Saturday, May 24, 2003
At the urging of his patrons and friends George Galphin and his neighbor Lachlan McGillivray,48 James Adair set about upon a work examining the life and customs of the indigenous people of the American southeast. In fact, Adair's History of the American Indians was dedicated to these men and their effort to counter "fictitious and fabulous, or very superficial and conjectural accounts of the Indian natives."49 However, Adair, like many of his counterparts, had his own fictitious and fabulous beliefs about American Indians. He attempted to prove in his work of the "American Indians being descended from the Jews."50 He described their "state houses and temples" as "following the Jerusalem copy in a suprizing manner" and having a "strong imitation of Solomon's temple."51

The mention of King Solomon's temple and the curious turn of the phrase in reference to the "the widow" and "the fatherless" in his dedication to McGillivray and Galphin poses an interesting question. These are both images from the language of Freemasons. Perhaps ironic, perhaps not, is the fact the Lachlan McGillivray's son had his own ties to Freemasonry. Mixed blood leader of the Creek Nation, General Alexander McGillivray, was born in 1740 just down the river from Silver Bluff; he was educated in Charlotte and Charleston and became a plantation owner.52 He was also a Freemason educated in the rituals and obligations of King Solomon's lodge; Freemasons George Washington and Henry Knox negotiated the Treaty of New York with McGillivray in 1790.53 When he died in 1793, he was buried with Masonic honors in Panton's Garden in Pensacola, Florida.54

Interestingly enough, McGillivray's adversary in the Creek Nation was another acquaintance of George Galphin, the enigmatic tory William Augustus Bowles. 55 Bowles was also a Freemason. He was made a mason in the Bahamas, was the duly accredited provincial "Grandmaster of the Four Civilized Tribes" as appointed by the Grand Lodge of England.56 As such, Bowles attempted to consolidate African and Indian forces in the Southeastern United States and create an independent confederation called "The State of Muskogee." Living among the maroons at Miccosukee, he soon became the Director General of the Creek Nation soliciting aid for loyalists among blacks and indians in Florida.57

In 1790, while touring the Masonic lodges of England with a group of headmen from the Creek and Cherokee Nation, Bowles engaged in a different kind of activity. He sought assistance for a fledgling slave revolt in the French colony of Santo Domingo led by fellow Freemasons Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Toussaint L'Ouverture.58 Little is known of whether his mission was a success. Little is also known about the role of Freemasonry in Native American; but the roll of famous Freemasons within Native American society reads like a who's who of indigenous political leadership.59 Among these are Joseph Brant, George Copway, Vine Deloria, Carlos Montezuma, Arthur C. Parker, Ely S. Parker, Peter Pitchlyn, Opothle Yahola, Pushmataha, Red Jacket , John Ridge, John Ross, Tecumseh, and Stand Watie.

Just across the river from Galphin's trading post on the Savannah River lies one of the oldest Freemasonic lodges in the country. In 1734, Governor James Oglethorpe was made the first master of Savannah's Solomon Lodge #1.60 In his second tour of the colonies in 1739, evangelist George Whitefield, who helped inspire the Great Awakenings,61 spoke before the assembled brotherhood of Solomon Lodge #1. He described the event in his Journals, "Friday June 23, 1738 - [I} read prayers and preach [ed] with power before the Freemasons, with whom I afterward dined, and was used with the utmost civility." 62 Whitefield and the brothers from the lodge then funded and founded the Bethesda Orphanage, the oldest continually running social service institution in the United States, just across the river from Savannah. 63


Tuesday 24

The Plot Thickens: Bowles & his party are within a few miles of us, two runners came in and required that a residence should be pointed for the Semanolies & Bowles. The Singer despatched them for answer, an order to come in a body and their residence should be given them. 2-o'clock P.M. Col Hawkins called me in and put the following papers into my hand which he permitted me to copy--
( I am going to omit all of this important information cause I've been cutting grass all day and only two people have emailed me to thank me for going to the trouble of doing this so the hell with it.)


