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Title: Biscayne Bay, Dade Co., Florida, Between the 25th and 26th Degrees of Latitude. - A complete manual of information concerning the climate, - soil, products, etc., of the lands bordering on Biscayne - Bay, in Florida.
Author: Perrine, Henry E.
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Biscayne Bay, Dade Co., Florida, Between the 25th and 26th Degrees of Latitude. - A complete manual of information concerning the climate, - soil, products, etc., of the lands bordering on Biscayne - Bay, in Florida." ***

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                       BISCAYNE BAY,

                     DADE CO., FLORIDA,

         Between the 25th and 26th Degrees of Latitude.

                        A COMPLETE



                  BISCAYNE BAY, IN FLORIDA.

                 WEED, PARSONS AND COMPANY.


The information contained in the following pages has been carefully
collected almost entirely by Mrs. JAMES E. WALKER, of Albany, N. Y. The
facts stated are but a small portion of the large amount of material
in her possession. The compiler has endeavored to give due credit to
all by name whose statements are given, so that none may suppose he has
either drawn upon the resources of his imagination or appropriated the
ideas and language of others as his own.

                                            HENRY E. PERRINE.
  _June_, 1876.

In our northern States there are thousands of health and pleasure
seekers who every fall eagerly hasten away from comfortable and
luxurious homes to escape the rigors of approaching winter. Of late
years the current of travel has been constantly increasing, being
directed more and more toward that portion of our country which, beyond
dispute, can now claim to be more healthful and free from disease
than any other section of the Union. The statistics furnished by the
Surgeon-General of the United States establish this fact. He says:
“The diseases which result from malaria are of a much milder type
in the Peninsula of Florida than in any other State in the Union.
These records show that the rates of deaths to the number of cases of
remittent fever has been much less than among the troops serving in
any other portions of the United States. In the middle division of the
United States, the proportion is one death to thirty-six cases; in
the northern, one to fifty-two; in the southern, one to fifty-four;
in Texas, one to seventy-eight; in California, one to one hundred and
twenty-two; in New Mexico, one to one hundred and forty-eight; while
in Florida, it is but _one to two hundred and eighty-seven_.” More
will be said upon this subject further on. The facts compiled in this
little pamphlet with great care, are not intended alone for the benefit
of the invalid and mere seeker of pleasure. They are to attract the
attention of the large number of people who for many years have been
struggling in the various avenues of business, in our cities and large
towns, men whose earnings, even if large in the aggregate, have been
each year swallowed up by the increased cost of living in these later
days. For those who would like a home in a more genial clime, where
they can, by patient industry, within from two to six years, lay the
sure foundation for a permanent income, where the expenses of living
are not more than about one-fourth as great as in the north, these
pages will surely be of interest and will repay them for the time
consumed in their perusal. The peninsula of Florida extends abruptly
from the main land of the continent, in a direction a little east of
south. It is nearly 400 miles in length, and has an average width of
130 miles. Its formation is peculiar. Every other peninsula in the
world owes its existence to a central mountain chain, which affords a
stubborn resistance to the waves. Florida has no such elevations, and
mainly a loose, low, sandy soil. It has another peculiarity. It is
said, that at no other point in the world do the trade winds divide,
as at Cape Sable. On the one hand, passing up the east coast to the
Atlantic, and on the west into the Gulf of Mexico. This it is that
produces that wonderful equability of climate, that puzzles a northern
man to understand, why it should be so much cooler in summer than at
the north. The base of all southern Florida is limestone, not tertiary,
but modern and coralline. This it is that prevents all miasma, and
this decomposed limestone with its admixture of vegetable mold, makes
the best soil in the United States for the introduction of tropical
plants. This it is, also, that causes the difference in fertility of
this soil, as compared with the siliceous sand of the more northern
part of the State. Biscayne Bay is located on the south-eastern coast
of Florida, between the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth degrees of north
latitude, below the frost line, and is included within the limits of
Dade county. The following facts are quoted from the “Florida Settler
and Immigrants’ Guide,” prepared by Dennis Eagan, Commissioner of Lands
and Immigration: “The climate of Dade county is exceedingly agreeable
