"In God We Trust"
by Gil Wilson (introduction)
ab urbe condita - 280 to 296
|A Great Country
The St. Augustine News reported that the settlers in the counties are rapidly bringing the soil into perfect
cultivation an operation which its natural richness renders of an easy accomplishment. If its swamps and their
miasmatic influences could be put to rout the 'land of flowers' would be one of the most delightful of the
habitations of men.
Lieut J. E. Blake, of the United States Topographic Engineer Corps, and party have completed a survey of a
route for a railroad across the Peninsula of Florida.
On January 11, 1839 the people of the Territory of Florida formed a constitution and state government that
were republican and the convention asked the admission of their territory into the Union as states. The 56
delegates that met in the town of St. Joseph represented the 20 counties of Florida. Most of those were
planters and lawyers. They represented 13 of the 26 states in the United States and 3 foreign countries.
The bill to admit Florida passed the House of Representatives on February 13, 1845 and the Senate on
March 1. President John Tyler, on his last day in office, signed the bill making Florida a state on March 3,
1845 making Florida the 27th State to be admitted into the United States.
On March 3, 1845 Florida becomes a state. It enters the Union as a slave state paired with the free state of
Iowa. However, Iowa did not enter statehood until December 28, 1848. Texas entered before Iowa. William
D. Mosley became the first governor. David Levy became the first congressmen. The Democrats, not the
Whigs were to be in charge of Florida. Surprisingly on the day of organization it was announced that Andrew
Constitution of 1845
The first constitution of Florida adopted on the third day of March, 1845 had the following provisions
Section 1. the proceeds of all lands that have been, or may hereafter be, granted by the United States for the
use of schools and a seminary or seminaries of learning, shall be and remain a perpetual fund, the interest of
which, together with all moneys derived from any other source aplicable to the same object, shall be inviolably
appropriated to the use of schools and seminaries of learning, respectively, and to no other purpose.
Section 2. The general assembly shall take such measures as may be necessary to preserve from waste or
damage all lands so granted and appropriated to the purpose of education.
This article was repeated almost verbatim in the constitutions of 1861 and 1865.
Mayor Gould Attempts to Arrest General Worth
State of Florida
City of St. Augustine
Personally appeared Albert A Nuurs, who being duly sworn says that on the night of the 20th he was on duty
as commandant of the City Patrol. The other members were Philip Manucy, Baya, Jasper I Papy and William
Loring. Deponent went on duty as soon as he heard the bell ring. Deponent opened the room. Mr. Papy
accompanied despondent, Mr. Manucy and Mr. Baya came up soon after whilst sitting at the room Mr.
Tylstra came upon after sitting at the Guard Room about three quarters of an hour. Deponent went with Mr.
Lyeston for some water. On his return deponent found Ben Johnson, belonging to the Estate of G W Perpall in
possession of the Patrol. Deponent found that he was without a pass, and proceeding to examine the boy, he
said that he was sent to buy ice and bread for Gen'l Worth. Deponent not believing his story, or believing it or
not is immaterial, he ordered him to be placed in the stocks. Deponent told the Negro that it is wrong to be in
the streets at that time of night without a pass. The Negro was very impertinent and said that deponent, might
have him through the night; but he said that General Worth would be there and then, he deponent, would
apologize to Genl Worth and say that he deponent did not know that it was Gen Worth's negro. the Negro’s
whole demeanor was insolent and impertinent in the extreme.
And deponent charges that the said negro Ben Johnson slave belonging to the Estate of G W Perpall decd on
the night of the 20th inst and whilst he was in the discharge of his official duties as commandant of the Patrol,
did use abusive and provoking language as detailed above and much other abusive and provoking language
not, herein stated, and therefore he may be apprehended and dealt with as the law directs.
Sworn to before me the 21 day of August 1845 A A Nuurs
E B Gould
Mayor City St. Augustine
State of Florida
City of St. Augutine
To Francis P Ferreira, Sheriff of the County of St. Johns
In the name and by the authority of the State of Florida, you are hereby commanded that you arrest, Brigadir
Genl William I Worth and him forwith bring before me at my office in the City of St. Augustine to answer the
complaints of William W. Loring charging him the said William I. Worth with an assault and battery upon him
he said William Loring whilst in the discharge of his official duties as one of the patrol on the night of the 20th
Given under my hand at the City of St. Augustine the 21st day of August 1845.
E B Gould, Mayor
City of St. Augustine
An incendiary fire burned the office of Mr. Drysdale and a two story house, billiard room and kitchen of
Joseph Hernandez. The loss was an uninsured seven to eight thousand dollars.
Now landing per brig Sun Flower, new Buck wheat, in small packages; 1-2 bbls new Flour, 1-8 Kegs Indian
Meal; Rye Flour; assorted butter, soda, sugar, pie nie and Lemon Crackers, in small packages; fine Goshen
Butter; Leaf Lard; choice Hams; Dried Beet; Fulton Market cured Beef, in 1-4 Kegs; Sausages; cured
Salmon; Mackerel in 1-8 packages; and other articles, as kept by us, now in fine order. 6 days from New
York. At. retail. B. E. Carr & Co.
St. Augustine, Oct. 25, 1845
Notes on the Bar
The following is the result of an examination of the bar of St. Augustine, made by the collector of customs, and
F. L. Daney, Esq: The soundings were all made at low water. The bar or shoal on which was found 7 feet 8
inches at dead low water was not over 20 or 30 yards in extent before they came to much deeper water. The
width of the channel is from 300 to 400 yards. The length of the channel leading over the bay from deep water
inside to deep water outside is between a quarter and half a mile. The average rise of the tides on the bar is
about 6 feet; consequently, at high water, there would be 13 1/2 feet over the bar.
Planters Hotel Sale
In 1847 the Planters Hotel was listed for sale. The owner stated that "My property will be sacrificed, which
cost me not short of forty-thousand dollars (40,000). It will bring in ten years ten times as much as now." The
hotel was old wood, well built, about 90 ft by 50 ft calculated to accommodate ninety persons. The brick
House (with store below was one of the best constructed and finished house in the place.
The Florida Herald advertised the property by George R. Fairbanks, Esq, the Master in Chancery as
"bounded on the north by lot of heirs of Franci Medices and Treasury Lane; the east by Charlotte Street on
the south by a lot of John W. Hanson; and on the west by premises of Dr. Peck."
Public Education After Statehood
St. Augustine kept payments up to private schools who would accept students who could not pay the tuition.
(See Free School return of 1846) Catholics were also trying to get part of the poor fund money (See also
Catholic education Congress Petition). Students were listed as protestant and poor including: Francis Isabella
Southwick, Augustus Virgin Corplan, Mary Hunt, Franca Hunt, and Theodore Hunt.
1849 state system of public education open to all white children between the ages of 5 and 18. Register of
Land office was the State Superintendent of schools. County Probate judges as county superintendents and
local boards of trustees were to be elected by the taxpayers of the various districts
Surprisingly in 1850 there are free blacks listed on the U.S. Census as having received an education. There are
only two counties in the State of Florida that listed free blacks as having received an education.
The St. Augustine Herald reported on the U.S. Troops of the 8th Regiment removed from Florida to Texas.
General Worth also took troops across Florida to Tampa from St. Augustine. The following captains: Worth,
McKavitt and Hill; Lieuts. Gates, Lee, Sheppard, Jordan, Longstreet, Wood and Smith embarked from St.
Augustine. Longstreet who was later to become a CSA General was part of the 8th Regiment.
On May 13, 1846 the United States declared war against the Republic of Mexico. William Wing Loring was
breveted three times for bravery: Cerro Gordo, Churubusco, and Belen Gate. He lost his arm in Mexico. He
ended the war as a colonel.
The 13th U. S. Infantry Regiment Company K would have Lieut. Edward J Dummett of St. Augustine
appointed by President Polk.
Fifty-five soldiers from Florida would die in Mexico. William F. Howell a private from St. Augustine died in
Orizaba, Mexico on March 18, 1848.
A Hotel Tradition Begins - Magnolia Hotel
Mr. B. E. Carr, a St. Augustine merchant, built the Magnolia Hotel in 1847 and W. W. Palmer from New
York City became the proprietor in 1872. The 200-room hotel was located on St. George Street and boasted
great fireplaces in the reading-room and parlor. A specialty of house was the hand-painted menus.
In the beginning it was the Magnolia House. In Nov 1, 1847 it was listed as a new and commodious building
being completed, and furnished and was taken by Mr. M. J. Thomas.
Its newspaper ads would read that it was good for invalids because the rooms faced south. In the 1850s a
Mrs. Davis conducted the house. The Magnolia also had billiard tables and a ten pin alley.
In 1859 a guest could stay at the Magnolia for $1.25 per day. However, the rate for second floor
accommodations was $6.50 per month, and guests staying in the attic paid only $4.00 a month. By 1886 the
Magnolia had 250 rooms that rented for $4.00 a day. In 1892, it advertised filtered rainwater for drinking, and
by 1894, porcelain bathtubs on each floor were advertised.
Carnival 1847 (Rufus King's Sketches of St. Augustine)
Carnival is here observed, through not with its ancient excess of folly. This is a religious festival, observed in
Roman Catholic countries, as a season of feasting, by which another religious festival called Lent is introduced.
It is usually celebrated "by feasts, operas, balls, concerts, &c." In this city it is celebrated by masquerade
dances by night, idle and frivolous street sport, in processions of vagrant men and boys, disguised in masks
and grotesque array by daylight.
A most ridiculous burlesque is exhibited in honor of St. Peter, the fisherman of Galilee, by which his
professional skill in the use of the net is attempted to be illustrated. This is the closing farce of the feast of
carnival. The description of this, as it passed under the eye of the author at the very last carnival, may suffice to
give a stranger some idea of its folly.
As I passed along one of the narrow streets of the city, my attention was arrested by the various exclamations
and boisterous cries of a motley crowd of black and white, who thronged the street, occasionally surging to
the right hand and left.
I was at first a loss to account for it. On a nearer approach, I perceived two half-grown men heading a rabble
of boys and others, with the face masked and concealed, and the person attired in a course, shabby fisher's
dress. Over the shoulder of each was flung a common Spanish net. Whenever a boy black or white came
within range of a cast, the net was suddenly spread, and thrown over the lad's head so as to enclose his
person. There was seldom more than one throw of the net; and if it were not successful, it was seldom
repeated on the same individual. Thus the streets were beset till the farce--the solemn farce--in illustration of
the call of Peter to become a "fisher of men" was ended.
Married (The News, June 4, 1847)
At Fort Searle, on the 31st ult. by the Rev. Mr. Aubriel, Mr. r. B. Canova, to Miss Susan F., daughter of the
late Philip Weedman, all of St. Johns County.
At St. Augustine on Tuesday, the 1st inst. by the Rev. Mr. Aubriel, Mr. Cyrus Bisbee, of Jacksonville, to Miss
Virginia J. Robiou, of the former place.
Fire Engine (Feb 1848)
B. E. Carr held a Bond against the city for $250.00 and interest for the Fire Engine. All the funds collected
over and above the expenses of the city would be appropriated to the payment of the bond.
The expenses of the city for 1848 were
Mexican War Death
William E. Howell died Orizaba, Mexico 18 March 1848. He was a member of Captain Henry E. W. Clark’s
Company (Served in Mexico as Company K, 13th U.S. Infantry).
March 25, 1848 Shipwreck
On Sunday last the wreck of a schooner of about 80 tons burthen, was discovered on the North beach, about
8 miles from this city, by some of our citizens. On reaching her they found the headless trunk of a female in a
state of great decomposition, which they buried on the spot as decently as circumstances would permit.
Several articles of female clothing were found, among others part of a rich silk fashionably made, together with
a quantity of men's apparel. There was nothing by which the name of the vessel could be ascertained. The
name on her stern having been completely obliterated by the action of the sea, with the exception of the letters
PAT. Two anchors and a chain were saved from her.--Efforts are making we understand to ascertain any clue
to the discovery of her name and the place whence she hailed from. It is supposed to be the wreck of the
schooner Vesta which was capsized about two months since on her passage from Darien to Charleston.
Description of Sherivaree - 1848 (Rufus King's Sketches of St. Augustine)
On an evening after the celebration of the nuptials of an inhabitant of the city, who has been before married,
and thus emerges from a state of widowhood, the welkin is made to ring with a most discordant concert of
voices, horns, tin pans, and other boisterous sounds. It is an excessively annoying exhibition, to say nothing of
its ill manners, and gross violation of the peace and good order of society. The whole city is usually disbursed
by such riot and confusion, as in any orderly community would consign the perpetrators to a guardhouse, or
prison, till they had taken some practical lessons in decency. That is what is here termed Sherivaree. The
residence of the newly married pair is beset by the rabble in some cases, till it is bought off with money, or
September 25, 1848 Hurricane
The two wharves in St. Augustine were destroyed. The water was at one time a foot and a half deep in the
post-office. Nearly all the enclosures in town were blown down and very few houses have escaped injury.
2nd Regiment U. S. Artillery
In October, 1848 the steamer Panama arrived in St. Augustine carrying Company K, 2d Regiment U. S.
Artillery with George Edwards commander and W. Adams the 2d Lieutenant.
The Florida House
In 1848 the Florida House was "repaired, refitted, and furnished with special reference to the comfort and
convenience of private families, travellers, and invalid strangers." It was reopened on November 15 with Mrs.
Margaret Cook as proprietress.
The buildings of the Florida House were built entirely of wood and the rooms were heated with fireplaces.
Families could have suits of rooms and separate tables.
How to get to St. Augustine 1848 (Rufus King's Sketches of St. Augustine)
There are two routes, by which invalid strangers from the north may reach this city.
The one is direct by sea, from either Charleston or New-York; the other is by the inland steam and stage
route. The former is occasional; the latter is always available, though there is some prospect that a direct
communication will be opened, and sustained between this city and Charleston ere long.
The voyage from New-York, by sailing or steam-packet, through to Charleston or Savannah, is the most
reliable and expeditious twice a week, steamboats connect between Savannah and the St. John's River, at
Picolata. The distance from Picolata to St. Augustine, is over land, and about eighteen miles. This distance
from Picolata to St. Augustine, is over land, and about eighteen miles. This distance is overcome by stage-
coach, and a new and convenient omnibus the present proprietor of that line, Mr. Bridier, has just completed
for that route. Passengers are met by these conveyances, and usually reach St. Augustine by 4 o'clock p.m.,
and often about noon. There is an inland steam connection between Charleston, S. C., and Savannah, Ga.,
with which the Florida boats connect twice in a week.
The most expeditious and economical route to Florida is that by which the traveler takes passage direct from
New-York to Savannah, where he will be received by the steamer, with his baggage, and brought into Florida
and landed within eighteen miles of St. Augustine; the distance to which, from Savannah, is 218 miles.
