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The Story of the West Florida Rebellion
Stanley Clisby Arthur

The Book and the Author

Stanley Clisby Arthur was a journalist and author of several popular books on various Louisiana subjects; as befits a newspaperman, he is best known for Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'em; but he also wrote Walking Tours of Old New Orleans; Old Families of Louisiana; Audubon: An Intimate Life of the American Woodsman; The Story of the Battle of New Orleans; a biography of the pirate Jean Lafitte, etc.

The book transcribed here, and an even rarer historical work, The Story of the Kemper Brothers, seem to belong to his early career; they both first appeared in serial form in the Democrat, a newspaper in St. Francisville, the Louisiana town that was once the capital of the West Florida Republic.





132, 146, 147



Part I: The Purchase


Part II: The Convention


Part III: The Revolt


Part IV: The Republic


Part V: The County



The Proposed British Seat of Government in West Florida


The Theatre of Action


Spain's West Florida


The County of Feliciana



The First Flag


The Second Flag


The Third Flag


The Fourth Flag


The Twin-starred Kemper Brothers' Flag [The Fifth Flag]


A Flag that never Flew over Feliciana


The Bonnie Blue Flag [The Sixth Flag]


The Seventh Flag


[decorative delimiter]

Technical Details

Edition Used

The edition transcribed here is the original and probably the only one, published by The St. Francisville Democrat, St. Francisville, La., 1935. It is in the public domain because the copyright was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been in 1962 or 1963: details here on the copyright law involved.


The illustrations in the printed book are all black and white, consisting of a photo of an old map as a Frontispiece; three maps; and eight woodcuts or lithographs of the flags that flew — and in one case, did not fly — over West Florida. These last are handsomely and accurately hatched according to standard heraldic conventions, and I've merely colorized them accordingly (more precisely, to as close to the modern official colors as possible: the red in the Spanish flag, for example, is not the same as the red in the American); I also colorized the engraved maps according to the same conventions as elsewhere on this website, which makes them much easier to read.

I've moved the maps, which in the printed edition are scattered thru the book, to a single webpage; and some of the other illustrations from their original pages to places that made better sense to me; their original pages are noted in the Table of Contents above.


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

Arthur is a poor writer, and then the printed book was wretchedly proofread if at all; this double-whammy forced me to abandon my usual practice if the reader were not to drown in a sea of little bullets and notes. As I input the text, it became clear that most of the errors were not due to the original documents but to poor modern editing; so in correcting all these typos, instead of marking each one with a bullet and the variant, there is no bullet, but the printed text is only given in a comment in the sourcecode, like this: <!‑‑ printed: thsi ‑‑>. I also dealt this way with some of the punctuation — a bare minimum — and I put the essential accents and diacriticals on such words as François and Doña; cedillas and tildes, necessary though they be, are uniformly absent from the printed edition, very likely because they were not to be had in the typesetter's case.

Some proper names were hard to deal with. Bayou Sara/Sarah and St./Ste. Helena I left as I found. For Grand Pré I adopted a standard spelling, where the author himself sometimes omits the accent, sometimes adds a hyphen, and at least once writes Grande Pré, which last is a downright mistake. Other less prominent names I dared not standardize, although I feel sure there must be a correct spelling (St. John's Plain and variants; Benjamin Williams/William, Harries/Herries). A small group of names like Chifoncté and Tangipahoa bloom out in a profusion of variants surely due to the original sources, and I didn't touch them.

Beyond these errors, which I fixed or left, I left a number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. that can't be called mistakes — especially if they occur in proper names or quotations from source documents — but might jar today's reader: they're marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that I did check them.

Any remaining mistakes are thus probably my own, so please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have in front of you a copy of the printed book, or by even better fortune, one of the source documents.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line p57 ); these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.

My icon for the book is a colorized version of an engraving that appears four times in it: the Lone Star flag of the Republic of West Florida.

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Site updated: 11 Sep 10