Introduction to Tales of Sebastian

by George Ricker
 
copyright 1990 Sebastian River Area Historical Society, Inc.

Those of you who live in the area between the St. Sebastian River and the Indian River lagoon in north Indian River County are part of a region that is experiencing rapid growth and faced with all of the problems such growth entails.

If you are like most of us, you know very little of the history of the place.

This volume is a modest attempt to present some of the area's early history. For like most places, it has a past, one that is rich and colorful, filled with interesting people and events.

It is a past worth remembering for its own sake and because it forms the repository out of which the present was constructed. What our community is today depends, in part, on the actions of men and women who came to a frontier and made it livable.

The history of the area has a richness that may surprise you. It is a history that began long before there was any thought of towns like Sebastian, Roseland, Wabasso and Fellsmere, a history that is a resource to be shared.

Perhaps, by understanding its broad outlines, we can understand more of the community in which we live today.

Do you realize, if you live in the Sebastian area, you are living at the location of the site of an Indian culture that was here for thousands of years before your ancestors came to the shores of this country?

Did you know that, not very far from where you are sitting, 1500 survivors of one of the most famous shipwrecks along the Florida coast had a camp, where they awaited transport back to Cuba, while, not far from them, a salvage operation to recapture a fabulous treasure was under way?

Are you aware that directly across the Indian River lagoon is a historical site where an amateur archaeologist from Micco found evidence of human occupation that was at least 3,000 years old? Can you imagine that, not far from there, occurred one of the most celebrated pirate raids in history, one that touched off a wave of piracy which lasted for a number of decades in the Caribbean?

These are only some of the interesting facts about the history of the area. They are by no means exhaustive. For the story of the area around the Sebastian River and the Indian River lagoon is a fascinating story.

This is the story of early Sebastian.

Not the complete story, you understand.

There is much that is lost, and much more that was never known.

But it is enough of the story to give you, at least, some of the flavor of how the community that developed around the St. Sebastian River came to be.

Like all such stories, this one begins with the land.

But unlike many of them, perhaps the most important feature of the land was the water that bordered it on three sides.

Most of early Sebastian was built on land between a river and a lagoon.

And it was the proximity of those bodies of water that made the place attractive to the early settlers and to those who came before them.

The St. Sebastian River, as it was named by the Spanish explorers who first placed it on their maps, is a freshwater tributary. It is fed by rainfall and by smaller creeks and rivulets that drain the land between the Atlantic Sand Ridge, which runs more or less parallel to the present-day location of U.S. 1 and the Florida East Coast Railway, and another sand ridge, which is parallel to Interstate 95.

With prongs running to the north and south, the river drains the basin between those sand ridges. It is the principal tributary of the Indian River lagoon in the Sebastian area. A western prong of the river, which existed when the area was settled, became part of the C-54 drainage canal.

Indeed, the construction of C-54 and other drainage canals, both to make the land habitable and to make it more useful to agriculture, expanded the drainage basin of the St. Sebastian west of the basin between the sand ridges in this century. The Indian River lagoon forms the eastern border of the Sebastian area, and the St. Sebastian River forms the western boundary. The northern part of the land ends in a point at the mouth of the freshwater stream, where it enters the Indian River.

The Indians of the Treasure Coast

It is not known when the Indians first settled here.

What we do know is that they were here for hundreds, possibly thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived on thes shores.

Homer Cato of Micco is an amateur archaeologist who has documented evidence of what may have been Sebastian's earliest neighborhood.

The "Cato Site" is located just south of Sebastian Inlet and north of McLarty Museum.

What he found there was the skeletal remains of three Indians who had lived in the area hundreds of years before the time of Christ.

A pounder made of the central columella of a conch shell and located near the remains was carbon dated to 845 B.C. The remains, as Cato noted later in an interview I did with him, were several feet below the level at which the columella had been found and may have been thousands of years older.

However, we can state with some certainty that there were Indians living there almost 3,000 years ago.

Midden material and other artifacts located at the site indicate it was the location of a village.

By comparing the remains with others he had found in and around the Sebastian area, Cato was able to confirm that they were related to the Ais Indians, the dominant tribe on this part of the Florida east coast when the Spanish arrived.

He also suspects there was a natural inlet between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean in the area at that time, which might account for the Indians' decision to locate a village there.

