(Cover photo) The
Castillo de San Mar-
cos in St. Augustine is
the only structure re-
maining from the First
Spanish Period of Flor-
ida history. It was be-
gun in 1672, 75 years
after the first hospital
was founded in the
When St. Augustine
was founded by Pedro
Menendez de Aviles,
a Mass was celebrated
by the expedition's
chaplain. This statue
at the Mission of
Nombre de Dios com-
memorates the event.
* ~ _
last ?06941_- a. S.o A
he struggling tiny presidio (garrison) of St. Augustine on
the little inlet of the northeast Florida coast which greeted
Gonzalo M6ndez de Canzo when he arrived on June 2, 1597,
to take over the duties of governor, consisted of a rough fort, a
number of wooden houses with thatched roofs, a few Indian dwell-
ings and a couple hundred inhabitants. Arriving with Governor
M6ndez were a cleric, who was to serve as chaplain in the presidio;
24 soldiers; an officer; and, 10 to 12 women of "good reputation
who were to marry soldiers in Florida."
Governor Mendez found a small frame hospital being con-
structed adjoining a wooden church. Because he felt it of great
benefit to the garrison, he gave it his best support toward comple-
tion. Governor M6ndez said if there had been no hospital during
the summer of 1597, many soldiers, Indians, and Negro slaves
would have died from a fever which swept the community.
The cost of founding and building the hospital exceeded the
contributions collected for the purpose by more than 500 ducats and
so Governor Mendez petitioned the Spanish King, Phillip II, for
financial support and the assignment of a female slave to serve in
the building. The Crown eventually authorized the release of 500
ducats from the treasury in New Spain (Mexico) to be added to the
funds contributed by the soldiers of the garrison. The governor was
also allowed to select a slave who would make beds, cook for the
patients, and keep the place clean all of which had been lacking
up to that time.
This first hospital was attached to the Hermita de Nuestra
Sefiora de La Soledad which, according to the Juan Jose de la
Puente map of January 22, 1764, and the Mariano de la Rocque
FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
map of April 25, 1788, was located on the west side of present-day
St. George Street and a short distance north of Bridge Street. The
property is now owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Thus the first hospital in Florida was established 371 years ago
in the oldest city in the United States. The story of this hospital,
and those which were to follow, is a departure from the stories on
health problems and programs which usually appear in Florida
Health Notes. We hope you will find these facts about St. Augus-
tine, its hospitals, and how they were managed and supported, fas-
cinating and enlightening. Much of the information came directly
from the Stetson Collection, an enormous accumulation of over
100,000 photocopies of old Spanish manuscripts, now in the Uni-
versity of Florida P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History. The
original manuscripts are in the Archives General de Indias in
WR/ St. ^W^M?
lorida was discovered by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513 and
visited during the next half century by a number of explor-
ers, including Diego Miruelo, Francisco Hernandez de C6r-
doba and Don Hernando de Soto, who came looking for gold, slaves
or adventure. The peninsula laid along the Bahama Channel
through which the gold-laden galleons sailed from Mexico and
Panama on the shortest route to Spain. The irregular coastline of
Florida, with its bays and inlets, provided haven for pirates; and
the Spaniards could not ignore the attacks upon their ships carry-
ing the wealth of the Indies nor the possible colonization of the
FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
Published monthly by the Florida State Board of Health, Wilson T. Sowder, M.D., M.P.H.,
State Health Officer, Publication office, Box 210, Jacksonville, Florida 32201. Second Class
postage paid at Jacksonville, Florida. This publication is for individuals and institutions with
an interest in the state's health programs. Permission is given to quote any story providing
credit is given to the Florida State Board of Health. Editor: Robert A. Schoonover, M.A.
VOLUME 60-NO. 2 FEBRUARY 1968
32 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
area by a rival sea power. In order to expell the French from a po-
sition on the St. Johns River, to protect the gold fleets, and to res-
cue Spaniards wrecked in the Bahama Channel, the Spaniards de-
cided to establish a permanent colony on the Florida Coast. This was
the beginning of St. Augustine.
On September 8, 1565, following a frantic night of preparation
to fortify an communal house in the Indian village of Seloy against
a possible invasion by the French, Pedro Men6ndez de Aviles landed
to set up the colony. Fray Francisco L6pez de Mendoza Grajales,
the chaplain of the expedition, chronicled the disembarkation and
"On Saturday, the 8th of September, the day of the
nativity of our Lady, the General disembarked, with numer-
ous banners displayed, trumpets and other martial music re-
soundings, and amid salvos of artillery."
