INDIAN CHIEF OSCEOLA
During the 1830s Osceola led the Seminole people of Florida in a valiant attempt to resist U.S. Government efforts to relocate them to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. The Seminole Wars were the longest and costliest Indian wars fought by the United States military at a cost of $50,000,000 and over 2,000 soldiers died.
Osceola's death at Fort Moultrie in 1838 foreshadowed the outcome of their struggle.
The majority of the Seminole people were eventually forced from their traditional homeland.
The word Osceola is a corrupted English pronunciation of the Seminole name for Black Drink Singer. During purification rites, a Seminole warrior drinks a black liquid brewed from the leaves of holly bushes. The word "Assin-ye-o-la" is the long, drawn-out cry that accompanied the ceremonial drinking.
Jerry’s notes:--This story is documented from the web site on Osceola. I am bringing into the story those things that happened while he was in St. Augustine, Florida.
NOW THE STORY OF SEMINOLE CHIEF OSCEOLA
Much of what we know about Osceola remains a mystery, we have documentation that he was an extraordinary man of cunning and restless spirit. He stood out as a strident defender of his people, viewed by whites as the Seminole voice for resistance. During the Second Seminole War of 1835, Osceola gained fame as a fierce and cunning fighter.
I will start back with what little I know about Osceola's childhood. Documentation indicates that Osceola was born in Alabama in 1804 to a Creek Indian Mother. The Father Figure that Osceola knew was his stepfather, a Scotsman named Powell. Growing up as a child Osceola went by the name of Billy Powell. It is said that Osceola also had a sister but I cannot find proof to the statement.
Around the age of nine--Billy Powell took on more Indian traits and rebelled against the ways and laws of the white man. He and his mother were moved from Alabama after the Creek War of 1813-1814. He was nine when this happened and they were moved to Spanish-Held Florida--home of the Seminole Indians. The name Seminole comes from the mispronounced Spanish word "Cimmarones",--meaning--Wild. The name Osceola means " Black Drink Singer" in the Seminole language. The Seminole tribe included the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and runaway Black Slaves.
The Seminole Indian Tribe agreed to live along the area of the Okeechobee Lake in Central Florida. This occurred in 1823 but by the 1830's-- the white settlers wanted the U. S. Government to move the Seminole Indians out west. This is the time that Osceola came into fame as a fierce and cunning fighter and defender of his people. For several years he had raided and killed soldiers and civilians in the St. Augustine and out-lying areas. Osceola could not speak Spanish or English so he had a Black Interpreter as part of his tribe to translate for him.
In October of 1837, while negotiating under a white flag of truce, Osceola was taken prisoner. This occurred here in St. Augustine, St. Johns County and Osceola was imprisoned in Fort Marion which today is known as Castillo de San Marcos Fort. The tactics used in the capture were frowned upon by the soldiers and the civilians alike. This "so called" capture occurred at Fort Payton which is about five miles south of St. Augustine and a few feet south of Wildwood Dr. There is a residential subdivision there that is called Fort Payton and one of the residents has the remains of the historical marker in their yard.
END OF PART ONE
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