Title Page
 Bicentennial Commission of...
 General editor's preface
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Chapter IX
 Chapter X
 Chapter XI
 Chapter XII
 Chapter XIII
 Chapter XIV
 Chapter XV
 Chapter XVI
 Chapter XVII
 Chapter XVIII


The History and antiquities of the city of St. Augustine, Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00101386/00001
 Material Information
Title: The History and antiquities of the city of St. Augustine, Florida
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Fairbanks, George R ( George Rainsford ), 1820-1906
Gannon, Michael V.
Publisher: University Presses of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1975
Copyright Date: 1975
Edition: Facsimile reproduction of the 1858 edition
 Record Information
Source Institution: University Press of Florida
Holding Location: University Press of Florida
Rights Management: Copyright by the Board of Regents of the State of Florida. This work is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/. You are free to electronically copy, distribute, and transmit this work if you attribute authorship. However, all printing rights are reserved by the University Press of Florida (http://www.upf.com). Please contact UPF for information about how to obtain copies of the work for print distribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the University Press of Florida. Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author's moral rights.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 1928202
lccn - 75015750
isbn - 0813004039
System ID: UF00101386:00001
 Related Items

Table of Contents
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Bicentennial Commission of Florida
        Page v
        Page vi
    General editor's preface
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
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    Title Page
        Page 1
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        Page 5
        Page 6
    Table of Contents
        Page 7
        Page 8
    List of Illustrations
        Page 8a
        Page 8b
        Page 8c
        Page 8d
    Chapter I
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Chapter II
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 14a
        Page 14b
    Chapter III
        Page 15
        Page 16
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        Page 18
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        Page 26
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    Chapter IV
        Page 28
        Page 28a
        Page 28b
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        Page 33
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    Chapter V
        Page 36
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        Page 50a
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    Chapter VI
        Page 51
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        Page 58
        Page 59
    Chapter VII
        Page 60
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    Chapter VIII
        Page 76
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    Chapter IX
        Page 91
        Page 92
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    Chapter X
        Page 102
        Page 103
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        Page 108a
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    Chapter XI
        Page 111
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    Chapter XII
        Page 121
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        Page 129
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    Chapter XIII
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
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    Chapter XIV
        Page 141
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    Chapter XV
        Page 155
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        Page 160a
        Page 160b
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    Chapter XVI
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
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    Chapter XVII
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
    Chapter XVIII
        Page 190
        Page 190a
        Page 190b
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        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Index 1
        Index 2
        Index 3
        Index 4
        Index 5
        Index 6
        Index 7
        Index 8
        Index 9
        Index 10
        Index 11
        Index 12
        Index 13
        Index 14
Full Text






o0 T~e. CBYr OF





Gainesville 1975.

published under the sponsorship of the
SAMUEL PROCTOR, General Editor.




Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Fairbanks, George Rainsford, 1820-1906.
The history and antiquities of the city of St.
Augustine, Florida.
(Bicentennial Floridiana Facsimile series)
Photoreprint of the ed. published by C. B. Norton,
New York.
"A University of Florida book."
Includes bibliographical references.
1. St. Augustine-History. 2. Florida-History
-To 1821. I. Title. II. Series.
[F319.S2F2 1975] 975.9'18 75-15750
ISBN 0-8130-0403-9


Governor Reubin O'D. Askew, Honorary Chairman
Lieutenant Governor J. H. Williams, Chairman
Harold W. Stayman, Jr., Vice Chairman
Don Pride, Executive Director

Dick J. Batchelor, Orlando
Johnnie Ruth Clarke, St. Petersburg
A. H. Craig, St. Augustine
James J. Gardener, Fort Lauderdale
Jim Glisson, Tavares
Mattox Hair, Jacksonville
Thomas L. Hazouri, Jacksonville
Ney C. Landrum, Tallahassee
Mrs. Raymond Mason, Jacksonville
Carl C. Mertins, Pensacola
Charles E. Perry, Miami
W. E. Potter, Orlando
F. Blair Reeves, Gainesville
Richard R. Renick, Coral Gables
Jane W. Robinson, Cocoa


Mrs. Robert L. Shevin, Tallahassee
Don Shoemaker, Miami
Mary L. Singleton, Jacksonville
Bruce A. Smathers, Tallahassee
Alan Trask, Fort Meade
Edward Trombetta, Tallahassee
Ralph D. Turlington, Tallahassee
Robert Williams, Tallahassee
Lori Wilson, Merritt Island


FLORIDA'S pre-eminent nineteenth-century his-
torian was George Rainsford Fairbanks. Born and
educated in the North, he moved south to St. Au-
gustine to accept a judicial appointment in the
territorial government of Florida. For the next
sixty-four years of his life, Florida was his home.
Most of this time he lived in St. Augustine, the
oldest continuous settlement in what is now the
United States. He was always intrigued with its
rich and varied history and by the variety of peo-
ple who made St. Augustine their home. In one of
his first letters back to his family in New York, he
noted that St. Augustine was "in all respects un-
like any American town ... its variety of inhabi-
tants and mixture of languages gave it a peculiarly
interesting character." Florida's colorful and ro-
mantic past excited him, and this was particularly
true of St. Augustine. "About the old city," he
wrote, "there clings a host of historic associations,
which throw around it a charm which few can fail


to feel." One of the great contributions to the heri-
tage of this state is his history of St. Augustine,
the first attempt to chronicle its story in the Eng-
lish language.
Fairbanks numbered among his Florida friends
some of its most prestigious citizens, including
Territorial Governor William P. DuVal, Moses
Elias Levy and his son David, Florida's first United
States senator, Kingsley Beatty Gibbs, who in-
herited the great Fort George Island plantation
from his uncle, Zephaniah Kingsley, and Thomas
Buckingham Smith, the diplomat and Spanish-
Florida historian. While practicing law in St. Au-
gustine, Smith had developed an interest in histor-
ical research, particularly in the area of the Span-
ish exploration and settlement. Perhaps it was his
enthusiasm that influenced George Fairbanks to
pursue similar studies of Florida's past.
Fairbanks first developed his interest in Florida
history during the early 1850s. His reputation as a
researcher and scholar quickly spread, and writers
like Theodore Irving wrote seeking information on
Spanish explorations in Florida. Fairbanks mas-
tered the Spanish language so that he could read
the history in the language of the original adven-
Early in 1856, Fairbanks and a group of his
friends organized the Historical Society of Florida,
the forerunner of the Florida Historical Society.


Many of the outstanding men in Florida politics
joined the organization. At one of its first quarterly
meetings, Fairbanks delivered a lecture to the so-
ciety. "The Early History of Florida," as he titled
the essay, was a survey of exploration and settle-
ment from the time of Ponce de Le6n to the Eng-
lish settlements in Georgia and the Carolinas in
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. While
Fairbanks' lecture was somewhat uneven and con-
tained historical inaccuracies, it had both style
and historic insight. It was so well-received that
Fairbanks committed himself to write a book
about St. Augustine. The remarkable result of this
endeavor was The History and Antiquities of the
City of St. Augustine, Florida.
Fairbanks was the first Florida historian to make
major use of Spanish records in writing a serious
historical account of St. Augustine's past. In addi-
tion, Fairbanks used extensively the writings of
Barcia, Gonzalo Solis de Meras, Jacques le
Moyne, Laudonniere, Gourgues, Carroll, Rivers,
Simms, Roberts, Bartram, Stork, Romans, De
Brahm, John Lee Williams, and William Cullen
Bryant. History and Antiquities had great value
for its time; without question it was the best sum-
mary of St. Augustine written to that date. The
book was and is widely read and widely circulated.
Every thorough bibliography of Florida history
must include Fairbanks' study. It went through



three editions, the first of which is reproduced here
as a facsimile. It deserves its honored place in the
annals of Florida historical scholarship.
George Fairbanks' reputation as a historian, re-
searcher, and writer continues to be recognized to
the present. He dedicated himself to exploring
Florida's past and to keeping and preserving all
that he discovered in trust for scholars and re-
searchers who would follow him. This too is the
theme for Florida's heritage program as it plans
for its role in the nation's bicentennial.
The publication of facsimile editions of twenty-
five rare, out-of-print volumes covering all periods
of Florida's history, a series of pamphlets and
monographs, the marking of a heritage trail, ar-
chaeological excavations, and historical restoration
and preservation are major programs that are
being sponsored by the Florida Bicentennial Com-
mission. Each of the facsimile volumes includes an
introduction written by a well-known authority in
Florida history. These books, published for the Bi-
centennial Commission by the University Presses
of Florida, Gainesville, are available at moderate
prices to libraries, scholars, researchers, and all
those interested in Florida's rich and colorful past.
The Florida Bicentennial Commission, a twenty-
seven member agency, was created by the legisla-
ture to plan and develop Florida's role in the na-
tional bicentennial. Governor Reubin O'D. Askew



serves as honorary chairman of the commission.
Members of the legislature, the heads of state
agencies, and ten public members appointed by
the governor constitute the commission. Executive
offices are in Tallahassee.
Michael V. Gannon, professor of history and re-
ligion at the University of Florida, is the editor of
the facsimile of The History and Antiquities of the
City of St. Augustine. A former Basselin scholar
at the Catholic University of America, Dr. Gannon
received his bachelor and master degrees there in
philosophy. He is a graduate of the University of
Louvain in Belgium, and received his doctorate
degree in history at the University of Florida. His
books include Rebel Bishop: The Life and Era of
Augustin Verot and The Cross in the Sand: The
Early Catholic Church in Florida, 1513-1870. His
articles on the early Spanish period in Florida
have appeared in scholarly and professional
journals in the United States and Europe. In 1966
he received the Arthur W. Thompson Memorial
Prize in Florida History. from the Florida Histori-
cal Society for the best article published that year
in the Florida Historical Quarterly. Dr. Gannon is
a member of the Historic St. Augustine Preserva-
tion Board of the State of Florida. The govern-
ment of Spain in 1974 awarded him the Knight
Cross of the Order of Isabella in recognition of his
research and publications in the field of Spanish-




Florida history. He is presently engaged in compil-
ing a documentary history of Florida, covering the
years to 1821.

University of Florida

General Editor of the


ST. AUGUSTINE is the oldest continuous settle-
ment of European origin in what is now the United
States of America. Founded September 8, 1565,
forty years before Jamestown and fifty-five years
before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, it
is the birthplace of western civilization and of
Christianity in this country. Spaniards were the
first to show the sails of their ships off its shoreline
and the first, under Pedro Menendez de Aviles, to
put down roots and stay. But other peoples have
contested for the city, and no less than four flags,
at various times, have flown over its battlements,
its narrow streets, and its balconied houses in the
more than four centuries that it has stood. The
rich and varied story of St. Augustine has been
told many times, but the first attempt to do so in
the English language is the present work, pub-
lished here in facsimile, written in 1858 by George
Rainsford Fairbanks. A resident of St. Augustine
at the time, Fairbanks was the first Florida histor-


ian to make major use of Spanish records, and the
first to essay a serious historical study of the city's
past. Despite its faults, obvious to later historians
with the advantage of a century's advance in dis-
covery of sources and in development of the his-
toriographic art, The History and Antiquities of
the City of St. Augustine, Florida is a remarkable
accomplishment for its time. In examining the life
of its author, his times, his friends, and his histori-
cal sources, we learn how this book came to be
and what place it deserves to hold in the annals
of Florida historical scholarship.1
George Rainsford Fairbanks was born in Water-
town, New York, July 5, 1820, one of four sons
born to Jason and Mary Massey Fairbanks.2 His
father, a native of Mendon, Massachusetts, was in
the saddle and harness business. Watertown was
then a small mill village that drew power from the
rapid fall of the Black River. Young George at-
tended public school until eight or nine years of
age, when he was transferred by his parents to a
private school in the village run by a Mr. William
Ruger, and at ten years of age he was sent on to
Belville Academy in the countryside south of the
Fairbanks' father had commercial contacts in
Montreal, Canada, and had acquired a taste for
the French language and culture. Desiring that
George and his older brother, Samuel, acquire the



same tastes, their father sent them to the Roman
Catholic Petit Seminaire at Montreal, a minor
seminary that prepared young men for the priest-
hood. George's father had no intention that his
two boys become Catholic priests-the family was
Protestant Episcopal-but he did want them to
have the advantage of the fine education for which
the seminary was renowned. George himself re-
membered in later life how difficult it was passing
from English to French, but after about five or six
months he found himself in possession of a con-
siderable French vocabulary and at ease in both
formal class recitation and conversations with
schoolmates. Once a month he had leave to go out-
side the school, and he took advantage of those
times to eat dinner and speak English with friends
at an American hotel.
The meals at the seminary were healthy but
unimaginative. Lunch at noon consisted of one
large piece of bread, and at dinner there was meat,
bread, and vegetables. For about half the length
of each meal, eaten in common with all the other
students and professors, a student read a homily
from a high reading desk set against the wall of
the refectory. At the end of the reading, permis-
sion was given for talk, and a burst of voices would
sound forth. The students slept in dormitories,
long rooms each containing some thirty beds. As
at the meals, one of the boys was appointed to



