Monday, July 27, 2015

If you are TRULY interested in learning about the slaves who once lived in the State of Louisiana, FORGET ABOUT AFRICAN SLAVE SHIPS. ALMOST ALL LOUISIANA SLAVES CAME FROM THE GOOD OLD U.S. OF A. THE NEW ORLEANS CUSTOM HOUSE RECORDS OF SLAVES DISEMBARKED FROM VESSELS COMING FROM U.S. PORTS MEASURES FIFTEEN LINEAR FEET! "Congress created the Custom Service on July 31, 1789 and made it a part of the Department of Treasury (September 1789). The service assisted other agencies in the enforcement of the slave trading laws that were passed between 1794 to 1820. In particular, the 1807 law prohibited the transportation of slaves after 1808, and section 9 required that all vessels of 40 tons or more carrying slaves in the coastwise trade file duplicate manifests (ports of origin and destination) showing name, age and description of each slave, the name and residence of exporter and consignee, and pledge that the slave had not been imported after 1807. Manifest records exist for four ports.
Records of Customhouses
Records are arranged chronologically by date of arrival and thereunder by name of vessel. They show name, tonnage, and nationality of vessel; date of arrival; name of master, name (usually Christian only), age, sex of slave; name and address of consignee; and name of owner.
Philadelphia, 1790 - 1840 (1/4 in.)
New Orleans, 1819 - 52 and 1860 - 61 (15 ft.)
Mobile, 1822 - 1860 (4 ft.)
Savannah, 1801 - 60 (6 ft.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Speculation in West Florida land offered a lucrative opportunity at the time of the advent of the Union Jack on Dauphin Island in 1763. Not only did Major Robert Farmar evict every French government official and French soldier from his new colony of West Florida but for over a year he was the head of the government and a willing customer for any migrating Frenchman who might have a little land to sell. Farmar claimed he never mixed public funds with his private fortune(acquired as prize money for his participation in the British conquest of Havana) however, he was forced to face a court martial that accused him of multiple abuses of the King's resources.  By the time Farmar had settled into retirement at his home near present-day Stockton, he had accumulated land title to over 10,000 acres of West Florida ranging from Natchez all the way to present-day Baldwin County. Some of the acreage to which Farmar contended he owned clear title included most of Dauphin Island and three-eighths of Horn Island but as the reader will soon find out, Major Farmar's title to Dauphin Island was doubtful even during his lifetime. Those doubts certainly did not matter to his descendants of Major Robert Farmar and when the United States finally raised its flag over Mobile Bay in the spring of 1813, they found that many Farmar descendants had returned to Mobile and were prepared to argue that they had preemption rights to Dauphin Island, Horn Island as well as the rest of Major Farmar's 10,000+ acre estate.

The FIRST GREAT TEXAS CATTLE DRIVE was organized to feed the Spanish troops that would capture DAUPHIN ISLAND from the British in 1780."In order to feed his troops, Gálvez sent an emissary, Francisco García, with a letter to Texas governor Domingo Cabello y Robles requesting the delivery of Texas cattle to Spanish forces in Louisiana. Accordingly, between 1779 and 1782, 10,000 cattle were rounded up on ranches belonging to citizens and missions of Bexar and La Bahía. From Presidio La Bahía, the assembly point, Texas rancheros and their vaqueros trailed these herds to Nacogdoches, Natchitoches[ed. note: oldest town in Louisiana, founded in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis who led the 1719 FRENCH & INDIAN DEFENSE OF DAUPHIN ISLAND during the attempted Spanish invasion of 1719], and Opelousas for distribution to Gálvez's forces. Providing escorts for these herds were soldiers from Presidio San Antonio de Béxar, Presidio La Bahía, and El Fuerte del Cíbolo, and several hundred horses were also sent along for artillery and cavalry purposes. Fueled in part by Texas beef, Gálvez, with 1,400 men, took to the field in the fall of 1779 and defeated the British in battles at Manchac, Baton Rouge, and Natchez. On March 14, 1780, after a month-long siege with land and sea forces, Gálvez, with over 2,000 men, captured the British stronghold of Fort Charlotte at Mobile. The climax of the Gulf Coast campaign occurred the following year when Gálvez directed a joint land-sea attack on Pensacola, the British capital of West Florida. He commanded more than 7,000 men in the two-month siege of Fort George in Pensacola before its capture on May 10, 1781. On May 8, 1782, Gálvez and his Spanish forces captured the British naval base at New Providence in the Bahamas. He was busy preparing for a grand campaign against Jamaica when peace negotiations ended the war. After the fighting, Gálvez helped draft the terms of treaty that ended the war, and he was cited by the American Congress for his aid during the conflict."

