Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 10 – Lot 1
Title: [Research notes on Lot 1, Block 10]
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Research notes on Lot 1, Block 10
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 10 – Lot 1
Physical Description: Research notes
Language: English
Copyright Date: Public Domain
Physical Location:
Box: 4
Divider: Block 10 Lot 1, Dr. Peck House
Folder: Block 10 Lot 1, Dr. Peck House, Text for Historic Site Marker
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
143 Saint George Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Dr. Peck House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Peña-Peck House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 143 Saint George Street
Coordinates: 29.893507 x -81.312774
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094115
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: B10-L1

Full Text

Juan Esteban de Pena was royal Treasurer in

St. Augustine in 1763 when the treaty ending the

Seven Years' Warlwas concluded at Paris. Before (

the treaty could go into effect, he made an / j

arrangement with John Gordon of St. Augustine, an /a/A

English subject, to dispose of several houses and /Mk /4

lots in St. Augustine. These were presented as the / 3,

personal properties of de Pena and were turned over

to Gordon as a bonafide 'B transfer. Among the

above properties was lot 1, block 10 TRh(LAparish-

rTE pfP/-ry, wtH wyte W T/S PAPE5 PE-

he Seven Years' War had as its American colonial
counterpart the French and Indian War. The dates
differ, however, as the French and Indian War begins
in 1754 and ends in 1763. The Seven Years' War
begins in 1756 and ends in 1763.

SJIt is later disclosed under the various petitions and
dispositions submitted by Antonio Fernandez, attorney
for the de Pena estate, that the Spanish Treasury
building and lot were one of several properties con-
signed specificly to Gordon in a trust agreement for
de Pena and others. Fernandez's activity takes place
in the second Spanish period following the treaties
ending the American Revolutioh.

Vs __/ _
**-7,0-1 w .



was held by

Gordon as his personal property until fe news of his

death reached St. Augustine Immediately

follow hi e property was received by

i am Clark. Clark was a creditor of Gordon who

presented a claim agianst Gordon's estate to the
British authorities. The British allowed his claim

to be settled through the transfer of the--pa~rsh

T-reasury property lot 1, block 10, in lieu of payment

from the estate.4

^^^^^-^^ ^M h^(; fS y 6 ^ \ ^rY-.;
I o travel to London
o plead his claim. Here "...falling into a sickly
tate of health he (Gordon) never did accomplish any
settlement of the same having for some years suffered
painf ulniepesi-tion and died at Burdeaux ic ..'.
ain 1 ,Notarized statement of Thomas Forbes mae a
New Providence, Bahama Islands, 21 January 1786.
CREDIT & .A. r 8uN f3 DtcC. 3
h, oL 0f^"-- i1-
MrTdb6ver, Forbes (nephew and executor of Garo.anls will
",..being in England in ... 1777 ... upon his private
affairs, the said John Gordon did appoint him with others
attornies /sic_ of all his affairs in North America
including those of Florida, but this testator neither
then or at any future time, received any particular
instructions whatever to the deceased's possessions
there, he considering that matte in suspense with the
Britj- government.t Forbes on to say that Leutae~asv
Gov .Moul ti lived in the house and paid him the back
rent for -A- years tenancy. Ibid. This transfer estab-
lished British acceptance of the transfer of title from
de Pena to Gordon as a bonafide title exchange. However,
Gordon's property had been severely questioned. "...
the validity of Spanish titles vere in some instances
(more specially (sic 7 w~tf. re ard to the large purchases
made by the said John Gordon) disputed by the British
government." Notarized statement of Henry Yonge made
at New Providence, Bahama Islands, 21 January 1786.

le ai.

The Spanish Treasury was then sold twice in
rapid succession. The first sale was by Clark
to Henry Yonge. The second sale was by Henry Yonge
to William Panton and Thomas Forbes.5 Thus, in the
year 1778, following the death of Clark, lot 1,
block 10, changed hands three times.
William Panton and Thomas Forbes,6 the last

0AA 4 a 14 ->-sa



5Notarized statement of Enrique Yonge made at
AL Nassau, Bahama Islands, 21 January 1786. C~F2,IXC fT/, ~-e fZDPoc3
S~m. ?<4

6Panton Leslie and Co., or Panton and Forbes Co.,
or Panton, Leslie, Forbes, as the firm was variously
referred to, was established in the Floridas during
the American Revolution. The three principals of
the company were William Panton, Thomas Forbes and
John Leslie. They were Scots who were trading with
the Indians in South Carolina when the Revolution
broke out. They then left their business in the
Carolinas and moved to St. Augustine and began
trading with the Indians under British protection.
The trade proved cath successful and,~ecessary to
British control of the Indians. When Spain gained
the Floridas at the close of the Revolution, the
company was allowed to remain in the Floridas.
John Leslie managed the St. Augustine office.
See Miss Emily Wilson's account in St. Augustine
Record, July 4, 1931. The Spanish colonial
government found it necessary to rely on the firm
much more heavily than the British because they
had no traders with contacts among the Florida Indians
and the Indians had become accustomed to British
trade goods, indeed, demanded them. The result was
that the firm was granted a monopoly and low duty
rates in order to contain Indian good will as far as
was immediately possible. The firm reme
(> FlomTnheetilm 1819, I

s-D___oments_ o the commercial oc Spain

in the Floridas ,edited by4 Arthur Preston Whi
T Deland, 1931 ), pp. xxx -- xxxix. Governor
Quesada.di n Fpanish compe
n- 0479f wever, no completion develop ed. -*
p. 243. 7t





FA-p 1~~~

-SThe--Spanish Treasury was then sold twice in
rapid succession. .The irst.-sale-wase-by-CIrk
tacHenr;./ Yonge.

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buyers, held the property from 1778 to 1785.7 In

the meantime, the American Revolution took place
between 1775 and 1783. Near the end of the conflict,

7panton and Forbes held the property until 1785. This
was the last date we are certain of until 1788. This
three year lapse is explained as follows. Forbes held
the proper y when the British handed the Floridas back
to Spain. P'ith the arrival of the Spanish authorities.
the trust agreement between John Gordon and de Pena
was brought to light.
Antonio Fernandez, an attorney, appeared before
the Governor at St. Augustine and presented claims by
the heirs of de Pena against the estate of John Gordon,
to wit: that they, the heirs, should be reinstated in
their full ownership of the house and lot, lot 1, block
10. The claim was based on a written agreement signed
by de Pena and by Gordon establishing lot 1, block 10
as to be held in trust for ie Pena by Gordon,
PP;aV, FVP Csl/7, 6 wA k-L 3 2- f 1Z
Zespedes (or Cespedes), however, refused to act
against the owner, Thomas Forbes, until hearing from
the king. Zespedes maintained that as Forbes's owner-
ship was recognized by the British as legitimate, the
matter was now subject to the action of the king in
regard to the status of former British subjects. A
cedula had been issued stating that all landowners not
remaining in the province would forfeit their property
to the crown. Panton and Forbes were then petitioning
to remain and do business in the Floridas. Thus the
outcome of their petition would determine their pro -
perty rights in St. Augustine. Therefore Zespedes ,,
refused to rule definitively on the case ..
The next year, 1786, Fernandez wrote '.,he
--\ is of the opinion that since the heirs wer nt a' e to .
prove their claim..." they might cause a i unl1 to be 9f$
called to allow them the value of the pr e y t the
tibr of its sale from Gordon's estate to C rk 1 78). .

But, by the Roque map o n r Pa n and
Forbes nor Fernandez receivedlot 1, b oc 10. / ernandez
did receive "custody" of the property ut th s custody'( ?_
was relinquished totally by the time of th da Sal

A-t (1c" tv-

ka ir a

in 1782, Spain, having joined Frfhce and the United

States aganist Britain, was able to seize both Florida

in the Americas and Minorca in the Mediterranean

without British opposition. These had been the two

major losses Spain had sustained in the Seven Years'

War of twenty years before. The Americans and British

acquiesced in the Spanish seizure and formally accepted,
by treaty, Spanish control in both areas. J P#05 Wsj /tS

One of the immediate results for Florida was the

reevaluation of all property titles by the new Spanish
officials. The owners of the Spanish Treasury, then,

Panton and Forbes, had to have their title sustained if

they were to retain their property. They were successful

in eluding Spanish claims until 1785. However, between

1785 and 1788, Panton and Forbes lct title to lot 1,
block 10 and the property reverted to the Spanish crown.9

?By 1791 when the Quesada sale was held, Fernandez had
evidently lost his plea completely, as the house and lot,
lot 1, block 10, was sold as -work masonry
house with lot of the kin g -' ^^-ai j Anna
So between 1785 and 1788, Panton and Forbes lost
title to lot 1, block 10 and the property reverted to
the crown. It then was sold as crown property in 1791
and passed to Carlos Ho wrd.

