John Bemo and Adoption

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ca. 1825-90

Also known as Talamasmico

Seminole (Native American) teacher and missionary

Bemo, born Talamasmico in or before 1825, was the nephew of the great Seminole Chief Osceola. When he was nine or 10 (in 1835) his father died after a drunken brawl in St. Augustine, Florida, where he and Talamasmico were visiting. The next day the young boy was shanghaied by French sailors. He spent the next few years as a merchant seaman, and was adopted by a French ship captain named Bemeau, whose name he took. He became a ship's carpenter and converted to Christianity.

In 1843, after discovering that the rest of his family had been wiped out in the Seminole wars and on the forced march from Florida to Oklahoma, he established and taught in the first school for Seminole children in Oklahoma and also built a Presbyterian church there. He later became a Baptist and converted the Seminole leader John Jumper in 1860.


Hirschfelder, Arlene, and Molin, Paulette. Encyclopedia of Native American Religions: An Introduction. (New York: Facts on File, 1992) Brägi, David. "My Native American (Muscogee and Seminole) Family History." [Includes portrait]. Formerly available at: