By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: St. Augustine, Florida's Colonial Capital
Author: Campen, John Tyler Van
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "St. Augustine, Florida's Colonial Capital" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                             ST. AUGUSTINE
                       Florida’s Colonial Capital

                          By J. T. VAN CAMPEN

    [Illustration: Castillo de San Marcos]

                          Third Printing 1971
                          C. F. Hamblen, Inc.
                             P. O. Box 1568
                         St. Augustine, Florida

                              Published By
                  _Copyright 1959 by J. T. Van Campen_

                           PRINTED IN U.S.A.


  I Settlement                                                         3
      The Spanish Treasure Fleets                                      4
      The Huguenots Occupy Florida                                     6
      Don Pedro Menéndez                                               8
      The Rival Fleets                                                10
      The Turn of the Tide                                            12
      Capture of Fort Caroline                                        12
      The Victor Returns                                              14
      Fate of the Shipwrecked French                                  14
      Other Difficulties                                              16
      Gunpowder Versus Arrows                                         16
      Menéndez Goes to Spain                                          18
      On the Brink of Failure                                         18
      Death of Menéndez                                               19
  II The Years Accumulate                                             20
      First English Visit                                             20
      Saving of Savage Souls                                          23
      Another Crisis                                                  26
      Capital of La Florida                                           26
  III The English Threat                                              29
      A Midnight Raid                                                 29
      A Stone Fort at Last                                            30
      Settlement of Pensacola                                         32
      Border Conflict                                                 32
      The Shipwrecked Quakers                                         32
      The Castle’s First Test                                         34
      The Capital’s Defenses                                          35
      Palmer’s Raid                                                   36
      Oglethorpe’s Siege                                              37
      Further Hostilities                                             40
  IV Under British Rule                                               43
      British Rule Begins                                             44
      The New Smyrna Colony                                           46
      During the Revolution                                           49
      Another Treaty                                                  50
  V Spanish Rule Returns                                              52
      The North Florida Republic                                      55
      A Bit of Spain                                                  56
      Ceded to the United States                                      57
  VI Under the United States                                          58
      Visitors Begin to Arrive                                        58
      The Freeze of 1835                                              59
      The Seminole War                                                61
      A Peaceful Interlude                                            62
      During the Civil War                                            64
      Tourist Industry Resumed                                        65
      Its Isolation Broken                                            66
      The Flagler Influence                                           66
      The Changing Scene                                              69
      St. Augustine Today                                             71
  PUBLICATIONS                                                        73

    [Illustration: _Don Pedro Menéndez de Aviles, the great Spanish
    admiral, who founded St. Augustine and made Florida a Spanish

                               CHAPTER I

It all began at a little bay on the east coast of Florida during
September of 1565. Two large galleons rode at anchor outside the harbor
entrance, while three smaller craft with sails furled and pennants
flying from each masthead were moored within. The ships were a part of
the fleet of Don Pedro Menéndez. They brought an expedition from Spain
to establish settlements in Florida and drive out the French Huguenots,
who had a fort near the mouth of the St. Johns River in this
Spanish-claimed territory. The French colony, named Fort Caroline, lay
only some thirty-five miles up the coast from the point where the
Spanish ships were anchored. There on this very same day Jean Ribault,
who had just arrived from France with reinforcements, was preparing to
attack the Spaniards before they could finish landing and fortify their

During the late forenoon, Menéndez and a group of his officers
transferred from the larger of the two galleons offshore to a smaller
boat alongside. Aided by a strong incoming tide, the boat entered the
inlet and advanced across the bay toward the mainland, heading for a
little creek that wound among the marshes to higher ground. As it neared
this point, the roar of cannon and the blare of trumpets startled huge
flocks of marsh birds into noisy flight.

On shore curious Indians looked out upon the scene with mingled fear and
wonder. A Spanish detachment, which previously had disembarked, was
drawn up along the bank to greet the landing party. From their ranks a
robe-clad priest emerged holding aloft a cross and singing in a clear
voice the Latin words of the _Te Deum Laudamus_.

“On Saturday, the 8th [of September],” relates the priest, Francisco
López de Mendoza, Chaplain of the Spanish fleet, “the General landed
with many banners spread, to the sound of trumpets and salutes of
artillery. As I had gone ashore the evening before, I took the Cross and
went to meet him, singing the hymn _Te Deum Laudamus_. The General,
followed by all who accompanied him, marched up to the Cross, knelt and
kissed it. A large number of Indians watched these proceedings and
imitated all they saw done. The General then took formal possession of
the country in the name of his Majesty, and all the captains took the
oath of allegiance to him as their leader and Governor.”

Beneath the gnarled oaks festooned with moss the Spanish knelt before a
rustic altar to celebrate the first parish Mass on Florida soil.

Menéndez had instructed his advance landing party to select a location
suitable for an entrenchment and fort. For this purpose they had taken
over the Indian village of _Seloy_ and the “great house” of its cacique,
which stood close to the river bank. Around it the Spaniards were
hastily digging a trench and throwing up an embankment of earth. Some
cannon were already mounted behind this breastwork. Menéndez was well
pleased with what had been accomplished. After holding a council with
his officers he returned to his ships to hasten the unloading of the
rest of his company, artillery, and supplies before the French might
descend upon them.

When he had first come upon this little bay and inlet, chosen for his
base, he gave it the name St. Augustine in honor of the Saint’s day
(August 28th), on which his ships first sighted the Florida coast.

_The Spanish Treasure Fleets_

At the time of St. Augustine’s founding Spain was the most powerful
nation in Europe. Sailing under her banner, Christopher Columbus in 1492
had initiated the discovery of strange new lands across the sea. Other
intrepid explorers followed—Spanish, French, English, Dutch, and
Portuguese—searching for the coveted sea-route to the Indies. The vast
extent and wealth of the New World began to unfold.

Thus far only Spain, and to a lesser extent Portugal, had taken
advantage of their discoveries. Almost two hundred Spanish settlements
had been established in portions of the West Indies, Mexico, Central and
South America by the time St. Augustine came into being. Fleets of
galleons laden with riches from these colonies began to sail slowly
across the Atlantic to Spanish ports. They became known as the _treasure
fleets_ because they carried fortunes in gold and silver. Spain’s
European rivals watched this flow of fabulous wealth with bitter envy,
and pirates preyed increasingly upon it. Some were genuine outlaws;
others were merely adventurers, whose piracy had the tacit approval of
their sovereigns.

The vessels of the treasure fleets usually assembled at Havana, Cuba.
From that point their route, taking advantage of the strong Gulf Stream
current, lay up along the east coast of Florida and Carolina, thence
east to Spain. This was an important lifeline in the then great and
powerful Spanish Empire.

Back in 1513 Ponce de León, sailing northwestward from Puerto Rico in
search of rumored wealth and, it was later said, youth-giving waters,
discovered the Florida peninsula. Landing in the vicinity of St.
Augustine, he claimed the territory for Spain and gave it the poetic
name _La Florida_, because he first sighted its green shores during the
Easter season, called by the Spaniards _Pascua Florida_.

    [Illustration: _Route of the Spanish Treasure Fleets_]

      Treasure carried overland across Isthmus of Panama
    St. Augustine

Although Florida occupied a strategic location along the route of the
treasure fleets, it remained unsettled for fifty years following its
discovery. Numerous Spanish expeditions, such as those of Narváez, De
Soto, and Tristán de Luna set out to explore, conquer and colonize
Florida, but instead of gold and silver the conquistadores found only
suffering and death in its wild interior or along its beaches.

    [Illustration: _Indians worshipping one of the columns set up by
    Ribault, from a drawing by the French artist, Le Moyne._]

During this period of exploration and colonization Europe was the scene
of bitter religious conflict. Spain, which was solidly a Catholic
country, endeavored to stamp out all deviations from its faith. While
neighboring France was predominantly Catholic, there were a number of
Protestants in the country. They were called Huguenots and included some
Frenchmen of noble birth.

_The Huguenots Occupy Florida_

Admiral Gaspard Coligny, leader of the French Protestants, or Huguenots,
dreamed of establishing colonies in the New World that might rival
Spain’s in riches and importance. An attempted settlement in Brazil in
1555 was destroyed by the Portuguese. In 1562 he sent out a small
expedition under an able Huguenot navigator, Jean Ribault. These
Frenchmen, after exploring a portion of the north Florida and lower
Carolina coast and setting up columns claiming the land for France,
built a small fort near Port Royal, South Carolina, which was soon
abandoned by the small garrison left there.

During the next two years fighting broke out in France between the
Catholics and Huguenots, preventing further colonizing activity. When
peace was restored Coligny sent out a second and larger expedition in
1564, consisting of three vessels, under René de Laudonnière, who had
accompanied Ribault on the first voyage. These colonists chose as a site
for their settlement a point near the mouth of the St. Johns River in
present-day Florida. There they built a fort, named Fort Caroline in
honor of their boy king, Charles IX.

    [Illustration: _René de Laudonnière._]

After searching the area in vain for evidences of gold and silver, the
Frenchmen ran short of provisions and were forced to subsist mainly on
food bartered or seized from the Indians. Meanwhile, some of their
number mutinied and sailed away to attack Spanish shipping in the
Caribbean. The rest were on the point of returning to France when Sir
John Hawkins, an English freebooter, happened by and sold them one of
his ships and needed supplies. They were again about to embark for
France, when sails appeared off the river’s mouth. They were the ships
of Jean Ribault bringing strong reinforcements.

    [Illustration: _Admiral Gaspard de Coligny._]

When Philip II of Spain and his advisors learned of these French
Huguenot activities in Florida, they were greatly alarmed. The French
fort, if allowed to remain so close to the route of the treasure fleets,
would constantly expose them to attack. Manrique de Rojas was dispatched
from Cuba to investigate. During May of 1564 he sailed up the Florida
coast looking for signs of a French settlement, but found only one of
the columns left by Ribault, the abandoned fort and a French boy at Port
Royal. Laudonnière did not arrive on the coast until late June of that

    [Illustration: _Philip II, the King of Spain, who commissioned
    Menéndez to settle Florida, and later supervised the colony during
    its early years._]

The sovereigns of Spain and France were at the time allied by marriage.
The wife of Philip II of Spain was the daughter of the Queen Regent of
France, the crafty Catherine de’ Medici. Philip protested to Catherine
through his minister concerning the presence of her subjects in Florida,
but received only evasive replies to the effect that they had merely
gone to a land called _Newe France_, discovered many years before by
French seamen. It became increasingly clear that to safeguard its claim
to the territory, and protect the route of the treasure fleets, Spain
would need to establish forts of its own in Florida and expel the French
trespassers from its shores.

_Don Pedro Menéndez_

The man destined to establish the first permanent settlement in Florida
and expel the French Huguenots was a Spaniard of noble lineage, Don
Pedro Menéndez. Born in 1519 in the little seaport town of Avilés, on
the northern coast of Spain, he was one of a large family and upon the
death of his father was sent to be reared by relatives. Against their
wishes he went to sea while still in his teens to fight the pirates, or
corsairs, who lurked along the nearby French and Spanish coasts. Within
a few years he learned to command and navigate a vessel of his own. The
sea was in his blood.

His courage and expert seamanship caused him to rise rapidly in royal
favor. He soon advanced to the most important naval post in Spain, that
of Captain-General of the armada, or guard of heavily armed ships that
accompanied the treasure fleets on their long voyages to and from the
New World through pirate-infested waters, receiving this appointment
directly from the King. But his rise to prominence also created jealous
enemies. Among these were officials of the _Casa de Contratación_, or
Board of Trade, who formerly had appointed and controlled the armada’s
commander, and deeply resented loss of this authority.

When Menéndez and his brother, Bartolomé, returned from a voyage to the
New World with the treasure fleet in 1563, they were met by armed
officers of the _Casa_, arrested and imprisoned on vague charges related
to smuggling or accepting bribes. Soon after this occurred, Menéndez
learned that his only son, Don Juan, had been shipwrecked on the coast
of Florida, or vicinity of Bermuda, while returning with a portion of
the fleet. He hoped and prayed that some day he might find his son
alive, possibly held captive by the coastal Indians.

After over a year’s delay Menéndez was finally brought to trial and
fined. Upon his release from prison, he immediately sought an audience
with King Philip II to secure his permission for a voyage to Florida in
search of his lost son, and to further explore its coast on which many
Spanish ships were being wrecked. Philip II not only granted permission
for his voyage, but welcomed this opportunity to commission him to
undertake the settlement of Florida, and the task of dealing with the
French Huguenots, who had gained a foothold there. Gratefully Menéndez
knelt and kissed his monarch’s hand. Here was an opportunity to recoup
his fallen fortunes.

As customary in such matters, a royal _asiento_, or contract, was
executed. By it Menéndez was bound to establish three fortified posts in
Florida at his own expense, and within a specified time. In return he
was to receive a substantial share of any riches that might be found
there, certain privileges of trade, and the title of _Adelantado_ and
Governor of the Province of Florida in perpetuity.

The contract also provided that Menéndez should make every effort to
convert the natives of Florida to Christianity, and for that purpose
several priests were assigned to the expedition and others were to be
brought over later.

    [Illustration: _A Spanish galleon Florida-bound._]

_The Rival Fleets_

With characteristic vigor Menéndez began collecting ships and recruiting
followers for his Florida expedition. In the midst of his preparations,
intelligence reached Spain that a strong French fleet under Jean Ribault
was being readied to sail for Florida to reinforce Fort Caroline. More
arms and soldiers would be needed. The royal arsenals were thrown open
and the King agreed to furnish one vessel and three hundred soldiers at
his own expense. By late June, Menéndez had assembled a formidable
armada of some nineteen ships and 1,500 persons, most of it concentrated
at the Spanish port of Cadiz. There were scenes of parting from loved
ones, the last solemn Mass at the Cathedral. Anchors were weighed and on
June 29, 1565, the expedition set sail, but was driven back by a storm
and put to sea several days later.

Meanwhile, the rival French fleet under Jean Ribault had sailed a month
earlier, leaving the port of Dieppe, France, on May 28th, but
unfavorable winds delayed its progress. The Spanish fleet put in at the
Canary Islands for wood and water, and to take a muster of its forces.
After leaving the Canaries, it ran into a severe Atlantic storm, which
damaged some of the vessels and drove others far off their course. As a
result, Menéndez reached San Juan, Puerto Rico, on about August 10th
with but one-third of his original force.