Monday, July 20, 2015

 I finished and posted A CHRONOLOGY OF THE 18 ARMED AMPHIBIOUS INVASIONS OF DAUPHIN ISLAND. This work summarizes (only 8 of the invasions are now described in detail) how all six flags (French, English, Spanish, U.S., Republic of Alabama, Confederate States of America) came to fly over the island between 1699 and 1865.


#1: On Saturday, January 31, 1699,  Pierre LeMoyne Ecuyer,Seigneur d'Iberville and his men, sailing on three ships carrying a total of 110 cannon, occupied present-day Dauphin Island on an expedition sponsored by King Louis XIV of France to fortify the mouth of the Mississippi River in order to prevent other nations from entering the river. Iberville named this place Massacre Island due to the bones from about sixty human skeletons he found heaped on the island.

#2: On Tuesday, September 9, 1710,Jamaican pirates, outfitted with a ship mounted with cannon, approached the mouth of Pelican Bay flying a French flag. The pirates fired their signal gun and the villagers welcomed what they thought to be a long awaited supply ship from overseas.
Without firing a shot, the little port, housing about 20 families and the King’s warehouses, was at the mercy of a pirate crew. For two days the crew made life miserable for the village and stole everything that wasn’t nailed down before they burned down all the buildings in town. The pirates loaded their ship with thousands of furs and hides which the French had gathered from all over the province of Louisiana and had stored in Massacre Island’s warehouses.

#3: Later, during the same month of September, 1710, the pirates decided to return to the island to rustle up a shipload of the villagers’ cattle and to collect a live specimen of a buffalo for the pirate captain but the islanders fought them off during their attempt to make a second landing. No casualties were reported to be a consequence of this attempted second invasion by the Jamaican pirates.

#4:On Saturday, May 13, 1719, a French naval attack on Pensacola embarked from Dauphin Island and approached Pensacola Bay the evening of the same day.  The French naval force consisted of a squadron of at least three large company ships from France carrying over 600 officers, soldiers and volunteers commanded by Serigny and Larcebault. Bienville commanded the rest of the naval force of 80 men on three skiffs along with some supply barges and initiated the invasion by taking over the Spanish battery located on Santa Rosa Island near present-day Ft. Pickens without firing a shot.  The company ships were then free to enter Pensacola Bay and by firing their sixty naval cannon into town for three hours, they silenced the 29 cannon in Pensacola’s Spanish Fort San Carlos.

#5: On Friday, August 4, 1719, a Spanish fleet  carrying over 1300 troops and consisting of two captured French ships, a Spanish flagship and nine two-masted coastal schooners forced the French surrender of Pensacola and the French lost their ships anchored in the harbor that were filled with John Law’s Company of the West’s supplies.The French retreat from Pensacola led the French back to Dauphin Island and required them to reinforce Dauphin Island’s defenses.

#6:  On Sunday, August 13, 1719, Louis Juchereau de St. Denis brought 50 Pascagoula Indians to Dauphin Island on . By August 20, the French had assembled between 200 to 400 Indians between Mobile and Dauphin Island and these natives represented “the backbone of the French defensive forces.”

The Spanish fleet was limited to privateers who sailed from Pensacola on 9 two-masted coastal schooners and two brigantines. The Spanish sent the French on Dauphin Island a message that demanded unconditional surrender and made some violent threats. The French on shore showed their contempt for the Spanish privateers and decided to “make a gallant defense.” 
After their bluff failed, the Spanish decided to put off a full frontal assault upon the improvised French fortress hastily constructed on the shore near an inlet the French called Trou du Major. The Spanish decided to impose a naval blockade and began to capture all ships bringing supplies to the island. For over two weeks the Spanish privateers continued their blockade on the mouth of Mobile Bay and executed raids on the warehouses and farms in the area. During a raid on a Mon Luis Island farm, the French and their Indian allies captured  18 French deserters who were fighting for the Spanish. One of the deserters was condemned to a public hanging on Dauphin Island which served as a strong lesson in civic responsibility for the islanders and the other 17 were turned over to the Indians so they could be dragged to Mobile to be tortured and killed. 
 When a large French fleet carrying 2000 troops arrived at Dauphin Island on September 1, the few Spanish vessels still maintaining the blockade retreated back to Pensacola.

#7:  On Tuesday September 5, 1719, a French squadron under the command of Commodore Desnos de Champmeslin consisting of the flagship Hercule and twelve smaller ships sailed from Dauphin Island to Pensacola while Bienville marched one hundred troops and almost 500 Indians overland. On September 16, the French fleet was anchored off Pensacola while Bienville and his Indians prepared to attack. On the morning of September 17, Bienville’s Indians and the Canadians began their attack upon Fort San Carlos as the French fleet battled the Spanish ships anchored in the bay. The Spanish commander had “had no stomach for a fight with Indians” and so he surrendered to Champmeslin. The French had lost six men; the Spaniards, a hundred. Bienville also captured  47 French deserters fighting for the Spanish.  Twelve of these men were condemned to be hanged from the yardarm of a French ship anchored in Pensacola harbor and the other 35 were sentenced to serve ten years as galley slaves for the Company of the West.
Spain’s long-awaited naval expedition to drive the French out of Louisiana was finally launched in 1720 before news of peace had arrived. It accomplished nothing because Commander Francisco Cornejo “promptly ran his ships aground on the Campeche Banks in a violent storm.”
France continued to hold Pensacola while flying Spanish flags so they could capture Spanish supply ships that took the bait. Finally, on November 26, 1722, the French “destroyed the fort and town and returned the site to the Spaniards in conformity with the peace treaty in Europe.”

#8: On Sunday, October 9, 1763, British Major Farmar , commanding a convoy of six troop transports and a warship carrying three regiments dropped anchor off Dauphin Island with orders to occupy French Louisiana east of the Mississippi River as well as Spanish Pensacola. Farmar had earlier received an official French authorization for the commander of Fort Conde' in Mobile to surrender the fort.

Dauphin Island at the time mainly served as "a sea-girt cattle pen" for Frenchmen living in Mobile while the only residents were a French sergeant's guard and a harbor pilot, both of whom would soon leave the island.

 For over a week after arriving at Mobile Bay, Farmar had his men sounding the channel and setting out buoys to guide three of the smaller troop transports over the bar. The 32 gun frigate, H.M.S. Stag, and a larger troop transport sailed over to Ship Island to find safe anchorage. Earlier in October, while Farmar had been in Pensacola, two French pilots from the mouth of Mobile Bay had arrived and warned him that they doubted whether the large British ships could clear the bar at Mobile.
The problems Major Farmar encountered entering Mobile Bay emphasized his dependency upon the French pilot who resided on Dauphin Island and was needed to navigate any large vessel intending to enter Mobile Bay. Only one month after taking possession of Mobile Bay, Farmar wrote ".....A corporal and six men I have sent to the Island Dauphin to be assisting the Pilot in going off to ships, as the bar is very dangerous, and there are no inhabitants upon the island."

#9: On Monday, May 1, 1769,  Major Farmar violently evicted Lieutenant Governor Montforte Brown's employees from Dauphin Island.

#10: February 10, 1780, Spanish Governor of Bernardo de Galvez led a fleet of warships and troop transports into Mobile Bay to begin the SIEGE OF FORT CHARLOTTE.