and conducive to health. The thermometer throughout the year shows a
temperature of about seventy-five degrees, the extremes being fifty-one
and ninety-two degrees. It is never visited by frost, and the heat in
midsummer is much less oppressive than at New York or places further
north, being tempered by the influence of the Gulf Stream, which flows
within a few miles of the coast. The water is pure and good. Many
fine springs are found in different parts of the country; some of
them mineral springs of considerable value. The everglades, which are
within the limits of Dade county, simply consist of a shallow lake of
vast extent--the water is from six inches to six feet in depth, and
teems with aquatic and semiaquatic plants, which present to the eyes
of the beholder a scene of perpetual verdure. Out of the surface of
the lake rise innumerable small islands, which are covered over with a
growth of cypress, sweet bay, crabwood, mastic, cocoa palms, cabbage
palmetto, and live and water oaks. The waters abound in turtles, fish,
etc. Around the margin of the everglades is a prairie, from half a
mile to a mile in breadth; * * * this prairie comprises some of the
richest land to be found in the United States, and has a productive
capacity for every variety of vegetable life known in the tropics
that is unsurpassed. * * * * Between the margin of the everglades and
Biscayne Bay and Barnes Sound, there is a strip of land from three to
fifteen miles in breadth. It is for the most part rocky pine land,
and some portions have a considerable elevation above the level of
the ocean. The deposits are oolitic and crystalline calcareous rock.
In the vicinity of the bay the land is covered with an undergrowth of
sago palm, called the coontie, probably from the Indian designation of
the root. It yields an excellent article of starch, and also farina,
which cannot be distinguished from Bermuda arrow root, except by the
aid of the microscope. The soil is well adapted for the cultivation
of sea island cotton, which is here perennial, and can be picked at
almost all seasons of the year. Along the bay tobacco, equal to the
best grown in Cuba, can be cultivated” (yielding from five to seven
cuttings each year), “while every variety of tropical fruit can be
grown successfully. The banana, plaintain, cocoanut, guava, sapadilla,
pomegranate, mamma, tamarind, pine-apple, lime, lemon, and citron.
Limes are so abundant in some places that they literally cover the
ground. Grapes ripen in May. The finest varieties of fig are found in
great abundance. The olive tree yields an oil equal to the best of
Lucca. The castor oil plant is also very productive, and the Sisal hemp
of commerce, from which the best of cordage is made, is wonderfully
abundant. Sugar cane grows to a great height, and ratoons from seven
to ten years. The tomato gets to be a stout bush, with hard, woody
stalk, and bears continually. Biscayne Bay abounds with a great variety
of fish, and is also the favorite haunt of the green turtle; it here
finds an abundance of the peculiar seaweed it prefers and on which it
thrives and fattens, and the water swarms with them. Key West offers
a market for all that can be caught, and turtle catching, in this
section, is a most lucrative employment. Sponges are very abundant,
and a large trade is now carried on in Key West in this article. The
sponges taken from these waters probably realize for the gatherers
fifty to seventy-five thousand dollars per annum.” Northern persons, in
going to this section, must leave behind them all their preconceived
ideas as to soil, for they will find that the above-mentioned rocky
pine lands are “_the very best_” for the cultivation of most of the
tropical fruits, but the prairie lands, to use the language of Col. M.
A. WILLIAMS (the State agent for the survey and location of the lands
granted to the State by the general government), “are inconceivably
rich, beyond description,” and are well adapted to the growth of the
most exhausting crops of sugar cane and tobacco. L. D. STICKNEY,
says in his pamphlet on Florida, “It is a great mistake to suppose
that sugar cannot be made to advantage without the investment of
large capital. The cane produced on less than ten acres of ground, is
usually ground in a wooden mill, which does not cost more than $100
(generally the work of the farmer himself), while the juice is boiled
in the common utensils of the kitchen, or at best, as the New England
farmer manufactures his maple sugar. The yield is usually greater,
in proportion to the stock worked, than where the machinery has cost
ten or fifteen thousand dollars! Cane is cultivated with more ease
than corn, not requiring so much hoeing. From midsummer to the time
of harvesting, the hands may be employed in other business; and even
at the time of taking off the crop, no great increase of hands is
required, as in Louisiana or Texas, where frost prevails. One hand can
cultivate six acres with the hoe, or ten to twelve with the aid of a
horse and plough. At the same time he can raise other crops sufficient
to subsist himself and family. Twelve hundred pounds of sugar to the
acre, is an average yield, though four thousand pounds have been