    [Illustration: Fleet at sea.]

A council of war was held. Should they go on or wait until the rest of
the fleet might arrive? Menéndez convinced his officers that it would be
best to press on before the French had time to further strengthen their
position. Sailing northwestward, the Spaniards sighted the shores of
Florida on August 28th. It was St. Augustine’s day and _Te Deums_ were
sung. On the same day Ribault’s fleet reached the mouth of the St. Johns

Ignorant of the location of the French fort, the Spanish ships crept
cautiously up the Florida coast, sailing by day and anchoring at night.
On the fifth day Indians were sighted on shore. A party landed, followed
by Menéndez himself, and learned from the Indians that the French fort
lay thirty leagues (90 miles) to the north. Continuing on up the coast,
the Spaniards paused at the inlet and harbor of St. Augustine, where
Menéndez decided to establish his base. They sailed northward again the
next day, and about three in the afternoon their lookouts sighted four
ships on the horizon. A sudden thunder shower obscured them temporarily
from view, followed by a calm that lasted until evening. Then a light
breeze enabled the Spaniards to bring their ships within hailing

About midnight Menéndez ordered trumpets sounded. “Whence comes this
fleet,” he demanded, “and what is it doing here?”

“From France,” a French spokesman replied, “and it brings infantry,
artillery, and supplies for a fort the King of France has in this land,
and to equip many more.”

    [Illustration: _The French ships sighted._]

Menéndez then informed them of his mission, stating that he had no
choice but to carry out his King’s commands. The French Huguenots
answered him with threats and jeers, and dared the Spaniards to come on.
Angered by this, Menéndez prepared to board the French vessels, but
instead of waiting to meet the attack the French put to sea. The
Spaniards opened fire, raised anchor, and sailed in pursuit, but could
not overtake them because the masts and rigging of their ships had been
damaged in the Atlantic storm.

The following morning Menéndez returned to the mouth of the St. Johns
River to reconnoiter the French position. Finding it too strong to
assault, he sailed back down the coast to the inlet and harbor chosen
for his base. There on September 8, 1565, as previously related, he
landed with fitting pomp to take possession of Florida and found the
fortified settlement of St. Augustine. A French vessel hovered a short
distance out at sea to watch the Spaniards’ movements.

_The Turn of the Tide_

Menéndez next began the task of completing the unloading of his vessels.
People, heavy artillery, arms, building implements, kegs of powder,
boxes and hogsheads of supplies, casks of wine and olive oil, chests of
clothing and personal effects all had to be transferred to smaller boats
to be brought ashore. Two of his vessels, his _Capitana_ or flagship,
the _San Pelayo_, and another galleon proved too large to enter the
shallow inlet. They were ordered to leave for Cuba to secure
reinforcements as soon as most of their heavy cargo could be removed.

Before daybreak on the morning of September 11th, Menéndez watched the
two galleons set sail. With a sloop and smaller craft, loaded with 150
soldiers and supplies, he waited outside the inlet for a favorable
breeze and for the tide to turn. Out of the early morning mist the
ghostly shapes of French ships loomed. Ribault had come to attack St.
Augustine before it was barely three days old. Ordering the anchor
cables of his boats cut, Menéndez managed to pilot them to safety across
the dangerous bar, which the French vessels could not navigate until
about flood tide.

On shore the Spaniards prepared desperately to meet the threatened
attack. Then, seemingly, a miracle occurred. The weather, which up to
this time had been relatively fair, abruptly changed. Strong northerly
winds arose, preventing the French from entering the inlet or returning
north to their fort on the St. Johns. One of those northeast storms,
common to this section of the coast in the fall, whipped up high waves
on the bay and sea. A driving rain fell and dark clouds raced overhead.

_Capture of Fort Caroline_

Menéndez knew that the French vessels would be driven helplessly before
the raging storm. He also correctly surmised that Ribault had taken
aboard most of the French fighting force, leaving Fort Caroline weakly
garrisoned. He called a secret council of his officers to outline his
next step. Since rough weather made it impossible to reach the French
fort by sea, he proposed the daring course of marching overland to
surprise Fort Caroline before Ribault could return to its assistance.

On the morning of September 16th Menéndez and 500 picked men attended
Mass. Then through the wind and rain they plunged into the wilderness,
guided by two Indians who had been at the French fort a few days before.
Menéndez and a small party of axmen went ahead to clear a trail and
blaze the trees so that the men following would not lose their way. At
places they waded through swamps flooded waist-deep by the storm, at
night seeking higher ground on which to camp and build a fire. Some
became exhausted; others lost courage and turned back. On the evening of
September 19th the Spaniards reached the vicinity of the enemy fort.
They were drenched to the skin, their powder damp and useless. It was
still raining and the wind whistled weirdly through the pines.

    [Illustration: _Fort Caroline, as pictured by Le Moyne, consisted of
    a triangular stockade of earth and logs, within which barracks and
    other buildings were located._]

With the first light of dawn a Spanish detachment, guided by a French
deserter, advanced into the clearing that surrounded Fort Caroline. A
few Frenchmen quartered outside the stockade fled in alarm. Hearing
their cries, a soldier within opened the wicket, or little door, of the
main gate to admit them. He was quickly killed by the advancing
Spaniards, who broke into a run and poured into the enclosure, shouting
“Santiago! Victory!”

The surprise was complete. Sleepy-eyed Frenchmen, some still in their
night clothes, became the easy victims of Spanish arms. Laudonnière and
some fifty of the garrison managed to escape to the surrounding swamps,
and thence to French boats anchored in the river. Among them was the
artist Le Moyne, whose drawings of Fort Caroline, and the early Florida
Indians were later engraved and published by De Bry.

Leaving most of his force to garrison the captured fort, which he
renamed San Mateo, Menéndez set out with a small detachment to return to
St. Augustine.

    [Illustration: Florida Coastline.]

  _Atlantic Ocean_
  Fort Caroline
    _on St. Johns River_
  St. Augustine
    _Anastasia Island_
  Matanzas Inlet
    _where French were massacred_
    _Ribault’s Ships wrecked somewhere along this shore_
  Cape Canaveral

_The Victor Returns_

At St. Augustine work continued on strengthening its defenses. A week
passed without news of the attacking expedition. Only exhausted
stragglers returned with terrifying reports of the swamps and other
difficulties encountered. Gloom and despair settled over the camp until
one afternoon a ragged Spaniard burst out of the woodland, shouting
“Victory! Victory! the harbor of the French is ours!”

“Four priests who were there [at St. Augustine] immediately set out,
holding aloft the Cross, followed by all the sea and land forces, the
women and children in procession, singing the _Te Deum Laudamus_. They
received the Adelantado with great rejoicing, everyone laughing and
weeping for joy, praising God for so great a victory. And so they
escorted the Adelantado in triumph to the encampment and settlement of
San Agustín.”

_Fate of the Shipwrecked French_

No word had yet been received as to Ribault’s fleet, which had been
caught in the storm off St. Augustine. His ships, driven aground many
miles down the coast, were being pounded to pieces in the surf. Most of
the men aboard had reached shore safely with their arms. Hungry and
constantly harassed by Indians, they were endeavoring to make their way
up the beaches back to their fort. How they longed to be back in their
beloved France!

Four days after Menéndez returned from Fort Caroline, Indians made known
by signs that a party of men were marooned on the shores of an inlet
fifteen miles south of St. Augustine. He immediately set out with a
small force of soldiers and, on reaching the inlet at dawn, saw two
hundred Frenchmen gathered on the opposite shore. One of their number
swam across the inlet and was told to inform his comrades of Fort
Caroline’s fate. They at first refused to believe that the Spaniards
could have taken it, but as proof were shown captured French arms and
clothing. Fruitless parleys followed. Faced with starvation or probable
death at the hands of the Indians, the entire French band
unconditionally surrendered.

A boat was sent over to bring back their weapons and standards. Then the
French captives were ferried across the inlet ten at a time. As each
group landed, their hands were bound behind them with matchcords, and
they were led up the beach out of sight and hearing behind high dunes.
As they reached a fatal line drawn by Menéndez in the sand, their
captors slew them with swords and daggers, and then returned to the
inlet to escort another group of ten to their doom. Only a few were

About two weeks later another party of Frenchmen, who had been
shipwrecked farther down the coast, arrived at the same inlet. Some
eighty, including their brave leader, Jean Ribault, gave themselves up
and were disposed of in the same manner as before. A number refused to
place themselves at the Spaniards’ mercy and withdrew to the south. When
Menéndez returned to St. Augustine his brother-in-law, Solis de Merás,
observed that “some people considered him cruel, and others that he had
acted as a very good captain should.”

The Spanish word _Matanzas_, meaning slaughters, became the name of the
inlet near which the massacres occurred.

    [Illustration: _Fort Matanzas stands near the inlet, where the
    French were slain._]

_Other Difficulties_

The French attempt to occupy Florida was thus effectively shattered.
Other difficulties threatened the permanence of its settlement and
remained to be overcome—the unyielding wilderness, the treacherous
Indians, the colonists’ lust for gold, and hunger, that cause of so many
early colonizing failures. Food supplies diminished with each passing
day. The buildings at Fort Caroline, renamed San Mateo by the Spaniards,
accidentally burned down with all their contents shortly after its
capture. The other vessels of the Spanish fleet, scattered by the storm
while crossing the Atlantic, failed to arrive with expected supplies and
reinforcements. To relieve the situation Menéndez decided to go to Cuba
for aid. On his way down the coast he picked up the remaining French
survivors, who were too few to prove a threat and were kindly treated.

At Cuba jealousy and intrigue still dogged his footsteps. The officials
of the _Casa_, by whom he had been imprisoned in Spain, seem to have
succeeded in injuring his prestige and reputation. He was coolly
received by the Governor of Cuba, García Osario, and refused aid. The
belated arrival of several of his ships enabled him to send his Florida
posts some relief. On his way back he visited the Indians of Carlos, or
Caloosa Indians, who then occupied south Florida. They made a practice
of enslaving shipwrecked Spaniards who fell into their hands,
sacrificing some of these victims in their pagan rites. Menéndez found
several Spanish survivors among them, but looked in vain for the
familiar features of his son, Don Juan.

During his extended absence from St. Augustine dissension broke out
among his followers. When a vessel arrived with supplies mutineers
seized it and prepared to sail away. A similar situation developed at
San Mateo. Many had joined the expedition only because they expected it
might lead to easy riches. Failure to find any signs of gold and silver
in Florida proved a bitter disappointment. Or, they had secretly planned
to desert it at the first opportunity, and seek passage to other Spanish
colonies from which fabulous wealth flowed to Spain. Now that the French
had been defeated there was little glory to be gained in the hardships
of fort building, and threatened starvation in this distant wilderness.
A number of the mutineers eventually embarked for the Caribbean, and
thence some went to Spain, where they circulated damaging reports of
Menéndez and the Florida settlements.

_Gunpowder Versus Arrows_

The Indians meanwhile, though at first outwardly friendly, became an
increasing threat to the new colony. Spanish mutineers at San Mateo
inflamed their hatred by the unprovoked murder of three of their chiefs.
They held a great council and declared their enmity.

Huddled within their stockades, the Spaniards could not venture out in
search of food without fear of attack. The savages lurked everywhere in
the swamps and woodlands, and shot their arrows with such force as to
penetrate a soldier’s coat of mail. The crude firearms of the day were
not entirely suited to Indian warfare. When a Spaniard paused to reload
his slow-firing arquebus, an operation requiring several minutes,
Indians rose from their hiding to shower him with arrows. When they saw
the flash of burning powder in the primer of his gun, they crawled
through the tall grass and appeared in another place after it had been
discharged. Over one hundred Spaniards were thus killed by the Indians
during the first year of the colony’s existence.

    [Illustration: _A Le Moyne drawing, showing Florida Indians
    attacking a rival village with flaming arrows._]

Indian attacks became so serious as to cause the removal of the
settlement to another site. One night, when Menéndez was absent on an
exploring trip, yelling savages broke through the Spanish lines at St.
Augustine, and set fire to the storehouse with flaming arrows,
destroying precious powder and supplies.

When Menéndez returned he called a council of his officers. “It was
resolved that they should move from there and erect a fort at the
entrance of the bar ... because there the Indians could not do them so
much harm ... and there they could better defend themselves against the
vessels of enemies that might want to enter the harbor.”

Working in shifts, the Spaniards rushed the construction of a stockade
and fort at the new location.

During the summer of 1566, the lonely Florida settlers were heartened by
the arrival of substantial reinforcements. A fleet of fourteen vessels
under Sancho de Arciniega brought 1,500 persons and welcome supplies.
Part of this force was assigned to bolster the Florida garrisons.
Menéndez was ordered to employ the remainder against pirates, or
corsairs, who were plundering Spanish shipping and colonies in the

By this time, in accordance with the terms of his contract. Menéndez had
established three fortified posts in Florida—St. Augustine in about its
present location, San Mateo near the mouth of the St. Johns River, and
Santa Elena still farther north on the coast of Carolina. He had
thoroughly explored the Florida coasts, and gone up the St. Johns River
almost to its source. He had traveled among the Indians of South
Florida, and of _Guale_, or southeastern Georgia, endeavoring to win
their friendship and subject them to Spanish authority. One of his
lieutenants, Juan Pardo, had penetrated inland with a few soldiers a
distance of 450 miles to the mountains of western North Carolina.
Possibly always in the back of his mind lurked the hope that he might
come upon some news of his lost son and once more embrace him in his

_Menéndez Goes to Spain_

In 1567 Menéndez deemed it necessary that he go back to Spain to render
in person a report on the condition and needs of the Florida and West
Indian colonies. The little garrison at St. Augustine continued to cling
precariously to its narrow beach-head. In the spring of 1568 the
settlement shuddered when a small French force under Dominique de
Gourges, aided by Indians, wiped out the Spanish posts near the mouth of
the St. Johns. Captured Spaniards were hanged from the limbs of the
liveoaks in revenge for the Frenchmen killed at Fort Caroline and
Matanzas three years before.

_On the Brink of Failure_

During Menéndez’ continued absence in Spain, the condition and morale of
Florida posts grew steadily worse. Supplies were dangerously low,
clothing was worn to shreds, and the shelters thus far constructed
afforded little comfort. Efforts to grow corn and other grains in the
sandy soil resulted in discouraging failure.

