Saturday, August 23, 2003

Don't have the time or money but I spent the day on the "project". It'll make me stronger next week as I again tackle all the problems with providing Section 8 housing to many of Tuscaloosa's most industrious prostitutes.
You're probably already familiar with this article but it has a photo of John Innerarity's Pensacola Bay house: the July '81 FHQ article by Thomas Watson and S. Wilson,Jr. entitled "A Lost Landmark Revisited: The Panton House of Pensacola". The photo of John's house in the text says it was "a warehouse... converted into a residence for John Innerarity in 1806." I believe this is a typo. According to the text of the article this warehouse conversion for Innerarity occurred in 1848 after the Panton Mansion, into which the Inneraritys moved in 1806, burned in 1848.

I've got lots more but I'll share one more this go round....

From The John Forbes Company: Heir to the Florida Indian Trade: 1801-1819
by David White(PhD. dissertation, U of A, '73)....

(a description of the Inneraritys by British Lt. Colonel Edward Nicholls from the letter "Nicholls(Prospect Bluff) to British Admiral Cochrane, 8-12-1814" in the Cochrane Papers.....

" I lost no time is sending out spies and soon learnt that the enemy had plenty of intelligence, the Mayor of Mobile [James Innerarity] has a brother in this town, his name is Innerarity. I have found him a great scoundrel, inveigling our men to desert and keeping them at work in the American territory at a place called bon secour where he had an inland communication with New Orleans [note for reg: I believe this is the Forbes & Co. brickyard south of Mobile; not the present day Bon Secour in Baldwin County on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay], by which he sets at defiance your orders of blockade and imports tobacco and cotton, in spite of our cruisers. I have a letter that was intercepted from his brother the Mayor of Mobile, desiring that their people at bon secour to stop sending provisions to Pensacola, as General Jackson has ordered an embargo on provisions for the purpose of starving us out. The fellow at first pretended great pleasure at seeing us, and offered me everything, but when I put him to the test,I found him a great traitor."

[David White continues on page 155....] Nicholls was quite correct in his estimate of the Innerarities. John Innerarity kept his brother informed of the movements of the British and transmitted copies of Doyle's [storekeeper at Prospect Bluff, location of Nicholls's Negro Fort on the Apalachicola] to Mobile where his brother promptly passed the information to American officers.


Military helicopters alongside containerized shipping inside
our US flagged warehouse barge

Please feel free to forward this email to Turner Fabian and anyone else who might be interested.

My name is Robert Register. I have hotlinked a couple of your website photos on to my weblog at
I will be glad to delete them if you wish. It is easy to find my weblog. All you have to do is type "cuba, alabama" into google or yahoo and I generally come up #1 out of about 1.2 million hits. Please free to look through my archives. A lot of the information I have posted deals with shipping between Mobile and Cuba.

I found out about ya'll due to your accomplishment of successfully completing the first legal commercial shipment to Cuba since '61. I am very interested in learning all I can about the commercial future of Cuba.

Please follow my weblog and drop me a line when you get a chance. The University of Alabama is sponsoring Alabama-Cuba Week on the Tuscaloosa campus in November. They have a website dedicated to it and your company may want to participate in some way.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Havana. June 27, 2003

Increase in sale of U.S food and agricultural produce to Cuba

IT was announced in Havana that U.S. sources reveal that sales of U.S. food and agricultural produce to Cuba rose by 40% in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2002, reported DPA.A report from the New York-based U.S-Cuba Economic and Trade Council revealed that Cuban purchases of these products reached $44.2 million USD during this period.

Last March, according to the statistics, a record rise of 121% was registered with respect to the same month the previous year, with sales worth $17.6 million USD, representing more than 70 shipments from ports in Tampa (Florida), New Orleans (Louisiana), Mobile (Alabama), Gulfport and Pensacola (Mississippi).Since sales to Cuba began in December 2001, the totals for food and agricultural produce have risen to $187 million USD, converting the Caribbean island into an increasingly attractive market for U.S. companies.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that two Cuban officials have begun a tour of several states to assess possible cattle sales to Cuba, constituting the first transaction of its kind in more than 40 years, revealed the DPA agency from Miami.