Normally, the two major purposes of the Spaniards for explora-
tion and colonization were to win land for the Crown and to win
souls for the church. The adventurers who sought gold in Florida
returned from their quests chagrined. The missionaries were more
fruitful. In time the country became a religious province for the
Franciscans with a chapter house of the Order of St. Francis at St.
Today the cannons of the
Castillo de San Marcos
slumber in the Florida
sun. For over a century
they boomed against pi-
rates, Indians and Eng-
lishmen who attacked St.
Augustine. Although the
Castillo changed hands
several times, it was
never taken by force.
Augustine. The garrison, itself, was the center of a string of watch
stations and missions which were flung across Florida to the Gulf
of Mexico and to the north along the Atlantic coast.
The colony at St. Augustine was never self-supporting. The land
was too poor and sandy to grow many crops and at times the resi-
dents were on the verge of starvation. The troop pay funds from
New Spain kept the colony alive. Because of the unfavorable loca-
tion, Spanish officials seriously considered abandoning St. Augus-
tine at the beginning of the 17th Century. Governor Mendez, one
of the most foresighted of Florida's governors, was asked for an
opinion and he turned a defense of the colony into a logical plea for
future development. His arguments, liberally fortified with statis-
tics, did much to save the situation. Mendez included in his statis-
tics how many lives and how much wealth the garrison had saved
from ships wrecked by seasonal storms along the Florida coast.
A priest, Fray Baltasar L6pez, on December 12, 1599, reported
to the Crown, "There is little progress in conversion work owing to
the lack of assistance to the missionaries, especially since the
arrival of Governor Mendez. St. Augustine's location is bad; there
are much better areas and ports; a strong wind destroyed part of
of the town in September, including part of the fort and guard-
Florida during the early part of the Spanish occupation was a
rugged frontier garrison. The early buildings erected at St. Augus-
tine, including the storehouse, were made of timber with palmetto
leaf thatched roofs. Some homes had walls of closely joined poles
driven into the ground and dirt floors. The roofs were steeply
pitched thatched with palmetto and palm leaves or swamp grass.
The better houses in the time of Governor Mendez were built
with a flat roof and tabby walls (composed of oyster shells, mud
and cemented together with lime). As in the style of homes in
34 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
Tourists wander today through the courtyard and over the battlements of
the Castillo de San Marcos where once 17th Century soldiers lived and
Spain, St. Augustine residents built wall-enclosed patios in the rear
of their homes with a cooking oven in the corner. When cold waves
swept down from the North, citizens placed live charcoal in braziers
to warm the drafty dwellings.
Hospitals were new to Spanish towns in the late 16th Century.
A royal decree (Bulas y CUdulas para Gobierno of July 3, 1573)
stated that each Spanish town was to support two hospitals. One
was for the poor, suffering from non-contagious diseases, to be
built "adjoining the temple (chapel or church) with a cloister (cov-
ered walk) to it." The second hospital was for patients with con-
tagious diseases. It was to be built on elevated ground, if possible,
and in a region where prevailing winds would not endanger the rest
of the community.
FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
Fort Matanzas, located some 15 miles south of St. Augustine on the Ma-
tanzas River, guarded the "backdoor" to the Spanish colony. It was near this
spot that Jean Ribault, the Frenchman who tried to attack the garrison in
1565, and his men were slaughtered by the Spaniards.
The first recorded military hospital was mentioned in Francisco
Barado's Museo Militar Historia del ejercito espailol (Military
Museum History of the Spanish Army, published in Barcelona
about 1883). This three-volume work referred to a decree of July
29, 1579, which said that a hospital was organized by Vespasiano
Gonzago Colona in Pampola and carried on by Pedro Bermddez for
the curing of soldiers.
7Uktate St"ke tke G6awuof
ire destroyed part of the garrison town on March 14, 1599,
and many buildings, including the Convent of San Fran-
cisco, were destroyed. (A convent is a community or build-
ing housing friars, monks or nuns.) Because there was no place for
them to go, the friars moved into the Hermita de Nuestra Sefiors
de La Soledad and the adjoining hospital. The first hospital then
ceased to exist.
A member of the San Franciscan Brotherhood, Fray Blas de
Montez, wrote the Crown on February 25, 1600, telling of the dis-
aster and pleading for help:
36 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
"In other letters I have written to Your Majesty, I have
given an account of the fire we had on the 14th of March of
last year, 1599, in the city. (Some later letters report the
fire as May 14, 1599.) Among other houses burned with the
church, was ours, and we came to the hospital for shelter,
where we still are, and I implore Your Majesty to rebuild our
house. The 700 ducats required to repair the house which was
burned, and which we hope you will send us, will be placed
with the treasurer of this Province until a decision has been
reached regarding this country.