produced. (This refers to the yield on land further north than Biscayne
Bay; it is very certain that the larger yield can be relied upon in
this locality.) “The molasses is always expected to pay the expense of
manufacturing.” Col. M. A. WILLIAMS, while engaged in the United States
survey in 1874, writes: “This country is attracting attention; those
who are here (and there are several from various States, who have come
since January), are perfectly delighted.” WM. M. SWAN, who was with
him, writes, “Biscayne Bay comes up to the preconceived idea general
with strangers in Florida. If this place (I mean the entire Bay), had
a competent party to write it up _as it is_, into notice, the larger
part of the travel and investment would _undoubtedly center here_.”
“The whole of Biscayne Bay, is far more beautiful than the scenery
along the Indian river and the St. Johns.” * * * * * “We met here a Mr.
SAMUEL ROGERS, of Omaha, seeking health, and a desirable tropical home
for his family. After carefully plodding over the beaten track, the St.
Johns and Indian river, he finally selected this as the Eldorado he had
been seeking. Mr. ROGERS is one of the founders of the new thriving
city of Omaha.” Under date of May 30th, he writes: “The nights are
always pleasant, calling for a blanket before morning. I must admit,
that with the exception of Key Largo, I have not found mosquitoes any
thing as bad on the whole, as I was led to believe.” * * * * * A Mr.
JONES, of New York, reported to be very wealthy, says, “he has traveled
over the continent of Europe two or three times; has visited all of
the Islands of the Mediterranean in search of a climate favorable to
his (heart) disease. He decides unequivocally in favor of the Bay, and
announces his intention to buy a small tract of land, put up a splendid
cottage, stock an orchard complete in every fruit suitable, have his
steam yacht on hand for his convenience to travel anywhere; but his
_home_ must be _here_. The climate he says, is far more agreeable and
delightful the year round than any he has found.” He has been boarding
with Mr. ADDISON for one or two seasons. We see plenty of deer, and
one of our party on Sunday killed one and wounded another. Mr. NOYES
brought in a live fawn and saw ten yesterday, although too shy to get
a shot. Partridges are numerous. I wish I could have time to write
fully on the fruits that could be grown here. Bananas, plantains,
etc., the year around. The Rev. D. W. W. HICKS, of Miami, Biscayne
Bay, Dade county, in a speech, made before the Florida Fruit Growers
Association, said: “Mr. President and gentlemen--I place myself below
‘the frost line’ and within a territory, the most beautiful by nature,
and the most susceptible to the attentions of industrial art, probably,
on the continent. It may not compare in rugged grandeur with the far
West, up the canyons of the Yellowstone, or within the picturesque
valleys of the Rocky mountains; but more beautiful, because with us,
nature is in repose and at rest, holding in her lap the riches of a
semitropical clime, adorned with the perpetual bloom of Spring, and
regaled with the unceasing concerts of the oriole and mocking bird. *
* * * * * Who can do justice to that climate? The sick are restored to
health, the poor may speedily become rich by industry. * * * * While
borne upon every breeze is the balmy health giving breath of the Gulf
Stream.” BYRON in one of his rhapsodies, speaks of being “intoxicated
with eternity.” The sentiment seems vague and almost unnatural, but
whoever casts himself into the eddying blessings of the climate of
which I speak, will, if he have a spark of sentiment, forgive the
poet’s license. The rheumatic and the consumptive, with ordinary care,
lose their ailments with us. Eighteen months ago, one came from the
hyperborean regions of the North, lame and almost despairing. He was
accompanied with crutches. A few months enabled him to throw them
aside, and to-day you would rejoice to take a tramp with him through
the Coontie forest, or better still a sail in his boat upon the bosom
of the Bay of Biscayne. He is well. Rheumatism and my friend have
parted company, and his crutches are the relics of a past age. The
climate suits the consumptive, because rude, abrupt changes in the
atmosphere are _almost unknown_. The Gulf Stream hugs our shores so
devotedly that from the North, Northeast, East, Southeast and South,
no chill can obtrude upon us. The strongest breeze is tempered with a
warm and genial spirit. It is impossible to conceive of a more perfect
climate, taking it all in all. Of course we have plenty of sunshine,
and hot sunshine too; but with the sunshine comes the breeze, and not
a day in the whole year need be lost on account of the heat. * * * *
* * If the soil is thin, for the most part it is very rich and yields
abundantly. The rock is near the surface when it does not protrude and
is soft, nutritious to plants, and otherwise valuable and useful. “What
will grow there?” Every thing that I see about me in this hall except
discontent! (The platform on which the gentleman stood was covered with
various fruits: oranges, lemons, limes, citrons, bananas, and many
