Friday, January 6, 2012

Friend of Friends Friday - Slaves of Houston


John C Houston II
John Carroll Houston II was the son of John Carroll Houston I and Mary Harvey.  He was born ca. 1788 in Beaufort, S.C. On May 2,1811 he married Elizabeth Susannah Christopher, born 1797 on Big Talbot Island, Duval County, Florida.  They were married by the Reverend Miguel Crosby of the Cathedral of St. Augustine, Florida.  Witnesses were Fernando de la Mayo Ardono and Antonia Seony (Scony).  John was about 23 and Elizabeth about 14 years of age.  They lived in Beaufort, Carolina, possibly on his father's plantation in St. Lukes Parish.

In 1814 they appeared as Nominal Residents of Big Talbot Island in the Spanish Census of that date.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Samuel Spicer Christopher and his wife Mary Greenwood.  Spicer was the son of John Christopher and Martha Watson. Mary was the daughter of William Greenwood of Virginia and Isabel Bryan of Georgia.



John gave his son, John C. Houston III, 10 slaves to help him build his new home and the slaves' quarters in a town Houston III named Arlington, and later changed to Eau Gallie, Florida.

Arlington was the name given to the settlement, which sprang up around the cabin of John C. Houston, (born 1813). A nephew of Sam Houston, he arrived here in 1859 after serving as a scout during the Third Seminole War. He walked here from Enterprise with his sons and about 10 slaves on the Hernandez/Capron Trail. His wife, Mary Virginia Hall, joined him when the cabin was completed in 1860.

John C Houston III
The cabin sat on his homestead of 160 acres, including all of the land lying north of Elbow Creek (now called the Eau Gallie River), east to the Indian River, and west perhaps all the way to Lake Washington. His home was built of crude logs chinked with clay and burnt oyster shells. Palmetto roots and green boughs were burned at night to create an anti-mosquito smoke screen. They had a sugar cane mill propelled by a horse or oxen, and also raised rice.

At the end of the Civil War, Confederate Secretary of War Breckenridge attempted to flee to Cuba by boat. Unfortunately for him, his boat developed a leak and he landed at Houston's dock. Houston, a Southern sympathizer, helped him on his way to Cuba.

Arlington had the second post office in Brevard County, established on June 30, 1871, with John Houston as its postmaster. Henry Titus had the contract to deliver the mail.
Slaves Quarters
It was in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipaton Proclamation ending slavery.  But real freedom did not come until the Confederacy conceded to the Union and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment was signed prohibiting slavery, freeing approximately 4,000 slaves.  Houston's slave quarters now sat empty. 

Today this home is part of the Rossetter Museum in Eau Gallie, Florida that include the Roesch House, Rossetter House and the Houston Family Cemetery located on Highland Avenue.

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