Tuesday, 24th.
The plot thickens. Bowles and his party are within a few miles of us. Two runners came in and required that a residence should be pointed out for the Seminolies and Bowles. The Singer dispatch'd for answer an order to come in a body and their residence should be given them [at]/ 2 o'clock P.M. Colo. Hawkins called Mr. Forbes in to put the following paper into his hand and told me I might copy it.
(Sounds like Esteban was copying Forbes Journal word for word.)

Harvard is an important part of the Garden’s history, and the Garden forms part of Harvard’s history. Harvard’s name is still visibly carved into a palm tree at the entrance of what used to be called Harvard House, where the Nov. 12-13 meetings took place.

In a surprise finale to the conference, the Cuban delegation planted two new palm trees in honor of Richard Howard, director of the Arnold Arboretum and professor of dendrology, emeritus. The two new palm trees, Washingtonia filifera, native to the United States, are now flanked by older royal palms – a fitting tribute to Howard, who first came to the Cienfuegos Botanical Garden as a student in 1940.

At that time, the Garden was a department of the Arnold Arboretum with its own staff and budget. The land on which the Garden grounds are located had been donated to the University by Edwin F. Atkins, owner of the nearby Soledad Sugar Mill, in 1919. Atkins had originally approached Harvard in 1899 to start a program of sugar cane research. Harvard operated the Garden until after the U.S. embargo was imposed in 1961, two years after the Cuban Revolution.

Fourteen members of the Atkins family, including former Congressman Chester Atkins, accompanied the academics on the trip to Cienfuegos.

"It was really moving to be here and to see the way in which the Cubans have tended to this garden," said Chester Atkins between a conference session and a short visit to the former sugar mill property.

Sessions were split between history and botany, with themes ranging from orchids to palms, from Cuban dietary patterns to the Spanish-American War, and from the history of the Garden to reflections on tropical ecology.

In a session that received a standing ovation from both Cubans and North Americans, Richard Howard described how he first arrived in Cuba as a graduate student by taking a bus from Boston to Key West, then a ferry from Key West to Havana and then a night train, "because it was cheaper," from Havana to Cienfuegos, some 150 miles east of Havana.

Harvard delegates included John H. Coatsworth, Monroe Gutman Professor of History; Otto Solbrig, Bussey Professor of Biology; Richard Howard; Gustavo Romero, keeper of the Orchid Herbarium; Noel Holbrook, Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology; and Timothy Stumph, the Center’s Cuba Program coordinator

Friday, May 23, 2003


Monday, 23d. In consequence of finding so inconvenient to be going and returning to the Hickory Ground, we resolved to carry our luggage over to the town and take up our lodging with Colo. Hawkins, who had given us an invitation to that purpose. We rode up the river, leaving Millar to bring up the luggage with Negroe Pompey. An Indian had come with us to take our horses back. Towards evening Alick Cornell arrived and brought news of the lower towns' chiefs being upon the path and with them BOWLES, that they would certainly arrive next day. Kinagee , it seems, and Methlogee and all the Micasouky guang accompany him. The Indians have not yet proceeded to any public business. Eight more Cherokees are arrived & they & the Creeks as well as the Choctaws have been in secret council all night.


Towards evening Aleck Cornel arrived & brought news of the lower towns chiefs being upon the path and with them Bowles: that they would certainly arrive next day Kenages it seems & Mithlogie and all the Mickasooky gang now for

Thursday, May 22, 2003

State of Muskogee
Maryland adventurer William Augustus Bowles designed this flag after a congress of Creeks and Seminoles elected him director general of the State of Muskogee in 1799. The capital of this state was the Indian village of Mikasuke (near present day Tallahassee). Bowles was captured, turned over to Spanish authorities in 1803, and later died in a Havana prison. The State of Muskogee came to an end.

On Saturday, May 28, 1803,near present-day Wetumpka, Alabama, the Indians turned Bowles over to the Spanish and Hawkins' blacksmith put him in handcuffs. Bowles was seized, placed in a canoe and began his sad journey to Morro Castle in the harbor of Havana.
Today I will take the journals of Stephen Folch and John Forbes and begin to describe the events which transpired 200 years ago today.

