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Ribault Monument at mouth of St. Johns River, near Mayport, Duval County.
DUVJAL CO UNT
PLEASANT DANIEL GOLD
Author of "In Florida's Dawn"
"History of Volusia County, Florida," Etc.
WHO HAVE DONE THEIR PART IN
MAKING DUVAIL COUNTY
PAST AND PRESENT
THE RECORD COMPANY
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA
PLEASANT DANIEL GOLD
HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL EDITION
LIMITED TO THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY COPIES
THIS COPY IS X\-:MIri j312
PLEASANT DANIEL GOLD
Hon. John W. Martin, Governor of Florida.
Hon. John T. Alsop, Jr., Mayor of Jacksonville.
Col. Stockton Broome.
Mrs. Arthur Gerrish Cummer.
Camillus S. L'Engle.
Francis P. Flen!i!!g.
John Temple Graves, II.
Col. W. E. Kay.
Scott M. Loftin.
Arthur F. Perry.
Mrs. William B. Young.
SN writing the HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY,
the aim has been to present simply a true chron-
ology of events from the earliest explorations to
the present time.
So far as known, no History of Duval County has been
published-therefore, it was found necessary not only to con-
sult local records, but those of St. Augustine, Tallahassee,
and Washington, and of England, France, and Spain.
Space has been given to biographical sketches of leading
and representative men and women, living and dead, who
have borne an active part in the various enterprises of life
and who have been closely identified with the history of the
county. Their places are here. They are the makers of the
history of the later years, as the pioneers were the makers of
the history of the past.
Grateful acknwledgments are hereby made to. the Advis-
ory Board and to all others who have assisted in the making
of this story of Duval.
To the citizens of Duval-those who are gone and those
zwho are here-who have helped to, make its present greatness
possible-this volume is respectfully dedicated.
PLEASANT DANIEL GOLD.
April 2, 1928
I. INII \\A S AND A NTIQUITIES ................... ........ 7
II. THE COMING OF THE FRENCH (1562-1565) .................... 13
III. THE SECOND FRENCH COLONY ............................... 18
IV. THE CAPTURE OF FORT CAROLINE (1565) ...................... 22
V. THE FAE AT OF RIBAULT (1565)................................ 27
VI. SAN MATEO-EXPEDITION OF DE GCr(: ;.; (17,l;;-1573)........ 30
VII. THE TIMUCUAN INI)IANS AND THE FRANCISCAN FRIARS (1573-1702) 37
VIII. EXPEDITIONS OF MOORE AND OCLI. I.lll'll (1702-1763) .......... 43
IX. ENGLISH OCCUPATION (1763-1784) ........................... 49
X. SECOND SPANISH OCCUPATION
SPANISH LAND GRANTS UNDER ROYAL ORDER OF 1790........... 61
XI. SECOND SPANISH OCCUPATION
SPANISH LAND GRANTS UNDER ROYAL ORDER OF 1790 (Continued) 70
XII. THE REPUBLIC OF FLORIDA (1812-1816) ....................... 78
XIII. SPANISH GRANTS UNDER ROYAL ORDER OF 1815, AND Do-NA'rin
AcT (1815-1818) .................................... 86
XIV. CARTAGENIAN REBELLION-CHANGE OF FLAGS (1816-1822)...... 92
XV. THE EsrI\[II-II MENT OE DUVAL TERRITORY AND THE FOUNDING OF
JACKSONVILLE (1822-1825) ................. .................. 99
XVI. EARLY DEVELOPMENT OE DUVAL AND THE INCORPORATION OF
JACKSONVILLE (1825-1835) ............................. 106
XVII. RELIGIOUS AND EDUCATIONAL AWAKENING--INCORPORATION OF
MANDARIN AND ESTABLISHMENT OF MAYPORT (1835-1845)... 113
XVIII. INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT PRIOR TO WAR BETWEEN THE STATES
(1846-1860) ........................................... 121
XIX. THE WAR BETWEEN THI STATES (1861-1862) .................. 128
XX. THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES (Continued) (1862-1864) ...... 137
XXI. THE CLOSE OF THE WAR (1864-1865) ......................... 148
XXII. RECONSTRUCTION (1865-1875) ............................... 154
XXIII. INDUSTRIAL EXPANSION, NL\\ I'APERS. AND THE YELLOW FEVER
E PIDEM IC (1876-1888) .................................. 166
XXIV. DEVELOPMENT OE RAILROAD AND) STEAMBOAT TRANSPORTATION
(1880-1904) ............... ........ ................ 178
XXV. FREEZE-SPANISH-AMERICAN \WAR--THE Gel. \ I' FIRE (1887-1901) 188
XXVI. BUILDING DEVELOPMENT AND THE WORLD WAR (1901-1919) ..... 202
XXVII. DUVAL OF TODAY (1919-1928)...................... ... . .... 211
BIOGRAPHICAL AND GENEALOGICAL SECTION .................... 221
INDIANS AND ANTIQUITIES.
D UVAL COUNTY, named for William P. Duval, the first civil Governor of the
Territory of Florida, was established by the Legislative Council of the
Territory on August 12, 1822. Its history, however, begins with the
earliest known activities within its confines, just as the history of the United States
dates from the earliest discoveries and explorations in the thirteen colonies that
originally formed it.
In 1564, forty-three years before the English landed at Jamestown, more than
a half century before the Dutch built their fort on iM\anhattan Island, and fifty-six
years before the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth, the territory now comprising
Duval County was called New France, and a colony of French Huguenots was
established therein. Here in 156;2 came the first Protestant Colony to arrive in
America, and here in 1565 was fought the first battle between white men within the
present limits of the United States.
Before the white man came, the country was occupied by savages that may
or may not have been the original settlers. Archeologists have found traces of
pre-historic man in northern Florida, but scientists disagree as to their origin.
There are fewer traces of these in the Duval section than are found along the
shores of the upper St. Johns where many large mounds composed of fresh water
shell deposits have been uncovered. Along the lower St. Johns River, in the
present territory of Duval, these mounds are fewer in number and smaller in size,
yet they consist of the same shell formation, and the pattern and implements found
therein were of the same character as in the mounds found farther up the river.
Along the seashore also, the mounds of salt-water shell deposits are similar to
those found along the coast to the south. Undoubtedly the same race of people
inhabited all the territory of northern Florida in pre-historic times.
Professor Jeffries Wyman, formerly Curator of American Archeology and
Ethnology of Cambridge, Massachusetts, advances the theory that these original
inhabitants were not Indians. He says: "Whether the builders of the mounds
were the same people as those found there by the Spaniards and the French is
uncertain. The absence of pipes in all, and of pottery in some of the mounds, and
the extreme rarity of ornaments, are consistent with the conclusion that they were
different people. To these may be added the negative fact that no indications
have been found that they practiced agriculture."'
1See Jeffries Wyman's "Fresh Water Shell Mounds of the St. Johns River, Florida." Pub.
Peabody Academy of Science, Salem, Mass., 1875. Page 87.
8 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
Dr. Ales Hrdlicka, of the Smithsonian Institution, advances the opinion,
however, that Florida's only pre-historic man was the Indian. To quote his
words: "As a matter of fact we have no human remains from Florida or any other
part of the North or South American continent that could conscientiously be ac-
cepted as representing man of antiquity beyond a few thousand years at most, and
of other than the ordinary Indian type; nor are there apparent any indications that
anything much older may in these parts of the world be yet discovered."'
Duval territory, showing location of Saturiwa Tribe of the Timucuan Nation. Reproduced from
map of Florida, published by The Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology.
Passing from the theories of antiquity to the records of history, we find that
when the white man first came to this region it was inhabited by a cognate tribe of
Indians called the Timucuans, a name spelled in various ways at different periods.
This was a powerful nation, occupying the territory from Cape Canaveral on the
east coast to the north of the mouth of the St. Johns River, and along the west
coast from Tampa Bay to about the Ocilla River, commanding all the region con-
tained in these boundaries. The nation was divided into local tribes named accord-\
ing to their locations.
The local clan of the great nation of the Timucuans which inhabited the terri-
tory of Duval at the time of the coming of the French Huguenots in 1562, was
ISee Ales Hrdlicka's "The Anthropology of Florida." Pub. The Florida State Historical
Society, 1922. Page 68.
INDIANS AND ANTIQUITIES
the Saturiwa tribe. They are also referred to as Saturiona and Saturiba, the
names evidently derived from the various chiefs that ruled over them during the
French occupation. Jacques Le Moyne, the French Chronicler, refers to King
Saturiona as a powerful chieftain of this tribe in 1564. The Spaniards seldom
speak of this sub-division of the Timucuans in the early days of their occupation.
They are referred to later, however, when Donna Maria, their chieftainess, married
a Spaniard and embraced the Christian religion, and a letter dictated by her to
the King of Spain is still preserved in the Spanish archives.' The French also
speak of another local tribe called the Thimaguans, who inhabited a village in
164, on the present site of Mandarin.
Ribault,2 one of the leaders of the French Huguenots, describes these early
inhabitants of Duval as being "of good stature, well-shaped of body as any people
in the world; very gentle, courteous and good-natured, of tawny color, hawked
nose and of pleasant countenance." The Spaniards later, however, report them
fierce and warlike. Both men and women were agile, athletic and good swimmers.
They were scantily clothed, the men wearing only a breech cloth of painted deer
skin and the women skirts of moss. The men pulled the hair from all parts of
the body except the head, where they allowed it to grow long and was "trussed
up, gathered and worked together with great cunning and fastened after the form
of a diadem." The women wore their hair long unless widowed, when it was
cut off just below the ears and scattered upon the graves of the deceased husbands.
The widow could not remarry until her hair had grown long enough to cover
As a head dress the men wore long feathers over the middle of the forehead,
with the tail of an animal attached to their top knot and hanging down their backs,
and 'a palm leaf hat was the fashion of the women.' Necklaces, bracelets and
anklets were popular with both sexes and bands of metal and pearl from oyster
shells were often worn above the elbows and below the knees.
According to Ribault, "the houses were built of wood, fitly and closely set up
and covered with reeds, the most part often the fashion of a pavilion." La Chal-
leux, another writer, describes them as "of a round shape and in a style almost like
a pigeon house, the foundation and main structure being of great trees, covered
over with palmetto leaves." The chief's dwelling was in the center of the village
and built partially underground on account of the heat of the sun. These houses
were occupied only about nine months of the year, the three winter months being
spent in the forest as a protection against the cold.
In the middle of the houses were hearths where fires were burned almost
constantly, and about the walls of the huts were pieces of wood hewn for beds
with a hollow to fit the back and a raised place for the head.
With axes made of stones they felled trees and made canoes of a single log
hollowed the length desired. Unlike the Seminoles of a later date the bows of
1Bulletin No. 73, Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution.
2Also spelled Ribao, Ribau, Ribaud and Ribaut.
HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
their canoes were bltnt. Stones and oyster shells were used to make spades and
arrow heads, the reed or bamboo supplying material for the shaft.
The dog is the only domestic animal mentioned, but of wild animals Laudon-
niire speaks of "deer, leopards and little brown bears." Fish and game aboundel
-"trout, great mullets, plaice, turbol'- and marvelous stores of other kinds of fish"
were common and wild turkeys were plentiful. Ribault also mentions crabs,
oysters and craw-fish as among the articles of diet, while Le Moyne refers to the
alligator as in item on the bill of fare.
"Mode of Drying Fish, Wild Animals and Other Provisions." *
Drawn by Jacques Le Moyne in 1564. These pictures are engraved on copper and published by Theodore
de Bry of Liege. The description given by Le Moyne is as follows:
"At that time they went out and gathered in all sorts of wild animals, fish and even crocodiles, and in
order to keep these animals longer they were in the habit of preparing them as follows:
"They set up in the earth four stout forked stakes, and on these they lay others so as to form a sort
of grating. On this they lay their game, and then build a fire underneath so as to harden them in the
smoke. In this process they use a great deal of care to have the drying perfectly performed, to prevent
the meat from spoiling, as the picture shows. I suppose this stock to be laid in for their winter's supply
in the woods, as at that time we could never obtain the least provision from them. For the like reason
their granaries, as was related, are placed close under some rock or cliff, near the river, and not far from
some deep forest, so that when necessary they can carry a supply in canoes."
The early inhabitants of Duval were agriculturists in a way. Le Moyne in
his "Brevis Narratio," describes as follows the season of planting: "The Indians
cultivate the earth diligently; and the men know how to make a kind of hoe from
fish bones, which they fit to wooden handles, and with these they prepare the nd
well enough, as the soil is light. When the ground is sufficiently broken up and
leveled, the women come with beans and millet, or maize. Some go first with a
stick and make holes, in which the others place the beans, or grains of maize.
INDIANS AND ANTIQUITIES 11
After planting they leave the fields alone, as the winter in that country, situated
between the west and the north, is pretty cold for about three'months, being from
the 24th of December to the 15th of March; and during that time, as they go naked,
they shelter themselves in the woods. When the winter is over, they return to
their homes to wait for the crops to ripen. After gathering in their harvest, they
store the whole of it for the year's use, not employing any part of it in trade, unless,
perhaps some barter is made for some little household article."' Raising of tobacco
is not mentioned by early writers, though they refer to the Indians smoking, there-
fore it is to be presumed it was cultivated.
"The Display With Which a Queen-Elect is Brought to the King."
Drawn by Jacques Le Moyne in 1564. The pictures are engraved on copper and published by Theodore
de Bry of Liege. The description given by Le Moyne is as follows:
"When a king chooses to take a wife, he directs the tallest and handsomest of the daughters of the
chief men to be selected. Then a seat is made on two stout poles, and covered with the skin of some rare
sort of animal, while it is set off with a structure of boughs, bending over forward so as to shade the head
of the sitter. The queen-elect having been placed on this, four strong men take up the poles and support
them on their shoulders; each carrying in one hand a forked wooden stick to support the pole at halting.
Two more walk at the sides, each carrying on a staff a round screen, elegantly made, to protect the queen
from the sun's rays. Others go before blowing upon trumpets made of bark, which are smaller above and
larger at the farther end, and having only two orifices, one at each end. They are hung with small oval
balls of gold, silver and brass for the sake of a finer combination of sounds."
The Saturiwa clan of the Timucuans were evidently of good character, as
savages are rated, and were more provident than the Indians of some other sections
of Florida. The Spaniards described some of those living to the south as sub-
sisting mainly on herbs and roots. In their tribal relationship the Saturiwas are
described as being honorable in their dealings, quick to resent a wrong and to fight
1Narrative of Le Moyne-James R. Osgood & Co., Boston, 1875.
HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
for their ideals, but faithful to an agreement when once made. Their family ties
were rigidly respected and according to Laudonniere "each man could take but
one wife, excepting the King, who could have two, but the first was the Queen
and only her children could inherit the goods and authority of their father."
In their worship, the sun and moon were the principal objects of adoration,
Particularly the sun. Le Moyne gives an insight into this cult in the following
account: "The subjects of the Chief Outina were accustomed every year, a little
before their spring-that is, at the end of February-to take the skin of the largest
stag they could get, keeping the horns on it; to stuff it full of all the choicest sorts
of roots that grew among them, and to hang long wreaths of garlands of the best
fruits on the horns, neck and other parts of the body. Thus decorated, they car-
ried it, with music and songs, to a very large and splendid level space, where they
set it up on a very high tree, with the head and breast toward the sunrise. They
then offered prayers to the sun, that he would cause to grow on their lands good
things such as these offered him. The chief, with his sorcerer, stood nearest the
tree and offered the prayer; the common people, placed at a distance, made re-
sponses. Then the chief and all the rest, saluting the sun, departed, leaving the
deer's hide there until the next year. This ceremony they repeated annually."'
As an example of their reverence, may be cited Laudonniere's version of their
treatment of the column erected by Admiral Ribault at the mouth of the St. Johns
River. When Laudonniere saw it three years later it was "crowned with crowns
of hay, and at the foot thereof many little baskets full of millet (corn). When
they came hither they kissed the same with reverence and besought us to do the
Such were the manners and customs of the inhabitants of the territory of
Duval when the French Colonists occupied it in 1564 and 1565.
1Bulletin No. 73, Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution. Page 381.
THE COMING OF THE FRENCH.
WHEN Duval was New France, the St. Johns River, which has for over
three hundred and fifty years played so important a part as an artery of
traffic,- was called Illaca by the Indians. Admiral Jean Ribault, the
leader of the first expedition of French Huguenots, named it Reviere de la Mai, in
honor of the day .f its discovery by him, May 1, 1562. The Spaniards called it
Rio de San Mateo when they first knew it, and later Rio de San Juan. The English
anglicized the Spanish name, calling it the St. Johns.
Ribault's expedition in 1562, which resulted in the discovery of the river
and the establishment of a colony thereon two years later, was the direct result of
the civil and religious wars that had raged in France for many years. Admiral
Gaspard de Coligny, head of the Protestant party, desiring to find a home in the
new world for his followers, fitted out an expedition in 1562 and chose Ribault as
its commander. Permission was obtained from Charles IX, King of France, to
settle the new territory, claimed by him by virtue of discoveries in 1524, of Juan
Verrazani, an Italian navigator in the French service. The King aided Coligny
in fitting three vessels, with two smaller ones carried aboard the larger ones while
crossing the ocean, and a complement of one hundred and fifty men, including a
Huguenot preacher. They sighted Florida April 30, 1562, and sailed north, reach-
ing the mouth of the River of May, now the St. Johns, May 1. He landed and
set up a column denoting his possession of the country for his King.
Some writers claim that Ribault proceeded up the river several miles, but this
is doubtful for, according to his own statement, he only spent two days in the
vicinity and could not have had time for extended explorations. In his account
he is enthusiastic over the beauties of the country. The Indians were friendly
and gifts were exchanged. The two days' visit has a significance in the History
of Duval County and of Florida in that Ribault's discovery of the River of May
pointed the way for the establishment of a French Huguenot colony here two years
later. He was probably the first white man to come to the present territory of
Duval County. Ponce de Leon landed in latitude thirty degrees eight minutes
north on April 2, 1512, which is not far south of the River of May but it is in
the present limits of St. Johns County.
