Fort Armstrong Gazette

November 08


President’s Message – Jean McNary

The Dade Battlefield Society, Inc. Board is focusing solely on the reenactment at this time.
The medallions have been approved and ordered. We are finalizing the program and will soon work on the reenactor packets, meals, music, gate fees, and much, much more.  We paused and said good-bye to a person who has become a good friend, as well as someone who was totally dedicated to Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, Ms. Tracey Standridge.  Tracey came to Dade, as the new park manager, in 2004.  I worked closely with Tracey these last 4 years.  I can say, with absolutely no hesitation, that no one, with whom I have ever worked, put in as much time to make the Park and the reenactment the valuable experience both are for anyone who has visited the Park.  Her accomplishments are too numerous to list.  Among the most impressive of these were: (1) to improve and implement a year-round interpretive program; (2) increase local participation/support; (3) increase yearly attendance and (4) re-wire the sound system for the battle narration.  Please refer to the park manager’s message for more information on her move to another park and her replacement.  Nineteen Florida parks will close due to budget cuts this coming year, but Dade Battlefield is not one of them.

The Society looks forward to working with the new park manager, Bob Baker. We hope to see all of you on the weekend of January 3rd and 4th, 2009.  Please travel safely.

Park Manager’s MessageTracey Standridge

I want to thank the Dade Battlefield Society, Inc., the people of Bushnell, all battle reenactment participants, and neighbors of Dade Battlefield Historic State Park for their help and friendship for the past four years. I have decided to make a career change and have moved to Koreshan State Historic Site in Southwest Florida. 

Dade Battlefield’s new park manager is Bob Baker.  Bob has extensive experience at historic sites.  He previously was the park manager at Payne’s Creek Historic State Park near Bowling Green, and most recently, Koreshan State Historic Site in Estero.

I will be available to assist Bob in the transition and hope to see all of you at January’s reenactment. Thank you for your assistance in the past to make the reenactment one of the premiere events in the Florida State Parks.  I have formed some lasting friendships from my contacts at Dade Battlefield.  I will miss you, but look forward to learning about another period in Florida history and making new friends.  A sincere good-bye.

Member News

DBS member Frank Laumer’s novel, “Nobody’s Hero”, about the life of battle survivor, Ransom Clark, is now available.  The book is published by Pineapple Press of Sarasota. The Seminole War Foundation sells books each year at the reenactment and we hope the book will be available for purchase at the reenactment along with their many other fine selections.  If you would like information on the Foundation’s books, membership information or any assistance, their website is www.swhfoundation.org.

TDC Grant

On October 28, the Sumter County Commission approved a Tourist Development Council grant application submitted by the Dade Battlefield Society.  The Society has been granted $15,000 to advertise this year’s reenactment. The County continues to believe in the reenactment as a draw for tourists coming to Sumter County and has supported us for the last 4 years.  We thank them for their continued assistance to help make our event one of the best in Florida.

Dates To Remember

November 22 – Annual Fall member’s meeting of the Seminole Wars Foundation at Dade Battlefield – 10:30 a.m.  This meeting is for the members of the SWF.  There will be book signings and a tour of the battlefield. Lunch will be served.  For more information, please RSVP to Frank Laumer (352) 583-2711.

December 28 – Memorial at 1:00 p.m. – The Seminole War Foundation will present a service to honor the soldiers and the Seminoles who died at this site 173 years ago. The service will be in front of the Visitor’s Center.

January 3 and 4, 2009 – Dade’s 28th Annual Battle Reenactment – 2:00 p.m.

January 3, 2009 – Candlelight Memorial Service – 9:00 p.m. at the breastwork.

Board Meetings

November 11, 6:30 p.m.- Dade’s Lodge
December 9, 6:30 p.m.- Dade’s Lodge


Parking for the reenactment has always been an issue. This year we have arranged to use the property directly west of the battlefield as we did in 2005.  We will not be able to park within the State Park at this time.  Large trees were lost and downed by the hurricanes of 2004. Ms. Standridge saw this larger area as a possible solution to the parking problem.  However, there is still clearing that needs to be done and parking patterns that need to be worked on and approved by the State before this plan can be approved.  The Society hopes this approach can be studied and, if feasible, implemented in the future.

A New View of The Ft. King Road by Jerry Morris

As some of you know, I have transposed (with Frank Laumer’s help), on to National Geological Survey Quadrangle Maps, the entire old Military Road known as the Fort King Road. The old road, cleared twenty feet wide, ran through the wilderness from Ft. Brooke in Tampa to Ft. King in Ocala. It was used regularly to transport supplies and mail between the two forts.  These 14 maps are about 2 ½ ft square and too large to put together and show as one map. So with the purchase of some very expensive computer programs, and a computer mapping expert, Jeff Hough and I are putting the road into book form.

We decided to add more detail to the maps so a person could actually go out and locate it.  First, we broke the maps down to one square mile sections instead of thirty six square mile townships.  Each one square mile section of the road will be a page in the book. There are 121 sections through which the road passes.  To make it as accurate as possible, we will lay down each section from the old 1840’s and 1850’s surveys on a page and then overlay the modern street images. You can see the old map through the new map.  We will add street names and other things, including longitude and latitude markings for you GPS users.  We have located some old aerial photos that, amazingly, still show some of the old road in 1938.  We hope to include these, if we can reproduce them clearly.  The object is to create a historical document that will show where the old road was long after the developer’s graders and bulldozers paved it over. We think the book will have historical merit.




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