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By PETER GUINTA
One of the earliest slave quarters in St. Augustine dating from the period when the Spanish still ruled the city
- was uncovered in Lincolnville, says City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt.
Pottery found in the foundation of a small, two-room wooden house that once stood where 71 Park Place is now indicates the site was occupied from 1815 to 1835.
"The deed for this property says it was sold with 'sundry Negroes.' That means they went with the land. We think this is the location of one of their homes," Halbirt said in a recent interview.
African-American slaves cared for an orange grove on the property, which was part of 10.25 acres owned by Minorcan carpenter Martin Hernandez and stretched between the San Sebastian River and Maria Sanchez Creek.
Halbirt, aided by volunteer Melissa N. Hagen, a recent University of Florida graduate, excavated the site last year, ABOVE: ST. AUGUSTINE City Archaewhile it was still vacant. The ologist Carl Halbirt displays a Royal' two then co-wrote a research Provincials button. The button dates paper entitled "The Hernandez back to the American Revolution era, Orange Grove: A 19th Century and was discovered near an AfriEnterprise in St. Augustine," can-American dwelling that existed and they plan to present their around the 1820s. The home measurfindings to the Florida Anthro- ing 26-feet-by-16-feet possibly could pological Society next month have been for slaves working inthe in Gainesville. nearby orange groves according to
According to Halbirt, Her- Halbirt. The dwelling, in Lincolnville, nandez owned the property but was discovered last summer.
PLEASE SEE DIGI12A AT RIGHT: 'This is the first one
INSIDE we've found that we think was A Historians split over inhabited by people of African whether dwelling was actu- descent who might be slaves,' Halally used by slaves. Page 12A birt said. Photos by JUSTIN YURKANIN, firstname.lastname@example.org
Slave dwellings: A local controversy
By PETER GUINTA gone with it." of coquina because they lasted longer, he email@example.com One of those who believe it solidly is said. The cabin also appears on old planHattie White, who has owned the prop- tation maps of that period. St. Augustine has another slave dwell- erty since 1965 with her husband, James. "That area had two large plantations," ing a one-room coquina cabin stand- "About three years after we moved he said. "(And) there are at least a half ing at 94 South St. known and seen by here, we heard a rumor it was a slave dozen others in the city. One is at Markmost local residents. house," White said. "There were some land, on Flagler College property, and
But historians are split over whether old shackles inside. We put them out in another is in North City."
or not it is authentic. the trash. That's sad, but we didn't know The South Street site was excavated
City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt said (to save them)." by archaeologist Stanley Bond. White the site was excavated in the mid-1990s, She learned about the building from said shards of china and old coins were but the findings did not prove anything historian David Nolan, who said there's found. either way. more evidence than word of mouth. Later, a plaque was placed there iden"It's never been refuted, but never been While doing a survey of Lincolnville tifying the structure as an old slave substantiated," Halbirt said. "There's no houses when he called the venerable X.L. cabin. evidence it was ever used as a slave resi- Pellicer to ask about the cabin. Nolan said it took many years for the dence. The only evidence is folklore." "He told me, 'That's the last slave city to accept it.
St. Augustine historian Susan Parker cabin.' This controversy goes back a long "St. Augustine was much more racist agrees with his assessment. way. We discovered this in 1978 but they in the past," he said. "There was no inter"The archaeological evidence was didn't get around to doing an excavation est in doing anything for black history. inconclusive," Parker said. "There are a until 1995," Nolan said. But this new find could be a starting lot of people who like the story and have Slave cabins of the 1830s were made point for more digs."
