Archive for Historic Sites

The Battle of Bloody Mose Commemoration in St Augustine FL

soldiers_fort_mose_5x3 THE “BATTLE OF BLOODY MOSE”


June 21-22, 2014


St. Augustine, Florida

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – June 12, 2014 – In the early morning hours of June 26, 1740, the village of Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose (mo-SAY), the first, legally sanctioned free black settlement in the continental U.S., became the site of the bloodiest battle in Florida’s part in the War of Jenkins’ Ear. That day saw Florida’s Spanish soldiers, black militia, and native Yamassee auxiliaries locked in a “clash of empires” with invading English and Scottish troops from Georgia, a battle that culminated in desperate, hand-to-hand fighting as FortMose, St.   Augustine’s northern-most defense, burned around them. The decisive Spanish victory at “Bloody Mose” was one of the factors that ended British Georgia’s invasion of Spanish Florida.


On Saturday and Sunday, June 21-22, 2014, Florida Living History, Inc. (FLH – ), along with Fort Mose Historic State Park ( ) and the Fort Mose Historical Society ( ), will host the fifth, annual Battle of Bloody Mose Commemoration.  Now expanded to a two-day heritage Event, the award-winning Battle of Bloody Mose historical re-enactment will take place from 10AM to 3PM at Fort Mose Historic State Park – 15 Fort Mose Trail; St. Augustine, Florida; 32084.  White, black, and Native American re-enactors and volunteers from across Florida and the Southeast will participate in this heritage Event, presenting living-history demonstrations and interpretati

  • WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, June 21-22, 2014 / 10AM to 3PM
  • WHERE:Fort Mose Historic State Park / 15 Fort Mose Trail, off of N.   Ponce de Leon Blvd./ US 1, in St. Augustine, FL
  • WHAT: Partnering with Fort Mose Historic State Park and the Fort Mose Historical Society, as well as living-history volunteers from Florida and across the Southeast, Florida Living History, Inc., will present heritage interpretations and demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday, including:


  • Saturday, 10AM – The Battle of Bloody Mose Commemoration 2014 begins; Spanish and British soldiers, militia, and auxiliaries will fire a musket and cannon volley to open this heritage Event; join us in stepping back in time to June 25, 1740 – British-occupied Fort Mose and Spanish San Agustín, the day before the fateful battle!;
  • 11AM – Re-enactment of the “Battle of Bloody Mose” by Spanish and British troops;
  • Following the battle re-enactment, living-historians will answer visitors’ questions about this significant episode in Florida’s and America’s history and pose for photographs;
  • Noon -1PM – Lunch and refreshments may be purchased on-site from food vendors; Local Fare Farm Bag ( ) will offer locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables for sale;
  • During the afternoon, listen to FLH’s member unit, Theater with a Mission, perform an excerpt from a period Spanish play;
  • Meet and talk with 18th-century living-historians throughout the Event;
  • Volunteers from the National Park Services’ Castillo de San Marcos National Monument ( ) will offer period artillery demonstrations throughout Bloody Mose 2014;
  • Demonstrations of colonial Florida textile arts will take place throughout the Event and Gullah arts and crafts will be displayed and on sale;
  • Children will have the opportunity to join members of the Florida Public Archaeology Network/Northeast Region in a fun, educational “build/discover a fort wall” activity!


  • COST: Admission to this heritage Event is free.  The Museum admission fee is $2.00 per adult; children age 5 and younger are free.
  • PARKING: Parking at Fort Mose Historic State Park is limited.  Visitors are encouraged to use the free parking at the Old Jail (167 San Marco Ave.) and travel to and from the park via the free shuttle service provided by Old Town Trolley Tours.


The National Park Service has named the annual Battle of Bloody Mose Commemoration as a Member Program of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom ( ).  Viva Florida, a division of the Florida Department of State promoting Florida culture and heritage, has named the Battle of Bloody Mose Commemoration as a 2014 Featured Event ( ).