The summer of 1570 brought no relief. The blazing sun scorched the
beaches and swamps. Mosquitos and other insects made life miserable.
Estéban de las Alas, one of Menéndez’ trusted lieutenants in charge of
the post at Santa Elena, sailed with 120 men for Spain, arguing that
those remaining would have a better chance for survival on the limited
supplies. The garrison at St. Augustine mutinied, burned its fort, and
began building a crude boat in which to leave. The settlement of Florida
hovered on the brink of failure.

At this crucial point Don Pedro Menéndez Marqués assumed command. He was
a nephew of the founder and had served with him in the treasure fleets.
In a letter written from San Mateo, he pleaded with the mutineers at St.
Augustine to remain at their post, promising to transport them to Cuba
if supplies failed to arrive by a specified time. His arguments
prevailed and St. Augustine lived on.

_Death of Menéndez_

Events in Europe continued to keep Menéndez occupied in Spain, or on
voyages to the Caribbean, during which he again visited his Florida
posts. The Low Countries, Holland and Belgium, which had long been under
Spanish domination, were in revolt.

In 1574 Menéndez received the crowning honor of his career. He was
chosen by Philip II of Spain to take command of a great armada of ships
and men being assembled in the harbor of Santander, presumably for
operation against the Low Countries, and possibly the English coast. On
the day he assumed this important command he fell ill with a raging
fever. The usual remedies of purging and blood-letting proved of no
avail, and he died on September 17, 1574, at the age of 55.

The day before the beginning of his fatal illness he wrote a letter to
his nephew, Marqués, expressing his desire to return to Florida, and
stating that he hoped to do so in the spring, when he was confident the
affair in Flanders would be settled.

“Then,” he wrote, “I shall be at liberty to go at once to Florida, never
to leave it as long as I live, for that is my longing and my happiness.”

Storms prevented burial in his native Avilés, to which his remains were
later removed. There an inscription on his tomb eulogizes him as “the
illustrious Adelantado of the Province of Florida ... and
Captain-General of the Oceanic Seas.”

His death was a blow to Spain. No outstanding naval figure arose to take
his place, and the great armada he was to have commanded never sailed.

    [Illustration: _The outer case of Menéndez’ coffin is on display at
    St. Augustine’s Mission of Nombre de Dios._]

                               CHAPTER II
                          The Years Accumulate

It was the following spring of 1575 before the news of Menéndez’ death
reached Florida. St. Augustine, now ten years old, had lost not only its
founder and a resourceful leader, but was left without his financial
support. As he had spent his entire fortune in establishing the Florida
posts, his heirs were in no position to assume the obligation of
sustaining them.

Influential advisors in Spain urged that the settlement of Florida be
abandoned, because the province produced no gold, silver, or other
riches. King Philip II weighed the problem carefully. He decreed that
the Florida posts should continue to be maintained, because of their
value in protecting the vital trade route along the coast, and as a
refuge for shipwrecked mariners and vessels in distress. Since the heirs
of Menéndez could not finance them, they would be made crown colonies
under the supervision of the King, and would be supported by an annual
_Situado_ or subsidy, which the Viceroy of New Spain (Mexico) was
ordered to provide.

Hernando de Miranda, a son-in-law of Menéndez, became the next
_Adelantado_ and governor of Florida. In the face of Indian difficulties
he abandoned the fort at Santa Elena and was removed from office. As his
successor the king appointed Don Pedro Menéndez Marqués, who had saved
St. Augustine from abandonment in 1570, and was a man of proven ability.
He remained governor of Florida for the next twelve years, from 1577 to

Spain was at the peak of its wealth and power, but England under Queen
Elizabeth was becoming bold and a growing menace on the seas.

_First English Visit_

The passing years rooted St. Augustine more firmly to its soil. The
spring of 1586 brought fresh green to the grass and trees, a warmth and
fragrance to the air. Mocking birds and bright red cardinals sang gaily
from the branches. The settlement was twenty-one years old when a vessel
arrived bearing news that Spain and England were at war, and that Sir
Francis Drake, the dreaded English corsair, was raiding Spanish colonies
in the Caribbean.

Governor Marqués took immediate steps to prepare St. Augustine’s
defenses. Slaves and soldiers labored in cutting and hauling logs from
the forest to complete the new fort then under construction. Detailed
plans were made for the evacuation of the families and removal of
supplies. Sentinels scanned the horizon with more than usual care. The
month of May wore on into June and it was hoped that the English fleet
had sailed on by.

    [Illustration: _Map drawn by one of the participants in Drake’s
    attack on St. Augustine shows the English entering the town and
    their ships anchored outside the inlet._]


On June 6th (Spanish calendar), the lookout stationed in the tall watch
tower on Anastasia Island saw white specks appear on the horizon. They
grew into sails and he signalled a warning to the settlement across the
bay. Soldiers rushed to their battle stations. Housewives crossed
themselves and whispered their _Ave Marias_ with frightened children
clinging to their skirts. Slaves began removing supplies, but in the
confusion much was left behind.

The powerful English fleet of Sir Drake, heavy with plunder from the
Caribbean, drew closer and came to anchor in the roadstead outside the
inlet. The Spaniards counted over twenty large ships and their auxiliary
craft. The estimated 2,000 men aboard hopelessly outnumbered St.
Augustine’s little garrison of barely 150 defenders.

    [Illustration: _The Spanish lookout tower on Anastasia Island as
    described by a member of Drake’s expedition._]

The English, having sighted the settlement’s lookout tower, decided to
investigate what manner of place the Spanish King had here. A detachment
soon landed on Anastasia Island and marched around the shore where, one
of their number relates, “We might discerne on the other side of the
river over against us a Fort which had been newly built by the
Spaniards; and some mile or thereabouts above the Fort a little Towne or
village without walles: built of wooden houses.”

Later the English landed cannon and about dusk of the second day opened
fire. Governor Marqués and his garrison, according to his report, clung
bravely to their fort until they saw boats put out from the opposite
shore. After firing a few shots they retired barely in time to escape
capture. During the night a Frenchman, held prisoner by the Spaniards,
went over to the English camp and informed them of the garrison’s
withdrawal. They occupied the fort, finding in it some fourteen large
brass cannon and a chest of money intended for the pay of the soldiers.

In the morning the English advanced into the town. The English
sergeant-major, a man of considerable rank and importance, mounted a
deserted horse and rode hotly in pursuit of some fleeing Spaniards. He
drove one of them to the edge of a swamp and wounded him with his lance.
Mustering all his strength, the wounded Spaniard turned upon his
assailant and killed him. The English version relates that the officer
was shot from ambush, and on falling to the ground was stabbed to death
by several Spaniards. Possibly due to this incident, Drake ordered the
fort and town of St. Augustine burned to the ground. After remaining a
few days in the vicinity to careen one of their ships, the English
sailed away.

When the people of St. Augustine returned, smoke still curled from the
ruins of their fort and homes. Even their fruit trees had been destroyed
by the invader. Governor Marqués sent word of the disaster to Havana.
St. Augustine gradually arose from its ashes, rebuilt and somewhat
improved with assistance from Spain and Cuba. The post at Santa Elena
was at this time permanently abandoned in order to strengthen St.
Augustine’s garrison.

_Saving of Savage Souls_

King Philip II of Spain, Menéndez and their successors burned with zeal
to convert the natives of Florida to Catholicism, and regarded this as a
sacred obligation. After Drake’s attack, a friary or monastery was
erected at St. Augustine to shelter the Franciscan missionaries who were
beginning to arrive from Spain to work among the Indians. The friary was
located on what is now St. Francis Street on the site of the present
State Arsenal.

    [Illustration: Spanish missionary.]

Other missionaries of the Jesuit Order had come before them, but in the
face of the early antagonism of the Indians they were able to accomplish
little. Jesuit missions had been established as far north as the
Chesapeake Bay region of Virginia, in the vicinity of Tampa Bay, and at
_Tequesta_, near the present site of Miami. In about 1570 the Jesuits
were replaced by missionaries of the Order of St. Francis, or

The presence of Franciscans in Florida is recorded as early as 1573, but
for a number of years they made only limited progress. The courageous
friars endured many hardships and privations in attempting to carry the
peaceful message of Christ deep into the Florida wilderness, where they
lived alone far from civilized comforts and companionship. Some suffered
torture and martyrdom at the hands of those they sought to save, but all
went resolutely forth from St. Augustine eager to reap a glorious
harvest of savage souls.

The first Franciscan missions were established along the coast north of
St. Augustine, where they could be reached readily by boat. If the
Indians proved tractable and friendly, a crude chapel was built and the
peal of a mission bell went out over swamp and woodland calling them to

By 1595 the Franciscans claimed a total of 1,500 Indian converts. Two
years later their success was interrupted by an Indian revolt incited by
a young chief, who had been publicly censured for his desire to have
more than one wife. Five Franciscans were clubbed or tomahawked to

    [Illustration: _Approximate location of the principal Franciscan
    Missions in about 1650._]

                 _The Glorious Harvest of Savage Souls_

One of the highlights in the early religious annals of Florida was its
first visitation by a Bishop in 1606. Bishop Altamirano arrived at St.
Augustine from Cuba shortly before Easter. Impressive religious
ceremonies followed with candles burning brightly on the flower-decked
altars. On Easter Saturday the Bishop ordained twenty young men as
clerics, some of them natives of the settlement. On Easter Sunday he
celebrated Mass and confirmed 350 Spaniards. After a week’s rest, the
Bishop made a leisurely tour of the outlying Franciscan missions,
confirming a total of 2,000 Indian converts.

Each year this peaceful conquest of Florida continued to expand, and by
the middle of 1600’s extended into north central Florida, a region known
as Apalache, in the vicinity of present Tallahassee. This was a rich
agricultural area and at times furnished St. Augustine with supplies,
which were brought around the peninsula by boat, or were carried
overland on the backs of Indians to the capital. The missions also
embraced a large section of _Guale_, or southeastern Georgia. When
Bishop Calderon visited Florida in 1674-75, a remarkable total of 13,152
Indian converts were presented to him for confirmation.

Aside from its religious significance, the missionary movement had other
far-reaching effects. Through the missions St. Augustine, with its
relatively small garrison, was able to control a wide territory, holding
the numerically strong Indian tribes in check. It was said that a lone
Franciscan, with no weapons other than his Cross and Bible, could do
more with the Indians than a hundred men at arms. The missions also
served as outlying posts that could warn the capital of approaching
strangers or enemies. When the abandonment of the settlement was again
seriously considered in 1602, the existence of the missions proved a
strong argument in favor of maintaining St. Augustine as their
protective center.

While the Franciscan missions of Florida were more numerous and of
earlier origin than those of California, they have received little
emphasis, possibly because they were built of wood and no physical
evidence of them remains.

    [Illustration: _Florida State Arsenal buildings occupy the site of
    the Old Franciscan friary._]

_Another Crisis_

In 1598 death brought to an end the long reign of that remarkable
sovereign of Spain, Philip II. He had initiated the settlement of
Florida, and later as a crown colony it had come under his supervision.
When news of his passing reached Florida in March of 1599, the
Franciscans gathered at St. Augustine to hold the customary prayers for
their departed patron. The same month the cry of “Fire” rang out in the
quiet streets. Flames raced through the tinder-dry palm-thatched roofs
of the town’s buildings, destroying many, including the Franciscan
quarters. In the fall of the same year a storm did considerable damage.
The wind-driven waters of the bay rose higher with each tide, flooding
dwellings and washing away a portion of the fort.

Philip III, who ascended the throne of Spain in 1598, failed to share
his father’s interest in this distant Florida post, from which no riches
flowed into the royal coffers. From it came only constant pleas for more

The King ordered Pedro de Valdés, the Governor of Cuba, to make a
thorough investigation of conditions in Florida. Valdés sent his son to
St. Augustine in 1602 to hold hearings, in which missionaries and
settlers of long residence testified. While many of these witnesses
expressed the view that a more favorable location for a settlement might
be found, the conclusion reached was that St. Augustine should continue
to be maintained as a center for the expanding missions, and as a base
to guard the vital trade route.

The passing years were being added slowly to its age. Deaths, births,
marriages, Indian insurrections, the coming of new governors, and the
arrival of an occasional ship made up the drama of its obscure
existence. Isolated by a wilderness of land and sea, it had little
contact with the outside world.

_Capital of La Florida_

About 1590 the older portion of St. Augustine was laid out in
approximately its present form. The plan followed specifications
contained in a _cédula_ issued by the Spanish King in 1573, directing
that all Spanish colonial towns should have a central Plaza with the
principal streets leading from it. During about the same period an
official governor’s residence was established on the site of the present
post office.

Women were present in the colony from the beginning, a few having come
with the original Menéndez expedition. Others arrived with the Arciniega
reinforcements and later fleets. Some of the soldiers married Indian
maidens, who had become Christians and been given Spanish names.

The governors complained of the problem of feeding the increasing number
of children in the colony, and asked that the married soldiers be given
extra pay. The yellowed pages of St. Augustine’s Cathedral Parish
records, dating from 1594, indicate an average of twenty-five births per
year during the early 1600’s. They also record the deaths and marriages.

    [Illustration: _The first buildings in St. Augustine were of wooden
    boards, with roofs of thatched palmetto leaves held down by

The principal officers of the colony consisted of the governor, who was
its chief executive; the royal treasurer, who was custodian of the royal
funds and their disbursement; and the _factor_, who distributed the
supplies. A sergeant-major was in command of the infantry and succeeded
the governor in case of the latter’s death or resignation. A minor but
important official, from the standpoint of historians, was the
_Escribano_ (writer), who kept a record of meetings, handled
correspondence, took the testimony of witnesses, and acted as a notary

The governors of Florida were appointed by the King in distant Spain
from a list of candidates proposed by the Council of the Indies. They
were usually men of previous military experience, and served generally
for a term of six years. When a new governor arrived at St. Augustine to
take office, Indian chiefs trooped in from the outlying districts to
pledge their friendship and allegiance. They were entertained as
elaborately as the resources of the settlement would permit, given
trinkets and food for the long journey home. Although relatively small
in size, St. Augustine was the capital and citadel of a vast area. La
Florida then as claimed by Spain embraced not only the present
peninsula, but the entire Atlantic coast as far north as Canada and as
far inland as the continent was known to exist. For a time after the
expulsion of the French Huguenots, no other European nation seriously
challenged this claim, but the clouds of strife were beginning to

    [Illustration: _A pamphlet, designed to attract English settlers,
    described Carolina as being “On the Coasts of Floreda”._]

                          A Brief Description
                              The Province
                      _On the_ Coasts _of_ FLOREDA

   More perticularly of a _New-Plantation_ begun by the _ENGLISH_ at
  _Cape-Feare_, on that River now by them called _Charles-River_, the
                         29^th of _May_. 1664.

