1832 Delinquent Taxes and A Brief Educational Experience

1832 was the high water mark of early educational reform for public education in the City of St.
Augustine. The experience failed because the citizens of St. Augustine would simply not pay the taxes for
a free public school system.  The tax revolt worked. It set the establishment of a free public education
back till 1869 (several generations of undereducated youth). This article is an opportunity for you to get a
little information about that educational experiment AND see if you have any delinquent relatives in
paying their taxes. After the failure of the school tax the existing City Council, Mayor, Assessor were
booted out.  The next Council won on a platform that said the old Council mismanaged tax dollars so
these records are the result of an audit of the payments that were made.

The Florida Educational Society
About a decade after Florida had become American territory arose the first noteworthy movement
toward the establishment of a system of general education. It originated in the territorial capital and
before 1840 had spread to other sections where there were considerable centers of population. In
January, 1831, the Florida Educational Society was organized at Tallahassee for the avowed purpose of
encouraging such a system. Its objective: "was to collect and diffuse information on the subject of
education and to endeavor to procure the establishment of such a general system of instruction as is
suited to the wants and condition of the Territory." Governor Duval was one of the chief movers in its
establishment and in his official capacity also appointed a commission to investigate and recommend a
plan. The following year, attempts were made to establish a agricultural and manual labor school near
Tallahassee, founded after a similar institution at Fellenberg, Switzerland, and a free school at St.
Augustine, the latter under the auspices of the Florida Educational Society.

The officers of this society were David Floyd Esq president,
Moses E Levy Esq, Dr Edward Aiken and
BD Wright Esq vice presidents, D Davidson corresponding secretary, EB Perkins recording secretary,
Parsons O Hays treasurer, Joseph W Field, Turbutt R Betton, John Duval, William Williams and Parsons
O Hays directors

In January of 1831, the Florida Educational Society was formed in Tallahassee with the object of
collecting and diffusing information on subjects pertaining to education and to procure the establishing of
such general system of instruction as would meet the needs and conditions of the Territory.

Several branches of this society were formed, the most important being located in St. Augustine called
the St. Johns and Mosquito County Society. The primary purpose of this group was the promotion of
educational welfare in the counties for which it was named. The St. Augustine auxiliary chapter of the
Florida Education Society was started in 1831.

The branch of the Florida Educational Society at St. Augustine did make a rather thorough report in
1831 of educational conditions in St. Johns and Mosquito counties. This showed that there were 569
children under fifteen years of age in the former county, and 579 in the latter. Of these, 463 lived in St.
Augustine, but only 137 of them were receiving daily instruction in schools.

Report of educational society St. Johns and Mosquito County 1831:

"The board, in attending to the state of education in both counties, have to say that, according to the
census taken last year, there are 579 white children of both sexes under 15 years of age - 238 of which
are under 5 - 10 in Mosquito County and 569 in
St. Johns. The number of children in our city (St.
Augustine) - the only one where a school is found is 463; that is to say: in Castle Ward, 105; in
Custom-house Ward 168, in Hospital Ward 87; and Barrack Ward, 103. Of these there are 137
children of both sexes which attend school daily. Of the nine schools, there are three containing 57
children, conducted by teachers qualified to impart elementary instruction in the respective branches of
education. The rest may be considered as primary schools of all sorts, which, from the very reduced
salary their parents can afford to pay, cannot much be depended upon for their stability.

Thus we see that out of the number of 341 children, between the ages of 5 and 15, there are but 57 who
are likely to obtain elementary education; 80 receive but precarious instruction; and 204 are left to row
up in ignorance and its attendant consequences. From this number, however, there are about 30 boys
who have been receiving for the last three months two hours' daily instruction in spelling, reading, and
even writing."

There were more than twenty-three private schools, nine academies, and three seminaries taught by more
than thirty-nine teachers in St. Augustine during the territorial Period, 1821-1845.

Ordinance for the free public school was passed on March 31, 1832.  "which shall be free to all free
white children of both sexes residing within the limits" of St. Augustine.

Act of incorporation of 1831 expressly permitted establishment of such a school.

