Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 10 – Lot 1
Title: Lot 1, Block 10
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Lot 1, Block 10
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 10 – Lot 1
Physical Description: Report
Language: English
Creator: Melzer, JTS
Publication Date: 1969
Copyright Date: Public Domain
Physical Location:
Box: 4
Divider: B10 L1 - Dr. Peck History
Folder: Block 10 Charlotte St.
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: VID00065
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

Page 3:

In the sentence, "Thus, in the year 1778,
following the death of Clark, lot 1, block
10 changed hands three times." The name
Clark should read Gordon.

Appendix D, page 4:

George Burt...
Died October 25, 1839 should read
Died October 25, 1893

ui IA


TAm t PT~~T' *7 A~

4W 1 .- 7
( i

Juan Esteban de Pena was royal Treasurer in St.

Augustine in 1763 when the treaty ending the Seven

Years' War2 was concluded at Paris. Before the treatyC iRaLs,

could go into effect, he made an arrangement withJohn

Gordon of St. Augustine, an English subject, to dispose

of several houses and lots in St. Augustine. These

were presented as the personal properties of de Pena CO-

and were turned over to Gordon as a bonafide transfer, D

Among the above properties was lot 1, block 10, the .-

property with which this paper deals.3

Lot 1, block 10, was held by Gordon as his personal

property until the news of his death reached St. Augus-

tine in 1778. Gordon had found it necessary to travel

to London to plead his claim. Here "...falling into a

sickly state of health he (Gordon) never did accomplish

1Designation from official Map of the City of St. Augus-
tine, Florida. Adopted by ordinance Number 154, June
12, 1923.
The Seven Years' War had as its American colonial counter-
part 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.

3It is later disclosed under the various petitions and
dispositions submitted by Antonio Fernandez, attorney for
the de Pefa estate, that lot 1, block 10 was one of
several properties consigned specificly to Gordon in a
trust agreement for de Pela and others. Fernandez's acti-
vity takes place in the second Spanish period following
the treaties ending the American Revolution. East Florida
Papers, Library of Congress, Reel 151, Bundle 329, Document
34. Hereafter cited as EFP,.LC, Bundle, Doc.

any settlement of the same having for some years suffered
a painful disposition and died at Burdeaux siic_/..."
in 1778.4 In the meantime, Lieutenant Governor Moultrie 'S'> ,

rented the house from Gordon from 1772 to 1778 for & 30

per year.5
Immediately following the news of Gordon's death

the property was received by William Clark. Clark was
------------~~ ^& ^
a creditor of Gordon who presented a claim against

Gordon's estate to the British authorities. The British

allowed his claim to be settled through the transfer of
lot 1, block 10, in lieu of payment from the estate,6

Notarized statement of ThomaskForbes made at New Provi-
dence, Bahama Islands, 21 January 1786. EFP, LC, 151,
Bundle 329, Doc. 34. For the text of the statement re
John Gordon's ownership, see Appendix A.
5"The Estate of John Gordon, deceased, in account for a
house & lott/icsold under execution with Wm. Panton
canton is second executorJ_& Tho. Forbes...
1780 By six year's rent of this house received
of Lieut. Governor Moultrie down to the
timeZ778_7it was sold at 1 30 pr annum"
Ibid. See Appendix A.
6Moreover, Forbesriephew of Gordon and executor of his
will_, "...being in England in...1777...upon his private
affairs, the said John Gordon did appoint himwith others_7
attorney 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
matter in suspense with the British government." Ibid.
This transfer established British acceptance of the trans-
fer of title from de Peia to Gordon as a bonafide title
exchange. However, Gordon's property had been severely
questioned. "...the validity of Spanish titles were in
some instances (more specially with regard 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.

-3. -

Lot 1, block 10 was then sold twice in rapid suc-

cession. The first sale was by Clark to Henry Yonge.

