The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952 Page: 359
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
The Seminole-Negro Scouts, 187o-1881 359
ing was subordinate to stock raising and farming and who usually
took the warpath only in self-defense.
How the Seminole Negroes came to be available for service
as United States scouts is a long story. Their ancestors were for
the most part runaway slaves who had taken refuge among the
Florida Seminole. Though referred to by some white observers
as slaves to the Indians, General Edmund P. Gaines described
them more accurately as "vassals and allies." They lived in sep-
arate villages; had their own fields, flocks, and herds; habitually
carried arms; went into battle under their own captains; and,
except for an annual tribute in corn to the chiefs who were their
protectors, were as free as the Indians themselves. In fact, their
knowledge of the English language and of the white man's ways
and their superior industry and prosperity gave them such influ-
ence that some observers styled them the real rulers of the Sem-
inole nation.3 They took a leading part in the resistance to the
annexation of Florida and to the Seminole removal' but were
finally transported, along with the Indians, to the Indian Terri-
tory,5 where they were exposed to the danger of kidnapping by
whites and Creeks.6
SFor discussions of relations between Seminole Indians and Negroes in Florida,
see [William Hayne Simmons], Notices of East Florida (Charleston, 1822), 44-45,
50, 76; George A. McCall, Letters from the Frontiers (Philadelphia, 1868), 16o;
Jedidiah Morse, A Report to the Secretary of War on Indian Affairs (New Haven,
1822), 149-150, 309-311; John Lee Williams, The Territory of Florida (New York,
1837), 214; William Kennedy, Texas, Its Rise, Progress and Prospects (2 vols.;
London, 1841), I, 350; American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Execu-
tive, of the Congress of the United States, from the First Session of the Fourteenth
to the Second Session of the Nineteenth Congress, Inclusive, Commencing Decem-
ber 4, 1815, and Ending March 3, x827; Class II, Indian Affairs, Volume II
(Washington, 1834), 412; American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Ex-
ecutive, of the Congress of the United States, from the First and Second Sessions
of the Twenty-fourth Congress, Commencing January 12, x836, and Ending Febru-
ary 25, 1837; Military Affairs, Volume VI (Washington, 1861), 465, 533-534.
4John T. Sprague, The Origin, Progress, and Conclusion of the Florida War
(New York, 1848), 81, loo, 166, 309; Army and Navy Chronicle, IV, 12, 8o, quoting
from New Orleans Bulletin, January 7, 1837; Lieutenant Colonel W. S. Harney,
Fort Mellon, East Florida, to Major General T. S. Jessup, dated May 4, 1837
(photostat in possession of Florida Historical Society, St. Augustine); journal of
Captain J. Rhett Motte (MS. in possession of Florida Historical Society), 255.
5See appropriate sections in Grant Foreman, Indian Removal (Norman, 1932)
and The Five Civilized Tribes (Norman, 1934).
6Documentary material on the kidnapping of Seminole Negroes is to be found
in the Seminole Files, Indian Office, Department of the Interior, National Archives,
Washington, D. C., and in the Quartermaster General's Office, War Department
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952, periodical, 1952; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101139/m1/433/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.