Indian War Service of the Douglass Family

Special thanks to Wm Lloyd Harris for sharing research and contributing portions of this post.

In 1862, Albert Benjamin Douglass appeared as one of the deserters from the Berrien Minute Men, 29th Georgia Infantry.   He actually had a quite colorful record of service, prompting reader Wm Lloyd Harris to write with additional details relating  “the rest of the story.”   Harris is a great great grandson of Albert B. Douglass.

Military service was something of a tradition in the Douglass family.  Albert’s father and four brothers served in the Indian Wars in Florida between 1836 and 1858.

American Soldier, 1839. Depicted in winter and summer garb.

American Soldier, 1839, with an Indian guide. Depicted in winter and summer garb. Print by H. Charles McBarron.

Albert Benjamin Douglass was born in 1833, probably in Hamilton County, FL. His father, Seaborn Douglass, was born in Montgomery County, GA about 1800 and came to  Hamilton County, FL in the late 1820s. Seaborn Douglass and his family appear in the 1830 census of  Hamilton County.  The Douglass place in Hamilton County, FL was apparently located about eight miles from the home of Captain Archibald McRae.

Douglass Family  in the Indian Wars

Albert Douglass’  four brothers, Allen D. Douglass, Burrell Douglass, William Douglass, and Robert Douglass, and his father, Seaborn Douglass,  all served in  the  Indian Wars 1835-1858.

In 1836, Seaborn Douglass and his son Allen Douglass mustered into Captain Peter W. Law’s Company of the 13th Regiment, First Brigade of the Florida Militia.  Captain Law was the proprietor and post master of Law’s Store in Hamilton County (exact location unknown).  Miltary records of  the 13th regiment note that Seaborn Douglass was on foot. The company was ordered into service on June 15, 1836 at Camp Collins, Middle Florida.  This was just one month before the Indian raid on William Parker’s place and the Battle of Brushy Creek in Lowndes County, just across the state line in Georgia.  The enlistment was for six months, ending October 15, 1836.

On January 27, 1837 Seaborn Douglass mustered in at Fort Reed for six months service in  Captain Francis J. Ross’ Company of the 1st Regiment, 2nd Brigade of Florida Mounted Militia (“Old Greys”).   The fort was situated near present day Speer Grove Park, Sanford, FL according to a “Fort Reid” historic marker placed at the site. The marker indicates Fort Reid was established in 1840, but Florida Militia service records indicate a Fort Reed existed as early as 1837.  There has been much debate over the name of Fort Reed, it being alternately known as Fort Read, and Fort Reid.

“The long-gone stockade dates to the days when the Army established Camp Monroe (later Fort Mellon) as the first of a string of forts that stretched to the gulf as part of the military’s effort to drive the Seminoles out of Florida and capture runaway slaves. Fort Reid was the nearest satellite stockade, just a few miles south. It was used as a commissary and soldiers camp along a portion of the mule team trail (Mellonville Avenue) that Gen. Zachary Taylor laid out to haul supplies to soldiers at Fort Maitland, Fort Gatlin (Orlando) and Fort Brook (Tampa).

Eight two-story frame homes were erected near Fort Reid. From a cupola at one of the larger homes, settlers sent signals to the fort if they saw Seminoles.

Whitner’s history of Mellonville, though, says the settlers sometimes considered the soldiers – many of them uncouth, rough militiamen – as much a menace as the Indians.

”The soldiers depredated the farms, turning their horses into the fields, killed cattle, exterminated poultry, robbed beehives, then overturned and destroyed them,” writes Whitner.

The soldiers also amused themselves by laying out race tracks west of Mellonville Avenue.”

On June 16, 1837, Seaborn Douglass and his son Allen D. Douglass, traveled the eight miles from their home to  the place of Captain Archibald McRae (or McRay) where they were mustered into “Captain A. McRae’s Mounted Company of the 2nd Regiment of East Florida Volunteers, 2nd Brigade Florida Militia commanded by Col. William J. Mills.  This unit entered into the service of the United States on the requisition of Major Thomas S. Jesup to serve for six months, unless sooner discharged.” The company was enrolled at Mineral Springs, FL and was reorganized July 20, 1837 into two companies, Seaborn and Allen Douglass  being placed into Captain George W. Smith’s Company.   Men of the Mounted Volunteers provided their own horses, and Seaborn’s mount was a Bay horse. Apparently, Seaborn’s horse died on December 13, days before the company mustered out at Fort Gilliland, FL.  On December 18, 1837, Major S. Churchhill inspected the company of East Florida Mounted Volunteers at Fort Gilliland, “who are hereby honorably discharged from the service of the United States.”

In 1838, Allen Douglass was mustered back into service in Captain G. W. Smith’s Company of the Battalion of Middle Florida Mounted Volunteers, Major John L.Taylor commanding, from March 22, 1838 to September 23, 1838.  The company was mustered in March 22, 1838 at Hamilton County, FL. Records note Allen Douglas was among those men absent at first muster and subsequent musters.

In 1839 the father, Seaborn Douglass, was mustered back into service in Captain Allen G. Johnson’s Company of Mounted Florida Volunteers Militia ordered into the service of the United States by General Zachary Taylor from September 6, 1839 to January 9, 1840.  A. G. Johnson’s company mustered in at Camp Bailey, Jefferson County, FL, and mustered out at the same location on January 6, 1840.

Burrell Douglass also served in this unit from September 6 until November 30, 1839, according to the sworn affadavits of Captain Allen G. Johnson; of Lieutenant Hansford R. Alford; and of Private James Lee.  Lt. Hansford R. Alford attested that Burrell Douglass rendered all service required, was well armed and mounted, and was discharged because there were more men in service than were authorized. Captain Johnson stated in 1846 that, contrary to his wishes,  Burrell Douglass was discharged.  Johnson reported that Douglass rendered good and efficient service and that he was discharged without pay.

In 1856, Allen D. Douglass and William Douglass went into  Captain William H. Kendrick’s Independent Company of Mounted Florida Volunteers Militia ordered into the service of the United States for a term of six months on December 6, 1856 at Fort Broome and marched 40 miles to station at Fort Brooke, FL. At enlistment, William’s horse was appraised at $150 with $5 worth of equipment; Allen’s horse was a $75 dollar animal with $20 tack.

In 1857, Robert Douglass served in Captain Lucius A. Hardee’s Company, 1st Regiment of Florida Mounted Volunteers. The company was organized at Jacksonville, East Florida, in July 1857 and marched from there to Ocala, FL, the place of General Rendezvous.

William Douglas mustered into Captain Edward T. Kendrick’s Company of Florida Mounted Volunteers at Fort Brooke, FL, February 16, 1858. William deserted April 25, 1858.

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By 1838, Seaborn Douglass had moved his family to Lowndes County, GA. County tax records show Seaborn Douglass was late to pay his poll tax that year, although no taxes were assessed for any land holdings or slaves in Lowndes County. Seaborn Douglass appeared in the 1840 Lowndes County census with his children;   no spouse is found in his household.

Children of Seaborn Douglass:

  1. unknown daughter (b. 1821)
  2. Allen Dickerson Douglass (1822 – 1919)
  3. Burrell Douglass (1825 – September 8, 1884)
  4. William Riley Douglass (1830 – ca. 1895)
  5. Robert Douglass (1833-1862)
  6. Albert Benjamin Douglass (1835 – )
  7. Rose or Rosean  Douglass (1839 – 1905),
  8. unknown daughter (b. 1840)

Seaborn Douglass is believed to have died about 1843 in Lowndes County, Georgia.

 

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Cassie Lee Hall ~ Woman of Faith

Cassie Lee, a daughter of James Lee and Levina Smith Lee, was born May 1857.  She appears in the Census of 1860 with her parents, living in Berrien County, GA where her father owned a farm near Empire Primitive Baptist Church. Her grandfather, John Levi Lee (1804-1884), owned the farm next door.

During the Civil War, Cassie’s father, James Lee, and her uncles, Jesse Lee and John Lee, all  enlisted for Confederate service.  The three brothers all served in Company  “E”, 54th Georgia Infantry Regiment.  James Lee served throughout the war until surrender,   was paroled at Thomasville, May 25, 1865, and returned to his Berrien County, GA farm.

About 1869, Cassie Lee joined the Primitive Baptist Church  to which she remained faithful all of her life.

In 1870,  13-year-old Cassie Lee was enumerated in her parents’  household in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Ray’s Mill district.  Her father continued to farm, and Cassie’s little brother, John H. Lee, assisted with farm labor.  Both Cassie and John H. attended school that year.

On Christmas Eve 1873,  at the age of 16 Cassie Lee married John Lewis Hall  in Berrien County, Ga. He was 15 years old,  a son of Edmund Patrick Hall and Rebecca  Hall. The newlyweds became parents some eight months after taking their vows, with the birth of their first son, Henry Hall,  in  August 1874. The couple had land given by the groom’s father, Edmond P. Hall.  John L. Hall received land in the 10th district lot 448, Lowndes County, Ga..  John worked as a farmer and a blacksmith.