To James Keogh
City constable of St. Augustine
County of St Johns

In virtue and by the authority of an ordinance of the City Council passed 31st March 1832, providing
for the establishment of a free school, and imposing taxes for its support, John Alden having been
returned a delinquent for the said taxes by the City Treasurer as by law directed. You are hereby
remanded to ? and levy upon the goods and chattels of said John Alden to the full amount of five dollars
his the said John  Alden's tax due as a foreward and the contents thereof, and sell the said goods and
chattels so detained and levied after having ?advertised he same for the space of five days at least, and
from the proceeds of sale pay over to Joseph Simeon Sanchez the City Treasurer the amount of said tax
and costs and make return of this warrant the 15th next month (October) J Gray Jr
26th Sept 1832

In presence of a resolution of the City Council, I hereby make known to the citizens of St. Augustine, that
the free school recently established in this city under and in virtue of the act of incorporation of the 4th of
February 1831 has been suspended. It is proper and perhaps expected by those who have both
advocated and supported so useful and beneficial an institution to explain the motives and reasons which
have induced the City Council to discontinue it. A charitable and benevolent feeling for those whose
station in life rendered them unable to bestow upon their children the advantages of education, and an
honest and thorough conviction of the important benefits that must necessarily result to the community
from a  measure effectually calculated to improve the minds and morals of the young who are now
springing up among us, and render them useful citizens, and virtuous members of society, induced the City
Council to establish this school by taxation, as the only mode which could render it permanent. The plan
was the only effectual one that could be suggested, and which is in general and practical operation in many
parts of the United States, where hundreds and thousands of the youth of our country are enjoying and
reaping the benefits of a good education on economical terms. Various objections were stated by certain
persons to this institutional its first establishment, but obviously intended to cloak the real motives of their
opposition, as we think that no reason offered by them can strike the mind of any reasonable being with
any force whatever. Three competent persons were appointed to conduct the school, one female and
two male instructors, to receive the three a sum not exceeding $1100 per annum, and this raised by a tax
in proportion to the amount of property owned by those subjected to it. but the small circle of opposition
soon began to expand, until the most decided and inveterate hostility, threw every embarrassment that
could be devised in the way, and resorted to every measure that could impede and finally annihilate the
school, by refusing themselves to pay, and encouraging others also to resist the payment of the taxes
necessary for its support. They have succeeded, and let the consequences rest with them. The school is
ended - one hundred and twenty children are again turned adrift; those, whose parents can afford it, to
continue their education in some other institution, but those whose parents are unable to assist them, to
grow up in ignorance, and at some future day to curse in bitterness of heart those who have thus
contributed to their degradation and wretchedness.....

Let those alone rejoice, who grudge to the children of the poor, the benefits of learning.
John Gray, Jr. Mayor

Council resolution:
Whereas certain persons in this Community have not only arrayed themselves against the Free School
recently established by the City Council, but have operated upon others to resist and oppose this useful
institution, and whereas this opposition have interrupted the collection of the school Tax by causing to be
issued certain writs of replevin, to replevy the property distrained upon, claiming that the City council
have no power under the act of incorporation to establish a school in this city; and whereas the City
Council suspended further proceedings to collect and tax until the Judge of the State Court should arrive
in order to have the question of power tried and determined by said Judge; and on his arrival did offer to
the said opposition to try said question and use every effort to have the same tried, but they denied and
refused to do so. by which said acts and doings of said persons, it has become impossible to collect said
school tax, and for the present to carry on said school.

Resolved, therefore, that said free school be for the present, suspended until the said question can be
tried and determined at the next Superior Court in November ensuing.

Resolved, That the thanks of this board be given to the teachers of said school for the faithful and diligent
performance of their duties.

Resolved, That the Mayor ... his proclamation ...

Resolved, That the forgoing ... and resolutions be printed in the next Florida Herald John Gray Jr. Mayor.

The following documents are connected to the School Tax of 1832 and a subsequent audit of all taxes by
the next City Council that took office. The information is found in MC 17 Box 6 B6F3 St. Augustine City

List of defaulters in the payment of School Tax for 1832

Names of Defaulters
Maria Poryona $10.25
John Gibson $2.00
P B Dumas   $7.25
P Bench $2.12 1/2

To John Gray Esqr Mayor of the City St. Augustine

Agreeable to an Ordinance of the City o St. Augustine I return the above named persons and defaulters
for their
school tax for the 1832 year

Jos S. Sanchez
T Collector

Account of school Taxes in the City of St. Augustine for the year 1832 not collected viz