"On account of its (St. Augustine's) ruined and barren
condition, it is incapable of maintaining so many natives as
there are, and as was demonstrated the other day. Many
seem to think they will order the garrison removed to
another part more advantageous. Should this be the case,
your servants will advise you at once of all that occurs."
On June 12, 1600, another priest, Fray Alons6 de las Alas de-
scribed another disaster which struck St. Augustine:
"On September 22 of the past year, 1599, the tide came
in with such fury that the town was entirely flooded and
many houses were knocked down, among them the guard-
house and parts of the storehouse; whereby a quantity of
Your Majesty's supplies were destroyed. Also, part of the
fort was damaged as the waves swept away the wall and
bastion on the sea front. The said fort being built of wood,
sand and fascine (bunches of sticks)."
yNe Rosf'&. o0 S4"t4 Buua
a because of the disaster which resulted in the end of the
Hospital, Governor Mendez, on January 1, 1600, organized
Another in honor of Santa BArbara. In a letter to the
Crown, he stated, "Since without the hospital, care could not be
taken of the sick, I, the Governor, moved by charity and love of
God which every good Christian should have, established a house
which could be called a 'hospital' taking care personally of all the
expenses. This hospital has rooms with beds, mattresses, sheets,
pillows and blankets, where persons can be bedded and cured."
FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
The following major conditions were set down for the estab-
lishment of the hospital:
His Majesty would be its patron.
A majordomo (steward) would be appointed every year who,
with the governor, would have a key to a box to be kept in
the hospital where alms received would be deposited.
A book would be kept in which alms received and with-
drawals would be recorded.
Money could be withdrawn by the majordomo so that pur-
chases may be made for what the sick persons needed.
The hospital would never be reorganized nor attached per-
manently to any other hospital or brotherhood but that it
would always stand, supported by gifts of the people,
throughout the years.
A choral High Mass would be said yearly in honor of Santa
Barbara. Patients admitted in the hospital by the direction
of the physician would come in having already received con-
fession and communion.
In case a patient died in the hospital, all his clothing, dress
and arms with which he came into the hospital could belong
to it as alms. A funeral Mass would be said for the dead
Because the hospital had no income, except what the Gover-
nor gave and alms received from interested persons, the
majordomo would record in a separate book the date of ad-
mission and date of discharge of each patient. The major-
domo would also ask the Governor for two and a half reales
to be deducted from the daily rations of each soldier who
entered the hospital. Such alms would be deposited in the box.
The soldiers of the garrison were to contribute 12 reales a
year to the support of the hospital, as was customary for
the infantry. This money would be given for the mainte-
nance of the hospital and treatment of patients.
Farmers would be asked for voluntary contributions at the
time of harvest and these alms would be recorded in the
38 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
Physicians and surgeons from the garrison would attend the
patients and make calls. Sick persons would receive medicines
provided annually by the Crown.
The majordomo would visit the patients every day and pur-
chase what was needed.
If there was money left over, a female slave would be pur-
chased to care for the sick.
The majordomo would inform the Governor, or whoever was
in charge of the garrison, of any needs and ask him to
The vicar would investigate the founding of the hospital and
its organization to see that the regulations were just and
convenient for work intended for the service of God.
Fray Ricardo Artur, the vicar general and inspector of the
Florida province, noted on January 3, 1600, that he had seen the
founding of the Hospital of Santa Barbara and its articles of
organization. Since the founding was a "work of charity by which
our Lord, as well as the poor of the garrison would be served," he
approved the formation of the hospital and regarded it as adequate.
Governor M6ndez reported to the Crown on June 28, 1600, that
Fray Baltazar Lopez of the San Franciscan Order had arrived from
New Spain and brought 500 ducats which King Phillip II had
ordered to be collected in that country for the hospital established
for the soldiers of the garrison. The friar also brought 500 addi-
tional ducats for the Convent of San Francisco. An additional
2842 reales, which had been found in wrecked ships on the beach
of San Mateo and placed in the treasury, were also turned over to
A uew ?l
he hospital built in honor of Santa Barbara existed for
several years. But the location did not receive the favor
of the next governor. On account of the poor hospital site
chosen by his predecessor, Governor Pedro de Ibarra, on Decem-
ber 26, 1605, wrote the Crown:
FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
"Because their church and house burned down, the fathers
of San Francisco lived eight years (sic) in the Hermita de
Nuestra Sefiora de La Soledad, from where Governor Gon-
zalo Mendez de Canzo removed the hospital, which was an-
nexed to the Hermita, and made a separate one in such a bad
site and so small that from six soldiers who would be ad-
mitted for cure, three would die and the others never get well.