The annual Battle of Bloody Mose heritage Event is sponsored by the 501(c)(3) non-profit, educational Florida Living History, Inc., by Fort Mose Historic State Park, and by The Fort Mose Historical Society, in partnership with Viva Florida 500, the National Park Service, and with the support of volunteers from the Fort Mose Militia and other historical re-enactment groups.  Financial support for this Event is provided, in part, by the Florida Humanities Council ( ), the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the generosity of NTE Solutions ( ).





For more information on Florida Living History, Inc., please contact us at or phone us, toll-free, at 1-877-FLA-HIST (1-877-352-4478)!




El Galeon and the Nao Victoria are Must Seas While visiting St Augustine FL – Tallships

As if Saint Augustine’s Bay front wasn’t beautiful enough, now these two magnificent  ships have sailed in and made it spectacular. This opportunity is as rare as two ships passing in the night. If you haven’t checked them out, you still have time to “SEAS” the day. Read More→

Fort Mose State Park in St. Augustine FL is Rich With History

Fort Mose State Park is near the site of its namesake, which was the first legally sanctioned Free Black settlement in what is now the continental United States.  In 1738 the Spanish Governor of St. Augustine ordered the fort and settlement built for the former slaves who had escaped from the British colonies to the North.  The Spanish had let it be known that any former slave who converted to Catholicism and pledged to defend Spanish territory would be free.  By 1738 there were at least 100 free blacks living in the City.

The full name of the settlement was Gracia Real de Santa Terasa de Mose but was known  simply as Fort Mose  (mo-say).


The Park is open every day but Christmas from 9 am to 5 pm.  There is no charge for entrance.  To get there go north on US 1 and, after passing a Wendy’s and Winn-Dixie on your left at a stop light, be prepared to turn right just past two stone pillers with statues.  There is a small brown sign just before you turn on Fort Mose Trail.  After two short blocks this becomes the entrance to the Fort parking lot.  When you park you will see the boardwalk that goes over the marsh and gets you closer to the original site. 


The administration building has rest rooms and water fountains in the “free” area.  The back of the building has an excellent small museum with artifacts and interactive displays that tell the rest of the story.  There is a $2.00 charge for adults and children over 6 and it is well worth the price.


During the British siege of 1740 the British were encamped here.  The Spanish soldiers supplemented by white and black militia companies attacked early on the morning of June 26th and after desperate and bloody fighting killed many and captured the survivors.  This battle became the “Battle of Bloody Mose”  and is reenacted every June.  This first fort was destroyed during the battle.


In June they dedicate one weekend to living history and have reenactors there demonstrating cooking and domestic crafts as well as firing muskets and cannon.  The scheduled days are: June 21st – 22nd


The Fort was rebuilt in 1752 on a site nearby on the creek and the Free Black settlement continued in operation until the British period began in 1763 and the Black settlers went to Cuba with the Spanish residents.  The Fort was partially destroyed in 1775 and completely destroyed in 1812.


These two Fort sites were lost over the years until rediscovered using infrared photography.  The sites have been inundated and the marsh had swallowed them so that only the footprints have survived.

Contributed by Harry Metz




April 26th, 2014

History comes alive at Fort Mose Historic state park

–Fort Mose Historic State Park invites visitors to travel back in time–


ST. AUGUSTINE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Fort Mose Historic State Park, the Fort Mose Historical Society and Florida Living History, Inc. will present the latest edition of its Experience Fort Mose series on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The event is possible through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council.


Each month offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into life at Fort Mose.. April will focus on the Black Experience in St. Augustine through the years with Fort Mose serving as the ‘starting point’, or the birthplace of Freedom.  A remembrance ceremony will conclude the living history program to honor the ancestors and original freedom seekers at Fort Mose in cooperation with Middle Passage Ceremonies & Port Markers Project, Inc.


Participants should dress appropriately for the weather and bring insect repellent and sunscreen, as the program will be held outdoors. Program is weather permitting.


In addition to the demonstration, the park’s museum and visitor center will be open.  Visitors can watch a 15-minute film on the history of Fort Mose and its residents, as well as learn about the site through the interactive museum exhibit.


Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, Fort Mose Historic State Park tells the story of El Pueblo de Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, the first legally sanctioned, free African settlement in what is now the United States.


The entrance fee into the park’s visitor center is $2.00 per person. Children under 6 are free. For event details, please contact Tonya Creamer at (904) 823-2232. For additional information, visit



Enjoy a Scenic Boat Ride to Explore Fort Matanzas in St Augustine FL

Fort Matanzas was completed in 1742 by the Spanish to protect St. Augustine from an attack by their enemies, both England and pirates.  It fell to ruin in the 1820’s, was stabilized by the War Department in 1916 and 1924.  The National Park Service took it over and rebuilt it in 1935.  It is an under visited gem in the NPS system. Read More→

The Fountain of Youth in St Augustine FL is a Pet Friendly Attraction Worth Seeing

Ponce De Leon’s World Famous Fountain of Youth is one of my favorite places in St. Augustine, FL. This attraction is very dear to my heart. My grandparents Joe & Nan Deuschle met and fell in love there in 1927. My grandfather was the gardener who discovered the skeletal remains of the Timucua Indians in 1934 while he was planting orange trees on the property.  This incredible discovery led to research conducted by the Smithsonian Institute and The University of Florida Museum of Natural History and is a large part of the parks history today.




The Park is located on 15 beautifully landscaped waterfront acres. This beautiful piece of property is home to many friendly peacocks. They love to display their colorful  feathers in hopes of being fed peanuts by the many guests who come through the Parks Gates. I visited the park recently and although I have been there many times before  I never tire of the gorgeous grounds. I ran into several locals that day who were all enjoying the Park and its views of the Intracoastal.

The Park is most famous for its springs, also known as The Fountain of Youth. About 60 years ago, they built a beautiful Coquina structure around the spring with a gorgeous fireplace to warm yourself on a cool winters day. The spring water comes directly from Florida’s aquifer and is said to contain over 30 minerals. I have been drinking from the spring since I was five years old, my first visit to the fountain of youth. Here they have cups of water so you too can drink from the springs magical waters.

The Park is a combination of an “Old Florida tourist attraction” and a world-class Archaeological Park.  The owners have gone through great lengths to preserve its’ history and to continually improve the Park and the exhibits. Even if you have been here before,  it’s worth coming back to see the new exhibits that are constantly added. On my recent visit, I was there to enjoy the new Founders River walk. The Park has recently added a 600 foot dock out into the gorgeous salt marsh. Here you have spectacular views of the inlet and the Bay. They have even included some benches to sit down and relax on while you breathe in the salt air and watch the wildlife out in the marsh.  This particular day I also took some time to learn more about the reconstruction of the Mission Church.  The structure was built using historically correct methods wherever possible using local cypress, which was known to 16th century Spaniards to be durable and resistant to wood-eating insects. The Mission church features a choir loft and rustic altar, and uses a palm thatch roof. The floor is crushed coquina, as is the area around the church.


The Park has living history exhibits performed by knowledgeable reenactors. One of my favorite demonstrations is the cannon firing. A crowd had gathered  to see this in depth demonstration of the firing of a Breech Cannon. BOOM! Hold your ears for this one. This is a beautiful Cannon and you don’t get to see one of these in action very often. I loved this demonstration and so did the rest of the visitors. We were also shown how to shoot a Crossbow that was of Spanish influence. That was a big favorite of all of the kids watching, but I loved it too. I think I’ll be adding one of those to my Christmas list.

All of the Reenactors at the Park are phenomenal. They are friendly, professional and have a wealth of knowledge. They are happy to answer your questions and teach you about the history behind the particular demonstration. The day I was there, they also had someone making  pottery, and someone carving a canoe out of a hunk of pine using the burn and scrape method. These reenactments were taking place in the Timucan Village.  The things they do here are amazing and so interactive.


Archaeologists have been excavating at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park for over 80 years, and in that time the discoveries have rewritten history textbooks time and time again. Since 1934, archaeologists have made a long list of major finds at the Park, and excavations continue to this day. You can see some of these archaeological treasures on display within the Park.

