Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Sanchez House, Block 7 Lot 6
Title: The case of some inhabitants of east Florida
Full Citation
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 Material Information
Title: The case of some inhabitants of east Florida
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Sanchez House, Block 7 Lot 6
Physical Description: Report
Language: English
Creator: Teller, Barbara Gorely
Publication Date: 1954
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
43 Saint George Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
de Mesa-Sanchez House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 43 Saint George Street
Coordinates: 29.896429 x -81.313225
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091263
Volume ID: VID00051
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: B7-L6

Full Text
Yr I


light of the adverse conditions under which he worked. The
radicalism of the Convention, too, had worked a hardship on
the State in fiscal and military matters; the public and the
Legislature had not forgotten the difficulties of validating cur-
rency and bond issues and the debacle attendent upon the
dissolution of the militia. In short, the time had come to give
up extraordinary remedies applied under conditions of unprece-
dented change and to revert to traditional constitutional prac-
It is interesting to note that the South Carolina Executive
Council was dissolved in practically the same manner as its
Florida counterpart. But by contrast, its dissolution was due
largely to the popular enmity aroused by the aggressive use of
its powers,40 whereas the Florida Council passed from the scene
without having made a great impact either on the structure or
the policies of Florida government. However, the tradition of a
collegial executive did not die in 1862; even today Florida's
cabinet system represents an extreme example of the sharing of
executive power between the governor and a body of adminis-
trative officials independent of the governor.
40. Cauthen, op. cit., pp. 159-161.

F L pz 'h ,\ J L C QvA&-e V'tL ho /
COcA-'i' ic^EO, ( Cl -' /1


In London, in the spring of 1823, a young clerk named Daniel,
in the House of Delcroix, Perfumers, received word that Mrs.
Isabella Stout, widow of Daniel Stout of Nassau in the Bahamas,
had been searching the length and breadth of England for him,
as he was heir to part of the estate left by his aunt, Mary Rolph
Stout of Nassau. The Colonial Secretary for the Bahamas, Mr.
Samuel Nesbit, had also been searching, and about the same
time located young Daniel and other members of his mother's
family, the Rolphs of Canterbury, who empowered Nesbit to
receive their legacies.
Daniel wrote excitedly to his newly-found American Cousin
Isabella offering his assistance in settling the estate and inquir-
ing about his Aunt Mary and her family. All the tales he had
been told as a boy by his mother and his uncle about his far-away
aunt in the Bahama Islands came back to his mind. He also
remembered the package of neatly tied letters that he had found
among his mother's things. These had been left to her when
her brother, his Uncle Daniel Rolph, a silk mercer in Leadenhall
Street, had died in 1795. On examination these proved to be
the letters written from Florida and the Bahamas by Mary Rolph
Stout to her brother who had acted as her business agent in
London. With the help of these papers and his own memory,
young Daniel could trace back the story.
His mother, Sarah Rolph, had been born in the shadow of
Canterbury Cathedral and christened there, as were all the
other children of Daniel Rolph of Canterbury. Sarah's brother
Daniel went up to London to enter the silk business and her
sister Mary went up to London to live with her godmother,

*The above title was suggested by a contemporaneous pamphlet: The
Case of the Inhabitants of East Florida described in footnote 4 following.


Mrs. Eyers. It was while visiting her godmother that Mary met
and married Joseph Stout of Philadelphia. He had served an i13
apprenticeship to Dr. William Stork, an occulist by profession
but also a botanist, a Member of the Royal Society, a friend of .
John Bartram, and an ardent promoter of the settlement of East
Florida by the British. or
In the Peace of 1763 East Florida had become British property.
Two hundred and twenty-seven land grants were made by the
Privy Council to titled noblemen, army and navy officers, and
government officials, but actual settlement of the land progressed
slowly. Dr. Stork visited Florida with Bartram, and published -l
An Account of East Florida with Remarks on its future Im- J' '
portance to Trade and Commerce (London, 1766). He described
the climate, soil, and vegetation, and gave a glowing account of 4..,, ( j T
the city of St. Augustine. Other books and articles appeared with I '*.
the purpose of awakening interest in the new colony and present- .
ing East Florida as an El Dorado for every English gentleman 4;
who fancied himself as squire of broad American acres. One i' -
of the early, large grantees was John Tucker who held at least ';.. ". "
31,000 acres on the banks of the St. Johns River.'x
Soon after the marriage of Mary Rolph and Joseph Stout, "
Dr. Stork obtained for Stout the appointment of manager of a
John Tucker's estates in East Florida. About 1767 the young j: b
couple set sail adventurously for their new life in the wilds of .
America. St. Augustine was their first home where they had a
house on George Street while the Mount Tucker place on the
river was being built. Here their first son, Joseph Jr., was born.
Only one letter has survived of this period written by Joseph,
after they had moved to Mount Tucker.
1. See map of grants in the library of The Florida Historical Society.
M I 0


