Before the arrival
of Johns widow and their unmarried children, events that would help shape the
familys destiny were already in motion in Florida. Sometime during the British
possession, which was from 1763 to 1783, William Greenwood was granted a tract of land on
the St. Johns in the Mandarin area near Goodbys Creek. His presence in East Florida and on
the St. Johns as early as 1766, before there were Loyalists, is substantiated by several
sources. A footnote in William Henry Sieberts Loyalists in East
Florida reads: "William Greenwood's name is first mentioned in the Council
Minutes of East Florida, October 13, 1766, when his petition for a grant of land was read
and a warrant of survey in his behalf was issued for two hundred acres." Renowned 18th
century traveler William Bartram, for whom the William Bartram Trail is named, mentioned
in his book about his travels visiting the Greenwood plantation on the St. Johns in the vicinity of
Goodbys Creek in 1766. (Bartram Web Page) The census of East
Florida residents between 1763 and 1771 taken by John G. William DeBrahm, who was
Surveyor General of the lower colonies, lists William Greenwood as a planter.
While William Greenwoods
presence on the St. Johns is a given, his origin is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery encased
in an enigma. The Spanish baptismal record of his daughter, dated May 30, 1789, states that he is
of Virginia and his wife, Elizabeth Bryan, is of Carolina. Without going through the
ramifications of explaining all the 20 or so typed pages of information gleaned from
public records in my search for the real William Greenwood, I will let the
The following William Greenwoods
were present at one time or another in reasonable enough vicinity of Florida to be
considered as candidates for our ancestor:
- Candidate 1: According to the
June 23, 1758 issue of the South Carolina Gazette, His Majestys ship Zephyr,
commanded by Captain William Greenwood, arrived in Charles Town from England. However, he
wasn't born in Virginia. Besides, no further records indicate his continued presence in
the New World.
- Candidate 2: William P. Greenwood
advertised in a January 1793 issue of the Savannah newspaper that he was a "Dentist
and Operator for the Teeth and Gums" and that he was "pupil and son to the
celebrated Dentist of that name in Boston." Sorry, Boston is not in Virginia.
- Candidate 3, the most popular
candidate: William Greenwood, the notorious Loyalist during the Revolution. His popularity
as a candidate is based on his being a high profile character in history, at least in
Southern Revolutionary history. I too wanted to add him to the list of other high-profile
ancestors we Braddocks already have: Dr. John Cutler, David Cutler Braddock, John Cutler
Braddock, William Lyford Sr. (not to mention Lyford's son William Jr.), and William Spatches,
who was at one time president of the Bahamas. However, after reviewing the Loyalist claim
of Greenwood the Loyalist, an extremely large one asking reimbursement of £54,988 from
the British government for losses his loyalty in the Revolution cost him, and subsequent
records, it is my fervent hope that none of his blood flows through my veins. The
following excerpts from his Loyalist claim say a lot about his "loyalty":
Merchant in Charlestown at the breaking out of the War having gone to America in 1767. . .
"He joined the
British in 1780 immediately after the Capture of Charlestown and was appointed Capt. and
afterwards was Major in the loyal Charlestown Militia. This he thinks was in August 1780.
He acted with them to the time of the Evacuation and is named in the Confiscation Act. . .
"He was in Charlestown from
the Commencement of the War till Sir Henry Clinton took the place. He took the Oath of
Fidelity to the State in 1778 (as he thinks). He took it to avoid being sent out of the
Country as every body was who refused. Says he thinks he should have come away in 1778
when other Gentlemen did but his partner being Dead the preceding year and having such
large concerns there as well as owing a large Sum in Great Britain he staid to take the
best Care he could of his property and enable him to pay his Debts in this Country. . . .
"Being asked if he ever took
any part with them after taking the Oath - Says he was obliged to do Military Duty on
every Alarm, and he served as Capt. of a Company against Savannah. . . .
"Says his reason for having
a Commission was that at the breaking out of the Troubles when every body was called upon
to act in the Militia he was advised to take an Officers Commission as he would have been
obliged to bear Arms as a private Man if he had not-, but he was always in his Heart
against the Cause he apparently supported. . . ."
So, he flipped, and he flopped.
Subsequent records show he flipped once again after the War by signing an American oath of
allegiance to worm his way back into Charlestown in an effort to recover his financial
holdings in the new nation.
Not only was he weak of
backbone, he is also a weak candidate. First of all, he didnt come to America until
1767. By then the real William Greenwood already was greeting illustrious visitors
such as William Bartram and Bartrams father to his domicile on the St. Johns. To
further disqualify William the Loyalist as a candidate, nowhere in his lengthy Loyalist
claim; nor his marriage settlement with his second wife, widow Ann Lord, whom he married
April 26, 1796; nor in his will probated July 5, 1822 after he died at the age of 85, is
there the slightest hint of his having had land, wife, or family in Florida.