#11: In early 1781, the British launch an offensive from Pensacola to take Dauphin Island but fail.
#12:  In May of 1781, the Spanish under Galvez launch an invasion from Mobile Bay and take Pensacola from the British.

#13: In April of 1813,the U.S. under the command of General James Wilkinson capture Dauphin Island.

#14: In September of 1814, the British based on Dauphin Island unsuccessfully attack Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point.

#15: In February of 1815, the entire British Expeditionary Force regroups on Dauphin Island and launched a siege upon Fort Bowyer. The U.S. troops in Fort Bowyer surrender.

#16: On January 18, 1861, the militia of the Republic of Alabama seize Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island from U.S. troops.

#17: In August of 1864,  U.S. troops forced the surrender of Confederate States of America forces which occupied Fort Gaines and Dauphin Island.

#18: In March of 1865, the 32,000 man U.S. invasion of Baldwin County began with the movement of Federal troops across the Mobile Bay from Dauphin Island.    

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Indians on the barrier islands

Columbus, GA
18th March 1837


I have the honour to forward duplicate muster rolls of Creek Indians delivered to the 
agent west. There is no reason I can advance why the Emigrating Company should not 
receive the amount called for by the rolls. I have just returned from Montgomery where 
I turned over all the Indians to the Emigrating Company. They have transported or got 
them on the way to Mobile Point about 2,000; the balance will be started immediately. 
I have made arrangements for the company to feed them after they arrive until they are 
met by the warriors in Florida agreeable to your instructions. I have sent an asst. 
Agent to meet the Warriors in Florida and accompany them to the Point where their 
families are and to explain to them the cause of this movement & c. I shall proceed 
tomorrow again to accompany the Indians, some few hostiles are yet in the swamp; I 
have three companies of volunteers now in pursuit of them, they refused to join the 
Indians after I had sent them word what their fate would be if they did not come in.

With respect
I have the honour to be
Your Obt. Servt.
John Page Capt. &
Supt Creeks

C. A. Harris Esq.
Com. of Indian Affairs
Washington City
 [M234, roll 238, frame 401] 

Head Quarters, Tampa Bay Flo.
April 11th 1837


I have the honour to receive this morning, your letter, of the 27th of March approving 
the arrangements made with the Creek Chiefs for the subsistence of themselves and 
families, after their arrival at their new homes in the West.

I received yseterday evening information of the removal of the families of the Creek 
Warriors to Mobile Point. I had been previously informed of this excitement in the 
Creek Country, and had seen an account in the newspapers of the removal of the Creek 
families but was not aware of the brutal treatment which those families had been 
compelled to submit to, until I received the reports of Lieuts. Reynolds and Sloan 
to Major Wilson, whom I had sent to Mobile Point to inquire into the circumstances 
preceeding and attending the removal, copies of which are enclosed.

I have explained to the Chiefs that the measure adopted was the only one by which their 
families and those of their warriors could be secured from insult. Some are satisfied 
but others are not, and what effect their dissatisfaction may have on the Seminoles, 
I am not prepared to say.

The Creek families were plundered of the greater part of their property and it is no 
more than justice that they be remunerated. I will endeavor to satisfy them if possible 
and send them off by detachments, as I get the Seminoles off.

I have the honor to be,
Your Obdt, Servt
-- Jesup
Major Genl --

The Hon. J. R. Poinsett
Secy of War
Washington City
 [M234, roll 238, frames 569-72] 

Mobile Point, Ala.
17th June 1837


I have the honour to report my arrival at this place with one hundred and eighty 
Creek warriors; on furlough for one month, where they will return, if directed, 
by Genl. Jesup to Tampa Bay. All the sick of the first Battalion were embraced in 
the number specified above, fourteen women and children refugee Creeks that escaped 
to the Seminole Nation also accompanied the detatchment, making the total number 
one hundred and ninety four. An unfortunate movement of Echo Harjo's people under 
the direction of Lieut. Slone were ordered to New Orleans from some representation 
made to Genl. Jesup. They became very sickly there. Genl. Jesup immediately ordered 
them back to this place again.

