When in 1763 Florida was transferred to the English, most of the Spanish
residents evacuated to Havana. Many people were unable to sell their properties
before their departure. However, the Spanish Crown appointed Don Juan Jose Elixio
de la Puente to dispose of all unsold property. He made a map on January 22, 1764
in which he plotted every house and gave each one a number and made a list of
property owners to identify them with each house. This may be the earliest record
of property ownership in St. Augustine as earlier records have never been located.
Puente was able to sell some real estate property but turned the unsold
houses and lots over to Jesse Fish, a resident of St. Augustine, who had convinced
Puente that he would sell the properties and then reimburse the Spanish owners.
The Paredes House was one of these houses.
Puente, in his map of 1j64, had described the Paredes House a a "tabby
house in Block D. Lot 69 belonging to Antonio Jose Rodrfguez". In 1768 Jesse Fish
sold this house to a Joseph Dyason, a British subject. esse-Fish Account Book
shows the following entry:
Antonio Jose Rodriguez
1768 Dec. 20
For the deed and measuring his
2 pa 4 ra.
1768 Dec. 20
For his lot sold to
37 ps 7 rs
Note: Notice that when this sale took place the house was no longer
there as only the lot was being sold.
Records indicate that Lot 69, together with Lot 68, as a unit, were sold
at public auction and bought by one owner, therefore, we present here in this
study Puente's description of Lot 68.
"Block D, Lot 68 stone house of Antonia de Avero"
Jesse Fish also sold this house to Dyason the same day he sold Puente 69.
His account book has the following entry:
Don Joachin Blanco [>]
1768 Dec. 20
1768 Dec. 20
For the deed of the house of
of Fernando el Gallego[ -:*] and
measuring his lot
For the house and lot
of Ferndo. el Gallego sold
to Jph Dyason
on the East to Spanish Street with which borders on the
West; on the North with the house and lot which I still
own; on the South with adjoining properties belonging to
Francisco Arnau; the heirs of Sebastian Coll; of Juan Gero;
of Francisco Olmedo and of Pedro Llull; and which I sell
to him with all its entrances, exits, usages, customs, rights
and duties and at the same time I reinforce it against the wall
of the house that, with the lot, remains my property and free
of all obligation. . (Phtostat in the Library of the SAHS)
On March 4, 1813, Francisco Marin, for Juana Paredes (absent), daughter of
Juan Paredes, sold this property (South half portion of Quedada 104) to Pedro Fucha
stating that the existing coquina house had been built by her father. (Photostat
in the Library of the SAHS)
On March 26, 1813, S&nchez' widow, Maria Castaneda, sold to the same Pedro
Fucha the north half of the property (Quesada 104). (Photostat in the Library of
On an undetermined date between 1813 and 1834, Fucha sold the lot and house
built by Paredes (South half portion of Quesada 104) to Esteban Arnau. No deed of
the transaction has been found. However, the Clements Survey of 1834 lists Stephen
Arnau as the contemporary owner.
Meanwhile, on June 8, 1819, Pedro Fucha had given Esteban Arnau a comprehensive
Power of Attorney authorizing him to act as his attorney or agent in all matters
pertaining to his properties. (Phtostat in the Library of the SAHS)
In 1851, Margaret D. Arnau, the widow of Esteban, elected to take the child's
portion of the estate of her deceased husband, and was given the house under consid-
eration here as well as the north portion of the property (North half portion of
In an agreement made on March 26, 1851 between Margaret D. Arnau and Paul Arnau,
the administrator of the estate of Esteban, and other heirs, statement is made that
Esteban died seized and possessed of the following real estate:
* the dwelling house and lot in which said Esteban
died, of the value of $700 .
. also another house and lot situated on the north
of the dwelling house and premises, of said Esteban Arnau,
above mentioned, of the value of $425. ..
And further, that the property under consideration here was
*. the southern lot of the two lots purchased by
Esteban Arnau of Peter Fouche (sic) and being the
dwelling house and premises in which said Arnau died. .
