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Compiled by workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects
Administration in the State of Florida
FEDERAL WORKS AGENCY
JOHN M. CARMODY, Administrator
WORK PROJECTS ADMINISTRATION
F. C. HARRINGTON, Commissioner
FLORENCE KERR, Assistant Commissioner
RoY SCHRODER, State Administrator
THE FLORIDA STATE PLANNING BOARD
This account of the early Florida Missions was compiled by
Zelia Sweett and Mary H. Sheppy. Especial thanks are hereby
tendered the Very Reverend Father J. H. O'Keeffe of the Cathedral
at St. Augustine for his services as consultant. This is a concise and
interesting narrative drawn from many books, especially those of
Father Maynard Geiger of Old Mission, California. It was sub-
mitted to Father Geiger and his suggestions for revisions were
The map on the cover was prepared by the Agricultural Data
Survey from photostat of an original map in the Spanish War
ROLLA A. SOUTHWORTH, Director CARITA DOGGETT CORSE, Supervisor
Professional and Service Division Florida Writers' Project
WORK PROJECTS ADMINISTRATION
In this account of the Spanish missions in Florida, the
WPA Florida Writers' Project has simplified and put
in sequence a story which is outstanding in Church history
for its heroism and unselfishness. Every reader will be
fascinated by the strange picture of early Florida and the
dramatic events that transpired.
PATRICK BARRY, Bishop of Florida.
St. Augustine, Fla., Aug. 8, 1940.
Table of Contents
PRELIMINARY SURVEY OF EARLY FLORIDA
Discovery of Florida
Florida Cradle of Catholic Church in United States
Beginning of Catholic Church in United States
Difficulties in Converting Indians
Indian Life in Florida in 1540
WORK, OF THE DOMINICANS IN FLORIDA
First Dominican Martyr
The De Luna Expedition
Sanctity of Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion
Biography of Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion
THE WORK OF MENENDEZ IN FLORIDA
Founds St. Augustine
Lands Where St. Augustine Stands
Begins Work Among Indians
First Jesuit Martyr in Western Hemisphere
THE JESUIT FATHERS IN FLORIDA
Father Segura Assumes Duties
Menendez Returns Bringing Don Luis Velasco
Father Segura Goes to Ajacan
Father Segura Martyred
THE WORK OF THE FRANCISCANS IN FLORIDA
Restless Condition of Colonies in 1570
Father Reinoso Recruits Friars from Spain
Spain's Troubles in Europe
Father Reinoso Finishes Work in Florida
EXPANSION OF THE FLORIDA MISSIONS
More Franciscans Arrive
Father Ricardo Artur First Irish Priest in United States
THE INDIAN UPRISING OF 1597
Christian Indians Assist Colony
Expedition to Georgia
Constant Danger from Indians
Martyrdom of Father Corpa
Three More Priests Martyred
Father Avila Captured and Enslaved
Father Verascola Murdered
Dissension Between Friars and Governor
Father Avila is Rescued
Incident During Father Avila's Captivity
Trial of Guilty Indians
The Caciques of Guale Sue for Pardon
Spanish Punitive Expedition into Guale
BEGINNING OF THE GOLDEN ERA OF MISSIONS IN FLORIDA
Disasters Visit St. Augustine
Trouble with Sorruque and Ais Indians
Devotion to Our Lady of the Milk
Devotion Brought to St. Augustine
Philip III Doubts Value of Florida Territory
Report on Florida Missions in 1600
Church at San Pedro is Rebuilt
Governor Ybarra Visits Indian Missions of Florida
Surruque and Ais Indians Become Friendly
Bishop Altamirano Visits Florida
King Philip III Discouraged About Florida
Fray Prieto's Success
Opening of the Apalache Trail
EXPANSION OF FLORIDA MISSIONS
St. Augustine Attacked by Pirates
Work on San Marco Castle or Fort Marion Begun
Mission at Santa Catalina Laid Waste
Founding of Pensacola
Jonathan Dickenson's Story
Governor Moore Begins Attacks on Spanish
Massacre of Ayubale
The Missions Continue Their Work
General Oglethorpe Attacks 'St. Augustine
The English Take Havana
Florida is Ceded to Great Britain
Last Days as a Foreign Colony
LIST OF FRIARS. BISHOPS AND VISITORS GENERAL TO FLORIDA.
SPANISH MISSIONS IN FLORIDA
Preliminary Survey of Early Florida
Discovery of Florida. The coast of the land known today as the State of
Florida was discovered soon after Easter Sunday, March 27, 1513. On that
day so filled with hope for all Christendom, Ponce de Leon had seen a small
island and a few days later he sighted the mainland of Florida. Here, legend
says, he hoped to find a fabulous fountain wherein he could renew his youth
but, if this was his desire, he was disappointed. He found no fountain which
could keep him perpetually young; however, could he have read the future, he
would have seen his name living through the ages as the discoverer, not of an
island, but of a great peninsula, part of a new continent.
Florida Cradle of Catholic Church in United States. It is to Ponce
de Leon and the other Spanish explorers who followed him that Florida owes
the distinction of being the first center of civilization and particularly of
missionary activity in the land that is now the United States. It is because
of the spirit of adventure and the personal ambition of Menendez and others
like him that the oldest city in the nation is in this state. It is because of
the intrepid priests and religious of Spain that the first Catholic parish and
the first missions were established here. These early Florida missions are not
as well known as those of California and Texas, yet years before the western
missions were founded, Florida had many converts and mission centers.
The first parish register within the present boundaries of the United
States was begun in St. Augustine on January 1, 1594 and continues to the
present day. It has grown to 16 volumes.
The first parish priest to take up his duties in the present limits of our
country was Don Martin Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales. He came
from Spain with Menendez and began his work as pastor of St. Augustine on
September 8, 1565.
To the Franciscan Order belongs the honor of supplying the first bishop-
elect to the land which is now the United States. Juan Suarez 0. F. M.
may be regarded as the first prelate of whom we have documentary proof,
to set foot within the present limits of this country. Since he left Spain
before he received the bulls authorizing his consecration, and since he died
shortly after landing on the west coast of Florida, he exercised his powers
only a short time, and that under unusual conditions.
Don Juan de las Cabezas de Altamirano, a Dominican, was the first fully
authorized bishop to perform episcopal functions within the present borders
of the United States. A decree was issued in 1602, by Philip III of Spain,
authorizing the first visitation of a bishop and in 1603 Altamirano was ap-
pointed to fill the position; however he did not actually reach St. Augustine
until Marsh 15, 1606.
On Holy Saturday, March 25, 1606, 20 young men, some of them from
Cuba, were ordained; the first record of an ordination service having been
held in this country.
On Easter Sunday, March 26, 1606, the Sacrament of Confirmation was
administered to 350 persons, adults and minors; the first record of confirma-
tion being administered in the present confines of the United States.
Francisco de Florencia, born in St. Augustine in 1620, was the first
American-born man to be ordained. In 1643, he joined the Jesuit Order
and afterward became a noted theologian and historian.
The first hospital to be established in this country was built in St.
Augustine by the Spaniards about 1598.
So the record continues, replete with institutions and events which made
their initial appearance in this new land through the gateway of St. Augustine.
In the making of this record however, many hardships were first under-
gone and much blood was shed. Florida missions, the first in the present
limits of the United States, were established through the suffering and
martyrdom of many priests who were faithful "unto death."
Beginning of Catholic Church in United States. It may be that the
Catholic faith was born into this New World on that momentous Easter
morning when Ponce de Leon first saw the land which he named Florida, but
there is no record of Mass being said that day. The charter under which
Ponce de Leon sailed did not require a "proclamation to the natives, calling
upon them to render obedience to the Spanish Sovereign and to embrace the
only true faith."
We do know positively that on Ponce de Leon's second voyage, eight years
later, in 1521, "Monks and priests accompanied him for divine service and
After searching the west coast for a suitable place to establish a colony,
he landed near Charlotte Harbor and built not only shelters but the first
Catholic place of worship in what is now the United States.
Services did not continue here very long, however, for the fierce Caloosa
Indians of this area attacked the settlers. Ponce de Leon was mortally
wounded. The survivors left the unfriendly region at once and sailed for
Cuba where their leader died shortly after landing. It is said that he died
still believing that Florida was an island.
In 1527 Panfilo de Narvaez, another Spanish gentleman, was preparing
to try once more to found a colony in Florida on a large scale. At that time
Juan Suarez, O. F. M., a native of Valencia and the Superior of the Franciscan
Monastery of Hucxotcingo, Mexico, was in Spain endeavoring to secure addi-
tional missionaries for Mexico and pleading the cause of the Indians at the
In order to establish an ecclesiastical organization, complete and inde-
pendent of that in Spain, it was decided to erect Florida into a diocese and
to appoint a bishop for that see. Suarez was nominated for the post by
Charles V and sailed with the expedition from San Lucar, reaching Florida
on April 14, 1528.
The expedition, launched so hopefully, was doomed to disaster. Florida
proved to be less richly endowed with treasures than they had hoped. It is
probable that they had been excited by stories of the wealth which Cortez
had brought back to Spain from the Aztecs in Mexico. Possibly they ex-
pected to find similar treasures here; when they landed on the west coast
of Florida, however, they found only swamps, dense forests, and poverty-
So sure had they been of their success in this land that they disem-
barked and sent their boats on down the coast. In a short time supplies
were depleted and there was nothing to take their place. The Indians were
so hostile and food was so low that they decided at last to build crude boats
and set out to find their Spanish ships. But even the elements seemed
unfriendly and, of the four hundred and more men who made up the expedi-
tion, only four survived. Bishop-elect Suarez, the Franciscan, perished with
Narvaez in one of the frail, over-crowded boats somewhere near the mouth
of the Mississippi River.
Of him Rev. Dr. Joseph B. Code, Instructor in History, Catholic Uni-
versity of America, says, "Suarez may be regarded as the first prelate, of
whom we have documentary proof, to set foot within the present limits of
the United States."
Eleven years later, in 1539, Dc Soto came to the west coast of Florida
and with him were a number of priests and religious. Of eight secular
priests, the only names known today are these of Dionisius of Paris, Rodrigo
de Gallegos, Francisco de Pozo, and Diego de Bannuolos. The names of
four religious are also recorded as Francisco de la Rocha (Trinitarian),
Juan Torres (Franciscan), Juan de Gallegos (Dominican), and Louis de Soto
(Dominican). These priests and brothers ministered to the Indians while
the expedition remained in Florida, but when it failed its purpose and left
this country, they were forced to leave also.
Difficulties in Converting Indians. A study of these first expeditions
reveals some of the reasons why the attempts to establish missions in Florida
The first reason was the severity of the Spanish explorers and soldiers.
The priests and religious came to Florida urged by one desire only, namely
to carry out the commission, "Go ye into the whole world and teach all
nations . ." Their self-sacrificing lives, filled with hard work, danger, and
actual want, are a proof of their motives. But the Spanish explorers had
more material reasons for their expeditions and the methods employed by
their followers were often stern.
Leaders such as Ponce de Leon and De Soto spent their fortunes on
these ventures in exploration only to be bankrupt in the end. In many
instances the members of their expeditions were forced to fight for their
lives against adversaries far more vindictive and cunning than any they had
met with before, consequently, it was inevitable that many acts of cruelty
should be committed by the soldiers in the conquest of this territory.
As a result, the simple aborigines found it hard to become reconciled
to the sharp contrast between the doctrine of Christian love, peace, and
good-will taught by the priests, and the harsh treatment given them by the
supposedly Christian explorers and soldiers. To the credit of the priests, be it
said, their selfless lives and patient teachings were able to influence thousands
of Indians to adopt the Faith and give up their barbarous practices in spite
of the poor example of Christian living presented by some of the explorers
and Spanish soldiers.
De Soto's method of dealing with the Indians was as follows: To
secure his own safety, he obtained possession of the local chief through
whose territory he was passing, held him as hostage during his transit, and
compelled him to provide native carriers, male and female, for his parapher-
nalia and food for his troops.
When it is realized that these local chiefs were looked upon as rulers
by their people, the enormity of this oppression in the minds of the savages
is apparent. Even as late as 1657, one Spanish governor compelled Indian
chiefs to carry loads of corn and do other manual labor. Although these
methods may have been necessary in dealing with uncivilized peoples, the
priests and religious found that kindness and Christian love were far more
civilizing forces than muskets and punishment.
A second difficulty confronting pioneer Florida settlers and missionaries
was the scarcity of food. Knowing nothing of conditions in Florida, the
early explorers came ill-equipped and unprepared to maintain life here. The
woods of Florida were full of exotic flowers and strange plants but few
foods; the crops of the Indians frequently failed and there never seemed to
be enough to go around. The Spanish settlers appear to have made few
attempts to cultivate the soil but depended upon food ships from New Spain,
Cuba, Mexico, and the more productive isles of the West Indies.
Every storm and hurricane was a major disaster destroying not only
the flimsy houses of the people but the precious ships filled with the supplies
so eagerly awaited by the colonists. It was many years before the Spanish
explorers learned to avoid the seasons of equinoctial storms and hurricanes.
This inadequate knowledge of agricultural and weather conditions in
and around Florida hampered the priests at first almost as much as the
tyrannical methods of the Spaniards or the savagery of the Indians.
Indian Life in Florida in 1540. When the Spanish first came to Florida,
the territory within its present limits was inhabited by four major tribes:
the Caloosa, the Tegesta, the Timucuan, and the Apalachee. The whole
Indian population numbered approximately ten thousand.
Three of these names are perpetuated today in the names of the
Caloosahatchee River, the Timucuana Club in Jacksonville, and the Apalachi-
The Caloosas and the Tegestas lived in the lower half of Florida and
both tribes were hostile to the white man. These tribes were possibly
related to the fierce Carib stock of the islands at the lower end of the state.
The Caloosas, in the Southwest, were mariners and fishermen who sailed
their canoes as far as Cuba and Hispanola (Hayti). They fiercely resisted
every attempt of the whites to land in their territory and one of their arrows
inflicted the wound from which Ponce de Leon died after returning to Cuba
from the west coast of Florida. The hatred of these Indians for the whites
prevented the successful establishment of colonists or missions in their
The Tegesta tribes of the southeastern coast were only a little less savage
than their western neighbors. They permitted the establishment of mis-
sions among them after a time and professed the faith, but they continued
their practice of murdering people unfortunate enough to be shipwrecked on
their coast. They were a continual source of trouble to the colonists.
The Indians of northern and northwestern Florida belonged to a higher
civilization than those of southern Florida. The Timucuans occupied the
largest area in the state, taking in the central and northeastern half of upper
Florida as far west as the Aucilla River and as far north as Cumberland
Island, off the coast of Georgia. They cultivated fields and built substantial
houses. The language was usually understood in all parts of the peninsula
and was used by the missionaries as the basic dialect in which to carry on their
teaching among the different tribes.
The Apalachees in northwestern Florida also occupied territory beyond
the Florida line and the area in which they lived was considered the richest
in the country. They were more powerful than the Timucuans because
their chiefs were united in a strong league.
All of these tribes were sun and moon worshipers. In a ceremony
enacted early each spring, a stag's skin, stuffed with choice roots and gar-
landed with fruits and flowers, was set up in a high tree facing the east.
The Indians, led by their sorcerers, chanted their prayers to the sun for good
Human sacrifices were also offered in propitiation to, or in honor of
the gods. On occasion, human sacrifice was offered in honor of a living chief
and it was the common practice on the death of a chief, to sacrifice both
humans and animals. Devil worshipers were noted among the fierce tribes
of Tampa Bay.
Such pagan beliefs and practices as these were a challenge to the priests.
Here was the task for which they had prepared and if the accomplishment
of the task meant martyrdom then let it come. They faced the perilous
future not only willing but glad to follow in the footsteps of that long line
of illustrious saints and martyrs which began with the Innocents and
The Indians, however, were not easily interested in Christianity and
clung to the hereditary customs and religious beliefs of their ancestors. The
jungle law of tooth and claw, the ancient rule of vengeance, was deep-seated
in their nature both by heredity and by training. In a sense, however, they
were a religious people. They depended on what they believed to be higher
powers for favors and they believed in a life after death.
"Almost every act of the Indian was attended by prayer, accompanied
or not by feasts and dances . The Indian idea of prayer consisted in
the imitation of the thing prayed for. For this reason his sacred dances in
which the subject of the dance was mimicked in more or less strange and
grotesque attitudes by the participants, were essentially prayers."
"Vices he (the Indian) had, and terrible ones, but they were the outcome,
perhaps, of the struggle for existence where food was difficult of attainment
and the support of children a hard task."
On the other hand the Indians had many of the fundamental virtues.
They respected the sanctity of a promise and were demoralized when they
found that it was not regarded with the same inviolability by the Spaniards
as by themselves.
They were also capable of self-sacrifice and friendship with those whom
they found trustworthy. The rewards of a future life were for the brave
warrior and the successful hunter. Women, however, were reduced to the
state of beasts of burden and servants.