                         _Wherein is set forth_
  The _Healthfulness_ of the Air; the _Fertility_ of the _Earth_, and
  _Waters_; and the great _Pleasure_ and _Profit_ will accrue to those
                that shall go thither to enjoy the same.

 Directions and advice to such as shall go thither whether on their own
                  accompts, or to serve under another.

                            _Together with_
             A most accurate _MAP_ of the whole _PROVINCE_.

       _London_, Printed for _Robert Horne_ in the first Court of
          _Gresham-Colledge_ neer _Bishopsgate street_, 1666.

                              CHAPTER III
                           The English Threat

St. Augustine remained the sole European settlement in what is now the
continental United States for a period of forty-two years. About the
time of its attack by Drake in 1586 it received vague but disturbing
reports of the presence of English settlers to the north in a region
known to the Spaniards as _Jacán_, or the Chesapeake Bay region of
Virginia. This was the ill-fated Roanoke colony. It was followed in 1607
by the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, by the English, which
represented a further violation of territory claimed by Spain as a part
of Florida. Three expeditions, one in 1588 and others in 1609 and 1611,
set out from St. Augustine to reconnoiter these rival settlements.

The Virginia colony survived and others crept down the coast in defiance
of Spain’s claims to the territory. The Spanish governors at St.
Augustine repeatedly implored authorities in Spain to strengthen
Florida’s garrison and defenses to meet this English threat. But the
mother country, almost constantly involved in wars with European rivals,
or vexed with internal problems, took no decisive action.

In 1665 St. Augustine became one hundred years of age. As if to
celebrate its centennial, the English King Charles II, issued a second
patent opening up the territory south of Virginia to English settlement.
This patent not only disregarded Spanish claims to the area, but even
included within its boundaries the very site of St. Augustine itself.

_A Midnight Raid_

In the spring of 1668, during the delightful month of May, the
appearance of a vessel off St. Augustine’s inlet caused a ripple of
excitement. The settlement was awaiting a shipment of flour from
Veracruz, Mexico, and a payment on its subsidy then eight years in
arrears. The harbor pilot put out to bring the vessel across the
treacherous bar. Soon two cannon shot were heard, a prearranged signal
identifying the vessel as the one expected. The people were elated and
retired confidently for the night.

But the ship was not manned by friends as was assumed. It had been
seized by an English pirate, Robert Searles (alias Davis), in the
vicinity of Cuba. When the vessel arrived off St. Augustine the Spanish
captain and crew were compelled upon threat of death to appear on deck
as if nothing were amiss. The unsuspecting harbor pilot was tricked into
firing the identifying signal and made prisoner before he could warn the

    [Illustration: _The boundaries of Florida grew smaller._]

Around midnight, when the town was peacefully sleeping, the pirate band
rowed stealthily ashore undetected, and scattered through the streets.
The people emerged from their homes expecting to greet friends, but
their joy soon turned to anguished cries of terror. Many were killed by
the pirates in attempting to resist or flee half-clad to safety. In the
darkness it was difficult to distinguish friend from foe. With shouting
pirates at their heels, the governor and part of the garrison managed to
reach their fort and beat off attempts to take it.

The next morning the pirates systematically looted the homes and
churches, and a previously hidden pirate ship appeared in the bay.
Unable to take the fort, the invaders left their captives on the beach
and sailed away under the cover of darkness. St. Augustine’s residents
returned to find sixty of their comrades dead in the blood-stained

_A Stone Fort at Last_

The founding of Charleston, S. C., in 1670 brought the English threat
still nearer. An expedition sailed from St. Augustine to attack the new
settlement but ran into a severe storm and failed to reach its

The success of the pirate raid on St. Augustine in 1668, combined with
the growing English encroachment on Spanish territory to the north,
finally convinced officials in Spain that something must be done to
bolster Florida’s defenses. In the fall of 1669, Queen Regent Marianna
of Spain issued a _cédula_ directing the Viceroy of Mexico to provide
funds for the construction of an impregnable stone fortress at St.
Augustine, similar to the bastions guarding Spanish strongholds in the
Caribbean. All previous forts in Florida had been of wood and soon
rotted in the moist sea air. The new fort would be built of coquina, a
shell-rock formation, found in abundance on Anastasia Island across the
bay from the capital. Several earlier Florida governors had urged its
use without success.

Florida’s next governor, Manuel Cendoya, went at once to Mexico to
collect the funds appropriated to begin the new defense work. At Havana,
Cuba, he engaged the services of a competent military engineer, Ignazio
Daza, to plan and supervise its initial stages.

Work on the new structure began during the fall of 1672. Stone masons
and other skilled artisans were brought from Cuba. Quarries were opened
on Anastasia Island. Gangs of Indian workmen and yokes of oxen dragged
the heavy coquina blocks to the water’s edge, where they were loaded on
rafts or barges, and ferried across the bay to the fort site.

The massive walls rose slowly. After an enthusiastic beginning progress
lagged at times for want of funds, lack of vigorous prosecution, or when
epidemics thinned the ranks of slaves and Indian workmen. In the spring
of 1683 it was interrupted by a threatened attack, one of many to which
St. Augustine was continually subjected. English pirates landed near
Matanzas Inlet, burned the Spanish outpost there, and advanced toward
the capital. Warned by alert sentinels, the governor sent out a
detachment of musketeers, who waited in ambush and drove the raiders
back to their ships.

By 1696 the great stone fort was about completed except for some of the
outer work, added during later periods. Into its construction went
twenty-four long years of sweat and toil beneath the Florida sun, and
the lives of an untold number of slaves, Indian, and peon workmen. It
was called by the Spaniards _Castillo de San Marcos_, or castle of St.

    [Illustration: _The grim walls of Castillo de San Marcos look much
    the same as when the stones were lifted laboriously into place._]

_Settlement of Pensacola_

While the English were occupying the Atlantic Coast north of Florida,
hardy French traders and explorers, including the Jesuit, La Salle, came
down the Mississippi River building forts at strategic points. This
threatened Florida on the west. To meet the French threat to the Gulf
coast, the Spaniards under Andrés de Arriola established a fort and
settlement at Pensacola in 1698, which later was to become the capital
of West Florida. A previous Spanish attempt by Tristán de Luna to
establish a settlement near this point in 1559 had failed.

_Border Conflict_

Strife between the Spaniards in Florida and their English neighbors to
the north did not at first break out into open warfare. English agents
and traders began to work quietly among the border Indians, weaning some
of them away from Spanish control and influence. These they then armed
and encouraged to raid the Spanish Indian towns. Christian Indians
captured by the English and their Indian allies were sold into slavery.
Florida’s Governor Cabrera (1680-1687) complained that they even seized
the “mixed ones,” children of Spanish and Indian parentage. Small bands
of Yamassee Indians, then allied with the English, hovered about St.
Augustine, occasionally seizing a stray Spaniard, whom they carried back
to Carolina. The Carolinians even offered the Indians a reward for
captured Spaniards delivered to them upon the pretense that it was to
save the victims from torture.

By 1686, with its Castillo about completed, St. Augustine felt ready to
take the offensive. In the fall of that year its women waved farewell to
soldier husbands and sweethearts. They sailed north in three ships,
destroyed a Scottish settlement at Port Royal, plundered English coastal
plantations, and advanced on _San Jorge_, as the Spaniards called it, or
Charleston. Suddenly a hurricane came up driving two of their vessels
hopelessly aground. The third limped sadly back to Matanzas Bay.

Soon after this expedition a boat-load of half-starved Negro slaves
arrived at St. Augustine, and asked for the Holy Waters of Baptism. They
had escaped from Carolina plantations. In response to demands for their
return the Spanish governor offered to reimburse the English for their
loss. Spanish agents and Indians secretly began to encourage slaves in
Carolina to run away, making it known that St. Augustine offered them
asylum. These refugees increased in number and were allowed to occupy
lands two miles north of the settlement in the vicinity of Mose Creek.

_The Shipwrecked Quakers_

John Archdale, a Quaker, became governor of Carolina in 1695. He frowned
upon the enslavement of Christian Indians and returned four to
authorities at St. Augustine, who wrote him a letter of appreciation and
agreed to reciprocate by according English subjects safe conduct through
Spanish territory. This accounts for the kind treatment accorded a small
company of Quakers enroute to Philadelphia, who were wrecked on the
coast of Florida in the vicinity of Hobe Sound in 1696. The Quakers
reached shore safely only to suffer torturing hardship among the coastal
Indians, who feared Spanish authority but were still savages in most

    [Illustration: _Title page from one of the many editions of
    Dickinson’s book._]

                         Protecting Providence,
                      _Surest_ Help _and_ Defence,
                      Times of Greatest Difficulty
                        and most Eminent Danger:

In the Remarkable Deliverance of Robert Barrow, with divers other
      Persons, from the Devouring Waves of the Sea; amongst which they

                               And also,
              From the cruel Devouring Jaws of the Inhuman
                         _Canibals of Florida_.

      Faithfully Related by one of the Persons concern’d therein,
                          Jonathan Dickenson.

After two months of harrowing captivity the Quakers were rescued by a
Captain López and detail of soldiers from St. Augustine. They were
brought to the settlement and later escorted safely to the English
border. One of their number, Jonathan Dickinson, wrote and published a
book of their adventures, which contains an interesting description of
St. Augustine and Florida as these Quakers saw them so many years ago.

As the Quakers were brought up the coast they noted the chain of Spanish
sentinel posts south of St. Augustine, which were located on high dunes
overlooking the sea, beach and river. By means of smoke signals, or
Indian runners, they could quickly warn the capital of danger.

The little Quaker band was hospitably received at the settlement and
quartered among its inhabitants. “This place is a Garrison,” wrote
Dickinson, “maintained one-half by the King of Spain and one-half by the
Church of Rome. The male inhabitants are all soldiers, everyone
receiving his pay according to his post. All of their supply of Bread,
Clothing and Money comes from Havana and Porta Vella, and it was going
on three years since they had a Vessel from any place whatsoever, which
made their needs very great.

“The Towne we saw from one end to the other. It is about three-quarters
of a mile in Length, not regularly built, nor the Houses very thick
(close together), they having large orchards, in which grow plenty of
oranges, lemons, pome citrons, limes, figs, and peaches. The Houses are
most of them old buildings, and not half of them inhabited, the number
of men being around three hundred.”

On their way north to Charleston the Quakers stopped overnight at
several Spanish Indian towns, where Dickinson noted that “the Indians go
as consistently to their devotion, at all times and at all seasons, as
do the Spaniards.” He also observed that the Indian women modestly
clothed themselves with the moss of trees (Spanish moss), “making Gownes
and Petticoats thereof, which at a distance or at night looks very

_The Castle’s First Test_

Castillo de San Marcos, completed in 1696, had not yet undergone an
attack. It was soon to come. In Europe the War of Spanish Succession
(1700-1713) involved England in a conflict with Spain and France that
soon spread to their colonies, where it was known as Queen Anne’s War.
Governor Moore of Carolina obtained the backing of its colonial assembly
for an expedition against Spain’s citadel in Florida. He recruited a
force of some 600 Carolina militia and a number of Indian allies. They
advanced south in two detachments during the fall of 1702. Florida’s
Governor Zúñiga learned of the impending attack in time to lay in
adequate provisions and put his garrison on a 24-hour alert.

Colonel Daniel with one Carolina detachment came up the St. Johns River
and thence overland. Moore with the other came down the coast in eight
small vessels. Daniel arrived first and advanced upon St. Augustine by
land. Governor Zúñiga had few experienced soldiers, and did not try to
save the town. All of its inhabitants were ordered into the fort, which
soon sheltered some 1,500 people.

Moore soon arrived by sea with a quantity of trench-digging tools and
fifteen long ladders for scaling the fort’s walls. But the English had
greatly underestimated the Castillo’s strength and found there was
little hope of taking it with their few small calibre guns. Colonel
Daniel was sent to Jamaica to secure siege guns and bombs.

During the siege the Spaniards made two sallies from the fort to destroy
their own houses in its vicinity to prevent them being used as cover by
the English. A total of 31 houses were thus destroyed as shown by claims
later filed by their Spanish owners.

Almost two months of siege passed. Within the overcrowded Castillo
inhabitants and garrison prayed for relief. The day after Christmas two
heavily armed Spanish ships appeared off the inlet bringing aid. Fearing
their retreat would be cut off, the Carolinians burned their transports,
abandoned their heavy stores, set fire to the town, and withdrew
overland to vessels awaiting them at the mouth of the St. Johns River.

The Castillo had triumphed in its first test, but the town of St.
Augustine was virtually reduced to ashes. Spanish eyewitnesses testified
that not a building was left standing except the _Hermitage of Nuestra
Señora de la Soledad_, and some twenty houses of the meaner sort. These
were probably scattered dwellings south of the Plaza.

Although disgraced by the failure of his expedition, Moore returned to
Florida in 1704 with a large number of Indian allies. They overran the
weakly garrisoned Indian towns of Apalache and the interior, taking
1,300 Indian prisoners back to Carolina. During this and subsequent
invasions practically all of the outlying Franciscan Missions were
destroyed. Only those in the immediate vicinity of St. Augustine

    [Illustration: _Two stout defense lines protected the capital on the

_The Capital’s Defenses_

Moore’s siege of St. Augustine in 1702 showed a serious weakness in the
capital’s defenses. The enemy were able to occupy and burn the town
despite its impregnable Castillo. This led to the gradual construction
of a system of outer defenses to protect the town itself from future

First an inner defense line was built extending westward from the
Castillo to the San Sebastian River along what is now Orange Street. It
eventually consisted of a moat, some fifty or more feet wide and six
feet deep. Material from the ditch was used to build a sturdy wall of
earth and palm logs. St. Augustine’s City Gate is all that remains of
this defense work.

Later a fortified line was constructed extending across the peninsula
between the bay and the San Sebastian River, “about a cannon shot north
of the fort.” It was called the _Hornwork_ because a portion of it
resembled in shape the horn of a steer. It consisted of a wide ditch and
embankment of earth and sod, at one time further strengthened by a
stockade of logs, and a fort at its eastern extremity.

