THE HOUSEHOLD OF CHARLES AND MARY JANE LORING
Charles Loring was born 1812-13. His first wife, Mary Jane
Campbell's birthdate is reasonably placed 1810-1815.1 Charles
family moved to St. Augustine in 1823, two years after the
departure of the Spanish government and its officials. He was
related to many old New England families, including that of
Priscilla and John Alden. His mother, Hannah Kenan, was from a
prominent North Carolina family.2
Both Charles and Mary Jane were young when they married each
other on November 20, 1830. It appears that by 1835, there had
been at least three children, all girls, born to the Lorings:
Elizabeth Catherine, Emma who died in 1834, and another
In 1832 Charles' parents, Reuben and Hannah Loring, opened
the new "hotel" that they had just built. "The Mansion House"
was on the northwest corner of St. George and Treasury Streets.
It appears that Mary Jane and Charles spent time in the
country as well in town, as was common for the more monied
members of St. Augustine's society. Charles and his father
purchased U. S. government lots on the south bank of Julington
Creek on the St. Johns River. In 1833 the Lorings sold
Charleston- and Savannah-made brick at his landing there.* The
couple was at Julington Creek, when little Emma died in May 1834.
The next year, Loring served as an election inspector for the New
Switzerland polling place at George Colt's house. (Colt's house
was on land granted to his prominent forebear, Francis Fatio, in
1772.) He continued to own the property on the St. Johns River
until his death, when it passed ;to his second wife, Cornelia.
Indian threats may have forced Charles and Mary Jane to spend
more time in St. Augustine. The Fatio place, not far south of
them, was burned by raiding Indians in 1835 (the Indians had
burned the original Fatio house in 1812). Indian threats to the
St. Augustine area came from all sides except the ocean. In
December 1836, the newspaper reported that only the Hanson
plantation (the old Florida Memorial College campus) and
Hulbert's plantation (in the area of today's county jail) had
been spared and that at the two locations had just begun the
grinding of corn and boiling of sugar."
Charles joined the St. Augustine Guards, a local militia
unit. In January 1836, he was a captain in Company F of the 2nd
regiment. His friend, Seth K. Gifford, was a lieutenant in
Company G, same regiment. Militia officers below the rank of
major were elected. The militia usually dressed in their regular
clothing although it seems likely that the officers, with more
social status and more money, wore uniforms to some degree
similar to those of the regular army."
Charles participated in the signing of petitions to the
territorial legislature. He reaffirmed his support of Judge
Smith in a petition of February 1832, and in 1839 supported the
division of the Florida territory into two states.'
There are some bits and pieces of their activities:
The Florida Herald (November 24, 1836) reported the arrival on
the schooner S. S. MILLS at the port of St. Augustine of the
Lorings, two children, and a servant on November 24, 1837.
In 1839 Seth Gifford deeded the Mesa-Sanchez house and land
to Mary Jane Loring, who as part of the purchase price assumed
the outstanding mortgage debt of $800. The Florida Herald and
Southern Democrat reported that "In Hawkinsville, Georgia, on the
20th of August [18403 after a short and severe illness, Mrs. Mary
Jane Loring [died], wife of Charles Loring, formerly of St.
Augustine." B Two months later the suit to foreclose the
mortgage on the Mesa-Sanchez was filed. Not until 1844 was the
foreclosed property sold at public auction."
The U. S. Census of 1840 lists for the Charles Loring
family: 1 white male, 20-30 years old
1 white female, 20-30 years old
2 white females, 5-10 years old
3 female slaves under 10
1 female slave, 24-36 years old
1 female slave, 36-55 years old"O
There remain some leads. It appears that the Lorings
had a close relationship with Seth Gifford and with Mrs. Ann
Campbell (perhaps she was Mary Jane's female relative).
Susan R. Parker
September 22, 1988
.4 1 f
1. William L. Wessels, Born to Be a Soldier: The Military
Career of William Wing Lorinq of St. Augustine. Florida
(Texas Christian University Press: Forth Worth, 1971), 2.
Charles Loring's household in 1840 contained 1 white female
20-30 years old. (United States Census 1840).
2. Wessels, Born to Be a Soldier, 1-2.
3. St. Johns County Marriage Bonds; Wessels, Born to Be a
Soldier, ; Florida Herald and Southern Democrat (St.
Augustine), June 5, 1834; U. S. Census of 1840: lists two
white females in C. Loring's household between 5-10 yrs. of
4. St. Johns County public record: Miscellaneous Book A, p. 76.
Florida Herald, 20 January 1836.
5. Florida Herald, June 5, 1834, Emma died May 23, 1834; St. Johns
County public records: Deed Book R, p. 291; Gertrude N. L'Engle,
A Collection of Letters. Information and Data on Our Family. 2
vols. (Jacksonville, 1951), p. ; Florida Herald, December 1,
6. Florida Herald (St. Augustine), January 13, 1836; George
Cassel Bittle, "In Defense of Florida: The Organized Florida
Militia from 1821 to 1920 (PhD. dissertation, Univ of Fla.,
1965), p. 34; John K. Mahon, History of the Second Seminole
War. 1835-1842 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press,
1967), p. 140.
7. Territorial Papers, 24:665 & 25:631.
8. Deed Book/', p. 354; Z_. The Pulaski County, Georgia,
(Hawkinsville) death records are not available before 1897.
9. Deed Book O, p. 609.
10. U. S. Census of 1840 (microfilm copy at St. Augustine