In the mid-1700s, large groups of Native Americans, primarily from Georgia, began to come into Florida, which was still owned by Spain. Many were displaced from war and were looking for a safe home. They would band together to form a new tribe, known as the Seminole Indian tribe. The Seminoles, meaning “separatists” or “runaways”, gained their name as a result of their decision to leave their other tribes and migrate to Florida. The early Seminole tribe had two main groups: one in the Southern part of the state and the other inhabiting the area near Lake Okeechobee. The tribe would remain in Florida, and continue to grow, including the addition of former slaves into their tribe. As the Seminoles grew in number, they would end up fighting the United States government in the Seminole Wars in an effort to maintain their livelihood and lands in Florida.
The tie between Osceola County and the Seminole Indians goes deeper than our county merely being named for Seminole Indian, Osceola. Billy Bowlegs III, his sister Lucy Pearce, Martha and Tim Tiger and others were frequent visitors to Kissimmee. We are reminded of the connection when we see and hear the names of extinct communities in Osceola County or current cities, towns; lakes and waterways.