Ribault, after his sojourn of two days, continued northward and landed a
colony on Port Royal Sound, South Carolina. He built a fort there which he
named Charle,1fo-rt, in honor of his Kinil. and erected another column to substan-
tiate his claim to the territory for his sovereign. Here he left a colony and pro-
ceeded homeward, promising to return with supplies within six months; but when
he reached France, found it again engulfed in civil war. Readily joining the
Huguenot side he was soon engaged in a battle in which his party suffered defeat
HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
and he was forced to flee to England. Here he was thrown into prison. His
colony at Charlesfort, reduced to .-tarvatiun, attempted to reach France in a small
ship. Their misery was so great that cannibalism was resorted to among the
members of the crew before a remnant reached home. This was the traedlv of
the first attempt to colonize New France, a name given to all the territory claimed
by France in North America.
In 1563 civil war was temporarily halted and Coligny determined to make
another attempt to colonize the Huguenots in New France. Ribault was in prison
and the only leader upon whom he could depend was Rene Gaulaine de Laudonniere,
who had accompanied Ribault on his first expedition and was familiar with the
territory. After careful con-ileration the River of May was selected as the proper
location for the colony.
Following Ribault's first expedition, the SplIai ;lh minister at Paris had reported
to the King of Spain the activities in FlIrila which was claimed by the Spanish
government as its territory by right of discovery by Ponce de Leon. In the
interim between the departure of the French garrison from Charle-f4ort and the
sailing of Laudonniire from France, the Governor of Cuba, by order of the Ki-in.
of Spain, -ent a vessel to de-troy the two columns and the fort erected by Ribault.
M:!ri.i6.ue de Rojos, the Spanish commander, was unable to locate the column at
the mouth of the River May, but succeeded in destroying Charlesfort and sent the
column, erected there, to Spain.
Laudonniere sailed with three small vessels frdm Havre, France, on April 22,
1564. According to Lowery there were three hundred people in the expedition-
sailors, soldiers, "and the balance artisans of every description, besides a number
of servants for the soldiers, ana pages and four women, one of whom went in the
capacity of chambermaid and housekeeper to Laudonniere." These were probably
the first white women to set foot within thepresent limits of the Unite.1 States.'
Two months from the date-of sailing the fleet arrived off the coast of Florida,
June 22, 1564. The location was the present ]arbl.,r of St. Aug u-tin which
Laudonniere named the giver of Dolphins. The following day he proceeded north
to the mouth of the River May, on which he had promised Coligny to etablil a
Laudonniere states his reason for the selection: "To the southward there was
nothing but a flat marshy country unfit to inhabit, and from the report of those
who were left at Charlesfort the country thereabouts was not productive, while the
means of subsistence seemed to abound on the River May; and upon their first
visit they had seen gold and silver in the possession of the natives, a thing which
put me in hope of some happy discovery in time to come."
Laudonniere selected a spot for his fort a few mi-les from the mouth of the
river, on a plaiin which he named Vale of Laudonniere. It lay immediately to
the west of a high hill, and here he erected a fort of triangular shape, which he
named Fort Caroline for Charles IX, King of France. This hill is what is now
known as St. Johns Bluff, which rises about seventy-five feet above the river. To
lWoodbury Lowery, "The Spanish Settlement within the Present Limits of the United States,
1562-1574." G. P. Putnam & Sons, New York.
THE COMING OF THE FRENCH 15
the west the ground slopes gradually along the river bank to a marsh about a half
mile away, and to the south extends over a gently rolling and well-wooded country
about a mile.to a well-defined line where the flat woods begin. This was the Vale
of Laudonniere. On the east side of the Bluff the land drops precipitously to a
creek at its foot and beyond'lies a continuous marsh intercepted by San Pablo Creek
and other estuaries. Part of this marshland has been reclaimed in recent years by
dredging from the river channel.
To one standing on the topof St. Johns Bluff and viewing the surrounding coun-
try, it takes little imagination to see the reason this site was selected for the colony.
To the east the river winds through the marsh, reaching the sea about five miles
away in a straight line; expanses of blue ocean can be seen with the naked eve,
.- '''. "..'..
"- '. -
Fort Caroline, Present Site of St. Johns Bluff.
Built by the French in 1564 on the St. Johns River about six miles from its mouth, afterwards called
San Mateo by the Spaniards, and drawn by Jacques Le Moyne in 1564. These pictures are engraved in
copper and published by Theodore de Bry of Liege. The description given by Le Moyne is as follows:
"Thus was erected a triangular work, afterwards named Carolina. The base of the triangle, looking
westward, was defended only by a small ditch and a wall of sods nine feet high. The side next to the
river was built up with planks and .fascines. On the southern side was a building after the fashion of a
citadel, which was for a granary to hold their provisions. The whole was of fascines and earth, except the
upper part of the wall for two or three feet, which was of sods. In the middle of the fort was a roomy open
space eighteen yards long, and as many wide. Midway on the southern side of this space were the soldiers'
quarters, and on the north side was a building which was higher than it should have been, and was in
consequence blown over by the wind a little afterwards. Evidence thus taught us that in this country,
where the winds are so furious, houses must be built lox v. There was also another open space, pretty large,
one side of which was closed in by the granary above mentioned, while on another side stood the residence
of Laudonniere, looking out upon the river, and with a piazza all round it. The principal door of this
opened upon the larger open space, and the rear door upon the river. At a safe distance from the works
an oven was erected; for, as the houses were roofed with palm branches, they would very easily have caught
16 HISTORY'OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
a continuous view only being interrupted by the housetops and trees in Mayport
and other settlements near the beach. When in 1564, Laudonniere proceeded up
the winding channel of the River of May through the low-lying marshlands, St.
Johns Bluff was the first high ground he found, a natural protection against the
storms from the ocean and also affording a splendid lookout for discovery of the
approach of friend or enemy. It is doubtful if a better selection could have been
made in the vicinity. The land, of the hammock variety, was fertile, as evidenced
by a profitable plantation here two hundred and fifty years later. If the colony
had been agriculturally inclined, they could have easily produced sufficient to have
Laudonniere made friends with the cacique of the Saturiwas, the local family
of the Timucuan tribe, and they assisted him in building his fort., He then set out
to explore the region and with several boats proceeded up the River of May, dis-
covering an Indian town called Thimagua, on the site of the present town of
Mandarin. Here he was advised there lived in the vicinity and farther in the
interior nine other caciques-Cadecha, Chilili, Eclanan, Enacoppe, Calany, Ana-
chara-ua, Anitagua, Acquera and Mucoso.'
The last named is mentioned by historians as having been met by De Soto
in his march through Florida. He evidently lived far beyond the bounds of Duval
territory, in fact near the West Coast, but was well known to the Thimaguans by
reputation. It was he who saved the life of Juan Ortiz, a Spaniard who came to
Florida with Paufilo de Narvaez in 1528, and was captured by the Indians. Ortiz
was saved from torture by the beautiful daughter of the chief. The Indian girl
led him away to the home of her own betrothed, this same Mucoso, who protected
him and returned him to De Soto, eleven years later, in 1539.
Laudonniere's experience at Fort Caroline was very unfortunate. His colony
consisted largely of adventurers,.who came to the New Waorld to seek riches, and
had no intention of engaging in agricultural pursuits, which should have been the
staple of the project. Gold was the lure that led to failure. Stories by the Indians
of great riches to the west led to fruitless expeditions and supplies and stores were
wasted in these vain efforts. In a land of plenty where game and fish abounded,
the colony depended largely upon the Indians for food which they soon tired of
Plots and conspiracies were soon rife, and Laudonniire's leadership was
questioned. In September, 1564, he sent one of his smaller vessels back to France
and with it several of those whom he suspected of conspiracy. This did not relieve
the situation, for soon thereafter he was stricken with fever, and the garrison openly
revolted. He was seized and confined upon a vessel in the river for fifteen days.
The conspirators took two small vessels, built for river navigation, and confiscating
such supplies as they wished, set out upon a piratical expedition. Part of these lost
their lives in their venture and the others, being out of provisions, returned to
Fort Caroline. Laudonniere tried them by court martial and four of the leaders
1Fairbanks' History of Florida.
THE COMING OF THE FRENCH 17
As time went on, the situation grew more desperate. The promised relief
from Coligny did not arrive and in the summer of 1565 the question of deserting
Fort Caroline and returning to France, passed from the stage of discussion into
determination, and they set to work to repair their vessels for the voyage.
In the meantime, Laudonniere had made several excursions through the sur-
rounding country; one up the River of May as far as Lake George, another to the
north into what is now Nassau County, where he found the widow of a chieftain,
named Hia-Caia, who received the Frenchmen kindly and gave them a quantity
Before their ships were repaired their provisions were exhausted and their
condition became pitiable. The Indians refused supplies to victual their vessels,
and they attempted to obtain these from the savages by force. They seized Olata
Utina, the most important cacique in the region, and held him for ransom, demand-
ing a goodly supply of food for his release. The coup failed in its purpose, the
result was the enmity of the Indians with little compensation in the way of food.
At this time the colony was saved by the arrival of Sir John Hawkins, an
English mariner, who, returning from an expedition against the Spaniards, landed
on August 4, 1565, at the mouth of the River of May in search of water. The
Frenchmen welcomed the English admiral who generously offered to transport
the entire colony to France. Laudonniere, however, refused, not knowing, as he
stated, "how matters stood between his government and England, and fearing
that Hawkins might have some secret and ulterior motive to make so liberal an
offer." The members of the colony, however, had no such scruples and hearing
of Hawkins' proposal threatened to leave with the Englishman unless Laudonniere
promised means for their immediate departure. The French commander was
forced by his own men to accept Hawkins' offer of the smallest of the English
vessels, for which he exchanged four pieces of artillery and a quantity of powder
and iron. In addition Hawkins generously supplied them with "twenty barrels
of meal, five pipes of beans, a hogshead of salt, one hundred pounds of wax, for
as much as it is said, he saw the French soldiers were barefoot he took compassion
upon them and gave them fifty pairs of shoes; besides this he made presents to
all the officers."
In writing of the transaction Laudonni&re says that he gave Hawkins his
note of hand in payment-"for which until this present I am indebted to him."
The English departed and scarcely had the top sails of their vessels disap-
peared beneath the eastern horizon when the French colony prepared to depart.
Le Moyne says: "We were rejoiced enough at getting possession of another vessel
besides our own, which was being repaired, and of sufficient provisions for our
return; and in consultation it was decided that before our departure the fort should
be destroyed; in the first place to prevent its being made serviceable against the
French, in case of their ever returning into those parts, by the Spaniards who, as
we knew, were desirous of'establishing themselves there, and secondly to prevent
Saturiona from occupying it." The preparations were ready and the little colony
awaited a favorable wind before deserting and destroying Fort Caroline when on
August 29, 1565, Admiral Jean Ribault with a fleet of seven vessels dropped anchor
at the mouth of the River May.
THE SECOND FRENCH COLONY.
T o U10iji"- '.,'D properly the historical drama with its tragic denouement
staged in the territory of Duval during the year 1565, the political history
of Europe at that period must be given consideration. It is difficult to
imagine, in the present light of international relations, that one nation at peace with
its neighbor should massacre its settlers, utterly destroy its colony and the govern-
ment allow the act to go unavenged. Yet such a tragedy occurred on the banks of
the St. Johns River in 1565, and the iLut, 'riit- definitely decided the issue, whether
this southern civilization should be French or Spanish, Protestant or Catholic.
In this period there sat upon the French throne Charles IX, a weak, vacillat-
ing king controlled by his mother, Catherine De Medici. France was part Protes-
tant, part Catholic, and for years there had raged an internecine religious warfare,
provoking hatred of brother for brother, family against family. No quarter was
given on either side; it was first caught, first killed. Spain was Catholic and
upon its throne sat Philip II, cruel and calculating, the son-in-law of Cath-
erine De Medici; while in England, a Protestant country, his sister-in-law, the
shrewd Queen Elizabeth, reigned.
Spain and England each being of one, if not the same, religious mind did not
have the problems of religious civil war which confronted France. Yet each of
the three monarchs connected by marriage ties with either one or the other, looked
first to the safety of their dynasties, rather than to policies which affected the
safety of their subjects. Therefore the French Huguenot colony oin the River
of May could expect little help from its own King as the aggressor was his
brother-in-law, Philip of Spain, and one who had as his most powerful ally,
Catherine De Medici, the Queen mother of France.
The treaty of Amboise in 1565 had temporarily suspended the religious wars
in France, but at that time Admiral Ribault was a prisoner in England and did
not return until the following year. At this time Coligny was fitting a fleet to
go to Florida to reinforce Laudonnibre and, immediately upon his return, put
Ribault in command. It was a large colony for the times, though authorities
differ as to the number. Gaffarel in his "Historie de laFlorida" claims there were
one thousand; Rudiaz in "La Florida," says there were seven hundred men and two
hundred women, while one of King Philip's representatives, reporting to him the
departure of Ribault's fleet from France, places the number at twelve hundred.1
All agree, however, that it was well supplied with seeds and implements for agri-
culture, young laborers, women and children, as well as a large company of soldiers
and many gentlemen and adventurers.
From the best authorities the fleet consisted of seven vessels. Lowery gives
the names of these as the "Trinity," Jean Ribault's flagship; the "Union," "Trout,"
lWoodbury Lowery's "Spanish Settlements within the Present Limits of the United States."
THE SECOND FRENCH COLONY 19
"Shoulder of Mutton" and "Pearl," the last of which was in command of Jacques
Ribault, son of Jean Ribault. Another authority gives the names as the flagship
"Trinity," the "Emerillon," the "Pearl," the "Leoriere," the "Shoulder of Mutton"
and three others used as transports.1 All were under the command of Admiral
Ribault, with Francoise Leger de la Grange second in command, and the fleet
sailed from Havre, France, on-May 10, 1565. Coligny gave Ribault authority to
assume full command of the colony on the River of May. The vessel which had
returned the year before, brought reports very detrimental to Laudonniere, one of
which was to the effect that he planned to make himself King of New France.
This was untrue, but it had the effect desired by Laudonniere's enemies. Lowery
says: "and Coligny, himself an austere man, was indignant at his (Laudonniere's)
having taken a woman with him to the distant colony."
King Philip of Spain had been kept advised by his representatives and friends
in France of the activities of the Huguenots, and had also prepared a fleet to
proceed to Florida and establish a colony there, claiming that territory as his by
right of discovery by Ponce de Leon. He placed in command Pedro Menendez de
Aviles, who sailed from Cadiz on June 29, 1565.
Ribault, delayed by storms, did not arrive at the mouth of the River of May
until August 28, the day before Laudonniere had planned to return to France.
They approached cautiously, not knowing how they would be received by Laudon-
niere. The impoverished colony, however, welcomed the newcomers with great
rejoicing; the Indians remembered Ribault with his long flowing beard and came
with presents to greet him. With the new and elaborate acquisition to the colony
the outlook for New France seemed very bright indeed. The colonists disem-
barked from the transports which, being of light draught, crossed the bar and
proceeded up the river. Fort Caroline immediately became a veritable hive of
industry in its preparations for the newcomers, by strengthening the fort, build-
ing new quarters and making ready for the tilling of the soil. It was the plan of
Coligny that Caroline should be a permanent and thriving settlement. The four
larger vessels drawing too much water to enter the river, had anchored about a
mile off the mouth.
The French Colony enjoyed but seven days of peace. On September 4,
one week from the day of Ribault's arrival, his four vessels anchored on the out-
side were surprised by the sudden appearance of five Spanish galleons under
Menendez, who had sighted Florida at Cape Canaveral the same day that Ribault
had landed at Fort Caroline. Most of those who manned the French ships were
ashore and the commander in charge had no authority to give battle to the fleet
of a nation with which his own country was at peace. Menendez, on his flagship,
the San Pelayo, approached unmolested, within hailing distance of the French
flagship, and according to the account of both the French and the Spaniards
demanded to know who the French were. The accounts vary as to the exact
conversation, but agree as to the general import that Menendez demanded the sur-
render of the French vessels, which was promptly refused. It was just after
1Jean Ribault, by Jeanette Thurber Conner, Florida State Historical Society, 1927.
20 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
nightfall; in the darkness, the Frenchmen cut their cables and slipped away, pur-
sued by the Spaniards, who fired upon them and were answered in turn. The
French ships being faster than the Spanish soon outdistanced them, three going
to the north and one to the south. Menendez, with the San Pelayo, followed those
to the north and Valdes, the admiral of his fleet, pursued those to the south.
Menendez soon saw that he could not overtake the swift French ships and turned
back to the mouth of the River May.
In the meantime the alarm of Ribault and the colony at Fort Caroline can be
inuigined,, when the guns of the Spanish ships rang out in the calm September
night. It was the first intimation Ribault had of the presence of the Spaniards.
Fort Caroline was several miles from the mouth of the river and in the darkness
the approach of the Spanish ships had not been observed in time for Ribault to
go to the aid of his vessels. But it was easy for the French Admiral to guess
the cause of the gunfire. Both he and Coligny had suspected the enmity of the
Spaniards. He immediately prepared for an attack and by morning had his three
vessels within the harbor ready at the mouth of the river, and two companies of
soldiers on the hard beach near by to oppose the landing of the Spaniards.
When Menendez returned from pursuit of the French vessels, he had intended
to seize and fortify the mouth of the river, believing that with the French fleet
divided and part of them trapped in the harbor, the colony would fall an easy prey.
But finding Ribault prepared, he sailed south and landed at a harbor called Selov
by the Indians, and River Dolphin by Laudonniere. Here he disembarked on Sep-
tember 8, 1565, and began the building of St. Augustine.
The scattered French vessels soon returned and reported Menendez's landing
at St. Augustine. The problem that now confronted the French was the destruc-
tion of the Spaniards, or their own destruction, for Ribault foresaw that the two
colonies could not live in such close proximity and that the Spaniards intended his
destruction or they would not have so boldly attacked his ships. He determined
to take the offensive. In this decision his lieutenants, almost to a man, disagreed
with him. Laudonni&re at the time was very ill with fever, but urged the impor-
tance of defense rather than attack, and the importance of immediately strength-
ening Fort Caroline against the coming of Menendez. La Grange agreed with
Laudonniere, but Ritault would not listen to argument. He had determined to
attack the Spanish fleet at once, and in this determination lay the cause of his
own destruction and the utter annihilation of the French colony.
He immediately gave orders to prepare the ships, reloading what was neces-
sary for his campaign of attack and stripping the fort of part of its cannon. He
even took the best of Laudonniere's own men. On September 10 they sailed
from the mouth of the River of May and were soon off the harbor of St. Augustine.
