Billy Harney, member of the Seminole tribe in Florida, was probably named after Colonel William S. Harney, U.S. officer in the Seminole Wars. The Expedition party encountered Billy Harney on April 4 near his homestead, west of Miami. The group was almost out of food and exhausted. Billy Harney agreed to take J.W. Newman, J.E. Ingraham, S.O. Chase, and W.R. Moses to Miami via boat and canoe so that this smaller group could acquire supplies and assistance for the rest of the party. On April 5 Harney and the small group reached Miami, and then John W. Newman returned with Harney and another Seminole, Motlow, to assist the remainder of the Expedition party. In the texts, Billy Harney was described as a "small wiry built man of perhaps 65 or 70 years." It is possible that he was in his mid 70s in 1892. His homestead was described with a building and two palmetto thatches. In other sources, he is described as wealthy and notable among the Seminoles, his island is described as one of the highest points in the Everglades, and at least one source indicates that his nose had been cut off at some point.
It is very difficult to provide contextual information about many of the Native Americans mentioned in the Expedition texts. One difficulty is that names are often spelled multiples ways in various sources, and information in those sources is often conflicting. Another difficulty is the Seminole practice of reusing names within families. While there is good evidence that the Billy Harney mentioned in the texts is the same individual as the Billy Harney described here, it is impossible to determine how much of the information provided here is accurate or applicable.
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For other topics referenced in the Expedition texts, please refer to the Index to Subjects and Names.
1892 Everglades Exploration Expedition : Three Digital Texts, 2015