The Ais Indians were related to the Caribbean tribes. Hunter-gatherers, they lived on the abundance of marine life and wild fruits and berries indigenous to the area.

They dominated the Florida coast from Fort Pierce to Cape Canaveral, and the Indian River was their principal source of food and transportation.

With a marine-based economy, the Ais relied on the lagoon, the river and the ocean for food. Many of their tools, implements and decorations were made of shell.

Later, after Europeans had discovered the new world, they came to rely on the sea for other ings as well.

With the advent of the Spanish treasure fleets, which left Cuba and sailed parallel to the Florida coast to a point east of St. Augustine before striking across the Atlantic Ocean for Spain, the Ais became treasure salvors as well.

Numerous shipwrecks along the coast attracted the interest of the Ais. Those shipwrecks ultimately brought them into contact with the Spanish, a contact that would prove fatal for the Indians and their culture.

For as the Indians preyed upon the Spanish vessels wrecked by storms along the coast, the Spanish began to prey upon them.

In 1565 Admiral Pedro Menendez of Spain was given a charter to develop the east coast of Florida. One of his first tasks was to clear out the French colony that had been established by Jean Ribault at Fort Caroline.

With ruthless efficiency, Menendez slaughtered the French. After capturing them, he had them led out in groups often and had their throats cut.

After learning the location of a group who had escaped, Menendez came down the coast from St. Augustine to Cape Canaveral where the Frenchmen had made a rough fort.

He captured the French and continued on down the coast with his expedition.

In his book about Menendez and the Spanish Conquest of Florida in 1565-68, The Enterprise of Florida, historian Eugene Lyon describes the journey.

"As his land forces, swollen by the number of the French prisoners, slogged along the long expanse of beach which stretches like a crescent moon southward from Cape Canaveral, the adelantado of Florida entered a new and distinctive part of his kingdoms. As the marching men moved down the narrowing island they soon caught glimpses of the broad open waters of the Indian River. Menendez could quickly see that the waterway would afford protected navigation by small craft which would enable more rapid and secure communication along the central east coast."

Menendez made his way down the coast to a place where the "...land between river and ocean was a mere sandspit." There he found a thick cluster of Indian villages and the dwelling place of the chief of the Ais.

The location of this site is believed to have been near the St. Sebastian River area.

According to Lyon, "The basic theory of the location of the Ais culture center was developed by Homer N. Cato of Micco, Florida, who has done much fruitful field work in a number of Ais sites in the vicinity of the St. Sebastian River and the ocean inlet opposite it."

As he had marched his troops down the beach from Cape Canaveral, Menendez had been followed by three boats at sea. Having established contact with the Ais chieftain, the adelantado had his men make camp at a location not far from the Ais village. Leaving 200 of his soldiers and 50 of the French prisoners at that location, he boarded his boats and set sail for Havana in search of reinforcements and more supplies for his venture in Florida.

According to Cato, the evidence indicates the location of the seat of Ais culture at that time was near the present location of Sebastian and Roseland.

The relationship between the Spanish and the Ais Indians alternated between efforts to negotiate and hostility, which led at times to massacres of the Indians by the Spanish.

For their part, the Spanish colonists were concerned about the safety of their missionaries and of shipwreck victims along the coast. The Indians' predilection for harvesting treasure from the many shipwrecks also was a matter of concern.

The Indians, on the other hand, were accustomed to harvesting the bounty of the sea, and doubtless regarded the ornaments and jewelry they salvaged as one more example of that bounty.

They had little reason to regard the powerful, pale-skinned interlopers with anything but suspicion.

Here in Florida, as in other parts of' the new world, the relationship between the Indians and the Europeans who came to live on lands they had occupied for generations was strained and eventually led to the extermination of the Indian cultures.

At the time Menendez visited the chief of the Ais, the Indians still had a viable culture. But clearly it was one whose time was running out.

In 1605 a Spanish soldier named Aivero Mexia was sent to improve relations with the Ais.

Mexia kept a journal of his trip down the Indian River, and from the notes in that journal, one of the first maps of the Indian River lagoon was made. The map includes what may be the earliest record of the St. Sebastian River, as it was called by the Spanish.

At any rate, the Ais were still in the area during the early 1700s when one of the most famous of all shipwrecks occurred.

