[Loxahatchee Battlefield Preservationists]
Saving the History of the Loxahatchee Battlefield
Artifacts Found, Collected from forgotten Loxahatchee Battle From 1838
By Kathleen Chapman, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Published March 15, 2009
JUPITER, Florida — A small group of Seminoles had everything at stake when they fought more than 1,500 U.S. troops and volunteers at the Loxahatchee River in 1838.
If defeated, the Seminoles would be forced to head west to Oklahoma reservations on the Trail of Tears. (Yes, the Southern portion of The Trail of Tears starts in Jupiter Florida) Their black allies, who joined the Seminole cause after escaping from Southern plantations, could be sold back into slavery.
Incredibly the battlefield where they fought and died was almost lost forever. The area became a trailer park before Palm Beach County bought the land that is now Riverbend Park in 1978, unaware that the ground still hid the soldiers' buttons and musket balls.
Local historians rediscovered the battlefield in the early 1990s. But for nearly two decades, it had sat empty, unmentioned in guide books, unknown to many locals. That changed when Palm Beach County unveiled the first of three markers to commemorate the Second Seminole War on March 21, 2009.
Early settlers changed the landscape of the battlefield, clearing and draining what was once a nearly impenetrable swamp to plant an orange grove. But south of Indiantown Road, inside the quiet park, it is still possible to imagine the past.
"You actually can feel the spirit of those who fought and died 176 years ago," said Richard Procyk, a former detective who retired to Jupiter and spent years looking for the battlefield. "It would be a disrespect to ignore the sacrifice that was made here."
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