Thursday, September 16, 2021

 



 

Chronology of the Effort by Alabama to Annex Northwest Florida

1819: Memorial to Congress from the Alabama Constitutional Convention in Huntsville requesting that Northwest Florida be added to Alabama.

1821: Memorial to Congress from the Alabama Legislature in Cahawba (the official spelling of "Cahaba") asking for all of Florida west of the Apalachicola River.

1822: An amendment to the bill to establish a territorial government in Florida is introduced by Senator John W. Walker of Alabama. The amendment is a provision for Northwest Florida to be annexed to Alabama. The bill fails to pass. Walker responds by declaring "the country belongs to us by position and common interests. Nature has given it to us, and Congress will not always withhold it."

1826: Alabama's annexation efforts are viewed as detrimental to chances of statehood by the Florida Legislative Council. These lawmakers wrote that Alabama's annexation activity "is calculated to destroy that which is their best hope of becoming a state government."

1838: Alabama's Legislature in the Capitol in Tuskaloosa passes an annexation resolution that is presented to the Florida Constitutional Convention at St. Joseph.

1840: 255 Escambia County citizens petition Congress for annexation to Alabama.

1845: The Alabama Legislature in the Capitol in Tuskaloosa passes a joint resolution calling for the annexation of Northwest Florida.

1858: The Alabama Legislature in Montgomery passes the same resolution again and appoints an annexation commissioner. The commissioner reported that the Florida government refuses to approve transfer on any terms.

1868: The Alabama Legislature authorizes the Governor to negotiate for the annexation. A commission of three members is appointed.

1869: The Governor of Florida appoints a commission to negotiate with Alabama. They travel to Montgomery and approve an agreement for the cession of Northwest Florida to Alabama. Alabama claims that the price is too high (a million dollars and payment of unpaid taxes at the time of transfer). This is the "high water mark" of the annexation effort.

1869: Northwest Florida counties vote for annexation to Alabama. 63% of the voters approve annexation.

1870: Alabama Legislature postpones action on the agreement with Florida.

1874: Florida passes a resolution providing another annexation committee. It takes no action.

1883: The L & N Railroad trestle is opened over the Apalachicola River permanently linking East Florida with Northwest Florida. http://www.wfrm.org/wfrmhist.html.

1900: The Alabama Legislature asks the Governor to appoint another commission. The commission was never organized.

1917: Former Dothan mayor Buck Baker visits the offices of the Montgomery Times and proposes that "a part of Alabama and a big portion of west Florida cut off and made a state with the metropolis of the wiregrass (ed. note: DOTHAN) as the capital of the new state." The Montogomery Times went on to print, "If such a movement is put on foot, The Times wishes to  nominate Buck Baker as the first governor of the new state."


from the January 30, 1917 MONTGOMERY TIMES

1963: State Senator John Tyson from Mobile proposes a resolution asking for annexation. Wallace kills it.

Source: E. W. Carswell. Holmesteading: A History of Holmes County, Florida.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Friday, July 02, 2021


 If ya wanted to create a DOTHAN VERSION of South Park, for the first episode you'll need cartoon versions of this little plant, the Zippo lighter Daddy had in Afghanistan, an old broken bamboo fishin' pole, a corncob and a broom sage patch just waitin' to be set on fire.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021


 

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

 https://www.alabamapioneers.com/to-tuscaloosa-and-beyond-a-union-cavalry-raider-in-alabama-march-april-1865/?fbclid=IwAR33vZbovxE20Qdrs1hlMeVdtAjQV182by0tRDVedWxQZCpnRKlLuMmfBak

SUPER SOURCE!!!! Check out this first-person account of the April 1865 burning of Tuscaloosa written by Charles Wooster of Company G, 2nd Michigan Volunteer Cavalry, a 22-year-old native of Hillsdale County, Michigan, in a letter to his brother on June 25, 1865:

 The Gen. decides to capture the guard at the bridge [over the Black Warrior, northwest of the city] alive, if possible, and for that purpose two volunteers are called for from Co. G.; myself and one other thinking we would try our hand, divest ourselves of all superfluous equipments which might impede our movements, leave our guns and each with a revolver in his hand and a negro to guide us, we start for the bridge, folowed by good support within hearing distance.

