Long before the Magic Kingdom and Harry Potter there was Fort King.
Constructed by the U.S. Army in 1827 with native longleaf pines, it was America’s first attempt to establish a presence in the interior of unmapped, wilderness Florida.
On this hilltop outside the fort, occurred some of the most historic and dramatic scenes in American history.
Here, government agents told the Seminoles they must leave Florida or they would be removed by force.
Here the Seminole War Chief Osceola first became known to the world.
Here – You can stand in his footsteps as he slams his knife into the Enforcement Order and challenges the Government to use their force!
“This is our land! You have guns! So have we. Your men will fight! So will ours, til the last drop of our blood moistens the sand.”
Here was garrisoned every regiment of the U.S. Army during the seven year Second Seminole War (1835-42).
Here stood the West Point Officers many of whom 25 years later would command the massive Armies of the North and South during the American Civil War (1861-65).
Here on this hilltop in the wilderness stood a future President of the United States (Zachary Taylor).
Here stood an Army Colonel whose name would be immortalized in American folklore (Icabod Crane).
Here stood thousands of rank and file enlisted men of the U.S. Army many being emigrants from England and Scotland seeking a better life in the West.
Here stood trappers, traders, pioneers, bounty hunters, and black American slaves.
Here were the beginnings of Ocala and Marion County.
After his death in captivity, Osceola was buried with full military honors outside the walls of Fort Moultrie, S.C. Inscribed on his headstone by the U.S. Army are the words ‘Osceola, Patriot and Warrior died January 31, 1838.’
Here At Fort King, we can study Patriotism.
At Fort King we can become one with our past, learn from it, and become a better people.