October 8, 1968
Chronology Lot Is Bloek 10o 1763 1791
1763 Juan Btoeban de Pen7~. i. the trey
1763 John Gordon t diately ff, the treaty of 1763
1778 william Clark
1778 William Clark to Henry Yonge
1778 Henry Yonge to Panton and Forbes
1785 1788 Panton and Forbes to King of Spain
1788 Ains of Spain
1791 w Carlos Howard--
lMrs. Arana has interperted her research efforts and has established
the above chronology and the following narrative as to the owner*
ship of block 10, lot 1, St. Augustine, 1763 1791.
-- Juan asteban de Pena was the royal treasurer in St.
Augustine in 1763 when the treaty ending the Seven Years* War was
concluded at Paris. Before the treaty could go into effect he
made an arrangement with John Gordon of St. Augustine4 an English
subject, to dispose of everal-hou-and lot in St. Augustine.
These were presented as his personal properties but it may be that
they were crown properties disguised as parts of his personal es.
tate to escape incorporation into the English crown properties.*
In any Oase, John Gordon received several houses and lots as buyer
from de Pena,and among these lot 1 block 10, the Spanish
Treasury. It is later disclosed under the various petitions and
dispositions submitted by Antonio Pernandee that the Spanish
Treasury building and lot were one of several properties consigned
specificly to Gordon in a trust agreement for de Pena and others.
Thuse ordon holds loti, block 10 as his personal property
when the British take over. That his title was accepted by them
as having come through a bonafide purchase is established when the
British allow the sale of lot 1, block 10 by Gordon*s executors
to William Clark following Gordon's death in 1778. Clark was a
creditor of Gordon and it was to satisfy Clark's claim that the
house and lot were sold to him.
In the same year, 1778, Clark sold lot 1, block 10 to
Henry Yonge who also in 1778, sells to william Panton and Thomas
Fotrbes,. the principals in a New York trading firm active in East
Florida.* ~ihomas Forbes, in fast, was the nephew of Gordon and
was appointed executor of Gordon*' estate by Gordon's will. He
arrived in St. Augustine with a duty to settle his uncle's affairs.
* We have no prooT of this*
* In 1788 there is the wworn statement by Carlos Howard thathe saw
a deeaent bearing the governor's seal which was the transfer of
lot 1( block 10 from Clark to Yonges further he also saw a docu-
ment in validation of aale of lot 1, block 10 from Yonge to Panton
Here matters stood with lot 1, block 10 owned by William
Panton and Thomas Forbes from 1778 until 1785, the last date in
ownership we are certain of until 1788. In 1788, however, the
Roque map shows lot 1, block 10 to be Royal property "**, in thi
ctmtody of Don Antonio Fermandez, as well as its lot". Fernandez
holds the house in lieu of a settlement of a claim against Gordon's
estate* This claim has been held in abeyance until 1788 (i.e. the
Roque Map's statement that lot 1, block 10 is royal property) and
is finally settled against the claimants. Such a settlement is
indicated since the property is sold as crown property by Governor
Quesada in the sale of 1791 to Howard.
The confusion as to title between 1778, following Forbes
purchase (Panton and Forbes Co.) to 1788 is largely dispelled by
the following information. What happened in the ten years between
1778 and 1788 is that lot I, block 10 passes from Gordon to his
creditor, Clark then to Yonge, then to Forbes and finally to the
Spanish crown. Forbes holds the property when the British hand
Floridas back to Spain. And it is with the arrival of the Spanish
authorities that the trust agreement between John Gordon and de
Pena is brought to light.
An)tonio Fernandes appears before the Governor at St.
Augustine and presents claims by the heirs of de Pena against the
estate of John Gordon, to wito that they (the heirs) should be
reinstated in their full ownership of the house and lot, lot 1,
block 10. The claim is based on a written agreement signed by
de Pena and by Gordon establishing lot 1, block 10 as to be held
in trust for de Pena by Gordon.
The plea is heard by Governor Zespedes in 1785.
Zespedes, however, refuses to act against the owner, Thomas Forbes,
until hearing from the King* Zespedes ntains that as Forbes'
ownership was recognized by the British ks legitimate, the matter
was now subject to the action of the ki as regards 4;the status
of former British subjects* A cedula h been issued stating that' t4_
all landowners not remaining -ofeithei fn .
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. Augus-
tine. Therefore, Zespedes refused to rule definitively on the
If Panton and Forbes were not allowed to continue in
East Florida, the question would then be whether orrat Forbes'
property, lot 1, block 10, should revert to the crown or be turned
over to Fernandea's clients to satisfy their claim.
The next year, 1786 Fernandez wrote that *.., he is of
the Qinion that since the heirs were not able to prove their
olai .," they might cause a tribunal to be called to allow them
the vlue of the property at the time of its sale from Gordon's
estate to Clark (1778)*
Two years later, 1788, the Roque map shows the property
as being crown property ..o. in the custody of Don Antonio
Fernandez." Therefore, Panton and Forbes must not have been
sustained in their petition, and thus have lost their property.
Further, in 1788, Fernandez is still pressing his claim and has
(ad nly been able to gain custody of crown property. And by
1791, when the Quesada sale is held, he has evidently lost his
plea completely as the house and lot, lot 1, block 10 (Quesada
#89, Block 10) is sold as a "...rubble-work masonry house with
lot of the king."
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
Howard. Hence, the property transfer has been traced definitively
through the period from 1763 to 1785. The one area of doubt is
as to the year in which Forbes lost the property to the crown, a
year which must lie between 1785 and 1788.