That year, 1874, Cassie’s parents,  James and  Lavina Lee, relocated to the south and were among the first families to settle in Lake County, FL homesteading on what is now Monte Vista Road in Clermont, FL.

Over the next 15 years, the family of John and Cassie Hall continued to grow. In August, 1876 Cassie gave birth to a daughter, Vina Hall.  A son, Robert, was born in November 1880. In 1882, Cassie delivered another girl, Amanda. Two sons followed: Lawrence Cauley Hall on February 20, 1884 and Allen Hall in June 1885.

The following years must have been hard times for the Halls for on March 7, 1889 John L. Hall borrowed against the land he had received from his father in district 10 lot-448, taking out a mortgage on 40 acres with Strickland & Roberts. Still, John Hall’s family grew. In May 1890, Cassie gave birth to their third daughter, Molcie. The Halls also adopted a son, Pasco Olandro Hall, born June 30, 1890 in Rays Mill, Ga.

In the 1890’s, Cassie Hall’s name began appearing in the membership rolls of Old Union Baptist Church (Lanier County), although there is no record of her reception into that church.

On June 19, 1891 John L. Hall again borrowed from Strickland & Roberts against 200 acres he held in District 6 Lot 503.  At some point he also mortgaged 20 acres in District 10 lot 473.

Two daughters rounded out the family, Phoebia, born September 1895, and Georgia, born September 1896.

Children of John Lewis Hall and Cassie Lee

  1. Henry Hall born AUG 1874 in GA, Berrien Co.
  2. Vinie Ellen Hall born ABT 1876 in GA, Berrien County, married William Thomas Gaskins
  3. Robert Hall born NOV 1880 in GA, Berrien Co.
  4. Amanda H. Hall born MAY 1882 in GA, Berrien Co., near Ray City
  5. Lawrence Cauley Hall b: 20 FEB 1884 in GA, Berrien Co., Ray City
  6. Allen L. Hall born JUN 1885 in GA, Berrien Co., Ray City
  7. Molcie Hall born MAY 1890 in GA, Berrien Co., area
  8. Pasco Olandro Hall born 30 JUN 1893 in GA, Berrien Co., near Ray City
  9. Phoebe Hall born SEP 1892
  10. Georgia Hall born 16 SEP 1894 in GA, Berrien co

July 12, 1913  Cassie Hall was dismissed by letter from Old Union Primitive Baptist Church of Lanier County, Georgia. It is known that she  attended New Ramah Church at Ray City after that time.

After 45 years of marriage, Cassie’s husband John Lewis Hall died Aug 7 1918 at the age of 60 in Berrien County, GA.    The 1920 census shows Cassie Lee Hall a 69 year old widow living alone. She owned a home, mortgage free, on North Street in Ray City, Ga. While at her age and with her family all gone away Cassie Lee Hall had no occupation, the early 1920’s were a boom time in Ray City with plenty of employment provided by the Clements sawmill. Her next door neighbor, George B. Norton, was a planing mill superintendent, and most of her other neighbors on North Street were also employed by the sawmill in one capacity or another.

Cassie Lee Hall lived on to be 94 years of age, having lived all of her life in Berrien County.  She died in Ray City on Sunday December 10, 1944. Her obituary, published in the Nashville Herald read as follows:

1944 – GA, Berrien Co., Dec 14,

Mrs. Cassie Lee Hall Passes, At Ray City.

Mrs. Cassie Lee Hall, 94, died at the home of her daughter Mrs. B. R. Tomlinson of Ray City, on Sunday morning at 9: o’clock after three months illness due to old age. Mrs Hall was born and reared in this county having lived here all her life.

Sixty years ago she was married to John L. Hall who preceded her in death several years ago. For seventy five years she has been a faithful and devout member of the Primitive Baptist church. Through her long life she had endeared herself to many friends. A mixed choir sang “Old Rugged Cross,” Unclouded Day,” and other selections from the Primitive hymn book. Six grandsons served as pall-bearers. The Giddens Funeral Home of Nashville, had charge of arrangements.

Survivors include ten children, H. Hall of Valdosta, Mrs. W.D. Gaskins, Mrs. J.G. Gaskin, Mrs. B.R. Tomlinson, L.C. Hall of Ray City, Robert Hall of Perry FL. and Mrs D.M. Hutchinson of Tampa FL. 25 Gandchildren, 27 Great Grandchildren, and 1 GG Grandchild.

Cassie Lee Hall

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