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
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
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
Like all such stories, this one begins with the
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
The Indians of the Treasure Coast
It is not known when the Indians first settled
What we do know is that they were here for
hundreds, possibly thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived on thes
Homer Cato of Micco is an amateur archaeologist who has documented evidence of what may have been Sebastian's
The "Cato Site" is located just south of
Sebastian Inlet and north of McLarty
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
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
With ruthless efficiency, Menendez slaughtered the French. After
capturing them, he had them led
out in groups often and had their
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
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
In 1605 a Spanish soldier named Aivero
Mexia was sent to improve relations with the
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
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
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
McLarty Museum, a part of the Sebastian Inlet
State Recreation Area, is located on the site of the
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
"In addition to those difficulties, which are formidable enough," he added, "many of them were in the
neighborhood of a bloodthirsty and treacherous
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.