I shall leave here tomorrow for Mobile for the purpose of obtaining leave of the 
owners of Dauphin Island to remove those people to that place, they will there, 
all be secure; as we are now situated, the Indians will go out hunting and the 
people get alarmed; though there is no bad intention on the part of the Indian. 
If it is practicable, I will move to this Island and make them as comfortable as 
possible and then there can be no complaint from any citizen, as it is impossible 
for them to get from the island unless accompanied by an agent of the Government. 

I enclose you a contract made with the Alabama and Georgia Emigrating Company, to 
supply the Indians with rations. As I passed through Montgomery I could not give 
but three days notice to supply those Indians with rations but no one would offer 
any price, unless I specified some particular period these people would be subsisted. 
This I could not do. The Emigrating Company's offer was the only bid that was made, 
there being but one of them present at the time I entered into writing for the moment 
until I arrived at the Point as I was on my way there. On my arrival here the contract 
was made out and signed by the Company but the Steam Boat arrived at the same time. 
I was compeled to go on board and did not sign it myself but took it with me, the copy 
furnished by Maj. Wilson was done for the moment to authorize the company to forward 
rations forthwith as the Emigrants were all on their way. It appears there has been 
some misunderstanding with Maj. Wilson and the contractors about the rations. A 
detatchment of Indians between six and seven hundred, was ordered to New Orleans. It 
put the contractors to some expense as the movement was a sudden one and no time given 
them to make arrangements for feeding them.

Lieut. Slone required of them to furnish fresh beef while there, they complied with 
his requisition, though the market price for beef was 20 cents per pound, but they 
were unable to get it in the market every morning. Maj. Wilson required them to furnish 
fresh beef here, they attempted and made a contract and the beef was brought to the spot 
but the weather was so warm it spoiled and was lost, a second attempt was made and it 
spoiled and of course all was lost - to the contractors - Maj. Wilson contended that 
they were compeled to furnish fresh beef if it was a dollar per pound, the contract 
speaks for itself, what the ration shall consist of and when it shall be delivered. I 
consider they are bound to furnish a portion of fresh beef if it can be procured at any 
reasonable price. If it cannot be furnished, such as can be obtained of a good and 
wholesome quality, the beef must be killed in either Pensacola or Mobile and transported 
to this place. If from Pensacola it is forty miles, if from Mobile thirty miles. One of 
the Company has now gone to see if they can procure the beef at such a price as will not
render the contract ruinous to them. They are willing to do anything required of them 
to fulfill their obligations and I assure you the rights and comforts of the Indians shall 
be strictly observed, and if I had remained here long enough to have arranged matters 
before I went to Tampa Bay there would have been no difficulty or misunderstanding in 
the business. When I received my instructions to remove the Indians to this place I 
worked night and day to comply with the orders. On my arrival here I found a letter 
from Genl Jesup requesting me to come forthwith to Tampa Bay for the space of ten days. 
I remained here about one hour when I embarked for that place. So, soon as I can get 
time I will give you a statement of my proceedings while there.

Capt. Bateman and myself arrived here the same day. There is a great deal of business 
to do here to keep the Indians under subjection, our number is augmenting every day. 
If I can locate them on Dauphin Island all will be quiet. I have a great many arrangements 
to make for the sick before I can remove them.

Mr. Dubois a half breed Indian arrived here a short time since to see about the second 
payment for the land and it is now ascertained the business can not be accomplished 
until the Creek warriors are discharged, there being a great number of them interested 
and Yeo poth le hola, Chief of the Creeks, will decline in acting until all are present, 
so the money can be divided in proportion of the value of each man's tract. The Creek 
warriors term of service will expire on the 14th of September. I think it doubtful if 
Genl. Jesup discharges them before that period. I will render my accounts for the last 
two quarters and require the other officers to do the same. They kept their accounts 
back in consequence of my absence, not being to render them until my arrival. I shall 
remain on duty here unless other wise ordered until the duties assinged me require my 
attention west. Maj. Wilson will shortly leave here for Tampa Bay, one officer will 
necessarily be detatched most of the time with a few Indians to call in refugee Creeks 
where ever they can be found.