Another defense line extended north and south along Maria Sanchez Creek
in the vicinity of present Cordova Street, marking the western boundary
of the original settlement. Other defense works protected it on the
south. The lines were strengthened at intervals by redoubts and angular
projections, in some of which cannon were mounted. Sentinels manned the
defense lines day and night, once each hour passing the _Alerto_.

When escaped Negro slaves began to find refuge in St. Augustine, a small
fort was built for their protection two miles north of the town. It was
called Fort Mosa, or the Negro Fort, and served as an anchor for another
defense line running east and west. Practically no evidence of this fort
and defense work has survived.

_Palmer’s Raid_

The Yamassee Indians of Carolina, once allied with the English, turned
against them and in 1715 were decisively defeated. The Spaniards in
Florida were accused of fomenting this revolt. A remnant of the tribe
took refuge in the St. Augustine area where, according to English
reports, they were welcomed by the ringing of bells. For some reason the
Yamassees were banished for a time south of the city. They were later
recalled, given weapons, and encouraged to make raids on the Carolina
border plantations, bringing back bloody scalps and an occasional

    [Illustration: _A gun emplacement in the defense lines. The platform
    sloped forward to absorb the gun’s recoil._]

To put an end to these raids a Colonel Palmer swept south from Carolina
in 1728 with a small force of militia and Indians. They surprised and
butchered some of the Yamassees in their villages north of St.
Augustine, but could not penetrate its now strong outer defense line.
After destroying everything of value outside the city, and seizing many
Spanish-owned cattle, Palmer returned to Carolina. Following his
departure the Spanish governor ordered the destruction of the mission
chapel of _Nombre de Dios_, which had afforded the English cover in
their attack.

The settlement of Georgia in 1733 by General James Oglethorpe brought
the English still closer. Spanish authorities sensed an impending crisis
and sent Antonio Arredondo, a competent military engineer and diplomat,
to St. Augustine to negotiate with Oglethorpe and survey Florida’s
defenses. While Arredondo failed to persuade the English to withdraw
from Georgia, under his able supervision St. Augustine’s fortifications
were carefully strengthened. Rooms inside the Castillo were rebuilt with
arched ceilings of thick masonry to make them bombproof. Backed by
Arredondo’s recommendations, Florida’s Governor Montiano secured
substantial reinforcements from Cuba, increasing the garrison to around
750 men.

_Oglethorpe’s Siege_

Spanish regulations allowed her colonies only limited trading privileges
with rival England, which had become a great mercantile nation. To
prevent the prevalent smuggling of illicit English goods into their
ports, Spanish ships were ordered to stop and search English vessels off
their coasts.

One of the English merchantmen overhauled off the coast of Florida or
Cuba was commanded by a Robert Jenkins. He reported that the Spanish
captain, Juan de León Fandiño, cut off his ear and handed it back to him
saying, “Carry this to your king and tell him I would treat him in like
manner.” Incidents such as this caused rising indignation in both
countries. The severed ear, or a substitute, was later displayed by
Jenkins before the English Parliament, and gave its name to the war that
England declared against Spain in 1739, the War of Jenkins’ Ear.

General Oglethorpe of Georgia was ordered to harass the Spaniards in
Florida, and proceeded to organize an expedition designed to capture St.
Augustine. During the winter be probed Spanish defenses, seizing Fort
Picolata on the St. Johns River west of the capital, and a companion
fort across the river from it. In early May of 1740 he moved south with
400 of his Georgia regiment and took Fort Diego, a Spanish plantation
post fifteen miles north of St. Augustine, in the vicinity of present
Palm Valley. Leaving troops to hold it, he then retired back to the
mouth of the St. Johns River to await the arrival of his other military

During early April six half galleys from Cuba slipped into St.
Augustine’s Matanzas Bay in response to Governor Montiano’s frantic
pleas for assistance. They were commanded by the same Juan de León
Fandiño, who is reputed to have cut off Jenkins’ ear, and proved an
important factor in saving the city.

    [Illustration: _Map showing disposition of Oglethorpe’s forces, and
    batteries shelling the town from what is now Davis Shores._]

  _A_ _View_ of the _Town_ and _Castle_ of S^t. Augustine, and the
  _English Camp_ before it June 20.1740. by _Tho^s Silver_.

Oglethorpe’s other military units finally arrived and he moved south
over the land route from the St. Johns River, and occupied Fort Mosa,
two miles north of the capital. In addition to his Georgia regiment, he
now had a detachment of Carolina militia, a company of Highlanders, some
Indian allies, and the assistance of an English naval unit of four
twenty-gun ships and two sloops, a total force of about 900.

His original plan of making a concerted attack on the city from its land
approaches and waterfront was thwarted. The inlet proved too shallow for
the English ships to enter and provide a covering fire for the landing
of marines. The Spanish half galleys received from Cuba effectively
controlled the bay. They were a small maneuverable type of boat,
propelled by oars and sail, and mounted long brass nine-pounders.

To attack from the north, the English would be exposed to a murderous
fire from the Castillo and Cubo Line. The only alternative was a siege
that might starve St. Augustine into submission. Colonel Palmer, who had
raided the city in 1728, was assigned to hold Fort Mosa with a hundred
Highlanders and a few Indians, and prevent supplies from reaching St.
Augustine from the north. Colonel Vanderdusen, with the Carolina
detachment, was stationed on Point Quartel, north of the inlet. Guns
were landed on Anastasia Island and dragged into position as near the
fort and town as the swampy terrain would permit. The English naval unit
tightly blockaded the coast and inlets to prevent aid from reaching St.
Augustine by sea. General Oglethorpe then boldly called upon Governor
Montiano to surrender. The latter replied that he would be glad to shake
hands with his Excellency within the castle’s walls.

From their batteries across the bay, the English began an intermittent
bombardment of the fort and town that continued for some twenty-seven
days. The terrified inhabitants withdrew out of range, greeting each
enemy shot with a chorus of _Ave Marias_.

On the night of June 26th, during a lull in the bombardment, Spanish and
Negro troops crept out of the defense lines, and at dawn fell upon the
English at Fort Mosa. Palmer and fifty of his men were killed, and some
taken prisoner.

Within the city supplies were fast diminishing. Governor Montiano sent
messengers to Cuba, stating that if aid was not sent all at St.
Augustine would soon perish. On July 7th he received encouraging word
that two vessels from Cuba had eluded the English blockade and slipped
into Mosquito Inlet, eighty miles to the south. Pursued by the English
patrol, they managed to reach Matanzas Inlet, and from that point
supplies were brought up the inland waterway to relieve the beleaguered

The hot summer sun beat down on the English camps across the bay. Swarms
of sandflies and mosquitoes tortured the besiegers. Due to brackish
water from shallow wells and improper food, many were ill. Groups of the
Carolina militia were daily deserting. The commander of the English
naval unit informed Oglethorpe that he would soon be forced to withdraw
his support, because of limited supplies and the danger of storms. Faced
by these unfavorable circumstances, General Oglethorpe raised the siege,
crossed over to the mainland, and began the long trek back to Georgia.

The people of St. Augustine returned jubilantly to their homes, which
had suffered little or no damage in the bombardment. Chapels and
churches rang with _Te Deums_ of thanksgiving.

_Further Hostilities_

St. Augustine had successfully stemmed the English advance. Spain
further strengthened its garrison and defenses. Spanish privateers, some
of them based at St. Augustine, preyed upon English commerce and
plantations along the coast to the north. During 1741 no less than
thirty English prizes were brought into Matanzas Bay.

Oglethorpe momentarily expected the Spanish to launch a return attack
upon Georgia. During June of 1742 a Georgia scout boat discovered
fifteen sail in St. Augustine’s harbor. Soon more arrived, and a strong
expedition composed of units from St. Augustine and Cuba set out for
Georgia, with Florida’s Governor Montiano in command. The attack was
directed toward Fort Frederica, which guarded the approaches to
Savannah. Landing on St. Simon’s Island, this superior Spanish force was
ambushed and defeated in the Battle of Bloody Marsh, and withdrew to its
camp. Soon afterward a Frenchman deserted the English and went over to
the Spaniards. Oglethorpe contrived to send the Frenchman a letter, in
which he directed him to lead the Spaniards to believe that the English
were weak, and to persuade them to attack. As expected, the letter fell
into the hands of the Spanish commanders, who were at a loss as to how
to interpret it. Much to Oglethorpe’s relief they decided to withdraw.

Encouraged by his success, Oglethorpe returned to Florida next year.
Marching ninety-six miles in four days, he appeared before St. Augustine
with a small detachment, keeping his main force hidden in ambush. His
ruse might have succeeded, had he not captured in his advance a small
company of Spaniards guarding some workmen. Their failure to return
alerted the garrison. After a few days he withdrew, remarking that “the
Spaniards are so meek there is no provoking them.”

Frederica, which Oglethorpe had established as a Georgia military
stronghold against the Spaniards, gradually became a ghost town after
peace was restored in 1748. In the meantime Oglethorpe returned to
England and never threatened St. Augustine or Florida again. In England
he became an intimate of the great literary figures of the day, and
lived to the ripe old age of 96.

The next twenty years might be called St. Augustine’s Golden Age under
Spain. Substantial coquina houses and tastefully decorated chapels lined
its narrow streets. The inhabitants lived in relative ease and comfort.
Social life was gay with colorful carnivals and religious celebrations
rivaling those of Havana, Cuba. The capital was now a city of three
thousand souls, and would soon be two centuries old. Florida seemed held
firmly in the grip of Spain.

But English colonists to the north now numbered almost one million and
one hundred thousand Frenchmen had settled in Canada. The struggle for
power among European nations was to decide St. Augustine’s fate.

    [Illustration: _St. Augustine’s Spanish colonial origin is reflected
    in its architecture and narrow streets._]

    [Illustration: _Photo courtesy National Galleries of Scotland; from
    portrait by Allan Ramsay, circa 1750, reproduced with permission of
    its owner, the Duke of Sutherland._

    _Colonel James Grant, St. Augustine’s first British governor, served
    from 1764 to 1771._]

                               CHAPTER IV
                           Under British Rule

While St. Augustine lived on in apparent security, ominous events were
taking place in the world outside. England and France fought the Seven
Years’ War, toward the end of which Spain allied itself with France. Far
to the north French Quebec fell to English arms in 1759, and to the
south Havana, Cuba, on which St. Augustine heavily depended, yielded to
an English fleet in 1762. Ministers of the three nations gathered at
Paris to decide the terms of peace.

On March 16, 1763, a lieutenant from the English sloop _Bonetta_ came
ashore at St. Augustine with important papers for the governor, who was
astounded by what he read. Under the terms of the treaty just concluded,
Spain ceded Florida to England in exchange for the return of Havana and
other territorial concessions.

St. Augustine’s shocked residents soon gathered around the proclamation
posted on the government house. It specified they would be given
eighteen months in which to settle their affairs, dispose of their
property, and evacuate Florida, unless they desired to become subjects
of the British Crown. The very thought of remaining under English rule
violated their deep devotion to King and Church. All prepared to leave;
only eight being designated to remain in an official capacity.

Busy months followed. Homes were stripped for their furnishings. Linens,
silver, clothing, and various personal articles were packed into chests
and boxes. Tearful groups gathered at the landing place to bid farewell
to friends and neighbors. Some residents were able to sell their
property to the English, who were at first hard-pressed to find
accommodations, but much remained unsold and was left in the custody of
Spanish agents until more English buyers might appear. Some, including
that of the Church, was deeded in trust to two friendly English traders,
John Gordon and Jesse Fish.

On July 30, 1763, Major Francis Ogilvie arrived at St. Augustine with an
English regiment. English soldiers in their bright red coats paraded
brazenly on the Plaza green, while remaining Spaniards looked on in
sullen resentment. Governor Feliú and the last of the Spanish families
sailed on January 21, 1764. The departing Spaniards took with them all
of their movable possessions including, it is said, the bones of their
former governor and the remains of several of their Saints.

    [Illustration: _The British divided the territory into two
    provinces—East Florida, with St. Augustine as its capital, and West
    Florida, with Pensacola as its capital._]

    New Orleans
  Mississippi River
  Apalachicola River
      ★St. Augustine
      New Smyrna

Records show that St. Augustine at the time of the Spanish evacuation
had a population of 3,096—961 men, chiefly soldiers and officials; 798
women, and 1,337 children. The majority went to Cuba and the West Indies
to find new homes. The English flag with its cross of St. George waved
over the capital. The stout Castillo, the narrow streets, and the name
St. Augustine remained.

_British Rule Begins_

St. Augustine became virtually deserted except for the presence of the
English staff and garrison. Dust and cobwebs soon covered the Spanish
shrines. Weeds and brush grew deep in the yards of the vacated homes. As
time went on a few English families began to move in, and English
gentlemen of wealth and standing arrived to look over this new province
which their country had acquired.

On a hot August day of 1764 a salute of the fort’s guns greeted the
arrival of Colonel James Grant, who came from London to serve as East
Florida’s first English governor. He had earlier led an expedition
against French-held Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh) and had served in the
Cherokee Indian wars in Carolina.

Governor Grant brought to St. Augustine all the picturesque qualities of
English colonial life. Handsomely attired gentlemen moved about the
streets in their white stockings, silk or velvet knee-breeches, and rich
embroidered coats with lace at the cuff. Grant’s distinguished Council
included the aristocratic Moultries from South Carolina, Chief Justice
William Drayton, and the Episcopal clergyman, John Forbes. Also across
the scene moved Frederick George Mulcaster, reputed to be the natural
brother of England’s King, George III.

Liberal grants of land were offered by the British to attract colonists
to East Florida. Glowing accounts of its agricultural possibilities were
published and circulated. Titled English gentlemen and wealthy Carolina
planters secured grants of land in the vicinity of the capital and along
the St. Johns River. The eccentric Denys Rolle established a colony
called Rollestown near the present site of East Palatka, where he
planned to rehabilitate derelicts from the streets of London.

By 1768 Governor Grant was able to report encouraging progress: “This
province, which was a desert when I came into it, although inhabited by
the Spaniards two hundred years, will soon be a fruitful country. It
fills faster with inhabitants than I could have well expected, and there
are already a number of slaves at work on the different plantations.”