read at night from a history tome, and thus the
boys were lulled to sleep-not an experience, one
presumes, to which one might attribute George's
later interest in history. He remembered: "An old
Scotch priest slept in a room adjoining and had
an eye hole in his door so that he could, at any
time, see the whole room and we never knew when
that eye was at the eye hole. Sometimes he would
come in, and if he found any boy uncovered, give
him a smart slap as a reminder to cover himself."3
George remained at the Petit Seminaire until
July 1832, when a cholera epidemic forced his re-
turn to Watertown. Seventy-five to one hundred
deaths were occurring daily, and the boys, when
they went out, held small camphor bags under
their noses as protection, so it was thought,
against the disease. Like the other boys, George
gave passersby a wide berth. Eventually, school
was suspended, and the boys were sent back to
their homes.
At Watertown, George was entered in a newly
established academy built by public subscription
and under the charge of a Presbyterian clergyman.
Samuel entered Union College at Schenectady in
1835, and in September of the following year, at
sixteen years of age, George entered the same in-
stitution. He was at the time, so he described him-
self, "a slight, slender, grey-eyed, ambitious boy."4
With some two hundred other students he pursued



studies in Latin, Greek, mathematics, chemistry,
and moral philosophy. He had entered college as
a sophomore but was much younger than the
larger portion of his class. Nonetheless, he held a
consistently high place on the class list. For a time
he studied Hebrew and medicine, though his pref-
erence was for the classics, and in those disciplines
he achieved his highest grades. His health was not
good in those years, and he suffered severely from
headaches in the fall of 1838, which required that
he return to his home and absent himself from
studies for a time. During that interval he worked
in his father's store and achieved valuable busi-
ness experience which would serve him well in
later life.
Fairbanks graduated from Union College in 1839
and decided to prepare for the legal profession. To
that end he read law in the office of W. A. Shum-
way, Esquire, a good lawyer of intemperate habits.
George described him as "a man of fine parts but
unfortunately at that time indulging in periodical
sprees of a quiet, but absorbing character."5 After
a few months George transferred to the law office
of Joseph Mullin, a young Irishman whom he
much admired. Mullin would later be appointed
to the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
George was a diligent student, and in the spring of
1842 he was admitted to the bar of New York fol-
lowing a successful examination. He hung up his



shingle, bearing gilt letters, at the foot of the stair-
case leading to Mr. Mullin's office.
Meantime, he had joined the New York state
militia and had risen rapidly in rank from orderly
to lieutenant colonel. His responsibility was that
of chief quartermaster. At the annual review of
troops he took pleasure in appearing in full uni-
form, with cocked hat, epaulets, and sword. In
later years he recollected when he had "played
soldier, after a fashion."6 His commission in the
militia was signed by New York Governor William
H. Seward, later secretary of state under President
George had also made the acquaintance of Miss
Sarah Catherine Wright, daughter of Judge Ben-
jamin Wright of Adams, Massachusetts. The
couple had met while decorating the Episcopal
church in Watertown for Christmas worship serv-
ices. Fairbanks was twenty years old at the time,
she some eighteen months older and a student at
a select girls' school in Adams. During the winter
and spring months of 1841 George went often to
Adams to visit with Sarah, and by summertime
they were engaged.
The occasion of the marriage was provided by
the arrival in Watertown during the summer of
1842 of Isaac H. Bronson, his wife, and two daugh-
ters. A member for some years of the Watertown
law firm of Bronson and Sterling, Bronson had



served in Congress during the Martin Van Buren
administration, but had not been reelected. Ill
health compelled him to accept appointment as
judge of the United States Superior Court of East
Florida, and he and his family made their home in
the more congenial climate afforded by St. Augus-
tine. In 1842 they were on a visit to Watertown,
and Mrs. Bronson took a fancy to George's fian-
cee, Sarah Wright. By another coincidence, in
September of the same year, Fairbanks' future
father-in-law, Major John Beard, who had been
clerk of the Superior Court at St. Augustine, was
appointed United States Marshal. The clerkship
fell vacant at St. Augustine, and Judge Bronson,
probably at the urging of his wife, offered Fair-
banks the position. The offer was gladly accepted,
but George was unwilling to leave for so distant a
home without completing his plans for marriage
with Sarah. He therefore made arrangements for
the wedding to take place before his departure,
and her parents consented to the plan with the
understanding that she could remain at home in
Adams until the following summer, when Fair-
banks would return for her. The couple were mar-
ried on Saturday afternoon, October 8, 1842 in the
Zion Church, Pierrepont Manor, about five miles
outside Adams.7
A week later Fairbanks joined Judge and Mrs.
Bronson, their two daughters, Gertrude and



Emma, and a party of military and civil officials in
New York for a journey by ship to Savannah. One
of the military officers aboard was Captain John T.
Sprague, of the United States Army, who had
fought in the Second Seminole War. In 1848
Sprague would publish The Origin, Progress, and
Conclusion of the Florida War, for many years the
only booklength account of that conflict.8
Fairbanks and his companions had a pleasant
voyage' down the coast, lasting, he remembered,
some five or six days. After a brief stopover at the
Pulaski House in Savannah, the party boarded
the Cincinnati, a government-chartered steamboat,
for the passage through the Georgia coastal islands
and down the St. Johns River to the military post
and landing station at Picolata, eighteen miles
west of St. Augustine. It was a rough passage. A
heavy gale came up en route, and the Cincinnati
was forced to seek shelter in the St. Marys River.
The captain and crew took the vessel fifteen miles
up the river, searching for wood, and had to an-
chor overnight for fear the gale would cause the
ship to be thrown up on shore. When the weather
subsided somewhat, the Cincinnati was able to
move past Jacksonville and down the St. Johns to
Picolata. There the party spent the night at the
home of John Lee Williams, Florida history buff
and one of the two commissioners who in 1824
had recommended a site in West Florida for the



seat of government for the Territory of Florida.
At the recommended site the town of Tallahassee
had been founded.
From Picolata, Fairbanks and his friends trav-
eled in "hacks-a sort of ambulance conveyance"
to St. Augustine, which he described shortly after-
wards in a letter to his brother, Samuel, as "the
oddest looking little old place you can imagine-
there is not a thing in it scarcely that looks less
than a hundred years old."9 With a population of
some 1,800 to 2,000 people and compactly built in
the European manner, St. Augustine resembled
Montreal more than any other place Fairbanks
had seen. He took quarters at the Florida House
on Treasury Lane, then the principal hotel, and
during the four or five days he waited until the
Bronsons were ready to receive him into their own
pleasant home fronting the entrance to the harbor
on the seawall, Fairbanks explored the town.
The larger portion of the white population,
Fairbanks discovered, were Minorcans (a group
name that included some of Greek, Italian, and
Turkish, as well as of Minorcan, origin), descend-
ants of the colony brought to Florida by Dr. An-
drew Turnbull in 1768, five years after the cession
of Florida by Spain to England. In later years,
Fairbanks remembered, "The northern portion of
the city was almost entirely occupied by them
[Minorcans]. Some few English families from the



West Indies, the Andersons, Dummetts, etc., had
left plantations on the coast south of St. Augus-
tine at the commencement of the Indian war and
settled in St. Augustine. Some Americans, but not
many, were living there as merchants or holding
public office. There was hardly a private carriage
in the place-the streets were narrow without
sidewalks, balconies projected from the upper
story of the two-story houses, some of the oldest
of which were built of concrete with a roof nearly
flat of concrete like the houses of Havana. The
entrance to these old houses was generally in the
yard and the living room upstairs, with no open-
ings to the north, and some without chimneys,
being heated with brasiers. In the better class [one
found] silver candlesticks with wax candles and a
glass cylinder, plain or ornamental, about two feet
in height and 8 or 10 inches [in] diameter, which
was placed over the candlestick and candle to pro-
tect it from the wind."10
Fairbanks discovered "a kind of aristocracy"
among the Minorcans and Spanish-speaking resi-
dents of St. Augustine: "One Pedro Benet was a
leading citizen of this class. He was a shopkeeper
and had a very good residence, on Charlotte St.
about a block or two South of the City Gates. He
was often spoken of as the Minorcan King and
was understood to very largely control his com-
patriots socially and politically."" The Minor-



cans and Spanish-speaking people had frequent
entertainments and social functions, but there was
very little mingling, Fairbanks discovered, between
that group and the American population of the
Among the latter there were also frequent social
gatherings, and wine and cakes were served. These
were weekly activities, and visitors to St. Augus-
tine for their health or for recreation were gener-
ally invited. Officers from the two companies of the
Third United States Artillery stationed at Saint
Francis Barracks in the south section of the city
also attended. Occasionally the officers themselves
hosted dances at the barracks, where music was
furnished by a trio led by Marcellini, a black mu-
sician who specialized in dance music. Oyster
roasts would sometimes be held by the American
residents on Anastasia Island opposite the city.
Fairbanks was much struck by the variety of
life in St. Augustine. Nearly all nationalities were
represented in the city, which was, he averred, "in
all respects unlike any American town.... Its va-
rieties of inhabitants and mixture of languages
gave it a peculiarly interesting character."12 Fair-
banks was particularly struck by two unique char-
acters. The first, a Mr. Fencher, was a native of
Rhode Island who had engaged in business with
various concerns in Mexico and at the time of Fair-
banks' arrival owned a residence and plantation



on North River above St. Augustine. Fairbanks
was impressed by Mr. Fencher's size, which he es-
timated at being over six hundred pounds in
weight. As a contrast he cited Mr. Jarried Barker,
who lived not far from Mr. Fencher; Mr. Barker
had a fully developed body, but his legs were only
a few inches in length. Barker's wife was rather
tall, and Fairbanks was amused to learn that
when Barker displeased her, she placed him on the
As clerk of the Superior Court, Fairbanks had
an office in Government House, which fronted the
public square. On one side were the offices of Judge
Bronson and the district attorney; on the other
side that of the United States marshal. The bar at
that time consisted of the Honorable Joseph L.
Smith, judge (and father of the famed Confederate
General Edmund Kirby-Smith), Major B. A. Put-
nam, John Drysdale, and 0. M. Dorman, all at-
torneys. In a letter to his brother, Samuel, written
early in November 1842, shortly after George's
arrival in Florida, Fairbanks said, "I am sitting
with doors open and as comfortable as in our summer
In the summer of 1843 Fairbanks journeyed to
Watertown and returned to St. Augustine that fall
with his wife, Sarah. They boarded for a while
with Mrs. Martha M. Reid, "a very intelligent
lady," the widow of Robert Raymond Reid who



had been a governor of the Territory of Florida.
In June 1844 Fairbanks purchased for $300 property
containing 106 acres and known as the Robinson
place, one and a half miles north of the city gate,
on the San Sebastian River. There was a small
house on the property, "in front of which grew an
ever-blooming rose which I think attracted me to
the place."14 The south boundary was popularly
called "The Stockade," since it had marked the
outer north line of fortifications in Spanish times
and ran from the San Sebastian to the North River.
That same year the Fairbanks built a cottage,
"Vado Real," and it remained the family home
until 1859, when Fairbanks, then a widower, left
St. Augustine. During the Civil War the cottage
and real property were cared for by a female slave,
Venus Adams, whom Fairbanks had purchased
April 1, 1846. She was then thirty years old. Vado
Real was burned during the war, as Fairbanks, who
was on service with the Confederate Army in Geor-
gia, learned from a captured Union officer at An-
On this same property-more precisely on a
southwestern triangular portion thereof-Fair-
banks would bury his wife and third child, both of
whom died before his departure from St. Augus-
tine. He explained that he did not wish to bury his
family in the Roman Catholic cemetery, since it
"was probably consecrated to the use of members



of that church." Neither did he wish to bury them
in the Protestant cemetery immediately north of
the city gate (popularly called the Huguenot
Cemetery) because "it had no consecration except
by its use."16 Sometime after Fairbanks left St.
Augustine, he conveyed the triangular piece of
property to the wardens and vestry of Trinity Par-
ish, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the city,
for use as a private burial ground.
Fairbanks interested himself in the civil and mil-
itary affairs of Florida.'7 One of the residents of
St. Augustine, well advanced in years, whom Fair-
banks met in the course of his early career as clerk
of the court, was Moses Elias Levy. Involved at
the time in litigation over title to lands that he
had purchased from the Arredondo estate, Levy
frequently came to Fairbanks' office to examine pa-
pers and take notes. The two became friends, "as
much so as an old man and young man can be,"
Fairbanks would relate.'8 After a brief acquaint-
ance, Levy proposed that Fairbanks take charge
of his lawsuits and land matters. The young at-
torney agreed and served Levy ten years as con-
fidential advisor and agent. When the relationship
ended, Levy was free of all litigation, and he had
several large parcels of land, mostly in the Alachua
area, and money enough to make him comfortable
the balance of his life.
Moses Levy had lived a colorful life. "He occa-



sionally talked with me concerning his previous
life, and said his Father was the Grand Vizier of
the Emperor of Morocco, and discovered a con-
spiracy on the part of the heir apparent to de-
throne his father. He caused the imprisonment of
the young prince and of course earned his bitter
hatred. The Emperor died and the son came to the
throne. The Grand Vizier placed his family in
safety at Gibraltar, and fled himself to Egypt,
where, I understand from Mr. Levy, his Father
died."19 Levy's family had been Portuguese Jew-
ish refugees in Morocco, and bore the honorary
Moorish title name of Yulee. Levy spent his youth
in Gibraltar, and sailed as a young man to St.
Thomas Island, West Indies, where he accumu-
lated a large fortune from the lumber business. It
was in St. Thomas that, finding his name too long
and cumbersome for business purposes, he dropped
the final cognomen of Yulee. His usual signature
was simply M. E. Levy. Fairbanks obviously held
him in high esteem. Writing in later life from Se-
wanee, Tennessee, in 1901, he remembered: "Mr.
Moses E. Levy was a man universally respected
in Saint Augustine. His probity, large intelligence
and benevolence were by all recognized. I held him
in the highest regard and veneration. He was very
fond of children, who were attracted to him. He
was just and generous in his business transactions.
I understood, but I do not know that I ever heard



him speak of it, that his purpose in buying these
large bodies of lands [in Alachua] was to establish
a colony of Jewish people as a refuge and religious
Levy had two sons, Elias and David, who also
distinguished themselves.21 After education in
Virginia, David returned to St. Augustine and was
elected territorial delegate to Congress in 1841.
The elder Levy was opposed to David's entering
politics, and his opposition was taken advantage
of by certain "unscrupulous politicians," in Fair-
banks' terms, who sowed dissension between the
son and father for political purposes. For some
years there was no contact between father and
son. "I was a close friend of the son," Fairbanks
wrote, "and on one occasion told him the family
history as had been told me by his father. He ap-
plied to the legislature [in 1846] and by an Act of
Legislature took the name of David Levy Yulee-
his brother Elias also changed to Yulee."22 Soon
afterwards, following David's marriage and birth
of a child, Fairbanks was instrumental in effecting
a reconciliation between the father and his son. In
1845, when Florida was received into the Union,
David was elected by the Florida General Assem-
bly as United States senator, the first Jew in the
country's history to hold that office. The family's
name is perpetuated in Florida in Levy County
and in the town of Yulee.23



