Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Llambias Block 39A
Title: Llambias house
Full Citation
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 Material Information
Title: Llambias house El Escribano, Oct 1970 Vol 7 #4
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Llambias Block 39A
Physical Description: Research notes
Language: English
Publication Date: 1970
Physical Location:
Box: 7
Divider: Block 39A
Folder: Llambias B39A
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
31 Saint Francis Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Llambias House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Fernandez-Llambias House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 31 Saint Francis Street
Coordinates: 29.887768 x -81.310887
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094868
Volume ID: VID00007
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: B39A

Full Text
LZambias house.--Located at 31 St. Francis Street in

S St. Augustine, the oldest portion of this house was built 39

Prior to 1763. On this date, the structure was described

g as a stone house on a lot 16 varas (44 feet) wide in front

and 120 varas (330 feet) in depth. It was owned by Pedro

Fernandez, Spanish-born and married to St. Augustine-born

SJosefa Baeza since 1742. Leaving, due to the transfer of

Spanish Florida to Great Britain, Fernandez entrusted his

house to a custodian of the real estate of the emigres.

The custodian then entrusted the properties to Jesse Fish,

a long-time British resident, hoping to find purchasers.

Fish himself purchased the house because Fernandez later

acknowledged receipt of 150 pesos for it.

The British government disregard Fish's title and the

house had several other owners. It, and apparently two

adjoining lots, were first granted to a Richard Henderson.

Henderson then sold to Boston merchant Thomas Adam, who was





in debt to Charles Ogilvie in London. When Adam died,

Ogilvie empowered Edward Corbet in St. Augustine-to take

possession of Adam's property. This Corbet did in 1783.

The same year, the government segregated land, including

Sthe Fernandez house, from Ogilvie's and granted it to

Nicholas Turnbull, the son of Dr. Andrew Turnbull, founder

I of New Smyrna. The grant measured 156 feet in front (fac-

ing north), 180 feet on the south, 191 feet on the east,

4 and 190 feet on the west. It was adjoined on the west

and south by Ogilvie's land. The rectangular house had a

loggia at the rear. It is not known if any of the Turn-

bulls ever lived in the house.

To the returning Spanish government, the house was

still owned by Jesse Fish. In 1788, it was described as

a masonry structure in fair condition, on a lot 52 varas

(143 feet) wide in frant and 20 varas (55 feet) in depth.

It had one story, two rooms, a loggia on the south side,

and a shingle roof. Fish died in 1790, leaving many obli-

gations unsettled. The government put his property up for

sale at public auction. On December 15, the house was

Purchased by Sergeant Mariano Moreno, of the grenadier

1 company of the 3d Battalion of the Regiment of Cuba, then

in garrison in St. Augustine. But in Moreno's deed, the

Slot was described as measuring 52 varas in front and 57

Svaras (156 3/4 feet) in depth. Moreno sold to Captain

Pedro Marrot, of the same battalion, about six months


later. Marrot sold to Francisco Xavier Sanchez in 1792.

The house then became the property of the first of three

owners of Minorcan descent. Juan Andreu was in the ;group of

New Smyrna settlers who in 1777 had moved to St. Augustine.

In 1795 he purchased the house from Sanchez. Upon Andreu's

death and later that of his wife, Catalina Pons, the house

was adjudicated in 1818 to their daughter, Catalina Andreu.

Catalina and her husband, Antonio Giraldo, kept the house

beyond the end of the second Spanish period in 1821.

But within the first decade of the American territorial

period, the Giraldos lost the house. A mariner, Antonio Gi-

raldo gave two bonds of $704.77 each for duties on merchandise

brought to St. Augustine, but could redeem only $300 of their

value. Consequently, judgment of $1,167.43, including inter-

est and costs, was entered against him. The house was auc-

tioned off in 1827 for the second time in its history.

Benjamin K. Pierce acquired it for $515, and his deed de-

scribed the lot as measuring 52 Spanish yards each on the

west, south, and east boundaries. Pierce sold three months

later to Dr. William H. Simmons, a local physician, for

$1,400 making an usurious profit. Then, in 1835, Dr. Simmons

sold to Reverend Edward Thomas of South Carolina.

Again, for the second time, the house became the property

of Minorcan-descended persons. Joseph and Peter Antonio Manu-

cy purchased it in 1838 from Thomas for $2,100. A few months

later, Joseph bought his brother's half share for $1,100, and


eventually added the second story and balcony to the house.

The house then became the property of the third Mi-

norcan-descended owner, whose name it bears and whose

M family kept possession of it during 65 years. In 1854,
Joseph Manucy segregated a piece of land, 54 feet wide in

front and 160 1/2 feet deep, on the west side of his 143-

| foot wide lot. Together with the house, he sold it to

Catalina Llambias (nee Usina), the wife of Joseph Antonio

I Llambias, for $450.

