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1937 Article on
1892 School Census
St. Johns County Public Schools
St. Augustine Record
Tuesday, April 20, 1937

Old Book Contains Record of Young Folks of School Age as of 1892

Found by Historical Records and Archives Survey Workers (WPA)

A record which will soon be of great value to many applicants for old age assistance has just been
found by the workers of the Historical Records and State Archives Surveys in the old files of the St.
Johns County Board of Public Instruction at the Orange Street school.

The record is a little bookkeeping book fixed up by lead pencil rulings to take the census of children
who lived in St. Augustine. The census was made by
Peter S. Arnau in 1892 and included all children
between the ages of 6 and 21. The name is given first and following it is recorded the age, color, sex
and whether the person knew their A-B-Cs, if they could read or write, and if so, in which "reader"
they belonged.

Because of the fact that the county and state did not keep vital statistics of births and deaths in those
years, it has been very difficult to check the ages of
St. Johns County applicants. In many cases the
security authorities have been assisted by the Historical and State Archives workers in searching for
some record to prove applicant's age. Off times it is necessary to go to old court suits where the
applicant may have been a witness and sworn to his age on the witness stand.

At the time of the 1887 fire the county used the old Loring homestead as a courthouse. Although many
of the records were saved then, some age records which would now be considered valuable were
burned and even in the 1914 fire not all the county records were saved in the fire-proof vault.

This newly found census book contains the information on 1,081 young people then living in S.
Augustine, who had been born in the years between 1871 and 1886. A footnote indicates that the
census was taken for the entire county since it says here that "the total number of youths in St. Johns
Co. between 6 and 21 years of age" was 2,197. The book containing the remainder of these names has
not yet been found.

Another footnote indicates there were 36 children at Sampson where the census was taken by W. D.
Braddock, 30 children at Diego, counted by A. G. Mier, 55 at Durbin canvassed by H. Wilson and 26
at Coxettersville, who were listed by Wm. Pacetti.

{Editor: This school census was placed in a school board yard sale and sold in the 1990s. Luckly
someone gave the editor this book as well as a few others used on this site. Unfortunately the first book
of historical records on St. Johns County Public schools has not been recovered. If anyone has this
book, please...please take it to the St. Augustine Historical Society. We have one record that was
saved from this book. All the other books can currently be found in the
St. Augustine Historical Society
Research Library.)
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