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Wooden Boat School Update
Civil War Exhibit Update
Historical Viewpoint

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Event Saturday Night! 

Adventures in Apalachicola Valley Archaeology

Dr. Nancy White

December 8, 2012 at 7 p.m.  $5.

The fall segment of our lecture series wraps up this weekend with Dr. Nancy White. She will chronicle 12,000 years of human habitation in this region -- from native fishers, hunters, and farmers of different time periods through the first Old World intruders and early American traders and settlers. White will show where they lived and died, and how they used the lands and waters we now inhabit and enjoy. She will also describe the sometimes exciting processes of archaeological discovery in the field and lab.  White earned a Ph. D. at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and is a professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida in Tampa and Registered Professional Archaeologist. Her books include Grit-Tempered: Early Women Archaeologists in the Southeastern United States, Gulf Coast Archaeology, Archaeology for Dummies, and Late Prehistoric Florida. She has done fieldwork across the U.S. and in France and Mexico, and taught at universities in Italy and East Malaysia (Borneo). 


For over 20 years she has studied the Apalachicola-Lower Chattahoochee valley region of northwest Florida/south Georgia/south Alabama.  The presentation will be preceded by a social starting at 6 p.m., and followed by a reception and low country boil on the docks.  See you there!



Events Calendar


Wooden Boat School Classes for the Holidays

December 28, 2012   


The Six Hour Canoe will be a good boat building project for families or groups of friends.  When completed, the canoe is 15' 3" in length with a 31 ˝" beam. It can be paddled with kayak or canoe paddles.  Inexpensive to build using ordinary tools and materials, the canoe gives everybody access to boat building and a boat. The course runs two days with an optional day of painting on the third day.  The courses are offered starting on November 19 and December 28 .  The AMM will provide all of the materials, tools, and instructors to keep you and your friends and family on the right course.  We will build up to four boats in a weekend and group size is limited to four.  The cost is $200 per group and you take the boat home with you on your car top or in the back of a pickup.  We have a great calendar of boat building classes coming up in the new year, for a variety of small vessels.  Email us for more information or to sign up!


 The Corner of Our Country, by Homer Hirt, President of RiverWay South.

January 12, 2013

Apalachicola Anchors Workshop 
January 19, 2013 


Religion Above and Below Deck in World War II, by Dr. Kurt Piehler, Director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience

January 26, 2013


The Dog Island Shipwreck Survey, by Dr. Chuck Meide, Director of LAMP (Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program) in St. Augustine 

February 9, 2013  


La Florida and the Maritime World of Juan Ponce de León, by Peter Cowdrey, Exhibit Research Specialist at the Florida Historic Capitol Museum

March 9, 2013


Sea Music by the St. Pete Shanty Singers!  A program incorporating history and maritime music of significance to the Apalachicola River and Bay.

April 20, 2013 


Apalachicola in the Civil War, by Ken Johnston, Executive Director of the Civil War Naval Museum

May 17, 2013


Civil War Living History Weekend

May 17-19, 2013

Events funded in part with support from: 


New at the Museum, Just for Kids!
Come Visit the ARCHAEO CART and get on the road to discovery!

ARCHAEO CART is a portable public archaeology classroom that visits museums, libraries, and schools throughout Florida. Students and visitors can tour virtual displays or archaeology sites across Florida, uncover prehistoric and historic timelines, or discover what it takes to think like an archaeologist through an interactive touch-screen program and hands-on educational activites. 

The ARCHAEO CART will be at the museum through January. In addition to the kid-friendly information available anytime via the touchscreen, Outreach Coordinator for the Florida Public Archaeology Network Barbara Hines is available to present  educational programs at the museum for school classes and youth groups, using the ARCHAEO CART and accompanying lesson plans and fun group activities.  Advance appointments are required by emailing Barbara Hines or calling 850-877-2206.

