"Nothing occurred to disturb the quiet of the night, except the wolves in the neighboring forest responding howl for howl..."
—Journal of Jacob Rhett Mott, 1838
By the 19th century, American settlements along Florida's coasts had driven most of the Native peoples into the interior. The Seminoles, Florida's largest tribe, engaged in a series of battles with the encroaching Americans. By 1837, the Second Seminole War was raging all across the Florida peninsula. Aside from a series of small fortresses, the East Coast of Florida from St. Augustine to Fort Capron (today's Fort Pierce) was abandoned by the American settlers.
Late in the year 1837, the United States Army began construction of a road along the Atlantic Coast Ridge. The road was to be 16 feet wide and strong enough to support wagons, cavalry and cannon. By the spring of 1838, Brigadier General Hernandez and his men had built more than 200 miles of road out of the swamps and forests using nothing but hand tools, sweat and human effort. Today the remains of the Hernandez-Capron Trail, Florida's ancient highway for animals and humans lie just a short distance to your east.