John Shepard Haven

John Shepard Haven was Richard White's great-great grandfather.

J. S. (John Shepard) Haven was my father's mother's mother's father.
Photo of J. S. Haven

J. S. Haven was born in Effingham County, Georgia, on 26 December 1818 and spent most of his early years in Thomas County, Georgia, and while living there he served as a private with the Lt. Whitfield's Detachment of Georgia Militia in 1840 and as a private in Captain Redding's Company of the First Florida Mounted Militia Regiment in 1841, during the Second Creek/Second Seminole War. In 1851 he also claimed his initial Indian War Bounty land in Thomas County; but in 1855 Indian War veterans were allowed a second allotment of bounty land and J.S. Haven claimed his not far across the county line to the west, in Decatur County, in the Blowing Cave District which has (since January 1, 1906) been in the northern part of Grady County.  He resided in Decatur County through sometime in the 1870s.  By 1884 he was able to obtain the patent for 160 acres of land in Madison County, Florida, the county where his sons Green Berry and Henry Haven founded the Town of Lee.  This land was patented under the 1862 Homestead Act, or more particularly the 1866 Southern Homestead Act which allowed both former slaves and (unlike the original 1862 act) former Confederate soldiers to homestead federal land.  [To see the location of this land, click here.]  Though the Southern Homestead Act was partially repealed in 1876 as part of the ending of Reconstruction, it was repealed only as to being the exclusive means of conveying public land in the Southern states.  Homesteading required improvement and residence on the land by the homesteader for at least 5 years (it could be much longer if the homesteader did not file for the patent as soon as he was eligible to do so... or only 6 months if he chose to pay $1.25 an acre for it), and in his Confederate pension application filed in 1909 J. S. Haven noted quite specifically that his residence in Florida dated to 15 November 1876.  The partial repeal of the Southern Homestead Act occurred in July of 1876 thus I suspect that publicity concerning the repeal may have directly stimulated J.S. Haven's decision to move to Florida as a homesteader.  Because it was one of the original 13 states Georgia was not a "public land" state, so the possibility of such homesteading did not exist there.   And finally J. S. Haven moved to Grand Ridge and Cypress in Jackson County, Florida, sometime between 1900 and 1905. 

His father, Andrew Haven, served in the Georgia Militia in the War of 1812 and died in May 1838 while serving with the First Florida Mounted Militia in the Second Seminole War.  It is not known exactly how Andrew Haven died, but part of his estate was probated in Leon County, Florida, in 1847.  John Shepard Haven's brother, William George Haven, also served in the Second Seminole War and settled near the town of Alligator, now known at Lake City, in Columbia County, Florida.

During the Late Unpleasantness J. S. Haven was enrolled on August 17, 1863 and served until the end of the War as a private with Campbell's Independent Company of Georgia Siege Artillery at Ft. Ward, St. Marks, Florida.  Captain Charles Geddes Campbell, the company commander, had previously served as commander of Company D, 17th Georgia Infantry Regiment, in the Army of Northern Virginia.  Campbell developed apoplexy and resigned that command, but simultaneously requested a commission in the cavalry or artillery.  Fort Ward1 was the name given in August 1864, to the fortification that the Confederates had already built and continued to improve, at the site of the old Spanish Fort San Marcos de Apalachee where in 1818 General Andrew Jackson had hung employees of the British Indian trade firm of Forbes & Co. (previously known as Panton, Leslie Co.) Robert Armbrister and Alexander Arbuthnot.  Also included in Fort Ward was a barracks built on the foundation of a former U.S. yellow fever hospital which had earlier been built using stones pulled down from the Spanish fort.  Besides being 45 years of age at the time he was enrolled in Campbell's Siege Artillery, if the pension application of his second wife is given credence, John Shepard Haven also suffered a lifelong impairment of use of one arm.