From Menendez's own account of the circumstances which followed, it was
through no fault of Ribault's nor through any credit to himself that St. Augustine
was prevented from falling into the hands of the French. Menendez had unloaded
two of his ships, which could not enter the harbor, and had sent them to Hispaniola
for the reason, as he stated, that they might not be captured by the French. He
had just completed this task and the ships had departed only a few hours, when
THE SECOND FRENCH COLONY 21
the French fleet arrived. Menendez himself narrowly escaped being captured
as he crossed the bar in a small boat. The low tide compelled the French fleet to
wait for high water, at which time they were prepared to enter the harbor and
attack with advantages in both ships and men.
According to Solis de Meras, a Spanish Chronicler, a miracle saved St. Augus-
tine. He says, "about two hours from the time the enemy were waiting for the
tide to be high, God, our Lord, performed a miracle, for the weather being fair
and clear, suddenly the sea rose very high and a strong and a contrary wind came
up which made the return to their fort and harbor difficult for the French."'
It was a hurricane that drove the French fleet south, and wrecked it upon the
hard beach of the present, county of Volusia. According to Le Moyne, who was
not present but heard the story from the lips of a sailor of Dieppe, who years later
escaped to France, only one man perished at sea, but all their supplies and most
of their arms and ammunition were lost. Miserable and destitute the company
started north on their course along the beach in their effort to reach Fort Caroline.
1Memorial of Pedro Menendez, by Gonzalo Solis de Meras-Jeannette Thurber Conner,
Florida State Historical Society, 1923.
THE CAPTURE OF FORT CAROLINE.
P EDRO MiANi.NIr. DE AVILES, Knight of the Order of Santiago, though cruel
and uncompromising, may be numbered among the greatest colonizers of all
time. He was of noble birth and had spent his life in the service of his King,
mainly upon the sea. When Philip of Spain appointed him Adelantado and Captain
General of Florida, he assured him that he need have no fear in attacking the French
Huguenots. The Spanish monarch felt secure in his position, for Catherine De
Medici, his own mother-in-law and Queen mother of France, was in sympathy
with his designs. When Ribault's ships lay off the harbor of St. Augustine waiting
to attack him, Menendez saw that their decks were crowded ;with soldiers, and
while they seemed a dreadful menace then, he knew full well that the garrison
left at Fort Caroline must be very small; he therefore determined to attack the
fort at once, before Ribault could have time to return to its aid.
The storm which was still raging made a trip by sea perilous, covering the
land with water, and although his officers grumbled at the idea of taking a journey
through an unknown wilderness in such weather, Menendez overruled their objec-
tions and prepared for the attack. Meras, the historian of Menendez, gives the
following account of the march of the Spanish forces from St. Augustine to Fort
Caroline: "The next day, at daybreak, they sounded reveille with trumpets, fifes
and drums; the bells chimed and all thronged to mass; and having heard it, they
departed hopefully, all setting out marching in order."
"The Adelantado took 20 soldiers, all Biscayans and Asturians, with their
hatchets; a Biscayan captain with them who was called Martin Ochoa, and 2
Indians who had come there, brothers, who seemed to be angels that God was
sending; these told them by signs that they had been in the fort of the French
6 days before; and he went ahead, marching as far front as he could, making
the path, blazing the trees with the hatchets, so that the men should not lose it
and should know it on their return, (and) leaving the camp master and sergeant
major to follow in good order; and whenever it seemed best to the Adelantado to
call a halt in a suitable place where there was water, he did so; he waited until
they were all assembled and gave them orders to rest, and would then depart at
once, opening the way and making it, as has been said, and he would again call
a halt in the place that seemed best to him to pass the night. (Marching) in this
order, on the fourth day at sunset he went to reconnoitre the land around the fort.
a half league therefrom, where he stopped; and as it was a wet and stormy night,
and in order not to be discovered it seemed to him expedient to draw nearer into
a pine grove, where he approached to less than a quarter of a league from the fort.
where he decided to spend that night in a very bad and swampy place; and on
account of the bad night he turned back to look for the rear-guard so that they
should succeed in finding the way. It was after 10 when they finished arriving,
THE CAPTURE OF FORT CAROLINE 23
and as during those 4 days there had been much rain, they had crossed many
marshes, and had carried their arms and knapsacks with food, on their backs, the
soldiers arrived very tired and weak; and because the showers that night were
very heavy, there was no way to keep the powder and wicks from being all wet,
and the little biscuit they had in their knapsacks, and no one wore anything on
his body that was not wet with water; at this point the Adelantado feared greatly
to take counsel with the captains, either as to going back or going forward to the
fort of the Frenchmen, because some were beginning to be insolent, and his officers
were saying abusive words against him so audibly that he heard many of them,
especially those of an ensign Captain San Vicente, who placed himself near the
Adelantado and said loudly, so that he might hear him:
"(See) how we have been sold by that Austrian corito, who knows no more
about land warfare than an ass! If my advice had been followed on the first day
we set forth from St. Augustine to make this journey, he would have been given
the reward he must now take."
"Then the Adelantado feared the more and pretended he did not hear him."I
The route taken was almost a direct one from St. Augustine to St. Johns
Bluff. Anyone familiar with the territory, can well imagine the difficulties en-
countered through the flooded swamps and flat woods in the trackless region of
three hundred and sixty-two years ago. The men grumbled at the hardships and
wished to retreat, but the indomitable Menendez was not di-c.uragcl. He called
his officers together in the darkness before dawn, and in a steady downpour of
rain, he boldly told them that without ammunition and food there was but one
thing to do-capture the fort by surprise-assault with pike and halberd. He
raised the drooping spirits of his followers, and they started forward only to be
lost in the dense swamps and compelled to wait in water to their knees until
The condition of Fort Caroline on the morning of the nineteenth of September,
1565, the day of the attack, is best told by Le Moyne, who was one of the garrison
at the time. He says: "Although the rains continued as constant and heavy as if
the world was to be again overwhelmed with a flood, they set out, and marched
all night towards us. On our part, those few who were able to bear arms were
that same night on guard; for, out of about a hundred and fifty persons remaining
in the fort, there were scarcely twenty in serviceable condition, since Ribault, as
before mentioned, had carried off with him all the able soldiers except fourteen
or fifteen, who were sick or mutilated, or wounded in the campaign against Outina.
The remainder were either servants or mechanics who had never even heard a gun
fired, or king's commissaries better able to handle a pen than a sword; and, besides,
there were some women, whose husbands, most of them, had gone on board the
ships. M. de Laudonniere himself was sick in bed."
"When the day broke, nobody being about the fort, M. de la Vigne, who was
the officer of the guard, pit ing the drenched and exhausted condition of the men,
who were worn out with long w;atchiin, permitted them to take a little rest; but
1Pedro Menendez de Aviles-Jeanette Thurber Conner, Florida State Historical Society, 1923.
24 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
they scarcely had time to go to their quarters, and lay aside their arms, when the
Spaniards, guided by a Frenchman named Francois Jean, who had seduced some
of his messmates along with him, attacked the fort at the double quick in three
places at once, penetrated the works without resistance, and, getting possession of
the place of arms, drew up their force there. Then, parties searched the soldiers'
quarters, killing all whom they found, so that awful outcries and groans arose
from those who were being slaughtered. For my own part, whenever I call to
mind the great wonder that God, to whom truly nothing is impossible, brought to
pass in my case, I cannot be enough astonished at it, and am, as it were, stunned
with the recollection. On coming in from my watch, I laid down my arquebuse;
and, all wet through as I was, I threw myself into a hammock which I had slung
up after the Brazilian fashion, hoping to get a little sleep. But on hearing the
outcries, the noise of the weapons, and the sound of blows, I jumped up again, and
was going out of the house to see what was the matter, when I met in the very
doorway two Spaniards with their swords drawn, who passed on into the house
without accosting me, although I brushed against them. When, however, I saw
nothing was visible except slaughter, and that the place of arms itself was held
by the Spaniards, I turned back at once, and made for one of the embrasures,
where I knew I could get out."'
Le Moyne succeeded in escaping and returned to France to write his narrative
and leave to history one of the few accounts of the destruction from the French
According to the Spanish account, the garrison was surprised and all killed
excepting seventy who escaped to the woods, some of whom reached the ships
anchored in the river. Among those who escaped was Laudonniere. Meras stated
that Menendez gave orders that no women or boys under fifteen years of age
should be killed.2
Three ships were anchored in the river, with their prows close to the fort.
They were under the command of Jacques Ribault, son of Jean Ribault. Menendez
demanded the surrender of these vessels and claims that he offered the Frenchmen
one of the -hip. to take the women and children to France. Young Ribault
refused to surrender, and loading one of the cannon with powder found in the
fort, the Spaniards fired a shot which hit one of the ships at the water line and
sank it. The crew of the French ship took to their small boats; escaped to the
other two ships, and cutting their cables, floated down the river with the outgoing
tide to a point behind the bluff where the guns of Fort Caroline could not reach
them. There they anchored again to pick up the refugee Frenchmen who had
escaped and were now fleeing through the woods. This act of the younger Ribault
saved the lives of Le Moyne and many of those Frenchmen who swam to the ships.
and were in this way able to find their way back to France. Meras claims that
there were only thirty of these, for the Spaniards hunted them through the forest
and killed the remainder. He gives no account of the hanging of the prisoners
1Brevis Narratio-Le Moyne.
2Pedro Menendez de Aviles-Jeanette Thurber Conner, Florida State Historical Society, 1923.
THE CAPTURE OF FORT CAROLINE 25
to a tree which is the story of the French Chroniclers, yet, according to his own
evidence all Frenchmen were killed except the women and boys under fifteen
years of age, saved by order of Menendez. Meras in his memorial, however,
makes no reference of the women or children being carried to St. Augustine. He
does state that a vessel would be sent to take them to the Island of San Domingo,
with the request to its government to send them to Seville, Spain, where they
could proceed to France. Whether this feat was accomplished there seems to
be no record.
Menendez having captured Fort Caroline and either expelled or killed all of
the garrison, changed its name to Fort San Mateo because the day he captured it
was Saint Matthew's Day and this name it retained from September 19, 1.';5,. until
the time of its destruction several years later. From the same date the Riviere
de la May became the Rio de San Mateo. The Spanish Adelantado placed Captain
Gonzalo de Villarroel in charge of the fort, and made him alcaide and governor
of the district. Rudiaz probably gives the best account of this in his "La Florida":
"Captain Gonzalo de Villarroel was made Commandant of that fort and governor
of that district. Formerly he had been Sergeant-Major, and having labored well
and with much diligence, he appeared to be a very good soldier of the government
and worthy of every confidence. The fort was delivered over to him, which he.
named San Mateo, and ordered that from that day forward it should be held and
defended in the name of His Majesty with 300 soldiers whom he left there as
guard. He then ordered the Field-master to make a list of all the people who had
been there, of those who were to remain, and of those who were to return with
the Adelantado, and it was carried out. Then taking with him the Sergeant-
Major, having first placed Rodrigo Montes in the capacity of keeper of supplies
.of the fort, he delivered over into his keeping all the provisions which were there.
And he took the morning of another day to make a record of the delivery and to
leave instructions as to the manner of giving out rations. And the Adelantado
resolved in this Council that the two Coats-of-Arms of the King of France and of
the French Admiral of the fleet, which were above the principal door of the fort.
should be taken down. But when they went to take them down they found that
a soldier had already taken them down and demolished them. He then ordered
that there be made a coat-of-arms with the royal arms of Spain, of His Maje-ty
King Philip, Our Sovereign, with a cross of the angels above the crown, which
were very well executed by some Flemish soldiers who were present, and he had
it placed where the other escutcheons had been."1
With the same lumber which the French had prepared for the building of a
ship, Menendez ordered a church to be erected upon a site which he selected, then
hastened back to St. Augustine in order that he might dispatch two ships and
intercept the French vessels which were still anchored in the river. He set out
from Fort San Mateo on September 20, 1565, with only thirty-five soldiers and
from his account the trip to St. Augustine through the woods and swamps was
very arduous. There was even more water than when he came, and the party lost
1Translated from "La Florida"-Eugenio Rudiaz of Caravia-Madrid. Page 103.
26 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
their way and a soldier who climbed a tree reported "that all he could see was
water." By felling trees and making a bridge they crossed the deeper streams
and finally reached St. Augustine after three days' journey. He immediately
ordered two armed ships to proceed to the San Mateo River to capture the French
vessels, but before they could be prepared to depart the news came that the French
ships had crossed the bar and proceeded out to sea. However, he sent one of the
vessels with a full supply of arms and ammunition to Fort San Mateo.
The two ships, one under the command of Laudonniire and the other Jacques
Ribault, became separated on the voyage across the Atlantic and the passengers
on both endured considerable hardships. Yet they finally reached France to tell
the story of the capture of Fort Caroline by the Spaniards.
Eight days after the Spaniards captured Fort Caroline, now Fort San Mateo,
it was burned-probably accidentally-though some Spanish chroniclers suspect
it may have been the result of internal dissensions among the officers. The fort was
soon rebuilt, however, and made even stronger than when occupied by the French.
'rHE FATE OF RIBAULT.
A cOUNTS of the massacre of Admiral Jean Ribault and his company who were
wrecked on the east coast of Florida is given by both French and Spanish
chroniclers and differ but slightly in detail. Although these happenings
occurred beyond the borders of Duval territory it was the destruction of colonists
who had established themselves there and in the History of Duval County the story
has its place.
Le Moyne gives an account which he received from a sailor of Dieppe, who
was stabbed' and left for dead beneath a pile of bodies and after nightfall suc-
ceeding in extricating himself from the dead mass and crawled away in the dark-
ness. Some friendly Indians found and cared for him and long afterwards he
reached France to tell his story. The best Spanish account is from the pen of
Gonzolo Solis de Meras, a priest and brother-in-law of Pedro Menendez, who was
present and boldly gives in detail his account of the slaughter.
From these two stories the facts are gleaned that Ribault's party of about
five hundred and fifty men started northward along the hard beach, after the
wrecking of their ships, endeavoring to reach Fort Caroline. About two hundred
of the company in vessels wrecked at a more northerly point came ahead of Ribault
and his party and finding a barrier at Matanza- Inlet, the southerly point of Anas-
tasia Island, prepared to construct rafts to cross.
Menendez, the day after his return to St. Augustine from Fort Caroline,
received news through Indians that there were white men at an arm of the sea
four leagues to the south, and taking forty men with him he went to reconnoitre.
Seeing the banners of France on the opposite shore of the narrow inlet he readily
knew that they were all, or a part, of Ribault's company. A Frenchman swam
across to the Spaniards and explained their predicament, and asked that the com-
pany be allowed to proceed to Fort Caroline. Here the French and Spanish
accounts disagree. The former claim that Menendez promised them free passage
to France if they would surrender to him. Meras asserts that the Adelantado only
promised that "if they wanted to give up their flags and arms to him and place
themselves at his mercy they could do so in order that he might do with them
what God should direct him."'
The two hundred Frenchmen surrendered, and the following is the story of
the subsequent happenings in Meras' own words: "Then the Adelantado ordered
twenty soldiers to enter the boat to bring the Frenchmen over, ten at a time; the
river was narrow and easy to cross; and he instructed Diego Florez de Valdes,
the Admiral of the fleet, to receive the flags and arms, and go in a boat to bring the
1Pedro Menendez de Aviles-Jeanette Thurber Conner, Florida State Historical Society,
DeLand, Fla., 1923. Page 112.
28 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
Frenchmen across; (he ordered) that the soldiers should not give them ill treat-
ment; and the Adelantado withdrew from the shore a distance of about two
arquebuse shots, behind a sand dune, among some bushes, where the men in the
approaching boat, who were bringing the French, could not see him; then he said
to the French captain and the other eight Frenchmen who were with him:
"Gentlemen, I have but few soldiers, and they are not very experienced; and
you are many, and if you are not bound, it would be an easy thing for you to
avenge yourselves on us for the death of your people, whom we killed when we
took the fort; and so it is necessary that you march with your hands tied behind
you, to a place four leagues from here where I have my camp,"
"The Frenchmen replied that so it should be done; and with ropes from the
soldiers' fuses they fastened their hands behind them very securely; and the ten
who came over (each time) in the boat could not see those whose hands were
being tied behind them, until they met them, because it was expedient so to do in
order that the Frenchmen who had not crossed the river might not understand
what was happening and be warned; and thus two hundred and eight Frenchmen
were bound, * * * *"
"The Adelantado commanded that they should march, after having first given
them food and drink when they arrived in tens, before they were bound; this was
done before the next ten came; and he told one of his captains, who is called * *
that he was to march with them in the vanguard, and that at a cross-bow shot's
distance from there he would find a line which he (the Adelantado) would draw
with a jineta he carried in his hand; (that place) was a sandy stretch over which
they had to march to the Fort of St. Augustine; and there he was to kill them all,
and he ordered the captain who came with the rear-guard to do likewise; and so
it was done, and they were all left there dead; and that night he returned to St.
Augustine toward dawn, because the sun had already set when those men died."1
On the day following his return to St. Augustine, Menendez received another
message through Indians that other white men were on the same arm of the sea.
He correctly surmised that these were Admiral Jean Ribault and the remainder
of his company, so he immediately took one hundred and fifty soldiers and returned
to Matanzas Inlet. Here again a parley ensued in which Ribault was invited to
cross over in a boat, which invitation he accepted, accompanied by eight of his
officers. Food and drink were given them by the Spaniards.
Again the accounts disagree. Le Moyne says that Menendez "made oath in
the presence of all his men and drew up a writing sealed with his seal, repeating
the oath and promising that he would without fraud, faithfully, and like a gentle-
man and a man of honesty preserve the lives of Ribault and his men."2
Meras, however, states that Menendez frankly told Ribault of the destruction
of Fort Caroline and the massacre of the Frenchmen, and that Ribault offered to
pay a ransom of one hundred thousand ducats to be allowed to go free; that Ribault
1Pedro Menendez de Aviles-Jeannette Thurber Conner, Florida State Historical Society,
DeLand, Fla., 1923. Page 114.
2Brevis Narratio, Le Moyne-James R. Osgood & Co., Boston, 1875. Page 21.
THE FATE OF RIBAULT 29
returned to the other side of the inlet and after conference with his men stated
that he and one hundred and fifty would surrender, but that two hundred pre-
ferred to take their chances with the Indians and had departed to the south.
