Go to:
The Palm Beach Post
historic palm beach logo

Marker to honor historic Okeechobee battle site

This weekend “marks” a milestone for one of our more outlying but historically rich areas: Okeechobee County. At 11 a.m. Saturday, at the reenactment of the historic Battle of Okeechobee, a marker will be dedicated at its new spot at a new state park.

The 1837 skirmish on the north shore of the big lake is approaching its 175th anniversary.

The battle, on Christmas Day 1837, was the biggest and bloodiest fight of the Second Seminole War, one of America’s most controversial, and mostly forgotten.

At an expanse of sawgrass, chest-high water and muck, Gen. Zachary Taylor — later president — led about 1,000 U.S. soldiers and Missouri volunteers who routed several hundred Seminoles.

The new park is itself a stunning victory for forces who for decades fought to protect the site from encroaching development.

In 2006, as part of the $3 billion Florida Forever program, the state agreed to buy 145 of the 211 acres at the battlefield, which the National Trust for Historic Places had listed as one of America’s 11 most endangered historic sites.

Officials said it likely would have ended up as townhomes.

Plans include a small museum that will describe the battle and house artifacts found at the site.

While the site will host this weekend’s reenactment, it’s not yet open as a park. No structures have been built yet.

The Second Seminole War, 1835 to 1842, was the longest and most expensive the white man waged against American Indians and draws parallels to Vietnam.

Soldiers were sent far away to an inhospitable swamp to fight locals familiar with the territory, and it was a war of attrition in which three died of disease for every one killed in battle.

After the war, the Seminoles were scattered, with about 600 shipped west as part of the “Trail of Tears” and the rest vanishing into the Everglades. In 1939, West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a roadside marker (above) along U.S. 441 near the battlefield. In November 2011, the marker was moved to the new park site.

The Battle of Okeechobee State Park site is at 3500 S.E. 38th Ave. in Okeechobee.


Willard Steele, playing the part of Gen. Zachary Taylor who fought in the Seminole War at Okeechobee, sets up the Missouri Volunteer Flag at the battle site south of Okeechobee. (1987 Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

Tags: , , ,

Posted in Eliot Kleinberg February 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm.

Add a comment

No Replies

Feel free to leave a reply using the form below!


Leave a Reply

We'd like your thoughts on this story. I appreciate your willingness to share them. At PalmBeachPost.com, we want to avoid comments that are obscene, hateful, racist or otherwise inappropriate. If you post offensive comments, we will delete them as soon as we can. If you see such comments, please report them to us by clicking this link.

Tim Burke, Executive Editor, The Palm Beach Post.


© Copyright 2014 The Palm Beach Post. All rights reserved. By using PalmBeachPost.com, you accept the terms of our visitor agreement. Please read it.
Contact PalmBeachPost.com | Privacy Policy