The North American Indians fear lest their venerated rattlesnake should incite its kinsfolk to avenge any injury done to it, and when the Seminole Indians begged an English traveller to rid them of one of these troublesome intruders, they scratched him-as a matter of formin order to appease the spirit of the dead snake.
He was engaged in the Seminole War and the war with Mexico, won the brevet of captain for his gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco, and was wounded in the assault on the city of Mexico.
While a member of President Monroe's cabinet, Calhoun had favoured the reprimanding of General Jackson (q.v.) for his high-handed course in Florida in 1818, during the first Seminole War.
He served in the Black Hawk and Seminole wars, and left the army in 1837 to become a civil engineer, but a year afterwards he was reappointed to the army as first lieutenant, Topographical Engineers, and breveted captain for his conduct in the Seminole war.
But a strong sentiment against removal suddenly developed, and the efforts of the United States to enforce the treaty brought on the Seminole War (1836-42), which resulted in the removal of all but a few hundred Seminoles whose descendants still live in southern Florida.
In 1818 General Jackson, believing that the Spanish were aiding the Seminole Indians and inciting them to attack the Americans, again captured Pensacola.
Jackson in the meantime had learned that Calhoun as secretary of war had wished to censure him for his actions during the Seminole war in Florida in 1818, and henceforth he regarded the South Carolina statesman as his enemy.
The fort and the settlement were named in honour of General William Jenkins Worth (1794-1849), a native of Hudson, New York, who served in the War of 1812, commanded the United States forces against the Seminole Indians in 1841-1842, served under both General Taylor and General Scott in the Mexican War, distinguishing himself at Monterey (where he earned the brevet of major-general) and in other engagements, and later commanded the department of Texas.
Van Buren's son Abraham (1807-1873) graduated at West Point in 1827, served under General Winfield Scott against the Seminole Indians in 1836, and was made captain of the First Dragoons.
It fell to him, therefore, to direct the conduct of the Black Hawk and Seminole wars.