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St. Augustine Improvement Company
203 St. George Street
St. Augustine, FL
William Gray Warden (1832-1895)
One of the chief backers of the St. Augustine Improvement Company was William G.
Warden of Philidelphia, a partner of John D. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler in Standard
Oil. He was the builder of
Warden Castle now Ripley's Believe it or Not. He also helped
establish the St. Augustine Gas and Electric Company of which he was  President and
Financial Director of the St. Augustine Improvement Company.

Warden was a Pittsburgh crude oil commission merchant in the early 1860s. He joined
with Lockhart, Frew & Company to built large iron storage tanksto hold crude. In 1865
he established a crude oil commission house in Philadelphia known as Warden Frew
and Company They built a refinery in Philadelphia called the Atlantic. In 1874 he
combined his business with John D. Rockfeller. In 1875 he was named to the Standard
Oil board of Directors.

In St. Augustine he also founded Warden Academy school for blacks. Principal was J. B.
Sevelli-Capponi who wrote a book entitled
Ham and Dixie: A Just, Simple and Original
Discussion of the Southern Problem
(St. Aug 1895), The academy was destroyed by fire.

He died on April 9, 1895 at his northern home in Germantown Pennsylvania. His estate
was estimated to be worth over $1,000,000.

Heth Canfield
1849 - December 16, 1913
Place of Birth: New Milford, Connecticut
During the 1880’s Heth Canfield,  the president of the St. Augustine Improvement
Company and the winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor for gallantry in action in
1870, petitioned the city to dredge the Maria Sanchez creek to create the Maria
Sanchez Lake and fill in the wetlands area north from Bridge to King St. along Cordova
St. His house was
Villa Rosa alongside the lake. He did this in conjunction with Henry
Flagler who then ordered the construction of the Hotel Ponce de Leon and the Alcazar

Maria Sanchez
Lots of questions where this name came from but it was first used in 1737 by Arredondo.
Constance Fenimore Woolson wrote a poem about it into a magazine article.

The Legend of Maria Sanchez Creek (sometimes it just has to go somewhere)
Maria Sanchez
Her dug-out launches,
And down the stream to catch
some crabs she takes her way.
A Spanish maiden,
With crabs well laden;
When evening falls she lifts her
trawls to cross the bay.

Grim terror blanches
Maria Sanchez,
Who, not to put too fine a point,
is rather brown;
A norther coming,
Already humming.
Doth bear away that Spanish
maden far from town.

Maria Sanchez,
Caught in the branches
That sweetly droop across a
creek far down the coast,
That calm spectator,
The aligator,
Doth spy, then wait to call his
mate, who rules the roost.

She comes and craunches
Maria Sanchez,
While boat and crabs the gentle husband meekly chews.
How could they eat her,
That senorita,
Whose story still doth make quite
ill the Spanish Muse?

Story of Heth Canfield's Medal of Honor
"On 15 May 1870, Sergeant Patrick Leonard and four men from C Troop were
searching the Little Blue River in Nebraska for stray horses when a war party of 50
Indians surrounded the detachment. Racing for cover, Leonard dismounted his men and
discovered that Private Thomas Hubbard and two mounts had been wounded. The
Indians charged twice and the troopers repelled them, with one Indian killed and three
wounded. Leonard slaughtered the two wounded horses to form a breastwork in time to
repulse a third attack in which the cavalrymen killed two more Indians and wounded four
others. Within the hour, the Indians retreated. Leonard had to withdraw his patrol on
foot because the Indians had killed all the horses during the attack. He then took a
settler's family of two women and a child under his charge. While moving to the next
settlement, the Indians did not renew their attack. Leonard safely arrived at C
Company's bivouac at 2300 hours with his entire patrol and the civilians relatively
secure. Private Heth Canfield, along with Sergeant Leonard and fellow Privates Michael
Himmelsbeck, Thomas Hubbard, and George Thompson were all cited for "Gallantry in
Action" and awarded Medals of Honor for this action."

Canfield lays out the Town of Armstrong
The community of Armstrong began Oct. 5, 1912, when developers Heth Canfield and J.
L. Crary laid out Armstrong on behalf of The Clay Bottom Farms Company, which owned
a large tract of land near the railroad station there.
Maria Sanchez Lake
Location of the St. Augustine Imporvement Company
on Grenada and Plaza Pl.
Material Information
Title:  St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida, 1888
Series Title:  Insurance maps of St. Augustine,
Physical Description:  Map
Creator:  Sanborn Map Company