On 10 February 1864, Captain L. Jaqueline Smith, Assistant Chief of Ordnance for the Provisional Army of the Confederacy, who had just conducted a tour of inspection of units in the vicinity of Tallahassee, wrote a report to Lieutenant Colonel J.R. Waddy at Charleston, South Carolina.  This report included the following remarks:

On the 15th of January, I inspected the company of heavy artillery commanded by Captain Campbell, acting as a garrison to the battery of St. Mark's Fla.; 125 men; armed with British muskets, caliber .75, in good order; accouterments of leather and in good condition; ammunition dry and in serviceable order; have 70 rounds of ammunition for arms.
On the above date the battery at St. Mark's, Fla., was inspected.  This battery mounts five guns.  The gun carriages are very inferior; four of the guns have been in casemate, but are being changed to barbette.  There is no magazine at this battery, and the powder and ordnance stores are kept in a room in the same house that the garrison sleep in, which is, of course, very dangerous and should be corrected as soon as possible.

A new magazine is under way and will, I am informed soon be completed; the battery is well supplied with the requisite ammunition, and the ordnance stores are in good condition.  The battery is supplied with the requisite implements.2

One of the objectives of the Union expedition to the St. Marks area in March 1865 was the capture of Fort Ward.  The report of Confederate Brigadier General William Miller, Commander of the District of Middle Florida, to General Sam Jones, Commander of the Department of Florida, on the Battle of Natural Bridge on 6 March 1865, and the events that led up to it, included the following:
 On the morning of the 5th inst. the enemy advanced on the East River bridge held by Lieutenant-Colonel Scott with 60 men of the 5th Florida Battalion and one piece of Denham's [Dunham's] Artillery under Lieutenant Rambo.  The development of a force of 1500 by the enemy compelled Lieutenant-Colonel Scott to fall back towards Newport.  The horses becoming unmanageable, Colonel Scott was compelled to sacrifice the piece of artillery, though not without loss to the enemy, who left three of their dead unburied at the bridge.  Retiring across the St. Marks, our forces burned the bridge and took positions behind the breastworks, from which place they effectually opposed the enemy's passage.  The force under Lieutenant-Colonel Scott at this place was composed of 35 militia, 20 marines from the gunboat Spray, 25 artillery men from Campbell's battery, besides the force from the East River bridge.
On the night of the 5th of March Captain Samuel Spencer came from St. Marks in great haste and reported to me that they were about to abandon the fort, blow it up, and burn the gunboat Spray.  This report was made to me at Newport at midnight. Beyond the disaster itself, it would have advised the fleet at the lighthouse that the way up the river was open. The danger was imminent.  I would be wanted before day at the Natural Bridge.  I started for the fort immediately with Captain Spencer.  Arriving there I had the troops paraded; telling what I had heard.  I said 'This fort is to be defended.  The troops at Newport and the Natural Bridge stand between you and the enemy.  You cannot be attacked from the rear, and if you are assailed in front, with your gun trained on the river you can sink every boat.  I will hear no more of the abandonment of this strong position, and I will hold him a traitor who speaks again of the abandonment of this position, the key to the defense of Tallahassee.'  I then returned to Newport, and with the west Florida cadets and some volunteer militia, marched for the Natural Bridge, reaching there at 8:30 o’clock a.m. of March 6th.3
On 21 March, William Gibson, Lieutenant Commander commanding the First Division of the Union's  East Gulf  Blockading Squadron , reported from the U.S. Steamer Mahaska at the St. Marks River to Union Brigadier General (soon promoted to Major General) John Newton who had returned to Key West after the unsuccessful expedition to St. Marks:
From two--a one-legged white man named James Wetzel, who claims to have been taken prisoner from the U.S. Army, and a colored man named Charles Amos-- that:  Their description of the fort agrees with that given us before the attack, with additional particulars.   The magazine is at the east end of the fort and is higher than the top of the parapet.  It is made of logs, seven feet thick.  A smaller magazine for the largest rifle gun is at the other extremity.  In anticipation of the attack all the guns had been removed from the Spray and mounted on the fort.  Two smooth-bore, old pattern, ringed, cascabel 32-pounders were left on the lighter alongside the Spray.  The armament of the fort thus increased was two 32-pounders, rifled; one rifle gun, described as a Parrott (probably 30-pounder), and one 12-pounder rifled gun, captured from us, and two smooth-bore 32-pounders, similar to those on the lighter.  But at the time of the attack (they state) there were only three men left in the fort, and trains were laid and orders left to blow up both the fort and vessel on the near approach of the gun-boats.  Wetzel says there are no good artillerists in the fort.  As regards obstructions, a flat-boat was sunk in the river a short distance below Port Leon a long time since.  Recently (as our own people had seen) many of the stones were taken out of her and she was floating to one side, leaving a channel, the soldier says, to the left of her, going up.  At the time of the fleet moving up there were no obstructions between Port Leon and the fort.  Pens (to be sunken with stones) were being made, and pine logs chained together, with spearheads pointing downstream  (such as they had at Charleston), were to be submerged in what was intended to be an inviting channel between the pens.  These were not in readiness, and withal would have been only 100 yards from the fort.  We have reason to believe, from watching the movements of the Spray's boat and from the talk of some of the contrabands, that they are dropping torpedoes in the river.  They have thrown up rifle pits in rear of the fort.4
What part an individual soldier took in these final trying events of the Civil War in Middle Florida is not possible to say.  J.S. Haven could have been among the 25 men from Campbell's unit who traded shots with the 2nd Florida Cavalry (Union), dismounted, at the Newport bridge, he could have gone to Natural Bridge, he could have stayed at Fort Ward... or could have been elsewhere entirely, doing something the nature of which we cannot even guess today.

