Entered according to Act of Congress, in June, 1867, by J. W. Burke & Cos., in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for tto Department of Georgia.
MAEOONER’S ISLAND ;
Dr. Gordon in Search of His Children.
BY REV. F. R. GOULDING,
Author of “ The Young Marooners.”
THE CAUSE OF THE SEARCH.
fOON after sunrise, on the
morning of October 26th,
1830, a scene of wild ex
citement occurred upon
the edge of a bluff that
iked the pure and tranquil
of Tampa Bay.
A gentleman, of thirty-five or
V s - forty years of age, stood for a
moment gazing with anguished face over
that beautiful expanse of water, then fell
upon his knees and wrung his hands with
A few steps behind him stood a man in
the rrarb of a United States soldier, hold
ing a horse by the bridle, and apparently
awaiting orders.; and close, on either
hand, were negroes, who, in eager sym
pathy, had thrown themselves beside
their master, and were mingling their
sorrows with his.
Upon the surface of the bay, at the dis
tance of half a mile, was a pleasure boat
containing four persons, passing rapidly
towards the sea. Without sails or oars,
or any other sign of a propelling power,
it nevertheless moved with such velocity
as to raise before it a sheet of spray, and
to leave a train of whitened water in its
The kneeling figure, in the foreground,
was Dr. Gordon, a gentleman from Geor
gia, who had recently come to Tampa to
prepare a winter residence into which he
hoped soon to introduce his invalid wife.
The persons in the boat were his children
and a nephew, the son of his sister, who
had come with him as companions and
pupils for the time.
MACOIST, G-A., JULY 6, 1867.-
Five minutes before, no group could be
found on earth with brighter faces or
more hopeful hearts ; now, none could be
found more miserable. They had all ta
ken their seats in the boat, read}’ to start
on a marooning party to one of the wood
ed keys at the mouth of the Bay, when
the Doctor was called by a sudden mes
senger, to his house, and in the interval
the anchor of the boat had been tripped
by a Devil-Fish, and the young voyagers
were dragged seawards under the grasp
of one of the most powerful and most
dreaded monsters of the deep.*
Overwhelmed, and, for a moment, al
most paralyzed by this accident, Dr. Gor
don was nevertheless too much ol a man
to remain lbng inactive. Springing to his
feet and issuing a few rapid orders to his
servants, which sent them running in dif
ferent directions, he turned to the soldier,
who had been a silent though not unmov
ed spectator of the scene, and said to him:
*lt is neither unusual nor unnatural for thos* who are
strangers to the peculiarities of sea-board life to regard
all stories told of the Devil-Fish as so many draughts up
on the imagination, or, in more familiar terms, as salt
water yarns.” But that the uncouth monster known as
Devil-Fish has a real existence, can be attested by the
author himself, who has seen it with his own eyes; and
that it is in the habit of playing just such wild pranks as
that alluded to in the storjjJailPPjW^^^^BT 0
doubted by those who fr^^W^lh BW c - v
“ Sergeant, you have seen what has
happened. Hurry back to Fort Brooke.
Tell your commandant of my misfortune,
and ask him from me to send without de
lay a boat and boat's crew to go in search
of my children. I know he will do what
he can, for he is not only a man of hu
manity, but he is my relative and friend.
Lav your horse to the ground, good sol
dier; I will be responsible for damages.”
“ Had }*ou not better give me a line in
writing?” suggested the soldier.
Dr. Gordon drew from his pocket a
book, and penciled the following words
upon a blank leaf, which he tore out,
folded, and gave to the soldier. The lan
o-uaere was informal, but to the point:
“ Bellevue, Tampa, Florida.
“ For mercy’s scud me a boat with
hands, to be absent for several days. The
bearer of this will tell you the dreadful
reason, and will give you all necessary
information. Y ours,
Charles Gordon, M. D.
To Major Burke,
Commandant at Fort Brooke.
By Sergeant Tompkins.
The soldier, with a respectful touch of
his cap, received the paper, deposited it
in his pocket, mounted his horse, and