The house thahas been entitled the "O'Reilly" house is. located at
131 Aviles Street in th City of St. Augustine, Florida. According to the
Ta. Rolls f S. Jo ns bunty the property is designated as lot Block 35
of the City of St. Augusting, St. Joseph's Convent currently owns this historic
building and the lot it is constructed upon. At this time the structure, which
possesses two floors and an attic, serves as an unfinished museum of the Order
of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
The O'Reilly house is significant historically because its present
architecture reveals at least two different historical and cultural periods;
it seems to manifest eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century architectural
features even though the house presently exists as a reconstructed structure.
Architectural investigation has indicated that the reconstruction was implemented
with the intention of duplicating the original in both method and craftmanship.
The old dwelling thus reflects a current of cultural history through its renovated
and reconstructed architecture.
While the hist.ical site of the O'Reilly house can be successfully
located ror" 172 7 o the )resent time it is very difficult to locate it accurately
before 1788. Since most of the property transfers fail to describe the properties
that changed ownership, and since the Spanish, British, and American occupants of
St. Augustine employed different measuring systems in the eighteenth and early
nineteenth centuries, properties and land sites cannot usually be clearly delineated.
The cooperative efforts of the archaeological, architectural, and historical
disciplines should eventually accurately locate these historic land plots.
The Juan Elixio de la Puente Map of 176&reveals that a house was
located on what is believed to be the present site of the O'Reilly house. That
building, situated on lot 265, Square C (according to the descriptions of the
Puente map) was described as being a ripio house of Joseph de la Rosa; since it
is quite difficult to use the Puente map for modern measurements it is possible
to suggest that the house of stone of Lorenzo Jose de Leon, located on lot 266,
north of de la Rosa's house, may have been the dwelling that stood where the present
O'Reilly house rests. Nevertheless, the Mariano de la Rocque Map of 1783-89 refers
to Don Miguel de O'Reilly's dwelling as a two story masonry house in mediocre
condition. The John de Solis and James Moncrief maps of 1765 had whown a house
on the approximate site, but the house varied in size and position on each map;
only the Moncrief listed a possible owner $4- hAr^-sAJ Don Juan
Nepomuceno de Quesada's Property Assessment of 1790 and the Tax list of 1800
describe the O'Reilly house a rubble-work masonry house following de la Rocque's
Following Father O'Reilly's will, in the early nineteenth century the
house passed into the trust of his brother, James, with the instruction that the
building be used to house nuns, for education, according to the plan of St.
Francis de Sales with its institution of the Visitation.
James O'Reilly and, then, David A. King in 1827 held the '%ilding
in trust until Miguel O'Reilly's instructions could be arranged in 1870. At that
time Bishop Verot became the first Bishop of the area1 and received the house in
the name of the Catholic Church. In 1876 the building was transferred to the
Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph, a corporation of St. Johns County, and the
stipulations of Miguel O'Reilly's will were Jdam thus finally realized.2
Since the Sisters of St. Joseph have acquired the O'Reilly House it
has been renovated and modernized internally. Except for the fireplaces and
paneled ceilings architectural investigations show that the house has been
generally reconstructed. However, Oh reconstruction was accomplished which
carefully copied the form and craftmanship of the historic structure.
1 Before the arrival of Bishop Verot the Catholic Church interests in Georgia
and Florida were vested in the office of alficariate. The 'icariate, or the
Vicar Apostolig,as he was entitled in Georgia and Florida, did not have the power
to receive property in the name of the church, %tus, it was only when a Bishop's
office was opened in the Florida area that the 0 'Reilly will could be fulfilled.
This information concerning the Catholic Church's historic operations was obtained &ceI
mm Sister Mary Albert of the-BInd Sisters of St. Sosepho.
fif )-^ ^ -
ORIGINAL AND SUBSEQUENT OWNERS1
1764 and for an unknown time prior to 1764...Joseph de la Rosa
(Juan Elixio de la Puente Map and Index of St. Augustine,
Faorida, lmT- -17-
1764-85 f. -o-rSa?
(James Moncrief Map of 1765)
1785 and for an unknown time prior to 1785...John Mowbrary
(Escrituras July 16, 1784, February 26, 1787, p. 191)
1785-1800 Don Miguel de O'Reilly
(Escrituras, July 16, 1785, February 26, 1787, p. 191)
(Mtw*znrzxzMariano de la Rocque Map and Index of St.
Augustine, Floria) .. .
(Don Juan Nepomuceno de Ques da Land Inventory and Assessment
3- v-1701 -- ---le -t -tiP-- -
1823 Don Juan O'Reilly (CX trust according to Miguel O'Reilly's
(St. Johns County Deed Book H, page 156, June 27, 1827)
1827 David A. King (trustee)
(St. Johns County Deed Book H, page 156, Juhe 27, 1827)
1870-1876 Bishop Verot in the name of the Catholic Church
(Roman Catholic Church Records)
1876 Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph, A Corporation of
St. John County
(Roman Catholic Church Records)
1rhis chronological listing of owners concerns the owners who lived on
the probable site of the present O'Reilly house. According to the
conclusions of this research it is doubtful that all these owners
lived in the house that currently exists. Also, it is essential
to mention that this list is not necessarily complete.
1899 St. Josephs Convent (The Sisters of St. Joseph changed their
legal ttrxbc title to "St. Joseph's Convent)
(St. Johns County Deed Book 3, page 250, Nov. 28, 1897)