The Site Of The Minorcan Chapel
39 St. George Street
by Doris C. Wiles
The Treaty of Paris of February 10, 1763 gave Florida
to Great Britain, and provided that Spanish subjects
evacuating St. Augustine could sell their property to
British subjects within 18 months from treaty ratification.
Captain of engineers Juan de Cotilla was commissioned to
appraise properties and supervise sales to the English.
In December, Cotilla completed the appraisal of a
structure apparently located on the site under study.
Listed under the name of Don Joaquin Blanco, then the
husband of Antonia de Avero, the structure was made of
stone on a lot measuring 55 varas on its front, bounding on
the street, and 71 varas in depth. The value of the property
was estimated at 4827 pesos and 7 reales.
When Cotilla was recalled to Habana, another
Spanish crown-appointed commissioner, Don Juan Jose
Eligio de ia Puente, took over Cotilla's duties. To
discharge his responsibility properly, Puente made a
map of St. Augustine, on which he listed the owner, lot
measurements, and building material of each house. The
site at 39 St. George Street is described on the Puente map
San Marco Moteel
"Just a Shade Better"
231 Son Marco Ave. 829-3321
S Authentic Spanish. Atmosphere
S60'POOL, OCEAN BEACH, RESTAURANT
a SHUFFLEBOARD, CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND
A ieS J lC ROOM PHONES,COLOR T.V. AIR CONDITIONED
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im4ti4 A A fit...xL
ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, FLORIDA 32084
r*V*V. V*V. r.V V V V V
Church of Christ
Lewis Speedway (16A)
Sunday School 10:00a.m.
Mid-Week Bible Study Wed. 7:30p.m.
"Where hrist and
Glenn Logston, Minister
r rPresbyterian Church
SUNDAY 9:00 A.M. Prayer Breakfast ,
9:30 AM. Church School
SSEVILLA ET 10:45 A.M. Organ Preluder
T. AUGUSTIN FLORIDA 11:00 AM. Worship (NUtsery)
FRInterprta;Wn for Theo t
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DAVD A. REDDING Sunday Vesper Recitals (As Announeed)
WILLIAM R. DIXON Daily Organ Recitals 12:15 -12:30
Choir.sar-Orsaist Free 9Kded Tours Daily 8:30-5:00,
p m. - W- - -
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Sunday School 9:30 a.m.
Morning Worship 10:30 a.m.
Evening Worship 7 p.m.
709 Royal Road
St. Augustine South
1. Fischle I
P.O. Box 1893
Colonel James Grant, St. Augustino's first British governor,
served from 1764 to :7771.
Block E, No. 81. Stone house of Antonia de Avero;
north to south, 15 varas; east to west, 71 varas.
Puente was unable to dispose of all the properties. He
therefore sold certain parcels in trust to Mr. Jesse Fish,
who in turn agreed to remit to Puente or other designated
person'the proceeds of any sales which he might make.
Neither Fish's or Puente's accounts give indication that
this particular site was ever conveyed by Antonia de
Avero to either Puente< Fish, or any other British subject
before she departed for Habana. It is therefore assumed
that the house became British crown property in 1764.
By 1777, Dr. Andrew Turnbull's New Smyrna colony
had failed. Its settlers of Mediterranean origin, ac-
companied by Father Predro. Camps, migrated to St.
Augustine. Here they were given lands in the norther part
of town by British Governor Patrick Tonyn. They found
the only place of public worship to be the Anglican church,
St. Peter's, on south St. George Street. In the Treaty of
1763, Great Britian had guaranteed the liberty of the
Catholic religion to the inhabitants of Florida. Governor
Tonyn now honored his country's obligation by turning
over the house then on the St. George Street site to Father
Camps for a "private oratory for the use of the Catholic
Menorcans, knowing that there was no other domain to
this house but his (British Majesty's."
The Treaty of Versailles in 1783 returned Florida to
Spain, and gave British subjects 18 months to dispose of
their properties. Many Floridians, former residents of St.
Augustine, or their heirs, returned "with the idea that
each of them had a right to take possession of their
respective property by virtue of power of attorney and
transfers, and others without any other formality than
that of saying 'this formerly belonged to me, or to my
grandfather, or to my uncle, etc.'." Governor Vicente
Manuel de Cespedes described the deplorable condition of
the houses in the city, almost half of which were
uninhabitable, and asked that power be given to him to
grant lands with preference to the old inhabitants, and
afterwards to the Menorcans or any other Spaniard who
might come to settle, and lastly, to foreigners.
Among those who returned was Lieut. Col. Antonio
Fernandez, husband of Victoriana Guillen, Antonia de
Avero's daughter by her first marriage. He arrived in St.
Augustine in 1784 in command of a dragoon company, and
armed with a power of attorney from the Avero children
for repossessing their Florida properties. Fernandez
immediately took custody of two of the three Avero
The site under study appears on the map of St.