Fairbanks himself entered political life in 1846.
A Jeffersonian Democrat, with important political
friends, among them former Territorial Governor
William P. DuVal,24 Fairbanks ran successfully
for state senator. He moved to Tallahassee for the
period of his two-year term, 1846-47, and showed
considerable skill as one of the fledgling state's
young legislators. Only twenty-six years of age at
the time, he was put in nomination for presidency
of the senate and tied in the voting with the sena-
tor from Pensacola. A compromise candidate even-
tually won the office. In the legislature Fairbanks
engaged actively in the affairs of the judiciary
committee and introduced a comprehensive reve-
nue bill. An insight into Fairbanks' mind at this
period is afforded by an exchange of letters with
fellow senator Samuel L. Burritt, in December
1847. The two men had disagreed on the propriety
of a floor vote, and Fairbanks thought that Burritt
had imputed unworthy motives to him. Writing
to the latter on Christmas day, Fairbanks said: "It
is a matter of pride with me that I have lived thus
far with scarcely a personal disagreement and that
I am unconscious at the present time of having a
personal enemy in the world, but from what has
passed it's necessary that there should be some
better understanding between us before the inter-
course which has been interrupted can be resumed
with pleasure to either party. Politically we may,



and probably shall, differ, but I see no necessity
of carrying such differences of opinion into the re-
lations of private life."25 Burritt replied grace-
fully the next morning and apologized for the ap-
parent imputation. "The conclusion which I drew
from your proposition . . . was a hasty one," he
wrote. "You disavow the intention I imputed to
you. I am sorry I did impute it and I shall be
happy if this mutual explanation shall have the
effect to restore our former amicable relations."26
Following his brief term of office as senator, Fair-
banks returned to St. Augustine and to the prac-
tice of law. He would not present himself as a
candidate for public office again until 1853, when,
with the resignation of Benjamin Putnam, the of-
fice of surveyor general of Florida fell vacant.
Former Senator James D. Westcott, Jr., attempted
to secure that office for his brother John, but he was
vigorously opposed by David Yulee, an anti-
Westcott partisan, who considered the post of sur-
veyor general the most influential federal position
in Florida. Initially, Yulee wished to see the post
go to John Beard, a close friend of Fairbanks' and
later the latter's father-in-law.27 Beard would
not accept the office, however, and Yulee turned to
his friend Fairbanks, who agreed to run. The anti-
Westcott forces gave lively support to Fairbanks
and interceded on his behalf with Florida's Demo-
cratic congressional delegation, with Secretary of



the Interior Robert McClelland, and with Presi-
dent Franklin Pierce. Senator Yulee, as might be
expected, armed Fairbanks with numerous written
recommendations from highly placed Florida citi-
zens.28 In the end, however, the efforts of Fair-
banks and the anti-Westcott forces were blunted
by a third candidate, Colonel Gad Humphreys, an
Indian agent for Florida, who was active in Demo-
cratic politics. Humphreys and Yulee had had a
falling out at the National Democratic Convention
in 1852, where Humphreys broke the unanimity of
a Florida delegation favorable to Stephen Doug-
las, apparently at the urging of John Westcott.
Unaware of Humphreys' strength, Fairbanks trav-
eled to Washington armed with his letters of in-
troduction and talked with August Maxwell, a
moderate Democrat, from whom he learned that
Yulee's successor in the United States Senate,
Stephen R. Mallory, was throwing his weight be-
hind Humphreys. Fairbanks was greatly disap-
pointed to learn this, but preferred Humphreys to
Westcott and so-advised Humphreys' son: "All my
wishes & feelings as between Dr. Westcott and
your Father are in your Father's favor and ... I
hope if there is a question as to whether your
Father or Dr. Westcott shall be appointed, that it
will be given to your Father."29
Fairbanks' next and final candidacy for office in
Florida was more successful. In 1857 he was elected



mayor of St. Augustine. His inaugural speech to
city officials pointed up certain unstable features
of the community's life at that time, as well as
Fairbanks' own pro-slavery proclivities. As owner
of several slaves himself, Fairbanks cautioned his
hearers about the unruly behavior of the slave
population in the city: "They are allowed greater
liberties than they should be, and it is very evi-
dently injurious to them. We have a great many
idle negroes, we have a great many drunken ne-
groes, we have a great many very dishonest ne-
groes."30 Many blacks, Fairbanks observed, were
daily drunk in the streets and their masters had
no information as to where they obtained their al-
cohol. He also objected to the fact that blacks
were allowed by their masters to have independent
homes and a style of living that "begets a desire
for something better than rations & makes them
get up meetings at each other's houses with cor-
responding entertainments which somebody has to
pay for." That independent lifestyle of the blacks
in the city had, so Fairbanks complained, a bad
effect in "lessening that wholesome relation of de-
pendence of master and slave which is better for
the servant & requisite to the master's proper con-
Fairbanks also expressed his concern about the
amount of malicious mischief that had been oc-
curring in the city, some of which he attributed to



practical joking that caused injury instead of
amusement. He promised to devote his adminis-
tration to the resolution of that problem and also
to the more important problem occasioned by the
mounting number of thefts of hen roosts, garden
produce, and fruit trees. "It is a very galling thing
when one has fattened his poultry and awaiting
the use of it, to find it stolen without excuse and
without any greater amount of cunning than pos-
sessed by very inferior instincts. So with gardens
and fruit..... To find our property thus wantonly
assailed and carried off creates a bitterness of feel-
ing which reacts upon society at large and has &
will drive many a family from making their home
here so long as it exists-and it most frequently
happens that these depredations are made upon
defenseless women and old people not capable of
protecting themselves. It is shameful that so much
of this kind of thing is going on and I hope we may
do something toward stopping it. It is not to be
expected that people will surround their dwellings
with fierce dogs or stand armed all night to keep
off thieves from their hen roosts or fruit gar-
In that same year, Fairbanks and other civic
leaders had to concern themselves with a growing
number of Seminole Indian attacks on American
settlements and travelers. He was one of a com-
mittee appointed at a meeting of citizens of St.



Augustine to secure protection.32 Although the
Second Seminole War officially was over, there still
were small bands of Indians that attacked out-
lying settlements. The St. Augustine committee
took cognizance of one recent "massacre" of an
entire family at New Smyrna and to the "heap of
ashes and the mutilated corpses left behind." The
members drew attention to "the practice of the
wily Indian foe whenever hard pressed to scatter
through the country under cover of the swamps &
familiar passes and suddenly commit attacks."33
They urged Brigadier General William S. Harney,
commanding the United States forces in Florida,
to raise a mounted company of soldiers to scout
the country between St. Augustine and the St.
Johns River and to assure the safety of the stage
and public mail route between St. Augustine and
It was in the 1850s, apparently, that Fairbanks
first developed his interest in history, particularly
that of Florida. The first indication of that interest
is found in a letter to Fairbanks from Professor
Theodore Irving of Free Academy in New York.
Irving, then revising his The Conquest of Florida
by Hernando de Soto,35 wrote asking for any in-
formation that Fairbanks might have on the early
Spanish explorations in Florida, and he expressed
the hope that, "thorough search might bring to light
something which might remove a great deal of the



mist that obscures the early history of your
state... ."36 One supposes, on the basis of this com-
munication, that Fairbanks' name had been given
to Irving as one who was interested in the Spanish
period of Florida history.
Perhaps the general quietude into which St. Au-
gustine was settling in the 1850s also contributed
to Fairbanks' interest in the past. The long Second
Seminole War had endel and with it St. Augus-
tine's bustling activity as a military post. Once
the leading city in Florida, by 1855 it had fallen
to fifth place in population. An English traveler,
Lady Amelia Murray, described the city as "in
general appearance . . . bare and dilapidated."37
Writing to his children, John Beard complained
about the bleakness surrounding St. Augustine
in the 1850s, saying: "This poor old place is so
much depressed that it is impossible to describe
the change from what it was when we first knew it.
You can perceive everywhere, and in everything,
both animate and inanimate, the melancholy ves-
tiges of adversity. But amid all this ruin I find still
much cheerfulness, and among our old friends un-
diminished cordiality."38
Fairbanks' own description of the community
during the same period can be found by the reader
in this present volume, pages 9-10: "And yet about
the old city there clings a host of historic associa-
tions, which throw around it a charm which few



can fail to feel." It was these things which inter-
ested Fairbanks during the 1850s. He mastered
the Spanish language, according to his son-in-law,
so that he could read the history of the early Flor-
ida explorations and settlements in the language
of the original adventurers.39
In 1855 Fairbanks and a group of like-minded
men gathered in the upstairs hall of George Burt's
St. Augustine store, a place often used for public
gatherings, and discussed the organization of a so-
ciety that would promote historical studies, not
only of St. Augustine, but of the entire state. Early
in 1856 the planners, together with a number of
other leading Florida citizens, met again and for-
mally organized "The Historical Society of Flor-
ida." A constitution and bylaws were adopted and
officers were elected. Major Benjamin A. Putnam
was elected president; Fairbanks, McQueen Mc-
Intosh, David Levy Yulee, William A. Forward,
and the Reverend J. H. Myers, were named vice-
presidents; George Burt became corresponding sec-
retary and treasurer; K. B. Gibbs, recording sec-
retary and librarian; and the Reverend A. A.
Miller, C. M. Dorman, and Father Edmond Au-
bril were elected to the executive committee.40
By April 1857 there were 134 members in the so-
ciety, including many of the outstanding men in
Florida politics. At the quarterly meeting of the
society held that same month in Government



House at St. Augustine, Fairbanks delivered a lec-
ture which is the first known historical essay from
his hand. Entitled "The Early History of Florida,"
the lecture was a survey of exploration and settle-
ment in Florida from the time of the first voyage
of Ponce de Le6n (dated erroneously in 1512 ac-
cording to the common understanding of the time)
up to the period of the English settlement in Geor-
gia and Carolina in the seventeenth and eight-
eenth centuries.41
The lecture in printed form filled twenty-four
pages. In it Fairbanks said that he could do no
more with so short a space than to glance rapidly
at the more prominent points of Florida's early
history. "My aim has been rather to indicate that
we have a history, replete with interest, extending
back to the earliest of American discoveries."42
Standing within the walls of what he called "The
Palace of the Spanish Governors," Fairbanks said:
"This most ancient city of our land, within the
shadow of that gray and moss-covered castle,
where everything recalls the past, whose very ex-
istence is a landmark of history [provokes] an
earnest desire to look into that past, to draw out
its secrets, and to bring back to our own minds
and memories the scenes and actions of the olden
time; and when our day shall in its turn be num-
bered with the past, and others shall have suc-
ceeded us, as we now fill the places of the genera-



tions who on this spot have been born and died, it
may well be that a tribute of affectionate respect
and reverence may be then bestowed upon us, as
the founders and benefactors of this Society."43
The society, he said, planned to explore Florida's
past, to keep and preserve all that could be dis-
covered in trust for those who would follow after-
wards, to build a library which would be open for
reference to scholars, teachers, and students, to
collect all relevant manuscript and published
works relating to Florida's history, and by means
of lectures and publications to communicate that
history to the general population.
The historical portion of the lecture is sketchy
and uneven, with several misspellings of Spanish
names. There are questionable facts and numerous
omissions, e.g., the settlement of TristAn de Luna
at Pensacola in 1559-62. Still, it is as good a short
essay on Spanish exploration and settlement of
Florida as could be found at the time, and its fe-
licitous style makes for easy reading, as it must, in
1857, have pleased the ears and sensibilities of the
society members who heard it. Indeed, it may be
said that, except for chapter one of the present
book to which these pages are an introduction,
there is no part of History and Antiquities that
can equal the Introductory Lecture for both style
and historic insight. Fully eight pages out of the
nineteen given to Florida's early Spanish history