Of the courage of these savages, Lowery said: "In considering this first
expedition of Ponce de Leon, one cannot but be impressed by the courage
and determination of these naked Floridians, who, beholding the strange
sight of great vessels, manned by an unknown race, clad in armor and steel
corselets, defended by crossbows far outstripping the reach of their puny
bows and arrows, and by great guns belching forth flame and death, did
not hesitate to brave them at every point, and to master whatever super-
stitious fears the unwonted sight may have aroused. Undaunted by the
disproportionate slaughter of their own men which the mysterious weapons
wrought, they returned again and again to the attack . .
These, then, were the people whom the missionaries came to lead into
a new life of peace and brotherhood. Such an undertaking was difficult
enough from an ethical and moral standpoint but soon the priests found that
there were other and more material hardships to face.
Work of the Dominicans in Florida
First Dominican Martyr. In their zeal to till this new missionary field,
the priests were often forgetful of the necessities of life and desired to
plunge at once into the work. Even after being informed of the disastrous
experiences of the early settlers and religious, some were still anxious to
go about their work of salvation in Florida, without first making suitable
One of the most daring of these early missionaries was Fray Gregorio
de Beteta, said to be the first Dominican monk who thought seriously about
the evangelization of the Florida Indians. He practiced his apostolic ministry
for many years among the Mexican Indians with extremely fruitful results.
It seemed to him, after some years, that there were sufficient priests to
teach the Indians of the province where he was, and he had heard that in
Florida there was great need for those who would offer themselves for the
work of conversion and teaching.
With another Dominican friar, Father Gregorio set out on foot from the
town of Miva, Mexico, for Florida. Having no supplies or reliable informa-
tion as to the location of Florida, they were soon forced to retrace their
steps with much suffering and hardship.
The desire to evangelize Florida did not die out in Fray Gregorio
however. While he was still concerned with this idea, there came to the con-
vent in Mexico, Fray Luis Cancer, who cherished the same desire as Fray
Gregorio. When Father Gregorio saw that he had a companion in his good
desires, he then began to discuss with Fray Luis the manner of realizing
Father Gregorio decided to prepare for the journey to Florida more
carefully this time.
Father Luis de Cancer offered to go to Spain for the patents and, the
two having agreed to make the journey together, Father Gregorio remained
in Mexico waiting, and Father Luis went to see King Charles V from whom
he obtained patents and a cedula for the governor of New Spain, in which
the king ordered the governor of Mexico to give Father Cancer ship stores
and as much as he should ask for the journey to Florida. Father Cancer
arrived in Mexico and was very well received by everyone, particularly by his
good companion Fray Gregorio de Beteta. They gave the royal decree to
the Viceroy Don Antonio de Mendoza, who commanded that a ship be made
ready with everything that was necessary for the voyage. The two priests,
Fray Gregorio and Fray Luis, sailed from Mexico taking with them besides
sailors, three other companions, Fray Juan Garcia, the priest who had ac-
companied Father Gregorio in his first attempt to reach Florida, a Biscayan
named Fray Diego de Tolosa, and a lay brother called Fruentes. They went
to the port of San Juan de Ulna, where the viceroy had a boat prepared.
From there they set out in the direction of Florida.
All might have gone well had this expedition landed where the mission-
aries wished it to land but the pilot of the vessel disregarded their wishes.
When the priests arrived in sight of Florida, they asked the pilot not
to land in the harbor where the Spaniards had landed in previous years for
they feared that the Indians would take vengeance upon them for the injuries
inflicted by the earlier explorers. They arrived at a port which we are told,
although not really the same as the one where the Spaniards had landed be-
fore, was so near it that the natives thereabout thought that the white men
who disembarked were the same kind of Spaniards as those who had come
Seeing the determination of the pilot and not being able to overcome
his obst'nacy, Father Luis Cancer decided to land and look over the field
of his future evangelical activities. According to one account he took with
him Fray Diego de Tolosa and the lay brother Fuentes, while Father Gregorio
de Beteta remained in the ship with Fray Juan Garcia.
This account continues, "The Indians had already seen the ship and
knew that the Spaniards were coming and that they should be warned and
take arms. Determined and brave, they assembled in a short time, for past
injuries taught them not to fear dangers. They hid on the river bank,
covering themselves with leaves and branches of trees, and armed with bows
and arrows, awaited the landing of the people. When they saw only three
men disembark, they stayed quiet in order to capture them a little farther
inland, although they were surprised to see them come out unarmed.
"However, seeing that they were Spaniards, they decided to kill them,
for which ourtose they took the priests behind a little mound, and there
they struck them with pieces of heavy wood in the shape of clubs that they
"When they struck Fray Luis on the head, he offered his life to God,
and cried, 'Aduiva me, Domine, Deus meus!' 'Help me, 0 Lord my God!'"
Thus died Father Luis Cancer, the Dominican friar, Florida's first martyr.
So loud was his cry that a man some distance away heard it and later
told the story of Father Cancer's death to the other missionaries who had
remained on the ship. This man, who turned out to be a Spaniard, was
called Juan Munoz, a native of Seville. He had been a prisoner among the
Indians of that region.
The other two missionaries, before being told of the end which befell
the first three who disembarked, then landed and came ashore but they
also were seized from ambush and were about to lose their lives. By signs
the priests showed their innocence of any desire to do harm and the savages
must have understood because they contented themselves with demanding the
clothing of their captives.
The friars told them, again by signs, that the clothes they were wearing
were very mean, but that they had better ones on the ship which they would
give them. Thus inveigled, the Indians went toward the sea with the two
priests who, however, managed to escape to the boat.
The fate of their companions was then related to them by the Sevillian,
Juan Munoz. It was he who told them that the first to die was Fray Luis
Cancer, and that the Indians had asked him if he had heard what the other
friar said when they killed Father Cancer and the lay brother Fuentes.
Munoz admitted that he had heard the friar and then proceeded to tell the
savages what the priest had said just before he was put to death.
"These people that you have killed," the friar had said, "are not like
other Spaniards, because they seek neither gold nor silver nor would they
take your women or your lives. They seek only to teach you the law of
the true God who is in Heaven, that you may know and worship Him, for in
this consists your happiness. He is the One whom they always adore, vener-
ate, and fear and from whom they await the reward of their labors. They
are not people who would do you harm or from whom you would receive
There are other accounts of this scene in which the fact that Fray
Gregorio de Beteta and Fray Juan Garcia failed to help their three com-
panions is spoken of adversely. This account is given, therefore, since it
furnishes a reasonable explanation of what occurred and at the same time
absolves Fray Beteta and Fray Garcia from the stigma of cowardice.
The exact date of the martyrdom of Fray Luis Cancer is uncertain;
however, on June 15, 1558, Fray Domingo de Santa Maris, Provincial of the
Order of Preachers to King Philip II, wrote to the king and in this letter he
speaks of the death of Father Cancer. This puts the date of martydom at
some time before 1558.
Because of this experience the priests and Provincials in Cuba and
Mexico decided to be more prudent in the future in their preparations for
The De Luna Expedition. In the month of June 1558, King Philip II,
ordered the viceroy of Mexico, Don Luis de Velasco, to organize an expedi-
tion "for the journey of discovery and conquest of Florida." The king fur-
ther commanded that monks of Santo Domingo should accompany the expedi-
tion in order that they "might administer the Holy Sacraments to the people
who were making this journey and to those who might come, in Florida, to
the true knowledge of the Faith of Jesus Christ."
The viceroy nominated Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano as governor of
the provinces of La Florida and later the office was administered to him in
the principal church in the City of Mexico. From his name the expedition
has since been known as the DeLuna Expedition.
Accounts differ regarding many details of this journey. In one narra-
tive we find that on June 11, 1559, De Luna, with an expedition consisting of
500 soldiers, 1000 serving people, and 240 horses set sail in 11 vessels from
the port of San Juan de Ulna. Another account records that in the early part
of July 1558, more than fifteen hundred people set sail from the port of San
Juan de Ulna in a fleet composed of 13 great ships all well stocked and
equipped. Besides the general, Don Tristan de Arellano, there were men,
women, and children, six monks, and 12 captains, six of horsemen and six
of infantry. Both accounts, although differing about details, agree on the
After a comfortable voyage accompanied by favorable winds and weather
the Spaniards reached Florida in about one month. Both accounts agree
that the vessels reached their first port on the eve of the feast of the Assump-
tion of the Blessed Virgin.
In a letter from De Luna to his Majesty, he wrote: "I set sail on June
11, and until the day of our Lady of August, when it pleased God that the
entire fleet should enter the port of Ochuse. As we entered on the day I say,
and to give it the name of your Majesty, it was named Bahia Filipina del
Puerto de Santa Maria. Seamen say that it is the best port in the Indies,
and the site which has been selected for founding the town is no less good,
for it is a high point of land which slopes down to the bay where the ships
come to anchor."
There are many sources from which details of this expedition are
obtained. The correspondence of the Crown, the viceroy, the governor,
and other officials concerning the venture has been preserved in govern-
ment archives in Spain, Cuba, and Mexico and translated copies are in
various libraries in this country. There are also accounts and letters
written by the monks and religious to their superiors which are in existence
in monasteries and from which histories have been compiled.
In addition, certain of the soldiers gave a report to the viceroy of
New Spain, Don Luis Velasco, which has been preserved. It is because
of the diverse viewpoints voiced in these letters that certain details are
not always the same. However, the accounts agree in the main.
So pleased were these people with the land they had found that the
governor decided to send a ship to Spain with some of the settlers to urge
the Spanish people to settle here. Two other companies were appointed
to look over the situation, and make a report to be sent to the homeland
on this vessel. Friars accompanied each of these companies.
One group set out by land. The second group went up a nearby
river in small boats. Both companies were instructed to return to the
harbor within three or four days and they took with them only enough
food to last that length of time.
Their search, both by land and by river, was in vain. They found
no people-only marshes and barren lands. Before they finally returned
to the harbor, they suffered severely from lack of food and some fell
sick from eating roots and leaves which were not edible.
On the 20th day of August, while those in the harbor were awaiting
the return of the two companies, a terrible storm arose. The month being
August, this was probably a hurricane. Mountainous waves snapped the
cables and tore loose the anchors. The ships, with the exception of two
barks, were beaten to pieces and supply of provisions stored therein was
lost. The waves swept so far inland that those on shore were forced to
flee for their lives.
There had been enough food in the ships to last for more than a year,
but after the storm ab'ated the colonists were forced to search the beach
for such remnants of their supplies as might be washed up by the waves.
Those unhappy people had lost all their possessions, among which
were nieces of gold and many things of great value besides the goods
from New Spain that were to have been given or traded to the Indians.
It was to this scene of destruction that the starving inland explorers
returned and, where they had hoped to receive sustenance and relief,
they found desolation and want. In addition, those who were about to sail
to Spain had already boarded their ship and in the storm all had perished.
The governor felt that there was nothing left for the settlers but
to set out in search of food. Leaving a captain with 50 men and some
Negro slaves to guard the port and the two remaining barks, the governor
and the rest of the people moved inland hoping to find Indian settlements
at which to get corn and other food. The journey was accomplished with
much suffering. Supplies ran so low that mothers and children were glad
to find wild berries, roots, and acorns to eat. They eventually arrived at
a small Indian village called Nanipacana but the food produced by the
savages living there was too meager to feed the settlers, of whom there
were about a thousand.
ISeeing that they would not survive if this situation continued, the
Spaniards returned to the coast and the governor decided to send a party
of soldiers to seek help in the province of Coosa. This province was in
the southwestern section of the Florida peninsula near the river now known
as the Caloosahatchee. Two friars, Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion and
Fray Domingo Salazar, went with this party.
After waiting in vain for months for the return of these priests and
soldiers, Governor Tristan de Luna directed that the two barks which
had escaped destruction be made ready with skillful sailors and sail to
Havana to obtain help. In the meantime a messenger was sent to recall
the soldiers together with Fray Domingo de Salazar and Fray Domingo
de Anunciacion from Coosa.
The soldiers and the friars had suffered greatly during their journey.
Before it was over, so the account reads, they had been glad to eat their
horses and later, to chew the leather of the remaining harnesses.
Sanctity of Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion. In all these sufferings
Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion, who was accustomed to much abstinence
and perservering prayer, spent his nights beseeching God for help in this
terrible situation. By day he encouraged the soldiers to hope and on
one occasion he told them that on the following day they would find food.
His prophecy was fulfilled when they discovered a great quantity
of chestnuts and walnuts, ripened unseasonably, for it was in the month
of June when such nuts are usually half formed in their shells.
At last these half-starved soldiers and the two priests returned through
the Florida jungle to join their companions at the port of Ochuse. Here,
while they waited for ships to come from Mexico, a great dissension
arose between the governor and the master of the camp and captains as
to whether they should wait where they were or go back to the province
The two friars, Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion and Fray Domingo
de Salazar, were greatly distressed and attempted to bring peace to the
settlement by saying a litany publicly each day, accompanied by the greater
part of the people. It was the Easter season and as Palm Sunday drew
near Fray Anunciacion was troubled because, with anger and hatred in
their hearts, the governor and the soldiers could not approach the sacra-
ments of Penance and Holy Communion worthily.
During the Mass on Palm Sunday, Fray Anunciacion turned suddenly
to the people with the Sacred Host in his hands and, addressing the
general, he questioned him concerning his faith. The general, Don Tristan
de Luna, came and knelt before the altar and answered the questions
humbly. Father Anunciacion then told the governor that if he would
become reconciled with the captains and repent his sin in causing dissen-
sion and suffering among the people, before three days a ship would arrive
in port with help to relieve all of their hunger and need. The general,
with evident humility and contrition, turned to the congregation and,
while Fray Anunciacion finished the Mass, he confessed aloud that he had
been wrong and asked the people and the soldiers as well as the master
of the camp to forgive him for the mischief he had done. A reconciliation
among all present followed before the altar.
On the following day there appeared in the harbor a great ship from
New Spain laden with gifts and abundant supplies.
This answer to Fray Anunciacion's prophecy affected the people greatly
and he was looked upon from that time as a person of unusual sanctity,
the more so since this was neither the first nor the last unusual occurrence
which came to pass in agreement with Fray Anunciacion's words.
The vessel that now entered the harbor of Ochuse was commanded
by Angel de Villafane, a Mexican gentleman who knew the waters there-
about better than most men and was a person of good judgment. With
him were several well-known friars from Mexico, among them being
Fray Gregorio de Beteta, the monk who had twice before attempted to
evangelize Florida, once traveling on foot with a single companion and a
second time coming by boat on the ill-fated expedition in which Father
Luis Cancer was martyred.
Villafane and his men stayed only a short time in Florida and then
leaving about 50 men under Captain Biedma at the port of Ochuse, Villa-
fane took the settlers who now numbered less than three hundred, and
returned to Mexico by way of Havana.
As soon as Villafane had sent the disillusioned settlers on their way
from Havana to their original home in Mexico, he left Havana again with
about seventy soldiers in several ships and went through the Bahama
Channel and up the east coast of Florida and Georgia searching for the
river of Punta de Santa Elena.
Hurricane- battered the ships throwing them off their course and
the e:uedition was ruined although Villafane did find the river and took
cossession of the surrounding land for his king. Eventually, however,
he returned to Havana to report that the country around Santa Elena
was unsuitable for settlement.
Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion remained with the soldiers in the
wilds of southwest Florida for another six or seven months until it was
seen that the settlement was impracticable. After this, toward the end
of 1561, the settlement of Ochuse was abandoned and the soldiers and
priests returned to New Spain. Once more an attempt to settle and
Christianize Florida had failed.
"Five times in half a century, and thrice with greater forces than
had subdued Peru and Mexico. had Spain failed utterly to effect conquest
of settlement in the Floridas."
Biography of Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion. Let us pause here
and learn more of Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion who was such a source
of spiritual strength to the members of the De Luna Expedition, for to
him and men like him Florida owes much.
He was born in the year 1510, in Fuenteone Juna in Spain, and was
baptized Juan de Paz, his father being Hernando of Ecya. It is said of
Juan that he came to the New World as a gold-seeker and remained as
a seeker after souls.
On taking the vows of a monk in the Dominican convent of the city
of Mexico, in 1531, he became Fray Domingo de la Anunciacion. He
learned the Mexican language with such perfection that he distinguished
himself in it in the pulpit and as a writer. In 1559, he went to Florida
in the expedition sent by the viceroy of Mexico, Don Luis de Velasco,
and there in the company of Fray Domingo de Salazar he took part in
the discovery of the province of Coosa and devoted himself to encourag-
ing the settlers and preaching both to them and to the Indians. He also
worked for 50 years as a missionary among the Indians in New Spain
both before and after the unsuccessful De Luna Expedition. He died in
1591, at the age of 80 leaving among other works, a Christian Doctrine
written in the Mexican language, first printed in Mexico in 1545, and
also a translation from the Latin of the Tratado Del Auxilio y Fomento
de los Indias written by Fray Bartolome de las Casas. For 59 years this
Driest labored patiently to bring the Gospel of Christ to the pagans of
The Work of Menendez in Florida
Founds St. Augustine. In 1564, the French had settled at the mouth
of the St. Johns River, then known as the river May, and had built Fort
Caroline, a small triangular structure.
