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The Florida Agriculturist.
A JOURNAL DEVOTED TO STATE INTERESTS. y6i i. Contents of this Number. .Page 137—Indian Key Massacre. Page 138 —David Grey’s Estate, poetry ; Our Prout Room: Tim’s Kit: A Blighted Pleasure; Recipes. Page 139—Legal Notices: Advents. Page 140—No Yellow Fever in Florida; Have Your Own Paper; Hog Gum or Boar Gum; Hedges: Reduction ot raxes; From Our Daytona Correspond ent; Orange County Lemons; Prepair ing Guavas ; Answers to Correspondents; Floridiana. , . Page 141—Locals; Adv’mtsX *jL Page 142—Strawberries in FllSn<%; Kero sene as an Insect Destroyer. Y Page 143—How to Observe Sunday; Mer maids, Page 144—Telegraphic News; Adv'mts. INDIAN KEY MASSACRE. Death of Dr. Perrine. •v 4k .. . We clip the following interesting history of the “Massacre at Indian Key” from the .Fanner's, Register published Septembei 30th, 1840. We have no doubt but what acme of our Key West readers remember the par ticulars of this horrible affair, as we recognize many of the names men tioned therein now citizens of Key West: * * * * * * The foregoing extract derives a melancholy interest from the fact, now known to our readers generally, that within a few days after it was written, its author fell a victim to the Seminole savages, who invaded and sacked Indian Key, aud butch ered such of its helpless inhabitants, ol every age and sex, as could not escape. The lives of the wife and young daughters of ,t>r. Perrine were UnlV jvvfefi? ™: I shot, while speaking flfi Spanish) to the Indians, and probably in the hope of diverting their attention from the escape of the more helpless family. His bones w ere afterwards found araoDg the ashes of his house. With his corpse, the flames destroyed his numerous manuscripts, and his valuable botanical and other collec tions. Indeed, all the fruits of Iris patriotic and benevolent labors have perished with him, except the repu tation earned with the few' who have fully appreciated the value of his long-continued and unrequited exer tion for the benefit of his country and the human race. For many years and through the prime of his life, Dr. Perrine had de voted all his energies and talents to the ons dearly cherished object of ex growth of valuable trop ical gradual acclimation, into the colder temperate region of the United States. The continued pro gress of the savage war was the latest and greatest obstacle to the fruition of his hopes, and it>f'orbadc his even touching the designed scene of his operations, on the southern part of the mainland of Florida. In the meantime, while waiting for what seems further off than ever, the over coming and the removal of a handful of hostile savages, by all the power of the arms and the treasure of the United States, he attempted to carry on preparatory operations by a resi dence at the nearest point deemed safe from the murderous attacks of the Seminoles. But illy placed Was this confidence, and most disastrous the result. Indian Key though sep arated from the mainland by thirty miles of sea, was invaded by a body of Indians, in canoes, and attacked in, the sight of an American vessel, aad | plunderd, and every house burnt* after the putting to death every per son who could not escape. This was not all. The Indians kept possession of the island as long as they pleased, and long enough for them to be at tacked by, and to defeat and drive back a small military force of the United States army, armed with ar tillery, from an adjacent island. The horrors and disgraces of this war with a few hundred savages increase instead of diminishing, after years of duration, aud after sacrifices made by this country'beyond all precedent, or what would previously have been beyond all relief. The following extract from a southern newspaper presents some oi the particulars of this last act of the Florida war. • About two o'clock on the morn ing of the 7th inst., a Mr. Glass, in the employ of Mr. Houseman, hap pening to be up, saw boats approach ing, and informed a person in the same employ, when they passed into Mr. Houseman’s garden and were satisfied that they were boats con taining Indians. The Indians com menced their firing upon the houses ot Mr. Houseman and Dr. Perrine; the former of whom with his family, and that ot Mr. Charles Howe, suc ceeded in escaping to boats and crossing over to Tea Table Bay. The family of Dr. Perrine passed through a trap door into their bath ingjrooms, from whence theyjgot in to the turtle crawl, and by great effort removed the logs and escaped They went to a boat at the wharf, which six Indians, all who remained, had partly filled, and were in the store after a further supply. They then pushed off, and pulled with an oar, a paddle, and two poles, toward the schooner Medium. They were met by a boat when they had rowed a mile, and then taken to the schooner. ‘ Mr. Motte and his wife, and Mrs. Johnson, a iady seventy years of age, fled into an out-house, whence Mrs. Motte was dragged by an Indian, and while in the act of calling on her hus band. “John, save me,” she was killed. Mr. Motte shared the same fate, and