Palmiros Santos and Vladimir Martínez, from the Cuban Veterinary Service (SVC) will visit several livestock farms in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Florida.

"The visits by these specialists relate to trade protected under U.S. law," said Bob Bokma from the Department of Agriculture in a statement to El Nuevo Herald.

The Cubans will visit those livestock farms that were represented at the first U.S. agricultural produce fair in Havana at the end of 2002.

Permission to hold a second fair this year has been denied by Washington.

At the end of 2000, Washington passed an amendment to the law allowing the sale of food and some agricultural produce to Cuba if payments were made in cash.

Historic arrival in Havana harbor
Associated Press

HAVANA - As the tugboat El Jaguar towed the squat, green barge Helen III into Havana harbor on Friday, the U.S. flag waved in greeting from the fort at the bay's entrance for the first time in 42 years.

The 323-foot-long barge -- resembling a floating, tarp-wrapped warehouse -- was the first U.S.-flagged commercial vessel to enter the harbor since the United States broke relations with Cuba in 1961. Raising a country's flag over the Moro castle at the harbor entrance is the traditional greeting for foreign vessels.

''When I saw the Cuban flag pass, I felt like it was the first day of class, I was so nervous in my stomach,'' said Charles Turner Fabian II, vice president for operations of Maybank Shipping of Charleston, S.C., onboard the Helen III.

The United States ended relations with Cuba and imposed an embargo on shipping to Cuba in 1961 as Fidel Castro's government turned steadily toward socialism. One memory of those decades of hostility was the name of the dock complex where the ship docked: Haiphong, in honor of a North Vietnamese harbor bombed by the United States during the Vietnam War.

Since the collapse of the Soviet block in 1991, however, Cuba has eagerly sought trade with the capitalist world while trying to maintain a communist system.

Numerous ships have carried U.S. goods to Cuba since December 2001, when the U.S. government permitted cash-paid shipments of food and some other goods.

Seventy-one percent of those were U.S.-owned, said Pedro Alvarez, leader of the Cuban government import company Alimport, which has signed contracts for about $480 million since the rules were eased.

But the Helen III was the first to carry cargo under a U.S. flag and with a U.S. crew. It was also the first vessel from Mobile, Ala., to carry cargo under the recent rules.

Fabian said the barge carried 1,614 metric tons of newsprint and about six tons of timber.

As tugboats maneuvered the barge to the docks, Fabian stepped aside to make a phone call to check the company bank account. ''By law, the money has to be in our bank account before we can unload,'' Fabian said, referring to the U.S. regulations that set conditions on trade with Cuba.

Fabian said the shipment, worth about $1.5 million, was part of a contract to ship a total of 10,000 tons, with another 5,000-ton deal in the works.

First United States Commercial Vessel enters Havana Harbor

American barge 'Helen III', from Mobile, Alabama approaches Havana's port dock, carrying 1,614 metric tons of newsprint and about six tons of timber on Friday July 11, 2003, in Havana, Cuba.

The 323-foot-long barge -resembling a floating, tarp-wrapped warehouse - was the first U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed commercial vessel to enter the harbor since the United States broke relations with Cuba in 1961, according to the Cuban government press center and Port Captain Gilfredo Ravelo. (Cristobal Herrera)