To prevent the French from taking Florida, Philip II, of Spain, sent
Pedro Menendez de Aviles, a Spanish courtier who had succeeded in
several naval expenditions, to establish a Spanish colony in Florida and
implant the Catholic faith among the Indians.
This expedition was well planned and equipped. Menendez had partic-
ularly asked for some Jesuit fathers to accompany him and 22 priests
were to have come. Although the king had granted permission to the
order to send these priests, a controversy arose within their own ranks
and Menendez was forced to sail without them.
There is a difference of opinion as to how many priests actually
accompanied Menendez. One historian says seven, while a muster roll
noted "four priests with licenses to receive confessions." A recent history
of St. Augustine says that Menendez brought with him 26 priests and
monks. Whatever the exact figure is, Menendez officially brought the
Faith to St. Augustine.
About two thousand persons left Spain in 19 vessels, the largest of
these a 600-ton ship carrying nearly a thousand of the voyagers. This
was considered an unusually large vessel for those days. It is said that
Menendez spent his whole fortune and all he could borrow, about two
million dollars, on this expedition while King Philip gave but a single ship.
Lands where St. Augustine stands. On September 8, 1565, about
three-quarters of a century after Columbus had discovered the New
World. half a century after Ponce de Leon had reached the shores of
Florida, and more than fifty years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth,
Menendez and his followers made a ceremonial landing at the spot on
which the city of St. Augustine stands today.
It was probably a colorful scene. Chanting the sixth century song,
"Vexilla Regis, Prodeunt"-"The Banner of the King Advances"-Lopez
de Mendoza Grajales, chaplain of the expedition, and his secular priests
stepped ashore. While artillery thundered from the vessels anchored to
the east, and trumpets blared, while the crimson and gold banners of
Castille and Aragon waved in the breeze, Menendez advanced and knelt
to kiss the Cross of Christ, followed by the entire company who followed
his devout example. There on the shore, a hymn of thanks, "Te Deum
Laudamus," was sung, the sacrifice of the Mass was offered, and the spot
was dedicated in Nombre de Dios-The Name of God. "Thus and then
was inaugurated the permanent service of the Catholic Church in the oldest
city in the United States."
On the spot where the first Mass was offered Menendez built a chapel
honoring Our Lady. Later it became a shrine to Neustra Senora de la
Leche, Our Lady of the Milk, now popularly known as "Our Nursing
Mother of Happy Delivery." The site of the city was moved to a more
advantageous position and named after the great African Bishop, St.
Augustine, but the shrine to Our Lady remained at Nombre de Dios. It
has been burned, desecrated, rebuilt, and dismantled to prevent further
desecration only to be finally restored with pomp and honor. Today it
is visited daily by hundreds of people.
Begins Work Among Indians. Having set his men to building the
city of St. Augustine, Menendez took a force and went by land to Fort
Caroline. Meanwhile, Ribaut, the French commander, had set out in
ships to attack the new Spanish town from the sea. As a result, Menendez
found the French fort unguarded and took it easily. He ordered his men
to build a chapel using some lumber which the French had cut for the
purpose of building a ship.
About this time he wrote, "My ultimate object and desire is to pro-
cure that Florida be settled in perpetuity so that the Gospel be extended
and planted in these provinces."
Returning to St. Augustine, Menendez found that the French who
had set out by boat to destroy this settlement, had been shipwrecked
farther down the coast. He and his men destroyed the French completely.
In order to understand the conquest of Florida, it is continually
necessary to remember the wide divergence in the methods used by church
and state. The priests were men of peace who, with few exceptions,
perished without resistance when attacked, but the soldiers, whether of
Spain, France, or England, whether Catholic or Protestant, were apt to
be cruel when opposing their enemies.
It would serve little purpose to recall the methods by which those
sanguinary struggles were carried out. Probably more profitable is a
study of the courage, fortitude, and self-sacrifice of the priests and monks
who, armed only with the Cross, gave up comfort and friends in order
to bring a better way of life to the savages of Florida. It cannot be
said of them that they expected any temporal reward for their labors;
they came here and accepted a life of hardship and danger with one aim
only in view-to bring Christ to every creature.
Nevertheless, in spite of their often cruel methods, the officers and
soldiers of the Crown also served a necessary purpose. Without their
protection it is improbable that the settlers could have built towns and
cultivated the land while constantly under attack, as they were, by the
The savages were a constant source of trouble to the Spaniards but
Menendez and his men continued their efforts to Christianize them and
were fairly successful when it is remembered that there were not yet
enough priests in Florida to carry on the work properly.
Menendez visited Cuba, then went around the end of the Florida
peninsula and up the west coast to Carlos where the chief presented his
sister to Menendez for a wife. Not wishing to offend the chief, the Spanish
leader went through a marriage ceremony, had the woman christened
Dona Antonio, and sent her with some Indian companions to Havana to
be instructed in the Faith.
Since Menendez was already married, this incident is considered a
serious blot on his character. Even though it may have been expedient
to humor Chief Carlos, Kenny remarks, even Menendez seemed aware
that the end did not justify the means.
Promising to send missionaries, Menendez then returned to St. Au-
gustine and went north to Guale (Georgia) and Orista, (South Carolina)
where he instructed the Indians in Christian doctrine and left soldiers
thinly scattered among the friendly tribes to continue these instructions
as best they could until the promised missionaries arrived.
All through Menendez' efforts to bring Christianity to the Florida
savages we find him and his soldiers actually preaching and teaching. They
could not. it is true, administer the Sacraments, always excepting bap-
tism; but they could and did prepare the minds of the Indians to receive
the priests and their training when they should come.
While Menendez was in Guale a most propitious occurrence took place.
He was asked to pray for rain and, immediately upon ceasing his prayers,
rain began to fall. News of this occurrence spread and on his return
trip through the inland waterway, which he explored, he was frequently
met by Indians who asked for the Christian Cross and for teachers of
this mighty religion which could bring rain in answer to prayer.
'South of St. Augustine he planted the Cross among the Indians of
that region and also visited and taught the Timucuans of North Central
Florida, each time leaving a few soldiers to continue religious instructions.
During all this time Menendez continued to ask for the missionaries
whom he had promised to the Indians.
First Jesuit Martyr in Western Hemisphere. On August 28, 1566,
just a year after Menendez had established the city of St. Augustine,
Father Martinez and Father Rogel, the first Jesuit missionaries to come
to this land, saw the coast of Florida. They had set out from Spain for
St. Augustine but the captain of their boat, not being familiar with the
harbor, missed it although they were in sight of the settlement. Buffeted
by the winds and high seas of the hurricane season they were driven from
land time after time.
Finally, the force of the waves having abated, Father Martinez with
two Spanish soldiers and six Flemish seamen took the last row boat remain-
ing on the battered ship, and went in search of water and also to try
to discover where they were. They landed at Tacatacuru (Cumberland
Island), on the coast of Georgia on September 14.
Those remaining in the ship waited two days for them to return,
then a storm forced them off shore and continued gales made them decide
to return to Santo Domingo for supplies and a competent pilot.
Meanwhile, Father Martinez' party failed to locate the Indians or
any sign of a fort. Returning to the coast, they found that the storm
had again driven their ship to sea and they waited twelve long days.
When it did not return, hunger drove them to search again for the fort.
Cross in hand, Father Martinez led and encouraged them. An instance
of the knowledge and resourcefulness of this priest is shown in the way
he made an astrolabe from the drawing of a watch dial in one of his books
which he marked with blood drawn from the arm of the Spanish soldier
Flores. With this, the oldest of scientific instruments, he was able to
ascertain their position and direct their travel.
They went up a river but found no trace of man. Returning to
the coast they tried a second river which they ascended until they went
aground on a sand bar. They managed to free the boat but such was
the exhaustion of their starved bodies that they anchored the boat and
fell into troubled sleep. When they awoke Father Martinez fastened a
cloth and crucifix to a lance and val:antly led the tattered band inland,
and there they had the great good luck to find several wigwams but the
single Indian in charge of them fled at their approach. However, they
found a barbecued alligator and took half of it, carefully leaving a neck-
lace and jacket in exchange. After singing a litany in thanksgiving,
they slept for the first time in many nights without the continual gnawing
of hunger to trouble them.
Morning brought the Indians. Sign language gave the information
that the whites wanted food and the Indians were friendly. Food was
exchanged for gifts such as could he devised from the scanty outfits of
the Spaniards. Then they were led to a large Indian encampment. After
resting here, more food was given them and they continued on their way
toward the fort, directed from tribe to tribe of friendly Indians.
On October 6, 1566, near San Juan of Alimacani (Fort George Island),
they saw some Timucuan Indian boys fishing on the shore and rowed in
to see if they could obtain some fish. The actions of the boys made them
fear trouble and, before the men who had landed could get back to the
row-boat, the Indians had surrounded them,
Father Martinez and three others were seized and dragged beneath
the water to shore. Half strangled, Father Martinez struggled to his
knees and raised his hands to Heaven; then he was struck with a heavy
club, and sank to earth clasping the crucifix on his breast. So died the
first Jesuit martyr in the Western Hemisphere.
It is said that the hostility of these Indians had been incited by out-
rages of the mutineer Spanish captain, Recalde, and increased by a French
refugee from Fort Caroline.
Further Activities. Menendez left Florida in October 1566 to chase
pirates from the waters about Cuba and Puerto Rico leaving directions
for Father Francisco de Reinoso to go to Carlos (Charlotte Harbor) with
30 men and there build a block house and "all of them to endeavor with
great devoutness to worship the Cross mornings and evenings, repeating
the Christitan doctrine so that the Indians should do the same."
On February 28, 1567, Menendez sailed from Havana bringing with
him Father Rogel, the Jesuit priest who had been with Father Martinez
when he was martyred, Brother Francisco Villareal and some Indians who
had been taken there for religious instruction. They landed at Charlotte
Harbor where they were joyously received by Father Reinoso, and ap-
parently by Carlos. Menendez had a small chapel erected, the third place
of Christian worship in Florida, and the first on the western coast.
"Meanwhile Governor Menendez was extending Spanish control to
another large district that lay north of the Caloosas."
At that time the powerful chief, Tocobaga, was at war with the
Caloosa tribe and, in order to make peace between these peoples, Menendez
accompanied by Carlos, chief of the Caloosas, went to Tocobaga's head-
quarters on old Tampa Bay. Peace was finally established and a block-
houe. having been erected, Menendez left a captain there with 30 men.
Returning to Charlotte Harbor, he added 50 soldiers to the garrison
and, leaving Father Rogel in charge, he set out for Tegesta on the Atlantic
coast near the present site of Miami.
On his way around the tip of Florida, however, he was forced to
leave his course and visit Havana to quell a mutiny there. Having punished
the mutineers, he took carpenters, tools, and supplies to Tegesta where
he had a blockhouse built for the accommodation of the 30 soldiers whom
he stationed there and then erecting a great cross, he installed Brother
Villareal as instructor to the natives.
Menendez led an extremely busy life. The Indians of this region,
however, were not awed by white men. In 1521, about forty-six years
before this time, Ponce de Leon on his second voyage had landed near
Carlos (Charlotte Harbor) and these same tribes had attacked his men
and mortally wounded Ponce de Leon himself. Narvaez had landed a
few miles farther up the coast seven years later only to be tricked and
left by these Indians to starve, and 11 years later De Soto had arrived
and cut his trail through this region.
The Indians of the southern end of Florida had always been treacher-
ous. For some time they preyed upon shipwrecked crews so that many
chiefs had white servants and treasures including gold. Dona Antonia,
CLuef Carlos' daughter whom he had given to Menendez for a wife, had
returned from Havana and she exerted her influence with her father but,
in spite of this, Carlos plotted to kill the Spaniards and had to be executed.
His successor, Don Felipe, made fine promises and professed the faith
but would not relinquish his several wives. He also retained his heathen
idols and after a time began plotting against the Spaniards. The soldiers
at Tocabaga were massacred and the food supply was growing low. Dis-
heartened by this devastation, Governor Marquez ordered the fort at
Tegesta abandoned temporarily. Father Villareal joined Father Rogel
and both went to St. Augustine.
The Jesuit Fathers in Florida
Father Segura Assumes Duties. Efforts to establish missions in Flor-
ida had met with little success up to this time and a more carefully arranged
plan was developed and put into immediate action. In 1568, Father A.~',o-
was appointed superintendent of the West Indian Missions and the Flhr'r. j .
the region reaching from the peninsula of Florida to Labrador and extend-
ing some forty leagues inland. It was agreed however, that the Fathers
were not to work too far apart and that for the time being they were to
concentrate on the country now included in the boundaries of the State
of Florida. Father Baptista Segura was appointed the first vice pro-
vincial and was ordered "to go forth to give his own blood where so
many have shed the blood of their neighbors; to offer the gold of brotherly
love where so many have sought the gold of earth; to make a new entry
on that New World strand and preach Christ crucified for the conquest
of souls." Thus Florida was placed under the religious control of the
The mission party set sail April 10, 1568, from Spain under Father
Baptista de Segura who was accompanied by five priests, five catechists
and six Florida Indians among whom was the brother of the chief of the
Tegestas. It was a well equipped expedition for, besides necessities and
gifts, it brought church furnishings valued at 550 ducats or approximately
one thousand, two hundred, and thirty-five dollars. Presents for the
Indians included "jackets, breeches, and long stockings, all of red cloth,
besides red caps and tan goat skin shoes."
The missionaries began their work on the sailors during the voyage,
it is said, and taught them prayers and religious lessons in song with
which to replace the usual bawdy sea chanties. Cursing and blasphemy
were curtailed "for when a man swore through thoughtlessness he promptly
marked a cross on the deck and kissed it and this he did whether captain
They arrived in Florida on June 9, 1568, and found its people despond-
ent and dissatisfied. Father Rogel joined them and his report was such
that the vice-provincial, Father Segura, decided to go to Havana and
establish a school where he could devise better plans for the missions.
Father Baez and two catechists were left in St. Augustine to complete
the house and church and continue the religious education of the Indians
while the others accompanied Father Segura.
In November the priests were returned from Havana to Florida.
Father Rogel had been made rector of the Havana College.
The South Florida Missions were opened again, Father Alamo going
to Carlos while Fathers Villareal and Pedro Ruiz were placed in the
Tequesta district near the present city of Tampa. About this time the
Carlos Indians became so menacing that Don Felipe and 11 other chiefs
had to be executed. In retaliation the Indians burned the huts and shrines
before they fled to the safety of the forest. Father Alamo accompanied
by Fathers Villareal and Ruiz returned to Cuba.
Father Segura, the vice-provincial, relinquished the idea of the
Havana College and came to Guale with his associates where he built
his quarters and a church some distance from the fort at Santa Elena (St.
Helena's Island). This was done in an effort to prevent the Indians from
associating with the soldiers and learning their vices and objectionable
practices. Living conditions here were hard and provisions so scarce that
rations were reduced to one-third the necessary amount. A fever, possibly
smallpox, broke out among the Indians and claimed Father Baez, the
only Spanish victim. His death greatly retarded the work of subsequent
missionaries for he had been singularly proficient at learning the Indian
dialects and had composed a metrical catechism and grammar in the Yamas-
see and Timucuan tongues. This was the first time a North American
Indian tongue had been reduced to written and systematized form. Father
Baez' papers were, unfortunately, lost.
Menendez Returns Bringing Don Luis Velasco. Menendez returned to
Florida near the end of April 1567, bringing with him three priests and a
supposedly Christianized Indian, Don Luis Valesco. This Indian had been
taken by Villafane from the Chesapeake Bay region to Havana and later to
Mexico where he had received instruction and was thought to have been
christened. He had become the friend of high officials and was treated as
nobility, however he proved to be the greatest traitor in the experience of the
When Menendez returned to St. Augustine, people were suffering
from lack of food and clothing and the colony was disintegrating. The
Indians were armed for attack and three forts, which he had left at the
mouth of the River May, had been destroyed by the French.
Menendez restored order and established posts along the coast, work-
ing particularly to found missions in cooperation with the priests. Before
he left again for Spain, missions had been scattered from Cape Florida
as far north as Chesapeake Bay.
Father Segura Goes to Ajacan. It was during this period of mission
expansion that Father Segura, the vice-provincial conceived the idea of
establishing a mission at Ajacan on the Chesapeake and hoped that the
Christian Indian, Don Luis Velasco, would be of great help in this enterprise.
Father Rogel, who had learned a lesson concerning Indian treachery
on his unfortunate voyage with Father Martinez about four years before,
did not wish the Fathers to go to this unknown and distant field without
the protection of soldiers neither did he wish the Florida missions aban-
doned. Notwithstanding his advice, Father Segura took seven companions
and went to the Chesapeake region.
Father Rogel himself, having gone to preach to the Indians at Orista
five leagues, or about thirteen miles, from Santa Elena, realized that they
were resentful of his teachings and were beginning to make trouble.