The second sale was by Henry Yonge to William Panton and

Thomas Forbes.7 Thus, in the year 1778, following the

death of i lot 1, block 10, changed hands three


William Panton and Thomas Forbes, the last buyers,

7Notarized Statement of Enrique Yonge made at Nassau,
Bahama Islands, 21 January 1786. EFP, LC 151, Bundle
329, Doc. 34.J^,/0- -
8panton 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. Augus-
tine and began trading with the Indians under British
protection. The trade proved successful and was neces-
sary 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 remained in the Floridas until 1819.
Documents Relating to the Commercial Policy of Spain in
the Floridas, edited by Arthur Preston Whitaker (Deland,
1931), Hereafter cited as Documents -
Commercial Policy of Spain in Floridas. Governor Quesada
did break the monopoly and open Indian trade to Spanish
competition in 1790. However, no competition developed.
Ibid.,note 184, p. 243.

held the property from 1778 to 1785.9 In the meantime,

the American Revolution took place between 1776 .and 1783.

Near the end of the conflict, in 1782, Spain,having joined

9Panton 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 property when the British handed the Floridas back
to Spain. But with the arrival of the Spanish author-
ities, the trust agreement between John Gordon and de /,' ir
Pena was brought to light. a/ fc t
Antonio Fernandez,-an attorney appeared before -n cA2'\
the Governor at St. Augustine and presented claims by '
the heirs of de Pek'a 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 A
10. The claim was based on a written agreement signed
by de Peia and by Gordon establishing lot 1, block 10
as to be held in trust for de Pef(a by Gordon. EFP, LC
151, Bundle 329R6.
Governor Zespedes (or Cespedes), however, refused
to act against the owner, Thomas Forbes, until hearing
from the king. Zespedes maintained that as Forbes's
) ownership 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 property
rights in St. Augustine. Therefore, Zespedes refused to
rule definitively on the case. Ibid. And, since Panton
and Forbes Company continued in St. Augustine until 1819,
they would not have lost lot 1, block 10 by having been
caused to leave the colony or by having left the area.
Documents Commercial Policy of Spain in Floridas, pp.
The next year, 1786, Fernandez wrote that "...he
is of the opinion that since the heirs were not able to
prove their claim..." they might cause a tribunal to be
Called to allow them the value of the property at the
time of its sale from Gordon's estate t& Clark (1 78).
EFP, LC 151, Bundle 329R6. -.... ---- k ~
But, by the Rocque map of 1788, neither Panton and
Forbes nor Fernandez received lot 1, block 10. Fernandez
did receive "custody" of the property, but this "custody"
was relinquished totally by the time of the Quesada Sale,
Mariano de la Rocque, Key to the Detailed Plan of the City
of San Augustin of East Florida. 25 April 78B. Trans-
lated by Eugenia B. Arana (St. Augustine Historical
Society, 1961) p. 16. Lot 1, block 10 is here listed as
block 17, west, number 141.

France and the United States against 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. Thus

Spain was able to return to the Floridas after the American


One of the immediate results for Florida was the

reevaluation of all property titles by the new Spanish

officials. The owners of the lot 1, block".10; then,

Panton and Forbes, had to have their title sustained if

they were to retain their property. They were successful

in eluding the Spanish claim until 1785. However, between.

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

10By 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 a "...rubble-work masonry
house with lot of the king". Inventory of Lots in St.
Augustine Prepared by Order of Quesada; August 19, 1790. -
Square number 10, number 89. ,
So between 1785 and 1788, Panton and Forbes lost/',. i:
title to lot 1, block 10 and the property reverted td 6
the crown. It then was sold'as crown property in 1791
and passed to Carlos Howard. EFP, LC 151, Bundle 320,Doc.52.
Hence, the property transfer has been traced definitively
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 Wiles's commentary on Mrs. Luis
Arana's translation of Governor White's statement validating
deed from de Leon to Sanchez, EFP, Escrituras, 1803-4, Book
374, pp. 420-422. See also, EFP, LC 170, Bundle 368 for
deed from de Leon to Sanchez. See Appendix B.


And in 1791, Governor Quesada sold the property in the
public sale of that year to Carlos Howard.11

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.12

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 1813.14

These three, Jose Simeon Sanchez and the Deweeses,

sold, in March 1821, to Jose Mariano Hernandez.15 This

11Lot 1, block 10 from Spanish government to Carlos
Howard. EFP, LC 146, Bundle 320, Doc. 52.
12Lot 1, block 10 from Carlos Howard to de Leon. EFP,
LC 166, Bundle 357, Doc. 24. De Leon to Sanchez. EFP,
LC 170, Bundle 368.