Soldiers Passing Through March 6, 1849
Colonels R. E. DeRussy, J. K F. Mansfield and R. E. Lee, and Major R. Delafield, arrived here on the 6 in
the U. S. Schooner Phoenix. They sailed shortly after for St. Marys.
Mardi Gras (Florida Herald and Southern Democrat March 12, 1849)
The usual amount of "tom foolery" was exhibited yesterday in some of our streets, by the customary number of
vagrant boys and foolish young men. There were but few tights, (a matter of some congratulation,) but we are
sorry to say, that the other scenes peculiar to this ridiculous observance had many actors. It is high time that
these things should be stopped.
Mr. Editor: I noticed in your paper of the 23d of February that you are under the impression that the
"Carnival" is a "religious festival" among Catholics, and I beg leave to inform you, that so far from being so, it
has always been reproved by the Church. As a "provincial custom" you announce "with deep regret" that " it is
for us dead." I respect your opinion, but I hope that you will tolerate mine, and that you will not be displeased
if I say that I am glad that it is dead, and without any hope of resurrection.
With respect and attention,
I remain your ob't
On July 22, 1849 Lieut Adams and a small detachment of men left the fort for Indian River. 4 Indians attacked
settlers and the 4 Indians seemed to have separated themselves from the rest of the Seminoles. The settlers
had given a deposition before Judge Bronson that confirmed that it was probably only 4 attackers. However,
this extended into a general panic with settlements being broken up and Yulee calling on the government to
send soldiers so that the crops may be harvested. George W. Crawford the Secretary of War replied with a
cooler head saying that troops were being sent to protect the frontiers but it was necessary to discover if the
problem was 4 or 400 Indians. Two additional companies of the 2 Regiment U. S. Artillery were called to St.
Augustine. General Twigg was placed in command.
By August 22, 1849 a public meeting was held at the Court House in St. Augustine. On a motion of B. A.
Putnam the meeting was called to order and I. H. Bronson was appointed Chairman, and Messrs. G.
Washington, P. C. Zylstra and John Drysdale were appointed secretaries.
At the request of the Chair, the Hon. G. R. Fairbanks explained the object of the meeting to be to take into
consideration the character of and cause of the recent outrages of the Indians occupying the Southern portion
of the Peninsula, and their present hostile attitude towards the people of East Florida; and in an eloquent and
forcible manner urged the duty of our citizens to act and speak with promptness and decision in the present
The Hon. B. A. Putnam succeeded, and still farther enforced the same views, in a few earnest remarks,
commenting with just and indignant severity upon the attempt to asperse the character of the people of Florida
as desirous of a war, and as being the aggressors upon the Indians.
The following gentlemen were appointed to a committee to further report: Gen. J. M. Hernandez, Hon. G. R.
Fairbanks, Hon. B. A. Putnam, Dr. W. H. Simmons, P. Benet, Hon. W. A. Forward, J. M. Fontane, D. R.
Dunham, R. Floyd. On motion of Geo. Washington, the name of the Chairman was added to the committee.
Light House Gets Safety Equipment
In 1849 the lighthouse received a Francis's metallic life and surf boat. Key West received 2 and Pensacola and
St. Martain received one. The mechanical difficulties which made it impossible, at first, to form a good
modeled metallic boat were overcome so that boats of this description are made not inferior in model to those
of wood. These would be used later by the U. S. Army in the 3rd Seminole War.
Able bodied citizens were required to serve on the patrol. This nightly watch group's purpose to secure the
peace of the city which mostly concerned watching the Africian-American population.
Detail of City Patrol for night of 29th December 1849
James M Gould Captain
To Pedro Benet Mayor Protem
A negro boy Rip Van Winkle belonging to Mr. A Watson a negro Girl Inez, servant to Mrs Garl? were
apprehended by the patrol. One dollar was given by the family of Mr. Watson and the boy was released.
The girl Inez was delivered to Mr. James R Sanchez who claimed that it was not yet the time to apprehend
negroes. Mr. Sanchez was informed that the facts would be reported to the Mayor to which he agreed James
M Gould Captain
A Day in the Life of St. Augustine July 1850
Churches in St. Augustine
In 1850 there were four churches in St. Augustine. Roman Catholic church - North side Monument square,
Episcopal Church South side Monument square, Presbyterian Church, on St. George street, South of the
square and the Methodist Chapel - St. George street near the Magnolia House.
Slavery was part of St. Augustine's history from the days of the Spanish. However, in the American period it
began to take a odious form much like the rest of the south. Laws were tightened and life for all African-
Americans became more difficult in the period preceding the War of Rebellion. In St. Augustine you would
need as a freed slave a white guardian. You would also pay a special tax to the city simply because you were
a free black. If there was ever a call for money reparations, this City tax on free African-American individuals
would be the place to start. Penalty for not paying the tax -- sold back into slavery. To travel around the area
you would also need to carry a pass signed by the mayor. (Picture of 1845 passes.) To understand some of
the differences in slavery between St. Augustine and the rest of the south there were differences that came
from the Spanish heritage of the state and the influence of the Catholic church (see baptisms for notations of
last names of slaves). Slaves needed permission to move through the city. (Scipio permission)(Assorted
movement restrictions) (ordinance for patrols) (guardians 1838) (Papino and Garvin guardianship) (permission
slips from the 1850s).