"Since I have now built the said fathers a very good
church and a worthy house, I have returned the hospital to
the said Hermita, which I have enlarged with alms and al-
most rebuilt all of it, so that the soldiers and the slaves are
cured with much more comfort and care, and without danger
of fire which was (present) before.
"For the care of the patients, I am thinking of bringing
a brother of the San Juan de Dios from Habana, and with
this I can dispense with a soldier who now does it, and (all)
this I did with the opinion of the royal officials because they,
knowing the great need, asked me to do it.
"Thus I ordered that the palm-thatched house, where the
patients had been, be returned to Captain Juan Garcia, who
holds power of attorney from Gonzalo M6ndez de Canzo, as
all that has been said is recorded in papers made on the
The Brotherhood of the Order of San Juan de Dios, one of
whom Governor Pedro de Ibarra desired to bring from Havana,
had distinguished itself in the service of assistance to wounded
and sick soldiers. Members of the Brotherhood not only attended
patients in the hospital but were present in combat and accom-
panied armies into battle where the Brothers collected the wound-
ed. During the 16th and 17th Centuries they gave immeasurable
services on many battlefronts of Spain, as well as in the Americas.
40 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
The homes of the First
Spanish Period were one-
story buildings with
walled patios. The pres- .
ent two-story structures,
with their balconies, were -
first built during the
British Period (1763-
Ae Io9fitd1 i Zffra& nme4
hospital of one kind or another continued from 1605 in St.
Augustine. Whether it was the one attached to the Her-
mita of Neustra Sefiora de La Soledad or another Royal
Hospital is not ascertained from the writing of the time. If there
were more than one at any time, and where they were located, is
also not known.
On December 15, 1611, Governor Juan Fernandez de Olivera
"The hospital that there is in this city is so poor that it
has no other income than the alms which the soldiers give,
and it has not been aided with a thing from Your Majesty's
treasury, which is the reason why even those who become ill
have no place for getting cured, since there is no other (hos-
pital) where they may be cured, which results in great need
and discomfort for the ill. I beg Your Majesty to order that
it (the hospital) be aided every year with what may be neces-
sary; 200 or 300 ducats every year being sufficient. Since it
seems to me that Your Majesty will find it convenient that
it (the hospital) be aided with something, I am (already)
The administration of the hospital suffered from time to time.
Not only did the poor, who expected to be taken care of in times
FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
This plan of St. Augustine and its port was made about 1763 for II GA-
of sickness, contribute alms (somewhat in the manner of Medi-
care) but religious plays were enacted in the Hermita and at times
in the hospital for the benefit of the sick.
Not only the hospital, but the church and community saw
times of destitution. The king's chest in the fort was nearly al-
ways empty and there were many soldiers whose pay was four to
six years in arrears. At times the soldiers were so poverty-
stricken and naked that they could not mount guard.
Everyone was not happy in the Florida colony. Under some of
the governors, soldiers were "ill treated and afflicted." Juan
Nuiiez Rios, a soldier in the time of Governor Mendez, wrote on
42 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
SFebruary 19, 1600, "If one of the soldiers is sick requiring any-
thing and sends to ask for money to get the needed medicine, the
_A Governor refuses to give it, forcing him to buy it from Juan
SGarcia . ." He added that ". all lawsuits or troubles of any
.-',' kind which arise are brought before the Governor by the same
S Juan Garcia, who seems to be supreme."
From time to time there seemed to have been friction between
the priests and the governors. Governor Ibarra wrote on June 20,
&%L 1615, that the annual cost of each priest was 1535 reales. An
undated letter of Governor Juan de Trevifio Guillamas requested
.d*- that the number of friars be reduced and that they should not fill
the plazas and have the pay of soldiers. He added that while there
were many people who required many priests, there were too many
of them. On the other hand, Fray Alonso de Jesis on February
27, 1635, requested more missionary priests, stating that "24
priests are needed-only 12 were sent by the Crown." This fric-
tion developed from conflict of jurisdiction over the Indians and
various phases of life in the garrison. At times, the hospital was
a point of conflict between the governors and the clergy.