varieties of vegetables.) This looks like home. I see familiar things,
but _miss_ more than I recognize! I think I must yield the palm to you
in oranges, but in all other varieties of _citrus_, you must take a
back seat. Our guava is a royal heritage, only we have not yet found
how to market them. We have about twenty varieties and thousands upon
thousands of bearing trees. The fruit delicious to a cultivated taste
fresh from the tree, while every housewife in the land, and every lover
of sweets, can descant with eloquence upon the marmalades and jellies
made of this desirable fruit. The tree is hardy with us, and will take
care of and propagate itself, and is on terms of great cordiality
with our rocky plantations. It should bear in three years. Ours is the
natural country of the lime, lemon and citron; children of a common
stock. We have several varieties of the lime. The trees are of rapid
growth, constant bearers, very prolific, subject to no disease, and
very tenacious of life. The fruit is large, “How large?” as a Sicily
lemon. I consider the lime as profitable as the orange, and more so,
with us. It should be cultivated for _citric acid_, of which it yields
more than any other fruit. The time will come when our part of Florida
will supply citric acid to the world. A peck of limes will yield a
gallon of juice; one and a half gallons of juice should produce one
pound of citric acid, which in the markets of the world should bring
$1.25 in gold. * * * Lime trees will bear in three years and can be
planted as thick as blackberry bushes, but to cultivate them, they
should be eight to ten feet apart. Too much attention can not be given
to this matter. Citric acid is a commodity always, everywhere, and
increasingly in demand. The lime belt is narrow and limited. Ours is
the most productive in the world. The limes are larger than those of
any other country and the percentage of acid is perceptibly greater.
Fortunes await in this department of industry alone, and the outlay
of money to get a start is insignificant compared to the planting of
an orange grove. Ours is the country of the palm and the cocoanut.
The tree grows with us enormously and bears continuously. They are
meat and drink in a thirsty land. Then we have the _mango_ and _maumee
apple_, fruits one soon becomes familiar with, after which, intimacy
is never interrupted. But the _sugar apple_ is, from my point of view
and experience, the choicest of all. There is nothing comparable to
it. “Exquisite” is a nice word, and orange, mango, maumee, avocado
pear, pine-apple, banana, are names, the bare mention of which sets
one’s mouth watering, but gentlemen, they are all, compared with the
sugar apple, common things! I can give you no adequate idea of it,
and I will not attempt to put my experience of its lusciousness into
mere English, for after all is said that may be said, the apple itself
must be seen, handled (very tenderly) and _eaten_ when, gentlemen, you
_must_ come down to Dade to eat the proof of my words. (Some one in
the audience; can’t you send us a few?) No; for two or three reasons.
First, to pull a sugar apple is to eat it. Second, some one would
be sure to capture it on the way. Third, it must be eaten where it
grows. (SOLON ROBINSON--How does it taste?) Ah! my friend, ask the
lover how the pure kiss of affection tastes, and he will describe it
accurately. The fruit immortalizes our country, and a true description
of its deliciousness, its creamy, frosted sweetness, its fragrance
beneath the dimpled protecting ring will immortalize its author. Of the
alligator pear, I need not speak at large. They are brought in large
quantities to Key West from Cuba every year, and readily sell at from
forty to seventy-five cents per dozen. They grow well with us. The
fruit is large, and love of it is acquired; but once truly relished,
bread is at a discount. Ours is the banana’s own country, and shortly
this delicious and valuable fruit will receive a large share of our
attention. The _pine-apple_ belongs to us; nothing grows better. It is
peculiarly adapted to our rock soil, and will thrive and bear fruit if
a hole is made in the soft rock for its accommodation. Our soft rock
is admirably adapted for building purposes. It is easily worked but
soon hardens when exposed to the sun and air, and then coheres like
public plunder! When burned it is first-rate for lime and mortar, and
also as a fertilizer.” Mr. HICKS in answer to the question, whether
he would advise emigration, said, “yes; but I would advertise to all,
that it is no country for a lazy man without means. A man with money
to keep him in necessaries for a couple of years could get a paying
start and so go on to fortune. Industry pays quite as well there as in
any part of the globe.” R. M. BACHE, of Philadelphia, author of “The
Young Wrecker of the Florida Reef,” writes: “The climate of Biscayne
Bay, like that of all the Reef, is wonderfully equable and pleasant,
insular in its character, _rarely_ oppressively hot in the shade,
and during most of the year leaving nothing to be desired regarding
enjoyability, the only trying weather being an occasional “norther.”