The Sinking of a Treasure Fleet

More than any other event, it was the sinking of the 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet off the coast of Florida that gave the Treasure Coast its name.

After leaving Havana in late July, a fleet of 12 ships were driven by a hurricane into the Florida coast between St. Lucie Inlet and the present location of Sebastian Inlet.

Eleven of the ships sank. The twelfth, a French vessel that had been forced to sail with the Spanish when they left Havana, managed to escape the reefs and to survive the encounter with the storm. It was July 31, 1715. Thousands perished in the catastrophe.

Almost immediately, the Spanish launched a salvage operation. The men, women and children who had survived were herded up the coast to a location just south of the modern-day Sebastian Inlet, the northernmost point at which the ships were known to have gone down.

The survivors were placed in the location of an Ms Indian village, were they would wait until transportation could be arranged to return them to Havana.

McLarty Museum, a part of the Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area, is located on the site of the survivors camp.

Under the direction of Don Juan del Hoyo Solorzano, the sergeant major of Havana, the salvage operation recovered much of the treasure that had been lost when the Plate Fleet went down.

In 1716, Captain Henry Jennings raided the salvors' camp and made off with 21 tons of silver pieces-of-eight, about 600,000 coins. Jenning's raid touched off a wave of piracy in the Caribbean.

However, not all of the treasure was recovered by the Spanish, nor was all they recovered captured by pirates.

In August, 1988, not far from Sebastian Inlet, treasure hunters found an estimated $150,000 to $300,000 in pieces-of-eight, jewelry and other artifacts that had been waiting on the bottom since the Nuestra Senora de la Regla had gone down in 1715.

Part of the Spanish Plate Fleet, the Regla had been one of the flagships.

According to Steve Morgan, who headed the treasure hunting expedition with Roy Volker, an estimated $200 million in gold is still waiting on the bottom for someone.

And that is just from the Regla. Morgan also said three of the ships that went down in the Plate Fleet disaster have never been found.

By the last half of the 1700s, the Ms were gone completely. Possibly some of the scattered remnants merged with the outcasts from other tribes who began coming to Florida during that time.

Little is known of the ultimate fate of the Ais. They had been hunted and enslaved or killed by the Spanish. They also had succumbed, like most native American tribes to many of the white man's illnesses.

But they left their mark on the countryside in the form of giant shell middens that dotted the shores of the St. Sebastian River and the Indian River lagoon where their villages had been located.

The middens were a pre-Columbian landfill, giant refuse heaps containing shell, pottery shards, broken tools and all the other castoff material of a vital culture.

In some cases the middens became the site of villages. In others, they were burial grounds. One of the middens became a landmark for some time in the Sebastian area before it was finally destroyed early in this century.

Christened Barker's Bluff, after an Indian trader who was supposedly killed there in the mid-1800s, the midden was more than 1,000 feet long, about 400 feet wide and as high as the tallest palm tree in the area.

Actually, the bluff was named after John Barker in error. Research by local historian Wanda Hamilton suggests John Barker was killed by Seminole Indians just a few miles north of Fort Pierce, nowhere near the St. Sebastian River area.

However, such legends have a life of their own. There is no question the bluff was named after Barker. And right or wrong, the name stuck.

The bluff dominated the western shore of the Indian River, and several early settlers, including August Park, lived there. Gottlob Kroegel had his house atop the midden until the early 1900s, when the huge, shell mound was sold to St. Lucie County to form the roadbed for a wagon track up the coast.

By the 1760s, the Ais had ceased to exist as a viable culture. It is possible some remnants remained to join with the Seminole Indians who came to Florida at around that time. However, there is no evidence to support such speculation.

At the time Barker's Bluff was sold and hauled away to become a roadbed, an Ais Indian graveyard existed on the Kroegel property. The graveyard was destroyed in the process of hauling the shell midden away.

However, according to Janice Kroegel Timinsky, there is one Indian left on the property, an Ais chief who is reportedly buried on the grounds.

He remains there to this day - at rest in the dappled shade, a mute reminder of a culture and of the individuals who gave it life, now lost in the passages of time.

Conflict and Conquest - the Seminole Wars

In 1774, cartographer Bernard Romans made a chart of Florida on which he recorded the St. Sebastian River. It was one of the first maps to identify the river by name.