"%44w&, S4teio f'ud tite eat
during the half century following its founding, St. Augustine
acquired a permanent population despite the people who
left because of starvation, frustration and desertion. Some
of the soldiers married and settled permanently in the colony and
raised families. In 1657, St. Augustine was a city of 300 men, who
occupied authorized positions in the garrison, plus women, children
and other men who were not counted in the official strength of the
presidio. The city contained a convent of the Order of San Francis;
a main church with a pastor, vicar and chaplain for the soldiers; a
Royal Hospital dedicated to the Nuestra Sefiora de La Soledad;
Brotherhoods of the Most Holy Sacrament and Las Animas; another
hospital for the curing of the poor; and, a Hermita of Santa Bar-
An English pirate, Robert Searles, alias Davis, sacked St. Augus-
tine in 1668 without sparing the parish church, the Convent of San
FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
This ornate bed, where
dead persons were laid in
state, is on display in the
S Spanish hospital and
apothecary shop on
Aviles Street. The 18th
e Century building was
converted from a stable
to a hospital during the
English Period and it
continued as such into
the Second Spanish
Francisco, the hospital and other religious brotherhoods. The raid
came after an argument had developed between Governor Francisco
de la Guerra y de Vega and a French surgeon, Pedro Pique. The
Frenchman set sail by ship for Havana and off the coast of Florida
his ship was captured by pirates. The disgruntled doctor took his
revenge on the governor by revealing to the pirates the proper
signals and thus they were able to gain entrance to the harbor.
They sacked the presidio, killed some 60 people and took everything
of value they could carry away.
The next year, the Marquis de Mancera, viceroy to New Spain,
wrote the Crown that Sergeant Major Salvodor de Cigarroa had
come from Florida, empowered by Governor Guerra to collect funds
for the support of the garrison. He was also to ask that the hospital
in St. Augustine be furnished quantities of cloth for sheets and
mattresses and other small items.
Following the attack by Searles, the Spanish authorities decided
to build a permanent fort of stone. The incident made clear to the
Spanish that the attack was more than a chance visit. Before the
English adventures left, they carefully surveyed the harbor, prom-
ising to return in force to seize the place for a base of operation
against the "Vessels of the Indies Trade."
44 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
The first fort used by the Spanish in St. Augustine was a rein-
forced Indian communal house. Eight other forts followed through
the years, but they were built of wood and became victims of
storms. As early as 1570, someone had suggested that stone might
be imported from Cuba for the construction of a proper fort. In
1580, Pedro Menendez Marques discovered the existence of coquina
stone on Anastasia Island and after the construction of the Castillo
de San Marcos the settlers began to quarry and use the stone.
The tenth fort, the Castillo, was begun on a Sunday afternoon
in 1672 and it took about 23 years intermittently to build. After
the erection of the Castillo, coquina came into use as building ma-
terial and by 1763 there were some 200 dwellings, as well as the
parish church, the convent, governor's mansion and the hospital
made of this shellrock.
A C(%e i k odpital (Atmafetio
he hospital in St. Augustine was always under the custody
of the government. Although the first one had been at-
tached to the Hermita of -Nuestra Sefiora de La Soledad, it
was not administered by the priests.
When Governor Juan Marques Cabrera arrived in Florida in
1680, he found the hospital in a state of deterioration. An English-
man, Charles Robson, was acting as a surgeon even though he was
not a doctor and was drunk half the time. A soldier, with no knowl-
edge of medications, was serving as pharmacist. A total of 1500
pesos of medicines was being sent annually from New Spain and
these were being misused; soldiers were taking away mattresses
and clothing. The hospital was supported by contributions from the
soldiers in the garrison and majordomos were paying 100 pesos a
year for the opportunity to handle these contributions. Governor
Cabrera appointed Sergeant Major Domingo de Leturiondo, at 15
pesos a year, as administrator of the hospital who petitioned the
governor to ask for three Brothers of the Order of San Juan de Dios
to take charge of the hospital. These friars were serving in many
hospitals and garrisons in the Americas.
In answer to Governor Cabrera's request, Friar Pedro de Bolivar,
the Commissary General of the Order of Hospitality of Our Father
FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
of San Juan de Dios, appointed a Reverend Father Ger6nimo de
Nadales to take charge of the hospital. He offered to send another
friar to be in charge of the sacraments and tend to the spiritual
needs of the infantry.
The royal officials of St. Augustine agreed to support the peti-
tion. Since the hospital was attached (at the time) to the Hermita
of Nuestra Sefiora de La Soledad and the Hermita was a part of the
parish, Governor Cabrera wanted the parish priest to see the docu-
ment and state his views on the matter.
The main objective of Cabrera was to put the hospital on a sound
footing. Since the founding governor, Gonzalo Mendez de Canzo,
had given instructions that the hospital not be joined to another
hospital or brotherhood and that the hospital be actively supported
by contributions, there was ample authority for succeeding govern-
ors to divert contributions to other works of charity if the hospital
Fray Domingo de la Berrera, the guardian of the Convent of
San Francisco and its chapter house, protested the arrival of the
Brothers of the Order of San Juan de Dios on the grounds that they
were going to set up another monastery and this was illegal accord-
ing to a royal decree.
The royal treasury officials of Florida petitioned Governor Ca-
brera not to let the "inadequate objections" of the San Franciscan
priests frustrate the benefits the hospital and garrison would re-
ceive from having the Order of San Juan de Dios in St. Augustine.
