Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 10 – Lot 1
Title: Progress of Research on Block 10, Lot 1, St. Augustine
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094115/00086
 Material Information
Title: Progress of Research on Block 10, Lot 1, St. Augustine
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 10 – Lot 1
Physical Description: Research notes
Language: English
Copyright Date: Public Domain
Physical Location:
Box: 4
Divider: B10 L1 - Dr. Peck History
Folder: Block 10 Charlotte St.
 Subjects
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: VID00086
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

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PROGRESS OF RESEARCH ON BLOCK 10, LOT 1, ST. AUGUSTINE

CHRONOLOGY

1791 Don Carlos Howard buys at Quesada sale

1791 Don Domingo Rodiquez de Leon buys house from Howard

1791 Francisco Xavier Sanchez buys from de Leon

1807 Maria del Carmen Sanchez, wife of Francisco Xavier Sanchez,
inherits the house from Francisco Xavier Sanchez

1813 Maria del Carmen Sanchez Dewees, her husband, Felipe Dewees
and Maria del Carmen Sanchez's son, Jose Simeon Sanchez,
inherit the house from Maria del Carmen Sanchez

1821 Maria del Carmen Sanchez Dewees and Felipe Dewees and Jose
Simeon Sanchez sell the house to Jose Mariano Hernandez

1833 James Heilbron and wife Harriet sell to Daniel L. Griswold

1837 Daniel L. Griswold and wife Mary sell to Seth S. Peck, M.D.

1841 Sarah Lay Peck inherits house at death of Dr. Seth Peck,
her husband

1879 Mary L. Peck and Rebecca Peck inherit house from Sarah Lay
Peck, their mother

1910 Mary L. Peck inherits whole interest in house at Rebecca's
death

1912 Anna G. Burt inherits house from Mary L. Peck, her aunt

1931 City of St. Augustine bequeathed house by Anna G. Burt

Breaks in Documentation:
There is considerable confusion in the dating and substan-
tiation of the British period from 1763 1783 as the information
was gained following 1783 and had to do with disputed titles in
British courts and with quasi secret trust agreements.
Then there is a clear break from Hernandez's ownership in
1821 to that of Heilbron in 1833. Beyond this there is a question
as to the encumberances in the transfers from Heilbron to Griswold
to Peck in the years 1833 to 1837.
Further, the will of Seth Peck is indecipherable and its
disposition of the house is largely inferred from later ownership
of the house by his wife and her heirs.
The record is clear from 1791 at the Quesada sale through
1821 with the purchase of Hernandez. And it is clear from Sarah
Lay Peck in 1879 to its bequest to the city in 1931.







The ownership of the house after the death of Sarah Lay Peck
is as follows: Dr. Seth Peck passed the house on to his wife Mrs.
Sarah Lay Peck*. Mrs. Peck kept the house and then passed it on
to her daughters Mary L. Peck and Rebecca Peck. They in turn
passed it on to Anna G. Burt who willed the property to the city
under the condition that it be maintained as an antebellum house
and that if razed or otherwise destroyed the property be turned
over to the Florida National Bank of Jacksonville, her trustee.
Some confusion exists as to the course of ownership follow-
ing Dr. Peck's death. The 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, other than minor
bequests to her son and grandchildren, to her daughters Mary L.
and Rebecca Peck, no public statement was made and the two daugh-
ters quietly became tacit owners of the property.
However, on the death of Mary L. Peck, the surviving daugh-
ter of Sarah Lay Peck, the property was to pass to the granddaugh-
ter of Sarah Lay Peck, Anna G. Burt. And in order for the property
to pass, Anna had to probate the will of her grandmother, her
aunt 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 descendent from Sarah Lay Peck to
Mary L. Peck, the last of the St. Augustine Pecks to die.





* This assumption as to the passage from Seth to Sarah is based
on Sarah's having it after Seth's death and John's not having it.
The fact of the matter should come out on examination of Seth's
will.
Too, taxes paid as part of expenses in final settlement in pro-
bate of Sarah's will show her to be owner.
Further, the following quote from Seth's will shows the house
to have passed from him to his wife, ie., "...residual of my real
and personal estate including lot and dwelling in which we live,
furniture and all other estate not already bequeathed, and debts
from brother John Peck as per annex schedule."








There is, in addition to general documentation the accumulation
of clippings now on file at the Historical Society library. It is
of interest, although it is not particularly accurate.

Items from newspaper articles--

House rebuilt 1690-95 of stone to replace earlier wooden struc-
ture.
Partially destroyed during Governor Moore (of S. C.) attack on
the city in 1702. Wooden sections added after that date.
1803--house listed in King's name and made of coquina. Sold in
1804 to Francisco Xavier Sanchez.
House remodeled in 1832 (including tearing out of the east wing)
following the purchase by Dr. Seth Peck of Old Lyme, Conn. Wide
boards for floors and doors were shipped from New England (1835-42
Seminole War made it impossible to obtain building materials in this
vicinity.) Furnished with many colonial antiques including some that
were part of Mrs. Sarah Peck's dowry. Dr. Peck used downstairs south
room as a doctor's office and the northwest room for his apothecary
shop.
Miss Anna G. Burt, granddaughter of the Seth Pecks, occupied the
house following the death of her aunts--Missss Mary and Rebecca Peck.
She willed the house to the City of St. Augustine. Miss Burt died
in the same room as she was born in and is buried in the family plot.
(She tried not to publicize the long background of the house. Would
not let anyone dig in the garden without her presence because she was
afraid that someone would uncover buried treasure.)