Again Meras' own words can best tell the story of what followed: "The Ade-
lantado immediately directed the Captain Diego Florez de Valdes, the Admiral
of his armada, should have them brought over as he had the others, ten at a time;
and taking Juan Ribao behind the sand dune, between the bushes, where he had
taken the others, he had his hands and those of all the rest, tied behind their backs,
as was done to the previous ones, telling them that they had to march four leagues
on land, and by night, so that he could not allow them to go unbound, * * *
"Juan Ribao ** began to sing the psalm, Domine mementp mei, and
when it was finished he said that from earth they came and unto earth must they
return; that twenty years more or less were of little account; that the Adelantado
was to do with them as he wished. And the Adelantado, giving the order that
they should march, as he had to the others, in the same order and to the same line
in the sand, commanded that the same be done to them as to the others; he only
spared the fifers, drummers, trumpeters, and four more * * in all sixteen
persons; all the others were put to the knife."1
This practically completed the destruction of the French colony that had
come to the territory of Duval and the region was thereafter under Spanish con-
trol for one hundred and ninety years, or until 1763.
The two hundred Frenchmen who had gone south were not allowed to long
dwell in peace. Menendez learned through the Indians that they were building a
fort near Cape Canaveral. and, determined that the French power in Florida should
be forever broken, organized a force of three hundred men, one hundred and
thirty of whom were taken from Fort San Mateo, and on October 26, 1565, set
out in search of them.
The soldiers marched by land but three boats provisioned for forty days went
down the coast and were seen by the Frenchmen, who fled from their fort. Menen-
dez sent a messenger assuring them that if they would return "he would give them
the same treatment he gave the other Frenchmen."2 Meras claims that about one
hundred and fifty gave themselves up and were well treated, but that the captain
with twenty others sent word that they preferred to be eaten by the Indians than
surrender to the Spaniards.2
Menendez set fire to the fort and continued to explore the coast of south
Florida; arrived on November fourth at an Indian village called Ays from the tribe
of that name, near the site ofthe city of Miami, where he left part of his company,
and in the middle of November sailed with two of his boats to Havana, taking
some of the Frenchmen with him.
1Pedro Menendez de Aviles-Jeannette Thurber Conner, Florida State Historical Society,
De Land, Fla., 1923. Page 122.
SAN M.\ .E,--EXPEDITION OF DE GOURGES.
M ENENDEZ remained in Havana until February 10, 1566, when with several
ships and five hundred men he set sail for Florida but did not reach St.
Augustine until March 20 following, having spent the intervening time
in exploring the southwest coast of the peninsula. He sent five ships back to Havana
and with the two others proceeded to St. Augustine. There and at Fort San Matc, .
he found affairs in a deplorable condition for in both places the soldiers had muti-
nied. At San Mateo, Gonzola de Villarroel had lost complete control of his men, and
they were plotting with the disaffected ones at St. Augustine, conspiracies having
begun within a few days after Menendez had left St. Augustine, the previous
October. A ship of supplies which had been sent to San Mateo in December,
1565, had been wrecked at the mouth of the river. The mutineers demanded that
a ship which had been partially built by the French should be completed that they
might leave the country. The Camp Master at St. Augustine was forced to send
a letter to Villarroel at San Mateo commanding him to grant the demand of the
mutineers, but he was able to secrete another letter in the messenger's coat telling
Villarroel to disregard the first letter, and to delay the completion of the vessel as
much as possible. Soon afterward a frigate arrived at San Mateo with supplies,
which was seized by one hundred and twenty mutineers who prepared to leave for
the West Indies. Before they sailed, however, Menendez returned and opened
negotiations with them, endeavoring to persuade them to remain. Thirty-five of
the number decided to return to San Mateo but were stripped, by the mutineers,
of their clothing and what valuables they had before being put ashore a few miles
below the fort, near the mouth of the San M[ateo River.1
The spot was close by an Indian village, where lived the chief of the Saturiwa
tribe of the Timucuans. These Indians had been friendly to the French, but hated
the Spaniards whp had treated them cruelly. No sooner had the thirty-five men
landed than they were set upon by the savages and killed. The rest of the muti-
neers sailed away.
Villatroel, at San Mateo, was left with only twenty-one officers and soldiers
and being ignorant of these happenings sent his ensign Rodrigo Troche and a
soldier to St. Augustine for aid. When scarcely out of sight of the fort, they
were captured by the Indians and taken to the village at the mouth of the river.
There Saturiba, the chief, who knew the Spanish officer well, ordered that "his
breast be split open and his heart taken out, and that the same to be done to the
other man, in order to terrify the rest with these cruelties and make them leave
the country, as the mutineers had done."2
1Present site of Mayport.
2Pedro Menendez de Aviles-Jeannette Thurber Conner, Florida State Historical Society,
1923. Page 160.
SAN MATEO-EXPEDITION OF DE GOURGES 31
Menendez finally was forced, in order to quell the mutineers, to allow one
hundred additional soldiers with Captain Juan de Vicinti to depart with a caravel
to San Domingo. This left only about three hundred soldiers as garrison for
both San Mateo and St. Augustine. Desiring to proceed on an expedition of
exploration to the country to the north, in what is now Georgia, then called Guale'
by the Indians, Menendez took one hundred and fifty men with him and left an
equal number divided between the two forts. He sailed north in the early part
of April, 1566, exploring the coast and establishing a fort, which he called San
Felipe, at San Elena, the present site of Hilton Head, South Carolina.2
He was only absent in Guale about forty days, during which time affairs at
San Mateo did not go well. When he returned, \May 15, the Indians were
carrying on a guerilla warfare which made it impossible for the garrison to venture
out of gunshot of the fort. The Indians seemed to be ever on the watch, and no
sooner would a squad of Spaniards go foraging for food than the arrows of the
savages would rain from ambush. The white men were forced to move in large
bodies and when they pursued the Indians could not find them for they had disap-
peared in the forest. The Spaniards found that the only means of retaliation was
organized attacks on the villages, which they would burn, so infuriating the Satu-
riwas that finally the whole nation of Timucuans declared war, and even St.
A'ugustine was attacked, and houses set fire by the flaming arrows.
In addition to these troubles Menendez found Villarroel, his Alcaide at San
Mateo, very ill, and was forced to send him to Havana to recuperate. In his
place he appointed Vasco Zabal, and he himself decided to go to Havana for sup-
plies, which were running very low. In the early part of June, 1566, he set out
for that port with three brigantines. Before he returned a fleet of sixteen vessels
arrived bringing heavy reinforcements. Fourteen of these ships went to St.
Augustine, two to Santo Elena and one to San Mateo.
At this time an unfortunate incident happened whereby an innocent man was
killed as the result of the Indians' hatred of the Spanish. Father Martinez, prob-
ably the first Jesuit Priest to land on the continent of North America, was cruelly
murdered by the Indians on what is now Fort George Island." Previous to this
time the Dominicans or Friars of the Order of St. Dominic- were the only priests
who had come to Florida. There were three Jesuits, or members of the Society
of Jesus, who came at this time, and of the three, Father Martinez was assigned to
San Mateo. According to Fairbanks, the vessel that brought him anchored off
the mouth of the river and he came ashore in a small boat to find the fort. A storm
arose and the vessel was forced to weigh anchor and stand out to sea. Father
Martinez and the members of the crew who came with him met some Indians who
by signs told him the way to the fort, but murdered the entire party before they
1All the country north of the San Mateo or St. Johns was generally referred to as "Guale"by
1923. Page 195.
2Lowery's Spanish Settlements.
aFairbanks' History of Flnri d
HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
left the Island. Father Martinez, the advance guard of the vast number of mis-
sionaries to come later, was therefore the victim of the cruel policy of his own
countrymen. The Indians had not yet learned to discriminate between the kind-
ness of the priest and the cruelty of the soldier. These same Indians had re-
sponded to the friendliness of the French, and the descendants of these same fierce
Timucuans, under the teaching of the Franciscan Friars, became the meek Mission
Indians, who, themselves fell victims to the attacks of the warlike Yamassees, who
either enslaved or destroyed them.
.Besides the priest and the crew of his boat, two captains and many soldiers
had been killed at Fort San Mateo during Menendez's absence, having been
ambushed when they went in search of food. One of these officers was a relative
of the Adelantado and the other was Captain Martin Ochoa, who had distinguished
himself at the capture of Fort Caroline. It had become unsafe to use the trail
between St. Augustine and San Mateo, and communication could only be had by
boat down the river outside along the coast. This made communication very
difficult between the two settlements.
When the ships with reinforcements arrived at San Mateo, Captain Azuirre
landed with two hundred and fifty men. Immediately this Captain and Vasco
Zabal, the acting Alcaide, became engaged in a dispute as to whom was the superior
in command. This controversy was at its height when Menendez arrived. Vasco
Zabal was inside the fort with the garrison which had been left him, and Captain
Azuirre with his men were encamped on the outside. Menendez, with his usual
diplomacy, settled the dispute satisfactorily by allowing Captain Azuirre to main-
tain his rank, and assigning Vasco Zabal the duties of placing the sentinels and
giving the password.1 In a short time thereafter Gonzolo de Villarroel, having
recovered from his illness, was returned to his old post as Alcaide of San Mateo.
It is to be noted here that under the Spanish form of government in Florida,
there were two officers in command at each post whose authority did not seem to
conflict. One was the Alcaide or Governor, the other the Camp Master, both of
whom were directly responsible to the Adelantado or Governor General, and at
this time-August, 1566-such was the arrangement at all three of the Spanish
posts-San Mateo, St. Augustine and Santo Elena. Between these posts Menen-
dez divided fifteen hundred of the soldiers that had come with the fleet and sent
the others in ships to the West Indies.
It was in August, 1566, that Menendez made his first trip of exploration up
the San Mateo, now the St. Johns River. Meras gives a full account of it: "With
three brigantines, one hundred soldiers and some sailors he ascended the river
'for fifty leagues'." The old Spanish league was 2.63 miles, so he evidently pro-
ceeded about one hundred and thirty miles, or somewhere near Volusia landing,
above Lake George. On his way he stopped and visited the chiefs in the villages
along the river.
Menendez wished to make friends with the Indians, and also, to ascertain if
there was an outlet by way of the river to the Gulf of Mexico. He found that the
tide rose and fell for a distance of forty leagues, and that the farther he went into
1Memorial of Solis de Meras.
SAN MATEO-EXPEDITION OF DE GOURGES 33
the interior the more unfriendly the Indians became. On account of shortage of
supplies, he had previously sent one of his boats with fifty soldiers back to: Fort
San Mateo, and decided that his force was not sufficiently strong to proceed
farther he himself returned. He was gone on the expedition twelve days and on
returning to San Mateo found that during his absence twelve soldiers had gone
out to forage, and that eight had been killed by the Saturiwa Indians, and the other
four were badly wounded.
At this time Menendez sent from San Mateo a captain and thirty soldiers to
the Bay of Santa Maria, in north Latitude 370,1 which is the Chesapeake Bay.
That the first attempt at colonization in Virginia was made by men from Duval
territory in Florida is a fact that is little known. Menendez himself left San
Mateo on a second expedition into Guale and returned the latter part of Sep-
tember, when he learned of further mutiny among the soldiers.
No effort seems to have been made by the Spaniards to cultivate the land
around San Mateo. Even if they had so desired it is doubtful if their efforts
would have met with success, on account of the hostility of the Indians. It was
onlya garrisoned fort receiving its supplies from Spain, and its inhabitants were
soldiers. Little is known of the happenings during the latter part of 1566 and
the early months of 1567, during which time Menendez was engaged in the West
Indies "chasing corsairs." Available accounts only followed his movements, and
only when he was at San Mateo is anything written concerning them. It is tol~
that in March, 1567, he attempted to reach the fort by way of the west coast,
believing that a river there connected with the "Lagoon of Mayuir" (Lake Okee-
chobee) in which the San Mateo River (St. Johns) was supposed to take its rise.
The attempt failed, as did another sent from San Mateoup the river during the
In April, 1567, Meneniez returned to San Mateo where he found that Saturiba
was mustering a force of warriors to attack the fort. Villarroel, the Alcaide, had
captured Emoloa, a son of the chief, with fifteen other Indians, and held them in
chains, imprisoned in the fort. Saturiba had killed all the cattle of the Spaniards.
.Menendez set one of the Indians free with a message to Saturiba that he would
tneet the chief at the mouth of the river2 on the following morning for a powwow.
Saturiba replied that he would do so, if Menendez would bring his prisoners with
him, as he (Saturiba) wished to see them. Menendez compromised by taking the
chief's son and six other Indians, holding the others captive in the fort. Saturiba
was waiting near the shore at the mouth of the river and Menendez released one
Indian with a message to Saturiba that he should come down to the shore under
pledge that he would not be molested. The wily chief refused unless his son and
the others were liberated. This Menendez did, but kept the chains on them and
his guns in readiness to fire, should the Indians attempt to carry the prisoners off.
Saturiba remained away from the shore and for two hours messages were ex-
changed between him and his son. At the end of that time, Menendez discovered
1Memorial of Solis de Meras-Purblished Florida State Historical Society, 1923. Page 208.
2Present site of Mayport.
34 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
the presence of a large number of warriors in ambush who were evidently waiting
to attack as soon as the white men should land. Menendez thereupon took Emoloa
and the Indian prisoners on board his brigantine and sent word to Saturiba that
henceforth he was his enemy, and that he would command his head to be cut off.
Saturiba responded that he accepted the challenge of war and that the Spaniards
were "hens and cowards" for)not landing and fighting him.
Menendez did not reply but immediately prepared for war. Within a few
days he set out against Saturiba with four companies, each attacking from a
different point. He himself commanded one force of seventy soldiers. He
marched ten leagues at night to the place where Saturiba was supposed to be and
surprised the Indians, killing thirty of them, but did not find the chieftain, which
was his main desire. The Spaniards had three men killed and one wounded.
Menendez then freed Emoloa and three other Indians, sending a message to
Saturiba that he would take three of the other prisoners with him to Spain, treat
them kindly and bring them back, but if Saturiba made war on the Spaniards
during his absence, he would cut off the heads of the prisoners, one of whom was-
the son of Emoloa.
Menendez sailed for Spain on May 18, 1567. In his absence San Mateo was
destroyed by Saturiba in conjunction with Dominic de Gourges, who came from
France to avenge the massacre of Ribault and his followers.
Not only the Huguenots, but even many of the Catholic party of France had
resented the indifference of their government relative to the destruction of the
colony in New France. Two years had passed and gradually the: story of the
fate of Ribault and his companions had spread throughout the country. Threats
of vengeance were made and the sending of a fleet to Florida was freely discussed
and really expected by the Spaniards, whose writers often spoke of this menace;
yet, no action was taken by the French government. It was left for Dominic de
Gourges, who had himself suffered at the hands of the Spaniards, to use his private
fortune and that of his friends to avenge the slaughter of his countrymen.
De Gourges feared even to apprise the French government of the object of
his expedition, and on August 22, 1567, set sail with three vessels, with the coast
of Africa as his avowed objective. The number of his followers is variously
stated by different authorities, from one hundred and eighty-four soldiers and
seamen to two hundred and eighty. He sailed to Africa and thence via the West
Indies proceeded to Florida and did not announce the real object of the expedition
until after leaving San Domingo.
Fairbanks states that "the forts" at the entrance of the San Mateo River
saluted them, believing they were Spaniards, which salute was returned by De
Gourges. Solos de Meras, in his Memorial of Menendez, makes no mention of
any forts at the mouth of the river. In April, 1567, according to his account,
Saturiba's village was located there, and since De Gourges' expedition arrived at
the mouth of the River May in the spring of 1568, these forts were evidently built
by the Spaniards during the year intervening. Rudiaz speaks of a fort on the
"right bank of the mouth of the River Sarrabahia", evidently referring to the
Sarrauahi, which according to Le Ml yne's map was the River Nassau. The
SAN MATEO-EXPEDITION OF DE GOURGES 35
French commander proceeded to the harbor at the mouth of another river to the
north, called the Seine by the French, now the St. Marys, where he communicated
with Saturiba who was ready and willing to join in an attack on the Spaniards.
With the Indians was a French boy named Peter de Bre, who had escaped from
Fort Caroline and had remained with them for nearly three years. He proved
to be invaluable as an interpreter and told De Gourges that the three forts con-
tained in all but four hundred soldiers.1
They first surprised and captured the fort to the north; killing or taking
prisoners the entire garrison of sixty men. Then, according to the French account,
he turned the guns in the fort on the south bank and with the aid of his ships
attacked by sea, and the Indians by land, killed or captured its entire garrison.
De Gourges then turned his attention to Fort San Mateo, which was defended by
two hundred and sixty men. This fact he learned from one of the prisoners. He
riade an attack at dawn, capturing the Fort and killing or taking prisoners all the
garrison excepting Villarroel, the Alcaide, and a few others, who escaped. He
hung all the prisoners, and placed the artillery and arms on board his vessels; but
before he had finished loading these, an Indian (broiling fish near the fort),
lighted the powder magazine and it and the storehouses were destroyed.1
This is the substance of the French account of the affair. Rudiaz in "La
. Florida", gives the story from the Spanish viewpoint. He says: "While the
Adelantado was in the Court giving an account of his voyage and presenting a
report to the Council of Indies, the Lutherans, desirous of avenging themselves
of the death of Juan Ribao and his companions, and seeing their complaints made
light of in the Court of France, brought it about that Domingo Gurgio or Gourges
of Monte Marsono (a terrible heretic, brother of that one who at that time was
President of the Generalty of Guiena), and whom the Spaniards had thrown into
the galleys during the war with Florence, determined to go to Florida, at the same
time spreading abroad the rumor that he was returning to Brazil whither he had
sailed at other times."
"He manned three ships of war with 200 soldiers and 80 seamen, and by
August of 1567 he set sail, having persuaded his men on the way. But, on account
of the route they followed, they suspected having been deceived. He arrived at
the River of May or San Mateo without the Spaniards, who had seen them, sus-
pecting they were enemies; and making a treaty with Saturiba and other Indian
chiefs; and aided by their countrymen Peter Bren, who from the year 1565 had
been with Saturiba, inciting in him hatred against the Spaniards, and, using him to
win the other chieftains, preparing for the arrival of a favorable occasion for
revenge; they agreed upon the manner of carrying out vengeance."
"In the month of April, 1568, the French, commanded by Gourgues, and aided
by Saturiba and other chiefs and warriors, began to put into practice their ven-
geance against the Spanish. And they took by surprise by them, in spite of des-
perate resistance, a fort which they had on the right bank of the mouth of the River
'Fairbanks' History of Florida.