Fish as well as turtle, are abundant, and game of various kinds on
the land. The impressions I have about the soil, is that it is _very_
fertile; I do not see how, from its formation, it could be otherwise.”
Capt. GIBBS of Buffalo, N. Y., writes from Biscayne Bay, under dates
of March 14th and April 7th, and 25th, 1876 (to his wife and Mr. J.
P. TRIBLE): “I am in love with this country; the climate is simply
everything that is beautiful, it is all and more than all that has been
said of it. There has never been a case of ague that I can hear of. I
do not wish to come back, and shall not if you will come down here. I
have not had an ache, pain, cough or sneeze, since I have been here.”
(He left Buffalo with a bad cough.) “Two men can raise more stuff,
off from ten acres of land here, than four times the number can from
a hundred acres in the North. With irrigation in the winter season,
there is no end to the growth of everything. Squashes (they call them
pumpkins here) once planted, grow forever. Sweet potatoes the same,
and many other things.” * * * * * There is a man from Orange county,
who says the pine land here is better than in Orange county, and he is
coming down to settle, this side of New River, so as to get below the
frost line. * * * Bermuda grass grows luxuriantly. I have seen it on
both pine and hammock lands. You can have green peas, new potatoes,
cabbage, onions, etc., every month in the year, they had them at
Christmas and New Years.” Capt. GIBBS proposes to plant on the place
he has purchased on the Bay, ten thousand cocoanut trees, which are
expected to bear in six years, and will require no care whatever, save
to be fenced in for protection from stock while growing. One hundred
nuts to the tree (which is only one fourth what may be expected when
in full bearing) would give a pretty fair income, at the lowest price
$15.00 per thousand, paid on the ground by buyers. DANIEL G. BRINTON,
A. M., M. D., in his book for tourists, and invalids, (“Florida and the
South”), says of Biscayne Bay: “Undoubtedly the finest winter climate
in the United States, both in point of temperature and health, is to
be found on the Southeastern coast of Florida. It is earnestly to be
hoped, for the sake of invalids, that accommodations along the shore
at Key Biscayne, and at the mouth of the Miami, will before long be
provided. While it is the _very best_, it could also be made the _most
accessible_ part of the sea coast of Florida, as the whole journey from
the North could be made by water. Game as deer, bear, turkeys, etc.,
etc., very abundant in the pine woods, which extend along the coast,
and fish swarm in countless numbers in the bay. Turtle of the finest
kinds can be caught on the islets off the shore. Oysters are plentiful.
The abundance of game on the shore ridge from Cape Sable to Miami, led
it to be chosen as a favorite spot of resort by the Indians, and it
is still distinctively known as the ‘Hunting Grounds.’” Dr. BRINTON
continues on page one hundred and twenty-eight of his book, “and
these are the words of Dr. R. F. SIMPSON, U. S. A., writing about Fort
Dallas, on the Miami. The very spot I have been maintaining approaches
the nearest, the model climate for consumptives; I have been on duty
at most of the posts in Florida, but _none compare_ with this for
salubrity. The sea coast of south east Florida, therefore fulfills the
four conditions which make up the best climate for a consumptive. I
have other testimony about it, well worth presenting. It, too, comes
from the same unimpeachable source, the medical statistics of the
United States Army. We are inquiring particularly about throat and
lung complaints. These army statistics are here of immense importance.
They specify the diseases of each station. I have taken these four.
Consumption (phthisis pulmonalis), bronchitis, inflammation of the
lungs (pneumonia) and pleurisy; and have ascertained their relative
frequency at various points in the South. Here are the results,
omitting fractions. In Arkansas, each year, one man in every sixteen
came under the surgeons hands, with one or the other of these diseases;
on the southern frontier of Texas, also one in sixteen; at Baton
Rouge, La., one in seventeen; on the western frontier in Texas, one in
nineteen; on the _west_ coast of Florida, one in twenty-one; on the
_east_ coast of Florida, one in _thirty-nine_. This is confirmation
strong indeed. Even in the favored northwest we may look in vain for
any thing equal to it. The sick reports of St. Paul, Minn., show one in
every nineteen, yearly treated for these complaints. * * * * * All that
is needed to make it one of the most eligible spots in the South for
the invalid or the tourist, are a few well-kept, moderate priced hotels
and weekly steamers. * * * * I have already detailed at some length the
position, soil, etc., of Biscayne Bay, but as already said, I build for
the future, and not the present. _It has the best warm climate in the
United States for invalids and it deserves to become a much frequented
resort._” The reader will bear in mind that Biscayne Bay is between the
same degrees of latitude as that of the Island of New Providence, on
which Nassau is situated.


