Tag Archives: Florida

Gadsden in Florida: Treading on Tampa

Gadsden’s Florida Connection (And It Isn’t Only the County)

a black-and-white illustration of a segmented snake, with different British colony abbreviations at each segment. Below the image are the words "Join, or Die" — this is the start of the Gadsden Flag that would become the Don't Tread on Me Florida License Plate
“Join, or Die” — this is the start of the Gadsden Flag that would become the Don’t Tread on Me Florida license plate.  Gadsden has another Florida connection, too.
Image via the United States Library of Congress

In response to yesterday’s post about the face-palm-i-ness of the Don’t Tread on Me Florida license plate, Florida historian Joey Vars sent me the following information. These are his words, with his sources at the end of the post:

Gadsden Purchase in the Southwest

“James Gadsden was the grandson of Christopher Gadsden and is significant in Florida’s territorial history. James is largely known for the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. That purchase includes portions of southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. He was also the aide-de-camp of General Andrew Jackson during the first stage of the Seminole War in 1818. He would become instrumental in forming the Treaty of Payne’s Landing in 1832.

Gadsden in Tampa Bay

“However, in late 1823, as response to the Treaty of Moultrie Creek, Colonel Gadsden was ordered to mark the boundaries of a new military reservation in Tampa Bay and scout the location of a new fort. His ship arrived in early 1824. It landed on the southeastern portion of the interbay peninsula — an area today known as Gadsden Point.

“After leaving a marker on the shoreline for Brooke’s pending arrival, Gadsden and his men trekked 12 miles north to the mouth of the Hillsborough river where William Hackney’s plantation was located. Now technically within the boundaries of the newly established military reservation, he commandeered Hackney’s plantation home as headquarters while soldier’s constructed what would become Fort Brooke — the foundation for Tampa and all those who inhabit the region today.

“Why didn’t Hackney tell James Gadsden to ‘not tread on me’, as his
grandfather famously empowered the Patriots? Well, Hackney was in Pensacola on business when Gadsden and his men arrived. When he returned home later in the spring to hundreds of soldiers, barracks, and a small cantonment, there was little he could do to get his property back. Hackney’s family was embroiled in litigation with the federal government until the late 1880s over the wrongful possession of the Hackney property.”

Gadsden Research Links

Florida-Splaining and Florida Spectacular

a plate of roast pork, which the author loves Florida-splaining to people
Florida-splaining is a word. Let me tell you about the best Cuban restaurant in the Florida Keys…
Photo by Cathy Salustri

This fall, my next book, Florida Spectacular, gets published.

There’s a lot of moving parts to traditional publishing, and one of the most boring is the part where you review the index and make sure it’s OK.

However.

Today I had a bright moment in a boring slog through the index: Florida-splaining.

It’s a word I’ve made up and it refers to what my friends call my “Florida Facts.” You know what mansplaining is, right? Same idea.

And it’s in the index. This gave me a chuckle, because if it goes in the index, it must be a real word, right?

A screen grab of the Florida Spectacular index, with the word "Florida-splaining" highlighted
Florida-splaining is now officially a word.
Screengrab by Cathy Salustri

When my publisher, UPF, published Backroads of Paradise, someone involved in the process (I can’t remember who) told me my book marked the first time the Press printed the word “fuck” (I referenced one of my professors ordering a drink Miss Kitty’s, the Knock-Me-Down-and-Fuck-Me, a pink libation served in a hurricane glass).

Here I am, first again.

Now, as for the larger question: Should Florida-splaining have a hyphen? Should I spell it Floridasplaining?

Psst — want to know when the book gets published so you can do some Florida-splaining of your own? Subscribe to my newsletter.

Contact Cathy Salustri

You can reach me at cathysalustri@gmail.com, on Instagram (@cathysalustri) or Facebook (@salustricathy), or Twitter (@cathysalustri).

