In the history of American continental and overseas expansion, sometimes the lone hunter and trapper went first, or the isolated farmer. Other timese the missionary or the businessman or the railroad line arrived in advance of settler. However, sometimes the navy or the army preceded settlement and occasionally even preceded the legal possession of the territory. Military forts have played a role in the settlement of many American frontier, but on scarcely any frontier did forts play such a pervasive and significant role as they did in Florida. The United States Army preceded settlement into most sections of the territory. Military forts often became havens for settlers who were already in the vicinity or were attracted to the area by the safety that forts provided. Thus the many forts the army built as it explored and fought to subdue the Seminole became safe haven for the white settlers who either preceded or followed the army.
Dibble, Ernest F.
"Giveaway Forts: Territorial Forts and The Settlement of Florida,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 78:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol78/iss2/5