Florida was still under the control of the Spanish at that time. Portions of the state would remain under their control until 1819, when it was ceded to the United States following the conclusion of the First Seminole War.

The Seminoles, a tribe made up of Creek Indians who had separated from the main tribe, outcasts from other tribes and runaway slaves, fought a losing battle for their land on the peninsula.

Their raids on white settlements, the refuge for escaped slaves their camps provided and the natural friction that occurred as the white man continued to encroach on their territory, all contributed to their demise.

Andrew Jackson, known by the nickname Old Hickory, led the reprisals against the Seminoles in 1817 - 1818.

His capture of Pensacola in 1818 involved the U.S. government in complications with both Britain and Spain, and led, ultimately to the U.S. gaining control of the peninsula. Old Hickory, of course, went on to become the seventh President of the United States (1829 - 1837).

The Second Seminole War was fought between 1835 - 1842.

In that conflict the Seminoles were led by their most famous chief, Osceola.

When it was over, Osceola was dead, most of the Seminoles were moved to Oklahoma and a small remnant of the tribe remained in Florida, seeking refuge in the Everglades and south Florida, where their descendants remain to this day.

Early in the Second Seminole War, a visit was made to the St. Sebastian River area by Navy Lt. L.M. Powell, who led an expeditionary force down the Indian River looking for Seminoles and for depot sites at which the Army was later to build forts.

According to George Buker's Swamp Sailors, Powell's force departed on Dec. 26, 1837, and arrived at the St. Sebastian River on Dec. 28, where they made camp on a high bluff on the northern bank of the river.

Buker wrote, "There was a brief period of rest until dark, then Powell had the men ascend the river looking for fires which would betray the hostile campsites. This search lasted all night, and the river was scouted to its headwaters without discovery of the enemy."

Powell's command numbered about 200 men. They traveled the Indian River in light boats filled with provisions and baggage.

In his journal, Army Surgeon Jacob Rhett Motte, who followed after Powell with another group of boats a few days later, the trip down the lagoon from the haulover south of Mosquito Lagoon to Indian River Inlet was serene and uneventful.

Motte gave the following account of the journey. "...we continued all day quietly gliding down Indian River, whose placid surface had remained unbroken for so many ages, by any other voyagers than the beautiful timid duck, the dignified and unwieldy pelican, and occasionally an Indian in his light canoe. In whose undisturbed and transparent waters the fishes had increased and multiplied, meeting no death but nature's.

"The thickly wooded shores, wrapt in silence and solitude, displayed to the view all the various shades of coloring which the imagination could fancy; and many green and sunny islands, clothed in gay verdure, and diversified by the richest and most luxuriant foliage in this southern clime, exhibited much of the picturesque, as we floated past with noiseless progress before the gentle and favoring breeze."

An idyllic picture to be sure. One can only wonder what Motte's journal would have recorded had he made the journey in the heat of summer, when the mosquitoes were out in force.

He also reported nights of unbroken serenity, disturbed only by the howling of wolves and the hooting of owls.

General Hernandez, leading mounted troops of the Second U.S. Dragoons, the Florida Volunteers and the Tennessee Volunteers, arrived at Fort Pierce around Jan. 7, 1838.

The general had come over land, traveling country that truly was virgin wilderness.

A military trail that ran from Fort Capron, near Indian River Inlet, to the headwaters of the South Prong of the St. Sebastian River is recorded on the Military Map of Florida, dated April 1856.

Motte's description of the journey down the Indian River is instructive because it gives us a picture of the St. Sebastian River area as it probably looked to the first white settlers who came here to live permanently.

However, that portrait of unspoiled wilderness also ought to give us a sense of the difficulties that awaited those pioneers. Wilderness has its drawbacks, and life spent in it is far more exciting and life-threatening than Motte's journal suggests.

That conclusion is supported by research Wanda Hamilton has done on the first attempt to establish permanent settlements in the Indian River area following the close of the Second Seminole War.

With the passage of the Armed Occupation Act of 1842, the U.S. Congress hoped to encourage the settlement of a largely unsurveyed part of the Florida Territory.

Hamilton wrote, in an article for the March 10, 1989, issue of the Sebastian Sun, "Absolute compliance with the terms of the Armed Occupation Act would have required, of all, the tenacity of a wild animal and an unfailing sense of purpose."

