Henry T. Titus

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Henry Theodore Titus
Personal details
Born (1823-02-13)February 13, 1823[1]
Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey[1]
Died August 7, 1881(1881-08-07) (aged 58)[1]
Titusville, Florida[1]
Resting place LaGrange Cemetery, Mims, Florida
Spouse(s) Mary Evalina Hopkins
Children Edward Hopkins Titus, Catherine Howell Titus Fox, Mary Evelina Titus, Howell Titus, Henry Theodore Titus, Ellett Livingston Titus, Theodore Titus Jr., Pierre Soule Titus, Theodocia Titus[2]
Occupation citrus grower, grocer, sawmill operator, postal inspector, soldier of fortune
Military service
Allegiance  Confederate States of America
Rank Confederate States of America Colonel.png Colonel - Honorary title
Battles/wars Bleeding Kansas, Second Battle of Rivas

Henry Theodore Titus (February 13, 1823 – August 7, 1881) was a pioneer, soldier of fortune, and the founder of Titusville, Florida. His military adventurism included expeditions to Cuba and Nicaragua, fighting on the side of pro-slavery forces in the Kansas Territory, and blockade running during the Civil War. Never commissioned, Titus retained the honorary title of Colonel.

Early years

Titus was born in Trenton, New Jersey on February 13, 1823.[3] He was the first of nine children of Theodore Titus, and Catharine Flick Howell.[4] He was raised in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. He was enrolled for some time at the United States Military Academy at West Point, but did not graduate. In 1845, he was a postal inspector in Philadelphia.

Pioneer and military adventurer

Titus was a leader of the Narciso López expedition, an unauthorized military venture that invaded Cuba in 1850-1851.

On 20 August 1852 Titus and his son Ellett survived the sinking of the steamer Atlantic after it collided with the steamer Ogdensburg.[5]

Titus was a grocer and sawmill operator in Jacksonville, until migrating with his family to "Bleeding Kansas" in April 1856 to join pro-slavery forces. He resided at Fort Titus, a fortified double-log cabin one mile south of Lecompton, that came under artillery attack from John Brown's raiders on Aug. 16, 1856, in what became known as the Battle of Fort Titus.[6] [7][8] He was wounded, captured, and exchanged for Free-State prisoners, before joining William Walker in Nicaragua in February 1857. Walker was engaged in an unauthorized military expedition in the country, ultimately to establish a slaveholding settlement there.[9] After his force was defeated at Castillo Viejo a few weeks later, Titus went to New York City.

Titus and his brother Elliot moved to the Sonoita Valley, Arizona, where they operated various ore mines during 1858-1860.

Titus returned to Jacksonville during the American Civil War and served as assistant quartermaster in the Florida Militia. He was also working for the Florida Provision Company, a business owned by his father-in-law, Edward S. Hopkins. The firm sold supplies to the Confederate Army. While transporting a load of Confederate draft dodgers to Nassau in 1863, Titus lost his steamer to the Northern blockade and was captured on the Indian River. He eluded imprisonment and later returned to Florida with his family, preceding a post-war wave of newcomers.[10]


He moved to New York with his family in 1865, but returned to Florida in November 1867, settling at Sand Point which at that time had a population of 250.[11] Titus built a sawmill, general store and hotel at that location. Titus was appointed postmaster, and soon thereafter renamed the settlement "Titusville." The name of Titusville was determined by a dominoes game with Captain Clark Rice on October 16, 1873.[11] He lobbied tirelessly to have Titusville named as county seat. His efforts were realized on October 7, 1879 when a vote was taken and the result supported relocation of the county seat to Titusville.[12]

Later years and legacy

He was also the Justice of the Peace, a notary public for Volusia County, and a marine insurance underwriter's agent. Rheumatic gout kept him confined to a wheelchair during the last years of his life. Henry Theodore Titus died August 7, 1881 in his namesake town of Titusville.

His son, Theodore Titus (Sr.) who became a distinguished south Georgia jurist, died July 4, 1959 at age 87 in Thomasville, Georgia.[13] Great-grandson Theodore Titus, III served five terms as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives.[14] [15][5] [16]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Find-A-Grave
  2. ^ "Pedigree Resource File," database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.2.1/3SCD-DZB : accessed 2014-03-04), entry for Henry Theodore /TITUS/.
  3. ^ http://www.sc.edu/uscpress/books/2016/7656.html
  4. ^ "Ancestral File," database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.2.1/MWTK-K33 : accessed 2014-03-04), entry for Henry Theodore TITUS ;[Col].
  5. ^ a b Antonio Rafael de la Cova (31 July 2016). Colonel Henry Theodore Titus: Antebellum Soldier of Fortune and Florida Pioneer. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-61117-657-5.
  6. ^ Martha B. Caldwell, "The Stubbs," Kansas Historical Quarterly, May 1937, Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 125.
  7. ^ Sara Walter, "Battle of Fort Titus," Bald Eagle (Lecompton), Winter 1981, pp. 1-2.
  8. ^ "Legends of Kansas History - Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs". Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  9. ^ Frank W. Blackmar, ed., Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc. Vol. II. Chicago: Standard Publishing Company, 1912. Page 809.
  10. ^ Eriksen, John M., BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: A Short History to 1955
  11. ^ a b Stone, Elaine Murray, Brevard County From Cape of the Canes to Space Coast
  12. ^ Horton, Jack B., Jr., Titusville, Florida: The First 50 Years, 1867-1917
  13. ^ "Theodore Titus, Sr". Find a Grave. February 3, 2010. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  14. ^ North Brevard History - Titusville, Florida
  15. ^ Hanna, A.J and K.A., Florida's Golden Sands (1950)
  16. ^ Robert Titus - Emigrant to Massachusetts, 1635 to Henry Theodore Titus, Founder of Titusville, Florida
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