Fairbanks devoted to the conflict between the
Spaniards and French at Fort Caroline, St. Au-
gustine, and Matanzas Inlet in 1565 and 1568.
The latter was the year of the avenging assault
on Fort Caroline (renamed San Mateo) by Domi-
nique de Gourgues. This disproportionate render-
ing of the history also characterizes the History
and Antiquities, where ninety-five of two hundred
pages are devoted to the same subject. Of Fair-
banks' attitude toward the Spanish-French strug-
gle more will be said later.
The good reception of his lecture, in both its
oral and published forms, caused Fairbanks to pro-
ject a book on the same theme, with a concentra-
tion on St. Augustine. To that end he entered
upon a correspondence with his St. Augustine
friend, Thomas Buckingham Smith, who at that
time was secretary of the United States legation
in Madrid, Spain. There is no full-length biography
of Smith, whose name, like that of Fairbanks, is
closely associated with the story of St. Augustine
in the nineteenth century; but the essential facts
of his life, so far as they relate to the present
study, may be set forth as follows." Ten years
older than Fairbanks, Smith had been born Oc-
tober 31, 1810 on Cumberland Island, Georgia, the
son of Josiah Smith and Hannah Smith (cousins)
of Watertown, Connecticut. The family established
itself in St. Augustine some time shortly after-


wards, and Smith appears to have spent most of
his boyhood in the old Florida city. At the age of
fourteen he visited Mexico, where his father had
been appointed United States consul. The follow-
ing year, 1825, his father died, and Smith became
the ward of an uncle, Robert Smith, of New Bed-
ford, Massachusetts, who sent him to Trinity Col-
lege in Hartford, Connecticut, for three years. Af-
terwards he attended Harvard Law School, from
which he graduated in 1836. After a short time
working in a Portland, Maine, law office, Smith re-
turned to St. Augustine in 1839, and began a law
practice that would last eleven years. During that
period, he served as secretary to Governor Reid
(1839-40), as a member of the St. Augustine city
council, and as a member of the territorial legis-
lature (1841). On September 20, 1844 Smith married
Julia B. Gardiner of Concord, New Hampshire.
While practicing law in St. Augustine, Smith
developed an interest in historical research, par-
ticularly in the area of Spanish explorations and
settlements in North America. Perhaps it was his
interest that would later influence his friend Fair-
banks to pursue the same studies. The earliest
extant record of Smith's research in the Spanish
period is found in an unpublished manuscript of
twenty-four pages entitled "Annals of Florida,"
preserved in the Library of Congress. A notation
on the manuscript, not in Smith's hand, states:



"Written about 1835-6." That date would coincide
with Smith's final year at Harvard. The "Annals"
is a highly stylized account, undocumented, of the
discovery of Florida by Ponce de Le6n in 1512
(again the erroneous date) and continuing as far
as 1525. Appended to the "Annals" are seven man-
uscript pages copied from correspondence of Span-
ish Governor Manuel de Montiano (1737-49) from
the "Archives of Saint Augustine, Florida," copied
by Elias B. Gould of St. Augustine. The descrip-
tion of the letters, thirty-six in all and addressed
to the Captain-General of Cuba, is given in Smith's
own hand.45 Fairbanks would make use of those
letters in the present work, spelling the governor's
name "Monteano" (see pp. 142-50 passim).
Smith's increasing interest in the Spanish pres-
ence in North America, particularly in Florida, led
him to seek an appointment as secretary to the
United States legation at Mexico City, which,
through the influence of Senator Jackson Morton,
he secured on September 9, 1850. His sole pur-
pose, apparently, in obtaining this assignment was
to gain access to the Spanish archives. He spent
his time well, copying ancient manuscripts to
which Mexican authorities gave him free and full
use, and scouring the countryside for books and
papers that he might bring back to Mexico City
on muleback and send to such American historians
as Peter Force, Jared Sparks, George Bancroft,



Francis Parkman, William Prescott, and Henry R.
Schoolcraft. It is not recorded that Fairbanks was
favored by Smith in the same manner, and it is
improbable that he would be, since Smith's tenure
at Mexico City antedated Fairbanks' known inter-
est in historical studies.
Smith returned to the United States in 1852,
and for the next three years spent his time equally
between St. Augustine and Washington, writing
and publishing historical articles and seeking a
new appointment as secretary to the legation at
Madrid, where the most abundant store of Span-
ish Florida materials could be found. To a friend
Smith wrote in 1853: "I tell you plainly I am going
to Spain and at my own expense if necessary,
should no pleasanter means present itself.""46 Fi-
nally on June 9, 1855 Smith received the desired
appointment and departed for Europe the same
year, where he researched and copied manuscripts
in the archives of Madrid and in the other and
more abundant collections of Seville and Siman-
This period of Smith's life and work, 1855-58,
established him as the first American scholar to
collect and copy documentary materials for the
history of Florida from archives in Spain. The re-
sult of his efforts was a prodigious collection of
documents, copied personally or through the
agency of others, the greater portion of which is



now in the library of the New York Historical So-
ciety, to which Smith bequeathed the collection.
Altogether, the materials fill twenty-five volumes,
large and small, and consist of full copies of early
Spanish contracts, memorials, reports, and corre-
spondence, tracings or copies of early Florida
maps, and miscellaneous papers relating to lin-
guistics, geography, and ethnology, all from the
period 1500-1800.
While in Spain, Smith made preparations for
the publication of his transcripts. However, only
one volume of source materials on Florida and ad-
jacent areas was issued, and that in 1857.48 This
would have been in time for Fairbanks to use had
it reached his hands, although it is doubtful that
it did so, because there is no trace of these docu-
ments in the present book. Certainly, one sup-
poses that Fairbanks would have utilized Smith's
published transcript of Philip II's grant of the
title adelantado of Florida, to Pedro Menendez de
Avil6s, as presumably he would also have used
other of the documents relating to the founding
years of St. Augustine and Florida, e.g., the will of
Pedro Menendez Marquis, nephew and heir to
the adelantado, who governed in St. Augustine;5
a 1758 report of the governor at St. Augustine on
the poor conditions prevailing at that time in the
Florida colony;5' and, perhaps also, a report by
Juan de la Vandera on the findings of the expedi-



tion of Juan Pardo into the interior of South Caro-
lina during the year immediately following the
foundation of St. Augustine.52 In the extant let-
ters from Smith to Fairbanks, dated 1858, there is
no mention by Smith of this collection.53 Indeed,
it appears that the extent to which Smith contrib-
uted to this present volume is represented in the
engravings of Fort Caroline (p. 28) and of Pedro
Menendez de Avil6s (p. 109). In the publisher's ad-
vertisement for History and Antiquities, the Me-
n6ndez engraving is described as coming from a
"newly-discovered portrait.""54 It was for this
service, apparently-as well as for reasons of
friendship and influence-that Fairbanks graciously
dedicated the book to Smith and paid his pub-
lished thanks for his "repeated favors" in the
course of its preparation.55
This productive period of Smith's life came to
an end in 1858, the year of his correspondence with
Fairbanks, owing to personal conflicts with the
minister of the legation, Augustus L. Dodge of
Iowa.56 Smith returned to the United States
with a treasure-trove of books and transcripts of
documents. He was back in St. Augustine by 1860,
but after the outbreak of the Civil War he moved
to New York City. Although a slaveowner, he
sided with the Union during that conflict, and in
May 1864 he was a delegate to the Democratic
Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.



Following the war, Smith traveled again to
Spain, where he continued his investigations in
the archives of Seville and Simancas, and selected
improved stocks for the orange groves that he
maintained in St. Augustine. In 1868 he returned
to Florida and was appointed tax commissioner.
In 1870-71 he was again in New York City, where
on January 4, 1871 he suffered a stroke near his
home at 261 West 42nd Street, and collapsed on
the sidewalk. Thinking that Smith was intoxicated,
a policeman hauled him off to the police station
and locked him in a cell overnight. In the morn-
ing he was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he
died. His remains were moved to the city morgue,
and they were about to be consigned to a pauper's
grave when a banker-acquaintance identified them
and arranged to have them sent south to St. Au-
gustine, where they were placed in the so-called
Huguenot Cemetery.
Smith's will was later discovered in the safe of a
St. Augustine merchant. Dated July 15, 1869, it
bequeathed all his historical manuscripts to the
New York Historical Society, "with this reserva-
tion, that during the lifetime of John Gilmary
Shea they be for his consultation & none other &
for such use may be withdrawn from the custody
of the society any of them."57 Shea, noted historian
of the Catholic Church in the United States, com-
posed a memoir of Smith which included a bibliog-



raphy of his published works, both of which ap-
peared as an introduction to Smith's translation of
Alvar Nufiez Cabeqa de Vaca, published in 1871.8
Most of his personal wealth Smith left "for the
use of the black people of St. Augustine and their
successors in all time to come . .. providing first
for the aged and invalid of those blacks which
have been mine."59 As a sign of his concern for
his former servants, Smith left his orange grove
and residence on the banks of Maria Sanchez
Creek to "the negro Jack-once my slave."" In
consequence of these bequests, the Buckingham
Smith Benevolent Association was founded in 1873
and perdures to this date as an agency of assist-
ance to the black people of St. Augustine.
Fairbanks described this present work, History
and Antiquities, as having "grown out of a lecture
delivered by the author," which would have been,
of course, the Introductory Lecture to the Histori-
cal Society of Florida. In point of fact, however,
there is nothing in the present volume of the orig-
inal lecture, save names, facts, and dates, and all
these are rendered in entirely different language.
It may be asked, what were Fairbanks' sources?
We have seen above that he did not use Bucking-
ham Smith's transcripts. A close reading of the
text reveals that the bulk of the work (123 pages
out of the total of 200) is a condensed translation
of the Ensayo Cronol6gico para la Historia Ge-



neral de la Florida, written in the eighteenth cen-
tury by Andres Gonzalez de Barcia Carballido
y Zufiiga (under the anagram Don Gabriel de
Cardenas z Cano).61 Much of the narrative Fair-
banks quotes from Barcia in extenso, it being his
aim, he states in the preface (p. 5), to preserve the
style and quaintness of the writers from whom he
drew his information. Barcia was little known in
St. Augustine and Florida at that time, and Fair-
banks no doubt performed a valuable scholarly
service in translating much of its pertinent East
Florida material.
His account of the foundation of St. Augustine
and of the contest between the Spaniards and the
French is drawn in the main from two sources:
the "Memorial" of Gonzalo Solhs de Meras,
brother-in-law of Menendez and chronicler of the
1565 expedition, as found in Barcia;62 and the
"Memorial" of Menendez' fleet chaplain, Fran-
cisco L6pez de Mendoza Grajales,63 which Fair-
banks had in a published French translation by
Henri Ternaux-Compans.64 He also utilized the
correspondence of Governor Manuel de Montiano
with the Captain-General of Cuba (1737-41). The
same correspondence had been used by Bucking-
ham Smith in his short essay, "Annals of Florida,"
but there is no indication that Fairbanks depended
upon Smith for these documents, which were read-
ily available to him in the East Florida archives



preserved in the governor's house at St. Augus-
Fairbanks' other sources for this history, to-
gether with the page numbers of the present vol-
ume where each can be found either used or re-
ferred to, may be listed as follows: Nicolas le
Challeux,66 36-50; Jacques le Moyne de
Morgues,67 50, 54; Rene Goulaine de Lau-
donniere,68 52-54; Dominique de Gourgues,69
102-7; Bartholomew Rivers Carroll,70 127 ff.;
William James Rivers,71 127 ff.; William Gil-
more Simms,72 51-52; William Roberts,73 159;
William Bartram,74 159; William Stork,75 159;
Bernard Romans,76 159; William Gerard De
Brahm,77 164-68; John Lee Williams,78 168,
186; the anonymous author of Narrative of a
Voyage to the Spanish Main,79 176-82; and Wil-
liam Cullen Bryant,o8 191-200. Some of these
source books may have been sent to Fairbanks by
Buckingham Smith, since one does not suppose at
this time the existence of an extensive Floridiana
library at St. Augustine, but there is no evidence
that he sent them. In any event, Fairbanks can be
credited with being the first American historian of
Florida to make major use of the Spanish records,
particularly of the then little known Barcia his-
tory; and his synthesis within a single compact
volume of most of the known published works on
Florida of Spanish, French, English, and American


origin also had a particular value for the time. Al-
though his sometimes overly long extracts from
the writers impeded the smoothness of the narra-
tive, no doubt many readers were more pleased to
have original texts in the English language than
they would have been to have the writer's narra-
tive alone. Despite its sketchy and uneven charac-
ter, this history of St. Augustine was without
question the best summary of its kind written to
that date.81
As noted earlier, ninety-five of Fairbanks' two
hundred pages (pp. 15-110) are devoted to the
conflict between the Spaniards and the French in
their endeavors to secure hegemony over Florida
during the years 1564-68. The unusual emphasis
on the events of four years out of the nearly three
hundred surveyed in this volume reveals Fair-
banks' fascination with the bloody duel of Pedro
Menendez de Aviles, that "brave, bigoted, and
remorseless soldier," as Fairbanks calls him (p. 17),
with the adelantado's French counterparts, Jean
Ribault, Rene de Laudonniere, and Dominique
de Gourgues. Fairbanks' exaggerated treatment of
those events may be said, furthermore, to have
contributed one reason why readers of American
history have tended to associate Menendez' name
with the leyenda negra-the "black legend" image
of Spaniards as cruel, deceitful, bigoted, and
greedy. In particular, Fairbanks was concerned to



