurated today.  During his administration, the convict leasing system was outlawed.  Hardee died ion November 21, 1957.  (For more information, see the entry for November 13.)

 

1949      Fuller Warren, the thirtieth governor of Florida, was inaugurated today.  A native of Blountstown, Warren was born on October 3, 1905, and died in Miami on September 23, 1973.  (For more information, see the entry for October 3.)

 

1949      Richard W. Ervin took office as Florida’s Attorney General, and Thomas D. Bailey assumed office as the Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

 

1961      Thomas LeRoy Collins, the thirty-third governor of Florida, took the oath of office today.  Collins was born on march 10, 1909, in Tallahassee.  A graduate of Leon High School, Collins attended the Eastman School of Business at Poughkeepsie, New York, and received a law degree from Cumberland University.  He married Mary Call Darby, the great-granddaughter of two-time Territorial Governor Richard Keith Call.  Collins was elected as Leon County’s  representative to the Florida House  in 1934, 1936, and 1938.  He was elected to the Florida Senate in 1940 an re-elected in 1942.  He resigned to serve in the U.S. navy, and was re-elected in 1946 and 1950.  Collins was first elected governor to complete the two remaining years of the term of the late Governor Dan McCarty.  He was elected for a full term in 1956.

   Collins’ term was marked by the rise of the civil rights movement in Florida, and through his leadership, Florida avoided much of the violence and turmoil that marked desegregation in other Southern states.

   Following his terms as governor, Collins served as Undersecretary of Commerce in the Johnson administration.  He was unsuccessful in a bid for the U.S. Senate in 1968.  He died on March 25, 1991.

1978      Janet Reno became Florida’s first State Attorney when Governor Reubin O’D. Askew appointed her to head up the Eleventh Judicial District (Miami) when Richard Gerstein resigned.  Ms. Reno was  the Attorney General of the United States during the administration of President Bill Clinton. 

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 5  

 

1836      Lewis Cass requests an appropriation of $80,000 from the U.S. House of Representatives for “the expenses attending the repression of the hostilities commenced by the Seminole Indians in Florida.”

 

1861      The Quincy Guards, commanded by Colonel Duryea, seized the Chattahoochee Arsenal today.  The troops confiscate 500,000 rounds of musket cartridges, 300,000 rounds of rifle cartridges, and 50,000 pounds of gunpowder.

 

1861      The Florida Secession Convention reconvened today.  John C. McGehee, a passionate state-rights planter from Madison County, was elected permanent chairman.  McQueen Macintosh of Apalachicola introduced a resolution declaring Florida’s right to secede and urged the passage of a proclamation declaring that the state was no longer a part of the United States.

 

1863      Crews from the U.S.S. Sagamore seized the British blockade runner Avenger in Jupiter Inlet.  The Avenger was carrying a cargo of coffee, gin, salt, and other goods.

1865      An expedition from the U.S.S. Winnebago seized two copper kettles used for distilling turpentine, 1,280 copper pipes, and four sloop-rigged boats in the Gulf of Mexico today.

 

1887      An inch of snow fell at Pensacola today.

 

1929      Gene Sarazin won the $750 first prize at the Miami Open Golf Tournament.  His score was 294 for 72 holes.  The monetary prize was $750.

 

1941      Frederick Preston Cone took the oath of office today to become Florida’s 27th governor.  (See entries for July 28 and September 28.)

 

1965      William Hayden Burns took the oath of office today to become Florida’s 35th governor (1965-1967).  Burns was born on March 17, 1912 in Chicago, Illinois.  he attended Jacksonville public schools and Babson College.  During World War II, Burns served in the U.S. navy.

   In 1949, he won his first election to public office when he was elected Mayor-Commissioner of Jacksonville, a position he won in 1951, 1955, 1959, and 1963.  In 1960, he finished third in a race for the Democratic nomination for governor.  In 1964, he achieved the office.

   Although eligible for a second two-year term, he was defeated by Claude Roy Kirk, Jr., a Republican, in 1966.

   In 1971, Burns was defeated in his bid for election as Mayor of Jacksonville. 

   Burns died in Jacksonville on November 22, 1987.

 

1965      Earl Faircloth was installed at the Attorney General of Florida today.

 

1971      Reubin O’Donovan Askew, the thirty-seventh Governor of Florida, was inaugurated today for the first of his two consecutive terms as governor.  (For more information, see entry for September 11.)

 

1971      Thomas D. O’Malley assumed office today as Florida’s Treasurer, and Robert L. Shevin was inaugurated as Attorney General.  Richard B. Stone was inaugurated as Secretary of State.

 

1979      Jim Smith took the oath of office today for the position of Florida Attorney General.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 6  

    

1836      Casualties from the Seminole uprising continue.  Authorities report that sixteen East Florida plantations have been laid to waste.

 

1839      E. L. Drake of Escambia County became the first Speaker of the Florida Territorial House of Representatives today.

 

1855      The Internal Improvements Fund was established today.  This created the mechanism by which improvements can be funded through the sale of public lands.

 

1861      U.S. Senator Stephen F. Mallory of Florida recommends that the state’s Secession Convention secede.  This declaration followed a caucus of Southern senators called by Jefferson Davis and John Slidell of Mississippi.

 

1863      The U.S.S. Pocahontas captured the blockade runner Antona today off Cape San Blas, Florida.

 

1863      The U.S.S. Ariel  today captured the sloop Good Luck, a blockade runner from New Smyrna near Key Biscayne Bay.

 

1885      Edward Aylsworth Perry became the fourteenth governor of Florida (1885-1889) today.  (See entry for October 15 for more information.)

 

1895      The first Sunday edition of the Tampa Tribune was published today.

 

1925      John Wellborn Martin took the oath of office today as Florida’s twenty-fourth governor.  Martin was born on June 21, 1884, in Marion County.  Admitted to the bar in 1914, he began the practice of law in Jacksonville.  From 1917 until 1924, martin was the Mayor of Jacksonville.  Martin presided over the end of the Florida “Boom” and  the Florida “Bust.”   During his administration, Florida began an expansive program of highway construction, direct State appropriations to finance public schools, and the distribution of free textbooks to students in grades 1-6.  In 1928, he was defeated in his bid for a United States Senate seat.  In 1932, he lost a bid to regain the governor’s office.  In the 1940s, Martin served as a co-receiver and trustee for the Florida East Coast Railroad.

   He died in Jacksonville on February 22, 1958.

