This sewing machine was recovered from a
hammock at Blue Mountain, once part of the
old Cow Creek Ranch, and believed to be
used by Seminole women. The machine is
now on display at Adams Ranch’s museum.
As a child, Robbie Adams found this brand from
Cow Creek Ranch in Punkin Hammock on Adams
Ranch, several miles from Cow Creek.
Robbie Adams shows a piece of pottery recovered
from a Seminole site at Blue Mountain.
agement District to improve water flow at the creek. For
example, a weir was recently installed at the creek at Adams
Ranch to hold back water when needed, he says.
The water flow is essential to the health of cypress trees,
sensitive to both too much water and too little, that grow in
and along the creek.
Where Cow Creek was a natural free-flowing waterway
going through only a few ranches, today it travels through
multiple ranches with each owner having his own approach
to managing the creek.
Mike says properly managing the creek’s flow could also
reduce the amount of water that runs into the C-25 Canal,
which discharges into Taylor Creek and the Indian River, and
the C-24 Canal, which empties into the St. Lucie River.
After talking to Mike, Robbie and I head for Blue Mountain,
one of the prettiest parts of the old Cow Creek Ranch
and one of my dad’s favorite spots to hunt. We drive his
truck off road and come upon Cow Creek. It’s relatively dry
and in some places the creek bed is just a swampy area with a
trickle. But the cypress are abundant, in contrast to the lack of
cypress where the creek had been diked.
Blue Mountain is no mountain but an illusion. It’s actually
a large stand of cypress trees that look like a blue mountain
in the mist. Seminoles had once lived at the site, the last
evidence being the base of a wrought iron sewing machine in
a raised area before the land gets swampy. Robbie points to
an area of raised elevation at the edge of the swamp that had
been built up by the Seminoles and where sour citrus trees,
used for cooking by the Seminoles, still grow on the edge of
As a child seeing the sewing machine, I could visualize
Seminole women making garments and ponder what life
must have been like living on the edge of the swamp. In
reconnecting with the children of Cow Creek cowboys, it was
amazing to me how many remembered the sewing machine
and spoke of the images it conjured up for them as well.
Robbie says shards and glass bottles have been discovered
at the site. The Seminoles have a long association with Cow
Creek. Members of Fort Pierce’s Seminole Tommie family say
their family lived along the creek, including family matriarch
A 1930 article in the Fort Pierce Tribune makes the Seminole
connection to Cow Creek, noting that a “party of some
twenty-five Seminole Indians from their camp on Cow Creek,
several miles west of the city, has been in the city for several
days.” In a 2007 interview with Jo Ann Sloan for a story on
the Tommie family, Jo Ann told me that she could recall Seminoles
living on the ranch in the 1930s and ’40s.
Adams Ranch patriarch Bud Adams saw the sewing machine
shortly after Adams Ranch purchased Blue Mountain in
1976. In a separate visit to Blue Mountain Robbie also saw it
and hid it in the brush, fearful it might be taken. >>
Robbie Adams points to the site at the old Cow Creek
Ranch, now part of Adams Ranch, where Seminoles
A narrower section of Cow Creek shows how the flow of water and the
personality of the creek itself change along its length.