(from The Journal of Estevan Folch, May-June, 1803), Archivo General De Las Indias, Papeles de Cuba, Sevilla: Legajo 2372-

Sunday, May 22. Mr. Durouzeaux and Tom Car came over with a message from the Singer that he was so busy with the newcomers that he could not come and see us. Peryman again brought forward the Okalagany grant. He was told by Mr. Forbes that the sum they asked for the lands was to much, that the land would be of no use to him and might become of value to the Nation at some future day, and therefor he advised them, as friend to the Nation, that they adopt the measure of selling the lands to the Okmulgee and keep the Okalagany from some future necessity when it became valuable, but that they might see he did not undervalue their land, he would allow them 30, 000 dollars for the grant, provided they would extend the line from Okalagany to the big pond on the east branch of Appalachy, which would include all the Yamacee Old Fields, and upon the other province that Bowles should be made away with and the consent of the Mickasoocky Indians obtained.


Sunday May 22
Perryman again brought forward the Okalagany grant I told him that the sum asked for the land was too much that the land would be of no use to me & might become of value to the Nation at some future day, and therefore I would advise as a friend to the Nation that they adopt the measure of selling the Lands to the Okmulgie, & keep the Okalagany for some future necessity, when it becomes valuable: but that they might see I did not under value their land, I would allow them 30,000 Dollars for the grant, provided they would extend the line from Okalagany to the Big pond on the East Branch of Appalachy, which would include all the Yaunaica old fields and upon the other proviso that Bowles should be made away with and the consent of the Mickasuky indians obtained-

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Dr. William S. Coker, 78, passed away on December 13, 2002 at his home.
Dr. Coker served a distinguished military career with the United States Air
Force. He retired a Senior Master Sergeant in September 1962. He was a
veteran of World War II and the Korean Conflict.
Dr. Coker graduated from Lockhart High School, Lockhart, Texas. He received
a BA with distinction and a Masters degree from the University of Southern
Mississippi, Hattiesburg and his PhD from the University of Oklahoma in
Norman. Dr. Coker retired from the University of West Florida History
department in 1992. He served as University Marshall 1978-1980, and was
Professor Emeritus until his death. Bill was very proud of his many years
of involvement with the Masonic Lodge and Hadji Shrine Temple. Dr. Coker
was active for many years in the Florida Historical Society, holding
several positions, including president. In May 2002, he was honored with
the Dorothy Dodd Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Coker has written over 70
introductions, articles and book reviews and published 17 books.
Hazel P. Coker, his wife of 45 years and the mother of his daughters, and
Frances Camferdam Coker precede Dr. Coker in death. Survivors include his
four daughters: Judith Blaa of Holt; Nancy Walther, Port St. Lucie;
Elizabeth King and Terri Cohan, both of Pensacola.

Monday, May 19, 2003


Victor Manuel was the first one; with him started our golden age.

Manuel Garcia Valdes was born in Havana in 1897 and died in 1969. Started to study painting at the age of 12 although was already painting since he was 6 or 7 years old. Studied in the San Alejandro School of Arts and at fourteen is named unofficially as a professor of elemental drawings. Studied with Romañac and was not until he was 19, that his own talent was revealed, as himself confessed.

Opened his first exposition in Havana, at "Las Galleries", in 1924. Traveled to France in 1925 and toured the country for two years, where a group of artist in Montparnase named him "Victor Manuel."

Opens new exhibitions in 1927 at the salons of the Sculpture and Painters Associations. This is one of the first steps for the "modern Cuban painting" era. For a year or two teaches free of charge to other painters along the island. After another trip to Europe which included Spain and Belgium, comes back to Havana in 1929.

Obtains the first prize at an exhibition in the Lyceum in 1935. Open his own exhibitions at the University of Havana, 1945; the Reporters' Association, 1951; Galeria Lex, 1956; Venice, Italy, and national galleries in 1959.

He always thought that artists should first posses expressive simplicity. He would not conceive art that was not human, as he said: "...for me art is not a refuge, but an expression."

