James M. Denham


Before the Civil War, Florida was one of the most murderous places in the United States. Its homicide rate was rivaled only by Texas and California.1 When it came to murders of or by blacks, Florida was typical for a slave state. But its white citizens killed each other at an extraordinary rate-usually three or four times the rate in most other slave states and eight to ten times the prevailing rate during the Second Seminole War, 1835-42, and the secession crisis, 1858-61.