We strike the river first and then move cautiously down; being within about thirty feet from the entrance of the bridge, we hear the guard slowly walking out. As he steps into the light he looks down on us and quickly chalenges: “Who’s there?” “Friends!” I reply, but he couldn’t “see it,” and instantly fired; the ball passed through the crown of my hat, and he beat a hasty retreat through the bridge, folowed by our balls; as our support was up the bridge was cleared, and the man who first fired on us left mortally wounded near its center;—ther were 14 rebels in the bridge, in all. The regiment quickly pass through, and with the assistance of a guide take the rebel artillery—two guns—before they could get their horses harnessed. There was some pretty sharp firing, but we were so fortunate as to lose only two killed and some few wounded.

After our boys had got well in town the 6th Ky. band came up and played “[Ain’t I Glad to] Get out of The Wilderness” for the benefit of the Johnies; they were not slow in taking the hint and the next morning none were to be seen, except a few which we held as prisoners.

A wedding party was in the hight of its glory, when the Blue Coats rudely entered, arrested the bridegroom, who was a Capt. in the rebel army [Captain James S. Carpenter of Kentucky], and others of the gay cavaliers; the female part of the company [including the bride, Miss Emily Leach of Tuscaloosa] was in great terror—the scene had sadly and suddenly changed. I do believe it is a sin, and a disgrace to the Yankee nation, that such proceedings are tolerated.

As soon as the bridge was take[n] I was sent back to carry word of our success, and to get my gun, having done which I mounted my horse with the intention of returning to the regiment. As I was nearing the bridge at a brisk pace, about fifty dismounted men appeared, coming up on a cross street; taking them to be our own boys I kept on and only discovered my mistake when they were quite near me. An old chap who seemed to be their leader advanced a pace or two and the folowing coloquy ensued; in the meantime those about him kept edging their way towards me, with their guns in their hands, and in the dim Moonlight peering curiously at me.

Old Chap: What’s the news?

Myself: I understand there are a lot of Yankees out here a little way.

 Old Chap: I suppose you are one of our men?

 Myself: Certainly I am.

Old Chap: What road are they on?—

I don’t answer promptly, not knowing the names of the roads and thinking perhaps he would continue . . . [when] the report of a gun is heard at the bridge, they turn their heads, giving me an opportunity of taking a French Leave, which I of course was not slow in improving. The occasion of the guns being fired was that some of the Johnies, turning their attention from me, went towards the bridge; one of the [m] seeing a man standing there, thus accosted him: Oh guard! . . . why didn’t you answer me when I called you?”

… . Replied the guard—throw down that gun!

I’ll show you how I’ll throw it down! returned the reb, at the same time preparing to fire; but the Yank—for such it was—was to[o] quick for him—he dropped both his gun and himself.

During the night only part of the town was occupied by our troops; but as soon as daylight came the whole command was moved over and posted on the principal streets leading into the place, where they remained till the next morning [April 5]. In the interval all stores, government houses &c, were given up to indiscriminate plunder; but I heard of no private dwelling houses being disturbed. Nigger [s] of all sorts and sizes and poor whites could be -seen from morning till night carying away all manner of dry goods and provisions; salt, which was very scarce among the common people, and which could not be bought by them except with silver, was especially sought, and I think most of them obtained a supply. Safes were broke open by soldiers in search of money and valuables. Confederate scrip was flush and every nigger had his pockets stuffed full of it. I heard of one or [more] heavy hauls of gold being made, but such instances must have been very rare, for those having the precious metal took good care to hide it—knowing the prevailing passion of the Yankees.