1953      Daniel Thomas McCarty was inaugurated as the state’s 31st governor today.  McCarty was born in Fort Pierce on January 18, 1912.  On February 25, 1953, McCarty suffered a debilitating heart attack and died on September 28.  (See entry for September 28 for more information.)

 

1985      A Pensacola abortion clinic was bombed today marking a significant turn of direction in the anti-abortion movement’s opposition to legalized abortion.

 

1987      Robert “Bob” Martinez of Tampa became the 40th governor of Florida today.  Martinez was born in Tampa on December 25, 1934.  He attended the University of Tampa and the University of Illinois.    A high school teacher for seven years, Martinez also served as the Executive Director of the Hillsborough [County] Classroom Teachers Association until he took over the family business, the Cafe Sevilla.  In 1979, Martinez was elected Mayor of Tampa as a Democrat, and re-elected as a Republican in 1983.

   Martinez alienated many Floridians through his anti-abortion stance, because of his reneging on a campaign promise not to raise taxes, and because of his somewhat imperious leadership style.  He also campaigned against the creation of a state lottery system, but approved the measure after it was passed by the Florida legislature. 

   He was defeated for re-election by Lawton Chiles in 1990.  Following his tenure as governor, he served briefly as the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency under President George Bush.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 7  

    

1821      The first organized Baptist congregation, Pigeon Creek Baptist Church, was organized today near Callahan (Northeast Florida).  The congregation consisted of both black and white parishioners.

 

1841      Company I, 3rd Artillery, United States Army engaged in fighting with Seminole Indians near Ft. Lauderdale today.  One enlisted man was wounded and subsequently died from his wounds on January 22.

 

1848      William R. Hayward was sworn in as the Treasurer of the State of Florida.

 

1861      Federal soldiers guarding Fort Marion (Castillo de San Marcos) in St. Augustine surrender the post to a company of local volunteers.  In Tallahassee, the Secession Convention, after hearing appeals from Edmund Ruffin of Virginia, E.C. Bullock of Alabama, and L.S. Spratt of South Carolina, approves the McIntosh resolution by a vote of 62-5 for immediate secession.  A committee of 13 was appointed to prepare the official secession ordinance.

 

1903      Florida author Zora Neale Hurston was born today.  Some controversy exists as to the actual place of her birth.  Some authorities claim it was in Eatonville (east of Orlando), but the latest scholarship places her birth place in Alabama.  Regardless of where she was born, Hurston certainly considered Eatonville her home and centered many of her stories there.

 

1911      Thelma (Butterfly) McQueen was born today in Tampa.  McQueen gained enduring fame for her portrayal of “Prissy” in the 1939 epic, “Gone with the Wind.”

 

1913      Park Trammell, the 21st governor of Florida (1913-1917), took the oath of office today.  Trammell, who was born on April 9, 1876 in Macon County, Alabama, attended grade school in Polk County.  During the Spanish-American War, he served in the Quartermaster Corps in Tampa.  After studies at Vanderbilt University, Trammell received a law degree from Cumberland College (also the alma mater of LeRoy Collins) in 1899.  A citrus grower and attorney in Lakeland, he served two terms as Mayor of the city.  He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1903 and to the Florida Senate in 1905.  He served as President of the Senate.  In 1908, Trammell was elected Attorney general, and in 1912, he was elected governor.  The hallmark of the Trammell administration was campaign spending reform and the equalization of property tax assessments in all counties.  In 1916, he was elected to the United States Senate and served in that capacity until his death in Washington on May 8, 1936.

 

1913      Thomas F. West took the oath of office as the Attorney General of Florida today, while William N. Sheats was installed as the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

 

1941      Spessard Lindsey Holland was sworn in as the 28th governor (1941-1945).  He was born at Bartow on July 10, 1892 and died on November 6, 1971.  (For more information see entries for July 10 and November 6.)

 

1941      J. Tom Watson took the oath of office as Attorney General today.  Watson was somewhat frustrated as Attorney General since Florida was a “right to work” state and Federal war industries contracts recognized the rights of unions to organize laborers.  Despite a lawsuit and strong protests by Watson, the Federal government persisted in this policy.  As soon as World War II was over, Watson immediately and successfully sought to restore the “right to work” law. 

 

1969      Floyd T. Christian assumed office as the first Commissioner of Education in Florida.  The Constitution Revision of 1968 provides for this new title, which was a change from the previously Superintendent of Public Instruction.

 

1975      Bruce A. Smathers was installed as Florida’s Secretary of State today, and Gerald Lewis took the oath of office as the Comptroller of Florida.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 8  

    

1848      Holmes County was established as Florida’s 27th county today.  The county took its name from Holmes Creek, the eastern boundary of the county.  County Seat:  Bonifay

 

1853      Sumter County, Florida’s 29th county, was created today.  The county was named in honor of General Thomas Sumter, a native of South Carolina who was prominent in the Revolutionary War.  County Seat:  Bushnell

 

1853      David Levy Yulee and his financial partners incorporated the Florida Railroad Company today.  The railroad was planned to run between Fernandina and Cedar Key.

 

1861      Governor Madison Starke Perry ordered the occupation of Fort Clinch (Amelia Island) by Florida troops.  He also authorized Colonel William Chase to seize the Federal forts at Pensacola if he can.

 

1861      In the Secession Convention, the Ordinance of Secession was introduced for debate.  The efforts of George T. Ward of Leon County and Jackson Morton of Santa Rosa County to defer secession until Georgia and Alabama have seceded were defeated.

 

1863      In a rather busy day of activity, the Union Navy ships of the Blockading Squadron engaged in efforts along the entire coast of Florida.  In North Florida, the U.S.S. Uncas reported an attack by land-based Confederates as it moved along the Nassau River.  Three Federals were wounded.  In Tampa Bay, the U.S.S. Tahoma captured the blockade runner Silas Henry with a cargo of cotton.  The Silas Henry had run aground in Tampa Bay.  The U.S.S. Sagamore seized the British sloop Julia ten miles north of Jupiter Inlet with a cargo of salt.  The Julia was the ship suspected for carrying away the light from the Cape Florida lighthouse.

 

1864      Two armed boats from the U.S.S. Roebuck were dispatched to Jupiter Inlet to halt the influx of small blockade-runners from the Bahamas.

