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THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
Published by the FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY, INC.
VOLUME 52, NUMBERS 1-2
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Volume 52 Numbers 1-2
SPECIAL ISSUE: NORTHEAST FLORIDA PLANTATIONS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Editor's Page. Robert J. Austin 2
Forward. Ted M. Payne 4
The Halifax-Mosquitoes Plantation Corridor: An Overview. Patricia C. Griffin 5
Mount Oswald Plantation at Tomoka and Halifax Rivers. Daniel L. Schafer 25
Dreams and Promises Unfulfilled: Andrew Turnbull and the New Smyrna
Colony. Dorothy L. Moore and Dana Ste. Claire 31
Plantation Organization and a Look at Socio-economic Status. Ted M. Payne 47
"...a Great Farmer and Gardener": Archaeological Evidence of Governor James Grant's Farm,
St Augustine, East Florida. Carl D. Halbirt 57
The Turnbull Colonist's House at New Smyrna Beach: A Preliminary
Report on 8V07051. Roger T. Grange, Jr. 73
Research at "Bisset Plantation": Archaeology at Riverbreeze Park,
Volusia County, Florida. Roy S. Stine and Linda F. Stine 85
Preliminary Archaeological Investigations at the Moultrie/Bunch/Dummett British through
Territorial-period Plantations. Ted M. Payne 103
Fifteen Years on Bulow Creek: Glimpses of Bulowville. Henry A. Baker 115
Hann and McEwan: The Apalachee Indians and Mission San Luis. James Pochurek 125
Bahn: The Cambridge Illustrated History of Prehistoric Art. Barbara A. Purdy 125
About the Authors 128
Cover: Ancient Contract by Jeanie Fitzpatrick
Copyright 1999 by the
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY, INC.
This issue of the journal is devoted to the history and
archaeology of plantations in northeast Florida. The articles
represent expanded and, in some cases, extensively revised
versions of papers presented originally at the Northeast
Florida Plantation Symposium held in Daytona Beach in
1997and organized by Ted Payne. The symposium brought
together 15 historians and archaeologists who are actively
conducting plantation research in Florida. The time periods
represented were primarily the British Colonial, Second
Spanish, and American Territorial. Of these, the British
Colonial Period has until recently received the least attention
from archaeologists. The symposium rectified that problem
with a vengeance and consequently the British Period is well
represented in this volume, with eight of the nine articles
dealing entirely or in part with this brief but interesting
period of Florida history.
As the symposium provided a forum for the presentation of
diverse kinds of data and interpretive perspectives, it is
appropriate that a synthesis of what is known about Florida
plantations should emerge. The lead article by Pat Griffin
provides just such a synthetic overview. The focus is on the
evolution of agricultural practices and the ecological,
economic, and political factors that influenced this develop-
ment. Hers is an important study that will serve as a baseline
for all subsequent plantation work in the region.
Daniel Schafer writes about the Richard Oswald plantation
on the Halifax and Tomoka Rivers, presenting it as a case
study of plantation development. Had it not been for the
advent of the American Revolution, Schafer feels that the
Oswald plantation would have become a profitable operation.
In his opinion, the British attempt to colonize East Florida
was less a failure than it was a casualty of political events.
Schafer also attributes the relative success of the plantation
to the considerable contributions of African slaves.
Andrew Turnbull's New Smyrna colony is the subject of
the contribution by Dot Moore and Dana Ste. Claire. Unlike
other British plantations, New Smyrna was a large settlement
that stretched from Spruce Creek north of New Smyrna
Beach south to modem-day Edgewater. With 1255 colonists,
it was the largest attempt by Britain to establish a colonial
presence in Florida. As such, it was an experiment in large-
scale agriculture that focused on cash crops such as indigo,
rice, and cotton. Although abandoned after only nine years,
the colony laid the foundation for modern New Smyrna
Ted Payne uses historical documentation and archaeo-
logical studies of plantations in the Carolinas, Georgia,
Virginia, and the Bahamas to develop a model of the spatial
organizational correlates ofsocio-economic status that can be
applied to archaeological sites in Florida. This type of study
is a necessary prerequisite if plantation archaeology is to
move beyond the mere corroboration of historical documents
to address issues of greater theoretical concern.
Carl Halbirt describes the results of archaeological investi-
gations in St. Augustine that resulted in the discovery of a
British-period site that is believed to be related to James
Grant's farm. Grant was governor of East Florida after
Britain acquired Florida from Spain in 1763. Since the farm
was one of the first British agricultural enterprises in Florida,
it served as a training ground for slaves who would be sent
to other British plantations. It also helped to support the
early British community in St. Augustine.
Turning again to the New Smyrna colony, Roger Grange
reports on the excavation of a colonial house site occupied
during the Turnbull Period. Although artifacts from the site
have not yet been fully analyzed, Grange provides a detailed
description of the floors and foundations of five structures.
Based on his interpretation of the archaeological evidence, a
hypothetical reconstruction of a typical colonists' house is
Roy and Linda Stine next present the results of their survey
and test excavation at the Bisset Plantation at Riverbreeze
Park in Volusia County. Excavations revealed a variety of
eighteenth-century ceramic wares along with glassware,
clothing items, clay pipe fragments, architectural materials
and hardware, musket balls, a trash pit, and a post hole/post
mold. These indicate that the site represents a colonial-
period residential site.
Archaeological investigation at the Moultrie/Bunch/Dum-
mett plantations is the subject of Ted Payne's second con-
tribution to this issue. Occupation of this site spanned the
British, Second Spanish, and Territorial periods. John
Moultrie and John Bunch both had plantations there,
growing cash crops such as rice and indigo. Thomas
Dummett, who purchased the land from Bunch, established
a sugar factory and rum distillery there. Archaeological
investigations recovered and documented material remains
that are believed to relate to all three owners. Payne stresses
the importance of preserving sites such as this one, which
contain preserved artifacts and structural remains that can be
used to study a number of important issues in plantation
Finally, Henry Baker synthesizes archaeological work
conducted at the Bulow plantation by the Florida Division of
Historical Resources' Bureau of Archaeological Research.
Bulow cultivated sugar cane on his property during the early
nineteenth century and portions of the sugar factory still
exist. Excavations conducted by Baker revealed portions of
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
VOL. 52 NOS. 1-2
EDITOR'S PAGE 3
the Bulow dwelling house
Many of these projects share some common elements.
Most were conducted with the assistance of volunteers. For
example, Grange and Moore used over 50 volunteers on their
excavation of the Turnbull Colonist's House. Many of the
sites are located in Volusia County, which appears to have
been a hotbed of British colonial activity. Finally, many of
the archaeological projects have been by necessity site
specific in scope. As Ted Payne points out, the comparative
data from Florida plantations, particularly those of the
British Period, are simply unavailable because of a dearth of
excavations. Happily, this situation is changing and the
papers in this volume go a long way towards providing the
base line data that can be used in comparative studies of
other, soon-to-be-excavated, plantation sites.
The issue is rounded out by book reviews from James
Pochurek and Barbara Purdy. I hope you enjoy this special
ROBERT J. AUSTIN
In the last issue of the journal, Figures 2 and 3 of Laura Kozuch's article on "Faunal Remains from the Palmer Site..."
were reversed although the captions were correct. The SEM photograph of modern scalloped hammerhead shark skin in
Figure 3 should have been Figure 2, and the SEM of prehistoric shark dermal denticles shown in Figure 2 should have been
Figure 3. The editor regrets any confusion that this error may have caused.
ANortheastern Florida Plantation Symposium was held
on March 22, 1997 at the University of Central
Florida Auditorium in Daytona Beach. The sym-
posium was dedicated to the memory and accomplishments
of John W. Griffin. Its purpose was to inform the public
about the importance of northeast Florida's plantations and
to encourage an interest in their preservation. The program
consisted of historians and archaeologists who presented
papers pertaining to the agricultural enterprises that were in
operation from 1763 until the Second Seminole War. The
event was followed by a day-long bus tour of selected
plantation sites within Volusia County.
The symposium was presented by the Volusia Anthropo-
logical Society, Inc. as an Archaeology Month event with
contributions being made by its members. Sponsors of the
symposium included the University of Central Florida,
Volusia County Historic Preservation Board, Ormond Beach
Historical Trust, the Florida Division of Recreation and
Parks-Tomoka Basin GeoPark, Museum of Arts and Sci-
ences, Daytona Beach, and American Preservation Consul-
The following collection of articles has been taken from
the Symposium's program. These have been adapted, edited,
and updated for this publication. Since several presenters
were unable to revise their symposium papers in time for
publication, a complete list of presenters and their paper
topics is provided below.
TED M. PAYNE
NORTHEASTERN FLORIDA PLANTATION
DANIEL SCHAFER, University of North Florida
British Plantation Development in Eastern Florida,
Undercounted and Underappreciated.
SUSAN R. PARKER, Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board
Plowing and Plundering in East Florida: 60 Years of
Development and Destruction, 1784-1850.
TREVOR HALL, Bethune-Cookman College
The African Background of African Americans during the
Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.
DANIEL SCHAFER, University of North Florida
Overview of Eastern Florida Agricultural Themes, 1763-
TED M. PAYNE, American Preservation Consultants, Inc.
Expressions of Social and Economic Cultural Material and
Architectural Status in Plantation Lifeways.
PATRICIA C. GRIFFIN, St. Augustine Historical Society
Halifax Area Plantations.
THOMAS SCOFIELD, Volusia County Growth Management
and Environmental Services
From Missions to Mills: An Overview ofPlantation Archaeo-
logy in Volusia County.
CARL D. HALBIRT, City of St. Augustine, Florida
Post Holes, Ditches, and Slipware: The Archaeological
Evidence of Governor Grant's Agricultural Enterprise in St.
BRUCE PIATEK, Florida Agricultural Museum
Endeavoring to Find Richard Oswald's Plantation.
DANA STE. CLAIRE AND ROGER T. GRANGE, JR., Museum of
Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach
New Smyrna: Unearthing Britain's Greatest New World
ROY S. STINE AND LINDA F. STINE, University of North
Research at "Bisset Plantation": Archaeology at River-
breeze Park, Volusia County, Florida.
TED M. PAYNE, American Preservation Consultants, Inc.
Moultrie/Bunch/Dummett British-Territorial Period Planta-
HENRY A. BAKER, Bureau of Archaeological Research,
Florida Division of Historical Resources
Fifteen Years on Bulow Creek: Glimpses of Bulowville 1821-
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
VOL. 52 Nos. 1-2
THE HALIFAX-MOSQUITOES PLANTATION CORRIDOR: AN OVERVIEW
PATRICIA C. GRIFFIN
St. Augustine Historical Society, St. Augustine, Florida 32084
James Ormond III, looking back on his arrival at his
father's plantation in 1824 at the age of eight, remem-
bered, "About all these places there was not a fence or a
plow or a cart at that time." To show the area's isolation
from civilization, he added that there was "neither Priest,
Preacher, Lawyer or Doctor within forty miles" (Ormond
1941:5-6). One year later another youngster, Anna Maria
Dummett, also age eight, moved with her parents to the
Tomoka area where her father had recently bought the Bunch
plantation. She recalled, "the old log house, our home, stood
in the center of a large yard, green with Bermuda grass. The
house was thatched with palmetto and shaded by moss-
draped trees" (Dummett 1949:9). Coming from Scotland, in
the boy's case, and from Connecticut, in the girl's instance,
these youngsters were accustomed to a civilized world. The
untamed nature of the Florida frontier, the lush, subtropical
expanse, was indeed a shock.
Nevertheless, as James Miller has so aptly pointed out, the
northeast and central Atlantic coast section of Florida was
not a pristine wilderness when Europeans first settled there
(Miller 1998:1-39). Over many millennia living beings,
including human inhabitants, made their marks in a continu-
ous, sometimes discontinuous, stream across the land.
This paper examines five periods of agricultural develop-
ment in the area that stretches from present day Flagler
County to Cape Canaveral on the south, a geographical strip
that is here designated as the plantation corridor. From the
First Spanish Period, the British Period, the Second Spanish
Period, the United States Territorial Period, and finally the
Post-Civil War Period, these lands were used for various
agricultural pursuits. The period of maximum plantation
development, however, extended from 1765 to 1836, nearly
encompassing the middle three periods. Twenty-eight
plantations and their owners have been selected for closer
analysis of the principal crops grown (Table 1), this choice
being based on the criteria of reliable and adequate documen-
tary and archaeological information. These plantations are
in turn keyed into a map of the section under consideration
(Figure 1) giving their approximate locations.
Several reasons can be given for the agricultural develop-
ment of this stretch of land during the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries. First, the soil was some of the best in
East Florida, a matter of overriding importance in the days
before commercial fertilizers and mechanization. While the
lands were laced with sterile, sandy sections, pockets of
better soil existed in hammocks and marshy areas. These
soils were referred to in earlier times as "grey sand," where
sand was mixed with humus and other organic matter. This
sand-humus mixture, built up on ancient relict dunes, had
the advantage, a great advantage when man or animal power
were the usual sources of energy, of being easy to cultivate.
None of the soils of this section of Florida were as rich as
those of north-central Florida, famous for its cotton produc-
tion in anti-bellum times (Smith 1973:12). However, when
cultivation of lands in East Florida began in earnest in the
British Period, the area encompassing present-day Tallahas-
see and southward for more than 160 km (100 mi) into the
peninsula was remote from St. Augustine, and likewise not
close to good shipping waterways.
Miller (1998:17) has made the point that moderately drain-
ed to poorly drained soils not subject to flooding provided
good capacity for agricultural settlement in past times,
especially when located near watercourses. The waterways
were the roadways in earlier centuries and also provided a
ready source for irrigation. Flooding, except in times of
equinoctial storms, was not a problem in the lands under
consideration. With two exceptions, the plantations under
study were situated along the Atlantic coastal strand.
The coastal setting made for easy transportation of
exports. Produce was shipped from Mosquito Inlet whether
it was transported by way of the south river, first called the
River Surruque, later renamed the Hillsborough River and
sometimes the Mosquito River, and now the Indian River; or
from the waterway north of the inlet called by the Spanish
the River Timucua, later named the Halifax River. A third
sizable river north of present-day Daytona Beach, and
adjoining the Halifax River, was and still is designated as the
Tomoka River. These "rivers" on the east coast ofpeninsular
Florida are actually a series of marine estuaries buffered by
a string of islands on the east and interrupted at intervals by
inlets to the Atlantic Ocean. In earlier times no navigable
entrance for sizable craft existed between the inlet at St.
Augustine and Mosquito Inlet, now called Ponce Inlet. In
the plantation era the shipping process began down a small
tributary or a dug canal to the main river. Vessels laden with
produce exiting the harbor could then ply north or south to
nearby or distant ports. The two exceptions, of the planta-
tions dealt with here, were those owned by the Woodruff and
the Rees families, located on the St. Johns River, likewise a
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
VOL. 52 Nos. 1-2
THE RoaroA Arra oP o
0 5 10 20 SCALE IN MILES
0 10 20 0 SCALE IN KILOMETERS
0 10 20 3
Figure 1. Section of East Florida showing approximate
locations of plantations designated in Table 1. Map
designed by Fred Amato, St. Augustine Historical Society.
satisfactory shipping lane.
The second advantage of the area was the sub-tropical
climate. In general, the further south one progresses in the
northern hemisphere the longer the growing season and the
better tropical plants flourish. Daytona Beach has twenty-
five more growing days, those without frost, than St. Augus-
tine (United States Department of Agriculture 1941:811).'
This means that crops that were problematical in the English
colonies to the north and marginal in northern Florida,
flourished in the lands south of St. Augustine. Bernard
Romans, who was employed as a surveyor's draftsman at the
beginning of the English Period in East Florida, noticed the
seemingly abrupt change from heat to cold north of St.
Augustine, but "to the southward of St. Augustine, the
climate changes so gradually that it is not perceivable...to
where there is no frost at all" (Romans 1962:3).
A third factor, although negligible in some years, was the
slightly higher annual rainfall in the Atlantic costal strand
than at St. Augustine and areas farther north.
While the word plantation brings an immediate image to
mind, an exact definition is elusive. The main cause of the
confusion is the fuzzy area between an estate that is "almost"
or "nearly" a plantation and that which definitely is a
plantation. Within the present context, the best definition
seems to be my own: a sizable estate with resident labor on
which one or two, sometimes more, crops are raised on a
large scale for export to outside markets. This definition
reflects the fact that as a system the plantation lies some-
where between the European manor, where everything was
grown for local consumption, and modern agribusiness,
where mechanization has largely replaced resident labor.
The plantation as a system was thus an intermediate step
leading to the Industrial Revolution.
Because of the dependence on outside systems, any
plantation was at the mercy of factors beyond immediate
local control. Given the ragged political and economic
history of Florida during successive regimes, the picture that
emerges is one of agricultural enterprises affected by wars
and hostilities between competing European countries,
embargoes, market-driven factors, such as current prices,
bounties on crops, Indian depredations, and myriads of other
Factors internal to the plantation also were important.
The size of the plantation, its organization, its spatial plan,
the nature of the resident labor force, the leadership style of
the owner or plantation manager, the crops grown, its
location and soil, all shaped the individual plantation.
That intangible factor called human nature probably had
more influence than is often thought. Plantation owners on
a frontier were usually men with a dream, a vision that could
actually provide the rigidity that led to failure. In other
instances, experimentation could bring success. Nor can the
cultural frameworks within which the plantations existed be
ignored. Even more nebulous were what might be called
n~~ Boa Vot.5(2
I - -VJL. Ll-)
91 u 9 2 \
Table 1. Plantation crops, Halifax-Mosquitoes area, 1763-1845.
Rankings of Principal Crops
Map No." Owners Lumber/
Indigo Cotton Sugar Rice Corn Cattle Naval Stores Oranges
British Period 1763-1783
12 Oswald 1 4 3 2 5
23 New Smyrna 1 3 2
22 Turnbull (private) 1 2
7 Moultrie 1 3 1 2
27 Bissett 1 3 4 2 5
28 Elliott 1 2
25 Upton 1
4 Graham 1 1 2
17 Taylor 1
19 Penman 1
10 McClean 1
Second Spanish Period 1783-1821
6 McHardy 1 1 2 3
24 Hull 1 2 4 3 5
13 Williams 1 2
18 Dean 1
8 Bunch 1
11 Addison 1 2 3
Hernandez (Site 1, the 1 2
2 Hemandez (Site 2) 1 2 3
20 Ormond I 1 1
5 Ormond II 1
US. Territorial Period 1821-1845
3 Bulow 3 2 1 4 5
15 Woodruff 1 1 2
14 Rees 1 I
8-A Thomas Dummett 1 2
9 McRae 1
21 Cruger and DePeyster 1 2
16 Anderson 1 2 3 1
26 Douglas Dummett I
a Numbers are keyed to locations in Figure 1.
DATA SOURCES: For the British Period, the Colonial Office and Treasury Papers and Landsdowne Manuscripts; for the Second Spanish
Period, the East Florida Papers and Spanish Land Grants (confirmed and unconfirmed); for the Territorial Period, the Territorial Papers of
the United States (Carter 1956) and the American State Papers; various published and unpublished materials.
U*l ~PIY-MCIENI~MFE PI ~~T*IICIN mPDrTYIP
8 TnUF, FU _mA ANTURopm_ o 1999 Vol._ AV -21
"fads" in cropping. What was grown successfully in one era
was later abandoned in favor of a different crop, sometimes
for no apparent reason. The main crop can also become a
determinant in a plantation complex. A cycle is often
observable beginning with tentative experimentation,
followed by a build-up of the cropping complex, then,
assuming that other factors do not intervene, the gradual loss
in importance of the crop and the beginning of another.
The Plantation Crops
Table I shows the main crops grown by the 28 owners
during the period from 1763-1845. Crops are ranked by
monetary importance; thus, a ranking of I indicates the most
important crop on a plantation, a ranking of 2 indicates the
next most important, and so forth. If two or more crops
seemed to be of equal monetary value, they were given the
same ranking. The information for this table was gleaned
from various sources. Government documents, especially
land claims, were the primary sources. Contemporary reports
and later eyewitness or folk memory sources were also
valuable. Of particular interest are the reports of sportsmen
and amateur archaeologists during the last half of the
nineteenth century as they had no stake in distorting the
record. The land claimants, in contrast, while the informa-
tion given is valuable, doubtless skewed the record in order
to receive a larger settlement.
Unfortunately, the diversity of sources and the fact that
actual accounting records are scanty to non-existent, particu-
larly for the British Period, may have led to some errors in
the table. In establishing the crop rankings for this table the
plantation owner's or manager's statements were given
greatest credence. Following this, comments of government
officials, maps where crops were designated, depositions
given for various purposes, notations of shipments, and
contemporary eyewitness accounts were relied on. Obviously
some subjectivejudgments were made in reconstructing crop
rankings. Thus, material presented must be regarded as
initial hypotheses that await further research for refinement.
Figure 1 shows the locations of the plantations included
in Table 1. The numbering from north to south is in turn
listed on the table for ease of understanding the location of
the plantations from 1763-1845. Two clusterings on the map
are immediately apparent, the northern cluster near the
Halifax-Tomoka River conflux and the southern cluster near
the Mosquito Inlet-Spruce Creek convergence. The prefer-
ence through time for these two sections has several explana-
tions. Of primary importance was the factor of a freshwater
river emptying into the main waterway, useful as an irriga-
tion source as well as for transportation. These were also
sections of better land, with hardwood hammocks and fresh-
water swamps in good abundance. Along the Halifax and
Indian rivers shell promontories edged the waterway at these
two sections; and these provided heights that allowed for
surveillance of the rivers and offered partial protection from
mosquitoes at certain times of the year. Once these sections
were cleared during the British Period, grantees or purchas-
ers in subsequent regimes preferred them to uncleared land.
Nevertheless, this geographical separation did not mean
lack of interaction between the two sections. The same inlet
was used for transportation of people and goods, for example,
and the limited number of people in the province served to
close the geographical gap as it does in all frontier situations.
Even a cursory glance at Table I reveals the overall
progression of main cash crops from indigo in the British
Period, to cotton in the Second Spanish Period, to the
domination of sugar in the United States Territorial Period.
Rice was frequently grown as an allied cash crop, particu-
larly because of its ready adaptation to fresh-water marsh
lands. It did have the disadvantage, however, of rapid
changes in market price depending on current supply, so as
an agricultural endeavor it worked well in tandem with other
crops to ameliorate the planter's risk taking. Corn also was
a common crop, by virtue of its ease in growing on a wide
range of soil types, as the prior Indian inhabitants knew as
well. Also, corn, like rice, could be used as a food crop on
the plantation and a ready market was found in nearby St.
Augustine. Cattle, oranges, and lumber/naval stores were
fallback or subsidiary agricultural endeavors throughout the
entire period under consideration, and, in fact, have contin-
ued in the local economic repertoire into modem times.
While other crops were experimented with, such as the
conversion of saltwort into barilla (an impure potash used in
indigo processing) by Captain Robert Bissett and Dr. Andrew
Turnbull during the British Period or the salt farm estab-
lished by a Mr. McDaniel in the late eighteenth century, the
only crops included in Table 1 are those that were of com-
mercial significance. Likewise, provisions, grown on almost
every plantation for local consumption, are not listed in
Table I although they often are mentioned in the documents,
apparently to indicate self sufficiency, a much admired
plantation attribute. Besides cattle, other livestock, espe-
cially chickens and pigs, could ordinarily be found on a
Nor can native land and water resources be ignored as
part of the plantation base. Like the Indians, those on the
agricultural frontier availed themselves of readily obtainable
wild plants and game. While deer and small game were
perhaps not as numerous as in interior sections of Florida,
the Mosquitoes tidal lands and the St. Johns River abounded
in marine resources, if contemporary sources are to be
believed. Some reports indulged in hyperbole. William
Bartram (1958:78) in his 1774 Florida travels described an
amazing scene, "the river [St. Johns] from shore to shore,
and perhaps near half a mile above and below me, appeared
to be one solid bank of fish, of various kinds." The fish were
so abundant in the marine waterways near Mosquito Inlet
(now Ponce Inlet) and southward that fishermen from Cuba
continued to exploit these resources after the First Spanish
Period ended and the British regime began.
Because ofthe discontinuity ofthe political regimes during
the five plantation periods under discussion, and the different
plantation complexes that arose as a result, it will be instruc-
tive to visit each one in turn.
THE 110amA AN reso r
9 991 Vot 52(1-2)
TJIIVU PJHAWm -Ih-TffV9N tnnoVi wanno 9VU s
"RUMI~**w~'~~J, .~a -~
The First Spanish Period
During the nearly two hundred years of the First Spanish
Period in Florida, agriculture was a minor theme. Since the
emphasis was on maintenance of a military surveillance in
this northern fringe land of the Spanish empire, the garrison
town of St. Augustine was never truly self supporting.
Although farming on the mission establishments was
undertaken, the missions, because of the migratory nature of
the local Indians, never became economic enterprises as they
did in other parts of the Americas where native Americans
had a pre-conquest agricultural focus (Bushnell 1989:137).
This was particularly true in the east coast plantation
corridor as the Ays, the Indians around Cape Canaveral,
were nomadic hunters and gatherers and all attempts to
missionize them were failures (Lyon 1967:18). In contrast
to the Ays, who were characterized as "possession less as
deer," the Timucua, who lived in the northern part of the
plantation corridor, were mixed hunter-gatherers and
agriculturists. It is believed that the Surruque, who centered
in the south part of the Mosquitoes area, were of the same
language group as the Timucua and thus may have been
part-time agriculturists as well, although they shared many
cultural traits with the Ays. A natural habitat break occurs
at Cape Canaveral, so that the Ays were part of the south
Florida Indian tradition, while the Timucua Indians were a
major cultural group in north Florida. The Surruque were
suspended between the two groups both in terms of geogra-
phy and culture.
As early as the First Spanish Period, land grants on the
east coast were north of the natural environmental break
known as the "oak-pine line" that extends from Cape
Canaveral on the east coast of the peninsula to the vicinity of
present-day Tampa on the west coast. This environmental
boundary is also sometimes called the "corn line" as the
south Florida Indians did not find their lands congenial for
Because ofthe scarcity of fresh meat, the Spanish engaged
in cattle raising on large grants in the hinterland of Florida,
and the south-central coast area was no exception. Further-
more, William Bartram, who wrote so eloquently of his
travels in Florida in 1773-1774, tells of orange groves
existing in the Halifax area in early Spanish times. "I have
often been affected with extreme regret," he tells us, "at
beholding the destruction and devastation which has been
committed or indiscriminately exercised on those extensive
fruitful orange groves, on the banks of the San Juan [St.
Johns River], by the new planters under the British govern-
ment" (Bartram 1928:213). The Spanish map of the east
coast of Florida given to the English (Figure 2) shows a ridge
of oranges (otero de los naranjos) along a watercourse
named Rio Mosquito, probably the one now known as
Spruce Creek. These groves, likely not set in orderly rows as
our modern eyes might expect, were planted, according to
later observation by the British surveyor William Gerard
DeBraham, by the "Spanish horse party, which always
carried a provision of those oranges with them, and planted
the seeds wherever they halted to refresh or encamped" (De
Vorsey 1971:213). Lumbering for local use and "live-
oaking" for ship building also began at this time.
During the First Spanish Period very large grants existed
in the area appropriately known by the Spanish as "Los
Mosquitoes" and northward along the Rio Timucua. When
England gained Florida in 1763, the heirs of Joachin de
Florencia, Juan Alonso de Esquinal, and Juan Orentiner
claimed rights to the three large parcels (see Figure 2).
The British Period
After England acquired Florida in 1763, plans for the
colony were quite different from that of the Spanish prede-
cessors. The colony was divided in two, East Florida and
West Florida. East Florida covered the peninsula and was
bounded by the Apalachicola River on the west. West Florida
composed a vast expanse westward from the Apalachicola to
the Mississippi River.
The British parliament mandated that the new possessions
be modeled after the agricultural colonies to the north, with
the main difference being that there were plans for large
grants to be issued. The grants were to be peopled with
white Protestant workers from the poorer sections of Europe,
much like the old proprietary grants in the seventeenth
century. The intention was for towns to be developed on
each of the large grants after the colonists had served the
proprietor for a period of time and gained their own lands.
Because of the differences in the personalities and conse-
quent actions of the first two governors of the new colonies,
West Florida did not follow this plan, so that, in general, it
ended up as a colony of small freeholdings. In East Florida,
Crown intentions were partially fulfilled. Large grants did
became the rule. While not as large as the grandiose grants
of the First Spanish Period, the usual size, 10,000 to 20,000
acres (ca. 4000 to 8000 hectares), allowed substantial
establishments to develop in England's fourteenth colony on
the north Atlantic coast. However, Governor James Grant,
the first governor of British East Florida, was convinced that
the agricultural enterprises could be successful only by using
slave labor. He imported slaves to work his own plantations
and others followed his lead. The only two large plantations
manned by white labor and forming rudimentary towns were
New Smyrna, opposite Mosquito inlet, and Rollestown, on
the St. Johns River south of present-day Palatka. The latter
is not included in this paper.
During the short twenty-year period of British rule in East
Florida, a number of the large grants were awarded. Grant-
ees were gentlemen of high status and of some means, and
the majority, as was true also in Jamaica, never saw their
plantations, but instead hired managers to oversee and run
their holdings, or deployed a relative to do so. A curious
cultural characteristic was operative here. A New World
plantation became during this era a necessary corollary to
being of substance in the British Isles, particularly in
Scotland in the case of East Florida (Rogers 1976:479-496).
The overseas trophy plantation often was displayed by a
UImlvMnn~rrmP~ PI *~Tllrnhl rnPPlnnP
_..*" A irn f
. -" ^^ ^t *v ntwm / rn/trf^
Figure 2. Map of part of East Florida, showing names of proprietors of estates. Drawn from the original plan by John Gordon, Esquire, given to Governor Grant
by Jas. Moncrief, Engineer (1764).
,b".~6-.~ ~:~ ~~:- ""-~
M P N CORIRDOR
GRIFFIN IIALIFAx- os
painting in the manor house of the land owner in England.
A common feature of these paintings was the concealment
of the worker housing behind some natural barrier, so as to
underplay the unpleasant aspects of the venture. While no
painting has come to light of a British East Florida planta-
tion, they may still exist in private family archives.
The New Smyrna Plantation was a large, atypical colonial
enterprise mostly manned by indentured laborers from the
Mediterranean. It was composed of 16,000 hectares (40,000
acres), and the three grantees were high-placed Englishmen.
Indeed. one of them was then prime minister, George
Grenville, acting through an agent. Some 1300 men, women,
and children recruited from the Mediterranean, a large
proportion from the island of Minorca, landed on the shores
of East Florida as plantation settlers. Aside from the nature
of the workers, the endeavor also was unusual because Dr.
Andrew Turnbull, one of the partners, was the recruiter and
the on-site manager of the plantation, and indeed named the
plantation after the birthplace of his wife. In addition to the
large plantation, Turnbull bought a 300-acre (121-hectare)
plantation on a neck of land just to the north of the large
plantation. Captain Robert Bissett, whose main plantation,
Mount Plenty, was located about 24 km (15 mi) south of New
Smyrna, also operated his own plantation enterprises.
In spite of the prevalence of absentee ownership, there
were enough plantation owners in the entire province,
including those along the St. Johns River, the St. Marys
River, and near St. Augustine, to allow a plantocracy to
develop. For example, Governor James Grant owned three
plantations, and his successor, Patrick Tonyn, also was a
plantation owner. Likewise, among the plantation owners in
the south corridor, John Moultrie, later Lieutenant Governor;
Andrew Turnbull, Secretary of the Council; and James
Penman were influential members of the Provincial govern-
ing body. During Grant's tenure the recently established
Masonic Lodge was the social nucleus of this ruling group
(Schafer 1983:101). Following the common practice of
London hinterland dual residence in the British Isles, it was
customary for a wealthy grantee who was resident in East
Florida to maintain a house in St. Augustine, as well as a
manor house on his granted lands, a factor that also pro-
The British era was a time of crop experimentation in East
Florida. This was virgin territory for large-scale cropping,
and it was expected that the European and Euro-American
repertoire could be enlarged because of the warm climate.
After several years Governor James Grant came to believe
that the experimentation was counter-productive as he
remarked, 'tis no doubt commendable to attempt different
sorts of Produce, but in my opinion Indigo is peculiarly
adapted to our light sandy soil" (Colonial Office [CO] Papers
5/552:18, Grant to Hillsborough, 14 December 1770). Rice
and sugar were tried, and rice in particular often became a
good secondary crop, as did corn. It is also probable that the
easily gathered sour oranges were exported to England, and
were often peeled and dried or used for marmalade or
medicinal purposes (Strickland 1985:17). Andrew Turn-
bull's own private acreage became an early experimental
cotton plantation, and was largely worked with slave labor in
contrast with the white workers on the New Smyrna planta-
In a short time, having discovered that grapes, olives,
silkworm culture, wheat, cochineal for the production of red
dye, and other agricultural ventures were unsuccessful, and
again following the lead of Governor Grant who farmed
three plantations near St. Augustine, indigo became the main
crop of the southern plantation strip and remained so
throughout the British Period. By 1771 William Gerard
DeBraham, chief surveyor of the province, reported that "the
Indigo has really been brought to Perfection, equal to that
made at Quatamala [Guatemala] in New Spain which is
estimated the best manufactured in the World" (De Vorsey
England had been paying dearly in the world market for
the bright blue dye made from the indigo plant; thus it was
found prudent to grant a bounty on indigo shipped to
England from her American colonies. Export of indigo from
the Carolinas had begun somewhat earlier, but East Florida
had the advantage of a longer growing season, thus permit-
ting four to five cuttings in a good growing season, whereas
two or three were the norm in the Carolinas. In the sub-
tropical climate, the indigo plant, annual in the Carolinas,
was biannual in East Florida and in good years perennial.
Although wild indigo grew along stream beds and near wet
woods in the northeast and central areas of the Florida
peninsula, it produced a decidedly inferior blue dye. The
indigo commonly grown in Guatemala, indigoferatinctoria,
had been imported into the Carolinas and Georgia. It was
probably this variety that was mainly used in Florida, as
indigo suffructicosa, sometimes also grown in the Carolinas
because of its ability to resist colder weather, would have
been of less importance in the warmer climate of East
Except for problems with caterpillars, indigo was easy to
grow and needed little tending until the first cutting was
ready for harvest. Even the weeding was easy as cattle could
be allowed in the fields to crop the weeds. Because indigo
has a bad smell, it was rarely used by the cattle as forage.
The harvest and processing ofthe crop was another matter,
requiring constant attention and taking place as it did during
the hot summer months. The laborers harvested the indigo
in moist or rainy weather, brought it to the vats to be pro-
cessed, and tended to it during the days and nights that it
took to turn the leaves and stalks of the plant into the chalky,
blue bricks ready to be shipped overseas. Two or three vats
were used in the processing, the first to ferment the mass in
water, the second to churn it causing oxidation that allowed
the solid particles to emerge, and finally dehydration in the
third vat if it was used. Earlier in the Carolinas, human
urine was used to hasten the fermentation in the first vat, but
by the latter part of the eighteenth century potash was more
commonly employed. Barilla, the potash manufactured on
the plantations, or lime water (calcium oxide), was used to
neutralize the acids in the first and sometimes the second vat.
THE FLORIDA AKrBR T
The trick was to use just the right amount at the right time,
a matter for experimentation.
The last vat was called the "devil's vat" because the vapors
if inhaled could lead to illness or death if proper precautions
were not taken. Whether the third vat was used or not,
further dehydration was accomplished by draining in a cloth
sleeve, in much the same way cottage cheese is made, and
finally the blue sludge was allowed to dry as bricks. Flies,
mosquitoes, and heat were all problems for the workers and
their overseers, as was the effluvia and noxious smell caused
by the rotting vegetation which released indole, the chemical
contained in feces and carrion.
A German traveler, Johann Schoepf, visiting East Florida
in 1783-1784, at the end of the British Period, concluded that
indigo did better than rice because it "adapts itself to a
barren, dry soil" (Schoepf 1911:238). Actually it, like corn,
could be grown on a wide range of soils, from cutover
hardwood forest to pine scrub land, although it flourished
best on higher ground.
As near to the water as these plantations were, marsh mud,
or seaweed when it cluttered the beaches in the fall, was used
as fertilizer, as well as green matter left from other crops
including the indigo refuse. Since rice needed richer soil,
indigo was sometimes grown for two years in semi-dry areas
in order to sweeten the soil with its "green fertilizer" for rice
planting the third year. Animal manure may have been used
to some extent, but it had disadvantages. DeBraham advised
against such use as "Dung increases the Heat more than is
necessary, besides infecting the ground with worms and New
Seeds" (De Vorsey 1971:222).
In spite of the amount of rainfall, proper moisture was a
problem at times, leading to the extensive diking and canal
works on the plantations, useful for either irrigating or
draining, whichever was called for at any one time or season.
The New Smyrna plantation included such an extensive
diking and canal system that parts of it are still plainly
visible today. Turnbull likened the waterworks to the
Egyptian system, declaring that "this is new to American
planters and is talked of as Chimeral; but as I have seen the
utility of such modes of culture...I go on, being certain of
succeeding" (Landsdowne Mss. Vol 88, p. 157: Turnbull to
Lord Shelbourne, 3 October 1774). Presumably he estab-
lished a closely woven system of canals and was utilizing one
or more of the bucket-leveraging systems in use on the Nile,
the shadoof, sakia, or the Archimedes screw.
Actually from the time of the first plantation in the area,
Mt. Oswald, an elaborate water-management system was a
necessary part of every plantation complex, as it is in all wet
riceland culture. However, some of the ditches may have
been used for a purpose other than draining or watering
crops. DeBraham (De Vorsey 1971:215) mentions the
digging of a three-foot (one-meter) wide trench around
indigo fields. In trying to cross the barren ditch, caterpillars,
the main scourge of indigo plants, die for lack of moisture.
In a flight of fancy he reasoned that the dead caterpillars
would contain the essence of the indigo; therefore if dried
and powdered they could be processed into the blue dye. In
looking at the ditch and diking layout at Mt. Oswald, Piatek
(1992:58) concludes in his archaeological survey report that
at least one of the ditches on the plantation may have been
used for indigo caterpillar control.
The water-control system at New Smyrna, as noted by a
late-nineteenth-century observer, was elaborate. A. E.
Douglass, in his archaeological investigations in the New
Smyrna area in the 1880s, found and dug some puzzling
mounds. He reported, "we found not a thing [in digging six
mounds near Spruce Creek], no pottery, no burial, no relic"
(Douglass 1881:24). These hillocks may well have been
spoil heaps from canal excavations and not of Indian origin
One mound in Rock House Hammock, as the north section
of the plantation came to be called in later years, was 6 m (18
ft) high and 40 m (130 ft) in diameter at the base. Douglass
described it as "peculiarly constructed" and "unique" since
less than a meter (2-3 ft) from the top there was a platform
ofheavy coquina blocks (the aggregate shellstone that under-
veins a long strip of Florida's Atlantic coast). Underneath,
this excavator found the soil as "heavy packed as brick"
(Douglass 1881-1883:45). Various speculations could be
made about this mound. Because it was close to one of the
major canals ofthe plantation irrigation system, the base was
most likely composed of accumulated spoil from extensive
ditching work. The platform then might have been the site
for the windmill that William Watson, the head carpenter,
charged 300 for constructing on the plantation (Treasury
Documents 77/7 ), or it might have been useful as a promon-
tory for the overseers to keep tabs on the ongoing work in the
fields, while avoiding some of the mosquitoes. C. B. Moore,
another amateur archaeologist, excavated some of these same
mounds more than a decade later and confirmed the conclu-
sions of A. E. Douglass (Moore 1896:18).
The layout of the British plantations in Florida followed
the model of those in the Carolinas, which in turn often
followed the layouts developed in Ireland in the seventeenth
century (Brannon 1992). Three more or less distinct areas
were to be found. The owner's complex comprised the
manor house, various outbuildings, and often the overseer's
or manager's house. The production area included store-
houses, mills, craft facilities (blacksmiths, wheelwrights,
etc.). The shipping wharf was positioned near this working
complex. Lastly the slave or workers' houses were set in
rows at a distance from the other two complexes, although
the overseer and driver houses often were placed strategically
for surveillance. On an indigo plantation, the vats were
installed at intervals in the fields, about one set to each seven
or eight acres (2.8 to 3.2 hectares) of indigo.
Variations from this triangular model were common
depending on landscape and soil factors, waterways, distribu-
tion of cropping areas, and planner preferences. Turnbull,
for example, chose to string his workers out every 64 m (210
ft) along the estuary in a strip 13 km (8 mi) in length. He
referred to this as like a Chinese plantation (Landsdowne
Mss. Vol.88:f. 155). In settling his white worker families on
an acre (.4 hectare) of land on the water, it may have been
TnE~ ~~ ~ (~~D NmooxGs 00n 4) 11
9 991 Vot 52 1-2
Cnirrn., U.. m-AA ..IncflYnL rV 1hi Cnn.
the plan that they receive land stretching westward at the end
of their indenture periods. This is a speculation only, but on
another southern plantation, Julianton, near Darien, Georgia,
the slave housing also was in a long line close to the water-
way (Joyner 1991:66-67); so it may have been one pattern
known to the British, especially if it was desired that the
workers have direct access to the water from their dwellings.
After Governor Grant left the province because of his
health, acting governor John Moultrie in assessing the
cropping noted that "Indigo, rice, sugar and some other
articles...have violently seized the attention and detain it for
the present." He thought that "tar and pitch are possibilities
but they will have to be put off." He was delighted that rice
could be cropped twice in the year and mentions corn as a
"staple" and praises the "good provision crops" being grown
in East Florida (CO 5/552:85-119, Moultrie to Hillsborough,
8 August 1771; 23 May 1771). Several years later, seeking
to persuade the planters to diversify, he reported to the
British authorities that he was "trying to get them to grow
more rice" as the climate and soil were suited to rice culture
(CO 5/553:46-47, Moultrie to Dartmouth, 16 May 1773). He
was delighted that "Mr. Elliott is experimenting with sugar"
and reported that Elliott had planted 60-70 acres (24-28
hectares) of cane (CO 5/553, Moultrie to Dartmouth, 19
Crops did well in East Florida until 1774 when a severe
drought set in. Added to the fact that the soil was beginning
to wear out from overplanting, this trick of nature spelled
disaster for the planters. For example, indigo exports from
the New Smryna plantation fell from 10,262 lbs (4654 kg) in
1773 to 1633 lbs (741 kg) in 1774. The summer of 1775
brought some rains allowing for a modest increase to 1948
lbs (883 kg). Augmentation of the canal infrastructure and
use of some of the ditches for irrigation rather than drainage
helped some during the drought. Amelioration of the severe
weather, however, probably accounted for the rebound to
successful cropping as evidenced by the 6390 lbs (2898 kg)
shipped from the New Smyrna plantation in 1776 (CO
Nevertheless, before the British Period ended, the planta-
tions south of St. Augustine were abandoned or ended up
being worked in a minimal way. Competition with the
Indians for scarce resources was one of the problems. These
Native Americans were no longer the original inhabitants,
as most of the indigenous groups had been decimated by
disease, and the few remaining Timucua had retreated to
Cuba with the Spanish. Filling the vacuum were Lower
Creeks who had moved down from Alabama to take up
residence in the center of the state. These were the ones later
called Seminoles. Taking lessons from the Euro-Americans,
they had moved heavily into cattle raising. The Creeks did
not have a clear understanding of their access to the lands
south of St. Augustine. As De Vorsey (1961:27-47) has
noted, the Indians lacked "map sense," that is, their notion
of territory was flexible and not related to fixed boundaries.
The Creeks insisted that they had lent the Spanish a coastal
ribbon of land as far as the tidal flow extended and expected
the English to honor this understanding as well. Unlike the
Indian-British boundary in other sections of the south, the
boundary in East Florida was never officially demarcated
after of the Picalota treaties of 1765 and 1767. Thus, ques-
tions of exact territorial limits remained problematical (De
The Creek resented the changes to the landscape that
British settlement had brought. Governor Grant's skill in
negotiating with the Indians helped initially, but he left the
province in 1772. Several years later, the drought of 1774-
1775 brought these Native Americans to the coast to exploit
the salt-marsh grasses to feed their stock, and to make off
with plantation cattle as well. On February 14, 1774, two
plantation owners, John Ross and W. Makdougall, wrote to
then acting governor John Moultrie to report on depredations
made at the store of John Kean by the Creeks. Concerned
that the South Mosquito River would be next, they asked for
help, reporting that they had "neither arms, nor ammunition
worth mentioning" (Ross and Makdougall to Moultrie,
But it was the American Revolution that really spelled the
end of the southern Florida plantations of the English Period.
Spain eventually sided with the American colonies to the
north. East Florida, having remained loyal to the mother
country, was an easy target for Caribbean-based Spanish
privateers, and where better to attack than in an area of
scattered plantations that represented part of East Florida's
As a matter of fact, somewhat earlier, the New Smyrna
plantation inadvertently became part ofa spy pipeline. Spain,
chagrined at losing the Floridas, undertook clandestine
operations early in the British Period, with every hope of
regaining the province by force if necessary. Several citizens
from the First Spanish Period had remained in St. Augustine,
notably Luciano de Herrera, ostensibly to help clear up the
land grants and sales at the change of flags. In actuality,
they were keeping close watch on the military establishment
and fortifications, in case Spain moved to regain the colony
by force. It happened that the priests who had come from
Minorca with the Turnbull colony had left abruptly, without
time to secure permission or proper religious faculties for
their ministry in the East Florida. It also happened that
Cuban fishermen continued to ply the waters of the east coast
of Florida, as was customary during the First Spanish Period.
They became the couriers for letters to the Bishop in Havana
from Fr. Pedro Camps, but it was easy to enclose military
intelligence information in the same packets. Accordingly,
some of the intelligence messages are included in the bundles
with the correspondence containing the requests by Fr. Pedro
Camps for legitimization of the Church of San Pedro at New
Smyrna and entreaties for holy oils and other religious
necessities (Archivo General de Indias, Santo Domingo
The British authorities had an inkling of this, and as a
consequence deported Fr. Bartholome Casasnovas, the other
priest in the Turnbull colony, for spy activity, although he
averred that he was expelled because he dared to complain to
Ullo~u~Mn~nlnmPE m rlrrrlmrr r~ppn~np
TUE FLOID ANHRPOO( 1ST 199 VoL 52(1-2
Dr. Turnbull about the abuses that the colonists were
enduring on the plantation.
The first serious break in the plantation settlements
occurred because the Minorcans, being of Spanish origin,
were suspected of revolutionary sympathies. The then
governor, Patrick Tonyn, certainly no friend of Andrew
Turnbull, eager to cap offany Spanish loyalty and recruit the
Minorcan men into the English militia, apparently floated
the rumor that the colonists would never receive their
promised grants because they were Roman Catholic.3 It was
easy, then, to encourage them to seek sanctuary in St.
Augustine, which they did while Turnbull was conveniently
away in England trying to get the governor removed from
office. The dramatic exodus of the workers from the planta-
tion and the long, hot walk to St. Augustine took place in the
summer of 1777. By that time the King's Road, contracted
for and built from Matanzas swamp to south of New Smyrna
by Robert Bissett (Adams et al. 1997), served to supplement
transportation by water.
In 1779, the buildings at Bissett's plantation, Mount
Plenty, were destroyed by a Spanish privateer. The following
years saw the abandonment of all of the other plantations.
Those who had not moved their slaves, had them carried off
by Spanish freebooters. After the American Revolution, the
huge Tory influx, unable to be accommodated in St. Augus-
tine, spilled over into the vacant houses in the Mosquitoes.
As far as is known, no cash crops were planted by this new
group, and in any case, the time was too short before the end
of the British Period. In 1783, by treaty, not warfare, East
Florida was retroceded to Spain, and the Loyalists resident in
the colony chose to go to other British possessions, usually
During the entire British Period, aside from the nucleus of
elite resident plantation owners in control of province affairs,
very little of an inter-plantation white culture developed
because of the shortness of the time and the absenteeism of
most of the owners. The record is sketchy as to whether the
slaves developed a social community of any extent. How-
ever, the Mediterraneans of the New Smyrna colony, gener-
ally called the "Minorcans," as a linguistic isolate, devel-
oped a cohesiveness that served them well. Marriages and
remarriages as well as godparent exchanges helped them to
develop a community base while they were still on the
plantation. Then, when the province changed hands and
almost all of the British left, they and some of the blacks
constituted nearly all of the remaining population of St.
Augustine and East Florida (Griffin 1991:111-112).
Thus, the first experimental period of grand-scale agricul-
ture came to an end. With so many outside factors affecting
the plantation corridor, it is not fair to judge the plantations
as failures. Carving plantations in unknown territory is far
different from conducting farming operations on established
lands. DeBrahm called those coming to East Florida and
other wilderness areas in the New World to establish planta-
tions "Emigrants and Adventurers" and advised those on
such frontier quests of some of the factors that needed to
influence their decisions (De Vorsey 1971:209-237).
Judging by the exports and the amount of land cleared,
plantation production, even unicropping, showed great
promise during the brief 15-year period of extensive cultiva-
tion. East Florida indigo was of higher quality than that
from the Carolinas, usually bringing three times the price in
the export market. This success may have been due to the
variety of indigo grown and the more congenial climate,
although Chaplin (1993:202) believes this superior quality
was due to the skill of the processors.
As an unintended consequence, the Minorcans, as the
entire group came to be called, had served a valuable nine-
year farming internship in the Mosquitoes area, gaining
knowledge about soil and climate that was very useful once
they began farming near St. Augustine. It is very likely, too,
considering the difficulty experienced by the incoming
Spanish authorities in recruiting settlers, that had the Minor-
cans not been the core, white population of the province, the
Second Spanish Period might have come to an end much
sooner. Likewise, some enterprising Minorcans subsequently
obtained grants from the Spanish authorities and became
plantation owners themselves. Thus, parliament's original
intent of colonization through plantation development was
partially fulfilled, although England did not reap the benefit.
The actual alteration of the landscape in the plantation
area was less than might be expected. The grants were
spaced out because of their sizes. Land clearing was a long
and tedious process, even when the tree girdling or the slash-
and-burn methods were used. This factor, coupled with the
unusable sections of every grant, meant that only a small part
of each plantation was actually cleared. An examination of
the land claim records reveals that only an average of 4 to
10 % of land was cleared for the growing of plants, although
cattle were commonly pastured on uncleared pine lands, and
indigo could be grown on partially cleared acreage. Suitable
land for cultivation was not the only determinant of the
extent of clearing. The number of workers on a plantation
also was a factor. The amount of land cleared on four of the
larger plantations in the Mosquitoes area amounted to about
two-plus acres (.81 hectares) per slave listed in the land
claims. (The above figures are based on memorials listed in
Siebert 1972, Volume 11). Doubtless the percentage of
cleared land would have increased had East Florida contin-
ued as a British colony.
The Second Spanish Period
For almost two decades after the Floridas were retroceded
to Spain, the fields in the Halifax-Mosquitoes section lay
vacant, gone to weeds. Not a bad circumstance in one respect
because this fallowing regenerated the fertility of the soil.
The Spanish, following the lead of the English, planned a
plantation-based economy, but they had trouble recruiting
settlers who would swear loyalty to Spain, including an
adherence to the Catholic religion. After 1790 the authori-
ties relented and opened up settlement to non-Catholic and
non-Hispanic settlers. Beginning in 1801, the southern
corridor again became a plantation setting. Except for
THE FLORIDA ANTnROPOIxO IST
1999 Vot. 5211-21
f. Z- M.- d, n ..flhj Cnn.
General Joseph Hemandez, a Minorcan descendent, the
owners of the large plantations here under consideration
were all Anglos. Other less-affluent descendants of this
Mediterranean colony resettled or attempted to resettle on the
abandoned New Smyrna land with which they were familiar.
John Cavedo, Antonio Andreu, Esteban Arnau, and Joseph
Sanchez each claimed ownership of small plots of 100 to 200
acres (40-80 hectares) there. Likewise, some of the English
land owners who had retreated to the Bahamas and found
farming unprofitable on those rocky islands returned from
exile to take up lands in the Mosquitoes.
The land parcels were still sizable, averaging about 2000
acres (809 hectares), but were much smaller than the grants
of the British Period. Thus, a different kind of plantation
complex evolved. The owners and their families usually
lived on their properties, the exception being those who had
several parcels and chose to build their manor houses on the
one closest to St. Augustine. Even these multiple-grant
landowners, such as John Moultrie, usually had a house of
sorts on their more southerly properties, usable for the time
spent on that land.
Confirming ownership of a grant could be a complicated
procedure. When James Russell applied in 1821 to confirm
the grant purchased earlier by his father, by that time
deceased, more than twenty documents were required. Then,
still using the Spanish custom, a colorful procedure took
place to actively take possession:
...we went to the place aforesaid, riding about on horseback;
said James Russell by the hand, I [Francisco Jose Fatio] put
possession of the lands referred to in my commission.
There he called
out aloud, pulling up the grass, threw up sand in the air,
of trees, and did other things indicating possession...
[American State Papers 1821:IV, 693].
John Russell, the father, an enterprising fellow, secured
the original plantation in an unusual way. Hearing of East
Florida's need of a ship, he built a new shallow-draft
coastwise schooner in the Bahamas, naming it appropriately
enough Perseverance. He then traveled to East Florida in
the boat, transporting his family, slaves, and necessary
equipment. There he worked out a trade with the Spanish
governor, by which he secured a promising grant and the
province acquired a reliable boat.
While Spain continued the plantation focus begun by the
English, indigo cultivation was almost entirely abandoned in
favor of cotton (Table I). The growing of indigo was not
encouraged as Spain was securing indigo from her Caribbean
colonies, and England, after the loss of her colonies in North
America, looked to India for the growing and manufacture of
the blue dye.
Cotton as a crop is sometimes unpredictable. It needs
many hours of strong sunlight, certainly in great supply in
Florida, but rain, even a small amount at the wrong time, can
produce cotton of an inferior grade. While cleared hammock
land was ideal, cotton, like corn, was grown on a wide range
of soils. Cotton was easily grown on the lands earlier cleared
for indigo. The warm climate meant that four cuttings could
be made by September and in good years a fifth could be
made in December.
Actually, Turnbull's own cotton plantation in the British
Period was one of the first in what is now the southern
United States, as cotton growing on any scale did not begin
in earnest until the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Prior to that time it was grown mainly for home consumption
as, on the world market, linen was used to make lawn, the
preferred fabric. Turnbull hired John Earle, an early innova-
tor in the growing and processing of cotton, to manage his
private plantation. John Lee Williams, in discussing various
kinds of cotton, mentions that "green seed cotton is said to
have been introduced in Georgia by a Dr. Turnbull" (Wil-
liams 1837:63). Since this is a variety cultivated in the
Mediterranean, particularly in Smyrna, it is possible that
Andrew Turnbull imported the seed when he brought his
colonists to the New World.
On another front, Turnbull's oldest son, Nicol (Nicholas)
Turnbull, later settled on Skidaway Island, Georgia and
began to grow cotton on such a scale that he is credited with
being the first cotton grower in the south to export his crop.
Nichol Turnbull, by his own account written in 1799 and
printed in the Georgia Historical Quarterly in 1917, began
extensive cotton growing on his Brighton Hill plantation and
eventually exported his crop to England as early as 1787. In
a grandiose manner he recorded, "I declare myself to be the
first producer of cotton planting since the Revolution"
(Turnbull 1917:42). He does credit the notes and materials
of John Earle, which were given to Andrew Turnbull when,
as an overseer, Earle planned and implemented the growing
of cotton on the Turnbull plantation near New Smyrna.
Thomas Spalding of Sapelo Island tells us that young
Turnbull grew sea island cotton (black seed cotton as it was
called), the seed given to him by a South Carolina gentleman
in the late 1780s (Coulter 1940:67). The cotton grown on
the plantations south of St. Augustine in Spanish times was
largely, but not entirely, the sea island variety so well
adapted to coastal environments in warm climates.
As happened in other cotton-growing areas of that period,
a cohesive white planter community took shape, an associa-
tion that continued and flourished after Florida became a
territory of the United States. Writers of both periods take
pains to list nearby plantations and speak of the neighbors as
though they were on familiar terms. One woman, widowed
twice, was the wife of three different planters in the neigh-
borhood. Another, a single woman, was said to have turned
down two offers of marriage from nearby planters. A young
man's culture developed, wild, it seems, for there was much
drinking. It was a grouping that carried over into the United
States Territorial Period. They called themselves, most
appropriately, "The Mosquito Roarers."
Ambrose Hull, a prominent planter of this period, will
serve as a good example of life on the plantation frontier, for
~l1l~~ln ~LlrllM-I~IVUVVLVW LNIL~~VI~ ~V~LN -I
THE FWRIA AN7Hnon00 I
his and his second wife's letters survive, and the later claim-
compensation documents attest to his plantation activities
(Rutherford 1952a:324-340; 1952b:33-48; Spanish Land
Grants in Florida, Vol III, # 92, 93). Hull came from
Connecticut with his wife, Abigail, and her sister, Stella,
who later became Hull's wife when Abigail died. He
received a 2600-acre (1052-hectare) grant in 1801, situated
in the location of the original New Smyrna plantation. In
fact, he built his mansion on the ruins of the large coquina
structure still evident on the bayfront there. His was a
sizable undertaking as he brought craftsmen and laborers
with him and many necessary supplies, including cotton
The primary crop on Hull's plantation was cotton but he
grew corn, rice, vegetables, and experimented with sugar
production. He found olive trees growing on the bayfront, a
legacy of the Turnbull era, and decided to name his planta-
tion Mount Olive. He had just begun his endeavors when he
suffered an Indian attack, causing a loss of $3000. He
excused the Indians saying that their annual receipt of gifts
from the Spanish authorities had not been forthcoming.
Undaunted by these depredations, he made a new start. He
was initially convinced that mosquitoes and sand flies were
a worse menace than human enemies.
How it came about is unclear, but at this time a group of
Bahamian planters approached Hull and asked to settle in a
cluster around him so that their numbers would discourage
further attacks by the Seminole. They took up lands in 1803
and remained near the Hull family until 1809, forming a
planter community within the larger planter community.
After that, in times of Indian peace, and partly as the result
of disputed land boundaries along Spruce Creek, these
settlers dispersed and obtained other grants, some in the
Tomoka section, others near Spring Garden on the St. Johns
In 1805, Hull wrote in a letter to the Reverend Seth Hart
in New York, his brother-in-law, a full description of his
land and the neighbors, giving the assurance that no Indian
was closer than 100 mi (160 km) and the snakes seemed to
have disappeared as well, probably killed by the burning that
took place with the land clearing. He gave the following
We are encompassed on three sides, with cultivated fields.
and on the fourth,
fronting a beautiful arm of the sea eastward. interspersed
with Small Islands
for about two miles, which we overlook, and our prospect is
bounded by a
broad horizon closing on the great Atlantic And the
population of most genteel
families, including their slaves, within the compass of four
miles of us is between
five & Six hundred beside a continuation of settlements
from this place to
St. Augustine, and about twenty miles to the southward
which are almost
daily increasing [Rutherford 1952a:332].
Writing two weeks later to his sister-in-law, Ruth Hart, he
named some of the families:
North of us is a Mr. Kerr & lady Mr. Ormond & lady Mr.
Munro & lady Mr. McHardy & lady all from Nasau [sic]
N-Providence they have handsome plantations and nearly
100 Negroes each south a few rods is a Capt. Ladd &
lady...further southward, tho but a short walk is a Mr. Dumant
[Douglas Dummett}, Capt Martin, Mr. Bretts Madison
He reported that he had ten slaves working on the fields,
some of the others presumably engaged in building the house
and in raising much needed provisions. He mentions the
curious fact that "my land is so situated, that I am under the
necessity of Commencing on the poorest." In this case he
must have begun his cropping in the back dune area in the
rear of his house instead of in the more fertile hammock and
fresh-water swamp areas to the west, referred to then and for
many years as "Turnbull's Back Swamp."
The relationship between these Anglo planters and the
Spaniards in the province is puzzling. Apparently, many of
the Anglo settlers looked forward to the United States taking
possession of the territory. Hull wrote confidently to his
brother-in-law that such was expected. In the meantime,
adapting to life under a foreign government must be endured.
He speaks of "balls" that they planned to attend in St.
Augustine, yet Stella made fun of the Spanish in one of her
letters saying the fact of her letters not arriving in the north
had something to do with the courier being Spanish. "I sent
them [her letters north] to Charleston by a spaniard [not
capitalized], who had many names to carry to wit Don
Manual, Antonio, Fernando, Dominic, de Martinella of
Castile of Old Spain subject to his most Catholic Majesty"
(Rutherford 1952a:329). Her misunderstanding of Spanish
ways later put her in a precarious position. She embarked for
St. Martins by way of Charleston, she thought, only to be
taken to Havana instead by the Spanish captain. In the
meantime her relatives were afraid that she had met with
misfortune or even death as American ships were being
attacked by the English at the time, and were much relieved
when she made her way back to New Smyrna.
Since cotton could be grown and processed equally well on
large or small holdings, the layout differed greatly from
plantation to plantation just as it did for the cotton planta-
tions developed in Georgia and the Carolinas (Joyner
1991:33-39). Unusual was the grand mansion of the Hull's
called "the castle." More common were the log-and-pal-
metto structures such as the John Bunch homestead bought
by the Dummetts on their arrival in 1825. The rest of the
arrangement of the plantation was probably of a scale and
quality with the manor house.
Although cotton plantations began in East Florida at the
time that machines to replace human and animal labor were
being developed in the north, hand picking, then milling of
the seed on a hand-operated two-wheel device (ginning), and
finally, pressing of the soft stuff into shipable bundles by
human or animal power, was likely the processing method
THE FLORIDA ANTHR T
9 991 Vot 52(I-2)
GluIFN HALIFAX-MosQUrITES PLANTATION CORRIDOR 17
used. Hand work of this kind was easily accomplished in
either a central location or in scattered work areas. Labor on
a cotton plantation using hand processing was slow and
somewhat arduous, but far less so than with a rice crop, the
most labor intensive and difficult of any of the major planta-
A minor fashion arose in naming a few of the plantations
with an Egyptian motif. Two were named Damieta and
Rosetta, after prominent tributaries of the Nile, and one of
the boundary lines in the Tomoka section was named Little
Egypt. Fascination with Egypt and things Egyptian came
about even before the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon at the
end of the eighteenth century. Also, Egypt had long been
known for its production of choice cotton. Then too, the
Mosquitoes area and the Tomoka area, with their many
creeks, rivers, and islets, were each shaped somewhat like a
delta. Both the Damieta and Rosetta plantations were
actually on tributaries to the main river as were their coun-
terparts in Egypt.
After the beginning of the nineteenth century, East
Florida, unable to prevent penetration of its northern frontier,
experienced a spillover of frontiersmen from Georgia and
theCarolinas. These squatter-settlers were sometimes joined
in their thrust to take over Florida by the English and United
States settlers who had legitimately secured property from
the Spanish crown. A concerted attempt to take the pro-
vince, clandestinely sanctioned by the President of the United
States, resulted in the so-called Patriot War of 1812. The
plantation owners in the south corridor did not suffer as
much pillage and devastation as those north of St. Augus-
tine, although a small band of Patriots made the mistake of
landing at John Addison's plantation. They had been spotted
heading south from- St. Augustine, so a squadron of dra-
goons was sent to intercept them. According to Ormond
(1941:7) "They armed all the Negro men and lay in ambush
for the thieves at Addison's landing." All the invaders
except a small boy left in charge of their boat were killed.
Hull sustained serious losses in 1812 when his plantation
buildings were destroyed. He estimated his total losses at
$12,540 with the loss of the house being $2000 of that
amount. The Hull family retreated to St. Augustine, as did
other families, then eventually left East Florida, but retained
ownership of the plantation for some time.
These "patriots" were considered as mere rabble or "plun-
derers" by the substantial planters in the south plantation
corridor. Ambrose Hull referred to them as a "parcel of
Poltroons and Vagabonds" (Rutherford 1952b:41). But one
landowner, Captain Ladd, appears to have been a maverick.
He was unusual in that he imported some twenty indentured
Germans to farm his land, although they revolted and
deserted after the first year, leaving a remaining work force
of forty-nine slaves. Ladd was considered by his neighbors
to be a secretive individual. In a severe breach of etiquette
for that time, when the vessel, Athenaise, was shipwrecked
near his plantation, he steered the castaways away from his
house, giving them Indian corn and telling them where
nearby oyster beds were located. Eventually Governor
Enrique White evicted Ladd for political activities. Whether
he was a spy for the United States remains problematical as
his grant was not confirmed when Florida became a U.S.
territory(Spanish Land Grant Records, Unconfirmed claims,
William Ladd, 1828).
Problems came from another quarter as well. In 1815
plantation owner Robert McHardy brought a case against a
67- year-old free black man from Charleston named Antonio
Williams who was preaching Methodism to the slaves at the
Mosquitoes. Other plantation owners filed depositions to the
effect that Williams, an Anabaptist, was not only preaching
a non-Catholic religion, which was against the law, but also
was inciting slaves to run away to the Indian nation (East
Florida Papers 1815, Criminal Proceedings: reel 126 #5)
Even though Spanish laws and customs regarding slavery
had traditionally been more lenient than that of the English-
speaking nations, this potential loss of capital in the form of
valuable slaves was a serious threat to plantation viability.
The United States Territorial Period
Ultimately, it became clear that Spain, busy with revolts
occurring in her other colonies in the Americas and unable
to populate the Floridas with those loyal to Spain, could no
longer expect to maintain her precarious hold on the Florida
provinces. As a result, East Florida was transferred by treaty
to the United States rather than being won by force of arms.
While the shift from Spanish to United States ownership
in 1821 brought about some abrupt changes in the St.
Augustine and Fernandina sections, the transition in the
plantation corridor was less dramatic. Since most of the
owners were of Anglo extraction they were congenial in the
new setup, and aside from proving up on their grants, they
were no doubt happy to be rid of Spanish land policies and
laws, as well as religious restraints, and pleased to be
working in a more familiar format.
By the end of the 37-year Spanish regime, another genera-
tion, or in the case of James Ormond III, a third generation,
was continuing the plantation activity. However, after many
years of experimentation during the British and Spanish
periods, sugar cane rapidly replaced cotton as the principal
crop (Table I). Part of the reason for this was a decline in
cotton prices on the world market in the 1820s (Sitterson
1953:31). As Thomas Spalding mentioned, sugar raising
fluctuated with the price of cotton (Coulter 1940:126).
Sugar cane grows to best advantage on rich, moist soil,
under sunny skies in a tropical climate. Pine barrens and
high sandy soils were definitely undesirable. The Tomoka-
Mosquitoes corridor, with its many freshwater swamps and
warm climate, was ideal. The main problems faced by cane
growers were weeds, maintaining the fertility of the soil, and
insects and disease. During the first few years several
owners, notably John Bulow, Joseph Woodruff, and Jose
Hernandez, grew both cotton and sugar, but by 1826 sugar
cane became dominant.
Sugar and its byproducts, molasses and rum, were in
demand on both sides of the Atlantic basin, and were
T F A OOOGIST
Io VE LORIA NH P- 199 Vt 5212
substitutes for money in the slave trade. As sugar consump-
tion grew, and as rum came to be a preferred alcoholic
beverage, more and more subtropical lands were brought
under cultivation. With the encouragement of the United
States government, cane growing in Florida was expected to
rival that of Louisiana. The conversion to that one crop,
almost at the expense of other cash crops, was dramatic.
Corn, frequently a provision crop, was a distant second.
Although it is infrequently mentioned in the documents as a
cash crop during this era, corn was easily grown on the high
sandy plots not useful for sugar cane. James Ormond III
speaks casually of the small corn grinders that could be heard
running continuously in the slave quarters, as if this were an
ordinary part of life on a sugar plantation (Ormond 1941:6).
Cattle raising was easily accommodated as cattle can be
pastured on a variety of areas not used for other crops.
Thomas Spalding,4 who was instrumental in early experi-
mentation with sugar production in Georgia, wrote in 1829
of a possible crop succession for fresh-water swamp areas.
He believed that "a beautiful series of crops is produced by
first Rice, second Cotton, third Cane." He further elaborated
cotton delights in the firmness and adhesion of the soil it
grows upon...while at the same time the constant cultivation
it requires, and from shading so completely the ground, its
roots pulverizes and loosens it very much, and becomes upon
swamp-lands an admirable preparation for Sugar cane. Rice
every fourth or fifth year would be necessary to keep the
ground from sinking, and provide for it in the water that
nourishment which nature intended. (Coulter 1940:120-121 ].
Perhaps such crop succession, or a variation of it, took
place at the beginning of the sugar-growing period in
Florida, but the extensive lands on Florida grants probably
led to periods of field fallowing instead. Using animal
manure as fertilizer also came to the fore during this era.
Cane is usually planted in October and November in the
northern hemisphere, sprouts in early spring, and is cut in
November and December. Under good conditions an acre
can produce up to 907 kg (2000 lbs). It requires little work,
aside from some weeding, on the part of its labor force, until
the intense harvesting and manufacturing takes place.
Unlike most other crops, sugar cane is replanted during the
active harvest season. Although it was not necessary to
replant each year as resproutings of diminishing quality,
called "ratoons," were successful for one and sometimes
more years, when it was replanted the work had to be done
during the harvest season. The naturalist John James
Audubon, upon observing the incipient sugar plantation
complex south of St. Augustine at the busy time in Decem-
ber, concluded that "Sugar cane will prosper and perhaps do
well, but the labor necessary to produce a good crop is great!
great!! great!!!" (Proby 1974:25).
Often other workers needed to be recruited for the concen-
trated work. Anna Dummett (1949:9-10) mentions that:
In addition to our Negroes, the Indians, some forty in number,
would sometimes work for us during the 'grinding season'
which is the busy time of year on a sugar plantation. In
connection with the sugar house there was a large distillery.
The Indians were very fond of the taste of rum and would
often help themselves.
She continues by describing the way that Cudjoe, "the head
man among the Negroes," annoyed with their free imbibing,
rigged up boards over the sunken molasses vats in such a
way that the unsuspecting Indians tumbled into the sticky
stuff. Once Anna herself had such a mishap.
While the cane was harvested close to the ground by hand
with special knives and then stripped by unskilled workmen,
the rest of the manufacturing process required more special-
ized workmen than did the processing of cotton, rice, and
corn. Also, the processing was more akin to manufacturing
than readying any of the other cash crops for market.
Complicated and very expensive machinery was needed.
Four parts were commonly included in a sugar factory the
mill for crushing the juice out of the cane stalks, the boiling
house to reduce the syrup to sugar, the curing house where
molasses was drained from the sugar, and the distillery
where molasses was made into rum. While it was not
absolutely necessary, cane planters were well advised to
include the distillery, so that in case of early freezing weather
in the winter the crop could be salvaged for manufacturing
The excessive cost of this equipment meant that many
plantation owners went into heavy debt to implement their
enterprises. In the case of Jamaica, known for its sugar
plantations, Sangster (1973:16) notes, "The cost of building
a sugar factory and buying the many slaves needed to operate
it and keep it supplied with cane was high." In territorial
Florida the high investment needed to begin and run a sugar
plantation led to some convoluted dealings mortgages,
remortgages, partnerships that sometimes were abruptly
terminated, trust formations, hiring out of the slaves,
swapping or surrendering of plantation lands to pay debts
(Siebert 1957:312-319). With the inception of sugar produc-
tion, capitalist dealings were in full swing.
This indebtedness plus crop failures and other problems,
such as the length of time needed to get a crop started,
sometimes led to the collapse of a sugar plantation venture.
Henry N. Cruger and William DePeyster borrowed $10,000
to buy the machinery to begin their sugar plantation sited on
the old Turnbull grant. They defaulted on their loan and
were forced to borrow another $4000 to stave off their
creditors (Bathe 1955:109). This amount of money was a
fortune at that time and shows that northern lenders had
great hopes for the future of cane production in Florida.
Indian troubles plus money problems led to the demise ofthis
plantation, and some of the machinery was bought by
another plantation owner.
This story illustrates an interesting progression on the
same spot. The coquina ruins on the bay front at New
Smyrna were the remains of a building built during the
Turnbull indigo era; Ambrose Hull, the cotton planter, later
built his mansion on the foundation; and Cruger and DePeys-
9 991 Vot 52(1-2)
GRIFFIN HALIFAX-MOSQITOES PLANTATION CORRIDOR 19
ter scavenged coquina blocks from the same structure to
build their sugar-processing building, the ruin of which still
stands near the town of New Smyrna Beach.
During the early days of sugar growing in Florida oxen or
other draft animals usually provided the power to run the
sugar manufacturing equipment, although according to the
naturalist John James Audubon, who toured some of the
Florida plantations, Colonel Rees used water power from the
rapid flowing spring at Spring Garden on the St. Johns River
to grind his cane (Audubon 1879:234). However, by 1825 to
1830, the larger planters in Florida were using steam-driven
machinery, a vast improvement over the much slower
animal, or wind, or water power. A serious problem arose,
however, when the elaborate machinery broke down because
it was difficult to repair. The distance from those knowledge-
able about this newly invented equipment presented a serious
impediment to production.
Another problem for sugar planters was the need to recruit
experienced overseers. Rice and sugar planters needed
efficient, knowledgeable managers to achieve successful
crops, the former mostly because of the delicate staging of its
growth and the latter because of the processing, especially
the proper use of the machinery. Since resident owners were
common in the territorial era in Florida, the owner often was
the one with the experience and judgment to see a sugar crop
through, and, thus, the overseer was dispensed with or was
a labor manager only.
Sugar was a market-driven crop. By the time that produc-
tion was started in the plantation corridor several factors
were operating. World markets were more sophisticated than
they had been in prior decades, shipping was more regular-
ized, boat and ship design had improved, and, of overriding
significance, rum had become legal tender in the slave trade.
Each year a judgment call was needed as to the amount of
rum to be distilled. From reports indicating the prevalence
of drunkenness, it seems clear that some of the rum was not
As in the Second Spanish Period, most of the sugar
plantations averaged around 809 hectares (2000 acres) and
were manned by 100 or more slaves. The largest plantation,
consisting of 1892 hectares (4675 acres), was bought by
Major Charles W. Bulow in 1821 from James Russell who,
a short time before, had proved up on the grant in the
colorful ceremony previously described. In three short years
John W. Bulow inherited the land after his father's death.
The Bulows were wealthy people, the German grandfather,
Baron Von Bulow, having established the family dynasty in
Charleston somewhat earlier (Butts 1985:51). The Bulow
plantation demonstrates the changeover from cotton produc-
tion to sugar cultivation, although cotton continued to be
grown on the plantation until its abandonment in 1836. It
operated on a grand scale and Bulow maintained a sizable
plantation house, two-and-a-half stories high, 19 by 12 m (62
by 40 ft) in size, with a wrap-around piazza. An extensive
library of books, mostly fiction, graced the inside. The rest
of the plantation was of a similar scale, with three or four
hundred slaves and an extensive sugar factory according to
James Ormond III, who as a young man lived at the Bulow
plantation for three or four years, presumably to learn
plantation management (Ormond 1941:4). A stone marked
"Bulow Ville, January 26, 1831" (Wilson 1945:240) attested
to the grandeur of the establishment.
On Christmas day of that same year Bulow entertained the
already famous naturalist John James Audubon who was on
a southern collecting trip. As a part of the visit they took a
camping tour in the six-oared bark (Audubon called it a
schooner) kept by Bulow for stylish travel up and down the
river. While the trip turned out rather unpleasant because of
the arrival of unexpected cold weather, Audubon praised his
host in a letter written to the Editor of the American Month-
ly Journal of Geology saying, "During the whole long stay
with Mr. Bulow, there was no abatement of his kindness, or
his unremitted efforts to make me comfortable, and to
promote my researches. I shall ever be grateful to one of the
most deserving and generous of men." ( Proby 1974:22). In
contrast, Audubon's stay at the plantation of Joseph Hernan-
dez was much less pleasant as the two never reached a
position of mutual understanding, nor did Hernandez convey
Audubon to Bulow's plantation, necessitating a 24 km (15
mi) walk on the part of the naturalist and his friends.
Perhaps nowhere in East Florida was the close interaction
of descendent peoples from three continents Europe,
Africa, and North America more marked than in the
plantation corridor. While a plantocracy did not develop
during the Second Spanish and Territorial periods as it did
in the British Period, the two sections, Mosquitoes and
Tomoka, became little empires on their own. At times a
certain frontier spirit prevailed.
Drinking was no little part of the association among the
men. Ormond (1941:6) speaks of Bulow as being "pretty
well educated, but very wild and dissipated, and soon after
the way of all such he died." Similarly, Samuel Williams
and Douglas Dummett (Thomas Dummett's son), who
established a plantation on the Indian River, were spoken of
as excessive drinkers. According to Hallock (1876:203),
Dummett was "known far and near as a hard drinker" but
"even in his cups I should say buckets never a word is
uttered regarding his seclusion from the world." He was
reported as being "ever the well-bred gentleman, be he drunk
or sober." The seclusion mentioned by Hallock may have
been occasioned by his atypical lifestyle, as he lived with a
black woman by whom he fathered four children.
The blacks, while typically in close association with the
whites in master-slave relationships, seem to have ordinarily
developed cohesive associations of their own. Ormond
pictures the way that the slaves maneuvered the task system
to their own economic and social advantage:
All sorts of labor on the plantation were portioned out so
much wood to be cut
down in clearing land so much in preparing the land for
planting so much
in hoeing or harvesting...so that each one knew in the
morning his or her
appointed task. and these tasks were so light that an
THE FLORIDA AMHROPOLOGIST 1999 VOL 52(1-2~
industrious hand could always
get through with them by two or three o'clock of the day,
and the rest of the
time was theirs to fish or hunt. or plow or plant as to them
seemed best (Ormond 1941:6].
Each black family was allotted a farm plot where, among
other crops, corn, sweet potatoes, peas, peanuts, sesame, and
taro, called "tannies" in Florida, were grown. Boat races, in
which both white and black men took part, the blacks as
oarsmen, the women and children of both colors as the
spectators, were a joint activity.
Because of the seasonal nature of sugar production,
planters found it efficient to grow other crops to take up the
slack in the nine months of the year when the slaves were not
engaged in sugar harvesting and processing. It was said that
slaves preferred sugar cane to any other crop. In the words
believed to be Spalding's it was flatly stated that sugar was
"a cheerful crop The health of the gangs of Negroes
employed, is much greater than any other" (Coul-
terl940:121). He was sure that feeding on the cane for three
months of the year led to better health and that they "multi-
plied" on a sugar-rich diet.
As an unusual feature, the blacks in this plantation
corridor were allowed to own canoes and firearms, a factor
that came in handy when Indian troubles began. During the
earlier years of the Territorial Period, relations between the
Native Americans and white and black residents were fairly
satisfactory, and were based on trading relationships and the
hiring of Indian labor at peak cropping times. The Indians
brought in venison and turkey, wild honey, and coontie
(Zamia), which was used like tapioca and also for bread, and
in the Fall drove in hogs and cattle. These were traded for
blankets, homespun cloths, calico, beads, and other trinkets.
At the ending of the trade there was a big celebration
including rum, that sometimes led to arguments, but no
Nevertheless some trouble was brewing as early as 1826
when those designating themselves as "planters and citizens
of that portion of East Florida laying [sic] South of St.
Augustine" petitioned the president of the United States,
complaining that the depredations of the Indians were
causing "losses and "alarms" including burning the woods,
killing cattle and pigs, and stealing provisions. The petition
asked for removal of the Indians from Florida and was
signed by, among others, Duncan McRae, T. H. Dummett,
John J. Bulow, Douglas Dummett, and Thomas Addison
(Carter 1956, Vol. XXV, October 1826:446-447).
Relations between the Seminoles on one hand and the
whites and blacks on the other changed quite rapidly in the
1830s. In the larger picture, the United States was pushing
forward with its efforts to remove the eastern Indians to
western territories. More particularly, in Florida, discon-
tented slaves often sought sanctuary with the Seminole. This
loss of expensive "property," was a matter of grave concern
for the white slave holders.
The Indians mobilized rapidly to forestall removal. The
Second Seminole War had begun. The early 1830s was a
disastrous time even before the war. The planters had
suffered from a fever outbreak (probably yellow fever) in
1831. Then in 1835 sugar prices took a plunge as more
sugar cane came under cultivation in the United States and
also because the country was heading toward the financial
crisis of 1837. To add to the problems, when hostilities
began in earnest in Florida, the planters were still reeling
from the severe freeze earlier in 1835 that ruined some of the
Because of prior cordial relations, several friendly Indians
warned one of the plantation families of impending hostili-
ties. The Indians arrived soon after at several of the planta-
tions, burning and looting as they went. Most of the families
fled to the Bulow plantation, the largest and most populous,
fearful of going further without military escort.
Major Benjamin Putnam was ordered south by General
Joseph Hernandez, who was then in charge of all of the
militia units in Florida and, incidentally, was probably
concerned about his own plantation. The detachment
planned to headquarter at the Bulow plantation, but in
contrast with the cordial reception of Audubon, Bulow
refused hospitality to General Putnam and his troops. The
plantation lord believed that he had good relations with the
Indians and, even if the worst happened, he was convinced
that he had enough slaves to defend himself against attack.
