HISTORIC ST. AUGUSTINE PRESERVATION BOARD
July 16, 1974
TO: J. W. Griffin, Director
FROM: T. G. Ledford, Curator
SUBJECT: Theft of Porter Watch from the Florida Medical Museum, Spanish Hospital
Below is a description of the Gold Watch stolen May 21-22, 1974 from the Florida Medical
Gold case pocketwatch with heavy gold chain and a FOB ornament. The
watch chimes (hour, quarter hour, and minutes) and bears the initials
"J. Y. P set in diamonds on the front cover. Rhinestones and rubies
are also set into the watch.
The watch is inscribed: "Presented to Joseph Y. Porter, M. D., Surgeon-
in-Charge U.S. Government Relief Measure, by the Jacksonville Auxiliary
Sanitary Assoc., in recognition of valuable service to the city of Jacksonville
during the Yellow Fever epidemic o f 1888. "
The FOB ornament is a star in a circle with a crossbar at the chain attachment.
FOB is of gold metal.
The watch was presented to the medical museum by Dr. Wilson Sowder of Jacksonville
former State Health Director on July 26, 1973. The watch was appraised in 1958
at $4500. 00 and its present value is estimated to be $9000. 00 $10, 000. 00.
A plexiglass case on a solid stand housed the watch. An alarm system was installed
on the case which could be activated three ways:
1. if the entire case and base were lifted from the floor.
2. if the plexiglass cover was broken or unscrewed from its base.
3. if the watch, on its pillow was disturbed a contact wire was attached
to the watch itself.
In addition alarm pads were placed under the approach carpeting and breaker beams
protected the downstairs corridor leading to the stairwell. All alarms were on at the
time of the burglarly and in operating condition.
I could not find out who appraised the watch in 1958 and the current estimate is based
on an informal conversation with William Moeller, a local jeweler.