James Dell Et Al to the President
About 0ctober 1829
General Andrew Jackson Pres. Of the United States of America, Washington
Sir. Acting as a committee appointed at a meeting of the Citizens of Alachua County
for the purpose of communicating with the General Government concerning the helpless
and unprotected condition in which the inhabitants are left, in relation to the Indians by
the removal of the garrison from Fort King, we beg leave to hand a memorial signed by
Your good sense will no doubt enable you to readily to perceive from the tenor of this
memorial the necessity which exists, of our being protected by an adequate force, and
that too promptly; for already has report reached us, tho not yet properly confirmed, that
a family of the name of Howard have been butchered at Suwaney Old Town by the
Indians - they are moreover buying up all the powder they can get at unusually high
It may be proper to mention that our settlements are scattered from the northern
boundary line of the Seminoles to the Suwanney and St. Mary's River. From the manner
in which the settlements are generally located, the junction of the males of any two
families at the house of either would leave entirely exposed the property and family of
the other. From this you may conclude would be the consequence if all the men were
ordered out; Our force would be too week to permit its being divided, so that it could be
efficient but at one point at the same moment- while the rest of the county, thru which
would be scattered their respective families, would be without the smallest shadow of
protection. And what must be the result of this fact? Why, that in a case of danger every
man will be compelled to remain at home to protect to the best of his ability with his
single arm, the objects most dear to him, thus leaving it in the power of an enemy to cut
us off piecemeal, or as it were, in detail with little or no hazard to themselves.
The only remedy for this state of circumstances which presents itself to our view, is
that proposed in the memorial above referred to,- to wit, that a garrison of four
companies of United states Troops be stationed at Micanopia in this county- By this
means whenever an alarm occurred, the inhabitants from every part of the county would
flock to it, with their families, and having deposited them thus in a place of safety, would
be unburdened of his chief care, and be then ready to fight the battles of his country
which would be rendered more effectual, by the power, which the adoption of this plan
would afford of cooperating with the regular forces.
These advantages were not afforded by the station at Fort King - being located so far
within the boundaries, that in time of war, no man would have risked his family through
an enemy's country to have reached; while it had but little power of restraining the
Indians from roaming at large in the Territory of the whites, for from their situation it was
rendered troublesome to send detachments among us - and when such detachments were
sent, they could stay but so short a time that the Indians ha it in their power to conceal
themselves until the danger was past, without the least possibility of detection.
Micanopia is situated about twenty five miles north of the agency- and thirty east of
the Suwanney Old Town - It is well watered- a high and healthy situation. The land
carriage to the St. Johns would be between forty and fifty miles - one half the distance
that was required for the delivery of the stores at Fort King, until shortly before their
removal- nor will the cost of the beef and the grain required for their consumption
amount to half the expense which was found necessary for its obtainment at that station.
The situation of Micanopia is such that with all ease and convenience detachments
might be constantly kept on duty, which will be the only possible means of keeping the
Indians within their boundary and of putting a stop to their depredations - while in time
of danger it would be of easy access to all parts of the country.
Again with regard to the arms requested to be sent among us. We stand sir in actual
need of them. There are not more in our opinions than one tenth of our men who could
bring into action guns proper to be used there. Besides which our regiment is almost
universally desirous of forming into volunteer uniformed companies, which are generally
the most efficient arm of the militia, being better disciplined but are prevented from
doing so, by their being unable to obtain regular arms there being but few public arms at
the seat of Government.
The major part of the force at present stationed at Tampa Bay might with propriety be
removed to this part of the Country at Tampa they are of little use or benefit, which will
appear to you by a reference to the map of this country.
We might enlarge, Sir, our views to a considerable extent on the subject on which we
have the honor of addressing you, but have concluded that in resigning the matter, with
the few remarks above submitted, entirely to your own good judgment, we shall have no
reason to fear its reception of proper attention - yet permit us, Sir to add one remark -
that we are an integral part of the citizens of the United States, and stand in need of
protection from the General Government. We have the Honor to be Sir with the highest
esteem Your Fellow citizens.