- Candidate 4: It is safe to say
William the Loyalist has been ruled out as a candidate. However; he is recorded in his
marriage settlement with his second wife as "William Greenwood the elder,"
indicating there was a William Greenwood the younger. However, not only does William Sr.
make no mention of his son in any of the aforementioned documents, neither does any other
of the numerous public documents Ive seen in my search for the real William
Greenwood, at least not in which he is identifiable as such. A footnote in William Henry
Sieberts Loyalists in East Florida alludes to William the Loyalist as the one
who received the grant on the St. Johns:
Greenwood's name is first mentioned in the Council Minutes of East Florida, October 13,
1766, when his petition for a grant of land was read and a warrant of survey in his behalf
was issued for two hundred acres. He was in command of a company of militia in Charleston,
South Carolina, after Sir Henry Clinton captured that place. On May 27, 1780, Clinton made
proclamation in which he appointed Captain Greenwood and two other officers as trustees of
captured property. In anticipation of the evacuation of Charleston Mr. Greenwood served on
a committee of loyalists who sent a petition to General Carleton at New York, in which
they asked permission for themselves and their fellows, should the evacuation take place,
to indemnify themselves from the sequestered estate within the British lines in South
Carolina. At the end of the war Greenwood put in a claim for losses to the extent of
£49,604. Failing to furnish satisfactory proof of the loss of his property, his clam was
For reasons cited previously,
Seiberts footnote is in error. However, William the younger, could have been the one
who petitioned for the grant, and Seibert made the mistake of thinking it was his Loyalist
father, or the son could have brought his fathers name and reputation into play to
enhance his chances of success. But this William Greenwood was not from Virginia.
- Candidate 5 may have been a horse
thief: His appearance as a candidate begins with an item in the Colonial Records of
Georgia which reads:
|(on a slip of paper
inserted between pages of Lt. Col. Herons letter [Alexander Heron was an officer
under General Oglethorpes command])
There is one Mr. Greenwood just arrivd from North Carolina, who assures me that 200
families from that and Winyaw [Georgetown, SC area] are on the point of setting out for
Augeachy [Ogeechee River area outside Savannah] where they intend to settle, but
provisions will be wanted at their first coming which I have undertaken to supply them
with & receive their own product for it.
(Endorsed on the back:) in Lieut. Col. Herons Letter
of Septr. 8th, 1747.
Alexander Heron was a military
officer serving under Oglethorpe and took part in repelling the 1742 invasion of St.
Simons. Winyaw is the large bay in the Georgetown, SC area. It is likely that this
Greenwood is of the Virginia group who, like so many others of colonial times, migrated by
boat down the coast to North Carolina, stayed awhile, moved on to South Carolina, then
into Georgia. Augeachy is a variation of Ogeechee, the river south of Savannah. Other
names common to the Isle of Wight area of Virginia and Georgia are Bryan, Bryant,
Copeland, Durden, Hardy, Howell, Pittman, Stokes, Strickland, Tucker, Vaughn, and
Bennetts, a strong indication that the migration of which Mr. Greenwood assured Col. Heron
A deed record in Abstracts of
Georgia Colonial Conveyance confirms that Mr. Greenwood was among them and settled
reasonably close to the Ogeechee, on Skidaway Island. The deed says that on June 8, 1756
William Johnston, tanner and shoemaker, granted unto his son-in-law, William Greenwood,
planter, 150 acres of land on Skidaway.
Two petitions for land recorded
in Colonial Records of Georgia further indicate his presence in coastal Georgia. In
the first, dated February 1760, he stated he had a wife and child and requested a 100
acres on a branch of the Newport River, south of Savannah. His request was granted. Two
years later, on March 2, 1762, he made another petition, declaring "that he had one
hundred Acres of Land ordered him, but the Indian Alarm soon after coming on he did not
run it out and the land was since granted away. That he was desirous to obtain land for
Cultivation having a Wife and two Children; Therefore praying for One hundred Acres on
Great Ogeechee on the first Bluff about thirty Miles below Buck Head." His petition
Two years later, the following
item appeared in the January 19, 1764 issue of the Georgia Gazette:
|"At the last
General Court held for this Province, an information was tried against William Greenwood
of Skedaway island, for the pernicious and too-frequent practice of marking and branding
horses not being his property, when, and upon full and clear evidence, the said Greenwood
was found guilty."
Six months later, in its July
19, 1764 issue, the Georgia Gazette ran the following advertisement:
|"To be sold
for ready money, on Monday the 23rd instant, at the house of William Greenwood on Skidaway
Island. ABOUT Twenty Head of Cattle, and some Household furniture, the property of the
said William Greenwood, and seized by MATT. ROCHE, Prov. Mar. Saturday, July 14,
I am not suggesting that the
William Greenwood of Col. Herons slip of paper, and presumably the recipient of 150
acres on Skidaway from his father-in-law, is candidate number fivehis wife was a
Johnston, not a Bryan. I am trotting out for consideration the possibility of a son he may
have had being that candidate. It takes no stretch of the imagination to visualize his
having a son who he named after himself who was born in Virginia before the family began
working their way down the waterways to "Augeachy," that the son married
Elizabeth Bryan either during a sojourn along the way in one of the Carolinas or after her
family had migrated to Georgia, that they had a daughter and named her Marythe
Spanish baptismal record of Thomas Christopher gives Mary Greenwood Christophers
birthplace as Georgiaand that after failing to get a grant of land and losing his
house and furnishings, the son fled to the new British province of East Florida seeking a
new startand to avoid being tried for a crime that in those days warranted a noose.
The East Florida government at that time was scouring the colonies for tradesmen to help
quickly transform the flavor of their new colony from Spanish to British. The Georgia
Gazette, in January 1764, mentioned a great many blacksmiths and home carpenters and
15 bakers from Savannah were being engaged to go to East Florida. Another argument for
number five is he apparently loved horses, as did Spicer Christopher, who had a plantation
in walking distance of the real William Greenwoods.
- Candidate 6: None of the above.
Before closing this
dissertation on the identity of William Greenwood, I would like to add that in my opinion,
the only hope of learning his origin lies in British records of their period of possession
of Florida from 1763 to 1783. As I said earlier, Ive yet to see in East Florida
Papers, as Spanish records of their years of possessions are called, mentioning anything
of his origin beyond his being from Virginia, his wife from one of the Carolinas, and one
of their daughters being born in Georgia. Public records from the British period were
transported to England to the British Public Records Office (BPRO). However, according to
correspondence from Dan Schafer, professor at the University of North Florida, author of
Madgigine Jai Kingsley, about the wife of Fort George Island plantation owner
Zephaniah Kingsley, Jr., and who is currently writing a book on the Colonial residents
along the St. Johns River, finding record of the real William Greenwood in BPRO
East Florida records is all but impossible:
|"The collection was
unavailable to researchers for many years because it was caught in a flood and sewage
immersion in the 19th century. In about 1990 it was decided to send the entire collection
to the conservation department at PRO. Around 1993 it was completed and made available.
Some of the records cannot be read, many are unsorted and nearly impossible to decipher,
others are in very good condition. So, it is a crap shoot to research, but impossible or
impractical to microfilm. you have to be there [in England] to work them in person. The
letters are filed in envelopes according to name of claimant, in reality they are strewn
about in very large boxeslarger than suitcasesand there are thousands of
pages. I have worked in the collection on 8 different occasions . . ."
In his lengthy response
concerning my question about Greenwood's plantation on the St. Johns, Professor Schafer
made the following comments:
Levett bought the Julington Creek property from Dr. Cunningham. The adjacent property to
the north belonged to Greenwood. Just north of Greenwood was Beaucler Bluff. So three
estates between Goodby's and Julington Creek, with the Beauclerc Bluff (owned by Davis)
just south of Goodby's Creek and on the east of SJR. The neighboring Greenwood estate was
at what is today known as Plummer's Cove. Greenwood sold it to London merchants Thomas
Ashby and William Barker who renamed it Suttonia Plantation. When William Bartram returned
to Florida for his solo journey on the SJR, after the storm that damaged his sail boat, he
crossed the SJR to Beauclerc Bluff and then went to Suttonia for repairs. William called
the estate Marshall's after the agent that ran the place for Ashby and Barker. . . .
"Here is my guess--and only a guess. I suspect
that none of the candidates you mention in CHILDREN OF THE IRON MEN are the William
Greenwood who was granted the land on the east of the St. Johns River at today's Plummers
Cove. . . .
"Whomever the grant recipient, it is
clear that some development had taken place by December 1765 because that is when John and
William Bartram stayed there on their way to Beauclerc Bluff Plantation to kick off their
SJR travel. BBP is adjacent on the south to Greenwood's estate. I suspect that Greenwood
sent an overseer from Britain or contracted with one from either SC or Ga. Check the
volumes of the Henry Laurens papers on this possibility. . . .
"There is, however, a Greenwood in E.
Fla who was a merchant, or perhaps it was the London merchant who set up a store in St.
Augustine that was operated by a resident keeper. I'll check further. . .
"A William Greenwood claim is in T-77
(T77/7/12). It includes a claim for 2,000 acres two miles south of the St. Johns River,
and a statement that a Feb. 7, 1772 survey was done. One statement implies it was only 200
acres. This may have been the tract mentioned as bordering a tract belonging to Thomas
Forbes, Charles Town merchant, at the junction of Evans Creek and Pablo Creek. That
location fits, it would be in the Jacksonville Beaches area today.
"The William Greenwood claim file also
mentions a 13 Oct. 1776 grant of 100 acres on the south side of the Nassau River (12 miles
from the mouth)."
In addition to
the real William Greenwood arriving in East Florida, another earlier event that
would help shape the familys destiny was the arrival of Spicer Christopher. As he
was on the census of 1783, the year the Spanish regained possession, it can be assumed he
arrived sometime during the years of British possession, 1763 to 1783. Numerous records
gives his origin as Maryland; however, the 1787 census says he is a "native of
Georgia." Nonetheless, historical records of Maryland reveal that his
parents were natives of the part of Somerset County, Maryland that later
became Worcester County. For their genealogy, see: Ancestors
of Spicer Christopher
He probably came from Maryland
by way of Georgia, where he stayed a while before crossing into Florida, and the census
taker recorded the information. Research efforts by many to trace his ancestry back to
either colony have failed. Although
Spanish records leave no doubt
he was from Maryland, an affidavit he signed concerning his brother Spencer in 1796 in a
Camden County , GA courthouse and the fact that on the oath of allegiance Spencer signed
in 1803 seeking to migrate into Florida gives his location at the time as being Georgia
indicates at least a temporary sojourn there by both men.
The time of his arrival is as
cloudy. If he were born in 1759, as several genealogies claim, he would have been only
four years old when the British took over Florida in 1763. If he came in the early days of
their possession, it would have been as a child with his father, John Christopher. Perhaps
his father came to East Florida to raise horses for the British military and was given the
land now known as Christopher Point on the St. Johns for the purpose of raising them.
Professor Schafer doubts that possibility:
|"I don't know how
Christopher's Point came to that name, or why Christopher Creek on the border of Epping
Forest is called that. I doubt, however, that either is named as a result of Spicer
Christopher Sr.'s having lived there. I thought his first stop in East Florida was at
Talbot Island, which had been purchased in the mid-1770s by a man named Tims or Thims, and
subsequently destroyed by raiders from Georgia."
that I am, I like to imagine John Christopher did have a plantation at Christopher's Point
and that during the 20 years of British occupation, Spicer grew up there, fell in love
with neighbor William Greenwoods daughter, married her, and sought lands of his own,
acquiringas will be seengrants at Talbot Island, Old Township on the St. Marys
River at a place now known as Crandall, and others. This supposition is not too far
fetched. As said before, the British East and West Florida governments sent out the call
to the colonies northward for settlers, and John Christopher may have responded to it.
If Spicer came as a grown man
during the latter part of the British occupation, he could have come as a Loyalist to the
sanctity of East Florida. The period of exodus of Loyalist from the northward colonies to
Florida lasted from 1774 through the end of the British period in 1783. He would have had
to arrive no later than 1777 to have had time to court Mary Greenwood, marry her, obtain
land on Talbot Island, have two children, and appear on the 1783 census. Any earlier than
1777 he probably would have been too young.
There are numerous other
scenarios that could be supposed.
At any rate, Spicer Christopher
of Maryland, with a wife, 2 children; a sister-in-law, 3 Negroes, 1 Negro girl, and 4
horses, was ensconced on his estate on Talbot Island when the 1783 census was taken.
Included on his census record are the comments "He cultivates the land" and
"seeks permission to leave the country." The fact that he had an estate on
Talbot in 1783 and that he sought to leave the country, apparently because of the
uncertainty of living under the new Spanish rule, substantiate his presence during British
rule. Thankfully, he chose to stay. The sister-in-law was Susannah Greenwood
Teran, sister of Mary Greenwood . Spanish baptismal records confuse the number of sisters
Mary had: "Juana Maria,"
age 19, was baptized in 1789; the son of "Maria Greenwood Diaz" was baptized in 1792; and
the son of "Maria Susannah Greenwood Faran "[Teran] was baptized in 1799, not to mention the six
times "Maria Greenwood Christopher" is recorded on the baptismal records of her
children. The usual translation of Maria is Mary. Of 24 baptismal records copied from the
book Roman Catholic Records of St. Augustine during researching this work,
"Maria" is used as a first name 27 times, sometimes followed by a middle name.
That is a preponderance of Maries! Finding one Spanish to English translation of
"marie" to be "housewife" makes me wonder how many of us today
mistakenly think we have ancestors with the first given name of Mary.
It is a fluke of fate that a man
whose blood would be mingled with that of David Cutler Braddock resided on Talbot Island.
In 1762, when Braddock commanded the Georgia scout boat the following appeared in Charles
Towns South Carolina Gazette:
. . The same letters mention the Georgia scout boat, commanded by Capt. Braddock being
sent to seize a vessel which information had been given was taking in a cargo of hogs and
other provisions at Talbot Island near St. Juan's River, for the Spaniards at St.
The Spanish 1787 census translated from East Florida Papers by Donna Rachel Mills into the
book, "First Families of Florida," lists Spicer Christopher, "native of
Georgia, Protestant, farmer, wife, 1 daughter, 7 slaves, 2 free persons, 7 horses, partner
in sloop, farms 30 acres, is able to farm more and requests more."
Charlotte, daughter of Spicer and Mary Greenwood Christopher, was born. She later married
[EFP] Judge, a free black sharecropper on
, complained that he did not receive his full part of last year's crop and
that Spicer's dogs had killed some of his pigs. Governor Vicente Manuel de
that Magistrate Lewis Fatio investigate.
Fatio reported that the problems has been amicably settled.
[EFP] With the help of Minorcan Job Pons, three Spanish soldiers, Miguel
Hernandez, Andres Rios, and Bernardo Montero, deserted their post. They
made their escape in a canoe stolen from Jose Pepino and a boat stolen
from Miguel Isnardy. Spicer Christopher aided in their capture in the
mouth of the
John Carroll Houston, son of John Carroll and Jane Harvey Houston, was born. He later
married Mary Greenwood Braddock, daughter of John David and Martha Christopher Braddock.
May 30, 1789
As being Catholic was a prerequisite prior to 1790 for receiving land grants, a record in Roman
Catholic Records St. Augustine Parish, indicates that Mary Greenwood
Christophers sister, who lived on the St. Johns River, was baptized:
|Juana Maria, Rio de
San Juan, about 19 years. Daughter of Guillermo Greenwood of Virginia and Isabel Bryan,
[EFP] Spicer Christopher captured a deserting Spanish soldier Antonio
[EFP] Spicer Christopher captured a deserting Spanish soldier Basilio
Children of Spicer and Mary Greenwood Christopher were baptized:
Christopher, Isla de Talbot, 6 years old son of Espisa Christopher and Maria Greenwood,
both America del Norte
Bluet Christopher, Isla de Talbot, 5 years old son of Espisa Christopher and Maria
Greenwood, both America del Norte
Martha Bluet Christopher, Isla de
Talbot, 4 years old daughter of Espisa Christopher and Maria Greenwood, both America del
Carlota Bluet Christopher, Isla
de Talbot, 2 years old daughter of Espisa Christopher and Maria Greenwood, both America
[EFP] In a letter to East Florida Governor Juan nepomuceno de Quesada,
Francisco Huet informs him that in the opinion of carpenter Martin
Hernandez, estimates of Spicer Christopher and Mr. Henriquez for repair of
the storehouse at military outpost San Vicente on the
are too high.
Spicer Christopher signed oath of allegiance saying he is Protestant, a farmer, has two
sons, two daughters, ten slaves, 18 horses, and lives on Talbot Island.
Samuel Spicer, son of Spicer Samuel and Mary Greenwood Christopher, was born. He later
married Ann Edwards.
Learning that William Berrie’s uncle, Robert Clark Maxey, has arrived in
East Florida and has settled on
, East Florida Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada orders the family to be
January 18, 1792:
The son of Susannah Greenwood, who has married since being baptized in
1789, was baptized. Susannah's name is given as Maria, which in this case
meant housewife, and her
husbands is given simply as Diaz. On the 1798 and 1799 baptismal certificates of
other children, her name is given as Maria Susana and his as Francesco Taran. Based on a
land claim record of 1792, which is seen later below, which states, "next to land of
Francis Diaz Teran, it is obvious that the father on all three baptismal records is one
and the same:
Diaz, Born 6/19/1790, son of Diaz, Villa de Cortes, Santander, and Maria Greenwood,
- July 1791
[EFP] Before William Berrie’s family, including his mother and two
to come to Spanish East
, his father died and his mother married William Hull. Catalina Joly, wife
of Berrie’s Uncle Joseph Maxey, was reported to be blind and paralyzed
at a residence at
. After examining her, Dr.
Thomas Stirling's arranged to send her to
. Consequently, William Hull and wife Elizabeth Maxey and her brothers
Joseph and Robert Maxey were charged with mistreatment of her, intending
her death to allow them to appropriate her property.
After Florida became a territory in 1822, the U. S. Congress enacted "An Act to
provide for the final settlement of land claims in Florida." Those who had received
Spanish land grants had to file claims with the Commissioners Appointed to Ascertain
Claims to Lands and Titles in East Florida to prove ownership. Abstracts of these claims
were published in Spanish Land Grants in Florida, which subsequently was recorded
on microfilm, a copy of which can be obtained for viewing at LDS Family History Centers.
Claims in the book are grouped in two categories: confirmed and unconfirmed.
"Con." prefixes the claim number of claims confirmed by the Board of
Commissioners, and "Unc." for those not confirmed. Each claim usually contains a
history of the tract back to its original grant. The immediately following land record and
all subsequent ones cited below come from that book, with the exception of most of
the records pertaining to the claim made by Spicer Christophers son John concerning
the Old Township plantation grant. Those records were provided by Dr. James Cusick,
curator of the Special Collections Library at the University of Florida.
John Christophers claim
Con. C. 41; DG, mentions "plat of 2 caballerias and 23 acres at a plantation
called San Christobel" being surveyed "for Spicer Christopher whose sworn family
includes his wife, five children, 11 slaves." One Spanish meaning of the term caballeria,
is: a tract of land 100 feet by 200 feet granted for the purpose of raising horses or
February 15, 1792
According to abstracts of claims Con. C. 37; DG IV 278 and Co. C. 41; DG, "Governor
Whites title to Spicer Christopher for 15 caballerias of land at Santa Maria
Plantation next to Francisco Diaz Teran just across Santa Juana Creek" is presented
in evidence. Also, William Braddock and Thomas J. Andrew deposed before Samuel Russell,
"that the land called Isabella Plantation on Landsford Creek, in Nassau County, which
plantation is now generally known as Point Hazzard, has been in possession of Spicer
Christopher, late of Talbot Island, and his heirs since 1804."
April 28, 1792
John Christopher s claim Co. C. 41; DG, mentions "plat of 10 caballerias and
25 acres at a plantation called Carlos plantation" for Spicer Christopher. Other
claims reveal that his grant is confirmed April 8, 1909. In claim Con. C 39; DG IV 159,
John Christopher claims "358 1/3 acres at north of and near St. Johns River,"
which is mentioned as having been granted to his father. This is probably the land
mentioned in claim Co. C. 41; DG.
[EFP] In a letter to East Florida Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada,
Spicer Christopher requested permission to go to
(St. Marys) on north side of
St. Marys River
to collect a debt or to appoint agent to do so.
[EFP] In a letter to East Florida Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada,
Spicer Christopher requested a license to export sweet potatoes and cotton
Elizabeth Edwards, daughter of John Edwards and Mary Braddock was born. She later married
William Bluet Christopher.
[EFP] Edmond Genet arrived in
in April 1793 as
’s foreign minister.
now being the enemy of
, he brought with him plans to create an army with which to seize
. He had little trouble finding ready volunteers to this army, which he
called “Revolutionary Forces of the
, who had a long standing animosity with the “foreigners” across the
St. Marys. Colonel Samuel Hammond, who was commander of the “force,”
and Revolutionary War veteran John McIntosh were Georgia
volunteers of note.
addition to appealing to the governments of the United State, South
Carolina, and Georgia, East Florida Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada
took steps to prepare
for the anticipated invasion. Some
residents were complicit in the planned invasion. He had the ring leaders
among them arrested. He ordered the Amelia Island militia unit, in which
Spicer Christopher served as Sergeant, to move to Fort San Vicente on the
the south side of the St. Johns and that all house north of the St. Johns
be burned, except one. The one exception was the house of Spicer
Christopher’s brother-in-law, Francisco Teran, on
. It was to be burned as a signal of enemy approach. Before Genet’s plan
could be carried out, he was recalled to
for all the trouble he was stirring up.
[EFP] Spicer Christopher was paid 18 pesos duty for two slaves he brought
from St. Marys to work his crop. He received a receipt for his payment two
[EFP] Prisoner Valentin Crank, who was arrested on Talbot
by Spicer Christopher, was sent to St Augustine
[EFP] Apparently, the mistreatment charges against William Hull, et al,
didn’t stick. In a letter
to East Florida Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada, he requested a
license to sell dye in St. Marys for pork and flour.
Elizabeth Susannah Christopher is born to Spicer and Mary Greenwood
Colonel Carlos Howard, commander of
’s military, advised Andrew Atkinson, militia
company captain, that Sergeant Spicer Christopher was bringing supplies
for his unit.
[EFP] Colonel Howard advised Governor Quesada of the arrival from Georgia
of Diego Harrison, Richard Bradley, John Edwards, and Francisco Federico
Dieterch Eltner. Howard said the first three men are of good reputation,
but he told the last man to leave because he was suspicious of a man with
so many talents and no funds or a second shirt.
[EFP] Colonel Howard advised Governor Quesada of the arrival in
of widow Lucy Braddock, mother-in-law of recently arrived John Edwards,
with her two sons and daughters. She says she left Georgia
because of debts she could not pay. She is sending her oldest son, David,
to St. Augustine
to request a land grant. In the meantime, Colonel Howard arranged for her
family to stay with Mrs. O’Neill. [It
is not surprising that John David is referred to as David in most records
of East Florida Papers as he grew up in a family that already had a
member—his father—being addressed as John.]
Signing an oath of allegiance was a prerequisite to receiving a land
grant. The preface to Spanish Land Grants in Florida
says on the subject:
the retrocession of the Floridas, Spain adopted in part the policy
the English had followed in granting lands. Under the royal order
of 1786 Spain permitted British subjects to remain in Florida and
retain possession of their lands provided they would take the oath
of allegiance. Efforts to attract Irish Catholics as settlers
having in a large part failed, the King issued the royal order of
1790 inviting aliens to Florida regardless of their religious
affiliations. Grants under this order were popularly known as
"head rights." Under the regulations issued by Governor
Quesada immigrants who would take the oath of allegiance and could
furnish transportation for themselves, their families and goods,
and who could be self-supporting until they were established, were
invited to come in and receive free land. They were promised
freedom in matters of religion, although only the Catholic worship
was to be permitted in public. The head of a family was offered
100 acres of land with 50 acres for each white or colored person
in the family, whatever their ages. An additional grant up to
1,000 acres could be obtained if there were probability of it
being cultivated. During his probation the grantee could not
alienate [To transfer to the ownership of another] without the
consent of the government but must hold and cultivate it
continuously for a term of ten years. He was required to build a
house with suitable chimney as prescribed by the regulations, to
build fences, and to keep a certain number of livestock. When his
tenure and improvements were proved by the testimony of witnesses
under oath, a title in absolute property would be issued."
January 19, 1795
[EFP] Governor Quesada approved Colonel Howards actions concerning new
settlers Braddock, Harrison, and Edwards.
Sergeant Spicer Christopher reported that his militia unit saw two French
corsairs off the Nassau
July 2, 1795
[EFP] Sergeant Spicer Christopher advised Colonel.Carlos Howard, commander
of East Florida’s military, that because his militia patrol had learned
had been captured and cattle taken, and troops, likely remnants of
Genet’s “Revolutionary Forces of the
,” had come into
and 300 more from Georgia
were expected, he needed more troops.
