in the September 2008 issue of The Southern Genealogist Exchange Society
Long before there was a wild, wild West, there was a wild,
wild East—Spanish Florida during
’s second possession from 1763 until
territory in 1822. It had cowboys and Indians. It had cows and horses.
It had bandits—called “banditti” by the Spanish—cattle rustlers,
and horse thieves. And it more than made up for the one Wild West
ingredient it lacked, locomotives, with attacks by pirates, invasions by
soldiers of fortune, and the carryings on of inhabitants who would rival
the cast of characters in a John Wayne movie.
Inhabitants of Spain’s two provinces, East and West
Florida, consisted of Spaniards of the previous possession and newly
arrived ones from the second possession; native Indians; free blacks;
slaves; a few holdovers from the British possession; a remnant of
Loyalists who had no where else to go or no desire to go when England
handed Florida back to Spain in 1783; indigent outsiders seeking land
grants and a fresh start; and a few fugitives from the lower states.
Except for the small percentage who enjoyed the luxury of
living in a city—
, the oldest continuously lived in city on the North American
continent—the population, for the most part, lived on farms and
plantations strung along waterways
To say the least, inhabitants of Spanish Florida were an
interesting collection of people. One
of the more interesting ones recorded in East Florida Papers—records
of the second Spanish period—is Elizabeth Maxey Berrie Hull Tucker.
She arrived sometime shortly before January 1791 with her husband,
William Hull, and her two brothers, Joseph and Robert Clarke Maxey and
their families. They settled on
. Of the known children in the group were
’s fourteen year old son William Berrie; Robert’s children Martha,
Henry A., Thomas, William, and Peter; and Joseph’s son John and
daughter Tiny. They had come
. They probably came on Joseph’s vessel Sheerwater.
’s first husband, William
Berry, died in
and she married William Hull. According to a marriage announcement in
the Charleston Courier, she
had a daughter, Margaret, who either came with her to East Florida and
in 1808 to be married or did not come to
Elizabeth and her brothers did not get off to a good start
with the Spanish government. Upon learning they had settled on Amelia
Island, Florida’s Spanish governor curtly ordered them to relocate
inland. The families promptly complied by relocating to
, across the
. Six months later the government lodged serious charges against the
Maxeys and Hulls. Joseph’s wife, Catalina Joly, an Indian woman who,
according to court records, was blind and partially paralyzed,
complained that the Hulls and Maxeys had mistreated her with the intent
of killing her to gain possession of her property. East Florida Papers
show she was also William Hull’s slave. Catalina. The charges
apparently proved unfounded as the governor Later appointed Robert an
officer in the militia and also contracted him to perform repair work on
the several forts in the area.
William Hull, who, in addition to farming, sold dye across
the St. Marys River in the town of
to buy pork and flour, received a grant of 500 acres in two tracts March
1, 1792 for “himself, his wife and 6 children.” Other than his
step-son, William Berrie, names of his children are not known. However,
East Florida Papers mentions several Hulls: George, John, Michael,
Peter, Susan, Dionisa and Joseph, all of whom lived in a time frame that
would make them good candidates as William Hull’s children. A hundred
acre tract of the grant was on
stated he “intends to build a house to live in during the rigors of
the summer to preserve his family from the illnesses which are
experienced at such times in the neighborhood of headwaters.” The
remaining 400 acres abutted Artemus Elliott Ferguson’s plantation
called Tobacco Bluff on the North River near
William and Elizabeth added one more to the
household with the birth of Joseph Maxey Hull April 2, 1795. William
died the following year three days after being released from a Spanish
’s near neighbor Lucia Cook,
widow of Captain John Cutler Braddock, had migrated from
with her unmarried children in early 1795 after the death of her
husband. Sometime later, she had married William Alexander Fitzgerald
and they settled on
. By early 1800, William Berrie met and married Lucia’s daughter, Ann
Braddock. In 1801, Berrie petitioned for and received 100 acres at
Snelling Old Field in
, which had belonged to his late step-father William Hull. In November
1805, he bought from Thomas Mann 150 acres on
“on the east side of the Nassau Prong of Nassau River” for
$100. In 1807 he purchased from William Carney 350 acres on
, Cowpen Branch, for $400. The property included, “a little house with
its fences and 25 acres of seed land.”