Early on the morning of Apr. 5th the command was in motion, recrossed the river and burned the bridge, having previously burned the Military Institute [the University of Alabama], a large cotton factory, a foundery, two large tanneries, a hat factory &c. After seeing all these things were done, we marched fifteen miles to the [south] westward and camped for the night.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Apalachicola Bay and the War of 1812

Robert Register and James Hargrove, Special to the APALACHICOLA TIMES


British preparation for the battle of New Orleans began on St. George Island in May, 1814, when Captain

Hugh Pigot of the Royal Navy anchored the warship Orpheusin Apalachicola Bay, and Captain George Woodbine of the Royal Marines unloaded 2000 muskets

and ammunition for delivery to Creek Indians and escaped black slaves who were living along the river. 

At the same time, the British navy began to blockade American ports from Mobile to New Orleans.

The British advance into Apalachicola Bay was the first move in a three-pronged attack on American

territory planned by Admiral Alexander Cochrane that would next hit Mobile and New Orleans, from

which their forces could control navigation on the Mississippi River (see Figure 1).

  He sent Pigot and Woodbine to the Apalachicola River to train Creek Indians and black Colonial Marines,

expecting that the allies would cut off Americans forces coming from Georgia on the Old Federal Road and

block them from helping to defend Mobile or New Orleans.

Without permission from the neutral Spanish government, the British immediately began constructing

a fort 25 miles up the Apalachicola River less than a mile from the store run by the merchants and Indian

traders of John Forbes & Company at Prospect Bluff.  Although Forbes and his partners, James and John

Innerarity, were all British citizens, conflict was inevitable because British officers could augment their pay

by looting Forbes’ businesses and selling the plunder as prizes of war.  


At Prospect Bluff, Captain Woodbine conscripted Forbes’ agents, William Hambly and Edmund Doyle,

along with 25 black slaves, to help build and manage their fort.  With Doyle and Hambly preoccupied,

the British and their allies looted Forbes’s store.  The former slaves were recruited into the Colonial Marines,

and 300 of Forbes’ cattle were confiscated to feed Creek and Seminole Indians, who were starving because

Andrew Jackson’s forces had burned their villages and crops during the Creek War of 1813.  


Woodbine’s actions at Prospect Bluff immediately convinced Forbes’ partners, James and John Innerarity,

that the firm would fare better with the Americans than the British. For the rest of the war, the partners aided

the Americans by sharing crucial information they gleaned from their vast trading network that extended

from Amelia Island to Pensacola and New Orleans.

Forbes & Company assist Americans

According to their British charter, John Forbes & Company could operate under the flag of any country. 

Using this rule, James and John Innerarity had obtained Spanish citizenship by residence without giving

up their British citizenship, and thereby were able to trade freely in Florida. After the United States annexed

Mobile in 1813, James and John Innerarity applied for U.S. citizenship.  U.S. General James Wilkinson’s

quartermaster purchased tools, bricks, lumber, food and office supplies from the company.   Through these

favorable associations, the senior Forbes partners were becoming ever closer to Americans and suspicious

of British intentions.  The War of 1812 was already being fought from Washington to Nova Scotia,

and Forbes company ships on the route from London to Nassau were in jeopardy.


In July, 1813, several delegations of Creek Indians, who were hostile to American encroachment,

had arrived in Spanish Pensacola seeking gunpowder and firearms.  Led by chiefs Peter McQueen and

High Head Jim, about 300 men requested arms from the governor, Gonzalez Manrique, who refused their

request.  Angered, they turned to John Innerarity at the Forbes store in Pensacola.  Innerarity feared that

an Indian war would begin.  He showed them only empty barrels and turned down their request for firearms

and gunpowder, saying that merchants could not simply make presents to the tribes.  Unfortunately,

Governor Manrique relented and provided McQueen with 1000 pounds of gunpowder, and the U.S.

declared war with the Creeks after the hostiles destroyed Fort Mims, Alabama.