13Will of F.X.Sanchez. EFP, LC 141, Box 30-33, No. 1.
1Will of Maria Sanchez, EFP, LC 146, Bundle 314, Doc.2.
15The 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. "...We sell the said
house and lot with its entrances, etc., free of all incum-
brances/ic_7, etc., for the amount of 1600 pesos. Lot
1, block 10 from Jose Sanchez; Felipe and Maria Dewees
to Joseph Hernandez. EFP, Escrituras, LC 173, 174, Bundle
385, Doc. 3. See Appendix B


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 as he did not submit it within the specified

time limit set by the United States officials.16

No specific record can be found of who owned the

house or of what happens to it from 1827 to 1833. We

were not able to show whether the Hernandez claim was

accepted later by the United States or if the house and

lot were sold. 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.17

6The last deadline for filing was 1 November 1827.
J. M. Hernandez was listed as having filed " title
and no 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 one Mary del Carmen Sanchez
and Joseph Simeon Sanchez, which is on file in the
archives kept by William Reynolds."
In a table on the same page, the above reference
was given incorrectly as being located in Fernandina.
American State Papers, Vol. VI, (Washington, 1860),
p. 113. LThere are two editions of Vol. 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./

17Deed from Sanchez to Hedrick. St. Johns County Deed
Book H, p. 60. Deed books hereafter cited are all of
St. Johns County. Also, deeds are found in Appendix B.

Other than this brief mention of the lot, there were a

number of debts entered into by Hernandez in relation
to a sugar plantation near Matanzas Inlet. Some action

in connection with these debts could possible explain

the transfer of ownership of lot 1, block 10, but a

thorough searching of newspapers, deed books and court

cases has not uncovered the actual transaction.

In 1833, however, James Heilbron of South Carolina
took a mortgage on lot 1, block 10, from Daniel Ssvvy

Griswold of East Florida. That is, Heilbron sold lot
1, block 10, to Griswold. The mortgage was to run until

1838.19 Heilbron must, therefore, have owned the property.

In May, 1837, Griswold sold "...a certain lot of lnd

with dilapidated building therdonj..." 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.20

Wilbur M. Seibert, "The Early Sugar Industry in Florida,"
Florida Historical Quarterly, XXXV (1956 1957), Pp. 313-
31 .
19The mortgage was for $1100.00 and was dated 5 February
1833. It was recorded twice, first on 5 March 1833 then
again on 20 November 1837, at the request of Dr. Peck.
The note was due on 5 March 1838. A marginal note in the
latter entry records this as having been paid 23 May 1838.
Deed Book N, p. 2; Deed Book M, p. 170. See Appendix B.
20Lot 1, block 10 from Daniel Griswold to Seth S. Peck,
M.D., 28 May 1837. Deed Book M, p. 441. See Appendix B.

Ki ,LL i 1

The next month, June, 1837, Dr. Peck became full owner

of the property upon his payment of $918.00 to James

Heilbron to complete the mortgage.21

The house and lot then remained in the Peck family

throughout the rest of its tenure as a private residence.

Dr. Peck owned the house until his death in 1841. Sarah

Lay Peck, his wife, inherited the house from Dr. Peck22

and owned it until her death in 1879. Following Sarah

Lay's death, the property passed to her two daughters,

Mary L. and Rebecca Peck.23 These women held the property

jointly until 1910 when Rebecca died and Mary inherited
Rebecca's half interest4

2Lot 1, block 10 from James Heilbron to Seth S. Peck.
Deed Book N, p. 156. See Appendix B
2The following quote from the will of Dr. Peck showed
the house to have passed from him to his wife, i.e., "I
give and bequeath unto my...wife Sara Peck...the residual
of my real and personal estate, including lot and dwelling
in which we live, furniture and all other estate not
already bequeathed.,.. St. Johns County Will Book
Number 1, p. 45. Will books hereafter cited are all of
St. Johns County. All wills are found in Appendix C.