Celebration of the Fourth of July at St. Augustine 1851
The friends and supporters of our glorious Union and Constitution, opposed to secession and disunion, met at
Segui's Point on Friday, the 4th July, and commemorated the anniversary of our National Independence by a
barbecue. Major B. A. Putnam presided, assisted by Messrs. John Masters, Jr., and Iemacio Lopez, as Vice
Selections of Washington's Farewell Address were read by Mr. G. Washington.
After the report the following volunteer toasts were drunk:
John Masters Jr., The Natives of Florida who have enjoyed the protection, and partaken of the glories and
advantages of the American Union for 30 years, can have no charms or joys in Secession or Disunion.
Thomas T. Russell: The Rights of the South, and the Union of the States--Daniel Webster has truly said, that
the latter can be preserved, "not by coercion-not by military power-not by angry controversy-but by the silken
cords of mutual, fraternal, patriotic affections."
D. R. Dunham: Our Glorious Union and Constitution--"Palsied be the arm, and phrenaid the brain" of the man
who waking thinks, or sleeping dreams, of destroying the one or subverting the other.
J. B. Ponce-- Political Heresies -- No where more monstrous and revolting than in Florida--here where ever
since we came under the protection of the Stars and Stripes, we have as a people been participants of the
unbounded beneficence of the American Union.
Death of Father Varella - Feb 1853
Father Varella, Second Vicar General of Archbishop Hughes was formerly pastor of the Transfiguration
Church in New York died in St. Augustine where he had lived for 3 years.
1851 Slave Escape
5 slaves escaped in a 9 ton sloop belonging to Mr. G. W. Ferguson. Two belonged to Mrs. Sebate, two to
Col W. F. English and one belonging to Mr. L. Crawford. The destination was supposed to be the Bahama
Mr. Fillmore in Florida (Daily Alabama Journal, April 27, 1852)
The whigs of St. John's county, Florida, recently held a large and enthusiastic meeting, at which they
unqualifiedly declared in favor of sending delegates to the Whig National Convention, and in favor of the
present patriotic incumbent of the Presidential office, Millard Fillmore, as a candidate for re-election, and of
William A. Graham for the office of Vice-President.
Unlawful Assembly July 13, 1854
Sam Astiome, Tray Fontane, Mary Leonardy, Patty Mickler, Pablo, Cartiove, Ben Mickler, Louis Oliveros,
Elizk Bee, Chas Mickler, Maria Papy, Tray Humphreys, and Phoebe Dupont were severally charged the first
thirteen with assembling in violation city ordinances at the house of said Phebe Dupont and having a dance
there, on the night of the 10th July 1854; without license from the City Corporation authorizing them so to do
and the said Phebe Dupont is charged with allowing said dance to be held at her house.
The first 13 through their guardians or owners plead guilty and were sentenced to a fine of one dollar each,
and in failure of payment thereof to receive 10 stripes each on the bare back.
The said Phebe Dupont sentenced to pay a fine of $5 and stand committed until said fine is paid.
G. Humphreys Mayor 13 July 1854
The fine in the case of the woman Phebe remitted on account of her poverty and her imbecility of mind.
City Council Records
The City Council in 1854 and 1855 had the usual business. For a view of the council see the extracts.
Trinity Episcopal Receives a Special Temporary Rector
In the winter of 1854 the future Bishop Henry B. Whipple served as a temporary rector of Trinity. He would
be an advocate for the Sioux. Chippewa and other Native American people. In later years he would return to
St. Augustine visitor in the post Reconstruction and Flagler years.
From Light and Shadows A Long Episcopate by Whipple: In 1853 Mrs. Whipple was very ill, and the
physician said that she must go to a warm climate. My brother-in-law, Hon. George R. Fairbanks, invited her
to spend the winter at his home in St. Augustine, and on the way we stopped in New York, where the General
Convention was in session. There I met Bishop Rutledge, who said to me: "I have no clergyman in East
Florida. Do come and help me this winter." Bishop de Lancey offered to supply my parish, my vestry gave me
a leave of absence, and I accepted the temporary cure of Trinity Church, St. Augustine, where my brother-in-
law, the Rev. Benjamin Wright, had a short but blessed ministry, entering into rest in 1852.
City Taxes in 1855 (Cost)
On every slave owned by residents within said city, twelve and a half cents.
On every slave owned by non-residents of the city, but residents of this county, five dollars.
On every slave owned by non-residents of the city and county, but residents of this State, $10.
On every slave owned by non-residents of the State $15.
On every able-bodied free person of color, male and female, between the ages of fifteen and sixty
years, three dollars.
2 wheel carriage $1 more than one horse .50 for each additional
4 wheel carriage one horse $2, more .50 for each additional. Actual 2 horse $4.
