HISTORICAL REPORT FOR MESA-SANCHEZ AND ITS OWNERS C. 1840
One hundred years after the "Spanish Quarter" era (circa
1840),.Indians were no longer an integral part of St. Augustine's
society. In fact, by that time they had become the "enemy." The
1830's was the decade of the Seminole War, which was the most
pervasive element of the town's life at that time. Although the
Seminoles Wars are typically given temporal parameters which span
a short time as seen by the American military men, destruction,
abduction and killing had been going on in the countryside around
St. Augustine since the beginning of the nineteenth century,
hampering development of the rural areas. Second to the Indians,
the anger of St. Augustine's residents was aimed at the American
military leadership that had come to fight the Indians. In
recent years likened to the Viet Nam war, it was a war that the
"superior" force was unable to win for a citizenry that could not
understand how such an impasse continued.
At the start of the year 1836 the settled areas of Florida
were in desperate danger. Most of St. Augustine's able-bodied
men were in the field. Only about 70 citizen soldiers remained
in town. At the end of January-the 2nd Company of volunteers
from Charleston arrived. Between the regular army officers and
the volunteers and militiamen there was little affection.
General Winfield Scott's desire for "good troops," that is not
volunteers, angered the citizen soldiers. He did not approve of
their rough dress nor their taking to trees to fight or for
refuge. He preferred the more formalized French style of battle
then taught by the U. S. Army. The militia didn't like the
discipline of the generals, the volunteers didn't like the
general's lack of favoritism.*
The newspapers of the 1830's repeatedly carried remarks
aimed at the commanders which would be considered libelous today.
General Zachary Taylor, who would become president of the United
States in 1849, was often the target of the barbs. He was
accused of "instances of infatuation." His activities had shown
"negative proof of his utter capacity." While lauding the
successes of St. Augustine's local militiamen, such as Joseph
Hernandez and John Hanson, The News of September 13, 1839,
4 complained: "God help Florida when her destiny is trusted to
such a head as this [Taylor]." Questions in the [Charleston]
*John K. Mahon, History of the Second Seminole War, 1835-
1842 (Gainesville: University of Florida, 1967), pp. 135, 140,
Mercury such as whether Florida was going to become a monarchy
with Wild Cat as king only added to the resident's anger and
Indian threats kept the residents and development confined
to the town. The affinity of local Blacks for the Indians' cause
and the Indians' capture of the Blacks made the white population
anxious. Black slaves represented substantial capital
investment, and thus substantial capital loss when captured or if
they defected to the Indian towns. The fear led to restrictions
imposed on the Blacks of St. Augustine. In 1838, the city
council passed an ordinance forbidding "colored persons" to be
abroad without a proper pass after the ringing of the Church bell
at 9:00 P.M. Blacks were not allowed on Anastasia Island or
south of the mouth of the San Sebastian River for "the duration
of the Indian war." A fine or application of the whip could be
imposed upon the unfortunates caught without the necessary
Local agriculture was dangerous. Farmers exposed themselves
to danger, their slaves to capture, and their crops to fire.
Almost all foods and staples had to be brought in by boat from
Savannah or Charleston. The local newspaper advertised what were
the latest arrivals. For example, the March 9, 1836, issue of
the Florida Herald notified residents that the schooner BUSHROD
had just arrived with:
"teas dried currants
new hams mackerel
butter & soda crackers codfish
pilot bread good liquor, wines & champagne
raisins powder & shot
figs percussion caps"
The ad taken by B. E. Carr in November 1839 was more
specific about some of the items. Among the long list were
"Sugars--St. Croix, Porto Rico, New Orleans, Boston, White
& Brown Havana, loaf and log," "Liverpool and Western fine and
The News (St. Augustine), November 3 & 17, 1838, December
1, 1838, September 13 1839.
a The News, November 3, and December 20, 1838.
