St Paul's Cemetery

Love and Legacy: The Story Behind Fort Myers, Florida’s Namesake

When Marion Isabelle Twiggs, the daughter of United States Army General David E. Twiggs, the commander of the United States forces in Texas, first met one of his staff officers, Colonel Abraham C. Myers, she immediately fell in love, sparking a romance that would leave a legacy in the naming of Fort Myers, Florida. Shortly after, because of ongoing conflicts with the Seminole Indians in Florida, her father and Myers were moved to Florida. Twiggs was responsible for leading the troops at Fort Brooke, now known as Tampa Bay, Florida, while Myers became the chief quartermaster. While at Fort Brooke, Abraham, and Marion continued their romance and became engaged. Twiggs supported their engagement, even though Myers was 39 and his daughter was only 13.

On February 14th, 1850, the War Department instructed Twiggs to build a fort on the Caloosahatchee River again. He named the fort Fort Myers “to show respect for his future son-in-law and make his daughter happy.”

This blockhouse was part of the U.S. Army Fort Myers, in Florida, used during the Third Seminole War and again during the American Civil War.

Several years later and before the Civil War, Myers was posted to Washington. Marion “was the reigning queen at Willard’s and a favored guest at every fashionable house. Her dancing was perfect, her tact equal to it, and her beauty even more exceptional“.

Like his father-in-law, who turned over the Federal forces under his control in Texas to the Confederacy at the start of the Civil War, Myers did the same with his forces in New Orleans, Louisiana, before promptly resigning from the US Army. He was appointed as the Quarter-Master General of the Confederate Army in 1861. Hindered by the lack of money and bad railroads, Myers needed help supplying the Confederate forces, which led to his removal from his position in early 1864. Angry at his treatment, he left the country and took his family to Germany, where they stayed until 1876.

Abraham Myers in an undated picture from his days in the United States Army. His father-in-law named a fort in Florida after him as an engagement gift. Present-day Fort Myers, Florida, gets its name from the 1850 fort.

The Myers family had four kids, including their son, Lieutenant General John Twiggs Myers. He was born on January 29, 1871, and passed away on April 17, 1952. General Myers commanded the United States Marines during the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900. He also led expeditions to the Philippines from 1906 to 1907, Santo Domingo in 1912, and Cuba in 1913. General Myers was laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery.

Abraham passed away in 1889 and rests in St. Paul’s Cemetery. When Marion died four years later, she was buried beside her beloved husband, who captivated her during her youth in Texas in the late 1840s.

The City of Fort Myers, Florida, is named after the old Fort Myers.

Gravestone of Abraham and Marion Myers in St. Paul’s Cemetery. Photo by D. Heiby.
Gen. A.C. Myers
died June 20, 1889
Graduated West Point, 1833
Col. U.S.A
daughter of
Gen. David E. Twiggs, U.S.A.
died Nov. 12, 1893
Then are they glad, because they
are at rest, and he bringers them unto
the heaven were they would be
Colonel Q. M. General
Confederate States Army
May 14, 1811 – June 29, 1889
Inscriptions on the two gravestones of Myer’s grave

Sources of Information

DeLeon, T.C. Belles, Beaux and Brains of the ’60s. G. W. Dillingham Company. New York. 1909.

Hakenson, Donald C. This Forgotten Land Volume II, Biographical Sketches of Confederate Veterans Buried in Alexandria, Virginia. Donald Hakenson. Alexandria, Virginia. 2011.

Pippenger, Wesley E. Tombstone Inscriptions of Alexandria, Virginia (Vol 5). Berwyn Heights. MD. Heritage Books. 2014.

Official website of The City of Fort Myers, Florida. Accessed March 2022.

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By David

Hello. With a passion for bringing history to life, I serve my community as a public historian and cemetery superintendent. My journey has led me to own businesses, conduct Civil War battlefield tours and research Alexandria’s cemeteries.

Since 2015, I have had the privilege of serving as Superintendent of the historic Presbyterian Cemetery and Columbarium, located within Alexandria's Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex. The Presbyterian Cemetery has close ties to the Old Presbyterian Meeting House, situated one mile east, where my family has worshipped for two generations. My parents are laid to rest in this cemetery, which holds a special place in my heart.

Most weekends, you can find me leading tours of the Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex, where thirteen cemeteries are located, with over 35,000 buried. Considered one of the most historic cluster of cemeteries in the United States, I weave my enthusiasm for teaching with the stories of those interred there. I also manage a blog focused on all the cemeteries in Alexandria where the many souls buried across the city are memorialized.

In addition, I'm an active Board Member of both the Alexandria Historical Society and Lee-Fendall House Museum. As part of the Northern Virginia Cemetery Consortium, I diligently preserve endangered burial sites throughout the region.

If Alexandria’s history captivates you, I invite you to join one of my cemetery tours, read my blog on memorializing souls buried across the city’s cemeteries, or connect with me on social media. I find joy and purpose in bringing Alexandria’s rich past to life and serving my community.

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