show that Men6ndez acted with inexcusable bar-
barity and, what was worse, dishonorable decep-
tion in his massacre of Ribault's Frenchmen at
Matanzas Inlet (pp. 65-90). Three years after that
"monstrous atrocity" (p. 90), the punitive expedi-
tionary force of French Captain de Gourgues fell
upon the Spanish occupiers of Fort Caroline and
put them to the sword with the same sang-froid
exhibited by Menendez. Fairbanks' comparison
of the two massacres leaves the reader no doubt
that he regarded the Spaniard as villain of the
piece, and his faint censure of Gourgues' "viola-
tion of the pure spirit of... Christianity" (p. 107)
is plainly outweighed by his sympathetic recital
of the Frenchman's understandable, if not, indeed,
virtuous motivation. Interestingly, Fairbanks re-
sponded to Gourgues' actions with far less forbear-
ance in the Introductory Lecture of 1857, where
he said: "I know nothing in history more peculiar,
more tragic, than this scheme of vengeance for a
national wrong, conceived, planned, and carried
into effect by Gourgues. Laying aside the ordinary
motives which prompt mankind to action, sternly
bending his whole life, energy, and being into one
sanguinary work, from which he was to derive no
benefit, no reward, and perchance punishment and
disgrace, we are awed by the sternness of such a
No doubt the one isolated and terrible incident


at Matanzas will forever stain the otherwise ad-
mirable breastplate of Menendez. Indeed, there
were already some at St. Augustine in 1565, Solf
de Meris tells us, who "considered him cruel,"
while others determined that "he had acted as a
very good captain should."83 Most of the serious
historical literature on the subject since the time
of Fairbanks' book has tended to mix the two
judgments reported by Meras, and to find justifi-
cation, in one measure or another, for the severity
of Men6ndez' tactics. One should not wish to
overdraw the revisionism that has taken place on
this point, but it is worth observing that the two
most recently published accounts of the Matanzas
affair are markedly understanding of Menendez
and of the position in which he found himself vis-
a-vis the French forces. Whether this shift in
view bespeaks a transition from nineteenth-century
historiographical idealism to a more pragmatic and
situation-ethical approach to human events is
problematical, but a sampling of the most re-
spected twentieth-century interpreters, presented
here in a note, may assist the reader to come to his
own balanced judgment of the rightness or wrong-
ness of Men6ndez' actions.84 Fairbanks himself
says in his preface to the present work that, in the
main, he has deliberately followed the Spanish
rather than the French accounts of the Matanzas
episode, "desiring," he says, "to divest the narra-



tive of all suspicion of prejudice or unfairness"
(p. 6); but the reader may find, after examination
of other opinions, that the divestiture does not
succeed quite as well as Fairbanks intended.
The only other section of this narrative in which
Fairbanks took a special and personal interest was
the exact geographical location of Fort Caroline,
which he placed at St. Johns Bluff (p. 57) and des-
ignated on a map, "Entrance of Saint Johns River"
(p. 51). His judgment on the point has since been
validated by other historians and by the National
Park Service, United States Department of the
Interior, which in 1952-53 conducted extensive
archeological investigations at that site.85 In the
second edition of History and Antiquities, pub-
lished in 1868 (see below), Fairbanks included a
letter from Buckingham Smith in Madrid to
printer Columbus Drew in Jacksonville, under
the date August 15, 1866, in which Smith spoke
of three copper coins he discovered near the old
site of Fort Caroline and of his difficulty in obtain-
ing their identification in London, Paris, and Spain.
He wrote: "I have visited the town of Avils, a
league from the Bay of Biscay, whence Pedro Me-
n6ndez came, and brought his fleet to Florida
three centuries ago. I saw his tomb, and not far
off the chapel of the family of one of his compan-
ions. There is no stranger anywhere to be heard
of in all that country; everything is intensely old



Spanish in every respect. Going home late one
evening, I was accosted by a native in good Eng-
lish. He said the town was rarely visited-three or
four Englishmen within his memory had passed
through, and he supposed me to be the first person
from the United States who had ever been there.
I told him I came from Florida, and, though
rather late, was returning the visit of Menendez
to Saint Augustine." Smith went on to describe
how, through the courtesy of a lineal descendant
of Menendez, the Count of Revilla Gigedo, he
was permitted to read and to make copies of orig-
inal Menendez papers in the Count's possession.
The 1858 edition of History and Antiquities was
published in New York City by Charles B. Norton,
"Agent for Libraries." The actual printing was
done by Baker and Godwin, Dr., Steam Printing
Establishment, in the same city, at a cost of
$615.55 for 750 copies, including six gift copies
bound in antique library style and one copy bound
in full calf leather.86 The engraving entitled
"Public Square, St. Augustine" (frontispiece),
which shows the Roman Catholic Church (now
Cathedral) of St. Augustine, and on the right,
Trinity Episcopal Church, was done from a paint-
ing by George Harvey of Westchester County, New
York, in 1854. The engraving entitled "City Gates,
St. Augustine" (p. 190) came from the same hand.
All the lithographic stones used for printing the



illustrations in the 1858 edition were destroyed by
fire in New York City some time before 1860.87
The original printing sold out before the onset
of the Civil War and, following that conflagration,
Fairbanks in 1868 brought out a second edition
under the title The Spaniards in Florida: Compris-
ing the Notable Settlement of the Huguenots in
1864 and the History and Antiquities of St. Au-
gustine, Founded A.D. 1565." The new edition
differed little from the original, except that it was
more appropriately titled, since the events re-
counted in the volume concerned more of East
Florida than St. Augustine alone. The author was
described on the title page as "Honorary Member
of the New York Historical Society" and "Lec-
turer on American History in the University of
the South." The latter institution, at Sewanee,
Tennessee, had opened to students that same year,
largely through the vision and energy of Fairbanks
himself, as noted below. The second edition car-
ried a new chapter 19 entitled "St. Augustine in
Its Old Age, 1565-1868," in which Fairbanks sur-
veyed the general story that he had told in the
prior chapters and devoted six short paragraphs to
a lamentation over the physical destruction and
demoralized citizenry left at St. Augustine in the
wake of the recently concluded Civil War. Among
the destruction Fairbanks counted Vado Real: "A
once pleasant cottage home, near the stockades,



dear to the writer, cared for and embellished with
many things pleasant to the eye, fragrant with
the ever-blooming roses and honeysuckles, has,
under the rude hand of war, been utterly de-
stroyed, with its library, its furniture, and all its
pleasant surroundings." As though handing St.
Augustine to the ages, Fairbanks concluded his
chapter with the sentiment: "I am sure that no
one will feel otherwise than that its old age shall
be tranquil and serene, and that its name may
ever be associated with pleasant memories."89
A third and last edition, in 1881, appeared at a
time when the city was gaining great favor as a
tourist attraction and health resort. The title was
again slightly altered, this time to read: History
and Antiquities of St. Augustine, Florida, Founded
September 8, 1565.90 The third edition contained
no new material.
The work's ranking as serious historical litera-
ture is attested to by the use made of it in later
years in larger and more substantial histories, such
as those written by William Whitwell Dewhurst
and Charles Bingham Reynolds.91 Fairbanks
himself made extensive use of his book's material
in a more comprehensive study published in 1871
under the title History of Florida from Its Dis-
covery by Ponce de Le6n in 1512 to the Close of
the Florida War in 1842.92 This work, which Fair-
banks projected as the first "connected history" of



the state, was primarily a factual and descriptive
history almost exclusively concerned with military
and political events. It was ill balanced chronolog-
ically, with marked overemphasis on three epi-
sodes: the expedition of Hernando de Soto (1539-
43); the Spanish-French struggle (1564-68), which
he described less passionately than he did in his
earlier work; and the Second Seminole War (1835-
42). Still, it was the first satisfactory history of
Florida; and, just as History and Antiquities had
introduced him as the premier historian of St. Au-
gustine, so History of Florida established him as
the acknowledged authority on Florida history in
general. The History of Florida went through two
further editions, in 1898 and 1904, the latter of
which was issued as a textbook "with questions in
appendix" for use in the Florida school system.
Fairbanks was eighty-four years old at the time of
the last printing.93
This is not the place to introduce or to analyze
Fairbanks' general history, which may itself be
printed in facsimile at some future date. Nor is it
now possible to describe in any detail his life and
activities during the Civil War or his years as co-
founder, lecturer, and administrator at the Uni-
versity of the South. These events, which came
after the original publication date of the volume
before us, await the treatment of a full-length bi-
ography.94 A brief overview of those events would



show that, upon Florida's secession from the
Union in 1861, Fairbanks threw in his lot with
the Confederacy, and from 1862 until the end of
the war he served in the commissary department
of the Army of Tennessee with headquarters at
Marietta, Atlanta, and Macon, Georgia. He held
the rank of major throughout that period, and em-
ployed the title afterwards in private life, accord-
ing to a custom popular in the South. All through
his adult life he was an ardent and participating
member of the Protestant Episcopal Church and
attended continuously from 1853 the general con-
ventions of that body, save during the war years
when he was a delegate to the Confederate Church
Council. At the convention of 1904, in Boston, he
was singled out as the oldest representative at that
meeting, never having once failed in attendance
during a long, devoted life.
It was in connection with his Episcopal Church
interests that, on July 4, 1857, Fairbanks gathered
with other church leaders, clerical and lay, at
Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, to organize the be-
ginnings of the University of the South at Se-
wanee, projected as a regional institution of higher
learning, under Episcopal auspices, for students
from ten southern states. He left St. Augustine in
1859 and built a cottage, called "Rainsford Place,"
at Sewanee in 1860. The opening of the university
was delayed by the war, and Fairbanks' cottage



was burned by Federal troops in 1863. He returned
to Sewanee in 1866, and he and Charles Todd
Quintard, bishop of Tennessee, built log houses
side by side as a sign of their determination to
give the university a new birth. Both men were of
northern birth and education-Quintard from Con-
necticut, Fairbanks from New York. Yet Fairbanks
named his new home "Rebel's Rest," and it stands
to this day. From 1867 until 1880, when the first
two stone structures were erected, Fairbanks was
University Commissioner of Land and Buildings.
In the latter year he returned to Florida, taking
up residence at Fernandina, where he built a hand-
some house, though he remained on the univer-
sity's Board of Trustees. For a time, at David Levy
Yulee's persuasion, he edited a weekly newspaper,
The Florida Mirror. From Fernandina he also
oversaw his extensive properties in Alachua County
and helped organize the state's citrus growers. In
1903 he was elected president of the revived Flor-
ida Historical Society.
His long and distinguished scholarly career was
again recognized when the University of Alabama,
in June 1906, awarded him the honorary degree,
Doctor of Laws. It was two months afterwards, at
Sewanee, in the eighty-seventh year of his life, and
shortly after exercising his position as counselor
and advisor to the university he loved, that Fair-
banks went to bed for the last time in his moun-


tain home, the log house hewn out so many years
before from the surrounding forest. The day of his
death was August 3, 1906. Of him a colleague wrote
shortly afterwards: "He was not always agreed to
or listened to; he was not always understood or
appreciated; it goes without saying that he was
not always right in his opinions or positions"; but
he was, withal, his eulogist said, "the patriarch of
Sewanee, the conserver of its traditions, the ex-
emplar of its undying faith .... He was the builder
of it and the author of every change that it has
undergone in its eventful history. . . . There is
nothing here that does not and will not feel and
mourn his loss."95
A later generation in Florida will remember him
principally as Florida's first serious historian in the
English language, without rival in the nineteenth
century, and still deserving of our respectful notice
in the twentieth.

University of Florida




1. There is no satisfactory published biography of George Fair-
banks. Many short sketches of his life exist, as for example: John Bell
Henneman and William Porcher DuBose, "George Rainsford Fair-
banks," Sewanee Review (October 1906), pp. 493-503; Andrew Van
Vranken Raymond, Union University (New York: Lewis Publishing
Co., 1907), vol. 3, pp. 202-4; and Francis P. Fleming, "Major George
Rainsford Fairbanks," Florida Historical Quarterly (April 1908), pp.
5-7. They are all short in length, many of them obituary in charac-
ter, and make little or no use of Fairbanks' personal papers. Those
papers, now in the possession of his granddaughter, Mrs. Thomas E.
Dudney (Rainsford Fairbanks Glass Dudney) of Sewanee, Tennessee,
have been photocopied and the copies placed in the Special Collec-
tions Division of the Robert Strozier Library, Florida State Univer-
sity, Tallahassee. The present writer wishes to express his deep appre-
ciation to Mrs. Dudney, who provided him valuable information
about Fairbanks' family, as well as other life facts not available in
the seventy-three folios of papers, and to the Special Collections li-
brarians at Florida State University, who accorded him every courtesy
and assistance during his research at that institution in August and
September 1973. Special thanks are also due Mrs. Ann Carlin, who
typed the manuscript, and Miss Nancy Mitchell, who assisted with the
2. His three brothers were Samuel (1818-81), Andrew Jackson
(1826-98?), and Jason Massey (1828-94).
3. "Autobiographical Sketch," an 11-pp. typescript, n.d., covering
events in Fairbanks' life from birth until 1846, where it ends abruptly;
Fairbanks Papers (hereafter cited as F.P.), folio 1.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. George and Sarah (February 19, 1818-March 22, 1858) would
have five children: Florida (July 24, 1848-November 25, 1931); Charles
Massey (April 4, 1850-February 23, 1881); George Ward (March 5,
1852-January 15, 1853); Gertrude (April 27, 1854-May 27, 1893); and
Sarah Catherine (February 11, 1858-January 6, 1918).
8. John T. Sprague, The Origin, Progress, and Conclusion of the
Florida War (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1848); same, facsimile ed.
(Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1964). It was superseded by
John K. Mahon, History of the Second Seminole War, 1835-1842
(Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1967).




