Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Plans
Title: [Letter to all Spanish Quarter staff re bathing in 1840]
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Letter to all Spanish Quarter staff re bathing in 1840
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Plans
Physical Description: Correspondence
Language: English
Creator: Chance, Marsha
Publication Date: 1989
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: UF00091264
Volume ID: VID00019
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
.- .A

fiotoric StLAuuuStine

, pre ecrvation Boar

SThe State of Florida


All Spanish Quarter Staff
Marsha Chance
May 2, 1989

SUBJECT: Bathing in 1840

.~In the immediate future, we a bathtub, specifically a "hip bath,"
in the De Mesa kitchen. It is on loan from Lightner Museum. The attached
) information was'compiled for your use by Susan Parker.
You may want to emphasize that bathing was just becoming fashionable in
1840, and that many homes probably did not yet have a tub made specifically for
the purpose of bathing the body. Also, soap was not used on the body, probably
because it was too caustic.

the 1800s).

will be making towels of "hutk" (a type of weave used for toweling in

Also, note the new towel rack made by Ron.


(904) 824-3355

(SUNCOM) 821-5455


N eNDe s i Snchhez Harper Fmirn/i, P


Graham, Thomas, The Awakening of St. Augustine (S.A.H.S., 1978)

p. 13. Following transfer of St. Augustine to U. S. in 1821, early yellow fever epidemic.
Following general recovery:

"The town's healthfulness was widely regarded as coming from the salt
marshes and sea breezes which supposedly kept the air free from
dangerous miasmass.' Testimony to St. Augustine's unsurpassed com-
bination of warm temperatures and salt air was published in the
North during the 1820's and attracted settlers . who came in
search of restored health."
Later epidemics: 1839, 1841 (slight)

14. Minorcans occupied much of area from Hypolita to City Gates.
15. Graham notes observations from A Winter From Home (NY, 1852, anon.): Subsistence
economy in St. Augustine due to absence of industry and cash crops, and isolation.
Minorcans also owned some shops and worked as craftsmen. Also seasonal, variable
occupations. "Perhaps their most important source of cash income during the
1820's and early 1830's were the backyard groves of orange trees tended by many

16. Carnival season (possible leisure interpretation?) Posy Dances!? (a la Mardi
Gras). "Even admirers of the carnival agreed that it had degenerated since the
arrival of the Americans, who had exceeded the bounds of 'taste and wit.' Which,
they supposed, had prevailed under the Spanish. Critics were pleased to observe
the gradual decline of the observance of carnival time during the decades of
United States governance in St. Augustine."

17. Other celebrations: St. Johns Eve, Fromajadas

17. "Ordinary cultural differences between the American and Minorcan communities
caused minimal friction; both peoples simply tended to their affairs and permitted
their neighbors to live as they pleased. Nevertheless, the two groups did not
exist on a plane of equality, for the immigrants from the United States held
themselves to be the superior class."

*19. Third major ethnic group: Negro slaves and free blacks:

"Slavery was a major factor in the local economic system, but it was more
*than an economic institution; its presence had far-reaching implications
which penetrated into almost every aspect of life."
19. 1830: First U. S. census shows almost half St. Augustine's population blacks and
mulattoes. Later decline because of failure to establish slave economy. Sugar
only export crop.

1840: Only three men in St. Johns County owned 70+ slaves. (Largest owner the
Minorcan Joseph Hernandez).


19-20 Substantially different slave system in St. Augustine. More open society for
blacks, free and slave. (Graham then proceeds to contradict this general
description of black/white relations in St. Augustine.)

23. Six percent of St. Augustine's population free blacks.

24. "Antebellum St. Augustine was a cosmopolitan town by Southern standards."

Chap. 2 "Decade of Disasters"
25. Quote from Mary Anderson:

'We are forced to live somewhat in the Southern style, a kind of slap dash
at times as the Dr. calls it."

25. "The family dinner table might sometimes lack fine white bread, but it
usually had plenty of venison, oysters, fresh fish, and garden vegetables."

26. Mary Anderson:

'The very Demon of leisure presides in the Renouned City . The nature
of the climate is all too congenial to all kinds of rest both body and

26. Dr. Anderson involved in temperance:

'If they would only banish Rum in all its forms, I believe they would
all die of old age or starvation, for we are the laziest pack in

26. Real estate speculation.

27. Dr. Anderson recommends Dr. Peck (1833).

27-28 Carrying trade mostly through Charleston and Savannah, but some directly from
New York.

29. Anderson's ship Bushrod check bills of lading, etc.?

29. St. Augustine exports oranges, melons, cucumbers, cigars, some lumber.

29. St. Augustine imports bricks, lumber, oats, wheat flour, butter, beef, sometimes
corn (much food had to be imported).

30. See Anderson's lists for items from New York (including gold gilt paint).

30. Some local merchants by 1830's.

31. Trade and passenger transportation increased with intensification of Seminole War
in 1837.

32. Advent of steam packets to St. Augustine by 1834.

33. 1833 Plans for railroad to Picolata; didn't come to fruition.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs