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Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Ground Up: Cruger and DePeyster Sugar Mill in New Smyrna

In 1835, the Seminole Indians raided the Cruger and Depeyster Sugar Mill, running off the overseer in the process. They burned the entire complex and destroyed other plantations throughout the region with the assistance of the the sugar mill slaves themselves.

The years following, and up until this point, the site has become the topic of much speculation. Many artists and travel writers have visited the site, trying to digest the unidentified compilation of different architectures.

After the destruction, a soldier artist named John Rogers Vinton came to explore the site. He painted a recreation of the events that occurred in 1835, including a smoldering sugar mill and Seminole warrior. The painting, completed in 1843, remains one of the rarest of Florida sugar mill images.

If you would like to see the painting "The Ruins of the Sugar House", check out the book Landscape of Slavery, page 47 on Google.

Left Behind: The Iron Beam Used in the Sawmill at Cruger and Depeyster Sugar Mill

This iron bean came from the plantation sawmill and was meant to transport the trees from the steam engine to a cutting blade. It was said to be cast in New York, along with the Sugar Mills other heavy equipment. A decade after the Seminoles raided the site, John Marshall realized he could find a use for the machinery left behind by Cruger and Depeyster.

In the 1840's, the abandoned equipment was moved from the site to Dunlawton plantation in Port Orange, Florida. Since Marshall also had a sawmill, no one really knows why he left this piece behind.

The Columbus Chapel


Photography of the New Smyrna Sugar Mills (Photography compliments of Ancient Digger


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