Alarmed that the Creeks could become dangerous if the British armed them, Andrew Jackson’s Tennessee

volunteers marched to the Alabama River from Nashville and defeated the hostiles at Horseshoe Bend,

Alabama on March 27th, 1814.  General Jackson forced the Creeks to cede half of their remaining territory to the United States. 

With some justification, hostile factions among the Creeks and Seminoles blamed Forbes & Company

for the lack of firearms and gunpowder that led to their defeat and loss of land.  

War begins on the Gulf Coast

In July, 1814, a second British fleet anchored at Havana, Cuba, and the Royal Marine commander,

Lt. Col. Edward Nicolls, attempted to persuade the Spanish captain general, Ruiz Apodaca, to allow

British troops to defend Florida against the Americans.  Spain was neutral in the conflict, and although

Apodaca did not protest troops on the Apalachicola River, he demanded that the British stay out of Pensacola.  

Nicolls departed for Apalachicola in August, 1814, only to find that Captain Woodbine had left Prospect

Bluff for Pensacola in an attempt to find fresh provisions for his Indian and black recruits.  Nicolls

immediately followed to Pensacola, and was given permission to occupy Fort St. Michael.  However,

he alienated the Spanish citizens by taking military control of the town and by recruiting slaves into the

marines.  


News of British advances along the Apalachicola River reached General Andrew Jackson, and he moved

his headquarters to Mobile on August 27, 1814.  The city was defended by the newly-built earthworks of

Fort Bowyer on a sand spit east of the entrance to Mobile Bay.  


In September, 1814, John Innerarity learned that the British intended to attack Ft. Bowyer and capture

Mobile.  The brash Colonel Nicolls had informed Governor Gonzalez Manrique in Pensacola of his

plans, and Manrique confided the news to his confessor, Father James Coleman, who quickly relayed

the information to John Innerarity. 


Innerarity became alarmed that an attack on Mobile’s defenses at Fort Bowyer would include the plundering

of the Forbes company store at nearby Bon Secour.  He sent a rider named William McVoy to warn

Major William Lawrence and the American defenders.  Colonel Nicolls learned that his plans had been

betrayed, but he attacked Fort Bowyer anyway.


Although outnumbered four to one, the American defenders were able to damage the British flagship, Hermes, which became stranded and burned in the shallow water over the bar to Mobile Bay.

As the British landing

party retreated, they sacked the Forbes Company store at Bon Secour, enlisted ten company slaves into the

army, and stole tobacco, cattle, horses, and equipment valued at $5,890. Twoyears later, Colonel Nicolls stated that his defeat at Mobile was due entirely to

the treachery of John

Innerarity (see Figure 2).  

Warning General Jackson

Unknown to the British, an American merchant in Havana named Vincent Gray had learned that the

invaders intended to capture cotton bales stored in New Orleans and sell the stolen goods in Liverpool. 

Under international law of the time, officers could profit from prize money received for sale of items seized

in war.  It was estimated that £4 million worth of cotton, sugar, tobacco, hemp, lead and ships could be

seized, far more than was available at Mobile.  


Gray overheard conversations with Colonel Edward Nicolls, commander of the Royal Marines, and learned

that the first attacks would take place in Pensacola and Mobile.  Alarmed at the rumors he was hearing, Gray

wrote three letters of warning that he sent to the Secretary of War, James Monroe, to Governor William

Claiborne of Louisiana, and to John Forbes’ partner in Mobile, James Innerarity.  

Although his loyalties were torn, Innerarity knew that the British might loot their stores as war prizes,

and decided that American defenders needed to be warned of the planned attacks.

James Innerarity requested an interview with General Jackson, and showed him Vincent Gray’s letter.

By this stroke of fortune, Jackson learned that the British intended to attack New Orleans four months

before the invasion began.