In contrast with conditions under Spanish rule, vessels began to sail
from St. Augustine with cargoes of indigo, barrels of oranges, casks of
orange juice, lumber and naval stores. Grant made various improvements
to the governor’s residence, facing the Parade, or Plaza. The Franciscan
Monastery was converted to serve as quarters for the garrison, and later
large new barracks were erected along the bayfront south of it. One of
the churches left by the Spaniards was taken over by the English, and
later remodelled by Lieutenant-Governor Moultrie, with the addition of a
handsome clock and steeple. It was called St. Peter’s.

    [Illustration: _A view of the Governor’s residence in St. Augustine
    from a drawing made in 1764._]

    [Illustration: _Map showing location of Minorca._]

_The New Smyrna Colony_

During Grant’s administration, a Doctor Andrew Turnbull and associates
of London secured a large grant of land near Mosquito Inlet, some eighty
miles south of St. Augustine. There they planned to establish a
plantation colony for the production of indigo, for which the British
government offered an attractive bounty. Turnbull named the place New
Smyrna in honor of his wife’s native Smyrna, where he had also spent
some time.

After visiting East Florida to inspect his landgrant, Turnbull returned
to Europe to recruit colonists from the shores of the Mediterranean. He
secured some 200 from Greece, 110 from Italy, and then went on to the
Island of Minorca, where several years of drought had impoverished many
of the inhabitants. This island, one of the Balearic group off the coast
of Spain, was then an English possession. At its port of Mahón more
people than expected flocked to join the projected colony, bringing the
total to around 1,400.

In the spring of 1768 eight vessels brought these hopeful colonists to
East Florida, saddened by the death of almost 150 during the long
crowded voyage from the British base at Gibraltar. As customary in those
days, these colonists bound themselves to work for a period of seven or
eight years in return for their passage and sustenance, after which they
were to receive parcels of land and freedom from further obligation.

After touching at St. Augustine the vessels proceeded to New Smyrna,
where crude shelters were built. Clearing the land for cultivation, and
in the meantime feeding and clothing such a large number of people
proved more difficult and expensive than anticipated. Due in part to
crude living conditions, three hundred died during the first winter.
Soon after their arrival, some of the Greeks and Italians broke into the
storehouse, fatally wounded an overseer, and were on the point of
sailing for Cuba when intercepted by an armed vessel sent from St.
Augustine to subdue them. The ringleaders were later captured, brought
to the capital, tried, and three condemned to death. One was pardoned on
agreeing to act as executioner for the other two.

Governor Grant, who fully supported Turnbull and wanted to see his New
Smyrna colony thrive, returned to England in 1771. He was temporarily
succeeded by Lieutenant-Governor Moultrie. In 1774 Patrick Tonyn, an
ardent and arbitrary Loyalist, arrived from England to take over the
governorship of East Florida. Serious friction developed between these
officials and a faction in East Florida that included Turnbull, Chief
Justice Drayton, and others as to convening a representative assembly,
such as Virginia and other English colonies in America enjoyed. The
“inflamed faction,” as Tonyn termed them, questioned the power of the
governor and his Council to rule arbitrarily in the absence of an
elected legislative body. They became bitter personal and political

    [Illustration: _A view from the Governor’s window, looking toward
    Matanzas Bay, about where the Bridge of Lions stands today. From a
    drawing in the British archives made in 1764._]

In 1776 Chief Justice Drayton and Turnbull sailed for London to seek
redress and answer Tonyn’s charges. During Turnbull’s absence, the
surviving New Smyrna colonists, who now numbered barely 600 out of the
1,400 who had left their Mediterranean homes, secretly sent a delegation
to St. Augustine. They demanded release from their contracts and
reported being cruelly treated by their overseers. Assured of Governor
Tonyn’s sympathy and protection, all of the surviving colonists—men,
women, and children—later marched in a body up the King’s Road to St.
Augustine. Turnbull returned from London in the fall of 1777 to find
himself and his New Smyrna colony ruined.

At St. Augustine the refugees were assigned lands north of the City
Gates, where they built crude shelters and managed to eke out a living
by fishing, hunting, and gardening. Time proved them a self-reliant,
industrious people, who gradually attained more comfortable
circumstances. They and their descendants became a distinctive part of
St. Augustine, and continued to live in the city down to the present

    [Illustration: _His Excellency, Patrick Tonyn, Governor of East
    Florida for ten years, from 1774 to 1784. From a portrait in the
    Division of Prints and Engravings, British Museum._]

_During the Revolution_

Soon after Tonyn became governor of East Florida reports began to reach
St. Augustine of unrest in the English colonies to the north, followed
by news of bloodshed at Lexington and Bunker Hill. Tonyn suspected some
in East Florida of being in sympathy with the rebel cause, including his
old enemies, Drayton and Turnbull. Most of the inhabitants, however, had
arrived too recently from England or other loyal colonies to desire
independence. St. Augustine remained as faithful to its English rulers
as it had been to its Spanish Kings.

In 1775 two detachments of troops, comprising 160 men, were sent from
St. Augustine to Williamsburg, Virginia, to support hard-pressed
Governor Dunmore. During August of that year another incident brought
the war home. The British brigantine _Betsy_ lay off St. Augustine’s
inlet with a cargo of gunpowder for the garrison. A rebel sloop from
Charleston swooped down and captured it within sight of people on shore.
When the news of the signing of the Declaration of Independence reached
this East Florida capital, there was no rejoicing. Instead angry
Loyalists gathered in the Plaza to cheer the burning of straw-stuffed
dummies, representing Samuel Adams and John Hancock.

Expeditions left St. Augustine to attack the “traitorous neighbors” in
Georgia and Carolina. They in turn organized forces to invade East
Florida. These resulted in little more than border skirmishes. The _East
Florida Rangers_, a militia organized by Tonyn, plundered the frontier
of cattle, from the sale of which the governor is said to have profited.
As the war progressed an increasing number of Loyalists fled from
patriot wrath into East Florida.

Some of the prisoners of war taken by the British in various engagements
were shipped to St. Augustine to be held until exchanged. In 1780 forty
prominent American Patriots, captured at Charleston, were brought here.
They included three signers of the Declaration of Independence—Edward
Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, and Thomas Heyward, Jr.

The surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, marked
virtually the end of the conflict. The English evacuation of Savannah in
1782, followed by their withdrawal from Charleston, caused Loyalists to
pour into East Florida and St. Augustine by the thousands. Housing was
inadequate. Many of the unfortunate refugees lived in mere huts of
thatched palmetto leaves. Plays were given in the statehouse for their
benefit. One of the newcomers set up a print shop and began publishing
Florida’s first newspaper, the _East Florida Gazette_. The population of
East Florida soared to 17,000 including slaves.

In 1781 Governor Tonyn finally called East Florida’s first Legislative
Assembly. It met in the statehouse at St. Augustine that year and again
during the winter of 1782-83. But there was little left for it to do but
pass laws governing the conduct of the many slaves, who had poured into
East Florida with their Loyalist owners.

_Another Treaty_

Toward the end of the Revolutionary War in 1779 Spain declared war on
England in alliance with France. A Spanish expedition captured
English-held Mobile in 1780 and Pensacola in 1781. Spanish spies were
active in St. Augustine, which braced itself for an attack on East
Florida that was planned but never carried out.

Across the sea in Paris ministers of England, France, and Spain gathered
again at the peace table, and another treaty was concluded. On April 21,
1783, Governor Tonyn announced what had already become generally known,
that England had ceded the Floridas and Minorca back to Spain in
exchange for the retention of Gibraltar and other territories. British
subjects were given eighteen months in which to dispose of their
property and evacuate Florida.

This trend of events was a crushing blow to East Florida’s numerous
English residents. Many had just recently moved to the province,
purchased or built new homes, and cleared land for cultivation. New
towns had grown up, such as St. Johns Bluff, which contained 300 houses,
two taverns, stores, and even a lodge of Freemasons. Appeals were
addressed to the British Crown to retain possession of East Florida, but
to no avail.

A period of confusion and disorder followed. Lawless elements, termed
_banditti_, took advantage of the unsettled conditions to plunder
plantations and travelers. The painful evacuation of the English
continued through the year 1784 and the spring of 1785. Many took the
wilderness trails to the west, others went to the Bahamas, some returned
to England, or embarked for Nova Scotia, Jamaica, Dominica and
elsewhere. They took with them all of their movable possessions. Even
the bells and pews of their church, and a crude fire engine were loaded
aboard ship for transfer to another colony in the Bahamas.

The Minorcans, who had moved to St. Augustine from New Smyrna in 1777,
were not greatly disturbed by the impending change in sovereignty. They
were Catholics and spoke a language similar to Spanish. They supported
themselves by fishing, hunting, and by cultivating small groves and
gardens. Some had become small shopkeepers. St. Augustine was their
chosen home.

Many English still remained when Governor Zéspedes arrived off St.
Augustine with thirteen vessels to take over the province of East
Florida for Spain. The official transfer of the government took place on
July 12, 1784. The Spanish flag was unfurled again over the capital to
volleys from the Spanish infantry and a fourteen-gun salute from the
artillery. “On the following day,” Governor Zéspedes wrote, “we rendered
dutiful and solemn adoration to Christ the King, by attending the _Te

The curtain fell on twenty years of English occupation, and a second
period under Spain began.

    [Illustration: _A page from Florida’s first newspaper, the East
    Florida Gazette, published at St. Augustine February 1, 1783 to
    March 22, 1784._]

                        _East-Florida_ GAZETTE.

           Nullius Addictus Jurare    In Verba Magistri. Hor.

          From _SATURDAY_, May 10, to SATURDAY, May 17, 1783.

St. AUGUSTINE, May 17.

On Sunday last arrived off our Bar, after a tedious passage from New
York, his Majesty’s ships Narcissus and Bellisarius, having under convoy
four vessels laden with provisions for this province. Three other
victuallers had sailed in company, also for this place, but separated by
some accident on the passage.


_By his Excellency_ Patrick Tonyn, _Esquire, Captain General, Governour
      and Commander in chief in and over his Majesty’s Province of
      East-Florida, Chancellor and Vice Admiral of the fleet._

                             A PROCLAMATION

Whereas his Excellency Sir Guy Carleton, Commanding in chief his
Majesty’s forces in North America, hath informed me that provisions to
the 1st of October next, have been sent to this province, for the
support of his Majesty’s good and faithful subjects, who have been under
the necessity of leaving the provinces of South Carolina and Georgia:
And whereas his Excellency the Hon. Robert Digby Esquire, commanding his
Majesty’s naval forces in North America, from his tender and
compassionate regard for the sufferings of his Majesty’s loyal subjects,
and anxious to lighten their distresses by every means in his power,
hath given me the strongest assurances of every assistance being
afforded the inhabitants of this province for their removal; that the
commanding officer of his Majesty’s ships of war on this station has his
directions to consult the convenience of the inhabitants; and that
transports may be had for such of them as wish to proceed to England or
the West-Indies, or any other part of his Majesty’s dominions, previous
to the evacuation of the said province, which probably will not be
effected during the course of this summer, as there are no accounts of
the definitive treaty of peace being signed. I have therefore thought
fit by and with the advice of his Majesty’s Honourable Council, to
notify and make publick, and I do hereby notify and make publick such
information and assurances to all his Majesty’s good and faithful
subjects of this his Majesty’s faithful province of East-Florida; and
that such of the said inhabitants, who may not be employed in
agriculture, and are desirous of taking the easiest opportunity of
departing, do forthwith give in their names, numbers, and destination,
to the Secretary’s Office, that they may be properly accomodated, hereby
offering every assistance and support in my power; and I do earnestly
recommend and require all his Majesty’s said subjects who may be
employed in agriculture, to be attentive in raising their crops of
provisions now in the ground for their future subsistence.

                                                          PATRICK TONYN.

_Given under my Hand, and the Great Seal of his Majesty’s said Province,
      in the Council Chamber, at St. Augustine, the twenty-ninth day of
      April, one thousand seven hundred and eighty three, and in the
      twenty-third year of his Majesty’s Reign._

                             God save the King!
  _By his Excellency’s command_,
    David Yeates, Secretary.

All persons who have any demands against the estate of the late John
Reid deceased, are required to bring in their accounts properly
attested, and all those any ways indebted to the said estate, are
required to make payment immediately to

      WILLIAM DENNIE.    Adms.
  _St. Augustine, April_ 12, 1783.

                           (_BY PERMISSION._)
                  On TUESDAY Evening, the 10th of May,
                           WILL BE PRESENTED,
                           _At the THEATRE_,
                         In the _STATE-HOUSE_,
                               A Tragedy,
                       _To which will be added_,
                         The _ENTERTAINMENT_ of
                            BARNABY BRITTLE;
    The Characters by Gentlemen, for the benefit of the _distressed

Doors to be opened at SIX o’Clock; Performance to commence at SEVEN; no
money taken at the door, nor any person admitted behind the scenes.

    Tickets to be had at Mr. Johnston’s store, formerly Mr. Payne’s.
                 _PITT, 3s. 9d._    _GALLERY, 4s. 9d._

                            PUBLICK AUCTION.
                    On THURSDAY next, the 22d inst.
                          _At ELEVEN o’Clock_,
                             WILL BE SOLD,
                          (_Without reserve_)
               At Major Manton’s quarters, new Barracks,

  A MAHOGANY Bed-stead with elegant Furniture, and Window Curtains
  A good eight-day Clock
  A double Chest of Drawers
  A Book Case
  A Desk and other Drawers
  Chairs and a Sopha
  Pier, Chimney and dressing Glasses
  Brass and other Doggs
  Tea and Table China
  Glasses and Glass
  A well toned Guittar
  Some Plate, &c. &c.

Any person having the following NEGROES, good property, which they wish
to dispose of, may hear of a purchaser, who will pay down the cash, by
applying to the Printer.

_A good Carpenter, two Bricklayers, a Black-Smith and a good Gardener._


Stolen or strayed out of my yard, on the night of Tuesday last, a bright
bay Horse, upwards of fourteen hands high, about eight years old, paces,
trots, and canters; lately branded on the mounting shoulder, M.S. with a
slit in his left ear. The above reward will be given to any person that
will deliver the said Horse to the subscriber in St. Augustine, Captain
Cameron in Pacalato, or to Mr. Sutherland at Hester’s Bluff.
                                                          JAMES SEYMOUR.

                            _NOTARY PUBLIC._
                              JOHN MILLS,
  _For the conveniency of Captains of Vessels, Merchants and others_,
                          HEREBY GIVES NOTICE,
                   That he keeps his _Notary-Office_

At his House the North end of _Charlotte-street_, near the house of Mr.
Robert Mills, House Carpenter.

