Fort Dallas is Abandoned in 1858

Fort Dallas in 1858

Cover: Fort Dallas in 1858

On June 10, 1858, the US government abandoned Fort Dallas. The fort was located on the north bank of the Miami River.

The drawing in the cover photo provides an indication of the buildings that were part of Fort Dallas from 1849 to 1858. In 1849, US surveyors reported that William English was building himself “a large rock mansion on the north bank of the river with a rock slave quarters nearby”.

By September of 1849, word came that Indians killed a US inspector at Indian River which necessitated the re-opening of Fort Dallas along the Miami River. Company F of the Second Artillery arrived at the English plantation and completed his two buildings. In addition, the soldiers built two more officer’s houses on the mound near the river’s mouth.

After a year of no action, the troops left the fort in 1850. However, the soldiers returned and reactivated Fort Dallas in January of 1855 at the start of the Third Seminole War. The troops rebuilt the rock houses and added five new officer’s quarters, a hospital, guardhouse, stables and other buildings to the complex. Fort Dallas took on the appearance of an actual fort.

Fort Dallas Slave Quarters in Lummus Park

Figure 1: Fort Dallas Slave Quarters in Lummus Park

In January of 1856, the Indians ambushed and killed Peter Johnson and Edward Farrell at their home in Coconut Grove. Following this event, the soldiers rounded up all of the residents in the area and brought them to Fort Dallas for protection. Many residents left the area shortly after this incident.

The Third Seminole War ended in 1858 which led to the withdrawal of the troops for the final time. The English mansion and slave quarters remained when Julia Tuttle purchased the land on the north bank of the Miami River in 1891.

The English mansion, which became Julia Tuttle’s home, was demolished in the mid-1920s. However, the slave quarters was moved by barge to Lummus Park in downtown Miami in 1924. The building remains in Lummus Park today.

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Read more information at “Miami, The Magic City” by Arva Moore Parks

Images:

  • Cover: Drawing of Fort Dallas. Courtesy of Harpers Weekly.
  • Figure 1: Fort Dallas slave quarters in Lummus Park. Courtesy of HistoryMiami.