Picture yourself living in eastern Florida over 180 years ago, maybe around 1837, what you see today is not what you would see in most parts of Florida. If you go little further inland around Brevard county area and especially around the northern part such as the Titusville area, you will see the terrain really hasn’t changed to much from 180 years ago. There is still similar terrain and many of the same types of plants and animals that would’ve been there then. What you don't know or maybe don't think of is when you are walking down the sidewalk or driving around town may have past history story with it.
Almost 200 years ago, The Territory
of Florida was recently ceded from Spain (1821). There were very few people
living between St Augustine and southern Florida; most of those were Seminole
Indians who were being pushed deeper and deeper into the Everglades; most of
the European and American settlers had recently been burned out and run off by
the Seminoles, precipitating the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). There were no
roads, railroads, or intercostal waterway; movement of people and freight into
southeastern Florida was limited to Indian trails, the St. Johns River, or the
Atlantic Ocean; but trails were barely wide enough for single file pedestrian
traffic, the St. Johns River only provided passage to the Lake Monroe/Fort
Mellon (aka Sanford) area, and the Atlantic coast had very few inlets and was
very vulnerable to enemy ships based in the Caribbean region.
Joseph M. Hernandez (1792-1857), a
life-long resident of the St. Augustine area, and a Brigadier General in the
Army, was the first Hispanic Member of Congress
and the first Territorial Delegate to represent Florida, bridged his state’s
cultural and governmental transition from Spanish colony to U.S. territory.
Hernández fought first for Spain and later for the United States; he also
earned—and lost—a fortune that included three plantations and numerous slaves.
General Hernandez was given an assignment around Dec.,
1837. His job was he had to build a military road from St Augustine to Ft
pierce. Without any construction roadbuilding equipment and a fierce enduring
task, it was conducted during the Second Seminole War, and roadbuilding was so
close to approaching the main area of Seminole territory, as he worked his way
southward. Although it was built during the winter months, thus minimizing
problems with hot, humid weather and malaria-carrying mosquitoes, construction
of the road must have been quite a challenge for General Hernandez' men,
especially with the ever-present concern with attacks from Indians and or wild
Most of the road was constructed
along the prehistoric dune line known to geologists as the Atlantic Coastal
Ridge most of it all being high and dry terrain, and about a mile or so, west
of present-day U.S.1. The first road from St. Augustine to the Ft. Pierce area
was at least 16 feet wide, for mule wagons and ox carts, and over 200 miles
long. It was road to connect forts, on behalf of the effort to remove the
Seminole Indians, and eventually to support colonization of southern Florida.