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James D.


Author | Historian | Speaker


Just off the Press...

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Perhaps you’ve wondered…

Why did the Spanish try to colonize Florida and why did they fail?

Who were Florida’s first Native Americans and why did they vanish? 

What is Jonathan Dickinson”s Journal and why does that name keep popping up in Florida history?


I wrote Jonathan Dickinson to answer these questions in one concise, very human story - all in 176 pages. 


In the early 1700s Jonathan Dickinson’s Journal was a true cliff-hanger: a Quaker-led party shipwrecked on Jupiter Island, captured by Indian “cannibals,”  beaten and nearly starved during a tortuous trek up the Florida coast until at last rescued in friendly St. Augustine. Reprinted often in the American colonies and throughout Europe, the book became a worldwide best seller back when printing was still primitive.


Problem is, the Dickinson story is only about struggling up the Florida coast - and the reader must cope with awkward Olde English. What of his upbringing in Jamaica? Why did he sail for Philadelphia? Just who were these “savages” (Jupiter’s first residents, actually) and why did they despise the English? And why did this devout Quaker, whose sect crusaded for abolition, himself own dozens of slaves himself?


Each new research “dig” yields shards of a story that begins to explain the geopolitical scene of its time and sheds light on why both Spain’s Florida colony and its Native American population were disintegrating at the very time the Dickinson party staggered up its coast.


You can find out more by buying Jonathan Dickinson on BOOKS above. 

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