After their defeat at Ft. Bowyer, the British retreated to Pensacola, and Jackson decided to push them out

of the supposedly neutral territory.  He reached Pensacola on November 6. .  After the Spanish rejected his flag of truce, he defeated their small garrison in a brief skirmish the next day.

Meantime, the British pulled out, destroying Forts Michael and Barrancas on the way.  


General Jackson went back to Mobile, where he confirmed that the British invasion force was headed

for New Orleans. Finally convinced that Mobile was not the primary target, Jackson rode with his officers

to New Orleans in ten days, with the army following.  Partly because of the early warnings from James

and John Innerarity, he arrived in New Orleans shortly before the British fleet.  He took command of the

militia, prepared defenses and led his troops to victory in the Battle of New Orleans in January, 1815.  

Not knowing that the Treaty of Ghent had been signed in December, Admiral Cochrane moved his forces

back to Mobile and Prospect Bluff.  Just after his marines captured Fort Bowyer in a second attack,

he got news of the peace treaty and began to withdraw from Mobile.  However, he left Colonel Nicolls

and Captain Woodbine in command of the black Colonial Marines and Choctaw Indians at the Fort at

Prospect Bluff.  

The War of 1812 in the Gulf of Mexico began and ended along the Apalachicola River, but departure

of the Royal Navy did not end the conflict with the blacks and Seminoles.  Attempts to recover Forbes

and Company’s losses during the three successive wars occupied Forbes and the Innerarity brothers for

the rest of their lives, and led to the second largest Spanish land grant in Florida’s history. 

Called Innerarity’s Claim on Searcy’s 1829 map of Florida, the grant extended from the Apalachicola

to the Choctawhatchee River.    The story of how that land claim was settled and the gradual decline

of John Forbes and Company’s trading firm in the Territory of Florida will be told in a following article.


Figure captions

Figure 1. Seat of War 1812.tif

Several John Forbes & Company stores (red dots) were looted by British forces during the War of 1812. 

The first attack in the Gulf of Mexico took place at Apalachicola Bay (blue arrow), followed by attacks

and defeats at Ft. Bowyer (black pentagon) and finally, New Orleans (image modified from Florida,

Land of Change, 1941)


Figure 2. Adversaries.jpg

Forbes & Company’s senior partners, John Innerarity (at left) and his brother James warned General Andrew

Jackson’s American defenders about planned attacks on Mobile and New Orleans by Lt. Colonel Edward

Nicolls


Innerarity’s claim (Part 2)

Robert Register and James Hargrove, Special to the APALACHICOLA TIMES


North of the Apalachicola River bridge, Market Street intersects Forbes Street, Leslie Street and Panton

Street.  These streets were all named on the 1835 plat of Apalachicola as a legacy to three partners of

Panton, Leslie and Company, the old Indian trading firm that was renamed John Forbes & Company in

1804.  (See Figure 1)


The future Apalachicola was sandwiched between two of Forbes’ immense land claims, which were the largest Spanish land grants in the Territory of Florida.  To the east lay over 1.4 million acres called Forbes Purchase, which John Forbes & Company had sold to the men who founded the Apalachicola Land Company in 1817.  To the west lay a 1.2 million acre grant that was named Innerarity’s Claim on Searcy’s 1829 map of Florida.  (See Figure 2)


Whereas the Forbes Purchase had originated in an 1804 land cession from the Creek Indians in payment

for bad debt, Innerarity’s Claim resulted from losses sustained from British-provoked attacks and looting

during the War of 1812-1815.   

Assisting Americans during the First Seminole War

After their defeat to General Andrew Jackson at New Orleans, British forces returned to Apalachicola and

Mobile in 1815 to plan a large scale invasion that would capture all American possessions along the Gulf

of Mexico and give them control over the Mississippi River.  On February 11, a large British force had

begun to attack Mobile when news arrived that the Treaty of Ghent had been signed.  


