Group Title: Florida : from the beginning to 1992 : a Columbus jubilee commemorative
Title: Florida
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00025122/00008
 Material Information
Title: Florida from the beginning to 1992 : a Columbus jubilee commemorative
Physical Description: xii, 204 p. : ill. (some col.), maps ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Coker, William S
Shofner, Jerrell H., 1929-
Morris, Joan Perry, 1935-
Malone, Myrtle Davidson
Publisher: Pioneer Publications
Place of Publication: Houston Tex. (12345 Jones Rd. Suite 103 Houston 77070-4843)
Publication Date: c1991
 Subjects
Subject: Industries -- Florida   ( lcsh )
History -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 201-203) and index.
Statement of Responsibility: by William S. Coker and Jerrell H. Shofner ; Joan Perry Morris, photo editor ; edited by Myrtle D. Malone.
Funding: Funded by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00025122
Volume ID: VID00008
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: Board of Trustees of the University of Florida on behalf of authors and contributors. All rights reserved.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001747568
oclc - 25790765
notis - AJG0402
lccn - 91066897

Full Text





Chapter 8
British East Florida, 1763-1783


British settlers came to East Florida in 1763 hoping to build the kind of
thriving southern colony they saw in South Carolina and Georgia. That would
mean great changes. First they looked for investment and people. Then
introduced slave labor, copying the plantation system of the other southern
colonies. But in the end, it would be the American Revolution that determined
the fate of British East Florida.

Acquisition and Boundaries of East Florida

On September 8, 1763, Lt. Col. James Robertson from New York stopped
at St. Augustine on the first leg of his inspection of East and West Florida. He
remained there for about a month and his report indicated that he was not
impressed with what he saw: "a struggling little settlement, unproductive of
any supplies save fish, and with the ground overgrown with weeds." Major
Francis Ogilvie of the 9th Regiment was the ranking military officer stationed
at St. Augustine at that time. He served as governor of the area until the
inauguration of Gov. James Grant on October 21, 1764.

East Florida's Publicists and Detractors

Just like in West Florida, the British needed settlers for East Florida and
several people, including Denys Rolle more about him later wrote
enthusiastically about the colony. Rolle called it "the most precious jewel of
his majesty's American dominions." Others did not share Rolle's enthusiasm.
Author John Mitchell described East Florida as "marshes after marshes,
swamps after swamps, pine barrens upon pine barrens."

The harbor at St. Augustine also proved troublesome for British shipping.
Sand bars at the entrance kept all but shallow draft vessels outside. Those
with larger ships who attempted to enter the harbor frequently went aground
and lost their vessels and cargoes to the pounding waves. Even after the
British brought in pilots to guide the ships into port, there were complaints
about the high fees charged.




1
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









St. Augustine


The city of St. Augustine has been described as virtually an island. About
three-quarters of a mile long and one-quarter mile wide, it was bounded on
the west and south by the San Sebastian River, on the east by the harbor,
and on the north by the Castillo (renamed Fort St. Marks by the British).
Abandoned Indian villages the Catholic Indians went to Cuba with the
departing Spaniards were located on both the north and south ends of
town. Roads on the north side of the city led to Picolata and the St. Johns
River. The King's Road later connected St. Augustine with New Smyrna to the
south and the St. Marys River and Georgia to the north.


The town of St. Augustine as it appeared in the 1770s: Ft. St Marks (the Castillo), the Parade (the
Plaza), and the streets and blocks from the old Spanish grid system of pre-1763.

In 1763, St. Augustine had about 300 houses. A considerable delay in
evacuation by the Spaniards caused a housing problem for the incoming
British, who added new features chimneys, fireplaces and glazed sash
windows to some of the houses to make them more comfortable. Some of
the Spanish government buildings were converted to other purposes and a
few new ones were built. The Franciscan friary became a barracks to house
the troops. A new 60-foot building was constructed on the old Spanish look-
out tower on Anastasia Island to aid in navigation and to warn of approaching
ships.




2
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.










San Marcos de Apalache


The Spanish outpost on the Gulf of Mexico, San Marcos de Apalache, was
finally occupied on February 20, 1764, by Capt. James Harries and men of
the 9th Regiment, but only after several nightmares: unexpected detours and
stopovers, storms and loss of supplies. The outpost became known as St.
Marks.