Efforts to colonize the Indian River area had largely been abandoned by the spring of 1848.

During the period, trader John Barker, of Barker's Bluff fame, had been killed and his land abandoned by his family and that of his brother-in-law William H. Russell.

As reported by Hamilton, General Land Office Commissioner Richard M. Young described the difficul- ties those first pioneers encountered in an April 20, 1848, letter in which he endorsed a proposal to come to the aid of the Indian River colonists.

His account differs markedly from the idyllic description contained in Motte's journal. But then, Young was speaking of the difficulties inherent in the task of living in the place. Motte was a traveler, just passing through.

"There were few or no roads," Young wrote, "and no mail facilities or other medium of communication. Much of the country was an impassable swamp, and, during the last few years, the heavy and continued rains have almost broken up all travel in the southern part of Florida, and materially retarded the progress of the public (and private) surveys.

"In addition to those difficulties, which are formidable enough," he added, "many of them were in the neighborhood of a bloodthirsty and treacherous foe."

Although the Indian River settlements had been largely abandoned by 1848, some of the settlers returned to the area and were counted in the 1850 census of St. Lucie County, which had been formed out of a portion of Mosquito County in 1844.

The federal census for 1850 said of St. Lucie County, "The Inhabitants of this County were driven from it on account of the Indian Hostilities and only a few of them have as yet returned."

Four companies of regular U.S. Army troops and two companies of Florida Mounted Volunteers were reportedly operating out of Fort Capron in 1857. According to the Florida Historical Quarterly, April-July, 1969, they were actively engaged in scouting the countryside west of the present cities of Stuart, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach and Sebastian.

Settlers and Settlements

In 1858, Andrew P. Canova and Ed Marr came to live near the mouth of the St. Sebastian River. The two lived in a palm thatch hut until the Civil War began in 1861. Then Canova, who was the youngest of the two, went to St. Augustine to enlist in the Army. Marr remained behind.

Canova later wrote of his experiences in a book called Life and Adventures in South Florida.

The first St. Lucie County was renamed Brevard County in the 1850s, according to the 1988-89 Florida Almanac. A second St. Lucie County was formed out of the southern half of Brevard County in 1905.

Marr and Canova were both listed in the 1860 Brevard County Census and are the only names we recognize of persons living in the area of the St. Sebastian River. All of Brevard County contained 96 houses or dwellings in that census.

During the period of the Civil War (1861-65), the U.S. Navy maintained surveillance of the Indian River and several Confederate ships were captured in and around the lagoon.

With the conclusion of the Civil War, settlers began once again to migrate to the area between the Indian River lagoon and the St. Sebastian River. By the end of the century, a small but permanent community had been established there.

One of the questions we must ask ourselves is what drew those men and women, many of them immigrants, to settle in this area.

Unquestionably, the proximity of the river and the lagoon were important considerations, as they doubtless had been for the Indians who had preceded them.

There was abundant game and fishing became increasingly important, although it really did not achieve commercial significance until the railroad arrived toward the end of the 18OOs.

The land was available and fertile. Citrus products and pineapple appear to have been the dominant cash crops.

So there were ways to earn a living here, or, at least, to sustain one's life. However, that in itself in not sufficient to explain the motivation.

For this was frontier living, make no mistake about that. There were none of the amenities we in the modern world have come to take for granted.

As an illustration, consider that one of the things that spurred the growth of commercial fishing in the area of the St. Sebastian River was a freeze in the winter of 1894-95 that wiped out most of the citrus and pineapple crops.

Much of the area was marsh, if not swamp. There were few trails through the wilderness.

The earliest settlers did not even have the luxury of a post office, let alone the telephone.

And if the fish and game were abundant, so were the mosquitoes and the alligators and the poisonous snakes. It may be some of the early settlers regarded the area as a paradise on earth, but it was, beyond dispute, a paradise that wanted some taming.

Why would men and women disrupt their lives to come to such a place?

What did they hope to find here that was not already available to them?

Those are questions more easily answered in the abstract than the particular. It is relatively easy to speculate on the qualities that breed the pioneer spirit. The attractions of the frontier always have drawn people to it.

For some, it holds the chance for a fresh start, the chance to possibly build a better life than the one left behind. For others, it offers the challenge of making a stand where none have stood before. Still others are attracted to life on the farthest fringes of civilization, not because they find it alluring, but because they find in it a way to escape, to run away from problems more safely viewed at a distance.