DIG After 1821 the U.S. got Florida from Spain. Under AmerCONTINUED FROM PAGE 1A ican law, slaves were treated more severely, according to
lived near the Bayfront, south Daniel Schafer, a University of of the Plaza; North Florida professor,. who
Records at the St. Augustine wrote on race relations of that Historical Society Research period. Library say Hernandez was The U.S. "replaced a mild born in 1756. At the time of the and flexible system of race relacity's 1786 census, he was listed tions with a severe definition as unmarried and a ship's car- of slavery ... erecting cultural penter. He married in 1787. and social barriers between
In 1815, he received a grant whites and all persons of Afriof land from the Spanish crown can descent," he wrote. An 1829 and raised citrus and corn on Florida law required all freed this and two other parcels. blacks to leave Florida or be
"Oranges were a big com- seized and sold back into slavmodity in St. Augustine. A lot ery. As a result of this harsher of people were growing them," treatment, the number of free Halbirt said. ST. AUGUSTINE City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt points to blacks stayed at 300 from
Oranges were packed into the spot where he discovered an African-American dwelling 1830 to 1850, though the total barrels for export, and that dating back to the 1820s last summer on Park Place in Lincol- number of blacks increased industry lasted until the late nville. By JUSTIN YURKANIN, firstname.lastname@example.org from 6,000 to 13,700. 19th century, when the groves Joseph Hernandez later ran were either developed into toes. quality. for the Senate, unsuccessfully. housing or froze. An 1821 map Hernandez, in an 1835 letter "They give us a picture of But he was elected mayor of St. of St. Augustine about the to Florida territorial governor what was available to those Augustine in 1846 and retired time the Spanish turned over John Eaton, wrote that he people in this time period," he to Cuba, where he died in 1856. the territory to the United needed 200 to 300 muskets said. "These people may have Halbirt said the "wonderful States shows three homes because "there are a large been treated very well." assemblage" of artifacts at the on the property. number of Negroes amongst St. Augustine historian grove site were all found inside
The archaeological team the Indians, who may be under Susan Parker saidslaves during the two-room frame house. found more than 8,000 arti- the influence of the Abolition- that period performed tasks One unusual feature was the facts, including pottery, bone, ists of the North (and) whose such as cattletendin or grow- water wellsiocation insideth&
- ronnails, bricks and buttons. machinations now endanger ing cotton or sugar. Some even house, he said.
"Some military buttons date our safety." He got his' rifles. --sold t ~ own grdy produce Since this excavation was back to the time of the Second But d. 184 ei ," ... a... ..e Seminole War," Halbirt said. tioned the U.S. Congress fo "Most o wites ho lb
One of the 10 children of a $99,000 grant for damage lived in town had slaves, but said the house's deep footers Martin Hernandez was Joseph caused by Seminole war par- didn't have very many. The probably had destroyed some
-Mariano Hernandez, who in ties raiding and burnig his majority(of theslaves)would of the featuresandartifacts till 1837 was the military officer buildings and crops. That have been on farms," she said. buried. He looked at the new who under the orders of Gen. request was turned down, with "But when the Seminole War structure and said he hoped to Thomas S. Jesup captured a report concluding, "The mil- began, they would have dig nearby soon. the Seminole chief Osceola itary occupation of the build- :brought their slaves to town. "The remains of two other under a flag oftruce. ings was the cause of their The plantations were under houses are somewhere in this
Historical Society records destruction." attack." area," he said. said Joseph Hernandez, who That official statement inherited the grove property meshes with the archaeologifrom his father, owned 77 labor- cal evidence military buters in 1830, quite a few for the tons were found on the site.
time. Half of St. Augustine's Halbirt said all the knives,
population then consisted of drinking glasses and plates
African-Americans and mulat- found at the dig were good
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"The HernAndez Orange Grove:" A Nineteenth Century Enterprise in St Augustine, Florida
Melissa N. Hagen and Carl D. Halbirt
Paper submitted at the 5_th Annual Meeting of the Florida Anthropological Society, Gainesville, Florida
May 14, 2005
In 1815, Martin HernAndez was granted 10 /4 acres of land within the city by the Spanish crown. Minorcan, Hernmndez was listed as a "chief carpenter" by trade engaged in various ventures including agricultural activities. Historical maps and documents indicate that the parcel contained an orange grove and cornfield, as well as a habitation area of the property's caretakers. In 2004, the City of St. Augustine Archaeology program discovered the house site while surveying a lot for impending development Discussed is the history of the property and the material culture associated with the people who labored on this enterprise.
Ak (Orange cultivation) in Florida has its antecedents during the First Spanish Period
1. Earliest mention of oranges as grown in the colonial province is.....
2. Archaeological evidence for oranges dates back to the mid 1600s.
a. Discovered the remains of a discarded orange in a well shaft, along with a partially
eaten fig, and a wood bowl (Figure 1).
3. During the early 181h century, oranges became a fledging commodity for St Augustine being
exported to English, colonial port cities in the north (Harmon 1969).
a. The quality of oranges grown in St Augustine became internationally renowned, as
exemplified by the oranges grown at Jesse Fish's plantation of El Vergel during the British
and subsequent Spanish Periods.
b. Moreover, the serene nature of the City's orange groves was highlighted in many northern
magazines (e.g, Harper's Bizarre) after the Civil War (Figure 2).
c. From the second half of the 18" century into the late 19' century, when severe frosts
destroyed those groves not claimed by urban development, (orange cultivation) had become a
viable source of income for many of St. Augustine's land owners.
B. This paper deals with the history of a 19' century orange grove situated within the city limits of St.
Augustine and the material culture associated with the occupants whom maintained that enterprise.
