Create a sense of belonging by linking 1821, 2021


Editor’s Note: This is the 27th and final in a series of articles published in the Pensacola News Journal to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Escambia County.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the meaning of place as (a) a strong or clear impression of a place, especially in writing; (b) a clear character or identity belonging to or associated with a particular place.

When planning the commemoration of Florida’s Territorial Bicentennial and Escambia County’s 200th anniversary, one of the goals was to create a sense of belonging for citizens and visitors by connecting our modern community with our community. historical. To achieve this, the 200th Commission has joined forces with the print media, public radio and television stations and other media to provide extensive programming. Ballet Pensacola was one of the first organizations to mark a product as part of the 200th anniversary event programming. The Pensacola Archaeological Society and the Florida Public Archeology Network have launched a monthly Zoom Lecture Series.

The West Florida Genealogical Society created a unique product in the 1821 Sampler, identifying over 2,200 people in and around Pensacola on the day of the exchange. Residents and newcomers included Spaniards, free and enslaved people of color, French, Native Americans and Americans, as well as members of the Spanish and American military. There were women, children and men. Everyone has a story. You can be a part of this story by going to and remembering someone from the first community. Joe Vinson has created an exciting mosaic of modern faces and the historical figures they represent, primarily researched by Erin Renfroe. This is a community development project highlighting our rich and diverse community of yesterday and today.

As part of the celebration of Escambia County's 200th anniversary, the West Florida Genealogical Society created the 1821 Sampler to feature more than 2,200 early residents of Pensacola.

Let’s take a closer look at the 1821 Sampler project:How the Sampler Project Aims to Connect Us with Our Pensacola Ancestors of 1821

More than a name:Meet some of the residents of Pensacola from 1821

UWF archaeologist Jennifer Melcher has created an interactive walking tour of the St. Michaels People’s Cemetery that was here in 1821. You can enjoy the tour on your smartphone at home, online, or on the go. strolling through the beautiful open-air museum at St. Michael’s Cemetery at This project was a joint effort undertaken in partnership with the St. Michael’s Cemetery Foundation and the UWF Historic Trust. Take a walk in the great outdoors in the heart of our historic community.

â–ºThe historic Saint-Michel de Pensacola cemetery is home to a memory paradise

In commemorating Florida’s Territorial Bicentennial and Escambia County’s 200th anniversary, the Planning Commission and its committees focused on a holistic approach to holistic commemoration, an inclusive approach that examines many aspects of life in the county. d’Escambia and Pensacola that people may not be familiar with. One only needs to read the weekly articles in the Pensacola News Journal to capture the threads that connect us to our earliest roots. Articles in Florida Humanities FORUM Magazine, Pensacola History Illustrated, Pensacola Magazine and more shine a light on our community and its past. Tune in to great programming from WUWF Public Radio and WSRE Public Broadcasting and listen to interviews on local radio. All add depth to the topics covered. All of these offers are available online and easy to find. Access the Pensacola News Journal, visit Pensacola, Escambia County, City of Pensacola, WSRE, WUWF, UWF Historic Trust and most of our community media. You can’t fail to stumble upon informative and entertaining programming. New historic signage also dot the landscape.

On the weekend of July 16-17, those attending the events on the ground experienced being at the forefront of battle with Spanish and American military reenactors. They were able to dance with the members of the Ayoka Afrikan Drum and Dance Ensemble in the museum square. And you could tour a keelboat at the quayside and talk with interpreters about how people and supplies were transported along our inland waterways in 1821. You might even have been able to fire cannon. The 1821 exhibit inside the Pensacola History Museum opened and also enhances the overall experience of being “in the room where it happened”.

THE BIG DAY. On July 17, you could come at sunrise and participate in the blessing of the day by the Santa Rosa Creek tribe, then go have your breakfast before the flag exchange, just like Andrew Jackson did. At the said time of 10 am, the ceremony began. Just like in 1821, women carried fans and had umbrellas ready for whatever the weather brought. There were remarks by state and local elected officials, the Florida Secretary of State, religious leaders and other dignitaries. Chief Dan Sky Horse Helms opened his remarks in the Muskogee language, the first time it has been delivered at a public event in Pensacola since the Indian Expulsion Act of 1830 came into force. “America the Beautiful”, sung in many languages, crossed the square. As the reenactors lowered the Spanish flag and hoisted the American flag, the UWF groups launched “The Star-Spangled Banner” just as the musicians of the Army and Navy did in 1821. Today there, in 1821, many people heard it for the first time. There was even an overview of the Navy, something astonishing each time.

