Florida and the Civil War (September 1862)

Saint Mary

The slaughter in Virginia during the summer of 1862 overwhelmed the South’s meager medical resources. Although Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia seemed invincible as it marched into Maryland in September 1862, a ferocious battle at Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17 led to the bloodiest day’s fighting of the entire war. The opposing armies had combined losses (killed, wounded and missing) of 23,000 men. Over 10,000 of these unfortunates were Confederates.

While wounds, disease and sickness, not to mention the terrible toll of battle deaths, haunted both sides, the much smaller population of the South made it more difficult for the Confederacy to recover from the enormous battlefield bloodlettings. It was only the willingness of Southern civilians to work and sacrifice for the Confederate cause that allowed the Rebel armies to remain in the field for over four years of war. One of the most prominent of these citizens was Mary Martha Reid of Florida, whose work caring for Confederate wounded in Richmond, Virginia, made her one of the most famous Confederate heroines of the war.

Usually known as “Martha Reid,” Mary was born Mary Martha Smith at St. Mary’s, Georgia, on September 12, 1812. In 1836, she married Robert Raymond Reid in St. Augustine, Florida. President Martin Van Buren appointed her husband, who was serving as a federal judge in Florida, territorial governor in 1839. Governor Reid presided over the convention that forged Florida’s first constitution. He died in 1841 during a yellow fever epidemic in Tallahassee. The Reids’s only surviving child, Raymond Jenks Reid, lived to serve as a lieutenant in the Second Florida Infantry, part of the Florida Brigade in Lee’s army, during the war. In fact, it was Mary’s wish to be near her son that led her to Richmond, where she became involved in the establishment and administration of the Florida Hospital.

As the casualties poured into Richmond during 1861-1862, the municipal government, private entities, and eventually the Confederate government organized hospitals in the city. Individual states also stepped in to provide hospitals for their own wounded soldiers. A result of state pride and medical concern—it was believed hospitalized men would be more comfortable surrounded by comrades from their own units—the state hospitals were popular with the troops. Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Florida were among the states that created hospitals in Richmond.

The Florida Hospital officially opened on September 26, 1862. It was located in the building of the former Globe Hospital on 19th Street in Richmond. Governor John Milton supervised the financing of the hospital from Tallahassee. He appointed Dr. Thomas M. Palmer, former surgeon of the Second Florida Infantry and doctor from Jefferson County, superintendent and recognized Mary Martha Reid as the hospital matron. However, due to the ever-increasing casualties and sickness among the troops, the Confederate government decided to consolidate the number of hospitals in Richmond and focus on larger institutions. The government ended the use of state hospitals in late 1863; however, a small Florida ward continued to exist in the large Howard’s Grove hospital into 1865.

Mrs. Reid continued her work for Florida’s sick and wounded until the Confederate government fled Richmond on April 2, 1865. During her time in the city, she acquired a reputation as a tireless advocate for Florida’s soldiers and devoted herself to their care and the administration of the Florida Hospital. She remained in Richmond despite the fact that her original reason for moving to the Confederate capital, concern for her son, ended in tragedy on May 6, 1864, when Raymond Jenks was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness.

Headstone for Raymond J. Reid: Richmond, Virginia (March 2008)

Headstone for Raymond J. Reid: Richmond, Virginia (March 2008)

Mary Martha Reid died in Fernandina, Florida, on June 24, 1894. In 1866, only a year after the war’s end, the Florida legislature recognized her sacrifices by providing her with an annual pension of six hundred dollars for life. She also became one of the most prominent female symbols of the “Lost Cause.” Florida’s first chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy took Mary’s name as their own in 1897, becoming the “Martha Reid Chapter” that year.

For further reading on the Florida Hospital and the role of Florida women in the Civil War see David Coles, “Richmond, the Confederate Hospital City,” in Virginia at War 1862, William C. Davis and James I Robertson Jr. editors (University Press of Kentucky, 2007) and Tracy J. Revels, Grander in Her Daughters: Florida’s Women During the Civil War (University of South Carolina Press, 2004).

José Palmi and Jesús Rodríguez – Masters of Venezuelan Harp

[audio:http://floridamemory.com/fpc/memory/collections/folklife/mp3/podcasts/venezuelan_harp.mp3|titles=José Palmi and Jesús Rodríguez – Masters of Venezuelan Harp|artists=State Archives of Florida]
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To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is September 15 through October 15, this month’s podcast spotlights two talented Venezuelan harp players: José Palmi and Jesús Rodríguez. Both musicians immigrated to Florida and have enriched American culture by sharing their unique tradition through performances and apprenticeships.

José Palmi playing harp

José Palmi playing harp

The harp was introduced to Latin America by Spanish missionaries primarily during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was adopted into the indigenous music of the continent as both a solo instrument and accompaniment for vocalists and instrumental ensembles. Many varieties of harp thrive throughout Venezuela, Paraguay, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Mexico.