23The will of Mrs. Sarah Lay Peck was not entered into
the public records until 1912, 33 years after her death.
As her will left all personal property to her daughters
Mary L. and Rebecca Peck, other than minor bequests to
her son (Dr. John E. Peck) and Peck grandchildren, the
will was not probated and the two daughters quietly became
the tacit owners of the property. Will of Sarah Lay Peck,
Order Book B, p. 473. See Appendix C.
Will of Rebecca Peck. Will Book B, p. 92. See Appendix

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.25

In 1932, the city of St. Augustine received the house

and lot, lot 1, block 10, following the death of Anna G.
Burt in 1931. The city now holds the property with the

stipulation 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 Floirda National Bank of Jack-


25At 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 Peck, Anna G.
Burt. And in order for the property to pass, Anna had
to probate the will of her grandmother, and her aunt.
Thus in 1912, she does probate the wills of Sarah Lay
Peck and Mary L. 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,
op. cit.; File of Sarah Peck, St. Johns County Probate
Records. Will of Mary L. Peck, Will Book B, p. 201.
See Appendix C.

26Memorandum of agreement between the Florida National
Bank of Jacksonville and the City of St. Augustine,
May 1932. See Appendix C.
27Will of Anna G. Burt. Will Book C, p. 565. See Appen-
dix C.

20 January 1969
JTS Melzer







Documents Relating to lot 1, block 10 as

part of the estate of John Gordon.

Deeds: 1791-1837

Wills: 1841-1937

Biographical notes on some of the owners

of lot 1, block 10.

St. Augustine Record feature article:

"Early Banking is Indicated By Research...."


Carlos Howard

Of all the staff members, Zespedes
selected only the secretary of government,
Captain Carlos Howard, and his assistant.
Captain Howard, a cultured individual in
his middle forties, had served with
Spanish forces since 1761 in Portugal,
Algiers, Brazil and Santo Domingo. An
officer in the Hibernia Regiment, one of
the units represented in the occupation
force, Carlos Howard had secured his
captaincy in 1780 through the patronage
of Bernardo de Galvez. During the latter
part of the American Revolution, he had
aided the secretary to the captain gen-
eral of Cuba with the translation of
secret documents. The political under-
standing gained by this experience, his
facile use of French and English, and
general skill socially, combined to make
the talented Irishman a valuable member
of the occupation force.

Zespedes felt fortunate to have
Captain Howard still on his staff to
supervise military affairs during the
transitional period of regimental reorgan-
ization. Since November of 1787, the two
men had parried successive demands for
Captain Howard to rejoin the Hibernia
Regiment in Havana, prior to embarkation
for Spain. Zespedes first postponed
compliance with the order for Howard's
return by explaining the captain's impor-
tance in Florida diplomatic affairs during
the Georgia border crisis and the Thomas
Powell incident. The governor later
insisted that Howard's health would fail
if he returned to Havana, and medical
reasons required his living in Florida.
Writing the colonel of the Hibernia
Regiment, Captain Howard carefully
explained that he could not return to
Havana without the permission of
Governor Zespedes, currently his
commanding officer. Zespedes very early
requested Howard's transfer to the
permanent garrison for East Florida, when
one was formed, but he was satisfied-to
have his able secretary transferred to
the Havana Regiment, a military order
which finally reached St. Augustine in
January of 1789.

When Colonel Penalver returned to
Havana, the temporary command at St.
Augustine became the responsibility of
the highest ranking captain in the
garrison. In this situation, strict
adherence to army instructions was
unsatisfactory to Zespedes. Since Carlos
Howard had held a captain's commission
longer than any officers assigned to the
garrison staff, the governor managed to
place temporary command of local troops
in the safe hands of his secretary of
the government.

Helen Hornbeck Tanner, Zespedes
in East Florida 1784-1790
(Coral Gables, University of
Miami Press, 1963), p. 26.