Mount Tucker, East Florida
July 24, 1769
Honoured Mother -
This comes with Our Duty to you & our kind Love to
sisters and brothers hoping it will find you all in good health.
I & the Little Boy are very well at present but my wife is
sick and has bin now this ten days but hope she will get
better sune... This Contrey has agreed midling well with
our health as yet. Wee have bin sick but have no grate
reason to complain as yet... Our little Boy is healthy &
thrives well & is a fine Boy. We are very plasently situated
on the River St. Johns. The Lands on both sides of the River
belong to Mr. Tucker. We live on the East side of the River.
The land is not very good. On the west side the the land is
much better but not so plasent nor dry enough. I received
letters from Mr. Tucker when I rec'd yours. He writes me
that he has sent for 40 negroes more & 20 1 have. I shall
begin to make a plantation on the west side of the River
when the rest of the negroes arrive. The crop that I shall
make this year will be midling but much better than last
year. This Contrey is plesent enough. We have litel or no
winter. We have no snow nor ice and if there is a litel ice
it is gone when the sun rises. Most of the Trees & fields
are green all the year but the lands in general are not so good
as I expected ... This letter I belive will come by a friend
so no more at present but our kind Love & Respects to
you all from your
Ever Dutyfull & afectionate Son & Daughter
Joseph & Mary Stout

The Stouts were not alone in the wilderness, for other holdings
were being built up and cultivated.2 Not far away on the St.

2. See Charles Loch Mowat: East Florida as a British Province 1763-1784.
Univ. of California Press. 1948.


Johns River were Spaulding's trading house, Denys Rolle's
"Mount Pleasant" at Rollestown,s Abraham Marshall's plantation
"Satonia", James Penman's "Jericho", Francis Lovett's "Julian-
town", and plantations owned by Admiral Sir Edward Hawke and
Henry Strachey. Richard Oswald, famous as a peace commissioner
in 1783, owned "Mount Oswald" and Captain Robert Bisset had
"Mount Plenty." One of the most elaborate plantations was that
of Lt. Gov. Moultrie who had built a stone mansion and pleasure
grounds complete with bowling green, fish ponds, walks, and a
great variety of rare trees. Small holdings were by such men
also as William Drayton, James Moncrief, and Dr. Stork. Lord
Egmont placed his estates on Amelia Island under the care of
Stephen Egan, and Egan and the Moncrief family became close
friends of the Stouts.
For ten active, pioneering years the Stouts remained at Mount
Tucker. When the American Revolution broke out no more
land grants were made. In 1779 the Stouts left Mount Tucker
and purchased a plantation of their own on the Northwest Creek
of the Matanzas River where they raised indigo. There were
now four little boys in the family, Joseph, George, William and
Daniel. Then the great blow fell. In 1783 the Peace of Paris
gave East Florida back to the Spaniards and all the British
settlers suddenly found themselves men without a country. Mary
wrote about their troubles to her brother in London:

Matanzas, East Florida
April 28, 1783
Dear Brother
I have at last got time to write you these few lines to let
you know that wee are all in good health at present Bless

3. Denys Rolle was the first grantee to attempt a real settlement of his
lands. He established Rollestown and peopled it with the poor of
London. His philanthropic experiment failed after several years trial
because he found his settlers were drawn away to the gay life at
St. Augustine.




God for it. I have omited writing to you for som time past
Because we have always been alarmed with some Bad
thing or other from our enimes that have been on all sides
of us for this long time past so I thought no news would be
good news but now the worst thing that could have happened
for us is come at last. We know not what to do nor whear
to go all our property being hear and very litell of it can be
moved-only our few Slaves and Live Stock. When we
came away from Mount Tucker the land office was shut up
So that we could run no Land but were obliged to by and
payed a very great price for what we got and have bin at
a great expense for improvement Besides the trouble and
slavery of all our famarly black and white so that we thought
this being the 4th year we should sartainly have made a
great deel of our produs. We have been at a great expence
for repairing and raising a new roof to the house in town
... Nobody hear but what are dissatisfied to the Last digree.
We are all very busy apraising our property according to
the request of Lord Hawk's Letter to our Governor. This of
ours we shall send to you. They will not come by the packet
by the next ship that sails for London. You will pleas-to
make your self acquainted at the London tavern where
East Florida proprietors meet and give in the papers that
will be sent you by the first ship. You must try to see Deniss
Rolle if you can and tell him you are my Brother. He may
perhaps be of some service to you in the affair. I should
be glad if you can see him and if he comes out hear again
you must write By him and if mother can see him I should
Be glad and Return thanks for his and his Lady's kindness
to me when I came to this Contrey. I lived next door to them
when my son Joseph was born. They were the first friends
met with hear. Pray send your Brother word what price
indigo brings at home for our last years crop lays upon our


hands and will fetch no price hear... My Dear Brother, if
you should but see our plantation you would be very sory
to Leave it. and have such poor hopes of ever getting any
thing for it. My house in town is valued at three hondred
pound Sterling. The Land we live on cost us two hondred
pound Sterling. It is not yet aprised nor our Stock of Catell,
hogs etc.... Give my love to my friend Mrs. Eyre and
You Ever Loving Sister till Death
Mary Stout

The plight of the Stouts was the plight of hundreds. They
had put time and energy and money into their lands but they
could not brook the thought of becoming Spanish subjects. Large
numbers took the first boat back to England. Others, like the
Arcadians, became scattered, homeless wanderers. A pamphlet
published anonymously in 1784, and now very rare, called The
Case of the Inhabitants of East Florida' was the vent for the
indignation felt by the English settlers around St. Augustine. It
listed all the reasons why the inhabitants should be compensated
by the Crown for the losses they had sustained. The British
Government heard their cry and the Claims Committee was
set up to handle the situation.
In September of 1783 Joseph wrote that he had been in New
Providence in the Bahamas, where his brother lived, to look over
the land there but said that he did not intend going there if he
could do better elsewhere.
They had thought, he said,

... of going to Novescotia but fear that it is to cold for us
to bear it now we have bin so Long in this hot climett.
Then other times we think of going to Carolina or Georgea
4. The Case of the Inhabitants of East Florida. With an Appendix, con-
taining papers, by which all the facts stated in the case are supported.
St. Augustine, East Florida, 1784.



but are afeard the times will not do as the Pepol do not
agree among themselves yet about there government and
levy very heavy taxes. Sometimes think of staying and to
see how we may do with the Spaneards... but we are not
determett of anything but stay till we hear further how it
may be. We have not heard of the Definnetive treaty being
signed yet. Perhaps things may take some turn yet...

Apparently the great decision to leave East Florida and seek
a home temporarily in New Providence was made soon after
this letter was sent. They sold the house on George Street, St."
Augustine, to a Spaniard, "John Sanchie" for 106.17.6 and all :'
the rest of the property was sacrificed at very low prices to
Spaniards. They sent the Schedule of property with affidavit
to Daniel Rolph with power of attorney to act for them in filing
their claims. This letter, personally carried by Captain Welsh,
did not reach London until March 6, 1784 and Daniel carefully
noted on it that he had delivered the papers to Mr. Thomas
Nixon at his house No 18 New Ormond St., Queen Square and
paid 2.2 subscription money to help defray expenses of the
Claims Committee meeting at the London Tavern.
In 1785 the Stouts had arrived in Nassau but were still unde-
termined where to settle permanently. In May Mr. Stout set
out for Philadelphia to visit his relatives partly for his health
and partly to look over the business possibilities in that city.
Mary yearned to go back to England just as .the Moncriefs and
other Florida neighbors had done at the sad evacuation. She
fully expected to take a boat back by the summer of 1786 but
her husband had not returned. It was a lonely time for her. Her
little son William, who had been ill for two years had died and
she was worried about her husband who seemed to show signs
of consumption.