In 1766, a shipwreck victim, Monsieur Pierre Viaud, reached the outpost.
He admitted that he had killed and eaten his black slave to survive. Viaud
later published a book about his shipwreck and his grisly tale made it a
bestseller in Europe. Today it is mostly read because of Viaud's description
of Florida.





S H IPW R E C.K
AND
GE

ADVET tU K S










East Florida's Population
5, FdLm, 1 ; P P LT I1

rw,- .%n r-O m .,r



An English version of Pierre
Viaud's book.


East Florida's Population

By 1771, an estimated 3,000 people lived in East Florida. About 2,000
people lived in St. Augustine and the rest lived in the countryside, mostly in
the northeastern region of today's Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Flagler, and
Volusia counties. The population of St. Augustine consisted of government
officials civil, religious and military soldiers and sailors, merchants,



3

From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









tradesmen and businessmen, and their dependents and hangers-on. Men far
outnumbered women, and lived the rough life of soldiers at a frontier outpost.

A few small settlements could be found outside of St. Augustine. Eight
such places existed between St. Augustine and Mosquito Inlet, and a few
more between the St. Johns and St. Marys rivers. A number of plantations
existed in the hinterlands, with 14 plantations on the St. Johns River. And, of
course, there was Amelia Island just off the northeast coast of British East
Florida, which later became an important and controversial commercial
center.


Governors

Only three people held the office of governor or interim governor in East
Florida: James Grant (1763-71), John Moultrie (lieutenant governor, 1771-74)
and Patrick Tonyn (1774-83).

James Grant, a former military officer, reached St. Augustine on August
29, 1764, and was formally inaugurated on October 31. Grant was well
connected in England, and fond of entertaining. Much of the colony's
business was conducted around his dinner table, and at long evening
sessions over port, claret, and other wines. By all accounts, British St.
Augustine was a raucous and rowdy place, full of officers and soldiers who
were used to hard living. "There is not so gay a Town in America as this is at
present, music and dancing mad," Grant told a friend. "Major Small with the
band of the 21st has turned all their Heads. His Colonel has not escaped the
infection, he is as young as any of them, danced till twelve last night at the
Weekly assembly, then carried the Ladys home to sup at his house, and after
they went away and got drunk with their partners till six in the morning." It
would be hard to imagine a Spanish governor approving of his officers staying
out all night and getting drunk.

Gov. Grant was intensely interested in agriculture, and experimented with
farming, to see which crops would bring the most money. As a large-scale
planter, he rejected the idea of bringing indentured servants to Florida, and
became a major advocate for establishing slavery in Florida. Slaves, he told
investors, were the only way to make a profit from the land. So, from 1763
on, East Florida was a place run on slave labor-something that would last
until the end of the Civil War. In fact, by the time of the American Revolution,
slavery was already on the rise in Florida.



4
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









Grant's other major concern was with the Indians. "An appearance of
strength is absolutely necessary to keep them in order," he remarked. Grant
was no longer dealing with the mission Indians of the Spanish era. Most had
left with the Spaniards, and already members of the Creek confederation, of
the Seminoles, and of the Miccosukees were moving into Florida to take their
place and claim lands and hunting grounds. Grant and John Stuart, the
Indian Superintendent, met with leading chiefs in November 1765. Grant
promised them a large number of presents if they would give up any claim to
lands around St. Augustine. He also established the policy of "an eye for an
eye," stating that he expected any person who committed murder, Indian or
white, to pay for their crimes.

Grant's successor, John Moultrie, did not do as well as governor. Several
issues interfered. He refused to call a general assembly to enact laws for the
good of the colony and also refused to permit an examination of accounts.
Besides this, he had a series of disputes with the chief justice, William
Drayton, and with another powerful council member, Dr. Andrew Turnbull.

The third and last governor was Patrick Tonyn. Tonyn enjoyed no
popularity. He became involved in disputes with virtually everyone in St.
Augustine at one time or another. He was particularly at odds with several
military officers over the question of who was in charge of the army. Whatever
his shortcomings, Tonyn became the man who had to meet the challenge of
the American Revolution in Florida.














Governor Patrick Tonyn,
he last British governor of East Florida.
Image from the files of the
P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History,
University of Florida Libraries.


