Links of Note: Florida’s Role in the Final Naval Battle of the American Revolution and Other News

Florida Frontiers: The Last Naval Battle of the American Revolution (Florida Today)

The British controlled Florida from 1763 to 1783, encompassing the entire American Revolution. Florida remained loyal to England and King George III throughout the conflict. The last naval battle of the American Revolution took place off of Cape Canaveral on March 10, 1783. Two American ships, the Alliance and the Duc de Lauzun, were on a mission to bring 72,000 Spanish silver dollars from Cuba to the American colonies to pay the Continental soldiers. The American ships were intercepted by three British ships, the Alarm, the Sybil, and the Tobago at Cape Canaveral. “I think in my article I refer to it as a two-ship treasure fleet on a secret mission to secure funding to pay the American soldiers that had been pretty much languishing for almost two years without pay in upstate New York and other places throughout the colonies,” says Brevard County Historical Commissioner Molly Thomas, who has written a series of three articles about the battle for the most recent issues of the Indian River Journal.

The People’s Champ: Downtown Pensacola Voted Greatest Place in Florida (Pensacola News Journal)

If you live in downtown Pensacola, you live in the greatest place in Florida. Those are just the facts.  Downtown Pensacola was named the 2017 Great Places in Florida People’s Choice Winner, following an eight-day poll administered by the American Planning Association of Florida. Brandon Henry, the APA’s Young Planners Group chair, said approximately 3,900 people cast a vote and “about half” picked Pensacola. The 44-block district becomes the fifth recipient of the honor.

Discover Once of the Coolest Enclaves in the Florida Keys Before all the Tourists do (Miami.Com)

The hub of the Florida Keys commercial shrimping industry, Stock Island is the island just north of Key West defined by a rustic authenticity that flavors its colorful marinas, arts enclaves and waterfront bars and restaurants. Celebrate the unique character of Stock Island Dec. 8-10 for the annual I Love Stock Island Festival. The family-friendly festival will blend culinary events, live music, history and art studio tours, a lively community party, water sports and other experiences showcasing the island and its eclectic working waterfront.

Florida History Lives Again at the Island School (Boca Beacon)

Students at The Island School relived local and Florida history once again on Wednesday, Nov. 15 when a Calusa shaman, Ponce de Leon, a pirate and an early member of the Padilla fishing family visited.The Johann Fust Community Library and the Boca Grande Historical Society once again teamed with the school’s staff to demonstrate that history is both interesting and exciting. In December the organizations will continue the saga with Fisherfolk and Cow Chasers, the story of the early settlers in our area.

We Should Celebrate our Missing Local History (Florida Times-Union)

Jacksonville is a city that has been ignoring its past, which includes many of its most famous citizens. Jacksonville’s past exists in the grand houses that still stand in Durkeeville and Sugar Hill. It is housed within the second-floor museum and administrative offices of the Clara White Mission. It survives within the bright lights illuminating the historic Ritz Theatre. And, sadly, it endures but is rapidly fading in buildings and neighborhoods throughout the city’s near north and west sides. In fact, the historical importance over decades of the contributions of Jacksonville’s African-American residents and communities is startling and is nationally significant. Yet most Jacksonville residents know very little of its richness.

Here is a Fond Farewell to Mel Tillis, aka Funniest Floridian (Tallahassee Democrat)

Although he was comfortable cracking jokes onstage, Tillis wasn’t always so sure of himself. When he was still a starving songwriter in Nashville, he landed a road gig playing state fairs in the Midwest with comedian Minnie Pearl for $18 per show. He also recruited a fellow struggling musician named Roger Miller to play the fiddle. Because Tillis stammered, he let Miller do his song introductions until Pearl put a stop to it. She wanted the naturally funny Tillis to try out his own material. He told her he was afraid the audience would laugh at him. “She said, ‘No they won’t. They will laugh with you.’ And she was right,” Tillis said. “Then she told me to work on my timing. I told her, ‘If I worked on my timing, I could quit stuttering.’ Then she told me something I’ve never forgotten. She said, ‘Melvin, don’t step on your laughter because it’s too hard to get.” Amen, Minnie Pearl.