Introducing the Florida Keys Spectacular: A Podcast for Keys Fans

a pickup truck that's been bedazzled, Florida-keys style.
Introducing the Florida Keys Spectacular — bonus podcast content for Florida Keys fans!
Photo by Cathy Salustri

Do you love podcasts? Do you love the Florida Keys? Do you already listen to the Florida Spectacular podcast, co-hosted by me and Rick Kilby?

Well, then, this is your lucky Thursday. Why? Because, as of today, Florida Keys historian Brad Bertelli and I have a biweekly podcast about the Florida Keys.

Introducing the Florida Keys Spectacular podcast.

It’s no secret I love the Florida Keys.

One of the things I struggled with when I started visiting the Florida Keys regularly? Finding non-touristy things to do. Oh, yes, I swam with a sea lion (something I loved, but feel bad about now) and yes, I’ve eaten at Margaritaville. But… those things aren’t really the Florida Keys I love.

The Florida Keys really opened up to me after I met Brad Bertelli in 2015, when a stroke of serendipity sent me to the Florida Keys to get interviewed by a Canadian television station. At the time, Brad worked for a Florida Keys museum, I didn’t have this website, and my book was not-yet published. Brad, already a published author, was really nice to an unknown Florida writer. Throughout the years, we became friends as well as colleagues. (When my book, Florida Spectacular, comes out later this year, you’ll read one of my favorite Brad stories in the introduction.) During the pandemic, Brad and I had virtual cocktails for people playing the Florida Keys home game (which was everyone, really).

Photo of Brad Bertelli, co-host of Florida Keys Spectacular podcast. A bald-ish man with black frame glasses, smiling at the camera. Man is wearing a white tee.
There’s no better co-host for the Florida Keys Spectacular podcast than Brad Bertelli.
Photo courtesy Brad Bertelli.

Today, Brad has a few more books, a column about Florida Keys history in Keys Weekly, and a Facebook group about Florida Keys history that has more followers than a small town.

A few years back, I started the Florida Spectacular podcast.

The show has gone through several iterations. Right now we hit a sweet spot. Rick Kilby (another amazing Florida author) co-hosts. Rick and I have a lot of fun taking listeners across Florida every week. We talk about history, environment, and, of course, things to do in each part of Florida.

While Rick spends a lot of time traveling the state, he doesn’t spend nearly as much time in the Florida Keys as I do. And, honestly, there’s a lot more to the Sunshine State than Key West, Florida Bay, and the upper and middle keys. It’s a different world, honestly.

Which is why it makes sense to have a different podcast. Every Thursday, Brad holds court at Robbie’s in Islamorada. Anyone who wants to talk Florida Keys history can hang out with him, ask history questions, or share memories. I found myself, as I so often do, in the Florida Keys recently, so I found Brad at Robbie’s, bought him a beer, and told him I had a proposition. Why not take his knowledge about the Florida Keys and create an off-shoot of the Florida Spectacular podcast? This one would be only for Keys fans, and we’d cover everything from where to buy sandwiches for a picnic lunch at Windley Key (Episode 1) to the original route of the Oversea Highway (Episode 2).

Brad was all in immediately. While I plowed my way through a piece of fish at the Hungry Tarpon, we planned. Back home, the planning continued. Brad taped a commercial. Brad drafted some scripts. We chose topics. And, finally, today, the Florida Keys Spectacular podcast goes live.

Subscribe to Florida Keys Spectacular today and support us!

Florida Keys Spectacular is bonus content, available to anyone who supports the podcast at the $5/month level. For that $5, you get two episodes a month. Each one will take a deep dive into the Florida Keys. We’ll give you Florida Keys history, suggestions on things to do, and the ability to see the Florida Keys like a local does. No podcast explores the Florida Keys like we do. Take a listen — you won’t be disappointed!

I’d love to do the Sally Struthers thing and say, “for the cost of a cup of coffee” but, well, inflation. Also, aside from Joffrey’s, some of my favorite coffee in Florida is Baby’s Coffee, and since it’s a bit of a drive to Baby’s, it costs me a whole lot more than $5 to get a cup (but so worth it!).