If you go hungry, they have a great snack bar where you can grab an appetizer, hamburger, sandwich or one of the coldest beers in town. They also have a fantastic gift shop if you’re looking for the perfect souvenir. The Park is a pet friendly attraction too. 

So whether or not you love history or archaeology, lush landscaping and views of the Bay or friendly peacocks looking for treats, The Fountain of Youth has something for you. Take a few hours and be transported in time, enjoy and explore!


 Discover something old,

 discover something new,

 discover something beautiful 

 in a park with the perfect view.





The Fountain of Youth is open 9-6 daily and the last ticket is sold at 5:00pm.



Adult (13-59 yrs): 12.00
Child (6-12 yrs): 8.00
Senior (60+ yrs): 11.00

 11 Magnolia Ave  St. Augustine, FL

Phone: 904 829 3168

“Know What The Locals Know”


Historic Military Sites on the Southern Bayfront

   Our “Historic Military Site” Contributor Harry Metz has shared some great “local” insight about our southern bayfront. This is great information to read if you are headed down to see the Saint Augustine National Cemetery.  


Take a drive down Marine Street south of the Bridge of Lions along the new (2013) sea wall. The wall has been extended twelve feet into the Bay to protect the historic coquina wall built in the 1830’s and offer better protection from flooding.  As you make the right and then a left turn you are looking at the St. Francis Barracks, now the  Florida National Guard Headquarters and one of the few not located in a State Capitol.  The earliest portion of the structure dates to the 1730’s.  South of that building are Officers Quarters built in the 1880’s.  Across the street is the only remaining building constructed in 1768 by the British during their occupation of the City (1763-1784).  It was their Bakery and is now a garage.

Just past the houses is the St. Augustine National Cemetery, which began as the military Post cemetery and in 1881 was designated a National Cemetery.  The Post was established in 1821, when Florida became a Territory, and the first recorded burial there was in 1828.  At the south end you will note three pyramids, beneath which are the remains of an unknown number of soldiers who died during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842).   These remains were gathered from battle grounds, hospitals, forts and encampments around the state and ceremoniously reinterred here on August 14, 1842.


Parking is a problem during the National Guard duty days, which include the first two weekends each month,  from 0800-1700 (5pm).  If you want to walk in this area for a closer look at the tombstones, etc., turn right on San Salvador at the end of the cemetery then right on Charlotte St at the other end of the wall.  You can park on the right side of the street if you can find a place.  It is patrolled, so don’t park at a yellow curb.  If you cannot find a place to park go to the end of the street and jog left into the St. Augustine Historical Society’s parking lot.  The signs say it is for visitors to the Oldest House or the store.  To remain honest, go to their store and check out their extensive collection of books on St. Augustine and Florida history and gifts.  You can also take their tour of (one of) the oldest houses in town.



Saint Augustine National Cemetery

Contributed by Harry Metz


The Cannons at Oglethorpe Battery Park- St Augustine

Scott Hughes, Reenactor, as General James Oglethorpe, Governor of Georgia

 The newest addition to one of the City’s historical military sites occurred on June 30, 2013.  On that date, three replica cannons were unveiled in Oglethorpe Battery Park. This was the site of a three gun battery used by Georgia’s Colonial Governor, Gen James Oglethorpe, in his attempt to force the surrender of the Castillo de San Marcos and the City itself in 1740.  His unsuccessful siege lasted from June 27 to July 20 and was lifted by a Spanish fleet bringing supplies to the besieged City.

The cannons are aligned on a 282 degree heading, aimed at the Castillo which is not presently visible from the park.  It lies across the Bay about three quarters of a mile away, well within the effective range of the guns. Contributions for the cannons were raised by the 450th Military Commemoration Committee and the local home owners association (SANDS).  The City provided the concrete pads and gun carriages.



The Park is on the corner of Arredondo Ave and Oglethorpe Blvd.  From Anastasia Blvd turn North at the Anastasia Inn onto Arredondo Ave and go north four blocks.  The Park will be on your right and the battery on its northwest corner.