The Search For Old King's Road by Bill Ryan - Read Online
The Search For Old King's Road
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Florida's Old King's Road ran from Georgia south of Jacksonville (the called Cow Ford), to St. Augustine, thru what is now Flagler County Florida and ended in New Symrna on Florida's Atlantic Coast. It was once named one of the most important highways in America. It has vanished.

This is the history of Old King's. It covers historian Bill Ryan's effort to locate events including the great slave rebellion of the Second Seminole War, the Minorcans, large Plantations, and the many events that happened from 1783 to 1914 along this roadway once called "The most important civil engineering project in America." Slave rebellion, anxious refugees, British soldiers, planters, and seekers of a new life in Florida all used Old King's Road. It even fed the Confederate Army with herds of Florida beef and salt during the Civil War. There are many stories along his historic route.

Three major books resulted from this study including:
"Osceola His Catpure and Seminole Legends"
"I am Grey Eyes"
"Bulow Gold"
all cover events on this colonial era highway built prior to the American Revolution.

Published: Bill Ryan on
ISBN: 9781476149639
List price: $1.99
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The Search For Old King's Road - Bill Ryan

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The Search for Old Kings Road

The First Route Into Florida

by William P. Ryan

Table of Contents


The Search For Old King’s Road

The First Route Into Florida

Copyright 2012 William P. Ryan

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for you personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, the please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.





Chapter 1 Florida's Main Entry

Chapter 2 We were not the first

Chapter 3 First Spanish Settlers

Chapter 4 .British Control

Chapter 5 Al Hadeed speaks

Chapter 6 .A well made, suitable road

Chapter 7 .Rapid growth down Old Kings

Chapter 8 Minorcan Escape

Chapter 9 British occupation ends

Chapter 10 Spain in control

Chapter 11 Joseph M. Hernandez

Chapter 12 .Spain is pressured

Chapter 13 .U.S. Ownership

Chapter 14 Live Oakers

Chapter 15 The Indians must go

Chapter 16 Disaster!

Chapter 17 .Fort Fulton

Chapter 18 The Williams Map

Chapter 19 The Carter Road

Chapter 20. I. I. Moody

Chapter 21 .Bulowville destroyed

Chapter 22 Railroads

Chapter 23 .Lew Wadsworth

Chapter 24 Rodenmeyer video

Chapter 25 Air Search

Chapter 26 .Tomoka Crossing

Chapter 27 Florida Agricultural Museum

Chapter 28. Pellicer Land Grant

Chapter 29 More Old Kings appears

Chapter 30 Osceola capture site

Chapter 31 Time Line

About the author


They came from everywhere. The newest arrivals in Flagler County Florida and the new city of Palm Coast came from almost every point in America. From New Jersey, from New York, with moving vans from Chicago, home buyers immigrating from Knoxville and even from the islands of the Caribbean, and distant villages in Russia…the land salesman brought the dream of moving to a paradise. Fields of palmettos were ripped away, new roads cut, and the crack of falling slash pine trees sent birds, Florida snakes, and animals wandering to look for new locations.

Soon Flagler was named as the fastest growing county in the United States. Each new Florida immigrant brought his own memories of distant places and times. The bull dozers and construction cranes swept away the remaining artifacts of the Flagler County past.

As the existing forest and swamp lands vanished, only a brick or two, or perhaps a trimmed cypress log would emerge from the rubble to hint that someone else was here. The Old Florida grew fainter as the elderly residents and pioneer families faded. Gated communities soon adopted old plantation names onto their impressive brick facades that blocked access to the waterways and roads where the first settlers farmed.

Only a far away echo of our rich history exists in place names. Here the sounds of the past may live a bit in the names and places we pass by: Indian Trails, Matanzas, Turnbull Woods, Pellicer, St. Joseph, Seminole Woods, Graham’s Swamp, Moultrie, Dupont, Bulow Plantation, Halifax and others Unknown to most new arrivals, they had located in one of the oldest human settlements in the United States. Here are Indian relics and mounds that might be 2,000 years old. Here stood the remains of a great Plantation Economy that raised sugar and Indigo for export to Europe. Great battles and suffering happened here, refugees and hopeful settlers extended their dreams. Flagler County today is reported as the fastest growing settlement in America. It is a symbol of the dramatic changes happening in Florida. The bull dozer and developer must rip away the past to meet fresh new dreams of new residents and a new history. The past history then grows more distant, resting in fading reports and early photocopies of reports at the Flagler library.

There is a pathway that could still resonate with the distant thunder of a far away past….if we can locate it, it might tell a story that we were not the first to move our dreams to Florida. There were others here before us. They used Old Kings Road. This is the story of the Old Kings highway in Flagler County Florida, my search to discover more of its history, and perhaps the location of the still existing roadway. I began my search with the large collection of documents at the Flagler County Public Library. As I proceeded Old Kings began to call out like magic, each day brought new information about this ancient connection to time in Flagler County Florida. It is a roadway that refuses to vanish. This is the story I discovered. Bill Ryan


Florida's Main entryway for hundreds of years

Once Old Kings Road was the main route into Florida. In the 20th century it was surpassed by U.S. route 1 and finally the super highway U.S. 95. If you were traveling south slowly on US 1, and looked very closely as you passed the northern border of Florida's Flagler County, deep among the slash pine trees and palmettos you might have located a dusty, unmarked turn off that was known as Old Kings Road. It was once the most important roadway into Florida!

