Fort King National Historic Landmark


3925 E Fort King St,
Ocala, FL 34470



(352) 368-5533





Park Hours:
Sunrise to Sunset
(or 7 PM, whichever comes first)
Welcome Center:
Fri. & Sat. 10 AM – 5 PM
Archaeological Resource Center:
Fri. & Sat. 10 AM – 5 PM

The Fort King National Historic Landmark is located in Ocala, in Marion County, Florida. Fort King, originally built in 1827, was named for Colonel William King who commanded the Fourth Infantry before Brevet Brigadier General Duncan L. Clinch.

In 1826, Colonel Gad Humphreys built the first Seminole Agency in what is now Ocala, near where Fort King would be erected in March 1827. Osceola, a Seminole leader and war chief, opposed the forced relocation of his people during treaty talks between the US Government and the Seminoles held at Fort King. In the winter of 1834, orders were given for the troops at Fort Marion in St. Augustine to take up the line of march for the Fort King Seminole Agency. This was to strengthen the force at the fort under the command of Brigadier D. L. Clinch, pending negotiations between the Seminole tribe of Indians and United States Agent, General Wiley Thompson.

As US relations with the Seminole deteriorated, Gen. Thompson forbade the sale of guns and ammunition to them. Osceola, though friendly with Thompson, resented this ban. He felt it equated the Seminole with slaves, who were forbidden to carry arms. In June 1835, Osceola quarreled with Thompson over the gun issue, and was locked up at Fort King. In order to secure his release, Osceola agreed to sign the Treaty of Payne's Landing and to bring his followers into the fort. He did not comply, and in December as Chief Micanopy's forces fought with the army of Major Francis L. Dade, Osceola and his followers attacked Fort King, killing many stationed there. Osceola himself shot Wiley Thompson. These two concurrent events marked the beginning of the Second Seminole War.

During the seven-year war that followed, every major general and Regiment of the U.S. Army were either stationed at or passed through the gates of Fort King. The US Army could not match the guerrilla type warfare of the Seminoles. In May 1836, Fort King was abandoned and burned to the ground by the victorious Seminoles. One year later the US Army returned and the fort was rebuilt. This time the forces stationed there directed dragoon and infantry units in unrelenting "search and destroy" missions against the Seminoles. At the war's end in 1842, most of the Seminoles had been killed or captured and moved to Oklahoma. As we know, a small number of "unconquered and defiant" Seminoles established new territory in the Florida Everglades. Those are known today as the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

page information credit: National Parks Service, Fort King Heritage Association, Inc., Fort King National Historic Landmark 
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors