While traveling the northern coast of Florida and investigating the economic tendencies of rabbits and their reading habits, I found myself on Amelia Island and took the opportunity to visit their historical museum to see what I might turn up. The curator was a crusty old salt with a jaundiced eye, a severe limp, and a shortage of fresh batteries for his hearing aid. He greeted me kindly and after a lengthy explanation that involved the appearance of an ear trumpet, I finally managed to communicate to him that my interest lay chiefly in the study of 18th century letters, logbooks, and other maritime documents. I suspect he didn’t think much of my particular interests. He repeatedly steered me toward his vast collection of fish hooks and lighthouse replicas. I would not be dissuaded, however, and at last he showed me to a tiny closet at the rear of the museum inside which were stacked a treasure of old medical records previously collected by the family of Jefferson Betters, a man of some local renown who held offices for surgery in a number of small towns along the coast. The curator informed me with great disappointment that Dr. Betters’s collection of amputated leg bones, fingers, and various other appendages along with several pickled specimens of dubious origin had lately been sold to Vanderbilt University along with a small number of additional medical logs and documents.
Happily, the gentleman then left me to peruse the remainder of the collection at my own leisure and after many hours of study, I emerged with a single page of a letter bearing mention of Fin Button. The letter, dated January 12th, 1776, has been meticulously transcribed and now awaits your consideration on the Letters to Peter page.