Nassau, Bahamas
May 2, 1786
Dear Brother Daniel...
... Several ships have gone from this place since I wrote
you pr. Cap't King but waiting for Mr. Stout I deferred it
in hopes of coming and surprising you about the month
of June but now I don't know what time to sett ... I am
sure we cannot make out hear neither to get money nor
anything else that is good. Joseph is grown a very stout
boy and stands a bad chance of ever getting an oppor-
tunity of a trade or business for at the time when he should
have been bound we were obliged to keep him at home to
help his father in the plantation. George is a good boy
and takes his learning very well. He is 13 years old- all
most time he was out but this trouble of moving and being
unseteled I try to keep our selves all to gether if I can till
we come to England where I hope to stay all the days of
my life and see them all seteled and doing well..."

A brief letter followed in August but she vainly waited for
an answer until December and then sat down to write again:

... I informed you of the arrival of Mr. Stout from Phila-
delphia in August last and much better than he was when
he went away from hear. My self and Children are well
thank God for it. Joseph is as big as you were when I left
England. He has been some time with Mr. Mugg the kings
attorney of this place. Am in great hopes it will be of means
of putting him forward in the world... Litell Daniel has
just learnt his letters and begins to Spell. All of them are
desirous to come home to England to see there friends
and grandmother... We flatter our selves with some hopes
of a recovery of our loss and as there is something more to
add to the Memorial such as the account of loss of Boats






and all of the Shingles bought at St. Marys and left there
on account of there not being room in the ship so with that
and other things your brother has delivered to the gentil-
men appointed hear by the Commissioners of Claims to in-
quire of property lost by the Cession of Florida to the King
of Spain so hope with your friends in England and ours hear
we shall do very well. As it is every day that the Council
meets and as ours is No 20 it will not be long before we
shall give you a full account of it... I can say no more
this time but remain your
Ever loving Sister-
Mary Stout

In the Spring of 1787 they were even more deeply involved
with the problem of their claims. All thought of going back to
England had been put aside as they had gone into the retail
trade, business in a small way. Their troubles were expounded
in the letter of April 13:

... Your brother has been examined and sworn before the'
Council. They asked him for his titels of the house but
they were put in the hands of John Sanchie who bought it." -
These gentelmen want more proof that this house was our
property. The man that was the vendu master could not
be found that day but has since waited on them at difrent
times but could not spare time to hear him... If your
brother should not get Mr. Slater to swear that the house
was Mr. Stout's Right and Lawfull property you will have
to go to Mr. David Yeats office. You will find it recorded
in book as situated in George Street, Grants quarter [St.
Augustine]...We brought our slaves of negro men and
women and children with us here to this place. As to our
Cattle, Cows and horses we brought none of them. One very
fine mare was sold for eight dollars. The rest are gone some


stolen, some ran away and some died so all lost to us. The
hogs and fowls of difrent kinds we brought for Sea Store
and got a few hear safe. Two boats and new shingles were
left behind. The boats valued at 12 and shingles at 3. You
will please to note the value of dollars in Florida. 4000 dollars
.was the sum the house and lot sold for... As we now expect
a new governor hear we chuse to stay a while. We also ex-
pect this place to be made a free port. I have now to inform
you that ever since my letter of the 23 August we have laid
out some money on difrent articles to retale out again. We
find it answers very well with great atenshon on my part
and I have to attend the vendu every day ...