Augustine made by Engineer Mariano de la Rocque in
1788. The map purports to show every house in existence
on April 16 and the ground floor of each house. An ac-
companying notebook recorded the name of the owner or
occupant, the building material, and condition of the
house. Rocque described the property on the site as
Block 2, No. 5. Masonry and square stone work house with
one two-story section, with a portion of the neighboring lot
annexed, with the fence which corresponds to the house
also of masonry; its flat roofs, frames, and floors in bad
condition; in the custody of Antonio Fernandez.
A little later in 1788, Victoriana Guillen de Fernandez
gave permission to Eugenia de Hita y Salazar, Antonia de
Avero's niece, to use "a masonry house almost in ruins
sto that she could live in and take care of it until the
Government determines about this property." The house
was located in front of the house in which Tadeo de
Arribas now lives." Arrivas was a nephew of Antonia de
Avero. Colonel Fernandez had to absent himself from St.
Augustine and he transferred his power of attorney to
Accountant Gonzalo de Zamorano of the royal treasury on
May 11, 1788. Zamorano's power was revoked in 1791,
when Arribas was empowered by Fernandez to act in the
matter of the Avero claims.
Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada's inspection
of St. Augustine in 1790 revealed that many houses that
had reverted to the crown would be completely lost unless
conveyed to individual owners. He therefore ordered an
inventory of all houses and lots and their sale at public
auction, with the understanding that buyers would repair
Please Turn to Page 6
L AL L A&A
June 5, 1974
. . . . . . . .
i b 4 4 4 d I I I
Continued From Page 4
them within a year's time. The property then on St.
George Street was listed as No. 45 in Block 7, and the
appraisers described it as a masonry house and lot of the
King occupied by Dona Eugenia de .Hita y Salazar,
bounded on the west with "Calle Real;" on the east with
lot of the King; on the north with Don Francisco Canto;
and on the south with house and lot of Juan Sanchez. The
lot measured on the front, north-south, 15 varas; and in
depth, east-west, 1001V varas. The property was valued at
2328 4 reales.
Antonia de Avero, through her proxy Tadeo de
Arribas, sought to block the impending sale of the
property. In her claim of ownership, she stated that "if
there appear any documents with the name of Don
Joaquin Blanco as owner of the three houses that
remained in this presidio belinging to my children, the
Guillenes and the Blancos, they do not lie nor are
questioned, because he was my legitimate second
husband. What is missing in them is the statement saying
'of Don Joaquin Blanco, representing his wife Dona
Antonia de Avero'." Antonia also said that the houses
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were "established and enlarged" by her two husbands,
and that "in regard to the titles of domain and ownership
with respect to one of the houses, which is the big one, and
which was appraised by Engineer Don Juan de Cotilla, it
is necessary to go back to the year 12 of this century, in
order to know that the lot and old houses which stood on it
came to me by inheritance from my grandparents and
parents." Antonia's claim did not prosper.
The public auction was held on April 8, 1791, and
Romualdo Micklaszuveich, a new Florida settler, bought
the house occupied by Eugenia de Hita. She vacated the
premises, but later Micklaszuveich requested her return,
until he brought his family and possessions from Georgia.
Moving back, Eugenia still kept looking for a house of her
own. By August 26, 1793, Micklaszuveich had not yet
returned, and Eugenia had bought a house for herself to
live in. Accordingly, she asked the Government to name a
custodian for the St. George Street house. The governor
decided to have the house put up for auction again.
On November 10, 1794, Don Gines de Oliva, an officer
in the Third Battalion of Cuba, asked for "the house on
Royal Street, No. 45, which is in ruins and the walls
deteriorated, bounded on the east with a lot of the Kina.
north by Francisco Ruiz del Canto, south with the house
and lot of Juan Sanchez." The request was accepted
provided Olivia paid the 810 pesos agreed upon by
Micklaszuveich, who had never actually paid any money
for the house nor put up the customary bond for security.
Oliva felt the price to be too high, considering the con-
dition of the house. He was willing to pay 385 pesos or
accept the terms of a new appraisal. On December 12, the
accountant recommended a reappraisal of the house, and
two master carpenters valued it at 682 pesos and 4 reales.
Notice of a new auction was posted.
In February 1795, Victoriana Guillen de Fernandez
petitioned for suspension of the sale until she had
presented additional evidence of ownership by Antonia de
Avero. She offered her mother's will, made in Habana.
The testatrix mentioned her two deceased husbands, Don
Jose Guillen and Don Joaquin Blanco, her children by
each of them, and stated that all possessions left at
Blanco's death had been acquired during said marriage,
except those which she herself had brought to their
Victoriana also presented the will of her father, Jose
Guillen, dated December 17, 1743. Guillen had claimed as
his estate "the house in which I live with their sites, and
four slaves," but did not give the location of these houses.
("Houses" here means the group of buildings comprising
a dwelling, such as a house, detached kitchen, out-
buildings, etc.) Moreover, three witnesses agreed
unanimously that the house had been occupied by Guillen
during his marriage to Antonia de Avero, and that both
Guillen and Blanco had built additions to it.