The themes of Victor Manuel are out of time, more or less the same in all of his work, the faces of women, landscapes, parks, countrysides. "I am like any Cuban of my era, that not having that much to do, they would make love... ...I once saw a Picasso: a profile of a woman made on fabric that I thought it was wonderful; almost faint at its sight." The classics were his passion, Clouet, Signorelli, Fouquet, Van Dyck, Divino Morales, Leonardo and Giorgione. Of Brueghel he said: "That is what I want for me." Among his work: 'Gitana Tropical',1924; 'Novios',1940; 'Acuarela',1940.

collection. The jewel of Cuban art is 20th century painter Victor Manuel's ``Tropical Gipsy'', according to museum director Moraima Clavijo. ``It is the symbol of the Cuban vanguard,'' she said in an interview with Reuters. As for the foreign collection, she chose as the most remarkable item an ancient Greek amphora from the 5th century B.C. ``It is completely unharmed'', she said. The museum first opened in 1913 then closed in 1996 because of its deplorable condition. Restoration work started in 1999 at a total cost of $14.5 million. Expectation ahead of the reopening rose with rumors, mostly from Cuban exiles in Miami, that President Fidel Castro's government had sold some works during the economic crisis suffered by the island after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. ``In Miami, people were wondering what we were going to exhibit at the museum, if everything had been sold,'' Castro said at the official inauguration of the museum in July. ``Maybe I'll send them some videos so they can appreciate everything, because those who have sold their homeland think we can sell the cultural soul of our country,'' he added. An important part of the heritage is formed by the private collections left behind by rich families who, soon after the 1959 revolution, fled the Caribbean island, leaving everything behind, but hoping to return soon. Among the collections are those of the Lobo, Gomez Mena, Falla and Bacardi families, who had, among other treasures, paintings by Spanish artists Sorolla, Murillo and Zurbaran. Clavijo said the museum had maintained cordial contact with some of the descendants of those families. ``We are in touch with some of them and the origin of the works is mentioned in the catalogs,'' she said, adding that some had traveled to Cuba to see their family's former possessions.

Leopoldo Romañac. Was born in 1862, he painted almost to his very last days of his life. Studied in San Alejandro, under the guidance of Melero and later decided to continue his education in Italy. His very own style has been mistaken by impressionism, although it was not. Even though he was an excellent painter and most of his work are considered "classics", he suffered from a very bad taste, especially doing portraits.

His influence was enormous. He was responsible that many of San Alejandro's students had taken the route to Italy instead of France. Prints of his extraordinary influence and talent are painters like Victor Manuel, Fidelio Ponce, etc. His legacy can be found at many private collections all over the world, as a rare mastery example of the Cuban painters.!menu.html

Robert Register
with his buddy,
Mr. Hugh Taylor.

photo by Michael Palmer



Sunday, May 18, 2003


By CNN's Gary Strieker

HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuba has decided not to seek the right to export
the shell of an endangered sea turtle.

The hawksbill turtle is protected by the international treaty, the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species, but Cuba had been considering seeking
an exemption.

Its decision to shelve plans to export 8 tons of turtle shell has been welcomed by

"We're obviously extremely pleased that Cuba has withdrawn this proposal because
this eliminates the threat that a legalised international trade would pose to this species,"
International Fund for Animal Welfare spokesperson Sarah Tyack said.

Wildlife scientists say many hawksbill turtle populations were seriously depleted
before the treaty was implemented to protect them.

Fishermen hunted the turtles for their shells, long used by craftsmen to make
jewelry, combs, spectacle frames, and art.

In Japan, where the government backed Cuba's move for exemption, the
centuries-old shell industry is dying out.

Without any imports for more than 10 years, their stocks are almost depleted. Cuba
wanted to sell its stockpile of shells to eager Japanese buyers, thereby keeping the
ancient craft alive and the craftsmen employed, for a few more years.

Craftsmen argue some hawksbill populations are not endangered and that
sustainable harvesting of turtles in selected areas will actually encourage people to
protect them.

But Cuba has backed off under growing pressure from conservationists, who say
only a complete moratorium on turtle shell trade will allow hawksbills to recover
worldwide. They claim any legalised sales create a cover for illegal trade.

"Once you give permission to sell this product on the international market, you're
merely creating a demand. It's similar to the ivory stockpiles in South Africa at the
moment," Tyack said.

Five southern African nations want permission to sell their stockpiles of elephant
ivory to Japan for a carving industry that is also running short on raw materials.

With turtle shell now off the agenda, elephant ivory will once again be the major
wildlife trade issue at the next treaty conference in Chile later this year.