Hire horses $.50
Milk cows 5 or less - .50 each
Silver watch 12 and 1/2 cents
Gold watch 25 cents
Dogs 50 cents
unimproved lots, 24 cents on every hundred dollars value improved same
City Marshall is the Assessor and Collector of the city tax
Be it further ordained by the Authority aforesaid, that this City Council shall grant relief to all
persons who may have been over charged or improperly taxed in any way or manner whatever.
Tax must be paid by April 1 or tax doubles.
Read a Day in the Life of St. Augustine June 24, 1854
Tax Records 1855
The 1855 City of St. Augustine tax records enable you to have a snapshot of the finances of St. Augustine
residents before the Civil War.
St. Augustine City Government built it's first public school building on Aviles (Hospital) street in 1856. (See
Picture of Cornerstone) This school would not open as a true free public school until 1869. The building would
be added on to till its end in 1910 when the school building on Orange Street would replace it. Both of these
schools are Public School #1.
Getting to St. Augustine 1856
Savannah and Florida For Palatka, E. F.,
Touching at Darien, Brunswick, St. Mary's Jacksonville, Middleburg, (Black Creek) and Picolata.
The new and superior steam packets St. Johns. Capt. James Freeborn, and Wm. Gaston, Capt Thomas
Shaw, will leave Savannah for the above places as follows: The St. Johns on Thursday morning, 15th inst.,
at 10 o'clock, and Wm. Gaston on Tuesday morning, 20th inst., at 10 o'clock, and will continue to leave at
the same hour every Thursday and Tuesday thereafter-the latter boat carrying the U. S. Mail. For freight or
passage, having handsome state room accommodations, apply on board, or to J Gunby, Agent in Savannah,
Bisbee & Canova, Agts. Jacksonville. The St. Johns will go to St. Augustine every 4th trip, commencing
(leaving Savannah) on the 29th inst.
Putnam Appointed Judge
In August 1857 Benjamin Putnam was appointed by Governor Broome as Judge of the Circuit Court of the
Eastern Circuit of Florida replacing William A. Forward.
Complaint of Joseph Manucy against William Lang for indecent Language. Friday May 2nd 1857
Before G. R. Fairbanks Mayor
Upon hearing proof of said Joseph Manucy of the using of improper and indecent language by said William
Lang ordered that he be punished with ten stripes by the City Marshal and committed until costs paid. G L
(Sarah Lisa Lang, Bapt 22 Sept 1843, daughter of William Lang and Catherine Fernandez both freeborn on
the 13 April 1843. St Augustine 7 Dec 1858 - We hereby consent to Jane and Rosa Lang James and William
and the children of the family to live, and have their abode in a house situated on Bay Street, corner of
Speasiny? land in Division No 3 in said City, and recommend his Honor the mayor to grant a permit James R
Sanchez Loti Phillip. William's son James becomes a Sgt in the USCT 33 during the civil war. See 1850
school list for other children in his family.)
Complaint against William Pomer, Hamson Sabate, Peter Pellicer, T. Ferrieora - Thursday 6th August
Slaves under 16 years for obscene language in streets.
City Marshals complaint Sentence to 10 lashes each to be given by Marshal for owner. Cost of court to be
paid by owner G R Fairbanks Mayor.
January 23, 1858 the schooner Ella went ashore on the St. Augustine Bar and became a wreck. Part of the
cargo had been landed from the above vessel somewhat damaged. The vessel was about 90 tons. She was
commanded by Capt Farrow.
On January 27, 1858 the steamer Pee Dee commanded by Capt. Mansfield went ashore on the St. Augustine
Bar. The vessel and cargo was a total loss. The Pee Dee was carrying supplies for the U. S. troops.
March 1858 a newspaper report in the New York Herald stated that they had received a letter from Nassau
that a large sloop was on the west side of the Great Bahamas with thirty fugitive slaves from St. Augustine
Florida. The Bahamas Friendly Society had dispatched a vessel in search of the sloop.
Kidnapping (September 1858)
A boy from Charleston was offered for sale at St. Augustine as a slave. He was about 15 years old and
claimed to be white and free. He said he was the son of Philip Ordeel a tailor in Charleston and that 2 years
before at Charleston he was enticed on board a steamboat by the engineer and locked up in a room. When
the boat went to Savannah he was sold as a slave. A writ of habeas corpus has been granted by Judge
Putnam of the Circuit Court, Eastern District, Florida on the application of two citizens of St. Augustine. It was
found that the boy was born of a slave mother in Charleston of T. W. Malone. He was called "Bully" The boy
was sold to Mr. J. Ricardo the proprietor of the Palmetto Coffee House. He was then sold to a German
shoemaker who sold him to W. N. Parsell, who sold him to Mr. James Fabian of Savannah.
Shinney (Street hockey) -6th December 1858
City of St Augustine vs Marranne Triay (slave) violation of city ordinance in playing shinney on Sunday.
Defendant appeared and upon the evidence of John Darling and George Telu? for the city, the prisoner was
ordered to receive ten stripes and stand committed until costs are paid. Sentence complied with. City of St.