 

1885      C. M. Cooper was installed as the Attorney General of Florida.

 

1888      William B. Lamar took the oath of office as Attorney General of Florida.

 

1889   Francis Philip Fleming, the 15th governor of Florida (1889-1893), took office today.  Fleming was born at Panama Park, Duval County, on September 28, 1841 and died in Jacksonville on December 20, 1908.  (For more information, see entries for September 28 and December 20.)

 

1889      F. J. Pons was sworn into office today as the Treasurer of Florida.

 

1901      William Sherman Jennings, the 18th governor of Florida (1901-1905), was sworn into office today.  Jennings was born at Walnut Hill, Illinois, on March 24, 1863.  He was a cousin of three-time Democratic presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan.  He came to Florida in 1885 to complete his training as an attorney and later opened a practice in Brooksville.  He was appointed Circuit Court Commissioner in 1887 and County Judge in 1888.  In 1893, he resigned the judgeship to serve as a member of the Florida House of representatives, where he became Speaker in 1895. 

   The primary election system, which replaced the nominating convention, was instituted during his administration.  Jennings was credited with saving 3,000,000 acres of public land and for espousing the reclamation of the Everglades.  He died in St. Augustine on February 27, 1920.

 

1914      Mrs. L. A. Whitney became the first woman to fly aboard a scheduled airline when she flew from St. Petersburg to Tampa on the Benoist, piloted by Anthony Jannus.

 

1929      Doyle Elam Carlton took the oath of office today to become Florida’s 25th governor (1929-1933).  (For more information, see entries for July 6 and October 25.)

 

1965      Jack “Murph the Surf” Murphy and a companion were arrested today in Miami.  They were suspects in the American Museum of natural History robbery last October in which the fabled “Star of India,” the world’s largest sapphire, was stolen. 

 

1965      A three-judge Federal court ordered Florida to complete reapportionment by July 1.

 

1969      In a daring ploy, 81 Cubans shoot their way past Cuban guards at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.  They seek asylum in Florida.

 

1987      Construction started today on the Orlando Arena, the home of the Orlando Magic, the National Basketball Association franchise.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 9  

    

1855      Manatee County, Florida’s 31st county, was established today.  It was named in honor of the manatee or sea cow, an endangered species.  County Seat:  Bradenton

 

1861      Federal troops in Pensacola make ready to defend Federal forts against confiscation by Florida troops.

 

1861      Floridians were in a quandary about the news that South Carolina troops had fired on the Union vessel Star of the West, which was carrying reinforcements for Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

 

1861      In Tallahassee, the final debate on the Ordinance of Secession concludes in late afternoon.  Delegates agree to postpone a final vote until tomorrow.

 

1862      Elias Yulee, brother of David levy Yulee, was nominated by Confederate President Jefferson Davis for a commission as major in the Confederate Army.

1863      According to federal dispatches, an empty and unmanned schooner, the Flying Cloud, has been boarded near the St. Lucie River.

 

1863      The U.S.S. Ethan Allen today destroyed a large salt works south of St. Joseph’s Bay.  The works were capable of producing 75 bushels of salt per day.

 

1876      The Union Congregational Church, now the Arlington Congregation Church, of Jacksonville was organized today.

 

1990      Shuttle launch STS-32 was launched today from Cape Canaveral.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 10  

 

1800      A survey party measured 5 inches of snow today at Point Peter, near the mouth of the St. Mary’s River.  This was the highest recorded total in Florida history.

 

1839      The first Florida Constitution was adopted in the assembly at St. Joseph’s today.

 

    Governor Madison Starke Perry read a telegram from Florida’s congressional delegation that informed them that “Federal troops are said to be moving or about to move on Pensacola forts.”  This warning, given just before the final debate on the state’s secession ordinance, creates a sense of urgency among the delegates.  After two hours of debate, the Secession Convention approves the measure by a vote of 62-7.  Florida thus becomes the third state to leave the Union.  In Tallahassee, crowds dance in the street.  Fireworks, a large parade, and the ringing of church bells join together to manufacture an atmosphere of celebration and joy.  Similar demonstrations were held in Tampa, St. Augustine, Madison, Pensacola and Jacksonville.

   In Pensacola,  the commanding officer of Federal forces consolidates his men in Fort Pickens.  Later that evening, Union Lieutenant H. Erben leads a raiding party which batters in the gates of Fort McRea.  The Union raiding party spikes the guns of the fort and dumps about a dozen barrels of gunpowder into the sea.

 

1863      The Confederate War department authorized the formation of a new cavalry regiment in Florida to be composed on men not subject to conscription to operate in Florida and Alabama west of the Apalachicola River.

  

1864      Boat crews from the U.S.S. Roebuck, under the command pf Acting Master John Sherrill, captured the blockade-running Confederate sloop, Maria Louise, with a cargo of cotton off Jupiter Inlet, Florida.

 

1880      Construction started today on the South Florida Railroad in Sanford.

 

1885             Voters in Plant City approved the incorporation of that city today.  The vote was 49-1.

 

1888      Henry Flagler’s famous Ponce de Leon Hotel, one of the earliest luxury resorts in Florida, opened today in St. Augustine.

 

1959             Gold medal Olympic runner Chandra Cheeseborough was born today in Jacksonville.

 

1968      Floridians and other Americans joined together to lament the end of the 141 year-old Saturday Evening Post.  The magazine, which frequently came into Florida homes, was a staple in the literary diet of rural Floridians.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 11  

 

1839      Florida’s first constitution was signed by members of the constitutional convention meeting in St. Joseph’s today.  Although the document would not become the law of the land in 1839, it provided the basic framework for the first state constitution in 1845. 

 

1861      The Ordinance of Secession, approved by the Secession Convention yesterday, was signed today.  Florida became an “independent nation” until it joined the Confederate States of America on January 28.  Soon-to-be governor, John Milton, unfurls the new flag of Florida, a white silk banner with three stars.  The stars represent the three southern states that have seceded—South Carolina, Mississippi, and Florida.

 

1864      The U.S.S. Honeysuckle, under the command of Acting Ensign Cyrus Sears, captured the British blockade runner, Fly, near Jupiter Inlet.  Boat crews from the U.S.S. Roebuck, under the command of Acting Master Sherrill, captured the British Blockade runner, Susan, and its cargo of salt at Jupiter Inlet.

 

1880      Former President Ulysses S. Grant visited the Silver Springs resort today.  Grant was part of a group of northern tourists who took the steam boat Osceola up the Oklawaha River to the Springs.

