Seminoles at Home

“Seminoles at Home” by Caroline Washburn Rockwood was published in Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly in 1891. The article features an interview with the Addisons at the Hunting Grounds. The Hunting Grounds are today known as the Deering Estate.

One exchange in particular challenges the notion that Miami was unoccupied land in the late nineteenth century.

Rockwood asks Addison the questions.

“How many Indians do you think there are in Florida now, Mr. Addison?”

“Wal, it’s hard tellin’. I saw as many as fifty canoes at Brickell’s last July.” (Brickell’s is a trading house on the south bank of the mouth of the Miami). “They was all goin’ up to the ‘Green Corn Dance.’ That’s their Thanksgiving, you know.”

“Yes? Do tell us about it.”

“Wal, they stand a pole in the ground, and then they lay four logs in a square about it. The chiefs sits on these logs. They ain’t allowed to dance, you see. It wouldn’t be dignified. Then all the rest of the tribe begins a dance round ’em, and keeps it up for three days. They have a powerful lot of stuff to eat and drink, and takes turns at it; but there always is turn and turn about, in drinking specially, and a part of ’em will be sober and on watch while the rest enjoy ’emselves. “

John William Bailly  15 January 2023

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