Besides this, food was running perilously low at Santa Elena and Father
Rogel knew it would be useless to attempt to quarter the soldiers with
the Indians for he had promised to protect these savage people from the
soldiers. With a heavy heart, therefore, he offered up masses and prayers
then destroyed his house and chapel at Orista and went to Santa Elena.
On the coast he found that French and English pirates, having a
particular hatred of the Spanish as a result of the quarrels between the
mother countries in Europe, were killing every Jesuit they caught.
Father Segura Martyred. As a climax to these troubles word came
that Father Segura and his seven companions on the Chesapeake had been
betrayed by Don Luis Valesco and martyred. So great were the losses
and so little seemed to have been accomplished in Florida that Father
Sanchez took the remaining members of the Society of Jesus to a new
province in Mexico.
The Jesuits left Florida in 1572. They seemed to have failed yet
"Failing nobly, they triumphed in their failure. Though fruit came not
to their hands, the seeds they had sown were later to burgeon for other
The Work of the Franciscans in Florida
Restless Condition of Colonies in 1570. Between 1570 and 1573,
practically no progress was made in Florida either in settling the land
or in furthering the cause of missions. "The Spanish settlements, in
spite of all Menendez' exertions and outlay, were on the brink of ruin.
The few friars who were in Florida moved about or were leaving for
other fields so that for a time even St. Augustine was without a priest.
Mencndez had asked for Franciscan friars about 1566 thinking they
might follow with new energy in the path made by the now discouraged
Jesuits but, although orders were given to send a number of Franciscans,
they were delayed for over five years.
In 1573 members of this order were sent to Florida and then began
almost a century and a half of unbroken missionary activity.
At first these friars accomplished very little, their efforts being
frustrated by the backwash from the political turmoil in Europe. Spain,
then at the height of her power, was attempting to settle and control the
Americas. She felt that the waters in and around the Caribbean, pop-
ularly known as the "Spanish main," belonged to her. The French and
English disputed these claims vigorously and the Caribbean and South
Atlantic were infested with French and English pirates who preyed on
the supply ships to Florida from the West Indies and Mexico.
Spain was beginning to feel that Florida occupied no strategically
important position and, in addition, believed that this land was economi-
cally worthless since no gold, silver or other valuable metals had been
discovered in its soil. As for its agricultural possibilities, they were
destined to remain practically unrealized until the nineteenth century.
The colonists depended largely on supply ships for their food and
consequently Menendez had been kept busy chasing pirates away from the
lanes of ocean traffic between Florida and the West Indies. He had
spent the remainder of his time strengthening the outpost settlements of
both Florida and the Islands and these strenuous activities had left him
little time to assist the colonists in adjusting their lives to the difficulties
of frontier existence. It was also increasingly hard to get enough friars
to come to this country. Possibly they had heard of its reputation as a
dangerous and sterile land. Doubtless the fate of those priests, who had
been so brutally martyred had come to their ears.
In 1575 Diego de Velasco wrote to the King that the land about
St. Augustitne was not suitable for cultivation or cattle raising. The
soldiers were in want, their pay in arrears, yet should they have had their
pay there was little they could have bought. No doubt this news was
Again Diego de Velasco wrote that catechists, or teaching priests,
were needed badly "for when some Friars of the Order of San Francisco.
who were in these forts, learned of the death of the Adelantado (Menendez)
who supported them, they left the land and departed because of lacking
Menender had been spending his -ersonal fortune on the expens-s
of colonizing and Christianizing the Floridas and at hs death there was
no surety that foodships would any longer be sent to these settlements.
There was need for priests everywhere in Florida for the few who
had come to the Western Hemisphere were unable to cover the great
distances and educate the enormous number of Indians living here. Velasco
petitioned the King for priests from Seville saying, "They cannot be found
in the Indies at any salary." In 1578 the records show only two friars
in the present boundaries of Florida, Fray Alonso Cavezas and Fray
Francisco del Castillo.
Father Reinoso Recruits Friars from Spain. Father Reinoso first b--
came prominent in blor da when he began his endeavors, in 1578, to recruit
friars from Spain for the new territory. Be was an important figu-e
among the religious of this period and "may be looked upon as the pro-
moter of the missions."
On May 7, 1583, Father Reinoso sailed from Spain vith h's first party
of friars but, of the eight who sailed, only four reached their destination.
Father Reinoso is said to have been devout, gentle, and ti eless but per-
haps, being a forceful leader, he was a bit forgetful of the weaker stamina
of his charges for some of them asked to be transferred. However his
energy and zeal were never questioned. In 1586 he returned to Spain
and gathered together another band of friars with whom to continue the
mission work in Florida.
Part of the rule of the Franciscan order is subsistence on alms but
in poverty-stricken Florida this was impossible. Accordingly, the friars
were allowed the same maintenance as the King's soldiers which was three
reales or about 38c a day. In addition, the friars were given their clothing
and four pairs of "footwear" a year.
On Father Reinoso's second trip he sent Father Escobado ahead of
him to America. This friar was captured by English pirates and abandoned
on an island where he endured great hardships but he finally reached
Havana where he waited for Father Reinoso and the other friars. They
arrived in Florida in 1587, and were sent to Nombre de Dios, San Sebas-
tion, San Antonio, San Pedro, San Juan, and other Indian towns.
Reports of the following year noted that Fray Baltasar Lopez was
very successful at San Pedro (on Cumberland Island) and Father Escabedo
had soon baptized 100 Indians at Nombre de Dios.
Against the harsh land, the bad roads often traversed by foot, the
scarcity of food, and the many other difficulties surrounding them, the
priests pitted their desire to serve humanity and their faith in God.
Bells and vestments were necessary and when this need was made
known to King Philip II, he ordered the Governor of Florida to put two
thousand reales (about $250) at the disposal of Fray Re;noso with which
to purchase them.
"This money lay idle in the Florida Treasury having been recovered
from the persons of soldiers drowned at the bar of San Mateo." The
priests were asked to say masses for the souls of these men.
Spain's Troubles in Europe. At this time Spain was involved in a
war with England and in 1588 a disaster occurred which marked the
beginning of her decline as a first-rate power. In that vear the Spanish
Armada, in which was invested a tremendous part of the strength and
wealth of Spain, was destroyed, partly by the English fleet, and partly
by a terrific storm which wrecked the vessels on the coast of Ireland.
As a result of this defeat, the Spanish Government was in a mood
for economy and had little desire to spend money on the unproductive
colony of Florida. From that time, although the missions were entering
their period of greatest success, it became increasingly difficult to get
money from Spain with which to carry on the work.
Father Reinoso Finishes Wbrk in Florida. In 1589 Father Reinoso
made a third trip to Spain for the purpose of recruiting soldiers of the
Cross. Two years later he and his party arrived in Havana with eight
friars, a number of others having left the ship at various ports visited
during the voyage. In Cuba they found that Governor Miranda, probably
more in sympathy with military than religious tactics, would send only
six of these friars to Florida. Accordingly only this number arrived in
the territory. Father Reinoso, who had worked so untiringly to put the
Florida missions on a firm foundation, went on to Yucatan where he was
to take up other work.
A year later in 1592, the Commissary General withdrew all but five
religious from Florida. Those left to carry on the work were Father
Francisco Marron, the Superior, Father Baltasar Lopez, Father Pedro
de Corpa, and two lay brothers, Juan de san Nicholas and Father Antonio
de Badajoz. It was three years before other priests came from Spain to
replace those taken away.
In 1594 Domingo Martinez de Avendano was appointed Governor
of Florida and with his advent new momentum was given to missionary
activity. The governor arrived in St. Augustine accompanied by Father
Marron who, in addition to his duties as Superior of the Friars, also served
as parish priest of St. Augustine. Governor Avendano at once petitioned
King Philip II to send more missionaries.
Expansion of the Florida Missions
More Franciscans Arrive. For years appeals had gone from Flo<:da
to Spain for more priests and religious to carry on the work of Christirn-
iring the Indians and ministering to the needs of the Spanish Colonists.
At last, in 1595, Father Juan de Silva, commissary, (head of a group of
religious) arrived in St. Augustine with 11 other friars. They remained
in this settlement for the celebration of the feast of their patron, Saint
Francis on October fourth. After this a number of the friars were ac-
companied to their stations by the governor and a detachment of infantry.
Governor Avendano carried out a ritual as a means of showing the
Indians the reverence and esteem in which the religious should be held.
Having given the priest the place of honor, Governor Avendano knelt and
kissed his hand after which he commended him to the Indians.
The priests were stationed at settlements between three and four
leagues apart. Several new missions were founded at this time.
Unfortunately this trip through the primitive forest proved too much
for Governor Avendano who was not a robust man, ar.d he died immedi-
ately after his return to St. Augustine, on November 24, 1595. In him
the friars lost a loyal friend and helper.
Financial Difficulties. The officials of the colony were glad to have
the new religious among them, although, their living expenses raised a
problem. The colony was allowed support for only 300 persons and if
the number of friars increased it was necessary to decrease the number
of soldiers, a procedure which was not considered safe in this land in-
fested with savages. In order not to lose any of the soldiers, the colonial
officials petitioned the King for extra maintenance fees.
Each friar was serving one or more substations attached to the
principal mission town and supplies necessary for the daily sacrifice of
the Mass were again low. Here was another situation which could only
be relieved by a larger appropriation of funds.
From this time on through the Spanish missionary period, request
to the Crown for money became more and more insistent. This increas-
ing expense of the Florida Colony upon the diminishing wealth of Spain
was the basis of many arguments and finally resulted in the ceding of
Florida to Great Britain.
At the present time, however, the needs of the colony and the mis-
sions were cared for, though never very generously. The period was
unsettled by the constant transferring of friars from one post to another
and indeed at that time only Father Lopez, Father Corpa, and a lay
brother had been in Florida for eight consecutive years; yet, in spite of
this, many Indians were converted and it was requested that a bishop be
sent to the colony to administer confirmation to the new converts.
Father Ricardo Artur First Irish Priest in United States. The new
Governor, Gonzalo Mendez de Canzo and a new chaplain, Father Ricardo
Artur, reached Florida June 2, 1597. Father Artur was an Irishman who.
before entering the priesthood, had been a member of the Irish Brigade
and Legion which served in Snain. These Irishmen, because of England's
penal laws in Ireland, had been compelled to leave their homeland. They
formed a legion known as the "Wild Geese" and served with the Spanish
Army in Italy, Malta, Flanders, and othei parts of Europe. Nearly two
centuries later three bridges of these "Wild Geese" served in Florida.
After his ordination, Richard Arthur, or Ricardo Artur as he was
called in Spain, was engaged as military chaplain, at first for the artillery-
men of Lisbon. In 1597 he arrived at St. Augustine having been appointed
pastor and episcopal vicar of that settlement and also visitor general of
Florida. He is regarded as the first Irish priest to serve religion within
the present limits of the United States. His appointment released Fray
Marron to go about his duties as a Franciscan missionary.
It must be understood that each order of the Catholic Church was
founded for a specific work and each observes certain rules not obligatory
with the others. When circumstances demand, however, some of these
rules may be waived temporarily. Thus a monk vowed to subsist on alms
could, under certain conditions, accept a subsidy from the King and a
missionary friar could occupy for a while the position of parish priest.
The fame of St. Augustine began to spread through the territory
and in August, after the arrival of the new governor, a mandador, or
Indian lieutenant, came with ten Indians from the Mosquitoes to inspect
the settlement. For four days they were entertained by Governor Canzo
and, when they prepared to leave, the mandador was given a spade for
himself and two hatchets to present to his chief as a gift from the executive.
The Indian Uprising of 1597
Christian Indians Assist Colony. During this period two noteworthy
Indians were of great help both to soldiers and friars. One was a Cacica
or chieftainess named Dona Maria who had married Clemente Vernal, a
Spanish soldier, and lived on the edge of St. Augustine. The other was
Don Juan of San Pedro or Cumberland Island on the coast of Georgia.
In 1592 Dona Maria had written the King of Spain to tell him oi
aiding the Spaniards through the danger of starvation the year before.
Don Juan had been equally helpful to the missionaries. In recognition
of their services the King secured special maintenance for them.
Expedition to Georgia. Once more it was impressed upon the governor
that the colony must help itself by producing part of its food. Hoping
therefore to find richer soil, an expedition was sent to examine the land
in Tama (Central Georgia). Two friars, one being Pedro de Chozas, and
several soldiers set out on this mission.
They were received peaceably and Fray Chozas entered the com-
munity house in a number of villages and, setting up the Cross, preached
to the natives. But an attempt was made to take Fray Chozas' scalp
which caused the expedition to return in haste to 'St. Augustine.
It was later explained that the scalping was not attempted because
of personal enmity but simply to secure a trophy worthy to adorn a
cacique, (chief). At certain times a race was run to determine the fleetest
of the caciques of that district and the winner was presented with a scalp
to wear on his leg attached to a garter. According to Indian ideas the
scalp of the good friar Chozas would have been a worthy trophy.
However, in spite of such dangers, missionaries, continued to go to
Guale, most of them being sent out from St. Augustine.
Constant Danger from Indians. In those early days it was impos-
sible to foretell the moment at which the Indians would take to the
warpath. The people in the Florida settlements stood in hourly danger,
particularly the priests who pursued their missionary labors in the most
The attempt to supplant Indian paganism and savagery with Christian
culture inevitably brought about a death struggle between the two. One
or the other must disappear. Those chiefs, therefore, whose lives were
incompatible with Christian morality soon plotted an uprising.
Martyrdom of Father Corpa. In 1597 Don Juanillo was the heir to
the chief of Tolomato on the southeastern coast of Guale. He was a polyg-
amist and Fray Copra had reprimanded him privately then publicly for
this. Infuriated, he left the village with two friends and gathered a band
of pagan Indians. In full war paint they stole upon Tolomato in the
dawn of September 13, 1597. They found Fray Corpa at prayer and
killed him with a macana (stone hatchet). The martyr was beheaded and
the gruesome trophy placed on a lance and set up at the landing. His
body was buried in the woods. This ended the self-sacrificing career o0
one of the oldest of Florida missionaries in point of length of service in
Three More Priests Martyred. The death of Fray Corpa rekindled
the banked fires of brutality in the Indians and the uprising spread. The
second victim was Fray Bias de Rodriguez at Tupique, a village on the
mainland of Guale near St. Catherine's Island. Juanillo then sent word
to the cacique of St. Catherine's Island to kill Fray Miguel de Aunon and
Brother Antonio de Badajoz. The cacique refused to do this and warned
Brother Antonio. Three days later Juanillo's braves came and, finding
the friars at their prayers, killed them.
Father Avila Captured and Enslaved. At Ospo, on Jekyl Island, Fray
Francisco de Avila, aware of his danger, tried to escape in the night but
was wounded and captured. Though wounded with arrows in the shoulder,
arm, and hand, he waj forced to walk to the village of Fulafina on the
mainland, the scene of his first missionary labors.
Here, after being tortured and mocked he was stripped of his cloth-
ing and beaten with a knotted cord. After this he was bound to a Cross.
An Indian dressed in a chasuble went about mimicking the Mass. Burn-
ing wood was wedged between the cross and Father Avila's back and he
being tied, could not remove it. The Indians then began dancing around
him, striking him at intervals with their macanas. It was their intention
to burn him at the stake but they remembered suddenly that an Indian
boy of the tribe was being held as hostage in St. Augustine. They there-
fore unbound Fray Avila and permitted him to live but only as their slave.
Father Verascola Murdered. Fray Francisco de Verascola was in
St. Augustine at the beginning of this outbreak. He set out for his post
at Asao on St. Simon's Island but as he landed the Indians met and killed
him. "Five friars had now shed their blood and one was suffering in
Then these Indians, intoxicated with their success in Guale, deter-
mined to attack other tribes that were enemies and kill the religious
among them. They thought this would be easy reasoning that, since
the friars taught brotherly love, their charges would not be prepared
for war. The predatory Indians chose the feast of St. Francis on which
to attack the island of San Pedro. Defeated and driven off by the gallant
cacique, Don Juan and his warriors, they started back to Guale passing
Puturiba, a village on the northern end of Cumberland Island. They did
not attack the place but, as they passed in their canoes, the pagan cacique
of Asao lifted up the hat of the dead Fray Verascola and cried that five
friars had been killed.
"Since I had no other arms," declared Fray Chozas, "I clothed my-
self with those of the Church and commenced to celebrate the Mass of
my glorious and seraphic Father St. Francis for it was his feast day."
That evening Fray Chozas dispatched a letter to St. Augustine by
a brigantine, then in port. Governor Canzo answered this call for help
by sending Juan de Santiago and six soldiers at once. The Governor
mustered 150 soldiers and despite the fact that he was ill, followed eight
days later. He was accompanied by Fray Blas de Montas who was to
take charge of any effects of the murdered friars or the ruined missions.
This party proceeded to Guale, burning Indian villages in retaliation.
The few Christian Indians of Puturiba and Tocohaya, close to iSan Pedro,
agreed to move to San Juan del Puerto at the mouth of the St. Johns.
Here they would be closer to St. Augustine with its garrison of soldiers.
San Pedro and the towns farther north were unsafe and Fathers Pareja
and Chozas were ordered back to St. Augustine.