4Florida Herald, March 9, 1936.
coarse Salt" and "Large & small Uttica Crackers..." Carr also
sold "Northern Hams, New Year's Cake and Goshen butter""
Mr. V. Sanchez offered some patent medicines at his store:
-Montaques Balm, an Indian remedy for the toothache
-Montaques Antibilious Vegetable Tonic Bitters
-Antispasmodic Tincture, or Mother's Comfort
-Bonaparte's Camp Expunging Mixturea
In the Territorial years, immigrating Americans imposed
their culture on the local populace as had been done on the
town's population for centuries. This time it was arrivals from
the northern United States who came to the newly American town.
They found a town that had long been under the influence of
European politics and culture, a town which had not undergone the
isolation from Europe during the seventeenth century like that of
the northern, British colonies, or states, during their early
years. Many probably felt similar to Mary, wife to Dr. Andrew
Anderson, who wrote: "We are forced to live somewhat in the
Southern style, a kind of a slap dash at times as the Dr. calls
it."' They attempted to establish ways and goods to live a life
in ways that they felt were right and comfortable.
Although it may have seemed a "slap dash" existence to the
newcomers, St. Augustine offered some outlets for education and
entertainment. In the mid 1830's, Mr. Phillips announced that he
would re-open his school if he could get twenty pupils, who would
need to pay $8 per quarter in advance and also offered evening
school for gentlemen. Miss Hutchinson opened her school on the
second floor of Mr. Weedman's dwelling house." For both
education and entertainment, Ora Howard operated a circulating
library. (The list of books can he obtained from the newspaper.)'
Howard also was the proprietor of a bathing-house with baths both
warm and cold, vapors and showers on Wednesdays and Saturdays.1"
Races and hunting went on outside of town, church ladies held
SThe News (St. Augustine), September 13 and November 15,
"The Herald, November 11, 1837
'Quoted in Thomas Graham, The Awakening of St. Augustine:
The Anderson Family and the Oldest City: 1821-1924 (St. Augustine
Historical Society: St. Augustine, Florida), 25.
"Florida Herald, January 16, 1835 & March 9, 1836; The News,
December 1, 1838.
"Florida Herald & Southern Democrat, December 20, 1838.
1tFlorida Herald, March 9, 1836
.fairs. In December 1838, the courthouse (now Government House)
was the site of the Episcopal church fair.**
Mary Jane Loring, owner of the Mesa-Sanchez house for a
short time, married into a family that had arrived soon after the
American acquisition of Florida. In St. Augustine, in 1830 Mary
Jane Campbell married Charles Loring, who hailed from a family
that traced its ancestry to John and Priscilla Alden.1*
The Lorings came to St. Augustine from North Carolina in
1823, just two years after the departure of St. Augustine's
Spanish residents upon cession of the province to the United
States. Among the Spanish emigrants were the widow and daughters
of Juan Sanchez, owners of the Mesa-Sanchez house. Retaining
ownership .of the house for eleven years after their departure,
the Sanchez women sold the building for $1000 to Lewis G. Melizet
(a merchant who resided in Havana as they did) and his brother
John of Philadelphia. In 1835 the Melizet brothers sold this
property, bounded on the North by the "Church of the Mahonese"
and on other sides by owners of "Minorcan" surnames, to James C.
Lisk of New Baltimore, Greene County, New York. After what
appears to be transfers as part of the probate of the estate of
James Lisk, Seth K. Gifford of Camden, South Carolina, became the
new owner with the Lisk estate holding a mortgage on the property
for $1800. In 1839 Mary Jane Loring became the next owner and
assumed the outstanding mortgage debt of $800.1-
Mary Jane died in Hawkinsville, Georgia, in S.p a rb 1840.
Two months later the bill of foreclosure of the house and land
was filed.14 It was a time of a severe national economic
depression. During the' decade that she was married to Charles
Loring, they had three daughters, Elizabeth Catherine, _______-
and Emma, who died at nine months of age while the family was
visiting on Julington Creek.'" The 1840 census lists for the
household of Charles Loring: 1 white male 20-30 years old; 1
"*The News, December 1, 1838.
1"William L. Wessels, Born to Be a Soldier: The military
Career of William Wing Lorinq of St. Augustine. Florida (Texas
Christian University Press: Fort Worth, 1971), 1.