In May, Col. Edward Nicolls sailed for England, leaving the former British fort on the Apalachicola River

in control of a regiment of erstwhile black Colonial Marines and Choctaw Indians he had armed and trained.

  Even though the fort was in Spanish territory and the War of 1812 was over, the men continued to fly the

British flag and promised to defend the fort against American forces.  


Shortly after the British departed, two of Colonel Nicolls’ former lieutenants, George Woodbine and Robert

Ambrister, went to the Seminole town at Suwannee in an attempt to wrest Florida from Spain.  They were

joined by a trader from the Bahamas named Alexander Arbuthnot, who opened stores on the Ochlockonee

and Wakulla Rivers to confront the rival firm of John Forbes & Co.  Arbuthnot, Ambrister and Woodbine

planned to act as agents for the Creeks and Seminoles to help regain their lands, meanwhile carving an

empire out of the territory much as William Bowles had attempted 20 years earlier.  


At risk to their lives, Forbes’ agents William Hambly and Edmund Doyle were then managing the store

at Prospect Bluff and plantations that they owned up the Apalachicola River at Spanish Bluff. 

Hambly wrote to Arbuthnot, warning him to stop fomenting an Indian war and associating with Woodbine,

Ambrister, and the outlaws in the fort.  


Hambly had helped build and manage the British fort at Prospect Bluff, and knew the layout perfectly.

Afraid to keep working close to what had become known as the Negro Fort, Hambly made his way

up the river to a U.S. garrison at Fort Scott on the Flint River, and explained the fort’s defenses to the

commander, Lt. Col. Duncan Clinch, just before U.S. generals Andrew Jackson and Edmund Gaines

ordered that the fort be destroyed. 


Clinch was joined on the river by two U.S. Navy gunboats that sailed to Prospect Bluff from Apalachicola

Bay.  On July 27th, 1816, they moved the gunboats into range, and sailing master Jairus Loomis fired a heated cannonball

that struck the powder magazine of the fort.  The gunpowder detonated and killed 270 of the 300

defenders.  The attack incensed Arbuthnot, Ambrister and the Seminoles, who blamed William

Hambly for the destruction of the fort, just as Colonel Nicolls had blamed James and John Innerarity

for British losses in the battles at Mobile and New Orleans.


Destruction of the fort at Prospect Bluff shortly initiated the First Seminole War, sparked by a

massacre of 36 men, women and children on the Apalachicola River. In 1818, Andrew Jackson’s forces

invaded Spanish Florida, burned the Seminole town at Suwannee, and captured the Spanish fort at

St. Marks.  Woodbine escaped back to Nassau, but Ambrister and Arbuthot were captured and executed.

  The United States began negotiating with Spain for cession of Florida, and the treaty of 1819 stated that

only Spanish land grants deeded before January 24th, 1818 could be valid.  That provision was to decide the fate of Forbes Purchase and Innerarity’s Claim.

Decline of the trading empire

Constant warring from 1813-1818 had ended Forbes & Co.’s trade with Indian tribes, and 14 of its stores

closed, leaving James and John Innerarity managing the last two Mobile and Pensacola.  Forbes’ partners

received limited reparations from the British agent, Captain Robert Spencer (an ancestor of Princess Diana),

but lawsuits to recover their estimated losses of $100,000 were overturned in British courts.    


John Forbes and his daughters moved to Cuba in 1817, where he closed out his days running a sugar mill

with his sons-in-law on the Canimar River.  In 1818, he petitioned the Captain-General of Cuba, Don Jose Cienfuegos, to repay John Forbes & Co.

for its losses by awarding title to all the land from the mouth of the Choctawhatchee east to the point

where Sweetwater Creek enters the Apalachicola River. Without consulting the inhabitants of West

Florida, the governor agreed to grant the company over 1.2 million acres of land.  


