Address: St. George Island State Park, off of C.R. 300, sou
During a storm in 1799, the schooner Fox ran aground off the eastern end of St. George Island. On board was William Augustus Bowles, a British citizen and self-styled leader of the Creek-Cherokee nation. Bowles was returning to Florida having escaped after five years as a Spanish prisoner. Bringing gunpowder and bullets, he hoped to re-establish his prominence among the Creeks, drive the Spanish out of Florida, and create an independent Muskogee state under British protection. The Creeks were the most organized of the southern Indians and still controlled much of their territory. Because of Florida's strategic location, the U.S., Spain, Britain, and France were all interested in Bowles' actions. With supplies salvaged from the shipwreck, Bowles paddled up the Apalachicola River to reunite with his Creek family and begin rallying native support. The ship captain and crew camped on the island until rescuers returned them to Jamaica. Bowles and his Creek, Seminole, black, and white followers captured the Spanish fort at St. Marks in 1800 and held it for over a month. Losing control of its only fortification between St. Augustine and Pensacola was an embarrassment to Spain and a sign of its fragile hold on Florida. Britain's peace with France and Spain through the Treaty of Amiens, 1802, removed any hope of British support for Bowles' schemes. Bowles lived among the Creeks until his recapture in 1803, and died in a Cuban prison. Although Bowles' dreams were not realized, he plagued the Spanish for almost two decades, preventing them from maintaining complete military control of Florida.