 

1966      The Constitutional Commission to revise the 1885 state constitution was organized today.  The Commission delivered its recommendations to the Legislature on December 13.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 12  

1828       The City of Key West was incorporated today by the Territorial government of Florida.

 

1861      Confederate forces seize the U.S. Navy Yard at Pensacola.  Forts McRee and Barrancas were also taken.  Federal forces garrisoned Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island.

 

1877       Columbus Drew was sworn in today as the Comptroller of Florida.

 

1911      The Jacksonville YWCA was founded today.

 

1930    Don Grooms, contemporary Florida Folk singer, was born today in the Cherokee region of North Carolina. Don later moved to Florida and taught at the School of Journalism at the University of Florida. A staple at the folk festivals in the state, Don Grooms wrote many songs including "Walk Proud My Son", "Winnebago" and "Vitachuco." He died in January 1998 and was laid to rest in the hills near the place of his birth in North Carolina.

 

1942      Lieutenant Alexander (Sandy) Nininger, Jr. of Fort Lauderdale was killed in action today at Bataan, Philippine Islands.  He became the first United States soldier to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II.

 

1969      Joe Namath and the New York Jets defeated the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in the first ever Super Bowl in Miami.  The score was 16-7.

 

1986      Representative Bill Nelson, a resident of Brevard County, rode into space today aboard the shuttle Columbia (STS 61-C), which was launched from Cape Canaveral.

      

1988      The first Florida lottery tickets went on sale today.  Thousands of  citizens from Alabama and Georgia crossed state lines to purchase tickets.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 13  

 

1849      Putnam County was established today.  Putnam County was named for Benjamin Alexander Putnam, a lawyer, politician, and judge.  He was the first president of the Florida Historical Society.  Putnam was born on Putnam Plantation near Savannah, Georgia.  He attended Harvard University, studied law privately in St. Augustine, and practiced there.  In the Seminole War (1835-1842), Putnam served as a major, colonel, and adjutant general.  From 1849 until 1854, he served as the Surveyor General of Florida.  He died at his home in Palatka on January 25, 1869.  County Seat:  Palatka

 

1861      Shots from the Federal garrison in Fort Pickens forced a Confederate reconnaissance detachment to abandon their effort to reconnoiter the area around the fort. 

 

1863      Benjamin F. Allen assumed office as Florida’s Secretary of State.  Allen was appointed by Governor John Milton to replace Fred L. Villepigue, who was ruled ineligible for the office by the Florida Attorney General because he held a commission in the Confederate Army.  Allen, who was a private in the Florida Light Artillery Company, was seeking a discharge in order to assume his new office.

 

1863      A Confederate officer from Lake City met with the commander of the U.S.S. Norwich, operating in the St. John’s River, in an effort to re-open postal routes between Florida and northern states.  Confederate officials, by command of General Joseph J. Finegan, forward letters from northern

 

1864      Boat crews from the U.S.S. Two Sisters, under the command of Acting Master Thomas Chatfield, captured the schooner William off the Suwannee River today.  The William carried a cargo of salt, bagging, and rope. 

 

1881      W. D. Barnes took office today as Florida’s Comptroller General. 

 

1939      The first concert in Miami’s Lummus Park was given today by the 20-piece Miami Federal orchestra.

 

1963      More than 100 U.S. citizens arrived today from Castro’s Cuba.

 

1964      The Stephen Foster Center in White Springs observed the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death.

 

1974      The Miami Dolphins won Super Bowl VIII by defeating the Minnesota Vikings 24-7.

 

1982      A twin-engine Air Florida jet, bound for Tampa, crashed into the Potomac River today immediately after takeoff from Washington’s national Airport.  Some seventy-eight persons were killed.  The jet, encumbered by ice on the wings, crashed into the 14th Street Bridge, struck a truck and at least four cars.  Six persons died on the bridge.  Horrified commuters and emergency  personnel worked to rescue the passengers from the icy waters of the river.  Traffic was so snarled that emergency vehicles were forced to resort to using the sidewalks to reach the crash scene.  Some investigators suspected that the mass firing of the air controllers by the Reagan administration five months earlier contributed to the disaster, although the final report of the national Transportation safety Board did not place any blame on this occurrence.

 

1993      Space Shuttle launch STS-54 was sent into space today from Cape Canaveral.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 14  

 

1861      The United States Senators from Florida, David Levy Yulee and Stephen F. Mallory, were officially informed today of Florida’s secession from the Union.

 

1862      The bodies of three Union sailors were recovered on the beach at St. George’s Island and given a military burial.

 

1864      Small boats from the U.S.S. Roebuck chased the blockade-running British sloop, Young Racer, and forced her aground north of Jupiter Inlet.  The sloop, which was carrying a cargo of salt, was destroyed by her crew.

 

1864      The U.S.S. Union, under the command of Acting Lieutenant Edward Conroy, captured the blockade-running steamer, Mayflower, and its cargo of cotton near Tampa Bay today.

 

1874      The Florida Medical Association was founded today in the office of Dr. Abel Seymour Baldwin in Jacksonville.

 

1892      Pensacola report four-tenths of an inch of snow today. 

 

1941      Oscar-winning actress Faye Dunaway was born today in Bascom.

 

1949      Lawrence Kasdan, award-winning screenwriter, was born today in Miami Beach.

 

1968      The Oakland Raiders lost to the Green Bay Packers (33-14) before an estimated 75,000 fans in the first Super Bowl held in Miami’s Orange Bowl.

 

1973      The Miami Dolphins won Superbowl VII today by defeating the Washington Redskins by a score of 14-7.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 15  

 

1811      The United States Congress authorized the U.S. Army to occupy Florida.

 

1859      Lake City, formerly known as “Alligator,” was incorporated today.

 

1864      The federal schooner, U.S.S. Beauregard, today captured the British schooner, Minnie, about twenty miles south of Mosquito Inlet.  The captured ship was carrying a cargo of salt, liquors, and earthenware. 

 

1865      Florida units attached to the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederate) were engaged in heavy fighting today at Petersburg, Virginia. 

 

1864      Captain John Westcott of the 2nd Florida Infantry Battalion has been promoted to major by the Confederate War Department.  His effective date of rank will be January 24, 1863.

 

1873      Clayton A. Cowgill assumed office as the Comptroller of Florida today.

 

1897      The Royal Palm, Henry Flagler’s luxury hotel, opened today in Miami.  The Royal palm featured a swimming pool and other amenities.