The facts embraced in the preceding pages, apply to various portions of
Biscayne Bay. Before condensing the reports of Col. WILLIAMS and Mr.
WM. M. SWAN, in regard to their survey of the land in 1874, it may be
well to explain to the reader the history of the “Perrine grant.” Dr.
HENRY PERRINE, while United States Consul, at Campeche, in Yucatan, in
1827, received a circular from RICHARD RUSH, Secretary of State, under
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, commencing as follows: “The President of United
States is desirous of causing to be introduced into the United States,
all such trees and plants from other countries, not heretofore known
in the United States, as may give promise under proper cultivation, of
flourishing and becoming useful, as well as superior varieties of such
as are already cultivated here. To this end I have his instructions
to address myself to you, invoking your aid to give effect to the
plan he has in view, etc., etc.” In obedience to that circular, Dr.
PERRINE devoted nine years of his life to collecting and transmitting
to the United States, the valuable plants and seeds of the tropics, a
list and description of which will be found in the printed reports of
Congress in 1838. Upon his return to this country Congress granted to
him a township of land to be located in Florida, below the twenty-sixth
degree of north latitude. In 1840, while engaged in the cultivation
and domesticating these plants upon the islands of Indian Key and
Matacumba, preparatory to their removal to the township after the
Seminole war should cease, an attack was made upon Indian Key by the
Indians, in overwhelming force. Dr. PERRINE with others was killed, his
family, after a concealment of nine hours in the water under a wharf,
during which time their house was plundered and burned within a few
feet of their place of retreat, and after miraculously escaping death
from both suffocation and fire, providentially escaped from the Island
in a boat which the Indians were loading with plunder from a store.
Congress in 1841, by a supplementary act, gave to the family of Dr.
PERRINE the same rights before granted to him. Among the most valuable
of the many plants introduced by him into Florida, was the _Agave
Sisalana_, (the important Hemp of commerce) * * growing now in great
abundance in many localities, and especially on Key West and Key Vacas,
as well as on the lands bordering upon Biscayne Bay. The township was
duly located in accordance with the conditions of the grant. Owing to
various causes beyond their control, but little has been done by the
family toward effecting a settlement of this valuable tract. It is
their intention now to offer such favorable inducements to settlers as
will bring together a goodly sized colony in this favored locality. So
much of the land at and near the Miami, (the northern portion of the
bay), being held under old Spanish titles, has made an undisputed title
an impossibility, and prevented settlers from locating. The “Perrine
grant,” being direct from the United States, cannot be disputed. It
will be seen by the letters given hereafter from the surveyors, (Col.
WILLIAMS and Mr. SWAN), that they are candid and impartial witnesses.
They have in their surveys been all over the land, and in their report
give the worst side as well as the best. Col. M. A. WILLIAMS, under
date of Aug. 6, 1875, writes: “I have in my surveys been upon every
part of the ‘Perrine grant.’ It commences at a point on the west side
of Biscayne Bay, about opposite to the best inlet to the bay from
the sea, and I think about from nine to eleven feet of water, can be
carried to within about two or three hundred yards of the shore at an
exceedingly rich and beautiful locality upon the claim. This particular
place is settled upon by a man named ADDISON, and embraces some two
or three hundred acres of excellent lands. There is a large quantity
of high land (that is high for that country). In this grant there are
in many places, small hammocks which are exceedingly rich, there are
also passing through the claim several savannahs, through which in wet
seasons the water passes from the Everglades to the sea. The face of
the country is exceedingly rocky, rocky beyond anything that you will
imagine, but the climate is pleasant and healthy, and the mosquitoes
not at all troublesome during the winter months. The Miami and the
country adjacent upon the bay is similar in all respects to the Perrine
claim, probably not quite so rocky, but _my favorite place upon the bay
is the_ ADDISON _place upon the Perrine grant_. There is a beautiful
sand beach in front of this section upon the bay, and it extends South
for a mile, probably a mile and a half.” Labor is scarce, it would be
best to take it along, the same of house servants. There is timber
enough for all building purposes, if there were saw-mills. The country
is _remarkably healthy_, and the climate in winter and spring _cannot
be excelled_, it is pleasant even in summer. It is attractive, and will
doubtless be well populated at no distant day. The great trouble is the
want of facilities to get to and from it. It is a splendid game country
upon the Perrine grant. The water is pure and good. At the ADDISON
place there are some very remarkable springs, some of them mineral.
Mr. WM. A. SWAN, under date of April 10, 1876, writes, in answer to
the question, what time is the best for northerners to come to the
bay? “The charm and chief merit of this locality is its equability of
climate. The months of May and June I was at and near ADDISON’s; there
was no night that I did not use my blanket, and frequently my double
blanket, and I learned from all sources that the only perceptible
difference in the seasons was more northers in the winter months;
they usually last about three days. Hence I would say _any_ season
was desirable. Of course it is hot, but the constant sea breeze makes
it invariably pleasant. The bay is the sanitarium, so to speak, where
the garrison at Key West was sent every year to avoid yellow fever,
and if it were made accessible, I do not see that there would be any
comparison between it and Long Branch and Newport, in regard to the
natural attractions and advantages. And here should be the location of
the “National Botanical Garden,” referred to in the pamphlet I sent
you to-day. At Addisons’ you can wade out half a mile before you get
overhead, over a bottom of clean, white, smooth polished rock, and
certainly no more delightful bathing can be found _winter_ or _summer_.
There is nothing in the masses of rotted seaweed, grass, etc., that
line the shores of this entire region, and Indian River, to create
malaria. At least the same is found wherever our troops were located,
and they never got sick from any such cause. Besides, if a settlement
