Caleb Lyndon Brayton located to this part of Florida for his health.  He wrote a series of letters to his wife which give us an idea of what pioneer life was like here.  These letters were printed in the Florida Historical Quarterly in January of 1992.

Brayton had been visiting with William Russell  when a Seminole Indian attack occurred in July of 1849.  Caleb’s homestead was nine miles south of Russell’s place.  Russell was wounded and his brother-in-law John Barker was killed in this attack.  Brayton dressed Russell’s injury at the Gattis’ house.  Looking to arm themselves against the Indians they found that the guns that were there, would not work.  The group pushed off in a boat just as the Indians reappeared.   The Seminoles shot at them again, but they were out of range.  The group went to Brayton’s house to get his guns, but none of the “healthy” men were willing to go to shore, so the consumptive Brayton waded in and retrieved his guns.  This assemblage sounded the alarm to the rest of the settlers who were transported by the small boat to a schooner anchored farther out.

Many settlers did not return after this event, but Brayton did.  For a time he stayed close to the newly built Fort Capron.  Brayton’s health improved, although it was said he had but one lung, he was considered hail and hearty.  He soon obtained a contract with the postmaster general and carried mail from New Smyrna to Miami.

Reference:

  • A Portrait of St. Lucie County, Florida, by Lucille Rieley Rights 1994