With Respect
I have the honour to be
Your Obt Servt
John Page
Capt. & Supt of Creeks

C. A. Harris Esq.
Commissioner of Indian Affairs
Washingotn City

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

In 1763, at the end of the French and Indian War, Britain had defeated France and that country lost everything they had in North America which was, basically, most of the continent. The French ceded Dauphin Island to the British along with all of the province of Louisiana east of the Mississippi except New Orleans. France's ally, Spain got New Orleans and also French Louisiana west of the Mississippi but had to forfeit Florida to the Brits in order to get back Havana which they had lost to the British during the war.

The task of evicting the French from Dauphin Island and Mobile Bay fell to British Major Robert Farmar, the namesake for Dauphin Island's Major Farmar Street which connects Bienville to Cadillac.(Unfortunately, some well-meaning person has defaced the "Major Farmar Street" sign on Bienville Boulevard,  "correcting" the spelling by placing an "E" over the second "A" in Farmar)

When Major Farmar dropped anchor off Dauphin Island on October 9, 1763, the mouth of Mobile Bay was probably the last place on Earth he wanted to be. Nearly three months earlier, Farmar had embarked from Cuba and dreamed of happily sailing back to England with the troops he had commanded during Great Britain's campaign to capture Havana but after over a week  at sea, his fleet was overtaken by a schooner carrying orders authorizing Major Farmer to form a convoy of six troop transports and a warship to carry three regiments to occupy French Louisiana east of the Mississippi River as well as Spanish Pensacola. Farmar also received an official French authorization for the commander of Fort Conde to surrender the fort.

For over a week after arriving at Mobile Bay, Farmar had his men sounding the channel and setting out buoys to guide three of the smaller troop transports over the bar. The 32 gun frigate, H.M.S. Stag, and a larger troop transport sailed over to Ship Island to find safe anchorage. Earlier in October, while Farmar had been in Pensacola, two French pilots from the mouth of Mobile Bay had arrived and warned him that they doubted whether the large British ships could clear the bar at Mobile.

At the same time that his men were marking the channel between Dauphin Island and Mobile Point,  Farmar's frustration turned to anger when he received letters from both the French commander of Ft. Conde' and the French Governor in New Orleans requesting that he delay the disembarkation of his troops at Mobile. Farmar ignored these French delays because his men had been at sea for over three months and probably hadn't slept in a bed in over a year and a half. On October 18, the three small troop transports successfully crossed the bar south of Dauphin Island but ran aground in the bay about six miles out from Mobile. Major Farmar rowed ashore at Mobile and agreed to allow the French commander 48 hours to evacuate Fort Conde'. On October 20, 1763, the Union Jack was raised over the Mobile fort, now named Fort Charlotte after the King's wife. The military occupation of this newly ceded British colony named West Florida had begun.

The problems Major Farmar encountered entering Mobile Bay emphasized his dependency upon the French pilots who resided on Dauphin Island and who were needed to navigate any large vessel intending to enter Mobile Bay. Only one month after taking possession of Mobile Bay, Farmar wrote ".....A corporal and six men I have sent to the Island Dauphin to be assisting the Pilot in going off to ships, as the bar is very dangerous, and there are no inhabitants upon the island."

For the next six years, Farmar continued to keep his eyes on Dauphin Island, a vital post for the navigation of Mobile Bay but also the first of an entire chain of islands stretching to Cat Island which formed the western limit of the Mississippi Sound. Not only did these islands offer safe anchorage for ocean-going vessels but they also supported grazing for large herds of cattle that supplied beef to New Orleans and Mobile. Over his years in West Florida, Farmar showed that his main motivation was personal gain and he began to acquire thousands of acres of property including the deeds to at least four large tracts on Dauphin Island. Farmar's desire for Dauphin Island would lead to the island's ninth armed amphibious invasion and this would not result in a change of flags but in the violent and forceful eviction of the employees of the man who contested Farmar's claim to Dauphin, West Florida Lieutenant Governor Montfort Browne.