were made, this mass would soon be utilized by applying to fruit trees,
gardens, etc. Our tents were pitched upon beds of it, and the only
injurious results, if any, were _increased voracity of appetite_! Added
to the natural beauty of the bay, are the colors of the water, from
the transparent crystal to every shade of the rainbow. The latter is
produced from alternate banks of sea-grass, saw-grass, minute shells
and black and brown rock. Game is abundant. Except the ten days we
were in the everglades, we were hardly ever without fresh venison and
fish, and soft-shell turtle always. On the _bay_, salt water fish of
all varieties; mullet, bass, trout, sheephead, carvalho, pompino,
grunts, flounders, and in a pretty little creek of fresh water that
runs into and out of Addisons hammock (and which is the water station
supplying the Keys above and below in dry seasons), can be found bream,
trout, etc. At Black Point, about twelve miles below (I believe) may be
found any quantity of large fat oysters and clams, the largest I ever
saw; Col. WILLIAMS says the best he “ever ate.” In speaking of other
attractions for the mere tourist or invalid, Mr. W. says: “A sail also
over to the light-house, among the cocoanut and other fruit trees,
then up to the north end of the bay, 15 or 25 miles; or stop at Miami
River. At the mouth of the river are two of the finest locations in the
world. The site of old Fort Dallas, with its fields of guavas, bananas
and cocoanuts, that fringe the shore, in all stages from the bud to the
ripe fruit.” * * * * In the four months time we were in the vicinity of
the bay, in and through hammock, marshes, prairie, or otherwise, we did
not see a rattlesnake, nor did we see but three moccasins. The presence
of so many deer and hogs, who are their natural enemies, may account
for this.” Mr. SWAN also writes: “It is not usually known the full
maturity, size and flavor of the Florida pine-apple, as compared with
those of other markets, such as the Bahamas, etc. A judicious placing
in market of the Florida pine-apple and banana, would secure for them a
preference over all else, and establish a reputation that would enhance
their value, and stimulate there production to a great degree, as
well as bringing this portion of the State into that prominence which
its _merits so demand_.” Again he writes: “They tell me here that two
men, with mule and cart, usually make one hundred dollars per month,
gathering and preparing the coontie for market. One hand gathers twelve
barrels of the root, which makes about one and a third barrels of
marketable coontie or what is known as Florida arrow-root. The roots
much resemble the Rutabaga turnip. It is washed and ground, then put
in a stand, and water applied, stirred thoroughly and left to settle
about two hours, or until the starch “thick as soft cheese” settles to
the bottom. Then draw off all the water and change to another stand,
separating the light coontie which collects on the top, leaving the
pure article in the first stand, to which sufficient water should be
added to give a consistency thin enough to facilitate its passage
through the finest sieve or strainer. Place it in dryers containing
twenty-five pounds each. In two days of good weather it is ready for
market. The refuse or “mash” is fed to stock: horses, hogs, poultry,
all thrive well upon it. By boiling the skimmings, a substance as hard
as bread is produced, which keeps well, and fattens hogs for market as
readily and as well as corn.” A small saw mill is also suggested on the
point of economy, if nothing else, that you might have your own lumber
sawed on the spot, for your cottages, besides the necessary boards for
paling, wharf, etc., thereby saving the risk and freight in shipments
either from Jacksonville, Key West or New York. As I before mentioned,
lumber is from thirty to fifty dollars per thousand at Key West, and
you could manufacture and sell all you did not want for your settlers
to the settlers between you and the Miami as well as on the Keys.
Timber (pitch pine, no sap) is abundant, and right at hand. Attachments
could also be fixed for running coontie, sugar, and grist mills. A
great drawback to settlers will be the inconvenience of procuring
lumber. When the war in Cuba is closed a great demand will spring
up for cross ties; and as this is the nearest point to Cuba (about
200 miles) a decided advantage is gained by a party engaging in the
business here. The quantity is inexhaustible and just the size suitable
for this business. A small stock of goods, would be indispensable,
as the nearest store is at Miami, and it would pay in supplying the
large number of small coasters, spongers, etc., almost constantly in
the Cove; coming in for water, etc., as also for the convenience of
the laborers and settlers on the mainland and Keys. Everything in the
line of poultry, eggs, vegetables and fruit, finds a ready market at
Key West.” In compiling the foregoing facts, there may appear to be
something like repetition; but it is owing to the endeavor to give
reliable testimony, which is of course cumulative in its nature; and
being from different and disinterested persons, touches upon the same
point oftentimes. One objective point is to induce, if possible, a
goodly number of families of culture and refinement, who are desirous
of seeking new homes to join us in forming a settlement upon our grant.
We do not wish any to go who expect that there will be no discomforts
to encounter, or that they can at once step into the enjoyments of all
the comforts of a luxurious home _without working_ for them. Neither
should any go (unless in the employ of others) who have not sufficient
means to enable them to procure supplies for their own subsistence for
at least one or two years. The larger capital one has, the sooner of
course, he can place himself in a pleasant home and lay the foundation
for future competence. Intelligent and well directed industry in the
cultivation of any one of the staples mentioned, viz: sugar cane, sea
island cotton, tobacco, and coontie, will yield quicker returns than
tropical fruits. The banana, pine-apple, and fig, can be relied on to
commence bearing in from eighteen months to two years from setting out,
so that thereafter there will be an assured income from those delicious
fruits alone. Limes, lemons, oranges, tamarind and cocoanuts require
longer delay, but when once in full bearing there can be no surer or
more permanent source of income than these. Grapes also thrive most
luxuriously. In the Everglades upon the islands grow large, luscious,
tender grapes, which, by cultivation, would become an important article
of commerce. It is believed that all of the varieties of our hot-house
grapes can be cultivated in this latitude with great success.

