The Old King's Road was built by the British prior to the American Revolution. It ran from Georgia to Florida's Atlantic Coast. This was the main entry into Florida from 1774 until 1914 when the railroads and highways began to appear. The old road has almost vanished being covered, re-located or just blocked and forgotten. When I began to research and study it, I discovered almost endless stories along it, true stories of people and places that wanted to be told. I began a simple little history called The Search for Old Kings Road. It had writings from other researchers, and some maps that I believe no one had ever seen. When it was published in 2006 the stories that happened on this then 232 year old route covered the early settlers, the War of 1812, the Second Seminole War, the Mexican War (yes it was involved in that too), the Civil War and finally the Cracker period when Florida was at last re-populated with many who still live here today. My present four books are in the "Old Kings Road Series" of events along this historic roadway.
"I am Grey Eyes" is the tale of a most unusual Indian entrepreneur who was a cattleman and was credited by the British Governor in helping to blaze the trail for The Kings Road. It is the story of Old Florida, his friend Black Sandy and a cattle drive of some 500 cows when Florida had no roads, only ancient Indian trails. Much of Florida's early history was combined in the story of Grey Eyes.
I am a director of the Flagler County Historical Society and thus have access to many original sources of our rich Florida history. I try to entertain and inform you with a first person style where hopefully my characters (who were real) will speak directly to you the reader in telling their stories.
I am Grey Eyesby William Ryan
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Grey Eyes is a most unusual Seminole Indian. He will tell his story in the first person speaking directly to you the reader. Here is the early history of Florida before the American Revolution which La Florida was held by the Spanish and then by the British. It is the story of a great cattle drive of some 500 Spanish Cattle purchased by British Governor Grant to feed the anticipated Minorcan settlers who would soon arrive from Europe. Grey Eyes and his companion Black Sandy Youngman would make this drive across the wilds of Florida assisted by some 25 Indian boys. The British Governor would credit them with finding a route for his new roadway to be called The Kings Road that would run from Georgia to the new settlement of New Smyrna Florida.
“I am Grey Eyes” completes the story of Colonial Era Florida and takes it forward to the Second Seminole War and the escape of many of the Black Seminoles to Indian Territory in Texas and Colorado. Your story teller is Grey Eyes who manages to be present at many of the historical events, even the little known exodus of the Seminoles and their black companions to Mexico.
Author Bill Ryan writes in an unusual first person story teller style that combines complex historical events into a readable tale, as told by someone who was there and lived it. His stories are well researched and involve real personages and events. He tells of the little known black slave uprising in Florida long hidden in the history books, the task of the Seminole Indian as a cattleman.
“I am Grey Eyes” has illustrations and maps to guide the reader in this long ago time. “I like to call this researched historical fiction,” said Bill Ryan. “None of us were there but here is what I believe happened,” he reports.
For those interested in history and the rich stories of early Florida “I am Grey Eyes” offers an entertaining picture of events of the times
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