From newspaper articles in the Historical Society folder on The
Spanish Treasurer's House.

St. Augustine Record Feb. 19, 1939
Feb. 11, 1962
Mar. 12, 1961
June 27, 1968

Miami Herald June 8, 1958

Article on background prior to 1690 not included--St. Augustine Record,
April 9, 1942.

Photograph File
Pictures-
pictures checked in St. Augustine Historical Society

Burt House-good interior made in 1930's
Cathedral (before 1887 fire)-rear of church with Burt House in
foreground. (no negative number) Roof low pitched
St. George Street South of Treasury Street- negative number 2292*
and number G59*
Photo Book
"In and about St. Augustine Florida", March 1886. Information about
the same as in the photo file.

* These may be the photos that proved later to be immediately to the
south of The Burt House on St. George Street. If so they are not of the
Burt House.








October 8, 1968

Chronology Lot 1, Block 10s 1763 1791

1763 Juan Esteban de Pen immediately ff, the treaty of 1763
1763 John Gordon i
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 King of Spain
1791 Carlos Howard

Mrs. Arana has interperted her research efforts and has established
the above chronology and the following narrative as to the ownership
of block 10, lot 1, St. Augustine, 1763 1791.

Juan Esteban 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 arrange-
ment with John Gordon of St. Augustine, and English subject, to
dispose of several houses and lots 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 estate to escape
incorporation into the English crown properties.* In any case,
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 Fernandez 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.
Thus Gordon holds lot 1, 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 Forbes,
the principals in a New York trading firm active in East Florida.*
Thomas Forbes, in fact, was the nephew of Gordon and was appointed
executor of Gordon's estate by Gordon's will. He arrived in St.
Augustine with a duty to settle his uncle's affairs.



* We have no proof of this.

* In 1788 there is the sworn statement by Carlos Howard that he saw
a document bearing the governor's seal which was the transfer of
lot 1, block 10 from Clark to Yonge; further he also saw a docu-
ment in validation of sale of lot 1, block 10 from Yonge to Panton
& Forbes, These documents were drawn in 1788.









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 the custody of Don Antonio
Fernandez, 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's
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 1, 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 the 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.
Antonio Fernandez appears before the Governor at St. Augustine
and presents 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 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 maintains 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 the
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.
If Panton and Forbes were not allowed to continue in East
Florida, the question would then be whether or not Forbes's property,
lot 1, block 10, should revert to the crown or be turned over to
Fernandez's clients to satisfy their claim.
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 to Clark
(1778).
Two years later, 1788, the Roque map show the property as being
crown property "...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 only 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.









October 11, 1968


March 12, 1821 Maria del Carmen Sanchez Dewees, Felipe
Dewees, and Jose Simeon Sanchez -- sell
house to Jose Mariano Hernandez

February 5, 1833 James Heilbron to Daniel Griswold --
indenture for $1100

May 28, 1837 Daniel Griswold to Seth S. Peck --
subject to mortgage held by James
Heilbron

June 29, 1837 James Heilbron to Seth S. Peck --
completion of mortgage


Jose Mariano Hennandez acquires the house from Philip
Dewees, his wife Maria del Carmen Sanchez, and her son Jose Simeon
Sanchez -- March 12, 1821.
"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 incumbrances, etc., for the amount of 1600 pesos." (see East
Florida Papers, Escrituras, 1821.)
The Hernandez claim to house and lot was not recognized
by the United States government when they took over the East
Florida territory. (see: Spanish Land Grants in Florida, volume I
unconfirmed claims, p. 167.) It is not clear though why this claim
was rejected because, in the description, it goes nn to say "title
derived fron a bill of sale, 3/12/1821, to Joseph M. Hernandez from
Philip Dewees -- on file in the archives kept by William Reynolds.
(see: American State Papers, volume VI The Public Lands, p. 113)
No specific record can be found of who owns the house
or what happens to it in the next few years. It is not shown
whether the Hernandez claim was accepted later by the United States
or the house and lot were sold. In 1828 "a lot of General Joseph
M. Hernandez" is used as the west boundary in a transfer of property
from John M. Sanchez to John T. Hedrick. (Deed Book "H" p. 160)
In 1825 Joseph Hernandez formed a partnership with Mathew
J. Keith for the management of a sugar plantation at the head of
the Matanzas River called St. Joseph's. This partnership was
dissolved May 12, 1831, and Keith took a mortgage on the place from
Hernandez and his wife. Shortly thereafter, Keith sold his interest
to Daniel S. Griswold. Hernandez owed money to numerous persons in
connection with the operation of the plantation --among them Daniel
Griswold. Some action in connection with this debt could possibly
explain the transfer of ownership of the house fron Hernandez to
Griswold but a thorough searching of newspapers, deed books and
court cases has not uncovered the actual transaction. (Note added
by Miss Emily L. Wilson in her Notes from Deed Books folder in the
St. Augustine Historical Society: "This must have been included in
one of the transfers of Hernandez of all of his properties.")