[EFP] Criminal proceedings were brought against numerous persons for
treason in capture of Fort
and San Nicolas Battery. Nathaniel Wilds was among the names of persons
declared rebels but not captured. All involved were pardoned June 22,
resident John McIntosh was one of the leaders of the attempted take over
of the province. Sergeant Spicer Christopher commanded the military unit
that escorted his wife and family out of the province.
[EFP] Spicer Christopher is one of several militiamen Captain Andrew Atkinson, commander of one of East Florida’s
militia units, mentions in a letter to Colonel Howard
relating measures being taken to drive the enemy force, which is made up
of 170 from
[EFP] Colonel Howard reported to Governor Quesada that the militia unit in
which Spicer Christopher served had driven the invaders from the island.
July 20, 1796
Lucy Braddock signed an oath of allegiance July 20, 1796. She had arrived in Florida
on January 1795. The Spanish version of her given
name, Lucia, was entered on the document, and her last name was entered as
"Bradick." "Labrador"Farmerwas given as her occupation,
Protestant as her religion. She was shown to have with her two sons, two daughters, no
husband, and five slaves. Amelia Island was given as her place of residence.
The two sons were John David and
William. The fact that the oldest daughter, Mary, was married to John Edwards and had at
least one child by 1796 makes it obvious that the two daughters were Ann and Hester.
Lucys appearance in
Florida raises some questions in my mind, the first being from exactly where in the
vicinity of Brunswick did she and her family embark on their journey to Amelia Island?
John had received two grants for his valiant service as a galley commander in the
Revolution, one in Glynn County on St. Simons and another in Camden County on the
"Great Satilla River." An advertisement of a new map in the October 8 and 16,
1786 issues of the State of Georgia Gazette listing "Major John Braddock, at
Jekyll" as one of several taking subscriptions adds another possible starting-out
point. A 1790 map of Glynn County revealed a fourth place of residence a few
miles from the coast up the Altamaha River. None but the last of these points are more than 30 miles by water from Amelia Island, less than a
days sail. While scanning along the Great Satilla River with my computer map for
some hint of the location of Johns Great Satilla grant, near its mouth, between it
and the Little Satilla River, about six miles across Jekyll Sound and an expanse of marsh
from Jekyll Island, the name Black Hammock jumped out at me. Black Hammock is also the
name of the plantation on which Lucy and her second husband, William
Alexander Fitzgerald, lived near
Amelia Island and is where she is thought to be buried. This spurred me to
researchas much as the Internet would allowthe Georgia Black Hammock. The
historical information I found on it was meager but still enough to send a slight tingle
down my spine. The web page said:
|"About 1785, Nathan
Atkinson went down to North Carolina and married and settled near a settlement of men who
had been Tories in the War of the Revolution. With them he became involved in a fight, one
of whom he shot (a Mr. Jernigan), the record of trial is now on file in Camden County).
About 1785 he came to Camden County and settled at Bourbon, and about ten years later, he
moved to Black Hammock, where he resided and planted until 1817, when he died."
Ten years from
1785 would be 1795, a year after John Cutler Braddock died. John is on a list of Camden
County tax defaulters published in the July 9, 1789 issue of the State of Georgia
Gazette, and his property undoubtedly was sold for taxes. A year earlier, on July 10,
1788, his name appeared in the same newspaper on a list of tax defaulters of the St.
Simon's district of Glynn County. I let my imagination run away with me for a moment as I
entertained the possibility that Atkinson had bought John's Camden County land.
The Nathan Atkinson information came from a genealogy web page of the
Atkinson Family of Georgia. The name of the pages author sent the tingle back up
my spine: Richard Berrie Atkinson. His genealogy names Lucy Berrie as one of his
ancestors but does not go back enough to say who her father was. William and Ann Braddock
Berrie had a daughter named Lucy and a son named Richard.
Further Internet research of
Black Hammock Plantation turned up the following interesting information from Dr. Patrick
L. Cooneys "Daytrips for Jacksonvillians"
page. In 1750 Edmund Gray, a Quaker, and 20 families left Virginia to settle on the Little
River in Augusta, Georgia. He later settled at New Hanover on the banks of the Satilla
River, now called Burnt Fort, Georgia. He then moved to Cumberland Island, and then to
East Florida in the 1770s, where, as the web page says:
|"He built his plantation
and Indian trading post on Black Hammock Island, west of Fort George Island near the mouth
of the St. Johns River. In the yard he built a sawmill and a rectangular saw pit for
shaping lumber. The names Sawpit Bluff and Sawpit Creek, the waterway that flowed in front
of the house, persist to this day. The outlines of the sawpit, though overgrown with trees
and heavy brush, can still be traced. So can the fallen wall of his tabby house near the
shoreline of the bluff, perhaps the oldest remains of a European dwelling in the St. Johns
River valley. "
Camden and Charlton Counties, Georgias genealogy web page adds some spice to
Grays character, which the previously mentioned web page neglected to mention:
|"Edmond Gray came to
Georgia with a following of debtors and outlaws."
appears as a planter on the census DeBrahm made of East Florida during the British
It is another fluke of fate that
Lucy lived and died on a plantation containing Sawpit Bluff. It was there that during the
Revolution, three galleys, one commanded by her husband Captain John Cutler Braddock,
filled with Continentals who were to rendezvous with Col. John Baker and his company of
militia May 15, 1777. The galleys, running aground on Amelia Narrows, failed to deliver
reinforcements. Consequently, Bakers company of men were all but annihilated at
Thomas Creek by the British Florida Rangers.
