Fort Armstrong Gazette

September 08



President’s Message – Jean McNary

The Society exists to “function as a support group and association to Dade Battlefield State Historic Site in accordance with Florida Administrative Code S16D-201”. It is “to assist the State of Florida Department of Natural Resources with the preservation and conservation of the site and property which include the structures, grounds and recreational facilities”.  It is our job “to increase public awareness of Dade Battlefield and local heritage found at this site through docent programs, social functions, and educational activities, recreational activities, festivals, etc.”.  Our board also serves as volunteers in other Park events like WWII Day, the Swap meet, and work days.  Our broad mission includes, but not exclusively, the planning and production of the reenactment of Dade’s Battle.  We have asked for assistance.  Our pleas have been partly answered.  Two new board members are local residents of South Sumter County.  The Seminole War Foundation has also offered to help.  They agreed to plan and implement the wreath ceremony on December 28.  The board also appreciates their help to make the 28th Annual Reenactment another quality event.  If anyone has a question or suggestion, please feel free to attend our board meetings the second Tuesday of each month, 6:30 p.m., Dade’s Lodge.

2008-2009 Officers Elected
President – Jean McNary                                Secretary – Jessica Hoag
Vice-President – Dale Beremand                   Treasurer – Jerry Robertson

Jessica and Jerry are new to the board.  Jerry is a retired landscaper from S. Florida, now from Lake Panasofkee.  He is an experienced Civil War reenactor.  Jessica is a Sumter County native from Bushnell.  She is a hospice nurse and is very good with a computer.  We welcome them. We also welcome new board member, Steve Rinck, a retired principal who lives in Dade City.  For many years, he wanted to be a reenactor and now has time to fulfill his wish.


Ranger George Webb did another outstanding job planning and coordinating this event held August 2.  Many WW II vets attended.  All veterans, past wars or present, were greeted and given a flag pin.  We expect this event to grow each year.  It was estimated that over 400 people attended.  Great job Ranger Webb!

Board Meetings:
September 9                            November 11
October 14                              December 9

Park Update - Tracey L. Standridge, Dade Battlefield, Park Manager

During 2007 and 2008, the park experienced a 6.06% increase in revenue and a 6.7% increase in attendance. The park staff, in efforts to continue the increase in public awareness, has embarked on an aggressive programming and community outreach campaign.  This past year, we formed partnerships with South Sumter High School’s band boosters, NJROTC, and Key Club to assist with park programs. Boston Productions filmed 2 days at the park for footage for one of the Tampa History Center exhibits. The Regional Envirothon was held at the park. SCARC held their day camp at the park. A Woman in the Outdoors program was held in June and, in November, the Sumter County SPCA will be holding the annual Wags-N-Walk program at the park.

For the first time, Dade Battlefield has established year around ranger programs. These can be viewed at: www.floridastateparks.org. and below.  We invite you to join us during the year as we embark on this journey.  I would like to thank the following people who helped with our Living History Day on August 16th.  Ray Jozwick, Ken Woods, Maureen Patrick, Louie Ferris, Hal Merritt, Jason DeHart and Dale.  This has been a dream of mine, to start a living history weekend once a month, and, with Ray’s help and my posting a message on the Seminole reenactors yahoo group, we were able to present a new program to our visitors.  It is my hope that we will be able to do this type of program the 3rd Saturday of each month. Thanks to you all on this venture.

We have several volunteer work days scheduled for assistance with park programs and resource management.  We are working on this year’s reenactment and our November program.
We need assistance with splitting of firewood for the reenactment, parking area preparations,  (installing field fence, access gates, etc.), mowing camp areas, and script review for vignettes, building sets, and making candle lanterns for our November program.  The work day dates are September 6th, 20th, October 4th, 18th, 25th, November 15th, 16th, December 13th, 14th, 20th, and 21st, from 10 am to 3 pm.  On work days, lunch and drinks will be provided for volunteers.

I would like to thank the Dade Battlefield Society Board for their continued support of the park and all of our volunteers who provide us support.  Thanks for helping us showcase one of the gems of the Florida Park Service.

Dade Battlefield Ranger Programs

Battlefield Tours – Saturdays at 10 AM and 2 PM.
Ranger led tour starts at the park’s visitor center and follows portions of the Old Fort King Road
that Dade and his command traveled on that fateful day of December 28, 1835.

Getting Fit in Nature- Monday mornings at 10 AM - November-May
Lace up your walking shoes and experience the natural side of Dade as we take a guided walk on the back forty.

For the Birds – 4th Thursday-October –April
Remember the saying “The Early Bird Gets the Worm”? Come out and explore Dade’s natural beauty at sunrise-please call the Park for definite times and to register for this program. Program limit is 15 people. Bring your binoculars for an AM encounter with the various birds at Dade and experience nature’s serenade at the dawning of a new day.