In Venezuela, the celebratory joropo, with its regional variations, is perhaps the most prominent type of traditional music from los llanos, or plains. Its rhythm is in triple meter like a waltz, but driven by syncopation and a fast-paced tempo—well suited for quick-footed couple dancing. The type of harp corresponding to this region is known as arpa llanera, on which Palmi and Rodríguez play many examples of Venezuela’s música llanera, or music of the plains.

Jesus Rodriguez playing the Venezuelan harp- Naples, Florida

Jesús Rodríguez playing the Venezuelan harp- Naples, Florida

The performances featured in this podcast were recorded on two separate occasions. José Palmi was recorded to digital audio tape at his home in Miami on June 27, 1993. Jesús Rodríguez, accompanied by his seven year-old-son Henry on maracas, was recorded to open reel tape at the 1986 Florida Folk Festival.

The Koreshan Unity Collection: An Inside Look into Processing a Large Archival Collection (Part Six)

Preliminary inventory: Check.

Transfer to State Archives: Check.

Initial sort of boxes: Check.

Now it’s time to begin detailed processing; but where to start? Something especially intriguing, such as members’ personal correspondence? Something likely to be very heavily used and with great exhibit potential, such as photographs? Something fun, such as the Koreshans’ sheet music collection?

Fox Trot for Orchestra

Fox Trot for Orchestra

Lunar Festival Overture

Lunar Festival Overture

We decided upon a two-pronged approach, addressing both the photographs and the administrative and operational records of the organization first. Not only will the photographs be heavily used, but about 1,000 of the images will receive item-level cataloging and be made available on the Florida Memory website with the assistance of a federal grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Most of the photographs were grouped together in plastic cases or scrapbooks. Most were fairly well identified, and those that were not were usually easy to identify based on their context among better-identified photos. The photos included a small number of glass plate negatives, primarily portraits of Cyrus Teed that also exist as prints, but also images of Teed’s body after his death that apparently are the only such images in existence (see Part Three of this series). The glass plate portrait below did not survive the trip from Estero to Tallahassee; fortunately, the rest of them did, and they are being placed in custom enclosures to prevent any future damage.

Broken Glass Plate Portrait

The administrative records were also a logical choice to address early in the project, since they document in detail the operations of the organization from its beginnings, and provide a foundation for understanding the organization and the rest of the collection. Original constitutions, minutes of meetings, bylaws, organizational correspondence, legal and financial records, property records, and more have been identified and organized, moving from inaccessible piles of envelopes in boxes such as this:

Unorganized Administrative Records

to well-organized, clearly-identified archival folders and boxes such as these.

Organized Administrative Files

Along the way, we’ve discovered a number of unexpected items in the collection. More on that next time!

WPA Church Records Collection

Florida Memory is now the digital home of the WPA Church Records Collection. The collection consists of approximately 20,000 individual pages from 5,500 church and synagogue surveys conducted by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

St. Augustine Cathedral, home to the oldest church parish in the United States (established ca. 1565)

St. Augustine Cathedral, home to the oldest church parish in the United States (established ca. 1565)

Page one of the St. Augustine Cathedral survey

Page one of the St. Augustine Cathedral survey

The records contain a wealth of information about congregations, clergy members, church buildings, property and archival record holdings. Created in an age when religious institutions often held the only documentation of major life events—such as birth, marriage and death—the WPA church records offer tremendous potential to genealogists and anyone interested in Florida history. In a broader sense, these records illustrate how central organized religion was to community life in America’s history.

Plymouth Congregational Church: Coconut Grove (December 10, 1936)

Plymouth Congregational Church: Coconut Grove (December 10, 1936)

Page one of the survey for Plymouth Congregational Church in Coconut Grove

Page one of the survey for Plymouth Congregational Church in Coconut Grove

All documents contained in the WPA church records database are accessible on the Florida Memory website. Users can search the records by pastor’s name, church/synagogue name or denomination, and also sort the records by county, year of church incorporation and ethnicity. Accompanying the church records are digitized copies of the original forms used by survey workers, the field manual issued by the WPA and a historical essay on the scope and significance of the collection.

Rosie the Riveting

Elephants have long been used as props in promotional advertisements. One such campaign involved an Asian Elephant named Rosie and the 1920s Florida Land Boom.

Carl Fisher, developer of Miami Beach, bought Rosie when she was a baby. Fisher said he would get a million dollars’ worth of advertising out of Rosie the elephant, and many believe he did.

Rosie being used as a golf tee: Miami Beach (1927)

Rosie being used as a golf tee: Miami Beach (1927)

Rosie became the mascot for Miami Beach. She appeared in a variety of publicity photos that promoted the region as a luxury vacation destination. She was shown dancing in front of the Boulevard Hotel, impersonating a dive platform and entertaining children. Rosie even served as a golf caddy for vacationing President Warren G. Harding.