He even aimed an unloaded gun at some of the "invading"
units. The soldiers strong-armed their way in and set up
camp. Relations were so strained between Bulow and Putnam
that Bulow was put under house arrest and excluded from the
officers' mess at his own table. Earthworks were thrown up
and the already baled cotton was used as embankments
(Knetsch 1997:101-104). Against the owner's wishes the
plantation became a fortified town. For at least four weeks
the soldiers, the families from the other plantations, and
Bulow's own people, maybe as many as 500-800 individuals
all told, were in tenuous residence at Bulowville.
The Anderson/Dunlawton plantations were particular
targets of Seminole attack, and the two forces finally met in
what is known as the Battle of Dunlawton. The "Mosquito
Roarers," the local untrained group, was part of the militia.
According to James Ormond III, a member of that detach-
ment, these volunteers went wild at times, even scalping
dead Indians in imitation of the foe (Ormond 1941:9).
A few of the slaves escaped with the Indians. One eventu-
ally returned and was the first to report the Dade massacre in
the interior of the peninsula to the authorities. Some slaves
also were carried off against their will, but most continued to
fight alongside the soldiers. In fact, when the Indians were
winning at the Battle of Dunlawton and Major Putnam had
ordered his men to the boats, "the negro guide Ben" shamed
them into action again by yelling '"By God, Gentlemens, is
'on na' goin to run away from a parcel of dam lndians'"(Or-
mond 1941:9). Nonetheless, the battle was lost, the troops
eventually retreated to St. Augustine, and the Seminoles
burned and looted the coastal plantations. The elegant
volumes from the libraries of J. J. Bulow and Douglas Dum-
mett were torn, strewn around the ground, and trampled
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
1999 VOL 52(1-21
fZDUUn HILIFAX-I PL .A-C ---W PANTATION C-----C-r-
In the meantime, trouble occurred at the Rees and Wood-
ruff plantations at Spring Garden on the St. Johns River.
These two plantations were at a particularly fruitful spot.
Audubon, who visited there, described the soil of the Rees
plantation as "of good quality, it having been reclaimed from
swampy ground of a black colour, rich and very productive"
(Proby 1974:311). When Joseph Woodruffcame to claim his
grant he dispossessed a village of Seminole Indians and took
over their cornfields. In the American State Papers (1861,
Vol. VI, Military Affairs, Doc.#627:22), the settlement was
described as "in the way of an old and constantly used
crossing place of the Indians," so the dispossession was
especially resented. The officer reporting the Indian attack
there told of "the plantation laid waste, and the buildings
and thirty-five hogsheads of sugar, and the cane sufficient to
manufacture seventy hogsheads more destroyed; and the
negroes, amounting to one hundred and sixty and horses, and
mules taken off. Loss about $130,000." The body of Henry
Woodruff, nephew of the original plantation owner, was
discovered and buried by the soldiers who arrived on the
scene (Cohen 1836:155). His fiancee, one of the daughters of
Joseph Hernandez, went into deep mourning .
After The Second Seminole War
Sugar manufacture and the grand-scale plantations came
to an abrupt end after 1836 in the coastal strip as well as
along the St. Johns River. However, cane growing was
continued on a very limited scale for local and home use after
the hostilities ceased and the Seminoles were forced further
Lumbering and naval stores extraction, carried on at some
level from earliest Spanish times, came to the fore as crop
growing of any significance was abandoned. Live-oaking
took place in the cooler months, with workers brought from
the northern states and kept in confined camps; the cut
lumber was floated down the creeks to be shipped north for
shipbuilding by the United States Navy. Pine lumber, tar,
pitch, turpentine, and other resinous products brought good
prices until after World War 11, when synthetics were
developed.. As late as the 1960s, turpentine pots suspended
from V-shaped cuts on pine trees could be glimpsed on
almost any drive down a back road in Florida.
Citrus growing also was undertaken on a much expanded
scale; its easy cultivation, limited labor needs, and lack of
necessity for elaborate processing machinery made citrus an
ideal crop in unstable political times. Higher prices for citrus
fruits and better shipping modes likewise played a part.
Douglas Dummett, with groves on his Indian River planta-
tion, was credited with being the initiator of the now famous
Indian River fruit.
Less than three decades after the Seminole wars ended,
Union forces occupied the northeastern part of the state,
especially Jacksonville and St. Augustine, remaining there
throughout the Civil War. Farming on a large scale became
difficult because of the occupying forces. Cotton, however,
continued to be grown and the resulting crops from all over
the eastern part of Florida were shipped through Mosquito
Inlet to avoid the Union blockade. Salt, hard to come by in
the south, was manufactured on the old Dunlawton planta-
tion and also shipped from the inlet.
After the Civil War a curious enterprise was started in the
old plantation area north of New Smyrna. Dr. John Milton
Hawks, who had served as a surgeon for the "colored troops"
in the Union Army, formulated a scheme for resettlement of
recently freed slaves. He established the Florida Land and
Lumber Company and, with the aid of the United States
government, brought a colony of 1600 African Americans to
the section of land north of the old Turnbull plantation and
south of the Dunlawton plantation. This grand-scale settle-
ment that he named Port Orange failed because of over-
extension, faulty machinery, and some graft and corruption
on the part of the administrators, bringing them afoul of the
federal government (Piatek 1986:59-61). In the meantime.
the settler families abandoned the company and most found
employment in nearby orange groves and worked little farms
of their own. Looking at the record, it seems possible that
the workers and their families may have concluded that they
had simply traded their former slavery plantations to come as
freedmen to a poorly formulated quasi-plantation. Of
interest here is that they, like the Minorcans much earlier,
remained and formed part of the population base of Florida.
The highly productive plantation complex south of St.
Augustine, Florida came to an abrupt end after the devasta-
tion of the Second Seminole War. Before that time the
principal crops showed a dramatic progression from indigo
in the British Period, to cotton in the Second Spanish Period,
to sugar in the United States Territorial Period. During these
three regimes, rice and corn were minor themes, while cattle
raising, lumbering, and citrus growing continued as eco-
nomic endeavors from the first European settlement until
modem times. Plantation size showed a gradient decrease
from huge grants in the First Spanish Period progressing to
smaller land holdings, averaging 200 to 400 hectares (500
to 1000 acres), by the time of the breakup of the plantations
almost 300 years later. While a plantocracy existed during
the British Period, a geographically based plantation commu-
nity was most evident from 1801-1836 as nonresident
ownership gave way to established family units living in
closer proximity to their land and to other plantations. For a
brief while white, black, and Indian groups lived if not in
total harmony, at least in a precarious equilibrium. In spite
of hostilities, wars, changes in governments, the end of the
slavery system, and accidents of nature, the plantation
corridor on Florida's central Atlantic coast was at times a
story of intermittent economic success.
1 The 1941 yearbook was used here because 1941 was the last year that the
U at ~F ~Y-Mrnru~lTCIF~ PI ~NThTmhl mapmna
... . ... .... ... .. ...ST...9 .V O 52 "
Weather Bureau was a part of the Department of Agriculture before it was
transferred to the Department of Commerce. This volume specifically deals
with climate as it affects agriculture.
2 Governor Grant failed to have this boundary demarcated because he hoped
to convince the Creeks that a large section west of the St. Johns River should be
open for English settlement
3 There were other reasons for the collapse of the New Smyrna plantation, not
the least of which were the high death toll and the reported abuses of the
colonists byAndrew Turnhbull and his staff, but thewillingness oftheauthorities
to grant the group sanctuary in St. Augustine was due to the war.
4Thomas Spalding was familiar with the situation in Florida aswell asGeorgia
as he was the son ofJames Spalding who operated Spalding's "upper store," an
Indian trading post on the St. Johns River in Florida.
The author acknowledges the use of the notes, maps, and other materials on
the Halifax and Tomoka area plantations collected during his professional
lifetime by John W. Griffin, the first president of the Florida Anthropological
Society and late husband of the author. The help of the personnel of the St.
Augustine Historical Society Research Library, particularly that of Charles
Tingley, librarian, and Fred Amato, volunteer, is gratefully acknowledged.
Thanks also go to Clara Waldhiri for technical assistance and to Dorothy Moore
for help in document retrieval.
Adams, William R., Daniel L Schafer, Robert Steinbach, and Paul L. Weaver
1997 The King s Road: Florida's First Higlnvay. Report prepared for City
of New Smyrna Beach City Commission and for Volusia County
Council by Historic Property Associates, Inc. St. Augustine. Copies
available from the City of New Smyrna Beach.
American State Papers
1821 Land Claims Vol. IV. United States Congress, Washington D.C.
1861 Military Affairs, Vol. VI. United States Congress, Washington D.C.
Archive General de Indias. Santo Domingo
1770-1773 Manuscripts relating to the New Smyrna Colony. Spanish Record
Office. Seville. Spain.
1879 The Life of John James Audubon. the Naturalist. F. P. Putnam's
Sons, New York.
1928 The Travels of William Bartram. Edited by Mark Van Doran. Dover
Publications, New York.
1958 The Travels of William Bartram. Edited by Francis Harper. Yale
University Press, New Haven.
1955 An Engineer's Notebook. No publisher listed.
1992 Archaeology ofthe 17th Century Plantation in Ulster. Paper presented
at the 25th annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.
1989 Ruling "the Republic of Indians" in Seventeenth Century Florida. In
Powhatan 's Mantle, edited by Theda Perdue and Michael D. Green,
pp. 134-150. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.
Butts, E. H.
1985 Bulowville. In Ashes on the Wind. The Story of the Lost Plantations.
edited by Alice Strickland. pp. 50-58. The Volusia County Historical
Commission. Daytona Beach.
Carter. Clarence Edwin (Editor and Compiler)
1956 Territorial Papers of the United States. United States Government
Printing Office, Washington D.C.
Chaplin. Joyce E.
1993 An Anxious Pursuit: Agricultural Innovation and Mfodernit in the
Lower South. 1730-1815. The University of North Carolina Press.
Cohen. H. H.
1836 Notice of Florida and the Campaigns. Burgess and Honour. Charles-
Colonial Office Papers
1763-1784 British Public Records Office. England. Selected copies on file.
St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library, St Augustine.
Coulter, Ellis Merton
1940 Thomas Spalding ofSapelo. Louisiana State University Press, Baton
De Vorsey, Louis Jr.
1961 The Indian Boundary in the Southern Colonies: 1763-1775. Univer-
sity of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.
De Vorsey, Louis Jr. (Editor)
1971 DeBraham's Report of the General Survey in the Southern District
of North America. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia.
Douglass, A. E.
1881-1885 Florida Diaries. Unpublished manuscript on file. Library of
Florida History, Gainesville.
Dummett, Anna Maria
1949 Remembrances of the Old Plantation... The Old Dinmmett Grove.
Literary Florida, February 1949:8-15.
East Florida Papers
1783-1821 Manuscript, Library of Congress. Microfilm copies on file at the
St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library, St. Augustine and
the Library of Florida History, Gainesville.
Griffin, Patricia C.
1991 Mullet on the Beach: The Minorcans of Florida, 1768-1788.
University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
1876 Camp Life in Florida: A Handbook for Sportsmen and Settlers.
Forest and Stream Publishing Company: New York.
1991 The World of the Plantation Slaves. In Before Freedom Came:
African-American Life in the Antebellum South, edited by D. C.
Campbell, Jr., pp.51-99. University Press ofVirginia, Charlottesville.
1997 A Statesman on the Land: The Multifaceted Career of Benjamin
Alexander Putnam. El Escribano 34:98-129.
Landsdowne Manuscripts Collection
1763-1784 British Public Records Office. England. Selected copies on file,
St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library, St. Augustine.
1967 More Light on the Indians of the Ays Coast. Unpublished manuscript
in the possession of the author, Vero Beach.
Miller, James J.
1998 An Environmental History ofNortheast Florida. University Press of
1764 Map of part of East Florida. Drawn from original plan by John
Gordon. Copy on file, St. Augustine Historical Society Research
Library, St. Augustine.
Moore, Clarence B.
1896 Additional Mounds ofDuvalandofClay Counties. Florida. Privately
Ormond, James. Ill
1941 Reminiscences of James Ormond. Ormond Village Improvement
Association. Daytona Beach.
Piatek. Bruce J.
1986 Port Orange Historical, Architectural and Archaeological Survey.
Report prepared for the city of Port Orange by Bruce J. Piatek &
Associates, Ormond Beach. On file. Florida Division of Historical
1992 The Tomoka Point Archaeological Survey. Tomoka Stale Park.
1 olusia County. Florida. Report prepared for Tomoka State Park by
Bruce J. Piatek & Associates. Ormond Beach. On file. Florida
Division of Historical Resources. Tallahassee
Proby, Kathryn Hall
1974 Audubon in Florida. University of Miami Press. Coral Gables.
Rogers. George C.. Jr.
1976 The East Florida Society of London. 1776-1777. Florida Historical
1962 A Concise Natural History of East and Wiest Florida. Facsimile of
the 1775 edition. University Press of Florida. Gainesville.
Ross, John. and W. Makdougal
1774 Letter to L.ieutenannt Gouvenour [sic]. John Moutric Esq. On file. St.
Augustine Historical Society Research Library, St. Augustine.
Rutherford. Robert E.
1952a Settlers from Connecticut in Spanish Florida: Letters ofAmbrose Hull
TwF insttnA AwustOPOinmIST
1999 Vot. 52(1-2)
GCUMV' IHAim .x-floul-bli- P1 .ANTATInbl (Co-DhfoR
and Stella Hart, 1804-1806, Part I. Florida Historical Quarterly
1952b Settlers From Connecticut in Spanish Florida, Part H. Florida
Historical Quarterly 31(1 ):33-48.
1973 Sugar and Jamaica Thomas Nelson and Sons, Inc., London.
Schafer, Daniel L.
1983 "...not so gay a Town in America as this...": 1763-1784. In The
Oldest City: St. Augustine, Saga of Survival, edited by Jean Parker
Waterbury, pp. 91-125- The St Augustine Historical Society. St.
Schoepf Johann David
1911 Travels in the Confederation, 1783-1784. Edited and translated by
Alfred J. Morrison. Win. J Campbell, Philadelphia.
Siebert, Wilbur Henry
1957 The Early Sugar Industry in Florida. Florida Historical Quarterly
1972 Loyalists in East Florida, 1774-1785 (2 Vols.). Gregg Press, Boston.
Sitterson, J. Carlyle
1953 Sugar Country: The Cane Sugar Industry in the South, 1753-1950.
University of Kentucky Press, Lexington.
Smith, Julia Floyd
1973 Slavery and Plantation Growth in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1860.
University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Spanish Land Grant Records
1828 Claim of William Ladd. Unconfirmed Claims. On file, Florida State
1985 Ashes in the Wind: The Story of the Lost Plantations. The Volusia
County Historical Commission, Daytona Beach.
1763-1784 British Public Records Office, England. Selected copies on file,
St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library, St. Augustine.
1917 Letter to the editor printed in Georgia Gazette, 28 November 1799.
The Georgia Historical Quarterly 1(1):42-45.
United States Department of Agriculture
1941 Climate and Man: Yearbook of Agriculture, United States Govern-
ment Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
Williams, John Lee
1837 The Territory of Florida. A.T. Goodrich, New York.
Wilson, Ruth Danenhower
1945 The Bulow Plantation, 1821-1835. Florida Historical Quarterly
fl~l rrrY-MnmlrrrnF.r PI.~~YT~TlnN mpamnp
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MOUNT OSWALD PLANTATION AT TOMOKA AND HALIFAX RIVERS
DANIEL L. SCHAFER
Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida 32224-2645
Visitors to Tomoka State Park at the confluence of the
Tomoka and Halifax rivers near Ormond Beach,
Florida, generally leave the premises with fond
memories of the natural beauty of the site. Heavily wooded
and undeveloped except for the narrow roads and buildings
constructed by the Florida State Park Service, the park is
surrounded by extensive residential suburbs. During the
1770s, however, the park site was considered a model of
agricultural enterprise surrounded by a vast expanse of
pristine wetlands, hammocks, and pine forests. With the
exception of the point of land where the two rivers merge,
which had once been the site of the agricultural fields of
Nocoroco, the southernmost Timucua settlement on the
Atlantic coast (Hann 1996:169-173), the entire area was still
undeveloped when the British took control of East Florida in
1763. Within a decade, the property was dramatically
transformed: extensive indigo fields and processing works,
as well as the dikes, canals, and dams of rice fields, sugar
cane fields and a sugar "factory" and rum distillery, cotton
fields, and a cattle ranch were carved from the wilderness by
enslaved Africans owned by a wealthy Scot merchant,
Richard Oswald. Working on a 20,000-acre (8100-hectare)
grant of land from King George III and the English Parlia-
ment, black workers established one of the most important
plantations in the history of Florida.
This essay is a case study of plantation development in
British East Florida, 1763-1784, which explores the little-
known story of the creation of Mount Oswald Plantation.
Over the past half century, historians who have studied
British East Florida have generally given it failing marks.
Bernard Bailyn (1986) ridiculed the colony as a "Failure in
Xanadu," while David Hancock (1995:159-163) judged
Richard Oswald's Tomoka River plantation "a bog, useless
for anything but 'indifferent' indigo or rice; and East
Florida...for Oswald and most planters, a swamp of an
investment." Only Charles Loch Mowat, in a 1943 assess-
ment, recognized its potential. Mowat felt that a twenty-year
effort was not long enough to establish lasting roots in a
previously undeveloped region. It will be argued here that
the creation of Mount Oswald was an achievement made
possible by the work ethic and agricultural skills of enslaved
Africans. Had the American Revolution not prompted the
abandonment of Mount Oswald it would undoubtedly have
become a highly profitable estate. Dozens of other estates
created in East Florida during the late 1760s and early 1770s
were destroyed by the violence and economic chaos resulting
from the American Revolution. It was the impact of the war,
not the quality of the soil nor the extent of wetlands, that was
responsible for the failure of Mount Oswald Plantation.
"By the Labor of Slaves"
In previous publications (Schafer 1984, 1995), 1 have
argued that Governor James Grant arrived at St. Augustine
in August 1764 with an already conceived plan to transform
East Florida into a plantation province through the labor of
African slaves. The new governor's model was South
Carolina, the only British mainland colony with a black
majority, where the English planters discovered early on that
enslaved Africans possessed skills as cattle drovers and rice
farmers, and a degree of immunity to malaria and yellow
fever that white laborers lacked. By 1735 a Charles Town
resident expressed what had already become a common
belief: "[rice] can't (in any great quantity's) be produced by
white people. Because the Work is too laborious, the heat
very intent, and the Whites can't work in the wett at that
Season of the year..." (Wood 1974:84).
From the Chesapeake through the Carolinas and West
Indies, white indentured laborers were tried and eventually
replaced by enslaved Africans in tobacco, rice, and sugar
fields. When expenses for white artisans increased, planters
trained their slaves to be carpenters and coopers, especially
when they were creole slaves born in America. James Grant
had observed the Caribbean and South Carolina colonies
before he was appointed governor of East Florida. He also
had received in April and May of 1764 detailed instructions
for the development of an East Florida plantation from the
wealthy London merchant, Richard Oswald, a fellow Scot
who owned estates in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and
Jamaica (Ballindalloch Castle Muniments [BCM] folios 517,
470). As co-owner of Bance Island, the leading British-
owned factory for the assembly and export of slaves on the
West African coast, Oswald was able to purchase large
numbers of African laborers at reasonable prices and trans-
port them to East Florida aboard his own ships (BCM 659).
The conditions Grant found when he reached East Florida
led him to intensify his plan to rely on slave labor. St.
Augustine was an empty town when he arrived, with a
garrison force of fewer than 200 men. Outside the town
walls he discovered only "a State of Nature...not an acre of
land planted in the Country and nobody to work or at work"
(BCM 659:16 June 1768). Three thousand residents had
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
VOL. 52 NOS. 1-2
THE FWR1FDA ANIlIROPOLOGIST 1999 VoL 52 ~1-2i
evacuated with Spanish forces in January 1764, leaving
behind only three families. Grant repeatedly characterized
the province as a "New World... [in] a State of Nature" as he
enticed Georgia and South Carolina planters with offers of
free land and political office to move to Florida with their
large numbers of enslaved laborers who were already
familiar with the slash-and-burn techniques necessary to
clear virgin lands and plant rice, indigo, and provisions
crops. Success in East Florida, the governor thought,
depended on the dozens of British absentee landlords to
whom Parliament had given 10,000- and 20,000-acre grants
of prime Florida land: only if they invested in their property
rather than speculate on an increase in land values could the
colony succeed. If they failed to invest, the resultant idle
land would spell doom and also beckon to the intrepid
southern frontiersman that Grant contemptuously referred to
as "straggling woodsmen" or "crackers" (BCM 659:20
From the outset, the governor considered the requirement
that grantees must settle their lands with Protestant white
families (one person per 100 acres, or 40 hectares, within
ten years) to be unworkable. His silent partner, Richard
Oswald, said: "the obligation of introducing such a number
of White people is a great discouragement and to most
people an absolute bar to settlement" (BCM 295:19 June
1767). He urged King George III to substitute enslaved
blacks for white Protestants: "Without that the province can
never be settled by British proprietors and must remain as it
is until there is an overswarm of Crackers to take up the
premises" (BCM 295:19 February 1768).
To the grantees, the governor delivered a consistent
message: white indentures, whether common laborers or
tradesmen, become either lazy or debilitated by the heat in
Florida and abandon the rural settlements for the colonial
towns. Even German immigrants, so prized in the northern
colonies, "won't do here" Grant wrote to Oswald (BCM
659:31 August 1768). They were "industrious" when self-
employed, but when contracted to work for others they
routinely absconded: "Upon their landing they are immedi-
ately seized with the pride which every man is possessed of
who wears a white face in America and they say they won't
be slaves and so they make their escape." He informed the
Earl of Cassillis that in Florida "no produce will answer the
expense of white labor" (BCM 659:9 February 1768). He
advised the Earl of Egmont: "Settlements in this warm
climate must be formed by Negroes" (BCM 659:16 June
1768). Only after plantations were established and profit-
able could white laborers and small planters be introduced,
"but such a plan...is not to be thought of till this new world
has in some means been created... [and] this country can only
be brought to that rich and plentiful state by the labor of
Mount Oswald Plantation
Governor Grant personally supervised the establishment
of Mount Oswald. In 1765 and 1766, he and Oswald were
silent partners in a planting venture, with Grant pledged to
select the best land in the province and provide periodic on-
site supervision, and Oswald to provide the finances and
labor. In the fall of 1765, Oswald agreed to purchase thirty
"country-born" slaves to begin clearing and fencing land and
constructing houses. Provisions crops would be planted and
houses built for thirty additional Carolina-born slaves
scheduled to arrive in the second year. During the third year,
sixty "new" Africans would arrive from Bance Island, a
slaving fortification in the Sierra Leone River owned in part
by Oswald. The partners envisioned self-sufficiency in
foodstuffs during the first year, separate indigo, cotton, and
sugar plantations by the end of the third, and a rice planta-
tion later. Oswald was initially opposed to planting rice, but
Grant convinced him that rice would become a provision's
staple for the laborers and livestock as well as a profitable
export crop (BCM 659:21 November 1764).
By February 1765 Grant had chosen a location where a
small portion of the land had been cleared decades earlier by
Native Americans. That portion was covered with "cabbage
trees" when Grant and Engineer James Moncrief walked the
entire 20,000 acres of the tract, finding it a mixture of dry
pine barrens and wetlands suitable for drainage. Grant felt
that planting could proceed immediately around the cabbage
trees and predicted excellent crops of indigo (BCM 659:12
While the land was being selected, merchant Henry
Laurens advertised in the South Carolina Gazette for "two
Negro Carpenters, two Coopers, three pair of Sawyers, forty
Field Negroes, young men and women, some acquainted with
indigo making, and all with the ordinary course of Plantation
work in this country..." (Laurens 1968:IV:585). He pur-
chased 24 men, 7 women, and 3 children and transported
them to St. Augustine in April 1765. Nine of the men were
"new" Africans, billed at an average price of 29. Of the
seven women, four were described as capable of a variety of
domestic skills as well as field work. Several of the males
were skilled sawyers, coopers, and carpenters, and could tend
to horses, butchering, and driving carts. Laurens found it
difficult to fill Grant's order for the second round of
Carolina-born laborers, and suggested instead "fine young
Gambians or Gold Coast [men and women] fit to work
immediately and the next year will be as good hands as any
and less inclined to wander" (BCM 359:20 April 1765).
When they arrived in St. Augustine, Grant found them
healthy and well-behaved. He called them "fine specimens"
and put them to work at his own farm near St. Augustine
clearing brush, planting, and ditching (BCM 659:12 October
Grant delayed the startup work at Mount Oswald pending
the arrival of an overseer from South Carolina. When an
overseer, Samuel Hewie, finally arrived in June 1766, the
governor "immediately" ordered him to Tomoka with twelve
male slaves. Laurens had heard that Hewie was a capable
manager, yet he was concerned that the combination of
isolated conditions at Mount Oswald and "the arbitrary
power of an Overseer" might prompt the slaves "to knock
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
1999 VOL. 52 (1-2l
....... ...Ri .i.. PLANTATioN . . .Pm. ..
him in the head & file off in a Body" (Laurens
1968:IV:156). His fears were heightened by reports of
Hewie's quarrels with the governor and difficulties control-
ling the laborers. The governor objected to Hewie's drunken
episodes and to his excessive and abusive labor demands,
unreasonably severe punishments, and ensuing incidents of
slave runaways, yet he was able to report to Oswald at the
end of August that work had progressed as expected and that
none of the laborers had died (BCM 659; Laurens
Before the year ended, however, Hewie and two of the
workers drowned in what was either a tragic accident or a
rebellion. Laurens was moved to lament:
The catastrophe of the wretched [Hewie] & the poor Negroes
is affecting. He might have been, according to his credentials
a good Servant, but I see clearly that he was unfit for the sole
management of a Plantation. His successor the Indian John-
son must behave above the rank of common Carolinian
Fugitives, to save his Scalp a whole year. He must be discreet
& carry a steady command otherwise the Blacks will drown
him too, for of all Overseers they love those of their own
colour least [Laurens 1968:V: 227].'
The death of Hewie did not diminish Oswald's enthusiasm
for Florida. His replacement, the "Indian Johnson," restored
order and produced a surplus of provisions crops in the first
six months of 1767. Laurens implied that Johnson was a
black man, or of mixed-race ancestry; others have concluded
he was Native American. It is more likely that Johnson was
one of several black managers who capably discharged
duties in East Florida, at least until his mysterious departure
in June 1767 (Hancock 1995:167-168; Taylor 1984:34-36).
Oswald received encouraging reports from Dr. Andrew
Turnbull, who was about to launch a massive planting
venture at New Smyrna with 1400 indentured servants from
Mediterranean countries. During a London visit, Turnbull
described the bountiful corn fields he had seen along the
Tomoka River. Oswald decided to accelerate development
by sending three or four white overseers to enhance security
and direct daily activities. He informed Grant:
I propose to send out a few trusty persons, successively, upon
wages for the term of three years after their arrival, and after
their time is out, if they behave well, to lend them money to
buy two, three or four Negros and settle them on their own
land... [BCM 295:15 March 1767].
On May 20, 1767, Oswald informed Grant that the St.
Augustine Packet would anchor off St. Augustine in Septem-
ber with seventy Africans for Mount Oswald. Oswald was
...it might be of bad consequence if the men slaves now on the
Plantation remained longer unprovided with wives. For their
supply I have ordered 30 young women to be shipped and 30
more lads and large girls of such age as they may be fit for
field labor in about two years [BCM 295].
On May 29, he directed his agents in Africa "to send a few
full grown men, not exceeding ten in number...[who were]
used to the Trades of their country believing they will
become soon useful and handy in a new plantation" (BCM
295). To obtain Africans of "the best quality," Oswald
authorized expenditures of 22 per person, a price he
implied was high for the time. Clothing for the workers
already at Tomoka was packed aboard the vessel, along with
complete "Sutes of clothing" Captain Savery was to "deliver
out to them when he draws nigh the Coast of America" since
it was possible the arrival would be at the "beginning of
winter." There would also be iron pots and copper cooking
kettles aboard the ship, and a ship carpenter named Phillip
Herries hired "for the service of the Plantation.. .a good sober
man who had been a sergeant in the army." Herries was
expected to train slaves to do carpentry work. If all went
well, Oswald planned to add a "Smith and Smith's Shop at
Timoka a Wheeler or two, a Cooper or two & a few other
white people, who shall be obliged to teach the Negros."
Savery delivered the seventy Africans in early 1768. Only
twenty were old enough to be considered working hands, the
other fifty were boys and girls too young for field work.
Oswald predicted that if raised at Tomoka they would
eventually be "worth two imported at full age." Worried that
stores of provisions might be inadequate, he advised Grant
on February 19, 1768, to consider selling the "smallest
[children] for good bills or cash," if the food supply was
unsatisfactory (BCM 295).
Oswald contracted with Lt. John Fairlamb to be his East
Florida agent. Working under Fairlamb were two men who
had been Oswald's employees in Europe, Frederick Robinson
and Donald McLean. Together, the men supervised the
establishment of indigo and cotton production, and success-
fully integrated another 100 Africans into the Mount Oswald
labor force, dividing them between four different settlements
on the 20,000-acre estate. After Fairlamb left Oswald's
employ in June 1772, Robinson was principal overseer until
1779. Many of the leading citizens of the colony visited
Mount Oswald during the Robinson years and left eyewitness
accounts of operations which do not support the recent harsh
judgments of David Hancock. John Moultrie, Frederick
George Mulcaster, and the Reverend John Forbes, for
example, all thought Mount Oswald the finest plantation and
labor force in the entire province. Mulcaster praised Donald
McLean for directing the thirty laborers who processed 1360
kg (3000 lbs) of indigo in 1772. He also noted that Robinson
was developing sugar fields with seventy other workers
(BCM 360:15 January 1773).2
Tension between the two overseers led McLean to leave
Oswald's employ in June 1773 and begin planting on his
own at an estate north of Tomoka River. Mulcaster found
Mount Oswald "in a horrid state" in May 1774, and called
the loss of McLean "the worst thing ever [to] befall Mount
Oswald" (BCM 369). Yet, indigo production that year
increased from 1360 to 1814 kg (3000 to 4000 lbs). David
Yeats, governor Grant's agent and Secretary of the province,
wrote on May 24, 1777, that Robinson was a "good but
RPITlfin m.*NTITmN DFVPlnPM~T
THE FLORIDA ANTHR T
sickly" manager, "of course the Negroes [were] not properly
looked after and the fields rather dirty," although the sugar
cane "looks very good and he is building a sugar works"
Oswald authorized innovative experiments in sugar
cultivation at the Swamp Settlement on Tomoka River.
Cane seedlings grown in his hothouse in Scotland were
planted under the supervision of a specialist who had been
trained in Jamaica. Oswald purchased specially bred jack-
asses in Italy and shipped them to Tomoka to work in the
swamps, and also sent a new and improved rice-pounding
machine. He also hired specialists to supervise the harvest
and cutting of the cane and to build the grinding mill (BCM
Despite the experimentation and investment, Moultrie and
other planters who visited Mount Oswald were sometimes
critical of its managers. Moultrie wrote on December 23,
At Oswald's the man [James] Brown that he sent out has been
making a mill to grind cane for 2 years past. tis just finished
since the cane was destroyed [by an early frost]. McLean I
think a loss to Oswald plantation. The present man, Robin-
son. honest, diligent, anxious to do well, but not as well
acquainted with Negroes, their work and the method of
agriculture in these regions as the Highlander. Oswald's tract
in my opinion is certainly the best in the province [BCM 521 ].
Robinson had supervised a doubling of the labor force
prior to Moultrie's visit, following Oswald's decision to ship
"one hundred...Grametas or island slaves" from Bance
Island to East Florida. The new Africans had been pur-
chased in the normal fashion of the African trade for work
at Bance and the adjacent mainland rather than for sale to
Europeans. Fearing "the Neighbouring King & his people
would immediately Seize & Sell them to the next Trading
Vessel" if discharged from their duties in Africa, Oswald
decided to send the "Island Slaves" to East Florida. Henry
Laurens reported: "Mr. Oswald is desirous of keeping them
all together or in plantations near each other, & objects to
hiring any of them out" (Laurens 1968:IX:395-398, 445-
Perhaps the additional laborers prompted Mulcaster to
temper his criticism after a March 25, 1775, visit.
Oswald's wheel which was contrived by the mad ship
carpenter is good for nothing. Robinson is the principal
overseer at the Mount, is attentive this spring to indigo. His
field I hear is in good order, but the drought prevents the
indigo from coming up and kills what is up. We have had no
rain these many months a dryer winter we have never seen
anywhere. The sugar plantation at the Mount goes on also
Within weeks, spring rains led to bumper crops. "Almost
every planter has made his provisions, many a great deal to
share," Moultrie informed Grant in October 1775. "I1 have
above 800 bushel of corn to share of the Bella Vista crop, a
fine crop of rice at the Musquetos already reaped and in the
barn, a second cutting of the same rice almost ripe" (BCM
242). Three weeks later Moultrie's workers were reaping a
second cutting "very little inferior to the first." He was
jubilant about the future at Tomoka River, not anticipating
that shockwaves generated by the American Revolution
would soon bring a violent end to his economic abundance.
In 1776, fearing that rebellious activities would spread
south from Georgia and the Carolinas into loyal East Florida,
Oswald sent his nephew, James Anderson, to take control as
resident agent at Tomoka. The young man proved to be a
capable manager under adverse conditions. On March 12,
1780, after Anderson had been four years at the task, John
Oswald plantation is now in a way of doing well. They are
going on right for the first time. His nephew who is an
Attorney is active. A large body of marsh taken in for rice,
and a capital reserve [pond] covering 5 or 600 acres finished.
Water for the rice never can fail, tis a beautiful lake [BCM
Moultrie acknowledged, however, that the plantations of
the region had faced grave danger since June 1779 when
Spain joined its old ally, France, in the war against Great
Britain. Manchac, Mobile, and the other British outposts in
West Florida began falling to Spanish forces, and with
Spanish Cuba menacingly close to the British plantations
spread along the Atlantic coast, East Florida planters were
deeply worried. In March 1780, Moultrie commented on a
recent "Spanish plunder [which] broke up all the [Mos-
quettoes] plantations except Oswalds and my own, [which
now] stand fast to plant rice & corn" (BCM 242). Govern-
ment had responded by placing an armed ship on patrol and
"building a blockhouse at the inlet," which Moultrie thought
would provide sufficient protection.
Richard Oswald evidently disagreed. In March 1781, he
directed his nephew to begin dismantling Mount Oswald and
to move the laborers to Georgia. David Yeats was shocked
to learn of Oswald's order "to sell off everything and move
instantly into Georgia with the whole of his Negroes," an
impetuous act resulting in the loss of"a year of planting...his
provision crop is already planted" (BCM 250:20, March
1781). Yeats noted the workers had just cleared "200 acres
of fine marsh...for rice."
After hurriedly dismantling, packing, and loading provi-
sions, farm animals, tools, and other moveable property onto
transports, the traumatized families of more than 240
enslaved men and women departed Mount Oswald. Their
troubles increased soon after. While on route to a vacant
estate near Savannah, the ship was attacked by privateers
who abducted seventy of the passengers. Only months later,
after the abandoned fields at the plantation had been re-
planted, Great Britain ceded the Georgia colony to the
victorious Americans. Oswald again directed James Ander-
son to evacuate his workers. Among the thousands of
refugees who fled to East Florida during these years were the
170 enslaved laborers owned by Richard Oswald. David
Yeats was in St. Augustine to witness their return. He wrote
THE FtA)REDA AN- nRPL- G ST 1999 Voi- 52 11-21
9 991 Voo 52 (1-2)
Qr n' D rn
to Grant on September 15, 1784, saying that "thousands of
Refugees and Negroes arrived here from Georgia upon the
evacuation of that Province," and that John Graham, a
leading Savannah merchant and a loyal supporter of King
George III, was responsible for bringing "300 to 400
Negroes, including those of Richard Oswald who are back at
Mount Oswald, greatly reduced in number" (BCM 628).
James Anderson, Oswald's nephew, did not return. He
remained in rebel territory and later became a South Caroli-
na rice planter. John Graham's agent, Lt. Colonel John
Douglas, made supervisory visits to Mount Oswald once a
month from St. Augustine. Beyond the fact that rice was
planted in 1783, little is known about estate activities during
these months. In 1784, following Britain's decision to
return East Florida to Spain under terms of the Treaty of
Paris, Oswald made final arrangements to close down his
Tomoka River estate and to ship his slaves to Charles Town.
In March, the much-traveled and enslaved Africans departed
Mount Oswald for the final time.
Henry Laurens informed Oswald on April 22, 1784, that
"the poor Negroes were safe in harbour" and that the sale of
the laborers was in progress (Taylor 1984:54-61). On route
to Santee River rice plantations, 170 survivors of a tragic
transcontinental migratory odyssey, a cultural mixture of
"country born" and, by now, "well seasoned" Africans who
had carved an important plantation from the new-world
wilderness of British East Florida, were temporarily "safe in
Mount Oswald on Tomoka and Halifax rivers, its build-
ings intact though empty and its indigo, corn, sugar, cotton,
and rice fields soon to be engulfed by bush and weed, had
been abandoned for the second time. No doubt squatters or
beleaguered travelers sought temporary shelter in the
decaying edifices during the next decade, but the estate
would be without a proprietor for decades. Richard Os-
wald's massive investments had come to naught.
Historians who have been critical of the efforts at Tomoka
have misread the dynamics of the turbulent two-decade
attempt to create a profitable plantation colony in the "State
of Nature" James Grant discovered in August 1764. The
enslaved "country born" labor force brought to Tomoka
River in mid-1766, augmented soon by more than 200
"seasoned" Africans and "New Negroes," overcame enor-
mous environmental obstacles through arduous land and
swamp clearance. By ditching and draining and construct-
ing dikes and dams they created a functioning rice planta-
tion with a requisite fresh-water reserve pond. An expansive
plantation complex of five separate settlements was created
in little more than a decade. The main housing complex,
Mount Oswald Settlement, at the northeastern point of the
tract where Tomoka Creek and the Halifax River joined,
featured indigo fields and works for processing the weed into
dye blocks, and also had an adjacent rice field. Ferry Settle-
ment, used for provisions cultivation and indigo, was located
inland and 6.5 km (4 mi) south of the main village, at the
point where the Kings Road, the main north-south artery in
the colony, crossed the Tomoka River. Adia Settlement
produced corn and indigo crops. Grazing and livestock
breeding predominated at the Cowpens Settlement. At the
Swamp Settlement, 121 hectares (300 acres) were planted in
sugar cane alongside a grinding mill, sugar works, distillery,
and warehouses. Ruins of the sugar works and distillery can
still be visited at the site, a testimony to the skill of the brick
mason imported from Jamaica and the African apprentices
who constructed them.3 At each of the settlements were
houses for overseers and workers, barns and stables, corn
cribs, storage buildings for sugar and rice, and shops for
coopers, blacksmiths, and other artisans (Siebert 1929:2:58;
Once the enormous environmental impediments were
surmounted and the infrastructure of the plantation complex
was in place, Mount Oswald was positioned to repay Os-
wald's investment by many times over. It should be seen as
an achievement purchased at the cost of great human
suffering and toil by enslaved Africans. Had the interna-
tional political crisis that accompanied a revolutionary war
and retrocession of East Florida to Spain not disrupted
planting activity at Mount Oswald, it would undoubtedly
have become a profitable enterprise.
Before the fields could be restored at Mount Oswald by
Spanish planters, death would overtake the two adventurers
who had financed and directed its initial development.
Richard Oswald, one of the notables who signed the Treaty
of Paris following the American Revolution, died on
November 6, 1784, at age 80. James Grant, a major general
in that war, died April 13, 1806, at age 82. Much has been
written about their lives. An equally interesting story
remains to be told, but the work of telling it will be a formi-
dable challenge. Somewhere in the archives of colonial
Britain and the records of South Carolina rice plantations are
the strings that tie together the lives of the Africans who
endured the travails of plantation building at Tomoka and
Halifax Rivers. These involuntary immigrants to British
North America, chattel property until the American Civil
War, created families and histories in addition to wealth for
their owners. Their life histories merit the attention of a
Hancock (1995:167) says of Hewie: "While fishing one day...he drowned
while plantation slaves looked on. His death was barely lamented; the loss of the
two slaves who went down in the same boat was greater."
2 Mulcaster thought McLean was the better manager. He felt Robinson
divided the workers into too many small units for efficient work.
In 1996, archaeologist Ted Payne conducted excavations at the site of the
main settlement, now part of Tomoka State Park. He kindly led me through
remains of the distillery and sugar works located south of there at what was
called the Swamp Settlement.
U__ 13. .--. --INI~ rrunu
THE IF -RiA ANTROOLYqr G IT
Ballindalloch Castle Muniments
1764 The Papers of Governor James Grant. Ballindalloch Castle Muni-
ments, National Register of Archives, Edinburgh, Scotland.
1986 Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling ofAmerica on the
Eve of the Revolution. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York.
1995 Citizens of the World: London Merchants and the Integration of
the British Atlantic Community, 1735-1785. Cambridge University
Hann, John H.
1996 A History ofthe Timucua Indians and Missions. University Press
of Florida, Gainesville.
1968 The Papers of Henry Laurens, Volumes IV, V and IX. Edited by
Philip M. Hamer and George Rogers. University of South Carolina
Mowat, Charles L.
1964 East Florida as a British Province. 1763-1784. University of
Florida Press, Gainesville.
Schafer, Daniel L.
1984 Plantation Development in British East Florida: A Case Study of the
Earl of Egmont- Florida Historical Quarterly 63:172-183.
1995 "Yellow Silk Ferret Tied Round Their Wrists": African Americans
in British East Florida, 1763-1784. In The African American
Heritage of Florida, edited by David R. Colburn and Jane L.
Landers, pp. 71-103. University Press of Florida. Gainesville.
Siebert, William H.
1929 Loyalists in East Florida. 1774-1785: The Most Important
Documents Pertaining Thereto. Edited With an Accompanying
Narrative (2 Vols.). Florida State Historical Society. Deland.
Taylor, Thomas W.
1984 "Settling a Colony over a Bottle of Claret ": Richard Oswald and
the British Settlement of Florida. M.A. thesis. Department of
History. University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Wood, Peter H.
1974 Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina, From 670
through the Stono Rebellion. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
9 991 VOL. 52 (1-2)
THE FLORIDA ANTHR T
DREAMS AND PROMISES UNFULFILLED: ANDREW TURNBULL AND THE
NEw SMYRNA COLONY
DOROTHY L. MOORE' AND DANA STE. CLAIRE2
' P.O. Box 504, New Smyrna Beach, Florida 32170-0504
2 Museum of Arts and Sciences, 1040 Museum Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114
During the third quarter of the eighteenth century,
what is now southeastern Volusia County was the
site of one of the most ambitious attempts by the
British to colonize the New World. It was here, in 1768, that
Scottish physician Dr. Andrew Turnbull and 1255 colonists
founded what eventually was to become the present-day city
of New Smyrna. In terms of sheer numbers of colonists and,
to some degree, expanse, the New Smyrna colony was nearly
three times greater than the original Jamestown colony,
America's first permanent settlement established over a
century and a half earlier in Virginia. It was certainly one of
the most ambitious agricultural enterprises undertaken
during the British occupation of East Florida. But the New
Smyrna enterprise also is noteworthy for the magnitude of its
failure, abandoned as it was after only nine years.
Like many of Britain's attempts at colonization, New
Smyrna was a commercial venture. Turnbull recruited
indentured servants from the Mediterranean island of
Minorca, along with Greeks, Italians, and Corsicans, to
clear, drain, and cultivate land and provide England with
commercial crops such as indigo, rice, corn, hemp, and
cotton. Only a few years after their arrival, the colonists had
constructed numerous public works including wharves,
warehouses, an extensive canal system, and hundreds of
houses for the colonists and their administrators. But despite
these accomplishments, a series of droughts and a shortage
of food supplies, coupled with hard work in a hostile,
mosquito-infested environment, quickly took its toll on the
colonists. In less than a decade, their number had dwindled
to only 600. In 1777, the remaining settlers sought refuge
from the ill-fated colony in St. Augustine. Governor Patrick
Tonyn released them from their indentured service to
Turnbull and settled them in the northern portion of the city
where many of their descendants live today.
Given the magnitude of the New Smyrna colonial effort, it
was natural to expect an abundance of structural remains
and material culture from this important settlement. But for
years, archaeologists and historians working in the New
Smyrna Beach area have been puzzled by the relative
absence of British-period archaeological remains there.
Except for the coquina block remnants of the Old Stone
Wharft one of several principal supply points for the colony,
the remnants of what was very likely a large storehouse at
Old Fort Park in downtown New Smyrna Beach, and
portions of the hand-excavated network of canals, no
significant archaeological remains were known. Within the
past few years this situation has changed dramatically.
Through surveys and excavation, archaeologists have begun
to systematically piece together the eighteenth-century town
of New Smyrna (e.g., Austin et al. n.d.; Griffin and Stein-
bach 1990; Ste. Claire 1996; Ste. Claire and Moore 1996).
In this paper we present a historical overview of Turnbull's
New Smyrna colony, with a focus on the material remains
that might be expected archaeologically. In a companion
piece, Roger Grange presents preliminary results of the first
controlled excavation of a Turnbull colony building complex
(Grange, this issue).
The British Effort to Colonize Florida
The New Smyrna settlement was the product of attempts
by the British government to populate Florida with colonists
who would be beneficial to the Crown. The Treaty of Paris in
1763 transferred ownership of both Minorca and Florida
from Spain to Britain in exchange for a much-prized Ha-
vana, captured a year earlier by the British. Possession of
Florida gave Britain an unbroken line of colonies along the
Atlantic seaboard of North America, from Canada, obtained
from France during the same treaty, to Florida (Gold
1927:19). The rush by Britain to colonize Florida set in
motion a hectic boom in land speculation and episodes in
overseas migration (Bailyn 1986:431).
Britain's desire to colonize Florida was spurred in part by
the need to lessen the drain on its gold supplies incurred
through the purchase of imported commodities such as
indigo, cochineal, cotton, silk, rice, oil, and wine. By
growing these crops on British-owned soil, the Crown could
provide its people with highly desired products directly. As
an encouragement, financial rewards were offered to those
plantation owners in the colonies who were willing to grow
agricultural products for commercial use. For example, in
1771 a bounty offourpence per pound was paid on American
colonial indigo, reduced from a sixpence bounty established
in 1748, but still a significant inducement to large plantation
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
VOL. 52 NO. 1-2
T FOI ANHOOO ST
Figure 1. Dr. Andrew Turnbull, founder of the New Smyrna Colony (courtesy St. Augustine
owners to grow and process this crop (Griffin 1991:51). In
1764, Parliament instituted a bounty of 500 a year for the
raising of silk, cotton, and indigo in East Florida (Corse
Once Britain acquired its new colony it quickly divided it
into two administrative districts, East Florida and West
Florida, with the Apalachicola River as the dividing line and
seats of government located within each district. St. Augus-
tine became the capital of East Florida with James Grant
appointed as governor. Pensacola held that honor for West
Florida, with George Johnstone as governor. Almost im-
mediately the British government began a concerted effort to
stimulate interest in the settlement and improvement of both
Floridas. Published notices appeared in London papers and
brochures informing the public about the availability of land
grants were distributed (Panagopoulos 1978:10). The climate
and soil productivity of the newly acquired colony also were
advertised in a campaign designed to attract new settlers.
Many potential colonists in Britain and its other North
American colonies had negative feelings about the assets
available in Florida (Rasico 1990:14), feelings that were fed
by less-than-enthusiastic publications that described Florida
.. HE _ L UD RPL IOL
9 991 V 52 1 2
Armn~vu, unimu, j 'g ?iIU~ Cft.VDNgCfl1 .flV
MOORE AND bTE- CMIJuS Lw E--- -
Figure 2. Mrs. Gracia Maria (Rubini) Turnbull, after whose birthplace the New Smyrna
Colony was named (courtesy St. Augustine Historical Society).
as "being little more than pine barrens, or sandy deserts"
(Panagopoulos 1978:11). Consequently, the recruitment
campaign was promoted more in Europe than within the
British Empire (Rasico 1990:14). However, an early account
by William Bartram, written about his travels in Florida in
1763 prior to any British plantation development, extolled
the virtues of East Florida and noted the fertility of its soil.
He described an extensive orange grove, nearly a half mile
(.8 km) wide, that stretched from about 30 mi (48 km) north
of today's Cape Canaveral to the Tomoka Basin area, a
distance of nearly 40 mi (65 km). He also listed the native
trees growing in the same area, including live oaks, magno-
lias, palms, and red bays (Bartram 1955:134).
Each governor proposed a different plan for settlement of
their respective provinces. Grant was closely aligned with
Britain's aristocracy who were not inclined to live in Florida.
Consequently, his plan for settling East Florida was based
on the development of a plantation economy, consisting of
large land holdings granted to a few absentee owners with
resident overseers managing indentured servants or black
slaves (Fabel 1996:138). In West Florida, a different policy
prevailed, with smaller land grants issued to many planters
IjA~n AI~cu Am
THE F. o-ViDn ANTHROPO fLCT 1990QQ Vo. I7 ?1 -2.7
(Fabel 1996:136; Griffin 1991:4).
Colonization efforts in East Florida were encouraged by
the offer of easy terms to prospective land owners. Extensive
amounts of land, up to 20,000 acres (8094 ha), could be
granted by the Crown to anyone willing to fulfill the stipu-
lated requirements. These stated that the granted lands had
to be settled with Protestant families within a period often
years, with one person for every 100 acres (40.5 ha), and that
the land owner must pay a quit-rent of one penny per acre for
one half of the land after five years with one penny per acre
due for all of the granted land after ten years.' If the land
was not settled within ten years, or if one-third was not
populated within three years, it reverted back to the British
Crown (Rasico 1990:14,15).
Smaller land grants, known as family rights, also were
issued. These allowed a man, as head of a family, 100 acres
(40.5 ha) for himself plus 50 acres (20.2 ha) for each
member ofhis household including slaves. A British military
veteran could qualify under the same plan. Up to 1000
additional acres (405 ha) could be requested, at a cost of five
shillings per 50 acres. Proof of land cultivation had to be
submitted, with the grant forfeited if three out of every 50
acres were not cultivated within three years (Rasico
Prelude to Emigration:
Andrew Turnbull and the Minorcans
Dr. Andrew Turnbull (Figure 1), a Scottish-born physician
and wealthy member of London society who had important
and influential connections in British governmental circles
(Rasico 1990:16), accepted the challenge to establish a large
plantation in East Florida. He found a willing partner for the
venture in Sir William Duncan, a baronet and fellow member
of the East Florida Society. This society was composed of a
select group of individuals who held monthly meetings
beginning early in 1766 to explore the process of acquiring
large land holdings (Griffin 1991:51). Sir Richard Temple,
acting for Lord George Grenville, the Crown's prime
minister, later joined in the venture. These three partners
were to provide capital and other resources for the coloniza-
tion endeavor. Turnbull was chosen as plantation manager
for the East Florida lands (Griffin 1991:7).
Genealogical information obtained from a direct descen-
dant of Andrew Turnbull (Mrs. Walter Mulbry, personal
communication, 1996) provides some personal data about
this man and his family. He was born December 2, 1720 in
Scotland (town unknown). He met his future wife, Gracia
Maria Rubini (Figure 2), while studying medicine in Paris.
Gracia, born July 13, 1736 in Smyrna, Asia Minor and said
to be of Greek descent, had been educated in Paris. They
married on August 22, 1753 in Smyrna. Prior to moving to
the plantation in East Florida, Gracia gave birth to eight
children, although only four, a son and three daughters,
survived. Three more sons were born between 1770 and 1775
in New Smyrna, at the colony named in honor of Mrs.
Turnbull's birthplace. Another son was born to the couple,
but no date of birth or death is recorded. It is not known if
the child was born in New Smyrna, in St. Augustine, or in
another location after the Turnbulls left the New Smyrna
colony. Both Turnbull and his wife died in Charleston,
South Carolina. The date of his death is uncertain, but was
sometime between 1786 and 1788, while she passed away in
Turnbull was 45 years old when he entered into the
association with Duncan to obtain large land grants in East
Florida. In the spring of 1766, they each applied to the Privy
Council for grants of 20,000 acres (8094 ha) each. Upon
word that Royal orders had been issued for the solicited
lands, Turnbull immediately sailed from England to East
Florida to choose the locations for these two land grants
(Rasico 1990:16,17). He knew that preparations for the
colonists he would soon recruit, such as housing and land
clearing for agricultural crops, had to begin as soon as the
locations of the granted lands were approved. A letter
written by Governor James Grant to Lord Shelburne in
London, dated January 20, 1767, gives the specific locations
of the grants: "warrants of survey were thereupon issued, and
grants have been completed for both estates, which are
situated upon the Hillsborough River [now the Indian River]
south of the Mosquettos [now southeast Volusia County]"
(British Colonial Office [BCO], Shelburne Papers, Vol. I).2
A survey map drawn by William Gerard De Brahm in 1765
and 1767 has an area indicated as "place intended for the
Town of Smyrnea" on the east side of today's Turnbull Bay
(De Vorsey 1971:map facing 206). Five small rectangular
blocks, presumed to be depictions of structures, are shown
near the shoreline of the bay (Figure 3). This may indicate
that original plans for placement of the plantation settlement
were revised after Turnbull arrived in 1766 to view the lands
granted to Duncan and himself. A portion of the area
indicated by De Brahm as planned for the "Town of Smyr-
nea" is within a 300-acre (121-ha) grant issued to Turnbull
in January 1767. Two small square blocks, also presumed to
indicate structures, are drawn near the shoreline of a land
projection on the west side of the bay, southwest from the
depictions shown on the east side of the bay.
Turnbull requested and received other personal land grants
located in this same geographic area in addition to grants
located within the Tomoka Basin area and near St. Augus-
tine. His four older children also received land grants of
5000 acres (2024 ha) each in East Florida. The locations of
these grants are itemized in a register of claims for losses
filed by Turnbull's heirs after Florida became a territory of
the United States in 1821 (American State Papers 1834:249,
Report No. 7).
In order to fulfill the grant stipulations set by the Crown,
and to acquire capable laborers to work on the two 20,000-
acre grants issued to himself and Duncan, Turnbull may
have been influenced to begin recruiting Greek people by
suggestions promoted in popular books and papers of his
time (Panagopoulos 1978:11,12). However, his personal
experience living in the Mediterranean area and his exposure
to the Greek culture through his wife may have focused his
THE FLORIDA ANTHR T
9 991 VOL 52 (1-2)
MOOUR AM(U WILE .AIM IU*''U'' E -
P I, -A N
Of Alt/kosa o r&~~u.~
-4yW-GEIRARD ME BRAHM q
for the So'"Distriel of North America.
": *Cr. ,. .6- 7.. .E
i \ .. h.,
Figure 3. DeBrahm map of Mukoso Inlet showing the intended location of the Town
of New Smyrna (from DeVorsey 1971).
*u.r~n.v Rmr~n )E NFUT f~N~ml n~V
rl----. .-~- n--.
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
decision to recruit colonists from that island. He was
familiar with both their industry and skill and thought they
would be much more successful farming the desired crops in
the semitropical heat and humidity of Florida than people
from other areas of Europe (Panagopoulos 1978:13). He also
may have assumed that some might leave Greece in order to
escape Turkish rule. However, he was able to induce only
about 200 Greeks to accompany him, far short of the number
needed (Rasico 1990:26, 27; Tebeau 1971:82).
To acquire more colonists, Turnbull turned to the island of
Minorca, where a three-year crop failure had left many
farmers destitute. He was able to recruit about 1100 of these
Spanish-speaking, Roman Catholic people, and added about
a hundred more from Italy, France, Corsica, and Turkey.
Since nearly 80% of the 1403 colonists were from Minorca,
and because of their intermarriage with other ethnic groups,
such as Greeks and Italians, the whole group is referred to
today as the "Minorcans of Florida" (Woodland 1989:2).
The introduction of Catholics to the colony was in strict
defiance of English law and the terms of the grant, and it
has been suggested that their presence was a source of
conflict within the colony after arrival in America (Tebeau
The terms of indenture under which the people agreed to
emigrate have not been fully determined because signed
originals or copies of executed contracts have not been
located. Various historians have expressed differing opinions
as to what terms were offered by Turnbull to the willing
immigrants. Interpretations range from three to ten years of
indentured servitude with either some land ownership or the
ability to rent the land given following completion of the
indenture period. Turnbull himself stated that after a ten-year
indenture period the colonists could cultivate under a rental
agreement for 99 years (Rasico 1990:31). The lack of
understanding and mutual agreement to indenture termina-
tion was another major cause of dissatisfaction among the
colonists during the nine-year existence of the colony.
The New Smyrna Colony
The first mass emigration to the New World (Quinn
1975:2) began as Turnbull gathered together the prospective
colonists at Gibraltar, the final point of embarkation for the
shores of East Florida. On April 17, 1768, eight ships
carrying 1403 colonists, accompanied by Dr. Turnbull on one
of them, set sail. Hardships at sea, particularly scurvy and
infections, caused many deaths during the voyage, especially
among the old and young. But parish records indicate births
also occurred during the more than three month's journey.
By August 1768 a total of 1255 people finally arrived in New
Smyrna, more than twice the number of people for whom
housing and accommodations were planned or in place
Governor Grant's January 20, 1767 letter to Lord Shel-
burne (written more than one-and-a-half years prior to the
arrival of Turnbull and the immigrants) stated that an
overseer at the Mosquittos was directing the work in housing
construction, in preparation for the colonists' arrival within
10 to 12 months (Rasico 1990:17). Additional construction
materials, in the form of about 250 lbs (113 kg) of nails, plus
axes, saws, and tools, were documented as arriving at the
colony in August 1769 (Panagopoulos 1978:83). It is
probable that the overseer referred to in Grant's letter was
William Watson, whose house is depicted on a 1767 survey
map ofTurnbull's personal 300-acre land grant (Funk 1767).
This grant was located in what is now the northernmost city
limits of New Smyrna Beach (Figure 4). William Watson
filed claims for losses in East Florida after 1783. On his
claims he listed his occupation as "house carpenter" and
indicated that he was formerly an inhabitant of East Florida
but now resided in London. In his sworn testimony Watson
stated that he went to East Florida from England in 1766 and
returned from Florida in February 1784 (Siebert
1929:11:155,157). Another house, labeled "Davies," also is
depicted on the 1767 map but no documentation has been
found regarding this man.
The arrival at New Smyrna of more than twice the number
of people than were expected would have been a great matter
of concern to Turnbull. Housing and supplies were most
probably ready and waiting for the expected 500 people, but
not for 1255. Turnbull's letter, dated September 24, 1769, to
the Earl of Shelburne in London, stated the people were
lodged on farms aligned along a navigable river. He de-
scribed the structures as "palm hutts" and stated that he
hoped "to have all the farmhouses built in one year more"
(BCO, Shelburne Papers, Vol. 1). This statement seems to
indicate that some of the colonists were still housed in rather
temporary structures more than a year after their arrival.
By the spring of 1769, an approximate eight-mile (12.9-
km) long strip along today's Indian River had been cleared
and crops were being grown, including vegetables for use by
the colonists as well as commercial crops. Maintaining
adequate food supplies for the oversized colony was a
perpetual problem. In a December 1, 1768 letter to the Earl
of Hillsborough in London, Governor Grant wrote that the
New Smyrna colonists had been sickly since their arrival in
August but they were recovering. He wrote that the only
disorder remaining was scurvy, which, it was hoped, fresh
vegetables from their spring gardens would remedy. How-
ever, while "they have fish the year round, oysters and shell
fish in plenty during the winter months," the cost of salt and
Indian corn for their maintenance was very high. He stated
he would "give Mr. Turnbull every little assistance in my
power" (BCO, Shelburne Papers, Vol. I). Grant had earlier
provided assistance to the colony, as Savannah's Georgia
Gazette reported two schooners loaded with corn were sent
to the colony as early as August 20, 1768 (Quinn 1975:32).
Also present in the colony were black slaves, although the
exact number present has never been determined. Governor
Grant's 1767 letter to Lord Shelburne indicates that black
slave labor was to be utilized by Turnbull, in addition to the
anticipated European colonists. According to Grant, Turn-
1999 VOL. 52 (1-2)
-----~--- ----- r
S. f "FLORIDA STATE ARCHIVES
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
'" .R. A. GRAYBUIL
S.Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250
Series iL Carton
Figure 4. 1767 map showing the location of Andrew Turnbull's personal 300-acre grant. Arrows point to the Watson and Davies residences.
T, flt1 A0 N- ) IQ _1t.
bull had purchased a number of slaves and was establishing
a cotton plantation at the Mosquittos, under the direction of
a skillful planter who was settled on his estate (BCO,
Shelburne Papers, Vol. 1). Schoepf (1968:234) refers to an
account written in 1783-1784 (after the colony's failure)
stating that a cargo of 500 slaves, intended for the colony at
New Smyrna, had wrecked on the coast of Florida with all
lost. Unfortunately, Schoepf includes no source for the
information given and its validity is unproven. The location
of housing for the slaves also is unknown. Their housing may
have been concentrated in a particular area, perhaps some-
where within Turnbull's 300-acre grant, or they may have
lived along the navigable river shores as did the indentured
Many buildings were constructed during the nine-year
existence of the colony, although the total number has not
been determined (Corse 1967:35; Griffin 1991:47 ). Housing
and supporting structures for Turnbull, his wife and seven
children, for the overseers, colonists, and slaves, the Catholic
church of San Pedro and housing for the two priests, wharfs
along the water for loading and unloading of ships, work-
shops for activities associated with the enterprise, such as a
blacksmith shop, a cooper, a carpenter, etc., storehouses for
supplies for the colonists as well as for agricultural products
that were destined for overseas shipment, all were located
within the combined 40,000 acres composing the New
Smyrna colony. The majority were located along a strip
extending from near the northern limits of present-day New
Smyrna Beach, south into the community of Edgewater, a
distance of about 8 mi (12.9 km). However, Turnbull's own
house and associated outbuildings, said to be located 4 mi
(6.4 km) north of the colony, may have been outside the
40,000-acre boundary, on his personal 300-acre grant.
Other structures believed to have been located within the
colony include three barracks for single men, quarters for the
small military garrison stationed at New Smyrna, a powder
magazine, and jail (Griffin 1991:47). A windmill and a mill
using horsepower, 145 houses, an indigo house for drying
and cutting of dye residue, 22 double sets of indigo vats and
bridges also are listed (Griffin 1991:88).
No detailed map of the precise layout of the New Smyrna
colony has so far been found by researchers who have studied
the British Colonial Period in East Florida. It is known that
the colony was aligned along the Indian River (variously
referred to as the Hillsborough, Hillsboro, and Mosquito
River on early maps and documents) because Turnbull stated,
in a letter written to the Earl of Shelburne on September 24,
1769, that "the disposition of the settlement is into farms,
which extend nigh eight miles on a navigable river" (BCO,
Shelburne Papers, Vol. I). Thus, historical documentation in
the form of Turnbull's statement is proof that the settlement
occupation was not only in the area of what is now New
Smyrna Beach, but extended some distance south into the
community of Edgewater.
It is highly probable that the central core ofthe plantation,
though not what would be considered a typical town center
today, was located in what is now part of downtown New
Smyrna Beach. The exact location, however, remains
uncertain. Griffin (1991:47) depicts a conjectural plan for the
New Smyrna settlement, with the central area delineated and
centered around a principal wharf, and houses or farmsteads
distributed linearly along the river. The only visible remains
of a wharf in New Smyrna Beach are the coquina foundations
referred to today as the Old Stone Wharf prompting some
historians to believe that this was the original town center.
However, there also is evidence that suggests that the town
hub centered around modem Old Fort Park, about .8 km (.5
mi) north of the Old Stone Wharf. Early maps showing the
location of King's Road, an official highway connecting St.
Augustine with New Smyrna, indicate that this overland route
ended in the area of Old Fort Park and not at the Old Stone
Wharf (Adams et al 1997). Supporting this theory is an 1851
navigational chart that shows that the body of water in front of
the park, now the New Smyrna Beach Marina, was deep enough
to be accessible by large ships (U.S. Coast Survey 1851). A
cache of ballast stone said to be located on a nearby island
suggests that Turnbull's Harbor was used heavily during the
Unfortunately, the spatial organization common to Medi-
terranean agriculturalists was not considered by Turnbull
when the colony housing was planned and built. With its
linear orientation along the river, the central village concept
from which farmers could walk out to their fields by day and
return to the close comfort of family and friends for the night
was missing in New Smyrna (Griffin 1991:48). This disrup-
tion of socialization must have caused a great deal of
dissatisfaction with the majority of the colonists who immi-
grated from Mediterranean countries.
The locations of the Catholic church of San Pedro, its
cemetery, and the dwelling for two priests who immigrated
to East Florida with the Minorcan colonists, have not been
documented, but these also may have been centrally located
within the colony given their significance to the Mediterra-
nean people (Griffin 1991:44). The Governor's official report
of deaths in New Smyrna, from 1768-1777, the duration of
the settlement, lists a total of 964 people. Of this number,
704 were adults and 260 were children (Panagopoulos
1978:91, 92). The number of deaths of Catholics versus
Protestants has not been determined; however, the priests
would have conducted religious rites for most of the de-
ceased, since the greatest majority of colonists were Catho-
lics, with interment following in the church cemetery. A
visitor to New Smyrna sometime prior to 1916 recalled a
"'quaint Spanish burying ground, with ancient walled in
tombs, bearing dates of a hundred years ago, holds its place
in the heart of the village" (Ingersoll 1916:7). This account
seems to indicate burial dates and Spanish names were
visible when the viewer saw them, however the location of
the cemetery noted by Ingersoll has not been established.
THE FLORIDA ANTHR T
9 991 VOL 52 1-2
MIOE AND UT CA -R AN--R- --RN1' N-w SMYRNACOLONY--------------
Building Design and Construction Methods
Historical records in the form of a list made by carpenter
William Watson itemizes some of the "carpenter work done
on Smyrnea settlement during 1777" (Griffin 1991:88; the
list appears to be a cumulative statement for 1768-1777).
Watson itemized the following:
Mr. Turnbull's Dwelling House, 270 [pounds]; Two large
Stores for Provisions, 500 [pounds]; One Smaller Store for
Provisions, 100 [pounds]; A Wind Mill, 300 [pounds]; a Horse
Mill, 30 [pounds]; One Indigo House, 100 [pounds]; 145 Other
Houses at 35 each; 4 Bridges all of Cedar at 30 each; and 22
Double Setts of Indigo Vatts at 50 each [Griffin 1991:88].
He also wrote that the "Whole of the Above Work were all
Compleat in 77 & as near the Prime Cost as I can recolect"
(Griffin 1991:88). The list does not document whether all the
structures were wooden or if only wooden frameworks were
built. Watson most probably supervised workers, such as
masons, in erecting coquina stone elements, such as chim-
neys, hearths, and ovens, and in the placing of
tabby/mortar/plaster coatings on structural elements such as
walls or floors. The type of roofing material used on the
referenced structures cannot be determined from his list.
Construction methods used by the artificers assigned the
task of erecting housing and other structures are largely
undocumented. Turnbull's 1769 letter to the Earl of Shel-
burne refers to both "farm house" and "palm hutts,"(BCO,
Shelburne Papers, Vol. 1) but gives no description of specific
materials used. His term, "palm hutts," may refer to the
roofing materials used rather than actual construction
Archaeological excavations at two recently identified
eighteenth-century building complex sites in New Smyrna
Beach (Grange, this issue; Moore 1996) provide data on the
construction methods and materials for at least three types of
buildings: 1) a coquina structure with coquina flooring, with
outer walls approximately .9 m (3 ft) thick; 2) a post-in-the-
ground/wooden beam structure with horizontal lath walls
coated on both inner and outer surfaces with lime mortar and
a mortared floor; and 3) a post-in-the-ground wooden
structure without mortar coating or mortared flooring. Roof
types could not be ascertained for these structures; however,
since cabbage palm trees are so prevalent along the coastal
uplands, it is probable that roofs were constructed of layers
of this easily gathered material. Two methods for attaching
palm thatching for roofing purposes are illustrated in The
Houses of St. Augustine: 1565-1821 (Manucy 1978:101).
The use of tabby as a concrete-like construction material
and bonding agent has been well documented throughout
Florida's early historic period, beginning with the Spanish
occupations. Extensive shell midden deposits left by prehis-
toric peoples provided the raw materials necessary to obtain
lime hardener for the mortar mix. The labor-intensive
activity of burning shells collected from midden deposits
created the lime. The lime powder was mixed with sand,
shell aggregate, and water, which hardened as it dried,
forming tabby, a rock-hard masonry suitable for wells, roofs,
floors, and walls (Manucy 1997:58).
In his Report of the General Survey in the Southern
District of North America, first published in the 1770s, De
Brahm described the preferred construction design for
dwelling houses. According to this document, the rooms
should be at least nine but no more than 11 ft (2.7-3.4 m)
high; windows should be floor length the same as doors, and
placed on all four sides of the house. This design differed
from the architecture observed by the British, who moved
into structures previously occupied by the Spanish; the
Spanish had neither doors nor windows on the north side of
their structures. De Brahm stated that the lack of boards
would prevent new settlers from elevating the floors of their
houses off the ground (De Vorsey 1971:225).
DeBrahm also gave detailed instructions on preparing
flooring from a mortar mix of lime obtained from burnt
shells, then adding unburnt, pounded shells. This mixture
was laid four or six inches thick, brushed with linseed oil,
then pounded repeatedly until it was hard, smooth, and shiny
(De Vorsey 1971:225,226). Further archaeological excava-
tion of structures related to the New Smyrna colony may
provide the evidence necessary to determine if Turnbull's
construction crew followed this advice.
Historical court records in the form of claims for losses
were submitted after abandonment of the colony in 1777. A
three-way split of the East Florida lands at the end of seven
years was the original plan agreed upon by Turnbull,
Duncan, and Grenville; however, this plan was revised as
early as 1769 when Turnbull's two partners, unhappy with
the slow progress of the plantation, forced a division into five
equal parts, of which Tumbull was to receive only one
(Griffin 1991:93). Claims against the 20,000-acre grant
issued to Turnbull were filed by the sons and heirs of Lord
George Grenville in 1778. Thomas and William Grenville's
schedule and valuation of real estate situated at Mosquito
Inlet, East Florida, listed "40 dwelling houses" valued at 30
each, in addition to the acreage (BCO, Shelburne Papers, Vol
III). A schedule and valuation of claims against Sir William
Duncan's 20,000-acre land grant, which abutted the Turn-
bull grant on the south, was filed by his widow, Lady Mary
Duncan, in 1784. In addition to the land, "80 dwelling
houses (town included)" were noted, at a value of 40 each
(Shelburne Papers, Vol. III). The 10 difference in the
valuation of houses on the two claims is not explained. No
structures, other than dwellings, were listed in these two
claims for losses, though the phrase "town included" may
indicate structures other than houses.
An attachment, labeled "A," was included in papers filed
on behalf of Lady Mary Duncan's claim. The unsigned,
undated note, written sometime after the latter part of 1783,
stated, "I was at Smirna last in November 1783...I had the
curiosity when there, to count all the houses both in Town &
County, & to the best of my recollection there were some few
more than 100 fram'd buildings left standing, or unburnt,
including those in the Honorable Grenvilles part...many of
them were inhabited by refugees at that time" (BCO, Shel-
dnmanv TlmNnrn.r.'n NEW S~MN*CO~.nNY
9 991 VOL. 52 (1-2)
burne Papers, Vol. III). According to Roger Grange (personal
communication, 1997), the reference to "framed" buildings
indicates that these would have been wooden post-in-the-
ground/beam structures, with horizontal laths coated with
mortar, both inside and outside, similar to the eighteenth-
century dwelling excavated in New Smyrna Beach in 1996-
97 (see Grange, this issue).
Agriculture and Subsistence
Although crops such as rice, corn, sugar, hemp, and cotton
were grown by the colony, the Turnbull's primary agricul-
tural focus was the growing and processing of indigo.
Considered "the king of dyestuffs," the brilliant blue dye
commanded a high price and continued to do so until aniline
dyes were developed in the mid-nineteenth century. Indigo
was profitable only on large plantations, such as New
Smyrna, because expensive equipment and complicated
processing was required for its production (Griffin 1991:51).
That indigo was a successful cash crop for Turnbull is
demonstrated by a 1778 account of exports from the colony
from April 1771 to April 1777 prepared by John Holmes in
St. Augustine. A total of 11,558 lb ofdyestuffwas shipped in
1771 (less than three years after the colony's founding), 9065
lb in 1772, 10,262 lb in 1773, 1633 lb in 1774 (year of the
drought referred to in Turnbull's October 3, 1774 letter),
1878 lb in 1775 (another severe drought occurred that year
[Griffin 1991:89]), 6390 lb in 1776, and 2397 lb in April
1777 (the year the colony disbanded) for a seven-year total of
43,283 lb (19,633 kg) of indigo (BCO, Shelburne Papers,
The processing of indigo plants gathered from the fields
began with a vat system in which to steep and ferment the
vegetation to extract the substance which produced the dye.
No historical documentation has been found that describes
the construction or form of the indigo processing vat system
used by the colony; however, comparisons with the process-
ing set-ups of other areas during the same time period can
provide clues as to the typical processing system that may
have been in use in New Smyrna. South Carolina planta-
tions typically used two cypress vats (4 ft x 4 ft x 12 ft [1.2 m
x 1.2 m x 3.7 m]), with one vat placed higher than the other
and in tandem. The cost of constructing the vats was $100
per set-up, which could handle seven or eight acres (2.8-3.2
ha) of production (Rembert 1990:16). A depiction of an
eighteenth-century indigo processing system in South
Carolina appeared with an article about Eliza Lucas Pinck-
ney, best known as the person who introduced indigo culture
to South Carolina (Pinckney 1997:90). The tiered processing
system was erected above ground, with exposed posts below
the vats to support the tanks.
Griffin (1991:52) depicts an eighteenth-century indigo
processing system in the West Indies based on an illustration
from Diderot's Pictorial Encyclopedia. It shows an above-
ground, tiered vat system but does not indicate whether the
vats were constructed of wood. A seventeenth-century
engraving of an above-ground indigo processing system was
reprinted in America's Indigo Blues (Pettit 1974:34). The
author of this book wrote that there were always two rows of
large, square vats used for indigo processing, with one vat
about 3 ft (.9 m) above the other. A large processing facility
could have as many as twenty vats in each row, with each vat
about 18 ft (5.5 m) square and 3 ft (.9 m)deep, and made of
brick coated inside with cement (Pettit 1974:33,34).
William Watson, Turnbull's carpenter, included an indigo
house and 22 double sets of indigo vats in his 1777 list of
work done for the settlement (Griffin 1991:88). Whether the
sets of vats were elevated and constructed entirely of wood is
unknown, though their inclusion on Watson's list of carpen-
try work implies that wood was used.
Turnbull apparently also raised cattle. In a December 20,
1767 letter to Lord Shelburne in London, Governor James
Grant wrote that Turnbull had purchased cattle from Caro-
lina and Georgia. These were to be driven south by land to
the new plantation in East Florida. An overseer was as-
signed the responsibility of caring for the cattle and for
managing a number of artificers and blacks, who were to be
employed in clearing ground and building houses for the
reception of settlers (BCO, Shelburne Papers, Vol. I). A 1769
map drawn by William Gerard De Brahm pinpoints an area
along Spruce Pine Creek (today's Spruce Creek; and an area
west oftoday's Turnbull Bay), as "Dr. Turnbull's Cow-Pen."
A map depiction, adapted from the De Brahm map, which
also shows land grants of the New Smyrna Colony and other
plantation owners, is shown in Griffin (1991:9). No docu-
mentation has been found to indicate how many cattle may
have been kept by Turnbull or his colonists.
Details given in Grant's December 1, 1768 letter to the
Earl of Hillsborough, provide important clues regarding the
types of food resources available to and consumed by the
colonists, such as oysters and fish (BCO, Shelburne Papers,
Vol. 1). Historic middens, the garbage dumps of the
eighteenth-century colonists, should contain discarded shells
from various types of shellfish and fish bones, as well as the
bones of other mammals. In fact, an eighteenth-century
midden excavated at the Turnbull Colonist's House site in
1996-97 (Grange, this issue) included remains of shellfish,
fish, turtles, and small mammals. A complete analysis of the
faunal material excavated from this midden has not been
conducted but appropriate studies would reveal the range of
foodstuffs utilized and the protein available from these
The end of the New Smyrna Colony came in 1777 when
the plantation was virtually abandoned by most of the
surviving colonists, who, along with their priest, fled to St.
Augustine and the protection of Governor Patrick Tonyn.
Their hard work and efforts from first arrival to the end of
the colony exhibited a cycle of bad years at the beginning to
good years and back to bad years again (Griffin 1991:86).
The colony began its first years with many deaths, yet
fulfilled the critical need to clear and plant agricultural fields
THE FLORIDA ANTHR T
T,,ofr 1~m,,W, 'CI NFIvi r1IAVDlhnAn fhlNv
for Turnbull's cash crops and for subsistence. They erected
additional housing and assisted in the construction of the
infrastructure that Turnbull required for the plantation. The
good years, 1771-1773, were characterized by a fall in the
death rate, an increase in agricultural crop yields, and a
somewhat stabilized life for the indentured colonists. The
bad years began again with severe droughts in 1773 and
1775, not only in the colony but all of East Florida (Griffin
1991:86-89). Turnbull's letter of October 3, 1774 documents
the severity of that year's drought with his statement, a "most
scorching drouth, which burnt up our crops" (BCO, Shel-
burne Papers, Vol. II). With crop yields down, the colonists
went hungry and in 1774 the death rate again began to climb
Weather conditions after the 1775 drought must have
improved as indigo production rose again in 1776 and out of
that year's corn production, the colony shipped 5000 bushels
to St. Augustine. Naval stores and sugar production also
were good. Everything pointed to the colony's road to
recovery (Panagopoulos 1978:145). However, the colonists'
discontent increased. There was a growing concern that
Turnbull would never honor the contracts under which they
had agreed to immigrate to East Florida. The indentured
colonists also resented their overseers, many of whom were
used to working black slaves. The mix of ethnic groups,
with their different languages and customs, and problems
with Indians also made matters desperate (Griffin 1991:97;
On top of all this, Turnbull lost the support of his propri-
etors, the British government, and eventually his ally in St.
Augustine, Governor Grant (Tebeau 1971:83). This was due
in part to the colony's inability to produce marketable crops
in quantities sufficient enough to satisfy Turnbull's investors.
Some viewed this failure as a consequence ofTurnbull's poor
management (Tebeau 1971:83). The British government
also took a dim view of the fact that the Minorcans had for
years been communicating in secret with Havana. Viewing
this as treason, Britain meted out harsh punishments.
Finally, Turnbull himself became involved in a political
controversy after Governor Grant departed St. Augustine.
Without the support of Grant, the demise of the colony
These factors and more drove the people to leave the
colony that had been their home for nine years for what they
hoped would be a better life in St. Augustine. In June 1777
approximately 600 people left the New Smyrna Colony, with
an unknown number staying behind (Griffin 1991:99), some
sick or dying. The Catholic priest, Father Pedro Camps,
remained behind to minister to them. On November 9, 1777,
the Catholic church of San Pedro and its priest were trans-
ferred to the city of St. Augustine, the official ending to the
colony. This singular movement of a village was termed a
rare case on record where a whole parish, priest and people,
moved from one place to another (Quinn 1975:81).
However, according to one record, Turnbull did not
relocate himself and his family from New Smyrna to St.
Augustine until August 1778, months after the colonists'
mass removal to East Florida's capital city (Siebert
1929:11:326). On May 13, 1781, he and his family arrived in
Charleston, South Carolina from St. Augustine, the final
move for the couple. He began practicing his profession and
was one of the earliest members of the South Carolina
Medical Society (Siebert 1929:11:327). Both he and his wife
are buried in Charleston.
Following abandonment in 1777, the New Smyrna colony
became almost a ghost town. Some people may have re-
mained but their occupation of what may have been an
otherwise deserted area has not been documented very well,
though some accounts have been found. A 1779 account of
destruction of a crop of provisions belonging to William
Watson (Turnbull's carpenter) states that Spanish privateers
may have been responsible for burning the provisions on a
plantation at New Smyrna, which Watson held from Dr.
Turnbull (Siebert 1929:11:309). Another reference by Watson
to losses incurred at New Smyrna after 1777 was included in
land claims he submitted after 1783. Though he did not
claim losses of land in the New Smyrna area, his sworn
testimony regarding his tract of 500 acres (202 ha) near St.
Augustine stated, "That he run out this Tract for the purpose
of Supplying the Market at St. John's with Naval Stores &
Lumber having had his Negroes plundered from him at a
Plantation called Smyrna which he held by Leave from Mr.
Turnbull" (Siebert 1929:11:157-158). Watson and his slaves
appear to have been involved with provisioning efforts in the
area of the New Smyrna Colony after 1777, by lease, rental,
or some other agreement with Turnbull, the terms of which
are unknown at this time.
Loyalists coming into East Florida from Britain's colonies
to the north were allowed use of some of the New Smyrna
colony lands by the Governor (Panagopoulos 1978:185).
These new occupants may have been the ones referred to in
Attachment "A" to Lady Mary Duncan's claim for losses
filed in 1784. The unknown writer of this 1783 note stated,
"many of them [the dwelling houses] were inhabited by
refugees at that time" (BCO, Shelburne Papers, Vol. III).
Another account, which may refer to the same people who
were mentioned in Attachment "A," is provided in a petition
presented by Colonel David Fanning to Governor Tonyn in
early March 1784 from people living near Mosquito Inlet.
The petition, begging transportation be provided for them to
go to St. Marys, was signed by Captain Thomas Young and
several others on behalf of their neighbors, many of whom
seemed to be occupying the unburnt buildings at New
Smyrna. Tonyn's response to the petition was negative so
Fanning and his family, two young black slaves, and seven
other families set sail on March 20, 1784 for the Bahama
Islands (Siebert 1929:ll: 156- 157). This account establishes
the fact that at least eight families were living in New
Smyrna as late as March 1784.
The British Period officially ended in Florida in 1783
when the Crown acknowledged the independence of the
MOORE AND STE. ULAIRE 'IN'*,w -sras 'Q IUws 4ZvN= Amu.ovfN
199 Vo. 2(12
surfaces were smoothed (proba-
bly plastered) and the structure
-,-_ -.t~... .had a mortared floor. The au-
S thor stated that the structure
Swas the best preserved of all the
remains of the numerous habi-
tations of the old colonists of a
century or more ago (Anony-
Though many ruins were
attributed to the eighteenth-cen-
f e (8 tury colony by early visitors,
some structural remains may
.. have been associated with the
Second Spanish-period (ca.
1803-1805) plantation struc-
tures of Ambrose Hull or of
even later occupants. Under
Spanish rule, Hull became the
grantee for 2600 acres (1052
ha) of some of the same lands
Figure 5. Coquina foundations at Old Fort Park in New Smyrna Beach. once granted to Turnbull and
Duncan by the British. One of
American colonies. It considered Florida of little use and Hull's tracts, for 1100 acres (445 ha), was located along the
ceded the territory to Spain, in exchange for the almost west shore of the river. This grant ran north from the Old
infinitesimal Bahama Islands (Fitzgerald 1937:46). Stone Wharf for 3 mi (4.8 kin) and extended west for one-
half mile (.8 km) from the shoreline (Circuit Court Records
The Material Remains of the New Smyrna Colony of St. Johns County 1821). Claims for damages for destruc-
tion of Hull's plantation during the 1812 Patriots War were
Written descriptions of visible structural elements attrib- filed in 1834 on behalf of Hull's heirs by Benjamin A.
uted to the eighteenth-century British colony have been Putnam, estate administrator. Structures listed as destroyed
described in several historic accounts. Hawks (1887:76) were his stone dwelling house, outhouses, and slave houses
wrote that old coquina stone chimneys and foundations were (Circuit Court Records of St. Johns County 1834). Remains
still standing in the woods along the creek for 4 mi (6.4 kin) of these structures may have been assumed by later visitors
north and 3 mi (4.8 km) south oftown. Forbes (1964:91, 92) to be remnants from the New Smyrna Colony.
mentioned structural remains of the settlement, such as Perhaps the most well-known, and certainly the most
chimney stacks, some boilers and other traces of the sugar visible, material remains commonly associated with the New
works, wells, and three solid stone wharves, of which the Smyrna colony are the coquina foundations for a massive
location of only one wharf the Old Stone Wharf is known structure located in downtown New Smyrna Beach's Old
today. An unnamed visitor to New Smyrna in 1840, who Fort Park (Figure 5). Referred to over the years as the Old
arrived with military forces stationed there during the Fort, a Spanish fort, Turnbull's Castle, and Turnbull's Palace
Second Seminole War, described old chimneys or buttresses (as labeled on an 1817 Spanish survey map of the area by
or other remnants of former habitations that he saw, all Jorge [George] J.F. Clarke), no British or Spanish documen-
overgrown with moss and ivy (Anonymous 1840:43). station has been found with which to pinpoint a date of actual
The construction date of a coquina stone house that once construction and intended use. An early account, written
sat upon a shell midden near the northeast corner of today's about a year prior to the colony's demise and quoted in
New Smyrna Beach airport is unknown. Referred to as the Williams (1837:189) states, "sometime in the summer of
Rock House, it may have been built during the eighteenth 1776, several English gentlemen from St. Augustine...called
century. The prehistoric midden was mined for shell early in at New Smyrna, to see the improvements, especially a very
the twentieth century, therebyremoving all material evidence large stone building, that was commenced for a mansion
of the structure. A written description of the ruinous struc- house" (Williams 1837:189). However, no reference to the
ture was made by an unknown author in a paper dated location ofthis structure was included in Williams's account.
December 11, 1882. It describes the house as about 16 ft by The building referred to by Williams may or may not have
24 ft (4.9 by 7.3 m), with north, south, and west walls intact, been what is now only foundation ruins in Old Fort Park.
the east wall partly demolished, and a fireplace at the west Shown also on the Clarke map is a structure labeled "Am-
end. The coquina walls were about 1 ft (.3m) thick and the brose Hulls house," located near the northwest corner of the
mortar is described as being as hard as the rock. The wall structure labeled "Turnbulls Palace." As mentioned above,
9 991 Voo 52 (1-2)
F-- I~r A I 'm-
Manuf A n 1TE_ CI_ AIDV~__ ___ANnuiw TuRNB L'S NMw SMYlNACOLOlNV
Hull received granted lands
from the Spanish government
in 1803 and these included
some of the same lands that
Turnbull and Duncan had been
granted. Hull described his
house in a letter written on June
27, 1805 to his sister-in-law in
New York. In this letter he
states that his house, built upon
a hill, was a two-story stone
building with two large rooms,
one above the other, three dou-
ble doors and six windows in
each, with a turret or tower
wing at each end, each contain-
ing two bedrooms with three
1952:334). Hull makes no
mention in his letter of utilizing
an existing foundation upon
which to erect his house; how-
ever, that does not preclude the
existence of one at the site.
Figure 6. The South Canal, a remnant of the Turnbull canal system.
Only 28 years separated the occupations of the New Smyrna
colony and Hull; not enough time to obliterate traces of
coquina stone structures or foundations.
Following a 1990 archaeological survey project of Old
Fort Park and the Turnbull canal system for the city of New
Smyrna Beach, John W. Griffin and Robert H. Steinbach
proposed that the foundations in Old Fort Park 'were most
likely the location of the eighteenth-century parish church of
San Pedro (Griffin and Steinbach 1990:30). However, no
material evidence was found during archaeological testing
around the ruins to support this proposal, nor has any
historical documentation been located that would substantiate
More recently, archaeologists have revealed the remnants of
an early floor at the lowest levels of the foundation, indicating
an earlier structure on which a series of subsequent foundations
were retrofitted (Ste. Claire and Moore 1996). It remains
unclear, however, if the earliest structure served as a church.
Possibly it was a subterranean storehouse, based on the depth of
the footers and the massiveness of the coquina walls. In addi-
tion, the dimensions of the floor exceed the measurements of
known British-period houses, suggesting that the structure was
a commercial building. The thickness and wear ofthe sequential
tabby floors also imply commercial or industrial use. Tabby
floors of early residences in St. Augustine usually measure no
more than 2 in (5 cm) thick, not 3-4 in (7.5 to 10 cm) thick as
are the floors unearthed at New Smyrna. The wear patterns on
the floors indicate a great deal of foot traffic, such as might be
expected in a commercial building.
The placement of a large storehouse or commercial
building near the town's principal wharf, where loading and
unloading of supplies was conducted, would have been
necessary for the safe storage of food and other supplies that
were required for the more than 1000 colonists. Storage for
food supplies in particular would have been essential. While
subsistence crops were planted as soon as the wilderness was
cleared enough to allow seeds to be sown, several months
would have elapsed before edible foods could have been
A network of canals, said to have been dug by Turnbull's
colonists, is visible today running through areas of New
Smyrna Beach and unincorporated Volusia County, abutting
the city to the west. The South Canal (also referred to as the
Gabordy canal) is the present dividing line between New
Smyrna Beach and Edgewater (Figure 6). The evidence from
which to date some or perhaps most of the canals to the
eighteenth century is contained in a letter written by Turn-
bull to Lord Shelburne on October 3, 1774, six years after
arrival of the colonists. In this letter Turnbull wrote that
there had been a
...most scorching drouth, which burnt up our crops. I am taking
measures to prevent this in future, by adopting the Egyptian
mode of watering. This is new to American planters, and as
talked of as Chimerical; but as I have seen the utility of such
modes of culture, and am convinced of the necessity of them in
this Climate. I go on, being certain of succeeding [BCO,
Shelburne Papers, Vol. 1].
These hand-dug canals, a massive undertaking by an
already overworked people, may have served several pur-
poses for the colony; such as irrigation, drainage of swampy
lands, and inland transportation routes within the colony via
small flat-bottomed boats or canoes.
Turnbull's letter, dated the latter part of 1774, seems to
indicate that digging of an irrigation system did not begin
until that year, though ditching to drain land for crops may
Mnruwf Awn '? Q'i Amu
dNnPF(w Trmnr~lrr.r.'a Nnu S~vaNlmr~Nv
TUE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 1999 Vo 51(1-2)
have occurred prior to that time. However, since land
clearing for agricultural field crops had been ongoing for the
previous six years and construction of the majority of large,
labor-intensive projects such as wharfs, storehouses, and
indigo processing vats were probably completed by that time,
Turnbull may have decided to turn his attention to the
excavation of a canal system that he was certain would prove
successful for the agricultural crops.
To date, no map or documents have been found that depict
the route of the irrigation system, and it is possible that later
settlers may also have dug canals. However, clues to the
locations of some Turnbull-period canals can be found in
grant papers documenting the boundary of 1500 acres (457
ha) of land issued to Ambrose Hull. These state that the
beginning point for Hull's grant was at a cedar bridge that
crossed over a canal, about 3 mi (4.8 km) west of the wharf,
and that the line followed the canal in a westerly direction.
They also state that one line of Hull's grant ran in a easterly
direction by the principal canal, which ran north and south
(St. Johns County Circuit Court Records 1821).
In 1995 archaeologists excavating at Old Fort Park unearthed
the remains of substantial coquina structures, tabby floors, and
British-period artifacts, all likely evidence of busy town activity
(Ste. Claire and Moore 1996). In 1996 and 1997, the remains
of what is likely a colonist's house along the banks of the Indian
River was located and excavated, the first documented location
of such a site (Grange, this issue). Most recently a grant-
funded survey of New Smyrna Beach has been conducted in
an attempt to locate archaeological remains of the colony.
This survey documented locations of numerous Turnbull-
related sites including coquina foundations, tabby floors,
collapsed chimneys, a possible indigo-processing complex,
lime kilns, eighteenth-century artifacts (ceramics, buttons,
wrought-iron nails, gun parts, tools), and midden refuse
(Austin et al. n.d.).
After more than two centuries, New Smyrna's original
town plan is beginning to emerge once again. In addition to
considerable historical research that has been conducted by
many people, archaeological surveys and excavations are
adding to the inventory of new sites and reevaluating known
sites. These efforts have resulted in an overlay plan of the
settlement that will make the task ofrelocating other remains
associated with Britain's ambitious colony much easier.
Future archaeological surveys and excavations, in combina-
tion with focused historical research, will provide a wealth of
new data with which to fill in the gaps about life in
eighteenth-century New Smyrna. Finally, historians and
archaeologists will be able to contribute additional chapters
to the story of one of Florida's greatest colonial experiments.
Quit-rent is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "a rent, usually of
small amount, paid by a freeholder or copyholder in lieu of services which
might be required of him," or "a charge upon an estate for some special
2 The Spanish had long referred to this geographic area of Florida as the
"Mosquitoes," appropriately named for the hordes of bloodthirsty insects that
were so prevalent because of the vast breeding areas found in swamps and
marshes along the coast. Mosquitos was spelled several different ways by
various people during these early days, e.g., Grant's spelling of it as "Mosquet-
tos." A Spanish surveyor, Alvaro Mexia, drew a coastal map of the east coast
of Florida in 1605 and labeled what is now called Ponce de Leon Inlet as
"Mosquitos" (Rouse 1951:266). Surveyors for the British carried on the
terminology for this area during their surveys. A coastal survey map of what
is now the inlet and adjacent lands in Volusia County was drawn by William
Gerard De Brahm in 1765 and 1767. He labeled the inlet as" Mukoso Inlet"
and Turnbull Bay as "Mukoso Lake" (De Vorsey 1971: map facing 206).
Adams, William R, Daniel Schafer, Robert Steinbach, and Paul L. Weaver
1997 The King's Road: Florida's First Highway. Report prepared for City
ofNew Smyrna Beach City Commission and Volusia County Council
by Historic Property Associates, Inc., St. Augustine.
American State Papers
1834 CongressoftheUnitedStates, Vol.IV(March4, 1789-June 15, 1834).
1840 Army and Navy Chronicle, Volume 10-11, State Library, Florida
Collections Room, Tallahassee
1882 The Old Rock House Mound, New Smyrna. Unpublished manuscript
with attachment on file at the Southeast Volusia Historical Society
Museum, New Smyrna Beach.
Austin, Robert J., Roger T. Grange, Jr., and Dorothy L. Moore
n.d. The Search for Turnbull's Colony: An Archaeological Survey.
Report in preparation by Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc.,
Bailyn, Bernard, and Barbara DeWolfe
1986 Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling ofAmerica on the
Eve of the Revolution. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York
1955 Travels of William Bartram. Reprint edited by Mark Van Doren.
Dover Publications, Inc., New York. Originally published 1791.
British Colonial Office Papers
1766-1788 Shelburne Papers, Vols. -ll, Typed transcripts of letters written
from East Florida to London, from London to East Florida, and letters
from East Florida to and from the East Florida Governor. On file, State
Library, Florida Collections Room, Tallahassee.
Clarke, Jorge J. F.
1817 Survey map of Mosquitos Area. Microfilm reel H#75-H# 100, Span-
ish Land Grants, Confirmed. Map included within H#92, Ambrose
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Corse, Carita Doggett
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Volusia County Historical Commission, Volusia County, Great
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De Brahm, William Gerard
1769 A Plan of Part of the Coast of East Florida from an Actual Survey.
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De Vorsey, Louis Jr. (Editor)
1971 De Brahm 's Report of the General Survey in the Southern District
of North America. Tricentennial Edition No. 3, University of South
Carolina Press, Columbia.
Fabel, Robin F.A.
1996 British Rule in the Floridas. In The New History of Florida, edited by
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1937 Volusia County Past and Present. The Observer Press, Daytona
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1964 Sketches, Historical and Topographical, of the Floridas; More
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Griffin, John W., and Robert Steinbach
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Griffin, Patricia C.
1991 Mullet on the Beach: The Minorcans of Florida, 1768-1788.
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1887 The East Coast of Florida: A Descriptive Narrative. Lewis and
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Ingersoll, May H.
1916 The Shell Mounds of the South. Privately published, Elyria, Ohio.
1978 The Houses of St. Augustine 1565-1821. St. Augustine Historical
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1997 Sixteenth-Century St. Augustine, The People and Their Homes.
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Moore, Dorothy L.
1996 Florida Site FileForm, Turnbull Colonist's House Site, 8V07051. On
file, Bureau ofArchaeological Research, Florida Division of Historical
1978 New Smyrna, An Eighteenth Century Greek Odyssey. Holy Cross
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1997 The World of Eliza Lucas Pinckney. Carologue 13(1), South Caro-
lina Historical Society.
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Rasico, Philip D.
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Rembert, David H. Jr.
1990 The Rise and Fall of South Carolina Indigo. Carologue Winter
1990, South Carolina Historical Society.
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1951 A Survey of Indian River Archeology. Yale University Press, New
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Alfred J. Morrison. Burt Franklin, publisher, New York. Originally
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Ste. Claire, Dana
1996 New Smyrna: Unearthing Britain's Greatest New World Colony.
Florida History Notebook, Fall edition, pp. 22-23. Museum of Arts
and Sciences, Daytona Beach.
Ste. Claire, Dana, and Dorothy L. Moore
1996 A Preliminary Report of Archaeological Investigations at Old fort
Park, New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Report prepared for the City of
New Smyrna Beach. On file. Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona
Tebeau, Charlton W.
1971 A History of Florida. University of Miami Press, Coral Gables.
United States Coast Survey
1851 Reconnaissance of Mosquito Inlet, Coast of Florida. U.S. Coast
Survey Sketch No. 3. Map on file, Florida State Archives, Tallahas-
Williams, John Lee
1837 The Territory of Florida or Sketches of the Topography, Civil and
Natural History, of the Country, the Climate, and the Indian Tribes
from the First Discovery to the Present Time. A.T. Goodrich, New
Woodland, Naaman J. Jr.
1989 The Minorcans of Florida: A Neglected Chapter ofAmerican Fron-
tier History. Lamar University Distinguished Faculty Lecture,
MOORE AND STE. CLAIE mwanvy s ummme... a new us...amuse n .
*---- .-,-- nl ...,
Tired of digging for that hard to find reference?
Dig no more...back issues of
The Florida Anthropologist
are available from
The Graves Museum of
Archaeology and Natural
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Dania, FL 33004
Sole agents for back issues of The Vlorida Anthropologist.
PLANTATION ORGANIZATION AND A LOOK AT SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS
TED M. PAYNE
American Preservation Consultants, Inc., 1093 AIA Beach Boulevard, St. Augustine Beach, Florida 32084
Research on British-, Spanish-, and Territorial-period
R plantations in northeast Florida has been limited;
substantially more is known about the history and
organization of agricultural enterprises of the time in the
Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia. This paper presents some
of the fundamental information on colonial and territorial
plantations that has been obtained through historical and
archaeological research in the southeastern U.S. and the
West Indies. It then reviews the few archaeological studies
of plantations in Florida in light of this information.
Caution needs to be used when applying general social,
economic, and ethnic practices to specific aspects of planta-
tion research and interpretation. Many of the earlier historic
accounts about plantation practices and slaves' lifeways may
contain biases induced by intent or lack of accurate informa-
tion. It probably will not be possible to fully understand
many of the particulars about plantation life, but on-going
archaeological, historical, and sociocultural research is
underway which may provide a clearer understanding.
As Florida's history is studied there are questions to be
examined concerning plantation organization and the
inhabitants' behavioral practices, i.e., lifeways of free
persons and those in bondage, cultural traditions from
European and North American heritages and those of
A Plantation Organization Overview
Spatial Organization and Status
Atlantic coastal plantations extended from the Middle
Atlantic region into northeastern Florida in the eighteenth
and early nineteenth centuries (Figure 1). Plantations also
were maintained throughout the West Indies. They were
operated as agricultural economic enterprises that traded in
the colonial and world markets. Large tracts of land were
planted with crops that required intensive manual labor to
cultivate and process. A profitable operation needed a
substantial, inexpensive labor force, along with intermediate
levels of management that were directed by the owner. The
personnel arrangement was organized in a stratified social,
economic, and, for the most part, ethnic framework. Most of
the workers, craft persons, domestic servants, and some
members of lower management were usually of African
descent and were held in social, economic, and personal
bondage. Senior management and ownership formed the
upper social and economic class of free persons, generally of
European descent. In some situations Native American
populations were held in slavery as workers. This personnel
arrangement provided a large enslaved labor force which was
operated at low monetary expenditure. The use of indentured
European laborers, as practiced by Dr. Andrew Turnbull at
his eighteenth-century New Smyrna plantation in Florida,
was an exception from common practices at the time.
Plantation spatial organization was based on fundamental
requirements (Orser et al. 1987). A plantation typically was
subdivided to provide land areas for residences, crop cultiva-
tion, and product processing. The arrangement was based on
functional needs combined with social, economic, and ethnic
customs. There were organizational variations but a com-
mon plan was generally followed. First of all, crop cultiva-
tion had to be undertaken where the environment was
suitable for growth. Product-processing facilities were
spatially located to permit efficient access to raw materials
and where suitable terrain and manufacturing power sources
were available. Residential organization was based on
prescribed social and ethnic practices, along with the
operational needs of the plantation. Field laborers needed
reasonable access to work assignments with lower-level
supervisors placed nearby. Craftsmen, domestic servants,
and processing facility workers needed to be situated near the
places where their skills were employed. Upper management
was placed where it could oversee and direct the plantation's
operation, while the owner's residence was situated so that
daily problems could be observed and resolved while also
maintaining a suitable social distance.
Research investigations at the early nineteenth-century
Smith Bay sugar plantation on St. Thomas in the United
States Virgin Islands (Payne and Tyson 1996) offer an
example of the physical operational layout. The plantation
was operated by senior management with no owner present.
The manager's residence, or eastern dwelling, was situated
on the most elevated and comfortable location available
(Figure 2). Continuous easterly winds from the bay made
this one of the cooler places on the plantation. It overlooked
the sugar factory, which was located a little down-slope and
nearby. Just to the side of the factory was the location of
middle management; the overseer's residence or western
dwelling. It overlooked the slave workers' village in the
valley. The African slave village was situated in the least
desirable terrain where no breezes would reach them to
reduce the intense heat that was common most of the year.
Examples of residences used by the African workers have
been recorded historically and examined by archaeological
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
VOL. 52 NOS. 1-2
--~ .. ._ L-
Figure 1. Map showing the area of plantation development in northeastern Florida, 1763-1835.
research (Ferguson 1992; Wheaton and Garrow 1985). A
1794 account of Jamaican sugar plantation practices de-
scribes slave residences. Field workers built and lived in
houses that had earthen floors and thatched roofs. Many
times, walls were built using interwoven branches supported
by in-ground posts. These were plastered with wet clay to
form wattle-and-daub building walls (Edwards 1794:158-
159). Many eighteenth-century South Carolina slave houses
were also made of wattle-and-daub with earthen floors. This
building form has been found to be similar in design with
those recorded along the West African coast (Ferguson
1992:64-73). Governor James Grant of the British East
Florida Colony described slave residences on his indigo
plantation as being palmetto huts which were constructed by
the enslaved African workers (Schafer 1995:86).
In late eighteenth-century Jamaica, the field worker's
THE FLORIDA AN'HIR T
9 991 Voo 52 1-2
PAYNE PLANTATION ORGANIZATION AND STAinS
Earth and Rock
Rock Piles *
Figure 2. Smith Bay Plantation residential and sugar factory complex Contours are in feet.
1 Meters |
PLANTATION ORGANIZATION AND STATUS
THE FLORIDA _~ ANHRPOOGS 1999 VOL. 5211-2
house was sparsely furnished while African craftsmen and
domestic servants sometimes had larger accommodations
with plank flooring. They were also allowed to acquire nicer
furniture than that which was permitted for the slave field
worker (Edwards 1794:158-159). An 1823 planter's guide
for Jamaica (Roughley 1823:184,185) states that the middle-
management personnel should be housed in a location where
all labor projects could be observed. The house should be
sturdy and raised from the ground to permit the storage of
plantation supplies. The description implies that the occu-
pants were European and were given individual, small
Senior management and the owners' residences were
located in areas of comparatively suitable comfort. Their
houses were of a grander architecture and were furnished
accordingly to befit their senior social status. This is exem-
plified by the early nineteenth-century Frenchman's Bay
plantation on St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands. The
owner's great house was on elevated ground with terraced
gardens. It overlooked the manager's residence which was
situated midway between it and the slave village. The slave
village was placed at the greatest distance and below the
manager's house (Payne 1989:11-25, 11-29).
A local example of an owner's great house or residence
was described in British Colonial Lieutenant Governor John
Moultrie's memorial (Siebert 1929:237-239). His 405-ha
(1000-acre) Bella Vista Plantation, along with the home, was
located just south of St. Augustine. The house was an eight-
room stone mansion with the lower story rustic and the upper
story of Ionic architectural style. Its interior had a 13.4-m
(44-ft) long hallway with a dining parlor, a drawing room,
and six bedrooms. The exterior was landscaped with gardens
and a bowling green.
In summary, historic descriptions of common residence
plans illustrate the overall social, economic, and ethnic
practices of plantation life. The lowest social ranking was
occupied by the African slave field worker whose housing
was the simplest architecturally and the least expensive. The
tiered levels of African and European management personnel
had more elaborate and costly housing. The highest social
class was represented by the owner's house which was the
most elaborate and expensive. It was shared by the owner's
European family and associates with enslaved African
domestic servants in attendance.
Potential for Erroneous Interpretations from Generalizations
Application of generalized behavioral patterns to particular
aspects of social and cultural interpretations can result in
misinformation. One example can be found in some of the
plantation workers' house architecture in South Carolina and
Georgia. African worker housing in southern climates may
not have been a direct expression of social and economic
discrimination. Historic and archaeological research
(Ferguson 1992; Wheaton and Garrow 1985; Wheaton et al.
1983) suggest that the construction of small, earthen-floored,
wattle-and-daub buildings with their thatched roofs may have
been a decision of choice as opposed to an economic and
social restraint. In many cases residences were constructed
by the workers and historic accounts from descendants
(Ferguson 1992:73-75) suggest that their forebears chose to
build houses based on their African traditions. Because of
the southern climate, the nature ofthe building's architecture
may have been environmentally superior to that offered by
the European architectural style that used frame-and-ma-
sonry construction (Ferguson 1992:63-82). Also, the build-
ing's form would have offered an opportunity to express a
native cultural tradition in a sociocultural situation that was
Steven L. Jones (1985:196-213) researched African-
American vernacular architecture and found that African-
Americans often relied upon locally available materials that
were similar to those found in the homeland. One Georgia
descendent remembered that his grandfather (Jim) "come
ovuh tuh this country from Africa. He tell me that ovuh
theath they have houses made of palmettuh" (Georgia
Writer's Project 1940:193). An informant recalled a story of
a slave worker named Daddy Patty, probably from Igbo,
Africa. The man described the "boo-boo-no" in which he
resided while living in Africa. It was "made out uh sticks an
straw thas plastuhed with mud" (Georgia Writer's Project
1940:188). The use of wattle-and-daub walls was common
in Igbo areas ofNigeria (Aniakor 1978). Another account by
an African-American, Okra, described his house as "lak
basket weave wid clat plastuh on it ... [it had] a flat roof wit
he made from brush an palmettuh" (Georgia Writer's Project
Leland Ferguson (1992:81) quoted an ex-slave, Charles
Ball, who stated, "The native Africans.. .generally place little
or even no value upon the fine houses ... of their masters."
Instead, there was a preference for earthen-walled, small
houses with dirt floors. A typical example of a coastal West
African house was a rectangular building containing two
rooms with wattle-and-daub walls and a gabled thatch roof
(Vlach 1978, Figures 67-68; Ferguson 1992:773-75, Figure
56). Room dimensions are believed to have averaged about
3 x 3 m (10 x 10 ft) (Ferguson 1992:73). Such a structural
form was archaeologically identified at the Carriboo Planta-
tion in Berkely County, South Carolina (Ferguson 1992:Fig-
ures 46, 47; Wheaton and Garrow 1985:248; Wheaton et al.
1993:169). A prominent plantation owner, Robert J. Turn-
bull, wrote in 1822 that his workers preferred their good clay
cabins with clay chimneys as opposed to European-style
frame-and-masonry buildings (Ferguson 1992:79-80). He
also described "open temporary cabins" which had neither
door nor window. This open structural form may have been
related to traditional field buildings used by the West African
Ghana farmers (Posnansky and DeCorse 1986).
A variation of the wattle-and-daub architectural style was
identified at the turn of the century in Edgefield County,
South Carolina (Ferguson 1992:75-77, Figure 57; Montgom-
ery 1908). A small house had been built by a worker from
Bakongo, Africa, one of the last slaves to have been brought
to South Carolina. He constructed a thatched-roof, one-room
9 991 VOL. 52(1-2)
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
P. *rITAlfl?. flCA,.jTAT~lpqm ANIVCTrITIq
UA!I- A- -"nN AND Q-rATUS
structure with wooden siding tied in place ofwattle-and-daub
Another possible example of cultural tradition versus
social and economic restraint has been recognized in the
slave workers' household furnishings. In many workers'
villages located in the Southeast and the West Indies,
investigators have recovered remains of Colono Ware
ceramics, a low-fired earthenware, that appear to have been
made by the enslaved Africans. Vessels were generally
prepared in bowl and pot forms (Ferguson 1992:96-107;
Wheaton and Garrow 1985:248-261). These forms corre-
spond with historic accounts of African food preparation and
serving practices (Armstrong 1985:273). The pot or cala-
bash was used for slow cooking of the main meal and the
bowls held relishes. Family members sat around a common
food container with the relish bowls and ate their meals as
had been their custom before enslavement (Ferguson
1992:97). West African culturally influenced Colono Ware
ceramics have not been commonly found in northeastern
Florida during the first Spanish colonization period of 1565 -
1763; but a Native American-influenced, low-fired, form of
Colono Ware has been recognized in the St. Augustine area
A 1794 description of a Jamaican slave worker's house
lists several small jars and an iron pot. Also, the annual
plantation supply order for European goods included six
dozen small iron pots for the African workers (Edwards
1794:138, 254). Research has recovered remains of Euro-
pean manufactured ceramics from slave workers' settlements
(Wheaton and Garrow 1985:261-263, Table 11.2). Their use
increased in the nineteenth century while the use of Colono
Ware declined (Ferguson 1992:90, 107). These non-local
ceramics were probably purchased by the plantation owner or
they may have been obtained from broken dish sets that were
given as castaways. Workers in some instances were proba-
bly required to purchase these ceramics. Richard Oswald has
made reference to having slaves purchase clothing and tools
using excess provisions that they produced (Schafer
1982:39). Even when vessels were bought, there appears to
have been a continued preference for bowls over plates
(Ferguson 1992:106; Lange and Handler 1985:20, 151-153).
These architectural and housewares examples do not
imply that African workers, held in bondage, were not
discriminated against in their social and economic positions
within the plantation establishment. They were, and their
ethnicity was used as justification for their assignment to the
lowest and poorest levels of the society; but there are indica-
tions that many of these people managed to retain a cultural
identity and to express their traditions in certain ways,
despite being enslaved and transplanted from their native
An understanding of Florida's colonial plantations from an
archaeological perspective is still in the pioneer stage of
research. Plantations were first established under British
rule of the East Florida Colony in the second half of the
eighteenth century. This was done in an effort to resettle the
countryside and establish an economic basis for the colony
(Schafer 1995:73-75). Colonial plantations extended from
the St. Mary's River southward past New Smyrna and from
the Atlantic Ocean to the St. Johns River (Figure 1). The
colony's return to Spanish rule in 1783 and later acquisition
by the United States in 1821 saw a continuation of the
plantation economy, changing little except in agricultural
practices as weather and markets dictated (Griffin, this
issue). During the Second Seminole War that started in
1835, most of the plantations were destroyed. There was
little interest in rebuilding after the war's end and new
development did not occur until the latter part of the nine-
Initially, Florida British plantation organizational form
would probably have reflected the combined knowledge that
had been gained from colonies to the north and in the West
Indies. There would have been a great influence particularly
from South Carolina, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. James
Grant, prior to his appointment as the Governor of Colonial
East Florida, had been stationed in South Carolina, where he
had friends and associates. Charged with resettling the
Florida colony and establishing an economic base after the
abandonment by the Spanish, he looked to these people and
offered inducements to move south. These men, such as
John Moultrie, were experienced in plantation agriculture
and operation common to southern environments. The South
Carolina climate favored the growth of rice and indigo as
well as other crops, but the winters were too cold for success-
ful sugar production. Upon the arrival of these relocated
plantation owners to Florida, they turned to rice and indigo
as primary cash crops.
In the Bahamas and Jamaica, the British had been success-
ful in the cultivation of sugar cane and the production of
sugar and rum. These products were added to the plantation
economy because it was felt that Florida's climate was
suitable for success. At least in one instance there is a record
of a Jamaican sugar planter assisting the Oswald plantation
in sugar and rum production (Lawson 1942). Later, during
the Second Spanish rule of the Florida colony, many planta-
tion grants were given to persons from the West Indies and
they continued the sugar plantation operations.
Colonial Plantation Archaeological Investigations
Northeast Florida plantation archaeological research has
been limited but examples of investigations that have been
carried out are Mount Oswald (Griffin 1949; Payne 1995,
1997; Piatek 1992, 1997), the Moultrie/Bunch/Dummett
Plantations on Tomoka Basin (Payne 1998, this issue), the
Turnbull plantation colony (Grange, this issue), and Bulow-
ville (Baker, this issue; Daniel et al. 1980:135-166) (Figure
1). In the British Period, Richard Oswald's Mount Oswald
was an absentee-owner operation and his memorial (Siebert
1929:54-55) listed 20,000 acres (8094 ha) (Figure 3). John
Moultrie's memorial for his Rosetta Plantation (Siebert
H77 VRD WL. OPOLOI
Figure 3. DeBrahm 1769 map showing Turnbull/Montcrief, Moultrie, and Oswald land
grants (courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society).
1929:239) listed a 2000-acre (809-ha), manager-supervised
establishment on Tomoka Basin, which was located immedi-
ately to the northwest of Oswald (Figure 3). John Bunch's
memorial (Dickins and Allen 1859:503) described a 2160-
acre (874-ha) plantation granted in the Second Spanish
Period (Figure 4). It was mainly situated on the earlier
Moultrie property and later it was bought and operated as a
sugar plantation by Thomas Dummett during the Territorial
Period. John Bulow also resided at his Territorial-period
Bulowville establishment. Indigo, rice, and sugar cane were
important British-period commercial crops cultivated at
Oswald's and Moultrie's plantations. Bunch raised corn and
cotton while Dummett established a plantation capable of
producing sugar and rum. At Bulowville the cultivation of
sugar cane and the processing of sugar was a major commer-
cial activity. Andrew Turnbull's British- period plantation
in New Smyrna relied on indentured workers while Richard
Oswald and the other plantation owners purchased and used
slave workers and crafts persons. Turnbull's indentured
workers proved to be resentful of the plantation conditions
and revolt ensued. Governor Grant had previously expressed
concern about using European indentured workers to carry
out plantation work. He felt African slaves were more
suitable for the task (Schafer 1982:47, 1995:80-84).
Documents indicate that Oswald's plantation had five
working settlements performing agricultural and product-
processing activities. The slave workers' villages associated
with the work areas have not been identified but information
IN V -- A -l n .
PhwI'ATrlww flDIAJIArlNn~ A~fl ~CTA'TI
U. Pff 1MVA nnV n rd-- AMW A-Malm A" STATUS
(Map is not drawn to scale)
(Courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society)
Figure 4. 1818 Plat Map of the John Bunch plantation (courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society).
indicates there were residences at the Ferry Landing, Mount
Oswald, and Swamp Settlements (Payne 1995, 1997). Based
on eighteenth-century accounts, it appears that all of the
slave workers' buildings were built according to European
styles and some were described as being of frame construc-
tion (Payne 1995). This would contrast with the wattle-and-
daub construction reported for South Carolina and the West
Indies. Recent investigations (Payne 1997) conducted at the
Mount Oswald settlement (8VO4310) recovered chunks of
daub, but the origin of the material could not be definitely
attributed to the plantation settlement. At the Nocoroco site
(8VO82), a substantial prehistoric community underlies the
THE FLRD ANHOOOIT19 O 212
eighteenth-century occupation and the Second Spanish-
period Perpal plantation settlement was built in the same
area as Oswald's. Research has examined the Oswald sugar
factory (8V0196) and rum distillery at the Swamp Settle-
ment, which are unique in Florida because of the English
style brick-bonding architecture. The overseer and workers'
residential components were not identified within the pro-
ject's study area (Payne 1995).
No manager's residential complex or associated slave
workers' village has been identified at the Moultrie planta-
tion (Payne 1996); but his 1770 rice fields have been found
by the investigations and were illustrated in the 1818 plat
map (Works Progress Administration [WPA] 1940) for the
John Bunch plantation (Figure 4). The field-separation
dikes, basin-retention dike and freshwater reserve dams are
still preserved. Some modern disturbance by mosquito-
control excavations is evident.
Following the return of Spanish rule, a large portion of the
abandoned Moultrie Tomoka Basin plantation was granted
in 1804 to John Bunch from Nassau in the Bahamas. He
established a plantation devoted to the cultivation of corn,
cotton, and other crops. An 1818 plat map (WPA 1940) of
the property illustrates the arrangement of the owner's
building complex and the African workers' village (Figure
4). The plan differed from the general plantation pattern in
that the owner's residence (8VO2587) was removed a
substantial distance from the workers' village. It can be
assumed that management personnel were located there to
oversee the slaves and their daily work tasks. Initial excava-
tions at two of the workers' house sites (8VO2586) (Payne
1996, 1998) have recovered remains of iron kettles and
European ceramic sherds which correspond with the food
service practices described for other African workers'
villages. Houses were placed on coquina footers and there
was no evidence of wattle-and-daub construction. The
recovery of nails and the lack of masonry rubble indicate that
the buildings were probably of frame construction.
These examples taken from Florida's colonial plantation
history indicate that there are many organizational and
behavioral characteristics in common with plantations
elsewhere in the Americas, but there may be particular
differences that are important to understand. As more
studies are carried out, attention must be given to the
practices that were common to those enterprises that pre-
ceded Florida's in South Carolina, the Bahamas, and
Jamaica. Also, studies must be continued with the West
African cultures and those that were developed by the
African Americans at the time. This background informa-
tion is essential to understanding the Florida colonial
plantation history, its origins, and uniqueness.
A special "thank you" to Charles A. Tingley of the St. Augustine Historical
Society, who searched through the dust of the archives to find the eighteenth-
and early nineteenth-centuries plantation texts.
Aniakor, Chike C.
1978 Igbo Architecture: A Study of Forms, Functions, and Typology.
Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Fine Arts, Indiana University,
Armstrong, Douglas V.
1985 An Afro-Jamaican Slave Settlement: Archaeological Investigations at
Drab Hall. In The Archaeology of Slavery and Plantation Life,
edited by Theresa A. Singleton, pp.261-287, Academic Press, New
Daniel, Randy, David Ferro, and Frank Sicius
1980 An Archaeological and Historical Survey of the Proposed Halifax
Plantation Development, Volusia and Flagler Counties, Florida.
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Bureau of Historic Sites and Properties, Florida Division of Archives,
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1983 Spanish St. Augustine: The Archaeology of a Colonial Creole
Community. Academic Press. New York.
Dickins, Asbury, and James C. Allen (editors)
1859 Documents of the Congress of the United States, from the First
Session of the Eighteenth to the Second Session of the Nineteenth
Congress, Inclusive: Commencing December 1. 1823. and Ending
March 3. 1827, Vol. IV. Selected and edited under the authority of
Congress by Asbury Dickens, Secretary of the Senate, and James C.
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1992 Uncommon Ground: Archaeology and Early African America.
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Georgia Writers' Project
1940 Drums and Shadows. University of Georgia Press. Athens.
Griffin, John W., and Hale G. Smith
1949 Nocoroco, A Timucua Village of 1605 Now in Tomoka State Park.
Florida Historical Quarterly 27:340-361.
Jones, Steven L.
1985 The African-American Tradition in Vernacular Architecture. In The
Archaeology of Slavery and Plantation Life, edited by T. A. Single-
ton. pp. 195-213. Academic Press, New York.
Lange. Frederick. W., and Jerome S. Handler
1985 The Ethnohistorical Approach to Slavery. In The Archaeology of
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Lawson, E. W.
1942 Public Records Office. Colonial Office. Correspondence of the
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1908 Survivors of the Cargo of the Slave Yacht Wanderer. American
Orser. Charles E.. Jr., Annette M Nekola, and James L. Roark
1987 Exploring the Rustic Life: Multidisciplinar' Research at Millhiood
Plantation, a Large Piedmont Plantation in Abbeville County. South
Carolina. and Elbert, Georgia. Vol. 1. Report submitted to the
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by Mid-American Research Center. Copy on file at the Savannah
District Office. Georgia
Payne. Ted M
1989 A Phase I Archaeological Survey of the Proposed Green C('a
Plantation Development. Report submitted to Mr. Emesto Marzano.
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file at the U.S. Virgin Islands Department ofArchaeolog and I historic
Preservation. St. Thomas. U.S. Virgin Islands.
THE FLORiDA ANTHROOLOC.IST
1999 VOL. 52(1-21
PAYNE PLANTATION ORGANIZATION AND STATUS
1995 Archaeological Assessment for the Three Chimneys Site and A
Reconnaissance Survey at a Project Land Parcel, Ormond Beach,
Florida. Report submitted to the City of Ormond Beach, Florida by
MAAR Associates, Inc., Newark, Delaware. Copy on file at the St.
Augustine Historical Society, St. Augustine.
1996 Investigations at the Moultrie/Bunch/Dummett Plantations of the
British through Territorial Periods: A Preliminary Report. Paper
presented at the 48th annual meeting of the Florida Anthropological
Society, Sarasota, Florida.
1997 Preliminary Investigations to Locate Mount Oswald: A British
Period Plantation Settlement in Tomoka State Park, Volusia County,
Florida. Report submitted to the Florida Department of State, Bureau
of Archaeological Research by American Preservation Consultants,
Inc., St. Augustine. Copy on file at the St. Augustine Historical
Society, St. Augustine.
