In the last quarter of the nineteenth century the Seminole Indians of southern Florida were a relatively independent and prosperous people. The small remnant group which remained in Florida following the Third Seminole War (1855-58), numbering fewer than 200, evaded army efforts to capture them, and they faded away into the fastness of the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp. For several decades they lived in virtual isolation from the outside world, venturing forth only for occasional trading visits to frontier villages such as Miami, Fort Meade, and Fort Myers. During these years they completed the last stage of an ethnoecologic adaptation to their new environment. This was manifested by a number of notable features in their physical culture: the open-sided, thatched-roof “Chickee” was perfectly adapted to the terrain; loose fitting, light garments replaced the buckskins and heavier clothing which they had worn in North Florida; small plot subsistence farming was developed, emphasizing crops which thrived in a semi-tropical region; and the cypress dugout canoe provided a highly efficient means of transportation across the sawgrass sea of the Everglades, and could even be fitted with sails for use on large bodies of water such as Lake Okeechobee.
Kersey, Jr., Harry A.
"Private Societies and the Maintenance of Seminole Tribal Integrity, 1899-1957,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 56
, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol56/iss3/5