Hence, the property transfer has been traced defin- \
itively through the period from 1763 to 1785. The one
area of doubt was as to the-year in which Forbes lost -
the property to the crown, a year which must lie between
1785 and 1788.
See also Mrs. Doris Wlles's commentary on o rs. Luisl .
Arana's translation of,:- U. M -tk ~L69 rYa ,o

^ft~ Z. k, -P, 1 170, 36JlB9^
dALo-UMn f <&Af

And in 1791, Governor Quesada sold the property
in the public sale of that year to Carlos Howard.,
Again the property changed hands three times in
quick succession, as had been the case at the death
of Gordon in 1778, thirteen years before. Here in

1791, Carlos Howard sold the property to Don Domingo
Rodriquez de Leon who in turn sold to Francisco Xavier
Sanchez owned the house and lot until 1807, when,
at his death the property went to his wife, Maria del
Carmen Sanchez.1^'Maria, in turn, passed the property
on to her son, Jose Simeon Sanchez and to her daughter
and son-in-law, Maria and Felipe Dewees at her death
in 1813,
These three, Jose Simeon Sanchez and the Dewees4s

... o I, block m Spani--Lafovernment to arlos
Howarda _P* pC, a

1Lot 1, block 10 from Carlos Howard to de Leon. EFP, L l
Bundle 357 Doc, 24.; de Leon to Sanchez, EFP, a i7 -
L4 pidler368.
l yill of F,X. Sanchez. ES, T--e r./1/,.
Bog 3- 33o, No. 1. L u -

'JWill of Maria Sanchez, EF Bundle 14, Doc 2.
7.4ud 14


And --l-9 ?--e;rno.Quesada sold the property in the

public sale of that year to Carlos Howard.9' ....
Again the property changed hands three times in

,'quick succession, as had been th case at the death

of Gordon in 1778, thirteen .,'ears -before. Here in 1791,

Carlos Howard t~,_i he property to Don Domingo Rodriquez

V'-T,6n rho in turn sold to Franciso .Xavier Sanche

0 0


sold, in March 1821, to Jose Mariano Hernandez.1l This

sale was made two months after the ratification of the

Treaty of 1819 in February of 1821. By this treaty, the

Florida provinces were bought from Spain by the United

States. And when property titles were registered with

the United States authorities, Hernandez's title was

invalidated. He did not submit it within-the specified

time limit set by the United States officials.1l

No specific record can be found of who owned the
ji2^ /^4927 c /4^' ,3
house or of what happens to it ....,

We were not able to show whether the Hernandez claik

was accepted later by the United States or if the house

and lot were sold. In 182, ".-,a 1t of onc.ra .TnsJph ^ J../

......-..n o ..." wa lad a s th e w est b o

1The sale was made on 12 March, 1821, The property
was described as ",..a house of our property that
at the present time consists of some walls of stone
covered with shingles and very deteriorated. 4...We
sell the said house and lot with its entrances, etc.,
free of all incumbrances Jic_;, etc., for the amount
of 1600 pesos. Lot 1, block 10, from Jose Sanchez;
Maria and Felipe Dewees to Joseph Hernandez. EFP, C./S /7
Bun le 385, Doc, 3.

1The last deadline for filing was 1 November 1827.
J. M. Hernandez was listed as having filed "
title and no evidence.., to validate his claim to
one lot."
There was a description of lot 1, block 10 in
St. Augustine and then the statement: "Title is
derived from a bill of sale, 3 February 1821 to
Joseph M. Hernandez from Philip DeWees, his wife
Ofe Mary del Carmen Sanchez and Joseph Semion Sanchez,
which is on file in the archives kept by William
In a table on the, the above reference
was given incorrectly as--lcated in Fernandina.
American State Papers, Vol. VI, (Washington, 1860),
p. 113. There are two editions of Volume VI of the
American State Papers. Duff Green published an edition
in 1834 and Gales and Seaton published an edition in
1860. The arrangement of information differs with the publisher._/

t I


was -accptod later by the United Statcs or if t-hc -ouse

and -lot wore 3oL. In 1828, "...a lot of General Joseph
M. Hernandez,,." was used as the west boundary in a
transfer of property from John M. Sanchez to John T,
Hedrick.l1 Other than this brief mention of the lot,
there were a number of debts entered into by Hernandez

in relation to a sugar plantation at tha mi-h -~ i 2qf
Matanzas *Fv4r. Some action in connection with these
debts could possibly explain the transfer of ownership
of lot 1, block 10, but a thorough searching of news-
papers, deed books and court cases has not uncovered
the actual transaction.1
In 1833, however, James Heilbron of South Carolina
took a mortgage on lot 1, block 10, from Daniel S.
Griswold of East Florida. That is, Heilbron sold lot
1, block 10, to Griswold. The mortgage was to run until
1838.11 Heilbron must, therefore, have owned the pro-