 

1918      Country and western singer/songwriter Hank Locklin was born today in McLellan.

 

1925      Hialeah Race Track opened today. 

 

1936      The Florida branch of the Colonial Dames of the XVII Century was chartered today in New Port Richey.

 

1949      Ronnie Van Zant, the leader of the Jacksonville rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, was born in Jacksonville today.

 

1959      Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach was incorporated today.

 

1979      J. H. Williams  of Ocala was appointed Deputy Secretary of Agriculture by President Jimmy Carter today.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 16  

 

1792      William Augustus Bowles and a band of Creek warriors today captured the Panton, Leslie and Company trading post near St. Marks.

 

1862      Union sailors and soldiers took possession of Sea Horse Key and Cedar key today.  Although there were no casualties, Union forces destroyed the railroad depot and wharf, several box cars loaded with supplies, several ships and boats, and a considerable supply of guns and ammunition.  Capture of Cedar Key effectively ends the importance of the newly constructed railroad from Fernandina to this Gulf town.

 

1864      The U.S.S. Roebuck captured the Confederate sloop Caroline today as it was attempting to run the blockade into Jupiter Inlet.  The Caroline was carrying a cargo of salt, gin, soda, and dry goods.

 

1864      The U.S.S. Stars and Stripes captured the British blockade runner Laura off the Ocklockonee River  with a cargo of whiskey, cigars, and assorted merchandise.

 

1873      William A. Cocke was sworn in today as Florida’s Attorney General, while Charles H. Foster took the oath of office as State Treasurer.

 

1935      Ma Barker and her gangster family were killed by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by Melvin Purvis,  in a bloody shootout today in Oklawaha near Lake Weir.

 

1936      A “photo-finish” camera was used for the first time today at Hialeah Race Track.

 

1944      Country music singer Jim Stafford was born today in Eloise.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 17  

 

1821       Ossian Bingley Hart, the first Florida-born governor of the state, was born today in Jacksonville. Hart’s father, Isaiah David Hart, was a founder of Jacksonville. Ossian B. Hart was an attorney who initially practiced law in Jacksonville, but eventually moved to Fort Pierce to become a farmer. In 1845, he represented St. Lucie County in the Florida House of Representatives. In 1846, he moved to Key West and resumed the practice of law. In 1856, he moved to Tampa. Although the son of a slave-owner, Hart was opposed to Florida’s secession and actively opposed it. His opposition earned him a great deal of trouble during the Civil War. In 1868, Hart was appointed an Associate Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. In 1870, he was defeated in a bid for Congress. He was elected governor as a Republican in 1872, but died of pneumonia in 1874.

1861       Jackson Morton of Santa Rosa County, Patton Anderson of Jefferson County, and James B. Owens of Marion County were appointed as Florida’s delegates to the Southern Convention scheduled to meet in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 4.

1862       The U.S.S. Connecticut captured the British blockade-runner, Emma, off the Florida Keys.

1863       A Federal naval officer reported that he had found 45 bags of salt on a conch bar near Jupiter Inlet.  It was also reported that a small boat with two Confederates has been captured near the St. Lucie River.

1866       John Beard assumed office today as Florida’s Comptroller.


1873       S. B. McLin was installed as Florida’s Secretary of State today.


1884       The first issue of the Florida Baptist Witness was published today.

 

1919       Florida’s first Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post #30, was chartered today in St. Petersburg.

 

1964       James W. Kynes took the oath of office today as Florida’s Attorney General.

 

1981       Snow fell in Fort Lauderdale and Miami today.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 18

 

1856       Detachments of Companies C and L of the 2nd United States Artillery, consisting of six men, were attacked today by Seminole Indians near Fort Deynaud.

 

1861       Despite demands by Confederate forces in Pensacola, Union Lieutenant Adam Slemmer refuses to surrender Fort Pickens to them.

 

1862       The Federal gunboat Sagamore, operating off the Gulf Coast near the Apalachicola River, sent several boats ashore to investigate conditions on St. Vincent’s Island. The Federal officer in charge reported that the fort on the island had been burned and abandoned.

 

1864       The U.S.S. Stars and Stripes captured the British blockade-runner Laura today off the Ocklockonee River after a chase of nearly seven hours. The Laura was carrying a cargo of cigars, whiskey, and general merchandise.

 

1908       The Jewish Congregation Sons of Israel was chartered today in St.

Augustine.

 

1912       Daniel Thomas McCarty, the 31st Governor (1/6-9/28/53), was born today near Fort Pierce. For more information, see the entries for January 6 and September 28.

 

1941       Singer Bobby Goldsboro was born today in Marianna.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 19

 

1861       A Federal force under the command of Brevet Major L. G. Arnold occupied Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas today. In St. Augustine, Colonel G. C. Gibbs announced that the city was preparing its defenses against a Federal attack.

 

1862       The U.S.S. Itasca, under the command of lieutenant Charles H. B. Caldwell, today captured the Confederate ship, Lizzie Weston, off the coast of Florida enroute to Jamaica with a cargo of cotton.

 

1863       The effectiveness of the Federal blockade of the Southern coast was revealed in this captured letter from Nassau: “There are men here who are making immense fortunes by shipping goods to Dixie…Salt, for example, was one of the most paying things to send in.  Here in Nassau it is only worth 60 cents a bushel, but in Charleston brings at auction from $80 to $100 in Confederate

money, but as Confederate money is no good out of the Confederacy they send back cotton or turpentine, which, if it reaches here, is worth proportionally as much here as the salt is there….It is a speculation by which one makes either 600 or 800 per cent or loses all.”


1864       The U.S.S. Roebuck today captured the British blockade-runner Eliza about a mile inside Jupiter Inlet with a cargo of fourteen bales of cotton.   Roebuck also captured the British sloop Mary inside Jupiter Inlet later in the day. The Mary had a cargo of 31 bales of cotton.

1926       The first broadcast from Radio Station WIOD, originating from Collins Island near Miami Beach, was aired today.

 

1957       National Football League running back Ottis “O.J.” Anderson was born today in West Palm Beach.

 

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 20  

 

1827      Jefferson County was created today by the Florida Legislature.  Jefferson County was the thirteenth county created in the state and was named for President Thomas Jefferson, who died on July 4, 1826.  County Seat:  Monticello

 

1874      The public library, reading room, and historical association of St. Augustine was chartered today.

 

1885      C. M. Cooper assumed office as the Attorney General of Florida today.

 

1890      The St. John’s River railroad bridge, the first major steel railroad bridge in Florida, opened to traffic today.

