|History of St. Johns County
After the Civil War, the South received educational assistance through the Peabody Fund.;
The purpose of this fund was to promote elementary education. This fund was established in
1867 by George Peabody a banker and financier from Massachusetts. In 1867 Peabody
bequeathed $1 million for the fund with the investment income to be used and applied "for
the promotion and encouragement of intellectual, moral or industrial education among the
more destitute portions of the south and south Western States of our Union." In 1869 he
donated another $1 million for the promotion of Southern education.
This fund was especially instrumental in funding Public School Number 1. While this school
was started from the building that the St. Augustine City government had built in the 1850s, it
was small and in need of repair. Teachers also needed to be paid. Payments from this fund
would continue for many years.
St. Augustine Acquires Grant:
In the spring of 1868 Barnas Sears, the agent for the Peabody Fund visited St. Augustine and
found that the only school in operation for white students was the one run by the Sisters of St.
Joseph. At Sears request, a Peabody Free School Committee was formed to direct the
establishment of a free school for white children in St. Augustine. A circular was prepared to
get subscribers to raise money to match the Peabody grant.
Whereas the Commissioners of the Peabody School Fund have offered to contribute
two-fifths of the annual expenses necessary to the maintenance of Free Common Schools for
the education of white children the ten Seceding States --
And whereas, it is desired to establish such a school in the city of St. Augustine the annual
sum of which it is estimated will amount to $2500
Now therefore for the considerations and purposes above mentioned and on condition that
three fifths of said sum viz $1500 shall be raised by subscription and also that the building
now occupied by the common council, originally build out of the school fund and for school
purposes shall be obtained free of charge, we the undersigned agree to pay the sums placed
opposite our respective names whenever the total of individual subscription shall amount to
said sum of $1500. St. Augustine April 13 1868 (MC1 Burt Papers Box 7, File 10 - St.
Augustine Historical Society)
Geo Burt $100 Francis Andreu $2 chAR? bOHN $5 W? $1
Jno E Peck $30 Bartolo Pacitty $2 Andreu ? $1 Chasd. Segui $1
C W Allen $10.00 Jno Minucy $1 Ignitio Lopez $! ? $2
G W Walton $5 D B Usina $5 Anna Genova $1
bv December 2 the City organized to created the following committee to organize and
establish a free School for the education of when composed of The Mayor of St. Augustine
ex officio "as Chairman", Reverend Canova, B F Olivero, E F Dimedicis, Oliver Bronson,
Dr. N. D. Benedict, Dr. Andrew Anderson, Dr. John E. Peck, B E Carr, Fatio Dunham,
Geo Burt and Godfrey Forter.
School Leased to Committee
Whereas a committee has been organized for the purpose of establishing in the City of St.
Augustine County of St Johns and of Florida a free School for the education of white
children. Composed of the following members and their successors ....
And whereas by an ordinance of the May and Council of said City of St Augustine passed on
1st day of December inst certain rights and privileges powers and duties were conferred upon
said Committee and the manner in which it shall be maintained was therein defined.
And whereas by an ordinance the Mayor was directed to execute a lease of the building and
grounds situated in St. Augustine aforesaid and known as the City Hall under certain
conditions then in mentioned with the said Peabody Free School Committee for the terms of
one year and for such further time as a Free School shall be maintained and conducted in the
manner and under the restrictions presented in said ordinance.
Now therefor this indenture witnesseth that for the land in consideration of the sum of one
dollar in hand paid to the City of St. Augustine by the said Peabody Free School Committee
and for other considerations the said City of St. Augustine by their presents doth leave let and
hire unto the said Peabody Free School Committee to their successors all that attain for a
parcel and lot of land with the building, thereon, and grounds belonging thereto situated in St.
Augustine aforesaid known as the City Hall for the term of one year for the date hereof such
further time as a Free School for the education of White children shall be maintained by said
Com. and conducted in the manner inductions prescribed in the Ordinance heretofore
mentioned to while inferences here made at an annual report to be paid to the City of St
Augustine by said Committee of one cent.
The condition of this indenture is such said previous be used for any other than educational
purposes without consent of the Council of said city ? shall be permitted to be thought therein
if any cause a Free School for the education of children conducted in the the restrictions
prescribed in the aforesaid ordinance shall fail to be maintained by said Committee then this
indenture to be null and void and the City of St. Augustine shall have the right to reenter with
the possession of said premises.
In witness whereof the Mayor of the City of St. Augustine has here met his hand and caused
the seal of said city to be herewith affixed the members of said of said Peabody Free School
Com have herein to subscribed themselves this ___ day of ___ A. D. 1868. In presence of
The Mayor and Council City of St. Augustine
A L Rogero F Fortez B E ? O Bronson
Ramon Canova Fatio Dunham G Burt
B G Oliveras B E Camron A Anderson
Earl J deMedicees (sp) N D Benedict John E. Peck
and St. Augustine Schools
|Return to Dr. Bronson's St. Augustine History
Return to Peabody Education Fund Funding
only for Public Schools
Return to George Peabody Biography
Return to Peabody School Songs
|George Peabody (1795–1859), lithograph,
Joseph E, Baker(?), late 19th century.
Harvard University PM 969-5-10/48895.