36 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
Sarrabahia, and that of San Mateo where the French had before had Charlesfort
which the Adelantado had captured from them. The French killed many defend-
ers of the fort, and only a few were able to save themselves, among these being
the Governor of San Mateo, Gonzalo de Villarroel. Gourgues plundered this fort
with the utmost vigor, and he had the Spanish prisoners hanged on the nearby
trees, placing there a sign which read, "'Not unto Spaniards, but unto traitors and
murderers"; because Pedro Menendez, when he had brought justice upon the
Huguenots, had placed there another sign which read, "Not unto Frenchmen, but
unto Lutherans." After these exploits, and after seizing all the artillery he could,
Gourgues, fearing that the Spaniards would return upon them, set sail on the
3rd of May of the same year, 1568, and on the 6th of June he arrived at Rochela,
without the Spanish ships which had followed him being able to overtake him.
From there he conveyed to Burdeos the captured artillery, having lost, in addition
to those who had perished in the encounter, eight men and one ship; but far from
finding at Court the approval and reward which he had hoped for, he was perse-
cuted by order of the Ambassador to Spain, and he owed his salvation to the
heretics who protected him."1
The story of De Gourgues' revenge will ever stand as one of the most daring
episodes in the history of the Duval territory or of any other part of the country.
Its material effect was the ultimate abandonment of Fort San Mateo by the Span-
iards. Menendez returned to Florida in the summer of 1568, soon after De
Gourgues' departure, and learned for the first time of the massacre of his soldiers,
and the destruction of the forts. He energetically set to work to refortify San
Mateo and for several years a garrison was kept there. The Spanish Colonial
records show that Pedro Menendez Marques, nephew of the Adelantado, wrote a
letter from that place on September 7, 1570, but the next account is on February
4, 1573, when in an investigation made at Madrid, one Martin Diez made oath
"that there are no farmers or soldiers at the Fort of San Mateo because it is
destroyed and abandoned."2
Menendez returned to Spain where he died in 1574. His successors lacked
his indomitable energy and seemed willing to give their attentions solely to St.
Augustine and leave the territory on the San Mateo River to the wild beasts and
1La Florida-Rudiaz, Madrid. Page 321.
2Colonial Records of Spanish Florida-Conner. Published Florida State Historical Society,
1925. Page 83.
THE TIMUCUAN INDIANS AND THE FRANCISCAN FRIARS.
rTHOUGH-San Mateo was abandoned in 1573, it seems to have been again used
S as a haven in 1586, when Sir Francis Drake attacked St. Augustine and
S drove the garrison and inhabitants therefrom. The former fled to San
Mateo, according to Fairbanks. It may have been inhabited during the intervening
years, but if so, no record is found. Sir Francis Drake intended to follow his suc-
cess at St. Augustine by also attacking San Mateo, but the tempestuous weather
prevented a landing. Whether the garrison continued to man the fort after Drake's
departure, or whether they returned to St. Augustine is not known; certainly little
mention is made of it in the territory of Duval for the next fifty years. Sometime
later reference is made to a small fort on the south bank of the San Juan River, tie
St. Johns, the name of which was changed about this time from San Mateo to the
San Juan River.
Map of Duval territory, showing location of Timucuan villages.
(From "Floridae Americae Provincias," by Jacques Le Moyne, 1565.)
The territory of Duval was now left to the Timucuan Indians who remained
unmolested in the villages, scattered throughout its confines. The accompanying
map, being an enlarged section of "Floridae Americae Provincias," published by
Jacques Le Moyne, soon after his return to France in 1565, shows the location of
these Timucuan villages.
38 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
Le Moyne had a remarkably accurate conception of the region, considering
that it had never b en previously explored by white men. Especially is this true as
to the course of the St. Johns River, or the River of May (designated as F. May).
The creeks now called Trout, McCoys, McGirts and Pottsburg can be easily
recognized, though unnamed. The Indian village of Choya is shown upon the
present site of the city of Jacksonville just where the St. Johns River turns east-
ward. This town is mentioned by Laudonniere, the commander of the first French
colony, but is spelled "Coya" by him. The fact that there was an Indian village
where Jacksonville now stands is also borne out by later evidence, such as the
existence of an Indian graveyard, the discovery of pottery, implements, etc.
Almost all of the villages shown on the map, including Choya, are named by
John R. Swanton in his list of Timucuan villages published in Bulletin No. 73
of the Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology. Patchica is
referred to as being a village on the "west bank of the St. Johns River in the
territory of the Timucuan tribe." The Spanish speak of it also, but spell it Palica.
Enecaque, which is across the river from Choya, and is presumed to be near the
present site of South Jacksonville, is also included in the Smithsonian Institution
list and is mentioned by Laudonniere in his writings.
Calanay is a town reported by the French in 1565 as having allied with the
Indian Chieftain Utina against them. Meras also tells of Menendez's visit there.
He spells the village "Calabay," which was the name of the chieftain, who ruled
Other villages shown in Swanton's list are Chilili, and Ecldnon (mentioned by
Laudonniere as well as in one of the old Spanish Chronicles), also the villages of
Casti, Edelanou, Omitaqua (also spelled Matiqua), Atore or Ayotore and others.
Most of these villages shown on Le Moyne's map were located on the hammock
lands near the St. Johns River as he had little opportunity to go back into the
flatwoods. Homoloa can be found in the lower part of the map near the St. Johns
River, which according to the Smithsonian Institution records, was also called
Moloa and is often referred to by Laudonniere and some of the Spanish writers
as being located on the south side of the River May near its mouth. It is also
stated that there was a Spanish mission there in the Seventeenth century and an
early Spanish document speaks of the town or its chief as "Moloa, the Brave."
This is one of the two missions known to be located in the territory now com-
prising Duval County although there are undoubtedly many more which were
destroyed by the English and the Yamassee Indians in 1715.
Alimacani, shown upon the map just north of F. May, which is the St. Johns
River, is undoubtedly Fort George Island, and is described in the Smithsonian
Institution records as being an island and town not far to the north of the mouth
of the St. Johns River. Here was located a, Spanish mission, established many
years after Le Moyne's day, called San Juan del Puerto.
Sarranahi, appearing on the map just north of Alimacani, is described by the
Bulletin of the Smithsonian Institution as being the River Nassau, and states that
there was an Indian town of the same name near its mouth.
TIMUCUAN INDIANS AND FRANCISCAN FRIARS 39
After the death of Pedro Menendez conditions in the province rapidly dete-
riorated, explorations ceased, many of the forts were abandoned and the Spaniards
contented themselves with remaining within the walls of St. Augustine. Yet,
when the soldiers retired the priests advanced, and they accomplished what arms
could not gain. The Dominicans were the first missionaries, and their policy as
expressed by Father Peter de Feria, one of them, was that "by good example, with
good works, and with presents, to bring the Indians to a knowledge of our Holy
and Catholic truth." The first Vicar and Superior in the territory of Duval was
Lopez de Mendoza of Yeres, who held the office both for San Mateo and St. Augus-
tine and was appointed by Menendez "with the consent of the Bishop of Santiago
de Cuba"' under whose jurisdiction was the Province of Florida.
The Dominicans, however, soon retired from the province, and King Philip
requested the General of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) to send twenty-four of
its members to Florida for missionary work. The General was unable to send
so large a number but in 1567 assigned three, Fathers Peter Martinez and John
Rogel and Brother Francis de Villarroel. Father Peter Martinez, as before stated,
was murdered by the Indians on what is now Fort George Island, according to
Fairbanks, though some authorities state it was on what is now Cumberland
Island. The ship which bore the other two returned to Havana, where they
remained until 1567 when they came to Florida. Later other Jesuits came but
several of these were killed by the Indians and in 1571 the General of the Society
recalled all of the members of the Society who were then in Florida.
The Dominicans and Jesuits having failed in successfully establishing Indian
missions, it was undertaken by the Society of St. Francis. Toward the close of
1577, Father Alonzo de Reynoso arrived with a number of priests of this order
called Franciscan friars,1 who were successful from the beginning. They were
the vanguard of faithful priests, who for two centuries were to spread the teach-
ings of Christianity among the Indians of Florida. In 1592, there were only
seven, in 1594 twelve more arrived. At first the Indians were hostile and the
priests could not go beyond the palisades of the forts, but through patience and
kindly treatment the savages gradually yielded to the teachings of the friars and
baptisms followed. In 1595, one priest had baptized eighty and another had
penetrated one hundred and forty miles from the coast, traveling alone where no
soldier would have dared to have gone unaccompanied. In 1597, the son of a
chief, on what is now Amelia Island, murdered a priest and with several followers
went from mission to mission in Guale, killing as they went. Five members of the
order fell under the scalping knife, but these atrocities did not quench the fire of
religious zeal which sustained the Sons of St. Francis. They continued in their
work and missions were soon established in most of the important Indian towns
throughout the Spanish territory from St. Elena (Hilton Head, S. C.) to the
Mosquitoes (Volusia County, Fla.).
In a letter of Fra Francisco de Pareja to King Philip in 1600, the priest
claims "there are more than eighty churches which have been built in the different
missions and others under construction."2
"'The Catholic Church in Colonial Days"-John Gilmore Shea, N. Y., 1886.
2"Unwritten History of Old St. Augustine"-Mrs. Annie Averette.
HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
In 1606, an event happened of great interest to the religious. Bishop Cabezas
of Santiago de Cuba came to Florida, visiting several provinces' and the result
was an intense religious awakening among the natives. In 1609, the great cacique
of the Timucuans with his son and ten of his chiefs sought baptism and asked for
missionaries to reside among his people; and in 1621, the King of Spain by decree
made special provision for the maintenance of the Franciscan Missions, which
in 1634 claimed thirty thousand converted Indians.2
These events are chronicled as general to all Florida but the Duval territory
was the fertile ground of the Franciscan Friars and for nearly a hundred years
they were the only white men who visited it. These zealous priests, robed in
gowns of gray or brown coarse cloth, pointed hood, whose vows prescribed that
they go barefoot and never on horseback," walked from village to village through
the forests of Duval territory or were carried in the canoes of the friendly Indians
that they might minister unto the savages. The warlike Timucuans, who, in
earlier days, had slain the Spaniards at sight and ruthlessly cut the heart out of
their prisoners, now received the priests in their wigwams, sat at their feet and
learned of the teachings of the lowly Nazarene.
In 1674, the Bishop of Cuba came again to St. Augustine and visited the mis-
sions along the coast, including San Pedro Mocama on Cunmberl:ind Island and then
crossed to the mission of Santa Fe de Toloco, which was in the country of Alachua
to the west of the St. Johns, "and gave confirmation to all who had been prepared
for the Sacrament."4 The Bishop spent eight months in his personal visitations
of the missions and presumably passed through the territory of Duval. As stated
before only two missions have been found in the records as located in Duval
In the Spanish archives there have been found two lists of Florida missions,
one called the "list of 1655" and the other the "list of 1685." In neither of these
does the Mission of Moloa appear, probably for the reason that it was only a
"mission station." The mission of San Juan del Puerto, however, is among those
listed in "Provincia de Guale Y. Mocamo" and for that reason has been believed
to have been located in the land of the Guale Indians, the center of which was in
Georgia. All traces of it have disappeared and only the records can be depended
upon for its location. Merely the fact that it was classified by the Spaniards as
"in Guale" can not be taken as conclusive evidence that it was not at the mouth
of the St. Johns River, for all missions north of that river were listed as being
"in the Province of Guale."'
The testimony of modern Catholic authorities lends weight to the belief that
it was on Fort George Island. The very Reverend H. P. Clavreul in his "notes
on the Catholic Church in Florida," says: "Besides the missions near St. Augus-
1"Catholic Church in Colonial Days"-John Gilmore Shea. Page 160.
The first to exercise Episcopal Functions within the present limits of the United States.
8Webster's New International Dictionary.
4"The Catholic Church in Colonial Days"-John Gilmore Shea. Page 171.
TIMUCUAN INDIANS AND FRANCISCAN FRIARS 41
tine, we find forty miles to the north, the mission of San Juan del Puerto." Shea
in his "Catholic Church in Colonial Days," says "that San Juan mission was
located on an island about fifteen or sixteen leagues north of St. Augustine." An
old Spanish league was 2.63 miles, making about forty miles which is the approx-
imate distance from St. Augustine to Fort George Island.
More evidence is found in the account of Jonathan Dickinson, a Quaker, who
was wrecked on the coast of Florida in 1699 and saved from the Indians by the
Franciscan Friars and conducted north, from mission to mission, to the Kngli-h
colony of Carolina. He published an account of his experiences in which he gives
an account of his visit to "St. Whan's" Island where a mission was located. He
says: "Taking our departure from Augustine (Sept. 29) we had about 2 or 3
leagues to an Indian town called St. a Cruce. This morning early (Sept. 30) we
left this town, having about 2 leagues to go with the canoes,1 and then we were to
travel by land; but a cart was, provided to carry our provisions and necessaries,
in which those that could not travel were carried. We had about 5 leagues to a
Sentinel's house, where we lay all night and next morning traveled along the sea-
shore about 4 leagues to an inlet. Here we waited for canoes to come for us, to
carry us about 2 miles to an Indian town called St. Whan's (San Juan's), being
on an island. We went through a skirt of wood into the plantation for a mile. In
the middle of this island is the town, St. Whan's, a large town and many people;
they have a friar and worship house. The people are very inlu-tri'ti-. having
plenty of hogs, fowls, and large crops of corn, as we could tell by their cirn houses.
The Indians brought us victuals as at the last town, and we lay in their warehouse,
which was larger than at the other town."
"This morning (October 2) the Indians brought us victuals for breakfast.
Sand the friar gave my wife some loaves of bread made of Indian corn which was
* somewhat extraordinary; also a parcel of fowls."
"About 10 o'clock in the forenoon we left St. Whan's, i.-alking about a mile
to the sound; here were canoes and Indians ready to transport us to the next town.
:We did believe we might have come all the way along the sound, but the Spaniards
were not willing to discover the place to us."
"An hour before sunset we got to the town called St. Mary's."2
That this mission or "Worship house" which Dickinson calls St. \Vhan's was
on St. George's Island there can be no doubt. It was the distance of about four-
teen leagues north of St. Augustine ."along the seashore" to the inlet which he
crossed which could be no other than the St. Johns River. The Island was just
across this inlet and a day's journey by canoe south of St. Marys. The descrip-
tion and distances certainly agree with the location of Fort George's Island. In
addition to this evidence is the further fact that Oglethorpe in 1736 gave the name
George's Island to an island called San Juan by the Spanish and reported an old
fort thereon in sight of the St. Johns River, which he rebuilt and named St. George.
1Up North River or Guana Creek.
2From "Narrative of a Shipwreck in the Gulph of Florida; Showing God's Protecting
Providence, Man's Surest Help and Defense in Times of Greates: Difficulty and Most Imminent
Danger. Faithfully Related by one of the Persons-Concerned tlrerein."-Jonathan Dickinson,
42 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
San Juan Missibn was one of the earliest and was established about 1604.
Fra Francisco de Pareja was the first missionary and according to a letter of
Governor Ibarra, was supported by Dona Maria, Chieftainess of the local tribe of
the Timucuans, whose husband was a Spaniard. Pareja states that in this district
of the San Juan Mission there were ten settlements and about five hundred Chris-
tians, "big and little."1 Most of these are believed to have been in the Duval ter-
ritory. A letter of Fra Francisco Pareja of November, 1607, complains of attacks
made by wild Indians on the Christians.
In 1638 the Apalache Indians attacked the Spaniards and advanced on St.
Augustine, but were repulsed and driven back into their own province. There is
no record as to the stand the Timucuan Indians in Duval territory took in this
action, though it is believed they were either neutral, or, were on the side of the
In the latter part of the Seventeenth Century the 1English colony, established
in South Carolina, had grown to the point that it had become a menace to the
Spaniards. St. Elena, a Spanish settlement, was located within the present limits
of that state. Both the Spaniards and the English endeavored to make allies of
the Yamassee Indians, who lived in the territory that lay between the provinces
of Carolina and Florida. The English were successful and as a protection to the
Timucuan Indians, who had by this time become so peaceful as to be known as the
Mission Indians, the Spanish Governor about 1584 endeavored to persuade them
to move from the interior to the missions on the coast. Those of the Duval
territory were urged to go to San Juan del Puerto. The Indians, however, refused
to go and, for a time, abandoned their missions. In 1676 the Spaniards attacked
the English colony on the Ashley River in South Carolina, but were repulsed
and three years later attacked a Scotch settlement at Port Royal in that state and
destroyed their houses there as well as at points in the interior. Later the English
with their allies, the Yamassees, wreaked summary vengeance on the Spaniards
and their protegees, the Timucuans. Desultory skirmishes and inroads by the
Yamassees, encouraged by the English, occurred during the latter part of the
Seventeenth Century. The missions to the north of Duval, in what is now Geor-
gia, were the first to suffer. It was not until 1702, when Governor Moore of
South Carolina invaded Florida and turned loose a horde of Yamassees upon the
peaceful Indians of Duval, that the extermination of the great Timucuan tribe
began. Then the missions were destroyed, vestments and plates taken from the
churches, and many of the Indians carried away into slavery.
San Juan del Puerto at the mouth of the St. Johns suffered with others and
evidently was not reestablished. According to Shea, another mission of the same
name was located later "in the province of the Apalache, established for all who
joined it from the Apalache nation and the Yamassees."2
1Early History of the Creek Indians and their neighbors-Swanton.D
2"The Catholic Church in Coloniel Days"-Shea. Page 466.
SPANISH OCCUPATION AND LAND GRANTS (i;
The amount of land fixed was according to "head rights," or heals in the
family, one hundred acres being allotted to the husband, the same amllount to the
wife and fifty acres to each child or slave over sixteen years of age. While these
were the rules usually followed, it is found that the Spanish Governor occasionally
made grants on more liberal terms. Governor White, Queseda's successor, re-
duced the amount of land granted as "headrights" to one-half during his term of
office, but his successors adhered to the original plan of allotment.
SPANISH LAND GRANT1
Petition of Stephen Eubank dated February 4th, 1806, and authority from White, the Spanish Governor
of East Florida, granting permission to occupy and cultivate the land, under Royal Order of 1790.