Dissension Between Friars and Governor. Three months later the
governor accused these two friars of returning to their missions without
consulting him. Then without waiting for permission, the friars sent Fray
Chozas to Spain to report on the Guale revolt. Governor Canzo resented
these things as flouting his authority and he accused the friars of meddling
in civic affairs thus beginning an argument which continued intermittently
from then on. Later, the governor was told in a letter from Spain that
this visit of Fray Chozas was approved. The whole concern of the rel.
gious was to Christianize the Indians while, on the other hand, the governor
thought first of the safety of the colonists. As a result the question of
whom to assign the soldiers to protect became an agitated one. In addition
the governors often preferred that Spain send soldiers rather than priests
to the colony.
Of Fray Francisco Pareja, it is said: "Among all the missionaries,
Father Pareja became the Timucuan scholar par excellence; for, it was
he who reduced the language."
In a report which he gave to Fray Luis Jeronimo de Ore, Commis-
sary of this province, or in other words an official visitor to the province,
Fray Pareja said:
". . the religious are accustomed to do without some of their foo
and drink and clothing which Your Majesty provides for the friars, in
order to adorn the altars. I testify that Fray Pedro Ruiz and I have made
chalices of lead, which we have used at Mass many times..."
Father Avila is Rescued. During the avenging expedition of Gov-
ernor Canzo it had been learned from a captured Indian that Father Avila,
"the resurrected one" as he was called by the Indians, was in captivit.
-not dead as had been supposed. Possibly he had earned the title, "the
resurrected one," from the fact that, although wounded in innumerable
places and at numerous times, he continued to survive. Father Avila
himself considered his recovery and continued existence as an evidence of
Through Captain Francisco Fernandez de Ecija, who knew the la,
guage of the Indians of Guale, Father Avila was finally rescued. After ten
months of unmentionable tortures and temptations, hunger and humilia-
tion, his release was finally accomplished, partly through the return of
several Indian hostages but principally by Captain Ecija's threat to send
300 soldiers into their midst if Father Avila was not returned at once.
Incident During Father Avila's Captivity. "While Father Avila's cap-
tivity was in every sense tragic, it was not without its humorous moments.
On one occasion, when the Indians had determined to wage a war against
their enemies, they came to him and showed him ten arquebuses they
had in their possession. Under threat of death they asked him to make
them some powder and bullets. He told them he did not know how. Then
they replied: 'Do not excuse yourself, for you do know how; your books
tell you how you can make them.' Father Avila answered: 'I have no
books, because you have taken them away from me.' Unwilling to lose
the argument, the Indians said: 'We will bring them to you.' Thereupon
they brought him a Summa and a Prayer Book for Religious . as well
as a breviary. They continued to molest him about the powder and bullets.
Only when he made them understand that he lacked the necessary ma-
trials. which could not be found in their midst, were they satisfied that
it was not because he was unwilling but because he lacked the materials,
that he failed to make the powder.
"The returned books soon became a source of consolation to Father
Avila. He hid them in the cavity of an oak tree, where he went to read
them, finding in their contents spiritual refreshment. The breviary, how-
ever, he always carried with him publicly, but the boys ever mischievous,
tore out the pages."
Trial of Guilty Indians. In July 1598 seven of the guilty Indians
having been captured by the Spanish were brought to trial. Father Avila
was asked to testify and was given permission by Father Marron, the
Superior of the Florida friars, to "declare on this matter what was most
fitting for the service of God, our Lord, but that he was to avoid saying
anything he was forbidden to say by the sacred canons in a criminal case
that might lead to punishment by death or mutilation of the guilty." Father
Avila refused to testify against any of them.
Six of these Indians were minors and were kept as slaves in the fort
at St. Augustine. The seventh, Lucas, was hanged for it was found he
had been present at the death of Fray Rodriguez. The Indians of Guale
with their homes and food supplies destroyed, were left to roam in search
of sustenance. "Socially, economically, spiritually, Guale was in ruins."
The Caciques of Guale Sue for Pardon. In a short time the Indians
of Guale, hungry and homeless, sent messengers to St. Augustine asking
to return to the friendship and protection of the Spanish. Accordingly
Governor Canzo sent a number of soldiers to Guale to investigate the
sincerity of these proposals. They returned with favorable reports. Soon
after this a delegation of Indians from Guale came to the'presidio in St.
Augustine to petition the governor for pardon for their crimes in the
name of every important cacique of Guale excepting Don Francisco and
Don Juanillo his heir. These two were unrepentant for the murder of
the priests and intended to remain enemies of the Spanish settlers.
Pardon was granted to those who asked it and a new pact was made.
It was necessary, however, to subdue Don Francisco and Don Juanillo,
the leaders of the uprising, before Guale could really be at peace. Gov-
ernor Canzo declared that he had, on several occasions, sent word to these
two asking them to return to friendly relations with the Spanish people.
Since there could be no further successful expansion of missions or settle-
ments until the land was safe for the white man,'it was decided to send
an expedition into Guale to take these two rebels alive and subdue their
Spanish Punitive Expedition into Guale. The Cacique of Asao, he
who had boasted of the murder of five priests, now sent an offer of his
friendly services to the Spanish Governor. Canzo accordingly sent Diego
de Cardenas and an interpreter with a message to this chief. The Cacique
of Asao immediately called his vassals and warriors together. He also
sent runners to the other friendly caciques and at the same time set his
people to prepare a great quantity of arrows and provisions. When these
were ready, Cardenas and the Cacique of Asao went to an Indian village
where the other caciques and their warriors were convening. The CL.cique
of Asao, having chosen about five hundred of his own fighters, set out
with Cardenas and the arny assembled by the other caciques. After travel-
ing about eight leagues they came upon the rebels, strongly fortified.
The Cacique of Asao sent word to the rebels to hand over Don Fran-
cisco and Don Juanillo and all the others might return to friendship with
both the Spanish and the friendly Indians. This offer was refused. The
Cacique of Asao then drew his men up in formation and the battle began.
Arrows rained on both sides but, although those in the fort had the ad-
vantage, they were finally defeated. Don Francisco and Don Juanillo
and many others of the renegade Indians were killed and the fort was
After this the Indians of Guale returned to peace and friendship
with Spain. This revolt, however, had been a blow not only to the mis-
sions already established in Guale, but to the introduction of Christianity
in the interior of Timueua, for Father Lopez, who had started his work
among the Timucuans was forced to drop this and return to San Pedro
to take up the work of the martyred priests of Guale.
"It is no exaggeration to say that the Guale revolt set back mission
development for about twelve or fifteen years."
Beginning of the Golden Era of Missions in Florida
Disasters Visit St. Augustine. On March 14, 1599, fire swept through
a number of the flimsy houses of St. Augustine. The Franciscan Friary
being destroyed, the friars were given temporary refuge in the hospital
which was connected with the Chapel of Our Lady of Solitude. In order
"that the work of charity would not cease," Governor Canzo had a new
hospital built. It contained six beds and decent appointments and was
built entirely at his expense.
The original hospital connected with the chapel of Our Lady of
Solitude was the first institution of its kind in the present confines of
the United States.
On September 22 of the same year high seas inundated the water-
front destroying many houses and fruit trees as well as the guardhouse
and part of the fort. At that time all of these buildings were of wood.
In addition to fire and flood, famine also threatened the settlers. The
populace was growing and there were a great number of children in the
King Philip II had died in 1598 and early in March 1599 the mis-
sionaries gathered in the presidio to celebrate his obsequies. Having come
together for this purpose, they lingered to discuss affairs of church and
state. As a result of this conference four letters were written reporting
the serious condition of affairs in Florida.
Father Pareja, the Timucuan Scholar, wrote the first letter. He
admitted that religion, not affairs of state, was his business however,
because of the pleas of the Spanish settlers and the promptings of his
own conscience, he felt it to be his duty to report the unhappy state of
One of the first matters he reported on was Governor Canzo's puni-
tive expedition to the Sorruque and Ais Indians. The Ais Indians of south-
eastern Florida should not be confused with the Asai Indians in Guale.
Trouble with Sorruque and Ais Indians. These natives inhabited the
Atlantic coast of Florida from Cape Canaveral to Turtle Mound just south
of the present location of New Smyrna. On his way from Cuba to Florida,
Governor Canzo had landed in that section of the coast and had given
presents to the caciques and their subjects.
This particular district had always been a problem to the Spanish
because it was here that many ships were wrecked or stranded and on
such occasions the Indian inhabitants made a practice of murdering the
unfortunate voyagers and taking their vessels and cargos. For this reason
the Spanish were anxious to come to some agreement with them and when
Governor Canzo had been hospitably received by them he was greatly
encouraged concerning the future safety of Spanish ships in this area.
The Indians presented fish, wood, and water to Canzo and in return
he gave the cacique a piece of his own clothing as well as gifts for his
wives and subjects. The Cacique of Ais then asked Canzo to revisit him.
Upon arriving in St. Augustine, Governor Canzo learned that Juan
Ramirez de Contreras was an interpreter for the Ais Indians and had also
conducted missions among the natives. Contreras offered to return to
the Sorruque and Ais peoples as an emissary and teacher. Governor
Canzo accepted his offer and sent him on this mission with two Indian
interpreters and abundant gifts. Soon afterward Indian messengers re-
turned to Canzo with word that the Ais Indians had killed all three.
Governor Canzo immediately sent a punitive expedition to the Sor-
ruoue and Ais territory. He "declared that those Indians were not only
guilty of this one crime but that in previous times they had killed Spaniards
shipwrecked on their coasts and that they had likewise killed messengers
sent out by former governors."
Governor Canzo's soldiers and Indian allies attacked the Sorruques
early in the morning while it was still dark. Because of this, it was im-
possible to discriminate between Indian Braves and women and children.
As a result many of these helpless ones were killed.
Afterward, although the cacique had been assured of safe conduct in
St. Augustine the Governor put him in prison and the other Indians of
importance, who had come to St. Augustine with the cacique were fettered
so that they were forced to go about the city chained together two by two.
Father Lopez wrote a second letter. He had labored for 12 years
among the Timucuans and it is therefore reasonable to assume that he
understood the Indians and the country. He charged that Governor
Canzo alienated the Indians from Christianity. A number of them who
had been catechized and were ready for baptism "withdrew from their
resolution to become Christians, owing to the way the governor had op-
pressed the villages already Christian."
Father Lopez also wrote that, "many honorable men, zealous in the
service of your Majesty, are insulted for having told the governor their
views, in secret and charitably, about his method of doing." Governor
Canzo, although new to this country, refused to be advised by those who
had lived here for a long period.
Father Pareja wrote another letter on October 12 of the same year
in which he told of increasing difficulties in Florida both in the mission
work and among the Spanish settlers.
The fourth and final letter for the year 1599 was written to King
Philip III by Father Lopez. He recalled that Father Marron, who had
been experienced in mission work in Florida, said "that he had seen great
destruction result from the fact that those who came to govern were
inexperienced in the land over which they ruled."
For the time being, however, these differences were smoothed over.
In many ways Governor Canzo had gone to great personal discomfort
and expense to further the growth of missions in Florida. Perhaps his
temperament was impetuous but his intentions seem always to have been
good. Father Pareja, after a more thorough study of the Sorruque
trouble, changed "from unreserved blame to a cautious withholding of
judgment in reference to Governor Canzo."
Devotion to Our Lady of the Milk. One year before this, in 1598,
an incident had occurred in Madrid. Spain which was to have an effect on
St. Augustine across the Atlantic. In this year, so tradition tells us, a
pious Spaniard had purchased a statue of Mary from a drunken soldier
who had stolen it from a church and was desecrating its symbolism in the
streets of Madrid. The statue represented the Blessed Mother nursing
her Divine Infant.
The devout Spaniard enshrined the statue in his home and his wife,
who was expecting the birth of a child, knelt before it daily and prayed
to God for a successful delivery. Her prayer was answered. A fine son
was born to them.
The fame of the statue spread and soon many women came to pray
before it, seeking Heavenly assistance in their time of labor. News of
the increasing devotion to Nuestra Senora de la Leche reached the King
of Spain, Philip III, and he had the statue placed in the chapel of St.
Martin's seminary in Madrid where all could venerate it.
Devotion Brought to St. Augustine. Meanwhile, the 'Spanish colonists
in St. Augustine secured a copy of the famous statue for the shrine of
Our Lady at "Nombre de Dios" and changed the name of the chapel and
the spot to "Neustra Senora de la Leche y Buen Parto."
The first statue was said to be 12 inches high, perfectly carved from
wood, and painted in the Spanish tradition which dictated that Our Lady
be clothed in red robes rather than the blue and white of our present
Although the original copy was taken, with other church property
and works of art, to Cuba at the time of the English occupation of St.
Augustine and lost, there is today, in the restored shrine, another statue
said to be exactly like the first. This modern statue was carved from a
picture of the original in an old book.
This devotion to "Our Lady of the Milk" was introduced into the
Spanish Colony at St. Augustine between 1602 and 1604 at a time when
missionary efforts were gaining strength. The colonists themselves were
desperately poor, with the exception of a few of the officials, and the mis-
sions were always in need of money, nevertheless the efforts of the priests
began to bear fruit.
Philip III Doubts Value of Florida Territory. Very little help came
from Spain, however. When Philip III became King, instead of being
moved to assist the colony of Florida, he began to consider dismantling the
fort, removing the Christian Indians to the Caribbean, and allowing the
colony to die. In November 1600, he sent word to the viceroy of New
Spain, the president to the audiencia of Santo Domingo, and to the Gov-
ernor of Cuba "that a careful investigation should be made of the spiritual
and temporal condition of Florida." He wrote that "some persons" had
informed him how useless it was to continue the presidio of St. Augustine.
The investigation took place, soldiers, officials, and friars being called
upon to testify concerning past Indian revolts, the state of agriculture
and mines in Florida, the condition of the missions, whether there were
better harbors than St. Augustine, and the advisability of retaining St.
The fallibility of human judgment seems to have been well exposed
at this time when Spain was unable to envision any future greatness for
the peninsula of Florida.
Report on Florida Missions in 1600. The first report was written by
Fray Pedro Bermeja who had been in Florida eight years, was vicar of
Nombre de Dios, near St. Augustine and took care of three neighboring
towns, Capuaca, one league distant, Soloy, two leagues distant, and Palica,
three leagues distant. "The total number of Christian Indians under his
jurisdiction was two hundred, including adults and children."
Father Bermeja said that his Indian parishioners obeyed the laws of
the Church, went to confession, and assisted at Mass. He added that
the number of converts from paganism would have been larger had the
governor given the cooperation expected of him by the king. Fray Fran-
cisco Pareja gave his report next. For seven years he had been vicar in
the town of San Juan del Puerto at San Mateo. The church here had bells
to use in the services and was described as more ornate than most of the
Besides this town, Father Pareja had nine others under his jurisdiction.
Carabay, one-fourth of a league distant.
Vera Cruz, one-half league.
Hicacharico, one league.
Chinisca, one and a half leagues.
San Pablo, one and a half leagues.
San Mateo, two leagues.
Arratoba, two and a half leagues.
Potaya, four leagues.
Niojo, five leagues.
The total number of Christians under his spiritual care was five hun-
dred adults and minors.
It is hard for us, with our modern methods of transportation, to
realize the exhausting labor represented in the simple statement that
"Father Pareja cared for nine towns." The distances mentioned would
mean nothing to us today but at that time travel at best was by horse
or mule through deep sand and swamps, over trails covered with under-
growth and alive with reptiles. Dangers were on every side. Food was
always scarce. It seems evident that only men imbued with love of God
and their fellow beings would be willing to endure such a life, barren
of almost every comfort.
Here is a description of some of Father Pareja's duties: "All the
enumerated towns had their churches where Mass was said from time to
time and the sacraments were administered. Father Pareja spoke the
language of the natives. (Timucuan) and visited them. Outside of these
visitations, the Indians came into San Juan on the principal feast days to,
hear Mass and to receive instruction. There they convened for the cele-
bration of Holy Week. At San Juan a Confraternity of the Holy Cross,
had been established. The more advanced Indians at San Juan received
Holy Communion, but these were not numerous. The Indians confessed
their sins not only once a year but more frequently. At San Juan, more-
over, the natives were sufficiently well instructed to sing High Mass and:
Vespers. It appears from Father Parepa's report that he found no diffi-
culty in converting the natives of his district."
To continue the reports given in at this meeting, Fray Baltazer Lopez
had charge of the mission of San Pedro. one of the earliest Franciscan
Missions, having been established about 1588. Father Lopez had been
a missionary among the Indians for 17 years and knew the Timucuan
language. The towns intrusted to his care were:
"San Domingo, with its own church and 180 Christians.
"Santa Maria de Sena, with its church and 112 Christians.
"Both of these places were on the island of Napoyca, one league from
"San Antonio, with 30 Christians.
"Chicafayo, joining Napoyca, contained the church of La Madelena
with Christians together with some others who had recently arrived and
were being catechized.
"Coticyini, with only three Christians, though the remainder of the
village wished to become Christians.