The governor rejected the protests of the San Franciscans and
agreed with the officials to
assign an adequate site to the Order of San Juan de Dios for
the building of a hospital in St. Augustine;
give the administration of the hospital to the Order of San
Juan de Dios;
allow the friars to receive soldiers who need care into their
residence until the hospital could be completed;
give the friars appointments of surgeon, pharmacist and
assign the friars the six reales that each soldier contributed
46 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
assign the friars the two and a half reales of daily rations
that each of the soldiers received for each day of confinement
in the hospital; and,
discharge the current surgeon, pharmacist and nurse.
Fray Nadales agreed to the conditions of the agreement with the
stipulation that the title of the hospital not be given to the Order,
since the members had taken a pledge of poverty, and that they be
allowed only to administer the hospital; that they be given only the
positions of surgeon and pharmacist; and they be allowed to receive
permission from their superior before taking sick soldiers into their
YNe J1lo9dc'l 1i ate/ feaR4
after Fray Nadales started taking sick soldiers into his resi-
dence in 1685, no mention of the hospital has been found in
the writing of St. Augustine residents and officials until
Adjacent to the Castillo de San Marcos is the gateway which was built dur-
ing the Second Spanish Period (1783-1821). The remains of the mooted
palisades, begun in 1704, can still be seen nearby.
VaQe of Spadk honey
Money played an important part in the building of the first hos-
pital in the United States. J. Villasana Haggard, in his HANDBOOK
FOR TRANSLATORS OF SPANISH DOCUMENTS, estimated one real
in 1600 to equal 20 cents in American money at the 1933 value. One
peso was equal to eight reales or $1.60; a ducat was worth 11
reales or $2.20 at the 1933 value.
This means that the Crown contributed 500 ducats or $1100 -
to the building of the first hospital in 1597. Soldiers contributed 12
reales a year or $2.40 toward their hospital costs or support of
On August 19 of that year, Governor Manuel de Montiano of
Florida wrote the governor of Havana that the Auxiliary Bishop of
Cuba, who resided in St. Augustine, wanted to take over the ad-
ministration of the sick in the hospital as a charitable task.
An interesting note was made by the royal officials of Florida
to the Crown on September 14, 1713 that three pesos a year were
deducted from every man's pay in the Florida garrison for barber's
services, hospitalization and medicines. The individual soldier's
monthly rations consisted of two and a half arrobas of flour and an
extra arroba of flour or maize which were chargeable to his salary
at the price these staples cost in New Spain. (One arroba equaled
25 pounds.) The extra issues, plus some meat or pork and salt,
amounted to nearly 100 pesos a year. To put this into the context
of those times, the ordinary private in the garrison received a
yearly salary of 158 pesos.
The parish priest, Juan Jos6 Solana, gave a description of the
hospital on April 22, 1759, when he wrote the Bishop of Cuba:
"The hospital is a house which was the residence of Ac-
countant Francisco Men6ndez Marques, but newly rebuilt. It
has two salas (large rooms), one on the ground level, the
other upstairs, each with a capacity for 12 beds. There are
48 0 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
two interior rooms downstairs, reserved for elderly persons.
There is a masonry kitchen, roofed with boards. In a room in
the kitchen, live two convicts who care for the sick. The hos-
pital has a lot so spacious that medicinal herbs could be
planted in it."
Father Solana was concerned about the care of the patients.
"The almost complete destitution experienced by the poor
patients deserves no little attention from the pious concern
of Your Most Illustrious Lordship (Bishop of Cuba). This
hospital receives every month 500 reales deducted from the
soldiers, and one real a day from the hospitalized patients.
Yet due to the lack of an individual employed exclusively to
take care of the patients, there is experienced so much care-
lessness in temporal and spiritual matters that it would cause
compassion in the least compassionate heart and even in the
most tyrannical. I propose that the governor and the bishop,
or his vicar, elect a majordomo who has demonstrated inclin-
ation toward compassion, with salary equivalent to that of
a gunner, a lieutenant and a fusilier combined, and that one,
two or as many convicts as necessary, be subject to the
majordomo to attend the urgencies and needs of the pa-
tients. The majordomo would keep account of expenses and
j 0 :5wteuion
rom the time the first hospital was organized in 1597 until
1759 when Father Solana wrote his letter, the hospitals of
St. Augustine grew and declined under good and bad gov-
ernors. Some were interested in the hospitals and the care of the
sick. Others apparently allowed the institutions to collapse without
(Continued on Page 53)
FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
50 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
Following is a modern Spanish translation of the old Spanish manuscripts
(on pages 50 and 51) which describe the founding of the hospital of Santa
Barbara (beginning at the arrow). The original manuscripts are in the
Archives General de Indias in Seville, Spain. These photostats came from
the University of Florida P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History.