A Union Army parole dated at Thomasville, Georgia, on 10 May 1865, and issued to John S. Haven, describes him as 5 feet 7 inches in height, with "Dark" hair, "Blue" eyes, and "Dark" complexion.

J.S. Haven was married twice.  He married Martha Ann Welch in Thomas County, Georgia, on 31 December 1843.  To the left is a photograph of her.  Their sons (John) Henry Haven and Green Berry Haven served in the Confederate Army.  Their daughter, Mary Ann Haven, married Richard M. Sellars, who also served in the Confederate Army.  J.S. Haven's first wife, Martha Ann Welch, died in Madison County, Florida, on 4 January 1896.  At age 86 he married Lida (also known as Liddie, Liddy, and Lyda) M. Hester, in Grand Ridge, Jackson County, Florida, on 29 July 1905.  She also went by the last name Husky, but how she came by either the Hester or Husky last name is not known.  The marriage ceremony was performed by Green Berry Haven, who was a justice of the peace in Madison County.5  She is buried as Liddie Haven  (17 Feb 1854 - 20 Jan 1930) in the Carpenter Cemetery in Grand Ridge, Jackson County, Florida.

J.S. Haven claimed bounty lands twice for his militia service in the Second Seminole War.  He claimed 40 acres in Thomas County, Georgia, on 7 February 1851, and 120 acres in Decatur County, Georgia, on 21 March 1855... however, it appears that the 120 acre parcel was actually located in Thomas County, Georgia.  In making these claims he had to try to straighten out the government that his name was not John A. Haven, and provided affidavits from fellow veterans that he was actually the person listed as John A. Haven during his service with Whitfield's Detachment of Georgia Militia in 1840.  He got the land; however, the U.S. government persisted in calling him John A. Haven.  There is no difficulty in determining from whence this confusion stemmed.  In his signature, the "S" appeared very much like an "A".  This error in reading his signature continues on in published indexes listing his Seminole War service to this day.

J.S. Haven lived to the ripe old age of 94 years.  He died in Cypress, Jackson County, Florida, on 9 January 1913. He was buried to the west of Green Berry and Henry Haven near the southwest corner of the old part of the cemetery at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church on U.S. Highway 90 between the towns of Lee and Madison, in Madison County, Florida.  From 1892 or 1893 until his death, John Shepard Haven drew a U.S. pension for militia service in the Second Seminole War, and from 1913 until her death, Lida Haven drew a widows's pension based upon that service.

John Shepard Haven drew a Confederate veterans pension from the State of Florida (indexed as A03908), for his service with Campbell's Independent Company of Georgia Siege Artillery.  The record of this pension names him "John S. Havens"; and after he died, when Lida Haven drew a widow's pension based on his service, she was called "Liday Haskey".