Two more letters followed in quick succession telling that the
Claims had been completed and sent to the Board of Commis-
sioners, that it was going to be a hot summer which was most
disagreeable for Mary because her "litell way of business" kept
her alwayss in a hurry", and begging to be informed of the
current price in London of such things as, "Loaf sugar, Candles,
Soap, Cheese, Butter, Starch, Blue and Habardash."
On October 5th Mary had some fresh news to tell her brother.

... (Mr. Stout) has taken up Land on this island to settell
a Gotten plantation with a few negros we have for the good
of our Children. We intend to keep our Shop in town too
for I shall not give ip while I can make anything by it.
Shall be in hopes of purchasing more slaves when we get
paid for our losses in Florida. Cotten is the only thing to
make money by in these Islands if ye can but get a good
spot of ground. We have got land at the East end of Provi-
dence about 5 miles from where we live. You I supose will
hear of a hurricane that has happened here on the 27 August
has done a great deal of damage but thank God we were
not hurt much by it all though there is a great deal of hurt


done the country and shipping and some lives lost. Hope
youl. have had a good Summer in England and good Crops
of Corn. This Contry is better than we thought when we
came here. Pepel take up land very fast and settell planta-

When Daniel Rolph received this he noted on the bottom
that he had left at the East Florida Claim office the plans of two
tracts of land belonging to Joseph Stout together with an old
grant of land of 350 acres made to John Moor by Governor Grant
in 1769 which was the property bought by Stout for 200
around 1779. Daniel wrote twice to Joseph Stout in Philadel-
phia where he had gone once more on business, and later of
the happy news that the first payment of their claim would be
in April 1789, "at the Rate of 12/2 pr ct pr annum with 8/2 pr ct
Interest." This did not come true, however, for more Powers
of Attorney were needed and these had to be prepared and sent
back to England before Daniel could receive the payments.
Mary wrote how disappointed people were in hearing how much
value had been taken off their Claims; that they had built a
new little house. They had tried not to draw on any of the.
Claims money until they were assured that Daniel had the
money in hand but the arrival in Nassau of a slave ship was
too good an opportunity to lose to add to their "head rights"
and enable them to have a claim to 200 more acres. Mary wrote
excitedly to Daniel on July 11 that they had bought "a fine boy
and girl" for 66 Sterling and that he was to honor the bill
when it came due.
After months of anxious waiting they heard from Daniel in
October that he had actually received the first part of their
payment amounting to 65.7.8 and accepting the bill for 66.
With minds relieved, the Stouts renewed their efforts to improve
their store in Nassau and their plantations. "We return you
ten thousand thanks for your care and treble that you have


taken on our account," Mary wrote on April 5, 1790, begging
Daniel to take 20 to pay himself.
By the next year the tide had turned and the Stouts prospered
as cotton planters in the years following.

(Petition to Claims Commissioners)
TO THE COMMISSIONERS appointed by Act of Parliament to enquire
into the Losses of all Such Persons who have suffered in their properties in
consequence of the Cession of the Province of East Florida to the King
of Spain-
The Memorial of Daniel Rolph of Leadenhall Street in the City' of
London Gentleman in the behalf and by virtue of a power from his
Brother in Law Joseph Stout formerly of Saint Augustine in the Province of
East Florida but now of Nassau in the Island of New Providence
Shewith-That the said Joseph Stout resided many years in the Province
of East Florida and was possessed of a Lot of Ground situated in George
Street in the Town of Saint Augustine whereon was a good Dwelling
house which in Consequence of the Cession of the Province to the Crown
of Spain has been appraised and valued at 300 but that it having been
put up to public Sale with other property belonging to Different Proprietors
by the Provincial Vendue Master and the sum of 106.17.6 being bid for
it by a Spaniard whose name is John Sanchie the Proprietor consented
thereto and as your Memorialist Presumes the money was paid it should
be deducted from the appraisement and that the Sum Claimed for the
house to be for Lot No. 1 as expressed in the Schedule hereunto annexed
That the said Joseph Stout was also Possessed of Two Tracts of Land
one of 450 Acres situated on the Matanza River the other of 500 Acres
near to the other both which have been appraised and are particularly
described in the Schedule by No. 2 and 3.
That the said Joseph Stout had eight able young Negroes on his planta-
tion. Sundry Cattle plantation Tools and Boats as are particularly described
in No. 4 in the Schedule.
That the said Joseph Stout made Oath on the 20th September 1783
before James Hume Esquire then Chief Justice of the Province that the
Articles mentioned in the Schedule were his Property and on the Same day
the said Property was appraised by three Persons of fair character at the
Sum Specified and to which Valuation they gave their testimony on oath
before the said James Hume Esquire.
That your memorialist has not been Supplied by his Brother with any
other Papers relating to the Property than what is expressed in the paper
with Provincial Seal annexed which your memorialist presumes was all
that he thought was necessary nor has he received any account of Sales
of the Negroes nor any information to what place they are transported nor
is he acquainted what became of the Cattle, Boats or Plantation Tools. Your
Memorialist being thus so imperfectly informed respecting these articles He
has written to his Brother for further particulars but thinks it necessary to
present a Claim in the behalf of his Brother and to request permission To
Lay before your board all the information he may receive in Answer to his
All which is most respectfully submitted to you
Your Most obedient humble servant