Funda- En el nombre de la Santisima Trinidad, padre, hijo y Espiritu
ci6n Santo. Amen.-Yo, Gonzalo M6ndez de Canzo, Gobernador y
Capitin General de 6stas provincias de La Florida, habiendo sido
asignado a 6sta posici6n por Su Majestad el Rey, hago las siguientes
declaraciones: Aqui en San Agustin hubo en un tiempo un hospital
incorporado a la Cofradia de Nuestra Sefiora de la Soledad donde
se ingresaba a los soldados enfermos y personas pobres. El dia 14
de mayo de 1599 hubo un fuego en esta ciudad en el cual se que-
maron el Convento, la Casa Secular de San Francisco, y una gran
cantidad de viviendas. Despubs de 6ste incendio se refugiaron los
frailes en la Cofradia de Nuestra Sefiora de la Soledad. Como ya
no existe el hospital la estan pasando muy mal los soldados de esta
fortaleza military ya que se enferman y no se les puede ofrecer cura
a sus mals. Yo he decidido; movido de la caridad y el amor de Dios
que todo fiel cristiano debe tener; fundar un hospital, erigiendo
una casa de madera con habitaciones en las cuales haya camas con
sus colchones asi como frazadas, sibanas y almohadas. Este hos-
pital acogera a todas las personas pobres que est6n enfermas:
Las siguientes clafisulas regirin su administraci6n: Primera-
Yo funda el hospital y lo proveo del equipo necesario. Pido que Su
Majestad lo patrocine y elija un Administrador todo los afios. Esta
persona y yo tendremos leaves de una caja fuerte donde se irAn
depositando las donaciones que reciba el hospital. Aqui se guard-
arin tablimn los libros de cuentas donde se apuntarA el dinero que
se le tenga que entregar al Administrador para que compare.
Much of the material for this issue of Florida Health Notes has
been obtained through the assistance of Mrs. Victoria Ginorio, health
educator with the Dade County Department of Public Health.
A portion of the material for this article was attained under U.S.
Public Health Service Grant No. 1-R01-LM-00074-01 awarded to the
University of Miami.
52 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
much concern. Problems of caring for the sick, the shortage of funds
and the administration of the hospital were constant.
Because of the lack of a continuing administration, the hospital
did not develop into a major service to the garrison. There were
also more important problems of survival and wars. Medical sci-
ence and the art of nursing had not developed in the time of St.
Augustine to the point they have today. The only similarity be-
tween the little hospital attached to the Hermita of Nuestra Sefiora
de La Soledad and the distinctive institutions of 1968 is the idea
that a sick person needs medical care.
Following is the English translation of the Spanish on page 52:
In the name of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen. I,
Gonzalo Mendez de Canzo, Governor and General Captain of the provinces
of La Florida, appointed by His Majesty, the King, declare: There was in
this city of St. Augustine, a hospital incorporated to the order of Our Holy
Lady of Solitude, where poor, sick infantry men were sheltered and medically
treated. This hospital ceased to exist last year on May 14, 1599, due to a
fire in which many houses, as well as the Franciscans' Chapter House, were
destroyed. For that reason, many persons were taken care of in the Church
of Our Lady of Solitude. Since without the hospital, care could not to taken
of the sick, I, the Governor, moved by charity and love of God, which every
good Christian should have, established a house which was called "hospital"
taking care personally of all the expenses. This hospital has rooms with beds,
mattresses, sheets, pillows and blankets, where persons can be bedded and
cured. The following conditions and clauses will prevail:
I pronounce this hospital as founded and I promise beds in said hospital
on one condition: that it should always be patronized by His Majesty. A
majordomo will be chosen every year, who, with the Governor, should have
a key to a box placed within the limits of the hospital, or a bedroom, in
which all donations will be placed. There will also be a book in which en-
tries will be made and all expenses written down. When there will be need
of withdrawing the necessary money for the sick person, this money will be
given to the majordomo so that he can buy, or have someone buy, whatever
FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
OtAez Suete of ?aiod
In order to put the founding of St. Augustine and the first hos-
pitals in their historical settings, other events which occurred else-
where in the world were as follows:
1579- Francis Drake claimed California for Queen Elizabeth.
1588-The destruction of the Spanish Armada. A total of 132
ships, with 33,000 soldiers and sailors, destroyed by Drake's
attack and storms in the English Channel. Only 50 ships
returned to Spain.
1600-1610- Shakespeare wrote many plays, including Hamlet,
The Tempest, Othello and Macbeth.
1607-Captain John Smith landed at Jamestown, Virginia.
