Don’t Tread on Me

Gadsden FlagThis flag has been getting a lot of attention lately as a symbol of today’s Tea Party movement. It’s history goes back to the American Revolution where, among other things, it was the first flag ever carried into battle by the United States Marine Corps.

It also has a connection to St. Augustine.

The flag is known today as the Gadsden Flag because it was designed by Christopher Gadsden, a Patriot from South Carolina. Gadsden served in the First and Second Continental Congress, leaving in 1776 to take command of the 1st South Carolina Regiment. His military service lasted until 1778 when he was named Lieutenant Governor of the South Carolina colony.

When Charleston fell to the British in May of 1780, Gadsden represented the civil government in the surrender. He and others arrested by the British were given parole and allowed to return to their homes. But in August he was arrested again, along with about twenty others, and marched to a ship which brought them here to St. Augustine.

Christopher Gadsden

Christopher Gadsden

When they arrived, Governor Tonyn offered them freedom of the town if they would give their parole. Most of the others accepted this offer, but not Christopher Gadsden. He stated that the British had violated their parole in Charleston so he could not give his word to a false system. As a result, he spent the next 42 weeks in solitary confinement here at the Castillo de San Marcos.

In 1781, he and the other South Carolina Patriots were put on a ship to Philadelphia. It was there they learned of Cornwallis’ defeat at Yorktown. Gadsden returned to Charleston to help restore the city’s civil government. His health was impaired by his stay at the Castillo, but he was still able to serve in the state convention of 1788 and voted for ratification of the U.S. Constitution. He died in 1805.

Images courtesy of Wikipedia.

Tolomato Cemetery

Tolomato Cemetery sketch

Tolomato Cemetery sketch

Located on the site of an early Franciscan mission for local Indians, Tolomato Cemetery is one of St. Augustine’s historic cemeteries with graves dating back to the 18th century. During the British period a number of refugees from a failed settlement near New Smyrna arrived in St. Augustine. Being mostly Catholic, they needed a proper place to bury their dead. Father Pedro Camps, their priest, requested and was granted use of the old mission as a cemetery. It would remain a cemetery until 1884 when all cemeteries within the city limits were closed.

Florida East Coast Hotels 1901

A promotional guide from the Florida East Coast Hotel Company spotlighting their hotels in Florida, Havana and Nassau. Courtesy of the State Library and Archives of Florida via the Internet Archive.

Fish Camp at De Leon Springs

What's left of an old Florida fish camp - located on the spring run just outside de Leon Springs State Park.

What’s left of an old Florida fish camp – located on the spring run just outside De Leon Springs State Park.

De Leon Springs State Park is located just off U.S. 17 near Deland. At one time it was a very popular resort, but now it’s cool, clear waters are a delightful refuge from Florida’s summer heat. In cooler weather, paddling the spring run – which leaves the park and travels 7 miles through Florida wilderness to the St. Johns River – can be a very enjoyable day trip.