was scalped, and tho'old lady,fas she was dragged forth, suddenly jerk ing from the Indian, broke his hold and escaped under a house. Her grandchild, a daughter of Mrs. Mottc> eleven years, was killed w ith a club, the infant was then strangled and thrown into the water. This was seen by Mrs. Johnson from her hid ing place but the Indians fired this building and she vras again forced to flee, and escaped to Maloney’s Wharf, where she secreted herself, and was finally rescued. A. Sturdy, a boy about eleven of age, hid himself in the cistern under Mr. 1 Houseman’s house, and was scalaed to death by the burning Jsuiltiug , heating the water. The r of an adult skeleton were found among the ruins of Dr. Perrine’s house, supposed to be the Doctor’s, as well as a child thought to have been a slave to Mr. Houseman.” Mrs. Perrine’s account of the es cape of the family of Dr. Perrine, as published in the Wayne (N. Y.) Sen tinel : Mrs. Perrine and her three chil dren, two daughters, (young women,) DeLand, Florida, Wednesday, September 11, 1878. and a son about thirteen years of age, survivprs of the dreadful massacre at Indian Key, Florida, on t|je 7th of August last, arrived on the night of the sth instant, in compara tive good health. Their intense suf fering and miraculous escape, arc among the most thrilling incidents upon the annals of Indian warfare in our country. We doubt .whether for self-possession, cool determination aud daring bravery, under such ap palling circumstances, an equal can be found ou the records of female hero ism, in ancient or modem times. A special Providence seems to have in spired and directed Xkom from au awful death. The facts as we learn them from the family are as fol lows ; , _ This Key is a small.island off the south-east coast of Florida, contain ing only about 12 acres of land, and 5 families, in all about 60 inhabitants. Around Indiau Ivey, is a chain of keys on the north-west, extending to wards the main land, the most noted of which is Matacumba. This is dis tant from Indian Key about one mile, and extends to within 20 miles of the peninsular or main land, being the nearest point from any of tbe keys in this direction. Owing to the distance from the main shore, and the known habits of the Florida Indians, during the present war— scarcely daring jto venture beyond the confines of their own impenetra ble swamps .and fastnesses—and from the fact that a small force was stationed on one of tfye group—Tea naval depot, the security was never interrupted, nor ftbe thought or possibility of danger entertained. The inhabitants there were as care less and unconcerned as in the most profound peace. But, alas! the infu riated savages—those demons in human form—like their counterpart, the spirit of evil, chose for their vic tims the most ungarded, those least prepared to resist. They sprung from their jungle upon the innocent and unsuspecting, like the tiger upon his prey. There is but one onset, and the bloody work is done. In the attack upon this island, it was'thcjplan,ol'tho t lndians’to strike but one blow, amVmake that decisive. They approached it at an unusual point, where it was deemed inacces sible They were about 80 in num ber*. It was their plan to divide their force, and make a simultane ous attack upon every house on the island, and cut oft - at once every possibility ol escapo; but fortu nately, their presence was detected before their hellish work could be executed. Two laborers of Mr. Houseman, who for some reason were abroad, (It being about 2 ©.’clock in the morning) first discovered the canoes of the savages, IT in number, drawn up on an obscure part of the island. There could be but one ex planation to this strange appearance. That was quickly apprehended by the workmen. Indians were present, and death and plunder could bo their only object; and they were soon discovered, in their skulkin" attitudes, filing for the different houses, the inmates of which were all enjoying their quiet slumber little dreaming of the impending storm that was about to burst upon them. The alarm was instantly giv- en, and in a manner so as to frustrate, partially, the designs of the savages, and by the providence of God, a part of the devoted victims, snatched from swift destruction, were permitted to escape their intended doom. But as full account of the bloody tragedy is intended to be given from another source, we shall narative to the part acted by the family of Dr. Perrine. At the time of the attack, the fam ily were sleeping in the second story of their dwelling, and the lights for the first time in a number of nights extinguished. rine and lier eldest daughter were still invalids, having been indisposed and confined to their rooms for some weeks previous. The first intimation of danger was the savage war-hoop and the discharge of rifles’aceompan ied by the falling of glass, as the shots passed through the windows around them. This was an awful change in the quiet stillness of that hour; but the family at once realized their per ilous situation. The danger was too near at hand to admit of a doubt— too startling and