Doubtless, the early settlers who came to the area around the St. Sebastian River came for those, and other, reasons. It is likely most of them came for no single reason, but for a combination of several.

It is difficult, probably impossible, for us to imag- ine the hardships they endured. Florida was no retirement community then. Certainly not this part of the state.

Sitting comfortably in your easy chair or sofa - at least, I hope that is the case - while you read this, you must put aside the Florida you know today, because it bears no resemblance to the place these hardy souls came to inhabit.

There was no air-conditioning, no mosquito control. There were none of the modern appliances, even in their most primitive versions, that you take for granted.

Travel anywhere was an adventure. There were no automobiles and no superhighways. Indeed, the Indian River was the closest thing to a highway back then. It served that purpose for the settlers, just as it had for the Indians who preceded them.

Everyone owned a boat in those days. It was as much a necessity as an automobile is for most of us today. Mail delivery was by boat. Merchandise was delivered by boat.

Indeed, there were peddlers plying the river trade, marketing their wares from boats, just as their counterparts in other parts of the country used wagons.

One of the earliest letter carriers to serve the area was a black man named Peter Wright, who delivered the mail from Titusville to Melbourne in a catboat.

Reportedly, Charles Park, among the earlier settlers of the area around the St. Sebastian, picked up the mail in Melbourne and returned it to Sebastian. His journey also was by sailboat.

Most of those who came here arrived by boat. The preferred route appears to have been down the St. Johns River to Salt Lake or Lake Poinsett, then overland to the Indian River lagoon near Titusville or Rockledge.

From that point one could sail to the area of the St. Sebastian River with relative ease.

Doubtless, there also were a few hardy souls who attempted the trip overland. Theirs was by far the more difficult journey.

On the other hand, one always must beware the temptation of making too much of the hardships those early settlers encountered.

Obviously, the place had its attractions, or most of them would not have come at all. Compared to the life we know in the last part of the 20th Century, they lived in conditions beyond description.

However, they did not come here expecting the sort of luxury we have come to take for granted. It did not exist anywhere in the world then. Beyond that obvious fact, it also must be remembered they came to live in a frontier, and life in any frontier community is hard.

As frontier settlements go, the St. Sebastian River community that began to emerge in the last few decades of the 19th Century probably had it easier than many settlements in other, more hostile environments.

Food would grow here. Game and fish apparently were plentiful. The land and the waters that bordered it were beautiful. The climate was generally mild. A man of limited prospects could live here on very little.

Sebastian had begun to emerge as a small fishing village by the end of the century. The Roseland area also had begun to develop.

In the pages that follow you will meet some of the men and women who founded the community and helped it to grow. You will read of their lives in their own words and in the words of their descendents.

Some of the names will be familiar to you. For those early settlers founded families still active in the community today. The names echo through the pages of the area's history, a refrain repeated through the decades.

Park, Gibson, Cain, Kroegel, Lawson, Kitching, New, Braddock, Sembler and others, their stories became one with the land and the water on which they built their homes. Their lives become one with the communities they helped to found.

It is no small thing to build a community, no matter how small that community may be.

What is offered here is but a sampling of the early history of the area. A taste of what it was like that may whet your appetite for more.

Most of us who have arrived here recently have little awareness of these stories of the men and women who came to a frontier and tamed it and made it home. Yet, the sense of a shared past is one of the things that makes it possible for a community to emerge.

It is important for us to understand the history of this place we call home, because through that understanding may come the wisdom to make choices today, through it we may find the vision to shape tomorrow.

The history of this area is alive in more than the names of the descendents of those early pioneers. It also lives in the nature of the place we inhabit today. Their actions determined much of current history of places called Sebastian, Roseland, Fellsmere and Wabasso, as ours today will determine the shape of the communities that occupy this land in the future.

But beyond all of that, it is important to know of these folk you are about to meet, because they contributed greatly to the place you inhabit today.

And if the homes they built have fallen into disrepair and ruin, if the businesses they founded no longer exist, if the families they began have since moved away, they still left a mark on the land and on the area.

It is no small thing to found a community.

Those who are able to accomplish such a thing, in the face of what they endured, deserve, at the very least, to be remembered.