To learn more about ARCHAEO CART or archaeology in your area visit:

Wooden Boat School Update
by Ron Dierolf, Director


The boat shop saw new construction and the addition of a new staff member in November.  Jep Smith has joined  the shop staff.  Jep is a Carrabelle native and has worked on the water for many years.  His experience in the fishing industry and as a boat captain will be valuable additions to the school.


November saw the construction of a new boat - a plywood canoe - which can be built in a weekend.  This is a great family project.  The boat is simple, yet solid, and is an ideal project for families with children.  The boat is suitable for use in protected waters by an adult, an adult and child, or a couple of children.  It can be paddled using canoe or kayak paddles.  The first canoe was built as a demonstration project during the Apalachicola Seafood Festival and drew lots of attention from passers-by.  The December session for building the canoe is full.  Sessions will be scheduled each month In 2013 so check the AMMFL web site for dates and details.


A roofed outdoor addition to the shop was completed by Daniel Stewart,  Director of Operations, and his crew.  The addition is on the south side of the office and doubles the square footage of space available for building.    Sanding can now be performed in the outdoor area eliminating the primary cause of dust generation in the shop. 


A Safety Manual for shop operations has been published and all employees will be receiving a briefing on the manual and the safety requirements.  Students will also be required to receive a safety briefing prior to working in the shop.   Also, new safety equipment has been added including an eyewash station and a flammable liquids storage cabinet.    The changes will make for a safer and more pleasant work environment.


Stop by the shop and check out the new addition.   Check the newsletter and museum web site for upcoming boatbuilding classes.  Or send us an email for more information.




Upcoming Civil War Exhibit and Living History Weekend


Civil War era Naval weapons, acquired for our upcoming exhibit.

Planning is underway for the first annual Civil War Living History Weekend, which will take place the third weekend in May, 2013.  Our keynote speaker will be Ken Johnston, Director of the Civil War Naval Museum. We are partnering with the Orman House, Apalachicola Historical Society, the St. George Lighthouse Association, the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture, and Arts, and other organizations to create a weekend full of activities, educational programs, living history demonstrations, and reenactments that will tell the story of the blockade and life here during the Civil War. 


Although no major battles were fought in Franklin County, there are still many interesting and dramatic stories to be told, both military and civilian.  If you are interested in participating, please contact us.


Work is steadily underway on our Civil War exhibit. With the help of Civil War artifact expert Mark Parsley, a museum volunteer, we are procuring an impressive collection of items relevant to the blockade.  Recent acquisitions include several pistols that trace the evolution of weaponry used by Naval forces, a carbine, a U.S. Navy fuse box, used to hold paper fuses for lighting canon, a Midshipmans jacket, a Naval straw hat, which would certainly have been used by blockading sailors under the Florida sun, a ship's telescope, and a Civil War Naval Enlistedman's belt with original buckle.  A wooden box from the U.S.S Preble, which was part of the Gulf Blockading Squadron farther West, is another interesting piece. Mark is placing on loan a few outstanding items from his personal artifact collection including an authentic sailor's ditty bag, a pair of sailor's pants, a sailor's palm (tool used to push needles through canvas for stitching sails), a pipe, and a pair of sabers. 


Life aboard ship will be depicted with Civil War era playing cards, currency, a sailor's shaving blade and mirror,and other personal items.  We are in the process of designing display cases for the exhibit. Upgrades to museum security, including video surveillance, are also planned.


Stay tuned for more information as the exhibit work progresses.


US Naval officers during the Civil War aboard the Mendoza. This photo shows white linen pants, three Naval straw hats and a carbine (in the center), items that will be part of our exhibit.  This vessel was not part of the Apalachicola blockade, but the image is a great representation of the uniforms of the period.
Apalachicola Anchors 
Anchors Aweigh! Help Record Local History!
Ever noticed how many old anchors are lying around in Apalachicola? Ever wonder about their history? Join us for a day all about anchors! The day will start with a presentation about identifying the parts of an anchor and what those parts can tell us about their history. Then, in the afternoon help us record the anchors around town so that they can be entered in the world-wide Big Anchor Project Database.  
This project is a partnership with the Florida Public Archaeology Network and the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research. Archaeologists Barbara Hines and Franklin Price are coordinating the event.