"Ica Potano, two houses with nine Christians.
"Potano, with ten Christians and others under instruction."
Father Lopez had converted the Indians by a slow and gentle process
working systematically with much patience and caution. No attempt
was made to exaggerate the number of converts in spite of the fact that
the very existence of the Florida Missions was at stake. If there were
only three Christians in a certain village, it was so stated. If they were
adults or infants, a distinction was made.
Father Lopez was careful about whom he admitted to Holy Com-
munion and only those whose minds were understanding and whose hearts
were contrite were permitted to partake. He spoke of the eagerness of
his converts to confess and do penance and of their desire for baptism
when he had preached the Word of God to them. Here, however, as
everywhere else in Florida, there 'as need for more priests.
Since the land around St. Augustine was filled with marshes and
sand dunes, these priests were unanimous in requesting that the presidio
be changed from its present location to the richer and firmer land of
Guale. They were supported in this by Fray Ruiz who had been stationed
at St. Augustine for several years and testified that: "it was impossible
to walk a quarter of a league without coming into contact with swamps
or sloughs . with the result that we are marooned."
"The disadvantages of remaining at St. Augustine were manifold.
Little wood was left in the area; nor was there much good fishing. The
absence of pasture-land likewise added to the want of the people of the
city. The bar was inferior compared with others that could be used.
Then St. Augustine provided scant wood for building purposes, so that
the houses were only of palm (palmetto trunks.) The result was that
there was constant danger of fire, carrying with it the threat of impover-
ishing the people."
Church at San Pedro is Rebuilt. Governor Canzo and Fray Montes,
the Franciscan Superior at St. Augustine held council and decided as a
first move toward restoring the status of Guale to rebuild the decaying
church at San Pedro among the Timucuans. Fray Lopez, who had returned
to his duties there, was notified to prepare material for the new church.
In January 1603, the Governor went to San Pedro. Finding the
church structure unfinished because of a lack of materials, he ordered
nails, timber, and other materials to be brought from St. Augustine. At
the same time, he decided to use this period of enforced delay in visiting
the villages of Guale. Accordingly, he sailed to the mouth of the Talaxe or
Altamaha River where he was given an enthusiastic welcome by the Indians.
The first day was spent in festivities and the next in more serious parleys
at which the governor urged the Indians to return to the practice of the
Christian Faith. Political and economic problems were also discussed. In
reply to Governor Canzo's address, Don Domingo, acting as spokesman for
the Indians, asked forgiveness for the murder of the friars during the recent
uprising. He then surrendered all the arms in the possession of the Indians
and promised submission to Spain.
On the following morning Father Ruiz, who had accompanied Governor
Canzo, celebrated Mass for the assembled Indians and bestowed his blessing
Continuing on his journey, Governor Canzo and his party reached
Tupiqui on February 10th. "His landing was dramatic. On the high bank
above the stream stood his old friend, the Mice of Espogache, attended by a
throng of men and women to greet their Spanish overlord and to welcome
Father Ruiz. Quickly the boats were moored and the Spaniards assisted to
shore, where they promptly found themselves surrounded by a crowd of
hilarious natives who embraced the governor and profusely kissed the hand
of the missionary. Then repairing to the lodge especially prepared by the
Indians, Canzo and his company rested and refreshed themselves with a tasty
supply of 'cakes and fritters of maize and other things' which the squaws
Retracing his steps to San Pedro, Governor Canzo arrived there on Feb-
ruary 19, 1603, and found that substantial progress had been made on the
church. He set more carpenters to work at once.
While waiting for the completion of the church, the governor entertained
the friendly Indians of the region. One person's absence was especially
felt. The cacique, Don Juan, who had so faithfully proved his devotion for
the Spanish during the Indian uprising in Guale, was dead. However his
niece, Don Ana, a worth successor to her uncle, now ruled in his stead.
At length on March 10, the church was ready for dedication, "complete
with altar and choir in place."
That the hazards of travel in those days may be better appreciated a
description of the new Governor Ybarra's trip from Spain to St. Augustine is
"Ybarra's voyage to Florida was hardly more felicitous than that of his
predecessor. He sailed from Seville to Puerto Rico by way of Guadalupe.
After remaining in Puerto Rico for seventeen days, he continued his voyage
towards Havana. At Cabo Romano, one hundred leagues from Havana, five
English vessels made their appearance and followed the Spanish ships.
During the night the Spaniards sought to elude them by striking out on a
different course, hoping that the English would sail out of the Bahama
Channel. However, on the following day, the English spied the Spanish
vessels again and gave chase. Next day a struggle ensued. The Spanish
ships were unarmed and of this the English were well aware. Ybarra,
seeing that things were becoming worse, decided to save himself. Writing
of this experience later on, he declared: 'That night I determined to save
my life by means of a launch and not to expose your Majesty's papers nor
my liberty to the will of the heretics.' Ybarra succeeded in escaping, but
owing to contrary winds he was tossed about on the sea for five days, during
which he never once saw land. Finally espying a cove, he and his com-
panions attempted to land, only to encounter the very enemies they had
tried to avoid. The English captured Ybarra and his party and left them in
the woods. Thirty-two days of uncertain torture on land and sea gave
Ybarra and his men a taste of life in the pirate-ridden Caribbean. While
stranded in Cuba, the party subsisted on wild fruits, crabs and snails. They
finally succeeded in obtaining a launch which brought them in safety to
Havana. Whatever pride had welled up in the breast of Ybarra at the
thought of being Spanish governor in one of His Majesty's colonial domains,
was dashed by the humiliation of being forced to borrow a shirt from Pedro
de Valdes, the governor of Cuba .
The Indians, among whom were some forty caciques, came to welcome
the new governor and were entertained by him during the period of their
visit. They impressed him because, "They live as Catholics and give very
clear signs of the fruit the mission stations are producing in them."
Finding that there were only a few friars in the territory, the new
governor asked for at least twelve more. He had realized before he came
to Florida, the scarcity of priests and had brought a chaplain with him to
say Mass for the soldiers of the fort, "for it is about a year and a half since
they have heard Mass, nor was there anyone who could say Mass for them."
Governor Ybarra Visits Indian Missions of Florida. On November 8,
1604, slightly over a year after the new governor had reached St. Augustine,
he set out from that city to visit the Indians of Timucua and Guale. He
wished to keep on friendly terms with these tribes and at the same time
determine whether they were receiving fair treatment from their caciques
and their Spanish overlords. He was also anxious to determine whether or
not foreign corsairs were infesting the coastal waters.
Governor Ybarra's expedition covered practically the same route as that
followed by his predecessor, Governor Canzo, during his last visit to the
tribes of northern Florida and Guale. Much the same procedure was also
followed. The governor held parleys with the caciques and cacicas and
Masses were celebrated. Ybarra, in his speeches, urged the Indians to
follow the tenets of Christianity faithfully. He suggested that they erect
crosses before their huts and along the roads as a sign that they were
Christians. The expedition was a success in every way.
Surruque and Ais Indians Become Friendly. A certain amount of mis-
sionary work had been done among the Ais and 'Surruque Indians. Ybarra
followed this ui by sending presents and after friendly visits of the lesser
chieftains, the Indians asked for a friar and two soldiers. The governor
was able to send the soldiers and promised a friar as soon as the next group
should arrive from Spain. Alvaro Mejia was placed in charge of the friendly
expedition into the Ais country and was able to successfully promote
friendly relations. He also made an excellent map of the territory.
The caciques of that country, though wary of friendship with the Spanish,
eventually came to St. Augustine and were feasted by Governor Ybarra and
given many presents. A special meeting was arranged for the visitors in the
Franciscan friary. The governor, his staff and guard, and the Indian chiefs
were met in the church by Fathers Bermejo and Celaya. Ybarra and the
Spaniards knelt and kissed the hand of the friars as a token of the respect
they held for the religion represented by these priests. The Indians followed
their examples. One thing, however, worried them. They wore their hair
long and rolled it on top of their heads in a thick knot. Through this
knot they often stuck arrows and feathers. The friars, in contrast, shaved
the center of their scalps and left only a fringe of hair around this shaven
spot. The Indians feared that the acceptance of Christianity would include
the losing of their topknot and the wearing of their hair in the fashion worn
by the friars. Being reassured on this point, they agreed to accept the
Two years passed before the friars requested by Ybarra, arrived in
St. Augustine. Of those who started from Spain, one was delayed in
Havana by illness and two deserted so that only nine finally arrived. The
others had an adventurous journey. On the last lap, from Cuba to Florida,
their frigate ran aground on Matacumbe Key. The Indians of this region
had preyed upon such unfortunate vessels and voyagers for years. This
time, however, they proved unexpectedly friendly and not only helped float
the ship, but supplied the priests with wood and fish. The Indians also
without a single theft, helped replace the belongings the sailors had taken
The frigate returned to Havana and on her second attempt the pilot
mistook the bar of Mosquito for that of St. Augustine and the ship was
stuck worse than before. The Indians of this vicinity also came to their
assistance and offered to take them overland to St. Augustine. This offer
was accepted and they eventually reached their destination.
In May 1605 the new church in St. Augustine was finished and the friary
was well under way. In order to build these structures, Governor Ybarra
had advanced lumber, charging it to the royal account, and had loaned
artisans for the work. Fray Bermejo and four other friars, besides begging
funds, had given up a part of their daily food allowance to help pay for the
lumber. The allotment for each friar at this time was 1,535 reales or about
$192 a year.
Governor Ybarra, finding that the new friars had brought no vestments,
chalices or other articles necessary for divine service, called a meeting of the
royal officials at which it was decided to order these things from New Spain
and send the bill to the King. Even then, it was a year before the friars
There was some dissension between the governor and the priests about
this time, concerning jurisdiction. Fray Jeronimo Celaya, a friar newly
arrived from New Spain, where he had been dismissed by the viceroy, stirred
up further trouble by criticizing the governor and the government. He was
eventually dismissed and sent to his provincial in New Spain.
Bishop Altamirano Visits Florida. "Between 1528 and 1606 no bishop put
his foot on Florida's soil." At last in 1602, Philip III authorized the newly
consecrated bishop, Fray Juan de las Cabezas de Altamirano, to visit Florida.
Because of the red tape and slow moving customs of that time the bishop
did not reach St. Augustine until March 15, 1606.
His arrival, so long looked for, was a great occasion. The monotony of
the life of the presidio, whose social activity centered about church affairs, was
relieved and the bishop was received with great pomp. His arrival just before
Holy Week lifted the services to heights of unusual splendor. On Holy
Thursday he consecrated the Holy Oils. On Holy Saturday about twenty
young men were ordained, some of whom were sons of Florida's families
and had been prepared for the priesthood in St. Augustine. Several of
the others had come with Bishop Altamirano from Cuba. On Easter Sunday
350 persons were confirmed. It was truly a great occasion for the Church
After resting a few days, the bishop went to Nombre de Dios where, on
April 2, the cacica, Dona Maria, and two of her children were among the 213
natives to whom confirmation was administered. Continuing from here
Bishop Altamirano journeyed to all the mission stations of north Florida
and Guale, administering confirmation and addressing the Indians. He then
returned to St. Augustine.
Heavy rains caused a month's delay before the party could start for
the Potano district to the southwest. Once begun, however, the journey
was continued through swamps and lagoons, the men floundering through
water most of the time. Finally the Indians picked up the bishop's party
in canoes and the trip was continued in that manner. Confirmation was
administered wherever candidates were prepared. The bishop then returned
to St. Augustine, both he and Governor Ybarra feeling that the trip had been
well worth while. Two thousand, seventy-four Indians and 370 whites had
Bishop Altemirano spent six months in Florida and before he left the
differences between Ybarra and the friars seem to have been settled. The
bishop and the governor were also on the best of terms.
King Philip III Dis-ouraged About Florida. King Philip III advised that
St. Augustine be not entirely abandoned, but that the soldiers should be
reduced by half, leaving the people of that place to keep order as best
they could without the expense of maintaining either fort or artillery. He
considered St. Augustine unimportant. Spain's enemies would not want to
seize this poor colony when the worthwhile ports of Puerto Rica and Cuba
were near. The expense of maintaining St. Augustine was far too much in
proportion to the good derived from it. He would like, if possible to remove
the Indians to Espanola, or Hayti, in order that St. Augustine could be given
It was evident from this communication that Philip was basing his
judgments on early reports for he spoke of the missions as being in a
terrible state because of the depletion of the missionary personnel through
martyrdom. "This statements makes it evident that he was still thinking
in terms of the disastrous year 1597. .. ." As a matter of fact the
missions seemed to be on a firm basis and growing steadily.
The friars, in an effort to persuade the Indians to remain in one place,
preferably near the missions, had planted orange and other fruit trees,
besides berry bushes, and had taught the proper planting and tending of
fields with the result that Florida was at last beginning to produce food in
Ybarra fought to keep the soldiers and, being upheld by Menendez
Marquez the treasurer, and the friars, the king finally agreed to let matters
rest as they were. However :t was not long before relations between the
governor and the friars were once more strained. In 1609 Ybarra was
recalled and succe' deJ by Juan Fernandez de Olivera.
The Guale revolt had set the missionary system back many years and
even now the tribes of that district were a drag on the progress of Florida
because of their continued practice of polygarnr. Nevertheless, the priests
plodded on in their efforts to eradicate this c :i.
Fray Prieto's Success. Fray Prieto did great work li the mission field
at this time. Making his headquarters at San Miguel, 26 leagues from St.
Augustine, he visited the nearby towns, returning to San Miguel at night.
In one instance he showed the courage and faith of a great missionary.
The aged chief of Santa Ana, a town near San Miguel, had once been
a captive of De Soto. His hatred for the Christians was intense and he had
forbidden any of his subjects to become Christian. When Fray Prieto
went to Santa Ana to preach, the Indians did him no bodily harm but simply
howled him down. Each time he started to speak the Indians made such
noises that he could not be heard.
Fray Prieto decided he must make friends with the old chief if he
hoped to make any progress in his missionary activities in that place. The
priest went, therefore, to the old man's hut but the cacique turned his face
to the wall and ordered the friar to be thrown out and beaten. Before this
could be done, however, a great thunderclap shook the huts and the Indians
threw themselves to the ground in fear. A great wind, probably a cyclone,
swept the land and when it had subsided the only structure left standing in
that district was the church with its cross. The Indians, seeing in this sign
that the new God must indeed be the true God, immediately asked for
instruction in the Christian religion. A few days later the aged chief was
baptized and soon four hundred of his subjects accepted the Faith also.
Timucua, the district next to Potano, was composed of about twenty
towns and was ruled over by a powerful chief. Fray Prieto visited there
frequently but the chief would not embrace Christianity. One reason he
gave was that his people were at war with the Apalache. It was understood
among the pagan Indians that the mission Indians were no fighters because
their religion urged them to live lives of peace and brotherly love. As a
result this chief refused to embrace Christianity for he was proud of his
prowess as a fighter.
After two years Fray Prieto finally persuaded him to go to St. Augustine
where he was received by the governor and there he became a Christian.
Many of the other Indian tribes had accepted Christianity, yet kept their
old idols, at least in part. This chief, however, made no such reservations.
He asked for friars to go to his territory and to visit the villages and destroy
all the Indians' idols. Fray Prieto went back with him to Timucua and
there, taking the friar's hand, he told his people to put aside their pagan
worship and superstition and to live as Christians.
Opening of the Apalache Trail. In 1608 Fray Prieto, accompanied by
the chief of Timucua and an escort of 150 warriors from Potano and
Timucua, started to the Apalache region to make a permanent peace. Until
this time there had always been a spirit of unrest between the Apalache
Indians and the Timucuans. A six-day's march northwestward brought
them to the large settlement of Cotocohuni. (Present location unknown).
From here two captives of Apalache were sent into their country to tell
the chiefs that Fray Prieto and the Timucuans were coming on a mission
This news was received with joy by the Apalache and a trail was opened
up for three leagues into the principal town where some seventy chiefs
greeted the friar. After a peace treaty had been made and the visitors had
been feasted they returned to St. Augustine accompanied by one of the
Apalache caciques. Word of the success of the mission went ahead and
the governor hearing of their approach, sent his soldiers to escort them into
the city of St. Augustine.
In 1609 there were 22 friars and seven convents in the colony of Florida.
In the same year Cuba and Florida were combined into a custody, which is a
group of friars with a definite field of work, or a province in the process
of formation. A year later the custody was raised to the status of a province
with headquarters in Cuba. This did not mean much in the way of additional
privileges but showed that the custody had grown in personnel and activities
and had become more permanent.
New Governors. Juan Fernandez Olivera succeeded Ybarra as gov-
ernor. Olivera worked with the utmost harmony with the friars. He
"realized apparently that Florida was primarily a mission field protected
by the single preside and that after all, the problems of the missionaries
should receive chief consideration." He immediately requested more friars
from Spain and on July 24, 1612, Fray Lorenzo Martinez and 20 religious
arrived in Florida. Unfortunately Governor Olivera did not live long after
becoming governor, and in 1613 Juan de Trevino Guillamas. who preferred
more soldiers and fewer friars, succeeded him.