' -Sanchez to Melizet ref, Deed Book N, p. 48 and 53, Book N,
1'Deed Book "O", page 609.
1"Florida Herald, June 5, 1834, Emma died May 23 1834.
white female, 20-30; 2 white females 5-10; 1 female slave, 36-55,
1 female slave, 24-36, 3 female slaves under 10.1
Susan R. Parker
September 22, 1988
HISTORIC ST. AUGUSTINEPRESERVATION BOARD
DATE: September 22, 1988
TO: a~sa Chance
FROM: Susa aiarker
RE: &'Hstorical research for Mesa-Sanchez
Here are the research of the Lorings and the general history of
the era. The latter is essentially the same as the previous one
I sent with the addition of the second paragraph on page 1. You
will notice that there are a few "gaps" in the notes, which I
must take care of, but I decided not to delay the delivery of the
information. There may be a few pieces of information still
forthcoming about the Lorings, but my requests to out-of-town
sources may yield nothing. Of course, I will send along any
additional information as it comes in. -
Charles Loring Vs. Reuben Loring, St. Johns County Court Cases
(St. Augustine Augustine Historical Society Library) Box 134,
Typescript of items personal property set forth in Complaint to
foreclose mortgage, May 1833*
one pair of mahogany card tables
one pair of mahogany work tables
one mahogany tea table
one mahogany breakfast table
two mahogany dining tables
two sets of pillows and cushions
one pair of large gilt looking glasses
one large.mahogany sideboard
two dozen fancy chairs
one mahogany dressing table
three yellow dressing tables
four yellow wash stands
nine common wash stands
two large rocking chairs
six common pine tables
one pine dining table and a pair of ends
one large safe
two large clothes preEsaes]
thirty pairs of sheets
twenty pairs of blankets
twenty four mattresses
seven feather beds
ten musquito [sic] nets
twelve window curtains
twenty coverlets [coverlids?]
eight glass lamps
six tin lamps
one hanging hall lamp
one stair case lamp
ten dressing glasses
two pairs of candlesticks
nine pairs of shovels and tongs
$ two pairs of brass dog irons
..three pairs of common dog irons
Sone stuffed soffa Esic]
one easy chair
twelve wash hand basins & goblets
. seven dozen cups and saucers
one blue dinner set of Liverpool china
one breakfast set and one tea set
four dozen glass tumblers
two dozen wine glasses
two pairs of cut glass decanters
one pair of glass cutlery stands
one pair of large glass bowls
eight glass desert dishes
six water pitchers
twelve pairs of salt cellars
three sets of curtains
fifty hand towels
thirteen silver tablespoons
one silver soup ladle
three dozen silver teaspoons
two dozen common chairs
seven dozen knives and forks
one dozen table clothes
one secretary and bookcase with books
three large waiters
four small waiters
two sets of tin dish covers
seven iron pots
four Dutch ovens
one brass kettle
one tin kitchen and spit
one bell mettle sauce pan
four tin pans
two market baskets
one tin bucket
one wooden bucket
one pair of glass shades
two tin canisters with covers, seven tubs
one large grey horse three years old
one bay horse eight years old
one common crop eared horse
two black shoats
two cows and a calf
one coffee mill
one corn mill
It appears that intrafamily litigation was common in this era
and that this is most likely a sham suit to protect the
defendant's property from creditors. Based on other documents,
*there is no basis to believe that the Lorings, father and son,
were truly at odds with each other.' R. Loring had "transferred"
this property to his 18-year old son Charles in 1830. This
appears to be a list or partial list of the items which may have
been used in the "hotel" the the Reuben Lorings opened in 1832,
"located diagonally across from the Spanish Treasury building on
St. George Street. However, it does give us a list of the kinds
of things that the Lorings owned.
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 [18401 after a short and severe illness, Mrs. Mary
Jane Loring [died], wife of Charles Loring, formerly of St.
Augustine." 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",
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
1. William L. Wessels, Born to Be a Soldier: The Military
Career of William Wing Loring 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/I, p. 3b4; ZZ-_. 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