9. F.P., folio 73, George R. Fairbanks to Samuel Fairbanks, St. Au-
gustine, November 5, 1842.
10. F.P., folio 1, "Autobiographical Sketch."
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. F.P., folio 73, Fairbanks to Samuel Fairbanks, St. Augustine,
November 5, 1842.
14. F.P., folio 1, "Autobiographical Sketch." The site is known
today as the McMillan Subdivision, the southern boundary of which
is 100 feet south of Harding Street.
15. F.P., folio 35, George Couper Gibbs to George Fairbanks, Ander-
sonville, Ga., February 7, 1865.
16. F.P., folio 23, Fairbanks to Mrs. Eliza Vedder, Sewanee, Tenn.,
June 30, 1901. On April 26, 1860, in Chicago, Fairbanks married Susan
Beard Wright (September 8, 1826-January 5, 1911), daughter of John
Beard (see below, n. 27) and widow of the Reverend Benjamin Wright.
Two children were born of the marriage: Susan Rainsford (July 19,
1861-October 30, 1885) and Eva Lee (March 29, 1865-September 29,
17. In the period 1844 through 1859, when he departed Florida,
Fairbanks served as aide-de-camp to the governor of Florida with the
rank and title of colonel. He also held the following judicial positions:
master in chancery in the District of East Florida, appointed Novem-
ber 4, 1844; attorney, solicitor, and counselor in the several courts of
the Territory of Florida, appointed March 12, 1845; master in chan-
cery for the East Circuit of the state of Florida, appointed January
26, 1846; commissioner of common schools of the state of Florida, ap-
pointed January 7, 1847; clerk of the Court of the Northern District
of Florida at the city of St. Augustine, appointed November 23, 1848;
commissioner of deeds for the Court of Claims, Washington, D.C., ap-
pointed July 21, 1855; clerk of the District Court of the United States
for the Northern District of Florida, appointed June 20, 1856; attor-
ney and counselor of the Supreme Court of the United States, ap-
pointed February 3, 1857; commissioner of deeds for the state of New
York in the state of Florida, appointed November 7, 1857. Fairbanks
also served during this period as state senator and mayor of St. Au-
18. F.P., folio 51, Fairbanks to A. M. DaCosta, Sewanee, Tenn.,
July 1, 1901.
19. Ibid.
20. Ibid.
21. David Levy Yulee was delegate to the United States Congress
from Florida (1841-45), United States senator from Florida (1845-51,


1855-61), member of the Confederate Congress (1861-65), and a pio-
neer railroad builder of Florida.
22. F. P., folio 51, Fairbanks to DaCosta, Sewanee, July 1,1901.
23. Not everyone was pleased by David's change to Yulee. William
P. DuVal, who had served as the first civil governor of Florida (1822-
34), and was a friend and frequent correspondent of Fairbanks, com-
plained in a letter to the latter, under the date of January 6, 1846:
"The application of Mr. Levy to the Legislature to change his name
to EULIE has given offense to many of his warmest friends-the de-
votion of several influential men who have hitherto maintained his
pretensions and who have named there [sic] sons David Levy are seri-
ously offended and mortified that the name is changed-I do not see
any good reason why Mr. Levy should not assume his family cog-
nomen-but trifles light as air will sometimes produce strange results";
F.P., folio 47-C, DuVal to Fairbanks, Tallahassee, January 6, 1846.
David himself wrote to Fairbanks, under the same date: "By mistake
my memorial to the legislature said E. instead of Y. in spelling Yulee.
... I have a right to spell it as I please. It conforms better to my fa-
ther's spelling"; F.P., folio 34, Yulee to Fairbanks, Washington, D.C.,
January 6, 1846. David's own account of his alienation from his father
(1837) and their reconciliation (1845) is found in the David Levy Yulee
Papers, P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida,
Box 1, "Administration of M. E. Levy Estate."
24. See the correspondence between DuVal and Fairbanks, F.P.,
folio 60.
25. F.P., folio 60, Fairbanks to S. L. Burritt, Tallahassee, Decem-
ber 5, 1847.
26. F.P., folio 50, Burritt to Fairbanks, Tallahassee, December 26,
27. John Beard (1797-1876) was a North Carolinian by birth, edu-
cated at Yale, who had served as a Federalist in the North Carolina
legislature before moving to St. Augustine in 1838. From that time
until 1845 he held the offices of clerk of the Superior Court, in which
Fairbanks replaced him in 1842, and United States marshal. On the
admission of Florida to the Union in 1845, Beard was elected register
of public lands and moved to Tallahassee. He ran unsuccessfully as a
Democrat for Congress in 1850. He was then elected comptroller of
the state, an office that he resigned in 1854 to accept the agency of the
Apalachicola Land Company. He was a representative from Leon
County to the secession convention of 1861, and supported the cause
of the Confederacy during the course of the Civil War. At war's end
he was reappointed to the office of comptroller in 1866. Three years
later he was incapacitated by "vertigo" and "neuralgia," and was rela-
tively inactive until his death in Tallahassee at eighty years of age.


Beard and Fairbanks remained close friends from the time of their
first acquaintance. Not only in politics, but in the affairs of the Prot-
estant Episcopal Church, they made common cause, often attending
together various general conferences of that religious body. See Jo-
seph D. Cushman, Jr., A Goodly Heritage: The Episcopal Church in
Florida, 1821-1892 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1965),
passim. After the death of his wife, Sarah, in 1858, Fairbanks in 1860
married Beard's daughter, Susan Beard Wright, widow of the Rever-
end Benjamin Wright.
28. An account of Fairbanks' candidacy is given in Arthur Lynch,
"Patronage, Factionalism, and Sectionalism in the Florida Demo-
cratic Party, 1848-1851" (master's thesis, San Jose State College,
1969), pp. 22-24. The present writer is indebted to Mr. Lynch for this
account, kindly sent him on request. See the recommendations of
Fairbanks from Beard et al., in F.P., folio 60.
29. F.P., folio 60, Fairbanks to F. C. Humphreys, Washington, D.C.,
March 15, 1853.
30. F.P., folio 50, "Address of George R. Fairbanks to St. Augustine
City Council, 1857."
31. Ibid.
32. The members of the committee, besides Fairbanks, were Colonel
Gad Humphreys, F. P. Ferreira, Pedro Benet, John C. Canova, John
Usina, Colonel R. F. Floyd, George Zelenbam, Bartolo Pacetty [sic],
Sr. and Jr., R. D. Fontane, Luis Drysdale, William Meyes, Bartolo
Pons [sic], and James Pellicer. See F.P., folio 50, "Report of Commit-
tee," December 3, 1857.
33. Ibid.
34. F.P., folio 50, "Report of Committee," with resolutions and
communication to Brigadier General Haney, December 3, 1857.
35. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1835.
36. F.P., folio 63, Theodore Irving to Fairbanks, New York, Febru-
ary 8, 1850.
37. Amelia M. Murray, Letters from the United States, Cuba, and
Canada (New York: G. Putnam & Co., 1856), p. 224.
38. F.P., folio 60, John Beard to "My dear children" (Sarah and
Charles), St. Augustine, July 29, 1850.
39. F.P., folio 60, James G. M. Glass, D.D., "Brief Sketch of the
Life of George Rainsford Fairbanks, M.A., LL.D.," typescript, n.d.,
7 pp.
40. An account of the initial meeting and first organization of the
society is given in Watt Marchman, "The Florida Historical Society,
1856-1861, 1879, 1902-1940," Florida Historical Quarterly (July 1940),
pp. 6-9.
41. The Early History of Florida: An Introductory Lecture Deliv-



ered before the Florida Historical Society, April 15, 1857, with an Ap-
pendix Containing the Constitution, Organization, and List of Mem-
bers of the Society (St. Augustine: Florida Historical Society, 1857),
31 pp. Curiously, the later title, "Florida Historical Society," is used
here instead of the name officially designated at that time, "The His-
torical Society of Florida." The lecture alone, without appendix, was
later published under the title "Romantic History of Florida" in
DeBow's Review 24 (March, April, May 1858): 245-50, 274-77, 372-
82. Copies of both printings of the lecture are in the collection of the
St. Augustine Historical Society.
42. Ibid., p. 22.
43. Ibid., p. 24.
44. The best existing account of Smith's life is given by Alexander
J. Wall, director of the New York Historical Society, in an unpub-
lished manuscript "Buckingham Smith, 1810-1871," 21 pp., in the St.
Augustine Historical Society Library. The date of the manuscript is
probably 1941, the date when Wall, representing the New York His-
torical Society, placed a memorial tablet upon the grave of Smith in
the Huguenot Cemetery in St. Augustine. A copy of the manuscript is
found in the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of
Florida. It is the basis of the short account of Smith's life given in
Ray E. Held, "Spanish Florida in American Historiography, 1821-
1921" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Florida, 1955), pp. 149-63.
45. Held, "Florida Historiography," p. 151n.
46. Smith to E. G. Squier, 1853, quoted in Wall, "Buckingham
Smith," p. 14.
47. Of the Archivo de Las Indias at Seville, Smith wrote in 1856:
"There are riches for us at Sevilla enough for our utmost indulgence,
could I be there permanently-I have the force of the government
with me, but it can do no more, I am persuaded. It is only once or
twice in a man's lifetime that the wave comes that can take him on
and I am now upon it, but crippled by the narrowness of my means
and the requirement of the government keeps me on less than sus-
sistence and does not allow me to have the capital." Quoted in Wall,
"Buckingham Smith," p. 16.
48. Smith, Colecci6n de various documents para la historic de la
Florida y tierras adyacentes ... vol. 1 (London: Triibner y compania,
1857), 208 pp. The actual printing of this work was done in Spain, de-
spite the London imprint.
49. "Titulo de adelantado de la Florida, expedido favor de Pero
Mendez de Avilds," ibid., pp. 13-15.
50. "Testamento de Pedro Mendndez de Avilds, sobrino y heredero


del Adelantado de la Florida del mismo nombre, otorgado en Valla-
dolid a 18 de Diciembre de 1618," ibid., pp. 19-25.
51. "Oficio de D. Lucas de Palazio, gbbernador de San Agustin, al
Exmo. Senior D. Julian de Arriaga, en que manifiesta el mal estado
de la guarnici6n del presidio y remite un estado de la fuerza, el qual
se insert A continuaci6n," ibid., pp. 28-29.
52. "Memoria de Juan de la Vandera, en que se hace relaci6n de
los lugares y tierra de la Florida por donde el Capitan Juan Pardo
entr6 A dexubrir camino para Nueva Espafa por los afios de 1566,
1567," ibid., pp. 15-19.
53. F.P., folio 63, Smith to Fairbanks, Madrid, March 10, 1858; Ma-
drid, April 7, 1858. In the first communication Smith expressed his
pleasure that the engravings he had sent Fairbanks had arrived safely.
He went on to state his intention, "if I ever utter another volume] to
produce Phil[ip] II who was very much gratified with the conduct of
his Admiral [Menendez] in Florida in his treatment of the French.
... I have just read a letter . . . about the papers of the Franciscans
supposed to be in Havana .... We must get those papers, and have
them in Augustine for the Society .... I tell you we know very little
of the history of Florida yet." In the second letter Smith referred
again to the engravings and said, I "am sure that some of them are
pure fancy, others unquestionably came from original paintings." Ap-
parently, the only two engravings sent by Smith which Fairbanks
used in this book were those of Fort Caroline and Pedro Menendez.
54. See F.P., folio 69. The engraving of the Mendndez portrait was
done by Franco de Paula Marte in 1791 from a drawing by Josef
Camar6n, which in turn, apparently, was done from a portrait of
Menendez now in the possession of his descendant, the Conde de
Revilla Gigedo, of Avilds and Gij6n.
55. See Fairbanks' dedication and p. 6, infra.
56. Smith described his unhappy relationship with Dodge in a
lengthy letter to the historian Peter Force, dated Valencia, Spain,
January 12, 1859, and quoted in Wall, "Buckingham Smith," from
which the following critical passages might be excerpted: "Conceited,
arrogant, ignorant and big-fisted, his indoor behavior has been the
most pitiful. For two years and a half he did his best to make me
strike him, or challenge him, I do not know which, and finally told me
that he had done his best to get a fight out of me. The man has been
a little short of crazy with jealousy of me, and that has appeared to
be in every sort of thing. I have been cussed & charged with all sorts
of dirty acts, and I have been watched as an overseer looks after a
vicious slave. . . . He is a monstrous fool . . . My investigations are


over, printing stopped, the documents I sought to get for a wide circle
of our history will never be what I have projected, and all this for the
envy of one poor fool!" Smith is described as having been a large
portly man, somewhat overbearing in manner, and it is difficult to
imagine his being bullied by another.
57. See copy of "Will of Buckingham Smith" in Peck-Burt collec-
tion, Old Spanish Treasury, St. Augustine; and a typescript of it in
the St. Augustine Historical Society collection.
58. Smith, trans., Relation of Alvar Nuhez Cabega de Vaca (Al-
bany, N.Y.: J. Munsell for H. C. Murphy, 1871), pp. 255-63. This is
the most reliable bibliography for Smith and one discovers from it
that, if Smith was able to bring out only one collection of transcripts
of Spanish documents during his lifetime, he was successful in bring-
ing out numerous other volumes, mostly translations of chronicles,
relations, and memorials. There are comments on Smith's published
works in Held, "Florida Historiography," pp. 153-64. Microfilm copies
of the Smith transcripts willed to the New York Historical Society
are in the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Flor-
59. "Will of Buckingham Smith."
60. Ibid.
61. Madrid, 1723. A full translation was published in 1951: Anthony
Kerrigan, trans., Barcia's Chronological History of the Continent of
Florida (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1951), 426 pp.
62. Barcia, Ensayo Cronol6gico, pp. 66-140. Like Fairbanks' ex-
tracts from Barcia, Barcia himself quoted Sois de MerAs at length.
These extracts were the first publication of the Solis de Merds ma-
terial, which was not published in its entirety until 1893, by E. Rui-
diaz y Caravia, La Florida: su Conquista y Colonizaci6n por Pedro
Menendez de Avilds (Madrid), vol. 2. What appears to be the origi-
nal manuscript was discovered by the writer of this introduction in
the possession of the Conde de Revilla Gigedo in Gij6n, Spain, and
microfilmed, under which form it can be found today in the Mission
Nombre de Dios Library, St. Augustine, and in the P. K. Yonge Li-
brary of Florida History, University of Florida.
63. "Memoria del buen sugesso y buen Viaje que dios no senior
fue servido de dar a la armada que salio de la giudad de caliz para la
prouincia y costa de la florida de la qual fue por general el Illustre
senior pero menendez de auiles comendador de la orden de sitiago."
The first publication in Spanish of this "Memorial" was in the 42-
volume collection of Spanish American documents published in Ma-
drid between 1864 and 1884, Colleci6n de documents indbitos rela-
tivos al descubrimiento, conquista y organizaci6n de las antiguas po-