                  On Real Estate
Andreu, Rappael                                         1.25   
Andrew, Maria                                            2.12 1/2
Arnau, Stephen                                            8.75   
Acosta, Margaret                                         2.50   
Andrew, Jose                                               1.75   
Anderson, Andrew                                      14.37 1/2
Arredondi, F. M.                                         19.50   
Alden, John. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      5.00   
Anderson, Sarah                                            2.00   
Arredondo, Fill                                                 .50   
Aleander, Thos.                                                .50   
Brauted, Garret                                              2.50   
Benet, Catalina                                               5.00   
Buchany, Jno                                                    .87 1/2
Beria, Mariana                                                8.75   
Bulow, John                                                    7.12 1/2
Bravo, Jorefa                                                  6.25   
Burgevin, Andrew . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2.50   
Carreras, John                                                  .50   
Coll, Margaret                                                  .62 1/2
Campbell, Ann                                               2.50   
Clarke, Geo J. F.                                           4.00   
Cala, Juanade                                                2.50   
Cook, Margaret                                          20.50   
Castro, Antonia de                                      16.87   
Canoba, Barth (heirs of)                                1.25   
Clarke, Mariana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1.50   
Course, Isaac                                                2.25   
Clarke, James                                                 .50   
Drisdale, John                                             14.25  
Donington, John (Estate of)                           1.00  
Entralgo, John                                                 .75  
Fleshman, Dick                                           34.00  
Fougres, Margrin                                          7.50  
Fish Clarisa                                                  1.25  
Furman, Richard                                            .12 1/2
Ferguson, Dick                                            1.12 1/2
Gianopoly Geo, estate of                                .87 1/2
Gurthy, Rachel                                             1.12 1/2
Gonzales, Francisca                                     1.00   
Gould, E. B.                                                  .87 1/2
Gomez Eusebi                                             2.12 1/2
Hernandez, Joseph heirs of                          1.25   
Hurlbert, Daniel                                        10.00   
Hernandez, Joseph H. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.25   
Lafont, William estate of                              2.12 1/2
Lopez, Andre, estate of                                 .25   
Lopez, Maria D.                                         2.12 1/2
Llambias, Ann                                             2.62 1/2
Llambias, John estate of                              1.25   
Law, Edmund                                               .75   
Loring, Hannah                                           6.37   
Linch, Patrick                                             2.50   
Lopez, Barthe                                               .12 1/2
Lopez, Maria                                              2.62 1/2
Miranda, Maria del Roiaru                          3.50   
Morillo, Antonia                                           .25   
Mestre, Barthe                                             .25   
Mestre, Maria                                              .62 1/2
Medicis, Francis, estate of                          5.00   
Mier, Antonia                                               .25   
Monter de Oca, Paula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50   
Michell, Peter                                             9.75   
Magrina, Agustin                                        1.37 1/2
Napier, Thomas                                           .87 1/2
Olmedo, Ana Maria                                     .25   
Oivington                                                     .62 1/2
Pomar, Joseph                                           1.50   
Pomar, Martina                                            .75   
Pom, John estate of                                      .75   
Pom, F. D.                                                 5.50   
Pom, Mathias, Estate of                              1.00   
Pappy, Ann                                              11.25   
Pacety, Maria C                                           .37 1/2
Pacety, Jose                                                 .62 1/2
Pacety, Andres                                           2.00   
Pons, Benita                                                 .87 1/2
Perpall, E. W.                                          37.87 1/2
Rodriguez, Isabel                                       2.50   
Rivero, Jose                                               1.25   
Richard, Francis                                         1.25   
Robsuion, Silvertre                                       .50   
Rodriquez, Maria                                       5.50   
Rogers Catherine                                       1.25   
Riz, James                                                   .25   
Sabate, Pablo                                            7.62 1/2
Smith, Hannah  (in pencil "paid"). . . . . . . .  3.75   
Smith Waters                                               .12 1/2
Solana, Philip and Matheo                         6.25   
Segui, Bernardo                                        2.12 1/2
Strong, Jno B. Estate of                             2.37   
Solana, Barth                                            1.25   
Sanchez, Susan                                         1.00   
Sanchez, Philip                                            .50   
Triay, Antonio                                           6.37   
Travers, William                                        6.25   
Tray, Gabriel Estate of                                 .75   
Thomas, George and James                       3.00   
Usina, Maria                                                .75   
Villalonga, Barth, Estate of                         3.25   
Von Cap                                                     .50   
Wilson, James                                              62 1/2
Wallen Elias                                              4.50   
Woodruff, Joseph, Estate of                      5.00   
Wiker, Isaac                                             4.75   
Total                                                 456.12 1/2