Augustine vs Harrison Sabata slave. The defendant appeared and upon satisfactory evidence the same
punishment. The City of St. Augustine vs Thomas Masters slave; violation of City Ordinance playing shinny
John Masters appeared in defence of said slave, and upon satisfactory proof was fined $2 and costs, and to
stand committed until fine and costs are paid. City of St. Augustine vs Richard Pomar violation of city
ordinance playing shinny Upon satisfactory proof the owner of said slave consented to decision of the Mayor a
fine of $2 and costs. City of St. Augustine vs Philip Bager slave; violation of city ordinance playing Shinny
Upon satisfactory proof, the Owner of said slave consented to decision of the Mayor fined $2 and costs. City
of St. Augustine vs Frank Reyes; violation of City ordinance playing shinny plead guilty and fined $2 and costs.
In February 1859 United States Coast Survey officers, Benjamin Huger, Jr., and Rufus King, Jr. were in the
fort at St. Augustine to make a survey of the harbor, coast, and North river and establish a base line for
connecting their triangulations north and for entering the same south. This will relieve the St. Augustine bar
from much of the prejudice now existing in the minds of navigators against it.
A charter has been obtained for a railroad from Tocoi, near Picolata, Fla, to St. Augustine. $100,000 in stock
was subscribed. This would be another advantage to St. Augustine. John Westcott was the general
superintendent of the railroad.
Wm W. Oates proprietor of the Planter Hotel in St. Augustine died of heart disease on August 25, 1859. He
was a former resident of Savannah Georgia.
August 31st Col. Gad Humphreys aged 74 years. He was born in Connecticut and entered the U. S. Army in
1808 as a Lieutenant and served through the war of 1812 being slightly wounded on the Erie Frontier. He was
appointed agent for the Seminole Indians in Florida in 1822 and served until 1830 when he was removed. He
lost almost everything in the Seminole War. He was Judge of Probate for 10 years. He left a widow, seven
children and several grandchildren.
Throughout the territorial period (1821-1845)there were more than 23 private schools, 9 academies and
three seminaries operating in St. Augustine but by the 1850s George L Phillip's Academy and Sarah Mathers
School for Young Ladies dominated the private schools. .
In 1856 a school building was finally erected for white children. (Picture of cornerstone) The use of this
building before the civil war is a mystery since no records of a public school survive. It could be that teachers
who agreed to teach the poor were allowed to use the building. However, after the Civil War the building was
expanded and used as Public School #1 for the new St. Johns County Public School system.
It appears that the last ones to use the school building before the Civil war were the Sisters of Mercy:
The Sisters of Mercy respectfully represent to your honorable body that they keep an Academy and free
school for the children of this city ; and that owing to the large number attending the latter school together with
the absence of applicants in their present school house commodious enough to permit a sufficient circulation of
pure air so desirable at all times but so indispensably necessary where a large number are collected together
find themselves obliged to procure a more suitable place to keep the free school. In virtue of the above
mentioned consideration. They apply to your honorable body and respectfully solicit the temporary loan of the
upper room of the building erected in Hospital Street for public education under such regulations as may
appear just and reasonable. They also take this occasion to state that their schools are open to all without
distinction of creed so as to come within the intentions of those who have appropriated funds for public
education. St. Augustine August 24th 1860
The Sisters of Mercy beg leave to return their grateful acknowledgements to the Honorable Members of the
City Council for the temporary loan of the upper room in the building erected in Hospital Street for
Educational purposes; and pledge themselves to comply with all the requisition of said Council.
Sept 1st 1860
And Union Soldiers are born
Mayor Court 23 July 1860
City of St. Augustine vs Abraham Lancaster (col'd) (See 33rd USCT)
Complaint made and entered by City Marshal that said Defendant disturbed the peace of the City
on the 21 July 1860 by striking Mary Rody and by beating her.
The Defendant appeared through his Guardian Rafael B Canova whereupon came the following
witness by Order of the Court Elizabeth Terrel whose evidence sustained the complaint made.
Whereupon His Honor sentenced the Defendant to be whipped by receiving on his bare back
"Twenty Lashes' and stand committed until the cost be paid.
The Prisoner having duly received on his bare back the sentence of the Court, and paid all costs in
the case, was discharged.
The St. Augustine Examiner listed the discovery, by the census marshal, of a Negress named Cornelia Leslie
who says she is 125 years of age. She was born in Georgia at Silver Bluff; has a distinct recollection of the war
of the Revolution; and remembers the siege of Savannah in 1778, when that city was taken by the British. She
is the slave of her own son, who is a free negro.
Miss Mather's School
Miss Mather, having secured the services of Miss L. Wright, (late of the Female College, Greensboro, Ga.)
will re-open her school in this city on the 15th of October.
Miss Wright is a lady of superior attainments and of elegant accomplishments, and has had much experience in
training the young, having been Teacher of Mathematics and of the Latin and French Languages in the Female
College in Greensboro, Georgia and in the Judson Institute at Marion Alabama. Previous to this, she was
engaged for two years at Lancaster, Penna. As Teacher of Music, drawing and painting Miss Wright sketches
readily from nature, and, in addition to the ordinary studies and the languages, will give instruction in Drawing
and Painting of various styles, oil, water colors, &c.