Thursday, August 21, 2003


Meanwhile, hostilities had actually commenced in that quarter. When Jackson reached Mobile, late in August, he was satisfied that an attempt would be made to seize that post as soon as the great expedition of which he had rumors should be prepared to move. Mobile was then only a little village of wooden houses, with not a thousand inhabitants, with no defenses against artillery, and scarcely sufficient to withstand an attack from the rifles of Indians. At the entrance to Mobile Bay, thirty miles from the village, was Fort Bowyer (now Fort Morgan), occupying the extremity of a narrow sand cape on the eastern side of that entrance, and commanding the entire channel between it and Dauphin Island. It was a small work, semicircular in form toward the channel, and of redan shape on the land side. It was weak, being without bomb-proofs, and mounting only twenty guns, and all but two of these were 12-pounders and less. And yet this was the chief defense of Mobile; for, the enemy once inside of the bay, there would be no hope for holding the post with the troops then at hand. So, when Jackson perceived, early in September, that a speedy movement against Mobile from Pensacola was probable, he threw into Fort Bowyer one hundred and thirty of the Second regular infantry, under Major William Lawrence, one of the most gallant officers in the service. At the same time, he sent orders for Colonel Butler to call out the enrolled Tennessee Volunteers, and have them led immediately to Mobile.

Major Lawrence made vigorous preparations to resist the enemy by strengthening the fort as much as possible, and providing against attacks upon it from cannon that might be planted upon sand-hills near, which commanded it. These preparations were not completed when, on the morning of the 12th of September, Lieutenant Colonel Nichols appeared on the peninsula, in rear of the fort, with one hundred and thirty marines and six hundred Indians, the latter led by Captain Woodbine, who had been attempting to drill them at Pensacola. Toward evening four British vessels of war hove in sight, and anchored within six miles of Mobile Point. These were the Hermes, 22; Sophia, 18; Caron, 20; and Anaconda, 18, the whole under Captain Percy, the commander of the squadron of nine vessels in Pensacola Bay, already mentioned, of which these were a part. In the presence of these formidable forces, the little garrison slept upon their arms that night.

On the following morning Nichols reconnoitred the fort from behind the sand-hills in its rear, and, dragging a howitzer to a sheltered position within seven hundred yards of the work, threw some shells and a solid shot upon it without much effect. Responses from Major Lawrence were equally harmless; but when, later in the day, Percy’s men attempted to cast up intrenchments, Lawrence’s guns quickly dispersed them. Meanwhile several light boats, engaged in sounding the channel nearest the fort, were dispersed in the same way.

The succeeding day [September 14.] was similarly employed; but early on the morning of the 15th it was evident to the garrison that an assault was about to be made from land and water. The forenoon wore away, while a stiff breeze was blowing, and when it slackened to a slight one from the southeast, toward noon, the ships stood out to sea, They tacked at two o’clock, and bearing down upon the fort in order of "line ahead," the Hermes (Percy’s flag-ship) leading, took position for attack. The Hermes and Sophia lay nearly abreast the northwest face of the fort, while the Caron and Anaconda were more distant. Lawrence then called a council of officers, when it was determined to resist to the last, and not to surrender, if finally compelled to, unless upon the conditions that officers and privates should retain their arms and private property, be protected from the savages, and be treated as prisoners of war. This being their resolution, the words "Don’t give up the fort" were adopted as the signal for the day. 21