1998 Some Insights into the Lifeways of the Owners and Workers while
Residing at the Bunch and Later Dummett Plantations on Tomoka
Basin During the Early Nineteenth Century. Paper presented at the
50' annual meeting of the Florida Anthropological Society, Gaine-
Payne, Ted M. and George F. Tyson
1996 Phase I Cultural Resource Survey at Estate Smith Bay, Parcels No.
103A D, F and C-I, St. Thomas, U.S. V.I. Report submitted to
George Hirsch, New York by American Preservation Consultants, Inc,
St. Augustine. Copy on file at the Division for Archaeology and
Historic Preservation, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Piatek, Bruce John
1992 The Tomoka PointArchaeology Survey, Tomoka State Park, Volusia
County, Florida. Report submitted to the Tomoka State Park, District
4 Administration, Division of Recreation and Parks. Copy on file at
the Tomoka Basin GeoPark, Ormond Beach-
1997 Endeavoring to Find Richard Oswald's Plantation. Paper presented at
the Northeastern Florida Plantation Symposium, Daytona Beach.
Posnansky, Merrick, and Christopher R. DeCorse
1986 Historical Archaeology in Sub-Saharan Africa A Review. Historical
1823 The Jamaica Planter's Guide; or, A System for Planting and
Managing a Sugar Estate, or Other Plantations in that Island, and
Throughout the British West Indies in General. Longman, Hurst,
Rees, Orme, and Brown, Paternoster-Row, London. Manuscript on file
at the St. Augustine Historical Society, St. Augustine.
Schafer, Daniel L.
1982 Early Plantation Development in British East Florida. El Escribano
1995 "Yellow Silk Ferret Tied Round Their Wrists": African Americans in
British East Florida, 1763-1784. In The African American Heritage
in Florida, edited by David Coldbum and Jane Landers, pp. 77-103,
University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Siebert, Wilber Henry
1929 Loyalists in East Florida, 1774 to 1785: The Most Important
Documents Pertaining Thereto, Edited with an Accompanying
Narrative, Vol. II. Gregg Press, Boston.
Vlach, John Michael
1978 The Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Arts. Cleveland
Museum of Art, Cleveland.
Wheaton, Thomas R., Amy Friedlander, and Patrick H. Garrow
1983 Yaughan and Curriboo Plantations: Studies in Afro-American
Archaeology. Soil Systems, Atlanta.
Wheaton, Thomas R., and Patrick H. Garrow
1985 Acculturation and the Archaeological Record in the Carolina Low-
country. In The Archaeology of Slavery and Plantation Life. edited
by Theresa A. Singleton, pp. 239-259. Academic Press, New York.
Works Project Administration
1940 Spanish Land Grants in Florida, Vol. I1. Confirmed Claims: A-B-C.
The Historical Records Survey, Division of Professional and Service
Works Project Administration, State Library Board. Manuscript on
file at the St. Augustine Historical Society, St. Augustine.
m ahlrannor nar.aN11~TlnN rNn STanlfi
FLORIDA ARCHAEOLOGICAL COUNCIL
JOHN W. GRIFFIN STUDENT GRANT
The Florida Archaeological Council is making available a maximum of $500.00 per year to
be awarded to archaeology graduate students (M.A. or Ph.D.) who are currently enrolled
in a Florida university. The grant money will assist students conducting archaeological
research in Florida. Grant funds can be used to cover the costs associated with
archaeological field work, special analyses (e.g., radiocarbon dates, faunal or botanical
analyses, soils analysis, etc.), or travel expenses associated with presenting a paper based
on the student's research at a professional meeting. The entire amount may be given to a
single individual or it may be divided up among several applicants at the discretion of the
FAC's Grant Committee.
Students who are interested in applying for the grant should submit a 2-page letter
describing the project for which the funds are being requested; what research questions)
or problems) are being addressed; how the funds will be applied to these problems; what,
if any, additional funds will be used to accomplish the research; and how the research will
contribute to Florida archaeology. Accompanying the letter should be a budget indicating
the amount requested and describing how the money will be spent along with a letter of
Applications for 2000 are now being accepted and can be sent to: Robert Austin, FAC
Griffin Student Grant, P.O. Box 2818, Riverview, FL 33568-2818. The deadline for
applications is January 15, 2000.
FLORIDA ARCHAEOLOGICAL COUNCIL, INC.
A professional organization for the benefit and advancement of archaeology, especially in Florida.
"...A GREAT FARMER AND GARDENER": ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE OF
GOVERNOR JAMES GRANT'S FARM, ST. AUGUSTINE, EAST FLORIDA
CARL D. HALBIRT
P.O. Drawer 210, St. Augustine, Florida 32085
This article addresses recent archaeological excavations
conducted in the area of Governor James Grant's farm
an agricultural enterprise established within months
of the British takeover of Spanish La Florida in 1764. The
farm consisted of 124.7 ha (308 acres) and was in operation
from 1764 to the 1770s. It was situated approximately 1 km
north of Castillo de San Marcos, between two defensive
earthworks (Figure 1), which were referred to as the Horna-
beque and Mose Line (Chatelain 1941; Halbirt 1993a; Piatek
and Halbirt 1993).
A series of archaeological investigations conducted by the
City of St. Augustine, under the auspices of its Archaeologi-
cal Preservation Ordinance (Halbirt 1993b; Piatek et al.
1989), resulted in the discovery of a British-period site
(8SJ3498). This site is considered to be contemporaneous
with the farm, based on the presence of particular ceramic
types such as British slipwares and creamwares, and is
within the farm's historic boundaries. Features that define
the site consist of structural remains, trash concentrations,
and a possible garden area. These features are found within
a 750-m2 area and are considered to represent a component
of the farm. The chance discovery of this British-period site
through survey and limited test excavations occurred prior to
the construction of eight new single-family residences.
Identifying the exact inhabitants of the site is problematic
given the lack of historical information relating to the layout
of the farm, specifically the locations of buildings and living
quarters. The area investigated most likely corresponds to a
residential compound where farm workers were housed.
Historical documentation indicates that most of the occu-
pants were slaves born in the British colonies (i.e., country
born) or brought over from Africa (Schafer 1995). As such,
the archaeological data might provide clues about the living
conditions endured by Africans in an agricultural setting
during the initial decade of the British occupation of East
Florida. The information can be compared to the much
larger plantation sites located approximately 64 km (40 mi)
south of St. Augustine, which were established a few years
later in the Halifax-Mosquitoes Corridor (see Griffin, this
Unlike the more typical areas of archaeological inquiry
into St. Augustine's colonial past (e.g., the First Spanish
Period, 1565-1763), the British Period (1764-1784) has
received far less attention. Nowhere is this more evident
than in areas outside the confines of St. Augustine's defen-
sive barriers. Yet these peripheral settlements or plantations
were essential to the survival and economic development of
the fledgling British colony. James Grant was aware of this
fact and was intent on transforming "Britain's new East
Florida colony into a plantation province through the labor
of African slaves" (Schafer 1995:71).
This article is divided into three sections: 1) a historical
narrative that focuses on Governor James Grant and the
development of the farm; 2) the reasons for and methods of
investigating the properties on which the British-period site
was documented; and 3) a description of the archaeological
deposits excavated. The intent is to provide a foundation for
subsequent studies of lifeways at the British agricultural site
known as Grant's Farm.
Importance of Grant's Farm
in Plantation Archaeology
There are two basic reasons for incorporating Grant's
Farm in a study of British plantations in northeast Florida.
First, it represents one of the earliest British agricultural
enterprises established in the new colony. Grant's Farm
served as a training ground for slaves who would be sent to
other plantation sites; specifically Richard Oswald's planta-
tion (Mount Oswald, near present-day Ormond Beach) and
later Grant's plantations on the North River, approximately
12 km north of St. Augustine. As such, the site may provide
data relevant to the earlier composition of these later and
larger sites. Second, as a provisional enterprise, the farm
helped to support the early British community of St. Augu-
stine. Upon his arrival in British East Florida the governor
found the province in "a state of nature...not an acre of land
planted in the Country and nobody to work or at work"
(Schafer 1995:73). The farm helped to remedy this situation
by providing essential cereal and garden crops. On a more
personal note, it provided Grant with a country retreat, away
from the demands of government, and a place where he
could entertain friends and persons of importance, which was
his wont as a noted bon vivant.
With one notable exception, and despite its importance,
Grant's Farm traditionally has been overlooked by both
historians and archaeologists (cf. Nelson 1993). The excep-
tion is the recent work by Daniel L. Schafer on slavery dur-
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
VOL. 52 Nos. 1-2
.7.=- _. .
Figure 1. The 1763 Pablo Castell6 Map of St. Augustine (from Chatelain 1941). The approximate location of Grant's Farm between the Hornabeque and Mose
Line is shown by the hatched area and is based on the 1769 De Brahm Map. Arrow points to project area.
ing the British Period in East Florida (Schafer 1995), from
which much of the historical facts presented here have been
Archaeologically, no attempt has been made to study or
even locate Grant's Farm, although the farm has been
mentioned in earlier archaeological surveys of the area
(Chaney 1986; Smith and Bond 1981). The problem in
recognizing the archaeological remains associated with
Grant's Farm may be a consequence of three factors: 1) the
size of the farm (124.7 hectares [308 acres]) and what it
represents the site is an agricultural enterprise where
archaeological remains would not be easily manifested,
especially in an area where human occupation spans 3000 to
4000 years and which has been impacted by urban develop-
ment for the past 100 years; 2) an absence of detail on
historical maps delineating the presence of habitation areas
on the farm, locations that would contain concentrations of
artifacts that could help to identify the residential areas of
Grant's Farm; and 3) the nature of earlier archaeological
survey sampling strategies. The project area had been part
of a larger archaeological survey project (Smith and Bond
1981), but because ofthat survey's low sampling intensity no
physical evidence was found (e.g., ceramics) that would
indicate a British-period presence in the historic area of
The chance discovery of a component to Grant's Farm
during a City archaeological investigation provided an
opportunity to study a poorly understood facet of the City's
unique cultural heritage. Specifically, the material remains
recovered from this British-period agricultural enterprise
provide insights into the site's layout and help to identify the
lifeways of the site's residents.
Who was James Grant? The youngest son of a Scottish
military officer, Grant had little prospect of becoming the
"Scots Laird" of Ballindalloch land his father had obtained
nine years before James's birth in 1720 (Nelson 1993:4-5).
But that situation would change (Grant 1930). To compen-
sate for his hereditary position, Grant actively served the
Crown of Britain for more than 60 years, initially as a soldier
during the Seven Years' War (French and Indian War) and
later the American Revolution, then as the Royal Governor
of East Florida, and finally as a member of Parliament. It is
Grant's stint as the first governor of British East Florida
(1764-1771) that is of concern here, for under his adminis-
tration the social and economic fabric of East Florida would
forever change from a military outpost to a vibrant plantation
Upon his arrival in East Florida on August 29, 1764, Grant
was besieged with various problems. Most of the town lay
deserted and those present were associated primarily with the
British garrison (numbering fewer than 200 men in late
1764), some merchants and land speculators, civil and
religious officials, and few colonists. Although Grant's
immediate concern was to form a civil government and
economic foundation for East Florida (Nelson 1993:47), he
also was concerned with provisioning the existing popula-
tion, especially the garrison. In fact, Grant noted on an
inspection of the province within a month of arriving that
"not ten acres of corn" were to be found in the country
Development of the Farm
Within a few months of arriving in St. Augustine, Grant
started a 124.7 ha (308 acre) farm between the Hornabeque
(referred to as the "Envelope" by the British) and the Mose
Line (Figure 1). The farm consisted of 85 ha (210 acres) of
cultivable land and 39.7 ha (98 acres) of marsh. Eight
"country-born" slaves were purchased to work the farm from
Henry Laurens, who was a slave trader in South Carolina
(Schafer 1995:75). Grant believed that the plantation
economy of South Carolina was the best way for East Florida
to proceed, with successful plantations being developed by
black workers. His philosophy was that slaves from the
southeast colonies, as well as those from Carribean Islands,
should start plantations because they were familiar with the
English language and techniques for raising crops. After
these "experienced negroes" had cleared the land, planted,
and constructed shelters, "new negroes" direct from Africa
could be merged into the labor force at a savings of one-third
or more and be taught by the established crew at the farm
The eight Carolina-born slaves consisted of five men and
three women, including a father and son who had been
separated from the rest of their family because of the father's
disobliging actions. The father, Will, remained with Grant
for two decades and eventually managed one of Grant's
estates. In April 1765, Grant purchased five "Angola Boys"
from Laurens at considerably less expense than country-born
slaves (Schafer 1995:76). The men were in their late teens
and became field laborers under the tutelage of Will and the
other country-born slaves. Two of the Africans eventually
joined Grant's domestic staff: Dick as a cook and Robin as
a worker in marsh grass, "probably as a basket maker"
In addition to the 13 slaves that Grant had at the farm, the
labor work force was supplemented by slaves scheduled to go
to Richard Oswald's plantation (Schafer 1995:80-81), which
was an 8097-ha (20,000-acre) estate situated along the
banks of the Tomoka and Halifax Rivers (Payne 1997). In
November 1765, Henry Laurens shipped 34 slaves to Grant
for placement on Oswald's plantation. Grant considered the
workers selected as "fine specimens." Because the slaves
arrived too late in the year to begin work at the Oswald
plantation, Grant put them to work at his farm clearing
brush, planting corn, and digging a ditch around the entire
farm. It was not until June 1766, when the overseer for
Oswald's plantation arrived, that Grant ordered 12 of the
male slaves to Tomoka. The women and younger slaves
stayed behind at Grant's farm for a while longer. Thus,
within the first year of operation, 47 slaves were working
GOVERNOR JAMES GRANT'S FARM
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 1999 VOL 52(1-2~
Grant's Farm. Most of these people eventually were used to
start up new plantation sites, although some remained at the
Documents that describe the conditions at Grant's Farm
have not yet been recovered. There are, however, the papers
of the East Florida Claims Commission at the Public Record
Office of Great Britain, recently obtained by Daniel L.
Schafer. These papers describe the conditions at Grant's
North River plantation site (known as Grant's Villa) along
the Guana River, approximately 12 km north of St. Augus-
tine. These bundle records (cited herein as PRO with folio)
provide clues relevant to Grant's perceptions of how the farm
should operate and how the slaves should be treated.
Grant's philosophy for plantations in East Florida was that
they were to be as nearly self-sufficient as possible with little
expense to the land owner beyond that of supplying the
necessary slaves and equipment to operate the enterprise
(Schafer 1995:79-80). To accomplish this goal, the slaves
were required to produce a cash crop as well as the provi-
sions necessary to maintain their own health. Fish, potatoes,
corn, and peas were staples at the Villa, with some domestic
animals (especially hogs and chickens) and melons and
pumpkin also present. Documents sent from Alexander
Skinner, the business agent at the Villa, to Grant between
1771 and 1777 indicate that self-sufficiency was only
partially successful. The correspondence is replete with
examples of provisions having to be obtained elsewhere in
the province and abroad.
The expenses required of the land owner were those
necessary to obtain the personnel and tools needed to clear
the land and cultivate and process the crops, and to provide
tolerable living conditions for the slaves, which included
clothing and some household items. This point was iterated
by Grant in various correspondences relevant to his North
River (Guana) Plantation. Grant commented that:
All my expense was upon Negroes who are walking about...
My Negroes ... live in Palmetto huts for the time in the course
of winter without putting me to expense but the first cost of
the boards and a few nails. The Negroes after doing their
tasks will find scantling and shingles or clapboards and will
build their house themselves without any assistance [Schafer
The duration of Grant's Farm is equivocal. While Grant
resided in St. Augustine, the farm was probably a vibrant
operation with a variety of garden and cereal crops. As
Grant noted in his letters to Robert Grant of Tammore,
Scotland (no relation, but a factor and friend), in January
1768, "I am become a great Farmer and Gardener to which
a quick vegetation is a considerable Inducement. I have in
my garden at this hour...Green Pease and Beans in plenty
with every sort of vegetable" (Grant 1930:77). An anony-
mous map drawn around 1769 further indicates that most of
the farm was planted in corn, which also is in accordance
with Grant's comments regarding his employment of slaves
slated to be shipped to Oswald's plantation. It is possible
that even before Grant's departure from St. Augustine on
May 9, 1771, he had lost his interest in the farm as he
preferred to escape to his new-found plantation on the North
River, where he considered himself to have "become a great
Planter and Improver," according to correspondence sent to
Robert Grant in September 1769 (Grant 1930:78)
Within five months of Grant's departure, the farm ap-
peared to be showing signs of neglect. In correspondence
from Skinner to Grant dated October 15, 1771, it was
reported that the Guinea grass at the Villa "thrives extremely
well, not withstanding the dry summer, and looks much
better than your garden in town" (Public Records Office
[PRO], Folio 276). It is assumed that "your garden" refers
to Grant's Farm. Further deterioration of the farm is indi-
cated by a note written in 1784 on the De Brahm Map (1769)
of Grant's Farm. The note indicated that of the 85 ha (210
acres) of shrubby oak, "which had been cleared...[a] great
part of it has grown up again." It was not until the mid-
1780s that the farm showed a resurgence of activity. In a
memorial that lists the lands Grant claimed as lost in the
transfer of East Florida from Britain to Spain in 1784, Grant
indicates that much of the 85 ha that had been cleared and
cultivated was eventually divided into small plots that were
rented by "industrious Minorcan families" (PRO, T77/7/18).
The location of Grant's Farm was still evident on the Rocque
Map of 1791 (Chatelain 1941:Map 18), which showed the
area east of the King's Road and between the Hornabeque
and Mose Creek as being cultivated.
City Archaeology Program
The City of St. Augustine is one of a dozen or so munici-
palities in the United States with an ordinance that provides
for the documentation and preservation of archaeological
resources. The ordinance is unique in that it extends
protection beyond that afforded by federal and state legisla-
tion, focusing primarily on private properties as well as
municipal rights-of-way (Halbirt 1993b). These properties
are traditionally outside the jurisdiction of federal and/or
state mandates for cultural resource management policies
because of funding or jurisdiction. Yet throughout the
United States it is construction at the private level that is
creating the most adverse impacts to the nation's cultural
resources, with no attempt to regulate the impact that this
activity may have on cultural resources.
As the nation's oldest continuously occupied European
settlement, the City of St. Augustine has taken a proactive
approach to preserving its cultural heritage. The city
requires that archaeological review be a part of its permitting
process so that all new construction is evaluated for its
potential impacts to cultural resources (Halbirt 1993c).
"Those projects that occur in areas of archaeological signifi-
cance and impact areas that exceed 100 sq ft are investigated
prior to construction activities" (Halbirt 1993b:3). The intent
of the City's investigation is to document archaeological
remains that will be disturbed by construction. The aims are
to: 1) understand the nature of the archaeological remains
that are buried on the property; 2) determine how those
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
1999 VOL. 52(1-21
UL r y fu fluun vRO J CDGANT's FARm
remains will be impacted by construction; and 3) integrate
the data into research goals that are intended to address St.
Augustine's growth and development, ethnic affiliations and
interactions, culture history, and past lifeways. Construction
proceeds once the property has been investigated.
The consequence of the City's Archaeological Preservation
Ordinance is that areas of the city that would be overlooked
by federal and/or state agencies are being scrutinized for
their potential to contain archaeological remains, which will
ultimately increase our understanding of St. Augustine's
unique and nonrenewable cultural heritage. One such area
was a small development that was to impact a series of
archaeological sites associated with 3000 to 4000 years of
human occupation. One of the sites discovered (8SJ3498)
was identified as belonging to the British Period (1764-
1784) and provided an opportunity to analyze the archaeo-
logical remains associated with one of the earliest British-
period agricultural enterprises in East Florida.
Project Area and Methods
The project area occurs in that section of St. Augustine
known as North City (i.e., north of Castillo de San Marcos).
The area is just east of the intersection of Magnolia Avenue
and Dufferin Street and is adjacent to the northern boundary
of the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park (Figure 2).
The project area measured 131.2 m (N-S) by 65.6 m (E-W),
or 400 ft by 200 ft, and was the proposed site of eight new
single-family residences. Each home was to be built contin-
gent on the sale of the lot, with development of the project
area taking three years to complete, from 1993 to 1996.
Because the project area is within Archaeological Zone ID,
an investigation occurred prior to the construction of each
home. Zone ID is considered to contain significant archaeo-
logical deposits associated with Pedro Menindez's 1565
colony of St. Augustine and the later Native American
mission community of Nombre de Dios (Halbirt and Carver
The investigation of each lot followed standard City
policies for archaeological inquiry (Halbirt 1992). First, a
post-hole survey of the lot was undertaken. The spacing of
post holes was originally predicated on a previous archaeo-
logical survey (Smith and Bond 1981), which did not reveal
much in the way of cultural material in the project area.
Consequently, post holes for the first two lots investigated
were spaced at 5-m intervals. This spacing was reduced to
2.5-m intervals for the remaining six lots when it was
realized that 5-m intervals were inappropriate for identify-
ing archaeological features within a low-intensity artifact
scatter, such as that associated with a British-period agricul-
tural site. Fortunately, this site (8SJ3498) was centered in
the remaining six lots that awaited investigation and,
consequently, it is unlikely that any significant components
went undiscovered in the first two lots.
In total, 315 post-hole tests were excavated in the eight lots
investigated (Figure 3). Of these, nine post holes contained
potsherds representative of a British-period occupation.
These post-hole tests occurred toward the center of the
project area, which corresponds to the distribution of British-
period features documented during subsequent test excava-
It should be added that by increasing the survey intensity,
we also were able to get a better handle on earlier occupa-
tions that occurred in the project area. Portions of an Orange-
period site that dates from 3000 to 4000 years ago were
identified, as were areas of historical mission cultivation and
occupation, and an early nineteenth-century occupation that
corresponds to the Minorcan utilization of the area. These
other occupations, like that of the British, were identified
primarily on the presence of distinctive pottery types.
Subsequent to the post-hole survey of each lot, test units
were excavated in those locations considered to contain
potentially significant archaeological deposits (Figure 3).
Areas selected for excavation were determined based on
clusters of post holes that contained artifacts and/or deeply
buried cultural soil deposits. In some locations the mechani-
cal stripping of soil deposits, by means of a backhoe, was
used to help facilitate the identification of archaeological
features. In total, more than 139.5 m2 were excavated either
by hand or with mechanical equipment. These procedures
were followed by archaeological monitoring during excava-
tion of foundation trenches and underground utility lines
(e.g., water and sewer).
The result of the test excavations and monitoring was the
documentation of 28 archaeological features associated with
the British Period: 24 features were found in the test units
and four features were discovered during monitoring. A total
of 517 artifacts and almost 1 kg of animal bone were recov-
ered from these features.
The British-period Occupation
Twenty-eight archaeological features are identified as
dating to the British Period based on ceramics recovered
from the fill of each feature. The features are considered to
be contemporaneous based on terminus post quem (TPQ)
dates. A TPQ is the "date after which the deposition result-
ing in a single provenience must have occurred" (Koch
1983:190), and it is based on the earliest documented
instance for the latest pottery type (or other temporally
diagnostic artifact) found within that assemblage. For the
project area the TPQ was determined by the presence of
creamware, which has an earliest manufacturing date of
1762 (South 1977:210). Creamware was scattered through-
out the site area. Noticeably absent from the ceramic
assemblage was pearlware, which has a TPQ of 1779 (South
1977:210). Thus it would appear that the site dates between
1762 and 1779, with the best estimate occurring during
Grant's tenure in St. Augustine. Other types of British
ceramics recovered from the site include Staffordshire
Slipware, Delft, Jackfield, saltglaze, Astbury, agateware,
Nottingham, and black-leadglaze coarse earthenware, all of
which are common to British-period deposits (cf. Halbirt and
GOVERNOR JAMES GR M
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Figure 2. The project area and approximate limits of Grant's Farm in modern-day St. Augustine. Arrow points to the
Britih-period site (8SJ3498) and the boundary of Grant's Farm is shown in bold.
Ptr ern rrrar
Figure 2. The project area and approximate limits of Grant's Farm in modern-day St. Augustine. Arrow points to the
British-period site (85.13498) and the boundary of Grant's Farm is shown in bold.
liar 131ST CEI'_RNoR JA GRANT's FARM
-~- z -m
0 5 10 15 meters
S . , o
Figure 3. Project area showing locations of post holes, test units, and stripping areas.
The 28 documented features consist of post holes, mud
sleepers to structures, trash deposits and pits, miscellaneous
pits, and trenches (Figure 4). The features were recognized
only when the culturally sterile yellow sand substratum was
reached, which was generally 40 cm below the present
ground surface. These features are part of an agricultural
complex of which four types of features are represented: a
stockade, structures, agricultural ditches, and trash deposits.
Each component is discussed separately.
Stockade Area. The stockade area is recognized by a four-
sided alignment of post holes. The post holes are consistent
in size and shape. On average the post holes measure 38 cm
at their maximum diameter and extend 35 cm into the
culturally sterile sand. A darker 20-cm-wide soil stain was
observed toward the center of each post hole. These stains
are considered to represent post molds. Post holes were
spaced from 1 m to more than 2 m apart and were probably
the main supports for a solid wall (e.g., a planked wall).
MI A IiT
GOVERNOR JAMES GR M
T-m', F nnm n Aram uvs T199 Vr. 52il-2I
This conclusion is based on the presence of a narrow,
shallow depression between the post holes, which would
result from water dripping off a wall. Nine post holes were
recorded, and they form an essentially square stockade with
sides that measure 20.7 m (N-S) by 19.7 m (E-W).
Structures. Structures are identified by the presence of
mud sleepers (i.e., shallow trenches in which boards or
timbers were placed, providing a foundation for walls) and
occur within the confines of the stockade. The types of
buildings associated with these sleepers could not be deter-
mined, but probably were not substantial. In fact, they may
not have even been enclosed on all four sides. Two definite
mud-sleeper locations were documented (Figure 4).
Structure A is located toward the east wall of the stockade.
The structure consists of a 6.5-m mud sleeper that curves to
form a right angle. The width of the sleeper varies from 25
to 33 cm and has been dug 13 to 16 cm into the culturally
sterile yellow sand. Three square post holes were found at
the ends of the sleeper: two at the west end and one at the
south end. The post holes are similar in size, measuring 20
-000- z -i
0 5 10 15 meters
I .I i I .. .
Project Area Boundary
Figure 4. Distribution of archaeological features that comprise the British-period site (8SJ3498).
THE FLonIDA At ren T
9 991 Vot 52(1-2)
AIR TI _v-RYNR JAMl s GU AIT' FARM
cm per side by 18 cm deep. Few artifacts were recovered
from the sleeper trench: 2 nails, I complete ale bottle, 1
complete wine bottle, and some bottle fragments.
Structure B is located at the northwest corner of the
stockade and might have been part of the stockade wall. The
structure consists of two mud-sleeper trenches that form a
right angle. A circular post hole separates the two trenches.
Only one trench was completely excavated; it measured 2.5
m long by 25 cm wide by 18 cm deep. The other trench was
only partially exposed; however, measurements of its width
and depth (18 x 13 cm) are consistent with the other sleeper
trenches documented. The circular post hole at the corner of
the two sleeper trenches measured 33 cm at its widest point
and extended 38 cm into the culturally sterile sand. This
post hole is similar to those associated with the stockade,
which suggests that a portion of Structure B was part of the
stockade wall. Except for two creamware potsherds and
some unidentifiable iron fragments, the only other artifacts
recovered were affiliated with the earlier Native American
Secondary-refuse Deposits. Secondary-refuse deposits are
the third component of the British-period site and are found
both within and outside the stockade. As defined by Schiffer
(1976:30), secondary refuse is trash discarded away from its
original location of use. Three distinct types of secondary-
refuse deposits were found: trash pits, peripheral secondary
middens (refuse dumps), and sheet-trash deposits.
The two trash pits were found within the stockade. The
pits had been filled with a variety of domestic items includ-
ing broken pottery and bottles, oyster shells, and personal
objects (e.g., wire-round pins and pipe fragments). Surpris-
ingly, few animal bones were recovered from these features.
The two trash pits were ovoid in shape, measuring .26 and
.55 m2 in area with a depth of 16 and 33 cm, respectively.
A peripheral secondary-midden deposit was found within
a partially filled aboriginal ditch that dates to the Mission
Period. More than 40 m of the l.l-m-wide-by-40-cm-deep
ditch was documented. Although the refuse deposit was
found scattered along 20 m of the ditch, it was probably
concentrated in a much smaller area as most of the recovered
refuse was derived from one test unit.
As defined by South (1977:181), a peripheral secondary
midden is recognized by the high ratio of animal bones to
artifacts and is generally found away from the primary area
of occupation. The bone-to-artifact ratio (2:1) found in the
midden was within the range established by South
(1977:Table 27) for this type of deposit. In fact, the periph-
eral secondary midden accounts for 85.6% of all recogniz-
able bone elements and 89.6% of the total bone weight
recovered from the British-period site. A similar deposit was
found near the colonial downtown area, where an early
eighteenth-century aboriginal ditch from the Mission Period
had been used as a dump site during the British Period
(Halbirt and Gualtieri 1995).
The last trash deposit documented at the site is sheet trash,
where items are discarded on the existing ground surface and
are then subsequently trampled. Items generally associated
with this type of refuse are broken pieces of pottery, bottle
glass, personal items (e.g., pipe fragments), and metal tools
as represented by miscellaneous iron fragments.
Ditches. Ditches are the fourth component to the site and
are considered to be associated with some type of limited
agricultural endeavor (e.g., a garden area) that was located
outside the southwest corner of the stockade. This location
was defined by a series of narrow, shallow trenches that
measured from 30 to 35 cm wide by 13 to 20 cm deep. Four
different trenches were documented: one oriented east to
west, the other three oriented north to south. More than 30
m of trenches were recorded. The longest segment was the
east-west trench, which measured 15 m. Although the full
extent of this component is unknown, the area incorporated
by the trenches measures in excess of 195 m2. Artifacts are
limited, consisting primarily of earlier aboriginal pottery
with some British-period material.
Although the quantity of artifacts recovered from the
project area is substantial, numbering in the thousands,
isolating those remains associated with the British-period
occupation is problematic. This is based on two facts: 1) the
area has evidence of human occupation dating to the last
3000 to 4000 years, and 2) the thickness of the culture-
bearing soil deposits is only 13 to 25 cm, resulting in mixed
deposits. Whereas ceramics can be ascribed to particular
temporal periods, it is the other artifact classes (i.e., animal
bones, metal objects, and glass objects) that are more
troublesome. They could be associated with prehistoric
Native American settlements or historical Mission-period
farmsteads over which the British-period site was built.
Consequently, only those archaeological features that could
be associated with the British-period occupation are consid-
ered, even though twice as much information was recovered
from the mixed cultural fill zone.
Tables I and 2 show the distributions of various types of
artifacts and archaeofaunal remains found in British-period
features. For analytical purposes the site has been divided
into three components: the stockade area, which includes
structures and trash pits; the garden area; and the refuse
Of the 517 artifacts recovered from these features (Table
1), the majority (343, or 66.3%) are aboriginal potsherds
associated with earlier occupations, a fact that is reinforced
by the intrusion of some British-period features into the
remains of earlier Native American dwellings. Most of the
aboriginal pottery was found either within the garden area
(42%) or refuse dump (40%), with limited amounts (18%)
found in the stockade area. St. Johns is the principal
aboriginal pottery type, accounting for 79% of the identifi-
able specimens. This suggests that earlier occupations
primarily date from the late prehistoric to early historic era
(ca. A.D. 1000 to 1650). Later Native American mission
components, such as those represented by San Marcos
pottery, are poorly represented in this aboriginal assemblage,
GOVERNOR JAMES GR M
Table 1. Artifact frequencies from different British-period site components.
Artifact Groups British-period Components
& Classes" Stockade Garden Ditch
8 6 6
3 1 5
Artifact Groups British-period Components
& Classes" Stockade Garden Ditch
Copper disk 1 1
Iron band 1 1
Unidentified iron fragments 24 4 16 44
Lead fragments 1 1
Flint flakes 3 3
(Subtotals) 88 23 56 167
Olive jar 2 2
El Morro 5 5
Fiber-tempered 3 2 2 7
St. Johns 34 71 74 179
San Marcos 7 5 4 16
Otherb 4 15 6 25
Aboriginal discard 14 52 50 116
(Subtotals) 62 145 136 343
Totals 150 168 192 517
a Artifacts arranged according to South's (1977:Table 4) functional artifact groups and
b Consists primarily of plain, sand-tempered potsherds, although some grog-tempered
sherds also are represented.
3 1 1 5
Cnrnan Inr CImr~, tt
HALBt "UV KLIUK d a_
although higher frequencies are found a short distance south
of the project area in and around the Fountain of Youth
Archaeological Park (Chaney 1986; City BDAC Site Files
Removing the aboriginal pottery leaves a total of 174
artifacts that are of historical origin. Seven of these artifacts
are Spanish ceramics and are assumed to be associated with
the historical Native American mission site of Nombre de
Dios (Deagan 1992). The remaining 167 are considered to
be part of the British-period site. Of these, 88 artifacts
(53%) were found within the stockade area, which would be
anticipated if this was the primary living area. This was
followed by 56 artifacts (33%) from trash deposits dumped
into an abandoned Native American ditch (i.e., the refuse
dump), and 23 artifacts (14%) from the garden area.
Of the 167 artifacts associated with the British-period site,
the two most common types are English ceramics and
unknown iron objects/unidentifiable iron fragments, which
account for 27% and 26% of the total artifact assemblage,
respectively. These artifacts were followed by bottle glass
(20%) and nails/spikes (17%). The remaining artifacts (e.g.,
pipe fragments and pins) occur in frequencies of less than
2% each. The only complete or reconstructable artifacts are
two intact bottles from the mud sleeper of Structure A, a
partially reconstructable Jackfield bowl from the refuse
midden, and a nearly complete pipe bowl and a worked glass
fragment from the stockade area.
The worked glass fragment is unusual for the St. Augus-
tine area. The artifact is a basal fragment of a bottle that had
been reworked into a side scraper. The scraper is elongated,
measuring 7 x 4.5 cm. Retouch is evident along one entire
side. This type of artifact has been found at antebellum
plantation sites in the Southeast and is considered to be part
of the material culture associated with African American
occupations (Wilkie 1996).
The other class of objects retrieved from British-period
contexts consists of animal bone elements, of which 1050
fragments (984.9 gm) were recovered. Of these, 585 frag-
ments were unidentifiable, accounting for 56% of the total
count, but only 10% of the total weight. The remaining 465
fragments could be identified to at least the order and in
some cases to family and genus. Table 2 shows the bone
counts and weight values for the various taxa identified.
Molluscs, which are represented by oyster and quahog shells,
are considered separately from animal bone. The reason for
separating mollusc remains is because the shells can be
associated only with dietary refuse at two locations. These
two locations are the refuse dump and a trash pit (Feature
13) in the stockade. In other locations the shell may have
been associated with earlier occupations as refuse from
meals, which then was used to replenish soil nutrients for
subsequent agricultural purposes. Often Native American
ditches are found to contain proportionately more shell
fragments than the surrounding area (City BDAC Site Files
1992, 1993, 1997).
Evident from Table 2 is that the majority of animal bones
(85.6%) were recovered from the refuse dump, with meager
quantities coming from the garden (7.6%) and stockade
(6.8%) areas. In terms of dietary importance, fishes and
molluscs, followed by large mammals, are considered to be
the primary food sources based on bone counts. Birds,
reptiles, turtles, and small mammals account for less than
5% of the bone and probably represent animals that were
captured opportunistically. Of the recognizable species,
bovid remains (Bos taurus) account for the largest percent-
age of bones by weight followed by black drum (Pogonias
cromis), pig (Sus scrofa), hardhead catfish (Ariopsis felis),
chickens (Gallus gallus), deer (Odocoileus virginianus),
squirrel (Sciurus sp.), opossum (Didelphis virginiana),
gafftopsail catfish (Bagre marinus), raccoon (Procyon lotor),
mullet (Mugil sp.), and rats (Rattus sp.).
Mollusc remains account for the largest percentage of
animal remains recovered from the site. A total of 36.3 kg
of whole shell was recovered in the two trash deposits
considered to contain dietary information. Oyster was the
principal shellfish, accounting for 77% of the mollusc
remains, with quahogs representing the remaining 23%. The
high proportion of oyster shell is not unique for the area,
especially in an agricultural ditch context, although it is
higher than usual when compared to other nearby properties
where archaeological investigations have occurred (City
BDAC Site Files 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997). It should be
noted that both the quantity and weight for quahogs also is
uncommon. Generally, quahogs are represented only by a
few shells in a feature and not by the 125 shells recovered
from a 2-m-long segment of the ditch. Clearly, molluscs
were an important component in the diet of the site's
Some Observations on a British-period
Governor James Grant's farm was a significant locale in
the St. Augustine community during the British Period for
three reasons: 1) it provided essential cereal and garden
crops for the community; 2) it served as a training ground
for slaves who were to be sent to other plantations in British
East Florida; and 3) it was a country retreat where the
governor could entertain friends and officials. Yet this
property has not been the focus of any historical and/or
archaeological inquiry with the exception ofSchafer's (1995)
efforts. The chance discovery of a British-period site that is
within the geographic confines and time period of Grant's
Farm affords the opportunity to study a component of this
124.7-ha (308-acre) agricultural site. It is assumed that the
site and associated material culture are part of the area
occupied by the country-born and African slaves who worked
the farm. Based on historical evidence, slaves were the
primary residents of the farm. The archaeological evidence
suggests that the economic status of the site's residents was
not comparable to that found within colonial downtown St.
Augustine (cf. Bostwick 1980; City BDAC Site File 1998;
Halbirt and Gualtieri 1994 ).
Although the interpretation of the material culture is still
1999 VOL. 52(1-21
Table 2. Count and weight (in gn) of faunal remains recovered from British-period components.
Faunal Taxa Stockade Garden Ditch
N Wt. N Wt. N Wt. N Wt.
opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
squirrel (Sciurus sp.)
rat (Ratus sp.)
raccoon (Procyon lotor)
Unidentified ungulates (Artiodactyla)
pig (Sus scrofa)
cattle (Bos taurus)
deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Unidentifiable mammal bone
chickens (Gallus gallus)
Unidentified bird bone
sea catfish (Ariida)
hardhead catfish (Ariopsis felis)
gafftopsail catfish (Bagre marinus)
black drum (Pogonias cromis)
mullet (Mugil sp.)
Unidentifiable fish bone
oyster (Crassostrea virginiana)
quahog (Mercenaria sp.)
1 1.1 20
1 1.8 10
2 11.0 3 29.8 8
2 1.5 18
1 1.7 2
14 2.3 24
-- 18.5 --
-- .2 -
32 42.7 35
-- 8300.0 --
-- 32,300.0 --
0- V. -Du nA r DR I OGIST
THE FLORIDA ANTHR T
U.. CnW NoR .1J-AlAm I. ....RAWr' ..s FARm.
in its formative stages, with the caveat that additional
consideration must be given to artifacts recovered from the
mixed culture-bearing soil deposits, some tentative observa-
tions can be made relevant to this British-period site. In
particular, issues relevant to the composition of the site, the
access the occupants had to goods, and the occupants' diet
can be addressed with the extant information.
The site is composed of three essential areas based on 28
archaeological features. The first area was used for habita-
tion and is defined by the two mud-sleeper trenches and
some activity areas within a square stockade-like structure.
The presence of a narrow, shallow, linear depression between
the post holes indicates that the stockade was probably a
walled enclosure. Whether or not the stockade was designed
to restrict the movement of people, was intended for protec-
tion, or both, is unknown. The outlines of the structures
within the stockade do not appear to form enclosed build-
ings; rather, they appear to have been open lean-to-like
structures. The majority of British-period artifacts was
recovered from within the habitation area, which includes
most of the artifacts from the architectural group (i.e., nails
and spikes) as well as bottle glass fragments.
The second and third areas correspond to locations outside
the stockade. The garden area, as defined by four narrow
ditches that form right-angles, is along the southwest corner
of the stockade. The ditches are assumed to be related to
agricultural activities and may represent some form of water-
management system for draining or irrigating crops or for
insect control. Griffin (this issue) notes that water manage-
ment was an important concern among British plantation
owners along the Halifax-Mosquitoes Corridor of Florida,
which led to extensive diking and canal works. In some
cases, these features also may have served as insect-control
devices, such as in the management of the indigo caterpillar
(cf. Piatek 1992:58). The presence of agricultural-related
features indicates that the residents of the site were to some
degree self-supporting, which was one of Grant's primary
tenets for successful plantations.
The refuse dump (i.e., the peripheral secondary midden) is
located in an abandoned Native American ditch that occurs
directly outside the south wall of the stockade. Given the
absence of trash around the ditch, it seems unlikely that the
refuse was tossed over the stockade wall. Rather, it was
intentionally placed outside the confines of the habitation
area within an existing depression. The full extent of the
refuse dump has not been determined. It is suspected that
the primary area of trash disposal is confined to a small
segment of the ditch, although a scattering of trash was
observed to extend for a distance of 20 m. Most of the
cultural material from the refuse dump consists of discarded
animal bones and mollusc remains, with some artifacts.