 

1920      Today is the birthday of former U.S. Congressman Sam M. Gibbons of Tampa.  A highly decorated combat veteran in World War II, Gibbons had a distinguished career in the Florida House of representatives, the Florida Senate, and was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1962.  He served until 1996.

 

1924      Country and western singer “Slim” Whitman was born today in Tampa.

 

1969      Alan S. Boyd, the first Federal Secretary of Transportation (appointed January 16, 1967 by President Lyndon Baines Johnson), left office today.  Boyd, a native of Jacksonville, was born on July 20, 1922.  After successful stints as the general counsel for the Florida Turnpike Authority and as a member of the Florida Railroad and Public Utilities Commission in the Collins administration, Boyd served on the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board.  He was appointed first to the position of Undersecretary of Commerce for Transportation by Johnson, and when that position was elevated to a separate Cabinet department, he was promoted.  After his Federal service, Boyd served as the President of the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad.  He subsequently returned to Federal service as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AMTRAK, a position he held until June 20, 1982.

 

1977      Today Florida residents as far south as Cutler Ridge in Dade County saw snow.  The extreme cold and numbing wind brought about widespread power failures, hundreds of traffic accidents, several deaths and the loss of a large part of the state’s citrus and vegetable crops.

 

1978      Although appointed on January 4 as State Attorney, Janet Reno began her tenure today as the first female State Attorney in Florida.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 21  

 

1861      Florida’s United States senators David Levy Yulee and Stephen R. Mallory, along with U.S. Representative George S. Hawkins, formally withdraw from the United States Congress today.  This following Florida’s secession from the Union.

 

1861      Florida’s Secession Convention adjourns in Tallahassee.

 

1863      The Federal steamer U.S.S. Uncas in the St. John’s River fired on Confederate pickets near Cedar Creek.  A Parrott gun on board the Union vessel exploded, seriously wounding one man whose arm was shattered and amputated.

 

1865      The U.S.S. Honeysuckle arrived in Cedar key today with the British schooner Augusta in tow.  The British vessel will be taken to key West and claimed as a war prize by Acting Ensign Charles N. Hall and his crew.

 

1862      The Confederate schooner Olive Branch bound from Cedar Key to Nassau with a cargo of turpentine was captured by the U.S.S. Ethan Allen.

 

1881      Jno. L. Crawford took the oath of office today as Florida’s Secretary of State.

 

1927      Today President Calvin Coolidge signed the Act to Survey A Waterway from Cumberland Sound, Georgia, and Florida to the Mississippi River.”  This act was the forerunner of the later Cross-Florida Barge Canal legislation. 

 

SOME FLORIDA POPULATION FACTS:

 

Year                           Population

 

1830                             34, 730

1840                             54,477

1850                             87,445

1860                           140,424

1870                           187,748

1880                           269,493

1890                           391,422

1900                           528,542

1910                           752,619

1920                           968,470

1930                                1,468,211

1940                                1,897,414

1950                                2,771,305

1960                                4,951,560

1970                                6,789,443

1980                                9,746,324

1990                              14,500,000

 

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 22  

 

1863      The Federal steamer U.S.S. Bibb left the St. John’s River for Port Royal, South Carolina, today.  It carried a white refugee named Jackson, who reported to Federal officials that the Confederates had a man-of-war carrying eight guns on the Chattahoochee River.  He also reported that the steamer Cuba was preparing to run the blockade via the Suwannee River.

 

1863      It was reported that Federal Brigadier General Adam J. Slemmer was captured in the recent Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  Slemmer first came to the attention of Floridians when he was a Lieutenant in command of Fort Barrancas in January 1861.  It was Slemmer who ordered Federal troops to concentrate in Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island in Pensacola Harbor.

 

1880      Residents of key West were awakened today by aftershocks from the earthquakes that struck the island of Cuba.

 

1912      The first train arrived in Key West, marking the completion of the Florida East Coast Railway.  Henry Flagler arrived in his private car, “Moultrie.”  The Overseas Extension of the Florida East Coast system spanned 127.84 miles from Homestead to Key West.  Seventy-five miles were over marsh or water.  The longest viaduct of the system, between Knights Key and Bahia Honda Key, covered seven miles.  Building the extension from Miami to key West required a labor force of 3-4,000 men and seven years of work.  The railroad extension was abandoned after the destructive hurricane of 1935, but was eventually adapted for use as a major highway.

 

1935      Snow started falling late today in the Florida Panhandle.

 

1973      The Orlando “Sentinel” and the Orlando “Evening Star” were combined as the “Sentinel Star” today. 

 

1984      The Oakland Raiders scored a 38-9 win over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII, which was held in Tampa.

 

1985      Ninety percent of Florida’s citrus crop was destroyed by the worst freezing weather in the 20th Century in the state.  Governor Bob Graham declared a “state of emergency” since the Weather Bureau predicted more cold weather.

 

1992      The space shuttle (STS 42) was launched today from Cape Canaveral.

 

FLORIDA FACT:

 

1908      In Jacksonville, the Kalem Company, organized in 1907, produced what is regarded as the first dramatic film in Florida.  The picture was entitled, “A Florida Feud.”

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 23  

 

1837      The Seminole Indian leader Osuche and his son were killed by U.S. Army troops near Lake Apopka.

 

1851      The State of Florida today appropriated $1,000 to build a wagon road from Miami to Indian River in St. Lucie County.

 

1851      Florida’s first Board of Agriculture was established today.

 

1861      Confederate garrisons at St. Augustine removes lenses from the St. Augustine and Jupiter Inlet lighthouses forcing them to shut down. 

 

1865      The British blockade runner Fannie McRae was captured today by the Federal tender Fox between St. Marks and Deadman’s Bay in the Warrior River.

 

1873      Jonathan C. Gibbs was sworn into office today as the Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

 

1880      Aftershocks from the earthquake on Cuba were felt again by Key West residents.

 

1923      Hugo Award-winning science-fiction writer Walter M. Miller, Jr., was born today in New Smyrna Beach.

 

1935      One inch of snow was reported today in Panama City, while Apalachicola reported two-tenths of an inch of the “white rain.”