The morning presentation is open to anyone, no registration required. Registration is required to help record the anchors in the afternoon and space is limited! Email Barbara Hines or call 850-877-2206 for more information, and to register.

When: January 19th, 2013

Times: Lecture @ 10am, Anchor Recording @ 1pm
Historical Viewpoint: Scott's Massacre on the Apalachicola River


The scene of the attack.


The most infamous battle of the First Seminole War was fought within sight of our campus 107 miles upstream at Chattahoochee Landing, which is just south of the Jim Woodruff Dam at Lake Seminole.  The event was called Scott's massacre, and it happened on November 30, 1817 as a flatboat tried to reach Fort Gaines, Georgia from Apalachicola. The boat was carrying forty soldiers (including twenty sick men), seven soldiers' wives, four children, and supplies to the frontier outpost. The group had departed Alabama on a schooner, arrived in Apalachicola, and then transferred to a flatboat for the trip upriver. Elizabeth Stewart was part of this group, and was headed to join her husband at his new post.


Although Lt. Richard W. Scott, commander of the flatboat, had been warned that he may be attacked, he was apparently unaware of the level of danger: war had broken out between the United States and an alliance of Seminoles and Creeks.  Just one week earlier, the U.S. military had attacked the Creek Village of Fowltown in southwest Georgia in order to pressure Chief Neamathla, who had refused to surrender land claimed by the United States under the Treaty of Fort Jackson, Alabama.  The village was ravaged and several villagers killed, including women.  Although he did send a messenger overland to request assistance from the fort, he continued his journey upstream before help could be mobilized and reach him.


Meanwhile, warriors from Fowltown, joined by other Seminoles and Creeks, planned to retaliate. They laid in wait at a sharp bend in the river.  They knew that the flatboat was coming, and that this place would be the ideal location for an ambush.


As the flatboat approached the bend, the current pushed the vessel close to the river's east bank, where the warriors where hiding. Lt. Scott and many of his men were killed in the first hail of bullets.  As the women and children looked on in panic and terror, the warriors waded into the river and stormed the boat. When the fighting was over, Elizabeth Stewart found herself being taken captive.  All of the other women and children were dead.  Only six of the soldiers survived, four with injuries, some of whom evaded death by jumping overboard and swimming away from the boat.     


Elizabeth would have to wait until spring for rescue. She was enslaved and moved between several villages during the months following her capture. The attack which became known as Scott's Massacre was met with further retaliation by the U.S. government.  Andrew Jackson's troops invaded Spanish Florida to battle the Creeks and Seminoles in 1818.  Elizabeth was with a band of Creeks attacked by this force at the Battle of Econfina Natural Bridge in April of that year, and was rescued by a Lower Creek warrior allied with the United States.


It's not entirely clear if her husband was among those killed in the attack, or if he had been at the fort and died later. What we do know is that Elizabeth later remarried John Dill and spent the rest of her life in Fort Gaines. Two of their homes still stand there today. As an interesting footnote to the story, legend has it that during her captivity, Elizabeth collected paper currency left on the ground during attacks. The Indians had no use for the money, and ignored it in favor of tangible goods. By the time she was rescued she was purportedly a wealthy woman. She remained one of the wealthiest citizens of Fort Gaines throughout her lifetime.


These early years of American settlement on the frontier border along the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee Rivers saw conflict among the U.S, Spain, and the native peoples, as they competed for control of the territory. This topic will be examined in our January 12 lecture by Homer Hirt, President of RiverWay South, entitled "The Corner of our Country." This is a reference to the fact that at one time, the southwestern border of the United States was at the confluence of the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint Rivers at modern day Lake Seminole.  Joins us then to learn more.


A 19th century artist's depiction of Scott's Massacre.

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