       All sorts of LAW PRECEDENTS done with care and expedition.

                               CHAPTER V
                          Spanish Rule Returns

When they reoccupied Florida in 1784, the Spaniards had changed but
little during their twenty-year absence from the scene. With their
return St. Augustine reverted to its former status as an isolated
military post, heavily dependent upon outside sources for its supplies
and financial support.

Agriculture was neglected and brush soon covered the plantation fields,
which the English and their slaves had cleared. Indians again roamed at
will through the countryside. On the heels of the departing English they
burned Bella Vista, the beautiful country estate of Lieutenant-Governor
Moultrie, located a few miles south of St. Augustine in the community
now bearing his name.

The population of the capital, which had overflowed into new districts
just before the English left, shrank to a fraction of its former size.
Only a few score English remained to take the required oath of
allegiance to the Spanish Crown. A relatively small number of St.
Augustine’s former Spanish residents, or _Floridanos_, uprooted in 1763,
returned from Cuba to claim their former homes. The Minorcan group,
including a few Greeks and Italians, made up the major portion of St.
Augustine’s civilian inhabitants.

Vacant houses stared blankly along the narrow streets. Some with flat
roofs and outside kitchens were relics of the first Spanish period.
Others had been remodelled after the English taste with glass window
panes, gabled roofs, and chimneys. St. Peter’s Church, in which the
English had worshipped, remained unoccupied and soon became a ruin.

Although a Spanish possession, St. Augustine acquired from time to time
interesting residents of other nationalities. Juan McQueen, a close
friend of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Lafayette, came to
the city in 1791 to escape embarrassing debts, and held official
positions under the Spanish regime until death closed his colorful
career in 1807. John Leslie, the famous English trader, also lived here
after the Revolutionary War. The firm of Panton, Leslie and Company
enjoyed a monopoly in trading with the Indians of Florida, and supplied
St. Augustine with many of its needs on liberal credit.

    [Illustration: _Ruins of the Fish mansion on Anastasia, or Fish’s
    Island, from a pencil sketch made by the Rev. Henry J. Morton in

Philip Fatio, a Swiss, owned a large plantation on the St. Johns River
in a section now known as Switzerland. He maintained a store and
residence at St. Augustine, and had other extensive land holdings. Among
the Minorcan group was an Estevan Benet, one of whose descendants was
Stephen Vincent Benet, the noted writer.

Jesse Fish lived across the bay on what is now called Fish’s Island with
his many slaves and famous orange grove, from which he shipped fruit and
juice to England. He was sent to St. Augustine as a youth by a trading
firm during the first Spanish period, won the confidence of the
Spaniards, and remained as custodian of some of their property through
the English regime. The old patriarch still occupied his coquina mansion
across the bay when the Spaniards returned.

Father Pedro Camps, Padre of the Minorcan group, followed them to St.
Augustine from New Smyrna in 1777, and continued as their beloved
spiritual leader until his death in 1790. Also prominent in the city’s
religious life was Father Michael O’Reilly, an Irish priest, who came
with Governor Zéspedes in 1784 and remained active until removed by
death in 1812.

Life in St. Augustine followed a distinctive pattern, due to its
isolation and lack of frequent communication with other cities. It was
Spanish in language, dress, customs, and for the most part in
architecture and population. Some of its officials and planters owned
slaves, fine horses, and lived comfortably if not elaborately. They
enjoyed leisure time for gambling, cock fighting, and to lounge through
the long summers in a cool patio or at a congenial tavern. The populace
was characteristically lazy and did little more than necessary to keep
body and soul together. As in other Spanish colonies, the _siesta_, or
after-dinner nap, was routine. During the mid-day heat streets were
deserted and nothing stirred as if under the spell of an enchanter’s

    [Illustration: _Old print of Plaza showing Cathedral and
    Constitution monument._]

One of the chief additions made to the city during its second Spanish
period was the construction of a graceful new Parish Church. The
building was begun in 1791, dedicated in 1797, and later consecrated as
a Cathedral. Damaged by fire in 1887, it was restored the following year
with the addition of the present clock tower. The Spaniards also
commenced a new Treasury building, which was never completed due to lack
of funds. Its mute walls remained standing until after the Civil War.

For a time the Spanish government offered grants of land in East Florida
on liberal terms to attract settlers. Hardy pioneers from the adjacent
South poured in, who secretly wanted to overthrow Spanish rule. Fearing
this influence, Spain closed the territory to further settlement by
Americans in 1804.

The story of East Florida and its capital from 1800 on is one of
increasing difficulties, caused by the course of events in Europe and
friction with neighboring southern states. Spain’s wealth and power were
rapidly declining. One after another her American colonies sought and
won their independence. In the southeastern United States sentiment for
the possession of Florida was fanned by Indian raids and the loss of
slaves across the border, which Spanish officials seemed to do little to

In 1812, to assuage popular clamor, the Spanish Cortés adopted a more
liberal constitution, and decreed that monuments be erected to
commemorate it. At St. Augustine a coquina shaft was raised that still
graces its Plaza, but scarcely had it been dedicated when the
constitution was revoked, and the monuments were ordered dismantled.
Here only the tablets were removed and later replaced.

_The North Florida Republic_

When the war of 1812 broke out between England and the United States, it
was feared that England, then allied with Spain, might seize the
Floridas as a base for military operations. The Congress authorized
President Madison to appoint two agents, who were to endeavor to secure
the temporary cession of East and West Florida to the United States. In
the event this failed, steps were to be taken to forcibly occupy the
provinces, should England threaten to seize them.

President Madison appointed old General Matthews as his agent to East
Florida. He was a Revolutionary War veteran and a former governor of
Georgia. With promises of liberal grants of land, Matthews encouraged
the planters along the northern borders of East Florida to set up an
independent republic. The plan was to then turn over the territory it
occupied to the United States. After seizing Fernandina these Patriots,
as they were termed, advanced on St. Augustine with a small detachment
of regular troops, occupied Fort Mosa on its northern outskirts, and
called upon the Spanish governor to surrender. He sent a gunboat up the
river to dislodge them, but they continued to camp in the vicinity for
several months. St. Augustine was cut off from supplies and the
surrounding country plundered by Indians and outlaws.

    [Illustration: _The unfinished Spanish Treasury on St. George
    Street, from a sketch made in 1867. Present Old Spanish Treasury,
    shown in the background, still stands._]

Loud Spanish and English protests caused President Madison to recall his
agents and repudiate their actions.

    [Illustration: _Streets such as this once were gay with costumed

_A Bit of Spain_

In a _Narrative of a Voyage to the Spanish Main_, published in 1819, an
Englishman gives the following description of St. Augustine’s residents
during this period:

  “The women are deservedly celebrated for their charm, their lovely
  black eyes have a vast deal of expression, their complexions a clear
  brunette; much attention is paid to the arrangement of their hair; at
  Mass they are always well dressed in black silk _basquinas_ with the
  little _mantilla_ over their heads; the men in their military

The same traveler later returned to St. Augustine by land, and found the
city in a gay mood despite its difficulties.

  “I had arrived at the season of general relaxation, on the eve of the
  Carnival, which is celebrated with much gaiety in all Catholic
  countries. Masks, dominoes, harlequins, punchinelloes, and a variety
  of grotesque disguises, on horseback, in carts, gigs, and on foot
  paraded the streets with guitars, violins, and other instruments; and
  in the evening the houses were opened to receive masks, and balls were
  given in every direction.”

_Ceded to the United States_

After the War of 1812 there was still friction between Spanish Florida
and the United States. Bands of Indians and escaped slaves occupied
choice lands of the Florida interior, fortified the navigable rivers,
and made occasional raids across the border. The Spanish garrison was
not large enough to control lawless elements. In 1817 Fernandina and
Amelia Island were taken over by MacGregor, an English soldier of
fortune, later occupied by the pirate Autry, and became a den of outlaws
and smugglers. United States troops were sent to dislodge them and
restore law and order. General Andrew Jackson led an expedition into
north central and west Florida in 1818 to punish the Indians, and after
destroying their strongholds occupied Pensacola.

England and Spain vehemently protested these violations of Spanish
territory. Negotiations for the purchase of Florida were reopened.
During February of 1819 a treaty was concluded whereby Spain finally
ceded Florida to the United States, which appropriated up to five
million dollars to pay the claims of Americans arising from the recent
depredations. Spain ratified the treaty in 1820.

On July 10, 1821, Colonel Robert Butler and a small detachment of United
States troops received possession of East Florida and Castillo de San
Marcos from José Coppinger, the last of the Spanish governors. After the
Spanish flag was lowered, leaving the stars and stripes flying over the
fortress, Spanish troops marched out between lines of American soldiers
and they mutually saluted. The Spaniards then boarded American
transports waiting to convey them to Cuba, one of the few remaining
possessions of Spain’s great colonial empire in America.

    [Illustration: _The Llambias House, a picturesque St. Augustine home
    dating back to the first Spanish period._]

                               CHAPTER VI
                        Under the United States

St. Augustine was at last a part of the United States. Most of its
Spanish residents bid the narrow streets farewell. The Minorcans, now
firmly domiciled here, made up the major portion of the town’s
population. Many by this time had risen to positions of influence in its

Officials of the new regime found St. Augustine a rather dilapidated old
town, devoid of progress and ambition. Due to the poverty that had
marked the closing years of the second Spanish period, public and
private buildings were badly run down, some almost in ruins. Soon after
the change of flags, speculators and promoters flocked to the city, and
were quartered in some of the deserted houses. In the fall of 1821 an
epidemic of dreaded yellow fever carried off many of the newcomers. A
new cemetery was opened up near the City Gates to receive the victims, a
few of whom may have been of Huguenot descent. It became known as the
Huguenot, or Protestant cemetery.

In spite of its unkempt condition, St. Augustine possessed a certain
mellow charm. At times the scent of orange blossoms hung heavy in the
air and could be noticed by passing ships at sea. Along the narrow
streets latticed gates led into cool courtyards and secluded gardens.
There was no industry or commerce to disturb the serenity of the scene.
St. Augustine’s shallow inlet, which preserved it from its enemies, also
prevented it from becoming a place of bustling trade.

_Visitors Begin to Arrive_

Although difficult to reach by sea because of its treacherous bar, and
by land over a road that was little more than a trail, a few adventurous
travelers began to visit this quaint old city, which the United States
had recently acquired. They were chiefly invalids and tubercular
victims, for whom the mild winter climate was considered beneficial.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was later to become the noted New England poet
and philosopher, visited St. Augustine in 1827, at the age of 23,
suffering from what he termed a “stricture of the chest.” During his ten
weeks’ stay he recorded in his journal and letters his impressions of
the city as he then saw it.

“St. Augustine is the oldest town of Europeans in North America,” he
observed, “full of ruins, chimneyless houses, lazy people, horse-keeping
intolerably dear, and bad milk from swamp grass, as all their hay comes
from the North.”

    [Illustration: _Napoleon Achille Murat, one of St. Augustine’s early

But it restored his health and later he was inspired to comment: “The
air and sky of this ancient, fortified, dilapidated sandbank of a town
are delicious. It is a queer place. There are eleven or twelve hundred
people and these are invalids, public officials, and Spaniards, or
rather Minorcans.”

While here Emerson met another distinguished visitor of the time, Prince
Napoleon Achille Murat, son of the King of Naples, and nephew of the
great Napoleon. Murat came to Florida in 1824, purchased an estate south
of St. Augustine, and was a frequent visitor to the city, living here
for a time during the Seminole War. He later settled on a plantation
near Tallahassee. St. Augustine began to prosper in a small way from its
increasing number of visitors and winter residents.

_The Freeze of 1835_

The growing of oranges was an important industry in St. Augustine and
its vicinity at this time. Many of its residents derived their principal
income from the sale of the golden fruit, which was shipped by sloop to
northern cities. The town was described by visitors as being virtually
bowered in groves, and on each side of the Plaza were two rows of
handsome orange trees, planted by Governor Grant during the English

During February of 1835 a biting cold of extended duration swept down
out of the northwest. At nearby Jacksonville the thermometer dropped to
eight degrees, and ice formed on the St. Johns River. St. Augustine’s
beautiful orange groves were killed to the ground, sweeping away the
main source of livelihood for many of its people. Only the bare trunks
and branches remained, making the city look bleak and desolate.

Some of the trees sprouted from their damaged roots; others were
planted, and in a few decades St. Augustine’s orange groves were again
the subject of admiring comment on the part of visitors. But during the
winter of 1894-95 another freeze destroyed them. The citrus industry
moved farther south and was not again revived on a commercial scale in
St. Augustine or its immediate vicinity.

    [Illustration: _Osceola, colorful leader of the Seminoles. From a
    portrait by George Catlin, painted during the chief’s imprisonment
    at Fort Moultrie, S. C._]

_The Seminole War_

The Seminole War followed closely on the heels of the disastrous freeze
of 1835. Shortly after New Year’s day of 1836 St. Augustine learned of
the massacre of Major Dade and his command of 110 men. They were
ambushed by Seminoles while enroute from Fort Brooke (Tampa) to Fort
King (Ocala). On the same day, December 28, 1835, General Wiley
Thompson, the Indian agent at Fort King, and another officer were
killed. Soon plantations in the vicinity of St. Augustine were attacked
and burned, and refugees arrived with gory tales of Indian atrocities.
The February 27, 1836, issue of _Niles Register_ carried the following

“The whole country south of St. Augustine has been laid waste during the
past week, and not a building of any value left standing. There is not a
single house remaining between this city and Cape Florida, a distance of
250 miles.”

When this occurred the original Indian tribes of Florida encountered by
the early Spaniards had completely disappeared. Some had been wiped out
during the long period of border conflict with the English. Others had
succumbed to epidemics of disease. By the early 1800’s the principal
Indians found in Florida were called Seminoles, and were a combination
of several tribal remnants from Georgia and Alabama.

Under United States rule the Seminoles were first restricted to a more
limited area by the Treaty of Moultrie in 1823. But as settlers
continued to pour in, a demand arose for their complete removal from
Florida to reservations in the West, which the younger Seminole leaders
were determined to resist. The effort to force their removal to western
reservations resulted in conflict that dragged on for seven years, from
1835 to 1842.

Officer after officer was sent to Florida to take command of operations
against the Indians, including General Winfield Scott of subsequent
Mexican War fame; and General Zachary Taylor, later to become President
of the United States. But roving bands of Seminoles continued to strike
and vanish into the dense swamps and little known woodlands.