The method of obtaining a land grant was for the settler to present a meinorial
to the Governor at St. Augustine, setting forth that he delesired to swear allegiance,
giving the number of his family and slaves, and prayii.g for a specified number of
'Mention of this grant is made in Item 120, p. 396, Vol. 5, Duff (Green Edition, Public Land
Document American State Papers.
y ^ ^ ^~
Petition ^^. Stehe ^^^^w^? date Febuay th 102 ad athriy ro W :t, te yais tv
ofEs l^dgatn priso oocp n cutiat the^^ ^^^ lad unde floya Order f t79
The ^ ^y^ _-- < ___ o_.....__.6 a ^c rn a o h stlrt ~eet amL._,
to ~ ~ ~ ~ ^ ^ ^ th (enratS.Agsiestigfrh la ece^rt o^.aralgac~
^^^- ^^^ube o isfail -^ savs c=^^^ !,cyily ior^^= -^ ^^^ ^-eiel ul c c^^j
'Metio o ths gan i^^>s md nIe 2,p 9,Vl S,^s~K puff (;reet Edi2^ll Put^^c I'^
I^cuen American^ Stat Pape r^s^ ^.^~^.\^
64 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
acres at some particular location. The Governor would thereupon consult "the
surveyor general as to the probable influence the settlement would have upon the
military defence of the province," and the petition was usually granted immediately
with the order "let the lands be granted without injury to a third person," meaning,
provided the land had not been previously granted to others. The surveyor general
traveled over the territory and staked off the land, taking a census of the number
of "heads" in the family. Upon his report the Governor made his final decree as
to the amount of land granted. For this reason the surveyor's favor was eagerly
sought by the settlers. These facts are interesting for upon these grants are based
the titles of a large portion of land in Duval County today.
The Royal Order of 1790 was the basis of all titles until the Royal Order of
1815, under which grants were allowed for military and other services, giving
immediate title in fee simple instead of ten years' occupancy. In addition there
was a class denominated as "mill grants" which were given in consideration of the
building of a sawmill, and were generally for sixteen thousand acres. Whether it
was the intent to convey the land or only the timber rights was later a subject of
much discussion before the United States Commissioners, as all the grants ex-
pressly stated "you may build a mill and cut timber in the woods." However,
during the Spanish occupation such grants were usually allowed even as to the
land, but the United States in confirming these titles always required evidence
that the mill had actually been erected.
Among the English settlers who retained their titles under the Spanish regime,
was Robert Payne, who settled on Pablo Creek in 1782, a five-hundred-acre tract
being surveyed by Benjamin Lord. He also had five hundred acres at the head
of Durbin Swamp, surveyed by F. G. Mulcaster in 1771.
Both of these tracts were afterwards sold to Joseph Peavett to whom they
were confirmed in 1825.1 Others were the Hartleys, whose descendants now live
on the same grant at Loretta, and Uriah Bowden, who settled at St. Anthony,
called San Antonio by the Spaniards, now the village of Mandarin. Affidavits in
Public Land Documents state that "William Barden (also spelled Beardon) mar-
ried the widow of Uriah Bowden and occupied the land since 1787." The land
referred to is six lots in the village of St. Anthony on the St. Johns River which
was confirmed to Barden on December 18, 1824.1 Uriah Bowden had two other
tracts, one of 250 acres at St. Anthony's Bend, close by St. Anthony, and 250 acres
south of St. Johns River, which were inherited by Moses Bowden and confirmed
to him.1 Adjoining Uriah Bowden's property was that of Robert Gilbert, which
was inherited by his daughter Polly, wife of William Barden, who transferred part
to Samuel Fairbanks. Thirty acres of this tract was purchased in 1867 by Harriet
Beecher Stowe, author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
Other English settlers who retained title under the Spanish government, con-
firmed by the United States were Francis P. Fatio, Sr., and his wife Maria Theresa,
their son Francis P. Fatio, Jr., and daughters, Sophia Fleming who married Cap-
IPublic Lands-American State Papers, Vol. IV.
SPANISH OCCUPATION AND LAND GRANTS 65
tain George Fleming; Louise A. Hallowes; Mary Ann Fatio and Fernando Fatio.
In addition to grants within the present territory of Duval, this family owned
10,000 acres at New Switzerland, south of Julington Creek on the east side of the
St. Johns, and 10,762 acres at Hibernia across the river. Thomas Clarke, whose
sons Charles and George I. F. Clarke1 were prominent during Spanish occupation,
owned land in or near the territory of Duval though they may have resided outside
of its boundaries. George I. F. Clarke was later Surveyor general and received
large grants for services, one of which was for the construction of "a machine
with four horses which can saw eight lines at a time, cutting 2,000 feet of timber
in a day."2
In 1790, 300 acres were surveyed for Solomon King at a place called "King's
Point," on the St. Johns River which afterwards passed to Isaac Hendricks and
was confirmed to him in 1828.3 This was evidently near South Jacksonville. The
following year Robert Pritchard took up four hundred and fifty acres across the
St. Johns River on the site of the present city of Jacksonville, built a house and
cultivated the land. John Joseph Lain was his overseer and the settlement was
continued until the Indian raid of 1812, about which time Pritchard died and the
land was abandoned. His widow married James Hall to whom the land was
confirmed April 12, 1--.: 3 This land, however, was settled upon by the widow
of Turnel (Purnall) Taylor about 1816, after Pritchard abandoned it. Taylor
had been killed by the Indians and his widow Maria Suarez Taylor married Zach-
ariah Hogans who petitioned for the confirmation of two hundred acres, now in the
business section of Jacksonville, which was allowed him on April 26, 1824.3 From
this grant all present titles run, although confirmation to the Pritchard heirs was
subsequent to that of Hogans.
Pritchard also had several other grants, one of 250 acres on Goodman's Lake
(now Goodby's Lake), which was originally surveyed for Thomas Bowden in
1790; also a mill grant of 16,000 acres on Julington Creek in 1803, which was not
recommended for confirmation by Congress on the ground that a mill was not
built. His widow, Eleanor Pritchard Hall, was also granted 270 acres at Beau-
clark's Bluff on the St. Johns, later spelled "Beauclerc," and confirmed in 1828.1
Goodby's Lake appears to have been a stream of many names. In 1792, 640 acres
were surveyed for Francis Goodwin on Azza Creek which stream was called
"Goodman's Lake" in 1805, and "Goodby's Lake" and "Goodby's Creek" later.
In the section along the St. Johns south of the Cowford to New Switzerland
were the remains of abandoned English plantations and these were taken up by
the new settlers who came in, mostly from Georgia. In 1791, Angus Clark peti-
tioned for and was granted 446 acres on Julington Creek, adjoining land, where
Hannah Moore had a plantation. His daughter, Constance McFee, inherited it
in 1804, to whom it was confirmed in 1825.3 Across the St. Johns River from St.
1The name George I. F. Clarke appears throughout the Gales and Seaton Edition Public
Land Documents, Vol. IV, V, VI, VIII, American State Papers. Forbes, Vignoles, Williams and
other Historians give the name George I. F. Clarke.
2Public Lands-American State Papers, Vol. V.
3Public Lands-American State Papers, Vol. IV.
4Public Lands-American State Papers, Vol. VI.
66 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
Anthony, Daniel Plummer settled on 300 acres in the same year, at a place which
was known as "Colonel Plummer." His heirs sold it several years later to Am-
brose Hull to whose heirs it was confirmed in 1828.1 Also there was a tract of
208 acres to the east of St. Anthony near the old King's Road taken by Robert
Corwin, which became the Hannah Nobles' grant, to whom it was confirmed May
Settlers came to the St. Anthony section on both sides of the river. In 1793,
Pedro Marrott, the surveyor, laid off three separate tracts for Artemus E. Fergu-
son; one of 507 acres at "Sancancy on St. Johns River, bounded by lands known
as St. Andrews Point"; 43 1/3 acres at "Turkey Bluff"; and 1,150 acres at "Negro
Bluff" called "Armonica."2
During this time other parts of the county were being settled. In 1791,
Francis X. Sanchez obtained 300 acres on the St. Johns River at a place called
"Terros", which became the F. Miles grant.2 Diego Clarkworthy had 300 acres
at "Sekey's Bluff," which his widow left to James Summerall whose plantation
was destroyed by the Indians in 1812.2
In 1792, John McQueen. a descendant of the Highland clan that followed
Oglethorpe to Georgia and settled at Darien in that state, came into the territory.
He obtained surveys for two tracts of land, one of 720 acres on Fort George
Island,' the other being the abandoned plantation of Abraham Jones at the junction
of McGirt's Creek and the St. Johns River, now Ortega. Don Juan McQueen, as
he was called by the Spanish, exerted considerable influence in the territory. In
the same year there came James William Lee to the head of Trout Creek, to what
is now known as the Joseph Fenwick grant; Reuben Hogans on the "Hodgin's
plantation," which he afterward sold to Seymour Pickett. John Simson obtained
200 acres on Pottsburg Creek. afterward sold to Win. Hendricks. Spicer Chris-
topher settled on Talbot Island, called San Marta by the Spanish-Andrew Atkin-
son near St. Vincent Ferrer, or St. Johns Bluff.
Near the Cowford, John Hammon took up 250 acres at the "Cove of St.
Nicholas."4 so called from Fort St. Nicholas-Wm. Valentine, 150 acres on the
St. Johns which he sold to Win. Hollingsworth, and was confirmed to the heirs
of Peter Bagley." Also in 1792, Samuel Eastlake, the Surveyor, obtained for him-
self 3502 acres at what is now "Plummer Point" and "Plummer Cove." It was
named for Daniel Plummer who about ten years later settled there after Eastlake
had abandoned the property, and it was confirmed to Prudence Plummer, Daniel's
widow. The same year John Creighton settled on Levitt's plantation on the St.
Johns-George Long settled on Julington Creek which property he afterward
sold to Sarah Petty-and John Thorpe obtained a grant at "Plantage Rico" or
"Rich Plantation" near Saw Pitt Bluff, which his daughter Mary Smith inherited,
and to whom it was later confirmed.
'Public Lands-American State Papers, Vol. V.
"Public Lands-American State Papers, Vol. IV.
:Public Lands-American State Papers, Vol. VI.
4Also spelled St. Nicolas and St. Nickolas.
SPANISH OCCUPATION AND LAND GRANTS 67
Andrew Dewees came from Charleston, South Carolina, and on February 8,
1792, Don Pedro Marrott surveyed for him a place called "The Orange Grove,"
evidently an old English plantation situated at the mouth of the St. Johns River,
bounded by the ocean beach and Pablo Creek. This tract contained 2.633 and 1/3
acres and here Dewees, a large slave owner, lived and prospered. In 1804, the
records show that he had died and his widow Catalina Chicken reaffirmed the
grant from the Spanish Government. In 1811 she sold 1,800 acres of the land to
John Forbes & Co.' who applied to the U. S. Land Commissioners in 1824 for
confirmation, but same was not allowed on the grounds that "the petitioners were
not residents of the province." On September 26, 1825, the Commissioners con-
firmed to the heirs of Andrew Dewees. 2,290 acres of the tract.2 Mary Dewees,
wife of Philip Dewees and daughter of Francis X. Sanchez, also inherited from
her father 100 acres on Guana Creek several miles to the south in St. Johns County,
which was confirmed to her. This Philip Dewees was a son of Andrew Dewees
though Andrew evidently also had a brother by the same name."
Those who arrived in 1793 were: Win. Hendricks who first settled on Nassau
River and later moved to the Cowford; Samuel Wilson on Trout Creek, who
claimed 150 acres as "head rights"; Francis Bagley, to whom was allotted 1,000
acres for services on "St. Johns River at a place called Brown Fort." and another
tract of 248 acres "at Goodman's Lake", St. Johns river at a place called "Bagley" :4
William Lane on Trout Creek and William Jones on the south bank of the St.
Johns at the Cowford.
The history of the William Jones' grant is the early history of South Jack-
sonville. A map found in Volume IV of the Public Land Documents of American
State Papers,4 shows the property lying in the bend of the river, through the center
of which runs the King's Highway, ending at King's Landing, about where the
present ferry slip in South Jacksonville is located. This map was presented with
the survey by Pedro Marrott and'Josiah Dupont on February 14. 1793. for "the
inhabitant William Jones" and is described as being "at the plantation named St.
Nicholas" and containing 216 acres. It further states that "At the landing there
are eight acres of land of the King laid off within this plat." William Jones pro-
ceeded to clear and cultivate this land. In 1794 there was an uprising of the
planters on the St. Johns against the Spanish Government called "Wagners War."
For some reason the Governor ordered all the settlers to move from one side of
the river to the other and "sent the gun boats to burn and destroy all the plantations
in order to compel the inhabitants to remove on the east side of the river."5 Wil-
liam Jones took part in this insurrection, and for that reason his property was con-
fiscated. On May 16, 1797, Wm. Hendricks presented a petition to White, the
Spanish Governor, "praying that the land which the rebel against his Majesty,
'Public Lands-A. S. P., Vol. IV. Report No. 2, 1824-John Forbes & Co. vs. U. S.
2Public Lands-A. S. P., Vol. IV. Report No. 116-Heirs of Andrew Dewees.
3See Biography Frederick C. Hedrick, a descendant of Andrew Dewees.
public Lands, A. S. P., Vol. IV.
"'Report-Isaac Hendricks vs. U S.-A. S. P., Vol. IV.
68 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
William Jones, occupied on the south bank of the River St. Johns should be granted
to his son, Isaac Hendricks."' Governor White granted the land to Hendricks
with the reservation that "the plain where the detachment of St. Nicholas is quar-
tered should be kept clear for the distance of a gun shot or more." From this
evidence it would seem that Fort St. Nicholas was either on or in close proximity
to the Hendrick's grant, which is now the business section of South Jacksonville.
The property was occupied by William Hendricks and confirmed to Isaac Hen-
dricks by the United States on June 18, 1824.
Francis Flora settled in 1793 at "Red Bank" on what was later the William
Craig grant. The first sawmill in the section was built by William Pengree in 1793,
on Naponacema Creek near the present boundary of Clay and Duval. One thou-
sand acres was allotted him, which reverted to his widow Rebecca and her son-
in-law, a Mr. Cook. Two years later Patrick Travers built a water sawmill "on a
creek two miles south of Pottsburg Creek."2 In 1794 William Lee obtained 200
acres "at Jolly's Old Field near Cowford." Lee sold to Samuel Betts in 1803 and
moved back to Georgia. Betts sold it to James Hall in 1806, who in turn sold it
to Clark and Atwater to whom it was confirmed in 1825.3 During the same year
there was another settlement near the Cowford, Joseph Pons received a grant on
December 16, 1795, of 350 acres of land which had been previously abandoned by
John George Knowles. Pons afterward exchanged to William Hart who sold to
George Atkinson.4 About the same time Samuel Russell settled on a tract of 650
acres on the east side of St. Johns, which was afterward sold to Francis Richard
arid confirmed to him. In 1796 Lewis Schofield settled at "Nine Mile Spring on
King's Road" which is near the present station of Sunbeam on the Florida East
Coast Railroad. William Fitzpatrick had settled at Cedar Point on the St. Johns
,These constituted, in the main, the citizens of Duval territory at the end of
the Eighteenth Century. There were only a few dozen families in all the territory.
The main arteries of travel were the St. Johns River and its tributaries-the King's
Highway, and an old road formerly used by the English, which led from the
mouth of the St. Johns River south, paralleling the seashore to St. Augustine.
As the new country opened new settlers came in, hardy frontiersmen from
Georgia and the Carolinas. In 1801 John Jones took up 500 acres near the Cow-
ford but appears to have abandoned it and later secured 100 acres on Trout Creek.
About the same time a family consisting of Andrew Tucker and his brother-in-
law, William Berrie, and also William Braddock, came from Camden County,
Georgia. Tucker obtained 230 acres as "head rights" according to his family and
slaves, located at "Black Hammock" near the mouth of the Nassau River. William
Berrie obtained 100 acres at "Snelling's Old Field," across the St. Johns River
1Isaac Hendricks vs. U. S. Pub. Lands-A. S. P., Vol. IV.
2Public Lands-A. S. P., Vol. V.
3Public Lands-A. S. P., Vol. IV.
4Public Lands-A. S. P., Vol. IV. George Atkinson vs. U. S. Property now in Jacksonville.
SPANISH OCCUPATION AND LAND GRANTS 69
from St. Johns Bluff, which Braddock helped him to clear. They cultivated this
land until 1808 when Berrie and his brother-in-law, Tucker, exchanged plantations.
They remained until the "Patriot War" of 1812, when all returned to Georgia.
Later they returned to Florida, and title was confirmed to them by the Land Com-
missioners of the United States.'
In 1802 Ezekiel Hudnall took up 500 acres on the "Mouth of Nassau River at
Pumpkin Bluff." He afterward moved to the vicinity of the Cowford. In 1803
Frederick Hartley obtained 200 acres at "St. Nickolas, Six Mile River";2 Levin
Grunby at "Dames Point" on the St. Johns, later known as Yellow Bluff and now
New Berlin; and John B. Richards at the head of Pottsburg Creek.
The year 1804 saw the advent of several men who yielded wide influence in
the territory, not only during the remainder of the Spanish occupation, but for
years after the territory was ceded to the United States.
1Public Lands-A. S. P., Vol. IV. Berrie.vs. U. S. and Tucker vs. U. S.
public Lands-A. S. P., Vol. IV.
SECOND SPANISH OCCUPATION AND SPANISH LAND GRANTS UNDER ROYAL
HE largest land owners on record in Duval territory prior to the promulga-
tion of the Royal Order of 1815, were Francis P. Fatio, Jr., his sister Sophia
Fleming, John McQueen, Andrew Dewees and John H. McIntosh, all of
whom have been heretofore mentioned. The records show that John H. McIntosh
owned a plantation of 3,274 acres1 between St. Johns River and McGirt's Creek, sur-
veyed in .1': ':; also an undefined amount "on Marratts Island,"1 believed to be Fort
George's Island which was surveyed by Marratt. Another large land owner was
Zephaniah Kingsley, who from time to time acquired various tracts in Duval terri-
tory. The following grants were confirmed to him by the United States Commis-
sioners from 1825 to 1830: 300 acres "at head of Saw Mill Creek",2 150 acres
"Orange Grove, Dunn's Creek", 50 acres "St. Vincent's Ferrer, St. Johns River",
100. acres "St. Johns River south side called St. Johns Bluff", 261 acres "place called
Laurel Grove",3 720 acres "Ft. George Island, St. Johns River", ..'.:. acres ."San
Jose, St. Johns River."2 In addition to these there were also large grants at Twelve
Mile Swamp, Drayton's Island, Doctor's Lake, St. _A-lry's River, besides others
outside of Duval territory.