Later, in 1835, Hernandez took a loan of $38,000 from the Union
Bank of Florida to pay off his creditors -- but by this time the
house was in someone else's name. (For a more complete recording
of these transactions -- see: St. Johns County Deed Books or a
summation in Florida Historical Quarterly, 1956 57, volume 35,
pp. 313-314. "The Early Sugar Industry in Florida" by Wilbur
Sievert.)
The next recorded action concerning the house is an
indenture from James Heilbron of South Carolina to Daniel S.
Griswold of East Florida in consideration of the sum of $1100.
The indenture is dated February 5, 1833, but is not recorded
until November 20, 1837 at the request of Seth Peck. (see: Deed
Book "N" p. 2) On March 5, 1833, a mortgage is recorded -- Daniel
Griswold to James Heilbron for $1100 on this house -- due March
5, 1838. Marginal note records this as paid May 22, 1838. (see:
Deed Book "M" p. 170)
Daniel Griswold sells "a certain lot of land with
dilapidated building theron" to Seth S. Peck, M.D., on May 28,1837,
for $350.00 -- subject to mortgage held by James Heilbron. (see:
Deed Book "M" p. 441) Dr. Peck becomes full owner of the property
June 29, 1837, upon his payment of $918 to James Heilbron to
complete the mortgage held. (see: Deed Book "N" p. 156)








Tax Records show that in 1878 Mrs.Sarah Peck is credited
with paying taxes on "lot on Blk. 10 Bd. on N. by Treasury St..
E. by lots of Potter". In 1900, taxes are credited to Sarah E.
or L. Peck for a property on: Blk. 10 Bd. N. by Treasury St.,
E. Leonard Henderson & WinarM,
S. R.C. Church,
W. St. George St.
The same description appears through 1905 and defines lot 1 on
block 10 of St. Augustine, the "Spanish Treasury" building and
lot.
Tax credit has continued for Sarah E. or L. Peck from 1900
through 1905 for the above description. Then in 1906 there is no
entry for Sarah E. or L. Peck but is the entry "L 1, Blk. 10" for
"Peck, Mary L. and Rebecca",
In 1910 taxes for the above listing, L 1, Blk. 10 are credited
to Mary L. Peck and then in 1912 the credit for L 1 Blk. 10 is
assigned to "heirs of Mary L. Peck". In 1930 the taxes on L 1
Blk. 10 are paid by "Est. Peck, Mary L." And then in 1931, there
are no taxes levied and the entry simply reads: "Est. Peck, Mary L.
City Property".






* Sarah E. Peck is Sarah Peck as shown by her will which was pro-
bated in 1912 by Anna G. Burt.









Burt Genealogy p. 296 (written 1879, published 1892)

Children of George Burt
Anna unmarried
Alice unmarried
Charles unmarried
Lucy married ?

Lucy Rockwell Peck (July 8, 1827 March 22, 1857) married
George Burt on July 31, 1849
Lucy's Father was Dr. Seth S. Peck who is from Lyme, Conn.
(verb tense sic book) Dr. and Mrs. Peck were from Whites-
borough, N.Y. prior to coming to St. Augustine.

George Burt (September 8, 1817 )
1867-68 Mayor of St. Augustine, also held minor city and
county offices
1878 Alderman, Vice-President of Free Public Library,
Reading Room and of the Historical Association of
St. Augustine.








The house on Lot 1, Block 10 continues from Dr. Seth Peck
as follows: Dr. Seth Peck passed the house on to his wife Mrs.
Sarah Lay Peck*. Mrs. Peck kept the house and then passed it
on to her daughters Mary L. Peck and Rebecca Peck. They in turn
passed it on to Anna G. Burt who willed the property to the city
under the condition that it be maintained as an antebellum house
and that if razed or otherwise destroyed the property be turned
over to the Jacksonville National Bank, her trustee.
Some confusion exists as to the course of ownership follow-
ing Dr. Peck's death. The 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, other than minor
bequests to her son and grandchildren, to her daughters Mary L.
and Rebecca Peck, no public statement was made and the two
daughters quietly became tacit owners of the property.
However, on the death of Mary L. Peck, the surviving daugh-
ter of Sarah Lay Peck, the property was to pass to the grand-
daughter of Sarah Lay Peck, Anna G. Burt. And in order for the
property to pass, Anna had to probate the will of her grandmother,
her Aunt 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 descendent from Sarah Lay Peck to Mary
L. Peck, the last of the St. Augustine Pecks to die.




* This assumption as to the passage from Seth to Sarah is based
on Sarah's having it after Seth's death and John's not having it.
The fact of the matter should come out on examination of Seth's
will.
Too, taxes paid as part of expenses in final settlement in pro-
bate of Sarah's will show her to be owner.




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