Antonia de Avero's and Victoriana's statements
above yield sequence: Antonia inherited the lot from her
ancestors, and Guillen, her first husband, rebuilt the
house before his death, and Blanco, her second husband,
added a room or rooms to it before evacuating to Habana
In March 1802, Captain Manuel de Castilla, son-in-law
of Victor iana Guillen, presented a claim, in his name and
that of the other heirs of Dona Antonia de Avero, for the
house -!;2cated next to the house of Don Juan Sanchez."
The accountant opined that sufficient proof of ownership
had been submitted, and pursuant to the cedula of June 17,
1801, the house should be delivered to Castilla. Three
months later, Judge Advocate Don Jose de Ortega filed
the opinion that the house (No. 45 on Quesada's Inventory
List) should have never been auctioned off in 1791; that
bidder Micklaszuveich had lost his right to it for failing to
fulfill the requisites of the auction; and that by Royal
Resolution of March 18, 1791 the house should be given to
Castilla, who would bear the cost of the proceedings.
June 5, 1974
On June 1, 1802, Notary Jose de Zubizarreta gave
Castilla legal possession of the house. For setting the
boundaries, Castilla "brought along with him Don Jose
Lorente, the overseer of royal works, whose
measurements resulted in front, north to south, 15 varas,
and in depth, east to west, 91 varas." At last, Antonia de
Avero's house was back in the hands of her family.
Promptly, Castilla enlarged the property. From the
lot of Francisco Ruiz del Canto, his neighbor to the north,
he purchased land 37 varas wide in front and added it to
the old Avero lot.
On January 28, 1804, Castilla and his wife, Dona
Rafaela Fernandez, the first as proxy of the children, and
the second as daughter and heiress, of Dona Victoriana
Guillen sold the lot and walls of a house on St. George
Street to First Sergeant Bias Crespo. The said lot with the
walls was the same that had been given to Castilla and the
heirs of Dona Antonia de Avero in June 1802. It seems that
the old Avero house had deteriorated to a completely
Under circumstances presently unknown, Castilla
and the other heirs re-acquired the property. At any rate,
on August 21, 1815, they sold it to Josefa Montes de Oca.
" n -7"_- --- at- On-- k SL -- A" "lmL r f ,
mne property was then bounded on the west by St. George
Street; on the south by heirs of Juan Sanchez; on.the east
by lands adjoining Castillo de San Marcos; and on the
north by Juan Triay. The lot measured 52 "varas" in front
Please Turn to Page 8
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904-445-3242 3V2 mi. So. Marineland A-1-A
FISHING' THE INTERCOASTAL & SURF
By Irene Peck
A Well, folks, we really got some fish stories for you this I
week (all true, too).
The fishing in both the surf and inter-coastal has
picked up tremendously this last week. Over the holiday
weekend most everyone that went out came in with good
to excellent catches. On Saturday, Mr. Tiller came in with
a 7% lb. speckled trout,-that was the biggest reported, but
there were several catches of 20-25 fish, red bass, trout,
flounder, and a few crackers. Sunday was the really big
day Ron, Walt and Bill Lippencott came in with 15-20 red
bass and trout. Gene & Pete Hersey had fewer fish than
the Lippencotts', but larger red bass and trout. Sam
Gamce of Jacksonville (who comes to fish from our camp
every Sunday) had several red bass, a 4 lb. flounder and a
8 lb. sheepshead. Eugene Knight and party came in with
over ten trout and also some bass. Mr. Bissette one of our
campers, came in with a 6 lb. trout caught by he and his
daughter Penny. These catches were all made in the inter-
Another one of our campers Mr. Chittwood, went over
to the surf Monday night and came back "viih a 10 lb. red
bass. Dale White, one of the local anglers reports that the
red bass fishing in the surf is very good.
A little extra attraction this week-end was a group of
young folks fishing for shark in the surf about 2 miles
south of Marineland. They caught 17 sharks, the largest
one was about 10' long and weighed approximately 700 lbs.
As usual the most popular baits were live shrimp and
I guess that's about it for this week, but like I always
say why not come and join the fun, action and relaxing of
this popular past time. 1
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mERIE noRmAn COSmETIC STUDIO
on A viles St. in the Old Spanish Quarter
Your guide to the historic sites of
(OLD ST. AUGUSTINE)
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AI~rlr fud~by my CA".~e
.Ini Aelean/kin .in a bi
GOVERNOR'S MANSION: ESa m po ih
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gowmam Irwwa rolh of lew
mAr biugi gmwan. 'eeeamui ou
Ira. ike lain 17tk c= to iL Wk Pnuc. BE
~ ,vm~d Ifmene Ju3. 1873, .and 1936.
CASA -DEL HIDALGO: Th. Pvilia of SPW
In Si. Augusfine A rerreahd home of a Speri
" kidlgo" --semiemmI.
June 5, 1974