In early 1802, in what may have been the first of the often practiced
couples crossing the St. Marys to be married, Elizabeth Maxey Berrie
Hull became Elizabeth Maxey Berrie Hull Tucker when she eloped to
with Andrew Tucker. As a consequence, the Spanish government accused the
two of “contracting a clandestine marriage,” and recommended
confiscation of their property and their expulsion from the
province. However, because the royal
order of November 30, 1792 banning clandestine marriages had not been
made public, the governor waived punishment. Instead, he ordered Tucker,
who had been serving in the militia without having taken the Spanish
oath of allegiance, to appear in
to take the oath.
Tucker received a grant of 230 acres on
’s brother, Robert Clark
Maxey, died September 26, 1807. His widow, Mary Dell, later married
William Dewees, by whom she had a daughter, Louisa, who married Louis
Mattair. Robert and Mary Dell Maxey undoubtedly left a lasting
impression on family members as a considerable number of descendants
were given names that included “Maxey” or “Dell.” More than a
few were given the first and middle names “Maxey Dell,” some of them
200 years later in present times.
March 17, 1812, what became known as the Patriots War broke out in East
Florida when a force of American troops and “Patriot” volunteers
crossed the St. Marys River from
and landed at Rose’s Bluff. Joined by many East Florida residents,
they proceeded to
, hauled down the Spanish flag, ran up the “Patriot’s” flag, and
declared the land below the St. Marys to be the “
.” Although several of William Berrie’s relatives by marriage had
joined with the “Patriots,” having several young children by now, he
and his family, along with his mother, step-father Andrew Tucker, and
his half-brother Joseph Maxey Hull, moved to the safety of
in 1813. They settled in
at Spring Bluff on the Little Satilla River, where they built Hickory
Berrie and Ann Braddock had five children when they arrived in
. Two more were born after their arrival. The last cost Ann’s life.
She died in childbirth or soon after on March 16, 1816 at the age of 36.
She is buried in the
at Spring Bluff in
William Berrie and Ann Braddock were:
who married Thomas Ellis Hardee, brother of noted general of the Civil
War, William Joseph Hardee. Some of the many families their descendants
intermarried with were Goodbread, Watson, Tyson, Haddock, Davis,
Frazier, Sparks, Richardson, Priest, Baker, Ogilvie, Gassoway, Wiggins,
Townsend, Fitchett, Smith, Vegard, Bessant, Mahoney, Sparks, and
Spencer. Ironically, one of Mary and Thomas Ellis Hardee’s
granddaughters married the son of William Berrie’s half-brother,
Joseph Maxey Hull.
Alexander, who married Matilda Ann Piles, Some of the families their
descendents intermarried with were Bailey, Dyer, and Williams. Their
son, William Hull Berrie, served as sheriff of
who died at the age of nine.
James, who married Mary C. Piles. Some of the families their
descendents intermarried with were Pyles, Clark, Studstill, Atkinson,
Brown, Arnold, Nelson, and Bass.
for whom no record of marriage was found.
who married Dr. Henry Drayton Holland, grandson of Andrew Turnbull who
brought the Minorcans to
. Dr. Holland served as mayor of
Martha, for whom no record of marriage was found.
after Ann’s death, William Berrie, married Spring Bluff neighbor
Katherine Ann Jones, widow of George Dilworth. She had two children from
her first marriage. She and William Berrie had:
Jones, who married Andrew Miller Ross.
who married Hattie H. Cox.
Jackson, who died at age of 16.
who died unmarried in
at the age of 28.