As an inducement to settlers, we will, to each of the first thirty-five
families (who will in October or November of this year, locate
themselves upon our land with a view to permanent settlement), donate
twenty acres of land free of charge, save the condition of erecting
a dwelling place thereon, and agreeing to cultivate at least one
useful tropical plant. For others who desire to engage largely in the
cultivation of the staples named, and who wish to purchase larger
tracts of land for that purpose, we will give information as to terms,
etc., on application to us. We will also dispose of a limited number
of lots, of one and two acres each, at “Perrine,” the most eligible
location on the bay for a town, called at present Addisons’ Landing.
Both for those who expect to make permanent homes for themselves, and
those who wish for winter residences in the South, this is a most
favorable opportunity to procure building sites at reasonable rates.
None will be sold unless on condition that a neat and substantial house
shall be erected thereon within one year from date of purchase. When it
is remembered that in addition to the other advantages, the temperature
of this favored spot is so equable that it does not vary in some
_years_ more than twenty-five degrees, its advantages as a resort for
invalids will be evident.

All communications in regard to this land can be addressed to

          HENRY E. PERRINE,

              602½ _Main Street, Buffalo, N. Y._, or to

          JAMES E. WALKER,

              736 _Broadway, Albany, N. Y._

  TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: Punctuation inconsistencies have been retained.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Biscayne Bay, Dade Co., Florida, Between the 25th and 26th Degrees of Latitude. - A complete manual of information concerning the climate, - soil, products, etc., of the lands bordering on Biscayne - Bay, in Florida." ***

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