5
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.











Government Financial Support


East Florida received a parliamentary grant for government expenses. In
1764, parliament provided 5,700. The amount varied some in later years,
reaching a high of 5,950 in 1777 and a low of 3,950 in 1783. The salaries
for the officials matched those of West Florida and the reaction towards the
rebellion to the north over taxation was essentially the same in both colonies.

The Stamp Collector and the Court of Admiralty

The stamp collector, that agent who aroused such anger in the northern
colonies, arrived in St. Augustine in November 1765. The stamps that he
brought were soon affixed to various documents, newspapers and playing
cards. There was little or no initial reaction in St. Augustine to the purchase of
those stamps. In time, as additional taxes were imposed, everyone grumbled,
but there was no armed uprising.

The Church

Governor Grant was charged with establishing the church and protecting
the public morals. Initially, two ministers were appointed, one each at St.
Augustine and St. Marks. Rev. Forbes arrived in 1764 and remained until
1783. However, his duties as judge of the Court of Admiralty from 1771 to
1776 and as acting chief justice from 1776 to 1779, limited his participation as
a minister. Although several ministers were appointed to St. Marks, none ever
went there. Rev. John Frazer served at New Smyrna from 1769 to 1772. Rev.
John Leadbetter, 1774-1775, in addition to his ministerial duties in St.
Augustine was also asked to teach school there. He was succeeded by Rev.
John Kennedy in 1777. The last to arrive was Rev. James Seymour, who fled
Georgia in 1782 and served the St. Augustine church from 1783-1785. There
were two Catholic priests at New Smyrna and eventually one of them, Fr.
Pedro Camps, moved to St. Augustine.

One other church held services in St. Augustine: an Anabaptist
congregation served the slaves. This congregation grew as British Loyalists
in the southern colonies fled into Florida during and immediately after the
Revolution, bringing their slaves with them.




6
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









Schools


St. Augustine did have a school. In 1765, two school masters arrived:
Enoch Hawksworth and Jones Reed. Both had departed by 1770. In 1775,
Rev. John Leadbetter was asked to teach, but he refused and soon left the
colony. Rev. John Kennedy accepted the position in 1777. As schoolmaster,
Kennedy received 50 per year, or twice as much as the earlier teachers.
From a list compiled in 1775, the subjects taught included arithmetic, English,
Latin, Greek and writing.

The East Florida Gazette

A newspaper was also established in East Florida. The East Florida
Gazette, a weekly, began publication on February 1, 1783, and continued
until March 22, 1784. John Wells, Jr. was the publisher, and Charles Wright
printed it at his shop on Treasury Lane. Wells is also credited with publishing
the first two books in the Floridas: The Case of the Inhabitants of East-Florida
and On the Nature and Principles of Public Credit.

Natural History and the Bartrams

Two of the most important visitors to East Florida during the British Period
were John Bartram, the Royal Botanist, and his twenty-six-year-old son,
William. Bartram, Sr. was a Quaker farmer who lived near Philadelphia. He
was a great collector of plants, constantly experimenting with seeds and
writing to other scientists in Europe. In 1765 he brought William south on an
expedition to classify plants. The Bartrams traveled all over northeast Florida,
along the St. Marys and St. Johns rivers. They attended Governor Grant's
first meeting with the Indians at Fort Picolata, and visited the barrier islands
and St. Augustine. On one of their trips, William had a nasty run in with a
Florida rattlesnake, which he later recalled: "I stopped and saw the monster
formed in a high spiral coil, not half his length from my feet. Another step
forward would have put my life in his power, as I must have touched if not
stumbled over him. I instantly cut off a little sapling and soon dispatched him.
This serpent was about six feet in length and as thick as an ordinary man's
leg." The camp cook served the snake for dinner, but William would not eat it.







7
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.




































S, ". I Detail of British East Florida,
S- showing St. Augustine, the St.
... '. .-.c ,, Johns River, Lake George, and
-4 .&' Cape Canaveral.
-/ The Bartrams traveled through
much of this area in 1765.



William Bartram returned to Florida in 1774 and continued his travels,
going into the territory of the Seminoles as far as present day Gainesville. He
drew the earliest known image of the Great Alachua Savannah, which today
is Paynes Prairie state park and nature preserve. Both of the Bartrams
published works on Florida-John in 1766 (An Account of East Florida) and
William in 1791 (Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East
and West Florida).