Although limited in quantity, the recovered artifacts offer
some insights into the types of goods that were available to
the people who lived at Grant's Farm. In particular, there
are eight different types of English ceramics present in the
assemblage. Although the presence of creamwares is the
basis for dating the site, it is Staffordshire Slipwares (both
trailed/combed and dot) that dominate the assemblage.
When compared to other British-period deposits in colonial
downtown St. Augustine, the frequency of slipwares at
Grant's Farm is three to five times higher. In town, cream-
ware is the predominant ceramic type in British-period
deposits, accounting for as much as 40% of the ceramic
assemblage at some sites (cf Bostwick 1980; City BDAC
Site Files 1998; Halbirt and Gualtieri 1995). This suggests
that the inhabitants of the farm had access primarily to the
older and probably cheaper tablewares, and so would not
have reflected the same social status as newer merchandise.
In contrast to the presence of lower-status English pottery
at the farm was the absence of utilitarian vessels, referred to
as Colono Wares, from the farm's ceramic assemblage. The
term Colono Ware refers to a broad category of pottery that
consists of low-fired, utilitarian earthenwares that were
produced by either Native Americans or African Americans
and which copied European types in form, decoration, or
manufacturing techniques (Rolland and Ashley 1998;
Vernon and Cordell 1991). This definition is in contrast to
that used by archaeologists from the mid-Atlantic region.
There Colono Wares are considered to represent any Native
American and/or African American earthenwares produced
after European contact (Ferguson 1992; Lees and Lees 1979;
The absence of Colono Wares at Grant's Farm is signifi-
cant when compared to British plantations and farms in the
Carolinas. In those locations, Colono Wares were an in-
tegral part of the kitchen assemblage that represented low-
cost folk pottery (Ferguson 1992). Grant, who essentially
transported the Carolinian plantation economy into East
Florida, must have known that Colono Wares were an
important component for minimizing plantation expenses.
Yet there is no evidence of Colono Wares being manufac-
tured or used at the farm, even though Grant purchased
several of his slaves from Carolinian planters. The presence
of Native American pottery at the site can be attributed to
earlier prehistoric and historical occupations. A similar pat-
tern is evident at Mount Oswald where Colono Ware pottery
is absent (Ted Payne, personal communication 1997).
The absence of Colono Wares raises some interesting
questions regarding Grant's attitudes toward slaves and
African traditions in light of European customs and eco-
nomic concerns. Was the absence of Colono Ware in the
ceramic assemblage by design or default? Did the proximity
of St. Augustine affect the types of goods brought into the
farm, especially if low-cost English wares (e.g., slipware)
could be obtained at a comparable cost to the amount of labor
needed in the production of Colono Ware? And, was this
labor better spent in raising cereal crops and garden produce
for market, as well as in obtaining other essential foods
needed for the survival of the farm's residents? These are
only some questions that come to mind.
The final issue that can be addressed with the extant data
base concerns dietary practices at the farm. Archaeological
evidence comes primarily from animal remains; analysis of
botanical samples has not been undertaken except for
r~vF.aNna I~~EC CII*INT'S F*RM
Tns F____enimA_____ Awmnoo _o1999 VoL. 521M1
observing the presence of some charred corn cupule and
kernel fragments and some charred hickory nut shells in a
few British-period features. As indicated by bone counts in
Table 2, fish (especially black drum and hardhead catfish)
dominate the faunal assemblage by a ratio of almost 8 to I
over terrestrial species. If mollusc remains are considered,
then tie importance of aquatic resources is even more
pronounced. Domesticated animals (e.g., bovids, pigs, and
chickens) were important in the diet given that the number
of bone elements is second only to fish. The higher bone-
weight value for domesticated animals (especially bovids) is,
however, due to the presence of a few long bone and jaw
fragments and should not be used to infer that these animals
were the primary food source followed by fishes. Other
animal species (such as birds, reptiles, and small mammals)
probably represent food sources captured opportunistically,
perhaps while conducting other farm-related activities.
In all probability, the farm's inhabitants relied on aquatic
resources as a dietary staple, supplemented by domestic
animals as needed, or for special occasions. In his corre-
spondences to Grant, Alexander Skinner wrote on July 2,
1772, that "since the season for drum fishing the Negroes
have not had much fish but they have shared pretty largely in
some condemned pork which they shall always have when
there is any in store" (PRO, Folio 284). The importance of
fish to the provisioning of Grant's plantation is a sentiment
expressed by Skinner on various occasions, with drum, bass,
and mullet singled-out in the documents. Skinner, on
December 24, 1774, also noted that special provisions were
provided during Christmas when the plantation slaves would
receive "a carcass of beef with all its appurtenances...with
some rum" (PRO, Folio 303).
The botanical remains recovered from British-period
contexts probably represent a mere fraction of the plant foods
consumed at the farm. As Grant noted in his correspondence
to Tammore on January 8, 1768, "I have in my garden...
Green Pease and Beans in plenty with every other sort of
vegetable" (Grant 1930:77). Moreover, Skinner's corres-
pondences to Grant indicate a heavy reliance on corn, peas,
and potatoes by the plantation occupants even if these
victuals had to be shipped in from ports in the Carolinas or
Georgia. Other items grown at the plantation included
oranges, melons, and pumpkins. The presence of charred
hickory nut shells at the farm also indicates that native plants
were incorporated into the diet. In all likelihood, the diet of
the site's inhabitants was a combination of both cultivated
plants and native animal resources, supplemented by domes-
tic stock as well as some native plant foods as needed.
Archaeological investigations undertaken by the City of St.
Augustine, through its archaeological preservation ordi-
nance, continue to advance our understanding of the city's
unique cultural heritage and the archaeological deposits that
comprise that heritage. The discovery of a component of
Governor James Grant's farm in an area which had already
been surveyed underscores the fact that we are only begin-
ning to grasp the diversity and complexity of archaeological
remains that exist in St. Augustine.
Since the adoption of its Archaeological Preservation Ordinance in 1987, the
City ofSt. Augustine has completed more than 175 archaeological projects. All
projects have benefitted from the assistance ofnumerous volunteers from the St.
Augustine Archaeological Association and the local community. For the eight
projects combined in this study, the following people graciously donated more
than 2000 hours of their time and talents in both fieldwork and lab analysis:
George Allen, Judy Allen, Jackie Bowman, Paul Geiser, Helen Gradison, Gail
Hart, Tom Kehn, Pauline Larrivey, Bob McKinney, Ted Payne, Margaret Per-
kins, Betty Riggan, Liz Rogero, Richard Todd, and Richard Warburton. Their
commitment to documenting and protecting St. Augustine's unique cultural
heritage is greatly appreciated. In addition, I would like to thank Daniel L.
Schafer for providing copies of recently obtained maps and documents from
England, which are relevant to Grant's farming and plantation activities while
governor of East Florida. Finally, this paper benefitted from the help and
editorial support of Clara Waldhari.
Bostwick, John A.
1980 The Plaza II Site Excavation of a Colonial Spanish Well in St.
Augustine. Florida. Historical Archaeology 14:73-81.
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subdivision, St. Augustine. On file. City of St. Augustine Planning and
Building Department. St. Augustine.
1993 Field Notes (BDAC 93-0445). 16 Magnolia Avenue. Williams
Addition subdivision, St. Augustine. On file., City of St. Augustine
Planning and Building Department, St. Augustine.
1995 Field Notes(BDAC 95-0925),44 DufferinStreet, Mirnnarsubdivision,
St. Augustine. On file. City of St. Augustine Planning and Building
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1997 Field Notes (BDAC 97-0209), 89 Magnolia Street, Nelmar subdivi-
sion. St. Augustine. On file. City of St. Augustine Planning and
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1998 Field Notes (BDAC 97-0097), 95 Cordova Street, City subdivision, St.
Augustine. On file. City of St. Augustine Planning and Building
Department. St. Augustine-
Chaney. Edward E.
1986 Survey and Evaluation of Archaeological Resources in the Abbott
Tract and North City. St. Augustine. Manuscript on file, Florida
Museum of Natural History. Gainesville.
Chatelain, Verne E.
1941 The Defenses ofSpanish Florida, 1565 to 1763. Carnegie Institution
of Washington. Publication 511. Washington, D. C.
1992 Introduction and Summary Interpretation of 1991 Archaeological
Field Work at the Fountain of Youth Park Site (8-SJ-31). In Report
on the 1992 Excavations at the mountain of louth Park. St. .Augus-
tine (8-SJ-31). by C. Gardner Gordon, pp 1-23. Division of Historical
Resources, Florida Department of State, Tallahassee.
1992 1.ncommon Ground. Archaeology and Early African America. 1650-
1800. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington. D.C.
Grant. A. MacPherson
1930 General .James Grant of Ballindalloch. 1720-1806. Published
privately by A. MacPherson Grant. London.
Halbirt. Carl D.
1992 Grasping the Past: Understanding Archaeology in the City of St.
Augustine. Florida. A Working Manual. Manuscript on file. City of
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Spanish Fortification in St. Augustine. The Florida Anthropologisi
1993b The First Fie Years (1987-1992): The City of St. Augustines
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Halbirt, Carl D., and Linnea J. Carver
1992 Documented Archaeological Projects in St. Augustine: An Inventory
ofthe City's Archaeological Resources. Manuscript on file, City ofSt.
Augustine Planning and Building Department, St. Augustine.
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1995 Indian Ditches and British Refuse: Recycling Archaeological Features.
Paper presented at the 47th annual meeting ofthe Florida Anthropolog-
ical Society, Sebring.
Koch, Joan K.
1983 Mortuary Behavior Patterning and Physical Anthropology in Colonial
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Lees, William B., and Kathryn M. Kimbrey-Lees
1979 The Function of Colono-Indian Ceramics: Insights from Limerick
Plantation, South Carolina. Historical Archaeology 13:1-13.
Nelson, Paul D.
1993 General James Grant, Scottish Soldier and Royal Governor of East
Florida. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Payne, Ted M.
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Period Plantation Settlement in Tomoka State Park, Volusia County,
Florida, Vol. 1. Report prepared for the Florida Department of State,
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1992 The Tomoka Point Archaeology Survey, Tomoka State Park, Volusia
County, Florida. Report submitted to the Tomoka State Park, District
4 Administration, Division of Recreation and Parks. Copy on file at
the Tomoka Basin GeoPark, Ormond Beach.
Piatek, Bruce J., and Carl D. Halbirt
1993 The Stratigraphy of the Mose Line: St. Augustine's Last Line of
Defense. The Florida Anthropologist 46:137-144.
Piatek, Bruce J., Stanley C. Bond, Jr., and Christine L. Newman
1989 St. Augustine Under Siege: St. Augustine's Archaeological Preserva-
tion Ordinance. The Florida Anthropologist 42:134-152.
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Records of the Treasury, Class T77, T77/7/I 8. London, England.
Rolland, Vicki, and Keith Ashley
1997 Beneath the Bell: A Study of Mission Period Colono Ware Pottery.
Paper presented at the 54th annual meeting of the Southeastern
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Schafer, Daniel L.
1995 "Yellow Silk Ferret Tied Round Their Wrists": African Americans in
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Schiffer, Michael B.
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Smith, James M., and Stanley C. Bond
1981 Phase HIl Archaeological Survey of St. Augustine, Florida. Report
on file, St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library, St.
1977 Method and Theory in Historical Archaeology. Academic Press,
Vernon, Richard, and Ann S. Cordell
1991 A Distributional and Technological Study of Apalachee Colono-Ware
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lfAWDMSD 1AMuV flO ANT)C aIU
Florida's history is long: it goes back 10,000
years to people who hunted mammoth with
It is colorful: 7,000 years ago, Florida's Native
Americans wove cloth as fine as a T-shirt.
It is unique in the world: around 800 years
ago, some Floridians had a civilization so
complex that they built long canoe-canals and
huge pyramid-shaped mounds of shells and
You can be part of it! New pages of this story
are being written every week. Teams of
amateur and professional archaeologists
together are making fascinating discoveries in
the field and in the lab.
You can help save it! Florida's rapid develop-
ment puts many valuable sites in jeopardy.
Amateur and professional archaeologists,
elected officials and planners, and just plain
concerned citizens are working together to
save this history in the soil.
How do you put yourself into this picture? By
joining the Florida Anthropological Society
(FAS) or one of its chapters, or both, as many
interested citizens do!
Each spring, an FAS chapter hosts a state-
wide meeting attended by members of FAS
and its chapters, and the public. Both pro-
fessionals and amateurs deliver papers about
their activities and investigations. A banquet
features a guest speaker who is usually
nationally-known in the field of archaeology
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THE TURNBULL COLONIST'S HOUSE AT NEW SMYRNA BEACH:
A PRELIMINARY REPORT ON 8V07051
ROGER T. GRANGE, JR.
301 Beachway Avenue, New Smyrna Beach, Florida 32169
This is a brief report on archaeological work done at
the Turnbull Colonist's House site (8VO7051) at New
Smyrna Beach Florida. It is a preliminary description
of the major archaeological features excavated and is solely
based on field observations.
The Turnbull colony was a British settlement established
in 1768 by Andrew Turnbull, a Scottish physician. Begin-
ning in 1766, Turnbull and his partners were ultimately
granted 41,052 hectares (101,400 acres) of land and were
given substantial government support (Doggett 1919: 27-28;
Griffin 1991:7). Establishment of the colony was the origin
of the present town of New Smyrna Beach.
Mediterranean settlers were recruited because they were
accustomed to farming in a warm climate (Doggett 1919:
16). The settlement was a large colonial effort and 1255 of
the 1403 Minorcan, Greek, and Italian indentured colonists
who set sail reached Florida. The colony had a difficult
beginning (Fitzgerald 1937:39) and more than 600 colonists
died during its first two years (Griffin 1991 :Table 3.1).
Indigo and corn were the primary products of the planta-
tion. The settlement included an extensive canal system and
enjoyed a few bumper indigo crops, but drought, dissension,
and other factors led to the abandonment of the colony in
1777 (Fitzgerald 1937:40-44). The colonists moved to St.
Augustine and most of them remained there permanently.
Mullet on the Beach, The Minorcans of Florida 1768-1788
by Patricia C. Griffin (1991) includes a detailed historical
analysis of the Turnbull colony. Other general sources
include Rasico (1990), Ste. Claire (1996), and Moore and
Ste. Claire (this issue).
The Old Stone Wharf, the coquina foundations of the old
"Fort," and the canal systems in New Smyrna Beach were
the only known tangible remains of the Turnbull colony until
the excavations at the Colonist's House in 1997.' The work
has revealed two buildings and several other features,
making this the first residential site of the Turnbull colony
to be identified. It is likely to be quite a long time before
laboratory work can be accomplished and a final report pro-
duced, but these newly discovered elements of the Colony are
significant enough to warrant a preliminary description.
None of the artifact analysis or comparative studies have
begun and any interpretations advanced here are subject to
change. The excavation was directed jointly by Dorothy
Moore and Roger Grange with the assistance of many
volunteers. The field work was carried out from November
1996 through November 1997.
The site is situated on a terrace about 3.96 meters (13 ft)
above mean high tides overlooking Hunter's Creek along the
tidal lagoon of the Indian River. The dispersed settlement
pattern imposed by Dr. Turnbull spread homes out along the
river and was unlike the concentrated residential pattern on
Minorca. It led to some problems of community adaptation
(Griffin 1991:41, 43). The river had some advantages;
oysters and other resources are abundant, making it a prime
location for both prehistoric- and historic-period occupation.
Two prehistoric components, one St. Johns and the other
Late Archaic, have been identified at 8V07051.
The site was found through historical and field research
carried out by Dorothy Moore, a local amateur archaeologist
long interested in locating and mitigating impact on sites of
all periods in the New Smyrna Beach area. When the City of
New Smyrna Beach sold this property for expansion of an
automobile dealership, Moore sought permission to do an
archaeological survey and soon found evidence of the
colonial occupation at the site. She organized the volunteers
and supervised excavations (in consultation with the author)
at the site every working day. A month-long archaeological
training program sponsored by the Museum of Arts and
Sciences in Daytona Beach was conducted by Grange during
June. Moore, Grange, and volunteers continued the final
excavation and site-recording work from July through
Construction activities at the site began during the fall and
archaeological work was halted in November. Final tree
clearing and earthmoving operations were monitored and
some additional artifacts were recovered.
Description of Structures
Archaeological excavations revealed the remains of five
structures on the property; the locations of four of these are
shown in Figure 1.
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
VOL. 52 NOS. 1-2
NTu P OGm 1999 Vot.5
Figure 1. Excavation plan showing the locations of Structures 1, 2, 3, and 5.
THE FLomoA A noOL
GRANGE TURNBULL COLONIST'S HOUSE 75
Structure 1: The Coquina Building
Structure 1 was visible on the surface of the site as a
roughly rectangular mound of coquina stones with a central
depression. The feature was interpreted as the collapsed
remains of a coquina-walled structure. A very large oak tree
had grown on top of the west end of the coquina rock pile.
This feature was designated Structure I and was first
examined using a metal detector that produced a positive
reading. A small test excavation of the immediate locus of
that signal produced a fragment of a metal buckle, which was
identified as an eighteenth-century shoe buckle. This was an
indication that the structure could be from the Turnbull
colony and it was selected for excavation of the initial test
trench at the site.
A .5-meter-wide trench divided into I-meter-long excava-
tion units was oriented east-west across the rock mound and
depression. The goal was to expose the east wall and center
of the possible building but excavation failed to reveal a wall
or floor features. At that time the field party did not know
whether two days or two weeks would be available for
archaeological work at the site and it was decided to shift the
excavation to the locus of Structure 2 (see below), which also
had been found during the initial metal-detector survey and
Work on Structure I was resumed during June when the
field crew was augmented by two 2-week archaeological
training sessions. The entire area of the surface exposure,
save the portions made inaccessible by the large oak tree and
some palms, was excavated during this period (Figure 2). It
was initially hypothesized that the central depression
represented the floor of the structure, with the higher mound-
ing of stone rubble around the periphery representing the
remains of the walls. Excavation revealed that this hypothe-
sis was correct, but that the central depression also was the
product of a large, post-occupational excavation in the center
of the mound, probably the work of relic collectors.
Most of the coquina rock mound was random rubble
lacking any structural alignment and is attributed to the
collapse of the building's walls. Part of a mortared coquina
floor was found along the northern side of the structure. It
consisted of three layers of thin coquina slabs laid level to
form a solid floor. Mortar holding the floor slabs in place
was preserved in the northwestern corner of the building.
The northwestern corner of the building was defined by
cut and selected coquina blocks that had been laid to form
walls that were almost I m (3 ft) thick. The middle of the
northern wall was partly displaced by the growth of a large
palm tree; large stones had been pushed off the wall and
rested on edge on the floor. East of this disturbance, efforts
to find the presumed northeast comer of the building
produced only three possible wall stones that were aligned
with the north wall but not connected (Figure 2).
A small segment of the west wall forming the northwest
comer also was exposed by excavation, but most of the west
wall lies beneath the large oak. The northwest corner of the
structure was the best preserved area and included a rectan-
gular depression cut into the floor just inside the corner. This
may have been a socket for an upright interior post (Figure
Several stones were identified as a remnant of the south-
west corner of the building with a small adjacent section of
coquina floor. In addition, four stones in alignment have
been interpreted as part of the south wall of the building.
These parallel the north wall alignment and indicate that the
south wall was also about 1 m thick. The east end of the
building and its corners could not be identified; meticulous
excavation exposed only jumbled rock rubble.
It was concluded that, after the collapse of the building, the
site was robbed for coquina building material for use else-
where in New Smyrna Beach at some time after the demise
of the Turnbull colony. The removal of stone destroyed a
large part of the building. A large amount of oyster shell
was present on the surface and in the spaces between the
upper rocks in the rubble pile, and this has been interpreted
as the remains of recent use of the site for shellfish process-
The northwest comer of Structure I was about a meter
from the southeast corner of Structure 2 (Figure 1). It was
also determined, in excavations at Structure 2, that coquina
rubble from Structure I was stratigraphically above the wall
rubble of the southeast corner of Structure 2, establishing a
relative sequence of collapse of the two buildings.
Notable artifacts associated with Structure I are a second
fragment of the colonial shoe buckle, an iron bar, and part of
a button. The button is the back of a Type 2 button (1726-
1776) in South's chronology (Noel Hume 1970:Figure 23)
and is thus consistent with dating the structure to the
Turnbull Colony Period (1768-1777). There were relatively
few artifacts present at Structure 1. Wrought-iron nails,
olive-colored wine bottle fragments, and bone and shell food
remains make up a possible residential assemblage, but no
artifacts were recovered that provide a definitive basis for
interpreting the function of Structure 1.
The size of the building is estimated at 5.5 m (18 ft) north-
south by 5.5 m (18 ft) east-west, but this is conjectural since
only two corners were found and one of those was incomplete
(see Figure 2). The building also lacks internal features that
would aid in the interpretation of its function. Although
quite a large number of food waste faunal specimens were
recovered, the paucity of artifacts makes it seem unlikely that
Structure I was primarily residential in character. One
possibility being considered is that it might be a military
blockhouse, but there are other alternatives, such as a
warehouse. The site is almost opposite the Ponce Inlet to the
Indian River, a commanding location for a blockhouse. The
absence of positive artifact evidence of military presence
leaves the function of Structure I an unsolved mystery.
Structure 2: The Mortar House
Structure 2 was not identifiable from surface exposure. The
building was located by excavating a small test at the loca-
tion of a metal-detector signal. The test produced wrought-
Figure 2. Excavation plan of Structure I showing remnants of coquina walls and mortar floor.
GRANGE TURNBULL COL E
iron nails and a small area of a mortar floor. Excavation of
Structure 2 began shortly after the initial test in the rubble of
Structure 1 failed to produce artifacts or structural remains.
The excavation of Structure 2 produced additional wrought-
iron nails, more floor deposits, and fragments of mortar with
wood impressions that were soon identified as wall rubble.
Excavation units were opened in various directions in search
of wall and corner features. The site was marked with
numerous coquina rocks, some cut and with adhering mortar,
which were interpreted as rubble from the collapse of a
central fireplace and chimney complex.
Hand trowels were used in the excavation, but once the
rubble of the mortar walls was encountered brushes proved
to be the better tool because the mortar fragments could be
exposed without displacement.
Plant roots laced all of the de-
posits and had to be clipped and
removed with care to avoid dis-
turbing the mortar rubble. The
walls were ultimately identified
as vertically oriented wall frag-
ments in linear position (Figure
All four corners of the struc-
ture were identified and exten-
sive portions of the north, east,
and south walls were exposed,
although the wall was not pre-
served around the entire perim-
eter of the structure. The north-
ern part of the west wall was
left unexcavated due to lack of
time and the presence of a num-
ber of trees whose roots were
thought to have adversely af-
fected the wall in that area. The
projections of the walls from
corner to corner align with the Figure 3. Structure 2,
isolated wall remnants encoun- disturbed area on the le
disturbed area on the lef
tered (Figure 4). runs diagonally from lef
Structure 2 was a rectangular probably caused by plan
building 4 m (13.12 ft) wide probably caused by plan
(east-west) and 8.37 m (27.48
ft) long (north-south). It had a central chimney with two fire-
places and hearths, one for each of two rooms separated by
internal walls (Figure 4). Charred posts at regular intervals
around the wall, and the fragility of the mortar walls,
indicated that the building had a post-and-beam framework
as its main structural support. Traces of corner posts were
found and excavated as were wall posts, some of which were
charred while others consisted of preserved wood as well as
The floor of the building was mortar with sand and very
small shell inclusions. A few larger shell fragments are
present in the mortar matrix but they are not dense as in
tabby construction. The lime was probably produced locally
using shell from prehistoric Indian middens as raw material
because some mortar fragments were found with prehistoric
pottery sherds as inclusions. One European earthenware
sherd also was a mortar inclusion. A thin layer of crushed
coquina shell was laid down as the base for the mortar
forming the floor. The juncture between floor and wall
mortar was a concave smooth curve, also evident at the
The structure was supported by the vertical post frame-
work. There was a large vertical post at each corner of the
building, placed so that the inside corner of the post was at
the inside juncture point of the two walls forming the corner.
Excavation revealed that some fragments of corner posts
were intact beneath the mortar wall corner despite most of
the posts having burned or rotted away. Assuming the posts
view to the north showing preserved floor on the right and a
Ft. Arrow points to the intact line of wall mortar on edge that
ft to right and terminates at a wall post. Floor cracking was
t roots while the disturbed area is most likely the result of relic
were squared, this arrangement put a vertical face of the post
at right angles to the mortar wall and the lath upon which
the mortar was supported.
The wall posts were at intervals of a little over a meter (3.3
ft). The center wall posts on the shorter end walls were
slightly larger than the intermediate posts. The longer side
walls had more large posts. Several posts were sectioned and
it was determined that the wall support posts extended a
meter or more in depth below the floor level. It was possible
to detect some evidence of the stains of post molds or post
holes, but clear, complete post-hole stains were not found.
However, it was evident that coquina stones were jammed
into the post holes to support the posts when the building was
erected. Some of the posts were charred, some had merely
LIMIT OF EXCAVATION
\ MORTAR FLOOR
- PRESERVED WALL
- - MORTAR FLOOR
Figure 4. Excavation plan of Structure 2 showing preserved walls and floor area, central fireplace complex, and interior walls.
GRANGE TURNBULL COLONIST'S HOUSE 79
rotted. Others were charred where they first appeared at
about floor level and had unburned, rotted remnants intact
below the floor level.
The excavation has revealed that some posts were square
in cross section while others were not. One preserved post at
the south side ofthe presumed east door was about .91 m (3
ft) long and 17.78 by 7.62 cm (7 by 3 in) in section. This
may have been the door jamb and it was braced with two
large coquina stones set on edge outside the wall. Squared
posts were indicated by smooth, flat mortar surfaces where
the wall remnants ended at the edges of post molds.
Horizontal split-wood lathing was nailed in place between
the vertical posts and was butted against the flat surface of
the squared posts. At present the evidence of in situ nails is
interpreted as indicating that a vertical stop was nailed to the
vertical post and the horizontal lath was butted against the
post and nailed into the vertical stop. Further study of thou-
sands of wall mortar fragments is required to determine the
construction technique, but field observations of lath and post
impressions, nails in situ, and other evidence provide the
basis for the above interpretation. Charred lath in situ
substantiated the interpretation of the wood impressions in
the wall mortar. In summary, the building was a post-and-
beam framework structure with lath-and-mortar wall infill-
ing and a mortar floor (Figure 5).
Mortar was troweled onto the horizontal lathing from both
inside and outside; the extrusions into the open spaces
between the lath work enabled the mortar to hang in place.
The building was destroyed by fire and, as the lathing burned
and the walls collapsed, the mortar tended to split along the
weaker center line. The two internal walls were built of
mortar in the same fashion as the exterior walls.
The central chimney, two fireplaces, and hearths were built
of coquina stone, some cut with squared comers and sides,
others partly cut or carefully selected (Figure 6). Smaller
levelers were used to align the stone courses. The stones were
laid up and mortared together to form the H-shaped chimney,
fireboxes, and hearths. Judging from preserved examples,
Figure 5. Preliminary conjectural sketch reconstruction of Structure 2.
'., V. ,,. A..rnn..r
au a HE LORIUDA AN I 99HRO 21-
Figure 6. View of Structure 2 looking north and showing the
and hearth of the south room fireplace. Excavation of the I
Arrow points to the vertical interior mortar wall which divid
rooms (see Figures 4 and 7).
the exterior surfaces of the stone chimney/fireplace complex
were covered with smooth mortar. Possible fireplace crane
or roasting-spit sockets were present on each hearth complex.
The central stone feature was
preserved only to the level of
the hearths but fallen stones
were present in the building
debris. There is a non-descrip-
tive historical observation of
standing coquina chimneys at-
tributed to the colony (Hawks
It was common in buildings
with this type of floor plan to
utilize the narrow area between
the outside wall and the central
chimney structure as entries
and hallways. That was appar-
ently the case at this house be-
cause there are two interior
walls, one on each side of the
fireplace complex (Figure 4).
The interior wall on the west
side extends from a corner of
the fireplace, just behind the
hearth, to meet the exterior wall
(Figure 7). It blocked access Figure 7. Close-up of t
between the north and south room of Structure 2. t
rooms. This implies an exterior pillar is on the left. TI
doorway on the west side as an center. Sloping floor is
entry into the north room and a
similar arrangement on the east
side as entry to the south room.
The eastern interior wall ex-
tends half way to the eastern
exterior wall but no juncture
with the eastern wall could be
found (Figure 4). If the end of
the wall as found was its origi-
nal termination, there would
have been room for passage be-
tween the north and south
rooms. This would support in-
terpretation ofthe structure as a
two-room house. However,
tree roots and disturbance ofthe
floor in this area may have de-
stroyed the remainder of the
eastern interior wall. If the wall
fully blocked passage between
the two rooms, the structure
would be interpreted as two I-
room residential units in a sin-
e central chimney block gle row house or "duplex." This
house is not completed. problem of interpretation has
led the north and south not been resolved.
On the west side of the south
room a rectangular coquina structure had been added after
the floor and interior wall were in place (Figures 4, 6, and 7).
The feature may have been the base of a pillar but could have
he interior wall and mortar floor on the west side of the south
earth and fireplace are on the right and the added coquina
te interior mortar wall runs between the two features in the
visible on the left.
9 991 Vot 52(1-2)
been a simple platform. It is in the south room on the south
side of the interior wall and it is assumed that a doorway on
the west side of the structure would have been in the north
room on the north side of the interior wall. The feature is
clearly a post-construction addition, but its purpose is not
clear. One hypothesis being considered is that an entrance to
the south room was added here and the coquina block feature
was part of a pillar built to support the wall. A small section
of the floor in this area of the south room slopes down to the
exterior wall line whereas the remainder of the intact floor is
level (Figure 6). The sloping floor contour was probably an
original feature of the building, but it could have been an
alteration related to the addition of the coquina feature
described above. The purpose of this sloping area of the floor
The presence or absence of loft or attic rooms or even a
second story cannot be determined ,vith the present data. No
archaeological evidence of the roof structure was found in
the excavation. A gable roof is assumed because the 1767
map of the colony by John Funk sketched two houses at their
map locations, both with gable roof lines (Johnston n. d.:
Figure 4). No traces of roof-covering material were found.
The house was dated by a comb-decorated slipware mug
virtually identical to examples from Williamsburg dated to
1750-1775 (Noel Hume 1969:26). The specimen was in an
excellent dating context, on the house floor and beneath the
wall rubble, and the dates correspond well with the 1768-
1777 Turnbull Colony Period. Other specimens directly
associated with the house occupation include several bases
and neck/finish fragments of wine bottles, also of the general
period 1760-1780. Lead-glazed red earthenware sherds also
were present. These are eighteenth century artifacts, but they
do not present chronological control as precise as the items
noted above. The absence of Pearlware, introduced in 1780,
appears to be significant despite the danger of over-interpret-
ing negative evidence.
A weighted, pivoting iron lock part was found on the floor
well inside the south wall of the house. This might indicate
another door location or it could be from an interior cup-
board. The artifacts have not yet been identified and tabu-
lated and so it is not possible to discuss household activities
in any detail.
Fairly large quantities of shell fish and other faunal
remains were recovered and ultimately some aspects of the
diet will be reconstructed. This will require specialized
analysis but will represent a major contribution to our
understanding of the Turnbull colony.
Outside and against the east wall was a small refuse
concentration of oyster shells and a wine bottle base. Such
adjacent middens are often seen as evidence of door and/or
window locations, and this one would be consistent with the
presumed location of a door on the east side based on
architectural inference. It also is near a potential window
location. No window glass has been recovered from the site
and glar window!are thus deemed an unlikely feature of the
house. The peripheral colonial midden west of the house also
contains fragments of wall and floor mortar. These may
have come from Structure 2.
The quantity of artifacts in the house is small relative to
other eighteenth-century British sites such as Michilimac-
kinac. Comparative studies are needed but must await
laboratory analysis of the Turnbull site data.
An Earlier House?
Excavations below the floor level inside the east wall of
Structure 2 were carried out to examine the wall post
features. These revealed that there was a Colonial-period
midden deposit under the floor in this area and the deposit
contained fragments of floor and wall mortar. The colonial
midden deposits are distinct from the prehistoric midden also
present at the site. The inclusion of Turnbull-period artifacts
below the house floor demonstrates that there was a colonial
occupation on the site before the Structure 2 house was built.
The mortar fragments in the refuse deposit imply the
presence of an earlier mortar building which has not yet been
Another sub-floor feature found in the same post removal
operation was a linear feature aligned with the east wall of
Structure 2 but stratigraphically below the wall line and
substantially below the elevation of the floor. This feature
may be a wall trench with mottled backfill but it had not fully
been exposed or excavated at the time excavation was ended.
Its nature and function are undetermined. However, one
hypothesis is that it was associated with an earlier house at
the same site.
Excavation below the floor level along the east side of the
stone chimney structure showed that the coquina fireplace
feature was stratigraphically above a shell midden that is an
extension of the sub-floor midden discussed above. This area
could not be excavated without destroying the coquina
fireplace, a feature that has been preserved beneath the
concrete parking area of the developed site. At present there
appears to be some substantial evidence that there was an
earlier building at the site.
Structure 3: The Coquina Platform
Structure 3 was a rectangular area of coquina rubble
measuring 1.5 by 2.3 m (4.9 by 7.5 ft) on the surface (Figure
1). Beneath the loose rubble, the coquina platform itself was
rectangular, about 1.5 by .8 m in size (4.9 by 2.6 ft).
Further excavation revealed cut and selected coquina stones
fitted and mortared together. The mortar is different from
that associated with Structure 2. The south side and south-
east corner were covered with a mortar facing which sloped
against the stone. A red bay tree mostly destroyed the curved
coquina and mortar at the west end of the feature. The east
end had slightly concave sides which met to form a central
projecting point (Figure 8). Offset south of the point was a
sloping trough 35 cm (13.8 in) wide. In the central area, at
the end of the slope, the coquina was decomposed by burning
(Figure 8). Only the base level of stonework remained.
Excavations around the feature produced fragments of
T NB COLONIST'S HOUE
THE FooRIDA Awrun r
Figure 8. View to the west of Structure 3 with excavation completed.
creamware (1762-1820) which date to the Turnbull Colony
Period. A considerable amount of faunal material was found
around the platform and it may have been an oven or food
preparation area, although the function has not been estab-
Structure 4: Unidentified
Just south of Structure 3, a discontinuous but linear pattern
of coquina stones was seen on the surface and tested by
excavation. The results of the test were negative, but the
excavation was used to test the underlying prehistoric
midden deposits. There was insufficient time to excavate a
large enough area to define this structure.
Structure 5: Unidentified
Another small coquina structure was exposed in a 1-by-I1-
m square that was excavated to examine some coquina
exposed on the surface. This proved to be a square coquina-
stone platform approximately the size of the excavation unit.
Coquina was absent in the center of the square forming an
apparent circular central opening. Partial excavation re-
vealed that the central opening was trapezoidal rather than
circular and that the stones were mortared together. The
function of this feature has not been determined; its excava-
tion could not be completed and no function-defining
artifacts were recovered. The area exposed was not large
enough to define the feature but was sufficient to reject the
hypothesis that it is a well.
A small midden deposit adjacent to the east wall of
Structure 2 has already been mentioned, as well as the
presence of a colonial midden layer below the floor and
fireplace of that building.
A peripheral refuse midden of the colonial occupation was
located about 4 m (13 ft) west of Structure 2. There was a
small heap of clam shells and then, a bit to the northwest, a
thicker deposit of very large oyster shells and charcoal-
stained soil from another midden. This midden contained
lead-glazed earthenware fragments and part of an
eighteenth-century shoe buckle. The deposit is stratified with
darker, upper layers and lighter, lower levels; both contain-
ing bone and shell food waste. This peripheral midden is
interpreted as kitchen and hearth waste from Structure 2.
The upper, darker layer may have been in a shallow pit
and was probably intrusive into the lower, light-colored
layer. Culturally sterile soil separates the two layers in the
midden's west side but not elsewhere. Two more stratified
layers in the midden were tested when a small, deep test unit
was excavated down to the red sandy subsoil a meter or more
below the surface. Oyster shells and bone food waste,
European artifacts, and many small eroded fragments of
mortar were present from the top to the bottom of the
deposit. The mortar fragments from all layers of the deposit
are like the wall mortar seen in the fabric of Structure 2. If
the mortar is from Structure 2, then these fragments would
indicate that parts of the mortar wall covering were flaking
off and being discarded during the occupation. Alterna-
I Ge V -( )
9 991 VOL 52 1-2
T C NIST'S HOUSE
GRANGE URNBULL OLO
tively, they could have come from another mortared building
as yet undiscovered at the site. The presence of such a
structure is implied by the presence of wall mortar in the sub-
floor midden of Structure 2.
Two notable artifacts from the bottom of the midden
deposit are a small, turned bone finial with a screw-thread
base and a large piece of red earthenware with melted glaze
and a coating of mortar.
The historic-period occupation was on top of an extensive
stratified prehistoric midden typical of those that line the
banks of the Indian River. Shell erodes from the steep bank
of the midden along the river edge but was mostly obscured
beneath the trees and undergrowth on the surface. The
archaeological work was focused on the Turnbull-period
occupation and work on the prehistoric components was
St. Johns ceramics and Late Archaic fiber-tempered
pottery were recovered from the site. Some of these were
prehistoric sherds redeposited in historic-period contexts
while others were found in excavation units where it was
possible to excavate beneath the Colonial levels. Both types
of pottery were recovered from several areas of the site in an
orange, sandy layer beneath the Colonial occupation.
Test excavations northwest of Structure 2 revealed a buried
midden deposit with associated Late Archaic-period fiber-
tempered pottery. The small test exposed a concentrated
deposit of coquina (Donax) shells. These shellfish are
collected only on the high-energy ocean beach and must have
been brought to this site for cooking and consumption. Only
a small archaeological test was possible in this midden
deposit. It was sufficient to establish the Late Ardhaic
occupation as a separate prehistoric stratum but not extensive
enough to collect data regarding the daily life and activities
of the prehistoric people of the Late Archaic Period.
The archaeological rescue operation at 8VO7051 focused
on structural remains and a great amount of information has
been obtained. However, it was not possible to excavate
completely all of the observed features or to explore the open
areas around or between the structures. It is regrettable that
it was not possible to preserve the site as a park in which
long-term excavation and public interpretation could be
developed. Structure 2 was entombed under a concrete cap
in an agreement reached between the landowner and the City
of New Smyrna Beach. The building will not be visible to the
public but will survive for the future.
Each structure excavated at the site can be dated to the
general period of the Turnbull colony. The datable archaeo-
logical specimens are few, but combining these data to infer
a date for the site as a whole yields a conservative chronolog-
ical estimate of 1760 to 1780 for the occupation. The
historically known time span of Turnbull's colony is 1768-
1777 and the independent dating based on archaeological
evidence comes remarkably close to the written record.
The analysis of the data from this site will add greatly to
an understanding of the Turnbull colony. Historical refer-
ences indicate that at least some of the colonists lived in
temporary palmetto huts (Griffin 1991:39). Construction of
more than 100 framed buildings was recorded and Griffin
speculated that tabby floors and coquina chimneys were used,
but noted that: "The eventual number of structures, their
placement and the building materials used at New Smyrna
are all somewhat open to question" (Griffin 1991:44-5). The
architectural features at this site help to resolve such issues
and we now know what at least two Turnbull colony build-
ings were like.
The extent of hunting, gathering, and fishing at the colony
is not fully understood. There is historical evidence that
hunting and fishing were prohibited or seasonally restricted
by Turnbull while other records indicate the colonists were
skilled fishermen. Griffin has suggested that protein starva-
tion was a serious problem in the colony but also cites
evidence of the collection of oysters (Griffin 1991:41, 61,
63). Oyster shells, some of almost incredible size, are
abundant at 8VO705 1. Turtle, fish, and mammal bones have
all been recovered and when the faunal assemblage has been
studied a much clearer picture of some important aspects of
the diet at the Turnbull colony will be known.
Griffin has discussed some of the important elements of
change and unique aspects of the social patterning Turnbull
imposed on the Minorcans in his colony (Griffin 1991:48,
57, 64-5, 81). The social archaeology of the colony must
await the study of materials from this house and the discov-
ery, excavation, and comparison of more houses of the
Turnbull Colony for this level of archaeological analysis.
Since this paper was written, a major survey to identify archaeological
remains of the Turnbull colony has been undertaken (Austin et al. n.d.). The
survey. which was funded by a grant from the Florida Division of Historical
Resources and by matching funds from the City of New Smyrna, City of Port
Orange, and Volusia County, has discovered nearly 40 Turnbull-era sites.