Ibid., p. 198

/44, (-
i~-- t-4

Zespedes capable administrative
assistant, Captain Carlos Howard, was
pressed into service along the Spanish-
American frontier on several occasions
following his return to St. Augustine in
September 1790. As Zespedes had feared,
the subversive influence of the French
Revolution eventually spread to the
Florida border. In South Carolina and
Georgia, agents of Republican France
tried to instigate an attack on East and
West Florida as one phase of a massive
undertaking against both the Spanish and
English possessions in North America.
Between 1793 and 1795, when France and
Spain were officially at war, Captain
Howard constantly patrolled the border
with rural militia and regular infantry
under his command. Several clashes
occurred, but Howard's clever strategy
successfully repelled the sporadic

JosephM. Hernandez (Jose Mariano Hernandez)

Born in St. Augustine, Florida May
26, 1788, son of Martin Hernandez of Mahon,
Minorca, and Dorotea Gomila, of Ciudadela,
Minorca; became prominent in the Second
Spanish regime and was a member of the City
Council under the Constitution of 1814.
Received his education in Savannah, Georgia,
and Havana, and under the Spanish regime
acted as interpreter and practiced law.
When Florida was ceded to the U.S. in 1821,
he was one of the 12 members of the
Legislative Council appointed by President
Monroe. Served from Sept. 30, 1822, to
March 3, 1823, as the first Territorial
delegate from Florida to Congress, and as
such advocated the building of roads and
canals. He was President of the Legislative
Council when that body met for the first
time in the new capitol of Tallahassee,
in 1824. As Brigadier General of the
Florida Volunteers, 2d Brigade, he was
active in the Seminole Indian War and
after the capture of Osceola, led an
expedition against the Seminoles from
St. Augustine into the Indian River
country. In 1845 was unsuccessful Whig
candidate for U.S. Senate; three years
later elected Mayor of St. Augustine.
Maintained several cotton and sugar
plantations, and as President of the
Agricultural Society of St. Augustine,
led a movement to diversify Florida
agriculture products. The latter part
of his life was spent in Cuba. His death
is recorded in the archives of the Holy
Cathedral of San Carlos, in Matanzas,
Cuba, where he was given burial on June
8, 1857, being in his 70th year.

In 1821 he was Alderman of the City,
and also Custom House Warden; In 1837 was
appointed Justice of the Peace. As
Brigadier General of Florida volunteers
he was active in the Seminole War, and
under orders from General Thomas S. Jesup
made the controversial capture of Osceola
under a flag of truce, in 1837.

Ibid., p. 224

-- ----'- / :( ,,

Biographical sketch received
from A.J. Hanna, Rollins
College, Winter Park, Florida,
December, 1956. It is found
in St. Augustine Historical
Society biographical card file.
File hereafter cited as SAHS
bio. file.

SAHS bio. file


"Early Banking is Indicated By Research. Story of Panton, Leslie,
Forbes. Shows Wealth of Materiall"

This very brief account of the influential house of Panton,
Leslie, Forbes has been prepared at request of a local banker.

Panton, Leslie, Forbes figured in the British occupation and
was the first licensed trading house in the Floridas under the
second Spanish regime. Historians designate them as fiscal agents
of Spain. In fact repeatedly during that period the King of Spain
was in debt to this house hundreds of thousands of dollars, this
condition still existing when Spain finally relinquished Florida.

This firm has been referred to as the first "banking house"
in Florida. The building they occupied on Charlotte Street has
been described as the 'first bank", also as "the English bank."
They carried on transactions of exchange and credit for individuals
as well as for the government. No such institution as a modern
bank was in existence at that time.

While much attention has been given to extensive operations
of the firm in other sections of the Floridas none has been given
to the valuable source material relating to the St. Augustine
branch which was located by Miss Emily Wilson.

Before the American Revolution three young Scots meeting in
the Carolinas had started Indian trade. When the "Rebels" gained
power the three Scotchmen found the Carolinas unsafe, came to St.
Augustine, made themselves useful to the British government
through presents and successful trade with the Indians.

The firm consisted of William Panton, John Leslie and Thomas
Forbes. Leslie was the one who remained in St. Augustine, repre-
senting the firm. When the Spaniards came back a wide business
had been built up with, it seemed, almost unlimited resources.