In 1837 two prominent Seminole leaders, Osceola and Coacoochee, with
seventy of their warriors, were seized by General Hernandez under orders
from General Jesup at a point a few miles south of St. Augustine. The
Indians had come in under a white flag for a parley with United States
officers. The captives were brought to St. Augustine and imprisoned in
the Castillo, from which Coacoochee and twenty companions managed to
escape. Osceola died soon after transfer to Fort Moultrie, Charleston.

During May of 1840 a party of actors enroute from Picolata to St.
Augustine were attacked by Indians, and near the same point two St.
Augustine residents were murdered.

“It is useless to complain,” stated a news item of the day. “The fact
remains that we have been pent up in this little city for the last four
years and a half by a few worthless outlaws. Our friends and neighbors,
one after another, have been hastened to the mansions of the dead, and
he who is foolhardy enough to venture beyond the gates may be the next

But St. Augustine as usual managed to be gay. A young lieutenant,
William Tecumseh Sherman of later Civil War fame, was stationed at
Picolata and frequently rode into St. Augustine for diversion. In one of
his letters home he wrote under date of February 15, 1842:

“The inhabitants (of St. Augustine) still preserve the old ceremonies
and festivities of old Spain. Balls, masquerades, etc., are celebrated
during the gay season of the Carnival (just over), and the most
religious observance of Lent in public, whilst in private they can not
refrain from dancing and merry making. Indeed, I never saw anything like
it—dancing, dancing, and nothing but dancing, but not such as you see in
the North. Such ease and grace as I never before beheld.”

Dr. Motte, a young military surgeon, made a similar observation in his
journal: “The St. Augustine ladies certainly danced more gracefully, and
kept better time, than any of my fair country women I ever saw in
northern cities. It was really delightful to see the beautiful Minorcan
girls moving through their intricate waltz to the music of violin and

Finally most of the Seminoles were killed or surrendered for transfer to
reservations in the West. A few were allowed to remain deep in the
Everglades. There were probably less than 5,000 Indians in Florida at
the outset, yet the war involved the enlistment of 20,000 men, an
estimated cost of thirty million dollars, and 1,500 United States

St. Augustine somewhat reluctantly saw the war come to an end. The
presence of officers and troops had enlivened its social life, and
poured government funds into the city.

_A Peaceful Interlude_

The end of the Seminole War made Florida safe again for travelers.
William Cullen Bryant, the popular poet and author, paid St. Augustine a
visit in 1843 and wrote articles about the city that were widely read.
He noted that gabled roofs were rapidly replacing the flat roofs of the
first Spanish period, and that some “modern” wooden buildings had been
constructed. More than half the inhabitants still spoke the Minorcan, or
Mahonese language.

Another visitor of 1843 was Henry B. Whipple, later a prominent
Episcopal Bishop. He found masquerading still a popular pastime in the
city. Masking began during the Christmas holidays and continued until
Lent. Small groups of people dressed in various disguises spent the
evenings going from house to house, acting out their parts and
furnishing their own music with guitar and violin. Whipple wrote that
St. Augustine was still full of old ruins, and that “he liked to wander
through the narrow streets and gaze upon these monitors of time, which
whispered that the hands that built them were long since mouldering in
the grave.”

    [Illustration: _St. George Street as it looked in the 1870’s._]

In 1845 Florida became the twenty-seventh state admitted to the Union.
Tallahassee had been selected as its territorial capital in 1824, being
a compromise between St. Augustine and Pensacola, both of which were
difficult to reach from most of the state.

    [Illustration: _General Edmund Kirby Smith._]

_During the Civil War_

St. Augustine lived on, enlivened during the winter by an influx of
visitors, and drowsing undisturbed through the long summers until
aroused by another conflict—the Civil War.

Slaves played a relatively minor role in its economy, as compared with
the rest of the state. Although a few plantations in the immediate
vicinity employed slave labor, they were chiefly used as domestic
servants and were generally well treated. There was considerable Union
sentiment in the city due to its number of northern-born residents.

Edmund Kirby-Smith, who had played in St. Augustine’s streets as a boy,
became one of the leading Confederate Generals. His father came to the
city in 1822 as Judge of the Superior Court and died here in 1846. His
mother continued to occupy their home on what is now Aviles Street.
During January of 1861 she wrote her son: “Our hearts are steeped in
sadness and anxiety. Forebodings of evil yet to come depress us. We are
threatened with the greatest calamity that can befall a nation. Civil
war stares us in the face.”

In the same letter she tells of how the news of Florida’s secession from
the Union was received at St. Augustine: “Our state has seceded, and it
was announced here by the firing of cannon and musketry, and much
shooting. A large flag made by the ladies is waving on the square. By
order of the Governor of this State, the Fort, Barracks, and Federal
property were taken possession of. Cannon are mounted on the ramparts of
the Fort to defend it if any attempt should be made to retake it.”

Soon the shouting ceased and war became a stark reality with its
heartaches, poverty, and privation. Many young men from St. Augustine
went into the Confederate armies. The majority of its northern-born
residents returned to the North to live for the duration of the war. The
flow of visitors to the city ceased.

During March of 1862 a Union blockading squadron appeared off the inlet,
and an officer came ashore with a white flag to demand the city’s
surrender. During the night its small Confederate garrison withdrew.
Next morning St. Augustine was occupied by Union forces and held by them
during the remainder of the conflict. Before the Federal troops landed
the women of the city cut down the flag pole in the Plaza so that the
Union standard could not be raised where their Confederate banner had

    [Illustration: _Travelers complained bitterly of the service on the
    Picolata stage line, here shown bogged down enroute to St.
    Augustine. From a sketch made in 1867._]

_Tourist Industry Resumed_

When the Civil War came to an end in 1865, St. Augustine was three
centuries old. As the effects of the war and the reconstruction period
wore away, the entertainment of winter residents and visitors was
resumed. The city was still exceptionally quaint and foreign in

    [Illustration: {Mule-drawn streetcar}]

A visitor of 1869 found the Florida House, one of the city’s three small
hotels, crowded with guests and wrote: “The number of strangers here
greatly exceeded our expectations, and thronged in every street and
public place. The fashionable belle of Newport and Saratoga, the pale,
thoughtful clergyman of New England, were at all points encountered.”

The city badly needed better hotels and travel facilities. Visitors then
had to come up the St. Johns River by steamer to Picolata, and from
there a horse-drawn stage jolted them for eighteen miles over a
miserable road to the San Sebastian River, where a flatboat ferried the
carriage across the river to the city’s outskirts.

By 1871 travelers could go up the St. Johns River by steamer to Tocoi
Landing, and there take a mule-drawn car over a crude railroad that ran
fifteen miles east through the wilderness to St. Augustine. It was
called the St. Johns Railway and a few years later installed two
wood-burning locomotives.

    [Illustration: _The San Marco, St. Augustine’s first great resort
    hotel, was opened in 1886, and burned to the ground in 1897._]

_Its Isolation Broken_

The bonds of isolation and inaccessibility, which had retarded St.
Augustine’s growth yet preserved its Old World character, were gradually
being removed. Some signs of this awakening were apparent. “Hammers are
ringing on the walls of a new hotel,” a visitor noted, “in which
northern tourists are to be lodged, a splendid coquina wall, which might
have stood for another century, having been torn down to make room for
this ephemeral box.”

The same observer lamented that because of these changes the city was
losing some of it former charm: “The romance of the place is gradually
departing now. The merry processions of the Carnival, with mask, violin
and guitar, are no longer kept up with the old taste; the rotund Padri,
the delicate form of the Spanish lady, clad in _mantilla_ and _basquina_
are gone.”

In 1883 the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Halifax River Railway was
completed, linking the city with South Jacksonville. A mammoth
four-story wooden hotel, the San Marco, arose on a site just west of the
Castillo. The tide of tourists swelled. Souvenir shops, museums, and
showplaces sprang up.

_The Flagler Influence_

Among St. Augustine’s many visitors during the winter of 1883-84 was
Henry M. Flagler, one of the co-founders of the Standard Oil Company.
Immensely wealthy, he came to rest but was impressed with St.
Augustine’s charm and possibilities. Many well-to-do families were then
wintering on the southern shores of France and Italy, a section known as
the Riviera. Flagler believed they could be induced to come to Florida
if proper facilities were provided for them. He decided to invest in the
construction of luxurious hotels at St. Augustine that would make the
Florida coast an “American Riviera.”

His first hotel, the Ponce de Leon was begun in 1885. Two others, the
Alcazar and Casa Monica (later renamed Cordova), were soon underway
nearby. These and other Flagler-financed structures were massively built
of solid concrete in a style of architecture adapted from palaces in

The magnificent Ponce de Leon opened on January 10, 1888, the Alcazar
and Cordova soon afterward. Wealth and fashion flocked to St. Augustine,
which became termed the “Southern Newport.” Sailboats dotted the bay and
fine carriages dashed about the streets.

When Flagler began the construction of his hotels, he also purchased the
small railroads in the vicinity, improving their service and facilities
as a means of making the area easier to reach. This marked the beginning
of the Florida East Coast Railway, which he later extended down the
coast, creating Palm Beach in 1894, and launching Miami upon its career
of magic growth in 1896.

    [Illustration: _The building of the Hotel Ponce de Leon ushered in a
    new era._]

    [Illustration: _A reconstructed portion of St. George Street near
    City Gateway._]

_The Changing Scene_

Progress, like St. Augustine’s former invaders, had little respect for
the past. The old and storied inevitably gave way to the new and
so-called modern. Old houses and remaining sections of the defense lines
were torn down to make room for new buildings of the prevailing period,
and the changes were hailed as a great improvement.

Even before this took place many of the old landmarks had disappeared.
When building material was needed, St. Augustine’s residents of former
periods used the stone from some old dilapidated structure. It was much
easier than cutting and transporting new blocks of coquina from the
Anastasia Island quarries.

A visitor of 1870 reported: “Although the ruins of its former greatness
are to be seen on every side, yet by one and another means the most
venerable are passing out of sight. The Palace of the British Attorney
General (located opposite the Cathedral), which it is said was of grand
proportions, has been torn down so that the material could be used for
other buildings.”

Fires also took their toll. The settlement was completely burned by
Drake in 1586, and again burned by the Carolinians under Moore in 1702.
In 1887 flames swept the Cathedral and portions of the block north of
the Plaza. Again in 1914 a disastrous fire wiped out many of the
buildings in the older section of the city between the City Gates and
the Plaza.

    [Illustration: _The St. Augustine Historical Society’s Oldest House
    is a carefully preserved example of a Spanish colonial home._]

    [Illustration: _As in all towns of Spanish colonial origin, a
    stately Cathedral looks down upon an ancient Plaza._]

_St. Augustine Today_

In spite of the many changes made in its physical appearance down
through the centuries, many evidences of St. Augustine’s historic past
have managed to survive. Massive Castillo de San Marcos still frowns
upon the bay as it did two centuries and a half ago. The City Gateway,
remains as a mute reminder of the capital’s former defenses. The narrow
streets of the original town have defied complete alteration, and still
reflect their Old World origin and character.

The ancient Plaza, with its refreshing shade, is possibly more beautiful
now than when worn by the tread of parading garrisons. Here also stood
the residence of a long line of Spanish and English governors. Facing
the Plaza on the north the Cathedral looks down in simple dignity, its
clock and sundial marking the infinite procession of hours, days and

The city’s long period under Spain is reflected in some of its
architecture, in many of its street names, and in the general plan of
the older section, which was laid out as specified by the Spanish King.
The name St. George Street, honoring England’s patron Saint, is a legacy
from the English period, as is also Charlotte Street, named for the
queen of George III.

The bayfront commands a view of waters where ships of many kinds and
from many ports once rode at anchor. The original inlet through which
they sailed has disappeared, and a man-made channel now cuts through the
barrier islands. Davis Shores, a popular residential district across the
bay, was once a marsh from which the English shelled the fort and town
in 1740.

At the south end of the original settlement the State Arsenal occupies
the site of the Franciscan Monastery, from which the heroic Friars went
forth to Christianize the Florida Indians. Across from it the Oldest
House, owned by the St. Augustine Historical Society, preserves some of
the Spanish atmosphere of former periods. Its connecting museum and
library contain many relics and records of the past.

The Old Spanish Treasury on St. George Street was once the residence of
the Royal Treasurer, from which Treasury Street also derives its name.
North of the City Gateway the Fountain of Youth perpetuates the memory
of Ponce de Leon’s discovery of Florida and man’s longing for youth
restored. Occupying high ground nearby the Mission of Nombre de Dios
marks the probable landing place of Menéndez and the hallowed spot where
the first Parish Mass was celebrated.

Few who visit St. Augustine can fail to feel the romantic spell of its
antiquity. The memory of its eventful past still haunts its sandy shore.

    [Illustration: _New Library building of the St. Augustine Historical

The voluminous historical records of St. Augustine and early Florida are
preserved in the library of the St. Augustine Historical Society.
Assembled over a period of more than fifty years, and spanning 400 years
of history, these records include copies of literally thousands of
documents from the archives of Spain, Mexico, England, and repositories
in the United States. The collection also comprises hundreds of old
maps, various forms of pictorial material, and some 7,500 books, many of
them rare and out of print. To save space much of the material is in the
form of microfilm.

Founded in 1883, the Society is dedicated to the preservation and
accurate interpretation of St. Augustine’s rich historical heritage. It
has been long active in protecting the historic landmarks of the city,
and pioneered in restoring some of its older structures.


ST. AUGUSTINE’S HISTORICAL HERITAGE, Harris Pictures. An illustrated
guide to the city’s principal points of historic and scenic interest,
with fine photographs of streets and buildings. 40 pages, size 8½ x 11
inches. $1.00

24 pages, size 8½ by 11 inches. 50¢

COLOR BOOK OF HISTORIC FORTS, Fort Caroline—Fort Matanzas—Castillo De
San Marcos. 36 pages, 8½ x 11 inches. 50¢

Mail orders filled at prices quoted plus 25¢ to cover mailing. Florida
residents add 4% state sales tax. Address:

                           C. F. Hamblen Inc.
                             P. O. Box 1568
                      St. Augustine, Florida 32084

    [Illustration: Old St. Augustine]

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—Transcribed the text within some illustrations.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "St. Augustine, Florida's Colonial Capital" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.