1~Deed from Sanchez to Hedrick. St. Johns County Deed
Book H, p. 60. Dre'o-<.Ie aftr RU ,- sr,.TOofA CIouny4
1 Wilbur M. Seibert, "The Early Sugar Industry in
Florida," Florida Historical Quarterly, XXXV
(1956 1957), pp. 313-314.

ih he rt e sf 0T

Stg wa 11000 and was dated --
a ng en~ aid 2 pe-ds0%5^3^-ie Ie -* 0 TE N or,
/ A /S/E,7Bse 7,F2/ --
U//:?50 0F o_ V 5-1N1?,:1q /83 W Aq& Cooi L I ?,oZ. Vo0 Y-/ f __s Xi
10PcI 6- IV P,4/0 Z-o -/- 144 r/9 38. D D 13 ok7c k. 4e b
&p. 170. S* 41f. I V

Block 10, to Griswold.
/* ,

The Tmortgage. .2'was to- run _u.nrtil-'

perty. In May, 1837, Griswold sold "...a certain lot

of land with dilapidated building theron..." which is

lot 1, block 10, to Dr. Seth S. Peck for $350.00 and

the unpaid portion of the Heilbron mortgage held in

South Carolina. 1 The next month, June,,Dr, Peck

became full owner of the property upon his payment

of $918.00 to James Heilbton to complete the mort-

gage .3
The house and lot remained in the Peck family

throughout the rest of its tenure as a private resi-

dence. Dr. Peck owned the house until his death in

1841. Sarah Lay Peck, his wife, inherited the house

from Dr. Peck24and owned it until her death in 1879.

Following Sarah Lay's death, the property passed to

her two daughters, Mary L. and Rebecca Peck.2-

1 Lot 1, block 10 from Daniel Griswold to Seth S. Peck,
h M.D. 28 May 1837, Deed Book M. p. 441. T. s u

WLot 1, block 10 from James Heilbron to Seth S. Peck.
Deed Book N, p. 156. S a .*.

I The following quote from the will of Dr. Peck showed
Q the house to have passed from him to his wife, i.e., "I
give and bequeath unto my,,,wife Sara Peck...the risidual
a of my real and personal estate, including lot and dwel-
Sling in which we live, furniture and all other estate
0_t_- already bequeathed.. '" St. Johns County Will Book
Number 1, p. 45. Will books hereafter ,cited are all
of St. Johns County. ILAcvw A,5 u ///,/ 1 .

2rThe will of Mrs. Sara# Lay Peck was not entered into
the public records until 1912, 33 years after her death.
As her will left all personal property other than minor
bequests to her son (Dr. John E. Pec and Peck grand-
children, to her augter and Rebecca Peck\<
the will was not probated and the two daughters quietly
became the tacit owners of the property. Will of Sarah
Lay Peck, No Nai.
'De& Bt< 4 //9- 45- lS / -=-A


These women held the property jointly until 1910 when
Rebecca died and Mary inherited Rebecca's half interest.25
In 1912, Mary L. Peck died and Anna G. Burt,

niece of Mary L. and Rebecca Peck, and granddaughter

of Sarah Lay Peck, inherited the whole interest in the

house from her aunt, Mary L. Peck.21

In 1931, the city of St, Augustine received the

house and lot, lot 1, block 10, at the death of Anna G.

Burt. The city now holds the property with the stipu-

lation that it be maintained as an antebellum home and,

if not, that it be turned over to the executors of Anna

G. Burt's estate, the Florida National Bank of Jackson.

YWill of Rebecca Peck. Will Book IPlU r p. Z. M
2At the death of Mary L. Peck, the surviving daughter
of Sarah Lay Peck (Dr. Seth S. Peck's wife) the property
passed to the granddaughter of Sarah Lay PWck, Anna G.
Burt. And in order for the property to pass, Anna had
to probate the will of her grandmother, her annt and
her uncle (Dr. John E. Peck). Thus in 1912, she does

probate the wills of Sarah Lay Peck, Mary L. Peck and
John E. Peck and thus, as closest surviving heir,
becomes the owner of all the non-assigned property to
pass from Sarah Lay Peck to Mary L. Peck, the last of
the St. Augustine Pecks to die. Will of Sarah Lay Peck,
O'^ Wil! Eok N,,iikr p-. Will of Mary L. Peck, Will
Book B, p. 201; Will of John E. Peck, Miscellaneous Will
Book B, pp. 247-248. s$, ~jU -
2Will of Anna G. Burt. Will Book C, p. 565. --.S .

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