History Lives – 3rd Weekend-April-September 10 AM and 2PM
Living History programs for the enlightenment of park visitors of life during the Second Seminole War – topics vary from soldier life, life on the Florida frontier, and Seminole life.

Fire Flies and History – 2nd Saturday-June-September
Mingle with the fire flies as we travel down “A Road Back in Time”-please call the park for definite times and to register for this program. Program limit is 25 people.
Battlefield by Candlelight – 5th Saturday program-January-May and August-October
Ranger led candlelight tour along the Old Fort King Road. Please call for definite times and to register for this program – 2 evening tours, limit of 25 per tour.

Customized Ranger Program
Ongoing customized ranger programs can be requested for organized groups, schools or family and friends by contacting the park office.  Please give us a minimum of two weeks advance notice. (Actually, the sooner, the better).

The park is located: South of Bushnell between I-75 and US 301 off County Road 476 on S. Battlefield Dr. Take Exit 314 east from I-75. Florida State Parks are in various stages of accessibility.  Should you require special assistance, contact the park office.

Fees: Admission - $2 per car -  Contact: (352) 793-4781 for more details.

Dade Swap Meet -2008 - John DeLancett, Event Coordinator

On August 16, 2008, the Society held its 3rd Annual Swap Meet.  There were a total of five exhibitors and seven tables.  Michael DeLancett sold hot dogs and cold drinks at the event.  The number of attendees was larger than last year, due, in part, to the historical interpretation conducted by some reenactors in the park on the same day.  Unfortunately, very few reenactors and members attended the swap meet.  Items for sale or trade included guns, rifles, tomahawks, knives, uniforms, Indian leggings, decorative items, bandolier bags, and several other items.  Everyone had a good time and all stated that they would participate again next year. 

John DeLancett would appreciate input from anyone else concerning how to obtain a better turn out and participation in this event.  Obviously, the number of registrants was disappointing in that it was down from last year. It had been anticipated that more reenactors would participate and/or come to the event since this is an excellent opportunity to sell, purchase or trade items related to the various periods that they portray.  Any comments or suggestions should be forwarded to John DeLancett at frentrapper@embarqmail.net.  Thanks to all who participated and supported the event.

Seminole Women’s Guidelines

Maureen Patrick is a cultural historian, President of Tampa Historical Society, Inc., and living history professional at Henry B. Plant Museum in Tampa. She also enjoys historical reenactments. Jean McNary interviewed Maureen at the recent Living History Weekend at the Park. 

     Jean:  What’s your involvement in historical reenactment?
     Maureen:  I started, several years ago, to indulge my love of interpretation without
     professional pressures.  My primary persona is a Muskogee Creek/French metisse, from West  
     Florida in the 1750s. Then Rick Obermeyer cajoled me into portraying a Creek Seminole
     woman from the Seminole Wars.  I became fascinated with the persona, the period and the

     Jean:  I understand you’re writing Guidelines for Seminole Women Reenactors. Why?
     Maureen:  Because we need them!  Seminole women are under-represented at events/sites,
     despite the essential roles they played in Seminole life, even accompanying men on hunting
     and war forays.  I would love to see more women Seminole reenactors. I thought it might
     facilitate that if I constructed detailed Guidelines.

     Jean:  What do the Guidelines include?
     Maureen:  The woman’s “kit” in parts: “The Dress”, “Footwear”, “Ornamentation”, etc. 
     Fully annotated, so reenactors can document their attire and accoutrements. Period images
      and drawings of the appropriate ensemble; suggestions for “typical” women’s interpretive
     activities: beadwork, gourd work, etc; and- for cultural context – a reading list of
     books/articles on Seminole life, history and material culture.

     Jean: How will you present the Guideline to the reenactors?
     Maureen:  I’ve created a short version that can be sent to reenactors with registration
     materials from historic sites/reenactments.  These can also be placed online where
     Seminole reenactor guidelines are posted.  A more comprehensive version will be
     published in workbook form.  I’ll make sure the reenactors can find it through web forums,
     blogs, and other means.

     Jean:  Where can the reenactors reach you?
     Maureen: Through my website, www.historicguides.com. which lists events I will be

December 28 Memorial – by Jerry Morris

On December 28, 2008, The Dade Battlefield Society and Seminole Wars Foundation will present a service to honor the soldiers and Seminoles that died 173 years ago.  It will be held at the Breastwork at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park at 1:00 P.M. The ceremony is free and open to the public. The Park entrance fee will be suspended for this service.  We proudly announce the JNROTC Color Guard of South Sumter High School will present the Colors. Major Steve Abolt has volunteered to drive down from Georgia to lead the service.  He would like to have a Drum and Fife Corps to help him, if someone wants to step up. We are asking for both soldier and Seminole reenactors, in period dress, to come and honor those who “gave the last full measure of their devotion” for their beliefs.


Newsletter Archive:

September 05
March 06
May 06
September 06
November 06
March 07
May 07
September 07
November 07
March 08
May 08
September 08
November 08 March 09