(Notations by Daniel:)
Coppied from the original Writ. by Thos. Nixon New Ormond Street Bed-
ford Row
Wrote Joseph Stout a Coppy of the above with a Request that he would
send me further instructions Relating to the disposal of his Property &
Particulars Relating to what became of the Negroes-Boats-Plantation Tools
etc. by the HERO Captain Ranne-who sailed the beginning of Jany. 1787-
the Letter was put in the Bagg at the Carolina Coffee house on Christmas

A SCHEDULE and Valuation of the Real & Personall Estate of Joseph
Stout Planter Situated in the Town of Saint Augustine in the Province of
East Florida as appears by the Original grant and Title Produced and Laid
before Us
A Town Lott of Land Situated in George Street on which is a S D
good dwelling house with convenient offices 300
One Tract of Land Situated on the Northeast Creek on the
Mantanza River Containing 450 Acres. 250 of which is good
Hammock and Swamp Land of which 27 acres are Cleared and
Planted. the Remainder part is pine Barren of a good quality
and near Navigation. On which are Erected a dwelling house
Barnese and Kitchin we Value at 266
Another Tract of land Containing 500 Acres 20 of which is
Swamp and the Rest good pine Barren Situated near the above
Tract and being equally convenient to Navigation We Value at 130
8 able young Negroes 50 400
3 Head of Neat Cattle 4 12
13 Do. of Hoggs 15
2 Boats 8 5
Plantation Tools 3 15

by Money Received for Lot No. 1



Throughout history man has made use of animals in his war-
fare. During the Middle Ages the "Man on horseback" gained
many victories against those on foot who opposed him and it
was not until the effective use of the long bow and gun powder
that the foot soldier could hold his own in combat. The first
animal that European man domesticated was the dog. Even
as late as World War II canines of several breeds were used
by both sides to guard against surprise attack and to track
down fleeing foes and prisoners.
One of the most successful uses of dogs came during the
Maroon Revolt in Jamaica. This rebellion lasted from 1655 to
1737 and was extremely hard to crush since the revolutionists
hid in the mountains and could not be found by search parties.
The British government decided to equip each army post with
a pack of bloodhounds which could be used in tracking down
the Negroes. Within a space of a year the dogs proved to be
so effective that the revolt was crushed.
In 1795, another Maroon War broke out and the Jamaican
Assembly sent to Cuba for one hundred bloodhounds. As soon
as they arrived and were seen by the Negroes, memories of the
sharp noses of the bloodhounds were revived and the Maroons
sued for peace in one month's time. Some one wrote concern-
ing the revolt: "It is pleasing to add that not a drop of blood
was spilt after the dogs arrived in the island."1
When in December 1835 the Seminole War began, the Indians
fled into the almost inaccessible interior areas of Florida and
from there waged a bitter warfare. The use of the Cuban blood-
hounds was recalled, and how the dogs had brought that war
to a quick end. Hence it was suggested that the Cuban dogs

1. Quoted from "Edwards' West Indies" in Army and Navy Chronicle, X,

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