1. The parcel of land, on which the grove was located, measured 10 /4 acres (Figure 3) and was
sandwiched between Maria Sanchez Creek on the east and the San Sebastian River on the westin an area that had probably been under cultivation shortly after the founding of the extant
downtown district in 1572.
a. A 1815 plat map of the property shows that only 50 per cent of the parcel was planted with
orange trees--a trend that continued throughout the grove's use-life.
b. The rest of the parcel was planted in corn.
2. Historic maps and documents of the era indicate that the grove persisted into the 1880s (Figure 4).
a. By 1894, however, the grove had disappeared (Figure 5) probably as a consequence of severe
frosts in the late 1880s, which devastated many of the orange groves in the St Augustine area.
b. Subsequent to its sale to the St Augustine Improvement Company in 1887, the property
slowly became development with residential and commercial properties.
C. In the summer of 2004, the City of St Augustine's archaeology program undertook an investigation of
a lot on which a new single-family residence was to be constructed.
1. Historically, the lot slated for development would have been along the west bank of Maria
Sanchez Creek along the central portion of the eastern boundary of the orange grove.
a. Overlays of a modem U.S.G.S. topographic map onto historical maps of the 19" century
indicates that the current lot was situated within that portion of the orange grove that was
illustrated as being uncultivated on the 1815 plat map (Figure 6).
b. This area was probably the residential area: a position supported by the Charles Vignoles map
of 1821 that shows a cluster of three structures within this area of the property (Figure 7).
2. It is argued herein that the material cultural found within the modern lot area is associated with
laborers who worked this urban enterprise and not the property owners whose primary residences
were in the nearby downtown area or who had affluent plantations on the outskirts of town.
a. The landowners are known to have had slaves of African-American descent and it is
hypothesized that the material culture recovered is representative of items available to this
class of people in an urban environment
History of the Orange Grove
A. The earliest owner of the orange grove is Don Martin Hermndez, who was granted ownership of the
10 /4 acre parcel of land by a royal decree issued by the Spanish governor Juan Jos6 de Estrada on
October 5, 1815.
1. The principal enterprise of Martin HernAndez and his family was carpentry, including ship
building and repair, and his thirteen-member household formed the core of the carpenter guild
a. The family's primary residence was situated close to the bay front, south of the plaza;
approximately one-third of a mile east of the orange grove.
B. According to the Spanish land grant claim filled by the applicant's son, Joseph Hernindez, on
September 5, 1824-after the acquisition of Florida by the United States, the tract consisted "of an
orange grove planted by [Martin HernAndez] and the rest of the said track fenced and otherwise
1. Joseph HernAndez, an attorney, was duly constituted as Martin's legal representative on April 24,
1817, after Martin moved to Havana, Cuba.
2. In 1824, Martin Herndez (though his son) attempted to sell the property to John Lazerac for
$4,000 dollars; however, Lazerac was unable to meet the conditions of the sale and Martin
Hernindez retained the property.
C. On January 9, 1833, various properties owned by Martin HernAadez within the city limits, including
the "orange grove and the buildings thereon," were sold to Pablo Sabate for $884 (Figure 7).
1. Pablo Sabate's primary residence was at the plantation site of Casa Cola approximately three
miles north of town.
2. Also mentioned in the indenture was an agreement made between Joseph Hernandez and Pablo
Sabate for the transfer of people of African descent to Pablo Sabate to be hired out in lieu of a
a. It is assumed herein that the "sundry negroes" mentioned were delivered to Pablo from the
estate of Martin Hernandez; however without all the legal documentation associated with this deed, it is difficult to determine what are the exact terms of the transaction involving property
D. The absence of property ownership records between 1833 to 1863, as well as contradictory information
from other historical documents as to ownership of the orange grove, contributes to this confusion
regarding the HermAndez-Sabate transaction.
1. For example, Martin Hernbndez is listed as the owner in the Spanish land claim filed by Antonio
Alvarez on December 4, 1834.
a. Alvarez was the son-in-law of Pablo Sabate.
b. Similarly, an anonymous map circa 1855 shows Martin HernAndez to be the owner of the
2. In either case, both Martin Herniadez and Pablo Sabate had died within a year after the contract
having been signed. Inspection of their wills and that of their executors (i.e., Joseph Hernindez
and Ramon Sabate) made no mention of an orange grove.
a. This vexing problem was still of concern in 1887-54 years after the indenture had been
signed--when George Atwood Jr. sold the property to the St Augustine Improvement
Company for $20,000.
b. The general warranty deed insured the new owners that the title was free and clear and could
not be encumbered by the heirs or assignees of Martin HernAndez.