John McQueen was probably the one who induced John Houston McIntosh
and Zephaniah Kingsley to come to Duval territory. All three were Scotchmen.
McIntosh and McQueen coming to Florida from McIntosh County, Georgia, and
Kingsley from New England, it is said. McQueen sold land to both of them.
McIntosh bought from him the old Abraham Jones plantation of 2,000 acres at
McGirt's Creek and the St. Johns River, now Ortega, and also purchased 800
acres upon which Philip Dell4 had settled two years before with other land adjoin-
ing, making a total of 3,274 acres. He also bought 720 acres on Fort George
Island from McQueen, obtaining title on March 13, 1804, the same month in
which he acquired the McGirt's Creek property. In June, 1804, McQueen bought
1,000 acres from Rupert C. Maxey "at the point of Pablo Creek"" and settled there.
Kingsley first lived at Laurel Grove plantation but later moved to Fort George
Island. All three plantations could be reached by boat. McIntosh also lived on
St. George's Island, for a time, and his daughter and sister-in-law were buried
there in 1808; there the tombs, overgrown with a luxuriant growth deep in the
woods, can still be seen. On his daughter's tomb, carved in stone, are the words:
"Mary, Daughter of John Houston and Eliza Bayard McIntosh, died in 1808":
on the other; his wife's sister, is the epitaph: "Mrs. Mary Ann Bayard Houston.
1Public Lands-American State Papers, Vol. VI.
2Public Lands-American State Papers, Vol. IV.
3This was partially in what is now Clay County.
4Spelled "Dill" in American State Papers.
5Public Lands-American State Papers, Vol. V.
SECOND SPANISH OCCUPATION-LAND GRANTS
Daughter of Nickolas Bayard of New York, Sister of Mrs. Eliza Bayard Mc-
Intosh, died 1808." It is known that McIntosh had a home there as late as 1812,1
and that he sold the property to Zephaniah Kingsley January 23. 1817.
1. ~~ c
1. .r 1~. r,
IJ ,r' r
4;1~ b ri; c'
_r ~ir 9q1 -~ L~~4. s-~ .l~~~$":-
--Q~ K<-- -~---'~ -
Two graves deep in the woods of Fort George Island that mark the last resting place of members
of the family of Col. John H. McIntosh, who was President of the Republic of Florida.
The stone tablets give the date of death as 18o8.
Fairbanks in his History of Florida has the following concerning McIntosh:
"Some ten years after the change of flags General John McIntosh returned to
Florida with his accomplished and devoted wife, and settled upon the St. Johns
River at a plantation which he called Bellevue. He had been a distinguished officer
in the war of the American Revolution and brought with him to Florida several
1"Notes of My Family and Recollections of My Early Life," by Susan L'Engle. Published
privately in 1888.
HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
families devoted to his interests. The Spanish Governor, Queseda, jealous and
suspicious of the consideration with which McIntosh was treated, affected to
believe that he was engaged in projects inimical to the interests of Spain. He
pretended to be on friendly terms with the General, but upon one occasion when
he was a visitor to St. Augustine, Queseda had him arrested and thrown into the
castle. A detachment of soldiers was sent out to the General's plantation, who
searched the house and carried off all the private papers they could find. All
communication with the family was prevented and soon after General McIntosh
was sent to Havana and immured in the dungeon of Moro Castle. His resolute
wife made every effort in her power to procure his release; though practically
blind, she wrote to the Governor General of Cuba several able letters, declaring
the innocence of her husband, and urged that he be brought to trial and confronted
with his accusers. She also appealed to the sympathies of her husband's old
comrades in arms and enlisted the services of George Washington himself, to
procure the release of the General. Finally after he had been kept a year in close
confinement, the Governor of Cuba released him, and allowed him to return without
trial to his family. Incensed and disgusted with the treachery of Queseda, Gen-
eral McIntosh determined to abandon Florida forever and gathering his adherents,
some of whom had been his fellow sufferers, he descended the river and returned
to Georgia, but not without first having destroyed the Spanish fort at the Cow-
ford,' opposite Jacksonville, and several galleys that lay in the river."
General McIntosh did not abandon Florida, however. Fuller in "The Pur-
chase of Florida" says, "by 1811 he had become a man of importance on the lower
St. Johns. He owned large numbers of negroes, horses and boats and was exten-
sively engaged in cutting pine timber under a lucrative contract."
Facts concerning Zepheniah Kingsley are best obtained from his own writings.
He was evidently a man of education judging from a book which he wrote entitled
"A Treatise on the Patriarchal System of Society as It Exists Under the Name
of Slavery." It was published in 1829, and is known to have run into the fourth
edition, a copy of which is in the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. Little
is known of Kingsley's early history, except that according to his own statement
he had travelled in Africa, and had lived in Brazil and the West Indies where, "he
had travelled on horseback engaged in buying coffee." He amassed a fortune in
slave trading and was one of the largest planters in East Florida. John Lee Wil-
liams says in his "History of Florida", "that Kingsley raised crops on one planta-
tion in one year valued at $10,000", that in one year he produced "five thousand
bushels of rough rice, fifty hogshead of sugar, besides a large quantity of cotton,
corn, peas, potatoes, etc." On Fort George's Island, Zephaniah Kingsley's resi-
dence still stands, now owned by the Fort George Club. The house, set in a grove
of live oaks and palmetto, faces Fort George Inlet, with the outhouses much as
they were over a hundred years ago. In the rear, the ruins of twenty-six slave
cabins can be seen and through the forest now overgrown, two rows of majestic
TFort St. Nicholas.
SECOND SPANISH OCCUPATION-LAND GRANTS
palmettoes mark the drive to the St. Johns River to the east. The surrounding
country was then cultivated fields of indigo, Sea Island cotton, corn, etc.
Avenue of Palmettoes on Fort George Island, said to have been
planted by Zephaniah Kingsley about 1820.
Kingsley also owned a fleet of schooners which, loaded with negroes, plied
regularly between Africa and St. George's Island, or his other plantation. It is
said that he had a treaty with an African King, who delivered his prisoners of
war to Kingsley's partner, named Reuter, who was stationed on the River Congo
and there collected the negroes which Kingsley's schooners brought over. These
wild savages were kept on Fort George Island until they were tamed and classified
as to their ability and qualifications.
HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
After being classified the slave was sent to a particular plantation where he
was taught to speak the English language, and trained to some manual labor.
Kingsley writes that he himself could speak several of the African dialects. If
the slave displayed intelligence and skill he became an artisan or a house servant,
or, if of a lower degree of mentality, a farm hand or common laborer. When
sufficiently trained he was sold in the Carolinas and Georgia, where it was said
that the name "Kingsley nigger" was regarded the stamp of value in slave trading.
It is claimed that a slave which cost him from $25 to $50 to import brought from
$1,000 to $1,500 after "graduation" from "Kingsley's school".
One of tCwenty-six slave quarters built on St. Gcorge Island, Fla.. about i182 IIalls of house
are built of "tabby," a composition of oyster shells and lime.
In his "Treatise", Kingsley defends the: system and claims that bringing
ignorant savages out of the heart of Africa into the light of civilization, training
them in language and useful occupations, was not only humanitarian but of great
economic advantage to society. His proposition can best be presented in his own
words: "Slavery is a necessary state of control from which no condition of society
can be perfectly free. The term is applicable to and fits all grades and conditions
in almost every point of view whether moral, physical or political. It certainly is
a mistaken notion that the progress of labor guided by the accidental impulse of
single individuals is greater than that of systematic cooperation directed and con-
trolled by a skillful mechanic and economist under the patriarchal government".
Throughout the second Spanish occupation, Kingsley grew rich in his traffic,
and, even after the change of flags and slave trading was prohibited, he is said to
have been encouraged by the slave holders of Georgia and Florida to continue the
SECOND SPANISH OCCUPATION-LAND GRANTS
practice, that they might benefit by obtaining more slaves. "Gunnison's Cut," now
a part of the inland waterway, is said to have been dug by Kingsley, with a ship
load of three hundred and fifty of his own slaves, captured by a United States
gunboat. Being the only one equipped to care for these negroes he was called
upon to do so, and agreed to use.them in this work, under the direction of an
engineer named Gunnison, who was supplied by the War Department, and for
whom the cut was named. Kingsley died in 1843 and true to his promises re-
warded many of his slaves with freedom.
From 1804 to 1812 several other important grants were made in Duval. Isaac
Hendricks took up 350 acres on McCoy's Creek in 1804, giving him a plantation on
each side of the St. Johns River at the Cowford. In 1805 John Underwood built
a sawmill on Black Creek, which he operated until 1812, when it was burned by
the Indians. A few years later he returned and built another and is said to have
sawed 100,000 feet of lumber in six months. Captain George Fleming testified
before the Land Commissioners that Underwood invested "from eight to ten
thousand dollars' in this mill.1
In 1806 Don Fernando de la -\l i Arredonda, Sr., was granted, for services,
2,700 acres on the St. Johns Riv< i ".I a place known at the time of the British
occupation as Danor Slek".1 Arredonda, Sr., gave it to his son Fernando de la
Maza, Jr., who sold it to Pedro Meranda, who in turn sold it to Francis P. Sanchez.
Slek is an old English word meaning "a miry basin ... 'rll.. .I by the sea at high
tide." Danor Slek was afterward called Dun's Slek which name through usage
became Dunn's Lake and in later days Dunn's Creek. In 1807 Moses Harrell'
was granted 395 acres for "head rights" on the Nassau River, which land is now
owned by Harrison Starratt. In 1808, Ulrick Smith took up 50 acres "south of
Trout Creek"' which he later sold to Z. Hogans, and in 1809, John Houston, son-
in-law of Spicer Christopher, obtained two separate tracts on Talbot Island.
In 1811, Francis X. Sanchez received 145 acres "at St. Domingo", a few
miles from the Cowford on the south side of the St. Johns, which he after-
ward sold to F. Bethune ;2 and William Hart, 350 acres on "east bank of St. Johns
at a place called Colonel Castle, bounded on north by land of Francis Richard".1
Joseph Espinosa settled on a plantation "called San Ramon" at the head of Pablo
Creek, which at his death reverted to Donna Josepha Espinosa whose heirs. Chris-
tina Hill and others, sold to Louis Mattair.1
There is no record of surveys in land grants in the territory of Duval during
1812. This was the year of the beginning of the Patriot War and the establish-
ment of the "Republic of Florida", the history of which will be given in a separate
chapter. New settlers from Georgia did not think it worth while to go to the
trouble to make application to the Spanish Governor if the territory was to be
independent. Furthermore, it was the year of the Indian raids when many houses
were burned, plantations destroyed, settlers killed or driven out of the country.
IPublic Lands-A. S. P.. Vol. IV.
2Public Lands-A. S. P., Vol. V.
HISTORY OF DTUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
The Seminoles, under Chief Payne and Bowlegs,1 suddenly emerged from
their villages on the plains of Alachua and came down the St. Johns, leaving
destruction in their path. One of the first plantations destroyed was New Switzer-
land, the home of Francis P. Fatio, Jr.. located south of Julington Creek in what
is now St. Johns County. They burned the residence and the slave quarters.
Fatio, who was a judge or magistrate under the Spanish Governor, escaped with
his family by boat with two negro slaves, Dublin and Scipio, whose loyalty prob-
ably saved their lives. Eleven persons in all, Judge Fatio, his wife, with seven
members of their family and two slaves, managed to reach a small boat and gained
the open waters of the St. Johns out of reach of the bullets of the Indians. The
only articles saved were some silver knives which Scipio was cleaning when the
Indians arrived. After considerable hardships the Fatio family reached the
mouth of the St. Johns and proceeded through the inland waterway to St. Marys,
Georgia, later returning to Fernandina and afterward to a plantation at San Pablo
where they lived until Florida was ceded to the United States, when the family
returned to New Switzerland.
Francis Philip Fatio, Jr.
Born in Switzerland, 176o-died in Florida, 183i.
Prominent in Duval History and one of the
few men who was continuously loyal to
Florida under the English, Spanish
and American Governments.
Francis P. Fatio, Jr., came to Florida with his father, Francis P. Fatio, Sr., in
1771, during the English regime; served in the British army during the American
1This Seminole Chief must not be confused with "Billy Bowlegs," another chief of the
Seminole War of 1836.
2Notes and Recollections of Susan L'Engle.
SECOND SPANISH OCCUPATION-LAND GRANTS
Revolution, and for six years thereafter in Scotland, retiring with the rank of
Captain, and returned to Florida about 1790 to manage his father's affairs. He
was the last of the direct line of the name of Fatio, his sons dying without male
issue; but through one of his daughters, Susan, who married Captain John L'Engle
of the United States Army, many families of Duval County of the present day
The Indians continued down the St. Johns, destroying plantations at San
Antonio, now Mandarin, and at the Cowford. Zephaniah Kingsley at Laurel
Grove withstood a siege of several days and saved his property. An expedition
against the Indian villages in Alachua, where Chief Payne was killed, put a stop
to these raids.
In 1813, there was only one grant recorded. John Houston, son-in-law of
Spicer Christopher, who had been living on Talbot Island, was allowed 500 acres,
270 acres at Half Moon Bluff on the River Nassau, and the balance "on Calles
Creek at head of Dunn's Creek". Daniel K. Barton settled on 550 acres at "Smith,
west side of St. Johns River," but did not obtain title from the Spanish govern-
ment. He lived there until 1822 and received a "donation" from the United States,
as shown later.
In 1814 the records only show a reconfirmation to Joseph Fenwick of land
bought on Trout Creek from James William Lee who settled there in 1792; and
three grants to Robert Hutchinson, two of which were for land adjoining and
aggregating 500 acres situated two miles north of McGirt's Creek, and 350 acres
on the St. Johns River.
After 1814 there were few grants under the Royal Order of 1790,on the
basis of "head rights", the Patriot War and the Republic of Florida evidently
influenced the Spanish Governor to adopt a more liberal policy toward the new
THE REPUBLIC OF FLORIDA.
THERE is probably no event in American History so romantic, so fantastic,
yet concerning which so little has been written, as the "Republic of Flor-
ida", which was organized in 1812, and embraced the territory bounded
by the St. Marys River on the north and the St. Johns River on the south. It had
a Director or President, an army, a flag, a constitution and for over a year Fernan-
dina was its capital. A gentleman who owned what is now Ortega in the city of
Jacksonville was its first and only president.
To properly understand the rise and fall of the "Republic of Florida," inter-
national events of the period should be reviewed. For years Spain had been
drained by the Napoleonic Wars, her king had been forced to abdicate and a
Bonaparte ruled, upheld by French bayonets. When Ferdinand VII, the Spanish
king, was restored he had much more difficult problems confronting him than
those of the Province of Florida for anarchy reigned and the throne of Spain was
tottering. For years England had oppressed American seamen, and the United
States was upon the point of declaring war against her. James Madison, then
President, and James Monroe, Secretary of State, knew that Florida, in the hands
of the English, would be to their strategic advantage and realizing the weak con-
dition of the Spanish Government, took steps to appropriate East and West Florida
to the American cause.
There is no doubt as to the intent of President Madison and Secretary Monroe,
but they wished to avoid an open rupture with Spain. Madison, as early as 1804,
when he was Secretary of State, had favored taking Florida and Cuba, as shown
by a letter written by him on October 3 in that year. It was a popular idea of
the times. 'Even Thomas Jefferson, after his retirement from the Presidency, wrote
to President-Madison from Monticello, Virginia, on March 8, 1811, advocating
the seizure of East Florida.'
But the President evidently wished to adopt a more subtle method and acting
under authority of Congress, given in secret session, he appointed General George
Matthews and Colonel John McKee secret commissioners to proceed to Florida
and negotiate with the Governor for the possession of Florida by the United
States. They were instructed that, if necessary, they should agree to redeliver the
province to Spain at'a future period, and were admonished to execute, "from
general observation the trust committed to you with that discretion which the
delicacy and importance of the undertaking requires."2 Specific instructions were
given regarding West Florida. As to East Florida, Secretary Monroe wrote:
"the conduct you are to pursue in regard to East Florida, must be regulated by
1Possession of Florida-Correspondence of James Madison, Department of State.
2Letter of James Monroe, Secretary of State, to Matthews and McKee.
THE REPUBLIC OF FLORIDA
the dictates of your own judgments, on a close view and accurate knowledge of
the precise state of things there, and of the real disposition of the Spanish Govern-
ment, always recurring to the present instruction as the paramount rule of your
proceedings. Should you discover an inclination in the Governor, of East Florida,
or in the existing local authority, amicably to surrender that Province into the
possession of the United States, you are to accept it on the same terms that are
prescribed by these instructions in relation to West Florida. And, in case of the
actual appearance of any attempt to take possession by a foreign power, you will
pursue the same effective measures for the occupation of the Territory, and for
the exclusion of the foreign force, as you are directed to pursue with respect to
the country East of the Perdido, forming, at this time. the extent of Governor
Folk's1 jurisdiction. If, in the execution of any part of these instructions, you
S' should need the aid of a military force, the same will be afforded you upon your
application to the commanding officer of the troops of the United States of that
station, or to the commanding officer of the nearest post, in virtue of orders which
have been issued from the War Department. And, in case you should moreover
need naval assistance, you will receive the same upon your application to the naval
commander, in pursuance of orders from the Navy Department."2
The Spanish Governor declined to surrender the provinces and the efforts for
secrecy failed, the news reached the frontier and the settlers were astir at the
prospects of being a part of the United States. General John McIntosh had pre-
viously written a letter to President Madison commending his course."
John Lee Williams says that in March, 1812, "a large collection of Georgians
and Floridians, with all the wood choppers and boatmen in the neighborhood of
St. Marys, met at the dwelling house of Colonel Ashley and organized a pro-
visional government."4 They elected General John Houston McIntosh Director
or President. Fairbanks claims that they drew up a constitution and that he
possessed a copy of it. They adopted a flag of white color, decorated with a
soldier with bayonet charged and the motto "Salus Populi-Suprema lex.""
Colonel Ashley was appointed Military Chief and proceeded to organize his "army".