Rosie and friend dancing in front of the Boulevard Hotel: Miami Beach, Florida (1920s)

Rosie and friend dancing in front of the Boulevard Hotel: Miami Beach, Florida (1920s)

Fortunately, there is good visual documentation of Rosie in the Florida Photographic Collection – ensuring that the charismatic elephant will be remembered as Miami Beach’s most charming champion.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Florida State Representative Mario Diaz-Balart wearing his "Kiss Me, I'm Cuban" button: Tallahassee, Florida (1990)

Florida State Representative Mario Diaz-Balart wearing his “Kiss Me, I’m Cuban” button: Tallahassee, Florida (1990)

September 15 marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which celebrates the history, culture and contributions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking countries of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.   

Cruz Josefina Gomez showing woven fabric: Miami, Florida (September 1985)

Cruz Josefina Gomez showing woven fabric: Miami, Florida (September 1985)

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson began Hispanic Heritage week; President Reagan expanded the observation to a month in 1988l; it was enacted into law August 17 of that year.

Jesus Rodriguez playing the Venezuelan harp: Naples, Florida (1988)

Jesus Rodriguez playing the Venezuelan harp: Naples, Florida (1988)

The date on which National Hispanic Heritage Month begins is significant as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua all celebrate the anniversary of their independence on September 15. Mexican Independence Day closely follows on September 16, and Chile’s falls on the 18. Also included in this month-long observation is Columbus Day on October 12.

Governor Bob Martinez signing a bill: Tallahassee, Florida (July 1, 1987)

Governor Bob Martinez signing a bill: Tallahassee, Florida (July 1, 1987)

The following resources relevant to National Hispanic Heritage Month are available on Florida Memory.

Learning Units

Video

Audio

More information on Hispanic Heritage Month is available from the Library of Congress.

Key West Junkanoos

Florida’s close proximity to the Caribbean islands has introduced a variety of rich cultural celebrations to the state. In this podcast we explore some of the music that grew out of the Bahamian Junkanoo parades as we listen to the Key West Junkanoos.
[audio:http://fpc.dos.state.fl.us/memory/collections/folklife/mp3/podcasts/junkanoos.mp3|titles=Key West Junkanoos|artists=State Archives of Florida]
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Employed by the City of Key West, the Junkanoos were led by bassist Bill Butler, pianist Lofton “Coffee” Butler, and featured percussionists Charles Allen, Kenny Rahming, Joe Whyms and Alvin Scott. They appeared often at the Florida Folk Festival from 1977-1991.

Key West Island Junkanoos peforming at the Florida Folk Festival: White Springs, 1983

Key West Island Junkanoos peforming at the Florida Folk Festival: White Springs, 1983

The origin of the name Junkanoo is a matter of debate. Some say it is derived from the name of 18th century African Gold Coast leader John Connu. Others have looked to similar sounding phrases such as the French for “masked people,” gens inconnu. Bahamian Junkanoo parades can be traced back to the 1800s when African slaves would gather, don masks, and celebrate with music and dance on Christmas Day. The parades have evolved to become huge tourist attractions and occur in two stages or rushes: the first on Boxing Day (December 26) and the second on New Year’s Day. This tradition was carried to Key West and Miami by Bahamian immigrants of African descent.

The Key West Junkanoos have distilled the sounds of the parades’ marching bands into their own repertoire of original material, as well as performing classic Calypso tunes such as “The John B. Sails,” “Island in the Sun” and “Yellow Bird.” The recordings in this podcast are from the Junkanoos’ performance at the 1983 Florida Folk Festival’s Main Stage.

 

Okeechobee Hurricane (September 16, 1928)

In September 1928, a deadly hurricane swept through the northern Caribbean and across the Florida peninsula. In Florida, the storm became known as the Lake Okeechobee Hurricane, and claimed the lives of more than 2,500 people.

Memorial for the victims of the 1928 hurricane: Belle Glade

Memorial for the victims of the 1928 hurricane: Belle Glade

Today we remember those who lost their lives during the Lake Okeechobee hurricane of 1928.

Happy Birthday Cannonball Adderley (September 15, 1928)

Julian Edwin "Cannonball" Adderley playing the saxophone: Tampa, Florida

Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderley playing the saxophone: Tampa, Florida

Saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley was born September 15, 1928, in Tampa, Florida. He attended college at Florida A&M University, and taught music at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale.

In 1955, Adderley moved to New York, and began a successful career as a performer. He led groups that included his brother, cornetist Nat Adderley, as well as many other notable musicians such as Bill Evans, Milt Jackson, Art Blakey and Philly Joe Jones. As a sideman, he appeared on classic recordings such as Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.

Cannonball Adderley died from a stroke in 1975, and was buried at the Southside Cemetery in Tallahassee, Florida.