These sites contain coqxuina foundations, mortar, tabby floors, and temporally
diagnostic artifacts (ceramics, buttons, wrought-iron nails) dateable to the
Tumbull Colony Period.
The excavations at this site were an extended archaeological rescue operation
and could not have been accomplished without the truly remarkable hard work
and devotion of the 50 volunteers who contributed at least 5000 person hours
to the project. The cooperation of the land owner, Dennis Higginbotham, who
permitted the volunteer excavation over many months, is gratefully acknowl-
edged I om Scofield, of the Volusia County Office of Growth Management
and Zoning, and Dana Ste Claire, of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in
Daytona Beach. were instrumental in obtaining a small grant from the Volusia
County Preservation Commission and another from the Daytona Beach Junior
Ser ice League. I these funds were used to support a month-long field session
in June using a summer archaeological training program sponsored by the
Museum of Arts and Sciences and organized by Dana. The Department of
Anthropology of the University of South Florida loaned plane-table mapping
equipment and a geohm resistivity meter Andrew Asbury and Gloria Fike
surveyed the site. Ted Payne and Lori Kash carried out a shovel-test program.
THE FLORIDA ANTHR T
We appreciated the advice and comments of many professional colleagues who
were able to visit the site. The volunteer excavators are too numerous to list here
but will be acknowledged in the final report. All of the participants in the
project, listed or nameless here, deserve our thanks for their contribution to the
history and archaeology of Florida.
Austin. Robert J., Roger T. Grange, Jr., and Dorothy L. Moore
n.d. The Search for the Turnbull Colony: An Archaeological Survey.
Report in preparation. Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc.,
1919 Dr. Andrew Turnbull and the New Smyrna Colony of Florida. The
Drew Press, Florida.
Fitzgerald, T. E
1937 Volusia County Past and Present The Observer Press, Daytona
Griffin, Patricia C.
1991 Mullet on the Beach. The Minorcans of Florida 1768-1788.
University of North Florida Press, Jacksonville.
Hawks, J. M.
1887 The East Coast of Florida: A Descriptive Narrative. Lewis &
Winship, Lynn, Massachusetts.
Noel Hume, Ivor
1969 Pottery and Porcelain in Colonial Williamsburg Archaeological
Collections. Colonial Williamsburg Archaeological Series Number
2. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg.
1970 A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America. Alfred A. Knopf. New
n.d. The Turnbull Plantation Site: An Historical Evaluation. Historic
Deland Preservation Board, Deland.
Rasico, Phillip D.
1990 The Minorcans of Florida: Their History, Language and Culture.
Luthers, New Smyrna Beach.
Ste. Claire, Dana
1996 New Smyrna: Unearthing Britain's Greatest New World Colony.
Florida History Notebook, Fall edition, pp. 22-23. Museum of Arts
and Sciences, Daytona Beach.
TH .~RD OL-O- IS IoaV C -
9 991 V 52 1 2
RESEARCH AT BISSET PLANTATION: ARCHAEOLOGY AT RIVERBREEZE
PARK, VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
ROY S. STINE' AND LINDA F. STINE2
' Department of Geography, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina 27412
" P.O. Box 268, Julian, North Carolina 27283
E-mail: lstinenr. infi. net
English artifacts and colonial features dating to East
Florida's British Period (ca. 1763-1783) were found
overlying and intermixed with a St. John's I-period
(ca. 500 B.C.-A.D. 800) shell midden. This multicomponent
site (8VO4586, Locus 1) was discovered during intermittent
archaeological survey and testing at Riverbreeze Park,
Volusia County (Stine 1992a, 1992b, 1998). At the time of
the initial survey, historic components only comprised 11.5%
of the 321 known archeological resources located in Volusia
County, excluding standing historic structures (Austin and
Layman 1989:41). As no British-era historic site compo-
nents were documented for Volusia County south of New
Smyrna, it was decided to pursue limited archaeological
fieldwork (Tom Scofield, personal communication, 1992).
The Riverbreeze site was explored to delimit site bound-
aries, to determine if features were present, and to ascertain
the time period of occupation. The results of the project have
been provided to Riverbreeze Park planners to aid their
preservation efforts and to provide data for future inter- and
intra-site comparisons of British colonial settlement and
land-use patterns in the Mosquito region of East Florida.
The results of the analysis of the historic component at
Riverbreeze are presented in this paper.
Tom Scofield, of the Volusia County Office of Growth
Management and Zoning, recognized the need for a recon-
naissance survey of the Riverbreeze property. His Florida
Site File research revealed that two prehistoric mounds
(Bissett Mounds) were recorded in the vicinity of the pro-
posed park. Linda Stine, with the aid of Volusia Anthropo-
logical Society volunteers, was asked to relocate the mounds
as well as generally assess Riverbreeze Park's historic and
prehistoric archaeological potential. Analysis of artifact
distributions, features, and landform data would help define
site boundaries for preservation and planning purposes.
The British-period remains at Riverbreeze were initially
discovered during an October 1992 reconnaissance survey,
and were later substantiated during subsurface testing, a
metal detector survey, and preliminary air photo interpreta-
tion, which were conducted through December 1992. In
addition, a helpful informant (anonymous) shared his
knowledge of the spatial distribution of Colonial-period
metal objects at Riverbreeze Park. Local volunteers aided the
archaeologist's survey efforts to complete 32 shovel tests, 70
metal detector "hits," and one 2-x-2-m test unit (Stine 1992a,
1992b). (A metal detector "hit" consists of a mapped, partial
shovel test based on a strong positive reading during the
metal detector survey. This type of shovel test is excavated
until metal or the water table is reached.) In early 1993, area
volunteers led by avocational archaeologist Dot Moore
excavated 14 additional shovel tests and one I-x-I-m unit at
Riverbreeze (Moore 1993).
Students and volunteers at Sam ford University's archaeo-
logical field school continued testing at the historic compo-
nent of the site for two weeks during January 1994, under the
joint directorship of Roy and Linda Stine. A total of eight
l-x-2-m test units and 30 additional metal detector "hits"
were mapped and excavated (Stine 1998).
In 1992, Volusia County purchased approximately 14.2 ha
(35 acres) of land for the park and boat ramp with frontage
on the North Indian River (once called South Hillsborough
River), in southeastern Volusia County (Volusia County
Deeds 1992:204). Riverbreeze Park is reached via U.S.
Highway I south from the town of Edgewater (Figure 1).
The property is found by traveling about 8 km southwards on
U.S. Highway I from its intersection with State Road 44.
Just before the community of Oak Hill is reached, one turns
east on H.H. Burch Road for .64 km. Burch Road serves as
the park's southern boundary (Smith 1992). This location
lies immediately north of where the North Indian River
opens into Mosquito Lagoon, just west of Bissitte Bay (about
2.6 km north of Latitude 2852'30").
In this section the existing conditions, air photo interpreta-
tion, and oral history research results are described to
provide an initial context for site interpretation. Riverbreeze
lands consist of two areas of low-lying hammock forest (east
THE FlORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
VOL. 52 Nos. 1-2
86 THE ULO _
Figure 1. Location of Riverbreeze Park in Volusia
and west) separated by old citrus groves in the center, and
bounded on the eastern shoreline by areas of dredged fill
(Figure 2). Natural soils consist of poorly drained Myakka
Variant fine sands. The typical stratigraphic sequence
consists of 17.8 cm of dark gray fine sand over 53.3 cm of
light gray-brown fine sand, over 71.1-101.6 cm of black fine
sand with organic, over 114.3 cm of dark brown loose sand
underlain by brownish-yellow and white stratified sands with
some natural shell fragments from 101.6-203.2 cm (United
States Department of Agriculture 1980:30-31).
The park landscape in late 1992 included piles of spoil
dirt, shell midden, and a large, tree-covered mound just to
the north across Bisset Creek (Figure 2). During the prelimi-
nary reconnaissance, field workers discovered two extensive,
yet distinct, areas of shell midden. Locus 1. located in the
northwestern portion of the property, contained evidence of
the multicomponent shell midden the eighteenth-century,
British-period component intermixed with a St. Johns I-
period shell midden. This approximately 300 m north/south
by 150 m east/west locus was found primarily within an
existing live oak canopy, but included a northern portion
covered in old citrus grove (Figure 2).
The central portion of the park area (primarily grove)
contained few artifacts, but a second, discrete area of prehis-
toric shell midden (Locus 2) was observed to the east, outside
of the citrus grove in a second hammock remnant. Locus 2
was covered in shell, leather leaf fern, and secondary growth.
It included the remains of a twentieth-century concrete citrus
packing house and associated outbuildings bordering a
dredged fill edge along the North Indian River. A few
scattered citrus trees and a spring were associated with this
complex. A separate, small shell midden was found eroding
along the riverbank in the southeastern part of the property
(Locus 3). To the north, just across Bisset Creek, an earthen
mound was noted (8V0121, Bisset Mound)' (Anonymous
1996:4; Stine 1992a, 1992b, 1998). No British-era artifacts
were found in shovel tests in these central and eastern
portions of Riverbreeze Park.
Aerial Photograph Interpretation
Examination ofVolusia County aerials illustrates changing
land-use at the property (Volusia County Aerial Photographs
1943, 1951, 1958). The 1943 and 1951 aerials show the
property with natural land cover (hammock). The presence
of a small stream system is indicated in the north-central
portion of the property. A small white road (shell? sand?)
appears visible along the live oak hammock at the eastern
property border, but no structures are visible. H.H. Burch
Road first appears along the southern boundary in 1951. The
1958 aerial photograph stands in marked contrast. The
eastern land boundary was significantly extended through
placement of white sand/shell fill. Only a small fragment of
the eastern shell or sand road is still visible, hugging the
eastern shore on the edge of the fill. By 1958, the center
hammock had been cleared and planted in citrus groves.
This suggests that park lands were relatively undisturbed at
least during the later decades of the nineteenth century
through the first half of the twentieth century. These land-
use changes were substantiated and explained during an
interview with one of the park's past land owners, Lawrence
On December 2, 1992, Lawrence Galbreath of New
Smyrna visited the park property for an oral-history inter-
view. He was able to explain the mid-century modifications
to the landscape in the project area, as he was the primary
owner of the property from the early 1950s until 1980
(Volusia County Deeds 1951:564. 1952:292, 1980:185).
When these lands were purchased by Galbreath in the early
1950s they were mostly uncleared hammock. bordered to the
north and west by a fresh-water creek. Bisset Creek. Over
his twenty plus years of ownership he made some modifica-
tions like straightening out some of the bends in the creek
and removing vegetation in a small canal/ditch feeding into
the creek. Galbreath believes that this north/south trending
canal/ditch, bisecting the north-central portion of the
property, is colonial in origin (Figure 2). It was covered with
large trees when he first visited the property.
Galbreath knew and loved these lands from childhood; his
father used to ride horseback to the spot from town to hunt
waterfowl in the nineteenth century. Galbreath built a few
outbuildings along the east boundary near the Indian River
to help with his honey and citrus operations. About 1955 he
purchased dredge fill when the Intercoastal waterway was
widened about 2.5 to 4 m and placed it in a low marshy area
east of his citrushoney processing complex. Galbreath
9 991 VOL 52(1-2)
F A OOGIST
STINE AND STINE ARCHAEOLOGY AT RIVERBREEZE PARK 87
0 30 60 90
Figure 2. Map of Riverbreeze Park showing shovel-test locations and boundaries of archaeological site loci.
X Shovel Tests w/Shell Fragments
and a few eroded artifacts
(Shovel Test w/Whole Shell,shell
fragments, other items
(good midden deposit)
\ : ,
\ Citrus Grove
10" 0 NorthN
* SHOVEL TEST
- CONTROL POINTS
ST3 1 U5\
Dat 0 lorth
Datum -25 East
Figure 3. Map of Locus 1 showing the locations of test units.
sTINE AND "TNE ARCHAEOLGAIVJRU -
cleared much of the interior land for citrus groves, but only
used shallow disking, not deep plowing. When he was
disking the fields at the edge of what we now call Locus 1,
Galbreath hit a large concentration of tabby/mortar, and
turned up two keys and a hoe. He knew that he had found a
large, mixed Native American shell midden and historic
colonial domestic site. Fortunately, he decided to leave the
trees alone and only lightly disked under the live oak
Surface collections, shovel tests, metal-detecting tests, and
unit excavations resulted in recovery of about 2676 artifacts.
Approximately 39.20% of artifacts recovered from Locus I
at Riverbreeze were historic (n= 1049) compared to 60.80%
prehistoric (n=1627). These totals exclude a handful of
modern items found at the surface or in the upper few cm of
site soils (e.g., pull tabs) and the site's myriad faunal
materials (about 2268 gm of bone and 2,811,091 gm of
Nine out of ten excavation units yielded British Period
artifacts. Out of a total of 142 unit proveniences, 55, or
38.73% contained some historic materials. Most of the
historic artifacts were recovered from the top 20 to 35 cm of
shell midden, or from an average depth of 33.34 cm below
the ground surface. In some units, historic and prehistoric
artifacts were mixed throughout the entire shell midden
matrix. In a few cases about 5-10 cm of prehistoric, mostly'
St. Johns Period, shell midden has been preserved, appar-
ently lying below the historic period living surface. The
presence of prehistoric features within the midden, and in the
sandy matrix below, indicates that 8VO4586 Locus I also
contains evidence for prehistoric living surfaces (Stine
1992a, 1992b, 1998). Before discussing the field results in
more detail, the discovery methods used are described.
During the initial reconnaissance survey shovel tests were
typically excavated 30 m apart, increasing to 60 m if a test
proved sterile, along north/south and east/west transects
(Figure 2). Shovel tests, screened through 6.4 mm (1/4 in)
mesh hardware cloth, were standard. Shovel tests measured
50 x 50 cm, and were excavated to a depth of I m below the
ground surface. The water table at the site ranges from about
59 to 110 cm below the ground surface; therefore some
shovel tests had to be stopped at less than I m, when water
was reached. Shell midden was visible on the surface in both
hammock remnants. Shovel tests in those areas proved
difficult and time consuming, leading to a change in strategy.
When Shovel Test 3 was first excavated within the Locus
1 midden, it contained very dense shell midden and a variety
of historic and prehistoric artifacts (Figure 3). The presence
of these historic artifacts indicated that a metal detector
survey would facilitate fieldwork by delimiting the bound-
aries of the heaviest historic concentration. A metal detector
survey was initiated in lieu of continued shovel testing and
all positive readings were marked with pin flags. A 25-
meter-interval mapping grid was placed across 8VO4586,
Locus 1 to facilitate mapping. The area under the live oak
hammock and just northwestwards, into the old citrus grove,
contained a high concentration of metal readings. Each of
the flagged metal soundings were excavated as a partial
shovel test unit ("metal hit") and digging stopped when
metal was found. This was usually at 10-20 cm below the
existing ground surface. All soil sequences were recorded
and excavated soil was screened through 6.4-mm (1/4-in)
mesh hardware cloth.
These procedures helped to delimit the extent of the
historic component at Locus 1. The historic artifacts were
confined to a slight rise, following the 1.52 m (5 ft) eleva-
tion contour (Figure 3). Colonial materials extended south-
ward from about the 70N grid line to about the 20S line. The
east-west limits extend approximately from the 40E line
westward to the 25W line (Figure 3). It must be noted that
the fenced lands west of the park property were not tested.
Shovel tests in the grove to the north, as well as excavation
of Unit 2 (lxl m), revealed only prehistoric materials in the
northern-most part of the Locus I matrix, extending to Bisset
Excavation units (Figure 3) were explored following
visible stratigraphic sequences (natural and cultural). Units
were excavated in 10-cm arbitrary levels within each natural
stratum. Soils were often horizontally and vertically com-
plex in terms of texture and/or color changes and differential
shell and other artifact densities. All soils were screened
through 6.4-mm (1/4-in) mesh hardware cloth; random
samples of each soil stratum were also screened through finer
mesh (window screen) to check for the presence of smaller
items such as lead shot, pins, beads, and fish bone. Features
were photographed, drawn in plan, and bisected. Soil
samples were taken from each soil level of the matrix and
from features. Clam shells from each provenience, whether
shovel test, unit level, or feature were collected for potential
seasonality analysis. Representative examples of all other
shellfish species such as gastropods were taken. Oyster shell
was the predominant shell present at the site, either as small
fragments, larger broken pieces, or as whole shells. Oyster
shell was weighed during the field school season, but
typically not collected.'
All but one of the excavation units (Unit 2) contained
historic materials (Figure 3). Units 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10
contained a mixture of historic and prehistoric midden, but
no clearly defined historic-era features. At about 7 cm below
the ground surface, excavations in Unit 8 uncovered a thin
veneer of burned shell that traversed the center of the unit
and measured about 40-50 cm wide and 90 cm long. This
tabby-like matrix contained one prehistoric sherd, one olive
glass fragment, and one wrought nail. This could be an
intentional cultural feature containing construction materi-
Tin 5,'T FLOIDA ANRPOLIST 19 (-2
als, or an unintentional feature resulting from fire.
Unit 3 contained pockets of fill disturbances in its shell
midden, revealing a mixture of historic and prehistoric
materials. Excavation also yielded a modem dime at 25-35
cm below the ground surface, at least 15 cm below the typical
shallow zone of twentieth-century disking. This suggests
that the upper 35 cm contained disturbed soils. On the other
hand, two features were first observed beginning at the same
vertical level as the lighter, sandier fill layer. Excavation of
a small pit feature (Feature 9, Figure 4) recorded along the
eastern unit balk yielded a wrought nail in addition to
prehistoric materials. At about the same depth below ground
surface along the western balk a sterile post hole with a
square-bottom post mold was observed (Feature 8, Figure 5).
This indicates that the disturbed soils in Unit 3 might have
stemmed from British-era activities.
Two units (Unit I and Unit 4, see Figure 3) did have
definite British-period features with no evidence of
twentieth-century disturbances below the shallow disked
shell zone. Unit I contained a large pit-like feature and in
Unit 4 excavation revealed a definite historic-period post and
Unit 1 (2 x 2 m) proved to be rich in artifacts and features.
The typical stratigraphic sequence was as follows: 0-14 cm
of disked shell midden, 14-31 cm of black midden (whole
and partial shell, oyster with some clam), 31-44 cm of
medium brown sand overlying sterile yellow-tan sands. The
base of the midden consisted of a fine layer of broken shell
overlying lighter sands.
At the base of the midden a large circular feature (Feature
1) was observed in the northwest corner of the unit with an
associated feature (Feature 2) appearing to intrude on the
eastern side (Figure 6). Feature I was first recognized at the
base of Level 3, about 29 cm below the ground surface, as a
looser, lighter area in the northwest corner. This was a pit
thought to be intruded upon by a tree or animal burrow. The
matrix of the pit (approximately 100 cm north-south x 59 cm
east-west x 40 cm thick) was looser, dryer, and blacker than
the surrounding midden soil, seen primarily after the west
half was excavated.
Before the east half of Feature I was removed, Feature 2
was excavated. The lighter yellow-tan soil of Feature 2
proved to be a series of sloping fill lenses. Feature 2 proved
much bigger and deeper than first thought (top-bottom: 122-
142 cm east-west x 84-74 cm north-south x 52 cm thick),
running underneath Feature 1. The western wall of Feature
2 was obscured by Feature 1. This suggests that Feature I is
a later historic pit dug into the pre-existing Feature 2 (Figure
Feature I is probably an English-period trash pit. Numer-
ous eighteenth-century historic artifacts (n=45) were in the
fill, such as variants of white salt-glazed stonewares (n=5),
olive bottle glass (n=16), olive case bottle fragments (nm2),
clear wine glass fragments (n=l), and wrought nails (n=7).
In addition, excavators found unidentified ceramic (n= 1) and
nail (n=l) fragments, an unidentified stamped brass object
(n=1), pipe parts (n=9), a small, triangular, silver pendant
(n=l), and 90 gm of tabby/mortar. They also uncovered
prehistoric pottery (n=73), lithics (n=5), and shell tools
(n=3) intermixed with Feature l's eighteenth-century
historic materials. The pit fill also contained faunal material
such as fish bone, and oyster and clam shells.
The function of Feature 2 is unclear. It appears to be a
large pit impacted by subsequent tree growth, or a tree stump
hole with secondary use as an historic trash pit. It contained
three olive bottle fragments, one olive case bottle shard, one
sherd of molded creamware, one piece of white salt-glazed
stoneware, and two unidentified nails. A total of 53 prehis-
toric sherds were found in the matrix in addition to one lithic
In sum, the combined Unit I proveniences (levels,
features) yielded approximately 719 artifacts, 40.75%
historic (n=293) and 59.24% prehistoric (n=426), exclusive
of weighed amounts of tabby/mortar (205 gm sampled) and
faunal materials (240.08 gm sampled). Of the eighteenth-
century artifacts (Table 1), the majority fall within the
Kitchen Group (the functional classification scheme used in
the analysis of historic artifacts is based on South  and
is discussed in more detail below). Glasswares, primarily
olive bottle glass fragments plus a few fragments of case
bottles, wine glasses, and clear glass, comprise the highest
frequency of recovered artifacts. Ceramics, the next abun-
dant artifact class, include sherds of eighteenth-century types
Table 1. Unit I historic artifact frequencies by functional class.
Artifact Group Artifact Class N Percent
THE FLORIDA ANTHR T
9 991 VOI- 52(l-2)
STIME AND SnNE 2! CADjy AT VXRJJ R-
I. Broken midden 10yr2/2 very dark brown
II. Gray sand 10yr4/2 dark grayish brown sand I---
III. Yellow sand layer 10yr5/6 yellowish brown sand 0 10 20 30 cm
IV. Brown 10yr3/3 dark brown sand
V. Shell midden 10yr2/2 very dark brown
VI. Gray brown sand 10yr3/4 dark brown sand
VII. Mottled sand 10yr4/4 dark yellowish-brown sand
VIII. Sand 10yr4/6 dark yellowish brown
Feature 9. 10yr4/6 black sandy loam with burned shell (FS#72)
Figure 4. East profile of Unit 3 showing Feature 9.
I. Mixed crushed, broken, some whole shell 10yr2/2, very dark brown
II. "Red brown" sand fill, a few shells 10yr5/6, yellowish-brown sand
III. Whole shell, dark midden 10yr2/2, very dark brown r
IV. Grayish black sandy soil 10yr2/1, black sandy loam 0 50 cm
V. Mottled brown sand 10yr4/4, dark yellowish-brown sand
VI. Yellow sand 10yr4/6, yellowish-brown sand
Feature 8. Mottled brown feature fill 10yr3/2, very dark grayish-brown
Figure 5. West profile of Unit 3 showing Feature 8.
.-I.,^~ ^^,. ., n,,,,~ onv
92 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 1999 VOL. 52(1-2)
I. 2.5Y2/0, black, loamy, disked
shell midden with abundant shell
II. Feature 1, 10YR3/1, very dark [
gray, dry sand with shell frag-
Ill. Feature 2, 10YR5/6, yellowish-
Figure 6. Plan of Unit 1, Features I and 2.
Fiy ,5 Roots
I. Disked shell midden 10yr2/1, black, fine-to-medium sand
with abundant crushed shell and artifacts
II. Shell midden 10yr3/2, very dark grayish brown fine to
medium sand with abundant oyster, some clam, and artifacts
IIa. Abundant shell in loose 10yr3/2, very dark grayish brownsand
III. Mottled transition 10yr4/3, brown to dark brown fine to
medium sand with occasional 10yr3/2, very dark grayish
brown mottles, few artifacts
IV. Sterile sands 10yr5/6, yellowish brown fine-to-medium sand
IVa. 10yr5/6, yellowish brown sands with occasional shell
IVb. Base of pit is 2.5y6/4, light yellowish brown sand
feathering to 10yr5/6, yellowish brown fine-to-medium
sand at the edges
Feature 1. Shell midden (mostly oyster) with historic and prehistoric artifacts
Feature 2. Mottled 10yr3/1 to 10yr3/2, very dark gray to grayish
brown soil with whole shell (mostly oyster) and artifacts.
Figure 7. North profile of Unit I showing Features 1 and 2.
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I. Non-feature unit soils 10YR3/2,
very dark grayish-brown, sandy
loam with rare medium mottles of
2.5YR5/2, grayish-brown and rare
small mottles of 2.5YR5/4, light
olive brown, and occasional clam
II. Feature 7a, 10YR2/1 black sandy
loam with rare small mottles of
10YR3/1, very dark gray. and
some crushed shell with occa-
sional whole oyster shell.
III. Feature 7, post remnant.
IVa. Predominantly shell with some
mortar "collar" around the post.
lVb. Predominantly mortar with some
shell "collar" around the post.
Figure 8. Plan of Unit 4 showing the tabby/mortar "collar" around a post remnant (Feature 7) and the surrounding post-
hole matrix (Feature 7a).
such as white salt-glazed stonewares, slipwares, creamwares,
porcelains, and tin-glazed enameled wares. The Architecture
Group includes wrought nails, spikes, and small
sprigs/brads. The one Arms artifact recovered is a gun flint.
One metal button and one silver pendant comprise the
Clothing and Personal artifact groups, respectively. To-
bacco/Pipe artifacts include pipe-stem fragments. Activities-
related artifacts include shaped metal hardware and a piece
of flat iron.
The presence of tabby in the Unit I fill, and some of the
feature fill, hints that a structure once stood in the immediate
vicinity. Tabby also was seen in a shovel test and on the
surface while metal detecting just south of Unit 1. As a
result, Unit 4 was placed in the vicinity (Figure 3). This
excavation did uncover a large British-period post hole
(Feature 7a) with intact post remnants (Feature 7) in the
eastern third of Unit 4 (Figure 8). The eighteenth-century
post had been placed in a large hole dug into the prehistoric
midden. The 15-cm-diameter post had been collared with
large pieces of tabby/mortar (15-35 cm wide) packed around
it for support (Figure 8). The top of the post was charred. It
was first observed by excavators at about 16 cm below the
existing ground surface. The post mold measured about 20
cm in diameter and extended to a maximum depth of 67 cm.
The post hole was large, almost taking up the whole eastern
third of the unit (Figure 8). It measured close to 100 cm
north-south by 53 cm east-west with a minimum depth of 32
cm and a maximum depth of 64 cm. Its true east-west
dimension is unknown, as the feature extends east of Unit 4.
The rich, dark brown post and post mold soils (Feature 7)
contained 5 wrought nails and a wrought spike, a small
stamped brass item (book binder? furniture corner?), and a
fragment of flat iron, as well as about 3970 gm of
tabby/mortar. No definite prehistoric materials were present,
although this provenience also contained 27.64 gm of bone,
and 2000 gm of shell. The shell (mostly oyster) was weighed
in the field. The post hole (Feature 7a) contained 2 historic
ceramics (mended Buckley ware), 7 olive glass fragments, 17
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nails, and 840 gm of tabby/mortar. The Buckley sherds help
date the post hole, as they were produced from ca. 1720-1775
(South 1977:211). A total of 28 prehistoric artifacts were
also in the fill, including 27 potsherds and I shell tool.
About 110.24 gm of bone and 74,700 gm of shell were also
in the feature matrix.
A summary of historic artifacts recovered from all Unit 4
proveniences is provided in Table 2. It is interesting that an
equal number of Architecture and Kitchen Group artifacts
were recovered from this unit, comprising 46.95% each of
the total of 115 historic artifacts. The Arms Group is repre-
sented by one fragment of lead sprue. The Tobacco/Pipe
Group contains 3 pipe fragments, and the Activities Group
consists of one stamped brass artifact and 2 fragments of flat
Table 2. Unit 4 historic artifact frequencies by functional class.
Artifact Group Artifact Class N Percent
Kitchen ceramics 24
(Subtotal) 54 46.95
Architecture nails 51
(Subtotal) 54 46.95
Furniture 0 .00(
Arms lead sprue 1 .87
Clothing 0 .(X)
Personal 0 .00
Tobacco!Pipe pipe stems 3 2.61
Activities flat iron 2
stamped brass 1
(Subtotal) 3 2.61
Totals 115 99.99
Prehistoric sherds, lithics, and shell tools also were
recovered from Unit 4 (n-73), comprising about 38.83% of
the total number of artifacts found in Unit 4 proveniences.
In addition, 186.75 gm of animal bone were excavated as
well as 141,880 gm of oyster and clam shell. A few modern
artifacts (e.g., beverage can parts) were recovered in the
upper, disked zone of shell midden in Unit 4.
In the following section the eighteenth-century historic
artifacts found from all Riverbreeze proveniences are
discussed. This includes data on the relative percentages of
artifact groups calculated for the entire site. One will see
that the relatively high number of architectural items from
Unit 4, as opposed to the ratios found throughout the site at
large, supports the interpretation that the post feature
signifies the presence of an historic structure (e.g., Joseph
1989:60-62; South 1977:146-153).
The following analysis centers on the historic materials
recovered from the Riverbreeze site. Identification of the
eighteenth-century artifacts was guided by sources such as
Godden (1965), Grant (1983), Jones and Sullivan (1989),
Nelson (1963), Noel Hume (1991), Peacock (1989), Sloan
(1964), and South (1963, 1964, 1977).
The historic artifacts (n= 1049) were placed into functional
artifact classes within functional groups (Table 3), following
the work of South (South 1977:Chapter 4, see especially
Table 7). Artifact class ratios from a sample of eighteenth-
century domestic sites in the Carolinas were compared by
South in 1977, resulting in the Carolina Artifact Pattern
(CAP). This method provides a useful tool for inter- and
intra-site comparative analysis of functional artifact groups.
South (1977) believes that generalizing cultural processes
apparently resulted in similar percentages of materials at
eighteenth-century sites inhabited by people of English
descent. Although debate continues as to the manner in
which the CAP is applied in historic archaeological research
(e.g., Orser 1989; South 1988), its potential for aiding site
interpretation is clear (e.g., Joseph 1989; South 1977;
Wheaton et al. 1983:266-286). Most of the artifact group
percentages in Table 3 fall within the expected range for
South's Carolina Artifact Pattern (South 1977:Table 7). The
only real variation is in the Activities percentages; this
artifact group is higher at Riverbreeze, probably due to the
high number of miscellaneous metal fragments (n-38)
placed within that group. When this class is removed from
the counts, the Riverbreeze Activity Group percentage (1.48,
n=15) falls within the expected range for the Carolina
Artifact Pattern (Table 3).
The greatest number of artifacts fall within the Kitchen
Group (n-672). These include ceramics, glasswares, and
cast-iron pot fragments. Ceramics consist of 251 sherds
representing a minimum of 44 ceramic vessels (Table 4).
These goods, primarily English in origin, ranged from less
expensive slipwares to higher-priced porcelains (Miller
199 1). The preponderance of white salt-glazed stonewares
(31.81o), cream-colored vessels (25%o), and the presence of
Buckley and North Devon wares, all support an hypothesized
eighteenth-century occupation date. The most recent ceramic
type is refined red, engine-turned stoneware, which was
manufactured from about 1763-1775 (South 1977:Table 31).
This provides a terminus post quem of 1763 for the site. The
presence of Whieldon Clouded- and Tortoise-decorated
\\ares (ca. 1740-1770) provides the earliest end-date of
manufacture for the site ceramics. None of the wares
popular in the 1780s. such as pearlware, have been found at
Riverbreeze to date. This helps bracket the occupation from
about 1763 to the early 1780s.
Additional ceramic analysis determined the probable form
of each of the minimum ceramic vessels. Rims, bases, and
other diagnostic attributes (e.g., wall thicknesses, handles)
9 991 VO 52 I 2)
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Table 3. Historic artifact frequencies by functional class, all Locus I proveniences.
Artifact Group Artifact Class N Pct. Pct.' CAP Rangeb
musket halls/ shot
672 64.06 66.47
53 5.05 1.48
1049 100.00 100.00
a Adjusted percentages after unidentified metal (n=38) is removed from total.
Percent range for Carolina Artifact Pattern. after South (1977).
were used to determine vessel shape. The relative frequen-
cies of these vessel forms are provided in Table 5. Vessel
forms include those used for storage, for serving, and as
individual place settings. This range of forms indicates that
a variety of Kitchen-related activities occurred at the site.
Turning to a different method of analysis, the mean
ceramic date (MCD) of this locus was determined from the
historic ceramic sherds (after South 1977:207-221; cf. Noel
Hume 1991). The number of sherds per ware type is given
in Table 4. A MCD of 1756.87 was calculated based on a
total of 145 dated sherds. The preponderance of white salt-
glazed stoneware sherds (n=74, or 51.03%), which date from
about 1740-1775, helps date the site to the middle decades of
the eighteenth century. Based on the presence and absence
ofceramic types, however, a terminus post quem of 1763 was
inferred (see above). This implies that cultural factors may
have affected the procurement of ceramics at the site. In
other words, the presence of a slightly earlier MCD than
anticipated may indicate a time lag between purchase of the
ceramics and their ultimate discard at Riverbreeze (e.g.,
South 1977:228-230; Wheaton et al. 1983:280-282).
Except for a few fragments of clear modern bottle glass
found in the top disked levels of the site, no machine-made
mold seams were observed on the glass fragments from the
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Table 4. Minimum vessel counts and manufacture date ranges for historic ceramics.
Number Manufacture Mean
TypeNariety of Sherds Percent Number of Date Range Ceramic Date
Lead-glazed earthenware 22 8.7 1 ? ?
var. Bucklcy (?) 4 1.6 2 1720-1775 1748
var. North Devon Plain 2 .8 1 1650-1775 1712.5
Yellow-glaze slipware 5 1.9 2 1670-1795 1733
Tin-glazed enamelware 14 5.6 4 1600-1802 1750
Porcelains 12 4.7 3 1660-1800 1730
White salt-glazed stonewares 74 29.5 14 1740-1774 1758
Refined red stonewares.
engine turned 2 .8 1 1763-1775 1769
British brown stoneware 1 .4 1 1690-1775 1733
Miscellaneous stonewares 84 33.5 4 '
Whieldon Ware. clouded/
tortoise 8 3.2 3 1740-1770 1755
Whieldon Ware. green
cauliflower 8 3.2 3 1759-1775 1767
Plain cream\%ares 11 4.4 3 1762-1820 1791
Molded cream arcs 4 1.6 2 1762-1820 1791
Totals 251 99.9 44 1756.9~
SN,* MCD, 254.746 -1 .
AMACD/ = I -= 14 =1756.87
-. Ni 145
where M.(D, = mean ceramic date for total assemblage: MCI)( = mean ceramic date tor the ith t\pe:
of dateable sherds in the assemblage: and .\, total number of dateable sherds bor the ith t\pe.
\, total number
assemblage. All other recovered glasswares appear to be
free-blown. Many of the glass fragments show signs of burn-
ing, and some even have shell fragments burned onto their
surfaces. Glass fragments (n-406) were sorted by color and
probable shape (Table 6). The largest category is olive bottle
glass (87.68%), followed by olive case bottle fragments,
curved, clear unidentified fragments, clear wine glass
fragments, a clear tumbler fragment, and a clear, molded
fragment of glass. Glass attributes related to form (e.g.,
string rims, pontil height) and technology (e.g., tooling on
lips, pontil scars) indicate an eighteenth-century date for
these glasswares (Jones and Sullivan 1989; Noel Hume
Kitchen Group artifacts include pieces of plain and/or
ribbed cast-iron cooking pots or kettles (n= 15). One of these
cast-iron pot fragments had unidentified white metal (lead?)
attached to its interior surface. Perhaps some of these pots
were used for other tasks besides cooking food.
The second largest category of objects found at Riverbreeze
is the Architectural Group artifacts, with nails comprising
the largest class (n=250. Table 3). All identifiable nails were
hand-wrought and no machine-headed nails (post-1790)
were noted in the collection (Nelson 1963). A few smaller
fasteners (n= II), classified as hand-wrought brads/sprigs,
also form part of the Architecture Group. A total of 8 large,
hand-wrought spikes are also part of this functional group.
The last class of objects is construction hardware (n=7).
These consist of fragments of door-related hardware such as
wrought-iron hinges, pintles, and other wrought-iron
There were not many Furniture Group artifacts identified
at Riverbreeze (Table 3). Three items have been tentatively
placed in this group, two furniture tacks and a small iron
key. The key measures about 3.2 cm long and has a circular,
1.3-cm-diameter bow. The opposite end of the key is hollow,
measuring .8 cm long. This key was probably to a trunk or
box, or perhaps to a small padlock associated with a trunk
(Cotter and Hudson 1962:18: Noel Hume 1991:245-252).
9 991 VOL 52(1-2)
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Table 5. Relative frequencies of ceramic vessel forms.
Form Minimum Number Percent
Form __ _____ of Vessels Percent
Plate 12 27.27
Bowl 9 20.45
Holloware 7 15.91
Cup 3 6.82
Crock 2 4.55
Basin 2 4.55
Teapot 2 4.55
Milk pan 1 2.27
Chamber pot 1 2.27
Pitcher 1 2.27
Jug 1 2.27
Mug 1 2.27
Flatware 1 2.27
Undetermined 1 2.27
Totals 44 99.99
Table 6. Glasswares summary, Locus 1.
Type Fragment Percent
Olive bottle 356 87.68
Olive case bottle 27 6.65
Clear curved, unidentified 12 2.95
Clear wine glass 9 2.22
Clear tumbler 1 .25
Clear molded 1 .25
Totals 406 100.00
Two examples of round lead shot from the site measure .8
and .9 cm in diameter, respectively. One appears "spent"
(i.e., used). Other Arms Group artifacts include lead sprue
(n=3), probably related to manufacturing shot. Two miscel-
laneous lumps of lead have been classified under Activities,
as they may or may not be the byproduct of arms manufactur-
ing. A honey amber gun flint and the lock plate to a colonial
gun form the gun parts class. This style of lock plate, some-
what convex (6 cm long, 2.8 cm wide) is part of an
eighteenth-century flintlock. Although it is difficult to
precisely date this metal artifact, Noel Hume (1991:214)
states that flintlocks prior to 1750 tended to have "slightly
convex" lock plates.
Clothing Group artifacts are represented by four categories
of objects: thimbles, buttons, straight pins, and bale seals
(Table 3). The single lead bale seal is a 2.4-cm-diameter
circular disk with rough-cut edges. It has either "51" or "14"
scratched on one side. The back has a raised circular
attachment with a crimped-over, oblong tang. This type of
artifact is not uncommon on British colonial sites in Virginia
(e.g., Noel Hume 1991:270-271). The straight pin has a
rounded head. The thimble fragment is brass. All of the
buttons (n=5) recovered from Riverbreeze are metal, al-
though one is an unidentified, metal alloy button back which
may have served as the base for a cloth button. The original
form of one badly eroded, white metal button (pewter? lead?)
remains uncertain. The other white metal button has a
possible floral design and measures .4 cm in diameter. It fits
South's button Type #11. It had been cast as one piece with
a back mold seam and no loop. Instead it had a solid, cone-
shaped, crimped fastener dating approximately to the
eighteenth century (Peacock 1989:14; South 1963, 1964).
The last two clothing fasteners are flat brass buttons similar
to South's button Type #7, which he dates from 1726 to 1776
(South 1963, 1964). The first is a 2.1-cm-diameter flat disk
with a spun back and a simple, soldered loop. The casting
spur foot on the eye in the boss is visible. The second is a
similarly manufactured button, measuring 1.7 cm in diame-
ter. This button may once have been gold-gilded.
Personal items were rare at the site; only two jewelry piec-
es were discovered (Table 3). A small triangular jewelry
fragment, either a necklace or earring pendant, was found in
Unit 1. This is made from a thin sheet of folded silver (1.5
cm long, .9 cm wide, .2 cm at its narrowest point). A
composite earring was noticed on the surface, under the live
oak canopy, by a site volunteer. This earring was cast metal
(beaded) surrounding a green glass "stone." This pierced
earring has a circular top (2.6 cm long, 1 cm wide) with a
tear-drop-shaped (1.2 x 1 cm) under-hanging pendant.
Tobacco pipe fragments at Riverbreeze were all molded,
white clay (kaolin and/or ball clay) varieties. The majority
of Tobacco Pipe Group artifacts were undecorated, broken
stems. One of the stem mouthpiece fragments was either
whittled or had been marked by strong, clamping teeth.
Three other stems had been broken at the pipe's mouthpiece.
Only one stem had a fragment of attached, undecorated bowl.
The remainder were stem fragments, only differing in the
size of their holes, or bores. The bore sizes found in the
small sample (n=28) from Riverbreeze are as follows: 1
6/64-inch bore, 14 5/64-inch bores, and 13 4/64-inch bores.
Archaeologists have noted that tobacco pipe stem bore size
tends to decrease over time (Noel Hume 1991:297-302). A
linear regression formula based on the stem bore size of
white clay tobacco pipes was calculated by Binford (1961):
where Y is the mean date for that particular collection,
1931.85 is the hypothesized date when pipe stem holes would
become 0 inches in diameter, 38.26 years is the interval
STINEANDSTIDNE m ~ as av.=