sensible to be imag ined as a dream, or an illusion of the faucy. It appears that the dwelling of Dr. Perrine was situated on the edge of the island and constructed upon a pier, so that a part of the house ex tended ovor the water. Ou top was a cupola and underneath a cellar, by means of a trap doov From “the bathing room there was a narrow passage under the pier leading to the mit the influx of the tide to the room. The passage and* room were now nearly filled with water. At the end of the passage and extended out over the pier above, was a large turtle crawl, constructed by driving palmet to posts or piles deeply into the marl beneath. Upon the alarm and yell of the In dians the family instantly sprang from their beds and sought concealment in this bathing room. .Jl’he Doctor hav ing conducted them hither, left them at the door, telling them that he and speak witn the In dians, and see what he could do. He had no means of defense, ilis re peating trifle and pistols were useless to him, as he had no caps for either. . His only hope was a parley with them, and with great deliberation he ascend ed again to the top of the house and called to the Indians in Spanish, (these being of that tribe known in Florida as the Spanish Indians.) and told them that he was a physician, and they must spare him. Ii had the desired effect for the moment. They listened to his words, gave a shout, and turned their attacks upon other dwellings in the vicinity. The Doc tor then descended, drew a large seed chest over the trap-door that led to the bathing room! thinking, no doubt, by secreting his I'amily, he would be able to manage tbo savages and save himself and them from destruction, lie then returned to the cupalo, and shortly after the attack was renewed by the Indians with a determination not to be again diverted from their purpose. Seeing that he had nothing to hope from them, his object then appears to have been to fasten the massive trap-door by which he ascend ed the cupalo, and prevent their access to him, or knowledge of his situation. But they burst into the house and forced their way to his re treat, and from thejfiendish yells of the exulting monsters, the family sup poses his horrid butchery was here completed. The savages then fired the house upon the top and com menced their seargh for tims and plunder.“ Mrs. Perrine and family at this juncture retreated'from the bathing room through the subter raneous passage leading to the turtle crawl, and sought that as the only refuge for a moments safety. In this place, in each other’s arms, the moth er and three children, with scarcely their heads above the water, lay for nine’longjhoure, still as the*reigning silence of the grave, awaiting their fate. . The savages for a long time were upon the planks over their heads performing their'f hellish glutting over their plunder and even hoisted a plank anil looked dowu'to wards them, but as Heaven would di rect, the objects of their search were undiscovered ! In the meantime the house was burned to its foundations. The plank] also*over the turtle crawl caught smoke and heat from the burning house and other objects were becoming so intense that death from this cause seemed inevitable. Life was supported for some time by dashing water in]] each other’s faces, to keep the air in motion, and by plastering their hcada*with marl from the bottom of the crawl to ward off the scorching beat. At length it became so oppressive that Henry, the young lad, could bgjys wu 6 ci. His ,p. ♦. i* w to lire vent dij* tKfeBEo by clasping Sis month with her hands, but be tore away from her, declaring that ho pre ferred death by the tomahawk rather than in] that terrible place. He made hisj escape through an aper ture of the turtle crawl [but which was too small to admit of the egress of the others, who were now sensi ble that the’adventure offered only chance of life. There was now no way of escape except by] a, re moval of one of the deeply imbed ded piles with which their retreat was constructed. This could only be done by removing the earth at the bottom which was far under wa ter. Mrs. P. set herself about the task and accomplished it just in time to avoid the falling timbers un der which they had been sheltered. There were time plundering Mr. Houseman’s store a snort distance from here. Near the store was a launch, or small boat drawn upon the wharf which they were filling with their spoils. Mrs. Perrine and girls ap proached the boat—having to wade through the water in full view a hundred yards to do so, (while the savages had returned to the store after other articles of plunder) beck oned to them the boy, (of whose fate they had been uncertain) who was standing close upon this den of murders, and by their united strength and the most desperate efforts, suc ceeded in tearing it from Us fasten ings and dragging it into water of sufficient depth for it to float.?? They sprang in, and with ouejpaddle, one oar, and two poles,exerted,as it were, the last energies of life in widening their distance from the ill-fated shore. By the blessings of God they made G'oatinuod on page 144, No. 18.