The Hermes drew nearer the fort, and when within range of its guns the two 24-pounders were opened upon her without much effect. She made a faint reply, and anchored within musket range of the work, while the other three vessels formed in battle line under a heavy fire. It was now half past four in the afternoon. The four vessels simultaneously opened fire, and the engagement became general and fierce, for broadside after broadside was fired upon the fort by the ships, while the circular battery was working fearfully upon the assailants. Meanwhile Captain Woodbine opened fire from a howitzer and a 12-pounder from behind a sand dune seven hundred yards from the opposite side of the fort. The battle raged until half past five, when the flag of the Hermes was shot away, and Lawrence ceased firing to ascertain whether she had surrendered. This humane act was followed by a broadside from the Caron, and the fight was renewed with redoubled vigor. Very soon the cable of the Hermes was severed by a shot, and she floated away with the current, her head toward the fort, and her decks swept of men and every thing else by a raking fire. Then the flag-staff of the fort was shot away and the ensign fell, when the ships, contrary to the humane example of the garrison, redoubled their fire. At the same time, Woodbine, supposing the garrison had surrendered, approached with his Indians, when they were driven back in great terror by a storm of grape-shot. Both sailors and marines found the garrison in full vigor, and only a few minutes after the flag fell it was seen floating over the fort at the end of a sponge-staff to which Major Lawrence had nailed it. The attacking vessels, battered and in peril, soon withdrew, excepting the helpless Hermes, which grounded upon a sandbank, when Percy fired and abandoned her. At almost midnight the magazine of the Hermes exploded. So ended, in a repulse of the British, the attack on Fort Bowyer, upon which ninety-two pieces of artillery had been brought to bear, and over thirteen hundred men had been arrayed against a garrison of one hundred and thirty. The latter lost only eight men, one half of whom were killed. The assailants lost two hundred and thirty-two men, of whom the unusual proportion of one hundred and sixty-two were killed.
The result of the strife at Mobile Point was very mortifying to the British. It was wholly unexpected. Percy had declared that he should allow the garrison only twenty minutes to capitulate. That garrison – that handful of men – had beaten off his ships and his co-operating land force with ease. The repulse was fatal to the prestige of the British name among the Indians, and a large portion of them deserted their allies and sought safety from the wrath of Jackson, whom they feared, by concealment in the interior of their broad country. The result was most gratifying to the Americans, and gave an impetus to volunteering for the defense of New Orleans. Jackson wrote a commendatory letter to Major Lawrence, and that officer received one also from Edward Livingston, chairman of the Defense Committee of New Orleans, assuring him of the joy and gratitude felt by the inhabitants of that city when they heard of his gallant defense of Fort Bowyer. At the same time it was resolved to present to Major Lawrence an elegant sword in the name of the citizens of New Orleans.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


September 1814 British attack on Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point fails, prompting them to abandon plans to capture Mobile and turn towards New Orleans.
February 1815 British forces take Fort Bowyer on return from defeat at New Orleans, then abandon upon learning that the war is over.

Britain sent between 11,000 and 14,450 troops under the command of Major General Sir Edward Pakenham to fight in the Louisiana campaign. These included army and navy men fresh from campaigns fought against Napoleon in Europe, as well as veterans of other theaters in the War of 1812. Vice-Admiral Alexander Cochrane had charge of the British navy in American waters and directed naval skirmishes in the gulf.

Among the British forces were the First and Fifth West India Regiments, made up of about one thousand black soldiers from Jamaica, Barbados, and the Bahamas. Some of these units recruited and trained American slaves who escaped to British lines, attracted by the promise of freedom.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Seminoles and Africans had actually lived in the area for years and a Trading Post owned by the Forbes Co. had been built there. After the Fort was built many more Africans moved into the area. Fields extended along the river in both directions from the fort for many miles. People along the river possessed large herds of cattle and horses which roamed in the forests and fields.

A Description Of The Negro Fort
The parapet of the fort was said to be fifteen feet high and eighteen thick, situated upon a gentle cliff, with a fine stream emptying into the river near its base, and a swamp in the rear, which protected it from the approach of artillery by land. On its walls were mounted one thirty-two pounder, three twenty-four pounders, two nine pounders, two six pounders and one brass five and a half inch howitzer.

Found this on the Web today. This information is very important because it shows that Thomas Perryman was partially responsible for the building of the Negro Fort at Prospect Bluff because he wrote a letter requesting the British to build a fort there during the War of 1812. This is also important because Tom Perryman was the guiding force who convinced the Indians to extinguish their debt by signing the document James Innerarity presented them in 1804 which extinguished their title to 1.2 million acres east of the Apalachicola. In order to get the Indians to sign, Innerarity promised to build and operate a John Forbes & Co. store at Prospect Bluff.

Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 14:18:32 EDT
Subject: Re: Perryman
I know that William and George Perryman were sons of Thomas Perryman, who lived at the "old Fowltown" you mentioned which was on the Georgia side of the Chattahoochee River in what is now Seminole County (about 15 miles north of the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers). William Perryman, in a letter sent to the Spanish commandant at St. Marks, identifies himself as a "brother-in-law" of William Augustus Bowles. This, by default, would mean that Bowles was the son-in-law of Thomas Perryman and, accordingly, that Thomas Perryman was the individual mentioned by both McGillivray and Bowles in their letters.
Thomas Perryman and William Perryman both co-signed letters to the British Governor at New Providence during the War of 1812 seeking British assistance against the Americans. These letters were primarily responsible for the decision by the British to land troops on the Apalachicola River in 1814.
Thomas Perryman is known to have been alive as late as February of 1815, but appears to have died shortly thereafter as by 1816 he is referred to in military documents as being the "late" chief of the Seminoles. George Perryman, a brother of William, was hired by Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Clinch of the 4th U.S. Infantry in December of 1816 to serve as caretaker for the buildings and supplies left at Camp Crawford (Fort Scott) on the Flint River when the troops there were ordered withdrawn by the Secretary of War. Shortly after the troops departed, "Red Stick" Creeks came to the fort in "large numbers" and ordered Perryman to leave, threatening to burn the place over his head. He and his family fled in a canoe to the village of his "brother" (i.e. William), who is reported by Captain Hugh Young to have lived at Telmochesses, a village on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River in what is now Jackson County, Florida. William Perryman then carried a letter from George Perryman to Lieutenant Richard Sands at Fort Gaines, Georgia, describing the burning of Camp Crawford (Fort Scott) and the hostile attitude of the Indians in the area.
In December of 1817, following the U.S. attacks on the Hitchiti Creek village of Tutalossee Talofa ("Fowl" or "Chicken Town") in Decatur County, Georgia, the "Red Sticks" responded by raiding the plantations of William Hambly and Edmund Doyle on the east bank of the Apalachicola River near Bristol, Florida.
Learning of this attack, William Perryman raised a party of warriors and went down to try to rescue Hambly and Doyle but was reported killed and his warriors forced to join the hostile faction.
The confusion over whether George Perryman was a Seminole or Creek actually originates from the fact that the family lived so far down the Chattahoochee River among villages that were known as the "Apalachicola Seminole." In reality, these were Creeks who lived somewhat separated from the primary Lower Creek towns. The Perrymans in 1822 moved back up the river to the Creek nation.

Monday, August 18, 2003


I just received this post from Robert Register in Alabama. Arguably, the most decisive shot in U.S. history was not the "shot heard 'round the world" at Concord, but the heated cannonball that ignited the magazine that blew up the Negro Fort (later Fort Gadsden) in July 1816, thus destroying the headquarters of African, Seminole and Choctaw resistance in the Southeast. It would be a major blow to American memory to lose this site. An interesting website on the Fort is at .


Not looking too good for the old Negro Fort. This came from an article in the Panama City newspaper. I'm putting a lot of Negro Fort Stuff on my site today. check it out at


In recent years, the National Forests of Florida acquired Fort Gadsden from the state of Florida. Aside from the visitors' center, rest rooms, a pavilion with picnic tables and the boilers from an old steamboat are located on the grounds. Volunteers man the site so it can remain open, but Fort Gadsden receives little publicity.

The U.S. Forest Service claims that other recreational areas draw more visitors and that the level of use is low at this landmark. Since the Forest Service has insufficient funds to maintain all areas, it is faced with making tough decisions.

John G. Hentz, past agricultural agent in Bay and other Northwest Florida counties and a retired dairy farmer, is deeply concerned about the future of Fort Gadsden. Hentz lives in Panama City, but has roots that extend far back in Liberty County. He has been familiar with the old fort and site all of his life.

Hentz said, "Fort Gadsden is a great part of Florida's heritage. It is the most famous spot of ground in Florida history. Taking Florida from Spain was one of the most important actions or events in our nation's history. No part of the country played a bigger part in securing Florida for the U.S. than our own Apalachicola River Valley."

Hentz believes that the park is being phased out and that no one is paying any attention. He has taken the plight of the historical site to Sen. Bob Graham.

Graham contacted the Forest Service and received a reply stating, "we are committed to maintaining the Fort Gadsden historic area, but we are hesitant to encourage increased visitation there because we have limited resources to monitor the effects that such use might have on this archaeological site."