sesiones espaholas de America y Oceanta, 3: 441-79; see Lyle N.
McAlister, who was the first to bring this fact to the attention of Flor-
ida historians, in his introduction to the facsimile edition of Jeannette
Thurber Connor, trans., Pedro Menandez de Avilds, Memorial by
Gonzalo Solts de Mers (Gainesville: University of Florida Press,
1964), p. 12 and n. 25. The Spanish text is more readily available
today in Eugenio Ruidfaz y Carravia, La Florida: su Conquista y
Colonizaci6n por Pedro Menkndez de Aviims (Madrid, 1893), 2:
431-65. The first full translation into English appeared in Benjamin
F. French, Historical Collections of Louisiana and Florida (New York:
Albert Mason, 1875), pp. 191-234. French was not as careful in his
translation as was Fairbanks, as appears from a comparison of their
two texts with the original Spanish as published in Ruidfaz. In Fair-
banks, p. 23, lines 10-15 (beginning "and if our vessels .. ." and ending
("to preserve them.") are a faithful translation of the text as found in
Ruidfaz, p. 453, but are missing entirely from the Benjamin F.
French translation!
64. Recueil de pieces sur la Floride, inedit. (Paris: A. Vertrand,
1841), pp. 165-232. This is volume 20 of a series of collections of voy-
ages published by Ternaux-Compans in Paris between 1837 and 1841.
65. The East Florida Papers constitute the archives of the Spanish
government of East Florida between 1783, when England retroceded
the area to Spain, and 1821, when the United States took possession.
East Florida was the name given during most of this period to the en-
tire peninsula. Numbering 65,000 documents, the collection was re-
moved to Tallahassee by federal officials in 1869, and thence to the Li-
brary of Congress in 1905, where they still remain. The papers were
microfilmed by the Mission Nombre de Dios in 1965. A description of
their contents is given in Michael V. Gannon, "Mission of Nombre de
Dios Library," The Catholic Historical Review (October 1965), pp.
376-77. The Montiano correspondence is the only part of the collec-
tion that dates from the first Spanish period. Fairbanks' use of the
papers can be found in this present volume, pp. 142-52.
66. Nicolas le Challeux, Discours de l'histoire de la Floride (Dieppe,
1566); the narrative can be found in Ternaux-Compans, La Floride,
pp. 247-300.
67. Jacques le Moyne de Morgues, "Brevis Narratio eorum quae in
Florida Americae provincia Gallis acciderunt .. ." published in Theo-
dor de Bry, Collectiones Peregrinationum in Indiam Orientalem et
Indiam Occidentalem (Frankfurt, 1591).
68. The narratives of Ren6 Goulaine de Laudonniere, "L'histoire
notable de la Floride ... contenant les trois voyages fait en icelle par
certain capitaines et pilots francois descrit par le capitaine Lau-


donniere . . . A laquelle a est6 adjoust6 un quatriesme voyage
fait par le capitaine Gourgues," was available to Fairbanks in En-
glish translation, published by Richard Hakluyt in The Principal
Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques, and Discoueries of the English Na-
tion, 3 vols. (London, 1598-1600).
69. "La reprinse de la Floride par le capitaine Gourgues," in
Ternaux-Compans, La Floride, pp. 301-65.
70. Bartholomew Rivers Carroll, Historical Collections of South
Carolina ... from Its First Discovery to Its Independence in the Year
1776,2 vols. (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1836).
71. William James Rivers, A Sketch of the History of South Caro-
lina to... 1719... (Charleston: McCarter & Co., 1856).
72. William Gilmore Simms, The History of South Carolina, from
Its First European Discovery ... to the Present Time (Charleston: S.
Babcock & Co., 1840).
73. William Roberts, An Account of the First Discovery and Nat-
ural History of Florida ... (London: T. Jeffreys, 1763).
74. William Bartram, Travels through North & South Carolina,
Georgia, East & West Florida . . . (Philadelphia: James & Johnson,
75. William Stork, An Account of East Florida, with a Journal
Kept by John Bartram of Philadelphia . . . (London: W. Nicholl,
76. Bernard Romans, A Concise Natural History of East and West
Florida . . . (New York: R. Aitken, 1775); same, facsimile edition
(Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1962).
77. See Louis De Vorsey, Jr., ed., Reprint of the General Survey
in the Southern District of North America, by William Gerard De
Brahm (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1971).
78. John Lee Williams, The Territory of Florida ... from the First
Discovery to the Present Time (New York: A. T. Goodrich, 1837);
same, facsimile edition (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1962).
79. Anon., Narrative of a Voyage to the Spanish Main... Sketches
of the Province of East Florida (London: John Miller, 1819).
80. William Cullen Bryant, Letters of a Traveller; or, Notes of
Things Seen in Europe and America (New York: George P. Putnam,
81. Reliable accounts in the English language of Florida's colonial
history, and St. Augustine's in particular, were nonexistent at the
time Fairbanks wrote. The generation immediately preceding Fair-
banks had to rely on brief historical sketches that were generally de-
scriptive in character and repeated many errors of fact. One may
name, in this connection: William Darby, Memoir on the Geography



and Natural and Civil History of Florida (Philadelphia: T. H. Palmer,
1821); James Grant Forbes, Sketches, Historical and Topographical,
of the Floridas (New York: C. S. Van Winkle, 1821); same, facsimile
edition (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1964); Charles
Blacker Vignoles, Observations upon the Floridas (New York: E. Bliss
& E. White, 1823); John Lee Williams, Territory of Florida; and Rufus
King Sewall, Sketches of St. Augustine, with a View of Its History
and Advantages as a Resort for Invalids (New York: George P. Put-
nam, 1848). Williams' work was the first to make any use at all of
Spanish records. Sewall's work, by a Presbyterian minister from Phil-
adelphia, was the first to concentrate on St. Augustine alone. Sewall
was writing more a description for visitors than a history of the town,
and it appears that the 30-page historical review that he gave of St.
Augustine was based primarily upon that of Williams. Most extant
copies of the work are found with pages 39 and 40 ripped from the
binding. On those pages Sewall referred to the Minorcan population
of St. Augustine as being "of servile extraction," and added: "They
lack enterprise. Most of them are without education." When the
book appeared in St. Augustine, on October 21, 1848, the pages con-
taining these derogatory sentences were ripped from almost every
copy before sale was permitted. When the author, who was in town,
protested, a mob of Minorcans gathered in front of his house and
threatened to do him personal injury. Sewall managed to engineer
his escape with the help of a band of Protestant "Anglo-American
citizens" who exchanged blows with the Minorcans in the street. A
few injuries and minor property damage resulted.
82. Introductory Lecture, p. 19.
83. Connor, Menindez de Avils, p. 123.
84. Contemporary historians tend to emphasize Menendez' tacti-
cal situation: (1) the large number of.French who, greatly outnumber-
ing his own forces, could not safely be guarded with the weapons
available at that time; (2) the scarcity of provisions, particularly food,
which made it difficult to care for his own colony (many of whom
would die from starvation and disease before the end of January
1566) and probably impossible to assume the burden of care for a
large number of captives; and (3) the absence of ship transports with
which to send his prisoners away. Some recent interpretations of these
events conclude that Menendez' words to the Frenchmen contained
implied assurances of mercy; other stress the fact that the perpetual
state of war between Spain and France in North America, even while
peace reigned in Europe, explained in great part Mendndez' actions.
See Woodbury Lowery, The Spanish Settlements within the Present
Limits of the United States: Florida, 1562-1574 (New York: G. P.



Putnam's Sons, 1905), pp. 205-6, 421-25; Edward Gaylord Bourne,
Spain in America (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1906), p. 186; Her-
bert Eugene Bolton, The Spanish Borderlands: A Chronicle of Old
Florida and the Southwest (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1921),
pp. 149-50; Jeannette Thurber Connor, Menendez de Avils, p. 38;
Henry Folmer, Franco-Spanish Rivalry in North America, 1524-1763
(Glendale, Calif.: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1953), p. 100; Albert Manucy,
Florida's Menendez, Captain General of the Open Sea (St. Augus-
tine: St. Augustine Historical Society, 1965), p. 96; Charlton W. Te-
beau, A History of Florida (Coral Gables, Fla.: University of Miami
Press, 1971), pp. 35-36.
85. See the introduction by David L. Dowd to Jeannette Thurber
Connor, ed., The Whole and True Discouerye of Terra Florida, by
Jean Ribaut (facsimile edition, Gainesville: University of Florida
Press, 1964), pp. xlvii, liii, n. 4.
86. F.P., folio 69, Baker & Godwin, Dr., to Fairbanks, New York
City, May 15, 1858.
87. F.P., folio 69, Baker & Godwin to Fairbanks, New York City,
July 2, 1860.
88. Jacksonville, Fla.: Columbus Drew, 1868.
89. Ibid., p. 120.
90. Jacksonville, Fla.: Horace Drew, 1881.
91. William Whitwell Dewhurst, The History of St. Augustine (New
York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1881); Charles Bingham Reynolds, Old
Saint Augustine: A History of Three Centuries (St. Augustine: E. H.
Reynolds, 1885). In late life Reynolds engaged in correspondence with
Fairbanks' son-in-law, James G. Glass, about such matters as the so-
called slave market on the east side of the plaza in St. Augustine.
Glass advised Reynolds that, "I have heard him [Fairbanks] say on
more than one occasion, that no slave had ever been sold from that
market"; F.P., folio 73, Glass to Reynolds, Sewanee, Tenn., October
5, 1938. In reply the same year, Reynolds wrote: "I well remember the
Fairbanks home out beyond the City gate with its passion-vine
flowers; but I do not recollect knowing Major Fairbanks.... He was
one who had much to do with my interest in Saint Augustine and
Florida history; and his inspiration has been lasting.... What would
he say now to Saint Augustine's degradation by the pseudo histori-
ans? ... In my day the residents of Saint Augustine were of a differ-
ent type. They would never have thought of bamboozling the stranger
within the gates"; F.P., folio 73, Reynolds to Glass, Mountain Lake,
N.J., November 7, 1938.


92. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co.; Jacksonville, Fla.: Colum-
bus Drew, 1871, 350 pp. The year 1512 was yet again erroneously
given as the date of Ponce de Le6n's discovery.
93. Florida, Its History and Its Romance: The Oldest Settlement
in the United States, Associated with the Most Romantic Events of
American History under the Spanish, French, English, and American
Flags, 1497-1904 (Jacksonville, Fla.: H. & W. B. Drew Co., 1904), xiii,
311 pp.
94, There is a considerable body of correspondence and other ma-
terial from the Civil War period in the Fairbanks papers, folios 1, 10,
26, 30, 32, 37, 40, 54, and 71. Fairbanks' connections with the Univer-
sity of the South have been described by himself in History of the
University of the South (Jacksonville, Fla.: H. & W. B. Drew Co.,
1905); by Arthur Benjamin Chitty, Jr., Reconstruction at Sewanee:
The Founding of the University of the South and Its First Adminis-
tration, 1857-1872 (Sewanee, Tenn.: The University Press, 1954); and
by John Bell Henneman and William Porcher DuBose, "George
Rainsford Fairbanks, 1820-1906, latest surviving member of the orig-
inal board of trustees of the University of the South," The Sewanee
Review (October 1906), pp. 3-13.
95. DuBose, ibid., p. 13.

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In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United statess for the Southern
District of New York.

BAKER & GODWIN, Printers,
1 Spruce St., N. Y.










O$mericuan iScholars.


THIS volume, relating to the history and antiqui-
ties of the oldest settlement in the United States,
has grown out of a lecture delivered by the author,
and which he was desired to embody in a more
permanent form.
The large amount of interesting material in my
possession, has made my work rather one of labori-
ous condensation than expansion.
I have endeavored to preserve as fully as possible,
the style and quaintness of the old writers from
whom I have drawn, rather than to transform or
embellish the narrative with the supposed graces
of modem diction; and, as much of the work con-
sisted in translations from foreign idioms, this pecu-
liarly un-English style, if I may so call it, will be
more noticeably observed. I have mainly sought


to give it a permanent value, as founded on the most
reliable ancient authorities; and thus, to the extent
of the ground which it covers, to make it a valuable
addition to the history of our country.
In that portion of the work devoted to the
destruction of the Huguenot colony and the forces
of Ribault, I have in the niain, followed the Spanish
accounts, desiring to divest the narrative of all
suspicion of prejudice or unfairness; Barcia, the
principal authority, as is well known, professing the
same faith as Menendez, and studiously endeavoring
throughout his work, to exalt the character of the
I am under great obligations to my friend, BUCK-
INGHAM SMITH, EsQ., for repeated favors in the course
of its preparation.