In 1614, Fray Ore was sent as visitor-general to Florida and Cuba. Two
years later Fray Ore made his second visit to Florida. During both visits
he inspected the missions and talked with the priests as well as the Indian
converts. During the second visit the affairs of the friars were discussed
In 1618 Captain Juan de Salinas became Governor of Florida. When
he took up his work, he found 38 friars busily engaged in their work of
converting the Indians. Since Tama and Apalache needed missions and
missionaries, he asked for more.
Expansion of Florida Missions
From this time mission work in Florida expanded rapidly. In 1635
the custos of Florida stated that five thousand of the Apalaches had been
baptized. By 1640 missions and trading stations had been established at
San Marcos on the Gulf and San Luis near the present site of Tallahassee.
"In 1646 St. Augustine had about three hundred people, and a flourish-
ing community of fifty Franciscan religious scattered through Florida, who
'not only labored among the Indians, but did much to maintain piety among
the Spaniards. . The parish church was still of wood, both walls and
roof. . There was also the hospital of Nuestra Senora de la Soledad,
and one for the poor, and the Hermitage or Chapel of Santa Barbara."
"Of the Indian missions and their extent at that time we can glean
some idea. The centre was the Convent of the Immaculate Conception in
St. Augustine, where the guardian resided with two lay brothers. This was
the refuge of missionaries overcome by sickness at their posts. The nearest
missionary was at Nombre de Dios, about a mile from the city. Our Lady of
Guadalupe was about ten miles distant, and San Juan del Puerto was on the
Shea mentions 32 other missions by name and says: "At each one of
these there was a missionary stationed and the Christian Indians of Florida
were then reckoned at 26,000."
At this time when the missions seemed to be prospering so well, a
newly appointed governor, Don Diego de Robelledo, or Rebolledo, (his name
appears both ways), succeeded in doing almost irreparable harm to the work
of the missionaries during the period between 1655 and 1657. He forced
the Christian Indians to work as slaves without pay besides depriving them
of their supplies. He ordered the cacique of Tarigida, an Apalache, to send
the chiefs of that tribe to St. Augustine, each one carrying a heavy load of
corn. These caciques, who were rulers among their people, refused to do
menial labor. Demands and replies were exchanged and many Indians died
of hunger. Finally the Indians killed several Spaniards. The governor,
because of this, captured and hanged six or seven chiefs. As a result, the
missions among the Indians of that region were broken up and the Franciscan
Fathers were unable to exercise any beneficial influence over their former
converts. Six of the priests who were working among the Apalaches at
that time, being unable to continue, embarked for Havana. They were all
drowned during the voyage. This unfortunate affair did great damage to
missions in the western part of Florida.
St. Augustine Attacked by Pirates. On the ninth of May 1668, according
to a letter from Menendez Marques and Joseph de Trado to the King of
Spain, an English pirate entered St. Augustine unexpectedly at midnight.
The enemy had taken possession of the place before the citizens, being
asleep, realized what was happening. The fort, although it was still of
wood, remained impregnable. The pirates re-embarked the next day after
plundering all the houses, the property of the-church, the royal storehouses,
and the accountant's office.
This incident was the beginning of the raids carried out some years
later by the English from the Carolina and Georgia Colonies, which
eventually resulted in ruining Florida.
Work on San Marco Castle or Fort Marion Begun. One good result
of this raid, however, was the beginning of work on San Marco Castle or,
as we know it today, Fort Marion. In 1672 the ground was broken for this
structure and, although it was not finished until 1756, it was used by the
people of St. Augustine as a refuge from English marauders as early as
On the 23rd of August 1674, Don Gabriel Diaz Vara Calderon, Bishop
of Santiago de Cuba, arrived in the harbor of St. Augustine for a visitation
to the province of Florida. The following day he celebrated a pontifical high
Mass and gave minor orders to seven young men, sons of respected citizens.
This was the first recorded instance of the conferring of Holy Orders in
the present confines of the United States.
A week before this a hurricane had inundated a great part of the city
and as a result many of the citizens were in want. Bishop Calderon gave
one thousand dollars in alms to the widows who had been affected. For
eight months the bishop visited the missions regardless of poor roads and
trails and in spite of the terrific rains. He is said to have expended no less
than eleven thousand dollars among the faithful of Florida. "The number
confirmed by him, which, of course, included many adults, is stated by the
bishop to have been 13,152." The venerable bishop died in Cuba in 1676,
as a result, it is believed, of the hardships endured during this visit.
In 1680 trouble arose between the Indians near St. Augustine and the
missionary working with them. The trouble, trifling in itself, led to greater
dissensions. The border of Florida began to be troubled by raids from the
English and their pagan Indian allies and many Christian Indians fled Florida
and joined their enemies.
Mission at Santa Catalina Laid Waste. In 1685 Timuqua was invaded
and the mission of Santa Catalina was sacked. The vestments, plate and
other religious articles from the Franciscan Church and convent were stolen;
many Christian Indians were killed; the town was burned and the attackers
"retired loaded with plunder, and Indians to sell as slaves to the settlers of
This mission of Santa Catalina, or St. Catherine, was most important
in Guale and was, it seems, on the island off the coast of Georgia, that is
still called by that name. With the destruction of the mission, the golden
era of missionary work in Florida was closed and one of destructive vandal-
ism began. For some time missions pursued their Christianizing labors. In
the southern end of the state they continued to thrive. There are letters
in existence today that were written at that time by caciques of the Apalache
and Timucuan nations to the King of Spain, expressing their satisfaction with
the work of the missionaries and the governor.
After a struggle for existence of a century and a quarter, Florida faced
ruin. The English colony of Carolina was an enemy at its very door. The
settlement of St. Augustine was menaced with inundation by the sea and
with abandonment by the Spanish Government which proposed to transfer its
inhabitants to Pensacola.
Founding of Pensacola. Possibly with this end in view, Don Andres
de Pes went to Pensacola in 1693, in a frigate. He was accompanied by a
famous priest, Don Carlos de Siguenza Gongora, professor of mathematics in
the University of Mexico. Arriving in Pensacola Bay on the eighth of April,
a Te Deum was chanted before a statue of Our Lady and the harbor was
named Santa Maria de Galve. On St. Mark's Day, April 25th, the first Mass
was said and the Spaniards, chanting the Litany of Loretto, marched in pro-
cession to a spot previously selected as the town site. Here a cross had
been set up and here the present city of Pensacola, the second Spanish town
in Florida, was founded.
In 1696 Don Andres de Arriola made the settlement by erecting Fort
San Carlos on the Barrancas of Santo Tome and building a frame church
and living quarters for the men.
One year before this, in 1695, Father Francis de Florencia, a famous
native son of Florida, had died in Mexico. Father Florencia was born in
Florida in 1620 and entered the Society of Jesus at the age of 23. Besides
teaching philosophy and theology in the college of Saint Peter and Saint
Paul and holding other important positions in the Church, he had written a
number of historical works of importance. He died at the age of 75.
In 1696 twenty Franciscan missionaries left Spain for Florida at the
request of Indians in the southern part of the state. The work of these
religious was, however, only partially successful. In Tororo, or Jororo as it
is sometimes spelled, heathen savages massacred one religious, a soldier and
five Indian converts besides burning the churches and mission settlements.
In 1697 the Carlos Indians, even though their cacique received instruc-
tion and baptism, continued their idolatrous practices and even demanded
food and clothing for their gods from the missionaries. When this was
refused the priests were seized, robbed of their provisions and vestments,
and left naked on Matacumbe Key, from which they were rescued by the
vessel which had brought them to Florida.
Jonathan Dickenson's Story. There were still flourishing missions in
Florida. however. In September 1696, the barkentine Reformation was
wrecked near Hobe Sound on the east coast of Florida. Among the pas-
sengers was Jonathan Diekenson, a Quaker, who kept a journal of his ad-
venturous journey northward.
Upon reaching St. Augustine after terrifying experiences, the ship-
wrecked men were kindly treated and sent from mission to mission with an
escort. In his journal, published in 1670 under the title of God's Protecting
Providence, Dickenson described the large "chapel with three bells" which
he saw at Santa Cruz, about three leagues north of St. Augustine. He men-
tioned that "the Indians went as constantly to their devotions at all times and
seasons as any of the Spaniard," and that in one place he and his companion
survivors were lodged in a large warehouse which was also used as a general
place of meeting. He said that chapels, priests, and Christian Indians were
found at San Juan, St. Marys and at St. Philips.
Dickenson spoke of St. Catherine's Island, "a place called St. Catalina,
where hath been a great settlement of Indians, for the land hath been cleared
for planting for some miles distant." This was the ruined spot left after the
Carolina Indians had destroyed the former flourishing mission station of
Governor Moore Begins Attacks on Spanish. In spite of all the heroic
efforts of priests and explorers, however, Florida missions were doomed.
Governor Moore, of the English colony of South Carolina, was eager to
plunder Spanish Florida. On the 20th of May, 1702, just before dawn, the
Apalachicola Indians, incited by Moore, attacked Santa Fe, one of the chief
towns of the province of Timucua. They burned the church and defeated
the Spanish force which pursued them.
Governor Moore then induced his colony to fit out an expedition and,
while Colonel Daniel, with a land force of militia and Indians, attacked St.
Augustine from the rear, he stormed the city from the harbor with his vessels.
By that time the stone Fort San Marco was far enough on its way to com-
pletion to be used and under this heavy assault, the Spanish inhabitants re-
tired within its thick walls. For more than fifty days, even though Daniel
occupied the town, they remained there resisting all the attacks of the
English until Spanish ships finally appeared in the harbor with reinforce-
Finding it impossible to escape by the sea, Moore set fire to his vessels
and retreated overland. Before leaving he burned the town. The parish
church, the church and convent of the Franciscans, and other shrines were
destroyed. The plate, to the value of one thousand dollars Moore carried off.
The ruthlessness of this campaign was so marked that even some of the
English protested and one clergyman, writing of these acts of vandalism
said: "To show what friends some of them are to learning and books, when
they were at Saint Augustine, they burned a library of books worth about
$600, wherein were a collection of the Greek and Latin Fathers, and the Holy
Bible itself did not escape, because it was Latin. This outrage was done
as soon as they arrived, by the order of Colonel Daniel."
Not satisfied, Moore continued to raid the Florida missions and on Janu-
ary 25, 1704, the most fearful and savage slaughter of the whole mission
period occurred. On this day Moore, with a force of English and Indians,
attacked Ayubale south of the present town of Monticello. Lieutenant John
Mexia, commanding thirty Spanish soldiers and four hundred Apalaches,
prepared to resist Moore's attack. Father Parga urged them to fight bravely
and then gave all of them absolution. He insisted on remaining with them
through the fight in spite of their protests. Mexia and his men fought
bravely but their ammunition gave out and most of them were killed or
captured. Mexia, together with Father Parga and Father Miranda, who had
also remained in the thick of the fight, were captured.
Massacre of Ayubale. The massacre that followed was one of the most
fiendish in the history of Colonial America. Not content with burning
Father Parga at the stake, Moore's men beheaded him and hacked off one of
his legs. When Brother Delgado attempted to save Father Parga, he too
A portion of the enemy then went on to the town of Patali. When
Father Mendoza opened a window in the palisade, in answer to a call from
an apostate Indian, he was immediately shot in the head. The savages and
their allies then set fire to the town.
Several of the Christian Indians showed a truly heroic and Christian
spirit while being tortured. Two particularly deserve mention, Anthony
Enixa and Amador Cuipa Feliciano of the town of San Luis. (Two miles west
After Moore had retired, taking with him nearly a thousand Apalaches
to sell as slaves, Father John de Villalba went with others to the ruined towns.
"A scene of unparalleled horror met them on every side." The dead, burned,
pierced by stakes, scalped, and mutilated, were everywhere. Father Men-
doza was found with his beads and partly melted crucifix sunk into his flesh
and Father Miranda and Marcos Delgado had disappeared completely. The
martyrdom of Ayubale can only be compared to that of the French fathers
in the Huron country.
"The missions on the Atlantic coast, from St. John's to the Savannah,
had been already broken up, the Apalache country was a desert, and others
nearer to Saint Augustine had been invaded."
The Missions Continue Their Work. Still the church did not give up.
In January 1704, even at the time when Moore was carrying out his cam-
paign of horrors, Bishop Compostela sent a delegate to make a visitation
of the afflicted portion of his Florida diocese. As a result of the delegate's
report, Don Dionisio Rezino of Havana was appointed resident bishop of
Florida. On the 26th of June, 1709, Bishop Rezino conferred confirmation,
in the parish church of St. Augustine, "to a multitude of persons of every
The colony of Georgia, being settled by the English, was also becoming
a menace to the safety of Spanish Florida. In 1727 the venerable shrine
of Nuestra Senora de la Leche, at Nombre de Dios, was plundered by Colonel
Palmer and a party of Georgians. The church plate, votive offerings, and
everything of value were taken, and the statute of the Infant Savior was
removed from the arms of the statute of Our Lady and desecrated. The
following year, when the city was again menaced, the Governor of Florida
"commanded the town and chapel to be demolished . and a new chapel
was erected in a safer spot."
Even though the people of the colony of Carolina had nearly extermi-
nated the Christian Indians of north Florida, the missionaries continued to
work among tribes which, hitherto, had never shown any desire for the
faith. In 1726 the Florida missions still numbered more than a thousand
Christians on their rolls.
In 1735 Father Francis San Buenaventura Martinez de Tejada Diez
de Velasco, having been appointed Bishop of Tricali, came to Florida to make
a visitation. He found the population of St. Augustine to be 1,509 at that
time. The parish priest, Peter Lawrence de Acevedo, was more than eighty
years old. A chaplain was stationed at the fort. Before May of 1736, Bishop
Tejada had confirmed 630 Spaniards and 143 slaves and free negroes. He
lived in St. Augustine for ten years after which he was transferred to the
See of Yucatan.
In 1743 the Jesuit fathers, Joseph Mary Monaco and Joseph Xavier
de Alana, came from Havana to the southern part of the state to work among
the tribes living there. For some time their efforts seemed futile but they
persevered and in time a community of Catholic Indians was formed there.
These remained Christians until the Seminole War at which time, although
they had taken no part in the trouble with the whites, they were transported
to Indian Territory.
General Oglethorpe Attacks St. Augustine... In 1740 General Oglethorpe,
with 2,000 whites and Indians in a fleet of five ships and two sloops, laid
siege to St. Augustine. Governor Monteano held out, however, until pro-
visions came, whereupon the English raised the siege.
"Saint Augustine was saved, but the country had been ravaged on all
sides;" however, "reduced as Saint Augustine was, and almost stripped of
the great circle of Indian missions, which had been the diadem of the Florida
church, it had not been deprived of episcopal care and vigilance."
In 1754 Right Reverend Peter Ponce y Carrasco, Bishop of Adramitum,
made a visitation in Florida.
In 1756 San Marco Castle was finally completed at a cost, it is said,
of about thirty million dollars.
Despite continuous effort and selfless devotion, the Church was unable
to permanently Christianize the Indians. This resulted not from any lack of
faith or zeal among the missionaries but because Spain, losing her grasp on
her ancient province, ceased to protect Florida from the attacks of the
English and the p-gan Indians.
The English Take Havana. In 1762 the city of Havana fell into the
hands of England. At that time Bishop Peter Augustine Morell of Santa
Cruz occupied the See of Santiago de Cuba and, since he was living in
Havana at the time of its fall, he was held by the enemy. The Earl of
Albemarle, the British Commander, demanded that Bishop Morell order the
clergy of his diocese to pay levies to the British and when the bishop refused
to issue the order he was summoned to appear before a representative of the
British Crown and answer to the charge of conspiracy. When the bishop
ignored the summons, he was seized by soldiers, on November 4, 1762, and
carried, in his episcopal chair, to a man-of-war which immediately set sail
for Charleston, South Carolina.
After being kept a prisoner on the vessel for two weeks in Charleston
harbor, Bishop Morell was sent to St. Augustine which was still Spanish
territory. Seizing this unexpected opportunity to "revive devotion and dis-
cipline in that part of his diocese," the bishop began a formal visitation at
St. Augustine and recorded his approval of the regularity of the parochial
service and records. Between the 29th of December 1762, and the llth of
April 1763, he conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation on 639 persons.
Florida Is Ceded to Great Britain. On February 10, 1763, during the
time of Bishop Morell's visitation, Spain ratified a treaty ceding Florida to
Great Britain in order to recover the city of Havana and, as soon as possible
the clergy in Cuba sent a vessel to St. Augustine to bring the bishop back
to his See.
With the advent of the English in St. Augustine, the Spanish population
migrated to Cuba or to other islands of the West Indies or to the western
territories of the present United States. Most of the inhabitants had in-
tended to remain in St. Augustine but the harsh conduct of the first English
commander led to a general exodus. Freedom of worship had been guaran-
teed in the treaty ceding Florida to Great Britain but this clause was cir-
cumvented when the English authorities took over the church buildings.