This dusty narrow road had the 'washboard' effect of most Florida back roads, and was not used much until it wandered south-east to meet the paved portion of Old Kings, and joined the busy traffic that flowed straight to the Southern border of Flagler. The street signs then no longer said Old Kings Road as it was blocked at the Halifax Plantation and the Dixie Highway intersection.

The dust has now settled. Old King' Road is now paved all the way as an escape route for Flagler citizens fearing the threats of forest fires and hurricanes

Old Kings Road is a highway built before the American Revolution. Here is a road pronounced a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. This ancient highway once ran from Colerain Georgia, to Cow Ford (Now Jacksonville), thence to St. Augustine, south through what is now Flagler County, and south to New Smyrna. It was once one of the most important roadways in America. Here were immense plantations, here was one of the worst wars in our history lasting longer than World War II, here was the route of armies, frightened settlers, Minorcan refugees, rough men seeking wealth in the live oak trade, and new settlers hoping for their dream in Florida. Could a highway built in 1767 still exist?

Before it was paved. This dusty somewhat rough back road in northern Flagler County was some 240 years old! It was a roadway with perhaps more history than any in America. This was the route of hopeful settlers, rich plantations, men seeking wealth in the live oak trade, armies, angry Indians, and famous soldiers. Today it is now a newly paved road with bridges and overpasses. New residents do not know of its history. When I arrived in Flagler County and the new community of Palm Coast, I had volunteered to produce the first county internet website in conjunction with a new library being built. There were mentions of Old Kings Road but not much detail was available about it. We began to add bits and pieces of Flagler history to our site. I helped to make recorded interviews of older residents with volunteer, Dr. Judy Kent. Old Kings Road kept appearing with tales of Indian battles, or early settlers along the way. I heard the last dirt section was going to be paved and wanted to photograph and record it before the roadway vanished.

I soon discovered this ancient roadway was rapidly vanishing beneath developer plans and new roadways. I resolved to search for as much as I could locate and make records of what still existed.


We were not the first

Indian tribes existing thousands of years ago made the pathways through swamps and along the natural ridges. We were not the first! Prior to the arrival of the first Spanish explorers, many Indians lived here for perhaps thousands of years. It was estimated that by the time of Columbus’s voyages there could have been over 900,000 Indians living in the Florida area. By 1710 it was estimated that no more than 1,000 of the early Indians still existed. Soon none existed. "They be all naked and of goodly stature, mighty, faire and as well shapen…as any people in all the worlde, very gentill, curious and of good nature…the men be of tawny color, hawke nosed and of a pleasant countenance…the women be well favored and modest" French Explorer Jean Ribault May 1562

The arrival of The Europeans brought pathogens. New diseases such as smallpox, influenza, bubonic plague, and yellow fever had arrived. Slave ships coming from Africa carried new woes in addition to their suffering human cargo. The ancient Florida tribes may have been here for thousands of years, walking their paths and raising great mounds of shell, and burial sites, but they had no resistance to the European plagues. They left only piles of white shell, and some carefully placed remains buried in their beliefs.

Also attacks from the English in the north, carried many off into slavery. The Spanish priests established a chain of over 40 missions to Christianize the Indians. They wrote exact records and noted that the Indian villages grew maize (corn), beans, pumpkins, cucumbers, citrus, and gourds, with two crops of corn being planted yearly. These early tribesmen were reported as being taller in stature than the short stature European visitors, and were well organized around village life.

In 1704 the northern English Settlers waged a total war against the Spanish in Florida destroying the missions, killing the priests and scattering the surviving Indians. By 1717 there were too few original Indians left to be mentioned in the accounts. Disease and war created a holocaust in La Florida. The new groups of Indians that began to drift in from the North and West, fleeing the almost continuous wars, had no knowledge of the ancient ones, but would often follow the same paths in settle in the same areas. Soon there was nothing to mark their existence except for large shell piles or middens with oyster shells, animal bones, and perhaps some human remains dug up by collectors.

There were no main roads only Indian pathways existed.

When the Spanish arrived in what was to become St. Augustine in 1565 they first encountered the Indians which they called as Timucuan. The Spanish were not road builders and were concentrating on survival following continuous warfare with France and England. Spanish explorers and soldiers may have visited the area now known as Flagler but there is no record of their settlement here. There were certainly Indian villages with game trails and paths. Waterways remained the main means of transport.

Spain held their portion of Florida for some 198 years! St. Augustine had survived pirate attacks by English freebooters, storms, disease and neglect. It was written that when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1720, St. Augustine could have been ready for an urban renewal project! New Indian tribes drifted into Florida over this period fleeing the wars of the north, west and intrusions on their tribal lands by white settlers.