Following the official program, people could visit the historic village of Pensacola for free and enjoy a variety of demonstrations and re-enactments of period crafts and cooking. Food vendors were on hand with ethnic favorites; tents dotted the edge of the square. The Hispanic dancers dressed in authentic costumes were amazingly graceful in their dance performances, which are rooted in our long relationship with Veracruz, Mexico. The vibrant West African music and dance, performed by the Ayoka Afrikan Drum and Dance Ensemble, evoked what it must have been like to see and hear the vibrant sounds and dances brought to Florida via the ‘Africa and the Caribbean.

The year is not over. Coming up, you can listen to more talks, check out your radio and TV station offerings, and if you’re participating in the 1821 Sampler project, plan to see your image embedded in the PaintScaping multimedia exhibit projected on the facade of the Artel gallery during Foo Foo Festival. This exciting project is courtesy of the Downtown Improvement Board. A WSRE documentary from this historic year will follow in November, featuring projects and events that took place in Pensacola in 1821 and 2021. The finale is the 1821 Sampler completed. Sign up and lend your presence to the wonderful sense of belonging of Pensacola and Escambia County.

Margo Stringfield is an archaeologist at the Institute of Archeology at the University of West Florida.

Read the full series

Part 1:Preparing the ground: Our Pensacola is the fifth Spanish settlement on the bay of Pensacola

Part 2:How did Pensacola come back under Spanish control for the second time?

Part 3:How Andrew Jackson Established “Good Government” for Pensacola and Florida

Part 4:From newspapers to circuses, Escambia County and Pensacola have many “firsts”

Part 5:How Pensacola treated early epidemics and the role of healthcare

Part 6:Cultural survival on the run: the story of Pensacola shaped by Native Americans

Part 7:Life in the 1820s in Pensacola was primitive, but cosmopolitan. A look at our early years.

Part 8:How the Sampler Project Aims to Connect Us with Our Pensacola Ancestors of 1821

Part 9:Dances, Patgo and “Star-Spangled Banner”: How Pensacola Embraced Early Entertainment

Part 10:How mail was (and often was not) delivered in the early days of Pensacola

Part 11:More than a name: meet some of the residents of Pensacola from 1821

Part 12:The historic Saint-Michel de Pensacola cemetery is home to a memory paradise

Part 13:A closer look at the fascinating Spanish colonial heritage of Pensacola | Part 1

Part 14:What Census Data and Land Records Tell Us about Spanish West Florida | Part 2

Part 15:The food that the early settlers of Pensacola ate reflected the diverse cultures of the region

Part 16:What a typical house in Pensacola looked like during the Spanish colonial period

Part 17:Forts and bricks: how the military and industry evolved in the early days of Pensacola

Part 18:Archaeological traces of late colonial buildings persist in Pensacola

Part 19:How the indigenous workers of Mexico built and rebuilt Pensacola

Part 20:The shift from Spanish rule to American rule opened doors for Pensacola companies

Part 21:From primitive roads to stranded steamboats, transportation problems abounded in early Pensacola

Part 22:Watermills like Arcadia played a key role in the early development of Pensacola

Part 23:How steam helped build the community of Baghdad

Part 24:The early religious landscape of Pensacola laid the foundation for a community of many denominations

Part 25:The slave plantation system spread to Antebellum, Florida after 1821

Part 26:How Pensacola initially built itself into a tourist destination

How you can get involved

What: An interactive web-based mosaic of faces from our modern community honoring the community of 1821.

Why: Celebrate our rich and diverse heritage through a reflection of our modern community.

Who: Residents of the region, of all ages, ethnicities and sexes.

How? ‘Or’ What: Fill out the form on and upload your photo to represent a member of the 1821 Pensacola community (use a clean background, clearly showing the face and shoulders, no hat please, and names optional.

So far, researchers at the West Florida Genealogical Society have identified more than 2,000 people who were here when Florida moved from Spain to the United States. They were more than names; each person had a rich life and history. By honoring a community member of 1821, you are participating in this celebration of our rich and diverse Florida heritage.


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