ERW Weekender: In the Footsteps of James Madison

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes guest historian Kate Bitely 

In the Foot Steps of James Madison.

A view of the front yard of Montpelier
A view from the front yard of Montpelier (author collection)

Spring is finally here in Virginia and if you are looking for a place to explore that offers a great outdoor experience, get in the car and head to Montpelier, in Orange Virginia. James Madison’s plantation home offers visitors a glimpse of what life was like in colonial America.   Be sure to start your trip with the feature film in the welcome center that provides highlights of Montpelier’s lengthy history dating back to the mid 1700’s.  The preserved property has something to offer everyone including hikes, gardens, and a breath-taking view of the blue ridge mountains. The grounds are filled with opportunities to learn about our nation’s early history and the impact it still has on our country today. Continue reading “ERW Weekender: In the Footsteps of James Madison”

Standing on a Street Corner…

Now I know what you are thinking…the famous song by The Eagles. But, no.

Corner where Fort Gatlin once stood, Gatlin Avenue is running left to right, South Summerlin is off the right of the photo. Historical marker sign on left side of photo, D.A.R stone marker across street (to the right of the Jeep in the driveway) 

Continuing a theme from the last post, military history in Orlando, I did find myself standing on a street corner, South Summerlin Avenue and Gaitlin Avenue. That is when I noticed the small stone marker, placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Placed next to a hedge, on the corner of a driveway, sits until recently, the only reminder of this former military installation. Around this fort sprung a small county that became the county seat of Orange County, Florida by 1856. Which grew into Orlando.

An 1844 survey of Orange County, depicting Fort Gatlin (courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records and The Florida Historical Society

Constructed on November 9, 1838, by Lieutenant Alexander Fanning and four companies of the 4th U.S. Artillery, the post was one of several built across the breadth of central Florida during the Second Seminole War. Named in honor of Dr. John S. Gatlin, who had been killed in Major Dade’s Massacre on December 28, 1835. After completing the post, which was situated on a rise that commanded three lakes, Lt. Fanning and three companies departed, leaving 1st Lieutenant F.E. Hunt.

After June 1839, the United States Army had abandoned the post, yet state militia continue to garrison the wooden ramparts. A brief return in October 1849 by the army led to it becoming an active post, briefly, until the soldiers left shortly thereafter.

One side of informational panel of the Eagle Scout project for Fort Gatlin

Abandoned, besides the stone marker, until recently. A great Eagle Scout project produced a wooden two-panel history of Fort Gatlin, Native American history, early settlers, and the 2nd Seminole War. This stands on the same corner as the Florida historical marker and across the intersection from the Daughters of the American Revolution stone marker.

And standing for one day, a man on astreet corner, looking for history, a fine sight to see.