Atkinson, who died at the age of 7.
who married Mary Siletta Holzendorf. Some of the families their
descendents intermarried with were Timmons, Atkinson, Knight,
Hull became brother-in-law of his niece, Mary Ann Berrie, when he
married her husband’s sister, Sarah Matilda Hardee in 1818. Their
Hardee, who married Martha King.
Maxey Jr., who married Mary Elizabeth Blue. Some of the families
their descendents intermarried with were Hardee, Branham, and McLeod.
One of their sons, Robert Maxey Hull, held several civic positions in
, including mayor, and positions in
’s state government.
who married James Fort Raulerson. Some of the families their descendents
intermarried with were Braddock, Varnes, Hunter, Baker, Brown, Summerall,
Lowe, Bryant, Jakes, Swanson, Newnan, Bennett, Jackson, Buehler, Durant,
Peterson, Yancey, Wilson, Dillard, Todd, Brooke, Orr, Woodard, Walker,
Kyser, Drury, Proctor, Ballard, Johnson, Alexander, Sauls, Carlisle,
McVeagh, Hill, Sauro, Smith, Bonaccorsy, Trapp, Dickerson, Fox,
Rollolaze, Dowling, Driskell, Hallman, Roesch, Cox, Glaze, and Harmon.
Andrew, who married Eleanor Sturtevant. He moved to
in 1851 and became first elected sheriff in newly formed
. He served in the Florida House of Representatives in 1860 and 1861.
During the Civil War he served as captain of Company H, First Florida
Cavalry, in the Confederate Army. After the war he ran mercantile
. He served as lieutenant governor of
1877-1879. After being elected to the United States Congress, he served
from March 4, 1879, to January 22, 1881 before being replaced by his
election opponent, Horatio Bisbee, Jr., who successfully contested
’s election after he was implicated in a forged return from
. Afterward, he served as assistant postmaster of
and clerk of
circuit. He had a daughter
and a son.
R., who married Dr. Samuel W. Lawrence, lieutenant of a company of
sharpshooters in the Civil War who died in battle at Jonesboro, GA in
Perry, a Lieutenant, died at
in the Civil War.
Russell, 1st Lieutenant in Company C, 8th
Florida Infantry, was killed at
in the Civil War.
Newton, a major in the 66th Georgia Infantry, was killed in action
February 9, 1865 in an engagement that delayed
’s 17th Corps for 8 hours. He was interred on a nearby plantation.
Within hours before his death, he wrote to his brother-in-law, “I
write this setting upon a log, just in sight of Cannon’s Bridge. I am
sent to cover the retreat. My men are completely demoralized, and I fear
when the crisis comes they will be found wanting. Nevertheless, I shall
do my duty. 'Coming events, 'tis said, ‘cast their shadows before,’
and even now I feel a presentiment of evil. Perhaps I shall never see
another sun set, but if I fall it will be with my face to the foe.”
who married James G. Lawrence.
who married Ann Eliza Bradley, served as sheriff of
territory in 1822, the government agreed to honor any valid Spanish land
grants. Grant recipients had to prove their validity through
documentation and testimonials. Their grants were either confirmed as
valid or unconfirmed as invalid through land commissions, federal
courts, or by the U.S Congress. Andrew Tucker submitted a claim for the
1804 grant he received of 230 acres on
. After submitting it, he died sometime before January 23, 1824 as the
claim was changed on that date from his name to “Tucker, Elizabeth,
widow and administratrix of Andrew Tucker.” Her claim was confirmed.
Maxey Berrie Hull Tucker,
pioneer and progenitor of an uncommon number of remarkable descendants,
died June 19, 1835 at the age of 73 and is buried in
at Spring Bluff. Her first son, William Berrie, died December 18, 1841
at the age of 64 and is buried in
at Spring Bluff. Her second son, Joseph Hull, died June 1, 1865 at the
age of 70 and is buried in Hull/Rural Felicity/Hardee Cemetery in
. Katherine Ann Jones Dilworth Berrie died in 1872 at the age of 87.