Hillsborough County Clerk Day Book

This Hillsborough County Day Book has entries concerning real estate transactions, the sale of enslaved people, and agreements between Florida Indian groups and U.S. government officials. It provides a window into the goings on in central Florida at the end of the territorial period.

Courtesy of Hillsborough County Clerk of Court

During Florida’s territorial period (1821-1845), the U.S. military fought a long-running war to remove Seminole Indians from Florida and destroy Black maroon communities founded by those who had escaped slavery. Many Florida Indians had familial ties to Black Floridians living in the maroon communities during these years, including some who, in the eyes of the law, were enslaved. Case in point, pages 46 through 50 of this book chronicle Samuel Factor’s efforts to demonstrate he legally owned his Black wife Rosa (Rose). Why would Factor, a Florida Indian, want to prove he owned her? So he could officially emancipate her and their children.

Three Fast Florida Facts

  1. The U.S. acquired Florida from Spain in 1821.
  2. Over 40,000 U.S. soldiers were deployed to Florida in the early and mid-1800s in the effort to remove Seminoles and capture Black Floridians who had escaped slavery.
  3. In 1842, the U.S. government passed the Armed Occupation Act, which offered 160 acres to U.S. citizens willing to arm themselves and settle lands in the Florida territory.