Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Taken Prisoner


  My great uncle, John Carroll Houston IV, was born on April 3, 1842 in Mayport, Florida.  He was the brother of my great grandmother Ada Louise Houston Roesch.  

Gravestone of J.C. Houston,
Eau Gallie Cemetery
 
At the outbreak of the Seminole Indian War in 1857, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a scout at the age of 16.  He served for two years then with his father moved to Eau Gallie, Florida, and together built a log home for the family. 

From 1860 to 1865, at the outbreak of the Civil War, John began to operate boats on the Indian River in the interest of the Confederacy.  In fact, he was the first man to navigate this river and became known as Captain John.  He made several successful trips to Nassau, British West Indies transporting provisions.  He was captured, taken prisoner and kept at sea for three months.  At the end of the Civil War, Captain John was paroled at Key West.

"He worked his way up on the island until he reached what was then called the Town of Miami.  He got an old hunter to ferry him across the river onto the peninsula.  The Captain, armed only with a small hatchet, made his way toward Eau Gallie.  The journey back was fraught with danger as he was encountered at frequent intervals with panther and other wild animals.  When he reached Jupiter, he found a dilapidated old boat and with his hatchet and an old saw blade that was lying nearby the built a small boat and paddle and headed home up the river."  (February 25, 1916 Eau Gallie Record, obituary written by my great grandfather, William R. Roesch, Capt. Houston Called After A Long Illness.)

His parents thought their son was surely dead.  But, one night at midnight his father awoke to the call of a "cow-holler".  He jumped out of bed yelling to his wife that their son was home because no one else could holler like that.  John ran to the river to joyfully welcome his son home.

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