On 15 October 1884, John Shepard Haven obtained a patent for 160.69 acres of land in Madison County, Florida, from the U.S. Land Office in Gainesville, Florida.  This was land that he "homesteaded" under the 1862 Homestead Act/Southern Homestead Act.  It was the NW 1/4 of Section 14, Township 1 South Range 10 East. By today's landmarks it is just south of the corporate limits of the Town of Lee and is bounded on the west by Main Street/County Road 255, on the north by 85th Avenue, and on the south by 95th Avenue.  In spite of the urban-sounding street names this 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile area is mostly tillage with some planted trees, a pond, and about 3 houses scattered around its periphery.

The photo of John Shepard Haven was taken in his latter years.  I received it, combined with the photograph of Martha Ann Welch Haven, from my cousin Joe G. Hudson, in a Christmas card postmarked 20 December 1976.  About May 1999 I donated both photos to the Florida State Archives, Florida Photographic Collection.

NOTE: This John Shepard Haven is not to be confused with his nephew John Shepard ("Shep") Haven, who was born in Columbia County, Florida; served during the Civil War in Company B, First Florida Reserves; and later lived in Hillsborough County, Florida.

1.  Fort Ward was named after George T. Ward, Colonel of the Second Florida Infantry, who was one of the earliest prominent Floridians to die in the war... killed in action at Williamsburg, Virginia, on 3 March 1862.  He had been the unsuccessful Whig gubernatorial candidate in Florida in 1852,  served as a delegate from Leon County to the secession convention where he tried to drag his feet against secession, and later served as one of Florida's representatives to the Provisional Confederate Congress.  In the earliest days of the war he advocated a plan for defense of Florida's shoreline to the Confederate Secretary of War... that would have involved development of a defensive position like Fort Ward.

2.  Captain Smith's report is included in The Civil War in and Around St. Marks, Florida, self-published by Allen R.. Gerrell, Jr.  Mr. Gerrell indicated that this report was found in National Archives Records Group 101.

3.  The battle report of General Miller to General Jones was later included by General Miller in a speech to the Anna Jackson Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1901.  A portion of the speech text was reprinted as "The Battle of Natural Bridge, Apalachee, IV (1956), pp. 76-86.  Recent research by Bruce Graetz indicates that General Miller may have reconstructed this report from his memory and available records around 1900 (in 1898, Miller wrote that his original report did not survive).  The full text of the report and the entire text of General Miller's speech is in the records of the Anna Jackson Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Florida State Archives call number M76-131.  In his introductory remarks, General Miller specifically indicated that: "Now, as I am anxious to state to these ladies and to the people of my State facts hitherto unwritten that they may become a part of the history of Florida, I gladly embrace the opportunity to do so."

4.  The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume XLIX/1, February 21-March 7, 1865, "Operations in the vicinity of Saint Mark's, Fla., No. 1.--Reports of Maj. Gen. John Newton, U. S. Army, commanding District of Key West and Tortugas".  Lieutenant Commander Gibson's report is included as inclosure number 1 in a report by the general to Lieutenant Colonel C.T. Christenson, Assistant Adjutant General, Headquarters Military Division of West Mississippi (sic), and dated 6 April 1865.

5.  For 13 years or more I thought that Green Berry Haven was Justice of the Peace in both Madison and Jackson Counties at various times.  However, from the time he moved to Florida in the 1870s onward, he appeared in the census only in Madison County, plus... when the Town of Lee submitted its charter application (the town was incorporated in 1909), Green Berry ("G. B. Haven") attested its signatures, which confirms that he was still in Madison County in 1909 (4 years after he officiated at his father's second marriage in Jackson County).  Since the office of justice of the peace has long been defunct in Florida I am uninformed as to its powers, but apparently at least Green Berry's authority to perform marriages extended outside of the county in which he was commissioned. - Richard White, 14 February 2010.


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This page was created by Richard White on 11 April 1997.
Changes to this page were last made by Richard White on  27 March 2010.