                  Tax on Slaves
Andrew, Maria                                             .25  
Arnau, Stephen                                             .50  
Acosta, Margarita                                         .25  
Anderson, Sarah                                           .75  
Aldridge, Whiple                                           .25  
Benet, Catalina                                              .25  
Bravo, Josefa                                                .25  
Clarke, David A                                            .25  
Clarke, Thomas L.                                         .50  
Cook, Margaret                                           1.00  
Castro, Antonio                                             .25  
Canobas, Bart, heirs of                                  .25  
Clarke, Mariana                                            .25  
Drisdale, John                                               .50  
Fontane, Mary                                              .75  
Fish, Clarisa                                                  .25  
Gianopoly, John, Estate of                             .25  
Gould, E. B.                                                  .25  
Garvin, Felicia                                               .25  
Hurlbert, David                                             .25  
Hernandez, Joseph H.                                   .25  
Lopez, Maria D.                                         1.00  
Loring, Hannah                                             .50  
Martinely, G. B.                                            .50  
Papy, Ann. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   .25  
Perpall, G. W.                                              .25  
Rogers, Ann                                                 .25  
Riggs, John                                                   .25  
Sabate, Pablo                                               .75  
Smith, Hannah (paid)                                    .75  
Segui, Bernando                                           .25  
Sanchez, M. A. Cooper                               .50  
Triay, Antonio                                              .50  
Thomas, George and James                          .25  
Villalonga, Barth, estate of                            .25  

                On Cart and Drays
Canobas, Antonio                                          .25  
Garrido, Manuel                                            .25  
Marin, Francis                                               .25  
Papy, Magdalena                                           .25  

                On Stock in Trade
Aguiar, Emanuel                                           1.00  
Andreu, Thomas                                             .10  
Braisted, Garret                                            1.00  
Dougherty, Constantine                                 1.00  
Eason, Robert                                                 .10  
Grover, Wm                                                    .80  
Gibon, John                                                   2.00  
Hendrick, John I                                            5.00  
Hamon, John M.                                            2.00  
Lincoln, Charles                                             1.10  
Martinely G B                                                  .20  
Papy, Magdalina                                              .15  

                     On Dogs
Gould, E. B.                                                     .25  
Robion, Charles                                                .25  
Smith, Hannah                                                  .25  

              On Pleasure Carriages
Drisdale, John                                                  .25  
Rodman, John                                                  .25  

Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         486.82 1/2

                    Exhibit H
 School Tax Collected but not accounted for 1832

School tax appearing on the docket as paid, but not accounted for to the Corporation of the City of St.
Augustine by the late Collector and Treasurer viz:

                  On Real Estate
Andrew, Miguel                                            .87 1/2
Careras, Juana                                            1.37 1/2
Hernandez, Juanna                                        .62 1/2
Livingston, William                                      3.75   
Ortega, Ignacio                                             .50   
Papy, Ann and Josefa                                 3.25   
Solana, Magdalena                                       .87 1/2
Young, Philip R.                                          9.00   
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .       20.25   

                    On Slaves
Ash, Mary                                                   .50   
Gibbs, George                                             .25   
Livington, William                                        .25   
Solania, Magdalena                                      .75   
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        1.75   

                On Carts and Drays
Papy, Miguel                                                .25   

                     On Dogs
Gibbs, George                                             .25   
Livingston, William                                       .25   
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..50   

              On Pleasure Carriages
Gibbs, George                                             .25   
Livingston, William                                       .25   
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..50   

Grand Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $23.25   

To J Keogh
City Constable St Augustine

County of St. Johns

In virtue and by the authority of an ordinance passed the 31st March 1832 providing for the
establishment of a free school and imposing taxes for its support, Harvey Brown having been ? a
delinquent for the said taxes by the City Treasurer as by Law directed. You are hereby commanded to ?
and levy upon the goods and chattels of the said Brown the full amount of fifty cent for the said Brown's
tax due as aforesaid and the costs thereof, and sell the said goods and chattels so destrained and levied
after having advertised the same for he space of five days at least and from the proceeds of said sale pay
over to Jos Simeon Sanchez the City Treasurer the amount of said tax and costs and make return of this
warrant on the 15th of next month Oct.

J Gray Mayor
26 Sept 1832
1832 St. Augustine
Delinquent Tax List
A Brief City
of St. Augustine
Educational Experience
Return to Dr. Bronson's History of St. Augustine
Custom Search
Like us on