1812: Turbulence Erupts in Middle Florida
Colonial struggles in the late 1700s led to England’s cession of Florida to the Spanish in 1783. During the second period of Spanish rule, Spain’s hold on Florida was even more precarious than it had been during the First Spanish Period. During what came to be known as the Patriot War of 1812, American settlers in Spanish Florida attempted to appropriate the already weakened Spanish government’s claim to East Florida, in order to annex the territory to the United States. On September 27, 1812 troops led by Colonel Daniel Newnan fought the Seminoles and Black Seminoles under King Payne near present-day Gainesville. The Seminoles and Black Seminoles stood their ground, but not without losses. After the Patriot forces retreated, King Payne likely died from wounds received in the battle (Covington 1993).
During Newnan’s three week campaign, the Black Seminole settlements attached to leaders Bowlegs and Payne were broken up. Their crops and trade skins destroyed, their cattle, horses and other livestock taken or destroyed; the Seminoles and Black Seminoles would have to rebuild their lives (Covington 1993).