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 24  

 

1834      The City of Chattahoochee was incorporated today.

 

1838      More than forty Seminole Indians were captured during a battle with the United States Army at Indian Crossing on the Lookahatchie (Loxahatchee?) River.  Two soldiers were killed and five wounded.  Forty Seminoles were captured.

 

1840      Captain J. R. Vinton and Company B, 3rd U. S. Artillery, engaged a force of Seminole Indians at Fort New Smyrna Beach today.  Four soldiers were wounded.  Indian casualties were unknown.

 

1840      Captain E. D. Bullock and a detachment from Company E, 2nd U. S. Dragoons were attacked today by a band of Seminole Indians near Fort Preston.  One soldier was wounded.

 

1846      William H. Brockenbrough was seated in the United States House of Representatives as Florida’s first member of the Lower House.  Brockenbough was seated after successfully contesting the election of Edward C. Cabell.  Both Cabell and Brockenbough were from Tallahassee.

 

1853      Charles H. Austin was worn into office today as the Treasurer of Florida.

 

1854      Theodore W. Brevard was sworn into office today as Florida’s Comptroller.

 

1862      Confederate President Jefferson Davis has recommended Joseph J. Finegan of Fernandina beach be given a commission as Lieutenant Colonel in the Confederate Army.

 

1863      The U.S.S. Paul Jones was assigned to deliver ammunition and other stores to ships on patrol duty in the St. John’s River.  The Paul Jones was also instructed to proceed up the river “as far as you may deem necessary” on a reconnaissance mission.  After that mission was completed, the ship was to join the federal blockade off Florida’s east Coast.

 

1884      The first train arrived in Tampa today on the Plant System. 

 

1985      The space shuttle (STS 51-C) was launched today from Cape Canaveral.

 

1927      Former United States Senator from Florida, Paula Fickes Hawkins, was born today in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Senator Hawkins was elected in 1980 and defeated for re-election in 1986.

 

1989      Convicted serial killer Theodore Bundy was executed today in Starke’s Raiford Prison.  Bundy died from electrocution in “Old Smokey.”  On July 23, 1979, Bundy was convicted of the murder of two co-eds at Florida State University.  During a period of 15  years, it was suspected that Bundy killed more than thirty young women in Washington, Utah, Colorado, and Florida.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 25  

 

 

1814      Petitioners representing the “Republic of East Florida” asked Congress to admit their republic, with its capital at Fernandina, into the Union.  They were unsuccessful in their quest.

 

1834      Hillsborough County, the state’s eighteenth county, was created today by the Florida Legislature.  It was named for Wills Hills, the Earl of Hillsborough.  Hillsborough, who owned a large land grant in Florida, dispatched the surveyor Bernard Romans explored the east and west coast of Florida.  He described Tampa Bay as a body of water well suited for large ships and which could supply them from the surrounding countryside.  County Seat:  Tampa

 

1842      Companies B, K, and part of Company G of the 2nd U. S. Infantry, commanded by Major Joseph Plympton, were attacked today at Haw Creek, a branch of the Wahoo Swamp.  One enlisted man was killed and two others wounded.  Two Seminole warriors were captured.

 

1849      The City of Tampa was incorporated today.

 

1851      John Beard was sworn into office as Florida’s Comptroller today.

 

1895      James J. Corbett knocked out Charley Mitchell to retain his heavyweight boxing title in a bout fought in Jacksonville today.  The fight lasted three rounds.

 

1963      Flagler College, located in the old Ponce de Leon Hotel built by Henry Flagler, was chartered today in St. Augustine.

 

1984      NASA scientists and engineers were delighted with President Ronald Reagan’s announcement today that he fully endorsed the development of a permanently manned U.S. space station.  The development of such a space station would mean hundreds of new jobs at the Cape Canaveral launch facility in Brevard County.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 26  

 

1767      Rollestown, a Utopian community for the poor of London, was settled today near San Mateo by Denys Rolle and forty English immigrants.

 

1827      Steamboat travel on the Apalachicola River in the Florida Panhandle. 

 

1828      The steamboat Fannie arrived in Columbus, Georgia, today on a journey that began at the mouth of the Apalachicola.

 

1836      Calhoun County, named for John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, was established today.  County Seat:  Blountstown

 

1861      The Marion Artillery of St. Augustine announced today that it had fortified Fort Marion (Castillo de San Marcos) with several 32 pounders and 8 inch howitzers.

 

1862      The U.S.S. Sagamore left its moorings at St. Vincent’s Island and moved further up the channel of Apalachicola Bay.

 

1943      The formal commissioning of the Amphibious Training Base at Fort Pierce took place today at 10:00 a.m. when Captain C. Gulbranson, USN, read the orders from the U.S. Department of the Navy.

 

1962      The U.S. rocket, Ranger 3, launched from Cape Canaveral  strayed from its project path today and missed its target, the moon, by 20,000 miles.

 

1965      The body of State Treasurer J. Edwin Larson, how died in office, was on public display in the Capitol rotunda in Tallahassee in order to give his many friends and supporters and opportunity to bid him farewell. 

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 27  

 

1862      Brigadier General Samuel Jones has been assigned to command the Army of Pensacola relieving General Braxton E. Bragg.

 

1864      Union General Alexander Asboth, in command of Federal forces at Pensacola, reported that 1,200 Confederates were encamped at nearby Pollard.  He also reported that two companies of Confederate cavalry were camped at the head of Choctawhatchee Bay.

 

1865      Lieutenant Charles A. French of the U.S.S. Ino captured an unknown ship with a cargo of cotton and sugar today on the Manatee River.

 

1939      In order to help Florida citrus growers avert a complete financial collapse, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nathan Mayo urges the universal adoption of a standard minimum selling price of thirty-two cents a box.

 

1949      WTVJ in Miami began operations today as Florida’s first broadcast television station with special authorization granted by the Federal Communications Commission.

 

1967      Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee were killed in a fire during a test firing of the first version of the Apollo spacecraft.  NASA officials said an electrical spark must have ignited the pure oxygen inside the cabin of the Apollo spacecraft as the three astronauts were seated in the cabin.  The fire broke out at 6:31 p.m. as the Saturn rocket, which carried the spacecraft, sat on launching pad 34.  Because the entire procedure was a test firing, the gantry remained in place and blocked the emergency escape system.  Unable to escape, the astronauts perished.