8

From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.


















r Wiliam Bartram's Travels
became an American and
International bestseller when
p.l. o he published it in 1791.
It recounts his experiences in
Florida in the 1760s and
1770s.
-- ,The frontpiece shows an
image of a micco, or chief, of
... .. the Seminoles. Bartram met
Switch the Seminoles on both of
Ships stays in Florida.


A Florida Enterprise: Charlotia or Rollestown

Denys Rolle, a wealthy landowner from Devonshire, came to East Florida
with plans to establish a colony near St. Marks. After a trip up the St. Johns
River, he changed his mind and petitioned for a grant on that river. He
received 20,000 acres with a promise of more if settled within two years. Rolle
wanted to populate his colony with poor white Protestants and to create an
ideal society utopian socialism in East Florida. Silk, cotton and indigo
were to be the principal crops.

The colony was finally founded in 1767, and has been called both
Charlotia, after Queen Charlotte, and Rollestown (variously spelled) for the
founder. Forty-nine people arrived with him, primarily beggars, vagabonds
and debtors from the streets of London. They attempted to farm the land, but
soon grew weary. Rolle even cut off their food in order to get them back to
work, but instead, most of them ran away. Rolle returned to London and in
1779 brought 89 people with him, but most deserted in Charleston. The
population of the colony eventually reached about 200, with perhaps an
additional 200 slaves. While there was some production of turpentine,
oranges, rice and other crops, there was a shift away from agriculture to
cattle, sheep and hogs. Eventually the town contained Rolle's two-story
home, office buildings, homes and gardens for the settlers, and even a church


9

From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









and a clergyman's house. With the transfer of East Florida to Spain in 1783,
those who remained there moved to Exuma Island, taking with them
everything, including the lumber from the buildings. Rolle claimed losses of
23,000, but was finally awarded only 6,597.

Another Attempted Settlement: New Smyrna

Dr. Andrew Turnbull, a London physician, along with others, planned a
settlement of some 500 immigrants from the Mediterranean upon land in East
Florida. The site chosen, opposite Mosquito Inlet about 80 miles south of St.
Augustine, was named New Smyrna after the home of Turnbull's wife, Maria
Gracia Dura Bin, of Smyrna, Greece. Slaves were to clear the land and
prepare it for cultivation. Crops, especially cotton, silk and indigo, were to be
grown and the profits were to be split 50-50 between Turnbull and the settlers
for six years, after which they would receive land and be on their own. Even
African slaves were eventually to be freed and given land.

After a tragic crossing, in which some 500 slaves and 148 of the
immigrants lost their lives, the remaining 1,255 Italians, Greeks and
Minorcans finally reached East Florida in July 1768. With them were Father
Pedro Camps and an Augustinian monk, Fr. Bartolome Casanovas. Because
they numbered far more than anticipated, there was not enough housing and
food for the immigrants. In spite of this, things got off to a fair beginning, but
conditions soon deteriorated with much sickness (malaria) and many deaths.

On August 19, 1768, one of the Italians, Carlo Forni, led a revolt that grew
to about 300 participants, mostly Italians and Greeks. They rioted and
plundered and destroyed many of the supplies. British ships and troops
arrived in time to prevent their escape to Cuba. Two of the ringleaders, Forni
and Giuseppi Massiadoli, were later tried and executed.

Conditions at New Smyrna did not improve, and in 1777 the settlers
refused to work there any longer and went to St. Augustine. They
complained of their treatment to Gov. Tonyn. Whether or not he sympathized
with their stories, he detested Dr. Andrew Turnbull. Happily, he released
everyone from their indentures, knowing this would doom Turnbull's New
Smyrna colony. The Italians, Greeks, and Minorcans moved into town, and
immediately began to farm small plots of land nearby. Soon they were the
chief suppliers of fish, fruits, and vegetables to the town market.




10
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









The Military

St. Augustine was a military town. A regiment of infantry and a company of
artillery normally garrisoned the town, but detachments from these units were
stationed at outposts such as St. Marks, Picolata, Mose and New Smyrna.
Several of these posts were abandoned by 1775. During the early years, the
number of troops averaged about 200 soldiers, but that number fluctuated.
During the American Revolution the number stationed there increased
significantly, but troops sent to Georgia, South Carolina and elsewhere often
seriously depleted the forces in St. Augustine.