In reply, Hentz said, "What good is history and artifacts if people are not allowed to learn about them? If it wasn't for Andrew Jackson coming to Fort Gadsden in 1818 we might not even have a Florida."

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Sent this email to the managing editor of the Panama City News-Herald. He has a reporter, Marlene Womack, who does historical stuff.
Oh yeah, have you ever heard of this black murdering communist S.O.B. named Mumia Abu-Jamal. Type him into the Net and you'll get more than you bargained for. Anyway, this death row, cop killing bastard compared the police attack on the MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia to the attack on the Negro Fort at Prospect Bluff and said nothing had changed in America since 1816! Mistuh James must be turning over in his grave rite now!!!!
Oh yeah, in the article on Ft. Gadsden Marlene wrote in the News-Herald, she quoted John Hentz as saying the land at Prospect Bluff is "the most historic spot in the State of Florida."
I called Mr. Hentz this afternoon in P.C. He's 92 years old!
My name is Robert Register. I was brought up in Dothan but now I live in Northport across the river from Tuscaloosa. I need to contact Marlene Womack because I am working on commemorating an important anniversary.
May 25, 2004 will mark the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Forbes Purchase at Chiskatalofa, an Indian village located around Ellicott Mound #381 (survey mile marker built during the survey of the first U.S.
Southern Boundary in 1799. It is located 381 miles east of the Mississippi River near the point where Alabama, Florida and Georgia intersect on the west bank of the Chattahoochee in present-day Houston County, Alabama). This deed of cession of 1.2 million acres east of the Apalachicola River to John Forbes & Co. began an entire series of treaties where Indians paid their debts with the only thing they possessed, their land. Since John Forbes moved to his sugar plantation, Canimar, in Matanzas Province, Cuba in 1817, many of the business transactions and lawsuits associated with the Forbes Purchase occurred in Cuba. When Forbes died in 1823, his son-in-law,Francisco Dalcourt(husband to Forbes' daughter, Sophia) was appointed executor of Forbes's estate in Cuba. Money from the sale of the Forbes Purchase became tied up in a series of lawsuits filed in New Orleans and Matanzas by those claiming to be owed money by the Forbes's estate. Litigation over the property granted to John Forbes by the Indians at Chiskatalofa in 1804 remained in the courts until 1923, a century after Forbes had died, when the Florida Supreme Court ruled that submerged land in Apalachicola Bay granted by the Forbes Purchase was owned by the State of Florida.

After being appointed Receiver of Pubic Monies in the General Land Office in 1825, Richard Keith Call sailed to Havana to examine the original Forbes Purchase documents . From then on, Call argued to overturn the Forbes's Purchase. According Coker and Watson:

At Call's urging, the U.S. Supreme Court delayed hearing the case until 1835. In the interim, the government sent Jeremy Robinson to Havana to obtain documents to support the government's arguments. Fully briefed by Call[my note: in Marianna], Robinson spent two years in Havana locating and identifying documents, but he died in 1834 before any of these papers were sent to Washington. Nicholas Philip Trist succeeded Robinson and uncovered forty-five documents in Havana, which the Supreme Court refused to admit as evidence.

This was Justice Marshall's last case and he upheld as perfectly legal the Forbes Purchase land grant.
The only people who have tried to help me with this are the members of the Innerarity Family forum at They are interested because their ancestor, James Innerarity from Mobile negotiated this cession of Indian land at Chiskatalofa in 1804. In order to close the deal, Mr. Innerarity had to promise to build a John Forbes & Company store at Prospect Bluff on the Apalachicola River. Nichols chose to build his "Negro Fort" near there in 1814 and Andrew Jackson built his Fort Gadsden on top of the ruins of this fort during the First Seminole War.

I found out about Marlene from the article she wrote about Ft. Gadsden where she quoted Mr. John G. Hentz as saying that the land where Ft. Gadsden stood was the most important historic spot in Florida. I agree with Mr. Hentz and I had a very long phone call with him about this subject this afternoon.

