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PART 1

Before the arrival of John’s widow and their unmarried children, events that would help shape the family’s 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 Siebert’s 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 Goodby’s 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 Greenwood’s 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 following suffice:

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 Majesty’s 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":
"Was a 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 didn’t come to America until 1767. By then the real William Greenwood already was greeting illustrious visitors such as William Bartram and Bartram’s 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 I’ve seen in my search for the real William Greenwood, at least not in which he is identifiable as such. A footnote in William Henry Siebert’s Loyalists in East Florida alludes to William the Loyalist as the one who received the grant on the St. Johns:
"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. 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 disallowed."

For reasons cited previously, Seibert’s 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 father’s 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. Heron’s letter [Alexander Heron was an officer under General Oglethorpe’s command]) –
There is one Mr. Greenwood just arriv’d 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. Heron’s 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 took place.

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 was rejected.

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, 1764."

 

I am not suggesting that the William Greenwood of Col. Heron’s slip of paper, and presumably the recipient of 150 acres on Skidaway from his father-in-law, is candidate number five—his 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 Mary—the Spanish baptismal record of Thomas Christopher gives Mary Greenwood Christopher’s birthplace as Georgia—and 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 start—and 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 Greenwood’s.

  • 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, I’ve 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 Anna 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 boxes—larger than suitcases—and 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:

"Francis 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 family’s 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."

Still, romantic 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 Greenwood’s daughter, married her, and sought lands of his own, acquiring—as will be seen—grants 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 Town’s 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. Augustine."

1787
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."

1788
Charlotte, daughter of Spicer and Mary Greenwood Christopher, was born. She later married William Braddock.

August 22, 1788
[EFP] Judge, a free black sharecropper on land of Spicer Christopher , 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 Zéspedes
decreed that Magistrate Lewis Fatio investigate.  Fatio reported that the problems has been amicably settled.

November 1788
[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 St. Johns .

1789
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 Christopher’s 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, Carolina.

January 1790
[EFP] Spicer Christopher captured a deserting Spanish soldier Antonio Gomez.

May 1790
[EFP] Spicer Christopher captured a deserting Spanish soldier Basilio Diaz.

May 1, 1790:
Children of Spicer and Mary Greenwood Christopher were baptized:

Juan Bluet Christopher, Isla de Talbot, 6 years old son of Espisa Christopher and Maria Greenwood, both America del Norte

Guillermo 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 Norte

Carlota Bluet Christopher, Isla de Talbot, 2 years old daughter of Espisa Christopher and Maria Greenwood, both America del Norte.

August 13, 1790
[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 St. Johns are too high.

September 27, 1790
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.

1791
Samuel Spicer, son of Spicer Samuel and Mary Greenwood Christopher, was born. He later married Ann Edwards.

January 26, 1791
[EFP] Learning that William Berrie’s uncle, Robert Clark Maxey, has arrived in East Florida and has settled on Amelia Island , East Florida Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada orders the family to be settled inland

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 husband’s 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:

Francisco Antonio Diaz, Born 6/19/1790, son of Diaz, Villa de Cortes, Santander, and Maria Greenwood, Florida

June - July 1791
[EFP] Before William Berrie’s family, including his mother and two uncles, left Colleton County , SC to come to Spanish East Florida , 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 St. George Island .  After examining her, Dr. Thomas Stirling's arranged to send her to St. Augustine . 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.

February 11, 1792
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 Christopher’s 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 Christopher‘s 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 cattle.

February 15, 1792
According to abstracts of claims Con. C. 37; DG IV 278 and Co. C. 41; DG, "Governor White’s 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.

May 18, 1792
[EFP] In a letter to East Florida Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada, Spicer Christopher requested permission to go to Newton (St. Marys) on north side of St. Marys River to collect a debt or to appoint agent to do so.

November 24, 1792
[EFP] In a letter to East Florida Governor Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada, Spicer Christopher requested a license to export sweet potatoes and cotton to Georgia .


1793
Elizabeth Edwards, daughter of John Edwards and Mary Braddock was born. She later married William Bluet Christopher.

1793/1794
[EFP]  Edmond Genet arrived in the U. S. in April 1793 as France ’s foreign minister. Spain now being the enemy of France , he brought with him plans to create an army with which to seize East Florida . He had little trouble finding ready volunteers to this army, which he called “Revolutionary Forces of the Floridas ,” from South Georgians , 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.

  In 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 East Florida for the anticipated invasion. Some East Florida 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 Talbot Island . It was to be burned as a signal of enemy approach. Before Genet’s plan could be carried out, he was recalled to France for all the trouble he was stirring up.

June 18, 1793
[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 days later.

October 24, 1793
[EFP] Prisoner Valentin Crank, who was arrested on Talbot Island by Spicer Christopher, was sent to St Augustine .

October 25, 1793
[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.

1794
Elizabeth Susannah Christopher is born to Spicer and Mary Greenwood Christopher.

March 5, 1794
[EFP] Colonel Carlos Howard, commander of East Florida ’s military, advised Andrew Atkinson, militia company captain, that Sergeant Spicer Christopher was bringing supplies for his unit.

January 10, 1795
[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.

January 17, 1795
[EFP] Colonel Howard advised Governor Quesada of the arrival in East Florida 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:

"After 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.

June 16-17, 1795
[EFP] Sergeant Spicer Christopher reported that his militia unit saw two French corsairs off the Nassau bar.

July 2, 1795
[EFP] Sergeant Spicer Christopher advised Colonel.Carlos Howard, commander of East Florida’s military, that because his militia patrol had learned that Fort  Juana had been captured and cattle taken, and troops, likely remnants of Genet’s “Revolutionary Forces of the Floridas ,” had come into Florida and 300 more from Georgia were expected, he needed more troops.

July 16, 1795
[EFP] Criminal proceedings were brought against numerous persons for treason in capture of Fort Juana and San Nicolas Battery. Nathaniel Wilds was among the names of persons declared rebels but not captured. All involved were pardoned June 22, 1801.  

July 25, 1795
[EFP] East Florida 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.

July 29, 1795
[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 Georgia and Amelia Island from Amelia Island

August 4, 1795
[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"—Farmer—was 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.

Lucy’s 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 day’s sail. While scanning along the Great Satilla River with my computer map for some hint of the location of John’s 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 research—as much as the Internet would allow—the 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 page’s 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. Cooney’s "Daytrips for Jacksonvillians" web 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. "

The Crypt, Camden and Charlton Counties, Georgia’s genealogy web page adds some spice to Gray’s character, which the previously mentioned web page neglected to mention:

"Edmond Gray came to Georgia with a following of debtors and outlaws."

He appears as a planter on the census DeBrahm made of East Florida during the British possession.

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, Baker’s 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.

December 15, 1796
[EFP] Governor Enrique White of Florida 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. 

1797
Ann, daughter of John and Mary Braddock Edwards, was born. She later married Samuel Spicer Christopher.

February 13, 1797
[EFP] John Edwards was given permission to bring his family to settle in Florida .

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 Plummer’s land, on the west by Isabel Eraron’s [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, Spicer’s 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

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.

Enrique White

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:

OldTowngrant.jpg (144890 bytes)

Although his 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.

 

PREFACE

PART 2

PART 3

PART4

Comments, Corrections, Suggestions--Email J. G. Braddock Sr. at: jbraddock1@aol.com