December 6, 1796
As part of claim Con. C 40; DG IV 279, made by John Christopher, his father Spicer was
granted 100 acres at Talbot Island. This is the land on which he was living in 1783 when
the Spanish took control, so he more than likely received it as a grant from the British
and is now seeking to confirm his ownership under the Spanish government.
Governor Enrique White of
requested Diego de Vegas to investigate circumstances of slave Bob held by
Noah Harrold. Slave was fugitive from Spicer Christopher of East Florida.
Harrold claimed he will return slave when Spicer's debts are paid.
Ann, daughter of John and Mary Braddock Edwards, was born. She later married Samuel Spicer
[EFP] John Edwards was given permission to bring his family to settle in
February 14, 1797:
According to an abstract of claim Con. C. 35-b; DG V 418, Spicer Christopher
petitioned for "500 acres on the St. Marys at a place called Old Township, bounded on
the north by the river, on the east by Prudence Plummers land, on the west by Isabel
Erarons [Aaron] grant." After possessing it the required 10 years, he was
officially granted the land by Governor Enrique White April 10, 1809. On January 8, 1831,
Spicers son, Spicer Samuel Christopher, who had been willed the land at Old Township
by his father, to prove his ownership, presented to the Commissioners Appointed to
Ascertain Claims to Lands and Titles in East Florida a 23 page petition. Among the several
documents presented in the claim is a copy of the original Spanish document through which
Spicer requested the grant ( which defied my translation efforts beyond deciphering a few
words such as: "entreat, " "on the river of Santa Maria on a plantation
named Old Township," and "large family"):
English translations in the
petition are of the royal title, certificate of survey, and plat. The title reads:
Title in favor of Don Spicer
Christopher for the plantation called Old Township
Don Enrique White, Colonel of the
Royal Armies Civil and Military Governor and Chief of the Royal Domain of this City of St.
Augustine and of the province thereof for his Majesty:
Whereas in a royal order
communicated to this Government on the twenty-ninth of October one thousand seven hundred
and ninety by the Captain General of the Island of Amelia and this province Florida, it is
provided among other things that to foreigners who spontaneously present themselves to
swear allegiance to our sovereign lands be granted and surveyed gratis in
proportion to the laborers each family might have; And Whereas Don Spicer Christopher has
presented himself as one of these soliciting from this Government a concession of land and
the Government granted to him five hundred acres situated on the plantation called Old
Township as part of the quantity of land which corresponded to him in conformity to the
number of persons who under his ratio declares conformity to his family: Said tract is
framed[?] and delineated under the following limits: It is bounded North by the River St
Marys, East by lands belonging to Dona Prusencia Plummer, West by other lands belonging to
Dona Isabella Erarons [Aarons] and South by vacant lands as it appears by the certificate
given by Don Juan Purcell, private Surveyor, and by the Plat thereof annexed to it and is
found united with expedient moved[?] by Don Santos Rodriguez as the Attorney General of
the said Don Spicer Christopher soliciting that to this party the corresponding Title be
granted for the tract aforesaid which has already been surveyed and delineated to him and
of which he is in possession; and whereas no title whatever had been issued to him for the
security and proof of his ownership to the said tract in the form which has been observed
with others, and as that more than ten years has elapsed of a none interrupted possession
required to obtain the useful and direct ownership of the said lands and as he has erected
buildings on them and has cultivated them and finally has fulfilled all the other
conditions which the Government established in relation to bounties and grants of that
nature and abound[?] as in the Titles issued in form of other letters as it is
expressed[?] in the said expedient; Therefore and in consideration of all circumstances I
have determined to grant, as in the name of his Majesty and of his royal justice which I
administer; I do grant to the said Don Spicer Christopher, to his children and his heirs
and to his successors the said five hundred acres of land forming the mentioned plantation
in absolute property and to issue to them as by this present I do issue the corresponding
title by which I take from the royal domain the right and dominion which it had to the
said tract and I cede and transfer the same to Don Spicer Christopher aforesaid, his Heirs
and Successors, in order that in justice thereof they may possess it as their own use and
enjoy it without any encumbrance whatever with all its inlets and outlets, uses, customs,
rights and services which it had, has, and in fact and of sight , belong and may relate to
it, and in order that if it is their will they may sell, cede, transfer, and alienate the
land as they see fit, in the whole of which I interpose my authority as far as I may, can,
and of right, ought in justice of the Sovereign will . Given under my signature and
countersigned by the undersigned Notary of his majesty and of the Government and of the
Royal domain of this said City of St. Augustine of Florida on the tenth day of April one
thousand eight hundred and nine.
By the order of his Lordship,
Jose de Zubizarreta
Notary of the Government.
Following is the
page from the claim containing most of the certificate of survey and the plat:
ownership was confirmed by the Superior Court May 12, 1832, Samuel Spicer Christopher, son
of Spicer, did not receive a certificate of ownership until March 7, 1845.