Fort Armstrong Gazette

February 2011


President’s Message – Steve Rinck

 The 175th anniversary of Major Dade’s Battle was commemorated by two days of reenactments on January 1st and 2nd  before over 2100 viewers, many of whom were visiting Dade Battlefield Historic State Park for the very first time.  With more than 260 dressed-out participants (including 158 battle reenactors), our guests found themselves surrounded by scenes straight out of the 1830’s.  The presence of more youth groups on the viewing mound and in the camps and record activity at Dade Battlefield Society’s sales booth seem to indicate a renewed interest in learning about the Second Seminole War period.  If this can be maintained, it would certainly be encouraging for those of us concerned with educating the public about this very important time in American history.

Whereas the battles and period setups were once again highly successful, there remain troublesome financial situations that threaten the future of our reenactment.  A general camp meeting on Saturday night was the site of discussions about increasing costs and declining revenues relating to producing the weekend’s events.  Some decisions were made a few days later (outlined elsewhere in this newsletter) that we hope will have positive impacts for the future and that will contribute to the continuation of the quality productions to which we have become accustomed for many years to come.





176TH Anniversary Reenactment of Dade’s Battle - January 7 & 8, 2012

As a result of the outpouring of support and the many helpful suggestions following a camp meeting of reenactors and Society staff on New Year’s Day, the following changes are being put into place for next year:


a. The dates of future Dade’s Battle Reenactments will always be the first FULL weekend in January.  (This will prevent the frequent conflicts with New Year’s activities for both reenactors and the public).


b. Membership in Dade Battlefield Society is required of all battle participants.  (This will be $10 for each soldier and Seminole warrior taking the field.  Members paying their regular dues anytime during 2011 will be considered as having met this requirement).


c. Distribution of free medallions is being suspended for an indefinite period.

As we continue to reassess our needs, future issues of The Fort Armstrong Gazette will keep you current on any additional changes.


Upcoming Board Meetings     6:30 p.m., Dade’s Lodge

                                                ANY INTERESTED PERSON IS WELCOME!

                                February  8, 2011                                              April 12, 2011

                                March 8, 2011                                                   May 10, 2011                                                      


Rally in the Park - February 19 & 20                                  

A vintage RV and Auto Show, “Rally in the Park” is once again being held during this month at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park.  Meet the TIN-CAN-TOURISTS with RV classes from “A” and “C” to Towable.  Classic cars from the Citrus A’s, Fun T’s, and the Sumter Cruisers Auto Club will be there, too.  Entertainment will be provided by The Blackwater Creek Bluegrass Band, and food vendors will be available for your convenience.  Admission is $5/car (up to 8), and the times are 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


NEW!  Cyber Swap Meet                                             

Great bargains on reenactment gear were realized at our Fifth Annual Swap Meet last November, but conflicts with other activities prevented many of the regulars of past years from attending.  In an effort to better provide opportunities for reenactors and collectors to have access to outfits, accoutrements and camping gear, The Dade Battlefield Society is establishing a “Cyber Swap Meet” on its website.  This new feature is intended to be an ongoing forum on which members and others may list items to sell, swap and trade that would be appropriate for pre-1880’s impressions.  More details will be made available in the May issue of The Fort Armstrong Gazette.


February  Member Profile:  John Griffin


A prominent citizen of Groveland, Florida, DBS Board Member John Griffin can trace his ancestry directly back to the time of Major Dade’s Battle and before.  The present-day sign maker, cattle rancher and Groveland City Councilman talks of his great great great grandfather who escaped slavery in Alabama to settle in today’s Hernando County among the resident Seminole tribes.  That man’s son married a Seminole woman, a union that  verifies John’s personal Native American heritage.

Eight years ago, John attended the Dade Battle Reenactment for the first time and was amazed at what he saw.  Accompanying him was his 12-year-old nephew Matthew, whose fascination with what transpired there served to increase John’s interest in learning more, as well.  The two would return to the annual event each year thereafter.  By the third year, his nephew was dressing out as a Black Seminole and participating in the battle; in 2005 John himself, confessing that he “wanted to be more than just Matthew’s ‘roadie’,” began appearing in Indian garb, too.

Three years ago, John became a member of our executive board, and today at Dade Battlefield Park sets out his award-winning Black Seminole camp populated with many family members and friends.  He makes historical presentations to school children and other groups and is sought after for his expertise in genealogical research.  We are proud of John Griffin’s work with the Society.  His enthusiasm continues to inspire us, and his influence on the authenticity of our representations of 1830’s life is sure to continue during the years ahead.




Seminole Wars Events Calendar


Shootout at Billie Swamp Safari

Big Cypress Seminole Reservation

4th Weekend of February


Fort Cooper Days

Fort Cooper State park

3rd Weekend of March


Fort Chokonikla Encampment

paynes Creek State Park

4th Weekend of March


Fort Christmans Militia Encampment

Fort Christmas Historical park

1st Weekend of April


Fort Foster Garrison Weekend

Hillsborough River State park

3rd Weekend of April




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