In 1776, orders were issued to form a militia consisting of all able-bodied
men in the colony. Although the militia's contribution has been questioned,
there is some evidence it maintained order when regular troops were sent
elsewhere.







British soldiers on sentry
duty in St. Augustine around
Sthe time of the American
Revolution.
From H.S. Wyllie's St.
l Augustine under Three
Flags, 1898.



The East Florida Rangers

Governor Tonyn organized the Rangers in 1776. Commanded by Lt. Col.
Thomas Brown, the Rangers numbered between 130 and 300 men, many of
them British Loyalists from the northern colonies. One of the Rangers, Daniel
McGirt, later became well known for stealing cattle and slaves, and ran into
trouble with both the British and Spanish governments. Since the Rangers
were under the orders of the governor, some problems arose when they
worked with the regular military.






11

From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









The General Assembly


Governor Tonyn finally called for an election of members for the
Commons House of Assembly in February 1781. Members were elected at
large because the population was too small to be divided into electoral
districts. To be elected, a person must own 500 acres of land; 19 were
elected.

The first general assembly met from March 27 to November 12, 1781.
Four bills were passed, but one pertaining to the regulation of Negro slaves
created such controversy that little else was accomplished. The second
general assembly convened May 31, 1782, and continued until October 4,
1783. A total of 21 bills were passed, suggesting that things moved much
more smoothly during that session.

The American Revolution

Governor Tonyn never seemed to understand what the American
Revolution was all about. Among other things, he was very unhappy when tea
destined for St. Augustine did not arrive. The military mustered in preparation
for an invasion, either from the northern colonies or, later, from Spanish
troops in West Florida and Cuba. In the early years of the Revolution,
American rebels made periodic attacks from Georgia and South Carolina,
especially between the St. Marys and St. Johns rivers. The East Florida
military countered these raids and British victories in the southern colonies
ended that menace. There was little sympathy for the Revolution in Florida.
The settlers there were recent arrivals, still loyal to the Crown. They saw no
need for independence. At one time, the British had three signers of the
Declaration of Independence under lock and key in the fort of St. Marks.

However, the war did have one major impact on Florida. Thousands of
British Loyalists living in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, began to surge
into the colony. Afraid for their lives at home, especially as the British began
losing the war, they picked up and moved to St. Augustine. St. Augustine's
population exploded. In 1783, the newcomers included 5,090 whites and
8,285 slaves. With the estimated 1,000 whites and 3,000 slaves already
present, St. Augustine's population swelled to 17,375. The military provided
the refugees with six months' rations, but there was a serious shortage of
housing and other necessities.




12
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









The Exodus


The 1783 Treaty of Paris surrendered the Floridas to Spain. British
subjects were given 18 months to sell their property, collect their debts and
depart. Transportation would be provided to any place within the British
dominion. Of course, there were also the newly independent 13 colonies
where some might wish to go. Final orders for departure did not arrive until
December 4, 1783. The government instructed Governor Tonyn to remain as
long as possible to assist in the evacuation. The British subjects suffered the
same fate as the Spaniards upon their departure in 1763-1764: they had
difficulty selling their houses and property without sustaining a large loss.

Gov. Vicente Manuel de Zespedes y Velasco reached St. Augustine in
June 1784, and British rule officially ended on July 12. Zespedes worked
patiently and cordially with all of the British officials except Governor Tonyn,
whose manner undoubtedly had much to do with the problems between them.
By the spring of 1785, some 10,000 British had departed on transports to
various ports of call, many to the Bahamas. Another 4,000 had gone into the
American backcountry. Because of several unexpected delays, Tonyn did not
depart until November 1785. Of those who remained, the largest single group
was the Minorcans, Italians and Greeks, whose Catholic religion made them
more at home under Spanish rule. A few former British subjects, including
William Panton and John Leslie who were both involved in the Indian trade,
also remained and became important figures during the final Spanish era.

The British had governed East Florida for a little more than 20 years, and
the colony had just begun to prosper when the Revolution upset its progress.
With the return of the Floridas to Spanish hands, what would be their fate?

















13
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.




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