People, Gators, and Mangroves Entangled in the Everglades
Publication Year: 2011
Today, the many visions of the Everglades—protectionist, ecological, commercial, historical—have become a tangled web of contradictory practices and politics for conservation and for development. Yet within this entanglement, the place of people remains highly ambivalent. It is the role of people in the Everglades that interests Ogden, as she seeks to reclaim the landscape’s long history as a place of human activity and, in doing so, discover what it means to be human through changing relations with other animals and plant life.
Ogden tells this story through the lives of poor rural whites, gladesmen, epitomized in tales of the Everglades’ most famous outlaws, the Ashley Gang. With such legends and lore on one side, and outsized efforts at drainage and development on the other, Swamplife strikes a rare balance, offering a unique insight into the hidden life of the Everglades—and into how an appreciation of oppositional culture and social class operates in our understanding of wilderness in the United States.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Map of Southern Florida and the Greater Everglades Watershed
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Map of Everglades National Park
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The fieldwork for this book began more than a decade ago. Between 1996 and 1997, I conducted an oral history project with Glen Simmons that docu-mented his experiences as an alligator hunter in the southern Everglades during the early part of the twentieth century. The University Press of Flor-ida published the results of this fieldwork in 1998 in the book Gladesmen: ...
1 The Florida Everglades: An Entangled Landscape
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As a landscape, the Everglades has epitomized all that we think of as nature at its most uncultivated: an icon infested with frightening reptiles, botanical excess, swarms of mosquitoes, and unforgiving heat. This is the alien and im-penetrable Everglades that stymied the attempts of early surveyors and set-tlers and that continues to provide dramatic flair to countless novels, films, ...
The Queen of the Everglades
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We never liked that business of the King and the Queen of the Ever-glades. About ninety-nine percent of what they wrote about John and Aunt Laura was pure fiction. Aunt Laura was a kind generous In pulp fiction, a narrative form that at times resembles ethnography, Laura Upthegrove would have been called “low-rent” or, more charitably, a “bad ...
2 Landscape Ethnography and the Politics of Nature
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Exploration is not so much a covering of surface distance as a study in depth: a fleeting episode, a fragment of landscape or a remark overheard may provide the only means of understanding and inter-The Bill Ashley Jungles is a remembered landscape. Glades hunters named the Bill Ashley Jungles after a band of outlaws who hid out in the Everglades ...
The Notorious Ashley Gang
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...—GILLES DELEUZE and FÉLIX GUATTARI, Kafka: Toward a Minor LiteratureFor such a notorious figure, John Ashley was slightly built. In one photo-graph, he countenances a rakish vulnerability, a quality Laura Upthegrove must have found attractive. Though he stares coolly into the camera, he looks uneasy in his suit. Perhaps the suit is borrowed. Certainly, the sleeves ...
3 Earth, Fire, and Flesh: Territorial Refrains
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To become animal is to participate in movement, to stake out the path of escape in all its positivity, to cross a threshold, to reach a continuum of intensities that are valuable only in themselves, to find Several years ago I was walking with Glen Simmons, then in his late eighties, down a weedy section of the Old Ingraham Highway, a remnant ...
The Theatrics of Everglades Outlaws
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This attempt to do a low-budget, regional variation on Bonnie and After DeSoto Tiger’s body was discovered, Sheriff George Baker of Palm Beach County dispatched two deputies to bring John Ashley in for question-ing. Rumors suggested Ashley was hiding out at a camp near Hobe Sound. As the deputies made their way through a heavy growth of palmettos along ...
4 The Travels of Snakes, Mangroves, and Men
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Statues beckon you from gardens and public parks; you walk onwards with fleeting glances for everything, for everything in motion and at rest, for hackney cabs, which rumble along indolently, for the electric tram, which is now beginning to run and from out of which people’s eyes look down at you, for the idiotic helmet of a constable, ...
The Gang Vanishes into the Mysterious Swamp
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Out of the somber stillness of the Everglades comes this story of John Ashley, bank-robber, highwayman, pirate, hi-jacker and murderer. Out of its labyrinthine maze of gnarled and twisted mangrove came John Ashley in his teens, heavily laden with otter and other furs that found a ready market and brought the necessities of life to a typical ...
5 Searching for Paradise in the Florida Everglades
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So far in this book I have shown how in the hunter’s landscape the human and nonhuman worlds are entangled, like a rhizome that is on the move. Enormous snakes lurk in mangrove jungles that are constantly growing and changing even as hunters hack their way through their enclosing roots and branches. While this territorial assemblage is not grounded or fixed, the ...
The Story Doesn’t End with the Ambush on the Sebastian River Bridge
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I wish I had told this story twenty-five or thirty years ago when these outlaws had relatives and friends living and people who had heard and doubted the way that they were captured. I regret that very much.On November 1, 1924, sheriff ’s deputies ambushed John Ashley and three other gang members as they tried to flee the state. The months prior to the ...
6 Alligator Conservation, Commodities, and Tactics of Subversion
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It speaks to the sheer ingenuity of culture that the alligator, such an un-likely creature, has been called upon to meet so many different human needs. The reptiles may weigh hundreds of pounds, can grow to sixteen feet (though about thirteen feet is considered large today), and are certainly cumbersome to transport. Their bodies are elongated and lizard-like. The dermal layer of ...
Epilogue: The Bill Ashley Jungles: Trace Impressions of a Forgotten Landscape
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In this book I have used the term “territorial assemblage” to describe those collectives of humans and nonhumans engaged in tasks that result in the demarcation of territory. Landscapes are the product of these assemblages. The territorial claims upon these landscapes extend far beyond the boundaries of southern Florida. No book could do justice to this rhizomic proliferation. ...
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Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2011