Only a handful of Indians remained in Florida as the Third Seminole War ended in 1858. When Chief Billy Bowlegs led his band out of the Big Cypress Swamp, accepted a government indemnity, and boarded the steamer Grey Cloud which would take him and his group to their new home in the Indian Territory, he estimated that only thirty-eight warriors and their families were left behind. This was probably a low figure, but his information was relayed to the war department by Colonel Elias Rector, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and plans were made to locate the remaining bands. Throughout that summer, army and civilian scouts found signs of Indian habitation, but failed to make contact, and in the fall of 1858 a contingent of Seminoles led by Billy Bowlegs returned to seek out these Indians and, if possible, persuade them to join their tribe in the West. Only seventy-five more left the state, and when they moved to Indian Territory in February 1859, it marked the last substantive attempt by federal authorities to remove Seminoles from Florida.
Kersey, Jr., Harry A.
"Pelts, Plumes, and Hides: White Traders Among the Seminole Indians, 1890-1930,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 51:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol51/iss3/4