PARTIAL HISTORICAL BACKGROUND FOR SOUTHERN PART OF LOT 35
Negotiations among diplomats ended two centuries of Spanish
possession when the Florida peninsula was ceded to Great Britain
in 1763. Evacuating Spanish property owners looked to Juan
Joseph Elixio de la Puente to handle the sale of land and houses
that they were forced to abandon. This real estate agent's map
of St. Augustine of 1764 shows that the extreme southwest corner
of Block 35 was a vacant lot belonging to Petronia Arritola,
measuring 14 varas north to south and 13-1/2 east to west. To
its north on today's St. George Street was the tabby house of Don
Antonio Nieto, 14-1/2 X 47-1/2 varas. To her east Antonio
Crespo's tabby and frame house awaited new occupants, its lot
measuring 17 X 14.*
A few days before Christmas 1767, Juan (John) Nutt bought
Petronia's lot for the equivalent of 13 pesos 4 reales according
to Jesse Fish' account book. That ledger has no listing for
either Crespo or Nieto." Mr. Nutt apparently had problems with
his continued ownership of the property; in 1773 Governor James
Grant on behalf of the British Government transferred the
property to Francis Levitt.3 For the next dozen years Levitt was
'Juan Jose Elixio de la Puente, Plano de la fuerza,
baluartes y line de la plaza de San Agustin de Florida..... 1764
January 22 (HSAPB map #1).
,'Vera Smith, "Translation of Jesse Fish account book", page
96 (typescript copy in HSAPB files).
-Francisco Levitt to Don Rocque Leonardy, 18 March 1785,
Bundle 366, page 195 (reel 169, frame 234), East Florida Papers
(hereafter EFP), Library of Congress (microfilm copies at St.
its owner. In 1784 treaty negotiations forced Great Britain to
return the Florida peninsula to the king of Spain.
Born in Turkey in the Levant, Francis Levitt described
himself as "a Settler from its earliest period," referring to
Florida's British ere. Coming to East Florida in 1769, this
wealthy planter from Georgia became an assistant judge and member
of the Council of East Florida. He owned 20,000 acres at
Julington Inlet on the St. Johns River. Upon hearing the news
that East Florida was to become Spanish again, he decided against
building a large house (50 to 60 feet long) at his plantation for
which he had already secured the necessary lumber.-
In 1780 he had purchased property in today's Block 23, where
he had his atone dwelling house. He sold this house at a last-
minute sale prior to his departure from East Florida to Francis
Fatio. He may have lived on the south end of Block 35 during the
years between 1773 and 1780.=
He also sold the Block-35 property before his departure from
the province. On March 18 1785, Rocque Leonardy, one of the
Mediterranean colonists who fled Andrew Turnbull's New Smyrna
plantation in 1777, purchased the lot with its "falling down"
Augustine Historical Society).
-Wilbur Henry Siebert, Loyalists in East Florida, 1774 to
1785, Vol. II (Deland: The Florida State Historical Society).
228-237; Census Returns, Bnd. 323A, EFP; Charles Loch Mowat, East
Florida as a British Province, 1763-1784 (University of Florida
Press: Gainesville, reprint 1964), 44, 71.
house, adjacent to land he already owned.f
Two years later for 120 pesos fuertes (hard dollars)
Leonardy sold to a fellow Mediterranean immigrant, Gaspar Papy:
"a piece of a lot with a little wooden house...a little bit south
of the old main church on St. George Street." It measured 135
feet on St. George St., 55 feet on the south along the street
going from the bay to the San Sebastian River, 161 feet on the
east where Leonardy retained a house and lot, and 62 feet on the
north, where Father O'Reilly's lot was. In 1794 Leonardy sold
him the remaining piece of the parcel, with the same dimensions
as the earlier purchase [sic] for 140 pesos.7
Both the 1788 Rocque map and the 1790 Quesada Inventory
mention Gaspar Papy's wooden house at this location."
According to the inventory of Gaspar Papy's estate made in
August 1817, there was a separate kitchen, oven, and the house
had a chimney and tabby floor. Papy was shopkeeper who sold
textiles and groceries, and based upon the inventory, also
cookware and tableware. Papy's wife, Ana, had taken home quite a
bit of the store's goods, and the appraisers had to go to the
home to find the missing items to complete the inventory. At the
'Levitt to Leonardy, Bnd. 366, p. 193 (reel 169, frame 232),
7Rocque Leonardy to Gaspar Papy, 18 May 1787, Bnd. 367, p.
20 (reel 169, frame 691) and 2 December 1794, Bnd. 369, p. 418
(reel 170, frame 2509), EFP.
"Mariano de la Rocque, Plano particular de la ciudad de San
Agustin de la Florida...... 1788 April 25 (HSAPB map # 130); 1790
Quesada Inventory, photocopy in HSAPB files.
widow's home they located foods, nails, rope, spades, frying pans
and drinking glasses, which should have been part of the store's
Susan R. Parker
March 22, 1989
r Inventory of Estate of Gaspar Papy, August 1817, Bnd. 31 ,
reel 145), EFP. -,