DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE DELEGATES The St. Johns
County Democratic Executive Committee elected delegates to the 1981
Florida Democratic Conference Thursday night. Those selected, who
are pictured here, will attend the Oct. 9-11 conference at the Diplomat
Delegates named included appointed delegates, Mary E. Freeman
and Cora Harrison, and elected delegates. From left are Mrs.
Freeman, Robert Lipscomb, Phyliss Lydon, Tom Rivers, Mary Willis,
Everett Jones, Katherine Plains and Mrs. Harrison.
Record Photo By TOM WINSLOW
Papers Reveal Life Here In 1800s
(Continued From Page 1-B)
George Burt arrived in St. Augustine in the early 1840's, from Vermont.
He shortly became a successful wholesale and retail merchant and
bookseller with a store on Charlotte Street near Treasury. Burt later ex-
panded into a broad range of business enterprises, Dow noted, including
real estate and insurance, and held a number of public offices, including
alderman, commissioner and mayor of St. Augustine.
In 1849, Burt married Lucy Rockwell Peck, the only one of the five Peck
children who ever married. They had four children three daughters
and a son none of whom ever married.
"WHEN THE PECK LINE IN ST. AUGUSTINE ended with the death
of Mary Lay Peck in 1912, the St. George Street house was left by the last
Peck survivor to Anna G. Burt, her niece and the last Burt survivor in St.
Augustine," said Dow. "When Miss Burt died in 1931 at the age of 81, she
willed the house to the City of St. Augustine, along with furniture, pain-
tings and bric-a-brac, to be kept up as an example of the 'old ante-bellum
homes of the South'." She also provided for an annual sum of $1,000
toward upkeep of the property. Since 1932, the property has been in the
charge of the Women's Exchange of St. Augustine, an organization that
Anna G. Burt had helped establish in 1893.
COMMENTING ON THE DOCUMENTS, DOW SAID by far the largest
portion of the collection an estimated 8,700 pieces is from the Burt
family. "It would appear," Dow said, "that no member of the Burt family
ever threw away a scrap of paper that anything was written on. Instead,
everything was neatly bundled up, carefully wrapped with ribbon or str-
ing and filed away by the year from 1842 to 1896. Each year's bundle is a
mixture of family and personal letters, business correspondence, finan-
cial ledger pages, bills of lading, checks, receipts, tax receipts, partner-
ship agreements, property deeds, business licenses, insurance policies,
accounts paid and accounts due, notes and loans, and on and on."
"THE PECK PAPERS, NUMBERING OVER 1,000, do not have the ex-
haustive breadth of the Burt papers, nor are they organized
chronologically. They include many personal and family letters and some
of the records of Dr. Seth S. Peck, including some indenture deeds dating
back to shortly after his marriage to Sarah Lay in New York in 1814. Also
included are a number of letters from Dr. John E. Peck during his
diplomatic service in Spain."
Included among the old documents, most of them yellow with age and
some fragile and time-worn, is the "First Annual Circular of the
Preparatory Department of St. Augustine University," for which Burt
was a trustee.
The institution of higher learning was open to both sexes, according to
the bulletin, and its academic year was scheduled to begin Tuesday, Dec.
18, 1877. "This institution now open to the public is located in the beautiful
City of St. Augustine, Florida, and is under the fostering care of St.
Augustine University, established by act of the Legislature, approved the
Sixth Day of February, 1877," the circular proclaimed. It sought among
its numbers "College students whose health demands a short residence in
the South," noting they could "continue their studies here without losing
their class standing."
IN SAU's SEMINARY COURSE, "YOUNG LADIES ARE fitted for
society and to this end are instructed in modern languages, music,
history, literature and the fine arts." Offered along with college and
seminary courses, were preparatory and commercial courses.
Tuition was $15 per four-month term.
A non-transferable "trader's license" issued by the City of St.
Augustine on Oct. 21, 1843, is another one of the interesting pieces of paper
Burt squirreled away. "Under and in virtue of City Ordinance passed 11th
March 1840: License is granted to George Burt and Co. to sell or barter,
within the limits of the City of St. Augustine goods, wares or merchan-
dise, (liquors in less quantity than one quart excepted) at the store on
Charlotte Street near Treasury Street. This license is to continue until the
first day of April AD eighteen hundred and forty-four." It was signed P.
B. Dumas, Clerk of the Council. The license cost $12 and $1 was added to
the cost as "clerk's fee."
An 1805 copy of the London Times carries a vivid account of the death of
British Naval hero Lord Nelson.
TUCKED AWAY IN A TINY ENVELOPE IS A PRINTED invitation to
"Aquatic Promenade of the St. Augustine Yacht Club, Saturday, Feb. 28,
1880. Admit Mr. (followed by a blank for the guest's name) and Ladies."
Penned on the back is the note: "Compliments of the House Committee."
Another carefully saved document is one executed by an A. C. Kellogg,
colonel of the Fifth Regiment of the Militia of Vermont, naming George
Burt first sergeant in the Seventh Battalion Co. of the state militia, dated
June 4, 1839. Burt continued his association with the military after mov-
ing to St. Augustine, as evidenced by his enlistment papers in the St.
Augustine Guard, dated April 3, 1888. Signatures appearing on the enlist-
ment document are F. E. Mitchell, secretary, and William Moody, cap-
In an Amnesty Oath signed Sept. 9, 1865, Burt swears to "faithfully sup-
port and defend the constitution of the U.S. and the Union of the States
thereunder;" vowing also that he "will, in like manner, abide by and
faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made dur-
ing the existing Rebellion with reference to Emancipation."
AN EYE-CATCHING COUNTERPART TO THE AIR MAIL of recent
days is a letter stamped "steamboat" for travel by that mode of transpor-
tation instead of less speedy methods of that day. The letter carries a
Indicative of the need to conserve paper and mail weight, especially
during the Civil War years, is a cross-written letter, on which lines were
penned in the normal manner, then the letter turned 90 degrees and the
correspondence continued, with lines crossing the conventionally written
ones to create a "plaid" effect.
A land sales promotion map-poster, aimed at enticing investors and
new residents to an area of what is now Seminole County, announces that
about 1,500 resided there in 1871, whereas only three years earlier popula-
tion was about 70.