As a result, diocesan authority almost ceased although priests con-
tinued to be appointed to Florida by the King of Spain. When the Minorcans
and Italians left New Smyrna in 1776, Father Pedro Camps came with them
and in the north section of St. Augustine, in a location which the governor
gave them. they quietly continued to practice their faith.
For twenty years England held Florida, but, with her defeat at the
hands of the American Colonies, she finally returned Florida to Spain and left
the mainland of the United States,
Last Days as a Foreign Colony.......On iSeptember 3, 1783, Florida once
more became Spanish and her Catholic population could worship in peace.
In 1821 the present State of Florida was ceded to the United States, in con-
sideration of the payment of $5,000,000.
Thus the period of Spanish Catholic Missions in Florida was brought to
a close. Today the Catholic Church in this state is well established. The
early and seemingly useless struggle of the monastic orders to perpetuate
the Church in Florida has been crowned with success.
FRIARS IN FLORIDA
Taken from the Biographical Dictionary
of the Franciscans in Spanish Florida and
Cuba. (1528-1841). And from the Cathedral
Records in St. Augustine. (1594-1763).
1528-Bishop-elect Juan Suareq, Brother
Juan de Palos-both with Narvaez-Francis-
can Conquest of Florida. Geiger, p 33.
, 1539-Frey Juan Torres, with De Soto -
Ibid. p. 33.
1565-Frey Mendoza de Grajales.
1565-1593-- Rodrigo Ga-ia de Trujillo.
1578-Alonso Canevas, or Canezas, Chap-
lain of Spanish Fort, St. Aug
1584-Pedro de Aguilar.
1585-Juan de San Nicolas.
1587-Alonso de Rienoso.
1594-Francisco de Marron, Cura Vicario,
1596-Francisco de Marron, Cura Vicario,
St. Aug.; Miguel de Aunon, Franciscan Mis-
sionary; Bias de Montes. Custodio,
1597 -Francisco de Marron, Baltazar Lo-
pez. Francisco Varescola.
1598-1606 Ricardo Arturo.
1602-Bias de Mantes, Vicar of the Bish-
op of Santiago de Cuba.
1603 Antonio del Espiritu Santo Codina,
secular priest, who became a Franciscan in
1609 at St. Augustine.
1605-Benito Blasco, Preacher; Pedro
Bermejo, Guardian of the Convent, Custodio
of St. Elena; Martian Prieto, Juan Tegerin
1606 Antonio del Dodino, Vincente de
Ferrer Andrade, Secular Priest.
1607-Alonso Serrano, Chief of the Fran-
ciscan Order; Juan Capillo, Custodio, Alon-
1608 Juan Capilla, 1st Provincial of the
newly established Provience of St. Elena;
160--Antonio Martin, Franciscar Priest;
Fran. Castro, F'ran. Fernandez, Sect'y to
Custodio; Antonio del Godino, 'edro de
1613-Francisco Martinez, Definitor.
1616-Juan de San Nicolas, Alonso Res-
quera, Luis Geronima de Ore, Visitor Gen-
eral, Writer Called the first Prov. Chapter
in this Provence. Later made Bishop.
1617-Luis Geronimo de Ore, Bartolome
1621 Francisco Fernandez, definitor.
1622- -Alonso Ortiz. Parish Priest to 1626.
1626 Francisco Fernandez, Melchor Fer-
1626 -Melchor Ferrez, Alonso Ortiz.
1628 Alonzo Ortiz.
1629-Melchor Perrez, Pedro Munos.
1630-Juan Gomez de Palma. Guardian of
the Convent Procurador General.
1631-Juan Gomez de Palma.
1632 Melchor Perrez.
1633--artelo de Medina.
1634-Antonio de San Iluenaventure.
1635-Juan Gomez de Andrade, Alonzo de
1636-Bartolo de Medina, Francisco Ben-
estor, Francisco Trevejo.
1637-Fiancisco Benestor. Antonio de San
Buenaventura, Francisco Trevejo.
1642-Juan Gomez de Andrade, Juan
Gomez de Palms.
1643-Pedro Baun, Juan Gomez de An-
I 644-Juan Gomez de Palma.
l&46-iCarlos Lopez Anguiano, Juan Go-
mez do Palma, Lorenzo Solis, Juan Rejeno.
1646-Carlos Lopez Anguiano, Juan de
Paredes, Juan Rejeno.
1647-Carlos Lopez Anguinano, Antonio
Estcvan, Guardian of the Convent; Pedro
Caurajal, Antonio Lopez, Gr. of the Con-
vent; Juan Vejero, Diego Comanas, Custo-
dio; Juan Rejeno.
1648 Antonio Estevan, Juan Rejeno, Lo-
renzo Solis. Roque Domingues, Juan Cal-
1649-Pedro Carvajal Lorenzo Soils, Juan
1650-Lorenzo Solis, Roque Domingues.
Diego Mendez, Antonio Loria, Antonio Es-
tevan definitor; Juan Rejeno, Alonso de
Roa. Miguel Garson de loa Cobos, Diego
Ruiz de Aliende.
1651-Claudio de Flerenes, Diego Corpa.
1652-Juan Rejeno, Melchoid Rais, Pedro
Bernardes, Pedro Chacon, Antonio de 1a
Cruz doctrine; Joseph Bamba.
1653-Pedro Bernerdes, Gregorio de Ca-
bella, Guardian of the Convent.
1654-Pedro Bernerdes, Juan Chaeon.
1655-Miguel Garzan de los Cobaa.
1656-Juan Chacon, Juan Caldera, Def-
Initor, St. Elena. Secretary.
1657-Carlos Lopez Anguiano, Definitor,
Piocurator General; Antonio Estevan, Ga-
briel Fernandez, Guale Missionary; Miguel
Garson de los Cobos, Padre de Provincia.
1658 Andres Andrace, Confessor.
1660 Juan Caldera, Juan Nero, Antonio
1661 Francisco Perete, Antonio Rodri-
gues, Gaspar de Bihota.
1662-Cristobel Boniface de Ribera.
1663-Thorible de -
1664-Juan Rejeno, Antonio de la Cruz,
Sebastian Martinez, Padre de Provincia:
Gaspar de Ribota.
1665-Rogue Domingues, Juan Rejeno,
Francisco Perete, Jacinta de la farreda.
Gabriel Fernandez Bias de Martinez de
Robles, Cura Interino; Martin de Voroguez.
1666-Gabriel Fernandez, definitor; Fran-
cisco de Sotolonga.
1672-Jacinto de la Parreda, Martin Ala-
cano, Bias de Martinez de Robles, Francisco
Perete, Antonio de Urauia.
1674-Blas de Martinez de Robles, Cira.
1676-Marcos de Sotolonga, Pro Ministro.
1677 Joseph Bamba.
1678-Diego Gonzales, Gabriel Fez (Dos-
1679-Juan de Moral.
1680-Martin Alacomtor, Francisco de la
Cruz, Bartolome de Ayala,
1681--Juan de Arguelles. Joseph Bamba.
1682-Jose de Arguelles.
1683- lonso Mex:a, Juan Perdomo.
1684 Diego Bravo, Francisco de Huerta
and Suiros, Rod. de la Barreda, Guardian
of the Convent; Juan Perdona. Pedro de
1685-Diego Gonzales, Manuel de San
Joseph, Jose Barreda, Jaclnto de Barreda,
definitor of the Prov. of St. Elena.
1686-Marcos de Soto, Juan Viena, Ja-
cinto Barreda, Jose Barreda, definitor.
1687 Juan Crisostomo, Pedro de Luna,
1688-Joseph Argnelles, Gov. of the
Friary; Juan Angel, Custodio of the Fla.
Prov.; Diego Bravo, in charge of Guadal-
quini Mission; Juan Crisostomo, definitor;
Antonio de la Cruz, Custodio.
1690-Diego Gonzales, Martin Alacano.
Antonio de los Angles, Preacher: Provin-
cial; Diego Bravo, Jose Balerio, Corista;
Francisco de la Cruz. Andres Naranjo, Pedro
Trujillo, Rod. Burreda, Procurator of St.
1691-Marcolo de San Joseph.
1692-Juan Carmenatis, Guardian of the
Convent and Cure, Doctrinero Interino; Ja-
cino Barreda, Padre de Provencia; Bias
Martinez de Robles, Juan Angel, Pedro
1693 Marcelo de la San Joseph, Diego
Bravo. Juan de la Mercado, definitor.
1695 Jose de Pedra, Rodrigo de Bar-
1697 Antonio de Vera, Martin Alacano.
1698- Jose Barreda, Francisco de Leon,
Claudio de Floreneia.
1699 Antonio de los Angles, Martin
de Alacano, Gov. of the Franciscan Or-
der; Jacinto de Barreda, Francisco Gutier-
rez de Vera, Guardian of St. Aug. Predi-
1701-Jose Barreda. Procurator General.
1702-Martin Alacano, Pader de Pro-
vincia. Procurator General Leon de Lara,
1706--Francisco de Aricochea
1707-Francisco de Aricochea. Francisco
de Leon, Martin de Molina.
1708-Francisco de Aricochea, Martin
1709-Simon de Sales.
1710-Simon de Sales.
1712 Melchor Mendez, Superior of the
Friary, Felipe Osorio Maldona.
1713 Angel Miranda, Luis Cesar, de-
finitor, Antonio de los Angeles, Ignacio
Cartebio, Corista: Proministro, Padre de
Prov., Fran. de Goicochea, definitor, Felipe
1715-Francisco. Juan Villaneeva.
1716-Juan Villaneeva, Juan Herrera,
Miguel Rodrigues (Garanit), Melchor Men-
1717-Claudio de Florencia. Rodrigo Hor-
1718-Leon de Lara, Predicator General:
Jubilado, Antonio de Escobar, Sect'y to
Commissary Provincial; Antonio Escovedio.
1719-Domingo Garcia, Antonio Escobar,
Juan de Velez.
1720-Antonio de Hita, Pedro Carral.
Miguel Gargo. Francisco Gilde Reyna.
1721-Antonio Romero, Miguel Gag, Juan
1722 Juan Thomas Menendez, Antonio
Toro, Antonio de Hita, (ieronimo Gon-
ualos. Pedro Fernandez Bogato. Guardian
of the convent; Antonio de Toledo Lopez,
definitor: Joseph de Toledo Lopez. Joseph
del Castillo, Padre de Provincia. Doctrine,
Nombre de Dios; Francisco Doblado, Preach-
er; Commissary Pro ineial; Joseph de
Flores, Pedro de Leon. Pedro Morales,
Bias Pulido, Toribio de los Reyes, Alonso
San Jurgo Montenegro.
1723-Claudio de Florene'a, Padre de
Provincia: Predicador Juhilado, Pedro Fern-
andez Bogato, Doctrino.
1724-Antonio Romero, Juan Tomas
Menendez. Padre Imediator; Pedro Cupido,
Predicator General; Pedro Herrera, Joseph
de Toledo Lopez, Domingo Garcia, Guar-
dian of St. Augustine
1725-Antonio Romero. Pedro Herrera.
Domingo Garcia, Commissary Provincial.
1726 Juan Martin San Joseph.
1727-Pedro Ierrera, definitor; Pedro
Lorenzo de Azevedo. Pedro Borijo. Tomas
Aguilar. Superior of the Convent Predicator
Gen. Jose del Castillo. Predicator Jubilado-
Nombre de Dios, Jose Villalbe.
1728-Pedro Fernandez Bogato, Guar.
of the Convent.
1729-Manuel Romay Sotomayor, Pedro
1730-Domingo Garcia, Manuel Romay
Sotomayor. Pedro Riera
1731-Domingo Garcia, Pedro Riera.
Juan Cordero. Pedro de Leon, Manuel
Romay Sotomayor, Jose de Montoyo. Lee-
tro de Prima,
1732 Juan de los Rossa, Jose Hita,
Doctrino; Ignacio Vanegas, Rodrogo Hor-
ruytiner. Jose Cardero.
1733 Pedro Riera, Pedro Munoz, Pedro
de Leon, Juan de las Rossa, Antonio Na-
varro, Ignacio Vanegas, Tomas Aguilar,
1734-Jose del Castillo.
1735-Francis de San Beunaventura Mar-
tinez Tejada Dies de Valesco. Bishop of
Tricalo; Juan Monson, Vicario de Coro:
Manuel Rodrigues, Manuel Romay Sotoma-
yor, Manuel de Leon, Andres Calderon,
1736-Juan Puello, Antonio Habarra,
Lucas de Leon. Juan de Leon. Pedro Diorel-
les, definitor; Juan de Jesus, Juan Sanchez,
Fran. de San Antono. Fran. Canuo. Corista.
1787-Juan Jose Solano. Pablo Rodrigues,
Fort San Marcos, Chaplain; Tomas Aguilar.
1738--Pedro Morales, Igna' Vanegas.
Jose Villalba, Barrielle Llerina,
1742-Pablo Rodrigues Jose Villalba.
1743--Juan de Torres.
1748-Juan de Torres.
1751-Francisco Perrez. Andres Vilches.
1752-Fran. Perrez. Fran. Gomez, Pedro
Cafieri. Lay-Brother; Francisco Ortiz, Al-
onso de Cardenas.
1753-Francisco Rabello. Juan Manson
Paredes, Cura Interimo: Juan Sanchez de
1754-Juan Sanchez de Urisa, Alonso
Cardenas, Fran. Ortiz temporary pastor;
Juan Antonio Hernandez.
1755-Juan Antonio Hernandez, Joseph
1756-Alonso Cardenas, Juan Antonio
Hernandez, Juan Monson. Fran. Ortiz.
1757-Juan Monson, Juan Antonio Her-
nandez, Juan Manson Parades, Juan Jose
1758-Juan Jose Solana, Juan de la Via,
1759-Juan Jose Solana.
1760-Juan Jose Solana, Manuel Marques
1761-Juan de la Via, Augustin Tru-
jillo, Manuel Marques Pacheco, Juan Jose
1762-Juan Jose Solana,
1763-Juan Jose Solana, Juan de la Via,
vicar of the Convent; Manuel de la Torre.
Juan de Rios, Juan Francisco Perez, Joseph
Maldonado, Superior of the Convent; Juan
Lopez, Juan de Goyoneche Royal Preacher;
Felipe Sabedra, Boniface Vilensuola.
1792-Narcissco Font, Royal Chaplain
of St. Aug.
BISHOPS OF FLORIDA
1528-Fr. Juan Suarez, O.F.M.. came to
Florida with Narvaez; died soon after
1606-Fr. Juan de las Cabezas de Al-
tamirano. First visitation.
1674 Don Gabriel Diaz Vara Calderon,
Birlrop of Santiago de Cuba. Visitation.
1709-1711- Don Dionisio Rezino of Ha-
bana, Resident Bishop of Florida.
1785-1745 Francis San Buenaventura
Martinez de Tejada Dies de Velasco, resi-
1751-1775 Rt. Rev. Peter Ponce y Car-
asco. resident bishop.
1762-1763 Peter Augustine Morell de
Santa Cruz; visitation made while an en-
forced exile from Cuba.
1827 Most Rev. Michel Portier, D.D.,
Bishop of Mobile; visitation. Record of
visit found in translation made by John
E. Cahalan, A.M. of letters and papers
fom the "Armales de la Propagation de
(No. 19, Jan. 1830.)-U.S. Catholic
Historical Records and Studies. Vol. 2
Aug. 1901-Vol. 3-Jan. 1903.
1870-1877-Augustine Verot, First Bishop
of St. Augustine.
1877-1901 John Moore, Second Bishop
of St. Augustine.
1902-1914-Wm. John Kenny, Third
Bishop of St. Augustine.
1914-1922 Michael Joseph Curley,
Fourth Bishop of St. Augustine.
1922-1940-Patrick Barry, Fifth Bishop
of St. Augustine
1940-J. P. Hurley, Sixth Bishop.
1616Fr. Louis Geronimo de Oro, de-
puted by the Bishop of Santiago.
1704-Licentiate Antonio Ponce de Leon,
deputed by Bishop Compostela.
1720-John Stephen Romeroy Montanez,
deputed by Bishop Valdez of Santiago.
Cartas de Indias, Published by the Span-
ish Ministerlio de Romento, Madrid. 1877
Connor, Jeannette Thurber, Pedro Men-
Connor, Jeannette Thurber, Colonial Rec-
Catholic Records, Cathedral Rectory, St.
"Fides", Published in 1934, St. Augus-
Geiger, Maynard, The Franciscan Con-
quest of Florida.
Geiger, Maynard. The Martyrs of Florida.
Historiadores del Convento de San Es-
teban de Salamanca, Published by Father
Justo Cuervo, O.D.M 3 volumes, Salaman-
ca, 1914 Franco, Father Alonso, 1645.
Historic de la Provincia Dominicana de
Santiago de Mexico en la Nueva Espana,
Published in 1900 in printing office of the
National Mexican Museum.
History of St. Augustine Under Four
Flags, Published by W. J. Harris Co.,
Kenny, Michael, Romance of the Florida.
Kenny, Michael, Pedro Martinez S.J.,
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Transcript of Letters, Copies now In
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