The Spanish government had made no provision for presents for
the Indians who at once began coming to St. Augustine when the
Spanish came back. Governor Zespedes turned to Panton, Leslie,
Forbes who supplied the money and presents necessary to keep the
Indians friendly to the Spanish at a time when the colonies to
the north were desirous of turning the Indians against the Spanish
settlement. Zespedes needed their continued aid and a royal decree
issued by the king authorized the firm to continue its business
without taking an oath of allegiance simply signifying their
obedience. They were also exempted from certain import taxes and
had other privileges. All members of the firm families, all
employes and their families need not swear allegiance to Spain.

John Leslie occupied the large coquina house belonging to the
King located at the northwest corner of Bay and Treasury Alley.
As he was the king's recognized financial agent, this probably gave
rise to the house being alluded to as the treasurer's. Leslie
kept up a large establishment which developed into a veritable hive
of drama. The firm soon owned a large property extending throughinto
Charlotte Street where the house stood in which much of the firm's
business was conducted. So large was the total of the St. Augustine
branch operations that in 1796 Panton in his will estimated "My
share of the profits with the property thereto belonging cannot
amount to less than 5000 pounds sterling." In Panton's will he states
"he has frequently received thanks of the Spanish government."

It is possible to bring only a few of the many angles of the
Panton, Leslie, Forbes story into this account. Especially connected
with St. Augustine was the admission into the firm of John Forbes,
brother of Thomas Forbes, one of the original three. In the beginning
John Forbes was only a junior firm member in the Mobile branch house.

* St. Augustine Record, July 4, 1937.

Yet when the original three are dead and John Forbes is one of
the executors named in the wills of all the big three, an act of
his led to a law suit in 1878 that resulted in a judgment being
rendered against Venancio Sanchez of St. Augustine as executor of
the will of John Forbes de bonis nisi for $2,202,049. The aged
executor was directed to turn all assets of John Forbes into form
to be distributed to the long list of impatient heir claimants.
It was a big shock to the executor but later as it was claimed he
had given in and agreed to the judgment; fortunately for Sanchez
the same judge who signed the two million dollar order suspended
its immediate operation.

These sketchy facts give only a faint indication of the inter-
esting possibilities when the St. Augustine portion of the Panton,
Leslie, Forbes history may be unrolled.


Primary Sources
de la Roque, Mariano. Key to the Detailed Plan of
the City of San Augustin of East Florida 25
April 1788. Translated by Eugenia B. Arana
for the St. Augustine Historical Society, 1961.
East Florida Papers. Library of Congress.
Evergreen Cemetary Records.
Hugenot Cemetary Records.
Inventory of Lots in St. Augustine Prepared by Order of
Quesada, August 19, 1790.
St. Johns County Deed Books H; N; M.
St. Johns County Order Book B
St. Johns County Miscellaneous Will Book B
St. Johns County Will Books, Number 1; B
Trinity Church Records, Trinity Episcopal Church,
St. Augustine, Florida
Trinity Parish Records, Trinity Episcopal Church,
St. Augustine, Florida
Trinity Parish Baptismal Records, Trinity Episcopal
Church, St. Augustine Florida
7th Census 1850 Florida Volume 2. ZSic_7
American State Papers. Washington: Gales and Seaton,
Whitaker, Arthur Preston. Documents Relating to the
Commercial Policy of Spain in the Floridas.
Deland: Florida State Historical Society, 1931.
East Florida Herald
St. Augustine Examiner
St. Augustine News
St. Augustine Record
Secondary Sources
Tanner, Helen Hornbeck. Zespedes in East Florida.
Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1963.
Marchman, Watt. "Florida Historical Society 1856-1861,
1879, 1902-40." Florida Historical Quarterly XIX
(July, 1940).
Seibert, Wilbur ,. "The Early Sugar Industry in Florida."
Florida Historical Quarterly, XXXV (July 1956-April 1957).
Hanna, A. J. Biographical Sketch of Joseph M. Hernandez.
1956 unpublished manuscript in St. Augustine
Historical Society Library.
St. Augustine Historical Society Biographical File.
Women's Exchange Records, Women's Exchange, St. Augustine,

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