1609- Henry Hudson discovered the Hudson River and New York
1611 -St. James version of The Bible was printed in England.
1618 Beginning of the 30 Years War in Bohemia between Cath-
olics and Protestants.
1620- Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
1626- Manhattan Island bought from the Indians by Peter Minuit
for trinkets worth $24.
1632-The Taj Mahal begun at Agra, India.
1649-Cromwell started the Commonwealth in England.
1656- First witch trial began in Salem, Massachusetts.
1664- Dutch Manhattan seized by English; renamed New York.
1665-Great Plague killed 66,000 persons in London.
1682- La Salle took Southern Mississippi Valley for the French;
named it Louisiana.
1683--William Penn signed treaty with Indians in Penn's Woods
54 FLORIDA HEALTH NOTES
FLORIDA STATE BOARD OF HEALTH
HON. CLAUDE R. KIRK, JR.
Governor of Florida
Eugene G. Peek., Jr., M.D., President
T. M. Cumbie, Ph.G., Vice-President Fred J. Ackel, D.D.S., Member
Quincy Ft. Lauderdale
Leo M. Wachtel, M.D., Member L. Ralph Poe, D.V.M., Member
Jacksonville Winter Park
STATE HEALTH OFFICER
Wilson T. Sowder, M.D., M.P.H.
DEPUTY STATE HEALTH OFFICER
Malcolm J. Ford, M.D., M.P.H.
OPERATING UNIT DIRECTOR
Program and Planning.... ...................... .................G. Foard McGinnes, M.D., Dr.P.H.
Assistant State Health Officer
Office of Operations ......................... ..... .... .......... ............ ................... ...... ...
Division of Health Education...... .............................................................G. Floyd Baker, M .P.H.
Division of Personnel .............. ......................... Miles T. Dean, M.A.
Division of Public Health Nursing -.-......................... .....Enid Mathison, R.N., M.P.H.
BUREAU OF LOCAL HEALTH SERVICES
......... ...........Malcolm J. Ford, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy State Health Officer and Director
Division of Nutrition........ .................... ........ ....... ... ....... ... Mildred Kaufman, M.S.
Division of Sanitation. ............................................... ............... ......A. W Morrison, Jr., R.S.
BUREAU OF ADULT HEALTH AND CHRONIC DISEASES
........................................ .......... ............................. ....... E Fulghum M .D .
BUREAU OF DENTAL HEALTH .............................. Delmar R. Miller, D.D.S., M.P.H.
ENCEPHALITIS RESEARCH CENTER ...........................James Bond, M.D., M.P.H.
Assistant State Health Officer
BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY ........... ........................................John A. Mulrennan, B.S.A.
BUREAU OF FINANCE AND ACCOUNTS .................................Fred B. Ragland, B.S.
Paul R. Tidwell, B.B.A., Assistant
BUREAU OF HEALTH FACILITIES AND SERVICES
C. L. Nayfield, M.D., M.P.H., Acting
BUREAU OF LABORATORIES ........ ...................Nathan J. Schneider, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Warren R. Hoffert, Ph.D., M.P.H., Assistant
BUREAU OF MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH
E. Henry King, M.D., M.P.H.
BUREAU OF PREVENTABLE DISEASES ............ .... C. L. Nayfield, M.D., M.P.H.
E. Charlton Prather, M.D., M.P.H., Associate
Division of Epidemiology-................................... E. Charlton Prather, M.D., M.P.H.
Division of Tuberculosis Control....................................................Dwight Wharton, M.D.
Division of Radiological health ...................................................... Edwin G. W illiams, M.D.
Division of Veterinary Public Health................ ..........James B. Nichols, D.V.M.
BUREAU OF RESEARCH .............................. ..................Howard W. Carter, M.D., M.P.H.
BUREAU OF SANITARY ENGINEERING Sidney A. Berkowitz, M.S. Eng., Acting
Division of Industrial Waste ....................................................... Vincent D. Patton, M.S.S.E.
Division of Special Services..................... ... ....... .. ......... Charles E. Cook, C.E.
Division of W ater Supply............ ..... ................ ................... ....John B. M miller, M.P.H.
Division of Waste Water................................. ..............Ralph H. Baker, Jr., M.S.S.E.
BUREAU OF VITAL STATISTICS.............................Everett H. Williams, Jr., M.S. Hyg.
Division of Data Processing....... ............ .................... Harold F. Goodwin
Division of Public Health Statistics.............. .................Oliver H. Boorde, M.P.H.
Division of Vital Records ...... ........ .............................Charles H. Carter
FLORIDA STATE BOARD OF HEALTH
Post Office Box 210 Jacksonville, Florida 32201