One mile east of here is the site of the town of Pilaklikaha, established in 1813 by Black Seminoles. Meaning "many ponds" in the Mikasuki language, Pilaklikaha was the largest and most prosperous Black Seminole town in Florida, with a population of 100 men, women, and children. Many Black Seminoles were formerly enslaved peoples of African descent who fled bondage to Spanish Florida following the American Revolution. Driven into the Alachua and Suwannee regions by Georgia and Tennessee militias, they joined and mingled with the native Seminoles. Black Seminoles, though not formally adopted into the Seminole Tribe, formed a relationship with the native Seminoles who protected them from slave catchers in exchange for military aid and a portion of their crops as tribute. At its peak, Pilaklikaha contained timber, thatch-and-daub homes, corn cribs, and fences. Residents may have accumulated few possessions beyond simple dishes, arms, beads, and hand-made brushed pottery. During the 1820s, the settlement was visited by two American officials, Horatio Dexter and Lt. George McCall, who reported herds of cattle and horses along with fields of rice, beans, melons, pumpkins, and peanuts.
Pilaklikaha was also known as "Abraham's
Old Town," named after Abraham, who came to the area after escaping slavery in Pensacola around 1826. Abraham served as a skilled interpreter and the voice of the Seminoles during treaty negotiations with the United States government. He rose to prominence as the counselor for Chief Micanopy, even accompanying him on a diplomatic trip to Washington, D.C. Abraham was later released from service in appreciation for his work. Assuming a connection to the Dade Massacre in 1835, United States Army soldiers, under the command of Brigadier General Abraham Eustis, burned Pilaklikaha to the ground on March 30, 1836, during the second escalation of the Seminole War. All the residents of Abraham's town escaped weeks before its destruction. During the conflict, many native Seminoles and some Black Seminoles, including Abraham, were forcibly relocated to Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma, as part of the "Trail of Tears." Abraham died in Indian Territory sometime after 1870.