 

1992      Aileen Wournos, one of the rare female serial killers, was convicted of killing three male motorists along Florida highways in 1990.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 28  

 

1831      Today the name of the West Point community was changed to Apalachicola.

 

1861      Former U. S. Senator David Levy Yulee informed Stephen Mallory that the Federal warship, U.S.S. Brooklyn, was bound for Fort Pickens with two companies of soldier aboard.  Mallory immediately informed friends in the Union capital that Confederate forces would not attack as long as conditions did not change.  When this information was passed along to outgoing President James Buchanan, he ordered the troops be kept aboard the ship and not landed.

 

1863      The U.S.S. Sagamore captured and destroyed the British blockade runner, Elizabeth, today at the mouth of Jupiter Inlet.

 

1864      The U. S. schooner, Beauregard, captured the British blockade-runner Racer about ten miles north of Cape Canaveral.  The English vessel had left New Smyrna bound for Nassau with a cargo of cotton. 

 

1864      The British steamer Rosita was captured today by the U.S. Army transport steamer Western  Metropolis about eighty miles out of Key West.  The Rosita was carrying a cargo of liquor, cigars, and assorted merchandise.

 

1878      The reading room of the Jacksonville Young Christian Association was opened today.

 

1885      The Florida legislature approved the incorporation of the City of Ocala today.

 

1902      H. Clay Crawford took the oath of office today for the position of Florida Secretary of State. 

 

1927      WMBR Radio, originally chartered in Tampa, began broadcasting today in Jacksonville.

 

1958      The United States Air Force successfully tested its Thor missile today at Cape Canaveral.

 

1965      Broward Williams took the oath of office today as the Treasurer of Florida.

 

1986      The Space shuttle Challenger exploded after launch from Cape Canaveral today killing all seven astronauts aboard. 

      The Challenger, which was scheduled to liftoff at 9:38 a.m., was kept on the launch pad for two hours because unusually low temperatures at Cape Canaveral caused ice to form on the shuttle and ground support system.  At 11:38 a.m., the shuttle lifted off flawlessly from the pad.  When the space vehicle had achieved an altitude of ten miles and immediately prior to the full ignition of the main engines, the shuttle exploded in a ball of fire that was visible throughout the State of Florida. 

      Killed in the explosion were:

         Francis R. Scobee

         Michael J. Smith

         Judith A. Resnick

         Ronald E. McNair

         Ellison S. Onizuka

         Gregory B. Jarvis

         Christa McAulliffe

 

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 29  

 

1862      The U.S. Storeship Supply captured the Confederate schooner Stephen Hart south of Sarasota with a cargo of arms and ammunition. 

 

1864      Governor John Milton informs General Pierre Beauregard, commanding the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, that Confederate army deserters were organizing themselves into bands in the state.  The areas of the strongest groups were in LaFayette, Washington, Walton, Taylor and Levy counties in West Florida.  They deserters were also operating in strong bands from Tampa to Fort Myers in Southwest Florida. 

 

1865      The 34th U. S. Colored Troops have been transferred to Florida.

 

1885      Frederick Delius, later a world-renowned composer, celebrated his 23rd birthday at Solano Grover (St. Johns County), during a short stay in Florida.

 

1995      Super Bowl XXIX  held in Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami.

 

SOME FLORIDA FACTS:

   Cyrus Teed, founder of the Koreshan Unity Movement, taught his followers that humans resided on the inside of the earth.  Teed, who assumed the name, “Koresh,” [Persian for “Lion”] organized his followers into a utopian commune, which was located at present day Estero in Lee County.  Teed, who espoused equal rights for women, envisioned his commune at Estero as the future center of the world’s commercial, political, and religious activities.  In his writings, he prophesied the rise of a “New Jerusalem” which would be home to 10 million residents, and which would be built in a minimum of 10 stories.  Each story would be segregated by the type and weight of transportation used.

   Teed died in 1908 as a result of wound incurred during a fight with political opponents on the streets of Fort Myers.  His followers, confident that he would come back from the dead, refused to bury him until forced to do so by a health inspector for Lee County.  Teed’s body was placed in a mausoleum on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and guarded 24 hours a day.  In 1921, a hurricane destroyed the mausoleum and Teed’s body was lost.  Because the community practiced celibacy, the number of member gradually diminished.  In 1961, the few remaining adherents gave the State of Florida 305 acres of land for use as a state park.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 30  

 

1561      Governor of Pensacola Tristan de Luna was relieved of his command by Spanish authorities following his unsuccessful administration of the newly created colony.

 

1838      Chief Osceola. a leader of the Seminole Indians, died at Fort Moultrie in Charleston, South Carolina.

 

1862      The U.S.S. Kingfisher captured the blockade runner Teresita today in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. 

 

1862      General J. H. Trapier, in command of Confederate forces in Florida, reported that he had the following number of men under his command:

 

      Infantry:  133 officers, 1,994 enlisted men

      Cavalry:  46 officers, 1,080 enlisted men

      Artillery:  6 officer, 89 enlisted men

 

1943      Baseball player and manager Davey Johnson was born in Orlando today.

 

1964      A Ranger spacecraft was launched today from Cape Canaveral.  The Ranger, carrying six television cameras, was aimed at the moon.  It was hoped that the spacecraft would transmit valuable pictures back to Earth to help with the planning of the American manned moon-landing attempt later in the decade.

 

TODAY IN FLORIDA HISTORY

JANUARY 31  

 

1831      The Bank of Pensacola was formed today.

 

1863      Confederate authorities reported that in the District of East Florida, there were 810 men and officers on duty, while the District of Middle Florida had a total of 751 men and officers.

 

1881      Eleazer K. Foster assumed the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction today in Tallahassee. 

 

1891      The grand Tampa Bay Hotel opened for guests today.  A grand ball would be held on February 5.

 

1897      The citizens of the  community of Lakemont considered changing its name today to “Frostproof” after being spared serious damage to citrus crops during two consecutive hard freezes.  The formal incorporation of the community as “Frostproof” occurred on August 8, 1914.

 

1951      Harry Wayne Casey of KC and the Sunshine Band was born in Hialeah.

 

1958      The first American satellite, Explorer I, was placed into orbit today by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency from Cape Canaveral aboard a Jupiter C rocket.

 

1961      Ham, America’s first astrochimp, was shot into space today in an 18 minute flight that reached an altitude of 150 miles.  Ham’s flight in the Mercury capsule was a preliminary test before the launching of a human into orbit.

 

1971                 Apollo 14 was successfully launched today at Cape Canaveral.