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone and please help us to commemorate this important anniversary next May. After all, John Forbes also had a Spanish land grant giving him title to the entire coast from Apalachicola to East Pass at present-day Destin (not that far- East Pass in the 1800's was where the Holiday Inn of Destin now stands, east of the city of Destin). This land grant was annulled by U.S. courts because the date of the transaction had been forged in order to qualify under the terms of the Adams-Onis Treaty that gave Florida to the U.S. All this land therefore went directly into public domain after the Treaty of Moultrie Creek in 1823 extinguished Indian title.

I have a weblog. It is easy to get to. All you have to do is type "cuba alabama" into google or yahoo and I come up either #1 or #2 along with over 1.2 million other hits.

Check it out by clicking on

Best wishes,

Robert Register

An artist's rendition of British Fort being shelled by the American army in July of 1816.
Painting by Pat Elliott, courtesy of Apalachicola National Forest.

Here's a description of the gullies on the east side of the Apalachicola on Forbes Purchase land:

The ravines are as remarkable biotically as they are geologically. The following is from The Canyonlands of Florida by Dr. Bruce Means, director of the Coastal Plains Institute.

"With more plant and animal species than any other area of its size on the coastal plain from Virginia to Texas, and more rare and endangered species (111 by one count) and more endemics than any other area of its size in Florida, it's a full-fledged biotic treasure-house. And Apalachicola Bluffs and one of the temperate world's richest paleorefugia - a site where ancient species, long gone from the surrounding landscape continue to survive.
To understand the allure of steepheads, you've got to imagine yourself entering one. You're staring out on a sandy plain of pine and scrub oak, but a dark band of foliage draws your eye--a phalanx of low evergreens. As you pass through it, you're astonished to fine that the land under your feet is falling away into a deep, shady natural amphitheater some 50 yards in diameter. From your position at the lip, you stare into a drop of about a hundred feet. Looking straight ahead, you see the treetops: magnolias, hickories, oaks, sweetbay, and other hardwoods.
The sidewalls are so sheer, you have to plant each foot with care as you progress, reaching for handholds. Because the slope drops at a very sharp angle (45 degrees or greater), you descent as much with each step as you advance---or more. Here along the upper third of the sidewall, you pass through a dry dwarf forest of oaks, hickories, and other scrubby hardwoods. You may see the Alabama spiny-pod or the Ashe's magnolia with its 12 inch flowers (both ranked nationally endangered by Conservancy scientists). You have the sensation of climbing down a tree as you descend--until, on the lower half of the slope, you enter an entirely different vegetation type. A beech/magnolia forest (with spruce pine, American holly, dogwood, white oak, pignut hickory, and other deciduous trees) reaches skyward in apparently branchless columns. At the bottom of this zone, a dense evergreen shrub understory presents a nearly impenetrable wall of twisted and tangled stems. This is the haunt of many of Florida's rarest and most interesting plants. Appalachian mountain laurel and rhododendrons consort with shrubby hollies, vacciniums, and the area's two botanical gems--Florida yew and the Florida Torreya tree. (The latter, a federally listed endangered species, has been pushed to the brink of extinction by those who early sought it for use as fence posts and by a recent fungal blight.) Crawling and twisting to make passage through the shrub zone, you reach the valley floor, where you are surrounded by hardwoods and shrubs that prefer permanently saturated (but not inundated) soil. The brook at your feet is something out of a dream: white and sand and tiny quartz pebbles show through wide, thin sheets of perfectly clear water. Where does it come from? You turn to look at the toe of the steephead valley wall and find that the full stream emerges--all at once--from the sand at the base of the slope."

In order to close the deal on the Forbes Purchase, James Innerarity had to promise to open a John Forbes & Co. store at Prospect Bluff on the Apalachicola River. During the War of 1812, the British built a fort near the store where they uniformed and trained runaway slave and Indian troops. They even brought in black soldiers from Jamaica to serve as drill instructors. Some of these Indians and Blacks may have been on the battlefield with the British on the battlefield at Chalmette during the Battle of New Orleans.