The owner of the building at the time of the 1764 evacuation of St.
Augustine was Lorenzo Gomez, a 31 year old native of the presidio who, as an
infantry soldier, earned the annual base pay of 132 pesos. Lorenzo was one
of seven children, and his father, Pedro, a native of Spain, came to St.
Augustine in 1721 and served as an artilleryman in the garrison until his
retirement in the 1750's. Lorenzo's mother, Gertrudis Rodriguez, came from
a long line of St. Augustinians.
Lorenzo married a local woman, Catarina Perdomo, on February 11, 1754
and fathered two girls, Maria Catarina (b. 1754) and Maria de la Trinidad
(b. 1759), and one boy, Antonio Joseph (b. 1758). Lorenzo left for Havana
with his family when Spain ceded Florida to England in 1763 and became
one of the many evacuees who were unable to find gainful employment in
Cuba for several years.
The Gomez house is representative of a board and batten structure of
the late First Spanish Period. Frame buildings, however, comprised only
23 percent of all structures in 1764, as the remainder were built of coquina
and tabby. The size of the house, although considered small for a family
of five by today's standards, was average for a family of Gomez' means in
the mid-18th century. A ladder leading to the attic sleeping quarters
created additional living space for his growing brood. The interior is
sparsely furnished, with only the bare essentials, such as a coarse
brasero, needed. The rear yard would normally have been used as a garden
plot to supplement the diet of subsidy foodstuffs and locally caught
Unable to sell his property before the evacuation period ended, Gomez
transferred his proprietorship to Jesse Fish in 1764. However, the house
was demolished during the British Period (1764-1784), perhaps for firewood,
and Fish sold the lot to Lorenzo's in-law, Antonio Perdomo in 1785, the
second year of the new Spanish era. The property remained vacant into the
early 19th century, with a frame structure appearing on the site sometime
at the end of the Colonial Period or at the beginning of the Territorial
Michael C. Scardaville
Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board
June 11, 1979