This agreement is recorded as "Exhibit A" in a Bill in Chancery filed July 9,
1890 in the Circuit Court of St. Johns County for a partition of property among the
Arnau heirs. "Exhibit A" is described as their only proof of ownership because the
original of the 1851 agreement had been destroyed by fire.
When the public auction was held in 1791, Juan Sdnchez, Chief Master Calker
of the Royal Works, bought the property described above. (Puente 68 and 69, Rocque 42,
uesada 104). Juan Sdnchez also owned a house on the East side of the Calle Real
[St. George St.].
Sanchez died intestate on April 18, 1802 and his properties were appraised
for distribution to his widow and daughters. (East Florida Papers Testamentary
Proceedigs Inventory, assessment and distribution of the estate of Don Juan
Sanchez. deceased, Box 22-25. Reel Not 6. Document No. 4) *
On February 18, 1803 title was confirmed to his heirs by Governor White.
The following is a translated portion of said title:
. one house and lot in No. 104, Block 12, of the
already mentioned inventory, which he acquired by purchase
in the above mentioned auction, after the corresponding
bond paid on April 3, 1791. This property having been
measured and land marks having been set showed in the-
front N-S 23 varas, depth E-W, 71 varas; bounded on the
North with house and lot of the heirs of Don Baymundo
de Arribas; South, a house and lot of Francisco Arnau;
East, the Calle Real [St. George St.] that goes to the
Puerta de Tierra [Land Gate]; West, by Calle Espaflola
Spanish St.] .
Photostat in the Library of the St. Augustine Historical
On December 30, 1803, Maria Castafieda, widow of Don Juan Sdnchez, sold to
Juan Paredes the south half portion of this property (Quesada 104). A portion
of this document has been translated and reads as follows
Let it be known that I, Maria Castafieda, widow of Juan Sanchez,
a resident of this city, do hereby sell to Juan Paredes a lot
situated in the Royal Street [St. George] which leads to the
Puerta de Tierra [Land Gate] and which is half of the lot that
my already mentioned deceased husband possessed and bought at
the public auction which was held by order of the Government
of those lots and houses which went back to the Royal patrimony
at the time of the return of this province to the Spanish Crown;
and for the same reason one of the properties which His Majesty
donated to the buyers of them by his royal permit of June 17, 1801.
Title was issued to the said property by virtue of the mentioned
royal grant to the heirs of my above mentioned deceased husband
on February 18 of this year. All this property was adjudicated
to me, with a new house which the deceased had built, in the
estrajudicial sharing which I made of the estate which remained
due to his death with the other co-heirs to said estate, and
it has been approved, with the inventories and appraisals of
the said estate by Decree of this Government issued on May 21 last,
as a result of the judicial proceedings which we have undertaken
for this purpose and which are now recorded in the office of the
Escribano [Government Clerk]. Half of the lot which in the front
runs North-South, measures eleven a a half varas; its full depth,
front to rear, which,runs from said Calle Real with which borders
* Don Joachin Blanco was Antonia de Avero's husband and heir.
**Fernando [Rodriguez] el Gallego had bequeathed this house to Antonia de Avero
in 1762. (Dofa Antonia de Avero sobre reasumir sus Casas. v Dosesiones. con -
lo demAs que de los Autos consta. Florida. Afo de 1793. No. 19. Bundle 320;
Field Note Division, Dept. of Agric. (Tallahassee). (Microfilm in the Library
of the St. Augustine Historical Society.)
From the time of these two sales until April 15, 1788 when*Mariano de la
Rocque Map was made of the city, we have no record of transfers of either of these
In 1783 Florida had again reverted to the Spanish Crown after twenty years
of British occupation and some St. Augustinians were returning home. Many Spaniards
remained in Havana. Others returned to regain their former holdings; some came
to resettle and bought property from the English who were leaving Florida, or
requested the Spanish Crown for grants of land.
In 10S the Crown appointed Mariano de la Rocque to plot his map of the
town showing ownership by St. Augustinians as well as properties that had reverted
to the Crown.
Rocque Map shows these two lots (Puente 68 and 69) as one, and places them
in Block 7 Lot 42 and described as follows:
"Masonry house and flat roof, in fair condition, with
the lot that runs East-West; in the custody of Don Antonio
Note: Antonio Fernndez was the son-in-law of the above
mentioned Antonia de Avero. She never received payment
for the sale of her house (Puente 68) from Jesse Fish.
Before her death in 1792 she had started legal proceedings
to regain three houses in St. Augustine. As a result of
this suit this house returned temporarily to the Avero
family and that is the reason it appears registered to
FernAndez in the Rocque Map. Her claim for this property
In 1790, Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada, governor of Florida, sold at public
auction those houses that were now property of the Coown. A list was prepared
showing the houses, lots, to whom sold and the price. The numbers on this list
did not correspond to the Rocque Map but could be easily identified with the
Rocque Map by description.
In the Quesada List, No. 104 (Rocque 42, Puente 68 and 69), description
is as follows:
No. 104 A small masonry house and lot of the King with a useless
wooden kitchen, bounded on the front by the Calle Real [St. George],
West by Calle Espaflola [Spanish St.], North, house and lot of the
heirs of Don Reymundo [Arrivas], and South by a lot of Santiago
Prados; measures in the front N-S twenty three varas, and in
depth E-W seventy one.varas that at the rate of half real per
square vara amounts to eight hundred sixteen and a half reales.
Eighteen varas of masonry of some walls of the house by four
varas high, at the rate of one and a half real per sq. vara
amounts to one hundred and eight reales
Carpentry all useless
This property was subsequently mortgaged by the Arnau heirs to George L. Eastman
which mortgage was foreclose and a deed given on September 4, 1895 by W. W. Dewhurst,
Special Master of Chancery to George L. Eastman. (Deed Book YY. 111-113 St. Johns
April 11, 1900 George L. Eastman, et. ux. TO James P. Dodge
(Deed Book 2. p. 177 St. Johns County Records)
December 8, 1934 Emma J. Dodge TO St. Augustine Historical Society
and Institute of Science. (Deed Book 106, p. 711 -
St. Johns County Records)
Note: All of the above changes of titles and documentary research made on this
property made by Mrs. Doris C. Viles and Mrs. Eugenia B. Arana in the
St. Johns County Records and in the Spanish documents cited, copies of
which may be found in the Library of the St. Augustine Historical Society.
Date of erection: Second Spanish Period Between 1803 and 1813.
Builder: Juan Paredes
IV NOTES ON PRESERVATION AND STABILIZATION
In May 1948, the St. Augustine Historical Society undertook stabilization
and preservation of the building.
The openings on the East or St. George Street elevation were reinforced with
"I" beams and a 32 foot 3/8" x 12" steel plate was fastened in the East wall and
anchored to the ceiling joists to reinforce the coquina wall.
On the first floor, the southeast and southwest rooms were replastered.
On the second floor, new flooring was laid over the original in order to
level it, and a bathroom and kitchen installed in the south end of the building.
Dormer windows were placed in the west roof slope on the second floor level, for
ventilation. The stairway from first to second floor was rebuilt. The entire
roof was re-shingled with Johns-Manville asbestos shingles.
This work was done at an approximate cost of $2,500,
The following is the text of the marker placed on this house in 1959.
A SPANISH HOME
When Spanish Rule returned to St. Augustine in 1783,
this property, like many others left by the English,
reverted to the Spanish Crown, and was sold at public
auction. It was purchased by Juan Sanchez and
inherited by his widow, Maria Castafieda. Later
owners included the Arnau family. The present
coquina house was built about 1803 by Juan Paredes.
An original building preserved by the St. Augustine
Historical Society since 1934.