Introductory, . . . . . . . 9

First discovery, 1512 to 1565.-Juan Ponce de Leon. . . . 12

Ribault, Laudonniere, and Menendez-settlements of the Huguenots, and
foundation of St. Augustine.-1562-1565-1568. . . 15

The attack on Fort Caroline.-1565 . . . . . 28

Escape of Laudonniere and others from Fort Caroline-Adventures of
the fugitives. . . . . . . 36

Site of Fort Caroline, afterwards called San Matteo. . . .

Menendez's return to St. Augustine-Shipwreck of Ribault-Massacre of
part of his command.-A. D. 1565. . . . .

Fate of Ribault and his followers-Bloody massacre at Matanzas.-1565 '76


Fortifying of St. Augustine'-Disaffections and mutinies-Approval of
Menendez' acts by king of Spain.-1565-1568. . 91

The notable revenge of Dominic de Gourgues-Return of Menendez-
Indian Mission.-1568. . . . . 102

Sir Francis Drake's attack upon St. Augustine-Establishment of mis-
sions-Massacre of missionaries at St. Augustine.-1586-1638. 111


Subjection of the Apalachian Indians-Construction of the fort, sea
wall, &c.-1638--1700. . . . 121

Attack on St. Augustine by Gov. Moore of South Carolina-Difficulties
with the Georgians.-1702-1732. . . . . 131


Siege of St. Augustine by Oglethorpe.-1732-1740. . . 141

Completion of the castle-Descriptions of St. Augustine a century ago--
English occupation of Florida.-1755-1763-1783. . . 155

Re-cession of Florida to Spain-Erection of the Parish Church-Change
of flags.-1783-1821. . . . . . 17


Transfer of Florida to the United States-American eccupation-Ancient
buildings, &c. . . . . . 184

Present appearance of St. Augustine, as given by the author of Thano-
topsis-Its climate and salubrity. . . . 190




2. MAP or FLORIDA-IN 1565, . . . . 15

3. FORT CAROLINE, 1564, . . . . . 28

4. ENTRANce OF ST. JOHN's RIVE, . . . . . 51



7. CITY GATES, . . . . . . 190






THE Saint Augustine of the present and the St.
Augustine of the past, are in striking contrast.
We see, to-day, a town less in population than
hundreds of places of but few months' existence,
dilapidated in its appearance, with the stillness of
desolation hanging over it, its waters undisturbed
except by the passing canoe of the fisherman, its
streets unenlivened by busy traffic, and at mid-day
it might be supposed to have sunk under the en-
chanter's wand into an almost eternal sleep.
With no participation in the active schemes of life,
and no hopes for the future; with no emulation, and
no feverish visions of future greatness; with no
corner lots on sale or in demand; with no stocks,
save those devoted to disturbers of the public peace;
with no excitements and no events; a quiet, undis-
turbed, dreamy vision of still life surrounds its walls,
and creates a sensation of entire repose, pleasant or
otherwise, as it falls upon the heart of the weary


wanderer sick of life's busy bustle, or upon the
restless mind of him who looks to nothing as life
except perpetual, unceasing action ; the one rejoicing
in its rest, the other chafing under its monotony.
And yet, about the old city there clings a host of
historic associations, which throw around it a charm
which few can fail to feel.
Its life is in its past; and when we recall the fact
that it was the first permanent settlement of the
white man, by more than forty years, in this con-
federacy; that here for the first time, isolated within
the shadows of the primeval forest, the civilization
of the Old World made its abiding place, where all
was new, and wild, and strange; that this now so
insignificant place was the key of an empire; that
upon its fate rested the destiny of a nation; that its
occupation or retention decided the fate of a people;
that it was itself a vice-provincial court, boasted of
its adelantados, men of the first mark and note, of its
Royal Exchequer, its public functionaries, its brave
men at arms; that its proud name, conferred by its
monarch, "1a simpre field Ciudad de San Augwutin,"
--The ever faithful City of St. Augustine,--stood out
upon the face of history; that here the cross was
first planted; that from the Papal throne itself
rescripts were addressed to its governors; that the
first great efforts at christianizing the fierce tribes



of America proceeded from this spot; that the mar-
tyr's blood was first here shed; that within these
quiet walls the din of arms, the noise of battle, and
the fierce cry of assaulting columns, have been
heard;-Who will not then feel that we stand on
historic ground, and that an interest attaches to the
annals of this ancient city far more than is possessed
by mere brick and mortar, rapid growth, or unwont-
ed prosperity ? Moss-grown and shattered, it appeals
to our instinctive feelings of reverence for antiquity;
and we feel desirous to know the history of its
earlier days.




AMONG the sturdy adventurers of the sixteenth
century who sought both fame and fortune in the
path of discovery, was Ponce de Leon, a companion
of Columbus on his second voyage, a veteran and
bold mariner, who, after a long and adventurous
life, feeling the infirmities of age and the shadows of
the decline of life hanging over him, willingly
credited the tale that in this, the beautiful land of
his imagination, there existed a fountain whose
waters could restore youth to palsied age, and beauty
to efface the marks of time.
The story ran that far to the north there existed
a land abounding in gold and in all manner of
desirable things, but, above all, possessing a river
and springs of so remarkable a virtue that their
waters would confer immortal youth on whoever
bathed in them; that upon a time, a considerable
expedition of the Indians of Cuba had departed
northward, in search of this beautiful country and



these waters of immortality, who had never returned,
and who, it was supposed, were in a renovated state,
still enjoying the felicities of the happy land.
Furthermore, Peter Martyr affirms, in his second
decade, addressed to the Pope, "that among the
islands on the north side of Hispaniola, there is one
about three hundred and twenty-five leagues distant,
as they say which have searched the same, in the
which is a continual spring of running water, of
such marvelous virtue that the water thereof being
drunk, perhaps with some diet, maketh old men
young again. And here I must make protestation
to your Holiness not to think this to be said lightly,
or rashly; for they have so spread this rumor for a
truth throughout all the court, that not only all the
people, but also many of them whom wisdom or
fortune hath divided from the common sort, think it
to be true." * Thoroughly believing in the verity of
this pleasant account, this gallant cavalier fitted out
an expedition from Porto Rico, and in the progress
of his search came upon the coast of Florida, on
Easter Monday, 1512, supposing then, and for a long

* The fountain of youth is a very ancient fable; and the reader will be
reminded of the amusing story of the accomplishment of this miracle told
in Hawthorne's Twice Told Tales, and of the marvelous effects produced
by imbibing this celebrated spring water.



period afterwards, that it was an island. Partly in
consequence of the bright spring verdure and flowery
plains that met his eye, and the magnificence of the
magnolia, the bay, and the laurel, and partly in
honor of the day, Pascua Florida, or Palm Sunday,
and reminded, probably, of its appropriateness by
the profusion of the cabbage palms near the point
of his landing, he gave to the country the name of
On the 3d of April, 1512, three hundred and
forty-five years ago, he landed a few miles north of
St. Augustine, and took possession of the country
for the Spanish crown. He found the natives fierce
and implacable; and after exploring the country for
some distance around, and trying the virtue of all
the streams, and growing neither younger nor hand-
somer, he left the country without making a perman-
ent settlement.
The subsequent explorations of Narvaez, in 1526,
and of De Soto, in 1539, were made in another por-
tion of our State, and do not bear immediately upon
the subject of our investigation, although forming a
most interesting portion of our general history.


R . Sa " a -

Of . 30
X Mateo


0 asacre

F O 138.ID A.




THE settlement of Florida had its origin in the
religious troubles experienced by the Huguenots
under Charles IX. in France.
Their distinguished leader, Admiral Coligny, as
early as 1555 projected colonies in America, and
sent an expedition to Brazil, which proved unsuccess-
ful. Having procured permission from Charles IX.
to found a colony in Florida; a designation which
embraced in rather an indefinite manner the whole
country from the Chesapeake to the Tortugas, he
sent an expedition in 1562 from France, under com-
mand of Jean Ribault, composed of many young men
of good family. They first landed at the St. John's
River, where they erected a monument, but finally
established a settlement at Port Royal, South Caro-
lina, and erected a fort. After some months, how-
ever, in consequence of dissensions among the officers



of the garrison, and difficulties with the Indians, this
settlement was abandoned.
In 1564 another expedition came out under the
command of Ren6 de Laudonniere, and made their
first landing at the River of Dolphins, being the
present harbor of St. Augustine, and so named by
them in consequence of the great number of Dol-
phins (Porpoises) seen by them at its mouth. They
afterwards coasted to the north, and entered the
River St. Johns, called by them the River May.
Upon an examination of this river Laudonniere
concluded to establish his colony on its banks; and
proceeding about two leagues above its month, built
a fort upon a pleasant hill of " mean height" which, in
honor of his sovereign, he named Fort Caroline.
The colonists after a few months were reduced to
great distress, and were about taking measures to
abandon the country a second time, when Ribault
arrived with reinforcements.
It is supposed that intelligence of these expedi-
tions was communicated by the enemies of Coligny
to the court of Spain.
Jealousy of the aggrandizement of the French in
the New World, mortification for their own unsuc-
cessful efforts in that quarter, and a still stronger
motive of hatred to the faith of the Huguenot,
induced the bigoted Philip II. of Spain, to dispatch



Pedro Menendez de Aviles, a brave, bigoted, and
remorseless soldier, to drive out the French colony,
and take possession of the country for himself.
The compact made between the king and Menen-
dez was, that he should furnish one galleon com-
pletely equipped, and provisions for a force of six
hundred men; that he should conquer and settle
the country. He obligated himself to carry one hun-
dred horses, two hundred horned cattle, four hun-
dred hogs, four hundred sheep and some goats, and
five hundred slaves (for which he had a permission
free of duties), the third part of which should be
men, for his own service and that of those who went
with him, to aid in cultivating the land and building.
That he should take twelve priests, and four fathers
of the Jesuit order. He was to build two or three
towns of one hundred families, and in each town
should build a fort according to the nature of the
country. He was to have the title of Adelantado of
the country, as also to be entitled a Marquis and his
heirs after him, to have a tract of land, receive a
salary of 2000 ducats, a percentage of the royal
duties, and have the freedom of all the other ports
of New Spain.*
His force consisted, at starting, of eleven sail of

* Barcia Ensayo, Cron. 66.




vessels with two thousand and six hundred men;
but, owing to storms and accidents, not more than
one half arrived. He came upon the coast on the
28th August, 1565, shortly after the arrival of the
fleet of Ribault. On the 7th day of September
Menendez cast anchor in the River of Dolphins, the
harbor of St. Augustine. He had previously dis-
covered and given chase to some of the vessels of
Ribault, off the mouth of the River May. The Indian
village of Selooe then stood upon the site of St.
Augustine, and the landing of Menendez was upon
the spot where the city of St. Augustine now stands.
Fray Francisco Lopez de Mendoza, the Chaplain
of the Expedition, thus chronicles the disembarkation
and attendant ceremonies:
" On Saturday the 8th day of September, the day
of the nativity of our Lady, the General disem-
barked, with numerous banners displayed, trumpets
and other martial music resounding, and amid
salvos of artillery.
" Carrying a cross, I proceeded at the head, chant-
ing the hymn Te Deum Lacudamu. The General
marched straight up to the cross, together with all
those who accompanied him; and, kneeling, they all
kissed the cross. A great number of Indians looked
upon these ceremonies, and imitated whatever they
saw done. Thereupon the General took possession


of the country in the name of his Majesty. All the
officers then took an oath of allegiance to him, as
their general and as adelantado of the whole
The name of St. Augustine was given, in the usual
manner of the early voyagers, because they had ar-
rived upon the coast on the day dedicated in their
calendar to that eminent saint of the primitive
church, revered alike by the good of all ages for his
learning and piety.
The first troops who landed, says Mendoza, were
well received by the Indians, who gave them a large
mansion belonging to the chief, situated near the
banks of the river. The engineer officers immediately
erected an entrenchment of earth, and a ditch around
this house, with a slope made of earth and fascines,
these being the only means of defense which the
country presents; for, says the father with surprise,
"there is not a stone to be found in the whole
country." They landed eighty cannon from the
ships, of which the lightest weighed two thousand
five hundred pounds.
But in the mean time Menendez had by no means
forgotten the errand upon which he principally came;
and by inquiries of the Indians he soon learned the
position of the French fort and the condition of its
defenders. Impelled by necessity, LaudonniBre had



been forced to seize from the Indians food to sup-
port his famished garrison, and had thus incurred
their enmity, which was soon to produce its sad
The Spaniards numbered about six hundred
combatants, and the French about the same; but
arrangements had been made for further accessions
to the Spanish force, to be drawn from St. Domingo
and Havana, and these were daily expected.
It was the habit of those days, to devolve almost
every event upon the ordering of a special providence;
and each nation had come to look upon itself almost
in the light of a peculiar people, led like the Israelites
of old by signs and wonders; and as in their own
view all their actions were directed by the design of
advancing God's glory as well as their own purposes,
so the blessing of Heaven would surely accompany
them in all their undertakings.
So believed the crusaders on the plains of Palestine;
so believed the conquerors of Mexico and Peru; so
believed the Puritan settlers of New England (alike
in their Indian wars and their oppressive social
polity); and so believed, also, the followers of
Menendez and of Ribault; and in this simple and
trusting faith, the worthy chaplain gives us the fol-
lowing account of the miraculous escape and deliver-
ance of a portion of the Spanish fleet:-