Boats were collected and they proceeded down the St. Marys to Fernandina, where
nine United States gunboats lay in the harbor under the command of Commodore
Campbell. He had entered under pretext of protecting American interests at the
request of General Mathews, who was present. That there was collusion between
the "Patriots" as the forces of the Republic of Florida were called, and the United
States naval officers, there can be no doubt. The guns of the vessels were trained
on the fort, and Colonel Ashley embarked with his troops of the Republic and
approached the town, demanding its surrender. Don Justo Lopez, the Spanish
commander, did not hesitate in his decision. Articles of Capitulation were drawn
up between "Don Justo Lopez, Commandant of Amelia Island, in the Province of
IVincente Folch was Governor of West Florida in 1811.
2Letter of James Monroe, Secretary of State, to Matthews and McKee.-Journal House Repre-
sentatives, Twelfth Congress, July 1st, 1812.
3Correspondence of James Madison-Department of State.
4History of Florida, by John Lee Williams.
5"Purchase of Florida"-Fuller, 1906. Page 193.
80 HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
East Florida. and John H. McIntosh, Esquire, Commissioner, named and duly
authorized by the Patriots of the District of the Province lying between the River
St. Johns and St. Marys, including the islands of the same,"1 whereby the Span-
iards gave up their arms and were paroled "not to take up arms against the
Patriots." Rights of the property were guaranteed by the Republic, Fernandina
was made a free port, and with the stipulation that Amelia Island should be ceded
to the United States Government within twenty-four hours." The articles were
witnessed by George Atkinson, George I. F. Clarke, Charles W. Clarke and Archi-
bald Clarke. George Atkinson has been previously mentioned as having secured
lands from William Hart at "Colonel Castle" on the St. Johns. George I. F.
Clarke, one of the other \ itne--es, surveyed this for him as well as an additional
550 acres adjoining General McIntosh's plantation on McGirt's Creek. Clarke
lived in Fernandina, was surveyor for the Spanish Governor and one of the most
influential men of the times. He had granted to him by the Spanish five tracts
of over 2,000 acres. Archibald Clarke was also a beneficiary to the extent of
large grants from the Spanish.
The day following the surrender of Fernandina General McIntosh appointed
Lieutenant Ridgley of the United States Army Garrison at Point Petre, Georgia,
to take command of Fernandina and Colonel Ashley with 300 men marched to
Cowford. From here a detachment was sent to seize Zephaniah Kingsley who was
then at one of his plantations called Laurel Grove, a few miles up the river. Ashley
wished Kingsley's aid and influence for the Republic and offered him liberty and
protection as a "patriot", or imprisonment and confiscation of property if he
refused to join them. Kingsley readily consented to espouse the cause of the
Republic and appears thereafter as a loyal adherent.
Ashley having captured Fernandina and Zephaniah Kingsley, proceeded with
his army to capture St. Augustine. He crossed the St. Johns and moved down
the King's Highway and surprised and captured Fort Moosa, located about two
miles from the ancient city. Here the army camped and, strange as it may seem,
were joined by Colonel Smith with 100 regular United States troops,2 although
the United States was at peace with Spain.
It seems that here the first revolt occurred within the revolution. The Army
of the Republic became dissatisfied with their military chief, Colonel Ashley, and
without waiting for orders from General McIntosh, the Director or President,
proceeded to depose him by a direct vote of the army and elected William Craig
in his place. Colonel Ashley retired with his staff, carrying with him a large
number of forces which had been collected from the plantations.3 Williams says
Craig was a planter, Fairbanks calls him a Spanish Judge, and Brevard refers to
him as "an official of East Florida." He had a plantation, 2,425 acres, at Red Bank
on the St. Johns, previously referred to and later in 1815 obtained a tract of 250
acres from John Hammon at the Cove of St. Nicholas, which is now South Jack-
sonville. Both tracts were confirmed to him in 1828.3
1History of Florida, by John Lee Williams.
2John Lee Williams, Fairbanks and Brevard all agree in this.
SPublic Lands, American State Papers, Vol. V.
THE REPUBLIC OF FLORIDA
Craig did not consider his army strong enough to attack the Castle of St.
Augustine without artillery and Estrada, the Spanish Governor, was too weak to
make a sortie on the Patriots. But Estrada fitted up an old schooner with a
20-pound and two 12-pound cannon, sent it up the river and bombarded Fort
Moosa, whereupon the allied forces of United States troops and Patriots retreated
to Pass Navarro near Four-Mile Creek, where they encamped.
General George E. Matthews, the secret commissioner of President Madisoq,
was with the Army of the Republic at this time. In the files of the State Depart-
ment at Washington is a letter found in the "correspondence of James Madison"
from George Matthews to the President, dated "Old Fort Moosa, East Florida,
April 16, 1812,"1 in which he transmits official papers to the Secretary of State and
requests that "two companies of artillery and one of infantry fortify Amelia and
Cumberland islands and Point Petre." He further states that he thinks it advisable
to erect a territorial government in Florida as soon as possible.
A short time later Craig, deciding that his forces were not strong enough to
take St. Augustine, returned to the St. Johns and established a camp at New Hope,
leaving Smith and his regulars at Pass Navarro. Sickness broke out among these
and some were sent back under escort of Lieutenant Williams of the United States
Marine Corps.2 The evening of May 12, 1812, they were attacked from ambush
on Twelve-Mile Swamp by a company of negroes, escaped slaves, sent out from
St. Augustine. Captain Williams was mortally wounded, a non-commissioned
officer and five privates were killed and others wounded. The negroes fled at the
A delegation of Seminole Indians came to the camp at New Hope and offered
their services to General McIntosh who had joined the Patriot Army. They were
met in Council by McIntosh, Kingsley and General Matthews,3 who advised them
not to take part in a quarrel between white men. This polite refusal of their
services was regarded an insult by the Indians and, headed by "Bowlegs", a young
chief, they offered themselves to the Spaniards and were accepted. The result was
the raid on Duval territory in which many settlers were killed and plantations
In the meantime Don Luis de Oris, the unrecognized Spanish Minister at
Washington, made strong remonstrances against the invasion of Florida by
American troops. The United States was on the point of declaring war against
England and President Madison did not desire a conflict with Spain. Mr. Monroe,
Secretary of State, hastened to assure De Onis that General Matthews had ex-
ceeded his authority and would be removed. Secretary Monroe's letter to Mat-
thews, dated April 4, 1812, and published in the House Journal of the Twelfth
1This was approximately the date that Col. Smith and his U. S. Regulars joined Colonel
2Fairbanks' History of Florida.
*History of Florida-John Lee Williams.
HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
C. -nress, is a model of diplomatic correspondence. The culprit is ruthlessly dis-
charged from his office in terms almost apologetic in their tone and with highest
praise for his zeal. The President had been compelled to completely reverse him-
self as a matter of state policy and \llttlhei\\ was the victim. Governor Mitchell
of Georgia was appointed in his place, with instructions to restore affairs as they
existed "before the late transactions." Evidently Governor Mitchell's real instruc-
tions were to keep the new Spanish Governor Kindelan in a good humor through
correspondence, but to let the American troops remain in Florida, as Colonel Smith
did not remove his camp from Passo Navarro. In October, 1812, Madison, in
order to satisfy De Onis, was compelled to remove Mitchell and appoint another
Emissary, General Thomas Pinckney. At the insistence of Congress President
\ladi-n:, was compelled to abandon Florida, but the troops were not withdrawn
until May, 1813.
In the fall of 1812 Smith removed his camp to Davis Creek on the King's Road
and concerted action was taken by him and forces of the Republic against the
Seminoles. According to Williams, 110 men rendezvoused at Kingsley's Laurel
Grove plantation, from which place Kingsley sent them in boats to New Switzer-
land, the plantation of Francis P. Fatio, Jr.1 From there they proceeded under
the command of Colonel Newnan of Georgia against Bowlegs and Chief Payne
in the Alachua country. After a hard fight and an eight-day siege, hemmed in on
all sides by the Indians, they succeeded in cutting their way back, inflicting heavy
losses on the savages and killing Payne, their chief. Kingsley raised twenty-seven
men and sent them to Newnan's rescue.2 The Indians made no further organized
attack, but wandering bands of Seminoles continued to burn houses, carry off
livestock and steal negroes.
It was thought that the withdrawal of the American troops and the delivery
of Fernandina to the Spaniards would end the "Republic of Florida", but not so.
The sturdy American frontiersmen refused to accept Spanish rule.
Most of the large land owners were loyal to the Spanish Government and saw
only anarchy and chaos in this uprising. They were the officers of the militia and
now rallied to the support of the government for the Patriots were regarded by
them as composed largely of "ruffians" and "fugitives from justice." It is a fact
that there were many such in the Army of the Republic, but there were evidently
some good men, recent settlers from Georgia and the Carolinas, who unaccustomed
to Spanish institutions and learning that the United States desired to seize Florida,
thought they were serving their fatherland in joining the Republic. These men
now declined to accept Spanish authority and civil war ensued. The loyal militia
and the "Patriots" met in open combat at the battle of Waterman's Bluff on the
St. Marys River in 1813, but the exact date is not known. The Army of the
Republic was victorious and there were several casualties. Among those killed
in the Loyalist party was Archibald Atkinson, and among the wounded was
1Francis P. Fatio, Sr., had died the previous year, 1811.
2John Lee Williams' History of Florida.
THE REPUBLIC OF FLORIDA 83
Charles Seaton.1 Francis P. Fatio, Jr., who was Captain of the militia, com-
manded part of the Government forces in this engagement.2
Mrs. Susan L'Engle tells of this engagement in her "Notes of My Family and
Recollections of My Early Life."3 She was the daughter of Francis P. Fatio, Jr.,
and with the others of her family had just been driven from their home at New
Switzerland by the Indians. She says: "We took refuge in the little town of St.
Mary's, in Georgia. At this time a border warfare was being waged in Florida
by filibusters from Georgia, and disaffected subjects of Spain, living in Florida, all
of whom were prompted and aided by agents of the United States government,
which was seeking the acquisition of the province, and wished to make its further
retention undesirable by Spain. One of the leaders of these filibusters, calling
themselves 'Patriots', was John H. McIntosh (then residing on Fort George
Island, afterwards a well-known citizen of Georgia), who grandiloquently styled
himself 'Dictator of the Republic of Florida.' Collisions of arms took place be-
tween these marauders and the Spanish militia. I particularly remember one of
them, known at that time as 'the battle of Waterman's Bluff', in which my father
took part, leaving his family in St. Mary's, my mother being sick in bed with an
infant a few days old."
"Living under the protection of the Spanish government, my father willingly,
as every good citizen would do, rendered it military service for defence of the
"He was a Captain del Partido (Captain of a District), and at the battle of
Waterman's Bluff was in command of one of the boats, but not of the expedition.
The so-called 'Patriots' were posted on a high bluff of the river, waiting the
approach of the attacking forces, which, against my father's protest, had been
divided, one part going in boats by water, the other marching by land."
"As the boats came within range, the enemy fired down into them, and
defeated all efforts to land. The cockswain of my father's boat was killed. His
name was O'Neil, a relative of Judge James O'Neil, now living, an honored octo-
genarian, near Fernandina."
"I well remember the booming of the cannon, and my poor mother's distress
of mind. She sent one of our servants, Frank, on to the roof of the house with a
spy glass to watch the fight. He would from time to time call out that he saw
my father, and that he was still unhurt; that he saw him plainly, 'and now', he said,
'I see him take snuff.' My father often used a leather pouch or pocket fitted into
his vest for the convenience of holding snuff, of which, as was common in those
days, he was an inveterate taker."
"In my father's boat Mr. Archibald Atkinson (an uncle of General A. Atkin-
son Humphreys of the United States army) was also killed, and Mr. Charles Seton
(the father of the Miss Seton who married Col. Louis Fleming) fell, desperately
ISpelled "Seton" in American State Papers.
2Notes and Recollections of Susan L'Engle.
aMany of the incidents referred to by Mrs. Susan L'Engle have been verified by reference
to historical authorities.
S HISTORY OF DUVAL COUNTY, FLORIDA
and, it was tliho:ulht, fatally wounded. But he recovered and lived many years,
dying finally, it was thought, from the ball which had lodged in his body. Many
others were killed and wounded in this action, on the land as well as on the water;
for, after repulsing the boats, the enemy attacked the land force, which had failed
to come up in time to co-operate with the other division, and easily routed them."
To obtain land grants it was necessary to swear allegiance to Spain, so the
new settlers, lawless and the law-abiding alike, occupied land without taking the
trouble to apply to St. Augustine for a title. It was a tradition that the seat of
government of the Republic was on an island on the St. Johns where the leaders
met. No historical reference is made to this, but it is known that the Patriots of
the Republic of Florida held out against Spanish rule until given the representative
form of government which they desired. George I. F. Clarke in a report dated
July 25, 1821, addressed to Captain John R. Bell, American Commander of the
Province of East Florida, gives a brief account of the happenings from 1813 to
1816, when the Spanish Governor made terms with the "Republic of Florida."
"In August of the same year, 1813, hostilities recommended; more sanguinary
scenes ensued, and the insurgents, aided by bands of idlers from Georgia, took and
kept possession of all the territory lying to the west and north of the St. Johns
River. Fernandina having become too weak for offense and St. Augustine not
being. willing to let out all its troops to hunt 'bush fighters', the newly styled
Republic of Florida, over which their influence of order had not been felt since
March, 1812,1 and having now no compulsive inducement to union among its
members, soon fell into the most wretched state of anarchy and licentiousness;
even the honest were compelled to adopt knavery in their own defense and this
continued until August, 1816, while the most rancorous feelings were bandied
between the 'Pat-riots' of the main and the 'Damn'd Spaniards' of Amelia Island."2
Jose Coppinger, who had become Governor of Florida in January, 1816, made
an attempt to come to an understanding with the "Patriots" of the "Republic of
Florida." The better element of the citizens were very desirous to obtain a stable
form of Government and he was able to readily induce them to assist him. In
August, 1816, he sent George I. F. Clarke, Zephaniah Kingsley and Henry Yonge
to treat with the leaders of the Republic.. This committee met with about forty
"Patriots" at Wills Ferry on the St. Marys River and persuaded them to call a
mass meeting at Waterman's Bluff three weeks later.
On the day appointed several hundred met these three gentlemen at the place
designated and the "Patriots" insisted that nothing but a representative form of
government would be agreeable to them. This was contrary to the principles of
Spanish rule, but the committee saw that nothing could be accomplished unless
they acceded to these terms. The result was a plan of Government which the com-
mittee agreed to submit to Governor Coppinger for his approval. The territory
between the St. Marys and the St. Johns was to be divided into three districts, to
be called Nassau and Upper and Lower St. Marys. Each district was to have a
1This was the date Clarke had witnessed the Articles of Capitulation of Fernandina.
2Vignoles' "Observations on the Floridas."
THE REPUBLIC OF FLORIDA
magistrate court and a company of militia, with an election of officers of the militia
from a mass of the people of each, without allowing the candidates to offer them-
selves, "that the officers to be elected should be immediately commissioned to
enter on functions of their offices and that all the past should be buried in total
oblivion."1 They proceeded forthwith to elect their officers at the meeting, three
magistrates and nine officers of the militia, evidently upon the determination that
if the Spanish Governor did not accept their plan they would have a form of
Government ready at hand. Clarke says that "every demonstration of satisfaction
ensued. They took up their officers on their shoulders, hailed by the shouts of
hundreds. A plentiful feast and many interesting scenes of friendship and mirth
closed the day."
Coppinger accepted the plan, and probably Duval and Nassau territory had
Sthe first representative form of Government that ever existed in a Spanish colony.
Clarke was offered "a superintendency jurisdiction" over the District, and appears
to have given satisfaction. Thus ended the "Republic of Florida" that existed for
over four years and finally resulted in the establishment of a representative form
of Government for the citizens of Duval territory.
1Report of George I. F. Clarke to Captain John N. Bell-Vignoles' Observations of the
SP.\MNISJ GRANTS UNDER ROYAL ORDER or 1815 AND DONATION AcT.1
HE pronulhgation of the Royal Order of March 29, 1815, which granted
land for services, or according to head rights with titles in fee simple,
instead of the requirement of ten years' occupancy as required under the
Royal Order of 1790, brought many settlers into all parts of Duval territory.
In 1815, Charles Seton, presented a memorial to Governor Kindelan stating
that he was an inhabitant and merchant of Fernandina, that he was one of the
first to establish himself on Amelia Island and was a subject of the King of Spain
and a loyal citizen, with a family of five white persons and twenty slaves; and
that the conditions in Fernandina were so precarious that he desired land else-
where, asked for 1,400 acres on Nassau River "wherever he should select." Gov-
ernor Kindelan decreed on March 1, 1815, that "taking into consideration what
Don Carlos Seton stated, granted land to be selected by him without injury to a
third person." George I. F. Clarke surveyed for Seton, 1,251 acres on Nassau
River "at a place called Houston Swamp", and 520 acres on the same river "at a
place called Roundabout."
In the same year, 1815, Samuel Sauls obtained a grant for 350 acres at "Funk's
Savannah, a branch of Nassau." This land was "one mile from the public road
leading to Georgia" and was sold to Abraham Bellamy to whom it was confirmed.
Francis Richard received 466 acres at "Branchester, St. Johns River", and 230
acres at "Parque on St. Johns River" beSides 110 acres at "Point Santo Isabella"
bounded by George Atkinson's land which,was granted to him three years later
in 1818. Joseph Summerall obtained 400 acres on "Wills Creek near Julington
Creek" in 1815. Christopher Minchin took up 400 acres near Durbin Swamp and
a neighbor of his was Pedro Cociofacio who was granted 2,000 on the King's Road
"twenty miles north of St. Augustine." Both of these properties lie not far from
the present station of Bayard on the Florida East Coast Railroad. Louis Mattair
was granted 300 acres at "Box's Branch", south side of St. Johns River and 500
acres, the location not named. Bartholome De Castro Y. Ferrer received 1,000
acres at "Three Runs or Little Creek" which was a tributary of Pablo Creek.
Adjoining De Castro Y. Ferrer's grant was 1,200 acres awarded in 1816 to
Aguida Villalonga Segui, widow of Bernardo Segui, and described as "on the
road to St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Johns River." St. Vincent Ferrer was a settlement
at St. Johns Bluff and there was a road leading to St. Augustine. There was also
a stream mentioned several times in the Public Land Documents called St. Vincent
Ferrer Creek, the present location of which can not be exactly ascertained but it
was evidently named for the De Castro Y. Ferrer family and presumably was one
of the tributaries of Pablo Creek near their land. Other tracts granted in 1816
1Unless otherwise stated in.footnotes, grants and donations named in this chapter are found
in Public Land Documents, American State Papers, Vol. IV.