Joseph Antonio Llambias' ancestors had been pioneer

settlers in the New Smyrna colony. Juan and wife, Marga-

rita Cardona (his grandparents), and their three sons and

two daughters arrived there in 1768. Within six months,

hardship and privation killed them all, except Juan and

I a son, Antonio, both of whom migrated to St. Augustine in

1777. Juan died soon after arrival in the city. In 1789,

S28-year old Antonio Llambias married Anna Maria Hinsman

i of South Carolina, and they procreated eight children,

among them Joseph Antonio. The latter married Catalina

Usina in 1827 and sired four sons and four daughters. And

the year following the purchase of the house, a daughter,

Ana Cornelia, married Alonso Anastacio Bravo.

The Civil War brought inexhaustible grief to'the

Llambias family. Three sons and the son-in-law enlisted

in the Confederate Army and were encamped near Tallahassee.

In 1862, Joseph Antonio Llambias, 60, refused giving alle-


giance to the Union and was imprisoned briefly in Fort Marion

(Castillo de San Marcos). He and his family were among 80

persons allowed to leave possessions behind and move to Fer-

nandina. From here, the Llambiases managed to move to the

vicinity of the camp at Tallahassee, where Joseph Antonio

and a daughter, Ann, died. One son had already been killed

in Kentucky and another in Tennessee.

The end of the war brought the family back to St. Augus-

tine. Back to the house came Catalina Llambias, the married

daughter and her husband, the ex-soldier son and another son,

and two daughters. The house had been badly used by Union

soldiers. All the furniture, except a round marble-top table,

too heavy to carry away, was gone. Woodwork and flooring

were ripped up, and the entire ground floor had been a stable.

The Llambias family managed to make a living amidst the

cycle of grief and joy natural to life itself. Daughter Ana

Cornelia took in boarders, and a new south wing of the house

served as dining room. Ana Cornelia's husband and her sister,

Rafaela, were drowned in a boating accident in 1866. But

Joseph Francis, the ex-soldier, married Antonica Masters and

subsequently a daughter, Ada, was born. Antonica died in

1875 and Joseph Francis married again in 1877 to Rosalia

Reyes. The same year, Catalina Llambias sold the house to

Ana Cornelia and Antonica Llambias, her only surviving daugh-

ters, for $5,000.

Before her death in 1886, Catalina had requested burial


near her mother in the old Spanish cemetery in Cordova

Street. But a city ordinance had stopped interments

there. Nevertheless, Joseph Francis managed, under cover

of darkness, to have the grave dug and the burial held.

He paid a $50 find for violating the ordinance but fulfilled

I his mother's wish.

Joseph Francis himself followed his mother to the

grave. He had a city contract to dispose of trash and

garbage. In 1892, one of his employees, angry at not being

paid on time, shot and mortally wounded Joseph.

Antonica Llambias and her niece, Ada, continued liv-

jing in the Llambias House. Ana Cornelia had married John

McGuire, a civil engineer, and gone to live in Pennsylvania.

In 1898, Ada married Edward Louis Reyes. Their daughter,

Antonica Maria Reyes (presently Mrs. Francis T. Piet), was

born in the house and lived there many years. Real estate

transactions in 1904 and 1910 made the lot 87 1/2 feet wide.

The long ownership of the house by the Llambias family

finally came to an end. In 1919, the heirs of Antonica

Llambias sold the house to Harry N. Campbell of Massachusetts

for $100 and other valuable considerations. Campbell then

sold to Annabel, Josephine, and George Newbill in 1932 for

$10 and other valuable considerations.

The Llambias house was the vehicle for launching the

restoration phase of the St. Augustine Historical Program.

The program had been conceived upon recommendation


of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, which in 1936 had

adopted as its own the City's resolution for preserving the

historic district. The Institution made a survey of extant

historic sites and structures, among which was the Llambias

house. Thus, on December 28, 1938, the Carnegie Institution

purchased the house from the Newbills for $12,000. Of this

amount, $2,100 were contributed by the St. Augustine Histori-

cal Society. Three days later, the Institution presented

the property to the City in trust for the people of St. Au-


However, lack of historical data and World War II cut

short any intention of restoring the house immediately. It

was not until 1952 that the Llambias House trustees, who

since 1945 had been appointed by the St. Augustine Historical

Society instead of the Carnegie Institution, accepted the

offer of the St. Augustine Historical Preservation and Res-

toration Association for financing the restoration of the

house, which was in very bad condition. The Association had

been organized in 1937 to carry out the restoration work phase

of the St. Augustine Historical Program. The funds available

had been appropriated by the Florida legislature. The Asso-

ciation contracted for the services of Stuart M. Barnette,

a registered architect, consultant, and professor of archi-

tecture at Cornell University. Barnette had previously worked

for the National Park Service and on the restoration of La For-

taleza, the official residence of the governors of Puerto Rico.


SThe restoration work on the Llambias House began in

1952 and was completed in 1954. The front elevation of

the house was given the appearance it may have had during

the American territorial period (1821-45). In January

1955, the dedication of the officially restored house was

Held. The cost of the project was $30,135.97.

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