Andrew Jackson was sufficiently impressed by John Innerarity’s good reputation in the Pensacola

community that, days after the general assumed command as governor of West Florida in 1821, he

appointed Innerarity to the town council of Pensacola. Within a month, however, this cordial relationship

became strained because Jackson sided with Mercedes and Caroline Vidal of Pensacola in a minor

lawsuit against Forbes & Co.


In 1830, John Innerarity purchased the remaining Forbes & Co. property in Pensacola, thereby ending

the firm’s activities there. In addition to enjoying the company of his family, including the marriage of

two of his daughters to Americans and the third to his nephew, William Panton Innerarity, he maintained

a prominent social and economic status in Pensacola. A respected citizen, in 1830 he was appointed

as the vice-consul of France, for which service he was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1846.

 

James continued as the main partner of John Forbes & Company at Mobile from 1818 until his death in

1847 when Forbes & Company ceased to exist. But during some years from the 1820s to the 1840s he

also lived on a plantation in Cuba, where he met Laura Manual Centeno, by whom he had five children

out of wedlock.

Richard Keith Call intervenes
Land ownership controversies like “Innerarity’s Claim” were the most pressing problems facing the

government in Florida Territory. Not until 1828 did Congress pass a law allowing claimants of large

grants like Innerarity’s Claim and Forbes Purchase to file suit against the United States in the Superior

Court of the district where the disputed land was located. 

 Even though he was a partner with James Innerarity in the purchase of property on Santa Rosa Island,

lawyer Richard Keith Call was the last person Innerarity wanted to represent the United States when

his case came before Judge Henry M. Brackenridge’s Pensacola courtroom in the fall of 1830.

Call, who had served with Jackson at Mobile and New Orleans, was appointed to assist government

attorneys in settling larger Spanish grants. 


Through service as Florida’s territorial delegate to Congress and as Receiver of Public Monies at the public

land office in Tallahassee, Call had become an expert on Spanish land grants and was convinced that all

of the Spanish land grants issued in the last days of the regime were frauds.  In preparing for the case in

1829, Call received a federal commission that paid him to sail to Havana in pursuit of original documents

pertaining to the case.


Call returned to Pensacola and showed Judge Brackenridge that the actual date of the land grant had

been altered in order to make it conform with the provision in the treaty that made it illegal to make land

grants in Florida after January 24, 1818. In the original document, a line had been drawn through “March”

and the word “January” written above it. By a matter of days, James and John Innerarity lost the land grant

that compensated Forbes & Co. for wartime losses. 


Indian title to the land had already been extinguished by the Treaty of Moultrie Creek with the Seminoles, so

the title to land west of Apalachicola was clear.  In 1831, Robert Butler, the Surveyor-General of Florida,

ordered surveys of the townships west of the river. By 1834, the land was being purchased at the Tallahassee

land office for about two dollars an acre.


If R. K. Call had not found the fraudulent date on the original Forbes grant to the land between the

Apalachicola and the Choctawhatchee, the land where old St. Joseph was built in 1835 as a rival port

to Apalachicola would not have been available.   The saga of the St. Joseph Canal and Railroad Company

building a shortcut to Iola would not have happened, and James and John Innerarity would have been

among the richest men in Florida.  


For decades, the fact that James Innerarity had warned Andrew Jackson about British plans to invade

New Orleans was kept secret.  However, Richard Keith Call knew of the meeting, and he recounted the

event in a speech he gave at Jackson Square, New Orleans in 1855.  His account was confirmed by

letters found in Andrew Jackson’s public papers, and we now know that John Forbes, James and John

Innerarity, and William Hambly all contributed to Andrew Jackson’s victories in the Creek War, the

battles of Mobile and New Orleans, and the First Seminole War.  

Figure Captions

Figure 1.  Forbes Street, Leslie Street, and “Penton” Street were all listed on the original plat that the

Apalachicola Land Company commissioned in 1835.


Figure 2. Searcy’s 1829 map of Florida Territory depicts Innerarity’s Claim west of Apalachicola River.