3. This unfortunate lacunae of 30 years in property ownership partially occurs within the time
bracket suggested by the archaeological evidence for occupation.
a. As such, we have to assume for the purposes of this study that the heirs or assignees of Martin
HernAndez had somehow regained control of the property until the Civil War when it is sold
at auction to Cristobal Bravo for $250 on December 22, 1863.
b. This action was a consequence of an act passed by United States Congress entitled "An act for
the collection of direct taxes in insurrectionary districts within the United States."
Remembering Memorial Chapel
Von and Pat Clark sit by their pianoand look toward th pupit, where he Bible iopv ts
during theA July 22, 2007, service at Lakeside memorial Chapel ij ln~il. By Times-Union ~i
Lincolnville church was
bulldozed on Monday
without required permit
By PETER (UINTA
LINCOLNVILLE Pink and blue Lakeside Memorial Chapel at 74 Park Place, which for 45 years held 10 a.m. Sunday services under the open sky, was demolished Monday by order of the property's new owners, Todd Mitchell an&Roy Campbell Jr.
The odd little church with no roof, surrounded by trees and flowers and homemade crosses, All that ii he ke Memorial is gone. The chapel was never an Chapel o erf Washigton Stret and Park Place in official landmark but was always Lincolnvi ile of cinder blocks after the structures known by locals as a special bulldoze Monday By TER WILLOTT peteT.email@example.com place.
St. Augustine building officials said Monday that Mitchell Management Inc., 26 Riberia St., and East Coast Financial LLC, 65 Lewis Blvd., purchased the building at a tax auction in April.
County records show they bought the property for $55,000 though it's assessed at $176,768.
However, Director of Planning and Building Mark Knight said the new owners had never applied for a demolition permit and soon will appear before the city's Code Enforcement Board for possible disciplinary action.
That meeting has not yet been set, he said.
Knight said Mitchell and Campbell want to build two singlefamiy houses on the lot. Von Clarkplays the piano and sings while hr sisterPat s
"But because of the (city's) and holis the collection plate. Von and Pat are usually te ly,
Bitf sbecau ofey the, aOl h' It
aggregation ordinance, they can't two people at their church service, but hey pass collect build two structures I believe nonetheless during the July 22, 2007, ervcet kede Memorial
PLEASE SEE CHURCHI1OA Chapel in Lincolnville. By LAURA H1 he a Time -Ion
AA 0, '0 0.14 J,7j _,,~,,
WW.sTAUGUSTINE.CM TUEAY, A 2009
CHURCH after that plac or a long
T U Rtime. Now he's get it."
'CONTINUED FROMPAGE 1A The Clark sisters were daughters of a hard-workthey may build only one ing fisherman and crabber single-family house there. who sold his catch downThey argue that it's two town, friends said. The properties. Our percep- girls and their-three brothtion is that it's one." ers were home-schooled
Mitchell could' not be by their mother, and both contacted, but Campbell learned music as well as said he talked with Clark how to sew, stitch and alter at length and explained clothing. how she might be able to Clark said the chapel keep the property. was built on the sAne site
"She told me, 'I'm just as a long-ago wooden, going to let it go.' I also two-story Presbyterian told her that she's wel- church. Some Lincolnville come to continue to use residents said the older the property. But Inever church rotted away, others heard anything from her," .that it was destroyed by he said. fire.
He said they demolished Long-time Lincolnville the chapel because they resident Elizabeth Hill, could not sell the property a retired teacher, lives with a structure onit. close to the property and
"We don't have any said she heard a strange plans for it. We have no noise about 9:30 Monday, intention of building a went to her door and saw house," he said. a backhoe and "baby" bullPrevious owner Von dozer on the property.
Clark said that for years,. The cinder blocks had the chapel served as a already been removed, she "beacon of light thatnever said. let the Devil get comfort- Clark said rumors the able in Liicolnville." church was built using old
She and her sister Pat, plumbing materials, recyboth former musicians cled materials or trash are who performed as The untrue. But she did admit Clark Sisters, inherited rescuing a discarded the property from their piailo, painting it blue and parents. who were build- playing it during services ing a church there but died while Pat sang. before it was finished. The The piano remains in sisters took the work up in her Blanco Street home 1964, when their mother now, one ofhe few rememdied.' brances of the chapel.
The roof was never "The community raised completed, the money to build this S"I appreciate' somebody chapel. Some of those letting me know(about the people are -still around," demolition)," lark said, s he said. "I didn't know grievedby the news. "I they could demolish a
reed, ,by "I
put my whole life into that building without informcorner. The Devil been ing the neighborhood.