Miss Mather can confidently recommend Miss Wright to all the patrons of the school as a finished teacher,
and an accomplished lady; and she trusts that her efforts in behalf of education at the South may meet the
approbation and win the support of her patrons in every part of the country.
Sept 8, 1860
The St. Augustine Examiner Sat Oct 27, 1860
The Impending Crisis
The sixth of November is close at hand
The South will be called upon to choose between submission to the rule of a party whose avowed purpose is
the abolition, not the restriction, of slavery, and a glorious career of uninterrupted prosperity as a separate
nationality. We are defeated in the Union, but out of it we are still masters of the world, for we are a necessity
to that world. There will be no bloody conflict now. Not until the south shows, as we firmly believe she never
will show, that she is ready to acquiesce in the rule of Lincoln and Greeley, will an army of Wide Awakes be
sent to pillage the rich cities and devastate the fair plantations of our section..
But cannot the citizens of our section be united as one man? Shall we not drop all minor issues, and forgetting
past feuds, rally around the banner of the entire South? We can never submit to Lincoln's inauguration; the
shades of Revolutionary sires will rise up to shame us if we should do that; but cannot all of the southern
people, Bell men, Breckenridge men, and Douglas men, band together to resist the Abolition foe? We have
differed among ourselves hitherto, let us drop all dissensions, and form a UNION OF THE SOUTH FOR
THE SAKE OF THE SOUTH. Let this be our rallying cry and the gates of the Abolition Hell shall not prevail
The Independent Blues - The St. Augustine Examiner, Dec 1, 1860 [p. 2]
This gallant and spirited corps have tendered their services to the City to act as Minute Men. Few finer
companies can be found in the Southern States. It is commanded by Capt John Lott Phillips, and Lieutenants
Andreu and Ridgely. The officers of the Independent Blues have seen service in the Indian wars of Florida,
and the men are all brave fellows, ready to defend their State.
New Military Company
A new military organization has recently been formed in this city, called, as we understand, the Milton Guards,
in honor of Gov Milton. The corps is chiefly composed of young men from 14 to 18 years of age and drills
every evening at the public square under the direction of Major Usina and Lieutenant Andreu of the Blues.
The St. Augustine Examiner 29 December 1860
Another Year has Passed
The vote for Lincoln and the Chicago Platform, which breathes nothing but death to the rights of fifteen States
of the Union, is 1,865,000, while the vote cast in opposition to him and in favor in some way or other of the
rights of all is 2, 631,250. Thus do we see that our rights have gone into the keeping of our enemies by a
meager minority of the voters of the Union, by whom Lincoln has been elected. The remedy left us by the
Fathers of the Republic to avoid this danger is the remedy applied by SC and the remedy which will be
applied by all the States whose rights and interests are sufficiently affected by the consequence of Lincoln's
election to withdraw from the Union.. We doubt not a new Union will be formed by the Slave States in a very
few years more powerful and enduring than the present, which is now being broken
An ad on the same page:
The Union is Dissolved.
To dissolve the union between the state of South Carolina and other states united with her under the
constitution of the United States of America.
Go to Civil War
|Senator David Levy Yulee
Library of Congress
|St. Augustine Monthly and
Extremes of Temperature for 1843
Oct - 70.77
Nov - 67.06
Dec - 59.09
Above Mean 24.4
Below Mean 38.6
Spring Summer Fall Winter
1844 8.94 8.18 8.35 4.49
1845 11.31 5.56
1851 4.25 14.62 9.98
|Benjamin Alexander Putnam
|Bishop Henry B. Whipple
|The Ancient City
June 29, 1850
|The Ancient City
June 29, 1850
|Governor John Branch
Last Territorial Governor
|President John Tyler
|William Dunn Mosley
1st State Governor of Florida
2nd Governor of the State of Florida
|St. Augustine Examiner
January 7, 1860
|St. Augustine Examiner
January 7, 1860
|Like us on
|St. Augustine May 2nd 1846
To the Mayor and composing the City Council of St Augustine
As I am devoting a part of my time to the important and responsible office of imparting instruction to a
portion of the youth of this place, I hereby solicit your patronage by your appropriating to me a portion of the
fund which I learn is to be distributed for the purpose of educating the indigent children in St. Augustine. I can
at present apply for the tuition of but four who are entirely unable to pay yet I have one other the parent of
which says that he can pay but a little towards the educating of his child whether or not (if you are disposed
to consider my application with favor) you will consider this case is not for me to determine. I am willing
(since my school is but small as yet) to take 15 or 20 indigent children into my school and as I may shortly
have a few more I may if you are disposed to aid me make a further application. One end I had in view in
endeavoring to establish a school here was to educate as far as I might be able the indigent youth and if
permitted and enabled to carry my plans into execution to keep up for successive years a school of that
character to be taught either by myself or the minister who may succeed me or someone under his control
Very Respectfully yours,
David Lindsay White Jr.
|St. Augustine of Hippo